Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Chaos reigns.....

D'you remember those infuriating sliding tile puzzles which were what passed for children's entertainment before electronic games were invented?

I never had the knack of moving all the little tiles around, this way and that until they formed a complete picture.  I'd get almost there but inevitably there would be at least one little square miles away from where it should be.

And THAT, dear reader, is the story of my life at the moment.

With work on our shower room due to start in less than a fortnight, and associated decorating and remodelling overlapping with the plumbing work, the house is gradually descending into looking more like a furniture storage warehouse than a calm and restful home.

Various pieces of furniture have to be moved around, from upstairs to downstairs and vice versa.  Some large pieces are to be sold and moved out, others are coming downstairs temporarily while I paint and upcycle them.  Then they can be relocated in their new spaces in different rooms.

Several hundred books are being boxed up to donate to our local hospice charity retail outlet.  Wardrobe edits are in progress and the resultant fallout is being bagged up, again destined for charity donation.

It comes to something when my workroom, which is normally the most chaotic, messy space in the entire house, feels like a relative oasis of calm.

I'm fully expecting ALL of May to be similarly chaotic, with work of one kind or another ongoing in various rooms.  The dining room is already ahead of the posse... the tables are pushed right back against the wall and it's gradually filling with displaced furniture, boxes of books, bags of stuff and therefore it is firmly out of commission for the duration.

I'm hoping against hope that the workroom, which can vacillate from tidy to messy in the space of a few hours, will act as my sanctuary of sanity, as I will be having to keep working throughout. Similarly, I'm hoping that as the sitting room isn't involved in the madness, it will remain uncluttered.

Whether any of these hopes will turn out to be founded, remains to be seen.  But for the moment I'm recklessly cautiously optimistic...

Monday, 24 April 2017

Back to work......

Back to work today following a week off work between Easter and my birthday. I've had a really enjoyable time... an extended visit from my daughter, another from our little granddaughter and her mum, all culminating in my 59th birthday yesterday.

However, all good things must come to an end (WHY though?!) and so today I'm tentatively back at work in my unbelievably messy workroom, putting the finishing touches to one of my Mignonette Doll Boxes, for a very patient Canadian customer *waving... "Hi Lucille"!*

It's been a while since I last made one, and over the past few weeks I've enjoyed rediscovering the joy of starting off with a plain wooden box and finishing up with a French-inspired doll box.

Inside the box, two silk pads which display a tiny porcelain doll, a selection of three different silk and lace dresses, with matching bonnets, plus various personal accessories, including jewellery, tiny posy of silk roses, fan, framed sepia photo, brush, mirror and comb.

This box has now been carefully packaged and tomorrow will start winging its way to its new home in Alberta, Canada.

My current clearout has revealed several different wooden boxes, in a variety of shapes and sizes, so I'm looking forward to creating more Mignonette Boxes over the coming weeks and months.

However, for the rest of this week I'll mostly be attempting to restore order to the universal chaos currently reigning in the workroom.

Monday, 17 April 2017

To destiny... and beyond.

And so... here we are again.

Another birthday looms large on the horizon next week and it's one of the crappier ones.  
Not a happy, clappy, milestone birthday with all the celebratory hoo-hah that accompanies one with a zero on the end.  I'm not a fan of odd years either, especially when the number involved ends in a nine.

Fifty nine. *sigh*  Doesn't even roll off the tongue.  It's a number with no panache.  No chutzpah. No finesse.

Of course, reaching 59 means that technically, I'll be in the final year of my sixth decade. Which means that next year I'll be entering my seventh decade.  Put like that it's a bit scary.
A few years ago, a fellow Blogger had a big birthday and a friend sent him a card which read "Hey! It's Your Birthday!!!!.... Another Year Closer To The Nameless Terrors Of the Grave!"
At the time I thought that was hilariously funny, as it appealed to my dark sense of humour.
I'm not finding it quite so funny now though.

If successive governments hadn't shafted us 1950's women I'd have been looking forward to retiring next year, the worry, stress and uncertainties of self-employment no longer an issue. As it stands, when I reach my 60th birthday next year I'll still have another SIX FULL YEARS of work, before I can hang up my dollmaking apron.

Still.... it's not all bad.  I do mostly love what I do.  It would just be nice to have less financial uncertainty, and spend a few years completely enjoying my craft, rather than constantly worrying about it.

So... anyway.   You might remember last Christmas I posted about my plans for this year

Periodically I check the countdown timer on my laptop, which ticks down the days, minutes and seconds till my 60th.  It's currently showing 370 days.  Which is the length of time I've allotted to take control of my working destiny.

So... Sandra, how's it going?

Well.... to be honest, slowly.  Plans are gradually forming and coalescing, morphing and taking shape.  Aside from work, other things are happening... long overdue works in the house, a gradual, inexorable de-cluttering, re-organising and downsizing.

I'm making lists.

And lists of lists.

And.... Stuff. Is. Getting. Done.

So.... Fifty Nine?  Bring it on.  

Monday, 3 April 2017

Stuff To Do.....

So.... here we are then. 

April already and we're now quarter of the way through the year.  Predictably, my list of Stuff To Do remains as long as ever, and with the end of the tax year this week it will get even longer as I will be adding the annual accounts and tax return to my burgeoning list.


However, today I have worked hard to clear at least some of my outstanding tasks and ticked off the following things...

  • Completed and submitted my monthly kit review for Doll's House & Miniature Scene magazine.  Yayyyy!
  • Stock checked all my kits and updated the stocklist spreadsheet.
  • Did some reorganisation on the Tower House Dolls website and added new items including more animal 'Frankendolls' and new Red Riding Hood toys.
  • Started to fill the display cabinets and shelves in La Mignonette with items of clothing, doll's accessories and wigs which I've made over the past few weeks
  • Finished going through my boxes and bags of fabric scraps, cutting off the really scrappy bits, carefully ironing them, then organising them all into clear plastic bags for painfree retreaval.
This last task has taken quite a while, as I've had bags and boxes of bits of fabrics squirreled away in no end of hidey-holes throughout the workroom.  I had no idea how many lovely pieces of long discontinued fabrics I've accumulated over the years. 

This is just one of the boxes, and as you can see it is full of tantalising snippets of gorgeousness in a mouthwatering array of colours.... including beautifully fine shot silks and tafetta, wonderful silk brocades, tissue-thin hairstripe silks, long since discontinued, and baby soft cotton lawns in the finest stripes you've ever seen.

There isn't a great quantity of any of them, maybe enough to create costumes for just a few dolls, but I'm feeling inspired to get going.

I even managed a few minutes 'me time', looking for inspiration on Pinterest, and came across this.....

Isn't she lovely......?

My hoard fabric sortout revealed a small piece of fabric which looks almost exactly like this, so it's definitely destined for a tiny doll's costume as close as I can get to this one.

And I also came across these....

I still have to make some teeny tiny doll's shoes for my doll shop, and feel inspired to try to recreate these.

Let's hope the rest of this week continues in the same productive vein......