Monday, 20 December 2010

Swap Group Update

Just a very quick post today to show you the Christmas Gift I made for my fellow swap group member. Now that we've all opened our pressies I can share this with you. It's a miniature version of a real-life cross-stitch I have hanging in my home. I printed it onto transfer paper and ironed it onto fabric to give it some texture before making a little frame to go round it.

Friday, 17 December 2010

A Bear for my Sister-in-Law

Hi Folks! I've not been doing much as I've been laid low with a heavy cold but I've enjoyed looking at all your festive preparations. I'll finally be decorating our house this weekend too.

But first, I've been meaning to make a bear for my sister-in-law at Christmas for a few years now and I've finally done it. So here is ... Flynn!

He's approximately 8" from head to toe and made from mohair. As it's chilly out I knitted him a little sweater and made him some trousers and a wee scarf. Just need to nestle him into his gift box now but I thought I'd share him with you all first. Take care x

Monday, 6 December 2010

'Snow' Joke Any More!

There seems no let up in the snow here in West/Central Scotland. Today we awoke to falling snow and it hasn't stopped all morning. Traffic is grid locked all around and things are grinding to a standstill. This is the second year in a row when snow has caused so much disruption and serious thought needs to be given as to how we cope with it next time. Other countries manage it so why can't we?

Meanwhile here are some more photos of Cumbernauld taken last Thursday - we've had about another 12" of snow since then. It does look pretty but after a while all snow pictures seem to look the same...

Wherever you are, stay safe and warm xxx

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

And it's only November!!!!

Not had much time for mini-ing lately so nothing to report on that front! However, we are shivering under the heaviest snow fall that I can ever remember in our 20-odd years here! We had a 'team' of neighbours clearing our street yesterday but after more heavy snow we are now unable to get vehicles out of the residential areas and even the main roads aren't that great. As a result we've been stuck at home for the past few days. I'll try to rustle up some enthusiasm and get on with some projects today but meanwhile here are some photos from a very snowy Cumbernauld xxx

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Such Tiny Knitting!

I have to share with you the items I received from my swap partner this month. Jennie does the most fantastic miniature knitting and made these two little dresses.

The detail in them is breathtaking and, having tried miniature knitting (ie. sharp needles, sore fingers, crossed eyes - and six hours to knit a 1" square cushion!!!), I applaud anyone who manages it. Aren't they wonderful? Perhaps I should try making a doll or two to wear them...maybe next year!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The Paper Crimper

Following on from my earlier post today, here is the paper crimper I mentioned. You put the paper between the rollers and turn the handle - it's that simple. It came from our local Hobbycraft store, found among paper punches, etc. and best of all it was only £3! Hope this helps x

Conservatory Roof Blinds

I've got a new toy.... a paper crimper! I've mentioned already my idea for blinds in the conservatory but the thought of fan pleating so much paper was too much to bear. Now with this nifty little gadget the vellum comes out with just the right amount of 'ripple' to look like blinds when they're closed. Perfect for the closed blinds on the back roof of the conservatory. For the front I wanted blinds to look more like they were partially opened so there was nothing else for it but to run the vellum through the crimper and then pleat the rest by hand. Some beading nylon was threaded through them and here's how they look in situ....

the back...

...and the front, if a little crooked!

I'm pleased with how they've turned what else needs pleating?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Swap Group Update

You may know that I'm a member of an online swap group, Dedicated Mini Swappers. It's quite a small group, very friendly and there's no pressure to take part in every swap. I'd signed up for swaps in October and November but as none of my swaps were 'themed' I hummed and hawed for quite some time before deciding what to make. October was my month in our Half-Yearly Swap so, with my new found crochet skills everyone in my little group each got one of these, a little shopping bag ...

For November the swap theme was an item of my choosing, so I chose to make this little Christmas rug and cushion..

And finally, our annual Christmas Swap has to be mailed out by the end of November so we can all open them together before Christmas. I have made .... oh no, sorry, you'll have to wait until then before I can 'show and tell'!
I hope my partners like my gifts to them and if anyone is interested in joining our group please drop them an email and say Allison sent you!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

A Comfy Sofa for the Conservatory!!

I'm still thinking about the roof blinds so while I was thinking about them I made the sofa for the conservatory. This was a fairly cheap sofa that I bought some time ago always with the intention of stripping it. However, having stripped the sofa to the bare bones I now realise that it's basically simple shapes joined together so I'm tempted to build a matching chair from stratch using foamboard as I don't really like cutting wood.
I wanted a sofa that had a rattan-type frame with some plump cushions and here's how it came about. The original covers were removed and the sofa base recovered using Aida, the fabric used in cross stitch. (For any fellow cross stitchers out there this was justifiable as I had a large piece of bright yellow, 14 count fabric that I knew would never be used for cross stitch because of the colour - see photos for verification!!!!) Here are all the bits recovered in Aida!
After reassembling the sofa it was ready for painting. I painted it with brown acrylic paint, several coats to mask that yellow! Then a light coat of satin varnish to seal the paint and add a bit of a sheen.

I then got on with the cushions for the seat and back. I bought this dark red fabric at the same time as the blind fabric because I thought it complemented it well. Some little scatter cushions (these might be changed) and the sofa was done.

I'll let you know how I get on with my matching chair! Until next time x

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Blinds for the Conservatory

Following on from my last post, sewing won over landscaping!! The blinds for the conservatory have been made. I chose simple blinds because I didn't want a cluttered look at the windows and have made them different heights - intentionally! I made them by sandwiching together the fabric so the pattern would be seen inside and out and then trimming them with ribbon. They were then fixed to the frame above the windows.

I'm toying with the idea of making those pleated blinds for the roof - you know the sort, with cords running through them? I was thinking perhaps that I could make tiny pleats on vellum paper and then cut to shape before running thread through them - hmmmmm, might be one of those little jobs that seemed a good idea at the time but half way through and.....argh!!! Something to think about!!!

I'm really enjoying making minis again and my next post will either be about the above mentioned roof blinds or the sofa I'm ready to start. Until then x

Monday, 1 November 2010

Back to Miniatures!!!

Over the last couple of months I've been doing allsorts of crafting but not many miniatures. That's just me - I flit from project to project. I'm now back onto miniatures and decided it was high time that my conservatory was glued together and glazed. I started this conservatory so long ago and it has sat forlornly on my shelf, in bits, collecting dust, so here's its story to date. Firstly though the photos were taken with a flash which seems to distort things slightly. was painted green to start with and, as I wanted a more weathered look, roughly painted over with a walnut wood stain to tone it down a bit. I think in places I've overdone it a bit so might have to rub it back in places.

The lower walls were painted cream and then 'bricks' were cut from a sheet of black card which I had painted with terracotta, black and a touch of grey paint. These were glued onto the lower walls of the conservatory inside and out - it took forever!
I was going to tile the floor but the floor panel already had floorboards scored into it so I stained them as I thought a wooden floor would be more in keeping with the style I have in mind. More about that another day...
The back wall was papered and painted over in cream and then I searched the internet until I found the type of wall art I wanted. I found this print, resized it and printed it so it could be stuck on the back wall. Some wooden moulding was cut and stained to frame the print. For some reason in the photo it appears to bend at the top but it is straight..honest!!!
Finally the glazing was added, correctly on the second attempt as I managed to stick it to the wrong side the first time round! Don't ask!!!
So that's where we're at just now. I plan to fix it to a base and landscape around it so I think I'll work on that before starting on the inside. That said, however, I have found some rather pretty fabric in my stash that would be perfect for some blinds and you know how I like to sew.....

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Esmerelda - or Esme to her friends!

Hello! I can now introduce to you my newest raggy doll, Esmerelda - a little witch who adores Hallowe'en and her little cat, BlackJack.

I always find that these raggy dolls never seem to turn out to plan, they seem to evolve so I never know what they're going to look like until they're finished but finished she is and I think she looks like a friendly little witch.
She is approximately 21 inches from the top of her hat to the tips of her toes. She's wearing black tights with orange stars and moons (wouldn't mind a real pair like that!) and her new skirt with matching top shows her favourite ghosts and bats! She has just completed Grade 3 in Witchcraft and proudly displays three gold stars on her hat.
She's been given a flat bottom (if only it was as simple in real life!) and has joints at her knees so she can sit happily on a shelf without falling about! Hope you like her x

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

I Love a Bargain!

Whilst browsing on ebay recently I came across a Janet Granger kit for a stair carpet. Even better, the design matched a rug I had previously made but hadn't decided where it should go. Indecision over - the rug will be going into the entrance hall at 48 The Laurels and a beautiful matching carpet will grace the stairway. Only thing is, the Laurels is a five storey townhouse so it won't be just one stair carpet I need but a total of nine separate pieces! It's just as well I enjoy cross stitching! Here's the rug I've already made...

It's design name is Carole (Jade) and if you've never done any of Janet's kits before, here a link to her website. I have made three carpets, two firescreens and two Christmas stockings all from her kits and would highly recommend them. And of course, once you have the chart you can easily change colours etc. to make even more rugs for your houses!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Needle Felting Again!

I've been needlefelting again - I hope you're not getting bored with it!
I had an idea of making a 12th scale hobby horse for the nursery of The Laurels with a needle felted head. As a child I adored horses but we couldn't afford riding lessons never mind a pony so I had to content myself with reading about horses, watching horses, drawing you get the picture? In fact, horses are about the only animal I can draw reasonably well so that was a great help while felting this ....

I think I'll call him 'Blaze' because of the stripe down his face. His halter is made from tiny pieces of red leather and I have to thank my Dad for patiently cutting up a piece of dowelling and drilling holes in all the pieces to give me a supply of wheels, thanks Dad, you're the best xx

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Autumn Harvest

Earlier in the year I told you about my wee vegetable patch. I had planned to follow this up on the blog but never got round to. Anyway, for such a small patch it was very productive. We had courgettes, carrots, peas, broad beans and best of all loads and loads of lovely cherry tomatoes, so many that we were giving bags of them away to family, friends and neighbours! I still had loads leftover so the domestic goddess in me (haha!!) decided that the store cupboard should be filled with lovely chutneys for those cold winter months ..... don't they look lovely?

This is only a few of the jars. I think I have made too much so will be giving it away to folk. I've made 5 x Green Tomato Chutney ('cos loads weren't ripe enough to eat!), 7 x Apple, Pear & Tomato Chutney, 5 x Chilli Jam (altho' it's more like a jelly, but 'jam' it said on the recipe!) and with those marvellous Seville oranges from a tin (yes I know it's cheating but I always forget to buy Seville oranges in January!) six large jars of marmalade, which is all mine as I'm the only one in the house who likes it...yum!!

Friday, 8 October 2010

'Witch' Craft this week?

Sorry about the title!!! Yep, I'm off on a tangent again - raggy dolls this time!
These legs were as far as I got with my Hallowe'en doll last year.

As she will be a good bit bigger than the others I will need to design a new pattern for her body and head and then the fun can begin! These are the fabrics I'll be using....

and I'll look for some buttons, trimmings, etc. tomorrow when I'm out.

I don't have a clue yet how my witchy raggy doll will turn out but I'll definitely enjoy bringing her to life. Back soon x

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Here's Oliver and Vinny!

I've been bursting to share this with you for sooo long but I've had to contain myself, so in a time long ago before the mini-mojo went AWOL, I started a little project!

This is Oliver and Vinny... aren't they adorable?

They are Maltese Terriers owned by a friend in the US. After I had made a few needlefelted miniatures for her she asked if I could try my hand at replicating her wee dogs. Maltese terriers have long silky coats but hers are kept clipped and she was having difficulty finding ones that looked like her little dogs. My needlefelting has always been the 'stab-it-and-see-how-it-turns-out' technique so it was quite different to work to a photo but here's the result...

The dogs are built onto wire frames using merino wool, the longer hair on them is alpaca, they have little black eyes, black silk noses and, like the real Oliver and Vinny, have fetching neckwear! I've been asked if I can make a cat next so best get busy x

Sunday, 3 October 2010

My New Tote Bag!

You know I've been flitting about from craft to craft and so today's post is about another new obsession! I recently mentioned that I would like to try making handbags (real ones!). I confess to having a penchant for lovely bags. I had read the blog of the talented Lisa Lam, checked out her website and read several reviews of her new book before ordering it (I like to be!) and so, inspired, I delved into my fabric stash.

My old sewing machine came out of retirement, was dusted down, oiled and set to work for the first time in years. At this point I should mention that there has always been a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine. I love to sew and it hates to oblige! Quite often it wins and I just sit and sew by hand! Not so on this occasion - it purred away without a snarl and I was able to produce...this!

It's only a tote bag but I absolutely love it and I'm sure I'll be trying out some of the more complex designs from the book in the future.

It seems a good way of using up some of the fabric I have so I also made a couple of smaller tote bags for my friend's grand-daughters for them to take with them to their first ever visit to Miniatura. The picture on the front came from a Christmas card I'd held onto. The design is Snowy Houses and the artist is Sally Swannell.

For anyone wanting to try making bags I can highly recommend Lisa Lam's book, 'The Bag Making Bible: The Complete Guide to Sewing and Customizing Your Own Unique Bags'

Thursday, 30 September 2010

It's the little things that remind us...

Whilst knitting away recently I remembered that my sister said there was a bag of wool at home, did I want it? Assuming that it was wool that my Mum had bought but never got round to using I accepted it. It was put aside and has lain in a bag until today.....

When I opened the bag I found that my Mum had started to knit herself a cardigan and there it was still on her needles. My Mum died last year far too young and seeing her unfinished work really caught me by surprise.

The wool is lovely and the colour matches a dress I bought recently so the sensible thing would be to knit a really pretty shrug or cardi but I can't quite bring myself to unwind my Mum's work. I know Mum would tell me not to be silly and just to get on with it but for now that little piece of knitting will stay just as it is...

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Knitting Revival!

Still no sign of the mini-mojo but I've not been idle. My son was going to buy a new hat. You've probably seen the youngsters wearing them - the slouchy ones, reminds you of Papa Smurf? Anyway, he seemed quite happy to part with £35 - yes, thirty five pounds! - for a woolly bunnet until I said that I could knit one for much less.

"Yes, but this one is bamboo!" he points out,
"Yes, I can buy bamboo yarn too!" I reply.
"Well can you make one, then?" he asks,
"No problem" says I and off I go to Google bamboo yarns.....

Hmmmm, not as many as I thought! But determined not to give up I headed for local craft store and found two balls of bamboo yarn in the colour he had requested. Home again, rummage for knitting needles as it has been sooooo long since I last used them et voila...

Papa Smurf!!! Sorry, I mean my dearest son modelling his sock hat! And for less than £5 (not including my labour!) It's also reminded me how much I enjoy knitting so I think there will be more on my needles soon, especially as he would now like more hats in other colours!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Anyone for crochet?

My mini mojo seems to have deserted me so for now my blog seems now to be more about Allsorts and less about all things Miniature. Nevertheless, there's been loads of crafting going on here. I've been teaching myself how to crochet. I could crochet an edging around things but following a pattern and using 'proper' crochet stitches had always baffled me. I had been looking for a knitting pattern for a shrug and the only ones I could find were crocheted so what else can a girl do but to join the crochet brigade. Here's my first effort, don't laugh - it's a scarf!

I'm quite pleased with it but, between you and me, I think I'll continue with my hunt for a knitting pattern!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Nooo! Let's get Autumn by first!

Hi everyone and an especially warm welcome to my new followers, glad you're here!

Now, today I picked my mail off the mat only to find my first Christmas catalogue among it - it's September, for goodness sake! The sun is shining today, my washing is blowing in the wind and Christmas is the last thing on my mind! Mind you I did enjoy flicking through it whilst having a cuppa but I know I'm not going to be ordering anything just yet so it'll be consigned to the 'get-to-someday' pile, and then when I think the pile needs tidying up it'll probably end up in the recycling. Do companies have to push the festive season on us earlier each year? Or maybe I should be auditioning for a spot on Grumpy Old Women!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, wherever you are xx

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

"Sisters! There were never such devoted sisters...."

Our wee craft group (and I mean wee - there's two of us!) recently started again and I was looking for something to take along. As I've been in a sewing mood recently, I brought out my unfinished raggy dolls to see what actually needed to be done to finish them. As usual with me, it was not a lot! So after some finishing touches may I introduce you, a little out of season, to 'Christmas Rosie'....

and her sister, 'Raggy Ruby' ...

There is still a pair of legs sticking out of my work-in-progress box wearing black cotton stockings festooned with orange stars - looks like that young lady will be a Hallowe'en witchlet! Although 'witch' Hallowe'en is anyone's guess x

Friday, 3 September 2010

Dreaming about Autumn

Thank goodness the weekend is upon us and the stresses of the past week can be forgotten!

Now that we're in September I've noticed that the weather has turned decidedly cooler here in the west of Scotland. There's a nip in the air when I leave for work in the morning followed by some watery sunshine and cool nights. The trees are changing colour and it's now, more than at any other time of the year, that I want to stay at home, to cook, to bake, to make things for the house - start settling down for winter, in other words. Does anyone else feel like that?

I know that it may seem to some too early to think about Autumn but it's my favourite time of year. I've started planning what crafts I want to do over the coming months and as well as miniatures, I want to make some more bears and dolls, try my hand at making handbags (real life size as I'm a handbag junkie!) and have a go at quilt making to try to use up some of my fabric stash. Wouldn't it be nice to give up work over the winter months?

So it looks like I'll be busy and, of course, I'll be sharing it all with you and drawing inspiration from your fabulous blogs. I can't wait....x

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Is it too early to hibernate?

This week at work has been the pits and I would like some duvet days please! I work in the health service and I never cease to be amazed at the appalling attitude of patients towards staff. Could I ask all my lovely followers to think twice before kicking off at receptionists and secretaries? We are short-staffed, under-paid, feel under-valued and are most definitely caught in a hard place between the medical staff and patients!

Rant over...normal service will be resumed tomorrow! x

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Falkirk Fair

Ooh 70 followers today - I like round numbers! Welcome all!

Ok, an update about my weekend past. In general I have stopped going to fairs in Scotland because they are quite poor. However, every August there is a fair practically on my doorstep and as it combines bears and dolls with dolls houses and miniatures I always make a point of going. I came back with a solitary item, this ...

A 24th scale sink unit for Mulberry Cottage
(I had made one myself but felt it wasn't quite right!)

I also had a really good look at some dolls. I don't usually put dolls in my houses or scenes because the ones in my price range can sometimes look downright scary but I have my eye on a particular little girl for the Laurels nursery from Bellabelle Dolls so I'd better start saving the pennies!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

A Bed for the Laurels Nursery

Hi Everyone and welcome to some more new followers!

A while back I showed you the bed I had made for the nursery from a metal kit. I was soooo in love with that bed....until it came to finishing the base! The plastic side bars that came with it proved to be utterly useless at holding it together and the ends kept falling away. I finally resorted to a gluing a solid base to the frame to keep it together which wasn't really how I had imagined it but as it would not be seen it was the only way to go. I've spent an enjoyable afternoon making the bedding and taming the quilt and am pleased to share with you, this....

Have a lovely weekend, wherever you are x

Monday, 16 August 2010

New Followers and New-Look to Blog

Hello and a warm welcome to my new followers - there seems so many over the past week or so! I'm glad to have you here and hope you find something to inspire you x

Also I thought my blog could do with some tweeking so I've added some new pages, one for miniature gardening and another for my (non-miniature) cross stitching.

Real life is still interfering with my plans but I'll be back soon with the bed I've made for The Laurels - if I could only stop the quilt looking like a flying! Take care x

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Needlefelted Bears

You may remember a couple of weeks ago I showed you a little needlefelted dog I made for my friend in the US. Well, she asked if I could make a teddy bear for the little boy's bedroom in her dollhouse. I was happy to oblige and made these two little cuties.....

In return I received loads and loads and loads of tiny punched flower shapes. I am addicted to making flowers just now and they are much appreciated!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Laurels - exterior finally finished!

After weeks of painting, tweeking and fiddling I'm finally finished the exterior of The Laurels. Here she is....
The glazing has still to go into the windows but I'll deal with that when I get round to starting the curtains.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

I Belong to Glasgow, Dear Old Glasgow Town!

Or so the song goes! I have lived in and around Glasgow my entire life but there are many places I have still to visit. First on my list was The People's Palace and Winter Garden situated on Glasgow Green, the oldest park in Glasgow. It was on this site that the last public hanging took place in 1865 (a doctor who poisoned his wife and mother-in-law) but the Green, the lung's of the city, is known more as the place where women took their washing to dry 'on the green' and some original clothes poles still exist today.
At the front of the museum is the largest terracotta fountain in the world, the famous Doulton Fountain that was gifted to Glasgow by Henry Doulton in 1888 for Glasgow's first Great Exhibition and is now lovingly restored to its former glory. It stands 14 metres tall.

The People’s Palace was built in 1898. It’s a social history museum where you can find out how the people of Glasgow lived from 1750 until the present day.

You can find out about trade union struggles, crime and punishment, leisure and it also shows you what it was like to be in an Anderson air raid shelter during the war and how the weekly wash was done at the ‘Steamie.’ The pictures below show the wonderful recreation of a ‘single end’ – the one-roomed flat that was home to many Glasgow families. To the right of the range is a double bed set into the wall with another bed underneath on wheels that would be brought out for the children.

There were also a couple of dolls houses which unfortunately were in glass cabinets so photographing them was a bit difficult. The first was built in 1955 by a father for his daughters. He built it in secret in the Anderson Shelter which was still in their garden and it replicates a 'pre-fab' - houses that were built after WW2. Second photo is top view through the cabinet.

The second house is a Glasgow Tenement with each floor showing a different decade. It featured the 1930s, 1950s and 1990s. I would say it is in 24th scale but the detail is still amazing. Again it was difficult to photograph so these are the best I could take.

You can round off your visit relaxing amid tropical trees and plants in the elegant Winter Gardens conservatory.

Across the road from The People's Palace is the wonderful Templeton Carpet Factory. When the Templeton Carpet Company decided to build a factory towards the end of the 19th century, overlooking Glasgow Green it should have been a straightforward job. But the city council kept rejecting their proposals because they were not good enough. So William Leiper, a top architect, was given the brief to design a building with impeccable credentials. He came up with the idea of making it look like the Doge's Palace in Venice - it is not clear whether he was being serious but the council approved. So in 1892 his extravagant edifice of polychromatic brick - orange, yellow, blue, with turrets and arches and circular windows became a reality. It is no longer a carpet factory, it's now a business centre, but it is a stunning piece of Victorian architecture.

I hope you have enjoyed this short tour. I'll post my next visit soon x