Sunday, 31 January 2016

March Online Show Workshop.........

This year's March Mini Miniature Show will take place from 17-20th March, and as before I am offering a workshop pack.

I'm currently working on a new series of circus-themed toy dolls, games and pullalong toys so my workshop this time is a set of four vintage lithograph style pullalong toys.

The invention of chromolithography (colour printing on paper) in the 19th century, opened up a whole world of possibilities and heralded a new way to produce children’s toys and games.  The undisputed ‘Kings of Chromolithography’ were the McLoughlin Brothers of New York, whose beautiful games, books and toys were a joy to behold.
My set of circus pullalongs is inspired by the wonderful lithograph printed toys of the late 19th century and features four precision cut, double-sided animals - elephant, zebra, giraffe and camel, each standing on a colourfully decorated wooden base with fixed wheels and silk cord pull.

Perfect for a 1/12th scale nursery, playroom or toy shop

Evocative of the lithographed toys of the late 19th century

The giraffe is 1  1/12" tall

Only slightly taller than a thimble!

The workshop pack contains all the materials you need to complete these toys, including a step-by-step fully illustrated instruction booklet.  You only need scissors and glue!
US $15 plus international shipping $6.50
Euro €13 plus international shipping 5.00
UK£10 plus P&P £2.50
Payment by PayPal.

To order, or for further information please email me and don’t forget to let me know your country of residence so that I can add the correct shipping cost 

Friday, 22 January 2016

Silver Screen.......

By and large, getting older doesn't have much to recommend it.

I'm approaching 60 (no, I can't believe it either) and already bits are dropping off, or not working properly (or even at all!) and gravity is exerting its inexorable toll.

I should be looking forward to retirement in two year's time but that dubious achievement has now been put back till I'm 66.  

Another 8 years!

Buggrit doesn't even come close.

So I have to content myself with the small concessions available to over 55s.  Such as the Silver Cinema scheme currently run by the Odeon chain.

If you're a regular cinema-goer, you'll be aware of the frankly outrageous prices charged in order to sit in a darkened room with people who have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how to behave.

They chat continuously, usually loudly, play with their mobile phones, rustle bags, slurp drinks and generally carry on as though they're at home in their sitting rooms.  

I don't know if there are documented incidences of cinema rage, but I've come close a few times.  Especially if I'm positioned in front of a seat kicker.

But I digress.

So.... Silver Cinema.  If you're over 55 you can go to selected viewings of current releases for the princely sum of just £3.  Plus, you get tea, coffee and biscuits beforehand too.

What's not to like?

But the best thing.  The very best thing, is that as soon as the film started, there was complete and utter silence.

No chattering.
No rustling.
No slurping.
No texting.
No seat kicking.

Just the occasional sigh, or cough.  People laughed in all the right places.  Nobody brayed like a donkey.  As a cinema-going group our etiquette was exemplary.

Granted, the queue for the toilets afterwards was somewhat longer than usual.  And it took us a bit more time to negotiate the stairs.  But we all emerged blinking into the light with a shared warm glow of camaraderie.

I suppose it helped that we saw The Lady in the Van, which caused a general feeling of gratitude that at least we weren't in such a parlous state as poor Maggie Smith.

We will most definitely go again, although next time we'll get there a bit earlier as all the best biscuits had gone by the time we got to the front of the queue.

Useful tip there by the way.

As an aside, we were telling PP's nephew about it, and he asked if they were modern films, as though, given our advancing years we'd be offered a selection of old black and white movies!

Laugh?  I nearly started......

Thursday, 14 January 2016

CMW Workshops......

If you're likely to be at a loose end in mid October, you could do worse than book a workshop session at the newly relocated CMW event which will run from 14-16 October 2016.

For those not in the know, CMW stands for Cotswolds Miniatures Weekend, which has, for the past 5 years, been held in Eastington, Gloucestershire.  However this year the event is moving to Cambridgeshire.... the village of Eye to be more precise.  Eye is close to Peterborough, with its wide range of accommodation and is easily accessible by road and rail.  

CMW has gained a well-deserved reputation, offering a range of high quality workshops for miniatures enthusiasts.  In recent years tutors have included Jamie Carrington, Ann High, Hazel Dowd and Geoff Lewis, to name but a few.  This year I'm delighted to have been invited to teach, and I'm offering three different sessions over the weekend.

Full details of the new venue, workshop programme and all supporting information will be available on the CMW website in early February, but in the meantime I've been given the go-ahead to advertise my classes in advance of the official launch, so here goes.......

 Friday Evening 14 October 2016   7.00pm - 9.30pm

Workshop Title – Everything Alice! 

In this relaxed evening session, make a set of three Alice in Wonderland themed toys for your 1/12th scale doll’s house nursery or toy shop.

Wonderland Play Set – This magnetic playset features a mahogany chessboard base to showcase a selection of changeable scenery and Alice in Wonderland characters.
There are three sets of scenery and 20 precision cut characters, which are double-sided and can easily be moved around on the base without falling over!
Also supplied is an illustrated storage box for the scenery and characters.
Base measures 1  1/4" square

"OFF with her head!"

20 different double sided characters and 3 scenery backdrops
store neatly in the illustrated box
Boxed Nursery Blocks – A set of 6 wooden nursery blocks in a made-to-measure box with illustrated lid. The blocks feature vintage Alice illustrations.

Blocks fit in the bespoke box with illustrated lid
Each block has 6 different vintage illustrations
Boxed Paper Dolls - A complete set of wonderful vintage paper dolls from 1933. The characters are precision cut and fit into a bespoke box with illustrated lid.

Class limit – 10 students 
Cost £25

 Saturday  15th October 2016  - 9.00am – 5.30pm

Workshop Title -  1/12th Parisian-Style Toy Kiosk

This exclusive kit has been designed specially for me for CMW by Nick Day of Treacle Lane, who will also be teaching a workshop this year.  

Students will assemble and decorate an authentic wooden Parisian-style toy kiosk on a flagstone baseboard, complete with lighting, landscaping, bunting and signs.  
The kiosk features an opening stable door and removable roof to allow easy access to the interior which has adjustable shelves on the back wall.

Tiny plants growing at the base of the kiosk and moss between the flagstones.... 

Advertising signs adorn the sides
Also included is a variety of kits to make vintage ‘lithograph’ paper toys, books and games, including wheeled animal toys, toy theatres (one with changeable scenery and movable characters) rocking toys, boxed paper dolls, board games, puzzles, Jumping Jack/marionette puppets, nursery blocks and more……!

Lithograph style vintage menagerie pullalong toys

Fairytale theatre with changeable scenery and movable characters depicting 4 well-loved tales
Punch & Judy toy theatre
This is a full day session and students should aim to complete the kiosk in the time available.  Students can work on the toy kits while waiting for glue/paint to dry but the main emphasis will be on the kiosk construction, landscaping and lighting. 

In order to assure completion of the kiosks, kits will be pre-painted in a neutral colour. If you wish a specific colour please contact me in advance and I’ll do my best to comply.

Dimensions – Baseboard measures 11” wide by 7 ½” deep.  Kiosk is 10 ½” high.
Class limit – 10 students
Cost - £100  
Sunday 16 October 2016 -  9.00am – 5.00pm

Workshop title – Jumeau-style Toy Doll’s Doll and Accessories in Trunk

Trunk measures 2  1/4" high, 1  1/4" wide and 1  1/4" deep

Dress a 1 ¾” tall, porcelain doll, with jointed arms and legs.  She will have silk underwear, socks, leather-soled shoes, pleated silk dress, ringlet curls wig and elaborate bonnet.

The wooden trunk will be painted and decorated inside and out with vintage Jumeau doll illustrations and pretty mini  print papers and have a removable doll stand, shelf and hanging hook.

Her accessories include a silk dress on hanger, matching bonnet, fan and posy of silk flowers.

Doll stands can be removed from the trunk

Additional accessory kits will also be available on the day.

For early bookers only, this workshop is available in your choice of colour(s).  Please contact me for details.  Trunk papers and accessories will be coordinated with your colour choice.

Wide range of colours available, from soft pastels to dramatic darks!

Just a few examples of the range of colours and styles

Class limit – 10 students 
Cost £60

All workshops will be supported by fully illustrated, step-by-step instruction booklets.

Bookings must be made via the CMW website, where a booking form will be available to download as soon as the workshop programme is announced.  Information is also available on the new CMW Workshops FB page.

However if you need any further information do feel free to contact me and I'll do my best to help.

Looking forward to it already........

UPDATE - Bookings have just gone live on the CMW site.  You can get straight to my workshops page HERE

Friday, 8 January 2016

Squirrel obesity.....

Over 7 years ago, I wrote a post about an unnaturally fat squirrel in our garden.  You can read about it, and Small Dog's reaction HERE.

Turns out, that along with the rest of us, squirrels are actually getting fatter.

Fat squirrels are a thing.

No, really.

It must be true because even the Daily Mail is on it.

Whatever next......?

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Happy New Year.....!

So here we are in 2016.

That escalated quickly.......  it seems no time at since last New Year.  Or the New Year before that.  And so on.

I wonder what lies in store this year.  I'm not making any resolutions.  Probably the only one I'd realistically be able to keep would be "I'm going to put off doing things until the last nanosecond before the deadline expires"

Yes, there are things I'd like to achieve this year but I'm not going to beat myself up when I inevitably fail.

That's just how I roll.

It's back to work tomorrow, although the ghost of Christmas just gone still lingers.  I hate taking down the Christmas decorations.  They've glittered, sparkled and shone for the past few weeks and the house will seem deadly dark and dull when they've gone.

I'm a firm believer in not removing the traces of Christmas until Twelfth Night or 6th January, which is Epiphany.  Left to my own devices I'd leave them up until the tail end of February, which must be THE most depressing month of the year.

Perhaps some of the twinkling white fairy lights will escape banishment to the loft.  Perhaps all of them will.  

Dog knows if there's ever a time for extra sparkle it's January and February.

In the interim, should you need me, I'll be on Pinterest.......