Absent, Not Idle


The Toto2 basket kit stalled when photographing the instructions, and underwent a minor redesign. Necessitating more prototypes and models, etc., as everyone who has ever been involved in bringing a product to market knows. At least I am my own boss and manager, and our production meetings are… relatively honest and supportive of everyone’s efforts.

Then I got distracted with designing some office supply products: a coordinated group of essentials, in different colorways. Here is the first, in gray, orange and yellow, that will eventually have a fashion name like Southwest or Urban Warmth. The kits will consist of a horizontal file holder, a vertical file or magazine holder (not pictured), a cache pot, and a trash bin. Oh, and coordinating file folders. The trash bins would also make stylish planters, given a coat or two of planter-style finishing.


And then there was this development. One day I came home and noticed a small artifact on the kitchen floor… a tiny thing I knew was a prop from Argo Wool Works, which is next to the Sea House Warming Hut. Supposedly safely ensconced atop a six-foot tall cabinet, protected by a buffer wall of foam core. (Relegated there after the previous degradations on the work table.)

Breached. I knew not yet how. A day or so later, as I was working at the work table, I heard a thunk behind me and looked up to see Scarlett, atop the living roof. She is now agile enough to leap four feet in the air from the adjacent desk to plunder forbidden miniature worlds. And plunder and pillage she has done.


I documented these first raids, then cleared all the stuff, and her, out. There have been many subsequent scruffings, even though she knows it’s wrong.


The tiny shelves, once filled with wool products, are decimated. Her hopeful forays have been abated as long as I remember to position my Luxo lamp at an upward angle, blocking the leap from lower desktop to shelf top.

18 thoughts on “Absent, Not Idle

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Like your Ester, my two older boy cats are indifferent to miniature building, except possibly when a space opens up on one of the work surfaces large enough to flake out in. Because they are GOOD cats. As I’ve said before, it’s a very good thing Scarlett is as talkative, sweet and loving as she is monstrous.

  1. Sheila says:

    As someone with a similar cat, I can say that they do not grow out of it. They get smarter and sneakier. My suggestion would be to enclose the dollhouse somehow. Anything small and interesting is at risk.

    Of course mine managed to sit on top of the NOLA House roof and then couldn’t get down without her daddy’s help. Some rearranging is needed.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Yeahhhh, I think Scarlett is one of those :/ Now that the builds are empty shells, I have to invest in more and better storage for their contents; I really want to be able to use them for scenes and backdrops. *grumbleswear*
      I bet your kitty looked adorable atop the NOLA House :)

  2. Barbara W. says:

    Perhaps Scarlett translates to ‘bouncer’ in Catspeak. We’re looking at once again adopting a rescue cat but much as I’d love a kitten, I’m leaning toward a senior feline who needs lots of TLC.
    Can’t wait for the new office supplies to be available – love the colours!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Senior felines are the way to go; they’ve already master proper catting. Glad you’re keen on the office supplies! They’re fast and easy to make, and oh-so-containery :)

  3. Bennie says:

    Bad kitty! I’m glad she is healthy but she should know better!! I can only imagine all the tiny things she wants to play with in your studio.

  4. Nancy Bristow says:

    Oh my! Destruction of treasures is totally unacceptable.:) I barely let adults near my miniatures…not without proper vetting…but lovable Scarlett presents a different challenge. I think I’d have to go with a plexiglass “box like cover” or “screen” of some kind. Love all your photos but then I’m a “photo HO.”

    I love all the new stuff you’re working on and as I was reading about your explorations, I was right there with you when you mentioned getting distracted ~ it’s so easy to do (for me). I have to pull myself back and stay focused on the current project on a regular basis. I’m particularly into the horizontal file folder holder. What a fabulous way to show off all the super colored individual file folders.

    I’m currently working on the ‘hens and chicks” kit (with little side forays playing with other kinds of scrap paper ~ yes, of course, I had to buy the punch;) and I’ve got the remaining two of three remaining round baskets in progress…the colors have been chosen and parts colored (Sunflower Yellow and Duck Blue…the finished one is Firebrick).

    I actually thought about you this morning, Nancy, as I squirreled away an empty 5 lb. sugar bag. *grin*

    • Nancy Enge says:

      I mentioned to Scarlett that destruction is totally unacceptable. Her response was enigmatic, at best. I’m glad you like the new office stuff! As I try to quantify it for Etsy listings, I’m realizing there’s more potential than just office usage, especially for sculptural planters. Distraction! Boon or bane?
      Your basket colors sound lovely. And I’m honored you would think of me when squirreling potentially useful materials. Tell us, what brand of sugar bag was it?

  5. elizabeth s says:

    Your new Office supplies look just as PROFESSIONAL as your Succulents, baskets, & file folders kits. Your increase in productivity, amidst so many customer’s RAVE REVIEWS must be a hot topic of “discussion” among each of your board members as well as put a HUGE smile on their collective faces.
    It certainly put a SMILE on mine! :D

    a very naughty Scarlett

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Oh Elizabeth, thank you! “Professional” is the one word I want associated with office products :) That said, I am personally intrigued at the combination possibilities of bases to yield highly personal results, in a diverse range of styles.
      The MMS&S Board is an eccentric lot, but surely revel in our customers’ appreciation. And yes, Scarlett is a poster child of naughty. That says, “What?!”

  6. Jodi Hippler says:

    Both you and Scarlet have been busy — each in her own way. The new pieces look like a lot of fun! I wonder if Scarlett might leave your dollhouses alone if she had a more enticing one for herself… One with rooms and ledges and cubbies filled with small treasures made just for kitties. I saw this one and thought you could make it much more interesting for her:

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thanks, Jodi. Organizing in miniature is very satisfying :)
      Scarlett seems to live by the credo “All things that are up must come down, and all your things must be investigated for play potential.” And by the Rule of Catbed, which states, “The more money/effort you spend, the quicker shall it be ignored as if it were hot lava.” Her predations had lessened when she became old enough to go outside, but now that that is routine and her confidence and agility is increased, there are new heights to attain. That is an awesome cat structure, though. I want one for myself :)

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