Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Day 27 - The end is in sight.....

This daily blogging mallarkey has had some unforeseen consequences.

When I started, 27 days ago, I really didn't know if I'd be able to do it.  I'm not known for consistent perseverance and the prospect of compulsion, of having to post, whether I felt like it or not, was not an attractive one.

I'm also not known for being excessively well organised and I worried about where I'd find the time to commit to the task.  I thought, wrongly as it turns out, that I wouldn't be able to get anything else done, and that my creativity and productivity would suffer.

But I needn't have worried.

I haven't fallen behind in anything.  As well as managing to post every day, I've been turning into a real productivity ninja, spending quality time in the workroom, actually creating rather than staring out of the window and looking for stuff.  

I've cleared no end of commission work this month, and fulfilled orders, as well as designing and producing several new miniatures.  

I've made a return to Ebay and I've kept up with my business Facebook page, as well as completing the 5-Day Art Challenge.

And that's on top of all the other domestic stuff including de-Christmassing the house and tackling the porch makeover.

All in all I'm gobsmacked!

However, it does beg the question of what will happen when I'm no longer blogging daily. Will I return to my slothful, procrastinating ways, regressing from ninja to dormouse in one swell foop...?

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Day 26 - With a little help from my friend......

Scene - Sandra's desk in the office.  Her laptop is unattended while she's in the workroom.
Enter Small Dog, at a trot.  Breaking stride she leaps up onto the empty chair, and sits, looking at the computer screen, the germ of an idea forming in her furry little head.

A few minutes later, a tapping noise can be heard, which Sandra eventually decides to investigate.....

SD: (typing)  Helo.  This is Small Dog. Aparentlie mai mumm mukked up hur blogg challinj  yestirdai and sumwun sujestid that ai help hur owt so heer ai... 

Me: (from the doorway) Excuse me!  

SD:(turning slowly) O..... Hai

Me: What ARE you doing?

SD:  Helpen.

Me:  ?

SD:  Yue kno.... with yure bloggurs blok.  Shimmrin pros and stuff.  Ai am rytin it.

Me:  Down.

SD:  O but muurrrmmmm....... this is kawld showen inishyativ.....

Me:  DOWN! Now.

SD: (jumping down sulkily) *muttr, grumbul* wel thats the larst tym aym helpen yue, so DOANT wurri *skowl* emploiyea of the munth * mone, winj* kno gratitewd......

I sit down and stare at the screen......

Stuk with bloggurs blok
Kno problemo sais Small Dog
Ai am heer to hellp....

Noises off :  *muttr, sie* this is orl the thancs ai gett...... bluddie hai kews....doant kno what orl the fus is abowt.  Sum peepul have kno imajinashun *grumbl, snuffel*

Monday, 26 January 2015

Day 25 - Errrmmmm.....

It had to happen eventually.

I've hit the 'blog wall'

Having just spent 20 minutes starting at my laptop screen, getting nowhere, I have to admit defeat.

So here's a haiku.....

It seems a lost hope
Thoughts and words escape me now.
Buggrit, oh buggrit.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Day 24 - Little boxes.....

I have a guilty secret.

I'm a sucker for little things in boxes.  The smaller the better.

All of my little toy dolls come in special boxes, many of my toys come in boxes, I've just started a range of Mignonette dolls in boxes...... I'm a little bit obsessed with boxes.

So for Day 3 of my Art Challenge, I present a selection of little toy dolls in boxes.  Or, to be more precise, tiny wooden trunks.

 Illustrated vintage-style wooden doll trunk

Which opens to reveal.......

Inside, the trunks are decorated in tiny print papers.  The little toy doll is on a removable stand and is dressed in shades of silk to complement the trunk.  She carries a tiny leather handbag.

On the other side of the box is a silk dress on a hanger.  Under the shelf is a matching silk and lace bonnet and a tiny posy of silk roses.

Doll trunk in pink

These little vintage doll trunks are very popular, and often sell out as soon as they're listed on the website, so I'm always happy to make them to order, in specific colours to match or contrast with customers' doll's house decor.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Day 23 - Art Challenge 2

I somehow now seem to be doing one challenge within another.

I'm on Day 23 of the 30 day Blogging Challenge, and Day 2 of the FB Art Challenge. 
Which leaves.....

*mutter, mumble, errm, carry the one, minus the first number......*

.... 7 days for the blog challenge and 3 days for the art challenge.

How potentially confusing is this?  Plus I'm not convinced that combining them in order to kill two birds with one stone is, strictly speaking, permissible, but it's my blog so I'm allowed some cheating artistic licence.


Today,the theme for my three photos for the FB Art Challenge is one of my great passions..... toy theatres.  As a child I had quite a collection of toy theatres, most of which were of the 'colour in, cut out, assemble and ACTION!' variety.  I also had a larger wooden theatre, which was just the right size for plays enacted by my Pelham Puppets.  I had the Witch, a Princess, a Prince and a Dragon with which I played out many tales of unrequited love, endless quests, valour, magic and derring-do.

As a miniature toymaker then, I just had to make some tiny toy theatres.....

Illuminated Victorian Christmas Toy Theatre

My theatres are made of wood, with printed graphics.  Many of them are illuminated with a tiny 12V grain of rice bulb, which can be plugged into any doll's house lighting circuit. Other theatres in this range include Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood.

Illuminated Alice In Wonderland Toy Theatre

My new Alice in Wonderland theatre has a little drawer in the base which holds a whole cast of characters.  The characters are double sided and have magnetic bases so that they easily be moved around the stage but won't fall over.  How amazing is that?

Punch & Judy Toy Theatre

Another favourite is my traditional Punch & Judy toy theatre, which comes complete with two porcelain puppets, the eponymous and pugnacious Mr Punch, and his long-suffering wife Judy.  These theatres are decorated with Union Jack flags and bunting and have vintage Punch & Judy posters on the sides.  This one is shown in situ in my day nursery room setting.  Young Algernon, is rehearsing the play for his sisters, and is reading the script from his Mr Punch book.

I'm currently working on a new theatre which will feature the fairy tale favourite, Cinderella, which should be ready in time for the next Mini Miniature Show in March.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Day 22 - Facebook Art Challenge.....

There's a thing doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment, called the 5-Day Art Challenge.  Artisans are nominated to present three photos of their work for 5 consecutive days, nominating another artisan on each day.

A fellow dollmaker, Mary Williams, nominated me yesterday, so here goes.......

I'm starting off with a whole project, which has been ongoing for a few years now, and is tantalisingly close to being completed.  As a micro dollmaker I decided that I should really have a miniature doll shop, to showcase my work.  

The whole story of the project to date is detailed HERE, but in a nutshell, I kit-bashed a very basic DHE kit and transformed it into a Parisian shop at the end of the 19th century.  

On the ground floor is the doll showroom, being filled with all manner of doll's accessories, clothing, wigs and, of course, dressed dolls.

Upstairs is the workroom of the proprietress, Mademoiselle Emilie, fully equipped with all the tools of her trade.  She is aided and abetted by smallest Small Dog, and her great friend Archimedes, the rat.

So here are the first three of my photos for the challenge.....

 Mlle Emilie in her workroom

A selection of tiny dolls in the showroom

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Day 21 - Surprise find........

My current workroom reorganisation is throwing up all sorts of things I never knew I had.

One such was a box which at first glance contained an assortment of silk ribbons and trimmings in shades of green and jade, which I set about sorting in order to return them to their correct colour-coded boxes.  However, in the bottom of the box I discovered a little partly dressed toy doll.  She had her underwear and socks, as well as her silk shoes, which were in a shade of olive green.  Also in the box was a length of pleated silk ribbon in the same shade as her shoes, so I had obviously intending dressing her at some point in the dim and distant past but hadn't got very far.

Poor neglected wee soul...... I have no idea how long she'd been shivering, all alone in that box.  Quite some time I suspect as I haven't been through any of those boxes since my workroom makeover almost two year ago.   

All of my little dolls start off as a puddle of liquid porcelain slip, and over the course of a few weeks undergo a magical metamorphosis to emerge as dainty miniature dolls ready for costuming, and they each develop their own personality during their creation.

As you can see, they're always up for bit of larking about with their friends, so I felt particularly bad for the little one I found all on her own, without any of her doll compatriots for company.

So, to make amends, today I set about completing her costume and here she is...

I've named her Olive, for obvious reasons.

Her olive-green pleated silk and lace costume is completed by a stylish silk toque hat which I think particularly suits her.

She is now listed on the Tower House Dolls website and you can find full details HERE.

Hmmm....I wonder what other forgotten projects surprises I will come across during my long-overdue re-organisation.