Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I'm dyeing.......

You'll doubtless be relieved to learn that the title of this post doesn't refer to my hypochondriacal tendencies, but to the fact that this morning, having managed to get slightly ahead of the posse, I shall be hand-dyeing a batch of silk ribbons.

Quite why this should fill me with such joie de vivre is a mystery, even to me, but there's something positively life affirming about taking several piles of plain white ribbons and transforming them into a silken rainbow.

The process cheers my soul, which has been in dire need of cheering lately.

Despite this week being extremely fragmented (new tyres for car *HOW MUCH?!*, hospital appointment for PP, post-operative check-up for Small Dog, MOT test for car *HOW MUCH?!* etc) I have, inbetweentimes, been making serious inroads into my work schedule.  

I've even managed some short stints on the shop, as I set myself a deadline of the end of this week to get all the basic construction completed.  Not sure if I'll quite manage that but I'm not far off.

So with today being the only uninterrupted day this week I'd better get on and make the most of it.....

Monday, 28 January 2013

Monday, Monday.....

And so it is Monday again already.  I increasingly get the feeling that there are significantly more Mondays than any other day of the week.

A quick calculation this morning reveals that I only have another three Mondays before Thame, so time is slipping away like a slippery thing.

However, the good news is, that now Small Dog is well on the way to recovery, I can at last concentrate on the task in hand, namely my hopelessly unrealistic completely achievable 'To Do' list(s).

So every day this week (including the weekend) and for the foreseeable future, I shall be up and at 'em bright and early each morning to spend at least 8 hours in the workroom, making serious inroads into my Thame prep.

Well that's the plan anyway........ what could possibly go wrong?

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Small Dog replies.....

Small Dog has been extremely touched by the many messages of love and support from all around the world, and requested that I post the following directly from her.....

Helo evriwun.....

Thanc yue ol so mutsch fore thincin of mea wheil i hav bean pewrli.  

I hav hadd a nopperashun on mi bladur too reamuve sum stoanes.  we hav lotts of stoans inn the gardin, sum off whitsh ar kwite larj, so hou thay gott into mi bladur i hav kno idear.

I hav gott stitshis onn mi underneeth, whitsh ar a bitt soar, and it stil hurtts two wea, butt knott ass mutsch ass it did larst weak.  i thot razir blaids wer kumen owt.  Olso blud.  I kude hav bledd two deth and thatt is knott evin ecksajeratin.

Olthow haven a nopperashun is knot mutsch funn mi mumz ar lewken aftir mea reeli gudli. Thai ar kewken mea luvli dinrs annd i am getten lots of stroakens annd sumtyms thai just gaiz att mea adoarenli and sai "helo mi luvli" annd "gude girrul" annd "wude yoo leik two bea kuvrd up.... hear, lett mea tukk yue inn with thiss worrum blankit" et set erra.

So itt is knott ol badd.

I kno thatt moast peepul reed mi mum'z blogg pewrli to heer abowt mee.  Shea duz rite a lode of rubish moast of the tym.  )Olso hur spellen leevs a lott two bea deesyrd.(  So itt iss gude to hav this oportewniti tue sai thanc yue to evriwun fore ol of mi Gett Wel Sune mesijis. 

luv and lix from Small Dog

Technologically challenged....

After a worrying 10 days, during which Small Dog seemed to get poorlier by the minute, it's a great relief that she is so obviously feeling so much better after her operation.  Despite the fact that she is probably still in some degree of post-operative pain (for which I want to reassure Sue that we are giving her painkillers) it's clearly nowhere near as much pain as she was in prior to the surgery.  Her ears are now pricked up and her eyes are full of life again...... we hadn't realised just how poorly she was.  Hopefully her recovery will continue apace and we'll soon have our perky little terrior back to normal again.

My concentration has been pants for the past week, as a result of which I've just footled around, unable to stick at any task for more than a few minutes before having to abandon it for some equally futile exercise in procrastination.  However today, reassured that Small Dog is on the mend, I've been multitasking like a multitasking thing.

A proper human dynamo and no mistake.

I've even started to make serious inroads into prep for the Thame Fair, which is now just four weeks away.

*takes deep breaths*  

Four weeks.

* head between knees*

Plenty of time.

*hyperventilating into paper bag*

And to this end, I decided to make a slideshow presentation, with the intention of loading it onto my digital photo frame to take to Thame for a bit of extra eye candy on our stand.

I don't know WHAT I was thinking......

I fear I may have grossly overestimated my abilities in that regard.  Sounds easy doesn't it?  Make a little slideshow.  Put it onto a memory card.  Pop it into your gadget.  Bish bosh.... bob's your uncle and fanny's your aunt.


In the end, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I've submitted a 'ticket' to the slideshow tech team, asking for an idiot's guide.

I'll let you know in due course if the 'idiot' turns up trumps.

Edit..... I tried to find an amusing image to illustrate the last sentence, but all I could come up with was this...... which will have to do.



Operation SD......

My admittedly chaotic work schedule was badly affected yesterday, due to Small Dog's surgery.

We dropped her off at the vet early in the morning and stayed with her while she had her pre-med injection.

Then we came home and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

I did try to do some creative work to keep myself occupied but it wasn't entirely successful.  Neither was my laughable attempt to catch up with paperwork, which is never my favourite task at the best of times.

Around 1pm we had a phone call from the surgery to say that Small Dog was in recovery and we could collect her at 3.15pm.  Needless to say she was really, REALLY pleased to see us after what must have been a bewildering episode for her.

The vet reported that her tiny bladder had been almost completely full of stones, one of which was almost 2cm long (?!) plus lots of much smaller ones.  The op took 55 minutes, which feels like a very long time for her to be anaesthetised, poor wee scrap.

She has a very neat scar, running along the midline of her lower abdomen, below her bikini line, and as the vet used soluble stitches she won't have to have them removed, thank goodness, although she has a couple of follow-up appointments to check on how she's healing.

Before we left to bring her home we were presented with the bill, the total of which was so large that the receptionist had to whisper it.

Think of a number.  Best make it quite a big number.  Now double it and add 67% of the original figure.


THAT much!

Fortunately, unlike us, Small Dog has health insurance.  

Unfortunately, we're lumbered with a large excess PLUS we have to pay 25% of each claim so we'll be on beans and toast for the next few months to make up for it.

I will never, EVER moan about the NHS again.....

She slept for most of the evening, although she did rally for long enough to take her painkilling meds, cunningly concealed in a small amount of ice cream.  We'd been warned that she might not be able to wee for a while, but she asked to go out in the garden and did manage a small wee, which I presume must have felt like passing razor blades, judging by the expression on her face.

She had a reasonably good night and is much perkier this morning.  She's even looking forward to a small amount of lightly scrambled egg for brunch.

Thanks to everyone who's sent her Get Well Soon wishes..... they have all been passed onto her and she's managed a wag of her tail in response.

We're all looking forward to a return to normality over the next few days.  I'm also fervently hoping that the 2013 Bad Luck Goblins have had enough amusement with us already this year and will leave us alone for the next 11 months.

*fingers resolutely crossed*

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Story of my life......

This cartoon is doing the social media rounds at the moment, shared by several of my miniatures friends and could just as well be titled "You Might Be A Miniature Artisan If....."

I can completely identify with all of the drawings except the one about forgetting to eat.

That never, ever happens to me no matter how much I'm engrossed in a project.

I could, of course, add several more miniature related observations, such as never throwing anything away which might possibly have small scale possibilities.

Or endlessly scrutinising everyday items for alternative miniature uses.

Or having a prized collection of dozens of different types of glue for every eventuality.

Or having an Ideas Book which runs to several volumes.

Or finding joy at the prospect of a whole morning spent dyeing silk ribbons.

Or spending more internet time researching miniature projects than looking at weird or funny animal videos.

Although the last one is sometimes a close run thing......

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

And here's ANOTHER thing.....!!!

Despite being rather preoccupied with Small Dog's travails of late, we are still in the throes of trying to sell our house, and were gratified to learn that after the doldrums of the festive period, we were booked to have a viewing at the weekend.

Or so we thought....

The no-show viewers had re-booked for this morning, in the window of opportunity between dropping Small Dog off at the vet and picking her up early afternoon.  So after sitting with her while she reluctantly went to sleep, we raced back home and took our mind off things by setting the house to rights ready for the re-scheduled viewing at 11 a.m.

By 10.55 everything was perfect.  The house was spotless, not a thing out of place, fire lit, lights twinkling above the fireplace........and so we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then, to break the monotony, we waited some more.

At 11.30 I rang the estate agent to enquire wtf was happening.  He had no idea.  And neither did his colleague who was parked in the close just over the road from us, waiting for the same people to arrive to view a house there too.


I completely understand that unforeseen events can derail people's plans.  It happens all the time, even to us.  


How long does it take to make a phone call to let the agent know they can't make it?  
Twenty..... thirty seconds?  And given that they didn't turn up on Saturday, and didn't let us know in advance then either, you would think that they'd move heaven and earth not to let us down AGAIN!

You would..... wouldn't you?

Granted, I've had more pressing concerns to worry about today, but this degree of blatant discourtesy leaves me aghast.

*many, MANY expletives deleted*


Small Dog Saga......

Small Dog had to go back the vet again this morning (third time in a week) to be sedated and have ultrasound scans and X-rays to see if they could identify the root of her recent problems.

There was good news and not so good news.

The good news is she doesn't appear to have a tumour, which is what the vet first suspected when she saw the U/S scans, as there were three large lumps in the bladder.  Fortunately an X-ray clearly identified the lumps as bladder stones..... three of them almost entirely filling the bladder, which explained the blood in her urine.  She's probably also been in quite a bit of pain, which would explain why she's not been her normal, cheerful self.

She will have to have surgery on Friday to remove the stones and flush out her bladder.

The not so good news is that she also has something peculiar going on with her blood, which the vet thinks is entirely unconnected.  She's running more blood tests today and again on Friday to see if she can work out what's going on.

So Small Dog has come home with a comedy haircut as they had to shave her flanks to scan her kidneys, all of her tummy, plus her neck to get blood.  She is resolutely refusing to be seen out and about until it's grown back as she is convinced that someone will say

"What eedjit's been cutting your dog's hair?"

which would obviously offend her sensibilities.

So we're girding our respective loins for Friday and debating whether we should set up camp on the floor in the lounge for a few nights after the op so that she can more easily be let outside and isn't tempted to try jumping up on anything.

Last time we did that we had to buy a new kitchen.  Don't ask..... it's a long story. 

In the meantime she's in her basket recovering from the sedation, looking very sorry for herself.  Now where did I put that nurse's uniform......?

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snow day......

Having had an impromptu snow day on Saturday, I succumbed to guilt yesterday and spent practically the whole day in the workroom, industriously preparing for the Thame Fair in less than 5 weeks time.

5 weeks.

Sounds reassuringly far away doesn't it?  Until you look at my hopelessly over ambitious perfectly achievable 'to do' list.  In my defence, I should point out that despite the madness and mayhem of the past week, I have managed to complete 2 china paint firings, prepare a new batch of toy doll kits AND made serious progress with La Mignonette, so it's not all bad.

However, the pressure is now on.  Moreso since I tentatively re-opened my order book last week and contacted customers who are on the waiting list to go on my waiting list.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Insanity reigns.....

I am acutely aware that a large proportion of my blog readership are avid fans of hand crafted miniatures..

Unfortunately this post is NOT for those people.

So miniatures enthusiasts.... move along, there is nothing to see.

Today was always going to be a challenge.  After what feels like aeons of inactivity on the house front, we were booked to have a house viewing.  This entailed whipping the house into 'viewable' condition following the festive break.

No mean feat.

Which is why I was up at the crack of dawn this morning, tidying, cleaning, floor mopping  sobbing uncontrollably at the sheer futility of life, dusting, hoovering etc.

Meanwhile, PP had to make a mercy dash through the snow to collect Small Dog's new antibiotics, in the hope they might make an impact on what ails her.

Having sorted out the house, we had to turn our attention to the garden.  Normally a layer of snow would have been a godsend, transforming a dull January garden into a winter wonderland.  However we hadn't reckoned on Small Dog's ailment making it into a potential crime scene.  

The poor wee mite.... she has blood in her urine.  Lots of blood.  Which meant that our snowy white garden was liberally dotted with splashes of bright red against the virgin snow.  It looked like a particularly savage stabbing had been carried out on our patio.  Either that or it had been used as a set for the latest Texas Chain Saw Massacre film. 

Luckily, we recently acquired an unfeasibly large snow shovel, which PP put to good use concealing evidence of possible murder.

However, we needn't have bothered, as the house viewers didn't turn up.  

I was absolutely fuming mildly miffed.

Eventually our estate agent got back to us with a totally feasible excuse for the no-show (NOT the weather!) and they have rebooked for next week.  Which is probably just as well, as he's a police officer, so we could have found ourselves facing some tricky questions.

In other news, this made me laugh so much today I nearly wet myself.  It was shared by a FB friend, and normally I don't find much of the humour on FB very humourous, but I think the events of the past week have gone to my head and tipped me over the edge of sanity into mild hysteria.

It so neatly illustrates the dichotomy between the face WE think we have and want to present to the internet community, and our actual face which we inevitably end up revealing to the real world. 

The eternal struggle between the ego and the id.  

A physical representation of the Jekyll and Hyde sides of our split personalities.

A perfect illustration of why the internet is termed virtual reality.

Plus the cat in the tagged photo does look really funny.....  

Hmmmm.  Like I said, it's been a long, challenging day.

Normal service will be resumed...... to be honest, I have no idea when.


Friday, 18 January 2013

The enigma code.....

I am acutely aware that a large proportion of my blog readership are avid fans of Small Dog.

So this post is for THOSE people.

All others.... move along, there is nothing to see.

We had to ring our vet this morning with an update on Small Dog, who is no better after 3 days of antibiotics.  So we had to take her in for a blood test to see if that might throw more light on things.

As usual, we had the 'drag through the door' scenario, followed by the emphatic 'trembling on the lap', so when we got her into the consulting room we expected her usual feisty response to any poking and prodding..

However, once on the table, she was positively angelic, while the vet shaved her neck then found a vein, and took what looked like an awful lot of blood from such a little dog.

Our vet phoned back this afternoon with the blood test results, which she described as 'an enigma'.  In short, there may be two completely different things going on, neither of which are entirely clear.

Small Dog never aspires to be one of the common herd, but personally I'd much rather she had a common or garden urinary tract infection.


She has to go back to the vet on Tuesday, and have several more tests done, which will involve her being fully anaesthetised. 

Poor wee mite..... if we were moderately worried before we're much more worried now.

In the meantime, snow permitting, we have to pick up some heavy duty antibiotics in the morning to replace the ones she's been taking.

It's going to be a l-o-n-g few days........

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Tempus fugit......

Why is it that some weeks crawl along at a glacial speed and others simply zip by?

This week has been quite zippy, and apart from the 'divers alarums' I've been working steadily towards the Thame Fair on 23rd February as I fully intend to have some new items to unveil.

Today, for example, I've been doing the first china paint firing on a batch of  tiny doll's dolls and porcelain toys.  Some of the dolls are new and I needed to develop a different technique which required a specific type of tool.
Designing and creating tools is one of PP's special skills, so I explained what I needed, and within an hour I had a prototype tool which has proved perfect for the job.

Thanks to everyone who has enquired after Small Dog.  She's still not right, and we're rather worried that the problem may be with her kidneys and not her bladder as originally thought.  We have to update the vet tomorrow on how she's doing and she still has a few days of her medication left so we'll see how she is after that.

In a similar vein, my daughter is gradually improving and is now out of hospital, although not well enough to return to work.

That's quite enough medical excitement to be going on with and we're not even out of January yet!

In other news, temperatures here on the south coast are set to tumble even lower over the next few days with a high probability of snow and ice.


Having procured an enormous snow shovel I was quietly confident that we wouldn't have any snow this winter......

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Medical meddling.......

Are you old enough to remember this......?

This programme was a favourite of my mum's in the 60s, though I don't ever remember seeing it in colour.  Dr Kildare was one of her heart throbs (if you're old enough to remember him then you'll also know what a heart throb is) and we never missed an episode.  As a result I did briefly dally with the idea of being a nurse, which thankfully didn't last long.  I certainly don't remember any female doctors being featured or I might have set my sights a bit higher, although the nurses were always impossibly pretty and I was resolutely plain so it was always going to be an uphill struggle.

But I digress.

It would appear that medical drama is going set to be a continuing theme in 2013.  After my Christmas lurgy, then my daughter's sudden illness, I was hoping that things might quieten down for a while.

I don't know what I was thinking.

You might remember a while back I posted about a lump on my face.  Well 3 months have passed and I finally had an appointment at the hospital this morning to have it looked at.

Apparently it's not a sebaceous cyst after all.  It's an Eccrine Hidrocystoma which sounds infinitely more interesting but I have to have it off.  I had naively expected that the procedure would entail aspirating the contents with a needle.

But no.

No by no nonny no.

The surgeon 'helpfully' drew several diagrams to illustrate the procedure, which involves making an elliptical incision around the lump then cutting out all the tissue inside and finally stitching the incision closed.  

I'm not terribly good with needles, scalpels, forceps, stitches et al so by the time he'd finished his artwork I was feeling decidedly woozy.  However, I perked up considerably when he said it would leave a scar, around an inch long.

A scar.  That's more like it.  I'm inclined to suggest something decorative.  

A fascinating facial feature.

Perhaps something along the lines of the Mark of Zorro, or a Harry Potter.  Or maybe he could fashion a 'smiley' scar.  There's certainly scope there for some creative expression if I'm going to be permanently stuck with it.

However, today's medical theme didn't end there.  We then had to go from the hospital  straight to the vet with Small Dog who is under the weather with a urinary tract infection, like a doggy version of cystitis.   As usual she had to be dragged through the door and across the floor to the waiting area where she sat shaking and trembling as if she was having a fit.

Our vet requested that we get a urine sample from her which prompted some joint scratching of heads as to how we should achieve that, and in the meantime gave her an injection and prescribed antibiotics.  However while we were waiting to pay, Small Dog obligingly wee'd on the floor so the vet was able to use a pipette to draw up a sample, which was disconcertingly bright red with blood.  

We've already had the results by phone and predictably her wee was full of red and white blood cells, plus some other stuff, so she's being treated for an infection.

Poor wee mite.

She's definitely not herself.

We're to report on her progress on Friday and if she's no better she'll have to have a bladder ultrasound and blood tests, which will probably necessitate sedation.

Never a dull moment here.......

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Trials and tribulations........

I never have very high expectations of New Years.  In my experience it's usually only a matter of time before things start going pear-shaped, and 2013 is already confirming my suspicions that a year ending in 13 is unlikely to be lucky.

I had a phone call from my daughter on Friday afternoon saying not to worry but she'd been admitted to hospital after collapsing with a horrendous headache, at work.  I think that the main concern was that she'd had a cerebral bleed, but thankfully a CT scan didn't find any evidence of one, or at least not one that would show up on a scan.  Similarly they couldn't see any aneurysm, another good sign.

So she's been kept in hospital under observation for the past two days, and is being discharged later today with strict instructions to rest up for a few days.

Having been ready to head off up north at a moment's notice I can now stand down as her partner is going to look after her until she's fit to go back to work.

However, the Healing Paw Dog has a special message for her, so if you're reading this......



Friday, 11 January 2013

A comedy of errors......

We set off last night to meet friends for a birthday meal in a pub near to where they live.  Pulling into the car park we managed to bag the last parking space and hurried into the packed pub to find we were there before them.

Having ordered two drinks at the bar, I asked the barmaid to tell us where we were sitting, our friends having booked a table.

Barmaid: OK, what's the name?

Me: It's either ******, or *****  Table for 4

Barmaid: Blank look

Me: Booked for 7pm?  Tonight.

Barmaid: Blank look...... No, we don't have any bookings in that name.

Me: Could you check?

Barmaid: Hang on... I'll get the book.  No, look, really..... no bookings in that name.

Me: (crestfallen) Oh, well perhaps she didn't ring to book then.

Barmaid: It's no problem, there's a table free just around the corner, I'll go and set it up for you.

Me: (turning to PP) It's OK, they don't have a note of the booking but we can have a table.

By this time we'd been in the pub for 10 minutes and still no sign of our friends, who are usually very prompt.

A tiny niggly naggly doubt takes root in my hindbrain........

Me:  Where are they then?  They're usually on time.  Perhaps there's a problem.

Joint silence

Me:  (tentatively) We are in the right pub aren't we......?

In unison we slowly raised our eyes to the huge sign on the wall which declared we were standing in the bar of the Castle Inn, not, as we had confidently assumed, The Smugglers.

Much to the amusement of the packed bar, I sought out the barmaid and explained our mistake, apologising profusely, while PP tried to contact our friends to let them know why we were going to be very late.  Having gained directions to the pub we should have been in, in the next village(!) we set off again, finally meeting up with our bemused friends in the correct pub 20 minutes late.

Despite the inauspicious start, we then enjoyed a lovely meal in the cosy restaurant, followed by entertainment in the form of an Open Mike night in the bar, where some of the musicians and singers would have given the X Factor contestants a run for their money.  So a good night was had by all. 

However, next time we arrange to meet friends in an unfamiliar venue, we'll double check in advance where we're going, rather than assuming we know where it is.  D'oh!

In other news, it's a lovely, bright, sunny morning, although we're supposed to have snow by the end of the weekend so we need to stock up on essentials before the blizzard hits.  At least we know where Tesco is.......

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Better late than never......

We send a lot of packages overseas.  Most of our international customers hail from the US, Canada and Australia, with another large proportion scattered throughout Western Europe.

The vast majority of the packages we send out arrive in a timely manner.  In fact international deliveries can often arrive at their destination quicker than items for delivery within the UK.

However, with the best will in the world, a package sent from here to the west coast of Canada shouldn't take 57 days to arrive.  Even if it went over the Atlantic in a rowing boat and was loaded onto a horse and cart when it reached landfall, over 8 weeks is ridiculous.

I received an email yesterday from my incredibly patient customer to let me know that the package I posted on 12 November had finally arrived at her address.  When I checked my postal records, on the same day I had sent parcels to Queensland, Australia, and Madrid in Spain, as well as several to destinations here in the UK.  All of those arrived safely, the Australian one within a week, so why the Canadian order suffered such a long delay I have no idea.

I had, of course, offered to replace the missing package, which would have meant making two toy theatres from scratch, as I've sold out.  I had also downloaded and printed off the extensive claim form for lost or damaged international mail, and had made a tentative start on filling it out.  Naturally I was somewhat stymied by the request for DNA samples, written evidence of every address I've ever lived in, retinal scans, character references from 250 customers, Small Dog's pawprint etc but I was determined to work through each and every section of the form to the best of my ability.

OK, so I exaggerate for comic effect but if you've ever made a claim for lost or damaged international mail you'll know exactly where I'm coming from.  As my grannie would have said, "They want to know the ins and outs of the cat's backside".

Obviously they need information on who posted what to whom but the level of detail required and the burden of proof which must be provided is frankly laughable, especially as you've got as much chance of receiving compensation as your package has of arriving in time.

That is, bugger all.

Fortunately I can now tear up the despised claim form and thank my lucky stars that the package has re-appeared from whatever black hole it had fallen into.

In other news, my bisque firing yesterday has gone wonderfully well.  I always approach the kiln with a certain amount of trepidation after a bisque firing, partly due to the fact that it's too hot to touch for half a day afterwards and partly because I dread lifting the lid and finding that the firing has gone horribly wrong.  Admittedly that has only happened once in my 25 year firing experience but the incident is literally burned into my memory and provokes vivid flashbacks every time I open the kiln lid.

This morning however, all is well and the porcelain is fired to perfect maturity.  However, although the kiln is cool enough to open, it's still way too hot to unload so I've decided I'm going to spend an hour or so working on La Mignonette.  I had hoped to have the construction completed over the Christmas break but the lurgy put paid to my best laid plans and it's still languishing in its constituent parts.

So...... playtime!  Woohoo!!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Minis4All Workshop......

I'm delighted to have been invited to run a class for the 2013 Minis4All Online Workshop Programme.

The session will run in May and full details are available on theMinis4All website HERE.  My class is limited to 10 students and I am accepting bookings on a first come first served basis now.

If you wish to book a place just send me an email to check on availability.  When I confirm your place you can then select your colour choice and I will send you preliminary information on what equipment you will need (a basic sewing kit).

The kit will contain everything you need to complete a little shabby chic toy doll in the Kate Greenaway style, in a choice of pastel colours.

Kits cost £25 (inclusive of worldwide shipping) and payment can be made by PayPal or £GBP cheque.  I will invoice students in April and kits will be sent out three weeks prior to the class. 

If you need further information please contact me directly and I'll do my best to help.

Firing tonight.......

While I was ill over Christmas, my delirium-fuelled days played out to a background of back-to-back Carry On films on TV, my favourite of which was Carry On Screaming, a rather anaemic homage to the Hammer Horror films of the same era.

At the end, Kenneth Williams, who plays an undead non-vampire zombie (?!), tumbles into a vat of bubbling liquid, surfacing briefly to scream 'Frying Tonight', which, when I first saw it as a child, I thought was hilarious.

Obviously, I was easily pleased in those days.

Anyway, I mention this trivia for no other reason than I was loading the kiln earlier today and idly musing on firing puns..... as you do.  Admittedly it is a very boring task, meticulously placing dozens of extremely fragile, tiny doll parts onto firing sand, carefully maintaining an even spacing between each one so that they don't stick together as they expand then contract during the firing process. 

To the untutored eye, they might all look the same, but there are limbs for 6 different dolls on this shelf, in two colours of porcelain, and when full the kiln will contain the result of around 4 week's work, from casting, soft-firing, soft-cleaning through to the stage of bisque firing.

Generally, the day after a bisque firing I get an order for a specific porcelain doll or toy which I have to make from scratch, which means that I will have to start another batch of casting, necessitating spending a further 4 weeks working towards filling the kiln.  

Perhaps I should get a smaller kiln.......


Monday, 7 January 2013

Grey day blues......

So we're now deep in the depths of winter, my least favourite time of year.  Despite the fact that the days are lengthening imperceptibly, it still feels a long, hard slog to spring.  It doesn't help that it hardly even seems to be daylight most of the time..... just a lighter shade of dark grey.

Still...... I've been very industrious of late, and just a few minutes ago finished a marathon batch of soft cleaning sessions, which means that I can load up the kiln tomorrow and set about doing a bisque firing, which will keep the house toasty warm for the best part of two days.

Small Dog has requested that we move her basket out of the office and into the dining room for the duration, where she can bask in the waves of heat emanating from the kiln.  I'll even be able to monitor the kiln temperature by how close to it she can bear to sit.

In other news..... well there is no other news.  I'm still convalescing and if sleeping were an Olympic sport I'd be a multiple gold medal winner.  Aside from having been ill, I definitely go into hibernation mode at this time of year, like a cross between a hedgehog and a dormouse.


However, with possibly our only fair of the year hoving into view, we're now working hard towards the Thame Fair on 23 Feb, where we're aiming to showcase several new toys and kits so I'll be in the workroom 24/7 for the foreseeable future trying to get ideas off the drawing board and into reality.

Finally, one cheering email arrived recently, from a customer in the Netherlands (hello Maria!) who sent me some photos of my little shabby chic toy doll making herself comfortable in her new home...... and what a lovely miniature home!



Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year......?

So here we are again at the start of a New Year.  

I'm still convalescing, and as a result things have a decidedly unreal, surreal slant.  However, because the sun shone today for what felt like the first time in weeks, and as I haven't set foot outside the door since before Christmas, PP packed a picnic and a flask of tea and we set off down to the seafront for a few hours.  

I didn't manage much of a walk, but it was good to get out in the fresh air.  PP marched Small Dog jauntily along the seafront while I sat on a bench and watched the waves pounding the beach.

We then had our picnic in the car while Small Dog sat bolt upright in the front windscreen watching the world go by. It seemed as though most of Hastings and St. Leonards had the same idea, judging by the number of people strolling along the promenade.

Back home in the warm now, snuggled up on the sofa with Small Dog watching The Wizard of Oz for the nth time.  Small Dog is of the considered opinion that she'd make a much better Toto than the dog in the film.  She's certainly scruffy enough.

Tomorrow I'm aiming to try to get some light work done, starting with a business breakfast meeting in the morning to discuss our forward planning for the first quarter of 2013.   This suggestion was met with a less than lukewarm reception by Small Dog who is a stickler for protocol and is insistent upon conforming to the regulatory principle relating to the 12 Days of Christmas and doing no work till the day after Twelfth Night.

She's going to have to buck up her ideas if she's going to run for January Employee of the Month.....

Nevertheless, PP, Small Dog and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our blog readers a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.