Sunday, 11 March 2018

Play Doh and Runnin'.....

Our little granddaughter (aka Gigglefidget) is a force of nature.  She's nearly two and has life completely sussed.

She was staying with us last week, and in the morning, as we were heading downstairs, we had this conversation....

Me: Are you ready for breakfast?
Gigglefidget: YEAAAHHHHH!
Me: What would you like?
Me: Pancake?
Me: And what do you want to do after breakfast..?
GF: Play Doh and runnin'...... YEAAHHH!

I recently relayed this conversation to my Lovely Daughter, who shared my opinion that life just doesn't get any better than that and it's probably all downhill from then on.

It's only when you're all grown up and looking back that you realise that childhood years are the pinnacle of pleasure.  No worries or responsibilities... endless opportunities for play and unbridled enthusiasm and optimism for life.


The old homily that school days are the best days of your life, never rings true at the time.  All those tests and exams... mounting pressure to succeed year on year.

Then work... a whole new set of pressures. Then family, responsibilities, problems.......

Then, much later, comes a point where none of that seems to matter as much.  We become more comfortable in our own skin, more sure of who we are and what we want from life.  As years pass and our remaining time shortens, priorities change.

With my 60th birthday now just a few weeks away, an inevitable introspection has descended.  Decade birthdays seem to do that thing..... I felt it when I hit 40... and again at 50.  Now, approaching 60, traditionally the age at which women retired, it's impossible not to look back and try to quantify what I've achieved in my six decades. And to look forward, to then next (hopefully) ten or fifteen years.

Of course I can't actually retire now until I'm 66... and I'm unconvinced I'll fully be able to, even then.  But I do want to change the way I work and what I do for my remaining working years.

Basically more 'Play Doh and runnin'......

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Stuff's last stand.....

You know how it is.

You live in a place for 15 years and stuff accumulates.

It's inexorable and inevitable.

It doesn't help that we work from home, but the workroom stuff is a whole different issue,  at which I'm chipping away, day after day.

No, it's the rest of the house where we're having a rout, specifically upstairs... corralling and rounding up all the extraneous stuff for which we have no further use.

It also doesn't help that apart from one small understairs cupboard, we have absolutely no built-in storage.  Apparently modern houses these days aren't built with any thought to storage whatsoever.  

To be fair, there has always been one bedroom which has performed the function of Stuff Repository.  For years it was the smallest bedroom, but that has now been transformed into a gorgeous Peter Rabbit themed bedroom for Gigglefidget.  So all the stuff from that room migrated into the third bedroom, pending the sale of my lovely desk.

The lovely desk went just after Christmas, and since then we've been girding our collective loins to tackle the remaining mountain of stuff in order to clear and redecorate the room and transform it from stuff storage room into a functioning bedroom again.

So once again we've hoiked out all the stuff and deposited it in the guest bedroom, which is always kept 'guest ready'.   The plan is that we will shortly have two 'guest ready' bedrooms but in the interim period, which is set to last for a maximum of three days, THIS is how our guest bedroom looks.


Yes I know.

Shocking.... isn't it?

Granted, most of it is new bed stuff for the third bedroom.... bed frame, headboard, footboard, bed slats, mattress, duvet, pillows etc, plus all the books from the bookcase but there still seems to be a lot of "what the hell will we do with THIS" items, the fate of which will be decided over the next three days.

I'm anticipating that a lot of it will go to our local hospice charity shop.  Other stuff will be offered on Freecycle and the rest will be off to our local recycling facility.

So.... three days to restore upstairs to some semblance of normality. *holds head in hands*

Anyway... today PP and I have finally begun painting the now empty third bedroom.  PP did the small brush fiddly cutting in stuff  at the top and bottom, round sockets etc, and I did the broad strokes rollering.  It's not a very big room so we optimistically thought that we'd get it done in a couple of hours.


It didn't help that we ran out of paint and PP had to go to B&Q for another tub.

It didn't help that the sun came out and blinded us so we couldn't see where we'd been.

It didn't help that although the original colour was a very pale blue it's still going to need three coats of paint.

It didn't help that Small Dog assumed the role of site inspector and kept strolling in to make 'helpful' comments.

Hmmm.... mumm, yue knead moar paynt in thatt trai....

Mumm.... whyl yure upp thatt laddr, ai kan see a bitt yue misst.  Kno knott ther... ovur THER... jusst beeyond yure reetsh.


 It's taken most the of the day and after two coats we threw in the towel.  The final coat will have to be done on Monday.  We're now both hobbling around, moaning and groaning about the pain in our respective backs/shoulders/hips/knees/feet and I'm fairly confident that tomorrow we won't be able to move, but hey ho.  At least it's started. 

This evening I intend to do armchair shopping for curtains, duvet set etc for when we eventually get to do the 'fun stuff'.  It can't come too soon.....

In the meantime though......

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

*Last chance pullalong toy kits...!*

During my current downsizing exercise I've recently come across a small box of animals which I use for my vintage menagerie pullalong toys.  Collected over many years, most of them are now discontinued and no longer available, so I've decided to use them in a selection of 1/12th scale toy kits, to coincide with my workshop offering for the upcoming March Mini Miniature Show which will run from 22-25 March. 

These last ever pullalong toy kits will be available to order only, and colours and styles will vary.

The kits include EVERYTHING needed to make the toys....
  • Realistic menagerie animal
  • Wooden platform with colourful kaleidoscopic decal
  • Metal wheels and undercarriage components
  • Leather for saddle and reins
  • Silk pull cord and turned wooden pull handle
  • Assorted headgear... from conical circus hats with pom poms, or bejewelled, feather headresses, to pretty silk and lace caps
  • Fully illustrated, step-by-step instruction booklet and pattern sheet
Here is a selection of the toys I've made over the years, which give an indication of colours and styles ...

White Siberian Tiger

Supercilious Camel

Ginger Cat

Cheetah Cub
Arabian Dromedary Camel
Cheetah Cub

Cheetah Cub

Special commission piece - Elephant with Howdah and Mahout!

Baby Elephant

Baby Elephant


Cheetah Cub

Fox Terrier



Leopard Cub

Lynx Cub

Indian Tiger


Panda Cub

Special commission piece - Baby Rhino and Eastern Prince
Indian Tiger

Indian Tiger

Spring Lamb

Siberian Tiger

Circus Zebra

Kits are available on a first come, first served basis and will be made to order, so I am able to accommodate colour choices.
I have just a few of some animals, only one of others, so numbers are limited.  All kits priced at £20 each, plus standard shipping (UK £4, Worldwide £5) 
Payment by PayPal (or cheque in the UK)
To order, please contact me for a list of available animals.  Kits will be ready to despatch during the week beginning 19th March.

If you need any further information, please contact me and I'll do my best to help 😊 

Monday, 29 January 2018

Last few toy theatre cart kits now available......!

In the deepest reaches of one of the most inaccessible cupboards in my workroom, in a cardboard box right at the back, I found the last few toy theatre cart kits, which formed the basis of my Little Red Riding Hood workshop kit a few years ago.

Let your imagination run riot with this ingeniously engineered,  easy to assemble, laser cut toy theatre cart kit.

These were designed exclusively for me and are not available elsewhere.

The kit contains all the components to make a wooden 1/12 scale theatre cart on wheels, complete with fully illustrated, step-by-step instructions. 

The cart has two opening doors in the front, and the roof is also removable for easy access to the interior. It runs on four wheels, and has a steerable front axle with pull handle. There are a number of slots inside the top of the cart to allow for layers of  scenery, stage curtains etc, which can be changed to suit individual scenes.

I had it specially designed to contain changeable toy theatre scenery and characters, but it could equally be used as a toy market stall, or to display a variety of different miniatures.

These photos show how the cart might be decorated.  It could be  painted, gilded, wood-stained or covered with miniature wallpaper or vintage illustrations... the only limit is your imagination! 

Painted and vintage theatre illustrations added. Please note that no illustrations or contents are included with the kit.

The doors open to reveal the spacious interior....

You can add changeable scenery and characters

Cart decorated for a circus theme

Interior of circus-themed cart

When finished the cart measures: 
 4" high, 2  1/4" wide, 1  1/2" deep.

Please note that no illustrations, decorations or contents are included with the kit.

This kit is available now on the website.... HERE 

More bits and a new kit.....!

Following on from my last post, the room in our house which is home to the widest ranging collection of bits is the workroom.

I probably shouldn't call them 'bits'.  Strictly speaking, they're components for making a wide range of miniature toys and kits.

But whatever they're called, I have boxes and boxes and boxes of them....!

So, as part of my downsizing exercise, I'm working my way through each and every box, organising, rationalising.... deciding what to keep and what to sell.

It's all taking longer than I had anticipated, as I tend to get sidetracked by stuff I didn't even know I had!

This past week I've been sorting through my Prams & Pullalongs Bits Box, which contains all the bits and pieces needed to create wicker toy prams and carts, and the wheeled platforms for my menagerie pullalong toys.

So, for one last time, I've revisited the instructions for a lovely child's scroll front wicker toy pram kit which I designed several years ago.  After several days of painstakingly drilling tiny holes in the pram base, carefully cutting dozens of wires to length and measuring out metres and metres of waxed thread, I've compiled a limited number of toy pram kits, which are now available to purchase in the Discontinued Kits section of the website.... HERE.

There is also a Special Offer of £5.00 off a pram kit and toy baby doll.... available HERE
The Special Offer pack also includes a FREE instruction booklet on dressing the baby doll.

Finished scroll front toy pram

My tiny 1" toy baby doll fits perfectly!

Completed pram kit, decorated with lace and fancy trimmings (not included)

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Bits Drawer of Doom......

Following a bitty, fragmented week, during which I failed to achieve anything productive workwise, I hit Saturday morning at a run, aiming to blitz downstairs.

It was all going swimmingly, until I tried to put some small things away in our 'bits' drawer.

Now, let's be honest here..... EVERYBODY has a bits drawer.  We have at least five.  They provide a home for all those miscellaneous bits and bobs, which don't have a natural home elsewhere.

The bits drawers in question this morning are in a cupboard in the dining room.  In no particular order I cleared out

  • Eleventy hundred 'mostly used' tealights
  • 10 year old birthday poppers (I had a 'bit of a do' for my 50th... *ahem*)
  • Assorted ancient balloons (see above)
  • A bit of old chain 
  • Assorted screws (every bits drawer on the plant contains assorted screws.  I think it must be the law)
  • An old key on a broken keyring (see above)
  • 3 very old Christmas candy canes which had disintegrated into a sticky mess
  • Assorted mis-matched birthday cake candles, some half burnt.
  • Happy 50th birthday banner (won't be needing THAT again any time soon)
  • Playing cards, trivia game, quiz sheets etc
  • Tubes of bubbles
  • Party streamers
  • Assorted table confetti lying loose in the base of the drawer
  • Glow in the dark sticks.
  • No end of candles, but none of them matching
  • Plastic spoons
  • 2 dried up felt tip pens
  • Rusty tacks
  • Various unidentifiable bits of metal/plastic/wood - absolutely no idea what they're for or where they came from.
I should perhaps point out that the drawers in question are really quite small, but as I could hardly get them open because of all the stuff crammed inside, I couldn't simply force another few things in and hope for the best.  It took the best part of an hour to go through them, turf out the junk, reorganise and pack away the rest, but I successfully liberated approximately 75% of the available space in both of them.

I wonder how long it will be before they start filling up again.

Feeling buoyed by my success I briefly toyed with the idea of tackling the ones in the kitchen, but fortunately my sanity gene kicked in and I wisely decided to leave those for another day.