Thursday, 20 December 2007

Deck the halls.........

tra la la la la, fa la la la............

Countdown to Christmas, and today I forced myself to endure the dreaded Tesco food shop. Wall to wall tinsel, screaming toddlers and high decibel Christmas hits, combined with the traditional scrum at the fresh turkey section.

I positively reeled when I finally managed to elbow my way to the front...... fresh turkeys at up to £53! Has the world gone mad?

Finally plumped for a lovely fresh duck crown at a mere fraction of the price of a turkey, so all is well with the world.

Toyshop? Progress? Ah, well *clearing of throat and shuffling of feet* yes.........

Well I did spend a lovely few hours this week sorting out all my boxes of little toys into categories for the shop and I am absolutely committed to stocking the shelves over the Christmas holidays.

Just a few niggly, naggly electrical problems to sort out first though.

All in good time.............

Friday, 14 December 2007

Basement flat.......pack

Huzzah.....the basement kit has arrived!

I've already had it assembled in 'dry build' form, to see how I'm going to adapt it. Like the shop kit it is very cleverly designed, and everything fits together beautifully. However the front of the basement really needs some windows, as the only ones are two small fanlights, which I'll be obscuring by covering in the basement 'area'.

So, I've been looking on the internet for inspiration from actual shops with basements etc, and have found a few images which have given me some ideas. However I am NOT looking forward to cutting out the window apertures, which from experience, is a really tricky job and not for the fainthearted.

I've got as far as buying some new jigsaw blades which purport to give a fine cut, but until I decide on the windows, and actually buy them, I won't be doing anything much on the basement. I would really like to have arched windows but I just know that they will be difficult to cut without making at least one mistake.

So, for now, I will continue working on the shop, which is now nearing completion, and the basement will have to wait for the time being.......

Except perhaps for planning the electrics, which will have to be on a separate circuit from the shop.
Oh and the flooring, which I could lay while the kit is still flat-pack. However I can't decide on what to have.......I suppose flagstones would be most authentic, but really nice ones are horrendously expensive and the floor space is really quite large, including as it does, the area which runs into the basement front.
And I suppose I could paint the ceilings and walls to make life easier when it's assembled.

Photos to follow......

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Painting and decorating.........

I've managed several hours work on the toy shop over the past two days.

Finally got the grip with the mitres and finished the cornicing in all four rooms. Don't mind if I never see another mitre ever again! However I have to admit, despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the finished ceilings do look good.

Also got round to finishing the areas of wallpaper and paint which were outstanding.... lots of small areas which I'd been putting off as I knew they would take a lot of time and patience.

I've also varnished the wooden floors as they looked a bit dull and flat.


Next task is to hinge the attic roof, which will be tricky as is it impossible to wield a screwdriver in the available space.

I'll take some photos later this week to record the latest developments. Plus the basement kit is arriving sometime after Wednesday so lots of plans to make for that.........

Friday, 7 December 2007

Basement update.........

In the post before the mitre debacle, I mentioned that I had found a basement kit, designed for my shop, and that I was considering whether or not to get one.

My deliberations took all of a day, and after receiving confirmation this morning that the basement kit was indeed available as a separate item, at the remarkably fine price of just £45 including delivery, I have gone ahead and ordered one, which will be here before Christmas.


So, the two attic workshop areas will be relocated in the basement, and I can reclaim the attic rooms as two further display areas.

However, there is just one teensy, weensy problem which I spotted right away, and which I have been mulling over since yesterday.

This will be easier to explain with the aid of a photograph.........

Here is what the basic shop and basement look like. The front of the basement lifts away from the front of the building to give access to the two rooms, which are the same size and layout as those in the shop above.
There are railings, a set of steps leading up to the door, and two little arched windows below pavement level.

From a design point of view, this means that 'people' can't stand looking in through the shop windows. Plus as you may remember, I have adapted the windows in my shop so that they are large bay windows, so it would look a bit odd if they were sticking out way up in mid air on the front of the building!

So, I think I may opt to have a pavement covering the whole of the basement area, on which I can have a street lamp, postbox, a few children looking in at the shop windows etc.

However this means that I will be excluding all light from the basement, and I hate to think of the toymaker and dollmaker having to work in the gloom, even though I will be installing lighting. I might therefore, adapt the front and/or sides of the basement, to incorporate windows.

I'll reserve judgement on any alterations until I actually have the kit and can see how it is to be constructed. In the meantime I intend to push ahead with the shop and see how far I can get by Christmas.

I mitre known........

I cannot be the only miniaturist who understands the mechanics of mitres, but falls short when it comes to the practice.

Being fully aware of my shortcomings in this regard, today I set about the task of installing the cornicing in the ground floor rooms.

I measured the first room.
Double checked the measurements.
Drew a plan showing the direction of the mitres
Double checked plan
Pencilled in the correct angle on the first moulding
Double checked it in situ
Triple checked it against the measurements and the plan.
Had a cup of tea and a biscuit
Checked the mitre again
Gazed out of the window for a while.
Girded my loins to actually cut the mitre
Carefully set up my mitre cutting jig to the correct angle running in the correct direction
Came downstairs to check my emails and play with small dog and her squeaky ball
Finally, all displacement activity exhausted, picked up my little craft saw and cut the mitre.

And it was correct.

Short lap of honour around the room and flushed with success, decided to omit the 40 minutes worth of checks and balances, and swiftly cut the first mitre for the back wall moulding.

And it was correct.

And element of over confidence crept in. Yes I did check the angle of the second mitre and yes it looked fine.

But it wasn't

Somehow, the mitre goblins intervened between my taking the moulding out of the room and placing it in the mitre block, so that when I cut it, it was indeed at the right angle , but on the wrong side of the moulding.

So I have decided to abandon mitreing for the moment, although I did manage to get the cornicing in one room completed.


Thursday, 6 December 2007

Horns of a dilemma.........

Yes, you're right, there has been no progress on the toy shop since my last posting. However, small packages have been arriving on a regular basis, with yet more fixtures and fittings so I don't feel I have been wasting time, as I have been unable to proceed without these essential bits and pieces.

However, whilst idly browsing on the internet today, I came across the website I bought my toy shop kit from.

And lo...... there is now a lovely basement which has been designed specifically for the shop.

Hence the dilemma horns of which I spoke.

Do I throw caution to the winds and get a basement.........or not.

If I do, I would be able to move the toymaker's and dollmakers' workrooms, which were going to be in the two attic rooms, down into the basement, and reclaim the attic rooms for another two shop display areas.

Very tempting.

Although much more work.

Although if I were moving the workshops to the basement, I could concentrate fully on finishing the main body of the shop and starting to put all my lovely little toys in place on the shelves.

And the basement areas would effectively be a completely separate build.

Anyway, I am waiting to hear if they will sell a basement kit separately, and if so the cost.

I simply don't think I can resist........