Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a Goodnight!

2 sleeps to go and it is time for the last project. 
I hope you enjoy it.

Look after yourselves, those you love and those who need your care over this Christmas period.

Best wishes, 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The busiest time of the year...

Sometimes I think I need to begin organising Christmas things in January, then I might actually be ready when the festive season comes around! Procrastination is another unfortunate skill I am expert in. Fortunately for these projects, Mouse (the very organised organiser) had set a deadline for 15th November (mine were in by the 23rd) so even though I am a day or two late here, Week 3 was ready to go.
 Please enjoy making your own feather tree for your mini tabletop.

I'll see you again with the final project in less than a week.  

Welcome to those who have called by. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A week closer to Christmas

and another Advent project:

click on the link above for the printable instructions

Please enjoy 
 Welcome to my new followers.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat

(And sadly not only the geese!) 

Such a long time away although I have been keeping up with you through the blog list on my side bar. My blogging mojo is still hiding and what better time to try to revive it than the busiest month of the year!

'Mouse' over at the Dolls House Emporium forum organised us into photos to share for a DHE advent calendar  and I have created quick and easy projects, with (hopefully) easy to find materials for my 4 'doors' which I want to share with my blogging friends as well. 

Week 1 is an Advent Wreath  although as Christmas has fallen on Sunday this year, throwing all my calculations out, you will need to 'light' 2 candles to begin! Click on the link for a PDF print out of the instructions. Embellish away! 

Welcome to everyone who has called by (and stayed!) while I have been absent. It has been lovely to see some of the amazing work you do - both in mini and in real life. 

While clicking links, you need to visit Jennifer's blog for the most glorious pampering give away!

Monday, July 25, 2011

More welcomes and some vintage luggage

One of my friends bought this beautiful thing on ebay and had it shipped to Australia. I'm the current custodian (long story) until we can get it on it's final leg to her house (10 minute drive away - no rush :D). I just love it but would never have room for one so of course I decided to make one in mini for Mrs Hollyhock - Mr Hollyhock will get a different model eventually but their house has the same problem as mine and even at 1:12 scale they take up a lot of space in a tiny house! 

My mini version

I love compartments!
Now to introduce and welcome some more followers:

Marlene from Somerset House is busily working and modifying her DHE Montgomery Hall using quality materials which is looking pretty well perfect plus being filled with wonderful handmade treasures from her clever fingers. Marlene also has a cross stitch/craft blog Poppy Patchwork where you can see more of her creations. I was her lucky 200th follower so will also have a gorgeous Marlene rug for my house. Thank you!

Maria Ireland is another who likes to create her own furnishings and accessories, with new and recycled materials and using what comes to hand with marvellous results. I've only seen one room of her pretty dolls house so far but can say that she risks being over run by  delightful friendly looking bears in her real home!

You will find Carmen busily crafting away at My Little Escape. Her little accessories and furnishings are delightful and I was especially delighted to come across her 'room in a lantern' as I had done one for a friend's birthday earlier this year. Lots of lovely and clever ideas here.

I can't find a blog for you, Ana Camara so welcome and please get in touch with details if you are blogging.

If you are looking for unusual minis, visit Craftland where you will find unique items such as 12th scaled cardboard egg cartons and tiny waffles plus unique and very small polymer handbags. She is also expert at finding the perfect items at fleamarkets!

Cris Colas  works in all scales and is full of things she has created with tips on how you can create the same. Her grandmother is equally creative, crocheting the sweetest tiny blankets and pillows for Cris.

Maria I. shares fascinating histories told in a romantically poignant fashion in Miniature city. Queen Victoria, Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson and more are all covered here. For more of her artwork, with workshops of how she achieves these, visit miniarte dementeamano

Congratulations Maria Luisa for the special occasion which has just taken place in your life! Maria loves all things mini and has the most stunning collection made by friends and family. Tears nearly came to my eyes when I saw the exquisite wedding scenes - both real and mini. May you have much happiness.

Ingrid's blog, my dream world is exactly as it sounds. From the tiny stars following the cursor it is full of pretty and romantic things which Ingrid has made based on her love of French brocante. One of those really lovely blogs that looks so effortless but it's effects so hard to achieve.

I always feel uplifted after seeing so much talent and beauty.  
Welcome to you all and I hope you enjoy my projects as well. I'm not being allowed to follow anyone right now, so will be back to visit and add myself to your lists.

Welcome also to my newer followers. I will introduce you next time I blog. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lots of welcoming to do!

My followers have returned so while I can see you, I'll grab the chance to say welcome and introduce you to my other followers.  With lots of internet problems happening, I switched recently to Chrome rather than Firefox and while I am missing a few things from Firefox, I am loving the automatic translation offered on each Chrome page!

Beginning most recently is Melissa with her projects of varying scales. Her fabric creations, clothing and hats are inspirational and even more impressive when you realise that she scales them down from real life patterns. She is lucky to have a creative father as well who makes furnishings for her.

Next is Tony of Miniature Treasures. The work of this recent comer to miniatures has to be seen to be believed! I hope he doesn't mind, I am borrowing a pic from his blog as an example. Even more impressive is that his creations are made from timber from authentic tudor buildings and in his blog you will see photos of the building. He has finely polished detailed pieces as well which you can't believe are miniatures.

Eliana at terrados gigantes creates lovely homely scenes with perfectly detailed accessories - her tomatoes have to be seen to be believed. I haven't been able to translate this blog, but with so many pictures to admire, words aren't really necessary. I loved her real life cat pics as we also had a much loved ginger darling who would hide in boxes exactly as her cat does.

I think Snowfern must have a dollshouse as she has some lovely miniatures. I need to keep reading, but that isn't any hardship because what does feature on her blog are photos and photos of some of the most stunning miniature creations by other artisans (all correctly acknowledged) If you ever need some inspiration but can't be bothered googling, visit this blog!

Georgie Steeds doesn't show up with a blog, but I know that she has one because I linked to it 2 posts ago! She is the creator of stunning flower kits - her snowdrops featuring in the aforementioned post with her link.

To catch up with the Merriweather family, you will need to visit Lilac Hill.  Here Viv, an ex high fashion model,  is renovating her family home (with some help from Caraloo I suspect). It is looking charming and I wouldn't mind relaxing in the gazebo with them.

Jeanette Fishwick also appears blogless although her baby doll in her avatar is a tantalising hint that she has some lovely pieces to show.

The food at Valentina's mini bonbons is to die for! Lots of sweet and sugary confections for the afternoon tea table as well as savouries for yummy meals. These are not limited to your dolls house either - you can enjoy this food all day as earrings or other pieces of jewellery and can be found in her etsy shop.

Haid doesn't have a blog at this point either but you can follow her story of the making of a classic Australian home being lived in and decorated in contemporary style (and it is stylish!) at Somerville House at the Dolls House Emporium

Sonya has a collection of ongoing houses at cannella E Melograno most recent posts featuring gorgeous homely shabby style accessories and furnishings for her American house and a good amount of international travel squeezed in as well.

Teruka and Helen also don't seem to have blogs.

I really enjoyed seeing Narina's bits and pieces although the translator wasn't as proficient with Finnish as could be desired. She is building a dollshouse from cardboard in the same way that we used to when I was a child (and the way I believe children should still be making them, rather than being presented with a completed project requiring no creative input). Her house is far more professional than the ones I remember making  though and I wouldn't have realised it's humble origins had I just seen the first few pictures!

Oh no! My computer overheated and this was all that was saved  :(.

It's still warm, so I will continue when I can get back with my other welcomes.

Have a lovely week.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside

But it is lovely and cosy inside Hollyhock Cottage now that we have 2 working fireplaces. (That is if you ignore the total absence of an entire front wall and half a roof)
To make this a quick post because I won't get to it otherwise, I  finally have something I can show off after having been pottering for ages on lots of bits that lead nowhere.

This fire is in the sitting room and has borrowed from another favourite author - LM Montgomery from her 'Anne' series with a set of green spotted Staffordshire dogs " Gog looks to the right and Magog to the left" supplied by my favourite phoenix model developments ready for painting.

This fire was exciting to light  as it was assembled using a flickering led kit from Evan Designs and it actually flickers spasmodically! Rest your head horizontally on a cushion for comfortable viewing:

The bedroom fire is a bit less exciting being lit only by an orange led for a warm glow but it is cosy and still a thrill

All the bits, apart from those mentioned and the sitting room andirons which I bought last year on offer from my beloved Dolls House Emporium (and also on offer this month for 85p!), were made by myself from what I had to hand - cardboard, twigs etc. I enjoyed the challenge of seeing what I could make do with. Next post will be the floor which follows the same recycling theme:

Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without! 

Welcome to all my new and invisible followers. One day we will catch up.

Must go - work has bellowed for my presence and this computer is possibly breathing it's last few gasps.

Cheers, Christine

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Life is a garden of flowers

Over the last few weeks I have been indulging in a serious bout of self pity. It's not a pastime I usually get into, but I have found that I have a real talent for it! 49 years wasted when I could have been honing this skill and may by now have even been running workshops- 'Misery: how to make sure you have the worst time'.  

Nothing lasts forever though and even while I was putting all my concentration into being unhappy, I found outside influences kept distracting me. One distraction was from Laura at my wee life who was lovely enough to send me a bunch of snowdrops... and intelligent enough to make me assemble them! I am thrilled with the results - they are fiddly and I almost fainted when I saw all the tiny die cut petals  (fortunately Georgie Steeds at  the miniature garden includes spares) but very satisfying.

A few weeks previously I had made a garden room with a pink geranium for my garden/shabby mad friend

so was inspired to make a few pots of red geraniums for the (yet unbuilt) kitchen window sill at Hollyhock Cottage in the best tradition of Enid Blyton.

Luckily my dolls house geranium making skills are an improvement on my geranium growing. This plant is the result of years of nurture!

If you want to make your own geraniums, here is how I made mine:

Hole punches - you will need a 6 petalled flower approximately 1cm across for the leaves (I also had a smaller one for smaller leaves but this is optional ) a small 5 petalled flower (I used the smallest on this corner punch) and an optional small star for the bit under the flower head - you can also cut a rough star with nail scissors.

Paper in colour of flowers and leaves or paint in colours for same

Stylus (embossing tool to give leaves and flowers shape)

Polystyrene food mat to emboss against

Fine paper covered cake wire and green paint (you will need the green paint to splodge on the leaves and the flower head base as well

Polystyrene balls from a bean bag - assorted sizes.

Tacky glue 

Felt pen in a shade darker than the flower colour

Scissors, tweezers, pot and clay or oasis, used (dry)tea leaves

For a full pot you will need around 3 - 5 flower heads and 15-20 leaves.

Cut leaves and lots of flowers.
Gently shape each flower by pushing in the middle with your embossing tool onto your mat and mark the centre with the felt tip pen.
Snip a small wedge at one of the indents of the leaf shapes and shape by embossing a line from each indent to the centre.
Cut flower head cake wires approximately 1 1/2 -2 inches and leaf cake wires 1 - 11/2 inches. 
Push the flowerhead wire onto a polystyrene ball  and paint green (you can use your embossing mat to hold the pieces as they dry)
Fold one end of each of the leaf wires 1/8th inch over as pictured and glue onto the leaf so that the stem comes from the snipped section. When dry dab a smudge of colour in a rough circle on top of the leaf. You can be more adventurous for more decorative geraniums.

Using a pin, push a hole in your star and squeeze onto the flower stem to the polystyrene ball (I'm not sure this is really needed, so you can decide)

Dip your painted geranium head into tacky glue and beginning at the top centre add flowers to form the flower head - tweezers are very useful here! 

When all is dry, put some air drying clay into your pot with a covering of used tea leaves, and begin pushing the geranium leaves into place, bending the stems slightly as needed. Add the flowers last ranged around the centre. 

I sprayed mine when finished with a matt varnish (the flash makes it shiny) for a bit more durability)

I had planned on welcoming people next time I blogged, but again my blogger list has gone into hiding.
Welcome anyway and I hope you enjoyed your visit!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Giveaway winner!

I've been a bit lazy and pottered around yesterday instead of doing important tasks like drawing a giveaway, but tonight my conscience nagged loudly enough to make me get the names printed out and organise my helpers.

 Winner chosen by dark haired Sally with her eyes closed. (I can't trust Dolly to close hers!)

and it is Irene!

If you can get in touch with your details, please Irene, 
I will be able to get your parcel off to you.

Thank you everyone who entered,
I wish I could have sent you all a prize.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Year of Blogging, nearly 200 Followers and a Giveaway.

I can't believe that I am still blogging after a whole year! Maybe not as frequently as I could, but I am still here and even more amazing are the nearly 200 people who have chosen to look in at what I am doing! In celebration and to thank you I thought I would have a small party, so the drinks have come out and the cheeses. 

Unfortunately the spirits are locked into their mahogany tantalus and the cheese has been sitting around for a couple of weeks (since the 4th May my actual anniversary) so has gone a little hard. There doesn't seem to be any biscuits left to have with the cheese and the grapes rather bring 'Type 2 Bristol Scale' to mind but the upside is that anything not eaten or drunk forms the giveaway! 
(assuming you would still like to win it)

If you are a follower, please leave a comment so that I know you are interested in being included in this giveaway which will be drawn on the last day of Australian May. All items have been made by me, the bottles can be removed as you can see and the real life Camembert currently in use as the party table is not included, but the lace table cloth is.

If you aren't tempted by wine and food and scintillating company, you can dip into some books the family have left around. Admittedly most are children's books, but who doesn't like to relive a few moments of childhood occasionally! These aren't being given away, this family treasures it's books, however you can find your own copies to make here: Anniversary-books-1-12

Thank you very much for being my followers and the encouragement you give.

to my new followers, and on the way please admire the tree dahlia in our garden. Far from mini, tree dahlias soar 15 feet into the sky from a small piece of stem and give delight when the rest of the garden is resting.

Rocio who I can't find a blog for

Elis  with lots of links from a recent Fair to drool over as well as the most delightful minis she has made herself. I love the gumboots and shoes.

Celia Thomas at K T Miniatures with her blog and online shop full of real 30s and 40s dollshouses and accessories as well as her amazingly evocative reproduction pieces of the same era. Many an hour I have lost salivating over her vintage houses! 
The old geezer who I have noticed on a few blogs lately, spreading his inspirational life story and message.
Lies from Amsterdam and her Canal House 'Canal Keizersgracht 99' and an excellent eye for detail.

Rosamargarita at1:24 scale La Tapatia with so many tiny bits to look at

Jennifer and her delightful plush animals plus childhood dollshouse.

Thank you for following and I plan to get around to your blogs for a closer look as I am able.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My wonderful prize!

My wonderful prize from Chrissey's giveaway has arrived and is soooo beautiful!

Ausralia Post tends to be a bit laid back about delivering mail to far out places such as Toowoomba... or anywhere that isn't Sydney so it was a rather anxious wait, perhaps more so for Chrissey who isn't familiar with our mail service and even for me when the delivery pattern varied from the norm. 

Local Mail Service: Brisbane toToowoomba:  "Hey Bruce, here's a parcel for Chrissy down Toowoomba way. Can you go pop it in her letter box, mate..."  Bruce the Postie sets off on foot, becomes sidetracked by a beautiful woman, finds himself stranded in the Nullabor where he has to fight drop bears and crocs, ends up in hospital after a snake bite and hands the parcel to another postal worker who remembers it a year later and delivers it next time he is passing by.

International Mail Service: UK to Brisbane 2 days on plane. Brisbane to Toowoomba: '"Crikey Bruce, Chrissy's got a parcel from England. Must be important - they sent it Airmail! Better get that to her- catch the bus to save time, mate..." 3 hours later the parcel is on my doorstep!

And now the moment for unveiling:

My photography just doesn't do these gorgeous items justice! They are soooo beautiful (I know I've said that, but I could say it a dozen times and may get close to describing how lovely these are) Even better, they are perfect for both my 1940s Hollyhock Cottage where Mrs Hollyhock would certainly have had a nightdress case and a tray of beautiful bottles with perfumes and beauty aids and my, so far imaginary, shabby cottage.

Thank you so much Chrissey!

With so much change going on in my life recently and the need to keep things together, I haven't been visiting as many blogs as I normally would, so, while I still hope to get around and visit all my new followers, after a lot of agonising I have realised that I'm not able to welcome each new follower individually as has been my habit so far.
The blogs I have seen are amazing. As always I am awed by the creative talent out there and the passion roused as we create our perfect mini worlds.


Suzeeez with everything I love and her new 'blog sisters' project

Sharon Larkin,  minimariba,  mindymax,  

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ups and downs

Life is full of ups and downs and turns in the road. Some you know are coming while others are delightful (or not) surprises.  I had a delightful surprise recently when I won a giveaway on Chrissey's blog - my minature world. Delightful because I really enjoy her work and love the things she makes and a surprise because I hadn't entered and discovered it when checking on her latest projects! Chrissey had popped her followers in a hat and drawn a winner and I was the lucky one. We have exchanged emails and I will show my prize off when it finishes it's international journey and reaches me. 

At times these unexpected gifts mean more than they would at other times. A twist in the road saw the end of my 26 year marriage and 12 hours later I was told that not only had my relatively harmless basal cell skin cancer returned but it had been joined by the more serious melanoma. 

I don't really know what else to say so will close with Max Ehrmann's 

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Passion for Plates

Hi again, I couldn't last the month without doing some mini-ing and plates are an excellent 'front of the TV at night' project.

After books I have a passion for china. I have no idea how much I own - it hangs on walls, fills cupboards, overflows into the bathroom and laundry and garden. 

I am strict about not getting more (40 or so trios is already probably more than I will ever use) and as most of my love is china from the 1930s, my dolls house was the obvious place to keep 'collecting'.

Willow from dinner size to dollshouse size

Given my lack of control when faced with china, I decided to make my own for the cottage so I could have whatever I wanted ...and lots of it! Some of these I could never dream of owning in real life but Mr and Mrs Hollyhock Cottage (they will have a name one day) were lucky enough to number among their wedding gifts Clarice Cliff and Royal Doulton 'Pansies' sandwich sets, a Grindley dinner set, Art Deco display plates and  Royal Winton chintz. This in addition to inherited Victorian transferware and flow blue pieces and oddments from Mrs HC's 'bottom drawer'.

  Some bits have even inspired me to think about a second cottage! Something pretty and shabby...

The history behind the much loved English china we treasure today is fascinating and when you realise the human cost behind it, it becomes much more precious. Child labour (15 hour days), plumbism (lead poisoning), potter's rot (silicosis) along with immorality and drunkeness were commonplace. Even those locals not working in the industry had a shortened life expectancy as they breathed the poisonous air belching from the approximately 4000 kilns of the Potteries. Interesting reading is The 1840 Scriven Report on Child Labour in The Potteries

If you have a china obsession that you need therapy for, follow these steps:
1. Fill a page of Word with clear images of your desired pieces. You can format them to the size you want here and adjust brightness and colour. I usually copy 2 of each plate as my printer is prone to adding stripes or splodges and it doubles my chance of getting a good copy. Print out a sample page to double check and then print again onto light card - photo paper is fine but not necessary - my printer objected to it.Spray with a matt paper sealer and allow to dry.
For inspiration you can visit online gift stores or museums.

2. If you want round plates, scrapbooking punches are wonderful but if you don't have any, curved nail scissors used carefully will give you a lovely scalloped edge. The joy of these plates is that you can have whatever shape you want! Cut a coloured copy of each plate and a plain copy from light card.

If you are not using a punch, it is easiest to glue the cut coloured top onto the uncut plain card then cut the plain back carefully around the coloured top. If you are really inspired you can print a page of backstamps to cut your backs from! Glue the front and back together with a dry glue stick and tuck under a heavy phone book while you cut some more out.

When dry enough not to separate, but not entirely dry, pop the plate on top of plastic circle template choosing a circle size to form the indented centre of the plate. With the rounded polished end of a paintbrush or a large embossing tool (mine came from the markets and I think may have started it's life in millinery) carefully push the ball point around the circle to give the plate shape. You can do this under the plastic circle template onto a foam mat, but I found the first method more effective (if you need an irregular shape, a mat is excellent without a template). The sides may crinkle as you go - just push them back flat with your embossing tool. Don't worry if it isn't looking exciting yet.

Now for the part reminiscent of Victorian pottery hazards. Open all windows and give the top of your plates a coat of nail varnish. When dry, varnish the back. Repeat until you have a lovely gloss level, I found 3 front coats and 2 back coats to be effective. When the varnish has hardened run along the edge with a gold paint pen and you are finished!

It is very addictive!

Cups and saucers are metal from Phoenix Model Developments I did try a quilled cup but wasn't thrilled with it- maybe someone else can perfect it and share the technique. Mugs were rolled paper and need a bit more work too.

While I have been 'away' a few people have called by and added their names to my followers list, so Welcome:

Leny at lediteds who, as you may have guessed, makes and loves bears and other lovable soft toys. While her bears are adorable, I am taken with her dogs which are really cute and different.

Miniami keeps a running blog of the projects she works on herself and at her club and inspirational they are too! Go and browse Mirels blog and come out feeling like creating.

Tonight is one of those nights when google translate pushes my poor computer to the edge of crashing so while I can see the most wonderful pictures of food on Il CucchiainoMagico I don't know the stories behind it so will have to call by again.

Mieke's petite victorian rose is full of beautiful Victorian minis which would be wonderful in a modern shabby cottage. I just love looking at the pretty things others make so I loved this blog.

Astrid's blog is a feast of delightful and romantic bear themed  pictures - what a winning combination!

I doubt that Caterina  needs any introduction as she is seen everywhere, inspiring and encouraging. Sadly, her blog is another I love but doesn't love my computer so to get in is a special treat and I was smiled on the other day when I finally was able to add myself to her followers list and see her amazing BOOKS! Wow!

After many varied careers Kathy at Wee Little West has settled down o maing mini cakes and looking at them I think it is what she was born to do. They would be stunning in 1:1 scale - shrink them to 1:12 and they are amazing. As a bonus Kathy has a giveaway for her followers ending on Saturday so head over to visit.

Thank you for following me and I hope you enjoy what you read here.