March 15, 2012

Welcome to miniaturist Camille Minichino - Margaret Grace, author of MIX-UP IN MINIATURE!

Today I welcome back an old friend and fellow miniaturist/writer, Camille Minichino, who as Margaret Grace, is coming out with another book (#6!) in her Miniature Mystery Series. (Love the new cover, don't you?)

** Mix-up in Miniature: A Miniature Mystery (Miniature Mysteries Series) comes out April 2! **

About the Book:

Geraldine Porter is thrilled to meet bestselling author and miniatures enthusiast Varena Young. The celebrity seems to seek friendship with Gerry and her crafts group, and makes a generous offer of a house from her collection for a library fund-raiser. But Young is suddenly murdered, and Gerry is left to investigate the crime. She and her eleven-year-old granddaughter Maddie delve for information on Young's mysterious past, and they find a clue to her murder in a secret room...
of a dollhouse.

Margaret Grace (aka Camille Minichino) compares writing fiction to creating miniature houses and rooms. "In each case,” she writes, "I'm creating a model of reality, a fictional world where things can be easier and often make more sense than in the life-size world.... In the world of dollhouses, there's no laundry to do, and a houseful of carpeting can be changed in a matter of minutes. In my mystery novels, the good guys always win and justice is always served. What could be more satisfying?”

Outside the Box
By Camille Minichino

Nothing stretches the imagination like doing a craft.

I like to think miniaturists are especially good at this.

I'm posting a section of a hospital reception desk scene I showed on Candid Canine a while ago. (The scene has since been donated to a hospital fundraising raffle.)

My niece and I worked on the free-standing scene and desperately wanted to include specimen containers, both empty and "full."

After an exhaustive search of all my supply boxes, we were ready to give up. We found no tiny cylindrical containers among the jumble of plastic pieces, metal rods, and other cast-off parts that my friends dump in my lap and that I keep, just in case.

As I was straightening the area after our frenzied search, I noticed my stash of glue guns and glue sticks. Aha! The glue stick was just the right diameter. It wasn't hollow, but, of course, it didn't have to be. We weren't actually going to fill them!

We simply cut a couple of glue sticks into the appropriate length and painted the exterior, leaving some "empty" and "filling" others. You can see empty ones in the box in the cabinet and a full one on the desk by the keyboard. The authentic orange "caps" are also just painted on. They look for all the world like the tiny jars we couldn't find in my inventory.

(Chris adds: Neat idea!)

"This is really what you call looking outside the box," my niece wisely said.
We agreed on the message of the day: if you're looking for something shaped like a jar, don't restrict yourself to the jar collection.

(And of course you never find a jar anyway, Chris says.)

I'm sure Christine and all her crafter friends who visit this blog have their own stories of thinking—and making minis—outside the box.

Here are a couple more of my tricks:

1. Instead of tossing the handles of those disposable brushes and razors, create a sculpture garden. The photo shows an exhibit outside the mini museum in my living room. (The exhibit is in the works, set in NY, naturally.)

2. I've used a bullet casing (don't ask!) as a vase.

(Uh, leave us hanging? Who'd you shoot?)

3. Seeing champagne toppers as chairs is as old as the hills; my latest is shown here.

There are mini tips at the end at all of my Miniature Mysteries (#6, Mix-up in Miniature: A Miniature Mystery is due April 2!).

I would love to hear some of your tips. If you give me permission to use one in my next book, I'll surely acknowledge you in the book and send you a signed copy.

Thanks to Christine for giving me space on Candid Canine!

(And thanks, Camille, as always, for stopping by. We all love your books and your tips!)

** Readers, be sure to come back on 4/16 for another visit with Camille!

Camille Minichino is a retired physicist turned writer.

As Camille Minichino, she's the author of the Periodic Table Mysteries. As Margaret Grace, she writes the Miniature Mysteries, based on her lifelong hobby. As Ada Madison, she writes the academic mysteries featuring Professor Sophie Knowles, college math teacher. "The Probability of Murder" was released March 6.

Soon, every aspect of her life will be a mystery series.
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