Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year

It is almost midnight on 31 December 2015 in New Zealand and we are about to welcome in the New Year. I will be back blogging in the New Year after a long break but in the meantime I just want to wish everyone best wishes for a happy healthy and creative 2016.

Friday, August 21, 2015


You may or may not have noticed I have not been present on my blog. I also have to confess to not having read any of your blogs for quite some time. My energies have just been focused on dealing with financial and family issues with little energy or motivation left to feed my creative side. I have also found it difficult to work on miniatures since I lost my Mum in December possibly because it is a hobby that initially my mother and I shared or maybe it is just because of the other things going on in my life. I think I just found I didn't need the pressure of trying to keep up with my blog for a bit.

On the positive side I have been playing around with an on-line Craftsy course making a little wall art quilt over the last week or so. It is not miniatures but it is the first creative thing I have been able to put my mind to in many many weeks. Hopefully it might give my creative energies a recharge. I have always wanted to play around with things to do with fabric and textiles but haven't really let myself apart from a short stint at felt making many years ago, the odd cloth doll and some counted thread embroidery.

I want to apologise to the winners of my giveaway because I have not posted your parcels as they were pushed out of my thoughts along with everything else. I will get them posted to you in the next few days.

I really have loved blogging and feel I have made some great blog friends. Please bear with me while I get my thoughts together as to how I wish to move ahead creatively.

I hope all is well with all of you. I will try and get back into reading some of your blogs. It just might motivate me.

My art quilt (work in progress). Notice the little house - not a dolls house but quite quaint all the same. Made doing a Laura Wasilowki tutorial on Craftsy, Hand Stitched Collage Quilts. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Club Meeting Makes

Hi All. First of all I have to apologise to my two giveaway winners. I had an opportunity to attend a miniature club meeting an hour away from where I live last weekend so I didn't get around to making the items to send to you. I will therefore be making them this weekend and will get them posted to you during the week after they have dried properly.
I don't usually attend the miniature meeting because I can't justify the travel cost but my daughter had a dance workshop to attend in the same city last weekend so I got my husband to get her to the workshop and take her shopping while I spent four hours with fellow miniaturists. It was only a small gathering of six people as it was Mother's Day in New Zealand so some people had other plans with family. My daughter Jamie paid the cost of the workshop for my Mothers' Day present. It was just a little workshop of a petticoat table and a little photograph album. After I got home I 'toadised' my table for Toad Stall by painting it green and adding a few bits and pieces. I want to find some little seed caps or something similar for little cups. 

The table is set with a jar of Tiberius T. Toad's Honey and Swamp Water Ale and some mushroom bread with toadstool stalk topping.

Then Tibs made some platters from dried pumpkin skins (made from polymer clay). I see a snail is trying to find a way into the ale.
This is the little paper photo album we made:

Well that is all for now from Myrtle Manor Miniatures and Toad Stall. I have to get making some planter pots. I have to get my daughter to another dance class this afternoon too so I'd better get cracking while I have the chance.

I hope you are all having a great weekend.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Giveaway Draw

First of all I have to share with you that I had a disastrous weekend miniatures wise. I spent all yesterday creating polymer clay fungi and toadstools etc so I could make some minis to show on today's blog. I put them in the oven last night and what came out - a melted, singed mess!!! I have no idea what happened although I suspect I may have had the tray a bit too close to the elements. I only managed to salvage a few of them and incorporate them into the miniatures I have been working on. I still have so much to learn about using polymer clay. Then this morning a tube of white paint exploded everywhere. After cleaning that up I thought I had better quit trying to make any more miniatures before I did some real damage and to just get on with choosing a name for Toad.
Well trust me that wasn't easy either. Thank you for contributing so many great names for Toad - some regal or mythical, some fun and others solid and befitting a woodland toad. I have listed all the names below so that if you are ever in the position where you need to name a toad you can come back to this spot on my blog for ideas!

Fred Puddles
HH (short for Hippity Hop)
Jiminy Hoppit
Johnny Longlegs
Pheleas Stomper
Puddles Hoppidy
Sir Theodore Toad
Telly von Toad
Tibbir the Toad
Tiberius T Toad (Tibs for Short)
Tibs Toad
Toadwood III
Toby Toad
Wembley Wetfoot

There will be two prizes. The first will go to the person who provided the name I choose for toad. The second name will be as the result of a random draw of everyone who commented on my recent blog entries about Toad Stall.
Drum roll please... you may now address Mr Toad as:

Tiberius T. Toad (Tibs for short). The T standing for Titus, the name of his grandfather who escaped from a stork's beak.

And the winner is BiWuBar.

I loved this name the minute I read it. Not just for the name but also for the way it added to Toad's story. He is a proud toad - proud of his family's history, his grandfather and his own entrepreneurial abilities. I feel this name suits him.
Tiberius T. Toad (Tibs)
There were three other names definitely in the running but I kept going back to Tibs.
Now for the random draw:
Drawn by my daughter Jamie.
... and the winner is Miniaturista.
As for the prizes:
Option A: You can choose your favourite item(s) from Toad Stall (apart from Jane's hutch of course) - name your favourite item and also let me know if there are any other items on the stall you like;
OR  Option B: you can leave it up to me to surprise you if you can't decide;
OR Option C: if you are not into fantasy and toads I am happy to send you a red cart and some empty planters for you to fill as you please.
You might choose:
A red cart full of finds similar to this:
A chair planted out in fungi similar to this:
A planter of fungi & snails such as one of these:
Hollowed out pumpkins filled with fungi similar to these:
A toadstool stool similar to this:
Some little wall plaques similar to these:

A pennant banner similar to this:
A toadstool bread board and mushroom bread with fungi stalk topping similar to this:
A bouquet of fungi similar to these:
or Option C - a red cart and planters such as these:
BiWuBar and Miniaturista, please email me using the 'Email Me' on the side bar and let me know what you would like. I will complete your miniatures over the next week and hopefully get them in the post to you next weekend.
As we always say when drawing a giveaway I wish I could give everyone who took the time to provide a name and/or comment a gift. In any event I hope you are all having a great weekend.
Bye for now from Toad Stall and Tiberius T. Toad.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Special Parcel in the Mail

I have received a special parcel in the mail - my prize from Noelle of Nono Mini Nostalgie for the fourth best guess at guessing how many items were in her delightful mini flea market.

I have long admired Nono's beautiful work and am thrilled to have something she has made amongst my miniature collection.

If you haven't visited her blog I really advise you to do so for a dose of inspiration.

My prize was a box of wonderful vintage house numbers such as she has in her miniature flea market.

Thank you so much Nono. I am thinking about doing a car boot sale scene and these will be perfect. I just have to find the right car for the scene.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Giveaway Draw Is One Week Away

Hi there. Just a quick reminder that my giveaway is drawn next weekend with a closing date of 8.00am Sunday 3 May (New Zealand time).  I will post the results some time on Sunday.
I have decided there will be two prizes. Quite a few people have expressed a desire to be in the giveaway but have not suggested a name for Toad. The winner of the main prize will be the person who has suggested the name I choose to use for Toad - so please keep the names coming in. You can suggest more than one name.  There will also be a second prize drawn from the names of anyone who has made a comment whether they have given a name for Toad or not. So if you want to enter the giveaway but have not been able to think of a name for Toad please comment that you would like to be included in the giveaway. The only condition of the giveaway is to be a follower of my blog.
As for toad - he is still only a head!

The rest of his body will have to wait until I have made a few more things for his stall so the winners of the giveaway have something to choose from.

I have made a few additions to the stall items:

Little toadstool pennant string.

A couple of chairs ready for planting and planters.

A couple of little wall plaques.
A chair in progress as well as Jane's gorgeous hutch that started it all.
A toadstool stool, planted small hollowed out pumpkin, large hollowed out pumpkin still to be planted.

I have started giving Toad's cart a bit of a battering. He uses the cart to collect bits and pieces from abandoned cabins on the edge of the woodland to make items for his stall.

A general view of the cardboard mock-up of Toad's stall. I have decide it does need a bit of frontage for landscaping so have added a foam core base.

Anyway, that is where things are with Toad's Stall. I need to spend the rest of the afternoon making some toadstools and fungi so I can make some more things. Toad is getting very excited (he would jump up and down if he had a body). He can't wait to open his stall and in the meantime he is looking forward to next weekend's giveaway draw.

See you next weekend.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Behind or A-head!

Hi there. I am feeling a bit behind with the schedule I had set myself for doing toad stall but I do have a head - a toad's head that is.
Actually toad also had a body earlier today but that has ended up in the bin so I only have a head to show you. I don't know if this head will belong to the final toad in my project. I may try some other techniques for making a toad yet. I consider the options to be polymer clay, paper mache or fabric sculpting. This one is made from polymer clay and has been painted.
He looks a little sad without a body. Maybe by next weekend. I travelled to see family yesterday so haven't achieved much this weekend. I really must get more disciplined and try to do some miniatures in the evenings during the week.
Toad also has a cart for his fungi collecting. He really would love to pull it along but unfortunately he needs a body for that! I will attempt to give the cart a worn and rusted look.

I had a lovely time at a second hand book sale with two of my sisters, my husband and daughter yesterday. I do love books. I picked up some great books but two I am really happy with are two old DMC embroidery booklets. I certainly think some of the alphabets, borders and little designs will come in handy in the future for miniatures.

Well I have neglected the housework all day trying to make a toad so I had better get some washing folded and put away and get my daughter ready for school tomorrow - she has just been on school holidays for two weeks and spent the last week away staying with family.
Well, the intention was there but my husband and daughter have just advised we are going to watch a movie - oh well, the housework will still be there tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Break Comes To An End

Well my extended Easter break has come to an end. Back to work tomorrow. It is currently 10.00pm on Wednesday 8 April. However, before I head to bed I thought I'd just give you a quick update on what I have achieved since my last post.
In between housework, spending time with my daughter and other every-day necessities I have managed to do a list of some things I want to try to make for the Toad Stall project. I don't have a lot to show for it yet but below you will find a little trial stool made in the form of a toadstool which is a footstall for the bigger woodland creatures or a seat for the smaller ones, a Del-Prado chair with its seat cover removed (I am going to use the chair as a planter), some fabric which I have painted 'swamp green' that I am going to use to make some bunting from with little pictures of toadstools painted on them and the start of some fimo fungi. I won't cook them yet until I have made some more. Not much to show, but it is a start.

Don't forget my giveaway - link at the top right of this page. I am enjoying watching the names roll in.
Now I want to jump to another project, my bookshelf project. This project has been waiting for me to make up a lot of Paper-Mini book kits - perhaps after the Toad Stall project! While I am trying not to buy any miniatures because of my current financial situation I couldn't resist buying two little books when I saw them on a local auction site. They are The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My Mum loved The Secret Garden as a child and as an adult she enjoyed watching the movie. We had both also recently read A Little Princess not long before she died. The books have blank pages inside but are lovely quality and came from TreeFeathers. The books have found their way onto my bookshelf as have a few books that came from Mum's place and a few I found when I was sorting through my miniatures recently.

Still lots of shelf space to fill.

Well I had better sign off and get to bed. It will be hard enough getting up to go to work tomorrow morning after having a few days off without having a really late night. It is already 10.20pm.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Toad Stall, Fly Agarics and GIVEAWAY!

Hi all. I know I did a post yesterday but I told you I was excited about this project.
Last night I did a cardboard mock-up of Toad Stall. I won't build the real Toad Stall until I have a feel for whether this size is going to be big enough for everything I come up with for the stall. I also have to decide whether I will add some landscaping around it. I will probably raise it off the ground and add a few steps to start with. In the meantime as I work through this project you will just have to imagine this mock-up is a rustic shambolic dilapidated cabin in a woodland environment! Of course I have no idea how I am going to create that look yet - luckily we live these days with a thing called the internet and I am hoping I will find a lot of handy tutorials on-line.

Birgit of Bi Wu Baren on the Blog made a comment on yesterday's blog post saying "Don't forget about fly agarics!" Do you know what fly agarics are? I didn't. Once again I am thankful for the internet which informs me that "Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric is... the quintessential toadstool...large white-gilled, white-spotted, usually red mushroom, one of the most recognisable and widely encountered in popular culture". Thanks Birgit - I love learning new things.
Birgit also commented with reference to 'Toad' - he must have a name! That I had already thought of. I had decided I would open it up for my blog readers to give Toad a name. While Toad has not been created yet I think it would be nice for him to own a name when he arrives. He will be a dressed character toad so put your thinking caps on and give poor Toad a name.
The person who submits the name I choose will be able to choose from some of the items for sale at Toad's stall - I promise there will be some goodies to choose from before closing date of 8.00 am Sunday 3 May (New Zealand time). Hopefully I will also reveal Toad on that date.

Conditions of the Giveaway are to be a follower of my blog and to just have fun with your imaginations!
Just as a teaser of what may be available to choose from, some of the things I have in mind are: toadstool planters such as the one pictured below; jars of honey and swamp-water ale; fungi bouquets; woodland wreaths, pictures, mobiles, little shadow-boxes with fungi set in them, baking and all sorts of 'found' containers and items planted with fungi and other woodland finds.
I look forward to hearing any name or names you suggest for Toad and any ideas you have for items for the stall.

Enjoy the rest of your Easter weekend everyone. I'm off to make some fungi!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Toad Stall

At last I feel excited about a project. The seeds of this excitement were sewn when I won the wonderful hutch from Jane. I had a desire to make a small project to house it in. Shortly after I made my first little container of fungi with snails which I really enjoyed doing. I kept mulling over ideas but I couldn't get anything to really gel. I had visions of an abandoned house but while I had plenty of ideas and knew the hutch would work well in that sort of project I just couldn't quite ignite that burst of motivation and creativity I knew lurked in my hidden depths.

I casually mentioned this to my husband one day and he suggested I do a stall - a toad stall - i.e. a toad selling toadstools from a stall. My imagination was sparked. I loved the play on words.

I've spent a bit of time on Pinterest gathering ideas and setting up an ideas board for the project (I love Pinterest!). I thought about working on the project and then sharing it with everyone but I couldn't wait. I just wanted to get it out there to my blog friends and share my excitement. I still have to make the toad, I still have to make the rickety porch of an abandoned cabin and all the toadstools and fungi and the things toad will make with them for his stall. However, I am excited and looking forward to making a start on the project. I just hope I can create what is in my mind's eye.

So at this stage I don't have anything new to show but I will share the little back-story I have come up with. I have the next three days off so perhaps I may have something to show soon.

I have lots of ideas buzzing around in my head but I'd love to hear ideas from my lovely creative blog friends too.
Toad Stall
Toad, a kindly and creative woodland toad, stumbled across the abandoned cabin while playing hide and seek with his woodland friends. "This is it" he cried in an unusually high pitched croak. His friends stopped. They immediately knew what he meant. Toad, who had a passion for growing toadstools and fungi and making things from them, had long wanted to set up a stall. Toad had no interest in the cabin itself, it was the dilapidated porch that caught his attention. However, Toad and his friends ventured into the cabin. Toad started jumping up and down even more excited. He couldn't believe his luck. There was still some old furniture and bits and pieces in the cabin he could use for creating items for his stall and he was especially excited to see an old weathered hutch complete with one or two fungi and some broken crockery. Finding old pieces of crockery and other items left by settlers who had abandoned their homes was another of Toad's loves. He could never understand why the people didn't stay in such a lovely environment after the local mine ran dry - there was even a lovely swamp where he had set up his home. His friends smiled to themselves as Toad sat on the porch muttering plans to himself and they vowed to help Toad see his dream come true. Apart from anything else they knew Toad would reward them with some of his famous honey and swamp water ale with just a pinch of juiced toadstool added for good measure.

Hutch by Jane of Minifanaticus

My first attempt at fungi and snails