Friday, December 28, 2012

A Completed House!

I felt inspiration kick in and finally decided on a the rest of the candies that I wanted to use to finish up the house.   I knew I was going to use the gumdrops again for the roof,  and the other pieces I included were a round peppermint candy, three pink bubblegum sticks and a couple of mini lollipops.   I also made a couple of red hots that I would use for the front windows.

The chimney section was made from a left over piece of my gingerbread clay.  I used a large pin to press in the brick pattern.  After baking and cooling, it would be ready to attach to the house.

After having waited a full 24 hours for the roof decorations to set up, I moved onto the sides of the house.  The resin clay probably does not need quite that long to cure, but I wanted to be sure it was fully hardened since I was going to be continually handling the house in the next few steps.

I positioned the lollipops between the gumdrops and attached them with super glue.  You may not want to use super glue on your project unless you are very confident in where you want your pieces placed.  Super glue is not always very forgiving. 

I decided to use the candy canes on the opposite side of the house, instead of on the roof eave.  I glued one of them on at an angle,  then cut the other in half with a razor blade and finally attached the two remaining pieces- mimicking the crosshatching on the roof.

Then it was on to the backside.   I had already piped on the windows and included the long peppermint stick across the back,  but I knew that it definitely need something more.  The pink sticks of bubble gum over the three windows added a little color and that other candy element I felt the backside really needed.   The round peppermint candy found the perfect home in the empty area above the windows. 

In the above picture you can see that next I added the gumdrops to the roof peak.  They were attached with the piped resin clay.  They look as though they are perfectly nestled in snow. 

I added those two red hot dots just above the windows on the front of the house, using just the resin clay to attach them as well. 
Then the final element to add was the chimney.   After gluing, I piped more resin clay around it's perimeter to fill in any cracks.    My house was finally complete.

For most foods in my shop I apply a clear sealer, either a gloss or matte coating, depending on the food's texture.  It helps to seal the color and make the foods more durable.   However,  for this house I won't be doing that.   Not just because I wont be selling it,  but because the gingerbread  has that dull matte surface appearance that perfectly mimics the real thing- I did not want to compromise that.   The candies have all had a coat or two of an acrylic gloss though- especially the peppermint pieces.  

I hope this inspires you to make your own gingerbread creations- real or doll sized!

Monday, December 24, 2012


I knew I wanted some mini candy canes for the front, just over the door.  And I finally decided on using a single peppermint stick for the back.  I made two larger candy canes in the process, thinking I may use them on the back eave.

 I used those two mini candy canes to form a sweet little heart positioned just above the front door.  The heart filled the space perfectly and added the visual interest it needed.  I knew I was going to incorporate that element in my design even before I started searching gingerbread house images.

To mimic bushes I used a green gumdrop that I sliced in two- applying one half under each window with super glue. 

With the front complete, I moved onto the backside.   I did hem and haw a little about what candies to incorporate for the back side of the house.  I had wanted to include another type of candy, something I had not used on the front or sides. I had given some thought to using pink bubblegum sticks, fruit stripe gum, chocolate kisses, pretzel sticks, green leaves, m&ms, life savers or even that old fashioned ribbon candy.  But in the end none of those choices inspired me.  I tend to apply the "less is more" theory to my designs.  And I think in the 1:3 scale it's very easy to quickly overwhelm a design.  I apply this to everything I make for the dolls, especially garments.

For the back I ultimately decided on just a single peppermint stick header across the back.  I then piped on a trio of windows and and outlined the back with the mock royal icing and called it a day.  I 'm still not in love with the design- and for me that means it will likely get a some point.

Then it was on to the sides.  They were given an outline of royal icing as well and three gumdrop bushes each.

In the above pic you can see that I have already moved onto the roof- adding a crosshatch design dotted with mini candies, once again using the "royal icing" resin clay that air dries and hardens.

After Christmas I will finish up the house, adding a chimney and a few more surprise elements.

                                             ~ Merry Christmas ~

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Now for the fun part!

My first step was to glue on the candy cane side pieces and the chocolate door.  I needed them to be positioned first before I could determine the sizes of some of my other elements.  I used super glue to attach them.

 I attached the sugar wafer piece next- it fit just inside the roof peak.

With that I am reminded of a silly joke told to me by my 8 yr old just last night:

"Why was the sugar cookie crying?"          

ANSWER:  "Because it's mother had been a wafer so long!"

To mimic the type of frosting used on real gingerbread houses (royal icing- the kind that hardens), I used a white resin clay.  After piping it in a delicate lace effect just under the eave, I moved onto piping on the windows.   I piped around the sugar wafer as well, filling in the gaps and spaces.   

And then I waited a full 24 hours for the front to dry before piping on the back side.

My next step will be to finish applying candies on the front, back and sides of the house.  The roof will be the last section decorated.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


I knew I wanted to incorporate the standards: peppermint sticks, chocolates, candy canes, gum drops and lollipops.

I started out by making several of those elements. 

The chocolate bar is made from a mold and was cut away from a part of a larger piece, scaled down to just the right size for a door.

The peppermint sticks are a favorite of mine to make.  I love doing them in all different kinds of colors.  I chose red, pink and white- these will go on the front and back of the house.

The gumdrops were rolled in glue and fine crystal glitter.  I know I want them for the roof top. 

The tiny candy dots will also be used on the roof. 

The last element in this group- the piece of sugar wafer cookie- it fill fit snugly under the eave in the peak of the rooftop. 

I will have more pics in the days to come....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Gingerbread House In the Making

I love gingerbread.  Cookies, cakes, houses.   It's the part of the holidays that I cannot imagine anyone finding objection with.

Having been asked many times to make a gingerbread house for the dolls, I always have to politely decline.  The amount of work and time required in this scale would make for a very expensive house! 

Instead, I have decided to make one for my dolls and chronicle it's progress, step by step, giving tips and hints along the way.  Maybe it will inspire you to make a gingerbread house for your own dolls.

First I had to decide on a design.  I searched images of other gingerbread houses, drawing elements and bits and pieces from different designs I liked- and added in a little of my own inspiration as well.   My talents lie in sculpting-  not drawing.   So I have refrained from including the sad sketch I made of the gingerbread house I ultimately decided on.

Next I made a template from cardboard.  I took about 15 minutes to figure, cut and retool the pattern pieces until I came up with a design that worked. 

Then it was off to make my gingerbread!  I rolled the clay to about a 1/4" thickness.  I did not want the walls too thin for fear of breakage when gluing the pieces together. 
I carefully cut the clay from my pattern pieces,  gave them each a little texture to mimic the real thing, and soon they were baking.

After having cooled I began to assemble my pieces, shaving off bits of gingerbread here and there so that the house fit together nicely.  

I quickly snapped this pic next to a Sharpie so you can sort of see the relative size I decided on.  
The fun part comes next- the decorating......

Monday, December 3, 2012


For this holiday I tried not to tip the scales too heavy in favor of sweet things.  I think I managed surprisingly to find that balance, since I will admit that I prefer making desserts for the dolls.  It's just, simply put, a whole lot more fun.   

Here is an updated menu and price list for the 9th of December.  As alwyas, items will be available 12:00 noon EST.

raspberry cheesecake slices  7.00
chocolate cake slices with white fluffy frosting  12.00
red velvet cake slices  12.00
holiday sugar cookie cut outs   7.25
cookies for Santa   8.25
pigs in a blanket   7.50
holiday twister pops  2.00
icicle twister pops   2.00
whole pumpkin pie    20.00
festive cookie assortment   24.00
peppermint brownies   5.00
meat cheese and roll spread  18.00
deviled eggs  22.00
peanut butter cookies  5.00
stocking stuffer candies 11.25
crackers and cheese cubes set  17.00
chocolate yule log cake with slice  24.00
ham and turkey roll ups  7.25
party sub  26.00
raviolis  6.00
baked potatoes with butter 6.00
ice cream sandwiches  5.50
swirl lollipops  4.25
sliders  11.50
coconut cake with slices  17.50
grilled cheese  5.25
chocolate Santa on stick 4.50
crescent rolls 7.00

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TUTORIAL: Tiered Display Stand

Finding specific serving and display pieces for the dolls is sometimes challenging.  What I can envision in my head, and what exists in reality in the marketplace are quite often two very separate entities.

After having searched many months for a display stand to meet my needs- I decided that I should just cut out the middle man and make one myself.

I am asked frequently where I bought the tiered stand I use so often in m  shop displays for my dolls.  I am always so happy to reply that I made it myself!   If you want to use this tutorial to make one for your dolls,  I would love to see pictures of your finished projects.  If you want to make this stand and sell them, feel free,  just give me my credit due for the design and tutorial.

The stand was not that hard to make- it just requires a little finessing here and there.  And since it is only affixed together with wood glue- it is a fairly easy project.  However, since it is only glued, it is on the more fragile side- similar to a ceramic piece that you would not want to drop.   I know first hand, as I dropped one and the two tiers instantly separated.  I glued it back, no worries though.

I chose white paint for this stand.  Not only does it lend a clean and dainty feel to the piece,  but against a white background the colors of my foods pop- most of which are not white.  I think it would also be pretty in green- or even painted silver- to mimic metal.

I cannot say how long this project took to complete, as my projects are always drawn out over many days- even weeks and months sometimes.  And with this project, as it applies to most,  it is very important to wait for the glue and paint to dry between each step.

Materials List:

craft wood pieces
wood glue
spray paint
wax paste
lightweight spackling

Tools Needed:
sand paper
tack cloth

I did not attempt to use nails or screws for this project, as I was afraid of splitting the thin pieces of craft wood, so I opted for wood glue- which does create a fairly strong bond.

Micheal's Arts and Crafts carries a wide array of craft wood pieces.  I spied this package of circles and knew it would be perfect.   There are about eight different sizes of circles in the package.  For the stand I used only five.

I also purchased a separate set of other turned wood pieces that included a bunch of these little  fancy thingamajigs at top left in the bottom picture:

About a dozen came in the package (with various other interesting pieces), but for this project I only needed two of them.  I will call them little lamps bases for the remainder of the tutorial,  for clarity- since that's what they bring to mind for me. 

 Circles for this project:

1- 3" circle
1- 2.5" circle
1- 2" circle
1- 1.5" circle
2- 3/4" circles

I always start out by sanding my wood pieces, priming and then painting.  Do the custmary sanding between coats.  Prime and paint both sides with a minimum or two coats of paint.  I did three.  Use a tack cloth to remove any dust particles after you sand. You do not need to paint both sides of the 3/4" circles.  You only need to paint one side of those.  In the picture below you can see I have double the amount of pieces necessary; I made two stands.

For the little lamp bases- one of the end parts protruding out has to be removed.  It does not matter which end- but you should take care to make them uniform and remove the same ends on both pieces.

This picture below depicts the end piece removed from the thinner tip.   However,  in the end  I opted to remove the piece from the thicker end, as it has a little more surface area to bond with and I preferred the way it looked.  I used a small saw to remove the tiny piece.  Sand down the end and try to get it as level, flat and smooth as you can.

Glue one 3/4" diameter circle to the smooth end of the lamp base piece you just sanded, taking care that it is level and evenly spaced.  Do the same for the other.  Allow to dry 24 hrs.

They should look like this, but painted.  Make sure to glue the painted side up toward the lamp base.  The unpainted side will later be glued onto a circle.

For the 3" circle and the 2.5" circle you will need to drill a small hole to fit the diameter of the lamp base end piece as shown below:

Glue the end piece of the lamp base that protrudes out- into the 3" circle hole.  Do the same for both the 2.5" circle.   When dry, sand down so the two pieces are flush.  Again, wait the 24 hrs for the glue to dry.  Don't be impatient!

Next glue the 1.5" circle to the bottom of the 3" circle as shown in pic below. 
Your piece should now look like this:

I like to fill the spaces and cracks between all the circles with spackling.
It gives your finished product a more uniform look. I recommend doing that step now before gluing all the pieces together. Use a small rag or a gloved finger to push the spackling into the cracks.  Wait for the spackling to dry as per package instructions.

Now glue the 3" circle/lamp base pieces you've assembled, to the 2.5" circle/lamp base piece you assembled. Remember to take care that the piece is level and spacing from all sides is even from the center.   I adjust by eyeballing.

Your last piece to add will be the final 2" top tier.  Glue that piece to the top 3/4" piece.  Allow to dry 24 hrs,  then fill in the remaining cracks again with the spackling.  You must glue each piece on one at a time and wait for each to dry in between.

Once my painted pieces are completely dry and finished I like to coat the entire surface with a paste wax.  The wax gives the painted surface a delicate sheen and a softer feel.


If you have any questions or my explanations are as clear as mud in places, please feel free to ask.

This month I will be making a cake stand in a similar fashion- made from left over  pieces and parts of those craft wood sets.  You will probably see it in my displays sooner or later.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving To All

As the country gathers to sit and do some serious eating this week, my thoughts turn to the dishes and serving pieces that will bring the glorious feast to the table.  But I'm not talking about human sized dishes,  rather I am referring to the doll sized versions.

I am asked quite frequently where I get my dishes and serving pieces for my shop.  I have amassed quite the collection- and I have to admit that I am always on the lookout for more.  I will refrain from calling it an obsession-  but wherever I go I have my eagle eye scouting.

You never know where something in the right scale may pop up.  I have purchased dishes for my dolls everywhere from antique shops to Ebay, Target, crafts stores, craft fairs, historical sites, internet doll shops, wedding supply sites, gift shops, the zoo, malls, toy stores...the list is endless.  Basically anywhere anything is sold.  You just have to be looking.

My favorite place to find little dishes is antique stores.  Prices can range from a few dollars to well over what I will pay.   Ebay comes a close second.  But buyer beware- make sure you ask about sizing if it is not already specified.  There are so many different scales that it can quickly become confusing.  Some dollhouse 1:12 scale dishes can work- but most don't.  Anything with a diameter between 2.5"- 5"  will work for the 18" dolls. 

One of my favorite serving pieces is actually one that I made.  It's a tiered display stand.  I will be doing a tutorial on this piece after Thanksgiving.  

It's just the right size to display baked goods- from cookies to brownies and even chocolates.

                                      DECEMBER 9th 


My next product release date is slated for December 9th at 12 noon est.  Below is a menu list and few pics of some of the items I will be offering.  
I will add more to the list as inspiration hits- and as I complete items.  I am hoping to add in a few more sweet and savory items.  

raspberry cheesecake slices
chocolate cake slices
red velvet cake slices
holiday sugar cookie cut outs
cookies for Santa
pigs in a blanket
holiday twister pops
icicle twister pops
pumpkin pie
festive cookie assortment
peppermint brownies
meat cheese and roll tray
deviled eggs
peanut butter cookies
stocking stuffer candies
crackers and cheese cubes set
chocolate yule log cake
ham and turkey roll ups
party sub
baked potatoes
ice cream sandwiches
swirl lollipops






                          Happy Thanksgiving from the Pippaloo Kitchen!