All posts by Jennifer

Fairy Toothpick Doll


Today, I am sharing the latest creation to find her way out of my studio. This is a little toothpick doll fairy. She was so much fun to make. As with the other toothpick dolls, she was created using toothpicks, glue, and embroidery floss. I tried out a new technique to create the wings and overall they turned out pretty good. This is something that I will have to keep experimenting with.

Toothpick Fairy

I started her creation with the tiered skirt. This took lots of time and patience. Once that was complete, I added her two-tone bodice.

Left-Side View

I added a tiny braid to the top and bottom. Embroidery floss is made of six smaller strands and I used to individual strands to create the braid.

Right-Side View

Next, I started creating the roses. These are created by wrapping small amounts of floss in the tip of a toothpick. The vines are created by wrapping dampened floss around a toothpick and allowing the floss to dry.

By Jennifer Miner

I also added tiny knots as accents. I used the same pallet of colors as the skirt.

Next came the arms, which included pink upper arm braces and more vines.

A Back View

Next, it was time for the hair! Thanks to Pinterest I knew that I wanted to create a faux-hawk braid. I used two shades of pink. I split each strand into individual pieces before bringing them back together for the hair. Again I added some more roses for the hair.

Tiny Fairy

I created the wings using individual strands of floss and regular glue. As I mentioned this was a new technique and needs a little more finesse, but pretty good for a first attempt.

View from the underside

Above you can see a view from the underside. This shows all the many layers of floss that go into creating the skirt. The little void in the middle is here her toothpick legs are.

This little doll was so much fun and it was really nice just working from my own imagination. This is my first doll with pink hair and I think that this might be a little trend in the doll studio.

I am still working on slowing down and taking my time and I am really trying to enjoy the process.  This is certainly one of my favorite creations. Thanks for visiting – off to the studio!


Crochet Baby Blanket & Bunny

Today’s project is a crochet baby blanket and bunny stuffie. I love making baby gifts. These two projects are for a new addition to our extended family. I was a little late getting them done, a certain Harry Potter Party got me a little behind, okay a lot behind, on my other projects. However, I was happy with how they turned out and while a little late the baby in questions hasn’t started college yet.

Granny Square Baby Blanket

Let’s start with the baby blanket. I made this blanket with one ball of Lion Brand Ice Cream Big Scoop in Tutti Fruiti. This was a simple jumbo granny square. The one difference was that when you start a new row you change direction. This gives the neat color pooling that you can see in the blanket. This was a very simple project and in fact, the first 2/3 of this blanket were done while I was waiting in the carpool. I just can’t sit and not do something with my hands. You could easily use any yarn for this and make it any size. You can find the pattern over on Lion Brand’s site here.

Now, on to the bunny! This little crochet darling was made using Bernat PipSqueak in Pixie Pow. The pattern I used is from One Dog Woof and can be found here. My favorite thing about the yarn/pattern combo was how forgiving it was.

Crochet bunny in a flower pot.

I did make a few alterations to the pattern as I went along. In fact, I think that the head was the only piece that I didn’t alter. I made the abdomen a little larger and the legs, arms, and ear a little longer. I didn’t really keep track of what I did but I just worked until I was happy with the shape of length and then moved on to the next part.

My daughter loved this bunny and I was only able to send it along with the promise that I would make another for her.

I added a pom-pom tail with basic acrylic yarn out of my stash. I loved the tail, it also helps this little bunny sit-up.  I trimmed a lot off my original pom-pom which is why the end result is a tight dense ball.

Pom pom bunny tail

The pattern gives directions for an embroidered nose and I really went back and forth on whether to add one or not, but in the end, I just left the nose off and I think that this bunny looks fine without one.  The eyes are plastic safety eyes and she was stuffed with basic polyfill. I hope that she will be loved.

Bunny Face

That is it for today! Thank you for stopping by.

The end

Belle Part 2 – Toothpick Doll

Hello, World!

Well, it has been a little while since I have posted here. I just hate it when the “real” world gets in the way of this little blog. Oh well, I have been working on lots of projects and will try to share them as I can. I haven’t forgotten about sharing the rest of the Harry Potter party decorations. They are in the works, but on to today’s project!

I have a new toothpick doll to share with you. It is another Belle, this one inspired by the 1991 animated movie version of Belle. She is just a little different from my historically inspired Belle.

Belle Toothpick Doll

This doll took around four hours of working time to create. I have to let my dolls dry between layers. If I don’t I end up pulling my doll totally apart. I have also lost heads owing to my impatience. It is sort of unsettling to have a head in your hands, maybe not really when it is a doll but when you aren’t expecting it, it is a surprise. I created a video of my process. I compressed four hours into 13 minutes. Clearly, I am a little out of practice staying in frame, but I thought you all might get a kick out seeing it start to finish.


A view of the hair

This doll was a lot of fun to make. I used a variety of yellow embroidery floss for her dress and accents.

Back Detail – Belle toothpick Doll

Even though her hair covers it, I created a bodice lacing up the back of the dress.

Created by Jennifer Miner

I am really trying to slow down and work on being more accurate with my work. This isn’t easy for me, I always feel like I am in a hurry, which I think hurts my finished product. I think that this doll is neater and overall tidier than some of the previous girls but I will have to keep at it.

Just under 3″

I have a few new ideas for things to try on upcoming dolls so stay tuned. I hope you are all having a wonderful summer! Stay safe.


Harry Potter Wands DIY

Back again with more Harry Potter Magic! One of the events at our party was the wand selection. This was so much fun! I created each unique wand and they were all very different. Some were inspired by the films and some from my imagination. The kids had a great time picking out their wands and I had a great time creating them.

All the pretty wands
Inspired by Dumbledore’s Wand

I had seen a lot of the hot glue wands online and while they looked easy and quick to create I really wanted to create something that gave me more control over the shape of the wands. In addition, I really don’t need any more hot glue burns. So I came up with these Harry Potter wands for our party!

Under the Sea Wand
Medieval Wand

Each wand started as a plain wooden dowel. I bought a pack of 12″ wooden dowels and trimmed a few from dowels I had laying around. (Yes, you read that right I do have dowels just laying willy nilly around this place.) I trimmed them using my scroll saw after the sculpting dried. This allowed me to make the length match the wand since some of these took on a life of their own.

Unicorn Horn Wand
Inspired by Minerva McGonagall’s Wand

To start, I used 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface of my wood. I then mixed up some Apoxie Sculpt. This was my first time using this product and I was really pleased with the end result. It was easy to work with and I liked the way it smoothed out with a little bit of water. One thing that I struggle with when using polymer clay is fingerprints.

Copper & Midnight Wand
Red & Gold Band

Some of the wands had clear plans and I looked up photos online to find exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be sure that I didn’t have any flat spots on my wands so I filled an old paint water cup with leftover decorative sand from my cauldron and I stuck the wands in there. this held them up while they dried – voila no flat spots.

Inspired by Sirius Black’s Wand
Hedwig Wand

I will admit that the dragon was my favorite. It was so much fun. Once all the wands were cured I used my scroll saw to trim down the wands. I also sanded a few of the wands where they needed it, mostly to smooth the transition from sculpture to the dowel. Now I was ready to start painting. I used craft acrylics, for some of the “wood” looking wands I really thinned down the paint to make a wash. Again, I used my cup of sand to hold them while they dried.

Spring Wand
Lizard Wand

I used craft acrylics, for some of the “wood” looking wands I really thinned down the paint to make a wash. Again, I used my cup of sand to hold them while they dried. It was so much fun to see the wands take shape. The paint made the wand’s personality just jump out. It was really fun to think about which kiddo would go for which wand.

Inspired by Harry Potter’s Wand
Purple Jewel Wand – this one has a tiny gemstone on the end
Elder Wand with Dragon Wand

When all the wands here cured, trimmed and painted I was ready to seal them. I used a high shine spray sealer and gave each wand a few coats. In the end, I created 20 wands and managed to use one 1 lb  Apoxie Sculpt. It comes in two 8 oz containers that you mix equally, in the amount you need. It is air dry medium but I felt like I had a length of time to work with it before and as I mentioned above, I loved that you can smooth it out with water.  I really liked my Hedwig Wand but my daughter’s first guess was that it was going to be a penguin and then once I had painted it she kept calling it a pigeon. I think she was just giving me a hard time, however, I really liked that one.

Sea Snake wand
Inspired by Luna Lovegood’s Wand

For the party, I created an Ollivander’s Storefront that held the wands, I will share the creation of the project down the road! Thanks for stopping by!

Fire Twist Wand
Red Lacquer Wand
Dragon Wand Close-up

Harry Potter Party – Golden Egg

That’s right today’s Harry Potter Party project is the Golden Egg! When Harry opens the egg underwater it gives him the following clue in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Come seek us where our voices sound,
We cannot sing above the ground,
And while you’re searching ponder this;
We’ve taken what you’ll sorely miss,
An hour long you’ll have to look,
And to recover what we took,
But past an hour, the prospect’s black,
Too late, it’s gone, it won’t come back.

Harry Potter’s Golden Egg

Now, my egg didn’t open and I am not sure that you would want to put it underwater, but it was fun to create. Per usual, I started my creation with lots of research. The Noble Collection has a beautiful Golden Egg for sale and they had great photos.

Inspired by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I started by sketching my design based on the photos I found on the internet. I was able to find an unfinished paper mache egg at Target that was the right size. The egg has a slightly flat bottom which allows it to stand without falling over.

My Golden Egg

My next step was to apply air dry clay all over my egg. I sculpted the owl at the top and then started carving. I used my sketch as a guide. I’d love to tell you that I had everything laid out perfect and that it just worked out but that would not be the truth. I got about 3/4 of the way through my carving and realized that I was going to have too much room. So, I just had to make it work. I added a few additional buildings and my “secret” message. I tried to keep with the style of the rest of the egg.

Special message for the Birthday Girl

These things just happen sometimes and I really believe that they are just a part of the process. The air dry clay cured very quickly so there wasn’t much time to mess around trying to fix anything anyway. Once it was done, I was pretty happy with the overall look.

View of the top
Another View of the Golden Egg

I left my egg to cure. Once dry, the owl and wings had popped off but I just re-glued them on without any issue. I find that air dry clay doesn’t like to stick to itself and I just plan to glue things back on. A little more time to let the glue dry and then it was on to painting. I started with a coat of black acrylic paint, making sure to get down into the carvings. I gave my egg two coats of black. Again, more time to dry and then onto the gilding! This was my favorite part of the egg. I used DecoArt Metallic Lustre in Gold Rush. It is a wax and I just rubbed it on using a paper towel. Super easy! I made sure to just add the gold to the top of my egg and not into the carving.

Decoration for our Harry Potter Party

I really liked how the egg turned out and the primitive style carvings made it an easy project. Good luck with your own Golden Eggs – super fun!

What mysteries are held in this clue??


Harry Potter Party – Cauldron DIY

Today is the day for some, bubble, bubble, toil and trouble! If you saw my porch photos you might have noticed my little cauldron. When I started on this particular project I knew that I wanted something different. I found lots of “regular” plastic cauldrons but wanted something with a different shape. I did lots of research on cauldrons. The cast iron cauldrons were very expensive and then there is the issue of what do you do with it afterward? I couldn’t find a plastic cauldron that I liked. The cauldrons in the movie have a unique shape and I wanted something more like the film version. I didn’t really get the shape I wanted but I got close and I was very happy with the end result.

Harry Potter Party Decorations – Cauldron

While I was on my research walkabout, I came across some amazing Halloween prop makers sites. These people are incredible. They make me want to go over the top on Halloween. I discover this tutorial. This was for a huge cauldron but I thought that I could apply this to my little project. Later I found this slightly easier tutorial over at Epbot. Well, I was convinced and I was ready to rock and roll.

It started life as a pot

To begin, I purchased 10″ plastic garden pot locally for under $5.  I created a “rib” template to create the shape I wanted for my cauldron. Then, I used my Silhouette Design Software to create my template. I printed this out and was ready to trace and cut.


I traced about 30 ribs onto cardboard and then cut these out. Next, I applied these around my pot (nearly evenly) using duct tape. If you were making a big or a biiiiiiiig cauldron you would want to use more ribs.

Cut from cardboard
Ribbing the pot
As you can see, mostly straight on the ribs

Once my ribs were on and fairly straight I applied more duct tape over my newly shaped cauldron. I made sure to cover all of the ribs and leave no holes.

More ribs!!
Duct tapped
Paper Mache

Now it was onto paper mache! I used a very basic mixture of flour and water along with torn newspaper to cover my cauldron. It is important to tear your newspaper versus cut it. I forgot about this and had terrible lines later that I had to deal with. On my Snitch Pinata, I learned my lesson and only used torn newspaper and the result was much better.

Drying completed
After a few coats of paper mache

I did a few coats of paper mache, making sure to let each layer dry before I started on the next.

Covered with Paper Clay

Next, I added a layer of paper clay. You can find the recipe here. My clay turned out a little bumpier than I really was hoping for but I think that was owing to the fact that I didn’t use a mixer and that I used nicer toilet paper. I added handles by fashioning circles using air dry clay and then for the fasteners I used toilet paper rolls that I cut up to size. I glued these to my cauldron using high temp hot glue.

So, after this, I gave my cauldron a light coat of just joint compound. Once everything was dry, I gave my cauldron two coats of flat black spray paint.

Custom Harry Potter Cauldron

It was at this point that I forgot that I was supposed to be taking photos as I went along. Once I got my cauldron painted, I added the potion remenants. For this, I used plain old white glue mixed with decorative sand and then a mixture of the sand with raw oatmeal. I just kind of dribbled around the top edge. I was channeling my inner messy witch. This detail sat for 24 hours to fully dry. Then I added the paint. I used slightly watered down craft acrylic paint and painted over my glue dribbles.

Handles made with air dry clay & toilet paper rolls

What a messy potion maker!

I am very pleased with my little cauldron and am toying with the idea of making a big one for Halloween. The additional layer of joint compound makes the little guy a little heavy but that also keeps it from blowing away, which is always a good thing.

This started life as a flower pot
Close up view of the glue, sand and oatmeal mixture
Finishing touches

As always, thanks for stopping by!





Harry Potter Party Invitations – Video


I have posted my video for the Harry Potter Party Invitations over on YouTube, or you can watch it here. I show the fun fold I did for the invitation itself. This might help you if you are having any trouble.

I hope that my post and video help inspire you to create your own party invitations. You can view the original post here.

More Harry Potter goodness to come!

Harry Potter Party Invitations

Today I will be continuing my posts on our Harry Potter Party and we will be talking about the invitations! Now don’t get me wrong, I love online invitations, they are so quick and easy and you know when people see them but there is really nothing that can possibly compare to receiving a custom handmade invitation in the mail. Maybe I am a little biased, seeing that I have been a card maker for over 20 years.

Harry Potter Party Invitations

These invitations were a huge hit. I got so many positive comments from the parents and kiddos alike. So, if you are planning your own Harry Potter Party I think that it is worth the time and effort to make your own. It just sets the tone for the whole event. The invitations that I will be showing you today are addressed to Harry Potter but each guest received an invitation that was personalized for them.

Letter in the software

I did a fair bit of research into the different Harry Potter invitations that people had made and cobbled together these. I create a letter that invited the guests to attend a preview day at Hogwarts in honor of the birthday girl. Once I had exhausted the internet, I drafted my letter and added a Hogwarts logo at the top and printed them on parchment paper.

Harry Party Potter Invitation Letter

I used the font Lumos for the header and the font Magik for the body. For Professor McGonagall’s signature, I used Scriptina. The font on the envelopes is called 4 Privet Drive. There are a ton of fonts out there but I thought that these worked.

Next, came the envelopes. Again I laid them out on my computer and then printed them onto parchment paper. I purchased an Envelope Punch Board for this project. In the end, I created a 4″x6″ envelope.

Envelope ready to be printed

To create the 4″x6″ envelope I trimmed my paper to 8 1/4″ x 8 1/4″. You can see in this screenshot how that looked in the software. Once I printed each letter I trimmed them to size. I then used the Envelope Punch Board to create the envelope. The step-by-step photos are below.



Envelope printed on 8 1/2″ x 11

Trimmed to 8 1/4″ square
Line up on the Envelope Punch Board at 3 3/8″
Punch and score

Rotate and repeat
All four sides punched and scored
Use the back side of the punch to round the corners
All done with the scoring and punching
Glue (I used a glue stick)

I had a weird problem with my letter. When I went to fold my 8 1/5″ x11″ piece of paper to fit in my library card envelope I couldn’t get it to fold nicely. I enlisted the assistance of my engineer hubby and we spent an hour folding and refolding paper. After much trial and error and online research, we came up with the following fold.

Letter Folding


Trimmed to 8 1/2″ x 10 1/2″

First, I had to trim my paper down to 8 1/2″ x 10 1/5″. I took a little off the top and a little off the bottom.

Starting the fold – Rotate 90 degrees
Fold top corner to the center.

When you make this fold you are trying to make the folded piece straight on both sides.

Rotate 180 Degrees
Fold top corner to center

Repeat with the opposite corner. This fold works best when these to corner folds do not overlap but come very close

Turn Vertically

Now I turned the paper this way, it is just what works for me. I now take the point that is facing me and fold it up. Keeping the sides even, creating a rectangle.

Fold the bottom up
Crisp up those folds

I use a bone folder to crisp up my folds. Now I turn this around again and fold the two points over.

Rotate and fold the points down.

You should now have a super fancy looking rectangle. I printed my tickets and trimmed them.

Platform 9 3/4 Ticket

I slipped one ticket in each letter. If you want to print your own here is the link.

Ticket in the letter

I also wanted to create an inner envelope for the invitations. This little envelope is called a library card envelope. I used black cardstock, a 1″ circle punch and my scoreboard to create these. Below you will find the step-by-step directions.

Library Card Envelope


8 1/2″ x 11″ Cardstock
Trim to 6 1/2 x 8 1/2″
Score at 4″
 Score at 8″
Rotate 90 degrees and score at 6″
Trim tabs
Continue to trim tabs
This is what you should have
Apply adhesive
 Use 1″ punch to add cut out
Library Card Envelope with the folded Invitation.
Inner envelope complete


Now I was ready to put it all together. The letters were folded to fit in the black envelopes and the tickets were placed in the middle of the letters. Then the smaller envelopes were placed in the parchment envelopes. The last step was adding the wax seal. I had ordered a kit for these and they were a huge hit. There is clearly some plastic in the wax because they are flexible and didn’t break in the mail.

Place letter and ticket in the library card envelope
Assembled – a perfect fit
Fold top down
Glue and add wax seal

A lot of work but totally worth it! I did video one of these and will be working on adding that!




Harry Potter Party (Part Two)

Welcome back! In our last post, we had just reached the Defense Against the Dark Arts Class. If you replicate this class you might use shapes that don’t have too much sticking out. When the balloons pop there is a fair bit of force and a few of our Patronus lost body parts.

The nearly dressed porch. Harry Potter Party

Once we were done with Defense Against the Dark Arts we move on to the Golden Snitch Pinata and Gringotts. The Birthday Girl was adamant that she wanted a pinata at her party. Her one concern was that everyone wouldn’t get candy. So, we bounced a could of ideas around and came up with the following. I made the pinata and instead of filling it with candy, I put keys with vault numbers attached into the pinata. Once the pinata was broken open each guest picked up one key. Each key had the number of a vault. I create the Gringotts Vault and each vault had tissue paper over the front. Each key holder came up as I called their number and “opened” their vault. The vaults were filled with either a stick of rock candy, a ring pop, or chocolate coins.

Golden Snitch Pinata
Gringotts Bank Vault

Each vault also had a bookmark. I downloaded these bookmarks from Artsy Fartsy Mama (here). These were awesome and the kids seemed to really like them. Also, it was nice to have something that I didn’t have to create from scratch.

Selecting a wand

Now it was time for our visit to Ollivander’s Wand Shop. I had whipped up our storefront, more on that later, to hold the wands that I had made. Since my daughter had been around for the creation of the wands, she had her eye on one in particular. We had the kids go one at a time by asking them Harry Potter questions. The wands were really fun to create and a few were based on wands from the movies and many were just from my imagination.

A collection of wands

Whew, are you tired yet? We were! At this point, we got out the chocolate cake and Butterbeer. I had purchased glasses at IKEA and using my Silhouette Cameo and glass etching cream etched a special message. The kids enjoyed the cake, I was really surprised with just how much they ate and the kids that tried the Butterbeer seemed to enjoy it. At this point, things were winding down. As each guest was collected we sent them home with a Harry Potter gift bag with Beanie Boo Owl, a box of Bertie Botts and a Chocolate Frog. Then we collapsed on the floor in a heap! Okay, maybe not totally but this was a huge undertaking and I could have never done it without the help of my family.

Harry Potter Party

That is the overview of the party activities. The next series of posts will detail some of the individual projects and activities that went into creating the magical event!


Harry Potter Party (Part One)

Yeah, I am finally back! This party was a success and I have nearly recovered. We have the bulk of the decorations down and boxed away and nearly all the items that were moved have been returned. So, my plan for this series of post will be this, I am going to walk you through the party. I will share what all the kids did and the order. Then any projects that I haven’t shared will be shared in individual posts. Without further ado!

Ready for Hogwarts

To start, we decorated our front porch. I made a Beware Whomping Willow sign that I staked out in front of our tiny tree. I also made one that said, “Wizards Welcome, Muggles Tolerated.”  The second sign was placed in our large empty flower pot that lives on the front porch. Initially, I thought about getting flowers or some other plant for it but the sign, a last minute addition, became one of my favorites signs from the party.

Party entry – Harry Potter Party

We had our Bentwood Trunk (ordered on Ebay from the UK), a new trunk I purchased locally at a discount outlet, a brown wrapped package (addressed to the birthday girl and from Flourish & Blotts), Hedwig in her cage, the Gryffindor scarf, aged cauldron, Nimbus 2000, and Quidditch goggles all decorating the front porch. I hung our Hogwarts Express sign from the eave and added the Hogwarts House Bunting that I made. The big draw was the “brick wall” the kiddos passed through to enter the party. We also had out our directional sign posts. I created each of the signs and just put on as many as I could manage!

Directional Signpost – Harry Potter Pary

Once they entered the house, our guests were greeted by the House Banners and Always canvas down the hallway. To the left, in my studio, we had set-up a photo booth. I used a black cloth backdrop and stands that I have for my photography as the backdrop. We had props that I printed from the WB site. That I glued to foam core and added handles. I also had a wanted poster, complete with Azkaban Prison number card and then our Ford Anglia cut out. The kids had a blast getting their pictures taken. We did the photo booth area as they entered in order to give the guests time to arrive. We also used it again when one of our classes ended a little early.

Have you seen this wizard?
In the Flying Car

Once all of the guests arrived we performed our Sorting Ceremony. Now, I figure that nearly all of the kids would want to be in Gryffindor so a true Sorting Ceremony wouldn’t net me the three classes that we needed. What I did instead was to create badges each with a dragon on them. We had green, red, and yellow. Each kiddo came up and put on the hat, the reached into my cauldron and pulled out their badge. This divided them up into groups of six each.

Sorting Ceremony

Then we sent them off for their first class. We sent one group to the basement for Portions, one to Quidditch, and one to Herbology. For Quidditch, we set up the Quidditch Cornhole boards on the side of our house. The weather was perfect! On the back porch was Herbology, here the kiddos were planting Mandrakes. In the basement, Snape was teaching the kids to make slime. Each session was 20 minutes and then they switched.

Quidditch Cornhole
Snape on the way to Potions

Once we had worked through our three classes, it was on to Defense Against the Dark Arts as a large group. We had black balloons, filled with helium. In each balloon was a Patronus. I had cut each animal out of glitter cardstock and then inserted them into each balloon before I inflated them. We had:

  • Pheonix
  • Dragon
  • Dog
  • Otter
  • Stag
  • Rhinocerus
  • Lion
  • Tiger
  • Owl
  • Ram
  • Wolf
  • Horse
  • Fox
  • Cat
  • Shark
  • Dolphin
  • Eagle

I brought out the balloons and each guest selected one balloon. Then we went around the room and each kiddo used the special wand ( a spare wand with a large pin taped on) to pop their balloon and find their Patronus, making sure to give a loud “Expecto Patronum” before the popping. I held the balloons for each student and managed to have no one stab me. So a victory in my book.

This gets us to about half-way on the party activities. The next post will detail our trip to Gringotts and Olivanders and then the food!