Sunday, October 30, 2011


For quite a while I've kept a "like" book... it's one of those old-fashioned composition notebooks and I glue in pictures I've printed from the internet and clipped from magazines of things that I like or that I want to make....

NOW, there's Pinterest, an online pinboard where you can "pin" images collected from around the internet, creating a virtual pinboard... I now have several boards, including one for miniatures. It has been fun to "collect" pictures and I'm finding it surprisingly useful.

Don't get me wrong, paper clippings and the aroma of rubber cement still hold their allure... But I'm happy to say that this "late adopter" now has both feet firmly planted in the 21st century. (Must start saving for an iPad...)

Happy Pinning!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The local Goodwill store is on my "route" about once a week. Yesterday was a day for some great finds including some Fiesta Ware, a lovely girly wine goblet and a couple of items for my daughter's room...

BUT this little cabinet and bench are the real finds of the day...
The glass cloches were purchased from a booth at Camas Antiques and the clay pots I've picked up in a variety of places along the way. The birdhouse was from one of the vendors at the NW Dollhouse and Miniatures Show in Portland earlier this month, and the basket (that's sitting on the bench and really hard to see) is a "mom" special.

I've been wanting to do a garden scene for a while so finding these was a happy stroke of luck. :-)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In the News: Cello ace chooses life in miniature

David Edwards, once a cellist for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra gave up his music career in 1983 to become a full-time miniatures artisan. Interesting article from the Belfast Telegraph across the pond:
Cello ace chooses life in miniature - Offbeat, Breaking News -

I did a bit of research and found this profile about Mr. Edwards. Oh how I'd love to see his work in person...

And here is a link to his blog, David Edwards Miniatures, which features some fabulous photos of his work along side the full-size item he's replicated in miniature. Be sure to also click on the "My Work" link and see his work table!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Back from my blogging hiatus

I can't believe it's been more than two weeks since I last posted... I've certainly had much to blog about. I just haven't had the time... Life!

Mini activities in my world:
--Abigail's room is going to be getting its floor this weekend. I found some bamboo placemats at the dollar store and have taken them apart to make "boards" for the floor. Once this and a few other tasks are complete I will give you a tour of her room.

--My mom found a miniature cast iron potbellied wood stove in a junk store a long time ago and recently rediscovered it in a cupboard. I can't wait to construct an old-fashioned kitchen scene for it. The really cool thing is that it somewhat resembles a wood stove we had when I was growing up.

--I picked up a copy of the November issue of "Minature Collector" at the grocery store the other day. It's packed with all kinds of inspiration and every time I pick it up I find something that I didn't see before.

--Kim and I took a trip north to visit his sister and her husband. While in town, we stopped into an antique store to browse. There was a very large elaborate doll house for sale ($1200!). Kim said, "If I had $1200 I'd buy that for you." All of the furniture had been removed from the house and it very much looked like a real empty house whose occupants had moved on... The shop's proprietor showed me a file folder that held complete documentation of the construction of the house, including all of the original drawings, plans and fabric, wallpaper and paint swatches, as well as drawings of the furniture that had been in the house.

--At the same antique store there were two small antique German dollhouses that were very charming. Coincidentally, I had borrowed a book about collectible dollhouses from the library and had that along with me on our trip. One of the houses I was able to identify as Gottschalk. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, or I'd be sharing photos too.

--Abigail is getting new things all the time... I crocheted some booties for her and have been working on a little pink gingham dress. She likes her jammies though, so I don't know if she'll actually wear the dress or if it will just be displayed in her room. I did make her a pink flannel kimono trimmed with lace and she seems quite snug.

The sun is shining and it's a beautiful fall day. I will post more tomorrow...

Friday, October 7, 2011

More fairy gardens...

Came across another article about the fairy gardens at the Signal Mountain Nursery in Chattanooga, this one from the Knoxville News.

The article outlines a step-by-step process for creating your own fairy garden and includes some great pictures!

(I feel a new project brewing...)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New issue of AIM

The new issue of Artisans in Miniature (AIM) has been posted online and I can't wait to read it! If you are unfamiliar with AIM, each issue has a theme and this one's is "Granny's House". It's a bit poignant for me, as I've been missing my grandma a bit more lately for some reason. And this past weekend, accompanying me at the minis show in Portland, Oregon, my mom commented, "Wouldn't grandma love to see all this?" She surely would've.

My grandma (my mom's mom) was a doll collector. But she didn't just collect dolls. She loved them--honestly and truly. I remember her showing me the tiny details in their clothing and how their hair was styled so perfectly... She would point out this doll's teeth, or how that one's eyes were so beautifully realistic, or lift a dress to reveal an intricate lace petticoat. I could go to the 8-foot tall oak and glass case in her living room and ask her about any doll and she could tell me that doll's story. And each one had its own story, its own name, its own personality even...

As far as grandma was concerned, dolls weren't just to be looked at. When I was young, she played with Barbies with me and we had fun making things for them and re-purposing items from around the house for their use. She also happily "babysat" when I played with the baby dolls, lovingly dressing and holding them. What I learned as I grew up playing with dolls with my grandma is that you're never too old to play...and that's a lesson that has "stuck". As I "play" with Abigail and find new treasures or create new things for her I often think of Grandma; I'm sure I'll continue to do so as I try some of the projects included in this issue of AIM.

I'm anxious to try making some of the crocheted potholders on page 53. My great-grandmother (my grandma's mom) was a stitcher and crocheted potholders similar to these in real life.

I'm also looking forward to trying out the train set project provided by AIM member Jane Harrop on pages 39 and 40. It's a 1:12 scale project, but I should be able to adapt it to Abigail's scale (approx. 1:6). I'm becoming more confident in working with wood, so this should be a fun project. Abigail needs more toys for her toy box!

I just tried my first mini printie project from a kit I purchased at the minis show here in Portland, OR this past weekend and I'm hooked. On page 69 and 70, there is a mini printie project that I'm definitely going to make--a vintage keepsake box with letters and photos. This will undoubtedly go into a room box project that has been rolling around in my head for a while... Abigail's room needs to be finished first though...

And THIS will be a much bigger project of an entirely different sort: Miniatura, billed as the UK's biggest dolls house show, is featured in a special show report starting on page 59. Time to get a passport! This is definitely going on my bucket list.

Harvest Cornucopia: inspiration!

I feel so blessed to have found so many talented miniatures artists on the Internet. They are truly inspiring and I am grateful that so many people are willing to share pictures of their work and even tutorials and tips...

Here is a picture of a harvest cornucopia created by a blogger I've been following for a while. She does beautiful work that is incredibly realistic.

Click here to read her blog post.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Murder in the Bronx

Did you know that miniatures can help solve murders?

In Speakeasy Dollhouse, Cynthia von Buhler tells a biographical tale of murder, bootlegging, mafia, and intrigue, set in New York City and explored through a graphic novel and live performances.

She writes, "This is a true story about my grandfather who, during prohibition, along with my grandmother, bootlegged liquor and owned two speakeasies in New York City. He was shot and killed in 1935, but nobody in my family ever found out why. I'm uncovering the facts and telling the story in two ways: First, a graphic novel with photographs of miniature dolls and sets that I've created to visualize and convey the story, and second, in an immersive play through which the events unfold in real life. You can help me solve this mystery by pre-ordering the book or by purchasing tickets to the play through Kickstarter."

Watch the Kickstarter video on YouTube.
I promise you'll be intrigued!

If you want to know more about the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, mentioned by von Buhler in the video, here's a bit more information, courtesy of Wikipedia (and edited by me for length--click the link below to read the full entry):

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death is a series of eighteen intricately designed dollhouse-style dioramas created by Frances Glessner Lee, a millionaire heiress with an interest in forensic science. They are detailed representations of death scenes that are composites of actual court cases, created by Glessner Lee on a 1 inch to 1 foot (1 : 12) scale. She attended autopsies to ensure accuracy, and her attention to detail extended to having a wall calendar include the pages after the month of the incident, constructing openable windows, and wearing out-of-date clothing to obtain realistically worn fabric
The dioramas show tawdry and in many cases disheveled living spaces very different from Glessner Lee's own background. The dead include prostitutes and victims of domestic violence.

Glessner Lee used her inheritance to set up Harvard's department of legal medicine, and donated the Nutshell dioramas in 1945 for use in lectures on the subject of crime scene investigation. In 1966 the department was dissolved, and the dioramas went to the Maryland Medical Examiner's Office in Baltimore, where they are on permanent loan and still used for forensic seminars.

The dioramas are not available for public viewing, but I did find this book about them on Amazon.

This is going on my Christmas list!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In the news...

A couple of mini-related items popped up in my news feed over the past couple of days...

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press:
"Fairy gardens bring whimsy, imagination to landscape"

From Ohio's Dayton Daily News:
"46 literary clues live in a storybook dollhouse"
I would love to see pictures of this and try to identify all of the clues to the books!