Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Passion is everything

Another massive gap between blog posts, but here I am, back again.  We have recently moved house yet again and now that the dust is starting to settle from the upheaval of moving again, my thoughts are starting to turn to miniatures again.  Yesterday I just felt like making I had a fossick around in my box of stuff, and found a little lamp that was crying out for some love and attention .... and here it is....all embellished with pretty little polymer clay blossoms with tiny little no-hole beads in the centre of each flower, and some more little flowers that began life as nail art stickers.  It looks really pretty in the little cottage and I couldn't resist taking lots of photos of it:

Above you can see the arty version of the photo - on the table with the lamp is a little resin "biscuit tin" I made ages ago.  It's one of my all-time favourite miniatures, with its crackle paint finish and old time rose decals.  And I also found a little box of chocolate truffles I made a while ago - tiny little dark and white chocolate truffles in a box with a pretty silk bow. 
Here's another photo which tries to show the texture on the truffles.....
Getting back to the title for my post, I think I'm ready to admit that nothing is worth doing without passion....there's been a huge gap in my passion for blogging for ages, and occasionally I've had a half-hearted attempt at making things, but if your heart's not completely involved in the creative process, it never seems to go quite right.  But lately, that creative drive seems to have come back and PASSION IS EVERYTHING!  And now I have some things that I am proud to show you, because I really enjoyed making them and am happy with the result.  I love this little lamp - it is so pretty!

Here's another  photo of the lamp, which of course has my favourite miniature plate set on the wall in the background... violets are still my favourite....and I just love the plate in the centre of the display!  You can also see the pretty bead curtain on the left and the gorgeous hand-painted picture on the wall is one I purchased from Sandie Coe - another of my favourite purchases!

Of course there is rarely a post made on this blog where I don't share a some new plates I have made, so here is my most recent new set .... so pretty.  I wish I could display them all in my little cottage, but there just isn't room!  Anyway, thought you might like to see these!  I am really proud of them - they are beautiful, I think.

This is where we live now....we have bought a very small house in Turangi, which is in the central North Island.   This is a gorgeous photo a friend of our took - we live at the far end of the street that you can see in the middle of the photograph.... our little town is awash with autumn colours and full of fallen leaves at the moment - very pretty if you are not the person in charge of leaf removal!

This is what the lamp looks like when it isn't lit.  Sorry there are so many photos of it - you can probably tell that I'm all excited about it.

I feel some more miniatures coming on, so hopefully you will see a bit more of me around here in the next little while!   xxxxx

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Miniature Typography Window

I am so excited about today's project that I just HAD to show you straight away.  I've been mulling over the idea of making a shabby-chic framed typography window for a while now.  Anyway, today I had time so it's done.

I originally started off making waterslide decals and applying them to acetate for the window frame - the original idea was to have the lettering on clear "glass".  Well, that didn't work!  The edge of the decal showed up terribly.  So I decided that I would go for an "etched glass" look.

I found something to use as the etched glass and I really love the look I have achieved, because it also looks as though there are raindrops forming on the outside of the window.  I abandoned my tried and trusty waterslide decals as well and tried a new medium and I love the result.  I had to take lots of photos to show you!

It wasn't easy to photograph - I needed to get some backlighting going on to show the light coming through the window, but I also wanted to show the white shabby frame off as well.  Hence there are lots of photos today. 

I thought this would look lovely leaning against a wall!  Paris Flea Market cute is this??

Now I have figured out how to do it, I have lots more ideas to try out....

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Inspiration for a new project


So here goes with my new project!  You can see it in the photo below.  It doesn't look much's a room box which I started working on a couple of years ago and then lost interest in.  It was originally going to be a kitchen based on something I found in a magazine, but I completely lost interest shortly after starting it.  You can see the signs of me losing interest when I just stuck a paper floor down instead of putting a bit more effort into making a realistic floor.

Well, it's due for renovation/completion.  

I don't know what I was thinking walls and blue panelling??  It's all going to have to go!

Yesterday I spent two hours (TWO HOURS!!!) working on an inspiration board for my new project.  This isn't something I have ever done before but even though my time might have been better spent actually getting started, I am really glad that I did it.  The theme for this new project is Vintage....kind of a bright, primary-colour, red-and-blue 1950s/Cath Kidston/ kind of vibe. 

My main inspiration and quite a few of the photos on my inspiration board are from Happy Loves Rosie.   If you haven't read her blog before, check it out.  (It's full size, not miniature!)

She also has some amazing photos of her retro-styled caravans too!  Amazing!  Happy describes her style as Happy Shabby and Gypsy Kitsch.  I think Bright Vintage would also be a good description.  So you can see I am going to have to relinquish my pastels and get into some bright and cheerful colours.  I'm really looking forward to it.

My room box is going to be a kitchen (of course)!

So I guess just watch this space.....

I am really happy with these cute little plates I made for my Etsy update for 2014 on the Greengate sets that everyone seems to really like - I have my eye on that blue plate with the spotty rim though - it might have to find a new home in the Vintage Kitchen when I am further along with the project!

Now that we have moved house, I can tell you where we are.....for those of you who are Lord of the Rings fans, we are now living right next to Mount Doom.

Of course, in real life, the mountain is called Mt Ngauruhoe and at the moment there is no snow on it, because here in New Zealand it is just the beginning of Autumn.

Well in honour of a new project, I have given my blog a new look, but it's a pretty big change....missing my pretty pastel cooking pots already.  I made my own background too, from a tutorial I found here.....took ages but it was fun to be able to do it myself instead of relying on finding a blog background I liked.  Be honest, do you like the new look, or shall I put it back as it was??

I'll keep you posted on progress with the Vintage Kitchen!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Getting Started

Just a short post today, but there is more to come another day.  I am so excited, because after a non-creative period that has lasted nearly TWO YEARS (omg - that is quite shameful!!), I have finally decided on my next project.  So that is exciting and encouraging.

I am feeling happy today because I have managed to complete a couple of commissions for my Etsy shop.  One of my customers in particular has been VERY patient while I moved house and finally gathered all my craft stuff back together and got back into it. 

My favourite thing that I made yesterday is this little framed picture - I love the way the pansies spill out of the frame.  And I decided to try using a crackle finish - I know it's hard to get the crackles to work in 1/12 scale - you need the thinnest possible layer of crackle glaze and then the thinnest, quickest layer of paint laid over the top of it.  Anyway, I'm quite happy with this finish - pale purple underneath and showing through the crackles.  I layered a few watercolours over the top of the white paint and it looks really pretty now.  It's in my Etsy shop but it might migrate back into my dollshouse if no-one else wants it, as it's cute.

Anyway, short and sweet today but see you again soon.....

Monday, January 13, 2014

Moving Time

Well, it's been an age since I have spent some time on my blog... it has been a difficult couple of years.... but here is the good news.  New year, new house, new life (and on a shallow note, also new computer, new camera). 

We have decided to sell up and make a move.  The house is on the market, and we are moving to our new life in a couple of weeks.  Hubby is already there, working, and I am still here with the kiddies, packing up. 

Actually, to be honest, the actual packing won't be too bad!  The worst things was decluttering.  OMG - the stuff you can collect when you are a bit of a magpie, have LOTS of cupboards, and are into a huge variety of arts and homecrafts.  By the time I sorted through my dollshouse stuff, my soapmaking stuff, my cheesemaking stuff, my homebrew stuff, and my breadmaking stuff, it was a bit embarrassing to realise how much clutter I had accumulated!

But really, I have not just one, but THREE houses to pack up.  My real house, and two very full but very much loved dollshouses!  Now I know that a lot of you dollshouse people out there have WAY more than two dollshouses,  and you may therefore quite justifiably think that packing up two dollshouses isn't too bad. 

Actually, it wasn't too bad, but as I wrapped teeny-tiny little groups of things in tissue paper, I did wonder whether the people who glue everything down permanently haven't got the right idea after all.  Everything in my dollshouses is loose, apart from the odd piece of bluetak stopping too much carnage occurring. 

That's because I really like moving things around.  You can't change anything if it's all glued down.

This afternoon, I re-set the table with some very sweet little cutlery from Jennifer from Windy Point Miniatures.  It is so gorgeous....I will have to save up for another place setting!  Teeny and perfect!  It's the only addition I have made to my shabby cottage for ages, and it was a pleasure putting it in place, even if I had to pack it straight after taking the photos!

So this afternoon I packed up both my dollshouses.  While I was doing it I took some photos of some of my favourite little corners and have used them in this blogpost. 

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, I beg your patience, because I know that you will have seen some of these little items and corners before, but YOU JUST WAIT until I get resettled.  At least to start with, there will be no job taking up all my time, so in addition to being a good mother, I am hoping to get stuck back into projects.....I have a great idea of what to do with my half-started-and-tragically-stalled roombox's going to be a 1950s kitchen!  I can't wait to get started! 

We are moving to a rented house in the staff village of an outdoor pursuits centre by the mountains.  It is where my husband and I met and were married. 

We left there after having our first child, but now that the children are 12 and 10 (where did that time go??) they are the right age to have an absolute ball living at a place with rockclimbing, kayaking, caving and mountaineering all there for the taking! 

And no more mortgage for us for a while.  We hope.  When we sell the house, that is!  Keep your fingers crossed for a quick sale!

So we are on the move...we think our moving date will be sometime in the next couple of weeks (we're waiting for someone to vacate our house-to-be in a staff house-shuffle). 

In the meantime, thanks so much to everyone who has been patiently waiting for me to show my face again.  I have missed my contact with miniatures blog people and am looking forward to getting involved again. 

Thanks so much to those of you who sent me messages encouraging me to get blogging again!  I know I didn't do a very good job of answering you at the time, but it really meant something to me that you were still thinking of me - thanks so much!

So here is the Shabby Cottage, all packed up and ready to go to it's new home.   It's a good opportunity for a Spring Clean!

I apologise for how dis-jointed this blogpost may have sounded.  I did write this all in a couple of paragraphs, but I wanted to fit all my photos in to the blogpost, so I have split all the text up and now it sounds a bit staccato, but never mind.  It's better a peckity blog post than no blog post!
(Yes, that is a made-up word.)

Even dear little Anne of Green Gables has packed her little carpet bag and is ready to head away with us on our new Adventure! 
We'll see you again when we get there!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fallen in love with a book

You may have seen this photo's a little afternoon tea party scene in my shabby cottage.  The gorgeous cake and the cake slices were made by Kim Saulter (It's a Miniature Life)  .  I just love Kim's miniatures - I've always been a huge fan - she is one of my blog heroes.


Oh, wow!

I know that those of you who are better than I am at keeping up to date with your blog reading will probably already know this, but I didn't!  I just stumbled upon it last night!

Kim has written a book!!  I am such an admirer of her beautiful work.  It's not just that she makes such delicately pretty cakes and baking....I just really admire the way she puts a scene together.....everything is so charming - I want to shrink and live in every room.   And never grow big again.

And then to top it all off, there are some of my little dollshouse plates in her book.   There is my little damier rouge plate on the right hand side.  So that completely made my day.

If you haven't already had a look, you can read her post about her new book here.  Of course Kim has no idea I am writing this rather effusive blog....I was just so excited that I had to let off some steam!!

I've been having fun making some little bits and pieces lately.  When I went to visit my lovely sister last year, she had a gorgeous old ballerina print in her bathroom.  (She is going shabby chic - full sized style!).  So I thought it would be nice to have a dollshouse sized it is...isn't it cute?

I also have a new favourite vintage sign....even my other half thinks we should have one in the garden.  Hope the fairies have a sense of humour. 

And here are a couple more that I like. 

I need a new project now....I have a room box sitting around unloved and incomplete.  I think it's time to start something new.....

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What I have been doing

My poor abandoned blog has been sitting here, unloved and un-updated for such a long time!  I've been missing all my blog friends and, after a terrible year, during which it seemed as though everything went wrong, 2013 is looking much better, so it's time for an update.

I must admit I got quite distracted from miniatures last year, so I thought I would let you see some of last year's distractions.

First of all, we decided to get chickens.  They live on a chicken dome in our front garden for part of the year, and in a permanent chicken run in the back yard for the rest of the time.  On the left, you can see Bella (a blue orpington) who is definitely my favourite.  During the year we have lots of adventures with the chickens, including having a chick (just one chick from a clutch of five eggs, which just goes to illustrate the saying "never count your chickens before they hatch").  Mallow and her chick Marigold are pictured on the right.

The chickens were part of a new plan for our garden.  We dug up the front lawn, planted it all out in vege beds and have been growing as much of our food as possible this year.

Hubby made me a lovely shabby-chic garden bench  and we've had a wonderful summer - here are some of last week's tomatoes....

...don't worry....

....there will be some dollshouse miniatures in this blogpost....

Another reason I haven't spent much time on miniatures is that I have been learning to play guitar.   I still have a long way to go and I'm too shy to play in front of anyone yet, but it's been a lot of fun learning and it just goes to show that you are never too old to start something.  I wish I had done this 25 years ago....I could have been quite good by now.

And finally, I also managed to get distracted by soapmaking.  I have had a lovely time learning how to make soap and am never short of a gift for family and friends now....haven't had to use any bought soap for ages either!  I have to admit I also got distracted by cheesemaking.  It's been a busy year.

did actually make some miniatures last year....     .... I made this little soapmaking miniature.  I thought it would be good to have some soapmaking going on in the kitchen in my shappy cottage, since there was so much soapmaking going on in my real kitchen.  Just like real soapmaking, the miniature soap didn't turn out quite as wonderful as I was hoping and I didn't get around to blogging about it. 

Something I made last year of which I was quite proud was this cute little tin of marshmallows.  I have made the tins before, but this time I made some tiny marshmallows in pink and white, made from polymer clay and dusted with miniature "icing sugar" - they were very cute and I enjoyed making them.

The chickens prompted a bit of a "chicken" focus for a while and I also made a cute little vintage sign, which has yet to find a home....

Here is a photo I am really proud to show you.  Lisa Riley took this photo and sent it to me, to show me the dresser she had arranged, including some plates she had bought from my Etsy store.  I asked her if I could use the photo on my blog and she kindly agreed.  If you would like to see more of her gorgeous work, you can check out her blog - Design Inspirations - it's so pretty!!  Thanks, Lisa, for getting me inspired again and all excited about making more little plates.

I was really touched, after having a really awful year, to receive a whole heap of emails and messages via Etsy asking about whether everything was ok, when I was going to start blogging again, and also when I was going to start selling miniature plates again.  It motivated me to get my act together, and I have made a new shop banner and restocked my Etsy store.  I'm all excited about making miniatures again, and now that the New Zealand summer is coming to an end (although it's still massively hot here and not a sign of any rain any time soon), I'll hopefully have some time to try out some of my new ideas! 

Thanks for reading this blogpost.  This is a photo taken yesterday - our family of four plus the dog went out for a tramp into the bush - we took our wetsuits and spent the day walking, climbing and swimming down one of the local was just gorgeous.  Here are Matthew and I posing for the camera, not realising that Ella was finding the water quite cold!!