Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Surprise from Aunt Pat

When I went over to Aunt Pat's on Saturday, she had a surprise for me.  A few years back she asked everyone in our mini group which of her scenes were our favorites, then she made a list to give to her attorney.  None of us thought anything about it after that, content in having her with us to play.

After another mini friend passed away and her family ignored her wishes regarding her miniatures, Pat apparently decided to go ahead and send everyone home with their favorites at the last Christmas party.  She said she'd rather see us enjoying her pieces now than worry if everything would be done to her instruction later.  Also it makes more room for her current projects.

So now I am the proud (and somewhat soggy from tears) owner of "Vermeer Vignette."  The box itself is a Houseparty Helper gift from San Jose, CA in 1993 and has been reworked.  (I helped cut the skylight.) Both dolls are by Pat Boldt, dressed and wigged by Aunt Pat. 
It still makes me giggle thinking about how we came up with the "seasoned serving wench" from a Mrs. Claus doll.  We must have sat for three hours trying to figure out her clothes and pose.
 I made the doll's pipe after the one she bought vanished (while we were both sitting there working... I think it bounced someplace strange and was sucked up by the hoover) and also the knife when she couldn't find one in her stash.  She made the loaf of bread in a class, but she didn't recall when.

The painting is an original oil done after Jan Vermeer's "Girl With A Pearl Earring" by D.J. Chol. 
 All of her pieces have a black and white cat in them, it's her signature.
 Here are some closeups of the delftware.

 If I'm remembering correctly, Aunt Pat was given these tulips as a birthday gift by Mary Ellis, IGMA Artisan in plants.  Mary has been a friend of Pat's for years.
I hope you enjoyed seeing this room.  It will be one of my greatest treasures for as long as I live.  The best part is that Aunt Pat's still around to make minis with.  In fact I'm trying to plan a trip down there to get some projects off her "Have Kat Do This" list.  ;-)

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Minis from the St. Louis Show

On Saturday FH drove us down to St. Louis for a day trip.  This time it was for fun and not because more things have been going wrong with my dad or any other family member.  Once we got to the hotel where the miniature show was being held, friends of ours came to pick him up for the day.  This left my friend that rode with us and I the car for the day.

Here are my treasures:

I knew I'd be needing my own pleaters since I can't  just pop 'round to Pat's to use hers, so I invested in all three sizes.
 Some tiny rick rack and some hat straw.
 This was something I couldn't possibly pass up.  A mammoth carved from mammoth ivory!
 I fell in love with this knitted Jemima Puddle Duck and while she was being wrapped up, I noticed this 1/48 scale teapot with a knit cozy.  Actually she had a selection, but this is the one that spoke to me.  I was wanting something more in the Quarter Scale Adobe room to make it look more real and this fit the bill.
 On my way to the door I passed by my favorite small scale animal sculptor.  She had these two cats that were destined to go into the Adobe as well.
 When I was done taking the above pictures, I decided it would be best to put the quarter scale things into their designated room.

 Once we were satisfied with our purchases, we went to lunch with my Aunt Pat and her cousin at La Bonne Bouche, my favorite French bistro.  It's also the place where we ordered our wedding cake. After lunch my friend and I killed some time at a needlework shop whilst Aunt Pat went back to the show for a few more items that she talked herself into over lunch.  Then we met back up at her home so my friend could see her minis. 

She had a big surprise in store for me that I'll tell you about next time.  See you then!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Projects

In this case, it's even a miniature project.  Before you ask, no, the craft room is still a natural disaster.  I've been blissfully ignoring it in favor of taking a few things upstairs to the dining room table.  The weather has been too nice to spend all day in the storage room, storing fabric to de-stash.  That has to happen before the craft room becomes livable again.

Anyways, back to the minis!

Remember when I showed you my lamps?  Well I was given a really good reason to finish one recently, bumping it ahead of the Panda Nursery in my queue.  The Peoria Area Stitchers' Guild General Meeting always consists of a fun program in addition to sweets, show and tell, and the business portion.  Three of us have been asked to do the program on miniatures and miniature stitching.  My part of the program will focus on "Miniatures Aren't Just Dollhouses," and will feature a bag room, a converted trophy case, and one of my lamps.

I could only finish one for two reasons.  One, the second lamp's metal bits have fallen apart.  Remember the toy animals made of plastic that only stood up when you pushed a button and they fell over again?  Yeah, well the lamp's metal bits looks like one without it's button pushed.  The most important reason for not getting both done is I'm still looking for bits to fill the second one.  I had everything to fill the first.

So here's the finished lamp.

The bottom picture doesn't do the inside true justice, as there are layers upon layers of "stuff" stacked everywhere.  For some reason my camera didn't like trying to get photos of this scene.  For example, that big teddy bear is sitting on two old maps and there are books and records under his chair.  And behind the old Christmas tree is a croquet set an old cigar box filled with Confederate money.  Just some of the oddities and odds 'n ends found in this particular attic. There's plenty of room to stash other little things as I acquire them as well.   If I can ever get better interior photos, I will post them.

Also for those of you keeping up with news about my dad, he's being released from the hospital to a nursing/rehab facility for two weeks or so.  Then he will be doing outpatient rehab. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Out of the Woods

Dad has been stepped down from ICU, but he's still on the same in floor of the hospital. The doctor came and removed the drains from his incisions, and everything is looking good. His voice is still really hoarse from the tube in his throat, but he feels good enough to try and crack jokes.

He's having a good deal of pain, but actually the surgeons are happy about that as it means his nerve endings are finally getting feeling in them again. Just like the "pins and needles" feeling when you've sat too long except it's everywhere from the neck down.

He's been up and walking yesterday and today. 40 feet yesterday and a little further today. And he's able to swallow "real food" as opposed to liquids only like yesterday.

FH and I have come home, as there isn't much else for us to do down there at this point.  Mom will call me if she needs me again and FH has work tomorrow.  Thank you to everyone for your positive thoughts, prayers, and healing vibes.  I'm going to go collapse onto the couch and put my feet up.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I'm sitting in a hospital waiting room, waiting to hear if my dad is going to survive surgery.  He's been in for three hours already, with at least another 2.5 expected.

If people have a moment and feel like saying a prayer, sending healing energies, thinking good thoughts, whatever, I know my family would appreciate it.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Still Here

The furniture moving/crafting integration has turned into full blown Spring Cleaning.  I decided that if I'm moving everything hither and yon I might as well get the cobwebs and dust dealt with.  It's slowing me down just a bit, but I think it's worth it.

I've been playing/working in the furnace room getting shelves put up, boxes sorted through, and things on the shelves.  The craft area is now also my office, so everything for correspondence now gets shuffled into the mix.  I've still got containers of fabric and yarn upstairs that need to come down once I have places for them.  Hence the shelving. 

The cleaning isn't even the time consuming bit.  There are about 5 or 6 more "boxes of stuff" to go through in the the furnace room.  The more that gets out, the more room we have to put things away.  One of the problems in the craft area are the bags and boxes of "my mom/granny/great aunt/neighbor passed away and she did that stuff you do, so here" that I get from time to time.  I have 2 or 3 of those left to sort through.  I really hate those for the simple fact of I feel like a ghoul.  Who am I to sort through someone's scraps and treasures and decide what I will deign to keep?  I wised up and stopped accepting things like that, but I still have to go through what's here.  And my "filing system" (put papers to keep in a crate next to the computer desk) can finally be dealt with since I can actually get to the filing cabinet now.  That will be an afternoon's work by itself. 

I'll be headed south in a few weeks too.  My father needs to have surgery.  It's one of those "darned if you do and damned if we don't" situations.  The surgery is risky thanks to his age and other health issues, but if he doesn't have it he's at greater risk.  So he's decided to go through with it.  The family is preparing for the worst in the background while hoping for the best on the surface.  At least my house will be clean and wonderful when I get back.

Oh, the cats are fed up with the weather here and I can't say I blame them.  It was raining this morning, then the sun came out for a while.  Then it started hailing, followed by snow.  I think I can handle locusts, but if we get frogs I figure they'll be frozen and I really don't want to explain that to the insurance adjustor when we call about a new roof.

Anyways, I'm going to get back to it.  Or else it will never get done.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Musical Roses: The Last of January's Work

Here's the last picture from the previous update:

Now for the next four days worth:
My goal here was to create spaces that could be filled in while riding in a car or while something interesting was on PBS.  In the last picture there are five such spaces.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 3 of the Chaos

This is what the workroom looked like before I went to bed Thursday night/Friday morning:
The laundry basket is full of "stuff" from the sewing table when it was upstairs.  I moved the miniature books to the light-colored bookcase and the fiber and textile books are in the darker bookcase.  It's difficult to tell, but the big table in the back has less junk on it.  There's still quite a bit to sift through though.

Patterns come down next and get filed.  I stacked both small filing cabinets in order to save some room.  Then I get to sort through the table and random boxes filled with things from the old dresser that used to occupy the back wall.  Oh and reclaim my laundry basket.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Back to Musical Roses Again

The last time I showed progress, I was here:

Here's the stitching for the three days after:
I wasn't able to really sit and work, so the progress is very slow.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Treat Break!

For the Guild meeting on Tuesday I made these luscious things.

Sorry about the flash. 

Anyways, these are my first attempt at Bakerella's cake balls.  If you'd like to see the recipe and instructions, follow this link.  The only change I made was to placate the choco-holics in the Guild.  Instead of cream cheese frosting, I used chocolate.  Once they were set I dipped them in both milk and dark chocolate.  Then I drizzled white chocolate and little heart sprinkles everywhere.

Controlled Chaos

Of a fashion anyway.

Certain circumstances (of a personal nature) have dictated that I should recombine my sewing room with the miniature room again. 

On the upside:
* this is a much larger space than what I had to work with in the old house
* I won't feel cut off from FH in the evenings when he's home and I need to sew
* I won't need to use the dining room table for layouts and cutting anymore, allowing that room to stay de-cluttered easier
* no more pausing the movie and running upstairs to fetch something I've forgotten for a stitching project

The downside:
 I have to completely clean AND reorganize everything, including the storage room in order to pull this off.

Day 1 of reorganizing:

Day 2 of the same:
The sewing table, a small bookshelf, and the sewing machines are the only remaining "large" items that still need to move down here.  Books, supplies, tubs of fabric and yarn, patterns, etc still need to come down as well.  I'm attempting to work on what's down here first, at least until I need that little bookshelf to put things on it.  I'm also taking the time to cruise through chunks of stash and get rid of things I really will never use or have no interest in keeping.

It will probably be sometime next week before the space is usable for anything.  Then I get to rearrange the storage room and put up shelves so I can get to the tubs of fabric and yarn, and really just about anything in there, without drowning in boxes.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Pollux and I are both sick.  I'll get caught back on blogging when one of us is well again.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Update from Artie

Mom's still workin'.  Dunno why she's messin' up my playroom though.  Hmph.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This Is Going to Take A While

I may be gone for a couple of days trying to get this mess dealt with.  Life and Artan have been wreaking havoc upon my mini work area for weeks.  Artan is the most destructive though.

That printer's draw used to be filled with minis.  Artie dumped it for me.  He's also made a habit of reaching into mini scenes, around plexi-glass, and stealing minis to chew on.  Many things need to change.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I made myself some new things to wear to the concert on Saturday.  I'll have to manufacture a reason to wear it all now, but that's beside the point.

The quickest was the jewelry.

I started with an interesting kit, but the materials supplied weren't enough for the length I wanted.  I remembered the store had more kits and individual components for sale, so I went back and restocked.

Here are the results:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Close Enough for Jazz

FH and I are headed east to celebrate a family birthday.  We're all going to a big jazz concert, which promises to be lots of fun.

For any jazz lovers out there, if you follow this link it will take you to a news article that contains a link to the free live stream of the concert.

Catch you later!

So when were an hour or so from home one of the tires went flat.  We found a service station with a working air pump and the tire held air long enough for us to turn around and get home safely.  We'll be listening to the concert via livestream tonight.  Stupid tire. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Size Comparison

Something I realized whilst looking through last year's photos. 

We've gone from this:

To this:

In eight months.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Musical Roses: Piano Progress

I had a decent block of time to devote to the next section, so I was able to go from this:
To this:
I've crossed the center of the design now.  The piano is close to 75% complete.  I think I'll do some work on the bass next.  Maybe... we'll see.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rare Political Opinion - SOPA

I normally prefer to keep my political and religious opinions to myself, but circumstances being what they are, I feel I need to say something.

Many websites around the world will be "going dark" tomorrow, January 18, 2012, in protest of SOPA, the so-called Stop On-line Piracy Act.  A lot of folks don't know what this hoopla is even all about because it's not really in the news and I believe it should be.

Here is a link to the bill's text itself.  I urge you to read it for yourselves.  You can also read the Wikipedia article I linked in the previous paragraph.  However be warned that someone has called into question the neutrality of said article.  Hence whey I've linked to the bill itself.  There is more information out there and I urge to to read it and form your own opinions on the matter.

For me personally, I believe no good can come of SOPA.  Copyright laws have always been a civil court matter and should remain so.  I believe as currently written, SOPA violates the First Amendment Rights of all American citizens.  The language is too open ended and can easily become a slippery slope of lost freedoms.  Are there valid issues the bill is trying to address?  I believe there are.  But I do not agree with the current outlines and wording currently therein.

In addition to voicing my concerns with my Representatives, I'm going to do one thing.  Tomorrow I will "go dark" as well.  From Blogger, from email , from Facebook, from any form of e-commerce- really from the Internet in general.  I'll be watching the news on television for a change and working on non-Internet projects.

Again I urge you all, especially my American readers, to read the available literature (including the bill) while you can and form your own opinions.  If you agree with me please call your federal representatives' offices today.  Heck even if you don't agree with me, call them anyway so your opinion counts in the way they vote.  It's America after all.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Musical Roses: The Next Installment

I've been working in fits and starts.  Too many distractions and not enough time spent stitching.  Oh well.  Here's where we left of last time.
I've gotten a bit more of the piano worked up now.

You can see a few of the black keys now.  The bass also has the suggestion of strings. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Back to Musical Roses

Here's the last photo that you saw of the stitching.
And here are the next two progression photos.

You can see the neck of the string bass and the piano's keyboard starting to take shape.  I've also gotten a good start on one of the larger roses.  In the next pictures the keyboard will start to become more prominent.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Artan's First Snowfall

FH got home and it became possible to take Artie outside in the snow and get pictures.

I don't think he was amused.  ;-)

Pollux had the option to come out on the deck too, but he wisely abstained.