Posted by: marymarthatours | February 7, 2010

An International Tea Party at Magpie Miniatures in Inverness

On a windy day last September, dollhouse lovers from northern Scotland and the Midwestern United States came together at Magpie Miniatures in Inverness, Scotland, to share stories, swap ideas, and talk about miniatures over cups of tea and delicious Scottish shortbread. Several members of the Sue’s Day Girls Miniature Club from Rochester, Minnesota, were with us on our 2009 Castles and Gardens of Scotland Tour. I’m also one of the Sue’s Day Girls, and I wanted to arrange a special treat for my fellow miniaturists. After seeing a brief mention of the Mini Ness Miniature Club of Inverness in Dollshouse World Magazine, I contacted Maggie Parks of Magpie Miniatures to set up a visit.

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Inverness, Scotland

In pre-trip e-mails with Maggie, I learned that Magpie Miniatures, which opened in 2005, is just a short distance from central Inverness. Many of the unique handmade items available at the shop were crafted by talented local artisan, Linda Haydock. The Mini Ness Miniature Club, launched by Maggie and Linda in 2008, now meets monthly at the shop. Maggie invited the members of the Mini Ness Club to be at the store for the afternoon visit of the Minnesotans. Joining Maggie were Linda, Elspeth, and Jean. Representing the Sue’s Day Girls were Jo, Sue, Rosemary, Mary S., and myself. Introductions also included Sheba, Maggie’s friendly border collie and the shop’s resident greeter.

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Sheba checks us out

With much laughter, it was discovered that each group had been busy creating gifts. First, the Sue’s Day Girls presented Maggie with a ¼ scale tea cup scene of a living room tea party. The scene had been created by Sue and Jo with lots of hints of Scotland. Maggie had to look closely to find the tiny hedgehog hiding in the exterior plantings. Then it was the turn of the Mini Ness members to bring out a wonderful grab bag full of tiny packages containing items handcrafted by the club members. The treasures included fancy hats, cross-stitch pillows, tiny gift boxes and trims, a tartan teddy, foods, and a handmade miniature bagpipe.

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Maggie admires her tea cup Mary, Jean, and Elspeth

After gifts, it was time for tea, coffee, and shortbread. We all chatted about miniature projects, shared ideas for new techniques, and checked out all the wonderful items in the shop. At the end of the afternoon, we Americans left with many packages and four new Scottish friends.

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It’s shopping time

Everyone agreed that the visit was a great success. I was delighted to have found such a wonderful shop for the Sue’s Day Girls to visit in Scotland. The experience convinced me that one of our next trips to Britain should focus on giving the Sue’s Day Girls and other American miniaturists a chance to visit more fun British miniature shops, see some fabulous miniature collections, and take in the October Birmingham Miniatura. That trip is planned for September of 2010 and is open to anyone who would love to see England in Miniature.

Click on Our Upcoming Tours to see the itinerary for the England in Miniature Tour.

Find out more about Magpie Miniatures at www.magpieminiatures.co.uk

By Mary, M&M Tours

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