Thursday, 31 December 2015

Goodbye 2015.....

So.... Storm Frank finally rolled through St. Leonards on Sea in the early hours of this morning.  I was wakened to the wind literally roaring round the house and in my sleep-befuddled state thought that the roof was being ripped from its moorings.

Finally back asleep I dreamt that I was living in a house from my childhood, and that a huge storm peeled back the flat roof like the lid on a tin of sardines, and water was pouring into my bedroom.

This is all rather descriptive of how the tail end of this year has felt.  The past three months have been a struggle, right across the board, and I've sometimes felt as though I've been hanging on by my fingernails, buffeted by outside forces over which I've had no control.

As the saying goes, into every life a little rain must fall.  I have no problem with a 'little' rain. It's when it's a constant, torrential monsoon that I get a bit miffed.

So here's hoping that 2016 will be a more generous year.... with a lot more sunshine and a lot less rain.


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Duvet Day Plus......



Yet another hospital appointment this morning, which I wasn't too worried about as I (wrongly) supposed that it would be an initial consultation with a cursory examination to determine the necessity for further tests, which would be booked for a future date.

It feels as though most of my internal plumbing has been in crisis over the past few months, and I've been pricked, poked, perused, prodded and probed via a variety of orifices, none of which were designed for the purpose.

However, in the event, I had the whole kit and caboodle today, with no warning, and, more importantly, no sedation or pain relief.

I'll spare you the gory details, but my yelps and cries were clearly heard in the waiting room just outside, which was, of course, full to overflowing.  When I'd recovered sufficiently to clamber off the examination table and hobble painfully through the door, every pair of eyes followed my progress and I'm sure several of the waiting women blanched in sympathy.

Word to the wise girls, if you ever need an endometrial biopsy, either INSIST on adequate pain relief or self medicate well in advance.

If push comes to shove you could resort to gin.  It may not alleviate the pain but you might not mind it so much.  If only I'd known......

The only good thing about the whole episode is that at least it's over.  

PP has, as always, been a ministering angel.... made me a little bed on the sofa, supplied painkillers, two hot water bottles and a lovely lunch. Small Dog immediately made herself at home on a cushion next to me, and hasn't moved all day.

Thankfully, the post-procedural pain is now under control and I'm feeling a bit more relaxed.  Spending time in the workroom hasn't really been an option today but this afternoon, on the sofa, I've been gainfully employed trying to get to grips with a new computer software program while watching old films on the TV.

As a distraction technique I'd give it 8/10.  

Probably.



Monday, 28 December 2015

Twixmas........

So that was Christmas........

Over a week of festive cheer, unlimited amounts of food, limited amounts of sleep and now we're in the limbo land of time between Christmas and New Year, when we'll do it all over again.

I usually spend this time in a state akin to suspended animation but this year I'm going to put it to good use.

This morning I tackled my workroom, which has been used as a storage area for empty boxes, packaging, wrapping supplies and all the things we couldn't find space for anywhere else.  Having cleared out all of the surplus stuff I've tidied and hoovered and restored it to a workable condition.

Due to being out of commission for the best part of a week earlier this month, I haven't cleared my order book by the end of the year, which I normally strive to do.  It's a good feeling to start the New Year with a clear order book but I was overtaken by circumstances this year and it just hasn't happened.

I also usually set aside January to work on new miniatures and do strategic planning for the year ahead.  I'll be doing a bit of that from next week but with unfinished business from 2015 I'll be playing catch up probably during January and beyond.  

Then there's my workshop planning.... I have two in the pipeline and another for the Cotswold Miniatures Weekend next October.  The latter is the most pressing as I have to have photos of my finished samples ready by 14 January at the latest.

No pressure there then.

It's doable, but at the expense of just about everything else I should be working on.

Then there's my annual dusting off of a languishing project which I started in December 2008.

Yes that's a little over 7 years ago.   Which is shameful even by my standards of procrastination.

I even started a private blog at the time, which I've been re-reading this morning, by turns impressed at my resolution then toe-curlingly embarrassed at my wildly optimistic plans and deadlines.

I can't believe there wasn't a tiny part of my hindbrain which knew that it was never going to happen.  Planning and organising is one thing (well strictly speaking they're two things but in this case they go together) but implementing and following through is another (two things) and while I'm a past master as the former, I'm frankly rubbish at the latter.

Every year at this time I review progress (not much) and resolve to woman up, buckle down and get on with it.  This resolve can last for up to three weeks but then my natural tendency to doubt what I'm doing and how I'm doing it, rears its ugly head and I get downcast, disheartened, and disillusioned.  Then I shelve it again for another year.

I'm going to try really hard not to do that this time.  It's such a big project, which will take up so much time that it's like contemplating moving a mountain of sand with a teaspoon.  I simply can't dedicate the amount of time which it will need to bring it to completion so I try to break it down into manageable chunks, but of course pledging even an hour each day to work on it, and trying to ring-fence that admittedly laughably small period of time isn't so easy, especially when I have umpteen other much more urgent tasks competing for my attention.

So instead of mothballing it yet again, I'm going to leave it out in plain sight.  And even if I can only spare a few minutes out of a working day I'm going to try very hard not to throw in the towel like I've done every other time.

I'm not holding my breath.........




Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Sheeesh........!

My Christmas spirit is wearing somewhat thin.  

I been out of commission lately with a recurrence of the symptoms which had me hospitalised in October and I've been feeling a bit low and bleargh.

Anyway, at the moment I'm not particularly amenable to advances of a less than positive nature.

So when the following email popped into my inbox this morning, rather than simply ignore it, and consign it straight to the virtual bin, I felt minded to reply.......

Here is the offending item in its entirety.  I get these all the time but this one really got my goat.

To Whom It May Concern,

I recently visited the Tower House Dolls website. Target Web Design creates websites that allow businesses to build a better overall presence on the web. We build websites and execute marketing plans that drive traffic to your site and make you more money.

As a first time visitor to your site, I was able to experience what others will encounter when they visit your site for the first time. With that knowledge fresh in my mind, I would like to offer a few suggestions that will increase time spent on the site, traffic to the site, and revenues derived from the site.

These simple improvements to your website that I am suggesting will help you engage new visitors more quickly and efficiently. Perhaps most importantly, these changes will make potential customers want to contact you quicker.

These improvements will:

  • Strengthen your 'Call to Action'
  • Drive your client to "The Point of Purchase" 
  • Build your 'Unique Value Proposition'
  • Build Credibility, Urgency, Uniqueness, and Overall Value
Best of all, these simple ideas will cause you to earn more money.

I feel you are losing page visits, and more importantly revenue due to the mistakes that exist on your current site. While the problems are hurting your business, they can be easily rectified.

For starters, your website is outdated - you need a fresh, modern approach. Modern websites can do much more than what your present site is doing for you.

A more modern design will not just attract new visitors; a new design will also reinvigorate your old customers.

Your current website reads less like a marketing tool and more like a book. Once again, you require a strong "Call to Action" to be embedded into your site. You need to make people call, email, or visit you...NOW!

Accomplishing all of the above is simple in the hands of the right people and the right company. Best of all, this would require virtually no effort or investment of time on your part.

I would like a chance to assist you in improving your business's online success.

Perhaps we can schedule a meeting via telephone to discuss my thoughts and ideas?

In the event you are interested in spending five or ten minutes talking about what you can do to have a better, more powerful website, please send me a quick e-mail at the address listed below and we can set up a time that is most convenient for you.

You can also visit our website and our portfolio of current clients at target-webdesigns.com/portfolio.

Thank You,
Lauren Adams
Target Web Design


"Gee, thanks Lauren".... wasn't my immediate reaction.  But mindful of her parting offer to discuss the matter, I put fingers to keyboard.

Hi Lauren,
 
Thank you for your email.
 
If you really did visit my “old, outdated, mistake-ridden, bookish” website, it wouldn’t have taken much ingenuity to discover my name, rather than addressing your email to “To Whom It May Concern”.
 
Lauren, I have a natural adversity to cold calling.
 
I have a particular adversity to cold calling which is so negative, bullish and hectoring.  I’m sure that in the thrusting modern, dog-eat-dog world of website design it’s all the rage and perhaps it is successful in getting spineless website owners to avail themselves of your no doubt attractively priced services.
 
However, here’s some feedback for you.
 
Don’t just email someone out of the blue, three days before Christmas, to tell them their website is cr*p. 
 

Trust me, this approach does not endear you to a prospective customer.

My website may not be the Starship Enterprise of ecommerce, but it is just perfect for my target audience, who are perfectly well able to find it, navigate it and make use of its shopping facilities.
 
My website my not have flashing bells, whistles and folderols, but it’s backed up by a blog, business FB page and a variety of on and offline social media/advertising platforms.  All of which work for me. 
 
I like the design.
 
My customers like the design.
 
It fits perfectly with what I do.   Do you even know what I do?
 
I’ve had a look at the Target Web Design portfolio, just in case I was missing something, and you were in fact, the holy grail of website design.
 
Hmmm.
 
Not so much.  Am I really to believe that the website you created for Advantage Power & Control is the epitome of web design? 
 
OK, so perhaps I’m being a tad unfair.  I could only find one site you’ve done for a ‘creative’ company but (and I’m sorry if this sounds a bit harsh) Rae Lou’s site looks like a generic template with nothing to differentiate it from any other ‘out of the box’ offering.

So, Lauren, thank you very much for your ‘kind’ offer of help to drag my website out of the dark ages.  I’m sure you’re a really nice person and if I met you we’d get on like a house on fire over a few glasses of chilled Sauvignon Blanc. 
 
But.
 
I seriously recommend that you alter your ‘call to action’ first contact email.
 
It’s not nice, it’s not friendly and IT’S NOT WORKING!
 
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and a happy, healthy New Year! 
 
Kind regards
Sandra


Wonder if I'll get a reply.........

Friday, 4 December 2015

Countdown to Christmas.....

With the festive season just around the corner, we have a selection of tiny Christmas themed toys, doll's dolls and games now listed on the website under Miniature Christmas!

Deluxe Christmas Toy Dolls

Festive Humpty Dumpty just 1" tall!

Humpty has jointed arms and can be removed from his wall to sit anywhere you like!

Santa Claus traditional Jack-in-the-Box

Set of three vintage lithograph rocking toys.

Bonus selection of double sided paper dolls with each rocking toys set

Rocking toys are double sided

Paper dolls

Set of 6 wooden blocks in decorated box

30 different vintage illustrations on the blocks

Boxed set of precision cut paper dolls in Christmas fancy dress costumes




During December we will be having some festive mini fun on the Tower House Dolls Facebook page, so do check back regularly for our Christmas giveaway and competition coming soon.....

Friday, 20 November 2015

Dog tales.....

Small Dog and I talk to each other all the time.

Sometimes our conversations are deeply philosophical, sometimes they're purely functional.

Tonight we had a mix of both.....

SD:  Muuuuurrrrmmmm.....hurrie uppp with mai dinnur.  Ai am starvven.

Me:  Oh for goodness sake.  I'm doing it!  OK?  Patience is not your forte.

SD: Forty!  FORTY?!?  Ai am onlie nein, as well yue kno.

Me:  You're nearly ten.  Do you know how old that is in dog years?

SD: Tenn?

Me: No.  According to the Pedigree website, in human years you are nearly 56 years old and are considered a senior dog.

At this point there was a loaded silence, during which Small Dog gave me a long, hard stare.

SD:  Phiphty sicks.  PHIPHTY SICKS!!!! 

Another long silence......

SD: Seenyore dog.  SEENYORE DOG!!!!

Me:  I'm sorry ..... but yes.  Like the rest of us you are no longer a spring chicken.

SD: *deflated* seenyore dog.  Ai kannot evin hardlie bileev itt.  

Me: * attempting to lighten the conversation* But look on the bright side.  There's life in the old dog yet!

SD: *withering look*  Harummph.  So.  Ai am neerlie retyrd.  Thats OKAI.  Ai eckspekt ai wil gett a penshun.

Me:  Ermmm..... 

SD: O bluddiehell.  Shurlie ai gett a penshun.  Ai have bean Hedd of Markitten & Komewnikashun.... thatt is a importent possishun.  Grate responsibilutie.  Perques of the jobb and orl thatt.

Me:  Yes.  Well.  I'm sure you will qualify for a pension commensurate with your level of management skills.

SD:  Ai shude thinc so too.  *mumbel, muttr.... seenyore dog... phiphty sicks.... peepul thees dais have kno respekt fore ther eldurs.

SD: *brightening*  Stil mummm....ai am yunger than YUE.

Me: Yes.  Yes you are.  Well done.

Me: *sigh*

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Christmas Survival Kit.....

As Christmas edges ever closer, it has come to my attention that alternative Advent Calenders are a thing.

Forget chocolate calendars, or the ones with sweeties in.  There is a whole new genre of Advent Calenders, or as I prefer to call them.... Christmas Survival Kits.


I am totally up for doing one of these.

But I will wrap each bottle in tissue paper and randomise the numbers so we never know what we're getting.

I might tie a little Christmas decoration around each bottle to further Christmasify it.

Anyway, on FB my post seems to have galvanised a movement amongst women who might view the countdown to Christmas as....what shall I say... a bit of a bugger?

So, if you're up for it, we're all going to post photos of our own Advent Calendar in the guise of a Christmas Survival Kit.

If you're in, say YAYYY!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Call to action......



In January this year I did a 30 day blogging challenge and today I was re-reading the list of 'calls to action' recommended during the process.

One particularly caught my eye and I had to visit Tower House Dolls to see if we had it.  
'IT' being the opportunity for customers to leave a review on any items they'd bought from the website.

I don't know about you, but whether I'm buying a book on Amazon, researching a more substantial household purchase or planning a trip to a hotel or restaurant, I ALWAYS read the reviews.  Some of them make entertaining reading, some of them are downright useless, but most of them give me a good idea of whether it's worth buying whatever I'm looking for.

So, apparently, on the Tower House Dolls website we have a Write a Review button at the bottom of each listing.  It enables customers to give a star rating and write a short review, which will then appear alongside the relevant item.


Look for the Write a Review button at the bottom of your listing

Leave a star rating and your review then click Submit


To date we have a grand total of ZERO reviews.  I'm not sure why that is.... we get lots of repeat orders and I have loads of emails from satisfied customers saying how much they enjoyed making up a kit, or how delighted they are with their little toy doll or toy theatre, along with photos of their purchases in their doll's houses.

So, here's the thing.

If you have ever bought a kit, or a finished toy, which is still available on the website, would you be prepared to revisit the listing and leave a review?



As a small incentive, our Hedd of Markitten and Komewnikashun has come up with the suggestion that each month we'll put the names of everyone who has left a review in that month into a draw to win a £5 gift certificate.  The winner of the November draw will be announced on 1 December, and so on.  

Thanks in advance........   












Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Christmas Home Workshop Pack - Miniature Mignonette Doll in Presentation Box

Due to recent events, I have decided to postpone the forthcoming November one day workshop until the spring. However, I have adapted the kit so that it can now be offered as a Christmas Home Workshop Pack

The workshop pack contains all the materials to make a Mignonette Doll Presentation Box, fully decorated and complete with contents.  This box harks back to the heyday of French dollmaking in the 1890s when beautifully decorated presentation boxes filled with a doll, costumes and accessories, were on the wish list of every little girl.




The box is wooden and will be finished with specially printed papers both inside and out, along with precision cut decorative paper strips. It also has decorative 'vintage angel' feet and box clasps.

The basic wooden box, awaiting transformation

Use small scale vintage-style papers and embellishments to decorate the box inside and out






Inside the box are two silk covered pads, which can easily be removed
 The jointed porcelain doll measures 1  3/4" tall and is dressed in an elaborately trimmed fitted silk costume in the Jumeau style.

Dressed in fine hairstripe silk, she has silk and lace underwear, and dainty silk shoes with leather soles.

Attached to her sleeve, a vintage Parisian doll label

Ringlet curls wig and silk toque bonnet

She also looks pretty from the back!

Her costumes and accessories include:
  • 3 different styles of silk dresses on hangers, each with matching bonnet
  • Set of tiny laser cut metal accessories in either gold or silver - jewellery (necklace, bracelet, brooch, tiny tiara, brush, comb, mirror, decorative hair combs, picture frame, all designed and created specially for this workshop session.
  • Tiny posy of silk flowers
  • Beautiful printed fan
  • Eiffel Tower silver charm










This heirloom box would make a wonderful Christmas gift (or self-gift!) for any miniaturist or doll collector.

Everything is provided to complete the box and contents as shown, plus comprehensive workshop notes.

The cost of this Home Workshop Pack is £80 and includes the box and all the materials you need to complete this project as shown. Shipping is extra.

A booking deposit of £25 is required (cheque or PayPal) with the balance payable on the day of the class.

I'm currently working on the special papers for the Mignonette Doll Boxes. I'm designing and printing them, including precision cut paper lace strips to decorate all the edges.

The doll's Jumeau-style costume and various accessories will echo the colours of the boxes, and I will be hand-dyeing silk ribbons and trimmings so that everything tones perfectly.

Currently the colour choices are.....

Pale Pink (the colour I used in the original box)
Lavender
Pale Blue
Soft Green


I will only have a limited number of packs, which are available on a first come, first served basis.  To reserve your pack, please go HERE to pay your deposit.  It would be helpful if you could also let me know your colour choice in the comments box when making payment.

The remaining balance of £55 (plus shipping) will be payable on or after 15 November, after which the packs will be despatched.

As ever, if you need any further information, please contact me.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

L-o-n-g week....

Particularly apt card!
 It's been a long week.

A really long week.

Bits of it have felt interminable while others have been just like Groundhog Day.

Thanks to everyone, family and friends, who have phoned, emailed, messaged and delivered flowers and Get Well Soon wishes.  I really do appreciate each and every one of them... people have been so kind.

Last Saturday was just like any other.  Worked in the afternoon, had dinner, in bed by 10pm, watched some TV, read a few chapters of my book then settled down to sleep.  All perfectly normal.

Woke at 2.30, in pain.  Lower tummy pain.  Really bad lower tummy pain.  Nipped through to the shower room and that's the last thing I remember for some time.  Pam heard a loud crash and rushed through to find me unconscious on the floor.  Apparently I was out cold for around 10 minutes and when I did come round I was very confused.

With the pain getting worse, Pam left me sitting on the loo while she went to ring NHS111, which was when I realised that what was pouring out of me was blood.  Lots of blood.

The next few hours are a bit of a blur.  An ambulance arrived and I was taken to A&E.  If you've ever been in A&E in the wee small hours of a Sunday morning you'll have some idea of what awaited me.  It was like Sodom and Gomorrah on a bad day.

In the cubicle opposite a group of six burly policemen were gathered around a trolley, where an apparently unconscious man was handcuffed to the bars.  They seemed very keen to talk to him, occasionally poking him to see if he was awake.

A few cubicles down someone was vomiting, loudly and repeatedly and elsewhere people were alternately crying and swearing.... sometimes even the patients.

So, I wasn't lacking for entertainment, although by the time I'd had IV morphine and was hooked up to fluids etc I wasn't really in the mood for watching the various spectacles as they unfolded.  If there's one common denominator about being in A&E it's that you leave your dignity at the door.  In between trying to ride the waves of pain, and bleeding copiously into a standard NHS commode I drifted in and out of consciousness, the clamour outside my cubicle blurring the lines between reality and dreams.

Aside from the pain relief, IV fluids and twice being subjected to a painful digital examination (yep, too much information?) nothing much happened for around 5 hours.  Then a surgical registrar appeared and told me I was being admitted to the surgical assessment unit and would be nil by mouth till further notice.

So, about 7 hours after arriving at A&E I was wheeled to a ward, had the toilet pointed out to me and was left to it.

Obs were taken every hour, and due to technological innovations, pen and paper are apparently a thing of the past.  Nurses now carry what looks like a mobile phone, and patients obs/notes/medications etc are entered into it, instantly relayed to the main computer so that they can be accessed from anywhere in the hospital.  Remember that bit, it's important.

They're obsessed with recording pain levels.  However, the various grades of pain aren't really very helpful.

They go - No Pain - Mild Pain - Moderate Pain - Severe Pain - Extreme Pain.

I have my own Sandra Pain Scale, honed by years of dealing with neuropathic pain.

It goes - Meh - Ow - That Hurts - That Bloody Hurts - That REALLY bloody hurts - FFS KILL ME NOW!

Most of the time it hovered around That Bloody Hurts, with occasional forays up into the realms of FFS.  At that point I'd have morphine, which works amazingly well, but drops my blood pressure.  However, since I was flat on my back anyway, the low blood pressure was a risk I was willing to take, in order to be relatively pain free

Meanwhile, down the other end, I was still bleeding and had been for 36 hours.  Which may also have contributed to the low BP.

Day 2 the surgical consultant came round with his entourage and declared that I was having a diverticular bleed, which would resolve with bed rest and pain relief.  I'd have to have a diagnostic sigmoidoscopy, preferably as an outpatient, but as a matter of some urgency.
On the evening of Day 2,  a junior doctor appeared and asked how I was.  The pain was under control and the bleeding had settled a lot, so she said I could go home and wait for the oscopy appointment to come though.  

I can't deny I was surprised, but I was desperate to get home.  Hospital's no place to be when you're poorly.  But I'd had no diagnostic tests at all, apart from bloods.  No scans, no U/S, nothing.

Next day, felt not too bad, still having pain but controllable.  However in the evening I had another bleed. Following morning more pain etc.  PP phoned the endoscopy unit to find out if my appointment had been generated to be told that they hadn't even received my referral yet.  From the surgical assessment unit just along the corridor, via that computer system which ensures that information is transferred instantly.  Remember that?

PP got back to ward who said they'd sort it out.
Next day, no better.  PP rang endoscopy to be told.  Wait for it..... my appointment would be in up to 6 weeks time.

6 WEEKS!!??

By then, both mine and PP's sense of humour had disappeared completely.  In hospital, if one more medic/nurse/auxiliary had told me not to worry and that they would get to the bottom of it *smirk snigger* I'd have ripped their head off and shoved it up their own alimentary canal and see how they liked it.

PP's tether had finally been got to the end of and she rang the ward again, describing in graphic terms how I'd been since last Sunday and strongly suggesting that a 6 week wait for an urgent procedure was, not to put too fine a point on it, taking the piss.

An hour later, the ward matron rang back and said that endoscopy had had a cancellation and they could do me within the hour.

Mad dash back to hospital..... cannula back in, painful enema, (FFS KILL ME NOW!!!) then transferred to endoscopy suite where I was presented with the ultimate in procedural attire.
Don't get me wrong..... I'm a great fan of big knickers but WTF?

Trust me, you don't want to see the back view!

I then had sedation (BETTER than morphine) and some time later, none of which I can remember I was back on the ward.  Apparently, when I came round I was adamant that I'd been to a disco with kaleidoscopic lights but I'm fairly sure I'm an unreliable witness.

When the endoscopy medic came to see me, he reported that they found several areas of "angry bowel" with patches of inflammation, presumably responsible for the bleeding.  The 'skip lesions' were indicative of Crohn's Disease, but they'd taken biospies and I would be seen in outpatients in 2-4 weeks with the results.  Diverticulitis was no longer suspected, and the most likely culprits were Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis.

Not good news but not as bad as I was worried it might be.

So I'm back home again.  Again.  Gradually improving with a few blips from time to time. Pain control is key and we're getting very good at juggling the cocktail of painkillers I've been prescribed.  Soft, bland food is the order of the day, although I'm not particularly hungry.  Lots of fluids and taking it easy to give things a chance to heal.

Small Dog's nursing abilities have been stretched to the limits....


This was the first time back from hospital on Monday evening.  In an inspired effort to take my mind off the pain, SD presented me with her pup, which she then squeaked enthusiastically for 10 minutes until it was removed from her by force.  Her preferred position of lying on my tummy has been temporarily rescinded, much to her disgust so she has resorted to squeezing into a gap by my side, or perching on the pillow behind my head.

PP has been nothing short of amazing, acting as my advocate while I was in hospital and afterwards, sorting out the oscopy, keeping  my pain under control, keeping me comfortable and making me tempting tasty morsels.

So that's one week of my life I'm not sad to see the back of.  I'm tentatively hopeful of getting back into the workroom for some short stints this week, and gradually regaining some semblance of normality.

Never a dull moment eh......?


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

With apologies to Raymond Chandler......

My daughter is currently working on detective fiction with her Year 10 class and devised this as an example to inspire them to create their own characters.



Soooo, while I was waiting for a slew of printing to complete today, I simply couldn't resist..... 


Sammy sauntered into the bar, the very essence of squirrel insouciance.  Hopping onto a stool, he ordered a double weaselpiss on the rocks and from beneath the brim of his battered fedora, scanned the clientele.

He almost missed her at first.  She was tucked into a booth with her back to him.  But one glance at those endless legs told him all he needed to know.

She was sitting opposite Frankie Fox.  A good-for-nothing low life renard with all the charm and charisma of two week old bobcat roadkill. 

He didn’t smell any better either. 

Even from across the bar, Sammy’s nose wrinkled at the gamey tang emanating from her mangy companion.

She slid something across the table.  Her faux diamante bracelet glittered in the harsh lights and he caught a brief glimpse of her vulpine profile.

She was a head-turner all right.  With curves in all the right places.

And places in all the right places.

He had to stop thinking like this.  In Sammy’s book, broads were always trouble.
And the wife of Cornelius Capybara was more trouble than most.

Which is why Cornelius had hired him to dish the dirt on his paramour. 

Sammy knocked back his weaselpiss and declined the barman’s offer of another.  Things were going to get bitey and he needed to keep a clear head.

He jumped off his stool and scampered over to their booth, pausing only to whisk his tail as if winding up his resolve.

“Well….. helllllllo Sammy” she purred.  “Long time no see.”

Frankie’s eyes narrowed and Sammy was momentarily transfixed by his lopsided snarl, revealing freakishly pointed teeth.

Closely followed by a gust of halitosis that gave swamp gas a bad name.

“Hey Frankie….. still a stranger to personal hygiene then?”

She sniggered, then fell silent.

They all looked at each other. 

Waiting.


Things were about to get interesting……

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Miniature Porcelain Dollmaking Courses - starting in October!


Learn how to make beautiful heirloom dolls like these

Starting in October, in St. Leonards on Sea, East Sussex, during this fortnightly course, students will make 3 different porcelain toy dolls in the style and colours of your choice (completely from scratch!) plus accessories (approximate value £100)

Learn the skills and techniques involved in miniature porcelain dollmaking.
  • Casting from moulds
  • Soft-firing for cleanup
  • Bisque firing
  • China painting
  • Doll stringing
  • Costuming
  • Wigging
  • Accessories 
Costumes are made from fine silks

Cost per session - £20 plus a one off charge for materials and kiln firings – approximately £25

Provisional dates are as follows - sessions are fortnightly
 
Wednesday 7 October 7pm – 9pm
Casting and preparing for firing.   Costume preparation
 
Wednesday 21 October 7pm – 9pm
China painting.  Costume and wigging preparation
 
Wednesday 4 November 7pm – 9pm
Doll stringing.   Costuming.
 
Wednesday 18 November 7pm – 9pm
Costuming and wigging
 
Wednesday 2 December 7pm-9pm
Finishing touches

Jumeau-inspired toy dolls


Please note that these are very small dolls, measuring just under 2” tall.  If you are completely unused to working in a small scale you may find the classes challenging! 

However, most people who are used to working in the standard doll’s house scale of 1/12th, or who are active crafters (embroidery, knitting, needlepoint, sugarcraft/cake decorating etc) will soon adapt to the small size.  You may find a desk magnifier helpful. 

To give you a better idea of the scale and style you will be working in, please take a look at my dolls on the Tower House Dolls website, in the Dressed Dolls category.   
 
I can take just 4 students on this course so places are limited.  When I have 4 bookings I will confirm the start date and the course will definitely go ahead.
 
If you need any further information please contact me.

Shabby Chic Toy Dolls