Sunday, July 20, 2008

Guest Blogger: Margaret Grace, author of the Dollhouse Miniature Series

(A word from Hailey: This is my first guest blogger! A wonderful author, gifted scientist, and good friend, Margaret Grace is the author of the Miniature Murder series from Berkley Prime Crime, including Murder in Miniature and the new Mayhem in Miniature, coming out August 5. Check out these ideas from a master miniaturist!)

Double Strangeness

Here's what a good friend sent me as a birthday present—a pile of junk. She knows me so well!

Crafters are strange people.

I've trained many of my friends and relatives to save their bottle tops, pill containers, small pieces of, well, anything.

In the lower left hand corner of the first photo is a piece of bubbly plastic that covered a layer in a box of chocolates. It will be transformed into a mat for the floor of a dollhouse shower.

The wooden container next to it is an old stamp holder; the plastic cup in back of the dime is the cap of a liquid cold medicine bottle; the white plastic "table" is a pizza order staple, keeping the cover off the cheese. You'll see how I used them in the second photo, for different scales of room boxes or dollhouses.

The small cylinder is one of those ubiquitous moisture absorbers that come with nearly every mail order package. I'll print out food labels from the 'net, shrink to size, and wrap dozens of these cylinders for use in a miniature kitchen or grocery store. The green sheet is actually sandpaper (it comes in all colors these days!) that will be used as a lawn in an outdoor scene.

In the second photo you can see the stamp holder being used as a small coffee table; the plastic cup is a wastebasket; and the pizza keeper is a bistro table, made by removing the plastic legs and gluing on a twisted wire base. I've also added a contact paper top to it. The chair is more wire, twisted to shape; its seat is a bottle cap.

Crafts are like that. They start from "junk," like pieces of yarn or tangled necklaces, and get worked into a coherent piece of art. Hopefully.

For me, writing is like that, too. A mystery novel starts with odd pieces that eventually get shaped into a story. It can be an unusual name that strikes my fancy, an interesting interaction in a coffee shop, a view from a hotel window, or a job that no one thinks much about, like bagging in a supermarket.

Oh, the arm? It's from a broken doll. Or did I pull it off myself while building a miniature crime scene?

Mystery writers can be strange, too.

For more miniature scenes by Margaret Grace, visit


©Hotbutton Press said...

When I was a kid, I used to put dirt in toothpaste caps and grow little plants for my Barbie doll. It actually worked, and I watered them with a dropper. Crazy imagination!

Chris Verstraete's visit here:

Terri Thayer said...

Margaret, nice post. I've always wondered what to do with those little pizza tables. I'm cleaning out my sewing room and have been tossing stuff out. Now, I'll take a closer look at my trash and try to imagine it in a tiny, tiny scene. At the next Sisters in Crime meeting, I just might have a little bag of treasures for you.

Yay! Hailey for the new series. Boo, I'll miss Annie Kincaid.

Camille Minichino said...

I'm honored to be on the blog of a true artist! I've seen Hailey's work in person, and it makes me want to stop using the word in any reference to my crafts.

Thanks, Hailey!

Camille/Margaret Grace

Margaret Lucke said...

How clever! And inspiring. I'll have to start saving my junk. Whatever I can't use myself just might come your way, from one Margaret to another. Except for odd pieces that might become part of a story. Those I'll definitely keep for my own novels. You already have an excellent and endless supply of them, which you turn into excellent books.

zhadi said...

You're in trouble, Camille. I'm giving you all my pack-rat collected junk!

Camille Minichino said...

I can see that my thinly veiled request for more junk has paid off!
The great thing is that everyone's junk is different and inspiring!