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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome to 2013!!


May I wish you all, everything that you wish for yorselves....happiness, good health, peace - and maybe a little prosperity too.

In 2012 we had some highs and lovely times, but rather too many difficult days - so many friends had just such a year too -  so my wish, and for you all too,  are for peaceful and happy days - even boring will be fine!!

Thank you for popping in last year - I hope you'll pop in again in this New Year.
Very best wishes

Sunday, December 16, 2012


It's that nostalgic, sentimental, joyous time of trimming the tree, baking the mince pies, nativity plays and  carols and remembering old friends and those we miss.....

I'd like to thank everyone who has been kind enough to pop in and follow my ramblings this year, my lovely, lovely customers and the fabulous ladies that have given us such enjoyment and support at our workshops.

If there are children around, the magic of Christmas is very special...somehow it never quite seems the same when Father Christmas is forgotten and becomes a childhood fairy tale....
We all look back at the passing year and hope for 'better things'. Like many, many others, this has been a year of mixed blessings and some tough times for us. For those who will not have the Christmas they would have wanted....hopeful thoughts for some peace and kindness in your lives in the coming year.

Very best wishes to you and yours. ......and I do thank you for looking.......


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We Have Wheels!!

Every now again lovely commissions come our way, which for one reason or another, require the talents of more than one miniature maker........

If you've been following my ramblings this year you'll perhaps remember the extended 1/12th family I created for Susan in Australia - a lovely lady loaded with talents of her own....not to mention her ability to paint a 'character' in words so that creating her 'family' became more of a pleasure than 'work'.

Although he was delivered many weeks ago, one of those characters has remained under wraps until now - because he needed transport. To be precise he needed a a wheelchair - way beyond my capabilities (even when dreaming).  However Susan knew just the lady to ask and now Gill has delivered the most wonderful wheelchair and it is perfect for 'Graff'. Wonderful!!

So we've all been take a look at the pictures on Susan's Blog, and also check out her wonderful mini-crochet, and even more pictures of the wonderful wheelchair on Gill's and her amazing prams and other super miniatures.  My thanks to Susan for the photograhs I've used here.

I've now managed to take a half way reasonable photograph of the remaining 1/48th characters completed recently. It's quite a mixed bunch, and like all my dolls, these are individually sculpted and are fully poseable.

Thanks for Looking

Friday, December 7, 2012

Back to the Little People

I had this plan - one of several that have fallen by the pre-Christmas wayside - to sculpt and create a  HUGE batch of the tiny people in 1/48th scale.  Dismally failed!!! Not enough hours in the day are there r
ight now?

I did manage to finish just a few little folk  before the wrist/hand decided to inflict pain again. These have now gone, or are on their way to new homes, courtesy I hope of the P.O.who must be making a fortune out of us 'small' makers.....30gm costs anything from 90p to £2.70 depending how fat the packet is!!! Grrr!!

I reckon these two cheery folk are off to face some wintry weather to judge by the big woolies, 'ats'n gloves!

Missus looks a bit peeved - probably all down to the less than brilliant photo I've taken of her, or the fact that she's got to help her hubby shift those sacks of flour!!
There will be more to show...but it's too dark now for even a reasonable chance at photographing them. At the best of times I don't think 1/48th scale photographs well, as no detail should be viewed larger than life size.  Never mind - if you'd like to see them for real come along to The Thames Dolls House and Miniature Fair on Saturday 23rd February, at The Leisure Centre, Thame, Oxfordshire.  It's always a fabulous, artisan only fair, and we love it.
All the details are on the website together with pictures from the makers and all the wonderful raffle prizes that are already coming in to raise funds for Breast Cancer Campaign.

And finally...I can't be the only one who hangs onto ancient/kitsch/naff/plain fun,  Christmas's one of my string of illuminated sheep........


Welcome also to new Followers - hope you enjoy both the miniatures and my ramblings.
Thanks for looking

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Super Saturday....and a little chair or two!

Yes we had a super workshop! Thanks to all the ladies who braved the awful weather and travelled some distances to join us.

You can see a corner of the workshop - after about two cups of coffee and painting the sitting room walls with primer.......
A little later, when nice aged oak floorboards had been painted and the wallpaper was up...we did move on to chocolate, mince pies and mulled wine!!  Very Christmassy!!
More pictures in due course on our Nostalgia in Miniature blog.

In another workshop - rather closer to home - brand new 1/48th scale Mackintosh chairs are being created.
We (well, him in the workshop, to be fair...) already make these  'Argyle' and 'Ingram' styles in 1/2th and 1/24th scales, but I confess I didn't expect to see them this size.
All our work is individually hand-crafted 
And a reminder that despite the rain, there are glorious Autumn colours to be seen just outside our own back doors.  I took these two photographs of our Cotinus  (Smoke Bush) about 10 days apart and you can see how the leaves changed from the dark purple to plum then flame orange. It's now a brighter orange yellow and still looks wonderful despite the battering from rain and wind.

We're very fortunate here in Thame (Oxfordshire), that our ancient water meadows and flood plains haven't been built on, so the flooding - extensive though it is - is mostly in the fields around the town. Many, many people in other parts of U.K. haven't been so lucky and I hope very much that the floods recede so the recovery and clean up will soon begin for them.

Thanks for looking


Friday, November 23, 2012

And Saturday Is....

......the last Nostalgia In Miniature Workshop of 2012! Which means folks that we'll have a super day for sure....and then it's counting down till Christmas.

We are really looking forward to tomorrow and as it's an all day workshop we've laid in stocks of mince pies and chocolate....our spies tell us that Mulled Wine is coming with one of our lovely participants as well.
Of course the whole point of the day is to create a detailed, and authentic Edwardian room setting of poor 'Father' trying to wallpaper his parlour the week before Christmas, inspired by an old musical hall song from 1910. I'm sure that everyone will have their own individual ideas and touches that make each project unique. 

Celia and I look forward to seeing everyone's finished rooms - this is our 1/24th scale prototype.

As usual we shall have a small sales table featuring our own original miniatures - each time we try to choose items that reflect the workshop theme.  I dug out a piano and had lots of fun giving it a bit of a  makeover and imagined poor 'Mother' struggling to hang up her decorations and wipe the wallpaper paste off the ivories, the kids and the family pets..... a little scenario that has a familiar ring to it....(only joking chaps).

For details of the first workshop next year  - Underneath the Old Arbour - which willl be held at the wonderful  Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire on April 7th, please go to our website.

Thanks for looking

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Own Little Pond!

If you Follow or pop in, you may have seen an occasional mention of my teeny weeny garden pond during my 'gardening rambles' I have another!

As a miniature 'maker' rather than a 'collector' I don't buy or build dolls houses for myself, and only collect individual small miniature pieces that are either vintage/antique or artisan crafted pieces by makers I admire, which are displayed together in wall-hung cases.

A year ago at Market Town Miniatures our club here in Thame, we created Attic Rooms as a project over several weeks. To my surprise I loved doing it and look at it every day - the only thing of my own I'd kept. In 1/24th scale, I filled it with all sorts of bits and pieces that had a special meaning for me.

This year we were thrown the challenge of creating 1/12th scale realistic ponds!!!! That sounded interesting.
As I don't 'do' posh or tidy - attics and overgrown ponds are right up my street. As I've got a bad wrist at the moment and have no new dolls to show you......will I ever catch up?......I'll show you my pond.  I think it will have to live next to my attic!
If you click on the images - you'll see a bigger version
Sorry I cut the poor old kingfisher's head off!
I love the way the 'water' drips out of the jar of tadpoles
The Water Lilies and Marsh Mariglods were part of our 'kit'.
Huge thanks to Linda and Jill who masterminded and led the project and provided us with lumps of clay, scenic water and a whole variety of paper cut outs for some lovely plants.
Without the enthusiasm, effort and the precious time of generous members like them, clubs like ours wouldn't exist.
Thanks for looking.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Catching Up and Heading for 2013!

It's that time of year when we're checking commissions still to be fullfilled before the end of the year, looking back at the last few weeks and also juggling dates for 2013!!

First up has to be the super Nostalgia in Miniature Workshop on Sunday when our lovely participants created 'The Other Room'...which was an extra room to add on to the 'Little Vintage Hall' completed earlier in the year. It was a hugely productive and fun day and their talents were on display, especially in the artistic landscapes created for the very special three dimensional effect windows. Lots of pictures are on our Nostalgia in Miniature website - do take a look.

In less that a month we're back in Thame Girlguiding H.Q for an all day Christmas extravaganza (well maybe 'extravaganza' is overdoing it...) and creating 'When Father Papered the Parlour...A Week Before Christmas'. I know we're all looking forward to this and it will be a lovely ending to a somewhat tricky year!!

Heading for 2013 we have now opened Booking (and again all details are on the website) for the first of next year's Workshops. 'Underneath The Old Arbour'. This will be a gentle, summery, vintage setting in our little old garden featuring an old wooden arbour clothed in climbing flowing plants beneath which the family can enjoy a glass of lemon or relax with a book. The venue for this workshop will again be a classroom at the inspirational and very popular Waterperry Gardens in Oxfordshire - numbers are limited and is already booking quickly, so please contact us if you are interested.

Organizers are already planning fairs for 2013 and one of the first is the well established and much loved EAST CORNWALL DOLLS HOUSE AND MINIATURE FAIR on Sunday 20th January at Lostwithiel Community Centre, Lostwithiel, Cornwall. (A390 Liskeard - Truro). The fair raises much needed funds every year for Doubletrees Special School. Quality Fairs are not as numerous in this area as in other parts of the country and it always attracts stands to suit everyone - from Artisan to Vintage!! Best wishes to everyone involved for another successful year.

On my workbench.....rather too much real life lately has slowed things down, sorry the garden......well, as before, too much real life and too much rain.....
Seed heads of Clematis Tangutica

Best wishes to everyone in U.S.A and Canada who really have been having a such a devastating  time in the last few days

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nostalgia In The Kitchen...with Cake!

Wearing my Nostalgia in Miniature hat....let me tell you about last Sunday afternoon. I could say it was all about a lovely squashy jam and cream sponge cake, but really it was about a re-arranged and very mini-workshop in Celia's kitchen!!

As many of you will know, my partner in crime in Nostalgia in Miniature, Celia Thomas, had a less than wonderful summer getting herself fixed by our NHS so we had to rearrange planned workshops.  We have lovely participants who have been with us since the first one, so when it was clear that two ladies just couldn't make the rearranged date for The Little Vintage Hall - The Other Room workshop we wanted to come up with a solution. Our solution was a workshop for two in Celia's kitchen and what a super time we had.

Here's the cake that Jenny brought.....well, what was left at the end!

Don't they look serious as they're concentrating on their room boxes...this coming Sunday, with the full complement of particpants, will be just as much fun and produce some terrific projects I'm sure.  I'm afraid it will be back to coffee and biscuits though!  We'll bring you pictures from that one soon.

Coming up - very exciting and lots of fun - is our workshop on November 24th, an all day workshop here in Thame with a bit of a Christmassy flavour - When Father Papered The Parlour....The Week Before Christmas. It's inspired by the old Edwardian music hall song and promises to be another very different and fun workshop with a completely original room box at the end of the day.

The prototypes in both 1/12th and 1/24th scale, feature hand-printed wall paper, a wonderful fireplace with a tiled hearth, based on an original tile - not to mention all the things Father needs to paper his parlour and the decorations and cards Mother is desperate to put up.

If you are tempted to give yourself an early Christmas present and would like to come, we can accomodate
another 4 but do go to our website for all the details and a downloadable booking form.

And finally - I really feel a fanfare is in order, because Celia has created a brilliant little video of this project, with the song too! This and more pictures are on our Blog - please do visit.
Thanks for looking.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Squirrels And Other Distractions....

Every now and again a few pleasant distractions go a long way.......

It was almost the last of my favourite car boot sales of the season before winter rains really set in .......
I fell in love with this late Victorian Carlton ware tea pot stand. It has a badly damaged corner but was cheap as chips and I love the Oriental Poppy design.

Three years ago at vast expense I bought a miniature water lily for my tiny new garden pond - actually it's so tiny it's more of an elegant puddle, but boasts plants, wiggley water bugs, frogs and toads and I love it!!
Three years I've been waiting for this exquisite flower!!! Despite the rain ever since it opened I keep going to just look. Magic!!

And here's the squirrel.  He (or maybe she) is a Bournemouth squirrel - one of many who gave us loads of pleasure last week as we watched them happily burying nuts under the trees, and five minutes later, having
chased about a bit, promptly dug them up. Must be a new new game!!
Had planned a paddle in the sea...... but it rained.

And after the distractions, still working in a muddle..... I really don't do 'pretty' as you know but an old friend twisted my arm, so just for her, a 1/24th scale  bride and groom. I think she was hoping for Princess Catherine,  Duchess of Cambridge - Oh well, never mind!
I'm not quite sure how the bartender fits into the scene but all three are on their way to U.S.A.

Still hoping it might stop raining soon....thanks for looking.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Grandparents In 1/16th Scale For A Change

In the last couple of weeks I've been sculpting in 1/12th, 1/16th and 1/24th scale....very confusing and not to be recommended as a rule!

Some of you who read my blog know that I'm somewhat behind when it comes to commissions.....and I'm truly sorry...real life has been a bit full-on lately. This is why I've been mixing my scales, something I try and avoid when I'm sculpting characters. On the whole the little people have been O.K. I think, although somehow I seem to have two left hands in 1/12th scale and three right hands in 1/16th scale sitting in a box on the workbench! I've just started on 1/24th scale so shall be extra careful with the hands.

Vintage dolls houses are quite different in scale to the modern ones and usually need 1/16th scale dolls to inhabit them, which is where I come in - not everyone can find, or likes the appropriate vintage dolls.
Grandpa doesn't really have two wives, I promise, it just happened that two lovely ladies had spotted a Granny in 1/12th scale on my website and both asked for a similar doll in 1/16th scale. I hope you can see that although they are similar, because they are individually sculpted without the use of a mold, the faces aren't exactly the same. Grandpa is sitting on a cotton reel in an attempt to show scale - he's about 4 1/4 inches tall and the ladies are a little shorter.

I was given some lovely lilies and thought they looked brilliant in this whacky glove vase, alongside two of my favourite things which live on our revolving Edwardian bookcase. Bit of a mistake....I've never actually used the vase as a vase and it leaked and I didn't notice for days until I came to take this photo!
I now have to restore the top of my lovely bookcase so I'm not a happy bunny.
Incidentally if you're looking for a miniature version of the bookcase you can find it on our website.

Hoping it might stop raining soon....thanks for looking.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Bit Of An Update......

I 'update' on a regular basis - which mostly takes the form of making a list, crossing things out and making another.......then doing it all again.......

However, if you followed my moan about the P.O. and the unacceptable delay in a box of characters arriving at their a new home in Australia in my last blog, I can report they've arrived!  Huge thanks to Susan Monro for letting me know so swiftly and for the wonderful photographs.

Susan sent a number of pictures which she has also posted on her blog together with a witty and wonderful tarradiddle about their adventures. I won't attempt to compete but suggest you whizz over to her Blog, and while you're there check out her exquisite miniature crochet work.

Here's just one featuring the horse-mad teenage girl I made for her. I love the stable setting - and know that all the characters in her now large 'family' look equally at home.  Thanks Susan.

I thoroughly enjoyed my jaunt to Miniatura on Sunday - it seemed much quieter than usual. As always, there were wonderful original miniatures to drool over and it's a terrific opportunity to see quality artisans as well as catch up with chums.  I did have a little spend and amongst other bits and bobs, brought home two beautiful little bears by Shoebutton Bears.

                                                     Don't you just love 'em!!

I've been saying for....ages....that I would update the 1/48th scale Illustrated List which is on the side bar, just over there >>>>>  Finally I've done it!!!!

Weather update.....rushed back  from a day or two away to an Urgent Frost Warning from the T.V. weather men. Grabbed all the unripe green tomatoes, picked all the annual flowers and dragged inside fuschia and geraniums.

Outcome - no frost at all, but huge vases of 'mixed' flowers to cheer us up as it seems to have rained ever since!!

Thanks for looking, and a warm welcome to New Followers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where Have We Got To?

That's a question and a half isn't it?
Well...Celia and I, wearing our Nostalgia in Miniature hats, are back to work after an enforced break and busy putting together the kits for the next workshop and working ahead on the Full Day  'Christmas' workshop on November 24th here in Thame. It has the very snappy title of When Father Papered the Parlour....the week before Christmas. If you're 40+ you might recognise it as an old music hall song title...and if you're really intrigued you can listen to the song and have a giggle, read all about the workshop and also download a Booking form by looking at our website - all the details are there. Our latest Blog is also up (nice pictures) - just click on Latest News from the website.

Where have you got to - two little 1/12th people heading for Australia to join the rest of their miniature family?  I was going to do a rant about the Post Office who take the money and advertise a 6 day delivery aim for Airsure......two weeks later.....but I've done it before.... Grrrr!
I was nearly going to put up a picture....but it's a shame to spoil the surprise Susan!

It's Miniatura this weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing the work of exceptional miniaturists - and hope everyone has a really good weekend. So where have chums at Miniatura got to??

My friends at Model Village Miniatures have been in the same place for so long we all go onto auto-pilot. But they've moved to a new position. Look for them on HI.  They have a wonderful selection of precision furniture kits in 1/12th and 1/24th scale - easy to put together and really reasonable prices, and lovely unique knitted toys and squashy, sofas. Some of my 1/24th characters always go along to sit on the furniture and cuddle the toys.

Julie Campbell has changed her name!! No, not really - but she has changed her trading name from Bellabelle Dolls to Julie Campbell - Doll Artist.  It's a good move - she is an artist and her stand is HJ - I'm looking forward to seeing her wonderful characters. Otherwise, this time I must really take the opportunity to look at new stands and not spend the time chatting to friends who will all do well I hope.

I like pictures in my Blog .....absolutely nothing to do with anything..........

And now, I've got to sculpt some characters for lovely customers and go and see my brand new Granddaughter.

Thanks for looking.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Room in a Tray!

I've had a week or two of  'real life' so work on our miniatures has been a bit sporadic to say the least....a trip to the car boot last Sunday provided a welcome distraction......

I do love these sales and rarely spend a great deal but pick up some interesting bits and pieces sometimes. I bought a (modern) dolls house at a bargain price for a very special little girl on Sunday, but a week or two ago I bought a very unusual 'room box'!

Here it is! It does still need a bit of a clean up - I took the photo soon after I brought it back so it's a tad dusty

The slope sided tray is about 20 inches wide and 15 inches high and  clearly home made, together with the furniture and other pieces which are fashioned to sit on the slope but look in perspective when it's hung on the wall.  The screws and cord on the back also help to suggest that perhaps this is from 1940s or a little earlier. I think the stick hanging on the wall probably had a warming pan attached at some point.

Maybe someone was a keen model maker or it was a project in one of the hobby magazines of the time.
You have to admit - even if it's not exactly beautiful - it is interesting. If anyone knows anything about it I'd love to know more.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Witchy Pair

The Fair on Monday was both very enjoyable and successful - so many thanks to everyone who came along and said hello!  It was so nice to jump in the car and drive a whole 1/2  mile to the venue......what a change!! It was also lovely to catch up with old friends - all events in this town seem to have a very welcoming and relaxed atmosphere.
But now - to the witches........

I'm not sure what happened to our summer this year but now autumn is just around the corner so it seems timely to introduce a couple of witches all ready for Halloween. Both are fully poseable and individually sculpted so if you're tempted to create a witchy scene and would like one of these witches or more details of how to commission one, please do email me. Contact details on the right bar.

Heggety is a 1/12th scale witch with flowing natural wool used for her hair, and vintage fabric for her clothing. I was going to give her a traditional hat, but couldn't bear to cover her tresses. A little down at heel to be sure but with her tame frog she's ready for magic.

Esme is just a little witch...a 1/48th scale little witch... still fully poseable and individually sculpted, at least she's still got her hat on and is relying on her magic crystal to work her spells.

Late summer flowers are such a treat - rich vibrant colours and folliage to cheer us up before the weather turns miserable. This is just a simple bunch of single dahlias and bronze fennel in a favourite glass jug.

Another treat was to see my good friend Celia Thomas pop into the fair to say hello to friends.
As many of you will know Celia has been sampling the delights of The NHS for a couple of months now so it was especially good to see her and welcome news that KT Miniatures is open for business again - albeit in a limited way for a little while longer. Welcome back Celia!
As my partner in Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops she's just put up our latest workshop news on her Blog/Journal - so rather than repeat it all - do pop along and catch up with her there too. 

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sporting Heroes ..and Other 1/24th Scale Characters

Sport is never very high on my agenda I must admit - watching or taking part  - although I spent many wet cold hours on the sidelines at boys football matches 'in the old days'. It does mean I know what a pair of miniature football boots should look like though!
So as a complete change, and wanting to produce a few new and fun characters to take to the Dolly's Daydreams Dolls House and Miniature Fair in Thame at The Leisure Centre on Bank Holiday Monday - 27th August, I thought I'd make a couple of sportsman.

I badgered my other half into making me a nice bat for the cricketer - definitely a weekend cricketer only, this chap. I also think the footballer plays for a Sunday league rather than the you can see
from the close-up he wears the number 9 shirt (must be a striker) and has studs on his boots. The old-fashioned leather ball was just easier to make than one with all those hexagons!!

If I'd had some more figures to spare I'd have gone on to rugby and golf players..... but there's always a next time and a 1/24th tennis racquet might be an interesting challenge....

I'm not sure what the vicar said to the window cleaner...there has to be a joke in there somewhere!

Another couple of my little lady shoppers...Mavis and Ethel, putting the world to rights!

And finally......this is my Nasturtium Eureka moment folks. If you read the blog earlier in the year you'll know I planned to copy an idea I'd seen, and plant up a couple of baked bean cans with nasturtiums.
They almost pegged out just after planting, in the short-lived baking hot week or two, then nearly drowned in the long rainy weeks, but now they're beginning to look great and the cans are nicely rusty.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, August 10, 2012

And Some More In 1/48th Scale....

I fetched out the tripod for my camera and took pictures of more 1/48th dolls - should have done that before - and also Farthing Stores a little village shop in the same scale.

I thought I should take at least one photograph with the famous match stick to give an idea of scale - but to be very exact she's just 1 3/8" tall. All the dolls are fully poseable.

This little old lady is even shorter and wears a tiny ribbon-trimmed cap and shawl in vintage lace.

If you follow the blog or have seen these little people at a fair, you'll know that most have been costumed very simply - chaps in jumpers and trousers and ladies in short knee-length skirts, cardigans or jumpers. In response to many requests, and when I have a little more time to work on a group I am making some more detailed costumes. This little group shows some of these, including a rare child.  All will go on sale first at the fair on 27th August here in Thame.

Also being shown at the fair for the first time is Farthing Stores a tiny one-roomed village shop in 1/48th scale. As you can see in the last photograph the thatched roof just lifts off and the back is open to allow easy access. The bow-fronted window is just ready to be laid out with goods and there's room for a counter and shop shelves which we also make.  You can see these if you click on the 1/48th scale List in the side bar here.

The old stone walls support an old fashoned rambler rose and the thatched roof is mossy with age. Adding depth and tone to the walls, the moss and lichen to the thatch and the plants, is almost the best bit for me and it's always hard to actually stop fiddling.

An old brass bell hangs on a spring on the door and I'm sure all the shoppers get a warm welcome when they push it open. I've really enjoyed working on the shop - just wish there was time to finish another before the fair.

Thank you for looking.