Lucy and Eve – both ladies?

The students at The Lucerne Academy for Young Ladies sat in a neat and expectant semi-circle.  It was not often a visitor came to speak to them, and this one had apparently come at the personal invitation of Miss Lucy.

img_20160805_224038-1Lucy Etherington was a legend at the Academy.  Her classes were always full; her lessons were endlessly surprising and – while her teachings were sometimes frowned upon by the more conservative members of the college’s governing body – her successes were indisputable.  Many of her former students were now world renowned explorers, inventors and scientists.

There was a slight gasp as the visitor entered the room.  She moved gracefully and smoothly, almost gliding into position before the pupils.  She gave an engaging smile and the girls looked in amazement from her to their teacher and back.

“Miss Lucy,” cried Grace, remembering just in time to raise her hand before speaking, “Are you twins – or sisters, at least?  Your faces look so alike!”
There was a murmur of agreement from the rest of the group.

img_20160724_170539-1The visitor gave a tinkling laugh, not unlike the sound of tiny metal bells.
Miss Lucy smiled as well.  “We are – one could say – very closely connected.  Young ladies, allow me to introduce Eve.”

There was enthusiastic applause.
Lucy turned to Eve and said, “We are delighted to welcome you here.  Perhaps you would be kind enough to demonstrate some of your accomplishments to the students.”
“I’d be delighted,” replied Eve, still with the soft, ringing voice that was pleasant to the ear, and yet ever so slightly disturbing.

She moved across to the piano and began to play a tune – a piece by Handel, which many of the girls had themselves studied.  After this she showed them several watercolour paintings – proficient yet, it must be said, lacking any particular creativity – and passed around some embroidery she had completed.

The clapping became merely polite; the smiles and nods on the girls’ faces grew more fixed.  All of Eve’s ‘accomplishments’ were quite charming.  They mirrored those expected of the girls themselves by the majority of their parents and tutors.  The students were far too carefully educated to fidget or yawn, of course, but this was hardly what they had come to expect in one of Miss Lucy’s lessons.

Lucy, meanwhile appeared to be giving little attention to her guest.  She seemed much more concerned with the equipment in her leather bag and was constantly turning dials and pressing buttons.  The girls were mystified.


Naturally it was again Grace – the wildest and most impetuous of the group – who gave voice to their puzzlement.
“Miss Eve,” she said, picking her words with far more care than was usual in her case, “I think your music and artistic ability are wonderful, but I just wondered…”
“Yes, my dear?” trilled Eve, with an encouraging smile.
“Well, do you do anything – um – creative? I mean, I know all the skills you have shown us are creative, of course, but I mean, do you  – invent, like Miss Lucy, for example?”

There was absolute silence in the room.  Grace and her fellow students wondered anxiously whether she had been impolite.  They watched their teacher and the visitor with a mixture of fear and anticipation.

Eve smiled.  She turned her head and glanced at Miss Lucy.  Miss Lucy nodded slightly.

“What an excellent question, young lady,” smiled Eve, and there was an audible sigh of relief from the girls.  “Sadly, I am not able to ‘invent’ as you put it – important and vital as such things may be.  You see, you young ladies posses something which I do not have.  You have the drive and ability to be endlessly creative and to mould your world in countless innovative and brilliant ways.  Alas, I do not.”

Grace exclaimed, “But you’re not that old!  Miss Lucy is -”
“My friend means,” cut in Katherine, the girl seated next to Grace, hastily, and with burning cheeks, “Miss Lucy has been a wonderful example to us of how nether gender nor age should ever be a bar to achieving great things in life.”

Eve smiled again, and Miss Lucy gave a slight cough which almost managed to conceal her snort of laughter.

“My dear young people,” smiled Eve, “You are completely correct. I am glad that you have listened so carefully to your teacher.  However, when I said there was something that I lacked, I was not referring to strength, youth or vigour.  Indeed, my strength surpasses that of the strongest of gentlemen.”

To prove her point, she crossed again to the piano, stood behind it and lifted it effortlessly above her head. There were gasps and a few screams from the audience. She smiled and replaced it carefully.
“What I lack, my dears, and what you – and your teacher – all possess in abundance… is a soul.  Without a soul, creativity is reduced to mere copying, as the young person sitting there so astutely noticed.  I can learn a piece of music or paint a scene perfectly.  I am able to conduct a conversation with only a small amount of assistance.”
She glanced once more towards Lucy, who removed her hand from the dial she was adjusting and placed her hands in her lap.
“But to invent,” continued Eve, “to create, to alter the world in the ways that I hope you will all go on to do – for that, a soul is required.”

The audience sat and stared at her in stunned and uncomprehending silence.

“Perhaps it is time to share your secret with the young ladies,” suggested Miss Lucy. “You will NOT require smelling salts,” she added rather sharply, turning to the students and raising her eyebrow slightly. “Simply open your minds and expand your understanding of what is possible.”

The girls leaned forward in their seats.

img_20160724_170620-1Eve nodded and gave her tinkling, slightly mechanical laugh once more.
“To do so, young ladies, I will need to turn my back on you, I’m afraid.  Your teacher and I do indeed have a very close relationship.  I am her creation!”

As she said these words she revolved gracefully, revealing the intricate mechanism set into her back, which had so far remained concealed.

“I am, my dears – an automaton.”


Like all the other characters available from the Steampunk Dolls House, Lucy and Eve, as well as Grace and Katherine are one-off, handcrafted 1:12 scale models, made by upcycling and customising dolls house dolls.

They are currently available at £25 each.  Click below to visit their links in the shop:






New arrivals


An eclectic mix of new miniature steampunk figures are now on sale in the Steampunk Dolls House shop.  They include Miss Lucy Etherington,


Amelia – a young mechanic who can turn her hand to any task – and Eve, a lady with an incredible secret (do check the back view photo!)

I’m promised that the first of the room settings will be available any day now, so do keep checking back.

Lars and William – Gentlemen

They sat for some time on the bench in silence.  William Robertson decided he’d better open the conversation.

img_20160717_180002-1“I was impressed – and intrigued – by this hat you sent me, Mr – Lars?”

“Just Lars,” responded the younger man, with a slight smile.  His accent was difficult to place.  “I am pleased that you like it.  I see you have worn a matching waistcoat in its honour.”

“I have,” William replied abruptly.  “And I’m grateful for the warmth it affords me.  Hyde Park, in December!  Could you not have chosen a more comfortable place to meet?”

It had not escaped William’s notice that Lars wore no coat and had his shirt sleeves rolled up.

“It is an excellent place to meet in winter,” Lars declared.  “We have the place almost to ourselves.  There is no danger of being overheard.”

“Yes, and what IS this paranoia of yours?” demanded William, quite angrily.  “You say you want to speak to me about some invention, yet insist I come alone and bring something to protect myself.”  He looked down at his dart launcher with an expression somewhere between fondness and embarrassment.  “You choose this bitter, godforsaken park bench and you carry nothing – no plans, no device.  What the deuce is going on?  I’d advise you not to waste any more of my time, Sir!”

20160925_115257“I am wearing my invention upon my head,” Lars said, almost casually.  “Far from wasting your time, Mr Robertson, I have the means here to free you from it altogether and to give you complete control over it.”

“Free me – from time?” William looked at him slowly.  “Are you telling me that hat you wear is a – a time machine?”

Lars gave a short laugh.  “Nothing so vulgar – or so dangerous, I assure you.  While we stay safely in place, this creation of mine can gain information from any time you wish – past, present or future – and from any location.”

William rose to his feet.  Unable to contain himself, he started to pace around, staring all the while at the curious contraption worn by his companion.  He opened his mouth to speak once or twice, but no words emerged.

20160925_115508“It works through steam power,” Lars continued.  “Steam, as of course you are aware, has great power.  It is composed of water.  And water, you may also be aware, has – memory.”

“Yes, yes, I read Erazmus’s paper to that effect quite recently, but I don’t see how – ”

“A small amount of water, gathered from the correct time and location, is heated, then condensed within my machine, Mr Robertson, and as this happens, the memory is separated from it and retained.  The memory trace can then be read.  We can know the past and know the future.  There are those who would kill for this power.  This is why I suggested the precautions, you understand.”

img_20160717_180002-1William’s eyes bulged.  He tried to take in this information, to sort it in his mind, to work out the implications and possibilities of using such a machine.  Quite suddenly he wheeled round and faced Lars, his eyes blazing.

“And how, may I ask, can you collect water from the FUTURE?” he demanded.

Lars casually removed the dark glasses he had been wearing throughout their meeting and looked William in the eye.  “You surely don’t expect me to reveal that.”

“If I’m to pay for this device…” blustered William, “then I – ”

20160925_115226“You are NOT to pay for the device,” Lars cut in.  “You are to pay for the information it provides.  I can tell you all you wish to know of any event, at any place or time where the smallest amount of water is, was, or will be present.  You will be able to foretell the future!  You will be able to make a fortune based on knowing how future events will fall out.  You will be able to solve riddles of the past.  But you will not own the device.  I alone know how to use it and no instructions are written down.”  He paused and added,  “If you tried, you would merely scald yourself a little.”

William sat back on the bench and considered.  “And of course you will provide me with proof of your claims, which can be clearly validated?”


“And how do I convey to you the time and locations I choose?”

“That hat I sent you – the one you now wear – has a mechanism for setting the coordinates.  These will be relayed to me via etheric currents which travel invisibly through the air.  You will, of course, receive full instructions on how to use it.  It is perfectly safe.”

There was a long pause.

“And the price?” William asked, finally.



You will find further details of William (and the price) here:

Lars’ page at the Steampunk Dolls House shop is here:

J’s Workshop

20161118_083502This is part of my work table in one of the Steampunk Doll’s House workshops.  Yes, there are two.

The room settings and other wooden wonders (soon to be reaching the shop) are crafted in a Victorian terraced house in Shropshire, close to the Welsh border.

20161118_083216_resizedMost of the figures begin life here, though, in a tiny room at the top of a 350 year old cottage, just down the road from Glastonbury Tor, in Somerset, England.

Ava, there, has just had her hair made and fitted and if you look carefully, next to her shoulder is the tiny copper and steel mechanical bird that will be perching on her arm one day.  First, though, she must be dressed.  I was trying to decide which colour velvet would go best with her peacock blue leather bodice – dark green, midnight blue or purple.  Turns out, her costume will be a mixture of all three.

As the clothes take shape, so her personality will develop, and soon she’ll have her own story – like why she is holding a mechanical songbird…

That will have to wait for a future post, though.  I have some sewing to do.

As always, some of my other creations can be found here:




Katherine – lady

img_20160714_205554-2Perhaps you recall the airship traveller who accosted Alex, asking to know about the device he carried.  Perhaps you formed an opinion of her – saw her as an interfering busybody?  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Approaching the stranger and attempting to engage him in conversation caused this lady the utmost distress and trepidation.  Rebuffed, she felt her cheeks burn as she moved away, vehemently hoping that none had overheard their conversation – such as it was.

Miss Lucy Etherington
Miss Lucy Etherington

A year before, Katherine would have watched the adventurer silently from afar.  Her upbringing had prepared her to be decorative, to smile, to nod attentively and encouragingly when spoken to and to use these skills to acquire a suitable husband.  He father had sent her to finishing school in Europe with the intention of honing these abilities to perfection.  He regarded it as a sound investment.  He had not, though, imagined that she would gain the kind of education provided by Miss Lucy Etherington.   Nor had he banked on her becoming the confidante of the fiery-haired – and similarly natured – Lady Grace Templer.

Had Alex thought to turn his eyes toward the lady who approached him on the airship, he might have noticed the intricate assemblage of cogs adorning her velvet dress and her fascinator.   He might have spotted that she, too, wore a pair of goggles pulled up upon her head and that the dial pinned into her hair was no mere decoration.  He might – had he not been so keen to maintain his anonymity and independence – have been struck by her beauty, recognised a kindred spirit and embarked upon the most rewarding of relationships.  The universes drop such opportunities into our lives, but it is for us to determine which we will accept and which reject.

Steampunk Lady 'Katherine' Dollshouse Scale 1/12thFor Katherine, too, is an inventor  – and an adventurer.  As yet, she lacks her friend’s courage and tenacity and her tutor’s assured and confident manner.  Yet she is their equal in brilliance of mind and innovation.

You, too, have the opportunity to connect with Katherine, and even to enjoy her company.  Find her at this link:

Alex – Adventurer

I wish there was more I could tell you.  Alex has always been secretive and a loner.  He takes no interest in joint ventures; shows no desire to share his research or discoveries with other adventurers.

img_20160804_092154-1As he boards the airship, though, there is many a raised eyebrow.  His backpack – is it steam powered?  What do the dials measure?  And that metal tube protruding from the top – what is its purpose?  Most of all, though, his fellow travellers’ attention is drawn to the device he cradles in his hands.

One lady, unable to contain her curiosity, finally approaches him.  “That is a fascinating object, Sir.”
“Indeed,” he responds, quietly, but offers no further comment.
“May I be so bold as to ask what it is for?” she persists.
He snorts irritably. “It is a type of – astrolabe, Madam,” he responds, as if the word had been wrenched from his throat. “Now if you will please excuse me, I have mental calculations to make and require some solitude.”


He puts on his leather helmet and pulls down his goggles, attempting, no doubt, to isolate himself still further from those around him.

A boy, having been offered a shilling by a portly gentleman should he be able to obtain any further revelations, reports that the map protruding from the young gent’s pocket shows Antarctica.

“And I seen him – when he was sure no one was watching – take down that great machine from his back and stand it on the deck, Sir.”
A small crowd forms around the child, whose chest swells with importance, and with anticipation for the coin which will soon be in his possession.
“He moves the dial at the top, Sir – and ladies and gents all – most particular, like. I couldn’t get close enough to see what number it was at – not without giving meself away, you understand. But then,” he pauses for effect and the listeners draw closer, “I seen him take that stick from his pocket – the one joined on to the round thing he’s always a-carrying about with him.”
img_20160803_211721“The astrolade, I believe it’s called,” a sandy-haired man in a bowler hat ventures.
“Astrolabe,” somebody corrects him. “A navigational device of some sort.”
“Anyhow,” the boy continues, “the young gent puts that stick into the pipe sticking out of the machine and the whole thing begins to GLOW!  Couldn’t believe me eyes and it was all I could do to stop meself from crying out with the fear of it.  But I kept me mouth shut, Sir, since you’d put this particular task upon me.”
He looks earnestly at the man who is hopefully to be his benefactor. Surely this information could be worth a florin, or even half a crown.
“Glowed kind of blue, it did,” he continues. “And there was little lights a-coming from the round device, ladies and gentlemen, just like the smallest lightning bolts you can imagine. Each time one came, there was a crack, like a whip striking horseflesh. It fair made me skin creep, I can tell you.”
“Then what?” asks a lady. “You were exceedingly brave,” she adds, with an encouraging smile.
“It made a humming sound,” the boy asserts, recognising that more is required. “Like a spinning top and quiet to begin with, but then it got ever so slightly louder and higher and it was painful to me ears, I don’t mind telling you.  I’ll bet that’s why he wears that helmet – to shield himself from that awful sound.  And just when I thought I couldn’t bear it no longer, it goes silent and the glowing and the sparks stop and the gent nods his head and looks rather pleased with hisself.”

There are contented murmurings from the assembled group.  Several people assert that they had expected as much.  The boy receives his shilling – though not a farthing more – and Alex continues to shun the company of the other passengers for the remainder of his journey.

Alex is no longer available at the Steampunk Dolls House, as he has moved to a new home.  To see other steampunk miniature figures, please visit