Saturday, December 28, 2013

Non-Mini: Curling again

DS Carol's grandson's curling team is once again going for the Manitoba Junior Men's Championship so the family is, once again, following the games. (Matt Dunstone curling out of the West Kildonan Curling Club in Winnipeg)

The guys curled in the World's last year in Sochi, Russia, so we're excited to follow them again this year. They're off to a great start in Provincials with two wins so far! When they win, they'll go on to the Canadian Championships which are in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, this year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Christmas Shop....

All of you know how I flip back and forth between possible projects...

But I have often referred to the "Christmas Shop"...

and the other day, Elise in Virginny specifically asked me about it...

In my head, this will eventually become one of my best pieces...

But for now, it still is in my head....

I have started it...from the glass case that I was given on my early retirement. It's hard to take pictures as the back of the cabinet is mirrored...

from the left

from the right

Here's a shot of the actual room

That's all I have actually accomplished so far. And I LOVE it!

Trees and furniture that I expect MIGHT go in it at some point...the larger pieces...

Then, oh, my gosh...these are the boxes of all the incredible "stuff" that will eventually go into the shop!

I'm still trying to figure the shelving out....

It will come together eventually....

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A couple excellent resources...

If you got a dollhouse kit for Christmas (or even if you didn't), there are a couple beginning-to-end resources on line that you might want to check out.

Hobby Builders Supply has "Everything You Wanted to Know about Dollhouses but Didn't Know who to Ask" by Nancy Van Horn online. (It's also available in print from Amazon.)

Another resource that I just discovered today is "The Ocelots Build a Dollhouse". (The name stands for "Online Community of Enthusiasts that Love Objects Tiny and Small".) Haven't had a chance to read the entire thing yet but what I've seen so far has really impressed me! Love that it's a collaborative effort so you get knowledge of so many wonderful miniaturists in one document.

On a personal note, DD Leanne and Robert invited us (me, Mom, DS Shirley, DBIL Grahame and Grahame's son Mike) for family gift opening and Christmas dinner at their home. (My usual BIG Oops! here as I first forgot to take pictures, then the camera was acting up, THEN I forgot to take a picture of the dining room table! )

Leanne with their tree (after the gift-opening)

Mom (90 and still going strong!) 
Leanne is a gourmet cook and, I must tell you, in my entire life I have never had a meal more delicious than that one! How I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the table. For several years now, we have had something other than turkey for Christmas dinner as Robert's family has a turkey dinner after Mass in the morning so we didn't want them to have two turkey dinners in one day. This year it was a beef tenderloin roast cooked to perfection, baked potatoes, and several incredible salads.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Merry Christmas to all of wishes and good thoughts!!!

Two of the (probably 30) Christmas scenes I have done over the years:

Did this scene for my Mom... but she returned it to m.

Fireplace is empty and 'not right' but love the scene outside the window - and the armchair was the first piece of upholstered furniture I did - over 30 years ago...although the scene is only about 15 years old.

Like this one, too. Only about 10 years ago. Armchair leather look is the gesso technique that I really like using.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Couple Christmas gifts received...

I had such great plans for a "catch-up" tonight but I'm so far behind that will be such a little of what I wanted to tell you about....

I bought this wonderful wheelchair in Bowmanville, ON,, for Vern's attic:

Then I took off the control and painted it with black primer...still have to paint the chrome parts...but it's going to look SO good!

I picked up these ornaments at Dollarama with the intention of making them into patio lights....
 And here they are (lit with some bulbs my DS Marie gave me years ago) -

Gift to myself from Grandma Holly on e-bay: This will go into the Bombay House when I re-do the kitchen in it:

 As will the matching dishwasher (also from Grandma Holly)

Just received these beautiful sunflowers yesterday from Monica (Peaches) Lavoie, a former member of the Edmonton Miniature Club!

These lovely Christmas cushions were inside a Christmas card tucked under my door by Barb R. Hard to believe she only started doing miniatures a year and a half ago. Wonderful neighbour and great budding miniaturist!

This came in a Christmas card from Barb S. who gives each of the M.E.E. (Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton) members a delightful birthday gift each month. Done by Volker Arnold. Lovely man who does incredible work...met him a Chicago last year.

My dear friend, Cheryl H., from Nova Scotia, mailed me these wonderful Christmas gifts:

Slippers/booties and dog rawhide bones

and her incredible poinsettias!!!

The poinsettias are made from sesame seeds. Cheryl has actually shown me how to make them but I just don't have the ability to make them that she does so I was thrilled to get them!

My dear friend, Joanne R., gave me a gift certificate to use at Grandpa's Dollhouse where Liz D. has her great, ultimate sale coming up in January!!! So I will be able to triple or even quadruple the value of it! So that is a gift that will keep giving...and giving! 

At the risk of your beating me to some of Liz's great bargains, I'll suggest that you sign up for notifications of the sale items. Great sales, beautiful items and Liz is SO wonderful to deal with! (And her grab bags are to die for!)  The sale goes on for a month and you can accumulate all your purchases over that time and pay at the shipping is combined. It's an incredible way to shop...and I highly recommend it! Lots of variety of merchandise from the small things to high end artisan pieces!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Updating an old mini...

This time of year I usually clean my workroom but this year I've been CLEANING the rest of the condo...(You know, the deep-down, dirty, cleaning, get rid of things, cleaning as opposed to the get things out of sight cleaning!) And that, of course, is why I haven't been posting for awhile!

But I did get some mini-ing done tonight...

I bought two packages of mini-tools at the garage sale for Bonnie's estate. And with those in mind, I asked DS Shirley to bring over Dad's workshop so I could add some tools to it.

I had built this of foamcore inside a bread box so everything could be pulled out... It has a drop ceiling with a battery operated light...
And here I've removed the ceiling...

 Then I recalled I had glued the 'cement' floor in place so I couldn't easily pull out the entire scene. (GRRR)

I glued the shelving against the wall...and glued a few other things in place..

Before I realized I couldn't pull the setting out, I was going to wire the new tools to the pegboard but since that was no longer an option, I glued the new tools to the pegboard.

Not a great difference...But  I know it's there.

And everything is glued in place so it can be returned to Shirley and Grahame without a change. I usually use 'moveable glue' for scenes but this is a "moment in time" miniature so I used Aleene's Tacky Glue to keep things in place.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas, What a mess!!!!

Fortunately DD Leanne doesn't read my blog so I can post about this.

We're going back to NYC for a week in June so we decided that rather than exchange Christmas presents we would buy each other tickets to a show on Broadway.

BUT that's not really something we can put under the tree!

So as I was going through closets looking for things to go in the 'Put and Take', I came across this chest that my Dad had given to my Mom. (I actually thought that he had made it but when I talked to her tonight, she said, 'No, he had bought it.' But she couldn't remember when - and I couldn't recall when she had passed it on to me. But she was thrilled that I was going to pass it on to Leanne.

I used some dollhouse carpet to line the bottoms of the compartments. I had quite a choice and had shown them to Mom when she was over yesterday. She was pleased with the pink as it's "her colour".

This place it a complete disaster area! It's not so great at the best of times but now it's SO bad, I'm in danger of being condemned as a hoarder! I'm trying to clean out my storage room so it'll be easy to deal with when some plumbing pipes are replaced after the New Year. I've been emptying closets and drawers looking for things to  put in the 'Put and Take'. Not to mention the 'in progress' miniature projects that are on the card and dining room tables... Plus I brought up my totes of Christmas wrapping paper and gift bags so I'm trying to get presents wrapped and bagged....

Once it all comes together, it'll be great but in the meantime, I can hardly walk around.

Have to speed up working on all these things....

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Just a quick note - non-mini!

The Pass it on Challenge on Canada Minis encouraged me to set up a similar thing in our condo building. We have an Amenity Room that's empty so I asked the other condo board members if we could use it as a "Put and Take" room and encourage residents to leave things there that are too good to throw away that other residents might be able to use.

They gave me permission to do this on a trial basis so I have been incredibly busy setting it up, putting up posters to let residents know about it -- and putting items in the room to kick-start it!

So this will keep me going for awhile...

I really have some great things that have been happening mini-wise but they'll have to wait for a day or two.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The AHA! Moment

My dear friend Joanne e-mailed me today writing "but when I was trying to get to sleep one night in the week I resolved a way of doing a vignette that I started many years ago!  So I want to work on it once I've got some things done around here (tree, etc.).  Such a simple solution but it took me this long to work it out!"

You know....

I started with a two story roombox that just ALMOST totally came together in May 2011. Everything worked except the actual bar on the lower floor! It wasn't until August 2012 that MY AHA! moment came and I could finally build the bar that made it all come together.

I really admire miniaturists who work on one project, finish it, then go on to another. I cannot do that. If you've followed my blog for any time at all, you know that. I have roughly ten projects that I'm working on at any time. Do a bit here, do a bit there, on long term projects and eventually one or two will come together.

Or, sometimes, one will explode into being!

As a follower, it will probably drive you nuts!...especially if it's a project that you're particularly interested in. And I post one thing you're interested in and then move on to something totally different. (IF YOU WANT ME TO EXPAND ON/EXPLAIN SOMETHING, PLEASE ASK!)

Before I started blogging about my projects, I'd post completed projects on groups and people would ask "how did you do that so fast?"

And I'd reply, "I had it in my head and collected for a couple years. When it all came together, it just looked to you like I made it in a couple days."

So I'm letting you "inside my head" but it's not a quick process!

I haven't included my photo site for a long time. Hope you'll check it out. One of my greatest AHA! Moments was my Dad' workshop.

Monday, December 9, 2013

We have WINNERS!!!

Phyllis from Oklahoma and Marilyn from New Brunswick entered the draw for the "Pantry/Kitchen Trash to Treasure" booklet. Rather than make a draw, they'll each be receiving a copy.

Oh, my, wish I could have mailed them today! It warmed up to -5 C - positively balmy. Supposed to be a bit cooler again tomorrow but still much warmer than a couple days ago.

...Which is good because I have to go to the post office tomorrow to pick up a parcel that I hope contains the stainless steel fridge and dishwasher I won on e-bay from Grandma Holly (seller id tolly03).

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sharing, PIOC, OFFER

I love the NAME motto: "Only through sharing can we really enjoy our treasures."

That really came home to me today as two readers commented on a much earlier post about using quilling to make miniature bowls.

Dawn told me that there is a dome shaped mold on Amazon that will work for minis bowls. Couldn't find it on but you can find all kinds of quilling tools, paper and accessories there also. Just search quilling. I found the quilling tool that I use at deSerres in West Edmonton Mall.

I can't find my pictures and/or the instructions for making your own quilling tool (not as good as purchased but good for our purposes) but essentially, you drill a hole in a piece of dowling, insert a heavy sewing/darning needle in it point first, then clip off the top of the eye of the needle. Joy Parker, bless her memory, used to have the instructions on her website.

Sorry, this is the best I can do.
Then Marilyn from New Brunswick commented "check out Kris Compass's blog at http://1inchminisby She has some great projects including making pottery and bowls from quilling."

What a great suggestion! Kris is one of the best!

PIOC! I'm a member/moderator of the online group Canada Minis. Once a year we have the Pass it on Challenge! Members look through their stashes and offer up extras or things they have decided they won't use and offer them up to other members. Generally, people are given a certain amount of time to enter a draw for the item/s. Because my stash is so large, I don't usually enter many of the draws anymore (the idea is mostly to benefit newbies to the hobby) but I did win two beautiful pieces of  plastic/cuttable mirror this year from Carolyn Brown of Maple Leaf Miniatures.You know may her work from the tea pot that was featured on  a cover of American Miniaturist magazine 

In that vein, I'm offering a copy of my booklet "Trash to Treasure: Kitchen/Pantry". This is a 30 page booklet with 15 pages of kitchen/pantry trash to treasure and an additional 15 pages of tutorials. 

Email me if you'd like to be included in a draw for the booklet. DEADLINE Monday, December 9, at 6:00 p.m. MST.

Friday, December 6, 2013

this and that

Weather: As I write, the temperature is -25 C with a windchill of -37 C. It's a bit nippy out there! For those of you in the U.S., -40 is -40 in both Fahrenheit and Celsius so you know it's blinking cold!

The snow has pretty much stopped falling although we're expecting flurries over the next few days but nothing like the snow that fell Sunday night and Monday:

I had swept my balcony on Sunday afternoon. By Tuesday morning, it looked like this!  You can't realize how much snow is on that railing until you look at the picture below (which is the railing on the right in the picture above).

When these pictures were taken!

I'm on the second floor of our building looking at the piles of snow that have been cleared from the parking lot of my mother's building. The pile of snow on the right was cleared up until the weekend - the pile on the left was from the weekend!
Wonderful Mini News! Got confirmation that the incredible miniature ring that Barb R. received in the MEE Christmas Party gift exchange

was indeed made by Natasha. This young woman who is incredibly new to miniatures does some of the best miniature food in 1:12 scale I have seen! She also does wonderful ageing and antiquing of furniture. AND she also loves working in 1:6 scale. When you check out her work in 1:6 scale, you will definitely realize why I refer to it as 1:6 as opposed to the popular "play scale". This is NOT playing with Barbies - it's an art form!

I have a couple little items on the go that I hope to show to you soon. One is the project we worked on at Sunni's two weeks ago and the other is one that I tried years ago and thought might be fun to show you.

RL has intruded to an unbelievable extent but I think that I've done enough work/photography along the way that I might be able to catch up a bit over the next few days.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A MEE Christmas Party

Oh, my, with the winter storms that we've been having, this was a touch and go night! But because the weather is only expected to get worse over the next week, the party went ahead as scheduled. Thanks to Barb's husband, Les, who drove us to the party and picked us up later so Joanne didn't have to drive.

We were blessed that Judi R. was able to join us, having just been discharged after some months in hospital and that Dolores C. joined us on an evening pass from hospital.

Lucille is setting out the 15 big donated items from former and current MEE members for the big draw! Each attendee at the party was given 10 slips of paper. You could write your own name on each slip or pass extras on to newbies. The slips of paper were then dropped in the paper bags in front of each donated item that you wanted to try to win.

 Tables all set up for dinner:
 Lil, Laurie and Laurie visiting a bit.
 Debbie M. and Joanne R. heating appetizers in the kitchen.

(below left) Maureen M. brought in this lovely little Christmas scene for display.

(below right) Each year, the club supplies two or three trees and members who wish to bring three mini ornaments and enter their names in a draw. The winners get a tree and a share of the ornaments. Jillian won one of the trees last year and brought her decorated tree for 'show and tell'. Tina had a hard time finding trees this year for the club's donation and she found what she called "Charlie Brown" trees. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of them - or of the donated ornaments. (It gets worse - I can't recall who won the new trees!)

Let's face it! When miniaturists get together, we like our food! And in years past, we have always had WAY too much of it. So this year, we changed the sign up sheet a bit. If you volunteered to set up or clean up, you didn't bring food.

In the past, we've had full potluck dinners and dinners catered by the Church women but the last couple years, we've gone with just appetizers, desserts and punch.

The appetizer tables with only about two thirds of the offerings set out.

The dessert and punch table:
 Just visiting and selecting our table places.
 After we had started eating, Maureen M. (on the left) drew names for the winners of the first five big freebie draws:

We had a 15 question test on our knowledge of Christmas songs/carols. Our table was SO sure we had won with 13/15 (thanks to Debbie M.) but we didn't :-(  Tina had a wonder gift package of glue applicators for each member of the winning table - and had three left over so she awarded them to the three newbies at our table.

After dinner, we moved to another section of the hall for the gift exchange. On chairs in a circle, we sat with gifts in hand while Joanne R. read a miniature version of a gift exchange story that she had found online.

While we were still in the circle, Joanne R. read us "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus"

Then we returned to our seats at the tables and checked out everyone's gifts. I only got a few pictures.
Barb R. received this lovely food plate on a ring and two Bonnie Lavish flower kits.

Someone received this gorgeous Christmas tree by Jillian K.

Pretty sure this was done by Teresa 

Joanne made this wonderful Santa's cupboard!

Maureen M. received all these great snack foods from Tina M.

Sunni, breaking up as she reads the winners of the Darwin Awards!

Drawing the names of the last of the winners of the 15 freebies!
 Don't know whether it's good or bad that I didn't win even one of those draws....probably for the best....but there certainly were some lovely things...none of which I really needed!

Early in the evening we had all been asked for our suggestions for a name for the Campsite that will be our focus of the SHOW at the September 21, 2014 Show and Sale. The suggestions had been posted on the wall and during the circle we had been given small post-its to attach to our choice.

And (trumpet sound) the display at the September 2014 Show and Sale will be "A-Camping MEE will go!" as suggested by Barb S. (I think Barb S. also came up with our "Little Fair on the Prairie" slogan two years ago.

For a couple years now, Barb S. has made birthday gifts for each member of MEE so at the Christmas party, we acknowledge that by putting together a gift bag for her. Each member brings a small gift for Barb. (Another missed picture.)

The evening ended with Joanne R. reading us "The Polar Express"

My gift tonight was this great cooler from Lucille! Love it!

This is SUCH a great idea! Joanne suggested these to Tina and Tina printed them up for all of us!

When a club selects a project and work begins on it, you print out a label such as this and IMMEDIATELY slap it on the bottom of the project! Begin the history.....

Trineke gave me these lovely Christmas plates that will be just perfect on the plate rail in the Christmas shop!

Just a couple afterthoughts:

About 20 - 25 of us showed up -

What?! And the sign-up schedule? The appetizers almost totally worked out! Hardly anything left!

Desserts! Surprisingly a lot left! (maybe a fewer signups there - selection was good)

Punch was great!

Maybe look at a couple more set up and a several more clean up? And add coffee/tea set up somewhere in there?