Saturday, 17 August 2019

Bunting and beyond..........

Busy, busy, busy week, making up and packaging orders from the Mini Miniature Show last weekend.  The last batch went out yesterday and are now winging their way to destinations worldwide.  Thank you to everyone who visited our page during the show!

So..... what now?

Well, I have a To Do list that's currently running to several pages so I will need to multitask like a demon to try to make inroads into it.

However, I still haven't quite finished organising the workroom, since my work cabinet makeover and I've also decided that the room needs more bunting.

Of course it does.

I'm of the firm opinion that almost any room can improved with bunting, because bunting rocks.

And making bunting is one of my very favourite things.

Up till now I've had one string of bunting over the windows.  I bought it years ago during the first workroom makeover and it's not really up to my, now, extremely exacting bunting standards.  The flags are just too small and they're spaced really widely apart so it looks a bit sparse.

Nothing worse than sparse bunting.

So I've taken it down (leaving the windows wall looking VERY bare, despite the sparseness of the bunting which had been there!) and am working on making new, bigger, un-sparse bunting, which I'm hoping will go round two of the walls.

I've ordered some fat quarters of fabrics in various colours, and I've even gone to the length of designing four different fabrics, based on the colours I've used on the cabinet, which I'll have printed onto cotton calico.

This is going to be 'next level' bunting, the likes of which has ne'er been seen....  bunting par excellence,  the crème de la crème of bunting, the epitome of bunting......

It is while I am extolling the virtues of bunting, that I sense a small furry presence behind me.....

Small Dog: *incredulously*  MUUUUUURRRRMMMM!  Stopp with the bunten olreddie!
Me: * resolutely* No SD.  I will not stop.  I am a woman on a bunting-making mission and I will not be denied.
SD: *eye-rollingly* Yue ar beein redikewluss.  Hav yue kno sens of pryoritties?
Me: *airily* Oh yes.  I absolutely DO have a sense of priorities.  I am prioritising designing and making bunting.  It is my raison d'être.  I make bunting, therefore I am....
SD: *dismissively* Bollox.  Fillosofikle clapptrapp.  Yue ar maken bunten as displaismint acktivitie.  The wurkroom is a kompleat mess, yue hav lodes of stuf to doo, and yure waisten tym maken bunten.  Admitt itt!
Me: *craftily* You may think that SD.... but it is a well known fact that working in a beautiful environment increases productivity by a factor of 47%.  My bunting is a motivational tool.
SD: *sceptically*  Humph..... yule be tellen me neckst thatt its tacks deeduktible.
Me: *appraisingly*  You might just be onto something there SD.  I'm fairly sure that bunting making materials might be an allowable business expense.
SD: *resignedly*  Ai dispare.... *sie*


Friday, 9 August 2019

August Online Show.....

Later today, at 5pm (UK time)  the August Mini Miniature Show  will open its virtual doors for dollshouse enthusiasts to browse artisan offerings. 

I've been an exhibitor at every artisan-only show since it first began 10 years ago and have 'met' some lovely people from all over the globe, who have attended my online workshop sessions and visited my dealer page time and time again.

This year, for the first time, I'm not offering a workshop. However..... I have designed and created a brand new, limited edition kit, specially for the show.

Sneak peek?  Oh, go on then......

Hmmmmm.... not much of a clue is it?


Tah dah!

A little Alice in Wonderland toy doll trunk.... with a twist!  

This workshop pack is actually two kits in one.  First the little Alice doll herself.  She's made from china-painted porcelain and has jointed arms and legs.  She's dressed in Alice's trademark blue silk dress with white pinafore apron and comes complete with a tiny 'Drink Me' bottle.

She measures a smidgen under 1 3/4" tall and has a removable doll stand to enable you to display her outside the trunk.

The wooden trunk kit contains everything needed to complete the trunk, including the internal and external graphics, plus additional scenery.

Back of the trunk
Trunk interior

The kit also includes a complete cast of 11 Wonderland-themed double-sided characters which are precision cut and cleverly magnetised so that they can stand unsupported in the left side of the trunk.

Removable 3-D scenery showing Cheshire Cat

Cast of characters, from the White Rabbit to the Dodo

In addition, I have included a separate board, which can be used to create additional scenes, or to store characters.

OFF with his head!!!

This workshop pack includes fully illustrated, step by step instruction booklets, and, if required, email support is only a mouse click away.

Kit cost is £45 plus shipping.

The pack is only available via my online show page HERE. (this link will only work from 5 pm on 9th August)
I only have 10 of these packs and they will not be repeated.

In addition to the items on my dealer page, for the duration of the show (August 9th-12th) we are offering a 10% discount on selected categories on the website

If you also wish to include any items from the online show page, I will deduct the postage and amend your PayPal invoice so that you only pay one lot of shipping.

I'll be online off and on throughout the duration of the show to deal with enquiries and orders but please bear in mind any time difference if you're not in the UK! 

If you need any additional information on the Alice doll trunk kit, or the online show, please contact me.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Back to work.....

The recent hiatus in posts was due to us being away on holiday in lovely Croatia, which was absolutely wonderful.  A whole week of sea, sun, sand and snoozing, interspersed with trips to Dubrovnik and the surrounding area.

It was our first all-inclusive holiday, so on our return I approached the bathroom scales with a mixture of fear and trepidation as we'd inevitably over-indulged.  Let's just say that if we ever do another I'll be at pains to lose several pounds beforehand to limit the damage.

However, back at work properly today, having finally cleared my email inbox of 500+ messages, and packaging the orders which came in while we were away.

I'm easing myself back into work mode by making a To Do list for the coming month. I still need to finish off the makeover in the workroom, although at least now it's usable, so there's no dramatic rush.  I should definitely be able to complete it over the next few weeks *fingers firmly crossed*

There is a small mountain of stuff on the dining room table which I need to list on the website for my ongoing downsizing exercise, and I also have a few interesting projects in mind which will hopefully come to fruition over the coming weeks.

One of those interesting projects is this....

This wonderful Mignonette Presentation Box came up in my Pinterest feed in May, and I've been on the hunt for a similar octagonal-shaped box ever since.  At the point of peak chaos in the workroom, just before I started work on my cabinet bureau, I found one on Ebay....

A well-packaged box duly arrived.....

Now admittedly, it's not something to which I'd usually ever give house room, but it IS an octagonal shaped box.

Obviously, despite the fact that complete mayhem was unfolding in the workroom, I just couldn't resist starting Phase 1......

So.... I took out the glass insert from inside the lid, and set about removing the pink velvet jewellery pads in the base.

Thankfully, at that point I came to my senses and put it all in a box pending a less chaotic time to concentrate on transforming it into a wonderful doll presentation box filled with wonderful things.

Well that's the plan anyway.  However in the meantime I must get back to that To Do list.....

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Tah Dah......!!!!!

It's finished!!!!!!

It's taken almost a month of toil, blood, sweat and tears but my lovely new work cabinet is finally complete.

Here's a reminder of how it looked before....

And this is how it looks now.....

I've been busily sorting out my storage boxes to fill it....

But of course I couldn't just leave it like that.... could I?

So I made pretty paper inserts to slip inside the boxes so that it all looked much neater.

Yesterday was the first day I actually sat and worked at it, and it is absolutely perfect.  I'm no longer jammed between an oversized desk and the storage units behind me.  The drop-down  desk is exactly the right height for me to work at, and everything I need is within easy reach. 

Removing the big desk has transformed the room and I can now walk from one side to the other without having to navigate around it.

I still have stuff to put away, and I've decided to prettify a few other areas of the room so I'll leave the final reveal till that's all done, but in the meantime I'm really pleased with the results of my labours.  That said, I am never, under ANY circumstances, upcycling a bureau cabinet..... EVER AGAIN!

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Progress report.....

Today started off really quite well.  I completed the first coat of paint on the cabinet and although it looks a bit patchy I'm reasonably confident that the second coat will pull it all together.

While I was waiting for the paint to dry, and unable to get any actual work done, I decided to make the storage boxes to go in the empty cubby holes in the desk.

I thought I had it nailed, but I'd failed to take into account that I didn't have any sheets of card big enough, so I had to go back to the drawing board and radically rethink the whole thing.

Several failed prototypes later (not to mention some fairly colourful language) I think I've finally designed boxes which will fit, although they'll need some strengthening on the inside.  I'll print out some floral papers tomorrow to decorate the fronts, which will be visible inside the desk.

The chaos seems to have overflowed from the workroom, spreading like a miasma throughout the ground floor and I've had to annexe the dining room table for my sewing and cutting machines.  If all goes well I'll be making some  bunting over the weekend which should help soothe my frazzled nerves.

The new chair, which Small Dog declares she fully intends to appropriate, arrives tomorrow so I will be under pressure to dismantle my big desk unit to make room for it.  It will be a shock to the system not having it to work on, but if I'm brutally honest, it's ALWAYS covered in piles of stuff and I generally only have a few square inches of clear acutal workspace.  The working area of the cabinet is really quite generous but I will have to work tidily and clear up after every session.

We'll see how that goes......

Full steam ahead.....

Over the past few days, the lovely paper and the paint have arrived, so I've cracked on and got the first coat of paint on the cabinet, having first masked off the glass on the doors.

Which. Was. NOT. Fun.

Using this....

To transform this....

To this....

I didn't have enough tape to do the insides, but painting the interior glazing bars will be much easier *she says optimistically*  as they are a different shape/profile.

So managed to complete the first colour coat on most of the cabinet exterior yesterday, before I ran out of time.  Hoping to finish the drawers and the insides of the top section and inside the desk today... then planning to do a complete second coat tomorrow.

That will leave the weekend to do the drawer fronts and the inside of the top section which I know will present problems I haven't even thought of yet.

Finally, the new handles will be fitted and I can get on with filling the entire cabinet with my boxes of fabrics, ribbons and trimmings.

I'm cautiously optimistic that I can get it finished by Monday, which would be good because I really, REALLY need to get back to work proper, as orders are piling up!

Better go and get on then.....

Monday, 10 June 2019

Decisions, decisions.....

Following much perusing, umming and ahhhing, I'm pleased to report more progress on the cabinet.

I'd been dilly-dallying over the colour of paint to use on the exterior but have finally taken the plunge and made a decision....

The paper I'm using to decorate the drawer fronts is a lovely vintage floral design with a pale blue background.  In certain lights it looks cornflower blue... in others a pale aqua blue.
So I ordered two tester pots to see which would look best.

In the end it was a no-brainer.  The aqua paint was just too vibrant, but the pale blue was perfect, so I've gone ahead and ordered a pot.

I'd been intending to use the same paper on the inside of the glazed door, but I think that instead I might go for a patchwork effect, bringing in some different floral papers with background colours as close as possible to some of the colours in the main paper.... perhaps pink, yellow and a paler aqua.  I'll have to play around with some designs to see what works and what doesn't.  However, I've made templates of the glazing bars patterns by taping sheets of paper over them and rubbing with a wax crayon.

Each individual pane on each of the doors now has its own (hopefully) accurate template.  I'm going to make a small scale mock-up of the doors so that I can experiment with different colours.

Once the paint and paper arrives it will be full steam ahead.  Although I'm looking forward to the fun bits, I'm keen to get it finished so that I can tidy up and get on with some proper work, as I have orders piling up.  Thank goodness I have extremely patient,  lovely customers!!!