I have always thought the name of NAME - National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts - was so appropriate. Who is more enthusiastic than a miniaturist on her or his way to share an experience with others who totally understand us? And in this case, it was my first small scales show, which ramped my enthusiasm even higher!
Wednesday May 2
To my great delight, my daughter Dana planned to attend this event with me. Although she says she is not a miniaturist, Dana is certainly an appreciator, and at each of the events she has attended with me, managed to find something to buy. She made a beautiful beaded tree quite a few years ago and has been collecting ornaments and packages and toys for its dome setting ever since.
I had months to get ready for this, but no matter how much I plan, there always seem to be last-minute things I have to do that leave me tired even before I get started. I had maybe 3 hours sleep the night before we left, and then we got up at 6 a.m. so my husband could get me to the airport in plenty of time for our 8:20 flight. I had arranged for our hotel and convention events and Dana had kept an eye out for the best travel purchases, so we were signed up for Early Bird seating on Southwest.
I recall how my mother resisted any attempt to suggest that a cane, or later a wheelchair, would make her life easier, until she had absolutely no other recourse. At this point in my life, with two knee replacements, and after my first year in Chicago when I hadn't a clue how large O'Hare was, I welcome the assistance of a wheelchair when I fly anywhere. I wanted to be sure that all my energy wasn't expended pointlessly in acres-long airports when I knew I would be on my feet almost continuously when we reached Portland. Therefore, I was wheeled from curbside Early Bird check-in to Security, stepped out to be whisked throgh the full body scanner and before I could even get a deep breath, was back to my chair and wheeled to the gate.
For quite a while my husband had been saving $1s and $5s for me (I don't get out much you can see lol) for tips and Round Tables, and the first of my tips went to the baggage person who set up the chair for me at all three airports, then to those who made my travel so much easier the rest of the way. Lovely people! And thanks, dear husband!
Flying over Las Vegas, I looked out, hoping to see the fantastic casinos on the Strip, but instead saw miles of symmetrical rows of houses that reminded me of a song from the 60s by Malvina Reynolds:
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same...
No reflection on Las Vegas, you understand; I am sure the neighborhoods at ground level are lovely and certainly aren't made out of ticky tacky, but that's the way my mind works. I could not get that stupid song off my mind for hours, either ....
It's hard to miss finding your color-coordinated plane and staff!
The attendant at the gate in Las Vegas who wheeled me down for early seatng told us to be sure to eat logan berries when we got to Portland, and Hal, the fellow in Portland who tootled my chair around, had a twin brother somewhere else, had been in the Navy, and chatted us up all the way to the car rental place, where Dana had already reserved our vehicle. There we were greeted by perky good looking young people dressed in green; I told them I felt like I was in a tv commercial! Then the woman in the booth went all out to give us directions to the Red Lion Hotel on the River. What great people all the way, and a credit to their employers, whom I hope compliment and pay them well!
It had been a long, long time since breakfast, and all we had eaten was snacks on the plane, so the first thing we did on the way to the hotel was stop at a BJ's for an excellent hamburger. I never saw so many fries; took most of them in a carry-out for later.
Oh, the colors, the trees, the variety of greens - what a glorious place Portland is. Everywhere I looked, my mouth kept opening and closing like a guppy as I almost gasped aloud, and mentally kept reproducing all that gorgeous landscaping in miniature.
Our hotel was quite close to the airport, just over the river from Washington; a lot closer to Vancouver than to Portland, actually.
Now this river rock reminds me of the rock landscaping around El Paso.
As does this series; love those colors (and I have similar ones in miniature in my stash! lol)..
We had spotted what looked like giant red flower balls from the plane; later found out they were either well-groomed rhododendron or azalea bushes; I forget which now. The colors were so brilliant, reminiscent of the cactus blooms which suprise everyone who isn't used to the desert where we live. I am told this is an azalea. Not many of those in the desert, either.
We were greeted royally ...
... by the lions.
Might be a bit unnerving meeting them on a very dark night.
As Dana said, "Even the parking lots are great here!"
This was the view from the hallway on the way to our room. It's a long walk, but there is an elevator close by which leads us down and out to the parking lot a short distance away.
Here is one view from our balcony looking toward the parking lot below.
Dana has an eye for lines ...
We hadn't signed up for any tours because I wasn't sure what shape I would be in after getting up so early and having so little sleep the night before. As it was, after checking in and unpacking a bit, I got out my nightie and went to bed where I slept four hours while Dana went out for her first exploring. That was our pattern throughout the show; she expended energy; I conserved it. lol
Dana came back, and, refreshed after my nap, I joined her for a tour that she had mapped out earlier to get pictures of neon signs, one of her hobbies. Dana always takes fabulous pictures. A few of the pictures that follow I took, but the vast majority are hers. She never goes anywhere without her camera; I take mine but forget to use it. One of these days she will get all her Portland pictures posted on Flickr or somewhere, but I don't know when that will be, as her son, my grandson Jeremy, is getting married, and she is leaving after that for her own anniversary trip. When she does, I will post a link.
I didn't know this before, but she informed me that the best neon pictures are just before it gets dark, not after. It was very damp and chilly, and we were glad to have our windbreakers. Later, after much driving and picture taking we spotted a place that said it had the best pies in town so we stopped for coffee and dessert. And sure enough, there were logan berry pies!
Dana had logan berry and I had strawberry-rhubarb. Utterly wonderful! It reminded me of the luscious cherry-rhubarb cobblers that my dear late MIL made from the gigantic rhubarb plants on their place in Montana.
After our pie we got more neon sign pics and then returned to the hotel where we fell asleep before you could say Logan Berry!
Thursday May 3
We went shortly after 7 to register and received our name tags, information packets and tote bags (I picked lime green), and saw for the first time the Round Table Samples on display and got a shopping list where we could check off the ones we wanted. Oh, what lovely items. I salivated.
Then we headed for breakfast in the hotel dining room overlooking the Columbia River. I had scrambled eggs with hashbrowns, sourdough toast and three small ham steaks. So good, and too much for one meal; I took one of the ham steaks in a plastic carryout box back to the frig in our room.
What a view of the river, the drawbridge - I love how they paint their bridges that dusty green - and the Washington side of the river with all those trees. Lovely views, but with the rain, not one boat ventured out while we were there.
That's when we first saw the rain chains, an anomaly to us in El Paso, although Dana said she had seen one advertised in Lowe's or somewhere, and had wondered about it. Cool idea, and a better way to keep the rain from splattering all over.
Others wanted to get that view, as well.
We just couldn't get over the gorgeous hanging baskets.
Surely would like to duplicate these in miniature!
And there are more of those chains ....
Dana wanted to take me on the old scenic route down the Columbia River, and oh what a drive it was. I just couldn't get over the variations in shapes and colors of the trees and bushes, ranging from a light feathery bright pale green, to a dusty droopy greyish-green mossy to a dark forest green, with varying shades of plum and red, yellowish green, orangish-red, tossed in. I kept mentally searching my stash at home for materials to duplicate those trees and bushes. lol
On the way we visited a little old town called Troutdale, which was been refurbished and turned into a tourist place, cute as can be. Because I wanted to eat at some place different from what we can find at home and in every other town in the country near an interstate, we headed for a place that Dana had spotted the afternoon before, Something-Dumplings it was called, but it was closed, so we drove on further to another place she had spotted...
... Shirley's Tippy Canoe Restaurant, across the street from a water fall. How cool is that? (I accidentally erased my pictures of the waterfall somewhere along the way.)
It was a place with personality, and we seemingly had it all to ourselves!
I kept mentally reducing everything to miniature scale!
Lots of artistic fish creations on the walls. This enormous fellow was made of brass, copper and tin.
And here's one, lighted. Awesome!
And here's one of several giant carved wooden fish. You can get an idea of its size in relation to the fishing pole and the menu on the table top!
The waiter, a very personable young man, recommended the fish and chips, so I ordered the halibut. It looked wonderful, piled high and crispy, but with the first bite I thought, um, don't know ... I chewed and swallowed and figured well, it was just some kind of seasoning or my imagination, because I had eaten halibut before and it was good. Then I took another bite and knew it wasn't just my imagination. Dana took a bite, screwed up her face, and immediately agreed. The waiter was very apologetic as he took it back, and said their dealer was supposed to have the freshest fare. Instead of ordering another entree, I had a giant bowl of clam chowder with toast made from a chewy, nutty totally delicious bread. Excellent, and the coffee was, as well.
I made sure my tool bag was ready and we said goodbye as Dana headed out for more picture taking and I set out for my first event:
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
We used every minute of that three hours. The workshop was given in overview to a very large group of attendees by Suzanne Larson-Tamburo, whose bungalow class I had taken in Chicago. Suzanne is always fun and very good at presenting information.
Dana got back from her travels in time to get some pictures of our table. Each table had 9 people and a leader-guide; ours was Jean Learman, standing.
A whole bunch of people signed up to do this delightful little shop, Seasons, for which many of our tote bag favors and gifts would be perfect. In looking through all the workshops before I signed up, I made a conscious decision to go for those where I could hopefully have a finished project to bring home with me, and that wouldn't be so large as to be a problem when I was packing. This one seemed likely, but nope, not to be - small enough, for sure, but, finished? No ....
This was the prototype for our table, using kits that came with the project and various little gifts contributed by dealers. (I later purchased a similar kit from Mary Bonner to make that garden table.)
When I first added these pages I did not know that the potting table was a kit from Jean Learman and Georgia Queen (GJ's Christmas Trees). Jean informs that they will be offering the roundtable through the Gazette.
We could hardly contain our pleasure as we examined all the details.
We kept passing the sample around so we could see everything, from one side ...
... to the other.
The basic box was supposed to look like this when finished. At our table we managed to get the box together and papered on the outside with the brick, and the interior wallpaper cut to fit, the steps made and all the wood pieces painted. I looked around, and most everyone was at about that point, too, except for a few faster-than-the-speed-of-light people who always populate every group.
lt is a great little piece, and came with several accessory pieces generously contributed by various dealers at the show.
I'm not sure if Dana was coming into the workshop or had turned to take a look back when she snapped this one. Unfortunately, I don't know who that person with the bag is. That's Gayle Baillargeon standing to the left, who also sat at Table 22 for the meals.
Isn't it amazing how much stuff it takes to make something so small?
I packed up and staggered to our room and made sure that everything was set out for easy dressing and grabbing the next morning. Dana set her alarm for 6:00 and we were both out like a light. I am a prodigious reader but I don't think I read more than three pages of my novel for the entire time we were there!
Friday May 4
Fashion From The Gilded Age
Oh, it was so hard to get up at 6:00 a.m. Here's where the brought-from-home breakfasts first came in handy. I had a boiled egg and buttered raisin bread with fresh-brewed coffee; good way to start the day for a workshop beginning at 7:30. Dana set off on her travels and I headed for my second workshop.
What a lovely little vignette. I make dolls in various scales but was anxious to learn some specific small scale techniques.
This was the configuration for our workshop.
The instructor, Abby Carlson, assisted by her daughter, was back and forth as we worked, answering questions and demonstrating.
And the seatmate to my left shared Luci's workshop, as well.
It always helps to have written directions with illustrations for those like me who don't finish during the workshop.
When I signed up for this little vignette with the mannequin I thought I could perhaps get it finished. Mistake number 1, I didn't realize I would have to make the box, too! And the only thing I got done was the gown. Even there, I didn't add her sleeves or her jewelry because I was still debating what kind of sleeves I wanted. With all my angst you would never know that I have been making and dressing dolls for a long time - just not in this scale. I learned some good techniques but I also know now that I can trust my own instincts better sometimes in a situation like this where I get all stressed out and there are so many people waiting for instruction and answers.
So, I still have to finish the sleeves, add her jewelry, plus make the box, install the drapery and make the chair. It will be a pretty display eventually, however, and now I know I can make quarter scale clothing, too!
I didn't have time to go back to the room to leave the toolbag and the bag with the vignette components because I had to hurry to ....
This was the first of the official Convention meal functions, and we had pre-registered through the Quarter Connection online group to sit at a table together.
Bob Francis held up the sign to guide us to Table 22, where Isabel Allen was hostess. I met Dana there and a collective gasp went up around the room as we all saw the centerpieces for the first time.
Absolute enchantment, and I knew the instant I saw it that it had been designed by Susie Newell, who is a member of Pam Junk's Small and Smaller list, of which I am also a member.
There was no mistaking her sense of whimsey (I had seen her marvelous little Seuss figures before so I recognized her work), and absolutely everyone was dying to receive that centerpiece.
It was great fun putting faces to names known previously through our online groups and chats. Here is my daughter Dana McCartney with Bob Francis from Quarter Connection.
Gayle Baillargeon opens a gift while husband Gary looks on.
Everyone kept leaning way over the plates and glasses and coffee pot to turn the centerpiece for another view! Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!
Here are Isabel Allen, Gaye Schmiedschen, Joanne Bailey, and me.
It was an excellent meal, with a luscious dessert. (Dana has this habit of sending her DH pictures of the food she is about to eat when she is traveling; this is the one she sent Lee, hard at work no doubt and mouth watering!)
We were introduced to those responsible for putting together the 2012 N3 Regional, and there was great applause, especially for the Centerpiece Committee.* (See NOTES at end) We were also reminded not to get too attached to our dome as the centerpieces would circulate so that there would be a different one for each meal.
We also received our first two quarter scale table gifts, a wonderful birdhouse by Karen Marsh, with flowers by Karla Smith,
and this amazing little strombola from Karen Cary. Can't wait to celebrate the seasons with them!
It was good getting acquainted with the others at our table, entirely new to Dana but most of whom I "knew" from my online groups. Here Dana and I are with Joanne Bailey and Bob Francis, both from Canada. We had shared time with each other during QC chats before.
Funny, too, I heard for the first time from someone who had pictured me as tall and with dark hair, and I heard the same later from someone else! I had pictured Bob as middle aged with a balding head and spectacles! lol
Somewhere along in here we bought our Raffle tickets.
Dana managed to get a picture of Ruth Goodger, known as goodannieruth, whom I have "known" for a long time; just met her in person, finally, to my pleasure.
The Sales and Exihibit Rooms opened at 2:00. Oh bliss! But first Dana and I went around putting in our tickets for the Raffles and then, as usual, we went our separate ways. I was aready so tired that midway around the room I had to stop and sit for a minute and decided I would save the Exhibits for another time.
Sales closed at 5, so I headed for our room and welcomed the chance for a rest. That big old bed was so high that I had to heave myself up and roll over to actually get in it! After a quick nap I made coffee and ate the first of my packed lunches brought from home - roast beef, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, with the large fries left over from my meal on Wednesday afternoon.
Dana had gone out to visit friends who had moved to Portland from El Paso and whom she had last seen when she and her family were here 17 years ago, thinking about moving here, as well. Frankly, everything is a blur at this point; I guess I saw her before bedtime but can't remember.
I went down for Round Tables Sales which began at 6:45, but forgot my shopping list that I had carefully marked in advance after admiring the wonderful samples on display. What madness as people lined up to purchase! It was not worth it to walk that long distance to the room for my list so I just decided to head for the shortest lines and get sight unseen what was available quickly and then take my chances with what the other lines were going for. It sure was helpful having all those $1s and $5s that my DH had saved for me! My only complaint about the whole show was that the tall signs only gave the round table numbers and did not say what they were. Oh well, there is probably a good reason for that - like having your list lol. As it was, I was happy with the kits I got and hopefully will be able to get the others when or if they become available in the next Gazette.
I did not attempt to put together any kits and was back in the room before 8 o'clock, I think. I don't remember if I went out anywhere with Dana or whether I just got my shower and went to bed. More likely the latter!
May 5 2012
SATURDAY MORNING WORKSHOP
My Upstairs Craft Room
Dana's alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. again. Here's where I ate the second breakfast from home, a bagel with cream cheese and strawberry jam and the leftover pork steak from Thursday morning's hotel breakfast.
Somewhere along the way, Dana caught up with me and Pooh. What a joy to meet Pooh after all these years! Someone said we could be sisters!
And by the way ...
When I first put these pages on my website, I had an email from Pooh. She wrote, "Wanna, I took these pictures from the deck just outside the bar area of
the Red Lion hotel restaurant. Thought you might like them for your collection. They were taken on Sunday. the only day we had clear skies and the mountains were visible. My roomie and good friend, Susan, spent that day with her son who lives in Portland. He took us to the Rhododendron Garden for the afternoon. It was gorgeous.
"When we returned to the hotel we went down to the bar and there the two mountains were, showing off. I still had my camera with me so snapped some shots of them."
Aren't these marvelous? Thanks, Pooh!
Now that was a very large group for Luci Hanson's workshop.
We literally lined the walls.
Luci managed to carry it off with aplomb, and in the time allotted I thought we got a remarkable amount of work done.
I had done several of Luci Hanson's room box projects, so I knew I wouldn't completely finish it in the time allotted, including the frame, but I knew the box would be made and much of the prep work would be done for us. And, of course that was the case.
Besides the basic components, we got the readymade table and chair, as well as the accessories and kits for the coffee pot, microwave, big screen tv and the wee dollhouse kit! It was a great class and I managed to get my stairs and flooring in, the back wall and window in place, and all the cupboards stained. Having made Luci's kitchen before, I was not worried about finishing the project, so came home feeling good about this workroom. Luci had a very large class for this and handled it masterfully. I learned a lot.
Dana peeked in for a moment to take some pictures then was off again.
After this class, I hurried to pack up my tools, clean up the mess, pack things into the box, which had its own sturdy carton, and then rushed down (or was it up?) to the Theme Luncheon with Karla Smith.
SATURDAY THEME LUNCHEON
Just Your Cup of Tea
Unfortunately for me, Dana was out on her journeys, so there are no pictures of this luncheon with Karla Smith. I was already tired from my Saturday morning workshop, and although my camera was in my totebag, did I think about taking it out? No.
Our lunch was a gigantic roast beef sandwich, half of which I carried back to the room with me at the end of the luncheon.
We each received a seasonal cup and saucer, complete with floor and wallpaper. Mine was originally a Christmas themed cup and saucer, but it turned out the person to my left already had a decorated plate of the exact same pattern so I was glad to swap for a more whimsical design.
The swap made her quite happy and this cup and saucer fits my plans better anyway.
Karla had good tips on doing this for ourselves. She demonstrated how to make the patterns, adjust for the interior shape of the cup, etc. So I left pleased with my finished cup and saucer and its stand, ready for furnishing. I had already purchased a couple of items in the sales room which will go perfectly in it.
This pair of lamps and the easy chair look as if they were made for that cup! Not sure what else I will use in it, but it will surely have a cup of tea and a teapot, and it will reside in future on an open shelf in my china cabinet.
This ended my use of the tools, so after the luncheon I staggered to our room with my box and my toolbag with the goal of taking just a few minutes before heading for the Sales Room again. Once more I wondered if I would make it into that big old high bed. I lay there, feeling my pulse pound, both with excitement and exhaustion, as I dialed my husband once again to share my fun. He is such a sweetheart and the world's best cheerleader; he was so happy that I was happy.
Dana spent so much time taking pictures of exhibits that she didn't document all of my meetings with online friends. Luckily, she captured me with Carol Pittmann and Fern Rouleau. Carol and Fern, next time pull your name tag up higher so people can see it!
And, of course, Janet Smith and I are practically neighbors since she lives in Las Cruces, NM, and I live in El Paso, about an hour's drive away. I bought a boar's head and a blackbird pie (to be delivered later, as she had sold out) for my castle. What an artist she is with food. And, of course, she is the new owner of Quarter Connection and very active in NAME. How do these talented busy people DO IT?
And since I first put this on my website, Dana found some more pictures in her phone and sent them to me, including Dale Lovett from Hobe Sound, Florida, whom I just knew as Dale from FL until now.
SATURDAY NIGHT BANQUET
I made sure to get my name tag and the little lime green tote bag full of my table favors (I made both mine (a Spring flower arrangement) and Dana's (quarter scale books) and headed off for the banquet. Dana had been out on a jaunt but managed to get there shortly after I did.
We were greeted at our table by Isabel, who informed us that this time we could not sit next to anyone we had been beside before, so this mixing up created new companions to get better acquainted with.
We had a different centerpiece, Spring,
... and once again we all strained to see it from all angles. Don't you just love that water treatment? Someone pointed out later that this was a perfect reflection of Portland - one side of the roof was sunny; the other was damp with moss!
We exchanged our table favors and had another great meal. And we opened two more wonderful gifts...