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

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Mending Fairies' Broken Wings

The white fairy has been in my gardens for many, many years and has moved with us - but she is now elderly and quite fragile.  She took a bit of a tumble and lost a wing - out came the glue.  As if in sympathy the other fairy flew out of the willow tree and landed badly - broken leg - more glue.

It seems the right time to relocate them to safer perches.  So the white fairy smiles at us near the back door and her friend is guarding the gravel garden alongside our mad hare.

 A rainy, gusty few days brings new delights into our autumn gardens and as we tidy up for the winter a little robin is usually twittering along near us helping himself to the last blackberries and scratching for worms.  These little birds are so tame many people hand feed them, but we've resisted the tempation as we have a cat and don't want to tempt providence.
As we've been pulling lovely carrots, parsnips and leeks (which taste so good straight from the garden) there are plenty of worm-filled patches to scratch in.

This picture of our lovely yellow clematis (tangutica I think) is a perfect example of 'be careful what you wish for'. It looks glorious now, and will do when the fluffy, silky seedheads follow - and it covers the fence, nearly the whole long length of it......and a beautiful rambler rose......two bush roses, lilies.....and our lovely neighbour's shed!!  I wanted it to clothe the fence but not take over! I was brutal last year and cut it back HARD, and look at it.....oh dear, must be more brutal!

The passion flowers also go mad, but are more restrained. They are still blooming their socks off - we have two - and the ornamental fruit are setting and will soon look like orange balls which I can dry and bring inside. Fortunately our two neighbours love it too - one has happily trained it along his clothes line and the other encourages it to scamble through his shrubs.

As an antidote to the virus I've been slightly extravagant in ordering spring bulbs online and happily planting pots of tulips, tiny iris reticulata and pale pink grape hyacynths (muscari) to cheer myself up.  I hope you've all found something cheery to do too and that you stay safe in these worrying times.

Meanwhile these sweet little cyclamen definitely cheer me up!

Thank you for looking.
Robin x

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

I Dug Up the Lawn!

So what do you do if you're a keen gardener, running out of space and have plants that need moving or dividing?
It's obvious isn't it - you dig up the lawn!

Most of our pandemic has been spent in the garden, and we're truly grateful to have one because not everyone does and the recent months must have been so much more difficult than ours. As I do often blog about it you'll know how important it has been.  There's always something to enjoy and more importantly lots of things to do.

When we moved here it was something of a blank canvas so we were able to create the garden we wanted but there was one shrub/tree that filled us with excitement - the Magnolia Grandiflora Exmouth!! Every year it has bloomed most wonderfully,  plate sized flowers with the most glorious lemony scent. It's actually quite tricky to photograph because all the bees and insects love it and it's often full of them.

So the bearded iris in the main garden stopped flowering because frankly they were swamped by everything else. Last autumn I dug up a patch of the lawn in the small front garden, moved some and they flowered brilliantly.  But still loads left!
I resisted digging up any more this spring because the patch left just about took my Granddaughter's little mini if there was a lack of parking space - which was the case when everyone was staying at home - but she's back at Uni now and so I've dug it up and moved the rest!! It was a scrappy little bit of grass and my husband is delighted to give up mowing it.

I was properly discombobulated to find that Blogger has updated me - help! Some of your blogs now redirect me and don't just appear on my reading list. So now I have to see if I can cope with putting up this new blog - fingers crossed.

I hope you're staying safe.
Thank you for looking.
Robin x

Monday, July 20, 2020

Random Ramblings

I don't know about you but our very necessary restrictions to keep us as safe as possible during this dreadful pandemic is definitely turning me into a random moment I'm repeating myself to my long-suffering husband, and the next I'm frantically out there with the secateurs furiously pruning a shrub. I can't seem to create a new routine.
There are, of course, loads of things I could do, (ironing/spring cleaning) but I flit to one and then another instead.

So the blog will reflect this.  A camera is always close by. Click on the images for a larger pic.

Sammy is perfectly happy in lockdown - nothing much alters his routine unless someone is late with his lunch!

The garden has been our lifesaver, and providing you like rampant wild gardens, has been looking wonderful.  Strawberries a bit of a disappointment - but Hey, you can't have everything!
A drop of rain turns our Cotinus (Smoke bush) into  a wondrous be-jeweled delight.

In the conservatory my orchids have been hit by a disastrous attack of mealy bug and I am distraught on a weekly basis. Yes I know in the scheme of things it's not the end of the world, is to me.
Thankfully other plants have mostly managed to escape the deadly scourge and 'Harlequin' Streptocarpus is one of my favourites.

Many years ago we acquired a lovely set of hanging shelves from my grandparents' home, scraped off years of paint and use it to display our favourite pieces.  This box features two dressers I painted and distressed for a collection of 'ancient and modern' and a few handmade pieces of my own.  I hesitate to list the current wonderful miniaturists because I don't want to leave anyone out.  I'm sure you'll recognise them.

The antique dresser on the right, which is also filled with beautiful glassware is from around 1880 and belonged to the tall girl in the photograph, who was a much loved aunt.  She in turn would have inherited it from her mother.

I hope you're staying safe.
Thank you for looking.
Robin x

Friday, May 29, 2020

There's A Fairy At The Bottom Of My Garden

Yes there is...there really is and she's overlooking our vegetable patch, so I hope she'll see off the greenfly and the squirrels!

For many, many years a little old white fairy has been keeping an eye on things but as we all know, it gets a bit harder as we get older..............

I've recently had a birthday and clearly someone in the family decided the white fairy needed a little help.  So here she is, sitting happily in the ancient willow just keeping an eye on things and waving her magic wand over the shrubs bursting into bloom.

My youngest granddaughters don't need much of a nudge to get creative. I'd sent a few little tiny cut out paper houses to construct, which they enjoyed - but Hey! - anything Granny can do, we can do better! And didn't they just! So proud of them.

As I said, the little fairy waved her magic wand and the garden is bursting into bloom again.  I was all set to include a pic. of my glorious Wisteria but a late frost put paid to that and badly singed the grapevine and the fig tree.....they'll all survive but only a few figs this year...pity.

Variegated Ceanothus
Red Hawthorn
Rosa Albertine

Thank you for looking.
Robin x

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

V.E. Day and Those Who Continue to Protect Us Today

This week we are marking Victory in Europe 75 years ago and the courage of those who defended us, while remembering the ones who did not come home and those who were still in the conflict in the Far East.  So as we remember them and the civilian services at home and the many in the community, it can't help but remind us of those many thousands of people across the globe defending us again in this awful global pandemic.

Over the years, most often for specific commissions, I have created a lot of World War 2 characters.
I have loved making them all.  So I thought I'd share some with you - not all the pictures are great but I do hope you'll enjoy seeing them  as we pay tribute to those who did their best to keep the rest of us safe.

Thank you for looking - stay stafe.
Robin x

Monday, April 20, 2020

Flying Frogs.......a bit of a distraction

So we had some much needed rain for the garden, which did mean it was too soggy to go weeding or planting, so my lovely other half decided to clear out the shed - in miniature days, his workshop.  He presented me with a battered cardboard box.

Inside the box was a flying frog and a flying horse - both of which had 'flown' very happily in our conservatory in Cormwall some twenty years ago, then later for a few years at our home in Buckinghamshire. Age and yet another move had meant that the frog had lost a wing and the horse was very dilapidated to say the least - so the question was, should he dig out his tools again and me, my paints...or dump them?  Yep, we were both in need of a distraction in our lockdown days!

We both enjoyed getting back to our respective craft skills and they fly again! Flying high the cracks and fillers and dodgy paintwork, which is close but not perfect, to the original remind us of lots of happy days and little children on grown-up shoulders twirling them about.

Exochorda, The Bride also reminds me of our happy days in the far west, which is where we first saw it.  It's a really lovely, early flowering shrub and I love it.  It took me years to find one but it's been very happy here in Oxfordshire and cheers us up when it flowers in early April.

Another thing reminding me of very happy days, was reading my friend Celia's latest  in which she goes back though her archives. She reprises projects we made together for magazines or our workshops.
We loved every minute and are proud of our work.  Do take a look.  The one I think we loved the most, and put our hearts and souls into, was our W.W.1 Bunker which you can view as a video - it's in the R.H. column on this blog. It was sold to raise funds for The Red Cross and I believe is now in a museum in France.

Just a couple more pics. from the garden....

Thank you for looking - stay stafe.
Robin x

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Happy Easter......Let There Be Rainbows

I'd like to wish you all a Happy Easter, however you may be marking it.  It occurs to me that at this time when we remember the ultimate sacrifice of Christ we are seeing the great sacrifices of so many thousands of wonderful people across the world for the rest of us so that we may stay healthy and safe.  We owe it to them to do our best as well.

Apparently all around our town and many, many others in U.K. children in particular have been making rainbows to go in windows so that passers by can be cheered up by a positive, hopeful sign.  I think it's a wonderful idea and wish we could see them all - but it's important to take the message to stay at home seriously, so we do.
I understand teddy bears are beginning to join the rainbows, and as we all know they are happy creatures.

Our young Granddaughter and her Mum made this super rainbow together - isn't it lovely.

When I was a little girl our Mother would take us on a once a year walk to The Grove a local wood on a big estate, open to all families only on Good Friday.  We went there - such a very special treat - to pick the primroses that grew thickly in the mossy undergrowth beneath the trees. We picked as many as we could carry to give to our Mothers and Grandmothers for Easter.  I'm guessing that the tradition harked back to the days of youngsters being in service at the grand house, when they were allowed to pick the flowers to take home to their Mothers for Easter.

Today everyone gives flowers to those they love - still a loving and welcome gesture of affection.

We can't give flowers to all those safe-guarding us but it is Thursday so we shall be back on our doorsteps this evening to join the clapping to show our appreciation.

Thank you for looking
Robin x

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Poetry Please

Many people are suggesting lovely, clever, cheery or interesting things we can be doing to while away the time while we are stuck at home.  To be honest I'm not a great keep-fit enthusiast at the best of times so I'm avoiding the work-out each morning.

Writing down our 'life histories' and those of our parents for the next generation is a good one, as is a massive clear-out of cupboards......I must get around to that one......
Inventing new recipes is a must as we trawl the bottom of our freezers and the back of food cupboards.  The most inventive I've heard recently was a layer of left-over mashed potato on half a frozen Margherita pizza.  Yummy apparently........
Of course as enthusiasts we can all finish off those miniature projects or start new ones.

Inspired by one friend, three of us have exchanged our favourite poems, which was just brilliant. It also brought to mind particular memories or annecdotes which we all enjoyed as well as the poems.
This was mine:

WARNING  by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman
I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn't go,  and
 doesn't suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on
 brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say
we've no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement
 when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops
 and press alarm bells

And run my stick along public
And make up for the sobriety
 of my youth................................

There are several more verses, so I'll let you Google for the whole poem. I've always thought this was very inspiring and made me determined to grow old as disgracefully as possible!!! I've got a red coat and purple hat - do you think that counts?

I've loved the poem for years, but it also reminded me of a great friend in U.S.A. who passed on to me several commissions from 1/24th scale collectors like her who were also members of The Red Hat Society.  I must admit I had to do some research as I'd never heard of the international society which, inspired by the poem, was founded to encourage social interaction between ladies 'of a certain age' for friendship and laughter.  Google it do, some brilliant pictures!
Anyway the upshot was that in late 1990s I made lots of mini Red Hat ladies which was huge fun.  Sadly before my digital camera or computer so no decent pictures to look back on.

So - maybe you and a few of your friends would enjoy swapping poems  - or even share one on your blog.

But tonight I shall be on my doorstep with many, many others clapping and cheering for our wonderful N.H.S. staff. A tiny way to express our thanks for all they are doing for us.

Thank you for looking
Robin x

Monday, March 23, 2020

Lots To Be Happy About

Mothering Sunday was somewhat unusual, to say the least! A lovely bouquet and cards were popped inside my doorway and two sons brought love and good wishes from a very safe distance...and the other two who live a distance away were on the phone with the little grandchildren.

The box of landscaping and odds and sods arrived for our young granddaughters and the first 'garden' is under way.

In our town young people are rallying round and we have already had five offers of whatever assistance we need  - SO very kind and appreciated.  Wherever you are I hope you are getting the same level of community support.  And (say it quietly) the sun is shining!!!!!

Thank you for looking - take care

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Doing Our Best

Clearly we're all anxious in the middle of this epidemic and hopefully doing our best to be sensible and take all the advised precautions.  It is certainly bringing out both the worst and best in people - for all those snatching and grabbing from the supermarket shelves leaving many without provisions, there are many more kind and thoughtful individuals who are looking out for others.

Almond Tree in Bloom
We are in the older age group who should stay at home from this weekend, a prospect which doesn't thrill us a bit, but already younger neighbours are letting us know they'll shop and run messages for us. Sooo lovely.  It has really dawned on me, finally, that I'm old(er) although in my head I'm only thirty five........well O.K.......thirty six!
We are lucky to have younger family members nearby but not everyone has, so even a friendly phone call to someone on their own could make a difference. We can all do that.

Many of us have grandchildren and lots of us have tons of extra bits and pieces sitting about.  I've packed up a box of landscaping and flowery bits etc. as well as the odd plastic cat, dog and so on, to post to our two youngest who love creating little scenes and pictures.  They'll have fun and have something a little different to do while they're off school.  That's something easy to do for our families we may not see for a while.

Hopefully we shall get out in the garden but it was great to hear that The National Trust are opening their parks and gardens free to all so we can enjoy some freedom and exercise without coming into close contact with others.  I've got lots of odd jobs to do and miniature 'stuff' to sort out, not to mention sorting out the loft......maybe I'll get down to it all. On the other hand I've a nice pile of books.

Our Governments, health and scientific leaders have an unenviable and thankless task ahead - there is plenty of criticism being hurled about and I don't envy them. Our brilliant health care professionals who really are on the front line are stepping up as they always do - thank you all. Finally, although I'm now retired from my miniature dollmaking I remember the lean times running a small business, so visit the websites of fellow miniaturists who work from home or are dependent on sales from fairs which are now cancelled and if you are able to, perhaps treat yourself and help them weather these tough times.

Thank you for looking - take care