Friday, July 15, 2011

A Visit Home

It's great to be home at the site of my first blog, 4 years ago. Thanks to my friends at KillerHobbies for having me for a visit. I've been following all their great successes and wonderful readers.
In the meantime, I've morphed into yet another person/pen name: Ada Madison. You may know that Countess Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), Lord Byron's daughter, is considered the world's first computer programmer, so it seemed appropriate for the creator of a fictional mathematician.

It may seem that my new series of academic mysteries is not crafty, but not so! I haven't left crafts behind completely. Professor Sophie Knowles ("The Square Root of Murder") is a math teacher at a small New England college and a BEADER. She's new at it, taking classes from her friend who owns a bead shop.
In fact, I found a way to use beads as a defensive weapon! Enough said.
I haven't left miniatures behind, either. Another miniature mystery is in the works. Back to pen name Margaret Grace for that one. I hope you don't have as hard a time as I do keeping my three names straight! I'm working on the proofs for "Mix-up in Miniature," which will be out in the spring of 2012.
Here's my latest acquisition, a half-scale Vermont county home. That's an Oreo on the porch for scale!

One of the best things about miniatures as a hobby is that it incorporates so many other crafts. In this house's future are:
1. a crocheted pillow for the living room sofa (nod to Betty);
2. knitted afghans for bedrooms, living room;
3. a tiny scrapbook for the coffee table (thanks to Joanna for inspiration);
4. beaded jewelry for the dressers (to remind me of Sophie, see above);
5. a "fake" quilt, where I glue the pieces of fabric down (sorry Terri; real quilting is way too hard for me on any scale!);
6. framed needlepoint saying to hang on a wall (nod to Monica);
7. a little food bowl to indicate that a tiny pet lives here (in honor of Linda).
In each case, not only with the quilt, I'm sort of faking it. For example, it's no work at all to crochet a scarf that's only four inches long instead of four feet, or to make a scrapbook that doesn't have to stand the test of years of handling, or to shape tiny beads into a necklace without worrying about how it will hold together or what kind of clasp will work.

In that way, my crafting is a kind of fiction. No wonder they go together so well.
Depending on when I finish, the house will go to a school raffle or a charity auction at a conference. It will be hard to give up, but then I get to buy another one and start all over.
All my KillerHobbies friends know that one of the best things about doing crafts is the sharing, before, during, and after a project.

Last month a friend and I spent a couple of hours together in my local crafts store, choosing paper and accessories for a scrapbooking project for an 80th birthday party. We found designs to cover all of the honoree's interests—beaches, watercolors, sewing, cooking, and more. It was like a mini-vacation, examining every sticker, bead, and stamp in the store.
During. Doing crafts together, with maybe a bit of gossiping and venting, makes tearing out a seam or a going back to a dropped stitch less painful; chatting about new shoes helps when the glue spills over. And sometimes focusing on projects and other people will shove our own aches and pains into the background.
After. Whether we keep our crafts projects around to enjoy or give them away, they give pleasure for a long time. I love the two dollhouses I've kept for myself—a museum and a mortuary!

When I donate a house or a small scene that will raise money, it's like sending part of myself off to places I may never visit, people I may never meet. As our KillerHobbies writers have demonstrated many times, we never know how far a quilt, a scarf, a scrapbook, or needlework can go.

What's your favorite crafts project? Something you've kept for decades? Something you gave away yet still get pleasure from?
** Tell us here and I'll put your name in a drawing for a miniature scene.**


Sarita said...

I love your little house! So sweet.

My favorite project? A quilt I made when we were first married. It is old and worn, but I love it.

Terri Thayer said...

Hi Camille,

So nice go have you back! What always amazed me about quilts in miniatures is that they are to scale. So a 12 inch block might become 2 inch block, with some pieces measuring 1/4 inch. That takes some skill.

Good luck with the new series.

Camille Minichino said...

I saw a miniature quilt with over 500 pieces! At that point, I'm simply in awe. But all quilts amaze me!

Liz V. said...

Not a craft, per se, but I've begun making combat rosaries (nonmetalic so no clinking or shining and durable etc.) and spreading the word.

Wikipedia says rosaries are used, not only by Roman Catholics, but Anglicans and Lutherans too. The comments from serving chaplains suggest, however, a non-denominational appreciation.

Have told you before how much I've enjoyed the periodic table mysteries. Now to catch up on the others.

Dru said...

My favorite is a small quilt that I made that hangs on my wall.

Most of the quilts that I've made, I've given away and I always feel good to know they are going to a good place.

Betty Hechtman said...

It's so nice to have you on our blog this week, Camille.

Your new series sounds great!

Camille Minichino said...

Thanks for taking care of the posting, Betty. It was great to be on this site again.

Carol S said...

Looking forward to the new series. Miniatures look like so much fun; I have enjoyed looking at them for years.
Quilting is my craft now but I have always been "artistic". I have some crayon colorings of Easter pictures from first grade my mother kept for me. That was about 50 years ago, LOL! Like Dru, most of my quilts have been given away to friends' and family's new babies.

Camille Minichino said...


Liz V. gets a miniature scene (If you want one). Please send address to

Liz V. said...

Thank you so much for the miniature scene but particularly for all the reading enjoyment.

Have sent you my address.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Great to have you "back where you belong," Camille. (Remember Welcome Back, Cotter?) Thanks for visiting and best wishes with the new series.

Camille Minichino said...

Thanks, Joanna! Yes I remember where I belong! Hope to visit again.

Judy said...

I was so excited to hear the Minature series would be back. I've missed the adventures.