Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

It is 2.30 pm on Tuesday 31st December 2013 in New Zealand. We are about to head into a New Year.

Marlon wishes to join me and my family in wishing you all a fabulous 2014.

Dream big, live big and be creative.

My daughter and I had fun creating this scene today to share with you.

There is a bit of a 'puzzle' coming in the New Year. Keep an eye on my blog.

There is also a giveaway coming.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Selina Rose Gallery

In my last post I said I was going to do a post about the items I made for the Christmas Chain Swap 2013 but unfortunately Francesca (Italy) still has not received her gift from me. I am hoping it has just got caught up in the Christmas mail and has not in fact gone missing in the post. If it doesn't turn up soon I will make something else for Francesca.

In the meantime I thought I would do a post on my progress with the Selina Rose Gallery. My sister Karen will be pleased to see this post having waited so long for her Gallery.

In the last few days the Gallery has been given ceilings, wallpaper and flooring and I have been playing around with furnishing it. I am using items of furniture my sister already had, along with some pieces I have made and an old washstand that I am going to use as the artist's work table. This will have some paints, brushes etc on it and a rag hanging off it. I will also make some 1:12 scale art books for this room.

I have two hanging green frosted lights coming for the bottom two floors (the gallery) and a flickering fire coming for the attic fireplace (all LED battery lights). I still need to get a light for the room under the attic. The floor lamp in that room is a non-working light.

In my mind the Selina Rose Gallery has recently been purchased and the new owners are slowly renovating it giving it a neutral décor. They have not yet got around to renovating the attic. The owner/artist sometimes does some painting in the attic but her main studio is at her home.

 The attic where the artist sometimes works. I made the large easel and the little easel on top of the fireplace was made by our Dad in the 1990s. All the paintings are scaled down copies of Karen's art.

 The next room down is the chill-out room where the artist can have a quick lunch and a cuppa. I have (very reluctantly) parted with one of the lovely cushions Manu gave me in the Christmas in July swap. Manu made some cushions using images of my sister's art. I have recovered an existing lamp and made the tray, cake and sandwiches.
 The next floor down is a bit bare at the moment but will largely be gallery space. I made the little bench seat so gallery visitors can sit and study the paintings.
 The bottom floor is the entrance to the gallery. I made the counter, the bench seat, the (very tall) umbrella stand and the easel and sign. While Karen has decided this will be a modern gallery she had this old fashioned doll in her items so I have stood her behind the counter for now. Perhaps she is dressed up for the town's centennial or something! I will make a stand to display the old dragon plate.
You may have noticed something is missing from the two gallery rooms, i.e. paintings. Here are some of the scaled down copies of Karen's paintings waiting to be hung in the gallery. I was trying to come up with ideas so I didn't have to stick the paintings to the walls and mark the wallpaper but I haven't been happy with anything I have come up with. Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. The paintings look best just stuck on the walls. I will just stick them up with tacky wax. There are a few other paintings that need to be scaled down and there will be room to keep adding paintings as Karen keep creating.
The house in its entirety.
Tonight I am going to work on scaling down a few other photos of Karen's paintings that I have so I can work out just how many paintings I have so far and work out how to best display them over the two gallery floors. I also still want to make a few other things for inside the house while I am on my Christmas break.
However the biggest job I have to do to complete the Gallery is the exterior front door. I'm still a bit undecided on how to complete this. I have just received a window I ordered replacing a broken one and can now get to work on creating the exterior. Hmmm, what to do!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Christmas and Swap Gifts

Well, after all the build up another Christmas has been and gone. It is now late afternoon on Boxing Day in New Zealand (26th December).

New Zealand is the first country to greet each day and we are therefore also the first to greet Christmas. I thought of my mini friends around the world and imagined you still preparing for your Christmas Day or fast asleep hoping that Santa would visit.

Guess what I got on Christmas Eve? - A COLD!!  Luckily I felt reasonably okay and my husband Pete, daughter Jamie, our friend Ben and I travelled the hour to have Christmas with my family and my nephew's 'in-laws to be' and relations that had travelled over from England. My nephew and his fiancé are getting married on 4 January. A group of about 22 of us had a lovely Christmas day but by late afternoon my cold starting setting in again and we drove the hour back home where I pretty much crashed out for the rest of the day. I had fully intended to get a blog entry done yesterday but I just didn't feel up to it.

We were all rather spoilt with lovely gifts from family and friends. My husband bought me Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 (photo editing) and Adobe Premiere Elements 12 (video editing) for Christmas so hopefully I will be able to use those to improve on my blog entries once I have learned how to use them.
Our Christmas tree.

 One of our dogs, Smudge, proudly showing you his new
black and yellow socks he got for Christmas.
While my mind is struggling to function properly today I just wanted to thank my two swap partners in Fabiola's Christmas Chain Swap 2013 for the wonderful Christmas gifts I received from them.

First of all, from Francesca of Italy - Blog: Mini Ricamo  http://miniricamo.blogspot.com
I received this exquisite little mat of such fine needlework. It is a beautiful design and lovely colours. I just know it is going to look fabulous in one of my mini houses.


My other swap partner was Maribel of Spain. Blog: Miniaturas Isabel http://maribel41.blogspot.it/
From Maribel I received:

 This exquisite little tea-pot with blue roses.
 This lovely cushion.
 This crocheted baby carry-cot with bedding.
I had the perfect little baby doll to tuck inside.
 Beautiful crocheted scarf beret and cap and a lovely towel.
Everything together. What a beautiful range of hand-crafted items.

Thank you so much Maribel. Your work is just beautiful.

I love miniature crochet and have always wanted to learn to crochet, so I have set it as a challenge to myself to learn crochet over this Christmas break. I have bought Jamie and myself a crochet hook each. Wish us luck! Now I just need to find a tutorial.

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas day shared with family and friends, celebrated in a way that is meaningful to them through traditional, family and cultural traditions. For me Christmas is about special time spent with family and friends.

I will post a blog entry soon on the swap gifts I sent to Maribel and Francesca.

In the meantime I just wish to send you my best wishes for your Christmas break and best wishes for a Creative 2014. I look forward to following your blogs throughout the year. I am hoping to be much more creative in 2014.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Recital, Christmas Surprises & (Mini) Mini Tutorial

Hi all. I'm back. The Michelle Glover Academy of Dance recital has been and gone and I had my last day at work yesterday until 14 January, so hopefully after I have caught up with the housework I will have a bit of time for miniatures to get on with my sister's gallery. It has been such a hectic last few weeks with recital rehearsals, the recital and then Jamie had a number of school leaver functions (it is her last year of primary school) and her school play. We had my husband's work do last night and now I have a few days to breath before Christmas day.

The dance recital was a great experience for all of us as a family. My husband Pete was a great hit as Santa. He did so well. We both loved the interaction with the little dancers in our roles as Santa and Mrs Claus and got so many hi-fives and hugs. Jamie also did awesome in the three dances she performed in.

Below are a few photos:
 Trying on costumes prior to the recital.
 Jamie in her Snoopy costume.
 Jamie, in front, as a snow angel.
 Jamie, in front, as a soldier.
 Pete in his Santa costume.
Me in my Mrs Claus costume.
The things we do for our kids (and their dance teachers)!!
I received the giveaway I won from Sylvia of Mijbil Creatures in the post yesterday. I was blown away. I knew the characters were tiny but until I saw them for real I didn't realise how tiny or detailed they were. I don't know how she takes such beautiful photographs of them. The tallest character is only 9mm high. I am just so thrilled to have these lovely little Christmas characters in my miniature collection. They will take pride of place on a little shelf in my Christmas box when I work on it next year.

I also got an unexpected Christmas surprise in the mail yesterday, this beautiful Christmas decoration from Melli of der Pippibaren-blog. Thank you Melli. It is just beautiful. Edward thinks it should go in his Christmas box and Marlon thinks it should go in his new residence when I build one for him. I think Edward might win. It will be another item that will take pride of place in my Christmas box. Perhaps I will take a photo of it to put in Marlon's residence!

And lastly for today, a quick little tutorial:

Cut the head off a small paper scrapbooking flower.
Glue it on to a flat jewellery finding. Drill a hole in the centre and insert
a miniature candle or a painted toothpick or similar to represent a candle.
(Preferably a candle that is a bit straighter than this one!)

I want to try to make a miniature poinsettia flower to try this technique. I think it would be lovely for a Christmas scene.
And finally for today, I have received my parcels from Maribel and Francesca for the 2013 Chain Christmas Swap. I am trying hard not to open them until Christmas Day but it is very hard to resist.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Is there a 'Myrtle Manor'

I find I have very little to show at the moment. I am so busy with my involvement as Mrs Claus with the dance recital (as well as supporting my husband and daughter with their involvement) that I have little time for anything else in the evenings after I have finished my day job as a law clerk.

The recital is now less than a week away. We have rehearsals from 4-6.30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week and then we have an evening performance on Friday at 7.00pm and two shows on Saturday at 2.00pm and 7.00pm. I suggest next Sunday will be a blob out day.

I have in recent weeks also been busy getting Christmas swap gifts off to fellow miniaturists in Italy and Spain. Of course I cannot show these on my blog because it would ruin the surprise for them.

There is something I can share with you though - where the name Myrtle Manor Miniatures comes from and to answer the question, Is there a Myrtle Manor?

Some weeks ago Mijbil did a lovely post on her blog


about where the name of her blog came from. I then looked at the names of some of the other blogs I follow and wondered how those names came to be or what they translate to in English.

The story of Myrtle Manor Miniatures is a bit of a round about story. It started when I purchased my first house as a single young? lady (I was 32) back in 1995. In 1995 I had done my 'Big OE' (overseas experience - travelling overseas) and had done my time spending too much money at pubs and night clubs in the evenings and decided it was time to settle down a bit. At the same time a friend's father was about to move in with them as he was finding it difficult living on his own. I had a look at his house and loved it. While my father was against me buying an old wooden character home at the time (which was what I yearned for) when he saw this house, a 1929 bungalow, he also saw the potential with its stained glass windows, wooden floors and plastered ceilings. I bought the house, a puppy and a kitten and moved in. I was a home owner and a pet owner all in one go.

I loved the house and also loved a beautiful large tree out the back of the property which I was told was a Myrtle tree. Also at the time I was into making bears, including miniature bears. I decided to sell some and needed a business name. I came up with Myrtle Manor Bears. I did sell a few bears but found I didn't enjoy making to order as it took away my creative choice as to what I wanted to make at any one time. The name 'Myrtle Manor' went into hibernation.

Okay, so 'Manor' was a bit of a stretch of the imagination with my little house at the time but I was very proud of my little house so I felt justified calling it a 'Manor'.

Below are a few photos I have found of 'Myrtle Manor':

 A portion of the stained glass window that is behind
Pete and I in the photo below (we were dressed up for a medieval wedding).

 A small portion of one of the (dirty) plaster ceilings.

A small glimpse of the right hand edge of the tree.

Hopefully I might eventually find a photo of the actual house that I can add to this post.

Later in the 1990s my interest in bear making waned and I turned to dolls house miniatures which I enjoyed until the late 1990s when that too went into hibernation.

My husband and I became a couple in about 1998 (previous to that we had known each other as work mates) and we got married in 2000. Once we got married Pete wanted us to buy a house together that we could call 'ours' and I sold my Myrtle Manor.

Now all these years later I have got back into miniatures and I am really enjoying it this time with the invention of the internet and blogs and with all the wonderful contacts I have made with blog friends around the world. I first started my blog as a tool for myself to motivate me. When I needed a name, I of course immediately thought of 'Myrtle Manor'.

So, is there a Myrtle Manor? - in my mind there was. Maybe one day I will do a miniature of my old 1929 bungalow and there will be again. I still have very fond memories of the house.

The funny thing is that many years later I found out the tree I thought was a Myrtle tree was in fact a Lilly Pilly tree. Still, by then the name Myrtle Manor had stuck. Had it not, my blog may have been called Lilly Pilly Manor Miniatures!

How did the name of your blog come into being? I'd love to hear about it.