Sunday, 31 July 2011

Last, last chance..........

So as of close of play today, Tower House Dolls will cease to exist in its present form.

This has a bittersweet tinge for me, as it's been a major part of my life for 22 years and has helped keep me afloat both emotionally and financially during most of that time.

The transition of switching from being a miniature dollmaker to  tiny toymaker ( and yes, there IS a difference) has been rather more protracted than I would have liked but today marks the final step in the process.

Where do we go from here?  Well the Tower House Dolls website will go offline and undergo a complete transformation, re-emerging in a new form in the early autumn.

In the meantime, our Diminutive Dolls website will continue to showcase our tiny toys, doll's dolls, games and playthings.  Lots of new miniatures have been added over the last month so do wander over and have a browse.


Friday, 29 July 2011

Last chance........

Really, REALLY busy week packaging orders from our clearance sale.

The  Tower House Dolls website closes in 2 days but there are still just a few amazing bargains left if you're quick!

In other news, the past week has been something of an emotional minefield.  On Monday, PP's nephew had surgery to remove a brain tumour.  All went well and he's home already, awaiting biopsy results so fingers crossed there.

On Tuesday, a friend had surgery for bowel cancer.  We visited her in Brighton yesterday and she's doing really well.

And today, another friend is having surgery to remove a kidney tumour.

So here's wishing them all a speedy recovery and hope that all the biopsy outcomes are good ones.

Plus, to all three, a special 'get well soon' photo message from The Healing Paw Dog.....

Monday, 25 July 2011

Some dogs have way too much time on their paws........

Up early this morning..... more orders to package (hurrah!) and the workroom looks like a tip.

Or to be more accurate, more of a tip than usual, due to all the packaging debris littering every surface.  So I'll be tackling that shortly.

As I peruse my lengthy list of  'stuff to do', Small Dog has just wandered in from the garden, yawned, stretched and flopped out in her basket.  She truly has a 'dog's life'.  And a good one at that...... sleeping, eating, napping, camping, dozing, barking, snoozing, running around, relaxing......

Why, oh why can't she be more like this........

Edditt: helo. Small Dog hear. off koars i cood do ENI of thoas thinggs iff i reeli wontid two. mi mum kolld me a yewsless artikel butt i disdane hur krewl wurds. i am meerli saven mi engergee four an imerginsi witch mite arrise att eni momint.  Leik runnen up the gardin two bark at the bildrs neckst doar, or chais a wosp, or tri too gett to the doar BEFOAR mi mum whenn the poastmann kumms.  Immpoartent stuf liek thatt.
yores afekshonaitly
SD x

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Ay Carumba.........

Well, the first day of our clearance sale is almost the last!  Tomorrow packages will be sent all round the world, from Mexico to Australia,  from USA to France and Spain and to many destinations here in the UK.

There is even a lovely example of synchronicity as the Australian Bush Hat, complete with crocodile teeth stuck in the hatband, and corks on lengths of string all around the brim will be winging its way to Queensland, Australia.  G'day Marilyn!

I've been packaging orders ALL DAY today, used miles of bubblewrap and tape and just about every spare box in the house.  Neatly wrapped boxes are now piled all up one side of the staircase and reach right up to the first landing!

So to everyone who has placed an order...... THANK YOU!

There are still a few items on offer, so if you haven't yet had a chance to look, you have just a few more days before the Tower House Dolls website closes its doors for a few months, for a complete makeover.  It will reopen in the autumn in a brand new form!

Exciting stuff...........!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

End of an era.......

In just 8 days time, on 1 August,  Tower House Dolls will close its doors for the last time in its present form.

Till then we are having a final Stock Clearance Sale with all of our remaining stock at greatly reduced prices.  There are bargains to be had including the last ever Tower House Dolls porcelain doll kits, bumper boxes of miscellaneous miniatures, dollmaking supplies, costume patterns and lots more.  

There are only 1 of many items, and only a very few of others so you'll have to be quick! Just one standard P&P charge no matter how much you buy.

Over the rest of the summer the Tower House Dolls site will undergo a major refurbishment, and metamorphose into an exciting new form in the autumn.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


I am hopelessly, helplessly head-over-heels in love.




And the object of my affection?


I have finally joined the ranks of the Kindled.

As a book lover, I have been somewhat ambivalent about the Kindle, but having taken the plunge I have so say I don't know why I prevaricated for so long.

It really is a lovely piece of kit.  Sleek, slim and light as a feather, it's almost Apple-like in its simplicity and tactile appeal.  I'm not usually a great fan of reading large swathes of text on a screen but the Kindle screen is as far removed from a computer as it's possible to be.

It's almost like reading vellum.  There's no glare from the screen and the e-ink text is clear and crisp.  Also, unlike a computer or PC tablet, it's possible to read the Kindle screen in full sunlight.

So having only had it for a few days I'm in the first flush of love...... the honeymoon period.   I've downloaded some free books, all of which was delightfully simple and hassle-free and I'm still exploring and discovering its myriad features.

I especially love the inbuilt dictionary.  Highlighting any word in the text will bring up a definition at the top of the screen.  How good is that?

In addition, reading even the most epic tomes in bed will be pain free, as it weighs next to nothing.


And its lovely new cover has only just arrived in the post so now I can protect its pristine, unblemished newness.


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Small Dog bites back..............

As part of our ongoing downsizing clearout, today I tackled Small Dog's basket.

Not the one(s) she sleeps in, but the basket she keeps all her worldly goods in.  It's long overdue a sort out as the lid won't shut so I emptied it all out on the dining room table this afternoon to sort though it.


Small Dog is not at all materialistic.  As befits her diminutive size she could even be described as minimalistic.  However, over her 4 years she has accumulated a fair bit of stuff so we thought it only fair that she do her bit for the communal downsizing exercise.

I don't know what I was thinking.

My first mistake was to check which of her legion of squeaky toys was still squeaking.  I did it very, very quietly.

But not quietly enough.

No sooner had I ascertained that the furry haggis did, in fact, squeak than Small Dog shot into the room as if she had been fired from a cannon.  She then sat down at my feet, staring at me.


I don't know if you've ever been stared at, hard, by a Small Dog but it's fairly discomfiting I can tell you.

My next mistake was to try to spread everything out on the table so I could get a better look. In the process I knocked a squeaky Christmas cracker and an indeterminate pink creature to the floor.  Torn between rescuing the cracker or the creature Small Dog grabbed the creature and made off with it.  I later discovered that she had hid it in her travel carry basket, under the duvet.

Undaunted, I retrieved the cracker but failed to notice one of the myriad squeaky balls, which rolled slowly off the table, only to be leapt upon by Small Dog who disappeared off again.

Never let it be said that I don't learn by my mistakes, so I coralled all the remaining squeaky toys and put them back in the basket then turned my attention to the various articles of clothing which Small Dog has outgrown.

Her anorak with the hood (which she hates). 
Her waterproof coat (which she hates).
Her pink roll neck jumper (which she hates)
Her little black dress (which she tolerates but only because she thinks it flatters her figure)
Her tartan bandana (which she actually doesn't mind)
Her baseball cap with holes for her ears (which she especially hates)

Not to mention the 24 foot long training lead which we bought when she was just a puppy, and would have been fine if we'd been training a pony or a tiger but was complete overkill for a tiny Yorkshire Terrier.  The first time we clipped it onto her collar she couldn't even lift her head let alone walk.

By this time, Small Dog was back from whatever part of the house she'd been hiding her squeaky ball.

I decided that it might be a good idea to involve her in the process, so one by one I showed her the remaining items to see whether she wanted them or not.

Predictably, the flea and tick spray, the detangle spray, brush and nail clippers all got the paws down.  
She was ambivalent about the whistle and reward clicker.
And adamant that she was keeping her red collar with her name spelled out in diamante, and her doggy pyjamas with the sheep on them, which are perfect for camping in the cold weather.

In the end, after lengthy Kissinger-like negotiations, we ended up with a carrier bag half-full of doggy stuff for Freecycling and everything else went back into her basket.  However, no sooner had I gone into the office to list the items on Freecycle, than Small Dog was at my heels, nosing around in the carrier bag on the floor, retrieving various toys and articles of clothing which she carefully placed in her office sleeping basket.  

Now, admittedly this did look quite cute.  So after exclaiming

"Awww..... look at her!

And calling PP through to witness the scene, I tried to take one of the toys from her to be warned off with flatted ears and a low, menacing growl, which plainly said....

"This is MINE.  And this is MINE. And all these are MINE.  ALL MINE I TELL YOU!!!  They are my precioussssss thingssssss.  I wants them....."

Small Dog: 10 - Us: 0

And just in case you didn't believe the bit about the pyjamas.....


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Zen (cart) and the art of website maintenance......

Today I've been undertaking a long-overdue overhaul on the website, generally have a good sort out and putting up the new toys I've been working on lately.

Such as....(these photos are all clickable links which will take you straight to the relevant webpage..... hopefully.....)


Not to mention......


So I'm all interwebbed out.

In other news, I'm pondering a tentative return to Ebay after an absence of several years.  I have several 'lots' of miscellaneous miniatures, assorted dollmaking supplies, miniatures-related books etc which I want to sell off to complete my current downsizing exercise.

If I do, there will be bargains galore and you'll hear about them here first.........

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Working weekend...........

Working from home does tend to blur the boundaries between work and leisure.  Yesterday I spent most of the day in the workroom, finishing off some commissions and working on some more new miniatures.

This morning, more of the same, but this afternoon I decided (in a rash moment) to spend some time sorting out my drawers and wardrobe space in the bedroom.  

Always hopelessly optimistic, I thought an hour would about do it.

Oh no, by no nonny no.

After almost 4 hours I was ready to throw in the towel and just set fire to the room.  It's not even a particularly big wardrobe, or a lot of drawers, but random 'stuff' has accumulated to the extent that at one point the bed was ENTIRELY COVERED in piles of detritus.

I've liberated two large bags of clothes intended for much thinner women, which are destined for the charity shop, plus several bags of stuff for Freecycle, plus several more bags for either recycling or rubbish.

I am now absolutely exhausted.  My back aches, my legs ache, my head aches........  It wouldn't be so bad but it's hard to even see where I've been!

At one point, at the height of the chaos, Small Dog appeared and attempted to access the bed in order to oversee proceedings.  Since there wasn't enough clear space for even a waffer-thin mint she was forced to perch on top of a pile of discarded clothing, right up against the headboard, where she teetered for a short while before abandoning it as a bad job.

Nevertheless, I've cleared out ALL my surplus to requirements clothing, toiletries, shoes etc so I'm feeling particularly virtuous.  I also cleared out and cleaned the shower room, reclaiming it from dust bunny central to sparkly sparkliness. 

Thank goodness it's Monday tomorrow.......

Friday, 8 July 2011



So perhaps I'm not the best at surviving being tied to a bunk bed with a velociraptor.

And maybe I am going to be a shambling, brain-eating wreck come the zombie apocalypse.


IN YOUR FACE all those classmates who used to ostracise me for always getting 20/20 in  spelling tests at school. 

The Twitter Spelling Test


It has been brought to my attention by a few of you who have managed to tear themselves away from the cornucopia of displacement activity delights on THIS website, that surviving for a paltry 31 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor is not a matter for celebration.

Apparently, some of you could manage to survive for up to 1 minute and 44 seconds and seem to think that this is something of which to be proud.

I disagree.

Remember that both you AND the velociraptor are chained to the bunk bed, therefore you are both in it for the long haul. 

And believe me, 1 minute and 44 seconds filled with unbearable agony and abject terror would indeed feel like a very long haul.

I've been back and tried again, this time exaggerating my fighting prowess, my experience in dealing with hopeless situations, not fainting at the sight of blood etc and admittedly I did fare better than 31 seconds but not by much.  Which leads me to believe that anyone getting a score of 1 minute 44 seconds must be lying to their back teeth and, more to the point, not taking the thing seriously at all.

Incidentally, as one who worries constantly about my ability to survive a zombie apocalypse...

The Zombie Bite Calculator

Displacement activity.......


I've been working really hard this week.  Proper 8 hour days and everything.

So I feel justified in having a bit of 'me' time.

Some time out to enjoy the finer things in life.  To pause and sniff the roses. 

Perchance to indulge in a teensy weensy bit of displacement activity. 

Something diverting, entertaining but at the same time challenging. Something to stretch my mental synapses and perhaps even answer some of life's unknowable mysteries....

How long could you survive chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

That's the way to do it..........!

Finished the prototype of my new toy puppet theatre this evening.........

It's made entirely from wood and features two Union Jack flags flying above the proscenium, along with a row of tiny bunting along the front and vintage posters on each side.  The Punch & Judy puppets are hand painted porcelain.

I've already had ideas for improvements and additions but overall I'm very pleased with the way it's turned out.  I wish all R&D days ended as happily as this..........

All the world's a stage.........

Today I'm working on a new miniature toy puppet theatre.  

Theoretically it's reasonably straightforward.  However, in practice there are so many design options that's I'm caught like a rabbit in the glare of oncoming headlights, unsure of which way to go.

So I'm going to do a few mock-ups to see which works best.  I know exactly what I'm aiming for but may have to compromise on the construction so that it's doable within a reasonable time frame.

Best go and get on with it then.......