Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chicago - part 1

Caught an early afternoon flight out of Edmonton on Monday, April 15, to Toronto then on to Chicago. Since I didn't have a workshop until Thursday night, was probably not necessary to go so early but with all the problems with rain in Chicago mid-week, ended up being very glad I had left so early and didn't end up being grounded by the weather as so many others did. I just missed the Marriott Shuttle so had to wait for the next one. Tina had arrived earlier in the day and was already settled in our room.

When I arrived was devastated to hear about the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.

Tuesday, April 16
Five of us had an early breakfast then Erika, Lucille and Lauretta went to workshops and Lauretta lent us her car and Tina and I went sightseeing.

First stop was the Museum of Science and Industry to see Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle. None of the pictures I had seen of it gave me any idea of the sheer size of it! It's 8' 7" x 8' 2" x 7' 7". We walked around it twice listening to the informational tapes then I picked up the book Within the Fairy Castle at the gift shop so I could really see all the details and enjoy it again and again.

Then we went to the Art Institute of Chicago to see the Thorne Rooms. (Interesting note: There is no public parking available - except ONE handicapped parking stall. But there is valet parking available at a  fairly reasonable cost.)

The rooms are  incredible! One of the most interesting aspects (to my mind) is that they are not lit per se but all light comes from side windows and doors. Another thing that I noted that I'm going to try at some point is the way some of the side areas are done. You know how we sometimes have a window in a scene with a picture behind the window...and sometimes leave a space between the window and the picture to give it depth....some of these have the picture then a cut out of some portions of the picture set in front - like paper tole but with more space between the sections.

Once again, I bought the book which gives much more in-depth information about the rooms so I can study them at greater depth. My only disappointment with the book was that it doesn't show many pictures of the views through the windows and doors.

Last stop on the tour was the American Science and Surplus store. I had been SO excited about finally getting to this store. They don't ship to Canada so I've often drooled over their offerings. So I don't know if I just wasn't in the mood (or maybe I was just thinking I don't need anything more in my stash???) but I only spent $10 here.

I bought four of these sorting/storage trays, the tin funnel (don't know why I got that but it just appealed to me), two pair of scissors, 2 pieces of sandstone (maybe I'll make some sandstone carvings one day), and some great pieces of thin (about 1/32" thick) glass: four about 4" x 4" and four about 2" x 2" that will make wonderful table tops if they survive the trip home.

After we got back to the hotel, the five of us went for dinner at Carlucci's at the Marriott Suites.

Then early to bed.

Wednesday, April 17

This was a lazy day. Friend Adrian Cooper from Ontario was in Tina's Phoenix class so seeked her out to say hello.

Had the hotel's chicken soup for lunch - no match for Swiss Chalet soup!

Show and Tell:

Tina's Phoenix from the Mike Barbour class

Tina's 1:48 sewing shop class

Tina's marquetry chest from the Pete and Pam Boornum class

Lauretta's gypsy wagon, horse (white) and dolls. Brown horse is Lucille's.
Thursday, April 18

Tina and Lucille had workshops on Thursday so Lauretta, Erike and I went to Lolly's Miniatures in Elgin. Beautiful shop where I picked up a few things.

Got these great polymer  pieces for a friend's toy shop.

Picked up these for Vern's attic...
Back into Chicago to the Woodfield Mall where we went to the Brain Store and found nanoblocks but only the Space Shuttle set which I didn't particularly want. (More about these later.)

Had a great late lunch at P J Changs

Chopsticks are always good for the stash! But these straws are particularly great! It's unusual to find clear straws in clear packaging. The clear packaging can be cut into short strips (about 5/8"), filled with dried sweet pepper seeds (potato chips), and heat sealed from both ends for packages of potato chips.

Back to the hotel where Erika and Lucille were taking a felting class and I was taking a jeweller's saw class from Diana Almeyda

Had thought I'd have more time to discuss this but spent a lot of time on the phone with family tonight will continue tomorrow....

Friday, April 26, 2013

I'm home!!!

Couldn't get the tablet working to enable day-by-day posts on Chicago and New York City but made copious notes so I'll start, hopefully, tomorrow to tell you about my travels.

What I do want to say is that it was the trip of a lifetime....and while Chicago International was great...the trip to New York City with DD Leanne was the ultimate!!!! Much too short - could have used another week...but SO RIGHT!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

LOOONG DAY....and long post....

Well, I started out by sorting through my clothes for the trip. The weather will be decidedly cooler in both Chicago and New York than I had expected so had to change a few choices in that regard.

Over the years, I have been SO fortunate to do some travelling that has allowed me to meet many 'miniature' friends. I've always liked to take a little gift along. The first few trips were within Canada and sometimes the gifts were the knives from toothpicks...and sometimes they were the books that I was making at that time.

Last year, a group of us went to Phoenix (for the show and sale there) and Tucson (to visit the Mini-Time Time Museum). To answer the questions "Where are you from?" and "What do you do?", I made simple accordion style miniature books about the City of St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, as gifts.

Then when I went to the show in Bowmanville, Ontario, last November, I took along several of the books to give to friends there.

AND I keep a supply of them in my purse. If someone asks what I do, I gift them with a miniature book!

Joanne and I went to the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert Friday for a craft sale As we were standing in line for entry, we were beside a very nice display of miniature gardens and a good selection of miniature accessories. We discussed it with one of the show vendors who was very excited about miniatures so I gave her one of my miniature books with my contact information. I hope that once that show is over, she'll contact me and we can recruit her as a club member.

Anyway, (oh, my, I did drag that intro out, didn't I?), I belong to the Yahoo online miniatures group The Camp. Tom Bishop who runs the Chicago International Show sets aside a room where members of The Camp can meet at the Chicago Show. This get-together will be the highlight of my trip to the Chicago Show. I will get to meet in person SO many people that I have only 'met' so far through e-mail.

I just hope that I've made enough gift books for The Camp meeting!

I had 10 books already made and bagged (in my purse). There were 15 books made but not covered and spined. Then I made an additional 33 (in the clips) .

Back, front covers and spines below all the books.

Front and back covers on - waiting for spines....

Last 33 finished

Oh, my, I hope that 58 will be enough!
I'm not so sure if I can figure out to use the tablet to report while I'm away...

If I can't, I'll try to keep good notes on each day and report back later.....

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

HUGE sigh of relief!!!

Last night I went to 'stitch and bitch' and got some work done on books for Chicago which helped.

This morning DS Shirley came over and we did our taxes. NOT good news on that front for me....

Then to top it all  off, I dropped my brand new tablet! Later, I tried several times to turn it on - and nothing happened......Since I had for it with my credit card, Joanne suggested I check the insurance coverage there. I was feeling quite hopeful until I checked some of the gazillion exclusions and limitations - it doesn't cover refurbished items - which this was.

Then about a half hour ago, I tried it again and it that's a huge worry off my mind.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Leanne had called me on Sunday and told me about this really great sale at Michael's. Wasn't much that I needed but she picked up five sheets of foamcore for me for $1.18 (reg. 3.98). I have NEVER seen it that cheap! This is Elmer's brand which is far superior to that foamcore that you can occasionally get at Dollarama.

But WOW! what bargains!!! Americana paint (reg. $1.99) 3 for $2.00; Twenty five 1" foam paint brushes for $1.00 (Can you believe it!); seven photo boxes for $10.00; four packs of 65# cardstock (white, black, patterns, colour shade packs) for $10.00, and many other great deals!

Joanne and I went there this morning. I didn't really need the foam brushes but I couldn't afford not to buy them at that price. Of course, at that price, they were sold out! They don't give 'rain cheques' but you can (at least at the Edmonton Michael's on 137th Avenue) put sale items on 'special order'. You have to pay in advance but you get them at the sale price and they'll email you when the items are available for pickup.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

the Tablet

Leanne and Robert came over this morning and set up my new tablet. Put some great books on it! (Gotta have my books!)

And Leanne booked a flight from Chicago to New York City for me. So all the travel plans are complete!

I had hoped that Robert would be able to set up the wi-fi for me but the 'whatever' he needed to do that properly was at home (3/4 hour away) so he'll do that after I get back from the trip. But he did put my e-mail on it so the set-up is looking good.

But I won't get to practice using it with wi-fi for now.

Had a nice visit with them and got to meet their new bunny and commiserate with poor Columbus for all the bald patches he has where he required stitches from his confrontation with her.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Getting things done...especially in preparation for Chicago and New York

On Tuesday, I got a call from DD Leanne: "Mommy, I love you...." And, of course, I replied, "What do you need?" (That's unfair but on the way to mini club, everyone in the car knew what it meant. LOL)

The Child Care Centre where she's a director had a open house last night and they were expecting a shipment of new furniture that would need to be assembled. Now this might sound silly but I enjoy putting together RL furniture and I've done it several times at the day care where she worked previously so it wasn't an off-the-wall request.

As it turned out, that furniture never did arrive while I was there but she had some IKEA pieces for me to assemble and some other things for me to do so it was a busy and tiring (but productive) day. Then shortly after I got home I had to attend the condo board meeting. So it was a long day with no time for minis.

Although I swore I wouldn't, I read another book today. And I had some condo business to take care of BUT then I got my rear in gear and started on my to-do lists!

When I really HAVE to get things done, I start with making lists in Excel worksheets. This one has four columns: and includes all my current to-do's, last minute things by day; shopping and to-do while shopping; and PACKING: electronics (camera, Kobo, tablet, chargers): Clothes: Paperwork (passport, flights, hotels, show information), etc.

If I'm really running short of time and want to keep from being side-tracked, I set a kitchen timer for a limited time and work without a break for that time then (maybe) take a very short break and set the timer again.

My first task this morning was to change my airline reservation from Tuesday, April 16, to Monday, April 15. Since my only workshop is on Thursday night, I thought that arriving Tuesday night would work well for me. BUT the other club members and my room-mate were arriving on Monday and if I changed my arrival to Monday, I would be able to go to American Science and Surplus Supply on Tuesday with Tina. I have been in love with American Science and Supply for YEARS .... BUT they do not ship to this is going to be an incredible shopping expedition!

I've printed out the dealer lists/table locations for both the Tom Bishop Show and the Three Blind Mice Show  and will be poring over them and highlighting my "must-see's".

So the trip is coming together.......

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Copper stock pot and saucepan

I think I showed this T2T stock pot before but I think this is an improvement on the stock pot, plus I finally figured out how to make the matching sauce pan.

The copper piece is an plumbing end cap that's available at Canadian Tire and almost any home hardware store. This one is about 1" tall and 1" in diameter. The first stock pot that I made, I used the straight "eye" from sewing hooks and eyes. I just attached two of them to opposite sides of the end cap with super glue.

Later I thought that the curved hooks would work better. I used pliers to bend the circles at right angles from the hooks...

and attached them to the end pieces with super glue. And, voila! a stock pot!

Copper end caps come in several sizes. The one below is 5/8" in diameter. I've had a bag of them for years but could never quite figure out how to put a 'handle' on them to make saucepans from them....until the other day I opened my desk drawer and found these paper connectors. (When I demonstrated this at MDO, someone recognized them as being similar to the pieces in you could clip pieces from duo-tangs to make the handles.)

I used my wire cutters to cut off a piece of that about 5/8" long

 Then bent 1/8" from the end at a right angle:

 With superglue, I glued the "handle" to the pot and let the glue set.

On the right is the completed pot.

On the left is the back of an old self-covered button that I had in my stash...absolutely great to make a top for either the stock pot or the saucepan...except the only one I had was too big for the saucepan and too small for the stock pot. But the whole idea is good!

odds and ends - some minis and personal observations

Judy L. just posted on her blog a picture of a tree trunk she has just made as part of her project for the Show and Sale in Kelowna the end of April. It is just an unbelievably realistic piece of work. I hope you'll take a look at it.

OOPS! Forgot...Janeen gave us some lawn edging that she found in her garage that will make wonderful window mullions.

The diamonds are about 1/4" on each side.
This is a very old T2T idea for mullions. (I haven't even seen these for four or five years.) This is the side of a plastic basket that originally held strawberries.

I just bit the bullet and bought myself a tablet. Hopefully I'll learn how to use it in time to keep the blog at least sort of up to date while I'm on my Chicago/New York trip.

I'm starting to panic. So much to do and only two weeks to get it all done. (Not just trip preparations but things like filing my income tax!?!)

I got all the books shelved in the condo library today so can cross that off my list for now at least. We have a Show and Sale Committee meeting tomorrow night before our MEE workshop so have a lot of paperwork to update for that. Then I have coffee club and a condo board meeting on Wednesday (more paperwork).

My plan was to make a whole pile of St. Albert mini books for the Camp gathering in Chicago but only have about 1/3 of them done so haven't decided if I'll keep on that route or maybe just make a big batch of the knives from turned toothpicks. Depends, I guess, on how much time I have. I do like the St. Albert books because they're informative but the knives are much more time efficient. It's nice, though, to have a supply of the books to hand out to mini-muggles who ask "where are you from and what are you doing?"

The big issue when travelling these days is the luggage. Within Canada (and especially on WestJet, my preferred airline), not so much of an problem but once you cross the border, you pretty much have to have carry-on unless you want to deal with horrendous extra charges. I'm pretty good with travelling light but this could be a challenge. At least I don't have to take a tool kit!

DD Leanne is one of those wonderful people who has a knack for cooking/baking. Although she's an educator, she has always considered cooking/baking as an optional profession. In fact, she introduced me to many of the interesting cooking shows that are on TV. For the past year or so, I have been watching "The Chew" a cooking show on which two of the hosts are Chefs Michael Symon and Mario Batali. For the New York portion of the trip, I got us tickets to the show. Oh, my, for that, I may never have to buy her another gift for a couple years...LOL!

"we are going to the Chew?!?!?!?!? I get to see Symon AND Bateli?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I LOVE YOU MOMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Enough meandering...I do have a Trash to Treasure for you tomorrow.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Some pictures

Thanks to Teresa, I can show you Janeen's beautiful corsages!

And these wonderful Hallowe'en pieces that Joanne bought at the online Miniature Show:

I could just scream. I have tried repeatedly to get the pictures rotated so they're not on their sides but nothing seemed to work. They're okay on my computer but when I import them here, they turn back.

Cassandra is the grand-daughter of my friend and neighbour, Barb. She's a lovely young lady who comes to visit my miniatures when she visits her grandmother. She made this miniature for a French assignment and got a great mark! I think we have her hooked.

Barb is going to visit her this week so I'm sending along a box of odds and ends for her and Grandma to work on.