Friday, 23 August 2013

A Spark of Inspiration! A Sweet Surprise and Some New Minifigures

I feel that I have been rather neglectful of my miniatures and my blog this year. A major project at work and redecoration at home have taken some of my spare time, but I really don't think there has been enough progress on the miniature front. Now that autumn will soon be spreading its russet mantel across the country, I feel it's time to settle down and crack on with things.

I have not done much at all to the 1:24th scale house project I started late last year, it's still in pieces and unpainted MDF! Truth is, I haven't felt very inspired by it, though I do intend to finish it, I just haven't had a passion to get on with it!

The pub still lacks a swinging sign and I need to make some plants for the front too. Of course the dreaded curtains have still to be done in the Georgian House too, though this should be much easier to do thanks to John of Merriman Park, who has given me his Pretty Pleater.

So, there's plenty to be getting on with. But wait!! What is this? A spark of inspiration? 

Yes! whilst rummaging in my local Oxfam I found a little soft toy, a dressed frog, or rather toad. Mr Toad, no less!!! And where does Mr Toad live?

Toad Hall!!!!

So, when I have got on with a few jobs I need to do, I will have a go at making my new friend a miniature Toad Hall. EH Shepard illustrated one of the Wind in The Willows books (the smaller of the two in the top photograph) there is a small illustration of Toad Hall, looking like a rambling old ancestral home. I want to recreate something akin to this, but pared down to capture the essence without taking up too much space. I'm thinking of a Great Hall, Minstrel's gallery, huge fire place, armour, ancestral portraits, a smaller parlour with a masculine edge, a bedroom and some other rooms, a jacobean staircase and much more besides. 

I have plenty of bits of furniture which have been removed from the Georgian House over the past few years, which I can put to use in Toad Hall (this includes, for those sharp eyed readers, the large chair that was in His Lordships bedroom!!)

I also happen to have some other pieces that were earmarked for a secret project I was going to do in January.  
You can see that it didn't get very far! I was going to create a gothic style room box for David as a surprise gift, and bought a few things to use in the project. 

However, in passing one day, David mentioned that he wasn't keen on room boxes, so the project got shelved without him even knowing about it! It had wondered what to do with the pieces I had bought already, but realised that they would be perfect for an Edwardian period home, so these miniatures will also find a place in Toad Hall!

Without getting too carried away, I have started collecting ideas that I might be able to use and recreate in miniature; there are postcards, books, cards and so on, I have even begun looking for miniature frog ornaments which might come in useful in the project!!!

I will let you know more when I have some more idea of the final look I want. I will also keep you updated in other little things that I have been doing on my other dolls houses.

And now for the Sweet Surprise in the title of this post. Yesterday, after an extremely long day at work, I arrived home to find a parcel waiting for me on the dining room table. I looked at it and wondered what it was, who had sent it? 'It's from Ilona', said David. How did he know? and how did Ilona get my address? I opened the package and read the pretty card that was enclosed; David and Ilona had been talking it seemed!! Inside the package were some beautiful miniature peonies, so delicate and wonderfully detailed! 

They looked perfect in the vases I had on the dressing table of the Georgian bedroom, I had to split the flowers between the two vases as the vase necks were so narrow that wouldn't fit into just one, but I think they look better in both vases anyway!

Thank you Ilona, for a beautiful gift and a wonderful surprise, yet again, I am amazed at the kindness shown by my Blogland friends!! 

I also received some miniature perfume bottles, which Jenny from The Swan Inn insisted on having!!

Whilst out shopping today I found these new Lego Minifigures. I knew that they were being launched soon, but thought it wasn't until September! Being a huge Lego Head, I spent quite a while squeezing the packets to try and find all the figures I liked best, though the box was almost empty!

You can see that I still managed to get quite a few!! My favourite is this traditional British Bobby (I'm a sucker for a man in uniform!! if only they still looked like this!!) complete with truncheon! 

I also love the Gingerbread Man and the Christmas Elf (who will go nicely with the Father Christmas Minifigure I get last year). I never collect the full set of each series of Minifigures, I prefer to just try and find the ones I like most. I've done quite well with this set already, but there are still one or two I would like, so I will be back to squeeze and poke the little packets again very soon! LOL!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Artist of Oz

Last week a very special parcel arrived from the other side of the world (two in fact, but that is a whole other story!). Inside the parcel, carefully packed, were a host of heavenly gifts from Australia, sent by the angelic Fi 

David has already posted about his special little gift from Fi on his own blog. I also received a lovely painting in miniature. A picturesque landscape full of amazing detail. in a delightful golden frame!

Once I had had time to take in the detail of the painting, and imagine all the hard work that went into it, I had to find somewhere special to hang it! Fi suggested that it was not quite right for an eighteenth century home, and might look good in the pub, but I was certain that it would look perfect in the Georgian house. I tried it in various rooms, resting on a chair, for want of an easel! 

But the painting wasn't the only thing Fi had made for me! There was also this perfect pineapple, sent with a collection of other pineapple related gifts for the Big Pineapple. The miniature pineapple, or Little Pineapple, has been placed in the hall in a grand comport to welcome guests to the Georgian House. 

And I also felt that the landscape painting looked perfect in the hall as well, where everyone who came to the house would see it!

Here is another shot of the two gifts together, the pineapple does look a bit lonely in its great big stand doesn't it!!

In putting Fi's lovely landscape in the hall, I was left with a stray Stubbs horse (always a problem!!). However, I soon found a new home for it in His Lordship's attic bedroom; it also meant I was able to replace the dull old painting that was there originally!

His Lordship seems quite fond of race horses and paintings of them, there is also a horsey painting above his dressing table. I'm not too sure about the chair in this room; a recent addition. It looked OK in the shop, but seems massive in this tiny room. I'm also not entirely happy with the colour of the wood. Still, it was a bargain, the shop was selling off its remaining Bespaq stock, and there were one or two other things I snapped up.

So, I would like to thank Fi for her lovely thoughtful gifts and show her that they have settled into their new home very well! Over the past couple of years I have been sent some amazing gifts and prizes from generous people all over the world, and I would like to take this chance to thank them once again, I have been touched by the kindness and generosity of my friends in Blogland!

xxxx Andy xxxx

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Back from the Real World!!

Hello everyone!! Sorry to have been so quiet for so many weeks, but I have been flat out with things to do in the real world that the miniatures and blog land have taken a back seat. One of my tasks has been to redecorate my bedroom, which took a lot longer than I thought it would, but is now (almost) complete!! 

Above is a photo of the rather scruffy piece of furniture I purchased recently for ebay. The picture really does it too much justice!! It was in a real state when we got it home (the top of the chest of drawers fell of as we were carrying it!!). However, there was something about its size, shape and nice cabriole legs that appealed to me - it had potential!!

So, after days of sanding and cleaning it up, priming and painting it, giving it some new handles and installing it in my bedroom, it now looks quite unlike its old self and is quite at home now. My own version of shabby chic, without too much shabby!!

And here is the chest of drawers in its new home!!

I also need to say an overdue thank you to some of my blogging friends. Irene from Small and Stately
sent me a wonderful miniature spurtle, use for stirring porridge, along with its life-sized counterpart, when I won here blog give-away recently. She also sent me some Edinburgh Rock, which brought back some wonderful memories of my Scots grandparents. I have gobbled all the rock up now, hence why it doesn't feature in the picture!!

The miniature spurtle has been beautifully made and will be found a very good miniature home. Thank you Irene!

John from Merriman Park also deserves my thanks for very kindly sending me his very own Pretty Pleater!! Yes, Pretty Pleater herself! I will, once I have fully regained my mini-head, get to work with the Pretty Pleater and make some curtains for my dolls house. No excuses anymore!!

There are several other mini projects I am thinking about too!

I promise to try and catch up with all your recent posts, sorry I haven't made many comments recently, I am sure I will be back in full swing very soon. 

Andy xxx