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…

Stuff That

IMG_20220313_152937_resized_20220314_095249429Well no, they’re not very steampunk…  We’re deviating slightly for a very good reason.

A visitor to Steampunk-Shrunk Towers last week came clutching a large bag of toy stuffing, intended for use in our miniatures.  Very kind, but none of the items we make include the addition of toy stuffing (well, apart from wisps of mock steam for small boilers and contraptions occasionally).  Mrs S has a firm policy of never peering into the mouths of gift horses, so she sat down to ponder a use for it.

We’d already been intending to have a basket of items on our next market stall (26th March, Glastonbury Town Hall) to sell for Ukraine.  So maybe some tiny soft toys?

Mrs S decided Ukraine must have a national animal, like USA’s eagle or Russia’s bear.  She researched: Nightingale.  Yes, really.  A poignant symbol of the coming of spring, the building of homes and beautiful song.

Could she knit nightingales??

IMG_20220314_095120_resized_20220314_095249127After a huge trawl through online knitting patterns, she found exactly what she needed – a pattern for a small bird, knitted all in one piece.  A work of genius, actually.  It’s more like a cross between knitting and origami, with its many twists and turns and complex shaping, but it comes out just fine.

Friends were polled to decide whether to knit them in natural browns or in the yellow and blue of the Ukrainian flag.  ‘Some of each’ was the verdict, so she has been busily knitting ever since.  A small flock has emerged and will continue to grow.

The proceeds, depending on the situation by that time, will either go to reputable aid charities or to fellow Etsy sellers in Ukraine.  Many of them have had to close their regular shops, but are still able to sell printable digital items and so get their hands on a small income.  Search for ‘Ukraine sellers’ on Etsy and you’ll find everything from beautiful art works, scrapbook papers and recipes to images of the national flag and drawings by the sellers’ children.  You pay by PayPal, the money goes directly into their accounts and you can download the files, send a message of support in the review section and maybe get a hasty but heartfelt message of thanks from the seller.

Etsy has served us well, with our SteampunkDollsHouse shop over the years, so we are happy to support our fellow crafters and artisans in Ukraine at this time.

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.

Wizard Widdershins

New Year felicitations to all from Steampunk Shrunk Towers.

IMG_20220105_132929_resized_20220105_013402215Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Arborius Widdershins – alchemist, magician, man of letters and all-round white wizard.

Not exactly steampunk, I hear you say.  Well no, perhaps not, but Mrs S has always had a keen interest in all things mystical and when I noted the range of magic books in her little library, I couldn’t resist accepting her invitation to come and stay for a while.

Obviously, in my line of work there is a need for solitude.  Not easy to find here with that tinker chap thumping away on his workbench and all those ladies chattering away, so I asked if any of the towers were vacant.

Fortunately there is one that will be suitable.  Rather small, perhaps, but my skills are such that I should have little difficulty applying the ‘tardisium’ spell to increase its inner dimensions.  I’m sure I can persuade Mr Entwistle to make me a couple of pieces of suitable furniture.  My needs are few.

Meanwhile, a charming young seer by the name of Daphne de Voire has agreed to allow me to use her desk during the night, while she is sleeping.  Most agreeable.

All in all, I think I will enjoy my sojourn at this curious residence.

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.

 

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.

Holographic Reflections

20161230_192628-1Professor Laszlo Erazmus here.  Delighted to see you all again.

I felt it was high time I updated you on the comings and goings at Steampunk-Shrunk Towers, now the plague doctors have departed and life has returned to what passes for normal hereabouts.

Mrs S has survived the strange times and is currently hunting in various attics and cobweb-coated cupboards for the last few items to be restored to our virtual shop.  The stock room is full to bursting and our resident tinkers are bearing the thoughtful expression which presages a burst of frenetic activity, usually resulting in more interesting gizmos and gadgets for sale.

12th scale Holographic Hand Mirror  Steampunk Dollhouse gold without ringI am kept busy producing my holographic hand mirrors – a modest contribution to the SteampunkDollsHouse‘s stock, but definitely a best seller, with many five star reviews to their credit.  Miniature Photographic Studio  Model Photographer and Shop in image 0However I did permit myself a brief respite to visit the photographic studio of one of our newest residents – Mr Harold Wallington.  I’m sure you’ll agree that his photographic portrait (above) captures my likeness rather well and I would earnestly recommend his services should you wish to procure an image for yourself.  Mr Wallington and his shop can be found at this link.

We look forward to welcoming many of our patrons back to the shop in the ensuing months and indeed to take Steampunk-Shrunk out into the wider world once again as long as the plague continues to subside.