Sunday, 30 May 2010

Update - I am in hospital missing St Hills

A quick  message to you all to say I am seriously ill in hospital and missing home and  St Hills so apologies  for my absence.  Your thoughts/prayers at this time much appreciated.       

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A rather Fowl Faux Pas in my Pentecost Preparations ...........

Dear All
I guess you will have realised that I have not, as yet, managed a full page on "beating the bounds" of the parish which forms part of Rogationtide within the church year.  As they laid plans of mice and men!  I am still not at all well and not at work because I am in the throws of various hospital appointments and tests etc in order to get to the bottom of why I have been ill and why I have yet to feel completely "normal" again.

Enough of that sufficient to pray your indulgence in thinking of me especially tomorrow (Wednesday 19th May) because I will be in hospital for one of my many impending tests.  That is actually the main reason for my work today on setting up a new Pentecost page.  I have always prided myself in keeping St. Hils up to date within a very whisker if I can and tomorrow I will be rather whoozy when brought home............zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Last year I majored in on the celebration of Pentecost as a birthday party for the church.  So this year I have been a little lower in key here and as you can see by my new Pentecost page that I decided to let Ambrose and Tom remove the Paschal Candle from the front of the nave of the church where it has sat since Easter Day where it was first lit to represent Christ on earth before he ascended into heaven.

It is funny how things work out.  Now Grace is such a versatile girl with her 14 joints that she continues to amaze me with her various poses she comes up with.  I am sure she KNOWS I need some inspiration and so, as you can see her above, she happen to "fall" into this position after she fell over by the organ where she had been sporting her walking stick for last week's blog and I had simply sat her on her pew!  The fact that SHE suddenly decided to hide her face was certainly not my doing!

Little did I realise how convenient this pose proved to be.  I thought there MUST be a story line for her here and yes there was.........  All fell into place when I also decided to have Ambrose and Tom attempt to carry the Paschal Candle out of the church because, of course, poor Grace was too frightened to look in case the candle fell on the floor and hurt one of the boys because you have to agree, as above, it does look rather precarious!

I also loved the idea of having birthday cards to the church placed on the altar.  I no longer bother surfing Google's images because I enjoy the challenge of producing my own graphics.  You can see the three designs scattered throughout this blog.  I do particularly like the doves one though because it presented me the hardest of challenges. 

For those interested I use an extremely old design package from GSP called  "Designworks" and it must now be as old as the hills.  However it always does for me!  I particularly love the fact that it enables me to export a graphic in various formats.  I particularly like the "windows metafile" in certain instances as it maintains the integrity of the graphic but for this blog I have had to export them as jpegs so the quality is not so good.

I guess you are all gagging to find out WHAT my "fowl up" was.  Well I will paste the picture in below and you will quickly see what it is......................

No prizes for guessing that cropping the picture on our new page sorted the problem out though.  I think it is poor Ernie's bottom but I am not entirely sure.   He won't be too happy to see this photo will he?  Hooray for computing and digital technology....WHERE would we be without them now?!

I have just realised another faux pas in my new Pentecost page...........a spelling error which I am too embarassed to publicise so I best go back and edit it quickly and leave you all in peace.

Till the next time.....

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Beating the Bounds of St. Hilary's.........what is that about?

Hiya Everyone!
I am back again a week later to tell you how things have progressed in St. Hils even despite my continuing sickness which has necessitated further time off work sadly and two hospital consultations next week (which I hope will shed some light on why I have been so ill!) but I promise I won't bore you with my health woes because I am fed up with them too!  Our hand reared cockatiel, Pebbles is losing his feathers which makes him rather dozy and miserable sometimes.............if only I was only losing MY feathers!

Although, therefore, my flesh has been weak, my mind and spirit have both been pretty strong when it comes to further ideas for St. Hils and so, as a result, you may all have noticed a couple of new photos on our home page! Today is traditionally called "Rogation Sunday" and, when I remembered this a few days ago I was almost immediately anxious that our St. Hils congregation and clergy observed this great annual tradition (to find out even more visit Linton Parish Council website which gives a very full account of the origins of this tradition) which includes what is called "the beating of the bounds" of the parish.  Every year at this time people of various church parishes meet up and quite literally walk around the boundaries of their church parish and "beat the bounds" using walking sticks. By this they are blessing the boundaries of their church parish and, in rural areas, also blessing the newly sewn crops so that they yield a good harvest in the Autumn.  It will come as no surprise that this tradition pre-dates Christianity but Christians adopted it and used it as a way of blessing the church parish and all the crops that were being grown.

Enough of all that historical stuff and more about how St, Hils has adopted this tradition!  Firstly I had one problem.......WHAT do we use for the obligatory walking sticks required for everyone to enact out the "beating of the bounds" of St. Hils' parish?  Answer.....EASY..........cocktail sticks!  I think cocktail sticks are great for miniature work.  (a confession - Pebbles our cockatiel must have been on my mind because I have had to correct "cockatail" to "cocktail" TWICE!)

Ahhhhh.......I can hear you all exclaim in horror that I have included a pair of rather lovely and expensive looking embroidery scissors.  Fret not because these are now rather ancient and their bite is not as good as their appearance.  I can assure you there is a lovely pair of newer and sharper embroidery scissors now sitting in my embroidery box all ready for any future embroidery.  So these scissors above are a great accessory for me when it comes to every day cutting and trimming of tiny things  I have included Andrew's wood glue which I did use for a few of my first walking sticks but I soon realised that it is just as easy to make that handle by wearing down much of the cocktail stick with the scissors and, at an appropriate point, bend the stick at the weakness created taking care NOT to completely break it off.  However the glue works pretty well if you fail to avoid that break.

Here, above, you can see the results of my efforts.....  POOR Magnifi-Cat though!  He sat there ever so expectantly hoping that HE too would have a "made to measure" walking stick but have I obliged.........sadly not!  I will certainly have to ensure he doesn't miss out before we finish our story..........I promise you all that one!
Now to the walking sticks' story which I have been formulating this afternoon in my head.  Ambrose, I have decided, has made all of these walking sticks for the children back on his family farm where he lives with his widowed father.  What a clever lad he is and you can see him below arriving with some of his new creations.....

Of course he has not left the animals and birds out of this occasion and so you can see above he has also included sticks that are the right size for them too!  Lucky Eric loves his new stick!
I have to admit that I have almost too many photos which I took today which I would like to show off to you so I will have to be frugal here or I will bore you all to death with a long tome!

I had already decided to pose the dolls along the side of the church so that necessitated a good clean and dust of the proper sides which are hardly ever used because I prefer to have the transparent acetate sides so all can be seen inside. 

However on this occasion needs must and you can see above the church properly "clothed" with its' proper sides up.  Oh could look better couldn't it because here you can see both the towels on the top to protect it from our avian resident and also the daylight bulb used to illuminate many of our photographic shoots.

Ah......THAT is better isn't it?  You can all see how precarious things are when I attempt to balance the dolls along the slim ledge left once the sides are up.

Now you have all seen the actual pespective and size of the church I thought you would like to see Eric and Sepp with their walking sticks as they pose along the side of the church.  How clever of Sepp to hold her own stick to beat the bounds of the parish!  As you can probably observe, her "walking stick" is no more than the bitten off pointed end of the cocktail stick but it works perfectly! 

The children mustn't be forgotten so here above you can see what I have to confess is my favourite photo of the afternoon...........  Gracie insists on bringing her tambourine along as she wants to sing AND beat the bounds of the parish and when she sings she HAS to play her tambourine too!   That will certainly liven the event up won't it?
All looks spic and span doesn't it......................well think again............

Oh dear!  Yes the inside of the bell tower downstairs IS a mess!  Let me explain.  Andrew very kindly extrapolated all the standing dolls and placed them there for me before we put the sides of the church up.  I wanted to have the full range of dolls which I knew would work well standing along the side of the church awaiting the time the vicar starts to lead them on their pilgrimage of beating the bounds of the parish.  However in addition to dolls lying on the floor the display unit had also fallen over in the meantime and I have yet to pick up all my tiny cards and calendars which consequently fell out and on to the church floor...  I wonder if any of my "children" will do it for me?

As the children and clergy walk around the boundaries of St. Hils' parish beating the bounds, they will also remember to bless all the people who live within the parish too.   However I have to report that they suffer a rather big distraction on their pilgrimage.  As you all may remember, Aunt Sal's Tearooms is not far from the church and who should be standing at the door of the tearooms beckoning them in but Archie who is the proprietor.  I wonder if they will feel tempted to go in and enjoy a nice cup of tea and piece of cake or not?
I won't let on yet but suffice it to say I am sure that the vicar will know that, after a long walk around the parish, they will ALL fancy a nice cup of tea..........................................
So my new page idea is coming on but not complete so watch this space................................

I must away and leave you all in peace now.................tidying up and placing dolls and wildlife back "in situ" beckons and I will tell you why.  I found poor Syd, Homer's pet pigeon, in one of my props boxes yesterday and have NO idea how he got there!  More worryingly he was in the same plastic clip bag as my gardening tools.......................arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Till the next time!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

It's quite worrying when your husband finds a mouse on the carpet.....

Dear All
Well folks I have struggled through my first week back at work after a month off sick.  It WAS hard work so it is with great gratitude that the coming week is a four day week with tomorrow being our May Day Bank Holiday - YES! 

Not a lot to report to you all this week with regards to St. Hils except to say I have asked my sister, Catherine, of Dollhouse Heaven, to make something for me which will hopefully feature at Pentecost. I won't give away too much at this stage however because Catherine is already busy with two other commissions so I don't want her to feel over burdened by her sister's requests!

I guess from my title you may be able to work out that my husband has been vacuuming and cleaning near to where St, Hils is!  I have to be very grateful to him though because, when he finished he came up to see me whilst I was lazing in bed (yep - energy levels still not 100% so morning and sometimes evening naps at home work well!) to tell me he had found a mouse on the floor!  My initial reaction was - WHAT mouse?  Now before you all worry too much I was not thinking of a REAL mouse!   A slight detour is necessary here to explain that we did find something on our lounge carpet one morning some years ago and it was............a beautiful green frog!  We had left the patio door open the evening before so the frog must have jumped in without us knowing!  Fortunately we returned him to the garden with relative ease.  You can see below a photo taken from our baptisms page where two frogs came into St. Hils and thought they could make thier home in the font much to Esther's and the vicar's irritation.  The frogs, by the way, were made by my sister, Catherine.  As Catherine says - her frogs may not be anatomically "perfect" but they have such character...........and she is right they do!  Such cheeky little frogs as they are!

Where was I?  Oh yes.......a mouse found on our carpet!   After all the last time I checked St. Hils, despite the two dolls that had fallen over, the wildlife and pets were all present and correct! 
So initially the questions was - WHICH mouse to which Andrew replied that it was "The brown one". that still didn't quite narrow it down completely because my rat, Sepp, is also brown.

However we soon understood each was my metalic/solid one, ie Nunc Dimittis.  HOW Andrew managed to retrieve poor Nunc Dimittis off our blue carpet I have no idea but I also have NO idea how he fell out either.  I do have a confession though.  Since my sickness I have failed to bother putting our acetate sides up for the church so anything may have happened if one of us had knocked the church.  It just goes to show doesn't it?  How easy it is to lose miniature things in your dollshouse........frightening!  If you all remember I have already lost one domino piece in one of my previous photo shoots.  I never found it again either.  To explain further...........we feed the wild birds and also have a free range cockatiel.  Either way it means that we almost always have loose seed that has escaped sitting on our carpet so you can imagine it can't you?  There's me on hands and knees trying to find one of my most tiny items and pick up what I think is something remotely domino shaped and when I bring it to the light is is a black sunflower seed husk discarded by our ground feeding cockatiel or something similar......arghhhhh

My two tiniest wildlife characters are Percy, my spider complete in his web and also a butterfly. 

Both, as you will understand, come out very infrequently and are only in the church for the time of the photo shoot!  Above you can see my butterfly!  How tiny it is?!  Apologies for the rather wonky floral display which was sitting on the pulpit for the day!
This photo was taken and used for our Easter page in 2005 and is no longer on the website so it is lovely to share it with you all again.  Incidentally both our spider and butterfly was made for us by Tinytail Miniatures.

As you all my know I LOVE to digitally manipulate photos and the one above is a typical example.  I loved the idea of the butterfly flying on to Alice's hand and she decided to let it fly off towards the pulpit where it landed on the flower display on the pulpit.  Again taken from our Easter 2005 page.  I chose to include my butterfly in our Easter story of that year because a butterfly is a symbol of new life because it begins life as a catterpillar and, after it pupates, it becomes a completely new creature and new life!  So a butterfly coming into St. Hils on Easter Day has such significance as Jesus has been raised to new life Himself after he was crucified. 

I love including wild life and pets in St. Hils because God made them all too and in the church all of our pets and wildlife are considered so special by God that they have their own patron saint in Saint Francis of Assisi!

 I have no boundaries either as to how many more we will eventually include either......bats in the belfry is a most recently mentioned idea......... so watch this space! 

I confess my energy levels are a bit depleted now sadly so I will leave you all in peace.  I also hear my husband making a pot of tea so that beckons too..............
Til the next time