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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Creating with Miniatures: Making Fairy Doors

(image from this blog)

Have you seen the latest trend of fairy doors? They are everywhere at the moment, tiny little doors for the magical folk to enter. Some companies out there make them in a few selected styles, using glittery paint, or external wood stain to weatherproof them... but why not take the inspiration and make your own?

Here at Magpies-Miniatures we stock lots of products to help you create wonderful little fairy doors. Including ready built doors, knobs, handles, knockers, even letter boxes!

Too late for this Christmas, but plan ahead and consider a little door for the elves, how else did the Elf on a Shelf get in? Adorn it with tinsel, a wreath, and leave little gifts outside it! Perhaps a ring box decorated with ribbon, with a little plate of cookies inside - imagine the delight of the kids as they receive the presents, and fill up the dolls' houses in the process!

pop over to to see what miniature wonders we stock, and let your imagination run wild. Big kids and little kids alike will love this unique idea, whether it's in your home, shop, or cafe - or even outdoors!

Click the links below to browse our shop. Enquiries welcome.

Friday, 20 December 2013

12 days of Christmas offers from Magpies-Miniatures

Sign up to our special mailing list, to receive details of 12 very special offers from your favourite Dolls' House Miniature retailers!
Every day from 25/12/13 to 05/01/14 we will be notifying subscribers of an offer which will be valid for 24 hours only - including prizedraws, giveaways and exclusive discounts.

Sign up here, and watch your inbox for more!

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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Creating a Dolls House Miniature Window Display

Working Together... 

As we don't have a "physical" shop premises here at Magpies-Miniatures, it is difficult to reach out to local people, and let them know we exist! Only so much can be done through local advertising, social networking, and word-of-mouth, so when an opportunity arose to claim window space in the Town centre over the Christmas period, we'd be daft to not oblige!

We were in contact with a local store at the beginning of November, and quickly our conversation led to us agreeing to complete a window display for them, for our towns annual Dickensian Festival. This festival is a weekend event at the end of November, which sees the town turn back in time. For more information, see the Ulverston Dickensian Festival website.

The brief the shop (Namely Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe) had given to us was simply "A Victorian style street scene". We were allowed to go with this however we saw fit- and we did.

My Dad, Jon, is incredibly talented at many things - woodwork being one of them. He created us a 4' "stage" to create our display on. We were able to source some wonderful photo prints of the town centre in Victorian days, and these became the backdrop of our scene.

Our town is a very traditional, old-style quirky market town- complete with cobblestones and original dated buildings. The photos depicted these, and we used a couple of the wallpapers we sell in our miniature store, to create the pavements, walls, and cobbles. (We found an old slate roof tile paper gave a brilliant result for cobbles!)

We then decorated two shop fronts. One in the style of an old toy shop, and another as a miniature Mr Simms Sweet Shop. If you have a Mr Simms local to you (they are a small(ish) UK franchise), then you will know what a magical aura they have themselves. It's like stepping back in time - shelves filled with glass jars of the most colourful candies you could imagine, from floor to ceiling. Our Victorian piece fit wonderfully into it's surroundings..

We included details from a period postbox, to people going about their business in the busy market scene, and even down to coal spilling out of the coal sacks, and 3 little black rats- one toying with a cat around the Mr Simms advertising board.

We had so much fun researching the period, collecting the miniatures together, and creating a wonderful miniature scene! We hope Lynne and John at Mr Simms are impressed with our work, and that passers by can enjoy the miniature world too. A lovely bit of magic for kids, and big kids alike!

Here's a few pictures of the scene as it developed:

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Christmas Postage dates 2013

It comes at the same time every year, yet every year it induces this mad panic, braving the cold to endure some frantic rummaging through half-empty shelves to find that perfect present for your Great Aunt Tilda.
Well, we have a solution to combat the road-rage, angry mobs at the check-out, and the need for steel-toe-capped boots in the shop aisles. Grab yourself a lovely warm cuppa, kick your slippers off, and browse through our lovely website to find the perfect gift for your miniature-loving friends and family (or yourself, of course!)
Everyone deserves a little treat at Christmas.
Here we have some further information about postage details for the upcoming Christmas period. Turns out the Royal Mail is in fact nothing to do with any elves or reindeer, and they too could do with a sprinkle of magic dust to make them fly faster but, seeing as this isn't especially easy to achieve, we simply suggest you follow the guidelines below to make sure your package is with you well before the man in the big red suit climbs down your chimney. Let's make it easy for everyone this year, and pull together to make sure we all have a simple, straight-forward, stress-free Christmas. (Well, as stress free as it can be!)

The following information is passed on to you from the Royal Mail (the shipping company we deal with here in the UK) - and these are the last recommended postal dates for Christmas deliveries. Of course these are the VERY LAST days, so please try to plan as much as possible - we will not be liable for any packages which are delayed in the system, and we'd hate for Great Aunt Tilda to be disappointed.
International Airmail
including Airsure® and International Signed For™
Wednesday 4 December Asia, Far East (including Japan), New Zealand
Thursday 5 December Australia
Friday 6 December Africa, Caribbean, Central & South America, Middle East
Monday 9 December Cyprus, Eastern Europe
Tuesday 10 December Canada, France, Greece, Poland
Friday 13 December USA
Saturday 14 December Western Europe (excluding France, Greece, Poland)
  HM Forces Mail - British Forces Post Office
Friday 29 November Airmail to Operational BFPOs
Friday 13 December Airmail to Static BFPOs
UK Services 
Wednesday 18 December 2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For™
Friday 20 December 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For™
Monday 23 December Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed™
So there we have it! For any more information, including postage costs, please see either UK Postage Information , or International Postage Information - depending on your location.
Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year from all of us here at

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Wish List

For a good while now we have been bugging our host (Create) for a Wish List feature, but to no avail. However, a quick Google told me that Amazon have created a "Universal Wish List" which is not only usable on Amazon but on ANY online store.
I gave it a download, and a quick test run.

I'm currently using Firefox 23.0.1 and I have to say it works BRILLIANTLY on our webstore.
Will give a quick tutorial here as to how it was applied and used.

So all you need to do is follow this link (presuming you have an Amazon account, if not you need to sign up first) :Get the Amazon Add to Wish List Button
and follow the instructions!
When you restart your browser, you'll see an amazon "A" next to the address bar. Now, visit our web store.... and find an item you like (isn't too hard ;) )
I'm a geek for all things creepy, so I'm choosing the 3 black rats (really, they're adorable!)
So... find your product, and click the A!
This will bring a pop-up screen up, so you have the option to add to your wish list. Do the same for any other product your heart's craving for! Worth putting a  few things together to save on postage costs, right?
I'm choosing some more favourites now....


My list now looks like this:
 so now you can compile your list until it's ready to pop! Beauty with this is you can even post it to facebook to drop some very heavy hints, print it out and leave it in front of the kettle for your spouse to accidently "fall" upon, and when you're ready to purchase anything, just visit the product page by clicking on the item title, and pop things in your shopping basket. Beautifully done! 
You can set up lists for various websites, or even different rooms in your dolls house - a bathroom wish list, living room wish list... etc!

What a magical little feature.
Thank you Amazon!


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Important news for our eBay customers

This is a special notice for customers on our eBay store, found here: eBay Shop 

We mentioned there are upcoming changes to ebay, and the way they handle fees from sellers, in a previous Blog post. We have been scratching our heads to try and get to grips with what it is they want from us, and have found the only way to combat their greed, is to up our postage prices on there (We really don't want to have to do this!). Currently they don't take anything from your postage price, which is great, because we don't make any profit on this (it all goes to our lovely friend Andy - our local Post Office Wizard). Now ebay have decided they want 10% of the money we would have given to Andy... and it's not fair that we should take the hit (as they already take 10% off the item price), and the money isn't going to materialise from Andys' pocket (and why should it?) so the only option we have, is to pass on that 10% increase to you, the buyer. We hate to do this, as we feel like we are ripping people off - this is not what we are about! Please remember it is EBAY who are being greedy, not us :(

If you ARE a serial eBayer (you know who you are) this is where you need to listen up. 

Currently on ebay we have around 400 items (431 to be exact), where our website total currently stands at around 3500 (okay, sticking with being exact, we actually have 3526 products WITH MORE TO ADD!) everyone likes variety! (Website 1 - Ebay 0 )
Now, to list them on ebay- we already are forced to add AT LEAST 10% to the price you would pay on our website, so that lovely order you compiled on ebay which came to £100? You could have had it for £90 (or less!) on our website! Cheaper! (Website 2 - Ebay 0)
Surely ebay has better offers on?...NOOOOOO. We don't run the same offers on ebay goods as we do on the website. Our sales and Special Offers are EXCLUSIVE to our website customers. (Currently having a huge Jiayi sale, which ends on 31/08/13) -and keep an eye out on newsletters because I sometimes share discount codes there too, applicable ONLY on our site!  Offers and Discounts! (Website 3 - Ebay 0 )

But what about combined shipping? As standard on the website, as there's a full integrated shopping basket. We do of course combine shipping on ebay...but it's manual and time consuming. Everyone likes something easy. Simple! (Website 4 - Ebay 0 )

 Payment! Surely it's more secure on ebay! it's all in your imagination. We take payment through Paypal too on the website, just as you would on ebay, so it's just as secure! You don't even need a paypal account to pay, just credit or debit card details. We will also accept cheques (UK only) Secure! (Website 5 - Ebay 0 )

I could go on, but I think you can see the point I'm making here...

We can't stress this enough!!
What's the website?

Visit and click Ctrl+D to add us to your Bookmarks :)

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Win a Dolls House Miniature Coffin

Have just opened a new competition to win yourself a lovely 12th scale miniature Dolls House Miniature Coffin. just visit to enter, and complete the form:

Entries close 31/08/13 for this giveaway!

Best of luck!

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Ebay Changes - Effective 4th September 2013

Ebay are making HUGE changes to the way sellers sell, and it makes a huge impact on Small Businesses like ourselves: so much so, that it looks like we're going to have to take most of our stock off there, and sell only through our website. 

Ebay are becoming more and more greedy, and with Royal Mail also taking their price hikes sky-high, it really is a battle for us, and many other small businesses out there.

Please shop directly through our website, where we still accept PayPal payments, so are just as secure as eBay - but there's no fees to pay, which means we can bring you the products cheaper. There's also 3000 more products on our website currently, than there are in our eBay store.... I will give a little more information below:
This point is for us, a main point in why we are going to have to consider removing our products:

From 4 September, if your item sells, you’ll be charged a final value fee based on the total cost to the buyer, including postage, packaging and other related costs.

To manage any fee increase you may see, we recommend you include postage as part of your item price and offer items with free postage. You may be able to achieve lower postage costs by exploring alternatives to your current postage supplier.
(-Ebay, quoted from here: )

- What this means, is that we have a 99p item on eBay, (for example a black top hat), we currently charge the customer £0.99 + £1.00 Post and Packing. 

eBay currently take 10% fee off of the item price, not the p&p. 

Now what they are saying, is that the final value fee (the percentage they take) will now ALSO include the p&p charges (I fail to see WHY they should benefit from this) - so they suggest adding the cost of postage to the item to the item cost, making the hat effectively now £1.99 with "Free Postage", and they will then take their final value fee from the £1.99, not the 99p, which is clealy more; therefore we will be forced to up the price, or lose our profit. So we'd have the choice of up our prices to customers, or lose our business entirely as our profits would be eaten little by little.

What is also important to note, is that currently if you require e.g 10 top hats, you would pay 99p for each of the hats, £1 original postage cost, and a further 10p per extra hat, which would mean the order would total £11.80 (10 hats at 99p, postage at £1.90)
With the ebay changes, this same order would cost you in excess of £19.90, as the "postage" fee is included with each individual item, not as an order as a whole. This figure is assuming we DON'T increase our prices to compensate for their greed. You would effectively be paying £10 delivery cost for items which cost £9.99... You could argue that it will still only cost us £1.90 to send the parcel, and can take our profit from the extra postal costs, but we're not here to rip people off-  we are human, and are customers too- we wouldn't feel loyal to a business if we knew they were pocketing more money than they should be. We're trying to consider you, our customers, as well as ourselves, as without you- we wouldn't be a business at all - just a couple of mad women sat amongst a pile of miniature products!!

The same order on our website would total  £11.00...  no brainer?
If you have any more info on how YOUR small business is going to cope with the changes, we'd really appreciate some input.


Friday, 26 July 2013

Alternative Monopoly Pieces

Did you hear back in February, that Hasbro (the big guys behind the world famous Monopoly game) have now scrapped the 'iron', 'boot' and 'wheelbarrow' markers? And in replacement, have added a cat, helicopter, a diamond ring, a robot, and a guitar! (I mention due to the fact they are changing the game again, and are now scrapping the Jail corner!)

Now if you opened your game box in the past 6 months, you may have felt a little cheated in not having your favourite game token included... but we have a solution. How about our Doll House Miniature silver iron?? It's not the exact piece- in fact, it's better! 

We could get inventive here and make up a NEW collection of alternative Monopoly game pieces using miniatures. How about a microscope, bucket, whisk, or pair of high heeled shoes! There's some amazing miniatures to choose from, and they would truly make your gameplay more unique, and even personalised to the players in your family or friend circle.

Take a look on the website and see what you can find! : Magpies Miniatures

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

JiaYi Miniatures

We've just spent a LOT of time organising our JiaYi miniature collection, photographing all our stock to show the true beauty of the pieces - unfortunately something the "stock photos" didn't show, which made very little sense!!

What is Jiayi?
Well, all JiaYi Miniature pieces are handcrafted by a talented team of artisans, and are considered to be of heirloom quality. They are handfinished and painted in the most intricate of designs, often having an Asian influence to them. However, they come in a huge range of styles, including Victorian, Edwardian, Tudor and covering other periods too.
Our Jiayi range is a firm favourite amongst many of our customers, and ourselves too. It's hard to believe succh quality, and attention to detail can be achieved in something so small.
If you are a fan or Bespaq or Heidi Ott, then chances are you'll be a fan of JiaYi too.

We have Jiayi miniatures for a variery of rooms, from bedrooms, bathrooms and nurseries,, to music rooms, parlours, and an exquisite collection of lounge furniture. Opening the boxes is like opening a magnificent gift - the beauty and detail of these pieces is simply breath-taking.

Check out the entire jiayi collection on our website:Magpies-Miniatures and let us know what your favourite pieces are!!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Alternative uses for Doll House Miniatures

Magpies-Miniatures supply minis to a wonderful array of customers, who are especially inventive with their uses for the miniatures themselves. You may think that the miniatures start and end in dolls houses, and this is proving t be far from the truth! We have knowingly supplied miniatures for people doing:
  • Paper crafts - card making.
  • Cake Toppers (our miniature Black Top Hats are a particular favourite for wedding toppers and snowmen!)
  • Taxidermy - used as props for the animals. 
  • Clay Art - again used as props for people who model using Polymer Clay.
  • Jewellery - the glass jars and bottles are a firm favourite for our Jewellery Customers.
  • Practical Jokes - one particular customer ordered a batch of stools to put in jars to present as "Stool Samples" ... :D
  • Christmas Ornaments - usign acrylic baubles which open, and putting minis inside...
just a few examples of using our tiny products for creative uses. Have you seen anything makde using miniatures which you thought was a creative idea? Or do you use them for something other than what's listed above?
Let us know!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Strange Doll House Miniatures

Strange Miniatures:

We're always on the lookout for new products to bring to you here at, which got us thinking-

Is there anything you'd like to see in miniature but haven't ever found?

Or perhaps you've been busy doing something in your home, and saw an item and thought "Hey, I wonder if you can get that in miniature?"
Have you actually seen something completely bizarre in miniature and didn't realise it was even possible to buy them??

We're intrigued what you guys think, and have had a few good suggestions on our Facebook Page already, including Cat Litter Tray, Swimming Pool, and Gym Equipment...

What would YOU like to see? Comment below!

- Niccy and Mandy -

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

How to Make Dolls House Miniature Pencils

Hello and welcome to the Magpies-Miniatures Blog. 

This second blog from us here at Magpies-Miniatures is a tutorial on how to create a simple Scale Miniature for you to use in your crafts and scenes. With schools coming to a close soon for the summer, and kids getting excited for a new term in September, I thought it fitting to start a small project which ties in with this time of year - Pencils!

Model Making Level : Easy (Beginner)

 How to Make Dolls House Pencils:

 You will need:
  •  Cocktail Sticks / Toothpicks
  • A Craft Knife
  • Paint (Black and whatever colour you want your pencil body to be- I chose Yellow)
  • A Silver Paint Pen
  • Tiny amount of Pink polymer clay
  • an oven
  • a steady hand
  1. Collect all your materials and have them close to hand for ease.
  2. Take a cocktail stick, and start to whittle away using your craft blade. make sure your fingers are away from the blade, and push it out away from you. Take this step slowly, rotating the cocktail stick slightly after each sweep with the knife, to gain an even finish.
  3. When your stick is to the desired thickness, cut the end you have just shaped, using your blade, or a pair of scissors. A typical pencil is approx 175mm, so I made my pencils around 15mm long. Of course, if you're making several - feel free to vary the sizes as pencils vary in length due to use!
  4. holding the pointed end, paint the rest using your base colour (yellow here), let this dry, 
  5. Taking your silver paint pen, colour a band of silver at the opposite end of the pencil. This imitates the metal clip which the rubber (eraser) sits on.
  6. Dab the pointed end in a small amount of black paint to imitate the lead. Again set to one side to dry.
  7. Take a tiny piece of pink polymer clay and soften it.
  8. Break this piece down further into minute balls. These are to become the rubber at the end of your pencil, so use your pencils as a guide for size.
  9. Push the eraser on to the end of your pencil, and roll it gently across a flat surface to let the rubber take a rounded shape.
  10. when you have made all the pencils you wish, pop them in the oven on the lowest setting for a couple of minutes, to set the clay.  
-and hopefully now you will have a wonderful collection of pencils!
Of course, you can adapt this further. Why not omit the erasers and create pencils in varying colours for the kids! Enjoy!


Friday, 14 June 2013

Magpies-Miniatures Introduction

Hello and welcome to the Magpies-Miniatures Blog. 

We have blogged in the past, but have this month started to release a newsletter (Which can be found here), and decided a nice new, fresh blog would sit nicely hand in hand with the Newsletters!

So here we are! For those of you who are unfamiliar with who we are, here's a quick introduction.

Who are Magpies-Miniatures?

Magpies-Miniatures is a family run business, from Near Ulverston, in Cumbria, UK.

There are three faces here behind the scenes - Mandy is the business owner, founder, and holds great knowledge in all things miniature. She has been behind the scenes from the very beginning, and with the help of her husband, Jon - is the one responsible for this site you're now visiting. Jon has been the quietest member of the team, but his talents in computer programming, databases and the fact he's extremely artistic and fantastic at any craft he sets his mind to- he's incredible valuable in our eyes, and those of our business too. The newest member of the team is myself, Niccy. I am the daughter of Mandy and Jon, and hold college qualifications in Art and Design, which is where my passion lies. I have taken on the role of keeping the website updated and looking fresh, with improved stock photography, and dealing with social media. All of us have something different to give to the business, which is why we work so well together as a team, in keeping our business running smoothly, and bringing you the service you'd expect as a customer, which has so many of you returning.

Magpies-Miniatures began as a venture on a popular online auction site, and as business and demand grew, so did the levels of stock we housed, and so our own website was the only way forward for us. Now the site is up and running, and has been since 2008, our passion, knowledge and focus has grown into the company you see today. We strive for 100% customer satisfaction, and to keep you coming back to complete your projects. If there's anything you're uncertain about, please feel free to ask. Combined we have a vast knowledge in several areas, and are in touch with many wonderful and knowledgeable people, so if we don't know the answer- we can seek it out for you!

What makes Magpies-Miniatures different from other Doll House Miniatures sites?

The fact we are a small company means you'll only ever be dealing with one of three people, and the fact we're all related means we all get to know you as individual customers! We love striking up friendships and conversing with those who hold interests in the same field we do- Miniatures! You get a very professional, but personal approach to your hobby from us as a business.

We stock miniatures from a range of suppliers, and are always on the look out for something different, that competitors don't offer. I have myself, taken up crafting miniatures from polymer clay, and so we are now able to provide things which other people cannot- because I don't make them for anyone except us!! 

We are proud stockists of the wonderful McQueenie Miniature kits. These are the guys who are responsible for the fabulous 12th scale Gypsy Caravans which are so popular amongst our customer base. I won't go into too much detail here, because they are due to be in the spotlight of our 2nd Newsletter, which will be published on the 25th of June. Sign up here to be included on our subscription list, and watch your inbox on that date for more info and photographs of the kit :)

So for now, I will leave the blog here, and will return back in a weeks time to keep you updated on other news and events going on here at Magpies-Miniatures.

thanks for reading, and bye for now!!

- Niccy