Sunday, February 28, 2010

Back to school tomorrow

My 2010 academic year at the University of New South Wales starts tomorrow so over the next few months I'll be spending a great deal of time in this part of the campus. It's a big university, 40,000+ students, this is just a little glimpse of the place.

So ... no more 'goofing off' - but there are lots of things I want to post about the NZ cottage as well as mini stuff so although I might be a bit 'quieter' than I have been recently I certainly won't be absent, and I'll still be reading as many of your posts as I possibly can.

One of my 3rd yr Linguistics classes is 'Semantics and Pragmatics' - wish me luck on that one!! I'm going to need it!!*laughs nervously*

Friday, February 26, 2010

A sincere welcome to:

Ana Morgado
Mags Cassidy
Sandy Foster

(clicking on the names of these bloggers will take you directly to their blogs)

and also to Karin and Carolina - no blogs are showing on your profiles, if you have blogs please leave a comment here so that we can visit you :)

Thanks for stopping by!

(Cynthia and Sandy please note that your blogs are not showing on your profile here either, you might want to adjust your settings)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

100+ Followers and a Giveaway Draw

Over the past week or so I've been watching the Followers number creep up into the 90s, and every day closer and closer to the 'magic' 100... I've been a bit like a rabbit caught in the headlights, not quite able to believe what was happening!

I started this blog in November 2009 after having found the 'blog world' quite by accident. I had bought a UK miniatures magazine and in it was an article about Lea Frisoni's fabulous book Le Grand livre de la maison miniature . I Googled the book title and 'hit on' Linda Carswell's amazingly inspiring blog "Une Petite Folie" - it is no exaggeration to say that that moment has changed my life. From Linda's blog I spent days blog-hopping - I truly thought I'd died and gone to heaven! So much 'eye candy', so much inspiration, so much motivation. And most importantly a community of like-minded souls who I could see were committed to sharing knowledge and encouragement.

My first miniature project I can vividly remember attempting (probably about 8 years old) was trying to make a carpet for the living room of my dolls house by painting a mottled grey pattern on a piece of paper. To my frustration the paper curled up as it dried and I think I threw it away :( About 1984 (when we were living at the New Zealand cottage I've posted about recently) I was excited to find a couple of 'how-to' dollshouse books and launched into the mini world again. It was fun but also frustrating as it was so difficult to get materials and accessories. Basically it meant catalogue mail-order from England, an expensive and slow process and eventually I just gave up and put all my mini things away.

How different the mini world is now thanks largely to the Internet. I can browse online mini shops to my hearts content, and there is inspiration, motivation and fellowship everywhere. I Follow blogs located all over the world and my life is infinitely the richer for it. It seemed appropriate then that rather than just 'take' from the blog world I should make some sort of contribution myself, however small, and it seems that at this moment 103 of you consider it of some relevance and I truly thank you for that.

To show my appreciation I'd like to do a little "mystery" gift draw. It's presently a mystery even to me because your interests and styles are so diverse I've found it impossible to think of something that would suit everyone. Therefore I'll make a small 'tailor-made' gift package for the person whose name is drawn. I've decided to do this draw at my grandson's first birthday party on 6 March, it seems appropriate to mix two special celebrations :) I'll include the names of all Followers of my blog up until the time that I leave for the birthday celebrations. (If anyone does NOT want to be in this draw, please email me at - no need to give any reason).

So, THANK YOU to everyone of you for stopping by my blog - I hope you will find something of interest here from time to time :)

Sunshine Awards

Thanks to Michelle @ poppenhuis en miniaturen and to De @ De-Lightful Minis for giving me the Sunshine Award :)

The Sunshine Award Rules are:

1. Post the award on my own blog.
2. In a blog post, name six blogs that I enjoy.
3. Let your six named bloggers know that you are passing the award on to them.

So now it's my turn to "share the love" and I'd like to pass this award on to:

Amina @
Lara @
merry jingle crafts @
CM @
Susan @
Marit @

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What do you think - 1:12 or 1:1?

How often have you looked at the work of a talented miniaturist and said to yourself "there's no way that's mini" - well here's one to contemplate...

Very clever photographing it in the woods, don't you think?

Look at this pretty interior, wouldn't you just love to shrink yourself and curl up in there with a good book? And how lovely in the 'evening light'...

In fact no shrinking would be required to enjoy this amazing creation - it's the 1:1 studio cottage of Sandy Foster whose fabulous blog is at

Just for once instead of wanting to exclaim "It's so gorgeous I can't believe it's not real!" I think I'm not the only one saying "It's so gorgeous I can't believe it's not mini!"

I wonder who will be the first to miniaturise it??? Now there's a challenge...

(Photos copied and posted with Sandy's permission)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Is it only an old ladder or much much more???

I bought this vintage wooden ladder for NZ$40 a few days before I came back to Sydney. It's an acquisition I'm very pleased with. However there are 'nay sayers' who can see only $40 worth of firewood!!

In defence of my ladder I would like to say:

(1) within 10 mins of buying it I saw two similar ladders, cleaned and dark stained, being used as display props in antique store windows
(2) a charming home accessories and gift shop presently has a similar vintage ladder, a little bigger, and also dark stained, in the window with a price tag of NZ$245! (=US$171)
(3) ladders as display units are so HOT right now - presenting exhibit no 1 (source "NZ Home and Garden" magazine)

So what do you think???

Should I-

(a) paint it white
(b) dark stain it
(c) chop it up for firewood?

VOTE NOW - leave a comment - make your opinion count!

By the way - No pressure but I'm counting on your 'positive support' in order that the ladder may continue to have a long and fruitful life! ;)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More on the New Zealand cottage...

Our cottage is located in this little village 30 minutes drive from the city of Dunedin in the south of New Zealand. It has a northerly aspect over the inlet you see here to the Pacific Ocean. We've owned it for about 30 years, we lived in it full time for 4 but otherwise it was a weekend and holiday retreat. Since we've been living in Australia it's mostly been unocupied and that combined with the fact that the 'old girl' is getting on a bit has meant that recently we've had to turn our attention to some serious repair/renovation work.

Don't forget to 'poke' the photos for a better look :)

If you drive past this is all you will see as it sits down below the road line.

However, if you stop and stand at the top of the steps you will see the door so come on down and take a look around - take care though because the steps are made from old railway line sleepers and they can get a bit slippery...

Walk on by past the door, around to the front of the house...

From here you can enjoy the bush and coastal view for a moment, unfortunately it's a bit hazy today so you can't see the ocean as well as usual - and I must ask the neighbours to take the top off that pesky tree!...

Let's go down to the bottom of the yard, where the trees are, so that we can look back and see the front of the house properly...

Now if we turn around, there she is...

The poor old shed on the right has seen better days and is overdue for a coat of paint, maybe next summer.

It's a pity that the beautiful window in the upstairs bedroom has broken in the bottom left corner. Just what happened is a mystery but our neighbours noticed the lead and the glass had collapsed in the corner after a period of very strong wind. We've had to cover the broken area with a piece of board to prevent further damage. The lead has started to collapse a little in the middle at the top also so the window has to be removed. It will be replaced by a plain window, not as pretty perhaps but at least we'll be able to see the view from up there then! At the moment three little diamond shapes of plain glass are about all you can see through.

We are hopeful that this window can be restored and located elsewhere in the house.

Before we go up to the house for a look around inside I want to show you something hidden among the trees down here...

... a derelict chicken house! Isn't it cool?? Every yard should have one!

Oh dear, sorry about that...

I missed a few of you in my WELCOME message! :( I'm so sorry, I forgot to check the 'beginning' of my followers list where all those with 'blank' profile photos are automatically placed by the 'computer brain' that controls such things. I suddenly had one of those 'lightbulb' moments about it in the middle of the night.

So to Carolyn (@, Jonna (@, Vane, tinystuffs and Marika "thanks for stopping by my blog" and please forgive my bad manners!

I should also add that there is no blog info showing on your profiles (I'm familiar with Carolyn and Jonna's blogs so knew where to find them) but you might want to check that out. Vane, tinystuffs and Marika if you have blogs please leave a comment here so that we can find you!

I hope I haven't left out anyone else!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A rather overdue WELCOME!

I feel a bit like the Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe in the nursery rhyme who had so many children she didn't know what to do. So many of you have taken me by surprise 'following' my blog while I've been largely away from the internet for the past few weeks that I have a similar dilemma. I really appreciate each and every one of you taking the time to stop by my blog and so I want to mention you all by name by way of a 'personal welcome' (where your blogs/websites are showing on your profiles I won't mention them here).

So here goes! - *deep breath* - A big welcome to Moni, Hanna and Leijona, Maria, Jamie, Anneke, Claudia, Karin, Mincka, Marlies, Doreen, Minikat, Ana, Lori, Christine H, Carey, Jose, Monika, Asuka, Eva, Christel, Daisy, CM @ My Realitty, Jody, Teresa, Anna and Hannah. Also to Sabiha (@ and Melissa (@ whose blogs I know and love but are not showing on their proflies here.

Welcome also to genevieve, lutjeboudel, miniaturemaid, and christine - there are no blogs showing on your profiles - if you do have blogs please leave a comment here because I'd like to come visit :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Family history meets minis

One of my hobbies is family history. This 1:12 scale project was made about four years ago in celebration of the journey of my great grandparents from England to New Zealand in 1922, and gifted to my cousin Dorothy in recognition of the generous spirit in which she shares her family history research. I spent a nice couple of days with Dorothy on my recent visit and 'borrowed' the trunk so that I could photograph it. The luggage label on the outside records the details of the voyage.

The inside represents a small room in my grandparents' house which has become the place where things are gathered together in preparation for the voyage. When I was working on it I'd often wake thinking of my great grandmother Elizabeth and imagine her laying in bed planning what they should pack to take to this 'new' country on the other side of the world. Seven children, the youngest just 6, travelled with their parents but my grandmother Alice, who was married with children of her own by 1922, stayed behind. (She and her family followed a few years later). Perhaps the family would have included a portrait of her in their luggage, I like to think so hence the photograph in the gold frame.

The sharp eyed among you will have noticed already that there are a couple of knobs missing from the trunk drawers, as well as the top of the "cosmetic bottle". I knocked the 'missing' drawer knobs of myself but forgot to put them on before the photo - I'll never get a job as a photo stylist that's for sure! After taking the photo I found the pearl top of the "cosmetic bottle" rolling around in the back corner - all have now been restored to their proper places, and the trunk returned to Dorothy. She keeps it on the bookcase in her home office where many pages of genealogy data, family stories and photos are stored, a perfect location for it :) Everything in the trunk was made by me except the little teddy, the sewing machine, the black handbag on top of the travel trunk, the photo frame and the 'high heeled' shoes under the bench (the other shoes are made from air drying clay as are the brown handbag containing voyage tickets, etc, the hairbrush, comb and mirror set, and the shaving mug which is difficult to see but is in the open trunk drawer). The photograph on the righthand page in the album on the bench is of the family - it was taken in England just before the voyage. (My grandmother - my father's mother - is at the back on the right).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My friend Melissa's exquisite work...

I've just found out that while I've been on holiday my friend Melissa Hoover (porcelain doll artist, doll luggage maker, miniature artist, etc) has recently set up a website and blog, her work is exquisite and she deserves lots of visitors to check out both! Please take a look...

(I tried to make these URL's 'hot links' but it didn't work so I guess you'll have to cut and paste to your browser - but it's worth the trouble, believe me!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm back home!

I arrived back in Sydney a few hours ago, it's so humid I think I might die!!

First stop was to visit our gorgeous little grandson who has just started taking steps, now I need a few days to chill out and acclimatise to the humidity, then I'll get back to 'inhabiting' the blog world properly and get some new photos up :)

(This photo was taken by me from our apartment.)