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Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

This photo was taken just after daybreak on Friday, because I loved the looks of the clouds in the sky, and all the fine, powdery snow that had fallen was still on every branch and tiny bud. This is the view from my living room, through the windows, out over the Saint John River valley, now obscured by trees, unfortunately; the opposite bank is visible on the horizon.

Since then, we have had rain, and today lots of very strong wind gusts; for a while this morning, we lost electrical power in our neighbourhood. But we are used to this, and our generator kicked in just fine, and by 1 p.m. power was restored to the area. It was likely another tree or branch falling on a line somewhere.

I had hoped to post a photo of my Christmas vignette today, but my camera is still giving us problems; the fresh batteries I put in on Friday were completely drained today. It appears the problem might be that one of the coils inside is causing a drain on battery power. In the daylight, we will try to fiddle with this, using one of my long, thin tweezers.

This was definitely not a mini Christmas; my Sasha Morgenthaler doll collection, however, was very well remembered, with fabric, books and clothing! However, they are the wrong scale for this blog. Now that my work surface has been tidied up, I hope to get back into miniatures. This afternoon, I was madly hemming the last of the patchwork Real Life place mats I had made to brighten up our very quiet Christmas dinner. Now my time can go back to some of my other hobbies.

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Camera Woes Resolved

My camera has been giving me a very hard time lately, as it is eating batteries like a shark with a bucket of bait. Hopefully, we have now sorted out the problem, and I can try to catch up a little bit with the blog.

Our FAME group had a Christmas party at one of our member's homes in the first week of December, pot-luck style with a gift exchange among ourselves. We are now 10 members, and all of us were able to come to the party. The member hosting us this year is a collector of miniatures, and oh my goodness, does she ever have a wonderful collection! There was so much to see that it was impossible to see it all in one visit. As she visits Hong Kong on a regular basis, she has  been able to acquire some wonderful Asian miniatures, very different from most of what we see here. She has been collecting for 25 years, so you can just imagine what there was to see; a small sample would be a guitar case, showcasing musical instrument miniatures, for example.

Our gift exchange was fun, and I got a lovely gift, a Reutter Porzellan miniature loaf of bread with a knife, a submarine sandwich, and a porcelain breadboard, which has now gone into the little cupboard that sits on top of my Christmas room box. (This will be posted on Christmas day.)

The breadboard has a Christmas-y feel about it, although the image is of a rooster, but it looks right at home in the Christmas miniature.

Our newest member (and right now the only male in our group) made a Christmas miniature for each of us. He made a dozen of these little vignettes, and each one was very different, although the little building, the many signs, and the animal or bird in each kept recurring. This piece has a place on a small side table at my house, and will be part of our Christmas display every year:

Mine is a blue woodshed, full of wood, with a dog in a sweater sitting out front and a white Christmas tree, with a Christmas bauble hanging on a branch. There are probably two dozen little signs in this vignette, and all sides of the little woodshed are also decorated. I think it is just fabulous!
One of the pieces he made for a family member has over 70 different little signs on it - he is obviously very computer-savvy! We hope to visit his miniatures in the Spring of 2017 - he travels more than an hour over country highways to come to our meetings....

Marilyn and Louise handed out Miniature  Bingo cards at Camp MiniHaHa this September, and I am attempting to fill some of my bingo squares; two are done, I think, and I hope to get another one done this weekend, as I am repairing the window of the Pawn Shop vignette, which caved in on the trip home from our show at the end of October. Each square of the bingo card has a different miniature challenge, and for each challenge finished - with photographic evidence of the work -  your name goes in one of two draws for a prize in September 2017. I don't know if I can fill them all in by then, but I'm going to try.

We are expecting lots of snow overnight, in time for Christmas; it will, however, cause some problems for people who are travelling. I hope to  be back on the blog on Sunday, although I am really not expecting any minis this year; however, who knows?

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Back Again

We got back from our western Canadian odyssey just in time for me to assist Marilyn D. (Charminis) who was teaching the corner vignette for the class I taught back in June. I forgot to bring my camera. So I am hoping to find some photos somewhere that I can eventually put on this blog.

Once that was done, I had a week to make some items for a Secret Santa Swap. As that has now been received, in the US, in under a week (!), that is done. (That it got there that quickly is a bit of a Christmas miracle, as it can easily take a week or more for us to get a letter from across the river in the town where we live! And this parcel was international....)

Then on Saturday, FAME, our local miniature group, exhibited at the model railroaders' show here in town. We displayed a number of pieces by a new member of our group, Garry R., and had a lot of male visitors to our display - perhaps because there was a man behind the table? Garry has been doing miniatures for many years, has won national (US) prizes for his work, and has exhibited at a number of now defunct shows in the State of Maine. My family and I visited several of those US shows regularly, but I must have been overcome with all the bounty on display, as I have no memory!

His work is excellent: my favourite piece of his is his room box of Maine homeless people, a sad subject, but so beautifully and sympathetically done. There are even wet patches around the manhole cover in the area where the people are attempting to shelter, and posters for charitable groups offering meals and a roof for the night. Again, I forgot to bring my camera to our show, but I have been promised a photo or two in the future. Next up is our group Christmas get-together, a Pot Luck at a member's house that will include a look at her extensive miniatures collections.

I didn't think I would encounter any miniatures on our western trip, but in a second-hand store in Edmonton, AB, I found a book I had never seen before: Make Your Own Dollhouses and Dollhouse Miniatures, by Marian Maeve O'Brien, published in 1975. I own her other book, Make and Furnish Your Own Miniature Rooms (1976) in hard-cover. The new-to-me book is a large soft-cover book.

It contains loads of general tips, instructions for creating 5 houses of  varying complexity, as well as finishing details, electrification, a number of furniture how-to's, accessories, small miniature pieces and miniature needlework ideas. What a treasure trove! I know our group, which is made up of people of widely varying experience in miniatures, will find it a great resource.

I have to make some Christmas miniatures for our Christmas Party gift exchange, which means that I have to look through some of my old magazines to find the perfect pieces, how annoying (not!). I love looking through my magazine stash, but usually do not like how much time I end up losing doing so.

Hopefully, something will catch my eye quickly, and more importantly, I will have everything I need to realize the project right here in my stash.

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