October 31, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010 - Day 12: Short Halloween Fiction by Gail Farrelly and a Slideshow

(Trick or Treat! - Nancy Cronin)

Welcome to Day 12 of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature for 2010! I hope that you enjoyed visiting and seeing the work of some talented miniaturists. I appreciate your stopping by and hope you'll come back for future events (and shameless plug - check out my fiction and books. ha!) I had fun organizing the event, and hope you had fun, too!

(If you missed the beginning, start at Day 1. ** Back: Day 11.)* Don't forget to check out today's slideshow at the end of this post.

To wrap up this year's event, I have a special "treat" - enjoy a holiday tale by author Gail Farrelly. Her latest mystery novel is Creamed at Commencement: A Graduation Mystery. You can read the first chapter at the link above. Gail is also working on a fourth mystery, The Virtual Heiress.

HalloweenTech: A Fantasy Tale
By Gail Farrelly

It's Halloween morning. You're curled up in bed reading your new Kindle. It's light as a feather and holds tons of books. Ah, the new technology. Isn't it wonderful?

You get up and head to the kitchen for a glass of orange juice. Eek! There is none. Thank goodness you invested in a "smart" refrigerator, programmed to automatically inventory and re-order some basic items. You go to the refrigerated delivery box right outside your door and open the combination lock. Eureka! As promised, the refrigerator IS smart. A half-gallon of juice awaits you, having been delivered by the 24/7 gremlins who accept and obey the commands of your refrigerator. Three cheers for the new technology!

Later in the day you're out for a jog and stop at a machine to buy a bottle of water. You deposit $1.50, but nothing happens. You wipe the sweat off your sunglasses and read the message flashing on the machine: "Warm weather surcharge in effect, since temperature is above 70 degrees. Please deposit an additional 50 cents." Yikes! A smart refrigerator in your home is one thing. But a smart drink machine in the park? A machine that takes advantage of high temperatures and exhausted joggers? Forget about it. You have no more change and return home thirsty. What has technology wrought?

At dinnertime, you push the "scan and suggest" button on your refrigerator. Within a minute you receive a printout providing three Martha Stewart recipes based on the inventory of the fresh food contents of your refrigerator. Let's see, you could whip up chicken in wine sauce, spinach lasagna, or a broccoli and cheese omelet. You consider each one in turn and picture all the pots and pans involved. You give a thumbs down to all three. You do have a smart dishwasher, but it's not smart enough to do the entire clean up on its own, and Martha won't be stopping by to help. She's done the before-the-meal work, but afterwards you'll be on your own. Time for Plan B. You stick your head in the freezer and do a manual scan. You find a frozen pizza and put it in the oven. Who needs the new technology?

You finish your pizza and then pick up the mail. Bad news. Your car rental company, doing nationwide monitoring from its office in Snoopville, has caught you going more than ten miles above the speed limit on three separate occasions. Uh oh. Big Brother is watching. You didn't know that the company had the technology and the nerve to do that. A "fine" of $150 has been charged to your credit card. Is this legal? But talk about a dilemma. How can you ask a law enforcement official whether it's legal for someone to "catch" you speeding? Boy, you hate this new technology.

(Boo! Trick or Treat? - Nancy Cronin)

Then the doorbell rings. You open the door to a cast of usual suspects. A witch, a ghost, a ballet dancer, a king, a pirate, a princess, a Miss Piggy, and a Kermit form a chorus: "Trick or Treat." Their eyes light up when you hand over candy corn and dollar bills. You wish each other Happy Halloween.

You close the door and smile. Hmm. Maybe this brave new world isn't so bad after all. Or so new.#

Thanks for visiting and hope to see you next year! Stop by again for other book news and my Christmas miniatures posts! - Chris Verstraete

October 30, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010 - Day 11: Halloween Ideas and Projects

(The Consummate Biblioophile - Joann Swanson)

Welcome to Day 11 of The 12 Days of Halloween In Miniature. (You can go to the beginning of the party here at Day 1.)
(** Back: Day 10 - ** Next: Day 12 - final day slideshow and illustrated short story)

For a change of pace, today I wanted to share some fun projects and ideas I've come across. Feel free to share your ideas or tell us about a project you've made.

* It's great to see the always creative Joann Swanson again sharing her ideas with us! She has two fun tutorials, a Halloween scene (make some mini books and more, see top pic) and an Autumn scene at her new blog.

* Great toy and game boxes from jennifer's printables (Also great boxes and bags - not Halloween but you can put them under a Halloween-decorated tree, right?)

* Halloween potion label printie

* Cool Halloween silhouettes and pictures - Martha Stewart

* Pumpkin centerpiece idea: Just saw Martha's idea on TV - how pretty this would be in mini for a change of pace! I'm going to try it and will are a pic if it works:

Pick a small and larger pumpkin to make a tower. Paint top pumpkin silver; bottom one black. Cut out small green leaves. Glue pumpkins together with leaves sticking out between them. Cover top pumpkin stem completely with colored glitter. Draw or punch out out tiny leaves and glue a few to pumpkins. Add glitter to leaf shapes.

* About.com's Halloween printies. - Halloween cupcake shop printie (and links to witch costume pattern)

* Make a mini Halloween book: (If desired, first spray with matte sealer and coat with water-based varnish - NOTE: color strip before spraying - or print on gloss photo paper.) Print out small covers. Color center strip, or leave strip as flap, cut out one side and glue over flap so front and back meet. Fold and fill with cut paper.

* Make miniature papier mache ornaments. (Easy to shrink down to dollhouse size.)

* Make Halloween kid's books. (These are full-size but can be re-sized; good tutorial.)

* Make a mini Jack 'O Lantern video:

** Looking for a Halloween read? The Killer Valentine Ball - C.A. Verstraete

Jess agrees to go on a blind date (can you say loser?) to a local Valentine Ball, which turns out to be a "killer" party that she'll never forget! * 5 stars -Ghostwriter Reviews "...The details and events were very descriptive, and captured my attention for the short tour down the ghoulish halls. The ending was quite funny."

* Make a (cute!) Halloween spider cake video:

October 29, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010 - Day 10: Visit the Witch's Cottage!

Welcome to Day 10 of the 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature! (If you missed the beginning, enter here at Day 1.)

When she's not getting in hay or doing other chores on her small South Carolina farm, Jody Raines enjoys creating exquisite flowers and beautiful miniature upholstered furniture. She also creates wonderful miniature paintings. She sells her work under the name, Peach Blossom Hill.

Jody was lucky as she did have a dollhouse as a child and says she's "dabbled" in minis off and on for years. Creating her country-flavored "Witch's Cottage" was truly a labor of love:

"I love Halloween and wanted to make a witch's cottage I could display during the month of October. I used Creative Paperclay for the stonework and wanted it to look sort of like a Hansel and Gretel cottage.

"I made the crooked chimney from layers of foamcore board. The furniture was mainly online purchases, some of it, such as the bed, were older pieces and the potions cabinet and cupboard were Michael's hutches. I made each of the potions bottles and the polymer clay fruits and vegetables."

** Back: Day 9 ** Next: 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature: Day 11

** Enjoy a video tour of Jody's Witch's Cottage: (Love the details, the colors and that crooked chimney!)

October 28, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010 - Day 9: Gruesome Foods!

(Mmm, what's for dinner? New meaning to the term, "mystery meat." No, you don't want to know. ha! - Meal: Pamela Nicholson)

Welcome to Day 9 of The 12 Days of Halloween In Miniature. (You can go to the beginning of the party here at Day 1.

**Warning** to the squeamish: We're now entering the dark side of the party. What's Halloween without a little gore? Heh-heh-heh.

Well, my interest in making yucky miniature Halloween food is well-known. But there are others who also like to let their mind go a little wild...

Don't let Montana miniaturist Pamela J. Nicholson's elegant photo at her website fool you. Pamela, who creates under the name Pamela J Minis has a dark side...

Besides making some fantastic, and yummy-looking everyday foods like pizza, desserts, even a bowl of Trix cereal, (check them out!) she made some, er, dishes for those with "certain" tastes...

Can you hear me now? No?

Pamela says she made up for her "deprived" childhood when she entered the world of miniatures in 2008. "Being a typical girl, I have always been enthralled by dollhouses and miniatures," she says. "I wanted a doll collection; never acquired one. I wanted a dollhouse; never managed that either.

(Snack time!)

"In May 2008 a whole new world opened up for me when I received a beautiful dollhouse (a Greenleaf Willowcrest) for Mother's Day from my daughter. It was completely built, all I had to do was furnish it and what fun I've had in doing so.

"In early June, I started playing around with polymer clay and found that God has blessed me with a talent for creating things with it.

"I have since created many food displays that have been sent worldwide. Each display gives me great pleasure, not only in the creation of it, but in knowing that it brings someone else as much pleasure as it has me."

(And isn't that what miniatures are all about? Thanks, Pamela for sharing one side of your work with us!)

** Back: Day 8

** Next: 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature: Day 10

** This is a must-see! Yes, this is a REAL bakery - and these items are bread! Imagine that for your next breakfast! haa! See more incredibly amazing (and gross) photos here.

October 27, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010 - Day 8: Something Sweet

(Halloween table and candies, Megan Conlon)

Welcome to Day 8 of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature. (If you missed the party's start, go back to Day 1.)

Mention Halloween and what do you think of? Besides costumes, it has to be the goodies: candy and all things sweet!

As kids, we used to go out for hours and come back with bags of great stuff: candy bars, popcorn balls, etc. The same fun is possible in miniature, letting you fill your sweet tooth without guilt (or extra pounds!)

New Yorker Megan Conlon first became interested in miniatures as a middle school student. She bought some furniture on sale and made rooms with cardboard boxes. While some kids lose interest in their early hobbies, Megan wanted to learn more about miniatures.

"I got my dollhouse in 9th-10th grade for $5 at a garage sale," she says. (See how she decorated the house at her website). "I couldn’t afford dollhouse food so I attempted making some myself, but didn’t try for more accurate pieces until after my freshman year of college. It was during the summer that I was able to create more realistic food with the help of DIY projects from dollhouse magazines. It’s been about nine years since that, and I’ve been working on my craft ever since."

Megan now enjoys creating a variety of miniature food and other items, many of which are now sold under the name, Megan's Minis.

"My favorite foods to create in miniature are desserts; especially cakes and cupcakes," she says. "I’m actually quite good with printies/printables, too. I love working with computers so not only is it easy to scan real boxes and make them mini, but I can also create my own. I enjoy making my own stuff, although I still feel quite new to it all. I’m constantly inspired by real life items and especially by the talent of those who create in miniature."

** And how about this striking candy creation? This black-and-white Nightmare-inspired candy scene is by miniaturist Kate Whittaker.

** Back: Day 7

** Next: 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature: Day 9

** Make some fun candy bar wrappers

October 26, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010 - Day 7: Dressing for Halloween with Kat the Hat Lady!

Welcome to Day 7 of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature. (If you missed the beginning of the party, go back to Day 1.)

There was once a time when no well-dressed man, or woman, considered themselves properly attired without a hat. The same holds true today for those looking for the proper haunted attire.

(Zombie Hat)

As mentioned in an earlier post, anyone looking for fashionable "witchy" wear knows to go to British mini milliner Kat Hazelton, also known as Kat the Hat Lady.

From pretty and stately, to dramatic and a touch scary, Kat's witch and wizard hats reflect her love to create, and a love for all things Halloween!

Kat, who began making miniature dolls, beaded jewelry and even pig magnets, has been making mini millinery for 12 years now and can't think of anything she'd rather be doing.

"I also dream about hats a lot," she admits. "Mad Hatter is now my middle name - ha-ha!"

(Vampire Killer hat)

Interestingly enough, Kat began making mini hats after a request from her Nan, which led her to study real-life millinery.

"Many, many moons ago I made a 1/12th scale doll for my Nan’s birthday and I was trying to make a hat for it, but the hat I made was awful!" she recalls. "At the time I couldn’t find any information on miniature hat making so I took myself off to my local library and started researching about full-size millinery.

"After weeks of researching, I finally managed to create a decent hat for Nan’s poor doll. My Nan was so pleased with this hat she showed it to her neighbours who then all wanted hats! So it was my Nan that started me off. I then used all this money to buy more millinery books. I got brave and went to college to study full-size millinery and I haven’t looked back."

(Stargazer hat)

Kat attended York College and studied millinery for more than two years. That she found success with her mini creations is no surprise considering she worked as a professional milliner in a shop making fashionable hats for the women attending the Royal Ascot horse races where the rule seems to be "the wilder the better!" (Check out the wild hats at the link!)

Some of her creativity also seems to be part genetic and part exposure: her Nan used to dye feathers for ladies' hats and her mother was a chair caner.

"We attended many craft fairs when I was a child," she says. "I used to spend hours watching all the craftspeople blowing glass, sewing, weaving and making jewelry."

Kat's other jobs have included working as a cake decorator and a chef. "I have done lots of interesting things, but I've also worked in offices, stacked shelves, made bacon butties and cleaned for a living, so it’s not all glamorous!"

The hats, though, remain her passion, and the ideas keep on coming...

(Blue Star hat)

Inspiration comes, she says, "from books, films, art, fabrics, fashion magazines, haberdashery shops, I can get ideas when I am walking the dog or visiting a museum. I often have a notebook in my handbag which I jot little notes in. I also go to Gothic events and medieval fairs so there is a huge amount of inspiration from people's costumes and head wear. I am forever stopping people and taking their photos, ha-ha! "

So, how many hats has she made?

"I have lost count," she admits and laughs. "I used to sell over 200 each time I did a fair in the ‘good old days’ so it must be a thousand of them! Funny to think of all these little hats all over the world made by me! How cool is that?"

Very cool!

** See Kat's hats for sale in her Etsy shop

** Back: Day 6.

** Next: 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature - Day 8.

October 25, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010 - Day 6: Meet More of the Guests!

Welcome to Day 6 of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature! I hope you're enjoying yourself. If you didn't check in, go back to Day 1.

Do you hear that? Such a haunting melody! Let's step into the parlor, shall we? We are so fortunate to have the lovely Louise (above) come in to play a few tunes for us.

This wonderful figure is one of several hand-sculpted porcelain dolls by IGMA Artisan Anna Hardman. Anna, who also makes her own molds from her original one-inch-scale sculpts (1"=1'), came from Russia to the US in 1993 and now teaches middle school in Ohio.

Her Victorian Bride, Livia, won a Doll Of The Year (DOTY) Industry's Choice award in January 2010 and was the DOTY Public Choice Award winner in July 2010. (Be sure to check out her incredible bride dolls, especially the portrait doll of her new sister-in-law!)

(Louise - Anna Hardman)

While this wonderful beauty below is not Halloween-related, the ethereal white skin of Anna's interpretation of Anne Hathaway as The White Queen from Alice in Wonderland does seem to fit here. (Can't you almost picture her as one of Dracula's lovely ladies?)

Well, let's just sit and enjoy the rest of the recital. Please come back tomorrow and see what else is going on...

** Back: Day 5

** Next: Halloween in Miniature:
Day 7

** Free public domain book for Kindle or Kindle for PC - download here free

October 24, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010 - Day 5: Wizards and Dragons, Oh My!

Clotilde and her pet dragon, "Muffy"

Welcome to Day 5 of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature! (If you misplaced your ticket, you can get in the door at Day 1.)

For today, we'll forget the witchy and gorey part of Halloween and turn to the more mystical side of the holiday. Nothing seems more magical and evokes more awe than wizards and dragons, right?

But forget the idea you had of dragons being mean, horrible creatures. (Shades of How to Train Your Dragon anyone?) These magical creatures are actually lambs at heart. (Well some of them...)

The amazing dragon, "Muffy" at top is hand-sculpted of polymer clay by IGMA Artisan and doll maker Lucie Winsky. Lucie, who sculpts many of her own dolls and paints her own miniature oils (I have a copy of her amazing "Starry Night,") is a master at giving a doll character. (She did an incredible series of dolls fashioned after famous painters and paintings. See one of the posts on Goya. Put her name or Art in Miniature in search box in left column here to see others.)

Of course, some wizards are not quite so charming... This guy sure looks like he got out of bed in a bad mood.... (Evil Wizard - Lucie Winsky)

Other wizards, however, are more likely to have a softer side... helps in the magic, so they say.

My wizard prefers his magical dog to a dragon, though. (In case you didn't know, the dogs of this special breed are identified by their golden toenails!) (Dog and wizard, C. Verstraete.)

If I had to pick a favorite dragon, however, it would have to be the baby pet dragon held by Angela Haworth's half-scale wizard, Kapell. Awww!

If you still think otherwise of dragons, check out Carolyn Brown's incredible hanging dragon skin tutorial (and see her amazing cakes too!) You can see the dragon skin hanging in the Medieval castle hall in the top left column in her gallery.

** Back: Day 4 ** Next: Halloween in Miniature: Day 6.

* Make a clay dragon - tutorial

October 23, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010 - Day 4: Meet some of the guests

Halloween Appetizers: C. Verstraete - Finger tacos or eyeballs anyone?

Welcome to Day 4 of this year's 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature party! Wow, quite the crowd! (Hey, where's your ticket? Sorry, if you missed the front door, go back to Day 1.)

I hope you had enough to eat and are enjoying yourself? Grab a few appetizers I made and let's meet some of the guests, shall we?

Shh! Better step lightly. Matilda's prone to get a bit grumpy if she doesn't finish reading the latest issue of Ghosts Weekly, so we better let her be for now.

Florine the half-Scale Witch, however, is a right friendly soul and loves to talk! Say hello and keep moving unless you don't mind hearing about her latest spell and her failed baked toad recipe for the next hour! Oh, look it's Wizard Adair. Such a handsome fellow and I hear he's got some spells that make Merlin look like an amateur!

The dolls are all by British doll maker Angela Haworth of Molly's House. (Dolls are 1" to 1 foot (a man is 6" tall) and half or 1/24th scale is 1/2" to 1 foot or 3" tall.)

Angela, who's been creating in miniature "for as long as I can remember" first began crafting as a girl by making accessories for her Sindy and Barbie dolls. Years later, she hoped to get her daughter interested in miniatures, but it never worked out that way.

"I got into dollhouse scale when I was expecting my daughter 14 years ago," she says. "I was planning on making a house for her, but it turned into a hobby for myself."

A limited budget forced her to make her own dolls and furnishings, but it was something she found she enjoyed. When she received a 1/24th scale furniture set as a gift, Angela realized she liked working even smaller.

She now sculpts her own dolls in polymer clay in both scales (along with trying some quarter scale figures too!), and also dresses porcelain dolls from parts she buys.

Which witch?

Sculpting has been fun, she says, as "I love the characters that come from the clay. I can start off making one person but another, totally different character will emerge."

Angela's favorite themes are Medieval, fantasy and Tudor. Lucky for her, she can find real-life inspiration just a short distance away. "We are so lucky to have three Tudor houses, all decked out with Tudor furniture, just a short bus ride away (I don't drive). In the summer holidays we visit some of the larger Georgian houses that are a little further away. Walking around these old houses, I like to imagine the characters that might have lived there, and I come home and try and turn these into dolls."

Wasn't that a great visit? Well, let's see who we run into next...

** Back: Day 3 **Next: Halloween in Miniature, Day 5

** Visit Angela's blog and say hello.

** Cool free Halloween signs.

October 22, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010 - Day 3: The Revolt in the Kitchen

Welcome back to 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature 2010: Day 3. (If you arrived late, enter the party at Day 1.)

Now, as to all that banging and yelling going on in the kitchen... Have you ever seen what the term "bad" vegetables really means? It looks like Pat Benedict of Woopitydooart, has been trying to do some "veggie taming" again... and it just doesn't work!

Revenge of the Veggies... where's that Pepto when you need it?

These wild veggies are just part of an amazing array of creatures that come from Patty's creative mind and hands. She also is known for her one-inch-scale witches (see day 1) and amazing witch brooms with faces (a how-to on her brooms was in the Oct. Issue #90 of American Miniaturist Magazine).

A fan of Halloween in all scales, (her real-life party decorations should be featured in Haunted Homes and Gardens!), Patty began sculpting with bread dough "way back" in the Seventies. "I was a stay at home mom who created a little business while our three children were growing up," she recalls.

Heh,heh, where did those veggies go? (Older castle witch)

"I went back to work in the late '80s as a visual merchandiser (retail window displays) for major shopping mall developers, but I always created dolls (now made from polymer clay) for an extra income."

In 2003, she decided to work full-time on her newfound love, dollhouse size dolls, and. she says, "I've been working ever since trying to perfect the 1:12th size . . . it’s an exciting and fun challenge that keeps me totally involved in my work."

"I have a quirky style and love to create unique Halloween-theme miniature dolls that have a lot of expression and interact with the other miniatures around them. I’m excited about the future and the next challenge I'll meet when I walk up the stairs to my orange Halloween-theme studio in our attic."

Oops, we've been talking so long, I fear we're neglecting our other guests so let's go into the other room, shall we?

* Back: Day 2

* Next: Halloween in Miniature: Day 4

* Vintage Halloween postcards

October 21, 2010

Halloween in Miniature 2010: Day 2 - Grab some Halloween Treats!

Thanks for stopping by for Day 2 of this year's 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature. If you missed the kick-off, see Day 1 here.

Are you hungry? Oh, I heard some growling... yeah maybe with this crowd, it's best to get the food out early. Well, have we got some fantastic treats for you!

Miniature food artisan and IGMA Fellow Kiva Atkinson has been busy slaving over a hot oven, cooking up some creepy favorites, sure to kill, er, tempt your tastebuds. haaa!

In fact, it's surprising that Kiva hasn't blown up her oven yet! (Did you hear a big ka-boom?)

"I am really going nuts this Halloween," she says. "I'm making more stuff than I've made at any other time during Halloween. This season always puts my creativity into overdrive!"

Bone Soup, anyone?

She says she's inspired "from looking at cooking magazines..." (Hmm, Martha Ghoulert maybe? Sorry, couldn't resist!)

As for those delicious bones, Kiva says that like any good cook, she never tires of trying out different variations on old favorites, like some bone soup or roasted bones or... Femur anyone?

Salty Bones, better than pretzels!

She does "cute" just as well, however. After all, every ghoul needs something for their sweet tooth, right? haa!

Witch Treats

Speckled Pumpkins

Skull Cookies

Oh, will you look at the time! Uh-oh, what's that noise in the kitchen? (No, it's not Kiva!) It looks like one of the guests is having some kind of problem...

* Next: Halloween in Miniature: Day 3.

* Get some free Halloween clipart.