Monday, December 5, 2011

And the winner of the giveaway is..

First of all, thank you so much for entering this has been so nice to read your comments and of course I wish I could send you all something. So thanks again for taking the time to read my blog from time to time - it is much appreciated and thank you for all the inspiration I get from your beautiful blogs too!

And now it is time to announce the winner. Yes, this is being done a few days late but I think that you'll forgive little boy had a tenth birthday party in the weekend and we've been very busy trying to make sure he had the time of his life (he did!).

The winner of Carolyn's Little Kitchen giveaway is....

... Lataina (Iris) from It's Always Sunny in Miniland. I really hope she likes her giveaway...I'll be sending her everything in the photo below. A nice Christmas present - I hope it makes it there in time. Lataina, if you are reading this, can you let me know your mailing address??

I also said that I would have a second prize, which would be some homemade soap, so the draw for the second prize goes to.....

....Genevieve from Genevieve's Miniacollection. Congratulations, Genevieve....if you would like some homemade soap, let me know which one and I will send it out to you.

Of course now I feel bad for all the people who didn't win. So I am posting this beautiful photo of peonies for you, to brighten your day. I hope you have a lovely week.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

500 Follower Giveaway

It's definitely time for a giveaway at Carolyn's Little Kitchen. I thought I should celebrate having 500 very patient followers, so I have put together this little French provincial display as my giveaway - I really hope you like it. It includes a little tin "bus blind" sign, with French bakery lettering, some little posters and some coat hooks. And everything you can see on the shelves.
On the first shelf, there is a jar of pickled onions, some cute little jars of jam with polkadot lids, two of my French provinical style plates, a gorgeous little rolling pin, two little jugs I painted and a cute tin sign: "Cuisine".

Shelf two has an apple pie and a loaf of bread, a little cookbook and some more plates.

On the third shelf is a tin sign: "Bon Appetit", some more cute cookbooks, all with a French theme, another little plate, an Eiffel Tower statue, and a little basket filled with French provincial style tiles.

The bottom shelf has a wheel of Brie, with a few crackers, a crockery baking dish and another of my plates, with some co-ordinating cloths. I haven't glued anything down so whoever wins this giveaway can use this as a complete piece or just arrange the accessories where they look best.

I really hope you like this giveway - I spent quite a lot of time putting it together after my last post, but then had lots of trouble getting good photos to post so apologies that it has taken so long. I do really appreciate my followers, so thank you so much for being there!

I'll draw the giveaway on 1st December, so I can post it to you in time for Christmas. To enter, you just have to post a comment on this blogpost.....good luck to you all.

I have had this cute doll for a while. She was originally in my Victorian dollshouse but now she lives in a drawer (poor little thing!). She has been invited out of the drawer for a spot of modeling. Incidentally, she is also modeling an outfit I "made" for her (which does highlight my lack of sewing skills and fondness for not-hemming-things and for glue). It isn't that great but it's still better than what she was wearing when she arrived (very ugly tartan outfit with giant tam-o-shanter).

The reason she has been invited out is to show you the pretty hats that arrived a little while ago. They came from Just for You on Etsy. This one is such a pretty, soft lavender colour and so beautifully trimmed.

But this one is my absolute favourite! It is absolutely beautiful, with the pretty flowers. Thanks very much to Nina, - I saw the lovely hat she had purchased on her blog and really loved it.


Now I am going to show you one of the reasons I haven't been blogging much about miniatures lately.....

.....I've been bitten by a new obsession: Soapmaking! I've been wanting to try it for ages, but haven't because I was really scared of using the caustic soda, especially with children and my little dog always around. Anyway, my parents gave me birthday money, so I decided to spend it on a book on soapmaking and some soap ingredients and had a go and it is HEAPS of fun!!

These are some of the soaps I have made in the last few weeks. The ones on the left are calendula, oatmeal and cinnamon, and luxurious lavender. The ones in the middle are calendula (made with calendula petals which I picked from a friend's garden and dried), lavender (bit disappointed with the grey colour of that one) and camomile. And...da DA! The cupcake on the right IS SOAP and I made it myself. I am so chuffed with it. I learnt how to do it by traipsing around on the internet and it wasn't too hard.

These are the calendula soaps....I love the way the dried petals have kept their colour. I figured out how to make the tops of these ones textured and they look pretty with glitter.

These are the cupcake soaps I made - the flowers aren't soap - they are paper flowers from a craft store. But the whole rest of the cupcakes are soap.

I had to put another photo of the cupcake soap in because it is so pretty!

Because I want to give these away as Christmas presents this year, I had to get on and make them right now, because they have to sit for a number of weeks to completely finish saponifying before they can be used, that's why I haven't had much time for anything else. Here is a selection of soaps in the little basket I bought for them today from the bargain store. A bit of celophane and ribbon and some labels on the soap and they will look nice, I think. I have tried a couple of the first batches I made because they have - only just - sat long enough to have mellowed, and they are absolutely beautiful to use. I've used really lovely oils and you can really tell the difference. I've never been one to fuss much over soaps and toiletries really, but these are so lovely to use that I don't think I want to go back to supermarket soap.

Anyway, for your patience in listening to all this, I thought I would offer a second prize in the giveaway which will be a bar of homemade soap. You choose which one you would like to try and if you are the winner I will send it to you. Just mention in the comments which one you would choose if you are the winner and good luck everyone!

I'm not sure that soapmaking is ideally suited for impatient people, however. Not easy to wait six weeks (or even three) before using your lovely, homemade soap!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Just to say hello

It's definitely about time I reappeared! It's been so long since I posted that I have moved past feeling guilty and now feel exceedlingly virtuous for even showing my shamefaced self in blogland after such a long absence. I haven't been here at all - haven't even had time to read any blogs or anything. It's not through lack of enthusiasm, just overwork and lack of time. I didn't completely stop blogging, though.... .....if you want to see where my blogging energy has had to go, have a look by clicking here.

Anyway, now the crazy rush of the Spring season at work is starting to die down (oh, please, please let this be true), I am hoping to have more energy for the other things in my life, including miniatures!!
I did have one very happy moment in the middle of a very stressful time. I was the very very lucky winner of Daphne's wonderful giveaway. (If you haven't visited her blog - In the Court of the Gypsies - then go and check it out!!) I was so excited because I had never won a giveaway before. Thank you so much, Daphne, for these beautiful miniatures!!! They realled cheered me up just when I needed it! I just love the French shabby chair and the flowers and picture and antiqued flower tub are just lovely! I feel really lucky to have won this giveaway. And they arrived just when I really needed cheering up. What a lovely surprise!

Unfortunately, being so busy means that I don't have very much to show you this time. There are a couple of small additions to the cottage that you might like to see. I bought a cute little French planter from Pei Li - it is just so sweet! I have put it just inside the door of the cottage - I might pop some mail in it or maybe the lady of the house casually throws her keys in there when she comes in from outside.

I liked it so much that I couldn't resist doubling up by buying another one, this time with a pretty flower in it. This one is outside the cottage by the front door and I really love it. It is so pretty!
I recently attended a dollshouse show (sorry, I didn't take my camera) and bought a pretty porcelain candlestick from the neighbouring stall - here it is on the bookcase.

Earlier in the Spring, before life had ground me to a pulp, I decided to re-do the plate display in my "real" house. The chintz patterned plates are all Crown Ducal. The bottom plate had two corners broken off and badly glued back on when I received it. I managed to remove most of the old yellow glue-globs with acetone. Whoops - removed too much glue and the corners fell off. So I glued them back on and now it looks as good as new. The two plates with floral rims are Royal Doulton and the small one in the centre is a very hard to find (well, I found it hard to find!) pattern by Winton called "Caravan", which I really love. Hubbys comment: "Are you going to cover the whole wall with plates?!" No. Just these ones.

So, here I am back in the land of the living again, and realising that while I was a.w.o.l. I have undeservedly reached 500 followers. So one of my next posts will be a little giveaway to celebrate getting through the Spring season (yes, I know Spring is lovely, but it gets awfully busy when you work at a seed company!), and to celebrate still having some followers even though I haven't blogged for ages.

Thanks for still being there! xxxx

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A lovely addition to the cottage

Yay!! I think I've finally figured out how to load photos without it driving me crazy! Don't know why, but recently I've had so much grief trying to add photos to my blog. I used to be able to load them in and them move them around to where I wanted them fairly easily but lately it's been a complete mission. Anyway, now I've figured out that if I actually plan which ones I want to use and then load them in reverse order, then they will all end up in the desired order and all I have to do then is enter my comments and it's done. It was driving me crazy! How typical - I should've been planning it better. That's my whole life in a nutshell but I'm not sure that's a lesson I'm going to remember, going on past experience.

Anyway, what I am all excited about tonight (hubby is away so I can stay up really late blogging without annoying him) is this little bench which arrived in the mail. It is just so perfect for the bedroom of the Shabby Cottage. I had always meant to make something for the end of the bed but I've been lazy about working with wood lately. But isn't this just so lovely?? This was a gift from the lovely Norma, who planned it out and carefully checked measurements with me and chose just the most beautiful soft shade of blue and sent it over to me even though she hasn't been well. Thank you so much, Norma! I love it!

I set this arrangement up just for the photo but liked it so much that I have left it this way. The little gerbera flower was made by Pei Li - it is sitting in what is meant to be a scent bottle made of cranberry glass by Phil Grenyer of Glasscraft. I took the stopper off - it is just right as a little vase instead of a scent bottle. The shoes were made by Sylvia Rowntree and Linda Carswell made the little shoebox, which is full of the most delightful miniature mail. I was so glad to find the little Eiffel tower is so cute.

After my last post, a few people wanted a closer look at the little doll who was hidden away in the she is, looking very pleased to have a bench to sit on!

She is very sweet and even has bendable arms and legs and tiny pantaloons!

She also quite likes to be tucked into her cosy corner.

Now don't worry about the next photo. It doesn't look good but here's how it happened....

It is school holidays here now (and it is the middle of winter). Last week, my dear little seven year old Ella, followed closely by her nine year old brother Matthew came sheepishly into my room to tell me, in fear and trepidation, that they had accidentally landed a karate kick on the Shabby Cottage. So I went to see the damage and thought you might like a photo of the living room after Cyclone Ella had struck (could have been worse). Well the few things that were blu-tacked down stayed put but everything else (in all the rooms) went for a tumble. I'm not one for sticking things down much as I like to move things around a bit. I was very kind to Ella as she obviously felt terrible. Matthew's comment (wise from years of experience): "See, Ella....I told you it's best to tell her straight away." Anyway, no harm done. It's all back in place now. Wish tidying my real house was as easy.

I thought I would show you this cute little thingy. Don't know what to call it. I think it might have been meant as a candleholder or a too-small fruit bowl or something. Someone was giving away their unwanted miniatures and I was lucky enough to get this little cupid thing. The purple sparkly thing on top is a tiny bead I bought (thought it would make a good lid for something one day). I'm glad I've finally found a home for it before I lost it.

And here it is on the little table in the living room.

Oh....I have a funny story to tell you!

I received an email the other day from a journalist who works for NZ House & Garden magazine. She had stumbled upon this blog accidentally and wanted to know if my real house was similar in style to the dollshouse, in which case she would like to send a photographer down and do a feature on it. I had to disappoint her (and myself) and tell her that no-one in their right mind would want to do a feature on our very average family home, with train sets in the lounge and plastic compost buckets in the kitchen. But thanks for asking. Well I didn't say it quite that way (I was awfully polite) but you get the idea! I was pretty chuffed to be asked, however, and emailed hubby at work all excited about it. "It's a scam, don't answer" was his take on it. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I will never have a home fit to feature in NZ House & Garden but at least my dollshouse is worthy of consideration. How cool is that??

Today I have been messing around with paint and some little metal miniatures that have been sitting around here for ages, and these little jugs are the result. The smaller one was meant to be a coffee pot but I ditched the lid because it didn't fit properly.

They look quite cute as a pair in the little kitchen. I'm still moving them around to find the right place for them.

They look quite cute up on top of the pantry cupboard but you can't really see them too well because they are right up by the ceiling. Not sure they go too well....maybe they should've been white....but I can't bear to part with them....I think they are cute!

Hope those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying the is winter here and cold and wet. Looking forward to Spring

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A really, really long blog post

It's been a while since a posted (again) but only for good reasons.....too much socialising has kept me away from the computer. So I have a bit of a backlog of things to tell you, and little treasures to show you. A real mixture! I was really lucky to receive some lovely gifts, I made a couple of things that I'll show you, AND I did some shopping!

I know that posting about Easter gifts in mid June is awfully late, but these are photos that I took just days before our computer died. Just before the Easter weekend, a little package arrived from Mercedes (Liberty Biberty). It was so beautifully wrapped - there is definitely something awfully exciting about a "do not open until...." sign!It was so lovely to have a little gift arrive out of the blue, and when I opened it there were the most beautiful little Easter miniatures that Mercedes had made! They are so sweet! Aren't I lucky!
The rusty rabbits are now in the garden of the Shabby Cottage, and the little boys room has some very sweet bunny accessories! The little cushion and Country Bunny book are delightful and I love the little blackboard (it even has chalk) and the rusty "tin" items! Thank you Mercedes - they are lovely
I think my favourite item (is it ok to have favourites??) is this little table and potplant. Here they are in a corner of the bedroom. I had always meant to make a little stool or table for this corner, and this just fits beautifully. Such pretty colours. You can see one of Paris Minatures Laduree cupcakes there as well, on one of my vintage plates. And in the corner, on a tray made by Frederica, is another recent arrival at the shabby cottage....the little patchwork doll. I must admit I was blatently copying Flora when I bought this little doll. I saw it on her blog and just fell in love with her - thank you Flora for the link to Pamela's Etsy store.

Another gorgeous gift arrived in the mail a few days ago, this time from Norma, who recently came to visit! When I opened it, I was amazed to find that she had made a little beanbag for the little boy's room ....the fabric is gorgeous - covered in tiny stars. It looks so comfortable and now the cushions I made don't have to lie on the floor any more. Here is the beanbag in its new home.
And that wasn't all!! Norma had also gone to the trouble to make a selection of Biggles books - she had seen one of my posts mentioning that Biggles books were on my wishlist and had made some! I love the vintage covers and my little boy, Matthew, is most impressed. My daughter Ella says that her favourite thing in the Shabby Cottage is the beanbag. So thank you, Norma - you gift was a real hit! You are so kind.

I thought I would post a picture of the little presents I made for Norma when she came to visit. I made her a breakfast try in pink and green, and a little toiletry tray in similar colours. Norma chose a really lovely selection of plates to take home and I slipped in some New Zealand miniatures as well.

As far as other additions to the cottage go, I was really pleased to find these gorgeous vintage picnic boxes on Etsy. They are so lovely and have found a new home in the kitchen.
I was happy to have finally found an image of one of my favourite plates - it is by Royal Winton and has a picture of a caravan on it - I made a miniature version for the cottage!

Finally, I was reading through some of the blogs I follow a while ago and I found a wonderful blog post by Suzanna. What gorgeous things! Like her, I would like everything from this shop. Since they can't be had here (and I probably can't afford them either), then the next best thing is to make them in miniature. I really like these new sets - they are happy-looking.Goodness, you deserve a medal for reading all the way through this blog post. I've nearly finished now and I promise not to do such a long one again. The last thing I wanted to show you was this gorgeous plate set - my new favourite - aren't these just the picture of shabby chic!!