Wednesday, 30 September 2009

And more games to play in St. Hils........

Hiya again everyone!
You will be pleased to know I am now much better thank goodness! 
Our broadband is still a problem for some reason but software would appear to be at fault - namely on the router as it cuts the wireless off at least once a day necessitating a wired connection using a laptop in order to refresh the settings and bingo - we are fine again................I will have to find something more permanent which hopefully will sort it out once and for all as it only affects Vista whilst the two XP machines are unaffected.

Enough of my broadband whinges..........
I am back on my games theme for St. Hils!  I really fancied having a miniature 1/12 scale snakes and ladders game for the children to play - for those for whom chess was a bit too challenging! 

And so I did a search on Ebay and presto.......................I found THE perfect solution.  (this takes you to the current listing as they have more than one set to sell) on Ebay had the most beautiful 1/12 scale snakes and ladder game complete with dice and counters too.  They also give you a spare set of counters which is really generous of them.  All that for £1.99 and free postage and packing - perfectionate!  Yes, you heard right - I KNOW it is not a proper word but but Andrew and I love it as it says just what we want.  We first heard it used on Big Brother by a house mate a few years ago and thought it was so good it SHOULD be a word! (we sadly love Big Brother folks!)
I set the "children" up playing and took two shots for good measure........

Emily and Phoebe are enjoying a game whilst Adele has popped along to see how they are doing................see a close up of our new game ......................

The counters look really good but boy...............I had my heart in my mouth positioning them on the board as they are so thin and tiny.  Strangely the shiny look on the counters doesn't come across here on the photo at all.

Our resident ducks, Esme and Ernest, enjoy coming in on the act.....................I am wondering if they should join in and make it a foursome if Adele is not ultimately interested.  However - CAN ducks play snakes and ladders? 

Adele is now giving Emily a few ideas just as Phoebe is about to throw the dice.................................I hope she isn't encouraging Phoebe to cheat as Adele is quite mischievous at times.....

Whoops - sorry about that - just wandered off into fantasy land for a moment!  So my games theme is gathering momentum as you can see. I have a real 1/12 scale wooden puzzle too which I am going to feature for my games day too..................................................all good fun!

I am so looking forward to the Miniatura Show at the NEC this coming weekend.....................can hardly wait..................................................and if I don't write again before.........I will report afterwards and let you all know what purchases I have succumbed to.........................................
Til the next time

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Only a short blog today.........after an AO-Hell day!

Hiya Folks!
Just a short one today to share a very tiny St. Hils thought for the day.  It is the only bright spark in what has been an otherwise hellish day courtesy of our broadband connection.......or rather........LACK of!  Our broadband connection disappeared today without a trace after working fine yesterday.  I then wish I HAD uploaded my St. Hils updates last night.................arghhhhh...
To coin the corny phrase "to cut a long story short"............AOL have been the subject of all of my calls today as we firstly establish that either the router or cable or both had given up the ghost..........even though me, thinking I was a real clever clogs, kept telling the poor support folk that I was SURE the line was down.........WRONG!  A line test confirmed the error of my thinking!

So not to be deterred from a nice morning out as is our wont on a Saturday we headed off to Leamington and whilst Andrew went and did his own thing I visited Dolls Domain simply to heal my soul with miniatures after the hassles of AOL this morning.  I didn't purchase anything this time..............if you all remember I bought a stool and a tray there only the other week and before I forget you can see the photo we took with Ambrose, tray and Miss Enid (and poor Rev Ken skulking in the background poor chap!) on our home page which looks quite good I think.

My next stop was WH Smiths............and THIS is where my tiny "thought of the day" for St. Hils comes in.  I had seen on the Miniatura website that Dee Daw Designs were offering a free Miniatura cut out kit which includes a catalogue, bag, tickets, coffee and a pack of sandwiches! All I had to do was buy Dollshouse and Miniature Scene because it had the voucher in it. TOO good to miss I thought!  Already visions of my children and congregation visiting Birmingham's Miniatura at the NEC came to mind! 
I have yet to work out HOW they will visit the show and how I can realistically portray it - but if I have the catalogue and tickets - we can have them visit retrospectively if nothing else.  I may even take my camera to the show to use sensitively and with my "children" can be sprited out on the computer so they can be "there"with me too!
All very hair I can't even promise it will work out..................................but I just wanted to share it with you all.........just in case it does......................

Oh and by the way - we ARE back online .......................a long story still as I had to ring again twice - once to get the router correctly configured - it is a long time since we had to do this with the first one so I decided a phone call was easiest to sort it out.................and then a bit later when the computer refused to recognise the wireless connection after being rebooted...........................arghhhhhh

If only life was as easy for ME as it is for my St. Hils residents............
Til the next time............

Friday, 25 September 2009

Never too young to play chess?!

Hiya All!
I have to confess that am STILL coughing for England and topping myself up nightly with Covonia sadly but it hasn't stopped me going to work thankfully!
I am now going to stop feeling sorry for myself and tell you what I have been doing with St. Hils today after I came home from work at lunch time, enjoyed some nice toast, marmite and cheese followed by a Marks and Spencers apple slice ALL washed down with a giant pot of tea (well of course!) followed by a well earned  snooze! (or should that be a "nano nap"!)

I am ALWAYS on the look out for little props for St. Hils and you would never guess how many things I have stored away in my little chest of drawers downstairs and small case which I keep for the storage of delicate things like my spider, Percy, butterfly, single daffodils in tiny pots made for me by my sister etc.
But there is always room for some more as stories evolve.

One of my more recent purchases is a little chess set which is great because it has a magnetic board......which has proved invaluable.  I also bought a monopoly board too but I now realise it is minus something quite important.................a DICE!  Never mind - I am sure I can work something out for that.  I am even considering printing out games myself as my printers are pretty good when it comes to miniature things as can be seen with the church guide etc.

And I finally plucked up the courage to open the little chess kit and check it out.  Ah........problem almost immediately hit me...................I was embarassed to realise I had completely forgotten the layout of the board.......arghhhhhhhhhhhhh  Now it is on these kinds of occasions that the internet is just indispensible.  I very quickly found out what the layout should be - fine.  However...........I had forgotten what each item looked like - ie bishop, king, queen etc.....again.......arghhhhhhhhhhh
I then figured out - does it really matter?  So I did my best - knowing that, at least, the pawns were all in the right place!

And anyway........we ARE dealing with children here.................and so.....if I have got it wrong - it is not my fault - it is THEIRS!  So here you can see my efforts!  I am not sure whether this will form a new page or not at this stage.  We have passed the time for a Summer holiday club - but I may use it for a half term event that the vicar and Esther arrange.   I felt instinctively that Prisiclla Jane and Tom would most enjoy playing they say............they are NEVER too young are they?  And who will win - ahhhhhhhh........I have yet to decide THAT one!  Ben is looking on......................he has never played before so will be watching the moves with close interest.

Emily is our tomboy but we only ever see her in her Sunday best because her mother won't countenance her coming to church in her denim jeans and football shirts!  Yes - she loves to play and watch football and never misses the latest match played by her local team.  She loves to babysit she is more than happy to keep her occupied instead of involving herself with any other games the children are playing.  Clarissa too is quite happy with her teddy and toy.

Whoops.......WHAT happened there............sorry about that folks.  I sadly get so involved I forget it is not real!

I will share with you another idea I have for St. Hils.  A friend of mine suggested a cleaner for St. Hils.  Now THAT got me thinking big time.  And church terms that would mean a verger who, in some churches, also wears a robe whilst on duty and is also part of the procession at services.  In my mind I see an elderly gent called Archie........he is a little crusty but he takes a fancy to Miss Enid which could be a problem as the vicar also has already shown an interest there. 
However...........we have a problem here.................WHERE will I find dear Archie?  I do have some ideas but I best not share them...............YET! 
So even romance is not dead in St. I said earlier - we are never too young to play chess.......but never too old either for..........well...............anything.................
Til the next time!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Can you catch a cold blogging?

Hiya everyone!
Well I can't believe it but I too am not feeling so well the last few days! I was sorry to hear that Julia, on her Bear Cabin Miniatures blog was feeling under the weather last week and now I think I must have caught it too.......joke!
No not really - I will have to blame it on my office or Andrew who may have brought it home from one of the schools where he teaches piano.
 At least I don't think it is swine flu as that has swept through our office too sadly.  I think that this kind of virus can NOT be blamed on the computer.YET! :-)

I have, would you believe, been busy creating new downloadable St. Hils Christmas cards which I hope to place on line the beginning of December which will coincide with the launch of this year's Advent Calendar which I hope you will all enjoy as much as I did creating it.  I did a test drive with the calendar a few weeks ago on a couple of friends and they both think it works very well. 

I will give you a sneak preview of just one of the new Christmas cards to whet your appetite.............

I have been trawling through St. Hilary's Christmas past to resurrect a few favourite photos which I loved at the time and had almost forgotten!  And Homer is a must I feel!  Why NOT a Christmas lunch of fish and chips I say?

So far I have created eight which I feel will give you all a nice selection to choose from!  My monthly calendar for 2010 is coming along nicely......but I am still in a quandry about which photo to use for a couple or months.....the choice is almost too much at times and I so want to provide a good representation of St. Hils throughout the year.

Well - time to clean Pebbles our cockatiel out.  He chomped at the bit to be let out bless him so the least we can do is give him a clean

Til the next time...................hoping to feel better then too........

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A Hair Brained Harvest time photo shoot!

Hiya All!
You won't believe how annoyed I was today after reviewing a few more photos taken in St. Hils!  You know how it set the scene......make sure the dolls are all standing up and are not going to fall over JUST as you attempt to photograph them..............or they choose to fall just BEFORE the timed shutter goes!

I finished and uploaded my harvest pictures and story yesterday............if you haven't already done so DO check out St. Hils Harvest Festival page for this year.  However, for all those who are very observant you may notice that I TALK about "fruit and vegetables" but sadly most of the photos only show some fruit apart from the three pumpkins in front of the vicar and standing on a bay of hay!

And so today I decided to rectify this error and ensure that at least one other photo features my sister's wonderfully created vegetables which I have currently sitting on another bale of hay next to the altar in the sanctuary.

I set the scene...............and then using my Canon Ixus 980 took various different shots with various shutter speeds and changed the settings about to see which comes out best.  I then traipsed upstairs to my main PC in our third bedroom which is our computer room to download and view the results!  Imagine my shock horror when I am greeting with this......................................(have sprited it out for ease of visibility)
The hair is as clear as day.........sitting on the altar and arched up behind the candle you can see on your right!  I checked all the photos taken this evening of this particular pose and yes........EVERY one featured this awful hair!  And so.............I checked the altar and the wall but could see NO hair at I set the camera up AGAIN and took more shots........  I then traipsed upstairs AGAIN to download the next photos hoping to have resolved the problem.
Arghhhhhhhhh..........NOOOOOOOOO........................the hair is STILL there.....HELP! 
I am not one to be deterred by such a small but irritating set back.  Yes - most people would fail to see it at all once the photo was reduced in byte size for the web page - but I know it is there and that is enough!
I dismantled the altar completely and reassembled it all..................and to be sure that the camera wasn't at fault and that a hair had got trapped next to the lens I carefully cleaned that too.  I set it all up AGAIN.................and fortunately this time I was lucky and it looks like the hair has gone ......HOORAY!
And to prove it here is a photo without the said offending hair!

See it better by clicking to enlarge it and check - NO hair - and if anyone does notice something I haven't - do let me know!
I checked my other harvest photos - and yes - the hair features on some of them too that have the sanctuary in - but fortunately it does not show up on the reduced copies on the web page! 
It just goes to show - little things count when it comes to miniatures..................
And I will leave you with my final photo which may hit the harvest page...........haven't yet decided.  Priscilla Jane is fascinated with the string of garlic as you can see here...again click to see it full size.  Thanks as always to my sister Catherine who made me this string of garlic a couple of years ago now...LOVE it!
PS: If you think life is hard enough trying to ensure that the tiny 1/12 scale delicate porcelain dolls stand upright on an uneven surface long enough to be photographed................making sure there are NO stray hair or other oddments out there to cloud the photograph........imagine the hassle of a hand reared cockatiel called Pebbles who loves to parade about on your head whilst YOU are stuck on your hands and knees checking the settings inside your little miniature church!  A NIGHTMARE!  Sadly and much to his distaste (he hisses at it cos he HATES it with quite a vengeance!) I had to put my sun hat on to keep him away.....
But we love him too much not to let him have just a little freedom out of his cage.........and today particularly poor bird had been in his cage all day and it was a long day for him whilst we were both at work.......leaving the house well before 7am and not returning til after 4pm....

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Nothing lovier than a potter around a dollshouse shop..and picking up bits.

I had a lovely time yesterday checking out a dollshouse shop I often visit on our constituitonal Saturday trip out.  Sometimes we go near........sometimes we go far.  But yesterday we decided to "go near" so we had a quick trip back home when we have had enough for a nice morning cup of tea and Marks and Spencers apple slice or "French apple tart" as M&S call them.....not sure about that one cos they really don't look "tart like" at all but......

I hit on three possible items whilst browsing...............a little tray...............stool and ladder.  However I quickly put the ladder down as it was SO tall my imagination failed to see how it could be of use in St. Hils unless we had someone who enjoyed climbing roofs LOL

I took the two purchases to the counter and whilst waiting for the lady serving me (who is the joint owner actually with her husband - and a great shop they have too combining other things like puzzles and teddies to make a living today) to ring the items up I casually commented about the ladder but moaned it was "too tall".  The lady immediately told me that they are deliberately made that tall to fit all requirements and that "most people" cut them to size!

 I had to admit to her that, unlike "most people," such practical solutions routinely evade me!  I sadly had to ask her WHAT would I cut it with too? (a little saw!).  Now don't laugh - that is how bad I am when it comes to such practical things as DIY/decorating etc  (mega and mini) and dress making!    Although yes - I DID manage to make my bishop Cuthbert's trousers out of some black material bought in a town market when a cousin of mine made him the shirt only but then it was a "needs must" for my bishop to appear half decent!
You can see my efforts on my Cuthbert and Bardsley  page!  I am a dab hand at crochet however and I really enjoyed adapting a full size baby carrying cape to a miniature as on our Baptisms in which I used a 0.60 hook and Guterman silk.  I am not too bad at embroidery either on a good day - have designed my own cross stitch duck cards!  I do confess that the Sunday School banner was designed and stitched by me  and stuck to a cocktail stick!  Anything else, however,  has to be done on a computer or I just "can't do"!

You can see the tray, however, for the first time here (got Pebbles my cockatiel trying to talk to my mouse and objects to me picking him up silly boy!). 

I am sure that some clever folks will want to stain this tray - but I love to "keep it simple" as possible!  And anyway it is better lighter than darker here as it shows up better in the church.

My idea originally was to get Ambrose to hold it - but although his arm is jointed at the elbow and wrist, he just about copes holding it for a short time but sadly you put a cup and saucer on it - and bingo - it drops!  I will see how he goes with paper plates and tiny slices of cake!  You see - I often see the ladies of our church taking trays of teas and coffees to people in church - so why not in St. Hils too?  Those less mobile folk in St. Hils will SO appreciate our new tray!  I have yet to find a use for this photo with Miss Enid and Ambrose and tray.....but be sure I WILL!

I am sure that the stool (and all of 80p touch!) will come in use very soon too!

I have perfected my new "church guide book" as you can see on my Home Page!  My Epson 1800 comes up trumps.......even printing on ordinary 90gm common garden printer paper!

See a close up here with the pets checking the new little guide out (click on it to enlarge - you will see it even better!) ..............and it has REAL writing and photos...........which can be read too!  You see?  If it can be done on a can be done by me!  Sepp our rat sadly has a loose ear which I am having to keep settling back on her head with wood can just about work out which ear it is here too (the white glue gives it away!) about accidents and church pets wearing out from so much use..........

Note Esme and Ernest.................their repaired beaks just can't be seen - yipee!
Til the next time...........

Friday, 11 September 2009

Heritage and "Haccidents"!

Firstly - many thanks for the comments received so far - much appreciated!

I have to confess I had a couple of accidents in St. Hils yesterday whilst photographing for our Christmas page.  And it concerns my poor ducks, Esme and Ernest.  I have to say that this is not the first time such a thing has happened but it is the way with small things that they can SO easily break.  And my fingers feel so big and clumsy too!
I was posing both ducks - and managed to break the beak in each case.....arghhhhhhhhh  All I was doing was trying to have thier beaks appear to carry a cracker present for my Christmas scene but I think it was a paper cut that did it in each case.
You can see Esme here after my repair - using wood glue!  Trouble was in each case - I didn't notice the beak had broken until I moved the duck away from the present - arghhhhh  and then I had to FIND the tiny bit of beak that had come off in order to stick it back on!  But fortunately after I forced myself not to panic I found them!
And here IS my poor Esme - guess that beak MUST hurt!

And then Ernest........................although this is not his best side - the other side looks better!

I have been assured by a friend they don't look so bad and she wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't pointed it out!  But with every accident there has to be an opportunity and NOT a problem - so I am sure I will weave the break into a story.................and I am sure that real birds do break their beaks and have them repaired?
AS I intimated earlier, this breakage is sadly NOT my bridal doll, Esther, ended up with a broken finger and I NEVER knew WHEN it happened so for a while we had to pose her on the wedding page holding a bouquet in the one hand to hide the lack of a finter..........................

Fortunately Jane Davies, who made her for us, agreed to repair her so Esther has got a lovely new arm and hand and as good as new again!

On a brighter front I hope you like my new Heritage Weekend page.  I have to apologise as it is rather rushed and could have had a few more piccies and stories ......but I have worn myself out with Christmas -  I took so many for Christmas you see......
However I DID enjoy creating the special church guide books for the occasion.  All great fun creating them on the computer.  I printed them out on our Epson 1800 - you can't beat it. 
Ben is showing off one of the inside pages of my own creation guide book here!
 The bill board posters are printed out on our Magicolor Laser printer.  It is great to have two printers as I don't waste valuable ink printing out letters on the ink jet so the laser comes into its own.  I have also created a book on St. Hils too and print that out on the colour laser using silk finish laser paper.

I have almost TOO many ideas at times........................................
Well - time for supper and yippee it is the weekend and no work for two days.............................

Many thanks to Julia for your comments on this, our latest blog, and tips to "repair" my ducks' bills!
Julia's blog is great to read with news of her church and her new project to build an old abbey.  I am inspired just looking at it........loving her church floorboards particularly......

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Christmas and still going strong......

Hiya again everyone!
It IS rather strange that I am working on my Christmas at St. Hils.............especially since the weather is still quite warm and we are nearer to our Harvest Festival celebration!  However you will be interested to know that I have been very busy making up carol books sent to me by Frances of Buttercup Miniatures especially for St. Hilary's Christmas celebrations this year - thank you Frances!  I am trying not to give away too much here but I guess you won't be surprised if  I tell you that the story involves some singing somewhere?!!!

As a taster I will let you see this sprited out part of a photo which was taken from one of my latest photoshoots tonight before the light was too bad.  WHY I should find more work for myself after a full day in the office though - I have no idea!

My new Canon Ixus 980 is really expanding my photographic horizons in St. Hils because I can control virtually everything.  Shutter speeds of over a second and more with the use of a 10 second timer to avoid any camera shake even when set on a tripod mean so much more flexibility in terms of brightness of photo without any use of a daylight bulb.  I have some control on which "F" number I use too  (Andrew tries to explain what that is all about - something to do with depth of focus apparently and the higher the number - the more depth)

Sadly you can see here that Tinker is trying to have a look inside the box to see how many carol books they have been given but it is too high for her!
I do get friends and family comment on my love of wild life and pets IN church...........never quite sure if they fully approve or not............?!!!!  As a regular church goer myself any accidental visit by local wildlife is usually met with panic and attempts to get the poor creature out at the end of the service if not before - but in St. Hils I encourage them to come IN not OUT!  I know some mention the unmentionable in terms of the inevitable - but all I have to say here is......ALL our pets and wildlife are VERY well trained!

I have a particular love for all kinds of ducks so it was a gift to me when I found that Tiny Tails Miniatures (at one of the Miniatura shows at the Birmingham NEC) made Mallard ducks, both duck and drake.  And of course their names are highly eccentric - but why not?  I LOVE to pick names that are unusual and the idea of a duck called Esme and a drake called Ernest tickled me for some strange reason.

A work friend has even suggested we have "bats in the belfry"....ummmmmmm..................will have to hunt for some at the next Miniatura this coming October for those.............

Well - that is all for now folks.........keep coming back to see what other things are occupying me in the name of St. Hils.............

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Now back at work but STILL thinking about St. Hils!

Hiya All!
This is a quickie as it is early Tuesday and I always get to work really early - circa 7am!  I had a long day at work yesterday having returned after a couple of weeks vacation at home.  However last night I spent time photographing for our Christmas 2009 page!  I will tell you it features a walking stick and organ book.   But not ANY old walking stick at all.........this has a special head on it. 
This gives you a flavour only........................................Prisiclla Jane has been given the work of wrapping the presents for a certain person in St. Hils.........but you will have to wait to find out WHO they are!
Must calls..............

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Nothing like a habberdashery stall in a market...........

I had a great time today hunting for suitable ribbons and things for St. Hils!  As you all may have gathered I am well ahead in my story planning for St. Hils and even Christmas is in my sights already!
In that quest I was thrilled to find some velvet ribbon in Nuneaton town market.  I had already cut out a makeshift scarf for my doll, Adele, and wanted to add a little muff for her as she stands outside the back of the church!
A little bit of sewing and the job was done - see here!
I think she looks great!  I am giving little more away but sufficient to say she will be appearing outside the church on our page all about Christmas this year in St. Hils!
I am on the look out now for a pair of warm gloves for Miss Enid because the church gets SO cold in the Winter and she is quite worried she will not cope when not playing the organ if she has no gloves to put on when the heating is not working so well.......................................
Oh on Monday which will not be half as exciting as working on St. Hils.
And by the way.......I am still working on the new monthly St. Hils' calendar for 2010..........always something to do for St. Hils!
STOP PRESS - added Sunday 6th September
See Pebbles IN church on our Conundrums page - he couldn't resist when he saw Miss Enid having a nice cup of tea after a long day playing Pheobe's spinet during the Flower and Music Festival!
Enough nonsense from me for now me thinks........
Am signing off now til the next time..........

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Enjoying my time away from the office whilst musing on St. Hils!

Hiya Folks!
I can't believe that the two weeks I booked as holiday is nearly over and this time next week I will again be sitting at my office desk and computer!
 I have, however, been having great fun with St. Hils creating more pages for our Advent Calendar (but you will have to wait til the 1st December to find out exactly WHAT our theme is for this year!) and, for a few days, entertained my mother in law as we brought her over to our home for a break.  Dad is now in a home with Alzheimers so Mum is now on her own so she really appreciated staying with us for a few days.
Mum is (of course!) one of St. Hils greatest fans and so, on Saturday, when Mum was not so well so we were unable to take her out, I entertained her by working on one of my Advent Calendar pages.  She watched patiently as I spent ages cutting out outfits for my "children" to wear as they were going to pose for yet another photo for the calendar.  I can tell you - trying to cut out gold crepe paper into makeshift capes and fitting them on 1/12 scale dolls is NOT easy! 
Then came the job of ensuring every doll was going to stand on the church floor surface.   Vic Newey who put the church together for us and rendered it created a wonderfully realistic church floor - SO realistic is it that the surface is quite uneven in places so it is quite difficult to get the dolls to stand up!  And then, just as you are to take the picture (I use a daylight bulb for many of my photos and put my camera, a Canon Ixus 750, on to a tripod and use the 10 second timer with macro mode) one falls over or they drop what they are holding - a veritable nightmare! 

I am currently having a bit of a fit because I rely so much on my daylight bulb in my reading light that I am worrying about the issue of the new compulsory daylight saving bulbs which may not fulfil my needs - anyone out there who has any suggestions on any new style model of bulb which does a similar job do let me know!

We, Andrew and I, took Mum to see my sister, Catherine Davies of Dollshouse Heaven ( on Friday night.  Catherine had worked hard on her dollshouses and room box scenes so Mum and I had a ball photographing her work.  And now I have a confession..........I borrowed Catherine's fimo seagulls which she made to include in a beach scene for one of her displays in order to include them in a St. Hils story.  You can see a photo of two of the gulls on top of St. Hils' church tower here!  Don't they look brilliant?  The great thing about St. Hilary's is..........the church is actually set along the full ceiling to floor length patio window and is, believe it or not, on the traditionally correct east/west axis so the East Window DOES face east! 

The day we took this photo the sky was so blue outside so the church really HAS got the blue sky above it - albeit through our patio window!  You can see a close up of said gulls here!

I then went a step further and created the scene below.  The dustbin contents were made for me by Catherine and do appear on St hils cleaning page ie
Notice the fish and chips - yes - again by my sister, Catherine.  I took them too from her beach scene!  These three photos WILL appear on a new page before Christmas..........but I will say no more because you will have to keep visiting to find out!
Pebbles our hand reared cockatiel has been a delight as per usual as he interferes with my photo shoots.  He loves to check out the garden as per usual and land on my head.......arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Anyway all for now - I will carry on with our Advent Calendar............over half way through now..........more photo shoots to do etc........

STOP PRESS - added 3rd September!
Have no fears - I have resolved my daylight bulb situation with a new style one which does appear to work pretty well.....AND I have a new Ixus 980 which has manual control and means I can do without any extra light and still get great photos on an ISO200 so now I am a happy bunny.  I have already done some great photos with my new camera for the Advent Calendar................