The Black Door

It’s possible that the ancient black wooden door at the front of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers is as old as the building itself.  Certainly there is a huge iron key that looks to be many centuries old.

What comings and goings that door must have seen.  And certainly there have been plenty in the present month.

Just imagine our amazement when the infamous Dr Oskar Kopp and his ‘enhanced’ assistant Bjørn arrived.  They had left us several years ago to accompany a reknowned storyteller and share their tales with her audiences.  Now, it seems, the good lady is moving to another continent and asked whether she could return these gentlemen and their laboratory to us.

If you are unfamiliar with their story, you could go to this link and its successor and read about them.

The doctor, we noticed, looked somewhat older and perhaps slightly frail.  Bjørn, on the other hand, appears to be thriving with his mechanically enhanced brain and strong clockwork heart.  We look forward to hearing about his research into alchemy, when Dr Kopp is out of earshot.

However there have also been some departures.

Augustus Robottom has clearly become disillusioned with the little robots he has been creating.  He grabbed a copy of The Time Traveller’s Companion and announced that he was relocating to Alabama.

“But what about these small, er, devices of yours?”  Mrs S enquired.

“Confound the things!” he said gruffly.  “I suggest sending them over to the Magpie.  I think they would fit in well there.”

“Ah yes.  Excellent idea,” agreed Mrs S, and she began packing them up to take to the rather wonderful Vintage and Curiosities shop she supplies in Midsomer Norton.

The very next day, Mr Coggleford the furniture restorer and young Jasper, his son and apprentice, told us that they intended to follow in Gus’s footsteps and would be taking one of the time machines as well as one of their finest cabinets with them.

All three will be sorely missed here, but we applaud their ambition and hope that their life in the New World will be most successful.

Now we hear rumours that more ladies and gentlemen will be joining us to once again swell the ranks of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers’ inhabitants.  Today, though, with storms raging outside, the massive black door remains firmly shut.

 

Time Dragons!

Canyon, River, Landscape, Nature, WaterFar off, in a deep meandering gorge in the Archipelagonian mountains, are the caves where the Time Dragons nest.

Ah yes, they are nesting, which means they are breeding.  Soon there will be more.  Did you not realise, fools, that TIME is no shallow plaything?  Retro-futurism indeed!  Ah, you can create a time that never was and never has been nor will be, but you do it at your peril.

As you merrily warp and bend and twist time into all manner of strange contrivances, don’t think there isn’t fallout. The seconds and minutes and hours that are squeezed out of your newly fabricated reality congeal together in the darkest unswept corners of your workshops and form around those discarded wires, fabric scraps, watch springs, gears and clock faces.   Gradually they begin to take on shape.  Wire bends to make claws and wing struts, springs unravel and form tails, paper, foil and packaging maché themselves into heads, limbs and writhing bodies.  Bright, beaded eyes flick open, clawed feet scuttle and wings creak and flex in readiness for the journey.

available at SteampunkDollsHouse.etsy.comStealthily they insinuate themselves through the gaps in time caused by your meddling.  Laboriously they make their way to the caves that open from those steep and jagged cliffs that form The Gorge.  Patiently they coat the cave floors with lost words, clocks and (oh, these are their favourites) glittering watch chains – a hoard fit for a Time Dragon.  Now their nests are ready.  They have no more need of your detritus.  These are independent beings now.  They can give birth to new generations and fly forth wheresoever they please.

Perhaps some day a particularly intrepid traveller with a highly innovative airship might venture down into the gorge of which I speak, might peer into the lairs of these remarkable beasts, might spot them perching precariously upon rocks, twisting their sinuous necks and screeching, “Time no longer!” in hoarse, cracked voices.

Perhaps, though, the Time Dragons will venture forth from their sheltered hideaways and return to the lands their ancestors left.  Their numbers are increasing and they are becoming bolder.  Woe to you then, retro-futurists!

 

However should you decide to take destiny in your hands and indulge in some dragon-taming, three of these fearsome beasts are available from the SteampunkDollsHouse Etsy shop.   Click on their photos to link to the listings.   Lairs (as pictured) will also be available shortly.

a Time Dragon
Wasted
A Time Dragon
Golden
A Time Dragon
Precious

Professor Erazmus’s Gifts

For sale at the SteampunkDollsHouseHigh in one of the attic rooms of the famed Steampunk-Shrunk Towers, Professor Erazmus keeps himself very much to himself.  This is partly because he prefers his own company, but mostly because he does not wish anyone to interfere with his Scrying Machine – a contraption of such sophistication and complexity that its clockwork mechanisms are built into the very walls of the building.

With this astonishing device, the professor is able to peer into the homes and lives of any of his acquaintances and – more especially – those of his many wards.  These young people have now left the safety of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers and moved on to make new lives for themselves in all corners of this world and a few others.

However Erazmus still keeps a keen, fatherly eye on each of them and uses his machine to check that all is well in their new homes.

At the approach of the festive season, the professor begins to prowl around the many workshops, inventing rooms and creative corners of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers in search of the perfect gifts for these much-loved young people to whom he has been guardian for so long.  It is with great care and delight that he selects the perfect gift for each of them.

Of course, because of the clever construction of the scrying machine, Erazmus has the added pleasure of being able to watch the reactions of his wards as they open their parcels, no matter how far away they are now living.

Here is Ruby, who moved away long ago.  For her the Professor has chosen one of these delicate holographic scrying mirrors.

He hopes that this will encourage her to keep in touch and let him know what she is up to these days, but he’s not sure that his plan will succeed.

 

 

 

a young showmanThis is young Rufus, who moved away to begin a career as an inventor and travelling showman and was a great favourite of Erazmus’s.

To this enterprising young man, Professor Erasmus has chosen to give this time machine, as soon as it’s finished.

 

Milly, the steampunk housekeeper robotYoung Henry, here, travelled to the East Coast of the United States some time ago and promptly changed his name.

The professor has decided to send him a robot to assist with the routine jobs involved in working the time machine.

 

Lost in a bookLittle Molly has, he knows, gone to an excellent new home in North Wales.  However he has decided to send her some more books, as she can never have enough.

 

 

 

 

 

The content of this post is now on sale in miniature book format in the SteampunkDollsHouse, with even more illustrations.  It can be bought either as a finished book or as a downloadable DIY page, which can be printed out and made up, with full instructions.

The Professor and his Scrying Room are also available there, at this link.

Chestnuts roasting on a Steam-Powered Engine?

Steampunk Christmas?  The words don’t go together too well, do they?

Vague images of a brown and black clad Santa in a filthy coal-fuelled sleigh, hauled by robot reindeer, or a rusty artificial tree made with cogs of diminishing sizes…

on sale at Sheampunk-shrunk stallsNevertheless, we do have our own line in suitably eccentric tree decorations.  The Wild and Wonky Decorations are a splendid mix of beads, coiled wire, charms and curiosities.  The odd vintage watch cog, key or teapot may be thrown in for good measure.

Let no one accuse us of having a bah humbug approach to the festive season.

We were delighted with the number of people (mothers and daughters, mostly) who rushed at our recent stall at the Glastonbury Folk Craft Market, crying, “Oh look at those robots/ time machines/ gadgets!  Dad/Uncle Jim/your brother would love one of those.”

Many an item was purchased to be hidden away for Christmas.

Customers also seem to love our tiny items – amulets, potion bottles, scrying mirrors, miniature wax candles and so forth to use as cracker gifts or stocking fillers.

Last but by no means least are our tiny 12th scale books.  All were written in house and each has a full text and coloured cover.  Several are also lavishly illustrated.  There are steampunk stories, a catalogue of Robottom’s robots, a time-traveller’s companion, as well as books of spells, charms and potions.  If you’ve left it too late to have them posted, many are also available in Do-It-Yourself format as instant printable downloads.  All you (or the recipients) need is a printer, a glue stick and a pair of scissors or craft knife.  Full instructions are provided.

Browse the Steampunk Dolls House for all titles available and if you like a bargain, do check the very special price on our DIY book bundle, with a selection of 5 books for less than £1 each.

One customer bought a bunch of these to hand around the dinner table instead of Christmas crackers, so that all her guests could make and go home with their own miniature book.  All titles are suitable for children as well as adults.

Of course there is the usual range of Steampunk figures, furniture, time machines, watch cog jewellery and far more besides at our etsy shop, but please order early, as we have much travelling to do in December.

Festive greetings to all our kind followers and customers.

Molly Moving On

There was the tiniest tap on my workshop door.

“Hello Molly.  Come on in.  Everything OK?”

Molly blushed and did that little bob curtsey thing she does.  “I’m so sorry to bother you, Mrs Steampunkle, ma’am.  I wouldn’t normally.  It’s just that this is something rather important ma’am.”

“Molly you’re welcome anytime. So what is this important thing?”

Lost in a bookShe rummaged in her pocket and brought out a rather crumpled envelope. To my surprise, her eyes filled with tears.
“Ma’am, you’ve been so good and kind to me,” she blurted out. “You gave me my first job, and it’s such a good job, too – reading books in the Literary Emporium you built especially for me, and showing the customers how lovely all the books are… And they are lovely too. I really, truly mean that. I just don’t know how to tell you this…”
The poor child began to sob in earnest.

“You want to move on,” I smiled. “Is that it?”

She gasped. “OH! How did you know? I’m so sorry but yes, ma’am. I do. You see I’ve had this letter from her ladyship – Lady Josephine, ma’am, the Lord High Admiral’s wife.  Imagine her writing a real letter to me!  She tells me that she has met Mr Ashley Miller, the famous author of that wonderful book about Brasston and that he is going to accompany them on their visit to that great city, in the dirigible.  But, oh!  Here is the amazing part, ma’am – she says that as it was me, or is it I?  As I was the person who first discovered and showed her the book, they’d like me to go with them on the journey.  I’m just so happy and proud, ma’am, I could burst.  Imagine an ordinary little girl like me taking a ride in the Lord High Admiral’s craft!  And I’ll get to see Lady Josephine again – she was always so kind to me, ma’am.  AND I’ll get to meet Mr Ashley Miller in person!  Oh and I’ll get to visit the amazing, cosmopolitan city of Brasston!
The outside view“But that means, ma’am, that I’ll have to leave you and the Emporium, and whatever will you do, ma’am, to get the visitors to come and read the books if I’m not there to encourage them?”

It would have been quite wrong to laugh, despite the comical appearance of this agitated child – lauging one minute and weeping the next.  I did my best to mop up her tears and assured her that she must of course go on the journey to visit Lady Josephine and accompany her on the expedition to Brasston.

“We could ask young Alice to take over your job in the bookshop,”  I suggested.  “She is a very keen reader.”

The inside viewMolly clapped her hands in delight and agreed that this was a splendid idea.  I then told her I’d found her ladyship’s partly written journal in a dusty corner of Steampunk-Shrunk Towers and asked Molly if she would kindly take it with her, so that Josephine could continue to keep a record of her adventures.

“Oh yes, ma’am, of course I will.  She will be so pleased to have it back.  And if you would be so kind, might I also take one of our blank notebook and pencil sets for Mr Ashley Miller, ma’am?  Being a famous author, I’m sure he would want to keep a record of the journey for himself.”

“Molly, that is an excellent idea.  Pop down to the Emporium and choose one for him, then we must help you to pack.”

There followed many tearful ‘thank yous’, interspersed with at least a dozen more ‘ma’ams’.  I am happy to say, though, that Molly set off on her long journey North this morning and will soon be reunited with the Admiral and his lovely wife, and all of us here wish them a most splendid adventure together.

 

More information on Ashley Miller’s Lego-Steampunk fusion book Brasston can be found at this link.

Molly’s Literary Emporium will continue to sell books, both at Steampunk-Shrunk stalls and in our Etsy shop at this link.

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.

The Steampunk Apothecary

A very good day to you from the delightful North Somersetshire town of Midsomer Norton, close to the famous city of Bath.

An overview of Silvester Bawdrip's Apothecary ShopI, Silvester Bawdrip, would like to offer a very warm welcome to my new premises, which open today, October 5th 2019.

As you will see, it is a delightful – if rather compact – Apothecary’s Shop, which specialises in powders, potions and pills as well as other requisites for any personage with an interest in Steampunk.

Here you will find tablets to facilitate time-travel, a salve which gives the power of microscopic sight,  bottled light to enhance your brainpower and much more.  I have even been persuaded to stock spare gears for mechanical arms.

Naturally, my cures and potions are primarily intended for persons of between five and six inches in height.  However my, er, somewhat loftier patrons have asked me to provide some larger bottles which they can use as amulets or pendant charms, particularly as Halloween approaches.  Their manufacture is far from easy for a gentleman of my stature, but we have some for sale on the lower ground floor of my establishment, filled with my splendid ingredients, clearly labelled and sealed with silver sealing wax.  They can be hung around the neck or on a costume from adjustable leather laces and are highly recommended.

Should you have difficulty finding my establishment, it really couldn’t be easier.  Head for the High Street of Midsomer Norton.  You will notice the beautiful River Somer flowing beside the pavement.  Behind the war memorial is a charming shop called Magpie, which sells various vintage items of clothing and sundry curiosities.  Inside this shop, you will find me and my repository of Steampunk powders, enhancers and cures in an attractive glass cabinet.  We occupy three storeys of this case and my shop – naturally – is on the top floor.

Silvester Bawdrip with Lady Olivia

In the photograph, you will see me attempting to strike up a rapport with one of my esteemed customers – the delectable charming Lady Olivia Steamington.
(“May I call you Olivia, or Livvy?”
“‘Your Ladyship’ will do perfectly, thank you.”)

Still, being an explorer, she is an excellent customer and has returned today to purchase more of my air-sickness pills, along with a good supply of bottled wind power.

Her LadyshipI have to confess, I had some difficulty explaining the situation to my intended, Mistress Ectophemia Fleabane, when she discovered this photography of Lady Steamington in my drawer.

I assured her that keeping photographs of my most valued clients is simply a convenient method of data collection and allows me to optimise my sales potential.  However she uttered some rather graphic and unpleasant curses and whacked me in the tenderest of spots with her broomstick.  Fortunately I had a highly effective salve to hand, to reduce the swelling and bruising.

Still, enough of my domestic squabbles.

Do come along and visit my humble establishment if you are in the vicinity.

You can also buy my potions and amulets from The Crispin Emporium in Street and from Steampunk-Shrunk stalls that appear from time to time around the UK.  (See home page for dates and locations.)  There are also a few of the amulets for sale in the SteampunkDollsHouse Etsy store, at this link.

 

Steaming off to the Seaside

Well no, sadly we won’t be steaming.  there are some quite splendid steam railways around these parts, but our journey this weekend takes us on a couple of buses instead.

We will be journeying through picturesque hillside villages in the Mendips and ending up on the esplanade of the delightful resort of Weston-super-Mare.  Only Mrs S will be able to enjoy the scenery, of course.  The rest of us will be squashed into that suitcase of hers.  Even more annoyingly, she has decided to bring along Mistress Ectophemia Fleabane and her hovel.  The smell is quite distasteful, to say the least.  It is best not to know what she is brewing in that caudron.

There is quite a little party of us, though.  Mr Coggleford and his remarkable son Jasper are coming along for the first time and little Alice will be putting in an appearance, as well myself, Lady Cristabel, Grace Pendleton and the distinguished inventor Augustus Robottom.  We will endeavour to stay as far from that creature as possible, and hope that she finds a new home to plague enjoy.

Coggleford & Son are bringing along a selection of their beautifully restored furniture and there is a slightly alarming ‘spooky section’, influenced, no doubt, by you-know-who.

 

I have to admit, though, the display is going to look quite striking with all those purple lights shining up through the potion bottles and amulets.  Not to mention the creepy cabinets!

All in all, we should have a very inviting stall at the Dollshouse and Miniatures Fair being held at the rather impressive Royal Hotel on Sunday 22nd September from 10am – 4pm.

Do hope some of you will be able to visit, and please buy that Fleabane woman  yourselves some delightful miniature treasures.

Kind regards,

Delilah Camshaft

Grimoires

Mrs S is away from home at the moment. Leaving Steampunk-Shrunk Towers in the capable hands of Charles and Henry, she has traversed the country once again and is sojourning in the sweltering East.

To keep her occupied in spare moments, she has taken a sheaf of printed covers and pages to construct a plentiful supply of Grimoires – enough to tide us through the plethora of Steampunk-Shrunk stalls coming up this autumn and to cover the inevitable rise in demand at the SteampunkDollsHouse shop around Halloween.

Cutting and glueing the spell books together is the easy part. Each page then needs to be ‘distressed’ to give the appearance of great age.

This is a time-consuming process involving a variety of substances and techniques. Grimoires, after all, must expect to be exposed to all manner of strange environments and materials over the centuries.

Once suitably ancient in appearance, each little volume will be offered for sale. No two are completely alike.

As for the spells, charms and advice hidden within their pages – customers should take these with a large pinch of salt (along with essence of bat wing, scale of newt and a sprinkling of items digg’d in the dark).

Credit must be given to Betsy at www.etsy.com/shop/chocolaterabbit for the excellent covers and illustrations.

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.