Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Coming Home...

We are home again, safe and sound, seven states and 4025 miles later! I need a nap!

We had great visits and adventures with family from three states, saw so many diverse and breathtaking landscapes, got rained on, got snowed on, spent 24 hours on a high dessert mesa with 50mph winds, enjoyed 70 degree days with sunshine, conquered a couple challenging Jeep trails, ate yummy food, car camped in campgrounds, stayed in comfy hotels, learned so much about southwest history and overall made the most of every amazing moment. Heck, my parents even bought a house in Lake Havasu, AZ! I see many more dessert vacations with my wonderful parents in our future! I even get to help mom decorate the new place - squeeeeee!!!

There is always both a happiness and a sadness for me when a great vacation comes to an end. Happiness to get back to the life I love and a sadness that the big adventure has ended. My sadness this time was nearly obliterated because I came home to this:

Fresh from the groomers smelling great! I missed them soooo much!

And to these...

It is far too easy to shop online for minis while traveling, but amazing how new minis to come home to can cure the blues!

While on vacation, I was fortunate to be able to spend a couple hours at Auntie Em's in Phoenix. Em was kind and helpful, and even stayed open late so I'd have more time to shop. Russ was fascinated by all the vintage toys her son Jack sells, so he was joyfully entertained, too!

I found some great items, but ran out of time with 1-1/2 isles left to peruse. The shop had a hearty selection of both mainstream minis and artisan pieces. I was overwhelmed by the choices, and could have easily spent thousands if I had it to spend. I did choose a few for current projects and some just because I know they will come in handy someday.

There were also lots of old kit stock to choose from. You know I can't resist kits! I got a couple fun and inexpensive ones, a very spendy sideboard kit and an old Carlson's bay window display kit. I really wanted to go back and see what I'd missed in the last isles, but could not convince Russ that it was a good idea to swing back by Phoenix on our way home from Moab. :oP

The packages I came home to made me excited to get back into the mini swing of things. I got some exciting kits from Jane Harrop, who kindly mailed them to me with no shipping charges...

I also have Nancy's Toto2 basket kit to look forward to...

Even travelling in the Jeep I was able to have some nice conversations with Brae, and place an order for one of her very special old time license plates. She helped me research to find the exact color for the year I'd requested - 1937. It is so perfect, and I am so excited to begin the project it's slated for. I had to have a feed sack and some cow cookies, too! How adorable are those?!?

I mentioned a little earlier that we'd learned so much about the history of the southwest. I found the Native American exhibits fascinating and totally geeked out on those. The gift shop at Grand Canyon National Park had a couple kits that I'm excited to start on. I may even attempt to make 1/12th versions as I go along!

The absolute best treasures I came home with were the kind that only us miniature enthusiasts can appreciate: dead branches! I can't wait to get creative - I've got plans for these... *rubs hands together*

And finally, I have to share the photo of these last boxes. One is the HBS Creatin' Contest 2017 kit, and the others contain the things I need to get started. I had such a hard time coming up with an idea, but my dad's visit here in late January changed all that.

He regaled us with tales from his unique and entertaining childhood on the old homestead in Butte, Montana. To say it was primitive is being very kind. The stories are funny, and in our modern and enlightened world seem a little barbaric. The next time I saw a photo of the kit, I did not see Craftsman, I saw log cabin. Weird, I know, but it'll be fun (and challenging) to see if I can translate the images in my mind to the project. I'd also love to turn this into an opportunity for our family to connect with my dads memories, and for all of us to travel back together to the old homestead - what still stands of it.

It's good to be home, it's good to be so excited about the future and it's good to know my beloved hobby is right here waiting for me. But first, I need a nap...


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Farewell... Again

I come from a gigantic family. My maternal grandparents had seven kids, and my paternal six. And that's only my side! At times the holidays are insane. Sometimes you don't even get a chance to talk to everybody. This makes for a long procession of goodbyes all down the front hall. When it's cold it tends to speed things up a bit. There's nothing like cold air coming through the open door to send folks quickly to the warmth of their heated car seats. But mostly, goodbyes lead to more conversation, and when you actually enjoy the people in your family, the goodbye process goes through several stages. What's my point you ask? Well, I am bidding you all a farewell... Again...

You see, Russ wanted to build (yes - he is also a maker, but his toys look more manly. Like welders and stuff) a trailer to tow behind the Jeep on our anniversary adventure. Then he worked out of town from the Saturday after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, eve. Then on January 2nd, he started another job that was supposed to last only two weeks. It turned into five (through no fault of his own - cabinet and counter top manufacturing delays). This left only six days to build a trailer, get it licensed, pack all of the camping gear, an oh - get new gearing put into the Jeep. Well, I may have asked him if we should have a contingency plan in case the trailer could not be finished in time. What Russ heard me say was "I bet you can't do it! Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah! So guess what he did?

It looks just like his sketch!

Isn't it just adorable?

In only four days... Oh the power I yield over that mere mortal amazing man <insert evil laugh here>!...

So suddenly, I had all this garage widow time on my hands. I tried to use it wisely. I cleaned out my closets and arranged for a local charity to come pick stuff up. But then. that idea happened. You know, the one from the last post. I fell right into creating and it felt so good! So fun! So fulfilling! Like my whole life had been leading up to this moment!!!

Screech! Alright. It wasn't that good. But it was close.

So anyway, back to the whole point (if you are still here reading - thank you for your patience! I get so excited ((duh)))...

I made some egg carton stones for the floor...

With the gray set of Windsor & Newton Promarkers...

And they turned out so amazing...

That I had to tell you NOW! <insert Madeline Kahn singing "Sweet Mystery Of Life" from Young Frankenstein>  I could not let it sit until I got back from vacation! What if you are planning to make bricks or blocks or stones before I get back?

And then I Mother Nature'd some "clapboard" (1/8" x 3/4"), painted and installed...

And now, in the most bittersweet way you can imagine, I must leave my inspired yet unfinished garden shed and say farewell to you, kindred friends, again.

Until next time (which, truthfully could be sooner than you think).


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

When Ideas Won't Leave You Alone...

Last week when I posted about our upcoming anniversary trip I really thought that I'd have no time for minis. Yeah, right! In the midst of doing all sorts of road trip prep, packing and domestic chores all I can think about are minis! From contemplating paint colors to dreaming up whole new project ideas. I think when my mind is in neutral that's when the best ideas come to life. The kind of ideas that just won't leave you alone...

Before the Saturday "deadline", I played around with some kits in the packaging to see what might work. After I had a rough idea of how the displays and fixtures would fit, I began to make some kits.

I had a couple of these little plant stand kits but it seemed like I needed something a little taller. These were great - just needed a little tweaking..

I cut the two back tabs from the chipboard shelf piece...

Then did a little re-configuring by gluing what was supposed to be the front piece to the back/top of the back piece...

I added some brackets, additional shelving and trim...

And there you have a set of display shelves with much more display space! Once they are painted and filled, I think they will be lovely!

I still have to add some French fru fru and paint but it's a great place to stop before vacation!

Because, while I could have been spending this bonus mini time getting more accomplished on the flower shop, that nagging idea just kept dogging me. It just would not go away! You know an idea really has a hold on you when you are willing to dedicate 45 minutes to reorganizing, labeling and taking inventory on your little trims and moldings.

I started by cutting the floor pieces to 6" x 6". I had 1/8" plywood so I cut two pieces and bonded them together for a little more substantial base.

It wasn't until then that I thought it might be a good idea to put on paper the ideas floating around in my head. You know, with real measurements ans stuff so I'd know how long to cut the pieces?

Once I had dug out the materials and felt a clear direction I got out the saw and wood glue.

Because I am an experienced mistake maker, I made sure the window fit again after the glue was setting up!

The second wall was much easier because there will be no window. Now I just have to find my protractor and figure out how to cut that angled roof beam.

 The base needs a little work and I'll get that sorted out before I build the support beam and roof pieces for the other 2 "walls" which will be mostly open. Then sloppy paint and clapboards, some shelving and some cute accessories and maybe this garden shed idea will be done with me!

I will likely post from our travels on the road, but until then, I wish you many mini ideas that will spawn new adventures!

Oh! And, ~C~O~N~G~R~A~T~U~L~A~T~I~O~N~S~ Morgen of Another Tiny Obssession for your third place win in the 2016 HBS Creatin" Contest! I absolutely love Under African Skies! Just brilliant!