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.

Watch the Birdie (or the Horse or the Gecko…)

Sincere apologies for not posting an update recently.  Life on the road (or pavement, mainly, as Mrs S tends to walk to our market stalls, dragging us along in a wheelie suitcase or two) has been all-consuming.  

IMG_20211119_100027We have a brief respite now until our last sale of 2021 at Glastonbury Town Hall on December 18th, then a winter break until February.  The Etsy shop, of course, continues to thrive (we’ve just been awarded ‘Star Seller’ status for December!) and we’ve recently re-stocked our shelves at Magpie Vintage and Curiosities in Midsomer Norton.

We’re including a few photos from a recent market.  Meeting real humans again has been a delight and the response to our stalls has been overwhelming.  If you’re one of the people who took our business card and have recently discovered this blog, welcome, by the way.

IMG_20211119_095339Mrs S has enjoyed herself thoroughly and is kept busy creating new stock in between all the sales.  Here she can be seen showing off the Case of the Apothecary’s Shop and some of the Clockton-upon-Teas buildings.  We have a very few of those left for the next stall, then we’ll be raiding the recycling box for more packets and bottles to upcycle ready for next year.

The standout best-sellers on our stalls this season, though, have been the ridiculously eccentric watch-part pendants, badges and brooches.

IMG_20211125_141214_resized_20211202_120636288Having been gifted many boxes of vintage Swiss watch parts – from the days before batteries, back when the clockwork mechanisms were wound by hand – Mrs S spends many happy hours at her desk, picking out one tiny piece after another and deciding what, in that strange mind of hers, they look like.  Here, for example, you might be able to spot a gecko driving a combine harvester, Rudolf the wonky reindeer, a flying griffin, a bird on wheels and a turkey… or not!  It’s very much in the eye of the beholder.  IMG_20211126_131538_893_resized_20211202_120636791Our current favourite is this little horse.  Odd that watch parts lend themselves to such an interesting range of designs, including animals.  Mind you, we’ve recently been asked if there’s an otter… even watch parts have their limits!

If you live in Somerset and want to pay us a visit at the fair, do come and introduce yourself.  Sadly we aren’t planning to do any steampunk conventions or sales further afield in the foreseeable future, but will work hard to keep our other outlets stocked – and to post regularly here.

Wishing all our followers and patrons (and anyone else who stumbled across this site) a joyous festive season and a most auspicious New Year.

 

On the Road Again!

There are just a handful of people left here at Steampunk-Shrunk Towers who remember the touring days.  The rest of us listen with a mixture of respect, envy and terror as they tell us tales of being bubble-wrapped, boxed and thrust into Mrs S’s trusty old wheelie suitcase, then trundled away on journeys lasting many hours.

SITC21.jpg WEB (1)“Ah,” they say, “but when you finally arrive and are unpacked – then it’s all worth it!  You’ll be placed ever so carefully in just the right spot to display your fine costumes and intricate details.  Fairy lights and spotlights will illuminate the stall and people will come to stare, to gasp, to admire… and sometimes to buy and take you off to a new home.”

IMG_20210928_153101_resized_20210928_033607222We had almost given up hope of experiencing a fair ourselves, but now we have FOUR to look forward to before the end of the year!

The months of lockdown in the Towers have been pleasant enough.  The visits from the plague doctors and others were diverting, but to see Mrs S dusting off the suitcase and searching out her stocks of bags and boxes…  Well we can’t deny that we are more than a little excited.

Bootiful Miniature Upcycling

Here at Steampunk-Shrunk Towers, we love recycling.  Mrs S is, to quote Shakespeare, ‘a snapper up of unconsidered trifles’.  Junk packaging, broken dolls and furniture, charity shop finds… all are squirrelled away and lovingly upcycled when inspiration arrives.

img_20210920_165032_469IMG_20210916_105712_resized_20210921_110939915Some of our favourite finds are the little packs of boot and shoe eyelets we pick up for a fairly modest price (and an excellent cause) from the local children’s hospice charity shop.  They are leftover stock given to the charity by Clarks – the famous shoe manufacturers a mile or two down the road.

As you can see, the plain round ones make quite perfect camera lenses at 12th scale.

img_20210919_102222_981_resized_20210921_110659377There are all manner of fancy designs, though. It didn’t take us long to realise that they would be ideal as miniature candlesticks.

We hand-roll wax around a length of sewing thread, place them in the eyelets and light them just for a moment to blacken the wick and (if we’re lucky) create a drip.

A Tall Dark Handsome Stranger

We get all manner of diminutive characters appearing at the gates of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers.  One never knows who will appear next.  So I wasn’t surprised when a rather lovely young lady in a flowing sage green and dusky pink dress with a silk headscarf and dangling earrings arrived.  Initially she introduced herself as Gladys from Glastonbury, but her professional name is – apparently – Psychic Sabrina.
“I thought of spelling it P-s-a-b-r-i-n-a, but I think that’s a bit much, don’t you?”
Yes, I did.

“So you’ll be wanting somewhere to work, um, Sabrina,” I said.

She nodded gratefully.  “Just a very small consulting room.  I could do with a couple of chairs and a little table, if possible, and maybe somewhere to store these.”
As she spoke, she was unpacking a trunk containing the tools of her trade – a dowsing pendulum, a pack of cards, a large golden teapot (“tea leaf readings, my lovely”), and sure enough a china cup and saucer.

“I was drawn here, you know,” she confided. “The cards told me to come.  They showed me – I mean, I know it sounds a little clichéd, but it was so clear – that I’d meet a gentleman here who would be, well, significant in my life.  Tall, dark haired, very good looking.”

I thought about our few remaining gentlemen.  Most had left for America last month.  George Entwistle has almost no hair and can only lay claim to being the 12th scale equivalent of 5ft 9 by wearing his top hat everywhere he goes.   Hugo is certainly a distinguished-looking chap and may have been dark haired once, but he’s been grey for many a year.  That only left oil-smeared Henry and his brother…

“Charles,”  I called,  “Could you give me a hand making a set of shelves for a little room I’m putting together?  A stack of about three, to hang on the wall?  A nice grungy but feminine paint or paper finish, please.”

Charles went to work at once, while I set about covering an old room box with some rather beautiful floral papers and painting oddments of furniture in a mix of brown, anthracite and bronze.

Psychic Sabrina, meanwhile, remained strangely unaware of what was going on around her as she unpacked crystals, a ouija board and a set of tarot cards, lovingly wrapped in a dark silk cloth.  Next came various candles and a bottle of dried berries (“Rowan, for protection, dearie”).  I hoped the shelves would be large enough.

The next day all was ready for Sabrina to move in.  She was delighted with the room and spent some time putting up posters and charts, then began stacking her shelves and arranging the furniture.

It was only natural that Charles would drop by to check on his handiwork and to introduce himself to our latest resident.  He came upon the lady as she was deeply engrossed in a tea leaf reading and his gasp was audible.

Sabrina finally pulled herself out of her state of deep concentration to find him standing there.  She’s a professional, I’ll give her that.  There was the tiniest flicker of recognition in her eyes, as she realised that this was the stranger she had come to meet, but she quickly regained her composure and greeted him with a friendly smile.

“Hello, lovely.  Have you come to have a reading?”

I’ve never seen Charles lost for words before.  His mouth opened and closed a few times before he could trust himself to speak.

“Ahem, well, I actually came to check whether the shelves were suitable for your needs, madam.  A-a reading, you say?  Are you some sort of a fortune teller or something?  Never dabbled in such things before, but…  Well, it couldn’t hurt, could it?”

Sabrina was clearly used to putting anxious customers at their ease.  “Oh, so you’re the gentleman who built these splendid shelves.  Why, they are just perfect for my equipment, thank you.  What a craftsman you are!  Yes, I can tell you about yourself, point you in the direction of the best paths to take for a happy and successful future and answer any questions you have.  Shall we begin with a palm reading?  You just come and take a seat.  I’d like to give you a reading as payment for your hard work on my room.”

Charles nodded meekly and sat down.  He answered Psychic Sabrina’s questions – his name, his circumstances – without once taking his eyes from her face.  She smiled and nodded, studying him just as intently.
“Let’s begin with your right hand, then” she cooed, finally. “Just hold it out for me.  Are you happy for me to hold it?”

“Oh yes, certainly,” Charles replied, a little too eagerly.

Me, I’m no clairvoyant, but I think the writing is on the wall as far as these two are concerned.

 

 

 

Robot Rebellion

Poor Augustus.  He looks very apologetic and slightly alarmed.  He holds himself entirely responsible for the furious beeping and light-flashing, not to mention the broken crockery and so forth, but it really isn’t entirely his fault.

You see, when one is a serial collector of all manner of unconsidered trifles, as Shakespeare would have it, there comes a time when a major clear-out must occur.  This was just such a time.

I used vast quantities of broken jewellery, charms and other pleasingly-shaped objects to create some of our Wild and Wonky seasonal tree decorations.   However there is a limit to what can be suspended from a Christmas tree.

I felt that the football boot studs, the broken plastic wind instruments, the polystyrene packaging, the various bottle caps and the two broken toy motorcycles would be a step too far, so I did what I usually do at such times.  I handed them over to the highly enterprising Augustus Robottom and suggested he make some more of his very popular junk robots.

True to form, Gus produced some little wonders.  There was a small butler bot holding a goblet of wine, a robot maid with teapot and cup, several messengers, guard bots and a very cute little handyman with screwdriver, drill and assorted useful bits and bobs.

Then the trouble started.

junk robot bikersGus began to transform the motorbikes.

They had been in a sorry state when I first found them in the 50p box of a local charity shop, but once Augustus had worked his magic and added in some rather unlikely components, he produced a couple of quite extraordinary biker bots.

The paintwork was transformed with glittery nail varnish and metallic wax.  Huge exaust pipes were fashioned from a plastic trumpet and saxophone.  An action figure’s mask became a grille on the front of one.  A plastic drinking straw became a huge steam funnel on the other.  The little robot drivers were fixed into place – one leaning forward eagerly, the other a rather laid-back easy rider.

Gus pronounced himself pleased with the result.

Then the trouble started.

the robots spot the bikerThe smaller robots caught sight of Robot G on his gleaming copper and gold motorbike.  Pandemonium broke out.

Remember R2-D2 at its most animated and loud?  Multiply that by eight and add in the smashing of household items and you’ll have some idea of the hubub caused by the consternation of the jealous little robots.

I’m not sure what that butler was offering me in his jewelled goblet, but it looked rather more like a poisoned chalice than a glass of wine.   Beaded arms and fists were raised and each mouth spewed unbridled fury.  They encircled poor Augustus, each demanding a shiny set of wheels for themselves.  Alas, I had to admit I’d only been able to aquire two bikes.

We both felt it best they didn’t meet Robot I, the second biker.  Fortunately, he was quickly snapped up by a collector in the United States, so their paths will not need to cross.

“Perhaps,” I suggested later, “it would be better to make your next batch of robots without emotion chips.”

Sadly, Augustus agreed.

The remaining robots will be on sale at the Folk Art Market in the Assembly Rooms, Glastonbury, Somerset on Saturday 16th November 2019.  Any who are left will move to one of our Somerset outlets – Magpie Vintage in Midsomer Norton or Street Emporium.  Interested customers who live further afield can contact us via the form on the home page of this website.

 

Spooktacular Views

“Well, young Jasper,”  said Hugo Fforbes, in the deepest and most sinister voice he could manage, “If I pull my cape around myself just so, do you think I could pass for Count Dracula?”

Jasper looked critically at the elderly gentleman and paused.
“Well, Sir,” he said at length, “I think it would be rather a pity to cover your splendid mechanical arm. It looks far more imposing than those false teeth.”

Hugo smiled. “Perhaps you’re right, my boy. I’m just trying to get into this Halloween spirit.”

“Well Pa said we’re already fairly spooky, being retrofuturists and only existing in a parallel universe.  And when I asked Mrs S if she’d be dressing up for the Spooktacular Fair on Saturday, she said if she didn’t wear any make-up that would be enough to scare all the customers away.  She said we should simply be ourselves.”

“Well to be honest, that’s quite a relief,” the Steamic War veteran exclaimed.  “Those vampire teeth cut into my gums most unpleasantly.”

Amulets for protection

“I think it will be a lot like any other Steampunk-Shrunk stall, to be honest,”  added Jeremiah, Jasper’s father, who had just sauntered across to join them.  “We will be displaying our black and silver furniture range.  The witch’s hovel will probably be centre stage and there are all manner of skull candles, steampumpkins and potions for those of a ghoulish disposition.  I gather Mrs S has added in extra copies of the spell and potion books, too.”

“And I’ve never seen so many purple lights,”  grinned Jasper.  “I think it’s going to be rather exciting.”

Bell, book & candle sets

“Well the last time I visited the city of Wells, it seemed a rather sedate place,” Hugo observed.  “Many of the locals seemed to be in the autumn of their lives, one might say, and did not appear the type of persons to dress up in, er…”

“Vampire costumes?” suggested Jasper.

“Touché,” Hugo smiled, tapping the boy’s bowler hat playfully.  “At any rate, I need to go and oil my arm, ready for Saturday.”

“What was that about?”  Jeremiah asked.

“Oh, nothing Pa.  Could we perhaps hide a few of the pumpkins and skulls in our cabinets?”

Trays of potions, cures and poisons

“Well maybe one or two,” agreed his father.  “But keep it subtle.”

It remains to be seen whether Jasper heeds his father’s advice.

If you happen to be in the vicinity of the small – but perfectly formed – city of Wells in Somerset on Saturday 26th October 2019, do come along to the town hall and hunt us out.

Failing that, we will be in the Assembly Rooms in Glastonbury on November 16th – the day of the famous Glastonbury Carnival.

We look forward very much to making your acquaintance at one of these events.  If you live too far away, however, we currently have a Spooky Sale promotion on a number of Halloween-related items (as shown here) at our SteampunkDollsHouse Etsy shop.

Keeping Close

As regular readers will know, Mrs S has this unfortunate habit of stuffing us all into suitcases from time to time and heading off across the country to run Steampunk-Shrunk stalls in far flung places.  We are jolted on and off trains, up and down escalators and thrown into luggage holds on coaches and it is far from pleasant.

Henry about to set off in the clockwork time machine

“Well,” she says, a trifle testily, “If Henry and Charles would focus their excellent minds on creating space machines instead of time machines, perhaps they would contrive some sort of mechanism to move us smoothly and effortlessly across the land.  Until then, we are all stuck with our present modes of transportation.”

However she has agreed to work locally for a few months, and we are delighted to say that all our forthcoming sales are based within our beautiful county of Somerset.  (Check the home page for dates and venues.)  And of course we still have our delightful outpost at The Crispin Emporium in Street.

A rare shot of Dr Thrustington without his shades.

Last Saturday, we had a gentle, ten minute stroll in the sunshine to the Glastonbury Craft and Vintage Fair.  Such a delight!

We watched with rather mixed feelings as the beautiful Store of Strangeness was carried away to a new home, but imagine our delight when the purchaser returned a while later to collect Doctor Harbottle Thrustington to be the shop’s manager.  He doesn’t give much away behind those reflective glasses, but we could tell he was delighted at the prospect.  He was still more pleased when this charming customer decided to take Molly Forsey along to be his companion.  We think they make the perfect couple and wish them well in their new home.

As for the rest of us, we have a few weeks to breathe before heading for a touch of sea air at a Dollshouse and Miniatures Fair in Weston-super-Mare next month.  We hope to see some of you there.

Meanwhile, there is still the Etsy shop, for those who live further away.