December 03, 2009

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature 3: The Night Before Christmas: What's outside?

Welcome to day 3 of The 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature celebration as we follow along with the classic tale, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." (Link will take you to day one.)

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash...

* Next: Christmas in Miniature Day 4

* Photos: The lovely governess and Grandpa William are from Kitty's Canal House. See more photos at Minis By Kitty. The window is from my miniature Christmas house.

* Enjoy a fun holiday story - "Christmas at the North Pole Compound" - see ebooks to buy.

December 02, 2009

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature 2: Hanging the Stockings

The 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature continues with day 2 of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." (click link for beginning of story.)

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

Uh-oh, one bed is empty...

Well, it looks like all the children aren't sleeping like they should be! This charming little girl is too excited to get to bed - yet! (I hope that doesn't mean she'll get coal in her stocking!) She's an original sculpted doll by Massachusetts doll maker Morena Ciambra.

Morena began making dolls for her grandmother. She used to sculpt dolls as large as 32 inches and mostly in porcelain. She taught making antique reproductions in her own studio and for a time, sculpted original dolls for a series from The Hamilton Collection.

She discovered miniatures in 2002 and found that "they touched my heart." Now she loves making original little ones, her charming cat figures and adorable animals that touch others. (See more of her work on other days.)

While porcelain remains her favorite medium, Morena has since enjoyed sculpting in polymer clay: "It helps me get the ideas out of my head much quicker," she says. "There is so much that inspires me to create these, colors, people, fabrics, etc."

* Next:Christmas in Miniature Day 3

* Photos: stockings and tree, C. Verstraete

* Sleeping baby in the cradle and the beautiful bed are by Kitty Balke; see more of her work at Minis by Kitty

* The little girl, "Clara," is hand-sculpted of polymer clay by Morena Ciambra. she's 3 1/2" tall. Baby Kitty is also by Morena. See more photos here or at her blog.

December 01, 2009

12 Days of Christmas in Miniature 1 - 'Twas The Night Before Christmas

Welcome to The 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature for 2009.

This year I'm featuring the classic Christmas poem, "Twas The Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore, which I'll attempt (as best I can) to illustrate with dollhouse miniatures.

The poem, originally called "A Visit From Saint Nicholas," was published in the New York Sentinel on Dec. 23 in the mid-1800s.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...

This adorable mouse in a teacup was made by Canadian Karin Foster from FIMO polymer clay.

The mouse was formed over tin foil. He has wire whiskers and was flocked with yarn. It's her first time flocking, she says. See more of Karin's work at her blog.

The little mouse even has a note to Santa! It reads: Dear Santa I have been a good mouse all yr. Pls bring me some Swiss cheese & a new cat detector.

Oops! Looks like another mouse found something better than sleep!

This little guy by Kiva Atkinson decided that the leftovers looked pretty good!)

* Photos: (Mini gingerbread house & miniature Christmas house by C. Verstraete)

** Next: Christmas in Miniature, Day 2

** Stop by each day and comment for a chance to win a plate of Christmas cookies made by me - in miniature, of course!

(congrats to winner Camille Minichino!)

* Check out my fun holiday story - "Christmas at the North Pole Compound" - see ebooks to buy.

November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday: Christmas Book Pre-orders and Christmas Shorts Ebooks

Christmas is coming, so what's better than a book or something fun to read?

** Coming Dec. 5: "Christmas at the North Pole Compound" - It's a crime wave and Chief Elf Investigator Finius Flaherty is on the case. Can he find the missing gifts - and save Christmas? Coming to Echelon Shorts. For some Christmas cheer, come back here tomorrow for The 12 Days of Christmas in Miniature, with links to mine and other great stories.

* Pre-Order The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror at

A collection of horror and other stories related to the sea from Pill Hill Press.

In my story, "My Dear Mrs. Jones," a woman in Victorian times faces financial disaster, but a mysterious suitor offers a way for her to save her family.

TIMESHARES Time Travel anthology from DAW Books: visitors to this (time) travel agency get to take the trip of a lifetime.

In my story, "A Night to Forget," a woman visits an exhibit on the Titanic that is more real than she ever expected.

* PRE-ORDER The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror at

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Enjoy every single bite!

* If you like to make your own turkey (in miniature!), here's a great tutorial at the Mini Food Blog.

November 24, 2009

Preview: The Bitter End anthology cover

Very cool looking cover for The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror anthology coming out in December from Pill Hill Press. It includes my story, "My Dear Mrs. Jones" by C.A. Verstraete.

(The skeletons in my miniature haunted house are clamoring to read this too!) haa!
Link coming soon!

November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving in Miniature

Since everyone will be busy Thursday with their own turkey, I figured I'd share my miniature Thanksgiving table today.

The food was made by other collectors in a miniatures food swap several years ago. I forgot I had the items and finally dug them out a few weeks ago.

The cabinet is an antique medicine cabinet hanging on my kitchen wall.

I had originally papered the walls yellow, but decided to tack in different paper backgrounds on each shelf to match the holiday. I think it looks much better.

There is a dark scratched paint look for Halloween at the bottom; gold pattern paper for Thanksgiving in the center; and a green print for Christmas on the top shelf.

It's a good way to share a few miniatures that would be sitting in a box until the holidays. I'll share the other shelves on another day.

* Do you have a special holiday display or an all-seasons display at your house? What is it?

November 18, 2009

New Story Coming in The Bitter End by Pill Hill Press

I've been a busy little bee! Another story has been accepted, (yay!) this time to The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror anthology, to be published by Pill Hill Press.

My story, "My Dear Mrs. Jones" is set in Victorian times and involves a woman's mysterious suitor, Mr. D. Jones, and her financial decision on how to save her family. (Hint: I loved the pirate movies. ha!)

Here's the lineup from the Pill Hill Press blog:

Titles (in no particular order):
With Open Arms by Patrick Rutigliano
Deadliest Cachalot by Jameson T. Caine
Drift by Lucas Pederson
Food Chain by Laura Eno
Between the Devil and the Deep by Sam Battrick
Wellenkrieg by Stephen D. Rogers
The Beastie of Loch Dhu by John McCuaig
Sirens' Folly by Jessica A. Weiss
The Occurrence Out At Sea by Jacob Henry Orloff
Black Gold by Christopher Jacobsmeyer
Hanover's Gold by Kelly M. Hudson
Driftwood by Michelle Bredeson
Blood for Passage by Miles Boothe
The Revel by Allen Wise
Blackbeard's Ragnarok by Alva J. Roberts
Last One Standing by Anthony Giangregorio
The Thing in the Crosshairs by Anne Maclachlan
My Dear Mrs. Jones by C.A. Verstraete
Lifeboat by Joel Arnold
Welcome to the Hotel Marianas by Mike Chinn
Last Vacation by Kassi Shimek
The World in Strips by D. Nathan Hilliard
Flotsam by Scott Harper
The Devil Hunger by Bill Ward
Those Left Behind by Flora Winters

November 17, 2009

Got a Kindle? How about Kindle ebooks for your PC?

The ebook war is getting hotter, with ebook readers like B&N's Nook being listed as "the" hot new Christmas gift this year.

But Amazon jumped ahead with what seems logical: a Kindle app for your pc.

Now almost anyone can read Kindle ebooks on their computer, well at least a pc, as well as IPhone and IPod Touch. Apps are also expected soon for Mac, Blackberry, and Droid users. Is there anyone left after that?

Think it's a good idea? Bad idea? Indifferent?

Consider this:
* The Kindle store offers more than 373,000 ebooks.
* There's a free daily new Kindle book offering and plenty of free classics. Can't beat that.

* Yes my kid's book is in Kindle:

* Searching for A Starry Night

* Other ebooks to try:

COMING SOON - Christmas at the North Pole Compound - someone's tampering with the Christmas gifts... can Chief Elf Investigator Finius Flaherty find the Grinch -- and save Christmas? See ebooks for details.

November 12, 2009

New Short Story coming in Timeshares Anthology

In my new story, "A Night to Forget," by C.A. Verstraete, a woman's dream of visiting an exhibit of items from the RMS Titanic gives her a closer look at the fabled ship than she ever expected.

The short story will be published in the TIMESHARES anthology from DAW books, coming March 2, 2010. The book is available for pre-order, see link below.

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...