Sharing a love of Dolls House Miniatures - and making time for other creative crafts and the garden.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Spring Miniatures in the Garden

I'm not sure that winter has gone yet...it's been very cold and very wet, and we've had a few hard frosts, but perhaps Mother Nature is trying to cheer us all up with a first taste of spring to come.
No snow yet, so the birds are finishing up the last of the berries and feasting on fat balls we hang up for them.

In my garden the golden winter jasmine and fablously scented pink viburnum shrubs are the first to bloom as we put away the Christmas decorations. Yellow forsythia branches are swift to come out indoors and look lovely with a bunch of Cornish daffodils from the local supermarket.
Nearer the ground the first spring miniatures are bursting into flower heralding the bigger flowering bulbs and plants.

While the snowdrops and crocus are late this year and just poking their heads out, in the wild patch under the fruit trees, the first primrose is out which will be followed by many more and then tiny daffodils, cowslips, fritillaries and bluebells.



I love the tiny dwarf daffodills and this sweet 'Petticoat' is flowering in a pot with 'Black Grass' (Ophiopogon).  Later in the year when the daffodils have died down there should be tiny purple flowers, then black berries on the 'grass' so the pot will still look great.  Since I took this photo, all the other buds have come out and this little pot of 'daffs' looks perfect.




I love iris in all the many and varied forms but am especially fond of lttle 'Reticulata'.  This one is happy in one of the planters by the back door, along with miniature cyclamen which are just coming through - all earlier than those in the garden itself.



We have hellebores all over the place - they cross and seed like mad so each year it is exciting to see a 'new' seedling flower for the first time.  They are terribly untidy plants but I can forgive them anything for their glorious presence so early in the year.
This is a favourite a super double white.  They're shy flowers so we have to tip them up to see their faces.


And this somehow seeded and flowered happily into the smallest of cracks between house and paving.


The last pic is of 'Freckles' a delicate winter flowering clematis that clothes one of the rose arches for winter than quietly takes a back seat as the more showy roses take over for the summer.

Thank you for looking
Robin


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

I'd like to wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR and thank you for your friendship, for reading my posts, lovely messages and even more importantly sharing your own blogs and the inspiration of your many talents.
This year our youngest grandchildren have kindly designed our Christmas cards to you - so here's a double helping of Christmas cheer.  Granted Christmassy rabbits are a little unusual, but you might guess that these are very special family pets.......



The girls also completed their Christmas scene and sent us a super photo.  If you read my last blog about putting the 'kit' together you might like to see how it turned out - didn't they do well!!



Wherever you are, whatever you are doing I wish you a Happy Christmas and Peace and Hope in the New Year.

Thank you for looking
Robin

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Creating A Penguin Christmas

It's been a while since I posted...what can I say...real life and all that!  Since then I did get up to the Christmas Kensington Dolls House Fair and what a treat that was - but now it is time to start thinking about a little creative 'something' for our youngest granddaughters.

Back in the day when they were little we created our own little miniature festive scene for them to unpack before Christmas but as they got older and totally involved in creating and making for themselves we've put together mini kits, with a little story and instructions so that they can create the scene themselves, and they love it!!

More than anything else it requires a lot of 'thinking'......last year was igloo themed, so this year's offering is about penguins and of course Father Christmas - who helps the ones living in London Zoo to go home to the South Pole, just for Christmas.

I'm a big fan of the polystyrene discs that come with supermarket pizzas and hoard them as they begin to be phased out - so useful for all sorts of things - they're light to post and are the basis of this scene. Two pieces make the base and mountains and are just propped up in the photo so you can see the general effect.  Some sprinkles on the mountain tops and around the frozen pool, which is a from the inside of a chocolate bar wrapper, already look wintery.



The only clue the girls have been given is that we had to send to China for something special for the scene!! Actually it's the cheap plastic penguins from Amazon via China and we'll leave them in the packet with the Chinese characters on.
Apart from them, a tree and baubles and tinsel in little packets, a couple of snowmen who need faces and scarves (chains of crochetted wool) and an extra scarf or two for chilly penguins. And the essential cotton wool for lots of snow!



It will all get posted soon so hopefully we'll get a pic. of the finished scene in a few days and I'll share it with you.

Thank you for looking
Robin

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Happy Fair Day!!

I promised I would let you know how the Vintage and Artisan Fair went last Saturday at the lovely Barns Centre here in Thame.
Happy - friendly - busy - buzzing - fun!! I think that covers it.


When I walked through the doors early in the morning to start my 'helping' for the day, the place already looked like a cheery beehive, with stands being set up, balloons being blown up and gorgeous home made scones and cakes being piled up and the happy chatter of old friends and new.  Already we knew the signs were good for a successful fair - which indeed it was - and all credit to our friend Celia Thomas of KT Miniatures who'd had the great idea of combining the very best of miniature artisans and vintage/antique traders at one fair, together raising funds for CRY - Cardiac Risk in the Young -  and organizing the event.

Traders have a quick scurry round to look at colleague's stands before we open.

The generosity of traders and visitors was something special and an incredible amount, just over £800, was raised for the charity. I spent most of my day helping to man the KT Miniatures stand so I'm sorry there aren't many photos to share and only managed one small purchase, a super Clarice Cliff plate handpainted by Victoria Fasken.  The rain rained....and rained...and rained but our lovely visitors still came and asked if there was any chance at all if this 'one off' fair could be run again as they'd enjoyed it so much.......we passed the message on.

Wonderful flowers and plants by Jan Southern - The Flower Lady
Part of KT Miniatures stand where Celia combines vintage with unique handmade items with the pre-loved look
Linda Bright paints 1950s/60s dolls houses with in-period flowers etc. bringing to life old but much loved houses.
High spots?  The 'old gang' back together - those of us who've been traders or helped out at Celia's many fairs in past years - really enjoying seeing vintage and antique miniatures that I'm less familiar with - the hot sausage bap and the pear and rosemary cake on vintage china plates and delivered to the stand by a lass in colourful 1950s frock and accessories!

Thank you for looking
Robin









Thursday, September 26, 2019

Something Old, Something New!!

It is always exciting to be able to announce a new fair - and this one is very special and a one- off!
Many of you will know my great friend Celia Thomas of KT Miniatures either from her website which features a range of wonderful vintage and antique items from dolls houses, to tiny accessories as well as her unique handmade creations with that special pre-loved look - others will know her from the many fairs she attended or the Thame Fair she originated and ran for a number of years with her late husband Dave.  Although she is no longer involved with that and rarely attends fairs these days - she is organising a new - once only -  and very special fair for a very special reason.


 

Celia's daughter suffered a cardiac arrest very suddenly and randomly, one fateful November evening back in 2017. However,  thanks to the skill and help of a lot of people, she survived against all the odds and pulled through. It was when she came out of hospital she felt isolated, there seemed to be no support network for youngsters with cardiac problems. But then someone mentioned CRY to them. Through CRY her daughter met other young people who had been through similar experiences, some of whom also had a S-I.C.D. fitted. This helped her greatly and gradually she was able to get back into the routine of life and back to full time work. Since then they have learned what an amazing charity CRY is, and how they can help young people along with their families.

50% of all profit, as well at the proceeds from a fantastic raffle will go to support the important work of the charity.

All of us who love miniatures know how well unique artisan pieces blend with genuine antique or vintage items in our doll houses or miniature settings and this fair unusually brings together 21 acclaimed artisans and important traders in vintage and antique treasures.

The Barns Centre, here in the pretty market town of Thame, Oxfordshire is itself a unique setting, which I know you'll love. In keeping with the lovely building, the all important refreshments will be served in a vintage-style setting with delicious homemade cakes and sandwiches - if the weather is fine, sit outside in the garden.

For further details including all the fantastic standholders, just pop over to the KT Miniatures website.  Make a date if you can to come along and see us on October 12th.

Thank you for looking
Robin

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

We're All Talking About The Weather!

Apart from miniatures, the things that seem to unite us are our gardens and the WEATHER!!
My activity in miniatures, but not my interest I hasten to say, seems to have dropped off lately so do you mind if I have a chat about the weather?

 

Last year many of us were bemoaning the fact that our lovely summer had turned into a really serious drought and our gardens were all suffering.  I know we were luckier than many although we did lose some treasured plants and the roses seemed to come into bud, flower and finish within days.

This year we were not happy when a late frost put paid to any hope of almonds, figs and grapes and wiped out most of the wisteria just as it was about to flower (should have been the best ever).
As summer approached we noticed that long established yew and lilac trees appeared to be dying back, which I think must be the result of last year's drought......but they're not dead, just sad looking.  Strawberries were good though.

However Mother Nature is better than all of us and there have been some wonderful bonuses.  Excitement knew no bounds when unexpectantly our huge Cordyline  burst into flower (never seen this outside the great gardens of the western counties here)...the roses are better than ever...the agapanthus that hasn't flowered in ten years is in bud, as is the hibiscus which has languished for about the same time..... so Yippee!!
We're picking blackberries - what could be better than a blackberry and apple pie with icecream?



We've had a little rain so things are looking perkier after two mini-heatwaves...thank you Mother Nature.


How are your gardens doing?

Thank you for looking
Robin




Wednesday, June 12, 2019

This And That

It's been a while ....real life and some painful problems with my knees and things just got in the way, as they do, but your super blogs have been a delight.  Thank you.


Last year our gardens here in U.K. and many other parts of Europe got scorched to bits - and now we're being battered by heavy rain.  Despite this, Mother Nature will reign supreme in the end so perhaps we should take a leaf (sorry for the pun) from her book and go with the flow..... it will be alright in the end.

Our wild patch is full of moon daisies, pink corncockle, yellow rattle and red campion - but it's pouring with rain so I can't take a pic. today.  However a few weeks ago our half-price red hawthorn was a total triumph and the tamarisk looked amazing against the blue sky.



In our vegetable garden the onions are swelling and carrots and leeks growing and the carnations, which are allowed a home there, will look great alongside the onions.  Soft fruit is flowering or setting and there should be lovely strawberries to eat when Wimbledon starts.

Although I wasn't able to get to KDF I managed to totter around our local car boot sale with my long-suffering friend and picked up these enchanting little ladies.  They're only about two inches high - one is missing and arm and the other a finger or three - but I loved them and they only cost £1.  They look to me to be Edwardian, but I'm no expert, and I wonder if they were meant for a Christening or Wedding cake. They are marked but it's indistinct.



Finally take a look where Sammy has taken up residence to keep an eye on what we are up to - top of the cooker amongst the enamel collection.



Thank you for looking
Robin

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Next Generation

Two or three weeks ago I went to Minatura, and, as always had a lovely day catching up with old friends and admiring the exquisite work on offer from top artisans. It was sad that some old friends have, like me, retired but also sad that there do not seem to be very many new young artist craftsmen joining the miniaturist ranks.

This time my spending was on a couple of super vintage treasures - not quite miniatures, but little.

1920s  doll
1930s ceramic 'Westie' - reminds me of the little dog called Toddy who used to live next door
Our small granddaughters have been for a visit and they're very keen 'creators'!! I'd saved a couple of cheesey biscuits tubs from Christmas - about 6" tall - covered them in white paper and chopped out windows and a door and glued in a first floor. The girls went to town with paper, glue, felt tips, plasticine and odd redundant miniature bits and pieces from my store - Voila!! Two little houses - the next generation of miniaturists is born.  I know many of you also have children and grandchildren that enjoy our hobby let's encourage them - we need them all!!


I hope all your gardens are looking spring-like - mine cheers me every day.  I picked a few pieces of this lovely japonica to wish you all a very Happy Easter.


Thank you for looking
Robin

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Waging War on Mini-Monsters!!

On the whole, Mother Nature is the expert when it comes to plants - but every now and again a mini-monster slips past her, to devastating effect.  A couple of years ago mealy bugs crept into my conservatory and wreaked havoc among the orchids, I'm chasing the odd vine weavil as I type, and in the garden the ferocious lily beetle has arrived. Aaagh!!!

Let me show you these vile mini-monsters.  The mealy bug is barely a couple of milimeters long and clusters in fluffy, sticky groups and the other two are under 1/2" but their destruction is dreadful.

Vine Weavil
Mealy Bug
Lily Beetle
It took more than a year and a half to rid myself of the mealy bug, which I suspect came in on a rescued plant during  which time it happily sucked sap from half the orchids and left them rather unhappy. Now they are fending off the occasional attack from the odd vine weavil which has chewed off all the flowers on the orange tree and started on a couple of orchids. This monster lays its eggs in the pot and the nasty grub chews the roots of ailing plants before turning into this grey monster.  But it ain't bright enough for me!! During the day it hides, but at night crawls across my light coloured wall - I switch on the light and splat with a slipper!!!! Three so far, I hope that's it.

The scarlet lily beatles can destroy any plant in the lily family overnight. My Imperial lily out in the garden has been got at already! It's cunning.  Easy to spot, Oh yes, but on approach (must have eyes in the back of its head) just falls off the plant and disappears.  So the slipper works fine on the weavil but reluctantly I have resorted to chemical warfare on the mealy bug and lily beetle.  I have to win this war!!!

Let's be cheery - despite a sudden brief snow storm I think Spring is on the way. These lovely tiny hoop daffodils are just perfect.


Indoors - more orchids.

Thank you for looking
Robin

Friday, February 22, 2019

Welcome to Spring

As a little foretaste of Spring we have been enjoying a few days of mild weather and the gardens are bursting with early colour. My other half is happily messing about with compost heaps and 'pottering' out there. 


Sadly I'm a bit under the weather so I have to be satisfied with just looking for a while - but I'm loving our wild patch under the fruit trees where primroses, crocus, snowdrops and anenome and tiny daffodils are naturalising beautifully. Other bulbs are bursting through and the hellebores are making a fabulous show - and I can take out my camera. So this blog is just about the flowers....

These tiny delicate crocus have spread and grow all over our garden, and pop up in the lawn too.


When the hellebores seed, seedlings appear in the most unlikely places and in a variety of colours.


The cyclamen I photographed a month or so ago have suddenly become dozens!! Hard to believe that there was just one in this pan about five years ago. They've migrated to the next one, and into a narrow border on the other side of the path and into a couple of pots that stood nearby just for two or three weeks. I love the fact that when plants are happy they spread themselves around.


Inside the orchids are  starting to flower like mad.


There are more - but I'll show you next time.

Thank you for looking
Robin