“Hi, Crown Jewel Miniatures! Do You Have Tutorials?”

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cake

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cake

“Do you have tutorials?”

I get this question a lot but it’s not a simple yes or no answer. :)

I have three tutorials in the public sector:

- Present cake in the AIM 2010 Advent Calendar

- Blueberry buckle cake in the July 2010 issue of American Miniaturist magazine

- Phyllo pastry cakes in the December 2013 issue of Miniature Collector

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cakes

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cakes

I also have several how-to’s and tips in the earliest posts on this blog (2010). Other than that, I do not offer offer tutorials at this time. Almost all of my techniques are my very own but most of you know I got started by reading Angie Scarr’s fantastic books. I highly recommend starting there. In my dream world there would be a miniature making college where folks of all skill sets and mediums could go and learn how to make everything in 1:12 scale. Wouldn’t that be lovely? I’ll end this post with that happy thought. :)

Have a beautiful day mini friends, and thank you all very much for taking an interest in my miniature art.

Robin

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Make A Strawberry Phyllo Pastry With Me Via Miniature Collector Magazine!

Making Phyllo Pastry Cakes With Crown Jewel Miniatures!

Puff pastry cakes!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cakes

See the December 2013 issue of Miniature Collector magazine for my latest tutorial- Phyllo Pastry Cakes! In the spring of 2012 I set out to create an original, rustic pastry. My only criteria was to make it look rather messy- homemade. We are spoiled with an abundant selection of “perfect” bakery goods on the miniature market but some seem out of place in the homey miniature kitchen scenes we all love so much.

Now you can can make one of these original, luscious phyllo, (puff) pastry cakes for your own mini kitchen or bakery following my easy step-by-step instructions! Not a fan of strawberry? This versatile cake can also be made in lemon or chocolate or any other flavor your mini dolly’s resin tastebuds prefer!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cake

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cake

These little charmers are a cross between crepes and phyllo and I did my best to make them rustic and versatile too. Some are slightly lopsided with smears of fruit juice, and inconsistent piping. Some look delicious on plates and bakery cards and others make the grade on elegant cake pedestals. Phyllo dough dates back to the 17th century making them believable in several eras.

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cakes

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cakes

Best of all they’re fun and homemade and come from my mini kitchen to yours baked with love. Look for them soon in my Etsy shop and eBay! 

Robin

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

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Crown Jewel Miniatures Featured in Miniature Collector Magazine!

December 2013

December 2013

“We are impressed with your work and want to pursue a feature story if you are available for an exclusive to Miniature Collector.”

Upon reading those words in February 2012 I was thunderstruck and elated! “Me? They want… me? My art?” GULP! “Hurry and write back! They may have made a mistake!”

I can still remember my elation that day. They hadn’t made a mistake, it really was true! They wanted to do a full feature article and run a tutorial too! I walked on clouds for weeks barely able to believe that my art would be on the pages of the same magazine I’d been reading for over 15 years! Grab a subscription to Miniature Collector mini friends! It’s an amazing magazine filled with top artists and informative articles focused on our wonderful hobby.

December 2013 issue

December 2013 issue

Thank you very much Miniature Collector, the opportunity to share my miniature food art with your readers is a dream come true! The four page article is well written and the layout is amazing! Cindy Erickson and her talented staff were fantastic to work with and I’m in awe of their hard work and dedication to making Miniature Collector the best it can be.

Crown Jewel Miniatures Tutorial

Crown Jewel Miniatures Tutorial

My art is available via my eBay (Crown_Jewel_Miniatures), my Etsy shop or via custom order. To see more please visit my Pinterest albums or join me on Facebook!

Happy reading mini friends and to all of you who wrote to me within days of receiving your subscription- thank you! Your support and encouragment are the inspiration behind every piece of my art. I’m always happy to hear from you and promise to do my best to keep bringing my unique brand of true realism to your mini tables and kitchens.

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Crown Jewel Miniatures 2103 Annual Halloween Collectible

©Dessert Table At The Witch's Ball

©Dessert Table At The Witch’s Ball!

Count Dracula, dressed in his finest, flashed his pearly fangs and bowed over the gnarled hand of Agatha, the supreme witch of Miniland as he asked for the favor of a dance. His last inamorata, Ima Mummy- a longstanding ghoul-friend- had sampled a little too much macabre punch and was far too unraveled to dance and the count rather admired Agatha’s sallow green complexion.

“Thank you Count Dracula, but would you care for some refreshments first? The caterer, Crown Jewel Miniatures, has really outdone herself this year. She’s even made your favorite black widow spider cakes!”

Crown Jewel Miniatures spider cakes, foil-wrapped chocolate balls and shortbread leaf cookies

“She has? Where?”

Before the witch could point to the spookly treats on the buffet with a crooked finger, a wolf wearing a red cloak and sly grin came trotting in and pushed his hood back. He howled at the moonlit windows and gave Agatha a stolen basket of goodies from a little girl he had just frightened on his way to the ball.

“Werewolf, count. Use my whole name- I don’t care for nicknames. This is for you Agatha from Mrs. Eerie Specter”, he lied. “She wanted to bring it herself but you know how flighty ghosts can be.”

“Oh Wolfie, that’s kind of her- it’s a pity she disappeared- again. Welcome to my annual ball!”

The werewolf ignored the count and gave Agatha his best wolf whistle. “You look quite remarkable this evening Agatha. Is that eye of newt perfume you’re wearing? Would you care to dance?”

“You mangy cur, how dare you!” shouted the count. “I asked the old hag to dance first!”.

The wolf picked the candy corn off a small tray of Crown Jewel petite fours near his bewitching friend and rolled his eyes dramatically in the count’s direction.

Candy corn topped petite fours

“Everyone at the witch’s ball knows Agatha is already taken, Count Dracula. Frankie- excuse me- Frank-en-stein- is hogging all the autumn leaf shortbread cookies that yummy mini-baker made but he’ll be back for his little broom-rider and he won’t appreciate your bloody interference.”

Dracula lifted the sides of his cape and exposed his fangs. He could silence the rude wolf with just one bite.

“I will show you bloody!”

Agatha cackled as the werewolf yelped and ran away with his tail between his legs. She had always preferred her valiant vampire to every other monster in the room.

“That fellow has the manners of a dog, Agatha!”

“Yes but he has the most delightful taste, count. He knows a good party spread when he sees one!”

Pumpkin Fondant Cake

“Right you are my dear. Let us eat cake before he lopes back this way. Who needs dancing when there are fondant spiders to be eaten.”

“Oh yes and the lovely food isn’t the only delight in store for you. That yummy mini-baker as Wolfie called her has thought of everything! The mirror on the buffet is covered over and none of the silver is real. You’re quite safe tonight, count!”

Dracula unwrapped a foil chocolate and flashed his fangs.

Iced Pumkin Cakes and Scattered Candies

“I cannot say the same for your neck my dear!”

Agatha was’t worried, she had a vampire-antidote potion up her sleeve and a 100 year sleeping spell to boot. As more gruesome guests broke through the cobwebs and joined the ball, Dracula and his favorite witch were in perfect agreement on one thing- nothing beat a good Crown Jewel Miniatures spider cake- not even the Monster Mash dance!

Available now vie my eBay (Crown_Jewel_Miniatures). See ©Dessert Table At The Witch’s Ball on eBay!

Happy Halloween mini friends!
Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Crown Jewel Miniatures in Miniature Collector’s November 2013 “Through The Looking Glass”!

ThroughTheLookingGlass11-2013 copy

“The View Through Alice’s Looking Glass Never Looked So Good!”

Imagine my surprise when I opened my November 2013 issue of the venerable Miniature Collector Magazine and found my miniature art in the “Through The Looking Glass” feature!

A full feature article and a pastry tutorial are scheduled for publication very soon and when editor Cindy Erickson (who is a delight to work with) asked for extra images I assumed it was for that. I had no idea she wanted images for Looking Glass and my goodness her sweet little secret turned out to be a huge surprise for me!

Subscribe to Miniature Collector today and don’t miss another issue! It’s crammed with stunning miniatures, fun tutorials, show reports, club news and extremely well written articles!

MCMAG112013

Many thanks Miniature Collector! It’s a fantastic issue as always and the cover feature on Rik Pierce and his amazing art steals the show! I’m thrilled beyond words to be among so much awe inspiring talent and look forward to the upcoming feature of my art.

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in Announcements | 2 Comments

Autumn Splendor In 1:12 Scale

A1 copy
“The leaves are falling but my imagination is soaring!”

Autumn is my favorite time of year and I’ve got a wide range of seasonal miniatures in store for you!

–Hollowed pumpkins filled with pumpkin bisque soup served in a ring of pine, colorful fall leaves, nuts and grapes are coming to you on handcrafted gold pedestals.
–Lattice top apple and cherry pies with fruit and baked juice seeping through the gaps will be shipped with love from my mini kitchen to yours.
–Holiday hams and turkeys baked to golden perfection and served on fesitive platters are all ready for your mini holiday tables.

Homemade candles, candies, pastries, shepherd’s pies, leaf cookies, berry tarts, and baked breads are just some of what I have on my work bench and my annual Halloween collectible will be debut in my Etsy shop (CrownJewelMiniatures) in a day or two- just in time for your mini Halloween party!

I sipped my tea enjoying the fall foliage from the big picture window in the ©Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium this morning and found Mother Nature’s annual show quite inspiring! For those of us fortunate enough to live in New England it’s like having a masterpiece painting right before our eyes every day and it’s giving me some great ideas! You must have great ideas too and if you’re looking for that one special piece to add to your dollhouse kitchen or mini dining room table, send me an email and let’s chat about a custom order! I’d love to be the one to bring your mini kitchen to life and my range is limited only by our imaginations!

Happy autumn mini friends!

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

OK Back To Our Regularly Scheduled SUMMER Minis! <3

Crown Jewel Miniatures Seashell Cakes

Crown Jewel Miniatures Seashell Cakes

“Crown Jewel Miniatures Sells Chocolate Seashell Cakes By The Mini Seashore”

I can’t sign out of my blog today leaving you with Christmas minis in August so here’s a peek at what I’m listing today in my eBay- Crown Jewel Miniatures seashell cakes! One bite and your mini dolly will be grooving with the Beach Boys on your dollhouse deck! Try my yummy cake & ice cream bomb covered with caramel ganache and chocolate seashells-

Crown Jewel Miniatures Ice Cream Bomb Cake

Crown Jewel Miniatures Ice Cream Bomb Cake

Or my beach cake which is the end result of my brainstorm on what to do with the world’s ugliest cake stand LOL! I wrapped the bottom with white rope like a fishing pier, attached a few micro shells and a crochet-like doily, crowned it with a beach cake and best of all it comes to you with FOUR loose slices to display as you wish and BOTH sides of the slices are fully textured!

Take a bite out of the summertime blues with my fun in the sun inspired seashell cakes! 1:12 scale- they’re perfect for your dollhouse BBQ mini beach party!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Beach Cake

Crown Jewel Miniatures Beach Cake on Seashell Cake Pedestal

Fun times in the ©Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium. Happy summer mini friends!

Happy mini-ing mini friends!

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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“How’d ja like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?” -Bing Crosby

Crown Jewel Christmas Candy

Crown Jewel Christmas Candy

“How’d ja like to stay up late- like the islanders do? Wait for Santa to sail in with your presents- in a canoe?” -Bing Crosby

I feel like I’m on Christmas Island right about now! LOL One minute we’re outside soaking up the sun and the next I’m back in the ©Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium whipping up festive Christmas minis. Talk about diversified crafting! LOL The Christmas minis are for an upcoming magazine deadline so I can’t complain. I just thought you might find this amusing too and it’s high time I posted again on this severely neglected blog!! :)

Stay cool mini friends! Your guess is as good as mine on where these tiny Christmas tree candies will end up! I haven’t yet decided how to incorporate them- I only know I will. <3

Christmas Tree Candy

Christmas Tree Candy

“A Christmas goodie from me to you, eat it up quick before I do!” -Unknown

Happy mini-ing mini friends!

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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What’s Next In The ©Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium?

Crown Jewel Miniatures Fruit 2013

Crown Jewel Miniatures Fruit 2013

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant. -Robert Louis Stevenson

I’m not sure if I’m trying to get a head start on my autumn art or if I’m just determined to leave the sweltering heat of summer behind but I’ve been making fruit & vegetables for weeks now and that includes fall favorites! So far I’ve made apples, pumpkins and gourds and various nuts too and I have summer fruit as well- oranges, bananas, pears and peaches! I finished my plums and next I’ll get started on corn and turnips! I’m not done with the gourds yet, but here’s a sneak peek-

Gourds - A work in progress

Gourds – A work in progress

I love autumn and I’ve got lots of new ideas coming your way this year!!

And fall with her yeller harvest moon and the hills goin’ brown and golden under a sinkin’ sun. -Roy Bean

Happy mini-ing mini friends!

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Crown Jewel Miniatures Shabby Bakery – A work in progress

Crown Jewel Miniatures Bakery Door

Crown Jewel Miniatures Bakery Door

“You are a beautiful cupcake in a world full of muffins” – unknown

Q- What does a busy miniaturist do when she’s supposed to be working?
A- Dig through the supply closet for wire needed on her current project, find a limited edition roombox theater she bought on eBay in the 90′s, become completely side tracked and forget all about the wire, dust it off, build it, and stare at it until she decides it will make a fine bakery then spend the next 2 months baking luscious goodies and wondering why there never seem to be enough hours in the day!

Hahahaha!!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Shabby Bakery

Crown Jewel Miniatures Shabby Bakery

Crown Jewel Miniatures Shabby Bakery is my latest mini project! I papered the walls and floor with scrapbooking paper found at Joann’s- finished the exterior with a fabulous textured cream spray paint found at Lowe’s and now I’m doing my best to fill it. I’ve made all the desserts myself (in between working on custom orders and magazine articles) and next I’ll concentrate on adding shelves and more signs on the walls.

Crown Jewel Miniatures Shabby Bakery

Crown Jewel Miniatures Shabby Bakery

Step on in and choose from cakes, pies, candies, tarts, cappuccinos, chocolates, cookies, parfaits, flans, meringues, cupcakes, custards, ice cream etc! Your mini dolly’s waistline won’t last a minute in this shoppe! It’s main purpose is a backdrop for future photo shoots of my baked goods but family and friends visiting the ©Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium are in love with it!! What is it about cupcakes that make folks turn to goo? LOL The rack to the right is a repainted Creekside hutch top and the “World’s Best Cupcakes” sign is by Carrie Lavender.

Keep calm and cupcake on!

Happy mini-ing mini friends!

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

The Color Of Love Isn’t Always Red

Crown Jewel Miniatures Valentine's Day 2013

“My hands are of your color, but I shame to wear a heart so white” – William Shakespeare

Shakespeare wasn’t at all kind to Macbeth when he penned those words but the Bard certainly knew how to make color, in any context, seem romantic!  He meant, of course, that Lady Macbeth would be ashamed if her heart were as pale as Macbeth’s, illustrating through masterful prose that not all hearts are red and that gave me food for thought today.

Is the color of love always red?  When I opened a new package of clay to make Valentine sweets this year, I didn’t think so.  I love experimenting with colors when making miniature food and Valentine goodies are no exception.

Crown Jewel Miniatures Lemon Parfait with Lime WhipTart

Crown Jewel Miniatures Lemon Parfait with Lime Whip Tart

I don’t keep color charts, mixture formulas or ratios- are you shocked?  Every new color blend is a result of what I have on hand at the time and my mood.  Genius or madness?  I don’t know, I just love working with clay and pigment and when I stumble onto really delicious color mixes like this- it’s worth the risk!  Can you imagine how boring Monet’s paintings would be if he smashed his palette and only used the same, premixed colors every time?

Celebrate Valentine’s Day in your dollhouse or mini sweet shoppe or bakery with a variety of lovely colors and remember- the color of love isn’t always red, and sometimes color isn’t always seen.  Through music or dance or poetry, the color of love is an expression of the heart via the senses and nothing entices all the senses quite like food.  You can see, smell, touch, hear and taste it- and that’s romance in full color.

What’s the color of your love?

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013 mini friends!

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Crown Jewel Miniatures On Display In The Christmas In Newport Candlelight House Tour – Newport, R.I.

Crown Jewel Miniatures On Display In The Christmas In Newport Candlelight House Tour – Newport, R.I.

Gilded Age Mansion

Miniature Occasions & Dolls Gilded Age Mansion

Visitors who took part in the 42 Annual Tour of Historic Private Homes, sponsored by Christmas In Newport, were in for a rare treat as they explored the fine rooms of Tillinghast House this year! Located at 142 Mill Street in the heart of historic Newport, Tillinghast House was the home of John Tillinghast, representative to the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1744 and 1749.  Tillinghast was a wealthy merchant and ship owner and became heavily involved in privateering. 

In the winter of 1780-1781, Tillinghast House was occupied by the French Regiment of Engineers and was the headquarters of Continental Army Major General Nathanael Greene during the Revolutionary War (described as George Washington’s “gifted and most capable officer”).  At Tillinghast House Major General Green entertained his notable aides Lithuanian General Thaddeus Kosciuszko and German-born Baron Friedrich von Steuben, Inspector-General of the Continental Army, and of course Lafayette.

Tillinghast House was just one of the nine jewels on display for the 2012 Candlelight Tour and I’m thrilled to report it boasted the same 1:12 scale Gilded Age mansion loaned by Charlene Rich of Miniature Occasions and Dolls, which was the grand display for the *2012 Salve Regina Annual Governor’s Ball (*see previous post, below). Each private home was decorated in traditional Newport style, complete with candles and staffers from Newport’s Regiment Armory dressed in period costume!

After the ball on December 1, 2012, the dollhouse mansion was disassembled and relocated to Tillinghast House. Once there, it was rearranged and placed on display to the delight of scores of visitors who came through on the tour! Each miniature room fascinated both children and adults as they pressed in closer to marvel at the richly furnished rooms, and of course, the delectable 1” scale food.

I’m thrilled to have been part of the ball and the candlelight house tour and wish to thank Charlene Rich for such a fantastic opportunity. Her praise and belief in my art is as unstinting as her friendship. If you find yourself in Newport, do stop in to Miniature Occasions and Dolls! Located directly on Bellevue Avenue, it’s well stocked and definitely worth a visit- and it’s only steps away from The Elms, The Breakers, Marble House, and many other exquisite mansions of the Newport Mansions Preservation Society!

When Charlene asked me to create all the food for the Gilded Age mansion to go on display at the ball, we never dreamed it would be on display in candlelight house tour and we‘re very grateful to Tillinghast House for showcasing our work in such gorgeous surroundings. To learn more about Tillinghast House’s latest venture- Newport Historic Scale Model Homes, friend their new Facebook page by clicking on their name.

Now that these special holiday events have concluded, I will be listing all the food that did not sell, in my eBay (ID: Crown_Jewel_Miniatures) in the coming week. There aren’t many pieces left!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Gilded Age Food

Crown Jewel Miniatures Gilded Age Food

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2013 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Crown Jewel Miniatures Is Going To The Ball!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Goes To The Ball!

Ochre Court, Newport, RI

Ochre Court, Newport, RI

Imagine attending a ball in Newport, RI at the height of the Gilded Age. Dressed in costly attire and swathed in diamonds, you exit the coach and step through magnificent wrought iron doors into a glittering world of elegance and excess. The butler steps forward to take your wrap and you float down the reception line to greet your host and hostess on the arm of your escort. Exquisite flowers perfume the air and you’re dazzled by gas lighting reflected in thousands of crystal prisms. The musicians strike up the first waltz, and you whirl the night away on feet with magic wings and- oh- have I mentioned the delectable food?

All food will be provided by Crown Jewel Miniatures!

Every petite morsel, every succulent bite- each glass of champagne and decadent dessert is made with meticulous attention to detail. One bite and your little resin taste buds are in heaven. Think this is a dream? Well, dear Dolly, not quite….

Salve Regina University’s 36th Annual Governor’s Ball will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 9PM in Ochre Court. The theme this year is “The Gilded Age” and the organizers have asked Charlene Rich, of Miniature Occasions & Dolls, to create the main display with a furnished and decorated dollhouse mansion depicting a ball during the Gilded Age. “When I thought about asking someone to make the food, I knew right away it had to be Crown Jewel Miniatures”, said Charlene. “Robin’s miniature food is the best and most realistic I’ve ever seen.”

It’s an incredible opportunity to make the food for this project, and I’m honored that Charlene thinks so highly of my art. This is the first large scope project I‘ve ever done and we’re working closely together to ensure it’s a success. I‘ve been asked to make all the food for the kitchen and dining room and hors d’oeuvres for the reception area and I‘m incredibly excited, the Gilded Age is one of my favorite eras!  As long time members of the Newport Preservation Society my husband and I often visit Newport to tour the mansions and we always stop in on Charlene when we’re in town!  She’s a lovely friend and her fantastic store has a little bit of everything- dollhouses, room boxes, miniatures and hundreds of dolls. It’s like fairyland the minute you pass through the door! If you’re in Newport, it’s well worth a visit!

Guests at the ball will be treated to a stunning miniature mansion decorated for the holidays and everything they see- the dollhouse, furniture, accessories, and my miniature food art will be available for purchase the following day! Price lists will be provided near the display and guests can visit Charlene at Miniature Occasions & Dolls, 57 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI 02840 (401-849-5440) to take home their miniature treasures.

Select pieces of my art will be made available in my eBay (ID: Crown_Jewel_Miniatures) after Charlene has returned them to me and I will announce their availability via my blog, Twitter (@CrownJewelMinis) and Facebook. Dress your dollhouse dolly in her finest ball gown and take home a piece of the magic to create a lovely ballroom scene of your own in miniature.

Happy collecting!

Robin

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

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Who Invited Frankenstorm to Connecticut?

We interrupt your regularly scheduled miniature collecting to bring you Frankenstorm-

Halloween Potion Bottles by Crown Jewel Miniatures

Halloween Potion Bottles by Crown Jewel Miniatures

ATTENTION COLLECTORS:

Due to the impending arrival of Frankenstorm aka Sandy, any orders placed after 9PM tonight via my eBay or my Etsy shops will NOT be shipped until it is safe to travel to the post office.

This storm is severe and is expected to create flash flooding in my coastal area.  The State of Connecticut has already declared a State of Emergency.  Trains and flights have been canceled and highways will be shut down tomorrow.  This will have a negative impact on the efficiency of the postal service. 

I will deliver orders to the post office as soon as it is safe to do so but I expect the backlog at the post office will create further delays in shipping time.  I will do my best to ship your orders as quickly and safely as possible but these circumstances are beyond my control.  I apologize for any inconvenience and hope everyone in the path of this storm stays safe!

Many thanks,
Robin <3

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

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Crown Jewel Miniatures Is On A Roll!

What’s Cooking In The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium?

Flour rolls!

It’s a gorgeous day in southern Connecticut!  Unless you had the tv or radio on you wouldn’t guess there is a huge storm on the way.  “Frankenstorm” otherwise known as Sandy is barreling up eastern USA but for now it’s warm and cozy in my imaginarium and I’ve been busy making custom orders.  These are some of the results;

Crown Jewel Miniatures Flour Rolls

Crown Jewel Miniatures Flour Rolls

The rolls in the basket and on the bakery card are already sold but the pans will be listed today in my eBay and the plates will be part of full course holiday meals!  Each pan comes with several crumbs for that extra touch of realism I strive to bring to your miniature collection and you’ll also receive one loose roll for you to display as you wish.  No matter what era your dollhouse is these are perfect for display on or near your mini oven and will surely put a smile on your mini chef’s porcelain face. 

Happy baking dollhouse friends! 

Robin ♥

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

 

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Potions, Spells & Trances II© – 2012 Annual Halloween Collectible by Crown Jewel Miniatures

I’m thrilled to introduce Potions, Spells & Trances II©, the 2012 edition of the Crown Jewel Miniatures Annual Halloween series! Potions, Spells & Trances II© is only the third in the series and will debut in my eBay tonight!

Crown Jewel Miniatures – eBay

Crown Jewel Miniatures 2012 Halloween Annual Collectible

Crown Jewel Miniatures 2012 Halloween Annual Collectible

Potions, Spells & Trances II© is crammed with everything your witch or warlock needs to celebrate Halloween in style!  It come to you with over 32 bottles and vials.  Many are filled with all sorts of handcrafted potions to keep your 1:12 wizard in business for years.  Cast spells and create trances with all the poisons and black magic relics you see here:

Poisonous berries, chains, candles, spooky relics, odd dishes of dried herbs and seeds, feathers, a key, gazing ball, looking glass, candlesticks, metal strainer, evil chalice, exotic boxes, rolled fabrics, vase filled with irridescent feather, punks and dried herbs and more!  I finished this wonderful cabinet in black with a burgundy interior and accented the front carving with a tiny face of the sun with one crystal eye.  The chains are loose, in case your mini potion maker wants to close the cabinet door.  All items in the drawers are loose except for the rolled fabrics in the bottom drawer.   

Crown Jewel Miniatures 2012 Halloween Annual Collectible

Crown Jewel Miniatures 2012 Halloween Annual Collectible

BONUS:  I’m including a potion bottle of dragon’s blood (not pictured) for the winning bidder!

Crown Jewel Miniatures 2012 Halloween Annual Collectible

Crown Jewel Miniatures 2012 Halloween Annual Collectible

Happy Hallowen 2012! 

Crown Jewel Miniatures 2012 Halloween Annual Collectible

Crown Jewel Miniatures 2012 Halloween Annual Collectible

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Let them eat…. pie?

What’s Cooking In The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium?

Pies!  Pies!  Pies!

The scent of fresh baked pie coming from the oven is comforting and familiar.  Winter, spring, summer or fall, just imagine that smell.  What’s your favorite?  Is it the juicy blueberry pie of summer?

Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Pie

Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Pie

Maybe it’s a luscious lemon meringue in the spring?

Crown Jewel Miniatures Lemon Meringue

Crown Jewel Miniatures Lemon Meringue

Maybe you prefer a savory pie in autumn?

Crown Jewel Miniatures Meat & Vegetable Pie

Crown Jewel Miniatures Meat & Vegetable Pie

Or a classic pumpkin pie served with Christmas dinner on a snowy winter day?

Crown Jewel Miniatures Pumpkin Pie

Crown Jewel Miniatures Pumpkin Pie

The choice is yours.  I love the smell of fresh baked pie year-round and I can’t think of a single addition to your 1:12th collection that evokes comfort more than pie.  It’s a slice of heaven! 

Here’s a peek at the pies on my tile in the Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium©.  Some will become part of a busy baking scene on one of my boards, others will be offered individually. 

Crown Jewel Miniatures Pies

Crown Jewel Miniatures Pies

Happy weekend, mini friends!  It’s autumn here in New England and I hope this post reminds you of home.

Robin ♥

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

 

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Fresh Baked Leaf Cookies!

What’s Cooking In The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium?

UnbeLEAFably scrumptious autumn cookies!

Rain came down in buckets outside the windows of the Crown Jewel Imaginarium this morning as I sipped my tea and wondered what to make.  Only yesterday we had beautiful fall weather and during my walk I noticed the leaves had started turning.  If you ever have the opportunity to visit Connecticut, October is the most beautiful month!  It’s absolutely gorgeous here, rain or shine.  The fall foliage and crisp, sweet air work wonders on the soul and today’s project reflected my love of leaves.  

I’m baking leaf sugar cookies and decorating pies.  Here is a peek at my tile:

Crown Jewel Miniatures Autumn Leaf Cookies

Robin ♥

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

 

Posted in New Miniature Art! | Leave a comment

Crown Jewel Miniatures Is All Over The Board!

What’s Cooking In The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium?

Who said boards are boring?

Crown Jewel Miniatures Banana Bread

Crown Jewel Miniatures Banana Bread

A well accessorized board can transform a miniature kitchen in seconds!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Decorating Chocolate Cake

Crown Jewel Miniatures Decorating Chocolate Cake

Many of my boards are crammed with handmade serving ware, custom accessories (real shells, handmade rolling pins, cake pedestals and cookie cutters to name a few) and realistic miniature food art.

Crown Jewel Miniatures Stuffed Clams

Crown Jewel Miniatures Stuffed Clams

Depending on the season, special occasion or holiday you can change the look of your mini scene just by changing the board.  One day your mini cook will be piping whipped cream stars around a cake and the next day she can serve up salad and tasty focaccia for dinner!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Focaccia

Crown Jewel Miniatures Focaccia

Here are just a few examples of my accessorized boards.

Crown Jewel Miniatures Corned Beef Sandwiches

Crown Jewel Miniatures Corned Beef Sandwiches

 

Crown Jewel Miniatures Banana Bread II

Crown Jewel Miniatures Banana Bread II

Some are sold, others are currently for sale (check my eBay and Etsy) and I happily accept custom orders.

Crown Jewel Miniatures Berry Puff Pastry Cake

Crown Jewel Miniatures Berry Puff Pastry Cake

What’s on your miniature board?

Crown Jewel Miniatures Meat Pie

Crown Jewel Miniatures Meat Pie

Robin ♥

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

 

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Crown Jewel Miniatures Featured In American Miniaturist Magazine!

My First Feature Article!   

American Miniaturist Magazine - October 2012

American Miniaturist Magazine – October 2012

There is HUGE excitement in the Crown Jewel Miniatures imaginarium today!  For the first time ever my miniature food art is in print as a feature article!  I am thrilled beyond belief and give MEGA THANKS to American Miniaturist, Martha Puff, Traci Nigon and the entire American Miniaturist staff. 
Those of you who have read the bio on my website (http://www.crownjewelminiatures.com/index.php/artist) know that I have been making miniatures for a very long time, but I have only been making miniature food art in earnest for a little over two years.  (I made food but not to this level).  It’s been an incredible and challenging journey, as I am self taught and constantly trying to perfect my craft.  With so many other budding and gifted miniature food artists on the Internet, gaining recognition and exposure are no easy tasks and I am incredibly grateful to Martha and Traci for giving me this amazing opportunity to share my art. 
The digital copy is out now and I eagerly await the hard copies coming in the mail!  The six page article is very well written, the pictures of my art look fabulous and the whole layout is quality start to finish!  Cover to cover it’s an amazing issue- grab your copy today!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!♥
Robin
FANTASTIC FOODS: Martha Puff reveals the woman behind Crown Jewel Miniatures.
Crown Jewel Miniatures Thanksgiving Turkey

Crown Jewel Miniatures Thanksgiving Turkey

Crown Jewel Miniatures Vegetables

Crown Jewel Miniatures Italian Feast Table

 

Have a great week!
Robin ♥

Very Best,
Robin
Crown Jewel Miniatures
©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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What’s Cooking In The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium?

What’s Cooking In The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium?

Pumpkin Soup!   

Crown Jewel Miniatures Pumpkin Soup

Crown Jewel Miniatures Pumpkin Soup

 

The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium is always busy!  This realistic pumpkin soup making board will instantly bring all the colors of autumn to your 1″ sale dollhouse.  Two pumpkins have been hollowed out and one is already filled with the tasty pumpkin bisque your mini cook made.  Fresh pumpkin, spices and cream were simmered for hours to make this cozy meal.  The only thing missing is the tantalizing aroma!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Pumpkin Soup Making Board

Crown Jewel Miniatures Pumpkin Soup Making Board

From my mini kitchen to yours, made with love.  Look for this- and other new items- in my eBay.   

Crown Jewel Miniatures Pumpkin Soup Board

Crown Jewel Miniatures Pumpkin Soup Board

 

Robin ♥

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

What’s Cooking In The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium?

What’s New In The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium?

Banana Nut Bread!   

Crown Jewel Miniatures Banana Bread

Crown Jewel Miniatures Banana Bread

The Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium is rocking this morning!  I’m busy making banana nut bread to go with the partially peeled bananas I made last week.  Get ready for some wonderful preparation boards this weekend!  I have bowls of luscious batter, canisters of flour and sugar and little recipe cards.  The only thing missing is the tantalizing aroma!  Your mini cook will be whipping up home baked bread with a happy smile on her porcelain face!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Banana Nut Bread

Crown Jewel Miniatures Banana Nut Bread

 
From my mini kitchen to yours- baked with love.   Look for them soon in my eBay! 
Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium Drawers

Crown Jewel Miniatures Imaginarium Drawers

 

Robin ♥

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Closed For Vacation

It’s Vacation Time! 

 

 

Crown Jewel Miniatures Lasagne & Italian Bread

Crown Jewel Miniatures Lasagne & Italian Bread

 

 

I am on vacation until July 21, 2012. My Etsy shop (CrownJewelMiniatures) is temporarily closed during this time but I’ll be listing new art (like this yummy lasagne & Italian bread combo) when I return so be sure to stop in next week!
Crown Jewel Miniatures Lasagne

Crown Jewel Miniatures Lasagne

To shop while I’m away please visit my eBay (eBay ID: Crown_Jewel_Miniatures). The final day for those listings will coincide with my return and all paid items will ship within 24 hours- as always.

Have a great week!
Robin ♥

Very Best,
Robin
Crown Jewel Miniatures
©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food, New Miniature Art! | Leave a comment

Puff Pastry Cakes!

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay With Crown Jewel Miniatures 

Puff pastry cakes!

   Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cakes

 

Last spring I set out to create an original, rustic pastry.  My only criteria was to make it look rather messy- homemade.  We are spoiled with an abundant selection of “perfect” bakery goods on the miniature market but some seem out of place in the homey miniature kitchen scenes we all love so much.  

Mini kitchens should be crammed with food and accessories that match the style and era of the house.  If you would not put a carton of milk in a period farmhouse why put cake pops in a Victorian bakery?

Let’s face it, the Tudors did not eat spaghetti.  :P 

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cake

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cake

 These little charmers are a cross between crepes and phyllo and I did my best to make them rustic and versatile too.  Some are slightly lopsided with smears of fruit juice, and inconsistent piping.  Some look delicious on plates and bakery cards and others make the grade on elegant cake pedestals.  Phyllo dough dates back to the 17th century making them believable in several eras.

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cakes

Crown Jewel Miniatures Puff Pastry Cakes

Best of all they’re fun and homemade and come from my mini kitchen to yours baked with love.   Look for them soon in my Etsy shop and eBay! 

Robin

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

Posted in New Miniature Art! | Leave a comment

More From The Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Buffet Table!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Pancakes

Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Pancakes

More From The Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Buffet Table!

Make a blueberry buckle with Crown Jewel Miniatures!

To coincide with my tutorial to make a blueberry buckle in American Miniaturist magazine (July 2012), I’ve been as busy as a bee in the Crown Jewel Miniatures kitchen whipping up all kinds of blueberry goodies for your 12th scale collections. Shop my eBay for the original blueberry buckle used in the AM tutorial along with cakes, parfaits, crepes, cobblers, tarts, pastry, galettes, pie and a decadent crumble all crammed with juicy blueberries! I listed the tarts, a pie and a platter of luscious blueberry pancakes and the rest is on the way! Check out my hand-fluted pie crust and get ready to fill your miniature bakery or kitchen with mouth watering shades of blue!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Tarts

Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Tarts

Shop Crown Jewel Miniatures on eBay

Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Pie

Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Pie

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2010 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Crown Jewel Miniatures in American Miniaturist Magazine!

American Miniaturist July 2012
American Miniaturist July 2012

Make a blueberry buckle with Crown Jewel Miniatures!

Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Buffet!
Crown Jewel Miniatures Blueberry Buffet!

Summer is a great time for berries and I’ve created an all-new tutorial for you! Grab the July 2012 issue of American Miniaturist magazine and make a scrumptious blueberry buckle made with real blueberry seeds! I’ll take you step by step through the process of making this incredibly versatile cake. With a few simple substitutions you can make a chocolate, raspberry or cherry version and have enough tempting treats to fill an entire mini bakery!

Traci Nigon, and the talented staff of American Miniaturist have done a fabulous job with the layout and I look forward to working with them again in the future. Happy baking, mini friends and enjoy the blueberry buckle! I’ll be listing the original cake, shown in the tutorial, and several other blueberry and blackberry treats in my eBay by the end of the week!

Shop Crown Jewel Miniatures on eBay

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2010 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Everything is coming up.. lemons?

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Everything is coming up.. lemons?

A few weeks ago I set out to make one lemon cake and this is the result….

Crown Jewel Miniatures Lemon Explosion

Crown Jewel Miniatures Lemon Explosion

Forget about roses (although some of these lovelies have roses too). How does one lemon cake multiply to two lemon cakes, lemon tea cake, lemon petits fours, lemon meringue pastry, lemon glazed cheesecake, lemon meringue pie etc? I can answer that in one word.

Imagination!

After I mixed a lovely shade of lemon yellow clay I could not put it down! Visions of lemony treats danced in my head and I grabbed my pasta machine and clay cutters and set to work. It was really fun because I had lots of great memories to inspire my creations. I remembered my father raving over a slice of lemon meringue pie he had on vacation last summer. I found a picture my sister posted on Facebook after she toured a cheesecake factory two years ago and another picture of petits fours a friend posted after her first cake decorating class. Once I got going my imagination started running wild and who can stop when that happens?

One lemon cake? Who was I fooling? LOL

Find these lemon goodies and more in my eBay!

Robin ♥

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2010 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Tapping The Fountain Of Imagination

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Tapping The Fountain Of Imagination

Not long ago, one of my collectors posted this question to me in Facebook:

Friend Crown Jewel Miniatures on Facebook!

“Robin, Just a simple question……are you a good cook and do you actually cook all these things to see what they will look like when you make them in miniature? They are so realistic that I don’t see any other way.”

I found that question thought provoking.

Where do I get the inspiration to create miniature food?

Surprisingly, cooking is not my passion. My art comes from what I call my “fountain of imagination” and my inspiration is zeal to make a miniature scene look real by the addition of lifelike elements.

When I first discovered miniatures many years ago, I found the toy-like quality of miniature food unimaginative. It looked fake and I didn’t want it in my dollhouse because it ruined the realistic effect I was trying to achieve. With necessity being the mother of all invention, I began making my own miniature food, servingware and original accessories.

Crown Jewel Miniatures Original Servingware

Crown Jewel Miniatures Original Servingware

Today there is a large selection of miniature accessories and serving ware available to the collector and I often find inspiration in these wonderful little pieces. I surf the Internet daily for dishes, pots, pans, utensils, you name it. When it arrives in my studio, I study a random piece and try to imagine what will look best in it. Once I decide, I surf the Internet again to see if anyone else is making it. If so, I usually abandon that idea unless I can think of an original way to make mine stand out.

How do I achieve that? Piped potatoes on a shepherd’s pie- stuffed clams in real shells- candy swizzle sticks in a cup of cappuccino- original serving ware made from jewelry findings, imperfect cheese and bread, etc. Realism in miniature is largely dependent on attention to detail. Success in miniature is a matter of innovative ideas and originality.

Ultimately I have three goals – originality, realism and making collectors happy. Experimenting with new materials, ideas and techniques that bring a static scene to life is the perfect recipe for making happy collectors!

I speak from experience. I’m a miniature collector too! ♥

Robin

http://www/CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

What’s in your parfait glass?

What’s in your parfait glass?

I’ve had enormous fun making miniature parfaits lately! Some of these dreamy desserts have sold but I’ll list more during the first week of May 2012 and take custom orders for flavors (colors) then too. They’re perfect for your 1:12th scale dollhouse, mini sweet shoppe, candy shoppe, bakery or diner counter! My parfaits are not made with any type of paint- they have realistic gaps and bubbles and my whipped cream is individually hand piped (see my previous post).

Many thanks to Phillip D. Hartman for his gorgeous miniature glassware! Each fabulous piece of his glass is expertly handcrafted. I don’t know how he does it but I want to thank him publicly. His glass makes my miniature art shine and that’s why I make it a point to give him credit for every piece in my listings!

Robin

http://www/CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.
________________________________________________________

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New Custom Orders Temporarily On Hold

Due to my current backlog I’m unable to take on any more custom orders until the end of April 2012. I may be really slow answering emails too because of this. Please be understanding folks. I don’t want to disappoint anyone but Crown Jewel Miniatures is a one-woman-show. LOL

<3 Robin

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Copycats and Parrots; The Bane of The Miniature Food Artist

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Copycats and Parrots; The Bane Of The Miniature Food Artist

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Whoever “they” are, they lied.

Miniaturists, especially those who create miniature food, work extra hard at learning and perfecting their craft, perhaps more than most other artists. Without the benefit of miniature food-making courses at the local university and considering the new Kawaii and food jewelry craze our field has become so highly competitive that techniques for making realistic miniature food have largely become highly guarded secrets that make national security seem like the work of amateurs.

Self taught skills are hard won and copycats and parrots are always eager to capitalize on the talent of others. The Internet makes it easy for them to quickly assess what sells well and with just a few clicks of the mouse copycats and parrots can save pictures of the work of dozens of artists for reference in their workrooms. Some are even bold enough to contact the artist asking questions on how its made or what materials were used- or worse they buy it, take it apart, and try to copy it!

What is a budding miniature food artist to do?

Be original. The truth is, miniature collectors want original minis that inspire their imagination or their quest for realism. Teach yourself the basics by reading books, buying tutorials and how-to DVD’s, join a group and share techniques with others until you feel comfortable with your skill level and then use your imagination. By then you’ll have the skills necessary to copy others but is that why you went to all the trouble to learn the craft and perfect your technique? Building a successful business reputation can take years but plagiarism can destroy it in nanoseconds.

That being said, the realm of creating miniature food can be as muddy as gravy. Nobody has a copyright on a sandwich or a chicken. For hundreds of years breakfast plates have been piled high with bacon, eggs, fruit and toast. Folks will always load tea trays with sweets and chopping blocks with meat. Dinner is often served with baskets of bread and bowls of salad. The secret to success is originality and when coincidences occur, and they will, you‘ll be secure in knowing the truth.

Keep an eye on what’s trending but be yourself. Arrange your mini breakfast tray without consulting pictures of your fellow food artists, don’t worry about making your quiche look exactly like hers, or proving that you can “do that too”. Most collectors are prolific shoppers and can spot the genuine work, and imitations, of their favorite artisans at a glance and you don‘t want to risk alienating the same clients you‘re trying to attract! If you admire the work of fellow food artists and find yourself compelled to study their craft, do it with the intent of making something different! Your miniature art will stand out and you won’t need nine lives, or a good lawyer, to salvage your reputation. Use the finest quality materials you can afford and craft your art to the best of your ability. In no time you will develop your very own distinctive style and earn a following of your own.

Copycats and parrots will be green with envy. Miniature food should be like human food- fundamentally the same but unique in style and presentation.

Happy crafting!

Robin

http://www/CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.
________________________________________________________

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A Word About My Piping

A Word About My Piping

All my marshmallows, meringues, cake lettering, piped frosting, whipped toppings and ice creams are individually hand piped without the use of molds.

Very Best,
Robin
Crown Jewel Miniatures
©Copyright 2012 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Meet Chef Ina Coffin© by Crown Jewel Miniatures

eBay ID: Crown_Jewel_Miniatures

I’m thrilled to introduce Chef Ina Coffin©, the 2011 edition of the Crown Jewel Miniatures Annual Halloween series! Chef Ina Coffin© is only the second in the series and she is now available via eBay in all her ghoulish glory!

Several factors inspired this OOAK original creation. Halloween is a fun time of year filled with sugary treats and spooky costumes, but I envisioned something really different. I thought a lot about what’s trending and knowing 1:12:th scale cupcakes are a hot item these days and I couldn’t resist the combination of a skeletal ghoul selling cupcakes! The more I considered it, the more hilarious it became to have a skeleton who can’t eat sell cupcakes. The whole idea made me laugh and when I hit upon the idea of posion cupcakes it all came together so fast I had to make notes of all my ideas! Money being the root of all evil is represented in the cash dish. A chef’s hat on a skeleton? A warning label on the back of the coffin where no one can see it? Poison bottles with ghoulish contents displayed alongside pretty cupcakes? I even considered adding a big rat but Chef Ina fits that bill nicely. LOL

Chef Ina Coffin© is a new, slightly edgy concept and I hope folks will recognize the irony lurking behind the humor. The door to imagination has been thrown wide open- literally. Wallpaper in a coffin? Who will see it? What use has a ghoul for money? You hear “think outside the box” everywhere, but what if someone actually popped out of a box, or in this case a coffin, and really surprised your mini dolly with a dastardly trick as well as a treat? Here we have a skeleton who can’t eat or gain an ounce of flesh (lucky devil) who is selling cupcakes- of all things! They look pretty and they’re tasty and the coffin is nicely decorated, so why not try one, right? It’s dark outside and all Dolly can see at first is Chef Ina’s lovely baker hat, so she moves a little closer…

“Trick or treat!”

Yummy, delicious cupcakes are everywhere and soon she’s too busy admiring all the wonderful cakes and choosing a flavor to notice anything else. Chef Ina disguises her voice and encourages Dolly to try the double chocolate or maybe the citrus with orange and lemon? She asks Dolly what her favorite is and Dolly tosses her a dollar and sinks her teeth into the best cupcake she’s ever had her doll-size lips around and in minutues it’s all over- mini dolly is face down lying in the 12:th scale graveyard as stiff as resin- but wait!

Dolly is resin and this is all make believe! Dolly CPR is easy- just pick her up and sit her on a comfy chair in your dollhouse dining room where she can laugh over silly Halloween ghost stories and get back to collecting Crown Jewel Miniatures’ miraculously realistic food! What could be easier?

Chef Ina Coffin© is a fun, whimsical concept for Halloween and I hope it gives as much pleasure as I had in making it. <3

Happy Halloween!

Robin
Crown Jewel Miniatures
©Copyright 2011 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Store Stock Coming Your Way!!!

eBay ID: Crown_Jewel_Miniatures

I’ve recently acquired stock from a brick and mortar dollhouse store that closed when the owner retired and will be listing them during the month of February on eBay (ID: Crown_Jewel_Miniatures).

I’ve got all kinds of goodies!

Robin Betterley furniture.

Heidi Ott dolls. Three vintage women.

Caco Puppenstuben dolls: Woman and twins. Vintage and no longer made.

Rowboat with oars and fishing pole.

Sailboat with oars and fishing pole.

Real Good Toys dollhouse.

Fantastic China (original Bespaq) fireplace.

Cast iron and enamel bathroom sets.

Plus lots more! Some vintage, all gorgeous! <3

Very Best,
Robin
Crown Jewel Miniatures
©Copyright 2011 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Silver Elegance Collection by Crown Jewel Miniatures

Introducing Crown Jewel Miniatures Silver Elegance Collection

Introducing my new “Silver Elegance Collection”, inspired by the beauty and grace of the Gilded Age. Finely made, a la carte artisan food served on faux silver or gold serving ware. Each piece will add instant elegance to any 12:th scale miniature collection.

Select Silver Elegance pieces have been available for quite some time, but now each piece will be labled for easier selection. Many items in the collection are original, handmade pieces of my own design and decorated in silver or gold tones to offer collectors an affordable alternative to high end serving ware.

Look for domed servers, chafing dishes, silver chooclate boxes, embossed trays, Tibetan silver cake stands, filigree epergnes, tea sets and more. Many pieces will be OOAK or limited edition, depending on the availability of materials and each piece will showcase my miniature food art.

In my goal to make realistic miniature food for your collection, I often eschew perfection in lieu of a convincing, natural dishes. I have not abandoned that concept, but hopefully my Silver Elegance collection will dress up otherwise basic food selections.

Very Best,
Robin
Crown Jewel Miniatures
©Copyright 2011 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

New IGMA Blog!

Calling All Miniaturists and Collectors!

The International Guild of Miniature Artisans has just announced it has launched it’s own blog!

http://igma.org/blog/

IGMA hopes “to use the blog to keep IGMA members and the miniatures community abreast of IGMA events, and of other happenings in the miniatures community in general.”

This is a fabulous way to keep our little hobby current in the public. Be sure to visit to keep up on all the latest! Crown Jewel Miniatures is a current member and proud supporter of IGMA. If you would like to join, visit the IGMA blog and follow the links. It’s easy and you will receive a members only discount to the annual IGMA Guild Show!

Very Best,
Robin
Crown Jewel Miniatures
©Copyright 2011 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

A Word About My Trademark

A Word About My Trademark

As a miniaturist selling to the public, I have no control over my work being resold by unauthorized retailers (often with a significant markup) without my knowledge. While I appreciate the free exposure, I prefer to sell my original miniature creations directly so that I can provide collectors with the personal attention and service they deserve and offer reasonable prices. Direct sales also allow me to offer additional information and establish product reputation while promoting my brand. Making quality dollhouse miniatures is a very competitive business. Unfortunately there are those who will do all they can simply to profit off the ideas, success and quality work of others.

In the event my miniatures are resold at dollhouse miniatures fairs, trade shows, retail stores, and various Internet venues, collectors should be aware that any dollhouse miniature carrying the mark “RLCBB” is a genuine Crown Jewel Miniatures collectible and not crafted, made or produced by the retailer.

My hallmark, or trademark, looks like this:

Crown Jewel Minatures Trademarks

Because there is no way for miniature collectors to instantly make the connection between “RLCBB” and Crown Jewel Miniatures, I will retire this mark. All signed and dated Crown Jewel Miniatures original creations will now carry the mark “Crown Jewel” or “Crown Jewel Miniatures” if the size of the item permits. Unsold Crown Jewel Miniatures currently for sale carrying the “RLCBB” mark will be sold as is, but all miniature collectibles produced from today on will carry the new “Crown Jewel” or “Crown Jewel Miniatures” mark.

I hope this information clears up any confusion and wish to thank collectors for their interest in my miniature art. Making miniatures is my passion and having informed, happy customers as my new online business grows is very important to me.

Very Best,
Robin
Crown Jewel Miniatures
©Copyright 2011 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

Posted in How To Make Miniature Food | Leave a comment

Making Broken Eggshells!

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Making Broken Eggshells

Eggshells and yolks: Basic Tools & Materials:
Polymer clay. (White, translucent, sunflower yellow and if you want brown eggs, sahara and chocolate)
Baking tile
Clay rolling pin or pasta machine
Ball stylus
Craft knife
A razor or tissue blade
DecoArt Triple Thick- brilliant brush-on gloss glaze

This has to be the most requested mini food-making “secret” other than making bread and piped frosting! Folks struggle with this but it’s an easy project and you’ll be amazed how easy it is- if you have the right tools and know what to do.

Start by conditioning your polymer clay. Mix together a ratio of 3 parts white and 1 part translucent until you’ve achieved a uniform color. For brown eggs, mix a ratio of 1 part white with 1 part chocolate and 1 part sahara with 1 part translucent, or any color combination you find pleasing. For purposes of authenticity, be sure to use a mixture of white and brown eggs in any miniature setting before 1970. The current preference for white eggs is relatively modern. Cooks back then used what was available!

Roll out a 1mm thin sheet of clay by hand or use the number 5 or 6 setting on your pasta machine. With practice you’ll eventually achieve a thinner shell. Lay the sheet of clay on your tile and smooth out any wrinkles until it lies flat. Using the circle or star shaped Kemper cutter, cut through the clay then remove any excess. The cutouts will remain stuck to your tile.

Using a sharp craft knife, enhance the cut edges of your cutouts creating uneven, jagged edges. If you used the star cutter you will have head start. Make rounded cuts too if you want a truly realistic effect. When you’re satisfied with the results, carefully lift a cutout from the tile with a tissue blade and use a ball stylus or other rounded instrument to make a deep indentation in the center. Voila! You have a broken eggshell!

Lay the eggshell on your baking tile and continue shaping the remaining cutouts until you’re done. Next mix the color of egg yolks. I use a ratio of 2 parts sunflower yellow with 2 parts translucent. Roll out a snake and pinch off small, equal amounts and roll tiny 2-3mm balls in the palm of your hand. Because these are tiny and thin, I usually bake them at 230 degrees for only five to ten minutes but your experience may be different.

After your pieces are baked and cooled there are several ways you can simulate a broken egg. Some folks use regular tacky glue and some use resin but I prefer using Triple Thick. Glue the eggshells to your mini project surface at odd angles about 3/8” apart and then glue the yolk to the surface between the eggshells. I find using tacky glue and a toothpick makes this a lot easier. Once your eggshells and yolks are in place, use a toothpick to apply a 6-8mm drop of Triple Thick over the yolk. Use your toothpick to swirl the Triple Thick all around the yolk to make a realistic puddle and don‘t forget to put some Triple Thick inside each half of the broken eggshells. Let everything dry.

Wasn’t that easy?

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©Copyright 2011 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Making Miniature Crepes!

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Making miniature crepes

Making miniatures crepes has got to be one of the easiest projects and using my technique you can add a touch of realism that will leave your mini people’s mouths watering.

Crepes: Basic Tools & Materials:

Polymer clay. (Mix 2 parts white with 1 part translucent and a tiny bit of yellow to create a pale cream color)
Ochre, brown and rust artist pastels (chalks)
Aluminum foil, crushed (for texture)
Sponge tip eye shadow applicator or brush (to apply pastels)
A razor blade

Pinch off a 5mm bead of polymer clay and roll into a ball in your palm. Using your fingertip, flatten and push the bead into a circle on your tile until you have a very thin disk about the size of a US nickel (6/8 or 7/8 inches in diameter).

Using the crushed foil, texture the clay all over. Don’t be afraid to really press the foil into the clay to create tiny crags. You won’t really be able to see them until you highlight the clay with the pastels.

Brush a small amount of yellow ochre pastel on the entire piece, then using your fingertip or a sponge applicator, gently swipe the top of the clay with the rust colored chalk. This will highlight all those wonderful crags, giving the crepe the appearance of having been fried in the pan. Next brush on a little brown chalk around the edges.

Carefully remove the crepe from your tile using a razor blade and wrap it around a filling of your choice, forming a tube, textured side out. (Alternatively you can fold it in half like an omelette). Hold it gently and be careful not to flatten all those lovely crags you made.

Bake according to manufacturer’s directions on your package of polymer clay. Because these are tiny and thin, I usually bake them at 250 degrees for ten to fifteen minutes but your experience may be different.

When cooled, experiment with adding various mediums for syrup, sauce and other toppings.

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©Copyright 2011 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Comfort Foods In The Dollhouse

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Comfort Foods In The Dollhouse

Adding “comfort foods” to your dollhouse kitchen or dining room can give it a homey touch and make it seem “lived in”. Here are a few simple ideas for making meatballs, meatloaf, mashed potatoes. I chose these classic favorites because they are appropriate for several different eras. Whether your dollhouse is Victorian or modern, these food will fit right in.

Meatloaf

For meatloaf, use 1 part brown polymer clay (I used Fimo chocolate), and 1 part translucent. Working on a clean tile, place the clays side by side. Using a sharp, straight-edged blade chop and finely mince the clay together with the blade. Move the blade up and down and chop in different directions. Make a pile by scraping the clay into a mound and chop repeatedly until you achieve a fine texture. Avoid touching the clay with your fingers and incorporate the colors as you go. Chop, scrape it into a pile, chop in a different direction, scrape into a pile, chop in another direction, scrape it into a pile and so on. Adding more translucent if you need it, until your “meat” takes on the appearance of ground beef. If your clay is too clumpy or soft to chop, add a little cornstarch as you chop until it separates.

*At this stage you can make meatballs by gently rolling tiny balls (5mm is about right). Use a light touch and don’t roll the clay too tight. You don’t want to lose the fabulous texture you achieved by all that chopping.

Repeat this step with 1/3 part orange and 1/3 part leaf green Fimo, making a mix of carrots and green pepper. When your “veggies” are minced into impossibly tiny pieces, add them to your meat mix and chop, chop, chop until the orange and green colors are thoroughly incorporated. You should have a pile of meatloaf mix that resembles the real thing. Gently shape the clay into a meatloaf, being careful not to press the meat into a solid mass. You want to maintain a realistic texture.

Place the meatloaf on a tiny baking pan or other suitable dollhouse cookware that you want to display it in. Put the tiny pan onto your work tile and bake in your home oven according to manufacturer’s directions on your package of clay. Because a dollhouse meatloaf is tiny, I would not bake it for more than 10-15 minutes. Once it’s been baked and cooled, remove it from the pan and reattach it with a dab of tacky glue.

Mashed Potatoes

For mashed potatoes, mix a realistic color! Potatoes are not white, they’re actually pale cream or yellow. A combination of white, translucent and a hint of golden yellow should do the trick. Each time I mix my potato color I use a different ratio. Experiment with it, you really can’t go wrong but don’t use beige! Fill a mini bowl with a pea size amount of raw clay mix and tease the clay with a stylus, toothpick or tapestry needle until it appears fluffy. To achieve a more realistic, whipped texture add a small amount of TLS to your clay mixture. Lightly press here and there with your fingertip to soften the appearance. (Soft, rounded mounds work better than sharp peaks which are more suitable for frosting).

Top the potatoes with a very tiny scrap of pale yellow mixed with translucent (ratio of ¼ part yellow to ¾ part translucent) to simulate butter, which is very opaque. If you want to simulate melted butter, add a tiny speck of yellow and white oil paint to TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey) and mix well, making a very pale, buttery color. Using a toothpick, add a very tiny bead of butter colored TLS on top of the solid pat of butter and drag it down the side of the mounded potatoes. Add another tiny bead of butter colored TLS on the plate, to create the appearance of butter running down the side of the potatoes and pooling on the plate. Use the TLS sparingly- unless you want your mashed potatoes swimming in butter. (If you want gravy instead of butter, simply mix TLS with a tiny speck of brown oil paint and use a toothpick to apply it to the top of your mini mashed potatoes.) Bake according to manufacturer’s directions.

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©Copyright 2010 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.
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Adding Things To Your Polymer Clay

Basket of French, Moroccan and Italian Bread, by Crown Jewel Miniatures

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Adding Things To Your Polymer Clay

Walnut Cinnamon Spice Cake - A Crown Jewel Miniatures Exclusive

Cakes and breads, for instance, do not look real when made with just polymer clay. Even if you shape a beautiful cake, or a perfect loaf of bread, they will still look like a smooth, solid piece of clay once you cut into them. One solution is to cut a slice out and using the tip of a blunt tapestry needle, gently tease the raw clay until it begins to resemble the real thing, or you can improve it by adding ingredients to the unbaked clay to give it texture and this is where your imagination comes into play! There are several ways to texture bread and cake, but let‘s begin by making the simplest form of bread – Italian. For this project we’re going to use air dry clay. Air dry clay has the same light, fluffy-looking texture of bread and cake. The only thing you need to add to it is acrylic paint to achieve a realistic color.

Delight Air-Dry Modeling Compound.

You may use any air dry clay you have on hand, but I prefer Delight because in my experience it is lighter, fluffier and not as tough as Model Magic and not as expensive as Angel, Grace etc. Delight can be found at Michael’s or AC Moore craft stores (print a 40% off coupon from their websites before you go!), and it’s made in Japan by Creative Paperclay Co. Where I live it costs $5.99 for a 3 ounce package- but that makes a lot of minis! It only comes in white but you can add acrylic paint to it for color. You can stamp it, run it through the pasta machine, cut it, pull it apart, make patterns in it, extrude it… almost anything goes!

With Delight (and all air dry clay), you’ll want to break off a small piece to work with and seal the rest in an airtight zipper baggie (squeeze all the air out of the bag before closing it). Delight dries in 1-3 days, depending on how thick your project is and it takes very well to shading with pastel chalks after it dries!

Making Italian Bread

Using a clean tile as your work surface, break off a small amount of air dry clay. Knead it with your fingers a bit and flatten it into a circle and press your thumb into the center to make a small well in the center. Squeeze a few drops of acrylic paint into the well. (This step is not necessary but in my opinion bread is not bright white. I try to simulate the color of flour by adding a few drops of ecru paint). Add a little at a time and knead the color into the clay with your fingers. You can always add more paint if the clay is still too white.

Once you’ve achieved a smooth, uniform color, break off a few small pieces and roll them on the tile into snakes about an inch in length. Roll each end to a blunt, tapered point to give your bread a nice arch. You want the bread to be thicker in the middle.

Using the edge of an old phone, credit or room-key card, make three or four diagonal impressions into the top of your bread. Alternatively you can use a long, thin stick of crumlpled aluminum foil. (I find this created more realistic bread!) Do not use a blade for this because your “slashes” will be too thin and they will look like narrow lines instead of slashes. Take care not to make your slashes too deep. You’re not trying to score the bread, you just want to make the bread appear risen.

Let your mini Italian breads air dry on the tile for a few hours. Now it’s time to shade your bread and if you’re new to making minis it’s best to have an actual loaf of Italian bread in front of you as an example. Beginning with white, brush the centers of your slashes, then use just a touch of golden yellow on the top of each rise in between slashes. Use a light stroke. You want to impart just a hint of color on top. Experiment with natural shades of mustard, rust and burnt sienna and sweep hints of color up the sides, tips and underneath of your bread using a light, swirling stroke. Blend your shades in tiny, subtle circles of your brush, constantly blending so there is a gradual shading of the bread from bottom to top. Take care not to get any color inside your slashes, you want to keep those white.

Once you’re satisfied with your shading, brush on a coat of matte sealer all over (sign the bottom of your breads first unless you plan to display them sticking out of a grocery bag or a bread basket, etc). Voila! Instant Italian bread that you can slice or leave whole. Break or tear a piece off and you’ll see the fabulous, airy texture!

Making A Rustic Boule

For this project we will work with polymer clay. This bread is one of the simplest things you can make but it adds such a homey feel to your mini kitchen. Display it in a pan just coming out of the oven, or with a selection of fruit, wine and cheese. It’s very versatile and your mini lady doll will love it just as much as you do!

Mix together a ratio of 4 parts Sahara (beige), 1 part white, 2 parts translucent and 1 part yellow until you’ve achieved a uniform color. Using a clean tile as your work surface, flatten your clay into a circle and press your thumb in the center to make a well. Pour a little fine craft sand into your well. The sand I use is a natural, neutral color. You can’t detect the color once it’s baked, it just gives texture. It’s a very pale russet color.

Add about half the amount of sand as you have clay, making your ratio at least half sand, half clay. Roll and knead the sand and clay until it’s thoroughly blended. You may have to add more sand… you want to see and feel a stiff texture of the sand within your clay.

Note; if you can’t see the sand throughout the clay, you probably need to add more.

Break off ½ inch balls and lightly press them on your tile, shaping your bread into round mounds, making certain to manipulate them into a dome shape. Make a cross in the top of the bread with the edge of an old credit card, and smooth away any fingerprints with gentle swipes of your fingertip.

Using a clean, sharp and very thin tissue blade, cut a slice out of your bread. Hold your slice of bread very gently in your hand. Take care not to squish it out of shape. Using your other hand carefully tease the cut sides of your bread with the tip of a tapestry needle until you have achieved a realistic crumb. Repeat in the cut-away wedge of your loaf of bread. If a granule or two of sand comes loose that’s fine. You want a craggy appearance.

You can also leave your bread whole and slice it after you bake it. It won’t have as many crags but it looks just as great with the sand for texturing! The choice is yours, either way you will have a very nice boule.

Before you bake your bread, use your artist pastels to shade them. Remember to use a light, swirling touch and to begin with the lighter colors first… from mustard yellow on top to faint brushes of sienna and burnt umber around the bottom edges and beneath.

Bake your bread according to the manufacturers directions on your packet of clay. Remove from the oven and cut a slice or two out of your uncut loaves if desired. Alternatively (and this will take some practice) you can score a slice of bread, barely cutting into the loaf and then pull the slice from the loaf by hand. Sometimes this works beautifully, especially if you want torn chunks of bread but sometimes the boule crumbles. It’s hit or miss… you could end up with a fabulously realistic torn chunk of bread or a disaster. LOL If you made quite a few whole loaves give it a try!

Sign and date the bottom with an ultra-fine point Sharpie marker and seal the whole thing with a light coat of matte sealer. You can crush or pulverize a few dry oats, seeds, herbs, spices, poppy seeds, etc and sprinkle over the top while the sealer is still wet. Just be sure to let it dry and add another thin layer of sealer on top of the ingredients you sprinkled on top to be certain that everything has been sealed and remains intact.

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©Copyright 2010 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Let’s Make Something! (Chocolate Chip Cookies)

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Let’s Make Something!

Making miniature cookies with polymer clay

Some of the easiest things to begin making are things that don’t require the use of advanced techniques. Start off simple… make batches of cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies Anyone?

Using your baking tile as your work surface, roll out a very thin sheet (1/16”) of chocolate or brown polymer clay (or use your pasta machine, set to number 5 thickness). Lay the sheet flat on your tile and bake according to the manufacturer’s directions on your package of clay.

(Note; because this is so thin, you should be able to cure it within 10 minutes.)

Working while it is still warm (fresh out of the oven), keep the sheet of chocolate on your work tile and use a sharp, clean tissue blade to chop it into extremely tiny pieces that resemble chocolate chips, or chunks. When you are done, set them aside and wipe the tile, and your blade, clean.

(Note; Always cut your clay as soon as you remove it from the oven- while it is still hot. If you wait until it cools, the chances that it will break, crack, crumble or chip are a lot higher. Always cut slices from canes at this stage. Slice your canes right on the baking tile using a small kitchen towel or a big silicone pot holder and use the same care you would when handling any hot pan. The exception to this rule are breads, cakes, meats, etc. You will want to slice these before baking in order to texture the slices. Once polymer clay is baked it is too late to add texture!)

Using the clean tile as your work surface, mix together equal parts of beige and translucent polymer clay, one small part white and add a tiny speck of yellow. This will give you a wonderful raw cookie dough color. (Ratio: 10 parts beige, 10 parts translucent, 4 parts white and 1 part yellow). After you have mixed it thoroughly, add the chocolate chips and work the dough together making sure you have a good distribution of chocolate chips.

Roll a very thin snake (1/8” diameter) and slice thin (1/16“ slices). Roll each slice into a tiny ball between your fingers and press it lightly onto your tile. Be sure to keep your cookies separate. Form your cookies with slightly rounded tops and smooth away any obvious fingerprint marks.

Note; these are drop cookies. If you want to make shaped cookies, use mini Kemper Kutters (they come in various shapes), miniature cookie cutters, the end of a drinking straw or the cap of a pen. Dip your cutter into a bit of cornstarch and tap the excess off before cutting your clay. This will keep the clay from sticking. Peel away the extra clay around your shapes and leaving your cookies on the tile proceed to this next step…

Now you can add some texture. Scrunch up a piece of aluminum foil, (or use sandpaper, a rock, or a clean toothbrush from the Dollar store) and dab the surface of the cookie lightly, creating tiny crags and crannies. Press in a few extra chocolate chips on top to make them a little more realistic. You want some to be visible.

At this stage I like to shade them. Using a very small paintbrush, brush on some dark golden yellow artist chalk (soft pastels) around the edges and center. If you want your cookies a little darker, add a little light brown here and there. Brush all the way around the edges, avoiding the center of the top and use a light touch. You don’t want to overdo it or your cookies will look burned and you don’t want to obscure the chocolate chips.

Decide how you want to display your cookies. Arrange them on a platter, put a few on a plate and cut one to make it look like someone took a bite and set it back on the plate for a minute. Space them evenly apart a miniature baking sheet, or just bake them separately on the tile. The choice is yours but the possibilities are endless! (It is safe to bake your cookies on miniature metal, china and glass servingware but I advise against baking your mini creations in plastic servingware as it does have a tendency to melt!)

No matter how you choose to arrange your cookies, bake them according to the manufacturer’s directions on your package of clay. After they are cool, gather together matte, or satin, sealer, a small piece of waxed paper and a clean paint brush. Make a small puddle of the sealer on the waxed paper and cover each cookie with a light coat of sealer and set them aside to dry on your tile. (I use the tile as my work surface for everything because it’s so easy to clean up!)

Think you’re done? Not quite. You deserve some recognition for all that hard work! Using an ultra fine point black Sharpie marker, sign and date the bottom of your mini plate, pan or platter! Everything you make is a work of art and it‘s fun to see your initials and the date on the bottom of your mini creations as time goes by! :-)

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©Copyright 2010 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Starting Out Simple… Scale, Color, Shading & Sealing

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Starting Out Simple… Scale, Color, Shading & Sealing

If this is your very first endeavor using polymer clay to make miniature food, my best advice to you is to keep it simple but… keep it realistic.

The first thing I tried to make was a fruit basket. What could be simpler than fruit, right? LOL

It was a disaster but I kept every bit of it as a reminder of what not to do! At the time I considered myself a genius for making grapes, cherries, bananas and halves of cantaloupe melon but looking back I see where I went wrong.

Scale

First… I didn’t pay attention to scale. I had a 1:12th scale dollhouse (1 inch = 1 foot), but my fruit were as big as chickens! I’ve since discovered that the best way for me to make food to scale was to keep my dollhouse doll nearby when making mini food. Looking at her hand, I thought… how big would an orange be in my hand? Armed with that guess, I made an orange that seemed the right size for her hand.

I also made the grapes in one size and naturally that looked all wrong. It looked clunky until I began making the individual grapes in three different sizes and used the larger ones near the stem and the smallest ones at the point.

I also put away my Reutter porcelain (sorry Reutter) and brought out the plastic Chrysnbon dishes and flatware! Chrysnbon pieces are perfect 1:12th scale. If you made a bunch of grapes and they filled the entire dinner plate, you know you made them too big. These self-taught tricks helped me learn and stay true to scale.

Color

My second mistake was making everything from one color. I made the bananas from one color of yellow polymer clay, grapes were made from one color of light green, apples were one color of red, etc. If you want your minis to look real, you must give them depth and depth is a variation in tones that… in this case… gives the illusion of realism.

For grapes, this means you must make two or three shades of pale, light and medium green and then add a very tiny amount of each color to a fair amount of translucent. (The translucent clay is the most important color of clay you will ever need in making miniature food. It makes grapes, lettuce, and jelly opaque, it perfectly simulates fat on meat, it makes perfect ribbons of fat inside of ham… its uses are endless!) Back to color…

Using the Skinner blending method will help you achieve graduating, seamless shades of color for leaves of lettuce, leeks, scallions, watermelon, etc. The very best trick to perfect color shading is to work with a sample of what you are making in front of you. Cut open a cantaloupe, set it in the middle of the table and grab your clay. Try to match your colors, and your shading as best you can.

Shading

I knew nothing about shading and without it minis look like clay instead of the real thing. The most important time to shade with artist, or chalk, pastel is before your minis are baked. Afterward you can use deco sauce, acrylic paint, Gallery Glass… the possibilities are endless! Shading brings your minis to life. For example, you just made a wonderful halved cantaloupe! You mixed the inner color with a lot of translucent and you shaded it from melon to pale green to dark green inside… and outside you covered it with a thin layer of light beige clay. Then you rolled the outside (the rind) over a piece of Velcro or sand paper and gave it some texture… now what?

Break out your chalks! Scrape a stick of chalk with the side of a craft knife over a blank sheet of waxed paper, creating a tiny pile of powder. Using a dry paint brush dip your brush into the powedery pile of chalk and using a constant swirling motion, apply a little green, pale yellow and light brown to the bottom of one half… where the melon once rested on the ground. Next, use a toothpick and make a small round indentation in one end where the stem used to be and using a swirling motion, brush some medium dark green into the little indentation. Using your toothpick once again, gently score a lacy pattern all over the rind for texture and then dip a paintbrush into ecru acrylic paint. Remove most of the paint from the paintbrush by dragging it over a paper towel or scrap of paper (dry brush technique) and lightly dry brush the color over lacy design on the rind.

See what a difference shading makes?

Sealing

I suggest you always seal your work. Sealing not only give your mini foods the shine or sheen that they need to further the effect of realism, it preserves your work and retards fading. It will also make your work less appealing to small animals, critters and bugs. Sealing is especially important after using artist chalks for shading because even after baking the chalks will still rub off on your hands, clothing and anything else your minis come into contact with.

As mentioned earlier, there is no need to buy sealers with noxious and dangerous fumes. All craft stores carry sealers that require only soap and water cleanup. You can find these sealers in the paint section next to the Delta Ceramcoat, Apple Barrel and Folk Art acrylic paint. Fimo and Sculpey brands have satin and gloss (which do have slight fumes) but I haven’t seen matte finish. You’ll have to look for the matte in the acrylic paint section.

If you’re serious about making mini food you will need matte, satin and gloss sealers. Choose a finish that is appropriate for your subject. Use matte sealer for bread, satin sealer for a joint of beef and gloss for candied apples. If you’re making a layered torte cake, use matte on the cake layers and satin on the frosting layers. Remember… you’re chasing realism. Use the gloss sealer sparingly. I’ve seen some otherwise wonderful mini foods ruined because someone slathered a coating of gloss or satin sealer all over everything and made it look like cheap plastic. If you make a stack of pancakes cover the cakes in matte and save the gloss for the syrup.

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2010 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Working With Polymer Clay

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Working With Polymer Clay

By now you’re probably wondering what’s next. Before opening your clay you’ll want to do a few simple, but important, things to ensure your project is a success. The first thing to do is to set out your supplies in a clean, comfortable environment in a quiet part of your house where your unfinished minis are not going to get squashed by careless, or little hands. Don’t learn the hard way! If you’re going to put time and effort (sometimes hours or days) into a project don’t risk having the dog knock it over or your hubby accidentally toss a book on it. Minis are small and non-miniaturists don’t seem to notice them like we do.

Wash your hands with a mild, clear hand soap. Creamy hand soap and hand lotions have ruined more than one clay project! Set out your tile on well lit table and remember; your tile is your work surface. Be sure it’s been washed in warm, soapy water and dry it thoroughly with a lint-free paper towel. You’ll want to do this every time. (Cheap paper towels are best! The pricier ones have a lot of lint!)

Assemble your book (if you’re using one) and tools and open your package of clay. I keep re-sealable bags on hand to store unused portions of clay. It keeps the clay fresh, and protects it from lint and other foreign objects. Keeping your clay clean is especially important if you are a miniaturist! Camera close ups of mini teapots, cakes and fruit will reveal specks of lint, dust and tiny fibers often unseen by the naked eye. If you intend to sell your mini creations, keeping your work free of lint is a must.

Next, slice off only as much clay you will need to complete your project and begin to condition the clay by kneading it in your hand and putting it through the pasta machine on the thickest setting multiple times. As the clay warms, it will release the polymers and become more pliable. When mixing colors, flatten and fold the clay repeatedly until the colors are completely blended. I usually knead the clay in the palm of my hand until it’s pliable enough to roll into a thick snake. Fold the snake in half and keep rolling and folding, rolling and folding until it’s ready.

Now you’re ready to begin a project! Always begin your polymer clay project working with the lightest color clay first. This reduces the likelihood that the darker colors will stick to your hands and transfer to the lighter colors.

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©Copyright 2010 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Choosing A Brand Of Polymer Clay

Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures

Choosing A Brand of Polymer Clay

Choosing a brand of polymer clay

Fimo, Sculpey, Cernit, Makins, Premo, Kato… How do you choose?

All polymer clay is not alike! Choosing a brand will depend on your project. Some projects, including canes and millefiore, require a firmer clay that will hold detail.

I prefer to use Fimo. Fimo is not as soft as other polymer clays and it holds a shape better. The end result is a more defined product. Using a firmer clay will also inhibit the appearance of fingerprints. When making miniatures, it is especially important to do everything you can to reduce the possibility of fingerprints otherwise when you take pictures of your minis using the macro feature or zoom on your digital camera all the little imperfections that you can’t see with the naked eye will become obvious! If you’re not selling your minis or you don’t want to take pictures of them, then this won’t be an issue, but if you’re like me and you sell your miniature creations for a living you’ll want the very best pictures possible.

Cernit is also a firm polymer clay. Like Fimo, you will need to warm it a little longer than most other brands of polymer clay and soften it to the point you can comfortably work with it but there are a few tricks you can use to shorten the process! Place your polymer clay into a small piece of plastic wrap and tuck it in your pocket for a while or roll it between your hands for a minute or two and run it through your pasta machine several times. The more you work the clay by rolling, kneading etc, the more pliable it will become. I don’t usually use Cernit for making miniature food because it has a more porcelain-like quality and in my opinion miniature food tends to look fake when made from Cernit (unless you mix it with a different brand of softer clay). Cernit is great for making miniature plates, dishes, cups and bowls!

I have found translucent polymer clay, regardless which brand you use, is always soft. Keep this in mind when choosing a brand of clay to make mini foods with! For example, if you’re going to make a miniature chicken, you’ll want good definition. Don’t choose a soft polymer clay and mix it with the translucent because your chicken will appear slightly softer, rounder and all around less defined than it would had you chose the Fimo. If you’re making a bunch of grapes, it won’t be a problem.

There are also many different varieties of polymer clay to choose from! Some resemble marble, granite, metal, wood, etc. Some have glitter in them, others have a pearlescent effect. Experiment with several brands and varieties until you find what works best for you.

Polymer clay is widely available. I buy it from my local craft stores (A.C. Moore or Michael’s) or I order it online from Hobby Lobby, Dick Blick, etc. If you’re on a budget, visit the website of the store before you shop and get their weekly coupons! Usually they are 40% any item but sometimes they offer 50% off or more! Ebay and Etsy are other good places to find polymer clay, especially if you find them in lots! From time to time I offer polymer clay in my Ebay store too.

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©Copyright 2010 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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Getting Started – Making Minis With Polymer Clay

 Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay With Crown Jewel Miniatures

 Getting Started 

This blog is intended as a helpful guide in creating realistic, one inch scale (1:12th) polymer clay food for use in a dollhouse. Of course you can modify the scale and create polymer clay food for any scale and for use in jewelry making, scrap booking and other crafts.

Feel free to ask questions! I can be reached via the contact link on my website (http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com), and I’m always happy to help! My techniques are self-taught as well as things I’ve learned from other miniaturists here and there. I hope you’ll be inspired to create something wonderful!

To get started, you will need the basics. I’ve put together a short list of tools and materials I feel are essential. Once you become comfortable making minis, you might like to add on some things that will make your minis more realistic. Here are my basics:

Basic Tools & Materials:
  • Polymer clay in primary colors (buy a sample pack to save money)
  • An aluminum scraping tool or razor blades
  • Clay cutters in basic shapes
  • An inexpensive set of plastic modeling tools
  • A square, flat, white kitchen floor tile (10” x 10” or 12” x 12” – Available at Home Depot, Lowe’s or any home improvement store for about $2.00)
  • Wood toothpicks
  • A pasta machine

*Everything on this list is readily available at Michaels Crafts, A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby or online at DickBlick.com, Ebay.com and Etsy.com.

With just these tools, you can experiment with making fruits, vegetables, meat, flowers, soap, candles, cup and dishes. You can find polymer clay how-to projects in almost every issue of the dollhouse magazines and some books are excellent resources. Here are a few of my favorites:

Published Resources For Creating Miniature Food:

  • American Miniaturist Magazine
  • Miniature Collector
  • Dolls House World Magazine
  • Making Miniature Food and Market Stalls, by Angie Scarr
  • Miniature Food Masterclass, by Angie Scarr
  • Dolls House Do It Yourself Food Displays by Sue Heaser

Online Resources For Creating Miniature Food:

 Once you have experimented with making the basics, you’ll want to add a few more materials. Here is a helpful list of things I use often:

  • TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey)
  • Artists Chalks (soft pastels, not oil crayons)
  • Air dry clay, such as Delight or Model Magic air dry modeling compound
  • Clay cutters in various shapes (I use Kemper Kutters, Makins cutters and cutters designed for sugar craft)
  • A clay extruder
  • A tissue blade, a wavy blade and a ripple blade (sold specifically for use with polymer clay)
  • Very small plastic containers with lids (recycle those tiny plastic condiment pots with the clear lids that you bring home from take-out restaurants)
  • Oil paints
  • Acrylic paints
  • Polymer clay glaze, or varnish, (matte, satin or gloss)
  • Wood coffee stirrers
  • A glass marble
  • Tacky glue
  • A tapestry needle
  • A small bag of craft sand (ochre or beige is very versatile)
  • Various spices
  • Very tiny seeds (blueberry, poppy, celery, apricot or strawberry)
  • Cornstarch or talcum powder
  • Aluminum foil
  • Waxed paper
  • Coarse sandpaper
  • Amazing Mold Putty

 These additional items are essential to me for making mini food. You won’t need them to make mini food with polymer clay, but you will need them to simulate water, milk, juice, oil, vinegar, syrup, mustard, pickling brine and jelly:

  • Scenic water (clear and white)
  • Clear casting resin
  • Gallery Glass (crystal clear, cocoa, amber, etc)

As my blog continues, we’ll start with the basics and work our way up to adding realism to your miniature foods. I plan on adding photos to show various stages of making minis with polymer clay and I welcome your feedback and suggestions.

  • Please note you can certainly try to substitute other types of clay (home-made, bread dough, etc), but the results will not be quite the same as polymer clay and I can’t vouch for the results).

 Robin Brady-Boxwell

http://www.CrownJewelMiniatures.com

©Copyright 2010 Crown Jewel Miniatures. All rights reserved.

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