April 07, 2014

Miniatures Mystery author Camille Minichino talks minis, mysteries and organizing plus a giveaway!

Today's special post is by Camille Minichino, who writes several series, including my favorite, the Miniatures Mysteries (under the name Margaret Grace.). Believe it or not, MADNESS IN MINIATURE (Perserverance Press)  is her 7th book in the series -- the 8th, MANHATTAN IN MINIATURE, comes out next summer.

Besides writing, Camille also is a miniatures collector and is known for making fun little mini scenes that she raffles off for charity. She also decorates dollhouses (annually yet!) that she donates for school fundraisers.

  In MADNESS IN MINIATURE: The Miniature Series, the grand opening of a giant crafts store comes is accompanied by an earthuquake--and murder. Gerry and her computer-gifted granddaughter Maddie help police investigate and wonder whether something is up with the disposessed small business owners? The clues aren't so easy to follow when it comes to her own relationship, however, with Henry Baker...

Read Chapter One...

Today, Camille wanted to share some of her organizing tips she's learned along the way doing miniatures.

 (To which I ask, organizing? Is there such a thing?)

Be sure to keep reading to the end for a special contest!!!

by Camille Minichino

Thanks to Christine Verstraete for lending me her blogspace today! Chris is an amazing, prolific writer and artist and I'm grateful that she lets me into her life now and then!

This blog is about a week late --- I should have written it for April 1. Because the follow up to Managing a Crafts Addiction is: You can't! April fool!

But I do have some tips on how to use up those supplies that accumulate and seem to take over your crafts corner, no matter how big or small.

1. Scrapbooking supplies—not just for scrapbooks. I promised myself that I wouldn't buy a greeting card until I had no more paper left in my house. I'm not very good at those professional-looking cards some of my friends make—the ones with several layers of paper, cutouts, brads, and stamped messages placed exactly in the center where they belong. But expertise is not necessary to make a personalized card by simply arranging a collage of stickers or stamp images on a piece of stiff paper. 

Use the kitchen-themed stickers for a friend who's a good cook, flag stickers for a vet, or cut the shape of a boat from a scrap for the friend who sails. The large scrapbooking sheets that have a design on them can be folded twice, into card size and often used as is. Most people prefer something hand-made, even if it looks a little like a day care effort.

2. Donate. Every year I donate a furnished dollhouse to a local school. I work on it through the summer and have it ready for their holiday raffle. Instead of furnishing the house completely, I include a bag of materials—odds and ends of wood, plastic, fabric, paint—with ideas on how the lucky winner of the house can make her own accessories.

I also prepare small scenes for auctions. The one shown above just went for nearly $300 at a silent auction to benefit a library literacy program. Donating not only helps a worthy cause, but it allows me to Buy More Stuff. (I warned you this might not help trim down your inventory!)

3. Fabric scraps. Besides dressing up and giving texture to greeting cards, fabric can be used as wrapping paper and to make small items like pouches for travel and luggage tags. (For these, just fold and press the fabric into a sturdy block; stick around the edges, leaving an opening to insert a business card. At the tip of the opening, thread yarn to make a loop for attaching to luggage.)

4. Out of the box. Sometimes it's fun to pick a piece from a crafts drawer at random and make something from it. Today, I found a partially used page of red glittery sticker letters. I took the H, B, and J, and made a Happy Birthday gift tag for Joel using an odd piece of gold cardstock.

I think of my crafts "corner" as my playground—and everyone knows playgrounds are usually overstocked and a bit messy, and always a lot of fun. I hope you have fun playing with your crafts!

More miniature scenes are on display in Camille's website gallery at minichino.com

** Now here's a great tip ---

Your Turn: 
 ** Add a tip in a comment and win a chance for a copy of the newest Miniature Mystery, MADNESS IN MINIATURE by Margaret Grace!

* Camille thanks again for stopping by and for the great tips! It's always a pleasure!  Btw, I really like #2. Any idea to make room for more is always a GREAT idea!

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