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November 2009
(rediscovered November 2010)

Have you ever tried to move a folder to another location and have it disappear into some file you hadn't intended it to? Well, I accidentally came across these pictures recently in a completely unrelated folder! They were taken last year when a small group joined me to play for a couple of workshops.

I had an email from a woman here in El Paso who had discovered my Wanna in El Paso website. She asked me if I was REALLY from El Paso and she said she worked with a woman whose 12 year old daughter loved miniatures and had been making little scenes in shoeboxes for the last 5 years. I wrote back, yes, that I am in El Paso, and said I would be happy to meet them. Not long after that I had a call from Laura, the mother, and we made arrangements for them to visit and see my miniatures.

One good thing about having people come over - my house gets a thorough cleaning and I rediscover all kinds of things. I had no clue how dusty Miss Minnie's little house had gotten until I turned it around on the shelf to view. I had forgotten that I never put a plastic cover back on it. The original plastic front curved up and popped off and I never replaced it.

Since I make things incrementally over a long period of time I tend to forget how much I really have and how many settings I've done until I try showing them all at once to somebody new. The woman and her daughter were just overawed that Sunday afternoon. The net result of that visit was that I invited them to join me to do a Saturday afternoon workshop and they very enthusiastically accepted.

I wanted to teach them basic skills and planned the project so they would have a completed setting when they left and tie it in with the season. With the Harvest Hutch they learned about paper plates, using stain, making containers from beads and findings, flower arranging and design tips, plus accessorizing a Michaels hutch, etc.

I made up a prototype in advance and prepared kits in brown bags with a hutch and variety of similar items they could choose from to include in their own hutch. As I recall, everyone had paper and other plates, glass leaf serving dish, coffee mugs, bowls, a little vegetable teapot, fruits and vegetables, a wooden shape that could be stained to make a round bread loaf, a couple of birdhouses, ....

Wow, what work to figure out things they could do as real beginners in one afternoon, investigate the stash, gather it all up, and do the prep work for what looks so simple once it's done!

Jenna came over to spend the night and applied the stain to the hutches for the two girls and her own. She had just celebrated her 14th birthday.

The prototype sat atop a turntable in the center of the table where everyone could see it, along with some common shared tools.

The "charger" plates at the back are large metal buttons found in the scrapbooking section. The plates are paper; the red bowls are actually beads.

I made a whole bunch of chiles once; this is one of them. The glass canisters are various beads; the lettuce is contrived from artificial flower leaves; the country bread on the towel is a wooden shape.

The large "Visalia" onions are actually cut from an artificial berry branch. You can see more about these in my Cheap Thrills pages.

I had various berries and blooms that people could choose from, and some glass stain if people wanted their canisters to be colored.

Here I have made a sunflower arrangement in a copper bead and included two small birdhouses.

In addition to birdhouses, everyone had a readymade simple green leaf and berry wreath, a grapevine star or heart, the makings for a broom, and various odds and ends in their goodie bag.

I provided a tray for each person's use. This is Gaby.

A tv tray provided extra space, too.

Some spillover into an open chair ... That drawer contains more flowers and blooms to choose from.

Originally Laura was only planning to watch, but she got so interested that I convinced her she should try her hand, too. Instead of the stain she just sanded her hutch and applied a clear finish. She has an innate sense of style and did a beautiful job.

Gosh, Mom, that's pretty neat!

Laura looks on with interest as Jenna shows her onions.

Gaby is the one who's been making miniatures since she was about 7 years old. She was not very talkative, but saw me demonstrate a technique and then applied it like a pro.

This is Marisa, Laura's stepdaughter, who was visiting that weekend and joined in with us that day although she said she wasn't interested in becoming a miniaturist. She took her time and wound up with a very neat hutch.

I have had these garlands for a few years and we used wire cutters to snip off individual sections of leaves.

I also had some raffia, and a stain to use to sponge onto the leaves for a more natural mottled finish. I had a dome base available to show them how their hutches would fit in case they wanted to purchase a dome later.

Gaby examines some flowers she thinks she'll use.

These rather offbeat pumpkins worked as "County Fair" types to sit on the floor beside the hutch!

This fabric had several designs stretching across it, giving people an ample opportunity to choose from a variety.

I also provided some decorative painted and eyelet edged scrapbook papers that were circles, ovals and rectangles, which could be cut and used as placemats or whatever. I was so intrigued with all the different ways they used those little paper pieces.

Marisa is intently surveying a piece of decorative paper that she plans to use somewhere in her hutch.

Sometimes one just has to get up and wash off all that gunk that accumulates. Where is the towel, she asks.

Since I didn't have a container for each project, I cut squares of cardstock to serve as a temporary base, which also allowed room for a broom, a pumpkin, some leaves and more harvest fruits and/or vegetables.

Marisa's onions wound up on top left, and the fruit to the right.

Marisa's broom was made from a strange little tassel and a decorative toothpick.

This was her plant pot which sat in the center of the bottom shelf.

For someone who wasn't interested at all, Marisa had a very good looking project!

Here is Jenna showing off her finished hutch.

The cups I had given them had names on them; I suggested they turn them so the blank side showed.

Jenna, however, wanted to use the names because she liked the idea of Becky and Harold sharing a morning cup of coffee.

Here's her bread on her towel. Those beads became large salt and pepper shakers for her.

Here are the canister and salt and pepper makings I provided for each of them to put together.

Jeanna used a rustic grapevine star to center her bottom shelf.

And her broom was made from the remains of an artificial flower stem after I had cut off all the blooms. A decorative toothpick was poked into the floral tape to form the handle.

Here is Gaby with her finished hutch.

She chose to remove the doors on her hutch and kept them down below. She also used a grapevine star and some pumpkins on her open bottom shelf.

 

Here is Laura with her hutch.

She did a really classy hutch, electing to throw open all the doors for more display space.

I like the way she draped her towel, painted the pan silver and turned her bread into a pie! She used her beads to make different canisters, as well. She elected to use her green glass leaf plate for display at the back.

Mother and daughter were two happy miniaturists!

And, of course, Jenna wanted me to take a picture of her in the old familiar chair, as I have done with her and Laura so many times when they completed a project with Nana.

She took a picture of me holding my prototype, but I chose not to show myself this time. lol

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NOTE:

This was fun. I loved having somebody to play with, and we set up another workshop shortly after that. You can see it before too long.

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