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A SETTING IN HALF INCH SCALE
(one inch equals two feet)

I don't get out much these days, but on a recent late afternoon drive we happened upon another interesting little shop. This one caught my attention because of an interesting sound I heard as we were driving by with our windows open.

"Wooo, Pig! Soooeeey!"

The hair rose on the back of my neck. "Stop! Stop!" I cried. "Did you hear that? Soooeeey?"

With a sigh my husband said, "Okay, okay. Don't tell me! Somebody in your family used to say that!"

"Well, yes," I said, craning my neck to look back. "Grampa used to holler that when he called the pigs back in Oklahoma. He used to collect the legtovers from some cafe to add to his pig feed, and those pigs used to come running when he called. 'Soooeeeyy! Hey, Pig, Pig!'"

"Now I know why they called it slop," Robert said, as he turned left at the next corner so we could go back.

I heard it again.

"There!" I cried, pointing as we drove back up the street. The sound appearing to be coming from a little shop tucked into a small mall that had been created from an old highway motel from the 40s or 50s. "Oh, I have to check that place out," I said.

"Well, I'm going to go on over to the bike shop for a while, so you can call me when you are ready. Got your cell phone?" I nodded as I hurried from the car, waving as he drove away.

As I opened the gate and approached the steps, a plump person with a straw hat came around the corner, wiping mud off her hands on a black and white polka dot apron.

"Are you the owner?" I asked, looking up at the sign.

"Yes, I am. Sue E. Swine," she said. "A local artist sculpted that for me. Good likeness, isn't it?"

"Sure is. My name is Wanna and I just love little out of the way shops like yours. Not cookie cutter places, but with personality." I looked around. "It's all so intriguing."

That's when I noticed the long shadows of afternoon. "Oh, heck; I just realized it's probably closing time," I said.

"Well, unfortunately it is, Wanna, " she said. "I would stay open for you, but I just called my children from their baths and they get awfully restless if they have to wait too long for their supper. But feel free to look around at what's out front here, and then come on back for a longer visit soon. Just shut the gate as you go out and it will lock behind you."

"Thanks, Sue E., I will do that," I said. "I'll just call my husband and then look around here on the porch while I wait for him."

Boy, there was a lot of stuff crammed into a small space.

Looks like they may serve vegetarian food inside.

I just can't pass a bulletin board without reading. Are you like that?

Too bad I didn't get here sooner ...

Looks like someone's been taking a nap. Amazing that he didn't hear his mama calling. Or did he just ignore her, as children often do?

Couple of interesting cutting boards there. My grampa once made a pig cutting board for my grandmother in a rare fit of whimsey. Then my Mother had it for years, but I don't know what happened to it.

I always liked Dusty Miller plants.

My daughter Dana would like that quilt hanging.

Sue E. doesn't waste any display space, including on her windowsill.

There's another one of Sue E.'s children, no doubt.

It was fun looking around, and as we were driving home, I told Robert about our conversation. "I want to come back earlier in the day next time," I said.

"What a coincidence that's her name," he said. "Who would have guessed," he mused. "I thought you and Taylor and Delly Hamm were the only people in the country who knew what Sooeey means. I wonder if they slopped their children, too?"

"You have to make a joke about everything, don't you," I said. "Delly Hamm is a gourmet cook!"

"One man's slop is another man's cuisine," he said, reaching for another bag of Cheetos.

.........................

NOTES:

This little half scale porch was a special project for the first NM State Day held in Albuquerque NM in June 2010. Designed by Jeff Moore, it was cut by Janet Smith, and Mark Rayl installed the battery packs for the little porch lights after we all completed our little settings.

It was a fun day and very informal, with people getting up and wandering to see how each other was doing. I'm afraid I don't know who this little girl was, but I think she worked on a porch scene, too. The overall theme was Seasons, and the round tables were related.

I completed the porch that day, and although it was designed as a seasonal display piece, I always felt it could be more. When I came across the half inch scale pigs that had appeared in my Pigness Protection Program project, I thought, Aha! I'll use it as another way to tell more stories about the Hamms, Taylor and Delly.

Turns out Taylor and Delly were only mentioned briefly, however.

The chair and the table are the grounding pieces for the scene. The half-scale chair is plastic, but nicely made. I don't recall where I purchased it. The pillows are made of paper.

I later used a piece of tiny print fabric to make a draped throw, which barely shows in the final scene.

The pink plastic table was in a packet of child's playthings that I got for my grandchildren years ago. I gave it a coat of stain and added the pig face and the hooves.

I made a lot of printies for this project. I used my ball tool to press from the back for shaping; for some I glued layers together for dimension. I used toothpicks and various small bits of findings to give strength and to form bases.

I made several books. In retrospect, I should not have used the black marker to cover the white edges. For books this small, it's too obtrusive. A light stain pen would have been better.

I filled a small basket but they hardly show in the finished project. I moved one to the window sill.

The pink piggie is an example of gluing more than one layer for dimension.

Here are some of the things I pulled from my stash. I used the the pig and the plant, and the basket, bucket, and little grey box as containers.

It looked too blah in the corner so I decided to use the plant behind the chair and needed something to elevate it.

I looked around, and right in front of me was a Starbucks stirrer from the latte that my husband had brought me not long before. I cut off the top and much of the stick and glued it, with a wad of glue-saturated Kleenex, into a small plastic cyclinder that was in my miscellany stash. Rather than get out the black paint, I just used my wide black Sharpie marker.

And there was my half-scale plant stand.

Elevated enough to provide a touch of color between the light walls and the white chair.

The tiny barn on the little shelf is a resin piece.

The sunflower blooms are only about 1/8 inch wide. I added the handle to a bucket intended for model ships.

The dusty miller plant is made with painted paper punches, which looks better in real life, I must say. I removed it from its original clay pot and put it in a bead that reminded me of a pig's bottom. lol

Several pieces did not wind up in the scene. I always tend to overdo.

I did a bit of painting and repainting.

Sue E. was originally a male. I gave her eyelashes, rouge, and a flower on her hat. I repainted her hat and the bow and made the collar from a bit of paper doily to give a more feminine appearance. Unfortunately, it blended right into the sign and is hardly visible. Oh well. Happens to me all the time.

In the workshop we were given bits of lace to go behind the windows. Although it's not clear at this angle, the design is centered in real life. There is also a small bit behind the window over the door which hardly shows.

The base for the welcome sign is a heart-shaped paper clip. I gave the piggy princess her costume, and did not have room for her after all!

I glued a thematic sign over the original chef's menu. The figure was a bit short for the spot, so to make his standing base I used two tiny wheels and their axle. I glued a small wood strip to the back for stability and "planted" him.

I used model railroad greenery for the plant.

Thanks to the great NM miniaturists who put on that State Day. I wish I had been able to return for other good times with them.

I hope you will join me when I return for a visit to the interior of Sue E.'s one of these days.

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