Monday, 2 March 2015

Work in progress.... Day 1

Last month, (February) I successfully managed to complete all of my outstanding orders and commissions with one full day to spare, so I've been celebrating my time windfall by making a start on a new Mignonette doll box.

You may recall that back in January I listed my very first Mignonette doll box on Ebay...... I posted the details HERE.

Violet is now settled into her new home in Toronto, Canada and since then I've been planning another......

These little boxes take a l-o-n-g time to make so I thought it might be interesting to show just what goes into the creation of one.

I made the first one from layers and layers of thick card, but my latest one is made of wood, and here is the basic box.

The proportions are just perfect.  It's made with proper dovetail joints and the little brass hinges are cleverly and neatly hidden within the box construction and practically invisible.
The lid is deep enough to hold a selection of tiny costumes and accessories.

I intend to fully decorate the box, inside and out and have an idea to do something special on the inside edges, but as some of the wood will show, first I have to paint them......

After sanding the edges, they are given three coats of paint.

While the paint is drying, it's time to choose the papers to decorate the box.  It's practically impossible to find scrapbooking papers in small scale, so I decided to make my own, resizing several different digital images and tiling them to fit on an A4 page.  It took a couple of tries before I had exactly the right size and shade range, but once they were done I printed several sheets of each on special high quality coated card, which gives the crisp print and colour quality I want.

These sheets also have to dry and 'set' thoroughly for 24 hours before I can use them, so I used some of the remaining time yesterday to make the little decorative tag with will adorn the top of the box.....

So far so good.  Tomorrow I'll be decorating the box, inside and out.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

If it ain't broke.....

Sometimes I despair.  I really do.

Etsy, in its infinite wisdom, has re-jigged its categories, and artisan miniatures are now lumped into the Toys and Games category.

This is madness.

Even though I would describe myself as a toymaker, my miniatures are most definitely NOT intended for children.  They are intended for adult collectors.

This idiocy change will apply to everyone who makes and sells scale miniatures on Etsy, from furniture all the way through to tiny accessories.  I make it as clear as possible to potential buyers that my toys are not suitable for children but surely having them listed under Toys & Games is sheer folly.   Heaven help the first poor miniaturist who finds themselves at the sharp end of a law suit due to a child choking to death on their miniature. 

I have removed all the listings from my Etsy shop pending clarification of whether they intend to re-instate a specific category for handmade miniatures.  If not then I suppose the only other feasible alternative is Art and Collectibles, although there is no suitable sub-category.


Come on Etsy..... do the sensible thing and create a stand-alone category for doll's houses and scale miniatures for the many, MANY miniature makers who support your site.

We may all make small things, but trust me, THEY'RE NOT TOYS!

*rant over*

More things in boxes......

Following a difficult 10 days (dental woes are STILL rumbling on!) it's been lovely to get back into my workroom this week and immerse myself in doing something creative again.

I currently have several commission orders as 'work in progress' on my desk, including a new French-style Mignonette doll box, which is shaping up beautifully, as well as several little china toy dolls and toy theatres, so I'm adopting my normal 'creative chaos' work mode.

I didn't put anything on Ebay last week, but this week I have listed a little Alice in Wonderland miniature Jack-in-the-Box featuring the March Hare......

 lso completed this week and scheduled to go on the website tomorrow are these traditional Mr Punch Jack-in-the-Box toys.

In other news, I've booked to exhibit at the online Mini Miniature Show next month (full details to follow nearer the time) and will be offering a workshop session, as well as showcasing several brand new toys and toy dolls.

It's all GO here.......!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

House of pain.......

I am more than a tad sceptical about the supposed link between pain and pleasure. When it comes down to making a choice I'd definitely choose pleasure every time.  Similarly I haven't read 50 Shades of Grey, and have no intention of seeing the film, so the exploits of Mr Grey, his erstwhile whipping girl and the pain/pleasure connection will forever remain a mystery to me.

However, I can wholeheartedly vouch for the fact that when you've been in severe pain for any length of time, the mere absence of it, even for a few hours, is an almost intoxicating pleasure.

I've had excruciating pain from a dental abscess for a whole week.  I had one at Christmas, which settled down after a few days of antibiotics, but this one is in a different tooth, which has already had root canal treatment.

I went to the dentist last week at the first tell-tale twinges, and an X-Ray confirmed a sizeable abscess deep in my upper jaw at the tip of the tooth root.  

So far so bad.

I was prescribed antibiotics and advised that given that the previous root canal treatment had failed, the best option was to have the tooth extracted, but I would have to wait for the infection to subside.  A combination of over-the-counter painkillers was also advised.

Drinking, eating and even talking were painful..... at that stage, on a scale of 1-10 I'd have scored the pain levels at 4-6.  Each day I was confident that the antibiotics would kick in and the infection would subside, lessening the pressure causing the pain.

But no.

By the weekend, even rattling with an assortment of painkillers, the pain was peaking at around 12 out of 10 and I was in abject agony.  

I like to think that my pain threshold is quite high.  I live with neuropathic pain due to my MS on an almost daily basis, and mostly manage to keep it under control by a variety of inventive means.  I've given birth to two children, and the pain there was no walk in the park either. But NOTHING can compare to the levels of pain I've experienced over the past 5 days.

Aside from the site of the infection, pain radiated up into my eye socket and down my neck into my right arm.  Not to be outdone, my MS got in on the act and triggered the trigeminal nerve, escalating pain levels from excruciating to unbearable.

On Sunday morning, in desperation we tried to get me an emergency dental appointment, but the only local centre was fully booked.   In the early hours of Monday morning, it was so bad that PP wanted to take me to A&E but I resolved to wait till the morning and the prospect of an appointment with my own dentist.

Now, you would think, wouldn't you, that if you have off-the-scale dental pain, the person to sort you out, and relieve your pain would be a dentist. 

Well, you just would.  Wouldn't you?

By the time I got into the chair at 9.25 yesterday morning I was almost sobbing with pain and exhaustion, not having slept more than an hour for three consecutive nights.  The dentist examined me and said she was sorry but she couldn't do anything until the infection had subsided!  I all but pleaded with her to do something.....  ANYTHING... so she reluctantly agreed to try to remove the offending tooth.  However, while trying to administer the novocaine injection she decided that the pain/infection was too severe and that as a result 'the anaesthetic may not be effective'.


She then said that in view of my MS, she was unwilling to carry out the extraction.  I was speechless for a few minutes then asked what was I supposed to do as neither the antibiotics nor painkillers were helping.  She finally agreed to write up a prescription for different antibiotics (the same ones which had done the trick at Christmas) but said I had to go to my doctor for stronger painkillers.

At that point, if someone had offered to cut off my head as pain relief I'd have accepted.  The next few hours are a bit of a blur.  Our doctor didn't have a surgery so I had to have a phone call from an emergency doctor to arrange for stronger painkillers.  Once that was done we had to pick up the prescription and get to the pharmacy to collect both the new antibiotics and painkillers.

It took till early evening before I began to feel the first tiny lapping waves of 'not pain' gradually advancing over the huge surf rollers of 'pain' pain.  I'm not usually a fan of strong opiates, as I dislike the zombified, disconnected feeling they cause, but by then I was beyond caring.  Even the slightest gradual reduction in the level of pain felt wonderful.  Practically euphoric, although it only lasted for a few hours before building again.

I even managed several consecutive hours of sleep last night, waking twice to top up the pain relief.

So what next?  Well I have a follow-up appointment with my useless dentist later this week, by which time, hopefully, the new antibiotics will have worked their magic sufficiently for me to have the tooth pulled.  I no longer care about it, and she is adamant that repeat root canal work is generally ineffective.  Not to mention it costing the earth.  My confidence in her is badly shaken though, and I don't know what to do for the best.

In the meantime, doing anything creative workwise is a lost cause.  Things have been so bad that I haven't even been able to concentrate on Pinterest.

Yes.  It's been THAT bad.

On the positive side, PP, and to a lesser extent, Small Dog have been wonderful.  PP has taken control of my complicated drugs schedule and has been ensuring that I've been made as comfortable as possible, liquidising my meals, providing compresses and generally caring for and looking after me while I've been in extremis.

Small Dog has been performing in her role as The Healing Paw.  This mainly consists of climbing over me and sitting bolt upright, staring into my face while I stroke her.  She claims that this releases endorphins which help fight pain.  I'm assuming she means my pain although I suspect she benefits from the process too.

The fact that I have been able to sit at my laptop long enough to write this feels like something of a small miracle after the past week.

Which reminds me.... it's almost time for my painkillers.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Day 30 - Ta Dah......!

Finally.... here we are.

Day 30 of my 30 Day Blogging Challenge.

A post every single day for 30 days.... that's almost half as many as the whole of last year! Not only that, I've been multitasking like a productivity ninja all month too.

I know.

I can't quite believe it either.

It feels like a long time since the beginning of January, and my first challenge post.  I can't claim to have succeeded in my quest to write 'shimmering prose' but I've enjoyed the journey, and have even managed to rekindle affection for my blog, which had been languishing in neglect for far too long.

So, what now?

Well, since I signed up for this, (and if you're a fellow blogger and fancy having a go yourself, simply visit Sarah Arrow's 30 Day Blogging Challenge ) I've received an email from Sarah every day, with helpful hints, tips, suggestions, tools and resources.  Many of the emails also contained tasks designed to improve your blogging prowess.

I must admit I've mostly 'free-styled' over the course of the last 30 days, so I'm going to go systematically through every email and carefully implement all of the suggestions which are relevant to me.

I'm also determined to post more consistently this year, although I will most certainly be taking tomorrow off.

However, to round off this challenge, it has been brought to my attention that in my first post I wrote...

"There will be action, adventure, elephants, intrigue, exposés, and exclusive insights."


Friday, 30 January 2015

Day 29 - Penultimate day....

I seriously doubted whether I would have time to post at all today.

Since this morning I've been cleaning all the things, prepping all the food and chilling all the wine.... anyone would think we had guests coming later.

Tomorrow is the last day of this 30 day blogging challenge, so I'll write a rip-roaring, barnstorming, call-to-arms post which will both amazing and great.

However, today, I'm taking the easy option so here is my mood in a picture......

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Day 28 - Ending Sunday......

As well as my 30 day blog challenge ending on Sunday, my latest Ebay auction will finish then too.  At 4.00 pm, GMT.

I made this little half scale doll and wicker pram set specially for the auction and full details are on my Ebay listing HERE.  

As always, if you decide to bid, good luck!

I'm still putting the finishing touches to my last listing of January, which will start straight after the current auction ends.  

Can't post photos yet but here's a clue...... "You SHALL go to the ball!"