Tuesday, 29 December 2009

IS it coming to a Spring clean in St. Hils?

I am not sure I SHOULD be showing you the photos below as they show me up at my worst when it comes to organisation and tidyness when it comes to all things St. Hils.......but hang...............think what you will.........here they are and I am NOT proud!
I was considering having a New Year photo using our bells and bell tower.............however I opened my bell tower door and realised rather quickly that a bit more than a bit of Spring cleaning and tidying was in order.............................as you can sadly see below...............



You see during my photo shoots I need a QUICK escape route for placing my "little things" that are "in the way" of the camera....................things that are annoying me by falling over like my processional cross.

However I guess the photo above is living proof of rather more..........ie............I am just TOO lazy to put things away properly and so my upper bell tower has become a repository for.........well lets see..............Frances of Buttercup Miniatures' Christmas pudding that I used in my Christmas day home page photo............a peach (made by my sister, Catherine of Dollshouse Heaven) which I found a few months ago under the altar long after we had set up and dismantled our harvest page......... some business cards picked up at the last Miniatura Show (I hang on to them so that I can credit the suppliers of my props on St. Hils)....the altar floral arrangement which has had some flowers pulled out so is not quite respectable to put BACK on the altar yet.......................some holly and ivy used during August/September for our Advent Calendar and Christmas pages..................baby Clarissa's Afghan blanket used by Robert Alexander for his shepherd photo in the Advent Calendar..................shall I go on?  The towel, by the way, is a protection for both free range hand reared cockatiel and church............

Perhaps not.........but BEFORE I go on if you look hard at the above photo I have missed something off........or more accurately...........some ONE!  It is none other than our lady of the road, Rita.  I placed her up there because she told me she was finding it difficult to rest or have any peace at all when sitting in her usual place at the top of the stairs..............poor Rita.........she loves the children and the babies..........but sometimes it is nice to have some peace and quiet...  So it crossed my mind that she may feature in a New Year front page photo up in the bell tower.................but then again she may not............after all bells are VERY noisy when ringing in the New Year!  Oh well......we will see how she feels about that one when the time comes!

Oh dear....................I have strayed into fantasy land again.......sorry about that..............

I have to confess that I DO  have a safe repository for nearly all of St. Hils more precious "little things" and that is actually a case which has special sponge pillows inside in order to protect the more delicate items..............as below..................


Oh dear..........yes you are right - it DOES look rather untidy as I have laid it out for you all to see.................At a glance I like to keep.......Percy Spider in his case and be assured he is actually in his own special box provided for him on purchase (from Tinytails Miniatures) as is our butterfly also provided by Tinytails Miniatures.............cleaning materials including a duster, feather duster, broom etc  (cleaning never stops in St. Hils.......) Catherine's "Tudor carrot colour wheel" with sunflower in the middle....................and no......I think I will stop there as you have all got the general gist here!

I have to confess I also have a small chest of drawers too which is full of St. Hils props...............altar cloths and stoles for different liturgical seasons...............a couple of big margarine tubs filled again with so many different things.........Easter eggs and bunnies..............chicks.............stand up cross.........the list is endless here.  It is a wonder there is room for anything else in our lounge to be honest!

My collection of props just keeps growing as you can all imagine.................the latest being........"Gracie Cakes" and my board games................and speaking of "Gracie Cakes" you all may like to know that I have put the photo below on the home page together link to a downloadable card/notelet with the photo on......


I am particularly loving this new card I created today.........................."G" for "Gracie" works so well when you use "Gracie Cakes".........................hope you like it too........................amazing how creative I felt with these "Gracie Cakes"..............

I am off now..................tomorrow we visit my mother in law.  I am taking her the photos and story taken from our new page on Gracie, GP and Prince.......................she is my number one fan!
Till the next time........
PS I have a small apology to make to our visitors........some of the new downloadable cards may not have had a full border around the picture when printed out..............so I have edited and re-uploaded all affected and also have managed to reduce the byte size too for ease of download...................sorry about that folks..................I could have kicked myself when I noticed it today...............

Friday, 25 December 2009

A Good Christmas and New Year to all of our visitors to St. Hils and more.


Hiya Everyone
Firstly - as it is Christmas morning here in the UK  I want to wish you all a happy and blessed Christmas and New Year as do ALL at St. Hilary's!

I also thought I would share a few things I have been doing over the last few days alongside one small calamity which looks like it won't ever be resolved courtesy the thick pile on our carpet upon which the dining table with miniature church stands.............but such is life and no point crying over spilt milk is there?

I have been busy pulling together the various photos (and taking a few more too!)  taken of our "children" playing various board games over the last few weeks with the aim of creating a Games Afternoon  page which introduces Gracie, GP and Prince to St. Hils formally for the first time.  As I checked the adhoc photos taken........ie children playing snakes and ladders.........chess................solitaire...........dominoes etc......I quickly realised that the back drop and props were sometimes completely different so I knew it was impossible to palm it all off as a "one day event" as it were.  So you will see that we have put it online as a series of events and "one off" occasions instead where Gracie may or may not be there at the time.  I hope you all enjoy the new page!

I have deliberately NOT given too much away about Prince...........and have yet to work out HOW he was found roaming and wandering in and out of church...........especially as he is NOT a stray........but I have made sure you all aware that he IS an ex-guide dog and has been taken in by Rev Ken and family.  However an "ex-guide dog" he HAS to have some kind of history inorder to explain WHY he didn't quite "make the grade".  I DO have in mind the main reason..........but it will become apparent as time moves on. 

I must share with you here a photo which didn't quite make it to the new page itself....unyet I really LOVE it.  I took it using just natural light during yesterday and with my Canon 980 Ixus on a stand, image stabiliser turned off, on manual mode, ISO 200 and long shutter speed determined by the camera's intellect and not mine!  I also had the ten second timer on too in order to eliminate camera shake....



I think it looks really good - AND crystal clear even on the full size version which is not seen here for obvious reasons!  I felt it was TOO dark to entertain on the page itself but for some reason or other it gives such atmosphere too....................................hope you all agree with me there!  Note that "Christmas cards" are still being advertised behind the children!  I did pull that leaflet off in later photos however.  I tell you - so many "faux pas" on this new page and this is one of them!  However I still hope that it works for all our visitors even so..........

Before moving on from "faux pas", I was most indignant when I accidentally flicked a small black draught off the board whilst trying to slide it into place with a miniature candle!  You would THINK that a miniature candle would be a better tool for this delicate job than a clumsy finger of mine.......WRONG!  That was after the umteenth attempt which, when finally accomplished each time, was scoobered AGAIN by a botched attempt by myself to add another prop to the scene to give added interest but only succeding in knocking something else over........booooooooooooooooo

You all may also have noticed that I have also completed a clean sweep on our Downloads page where you will find that ALL the old "general" cards have been deleted but, in their place, are six brand new ones which I spent time yesterday creating alongside two New Year cards too.
Hope you all like the new selection.......


Anyway...................I better leave you all in peace as we plan to arrive in time for a Christmas morning service at our church for 10.30 and Andrew will soon be running upstairs to see what I am up to....................poor chap..........
Till the next time.


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A short one from me today..........to share a photo I took when my sister came around...

Hiya Everyone!
You will be pleased to know I have my mitts on some new props for St. Hils..........I will not share them with you quite yet although some who have read my previous blogs may well work out what at least one set of items are but I am giving no clues here unless, of course, you fancy back tracking my blogs and see if you CAN work it out...........
My sister, Catherine, came around today as we exchanged our usual presents etc and she brought some of her latest work to show off to me.  Of course I have seen it already on her website ie Dollshouse Heaven and in an email attachment but today I was able to see them in the flesh as it were.....




I decided it would be fun to pose this ceramic basket with flowers in St. Hils using a couple of my "children" as models................as you can see above Adele, again, has won the task after begging the others to let her be THE one to hold the basket..........................such a media girl as she is......  Robert Alexander is so intrigued to see these flowers too he can hardly take his eyes off them...........and Eric (father to Ernest) is also fascinated and thinks the flowers smell really lovely......  If you want to find out more about this beautiful ceramic basket and flowers visit Catherine's Flowers page where she is selling this one and another one with a lemon basket.

I have quite a bit of work to do now of course.................I plan a new photo for the front page of our site to coincide with Christmas but I am not letting you know yet what it is................you will have to visit on Christmas Day to find out. Also...........I need to regress my age (oh if that were REALLY possible! and if it were - would I really want to regress this far..........21 will be fine) and try to think like a seven year old in order to complete a little job...............and it involved crayons, a tin and some drawing ........oh and yes.......some paper to write on of course................wish me luck.....................

I will be back............after I have played with a few more photo shots inside St. Hils....................well of course.....
Tlil the next time.....
PS NO apple and custard doughnuts in Marks and Spencers today - booooooo.............the label was on the shelf but there were some OTHER kinds of doughnuts on there.................NOT the ticket at all...............................such cruel deception for someone such as myself who had been looking forward to this moment all morning whilst at work........

Sunday, 20 December 2009

ANOTHER Calendar calamity........this time discovered whilst doing a spot of personalisation......

Hiya Everyone!
You know.............gremlins have been playing inside my computer again...............they seem to particularly love MS Word for some strange reason and the most recent one is...............Advent SUNDAY was suddenly on the following Monday - what is that about?  I can assure you all that I have immediately set to and amended the downloadable calendar affected so those who have already downloaded version 1 please feel free to download it again  here as it IS perfect as far as I know.....until someone tells me different of course................The version 2 which prints a photo and calendar per page is unaffected which again begs the question - HOW did the first version go so astray?
However if anyone HAS noticed this mistake before me...................be assured only GOD is perfect as I have said before.................it is my excuse and I am sticking to it!  So folks if anyone has given anyone a copy of this calendar in good faith you have your answer if the question is raised...........................

I expect you are all wondering HOW I found out about my latest calendar calamity?  Well it all stems from a little exercise that I had in mind and that was to print out a couple of personalised copies of the calendar for a couple of my work colleagues who each have various pets. 


You may remember that our new "girl on the block, Gracie, (as above!) has her very own pet guinea pig called "GP".  "GP", is named after a REAL guinea pig who is owned by a friend and work colleague.  It seemed a great idea to see if we could add the real "GP" to some of our calendar photos so that he too has visited our church...................so in that task I have created a special personalised calendar for my work friend which includes not only her pet, GP, but also her wirehaired dachshund, Klaus, who is still a puppy but has already won a prize or certificate in dog shows this year.



See above that I have also added our adorable hand reared pied cockatiel to the strange mix although I am not at all sure if Klaus would really appreciate having a hat named Pebbles!  GP, ie the REAL one,.....IS here......he is hiding behind Ambrose' trousers...............he is just having a little nibble of some greenery he found in the churchyard.........

I am dying to share something else with you too with regards to our Gracie.........but that will have to wait til I have more to tell and show you......................so instead I just want to share a little more with you about our rather different Christmas carol which I chose for today on our Advent Calendar (ie Sunday 20th December).

During the Summer I was canvassing far and wide for ideas for carols for inclusion on the calendar and so it felt SO right to be as international as our church congregation and clergy........hence a German and French carol for starters......although yes - I know we have, as yet, NO French person, but who knows what the future may bring.............
I was particularly keen to have something Australian because, after all, our vicar and "lady of the road, Rita, were both made by Rachel Fritz, an Australian friend of ours. So when another Australian friend suggested "Christmas in the Shrub" and emailed me the words I was, at once, most intrigued by it........my imagination ran riot imagining wallabies, wombats and kangaroos to mention a few hopping about INSIDE St. Hils.................................  Copyright was the immediate concern but I had no reason to worry as our friend knew Leigh Newton, who wrote the carol, and was able to ask on our behalf and it was gladly granted on the provision that a link was provided to their website where visitors can actually buy a CD with the carol on.  We urge you all to give the site a visit and let them know how you found them...........plug plug!

I will try to resist letting you in to my latest excited secret for St. Hils in the New Year.............all I can say is it involves our Gracie in a big way.............and, instead, leave with another photo which I personalised for GP (the real one!) and his family's St. Hils Calendar for 2010...........enjoy!




Til the next time...................which may not be too long at all as I am too excited to let you hang on for too long waiting here.............


PS If you can't see GP so well above in the wheel barrow......here he is sporting his very own Christmas hat .....isn't he SO cute.........almost as cute as Gracie's pet, GP!

PPS...........added at 17:36 GMT Sunday..........just had an horrific afternoon..........came upstairs this afternoon to find PC was switched off and dead as a dodo.............Andrew changed the fuse......we switched the power supply but nothing...........so up to PC World where an angel in the form of a tech support guy took the machine off us, opened it up before our eyes, proclaimed it needed a new power unit and proceeded to do the job for us...........then he found that the processor's fan was bust so replaced that in the nick of time because we were in danger of burning the processor out.  Talk about "God's timing" being perfect...........if the power supply had not broken we would have lost our processor completely..........
We were panicking because we had backed up - but not in the last few days..........and uploading my daily Calendar is a MUST as I don't want to let you all down who visit each day faithfully.....

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Continuing memory lane.............this time remembering Emily's story.......


Hiya Everyone!
Firstly I hope you liked young Robert Alexander posing as a shepherd on today's  Advent Calendar page!  Poor Georgie and baby Clarissa though..............................

I have been reminiscing..........with particular emphasis on the dolls that came from my mother's Welsh display cabinet in order to live in St. Hils.  There is one in particular who has a special place and that is Emily!  Emily, I feel, had quite a life BEFORE she came to St. Hils.  To explain....................my sister, Catherine, of Dollshouse Heaven used to love sitting Emily in her corner shop.  This is not any old shop but actually a hardware shop.  You can see it in its full glory here...................




Catherine, if I am correct, modelled it on a similar scene she had seen at the Black Country Living Museum.   She is very keen on social history and it has very much fed her interest in miniatures as she attempts to recreate scenes from the past.  It is Catherine who made me aware that carrots in Tudor times were PURPLE and not orange and she even provided me with a purple carrot colour wheel for one of my Harvest Festival pages in order to add a unique splash to the occasion.

Sadly you can't see the stool that Emily sat on whilst she was living there. For anyone wondering.........yes..........Catherine DID place ALL those wooden boards on the wall individually!


So far Catherine has created a war time cafe just after a bomb has struck and an up and coming idea is an Andersen shelter.....again an idea taken from the Black Country Living Museum.

This shop, which has a living room upstairs, was one of Catherine's earlier projects. The upstairs living room is permanently set up for Christmas..........with paper chains, presents around the fireplace ........festive food made especially for the occasion by Catherine herself...........Our late mother, Hilary, REFUSED to let Catherine EVER take the Christmas decorations down whilst she was alive so even to this day............the upper room in the corner shop is all ready for Christmas Day.......................  Although on that issue I have a small confession because Catherine allowed me to raid it in order to put my Advent Calendar together.....so many of the extra presents on some of our Advent Calendar pages are courtesy of Catherine's corner shop.......thanks Catherine! 

You can see the upper living room below on the day I "borrowed" some presents....oh yes AND a couple of Christmas cards you also see on my Advent Calendar..................but BEFORE I vandalised it.............Note also the Tudor style wooden beams in the ceiling........all executed by Catherine herself MOST ably....



Catherine even wrote a story around Emily and the corner shop too...............and it is Catherine who named her..........well of course.  It is also Catherine who spelt out her character to me and I can almost quote her here as she told me, when she passed her over to me....... that Emily "is a complete tomboy who, when not attending church, would rather be up a tree!"  We both liked that idea for Emily because it explained away something rather unfortunate..........................................see below for the worst case scenario when photographing poor Emily............and before you ask - I have NO idea how things got to this stage of untidiness.............



As you can well imagine - this photo, which was taken for the page featuring the children completing a lesson by Miss Lorna Webb on the topic of Pentecost,...........NEVER saw the light of day..............well ...until today of course!

As you all will have gathered......the issue of her awful untidy hair was no issue to me at all.......it just added more fun to the story............talk about the poor girl having been dragged through a bush backwards.....Emily certainly qualified for that one poor girl!

However as with all things.............life NEVER stands till and so it was that one day whilst posing Emily the inevitable happened and horror or horrors.........I dropped her and by some awful accident she lost half of one of her legs.  Now I KNOW that I make great play of how accidents give birth to new storylines......but after this particular accident I was completely at sea......after all HOW do we pose Emily with only half of one leg? 
All was well after a word with Jane Davies, who made Emily originally.  She agreed to take poor Emily back to her home and, because she no longer used the kind of body Emily had, gave her a NEW body.  However Emily not only was bestowed with a new body......but a NEW hairstyle too..................see how she looked on her return.......and imagine the surprise of her Sunday School friends when they saw their pal looking SO tidy with her hair all brushed and with a ribbon.......



It is quite a while now since the above photo has seen the light of day on St. Hils website................but with so much going on I have to make hard decisions from time to time as to what to keep and what to delete.......and as it gets bigger the decisions get bigger.................. 



I love here how you can almost immediately see that Emily has not changed one bit because the jar of tadpoles is rather tell tale isn't it?  So she is STILL a tomboy, albeit a "tidy" one (for now?!), as she shows off her newly caught tadpoles to her friend, Priscilla Jane!  Again no prizes for guessing who made the tadpoles (some still for sale on her website...) ........well my sister Catherine of course.....

Well - that is all for now.....................but DO remember to keep checking out our Advent Calendar as each day unfolds.............there are still a few surprises to come too............................cos the children and congregation have been pretty creative this year with their Advent calendar......................
Till the next time

Friday, 11 December 2009

I hope you are all enjoying our Advent Calendar.....




Hiya Everyone!
I hope you are all enjoying our Advent Calendar!  I have to say it has been quite interesting for ME too and I will tell you why.  You see as some of you will know I put the calendar together back in August/September so I seriously have NO idea what is on each page anymore until I check it over and upload it.  Every day it has become exciting as I check out what is in store for tomorrow.................(is that called a "senior moment?)

You will have noticed that I have tried to have a balance of "old and new".  The children have walked down memory lane and insisted on including some old favourite photos of times remembered in St. Hils.....as well as enjoying new photos being taken of them too............

The church started off life as a glorified room box in all reality.  I can honestly say that, when I check over the old photos of the church before the extension, I am truly amazed HOW I managed to make so much out of it in terms of furniture rearranging, liturgical changes required for each church season..........and most of all the stories I came up with.
And so.......(yes - I KNOW it is not grammatically correct to start a sentence with an "and"......lol!) I fancied taking you on a trip down St. Hils' memory lane.......................

I have had to delve into my archive here to show you some really OLD photos...............



This photo (as above) is how the church looked after we had our original delivery of furniture from Sharon and Mark Stockton of Stockton Miniatures in the USA...  This WAS the very first Christmas scene we ever set up in St. Hils too. 



Poppy (seen here on her very first Christmas in St. Hils!)  was our very first member of the Sunday School and she was shortly joined by Clarissa Elizabeth, her baby sister..............  Poor Poppy and baby Clarissa because, to begin with, they were effectively orphans.......as we had yet to work out WHO their parents would be.  We still haven't introduced their mother and if she IS mentioned she has no name.  Fortunately for us her father soon turned up as the curate, Rev Ken!

I MUST share a treasure I received in the post yesterday.  You all may remember me mentioning the passing away of my dear friend, Jan Craven back in October?  She was a great supporter of St. Hils of course and inspired me to keep the weekly collect taken from Common Worship on the website week by week. 
Rob, her husband, sent me the latest Holy Trinity Church Stratford upon Avon's magazine which had THE most wonderful tribute to her...........photos, a summary of her life as well as tributes from friends and family.
And so......................this took me back to quite a few years ago when it was Jan herself who suggested we had a patronal festival in St. Hils.  THANK YOU Rob if you are reading this!

However CAN you believe it cos I genuinely forgotten that St. Hils celebrated their patronal festival til today whilst perusing old archive photos. St. Hilary was a man of great faith....................and in his faith I think not just of my mother who originally inspired me to have him as our patron saint but also now of Jan too!

  You can all see above our two boys, Ben and Tom, singing a duet at the patronal festival as Poppy and the other children listened!  We are not sure that Poppy looks VERY impressed does she?

Apologies for the appalling ruddy/red cast on the photo but that sadly was the standard of my photography in those days courtesy of my very first digital camera, a Kyocera. (4 meg!)  I look back and wonder HOW such poor photography in what was, in essence, a room box masquerading as an old village parish church, attracted the visitors it did.   Our  guest book archive bears witness to this though as we have guest book entries dating right back to December 2003 which was only a few weeks after my dear mother died.

Returning to the matter of a patronal festival.  It will be NO surprise to you that it was Jan who found and emailed me the collect for St. Hilary's day too.  In fact it falls in January and so I am tentatively considering another special patronal festival this coming January and, although I am not going to make a great announcement of the fact, in my heart it will be done in her memory as it was HER idea after all!

I have NO idea WHAT our story line/s will be............and you will be interested to know I often don't!  I set the dolls up in various poses after having a few rough ideas......................and sometimes mistakes and accidents occur which add an interesting twist to the story.......................  I particularly remember one storyline currently on the website which was completely accidental..................it involved Robert Alexander whom I had posed sitting near the altar rail.  Unfortunately he fell over slightly and ended up resting his head on the altar rail. 



You can read more of the story on our website Blessing of the Altar Rail page...........  I decided he fell asleep as his eyes are set to appear to be looking down slightly so lending themselves neatly to the storyline..........

DO keep coming back day by day to see what other photos the children have posed for and chosen for each day..................I particularly LOVE a couple of photos where the children insisted on dressing up for the occasion and posing as........................?...and a ...................?

Til the next time

PS. Andrew did so well playing for his father's thanksgiving service this Tuesday gone. We have Jan to thank here too.........you see we loved the way that the committal was also done as part her church thanksgiving service last month and thought it would work well for Dad's thanksgiving service.too.  It worked so well as it enabled all who came to share in the whole service whilst the family were released to attend the many who came to bid Dad farewell.............as we shared together in the church hall afterwards over light refreshments etc........




Sunday, 6 December 2009

Of Christmas and other card killer mistakes.............all mine of course!

Hiya Folks
I have to share with you my latest faux pas. Sadly it was pointed out to me only a short time ago by one our visitors and I am very grateful to them for it too.................................here is the worst below........see if you can spot the problem.........





Um...............HOW did I miss that one pray?..................worrying times me thinks if my sight is failing THIS badly!  Poor Alice................she has no mention at all .........and WHERE is Homer in all of this Christmas morning activity......?

Also..............poor Miss Enid has been wearing "oran shoes" for a long time too.............and I never noticed!  Poor Miss Enid!  However be assured these two and other mistakes pointed out to me today have been duly corrected.  She is now wearing proper "organ shoes" again!
I apologise to all those out there who have been disappointed as a result of my poor workmanship!

Seriously..........I really rely on all of you out there to be let me know if you spot anything amiss on the site.  It has grown so big (my stats state over 500 urls now!) that it has almost become TOO big for me to keep complete control of....................but I still LOVE it of course and will continue to add and edit it as my storylines develop and change..................

Just noticed another "faux pas" and it is on our Advent Calendar Day 7....................anyone spot it?  I will give ONE clue and it concerns Rev Ken.........

Work tomorrow.....................and a sad day on Tuesday as it is my father in law's funeral day and Andrew is to play for the funeral.......................  Mum is a great supporter of St. Hils though and that has helped cheer her spirits just a little even in this, her darkest hour............

Friday, 4 December 2009

Lets hope Adele's popularity in the media doesn't go to her head!

Hiya Everyone!
I am back again and much happier too now we can edit and upload our changes to St. Hils after the technical support team resolved the problem so quickly!  I had an email from them when I arrived home to say the problem was resolved............and sure enough it was!
Enough of that and on to the real business of the day and that concerns our young star, Adele!  I am a tad worried about her and I will explain why.
You all may remember how Christiane, the editor of The Dollshouse Magazine, gave our new Advent Calendar a little plug in the December edition?  Well for those who haven't seen it.......the star of the show on that occasion was...........Adele!  She even remembers the picture being taken of her standing on a chair decorating the church Christmas tree last year.  When she saw herself in the December edition she wasted NO time telling everyone at church too!

Imagine her surprise when she saw the January edition..............and who's photo did she see in this magazine?...............no surprises for guessing.........HERS of course!  There she was actually TALKING to Christiane at the Miniatura Show back in October when she went with Ben, Tom and Esther!  Do pay a visit to our Miniatura Visit page and see how they all did if you haven't already done so.

Adele wasted NO time did she?.................she HAD to spread the news of her newly found fame to all her Sunday School friends...................and here you can see her telling Robert Alexander ALL about it.............


I am not sure how interested Robert Alexander is though............I think he looks ready to give a big yawn........and who can blame him because she has even decided to bring her Miniatura brochure to church to remind people............


Oops - again a stray into fantasy land......................................However I thought that you all deserved something more positive after reading my whinging about uploading problems...............................

I leave you with Georgie, Prince and Eric having a little chat.......................ummmmmm..............I  feel THEY look a tad bored with Adele................because she is plainly droning on.........and on.............and on...........about her new fame after finding her latest media appearance in The Dollshouse Magazine January 2010 edition...........................lets just hope it doesn't go to her head!

Til the next time...........

Problems on our Advent Calendar are now RESOLVED - HOORAY!

Hiya Folks
Just to tell you that all is back to normal now and our Advent Calendar is now up and running WITH Day 4!
Thanks for all of your patience folks!
I will be blogging again later on today so keep checking this out.................won't let you know what it is about til later though just to keep you all guessing.......
Til the next time!
Sx

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Spot the deliberate mistake......................just goes to show how you forget......

Hiya again everyone!
Just a quick short blog today because I have just realised that I have made another "faux pas"! You see as you may all remember, I created our Advent Calendar 2009 back in August this year.  So imagine my surprise when I decided to let all our visitors have a sneak preview of Day 1 because it IS Advent Sunday on 29th November and therefore officially Adventide!

Check it out Day 1 for yourself and see if you can see a discrepanacy here............the clue being.........the altar cloth colour!  I get SO cross with myself when I find out my forward planning or memory lets me down.....and let me down it HAS!  However am I going to change it..................nahhhhhh  I refer you all back to my earlier comments about eccliastical embroidery..........ie...................tradition has it that there is always ONE mistake ........because only God is perfect.  So.......I rest my case!

So please excuse the fact that we have used the more traditional PURPLE on our Advent Calendar Day 1 page whilst changing it to BLUE on our home page in order to celebrate the arrival of Advent in St. Hils.  Anyway.......................... they are BOTH  "colours of Christmas" and equally valid..............

On another front Andrew has a "little confession" to me yesterday morning before he went to work.  He had a little "accident" and knocked one of my little dollshouse chairs on to the floor.  It was standing on the little cabinet next to where I sit in our lounge and he brushed past it when he was busy renewing the bird bath outside.  The chair lost one of the bars between two of the legs so Andrew used our good and trusty wood glue.  He showed me the result................and to be honest he could have got away with that one if he had not told as I would NEVER have realised......................but also..............I was the daft one leaving it outside the church and "vulnerable" to such accidents.......................................

Till the next time
PS Andrew saw a little robin going to the smaller of our two hanging feeders............an interesting observation as we always considered a robin to be a ground feeder...........but perhaps THIS robin has never read the book?

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Of Advent wreaths and photographic faux pas........


Hiya All
I am back again and this time it is courtesy of Frances from Buttercup Miniatures.  All I had said was that I loved her newly crocheted/designed Advent wreath and I received one in the post!  You see as you will all have now gathered.....I am always looking fowards with St. Hils......ie WHAT shall we do NEXT year for Advent........Christmas.................Mothering Sunday..............the list goes on.  I am always so keen that each year I do something just a "little different" from the year before so any ideas from my friends and St. Hils supporters are all warmly received.  So please DO feel free to let me know if you have any ideas for any of our future pages and I can asure you that I fully credit all contributions on my site.

So for NEXT year this lovely green crocheted Advent wreath will be my "little difference" when the children celebrate Advent. 

No prizes for working out WHO is in this photo below posing with the said wreath and it is..........



Gracie!  Well of course!  The wreath is made to either sit on a table or to be hung up.  Of course the white candles can be ANY colour but I actually very much love them as a plain white.  No photo is complete without at least ONE pet or member of the local wildlife so you cannot be surprised to see both Tinker the black cat and Syd the pigeon who is one of Homer's two pets who arrived with him when he came from Germany.  You will see that I have also borrowed a candlestick and white candle from the altar!  It is a good thing that I can "borrow" items within the church because nobody will ever see that the altar is temporarily mssing one candlestick and candle!   I HAD to add the candlestick with said candle in order to complete the Advent wreath...................and I think it looks quite good already!
I did have one devil of a job though trying to get our Grace to stand up.  It is great that she has got 14 joints but that becomes a nightmare when trying to stand her up as I have mentioned before on account of the joints at the knees and hips springing back and forcing her back into a kind of sitting position again.....arghhhhhhh  However we got there in the end.............as I am not one to give up that easily.

As per usual I was not happy to keep things that simple.  So I thought it would be a great idea to use some holly with berries which Catherine, my sister, of Dollshouse Heaven, let me borrow a couple of years ago now.  For some reason I STILL have it! 



So here you can see Tom has arrived and he thought it a great idea to use this holly as you can see..............


Gracie was NOT going to be out done here so she too decided to add some more holly with berries to the wreath to make it look pretty.............doesn't it look good now?  See a close up here for better detail of the wreath.............




You have now seen the best of the photos taken late this afternoon before the light became too low and dingy.  However I took one photo which I felt was not quite "good enough"..........see below if you can spot why?


It is poor Tom! I KNOW that boys can be a bit slap dash when dressing and making sure they always look decent but this is NOT a good show is it?  Tom's trousers have been the bane of my life for years!  I pose him in what I think is a perfect pose.  However when I check the photos on the computer a little later I am so annoyed because I missed the salient point of his trousers not being properly arranged!    I am sure that I can find a story for this but for once I really would rather not!
So I had to retake the photo as you can see further up.  Sadly the light was not quite so good outside by that point though. 

Now on a not completely different subject I must share with you the commission I have given my sister, Catherine of Dollshouse Heaven to make for me............ie.........fairy cakes to be brought to church by our Gracie!  Catherine was chatting to me yesterday about these said little cakes and she thought that we should re-name them "Gracie Cakes"!  What a GREAT idea! Gracie makes them of course so perhaps, just perhaps, she has a secret recipe for them which she will refuse to share with the children when asked.
Catherine has also emailed today and this is what she had to say..."Hi Sarah - I've had an idea for a theme for the Gracie Cakes - how about iced sponge drops with different sweets/chocolates on top? Just a thought."

.....And so...........I have thought............and I think my sister's idea is a brilliant one!  Catherine is also going to let me borrow a plain miniature cake tin too for Gracie to bring her cakes to church.  This gives Gracie scope to decorate the tin herself.  I am sure I can see her making her own little notice to stick to the tin in order to advertise her home made and original recipe "Gracie Cakes" to the other church Sunday School children.

Well folks that is all for now.  Don't forget to check out St. Hils in the next few days when our new Christmas page will be online alongside our daily Advent Calendar................................

Till the next time..........
PS - Andrew must think we will drown in Marks and Spencers "French Apple Tarts" as they are called in their bakery as well as their chilled apple and custard doughnuts.  You see - I saw some of both yesterday and today and went mad......................I daren't tell you HOW many of those yummy doughnuts are in our fridge at the moment...........if we aren't careful we will be having them for dinner...........  So if it is famine tomorrow I am all prepared...................talk about a siege like mentality .....lol

Sunday, 22 November 2009

How to have a flame in St. Hils without burning the church down.......



Hiya All!
Just thought you would all be interested to know that I have had "fun" this afternoon.  You see.........as it is Advent Sunday next Sunday I was keen to have one of our "children" given the responsibility of lighting the first candle on our candelabra  Most churches have an Advent candelabra in the shape of a wreath with four candles and one higher/taller in the middle.  Each of the four candles represents a Sunday in Advent so every Sunday sees the next candle lit until the middle candle is lit on Christmas day to signify the birth of Christ.

I have to confess we do NOT have a proper Advent candelabra.  However we do have one which fortunately has five candles although in a straight line.  We have to thank Stockton Miniatures in the USA for this candelabra and many other of our pieces of church furniture which are all made out of black walnut.  We particularly love our altar as Mark Stockton has carved "In remembrance of me" along the front.  We would NEVER cover those beautifully carved words up.  All our altar cloths are made by me.  They are VERY simple as I use a linen band which is just the right width for the altar and then embroider a hardanager cross on each side.  This way it leaves the words at the front of the altar exposed .......just as we want!

I STILL use an old gif animator programme from Ulead as it works well.  See below how Ambrose is doing holding the candle lighter/snuffer (again from Stockton Miniatures!) as he tries to light the first candle on our candelabra...........(note that sadly the animation does not work on this blog......boo.............sorry about that folks but check it out next week when it is "in situ" on St. Hils.......it WILL work then!)



I think he is doing quite well don't you?..........AND we won't have a fire in the church either!  I do enjoy a spot of digital trickery.  A couple of years ago I enabled my butterfly from Tinytails Miniatures to "fly" across to a floral display after Alice brought it into church.  WHAT did we do before we had digital photography?  I can only imagine the pain I would have had taking endless photos using film.........waiting for the joy of them to be developed............................and the pain of having to discard so many with the prospect of not even one being suitable for a new storyline.  I think I will go as far as to say............WITHOUT digital photography St. Hils may never have happened!  I took my first St. Hils photos with a Kyacera 4meg digital compact camera.  The photos were fine although they always had a bit of a red hue to them.  When you check out some of our older pages (take a few links from our Parish Records page) you will see what I mean.  However I have "corrected" many of them so that the red hue is not so noticeable although, sadly, some photos really don't lend themselves so well to such correction.  I subsequently bought a Canon Ixus 750 which served me pretty well up to this year.  The only problem I had with it was...........getting it to focus on the doll/s in question successfully.  Too often it would decide that the wall at the BACK was the subject.........arghhhhhhh.............or some piece of furniture.  I often felt like tearing my hair out!

I bought the Ixus 980 in August whilst we visited my parents in law because it does so much better.  It has as near a manual control that any digital compact camera can ever have.  It is so brillaint I can have a very long shutter speed and have the focus JUST where I want it.  It even takes a credible photo with no flash in very low evening light.  Enough of my eulogising over my new gadget!

Ah.........where WAS I?  Oh yes - back to my Advent Sunday ideas for next week............
Esther too has been busy.  I have always used the most usual and traditional colour of purple for both our altar and stoles for the clergy during Advent.  However this year I decided to have a change.  You see..........some churches choose to use blue. Blue is also a "colour of Christmas" and represents royalty and therefore the birth of a king!  How appropriate!  So Esther has made the church a new altar cloth with a blue hardanager cross and here she is inspecting her handywork in situ on the altar...............  Dear Bardsley, the bishop's dog, is hiding under the altar..................bet he has had a sneaky little snooze whilst nobody has been looking!


Oops........................another wander into fantasy land.........................................and no, Esther did NOT really make that cloth.....I did, as I said earlier!  I have to confess I have such a stock of craft stuff.....linens.....aida........silks.........cotton threads.....silk threads.....................craft cards......double sided cards.............................tissue papers..................card of various colours........wools for crochet/knitting.....YOU name it - I have it!
My stock of craft and embroidery materials often provides unexpected solutions.......................during August I was actually working on my Advent Calendar and I needed to turn three of my boys into kings for a pose.......................and I had NO idea what to use.  I played with various materials at my disposal with no luck....until I found that, some years back, I had bought some beautiful gold crepe paper!  I cannot even remember buying it let alone having it.  As they say..............amazing what discoveries you find in your own house.  You will all have to check out the Advent Calendar day by day during December though to see my "three kings" pose.....................but I have to say I am very chuffed with it needless to say..........

Anyway - check out St. Hils home page by the end of this week to see how St. Hils marks the arrival of Advent and, indeed, the church's New Year................

Till the next time
PS: We had a "feast" in Marks and Spencers on Friday.....so much so I overdosed and purchased FOUR packets of apple and custard doughnuts - two in each which works perfectly for me and Andrew.......yummy!  And now time for our Sunday evening traditional of ...........egg on toast!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Another "haccident..............oh well..........good job there is such a thing as wood glue in our house......

Hiya again folks!
Am back again to report on my latest little photo shoot...........which resulted in a little accident!  I have ALWAYS been a tad accident prone due to the "clumsy gene" I am sure I have inherited from my paternal grandmother.  My father used to moan about how clumsy poor Nan was................and I sense I have the same problem.............so if it is a "clumsy gene"..........it is then.............NOT MY FAULT is it lol?!

Well that is MY excuse and I am sticking to it!


I have to thank Dave Tayler for my lovely display unit (to the left) seen in the photo below. 


You see.................I have ALWAYS wanted a suitable display unit for my parish magazines, church guides, cards...........and well...........anything that most churches sell at the back of thier churches.  So we were all at one of the six monthly Miniatura shows at the Birmingham NEC one year and I happen upon something that fitted the bill but the trouble was.....................it had things STUCK in it!  Don't these people understand that we miniaturists need room for our OWN imagination here?!  Why can't they make a little display unit that has blank shelves for the things WE want to put in...................?  I can only suppose that many people who buy these kind of things are happy with the stuck in comics/,magazines etc...................but for me and, I am sure, for many others like me, it is just not enough.

I am sure you want to see the new notice that Adele was holding in its full glory so here, below it is "in situ"on the display unit where it is advertising the new Christmas cards for sale to the congregation  Lets hope they all love them and buy some so that more money is raised for church funds!  We had a leak in the roof last Palm Sunday if you all remember and fortunately there was just enough in the bank to pay for a swift repair .........in time for Easter Day!


Adele is now going to stack some of the new Christmas cards that have arrived back from the printer here..........and there is a space cleared for them too as you can see............

Ben has come along to help too of course as he is a very helpful young man........however.......he is a bit of a show off at times and I think he may quite like Adele ..............secretly of course..........so don't let on to her will you?

Oops...........again a stray into fantasy land............but to be honest I don't think it is a bad place to be really do you?
As to the "accident"............well as I was lifiting the little display unit off, the stand fell off as it is only held by a peg which can be pushed up to enable the unit to sit on a table as Dave meant it to as an alternative to the stand.............therefore giving me more flexibility in its use which is very thoughful of him.  However one of the four "parts of the bottom broke off........arghhhhhhhhhhhh  However all was not lost as it was easy to find.....unlike, of course, the tiny end bits of both Esme and Ernest's beaks when they broke off.  And so...........all was soon well again and the repair with the help of a little wood glue of Andrew's is not even noticeable..........................

I have not quite finished this story however........................at least one more photo to take which will have to wait til tomorrow afternoon when I am home from work.  I love working part time.........................more time for my miniatures.............VERY important...........................and in fact even......MORE important to me than my.........WORK!  However................I always have to remember..........work pays for my miniatures.....................
Till the next time.......
PS Ongoing custard and apple doughnut saga in M&S - ever since they have raised the prices the glut that was there when they were just 99p a pack of two has become a virtual famine now they have increased to £1.19 and so today...........there none there.........AGAIN.....grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The children are putting together St. Hils 2010 Calendar in their OWN way!

Dear All

I am back again...........and yes I have been VERY busy.  I have had fun making up some miniature 1/12 scale version of our church calendar..........or should I say that "the children have"!?  I do have to thank Frances of Buttercup Miniatures for letting me borrow her WYSIWYG way of creating one "mini style".  She used this method last year and I thought it a great way of making a version for St. Hils THIS year!

See how they do below............................



I hope you can see that Adele and Tom are both holding up the monthly sheet that THEY think is the next one for Prisiclla Jane to stick on to the calendar.  However......if I tell you that it is being built from the "bottom up" and started with December at the bottom and, so far, we have reached October.........you will quickly guess we need to find the September sheet next.  And no prizes for guessing who has got it right.......Adele of course!  Tom is holding the January one with the bells being run for New Year!  Poor Tom - he didn't get it right this time at all!
Eric has decided to stay for a while with Ernest and Esme so they are also helping the children make the calendars up for the vicar.

Oops............I see I have strayed into fantasy land again..............apologies.......

I have to confess that I had a "problem" to solve before I put my photograph pose together.  You see......................if the "children" were to successfully make up these calendars for them to be sold in the church for church funds, then they needed something rather important and that is namely...............glue!  I am a complete dimwit when it comes to DIY and imagination in terms of how to make anything so had to resort to a "help" email to Frances who, as she always does, bless her, comes up with some ideas and solution.

I don't know about you but when it comes to copyright, I always want to "get it right".  Of course we are rightly angry if others borrow our work or make money out of it without our permission, so I was keen not to infringe any copyright  even when it came to having some miniature glue sticks (you know the ones...........the famous name ones.........!)  in my piccies of St. Hils.
So I did something very simple for my "glue stick".  I rolled up a small piece of rectangular paper after glueing it on one side.......bingo!  I know it doesn't look perfect in the photo above as Priscilla Jane holds it in readiness to stick down the next month's sheet on to the calendar as she builds it up from the bottom but who cares?!  I have to tell myself I am no Rembrandt or the miniature crafty equivalent here!

I haven't quite decided HOW to use this photo yet............and in any case I still want to create a further pose or two using my newly printed and cut out 1/12 scale Christmas greetings cards too. 

I can also confess another little piece of news too........my sister has bought Miss Enid a lovely new present............and I think it is great because it will complement her book of Bach which the children have bought for her this Christmas...........................I won't let on yet...........so watch this space..........

Til the next time
PS Darned apple and custard doughnuts have disappeared from my local M&S foodhall again......arghhhhhh............how DARE they build us all up to expect such a wonderful gourmet delight and then drop us from a great height.........................yes I KNOW I am a tad sad but do I care???????!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Gremlins invade my St. Hils 2010 Calendar...........grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Hiya Folks
I had NO idea what to share with you all today.............................in fact blogging was not even featuring in my mind at all.  To be brutally honest with you all, I was too busy feeling VERY cross with myself to think of any such thing.  I have decided to blame the gremlins I am now convinced live in each of my computers for the most recent annoyance.  As we have "collected computers" over the years.......a habit born of an inablity to sell or dump the old computer or laptop once we buy a spanking nice new one..............we have a total of FOUR...............NOT that the oldest would be worth a lot of course given it was purchased just when XP was released.  So given the number of computers we have...........the number of gremlins must be huge too.........because it doesn't matter WHICH machine I use............those gremlins invitably make an appearance.........................  Of course I sadly realise that the real gremlin is ME sadly..............but that would be to admit I am less than perfect.....................................:-)

I decided today to have our "children" seen choosing or pursuing the photographs chosen for their church's calendar for next year.  So I have, naturally, had to create some miniature calendars as well as photographs to use for my photoshoots.  So there I was.....opening up my real full sized monthly A4 calendar in order to take some screen shots and then reduce them.   

However.......imagine my horror when I reached May..........................see below and spot the mistake.....................

I couldn't believe it.......after having created a pdf file for our website too...........our poor visitors have been, without knowing it, downloading the calendar with the wrong date for Pentecost.......which SHOULD have been 23rd May and NOT the 25th May.........arghhhhhhhhhhh.  I couldn't believe it - how daft of me.  However Andrew did remind me that there is a rule that goes in ecclesiastical embroidery and you will all be interested to hear it.  Apparently each eccleisastical embroidery ever embroidered HAS to have ONE mistake............the reason being.............only God is perfect!  However even that idea didn't help me....................and so if you have not yet downloaded our version 2 calendar which was affected by this error, you can do so and check to see that I have now rectified it...........phew!

I have now recovered from this mistake............................although I am very annoyed I even managed to make it......especially since the version 2 calendar is correct.  Oh well............as they say..........worse things happen at sea!

I can, at least, still share something positive with you below...............  Ambrose is showing Robert Alexander the photograph that has been chosen for March...........


I have had fun though making up 1/12 scale calendars and Christmas cards for the church and am considering making them available for free download too.....................so if you are keen to have a 1/12 scale St. Hils calendar and Christmas cards  for YOUR little people in your dollshouse watch this space.....................

Till the next time.....
PS Apple and custard doughnuts reappeared last Wednesday.................but with a big booooooooo attached...........they have gone up from 0.99p (special offer) to £1.19 for a pack of two........  You may ask if that put me off................sadly......NO!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The mysteries of search engines.......but AM I complaining?!

Hiya again folks!
I just fancied sharing with you some funny things about search engines and St. Hils.  I can seriously admit I NEVER deliberately consider improving the ratings for St. Hils when it comes to search engine listings......but I have never seen the need!  I think you will have to agree that the search engines have their own way of listing all of our work.....when it comes to different searches I am very often amused when I find that St. Hils has hit page one again when perhaps, just perhaps, it may have been best for the one searching if it hadn't!

As many of you who run your own websites may identify with..............there is always a sad enjoyment when it comes to checking out your stats..........HOW people find your site........but most importantly.......IF they have used a search engine.......WHAT did they wish for?
I have to share with you the funniest result ever............some poor soul wished for this one......."HOW do you become a vicar?"  Well guess what came up at the top of the search results.................OUR vicar's letter to our visitors!  See for yourself by visiting this link how disappointed the poor person must have been when, for their troubles.....they pulled up this, our letter from the Reverend Gyles Ponsenby-Smyth................

I can only just imagine the shock on the poor person's face when they were faced with this letter plus a photo of our dear vicar meeting ME in the Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park in South Australia:-)
However that being said.........I will never know how many fans may have found St. Hils by complete accident.....................and in this case, I would like to think that the searcher didn't feel completely disappointed with their "find"!

It is frustating to say that I can't think of any more funnies to share with you at the moment..................but when they come to mind be assured......I WILL share them here!
Til the next time!

PS WHY didn't Marks and Spencers stock their lovely apple and custard doughnuts when I visited them in my lunch break today?....................and to add to my worry it was also rather ominous that they had something billed as "new" - does that mean my fav custard and apple doughnuts have been discontinued?........NOT FAIR!  Little luxuries with cups of tea make THE difference after a hard day at work!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

St. Hils in the Media again..........

Hiya Folks!
I really had NOT planned to write another blog so quickly on St. Hils but I just HAD to because we have been commented upon in The Dollshouse Magazine's December 2009 edition that came out today.  Christiane, the editor, did let me know a while back that she wanted to advertise St. Hils again but with a special emphasis on our up and coming new Advent Calendar......good job I worked on it during the Summer time and it was "done and dusted" by the beginning of September!  You all may remember that I was working on Christmas in August.............how mad is that?!


Christiane has advertised St. Hils on page 5 of the magazine.  I never told you all this either...............Christiane emailed me wanting me to complete the sentence....."All I want for Christmas is...."...................now I am NOT telling you what I have said.  You will have to check the magazine out to see what I REALLY want from Santa Claus!  I feel most privileged because I am one of just ten miniaturists quoted.  So Christiane, if you get to read this......a big THANK YOU!

I have to confess this has been a bitter sweet day for me.................but strangely it all felt "meant to be".  You see today was our dear friend and St. Hils' supporter, Jan Craven's funeral.  We went to it of course but before we walked to the church we just HAD to go into WH Smiths knowing that the December edition of The Dollshouse Magazine should be out today.  How poignant it was because for the first time I have not been able to share my success with Jan who was so supportive of St. Hils and all it stood for.  I won't repeat anything said on an earlier blog about Jan but sufficient to say that Jan was a most wonderful lady who supported ALL whom were her friends without any consideration to herself.
So how fitting that something about St. Hils hits the media on HER day?!

Dare I share another interesting thing.......until today I didn't realise that, in the last few weeks of my mother's life, when she smiled at me with such an angelic smile which involved the WHOLE of her face and which completely transformed her (you see she had repeated strokes and her normal smiles were naturally lop-sided sadly), it was as if she had briefly became an angel...............and there I was................in a "Thin Place".  A place where the space between heaven and earth has become SO thin that it is almost touching.   So how fitting that Jan found that "Thin Place" in her last weeks.......................but my mother was there too........................................

Until the next time......................


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

What has a sun hat got to do with St. Hils?... and it involves......well feathers actually!

Hiya again folks!
I have to confess I continue to cough and croak for England..........friends and family now beg me to see the doctor because this has been continuing for over a week now..... but I HATE seeing the doctor cos I always feel MORE sick after my visit than before so lets not go there.................................and major, instead, on my most absorbing interest and hobby............St. Hils!

I am STILL having fun with the new and various games I have purchased for my "children" so that they can welcome our new girl, Gracie, to the church formally when she comes to the games afternoon the vicar organises to help her settle in.

I have imagined that Grace would be the kind of girl who likes to play games on her own.......you see she is an only child and has enjoyed providing her own entertainment when her mother has been busy at home or at work........NOT that she has been missing out of course because she knows her mother loves her very much and provides her with more than enough attention when she needs or wants it.

So I have had "fun" tonight.......well not quite "fun" really because I didn't realise how fiddly a 1/12 scale pack of cards would be to arrange for a game of clock patience/solitaire.  Firstly of course I had to provide myself with my "Avian protection kit" in the form of my sun hat.......................................see me pose here with said sun hat complete with little Grace sitting in my hand so that you can see how tiny she really is next to me and consequently how hard she is for me to pose given she has 14 joints!

I have to tell you that I had "fun" taking the picture too given the fact that the only person who could have taken this photo for me was out (ie Andrew out on his piano teaching rounds......) so I was using the face detection//timer facility on my new Canon Ixus 980 camera!  I took the first photos without my glasses.......urgh..................all my laughter lines and wrinkles were shown in stark relief..........NOT good!
So you can see here with glasses = acceptable photo of me with Grace and St. Hils.  Sadly the upper part of the bell tower with the bells provides a TOO perfect repository for little props when not in use if I can't be bothered to put them away properly.....such is life.

If you are wondering WHY I should require an "Avian Protection Kit" look no further...........the culprit is seen here posing on his most favourite "out post" as explained in my previous post!



So here is our little avian monster, Pebbles, looking on curiously as if he really wants to see what is going on in the church this evening.  The towels are sadly essential but lets not dwell on that one here.  You can just about see the pose I had set up under the bell tower with Grace playing clock patience on the floor.  I confess those cards are SO fiddlly.  You would think that it would be easy to have 12 stacks of just four cards apiece looking all neat and tidy........NOT so ...ESPECIALLY when you have a nagging desire to cough and you finally succumb as I did at least once and destroyed two stacks of cards in its wake! 
Check out the final photograph that I chose out of the myriads of ones taken here below............noting that Prince and Eric have slipped in again. 


I think they both enjoy playing games too.........and note that GP, Grace's guinea pig, has decided he was bored sitting on the altar with Esme and Ernest and decided that he wanted to see what Grace was doing!  Sepp the rat continues to keep watch on all goings on in the bell tower whilst perched on one of the bell tower steps which provides a perfect look out for her.

I can share with you an idea I have.........it may come to fruition.......it may not..........I have asked my sister Catherine of Dollshouse Heaven to make me some "fairy cakes".  You see my idea is..................when Grace comes to the games afternoon she brings some of her very own home made cakes in order to share with the other children by way of an ice breaker.  I also like the idea of her bringing them loose in a tin as in "real life".

Oh dear - my throat is still not good.......................time for more medication to soothe it me thinks.  I have to confess our kitchen has become our very own pharmacy with all my cough remedies and medications.  Of course friends and even neighbours have added to it when they hear me and take pity...........so I have been showered with sherbert lemons, cough sweets and more........................................

Till the next time.........................

Friday, 30 October 2009

St. Hils may be a miniature dollshouse church but to Pebbles it is............

Hiya Everyone
It is true........St. Hils  really IS a 1/12 scale miniature church..............well to me, and you and, of course to many others too.  However to our Pebbles it is something FAR more important and that is..........................................an outpost for sentry duty!
You see, Pebbles succeeds our late hen cockatiel, Cheeky, whom we also nick named our "winged sentry" on account of her habit of using our church as a sentry outpost to keep guard on the garden.............keeping unwelcome guests away.
Of course to Pebbles as to our dear late Cheeky, "unwelcome" unfortunately for us, means something completely different.
There we are............putting wild bird food out to encourage the local song bird population to come IN to the garden as our WELCOME guests......whilst we have our Pebbles on the scene who's main aim in life would appear to be........keeping OUT the local song bird population! 
You may be asking HOW effective our Pebbles is in his "winged sentry" duties.  Well fortunately for us......not very well at all.  He may think he is big and frightening..............but when the crunch comes and a really BIG bird comes flying over the house...............he cowers on the room side of the sloping church roof so that he can't see the said bird...................  We find him completely hysterical of course.................and when he is REALLY frightened of any of the birds he sees he does a double loop around both the living area and kitchen to show off his displeasure with his "unwelcome" guests.

We, Andrew and I, have taken "winged sentry" from an anthem called "My Soul there is a Country" (the composer of which temporarily escapes us both but Andrew thinks it may be Parry).

With no further ado here you can see our Pebbles "in position" as he "keeps guard" over the garden for us....


I think this gives you a good idea of scale too................  I am not sure if there ARE any other people who find that their dollshouse has accidentally doubled up as something completely different......................but please let me know if there are any strange "other" uses for your dollshouses.........I will be MOST interested.........

On a slightly different tack we visited Andrew's parents yesterday.  Andrew's mother is an avid miniaturist just like myself and also has a wonderful dollshouse she takes great pride in.  In fact his father has even made an extension to her dollshouse many years ago now and it really looks great.  At Christmas she even has Father Christmas on the roof............just about to descend down the chimney.............................

This leads me on to my next "idea" for St. Hils.  I am fully aware that printing off almost any internet browser is not very easy.....................you can be sure that, however you try, the printer will NOT print the right things on the right page.............or the page is too wide and the printer only prints half a photo on one page and half on another.  I do know that Internet Explorer has improved with later editions in being able to shrink to fit the page when printing.........but the print may be TOO small as a consequence for some to read.
So I have, over the last few years, been keeping a parallel "book" going in which I include all my latest stories in printable form.  I have, in the last few weeks, finished a version of my book which I am hoping to provide to you all as a set of freely downloadable pdf files.............in bite size chunks so that you can collect the whole book over a period of time.  I was able to give Andrew's mother a copy of this book yesterday and she was, of course, thrilled to receive it.
I am letting you all preview the first part as a taster............................................St. Hilary's Miniature Church Year Book 2009 Part 1


However as with all projects...................................you realise "too late" you have got something wrong or around your neck.  Imagine my horror yesterday when, at Andrew's mother's home, I realised that I had included the "wrong" photo in my Miniatura Show visit story.................................................and then today when reviewing my book again........found spelling errors................arghhhhhhhhhhhhh  So today has been a busy time making sure there are no more............
However it just proves a point..............my St. Hils project will NEVER be finished.....................................but does it ever have to be?
Till the next time.............

PS - Please see my new photo on my Home page....... pasted below............................Miss Enid and Phoebe enjoy a game of dominoes....................................and even Eric has come to visit his son and wife and can't resist trying to help Miss Enid out too.......AND you can download it as a greetings card too......again on my Downloads page.............enjoy!