Thursday, 14 December 2017

Project management.....

For lo....

Today I did post off the latest batch of orders.

And it was good.

 Thus, verily, I did say.... "I'm taking the rest of the day off".

Thereupon I surveyed my project... all tempting on the desk.  And so it came to pass that I spent all of this afternoon planning and doing.

Despite the fact that I haven't yet decided on the exterior colour, the window frames, skirtings, covings, fancy bits etc are to be Old White, so I whiled away a few hours this afternoon painting all of those, while mulling over how to progress the project.

You see, I have a conundrum (don't I always?) in that this particular little cottage has to actually look like a doll's house.

For those of you who aren't miniaturists, and have no clue what I'm talking about, every house I've ever built (and there were A LOT!) I tried to make as realistic as possible... both inside and out.  They may TECHNICALLY have been called doll's houses, but their ambitions were much loftier.

Having been a miniatures enthusiast and collector for nigh on 30 years, I have inevitably developed a discerning eye, and over the years have amassed an encyclopaedic knowledge of classical and vernacular architecture through the centuries.  The same goes for interior decor and furnishings, window treatments and flooring, fixtures and fittings... the list goes on and on.

But this project is different.  It's not in a specific style or period.  I won't be striving for miniature perfection.  It just has to look like.... a doll's house.

For the first time ever, I'm making a doll's house.  And it's shaping up to be much more complex than my massive 10 foot wide, 15-room Scottish baronial mansion, complete with be-gargoyled Gothic chapel ever was.

I'm having to stop myself wanting to add guttering, and ridge tiles.  There will be no real stone, slate or wooden floors.  No ornate ceiling roses or decorative mouldings.  No flickering fires or real porcelain tiles.

I can't quite desist from adding lighting.  I couldn't possibly have a doll's house without lighting.  Equally I will be adding wooden skirting boards and ceiling coving in all the rooms.

After all... I'm not a complete philistine.

Also, I might change the front door, which is a bit clunky.  And maybe add some quoin stones down the sides.  Possibly some moulding below the roof line... just to add interest.

Oh, and some climbing plants, clambering over the porch and up the front.  That's quite doll's house-ish.  Not painted on though.  Proper handmade plants.

Hmmm come to think of it.... maybe some  little window boxes filled with colourful flowers.  I suppose while I'm at it, I could landscape the base board.  Add moss and soil between the paving stones, with the odd weed pushing through.


See what I'm up against....? 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Let there be light..... !


It's been a whirlwind few weeks, but we battled through a blizzard on Monday to post the the penultimate batch of Christmas orders....

The final batch are now finished and will be posted out tomorrow (Thursday 14 Dec), from which point I'm officially on holiday.


Of course you can still order from the website, but I can't guarantee pre-Christmas delivery.  Plus I'll be in Suffolk for a few days from Monday, but if you're planning on placing an order, and can do it in the next 24 hours, I'll make a special post run on Friday and we'll hope for the best.  Delivery within the UK should be fine,  but the last posting dates for most international air mail have now passed.

So.  Having finished the parcel packaging earlier, I quickly tidied up in the workroom and perused my Twixmas project.

Twixmas is that languid period between Christmas festivities and New Year frivolity.  It's a time for lounging about in front of the fire, finishing off the chocolate and mince pies and generally enjoying a few quiet, relaxing days.

It is also traditionally the time when I get stuck into a new project, freed from the pressures of work and having to be creative.

This Twixmas, I shall be building, lighting, decorating and furnishing a little 1/24th cottage, which I've had for a few months already.  Although my tiny dolls are 1/24th scale, I've never made a 1/24th house before so it will be a bit of a challenge.  However, as it's so much smaller it should be quicker... at least to paint and decorate.

I think I may have gone a bit overboard on the lighting though....

Think Blackpool Illuminations.....
I've never worked with 1/24th lighting before either, so I thought I'd just check out one of the wall lights to see how fiddly they were.  I have two 12v transformers, so disconnected one of them from La Mignonette and connected it to one of the tiny plug socket strips.

So far so good.

Then I unpackaged one of the twin wall lights, plugged it into the socket strip and.... zilch.


I thought that perhaps I'd need a special smaller voltage transformer, but it said 12V on the packaging, and a quick Google showed that a normal 12V transformer would be fine.
Perhaps it was the transformer..... so I disconnected the other one from my day nursery and tried it too.

Still nothing.

Then I wondered if the tiny light bulbs might not be screwed in properly, so took off the lampshades to check.

And immediately discovered why they wouldn't work.

There were no bulbs installed.  What I thought was a miniscule packet of SPARE bulbs, turned out to be the only bulbs.

Not only that.... they weren't screw-in bulbs, like most 1/12th lights.  Instead there were two tiny prongs, much thinner than any human hair, which had to be inserted into two equally tiny holes in the candle fitting.... almost too small to see with the naked eye.

It was at this point that I regretted thinking that 1/24th was going to be quicker and easier.

With the aid of my magnifying lamp, I managed to finagle the bulbs into the candles, and again plugged the fitting into the socket.

Tah Dah!!!!!!
Finally... there was light.  After almost an hour of faffing about, but nevertheless...

So my next task is to plan where each of the lights will go, then, before assembling the house, drill holes for lighting runs and cut channels to recess the wires.

As with every house I've ever built, I will be kit-bashing it, to change the staircases, move doors etc.  I might even cut some additional windows in the side walls.  Plus I need to make a baseboard with a little front garden.  Plans and ideas keep forming and coalescing so the next few weeks before Twixmas I'll be busy with pencil, notepad and ruler.

Plus I'll blog my progress here.  Sounds like a plan....

Monday, 4 December 2017

A Miniature Christmas....

Very busy day today, packaging orders which are now in transit to destinations in Canada, USA, Germany, Belgium and the UK.  The next batch will go out on Thursday and there's still time to order in time for Christmas delivery.

The last ever THD Miniature Christmas selection is now available on the website.

Some of my festive-themed toys
Also available, discounted Discontinued Kits and Discontinued Toys as well as more items added to my Downsizing Sale!

In other news, as temperatures plummet, Small Dog has a new duvet bed, which she has insisted be placed in the warmest spot in the house.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

The 'magic' of Christmas.....

Scene: The bedroom last night as I get ready to go out to the first dinner of the festive season.  My clothes are laid out on the bed and I'm girding my loins to do battle with 'shapewear'

Small Dog nonchalantly strolls into the room and without breaking stride leaps up onto the bed and takes up pole position on my pillow.

Small Dog: *startled*  Whoah murm... yure knott waren that pinck soot tonite ar yue.  Ai doant thinc it soots you... itts strainjlie tite yet baggie att the saim tym.
Me: *sharply* Enough SD. I'm in no mood for flippant comments.  I have to get these Magic Knickers on.
SD: *leans forward.... fascinated*  Majick Nikkurs?  Whott do thai do?
Me: *patiently*  They're shapewear SD.  Special underwear which will make me look slimmer and sleeker.... smoothing out lumps and bumps, giving me a scintillating silhouette.
SD: *incredulously* Murm!!!! Thai mite me majick butt thayr knott bluddie mirakuluss!!!
Me:*witheringly* When I want your opinion SD I'll ask for it.

A silent battle ensues, while I struggle valiantly to pull the Magic Knickers up over my knees.

SD: *sitting up and leaning forward to get a better view*  Thay do seam kwite tite murm.  Ar yue shure thair the rite sighs?
Me: *breathlessly* Yes they're fine.  I just need to get them up over my hips and I'll be fine.  They're spandex and meant to be tight.
SD: *frowning* Spanndecks?  Yure goen a bitt red.  Ai thinc yue shude sitt down.
Me: *puffing* No I'm OK.  Nearly there.  I think they must have shrunk a bit.
SD: *diplomatically* Yess.  Ai eckspekt thai hav a virus....sum sort of shrincken virus.  Liek moast of the kloaths in yure wordroab.
Me: *triumphantly*  Phew... done it!  There.... see!  Slim and sleek.
SD: *unconvinced* Hmmmmm.   Shude thai starrt undur yore arms?
Me: *emphatically* YES.  They're SHAPEWEAR!  They are sculpting my body from ribcage to thighs.  Now if you don't mind I have to finish getting ready.
SD: *airily* Wel... eniwai.  Ai hav the ansurr to yore kweshtun.
Me: *suspiciously* What question......?
SD: *triumphantly*  Yue kno... the qweshtun whitsch has playged womminkynd sins tym imemoryal.   "Dus mai bumm luke bigg in this?"

SD exits in haste, pursued by a hairbrush.