Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Another busy month coming to an end

Wow! It's unbelievable how quickly the time goes zooming by. Remember when you were young and your parents would tell you how quickly time goes when you get older and you'd think - well, that's silly - how could time go faster? Once again - your parents knew best!

Besides the many, many things that kept me busy with my volunteer activities with the Irish Association and with the Celtic Affairs Committee, and with the haggling back and forth with the insurance company and their assigned contractor over the fiasco in our basement level, I did manage to squeeze in a little bit of time for minis.

On September 7th, our FAME group exhibited at the Fall Expo put on by the military base in our area. Club members Susan P., Garry R. and his wife Karla, and I put together some of our pieces for display. We had a lot of activity at our tables and I think the word is spreading that:

1. the mini hobby is not just for females;
2. you don't need to commit to a big "dollhouse" structure to enjoy this hobby, and
3. for arts and crafters, the miniature hobby provides an opportunity to use all of the skills they most enjoy from all of their other hobbies: woodworking, sewing, knitting, crocheting, pottery, wood turning, painting, cross stitch, quilting - - you name it, it's possible to incorporate it in a miniature project. What other hobby can boast the same??

In this picture, Karla is manning our table while I take a couple of pics to share. The left of our display, shown here, includes three of her husband's pieces. Garry does an incredible job of making everything so perfectly aged and finely recreated in miniature. His blacksmith's building is one of my favourites, although it is hard to pick just one!

Louise, Susan and I provided a few more items for display. Also, Susan generously donated a 1" scale play dollhouse for a free draw. We generated a lot of interest from the children with this draw and, as a result, have a collection of names and contacts of interested people so we can send them notices for future events/workshops/shows. The little girl who won was positively bouncing with excitement. Hopefully we have created a miniaturist for life!

The other thing that we have been noticing since Garry joined our group is that, with a man behind the table and several of his incredible pieces on display, we are getting more and more men approaching to check out our exhibits and to ask questions. At this Fall Expo there were a few father and son teams who approached us and expressed a lot of interest. I hope we see some of them follow through and start dabbling in miniatures themselves.

Following the Expo, what little time I had for miniatures was spent on getting my "gifties" ready for Camp Mini Ha Ha. This year the theme was "fairies" and the project was a small, half-scale building with a classic "storybook architecture". Accordingly, I decided to make half-scale "woodland fairy dining tables" as my gifties. We are required to bring 5 gifties but I always make 6 so I have one to give to my good friend, Louise. I used cross cuts of polished stone for the tops, wooden coffee stirrers for the table aprons, and twigs cut from my garden to make the x-crossed legs and centre stabilizing bar.

I actually quite liked the way they turned out and may try to find larger pieces of polished stone to use as a full scale table in a future project.

In my previous post you got an idea of what the building for this year's Camp Mini Ha Ha project would look like from the cardboard mock up I was using to plan out my landscaping before I left for Camp. Here are a few pictures of things in progress at Camp:

The first thing I did was to completely build the portico that becomes the entry at the front of the house. I used a laser-cut door to look like a wrought iron gate into the portico and covered the outside with stones. I completely finished the inside of the portico so it would become a "mud room"-type entry, including coat hooks, a small bench to sit on when taking off your boots and, of course, a pair of boots.

We were provided with the coolest sheet of moss-like material for roofing. I will probably use it on the roof of the house as well but not, I think, on the tower roof. Also - I used a new textured paper for the flooring in the portico. It looks like square-cut stone tiles with lichen between them. I think the last thing I will do with the portico is to put a few drops of glue around the floor and drop some fine green scatter in a few places to build on that lichen-covered rock look.

Then I started work on the building and tower. For the inside walls of the house I used a vinyl wallpaper sample that looked like old ventian plaster technique for the wainscoting and topped it with real branch cuttings for chair rails.

In the second picture I have started to build the stairs for the tower which will be attached to the side of the house. I used the tissue paper technique to make all the walls look like old stucco. Paint and aging will come later. I think that tower needs windows, don't you? Yup - definitely needs windows.

So there is an introduction to my work at Camp on my "Writer's Retreat" project. I'll keep you posted on its progress. Oh yeah, I forgot -- the other thing I did at Camp was to make that pond I showed you in my last post - the one I was using the packing from my new computer mouse to build - remember?? I LOVE how it turned out. I'll show you that tomorrow. Promise! TTFN!! - Marilyn


  1. Hello Marilyn,
    You certainly have been busy. The display table looks amazing and I am so glad the word is spreading. When it comes to men, I have noticed the reaction is always different when I say a miniature house or a dollhouse. The male ego rarely disappoints ;)
    The camp project is fantastic and looks like so much many wonderful techniques to learn. I really love the tables...perfect for the theme. I can't wait to see more.
    Big hug

    1. Good morning, Giac! Yes, you're right, when speaking about our hobby I usually tell people what I do is "architectural miniatures". When they respond with a blank look I'll say "miniature buildings and houses and scenery. Then they'll have their "aha" moment and say: "Oh, you mean like a dollhouse?" *sigh* Oh well, our lives are about educating one person at a time, I guess. *smile* - Marilyn

  2. Oh lovely. So wish I could come and see in person!

    1. Me too, Sheila!!! I'd love to have mini friends visit whenever possible. The enjoyment of working on minis can only be surpassed by working on minis alongside as many other mini makers as possible!

  3. Marilyn, love seeing your reports on your activities and on CMHH. The tables are great! The gift shop at the Bay of Fundy has larger pieces of agate (I have some about 4" x 3" from there). Cheryl and I were discussing them about table size when the staff overheard us and it was hilarious! Although we did explain it as we paid for the pieces.
    Hugs, Maureen

    1. Hi Maureen! Is that on the Saint John side or the Digby side? I must check it out because I'd love to get some a little larger for a full-scale dining table. Were you here recently? Sorry I missed you. I'd have loved to catch up in person. Maybe next time we can get together. That's so funny about the sales clerk - we do get some weird looks sometimes, don't we? - All the best - Marilyn