March 31, 2010

Miniatures Wednesday: See the light!

A teeny tiny half scale lamp I won as a prize from Sue B on the Half Scale Yahoo group. Cute! Thanks, Sue!

Oh going to be 73 out today. wow!!!!!!

March 30, 2010

It's a Dog's Life.. Really, Doggie Yoga anyone?

Ok now your dog has to exercise, too. Well, some may need to lay off the chew bones, but is this dog stuff getting, well, too trendy?

The latest fad - Doggie Yoga - (see link for video) "Doga"

So, would you? Or could you?

March 27, 2010

Happy Pink Saturday!

It's another PINK SATURDAY at Beverly's blog, How Sweet the Sound.

So what is new and PINK this week?

Well first I stopped and visited Colette at The Open Cupboard who has the cutest collection of vintage plates and all kinds of stuff. Love the pink shelves!

As for my pink stuff...

For fun, here's a set of fun 50's tin plates I picked up at a flea market....

My favorite Thumbelina doll (early 60's) has a pink hat and a pink bunny...

The miniature scene at the top is from my Tudor tea Shoppe. I'll have to take some new pix when I remove the plexiglass cover.

So that's all for now! Thanks for stopping by!

March 26, 2010

Revising: Again and again and...

I'm a chronic revisionist, it seems.

I think something is done, but every time I open the document, I find something to change.

One manuscript has been shortened several times. It went from over 700 words to 600, and under 500. Now I shaved off another 20 words. I realized the deleted words weren't needed. I could have used them, but no one will miss them.

I wonder if it's the end.

I do like where the manuscript is at now. Hoping that someone else will.

It makes me wonder what other writers think, and do.

** How many times do you revise?

** Do you see things to change after you think you are done?

** Share your experiences.

March 25, 2010

Spring Cleaning and Motivation

Talking about spring cleaning, focus and all that today at Fatal Foodies

What's your motivation? How do you stay focused?

March 23, 2010

Miniatures Giveaway!

Marleen's Miniatures is celebrating 100 followers with a great giveaway!

Sign up and post the pic and link on your blog too!

March 22, 2010

Miniatures Monday: Half Scale Swap

Thought I'd show part of the stash I got from the recent annual anniversary swap from the Half Scale Yahoo Group. Great stuff and a lot of fun!

There are some more items I have to take pictures yet, including the picture and Godey's book I made. There were 32 items in the swap.

March 19, 2010

Odd Friday: Barbecued Barbie

Yes you read the title right. I was checking out an interesting Barbie auction where designers dressed Barbie dolls to be auctioned by the Ballet Phillipines for scholarships, when I started checking other sites.

So what did I find?

Well... I'm cracking up as I'm sure many a kid has wanted to make their own electric chair! This science project uses a tiny chair to fry Barbie, with step by step instructions! What a fall from grace! Now Barbie truly has had every career, even a criminal on Death Row!

March 18, 2010

Book Signing: Independent Miniature Artisans Show, April 16, Schaumburg, IL

I'll be signing copies of my books, In Miniature Style, and Searching for a Starry Night at the Independent Miniature Artisans Show (IMA), April 16-17 at the Embassy Suites Schaumburg/Woodfield in Schaumburg, Ill.

The show will be held from 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Friday, April 16, and 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., Saturday April 17 at the Embassy Suites-Schaumburg/Woodfield, 1939 N. Meacham Rd, Schaumburg IL, 847-397-1313.

The hotel also has a free shuttle that will travel to the other two shows, the Bishop Chicago International, at the Marriott Chicago O'Hare, 8535 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL; and the Three Blind Mice show at the Radisson Hotel, 1725 E. Algonquin Rd., Schaumburg, IL.

I'm also raffling off a miniature reading scene. Be sure to stop by and say hello!

March 17, 2010

First Graphs: Excerpt from "A Night to Forget" in Timeshares Anthology

Today I'm sharing the beginning of my story, "A Night to Forget" from the recently released anthology, TIMESHARES from DAW Books, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg.

About the Book:

Sixteen original stories about taking your dream vacation-in any era you desire.

Take a vacation through time with the help of a Time Travel Agency offering excursions into the past and future. Readers will find themselves in exotic, adventurous locales-and in all manner of trouble and mysteries. And figures from the past will be able to squeak by the other way.

Picture Cleopatra in modern-day New York City, or Hannibal searching for elephants at Wisconsin's Circus World. And that's just the beginning of the thrills and danger...

In my story, Jess Adams finds herself checking out a mysterious travel agency with misgivings. On a whim, she signs up for a dream trip to see an exhibit about the Titanic, an experience that becomes more real than she ever expected.

Excerpt, "A Night to Forget" - C.A. Verstraete

The building’s faded pink brick and dirty windows made Jessica Adams question whether she’d found the right place.

She eyed the ad once more before exiting the car. Matt should’ve come and checked the place like he promised. Would’ve saved her a trip, and a ton of aggravation, she muttered.

Her mood sour, Jess inched closer and tried to peer beyond the layer of dirt in the front window. The inside of the store was dim and dark, its secrets well hidden. She rubbed the dirt from the section of a pane of glass, her effort providing a slightly improved view of the items piled haphazardly on the window ledge. The collection included a faded cruise program, a black-and-white image of a woman in an elegant, ankle-length dress, and a pair of lady’s gloves, the tiny pearl buttons dull with age, the cloth’s once pristine white a memory.

The quaint scene seemed better suited to an antique shop than a place offering the kind of vacation she had in mind. She’d envisioned a private beach in the Caymans or a secluded cabin in the woods, just the two of them. Instead, Matt had begged off, telling her he was too busy for vacations. So, a little peeved, she went alone to investigate the new agency he’d seen advertised in the paper. She had half the mind to book a vacation for herself.

Her bravado faded now that she was here. She read the small, hand-lettered sign tucked into the bottom window pane and scoffed – Timeshares: Adventure for the Ages. The place was as likely to book her dream vacation as she was to win a million dollars. It sounded, well, kind of odd, and a bit too good to be true.

“Good old Matt,” she groused. “He did it again.”

Disappointed, Jess refolded the newspaper page and shoved it in her bag. She needed a good, strong cup of coffee. Maybe someone at the coffee shop could recommend another travel agency so the trip wasn’t a total waste.

She was about to leave when a flicker behind the glass caught her eye. Maybe the owner had arrived. Guess she could at least see what the place offered and hope that the pickings weren’t as slim as she expected.

Finding the door partly open, she stepped inside. “Hello? Anyone here?”


March 15, 2010

Miniatures Monday: More Weird Plants

Another selection of odd plants.

They seem to be the only things I am finishing lately in mini, that is besides the writing, of course.

Latest plants: a mini corpse flower and an interpretation of the Rafflesia. I love the red and the dots! Oh, and a bonus with the corpse flower- no smell. haa! (Haven't seen one in real life; not sure if I'd want to!)

(I did make a larger one awhile ago, but I have to find it, of course!) The plants are all made from Crayola Model Magic clay that was painted. The blue pot is a water bottle cap.

March 11, 2010

Alice in Wonderland: Miniature Food Ideas

I've heen waiting for this movie since it was announced - the wait was worth it! Wow! Color, costumes, background (Johnny Depp!) cool 3D, it has it all!

And mini ideas!! Found the above picture of another view of the Mad Hatter's Table. Check out the character pix today at Fatal Foodies - some fantastic cakes and tea sets, more table ideas.

March 08, 2010

Miniatures Monday: Egg Carton Pots Tutorial

Sometimes the most obvious things aren't so obvious, it seems.

A friend I'll call the "Frugal Miniaturist" shared her great ideas for making cheap planters.


* Papier mache egg carton; shapes on bottom may vary.
* Xacto knife and/or razor blade.
* Sharp scissors

Besides making great faux stones, realistic looking bricks, or a detailed brick walkway, papier mache egg cartons also will provide a variety of cheap pots and planters.

1. Using a sharp Xacto knife or new razor blade, carefully cut around cup shapes on bottom of egg carton. Different cartons may provide different shapes.

2. Cut around large cup shapes (see top image) at base where it is attached to carton. Even out top edges by cutting with scissors. Press cup down firmly to make bottom level. The resulting large round pot (not pictured) is perfect for floor plants or large plantings.

3. Make square pots: Cut out the square indented shapes between the round cups to form smaller square pots.

Carefully cut "pots" out at top, close to carton bottom, with sharp blade or knife. Trim down the pot edges to make a shorter plant dish or flatter pot. Note: Blades dull quickly.

Once shape is cut out, even out top edges with scissors. Press pot down firmly to level base. Decorate pot with paint and trims like lace, rhinestones, faux stones, etc. for different looks.

My pictured "monster" plant uses one of the square pots.

Have fun! I'd love to see what you come up with.

(c) 2010 C. Verstraete Candid Canine blog

March 05, 2010

Perception: Do You Stop and Smell the Roses, or Listen to the Music?

Someone emailed this to me and I thought it worth repeating.

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The questions raised:

*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*Do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made....

How many other things are we missing?

March 04, 2010

How Sweet It Is!

Talking about my favorite topic - chocolate - today at Fatal Foodies. Great way to start the day huh?

March 02, 2010

Sci fi anthology Timeshares out today

I just got my copy of Timeshares, a time travel anthology from DAW Books, edited by Jean Rabe and Martin H. Greenberg.

I'm tickled pink for many reasons. It includes my story, "A Night to Forget," in which a woman visiting an unusual travel store gets tickets for a dream trip to see an exhibit about the Titanic - and finds the experience more real than she ever expected.

It's also my first appearance with this publisher. Check out the cool back cover (see my name?) and be sure to go check it out at your local bookstore or Amazon.

Not that I'm the reason to buy it, of course! (Oh? ha!) The anthology is organized around a frame story by noted author Kevin J. Anderson involving Timeshares, a company that allows customers to vacation anywhere in time.

It includes the story, "By Our Actions," by noted fantasy/sci-fi author Michael Stackpole and features stories by: Robert E. Vardeman, Matthew P. Mayo, Greg Cox, Dean Legett,Annie Jones,Kelly Swails, Chris Pierson, James M. Ward, Jody Lynn Nye, Vicki Steger, Gene DeWeese, Patrick McGilligan, Steven Saus, C. A. Verstraete, Donald J. Bingle, Allister Timms and Linda P. Baker.

March 01, 2010

Miniatures Monday: Weird Plants

Got inspired and did a few more strange plants for the Witch's Greenhouse.

They're a relation to a Venus Fly Trap. I'd seen a couple on eBay one time and had to try my hand at making some.

They were made with Crayola Model Magic Air dry clay. I also added a few fake silk leaves on top. The "teeth" are from the same clay, too.

I'll let you guess what the flowerpot is made from?

(* Check out the greenhouse, inside and out so far.)