Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I thought you might like a tiny taste of Christmas in New Zealand, so here is a picture of the Pohutukawa Tree.... here it is known as the New Zealand Christmas tree.

It is a coastal tree and flowers with these beautiful red blossoms every Christmas.
Most kiwis will spend some time sitting in a shade of a giant pohutukawa down at the beach at some time during the Christmas holidays.
Christmas is the start of summer holidays for us - last Christmas Eve our family spent the day at the beach and we're looking forward to lots more of that this year! It's way nicer than last minute Christmas shopping!

So for those of you who are having a white Christmas, chuck some snow around for me and I promise to wriggle my toes in the sand for you!

May you and your family have the most wonderful Christmas ever!

with lots of love from a kiwi girl in New Zealand!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas is coming early!

It feels as though Christmas is coming early at the Shabby Cottage. Last week I opened a parcel to find the most beautiful little miniatures, which had been sent by Iris (Lataina). She hasn't got a blog for you to read (maybe we can talk her into it!!). I was amazed at all the little things she has made. These are her first attempt at minis, so I am most impressed!

Iris had included some absolutely gorgeous little birdhouses to add to the "birdhouse wall". I just love them. She is certainly a dab hand with the crackle glaze and has an eye for putting colours together.

Among the presents was this absolutely stunning little peg board for the little boy's room. It is so beautifully done! And Iris even went to the trouble to find out what the New Zealand flag looked like and has painted an approximation of it on the sails of the little boat. Iris - thank you so much - this is so lovely.

....AND THEN....

... a couple of days later, before I had even had a chance to put any pictures or thank yous on this blog, ANOTHER box arrived from Iris, with more amazing little minis!

You can see how good she is at crackle paint effects - this little tub is just gorgeous with its pretty pink and blue.

And it is just the right size to fit these flowers! You can also see Jenn's cute little birds egg soaps, which I don't think I've shown you before.

Iris made all these tiny pencils!! They look adorable in the little boy's room.

Here is a photograph showing all the little birdhouses. My father visited in the weekend and said that they were all too close together because birds are teritorial and don't like to use nesting boxes which are too close together, so I have spread them out a bit. I'm not sure if imaginary miniature birds are as fussy as real birds.

It was my friend Dorothee who inspired me to want a wall of birdhouses. She has made some for her cottage (we all made a cottage from the same kit)....this is picture of her cottage wall with its birdhouses.
And when she saw that I had started adding birdhouses to my cottage, she brought these ones round as a gift! Thank you Dorothee!

So you can see that Christmas has come early for the Shabby Cottage, with all of these lovely things arriving recently.

I haven't forgotten the tour of my first dollshouse - I will show you the living room next....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wow, Frederica!

I couldn't believe my eyes the other day when I opened a little envelope that arrived in the mail and out popped a whole lot of treasures from Frederica!!

She had sent a whole lot of lovely little presents - they are so sweet and I can see that the little brocante shop she is working on must be absolutely gorgeous with these lovely little things inside! She had made the most beautiful hand knitted cardigan, complete with tiny buttons and pretty silk ribbon threaded through! I took it to work and everyone was amazed, even though they are not miniaturists. It really seems as though everyone has a fascination with tiny things, and can appreciate beautiful work when they see it! And there was even a tiny knitted hat to go with it!

Some of the other things Frederica sent were these little bottles on a lovely aged tray and there are even gift tags and cards included!

I feel so lucky - I must admit I had really really longed for a little cardigan like the ones I had seen on Frederica's blog - I even bought some thread and knitting needles to see if I could manage it myself, but I must admit it isn't very likely I could make something like this! So thank you so much, Frederica! I love my little gifts and you are lovely to do this!

Here is the cardigan in pride of place in the bedroom. You can also see the little shabby picture in this photo. The photos are all a bit blue today, but never mind. At least they are the only thing in my life that is "blue" at present!

I think bloggers are the most kind, geneous people! Don't you agree??

Monday, November 22, 2010


One of the things I have had on my wishlist for the cottage is some little birdhouses. I want to cover the whole of the side wall with them, but haven't got around to making them yet. And then I fell in love! Katrina from Katie's Clay Corner posted about a birdhouse she had been making and I just adored it....some quick work on Etsy on my part and now here it is at my house! I couldn't believe it when I opened the parcel.....I could never have parted with it if I had been Katrina.....the aged paintwork is just wonderful!!! It is on display on my bookcase at present but here is a photo of it outside the cottage. Thank you Katrina....I really love it!!

The little birdhouses on the wall came in the same parcel - I will make some more sometime soon to add to this wall.

Now it is time to go outside to walk my little dog!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some lovely presents!

I am a very lucky girl.....I have some lovely little bits and pieces to show you! I was very excited that at our recent Convention I knew that I would get to see Marion. She is just lovely, and I was looking forward to spending a bit more time with her before she went back to Australia. On her last day, she popped round to visit. I really wish I hadn't been so busy and had had more time to spend with her! She made these beautiful miniatures for me! This gorgeous basket has been so beautifully made and given a wondeful shabby finish! And inside it are a whole lot of lovely tiles that she has made herself from air-drying clay. They have the most beautiful pictures of flowers and birds on them! I just love them....thank you so much Marion!

Here they are in the bedroom, next to the washbasin. The colours are just right!

Marion and Dorothee had also been busy making little cats that sit on a door frame. I am a bit short of door frames in my little cottage but one of my little cats looks very much at home on the picture frame in the living room. Sadly there are still no curtains at the window, and the window looks as dirty as my real windows in this photo, but the cat is very cute!!

Now that it isn't long until Christmas, it is time to fill the house with Christmas goodies. My Dad always had bowls of nuts at Christmas and here is a lovely big bowl of walnuts in the dollshouse. The wooden bowl is absolutely was given to me by a lovely gentleman who does the most beautiful woodturning....he had the stall next to me at the recent Convention and this was his parting gift .... I probably need to show a photo of it empty to show it off properly.

I was pretty happy with these little walnuts, and so I have to share the secret with you. I work for a seed company, and one of my jobs is filling packets of seed (we still do it by hand). I really like seeing how all the different seeds look, and of course can't help looking at them with a miniaturist eye! And the other day I had to fill Euphorbia Marginata (Snow on the Mountain) and the seeds looked just like walnuts! So here are a few of them waiting for Christmas in the cottage.

This is what the plant looks like.

I had a really amazing parcel arrive today so I will post some photos of the contents soon!

Monday, November 15, 2010

My First Dollshouse

Well, just as a change from shabby chic, I thought I would give you a little tour of my other dollshouse. This dollshouse is the first house I built, about four years ago - from a pattern in a library book, with my father-in-laws help. This was back in the days when I thought you had to BUY all the furniture and accessories for inside the dollshouse. This dollshouse is Victorian/Edwardian (hmmmmnn??) and has three rooms.

Today's tour is the kitchen. Here is a photo of the whole room, populated by the cook, her friend from the country who is visiting, and the butler, who would quite like to have a cup of tea with them! I don't really like to put dolls in my scenes any more, but I did put dolls in this house and so they have to stay there!

I am especially attached to these two dolls because they were made by a lovely New Zealand lady and they have such a lot of character in their faces! They look as though they would be very nice friendly people to get to know!

I love the stove, which was "as cheap as chips" (that means very cheap!) I love all the ornate details! The copperware on the stove was made by Ken Wyman here in New Zealand. I really love the little kitchen rack you can see in the top photo, with all the copperware on display. Isn't it great that you can have the things in miniature that you would like to have in real life but can't afford!

This shelf was meant to be a bathroom shelf, but I am pretending it belongs in the kitchen because I really like it. It looks like someone has used one of those old parcel racks from a train carriage as a shelf in the kitchen. The coffee pot is totally out of era but I don't care at all because I am a coffee fantatic in real life.

It was great fun filling up the dresser....I have ginger beer bugs there because the cook is making ginger beer every week, and there are some wonderful preserves. The "shawl" hanging on the hook is an old lace collar that was given to me by my lovely 90-year-old neighbour, Elsie, who has since passed away. She enjoyed visiting and looking at the dollshouse.

I made most of the preserves but the asparagus spears are the wonderful work of Linda Cummings at Linsminis, who makes wonderful miniature food!

This is my favourite item in the kitchen and I made it myself! I made lots and lots of jam and jelly last summer (in real full sized life) and this is a miniature apple and blackberry jelly board I made. I love the little blackberries!

Finally, here is the kitchen window, which is on the opening front of the dollshouse. My husband's family are Dutch, so I made the little Dutch plates above the window. The little windmill on the windowsill was a bracelet charm. The gorgeous blue art nouveau "plate" is an antique French enamel button. The picture to the right of the window was a broach that was in my little boy's kindy play box....his kindy teacher said I could have it for the dollshouse. I made the little jams on the windowsill and the peaches. The lovely pink bowl that holds the peaches was made by Bill Helmer.

Well, that will do for now. I have lots more to show you but will do that another day. I hope you have enjoyed this visit to my "old" dollshouse! And have a lovely, lovely week!!!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Look at these!

I didn't particularly set out to end up making vast quantities of dollshouse plates, but it seems to have ended up that way! I just couldn't resist showing you these ones!! Arent' they just gorgeous??? One of my Etsy friends suggested I make some plates like this and here they are. I just love these!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Show and Tell

It has been a week since our big Convention (we only have one every two years). I am still absolutely shattered, but it was a great four days! I took the shabby cottage and it survived the trip ok - the only casualty was a beautiful little blue butterfly which blew out of the dollshouse when I was carrying it to the display hall, never to be seen again. I thought I would show you a photo of the little boy's room as it is now.... it's looking a lot more like a real room, with plenty of mess and toys everywhere!

I managed to find time to make the blinds and few more little cushions for this room. I did it the night before leaving for Convention.

I did manage to do a little bit of work on the shabby cottage before I left.....I also had all the displays and stock for my stall to prepare so I was pretty busy in the lead up to Convention. But I managed to find time to add some pretty decals to the toaster in the kitchen.

Now it is time for Show and Tell! I was quite a good girl at Convention and just bought a few little treasures to add to the shabby cottage.

I bought these gorgeous little toys for the little boy's room. The little pedal car and the castle are made by a New Zealand artist called Jewell Lewis. I added them to the shelves in the little boy's room.

I usually buy something from Jewell whenever I see her. Jewell also made the little teddy on the bottom shelf and the old fashioned golly money box that you can see in the photos - I bought them four years ago at a previous Convention. Jewell is so clever and a real character! In the photo above you can also see the little "Hornby" box I made for extra trainset bits and pieces.

I also bought a very pretty cake tin, also made by Jewell, decorated with pretty pansies.

This pretty flower arrangement was made by my friend Elizabeth. Such pretty colours! I bought these two little cushions from a lady visiting from Australia. She had filled them with seed beads, which I think is a fantastic idea. I'll try that for my next cushions because it makes them beautifully floppy and soft! They are trimmed with bunka, which looks great.

I also bought this gorgeous rusty metal bucket, filled with flowers. It is so pretty! I hope it doesn't fade, as I have put it outside the front door of the cottage.

The cute little resin bunnies were meant to be for sale in my shop but they decided to stay at the cottage instead.

While we were at Convention, it was my birthday, and my mother-in-law bought me these beautiful hand-made slippers as a birthday present. Lucky me! She spent the whole four days helping me, along with my lovely friend Ann-Maree, and it made such a difference having some help. I suspect that all three of us went home exhausted! I was so grateful to them both for helping me. Ann-Marree - thank you so much - I know you are lurking out there!

It was really nice to be able to see some other bloggers there. Marion, Mercedes and Frederika were there. I had made them each a little present (but I forgot to take photos), and I was so glad I had made the time to do that!

Finally, here is my most optimistic purchase over the weekend! I wanted a pretty little shabby chic cardigan to put in the white bedroom, but the only miniature knitting for sale was baby clothes, so I bought a pair of knitting needles and some thread and I will have a go at making something myself. AAAAarrrgghhh! It will probably make me pull my hair out but I will do my best! You never know what you can do until you try. Last time I attempted miniature knitting I chose an extremely complicated pattern (I am a great one for leaping in at the deep end), and then cast all my stitches off too soon and the shawl ended up too small to use. I will keep it simple this time and see how it goes.

I am hoping to have a bit more time from now on, as my work hours had dropped back to three days a week. And summer is coming! Yay!