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

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas...something old, something new...

Am I ready??? Are you ready????

The tree is up - lovingly decorated by young family members in the 'more is more and then some more' tradition!!!!! I do hanker after silver simplicity ... but would rather have my young helpers.....

There are some bashed and elderly trinkets that make an appearance every year, because Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without them. The star was a gift from a special friend. My warmest Christmas wishes, with affection, to special friends.

I'm sure other doll maker friends are also asked which is their favourite commission - it's difficult to choose, but mine is usually the last one. Another day, another year it may be a different character, but for now this is my favourite! I hope you like him too.

The 1/12th scale REME Major in Regimental Mess uniform was a special commission and both a challenge and joy to make - he's also a timely reminder that many will be a long way from home and those they love this year.

May I wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and a Lovely and Peaceful New Year and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings in 2011.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

These are a Few of My Favourite Things

Finishing last pre-Christmas orders...clearing up after some major redecoration....realising how soon Christmas is....more miniatures can wait until next year and I'll share a few of my favourite things instead....

Lots of pictures - so I've kept them small - click on the image if you'd like the bigger version. I hope you'll enjoy them.

Wonderful miniatures, of course, and too many talented artisans I admire to choose from, so I include this simple, tiny nativity scene, only 1 1/2 "x 1 1/2". I bought it many years ago; it cost very little and don't remember who made it, but it isn't just for Christmas and I see it every day.

....and pieces of glass from tiny sea-washed fragments collected from the beach to old domestic and artisan glass.

Birds and butterflies - I paint both and collect old butterfly brooches.

This beautiful old piece of embroidered silk panel and a doll I've had for years.....the book is Larkrise to Candleford.

Pots - I wish I could throw a pot! As all efforts failed I enjoy the work of skilled potters - both 'ancient' and modern. I love this one although I know nothing about it at all.

I could just list flowers and plants and fill a dozen blogs, but will limit myself to this 'arty' close up of Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) petals for their form and sheer intensity of colour. The plant's about 25 years old and was grown from a seed.

Beads - I LOVE beads. My Granny was a skilled bead-worker in 1920s and 30s and I've inherited lots of bits and pieces.Her beads were stored in cotton bags. Sadly I haven't inherited her skill.

Stone jars - I have far too many - these old ones are from my home town and a nearby village.

Scavenging interesting plant material from the garden all year long. I also love these glittery feather butterflies - they went up one Christmas and stayed !!

Sky......glorious skies.....even our very ordinary street is touched with magic!

...and this tiny china doll with a wobbly head given to me by my father.

Of course I could go on and on (as you know only too well) so I'll just thank you all for looking again and extend a very warm welcome to recent new Followers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bring a Bird into Your Garden

I've really enjoyed making my garden birds and chickens again this year and I know that they've been fun to add to some of your gardens. I love real birds - I can spend far too long watching them in the garden instead of working on them in miniature! In Thame we have Red Kites on their flight paths though the Chilterns - now this is real magic!!

One way or another I've painted birds as long as I can remember so sculpting them in miniature adds a further dimension of movement and fun. Feathering birds is a whole different experience - practice holding your breath and not sneezing - but really brings the bigger birds and poultry to life.

Now we've completed our last Nostalgia in Miniatures Workshops for this year I have a few birds for sale which I'll list here - as there are only a few - and I'm not clever enough to twiddle with my website unsupervised!!
If you'd like to make a purchase please email me first - I'll give you any further information, payment and postage details. Click here for email.

1/12th The tree which is approx. 3" tall is made of natural plant material, and you can just see the Robin perched near the top. £7.95

1/12th Robin on a Watering Can - all the elements on this piece are handmade by me. £12.95

1/12th Blue tit on Flower pots - again I've made the pots too. £7.50
1/12th Robin on Spade - the spade, which is constructed from polymer clay with a wood shaft is leaning drunkenly against an odd pile of bricks. The bricks are terracotta. £8.95

Finally - Just one little 1/24th scale Blue tit feeding on a half coconut - £6
When I've unpacked properly there may be three or four more birds a day or two.

I can't finish this Blog without telling you all what a super Workshop we had this last Sunday. 'The Little Old Washing Line' was really festive, from Santa's longjohns on the line to the mince pies, mulled wine and lovely friendly atmosphere! Everyone got happily covered in paint as the aged coal bunkers were constructed and textured - lovely!!

AS you can see a quirky Santa has crept into this 1/24th scene.....but there will be lots of pictures on Nostalgia In Miniatures Workshops in a day or two - some are on the Blog now - you can also see details of our exciting new themed workshops for next year.....
.....coming up...... The Little Vintage Hall.

Thank you for looking.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Take a Look in Our Festive Dustbin!!

Sometimes the postman brings bills and chuck-away advertising - and sometimes there's a bonus!!

This was the bonus - my copy of Dolls House and Miniature Scene - Issue 211 January - which includes Part 1 of the 'How-To' diorama - On a Cold and Frosty Morning....after the night before - which Celia Thomas and I have created wearing our Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops hats. The dustbin in my title features heavily, full as it is of festive rubbish after a super Christmas!!

The actual 1/12th diorama itself is now available to buy in a Sealed Bid Auction with the proceeds donated to Breast Cancer Campaign and you can find all the details on our website, just click Here. We know that this is a charity supported by many people and are delighted that our smaller efforts at the individual Workshops throughout the year are so kindly and generously supported by those attending.

The magazine itself is also a terrific issue, full as it is of great projects and features!! Enjoy!

It's been a funny week......some work being done on the house has rather interrupted my miniature work and I'm conscious that Christmas is coming far too fast....meanwhile our last Workshop of the year is on Sunday, so I'm back to obsessively counting miniature long-johns, bags of sand and santa hats. Still - I'm promised Mulled wine! Hey ho!

Thanks for Looking.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reporting on Lots of Fun!!

As everyone who has a stand at a Miniature Fair knows - it's hard work and sometimes stressful but hopefully good too!

So....the very best news is that it was a successful day, a happy atmosphere and SUCH FUN at Haddenham Dolls House Exhibition and Fair last Saturday!!

Even better - £670 was raised for the two charities - a great sum from a small event. Huge thanks to Freda and George Dorrell who make it all possible.

I'm sorry these aren't the best pictures in the world - but I hope it'll convey some of the day. I do wish I'd been able to take more as there were some really super exhibits in the Club Exhibitions by very talented members - we spotted some 'Little Old Gardens...' from our Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops too - which was LOVELY - thank you ladies!

Celia and I had a 'Nostalgia in Miniatures Workshop' table as well as our individual stands and it was an opportunity to chat to some of the participants who'd come along - we should have a like a mini club meeting - and tell others about the workshops and plans for next year. We also had 'A Frosty Morning.....After the Night Before' on display, along with the Sealed Bid Auction box! Lots of details on our website - please take a look.

I did manage to finish some 1/48th characters and I will get in touch with you if you're on my little list as there are now some for sale. I can only make these a few at a time so if anyone else would like to be contacted please email me.

Thank you for looking.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

1/48th characters ...and Remembering....

This is really a quick reminder - it's that sort of weekend!

I hope you can see from this really quick reminder that if you're in the area, Haddenham Dolls House Exhibition and Fair on Saturday will be a lovely day!! I'm still wigging 1/48th characters, but there'll be some on my stand. Click on the picture of the flyer - you'll be able to read it then!!
As we are now focussing more on the smaller scales we are reducing prices on 1/12th character dolls and furniture at this fair only. We shall always be happy to take commissions in this scale for both dolls and furniture - but will carry less stock at future fairs.

The Poppy Field

I thought I'd share with you this old photograph, which I love. It was taken in the summer of 1942 in an ordinary poppy field outside a small English town. Developed and printed in a makeshift home dark-room, it was coloured by hand later.
Two young women take their little nephew to pick poppies. By the middle of WW2 the little boy's father had already died; the young woman with him knew her husband was missing - in fact he was a Prisoner of War.
It is a good time to remember the great personal loss of so many people through war and conflict, and those that suffered and continue to suffer.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Take a the birds!

My 1/48th carpenter has been busy again - clearly influenced by my miniature gardening, he's made a little old garden seat!

In all my gardens - real, imagined or miniature - I need a seat to sit on to watch the flowers grow and the birds performing their aerobatics. I really didn't believe a 1/48th scale replica of my old, weathered wooden garden seat was possible so I was so thrilled to see this delighful little folding chair when appeared.

It's old, and bashed and weathered so I've had fun with my paints and sandpaper - the only difficulty was deciding if it had once been white, or green or both......

Our garden is home to a couple of pairs of beautiful blackbirds, who seem to get on with each other and join forces to screetch at my cat if it oversteps the mark and comes too close. I thought I'd create a little scruffy corner of the garden in 1/12th scale where we stack old bricks and pots, weeds go unnoticed and the blackbirds reign supreme.

The blackbird along with robins and blue tits perching on ancient garden bits and pieces will be on sale, as will new 1/48th items, at Haddenham Dolls House Exhibition and Fair next Saturday, November 12th. Hopefully by then there will be new character dolls too.

This popular event is held every two years at Haddenham Village Hall, Bucks. HP17 8EE to raise funds for Hearing dogs for Deaf People & Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, from 10.00am - 4.00pm. The exhibitions by local clubs are always impressive and I'm told the model lego railway on display is splendid!! Apart from us (Coombe Crafts) other artisans attending are Tony Knott, KT Miniatures, Sally's Little People and Ronfel Miniatures and there will be sales stands of private collections too.

If you're coming along - do come and say 'hello'.
Thanks for looking.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scruffy Feathers...Lovely Ladies....

If you've see the feathered birds I make from time to time - you'll know I do scruffy feathered friends...not preened and posh.

As a change from parrots and seagulls I've been making a few domestic birds again in both scales. So - herewith - a 1/12th rooster and his wife and chick, and a 1/24th rooster and his duck chum....I love doing these, even though they take a time.

I'm delighted to say that most of the robins and blue tits pictured earlier and on sale at our workshop last Sunday have flown off to new gardens - so I must make some more.

The Workshop was a super, hardworking, friendly afternoon and some lovely gardens emerged from the pieces of wood and packets of 'bits' in the kits. It was especially nice that several participants brought along their personalised gardens from the previous workshop so that they could tie them in with the new one. The comments afterwards have all been enthusiatic and generous. I'd also like to say a big 'thank you' to the lovely ladies for the generous contributions to our Breast Cancer Campaign fundraising on the day.

We have some pictures on our Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops blog if you'd like to see more, or check the workshop places still available - but I can't resist this one!
Janine brought her previous project along - lovely - and Celia is away in the background wearing her workshop 'halo'!!

I have some lovely commissions and some dolls to stock up on - so it's a couple of weeks of sculpting before the Haddenham Exhibition and Fair on November 12th - I do love scupting new characters!!

Thanks for looking

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Little Gardening...A Little Washing....

This Sunday we are back in the Workshop in Thame for a last reprise of earlier workshops for those who missed them first time around - I'm sure the Girl Guide H.Q. here in Thame, which is our venue, will again be full of enthusiasm and fun!

So I've been back making a few more items for miniature gardens, which will go on sale first this weekend. Just for a change I've been making a few more little birds - blue tits and robins in both 1/12th and 1/24th scales - to perch on the dilapidated watering cans and old plant pots I've made.

These are in 1/12th scale

I couldn't resist potting up a few 1/24th pansies made from Georgina Steeds' amazing kits - we use them in our workshop projects and they always look beautiful. Apologies for the less than perfect pictures

1/24th scale

This week Celia and I have put the finishing touches to the 1/12th 'Little Old Washing Line' project - our Christmas Special Workshop - this has been such fun! I'm in charge of Santa's washing (he wears red longjohns you know), and Celia the old pebbled-dashed coal bunker and concrete posts for the old clothes line itself. These give the whole scene a nostalgic pre-war look I think! We shall have some snow too, so if someone would like a really Christmassy scene that will be even more fun!

You can see more pictures on our blog and website - which is where you'll find details if you'd like to take up a place - but it's almost full so you need to be quick.

First frost of the season this week - I might have to dig out some real size longjohns!!

Thanks for Looking.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Soldiers, Sailor...and Seedheads......

I was going to add.....and the title, but it doesn't quite have that poetic ring does it???

So - it seems only fair to start with the wheelbarrow and I'm delighted to be able to show you the latest 1/48th piece to emerge from the workshop. We have just a few completed for sale so if you would like more details just email me....... and the wheel goes round!!

It was a week of 1/12th chaps in uniform for a change. The retired seaman was a very special commission - always something of a challenge when the character is a representation of a much loved person. Peeping over his shoulder on my muddley workbench is one of the soldiers.

The two soldiers in 1940s uniform are for sale, so again, if you'd like details get in touch. I've created quite young men, as so many were in those perilous wartime years.

I can't resist putting up a photo taken just a day or two ago at Waterperry Gardens - the venue for our workshop in March 2012 - what fantastic seedheads!!! Autumn is here!

Last, but not least, welcome to new Followers - thank you for looking.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

On a Cold and Frosty Morning.....

For the last few weeks Celia ( KT Miniatures), and my partner in our Nostalgia in Miniatures Workshops) and I have been working on a very special 'How To' project for Dolls House and Miniature Scene Magazine. Now it's been 'delivered' and will be in the January and February 2012 issues.

Please do take a look at our little video - which we hope you'll enjoy - and share our picture of this little scene, Sometime in the 1950s after the festive season, with frost on the ground, the last vestiges of the festive season were crammed into the dustbin and spilled out of the old boxes. The tree has almost no leaves left hanging, and the puddles in the old crazy paving are frozen - the New Year is about to least someone remembered to feed the birds...

A unique creation of a little old back-garden - this scene is an extension of our workshops being held in Thame, Oxfordshire, this year. What is very special for us, is deciding to donate the 1/12th scale completed scene to raise funds for Breast Cancer Campaign by means of a sealed bid auction.
It's a charity important to us both, and many others, of course.
If you would like to own the original, you can bid online now by going to our website, or in person at Haddenham Dolls House Exhibition and Fair on November 12th - (details in my previous blog) or at the prestigious Thame Dolls House and Miniature Fair on February 19th 2012 - the bids will be opened there, and the successful bid announced at the end of the fair by the Thame Town Crier.

We've had enormous pleasure in the creation of this little scene - and I hope it shows - and are delighted that it will be featured in the magazine so that other enthusiasts can make it their own, and that hopefully it will also raise much needed funds for this important charity.

Thank you for looking

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Of Poppies and Special People.....

My garden is full of autumn lovliness and of course I've been taking photos - some plants seem unsure what month it is! Miniatura, for me as a visitor was another autumnal treat - catching up with friends and seeing excellent miniatures - but it's time to look ahead......

I took this photograph of a late and lovely poppy, just as the purple pollen was dropping and a hover-fly was hovering, so I thought I'd share it with other flower-lovers in the blogosphere.

It also reminded me that this time of year is often poignant for many with that also in mind, can I make a plea that even though there are super, large Dolls House Fairs around before Christmas, there are little ones....ones run by volunteers raising much needed funds up and down the country, for important and sometimes small or local charities...please support these too if you can.
If you haven't been to one you may be surprised to see that they are attended by top quality artisans who support year after year, and often have wonderful displays put on by local clubs - it's a real chance to 'meet the makers' and the friendly members of clubs.....the coffee cake too is always amazing!!

One such fair that we (Coombe Crafts) always support and will be attending, is the Haddenham Dolls House Exhibition and Fair, near Thame in Oxfordshire, and I'll give full details below. It's a LOVELY, Lovely fair!! If you can, do come - if you don't drive but live in the Oxon/Bucks area, the 280 bus between Oxford and Aylesbury will even drop you outside the Hall door!!

12th NOVEMBER 2011



Nearer the time I promise to give you even more details - and if you come, do come and say 'hello'.

We shall have our usual complement of 1/24th characters, 1/12th and (hopefully) a new selection of characters in 1/48th scale and brand new furniture items in that scale too.
The following pictures illustrate some of the 1/24th characters bound for Haddenham....

A warm welcome to new Followers....thanks to you all for looking....I promise to catch up properly with other blogs soon.....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Catch up with ...Workshop....Miniatura...Brian!!

After a really busy week...this week is time off for good behaviour...sort of!

Last Sunday Celia, my Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops partner, and I spent a really super afternoon with a great group of ladies at our 'Down the Little Garden Path Workshop' here in Thame. It's so rewarding to see such friendly, enthusiasts enjoying themselves, happily covered in glue, paint and bits of plants, creating truly special projects of their own that they can embellish to their hearts content.

As often as possible we try and combine a little fundraising for Breast Cancer Campaign into our various mini-enterprises. On Sunday it was a mini-raffle. Thank you ladies!!! To see pictures of the day and workshop news - click here.

...which brings me on to Brian! We are 'presently engaged on another joint project', as they say in all the best miniature publications...... For no good reason really, we thought it would be nice to give the blue tit I'd made a name. So meet Brian, perching for a good feed of mashed up pickling spice (yes really) on a beautifully aged 'home-made' feeder.

Actually I think it's an antique saucer kindly donated from Celia's stock and rusted up in her inimitable fashion. You'll see more of him later in the year.

......which brings me on to Miniatura this coming weekend and a bit of time off for good behaviour, to visit on Sunday. Once again Model Village Miniatures have chosen some of my little 1/24th people to accompany their wonderful furniture kits. The range in both 1/12th and 1/24th made by Louise grows and grows and remains very affordable, and the exquisite tiny toys created by Marlene are favourites of mine. So I thought I'd illustrate both with this photo - in 1/24th scale - one of the tables, made up, painted and aged by me for a club project and my sweet little rabbit.

Miniatura is a high spot of the miniature year so I'd like to wish everyone attending a great success, and look forward to catching up with many friends.
Thank you for looking.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Giveaway Winner...........and other news!

And the winner of my Tuthill!!!

If you'd like to email me with your address Jean, I'll pop the little lad and the chair in the post to you. I know he'll be going to a good home!!
Jean has a lovely blog......A Romantic Country Home.....and clearly loves gardening as well as miniatures as much as me - do visit!

It's been a busy week (when isn't it??) - having promised to let you know if I still had any 1/48th characters still for sale, I'm personally pleased of course to report that they've all been sold. I'm more than happy to hear from anyone who would like me to contact them when I have another group made. Just email me. Meanwile a 1/48th witch is on her broom stick heading across the Atlantic to her new home!

Next Sunday (18th September) is the second Nostalgia in Miniature Workshop which Celia and I are running, so we've both been busy on last minute jobs - in my case making miniature has lavender in it so smells nice for a change - and checking that everything is REALLY ready!!

One of the nicest things said to me recently, was by a participant in the previous workshop who had made her very first 1/24th scene of any sort, and was thrilled with it. She brought along her little 'Over the Little Garden Fence' to show me with the finishing touches all done, at a recent fair and it was super! Our workshops are for all abilities, very friendly and lots of fun.
We have a couple of places left for 'Down the Little Garden Path' next Sunday, so if you're tempted, whizz over to our website and see more, or catch up with the latest news on our blog.

Down the Little Garden Path

In non-miniature news - a visit to a Car Boot sale this morning saw me buy a bargain box of wonderful old Queen's Green china - cups and LOTS of saucers! Love it!!! I even love the ancient wooden Canary Island Tomato box they were packed in!
I have plans for this........

Thank you for reading the blog - joining in the Giveaway - and deciding to be a new Follower!


Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Giveaway.....100 Followers....Wow!!

As promised, it's time for a Giveaway...and I hope you'll like what I've chosen...

I really didn't think just over a year ago when I started this blog that one day 100 people would read it!! Amazing!!

So thank you to all my friendly, and encouraging Followers - it's been just brilliant to have you along regularly while I struggled with the finer points of this blogging lark!

I wanted to choose a Giveaway gift that represented both sides of Coombe Crafts ..... it takes two to keep this boat afloat after all .... so a cheeky young boy and a hand-crafted barrel chair - both in 1/24th scale seems to do it. I hope you'll like them.

To participate you must be a Follower, and leave a Comment please to let me know you'd like to be entered in the madly random and hugely unscientific but scrupulously fair draw which will take place in about a week's time.

As always ...Thank you SO much for looking.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

In Praise of the Ironing Board.......

It's not often you'll find a blog just about an ironing board.........

If you read regularly you'll know I ramble on and fit in as much as possible, so this is a bit of a first!!

My other half emerged from the shed (sorry, workshop) where he was supposed to be making 1/24th wheelbarrows, with an ironing board in his hand. I already think his 1/24th ironing boards are great and to judge by the number we sell, so do other people - so when he opened his hand and showed me the 1/48th version I was speechless!

Here it is - I think it's lovely - it even folds down. At present we just have three...I shall be very nice and we may have more....

A warm welcome to my most recent Followers - I see I've just passed the magic number so I'll have a think about a Giveaway in a few days, when I've recovered and cleared up after the fair on Bank Holiday Monday, and can put thoughts together in coherent order!!

Thank you for looking

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Little last

It's been a while, but at last I've another group of 1/48th characters finished - not a moment too soon as I've been promising to have them on the stand at the Dollys Daydreams Fair in Thame on Bank Holiday Monday - 29th August! Phew!

These are always something of a challenge - the size being the obvious one. I also want them to be fully poseable and have characterful faces by the time 20 odd dolls are done, boy are my eyes are tired! Anyway here are a few for you to see.

After the fair any remaining will go on general sale and as usual I'll first email those who have been waiting. If anyone else would like to be contacted, please email to let me know. I'm sorry but I still don't feel that I can commit to making characters in this tiny scale to commission, so for now at least it is a case of choosing from the ones available. At the moment we are managing to keep the other 1/48th items in stock and we again have sets of sofas and easy chairs!

And now for something a little bigger. My very tiny tea pots pop up on many of our items, and here they are on some 1/24th scale breakfast trays.....still working in a muddle I'm afraid!

.........and some Teeny Tiny shelves in the same scale. These are designed to be 'hung' on a wall and only measure approx. 3/4ins high and 1in. wide.

Today's challenge has been photographing these really tiny items - I wish they were better.

Welcome to new Followers, it's lovely to have you along and I'll enjoy catching up with your blogs soon.

Thank you for looking