Sunday, 17 June 2018

Flash Sale.... ends today!

Just a very brief post to let you know that we have a Flash Sale running this weekend, which ends today (Sunday 17 June)

There are discounts on both dressed and undressed toy dolls, as well as many new items in my Downsizing Sale.

Also new discontinued kits, toys and dolls......
Limited stocks across the website and when they're gone they're really gone!

All on the website HERE

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Miscellaneous musings.....

So.... over a week after returning from our Scottish odyssey and I've been very lax about updating the blog.

My bad.

The holiday was brilliant... time spent with friends, jaw-dropping scenery, sampling local delicacies (NOT deep-fried Mars bars!) and generally enjoying the land of my birth.

The view from our garden in Argyll

Spotted en route from west to east

The view from our flat in North Berwick

Small Dog 'relacksen' after a hard day's sightseeing.....
Since our return I've been in a whirlwind of 'stuff to do'.  Aside from the interminable unpacking, I've been casting, soft-cleaning, updating the website and attempting to blitz the house.

Plus here we are, almost halfway through the year, and I'm still a long way away from completing my 60th birthday year goals.


In other news, due to the post-holiday laundry mountain, our washing machine exploded the other day.  PP spent several hours trying to mend it, but in the end admitted defeat.  The bearings had gone (don't they always?) and despite watching several You Tube videos showing how to replace them, it entailed taking the entire machine to pieces....a mend-it step too far.  So we've had to grit our teeth and order a new one which arrives (hopefully) later this week.


In other, other news, one of my 60th year goals is to get a (possibly electric) bicycle so research is ongoing.

This is how I imagine I might look.....

And THIS is closer to how I will actually look....


Thursday, 3 May 2018

Get thee to a growlery......

A dog-loving friend of mine posted this on her FB page the other day and it really struck a chord with me....

Today I am taking a break from the despised soft-cleaning to tackle the even more hated annual accounts.

Or I should be.

I keep wandering into the dining room, surveying the big box which contains all of my 2017-18 paperwork, sighing deeply, then wandering back out again.  I have made half-hearted attempts to tidy up in the workroom, until my conscience forced me to do something useful. 


So I printed out a set of labels and stuck them onto envelopes which will contain the month-by-month expenses and receipts.  However, far from being buoyed by this admittedly paltry progress, I felt annoyed at my lack of anything approaching progress.

So I have decided that what I REALLY need is a growlery.

Scene: Sandra is dallying from room to room, trying to find something to do, nominally more urgent than starting the annual accounts.  A small, but menacing growl, alerts her to the presence of Small Dog, who has deserted her customary spot in the office and is standing in the sitting room doorway.

SD: *self importantly* Whott is this rubish abowt yue kneading a growllury?
Me: *dramatically... throwing myself down on the sofa* It's my restless, questing spirit SD.  I am out of sorts and in an ill humour.  I need somewhere quiet and soothing to restore my equilibrium.
SD: *derisively* Eckwillibryum?  Bollox....Yue knead to wooman upp and just gett on with itt.  Growllury indeeed.  
*warming to her theme*  If eniwun in this hows kneads a growllury itts ME!  
Alsew.... beein orl dramatick and kollapsen on the sofar is MY job.  Yue ar the karm and kollektid wun!
Me:*tremulously* Oh... but SD.... I am stricken.  It's the accounts you know. I simply can't go on..... *sobs into cushion*
SD:*suspiciously* Yure taken the pis.. arrnt yue. Maken fun of me jusst becoss ai am sensitif and hav phyner pheelens.  Itts mai artistick tempramint as wel yue kno.
Me:*thoughtfully* Well, yes.  Of course. You are indeed the Sarah Bernhardt of the doggy world.
SD:*preening* Ai shal taik thatt as a komplimint!
Me: As you wish SD.  As you wish....


Tuesday, 1 May 2018

All play and no work....

As penance for being such a sybarite for the duration of my birthday week, I'm atoning by tackling two of the most despised and unpleasant business-related tasks.... our annual accounts and a mega batch of soft cleaning.

Of the two, the soft cleaning is infinitely preferable, despite it causing me to lose the will to live.  I started yesterday.... possibly the coldest, most miserable April day in the history of ever, so I was on a hiding to nothing right from the get-go.

Oh it all starts well enough.  Nice hot water for the soft-cleaning bit, the initial enthusiasm for tackling a very necessary task, the determination to see it though and do the best job possible.

But after a while, the nice hot water goes lukewarm, then tepid, and because it happens so gradually I don't really notice until I stop for a break and suddenly realise that my hands are FREEZING COLD! 

And husky.

As in 'dessicated husk' not the dog or the smouldering sexy voice.


Scene: Sandra is at her laptop, composing a long overdue blog post about the vagaries and discomforts of soft-cleaning.  She becomes aware of a small, furry presence staring intently at the laptop screen.

Small Dog: *emphatically* Butt... ai DO absewlootlie hav a smolldurring secksy vois.
Me:*dismissively* Not when you're barking your silly head off up the garden you haven't.
SD: *suspiciously* And whotts this abowt a husckie.  Hav yue bean konsorten with uthr dogs.  Ai hav warrnd yue befour abowt thatt.....
Me: *mollifyingly* I most certainly have not been consorting with other dogs SD....Oh light of my life.
SD:*unmollified* Harrumph.... ai am knott so shure.  Yue oftin kum hoam smellen of strainj dogs.  Ai am knott stewpid yue kno.
Me:  Perish the thought SD.  You are my only and bestest dog in the world.
SD: *settling back down in her basket* Hmmm. Yess.... gude thing too! 

So, anyway.... soft cleaning.  Horrid job *shudder*

Annual accounts *sigh* also a horrid job, involving a tsunami of receipts and invoices which all have to be inspected and corralled into envelopes then all the numbers are laboriously entered into my 'idiot-proof' Excel spreadsheeet and jiggled until they all add up. 

It generally takes an entire day just to get organised to do it... necessitating clearing off the dining table so that I can spread everything out into neat piles, remembering to leave a clear space so that I can repeatedly bang my head on it when the figures refuse to reconcile, which is a depressingly regular occurrence. 

So yes... my week is shaping up just fine and dandy thanks.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

V for Vendetta.....

We've had an 'unwelcome' visitor in the garden.

I've named him Ratty McRatFace and he has discovered an all-you-can-eat buffet underneath the bird feeders at the top of the garden.


I'm of the 'live and let live' school of creature management, and given that we live behind acres of ancient woodland, in which there are undoubtedly more examples of Rattus Norvegicus than you could shake a stick at, I'm fairly sanguine about a small furry creature foraging in what he regards as 'his' garden.

However, he's now turning up with his +1, aka Ratty Muldoon, and PP is putting her foot down.

I will also mention in passing that we have a boney fido ratting terrior in the house, who has shown zero interest in the rodent invasion, taking place under her sniffy little nose.

Scene.  Earlier today. Ratty McRatFace and Ratty Muldoon are spotted having an alfresco feast.

Me: *excitedly* Small Dog!  Quickly!  See them OFF!!!

SD exits in a flurry of fur and barking and runs in totally the opposite direction.  Rats beat a hasty exit, although they could easily have finished their snack and strolled off in a leisurely manner.  
SD eventually picks up the scent trail and sets up a storm of barking, kicking her heels, wee-ing profusely and generally demonstrating that she knows what she's doing.  After several minutes of this, she runs back down the steps and barrels back into the kitchen where I intercept her.

Me: *icily*  You ran in totally the wrong direction.  You're rubbish.

SD:*doggedly* Murrm... yue kno nuthen abowt ratt manijment.  Ai hav to lul them intoo a fawls sens of sekewritie.  

Me: *sceptically* Is that right? So what is your plan...?

SD: *warming to her theme*  Aah. Wel.  Ai thort ai wude issew them with a "Sees and Deesistt Ordur".... reekwesting them to kwitt the premissis fourthwith.

Me: *speechless* That's it is it.... That's your 'plan'?

SD:*defensively* Wel OBVEEYUSLY ai will bak it upp with akshun.  And reesunible fours.  Ai am, when orl is sed and dun, a Prowd and Nobell Yorkshier Terrior and the blud of jenerashuns of ratten terriors floes threw mai vains.

Me: *raised eyebrow* You have ONE WEEK.   Just sort them out please or we'll have to take matters into our own hands. 

SD:* strolls off towards her basket* Itts orl undur kontrole.  Jusst leev it tue me.  Now iff yue wil eckews me.... ai knead a napp.

Me: *sigh*

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Going... going......!

Back to work this week... although the Easter Bank Holiday does at least mean that the working week is shorter than normal.

Finally got the last bespoke menagerie pullalong toy kit kits finished and packaged, and the final batch have all gone out in the post this week.

Last batch of bespoke pullalong toy kits....

I've made up my few remaining animals into kits which are now listed on the website, in the discontinued kits category HERE

I only have a few of each kit, the animals available are Lion Cub, Siberian Tiger Cub, Zebra and Fox Terrier.  When these last ones are gone that's it... I won't be making any more.

Jaunty Fox Terrier Pullalong Toy Kit

Lion Cub Pullalong Toy Kit

Siberian Tiger Pullalong Toy Kit

Zebra Pullalong Toy Kit

Empty space in the workroom is now becoming more noticeable as I'm gradually working my way through every box, drawer, shelf and cupboard.....

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Sandra fights back......

We're now quarter way through the year.... how on earth did THAT happen?  It feels like January was only yesterday but here we are, apparently in spring?!

I'll admit to being a tad discombobulated as I've been poorly for the past several weeks, and time has felt like it's running backwards.  It started as a common or garden cold, which lingered, and worsened, and emigrated south into my chest.  I was prescribed antibiotics but although my chest infection is clearing up, I have now developed ear ache and still feel thoroughly out of sorts.

And tired.

Sooooo tired.

I've been sleeping 12-14 hours straight and STILL waking up feeling exhausted.

My body is a battleground, with competing warring factions fighting for the upper hand..... I can imagine it a bit like that film where the chap is shrunk down and injected into somebody.... Innerspace.... or Fantastic Voyage or something.....

Scene: Inside Sandra.... 

Left to right - Dry Eye, Colitis, Multiple Sclerosis
This unholy trinity of chronic diseases, buoyed by my lingering lurgy, are assembled, making battle plans.....

Dry Eye: *scratchily* hmmm.... I can make her eyelids feel like they're lined with sandpaper..... phnha, phnha.... and when she wakes up in the night her eyeballs will be stuck to the inside of the lids...... phnha..... so she will have to TEAR them apart!!!!!   *maniacal laughter*

Colitis:*gurglily* Harghshshshh.  Good, but not enough.  I will give her uncontrollable dire rear.  Uncontrollable AND unpredictable.  Also severe, griping pain in her guts.  Like something is boring through her intestines with a rusty corkscrew...... ahhhh... the effluvium.....

Multiple Sclerosis: *icily* Pah!  Amateurs. Blundering around with your dry eyes and your dire rear.  This requires finesse.... the touch of a master.

*warming to his theme* Pain..... exquisite pain.  Slicing along nerves.  Myriad electric shocks... some imperceptible, hinting of what's to come.  
Numbness.... blissful after pain, but laced with icy pins and needles.  

Dry Eye: *desiccatedly* Look.....If she can't see properly she'll start to panic.....

Colitis:*bubblingly* Oh shut up... you're only here because of me. I can reduce her to a gibbering wreck within a few hours.... releasing her from the bathroom momentarily only to send her racing back.... like norovirus squared.

Multiple Sclerosis: *spikily* ENOUGH!  You ALL are only here because of me.  I have reduced her immune system to zero. I trump ALL of you!

*uneasy silence*

Dry Eye: *clearing throat... dryly* Well yes.... of course.  Just don't underestimate the power of eye discomfort..... burning, sticking, blurring.......

Colitis: *loosely* Trust me..... losing control of your bowels is not a good thing.  It erodes your self-esteem, renders you helpless.... like a baby.

Multiple Sclerosis: *placatingly* Friends..... we must all work together.  Weave an intricate tapestry of discomfort and pain. 
I will add fatigue.... not mere 'tiredness' but a bone-weary lack of all energy whereby putting one foot in front of the other requires gargantuan effort.  
I will elevate the slivers of pain to a waterfall of neuropathy, tumbling her into a fugue state, relieved only temporarily by opiates, further separating her from reality.
We.... WE can do this thing!

Sandra: *weakly*  D'you know what?  

All: *collective bemusement*

Sandra: *emphatically* You.... the lot of you.....Can all FU*K OFF right now!

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Pantry porn......

I posted a while ago about downsizing the contents of my workroom so that everything will fit into a craft armoire.  I still have a way to go with this possibly impossible plan, but that hasn't prevented me from spending many hours on Pinterest, salivating over other people's craft storage solutions.

The gold standard is, of course, the Workbox, but even when it's closed it's a bit of a behemoth and has a hefty price tag to boot. It also requires a LOT of space to open fully... around 9 feet!

Then there are lots of DIY solutions, many based on IKEA hacks....

It would also be eminently possible to convert a bog-standard wardrobe into a nifty craft cupboard......

However, what I'd really like is something like this.....

Wonderful corner cupboard.... perfect use of space!

Apparently this particular photo has been saved over 300,000 times (!) so I'm not the only one who can see its potential as something other than a pantry.  The media are calling the interest in cupboards like this 'pantry porn' and it's apparently, now, A. Thing.

That aside, I particularly like the way that the interior sides have useful storage, rather than simply having shelves which extend all the way from back to front.

There's a chap in Bexhill who makes pantry cupboards very like these and it's tempting to see how much something similar would cost.  As my workroom cupboards gradually empty, I could easily lose the run of kitchen base units along one wall, freeing up the space for a cupboard like this.  There's even enough space inside to store a folding table and chair, in which case I could lose the big desktop which dominates the entire room.

Hmmm.....I might just have to do more Pinteresting on this cold and snowy afternoon for more ideas.....

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Play Doh and Runnin'.....

Our little granddaughter (aka Gigglefidget) is a force of nature.  She's nearly two and has life completely sussed.

She was staying with us last week, and in the morning, as we were heading downstairs, we had this conversation....

Me: Are you ready for breakfast?
Gigglefidget: YEAAAHHHHH!
Me: What would you like?
Me: Pancake?
Me: And what do you want to do after breakfast..?
GF: Play Doh and runnin'...... YEAAHHH!

I recently relayed this conversation to my Lovely Daughter, who shared my opinion that life just doesn't get any better than that and it's probably all downhill from then on.

It's only when you're all grown up and looking back that you realise that childhood years are the pinnacle of pleasure.  No worries or responsibilities... endless opportunities for play and unbridled enthusiasm and optimism for life.


The old homily that school days are the best days of your life, never rings true at the time.  All those tests and exams... mounting pressure to succeed year on year.

Then work... a whole new set of pressures. Then family, responsibilities, problems.......

Then, much later, comes a point where none of that seems to matter as much.  We become more comfortable in our own skin, more sure of who we are and what we want from life.  As years pass and our remaining time shortens, priorities change.

With my 60th birthday now just a few weeks away, an inevitable introspection has descended.  Decade birthdays seem to do that thing..... I felt it when I hit 40... and again at 50.  Now, approaching 60, traditionally the age at which women retired, it's impossible not to look back and try to quantify what I've achieved in my six decades. And to look forward, to then next (hopefully) ten or fifteen years.

Of course I can't actually retire now until I'm 66... and I'm unconvinced I'll fully be able to, even then.  But I do want to change the way I work and what I do for my remaining working years.

Basically more 'Play Doh and runnin'......

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Stuff's last stand.....

You know how it is.

You live in a place for 15 years and stuff accumulates.

It's inexorable and inevitable.

It doesn't help that we work from home, but the workroom stuff is a whole different issue,  at which I'm chipping away, day after day.

No, it's the rest of the house where we're having a rout, specifically upstairs... corralling and rounding up all the extraneous stuff for which we have no further use.

It also doesn't help that apart from one small understairs cupboard, we have absolutely no built-in storage.  Apparently modern houses these days aren't built with any thought to storage whatsoever.  

To be fair, there has always been one bedroom which has performed the function of Stuff Repository.  For years it was the smallest bedroom, but that has now been transformed into a gorgeous Peter Rabbit themed bedroom for Gigglefidget.  So all the stuff from that room migrated into the third bedroom, pending the sale of my lovely desk.

The lovely desk went just after Christmas, and since then we've been girding our collective loins to tackle the remaining mountain of stuff in order to clear and redecorate the room and transform it from stuff storage room into a functioning bedroom again.

So once again we've hoiked out all the stuff and deposited it in the guest bedroom, which is always kept 'guest ready'.   The plan is that we will shortly have two 'guest ready' bedrooms but in the interim period, which is set to last for a maximum of three days, THIS is how our guest bedroom looks.


Yes I know.

Shocking.... isn't it?

Granted, most of it is new bed stuff for the third bedroom.... bed frame, headboard, footboard, bed slats, mattress, duvet, pillows etc, plus all the books from the bookcase but there still seems to be a lot of "what the hell will we do with THIS" items, the fate of which will be decided over the next three days.

I'm anticipating that a lot of it will go to our local hospice charity shop.  Other stuff will be offered on Freecycle and the rest will be off to our local recycling facility.

So.... three days to restore upstairs to some semblance of normality. *holds head in hands*

Anyway... today PP and I have finally begun painting the now empty third bedroom.  PP did the small brush fiddly cutting in stuff  at the top and bottom, round sockets etc, and I did the broad strokes rollering.  It's not a very big room so we optimistically thought that we'd get it done in a couple of hours.


It didn't help that we ran out of paint and PP had to go to B&Q for another tub.

It didn't help that the sun came out and blinded us so we couldn't see where we'd been.

It didn't help that although the original colour was a very pale blue it's still going to need three coats of paint.

It didn't help that Small Dog assumed the role of site inspector and kept strolling in to make 'helpful' comments.

Hmmm.... mumm, yue knead moar paynt in thatt trai....

Mumm.... whyl yure upp thatt laddr, ai kan see a bitt yue misst.  Kno knott ther... ovur THER... jusst beeyond yure reetsh.


 It's taken most the of the day and after two coats we threw in the towel.  The final coat will have to be done on Monday.  We're now both hobbling around, moaning and groaning about the pain in our respective backs/shoulders/hips/knees/feet and I'm fairly confident that tomorrow we won't be able to move, but hey ho.  At least it's started. 

This evening I intend to do armchair shopping for curtains, duvet set etc for when we eventually get to do the 'fun stuff'.  It can't come too soon.....

In the meantime though......

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

*Last chance pullalong toy kits...!*

During my current downsizing exercise I've recently come across a small box of animals which I use for my vintage menagerie pullalong toys.  Collected over many years, most of them are now discontinued and no longer available, so I've decided to use them in a selection of 1/12th scale toy kits, to coincide with my workshop offering for the upcoming March Mini Miniature Show which will run from 22-25 March. 

These last ever pullalong toy kits will be available to order only, and colours and styles will vary.

The kits include EVERYTHING needed to make the toys....
  • Realistic menagerie animal
  • Wooden platform with colourful kaleidoscopic decal
  • Metal wheels and undercarriage components
  • Leather for saddle and reins
  • Silk pull cord and turned wooden pull handle
  • Assorted headgear... from conical circus hats with pom poms, or bejewelled, feather headresses, to pretty silk and lace caps
  • Fully illustrated, step-by-step instruction booklet and pattern sheet
Here is a selection of the toys I've made over the years, which give an indication of colours and styles ...

White Siberian Tiger

Supercilious Camel

Ginger Cat

Cheetah Cub
Arabian Dromedary Camel
Cheetah Cub

Cheetah Cub

Special commission piece - Elephant with Howdah and Mahout!

Baby Elephant

Baby Elephant


Cheetah Cub

Fox Terrier



Leopard Cub

Lynx Cub

Indian Tiger


Panda Cub

Special commission piece - Baby Rhino and Eastern Prince
Indian Tiger

Indian Tiger

Spring Lamb

Siberian Tiger

Circus Zebra

Kits are available on a first come, first served basis and will be made to order, so I am able to accommodate colour choices.
I have just a few of some animals, only one of others, so numbers are limited.  All kits priced at £20 each, plus standard shipping (UK £4, Worldwide £5) 
Payment by PayPal (or cheque in the UK)
To order, please contact me for a list of available animals.  Kits will be ready to despatch during the week beginning 19th March.

If you need any further information, please contact me and I'll do my best to help 😊