March was a busy month, and I spent a great deal of time pulling glue and bits of paper from my little paws. I had this brainstorm to make miniature papier mache eggs for Daisy and I was absolutely determined to figure this out and get it right.
First I tried mashing and forming Paperclay around those 1.5" wooden eggs one finds in a crafts store. I'd wrap plastic wrap around the egg, tape it in places, then form the clay. Well, first of all, papier mache is supposed to formed around a structure that will air dry from both the inside and out! So besides having lumpy shells, the drying stage was not working properly.
I bought egg candy molds and pushed clay into them, then dropped the wood egg sprayed with furniture polish down into the mold (this is what the Paperclay company advised), and THAT was a mess. There were several other attempts at doing this, until I finally went on-line and read up on How to Make Papier Mache. They recommended a PVA glue, which is a book binding glue, and after I ordered a huge bottle of the stuff on Amazon.com, I found out that Aileen's and even Elmers is "PVA" glue. Toilet tissue was used, newspaper was used, torn bits of this and that and let me tell you, its a mess no matter how you look at it. I even tried the cooked flour in water with salt method! What I ended up doing in the long run was use the PVA (from Amazon) with bits of toilet tissue and I molded this around the wooden egg wrapped with clear plastic kitchen wrap. I think I was on the right track from the start, but the Paperclay was the wrong medium.
What I ended up with in the final process was a thin, semi-hard shell because glue is really nothing more than plastic. I lined the insides with a printed tissue paper, then tissued the outer shell with layers of colored tissue to give the illusion of background. The band inside that makes the egg a box is a secret I'll keep, and the ephemera is miniaturized, old-store-stock German Easter scenes. After all, papier mache eggs are German in provenance. The eggs where then trimmed in white Dresden "rick rack" to resember the real ones. ALL this work for three little eggs for Daisy!
The chick was designed from a vintage papier mache egg I saw on ebay. The antique had sold for $113, or I would have enjoyed having it myself for the novelty. The fuzz on the chick's head was made from clipped "fur" from a stuffed toy. Finally I made itty bitty Easter basket grass from green tissue paper and nested, in each egg, three tiny wooden toy animals I cut out on my jigsaw. What a mouse will go through to make papier mache eggs for doll!
The eggs took up much of the month, but I also took on another zither project. A lovely lady asked me to make a zither for her Bleuette and wished it to resemble one that her mother played. We settled on the design of a beautiful instrument I found while researching zithers with dark stain. This one is absolutely beautiful, and turned out to be 4.25" long. Lovely!
Now often we are asked to make another of something we've already conquered, and this was the case for another miniature Daisy doll, and one more Lettie Lane sewing basket. Its funny, but you'd think that it would be easier the second time around?? Nope. In fact making the outfit and shoes for the second little Daisy was like starting from scratch, and I'd wished I'd taken better notes. The sewing basket was a little easier, but I did things a little different as I'd learned from the first effort what and what not to do. Finally, and I'm not sure I mentioned this, I made a second miniature Cracker Barrel trunk. I will not, won't not, never again not, do another. They are much too involved and while I love detailed work, it can become tedious. I did manage to do a better murphy bed with this one though. When my customer received it, she gave me the best compliment you could give a little artist mouse. She said my work was precision. That one will keep me afloat for awhile :))
And, now that all my commitments have been met, it is time to start something new, and also work on the Lettie Lane Doll House. One of the things I'd like to do is make two miniature marionettes, a boy and girl, in French theatre costume in pink and white stripes. These will be created for Bleuette as I haven't done anything for her in awhile. But, mostly, I wish to enjoy spring and run my little paws through the wildflowers in the fields. And, I shall. Every morning before I sit down to work in my sunny studio.
Happy Easter! Happy Spring!
Miss E. Mouse