Wednesday 1 December 2010

Game Season

It's the season for game & I am getting just a little sick of pheasant, partridge & duck I decided that it was the time to make a version of game that I actually enjoy.....a MINI version! So here's a little game pie prep table featuring authentically feathered mallard drake & cock pheasant....whenever I get the urge to make these feathered game birds, I really question my sanity...every one of those real game bird feathers is scaled down & applied one x one!
I haven't decided yet whether to keep this for myself or take it with me to Kensington this weekend....assuming the weather here doesn't bring the whole country to a complete stop, if it does then I'm definitely keeping it for myself :-))

Monday 8 November 2010

Sweet Collection

I have been working night & day to try & make stock for Kensington on the 4th December. You might think that I've got loads of time but I head out to UAE on Thursday this week & have just short of a week when I get back to be ready for the show.....HELP!!

The last few days & nights I've been driving myself totally mad by making thousands of tiny luxury chocolates, the odd mince pie & marzipan Christmas pud cakes.....with a big sigh at 1.45am this morning I fixed the very last chocolate in place....THANK GOODNESS!  At the minute I never want to see another miniature chocolate again! Here's a small selection of what has kept me busy for what seems like a lifetime!

Sunday 24 October 2010

Christmas is coming...too quickly for my liking!

Oh dear...Christmas is looming & more importantly Kensington on 4th Dec! Between now & then, I have the grandchildren for half term & then a 2 week holiday with my youngest out in the UAE....soooo..I'm beginning to panic...stock doesn't make itself & it takes me most of a day & night to make one piece...I think I maybe put too much detail in there!  Where are those elves that finish your work overnight when you need them? How wonderful it would be to come down to a workbench, that when you left it was full of UFOs, to find it full of completed work! If anyone has any spare elves please send them my way!

Monday 11 October 2010

Cornucopia...A Horn Of Plenty!

It's that time of year when Harvest Festival is celebrated & this is my "little" homage to it. I remember as a kid, having to take fruit or vegetables into school for Harvest festival...I wonder do schools still celebrate it in this way?
This was a challenge to myself in a way! It combines both my addictions....basket weaving & sculpting foods..& I was not going to make a cornucopia unless I could manage to weave it instead of sculpting it. I will not be beaten! :-))

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Funky, fantasy fungi!!

No self respecting witch should be without this little pot of fungus growing on their windowsill...after all, you never know when one might be needed for a spell...............  :-))

Saturday 2 October 2010

Gingerbread Carousel

I'm not sure what inspired me to make this little confection but once I'd started I just couldn't put it down until I'd finished it! Would you believe that it took the best part of 3 nights in my sweatshop to create it...but it was worth it...or, at least I think it was!! :-))

3 gaily painted gingerbread horses, on candy poles, circle a cream & fondant iced centre & the top layer of gingerbread is topped with fondant iced gingerbread stars, cream & jelly beans. More jelly beans & cream decorate the edges of the bottom gingerbread base  & it measures 38mm to the top star.
It would make a welcome change from the more traditional gingerbread house at Christmas wouldn't it! To make the "real thing" would probably be a whole lot easier too:-)) 

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Colourful Autumn Squashes...."To Autumn"

I've been busily weaving more baskets whenever I get the chance & as it's definitely Autumn here now, with those lovely misty mornings that turn into hazily sunny days with the leaves starting to fall, my inspiration has turned to the wonderful shapes & colours of the Autumn squashes that abound at this time of year. As Keats famously wrote it is the ..."SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness"........"To swell the gourd"...& my gourds in the veggie patch have definitely excelled themselves this year. They have now been turned into jars of chutney that will last me at least until next Autumn!

This little basket contains Turks Turban squashes, Sweet Dumplings & a Butternut Squash, all nestling in Turks Turban couldn't fit into the basket!

Thursday 16 September 2010

basket weaving addiction!

It's back...I'm still trying to kick this basket weaving addiction & failing miserably! Here's the latest addition to my growing collection of filled baskets...breads, buns & croissants this time.
I've been making so many croissants & I always like to have the "real" thing in front of me when I'm making something, so guess who has been eating far too many warm buttery croissants! I make it even worse because not only do I like them warm & spread with loads of butter, I then go & add loads of golden syrup too...not good for the waistline. I'd better stop making the miniature croissants otherwise there'll be absolutely nothing miniature about me! :-))

Monday 6 September 2010

Hallowe'en is coming early!

I'm not a huge fan of "themed" miniatures but I have been working on a Hallowe'en order for a while now...Real Life sort of got in the way a little, not to mention the lovely weather we've been having....but at last, I'm slowly making a bit of headway & this little carving Jack o' Lantern board is one of them! It seems that I've been making these boards for so long now that each year it gets more & more difficult to make them different from the year before...I guess the next step for 2011 will be "light up" lanterns! :-)).
It's been so difficult to find the time I need to get into the mini sweatshop recently that I actually made two & I'm having to list this on eBay tonight as I have nothing else!  Please make the weather change here!!

This, for me, is quite impressive...2 blog posts in less than a week!! :-))

Saturday 4 September 2010

Slowly getting back!

I'm slowly,oh so slowly getting back into the mini sweatshop after the wedding & all the hasn't been helped by the fact that we've had a glorious week here (very unusual for Durham!!) & I just can't bear to be inside while the sun is shining...I need it to change, quickly!!
Remember that I said that I was addicted to basket weaving...well, throughout the chaos of the last month or so, I've surprised myself by having actually managed to make one or two basket pieces & today (as the sun went behind the clouds, thank goodness!) I eventually got one of them filled!

I'm getting quite fast at the weaving now but I need to work out how to make square shapes...I'm getting a bit fed up of always making round or oval baskets..any suggestions are more than welcome!

This tray with a domed lid was just crying out to become a sophisticated ploughman' chunk of Cheddar here but some Stilton, Brie & a tiny bit of Cheddar with some rustic breads & tomatoes....instead of the pint of beer more normally associated with a ploughman's..this one has a glass of red wine (although it would always be white for me, as red gives me a migraine!)
I do hope that no-one wants to "gladly crush it"..........

Friday 27 August 2010


Well it's all over now....all that remains is to get the house back to some sort of normal state! The final family members left at lunchtime today, all the sheets have been washed, ironed & beds remade......with a bit of luck I'll be able to make a start on the huge backlog of commission work tomorrow. I can't see me getting out of my mini sweatshop for a full week!
It was a great day, despite having been the victims of a seriously convincing con woman who purported to be a caterer...even down to employing a Masterchef finalist as her "chef".....any English people reading this who happen to live in the North East of England...if you ever need caterers for goodness sake DO NOT even glance the way of Northumbrian Caterers...they'd be lucky to manage to cater for a soup kitchen!
The alcohol flowed freely though & the party didn't wind up until 6.35am when the DJ finally packed his gear & left......A great party!
This is a photo taken of my beautiful daughter Kim, by my nephew James in one of our fields......not many brides would muck about in a field of thistles on their wedding day!

Friday 13 August 2010

Probably the last post before "The Wedding"!!!

Very quickly, as I have my oldest daughter & her family here & it's bath & storytime now, here is the most beautiful, red oak, handturned, fruit ring filled with a selection of my handmade fruits!  The ring was turned by Bertie Pittman (you can find his fab turnings in his Etsy store - BertiesMiniatures) & measures 25mm in diameter & I filled it with raspberries, pears, peaches, cherries & apples. Only a week to go now & hopefully the weather here will improve for the wedding right now it feels like winter, is p*****g down & blowing a gale...lovely!

Monday 9 August 2010

Something sweet!

Less than 2 weeks to go before the wedding is all over.......maybe it was to console myself that I decided to make this sweet little confection! I wish I had someone who could make the real thing for me to eat with my coffee ( & that's all day long!!), although it would probably be so very much quicker to make the real thing than it is to make the miniature...this took me 3 nights to make!! Close your eyes & pretend they are real!!
These macarons are not the ones that almost everybody raves about, the Laduree far as I'm concerned these are 100% better than those & they come from La Maison Du the name suggests the filling is a dream of a chocolate your heart out Laduree!!! .....Before there are any complaints...I'm sorry about the lack of accents...I DO know they should be there but just don't have the time to write this in word & copy & paste!!!! Sorry!

Saturday 7 August 2010

Fruit filled baskets!

I still haven't recovered from the basket making addiction...whenever I have a spare minute, which isn't often now as 2 weeks today & "the wedding" will be in full swing, there I am picking up my wires & threads & weaving away! Seriously addictive!!
These two I've actually managed to find the time to fill & there are another 3 waiting patiently on my workbench for me to get around to filling them!

Freshly picked rhubarb...I still have loads of it in my garden  & there's nothing quite like eating a fresh stalk dipped in sugar...I'm still a kid at heart!!

The pears weighing down my pear tree inspired the filling for this basket.  I have no idea what variety they are, but I do know that they are delicious eaten straight off the tree!

Saturday 31 July 2010

Farmfresh Eggs!

I didn't think that I'd ever find anything quite as addictive as making polymer clay miniatures...I was wrong! I seem to have developed an addiction to weaving mini baskets as well & am enjoying myself filling them with my mini foods...

I just hope that I don't become addicted to anything worse than playing with clay .....too late for alcohol, I'm already addicted to that, not to mention the cigarettes!!

Sunday 25 July 2010

An overload of peaches!

I've been making the hundreds, or so it seems! I seem to have peaches in every nook & cranny of my workbench! Here are a couple of the pieces that I have made using just a few of them!

I was inspired to make the "ring" of peaches in the little basket by Bertie of BertiesMiniatures...he turns the most gorgeous pieces & an unusual wooden fruit ring is one of them & can be found on Etsy.  The jar of jam lifts out of the basket, leaving a "ring" of peaches!

Still having several (hundred!) peaches left, I used a few of them to make this peach flan on a cooling rack....sadly though this only used up 1 & a half of my peach stash! I suppose I'll be making more peachy things very soon! :-))


Friday 23 July 2010

John, just to make a refreshing change!

I was asked some time ago now (too embarrassing to admit to just how long ago it was!!) to make some John Dory for a customer who had seen my Artisan submission all those years ago & fallen in love with the John Dory on my fresh wet fish table! As it has been pretty miserable, wet & cold here the last couple of days I had no excuse but to actually get on with the fish.......It made such a lovely change to get away from making all those sweet things & it seems that my customer is thrilled with her fish!

Having really got into "the swing" of making the fish, I had a little basket lying on my workbench & I decided to fill it with 3 more John Dory & ice..................

Did you know that the distinguishing feature of the black spot on their back is said to be a result of St Peter picking one up in the Sea of Galilee & leaving his thumbprint there! As the Sea of Galilee is a freshwater lake & John Dory are a salt water fish this is highly unlikely!! Nice idea though!

Sunday 18 July 2010

Back To Work!

The Bride-to-Be is safely on a plane back to the UAE this afternoon so perhaps I might get back to work & manage to actually get something created! I did manage to make this little basket this week, so I suppose I can tell myself that I have managed to do something :-)).........there's still that oh so long list of commission work to wade my way through  though & with only 5 weeks until the wedding is over I think my poor customers will be waiting a while longer yet!

The little jars have blackberry jelly & sliced mangoes in syrup in them & are loose in the basket.

Sunday 11 July 2010

Nursery Rhyme Cakes

I've been slowly, oh so very slowly, working on a commission for nursery rhyme cakes......I'm almost embarrassed to say that I was asked for these over 4 months ago...OH DEAR! So far I've managed to finish these 3 & there are several more still in the UFO pile on my workbench...I blame my youngest & the fact that I have her wedding to organise for the 21st August.....not long now...HELP!! 

Humpty Dumpty Sat On A Wall
Teddy Bear's Picnic
An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe

I'm truly amazed that I've managed 2 posts in as many days!!

Saturday 10 July 2010

Making some tarts...

I've been making a little prep board of raspberry & blueberry custard tarts....just waiting to be popped into the oven.............

& then here they are fresh out of the oven!

Monday 5 July 2010

A Tropical Fruit Basket

Just a quickie this time as I'm desperately trying to "catch up" on my mini making now that the weather has changed for the worse...who knows when the sun will be back to stop me!
I've impressed myself by actually managing to make this little tropical fruit basket with cherimoya, dragon fruit, persimmons, bananas, oranges, coconuts & pineapple today. Granted I had already made the basket while I was out in Al Ain in March & there it has been sitting on my workbench ever since just waiting to be filled with something........

I just couldn't resist taking the photo of it with one of the "real" fruits in the little basket!

Saturday 3 July 2010

summer has been here!

For the last week or so we have actually had summer here so there was NO way I could be in my mini sweatshop while the sun was doesn't do that too often here I had to make the most of it.

I have been power hosing for England, pruning dead wood out of roses, cutting name it, I've been doing it....for the more squeamish amongst you STOP reading now! I even managed to shoot one of the damned foxes that have been decimating my chooks........before anyone gets upset, you have to see what a fox does with hens before you condemn......they kill for the fun of it & leave headless corpses lying around...they ARE NOT nice cuddly animals..they are disease ridden vermin who are natural killers & the sooner we can be rid of them the better as far as I am concerned!

Minis emerging from my sweatshop have been very thin on the ground recently but I have actually managed to make this little tidbit tray in which I've mixed sweet & savoury...I do get so very sick of always making sweet things...but it seems that they are what people want!

Thursday 24 June 2010

Lobster Ravioli

In this lovely weather we've been having...even in the North East of England for a change!.....I've been wishing that I was back in Cornwall, bobbing about in my boat, aimlessly hand-line fishing for mackerel...& being able to enjoy some of the freshest, most delicious seafood in Britain but,sadly, I'm not...that's just wishful thinking on my behalf :-((
Instead I imagined that I was cleaning a real lobster, just taken from the lobster pot & making it into a delicately rich lobster ravioli, drenched in a creamy lobster sauce...oh dear now I'm drooling over my keyboard LOL

The lettuce & tomato are the obligatory "healthy" touch...... :-))

Monday 14 June 2010

There's a rumour Summer might come tomorrow!

The rain has stopped...for now....& the forecasters say that summer might come over the next few days...I don't really believe them though!  We were promised a "BBQ Summer" again this year & I'm sure if I was to BBQ under an umbrella with thermal underwear on, they might have been right! LOL
I've been working on a lemon meringue pie set over the last couple of days...crazy really, it takes soooooo much longer to make the mini version than it does the "real" version... that was made & eaten 2 days ago & this was just finished this afternoon!
Typically Auctiva's site is down for update, just when I wanted to write the listing to go onto eBay I thought I'd make this post while I was waiting!

Saturday 12 June 2010

This season's 1st peas!!

I was  working in my veggie garden the other day...making the most of a dry day for a change & I just couldn't resist eating the 1st couple of pea pods ...they could probably have done with a day or two more to "fatten up"...but they were gorgeous! That lead me to thinking how sad it was that the English asparagus season is all but over, off I went into my workshop & for the rest of the day (& night!!), worked on a little English pea & asparagus basket & here it is!