Friday, September 2, 2016

Chicken Soup - For the Wee Folk

Video 4 is up on the new YouTube channel. I think we learn something new every time. Maybe (at about video number 20 or so) we will have these polished and professional-looking. We'll see.

What I learned this go-round:

-Captions! I can now add them.
-"Tiny Kitchen" name has already been taken. Need to come up with something new!
-If you speed up sequences to 4X instead of 8X, they look better, but you get squeaky audio from all the kid chatter.
-We definitely need a new camera (or to find the charger for my actual camera) so we can film the entire video without having to stop and dump footage on the computer to make room for the rest.
-We need to get our kitchen set up in a more permanent location so you don't see all my house mess in the background when the kids want to change camera angles.

What I need to know:

-Are the videos better with or without the chatter? Should I try to be entertaining??
-Is 8:00 minutes an okay length?
-Do I need a little mascot in the kitchen - like a stuffy, or a doll, or a gnome? (The kids suggested the cat, but the idea of cat hair in the food gives me the shivers.)
-Can I adjust the sound levels so music is louder/softer in comparison to ambient audio? (I will just need to google this or play around some more.)

I'm sure there's a lot more - I just need to think for a bit. No time now, though.
Until next time!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tiny Kitchen - Video 3: Kebabs and Dogs

Video number three - we thought we'd try something different. I told the kids, "Sure you can talk in this one. And you can help by handing me the things I need." I did not give them permission to fart, but they took liberties. (I may have edited the flatulence out...)

So, review of our tiny grill. It sure was cute! Looked great on camera. Was terrible at cooking. I'm not sure if it was an issue with the candles, or the grill itself. It was made out of that manufactured metal stuff that seems like it's compressed powder or whatever. So, in order to ensure the chicken was indeed edible, we cooked the kebabs in the skillet on the stove top, and for good measure, I zapped it in the microwave for 30 seconds. The hot dogs, as one of the kids mentions on the video, (unless I edited that part out), would have been fine to eat cold as they were pre-cooked when purchased.

My ten-year-old was cameraman for the first part of the video, but lost interest when I had to dump the video on my computer and delete from the phone to make more room, so the girls switched off at the end. They kept trying to get me in the video ("No, kids, mommy doesn't need to be on camera!"), and most of that I was able to edit out as well. We had 28 minutes of footage, shrunk down to 8 by selective editing and zooming through repetitive parts.

Did I mention I found a free video editor that actually does the editing of the video? Windows Live Movie Maker. This was my first time playing with this program, so I didn't try all the features, and I did kind of pick a random "movie" theme. Expect things to get a bit cleaner and sharper as we learn and grow. (Both in the production and editing of the video).

I can't wait to cook the next thing! I have set aside a small bit of a pork chop from today's dinner. Time to do some thinking and try new things!

Stay tuned! <3

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tiny Cooking Video - Second Attempt

This is our second attempt at cooking in the tiny kitchen. The recipe uses a lot of the same ingredients as our first video (Beef Stir Fry), with added complexity.

My cameraman was the other 7-year-old daughter. 1st daughter - who filmed last week's video - was the DJ. For some reason, she decided she wanted to listen to country music.

We are still working out the kinks. Our kitchen is in a temporary location and we still don't have a full set of dishes. Some of my ingredients (like the taco seasoning and cilantro) didn't yet have a tiny container to serve them out of, so I tried to keep the large packaging off camera.

This video is also somewhat long, and I tried to edit it down some, but I am using a very glitchy program and am just learning this stuff, so it's kinda rough.

All that said, I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tiny Cooking Videos - A Meditation

So I've recently become obsessed with these tiny cooking videos on YouTube. As you know, I have a thing for miniatures. I have always been fascinated with the idea of functional miniatures - ever since reading such things as Beatrix Potter, "The Indian In the Cupboard," "Thumbelina," etc. It's a thing I am definitely into. So when I discovered that there are people out there cooking real food using dollhouse miniature pots and pans and tiny ovens I became enamored with the idea. Watching these videos is so calming and peaceful, it was almost a meditation. I watched every miniature cooking video I could find on YouTube - and was so disappointed to learn that there is a finite amount of them.

So then, of course, I spent some time on eBay. First I tried to find a little oven that I could place a candle in, like in many of the tiny cooking videos already on YouTube. There were a lot of tiny iron stoves on eBay. But not very many that I was sure I could cook with. And I really didn't want to end up spending $20-$40 on a non-functional item when functionality is the whole point. I already have several different kitchens worth of non-functional dollhouse furniture. I wanted something I could actually cook tiny food with. And then I discovered the Little Chef oven.

There are several variations on the Little Chef, including the Wolverine brand and the Susie Homemaker Brand, but basically it's a tin oven with a built-in FUNCTIONAL hot plate. Made for children. In the 1950's. This, of course, was another eBay purchase. While I was trying to decide if it was really okay for me to spend this much money on myself, my sweet husband found one that was still functional and in really good shape and bought it for me, only telling me afterward that it was on its way. Not knowing so much about scale, he also bought me some 1/12 size metal pots and pans and cooking utensils... the Little Chef oven is about 14" wide. So, not quite to scale, but love his heart, he tried.

I didn't tell him "I told you so;" I just sent him this picture. #truelove

So, since my Little Chef arrived, we have spent the last week scouring dollar stores, Goodwill, and every else we've been looking for other items for our kitchen. It's kind of an odd scale - a bit larger than Barbie/Joe (1/6), a bit smaller than American Girl (1/4). We've had to improvise, and compromise a bit.

Pots made from potted meat and Vienna sausage tins, tiny tupperware from various dollar
stores, little shelf and mugs were a Goodwill find.

And then... I looked through my stash of doll items and had a few lucky finds. Also, I came across a perfectly functional, if a tad large, frying pan in the kids' room. And I've been dying to try it out for more than just boiling water or melting American cheese - but my refrigerator was bare after spending most of the summer away from home. But today - TODAY! We went to the grocery store and bought some groceries! I still would not call our mini kitchen well-stocked, but... I daresay it's FUNCTIONAL, in a bare-bones/bachelor pad kinda way.

We still haven't worked out any aspects of our videographer game yet, really, but we did manage to cobble together our first video! My seven-year-old daughter was the camera man. I was the chef. Both girls were our official taste testers, and enthusiastically enjoyed the cuisine as it was finished.

Some things I learned: 
--Need to clear phone memory before we start videotaping.
--Need more counter space.
--Need tiny pot-holder.
--Need to have cameraman on my right, as I am left-handed and block the food.
--Should probably remove rings when cooking.
--Best to hold the camera the other direction (so the video is wide and not tall). 

I hope you enjoy our initial attempt at our own tiny cooking video! And hopefully, there will be more to come!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Care Bear Cradle

I recently finished a fun little sewing project for my cousin and her new baby, a sweet little girl. She wanted to do a Care Bears nursery with lots of rainbows. My sister-in-law and I went in together on this cradle for the baby - she bought the cradle, we both brainstormed ideas, and I made the bed skirt and bedding. 

I had to change it to a 5-color rainbow so that it would fit the cradle. I was
low on funds, so I had to raid my fabric stash and get a few pieces of clearance
fabric, but I managed to pull it off.

Once the rainbow bed skirt was done, I got to work on a Care Bear quilt, inspired by their tummies. 

Grumpy Bear

Take Care Bear

Lucky Bear

Funshine Bear

I simplified the graphics a bit as I'm still a novice quilter. This is my first attempt at anything other than squares, and I think it turned out pretty well.


There are several more babies in my life, recently born and soon-to-be-born, so I have an excuse to make a few more attempts in the next few months. Wish me luck!

Bits and Pieces

As artistically unproductive as I've been lately (for like the last year), I still daydream about projects left undone and things I would like to do. Just walking through the store, running errands with my kids, my eye is drawn to the things that I could use to furnish my dollhouse. Below are some items that sparked my imagination.

Do you see a pencil cup or a wire trash basket? Dollar Tree.

A little wood stain and this would make a lovely blanket chest for
Barbie. Dollar Tree.

These are the greatest - desk lamps for Barbie. Dollar Tree.

This tiny speaker plugged into an MP3 player would make the best
80's boom box for Ken. Dollar Tree.

I love contact paper for linoleum flooring, wallpaper, or hardwood.
Family Dollar.

This tiny dish would look great on Barbie's Thanksgiving table,
filled with green bean casserole. Goodwill.

This porcelain pram likely used to hold a floral arrangement. if
you add a little mattress, Barbie could let her baby sleep here.

I couldn't decide whether this would make a better bathtub for Barbie
or a coffee table - all it would need is a bit of paint or a nice piece of
wood or thin plexiglass top. Goodwill.

In comparison to everything else, the furniture actually designed for
Barbie looks so cheap and flimsy. No, thank you. Goodwill.

I would take them all home if I could! Goodwill.

I think these were meant for paper clips and pushpins, but I can see
Barbie filling them with pantry items or shoes. Big Lots.

For all those Thanksgiving leftovers... Big Lots.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Some New Acquisitions

Although I have a much larger collection of 1/12 scale dollhouse items, my first love has always been 1/6 scale - which means Barbie, GI Joe, and their compatriots. Because all of Barbie's actual furniture and home accessories all come in various shades of pink, and likewise Joe's stuff comes in various shades of camouflage, putting together a suitable house for them can depend as much on luck as ingenuity. You may recall a previous post about how I converted a neat little picture frame into a fireplace for Barbie (below).

Good thing the fire is lit, otherwise Barbie would freeze in that little dress!

I have a few new things to add to this collection - my collection - for Barbie's home (the stuff I don't let the kids play with). My sweet grandmother, knowing my unnatural love of all things miniature, saved a few pieces for me to help furnish Barbie's next home.

Barbie is really excited about this butcher block! Now if only Ken and Joe
would get back to work remodeling her kitchen so she could install it...

I have discovered that potholders can potentially make a wonderful throw rug for Barbie. This green one provided by my grandmother has an extra thick weave - great for easing back and knee pain while Barbie stands at the sink washing dishes. (Snorts... I don't recall seeing "Housewife Barbie" or "SAHM Barbie" on the shelf anytime recently...)

My other big, new acquisition (or rather small, new acquisition) is this set of lamps. These look very similar to something I saw in IKEA last week, only much MUCH smaller. I suppose that the Dollar Tree is an IKEA for Barbie, of sorts. I am always finding something useful there, and usually it doesn't fall apart the first time I use it.

My husband saw these on the shelf and knew I would love them...

Barbie really likes them too.

Maybe an unconventional use for a butcher block, but until the kitchen is
built, Barbie might as well use it as a table.

And my favorite thing about these little lights - they are LED booklights, so they ACTUALLY LIGHT UP! With no awkward cords. Amazing, right? Even after the batteries die, they will still be really cute lights. Are you as excited about this as I am?

I tried to find a link on so you could order your own awesome little desk lamps, but it's not currently listed, so I guess you'll have to just keep visiting your local Dollar Tree and be opportunistic like I was ;)

What's the coolest accessory you have found for your dollhouse? Post a pic on my FB page