Friday, 29 November 2019

Christmas Show......!

This weekend marks the year's final major doll's house and miniature fair here in the UK.... the Kensington Dollshouse Festival Christmas Show.  We exhibited at this lovely fair for several years and always had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

So, to coincide with this seasonal show, this weekend there will be dozens of discounts (up to 50%!)  scattered across the website, from Friday till Sunday.  

In addition, newsletter subscribers will also receive a discount code, offering a further 10% discount on any order of £25 or over (excluding P&P).  If you're not already subscribed to our Tower House Doll newsletter, you can sign up HERE

Perfect timing to beat the impending last posting dates if you fancy a spot of 'self-gifting' 😉

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Christmas is coming......

While waiting for the glue to dry on a some projects today, I idled away a few minutes completing an online survey.
For some reason, I can't imagine why (!) I seem to get quite a lot of questionnaires about dogs.  Predictably, Small Dog seems to have a second sense about these, and usually emerges from one of her many naps, to offer her insight.

Scene: In the office with a spare five minutes, I'm sitting at my laptop embarking on a survey.  A few moments in, Small Dog yawns, stretches, then ambles over to see what I'm doing.

SD:*perkily* Ahhh..... a survai abowt dogs.  Ecksillent!
Me:*distractedly* Oh, hello SD.  Didn't notice you there.  Thought you were have a nap.... as usual.
SD:*haughtily* Doant be sarkastick. Yue kno yue olwais knead mai advys abowt survais.  Espeshullie when thair abowt ME.
Me:*resignedly* Hmm.... well, OK.  Come and sit on my lap if you must.
SD:*makes herself comfortable and peers at the screen* Rite.  Whotts furst? O gude.... itts abowt Krissmuss.

SD:*aghast* Onlie phiftean pownds!  Luke... thers an opshun fore £151+ !!!
Me:*undeterred* That's ridiculous SD.  As well you know.

SD:*mollified* Hmm....Ai shude thinck so two.

SD:*aggrievedly* Ai wil nevur fourgiv yue fore thatt.....

SD: *doggedly* Ai dident mined the Krissmuss jumpr too mutsch.... butt the elph and santa hatts wer ridickewluss.
Me:*challengingly* It could have been worse... there's a turkey outfit on that list!

SD:*regally* Wel yess off korse.  Ai doant jusst poot mai naim to evrithing.

Me:*swiftly* Right, before you start, sneakily jumping up onto an empty chair does not constitute you joining us at the table for Christmas dinner.
SD:*defensively* Ai doant kno whott yue meen.....

SD:*triumphantly* YESSSSS!!!!!  The besst bitt off the dai!  Ai liek oapening mai own presints the besst but ai do liek to plai with oll the rappen paypur and tare itt into tienie peeses!
Me:*resignedly*  Yes SD.  You most certainly do.


Sunday, 17 November 2019

Jiminy Cricket....

If you're anything like me, you will have an inner voice forever upbraiding you about your lack of application, your tendency to procrastination and your abject failure to stick to anything remotely resembling a sensible schedule.

Sometimes my personal Jiminy Cricket is A Good Thing... taking me to task for faffing and filibustering and generally giving me a not so gentle push to Just. Get. On. With. It.
Other times I rail against the daily grind and deliberately frustrate my own best intentions.

After a week of saintly diligence, systematically dealing with orders for my Christmas Toy Doll Trunk Kits (just TWO remaining.... HERE!!!),  answering queries, packaging boxes and practically taking up residence in the Post Office, I reached Friday feeling rather pleased with myself.  

Of course, that simply couldn't last.... could it.

Scene: Saturday morning, in the workroom, clearing up after the chaos of the previous days. Almost immediately after I've rendered the room relatively tidy, I decide that I must find my camera tripod and special stand, which I need for this week, and which I haven't laid eyes on for months.... since the last workroom makeover in the summer.

Jiminy:*questioningly* What ARE you doing?  You've only just finished tidying up, and now you're going to turf out all the cupboards!!!
Me:*defensively* Yes.  I can't find my tripod and stand.  They must be in here somewhere.
J:*flippantly* Well you should remember where you put stuff.  You only have 6 cupboards so surely the application of logic should help you in your quest.
Me:*mumbling dark expletives from the depths of a cupboard*  That's all very well for YOU to say. If I knew where they were I wouldn't have to search for them, would I?
J:*sagely* Tidy room, tidy mind. 
Me:*wildly* Oh bugger this!!!  Where are they... they can't just have disappeared......

Sunday morning... in the workroom, peace reigns.
Jiminy: *brightly* Oh you found them then.
Me:*sullenly* Yes.  In the back of that horrible cupboard there.
J:*placatingly* Well done.  I expect you've been setting them up and working out what you're going to do next.
J:*encouragingly* You know.... that deadline you've been banging on about.
Me:*simmering dangerously*
J:*coughing nervously* Yes.... well. I'm sure it will all be fine.  Lots of time yet.
Looks around for something diversionary.
J:*peering into cupboard* Gosh darn it.... that cupboard is SOOOOO tidy!
Me:*self-congratulatory* Ah, well, while I was looking for the camera stuff, I spent some time sorting through the basket of gripseal bags..... *tailing off* it was a real mess. *ploughing on* I've put them all in order of size and have labelled each bag.  I'll be able to find the exact right size I need, in seconds.
J:*appraisingly* So I see.  
Me:*quietly* And I've organised my bubble wrap.
J:*blankly* Bubble wrap.  You've 'organised' it.  
J:*sighing* Well... yes.  That's errm.  Good.  That's good.  Can't abide messy bubble wrap.  Job well done I'm sure.
Me:*tentatively* It was dreadful.  Just all balled up and crammed in.  It's nice and neatly folded now.  Flat.  Stores easily. *shuffling feet*
J:*rolling eyes* Fine.  Good.  So workroom is tidy *tick*  Gripseal bags in order of size and labelled *tick* Bubble wrap organised *tick*  Camera accessories found *big tick*
So.... there's nothing to stop you getting stuck in tomorrow then.... is there?
Me:*meekly* No.  Nothing at all.  I'll get right on it.  First thing.

Jiminy disappears in a puff of sceptical smoke.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Christmas Special Workshop Pack

I've been working on a bumper special Christmas workshop pack, for which I've pulled out all the stops!

It is available to purchase from this Friday 8th November, in a very limited quantity.

So what is it....?

A wooden trunk...  decorated inside and out
with vintage illustrations

It opens to reveal......

.... a winter toy doll, plus lots of accessories

A total of 10 different elements

Choose between Holly or Noelle.... two winter themed toy dolls

Bejewelled marotte toy
Vintage litho-style Christmas tree, tiny wee bears, set of 3 festive nursery blocks
rocking horse toy, fully illustrated book.

Set of three vintage litho-style rocking toys

Set of boxed paper animals with removable costumes

Set of boxed paper cat doll and costumes
Set of 8 assorted vintage dressing up masks

Choose whether you want Holly.... dressed in red silk with white 'fur' trim and holly-sprigged hat..... or Noelle, dressed in white silk with 'fur' trim, 'snowball' buttons and holly-sprigged hat.

All the kits shown are included, as well as illustrated step-by-step instructions for each element of the workshop pack.

The cost of the complete workshop pack is £50 (plus shipping) and the two toy dolls are available separately as individual kits or as a pair at a discount.

The listing is now live..... HERE!

As always, if you need any further information, please use the contact form to get in touch.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Coming soon.....

I've been working flat out for the past week,  putting together all the elements for a bumper Christmas-themed home workshop pack.  It's scheduled to go live on the website on Friday, and will coincide with a Tower House Dolls newsletter giving the heads up.

I'm really pleased with it... full details will be in a blog post on Friday so keep checking back.

Or better still, sign up for our newsletter HERE

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Interesting times......

Another blogging hiatus... due to events outside my control.

Aren't they all? *sigh* no particular order.

  • STILL working on the office makeover due to other stuff happening
  • Dental abscess. Ow, Ow and OWWWW!
  • Website woes
The office makeover is ongoing..... the main thing is that it has been re-established as a working space and it's only the whimsical stuff still to do, which can wait.
Following an emergency dental appointment and a course of antibiotics the dental pain has resolved... but it did take a few days out of my already busy schedule.

However the website problem has had us tearing our hair out.  Out of the blue earlier this week I noticed that there were some odd characters in the text across the site which hadn't been there the day before.  Apparently, our hosting service had updated the PHP on their servers, which caused the issue, and although it doesn't affect the functionality of the site, and everything still works, it looks unsightly and odd.

Trying to edit out the characters only made matters worse, because as soon as I tried to edit a listing, the entire text would disappear... permanently.  Cutting and pasting wouldn't work either.  We've spent the past 3 days trying to work out what to do, and the answer seems to be, not much.

Ideally we need to do a full rebuild of the website then install eleventy billion updates, each of which would almost certainly throw up glitches which have to be individually tracked down and fixed.   

An extremely time consuming and frustrating process.

However, our hosting package only runs through till next April, and I wasn't planning to renew it as I'm aiming to start a new venture in the spring.

I've finally managed to work out how to add new listings without them disappearing into the ether, so over this coming weekend I'll be listing the last of the special miniatures from my own collection, as well as my final Christmas-themed kit, to which I'm still putting the finishing touches.

Although the website issue is a real pain in the fundament, I'm taking it as a sign that it's run its course, and my decision to retire it next April is the right one.  It also gives extra impetus to my plans, as there's nothing like a proper, irrevocable, immovable deadline to galvanise me into action.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Comedy of errors.....

Today started out well enough.  

We had to take Small Dog to the groomers, as, although she definitely rocks the Fu Manchu look, she was beginning to look more like an ancient dreadlocked hermit.

On our return, with SD neatly trimmed and smelling like a summer flower, we set about trying to fit the new carpet in the office.

It was never going to go smoothly.

First, we cleared a space in the sitting room in a manner not dissimilar to those games with a grid of little tiles that you move around inside a frame, trying to complete a picture.
Then we dragged the roll of carpet through and tried to lay it out flat.


While we were working out our next move, we tried to lift the old carpet, which had welded itself to the floor, especially where both our office chairs had been rolling over it for the past however many years.  We finally had to resort to chipping it up with a knife. leaving piles of black/grey dust, where the gel backing had degraded and disintegrated.  

While we were both rolling up the old carpet on the floor, Small Dog got the devil in her (possibly as retribution for her grooming session this morning) and despite our cries of "NO... DON'T COME IN HERE"!!!! she blithely hopped over the carpet, dodged round both of us trying to catch her, then ran around in all the dust, before hot-pawing it out, straight into the sitting room where she jumped up on the sofa, complete with black-dusted paws.

As we could only cope with one crisis at a time, and were already on our knees and keen to avoid the 10 minutes of moaning and groaning that accompany standing up, we carried on rolling up the carpet, both of us starting to look like chimney sweeps, then taped it into a massive black refuse bag, acknowledging that it was too far gone to use as a template, even if we had the room to spread it out in the sitting room.  

Which we didn't.

So, after we'd vacuumed ourselves, the floors and the sofa, we decided there was nothing else to do but try to cut the carpet to size, in situ.

Obviously, we don't have proper carpet fitters tools, so we raided the tool cupboard and made do with a wallpaper scraper, a bit of wood and a hammer, as well as various other household utensils.

Three hours later, having broken a screwdriver, ruined a perfectly good pair of scissors and rendered the air bright blue, we finally finished, and I have to admit, it's not a bad job, despite all the drama.

It's only 4pm but we've thrown in the towel and poured two LARGE G+Ts, which aren't even touching the sides.  

Tomorrow....*sigh*....... relocating the desks and computers etc, and I'll be giving the bookshelves a (hopefully) final coat of paint.  It feels as through the house will never be tidy again, but I'm on the home straight and determined that by end of the weekend the ground floor will once again be habitable.

I know I've said this many times before.... but..... what could possibly go wrong?