Friday, 30 December 2016

Favourite Fictional Heroines (Part 2)

Looking back over my 2016 blog posts, I realised it's been a while since I wrote my first Favourite Fictional Heroines post and thought it about time to finish off and post the second.

Mildred Hubble

One of my favourite series of books as a child was the Worst Witch series by Jill Murphy, specifically the first three. I read these books over and over throughout primary school. As an adult in my 20s I got rid of the books, believing I was a grown up now and that was that. In my 30s I had a yearning to re-read them so picked the first two up in a charity shop.

Mildred was accident prone and always seemed to get things wrong though the books ended with her getting something enormous right. She wore her hair in two plaits - a bit of empathy here as that was how my mum tied my hair when I was a child. Like Mildred, strands of hair escaped from the tidy plaits and I always had a faint 'dragged through a hedge backwards' look. Mildred also had my envy as she got a kitten as school issue and could practice magic and fly as broomstick, albeit poorly for the most part.

People in their teens and 20s these days were probably introduced to the idea of a school for magical folk by J.K.Rowling - for me, it was Jill Murphy who led the way. Before Neville Longbottom failed miserably with his broomstick, Mildred fared just as badly with hers. Mildred and Harry could have shared tales of woe about the tall, steely-eyed potions teacher who had it in for them.

Ayla

I first read Clan of the Cave Bear at the age of 12. It. Blew. My. Mind. I became obsessed with any books I could find set around early tribal cultures. And there weren't very many, I can tell you! At least not to a 12 year old with little money dependent on the library in pre-internet days for tracking similar things down. I can recall Elizabeth Marshall Thomas and Linda Lay Schuler but that's about it.

Anyway, Ayla is the heroine of Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series. I devoured the first three books, waited with baited breath for Plains of Passage and then romped through it when I got it on loan through the library. Twelve years passed and the fifth book finally came out and I got nowhere near to finishing it. You know how some people compulsively have to read all the books in a series? I am not one such person. Maybe if I had loads of free time I would be but I'm not going to waste hours on a so-so book when there are others out there on my list. In my head, this series therefore finishes at book 4.

Ayla is a Cro-Magnon child who ends up separated from her people and adopted into a Neanderthal clan. She would have stood out from her new family without the blonde hair, ability to swim and other differing physical skills but her intelligence and the way she thinks about things also set her apart. Life is tough. She isn't physically as strong as the neanderthal people and there are many there who are suspicious of her and see her as a curse and a liability to the people. Her strength of character sees her through situations and experiences that would have broken others. She endures isolation, rape, exile, giving birth to a child on her own at a very young age, and ultimately is able to stand on her own two feet. Those who love her love her deeply and she returns that love fiercely. There is one particular death towards the end of the book which made me sob each and every time I re-read it.

I haven't read this book for well over a decade so I can't vouch for how it has stood the test of time. I recently picked up a copy in a charity shop and hope to return to it and see if the magic is still there for me.

Sophy

The Grand Sophy is the first Georgette Heyer book I read, a Christmas gift from a friend who felt I needed to know Sophy. And she was right. To date, she's my favourite Heyer heroine. She's spirited and charming, a young woman who has spent her formative years roaming Europe with her father and sorting his life out - and assumes the same proprietorial responsibilities when she finds herself lodging with her aunt's family. To the more repressed characters in the novel who are working to their own meticulous plans, she causes chaos; in Sophy's eyes, she sets things straight and makes sure life runs along its correct lines.

This book contains one of the most entertaining scenes I believe Heyer ever wrote - that of Sophy confronting the money lender who has ensnared her cousin. Sophy sets out, pistol in hand (or muff, if memory serves me correctly), to settle the matter. The dialogue between this confident young woman and the middle-aged crook is a delight to read. The latter tries threats and bullying  and Sophy laughs in his face, never doubting she is more than a match for him.

This is a Regency romance, but if you're expecting Sophy to be prone to a palpitating bosom and heartfelt sighs think again. It's easy enough to predict who she will end up with but her husband-to-be is clear that he finds her utterly infuriating and is by no means dewy-eyed about this exuberant female.

Fleur Talbot

I've read this book at least four times. Fleur Talbot begins the story as a would-be novelist who takes a job as a secretary for a man of dubious morals. As she writes feverishly on her fictional world, she finds people and events in the real world uncannily echoing the characters and plot lines she is creating.

The book is set around the late 1940s/early 1950s but if this gives you expectations of an unmarried virgin heroine conforming to the moral compass of the day then think again. Fleur is not on the look-out for romance. She has her affairs and is entangled in the life of the wife of one of the men she has slept with in the past.

Fleur's boss manipulates the members of his Autobiographical Association and those on its fringes. He tries to manipulate and control Fleur as well, going so far as to have her manuscript stolen. Fleur is no victim though and is able to match Quentin Oliver like for like in terms of deviousness though she lacks his talent for malign evil.

Quentin Oliver's mother Edwina is well worth mentioning from this book too, an ancient (and hideous to some of the characters) female who loses control of her bladder at will, shows her son no respect and takes a great liking to Fleur because she is no doormat around Quentin.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Boxing Day Beach Photos

Photos taken on Boxing Day down at the beach. Beautifully sun and deliciously cold.

The four photos below are as they were taken, altered only with some cropping.





The next seven photos have been tinkered with, me trying out different effects








Monday, 26 December 2016

A Thrifty Wardrobe

I'm already planning a reading challenge in 2017. Something else I'd like to achieve is a year without buying any new clothes. The two exceptions to this rule will be knickers and shoes. The former because it's not something that's sold secondhand for obvious reasons; the latter because I can have very grumbly feet so need supportive shoes.

Where will I get my clothes from instead? Charity shops, jumble sales and clothing swaps. Cast-offs from friends and family if there is anything going in my size that I like.

Why?

I've blogged before about the perfect wardrobe and how I try to be ethical in my clothing choices where possible. The Ethical Consumer has a 20 point rating system for high street clothing shops covering environment, animals, people, politics. As you can see from this list, the main clothing retailers don't even manage a 10 out of 20.

Some tips for 2017

I'm curious to find out how easy it will be to have a year without buying new clothes. To be fair, I don't buy a huge amount of clothes anyway and in recent months it's mainly been charity shop finds, so I don't expect this to be a difficult task.

There are lots of bloggers and websites out there to look to for inspiration. Charity Shop Chic, The Thrift, Pauper to Princess, Britishette and, a favourite of mine for content as well as the name, Can't Swing A Cat.

I've also been wanting to try my hand at refashioning for a while. I have a Pinterest board stuffed with ideas on refashioning and have done sweet Fanny Adams with any of it. A year of secondhand clothes shopping should give me opportunities. I already have a strapless dress bought for £1 last summer that I want to add straps to. I'm booked on a course in April to learn how to do alterations so that should give me some useful skills.

Refashionista, doing what she does best

Refashioning is something else that some people have been blogging about for a while. Refashionista has some fantastic stuff on her blog. You can also check out Confessions of a Refashionista, and the So, Zo blog also touches on refashioning. Oh, and there's the Refashion Co-op and Carissa Knits . . . I think you get the picture! Lots of ladies making lots of amazing stuff.

A Carissa Knits special, with instructions here.

An unexpected and delightful Christmas present I opened yesterday was an upcycled gift from a friend. The jacket came from a charity shop - just take a look at the pic below to see what she has done with it to elevate it from someone's cast off to a treasured wardrobe item. Amazing. My artistic skills are not up to that level, but when checking out the clothes in charity shops in 2017 I'd like to think I will be looking for upcycling as well as refashioning opportunities. As far as my existing collection of clothes goes, I'm intending to take the opportunity to try out some garment craftivism a la golden joinery/ visible mending for any beloved items that rip/tear/get damaged and need some TLC.


Sunday, 18 December 2016

2017 Reading Challenge

Reading-wise, it's been a pretty good year. I've revisited some books I've read before and loved, and found some new ones. Looking forward to 2017, I'd like to shake things up a bit. I'm therefore planning to undertake this Reading ChallengeI started something similar a couple of years ago and never finished it - how to approach this one differently to give me a better chance of succeeding?

Life is short, time is precious, and there are so many good books out there that if a story doesn't hold me after page 50 then I go on to the next one. During the previous reading challenge, I would have maybe one or two books that suited the criteria waiting in the wings. If they both turned out not to be my cup of tea then I just ended up reading something else and getting annoyed when the book didn't fit anything on the list.

This time, I've done my research. I have an idea for practically every item on the list. I have the first five books physically ready in a pile waiting for 1st January. The Suffolk Libraries website allows you to create a list of books you want to read and I have started one for this challenge which already has 20+ titles on it. I've also joined the Good Reads Ultimate Popsugar Reading Challenge group and taken a look at the message boards, gaining ideas and recommendations. Having access to a community of people focussing on the same thing will keep my motivation up.

There's a 40 book standard list to the challenge, with an additional Advanced 12 to bring the total up to roughly a book a week. I'm aiming for the whole 52! Do I think I can do it? Not 100% sure but I aim to do my best. If I falter on any of them I think it will be the 800+ page novel and as I'm already anticipating that to be the hardest to accomplish I'm planning to decide on the book and take it away with me on holiday in the summer to give me plenty of opportunity to chow down on all those paragraphs.

I intend to obtain the books through the library and charity shops. As I'm saving for various big things actually buying a brand new book will be the exception rather than the rule.

Books that I might end up reading as part of the challenge currently include:
The Goldfinch (880 pages according to Amazon...), Fortunately, the Milk..., Cat out of Hell, Lolita, Zuleika Dobson, I, Robot, Black Butler, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, The Girl who fell beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, The Reason I Jump and The Gospel of Loki.

Are you taking on any reading challenges for 2017? 


Printable version found here.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Something to watch while putting up the tree

Tonight is the night I’ll be putting up my Christmas tree. I know what snacks I’ll be enjoying while I do it – deep-filled mince pie and a glass of Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry. Gran would be proud.

I am left now with an important decision to make - what should I put on in the background to add to the festivity of the occasion? I have four contenders.


When I got my first DVD player from Argos for the princely sum of £20, I bought two DVDs. This was one of them. The other, if you're interested, was Flash Gordon. I watch this movie every Christmas season. It's also one of my favourite comfort films which perks me up when I'm feeling low so I can find myself watching it at other times of the year too.

Never seen it? I will restrain my urge to yell 'WEIRDO' loudly and instead do the grown up thing of telling you a bit about it. The plot follows that of Dicken's Christmas Carol. Michael Caine plays Scrooge, Kermit is Bob Cratchit and the Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens. Don't know the storyline of the Christmas Carol? That's it - WEIRDO!


Next up is Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. This is a two part series that tends to take me a couple of days to get through. The Hogfather takes the premise of Christmas and transports it to the Discworld, turning it into Hogswatch. Owing to belief issues, Death finds himself drafted in to take on the role of the Hogfather (Father Christmas) and his granddaughter Susan finds herself roped into the mystery against her will. 

The list of actors and actresses you'd recognise goes on and on. David Jason, Marc Warren, Michelle Dockery, David Warner, Tony Robinson, Nigel Planer, Ian Richardson, Joss Ackland - and on and on. The wizards at Unseen University get involved; there's a glimpse of some of the members of the Watch; and the Auditors are causing trouble again.


Third possibility is Elf. A friend was so shocked last year that I didn't own a copy that she bought me one post-haste. It's on the TV every December but now I have the film I have more freedom on when to watch it.

Will Ferrell plays Buddy, a human raised as an elf at the north pole. When his adoptive father (Bob Newhart/Professor Proton) tells him the truth, Buddy goes off in search of his real father.

James Caan (Buddy's co-creator) is not that impressed with Buddy and doesn't quite know what to make of him. He's a man who is all about business, permanently on Santa's naughty list for being concerned more with making money than things like family and being nice. Buddy causes him to re-evaluate his priorities. This is a light-harted, feel good film and one of my favourite scenes is where Buddy confronts the store Santa for not being the real deal - You smell like beef and cheese! You don't smell like Santa. Classic.

If you were the weirdo who didn't know about Dicken's Christmas Carol you should probably just skip the rest of this post. Last on my list of options is Blackadder's Christmas Carol, a Christmas Carol in reverse. Don't know who Blackadder is? Seriously. Stop reading this blog post.

Mr Blackadder is a kind and saintly gentleman who gives to the needy and keeps very little back for himself. His loyal servant Baldrick can't help but wish he would be a bit more assertive so they had more in the way of Christmas treats for themselves . . .

The Spirit of Christmas comes to pay him a visit, not so much to reprimand him as to check in on how he's doing before going off to do some more serious haunting. He show Blackadder a selection of his nasty ancestors and then gives him the vision of a future dependent upon him remaining good and kind.


P.S. Muppet's Christmas Carol won in the end. Of course. 😊

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Book-dowsing: A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own
Virginia Woolf
1929

This book is an extended essay, inspired by a lecture Woolf was asked to give on the subject of Women and Fiction. The remit for such a subject seemed so huge to Woolf that she broke it down, looked at it from this way and that, and her primary conclusion was that in order to write a woman needs money and a room of her own. Without these two luxuries, the chance of a woman succeeding as a writer, or being able to write at all, was small according to Woolf. Or, at least, that is how it seemed back then in the 1920s.



This book is a useful reminder that less than 100 years ago there were places where a woman could not go unless she was accompanied by a man - or even accompanied by one. She couldn't even walk on the grass in certain places without being told off and deflected back on to the path. That is the world that frames this book. That is the experience that plays on Woolf's mind even as she can see development and evolution in the future and predicts that in a hundred years women will write just as well as men.

Woolf talks of the heritage of writing and voices the theory that many poems and other works signed Anonymous were written by women who did not feel able to put their names to such work. She conjures a story of what would have happened to Shakespeare's sister, had he had one, a woman just as gifted as him but stifled by her sex and unable ever to gratify her creativity with the freedom available to him. She notes the centuries of male poetry, plays and stories which men have to call upon and points out that women do not have this shared history.




I won't list all Woolf's arguments and the circuitous route her thoughts took. This is a short book, and I think you can get a copy for something like 50p on Kindle so it isn't expensive, and it wouldn't take much time to read it. What I found interesting was how I as a reader have changed. I think I first read this when I was about 20. Nearly two decades later, having read it a couple of times in the interim, I find that I am more questioning of certain parts of the content than I was before. 

Woolf states that men write in a certain way, the implication being that women need to find their own way of writing. She talks of certain men writing in a very manly way, others of writing in a manly-womanly way and then refers to Proust as writing too much like a woman and that this is a failing. This jarred with me in a way it hasn't in the past. When she refers to the recent (to her) barrage of literature written by men on the subject of women, she refers to the Suffragettes as being 'to blame' - again, there's that negative context. Did she realise she was doing that? Was it written with irony? If the latter was intended, I didn't feel it came across. What came through for me from certain passages in the book was a pervasive, unconscious support for the idea that women were less than men. To be too much like a woman was a failure because being a woman was a retrograde step; women were to blame for misogynist literature rather than the threatened, angry men who wrote it.


I also found myself disagreeing with her sentiment that a certain style of writing is specifically the remit of one sex or the other. Some writers are great writers, some are average writers, some are dire writers - gender does not determine which camp a writer is most likely to fall into. Woolf considers it a shame that books like Jane Eyre were written with a great deal of anger behind them, anger at opportunities denied to females. Would Jane Eyre have been such an appealing character if she hadn't had that passion? I don't think so. Did male writers write without anger? Thomas Hardy has never struck me as a particularly serene author yet I don't think anyone has ever said he would have written better without that streak of raw emotion you can see in his work.




This re-read also brought home to me how narrow the definition of writer is in this example. A writer in this book is a white man, university educated, and if work is undertaken at all it is white collar work. The working classes are barely touched upon and there is no mention of non-white writers. If I apply the idea that women would write a better calibre of book if they weren't angry, this implies to me that those non-white writers who tell stories of apartheid and segregation and racism are somehow less because of the raw feeling they contain. Which I don't agree with.


So, the current me has found a lot more to debate this time around than I have in the past. When I read the book again, which I am sure I will, who knows what I will pick up that I haven't before? Gripes above aside, I would still recommend this book and still feel it has a place on my list of favourite non-fiction reads. Time has moved on and just as Woolf has predicted there are many women earning a living by writing. A Room of One's Own ends on a positive note for those women who hear her words - to follow their hearts and write if that is their wish.



8 out of 10


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Bug Hotels



A couple of weeks ago I had an especially trying morning at work. For my lunch hour I opted for a walk in a local park to try and bring some equilibrium to my vexed mind. There was a group of people there showing passersby how to make hedgehog homes and bug boxes. What you made you could take away for a small donation. I didn’t pay much attention to the hedgehog homes but the bug boxes were made of second hand and scrap wood. This appealed to my love of recycling and repurposing. Also, I was thinking of adding a bug hotel to my Christmas list and here was an opportunity to make one myself for £3! Bargain!

I'm hoping the bug hotel will offer a possible home to bees and ladybirds – preferably native ladybirds but I’ve no idea how you’d enforce that kind of thing!

You can find some lovely ideas for hanging hotels here and if you really have a lot of space to spare you can upgrade to a bug mansion. I imagine this would be a good project if you had children interested in nature.

The bug hotel was finally installed in the garden this weekend. Difficult to take a picture of where it is and I don’t know if this is the right place for it but it is the only place in my garden that I can put it up. I’ll check it again in late spring and see if there’s any evidence of winter lodging.

Do you have space in your garden for a bug hotel?








Monday, 14 November 2016

Cross Stitch Doodles


Can you doodle in cross stitch? Not entirely sure you can but as I am focussing on small pieces that's what they feel like - doodles. I have no appetite for huge labour intensive projects. I already have quilts on the go and other sewing commitments that require hours rather than minutes so cross-stitch is wedged into a small piece of my creative time pie.

When I first got into cross stitch 15+ years ago there wasn't much in the way of stuff on the internet but now there's tons out there. Etsy has loads (the pic at the top of this post was adapted from one found there) and Pinterest has hundreds if not thousands of piccies to inspire.

This Labyrinth inspired fellow is also based on an Etsy find,
adapted to fit in a fridge magnet
A couple of months ago, a friend at work gave me a huge bag of cross stitch supplies that she didn't need any more, so I tend to adapt whatever patterns I like to the colours and fabrics I have at my disposal to use. The cat below was originally black with yellow eyes and books of different shades.


What am I going to do with all these projects? I'm not sure. The current hazy plan knocking about in my head is to make a bag to keep my cross stitch bits in and cover it with all these pieces.


There's a treasure trove of geek patterns out there, from Pacman to Star Trek. Donna Kooler was one of the major players in cross stitch books when I was in my early twenties - the pumpkin below is taken from one of her books. I've been out of the cross-stitch loop for so long I don't know who are the movers and shakers these days but I think I'll have have a softspot in my heart for a bit of Kooler nostalgia.


Cross stitch has got significantly saucier. Swearing in stitches is de rigueur with some pieces being very elaborate, others happy to drop the F-Bomb in a more discreet fashion.

And there's the incredibly mature, profound statements you can make with your stitching, like the framed example below that was made to go on my bathroom door.


Sunday, 13 November 2016

Why are books so damn tempting?!

The title of this post is, of course, rhetorical.

I know exactly why books are so damn tempting.


These are not my shelves - the pic comes from a BBC article on collecting books.
Thankfully, I don't have the space for this rampant level of bibliophilia.

Over 6 months ago, I wrote a post where I congratulated myself on how I had cleared the decks when it came to books waiting to be read. I returned everything I had to the library; I took all books I hadn't read off my shelves and gave them charity. Novels that had been lent to me I gave back to the lenders. It was such a delicious feeling to know that my reading-scape was swept clear. I had the space and the freedom to go out into the world - to libraries, to bookshops, to the shelves of friends, to my own shelves of once-read still-loved books - and see what books wanted to be read.


Above images found here in a collection of different types of philes and what they love

Skip ahead to today and I have 30 unread books that I have managed to accumulate since. I'd registered the odd tome slipping in here and there but I hadn't realised how many paperbacks and hardbacks had snuck back on to those cleared shelves. This total of 30 is after I looked at the acquisitions and culled those that could go to charity. My book-reading vista is once again clogged up. I no longer feel I have the freedom to go to libraries and charity shops and pick something up. I can do it, of course, but there's the nagging thought at the back of my head that I have so much to read already.



The Japanese have a word for this kind of collecting. Tsundoku. There is the feeling among some that just like the words karaoke and tsunami, tsundoku should enter the English language.

What about abibliphilia? I think this might be a made up word as it doesn't appear in the dictionary but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be. I scooped it from this blog post and wonder if this is part of my problem - fear of running out of things to read. This is a highly irrational fear as I have lots of books I have already read on my shelves and I have a kindle and a OneClick Digital app on my tablet so a vast library is only a few clicks away.



Every book is a promise. That's why I pick them up and accrue them without consciously realising it. Each one is new world. I will meet new people there, explore new ideas, absorb new sights and stories. Some will barely register as a ripple, read one day, forgotten within a month. Others will blow my mind. How do you successfully resist promises? I, it would appear, don't.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

A Christmas Tree for a Tiny House

Tiny House Christmas Ideas

Though the chances of me ever having my dream tiny house are slim to none (and slim just left town) it doesn't stop me daydreaming about it, as evidenced in other posts. As the festive season approaches I find myself wondering about what it must be like to have a tiny house at Christmas. Obviously, inviting all the family over for a big Christmas dinner is an impossibility but that doesn't mean that Christmas itself is off limits in a reduced space.

With a small space, storage is always a priority. A plastic Christmas tree requires a box, requires packing away, requires storage space. In a tiny home that isn't something I could justify. I'm also not fond of the idea of cutting down a living tree just to have it on display in a house for a month before chucking it out - and with a real tree there's the added implication of shedding needles and cat attacks. However, a box of Christmas decorations would be fine and something I'd feel I could justify the space for. 

With this in mind I think wall trees are the way to go for my dream tiny house.


The colour tones here are a little subdued for me but this is the kind of idea.
This tree has seagulls on, which I find random and endearing :)

I'm not a fan of tinsel (another cat related no-no), but I do like me some fairylights.

I also love the decorations they have in PaperChase each year but the tree I use is quite small and those big, heavy items would look very odd. On a wall tree, they would be perfect! My tiny house is not going to be an especially mature, elegant, grown-up place anyway so I can finally get to have a tree plastered with mermaids, foxes in tutus, sequined hotdogs, unicorns, flamingoes and lots of other tasteless fun things!

This is more colourful but lacking flashy light bling and a bit too
symmetrical for my liking. I like mismatched chaos on a tree.

So, my current daydream is that I would put lots of hooks on a space on the wall. At Christmas time, they would hold a variety of Christmas decorations and strands of fairylights. For the rest of the year I could use the hooks to hang other useful things.

Ah, dream tiny house. You're coming on a treat!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Paul Temple: the drinking game


I love a bit of Paul Temple on the radio (thank you BBC iPlayer Radio app) but I can't deny that there are certain plot devices that come up again and again in these crime dramas that ran from the thirties to the sixties.

If there were such a thing as the Paul Temple drinking game, players would need to take a swig every time the following happened:

  • Paul says, 'by Timothy'.
  • Steve says, 'Paul, be careful'.
  • Someone expires in the presence of Steve and/ or Paul and gives them a cryptic message - rather than actually giving them a name which would be much more useful!
  • Paul and Steve are run off the road.
  • One of the suspects is impersonated to lure Paul/ Steve into a trap.
  • Paul is about to tell Steve his theory or idea on something when he is interrupted by a ringing phone/ knock at the door.
  • Someone contacts Paul to say they need to speak to him urgently and by the time he finally gets round to meeting up with them they are dead.
  • Paul admonishes Steve for her 'good old intuition'.
  • Paul says 'STEVE' with urgency and anguish (often to a backdrop of fire or a bomb in the vicinity)
  • Steve buys a new hat/ dress/ coat and Paul bemoans the cost.
  • Paul Temple solves a crime the police force is incapable of solving.
By the end of a 6 part serial, you'd be wasted.

Friday, 4 November 2016

A Tiny Door for a Tiny House


This is a follow up from my recent post on gnome doors - it appears there are people who set up little doors inside their actual homes instead of/ aswell as the outside world! These have a variety of names from Urban Fairy to Tooth Fairy to Elf Doors. Thank you Pinterest for this discovery. The pic above can be found here.

It's another type of random decoration that I would include in my dream Tiny House. In a home that features craftidermy and at least one fabric insect, a tiny door would be commonplace!

This door is both whimsical and practical, serving as a plug cover 

In theory, the installation of such a door would be simple enough. Have a look on the internet and you'll find that Etsy, Ebay and Amazon all stock dollshouse doors - and I bet there are other smaller websites that specialise in miniatures where you could find even more variety.

This Etsy investment would be a lot less freaky than the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon

I wouldn't have one with a working light or anything that high tech, though I am delighted to find that other people have fitted their urban elf doors with just that.

From the What Will We Do Today? blog, complete with working light

I wouldn't go too heavy with the detail. The picture below is taken from a Daily Mail article and a lot of thought and energy has been given to the scene beyond it as you can see. Lovely to think people have that attention to details, though the weird mice sculptures are a little creepy for me. In my Tiny House, there wouldn't be space for me to put anything behind the door anyway!


I like the idea of a postbox and a welcome mat but think that would be a bit heavy on the clutter, and small items like that not affixed to anything would likely get destroyed by whatever cat I had about the place in a way that a door glued to a wall hopefully would not. I don't even think I could get away with bunting, and a ladder wouldn't last long with feline curiosity either.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Random thoughts on gnome doors

From The Bird House

I think everyone has a couple of things they'd like to do in their lives which they know would seem weird to the majority. As a result, they tend to keep these ideas to themselves. This is one of my random desires that I am sharing.

One day, I want to design, build and install a little door among the roots of a tree in a local park for no other reason than to delight those few passersby who actually notice it. It will be tucked away, not as easy to see as the Carlton Colville mystery fairy door, and a source of childish joy for me.

I'm not alone in this desire to secrete a little door somewhere - thank you internet for connecting me to this fact!


Image taken from My Fairy Gardens

Known as gnome doors or fairy doors, there are lots for sale on the internet and for the creative-minded individuals there are how tos you can find by Googling, like this one on the Mommy Blessings blog.

I'd want to make my own, of course, rather than buy a readymade one. This is because I don't just want one to stick on the trunk of a tree. Oh no. I want it to go among the roots and gnarly oddments at the base of the tree. I want my door to be a snug fit so it looks built for the purpose.


From Farmers Market Online

That's about as far as I've got with the plan thus far. I think I'll make it out of some kind of wood, perhaps varnished but not painted. I want a simple door and not a garish one so no bright colours and cutesy names on it. I like the idea of hinges but not yet sure about a knocker more because I doubt my ability to make something that intricate. I could always raid my knocker ideas for my dream tiny house and see if any of them would suffice.

It's going to be the door of a home rather than a tiny pub. I want it to be unobtrusive and inoffensive - fairy doors have been known to cause chaos if left to spring up unchecked. 


This one from Etsy even has a tiny lion knocker!


After the door, I might move on to other things. Setting up little scenes to be discovered - or not. I love it when I catch sight of something out of the ordinary that has been left somewhere. The Bloggess has referred to it as leaving magic behind.

I don't know about you, but I'd be delighted to find a little scene like this in my local park :)