Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What a great idea

I think this is a great idea... so guess what I am going to do, a great winter project!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Anthea Chrome is the miniature knitter who made the tiny clothing worn by the characters in the new animated movie Coraline. She knits up to 50 stitches per inch to make the items so small! Don’t Panic has an interview with her.

…they told me about the magical star sweater they needed – it would have to sparkle. I went on a tireless thread quest for about a month – finding everything from stainless steel thread to paintable sparkles and then set about knitting swatches and sending them to Laika. None of them looked right on screen and because of a time issue, it was looking like my hopes of making something for this wonderful project were fading. In fact, at one point, they told me that they were going to have to start shooting soon and would not be able to wait for me to find the right combo of threads.

Soon after that email my mom came over with some holographic thread and said, “Althea, I really think this will work on the sweater for Coraline.”

Sunday, September 27, 2009

NAME National 2011 Convention - DELIGHT

I am serving on the NAME steering committee for the 2011 convention to be held in Cleveland, Ohio. This convention involves 2 years of detailed planning for a full week of NAME activities, workshops, exhibits, sales room,meetings, tote bag favors, centerpieces and much more, all with miniaturists in mind. 500 miniaturists from all of the United States and some foreign countries gather together to share and enjoy.
As the regional coordinator , it was my pleasure to travel to meet the steering committee members , meet new people and enjoying seeing friends. I am in charge of souvenirs- 3 outstanding miniature pieces were selected to be given at major dinner functions as gifts to all convention attendees. What a challenging task as ithe submitted sample pieces from artists all over the United States were outstanding. But the decision was made, now a HUGE secret to be kept until July of 2011.
In traveling home ,a 6 1/2 hour trip, I could think a great deal . I thought about how this committee chairmanship is so very much like being Santa Claus.. being the person who gets to keep the secret and then gets to announce the secret . From a podium, watch as 500 NAME members open their gift, your hear silence, then applause as the gift -a frozen moment of delight!
Then, I thought, of my son, the joy of christmas mornings, birthdays, the sound of a gift being opened, the silence and then the squealand look of delight..
3 of my favorite picturesof my son

but now, at the age of 25- his gifts to me, bring me delight!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Charm Bracelets

I have been working on a "Witch" character for an upcoming art show and was looking for a silver charm I had bought, knowing it would be perfect " a silver key to the Dungeon". DISTRACTION TIME- to look at my own charm bracelets ( get that MORE THAN ONE)
These bracelets reveal pieces of my life, moments that were important to me as a teenager, a college student, a woman in love, a wife, a mother and friend. That's really what a charm bracelet is, I suppose, a miniature storybook of one's life.

Bracelet Number 1- really has every link filled with a charm- my whole high school and college life in tiny silver charms. Charms from my family members, my friends ( one from my best friend who no longer is alive) ,charms which make me sigh.

Bracelet Number 2 - my mother's charm bracelet- if I only knew the story about each charm.

Bracelet Number 3 - a most interesting charm bracelet- GOLD charms- from my husband and son.. I love it-I cherish it- tells the story beginning in 1980 and still is being filled. Charms with diamonds, charms with emeralds, charms that make me cry because of the memory behind it.

Bracelet Number 4 - Silver- well, gold charms are VERY EXPENSIVE at times, so my husband and son had to start one that was always affordable- you know the charm from Williamsburg,Virginia; the charm from Chicago. the charm for halloween, the charm of cherries because I love Mary Englebreit, the charm of this and that.. and it is almost filled...

Bracelet Number 5 - Silver --I have not worn it in 29 years- only 11 charms on it.. this bracelet's home is a small silver case.. then I got to really looking at this bracelet.... and you know what I realized ...why did every man I feel in love with ( except one who never gave me any type of gift - ) give me a charm that had to do with golf ? And why did I put them all on one bracelet?
and why did that man never give me a gift...

Bracelet Number 6 - made from charms from Cracker Jack boxes- all saved by my mom! It is filled with colorful charms-charms that make you really smile!

Why do I only wear these bracelets only on special occasions? I should wear them all the time! Why do I love the sound of a charm bracelet when wearing a plaid wool skirt/turtleneck sweater/wearing penny loafers by Bass? Why this and why that.. so here I sit looking at 6 bracelets and still cannot find that miniature key charm I bought for a witch! But I do know this

That really a charm bracelet is a miniature storybook of one's life.

Time for some major reading and thinking

Poems of the Season..

I have been reading a lot of poetry lately - George Elliott ,to be exact. Somehow, I wandered out of my studio , needed a glass of wine) stopped in my library and looked for two books I own by Carl Sandburg. The most interesting, odd children's stories. Sandburg , was of course, was not well know for these two books. I found them in an old and used book store. Last night, I read these stories into the wee hours, captivated by the characters I met and envisioned.

Here is another poem, from my vast collection of children's literature that made me think of poetry for the season.. and these cute little miniature dolls..


ONCE upon a time rare flowers grew
On every shrub and bush we used to see;
The skies above our heads were always blue,
The woods held secrets deep for you and me;
The hillsides had their caves where tales were told
Of swart-cheeked pirates from a far-off clime,
When cutlases were fierce and rovers bold -
Don't you remember? - Once upon a time.

Once upon a time from sun to sun
The hours were full of joy - there was no care,
And webs of gaudy dreams in air were spun
Of deeds heroic and of fortunes fair;
The jangling schoolhouse bell was all the woe
Our spirits knew, and in its tuneless chime.
Was all the sorrow of the long ago-
Don't you remember? - Once upon a time.

Once upon a time the witches rode
In sinister and ominous parade
Upon their sticks at night, and queer lights glowed
With eerie noises by the goblins made;
And many things mysterious there were .
For boyish cheeks to pale at through the grime
That held them brown; and shadows queer would stir-
Don't you remember? - Once upon a time.

Once upon a time our faith was vast
To compass all the things on sea and land
That boys have trembled o'er for ages past,
Nor ever could explain or understand,
And in that faith found happiness too deep
For all the gifted tongues of prose or rime,
And joys ineffable we could not keep -
Don't you remember? - Once upon a time.

James W. Foley 1905, from Boys and Girls

Monday, September 21, 2009

Book Lovers Never go to Bed Alone

To Be With Each Other

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To Be One With Each Other George Eliot

What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories?

Today's writing has nothing to do with miniatures, or a fantastic picture I found, or a great idea, it's about phone calls I got today?

Today many people asked- how is that husband of yours? He has just gone through surgery number 5 - melenoma -cancer on his scalp/head. We are lucky to have a great surgeon, who is one of the world's best and promises me, Kirby will outlive me! This time the wound made me gasp when I saw it. But everyone- Kirby is great!

Yes, we are both retired - then ,we laugh- as we both are busier than ever. I took an early retirement- maybe that was good, maybe that was bad. I am still adjusting to life on my own terms. I miss my Virginia friends a great deal,( my Kevin, my Jewel, my Joey, my Jeane, my dear 568 students of the class of 2008), I miss the sights and sounds and food and entertainment of Washington DC/Virginia, I miss museums, great plays but I do not miss the traffic/the politics/the life of beltway people.

Moving to Kentucky was a huge change from our hectic lives in the world of education, where we began our days at 4:30 am and often returned home at 10:30 pm. But today, we still begin our days at 4:30 am - I, in my art studio, days often end at 10:30 pm- as he still continues to coach basketball on the college level at Berea College.We own a Baby doll Sheep farm and acres of pumpkins, vegetables and more which allowed us to help begin a Farmer's Market. The pumpkins are now allowing us to be with Bobby Flay next week in Lexington. Who would have ever thought . AND now, I am closer to members of my family,closer to friend(s) who had seemed so very far away. I have wonderful new friends in my miniature world from Lexington- who have made me laugh-made me see new sights and sounds, taken me to great new restaurants, enjoy the same kind of movies I do, travel to new places and I owe them many thanks!

Both of us, have left the headaches of high school education and our coaching at the high school level behind. I wonder how many students have walked in and out of our lives?

We, now, do what we love- at our own pace, our own schedule,
continuing to make the above words of George Elliott a part of our lives.

Now, why do I write such ramblings today, on a quiet evening, good question... or think of this poem- one of my favorites -maybe, this September day did it to me.. 29 years ago , on a September day, I walked into his life to stay, could it be because of an IM conversation I had today, a photo I looked at, a song I heard or was it because several people called today and said " How is that husband of yours?"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Museum of Miniature Houses Show and Sale

For any miniaturist living in the Indianapolis area I hope you did not miss a wonderful show and sale. If you would like to see a slideshow of the "happenings" at this weekend's 9th annual show and sale sponsored by The Museum of Miniature Houses and Other Collections I have posted a slideshow here. This was the museum's 9th annual show and sale and I had a GRAND time! My niece, Amy attended the show with me, helped me at the NAME table and became my official photographer for the event. I still have titles to place on a lot of the pictures but I am anxious to share the photos ( over 140) with as many miniaturists as I can today.

click on my slideshow.. the exhibits were wonderful, vendors ( well, I certainly left with many purchases, won an auction item which benefited the museum ( Did you know they are beginning construction on a new wing?) I meet many new miniaturists and artists.. if you missed it... well, you missed a wonderful event!

I also won 2 first place ribbons for 2 of my projects- SHOCKER!!!!

Later on today, I will have the pictures on the NAME A-3 website too..


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Halloween miniature project completed

What have I been working on? Characters of all sizes, from witches to santas to story book characters in order to be ready for a 10 day show in October. This little witch is 1:12 scale. not the best of pictures as I took it with my mini Canon camera not the Nikon but you get an idea. I found this wonderful Twelve Days of Halloween story and wanted to use it in some fashion. I have a miniature show/sale to attend this coming weekend and just might take this one along to put on display.. what do you think?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill - Harrodsburg, Ky- Bluegrass Miniature Society

My miniature society is a circle of friendship also. A diverse group of ladies whose common interest is miniatures. Besides meeting once a month- often times, we join together to enjoy an adventure.
The following pictures are of such an adventure to a place in Harrodsburg, Kentucky- Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.
At one time, this village was the common home/farm/business for over 500 members of the Shaker belief.
The facility is wonderful, beautiful, offers actual lodging in the shaker homes, a beautiful lake where one can fish if they wish, a dining/restaurant which finds you saying, " This is a wonderful dinner) . Many trails to wander, your mind finds their simple way of life is also beauty. I could have wandered for hours, taking it all in- I guess those of us who enjoy the past can never get enough of it.
I own a few pieces of Shaker miniature furniture but have never created a roombox or a dollhouse in such a style.
As, we often say- never enough time for miniaturists..
so these are pictures of our adventure,

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Perfect miniature for the fall season

Kiva Atkinson, IGMA Artisan

I thought this miniature was perfect for the fall season!
I was asked - why do you not post your on work.. occasionally I do, but I am in search of a new camera which I feel more comfortable with taking photos of my miniature work ( excuse huh?)
My son has just bought this great Nikon camera- the whole deal - and tonight, we are actually building a "picture box" with the right lighting so he can photograph my latest projects. I have to put together a portfolio of my work ( due date Oct. 1st.)
maybe then I will post by own... ??????

Friday, September 4, 2009

I own a pumpkin farm.. and how it relates to minis

Yes, a pumpkin farm is also part of my life. Already over 200 hundred have been picked, cleaned, cured and ready to be sold. I am sure in the field, there are over 2-3,000 pumpkins. Because this was a year of rain- the pumpkins have developed to be perfect in shape,color and size. As always you have HUGE ones too. The pumpkins are truly mean perfect in shape for carving and decorating.

On October 2-3 - is the "Incredible Food Show" is being held in Lexington at Rupp Arena. ( Oh, yes, Bobby Flay is will be there too) Because the farm is part of the Kentucky Proud program, we were invited to participate as the only people bringing in pumpkins.. Kentucky Proud is sponsoring our booth, add to that other fall produce and our beautiful indian corn ( again hundreds of ears are being picked and readied). A young couple getting married in October have asked for 100 ears for their wedding has a fall theme, a school group will be visiting to pick out their own pumpkins , for its first year in operation I think the pumpkin farm is a success story already.

The official sign maker (me) was very busy earlier this week and is anxious to see the set up being created in 2 locations and sales will begin this evening.

Now ,how does this relate to miniatures..
well, a year ago at Hobby Lobby, I found the perfect 1:12 scaled black 1940/50's pickup truck- just like one would use on a farm. Of course I am working on making it look like it is loaded up ready for the Farmer's Market, surrounded by PUMPKINS!!! I am building a special 4 sided glass box being built from picture frames and will turn the entire box then into a lamp. My miniature club is doing this as a project. Again- it may take 6 months to get it finished but this is one project I will post pictures as I make progress.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

enjoy the holiday...

The project- " A Virginia Wine Tasting" is complete... and the Labor Day weekend is upon us so
I decided it is time for 5 days of sun, reading books beach/pool side..
nothing like making a spur of the moment decision... where would the world be without planes, trains and automobiles... I found some great last minute travel deals
I love those 3 pm moments when one says... enough...
I'm taking a break from whatever..
I'm going to see a movie, find the "Fancy Nancy doll" , travel, be a tourist, just do whatever I want to do..
because 30 character sculptures are waiting to be finished- then 10 book characters need costumes and my fall show is just over a month away..
in other words I am running away from my studio!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Perfect color for the day..

FALL....Autumn is here?

Miniature Sandwiches

If I were 5 years old- would these sandwiches make me eat my lunch ? I thought these might be really cute made into miniatures- I remember being told I could not leave the table till my plate was clean. I hate mashed potatoes... guess I sat there for a long, long time.