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

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
Broom
Weigelia
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 blog...www.ktminiatures.blogspot.com/  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
 railings
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
Robin

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
Robin

Monday, February 24, 2020

An Interesting Question About A Little Old Doll...

Although I was a dollmaker for many years I've always loved old small and dolls house dolls.  Last week I was looking at a delightful tiny old 'granny' doll - but was she actually what she really appeared to be??

My great mate Celia Thomas of KT Miniatures, partner in crime and workshops for a good few years, recently acquired an important collection of dolls and furniture and asked if I'd like to take a look. OH yes!!
I completely fell in love with a tiny 'granny doll' clearly old, beautifully dressed and full of character. Anyway she generously gave her to me as a gift...or was it a bribe to feed her cats when she is away???



We both poured over her trying to determine her age.  Something, but we didn't know what didn't look quite right.
Porcelain, jointed - clearly of some age. Super distressed and tatty clothing - wonderful hat.



Take a look at the pictures and see if you agree with our final conclusion.  I'll give you some clues:
The small amount of wigging could be modern. The scarf which was knitted not woven fabric seemed to have more 'pull' than cotton or wool. The 'knitted' jacket did not look like any 'old' fabric we recognised..

But the final conclusion was that she was a baby - just take a close look at the face - given a makeover.  Take an even closer look at the legs and their 'baby' appearance and that was the clincher!
What can I say? Full marks to the collector who saw the potential to turn a baby into a little old lady and did it quite brilliantly!! I love her to bits - thank you Celia! It rather backs up the comment sometimes heard that a new born looks like a little old man or lady.



Celia has some delightful and very special items just listed on her website including three early dolls by the late Jill Bennett who was a hero to many of us handcrafting makers in the miniature doll community and her many collectors. I've been lucky enough to see them for real and they are just beautiful, and of course sadly there will never be any more.
To see them go to her website: https://ktminiatures.com

It's pouring with rain again today and my heart goes out to the hundreds of people in U.K. whose homes and lives have been devastated by the floods.  In Thame our homes are dry because the town is surrounded by ancient flood plains that take the overspill from flooded rivers and streams - in fact the 'lakes' are very picturesque and a flock of swans has taken up temporary residence. If there is one message for our planners and politicians it is to please not build on our flood plains any more.  Enough!!

Anyway here's a beautiful Dendrobium Orchid to cheer us all up.

Thank you for looking
Robin

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