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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I know I have been absent for the last few weeks. The dance academy my daughter attends is rehearsing for the end of year recital at the moment. Her teacher has been teaching for 30 years this year so it is a special event. Not only is our daughter Jamie involved in a number of dances, but my husband and I are also involved this year making appearances throughout the second half of the show as Santa and Mrs Claus. Her teacher asked at the end of the 2012 recital a year ago if we would do it. The things we do for our kids! This is keeping us rather busy. We go to the local costume place tomorrow to get our costumes which will be fun. The recital is on 13 and 14 December. The rehearsals will really be stepping up over the next three weeks so I apologise if I disappear again for a bit. Jamie is super busy as she also has a good part in her school play which is to be staged a week after her dance recital. She loves dance and theatre and being on stage so she is happy. This year is her last year at primary school and she will be going to intermediate school next year.
Happy Halloween (even though in New Zealand it is the evening of 1 November).
We have traditionally not celebrated Halloween in New Zealand, although over the last few years it is slowly being introduced. I wouldn't let my daughter go trick or treating this year, much to her annoyance, but we did all have a witches hat muffin for pudding last night and have a few paper decorations around. While we don't celebrate it here I personally find some of the decorations for Halloween a lot of fun.
I received this postcard in the mail today. I purchased it via an on-line auction so I could scale it down for the wall of my Timeless Treasures project. It shows a baby with what I understand is an old French toy. I am also hoping to make something similar to the toy for my project.
Why am I posting this picture for Halloween? Look carefully at the top left corner and then look at what has landed on the toy. I hope you can see it.
First of all I am going to show you what my 11 year old daughter Jamie and I achieved in the weekend after setting each other challenges to do with miniatures.
We both did some undercoating. I did my sister's gallery and Jamie did what will be her Harry Potter themed general store, pictured below. It is an old house I had tucked away for a rainy day but as Jamie is expressing an interest in miniatures I have given it to her for her Harry Potter project. After the undercoating I was the one splattered with paint, although I suspect as much of it came of her brush as it did from mine.
Jamie achieved all of her challenges being dragons eggs, a witches hat and a sign for her store.
Didn't she do well! She has decided to call her shop Wacky Wenny after the wannabe wizard that runs the store. She made up a fabulous story about him.
I only (partly) achieved one of my challenges being a shop counter for the Selina Rose Gallery:
I think I will add a varnished wood counter top.
To complete my challenges set by Jamie I still need to make accessories for the shop counter, make some picture frames and turn a little wood planter box into a miniature of some sort (see previous post).
I don't think Jamie quite appreciates yet the time it can take to make miniatures and, in my defence, I was guiding her with making her items! I will have to work on the other challenges over the next few days.
But what is really exciting is we have a new resident.
Marlon has successfully made his way from Germany to New Zealand to live in my craft room. He is so gorgeous and is a real character. He made himself right at home the minute he walked in the door. To know a bit more about Marlon you might like to read about him on his creator's blog: http://pippibaerenbande.blogspot.co.nz/2013/10/marlon-hat-ein-date-marlon-has-date_16.html
Melli of Der Pippibaren-Blog makes the most gorgeous little characters. You should see the wonderful little elves she is making at the moment for a Christmas scene. Just gorgeous.
Anyway, I first took Marlon to meet Edward Elf in Edward's Christmas box. Edward was also made by Melli and had taken the long journey from Germany to New Zealand. See my post: http://myrtlemanorminiatures.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/thinking-of-christmas-meet-edward.html
Edward was kind enough to offer for Marlon to stay with him in his Christmas box but Marlon declined as he thought Edward would have to be up too late each night making Christmas decorations for Santa, however he said he would love to visit Edward often.
I said to Marlon that I had brought him over from Germany to reside in the Timeless Toys toy shop where he could help me keep all the toys in order, but he didn't think he wanted to live in a noisy toy shop either.
After a while I heard a little voice declaring he had found his perfect residence. Marlon had clambered up one of my display shelves and was standing in the upper level of my Bodo Hennig house that houses my vintage German dolls house furniture. He said it had the perfect table and chairs with a bottle of wine and goblets for entertaining. I can see I am going to have to find Marlon a nice lady bear! He even brought some roses with him all the way from Germany ready to give to a special lady bear.
I don't think it will work with Marlon living in the upper level of the Bodo Hennig but I have promised him he can have the table and chairs and I will find him another little residence all of his own.
I'm sitting in my craft room looking out at the cows grazing in the paddock next door and my thoughts turn to my blog friends in England who are expecting a large storm to hit. My thoughts are with you all and hope you have no more than some leaves to sweep up tomorrow.
Talking of friends, you may recall in an earlier blog entry that I told you of the room box my friend Lyn gave to my daughter Jamie and I. Yesterday I turned my attention to it and gave it a little face lift. It had been beautifully decorated by Lyn in the 1990s but was looking a little tired. I gave it some new wallpaper and wood flooring. The contents were what Lyn had collected for the box except for the chairs around the table. Unfortunately the chairs that Lyn had around the table had fallen apart and the paper coverings had disintegrated. I have kept one of the chairs which I managed to put back together which is on the front left of the box. I will cover the paper seat with some watered down PVA to protect it from tearing any further. I found the chairs around the table in my stash. They had been moving around with me since the 1990s when I first did miniatures but I had never used them.
The room box as it was.
Rewallpapered and with wood flooring and with contents moved back in.
The lady of the house that started it all.
Lyn found this doll on a trip to Australia and fell in love with her. She asked my dad to make the room box and other pieces were collected to please the lady of the house.
The completed room box.
I hope Lyn is happy with the renovation.
Now to tell you about the wonderful day I had on Saturday. I thought I was the only miniaturist in my home town until about two years ago when I saw the name of a local lady on the membership list of the New Zealand Association of Miniature Enthusiasts. I made contact with her at the time and we have emailed each other off and on since then. Both living very busy lives we had not caught up with each other until Saturday. I bought some magazines off Susan and she delivered them to me and came in for a cup of tea. She left three hours later and I loved the time sharing my interest with a fellow miniaturist. I think we both felt more inspired and motivated after our catch-up to get on with our miniature projects. Susan brought some of her exquisite miniature knitting for me to see and photos of her miniature projects. A fabulous few hours.
As for the Selina Rose Gallery it got a coat of paint yesterday, although I think I got as much paint on me. Painting isn't my strong point! It will need a sand down and another coat of paint but that will have to wait until next weekend. Today I am going to make a shop counter with accessories for the Gallery.
After seeing me feeling more motivated after Susan's visit on Saturday my daughter decided to set some miniature challenges for me, one of them being a shop counter with accessories such as a laptop. She has also set me a challenge of making some picture frames and turning a little planter she bought me for $1.00 with her pocket money into a miniature scene.
At the moment tipped up on end I am seeing the little planter
as an outdoor shower or 'convenience'.
Jamie is very keen on Harry Potter things at the moment and she is going to start working on turning an old dolls house I had into a general store that would fit into the world of Harry Potter - a one-stop shop for Wizards and Witches. This morning she has made some dragon eggs which will be nestled into little wooden crates and at the moment my husband is helping her design a shop sign for her shop.
I'll post some pictures once the sign is created and the eggs have been fired. She will think it is very cool if some of her miniatures get onto my blog.
Anyhow I had better sign off as the day is fast disappearing and I have a shop counter to make.
First of all below is a picture of the latest vintage dolls house furniture to be added to my collection. This is some over-the-top Boutique Szalasi dolls house furniture (more commonly known as Spielwaren. The Bavarian company ran from the 1950s through to the 1980s. The furniture is wood and composition. I have a very elaborate room box planned for this furniture with wood panelling, grand drapes and parquet flooring with a few pieces of porcelain thrown in for good measure.
I am also happy to report that I have finally resolved the 'sticky' problem with the Selina Rose Gallery. The solution - one husband + one belt-sander. Pete sanded the areas on the exterior of the house that had the sticky residue and I painted over the interior sticky areas, which will be covered with wallpaper anyway. I have also made a template for the roof and I am just looking at shingle/tile options which I hope to complete over the course of the week.
I caught up with some special family friends over the weekend, Lyn & John, also known as my second set of parents. I grew up with their children. I have Lyn to thank for my love of crafts. Back in the early 1980s she suggested I go with her to a porcelain doll making class, which led to many more classes together and the making of a number of reproduction porcelain dolls. That ignited my creative spark and over the years I have dabbled in many other creative endeavours including but not limited to bear making (including miniature bears), book making, soft toy dolls, a bit of embroidery and of course miniatures.
While I was there Lyn passed on to both Jamie and I a number of small porcelain dolls for our miniatures and also a lovely Edwardian room box she had put together in the 1990s. My father made the room box for her and she decorated and furnished it. She has given it to both Jamie and I to share so it will go somewhere where we both can enjoy it. I need to re-glue a couple of legs back onto the table and fix the legs on a couple of chairs which have come loose with age. As soon as I have done this I will post a photo.
Thank you Lyn.
As far as the Undersized Urbanite toy shop, I have decided to call the toy shop/museum 'Timeless Toys'. I think it is quite fitting for a toy shop combined with a toy museum and though I have tried I can't come up with anything better.
My head is just buzzing with ideas for Timeless Toys. I can't wait to get started but at the moment I am really enjoying the planning stage. I'm trying to imagine myself as a little child in a toy shop - what would excite me, steal my heart, spark my imagination and amaze me.
I am hoping some of these emotions may hit you when you see the end result. Time will tell.
It has a great selection of toys from different eras.
Even if you are not making a toy shop it is interesting to look through. You might see some toys you recognise from your childhood. Seeing the Donny & Marie Paper Doll box brought back some memories for me!
I'm still sorting out my craft room. We took Jamie to a nearby city to spend a few days of the school holidays with her cousins and her Nana this morning. One hour's travel each way, a cuppa with my Mum, lunch at our favourite kebab shop and a bit of shopping later we are finally home so I can get back to sorting. While I am sorting my craft room I am keeping an eye out of items for my Undersized Urbanite Toy Shop/Museum. I came across this cute little flappy duck.
This is the first time I have used video on my blog so I hope you can view it okay.
Flappy Duck was an on-line Jane Harrop workshop from a year or two ago. If I recall correctly it was hosted by Collectors Club of Great Britain/Dolls House & Miniature Scene Magazine.
Well, I'd better keep sorting. I'm so easily distracted. Too many fun things to play with!
I am hoping to undercoat my sister's gallery over the weekend. Once the exterior is sorted it won't take me long to complete the inside.
However, before I can do any miniatures this weekend I need to tidy my work table. This is its current state:
I've been reshuffling things in my workroom and a whole lot of stuff got dumped on the table. We won't even talk about the piles of stuff on the floor!
I've spent most of this last week at dance competitions with my daughter so I've spent this afternoon catching up on blogs and housework and I want to spend the rest of this evening clearing the desk. So saying, it is currently 9.00 pm on Friday night in New Zealand so there is not much of the evening left (and I've still got the dishes to do).
A number of people have commented on the corner house I am building the Undersized Urbanite toy shop entry in.
This was built by my Dad when he was still alive back in the 1990s. He was a cabinet maker by trade. From memory he built three. My sister Karen owns one which I am building the Selina Rose Gallery in and I have been lucky that one has now found its way back to me to build the toy shop in. I think the other one went to a fellow miniaturist back in the 90s. They are great to tuck into a little corner or you can put them on a base. They have limited floor space in the rooms but enough for a good display.
Thank you for all the positive comments about my entering the contest. To be honest I am really doing it to challenge myself. I am hoping it will motivate me to push myself out of my comfort zone and just be creative and have a go with a fun project. I am also going to enjoy watching the other entrants' projects take shape.
Of course with any project you run into problems. The first problem I face is WHAT AM I GOING TO CALL THE TOY SHOP/TOY MUSEUM. I don't want to keep referring to the Undersized Urbanite Toy Shop/Toy Museum. I've thought of names like Timeless Toys, Childhood Wonders and a few others but I'm struggling to think of an effective name that encompasses toys past and present. Any ideas. If someone comes up with a name that I decide to use some miniature toys made by me during the project will find their way into your miniature collection.
I have gathered a few old toys I am going to try to scan and scale down into miniature such as:
An old Box of Dominos - I will need to tidy the label a bit in some graphics software, but isn't the image of the girl and the dogs gorgeous.
ABC Block Puzzle - more cute images. The block puzzles make up two alphabet images, one with numbers, one with a cow and calf, one with kids and dogs and another with kids, cat and kittens. I also love the image on the box.
Snakes and Ladders - I found this in a freebie box at a local op shop. It is a little tatty but I love the old nursery rhyme images. Mean looking snakes though!
A rag doll cut-out on fabric. Another cheap op shop find. It appears to have been advertising for an antique toys and dolls exhibition.
Well I have just looked at the clock and it is now 9.20pm. I think the desk tidying might need to wait until tomorrow. I'd better go and do the dishes.