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

Friday, January 31, 2014


I imagined Spring Cottage as a tiny one-up-one down dwelling built into the hillside, in a small village in rural Wiltshire.  I have lovely memories of living in just such a village and my Spring Cottage has almost certainly been influenced by that...certainly the lush bright green colours  of early spring...and the name of the cottage itself.

Whoops - shame I didn't put the removable roof back on straight!

I wanted the cottage to look rooted in the landscape so I wrapped the hill around one corner, liberally sprinkled  it with primroses, ferns and clumps of grass and added a gnarled tree, just coming into leaf. The beauty (and fun) of hand building  from scratch without plans and pre-cut pieces is that it can (and does) grow and develop as the mood and inspiration takes me.....sometimes it's quite hard to stop!

The hill and tree were lovely to create

Stone walls are aged, marked by the weather and growing moss and lichen while the doors and widows are patched and creaky so the building has a well-loved and lived in feel about it I hope. I thought an old thatched roof would be appropriate in this setting, and this too is mossy, pretty ancient and probably in need of rethatching!

Sprays of Winter Jasmine cling to the corner
As you can see in the last picture, Spring Cottage has a simple interior with the door invitingly ajar and a roof  that lifts off so that full sized hands can easily arrange and rearrange the furnishings.
Overall the cottage is just under 7 inches high to the top of the roof and stands on a base 6 x 4 inches, and will be for sale first on our stand at The Thame Dolls House and Miniature Fair on 22nd February.

Interior of Spring Cottage with the roof removed   
Penny Farthing Stores is finished too - I'll put pictures up in my next blog - Thanks for looking


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Take a Peep into the Old Gardener's Backyard

Whoo Hoo - We Have a Video!
I get very excited when the technical half of Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops (Celia) does something whizzy and clever!
So do please take a look at the super video of our new Spring workshop.(And put your speakers on as there's music too.)
To make it really simple's the first one  over there on the right>>>>>>>>

Round The Back Of The Old Gardener's Cottage Workshop is to be held on Saturday 26th April, 10.30am - 4.30pm  at Bicester Avenue Garden Centre, Oxford Road, OX25 2NY(Junction 9 off M40)

The elderly gardener and his wife have lived in the old cottage for half a century and it's fair to say that the backyard behind the cottage and the old lean-to, with its mossy terracotta tiled roof, has seen better days.  However it shelters him from inclement weather as he goes about his pottering; pricking out seedlings on the salvaged battered table, planting up herbs for the kitchen as well as favourite  flowers for his wife in old pots and reclaimed containers.  To keep her happy he's filled a traditional hanging basket with lovely nasturtiums and it swings in the breeze from the rafters.
The places are limited so if you feel tempted to create your very own small scene in either 1/12th or 1/24th scale, do get in touch.  All the details, Booking Form and Special Group Discount Offer are up on the Nostalgia In Miniature website.

Wearing my own 'day job' Coombe Crafts hat, I've been working on a tiny new 1/48th hand-built cottage in a rural setting and another teeny weeny shop. I'll show you pictures soon, and both will be on sale first at The Thame Dolls House and Miniature Fair on Saturday 22nd February.

Thanks for looking

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jimmy the Cricketer

All my efforts to discover more about this little wooden chap on the internet were thwarted because 'wooden toy cricketer' and variations on those words, just turned up lots and lots and lots of pictures and references to the well known little character 'Jiminy Cricket' from the story of Pinocchio - and insects! now you know why I've called him Jimmy.  Seriously though folks, is there anyone in Blogland who could tell me about him.  I bought this super little jointed, pose-able figure at an Antique Market recently and at around
 4 1/2  inches tall he does remind me of the little wooden toys that have been around for decades - the sort that collapse when you push underneath.  However he's constructed more like the wooden mannequin models that artists use and stands on a firm base, fixed by one foot.  The underside of the base is stamped Foreign but there are no other clues - clearly he's vintage rather than modern and has been well-loved.

The only similar toy I've come across was apparently German 1950s. If you've any ideas at all, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for looking

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In Love With The Old Backyard.....

Isn't it usually the case that if you're a mini-maker, the last project becomes (at least until the next one) your absolute favourite.......disasters of course don't count!!  Well I'm absolutely in love with this old rather dilapidated but so nostalgic backyard!

ROUND THE BACK OF THE OLD GARDENER'S COTTAGE on 26th April is the next Workshop in our NOSTALGIA IN MINIATURE WORKSHOPS series and I love it to bits!  Celia and I have so enjoyed working together on our latest project and are delighted to unveil the 1/12th prototype.  Participants can choose to create the project in either 1/12th or 1/24th scale  - we'll show the 1/24th scale another time.

The drawer of the old table opens - he's obviously planting turnips next!
We really got to indulge our love of creating shabby, well-worn and well-loved accessories that bring a scene to life and planned the setting with great care so that it is not only naturalistic but evokes memories of a gentler decade and tells a story. You can see that we love old walls and poppies!!

Old pots, pans and seed trays - and beautiful pansies
Our old gardener and his wife have lived in the cottage for half a century and although he's retired now he still enjoys pottering out of the sun under the lean-to in the old backyard round the back of his home.  We imagine him pricking out seedlings and potting up some pretty flowers for his wife - we're using the beautiful pansy kits by Georgina at The Miniature Garden Centre once again. He presses some old pans into use for growing  herbs for the kitchen - and leans on the old table to read his paper with a mug of tea and decide whether to do a bit of weeding in his veg plot or grease the wheels on the ancient Victorian water carrier that has been there even longer than him.

Nasturiums tumble from the old fashioned hanging basket
We aim through the workshops to encourage and inspire others to just 'have a go' - it truly is surprising  what you can make from an old cornflake packet if someone gives you a nudge in the right direction. So it doesn't matter if you've never attempted your own miniature scene before, or are more experienced - working in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere everyone can go home with a project they are really happy with and some new skills and ideas to bring to their own original work.

For this workshop we have chosen a super new venue in Oxfordshire - BICESTER AVENUE GARDEN CENTRE OX25 2NY, which is just off M40 Junction 9 - we have the Conference room which is within the Four Seasons Restaurant area, so tea and coffee, lovely lunches and snacks are just around the corner.....not to mention the other great stores like Hobbycraft, Laura Ashley, Lakelands etc. which are in the same complex. (If you're into shopping, the well-known Bicester Outlet Village is literally just down the road!)

We are already taking bookings for the workshop and numbers are limited.  If you click on Nostalgia in Miniature website you can find all the details as well as a Downloadable Booking Form. If you're a member of a group of friends or club, we have a special discount this time and we're both very happy to answer any queries if you'd like to get in touch.

Hmmm....thinking that we do need a gardener...a cross between old Mr Arlott and Uncle Norman I think..... time to get back to Coombe Crafts....

Thanks for looking

Thursday, January 2, 2014


May I wish you all A VERY, VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR  as we welcome in a rather wet and windy 2014 and hope we shall  have a great mini-making year to enjoy.

Given that it's lousy weather outside I thought perhaps a cheery picture of a corner of my conservatory might be a brighter start to this year's blogging!

2013 was a bit of a bumpy year for me - and I know lots of other people too - so after a really lovely Christmas and New Years Eve I'm looking forward to getting started on some miniatures.  I have some super commissions to work on, all very different, and coming up in only (HELP) 7 weeks, the fabulous Thame Dolls House and Miniature Fair, so I need some new stock...... I shall be busy......

Wearing the Nostalgia in Miniature hat I share with my great friend Celia Thomas of KT Miniatures we spent the run up to Christmas creating the prototype for our new spring workshop, in Oxfordshire - Round The Back Of The Old Gardener's Cottage - and SO enjoyed ourselves. 
WE hope to have all the details finalised in another week or so and indications are that this is likely to be a popular workshop.  If you're interested in coming along keep an eye on the Nostalgia in Miniature website and both our blogs. 

It's certainly going to be a fun year with other projects in the pipeline as well.

Thank you for looking.

P.S. Super, duper feature all about KT Miniatures if you click on this link and go to the free online magazine!