Friday, 14 April 2017


      "The phrase al fresco is borrowed from Italian for "in the cool [air]", although it is not in current use in that language to refer to dining outside. Instead, Italians use the phrases fuori or all'aperto. 
      In Italian, the expression al fresco usually refers to spending time in jail." .... Wikipedia

    The Miniteers came over to my house last Wednesday.
    Linda Park came too, via SKYPE.
    It was wonderful to get together with my friends again.
    Janine will be leaving for Europe soon, and Fats has been very busy with "Fats things", Linda's in Australia experiencing buckets of RAIN just as we are here. 

    Most days find me cooped up inside, staying warm and dry, wrapped snuggly in my red plaid bathrobe, which has been my standard at- home uniform for several weeks running.

    Following our Miniteer's Day on Thursday, and still feeling re-charged after their visit, I was back to diddling around with VILLA LEONE.  As I was working on the interior staircase, I needed something and went hunting for it.  That's when I chanced upon a couple of peel and stick FAKE GRASS floor tiles, which I'd entirely forgotten I had.

    I might have intended them for Green Dolphin Street's garden, but never mind about that now, 
    because a Good Idea suddenly presented itself. 
    I abandoned construction inside the Villa so that I could go and play outside.

    The flexible tiles are 12 inches square and very GREEN.
    My Good Idea is to use them as a hedge for Villa Leone, so I thought I would give it a pretrial try out.
    I grabbed the unattached side patio from the Villa and stood both tiles up against it.
    I found a ugly lion fountain which I'd forgotten I had.  It  is perched upon a table for the photo shoot, then I filled the bowl with peaches.

    *This lion kinda reminds me of the cowardly lion from the "Wizard of OZ" ,all he lacks is courage! *

    I put out a variety of potted plants and flowers which usually sit waiting forever inside plastic storage boxes; 
    the rose tree I'd made for the balcony of Villa Leone but the blue hydrangeas were made by Fats specifically for "Lands End".  
    as I found more stuff, new ideas for settings began taking shape, soon to become the scenes expressing the title of this post:
    I'm using the patio table which I've shown you before. The columns are eventually going inside the Villa but they do look pretty against the hedge, don't they?
    I was afraid they would topple over and break something so I took them down, but this very formal look gives me  more food for thought...

    The table cloth is a round cotton doily which I cut down after I had painted one side with a mix of fabric glue and water.  The underside of the cloth is glued to some thin acetate cut to the same diameter as the table, so that later on I can lift the table cloth off clean and simple.
    * a handy trick I'd learned from Janine*

    I draped the cloth while it was still damp and held the folds with bulldog clips. Since this scene is only a try out, I wasn't too fussy about the way the folds looked, they can and will be re-shaped when it is time to get serious!    

    When the folds were dry they stayed put long enough for all of the pictures. 

    on the menu is

    Baked Ciambotta (Mixed Vegetable Stew with  a loaf of crusty bread, and a pitcher of chilled white wine.

    The Wonderful French blue Le Creuset Dutch Oven, is actually a fridge magnet which Janine brought to gift one to each of the Miniteers last Wednesday. 
    Linda's is yellow, and Fats chose orange

    It's Perfect and I LOVE IT! :D 

    A large pot of lavender sits on the table too.
    *note to self, 
    Make More Lavender! *

    the DINNER MENU 
    More Crusty Bread

      home-made red Wine
    a Succulent Roast leg of Lamb

    cooked medium rare, and served with roasted yellow potatoes, garnished with a sprig of fresh rosemary!
    * made by Fatima*

    so juicy that it makes my mouth water! 
    ripe green and black olives made by me

    DESSERT course: 
    ripe peaches and a bowl of sweet cherries

    a sponge cake with cherry jam between the layers
    garnished with toasted coconut

    * golden cherries on the stems
     made by Erzsebet of Hungarian Miniatures*


    fruit compote made by me in the 1990's

    The roses are by CARMEN at minismarillum 
     Her roses with the graceful grassy filler are displayed in a 
    tall green glass vase-
    a Seattle Show gift from Janine.

    another experimental layered torte of mine

     Surprise Surprise!
     a sock monkey arrived a few weeks ago from 
    Seattle, Washington
    * a SUPER SWEET and unexpected gift from my friend 
    Dena H." *
    xoxo :D
    after such a long day, it's nice to just sit and enjoy the garden
    It feels good to relax!
    Well whatdaya know?!  
    I just got a call from some friends passing through town. The're coming over for a quick visit. 

    I need to clear the table, then reset it again with pretty floral china and assorted fancy cakes, even though they don't plan on staying long- you never know until after they get here

    Everything's ready

    Welcome friends!  
    I'm serving coffee in the garden- 
    I'm so glad you came;


    and because it is Easter weekend-

Friday, 10 March 2017


Last weekend, the Miniteers (minus our Linda), made a trek down to Seattle for the weekend to attend the Seattle Miniature Show.
Previously, Janine had convinced both Fatima and I that  we should enter a couple of our roombox displays, which would gain us free admission into the show 

MAYBE we'd
 win a ribbon.  

A ribbon award came with mini show dollars to spend,  so we took her advise and 
pre-registered our displays.
I entered 


"Gothica" was pretty dusty and as I began sweeping it out I decided to make a few minor adjustments here and there and eventually got it to the point where I felt I could take it to the show. 
Most of the adjustments consisted removing the Blu-Tak and glueing things down permanently, but I also added some new wild roses around the doorway, which softened the overall look and gave more depth perception. 
I gave it a light sweeping and checked the lighting-
but wouldn't you know, the lights were not working! 
I had a spare transformer which I swapped out then 
re-tested the connection, and the lights worked. 
So last Saturday, well before dawn, Janine, Fatima and I set out for the U.S. border, crossed it and continued on our way to Seattle,
*about Three and a half hours away by car *
The ride down went quickly with all of us chatting back and forth about life and minis,
and minis, 
and minis...
Once we'd arrived at our destination, both Fats and I set up our exhibits.  
Gothica was a quickie but GDS took more time. 
When everything was finally in place, I turned on the power and 
90% of my lights burned out! 
In my haste to get them operating, I neglected to inspect the output voltage of one of the replacement transformer, assuming that it was also a 12volt. 
 I had mistakenly connected a 20 volt transformer to a 
12 volt house! 
You live and learn. :(
Nothing I could do about it, but accept it- 

then drown my sorrows in the Sales Room
with some
YES, I Did some SERIOUS damage to my wallet but by the end of the day, I was pretty happy with my little bits and pieces. 

Later on the 3 of us did a bit of late night show and tell in our room, which was a fun way to end the day! 

The following morning I went back to the display area to check on my house lights again, and found that 

I had WON! 
Green Dolphin Street 
(with nearly all the lights burnt out) had received
had WON

 Almost the first thing I did with my show dollar winnings was to invested in a really lovely ornate chest of drawers from Julia Stewart of Aristocratic Attic which is pictured below.  I am looking forward to including this lovely chest SOMEWHERE inside Villa Leone! 
I know that the blue floral china tea service is very 
English Country and Not Italian, but I have a weakness for mini tea sets and this one needed to come home with me. ;P
Janine presented me with the tall green glass vase as a gift!

And although I went down with a shopping list, the only thing which really I didn't expect to find was the
Italian Coffee percolator, but I did!

the other 2 silver pots were an added bonus!

mini tea pots! 

 The china ducks were from a vintage dealer and the assorted glassware was from the vendor
 Country Store Miniatures

The plastic chest above is another vintage piece made by Ideal.
It was a bargain at 5 dollars
Most of what I bought was tiny and much of it found in the discount bins, but not the books.
The 2 antique books were bought because of the
beautiful illustrations and because they're of Italian origin and wonderfully aged.

Another bargain basement chest of drawers
@ $3.00
And for no particular reason, I bought a pair of worn red cowboy boots?
and also a SHOWER CAP
 made by a dear friend of mine named Dena, who 
2 years ago, gifted me with one for
  and is now making them for sale at
CJN Miniatures in Seattle.
This for sure, will be going into the bathroom of
Villa Leone! :D

I wanted a work table for the kitchen at Villa Leone so this one looked like it would fit the bill.
The drawers open and it is already distressed and 

well aged-

what more could a girl ask for?

another little gift from Janine
a vintage style kitchen flour sifter!  

here's A tiny potholder which I also couldn't resist

And I Found the perfect meat grinder for the table too! 
The mandarin oranges and the pears were treats I'd ordered from a vendor which I first saw on the blog of
The peeled oranges and sliced pears are from

 Yulia Yakobson, in Estonia.  
They are truly Marvelous, and I can't recommend her work highly enough!
Plate is from the Seattle Show
As a belated November birthday present, Fatima had previously given me a box of assorted tiny treasures.
Included inside was a Yummy Italian Panatone
complete with a paper wrapper! :D
Canned peaches from the Seattle Show as well as the glass bowl which I've filled with Yulia's oranges.

The ripe Fimo pears were made by me.  

Bottles, jar and the scoop from the Show
Canning by Janet Brownhill- U.K.
I simply Love her work! 

The bread and knife are by Pat___? from California, I lost her card and her last name, but hopefully Janine will have that information when she posts about the 
Seattle Show on her blog 
Pat makes many incredible things, but she specializes in orchids and fresh vegetables which are all sliceable and peel-able! 

The basket was another bargain from the show, but the breads I made myself with air dry clay. 

I have always been hesitant about working with Fimo or Sculpey but if your making cheese then air dry clay just doesn't cut it.
I made the assorted cheeses using polymer clay. 

Speaking of Polymer Clay...

Fatima made the wine jug out of polymer clay; part of my birthday gift and
I think it's Marvelous!
It, along with the braided garlic and the onions pictured below, are ALL destined for Villa Leone
and all by the Amazing Fatima!

I was told by both Miniteers that
Salted Cod was a MUST HAVE
for my Italian Kitchen

The oversized cutting board was another lucky find at the Seattle Show along with the ceramic asparagus.

Stoneware jug another show gift from Fats

I made the sausage varieties from Fimo following this youtube video.
I think that I am becoming obsessed with making mini food.
I've made tons of it and although 
most of it is pretty awful, there are usually a few items from the pile which are worth keeping.

After Day# 1 at the show, we made a short visit to the
Value Village thrift store which was located right next door to our hotel.  
I found this HofM table kit hanging on the rack, but 


And inside is where
I FINALLY found my inspiration kitchen!!!

  Hopefully, if I plan it right I will have enough room to  display some of my

as well as the wonderful Kitchen Minis which I have been collecting which will include many of the 
 the cherished gifts from all of my friends.
Thank You 
Janine and Fatima, for a VERY Memorable Seattle Show weekend! 
Here's to the GOOD LIFE! :D