April 27, 2012

New Story: Dogs READ with Kids


My latest story and photos on Dogs "Reading" with Kids in the May/June PRIME Magazine.

(C. Verstraete photo)

April 26, 2012

New AIM Artisans In Miniature Spring Issue 41 Available!


New Artisans in Miniature AIM issue #41 is out! Includes a short article I did on spring plus some great how-to's - a retro apron, spring manniquin blouse and more! Download all issues here.

April 16, 2012

Camille Minichino talks Dollhouse Miniatures and about the new book, Mix-Up in Miniature

Today I welcome back miniaturist and writer Camille Minichino, author (as Margaret Grace) of the fun Miniature Mystery Series.


Ideas, Small and Large

MIX-UP IN MINIATURE: A Miniature Mystery, my 16th and latest release, was conceived in Carmel, Indiana. A most unlikely spot for this city-loving, Bronx-educated author!






Here's how it came about.

One of the biggest mystery conferences, Bouchercon, is held in a different city every year. I must admit that which city it's in often influences whether I attend. Three years ago, when I learned that Indianapolis was hosting the conference, I jumped at the chance to visit. Not because of the special "500" tour, or the world-class art museum, but because it offered a chance for a reunion with an old friend who lived nearby. To double the pleasure, my friend would take me to the wonderful Museum of Miniature Houses in Carmel, Indiana.

The museum's managers were wonderful and welcoming as we spent hours examining every corner of every tiny house and room box. One house in particular caught my eye, and my imagination. A dollhouse with a secret room! I didn't know how immediately, but I knew this would be the center of my next Miniature Mystery.

- The Secret Room!

Three years later, here it is: Mix-up in Miniature. Gerry Porter, miniaturist, and her 11-year-old granddaughter, Maddie, are on the case to solve the murder of a bestselling romance author who is also a collector of dollhouses. Enough said, that one of them has a secret room that holds the key to the crime!

It's always interesting to me to trace the path from a tiny idea to a full-blown novel. I never know what tidbit of gossip or information, what bumper sticker will spark a story, long or short.

It's not that different with miniature scenes. Looking through a box of castoffs from an estate sale, I found an off-scale, old-fashioned bathroom set. My first thought: the scene in The Godfather where Michael Corleone comes out shooting, his initiation into "The Life." Note the gun "hidden" at the top of the tank! Has some off-beat slogan or tiny object inspired you recently?




Thanks, Christine, for being so generous and sharing your readers! (And thank you for stopping by again with your great details and books!)

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 6th Miniature Mystery,Mix-up in Miniature was released April 2. Soon, every aspect of her life will be a mystery series.

April 14, 2012

A to Z Challenge: M for Miniature Dress 2



Since today is the letter M for the A to Z Challenge, I thought I'd revisit the miniature dresses I made earlier - with a new creation.

I loved how this one came out as I loved the fabric. The pleater did make the skirt look better. Dare I try another? (The dress is for display in 1" scale - a female figure would be 5 1/2" tall.)

* See First mini dresses

* See Kitty's miniature dress

* My other dollhouse miniatures

April 13, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Love Zombies? New story - Looking for votes!


Today is for L in the A to Z Challenge...

Perfect for Friday the 13th.... For fun, I wrote a new story, "Ghouls Like Us?" which is in the
Zombie Rules Contest...

I need your votes! (You may have to sign in - and can do that with Facebook too.) Please read and vote for the story HERE if you like it.... (Contest ends 4/30.)

In the story, cousins Carm and Becca learn they're going to a different school.... "The first day of school and we learn we're the different ones..."
The characters are from my Zombie Girl book.

(Cover art from geekphilosopher.com)

April 12, 2012

A to Z Challenge: Kicking Back with Barbara Lampert, author of the dog book, Charlie, A Love Story

Today for the A to Z Challenge, I welcome Barbara Lampert, author of the dog book, CHARLIE, A LOVE STORY

Today, Barbara tells how the book, CHARLIE, A LOVE STORY, came about and what led her to write about her canine best friend.

The Inspiration for Charlie: A Love Story


Charlie’s the kind of dog I dreamed about when I was a kid. The dog who would always be happy to see me, my best friend in the world, the dog I could tell all my secrets to, my very loyal confidante, who would love me more than anyone, no matter what.

Charlie came into my life when he was 13 weeks old and I was grown up. But he was that dog of my dreams. From the moment I got him, I adored him. For his whole life, Charlie and I were attached at the hip.



Here’s how Charlie’s story came about:

For several years, I’d been keeping a gardening journal while landscaping our property in Malibu on almost an acre of land, and occasionally I would write about Charlie in my journal. But when he turned eleven years old and started having some health problems, within a short period of time my journal entries became more and more about him and less and less about gardening.

I was amazed at how Charlie dealt with his health problems. He seemed to have a very deep understanding of what was going on, and just about nothing got him down. He was both determined and joyful. Indomitable, and so wise. He was inspiring.

Even though I wanted to write about him mostly in the present, I couldn’t help thinking about him as a puppy. So I found myself writing about him when he was younger, too. I just wanted to be with him, think about him, and write about him. I knew that our time was limited.

Then in 2003, my husband David and I decided to take Charlie and Barney (our other Golden Retriever at the time) to San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito for five days, to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. One evening while we were sitting on the deck of our cottage, I read David some of my journal entries having to do with Charlie. David said it sounded as if I had the makings of a book. The more I thought about that, the more I agreed. So I pulled out all the entries that had to do with Charlie to look at them more closely.

At first I was hesitant to turn my journal into a book, because the writing was so personal and intimate, and because, being such a private person as well as a psychotherapist, I didn’t know if I’d be comfortable doing that. But my overriding thought then was that it would be Charlie’s story, that not only did I want to pay tribute to this magnificent dog, but also I felt that the way he handled life could be an inspiration to others, just as it was to me.

I knew that Charlie was not only a once-in-a-lifetime dog but also a once-in-a-lifetime being. And that ours was a once-in-a-lifetime relationship. I needed to write about him, and his story needed to be told.

April 11, 2012

A to Z Challenge - Just Because I love Dogs - Book Review: Charlie, A Love Story by Barbara Lampert

Today marks the letter J of the A to Z Challenge so I thought I'd share a book review today. (See contest at end.)

I grew up with dogs and can't seem to not have one, even when the loss is so hard to take. I get so attached, but it's also hard to bear that quietness when your dog is no longer with you.

About the Book:

Charlie - A Love Story tells of the love between Charlie, a Golden Retriever, and author Barbara Lampert.

When Charlie turns 11 and starts having health problems, a journal Barbara was keeping about her garden quickly became a journal about Charlie. The book is an intimate look at an incredible connection between a canine and a human. And as a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, Barbara also brings that sensibility and understanding to Charlie’s story.




That love and connection with a pet is what makes the book CHARLIE, A LOVE STORY by Barbara Lampert a good read. There have been a wealth of dog books out lately riding on the wave launched with one of the better known books and movies about Marley. (I'll admit I didn't read or see the movie - too sad.)



Most dog books end the same, with the human mourning the loss or sharing those sad last moments with the reader. I knew going in that this book was about the author losing her best friend, but what kept me reading was learning about Charlie himself.

While the struggles of dealing with a beloved pet's illness or the everyday events surrounding it can be a little less interesting to read given their universality, celebrating that dog's life and remembering their quirks and the fun moments, are what make us drawn to books with dogs as the subject. Seeing Charlie's personality come to life is what I enjoyed most in this book.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for more about the book and some tidbits from the author.

*** Comment here on blog to win a copy. Leave an email or way to contact you. US shipping only. ***

April 10, 2012

A to Z Challenge - I for Independent Miniature Artisans (IMA) Dollhouse Show, Chicago


Today is the letter I for the A to Z Challenge.

What's better than mentioning the INDEPENDENT MINIATURE ARTISANS (IMA) SHOW & SALE Friday and Saturday, APRIL 20-21.

The show is at:

** Doubletree Hotel - Chicago/Arlington Heights
75 W Algonquin Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 364 - 7600

Friday Show:.............April 20, 2012..9:00a.m - 5:00p.m

Saturday Show:........April 21, 2012..9:00a.m - 5:00p.m

Admission....................$7.00 or $13.00 ( 2) day pass
Children 12 & under $3.00



*** Be sure to come by and say hello! I'll be there with copies of IN MINIATURE STYLE II!

April 09, 2012

A to Z Challenge - H for Hobbies - Miniatures, of course



Today marks the letter H of the A to Z Challenge.

To follow up on my recent post on my miniature dresses, I wanted to share the dress my friend Kitty made using the same pattern (#2009 sundress at MiniPatterns.com.)

Kitty has been making miniature clothes for a while so her dress definitely came out much better than mine. It's all so romantic. I love the accessories! (This is a display version in 1" scale, so a lady would be about 5 1/2" tall.)

But since I found my pleater I'm trying again and following her advice to pleat the bottom first before assembly. I'll show the results once I'm finished. As I'm making a Ladies Shoppe, I need more than one dress to display so I may be making several of each style (may - or at least until I get tired. But these are addicting!)

April 04, 2012

A to Z Challenge - Miniature Dresses




Today for the A to Z Challenge, I'm showing some new miniature dresses I just made. (The smaller dress is for 1/24th scale; the larger is 1" scale - 1" = 1 foot.)


My yellow dress is based on the 2009 Pink Sundress Pattern from MiniPatterns.com by Kathi Mendenhall. (See pic below. Yes her dress is much "neater" than mine but I'm happy I did it.)



(Kathi also did the amazing yellow dress on the cover of my book, In Miniature Style II (that pattern is in the book!).

April 03, 2012

A to Z Challenge - C is for Curio and other Miniatures








Continuing on the A to Z Challenge...

C is for Curio. Since I love making things in miniature, I'll be sharing some of my favorite scenes or items again. Here is a pink setting in a small tabletop curio cabinet. For perspective, that's a life-size can of soda on the left side of first photo. Items are 1" scale (1" = 1 foot. So a person would be 5-5 1/2" tall in miniature.)

You can see some other miniatures or details on my book, IN MINIATURE STYLE II at my website.

** Today's Question: What is your favorite collectible or hobby?

April 02, 2012

A to Z Challenge: B for Books - New Creating Time Book

I can't think of any better match to B than books. I love to read so I wanted to mention this big online party going on today to celebrate the release of the new book, Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life by ArtellaLand.com founder Marney K. Makridakis. (If you don't know the site, it's a colorful, fun place with a magazine, scrapbook stuff and more.) As part of the book release, the Artella site is offering all kinds of free events over three weeks! Check it out here.


** Today's Blog Question: What is your favorite way to spend your free time?


The Details:


The Creating Time Mega Event starts today, and celebrates the release of the new book, Creating Time: Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life by ArtellaLand.com founder Marney K. Makridakis and features 25 amazing luminaries inviting us to "time travel" as a collective community to create a new paradigm of time.

Have you noticed that time is moving faster than ever these days? That it's virtually impossible to engage in or observe any conversation that doesn't somehow bring up "time" in a negative context? That "time" is the one thing that seems to hold most of us back from living the lives we were born to live? I see this all the time in my work, and I imagine that you do, too!

Now is the time for a new time! The Creating Time Mega Event and this exciting movement can change the way we see and experience time forever.

* Get free Alphabet letters

April 01, 2012

A to Z Challenge in April

Today marks the beginning of the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge

The idea: blog daily by the letter.

Blogs will be every day (excluding most Sundays).

This year there are more than 1,400 blog participants. (See sites at link.) Wow!

My theme: Hobbies, Books and Pets. Those are my favorite themes usually so I'll ask visitors a daily question relating to the theme and the day's post.

Today's question:

* What was your favorite childhood toy?



My favorite had to be my 1960s era Ideal Thumbelina doll. The doll has a knob on her back, which when turned, makes the doll move her head. I used to have a box full of my own baby clothes but the doll and clothes got lost, put away somewhere by mom after sisterly fights. So, years later, I bought another doll, well two, and have been replacing the wardrobe with baby dresses, especially vintage 50's dresses as I find them. This is the nicer one, though my favorite has darker cheek coloring.

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