Monday, 29 January 2018

Last few toy theatre cart kits now available......!

In the deepest reaches of one of the most inaccessible cupboards in my workroom, in a cardboard box right at the back, I found the last few toy theatre cart kits, which formed the basis of my Little Red Riding Hood workshop kit a few years ago.

Let your imagination run riot with this ingeniously engineered,  easy to assemble, laser cut toy theatre cart kit.

These were designed exclusively for me and are not available elsewhere.

The kit contains all the components to make a wooden 1/12 scale theatre cart on wheels, complete with fully illustrated, step-by-step instructions. 

The cart has two opening doors in the front, and the roof is also removable for easy access to the interior. It runs on four wheels, and has a steerable front axle with pull handle. There are a number of slots inside the top of the cart to allow for layers of  scenery, stage curtains etc, which can be changed to suit individual scenes.

I had it specially designed to contain changeable toy theatre scenery and characters, but it could equally be used as a toy market stall, or to display a variety of different miniatures.

These photos show how the cart might be decorated.  It could be  painted, gilded, wood-stained or covered with miniature wallpaper or vintage illustrations... the only limit is your imagination! 

Painted and vintage theatre illustrations added. Please note that no illustrations or contents are included with the kit.

The doors open to reveal the spacious interior....

You can add changeable scenery and characters

Cart decorated for a circus theme

Interior of circus-themed cart

When finished the cart measures: 
 4" high, 2  1/4" wide, 1  1/2" deep.

Please note that no illustrations, decorations or contents are included with the kit.

This kit is available now on the website.... HERE 

More bits and a new kit.....!

Following on from my last post, the room in our house which is home to the widest ranging collection of bits is the workroom.

I probably shouldn't call them 'bits'.  Strictly speaking, they're components for making a wide range of miniature toys and kits.

But whatever they're called, I have boxes and boxes and boxes of them....!

So, as part of my downsizing exercise, I'm working my way through each and every box, organising, rationalising.... deciding what to keep and what to sell.

It's all taking longer than I had anticipated, as I tend to get sidetracked by stuff I didn't even know I had!

This past week I've been sorting through my Prams & Pullalongs Bits Box, which contains all the bits and pieces needed to create wicker toy prams and carts, and the wheeled platforms for my menagerie pullalong toys.

So, for one last time, I've revisited the instructions for a lovely child's scroll front wicker toy pram kit which I designed several years ago.  After several days of painstakingly drilling tiny holes in the pram base, carefully cutting dozens of wires to length and measuring out metres and metres of waxed thread, I've compiled a limited number of toy pram kits, which are now available to purchase in the Discontinued Kits section of the website.... HERE.

There is also a Special Offer of £5.00 off a pram kit and toy baby doll.... available HERE
The Special Offer pack also includes a FREE instruction booklet on dressing the baby doll.

Finished scroll front toy pram

My tiny 1" toy baby doll fits perfectly!

Completed pram kit, decorated with lace and fancy trimmings (not included)

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Bits Drawer of Doom......

Following a bitty, fragmented week, during which I failed to achieve anything productive workwise, I hit Saturday morning at a run, aiming to blitz downstairs.

It was all going swimmingly, until I tried to put some small things away in our 'bits' drawer.

Now, let's be honest here..... EVERYBODY has a bits drawer.  We have at least five.  They provide a home for all those miscellaneous bits and bobs, which don't have a natural home elsewhere.

The bits drawers in question this morning are in a cupboard in the dining room.  In no particular order I cleared out

  • Eleventy hundred 'mostly used' tealights
  • 10 year old birthday poppers (I had a 'bit of a do' for my 50th... *ahem*)
  • Assorted ancient balloons (see above)
  • A bit of old chain 
  • Assorted screws (every bits drawer on the plant contains assorted screws.  I think it must be the law)
  • An old key on a broken keyring (see above)
  • 3 very old Christmas candy canes which had disintegrated into a sticky mess
  • Assorted mis-matched birthday cake candles, some half burnt.
  • Happy 50th birthday banner (won't be needing THAT again any time soon)
  • Playing cards, trivia game, quiz sheets etc
  • Tubes of bubbles
  • Party streamers
  • Assorted table confetti lying loose in the base of the drawer
  • Glow in the dark sticks.
  • No end of candles, but none of them matching
  • Plastic spoons
  • 2 dried up felt tip pens
  • Rusty tacks
  • Various unidentifiable bits of metal/plastic/wood - absolutely no idea what they're for or where they came from.
I should perhaps point out that the drawers in question are really quite small, but as I could hardly get them open because of all the stuff crammed inside, I couldn't simply force another few things in and hope for the best.  It took the best part of an hour to go through them, turf out the junk, reorganise and pack away the rest, but I successfully liberated approximately 75% of the available space in both of them.

I wonder how long it will be before they start filling up again.

Feeling buoyed by my success I briefly toyed with the idea of tackling the ones in the kitchen, but fortunately my sanity gene kicked in and I wisely decided to leave those for another day.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Dog talk.....

Small Dog and I are having a difference of opinion.  This is nothing unusual.  Regular readers will know that if there is something SD isn't
short of, it's opinions.

This is the source of our disagreement....

It was one of those jokey things that come up on FB, and I must have made a small involuntary snort because SD emerged from one of her 'power naps' and wandered over, requesting to know what I was looking at.

Suspecting that it might be a potential source of discord, I tried to close it down before she could read it... to no avail.

Small Dog: *frowning* Thatt is knott evin funnie.
Me: *placatingly* Oh come on SD.  It is a bit amusing. 
SD: *emphatically* Kno! Itt kleerlie implys thatt dogs ar simpell, wun-dyemenshunal,  unnedewkated, fauning kreechurs with kno indypendint thotts.  
Me: *non-committally* Hmmm.....
SD:*warming to her theme* Yue shude repoart it to Faisbuke!  Thatt iss a fowl kalumnie on dogkind.  Dogs ar intellijent... ai meen luke at me!  
Me:*choking on my tea* YOU?!
SD:*witheringly* Stopp itt.  Yue kno ai am lerrned.... wel red, nawlidgible, errudyte.  Admittidlie, as a prowd and nobell Yorkshier Terrior ai am an ecksepshun, butt evin so.  Kno dog is THATT stewpid.
Me: *grudgingly* Well if you put it like that I suppose you're right.  
SD:*returning to her bed* Absewlootlie.  Ai doant liek to be a laffen stok....
Me: Perish the thought SD......

Friday, 5 January 2018

Tipping the balance......


Today was all about de-Christmasfying the house and packing away all the decorations.  I've left several strings of pretty white fairy lights in situ here and there in order to leaven the January gloom but even so the sitting room, dining room and staircase look very bare, apart from a light dusting of glitter which escaped the hoover earlier.

This weekend, we'll be continuing in a similar vein, clearing out and decluttering the last spare bedroom, following the sale and departure of my lovely desk and filing cabinets over the past week.  There still seems to be a lot of superfluous 'stuff' in there, but we're going to tackle it all methodically and I anticipate at least two trips to the recycling facility over the weekend, as well as lots of things posted on Freegle.

All being well, we'll then be in a position to redecorate.... paint the walls, new curtains etc and reinstate it as a guest bedroom, rather than a storage facility.

Also on the To Do list is completing minor makeovers in the bathroom and dining room, which with fair winds and following seas should be completed by the end of February, at which point the house should be 'market ready' in time for spring.

Well that's the I am wont to say, what could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Lights, camera, action.....!

I'm finally getting stuck into taking photos for my book.  They're what's been holding the project back all this time... both the quantity and the required quality.  

All of the step-by-step photos have to be taken while I'm actually working at my desk, rather than in perfect 'studio' conditions, so there are many variables in play.... quality of daylight, time of day, etc. I've been fixated on making them as 'standardised' as possible, but I'm not a professional photographer and I don't have commercial studio equipment.  After many false starts I've decided that the most important thing is what is being shown, and not that the colours and light quality are identical in each shot.  

In the same vein, while I'm working, I inevitably get paint and glue on my fingers and I've been stressing about the state of my hands, but of course, they're not the subject of the photos so I shouldn't worry about how they look in the photos either.

The first section of the book contains chapters on tools and equipment, fabrics and trimmings and basic skills.  It requires 100 photos... some full page, some close-ups of detail.  I haven't yet added up the total number of photos required for the projects section, with a chapter for each of the featured dolls and variations, but it will run to several hundred.

So instead of striving for completely perfect, professional-quality images, I need to accept that if this book is ever going to be published I have to simply get on and do the best I can  with what I've got.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Happy New Year....!!!!

Well.... that escalated quickly!  One minute it's mid-December, the next we're headlong into the New Year.

Since my last post I've been to Suffolk to spend a few days with my lovely daughter, have spent Christmas with family then saw in the New Year with good friends.

During the fabled Twixmas period, I did indeed carry on with Willow Cottage (my 1/24th scale project) and have managed to tile the roof and dormer windows, as well as making some internal adjustments. 
Roof tiling in process

I had been going to use printed tile paper for the roof, but I have a load of cardboard tiles left over from the roof of La Mignonette so in the spirit of thrift decided to use those.  However, they are 1/12th, so I had to cut each one to size for 1/24th, which quickly became a chore.  And that's before I tackled the intricacies of a multitude of different angles for the dormer windows.

Finally finished
When the glue is completely dry tomorrow, I'll paint the dormers (they're not fixed in place yet) then all the roof tiles.

I've also decided on the paint colour for the cottage...

At least I think I have.  This looks like a lovely, gentle, shabby green in the pot, but until I've put some on the MDF I won't know EXACTLY how it will look.  It's entirely possible that it will look too green and I'll have to reconsider.  I think I'll put a wash of white on the exterior wall first... partly to prime the MDF, partly to provide a light background for the colour.  Then I'll do a test patch on the back of the building to assess how it looks. 

Also I've got a selection of kits for the interior.....

So far so good......