Monday, 15 July 2013

We're all going on a summer holiday....

But before we do I must apologise for the long gap since my last post.   I find it very hard to believe that it is 3 weeks since I posted but that's what Blogger is telling me so I suppose it must be true.

I am very much enjoying being in Small Worlds - at the moment it's a pleasant mixture of time to do my favourite thing, which is creating something out of very little, and the opportunity of showing interested people round the collection.   

I am more and more delighted by the behaviour of Czech children - and their parents - and my cup of delight overflowed yesterday when a toddler of about fifteen months headed purposefully towards the Mouse Mansion, hotly pursued by his/her three year old brother shouting "You mustn't touch! You mustn't touch!"   And the baby stopped short and just looked - their mother wasn't actually ignoring them, she was occupied with another child at that moment.

I have had help in Small Worlds for the past week - there is a system in the Czech Republic whereby young people can work in the summer months as a "brigádník" which is a sort of work experience for which they also earn money.   My brigádník is the granddaughter of one of my great friends here and I have known her since she was two years old.   It's delightful to find her, aged nearly 16, working alongside me in Small Worlds.   And I am happy to say that so far the takings are sufficient to cover her very modest pay!   She's off to camp for two weeks now but will be back to provide cover in August when I have a fairly constant stream of resident visitors.

I've spent the past three weeks working on the new window display. Starting work on it was rather rushed and unintended - the mayor arrived just after I first opened to say that a TV programme was filming in the area and that a cameraman would drop in that afternoon.   

Since I was just sitting there doing a sudoku I thought it might look better if I was doing something rather more Small Worlds related so hastily extracted the photo frames I had planned to use as beach huts at some point in the future.   I of course forgot to take a decent photo of them before I started to dismantle them....

I also located a board to set up a beach scene, some sandpaper, and some rather beautiful deckchairs that my sister-in-law (she of the skilled sewing fingers) had given me many years before.

The camera man came, we both drooped in the excessive heat (forty degrees centigrade in my courtyard) and I have no idea whether the rather inept interview, but hopefully decent shots, will appear on the Czech equivalent of BBC1 some day or not - it's a series revealing unknown and worthwhile tourist sites so I do hope that it does.

The next day I stopped to consider what I might do with a beach scene and settled on "Kam pojedeme na prázdniny?" - "Where shall we spend our summer holidays?"- which gave me the opportunity of three quite separate scenes since I knew that the beach would not be big enough to fill the window.  

That idea quickly crystallised into "By the seaside", "Down on the Farm" and "Camping".   This post will only cover the easy one - "Down on the Farm" since the others, especially the camping bit, involved quite a lot of "Before" and "After" creative work which I should like to document separately....  

I hunted round the collection for a suitable farmhouse and found nothing.  So I then
spent quite a few frustrating hours making a 3D jigsaw of a Normandy Farmhouse which I had bought ages ago,  thinking that it could stand in the background of the farm scene.  

I do pretty well at ordinary jigsaws but given my inability to reverse patterns this was something of a challenge.   And I was even more frustrated to find that there were three pieces missing at the end. 

It looked very cute but in the end it didn't make the cut into the window.  

I was, however, seduced into buying several more on some point I plan a display of houses built from bricks and these can join them.  

I decided that I would probably not bother with a house in the farm bit, just a tractor, some children and a few animals which I have been collecting over the past weeks - our local village co-op has some excellently sized and priced animals though I have yet to find an in-scale cow.   They are all smaller than the sheep and goats. Very annoying.   My brigádník suggested the cow could be a calf.   Yes indeed, as long as one can disguise the full udders.....

We grabbed some of the left-over straw from the thatched cottage and bundled it into little bales which we piled on the tractor wagon (having given it some coffee-stirrer sides first).   We also scattered some around the useless jigsaw puzzle cloth which is serving as the background grass.  

(Have you ever tried to roll up a half-made jigsaw on one of these mats that purports to hold it in place?   Hah! I strongly suspect them of gluing the pieces together first.) 

We set up some fencing for a sheep pen - though sadly all our sheep are rams which will probably lead to some appalling battles once they are huddled together......

The sharper-eyed and more knowledgeable amongst you will recognise some spare balcony edging from Jenny's Home, that "triumph" of design by Triang and Homes and Gardens Magazine in the 1960s....

 And that was more or less it for the farm section of the window -though I did have to introduce a bit of height into the scene by making the pigs the mountaineering variety and popping in a small (and totally out of scale) bed and breakfast hut.......

More of the window next time - but before I go, for those of you following the adventures of the mouse troop, there has been some movement again.....

Unbeknownst to me, some rich relatives of Maximilian drove up to Mouse Mansion recently in their very luxurious car

....and hastily turned round and headed off in the opposite direction..... (They may have spotted some ever-lurking pigs)

Some of you may notice that the elderly lady in the back of the car is clearly the twin sister of the one listening attentively to one of the choir practices in the house.   And you have met the elegant couple in the front before as well.....

Anyway, the travellers were clearly intent on finding a pleasant place to spend an idle hour and I am delighted to say that they have taken up residence in a nearby walled garden
This scene might be entitled "The Pussy Cat's Nightmare" though so far the unlucky moggy is intent on staring fixedly at the goldfish under the lily pads and seems blissfully unaware that she is surrounded by Giant Mice.

Thank you for following me through this animal-heavy post;  I look forward to seeing you again soon when it will be either beach or camping, as the fancy takes me.  I hope you are all having great holidays and that you are also enjoying this miniature version of a summer break.....


  1. I am entranced by your post as always. Everything you make is just so wonderful and I hope you are reaping your reward by seeing the joy you bring to others.How I would love to sit in the walled garden.

    Hope the telly programme shows in your true light.

    Love Chrissie x

  2. Ik heb genoten van je prachtige foto`s vol met mooie miniaturen.

    Groeten Xandra

  3. This is truly a feast. Sadly am unable to spend too much time drinking it in today, but an intitial helpful(as always)thought:
    I suggest that you have a bovine equivalent of the trusty Shetland pony to hand. Bred by natural selection to roam over hill, dale and museum windows in all weathers, close to the ground so they won't be blown over by strong winds, the Bavorov cow laughs in the face of scale (ooh look - La Vache qui Rit).

    I LOOOOOVE the garden mice and their pet cat. And the lady on the bench has beautiful Use.

    1. Bizarrely, today I had someone in who breeds cows in the next village. She was anxious to speak English with me (and very good hers was too). I hadn't seen your post at that stage or I would have consulted her on the reality of Shetland-type cattle. However she will be back and I shall do so....

      I hadn't noticed Twin Two's use but you are right, of course, far better than Twin One - if you enlarge the photo of the piano-listening you will note that her head/neck/back relationship leaves much to be desired. Twin Two maintains good use in windy car too....

    2. My world - I can't just make it up you know ;-)

  4. Surely all the pigs have gone on holiday down on the farm? What a lovely idea for a window display, and I shall look forward to seeing the others as and when.

    The rams will be okay; my brother's rams (he is a shepherd) all spend the off-season in the same paddock and appear to lead a very happy bachelor existence.

    1. Oh that's a relief Annabel, I thought maybe they were like cockerels who resent more than one on any dungheap.

      I haven't yet managed to locate any poultry of the right scale which is a shame given the amazing eggs here....

    2. Er no - they are all miles too big.....

    3. I knew you would produce the correct word.....please to translate into Czech now.

  5. We just love to come and read Small Worlds' news. We enjoy your writing style and of corse we love to know what those pigs are up to, fancy scarring off the potential visitors! Tut!

    We look forward to more antics soon.

  6. What a fantastic post Miss Cestina, my head was spinning, all this creativity.
    That 3D puzzle, I tried to assemble a beautiful chinese temple, I could not do it :), yours looks grrreat, darn those three pieces :), and for sure glue is used. That green mat looks wonderful as grass bonus , great using the coffee-stirrer on the truck, all the animals are so kool,love the sheep. I haven't got a sharper eye, but thanks for showing the spare balcony, loooove your little world, oh the pigs, the mountaineering variety see you are sooo creative, looks fab. I loooooove the B&B it's fantastic..
    I'm glad we got a look at that gorgeous vintage car before the left town.
    This was such a pleasure to read have a look around, hear the gossip and lots of laughs.
    Thanks so much for sharing, see you around when you have a moment to tell us a bit more about your tiny world. Have a great week..