featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Margaret Grace is the pen name of Camille Minichino, a lifelong miniaturist and the author of three other mystery series: the Periodic Table Mysteries, the Professor Sophie Knowles Mysteries (as Ada Madison) and the Post Office Mysteries (as Jean Flowers).  Learn more about her and her books at her website.  

Crafts with Gerry and Maddie

Geraldine Porter and her 11-year-old granddaughter, Maddie, love making dollhouses and miniatures together.

In their newest adventure, Manhattan in Miniature, released last week by Margaret Grace, the two travel to New York City to help with a miniatures fair at a hotel near Grand Central Station. One of Maddie's favorite demonstrations is a DIY miniature chair made from the cages of champagne bottles, perfect for a patio or an ice cream shop.

Here's her instruction sheet!

• 2 "cages" from champagne bottles (As you see from the designs in the photos, the cages need not be from the same winery!)
• pliers
• wire cutters (optional)
• cork (optional)


Step 1. Disassembly.
Remove the bottom wire from each cage: Either use pliers to untwist the ends or use wire cutters to snip out the twisted section. Slide the wire through the loops at the ends of the "legs." Put the loose wire aside.
* You now already have a stool! But let's get a little fancier. We'll call this the seat and legs of the chair and move on to construct the back.

Step 2. The chair back.
Take the second cage, also minus its bottom wire, and bend two of the legs straight down, the other two across each other. (If you dislodge the cap from the legs, don't worry, it can be snapped back later, or glued in place.)

Step 3. Attaching chair back to seat.
Twist legs of the second cage around bottom legs of the first cage.

Step 4. Finishing touches.
Straighten any crooked sections. Turn bottom loops out to form a "feet" and adjust legs so that all feet touch the floor.
You're done. Have a seat!

(1) Take the bottom wire extracted from Step 1. Twist the wire into any shape you like (Make it smoother than I've done here!), and attach the ends of the wire to the legs of the stool in the same way as Step 3 above. The result: a typical soda fountain chair with a fancy wire back.

(2) Make a cushion from scrap fabric and add to the seat of the chair.

(3) Make a table using a cork as a base. The top can be a piece of glass or any other rigid material that can be supported by the cork. Or simply use the cork as is. Most corks are too tall for the scale of their cages, and will probably need to be trimmed down.

I hope you have a good time furnishing a soda fountain or cafĂ©. Each of the eight miniature mysteries by Margaret Grace has tips at the end for other fun projects. 

Manhattan in Miniature
Perhaps Manhattan, like Christmas, is best seen through the eyes of a child. Gerry Porter provides both magical experiences for granddaughter Maddie when a SuperKrafts manager takes them to New York City for a huge crafts fair. They get to work on both making miniatures and solving crimes, the detecting duo’s favorite pastimes. All this, plus Rockefeller Center and Radio City, too! But a crafty murderer wants to make sure they don’t make it safely home again to California….


Camille Minichino said...

Thanks for welcoming me, Anastasia! Let me apologize for the typo in Step 4 - it's that Maddie again, too eager to play soccer to read over her work.

Angela Adams said...

I admire your talent. Thanks for sharing, Camille!