Sunday, March 1, 2015

Leprechauns, colored eggs and mother-in-law's tongue!

                                     WARM GREETINGS TO YOU! 

It's been a long, hard winter for many parts of the United States. Though the frigid temps and heavy snows may continue for several weeks more, there is something about the month of March which reminds us that the gentleness of spring will soon appear -- at least we can hope. Whether mid-March is snowy or warm, we can be sure that this month is the open door to some well-loved holidays.

We recently visited the Cottage Industry Miniaturists Trade Association Trade Show in Las Vegas and brought back some great and highly detailed miniatures for you. Photographs of all would take more pages than Google will allow, so we've posted a few here to tempt you and hope you'll come in to see the rest.

Starring in this collection are beautifully crafted porcelain dolls, plants that look too real to be fake, a stunning array of quarter scale furniture -- enough to fill a house, sporting goods including bows and arrows, and accessories galore such as sewing goods, pet supplies, holiday accents, decorative shelving and...well, as the saying goes, the list just goes on and on. Come by and enjoy these treasures!

     ~St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time -- a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic.~ 
                                                                                 Adrienne Cook

There's a good selection of St. Patrick's Day themed posters in the store which will add a punch to your March 17th decorating.  Select a print of an extraordinarily cheerful leprechaun querying, "Who's your Paddy?" or others with equally typical Irish quotes. If your project's people have an  Irish name, such as Corrigan, you'll be able to hang a chart showing the history of that family (or at least of some Corrigan family).

In the United States, corned beef and cabbage is the usual fare for St. Pat's Day, but did you know that other foods are just as likely to be enjoyed for the holiday in Ireland? For example, there's a lobster dish called "Dublin Lawyer" that's been around for an awfully long time and features Irish whiskey in the recipe.

Whether you decide to go with the American tradition or have your miniature house family feast on lobster this year, we have just the set of dishes to make the presentation perfect. With a lobster motif, a cracker and bibs, this set is a natural for the Dublin Lawyer, but such a novel pattern would be a great conversation starter for any other meal, including that corned beef and cabbage. After dinner head over to our selection of desserts and other festive foods for a green accented funnel cake.

When the leprechauns depart, the colored eggs, fuzzy toys and baskets arrive.  Our wonderfully fluffy stuffed rabbit heralds in Easter. With  sky blue pads and a matching nose, this bunny is dressed in a pink sweater and matching hat. Pair her with any of the Easter baskets for a pleasing display of the season. The baskets come in several designs, quite frou-frou and sure to add a bit of wonder to any Easter display.

And, we have an Easter cat! We can only guess where this irresistible little tabby is going but it's entirely possible he's headed to the newspapers upon which eggs were just dyed. He is adorned with ribbons and carries his own Easter basket.

Or maybe he's interested in the Easter craft displaying strips of construction paper all woven to form a basket. In any case, the Easter selection is perfectly sweet and a great addition to your project.

Easter Egg Hunts are often held in gardens and in gardens there are trees. The last Friday in April is Arbor Day in the United States. Established in 1872 the story goes that one million trees were planted on that first observance. But let's say you don't need one million trees for your dollhouse. Maybe, you just want one, and a sapling at that. You're in luck! At the recent show we bought a couple of perfect ones all set to be planted, in a manner of speaking of course. One might even make a nice touch for Mother's Day.

There are lots of possibilities for Mother's Day gifts at Ms. Peggie's Place. There are always many plants available and we've plumped up the selection with some new ones from the Las Vegas trip. For sewers we have needlework supplies such as 12:1 tape measures and a skein of wool and needles to go with it.
For the baking mom there's dough rising and some delectable pastries. Jewelry? It's all here, along with a pretty box to keep it in.

Is it an anomaly to say that Father's Day comes in on snow shoes in San Diego? Maybe so, but in the world of miniatures our mild winter is no deterrent to a snow scene and if snow shoes are just the thing for Dad, we have them, intricately detailed and looking just like the real thing. There is also a snazzy fishing vest and shop apron. You'll find a band saw and an array of tools fitted to a pegboard, too.

We have lots and lots of wonderful miniatures to show you and are looking forward to your visit soon!

Michael Sue Nanos
Michael Sue's Tips:

Mother-in-law's tongue

Here's a nice plant you can make yourself.


Small gauge florist wire

Masking tape

Acrylic green-colored paint

Acrylic cream-colored paint

Flower pot or your choice of container

Filler for pot, such as clay or Styrofoam

Acrylic brown-colored paint

Ground cover, such as landscape soil, coffee grounds, etc.

Paint brush


White glue

Modge Podge matte finish

Old piece of Styrofoam to use as drying rack

Let's get started

1. Cut wire into 2" lengths, cutting as many as you need to fill your container. A few need to be shorter.

2. Sandwich wire in the middle between 2 pieces of masking tape. Leave 1/4" of bare wire to insert in clay later.

The blades of the mother-in-law plant are long, straight, and tapered at the tip. To cut them, I start at the tip; the wire does not need to reach the tip. I cut down one side at a time, keeping the middle nice and straight. At the bottom I taper it just a little. I want the blade to look like it's coming right out of the soil, so I'll push that little bit into the soil with the wire later.

3. Paint all the blades green. Push into old Styrofoam to dry.

4. Using dry brush method, apply cloud-like horizontal stripes down the length of blades on each side. Let dry.

5. Apply Modge Podge to both sides of blades and let dry.

Remember, no leaf in nature is ever just flat. Shape the blades by slightly twisting some, curling the long edges of some into the center just a little, and bending some of the tips back a little.

6. Prepare your container. Fill by pushing clay into it. Paint the top brown and let dry. Spread white glue over the top and cover it with ground material.

7. While glue is still wet, push your blades into the clay. Start in the center and work out to the edge. The blades on the outside will be new growth and therefore shorter. This plant does not grow from a center root; it spreads to fill its container by running shoots under the surface and sending up new growth.

I hope you enjoy making this plant and that it will inspire you to try others!