Friday, November 30, 2012

One of those things....mitre box

Joanne and I were talking the other night and she brought this to my attention:

One of club members had said "why didn't you tell me this"

Our reaction was "we didn't know you didn't know it"

Which wasn't fair to either of us, in a way, because there are some things that you just learn over time - they become automatic and you forget that you never knew them...

In this regard, I didn't realize this for a LONG time and now I've, sort of, forgotten that I never knew it:

The mitre box has a lower lip on one side that butts along a straight edge of a working counter/table to hold it in place while you saw.

If I'm cutting more than one piece of wood, I will sometimes clamp the mitre box in place with either a C-clamp or the adjustable clamp shown here.

So please forgive us when we take things for granted....

And PLEASE ask us the questions.....

Between us we will all work it out and enjoy the hobby much, much more....

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Odds and ends...

I have two books that Vern's sister, Marie, read to him when he was young. They're from a series written between 1853 and 1858 "Rollo's Tour in Europe": "Rollo on the Atlantic" and "Rollo in Scotland". From the preface: "The books are intended to be books of instruction rather than of mere amusement; and in perusing them, the reader may feel assured that all the information which they contain, not only in respect to the countries visited, and to the customs, usages, and modes of life that are described, but also in regard to the general character of the incidents and adventures that the young travellers meet with, is in most strict accordance with fact."

I'm sending them to Jonah and Holly - not because I think they'll enjoy reading them (they're a bit dry and preachy) but so they have something of Vern's. But before they go in the mail, I scanned the covers and made miniature copies of them to go in the attic.

I wouldn't be sending them now but Holly's birthday is coming up and she's having a "fairy princess" party so after e-mails with Julie, I made a set of "fairy dust" necklaces for her and her guests.

I refilled a set of the nail art mini bottles from Dollarama with very fine glitter (the same glitter I used on the Christmas stocking the other day), added some nail decals to the fronts of the bottles, and added cords so they can be worn as necklaces.

On Saturday at 9 a.m., we're putting up the Christmas trees and decorations in the condo building then Barb, Joanne and I will be working on our minis.  I should plan on working on the attic but I still don't have my gift made for the MEE Christmas party next Tuesday so that will probably be on my agenda. First, of course, I have to decide what to make......VBG

1. I thought about making a fireplace and decorating it for Christmas (centrepiece, candlesticks, maybe some draped greenery, maybe bows?)...Then I found this in my stash BUT if I use it, there's nothing of 'me' in it - just putting things together from my stash...

2. OR maybe doing a sofa table decorated for Christmas - can't use the one shown as I drilled a hole in the top when I planned on using it as a vanity with an above-table sink but I do have another one (the red Dollarama furniture) that I can use...

3. OR I could use a refinished oval red Dollarama furniture coffee table (not shown here) and put a gift, box, ribbons, scissors, bows, tapes and wrapping paper for a Christmas gift wrapping scene... Something like this Actually a good idea as the table could be switched with the usual one in a living room to make it "Christmasy"...

4. OR I could put handles on this Michael's hutch and fill it with (a) towels, Kleenex, toiletries, etc., or (b) maybe Christmas dishes and ornaments that could be removed and used in other scenes.

I think I'm liking #3...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Newbie sub-club

Our club Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton meets on the first Tuesday of the month for a workshop and the third Tuesday of the month for a general meeting. In addition to that, there is a sub-club working in 1:48 scale that meets at Tina's on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

When I started in this hobby almost 35 years ago, I didn’t know anyone who did miniatures, didn’t know about Nutshell News, and the only time I got to a miniature store was on an occasional trip to California. I had some wonderful books that guided me but that was it. When I discovered Small Stuff miniature digest on the internet, I thought the world was my oyster. There were other people like me out there … and they could and did teach me so much! Then I was lucky enough to find MEE and actually interact personally with fellow miniaturists! 

But when you are new to miniatures and are fortunate enough to find a club, you may feel sort of behind the eight ball coming into a club where so many of the members have been doing this for decades.  Pretty daunting...And believe me, I know how it feels. 

I’m no expert – more of a jack of all trades and master of none. But I’ve gained a certain amount of experience over the years and I’m pretty good at finding answers – and have ‘met’ a lot of people over the years who will help me find answers.

With that in mind, I offered to host any new members who were interested in a sub-club meeting once a month in my home to discuss/try techniques, trash to treasure, anything they might want to try.

Since it wasn't a good time for me on the second Tuesday of November, I called an initial meeting for tonight  mostly to discuss some of the things I thought we might try to do in the future and maybe make a couple Christmas ornaments.

The timing may have confused people as there wasn't a very good turnout but we had fun and found a lot of answers to questions so I felt it was a success.

Trineke is from Holland and has always thought in metric so working in the Imperial measurements of 1:12 can be a bit confusing for her. And since I was raised in Imperial, the conversion to 1:12 scale is just so automatic that I find it hard to explain it to someone raised in metric. But that is where Peter Tucker came to our rescue! Peter, who is an incredible miniature artist/builder, has gifted miniaturists with a scale conversion chart that you can download to your computer. Once you've saved it to your computer, you can enter a RL measurement in the chart and have it automatically converted to the measurement in one of several scales. 

One of the things that came up was painting Chrysnbon furniture - something I know nothing about! BUT I know enough to go to and put Chrysnbon in the Search engine. 

I had planned a project that we didn't actually do but I had done it so could explain it. I found some Christmas stockings on the internet. I copied them to a document then copied them again and flipped them horizontally. (Four sets of them shown here.)

I cut out the two matching stockings
TIP:  When you're cutting out something, turn the paper - not the scissors!
Using a toothpick, run a fine strip of glue around the sides and bottom of the stocking
 Glue the sides of the stocking together.

In this case, I put a layer of glue over the 'fur' part of the stocking and dipped it in a pile of sparkle. You could use a bit of suede paper to simulate fur, or fancy it up with strips of cell phone or fingernail decorations.

(When you glue the stockings together, you end up with a white edge on the paper, so you can take a red (in this case) or other appropriate colour marker to recolour that.) Or you can run a piece of red, green, gold or silver thread around it...

Tuck a candy cane inside the stocking to emphasize the dimension of it. Or you could find  picture of a teddy bear (or anything else), resize it, and tuck it the top of the stocking.

If you would like me to send you a .pdf file of the stockings, please comment and give me your address like this: mheucher at so I can just replace the space properly.

 We didn't get around to making Christmas ornaments but here a couple hints for working with very tiny things:

TIP: To place very small beads, lick the end of a piece of spaghetti, touch it to the bead and put it in place.

TIP:  Glue some low pile velvet/dollhouse carpet to a piece of wood or matboard. Use this on your work surface to hold beads, nails, anything small, in place so they won't roll off your working surface. (Three of them shown here.)


Hi, Susanne in Denmark. Thanks for being here...hope this gives you some ideas...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dollarama and revised living room

I was at Dollarama on Friday and found a couple wonderful things:

This great bag of about 3/16" balls comes in both gold and silver. How wonderful to glue on branches of a miniature Christmas tree!

And this wonderful Santa suit! Not quite 1:12 scale but works with so many possibilities: I'll put this in display and/or in a box in my Christmas shop

Friday, November 23, 2012

quick note

YES!!!  I finished the miniature afghan for Vern's attic...still haven't cleaned up the threads from changing colours but it's finished and as soon as I get that done, I'll take a picture and show it to you.

Actually, I finished the actual knitting last night....

But as I was working on it night before last, I decided to make some changes to my RL living room so that has taken up most of my time the last couple days.

I didn't take 'before' pictures as I thought my family and friends would know what before looked liked but the changes are really affecting how my minis are displayed so wish I had done that.

Anyway, still working on finalizing that so minis have to wait for now....

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pop/Soda Bottle

You'll note that I put "pop/soda" in the title. I don't think I realized that there was such a regional choice of names for carbonated soft drinks until Leanne moved to Texas where the generic name is neither pop nor soda, but Coke! For those of you who are as interested in trivia as I am, the Canadian statistics are here and the U.S. are here.

Trivia aside, until about a year ago I drank Diet Pepsi by the gallon! And therefore always had plenty of empty 2 litre bottles around. I thought I was quite innovative and thinking out of the box when I would cut the tops off, punch two holes in them, and use them for storing like items on the 4' x 8' pegboard that I have on my workroom wall.

At our meeting on Tuesday night, Joanne R. mentioned this blog she had seen on using pop bottles to enclose miniature scenes and keep them dust free! It is truly inspired!

One of the concerns with making a miniature vignette as a gift is the ability of the recipient to keep it dust free. There are some Ferraro Rocher containers that work for this but you can't always find them and they're not always tall enough.

Using a two litre pop bottle has SO many possibilities height wise so that's a great advantage. One thing I might suggest if you choose to do a shorter top from the pop bottle is that you mark your cutting line with a cutting guide of masking tape to ensure a straight, even line.

At this time of year, you might even want to pick up a box of appropriate size clear (or even silver or coloured) Christmas ornaments to keep on hand for use throughout the year for the top "bell" handle.

If you don't drink enough pop that you have access to empty 2 litre bottles, check with friends who recycle... maybe they can help. In my case, I know the people who look after bottle recycling in my building...I'm sure I can buy empty bottles from them for the recycling deposit.

Thanks so much to Marilyn in Regina for this incredible idea!

Last night's Show and Tell

We have Show and Tell at our general meetings of MEE (third Tuesday of the month)...but I usually forget my camera...but fortunately for you, remembered it last night!

First of all, I was thrilled to receive a gift from Natasha.

 Beautiful basket (with even a coordinating ribbon running through the basket) filled with six of the loveliest cupcakes - some with cherries and some with roses. The cupcakes are even in  the fluted papers! Such beautiful work. If you haven't already visited her blog, please do so and enter the draw for not one but three incredible miniatures from her!

I displayed my loveseat and chair by Janet Harvie, my Brockhurst cabinet, my Greg Matuvosky silver picture frame, the mounted moosehead, the coffee maker and the counter that I bought at Bowmanville.

Holly displayed the "Princess and the Pea" bed she had made. And yes, there is a pea (well, a green bead) under the bottom mattress! Year before last, the club's summer excursion was to Holly's to see her incredible collection.

Joanne R. has been busy lately and displayed these four secret books done from Robin Betterley kits. (Each book is about 2" tall!)

Members Carol K. and June K. attended the IGMA tinsmithing class with Alan Hamer in Portland OR. These are Carol's pieces from the class. Aren't they incredible!

Lucille L. brought in six of her dolls. The two upper right are ones that she dressed. The one in green she purchased from the instructor who taught dressing the other two and the two below. The witch in the foreground is by Jamie Carrington.

Lucille also dressed these two dolls in classes. My favourite is the "My Fair Lady at Ascot" on the left.

 Lucille bought this Johannes Landman portrait at the IGMA auction in, I think, Philadelphia.

Laurie H. was in Europe in September and brought back these lovely Reutter pieces. She also brought back a set of dental instruments (with working syringe and even the small piece with the mirror on the end  LOL) that she found in a small shop somewhere. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fellow blogger....

My friend and MEE member, Natasha, has this wonderful blog about the miniature baking and other miniatures that she does. Those of you who have been following me for a while know that food is one thing that I do NOT make. Fimo is not my friend. VBG So I really admire people who work with it - and do it well.

It's hard to believe that Natasha has only been involved in miniatures for a very short time. Her rejects are 100 times better than my very best. So I'm really looking forward to having her as a dealer at our 2013 show on September 15. It's been a couple years since we've had a dealer at the show who carries only food.

The immediate great news is that she has a wonderful giveaway on her blog right now so I hope you'll check it out!

For those of you who make your own food with polymer clay, although Mary Eccher, IGMA Artisan, passed away on October 25, 2007, her family still keeps her website up and in addition to all the ‘recipes’ she shared in Nutshell News, there are several pages of her recipes on the website.


Got the MEE newsletter out this morning, knit some more on the afghan (it's getting to the point where I'm terrified that it'll come off the needle and be lost forever) and added a couple pages to the MEE member handbook.

I think I mentioned the handbook before, but just in passing:

I'm quite pleased with it. Chockful of membership information and other odds and ends.

  • Membership and project information
  • Miniature organizations
  • Basic tool kit
  • Online miniature groups
  • Favourite miniature websites
  • Shopping
  • Trash to Treasure ideas
  • Blank pages for notes
  • Membership list

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My wonderful find for the attic

Forgot to tell you about this...and it arrived over a month ago!!

Bought this incredible miniature tool box complete with tools through Pat M. on e-bay. I don't buy a great deal on e-bay but when I do, it's almost always through Pat. And I have always been VERY pleased with my purchases and the service.

It will be just perfect for the attic once I get it all cleaned up, primed and painted.

Have been reading a lot (what else is new???) but have been alternating reading with knitting so the afghan is about half done!

Need to finish the club newsletter tomorrow and get it out in preparation for our meeting on Tuesday.

Boy! Our Christmas party is only a couple weeks ago and I still don't have a gift ready for that...have to put my thinking cap on soon I guess.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Getting back in the mini groove..../weather report

I have at least accomplished some work on the mini afghan...

But I timed it and it takes me about 8 minutes to knit one row and at that rate, it'll take me about 12 - 14 hours to finish it to the size I want/need it....never should have done THAT math!!!

Joanne and I are having the same problem focussing on the actual building of the room so think we're going to have to get together some day soon and get the actual room done.

In the mean time, I have several small items I should/could be making to put in it and maybe if I start working on those, I'll get my act together.

Weather report: When I arrived home from Ontario last Wednesday, I came home to 18" of snow!!! (Record snowfall since 1942) My BIL Grahame couldn't pick me up at the airport because he couldn't get out of their driveway. I was lucky in that my flight was early enough that the snow on the freeway home hadn't yet frozen.

That evening, this was the picture off my 2nd floor balcony of the parking lot at Mom's place next door. Between the two fir trees is one of three piles of snow in their parking lot from just enough clearing to allow emergency vehicles to come through.

On Thursday, my DS Carol and DBIL Fred came out from the Peace River country and stayed at Mom's place on their way to Arizona. Weather/roads were still bad so they spent Friday night at my place and headed out south on Saturday.

On Sunday morning when I got up, the temperature was -20 C.

The last few days we've had highs of 5C so it's been quite pleasant but roads and sidewalks are icy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Slow going...

For some reason, I just can't seem to get going on the attic project. I think mostly because I hate building the actual project but feel guilty about working on the inside pieces before the setting is done.

Anyway, today I got thinking about the afghan I made for Vern. When Sean and Leanne were 5 and 3, we took a 3 - 4 month trip through the western states in the motor home we owned at the time. As we drove, I knit the afghan.

This is such a great stitch - and very simple! It's a simple repeat of 7 stitches. I've long lost the instructions
and the closest I've found is a four stitch repeat that is lacier. It's very nice but not the one I used on the afghan and would love to find again.

In my stash, I found the matching green and off-white crochet cottons - but no orange! But I did have a pale apricot that I decided to use.

This stitch is quite simple and once you've knit about four rows, it's easy to tell where you are as long as you pay attention! But once you lose your place, if you're as unskilled a knitter as I am, it's almost impossible to correct your mistake. Case in point, this afternoon, I had about an inch of the miniature afghan done. I took it to our craft meeting in the building tonight and got another 1/2" done then got visiting and lost count and really flubbed it.....tried to fix it with no luck so tore everything out and started all over again.

The stitch is:

Cast on a multiple of 4 stitches plus 2.

K2 *P1 wrap wool around needle once, P2 together, K1* Repeat the stitches between * and * to the end of the row.

Just keep repeating that same row until you have the length you want.

This is a bedspread using the stitch above. As you can see it's much more open and lacy than the original stitch. I never used it where I intended so I've never bothered blocking it.
This was my second time making this particular piece. I had it knit the first to a length of about 4" when I accidently pulled it off the needles and had to start all over again. Devastating moment!

If you knit a piece 1" x 2", you can stitch it over a coloured cushion for a great effect. I did this in my camping scene. (You can just see it behind the pink teddy bear - and as I noted in the description of the scene, it resembled one of the cushions my DS Carol made for me years ago.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Crackle finish

Not a favourite of mine but I know a lot of miniaturists like a crackle finish. Came across a blog that has a great tutorial on using plain Elmer's glue to achieve a crackle finish. Very informative with lots of pictures.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Trip to Ontario, Bowmanville Show

I left here the morning of October 31. Flight was a few minutes late arriving in Toronto and my cell phone died just as I told Sean we were approaching the terminal :-( but we managed to find each other and be on our way to Peterborough.

Bless their hearts, Harry Potter (Jonah) and Cherry Jam (Holly) waited until I arrived at 6:30 so i could go   trick or treating with them!

Over the next few days, we had such a wonderful time visiting and playing together. Got to attend two of Jonah's hockey practices and was there when he scored his first goal!

I don't feel comfortable putting pictures of Jonah and Holly here  in a public forum. 

On Sunday, November 4, Sean and Jonah drove me to Bowmanville for the show and sale there. A great addition to a wonderful visit.

Got out of the car and was greeted with a warm hug from Fay Leisorek. (That sort of blew DS Sean away)  Went in and immediately saw Samm Brockhurst, then Dale from Petite Images and Liz Dieleman from Grandpa's Dollhouse. Kelly from Orono was just leaving but had a chance to say hello before she did. Talked with her, Janet Harvie and Patricia S. for a minute then Karen B. joined us. So wonderful to see everyone! And later I got to meet Liz West whom I 'knew' from Canada Minis.

Seeing all these friends and meeting Liz W. made the trip worthwhile but I also managed to get in some shopping. LOL

I had made some previous arrangements with Samm to buy some of her Dad's gluing jigs for myself and some MEE members.

Dad Gerry, and Samm gifted me with a beautiful teak cabinet.

I don't buy a great deal at shows any more. My stash is SO large that unless an item fits into a project OR is ridiculously cheap OR is special in some way (give myself a lot of leeway, don't I? VBG)

But I did pick up a few things.......

This sales counter will probably work in the Christmas Shop:

The mounted moose head should end up in the cabin.

The ultimate purchase was this coffee maker for Vern's attic. The Chrysnbon glasses, bell, pitcher and candy dishes will work anywhere so will come in handy.

At 25 cents per set, I got four of these sets of pots and pans for friends who are newbies.

I was very pleased to get this Bible and paper weight for $2.00. I used my last Bible in the church that I gave my mother's friend, Edith, and am glad to have another in my stash. I know I can bash this into our family bible.

From Grandpa's Dollhouse: I always like to have measuring spoons, pin cushions and scissors on hand for quick baking/sewing vignettes. The grater is for one of my is SO perfect.

Liz West carries beautiful 1:48 kits. I bought one as a gift for a friend (so won't show it here). She also had some pieces in 1:12, including this wonderful 2" statue that I couldn't resist.

My friend Karen gifted me with these lovely roasts and sausages.

Oh, my, Greg Matusovsky was there with his silver.Don't know what to say - absolutely incredible work! I had no intention of buying a piece - until I saw his work! This is just a little Art Deco photo frame (about 1/2" tall) but look at the detail!

 Even the stand is done in filigree!

As you can understand, this is one of the least expensive items that he offers. His samovars are the most incredible works of art!

I'm so pleased to have even one small piece of his work.

Now, I had had the pleasure of meeting Janet Harvie at Camp Mini Ha Ha a few years ago and have followed her work for some time. Her expertise is in upholstered furniture, dressed beds and window dressings.

She had this chair and loveseat on her table:

I fell in love with it - but had no place to put it - so decided not to get it.....

Went outside at 3 p.m. to meet Sean - then ran back in, found Janet, and bought it!

Tried it in the Bombay House and it didn't quite work ....but I'm still SO pleased to have it!

Glen Anderson was also one of the dealers at Bowmanville. He makes beautiful furniture, period and modern. I loved his Acrobat piece. Unfortunately I was unable to meet with him to tell him how much I admire his work.

Lest We Forget

Great-Grandfather James Mould 1871 - 1941  He served about 20 years in the British army, saw service in India, was in the Boer War and WWI (1914-1918)

Grandfather Charles Mould 1899 - 1962 Served in WWI and WWII

Father Milton H. Connery 1919 - 2000 Served in WWII 

Uncle Les Connery Served in WWII

Mother Grace Mould Connery Served in WWII

Uncles Jim Mould, Allen Mould, Charlie Mould Served in WWII

Top: Grandpa Mould; Centre: Dad and Mom
Bottom: Dad Royal Canadian Legion and medals; Mom's medals