Saturday 30 March 2013

If you go down in the woods today....

This is just a short post to wish everyone a Happy Easter - the snow is rapidly disappearing here in the Czech Republic and the Easter Bunny should be able to hide his eggs safely tomorrow without borrowing Santa's sleigh.

Last week there was a Farmers' Market here in Bavorov and since the window of Small Worlds is directly opposite the rear door of the castle hall in which it is held we prepared our first window display - a woodland scene - in time for it.

The task was not too difficult - some of my friends will recognise the characters involved.  Especially Lynda who, indefatigable in helping to pack up our house in England, was the one who removed them from their previous display on the landing and packed them carefully for their journey to the Czech Republic.

We did a test run in the room, before setting up in the window.  In the end quite a number of things were rejected, amongst them the Wombles seen at the front.   They definitely belong to Wimbledon Common rather than a Czech wood. And all fungi were reserved for an autumn display.

Sadly we forgot to take photos of the window before the Easter Bunny came along and transformed it today ready for the Easter Holiday.   Velikonoce, as it is known here (the name comes from Veliké noci - the Great Nights) is a very popular festival and as you walk through the village many people have put decorations in their windows.   There are some strange customs as well..... 

Photographing the window from the outside has also not been very successful - much reflection in the glass, either of me or the house opposite.   Butterfly, who has a couple of Easter offerings of her own,  then contorted herself from inside the room and tried to take photos at an angle......

I hope nevertheless you can get an idea of the woodland scene.  
There has been a pleasing amount of interest from passers-by, with parents holding up their little ones to see more closely.   At one end of the window we have details of the coming opening hours and the delightfully expressed information about the collection that Abbeybufo of Stitchwords produced whilst peeling potatoes one day.

I leave you with a series of close-ups and my very best wishes for a Happy Easter - oh and the title of this blog makes my last offering inevitable.   It comes direct from my very own childhood - as Abbeybufo has it in her introduction to Small Worlds: 
"Do you remember when you were little? I mean really little, when everything in the grown-up world was too big for you, and it seemed there was always someone bigger telling you where to go, what to do …"

I'm happy to say I remember it well and I hope that following my dolls house journey brings back happy memories for all of you too.

Veselé velikonoce 

to one and all

PS After the somewhat ribald comments flying around about the young lady squirrel's loose morals I feel I owe it to her to post a further picture in her defence... 

Wednesday 27 March 2013


This is my very first WOYWW - partly because this is the first time for many years I have had a workdesk..... 

Some of my readers will have no clue what WOYWW (which stands for "What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday")  is - a wonderful excuse to take a peep once a week at what other crafters have on their workdesks. This delightful snooping activity was dreamt up by Julia Dunnit of the Stamping Ground and you can find out all about it here.

Butterfly is sitting nearby and I shall be consulting her on what I am supposed to be doing.   I do know that it includes visiting as many other WOYWW blogs as I can - a great way to procrastinate from the cleaning operation on many dolls houses that is scheduled for today and Thursday.

So what's on my lovely new workdesk this Wednesday?  

Well it started like this - lots of  empty partitioned boxes and a mass of tangled wires, miniature lights, bulbs, switches and plugs, all collected over many years.

Years of neglect in fact......

Some hours, many dropped bulbs, much coffee (spot the coffee mug) and a fair amount of swearing later I am delighted to report that my workdesk now looks very different.

Like this:

Now all I need to do is find an empty storage drawer under the dolls houses to take the  tidy boxes and clear my workdesk for the next task!
To admire Butterfly's talent for organisation take a look at her WOYWW post today....

I'm off to peer at as many workdesks as I can now and hope to meet some of you on the way.....

Monday 18 March 2013

From chaos to coherence....

Just over a week since we began creating order out of chaos and now we can feel that excellent progress is being made.   I didn't actually believe that in such a short time we would be able to start real work on the houses themselves but tomorrow is the day!

When I last posted we were expecting the carpenter and the painter, the first to put up the remaining more complicated shelves, and the other to paint the few items we had brought this time round from the UK.   

The painter did his normal crack of dawn job on Friday and Saturday which meant that we couldn't do much on Saturday as there were wet items in the usable space.  
So we ferried a number of boxes, mainly papers, home to sort them there.   So now there was chaos not just in Small Worlds but back at the ranch as well  (and it's still there.....)

We headed back to Small Worlds on Sunday and really broke the back of the work.   It was just as well that it was Sunday actually because we were able to spread into the corridor between us and the library to stack the empty cartons which were rapidly piling up.  Not to mention vast amounts of bubble wrap as the houses emerged from their protective covering. 

It was at this point that I began to find things I hadn't seen for twelve years.   Very exciting!  I have no clue why I saved some of them actually.....
But we both squeaked with delight when one particular family emerged.   Mother is clearly so excited at seeing the light of day again that she can't control herself!

The carpenter's construction rapidly filled up, partly, as you can see, with bread bins, (wonderful to build room settings in) and houses were found places on the counters though most of them have another move ahead before they find their final resting place. 

By the time we left on Sunday, having stuffed the car to the gunnels with rubbish - tip run scheduled for today - all that still had to be sorted was the working area.

This morning we headed to the tip with more than a dozen giant collapsed cartons, many banana boxes, around fifty empty shoe boxes and several bin bags of bubble wrap.   Then back to the ranch to collect my trestle table (horribly heavy - I can't believe that ten years ago I was hefting it by myself onto the trestles.   Not any more.)

Butterfly was then in her element, creating a workstation for each of us whilst I powered through seven Ikea wooden drawer units.   

Butterfly's workstation is under the window, mine is in the centre of the room, we are each equipped with the most necessary tools, and between us is a cunning unit with glues, more tools, paints and other useful items.   And we even have coat hooks and a radio!

And so that we don't get bored when not in Small Worlds, we have also more or less finished the flyer design and are just waiting for the final Czech version to get some printed......

Thank you for staying with me throughout this journey.  If you want to look at things more closely, remember that clicking on any photo will enlarge it.  I am so much looking forward to starting on the houses and will do my best to keep you up to date with what is happening in Small Worlds.   See you soon.....

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Back in Bavorov

It may be a long time since my last post, but when we unlocked the museum door on Monday, it seemed hardly any time at all since I locked it and left it in November.

We is me and butterfly, whom many of you know, and we have arrived in the Czech Republic two months before I normally come to prepare the dolls house museum for its official opening in May.

And I am delighted to announce that at long last the museum actually has a name - Small Worlds.    My thanks to everyone who struggled along with me to find a name that would work in both languages.   This one works better in English than Czech but I am content with it.   Having a name has meant that publicity material can now be prepared.   I am immensely grateful to my daughter-in-law, Laura of Laurart, who is designing the artwork (if you hurry along to this post on her blog you could be in with a chance of a delicious prize, just for leaving a comment).

And my thanks go as well to Abbeybufo of Stitchwords who in an idle moment peeling potatoes (hmm, is that really an idle moment?) not only came up with the name but also the blurb for the flyer.  

At the moment, as you can see from the photos, all is chaos in Small Worlds.   The first thing we did on Monday was to make drawer dividers from cardboard boxes so that we can sort everything into findable places.   I swear that such boxes are made far stronger than most modern furniture.   

Butterfly has a non-working finger at the moment, just what she needs with much dolls house crafting ahead, and it made cutting the slits in the strips very painful.   But by the end of the morning all 13 drawers were equipped with dividers and the terrible job of unpacking and sorting the multitude of shoe boxes could start.  Bear in mind that I have not seen the contents of some of the boxes for more than 12 years........

When we left yesterday afternoon for a well-earned rest, the room looked like this.   Some good friends were coming in the evening to pay us a welcome visit and we coaxed them to Small Worlds first so that we could have their help in moving on to the next stage -getting the shelves up along the wall at one end of the room.  

Like everything we are doing in there at the moment, something else had to be shifted first - in this case many dolls houses.

The trusty Ikea shelves, undaunted by their move from being bookshelves in the UK, are much easier to put up with three or four people and apart from some gentle hammering where too much paint had been applied, they went up quite smoothly.

It wasn't until today, when butterfly was shifting houses onto them, that we discovered nearly all the houses needed the shelves to be just a little further apart.   

But in fact it doesn't matter since this is all work in progress and there is much more shifting around to come in the next days and weeks.    We have now come home for another well-earned rest (four minutes walk from Small Worlds to my house) and the room now looks like this -

Butterfly reckons we have made good progress......actually I think she is right but the next few days are fairly daunting as we continue to unpack and sort.   Once that is done we can get on with the fun stuff of renovating the houses!    

Tomorrow evening, the carpenter (who, along with his delightful daughter, featured in this post) is returning to put up the final set of shelves in the space we cleared today.    We could do it ourselves but would probably end up not on speaking terms so it seems worth the small amount of money it will cost!

I'd like to welcome those who have come to visit my blog from Words and Pictures - I hope you will continue to follow the ups and downs towards a dolls house museum in the Czech Republic and will enjoy the journey.   And welcome back to all my faithful followers - I am sorry that posts have been few and far between in the past weeks but I can promise that there will be many more posts  as things begin to fall into place here.........