Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dance Comp and Indecision

Well today we travelled for our daughter Jamie to compete in a dance competition. It is her first competition for this year and she only competed in once dance - modern jazz solo 9 and under 11. She did really well and got a very highly commended.

We are always proud of Jamie and her ability to get on stage and compete or perform in front of people. She loves it.

We didn't take any photos today but this is Jamie competing
in the same category in another competition in October last year.

So, tomorrow Pete and Jamie take off for two nights/three days holiday, meaning I can have a bit of me time and craft time. Trouble is, I can't make up my mind about what I want to do.

I definitely want to finish painting the gallery exterior and I might have a go at making an artist's easel. However, I have so many ideas buzzing around in my head of miniatures I would like to try to make that I am almost unable to do anything at all for indecision. 

I'm also wondering if I should look at doing a giveaway, but realise that I need to create something worthy of 'giving away'.

I will let you know after my Easter break what I have achieved, hopefully something worthy of a blog entry.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter

It is Good Friday here in New Zealand at 10.00 am. I should be doing some housework but instead I am enjoying looking at blogs. My place of work doesn't reopen until Wednesday so I have a five day break. Today is about getting on top of the housework (and hopefully a bit of mini-ing), tomorrow we are travelling to a nearby city so my daughter can compete in a dance competition, and on Sunday morning my husband and daughter are going away for two nights/three days to have a dad and daughter holiday. This leaves me home to enjoy some me time and to do some minis. Now you understand why I want to get my housework done today! Hopefully I will have a creative long weekend and will have something to post at the end of it.

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE - I hope you get some time to make or play with minis or just do some of the things you love doing.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Congratulations Otterine and Other Nominees

Congratulations Brae of Otterine on being the winner of the 2013 Best Miniature Blog in the Readers' Choice Awards.

Please check out Brae's blog and the fabulous projects she has worked on which are shown down the right hand sidebar of her blog.

Brae's blog was the first blog I started following when I got back into miniatures and what's more, Brae was the first follower of my blog. To have someone of Brae's talent start following your blog when you are a novice blogger finding your way gives you such a boost of confidence to keep going. Thanks Brae.

Congratulations also to Casey Minis for a very close fought second place. Visit Casey and check out the adventures of Tessie, Zar and Spike.

Both Brae and Casey while working on their projects happily share with their blog followers their techniques and ideas. They are both super talented miniaturists.

Congratulations also to the other nominees:

DIY Dollshouse Miniatures where you can find some fabulous project tutorials. I am working on the Sugar 'n Spice Project which I hope to have finished by Christmas.

Jazzi Minis who not only posts blogs about her miniatures but helps promote other miniaturists through her Monday Mini Link Party and Whoot Wednesday blog entries.


Mini Modern who provides a great list on her blog sidebar of modern miniature links and check out the great photos throughout her blog of more contemporary miniatures.

Congratulations everyone. Keep up the good work. I look forward to enjoying all of your blogs throughout the rest of 2013 and beyond.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chameleon Bench Seat

In an earlier blog I posted a photo of a bench seat I made for the Selina Rose Gallery. The bench seat is like a chameleon. At that stage it was covered with a black oriental fabric, a bit later I changed that to a blue silky fabric, and today I decided that fabric had a 'dirty' look to it and the bench seat is now in a grape fabric. I much happier with it and it will suit the gallery environment. They do after all often drink wine at gallery openings! Now I just have to make a second seat the same for the second floor of the gallery.


Special Things

This is a photo of the New Zealand Tui. Isn't he grand. They have a wonderful tuft of white feathers on the front of their neck and make the most wonderful bird sounds. They are considered quite intelligent birds and can mimic other sounds. I have to credit my husband Pete with taking this photo. This Tui is on a flower from a flax bush which is their favourite source of food.

I love birds and I love things with images of birds on it.

When my Mum and I made miniatures in the 1990s my Dad, a cabinet maker by trade, took up the challenge of making miniature furniture. Unfortunately we lost Dad many years ago to cancer, so the pieces he made for us at the time are very special.

 This set Dad made based on the Oak bedroom suite Mum and Dad had when they married. He made two sets, one for Mum and one for me. Apart from a few experimental pieces this was the first set of miniature furniture he made.

 He followed that by making bedroom furniture in New Zealand Kauri.

He also made the little table in this picture, as well as the two little 
turnings and the little easel.

This little house is a kit I made last night from a Paper Minis kit,
Little Red Riding Hood Cottage.

Well I had better go and get some housework done so I can try and get back to my minis later. I hope you enjoy seeing the lovely furniture made by my Dad.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Completed Aquilegia kit from The Miniature Garden Centre, Georgina Steeds.

I put them in an old rustic wooden container and I think they suit it. I think I might put a little bit of gloss on the leaves. Really pleased with the kit, although it made me realise I really must get my eyes checked. They aren't what they used to be.

I will definitely look at what other kits Georgina offers.

 Photos taken straight after completion so glue is still drying. Not perfect but neither is anything in my real garden!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Just my Craft Room

Quite tired today and can't put my mind to anything too involved, but I am enjoying just pottering in my craft room. Jamie is sitting in here with me starting a journal. At the moment she is working on two pages about things she loves, one called 'I love Paris' and the other on nail polish. I've never been good at keeping a journal but I thought it would be good for Jamie and I to start a journal each. I'll start one later today. In the past I've done a page here and there but I am hoping the creative flow I am on at the moment might be conducive to my keeping a journal on a regular basis.

I started the day by giving my craft room a quick tidy. There is both an advantage and a disadvantage of having a small craft room, and both for the same reason, I have to keep it tidy or I don't have a space to work and can't find anything.

Then I flicked through some Antique Magazines I picked up through an on-line auction site. Two are dated 1924, one from 1926 and two from 1927. They themselves are 'antique' so I was intrigued to see what they contained. As well as being able to scan them to make some miniature antique magazines, I think I will get a lot of ideas from them.


One of them had a few pages on antique mirrors. Some of them were lovely and had pictures painted on the frames:

Another magazine had a section on Pennsylvania German Dower Chests (Part III):

And then of course there are some lovely pieces of furniture:
I also picked up a reprint of a huge 1927 Sears Roebuck Catalogue (reprinted in 1970 as apparently there was a huge surge of interest then for anything to do with the 1920s). 1927 is the year my Mum was born and Jamie and I are decorating Nana's house based on the year 1927.

I then spent some time on Pinterest. I've had an idea for a project floating around in my head for a while now with a theme of harvesting/preserving/baking. I suddenly realised Pinterest could be a good planning tool and I opened a 'Secret Folder' where I have pinned lots of photos related to that theme as inspiration for the project.

Many say that that through miniatures you can create your dream home/lifestyle etc where it may not be possible in real life. I think my ideal would be to have a bit of land and be semi self-sufficient, growing my own fruit and veges and preserving them/baking with them/crafting with them and growing lots of cutting flowers in my garden to bring into the home. So when I do get around to working on this project it will in some way reflect my ideal lifestyle. (Of course in that dream I would not have to work and any free time could be put towards miniatures).

I have just received in the post a mini Aquilegia kit from Georgina Steeds of the Miniature Garden Centre. Hopefully I will have a go at that later and will post a photo tomorrow, all going well.

As for the Selina Rose Gallery, I have bought some Water Colour Paper that hopefully with work as wallpaper and will look at that later too.

I have also received a resin kit in the post that I ordered and hopefully I might get a chance to experiment with that tomorrow.

I hope everyone is enjoying pottering with their miniatures today. Have fun.

PS: I've heard Google Reader will be no more from 1 July. I'm in a bit of a panic as that is how I view everyone's blogs, but I guess there are other ways of doing so. I'd have major withdrawal symptoms if I couldn't keep up with everyone's blogs.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Congratulations Karen

My sister Karen Panton who I am doing the Selina Rose Gallery for phoned up very excited tonight. She has won a regional art award.

Karen, we will definitely need to miniaturise the winning painting for the gallery.

Congratulations Sis. Love you heaps.

Monday, March 11, 2013


I didn't get much done on the Selina Rose Gallery this weekend. Life kind of got in the way as it does sometimes. However, I did decide I didn't like the flooring I had. I am doing the house for my sister and I am trying to use what I have on hand where I can. I had some light coloured wood flooring and cut it to size  recently but I just didn't feel good about it. I decided to be brave and give the flooring a dark stain wash. I am much happier with the results. The result is much warmer and covered the extreme irregularities in the colouring of the original flooring while emphasising the lines of the boards.

The before and after of the flooring.

I think I am definitely motivated and creatively inspired by miniatures again. I went to the movie Oz The Great and Powerful (in 3D) today with my husband and daughter. I kept seeing ideas for miniatures amongst the scenes. I remember when I first got into photography as a hobby I started seeing photos everywhere. Now I see inspiration for miniatures. It's a good sign.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lighting for Selina Rose Gallery - HELP

It is a long weekend here as it is our region's anniversary day on Monday, so hopefully I should find a bit of time to work on the Gallery. I am hoping to at least put a coat of paint on the house and sort out the flooring.

However, I really need to decide on what lighting system to use.

When I started the house many many years ago I put some Cir-kit tape wiring on the house, but I have not used this system before and have some reservations about it. I was thinking I might strip it off and look at either a round wire system or just get some battery lights, but I have also discovered there is now a LED lighting system you can use for dolls houses.

Part of the trouble I face is that this is a corner unit so I can't put much behind or on the sides of the house, although I did consider putting a couple of strips of wood on each side at the back to hold it out from the wall slightly. That would allow a small space behind the house, perhaps enough room for a round wiring system.

So I'm crying HELP to my blogging friends. I'd love to know what system you prefer and if you have any ideas for lighting the Gallery. The bottom two floors will be gallery, the next floor will be where the artist paints when she is at the gallery building and the attic space will be a relaxing place to read art books and have a cuppa. There is also a corner fire place in the attic space I would like to light.

I'd love to hear your suggestions and thoughts on lighting.

Now I'm off to play with some flooring.

PS: I've reached the grand total of 20 followers. It might not seem much but I am thrilled. It has taken me a while to get in the flow of blogging and get back into my miniature making, but now I am just loving being part of the miniatures blogging community. What a great bunch - a virtual pat on the back to everyone.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I'm a 'Fan' of Susan's Mini Homes

Further to our discussion about using fans in miniatures in an earlier blog, Susan of Susan's Mini Homes has made up some fantastic chairs from kits but using a piece of fan as the chair backs. She has also hand painted some bedroom furniture kits rather than staining them. The results are fabulous. Check our her blog.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Selina Rose Gallery

This is the project I am currently working on. For those who have followed my blog from day one you may recall an earlier post where I said one of my sisters had been waiting for many many years for me to do a house for her. In fact my dad built the corner house back in the 1990s when I was doing miniatures the first time. I then had a break from miniatures for 15 or so years and the house went into storage for all that time. In the meantime my sister Karen took up painting and now produces some fabulous 'quirky' (her words) art. So when I got back into miniatures again recently I suggested we turn her corner house into an art gallery to house miniature copies of her paintings.

Because it is a corner unit there is limited floor and wall space. I am thinking the ground floor will largely house Karen's art, the second floor could display more of her art and a guest gallery, the third floor could have an easel and a painting in progress, and the attic space could be a quiet space for reading art books and having a cuppa. As you can see below there is some furniture in the gallery. This is some furniture Karen bought back in the 1990s, so I am trying to work around these pieces.

I put some tape wiring on the house back in the 90s so I am not sure it will still be okay. I might even look at putting LED battery lights in the house. Being a corner house it might be awkward trying to sort wires and transformer unless I build a base, because they can't go behind the house. I'll have to think about that one.

My sister would like light walls, being a gallery. I have been trying to source white/off white miniature wallpaper or scrapbooking paper but I've had no luck. I think I might have to get a roll of full sized wallpaper.

There is a front with windows and a door but I'll deal with the main part of the house first and then work out how to deal with the exterior.

This is some of my sisters paintings that will go in the gallery.

Miniature copies of full sized paintings by my sister Karen Panton.

At the moment these images are just glued on fine canvas for a bit of texture which is then glued on to some matt board. This is my third try at producing the miniature paintings. My previous attempt was using foam core which didn't produce a satisfactory result at all.

Prior to that I had tried to replicate the look of stretched canvas which is what she uses for her paintings, but one painting took a long time and really didn't produce the best results.

This is my 'stretched canvas' attempt. I first glued the photo on some mesh bookbinding fabric for texture, but it is a bit too textured. I used matchsticks for the frame. I'll put this one on an easel but I don't think I want to do dozens of them.

Another challenge will be displaying them in the gallery. I am thinking of building something to display them on rather than just sticking them on the walls, then things can be changed around on a whim.

The name of the house is the Selina Rose Gallery. I designed this sign for the gallery but then accidently marked it so will have to do another copy.

Now that I have made a post about this project my sister will be able to see I am making slow progress with her project and all my blog friends can keep me accountable.

I promise you my darling sister you will get your house this year. I think over 15 years is long enough to wait.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Tricia Guild - A Certain Style

Just another quick blog entry for today before I forget. I wanted to bring the design book A Certain Style by Tricia Guild to your attention. I've just borrowed it from the local library.

It is full of great inspirational photos for miniaturists and apart from that is just a delightful book to look through. I'm sure it would have something for everyone.

 It is quite a large book with stunning photographs. The book is 13 1/2 x 10 inches and 258 pages. In it Tricia Guild visits 14 different homes with very different personalities, being:

Lakeside Pavilion
Modern Classic
Regency Country
Town House
Bright Lights Big City
Parisian Pied-a-Terre
English Manor House
Coastal Retreat
City Penthouse
French Chateau
New Youk City Loft
Modern Manoir
Modern Country
Retro Modern

If you get the chance grab this book and have a look through it. I'll be looking out for a copy for my own collection.

G Baxter Prints and Breakfast Tray

I'm thrilled to have won the below G Baxter prints through a competiton on Dolls Houses Past and Present. They arrived in the mail yesterday.

Aren't they beautiful. I intend to frame them for The Laurels. They are each only 5.7 cm x 2.6 cm. They are called 'In Contemplative Mood' and 'The Flower Maiden'.

I have done some research about the prints on the internet. They are both from around 1850. They were printed by a Le Blond & Co who took a licence from Baxter in 1849. These particular prints were from a set of 10 small images called 'The Fancy Set'. They were meant to be cut into single prints and used on the lids of small boxes containing sewing needles, which were highly popular at the time. (Information sourced from

I had a look through some miniature frames I had but I did not feel anything was good enough for these prints, however I did have a second look at some little wooden frames I had.

A bit of coloured card, some scrapbooking paper and two tiny bits of wire - a breakfast tray:

I'm not that happy with the handles but I think I will play around with this idea and look at some other little pictures frames. A fun simple project.

Jamie has just gone to stay at a friends for the night, so hopefully I'll get some more miniatures done over the weekend.

Enjoy your weekend and be creative.

Gone to the Dogs...(and birds)

I had every intention of doing some miniatures last Sunday but my day didn't go as planned. I started out the day with one husband, one daughter, a dog and a cockatiel. I ended the day with three dogs, a cockatiel and two budgies (oh, and of course the husband and daughter)!

The budgies arrived first, fairly early in the morning. I love bird things and my 10 year old daughter Jamie decided to buy me two budgies for my birthday (which by the way isn't until September). Apparently she had to buy them now while there were some young budgies available. She saved her pocket money, made contact with the breeder (a friend's nana) and arranged delivery herself without either my husband or I having any idea of what she was up to. The first we knew about it was when they were delivered in a wooden box last Sunday morning. Luckily we had a spare cage out in the shed. While my husband and I are really proud of how resourceful and sneaky she was, we also let her know "never again". We are now considering building an outdoor aviary to put the budgies and cockatiel in to save having to vacuum so often! They are cute though. We've named them Blueberry and Feathers. Our cockatiel Ginger is quite enjoying having residents next door to his cage - some feathered friends to talk to. Jamie has asked that I put some photos of them on my blog, so here they are:

Anyway after settling the budgies in I thought I might get to do some miniatures after lunch. However, one phone call later from a family member needing to rehouse some much loved dogs and we found ourselves travelling to a city an hour away to meet some dogs needing a new home. The  intention was to possibly get a companion for our dog Jasper. An hour after our arrival and we were travelling home again with two dogs. Meet Scottie and Smudge. They are a bit bald at the moment as they have just been to the groomers. At the moment when I am in the craft room they live at my feet.

Smudge (King Charles Cavalier Spaniel/Shih-tzu cross - two in August) and Scottie (West Highland Terrier/Shih-tzu cross - 9 months old).

Luckily our big dog Jasper (Labrador/Border Collie cross) has adjusted to the new residents, albeit a little worn out... sleep time...

I'm still shaking my head at the events of last Sunday but we are a happy family - three humans, three dogs and three birds.

Just had to share that with my blog friends. I promise the next post will be about miniatures.