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Thursday, 15 March 2018

Too Much Snow!

The last little flakes from a two to three day snowstorm stopped just before lunch today; we have now had 3 major snowstorms in less than a week. This morning, the Carpenter-in-Chief had to dig out a nearly meter-wide, meter-high pile of snow left at the end of our driveway by the snowplow.

So I made some more flowers. This is a Cape Daisy (Osteospermum), and is based on another design by Mette S. Laurendz, in the August 2013 issue of Dolls House and Miniature Scene. Hers featured a dark red-purple Cape Daisy, but if you google the images of this flowering plant, you will see that they have a wonderful variety of centres, not to mention a wide variety of petal colours.

It involved a bit of experimentation, but mine have a bit of purple near the central ends of the petals, done with colouring pencils; then a ring of orange stamens, made of flowersoft; and a centre of teal blue sand, over a tiny teal blue central disc. There are 8 flowers, and a dozen buds that are in various stages of opening, as well as a couple of different sizes of leaves, cut down from flower punchies, and punched out of hand-painted paper.

My original design used colouring pencils for the central circles, but it just didn't look right. The Real Life version has a narrow ring of beige stamens between the orange and the blue, but I just could not manage that in 1/12 scale.

I am pleased! Now, I think I will do a couple more shamrock plants, a little less bushy, perhaps, just in case....

30 seconds later, it is snowing again....

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Saint Patrick's Day

Yes, I know that I am rather early with this post, but I had a mini day on Friday and put together this shamrock plant in time for Saint Patrick's Day. The Carpenter-in-Chief is about to finish a course on Celtic (Irish) Literature, and this was kind of inspired by that. The plant and its pot are under 3 cm (1" and a bit)  high. It is a design you can find in Joann Swanson's DIY blog. There are 25 little shamrock leaves and stems in a pot that is about 1.7 cm or 3/4" in diameter. It was remarkably quick to put together, using a tiny heart punch (do the math; that's 75 little hearts!), punched from painted paper. I am very satisfied with the shamrock, which will go into my flower shop's Spring window display. I still have to find a chocolate with green foil wrapping, to use the foil around the pot (and, of course, to satisfy my occasional chocolate cravings, too!).

While I was at it, I began cutting the pieces for two other plants, also destined for the flower shop's changeable window displays. The first one is below:

It's a white hellebore, or Christmas rose, which will be part of the Winter display. This one took time, as there are 7 open blossoms, two of which are a bit darker as they have just about finished blooming, and, I must admit, ended up having tea upset on them.... Then there are 10 buds in various stages of opening, and 10 leaf stems. Again, the same size pot as the shamrock, amazing that one can cram 26 pieces of flower wire into such a tiny area. This plant was designed by Mette S. Laurendz, from Denmark; the tutorial, which is very clear and well illustrated, is in the March 2015 issue of Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine.

The third plant will be a either a Cape Daisy or an osteospermum; it has been begun but it will be a few days before it is finished. as I am struggling with beading on a Real Life embroidery; I keep losing count of the threads in the linen. I am again following a design by Ms. Laurendz, but I am going to change things up a bit, with a more colourful flower; both of these plants come in such a wide variety of colours, with an even wider variety of multi-colour, concentric centres. I am going to start with a white one, with faint purple at the base of the petals, and an orange and teal blue centre. For the Summer window display, this will be plant number one.

I use glue dots to adhere the flowers and plants to a clear, plastic base cut to fit the window, which just allows me to slide the displays in and out as desired!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

So I thought I'd try to make some baby's breath (gypsophila) branches, using the technique for the lady's mantle plant. It sort of worked; pale green stiffened thread, dipped in glue then in fine white sand, and then the sand is painted white.

I added three red rosebuds and a small glitter heart to the arrangement. The sparkly green vase was a gift from Camp MiniHaHa, and I think it may be a little too bright for this bouquet; however, it was the right size for these flowers.

This will go into the Spring window of my flower shop, on the left, where there is an empty space right now. There is already an Easter arrangement in the centre of the window, so perhaps I should do a St. Patrick's Day arrangement for the other side; that way, I will have covered the special days celebrated in Spring. I think Joann Swanson's DIY site may have instructions for a shamrock plant.

Spring will not actually happen here for two and a half months....

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Finished Lady's Mantle in Tub

This morning, just before lunch, this is what I had accomplished: the four elements of the arrangement for the lady's mantle plant, prior to planting. And of course, the painted tub.

And here is the finished product, photographed in front of the as yet unfurnished Tudor Apothecary Workshop and Shop. (The shop front is temporarily missing, as it is being repaired.) The plant and its tub stand just a little over 4 cm high (less than 2").

To this point, I have made velvet-leaf mullein, foxgloves, echinacea, lily of the valley, pot marigolds, St. John's Wort, hellebores, and opium poppies, besides the lady's mantle. The flowers and berries for a belladonna plant are ready to be made up into a bush. And I am thinking out the way to make a lungwort plant; these have large spotted leaves, and tiny pink and blue flowers on them, good colour for the apothecary garden.

This is not the side of the building the garden will go on, but I wanted to have them "sort of" in place. There are many more yet to come....

Now I have to go back to my complicated Real Life embroidery, in which I made a mistake that may require lots of pulling out stitches to repair. Such is life!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Still Working Away!

Today I found the perfect neon yellow paint colour in, of all things, a dollar store. Since I thought I might as well have the plant the colour I wanted, I decided to repaint all the previously painted pieces, as well as make a few more. Yes, that takes time.

We are coming close to the finish with this plant. The little flower heads have to be attached one by one, with plenty of drying time in between applications, which is what is taking the time. Some of them may also need a bit of a "haircut", in that some of my earlier efforts at attaching the flower buds are somewhat skewed, to say the least. That means carefully pulling off the offending bud, trimming the stem, and re-applying the bud. So hopefully tomorrow will see this plant planted.

The tub needs to be painted to look as if it has sat in a garden in all weathers for years. Another task for tomorrow.

This sand and thread technique, while extremely time-consuming, would also work to make such plants as Queen Anne's Lace, and baby's breath (gypsophila). Perhaps I'll try three baby's breath to incorporate into a floral arrangement....

Sunday, 28 January 2018

About That Lady's Mantle Plant....

It's going to take more than two days to make this plant! In the small square of floral foam at the left, are 16 sections of the finished plant; each contains 15 leaves in 3 sizes. That's 240 leaves, each of which had to be trimmed from flower heads (cut out a segment) and geranium leaves (cut off the little stem). The bud branches also have acid yellow buds made of sand, that has had to be painted as I don't have yellow sand in that colour.

In the larger block of floral foam on the right, are an uncounted number of flower buds made of tiny sections of stiffened sewing thread, again dipped in glue, then sand, and then each has to be individually painted. This is probably less than half of the flower buds needed for this plant. My lemon yellow paint is drying out, so I have to pull out gobs of it and then thin it a bit with a drop or two of water. Once that is done, I have to add just enough leaf green to get that acid shade of yellow.

To make the flower heads I have to glue 12 to 14 teeny bits of sewing thread with sand to a single stem; in all, 16 stems are needed - again, close to 240 little thread and sand buds. Are you convinced that miniature flower makers are crazy?

The design for the lady's mantle plant is from Danish miniaturist, Mette S. Laurendz. She published about four tutorials in older issues of Dolls House and Miniature Scene; this plant is from the September 2013 issue. She also sells her PDF designs via her Etsy shop, as well as finished plants and other miniatures.

I will persevere....

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Some More Flowers

The cat was very helpful while I was making these! The individual flowers for the geraniums are made with a 3/32" (approx. 2.5 mm) punch-out, each of which is individually shaped. Then I put them in a small plastic container, until I am ready to glue them on to their bases. The cat's tail swept the container over and sent the tiny blossoms everywhere....

A couple of paper poinsettias were also put together; I had begun them a week ago during a mini afternoon. Two were put together that day, as one of my friends had commissioned them, so then I had to make some more of course to add to my stock for shows.

When not knocking over my tiny blossoms, the cat rubbed against the Advent project; as it is made of builder's foam, and is thus extremely light, it was a constant battle to not glue the flowers to my work surface, while protecting the vignette from the cat's affections. I only have two arms! The Carpenter-in-Chief suggested locking the cat in our bedroom,a place she is constantly attempting to sneak into.

Speaking of the Carpenter-in-Chief, he is studying the front panel of my Tudor apothecary to see how best to fix the doorpost that broke off when the panel fell. It is MDF, and will likely require a wooden support glued to the inside to keep the doorpost in place. The structure is mostly finished, just needs a base and the hinge that allows the two buildings that make up the piece to open and close. My CiC decided an apothecary needed a garden in which to cultivate healing plants, and I have started those.
But the buildings need to be on their base before I can add the garden on the side. It will have a removable wall on the front, flower beds and walks, and fruit trees which I hope to espalier along the walls. The walls will be brick, which means lots of paper clay work.

Now, in the absence of instructions for how to make a miniature amaryllis, I am going to begin on a lady's mantle plant, destined for the apothecary garden. My herb book tells me these were used medicinally both internally and externally. As the plant is rather invasive, I think I will plant my mini version in a tub to prevent it taking over the apothecary garden....