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APRIL 2019

In the spring of 1983 I attended The Sun Country Doll Folks Annual Show (44 years old this year) and was enthralled when I came across a table filled with wonderful miniatures. Until then, I had thought I was the only adult in the world who liked tiny things, and I was just mesmerized by what the woman was exhibiting and selling. I circled the room but was drawn back more than once to that table. She smiled at me and said something like, "I see you like miniatures."

"Oh yes," I said. "These are wonderful!"

Her name was Patsy McAnally (now Tessier), and she told me she belionged to a local miniatures club. Because they met in each others' homes, their membership was limited, and one had to be invited to join. "Would you like to attend one of our meetings as my guest?" she asked. I was beside myself with happiness and at that first meeting, I passed muster somehow, because they invited me to join their club in September 1984.

What followed changed my life entirely, and I am the miniaturist I am today because of Patsy and those talented, opinionated and energetic old-timer miniaturists who took me under their collective wings so long ago. They had been building and furnishing dollhouses from the days when hardly anything was available professionally and were masters at contriving. Over time they shared their successes and their mistakes, as well as their materials, and I learned from the best.

Patsy had a shop in her home, and held twice monthly workshops. One day would be everything you could do with paper, another time would be working with fabric, another working with clay and resin, etc. By the time we finished the cycle, we had created a small setting that would fit within a dome and (other than actual construction) had the expertise to do almost anything from that point on.

It was at one of those Saturday workshops that I made my Easter dinner, which has appeared on some table in our living room every Easter season for close to 30 years.

This was one incarnation, in a glass box I found at Joann's at a great price in an-after Easter clearance.

All the foods for our holiday meal were made from Fimo (even the cream cheese in the celery, plucked up with a needle for creamy texture) - except for the coconut and the red beads and resin used in the cranberry sauce and atop the sweet potatoes.

The paper daffodils and tulips were made by my friend Sandi Gravelle, who was a later member of the club.

The white bunny was originally meant to hang as an ornament on an Easter tree.

We have ham,

whole berry cranberry sauce and candied sweet potatoes,

fresh asparagus with cheese sauce,

a relish plate with stuffed celery, cherry tomatoes, deviled eggs (forgot the paprika) and black olives,

and hot cross buns. (Over the years I think my grandchildren really tried to taste everything in this setting!)

For dessert there was coconut cake with a chocolate bunny (wearing a pink bow) on top.

The base of the cake was scrap Fimo - ugly colors and odd bits left from previous projects wrapped with a thin layer of white Fimo. The coconut on the cake was real coconut, run through a coffee grinder. In those days I never thought about its attracting bugs. I watched the cake closely over the years and never saw that any critter liked it enough to eat it. Since the pieces were so miniscule, maybe they weren't enough for the bugs to bother with.

At some point one of the chocolate bunny's ears disappeared. I had made the original cake when my oldest grandsons (now in their 30s) were little, and always suspected one may have tried to see if it was real chocolate, although nobody ever confessed. However, if one of them was guilty, I figure the taste he got from the baked clay was enough punishment.

Over the years, the table had seen a bit of wear and tear, and after I purchased a lovely piece of crochet from Ludwina Akbulut of Turkey, I decided a year or so ago to use it and a different table.There is another cake, this time without the coconut, so the bunny has two ears again.

I will always have great affection and admiration for my mentor Patsy, who first inspired me at that doll show table, and every time I get out my Easter Dinner I smile and remember those days.

RABBITS

Wanna see lots more rabbit and rabbit-themed items? Check out Dollhouses: The McKinley House.

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