Friday, 7 October 2016

Conundrum of the day......

OK... here's a mathematical conundrum for you.


x = amount of work to do
y = effort required
z = available time remaining
q = deadline

When will the work be complete?

You can show your working but do not write on both sides of the paper simultaneously.


You can use a slide rule or calculator if you need to.

Ready now?

Well, the answer is, of course, NEVER.

I fall into the group of clearly insane task orientated people who will fill ALL of the available time, right up to the deadline and beyond.

For the past z weeks I've been head down, working steadily towards my CMW workshops which start next Friday (14 October).  The main prep for each of my sessions was mostly completed during the summer, leaving only a few bits and pieces to finish off, as and when.

But then, because I appeared to have time in hand, I decided to embark on some new kits to launch at CMW.  It started out with just one or two, but like Topsy, the task 'just growed'.  

And growed.

And growed some more.

I think I may have gone a little overboard........  

Friday, 30 September 2016

We're hiring......!


Here at the international HQ of Tower House Dolls (Unlimited, Amalgamated, Consolidated) we've been conducting interviews for a new apprentice position in our operations department. 

We're looking for young, enthusiastic, free-thinkers, with energy and flair.

Small Dog declined to apply, citing the fact that she already held a 'manijmint possishun' and was of more use in the 'strategy and planning' department.  

I ventured to observe that if we had a 'snoozing and napping' department she'd be a definite boon, but it fell on deaf ears.

No matter.

We did have an application from an outstanding new talent though, and she agreed to undergo a gruelling series of selection tasks yesterday afternoon.

Thoughtfully responding to probing questions

Practical test involving natural history recognition
Subject areas covered included Geography, History, English literature, Natural History, Languages, Art & Design and Numeracy and we're pleased to report that she passed with flying colours.  

We look forward to welcoming our new staff member very soon! 

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Saviour of the left(y).....

Today's Google Doodle celebrates what would have been the 117th birthday of a man who transformed the life of left-handers everywhere.

Ladislao José Biro invented the eponymous writing instrument which has rightfully earned the undying gratitude of millions of sinister people.
As a lefty, I am used to coping with all the challenges that a predominantly right-handed world throws at me... from doors that open on the 'wrong' side, to mastering the use of scissors.  Things which the majority right-handed take for granted.

However, I know of no lefty who can write consistently well with a fountain pen which isn't expressly intended for our sinister ways.

At primary school, back in the early 1960s, I loathed and detested 'writing lessons' which were carried out with a proper old-fashioned fountain pen.  The teacher would write a series of sentences, or a poem, or piece of prose on the blackboard, which we had to laboriously transcribe into our special 'ink jotters' using joined up writing.  

The pens were italic, and ALL of them were right-handed.  No matter how I tried, or what contorted writing position I adopted, inevitably the points of the nib would cross and a huge inkblot would spread over the page, usually diluted with tears of frustration.

Eventually, my father, who was also left-handed, made representation to the school and in the fullness of time, a left-handed italic pen was provided, which transformed my writing. As an added bonus, I also got to keep it in my desk, so it wouldn't get mixed up with all the other fountain pens, which were collected in at the end of each writing lesson.  I used to lift the lid of my wooden desk just to gaze at it, nestled in its little box.

However, fountain pens, although elegant and covetable, are not entirely practical for common or garden everyday writing, so the invention of the Biro was ground breaking.
We take it completely for granted these days and it has spawned an entire panoply of pens which work on the same rollerball principle.

So, Ladislao José Biro, we salute you!  Your simple invention has definitely made the world a better place.

.... Although I do take issue with this vintage advertisement, which places women in a subservient business role, merely taking shorthand notes!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Keep calm and drink tea......

Today's Google Doodle celebrates the arrival, 358 years ago, of tea to Britain.

Click here

People are generally divided into two camps in terms of their morning tipple.  Are you a tea or a coffee person?

I'm definitely for tea.... first thing in the morning, elevenses, lunchtime, bedtime.... it's my go-to hot beverage.

Back in my student days, when I fancied myself as a bit of a sophisticate, I used to mix my own blend, which was 50% Lapsang Souchong, 50% Earl Grey, and very delicious it was too.

These days I mostly drink bog standard decaffeinated tea, although I do sometimes dally with Lady Grey, or Green Tea.

Sadly, tea seems to have fallen out of favour with Brits in recent years, as people have defected to overpriced High Street coffee chains in their droves.  I'm proud to say that I have never, ever bought a Starbucks, Costa or Cafe Nero skinnychocolattemachiato or any other of the zillion impossibly named coffee combinations.  

No.  I'm a tea girl.

So then there's the thorny problem of 'how do you take it?'  Do you put the tea or the milk in first?  Cup or mug?  Leaf or bag? Milk or lemon?

The expected response is always "as it comes" but that's a risky strategy.  You could end up either with a cup of coloured water, or a black, tarry liquid so strong you could stand a spoon up in it.

I'll hold my hands up as a fairly fussy tea drinker.  I like it medium strength and milky.

And while I'm on the subject, how does 'milky' ever translate to 'a dash'?  Nobody else ever gets it quite right... never quite enough milk.

As a child I used to have my tea with two sugars.  Now, if I ever accidentally end up with a visitor's sugared tea I almost yack.  

It's my favoured drink while I'm writing blog posts too.... as I type there is a large mug of tea just to my right elbow.

So, join with me in raising a mug..... to tea!

PS - I think I blogged a  wee while back about the prescience of the number 58 recently.  
I was born in 1958, turned 58 this year, it's three hundred and FIFTY EIGHT years since tea arrived here.

I'm taking it as a sign......

Thursday, 22 September 2016

It's official.....

The weather has been all to cock lately.  In the past few weeks we've had wall to wall sunshine and the highest September temperatures on record, for a record number of consecutive days.  We've also had biblical rain, apocalyptic thunderstorms, wind and hail.

Forget four seasons in a day.... we've had four seasons in an hour!

However, today is the autumn equinox, when the amount of day and night hours are equal and it's all downhill from here on in.

The nights have been perceivably  drawing in for several weeks... on dull days it's dark by 7.30 pm.  This is the cue to unearth my SAD lamp and set it up on my desk in the workroom.

It's also the time of year when miniaturists dust off their languishing projects, or start afresh on new ones.

Don't even talk to me about languishing projects.  My whole life has been full of them.  The workroom is full of them.  Despite this, I'm seriously considering turning my attention to starting yet another project.  Not to mention making a serious effort to complete several 'projects in progress'.

Just as soon as the CMW event is over....... 21 days and counting!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A brief 'conversation' with Small Dog.....

Scene:  Bedroom this morning.  I emerge from the shower room to discover this.....

Me:  (encouragingly)  C'mon sleepyhead.  Upski pupski.
SD:  (opens one eye then promptly shuts it again)
Me: (arms folded) Get up lazybones.  Up and at 'em.....
SD: (no response)
Me: (hopefully) Squirrel!
SD: Zzzzzzzzzz
Me: *sigh*

Exit stage left, NOT pursued by a Small Dog

The End

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Little boxes.....

You know that thing, when you have SO MUCH TO DO that you just have to shut down and do something completely different to the thing you should be doing.

That's me that is.

After several weeks of working on preparations for the CMW event (just 5 weeks to go... YIKES!) I've rebelled and spent several hours today making an assortment of little shabby chic boxes.

I could justify it by claiming they're for a new kit (which they sort of are) but in reality they're going into La Mignonette.... Mademoiselle Emilie's upstairs workroom to be precise.

While I was carefully cutting, scoring and assembling, I had that song on an endless loop in my head.

You know the one.

Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

I expect you've got it now too.  Sorry.  I believe the technical term is 'earworm'

So, anyway, here they are in situ....

Although the new boxes are currently empty, I will be adding contents - fabrics, trimmings, patterns etc.

I'm thinking that the room is still too pristine and way too tidy.  My own workroom never looks like this so I do need more boxes... perhaps some open on the floor with the contents spilling over.  

And a pile of books.  

And some boxes of paperwork, customer orders, receipts, notebooks etc.

Mlle Emilie has just finished this little doll, which is now ready to go downstairs into the shop.

Spotting the opportunity for some strokings, Smallest Small Dog is demonstrating her belief that an empty lap must be in want of a small dog.

Meanwhile, SSD's great friend and sidekick Archimedes, is taking the opportunity to practice his tap dancing.

Playing working with La Mignonette has reminded me that it was intended to form the centrepiece of a long-running project which I started almost seven years ago.


Even by my standards of procrastination that one helluva long time. *sigh*

Perhaps I should brush it off and re-assess it.  Decide whether, as I'm doing with this blog, I should abandon it completely, or resuscitate and revive it.

Hmmmm....... *ponders*