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Monday, 29 February 2016

Two Days' Work and More to Go

Two days' worth of making berries for my St. Johnswort plant! And another day to go. I think I can get perhaps another 24 berries out of the bits of wire left over, and it looks like I have enough of the tiny tissue flowers for the sepals.

Then I get to tease out strands of silk sewing thread to make the stamens for the flowers. I think my Tudor apothecary garden will only get one of these plants....

The colours vary, because that makes the berries more realistic. And I used an American penny because Canada no longer uses pennies; the copper was worth more than the coin's face value, and people were literally just dropping the pennies on the ground.

I just hope that the tissue paper won't fade over time; I do not want to replace all the sepals and leaves.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Fourth Time Lucky? A Multi-day Assembly Project

Today, I began assembling a flower/plant kit I purchased last year at the Kensington show. The kit is for a St. Johnswort (Hypericum) plant, a plant that is still part of the medicinal plant pharmacopeia of European and European-derived cultures today. It absolutely had to go into my Tudor apothecary garden.

The kit is by Pascale Garnier, who makes truly beautiful flowers, to judge by photos on the net. I purchased it from Art of Mini, a Dutch-German miniature business, for a very high price (I thought!), 14 Euros or around 20 Canadian dollars at the current exchange rate. So I was somewhat disappointed to find the kit consisted of what you see in the photo below:

Which is, of course, sideways and which I can't figure out how to turn! It consists of a plastic bag of tissue paper leaves and 7 thin wires, 4 longer, loose wires, another plastic bag with tiny flower shapes in tissue paper, and a straight pin, along with a foam rectangle and the instructions, in 4 languages. The kit is only for the berries, not the flowers; fortunately, I know there is a tutorial for those on the net.  There were supposed to be 2 sizes of wires, but they were all the same thickness. As it happens, I had the same kind of paper-covered wire in my supplies, in the larger thickness, so I re-cut the stem wires out of that. One wire produced all 7 of the required stems. By the way, this is going to be a multi-day assembly project, so stay tuned!

My thicker wire is the short piece; I will use the thin wires left over to make the stems for the flower heads. So the way you make the berries is as follows: dip the wire end into glue and allow to dry;  now repeat that step. Paint the base green (these berries are about 1 mm in diameter!), and allow to dry. Paint top in shades from coral through red to nearly black, allow to dry. Now gloss varnish these berries and allow to dry. Shape the tissue floral shapes and pierce the centre with a  pin and thread up the stem to just below the berry, and allow to dry. Then cut the berry assembly off about 2 or 3 mm below the leaf, and repeat the process until you have no more thin wire left.

Do you see why this is going to be a multi-day project? I am now officially crazy, according to my family. Oh well, the sacrifices we make for miniatures! Below is a photo of the glue berries on the end of the wires;

They have to dry upside-down to achieve the correct shape. I do have a couple of dozen painted, glossed and supplied with leaves; unfortunately, the paper covering the wire tends to unravel, so the other dozen stems and berries are glued and waiting to dry....

Until tomorrow!

I Was Trying, Really....

Three times now I have tried to make a new post, and three times things have gone seriously askew. So I am posting this to let you know that I will try again later, when my support people get home to give my poor brain a hand.

My photos are coming out way too big, and I can't re-size them. Nor can I find a way into the blog to allow me to delete my messes. Sorry! I am building a complicated plant....

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Still Working Away

There is now a wooden base for my book vignette, and I have begun to cut the sidewalk pieces for it. My first batch was 3/4" squares (about 2 cm), but I am not entirely happy with them. The sidewalk is narrow, about 5 cm, and sits on the front and the door side of the vignette. I want the sidewalk to look Victorian, as the setting is steam punk, but something is slightly off with my idea of the small tiles.

You may notice that I have changed my profile; thanks to Marilyn D., I was able to go in and add some gadgets to the blog. I needed to change that there was no club, as we have had F.A.M.E. since December of 2014. There will be some other blogs added to the list of those that I consult regularly, but I still have to follow the script for how to do it very closely! I do wish computers came with instruction manuals....

Also on the drawing board, metaphorically speaking, is an ornate street light for the corner of the vignette; it is to be a composite of a design in Dolls House and Miniature Scene, and an idea I found on the internet. I want it to be somewhat over-decorated, so I have to look for the right things to use for the base and standard; the light itself will be a LED light, working off a hidden battery, and I will likely have to use a spray paint to paint it. Using spray paint seems bad, somehow, as I do try to be kind to the environment.

And our F.A.M.E. group is putting on a miniature and doll show locally, on October 22. We've begun contacting some of the people we spoke to regarding the idea of a show, and hope to have a good representation of  exhibitors and vendors. We've been having a lot of fun with our appearances at the local model railroad club's show, and thought we should try one of our own. It is exciting but also rather scary....

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Progress, But No Photos

Yesterday afternoon, Marilyn D. soldered the wires onto my LED lighting strip for the book vignette shop. It is now in place, so my next step is to actually glue the pieces of the building together. Once that is dry, I can decide on a base for the vignette; I visualise a stone slab sidewalk, with a doorstep in front of the shop door, and a street light on the corner. I could put a box of inexpensive books, like pocket novels, for sale near the door outside, and add some litter and street clutter.

To hide the battery pack, I will have to design a steam punk incinerator that is perfectly safe and, of course, smokeless, to sit at the end of the shop. This would be for paper and cardboard rubbish, typical of a book shop. (No recycling has been invented, yet, in my steam punk universe!) The incinerator will, of course, have to have dials and knobs and a chimney; it should be fun to create.

Back to finishing up a nearly finished quilt project now.....

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Google News, What It Did

This is just a quick note to say that Google or gmail will no longer allow people who do not have one of their gmail accounts to access any Google blogs, like this one. I discovered this when I read a blog from the UK that had seen the number of "members" go way down in a couple of days; like that blogger, I "lost" about 10 of my members over the course of a couple of days as well. However, that blogger was notified of the changes coming, which I wasn't. I wondered if I had seriously upset people somehow!

If anyone reading this blog has friends who wonder why they can't access the blogs they follow any more, the above is the reason. A number of people are rather upset by this, but all I can say is, we are blogging and viewing without having to pay for it (so far!).

I am finishing several quilting projects between now and a week from Tuesday, so if I don't write, I haven't been banned (I hope!), I am just working hard at other hobbies. In the meantime, I am working on miniatures in my head, so there should be something coming up in the near future.