Thursday, January 23, 2014

RIP - Tommi LeBlanc

I just learned of the death of my friend and fellow miniaturist, Tommi LeBlanc, in Ontario.

I met Tommi through the online group Canada Minis where she was a member/contributor and a moderator who also looked after birthday greetings for the group for a long time.

For years, we exchanged emails, both through the group and privately. She was a great source of support and encouragement to me for a long time.

We had always hoped to meet 'in person' but it just didn't happen.

My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time.

Fabric, natural or synthetic

The highlight of our M.E.E. club meeting on Tuesday night was a fabric sale. Because Lucille will be leading a workshop in March on making the cushions for the trailer seating, this was a chance for people to sell off some of their extra fabric pieces and for members who don't have fabric stashes yet to pick up some suitable fabrics. Luba Barnes from Spruce Grove also joined us with her collection of bunka and trims for sale.

Due to my usual procrastination (not to mention my hoarding tendencies), I left going through my stash too late and didn't take any pieces in for sale.

You would think with a fabric stash of the size above, I would have NO need to add to it....and you'd be right!

But that didn't stop me! VBG

(l. to r.) a gift of some silk from Luba; fell in love with this piece - could see it mounted and framed for a piece of modern art; some fairy lace from Luba for trimming pillow cases; the upstairs' rooms in the Bombay House are done in white and black with red accents so I bought this piece from Carol K. to upholster the cushion on the window seat I'm planning for the desk area; and the tartan, well, I don't really have a plan for it but it spoke to me.

For miniature purposes, natural fabrics (silk, cotton, linen and rayon) are best for their draping and pleating abilities.

At the meeting, Carol K. demonstrated how to tell if you're dealing with a natural or synthetic fabric. Apply a flame (match or lighter) quickly to the edge of the piece of fabric. Extinguish and feel the edge of the fabric where the flame was applied. If the fabric is 'natural', there will be a soft ash where the flame was applied. If it's a synthetic, the edge of the fabric will be hard where the synthetic portion of the fabric has melted.

Thanks, Carol, I did not know that.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Roomboxes and Miniature settings

I went down to the "Put and Take" this afternoon and there was a wonderful old approximately 15" diameter world globe there.
Not the same one - but similar.
It's at least 40 years old so I can't imagine anyone taking it...but I could just visualise cutting a rectangle in the face of it and building a foam core roombox in it....

BUT I can't visualize what might be in the room...for me...perhaps a scene from some home country or a small museum from a country such as Egypt.???

So many possibilities....but none are coming to me personally...

So, for once, I was able to say "no". (If you're in the Edmonton area and this is speaking to you, please e-mail me and I'll snag it for you. The woman who donated it would love to see it used in some way. She was quite interested when I told her I could visualize a scene set in it!)

That's an unusual one but this is more accessible:

I first saw this use of a night stand drawer at a dealer's table at our Edmonton Show and Sale (think it was Myrt and Bill Smeaton but I could be wrong). Have seen it since in the miniature roomboxes that we silent-auctioned off from Joyce Buchanon's roomboxes....

One of the advantages/disadvantages of hosting MDO is that people bring a lot of "giveaways" and, somehow, I seem to get stuck with the leftovers.

This one, fortunately,was a drawer was filled with incredible pieces of hardwood: walnut, rosewood, and several other pieces of hardwood whose names I didn't recognize. (They were pieces that no one wanted and would have been too expensive to ship to anyone I knew so I packed them up and took them next door to the woodworking shop in my Mom's condo.) Anyway, they were stored in a night stand drawer that I recognized immediately as a roombox

This inner measurements of this  particular drawer are 11 1/8" wide x 10 1/2" high and 6 13/16" deep. (The handle on top is a bonus!

Could be a great roombox for the oriental room that Barb is hoping to do with her DD Vicky! She gets first dibs but if anyone else is interested, let me know.

Great Mini Day Out!

Yesterday about 15 of us got together for a fun day of mini-ing. Corinne from Calgary even joined us for the day. MDO is a very informal get-together where you can work on the club project (if you're a club member), work on a UFO or even just visit and exchange tips and ideas.

Before arrival

Erika (left) working on her trailer. Wendy worked on her tents.

Inger (left) making great progress on her trailer. Lucille is making silk cushions. (front) By the end of the day, Trineke had her trailer wallpapered and tiled and the walls up. Great job!

Tina's working on her trailer - a complete kit-bashing to replicate their trailer from years ago. Debbie (standing) tackled a variety of projects throughout the day including jars of canning for her WWI house.

Lunch time!
I mentioned a couple days ago that I had put a notice in our condo newsletter inviting residents to drop by and see our work. Several people joined us throughout the day. Two from the other building were actually miniaturists! One even brought a photo album of the scale model she had made of her childhood home. Incredible piece of work! And she made absolutely everything inside except five or six small purchased items. After some years of displaying it in her home, she donated it to the Ponoka Museum. (Ponoka is a small town (pop. 6800) about 95 km south of Edmonton where both my parents and Sean and Julie lived in the past. So I'm thinking "road trip" and Google Ponoka AB Museum. There are THREE of them!)

I made another big batch of salad to have handy in my stash but didn't do much more than that.

It was a GOOD day.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Potato chips - an oldie but goodie

I decided to try making the bell pepper salad that Leanne served at Christmas dinner for tomorrow's Mini Day Out.

There are three bell peppers in the salad so that gave me a lot of seeds:

I scraped the seeds from the peppers onto a plate. Ordinarily I just air dry them but it takes awhile for them to dry completely. Since I had had the oven on to bake a cake for tomorrow, I transferred the seeds to a loaf pan and put them in the cooling oven for about a half hour.

Not only did that dry them completely, it gave them a bit of colour.

Then bagged them for tomorrow.

Nice when you can combine a RL chore with a mini one.

Someone left two of these wonderful upholstery scraps (20" x 20") in the Put and Take. Will make wonderful carpeting for two small rooms or one large one. Maybe someone who comes tomorrow will have a use for it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Knives, Salads

Last night I went to "Stitch and Bitch" (our very informal name for our craft get-together in the building). As usual, I left thinking about what I would take to work on until the last minute! So I found one box labelled "KITS" and looked through it. There were some ziploc bags of knives from turned toothpicks that I had started. Working on those seemed quite appropriate as one of the gentleman in the building was joining us to sharpen RL knives. So I finished making 14 of them and painted the blades silver. Then tonight I painted the handles and bagged them.

I had a bag of 'lettuce' left in my stash so I added some red peppercorns and some very fine pieces of green and orange fun foam to it and re-bagged it as small handouts for Saturday's Mini Day Out. Most club members already have some but the newbies don't and I'm hoping that a couple "new" people will show up.

I'm still trying to decide what I will work on Saturday. Personally I don't get a great deal done on MDO so I have to find something that's pretty small to work on. One of my possibilities is working on the walls of the "Secret Garden"...but that involves starting a whole new UFO....and do I really want to go there!?

There have been several people in the building who have shown an interest in miniatures over the years so I put a note in our Condo newsletter on Monday that anyone who was interested in "small things" could stop by at MDO and see what people were working on. Hopefully we'll attract more members.

LAST MINUTE CALL: If you're planning on attending MDO on Saturday, Joanne and I are going for groceries Thursday at 10 a.m. ...need to know by then...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Grandpa's Dollhouse/Mini Day Out

Oh, my, goodness! Liz has offered up some of the greatest deals ever. She really kept me on the edge of my seat yesterday as I TRIED to get some of her Awesome Bonus Deals. There were (I think) 16 and you had to be incredibly quick to get any of them...

I did manage to get one:

Wasn't too sure about it at the time but the Chrysnbon kit will work at some point for a vignette for someone; the bench will work eventually in my Secret Garden; Leanne loves calla lilies and everything else will work into some scene somewhere...

Today was back to the regular daily deals and I got some great vegetables to go in my refrigerator!

Shared Shipping:  If you're in the Edmonton area and you'd like to  do "shared shipping" with Liz's sale, you're more than welcome to tell her to send your purchases to me and she will split the shipping costs between all of us (so far about 6 of us). When the sale is over and all of the purchases arrive, we can have a "Show and Tell" at my place (in St. Albert) as we all unpack our purchases. What fun that will be! 

Building Put and Take: I was totally blown away when I found this Fiskars cutter in the Put and Take tonight! Much more detailed than the small one I already have!(And about five times the value!)


Mini Day Out

What a great chance to work on a project! And/0r just get together with like-minded people

When: Saturday, January 18, 2014
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: 2nd floor Social Room
Mission Hill Grande
78A McKenney Avenue, St. Albert

Cost: Total room rental is now $50. We will be picking up a lunch of lasagne (meat, vegetable and chicken) and a salad. Total cost per participant will be about $5.00(depending on total attendance).

The room has a fridge, microwave oven, sink, washroom, CD player and comfortable chairs. The lighting is excellent.

A wheeled cart (roughly 18” x 40”) will be available to help bring your things into the building if required.

Go to the South Entrance, punch in 9000 for entry. The room is just around the corner to your left when you get off the elevator on the second floor.

Please RSVP no later than Wednesday, January 15.  (Not imperative but gives us an idea how many to expect for lunch.)

Maureen Heuchert 780-418-5198 or

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Miniature publications

One of our younger club members asked what miniature magazines other members would subscribe to.

For personal reasons, I choose not to subscribe to any of the Ashdown publications. (Aside from my personal prejudice, I find that their publications often run the same articles in both American magazines and their British magazine.) 

The British "Dolls House and Miniature Scene", although a bit pricey, is a great magazine that many members  recommend. "Miniature Collector" is great but mostly focuses on 'eye candy' and as another member noted there are not many how-to's...but it does have a section called Kids Korner that is great and is available online that has some wonderful tutorials.

I have about 16 shelf feet of older miniature magazines that provide me with just about all the information I'm looking for.

If I had to choose one of the many magazines I have, I would choose the old Nutshell News and the older Dollhouse Miniatures (name change there) before Ashdown bought it. The biggest reason would be the Joann Swanson tutorials (now available on her blog ) and the fact that there is so much more Trash to Treasure in them. I no longer buy any miniature magazines except the older ones to fill out my collection that I can often pick up at the Show and Sale.

Another thing you might check out is your library...some carry some of the miniature magazines in their periodical section.  Libraries don't seem to have as many miniature hobby books as they used to but you could check that out also.

Hampstead House Books is a Canadian discount book seller that occasionally has books on miniatures. Haven't found any recently but it's worth a try. Search miniature, dollhouse, dollshouse, and dolls house.

Monday, January 6, 2014

RIP - Phil Everly

The Everly Brothers were one of my very favourite musicians of all time with their incredible harmonies.

It's interesting that on Friday night before I heard of Phil's passing, I spent the evening listening to their Reunion Concert...something I hadn't done in years...

One of my favourites

Thank you, Phil and Don, for being such an important part of my life.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Some more downsizing...

I had six rooms of the 'Room by Room' dollhouse that I offered up to members of our club. Of the eight members whose names went into the draw for it, my upstairs neighbour/friend, Barb R. won it! It will go to her grand-daughter, Cassandra, who is a budding miniaturist in her own right.

Barb only joined the ranks of miniaturists about two years ago. I could say that I dragged her into it but that wouldn't quite be true! She had a love of small things for a long, long time - in fact when we first started talking about this, she gave me a collection of small things that she had acquired through the years...most of which I have returned to her as she became more and more involved in this wonderful hobby!

We are now hoping that her daughter, Vicky, will join our ranks...

With that in mind, she's hoping that she and Vicky will start putting together an oriental roombox.

For YEARS, I have collected items for an Oriental room box.

my setting for it all was to go in this absolutely perfect old lamp! Which had to have just the minimum of items in it...

I love this piece. It is SO simple yet right.

But I'm left with all the other pieces I've collected over the years:

SO many possibilities...........

So I'll pass on the box of oriental minis...and the instructions for Joann Swanson's ``Chinese New Year`` Nutshell News February 1995, to Barb and Vicky...

In the hope that they will enjoy the making of a roombox as much as I enjoyed the collection of the items!