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Archive for the ‘Miniatures’ Category

Recently I shared with you my line-up of Detectives in Miniature, many of whom keep me company in my office.

This time, I’m taking you on a tour of my miniature Crime Scenes.

Let’s start with one of the first mini rooms I ever put together, back in the 1980s. (Can that be possible?)  It started when I found a miniature revolver at a mini show and sale. Nothing spectacular. Cast metal, maybe 50 cents.  It made me think, hmmm, mystery? Specifically, my old paperback of Poirot Investigates.   So I found a key and started creating a crime scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I assembled many mysterious accessories and clues…

Then I found a suspect and, as you can tell from the Cards on the Table (see what I did there?), it was clear the answer to the mystery was….

Miss Scarlet, in the Lounge, with the Revolver

By the way, that’s the Haworth Rectory and churchyard out the window there.

The Road to Manderley

Some years later, I decided I wanted to reconstruct the library at Manderley. You know, Rebecca. Over a long period of time, I gathered all kinds of pieces, commissioned miniature animal artisan Karl Blindheim to create Jasper, the English cocker spaniel, and created both Mrs. Danvers and the second Mrs. de Winter. Finally, I designed a room box and had it made to order (spectacularly well done) by Gerry Brockhurst, a talented miniatures builder.

And since the library is Mrs. dWII’s quiet refuge, I decided to keep Mrs. Danvers out of there.

But she’s around, scheming….

Mrs. dWII, in the Library, with the knitting needles

Although for fun, I couldn’t resist giving her her come-uppance.

A Trip to Tiny Baker Street

While nearly all of my miniature detectives and crime scenes are 1:12 scale, I have one in the tiny (and space saving) scale of 1:48.

221 B Baker Street

My friend Gayle Baillargeon is the queen of quarter inch scale miniatures projects, including a collection of excellent tiny book kits. That is, bookish rooms containing literary settings.

This was one of my favourites kits to build and embellish

A study in green.

Best Girl Detective Ever

Finally, here’s a tribute to the bookish bedroom of my childhood.  Yup, full of Trixie Belden.

Trixie Belden, best girl detective ever.

 

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I have been writing for as long as I could hold a pencil.

I’ve been making minatures for about as long as I could hold a bottle of glue.

Why yes, they do cross over each other.  So I can’t help letting loose sometimes and create miniatures scenes and figures representing Detectives and The Scene of the Crime.

First up, The Detectives.

We begin with the Divine Miss M.  Miss Jane Marple, of St. Mary Mead.

Miss Marple, in the Garden with the Binoculars

Miss Marple, in the Garden with the Binoculars (yes, they’re in her trug basket)

I bought the bisque doll, based on the Joan Hickson incarnation (of course), from a miniature dolls creator, and dressed her in her everyday clothes. The ensemble she would wear for puttering around her garden, visiting the neighbours, marketing in The High, or sitting by her window keeping an eye on where the vicar is headed at this time of day.

Miss Marple

You can’t go wrong with a silk blouse, a lacy knitted cardigan with pearl buttons, Mother’s brooch, and a good hat for keeping the sun off.

I made up Jane and her garden for a raffle prize at an Ontario Miniatures Gathering, an annual minis get-together involving friends, minis, food, workshops, displays, food, sales, drinks and food.

 

Brother Cadfael was fun to create.

Brother Cadfael in his library

This is the only time I’ve ever made the doll myself, entirely from scratch, using Fimo. I couldn’t find a suitable doll to fill the bill.

Again, he was a raffle prize at the Minis Gathering. Gosh, that was 1997.

The herbarium was a ton of fun too.

Brother C in his element

Yes…. just a touch of monkshood.

 

Next, Jessica Fletcher, of Cabot Cover, Maine and other international locales….

Jessica Fletcher

Jessica Fletcher, the prototype created by Linda for our class.

I took a workshop to dress a Jessica Fletcher doll, given by miniature dollmaker Linda Beaupré at another Minis Gathering, when the theme was A Little Mystery.

I’m quite happy with my own Jessica, in her writing element.

Other mystery-related items I picked up that weekend: the extremely deadly Gloriosa Lily (created by Carolyn Roach), a silver Borgia casket (by Don Spratling) and a Sherlock Holmes teapot (by Janice Crawley).  Also on the wicker desk (by Debi Kolenchuk) are a Clarice Cliff tea set (no, the tea isn’t poisoned) by Janice Crawley, my dear cat Lucky, by Karl Blindheim, and Eileen Charenduk’s Lily of the Valley (also severely poisonous). Handwoven rug by Rita Valois and painting by Caroline Grimes.

 

Finally, my all-time favourite fictional detective and mystery writer, Harriet D. Vane.

Harriet D Vane

Another fabulous workshop from Linda Beaupré, when the Minis Gathering theme was Murder on the Orient Express. We made a 1930s Orient Express traveller, and I immediately recognized her has Harriet.

Harriet on the way

Once Harriet escaped the noose, she became a huge bestseller, and could afford to Go in Style.

There are probably more I’d like to tackle. Trixie Belden, maybe? We’ll see….

 

Next time: The Scene of the Crime.

Meanwhile, find out about the Miniature Enthusiasts of Toronto and their annual Minis Show and Sale

Check out another MinLit adventure

link to Pandora

Pandora in Blue Jeans

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Well, new to me.

If you look back here at my post from (oh gosh!) 2009, you’ll see the story of my mother’s nativity scene, which she began assembling in 1945.

In that post, I said “I think we could now call the whole scene complete.”

I was wrong. On my second trip to Florence in 2015, I toured a few museums, led by some excellent art guides. That’s when I learned about the symbolism in the medieval Nativity paints. I won’t go into them all, but what sticks in my mind was learning the three wise men, White, Brown and Black, represent, respectively, the people of Europe, Asia and Africa.

Well done, Mom.

Africa, Europe and Asia. All there. With camel.

And the Donkey (aka Ass), at Jesus’s feet, represents the Gentiles. The Ox, at his head, stands for the Jews.

Wait….Ox?

For the first time ever, I feel there’s someone missing.

So, when I get home, I start searching online. A lot of unsuitable (and frankly crass) oxen offer themselves. But once I start including words like “vintage” and “Italian” I narrow it down to more suitable candidates. But oh, so pricey. How much do I want it?

I decide to keep an eye open at rummage sales and the like for a while.

Nothing, of course. So this December I search online again and find a couple of candidates. Including this one, from a dealer appropriately called Memories Found.

The original price sticker on the bottom says 29¢

With shipping and exchange, it’s about $25. I stew over this at my Monday afternoon Quilting group. They all say, Buy it!

So I go home and do so. And it arrived Friday, December 21st. Just in time!  I’m thrilled with it. There is just enough room at the stable.

So the Ox, representing the Jews, sits at Jesus’s head in my mother’s Nativity Scene.

Now we can call it complete.

Oh, I guess I didn’t mention Santa Claus flying in on a Canada Goose. This was a gift many years ago from my dear friend Leslie, who died in1998. This figure represents all the peoples of Canada, right up to the North Pole.

(Click on any pic to enlarge it)

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Why yes, it has been a while. Because I haven’t got a new story coming out until sometime early next year.

So, let’s talk about Christmas.  Miniature Christmas.

About a million Miniature years ago, I put together a nice little Christmas room in one inch scale.

Around, oh 1990?

Over the years, I’ve been adding to it, and redecorating the tree, and putting down more presents.

In 2012 I decided to use it for a Christmas card, and so put old family pics on the wall.

When Robin Betterley offered a Weihnachtspyramid kit (I’d wondered for years how to make one) I swear I was the first in line ordering it.

I found some Dollarama lights to put on the tree.

I was given some lovely Spode (well, Spode-ish) dishes. You know the ones, with the Christmas tree.

My brother and sister-in-law in Germany sent me a nice little Bûche de Noël (which I think of as mainly from Québec, and which I make for real every year) so that went in.

I found a vintage plush chair and ottoman when another miniaturist was clearing out some old stuff…. Don’t they look comfy?

My Christmas Room as it is today: Christmas Morning from sometime in my 1950s childhood

And now, it’s perfect. Well, until I find more lovely things to add.

Click on any pic to enlarge it.

(I started this post weeks ago, and somehow got busy, and only just remembered to post it now)

 

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Apple Blossom time….

A few weeks ago, just before Christmas, I was in a Thrift shop (Pegasus on Kingston Road, Toronto, always good for interesting inexpensive finds) looking for a Christmas container, when I came upon a charming little rectangular plate of unknown vintage, unknown maker.  Decidedly not Christmassy.  Apple blossoms in two corners.  I paid $2 and left without anything Christmassy.

It’s been sitting on my kitchen counter for about 5 weeks, with tangerines and other passing ephemera taking a rest on it, because it matches nothing I own, and doesn’t fit with any other dishes because of its size and shape.  Still, I am very pleased with it.

This morning I was struck out of nowhere with the realisation it did indeed match something I own.  Among my miniature teapot collection there’s a wonderful bit of occupied Japan reproduction by the fabulous artisan Janice Crawley.

And yes, they seem made for each other.

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