Archive of ‘Other’ category

Follow Me as I Write My New Fantasy Novel for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo

Preparing for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo – Planning my next novel


During April this year I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo.  This is a month-long challenge to encourage budding authors to get started on their literary masterpieces.  My target for the month was 50,000 words, which is considered by many to the the minimum length for a modern novel.  To hit the target one has to write an average of 1.667 words a day.  If you hit the target then you are considered a “winner” and get a badge for your blog (mine is down on the bottom right), plus special offers on various sponsor’s products.  Technically one could easily cheat… but as the idea is to encourage you to get on with your writing, that would be a bit defeating the object.


For April’s Camp NaNoWriMo I wrote the first 55,000 words of a historical novel that I have been thinking about for a very long time.  I will be finishing if off and publishing it, but am shelving it for now for various reasons.

There will be another Camp NaNoWriMo for the month of July, so I am now planning what I will write for this one.

I am going to be writing the first book in a series of fantasy/crime novels.  I have been thinking about this for many years and have many elements of my fantasy world planned already.

I will be writing using the excellent software, Scrivener, which I used for both my historical novel and my soon-to-be published non-fiction book, Make It, Blog It, Profit!.

Scrivener is a writing environment, created by an author for authors. As well as a conventional world processor, it also can handle research, plotting and formatting tasks.  I was able to buy it for 50% of its usual (very reasonable!) price, as one of the prizes from April’s NaNoWriMo.  There is a free month’s trial version available.   I will write a more in-depth review at a later date.

Throughout June I will be planning the plot of the new novel, and building the world in which it will be set.  This will be a lot of work, but something I will also enjoy.

I intend to work through this Magical World Builder- 30 Days of World Buildingby Stephanie Cottrell Bryant.

I have just started creating some maps for the world, using Campaign Cartographer 3+ software from Profantasy.  As I am very new to this software, I have a lot to learn and so am experimenting and learning as I go along.  I will use it to map out the main world, towns and villages and to create floor plans of buildings.  Some of these maps will end up in the books (I will redraw them nicely!)… others will be purely for my own reference.

Here is a snippet of one of my first mapping attempts.FirstMap



A New Look for Tin Teddy on Etsy


This week Etsy rolled out a  significant new look for seller’s shops.

Now my Tin Teddy shop on Etsy looks like this…



Previously it looked like this.


The biggest differences are that the product pictures are bigger (a good thing!) but reviews and polices are now on the front page (which seems unnecessary to me and distracts from the products).

Sellers have a choice of using the new, huge!, “cover pictures”, as I have done, using their old banners (which do no show at all on mobile devices) or having no cover or banner.

I am trying the cover picture for now on this shop.  My Antique Dog Prints vintage shop on Etsy still has the old small banner up.  I will wait a while to see how people respond to the changes before settling on one or the other for good.

Hints and Tips When Knitting, Sewing or Crocheting Small Doll Clothes

I love making little clothes for my dolls.   Here are some hints and tips for knitting, sewing or crocheting petite clothing.

  • The dolls on the left are wearing clothes that fit them, but they are knitted in double knitting yarn (worsted weight), on standard 4mm needles. They were fast to knit but not really to scale- the stitches look far too big. The tiny doll on the right is wearing a sweater that is much nearer to the right scale. It was knitted in lace-weight yarn on 1.5mm needles.





New Theme for Tin Teddy Blog Today


Today I have changed the theme (graphical style) of the Tin Teddy Blog.

I have been using a lovely theme from Elegant Themes for the past couple of years, but sadly can no longer do so as recent changes in the way WordPress works (the software that powers the blog) means that there were problems with the way some elements of the site were displaying.

Elegant Themes do not sell their themes individually, you have to join as a subscription to get access to them. You do get access to lots of themes this way, and can continue to use any theme after your subscription ends.

I was only using one theme.  Sadly, what I hadn’t realised is that once your subscription ends, you can no longer get any updates to the theme.  So when WordPress changed last year, my theme “broke” and I just do not know enough about website scripting to be able to fix it myself.

I could not justify paying for another year just to fix this one theme.  I do not want more themes and paying again for something I already paid quite a lot for, well that was not palatable.  Elegant Themes is no doubt great value for money if you want a lot of themes.  But if you only want one..  I now know it can be a very expensive option.

So I chose to change to a different theme, Adelle.  Which has meant some earlier posts are a bit wonky now as they use elements that were only available for Elegant Theme themes.

I am going through the blog and updating things right now.  It will take a few days to get everything tidy, plus there are a few other changes I want to make whilst I am at it.

Please bear with me if you see any “wonkyness”.  It should all be tidy again soon.

Thank you to all my regular readers.

Tin Teddy Vintage is now.. Antique Dog Prints – Etsy shop name change

After two years of trading as Tin Teddy Vintage, I have now rebranded my Etsy vintage prints shop with the new name of Antique Dog Prints.AntiqueDogPrintsCard

I already owned the dot com for this name, and as I sell over 90% vintage dog prints, it made sense to change the shop name.  I will still stock a few other animal prints now and then but it will definitely be mainly dogs, as before.

I currently have 53 original, antique and vintage dog prints on offer in the shop and will continue to add more.  I have a very large collection of prints as I have been collecting for many years.  My house, however, is very tiny so I am only able to display a few.  Hence the decision to sell my significant surplus prints so they can go to new homes where they can be enjoyed.

If you are looking for a particular breed, do let me know as I may have it, waiting to be listed.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Tin Teddy Vintage in 2015 and I hope that Antique Dog Prints continues to thrive in 2016.

Etsy Shop Critique and Review – now available


After a lot of preparation and research I am finally able to offer the Tin Teddy Shop Critique and Review for Etsy shop owners.

I will look over your shop in detail, looking at all areas including your product range and prices.

You will receive a professionally formatted, multipage document in both .DOCX (Microsoft W0rd) and .PDF formats – other formats available if required.

My aim is to offer genuinely useful, practical advice.  I will not just say what I think could be changed but explain how to actually change it – something that I know many sellers want rather than a simple critique.

The report will include illustrations  such as photos and screenshots. These will not be used to “flesh out” the report but where I think they are genuinely useful.

There will also be links to items in your shop (so you can be sure which I am talking about, these are usable if you have printed out the report too), links to Etsy policies or guidelines where required and links to tutorials, blog posts and resources that I think could be of use to you.

For more information see the Etsy listing for the Tin Teddy Etsy Shop Critique & Review.






Doll Sized Trick or Treat Bags Tutorial – Shriek Week


Today I released a new set of digital papers in my Etsy shop.  A pack of 24 Halloween themed digital papers.  They will be reduced in price for the duration of Shriek Week (until 18th October 2015).

I am going to use some of the papers to make cute little Trick or Treat bags for my 12″ dolls.

First I drew up a template of a trick or treat bag laid out flat.  I worked out the sizes by measuring against my doll.  This template will fit a 12″ doll such as a Barbie, Monster High, Blythe, Pullip and so on.  You could resize it to fit other dolls of course.

Here is a link to the Tin Teddy Trick or Treat Template.  There are two versions.

You could print onto card to make a sturdy template for creating multiple bags from your printed scrapbook papers.

But because I am going to use the digital papers, I will add the patterns in my graphics program before I print it out, this will save ink.

You can follow along to see how to do this.  You will need a graphics program that can use layers.  I am using Adobe Photoshop, but you could also use Adobe Photoshop Elements, Gimp (free), CorelDraw, Serif PhotoPlus (free version available), Adobe Illustrator etc.

Open the .PNG version of the template in your graphics program.  This is the version with transparency and is called TTTrickorTreatTrans.




Choose the digital paper you want to use on your bag and drag it into your document.

Then drag its layer below the template one, so you can see the template with the design inside it.  You will probably need to resize the digital paper as the pattern will be too big.  I resized mine t0 60%.

Move the digital paper layer around so the images are nicely arranged on the front and back of the bag.

The result is below.





Now open a new document the  size of the paper you are going to print onto. I am going to print onto thin white card.

Flatten the layers of the bag design you have made and drag it over into the new document.  You can then duplicate it as many times as you want on the page before printing it out.

If you want a variety of bags, just go back to your design and undo the flattening.  Now you can drag a new paper under the template.

I rotated some of mine so I could fit 6 bags onto one page.  If you set the layers to “Multiply” you can move the bags close to each other without any white overlapping.


Once you have as many versions of the bag on your page as you require you can print them out.  I recommend saving the file first, just in case!

If you want to make more complex designs on your bags, here is a guide to which part of the template is which.  You can use this to plan what you are going to put on your bag, and to help you fold it up.


Assembling the bag is very easy.  Score and fold along all the lines.  I used a bone folder to make sure the creases were very crisp.  If you don’t have a bone folder then you can rub the crease with the back of a spoon instead.  On small projects this can make a big difference to the final look.



Apply double-sided tape or tacky glue to the side flap then fold your bag and tuck it under the Back of the bag.  You could pop a paper clip on the top to hold it firmly whilst it glues.

Then apply glue to the bottom flap and tuck it up under the Back of the bag.

If your flaps don’t seem to fit very neatly, try cut a thin diagonal slither of the sides of them.

Finally, stick some baker’s twine, paper ribbon, twine, ribbon or thin strips of paper inside the front and back to make straps.


And your doll is all set to go get some candy!


You can of course decorate your trick or treat bags further.

This size of bag perfectly fits 12″ dolls but looks fine on a variety of other sizes too, such as the larger Tonner fashion dolls.  After all, trick or treat bags come in many sizes in real life!

Here are Robecca Steam and Clawdeen Wolf (Monster High dolls) setting off to go trick or treating – they didn’t even have to dress up!



Building a 1/24th Scale Dolls House Kit – Fantasy Villa Kit by Woodcraft – Part 1, Preparation

Tin Teddy Fantasy Villa

The Fantasy Villa kit by Woodcraft is a low cost, easy to assemble dolls house.  It is part of Woodcraft’s large range of model kits but being 1/24th scale (also known as half-scale) it can be used as a “proper” dolls house.

This kit is much cheaper than most dolls houses, which makes it ideal for a new miniaturist.  This low price does show itself in the wood quality though, plus the house is held together by a slot and peg system that does look a bit clumsy and “kid’s model kit” style.  I have assembled one of these kits before (about 15 years ago) and remember that there were a lot of gaps  and irregularities in the finished construction.

Therefore my challenge to myself this time is to assemble the kit and find ways to make the most of the design and end up with a decent little house.TTFantasyVillaInstructions

The kit consists of 11 plywood panels, each about 17″ by 11″ in size  These panels have multiple kit parts ready to be pushed out and assembled.  There are a LOT of parts.  The only instructions included are illustrations of the panels, showing the allocated part numbers, and a simple 7 point list of what to do.  You are supposed tTTFantasyVillao assemble it in numerical order, using the illustrations to know which part is which.  The instructions are included in English, German and French.

The tools I am using for the assembly are:

Craft knife – the parts are die cut and just need pushing out of the panels, but the  knife will be handy if any are not cleanly cut, or if I want to make changes
Sand paper – a medium and a finer grade for cleaning the edges of parts (the kit says it comes with some sandpaper, but it is a tiny, tiny piece, you will need more)
Needle files – for cleaning parts, especially in small areas
Wood glue – for gluing parts together (well doh)
Arcylic paint – I will paint some parts as I go along, for ease.  Acrylic craft paints are economical, cover well and ideal for this sort of project
Household emulsions – those little tester pots of household emulsion are great for dolls houses.  They come in a massive range of great colours, are low priced and easy to use

Because there are so many parts, and they are spread around the sheets, I started by lightly writing the part numbers on to the wooden parts, using the instruction sheet as a reference.  Some parts do not have a number – these are the trim and it will not be a problem to work out where they go at the end.  I used a pencil and kept the number very light, so I won’t have to waste a lot of time trying to remove it or paint over it later on.TTFantasyVillaClose TTFantasyVillaClose2

The big question now is what sort of style do I want this to be.  Victorian gothic?  Gingerbread cute?  Vintage or modern?

This dolls house is available from Amazon.  If you purchase from the link here I will get a small commission for sending a customer to Amazon.