Friday, May 10, 2013

Possible new book of Kupjack Miniatures

You'll recall how excited I was to finally see the Thorne Rooms while I was in Chicago. Eugene Kupjack was the major artisan on the 37 American rooms in the collection. Although he died in 1991 at the age of 79, his sons, Henry (Hank) and Jay have kept the studio bearing his name active. Aside from the Thorne Rooms, there are approximately 600 Kupjack rooms in existence. (A few years ago, some members of our miniature club were lucky enough to actually meet Hank at the Kupjack Studios. Sadly, I wasn't one of them...)

One of the pieces of literature available at the Tom Bishop Chicago International Show was this letter from Henry Kupjack who is attempting to raise funds through the arts project fundraising website Kickstarter. The expected cost of publishing the book is $100,000.

You can be involved in the project for a donation as little as $1.00 or, if you win the lottery, you could donate the entire $100,000. VBG  Much like a PBS fundraiser, there are 'gifts' for various levels of donation. The difference with Kickstarter is that your donation isn't processed until the full goal is reached.

So far, almost $6,000 has been pledged BUT there are only 14 days left in the campaign.

To learn more check it out.

I have made a $50.00 donation and if the project comes together, I'll receive a soft-cover copy of the book.

This is a really important project to me. I think that the Kupjack legacy deserves to be preserved in a book as opposed to piecemeal recognition in miniature magazines.

But I, like so many miniaturists, don't have much disposable income. So I really welcome the opportunity to be part of this.

Oh, my, can you just imagine being able to donate $500 and getting a limited edition Kupjack piece?

We all have our 'miniature money' priorities and if this is not one of your choices or abilities, I totally recognize that.

But it is important to me to let you know that the option is there.


Thursday, May 9, 2013


The new Target store opened in St. Albert yesterday. I've always been a fan so I was there when the store opened. The best thing I found was this pencil case for 69 cents. Oh, my, it will hold SO many small things in a tool box - pencils, scissors, X-acto knives, 6" rule....

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New York City

Packed up Saturday night after dinner. Tina kindly offered to take my jeweller's saw, the pieces of glass and my books home in her checked luggage so I was able to continue my trip with just carry-on. Went for an early breakfast then spent some time with Tina, Erika and Lucille before heading to the airport for the flight to New York City.

Arrived at JFK at 4 p.m. but due to a misunderstanding with the shuttle company and traffic, didn't meet Leanne at our hotel until about 7:30. I only have a 'pay as you go' cell phone which is useless in the States so couldn't even let Leanne know that all was well.

Leanne had arrived a couple days earlier plus she's a big 'planner' so she had already seen one Broadway show (Book of Mormon) and done a fair bit of exploring. We stayed at the Salisbury Hotel, across from Carnegie Hall and just a couple blocks from Central Park. 85 years old but immaculate and wonderful staff.

Dropped off my luggage and went out to see Times Square and grab something to eat.

Monday, April 22 Headed out at 10 a.m. to Central Park, Strawberry Fields and the Dakota. Then back through Central Park to Museum Mile. The Metropolitan Museum is closed on Mondays so couldn't go there. The Guggenheim was open but we hadn't looked into what was on display there so we went farther down to the Jewish Museum. The Six Things exhibit was very interesting and thought-provoking. Other than that, we were quite disappointed in the first rooms we visited as the displays and information about them were quite a distance apart. But the exhibits we saw later were much easier to view and incredibly interesting.

When we left there, we had an incredibly interesting conversation about children's literature. Leanne is very knowledgeable in that area and I learned a lot from her.

We had to stop in at FAO Schwarz and check it out. They do have a dollhouse miniature section but after Chicago it seemed pretty mundane.

Then on to St. Patrick's Cathedral. It's currently undergoing a huge restoration so you can't see the totality of its beauty and majesty but it's a very moving place to visit.

Next stop was the Amsterdam Theater where we got tickets to see "Chicago" that night. (Good price and excellent seats!)

After seven solid hours of walking, we finally stopped and had some dinner. Then we went to the M&M store for awhile then back to the theatre.

The lead, Roxie Hart, was played that night by Paige Davis, whom you may remember as the hostess of early episodes of the design show, Trading Spaces. She was great in the role and it was nice to see her fulfilling her dream of performing on Broadway.

It was my first Broadway show and couldn't have been a better experience.

Tuesday, April 23 A couple months ago, I got us tickets to a taping of the ABC cooking/talk show "The Chew". I'm not much of a cook myself but Leanne is an excellent cook and baker. And the Food Channel is one of her favourites so she was thrilled to have a chance to see Chefs Symon and Batali in person. The show is taped at the studio at 30W 67th Street so not a bad walk from the hotel. We HAD to be there by 10:45 a.m. but actually arrived shortly before 10 - and we weren't first in line. It was chilly but not raining! Waited outside until 11 then moved in to the green room where we supplied with bottled water and granola bars.

About 11:45, we moved into the studio and were put through our "audience" paces. I had really hoped that Leanne would get a seat at the tasting table but that didn't happen.

Olympic figure skater, Brian Boitano, was the guest chef and each audience member got a copy of his cookbook "What Would Brian Boitano Make?". Some good recipes!

The show is taped in real time so it started at noon and taping ended at 1 p.m. We were kept about 15 minutes longer to do more clapping so each section of the audience could be filmed separately.

It was an interesting experience but you see the show better on TV than from the studio audience.

It will be aired tomorrow, May 9.

Went back to the hotel then took a cab to Macy's. Had some lunch there then looked around. Built in 1902, Macy's Herald Square was the first building in the world to have the modern day escalator. The wooden escalators are still in use today! Leanne has been, I think she said, on the longest and most vertical escalators but this one was a weird experience for her.

Leanne found a sweater that she liked but we were running a bit short on time as we had theatre tickets for 7 p.m. so cut our shopping short.

On our way back to Broadway, we stopped at a Skechers shoe store and found some great walking shoes on sale "buy one pair, get second pair 50% off". We waited for about 10 minutes while they looked for our sizes but the music was just so loud we had to leave before we were served. This volume was an issue in almost all the stores we visited on Times Square.

Went to dinner then to see "Jersey Boys". The Four Seasons were one of my favourite musical groups during my high school days so I really LOVED the music. Their story was told wonderfully throughout the show from the viewpoint of each of the group members. GREAT show!!!

Wednesday, April 24  Up early and headed straight to the Grey Line Tours shop where we got 2-day passes then headed out on our first tour of the day!  

We headed out on the hop on: hop off Downtown Tour which includes Greenwich Village, Times Square, Empire State Building, Flatiron building, Union Square, Soho, Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side, East Village, and Rockefeller Center. It was really interesting to realize how very much more you could see from the top of the two decker bus PLUS being ON the street as opposed to being on the sidewalk. 

Hopped off the bus to pay our respects at the 9/11 Memorial. Once you begin the journey at the information centre, it's a LONG time until you get there. (And a friend mentioned today that the Boston Marathon bombings might have influenced our experience.) Once you make it through security, it's very beautiful. SO sad to read the names of those who were killed. BUT there is hope in the tree that survived. It was in full bloom while we were there and such a harbinger of peace and hope.

After leaving the Memorial, we went to St. Paul's Chapel which served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site. I don't have words to describe our feelings...especially as we personally know one of the rescue workers, Andy Kwok of the Salvation Army.

(For those of you who were on Small Stuff Digest at the time of 9/11, I saved all the digests from that time and have them in a duotang binder. Terrible slice of life. Along similar lines, Leanne has a friend who has often run the Boston Marathon. There was much concern among her friends until they confirmed that she had not been there this year. Just yesterday I found out that a group of students and teachers from the school where I used to work had been in Boston during the bombing.)

Let's pause a moment to remember all the souls lost to terrorism.

Got back on the tour, saw and heard a lot of NYC history.

Got back near our hotel then went back out on the Night Tour. We left about 5 p.m. so didn't see all the night lights but went across the Manhattan Bridge to the Brooklyn...and back again. 


Thursday, April 25
Oh, my goodness! This is our last full day in NYC and we haven't begun to see everything we had hoped to see. But we got off to an early bus tour start with the Uptown Loop: Central Park West, Lincoln Center, Dakota Apartments, American Museum of Natural History, Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Grant's Tomb, Apollo Theater, Harlem Market, The Museum Mile, Fifth Avenue.

Got back to our hotel area and went to the Carnegie Deli for lunch. OOH MY... Now be prepared because they only take cash... We decided to go with the shared platter...Think it was about $26... half buns with  2 each of chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, shrimp salad....OMG...there was at LEAST one cup of each filling on each half bun...................The leftovers filled two takeout packages.  The coconut cream pie (my weakness) was at least 5" tall! Now that was more mousse than custard filling so was a bit lighter to eat than I had expected.  (We did take the leftovers back to the hotel before we headed out for the rest of the day!) Leanne said if we had discovered this at the beginning of the trip, we would have had lunch there and taken the rest back to the hotel for dinner each day..

Aside from the incredible food...and incredible portions!..this is one of the places that has autographed pictures of celebrities all over the walls. As we waited for our food, we discovered that one of the pictures just behind me was of Rob Edmonton radio personality!!

We took the bus tour back to Macy's where they had a HUGE plus size department. Leanne did some major shopping there. (If you go to the basement of Macy's to the Visitor center, you can get a coupon for 25% off your purchases if you're out of country and 10% if you're out of state!)

We got a bit misdirected when we left Macy's and were looking for the Duck Tape store we had seen the day before but we finally found it - INCREDIBLE selection and prices at least half of here - and visited a bead store along the way. The bead store was great but a bit overwhelming so I didn't buy anything.

Getting back to the hotel got a bit problematic as the NFL draft was taking place and we had to fight our way through those crowds.

But we made it through, stopped at Toys R Us where they had a sale (!?!) on Lego. Leanne texted Sean to see what she should buy for Jonah and reply.... But I found my Nanoblocks NOT 1:12 but really small...and love them!

Left there and went back to the hotel. Just settled in when Sean returned Leanne's text...So BLESS HER HEART, she went back to the store and picked up the  Legos that Jonah and Holly would like.

Friday, April 26

A VERY early day! Leanne and I took different flights out but both from JFK so got on the shuttle at 5:30. 

One of the first times in my life, I picked up a bottle of Scotch at Duty Free. Received it, of course, as I boarded my flight to Toronto so put it in my carry-on.

Got to Toronto...deplaned and since I had a couple hours, went outside for a cigarette!! Then went back through security where, OF COURSE, I can't take the Scotch through on carry-on! Security was very understanding about the whole thing.... but I had to go out, repack, check one bag (Love WestJet - no problem - very understanding) then go through security again. PITA!

Flight left on time but was 1/2 hour late arriving in Edmonton then had to wait for my checked bag  but DBIL  Grahame was very patient...

Got home to find the outdoor key access to the condo had been changed (not unexpectedly) but found a friend who would let me in so HOME AT LAST!!!

Called my Mom, Leanne, Sean and my sisters to let them know I was home and all was well!

Thank you to all who have followed me through this journey. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. And DD Leanne is the absolute best trip companion I ever could have had. 

I'm sorry I didn't have many pictures to show you. I get caught up in the moment and forget about getting the camera out.  But I did try to include as many internet links as I could which would give you much more information and much better pictures than I could ever have taken.

It's been a long odyssey...and each of these posts has taken about 5 hours to I hope you've enjoyed the trip.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chicago - part 3

First thing Saturday morning we all headed to Pete and Pam Boornum's table to get some of the tools that I had bought the previous afternoon on Tina's advice.

Then Tina, Erika, Lucille and I went to Gloria Bogulas's table. Tina and I had met Gloria previously at the Phoenix Show and Sale last year and through our friend, Dottie, Gloria had told us that she would have a small gift for us if we all showed up at her table together. WOW! Did she ever! She gifted each of us with a beautiful sterling silver SW plate.

Strangely enough, the items I bought from Gloria weren't SW. I was thrilled to get the miniature of the Remington bronze (upper right) and The Pieta (lower left). The nutcracker (lower middle) is great  (haven't decided if it will replace the nutcracker in The Penthouse or go in Vern's Attic).

I've seen a lot of miniature hammers over the years and this is so 'right' that I had to have it!

Went back to Volker Arnold's table where he was demonstrating his wares to Liz Dieleman of Grandpa's Dollhouse. Had been looking for Liz as I wanted to give her a copy of my Kitchen/Pantry Trash to Treasure Book. Passed that on and she bought a lot of Arnold's items for the store and I bought a couple pieces for myself.

The big pieces are wonderful Christmas lanterns that I expect to electrify and use in the Christmas shop. Lower right are the most incredible little Christmas trees that I bought just because they're so darned (ah, you thought I would say cute - which they are ) perfect...

Oh, my, I finally got to meet Phyllis Tucker! AND see her incredible chandeliers! AND spend my Christmas money from Sean and Julie on the Phyllis Tucker chandelier kit of my dreams!

At Thursday night S&T, Tina showed these incredible cut brass edgings from a woman from Mexico. I went and got three then went back and got four more. They're beautiful and I have some great ideas  to use them.

Deb Laue at Dragonfly  One of my favourite dealers:

I bought several hinge and lock pieces for luggage. Then I found this wonderful pull toy for Vern's attic that my kids had when they were small .

Picked up this kitchen tool set for Barb who condo-sat for me:


On to Wright Guide...Wonderful place to shop/. First shopped there at Dallas about ten years ago. Excellent for theme shopping. Found these for Vern's attic.
 Found these next to Dragonfly (I think): The milk can for the attic, the door knocker (for Barb to match the one on her door) and the red cake plate (just because I like it)

 Absolutely no idea why I bought this book cover kit...but I did.

I knew I wouldn't be back in the morning so I went back to the Sobel's table for one last look....

At 5:30 I went to the IGMA presentation.

When that ended, I went to the Saturday night Camp meeting. Caught up with more Campers then went to dinner with a group of them. Was fortunate to sit with Paula, Missy, Wanna and her daughter, Dana.

What an incredible week!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Chicago - part 2

Friday, April 19 FINALLY, Preview Day!!!

While at breakfast, met Lynne from Vancouver Island who came to our table and introduced herself.
Had a chance to see Liz, Kelly, Judith, Iris and Debbie while lining up to get in. Huge lineup but once the doors were opened it moved very quickly.

As we filed in, I was pleased to see that despite health issues, Jeremy Paul from Florida had made it with his house under construction. Jeremy builds his houses like RL houses, studs and all. Very impressive!

My first stop was to see Alice Zinn in the Doll Room. Joanne had given me a gift certificate  (a first for Alice!)  for my birthday and I used it to help buy a pair of Alice's glass (with a case) and a bamboo plant.

We had made plans to meet in the lobby at noon to head over to the 3 Blind Mice show so I took a quick walk around the Doll Room then hit a couple aisles in the Orange Room.

One of the first tables inside the Orange Room is that of Ferd Sobol Editions. You've probably seen this work in the miniature magazines. It is magnificent and I must admit my eyes misted a bit discussing the pieces with Millie and Ferd. Unless I win the lottery, I'll never be able to afford a piece but just seeing it in person made my day.

Gloria Bogulas from Tucson was a couple tables down. I met her last year at the Phoenix Show and Sale so was great to see her again. More about her later.

Arnold Volker from Germany was next to Gloria and I stopped by to pass on greetings from Barb S. who is a member of our club and buys from him on a regular basis.

I next stopped at Pete and Pam Boornum's Smaller Than Life intending to buy some tools Tina had recommended after taking their marquetry chest class. Then I looked at my watch and realized I had to get moving in order to meet the others for the trip to the Three Blind Mice Show.

As I was leaving to meet the others in the lobby, I spotted Storyteller and Miniaturist, Wanna in El Paso. Wanna is one of my heros in miniatures, both for her storytelling and trash to treasure abilities. We've corresponded sporadically over the years and meeting her was on my "must do" list so that was a highlight of my day!

With the flooding, we had to take some detours to get to the show.

Thanks to April Gill of Wildwood, we had a coupon for $1 off on admission to the Three Blind Mice Show. With the demise of the IMA Show, the 3BM Show had about 130 dealers in four rooms this year. AND every attendee got a small mini on entrance!

There were some lovely pieces here and my friends who work in 1:48 scale found some great things. As for me, although I swore I would not buy any more fabric and/or trims, I just could not resist...found some beautiful pieces at incredible prices ...
Most of these packages were $1.50! The most expensive was the smallest package of red trim at $3.00.
Then back to the Tom Bishop Show...

I've sort of lost track of what I bought at the Tom Bishop Show on Friday or Saturday so this may get a bit skewed.

I made a point of visiting Peter Tucker from Vancouver. Aside from his miniatures, which I love!, Peter has been generous enough to make available to fellow miniaturists a scale conversion chart that when downloaded to your computer, allows you to enter a RL measurement and automatically convert it to any of three scales. This is probably one of the most useful tools available to me as a miniaturist and although I've e-mailed my thanks several times, it was really important to me to thank Peter in person for it AND tell him how much I admire his work.

I got some nice pieces from the Heidi Ott stall.
Sean's saxaphone for the attic, a table lamp for the Bombay House living room, a hat that I can hopefully bash into a fedora for the detective's office and some very fine chain that will work as pull chains on the attic light.
(Saw a sad side of miniatures here...a rather imperious woman tried to bully the man at Heidi Ott into accepting a cheque. Glad he stood his ground but hope it didn't cost him a $300 sale.)

LXL Miniatures from Spain had incredible work at some of the most reasonable prices I saw. I bought a beautiful jewellery stand from her

and would have loved to have bought one of her Meerschaum pipes (under $10) but just had no place to put it.

Near the end of the day I made it back to the Boornum's table and bought the tools that Tina had suggested the night before and a glue bottle.

First on the left allows you to sand mitred corners, middle: equal measurements; glue bottle
They didn't have any more of the sanding blocks for mitres on the table but Pete went back to their room to get more for a customer who wouldn't be there on Saturday so I was able to get one when he returned just as the salesroom closed..


As much as I wanted to attend the Tom Bishop Show, I knew that, for me, the highlight of the trip would be attending the meeting of The Camp for our 10th anniversary. It was a bittersweet get-together in that W. Marie (Camp Den Mother) and Jazzi (a Camp member from Australia) wouldn't be there for health reasons.

Tom and Leni Bishop sponsored the get-together and were acknowledged with a beautifully-written note from DM Marie.

In DM Marie's absence, the gathering was hosted by Bev with much help from Lynne and Paula.

You might recall the books that I made for this. I took about 60 and gave out about 50 that night so it was a good turnout.

I received these lovely gifts from other Campers:

Top: sand and seashells in bottle from Heather; Far left: stained glass from Adrian:  Round Tuit from Paula: pipe cleaner teddy bear from (sorry, don't recall), and Camp coffee mug from Bev

Books from Wanna
Heather on the left and Lynne (with her halo) on the right.

Grandma Holly on the far right

Bev (with the devil horns) on the left, Lynne (with the halo) and Paula (far right)

top back: Tom Bishop

Bev (top left), Lynne (with the halo) Wanna (bottom left) and Jeremy (middle)

I can't begin to list the names of all the wonderful people I met that I had only known previously through the group for fear I'll forget someone.

But I do want to acknowledge Irene Holloway. She was late arriving on Friday night and I was SO glad to still be there when she came in. Irene and I did a swap years and years ago (at least 12) and since then I've bought several things from her on e-bay through Pat Morrison. It was such a joy to finally get to meet her in person.

So sorry I've been slow on the updates here. After I got home and shelved the books in the library, I ended up with about a dozen new books to read so that sort of got me on a different path. Tomorrow is filled with a visit, condo coffee and condo board meeting so don't know when I'll have a chance to post.