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West Virginia
When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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December 18, 2009

Taking a Break from Baking

The baking seems to be fraught with trauma this year although I've managed to get two batches of cookies made - Chocolate Snaps and Cuccidatti which is a cookie recipe I tried probably 6 or 7 years ago and fell in love with and have made ever since.  Definitely the fussiest cookie to make but oh, so good and I love the name - especially this year...it's an Italian cookie!

Anyway, while working my nerve up to start on another batch of whatever, I decided to post more miniature pictures since people seem to have enjoyed those.  At Christmas, I have two miniature projects I've made that I only display at Christmas.

This first one is a little shop that I made in a workshop I took at Molly Cromwell's Tyson's Corner show years ago.  It was offered by Ron and April Gill and was quite a simple project, but I've really enjoyed it over the years.  For a long time, it was a pottery shop and had glass shelves going across the window with pottery that I had collected - mostly from a potter here in Huntington who did absolutely lovely pieces in different glazes, etc., but never became really "known" (not for lack of trying on my part!)  But, after years collecting Christmas miniatures, I decided to turn the shop into a Christmas shop and that's what it still is today.  I keep thinking I should think of another way to display the pottery and now that I've mentioned it, I'll put it on my list of things to take pictures of and if I can get decent ones, will post them someday.  But for now here is the shop...






I tried and tried to get a good picture and am not happy with these, but it's hard when there's that glass front.  It's a very sparkly scene which I like - I think Christmas should sparkle!  The little gingerbread house on the high shelf and the gingerbread train on the long shelf are from a couple whom I've seen at several shows.  She makes the gingerbread things and he makes pianos.  I think that's also where I bought the ornaments in the basket and in front of the basket.  The little jars are just some I had and filled with red, green and white micro beads and gold and silver glitter.  I can't for the life of me remember where I got the tree which is a shame cause it is amazing - so tiny and yet with little, in-scale, gingerbread men on it.  And if I remember correctly, the bottom gingerbread house was made by a lady from Pennsylvania whose food I absolutely loved - in my opinion, it was perfection and I've got a number of pieces by her.  I never saw her anywhere but at the little tiny show in Fairmont, WV and she always said she didn't really want to "get into it" cause she just enjoyed doing as much as she did.  Sadly, she passed away quite a few years ago.

My second Christmas project was turning a papier mache box shaped like a Christmas tree into a 1/4" scale house.  I really enjoyed this project.  A number of items I used are from on-line swaps back when I belonged to a 1/4" scale on-line group and I made a fair amount of the furnishings myself. 


I used 1" scale shingles to kind of simulate tree branches covered with snow (I used that puff paint, sprinkled with glitter that you then heat and it puffs up).  The base is one of those pieces of tree the craft stores sell.  The fencing is also 1" scale, but I thought it worked okay here.  I had to make the stairs myself.  Behind the three trees on the left you can see the lighted window of the "kitchen".  It's not really a kitchen, although I did paint a couple blocks of wood white to look like appliances or cabinets or whatever.


This is the living room/dining area and the mama and papa's bedroom.  The table and chairs (and the grandfather's clock) are from one of the sets of plastic furniture that come on cards.  The easy chair was a swap that I painted, the bookcase was a swap that I added books, etc., to.  I made the hutch, the wallhanging, the cross stitched rug and the throw on the easy chair.  Painted the dining table and chairs and I think maybe made the fireplace - I know I made the fireplace screen.  The wallpaper is gift wrap...In the bedroom, the dresser and chest are more painted plastic furniture, the slipper chair was a swap, I made the bed, the bench at the end, the round table and the little throw rug.  The hanging lights look really huge in the photo but they don't seem too big when looking at the house.  The wallpaper here is Christmas fabric.



This is the child's bedroom.  The bed was a Pam Junk kit. And I think most of the rest of the things were either from swaps or little bits that I picked up here and there.




Just a close-up of the front door which I also had to make.

So those are my Christmas minis.  My friend Peggy came over one evening this week with her granddaughter so she could see all my miniatures.  She really seemed to enjoy them even though we had to keep reminding her not to touch which made me feel bad, but, boy, those little hands were just ready to jump right in there and try everything out.  She decided that the half-inch scale house and the fabric store were her favorites.  She noticed in one of my scenes I had a set of nesting dolls and that reminded me to take out the two nesting dolls my daughter gave me a couple of Christmases and that kept her nicely occupied and "safe". :)  In fact, so nicely occupied, we had to convince her we were starving and finally it was off to Hillbilly Hotdogs - one of my favorite places and her first visit there.  So that was a big hit too.

I think I'm almost ready to start another batch of cookies - these will be a sort of oatmeal cookie but you grind up the oatmeal and add chocolate chips and I think cinnamon.  They'll be much easier than my cuccidatti, although the way things have been going, who knows what traumas I'll experience while making them!?

1 comment:

Christopher said...

Nice to see all these little treasures make another appearance online! I can't believe how you can pretty much remember the "provenance" of each piece! I certainly can't do that with my art glass, without digging into my notes file to find the artists, etc.
Can't wait to sample the cuccidatti!

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