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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

It's All About The Weather!!!

Well here in Oxfordshire it's been raining - heavy, heavy deluge type rain!! Clearly it's been doing the same elsewhere to judge by the number of us who've been complaining that our beautiful paeonies and roses have been battered to bits.
So it's out of the garden and back to the workbench.

An elderly little lady (1/12th scale of course) has been waiting for her new easy chairs - not too posh, comfortable and upholstered in nice hardwearing material.  So the Coombe Crafts workshops swung into action to fullfill this last furniture order before shutting up shop.  Hope she likes them.

There are creatures who have flourished in this weather - unfortunately in my garden!! The slugs and snail have marched in battalions and have chewed their way through some of my prettiest plants and flowers.  I hate the pesky creatures!
I'm hoping that the frogs who live in my tiny ponds.....I call them ponds but really they're vintage wash tubs....will jump out and redress the balance.

Talking of ponds - this beautiful and also tiny water lily has just flowered.  Perfect!

I've also seen a very precious wild flower here in Oxfordshire, although I won't say exactly where - this is a Bee Orchid one of our rarer wild plants. Up close it looks like a little bee settling on a flower.
Sadly this beautiful wild plant has disappeared from many of its natural locations, as have many others of course and there are lots of reasons for this, including unscrupulous 'collectors' who dig up plants, often destroying the habitat.

Fishermen don't seem to mind rain, and a little fisherman is my last commission before I down tools and I hope to show him to you in another blog.....then I shall have to think which little character will be the first one to create, just for me.

In my last blog I mentioned and pictured my Staghorn Fern that I was endeavouring to repot.  Almost the next day I was stopped in my tracks to see the most wonderful miniature Staghorn Ferns on Illona's blog...I run out of superlatives to describe her exquisite talent so do take a look at her blog on

Thank you for looking

Sunday, June 12, 2016

So What Shall I Do Next??

First I have to say a huge thank you for the kind comments and emails from so many lovely miniature friends after announcing my imminent retirement as a professional miniaturist - I'm quite overwhelmed.

I've been trying to get the last bits and pieces sorted for our workshop on 2nd July, organise 'last orders' and tackle a few essential gardening tasks while the sun shone. We did manage to give the strawberries a nice straw bed to ripen on before the rain came down again and the blackbirds bagged the lot!

I dragged yards and yards of goosegrass (cleavers) out of the borders - so much that it rolled up into bales!
The garden looks great if you don't look too closely - in this first picture believe it or not that's a tall ancient chimney pot filled with houseleeks (sempervivum) disappearing where the border is supposed to meet lawn....and there are some lilies in there somewhere.

When we originally laid out the garden from scratch we created a series of 4 different 'rooms' leading one into another but not to be visible all at once, in time. WELL that bit is true anyway!!!

Finally after months of looking at it hanging in the conservatory where it was getting larger and larger and being scorched near the glass roof, I found time to tackle my Stag Horn Fern.

 It took hefty cutters and the bread knife to get it out of its pot after which I crossed my fingers hoping that I wouldn't kill it and took the bread knife to it again and chopped out a big chunk to repot separately.

 Now I've got two and it looks better than ever, or will do when the scorched leaves are replaced with new ones.

Digging around in my 'archives' checking details for the new doll I need to make in a day or two, I came across Geppetto and Pinocchio, a particularly favourite commission in 1/12th scale I created about 10 years ago.

 As doll makers we all try to improve our skills but I think he stands up to the test of time fairly well and I know he's still in his workshop on the South Coast.

Thank you for looking

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Times They Are A'Changing.... Special Announcement

On Saturday Celia Thomas, my partner in Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops, and I hosted our  workshop with a lovely group of miniaturists at Bicester Avenue Garden Centre. It featured our latest workshop  - 13 different ones in all since we began.
On 2nd July we shall  do it all again...and then I said......times are changing


This spring I had what is deemed a 'significant' hands and wrists caused problems again making it difficult to sculpt for any sustained length of time...the old back played up.....I realised I'd had a great run for over 30 years and loved every minute of it, but had neglected my much loved garden recently and hadn't got around, for yet another year, to do any 'me' things on the famous 'to do' list.  Hmmm......

I think that's what you'd call a decision made for me - so I've decided to retire as a professional miniaturist.
I have a lovely commission to finish but cannot  undertake further commissions and I'll stop trading during July sometime. The miniature doors on Coombe Crafts will be closing with huge thanks to our many wonderful friends and customers.  Of course it will take a while to sort out closing the website (too technical for me...need help) tweaking this blog and such 'stuff' and there is some (mostly 1/24th scale) stock if anyone would like to enquire.

I plan to keep Blogging so I hope  you may stay with me to see more of my garden, cats, 'archive' miniatures pics. and whatever I manage to get up to in miniature for myself. Apart from anything else I love your fantastic Blogs!

So - that's  the Coombe Crafts announcement.

Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops has been around since 2011 - 13 different workshop projects, some repeated two or three times,  and a number of magazine features and 'How To' projects.  Celia and I have had a great time - it's been such fun bouncing ideas off each other and coming up with original projects using very ordinary materials in innovative ways using our different but complementary skills.  We've had such a ball, made lovely new friends and we hope inspired a few along the way!!

My own decision happens to coincide with a particularly tough time for Celia and her family.  Many of you know that her lovely husband is seriously ill and 2016 is an especially testing year.  SO - time to close the little doors on Nostalgia in MiniatureWorkshops  too after the next workshop.
I very much hope that things will improve for them and that another time Celia will pick up workshops again; she's still got lots to offer  and is only a 'youngster' - I'll volunteer if she needs a sweeper upper.... so do keep an eye on  KT Miniatures website.

Let me end this blog with pictures from our Saturday workshop and thank all the ladies for their fun and enthusiasm  - they all worked really hard and should be proud of their acheivements.  We look forward to seeing what emporia the little shops become in due course and of course look forward to seeing another group of talented miniaturists in July.  There are more workshop pictures on our Nostalgia in Miniatures Workshops  Blog if you want to see what Janet and Celia were waiting to see unveiled. .......

Thank you all for looking