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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


In wishing you all a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS  I'd also like to say thank you for all the fun and friendship that the Blog has brought.  I've appreciated you popping in and so enjoyed all your comments and the chuckles we've shared. More than anything I've been informed, inspired and enthralled by wonderful blogs from every part of the miniature and craft world.

Thank you for looking - see you in 2016
Robin x

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Edie and Arthur Story......and School is Open

Have you been following the story of Edie and Arthur - a long distance penpal friendship that has only improved with time?

With huge thanks to Jenni who has kindly forwarded this lovely picture of Edie and Arthur - obviously they're going to make a very happy life together somewhere in Wales....I knew that pork pie she baked for him, and the fact that he sent her train fare, spoke volumes!
Incidentally she's pictured them on the balcony of a lovely 1910 house - nice, very nice!

Going down from 1/12th scale to 1/24th, the village school has a new schoolteacher - doesn't she look a friendly lady - the children are ready to make her very welcome.
Sorry the light wasn't too good when I took these pics.

I am sometimes asked which are the most challenging aspects of doll-making and would be interested in what others think.  Apart from sculpting 1/48th faces (a pretty obvious challenge) I think it's getting eyebrows in the right place and making socks and real leather shoes for 1/24th scale six year olds!

I've now finished making new dolls in the run up to Christmas - although I still have a reasonable stock so it's worth asking if you need an extra miniature Christmas present.
However - Celia  and I are both still busy and having fun working on prototypes for the new workshop next year. It's different again to anything we've offered before and we are SO enjoying ourselves.  Our Nostalgia In Miniature Workshops website has information about The Early 1990s Little German Style Shop and we'll be adding more details asap. It's a very versatile project and we're delighted to be offering it in both 1/12th and 1/24th scales. We do already have a Reserve list,  but it doesn't commit anyone to book at this early stage - so if you might be interested take a look.

Thanks for looking

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sam Oversees Miniature Operations

Sam, my large madcap cat really doesn't like much about miniatures - he's not allowed to play with the dolls since he mistook one for a mouse! It's really all been far too busy for him lately.......

As you can see he retreated in a sulk to the top of the kitchen cupboard, (where incidentally he rearranged my collection of enamelware) while we brought in all the boxes and stands after Haddenham and disrupted his snooze.

He was also less than impressed when I objected to him popping the bubble wrap and shredding the tissue paper I was using packing parcels! Thankfully the last parcel sent off has now arrived so I can show you what was in them! All the dolls are in 1/12th scale.

I hope the two couples aren't sharing the same house - I can't see the suited lady approving of shirt sleeves can you?  I wouldn't mind betting that she runs the W.I., the local choir and irons her husband's socks!

Now meet Edie who has moved to Wales to live with Arthur.  She was a touch offended when Jenni ordered her as a 'Mail Order Bride' - well, really!  After all she'd been writing to the man for years so it was about time he made an honest woman of her.  I think she's secretly thrilled as she's baked him a pork pie and I'm sure they'll be very happy. I do have it on authority that he is quietly delighted doing everything he can to please her,  while she is happily baking and dusting, singing as she goes.
I also think she was rather relieved to leave the muddle that is the Coombe Crafts workbench!

Felicity and Ron who organised the Haddenham Dollshouse and Miniatures Exhibition tell me that £543.40 was raised to be shared jointly between the charities Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Thames Valley Air Ambulance - a splendid amount for a small event on a rainy day - small is beautiful! Thanks to all who contributed.

Celia Thomas my KT Miniatures chum has a fabulous collection of antique and vintage miniatures about to go on sale. Titled the Oxford Collection, there is super back story.  The items, some rare, were rediscovered in the attic in an old house in Oxford  - a collection handed down by various generations of the family from mid/late 1800s to 1930s.
I've been lucky to see just two or three of the pieces - very exciting - and I'm sure if you love old, unique miniatures you'll want to take a look.  I've been drooling over a wonderful antique tinplate long-case clock - never seen anything like it!
Go to her website and enjoy!

Right, now I need to prize Sam off my seat so I can get back to work again.

Thanks for looking

Monday, November 16, 2015

Haddenham Dollshouse and Miniature Exhibition - Thanks for a lovely day!

Despite a rainy day, it was lovely to see so many friends, old and new, on Saturday. Hopefully a good sum will have been raised for the charities Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Thame Valley Air Ambulance.

Thank you to those of you who came along to say 'hello' and were interested in our work or purchased items - it was splendid to see you.

It's a small, cosy event in a lovely village hall so unusually for us there was a chance to really have a chat, enjoy the many club exhibitions displaying the work of talented non-professionals and have the chance to see what our colleagues have on their stalls. This is never possible at a big show so it was a real pleasure.
As a bonus Freda led a team of great cake and coffee makers so we enjoyed terrific refreshments.
It's possible that in future this will be an annual event - which would be great - I'll let you know.

As you can see I'm either 'thinking' or more likely, contemplating the chocolate brownie behind my stand.....Celia, my workshop colleague took this sneaky picture when I wasn't looking as we set up in the morning - thanks mate! 
In the foreground you can see our joint Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops display stand, which attracted quite a lot of interest as we had crammed 15 original prototypes on there - not least from our husbands who never see the prototypes all together!
It was  crowded....... so we are now selling just a few as we're both running out of storage space.   If you might be interested, take a closer look at them on our website where you can see pictures of all the projects.

Those for sale are:
The Little Vintage Arbour in both 1/12th and 1/24th scales.
The Little Washing 1/12th scale
The Little Vintage Hall and The Other Room in 1/24th scale (sold together)
Let's Go Camping - Dollshouse and Miniature Scene Magazine 1/12th scale Project.

Do contact either of us if you'd like prices or more details - all but 'Let's Go Camping'  could be posted......the camping project could be collected from one of us in Thame, Oxon.

Many thanks to Felicity and Ron for a lovely day!

Thanks for looking

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Haddenham Dollshouse and Miniature Exhibition - This Saturday - 14th November day to go and after a bit of a rush, I think I'm ready!

If you are looking for one of my character dolls, do come early - as due to commissons and a busy workshop year I haven't found the time to make as many for the stand as usual.  We do have dolls in 1/12th, 1/24th and 1/48th scales and of course they're all fully pose-able and individually sculpted so each is a different little personality. Of course we have original furniture and accessories as always.
Must work hard this winter to rectify the dolls situation before The Thame Fair in February!!

A few of the 1/48th dolls coming along
I found a super metal wheelbarrow, handcrafted some years ago by a friend - it's nicely aged and filled with produce from the garden.  It's on the stand along with other original pieces for the garden.

After a lovely workshop year, creating and  making 'vintage' toys, I really thought I should bring a few along.

1/12th scale toys
1/24th scale Rocking Horse
If you're coming along, do come and say hello, and also take a look at the Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops display stand alongside Coombe Crafts that  I will be putting together with my 'partner in crime' Celia Thomas of  KT Miniatures.
We'll be happy to have a chat if you think you might enjoy one of our workshops, and are hoping to fit in nine or ten different unique project prototypes, and most of these will be in both 1/12th and 1/24th scales. 
We will have the popular 'Little Vintage Toyshop' and also 'Let's Go Camping...' which we created as a 'How to' feature or Dollshouse and Miniature Scene Magazine.

Let's Go Camping
Both Celia and I are fast running out of storage space so we are selling just a few of the prototypes - Let's Go Camping is one of these and would be a really versatile scene to have fun embellishing with little people or teddy bears for a great camping or picnic project.

I've been having a turn-out so there's a box of odds and ends too that I no longer have use for - come and have a rummage!

So it just remains to cross fingers that we shall raise a good sum for the two important charities, Hearing Dogs for Deaf  People and Thames Valley Air Ambulance.....and that the lady who makes such great coffee cake is helping with the refreshments....

Thanks for looking

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Skipping the Scales and the Centuries

I thought as the weather is distinctly soggy and the darker evenings don't exactly lift the spirits, that before I get back to showing the new characters, I'd kick off with a photo of some of the last roses, to cheer ourselves up.
The last of the 'Blue For You' roses
I don't often get the chance to make a 1/12th mechanic, previous ones have mostly been in 1/24th scale, so it's been fun to create this cheery chappie - with that wrench in his hands he must have a big job to work on.  Click on the pics. for bigger versions!

Whizzing back through the centuries to a 1/24th scale Tudor Merchant and his wife - if not rich, they do look fairly prosperous so I think they must be doing alright.  This has always been a popular period for Dolls Houses and there are some wonderful examples by artisans like Trigger Pond, whose work I adore. As a dollmaker it's also an great opportunity to indulge in some very different costuming, which I love.

I had a dig in the 'archives' and came up with this tudor group in the same scale - the main characters are wealthy, then we have a monk and a falconer.  The second picture is a 1/12th falconer and I remember being determined to get the falcon just right with authentic detail, especially important in that scale.

For those of you coming to Haddenham Dolls House Exhibition on 14th November - I'm sure you'll be happy to know that Dateman Books, Penny's Furniture and Shepherd Miniatures are also attending - as well as KT Miniatures of course, us, and individual and club sales tables.
If you come along please do come and say hello on the Coombe Crafts or Nostalgia in Miniature Workshop stands.
The organisers are hoping to arrange refreshments at the hall, but there is a local coffee shop nearby - and a lovely garden centre just up the road -  more up to date details on Ron and Felicity's Blog so keep an eye on it!

And finally - my lawn has a fantastic crop of big toadstools, which I find fascinating.  Sadly it's mostly an indication that it's badly drained - I don't mind.  Something clearly loves eating them, but I've yet to discover what. Some of the others in a different part have huge chunks chewed away. We'd rather have an interesting patch than a manicured sward and even had a wild orchid growing in it the summer - we're hoping it will come back and will check carefully before the lawnmower comes out...

Thanks for looking

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Gentle and Jolly ladies

The holiday is a pleasant memory - so back to work, some new characters and miniature news. 

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I was working on a little 1/24th scale nun - she's now been delivered and Carmen has sent some super pictures of her in her new setting.

 As you can see she's visiting an elderly lady and reading to her. Carmen creates such wonderful scenes and is happy that I share her photographs with you.  It was particularly nice to see Grandma again  in her beautiful home.

A rather jollier lady, in the same scale, is an old fashioned flower lady who would be selling her flowers in the local market - fun to make and a change guessed it....another little gardener!

I'm looking forward to Haddenham Dolls House Exhibition which takes place in Haddenham Village Hall on Saturday 14th November - just a couple of miles from Thame. Easy to get to by road or rail - 280 Oxford/Aylesbury bus or train to Thame and Haddenham Parkway which is close by away with taxi and bus stop just outside.

As well as impressive Dolls House Club displays that are always interesting and inspiring there are several sales tables and a splendid raffle raising funds for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Thames Valley Air Ambulance. I shall be there with my Coombe Crafts stand alongside KT Miniatures  - Celia Thomas who is Mrs KT being not only my chum, but partner in Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops which will have a table too, no doubt squeezed in the middle! Will be a hectic day but lots of fun.

On our Workshop stand we'll display of some of the unique projects we have created over the last four years and, simply because we are both fast running out of storage space, there will be a few of the unique prototypes for sale.
Thanks to Felicity and Ron who are the organisers of The Thame Dolls House and Miniatures Fair for  continuing this special event following in the very capable footsteps of Freda and George Dorrell who ran it for many years.

Nostalgia in Miniature Workshop news for 2016!! We were thrilled with the success and popularity of this year's 'The Little Vintage Toyshop' workshops and are busy working on The Early 1900s Little German Style Shop for next year.
If you'd like to know more about this one which  will be in both 1/24th and 1/12th scales again, come and have a chat at Haddenham or contact either of us if you would like to go on our Reserve List. This does not commit you to taking up a place but means that before booking is opened on the website in January you will offered a first opportunity to book. Further details can be found on our blog if click HERE

Thanks for looking.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Inspired by Dorset

We've recently spent a very happy short break on the south coast - Somerset, Dorset and Devon all run into and out of each other almost around the next corner on the road - they're all beautiful counties and it's been a treat to spend a while in this very beautiful coastal area.  The camera goes everywhere with me and I appreciate that as I can go a little mad .... I'll stick to sharing the more interesting/quirky and leave out the pretty ones.

Like many mini-house builders I'm fascinated by houses and other buildings and the sea front cottages at Lyme Regis were a positive delight and surprise. They're all so very pretty, but the big surprise was to find that so many were thatched!!

Just loved the street lamps too...

I haven't made a seaside cottage for ages and the last were in 1/24th scale with slate roofs inspired by the ones I knew while I was living in Cornwall, so I'm officially inspired to create a thatched  one in 1/48th scale!

We've been wanting to go to this lovely place for decades and just never got around to it - SO worth the wait.  Of course Lyme Bay itself, the harbour area and the famous Cobb are wonderful and I could definitely picture Jane Austin's ladies tripping through the town and the tragic lady on the Cobb.

The Cobb and harbour
We've all probably made or purchased a post box for our miniature scenes over the years but I was fascinated to discover one of the oldest in this country that dates from 1799 and is still in it's original place  - no red paint here.  I wonder when they were first painted red?

The Jurassic Coast of course is famous for fossils as well as beauty.  I looked....well we might have found one....but I cheated and bought a couple of little ones at the amazing Heritage Centre at Charmouth.

The cliffs and rocks sculped by the waves and weather are beautiful in their own right and as I love pebbles and beach-combing I was in my element. We had a lovely time and were so happy to see the number of school parties and their teachers having a wonderful time out there digging, getting muddy and learning at the same time. Great!
Somewhere in the shed I still have an old stone/pebble tumbler - now the question is, do I really have time to revisit that old hobby? No.o.o.o.....

Given that our fishermen work in such perilous conditions and under all kinds of challenging policy dictats it's always a treat to see working boats and the equipment of their labours as we did at both Lyme and West Bay. Glass, cork and natural rope may be a thing of the past but the modern equivalents no doubt do the job just as well (or better) and look just as striking.

Pity I could snap this without the cars....
You might have noticed something of an obsession with miniature shopes this year - so I couldn't resist taking pictures of this wonderfully preserved draper's shop in Ilminster - just as it was when it opened  in 1870.

Couldn't resist this fabulous statue of a violinist in a lovely garden.
Back to work then...

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Family from the Farm

Dollmaking has been going rather well lately and more little characters have been heading out to their new homes.

This little post-war family has just moved into their famhouse.  In 1/24th scale, children are always a bit more of a challenge but complete this little group.  Dad's already got his coat and hat on ready to get out there and tend the animals and no doubt when the girls have gone to school, his wife will be working just as hard alongside him.

In the same scale, a wife for the gamekeeper and a nun coming soon......

If you're a regular dropper-in to the blog you might remember I mentioned a surge in sailors this year......obviously these sea-going gents take a trunk with them then tuck away gifts for loved ones on their return journey.

This little 1/24th sailor's trunk contains such gifts and also his trusty spyglass, logbook, uniform and bible.  To judge by the map fixed into the lid, I'd say he was homeward bound via the West country ports. I just have two little trunks in stock - if you'd like details just email me. 

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bodies Everywhere...then there's the garden....

Before I can create some new characters, I get sculpting.  Before I can tame Mother Nature, who is winning in my garden at present, I need to try my best to ignore the distraction of autumn splendour.

I'm working on outstanding orders for 1/24th scale characters at the moment and I've just finished a cheery little gardener.  I'm hanging on to him for a week or so as his home isn't quite ready - meanwhile I could use him in my own garden.

These misty dew-drop mornings do make everything look magical; wonderful seed heads and berries and diamond-sprinkled gossamer spider webs.
However when I look a little closer I can see that I need to get out there -  and putting it brutally  - hack it back!!
A small wild rose clung to the fence when we moved in a few years ago - it was so lovely I thought I'd leave it for a bit. BIG mistake! Now it's a thug (still a very beautiful thug mind you), doing its best to tear down the fence and bash down the damson plum and tamarisk standing in it's way. Its thorns are fiercesome!

So I got out there with secateurs and thick find it covered in glowing orange rose hips.  I trimmed it a bit...I picked some hips as they look so beautiful.......I'll have another go next week......

As I said - the sculpting comes first.  In the back of my mind while I'm working are pictures of new characters. There are some 1/48th bodies in the box already and these in 1/24th scale are the beginnings of a new family which I'll hope to show you soon.

Thank you for looking.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Thank-you Weekend!

So... as if you haven't all been reading about our Nostalgia In Miniature Workshops for weeks... some final pictures and some big thank-you's.

It was such a super final workshop on Saturday - and even the sun shone - so thank you to the 13 ladies who travelled quite some distances to take part in 'The Little Vintage Toyshop' workshop. Also, so very much appreciated was their participation in our small raffle in aid of research into breast cancer. A total from the workshops this year will be forwarded to the charity before the end of the year.

We hesitate to publish full size photographs of our projects before everyone has taken part as it feels only fair that they see the project in completion first. But now we can.

The Shop Front 
The Window Display From Inside The Shop

The Back Shelves Full of Toys

And some pictures of the workshop day itself - with everyone really enthused and working so well - what a talented group!!  We had such a lovely and enjoyable day.

Before I go, another set of thank-you's to the Nostalgia in Miniature back-up team, without whom it wouldn't be possible,  and to all those lovely 'ordinary' people who run, walk, cycle and swim etc. in various organised fund-raisers for so many important and worthwhile charities up and down the country every weekend. Well done Jenny and Fi. Amazing!! Thank You!

Still on the charity theme but very definitely MINIATURES this time Felcity and Ron who organise the Thame Dolls House and Miniaures Fair each February have taken up the mantle to continue HADDENHAM DOLLSHOUSE & MINIATURES EXHIBITION on Saturday 14th November in Haddenham Village Hall.  This is a showcase for local clubs and individuals, includes sales tables a raffle and more - it's always a lovely day. Funds are raised for Hearing dogs for Deaf People and Thames Valley Air Ambulance.  Make a note - more details nearer the day.

We're into planning for the next workshop in outline and details of the Reserve List on Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops.  Now I really need to get back to dolls........

Thank you for looking

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Such A Treat In The Inbox!!

Yesterday's Inbox wasn't very exciting....the usual trivia from the supermarkets and budget hotels....but then a gem!!

Such a lovely email from Carmen ordering another interesting little character, but even better, such exceptional photographs of her own projects!! Thank you so much Carmen for allowing me to share these pictures.

I was really thrilled to see 'Penny Farthing Stores' again, one of my 1/48th scale village shops, now that she has installed our teeny furniture and weeny 1/48th characters. What excites me just as much is the wonderful collection and arrangement of individual items - from amazing miniscule bottles and jugs on the shelves to the wonderful fruit and vegetable baskets!! We just can't stop looking at the wonderful little scenes. Click on the pics. to enlarge.

And - just when you think it can't get any better - along comes the 1/24th scale Vicar visiting his sick parishioner!

I'm always delighted when my lovely customers send me pictures showing how they have incorporated our characters and other items into their own very special scenes.  Thank you all.