Sunday, 19 March 2017
Mainly we've been girding our loins to start the 'upstairs makeover' which is now three years overdue, starting with our tired, outdated shower room. It's taken since the beginning of this year to get some quotes. Some plumbers simply didn't even respond to our request for an estimate, others came and measured up but then didn't actually provide one. In the end it came down to two, both of whom were very personable, but one quote was better (not necessarily cheaper) and we were impressed by his manner, so Friday morning he called round to firm up the details and he'll be making a start at the beginning of May.
So we now have a deadline to work to, and as regular readers will know, nothing else galvanises me into action quite like a deadline.
Over the next (quick calculation.... add ten, carry the one, deduct the number you first thought of)....errrmmm.... 7 weeks, we aim to de-clutter like de-cluttering ninjas. PP is going to work through her TWO wardrobes of clothes, and I'm going to work through my SEVERAL bookcases of double-stacked books and we're going to be #RUTHLESS.
All those clothes that haven't fitted for 10 years but have been kept in the vain hope that they might one day fit again.....
All those books that are stacked two deep on bookshelves, some of which remain unread.
All those boxes of random 'stuff' which we can't quite bring ourselves to get rid off.
All those bits of computer equipment (including two desktop pc towers long defunct) which have been kept 'just in case'.
All that paperwork from the year dot.... old insurance policies long expired, bank statements for 10 years ago, guarantees and instruction manuals for items which we no longer have.
All those arcane widgets, reciprocating flange sockets and odd bits of things, about which we have no clue where they came from, let alone what they're for.
7 weeks to de-clutter and regain lost space.... can it be done?
Friday, 10 March 2017
|Fairyland Toy Theatre Kit...|
|.... complete with full cast of characters!|
Show orders over £20 (excluding shipping) will qualify for a free gift and for the duration of the show we are happy to combine shipping on orders from the show and website.
|FREE Dress Up Kitty Kit with orders over £20!|
Smallest Small Dog: *whispering* Pssstt! Mumm!
Me: *engrossed in work* Hmmmm?
SSD: *slightly panicky* Eckskews me... helllow. I'm down here! *frantically waves a paw*
Me: Blimey.... what are you doing there?
SSD: Tryen knott to get ett. Kan yue koll them off plees?
Me: *reassuringly* You'll be fine SSD. They are very amenable wolves. I wouldn't be using them in my kits otherwise.
SSD: Butt thay ar starten to sirckle and surownd me.....
Me: I thought you were descended from wolves and that they held no fear for a dog of your calibre.
SSD: *blustering* Wel yes.... of korse. Wolfs ar mai bretheren. Mai woolf naim is "Smorl Dogg Who Runs Reelie Fast"
Me: Is it. Is it indeed. Hmmm.
Sunday, 5 March 2017
This weekend I was all set to get ahead of the posse and finalise my new kits for the Mini Miniature Show. Everything was going swimmingly yesterday and I had just started to print off all the new sets of instructions when my printer, which had been behaving in an exemplary fashion all morning, decided to take a turravee and suddenly stopped working part way through a page.
The LCD screen then showed an error I'd never seen before, saying that the machine had developed a serious fault and would need to be returned to a service centre for repair.
Undaunted, we set about trying everything we could think of, from simply switching it off and on again (always worth a try), through to doing a full factory reset, courtesy of a helpful You Tube video. However, nothing worked and I couldn't carry out any routine maintenance as it wouldn't communicate with my laptop and we couldn't access any of the settings directly from the printer either
This morning I was cautiously optimistic that it might have repented its wicked ways, but sadly it was still possessed by techno gremlins. It's several years old, long out of warranty, and as it wasn't expensive to start with, we decided that it would be an uneconomic repair.
So, there was nothing else for it, but to do a quick online recce of similar printers and fortunately a newer, better model was available in our local computer superstore at a special offer half price deal! As I was in desperate straits, we shot off to pick one up and within an hour of getting it home, it was unpacked, plugged in, set up and ready to go.
The transition wasn't entirely smooth though. The old, broken down, decrepit printer didn't want to give up without a struggle, and seemed to be resolutely clinging to its shelf. I had to forcibly wrench it off the painted surface before lugging it through to the dining room, where it is currently sitting on the floor, sulking.
I'm sure some enterprising Freecycler will take it off our hands.... perhaps to tinker with, or for spares perhaps?
The shiny new printer is a bit intimidating. It's got a posh touch screen panel and large, colourful buttons which flash on and off repeatedly. It also does a lot of busy, self-important cartridge shuffling for long periods, simultaneously flashing its buttons.
I had an inkling of its personality during the setup, when I had to follow the instructions on its posh touch screen. I was being really careful to install the ink cartridges carefully and methodically and it basically told me to get a move on and close the cover. I didn't like its manner at all, so continued to check and double check that I had the correct cartridge in the correct socket, keeping a wary eye on the screen to see what it would do. It sort of sat there with it's metaphorical arms folded, rolling its eyes.
The eye rolling wasn't metaphorical though, as after a few minutes it started scrolling through the onscreen instructions up to the point I'd reached, then stopping emphatically, flashing its buttons at me in a decidedly "hurry up" way. No sooner had I installed the final cartridge than it whisked the carriage assembly away, nearly taking my fingers with it in the process.
Definitely an uppity, hoity-toity piece of equipment and no mistake.
So the battle lines have been drawn. It's a 1-1 draw at the moment though, as it made a serious blunder during the first printing task. I asked it to do an automatic double-sided A5 booklet and it printed it single sided.
HAH! Not so la-dee-dah clever now... are you?!
We seem to have a wary truce in place... I've finished the first batch of printing and it's been shuffling its cartridges and doing a bit of light flashing, but otherwise all's quiet on the printing front.
How things will develop remains to be seen. Suffice to say I don't completely trust it yet, and will have to keep a wary eye on it to prevent it getting ideas above its station. In my experience, you have to take a firm stance with office equipment generally, and printers in particular.
Friday, 3 March 2017
|The Game of Red Riding Hood|
|The colourful game board|
|Story card game|
|This little wolf cub is destined for a new pullalong toy!|
|Travelling Toy Theatre kit|
|He's promised to be on his very best behaviour...!|
|The cart has a removable roof and two opening doors|
|Interior scenery, backdrops and characters are all included|
SD: (incredulously) Caik? And WYNE? Fore a sik grandmuthr? She neads auntie biotix. Knott wyne and caik.
Me: (patiently) It's a fairy story. Personally I totally approve. What an excellent mummy!
SD: Humph. When is it mai turnn?
SD: (seductively) Well helloo yung ladie. Ar yue goen mai wai. Wokk with me.
Me: "You wicked creature!" With one blow of his axe he killed the wolf and pulled him out of the bed....."
SD: (alarmed) Whooahh.... wateaminitt! Whotts happnin?
Me: "Then Little Red Riding Hood's father cut open the wolf and out jumped Little Red Riding Hood. He then helped the grandmother out. She was still alive but very weak.
SD: (incredulous) STILL ALIVE! Ai gobbuled her up. WHOA! Whott kind of storie is this fore children. Itts unbeleevibl!
Me: (doggedly) "They put the grandmother into bed and gave her some cake and wine. Soon she was sitting up and feeling much better.
SD: (incensed) Caik and wyne? Mutsh bettr? Whott abowt the poore wolf. With its entrales spredd orl ovur the flore. This is a stewpid storie and aim knott playen enimoar.
GF: Shhhhhssssskkksssss *giggle*
Me: Right.... that's it. Story time is over. Let's have a walk up the garden.....
SD: (brightening) A wok? Up the gardin? Ai mite fined a skwirrl....!
Thursday, 2 March 2017
Yesterday was the first day of Lent.
As is traditional, around the dinner table last night, talk turned to what we were intending to give up.
As is traditional, I initially opined that I would be eschewing snouts and entrails.
Similarly, Small Dog declared that she would give up tripe.
Good call SD.
But then I reconsidered and decided to think outside the box.....
Therefore, I shall be giving up procrastination..... my guilty pleasure.
Whether I can commit to a whole 40 days and 40 nights of procrastination free living I'm not sure. I may well spectacularly fall off the wagon.
But *tentatively* so far, so good.
Thursday, 23 February 2017
Great fun was had by all and they've all successfully made it through the various kiln firings to end up as painted and assembled animal dolls. So I've spent some quality time this week starting to dress them....
This presented me with something of a conundrum, as a quick Google search revealed no printed silk ribbons available anywhere.
Hmmm..... still, no problem, *I thought*. I can make my own!
Now, this is exactly the sort of addle-brained thing I usually come up with. Thinking that something is going to be easy and straightforward when it's anything but.
So things went something like this......
Me: Right. All I have to do is design and print perfectly scaled silk 'ribbons' to use for skirts and bodices. Shouldn't take long. I know I have some printable silk 'photo fabric' somewhere. It's in a safe place.
Scene: Several hours later, I'm sitting on the floor of the workroom, surrounded by the contents of dozens of boxes and files, but no photo fabric.
Me: *plaintively* I KNOW it's here somewhere. I've never even used it! Where have I put it....?
Scene: Even later. Workroom looks as though a small thermo-nuclear device has detonated in it. Stuff EVERYWHERE!
Me: Buggrit. Well there's really only one place left I haven't searched, but it CAN'T POSSIBLY be there.
Scene: Five minutes later.
Me: Well I'll be blowed. It was here all along. In the very last place I thought it would be.
Small Dog: *puts her head round the door to survey the carnage* Hav we hadd burglirs?
Me: *scathingly* Yes, very funny. Thanks for all your help. NOT!
SD: *reprovingly* Doant be sarkasstick. Iff yue wontid me to help yue onlie had to arsk. Eniwai, ai wos haven mai shedewled napp. Its in mai kontrakt.
Having found the photo fabric, things did not noticeably improve and I had several abortive tries at designing, rescaling and printing, wasting a WHOLE SHEET of the VERY EXPENSIVE special habotai paper-backed silk in the process.
Successive tries were either too big or too small. Too much ink or not enough....
*more sighing and quite a lot of under my breath swearing*
Eventually, after eleventy hundred attempts, I succeeded in printing a selection of skirt and bodice patterns with just the right amount of ink, perfectly scaled to fit my new little dolls.
And so, I present the first of my new Frankendolls.....
|Harriet Hare, Rosie Rabbit and Katie Kitty|
Made from porcelain, they measure 1 1/2" tall and have jointed, poseable arms and legs.
|They can stand, sit, do handstands....!|
Each doll comes in a neat little box with an illustrated lid.
|Shown by a thimble to show scale|
They're now listed on the website HERE!
Coming soon.... Betsy Bear, Melissa Mouse, Daisy Duck, Lucy Lamb and Gertie Goose.
Sunday, 12 February 2017
I'm sure I've blogged about this before, but Scrapbox have just brought out a new and improved version of their original craft storage unit.
I've drooled over this and its predecessor many, many times, but it's a very pricey piece of kit, (over £1300!😧) and since I currently have the unbridled luxury of an entire room in which to store my work stuff it's never been a serious 'must have'.
However, as I anticipate the prospect of downsizing with a view to taking a form of semi-retirement in the next few years, I've been revisiting my project plan.
Let's say, for the sake of argument, that in a few years time we decide to move, perhaps to a cosy, quirky little flat overlooking the sea. In all probability it would be two-bedroomed, which means that having a dedicated work/hobby room would be out of the question. 😏
Space would definitely be at a premium, and the 'spare' bedroom would have to multitask as a guest bedroom/workroom/office, which is a big ask as it would likely be on the
So, I'm thinking, what if I could create a craft armoire? Using, say, a bog-standard IKEA flat-pack wardrobe. And customising the interior to contain my core miniature-making supplies.
Cue a quick flick around Pinterest, where, naturally, LOADS of people have already done something similar.
|This is definitely my favourite! Love the bi-fold doors.|
|Clever integrated fold down worktop......|
|Integrated lighting.... tick!|
|Inspiring before and after photos...|
|Not an inch of space wasted. Love the pediment too!|
|Must be possible to add a pull-out table into something like this.....|
Some of them have slide out work surfaces, some have pull-down tables. All have maximised the available space in inventive, innovative ways, using readily available storage and display materials.
I already have dozens of plastic boxes, which I use to store everything from silk ribbons to menagerie animals for my pullalong toys, so they would be perfect for internal storage as they stack so neatly.
And if we ever do get round to reclaiming two of the spare bedrooms then I'd be able to use one of them to house my craft armoire project while I work on it!
I just love it when a plan starts to come together.....