December 25, 2014

December 23, 2014

Playing with scale

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction rights reserved

Just doing some test fitting plus some glittering today. Working on the larger sized versions of the design. I have been playing around with them off and on this last year. But never have gotten down to making them available as kits in my Etsy store.

These larger pieces are not all that large.  They just big enough to be suitable for a real life tabletop Putz or Christmas tree ornament rather than being a miniature that fits into a dollhouse. It is only by comparison to the Micro and Tiny size village sets that they seem large. The tallest tower on the table is under 5" high. I make them from the heavier weight cardstock papers.

As I have an order for some I needed to do some test fitting of ones I had not cut in this size before. Of course the danger is I will get spoiled by how quick it is to assemble something this size compared to making itsy bitsy micro buildings.

December 13, 2014

Christmas Village Shadow Box Scene


© Kris Hull 2014  Christmas display created by Kris Hull of Forks, WA all reproduction rights reserved.
A photo treat that spreads some Christmas Joy made  by  Kris Hull of Forks, WA.  I just love it when one of my customers shares photos of their projects with us!  Kris used five of the buildings from the Tiny Village 2013 set for this project.

What a great job she did. There is a lot of depth to each of the small vignettes in this scene plus it incorporates other paper miniatures such as vintage Christmas Card scenes. I am loving the sleigh and horses with the bottle brush trees up on top as well. Plus of course she lit it up!

Kris shared the following information about this project.
" just thought you would like to see what I did with my Tiny Houses...this is one of my favorite projects ever! I used a Tim Holtz Configurations box and a strand of tiny lights (the battery compartment is stored in the base that the box is sitting on!) Thanks for the great houses :) "

Kris also said " I made the trees from bumpy green chenille and cut it and painted them with white paint--they were so simple. And the backgrounds are just vintage Christmas card scenes. "

I have not yet taken the time to get out the glitter, tinsel, etc and create some scenes of my own this Christmas season. You have all kept me pretty busy with cutting, packaging and shipping.  I am cutting gingerbread brown buildings today as I had run out of stock of many of those sets. Next on the schedule is making more of the Tea Light Snowflake kits. After that I might get out the glitter and see what I can come up with.

Hope everyone is having a Holly Jolly Holiday season! 

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved




November 29, 2014

Winners of the Black Friday Giveaway


© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

There were a total of 53 entries for the giveaway. Two entries were submitted by email and I added them as they really tried hard but could not figure out how to leave a comment (it happens).

Every person was assigned a number. I printed out all the comments starting with the first comment as #1.  I then used the function from random.org to choose 5 numbers . I had decided that I wanted everyone to have really good odds of being a winner. So you each had  a 1 in 10 chance of winning. This means there were 5 winners!

Thank you everyone for entering. Your comments were very fun to read, lots of creativity out there!

Winners you need to email me karincorbin@gmail.com include your mailing address and also the kit of your choice. Please put Black Friday Winner into the subject line of your email. Go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/karincorbin to see what the sets look like and their names. Then send me that name so I know exactly what you want. Just copy and paste the name of the set into your email. The kits are shown in white but there are always 3 colors to choose from. Remember you can choose any set you want. If you choose the 2012 village set the church shown in that set will be substituted with the buildings shown in the photo at the top of this posting unless you tell me that you would rather have a church instead of that tower house with chimney variation.

The winning comment entries are:

1. Blogger
 Caseymini said...
Karin, I have been a fan of your work for years. These black ones would be to put in one of Tessie's rooms. Being a witch, she would love the littlest ones for her mantle or even under a witchy Christmas tree. Thanks for all of the tips and tricks that I have learned from you along the way!

2.
ShellyH-Y said...
l would use some of them as birdhouses for Ravens house. She is a tiny witch/herbalist who lives in the woods and cares for many creatures. Her house is already built (1/24th scale) and done in shades of purple and black, so these would be PERFECT! Thanks Karin!

3.
Sanschichis said...
Hi Karin,
Thanks for this amazing giveaway! I would like to build a chrismas scene with them: black houses in the dark night, flown by Father Christmas's sleigh! Keeping my fingers crossed!
Nathalie

4.
Judith Andraka said...
They are great!They would be perfect for a "Brigadoon" village that I have been wanting to make - rising from the mist among the hills. Thank-you for this give-away opportunity and your great blog.

5.
Wanna said...
I see a spectral figure (like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come) holding out his arm with all these little black houses on it. The caption would be:
There are some neighborhoods that are best kept at arm's length.



November 28, 2014

Black Friday Giveaway

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
Update,  Black Friday is over. No more comments please.

I have already printed out the list of eligible entries. I will post the lucky winners very soon. I  will assign everyone a number then I will use a random number generator to choose who gets the set of your choice.





© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

November 18, 2014

Shipping time

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

 I was preparing some of the Tiny Village series orders for shipment and noticed what a colorful array they made. So just for fun I took a photo of them.

November 11, 2014

Micro Tiny Tudor set is now in Etsy



© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
They're here, I got the micro sized glitter house village, putz buildings are all assembled and lined up for a family portrait. This new micro sized kit is now ready to ship.

The new cutter with its high resolution has made it possible to include all the flourishes and details of the larger sized Tiny Village set in this micro sized version. Ruler included in the photos so you can see the size of the set.  The average height of the houses is about 3/4" and the height of the gatehouse to the top of its chimney is 1-1/16". The detailing of these pieces is from the Tudor Revival and Normal style Revival buildings  of the 1920s. But of course revival styling means they also look much like the original buildings they were inspired by.

November 3, 2014

Fairy Tale Castles

© Karin Corbin 2014  Fairy Tale Castles, a glitter house, putz kit.

What's next? Why a fairytale castle set. Today as soon as I finish the directions for the new Tiny Tudor set I will be tweaking the castle pieces that are from the other collections and releasing them as their own grouping.

I had made up my mind to create a special grouping of the castle style buildings last Christmas. They will be cut in 4 sizes. The two sizes you are used to Micro and Tiny and also 2 more larger sizes that can be used for Christmas ornaments and decorations. I can cut thicker cardstock with my new machine so that means I can expand the designs into the full size glitter house market opportunity. Of course they are still miniatures ;).

One of these days I will do a larger castle with more turrents but that won't happen this year.

November 2, 2014

Fireplace mantel village snow scene


© Cecilia Colo 2014 project made with Karin Corbin's Micro Tiny Village Gingerbread 2013
Cecilia Colo from Mexico has graciously shared  photos of her Christmas Village scene on a 1:12 fireplace mantel. What an outstanding job she has done with this project. I love the vertical use of the space with the trees coming down the slope. No doubt about it there is Christmas magic in this scene! That garland with Christmas cards is lovely too, what a great touch that is, it really adds to her artistic composition.

I love seeing what people do with the kits so please share photos with me. 
photo © Cecilia Colo, 1:12 Gingerbread Village Scene using a Karin Corbin  Gingerbread Village houses kit.

The kit used to create the scene above is the Micro Tiny Village 2013 in gingerbread color. They really do look like a gingerbread house when displayed this way. You can buy that kit in my Etsy store Micro Tiny Village 2013 Gingerbread
photo © Cecilia Colo 2013, all reproduction rights reserved

The lighting used in the scene is from Evan Designs

November 1, 2014

holding a ruler down for cutting

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

In a chat today I was reminded that it is easy to have trouble with some of the basic tasks in model making. This time it was how to hold a ruler firmly while cutting. My best friend happened to be close by so he became my hand model. He has that hand tremor condition but despite it can do great fine detail model making so he is perfect for demonstrating its all about how you position your fingers, not about how steady your hands are. The little finger is on the table adding stability, heel of palm can rest on the table for extra stability if needed. There is a cork backing on this steel ruler. Do not use a ruler for cutting against with a knife unless it is made from steel. Never plastic or aluminum rulers as the knife blade can snag into those materials.

October 31, 2014

Tea Light sets now available!


© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
They are now in my Etsy Store. https://www.etsy.com/listing/209204113/snowflake-set-for-decorating-led-tea?ref=shop_home_feat_1

Snowflakes only are in this first set made for 4 tea lights. No buildings included and no tea lights. Later next week I will release a set of 3 houses with 3 snowflakes sets included.

You might wonder what determines how many items  are in the sets I put together. It is based on what will fit into a business sized envelope that weighs less than one ounce when all packaged up. I do it that way as a business model for several reasons. First of all I can keep the shipping very affordable. I also can keep a supply of regular stamps on hand and don't need to find a post office to ship from. When I send kits overseas they look like the purchaser is getting a greeting card in the mail so no delays from customs.  The most important reason is I can fit this business into the lifestyle of a gypsy woman who chooses to live in a tiny vintage motorhome for much of the year. No space for storing cardboard boxes for shipping.

I will have the assembly photos for the tea lights posted on the www.glitterhouses.blogspot.com very soon. But it is pretty much obvious how they go together.

So many photos yet to take this next few days to get ready for listing  the new Tiny Tudor Village set. But it will most likely happen this Sunday. Had a slight delay in launching the series as I had several large orders come in this week that I had to cut kits for. But one of those orders was what made the new Snowflake Tea Light accessory kit available to all of you.

Still learning to use the new cutting machine. It is more accurate than the original hobby machine I started this Tiny Village series on. That has made it possible to cut those fancy snowflakes. But it has not been without its learning curve.


Off the topic, did any of you catch the news that the Dremel company is launching a 3D printer for sale next week on November 3rd ? Now that is interesting news. It only works with PLA plastic filament and it steps in vertical layers that are .004" thick. That is about the standard resolution for a 3D printer in the price range of just under one thousand dollars. Home Depot store is one of their retail partners for developing this new printer, Amazon is also a retail partner in the project. Actually it is the first 3D printer that has been created for sale by any major tool company. It makes sense that it was done by the Bosch company, they own the Dremel brand name. Dremel has always been a primary power tool line used in making miniatures by hobbiest.  I won't be purchasing one as my boyfriend  owns a 3D printer that can use more types of plastic filament.
https://3dprinter.dremel.com/

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved.

October 20, 2014

Tiny Tudor Village Set


© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
All done with the design work! I can start cutting and packaging the kits now :)


October 19, 2014

The inspector general


© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
Zak's favorite spot to hang out while I work. He sits right in front of the heat exhaust from the laptop. I am doing the final check on the prototypes this morning. At this stage I work right by the computer so I can make immediately stop and make any needed adjustments to the cutting files as I am assembling the prototype buildings.

I should be able to start producing the new kits tonight!  Creating the instructions usually takes several days.



October 16, 2014

Storybook style

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

When I went to cut prototypes I found I was frustrated with the assembly of one of the buildings in the Tiny Tudor set so I replaced it.  I keep getting asked when I will build a castle. Not yet! But I did add a gatehouse to the Tiny Tudor set. There are a number of fun Tudor Revival Storybook buildings in California that have arched gateways in them plus towers and overhanging dormers and bays. Of course the real thing is around in Europe as well. Anyway this is my own original design of that style of building, hope you like it :)

I will cut the prototype for this building this morning. I am busy making friends with my new cutting machine, so far I am pleased with the results.  I don't use a laser to cut this series as the pretty white paper would be not so pretty and white. They are cut with a miniature sized knife blade! Hopefully a bit more fine tuning of the settings will get rid of 99 percent of the hanging chads which will make life a lot more pleasant for me.

October 13, 2014

Tiny Tudor Village

The design work is all done. Here is the lineup of images from my 3D CAD design program.
© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

Tiny Tudor Village Set


The design work is all done now, there are eight buildings in this set.

My old machine lost adequate cutting pressure this week so I will start using the new cutting machine I bought a while back.  I decided instead of switching my mental gears from design mode to technical machine mode it would be best if I just got all the designs finished so I could then focus on learning to use the new machine.  While I am always thinking about designs creating the models in CAD is a rhythmic dance of steps and if I take a break from it then I have to get back into the mode to be proficient. Plus memorizing the function steps on a new machine is best done by focusing all my attention on it.

I am still on track for having some of the new kits for sale by November 1st.

October 6, 2014

Glitter House Inspirations

http://www.pinterest.com/corbincabin/1920s-1930s-glitter-house-christmas-inspiration/
I have created a Pinterst Board  for glitter house inspiration. Some of the images are of real houses others are the vintage 1920's and 1930's Christmas Cards that can be used as inspirations to create village scenes with my little glitter house kits.

 Lots of fun colors in those old Christmas Cards.

The buildings in them are typically Tudor Revival Style some with steep pitched roofs others with the timberi patterns from the Half Timber buildings of Merry Old England. In England they called this "Mock Tudor". Some buildings of that era were also Norman French inspired.

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

September 7, 2014

Micro sized spooky old town



Add caption© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
Micro sized kits for Old Town 2014 are now in my Etsy store.

September 6, 2014

Old Town in Black Dress

Old Town 2014 dressed up for Halloween
 Halloween glitter houses are now available in my Etsy store.

September 5, 2014

Spooky Village Updates

I now have some of the Spooky Village versions of my Tiny Village series in the Etsy store.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/karincorbin




I will have to wait until tomorrow to finish posting the Old Town 2014 series in the Halloween glitter house black colors. I ran out of the right kind of lighting for the photo shoot. As expected photographing black objects is very tricky. There is an overhead skylight in the room I am in. I can't shoot the photos until the afternoon as Sunlight coming in makes too much color contrast. What is amazing is that I have to take the photos in very low light so there is less contrast. The background paper also has to be of a fairly dark mid range value. Only then will the camera be able to read contrast in the shadows and also see some highlights on the black objects without totally washing them out to a grey color.

So the trick is less light focused on the objects and less contrast. Not at all intuitive to the average, casual photographer such as myself. I will have to practice a lot more but for now at least I have the kits in my storefront for this Halloween season.

I will finish up the photos for the last two kits tomorrow afternoon. Then I must get back to work on my Vintage motorhome interior remodel while the weather is still warm. I don't want Jack Frost nipping at my toes before I get the heating system installed.

May 14, 2014

learning new techniques

I am getting ready to make trim moldings and cabinetry for my little vintage motorhome. The motorhome will become my new work space for making miniatures.

I have decided to use a cabinetry style for my project that is inspired by the architects Greene and Greene. They are famous for the Gamble House which is now a museum in Pasedena, CA.

One of the features of the cabinetry are small wooden plugs that get installed over recessed screw heads. They are of a contrasting wood. A bit like beautiful buttons dressing up a jacket they dress up and accent the wood work. But of course I want to be efficient in my methods of work so I sought out a tutorial for them.  You might want to watch it if only for the method of safely controlling small pieces of wood on a router table while you put a profile on the edge. That part of the segment is at the end of the video at 14:30 minutes.

March 8, 2014

How to fold tiny pieces of paper

Tips for folding tiny pieces

 This article is a reprint from my blog for assembling my paper house kits. 

Folding small pieces is easy with a little bit of help from your tools.
1. a small pair of straight, smooth jawed pliers
2. a pair of eyebrow type tweezers with a straight across tip that close flat on the mating edges
3. a craft knife, use the sharp or the dull side right against a fold line

If you bend against a straight edge of some type it is easy to fold accurately.
Tiny delicate details should be supported by clamping over them with tweezers or pliers if those pieces are right next to a fold. That will often be needed where there is a door or window very close to a fold line, especially on the Micro scales buildings that are made from thin cardstock.

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved



The tools











© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
Bending longer pieces with flat jawed pliers clamped next to the perforated bend line.
You can also use the straight across tip for folding shorter pieces or reaching across longer sections to get to a fold line.












© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
I always have my craft knife out when I am putting the kits together. It is my number one, quick bending aid for folding small parts that are not too small or delicate. Yes I do use the sharp edge right by the perforated line but as it is being held still there is no danger of cutting the paper or myself.







© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
I also always have on hand a pair of flat nosed, good quality, eyebrow tweezers.

When I am folding next to an area such as a door or window that is very close to a fold line I clamp over that delicate area to stabilize it putting the tweezers tip against the perforated fold line. Then push on the stronger area on the other side of the bend line to make the fold.









© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved
Now here is a very delicate area to fold, a double door to open right next to another bend line for the sides of the building.

The tweezers are used to clamp over the building side fold line and also go up against door's hinge fold at their tip. Then I slid my craft knife in the cut opening of the door and used the flat of the knife blade to push the door open against the flat of the tweezers tip. This way there is no deformation of the cardstock parts as everything is well supported.

March 7, 2014

Tiny "Old Town" now on Etsy!

© Karin Corbin 2014  Tiny Old Town     www.etsy.com/shop/karincorbin
Micro Tiny Old Town  © Karin Corbin 2014    www.etsy.com/shop/karincorbin

Be the first on your street to own an entire city block of buildings from old world Europe!

Available in the same two scales as the original Tiny Village kits. 
Karin Corbin's Etsy Store


March 5, 2014

red roof prototype

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

I just cut and assembled the first prototype of the 1:48 scale cardstock building. This is not the final design. As always the prototypes tutor me on what improvements I might want to make. Yes those are my micro sized houses inside a 1:48 scale structure. They work out to be a nice size for a child's toy house of indeterminate scale. Well I suppose I could determine the scale if I did the math. They are 65% of 1:220 which is of course not a standard dollhouse scale.

I  have no idea when this will be ready for sale. I need to get a more powerful cutting machine to handle the heavy weight cardstock. The new machine will also be able to emboss which is going to be fun for adding texture. I will order it this week.

Then I have to try different papers and such and figure out things like what to use for door knobs, window handles and such. I am even going to venture into making some small scale flowers to fill up the planter boxes. Now don't laugh, I have never made flowers for dollhouses before as buildings and furniture are more my thing. But I figure even I can manage to wrap my head around punching out a five petal flower and dot the center with paint then glue it to some foam and stuff those boxes full of posies.

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

February 28, 2014

Red Roof 1:48 dollhouse


I have been asked a number of times if I was going to make small scale dollhouses. The answer is "of course". My back no longer tolerates a lot of standing and sitting needed the big dollhouses but I am adaptable. So here is the CAD model for the first 1:48 house. I will cut the first prototype tomorrow.

There are always refinements that have to be made to prototypes so it won't be released as a kit in the immediate future. Plus I have to make decisions as to the materials I will be using and what machine I will use to cut the parts. This first prototype model will be cut from heavy, high quality card stock.

The project is inspired by a mid  1920's Gottshalk Red Roof Dollhouse. A fairly typical European bungalow for that era. I thought it would be really fun to do something from that time frame. A future series of the "modern" Tudor Tiny Village buildings will tie into this project. My own neighborhood has a lot of charming Tudor bungalows from that era.

February 11, 2014

All in a row

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved

Just playing around this morning with sticking the Old Town buildings together in a tight row. All that is required to do that is trimming back some of the roof edges with small detail scissors and a knife. Then some glue between. The row when assembled this way is 5" long and 3/4" deep.

The buildings can all be used individually or assembled in various combinations such as the one in the photo above.

February 10, 2014

Xtra sharp craft knives



I am one of "those" people who sharpen their #11 knife blades. In fact I sharpen them before I use them. Those blade edges feel rough to me when they are new as I am so used to how they  feel when beautifully sharpened. No I am not one of those crazed people who loves the physical process of honing tools.  Instead I have a quick and easy method that takes less than a minute to get the job done. My sharpening tool is very portable as it is the size of a credit card. So if you are heading off to a class or club meeting it will tuck right into your traveling tool bag.

My sharpening system:

One Xtra fine, 1200 mesh diamond coated piece of credit card sized steel. I bought mine at Rockler (see photo below). But sometimes I see them in hardware and sporting goods stores. You must have  the Xtra fine grit.

Remove the label from the back of the card and on that back side adhere a piece of 3200 Micro-mesh abrasive paper also purchased from Rockler. Another source for this kind of micro grit is for polishing out scratches in acrylic (perspex) windshields.

I use 3M carpet tape for the adhesive for the micro mesh  abrasive paper as it is wide enough to cover the steel surface without having a seam but you could also use a spray adhesive. No lumps on the surface under the paper allowed. This is VERY important as you must have an absolutely flat surface to hone the knife properly.  The sharpening card will likely come with a sticker on the backside and you will need to remove that sticker and any adhesive left from the sticker. One reason this sharpening system works better than regular sharpening stones or leather strops is because the surfaces of this stainless steel card are very flat and they will stay that way.

Method: a drop or so of water on the diamond side. Holding the knife so the beveled edge of the knife is flat to the surface of the diamond card and give it 10 strokes or so per side of the blade. Next turn the card over to the micro mesh side, drop of water for lubrication and another 10 or so strokes to polish the blade edge. I get asked which direction to push or pull the blade. After experimentation my conclusion is it does not make a lot of difference. I find I am often using and short stroke back and forth  motion rather than focusing on going only in one direction. That is likely something I began doing because the blade that has such a short length. I also get asked what is the angle of degree you hold the blade at. Only one answer, I have no idea what angle they set the blade grind to be. I just match the angle the blade was ground at to place it flat against the surface. You can become sensitive to feeling it flat against the surface.  Its just a matter of practice rather like learning to eat with a fork when you were a toddler. Our brains will develop the sense of what is right within a short time and memorize the angle to hold it at, then you won't even have to think about it, you will just do it.

Because the #11  knife blade is so short I am really only working along the edges of the card. But if you are sharpening the flat chisel type craft blades #17, 18, etc. you can do those in the center of the card as your knife handle won't get in the way.

 You can wash your card with soap and water if the grit starts to get filled up with metal that you have honed off the blade. No solvents please as they will destroy the micro mesh paper.

Unless the blade breaks you can use the same knife blade for ages and always keep it scary sharp, even sharper than when it was new out of the package :) Some people actually like using blades with broken tips if they don't need the tiny point for cuts so there you go, no waste at all.

Now that my accidental knife point prick in my thumb has healed over while I wrote this posting I can get back to doing the tutorials for the Old Town project.

http://www.rockler.com/ to  purchase the extra fine diamond coated steel card and the micro mesh abrasion material to adhere to the backside of the card.

© Karin Corbin 2014, all reproduction right reserved