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June 2011

Dedicated to Alice Zinn, Mary Johnson,
Grampa Lavel and the Kivisto Family,
and Ros-Marie Linnerborn

(Be sure you first read Pigs in a Sauna)

It all began when my good friend and professional miniaturist Alice Zinn posted in the miniaures online group CAMP that she had made a gorilla for an order and posted a link to a picture on her Webshots.

Now how many people can claim to know someone who can do this? (And not only gorillas but aardvarks and porpoises and polar bears and seagulls, and performing circus monkeys on bicycles ....)

As my old friends in Texas are fond of saying, "I just cain't he'p it," so when I saw that gorilla I wrote a poem about Alice and sent it in to the CAMP list:


Some people are Neapolitan
And some are just plain vanilla
The latter watches soaps in her recliner
And the former creates a gorilla

So then a fellow member of CAMP, Mary Johnson, apparently couldn't "he'p" it, either, and wrote the following for me:


There once was a gal named Wanna,
Who always says "I'm gonna . . . ."
So She'll write and create,
Her blogs, (which are great!)

And more fun than pigs in a sauna!

Well, who could resist following up with that?

And that's the reason I created More Fun Than Pigs in a Sauna!



As soon as I read Mary's poem, I knew what I was going to do. Quarter scale miniaturists love to use scrubby holders to make miniature settings, and I have accumulated several over the years.

Among them was this pig.

And, of course, I had a collection of mini pigs. I decided on the three on the right, which were purchased when the very first Pic'n'Save (now Big Lots) opened in El Paso, I think back in the late 80's. They were among several Something-Critters (can't recall the exact name), including raccoons, bunnies, even a lobster, etc., which were quite inexpensive. As I recall, I purchased a double handful because they all had such personality and were so cute. I have used them in various ways over the years; still have a few left, too. (Matter of fact, the raccoon in Edsel Elf Feeds the Deer was one of those purchases.)

One thing, however, was that the paint jobs on some of them weren't too great, including the eyes on the pigs. Here, they look so strange because I have given them new white eyeballs and they are waiting to have the irises added.

Notice how they are dressed appropriately for the sauna in towels? I used bits of paper towel dipped in a glue and water mixture to drape around and over them and to form Hamlet's sweat band.

"Almost look like The Three Blind Pigs," my husband said - "See how they stare! They all ran after the farmer's spouse, and chased her madly around the house ..."

Oh, please!

I Googled for saunas and found an online source for wooden boards to provide the major wooden background. I printed out a sheet, and after making patterns for the interior of the scrubby holder cut out and fitted the walls and floor. I did not get a picture of this process but it was painful! lol

This piece of foam is NOT the dry stiff kind; it is flexible. I had a circle of the stuff in my stash, and it happened to be on the table behind my work desk. It seemed like the best way to create the bench. So I cut and shaved and fiddled to get it to fit the curve of the scrubby.

I first tried gluing the paper boards directly to the foam but it was too lumpy, so here I have made a smooth underlayment to take care of that problem.

After I had this done and tested it against the interior of the scrubby again, I traced around the top to make a pattern. I cut a cardstock top, then glued that to the printout, folding it under and cutting slashes to go around the inner and outer curves. It took two or three tries to get this right!

Among the list of accessories I had Googled and decided to use was this collection of wooden brushes and combs. I printed it out on Best Quality on cardstock. In order to get some dimension, I cut out the individual pieces from a second printie and painted the back and edges black to cover the white, then slightly bent the bottom. I used a dot of almost-dried glue at the top of the handle and under the bottom, pressed the handle down firmly but left the bottom slightly elevated, a form of paper tole. This was tricky because these pieces were so tiny!

I found images online which I tweaked to make the stove. I wrapped the printie around a piece of scrap wood, creasing at the corners and leaving a bit sticking above the top, forming a container for the rocks, which are model railroad scatter.

The copper bucket is contrived from very small eyelets and the ladle was a bent piece of a silk pin.The apples are made from tiny foam balls that I indented with a black pen; I used chalks for the coloring. The dish is a jewelry finding.The hygrometer/thermometer turned out to be too tiny by itself, so I glued it to another bit of finding.

The only accessory that I didn't make - besides the pigs - was the little basket of bottles, which I received in a quarter scale swap. Unfortunately, I don't know who made them.


Ah, the memories stirred up by making this little setting...

Some years ago after I wrote to the LittleEnoughNews quarter scale group about those summers in Laramie, Wyoming, Grampa Lavel, and my first experience eating lutefisk with the Kivistos, I had a letter from Ros-Marie Linnerborn in Sweden:

"Wanna, I AM a lutfisk lover!!!!!!!!! I laughed so much when read about your eating. You are welcome to me and eat it. lol
You actually know 2 people that used to to go into sauna and then into the snow. Yes, I did!!!!!!! we didn't have a lake near the sauna, but we ran out naked and rolled around in the snow before we went back into the heath sauna.

I love to read your stories. You should write book!!


Dear Rosa was a great friend from across the world, although we never met personally, and she has since passed away, but along with Alice and Mary EJ, she and Grampa Lavel and the wonderful Kivisto family have been on my mind the entire time I was working on this scene.

So, dear Alice, thanks again for making and telling us about the gorilla, and Mary EJ, for your delightful poem, which created the challenge for my doing this scene. What a roller coaster combination of fun and nostalgia this has been.

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