Reviews!

IMG_20220925_155642_993_resized_20220925_040108908Good day to you all.  Allow me to introduce myself.  I am Professor Darius Robottom, known to many as ‘Doc’ (something to do with resembling a character from some old film, I gather).

I have been – between vital experiments aimed at bettering the future of humankind – watching the twin ventures of Mrs S and her team:  The Steampunk Dolls House Etsy shop and the monthly craft stalls in Somerset where she trades as Steampunk – Shrunk.  It occurred to me that it might be advantageous to join their community at the awkwardly names Steampunk-Shrunk Towers, but I wanted to assure myself that this was a suitably classy establishment for a gentleman of my immaculate credentials before making any commitment.

What better place to look than at the present month’s reviews for the shop?   Well, they were charming, and most complimentary.

Sarah Luckenbaugh added a photo of their purchaseA customer called Sarah sent a photo of three items she had purchased, along with the following five star review:

“I was surprised by how much detail and writing there was on every page! Very well made, looks amazing and realistic!”

That impressed me.  I’m rather a stickler for detail myself.

Diane Burtenshaw added a photo of their purchaseThe next review came from a lady by the name of Diane.  She had purchased LG, one of the Offcut Robots, for a very particular – and quite splendid – reason.  Here is her photo of LG in position and her review, again with five stars, is as follows:

“Beautifully crafted item for displaying in a printers tray to represent items that my son enjoyed as a child.”

I was gratified to discover that craftsmanship is evidently valued by the group at Steampunk-Shrunk Towers.

Carmela Dioguardi added a photo of their purchaseThe emphasis on craftsmanship is echoed by the third satisfied customer – clearly a person of considerable talent herself, which adds value to her review.  To her five stars, she added this photograph and the review below:

“I am so thrilled that I found this shop and this piece! The chestnuts roasting over a trash can couldn’t be more perfect for my Italian family’s shops at their farmhouse. Can’t wait to display it in my fall set up. It just adds so much ambiance. It is really beautifully made and was shipped timely and packaged for safe arrival. I will be looking for more unique things at this shop!”

Who could resist visiting Carmela’s family farm shops, when that much trouble is taken with the display?

Printable Bundle Witch or Wizard's Miniature Books - Tiny Book Kit for Instant Download - 3 Miniature Books to Make - 12th scale book kitThe final review (at the time of writing) is from a purchaser of a bundle of the printable miniature books available from the Etsy shop and craft stalls.  She gave the five stars which seem to be awarded to virtually all the shop’s items and commented:

“Great Print, quality item, super cute!!”

All in all, then, I have decided that this establishment meets my very high standards and I am delighted to become part of this community.  Thankfully, there are other creatives to chat with and I am very much enjoying my sojourn at Steampunk-Shrunk Towers.

Glastonfaeries

IMG_20220825_115934_resized_20220825_120025525Not your typical pretty-pretty Disney-type fairies of course, but then you wouldn’t expect those from Steampunk-Shrunk!  These faeries are darker, edgier and strange.

IMG_20220825_115835_resized_20220825_120025090It started when our gardener found a cache of beads on rusting wires – remnants from a long-forgotten craft project – buried beside the swamp (which was a pond until the badgers discovered it and lacerated the liner with their claws, but that’s another story) in the grounds of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers.  The beads had a certain patina of age and once they had been removed from their old wires and threaded on to new ones, a variation on the Offcut Robots started to take shape, with the beads rather than rusty nails for arms and discarded macrame beads for heads and bodies.  Chains and curled wire made their locs and the plastic lids used as paint palettes were cut up to create the wings.  Torn paper clothing completed the ensemble.  There were images of moths on the first one’s paper robe so she, obviously, had to be called Moth, while her copper, gold and yellow companion is Mustardseed.   Peaseblossom is drying in the workshop as I write and Cobweb, Puck, Oberon and Titania will follow.  Mrs S loves her Shakespeare!

A cluster of Glastonfaeries will accompany us to the next craft and vintage sales in Glastonbury Town Hall from 10.30 to 4.30 on Saturday 17th September and I dare say those who have not flown away by then with join us at the next sale on October 15th.  They are also available to buy online at this link.

Rusty Robots

We should have known.  When Mrs S finds some lesser visited area of Steampunk Shrunk Towers to tidy up, interesting items always emerge.

This time she was rummaging around the coal store.  Not that coal has been stored there, or anywhere else, for many decades, but it’s a handy space for gardening tools, flowerpots and left-over DIY materials.

She emerged gleefully, liberally coated in spiders’ webs and clutching a fistful of rusty nails in various sizes and a couple of lengths of timber.

“Little robots, I think,” she smiled.

IMG_20220723_173013_resized_20220725_114138473By the end of Day 1, these had emerged.

“Do they have names?” I asked.

“Indeed,” Mrs S replied.  “Suitably robotic names, I think – Elsie and Owen.”

We shrugged, not sure that either name sounded particularly robotic, but as she proceeded to write their names on the soles of their shoes – LC and ON, respectively – we understood.  There followed an entertaining half hour or so of inventing more robot names: IV, UN, JC, LN, LE, KC, AD, OT and even RV and FL!

IMG_20220725_085824_resized_20220725_090401598 (1)By the end of the second day ON and LC were finished, with KC well on the way.  To be honest, they’re not too steady on their pins, and prefer to lean decoratively in corners, but they have a certain rustic charm.

We look forward to introducing them to customers at our next craft stall, at Glastonbury Town Hall on Saturday 30th July, or of course they are available here.

Fair Life, by Evadne

“Black holdall or suitcase?” the others were asking, nervously, as Mrs S prepared us for our journey to the craft and vintage fair.  They breathed a sigh of relief as she assured them we would all be in the holdall.

“Suitcase is ghastly,” Holly explained to me.  It’s on wheels – no suspension – and the pavements of Glastonbury are far from even.  The holdall swings a bit, but she puts all the really delicate items in there, so we get a smoother journey.”

I nodded.  Hardly the way I’m accustomed to travel, but it could have been worse.

IMG_20220612_104446_resized_20220622_121053618I opted to stand on the highest point, beside my wonderful astrologium, and we received many admiring glances.  One lady almost paid to take me home, but finally decided her funds were not sufficient.

Jewellery, I noticed, sells very well.  So many people bought those little steampunk pendants made from vintage watch parts set in resin.  The knitted nightingales, sold in aid of Ukraine, were popular, too.  I was delighted to meet a customer carrying a staff who seemed fascinated by my device, but ended up purchasing the last of the time dragons.

I was hoping to offer astrological readings, but the lady on the next stall to ours seemed to have cornered the market and had a constant queue of people wanting to be told their fortune with tarot, angel cards and other such wisdom.

Finally, though, a customer began browsing the books.  There were many titles to select from, but on seeing mine, she exclaimed, “Oh – astrology!”

Wizard Widdershins turned to wink at me.  I think he meant it as an encouraging gesture, but I found it somewhat inappropriate.  Sure enough, though, I sold my first copy and was highly delighted.  I’m really rather looking forward to our next fair, in the Town Hall on July 9th.  Perhaps I’ll see you there.

Oh, and if you’d like to download a copy for yourself, along with instructions on how to turn it into your own miniature book, for a very modest price, click this link.

The Astrologium

How kind people can be.

Mrs S, like Shakespeare’s Autolycus, is ‘a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles’.  Not, we hasten to add, that she is a petty thief.  Quite the reverse, in fact.  Friends and acquaintances approach her, proffering handfuls of strange, broken or discarded trinkets in the hope that we will be able to upcycle them and produced new miniature wonders.

“Ah,” she said, spreading one of the latest collections on the desk.  “We appear to have an astrological theme emerging here. Could someone send for Evadne?”

The tall and haughty figure of Miss Capricornius was seen hurrying along the corridor moments later.  For a millisecond her eyes travelled to the items on the desk, but she quickly re-fixed her gaze upon the middle distance and trilled, “I came as soon as I was summoned, my dear.  I have no idea why I was called, of course, but Jupiter’s aspect in my chart today suggests a gift or opportunity of some kind.  Not that I would presume to suggest the two facts are in any way connected…”

“Quite,” said Mrs S, shortly.  “However, by chance, a few objects have come into our possession which may be of use to you.”

Evadne continued to stare ahead, waving a hand dramatically before her face, as if trying to remove a cobweb.

“I see the sun!” she exclaimed.  “Yet how could I receive the sun?  How strange these visions are!  And – could it be the constellation of libra?  Surely not!  Why and now the planets are showing me -”

“Yes, yes.  No doubt they’re indicating an amber pointer,” Mrs S sighed, glancing down at the desk.  “If you can make something interesting with these, Evadne, then take them.  I’m sure the brothers will be on hand to help with construction, should they be needed.”

She then left hastily, before Miss Capricornius could feign amazement at ‘discovering’ the trinkets.

Needless to say, my brother and myself were commanded to construct all manner of working parts for the ‘Astrologium’ she had decided to create.

“A rotating disc, darlings, about so big … no, not like that!  Tilted but roughly horizontal, obviously!  And this bead to turn it.  Why, it so clearly resembles a galaxy, don’t you think?  The holographic clock will require two more hands, in addition to this stunning pointer.  They must be huge and magnificent.  Bronze, perhaps and silver.  Oh, and a decorative but sturdy set of railings across the front.  Children can be so irritatingly curious!”IMG_20220530_145039_resized_20220530_025129821

So it went on for days, but I have to say, Charles and I are very impressed with the result.   To be honest, we did all the work.  ‘Her majesty’, as she’s come to be known, simply handed out the orders and then settled to write a book about her creation.  And do we get a mention in it?  Well I’m sure you can guess the answer to that.

Molly informs us that Miss Capricornius has been ordering more astrology-related items.  It sounds as if she’s decided to create a whole series of astrologiums.

Maybe mercury will go retrograde and her order won’t arrive…

Molly II

I’ve been asked to lift my head briefly from this fascinating Botanical Almanack I was reading, to introduce myself to you.

IMG_20220413_104437_resized_20220501_125611650My name is Molly, but since there was a previous proprietor of this little bookshop who went by the same name, the inhabitants of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers call me Molly II, which sounds rather regal, I feel.  Apparently the first Molly was enticed to head off to live in a beautiful home in North Wales with someone everyone here calls ‘Her Ladyship’.  I’ve read her book, naturally.  It’s called ‘Molly, by Herself’ and explains how she took on the job of sitting in the bookshop and encouraging customers at our Steampunk-Shrunk craft stalls to buy some of our books.

Since she left, the little bookshop has been gathering dust and the book sales at craft markets have dwindled.  Apparently customers are less interested in a simple display of books, but enchanted by the idea of purchasing one from Molly’s Book Emporium – probably the smallest functioning bookshop in the world.

So how, I imagine you wondering, did I arrive on the scene?  Well, to be honest, I was one of a large group of 12th scale porcelain orphans who were (oh, the shame!) being auctioned off on a well-known online site.  Mrs S was the successful bidder and we duly arrived at the steps of Steampunk-Shrunk towers in a state of considerable disarray.  Between us, we had an assortment of missing limbs, grubby, torn clothes, matted hair and ugly faces.  Regardless of that, we were all warmly welcomed and given a comfortable home.  Eliza brought us each a toffee apple (except for the babies, of course) and asked whether there was anything we needed.  I asked whether there were any books I could read to the younger ones and Eliza jokingly enquired whether my name was Molly, by any chance.  When I told her it was, she gave a gasp of excitement and bustled off to tell Mrs S.

Can you imagine my excitement and pride when I was taken to the workshop for a makeover and then presented with my very own bookshop, positively bursting with all manner of volumes?  I have a padded chair to sit in, a table with an oil lamp and shelves and boxes filled with all the reading material I could wish for.  I’m allowed to go and read to the little ones whenever I like and my only duty is to work once a month on the market stall.

I attended my first craft and vintage fair last week and sold 27 books!  Everyone was delighted and praised me for being a first class bookseller.  Perhaps it’s my turn to write a book…

Mechanical Miniatures

“It’s been a while since we turned our hands to anything mechanical,” my brother Henry said, rather wistfully.

We started exploring piles of promising-looking items in the workshop.

“Wheels?” I suggested, holding up some circular wooden blanks.  “Hard to get the hole for the axle right in the centre though.”

“Cams!” he replied jubilantly.  “Drill the holes off-centre and we can make some cam-operated wind-ups.”

IMG_20220221_094042_742_resized_20220303_101756693 (1)And that was all it took.  He started to put some sturdy little boxes together, the ladies decorated them and I (Charles) got to work on the cam mechanisms and handles.

The first was a multicoloured dancing tree, made from twisted wires, sequins, beads and charms.  Next we raided the vintage watch parts for some springs and gears to put together with coiled copper wire.  Then we became more ambitious and produced a tiny hot-air balloon, complete with top-hatted magnificent men to fly it.  100% upcycled junk!  An old Christmas tree bauble was covered in plastic mesh which held Mrs S’s garlic, a few beads and jewellery bits added for the basket and the gents were fashioned from cotton bud stalks with tiny shoe eyelets for their hats!  Many hours of exacting work, of course, but we’re very happy with the finished result and now planning a series of dancing birds, octopuses and who knows what…

Proud to say that this week they have been the most viewed item in our Etsy shop.  Here’s a quick link, in case you’d like to take a look.

Heart, Flag, Ukraine, Kyiv, NationalOh, and while you’re on Etsy, we’d recommend searching for printable items produced in Ukraine.  Our fellow sellers there have been forced to shut their regular shops, due to the war, but still receive money direct to their PayPal accounts if we buy their digital artwork.

Ginger Flies In

IMG_20220213_104455_resized_20220213_105303441That was a close shave!  Just as daylight was fading on Friday night, Mrs S pronounced Ginger Jenkins, our latest arrival, fit to travel with us on the Saturday morning, to the Craft & Vintage Market in Glastonbury Town Hall.

We were a motley crew, but drew many admiring glances – Ginger in his flying leathers, Wizard Widdershins glaring enviously as other wizards’ staffs outshone his own, Eliza the tiny toffee apple seller, the two young glamorous ladies (Holly displaying rather too much of her scarlet fishnet stockings for my liking), dependable George the tinkerer and Cecily and myself – Gwendoline – engaged in a tea duel in our favourite little café.  Mind you, I do think Cecily should cut back on the amount of gin she secretly adds to her tea.

20180206_164936“Just a nip, my dear, to keep me alert,” she insists, but she slid from her chair on numerous occasions.  Rather unseemly.

Still, all in all, it was a delightful affair and Mrs S was very pleased with our takings.

We will be returning to the same venue on March 26th and hope to meet more lovely customers then.  Meanwhile, Mrs S is busy adding Ginger, and a few items of jewellery to the Etsy shop, which you can visit here.

Message in a Bottle

Just a week to go until our first market stall of 2022!

Mrs S has dusted down the wheelie suitcase and the big black bag and we are preparing for the half mile trundle down to the Craft & Vintage Market at Glastonbury Town Hall on Saturday 12th February.

IMG_20220205_103944_resized_20220205_104029899Obviously Valentine goodies will be featured – from steampunky stuffed velvet and leather hearts with keys, clocks, chains and more or less anything else that came to hand, to heart-shaped pendants decorated with cogs or crystals.

Talking of Crystal – our lovely little fortune teller won’t be joining us.  She has left the Towers and should be arriving in Indiana around now to join her new custodian.  Wizard Widdershins has agreed to join us, though (unless the person who has had him in their basket at the Etsy Shop for several weeks now finally heads to the checkout) so there will be a good selection of miniature ladies and gentlemen.

IMG_20220203_140856_resized_20220205_104030215Perhaps under the cover of those mists we mentioned last time, a selection of tiny bottles has washed up on our banks.  (Avalon is, after all, an Isle, if only in name at present.)  Each contains a couple of sparkles or tiny gems and a mysterious message, intended only for the eyes of its new recipient.  That’s if they can manage to get it out of the bottle… not easy but possible.  We’ve tested them.

Some of these items, and more besides, will be making their way across Somerset to the ever-exciting Magpie Vintage shop in Midsomer Norton in the next few days.

Enjoy your week and we hope to see some of you at one of our outlets soon.

The Towers in Winter

Few visitors are finding their way to Steampunk-Shrunk Towers at present, shrouded as it is in the mists of Avalon.  Travellers pass by, huddled in their greatcoats, gloves and bobble hats (Why do those hats have bobbles?  Such an odd custom…) but few would guess the hive of activity concealed behind our heavy timber doors.

IMG_20220112_142044_resized_20220112_022338333 (2)No peace for us.  We’ve been busy replenishing stocks – trying hard to remember just how we made those lines that sold out last year and, obviously, inventing new ones.  Once again, we’re happy to announce, there are over 100 lines for sale at the Steampunk Dolls House and more still to fill our market stalls for the coming year.

IMG_20220116_105511_resized_20220116_105704052 (1)The first of those is fast approaching – Saturday 12th February (so just in time for Valentine’s Day!) at the Craft and Vintage Fair in Glastonbury Town Hall, Somerset from 10.30.

Take a look at some of our latest creations – the tiniest pendants decorated with real (but suitably miniature) crystals,  a range of larger heart pendants with our usual steampunk twist and if that doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart sufficiently on these cold, grey days, take a look at our 1:12 scale fire pits, complete with flickering flames.IMG_20220127_150539_resized_20220129_100109982 (1)

Enjoy browsing the shop, from the comfort of your own living rooms, and we look forward to seeing those of you who live in or close to Somerset very shortly.