Saturday, 23 March 2019

Crossing the line......

Blimey... almost 3 weeks since my last post.  Doesn't time fly? 

And in that 3 weeks I have been working like a whirling dervish, making up the dollmaker's workshop packs.  It would have been so much easier to do all of them the same, but as this was my last major 'all singing-all dancing' kit I wanted to go the extra mile so offered colour choices on various components.

Predictably I tied myself up in knots over that but after endless hours in the workroom, followed by extensive double, triple and quadruple checking,  I was finally able to start packaging the kits in a military operation which involved commandeering the dining room table.

Almost all of the kits have now been posted.  Several destined for UK addresses will already have arrived.... those heading for international destinations are currently in transit.
Over several days last week I bowled up to the Post Office, laden with huge bags, fully expecting to be lynched by the muttering queue which quickly formed in my wake.  Despite the fact I had weighed each parcel, calculated the exact postage payable, completed the relevant customs declarations and prepared my own certificates of posting, there were inevitable delays as the boxes wouldn't fit though the lifty drawer/hatch thing, so I had to schlepp from one end of the counter to the bit where the post lady could open the window to take each box.  

Trust me, making that walk several times on each occasion, under the mutinous glare of The Queue is character-forming stuff.  It didn't help that the post lady was intrigued at the size of my parcels.... I usually send out very small, lightweight boxes, so my large, weighty packages were the object of much speculation, which I tried to deflect, sotto voce, so that The Queue wouldn't add neighbour-elbowing, eyebrow raising, and sniggering, to their repertoire.

But my time hasn't been completely devoted to giving the Post Office visiting residents of St Leonards on Sea something to talk about.

No by no nonny no.

I've finally got round to re-doing the fronts of my lovely Ikea Moppe boxes, which over the past few years have become a bit dog-eared and faded.

Plus, while I was re-organising the drawers, I came across a little box of Work in Progress dolls from way back, for which I'd prepared all the costume pieces, pleated the silk ribbons etc, so I've had a lovely few days dressing them.....

My work area.... messy but creative
I still have to complete their boxes, and carry out their photo shoot, at which point I will do the whole 'Tah Dah' thing and show them off. 

So, all in all, a VERY busy, but satisfyingly productive few weeks, which hopefully explains my absence.

However..... I'm now girding my loins for the NEXT thing.  The looming end of the tax year, which heralds my annual grapple with the accounts. 


Tuesday, 5 March 2019

I need to get out more.....

I had a bit of excitement today.

No, nothing arrived in the post.  
No, I didn't come up with an exciting new idea.
No, I haven't finished all the Atelier de la Poupee home workshop packs.... yet.

Instead my excitement was caused by this....

Yes.... today was the day I decided it was time to buy a new work iron.  Now if that isn't exciting I don't know what is.....

This photo shows only a small selection, from the cheaper end of the shelf.  Prices at the other end were eye-watering.  Does ANYONE need to spend £160 on an iron?

Regular readers will know that I get through irons at an indecent rate.  

For example, almost 2 years ago....  Iron Woman
And 6 years ago...  Fit For Purpose
And 9 years ago.... Well... I'M Excited...!

In my defence, I do a LOT of ironing.  
Not CLOTHES ironing of course... that would be ridiculous!  
No, my ironing consists of lots of fabrics, silk ribbons, trimmings etc.  For work purposes.

My last iron finally succumbed to the nemesis of all my irons... iron-on vilene.  With some additional help from assorted glues, starch, dyes etc. 

It's once gleaming soleplate no longer gleamed.  It was scratched and blackened, and no end of scrubbing was ever going to restore its once smooth glide, over precious fabrics.

So off we went to Tesco to find a suitable replacement, and after much perusing, humming and hahhing, I finally decided on this...

.... for the princely sum of £12.  

It's perfect.  Smaller than all of the monster-sized irons and it claims to be 'Featherlight Plus'.  I'm always a tad sceptical about claims made for just about everything, but for once Philips has got it bang on.  

It is indeed extremely lightweight.  The first time I tried it earlier, I lifted it with the same force I habitually used for the old iron, and it almost flew out of my hand and straight through the window! 

It will take a day or two to get used to it, but I really like it already.  It has a proper 'silk setting' which is a boon as my old one only offered generic heat settings... cool, medium, hot, thermonuclear.... and I was forever fiddling with the dial to find a temperature which would easily remove stubborn creases from silk but wouldn't frazzle it.

It even switches itself off if I haven't handled it for 30 seconds, which is great as I sometimes forget it's on.  It heats up in seconds too, in case I fall foul of the 30 second rule.
It also has a ceramic-style ''non-stick' soleplate which I'm hoping will withstand the vagaries of iron-on vilene and the multitude of other substances it will come in contact with.

So, all in all, I'm a happy bunny.  Although such an indecent amount of excitement over the selection and purchase of a household small appliance does perhaps signify that perhaps I need to get out more....

Saturday, 2 March 2019

A year of dolls..... February!

Back in January, in a heady fit of enthusiasm, I pledged to create a little toy doll each week of this year, from my virtual collection of Pinterest images of antique dolls.

Unbelievably, I'm still on track, and have completed 8 new little dolls so far this year!  I'll gloss over the fact that I was still working on the last one on 28th February but that's what deadlines are for.

Of course, I haven't just given myself a deadline for January, or February.... I've given myself deadlines for each month this year.  Four new little dolls each month.... one a week.

That's 52 dolls.  

And here's me feeling smug about having completed 8 of them, on time.  Even with my parlous grasp of arithmetic, I can work out that I have another 44 to go.

And each one has to be designed from scratch, along with the fabrics if necessary, and dyeing silk ribbons and trims as required.  Not to mention wigging materials preparation.  
And the boxes..... mustn't forget the boxes. 

Still.... 8 down, on time.  So yayyyyy me!

Here are my February dolls, along with their original inspirational photos.

I had the fabric for this one's skirt and jacket made specially for me, as close to the original as possible.  In this tiny size there have to be some concessions to scale, and the materials I have available, but I was pleased with the way she turned out.

I already had a small piece of a wonderful blue and purple shot silk, which is almost identical to the one in the inspiration photo.  It's difficult to photo, but the silk positively shimmers and the colours show up beautifully. 

Tartans in this tiny scale are very difficult to find, and tiny print tartans in fine silk are impossible to find, so I had this fabric made specially for this little doll. 

I didn't have just the right shade of silk ribbon to match the inspiration costume, so I had to dye some specially.  Those tiny strung pearls around her neck were a nightmare... they're the size of poppy seeds, and even with the help of my magnifying lamp, persuading them onto a fine silk thread had me tearing my hair out.  I won't be trying that again any time soon!

To give a better idea of scale, here she is against my fingers.  And I have very small hands!

I'm honestly torn about selling any of these tiny dolls, as I love each and every one of them, but for this weekend only, they, along with some others I made last year, are available on my dealer page of the Mini Miniature Show.

Each one comes nestled in a tissue-lined colour coordinated box with illustrated lid, accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.

This weekend I'll be deciding on the next 4 for this month, so watch this space!