October 08, 2021

Life, Love and Starting Over in The Shell Collector #romance #beachread


 Today I'm featuring a touching and personal interview with Nancy Naigle, USA Today Bestselling Author of The Shell Collector. Plus, there's a fantastic giveaway, see below! ** See more details and fun games at Nancy's website.

About the Book:

Two years after her husband’s death, Amanda Whittier has two children to raise alone, an abandoned dream of starting a business, and a fixer-upper cottage by the sea. She has no room in her life for anything else and little interest in moving on after losing the man she loved.

Paul Grant is a relative newcomer to the area, and his work with former military dogs needing rehabilitation has been good for the town. Though he loved once before, he’s convinced he’s not suited for romance and is determined to find meaning—alone—through his work and role in the community. Widowed Maeve Lindsay was born and raised on Whelk’s Island. Spirited, kind, and a little mischievous, she pours her life into the town. But she carries a secret that shapes her every move.

Together, these three souls find encouragement in the most mysterious places and discover a love that’s bigger than their pain, healing their wounded hearts in ways none of them could have hoped for or expected.

An Interview with Nancy Naigle:

What inspired The Shell Collector

I was inspired by a story my cousin shared with me about a friend of our family who walked the beach near her home in the Outer Banks of North Carolina every day. With something heavy on her heart, one day she kicked up a shell that had something written inside it. A scripture, and it was the perfect message to lift her spirits. Over a period of time she found four shells with messages. She never knew where they came from. That story stuck with me after I lost my husband, and just five weeks later my cousin who had told me that story. I could’ve used a bucket of those shells to get through that year. I didn’t find any shells, but I did discover this story in my heart. I hope you love it, and that it helps many people find peace through difficult times.

What was your favorite part of the story and why? 

When Maeve and Amanda go to Charleston together. It was such a simple thing that Maeve had dreamed of. People sometimes want to experience things that they feel are out of reach, but can be simple with a little help.

If you had to live in this setting, which place would you choose as yours?

 I grew up in Virginia Beach so I spent lots of days on the beach, and I love walking in the wet sand where the water just laps over my feet. If I lived in Whelks Island, I’d have a little bungalow like Amanda’s within walking distance to the diner and church. I’d paint it a pretty turquoise with shutters the color of driftwood. Of course, I’d create a set of windchimes from the pretty shells I collected. Soft colors. Clear of clutter. It would be like living at a spa. 

What do you want readers to know about your characters? 

Amanda and Maeve are generations apart, but they build the most wonderful friendship and help each other in such different ways. I hope everyone finds a Maeve in their lifetime. Paul was Amanda’s best friend, and their friendship is put to the test. I love the multiple friendships and history of these characters.

How much of your own life inspired the story? 

This story is much more personal than anything I’ve ever written. Being a widow is hard, and I wanted to write a special story about coming through grief that would not only be a heartfelt read, but something you’d want to share with a friend. The loss of my husband, finding peace on the ocean and collecting seashells as in the book, those are part of who I am. The character of Maeve came to me so clearly. She was a joy to write.

What were The hardest and easiest parts of writing this book? 

This was a story I was really driven to write following the loss of my husband in 2014. It took me a long time to be able to write about that grief. None of it was easy, but I found so much joy writing the scenes with Amanda’s children at the beach. Being a native of Virginia Beach, I was able to pull from my memories of my brother and I as children. That was so much fun.

What kind of work did you do before writing this book? 

How it prepared you (or didnt!?) for writing this and other books. Oh gosh. THE SHELL COLLECTOR is my 32nd published novel. Before I was published, I was a senior vice president with Bank of America in Technology and Audit. My career has really helped me as an author. I’m used to working to deadlines, and tracking progress. I also use all of my project management and relationship skills, and being tech-savvy is sure a blessing in this line of work.

What's next? 

WHAT REMAINS TRUE comes out in May 2022. It is set in the same small town of Antler Creek in my novel, CHRISTMAS ANGELS. It was so fun to go back to Antler Creek and meet up again with the locals there and meet some newcomers to the area. I hope everyone who hasn’t yet read CHRISTMAS ANGELS will order it today and read it over the holidays, and then mark the date for the new book. Psst—it’s already available for preorder.

What do you hope readers take away from this book? 

You know, grief is hard. Everyone in this world will go through it, and yet it remains one of the hardest things we are ever faced with. I hope this story comforts those who have faced that type of loss, but for those who have not yet… I pray that this story settles in their heart and somewhere tucked in the back of their mind so that when they are faced with grief this story comes to mind and helps them traverse those choppy waters with grace and comfort.

My Review:

You'll Love This Heartfelt Story!

A fantastic book that takes you into the lives of people touching the lives of others. It's a fast read you'll devour in one or two sittings. It has great background, charming characters, and a wonderful setting. I pretty much guessed what would happen but that didn't stop me from reading, sometimes with a clenched throat and tears. A touching story of change, loss, love and hope. Loved it!

Some Fun Freebies:

* Free excerpt and downloadable shell quote cards from the book -  https://www.nancynaigle.com/theshellcollector

* Online crossword puzzle -  https://crosswordhobbyist.com/878130

* Online book cover jigsaw –  https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=0b0f73ca9041

Giveaway!  Get an autographed copy of the book, beach bag and hand painted shell with a quote from the book.  See  https://woorise.com/thebookreviewcrew/the-shell-collector or enter below.

The Shell Collector

September 23, 2021

Dollhouse Video! #miniatures #half scale

Finished the last few additions (for now) in the Victorian dollhouse, so I tried making a video of the rooms. I put it up on my website Miniatures page here. 

The house is now covered with a giant acrylic case we made to keep out the dust and dog hair (which seems to get everywhere!) 

 I realize I didn't get a full photo of the front after it was finished, instead you can find photos of different sections in the blog archives in left column.

September 14, 2021

What I'm Reading: Keep Summer Close: The Shell Collector #romance #beachread

Hey, I don't read all dark horror, you know. Every now and then I like to settle in with a good historical, and yes, even a love story, beachy-read kind of book.

So, the pretty cover on this one definitely caught my eye. Oh, and the book contributed by the author for her upcoming blog tour also came with this pretty painted seashell, which was a nice surprise! Now you know me, I'm a sucker for little stuff and... my miniaturist's mind also was thinking, Ooh! Can I use this in the someday beach dollhouse or another house? You bet I will. I'll find a way to use it - it's too pretty not to use!

Oh! A quote on the underside too: (Good advice!)

For now, stay tuned for an upcoming blog tour, review giveaway and interview. Learn more at the author's website, where she has all kinds of cool stuff!. She has some online puzzles and more on the book page, too. She's also had several of her novels adapted to film showing on the Hallmark channel!

And here's more about the book:  (Sounds good, right?)

The Shell Collector, USA Today Bestselling Author Nancy Naigle - A novel of a friendship that crosses generations, and learning how even the smallest gifts can change a life for good.

Two years after her husband’s death, Amanda Whittier has two children to raise alone, an abandoned dream of starting a business, and a fixer-upper cottage by the sea. She has no room in her life for anything else and little interest in moving on after losing the man she loved. 

Paul Grant is a relative newcomer to the area, and his work with former military dogs needing rehabilitation has been good for the town. Though he loved once before, he’s convinced he’s not suited for romance and is determined to find meaning—alone—through his work and role in the community. 

Widowed Maeve Lindsay was born and raised on Whelk’s Island. Spirited, kind, and a little mischievous, she pours her life into the town. But she carries a secret that shapes her every move. 

Together, these three souls find encouragement in the most mysterious places and discover a love that’s bigger than their pain, healing their wounded hearts in ways none of them could have hoped for or expected.


September 09, 2021

#Miniature Photo Room Box Latest

 What's this, you ask??

Yes! I am starting to plan this year's HALLOWEEN IN MINIATURE posts. I think I have some fun stuff lined up, so be sure to come back and keep in touch!

In the meantime... ha! Remember the photo box I mentioned earlier? Well, it's about done, except for putting some trim in to hold the front glass. See progress below.

Well, I really love how the inside turned out and at the latest Goodwill trip, yes, I found two more boxes above. I kept thinking on it and decided I better not pass them up, especially as the top one was really different. Yeah, I needed more projects. haa! 

The top box is cool as it's smaller and if you look close it has a peaked roof with a round ball. I see a room, don't you?  So stacked on top the other one, it can be a tower of rooms. The second box is the same style but these two are mahogany while the first box I bought is a lighter blond wood. But I may still stack them for variety. All I have to do is lift them off to open the lid and get inside. I'm putting in lights with a battery pack and on/off button on the back of each.

Now the first one (below) was going to be an attic...then hubby mentioned a tiki bar. So maybe I'll order that tiki bar kit I've been seeing... I recently found a neat tiki monster statue by chance, too...

I love how the wood walls and the brick wall came out.

I added paper squares on top inside as I kept the wood top slats on the outside. Then I added new strips inside and put the wiring under those for the lights. See? Anything can be a room if you don't have a lot of space and have some patience. ha!

So maybe I can make a tiki bar in the basement, have an entrance and sitting room on floor 1 (I might leave the divider in and make an outside scene on one side for variety though it's a small space) and some kind of tower bedroom... ??? Decisions, decisions... The height of these seems to fit half scale the best, too. We'll see... 

The Halloween house is also underway.... slowly. More posts will be coming.

Thanks for stopping by!

August 25, 2021

More #HalfScale #Dollhouse Photos


Partial view of craft room

Surely, you're not tired of looking at dollhouse photos, right? I'm featuring my work tomorrow at the Half Scale Miniatures group on FB, so thought I'd share a few new photos here as well.

Well, new as in I just added some finished things to the Victorian dollhouse (see last updates, also scroll down or look in archives at left), or at least took recent photos. 

It's been fun working on this house and coming up with new things to make or kits to finish. But no worry! Of course I have many, many more kits to do yet! haa!

Part of craft table which is in center of room but I can't get a good overall photo. This was a NAME kit.

Kids craft table in the craft room, but hey, it's pizza time!

Kitchen: counter top, side baking table and main table. Finally found a dish drainer - was in the kitchen cabinet kit from D-Tales Miniatures/Ron Chase. (Now I wish I had another drainer!) The mixer is a painted metal miniature. I put some white puff paint in the bowl. The veggies are from past Half Scale group swaps.

The purse, if you didn't know, is actually a shaped button.

Just love this stove kit! From MiniEtchers.

More to come! Working on Halloween layouts and finishing the attic in the photo box. Got the top covered and working on putting the lights in next. See you next time!

August 20, 2021

#Halloween is Coming! New #Dollhouse Build!


What is this???

Well.... I couldn't resist. haa! Wondered what to do next and I'm in a HALLOWEEN mood!! So.... out came a kit I bought a while ago for this purpose! (And yes, the photo box room is still ongoing!) 

I'm building the Greenleaf Half Scale Van Buren dollhouse, which I'd bought some time back (for much cheaper than that price!) with a Haunted House in mind... or a Haunted Mansion.... So this is the start...

So far.... the middle and top roof parts aren't glued in yet, nor is the second floor. I lost the pattern instructions somehow, so muddling along, but it's going okay. Have to figure how to run electric tape first as I do want some lights in it. Will use scrapbook paper on the walls as I usually do.

Here's the full house front and back from the Greenleaf site. I may keep out some inner walls, still deciding....  I like the design so probably won't change much on the outside. 

I just liked the style of this and it's got some nice rooms without being a huge house as my Victorian House is... It's light, too. 

I'm thinking of doing brick on the outside. I just ordered more textured brick papers from  seller starboc1 from Greece on eBay. Her papers are great and reasonable ($25) for 16 sheets. I had used her other brick on the foundation, the chimney and in the attic of the Victorian house. I'm trying a different style brick this time (below)  for an older look. I'm thinking lots of soot, moss, vines and black window frames and trim. Plus, lots of gargoyles of course! We'll see what I decide. 

This will be fun! I'll start sharing some of the furnishings I made before and I also am getting some ideas for this year's Halloween in Miniature blogs. Stay tuned!

August 16, 2021

More #Dollhouse #Miniature Projects


A few other half scale kits I finished for the Victorian-flavored dollhouse. (Scroll down for past photos or look in archives list in left column.) 

The shelf kits I think I got a while back from Sdk miniatures. The painting easel and stool (plus the paint tray on the shelf) are from MiniEtchers.  The small paint cans, wool skeins, radio, sewing basket, Candyland game and painting are from past Half Scale Groups io swaps. I made most of the other items. 

Another project:

Yeah, I know, I flit from project to project. As the big dollhouse is pretty much done now, what is next? (I do have to put up kitchen cabinets and share pix of the kitchen counter, which is about all that is left now.)

I am getting in the mood to do Halloween stuff though I do and don't want to do another house. I have lots of things saved and plan to make more. It would be fun to do a full house (this is all in half scale) but....? I do have to set up my Halloween display first, of course.

For now, I'm working on this box....

WHAT is it??

This is actually a photo box I found at Goodwill. It had smaller glass windows on both sides along with glass on the top.

So far:

The front windows were cut to have one full window. I lined the inside with a bamboo mat I stained and brick paper on one side and the back of the front wall. I'm putting stained wood strips over the threads on the back wall. The floor is stained MDF wood flooring. I'll add wood on the outside for the window holes and add some printed posters.

The top will have three battery-run lights in the ceiling. I'm leaving the bars and putting paper in for the ceiling I think. So you see, you don't always need a house or regular room box to work in miniature. 

What is it going to be? I could decorate it for different holidays, but I also have an attic in mind. Stay tuned! 


August 11, 2021

Latest #Dollhouse #Miniature Finds and Rooms

 I was lucky today! Went to Goodwill and found a good assortment of  punched flower and leaf petals. I was getting low on these tinier petals which are used for Impatiens, so thrilled to find them! Plus Geranium leaves and an oval type leaf, plus yellow "foam" for flower centers. Only $1.99! Also found a whole big bag of sticky-back rhinestones which I use for potion bottle tops and other things. There also was some green quilling paper that may be useful.

And I found these little figures which are kind of interesting. They're a bit chunky but about 2 1/2" high, so may work in some half scale rooms with slightly larger furniture. They're kind of cute and could work in certain scenes.  Maybe I can use some by the eventual beach house.

* House Updates:

Changes on the Half Scale Victorian-flavored House continue. (See archives in left column or scroll down for past posts.) 

I changed the parlor to add another chair in and added pillows on the couch and chair, plus a small ottoman. (It doesn't show behind the coffee table. The ottoman, btw, is simply one of those round foam sheet layered "beads" from the dollar store that I covered with fabric.) The left chair is vintage plastic, which I usually cover with cloth but decided this time to leave it as is. The right chair I made from a pattern from Terri Shuping Correll in the Half Scale Miniatures group on FB. She sends the pattern free by request.

This was fun. All the craft items are from various swaps from the Half Scale Miniatures group at groups.io.  The craft table was a 2019 Name Day project.  (Scroll down photos on page.) This goes in the top floor craft room.  (The green fern wallpapered room.)The table also has tiny bins added on one side. Cubby bins kit from S&S Furniture Co.

This was the best change. I forgot I had several other pieces stashed away that I'd bought when the half scale Jefferson Monticello dollhouse furnishings were marked down and discontinued. This "leather" chair really does fit the den better. It's a neat chair as it is rather unusual looking. The top and bottom are two pieces and it actually swivels.

I also added a red chair (above) from the Monticello collection to the hall as it adds some extra color against the tropical art on the wall. I also have one of the blue chairs similar to it in the dining room.

The Monticello dollhouse, a 1/24 scale replica of Thomas Jefferson's historic home,  was actually a pretty interesting house, but I think it had a limited audience as my guess is you almost felt confined to follow the historical style and time period. See photos of the house kit here. 

That's it for now! See you next time!

August 04, 2021

TV in #Miniature

 My latest mini finds at Goodwill. How could I pass that up?

And speaking of TV's....

Awhile back I'd found this cool site where you could buy a kit to make a mini TV that showed TV show clips.... See TinyCircuits. But that's rather pricey at $75... It also must be a new trend as do a Google search and you'll find all kinds of links for mini TVs.

Well! They must've licensed their technology as - this is so cool! It probably was a matter of time that this would be mass produced. Already working mini TV's will be sold soon at Walmart. So far the price is $25.  (They're not in yet.) 

The mini TVs called
Tiny TV Classics from Basic Fun will feature show clips from different eras. So far they're featuring four shows and TV styles - Batman, Friends, South Park and Back to the Future. More shows are supposed to come. I hope they come out with The Munsters and The Addams Family in the vintage cabinet TV styles... Won't that be neat in a mini haunted house???

The page has links to buy them at Walmart, though they aren't in and some pages don't show up yet. But it's something cool to look out for! Hopefully the supply chain problems they've been talking about on TV won't delay shipping too long.  

July 21, 2021

Mystery Item #miniatures


Today's Mystery Item:

Can you guess what this is?? It's cast in resin, the top is a solid piece, so it's pretty heavy, too.

Funny story on this - I can't even remember when I bought it... years ago. A real long time ago.

I'd seen it online I think and liked it. Bought it, then during one of my "reorganizing" stints, I guess, I stuck it in a drawer. Forgot about it. Totally. haa! 

Wow! Something new to work on. haa! (Like I don't have enough projects?! Oh, and I have another project idea to show you next, too.)

So, I guess I'll have to work on it now since it's out  and won't take a lot of work. Miraculously it wasn't broken and all the pieces are here. (Cool, I see it even has a light bulb but I'll switch it to LED I think so I can use a battery box.) 

I think it'll be a perfect Halloween addition to my house and Halloween scene.... I put most of the stuff away so when I bring it out towards October again I can enjoy the redecorating and changing stuff around. The house sits out, but it gets boring leaving everything else out. 

Here's what this should look like: 

Stay tuned for progress pix. --Chris