Sunday, 15 June 2014

The eyes have it......

I'm in inventin' mode.  Trying to work out the best, most foolproof way to make realistic 'paperweight'-style eyes for my little porcelain toy dolls.
I've tried no end of different tiny glass eyes over the years, but they all end up looking a bit 'starey' in situ as the irises are generally way too small.  The best of the bunch are real hand blown glass eyes from Germany but they're very expensive and there's still the 'starey' problem.

I've also tried polymer clay eyes, and although they can look amazing, getting them small enough is almost impossible.  The heads of my largest size of toy dolls are about the size of a pea, and when I say pea, I'm not talking about big garden peas, but dainty petit pois.

This means that if the eyes are true to scale, they must be about the size of mustard seeds. The smallest size of commercially available glass eyes is 2mm, which sound tiny but look and feel enormous when trying to manipulate them inside a pea-sized head.

Aside from getting small enough eyes, there's another problem in that it's also extremely difficult to bevel the eye inside a pea-sized head, and inevitably, when the inside edges of the eye hole are almost thin enough, the fragile greenware at the very edge will chip or flake off, rendering the head useless.

It's a supremely frustrating task.


I'm trying to think of a solution to each of these problems which will guarantee a perfectly fitting, perfectly proportioned eye, which looks like a tiny version of the gorgeous paperweight eyes of vintage Jumeau dolls.

It's going to be a tall order.

There are a number of options.... from using tiny glass beads and customising them, to using my kiln to experiment with fused glass eyes.  Alternatively I could go the route of polymer clay eyes, making my own moulds and experimenting with making 'iris canes' which sound simple in theory but in practice would probably drive me demented.

Whatever route I decide to take, it's not going to be straightforward, it's not going to be quick and it's most definitely NOT going to be easy.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Called to account......

For TWO WHOLE DAYS I have been doing the annual accounts.  As a result I'm all numbered out and my digital keypad finger is throbbing.

It's the same every year.  I put it of and put it off then have a sudden and dramatic change of heart and take a mad run at it.

In my defence, I do try to keep it as simple as straightforward as possible, use a spreadsheet and a calculator and work really hard to get all my ducks in a row before I start.  However, it's usually not long before one of them wanders off and gets eaten by a fox, and another runs away to join the circus.  Then the others get despondent and aimlessly mill around, before eventually succumbing to some exotic duck disease.

There are loads of them.  Exotic duck diseases that is.  Including avian cholera and duck plague.  And something even more horrible called Riemerella Anatipestifer which causes high mortality, weight loss and 'condemnation (whatever that is).   Ducks unlucky enough to contract it have listlessness, eye discharge and dire rear.  They also show bad coordination, shaking of the head and twisted neck.  Sufferers are commonly found on their backs, paddling their legs.

Great..... another dreadful animal malady I wish I didn't know existed.

However, these are the kind of interesting things you get to find out when you're avoiding doing your accounts.


Monday, 9 June 2014

Where Bloggers Create 2014....

Good grief......doesn't time fly?

It's hard to believe that this time last year I was in the throes of giving the workroom a complete makeover..... a task which I thought would take up to two weeks, and ended up taking almost six.

I've just been looking back over my blog posts from June 2013 and it all came flooding back to me..... the back-breaking work involved in emptying the room, the redecoration, making curtains, new flooring, painting all the storage units.....there were times when I thought it would never be finished.

Even though it's almost a year since I unveiled the results of all that hard work, I still get a definite frisson whenever I walk into the room.  On a bright day, with sunshine streaming through the windows, it's a glorious place to be.  In the depths of winter, on dull, grey days it still makes my heart sing.

So I'll be delighted to participate once again in Where Bloggers Create 2014 on 12 July.  It's also the perfect excuse to carry out a thorough tidy up and reorganisation.  Over the past year there have been gradual additions and improvements and it will be interesting to see how my creative space has developed when compared to last year.

I know that many of my blog readers also have their own creative spaces, so why not participate this year..... it's really fascinating to see what others do to make inspirational workspaces, from a single cupboard right up to complete garden studios.  For details of how to join in, just click on THIS LINK.

Where Bloggers Create

I look forward to seeing you there....!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

It begins.......

Only a hermit or sportphobic recluse can have failed to notice that we're in the run up to the football World Cup.

Cars are starting to sprout those silly little flags sticking out of their side windows and there's advertising everywhere.

The entrance aisles in our local Tesco are festooned with bunting and awash with all manner of related tat under the title of 'Come On England'.  Similarly, every other supermarket is jumping on the bandwagon and marketing EVERYTHING with football logos.

I mean.  I ask you......

Sausages......  With footballs printed on them?!

Meanwhile,  not to be outdone, Asda are sailing close to the wind with their wearable flags....


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

Going viral......

Small Dog has had a Facebook page since Feb 2013.  She's had a core of loyal followers and in the past year has gained a respectable 100 or so Likes, presumably from those who don't find her 'ecksperrymentil' spelling gives them headaches and nausea.

For some reason, in the past few days she has mysteriously gained over 200 additional Likes, despite a recent lack of activity by either of us.

Curiouser and curiouser.......

She's very sanguine about the whole thing, taking it in her stride and maintaining that as 'Hed of Markitten' for Tower House Dolls, she always has her paw on the pulse of 'soshall meedjah' and the like so we shouldn't be surprised if she's on the verge of going viral.


However, she may well be right.  After having Googlism damn me with faint praise the other day, I decided to see what it yielded for Small Dog.

Oh. My. Dog.  Reams and reams of it!

What follows is a small selection of my favourites.

Googlism for: Small Dog

small dog is like "why am i doing this?"
small dog is seated on the robe of queen jane seymour
small dog is fun 
small dog is prepared to help you obtain warranty service in the unlikely event you run into any difficulties
small dog is on her feet
small dog is ok
small dog is a simple click away
small dog is allowed in cabins 
small dog is not what most people think of as a service dog
small dog is easier to carry and transport to the veterinarian
small dog is appropriate
small dog is now standard issue with the purchase of a large rv
small dog is welcome
small dog is great
small dog is around
small dog is well within their capabilities
small dog is attacked by a larger dog his chest may be pierced
small dog is fast enough to get out of the way of a determined greyhound
small dog is dumb
small dog is showing signs of being pregnant
small dog is always a blast
small dog is asleep on the lap of a woman seated on the sofa
small dog is black
small dog is easier to manage than a large one
small dog is called for
small dog is not a gray market vendor
small dog is not going to be able to swim in these waters
small dog is on my catch up list
small dog is a better paddling dog
small dog is lively and active
small dog is meant to reside atop one of our monuments
small dog is coming
small dog is not uncommon in europe
small dog is similar in general to the blacktail prairie dog
small dog is water fast and regular water immersions will not adversely affect its activity
small dog is really what they want or only what they think they want
small dog is preferable
small dog is still a dog
small dog is also at great risk from coyotes
small dog is needed
small dog is strong enough to cause serious injury
small dog is the way to go
small dog is "don't allow the small dog to do anything that you would not allow a large dog to do
small dog is welcome provided that she is well behaved
small dog is wagging it's tail and panting at him
small dog is quiet
small dog is no "unauthorized web merchant" 
small dog is blamed for the deaths of several experienced hikers and climbers in the area
small dog is never cloddy or coarse and neither is she a leggy dog
small dog is a match for a coyote and yet there has recently been some hype about dachshunds being so aggressive and tough that they can take on anything
small dog is easy
small dog is protecting the countryside is it?
small dog is obviously more concerned with making a sale than with retaining customers
small dog is cute
small dog is an overreaction
small dog is included with every order
small dog is led by its master
small dog is allowed in the unit and we do not accept cats
small dog is cheaper

There was more of this along similar lines.  

A lot more.  

I've advised her to take it with a large pinch of salt, especially the stuff about the coyotes.