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...... 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Project management.....

For lo....

Today I did post off the latest batch of orders.

And it was good.

 Thus, verily, I did say.... "I'm taking the rest of the day off".

Thereupon I surveyed my project... all tempting on the desk.  And so it came to pass that I spent all of this afternoon planning and doing.

Despite the fact that I haven't yet decided on the exterior colour, the window frames, skirtings, covings, fancy bits etc are to be Old White, so I whiled away a few hours this afternoon painting all of those, while mulling over how to progress the project.

You see, I have a conundrum (don't I always?) in that this particular little cottage has to actually look like a doll's house.

For those of you who aren't miniaturists, and have no clue what I'm talking about, every house I've ever built (and there were A LOT!) I tried to make as realistic as possible... both inside and out.  They may TECHNICALLY have been called doll's houses, but their ambitions were much loftier.

Having been a miniatures enthusiast and collector for nigh on 30 years, I have inevitably developed a discerning eye, and over the years have amassed an encyclopaedic knowledge of classical and vernacular architecture through the centuries.  The same goes for interior decor and furnishings, window treatments and flooring, fixtures and fittings... the list goes on and on.

But this project is different.  It's not in a specific style or period.  I won't be striving for miniature perfection.  It just has to look like.... a doll's house.

For the first time ever, I'm making a doll's house.  And it's shaping up to be much more complex than my massive 10 foot wide, 15-room Scottish baronial mansion, complete with be-gargoyled Gothic chapel ever was.

I'm having to stop myself wanting to add guttering, and ridge tiles.  There will be no real stone, slate or wooden floors.  No ornate ceiling roses or decorative mouldings.  No flickering fires or real porcelain tiles.

I can't quite desist from adding lighting.  I couldn't possibly have a doll's house without lighting.  Equally I will be adding wooden skirting boards and ceiling coving in all the rooms.

After all... I'm not a complete philistine.

Also, I might change the front door, which is a bit clunky.  And maybe add some quoin stones down the sides.  Possibly some moulding below the roof line... just to add interest.

Oh, and some climbing plants, clambering over the porch and up the front.  That's quite doll's house-ish.  Not painted on though.  Proper handmade plants.

Hmmm come to think of it.... maybe some  little window boxes filled with colourful flowers.  I suppose while I'm at it, I could landscape the base board.  Add moss and soil between the paving stones, with the odd weed pushing through.


See what I'm up against....? 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Let there be light..... !


It's been a whirlwind few weeks, but we battled through a blizzard on Monday to post the the penultimate batch of Christmas orders....

The final batch are now finished and will be posted out tomorrow (Thursday 14 Dec), from which point I'm officially on holiday.


Of course you can still order from the website, but I can't guarantee pre-Christmas delivery.  Plus I'll be in Suffolk for a few days from Monday, but if you're planning on placing an order, and can do it in the next 24 hours, I'll make a special post run on Friday and we'll hope for the best.  Delivery within the UK should be fine,  but the last posting dates for most international air mail have now passed.

So.  Having finished the parcel packaging earlier, I quickly tidied up in the workroom and perused my Twixmas project.

Twixmas is that languid period between Christmas festivities and New Year frivolity.  It's a time for lounging about in front of the fire, finishing off the chocolate and mince pies and generally enjoying a few quiet, relaxing days.

It is also traditionally the time when I get stuck into a new project, freed from the pressures of work and having to be creative.

This Twixmas, I shall be building, lighting, decorating and furnishing a little 1/24th cottage, which I've had for a few months already.  Although my tiny dolls are 1/24th scale, I've never made a 1/24th house before so it will be a bit of a challenge.  However, as it's so much smaller it should be quicker... at least to paint and decorate.

I think I may have gone a bit overboard on the lighting though....

Think Blackpool Illuminations.....
I've never worked with 1/24th lighting before either, so I thought I'd just check out one of the wall lights to see how fiddly they were.  I have two 12v transformers, so disconnected one of them from La Mignonette and connected it to one of the tiny plug socket strips.

So far so good.

Then I unpackaged one of the twin wall lights, plugged it into the socket strip and.... zilch.


I thought that perhaps I'd need a special smaller voltage transformer, but it said 12V on the packaging, and a quick Google showed that a normal 12V transformer would be fine.
Perhaps it was the transformer..... so I disconnected the other one from my day nursery and tried it too.

Still nothing.

Then I wondered if the tiny light bulbs might not be screwed in properly, so took off the lampshades to check.

And immediately discovered why they wouldn't work.

There were no bulbs installed.  What I thought was a miniscule packet of SPARE bulbs, turned out to be the only bulbs.

Not only that.... they weren't screw-in bulbs, like most 1/12th lights.  Instead there were two tiny prongs, much thinner than any human hair, which had to be inserted into two equally tiny holes in the candle fitting.... almost too small to see with the naked eye.

It was at this point that I regretted thinking that 1/24th was going to be quicker and easier.

With the aid of my magnifying lamp, I managed to finagle the bulbs into the candles, and again plugged the fitting into the socket.

Tah Dah!!!!!!
Finally... there was light.  After almost an hour of faffing about, but nevertheless...

So my next task is to plan where each of the lights will go, then, before assembling the house, drill holes for lighting runs and cut channels to recess the wires.

As with every house I've ever built, I will be kit-bashing it, to change the staircases, move doors etc.  I might even cut some additional windows in the side walls.  Plus I need to make a baseboard with a little front garden.  Plans and ideas keep forming and coalescing so the next few weeks before Twixmas I'll be busy with pencil, notepad and ruler.

Plus I'll blog my progress here.  Sounds like a plan....

Monday, 4 December 2017

A Miniature Christmas....

Very busy day today, packaging orders which are now in transit to destinations in Canada, USA, Germany, Belgium and the UK.  The next batch will go out on Thursday and there's still time to order in time for Christmas delivery.

The last ever THD Miniature Christmas selection is now available on the website.

Some of my festive-themed toys
Also available, discounted Discontinued Kits and Discontinued Toys as well as more items added to my Downsizing Sale!

In other news, as temperatures plummet, Small Dog has a new duvet bed, which she has insisted be placed in the warmest spot in the house.