Sunday, 31 May 2009


It's nearly 9pm so I'm off to watch Benidorm.

I sort of fell into it by accident, and at first thought is was complete rubbish, but I've subsequently warmed to it....

Here's the review for tonight's Special....

"Benidorm is ITV's biggest sitcom in years. The second series was watched by six million people last year, when the show received a Bafta nomination. Announcing a third, the channel's director of television praised its "fantastic mix of warmth, charm, and fun", which suggests to me he hasn't watched it much. Warm and charming it is not. If he had instead praised its fantastic mix of bile, ugliness and mishap among a gallery of sweaty, hopeless British holidaymakers who engage in screeching poolside rows about thongs, we'd have believed him. The good news is, this special extended one-off pushes the usual boundaries a bit. We pick up where series two ended, with the aftermath of the beach wedding where Madge was to marry her rich fiance Mel, until a paragliding Johnny Vegas dropped from the sky and knocked him flat. From there, a farcical hostage plot evolves with very funny nods to No Country for Old Men and, believe it or not, Die Hard. "

This is the sort of TV which we Brits do so well.

Watch it it you can...............



The hottest day of the year so far.

This was the view from my chair earlier, as temperatures soared to those not dissimilar to that which might be experienced on the surface of the sun.......


In deference to the dehydrating heat, PP concocted a potent punch, the contents of which she declined to divulge, even after being submitted to Small Dog torture, ie, having SD sitting on your chest, tail wagging furiously, licking your face, neck and ears.

Most people would crack immediately, but PP is made of sterner stuff, and after a few mouthfuls of high factor sun cream, Small Dog beat a hasty retreat.

And so we enjoyed a cooling breeze........cooling punch, and the 3rd BBQ of the weekend still to look forward to.


Throughout the blistering heat of the afternoon, we listened to Golden Oldies on the radio, and I was transported back to the summer of '76, lying on a parched lawn, revising for my Scottish Highers (equivalent of A levels) listening to a crackly radio playing Layla (Derek and the Dominoes) Deep Purple et al........yes I was a bit of rock chick in those days.

Here is Small Dog on Guinea Pig watch.

She is an ardent rodentologist, but not in a good way.

Yorkshire terriers were originally used in the 19th century to catch rats in the clothing mills and they were subsequently bred for many years as ratters.

Therefore the ratting instinct is strong with them.

I wouldn't trust small dog with a guinea pig as far as could throw her.

Which is quite far.

Especially if I employ a cannon.

I love Small Dog.

But I also love Guinea Pigs. And therein lies the dichotomy.

Her rodentology credentials have recently been called into question as we appear to have mises.



This is not surprising given our close proximity to ancient woodland at the top of our garden, wherein all manner of native wildlife grow and thrive.

However, when I suggested to Small Dog that she might care to go on 'Mouse Watch.......

I cannot repeat the response as I am sure that Blogger would object to the use of so many expletives.

Suffice to say, mousing is beneath her.

Apparently (and I paraphrase here) she is descended from the lineage of champions, and whereas a rat the size of Splinter (from Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles) would be worthy of her engagement, a puny mouse, who in any case she has befriended, and calls Mickey, is not worth the chase, let alone the catching.

To prove her point, last night we BBQ'd a few cocktail sausages and after eating her fill, she trotted off with one, which she 'buried' down the side of the sofa.

When we subsequently retrieved Small Dog, and interrogated her, she confessed that she had indeed left the sausage for her chum. This cut no ice with us and both she and sausage were summarily evicted.

Such is life.

So here is Small Dog's mood in a picture........

Bowed but unbroken...........

My mood in a picture..................

Artisan of the month........

I'm probably well overdue on my supposedly weekly artisan blog submissions, but this caught my eye during a recent mooch around the blogosphere.

As a student of all aspects of historical costume, shoes are one of my favourite articles of clothing.

Also if William de Wyke does ever manage to enlist the help of a band of friendly elves, I'm first in the queue for any spare elves and will even pay their airfare from New Zealand.

And if they could bring a pair of these in red leather with them I'd be very happy.........!

EDIT: Don't know what I was thinking with a weekly artisan spot.........if I move it to monthly I'll have more chance of keeping it up. And this one just sneakily snuck in to May. Woohoo!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Butterfly brain.............

D'you ever have one of those days when you constantly flit from one task to another, faffing around and achieving absolutely nothing?

Well I'm having one of those days today.

Started off this morning. I decided to continue work on a new tiny doll costume which had been going very badly yesterday. I had already drafted a fitted jacket pattern, and after three tries it STILL wasn't fitting quite right. This morning, I thought I knew how to make it work but I'd only been fiddling with it for 10 minutes when it suddenly occurred to me that I was overdue replying to some urgent enquiries.

So through to the 'office' to print off the letters, collate two catalogues, address and stamp envelopes.

However part way through this 15 minute task, one of the ink cartridges ran out so I decided that it was suddenly more important to sort out what I needed in order to start work on an order.

20 minutes later, I discovered I was missing a vital component and downed tools to see if I could track it down on the internet.

It's been like that all day........ flitting from one half-finished task to another, accomplishing nothing and feeling increasingly uninspired and ineffective.


Some days I can zoom through a long list of tasks swiftly and efficiently. Other days it's as much as I can do to boot up the laptop and stare zombie-like at my burgeoning 'to do' list.

Oh well *sigh*, never mind.

To quote the prescient words of Scarlett O'Hara........ 'After all....tomorrow is another day........."

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Damp camping.........

Returned home yesterday following a three day Bank Holiday weekend camping trip. Saturday and Sunday were scorchio, but Monday was a very damp squib, punctuated by startling thunderstorms and torrential downpours.

Before we left home on Saturday, under duress, Small Dog submitted to having her fringe and whiskers trimmed, inflicting only minor flesh wounds in the process. She thereafter politely, but firmly, declined to have a bath, on the basis that she didn't want to smell like a summer flower, preferring to retain her doggy musk. Upon being informed that 'musk' was not an option, she took a mighty huff, from which only the offer of some morsels of cooked chicken could dissuade her. However the promise of three day's camping improved her mood no end, and suspended her huff for the good of the group.

Noteworthy snippets include one of the uglier items from our first night BBQ menu.....

It's called a Tilapia and was on special offer at Tesco. The reason for this is that it was chock full of long, sharp bones and tasted like mud.


One look at its bony, scaly face was enough to put me off even the thought of it, so I took the safe option and had Tesco Finest Beef Burger instead, much to Small Dog's delight. She took one sniff at PP's exotic fish and retreated to the comfort of her blanket, while keeping an interested eye on the burgers.

Also noteworthy were these............guinea pigs roaming wild and free.

Monday's intermittent deluges did not deter us from al fresco cooking, and Small Dog kept a weather eye for passing ducks who were in their element. Unlike Small Dog, who doesn't like getting her paws wet, so every time I vacated my chair she nipped up onto it and promptly fell asleep, grumbling when I returned to reclaim it.

Eventually she went and lay up on the storage box in the corner of the day tent looking most disgruntled.

You can tell by the position of her ears that she is not impressed at being evicted from my chair, and she is now lobbying hard for a small folding camping chair of her own, so that she doesn't run the risk of getting damp, or having creepy-crawlies running over her, or generally just behaving like a normal dog by lying on the ground.

Over the course of the last few days she has further refined her chair requirements as follows.

  • Must be well padded and at just the right height for a 'small dog' leap
  • Preferably heated, with adjustable thermostat
  • Cup holder for water bowl
  • Personalised
  • Eye catching colour
  • Second cup holder for 'penny pot'. Apparently she's hit on a sure fire method of boosting her ice cream money..... she's going to charge 5p for people to stroke her.
  • Removable sun canopy/umbrella
  • Tray for snacks
I can't believe I've actually been Googling some of those requirements during a displacement activity break this morning.

I wonder if she'd settle for one of these...........

Friday, 22 May 2009

KDF update..........

I've just found out about this article on KDF in yesterday's Times Online.

Not sure about the comment in the editorial about there being no washing up in collector's doll's houses. The scullery in my Scottish Baronial Mansion had a sink (with working water pump!) full of dirty dishes, and piles more of them waiting on the draining board.

For me, yes, it's all about perfection, and yes, I do agree with the element of control, but I like my perfection to have an edge of realism, hence the dirty dishes, cobwebs in the corners, scuffed furniture, well worn upholstery etc, which I struggled to achieve in miniature.

Nevertheless, an interesting little article and video........Terry Neville's little books are indeed a marvel, and I have several in my Toy Shop, including a Rupert annual.

Sadly, I have never owned a Hodgson piece.........although I have admired his work forever. Had to suppress a smile at his comment about collectors being like 'children with money'. Oh to have enough disposable income to be able to spend £500 on a Dutch tea caddy, secret drawer or not!

As I was sitting up in the viewing gallery last Friday, eating my packed lunch, a lady behind me was talking to her friend on her mobile phone. Here's a snatch of the overheard conversation....

"Yes, well, I'm having a rest, but I did manage to pick up the table I wanted for the dining room. But listen, the chairs are £130.


Long pause as she listened to her friend's reactions

"Oh yes I agree. I'll kick myself later if I don't get them, but I've already spent (drops voice to whisper so I missed the presumably outrageous sum).......!"

Pause for friend's reaction.

"Well if you think I should then I'll go back to the stand right now and get them. See you later."

In all probability the 'friend' was also somewhere in the hall, also spending lots and lots of money but taking time out to offer moral support for her wavering friend.

After all, isn't that what friends are for...........?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Fly my pretties...........

The whole world is going to hell in a handcart and this little gem caught my eye among the news feeds this morning....

The Accidental Millionaires

I rest my case.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Bow(wow)ing to public pressure..........

Apparently *raises eyes heavenwards* there hasn't been enough coverage of small dog in recent posts.

I apologise wholeheartedly for this heinous omission and in order to curry favour with her multitude of fans, here she is in the garden earlier this evening, relaxing and kicking back after a game of ball.


Yes I agree.

She is looking rather scruffy, and her fringe has something of an 'over one eye' Hitleresque quality about it which is neither flattering nor politically correct. So she has a trim to look forward to in the near future, which she will hate.

It's either that or we will be forced to tie her fringe up with a bow, which she will also hate as she would immediately have to withdraw from 'pawlite' society lest she be the subject of mocking derision.


Happy days..........

Having just completed a major restock of porcelain doll kits, of which the entire process from first pour to final stringing takes 4 weeks, it was a refreshing change to get some lovely commissions over the past few days.

I just put the finishing touches to these little cuties this morning, and they will be winging their way to their new home in France tomorrow.

I just love working on commissions like this so if you have a yearning for a bespoke tiny toy doll for your doll's house nursery, playroom or toy shop, why not contact me for more information?

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


Survived Friday's trip up to London but was been pretty much brain dead over the weekend hence the delay in posting my report.

Being in the great metropolis always makes me feel small. Like a single ant in an enormous ant colony. However on Friday I was a singularly focused ant, homing in on Kensington Town Hall like an ant riding on the back of a homing pigeon.

Arrived 15 minutes early and was approximately 60th in the queue. By midday I could no longer see the end of the queue which snaked round the corner of Hornton Road and ended up who knows where.......possibly Battersea Bridge.

Once inside, I had my route all mapped out and headed straight for Truly Scrumptious, where I snapped up one of her wonderful vintage magic lanterns, complete with packet of brass framed transparent slides! Jane Woodham makes some wonderfully eclectic, unusual miniatures and I could easily have spent my entire budget at her stand!

Next stop was David Edwards from Edinburgh..... I bought some of these from him over 20 years ago at the very first KDF I ever attended as a visitor, but sold them amongst the contents of my Scottish Baronial Mansion a few years back. The photo doesn't really do them justice....these tiny wooden reels are hand turned then wound with silk filaments, which are perfectly to scale. These are destined for the dollmaker's room in my toy shop basement.

Up in the first floor hall I found this gorgeous little hand-painted 1/24th scale tea set in Georgian green, which will be perfect for a toy doll's tea party. Victoria Fasken has been on the fair circuit for as long as I can remember and I had many of her pieces in my Baronial Mansion. Her attention to detail is remarkable. Again the photography doesn't do her work justice....despite the tiny size of this set, the hand-painted flowers are clearly detailed. Lovely work.

Also in the first floor hall was Hearth & Home, whose fireplaces and Agas I had admired at the Thame Fair in February. As one of my other purchases was a room box kit from Willow Models for my children's day nursery, I purchased a lovely little nursery fireplace, with a lovely tiled surround. It also has the facility to add a flickering fire bulb which will 'animate' the coals.

Other than those, the rest of my purchases were for 'business purposes'.......mouthwatering silk ribbons, braids and trims from The Dolls House Draper, with whom I've been trading for all of my quarter of a century in miniatures. It's good to see them still going strong, and now with a shiny new website which will make ordering a breeze.

Of course, aside from the shopping aspect, the main attraction of such a prestigious fair is to marvel at the quality of the work on show.

One stand really caught my eye, as I'm a bit of a miniature tool junkie..... David Brookshaw makes the most amazingly lifelike, antique woodworking tools in 1/12th scale. His work is just exquisite.........

It's good to know that such high standards are still alive and kicking in the world of miniatures, and I'm already looking forward to the Kensington Christmas Festival in November, where we will again be exhibiting at the one day fair.

Can't wait...........!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Normal service............

......will be resumed as soon as possible.

Show report and photos will be posted tomorrow, after I've fully recovered from the after-effects of Friday.

Suffice to say it was a fantastic fair with the usual sky-high standards of artisanship.

Full report to follow.....

Thursday, 14 May 2009


Have been running around like a headless chicken for the past two hours but am finally almost, nearly ready.

The only remaining task is to copy my shopping list into my my new little birthday notebook and everything is done and dusted.

I hope.

I just know I won't sleep well tonight...remember when you were little, the night before any 'BIG THING', like Christmas, summer holidays, birthdays etc, struggling to get to sleep, tossing and turning, eyes screwed tight shut, willing the night to pass?

Well that'll be me, that will.

Sad isn't it........?


Preparations are still afoot for tomorrow.

Honestly, I bet the Normandy landings didn't take as much logistical planning as my solo trip to London.

I've been to Tesco and bought my lunch, as well as a new mobile phone. Who would have thought you could buy a mobile phone for £7.97, taking into account the free £10 top up!!!!!!!!!
OK so it's basic. I can make and receive phone calls and texts and that's about it.

No camera
No video
No interweb
No interminable selection of irritating ring tones
No emails
No 37 different menus with 168 sub-menus


It does have a built-in flashlight.

How fantastically wonderful is THAT?!

So unlike my last phone, which required a PhD in communications technology just to switch the damn thing on, let alone actually use it, this new little basic number is refreshingly simple to use and does what it says on the tin.

I'm going to play with it on the train journey to familiarise myself with all the buttons, of which there are few.


That's it.


For all of five minutes I debated buying a magazine from the extensive range in Tesco, in case I got fed up playing with my new phone (as if!) and needed entertainment on the journey, but the magazine racks seemed to stretch to infinity and beyond and I lost the will to live.

  • Stack after stack of magazines devoted to the vacuous lives and mind-numbingly boring antics of assorted 'slebs'
  • A humongous amount of 'women's interest' magazines majoring on how to lose 5 stone in 2 weeks, or knit a computer monitor cover, or cook a 5 course meal for 4 people with £1.87.........
  • Real life story magazines with features on how this woman's brother ate her dog, or married her parrot, or was in a coma for 24 years following his abduction by aliens...

Then there's the specialist publications which cater for every form of leisure pursuit/obsession, from the relatively normal and benign to the frankly bizarre and slightly worrying.

I was particularly fascinated by the enormous number of publications devoted to fishing and my attention was inexorably drawn to the intriguingly titled 'Total Carp'.

Misprint or decide. And just in case you think I'm making it up...

Right, I'm off to select an outfit for tomorrow. Must be comfortable but effortlessly stylish. Small dog has started sniggering already.........


Only one more sleep till Kensington!

This will be the first time in over 20 years I've gone to a miniatures fair as a visitor rather than an exhibitor and it will be a rare treat. To say I am excited is an understatement, as those in the know will be aware that KDF is one of the most prestigious shows in the calender, featuring the very best miniature artisans from around the world. Not only that, this year will mark its 25th anniversary so there are sure to be some stunning commemorative one-off pieces on display.

Today will be given over to last minute preparations, of which there are many! I have to make sure that I have my mini-pharmacy with medication for every eventuality, not to mention my extensive list of 'must see' exhibitors, shopping list, packed lunch, something to read on the 3 hour return train trip, fully charged mobile phone (note to self - recharge it this afternoon), underground map, notebook and pen, business cards, and most importantly of all, TICKET, which is currently pinned to the notice board in the study.

Off now to check train times and organise delicious packed lunch........

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Allowable expenses.......

I really need to crack on with my tax return. I've finished the annual accounts but I'm engaged in a bit of head-scratching on what I can reasonably claim as allowable business expenses.

For example, the moat is in desperate need of a thorough cleanout, not to mention the chandelier which requires specialist cleaning.

Small dog's swimming pool requires urgent maintenance as wisteria is tumbling into it from the castellated chimneys. Not only that, we have moles, or possibly renegade badgers, who are digging up the croquet lawn.........

Initially, as the list of our MP's expenses were leaked, I maintained a world weary stance......the most I could muster was a disinterested 'meh'.
However as the revelations have become more and more bizarre and outrageous I have become incandescent with rage and disbelief.

These people earn very respectable salaries by UK standards. OK, so many of them do have to have London crash pads if their constituencies are more than a few hours commute and are entitled to reasonable allowances for same, but it's a travesty that tax payers are having to foot the bill for swimming pool cleaning, moat draining and the like.

I mean, for goodness sake...........MOAT cleaning!!!!!!!!!

I don't know how many MP's actually need a base in London, but it beggars belief that a more equable system, which wasn't open to widespread abuse, couldn't be devised and implemented.

For those of us mere mortals struggling to make ends meet, battered by near zero interest on savings and unsure of where and when the next financial crisis is going to impact on our lives, this 'I'm all right Jack' attitude shown my our elected representatives is akin to a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Surely someday soon, the proletariat are going to emerge, zombie-like from the morass, and the ''ruling classes will feel our damp, dank fingers fasten firmly on their windpipes.........

Or we could just vote them all out of existence and become anarchists.

You're fired.........

After several marathon soft cleaning sessions over the past few days, the kiln was finally packed to capacity yesterday afternoon and I've set it to fire to bisque this morning.

As it is quite a grey and dreary day here, I am looking forward to the heat gradually filtering through from the dining room, where my kiln currently lives. It's showing 789 degrees Celsius at the moment, and will have to climb to 1200 degrees, which will take probably another 5 hours.

When it's at the top temperature, the inside of the kiln glows white hot. My last kiln had a little viewing port, and when a bung was removed it was possible to look inside (from a reasonable distance otherwise your eyes might melt) and see the shimmering white heat, with ghostly heads and bodies glowing incandescent.

After it switches off, sometime this evening, I won't be able to open it for at least another 12 hours, and even then, only to prop the lid open, as the shelves will still be too hot to handle.

This firing is a bit nerve-wracking, because as well as the usual flesh-coloured pieces, I also have some brown flesh pieces, which are destined to become exotic Eastern princes. Brown porcelain is a lot more fussy about firing temperatures than white or flesh-coloured porcelain, but it still need to be fired to 1200, otherwise the slight underfire will leave little white spots on the 'skin' surface. I'm taking a risk by firing it along with the other stuff, but since there are only 10 sets of bodies and limbs in brown I couldn't justify a whole bisque firing for such a small number of pieces.

As a result of this cost-saving exercise I'll be on tenterhooks till tomorrow lunchtime when I'll finally be able to take out the top shelf and see how they've fared.
In other news, I'm at a bit of a loose end till tomorrow, when I'll be able to make a start on the first china paint session on the newly fired faces.

I need to decide on my 'plan of attack' for Friday's foray to the Kensington Dollshouse Festival. There are a few exhibitors who warrant an early visit as their best pieces sell out so quickly so they'll be first on my route. I'm shopping for a specific project, a Victorian day nursery, but I can't visit KDF and not buy a little something for my toy shop basement, which is still, sadly, in kit form.

However primarily I'm looking for some bits and pieces for the day nursery.....wallpaper, perhaps some 'period' features, in the form of a fireplace with flickering fire, ceiling rose, lighting etc. The nursery will serve duty as the setting for my book, so I don't want it to be too cluttered. I have a specific look in mind, developed over months of research on the interior decor of the more enlightened parents of the period. Of course, this 'look' will likely veer off at unexpected tangents once I actually get started, but that is part of the pleasure of miniaturing.

Anyway, back to my perusal of the list of exhibitors......I already have 24 'must visits' on my growing list, so I'll have to ration my time carefully to ensure I see everything I want to. This doesn't allow for running into past students/customers, chatting to exhibitors I know, and getting constantly distracted by the amazing range of craftsmanship on display at every turn.

How on earth will I get to see EVERYTHING in 6 hours.........?

Sunday, 10 May 2009


Despite having nothing planned for the weekend, it has in fact turned out to be really rather good, in a serendipitous way.

On Saturday, PP's daughter paid us a visit and mowed our lawn. A task which we repaid by cooking a BBQ lunch in the garden, followed by great craic.

Today we discovered a secret woodland....... I've lived in Hastings/St.Leonards for 5 1/2 years now, and am still surprised and delighted by unexpected vistas, streets of lovely houses, little hidden gems of gorgeous parks and gardens, and enclaves of ancient woodland.

Once such is Summerfield Woods, which contains, amongst other things, a mock Roman Bath, a beautifully restored Ice House and a Victorian walled garden.

There are several entrances into the woods, including one which looks straight out of Grimm's Fairy Tales. It gives the impression of being the huge, black maw of a forest demon, leading down into the bowels of the woods, as if beckoning us into the forest of death and blood.

Needless to say, we decided NOT to take that path, but chose another, altogether more benign and user-friendly one. Sadly the bluebells are now slightly past their best, but the woods are a revelation, with gurgling streams, massive ferns, truly gigantic trees, ponds, modern sculptures and the whole wood is designated a special conservation area on the basis that it contains 10 species of ladybird, some of which are extremely rare.


All this right in the heart of town and a stone's throw from the seafront. Amazing.....

On our return home, with the late afternoon sun still warm and only the hint of a breeze, we decided to throw caution to the winds and have our second BBQ of the weekend, followed by an impromptu bonfire in our chimenea, which has seen better days but still allowed us to enjoy a raging inferno as day turned to dusk.

So all in all, not a bad old weekend considering.........

GP cam...........

As I no longer have any guinea pigs of my own, I have to get my cavy thrills vicariously.

Here's a sneaky zoom lens shot of next door's guinea pigs earlier.

Sadly, guinea pigs are highly underrated in all echelons of society. Contrary to public belief, they are extremely subversive, and live a very secretive life.

If I ever were to embark upon a PhD, it would have to be on the subject of 'Guinea Pigs in Literature'.

Just for openers, there is a seminal text within Alice In Wonderland, where at the trial scene.....

"The miserable Hatter dropped his teacup and bread-and-butter, and went down on one knee. “I’m a poor man, your Majesty,” he began.
“You’re a very poor speaker,” said the King.
Here one of the guinea-pigs cheered, and was immediately suppressed by the officers of the court. (As that is rather a hard word, I will just explain to you how it was done. They had a large canvas bag, which tied up at the mouth with strings; into this they slipped the guinea-pig, head first, and then sat upon it.)
“I’m glad I’ve seen that done,” thought Alice “I’ve so often read in the newspapers, at the end of trials, ’There was some attempt at applause, which was immediately suppressed by the officers of the court,’ and I never understood what it meant till now.”
“If that’s all you know about it, you may stand down,” continued the King.
“I can’t go no lower,” said the Hatter; “I’m on the floor, as it is.”
“Then you may sit down,” the King replied.
Here the other guinea-pig cheered, and was suppressed.
“Come, that finishes the guinea-pigs!” thought Alice. “Now we shall go on better.”
Now, don't get me wrong. Alice In Wonderland is one of the best works of children's fiction EVER.


Suppressing guinea pigs in this cavalier fashion is blatantly unacceptable. They have a finely tuned sense of irony which Lewis Carroll obviously did not fully appreciate.

Hence the suppression.

Coming bang up to date, avid readers will be aware that I am on tenterhooks, awaiting the release of this summer's 'to die for' blockbuster.

Move over Star Trek, the new Harry Potter, the new Transformers, Captain America, Terminator Salvation and Superman Returns..... the film we've all been waiting for ALL OUR LIVES is, of course, G-Force.

For which the OFFICIAL trailer has now been released!!!!!!

Now for some reason best known to themselves, You Tube(bless their cotton socks) probably under threat of a massive lawsuit from Disney, (well this IS the film of the millennium) are refusing to let bloggers embed this trailer in their blog. So you'll have to slum it and click the link above to view the wondrousness that is the G-Force trailer.

And the film is in 3-D!!!!!!

How cool is that?!

The world is our lobster..........

Have spent a lazy Sunday morning browsing the interweb looking at alternative lifestyles.

Having made a start on the whole downsizing/de-cluttering/minimising side of things, it's time to start some serious thinking about options, ranging from the sublime to the frankly ridiculous.

There's something very appealing about a quirky little cottage with roses round the door, but equally, my questing spirit is drawn to more strange and unusual lifestyle choices.

Like this for instance.............

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Phase 1.........

Began Phase 1 of our 1 Year Plan today.......or rather PP did, by wading into our 'downsizing clearout' and tackling one of our garden sheds.

It is now noticeably emptier, and after all the recyclable stuff has been sorted and binned we are left three piles of 'stuff'.

Pile one - burnable rubbish which will go towards a chimenea night......possibly tonight.

Pile two - non-flammable rubbish which will be heading tipwards on Monday.

Pile three - good stuff which we just don't need or want anymore, and which is hitting Freecycle as I speak. Or at least some of it is as bits will be offered to kith and kin in the first instance.

At least the garden sheds are distinct's the spare rooms I'm dreading tackling. Although if I take it a square metre at a time, rather than attempting whole rooms it might be easier.

Also over the coming months we'll be trying to recoup some cash by selling off bigger stuff which is too expensive to just give away.

I'm personally dealing with the trauma of listing the bulk of my work-related books, collected over a quarter of a century. Amongst other things they cover the history of costume, all aspects doll's houses & miniatures, miniature dollmaking, social history, reference works on period architecture and features and much more.

They're currently in various piles on the floor of the workroom and I'm working through them all methodically with the aim of offering them for sale as soon as I've got a definitive list. Many are now long out of print and I feel as if I'm planning to sell my children.

By the end of the year I have an image in my head of a pared-down, minimalist house and lifestyle which will then be ready for Phase 2.

Of course there is still the small matter of trying to run a business and keep the wolf from the door during this time of tumult, while simultaneously trying to prune away all the work-related stuff I no longer enjoy, and developing the stuff I do enjoy, so that it hopefully fills the gap.

Tall order or what.........?

Still, at least now we have a de-cluttered shed

Friday, 8 May 2009

Move along.....nothing to see here

I feel completely and utterly bleaaaah........

And am painfully aware that all this week I've been moaning and whingeing about work and weather and all sorts.

But, to be fair, this week has been complete pants. And you don't know the half of it.

Plus it's Friday and we have absolutely nothing to look forward to this weekend, except more soft cleaning sessions (someone just shoot me in the head RIGHT NOW) enlivened only marginally by some gardening, which seeing as how we're not intending staying here feels like a complete waste of time and energy.

So I'm feeling fed up and tetchy

There's only one thing for it..........

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Casting off........

I feel as if I've been casting FOR EVER!

Finally, at around 3pm this afternoon, after another mammoth casting session, I had done enough to fill all three shelves in the kiln, which is now firing as I type. Of course my delight at having completed the casting is tempered by the knowledge that I now have 3, possibly 4 days of the dreaded soft-cleaning in front of me, before I can re-load the kiln and fire to bisque.

So no chance for my desiccated, prune-like hands to recover before they'll be steeped in lukewarm water for hours at a stretch.........

It's at times like this that I long to put our fledgling 'plan' into force, although it currently has logistical gaps you could drive a horse and four through.

So in the absence of anything more cheering, I am trying to look forward to my trip to the Kensington Dollshouse Festival next Friday. I've got my ticket and everything.....very exciting.
Last year I was a showcase exhibitor, and also ran two days of workshops. On the Friday I was able to have a quick scoot round after the workshop finished, but I didn't have much time so it was very rushed.

I haven't been to Kensington (or any other fair for that matter) as a visitor for many, many years. I'm usually exhibiting, which doesn't leave much time to wander around if I'm on my own with no-one to mind the stand. So I'm really, REALLY looking forward to having a leisurely stroll around on Friday, which is a 'limited numbers' day, so hopefully there shouldn't be zillions of people all pushing and milling around, jostling me and treading on my feet.

I've printed out the floor plans and will spend some time over the next week, browsing the exhibitor listings online to plan my route around the various halls so I don't miss anything. I have a few mini projects in mind for which I will have an extensive shopping list.

So acts of god and swine flu permitting, I will be having a 'busman's holiday' next Friday.

Can't wait...........

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Casting blues..........

I have been casting for 6 hours today.

6 HOURS!!!!

I now have a crashing headache, with little sparkly lights going off behind my eyes, stiff neck and my hands feel like they're made from sandpaper.

Casting slip is extremely porous, and strips all the moisture from my hands so that my skin gets very dry,rough and liable to cracking. Not even my intensive balm hand moisturiser is making any difference so I'll have to apply it every 30 minutes to attempt to prevent my hands looking like desiccated claws.

Still, at least they'd match my feet.

And I'm feeling disgruntled.

Usually after a marathon casting session I feel all warm and virtuous, basking in the knowledge of a task well done. Today I just feel whingey and poorly. I'm hoping PP will suggest I go for a little lie down with small dog for company, and bring me a cup of tea and my dinner on a tray.

I'm just not up to this full-on, full-day working thing.

Anyway here is my mood in a picture...........

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Nose-grindstone, grindstone-nose....

Back at work today after yet another 3 day weekend, following hot on the heels of my 3 day birthday weekend two weeks ago. I think I might be suffering from camping overload!

However, our new dongle was thoroughly road-tested and works amazingly well. It took a little while to set up the new account online but once that was done we were off. Surfed for almost 2 hours at a cost of only 30p which is incredible value. OK we weren't downloading anything, just a few dozen emails, checking out the weather forecast and seeing how it all worked, but even so, we are mightily impressed.

Friday and Saturday were scorchio weatherwise, Sunday less so. Newly exfoliated and deforested legs were exposed to the elements and thankfully elicited no untoward comments from fellow campers, much to my relief.

We walked, read, generally messed about with assorted camping duties and BBQ'd every evening sitting out in our little awning tent till late, with candles flickering, enjoying the outdoor ambiance. So all in all, not a bad Bank Holiday Weekend break and only 2 1/2 weeks till the next one!

Today though it's been back to reality. Orders to process, email enquiries to deal with and drawing up my work to do list for the remainder of the week. I must get my act together and get some serious work done, especially on the website, which has been thoroughly cleared out and is now ready for its re-organisation.
Not to mention finishing the current batch of casting ready to soft-fire, and buckling down to re-stocking and creative endeavours.

All play and no work makes Sandra as poor as a church mouse........