In our city, the colorful fall leaves are losing their vibrance. The days are shorter and darker. I don’t despair, rather, I welcome the holidays. First, our family gathers for Thanksgiving with it’s delicious food and camaraderie.
When I moved north, I learned the importance of decorating with candles and lights to brighten the days of winter. I also learned the importance of filling the house with the warmth and spices of holiday baking. Of course this is also important in my miniature world.
When American Miniaturist called for Christmas tutorials for their December issue (their 200th!) I gladly contributed. I submitted a tutorial for making classic metal cookie cutters and gingerbread men.
I received the preview copy of that December issue, and it is impressive. There are so many beautiful articles and tutorials. If you already subscribe, you will find my tutorial on page 6. If you don’t subscribe, you might want to, or at least order this issue to see the holiday extravaganza. Here’s a peek at my tutorial.
End of an Era
When I joined the Eugene Miniatures Club, I rashly stated “I’m not going to let miniatures take over my life.” One member in particular looked over at me with a twinkle in her eye and a knowing smile.
It was Joyce, who joined the club in the late 1980s when the meetings were all business; Roberts Rules of Order, electing officers, etc. They soon made her president and she replaced the business with projects; a new one each month.
We lost Joyce last month. She was 91 years old and always had a calm grace and dedication to helping others. But she also had priorities. When she closed out her home and moved to senior living, in place of extra bathroom towels, she stored her tiny silks, plaids and prints, and every color of delicate ribbon for doll making. In the kitchen where other residents kept glassware, she had small glass domes for completed and future miniature projects.
She let miniatures take over her life and even became an IGMA Fellow. I’ll never measure up to the level Joyce achieved, but I know she approved as I let miniatures take over my life. I will always remember her knowing smile and when I want to take it up a notch, I will ask myself, “how would Joyce do it?”
During the month of September I was called for jury service. I was assigned to a grand jury, which, for our county, met at least three days a week and paid $25 per day. During this time, the MicroMark catalog featured the new enhanced cutting machine from Silhouette, the Cameo 4. I had been curious about cutting machines and this was supposed to be faster and more powerful than the Cameo 3, as well as the Cricut machines. And it was selling for just $300, precisely what I would earn during my jury service!
I had the cash windfall and the new Cameo 4 would be available soon. I thought, “Why not?” And although I have never done anything so impulsive, I ordered it.
My four “fluorescent light” fixtures are ready to suspend from the shop ceiling. There is one problem; there is no ceiling in this shop. The shop has four fixed walls and a removable plexiglass cover. I will make the light fixtures look like they hang from the ceiling.
I made a center “ceiling joist” to support “rafters” of 1/4″ polystyrene square tubes. The joist will have notches to support the rafters and keep the spacing. The wires for the lights will run through the hollow rafters.
Most shops have fluorescent lighting suspended from the ceiling. Have you ever tried to find fluorescent lights that didn’t cost and arm and a leg? Either I was looking in the wrong place, or I was presented with another of those opportunities to draw from my Popular Mechanics DNA.
I thought I had seen somewhere that a cool white LED chip attached to the open end of a polystyrene tube would resemble a fluorescent light. Experimenting, it seemed that a light at each end of a 2” piece of 1/8″ tube would give a pretty good effect. Now I needed to configure a box that would hold the tubes and chip lights firmly in place. I used some styrene and ABS extrusions from Plastruct. I used 1/2″ ABS channel for the bottom and .187″ half round styrene rod for the sides.
Not so fast! We can’t go shopping until we have a shop to go to. A few years ago I bought a shop from Real Good Toys. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but I liked that it was basically a room box.
The first step is to do a dry fit. I like it, except the door is kind of clunky. I’ll replace it with the ones I built.