Deb's Blog

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Other asian minis

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I didn't get pictures of the creation process of some items, but a close up picture is enough to see how they were made.

The geta (japanese sandals) were made from ovals cut from a shingle. I cut the tips off of toothpicks to make the platforms on the soles and glued red embroidery thread to the top in an inverted V to make the straps.

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The bamboo door was a lot of fun to make. I cut bamboo skewers to the length to fit th door and then scored horizontal lines across them at intervals to make the bamboo joints. I passed each one thru a candle flame to give the colored markings and then used embroidery thread to lash them together. Three pieces of bamboo were glued in place (one at the top, one at the bottom and one diagonally) to firm up the door so it can easily open and close. I'll use chamois hinges for it.

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While a futon frame isn't traditional in a house of the Edo era where tatami mats were used for flooring, I had an urge to make one anyway. I used basswood pieces cut to size, glued together in the frame form and painted black. The "feet" are bits of the basswood that were trimmed off and glued to the bottom of the frame. I spray painted the whole thing with clear lacquer and put the cushion on.

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The fabric I've been using for the living area of the samurai summer house has some lovely caligraphy that I wanted to use for scrolls to hang on the wall. I fussy cut a couple of pieces and glued the top and bottom to mini dowels cut to fit and painted black.

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The tatami sleeping mats are made from mini dowel pins and embroidery floss. To make them, tie two lengths of embroidery floss to the first mini dowel and put a double knot to hold it in place. The ties should be about 1/4 of the way from each end. Add a second dowel pin and wrap the treads around it one time and pull the end so the pin snugs up against the first dowel. Continue doing that till you have the length you wish for the tatami mat and tie off the ends. (a drop of glue on the knots will help to keep them secure) You can move the thread up and down on the pins when it's done to get it straight.

Tatami mats are rolled up and placed out of the way when not in use, so I rolled one and tied it with red silk ribbon to set to one side. Wooden blocks are used for sleeping pillows and I made these from sections of basswood cut to the right length and then used a dremel to grind in the curve.

The red pillows in this picture are for the formal guest area. The smaller pillow is an arm rest that will be placed on a raised holder.

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Deb


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Hello There Deb,

I thought I would thank you for giving me the other half of a idea I have been kicking around.

While walking around Wal-Mart (home of the souther peoples--LOL) I come across this package of bambo skewers. The pac must have 75 of these sticks 12 inches long and sharp on one end. Looks about a 1/8th inch thick each. So I buy em--LOL only 99c and heck I will think of something to do with them!

So, here I am checking out your blog and read:

"The tatami sleeping mats are made from mini dowel pins"

Ta Dah ShZam, I have something I can do with these things! I don't doubt I will think of other things also. What we are talking about is 75 foot of 1/8th inch dowell rod for under 1 buck. I HAVE to think of something, so I can brag on how little it cost me to do it--LOL

Thanks,

Kevin

BTW: I am slow to comment on others work, I am a newbee and what the heck do I know!! That said, I LOVE your work, well that is not really true, I LOVE your imnanginatuion and the skill you have to bring it to life!!

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Kevin, you've found a treasure of minis in bamboo skewers! They've got so many uses that you'll want to keep them on hand all the time. They make really great curtain rods and you can lace them together to make doors. trellises, patio roof covering, and even fences. The thing I like best about them is that they also work reeeeeeeally well for finishing the corners of houses where there's a little bit of a gap. Towers and bay windows are where they come in the handiest. There's always a bit of a gap when creating bays with straight pieces of wood. If you look in the team building blogs, (I think they're most obviously used in Nutti's McKinley and my Magnolia), the gaps between the bay pieces get filled in with bamboo skewers and it even makes it look like an architectural feature. (I love it when an ooops comes out looking like it was an intentional feature)

Be sure and let us know all the uses you find for them as you go along! You're so inventive that you'll probably come up with a ton of ideas for them. You've got a lot of talent for this hobby and we're all excited about your ideas!

Oh, and speaking of bamboo, keep your eye out for bamboo placemats. They make fabulous floors! (check the Coventry Cottage building blog and you'll see the floors in my Samurai house are made of bamboo placemats. Soooooooooo easy to do but they look like the real thing!)

Deb

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