Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Pinterest goals.....

Despite the fact I'll be very busy over the coming days,  packaging and despatching orders from my book sale, I can always make time for Pinterest.

This evening I've been perusing my Pinterest boards with a view to selecting some dolls to recreate in micro miniature.

I've set myself the possibly unrealistic target of making one doll each week and I'm already playing catch up as here we are in the third week of January and I haven't completed any yet.   But making these 'pinspirational' dolls is my happy place, so I'm confident that by the end of the month I'll have finished four. *fingers crossed*

These are the ones I've chosen as my inspiration......

Lovely aren't they?

I'll try to post updates as I go along, but today I've been stringing some dolls in preparation for the first stage..... creating special 'paperweight' eyes using a rather Heath Robinson technique I've devised and have been trialling.  

It might work, it might not.... we'll see.

So this was the scene on my work desk at close of play today.....

New batch of little dolls being strung.....

Sandra's Book Sale....!!!

I know it's gone a bit quiet on the blogging front but I've been head down, nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, plugging away at organising my book collection in preparation for offering a number of books for sale.

When I say 'a number'.... that number is 100.

Yes, one hundred books have been laboriously photographed and documented to offer for sale.

I have several bookshelves in my workroom, all of which are crammed with books and magazines, and the time has come to downsize my library, in the same way as I'm downsizing my minis.

So for the past week the workroom has been littered with assorted piles of books, awaiting their turn to be photographed before returning to their places on the shelves.

To be honest, I didn't think it would take a whole week, but it was a difficult process.  Some books were in and out of the various piles as I vacillated over whether or not to keep them, but I'm finally satisfied with my selection.  Many of the books are no longer in print, or are unusual and difficult to find and cover a variety of topics including doll's houses and miniatures, doll's house dolls, toys and games, social history, toy theatres, crafts and more.

Then came the conundrum of how to sell them.  I could have listed them on the THD website, but the flat rate postage charges in the shopping cart are set up for small, light packages and simply wouldn't have covered the cost of posting books, especially on multiple orders.

So, instead I have prepared a PDF file detailing all the books.  It can be downloaded from the Jumpshare file sharing site by clicking on this link  


Alternatively, if you prefer, you can request a copy of the PDF by email.... simply contact me and I'll send it to you.

The books are offered on a 'first come, first served' basis but on orders over £40 I am happy to offer layaway terms.... again, contact me for details.

The prices shown are for the book only…. Shipping is extra, based on the size and weight of the book, its destination and the shipping method .  I am prepared to post worldwide, although please be aware that as many of the books are hardback, and therefore quite heavy, shipping charges may be rather high.  

If you wish to enquire about the availability of a particular book(s), please let me know where you are, so that I can accurately calculate the cost of shipping.

I will update the list regularly, hopefully on a weekly basis as there may be more additions in the coming weeks.

Happy browsing...! 🙂

Monday, 7 January 2019

Back to work......

Mondays in general are a bit of a bugger.

The first Monday after the Christmas/New Year break is particularly bad.  Not only is it cold and dismal outside, the workroom is completely topsy-turvy as it has been used for overflow storage over the festive period.

So my first job this morning was to try to reclaim as much space as possible by relocating all the displaced 'stuff'.  Despite being severely under the weather last week, I did sort of 'work', packaging orders from our New Year Flash Sale, and moving stuff around so that I could make a start on my little shop.  But I really need to sort it out as it's not messy in a productive, creative way, but in a 'can't be bothered to tidy up' way, which is A Bad Thing.

My workroom this morning.....
Of course one of the hazards of clearing up is finding stuff I didn't know I had, so I kept getting sidetracked.  I've also added an entire boxful of minis to add to my downsizing sale over the next few weeks.  Plus I discovered no end of stuff I've been looking for for ages, as well as clearing out some junk.

So all in all a good start to the working week.  Fingers crossed it can continue in a similar vein.  In the meantime I'm cleaving to the following quote, which makes me feel a tad better...

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Twelfth Night.....

Twelfth Night traditionally marks the end of the Christmas festivities, so today I've been de-Christmasfying the house.

Gone is the lovely tree with its twinkling lights.
Gone is the mantlepiece garland with its sparkly lights
Gone is the table centre piece with its flickering lights
Gone is the little bird tree with its shimmering lights.

Small Dog is unimpressed.....

Except.... as there is a bird theme in the newly madeover dining room, I'm inclined to carry it on, without the very obvious small Christmas tree.  So I'm on the hunt for a similar size illuminated twig, onto which I can clip all the little birds, and which will light up a corner of the room.  

I'm also looking for replacement lights for the denuded mantlepiece.  The old LED set which is many years old, are starting to fail, and many of them are either constantly flickering, which I don't like, or not working at all.

If there's ever a time of year which cries out for lots of light, it's January/February.  After all the festive sparkle, the lack of it is particularly noticeable. further deepening the depressing feeling of already failed New Year resolutions, post Christmas bills and the continuation of the deep, dark, damp, dank days of winter.  

As a result, each year another set of lights escape being boxed up and put back in the loft, and are instead festooned in a gloomy corner somewhere in the house.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Woman at work....sort of

I wrote on Friday about my new project, the little half scale shop/house kit, and my plans for it.

I'm a great one for starting things full of enthusiasm and derring do, only to grind to a halt at a later date, then guiltily berate myself over my lack of perseverance.  So I'm determined that's not going to happen this time.

To this end I WILL post a weekly update.  There, I've said it now, so you have to make me accountable.  Then I can blame you if it languishes from lack of accountability.

Anyway, I've done a quick dry run with a glueless build, just to see how everything fits together, and try to decide on the external and interior finishes.

I've also made extra windows, using the ones supplied with the kit as a template.  They are cut from mount board, which is very tough to cut by hand, and I don't have any anyway.  So instead I used three layers of thinner card, which I could easily use in my cutting machine.

Three windows cut from thin card....
It was then possible to glue them together to form one window profile, roughly the same thickness as the originals.

I've made five additional windows, which I'll use on the front and sides of the building, at ground and first floor levels.  

I want to emulate the look of a Gottschalk 'Blue Roof' house, similar to the one in my reference photo....

... but I thought I might add blue roof tiles, rather than simply painting the flat MDF roof panels.  I have some 1/12th card tiles left over from La Mignonette, so I've been cutting them down to 1/24th.

Cutting half scale tiles from 1/12th tiles
This is one of those tedious tasks which make you feel as though you're making progress, even though it's not the slightest bit enjoyable.  I now have a bagful of half scale tiles, but I can't fit them yet as I have to make up the dormer windows, and I'll be decorating them before fitting them.

I've also been experimenting with Bath stone ashlar blocks, which will decorate the ground floor.  I've printed out a page of them, on buff coloured card, but I think I'll need a more honeyed colour.  However they will be useful for making templates for the front and sides of the ground floor.  The blocks may have to be bigger but until I see them in situ it's difficult to tell.

Also for the exterior, I've ordered some 'old bricks' paper in half scale which will cover the first floor front and sides. 

I have a boxful of half scale lights and furniture kits, which I've been assessing, to decide what to use and where to put them.  I'm toying with the idea of splitting the first and top floors into separate rooms, but again, until the building is put together it's hard to see how the interior will look.  In any case I will use false doors rather than take up valuable floor space with stairways.

So all in all, not a bad start to the project. *feeling suitably chuffed!*

Men at Work..... sort of

On Wednesday morning, a knock at the door revealed a Clancy Docwra bloke in a high-vis vest and designer stubble, informing us that we likely had a leak from our water meter, buried in the footpath in front of our house.  He said he'd have to dig out around it to identify the source of the problem but it wouldn't take long and we didn't have to do anything.

I countered that Southern Water had replaced the meter around 18 months ago, but he merely shrugged and said he had to check it out.

He had another high-vis mate with him, and in short order they'd cordoned off the footpath and started to dig it up.

Due to elfin safety issues, they had to put up various signs and heavy duty barriers, all of which they then had to move so that we could get the car out to go grocery shopping.  They were still there when we got back, but the workforce had doubled from 2 to 4, and in addition to the first big work van, there was a second big work van and all four high-vis men were standing around a sizable hole, hands in pockets, staring dolefully into it.  

As we were unloading shopping bags from the car I overheard one of them, who by then was lying prone on the pavement with his head and shoulders in the hole, saying that the job was, and I quote "a bloody nightmare",

So  we let them get on with it, glancing outside occasionally to check on progress, or the lack of it.

After four hours, they suddenly disappeared, leaving all the elfin safety stuff in place around the hole, which had been filled in, presumably awaiting the tarmac team.

We thought nothing of it, until we tried to run some water in the kitchen.  A gurgling spurt of muddy water, then nothing.  A quick check on the other mains water taps revealed the same problem.  

We had no water.
No toilets could be flushed.
No kettles filled and boiled.
No washing up attempted.

So PP called the emergency number on the elfin safety barrier and relayed the problem to a chap who said he'd contact the original squad to get them back.

Time passed, during which, after a long journey south, my daughter arrived for a festive visit and due to lack of water couldn't freshen up.

She helpfully popped to Tesco to buy 15 litres of water so that we could still make tea, wash up etc. By now we were a bit pissed off that the workmen hadn't let us know before they packed up and left, just to check that the water supply was OK.

Eventually, another Southen Water operative showed up (not one of the original crew) who tried the kitchen tap and verified that indeed, we didn't have any water.  *eye rolling sigh* 

He went out to the hole in the pavement and set about the meter with a long metal pole, presumably trying to beat it into submission.  After about an hour, he admitted defeat, and advised us that the mains water supply along the pipe was absolutely 100% fine, but the spur off the meter to our house was, not to put too fine a point on it, buggered.

He said we needed a plumber and that he would arrange for one to come out to us.

By then we were getting worried.  
What if the pipe from the footpath to our house had to be replaced?
Would they have to dig up our drive? 
Who would have to pay?
But mainly.... WHEN would our water supply be restored???

At about 8pm, a plumber arrived, all the way from Rochester, over 40 miles away.  He too confirmed that we had no water.  By that time, if I'd had it mansplained to me what I already clearly knew Just. One. More. Time I could feel the red mist descending.

He was a personable chap, and said he thought he knew what the problem was, and that he have to replace our mains stopcock under the sink, plus another bit of pipework, the need for which was obscure.  It might have been the reciprocating flange valve but don't quote me on that.

So we cordoned off the kitchen with our (by now very late) dinner half-cooked, and retired to the relative safety of the sitting room, while he trudged in and out to his van, and hammered stuff under the sink.

Eventually, an hour or so later, he announced he was finished, and showed us the source of the problem.  A large chunk of grit had been inadvertently flushed through the mains supply to our house, and become stuck, resulting in no water.

We all stood round and looked at the offending piece of masonry for a while, then he apologised for all the water up the wall and below the under sink cupboard.  He'd tried to mop it up but short of dismantling the entire unit there was no way to get get to it.  He suggested leaving the cupboard empty with both doors open for a few days to allow the space to dry out.  He proudly displayed the new stopcock and reciprocating flange valve thingy, thanked us for the tea and chocolate bar, and disappeared into the night.

During the entire fiasco, a chap from Southern Water rang us every hour to check on progress, which was mildly mollifying.  He repeatedly assured us that it would be fixed and only sounded a little bit more disappointed each time we relayed the lack of progress. Nevertheless he was with us every step of the way, which I felt was only fair, seeing as how it was Southern Water sub-contractors who had caused the problem in the first place.

We now have water again.  Granted, the force of it from the cold tap in the kitchen is fierce enough to blow your hand off, something I'd mentioned to the plumber before he left, but he was adamant that the stopcock should remain wide open and we'd just have to remember to turn the tap only a little bit to avoid potential loss of digits.

Next time this happens (and there will undoubtedly be a next time) we will hold one of the high-vis opeatives hostage, fiercely guarded by Small Dog, until they can demonstrate that their works haven't caused any problems in the house.

We are also mulling over whether to complain to Southern Water, because IF, as was suspected, we've had a leak originating from our water meter, then we've been paying for water which we haven't used.  If it had been leaking since it was replaced over 18 months ago, then a significant amount of water could have been lost, which we will have been billed for. Which most certainly isn't cricket.

PS - Incidentally,  I acknowledge that it's probably Way Too Much Information, but our plumber's underwear of choice was by Tommy Hilfiger. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year!!!!!

Happy New Year to all my faithful blog readers!

So here we are in 2019.  I didn't have a particularly auspicious start to the New Year, seeing it in ill, in bed, with the traditional tot of single malt, accompanied by the rather less traditional cough medicine chaser and a smidgen of Vick's Vapour Rub.

Of course the plus side of not being up to partying the night away, is that this morning I am hangover free, although the vicious, hacking cough somehow doesn't quite make up for that.

No matter..... perhaps it sets the tone for what is surely going to be a spectacularly bumpy year.  Foremost in the car crash that 2019 is set to become, is the Brexit Fiasco which is looming uncomfortably close on the near horizon.  It's looking increasingly likely that we're heading for a No Deal Brexit, the very worst of all the very bad scenarios.   The UK is currently split over the issue, with both sides glaring at each other over the bottomless chasm we're hurtling towards.

It's very possibly too late to start stocking up on Fray Bentos tinned pies, or even Spam (for the obligatory wartime austerity fritters).  In any case, when the lights go out there won't be electricity to heat the damned things up.  *sigh*

As a small business person, I still have zero idea what the whole shamozzle will mean, except that I will almost certainly have to pay more for the supplies I buy in from abroad.  There has been no guidance on what will happen with international postal delivery services to and from European countries.  At present I have a simple, seamless process, with none of the necessity for customs declarations, import duty payments etc.  That will undoubtedly change.  Then there's the possibility of the £ going into freefall, followed by a stock market crash, companies bailing out or going bust, interest rates rocketing, jobs lost.......

It's hard to believe how we got into this mess, and even harder to understand why, even at this late stage, the entire omnishambles can't be fixed.  I'm a firm supporter of a People's Vote but I don't think that will happen.  We seem to be adopting a lemming mindset.

Hmmm.....Not a very uplifting first post of the year, for which I apologise.  

In related news, Small Dog, who has her paw on the pulse of the zeitgeist has spotted a gap in the market for a dog of an entrepreneurial bent.....

Scene:  Sandra is in the office, catching up on emails.  Small Dog wanders in and sits staring intently, waiting for a pause in the tip-tappy typing.

Me: *aware of the patient stare*  Yes?  What is it?
SD: *clearing her throat* Ai hav a kunning plann.
Me: *warily* Right.  Good. What is it?
SD: *warming to her theme* Wel... yue kno this Brecksitt thing?
Me: *dolefully* Yes
SD: *perkily* We wil be orlrite.... ai hav a plann.
Me: *suspiciously*  Hmm.... look if it's about your idea for Dog Eared Dolls I don't thi...
SD: *interrupting* No...knott that....orlthew thai WER a dam gude ideer in mai opinyun.
Me: *placatingly* OK, ok,... let's not get into all that again.  Tell me your plan.
SD: *haughtily* Rite.  Jusst lissen.  Kno interupten.  
Me: !
SD: *grandly*  As a Prowd and Knowbul Yorkshier Terrior ai hav the blud of jenerashuns of ratten terriors floen threw mai vains.  When the fude runs owt and we ar liven in rags ai wil saiv us.
Me: *dumbstruck*
SD: *condescendingly* Ah.  Kno kneed to thanck me.  Ai kan see yure speetshless.
Me: *warily* Erm.... SD.  Do you mean what I think you do?
SD: *gives a confirmatory wink*
Me: *flatly*  Rats.  You're going to catch rats.  For us to eat.
SD: *confidently*  Off korse! Jusst thinck..... fresh rattattoowee, rat on kroot, rat flombay.  And we kan sell the wuns we doant kneed.  Cash in paw.
Me: *weakly* That.. um... that's very kind of you SD.  But are you sure you're up to it?  Let's face it, those post-Brexit rats are going to be the size of cats, what with all the uncollected rubbish piling up.
SD: *assuredly*  Kno problemo.  Yue jusst leev it to me.  Kumeth the our, kumeth the Yorkshier Terrior.

.... To be continued, no doubt.