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.