Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Wishing You All the Christmas You Enjoy the Most!

Be it with your families, your friends, your cat or by yourself!
Be it at home, in foreign climes or on the beach.
Be it with turkey, with nut roast or a salad.
Be it with champagne, beer, fruit juice or bicarbonate of soda.

However you spend the time I hope you enjoy the holidays!!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

I may be snowing outside but inside

We won't be going to The Emirates today to watch Arsenal. My seat is the fifth one back and deep in snow. The next time I watch a game will be in Stansted Airport on my ipad! To me that technology is almost as daunting as understanding how a jumbo jet defies the laws of gravity! No I really don't want to think about that.......
I guess......
 I won't be lounging in the garden any time soon! The snow soon swept across from the Emirates to hit us in Hertfordshire. It seemed to come down so quickly, about four inches in an hour.
 Lovely snowy pictures from my bedroom window of the house across the way. Actually I do lust after this lovely Victorian cottage and it looks even nicer in a snowy setting.
 My street to the left all looking gorgeous and wintery. Unfortunately I didn't manage to catch a photo of the hoards of the elderly who seem to insist on going out in the most awful weather - "....must get the paper, milk, bread dear" !!!! I watch them pass and think, WHY!!
The garden may be a winter wonderland but inside my fabulous wonderland flowers from Tara are thriving.
I saw Tara's wonderful flowers in her Etsy shop and asked if she would make me a mixture of plants both potted and unpotted. This is a talking Peace Rose complete with the most fluttering of eyelashes.
 This cute little dolly is based on the Zephirine Droubin rose looking as if she is just waking up. 
 I think this little cutie is my favourite of the three. He is based on a green ice rose and is so sweet and chic. Tara also has a great blog which is well worth a visit as she is a lovely generous lady who like lots of us is managing kids, pets, partners and minis!!
We are supposed to be attending a grand Christmas party tonight. Marquee, bling and all. Was looking forward to dusting off my gladrags and polishing my dancing shoes but the weather has meant we will have to cancel.
It's not too far away at all but I am too much of an old cowardy, cowardy custard these days. I really don't want to find myself stranded on a country road, rather the worse for wear and in me best frock.
The hostess is a little cross and assures me that she has booked a whole load of cabs to get us home might book them but they might not turn up!
What to do? Stay in and turn the heating up methinks!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Wrapping vs Packing.......

We all know Christmas is coming. Blogs are all full of the most wonderful decorations, colourful scenes and yummy food. 
We are all busy preparing our houses, making lists and wrapping presents. There are not enough hours in the day and the weather is threatening to upset all our plans.
So, would someone please do me a huge favour and tell my husband!!!!
He is making a list - of all the food he wants to try in Malaysia.
He is doing his shopping - insect repellant socks vs gaiters
He is making plans - white water rafting. "Extreme dear? Or beginners?"

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Still Decking the Halls.....

 As we are going away straight after Christmas I decided to go a little more minimal this year. So only the main Santas have been unpacked this year and they decorate the kitchen shelf.....
 .......and the dresser. I have collected all shapes and sizes, for all different prices, from lots of different places. They always make me laugh as I put them out around the house. 
 My last job this year has been the hall stairs. Very much the same as the fireplace. 
This is very much a joint effort in that my husband fits and lights the garland and then I do all the pretty bits. On the wall you can just see the wonderful canvas photograph I had done of my children for my 50th a couple of years ago. As they are now nearly all grown and on their way I find it very comforting to have them their to greet me when I arrive home or come down in the morning. 
That is my decorating for this year but we do have a quandary. We are off on our adventure on the 27th, do we take down the decorations on the morning? Or leave them up and hope we don't get bad luck? Now I know my rather large children will be at home but......putting away the decorations has to be done methodically and carefully otherwise they just won't fit! Plus I am a complete control freak and can't bear the thought of them all being put away willy-nilly, I have labelled boxes!
My husband is very superstitious and is not happy about leaving them up, mmmmmm, what to do?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Deck the Halls......

Christmas is coming! We always buy our tree during the first weekend of December so that we get the most out of the decorations. I love unpacking them all as so many have memories of Christmases past.
 The tree has a lovely shape this year and is fully loaded with my collection of Santas. I started collecting them many years ago when my children were small. There are quite a few from our family holidays but I have a real weakness for the Gisela Graham range of decorations so there are lots by her. They are mostly traditional red coated santas mad from all types of materials.
 This is my daughter's pink fairy tree which sits in the upstairs landing. Fully loaded again with lots of Gisela Graham decorations which my daughter loved when she was little. 
 Cute tiny tin fairies and flying cats that have been collected over the years although they are now becoming hard to find. This is a very small tree, about two foot, I would love a tall tree dedicated to fairies one day.
 The mantle and mirror decoration has again evolved over a number of years but I think it is finally finished. I love all the reds and golds set against the greenery but I am still looking for a large red candle for the brass candle holder in the middle. 
The decoration is made up of lots of individual pieces that I have mostly bought locally as and when I have seen them. They are simply poked into the greenery and stay in place quite happily each year. I am always amazed by how it all holds together! 
I have never been one for lots of decorations. In the main living room I decorate the mirror/mantle, fireplace and we have a tree but that is all really with a couple of strings of lights. With very narrow rooms and three children that has always been more than enough. 
I have always yearned for a dining room with a table fully laid, a fireplace, central display and sparkling tree that remains untouched until Christmas Eve. A room for looking but not disturbing like in all those lovely magazines! 
Oh and a comfy chair by the roaring fire to sit and enjoy the feeling of Christmas without the mess......Mmmmmmm, not this year unless I build an extension very quickly. Now that would be a Christmas miracle! 

Monday, 6 December 2010

And the Winners Are............

 Thank you everyone for entering my 200 follower giveback, all 50 of you went into the bowl. 
The first name out was.....
......of a lovely whimsical blog.  
And the second name out was.........
.........of where Karin shares her beautiful mini work.
 And the third name out was
........of Julia's projects are so inviting and cosy, if you have not visited her blog before take a look tonight you will really enjoy the trip.

Congratulations ladies, I am out and about on Tuesday and Wednesday so I won't be able to get to the post office until Thursday. Please send full details of your address to and I will pop your package in the post with any luck it will arrive in time for Christmas! I look forward to seeing how the little houses turn out.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Fabulous Ebay Purchase......and a trip to the Kensington Show.

Isn't he just marvellous. I saw him on and put a bid in thinking I was very unlikely to win but I did for an amazing price along with a set of baubles with the most expressive faces which I may add or not. 
The seller was wetpaintco, I have bid on a number of her items before but they have always gone for much more than I wanted to pay which is why I was so surprised to have managed to get two of her items. It is beautifully crafted as you can see and arrived safe and sound all the way from the US.
These are the six baubles. All with different expressions of Christmas humbug!
This lovely seller also included an extra gift.
A very evil looking pumpkin! So scary he will have to go in my Apothecary. When Ebay works it is still a wonderful thing. 
On a different note: as I was travelling to London anyway on Saturday, to watch my favourite football team, I decided to go up earlier and make a whistle stop tour of the Kensington Show.
The main reason I had decided against it was the crowds the last couple of years. There were so many people last year it really wasn't enjoyable but I really wanted to see the work of Michael Mortimer and the only shows I know he goes to are Kensington. Plus I knew Jain of The Giddy Kipper was also attending and I have wanted to add one of her characters to my collection for quite a while so I decided to brave the crowds.
I downloaded a floor plan and marked off all the sellers I really wanted to visit and the idea was to be really organised, not get sidetracked and buy a couple of must have pieces and one treat. No wandering about as I had limited time and a pre-Christmas budget!
Well there was a queue outside at 10.15am but the crowds simply did not arrive. For me it was perfect. I could spend my time really looking at the things I had gone to look for, I did not get into a buy, buy, buy frenzy as I am quite prone to do and I could have a chat with some of the wonderful artists who attend the show.
But for these artists there must have been  huge disappointment as so many of them had braved horrendous weather and awful journeys to attend. I am hoping that although the crowds weren't large there were lots of people like me who were not there to browse alone.
.......and my team won!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Wow!........Thank you Christine.

I was lucky enough to win Christine's giveaway on her wonderfully nostalgic blog Hollyhock Cottage - a miniature home in the 1940's and my package arrived today all the way from sunny Australia.
It was a Mary Poppins box, full of goodies which are just perfect for my memory lane toy shop.
 Just look at this super cute farm house set. All hand painted by Christine in such perfect detail. I can remember my cousin having one just like this and being sooooo jealous. Now I have the perfect one all to myself.
 Also included a games set of those must have family games, Ludo and Snakes and Ladders. Gosh the afternoons we whiled away playing these and of course the arguments they caused, my sister was a terrible cheat!
Plus the most perfect jar of coloured marbles. Ignore the scellotape which I failed to remove! 
I can't tell you how happy this little parcel made me, bringing back so many memories of happy simple times.
Thank you Christine for everything, you are a star!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The Emporium's Hat & Shoe Department Opens For Business......

I have had a wonderful day dressing the first floor of my Emporium while watching the snow fall in my garden. I love getting all the pieces I have been stashing away out of their hidey-holes and putting them all together. 
Firstly I gathered all the wonderful hats from Kat that I have been collecting for over a year now.
  I have displayed them on simple plain wood grocery stands that I have stained and aged a little bit. The hat stands have been painted to match the hats. I was intending to decorate the hat stands but decided against it because I thought the displays would look too crowded and I did not want to detract from the fabulous hats.
 The shoes were next and I found lots of tiny pairs that I bought ages ago really cheaply which will do just fine on the shelves as well as others that have been made by some very talented people - which reminds me, where are the gorgeous lavender boots I showed on a post a little while ago? Mmmmm, will have to look for those in a minute!
 There a shoes by Kat in leather, by Julie all fluffy and spooky and by CampCactus all delicate and beautifully natural. The empty shelf is waiting for new stock yet to arrive, it is a newly opened shop after all. I am thinking wellingtons in lots of witchy colours, very trendy!
 On this display there is a fabulous matching set with a hat by Debie that amazingly was perfect for the shoes and bag bought from Kat. The glittery shoes were, I think from DHE but I can't really remember.
 Once again these were basic white wood units but they do a fine job. I also have a couple of up to the minute Steampunk hats by Kat, including the wonderfully quirky flying hat which always makes me smile! So Esme Weatherwax I always think.
 This table display shows of lots of shoes mainly bought from Minutaria and Etsy with two pairs from CWPoppets. It was simply coincidence that they all came together like this but I am like the way they compliment each other. There is also a little candle display from Julie which was just right!
 To liven up the plain wooden units I added a few of the decorative brackets Angela Downton is now selling on Ebay. They are really pretty and an incredibly simple way to liven up plain pieces of furniture. I also edged the door of the shoe cabinet with the really tiny ones.
The shop floor now looks ready for all those well dressed witches out there.
 Due to my having to use a flash today my gorgeous Abyssinian cat by Sarah Schiff can't be seen in all his glory unfortunately but her cats are a weakness of mine. They are so lifelike!  
 I have still got to put up mirrors, signs etc to bring the whole look together but it is coming along nicely. I also want to make a few shoe/boot boxes to scatter which will be a challenge! I am terrible with measurements but it will be fun having a go!
I will have to design a logo for Witch E.T.Grubb's to make sure she stands out on the High Street!
 A cosy section to try on all the new styles with comfy cushions by who else but Julia, beautifully sewn as usual. Julia has been poorly recently so I hope seeing her lovely work in place will cheer her up. The very sexy boots are by The Dolls Cobbler whose work is the devil to get hold of but I managed to find
Mainly Minis in the US who do supply to the UK. If you have half an hour to spare take a trip through this website, they have some unusual as well as beautiful pieces for sale mostly handmade. 
Lots to do still, including the lighting when I will be fitting LEDs for the first time, but what a nice way to spend a cold, snowy day!

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Big 200 and My Give Back!

I have now reached an amazing 200 followers! To celebrate this mile stone I am going to have a special giveaway, or as I read on another blog recently, a 'give back'.
In view of recent posts 'give back' seems much more apt as I have been overwhelmed by all the kind thoughts and advice so many of you have sent me.
 All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post and be a follower of this Blog.
I have a 1/48th dolls house kit all ready for three winners. I saw these a couple of weeks ago at a craft fair and they look ideal for a mini project. I will also send a couple of surprise treats with each house because it is nearly Christmas!
The draw will take place on Monday the 7th of December so the winners will receive their packages before Christmas. Good Luck! 

We met with a number of professionals on Friday and I have to say the sense of relief I feel is huge. I have done all I can now and have found the best care and advice possible in view of the situation. The rest is out of my hands, other than to try and minimise any social effects that occur if the **** truly hits the fan. 
So, time to look forward and there is always Malaysia to escape to!
Happy days!!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Time Out......

I took all your advice today and had a time out wrapping presents. A little early I know but it is something I enjoy doing and it was a task I could do without having to think too much. I plugged in my ipod and listened to the wonderful "Emma" by Jane Austen.
Gosh it made me feel better!
It also prepared me for a traumatic afternoon in conference as we try to minimise the after shock. I certainly didn't feel as tense and tearful. Plus when we had finished with the professional I could stand back and think I am doing my best but there are things I cannot change.
So thank you everyone who has sent me such wonderful messages and for all the warm vibes that have been coming my way from all over the world.
We still have a long way to go but I feel so much better.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Some Days are Just Bad............

Have been absent for a while because of a huge cloud that has settled over our home. Times are very difficult at the moment and I am finding it very hard to deal with normal fun things like blogging.
It is so painful when someone you love and care for get themselves involved in a situation that you know can cause them nothing but heart ache.
I am powerless to change anything or make any of the problems go away and for a control freak like me it's unbearable.
They say what can't be be cured must be endured but it is so hard when you can see nothing but pain and distress for the weeks and months to come.
So I am doing what I do best, keeping a steadying hand, preparing for the worst and so, so hoping for the best.
I have been keeping up with everyone's blogs in the wee, small hours even if I am too weary to leave comments. Lots of Christmas preparations going on in Miniature Blogland I have seen.
To cheer me up and keep my mind of the real world I am planning a 200 follower giveaway.
Wow 200! Thank you to everyone who pops in. I am hoping to post more details tomorrow everything being equal.

Friday, 19 November 2010

How Many Injections?!

Off we went to visit our local nurse to talk about what precautions we need to take before flying off to Malaysia. My husband is six foot one and 16 stone but is a total worst scenario freak when it comes to 'foreign' illnesses and has already decided to have every injection known to man. I think he would even pack the morning after pill if they let him.
I am, surprisingly, very relaxed about such things. Mainly I suppose because my children have travelled to all sorts of places and stayed in the most revolting hostels with very few bad effects, so if they have survived I feel sure I will. I take it for granted I will get an upset tummy, the change in water effects me just passing through the Watford Gap after all!
Anyway we talk to the nurse and I can see my husband hanging on her every word. Oh yes he says, let's have the Rabies injection. We don't need it I say. Of course we do he says. No we don't there has not been a case of Rabies in the area we are visiting for three years.......Oh, he says, but.....
AND, I say, I do not intend getting close enough to any animal that can bite me that badly unless it has been rather nicely stir-fried and served with a delicious sauce!!
How long are you going for? says the nurse wearily.
So we ended up with Hep A, Hep B, typhoid, dyptheria, and tetanus. Sounds like more than enough to me. Plus we have to take a course of Malaria tablets with us 'just in case'.

Thank you everyone who left such funny and helpful messages to my last post. I will be talking you through my journey as and when each stage is reached. Thank you Sans for your lovely offer I may take you up on it! It sounds like an escape route of the most pleasurable kind.
I have now seen our itinerary which I will share with you another day......suffice to say it led to a rather heated discussion. Has this man never been on holiday with me before? A good clue for him would be the fact that that I have not got my hair wet, except for in the shower, since 1976!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Travelling? For or Against........

Like many people of a certain age my husband feels the need to travel. He longs to visit far flung places. He wants to have adventures. He is wants to learn to scuba dive, go white-water rafting, eat strange food and meet new people.
Well as he is not a celebrity, so I was not able to get him accepted for "I'm a Celebrity......", and now we are on our way to Malaysia and Borneo this January.
At the risk of seeming like the most boring person in the world - I don't travel well, yep just like fine wine.
I suffer from awful motion sickness for a start, I never pack the right things, I hate being too hot and I am terrible with new people. 
My husband keeps telling me that now the children are grown we should be off exploring the world - I didn't think there was anything better than Disney World. 
Plus, like a lot of married people with jobs and hobbies and children, we don't actually spend an awful lot of hours in the day on our own........we are now planning to do that for 19days!!!!! My God the thought is terrifying!
He has planned it all for us: Kuala Lumpar, Kota Kinabalu, jungle trekking and camping, diving, rafting, a romantic hotel on the beach and lots of quality time for us to enjoy.
I have planned to buy an Ipad to make sure I have something to do in the awkward silences after dinner or for when we've had a row because I am not going to climb that bloody mountain.
So have a thought for me in your prayers tonight and search your miniature networks for shops I can visit in Kuala Lumpar.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?........

In one word.....slowly!
I am continuing to make pieces for the outside of the Emporium. I can't believe how long everything takes to make, I will never shake my head at the prices of miniature floristry again. 
 I have noticed a lot of use of natural materials in miniature work lately so I have made a few mini wall 'trees' using small twiglets from the garden. I have let them dry completely for weeks, then I sprayed with a matt varnish.
 Now I have added bunches of leaves. These leaves have all been punched from different coloured papers. I have then added veins using very thin felt tipped pens. To add a variety of colours I then used either a water colour pencil for the edges or brushed them with a metallic embossing paste from a palette of colours I bought ages ago and was never quite sure what to do with. the finish is much nicer than I expected to be honest, paints and me are at the very beginning of a relationship! You know how it is - good days and bad!
After the punching, the veining, the painting and the embossing, all the leaves are 'cupped' to give them shape.
These are two items I find invaluable when making up flowers and things. The blue foam circle is used as a base for 'cupping' petals, flowers and leaves. I used to use a mouse mat but they are a bit too hard. This pad is just right.
The glue pot has a tiny metal needle to allow for precision glue lines or tiny dots of glue. I use mine all the time for all sorts of projects. Like most of my flowers resources they are from Fine Flowers in Miniature which is run by a lovely couple who travel all around the country with their flower kits and 144th house kits.
 Some of you may recognise this vine as the fabulous work of Nikki, which I bought a while ago. The wiring work is so realistic, my photograph does not do it justice. I have attached it to the wall with a dab of paper clay which I will paint and then cover with a tiny, leaved bird nest I think.....not sure whether to add tiny leaves or fruits to the vine or simply leave it in its glory?????
 I have also made these two little holly trees using the same method as above. I am still playing with how many leaves I want to add. I quite like the wood but they do look a bit bare. I have also made some   
orange berry clusters too add.
 More work in progress. A couple of hanging plants, the berries, holly leaves with the berries. and a selection of leaves from kits wired and ready to be planted in the wall troughs of the Emporium.
When I look at what I have achieved this week and the size of the troughs around the Emporium, I must admit my heart sinks! But I am sure the gardens of Rome were not built in a day! 
Have a fabulous Sunday everyone wherever you garden.