Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Picking up the pieces

If it wasn't sad, it would be funny.  Actually, my wonky attempt at a dollhouse is funny!  I started building this dollhouse more than twenty years ago.  At the time, I didn't have any skills, tools, or a proper space to work.
The dollhouse was delivered in instalments every week.  It came with beautiful pictures and lots of promises like 'In any corner of the house, without the need of a workshop or special equipment...' and '...without the need for plans: a simple click, a spot of glue and it's done.'
In reality, the plywood panels arrived warped because they had been shrink wrapped and sent in the post.  None of the pieces 'clicked'.  A spot of glue was never going to hold the house together.

After months of trying, I gave up in disgust.  With a big dent in my pocket and my ego, I dismantled the house and packed it away in boxes.  Those boxes have been moving from one home to the next with me for the last twenty years.

Lately, I've been thinking about giving it another go.  I now do have the perfect spot to put a dollhouse, a workshop with tools, and hopefully, a few more skills than I did back then.  Yesterday I dragged the boxes from the store room, unpacked it, and taped the house together to make sure that all the pieces are still there.

My thoughts while I worked:  
Problems that were insurmountable back then, are no problem now.  Assembling the house will be like building a puzzle for three-year-olds.  Wow, I've learnt some things!
My taste has changed.  What was I thinking with that pink mottled paint in the bathroom??? Yuck!
The house comes with all its furniture in kit form.  It's very basic and not the nicest stuff around.  Is it worth the bother?

The answer is a resounding YES.
  1. Because I can.
  2. Rummaging through the boxes, I still feel the same overwhelming enthusiasm for the house I had years ago.  
  3. It will be relaxing. There are hardly any decisions to make.  Every room comes with a plan and its furniture.  Like paint by numbers.
  4. It's not going to cost anything.  I have all the supplies I need to finish the house.
  5. It would make a stunning photography prop.
  6. I started the house before there was internet.  Now I can go online and search out other people's houses and gather inspiration.  Working on the dollhouse will give me a sense of community.
  7. It's a carrot.
On the 1st September I'm starting a three-month work project.  I'm not looking forward to that at all.  To reward myself for staying on schedule and meeting my targets, I will build the dollhouse in  my free time.  When you see a post about the house, you will know that I've been a good girl!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How to start a creative business

This week, Fig&Me published a blog post about starting your own doll making business.  The same principles apply to any craft business.  The article is in complete agreement with what I always tell people, and it's written in Fabiola's typical gentle and encouraging style.

If you are thinking about starting a creative business, do yourself a favour, go read!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The dog's breakfast

Sometimes the things I make look like a dog's breakfast.

 Um, it is a dog's breakfast.  Several of them.

Attila is not impressed.

I cater for cats too.

Making miniature Whiskas has been a challenge.  The scale is not quite right, but I'm at my limit of patience with very tiny things.

It's that time of year again.  We are preparing for the annual Miniature Festival.  This is the 25th annual show and I've been to every one.  Where has the last quarter century gone??? Note the new venue.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Lena's Wicker Furniture

If there's one thing that gets me excited, it's discovering an unusual craft.

I was recently introduced to Lena, a Lithuanian dollhouse furniture and accessory maker who does wickerwork.

What makes her work exeptional, is that she recycles paper into the straws that are used to weave her beautiful pieces.

Like me, she has animal helpers in her studio.

Lena's work is available in scales suitable for various sizes of doll and dollhouse.  Visit her Etsy Shop and her Facebook Page if you would like to find out more about her work.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Winter is winter

We always say that there's no real winter in Pretoria.  Night temperatures might fall a few degrees below zero, but usually the days are sunny and warm enough to be in shirtsleeves.  Our gardens have a lot of evergreen plants so we don't really notice winter too much.  I grump about the dry and dusty conditions, and August is especially bad because of wind.  But spring is only a few weeks away now!

Today I tidied up files on  my computer, and found summer pictures of the garden.  Comparing it to the dreary view through my window, winter is winter!

Winter is winter, even if it doesn't snow.
  Picking grapes in February. 

 And of course, the dogs will tell you that it's much too cold to sleep outside!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


It's the last week of Goal Setting with Julia.  I have learned a tremendous amount, and my business is benefitting beyond my expectations.
Today's lesson feels as though it is meant for me personally. 
I'm struggling with a commitment I made a number of months ago.  Physically, circumstances have changed.  I can live with that.  But emotionally there's been a shift that leaves me wishing I could just walk away.
I've been swinging like a pendulum between chuck it in or see it through.
After today, the choice is clear.
Only one carries the possibility of success.

Note to self:  Never make a decision when you are angry, and never make a promise when you are happy.