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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Thinking Ahead......Miniatures and Workshops...

Autumn has definitely arrived....we've picked the almonds (the squirrels have had the hazels), the borders are looking a little tired and we're into a big tidy up.  But looking ahead is exciting and apart from looking at spring bulb buying, this week I 'found' a half built tiny greenhouse, so that's my winter project, and my chum Celia of KT Miniatures is planning a Spring Workshop. Yay!!

The greenhouse  needs a wall behind it, glazing, doors fixed, flagstones laid - OH yes, plants. I'm at the thinking know how it goes. So I'll tell you what Celia has been up to instead!

The summer of 2016 saw me (and Coombe Crafts) retire after around thirty years of very happy miniature trading, it was also the saddest time as our dear friend Dave, Celia's lovely husband, passed.  It was therefore the right time for us to close the doors on our joint Nostalgia in Miniature Workshops after many happy years of working together.

I always hoped that when the time was right she would pick up the baton and continue with workshops, as she has so much to offer as an inspirational teacher with a wealth of knowledge and expertise to share in friendly workshop setting. I'm sure if you attended any of our workshops you will agree and I know many were hoping she would carry on.
I'm just so delighted that she has decided to continue under her own KT Miniatures Workshop banner and am excited to see what she is planning and very happy to share some of the details with you.

At this stage she is keen to hear from anyone who might be interested - no commitment. She is hoping for the same  Bicester, Oxfordshire venue and  plans on using the same ethos and basis as we did at the previous workshops ie. all are welcome, beginners and experienced miniaturists alike. Plus using ordinary everyday materials, as well as alternative techniques to create beautiful miniatures. 

She has a rather super project in mind of a freestanding antique German style kitchen. It would have two sides, a back and a base plus separate pieces of furniture - in 1/12th scale. (The base shape will not be too dissimilar to the project we made last year ie. The Early 1900s German Style Shop).   
The real antique miniature German kitchens and accompanying furniture cost hundreds of pounds these days, and are becoming as rare as hens teeth to get hold of! This particular project should be quite versatile and adaptable, and you will have plenty of scope to put your own imagination and as much creativity into it as you please so this particular project may appeal to both antique and vintage dolls house collectors, as well as miniaturists alike.

One of the German shops from 2016
For more information, contact Celia or receive KT Miniatures Newsletter go to
To whet your appetite you may like to look again at some of the projects from our Nostaglia in Miniature Workshops  - a  trip down memory lane for me. Go to KT Miniatures archive pages

I'll pop along on the day to hand out the paint and glue, and make encouraging noises......

Thank you for looking

Monday, September 11, 2017

In Praise of William Morris ...and a lovely outing.

My summer (varying between hot and soggy) has mostly been spent in my garden trying to restore some semblance of order - and very nice it's been too! Now and again we've trundled off for a visit to somewhere interesting and inspiring which I have to say does whet the 'miniature' appetite.  Kelmscott Manor  in the village of Kelmscott near Lechlade in West Oxfordshire was the country home of William Morris and is just such a place.
For anyone interested in the Arts and Crafts Movement it is definitely a 'go to'!

Kelmscott itself is a delightful little village off the beaten track close by the river Thames, with beautiful cottages, village hall and medieval church.  The Society of Antiquities of London acquired the Manor in 1960s and to their huge credit have restored and furnished the property in the most sympathetic and exemplary manner. So many of the furnishings, be they furniture or tapestries, embroideries, ceramics or printed works were collected and placed there by Morris's family so that there is an absolute sense of the man, his colleagues, family, friends and his times.

Very generously photography is allowed, although no flash. Regretfully I couldn't seem to get my camera to understand this flash thingy so I limited myself to outside pictures of the manor itself - which is a late C16th early C17th gem.  However if you love this period or are interested in William Morris, his family, friends and colleagues, do go to the website for a real treat and many pictures of his work and the interiors of the property.

We came away so inspired and also learnt so much of his versatility and that of his family. For instance, the wonderful Morris design for 'Honeysuckle' - used in wallpaper and fabrics surprised me that it was actually a design by his daughter May and we were all struck by the amount of design work carried out and inspired by him that was undertaken by his wife and daughters who were immensely talented ladies.  I do wish I'd taken a photo of the fantastic three-seater privy, outside which is a garden full of strawberries....there is a wonderful story that he sat there and watched a thrush stealing his strawberries, which inspired his 'Strawberry Thief' design!
I must ask Celia if she took one.

The road to the Manor is bordered by willow trees so it it easy to see where his inspiration for that design came from, and the short walk through the village from the car park is lovely.
A unique specially designed stone slab fence alongside fields is stunning.

He was a man who inspired and encouraged others, and was also influenced by them.  He and his family commissioned work  by other artists and artisans and were influential in setting up a number of important businesses, groups and organisations.  After his death his wife and family arranged for the building of the village hall and two cottages designed by Webb and Gimson to commemorate him.  The beautiful carved stone relief on a cottage is a tribute to the man himself.

The Morris family are buried in the village churchyard - commemorated by a beautifully designed tombstone by Philip Webb. The C11th Church of St George is itself very special and is justly proud of the restoration of the medieval wall paintings, and well worth a visit.

The three of us had a wonderful day - I hope you have had some good times lately as well, there is so much that others are having to endure on the other side of the world at this time.

Thank you for looking