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Creative Competition 2009 – 2nd Place

September 17th, 2009

In second place is Iris Arentz from Belgium, with the exquisite “Gnome Retreat”, which one judge felt she would come upon it in a magical woodland glade. Iris wins £300 in Dolls House Emporium gift vouchers.

You will notice that the gnomes themselves are hiding, they are very shy and have a very good wind chime alarm system. The kitchen table is bedecked with camembert slices, apples and their peelings and a sign outside reads that Calvados is available to purchase. Iris hand made each frond and petal for her namesake flowers on the roof, a huge amount of work. Her is the story of the Gnome Retreat in her own words.

“When I first heard about this competition, my initial idea was to make a miniature display for my two grandchildren, Viktor and Leontien. They are 5 and 4 years old and particularly fond of my collections of Garden Gnomes. The project had to be something with the little people.  Although you find their statues in all sizes and forms, in real life the mature garden  gnomes is about 1 inch tall, so he fits perfectly well in 1:12 scale scenery.

On the other hand my name is Iris, so these flowers happen to be amongst my favourites. Travelling through Normandy one spring, I discovered blooming irises on top of several thatch roof cottages. This sight was so stunning that I promised myself to use this idea. So I started to think: how to combine a summer house competition with garden gnomes and a thatched roof with blooming irises? As in fairy tales I thought ‘What if .. once upon a time, some adepts of the Garden Gnome Liberation Front (originally coming from Normandy) travelled to their thatch roofed “caravan” to spend their summer holidays in my garden?”

Here’s some details of how Iris made the gnome retreat:

  • Each Iris flower is made of 6 teardrop shaped paper cuttings, glued on a little florist wire stem.
  • Woodworm holes have been drilled into the steps, the windows are dirty and broken here and there.
  • Pink and dried green peppercorns make up the apples.
  • The built in sink and cooker unit are made from the box of a Dolls House Emporium anniversary plate.

These are just a few of the many details Iris has added to this delightful petite retreat, and here are the pictures for you all to enjoy! The winner will be announced tomorrow!

Feel inspired to make your own miniature marvel? The Summer House and other smaller dolls’ house kits are available at The Dolls House Emporium.

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2 Comments to “Creative Competition 2009 – 2nd Place”


  1. Iris, what fun you’ve had creating this exquisitely detailed gnome retreat, full of delightful accessories, and with absolutely no regard for ‘elf and safety’! Your project is superb, and I realise that you are a very worthy winner of 2nd place in this competition! Ths summer house has been totally transformed into a treat of tantalising treasures, which leave the viewer asking ‘ how did she do that?! ‘etc etc I love it !!!
    Sincere congratulations from a fellow miniaturist.


  2. Well, I am totally amazed by all the entries I have viewed tonight. I thought I had inspiration when I sent in my entry but I am more than put in my place now. How do you compete with all those entries?

    I can undersyand why it was so hard to choose a winner. Well done everybody, I say, and three cheers to the Dolls House Emporium for enabling us all to take part in such exciting projects. Even though we can’t all win, what an inspiration to see what the winners did. I wish there could be an exhibition of all the entries to enable the general public to see to what lengths we go to in createing our miniature worlds.

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