Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Animal house......


It's been a whole week since I revealed my workroom makeover.  A few more bits and pieces have been added since then, and I've actually been in there working, as opposed to just sitting, gazing around in wonderment.

Today I have been dealing with a motley collection of toy animals which are being transformed into an exotic circus menagerie.  I've mostly been wrestling with a particularly recalcitrant giraffe, trying to get his conical hat to fit perfectly.

His ears weren't at all helpful, but it was his horns which were the real bugger.  I had several tries at getting his hat just right while he eyed me suspiciously.  Meanwhile a tiger cub was trying on all the prototype cast offs, much to the amusement of the other animals in waiting. He won't be so full of beans when he discovers what I have in store for him.

I'm also gearing up for the next Mini Miniature Show which will take place from 14-20 August.  As well as exhibiting I shall also be running an online workshop.  Full details will be available shortly.

In other news, the searing heat of the past few weeks has finally broken after a huge thunderstorm yesterday afternoon.  It's now just perfect..... hot but not unbearably so, with much less humidity.  A lingering downside of the heatwave is the waves of mosquitoes besieging us each night. I've taken to smothering exposed skin with mosquito repellent before I go to bed as I've been waking up each morning with bites upon bites.

I don't know whether it's to do with my Scottish blood (which must be incredibly delishus) but most biting insects find me irresistible.  This wouldn't be a problem if the resultant bites were just a bit red and itchy.  

But no.

No by no nonny no.

My insect bites come up in great big weals and blisters and they don't just itch.  They also throb and ache for good measure.  If the blisters get really bad I have to sterilise a needle and lance them rather than allow them to burst and possibly get infected.

As a result I go to great pains to avoid the bloodsucking buggers.  I'm seriously considering getting a mosquito net to over the bed, except that Small Dog would probably get tangled up in it.....

She seems remarkably unperturbed by them.....don't dogs ever get bitten.....?



Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Where Bloggers Create - Ta Dah......!

Following on from the previous post.......

Walls painted a perfect shade of pale blue, it was time for the new carpet, a darker shade of the same perfect blue.

Loving that new carpet smell......
Newly repainted storage units reinstalled.....
During this phase, we rigged up extra electric sockets, boosting the original paltry 6 sockets to 16!  
 Dark wood bookshelves repainted with wonderful chalk paint to match storage units.

Work desk reinstated
 Finally with all the storage units in place, it was time to put EVERYTHING all back in again.....

You can NEVER have too much storage!

 The finished room.... definitely more chic than shabby!

 One of our cover features for Doll's House Magazine

World map mounted on foamboard so that I can use map pins to 
show locations of my blog readers and international customers

 My current project 'La Mignonette'

Magazine are stored in colour-coordinated box files
The tools of my trade are housed in boxes with printed colour slips inside

My little day nursery back in place, complete with miniature Small Dog!
Combined storage and work station

I just couldn't put my grubby, old, black, office chair back in there so my
luxury is a new IKEA chair, which fortunately has removeable, washable covers!

A place for everything, and everything in its place.....

An invaluable reference library of books on toys and games....

And inspirational Fairy Tales!

Storage unit and packaging supplies hidden behind vintage-look curtain

More storage for tiny bits and pieces.....
Wooden MOPPE boxes from IKEA, chalk painted then decorated with 
printed shabby chic papers, which I can change when the fancy takes me.

Space on top of the bookshelves for vintage toys and ephemera

Yet more storage in the form of sturdy cardboard boxes.....

A small selection of our tiny toy doll's dolls, miniature porcelain toy animals
and vintage Punch and Judy toy theatre.

I just love it!  We finally have a space in which to work which makes my heart sing.

It's not 100% finished......there are still some bits and pieces to tidy away, and a few more finishing touches to add, before I can start putting it all to use.  That is, if I can bear to make it even a little bit messy!

Perhaps I finally have the incentive I need to work in a more organised way, clearing away tools and materials and tidying up after each and every work session......

Where Bloggers Create - A labour of love......

I'm finally nearing the end of the workroom makeover.  It's taken three weeks, from first starting to empty the room and dismantle all the storage to putting up the final shelf this afternoon but the transformation is nothing short of amazing.

In its 'Before' state it was unlovely and unloved. 

More functional than fun.  
Boring rather than brilliant.
More dull than delightful...
Insipid rather than inspiring.....

It hadn't been touched since the day we moved in, almost 10 years ago, when the necessity to get it up and running as quickly as possible so that we could resume work, was paramount.
Over the intervening years I'd casually thought about redecorating but the thought of all the upheaval and disruption quickly quelled my enthusiasm for the project.  

So it was only when we decided to have some renovation works carried out on the house, which meant that there would be upheaval and disruption anyway, it seemed to make sense to grasp the nettle and do the workroom at the same time.

 Preparing for painting

Decorating completed, old carpet lifted

Afer all the boring stuff, the fun could then begin.....

Friday, 12 July 2013

Where Bloggers Create......

If you're a first time visitor to my blog, and have come here see my creative work space on the first day of 'Where Bloggers Create',  then I have to 'fess up straight away and apologise for there being nothing to see.


My workroom has been having a complete makeover from top to bottom and inside out, and despite my very best efforts, the trials and tribulations of the past few weeks have caught up with me and the Grand Reveal won't happen until next week.

With luck and a following wind, most probably Wednesday.

It will be worth the wait..... honestly. 

In the meantime, during the intermission, here's my version of the old TV test card......

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Best laid plans......

Hmmmm..... I thought things were progressing rather too smoothly.  

After spending hours over the hottest weekend of the year so far, making sure that the workroom re-decorating was completed, the old carpet taken up etc, in preparation for the new carpet going down today, as arranged, it transpires that it hadn't been put on the van for delivery to the store today.

To say this is disappointing is putting it mildly.  

OK, so I know that in the Grand Scheme of Things a day is neither here nor there but mentally I'd already started moving the mountain of stuff back into the workroom and liberating the rest of the house.

I will confess to having the teeniest, tiniest wee rant when the store rang to let me know.  They'd promised me faithfully that it would definitely be delivered and fitted today.  Of course, out of the vanload of carpets delivered from the warehouse to the store for fitting today, mine had to be the only one missing.

That was galling enough, but then to be informed that it would DEFINITELY be in tomorrow and they could deliver and fit late afternoon........

Late afternoon.

You could have heard a pin drop.  If I could find a pin, which in the current chaos is unlikely.  And assuming I could find a clear bit of floor on which to drop the aforementioned pin.  Which is even less likely.



After a free and frank exchange of views on the advisability of making an already unhappy customer even more unhappy, the timing was revised to first thing tomorrow morning.


So another day of kicking my heels, unable to get on with anything useful.



Monday, 8 July 2013


Last week was a bit of a blur.

Emptying the workroom in preparation for redecoration.  Old windows and doors being ripped out and replaced.  Dirt and dust EVERYWHERE.......

As a result, we can't sit in the sitting room, dine in the dining room or work in the workroom.  The kitchen is marginally useable, although one end is currently full of overflow from the dining room, which in turn is full of stuff from the workroom, as is the sitting room.

Only the office has been relatively unaffected, so the three of us have set up a temporary 'project management' HQ in there.

To let you see the scale of the mess, here are some 'work in progress' pics.......

It started off OK and in the beginning I naively assumed that all of my workroom storage boxes would fit neatly on and under the dining room tables.

So far, so tidy......

But it rapidly became apparent that the whole room would have to be used as storage.....

The only way to get down the other end at the moment is with the use of crampons and belaying pins.

The sitting room is no better, being full of all the furniture from the workroom.... base and wall units, bookshelves, cupboards......

By contrast, the workroom has undergone a metamorphosis and is now eerily, echoingly empty....

Before and during the redecoration.

Room repainted that perfect shade of pale blue.  Old carpet gone.

New carpet is to be fitted tomorrow, after which everything currently languishing in all the other rooms must be moved back in.

Meanwhile, huge holes kept appearing throughout the house as windows and doors were removed......

My theory that if there was going to be chaos anyway, we may as well make it maximum chaos is being tested to the limit.  It's at that point where I can no longer remember what it's like to be able to walk from one room to another without clambering over teetering piles of stuff and having a clean, tidy, building-dust free house is also a distant memory.  

However there's definitely no going back now so the only option is to grit our teeth and get on with it.

Roll on next week.......



Thursday, 4 July 2013

Moving along.......

There has been a gratifying flurry of activity in the house.

Yesterday, out of the blue, our new windows and doors arrived and before you could say "Blimey that was quick!" three of the windows were installed upstairs.

Meanwhile, I buckled down and gave each of the 10 cupboard doors their second coat of chalk paint, and the wooden bookshelves their second coat of primer.

Not to mention running up a pretty little shabby chic curtain to screen off an area of open storage.

All in all, not bad for a day's work.

Today I'm going to search for flooring for the workroom, and buy my 'perfect' blue paint for the walls.

The flooring is proving to be a bit of a conundrum.  In theory, I should opt for something hard which would be easiest to clean.  In practice, this wouldn't work for three reasons.

1)  Porcelain doesn't bounce.  It shatters into a billion tiny pieces, especially in its unfired state.  When I drop things (which is often) at least carpet gives me a better than even chance of retrieving them intact.

2) Warmth and comfort underfoot are primary concerns.  Not to mention the sound-muffling properties provided by carpetting.

3) Small Dog definitely prefers carpet under her paws.  Most of the downstairs has hard flooring, and although I love the sound of her pitter-pattering across it, she often skids and spins out when cornering at speed.  In winter she refuses point blank to sit down on it, so we have to put one of her blankys on the floor in the kitchen to prevent her getting a cold bum.

All good, valid reasons to go for carpet.  Except I can't find one I like, so I have to hit all the remaining carpet retailers in a 5 mile radius today in the hope of finding something suitable.

Preferably something which doesn't require the use of a sick bucket.....



Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Deadlines, shmeadlines.....

Predictably, my carefully crafted project management schedule has blown out of the window.  

Of course I knew that would happen..... it always does.

On the plus side, ALL of the 'stuff' from the workroom is now spread liberally throughout the house.  Which leaves the storage units still in situ, so that I can paint the cupboard doors.

Exhibit A - one set of base unit doors in their 'before' state.....

Exhibit B - same unit after first coat of chalk paint.....

I naievely thought that each door would take around 10 minutes to paint but getting into all the mouldings means they take around half an hour.  With 10 doors in total that's 5 hours.

I need to apply a second coat today, then tomorrow, wipe and buff with clear wax.

So that's my afternoon spoken for.......