Friday, November 28, 2014

Miracle on Cass Street!

Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation made the charming movie "Miracle on 34th Street" in 1947 and remade it in 1994. A sweet drama-fantasy, the original starred Edmund Gwenn as Kris Kringle, while the 1994 version had Richard Attenborough in that role. This is a simple tale about a little girl coming around to believing in Santa, and how that faith propels a city into believing in Santa as well. 
But what does this all have to do with Ms. Peggie's Place? Well, first of all, we have an excellent array of accessories for the holiday season, including a dollhouse Santa with a remarkable resemblance to Edmund Gwenn. (If Richard Attenborough is your preference you'll have to do a little cosmetic work, but maybe not; it's all up to you.)
Our shop on Cass Street is where all kinds of little (as in miniature) miracles take place. Name what you want for this season of miracles, love and giving and chances are good that Ms. Peggie's Place has it. Begin with a pretty wreath adorned with shiny tinsel, varicolored Christmas balls and a big red bow attached. Mount a glittery Advent calender to help count the days until Christmas and offer your dollhouse people a warm drink to ponder things as you do. Good things to eat and drink are plentiful in our food department.

If your decorating scheme will feature the Chanukah Festival of Lights, we have a fine menorah to get the celebration going. Also, check out our collection of Olszewski figurines, in particular a Ted DeGrazia sculpt of a little girl carrying a menorah.

Gingerbread houses are always fun and we have one in the process of being built and another already constructed. The former would be perfect for a grandma figure to prepare and features the partially adorned house along with a scale book aptly entitled "Gingerbread Houses."  It's surrounded by peppermints and other typical hard candies used to decorate such a creation. The layout sits on a cutting board and even has a pastry bag attached.

Our assembled cottage has a sugared roof with Christmas candies affixed to it. The two windows and a door are drawn with an icing look, and a red heart adorns the area above. All in all, quite adorable!

Talking about Christmas candies, ours are so realistic you'll be tempted to dive right in and remember Christmases past. They are available both boxed and on a silver tray, appropriate for the most formal of holiday parties. Our candied apples are tops and you'll also find other confections throughout the store.

But suppose your family is done with decorating and just wants to settle down to a good read? We heartily recommend the Dr. Seuss classic, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," available here along with other children's books. And perhaps this would be a good time to write that bedtime note to Santa. We can help you there, too. And when all is said and done, a traditional stocking will complete your look.

 If you decide to set up a wrapping station to gift those books, or anything else, Ms. Peggie's Place has all the pretty wraps and bows you could desire. In fact, if your family would rather not think that hard, we also have pre-wrapped gift boxes. They're empty, but we won't tell if you won't!

Enjoy the holidays! We hope this season will bless you with all the best -- good health, dear family and friends and warm memories of Christmases past. May 2015 bring you all that you desire.

We hope to see you soon!

Michael Sue Nanos


Michael Sue's Tips:

Wreaths are synonymous with Christmas and following are instructions for one of our favorites. The wreath shown in the posting above was constructed using this method. Hope you enjoy!

How to make a Silver Tinsel Wreath

Supplies needed:

Silver tinsel pipe cleaners; a package of 25 should fit your needs for this project and others

Adhesive such as Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue, or your choice

Decorations such as beads and bows

Here's what to do:

1. Cut a pipe cleaner 3" long and shape it into a circle.

2. Cut lots of pipe cleaner pieces 1 1/4" long. I lost count of how many I used but it will take a lot to make your wreath full. I made mine flat in the back.

3, Apply a little adhesive to the circle as you go. Fold the cut pieces in half and attach to the circle in different directions. Don't twist onto the circle, but attach over it so the fold is sticking to the circular pipe cleaner. Keep applying them until you're happy.

4. I filled in with some brightly colored beads that look like Christmas bulbs and a big silk bow.

Hang the wreath where desired and have a Very Merry Christmas!

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Very Happy Autumn to You!

Autumn is a time for change. It's the season when schools reopen, elections are held, and leaves change color. Well, maybe not the leaves thing in Southern California, where Ms. Peggie's Place is located, but in most parts of the country. However, those of us living here do create a fall ambiance by going all out when it comes to two favorite autumn holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving.

There was a news article a few years ago which reported that Halloween is becoming the most decorated holiday in the United States. We don't know whether this still holds true but our shop carries a generous amount of decorations in orange and black to tickle the fancy of any miniaturist. We've got pumpkins and witches, magic potions and candles. Fly on in, leave your broomstick at the door, please, and take a gander at what the shop can do for your October 31st celebration.

Pumpkins are always fun and whether your preference is for a gourd that's whole, one that's already grinning, or a pumpkin in the process of being carved, we have a nice selection for you to choose from. You'll find the other standard ghouls as well, posed in various ways.

How about a portrait of a friendly witch? Or maybe a very skinny hand creeping out of a chest of drawers would fill the bill for you. And a black cat! Surely you need a black cat for Halloween.

If your scene features a Halloween Party, we can arrange for that, too. Though we don't cater in the traditional sense, we can supply you with appropriately sized caramel or jelly apples and our extensive food inventory will certainly provide you with whatever fixings appeal to you. And, don't worry about the table! There are Halloween decor place settings, too.

Talking about food reminds us that Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

This holiday of thanks can be portrayed in so many ways, such as with a Pilgrim figurine collecting the foods for her feast.    
Or maybe your choice is a contemporary dining room table set with the luscious foods traditionally served at this holiday. Whichever your preference, pair it with the other autumnal standards -- bales of hay, still more pumpkins, rakes, and pretty centerpieces in all the shades of fall for a truly beautiful scene. Of course, we can cater your party in the way that Ms. Peggie's Place does best, with true to life miniature food, 1:12.

You'll enjoy the traditional feast of roast turkey set temptingly on a platter with stuffing, sliced carrots and greens, fluffy whipped potatoes, string beans with button mushrooms, pumpkin pie (or sweet potato, if you prefer) and a very beautiful apple pie with a top crust that would put Betty Crocker to shame. Salads? Of course, along with lots of desserts and everything else the well dressed table would require.

We wish to you and yours a wonderful autumn season, with fun on Halloween and the warmth of family and friends on Thanksgiving. We hope to see you soon.

Michael Sue Nanos

Michael Sue's Tips: A Happy Pumpkin & Easy Dressing


In the good old days we could get Styrofoam balls that were not fire retardant. You could encase the ball in oven bake clay and the the ball would shrink as you baked the clay. Not now! The silly thing grows and cracks the pumpkin. Ugh! So now it's not as easy but still doable.

Here's what to do:

1. Wad up tissues or toilet paper and wrap your clay around it. Pumpkins come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so keep that in mind. Do not use paper towels. I did that once and couldn't get it out later without breaking it all up.

2. With the back of your craft knife press in the lines. Now, remember that pumpkins don't have perfect sections, so make them a little irregular.

3. Cut the top as you would a real pumpkin. Cut an eye or a mouth out or whatever suits your fancy.

4. Bake as per instructions on the package. Cool.

5. Run the whole thing under water, or soak in a bowl of water. The tissue will shrink up to nothing and you'll be able to just pull all that out, leaving you with a perfectly carved Jack-o-Lantern.

6. The rest is up to you. You could use as is, with a little light in it maybe. Or put it on miniature newspapers, to look like you're in the process of carving it.

7. If you decide to make a carving scene, here are a few things that might help you:

     A. Sesame seeds make great pumpkin seeds.

     B. The stringy pulp can be made with tatting threads or natural fibers in the right colors. Mix it up with some white glue and sprinkle on some seeds. Great!

     C. Stick a knife in the eye, lay a big spoon on the paper and you've got a cute as the devil Jack-o-Lantern.

     D. Don't forget the stem! I used to use the tops of hot peppers and they still work, but tear off some of the base since it really is a little big. Cherry tomato tops work really well. You do get some funny looks in the produce department when you're pulling them off, but the next guy won't want them anyway. If you're not that adventurous, you could buy the whole thing. You won't be sorry.


You'll need:

1. A roasting pan or other container of your choice

2. A cereal such as Grape-Nuts, and some spices for color

3. White glue


Mix the cereal and spices together.  Add a little of the glue and then fill your pan.

Voila! There's your dressing! I've had mine for at least 20 years and haven't had any insect or other problems with it. You'll get a lot of "How did you do that?" It's absolutely the easiest pan of dressing I've ever made.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summertime and the Livin' is Easy

It's summertime! Ms Peggie's Place has lots of cool ways to make your hot weather project fun and refreshing. We've got barbecues and the foods to go with them, wading pools and accessories and gardening supplies. Are you producing a July Fourth extravaganza? Let us help you with that, too.
The barbecues are realistic and beautifully designed and we have several, ranging in size from the largest, with a brick facade, to a kettle model which would be perfect in a compact area or beach scene.  Remember to check out our food platters and loose vegetables to add even more realism to that grill. There's raw as well as cooked food. You'll find a platter with ground meat, franks and the most realistic looking kebab all prepped to be cooked.
And of course, the quintessential hamburger patty, broiled to perfection and complete with a realistic enough looking dollop of ketchup to make H. J. Heinz weep.

Our beverages will quench any thirst, from a tempting pitcher of iced tea to the more adult drinks apropos for assembling a celebratory Bloody Mary, and most any other combinations you desire. Desserts abound, from gooey concoctions to fruit.
Our furniture collection will inspire you to find just the right spot for any food favorite. Our four-seat glider, outfitted in a blue and white stripe, presents the perfect backdrop for any backyard activity. Our lawn furniture collection also includes some delightful wickers. 

While the adults are relaxing the kids will splash in their own wading pools. There are several, all in lollipop colors, and come complete with a beach ball. There's also a great tote bag and mat set, perhaps for the supervising adult.

In our dry Southern California climate, real fireworks are often banned, but anything goes in the environment we create with our imagination. Miniature firecrackers and sparklers are available to make your project pop to life. Integrate them with Independence Day party fare for a spectacular display. We have a red, white and blue table setting as well as a snazzy punch bowl designed to show off the highlights of this patriotic holiday.

Please wander through our flower arrangements for just the right landscape accent. Our selections range from potted plants such as coleus to small bushes and even a vegetable garden. You might consider placing that vegetable garden within easy access to the barbecue for a dinner on demand. There are seed packets and a handsome seed display as well as a gardening box containing produce, flower pots, gardening books and a shovel.

We hope you'll drop by the shop. We have lots more to share with you and look forward to learning about your projects. We welcome your comments and wish you a good summer!

Michael Sue Nanos