December 29, 2015

Miniatures Year in Review 2


Here's part 2 of my 2015 Miniatures Year in Review of projects I finished.  See part 1.

* Projects I finished from October to December include:

October:
* Built and decorated a Greenleaf Primrose kit into a Haunted Cottage.





* Decorated a small greenhouse turned into a Fortune Teller's Room





November-December:

* Finished mini Christmas gifts

* Added a small half scale setting to a wooden box. Wallpapered side walls, added wallpaper to back glass and added a tile paper floor.  (This was a commemorative whisky box I found that I turned on its side.)



(Oops! Ignore the cook who fell over. He had too much wine. haa!) 

* Made an assortment of new print purses - I'm hooked as I have other fabrics I want to try.




* Made a Christmas scene in a larger greenhouse. (The bottom lifts off but it has a door on top that opens.) I was going to make a Christmas store before, but changed my mind. I used the decorated bookcase filled with tins I made and polymer clay teapots and some cakes made by my friend Kitty in Holland.





* Wow! I actually finished more than I thought! 

What mini projects did you finish this year? Feel free to add links in the comments so we can take a peek! Merry Christmas and a Happy 2016 to you! 


December 28, 2015

2015 Miniatures Year in Review 1

I've never done this but I thought - why not share a Miniatures Year in Review? What a great idea to see what I've finished this year. Since this is long, I'm splitting it into two parts. Come back tomorrow for part two.

I only did a few larger projects which makes it easier to keep track of. I did complete various small items. Actually when you see them in one post, I did finish quite a bit. I'm sure I have other smaller projects I didn't take pictures of and include. (Click any of the photos for the larger size gallery.)


Early in the year:

* Mini Candles


March-July: 
Finished the Half Scale Country House and potting shed. (Shed on the right is the bathroom, pantry, laundry room.) (See all the pix in the YouTube video - See earlier post with the living room pix and links to other photos)








Summer:

Hanger dresses and shoes




Looove making these!!


* A half scale garage is not quite done. Siding is being added now. I want to make a garage sale scene.




** Plus: I have an A-frame cottage waiting to be built and a three-story "manor" house, both in half scale!  Details coming! (And many other UFO's (unfinished projects) of course! 


* See Part  2 with more pix of October to December projects tomorrow.


December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas to all!

Hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

(Image: Mystic Nativity, Botticelli, 1500, National Gallery, London)



December 24, 2015

Miniatures Christmas Story 2 by Robert W Walker

** If you missed the beginning, start reading here.


Part 2: Continued, "The Thief of Christmas Present"
By Robert W. Walker


(Photos: Christmas Santa House by C. Verstraete, see more pix at my website; Festive gold and white holiday scenes featuring the miniatures of Lissu, used w/ permission. See more pix and visit her blog)

Today we conclude our original Christmas tale by Robert W. Walker, author of more than 50 novels including his Detective Ransom series, as well as his reknowned time travel novels taking place in two time periods, TITANIC 2012 and BISMARCK 2013, Hitler's Curse. Thanks again to Robert for writing this! 



TO RECAP: the family are watching the film to see who is stealing the Cluewellens' Christmas from Julia's dollhouse.

Shortly after, Stevie entered the room, asking, "What kinda movie is this?"

"The movie that's gonna prove you stole the Cluewellens' Christmas!"

"I didn't touch that stuff! I didn't do it, mom!"

Joannie came down from her room and asked, "Are you still blaming that on Stevie? He wouldn't do that!"

"We got you on tape this time, Joannie...or Stevie...whichever one of you guys did it, so there!" Julia set her jaw, determined to watch every hour of the unmoving movie frame by frame. "Mom and me...we gotcha good now. Liar."

Joannie came at her sister. "Who're you calling a liar? Me?"

"If the shoe fits!"

"Enough, both of you! Stop it. Either sit down and watch the tape or leave the room, but please, no more accusations, Julia, and no more shouting, Joannie-and you, Stevie, stop crying."

"I didn't do it," he complained through tears. "I always get blamed for everything!"


"All I know is somebody stole the Cluewellens' Christmas tree now!" Julia shot back.

"Hey, what's that?" asked Joannie, pointing at the screen. "I saw movement-a shadow-back of the miniature."

Julia, Stevie, and Mother Waldron stared at the slight squeaking noise, too, and in a moment, they all watched a pair of whiskers and a brown button nose rise over the back of the miniature at the chimney.

"It's Newton, my ferret!" shouted Stevie. "He's escaped again."

Newton lived up to his name, always finding ways to escape his cage, and often, Stevie allowed him 'free run time' but Newton always returned to his cage. Newton had even found a way out of the house one night.

"What's he doing?" asked Julia. "OMG-he's going down the chimney."

"Like Santa," said Stevie.




"No...more like The Grinch," replied Joannie. "There's your Christmas thief, Julia!"

"But...I mean how...why?" she asked. "Why's he terrifying the Cluewellens and destroying their Christmas?"

"You really think Newton is thinking along those lines, Julia?" Joannie couldn't hold back her laughter.

"Shhh...watch him. Look, look," said Mom. "The little thief! He's dragging the entire tree out the front door."

With the tree clear of the door, it snapped closed, and Newton scurried away with the five-inch high tree, ornaments trailing. He truly did look like a miniature version of The Grinch except that he was brown and not green.

"Stevie's pet's the thief...the whole time," Julia muttered in disbelief.

"What's he doing with all the stolen goods?" asked mom. "Shall we find out?"

"I think you're gonna need a ferret whisperer or a pet shrink to figure that out, Mom," replied Joannie, still laughing.



"Nothing funny about that little rat destroying the Cluewellens' Christmas!" countered Julia.

"Why don't we all just go on a scavenger hunt?" began Mom. "To see where Newton is stashing all the decorations and presents."

"And stockings!" added Julia.

The four of them started for Stevie's room where Newton lived in a cage. Everyone in the family had gotten so used to Newton's escapes and escapades about the house that no one took great notice of him of late.

"What's going on?" asked Jack Waldron, their father, who'd caught them gathered at the foot of the stairs as he came through the door, home from the office.

Everyone spoke at once until Anna calmed them and pointed to the still action shot on the TV. "We caught Newton red-handed. "He's Julia's Christmas thief."

"Must be the shiny stuff attracts Newton, eh?" asked Jack.



"But he's never done this before!" Anna replied. "Any rate, we're heading up to Steve's room to see where he's stashing the goods."

"Say, did anyone read that book that came with the ferret when you bought Newton at the pet store?" asked Joannie, who was browsing the book for any clues.

"Who's got time to read?" asked Julia.

They all went for Stevie's room, and looked into Newton's cage, a made-over fish tank. There, amid the usual sawdust and toy shelters and fake greenery, was a stash of Christmas miniatures, from the tree, to the presents and the stockings. All of it lay in a neat, orderly circular design. The look on Newton's face said, "I confess."



Joannie handed the paperback book on ferrets and ferret behavior to her mother. "Take a look at the last section on page sixteen."

She glanced at the page. "Oh, dear...then this means..."

"What is it?" asked Julia. "Nothing in that book could possibly excuse this rodent's behavior, and as for you, Stevie-this is all your-"

"No, Julia!" countered her father, who'd now read page sixteen. "No way is this Stevie's fault!"

"You owe Stevie and me an apology," Joannie said to Julia, having closed in on her, nose-to-nose. "And all our friends, too!"

"You do owe everyone an apology, Julia," her mother agreed. "In the meantime, Newton is going to need a new name."

"Whataya mean?" asked Julia.

"New name?" asked Stevie.



"Newton is a girl, and she's stealing shiny objects to make a nest, because she's going to have baby ferrets."

"OMG!" replied Julia. "That's it! That explains the mystery."

"But if Newton's not a boy...what're we going to call Newton?" asked Stevie.

"Newtonia?" suggested Joannie, a snicker escaping.

"Why don't we make it Madame Curie," suggested mom. "I think she outsmarted us all. In any event, case closed."

Stevie lifted the flimsy lid and started to reach in to retrieve the Cluewellens' Christmas stuff-his sister's stuff, but Julia stayed his hand. "No, Stevie. She-Madame Curie-she needs it now more than the Cluewellens."

"Aren't you ahhh worried about the Cluewellens?" asked Anna of her daughter.

"They'll understand when I explain it to them," Julia replied and shrugged, "and besides, there's always next year."

Anna hugged Julia and Jack put a hand on his daughter's shoulder, and with the entire family looking on at Newton-now Madame Curie-every one smiled, and if ferrets can smile, Madame Curie smiled back, a knowing glint in her eye.

"I have an idea for the Cluwellens' Christmas," said Stevie.

"What's that? asked Julia.

"Why not give them a front row seat for Christmas?"

"Meaning?"

"Put their house under our tree!"



Everyone agreed it was a wonderful solution, and that Julia had a lot of apologies to make, and that she'd tell and retell Newton's story between now and Christmas quite often indeed.

THE END
(c) 2008-2015 RW Walker, published by http://candidcanine.blogspot.com

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 23, 2015

A Miniatures Christmas Story by Robert W Walker


 To continue my longtime Christmas tradition (since 2008!), I am re-posting an original Christmas tale by Robert W. Walker, author of more than 50 novels including  the Detective Ransom series and his time  travel thrillers set in two time periods - TITANIC 2012 and BISMARCK 2013, Hitler's Curse.






Never fear, this story, which runs in two parts ending tomorrow, Christmas Eve, Dec. 24th, is rated PG. Merry Christmas!


The Thief of Christmas Present
By Robert W. Walker

(Photos: Christmas Santa House by C. Verstraete, see more at my website.)



Julia rushed into her mother's room, her eleven-year-old arms flapping as she said, "Joannie stole my Christmas presents! I just know it was her!"

"Your big sister wouldn't do that, Julia."

"Then its one of her girlfriends."

"I've talked to Joannie, and she's given the third degree to every friend who has been visiting the house since Thanksgiving."

Julia's eyes filled with tears. "Musta been that boyfriend of hers then!"

"He seems like a nice, respectful boy, and whatever would possess him to steal your miniature Christmas presents from beneath your miniature tree?"

Anna Waldron hugged her daughter to her. "We'll find the stolen goods. They're likely somewhere on a shelf. Thoughtlessly moved by one of your little friends."

"No, no mom! I don't let anyone reach into my dollhouse and take out anything, not the figurines, not the furniture, and certainly not the presents under the tree."

Anna wondered how this could keep happening to her daughter. Julia had put heart and soul into her miniature house this year. In fact, she'd begun creating the tree, the ornaments, lights, stockings hanging over the fireplace, and the presents beneath the tree since last Christmas.

She'd got it in her head that her dollhouse ought to have all the ornaments and decorations of any home, that Mr. and Mrs. Cluewellen and their three children who lived in the miniature house ought to have a wonderful Christmas too.





Julia had worked so hard to make it happen, and now, day-by-day, all her work was coming unraveled. The day before she noticed an ornament missing from the tiny tree. The day before that one of the stockings she'd labored so hard to make was gone from the mantel. Poof. Now two of the tiny presents from beneath the tree-gone. Stolen.

"At this rate," moaned Julia, "by the time Christmas gets here, the Cluewellens won't have anything left."

Anna patted Julia's hand. "And The Christmas Crook of the Present will have won!"

"We can't let that happen, mom!"

"We must act, set a trap."

"A trap?"

"Yeah, we'll wire up a trap that will snap on those sticky fingers."

"Then you think it's Stevie?"

"I hope not, but your little brother is at that age. I sure hope he hasn't lied about this."

"Well...it's not a ghost. I asked the Cluewellens if they'd had any problems with anything like a poltergeist, and they said no."

"You believe them?" Mother Waldron laughed, but Julia stared at her, eyes saying, 'not funny'.

"They don't lie, cheat, or steal, mom."

"Neither does your brother or your sister for that matter, young lady."

"Well I'm not lying about it! Someone's stealing the Cluewellens' Christmas right under our noses."



"You set the trap," suggested Anna. "I'm going to set up a concealed camera, so we can get to the bottom of this before..."

Julia looked up at her mother, wondering why she'd stopped talking. "Before all of the presents and decorations are gone?"

"Before you make your sister and your brother angrier with you than they already are."

"Angry with me? I'm the victim here. Me and the Cluewellens."

"Honey, you have accused both of them of stealing and lying about it. Then you accused their friends."

Julia nodded, and for a moment Anna thought her child understood and agreed, but then Julia said, "It could've been one of Stevie's dumb friends."

"Well now, we're going to find out, aren't we?"

"You think it'll work, mom?"

"At the rate things are disappearing, my hunch is that whoever's behind the theft will be back."

They put the trap into play.

They wisely left the miniature house untouched and unmoved, the same enticement as ever.

An entire day and most of the evening went by with young Julia wanting to check the Cluewellens' living room and tree every hour, while her mother insisted they wait and see. When Anna decided the camera's battery would be in need of help, mother and daughter went into her room to determine if anything had been taken. They found the front door closed. Julia gasped when she looked in through the windows. The entire tiny Christmas tree had been taken! All about the front door and steps, glitter appeared like colored snow. Whoever was behind the theft, cleaning up after him-or herself-wasn't a concern.

"It's got to be Stevie or one of his goofy friends," Julia said, tears forming. "Maybe Stevie's too chicken to tell on Tad."

"Let's reserve judgment and see what the camera says."

They made popcorn and popped the film into the USB port of the TV and sat down to watch the unfolding events. Unfortunately, during the first hour, nothing unfolded.

"This is a real snore and a bore," Julia complained, tiring of the popcorn as well.

After a while, Julia began making up a story line to go with the miniature people inside the house on the screen, and it was so vivid that her mom could almost imagine that the little Cluewellen family was as real as Julia believed them to be. She began to see Mrs. Cluewellen move that feather duster in her hand. But clearing her head and eyes, Mother Waldron thought better of saying she'd begun to see the miniature people roaming around inside their miniature house. Maybe the miniature was haunted at that....



(** See Part 2 of the Christmas Story, The Thief of Christmas Present, by Robert W. Walker

(c) 2008-2015 RW Walker published by http://candidcanine.blogspot.com

December 17, 2015

Mini Half Scale Garage in Progress

You know how sometimes it feels like a project takes forevvvvvver?

Well, months anyway.


Photo: The beginning - the shell and the stone foundation done.

That's how it's been working on my Half Scale Garage. Awhile back I saw a Yard/Garage Sale Scene by fellow miniaturist Tanya Thayer (check out her great ideas on her Picture Trail, Tanya's Place - the garage sale is in the first album, Mini Creations) that gave me an idea -- I should make one in half scale.

So, I found a super-cheap cottage kit on eBay. Plain, bare bones. Got the doors cut in front, did some doctoring since I realized the doors had to be smaller so I had to replace part of the wood (don't you love that?) and found a pic of old-fashioned garage doors as my inspiration.
(Click pix for full-size images.)




Months later, I can finally see light at the tunnel's end. The inside walls are lined with wood strips. A part-loft is made and ready to go in. 

The worst part? Well, applying the wood siding. I hate the "work" of minis. I like the planning, the designing, the decorating... not all the doing. But I really like how this is coming out so the "pain" is worth. The front is done, two sides to go and a roof. Yay!

Moving along... I'll share as I get further and once I get to the fun Yard Sale!

December 15, 2015

Teacher and Writer: Fuzzy Logic Romance Blog Tour

Today I welcome special guest author and teacher Maren Anderson, who just released her latest book, Fuzzy Logic.  (Also available in various formats at Smashwords.) And-- be sure to check out the Rafflecopter to be entered to win an ebook!




Interestingly enough, in real life she's  an alpaca rancher and the book also involves a ranch... (See those eyes peering at you from the cover? ha!) Here's another view: A face you can't resist!



About the book:  


She thinks moving to a ranch will lead to the simple life she craves, but the countryside has other ideas…
 After divorcing her unfaithful husband, Meg Taylor buys an alpaca ranch to finally do something on her own. Almost as soon as she arrives, she meets not one, but two, handsome—and baffling—men. She thinks choosing between the shy veterinarian and her charming securities co-worker is her biggest problem, until life and death on the ranch make her re-evaluate more than her love life. At least her new life is nothing like her old one.


The Writer/Teacher Gap
 By Maren Anderson
 That student in the front row raised his hand. Again. I usually have at least one guy who questions every activity or assignment in my class, but this guy was really persistent. “Why, I mean, what’s the point of this exercise again?” he said.
I saw many other ears prick up when he asked the question. It was a fair question given what I had asked them to do: cut their rough drafts into paragraph-sized chunks. Actually cut, with scissors. It seemed to them a weird exercise; none of their previous teachers had asked them to rip their papers to literal shreds in the name of revision.
I teach writing to mostly first year students at a small college known for having lots of students who are the first in their families to go to college. I am probably the only person they have ever met who writes novels.
It’s this gap between me and my students that made me pause. When that one guy asked me, “What’s the point?” he was not challenging me to be a jerk. He was serious. He did not know what it takes to organize a five-page essay, so he had no concept of what it’s like to plot and organize a 300-page novel. He didn’t know that for my novel Fuzzy Logic, I had to write each scene on a 3x5 card so I could spread them on my dining room table. That was the only way I could visualize where each of scenes needed to go, and which scenes had to go. But I had to bridge the gap.
“The point is to disassociate yourself from your writing as far as possible so you can objectively make revision decisions,” I explained. “Your brain fills in the gaps of what you meant to say, and doesn’t really see what you do say. Cutting the essay in to pieces allows you to see each piece separate from the rest of the paper, so you can see if it actually belongs in the essay.”
“Oh. Okay.” he said. He smiled, went back to his seat, and began shredding his essay.
Teaching Moment, FTW.

** Excerpt from Fuzzy Logic by Maren Anderson:
 He hadn’t said anything since we’d left the barn. I replayed the events leading up to me sitting in the hostile air of the truck.
My heart sank when I remembered the image of Evan in my frilly pink robe holding coffee in my driveway.
“Cody?” I said when I couldn’t stand the silence any longer. “Are you mad?”
He glanced at me, his eyes flashing. “Why would I be mad?” he growled.
“He just kind of showed up last night,” I said.
“Don’t,” he said. “I don’t want to know.”
“I just want to tell you that I’ve been thinking about you, us—”
“And he just showed up and spent the night last night. I hear you.” Cody swung around a corner so forcefully that I gathered the baby alpaca more tightly into my arms to keep it from sliding.
“Please, give me another chance,” I said. “I’m not ready to let you go.”
“But you’re not ready to let him go, either,” Cody said. Pain was sharp in his voice.
“Please,” I said. “Give me whatever time limit you want.” I was afraid to touch him, so I clutched the baby animal to my chest and hoped.
He glared at me again, but his eyes softened before he looked back at the road. He made a turn into a parking lot and turned off the key. He turned to me and looked into my eyes. “A week,” he said. “One torturous week, and I’m done.”
I nodded, afraid breathing would break this reprieve.

About the Author:


Maren Anderson is a writer, teacher, and alpaca rancher who lives in rural Oregon. She writes while her children are at school and spends the rest of her time caring for alpacas, knitting, playing with her family, reading funny books. She teaches literature and composition at a local college and novel writing to eager, budding writers. 
If you want to know more about Anderson’s writing, novel classes, or alpacas, contact her via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MarenBradleyAnderson), on Twitter (@marenster), or at http://www.marens.com.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


** If the Raffle isn't working - post a comment to be entered in the drawing!!

I love finding out about new-to-me authors so thanks to Maren for stopping by. You can't beat a book that features animals! 

December 12, 2015

AIM Advent Calendar (Artisans in Miniature)




The special AIM 2015 Advent Calendar is now out! Projects and more!

Download here

December 07, 2015

December 01, 2015

Annual Miniatures Advent Calendar!

  
The annual Miniatures Advent Calendar is now open!

Get a mini Christmas treat every day to Christmas. (My page is Dec. 7 - also my birthday!)


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