Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Mr Bender is on his way!

Good news!

Especially for Mrs Bender, who has been on the edge of her tiny seat ever since her errant rubber hubby was first spotted for sale on the world wide interweb.

After 37 years of being apart, they will finally soon be reunited, as Mr Bender is coming home!

I'm hoping he is slipping himself into a small square of bubble wrap as I type, ready to enter the system as a small packet, large letter, parcel or whatever else the great Royal Mail in its infinite wisdom decides to categorise him as.

Soon he will be braving the rain, wind, snow, and Mount Pleasant Sorting Office (which was built on the site of Coldbath Fields Prison - a fact that rather says it all regarding the state of the UK postal service today)

But human and tiny rubber fingers crossed, the Benders will soon be back together where they belong!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Stop press: Bender Family Update!!

I have had a telegram from my good friend Diane, to tell me that Mr Bender has finally broken cover!!

Mr Bender looking decidedly worried 
about his future
Obviously spurred on by seeing the kids leave home, and his wife's new life - finding herself footloose and fancy free - he has decided to "come out" too.

Loosely disguised with a polka dot tie, a change of shirt, Oxford bags and some fairly heavy pencilled-in eyebrows (he was very fair and didn't have any when I was five years old).  He was spotted by eagle-eyed Diane, looking rather forlorn on eBay.

With two days to go before the auction closes, he may still sadly never arrive at the Mini House and will continue his adventures elsewhere, but it would be lovely to see him back in the fold, and so we have everything crossed here at No 1 Heatherside Corner for his safe return.  And that wasn't referring to his knees, which I promise never to bend at funny angles ever again.

I also remember chewing his little rubber feet first time round, and resolve not to do that either, if he does come home.

I haven't told Mrs Bender yet, that her errant husband has resurfaced and having obviously fallen on similar hard times, is selling himself on the internet.  Just in case we can hold a small rubbery reunion, if I'm lucky enough to win him back.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Making lamp shades? No sweat!

"Can I help you with anything?" The young girl in the chemist asked, after watching me stare at their range of shampoo for fifteen minutes. "Are you looking for something in particular?"

I straightened up and smiled at her. This was going to be a tad awkward. And certainly wasn't going to aid positive public opinion on Care in the Community.

In an earnest tone which I hoped would imply I needed no help,  knew exactly what I was after, and once I had found and purchased it, would go quietly, without the need to involve the police or mental health workers, I said slowly and reassuringly "No, I'm fine thank you."

Though in hindsight the next thing I said was probably a mistake. "I'm looking for lamp shades" I told her cheerfully, treating her to another big grin.

Now, any miniaturist worth their salt would understand.

But 17 year-old trainee pharmacy assistants are a whole different kettle of fish.

She went pale behind her blotchy fake tan, glanced nervously at her colleague, who had up until now been extolling the virtues of ear drops to a customer, and eaves dropping on us at the same time, and scuttled behind the counter, putting a safe distance between her and the raving loon who had been muttering to the Head and Shoulders for the past quarter of an hour.

I shrugged and moved on to the toothpaste aisle. My quest was not yet over.

I was on a mission to find something I could use to make replica Mini House bathroom and bedroom lamp shades. Or the "tractor hub caps" as our builders had rudely referred to them, when renovating our house late last year.

I thought they were rather lovely (lamp shades, not the builders), when I spotted them for sale; two large, dark bronze-coloured metal shades, with a rust finish, both weighing a ton, but looking like the dog's doo-dahs* when they were in place.

*Not literally (Please see for further clarification)

And now I needed to replicate them.

I had already done SainburysTesco's, Waitrose and two local DIY stores with no luck. The chemist was my last bastion of hope.

But I guessed there was no point in trying to explain this to the pharmacist who, alerted by his colleagues, was taking charge of the situation and heading my way.
My light bulb moment!

I sauntered round the hair removal section in a bid to shake him off, knocking over a timely Veet display ("Don't let your Easter Bunnies get Furballs!") in the process.

As I trotted towards the exit, past a poster advertising Hemorrhoid Cream, and a rotating display of hair nets, I finally spotted what I was looking for!

Roll-on deodorants! Lots of them. And all with lids that were the perfect shape and size for our lamp shades! Or at least would be, with a little work.

Thinking he had me cornered, the pharmacist gestured to his staff to ring the boys in blue.

I skipped happily past him, clutching the little stubby bottles and paid for my bounty, grinning again at the young assistant to convince her of my sanity. 

As I emerged blinking into the daylight, armed with enough deodorant to dry up the North Sea, I heard Ms Ear Drops on the phone "Yes officer, talking to the shampoo for ages, and she kept baring her teeth at Kelly".

Some people just don't get it, do they?

The "tractor hub cap" lamp shades in No1 Heatherside Corner
The Mini House version attached to globe light bulbs. The only job left to do is to paint the gold parts white.
The main problem was that the lids were really difficult to saw through in a straight line. Was just as well I had
purchased a few bottles as it took a number of attempts. Then they were sanded, painted and drilled before being
glued to the globe bulb fittings.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Shaken, not staired

It all started one night when Mr PJ was mixing up one of his speciality scalp raising, eyebrow singeing Bloody Mary's
I was watching with interest, through a welders mask (which I keep for just such occasions), from the safety of my kitchen high stool, as he sprayed coarse ground black pepper and red hot chilli flakes around the room, like the Devil's confetti. A dash of Dave's Insanity Sauce here. A glug of Worcestershire's finest there. All hammered home with a stick of celery, and a squeeze of lime.

The inspiration for the Mini House stair rods,
our first cocktail parrot served in New Orleans
He's never been the same since we went to New Orleans and discovered that the real McCoy does not consist of one tiny bottle of lukewarm Britvic and a nervous splash of Lea and Perrins.

In the Big Easy, they like their Bloody Mary's red hot, and dangerous. With enough garnish to stock a garden centre.

Mr PJ was especially impressed when they topped it all off with a little pickle parrot, complete with olive eyes, to keep watch over his drink, long after he had stopped being able to focus on it for himself.

He says that if cocktail swilling special agent James Bond had wanted to look really suave, he should have been ordering Bloody Mary's topped off with a stuffed olive parakeet, instead of his usual girly dry Martinis. 

But it appears author Ian Flemming thought otherwise.

And so, it was at the moment my very own, er hem 007, was skewering a couple of Scotch Bonnets to a dill pickle, in an attempt to replicate Polly, that I saw the light! 

I had been struggling to come up with something small and cheap, preferably but not necessarily in metal, that I could use to make stair rods for the Mini House. And here before me, was the perfect answer. 

No, not the boss-eyed vegetable budgie that he was constructing to pop in his aperitif, but the very bones that kept it on its perch. Cocktail sticks! 

Yet again, they have come to the rescue. First for the mini Mini House balcony rails and now the stair rods. And I must say I'm very happy with the results.  

Although Mr PJ will now have to use something else to stir his Bloody Mary's.  But I'm sure if he talks nicely to "Q" they'll find him something....

The finished cocktail stick stair rods

How they were made

Use Tacky Glue to glue glass beads on to each end of a trimmed and sanded cocktail stick, to make finial ends
Crimp covers used in jewellery making are glued in place, to become the stair rod brackets
Sprayed with two coats of Pewter spray paint and then polished with a soft cloth
Glued in place with tiny drops of wood glue and left overnight to dry

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Just call me Norman...

I like to rock.

Not in the musical sense of the word. But in a big wooden chair. In the "old lady with a rug over her knees, wearing a badly fitting, frizzy ginger wig, and a lipstick moustache" type of rock.

Slowly, to and fro.  Endlessly, until I doze off or go dizzy.

I owned a tiny rocking chair as a tot.

I used to sit in it and rock backwards and forwards as fast as I could, like a loon, to make it walk across the bedroom floor.

The only reason I don't do that any more is that my rear end is now far too big to squeeze into the seat, so my beloved chair has been donated to someone considerably younger, smaller and more responsible.

And I've upgraded to Rocking Chair II - The Revenge....

Recently, I found a proper adult sized, fiddle-back, beech rocking chair in the same antiques centre which spawned the Mini House. Total Granny-chic! So I bought it.

The big chair and its little Mini House brother - almost an exact replica
Sometimes I like to gently rock in it, and talk to the dog, while watching the world and his wife go by outside our bedroom window.

I find it very therapeutic.

The dog has no feelings either way.

But Mr PJ finds it unnerving.

He says that from the street, looking in, I look like Norman Bates' "mother".

Well, if the wig fits.....

The perfect Mini House version  - from the Dolls House Emporium

"It's not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?"

Norman Bates. Psycho. 1960.