Archive for the ‘Miniatures’ Category


Friday, October 1st, 2010

Woke up at 4:40am (hate it when that happens!) and got up when Tom’s alarm went off at 5:30am. (Hate it when that happens, too! I’m retired, but just cannot make myself sleep through his alarm the way he did mine when I was working.)
The only way I can describe my mood today is giddy; felt appropriately foolish for dancing around the first floor and chortling, but could not help giggling throughout the morning. I left the #*@! purple orchid plant (1/12 scale) overnight so the glues could set completely, inspected it under strong magnification and padded the he– out of it for shipment to its new home this morning. With color choice difficulties, mobility issues and fatigue-factors presenting challenges, this order has taken a very long time to complete, but the buyer knows me well enough (at least I believed so) to bear with the delay. There’s been some “static” about this order since about 60 miunutes after she placed it! She happily bought a white phalaenopsis orchid plant with a yellow throat, deep pink lip and the typical ‘spike’ leaves of the species. . . .then decided an hour later that she wanted a purple orchid (with a color contrast) and the smaller/fatter leaves of other species!! It has been hard to overcome the irritation factor plus physical issues and do a complete re-make for no extra charge!
Once I had delivered the dratted purple orchid to the UPS store, I came home and triumphantly completed a standing needlework frame kit (destinened for my “Sew Be It” shop and a wooden school bus toy (to be added to the FAO Shortz display.)
Can’t help it – I am STILL giddy, and plan to complete at least two more kits tomorrow!

Only semi-organized and leaving tomorrow!

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

My annual “Miniatures Fix” – the 3-day SAM’s (Society of American Miniaturists) convention, starts tomorrow afternoon – I’ll point The Scarlet Lady NE  around 9 am and hope I’ve mapped out the new location in Temple, TX well enough :)  I finally made my way upstairs to my Tower (workroom)  today to pack a full tool kit for the workshops I am enrolled in! Fairly light packing, actually, as I am (of course)  enrolled in  both of Sandra Manring’s flower classes – a half-inch scale magnolia blossom centerpiece tomorrow evening and a one-twelfth scale rose bouquet Saturday morning. (Why, Oh why does she always teach the smaller scales on the day I’ve driven for hours?!)

Then I did the hard part: my friends & roommates (Amanda & Alexandra Burt) are flying in from Maryland tomorrow to attend the Wonderful Workshop Weekend.  They’re bringing paint brushes and any necessary paints in their check-in luggage, but the “sharp, pointy objects” could/would  pose problems in either carry-on or checked baggage.  I promised to put together kits containing anything else they might need. . . .but couldn’t remember which classes they had chosen!  After I had metal rulers,automatic pencils,X-acto knives, replacement blades, small clamps, needles/needle threaders and straight pins, curved and straight blade scissors, files and sanding sticks in several grits, mini cutting boards, wire cutters, tweezers, forceps, several sizes of embossing tools, needle-nosed pliers, Super Glue , Tacky Glue and Gawd-knows what else packed into two labeled  gallon zip-lock bags, I surveyed the result.  My only question. . . .how on earth have I accumulated three or more of everything?! !!  (Secondary question: with all this: why can’t I find what I need when I’m at my workbench?! LOL!)

My suitcase is downstairs, and my outfits for travel/workshops/banquet are chosen, but I’ve opted to pack tomorrow morning. . . . .I’ll probably be sorry for that decision.  It’s hard to leave home without my laptop (yep – I’m a 62 year-old geek!), but there simply won’t be any time to use it!  I’m taking my iPhone and iPad  (whichwill allow me to keep track, a bit, of incoming messages and provides a Kindle reading link if I have a moment)- – -hope I remember to pack the chargers!!

G’night, all. Tom’s alarm goes off at 5:30am, and that is when I will start my day, too!

Confucius Say. . . . .

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Confucius say “Never celebrate success of journey until destination is reached”. (He probably didn’t, but . . . . . .)

Poor DH got a 4 am wake-up call – – – well, more of a wake-up whimper, actually. The story began at 1 am; I’d been courting sleep for over an hour and gave it up as a futile enterprise. There were just too many unhappy joints sending pain messages*, and my brain insisted on a detailed & repetitive review of the many steps remaining on my current miniature project. (*Although the renewed Enbrel therapy does seem to be making a difference, we’ve had unstable weather & bouncing air pressure for several days. Happily, it has brought a bit of welcome rain along with the discomfort!)

Since sleep was not a viable option, I decided to at least let DH sleep undisturbed, retreat to my Tower (studio) and work on said project. With “Celtic Woman”, “Top Gun” and Andrea Bocelli selections to break the silence, I completed the pegboard display and many more bags, boxes & pouches of pet care items for ‘Le Beastro Pet Supplies’ over the next few hours. I was using an X-Acto knife with a fresh, very sharp blade for much of that time; it’s amazing that my *journey* didn’t end (badly) much earlier than it did:)

At 4 am, I decided my nocturnal creative burst was over. . .truth be told, I was beginning to get basic construction steps out of sequence and mess things up a bit! Turning on the lights in the stairwell or family room would run the risk of awakening DH, so I made my way (slowly & carefully) down the stairs in the dark. No harm, no foul. I remembered to move forward cautiously in the family room until I located the quite large, quite solid oak shop-case, and navigate around it. I mapped the archway into the dining room with my free hand, as a cue to the location of the step & I took that step carefully.

That’s when I got careless!! By the faint light of the nightlight, I could see where the dining room table ended & where the bedroom door was – I was ‘home free’. NOT!!! I picked up speed. . . . .and one blink later, I was flat on the floor, with coffee spread everywhere. After a moment spent wondering how that had happened (and listening to profanity from various parts of my anatomy), I hobbled to the kitchen for a towel to clean up the coffee. What happened? Well, I can answer *what*, but I have absolutely no explanation for *how*! I forgot about the spare side-chair to my left as I entered the dining room. . . . .but I stubbed two toes (baby toe and the one next to it) of my right foot on the chair leg! I turned on a kitchen light to clean up the coffee spill & assess the physical damage. OK – Two strips of hide off my right forearm, a throbbing foot and the knowledge that my right shoulder, ribs and hip were going to be sore. But wait – why was I leaving a faint trail of blood wherever I wiped up coffee?! When I inspected my foot, I could see just enough to know I needed help. As well as breaking the baby toe (and possibly its neighbor), I sustained a deep, ragged cut around two-thirds of it!!

Haven’t slept much since then – haven’t moved around much, either. The project-in-work . . .upstairs. . . I guess it’s going to be off limits for a fair number of days:(

Re-Earning My T-Shirt!

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

I took one of my favorite T-shirts out of the closet a few days ago, looked at it, and then put it back on its hanger. The shirt is black, with white lettering proclaiming “I’m Blogging This”. I haven’t written a blog entry since late-March, and need to re-earn that T-shirt! (So much for “Blog 365”!)

A passing glance at what has been happening in my world since the last post:

– I have *started the ball rolling* on the hideously expensive dental surgery which will (I hope!) end my on-going war with my upper dentures! Oh, it fits fine – it’s just that the palate plate and my over-developed gag reflex (coupled with the ever-present Texas allergens) are making making me miserable:( This will be a long-term project, since it involves consultations, scans, impressions, more scans, evaluations and more consultations before the actual surgery.

– Successfully completed my first *start to finish* wiring project in miniature! Sure, I have older scenes done with the tape-wire & brad system; I’ve created the minuscule plugs with the impossibly fine wires and hammered the wall outlets and junction splices into place…..but this one involved an LED, resistor, battery pack, switch and soldering iron! (Prior to a recent “LED Wiring 101” tutorial at The Guys from Texas studio, I hadn’t touched a soldering iron in about 45 years!!)

– Instead of celebrating Mother’s *Day*, my family stretched it over a week- – -COOL! It started May 7th, when DH gave me a Waterfield case for my Kindle – a well padded burgundy carry-case with a shoulder strap and space for my Kindle and power cable. Over the next few days, I was gifted with a matching Waterfield slipcase, an Amazon GC, a new T-shirt (WOOT!) and a carte blanche wander through Rainbow gardens Nursery! Purr!!!

– DS is finally through with the Sand City/San Antonio carousel! He now gets to spend his off-work hours surrounded by the comfort of his own possessions (and water his own plants, hehe!) and my alarm clock is no longer sounding off at hideously early hours; life is good;)

– Thunder storm & tornado season has arrived. Ugh!

– “Wakefield Arms Pub” is established in it’s new location; four marble-topped tables have arrived, and nine Chrysnbon chairs have been constructed, stained and upholstered. (The search for appropriate flooring continues.)

– New space awaits “The Petal Pusher Florist Shop”, too. The wiring, wallpaper and *tile* flooring are all in place, and a new light fixture has been installed. (Now it is just a matter of putting counters, shelving, display tables and many, many plants, flowers, vases, pots, bowls, etc. into place. Yikes!)

– DH completed construction of my brand new (life-sized) greenhouse today! Yes, I know; this is SC Texas, and anything I put into the greenhouse before November or December will fry, but it’s ready when the time comes. The kit came with a built-in, collapsible table and prepping shelf and the three shelving units from my old greenhouse fit perfectly!

– Best of all, watching our Grand-Daughter explore, learn and grow has been amazing:) She’s walking, running, climbing and learning new words everyday! Grandmeow (that’s me) taught her “gigabyte” yesterday evening, as she admired her Uncle’s new Macbook Pro – hehe! Yep, that’s our little “Geek in Training”:)

36/365 I bought a TREASURE!!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Quick note tonight; I’ll come back and expand on it tomorrow:)

I followed up last night’s e-mail with a phone message this morning to the miniaturist who is selling her Lady Jane Glass Conservatory, and then left the Casa to run errands. On my way home, I received a call on my cell phone; I’m mailing my check today and the Conservatory is mine!  I have dreamed of owning one of Lady Jane’s masterpieces since I read the first article (of many!) about her creations – that was quite a few years ago. The prices of her pieces have – rightfully so – waaay out of my price range.  This purchase is a dream come true!!

22/365 What price fame?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

God Speed, Heath Ledger! Unlike so many of the *train wrecks* who’ve occupied waaay too much news space recently (IMHO), he seemed to come from a stable home and have a solid set of values. He was talented and showed great promise. It is too soon to assume suicide (Yes, sleeping pills were found near his body. However, he had an appointment for a massage this morning) – it is not too soon to rue the loss of a young actor who died much too early.

I spent a few enjoyable and instructional hours in New Braunfels today, in the workshop of The Guys from Texas. With two* other eager students, I learned the basics of wiring and soldering LEDs to power sources for use in my roomboxes, scenes-in-bags and doll houses. (LEDs are perfect for miniatures applications: small, long lasting and cool burning.)  My father was an electrical engineer, and happily explained transformers, resistors and bus ducts to me. . . . . .however, those lessons were delivered some 45 years ago! My last use of a soldering iron and rosin core solder was. . .yep, about 45 years ago!  Also, my “electrical education” took place well ahead of the advent of LEDs! Today, I came home with some hands-on experience with soldering, heat-shrink tubing, rectifiers and resistors; whether it was enough experience to wire several of my scenes by myself, or just enough knowledge to make me dangerous, remains to be seen:D

*The class size was reduced, due to weather and illness. That was probably a blessing for our long-suffering instructors. LOL!


21/365 Two out of three

Monday, January 21st, 2008

MLK Day – DH was off for the day and DS is home between ten-day work-shifts. DSIL (Daddy to my adorable 10 month old GD), however, was committed to office projects which wouldn’t end till 9:30PM!

The weather was pretty awful for the MLK parade and errand running; fairly dense fog (which thickened to travel-advisory status this evening) with rain dripping through it. Good reason for a gathering of the clan – minus DSIL – at Casa Blackburn for a computer fest and beef curry!

Our grand-daughter was pulling out her new “magic tricks” in fine style: she loves to wave Hi and Bye-bye; has become quite adept at walking her way from play table to terrarium to grandfather clock (not “Look Ma, no hands!” yet – but she’s getting close!) and definitely has added a new word to her vocabulary. “Cat!” (said without the troublesome T) announces each sighting of one of our fur-kids.

DS and I braved the ugly driving weather for a quick trip to Al-Tex; I needed a new, compact soldering iron for a class in LED wiring tomorrow. The Guys from Texas are going to guide six women (armed with soldering irons) through the mysteries of electricity! LOL – maybe we should take them Valium as a thank you gift!

19/365 On the other hand

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

I reeealy dislike alarm clocks on weekends. It’s not as if the RA allows me the luxury of “sleeping in” very often anyway, but arising at the demand of a chirpy-voice radio DJ or the beat of a C/W song should be exclusively a work-week activity! Still, I dutifully arose and put bare foot to cold floor at 7 this morning; it’s the third Saturday of the month, my day to “herd cats”, Club Day.

The morning challenge (of converting me from stiff/sore ogre to presentable human being) was rendered somewhat more problematical by yesterdays’ thorough ‘wetting and chilling’ episode. It was also accompanied by an on-going internal dialogue; “You have to attend, you’re the president”, “You can’t hold a hair brush, how are you going to hold an art knife”, “You need to be there to keep activities moving along”, “You haven’t even worked on the current project”, “You enjoy the social time with them”, ‘You’re not going to be pleasant to be around”, “You have to do the two-week food shopping today, and you don’t have a menu or shopping list yet” and on it went. 

Since the stiffness wasn’t letting up, the outside temperature was in the “ouch” range and the drive across town was looking longer by the minute, I finally gave myself permission to do what my other club members do (some often, some occasionally); skip a meeting!  I called my club treasurer so that no one would send out a search party, and suddenly had lots of time for the (mostly sedentary) task of planning what to feed us!  (Since “US” can vary from one to five adults on any given day, plus a grand-daughter with a precocious palate, three voracious house-cats, five or six feral cats and a wide variety of demanding wild birds, it requires a bit of planning!)

Once I had the menu set (not in stone – I try to build in a lot of flexibility), my cookbook consulted, the pantry/refrigerator/freezer reviewed for “possibles”  and the shopping list completed, I felt a lot better, but I wasn’t too keen on making the trek to the market. Fortunately, daughter & grand-daughter arrived to provide conversation, laughs & cuddles and the perfect excuse to delay the shopping expedition until tomorrow!

14/365 Little by little

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Slowly (verrrrry slowly), several of my projects are progressing:

1) The miniature yo-yo quilt (commissioned last Sept.) is nearing completion. It is requiring about the same amount of time as its catalyst (the SAM’s auctioned quilt), for the same reasons; it’s an insane undertaking for someone with wonky hands! But then, I haven’t laid claim to sanity in several decades:D

2) My Tower work-bench is becoming more organized. . . . . .each time I go hunting around on it for some missing tool or material! LOL! The miniatures display room?  Um, well, let’s not discuss that, O.K?

3) A pair of pants DS has been waiting for are now waiting by the sewing machine. Hey, they’re on the right floor, at least!

4) The total re-do of three miniature “shops” (The Petal Pusher, Le Beastro Pet Supplies & Sound Advice)  in a new barrister’s four-shelf unit, and permanent installation of Wakefield Public House (Pub) in the fourth shelf is finally moving forward.

5)  Now that I know what I was doing wrong on my Grand-daughter’s Christmas stocking, I can go back and do it right!

6-7-8 & 9)  Will have to wait their turn! 

What about the gazillion mini-kits (flowers, plants, furniture, books, fire-works, dolls, airplanes, tiny houses, etc.) which haven’t even been assigned a task number, you ask?  Well, when the RA truly slows me down, I shall have something to keep me occupied, won’t I?

13/365 Leaves – mystery & irony!

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Mystery:  We only have two large-leaved (leafed?) trees in our yard. They are Redbuds, and the leaves dropped at virtually the first sign of winter’s chill.  They were removed/mulched weeks ago. The remaining trees in our yard and neighboring yards are either small-leaf varieties (Crepe Myrtle, Oak, etc.) or evergreens. Well, Casa Blackburn must be situated at the nexus of some mysterious wind vortex, because the entire lawn has disappeared under a thick carpet of large leaves within a remarkably short time span! (Nearly eight 33 gallon trash bags full of them!) I have no idea where our small, tractable, cooperative leaves were transported to by the shifting (and shifty) winds – perhaps there is someone a quarter of a mile away, puzzling over the mysterious appearance of a multitude of small leaves in his/her treeless yard! Since our *windfall* arrived, it has proved to be remarkably stubborn about relocating (thus becoming somebody else’s problem) on subsequent gusty days. DH went forth today, armed with his trusty rake, and spent several hours moving the collection from the lawn to the trash bags. 

Irony:  While DH was outside removing large, stubborn leaves , I was inside attempting to make leaves!  Miniature leaves – small and very small – in two distinct shades of green Mulberry paper. The paper is very soft and malleable; it punches with some difficulty and clings to itself insistantly! I spent hours punching, separating and counting 400+ of each size and color; ultimately bagging approximately 1700 ivy leaves to send to a fellow miniaturist.