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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Coming Up - If My Stars Align!

Last evening, I attended a summer meeting of our FAME group; there were several members working on a half scale fire place, and two of us working on our own projects. Back in 2012, I started an overstuffed chair project, and I went back to it, finally, yesterday.

As I am also clearing up my sewing room, by passing on bags of fabric and yarn to various places that said they could use them, I am not able to finish right away. However, I did enjoy my mini shot-in-the-arm, and am encouraged to finish the chair as soon as possible.

Hopefully this weekend.....

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Keeping Up

The backdrop quilt for the upcoming family wedding is now being professionally quilted. There are some smaller items I also have to put together, so it will be a little while yet before I get back to minis.

I hope your summer is less rainy than mine, so far....

Friday, 26 May 2017

Just to Let You Know

Posting will be very light for the next while, as I am in the process of doing things for a family wedding this September. Things have to be gotten underway now, as others have to be involved in the finished products as well.

I'm going to try to fit in a day of minis every once in a while, just to keep my hand in....

Friday, 19 May 2017

I'm Working, I'm Working...

For some reason, perhaps to keep my brain working, I keep challenging myself. Last year, I purchased an old embroidery kit from an estate; the date on the instructions was 1980. The needle had become rusty. And the masking tape holding the silk 40 ct gauze had dried out.

So that's it; a CJ Originals kit for making a door stopper brick, in this case with a butterfly design. I've never done such a small count before. I had to wear my task glasses, and use the large magnifier lens to see what I was doing. I made a bit of a, hopefully, not too obvious mess when I missed one line of stitches in one of the bows, and I also went two rows in the same direction, creating a bit of a line that I hope won't be all that visible. Also, I suspect I made one short side larger than it should be. I started this Wednesday, worked Thursday, and finished the embroidery today.

And Blogger is being a real pain today, although the photo was taken horizontally, it insists on printing it vertically. I've rotated it twice, but it still prints the wrong way. This will go into last year's Camp MiniHaHa project, as it tones with the Steam Punk furniture upholstery and rug.

Now I have to take this out of the frame, then sew up the corners, and attached it to the brick. That's for tomorrow, I am cross-eyed....

Monday, 15 May 2017

Good Grief!

OK, so Tuesday evening I'm giving a talk on miniatures at a rural library not far from here, so instead of taking large pieces with me, which have to packed, unpacked and repacked, I thought a looped slide show of my miniatures, at least the finished ones, would be a good way around that. I will bring a couple of boxes and vignettes. I've been attempting to photograph everything for tomorrow. as I can't take any photos off the blog; the pictures are too small.

Why do I keep misplacing things? I think it is because I have too many things. While I try to store everything I have made sensibly, and display whatever I can, there is just too much. And there are way too many demands on my time for me to reorganize things for the foreseeable future.

Why do miniature electrics keep breaking? Why are battery packs constantly running on empty? And why, for that matter, do my miniatures themselves keep breaking? The fine wiring on LEDs running on coin batteries break every time I travel with them. Not everything can be hidden in false walls and the like, and those tiny wires are like hairs.

I need to cut down on my stuff; but I know the minute I get rid of something, the perfect purpose for that something will suddenly appear, and I will  be back to having to order a replacement on-line, deal with foreign currency, and sky-high shipping and handling costs, not to mention import fees.

And why does the cat want my lap just as I am trying to drink a cup of tea and do a blog entry?

Monday, 8 May 2017

Moncton Show Report

As promised, I managed to get some photos of the FAME club projects, as they were exhibited, at the Moncton Miniature and Doll Show held last Saturday, here in our little corner of Canada.


This is Marilyn's entry, and that is Marilyn lurking in the background. She made a library, in honour of her father, whose name has been given to the library. There is a sign in the window to indicate that the library will be opening soon - it is still under construction. Marilyn designed and cut the projects that club members then purchased.

Louise's entry is a quilt shop, with a wonderful perspective photo enlarging the interior. It is going, I believe, to an aunt of hers who is a very keen quilter.

Sharon has been collecting blue and white china for quite a few years, and has turned her little building into a china shop. Everything is blue on white, very serene, and her china collection has a lovely showcase here. The shop is also lighted.

Garry made his shop deeper, and added a side building on to it; it is a Wild West bath house, with a 2-hole outhouse next to it. The bath house has two tubs, and lots and lots of accessories in it. He is our most experienced miniaturists, having spent around 3 or more decades on this hobby.

Krista is a collector of miniatures, but this shop is her first actual mini that she built herself. It is a sign shop, just full of signs of all kinds, including a bargain bin on the left. Pretty darn good for a newcomer, isn't it!

This is Louise's version of last year's Camp MiniHaHa project; a modern VIA railroad station, with a section of track, a bus shelter that is a faithful scale copy of our city's bus shelters, a newspaper vending maching, and although you can't see it, there is a Tim Horton's coffee shop on the mezzanine,
behind the graphic. If you would like to see more photos of this thoroughly modern mini, drop in at the Charminis blog which is shown to the right of this blog entry. We have decided Louise is our Queen of Modern Minis.

The Moncton Miniature and Doll Club always has a club competition table; this is an overview of the entries for this year. Unfortunately, I didn't hear which scene won the competition....

Hope you enjoyed this show report!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Finish Is Getting Very Close

I woke up again around 3 a.m. and simply could not get back to sleep. What usually happens in these cases is that I think, and I think, and so on. Well, maybe something clicked subconsciously, because I went out to the patio at first light and found some really cool rocks.

Something was needed for that very dark, right back corner, and there are now 3 very interesting stones sitting in a bed of white gravel, flanked by a hosta and a grassy thing (made of plastic bits!). I also made an area of gravel from the veranda to the hosta plant. That done, I began to plant the hostas in front of the left hand wall, and they are now done. As you can perhaps see from this photo, another interesting rock will flank the gate, along with some mounds of "moss" and a Japanese variegated iris.

The sleeve fence next to the veranda is in place, and has been underplanted with a chunk of foliage and some pieces of another plastic plant. The Japanese maple will be in the space between the fence and the iris, once I get the hole drilled. I am almost done with the ground cover on the right, inside the gatehouse, and have begun with the "dirt" for the remaining hostas in front of the gate.

With the gate in place, you can see that I am very near the finish line. Tomorrow I work, but I may have a couple of hours in the early evening to "plant" the maple, and glue down the walls and gate.
Maybe my brain will allow me to sleep tonight....

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

How I Made the Hydrangea Bushes

This is a photo-heavy post, as it is a tutorial of sorts. The basic method of making the hydrangea bush is the same as for the geraniums, i.e. a dome of Crayola Model Magic on a stem, painted the colour of the flowers. (Click on the photos to enlarge them for better visibility.) You can go back to the geranium tutorial if you haven't seen it before.

I used a 3-leaf punch for the leaves, and hand-painted paper in a very lively light green; this is actually the back of the leaf paper, but hydrangea leaves are quite a bright green. The blossoms were punched with a custom punch from Hanky Panky Crafts, their tiniest 5-petal blossom, and a blue greeting card envelope with some variation in colour on the inside, which means more realistic flower colours.

The dome is a green-painted, halved styrofoam ball. The blossoms on the right are already covered, while those in front are the ones with "buds", very pale green-painted poppy seeds. The leaf wires were completed earlier; there are 5 with 5 sets of leaves, and 4 with 3 sets of leaves. Some additional leaves were cut and shaped ready to fill in gaps when the flowers were "planted".

I cut off a small portion of the plant base, as this plant like the other one, will sit up against one of the walls. Before planting, I add a pair of leaf sets below each blossom. (The pointy things on the right are the variegated leaves for the iris.)

This is just the flower heads glued into the foam base; start with the tallest at the back, gradually cutting them shorter down towards the front. Remember that the plants can still be shaped into pleasing curves, once the glue is completely dry.

This is the completed bush, with the leaf stems added and a few additional leaf sets added here and there to fill in empty spots.

And here they are, placed in their corner. The empty space behind them will, hopefully, be filled with a small, cloud-pruned pine; I still have to source the blue-green foam foliage for this, not to mention making the trunk. It will be done after the show this weekend, but perhaps in time for the miniature presentation I am doing for a rural library the middle of May. The grass has now been filled in over the green-painted area, and the left side of the garden courtyard is now DONE! Well, except for the hoped-for cloud pine.

Having two bushes in this area is much better than just the one, I think. The white strip on the base is where the large front gate will go.

It's Not Going To Be Finished, But

When I woke up very early Monday morning, I realized that I was starting to get anxious to finish the Japanese Courtyard completely, so I decided, for my own mental health, that I would do as much as I could and exhibit it as a Work in Progress.

That decision made, I was able to finish up two pieces to fill the empty wall spaces in the Shabby Chic flower shop.

The mirror-backed arched window flower box is a miniature of the one across from our bed at the Inn at Fisherman's Cove, in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, where the Carpenter-in-Chief and I stayed the night of the CFB Shearwater hobby show. I'd been trying to think of something to display hanging plants, and this one was just perfect to do in miniature. It still needs plants, though.

The arched-top shelf unit will hold plants and flower shop stuff; it was hand-painted and aged to look like an old piece reclaimed from granny's attic. The flower box is made entirely of mat board, with floral wire muntins and mirror card on the back. The shelf is a combination of mat board for the back and sides, with wood for the shelves.

Today I worked on the second hydrangea, and there is a variegated Japanese iris in the making for the corner by the longer fence, which is quite dark and needs lighter-coloured stuff. The spade-shaped things in the foreground of the photo is an attempt at a large blue hosta which may not be successful!
And the painted domes are, of course, bases for garden plants.

So I did a tutorial of sorts for the hydrangea, for which I'll do a second entry. At the moment, the "grass" in the hydrangea corner is drying, so I have a little bit of time.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Hydrangea Plant No. 1

Seen from the right side, the first hydrangea bush is in place. Why the first? Well, I suspect another one will be needed against the rock wall on the left, it looks a little bit lost there on its own.

As seen through the left-hand fence, there is still a fair bit of space in this corner. I wandered around my mostly dry garden this evening, to see if I could spot a good, twisted twig to become a cloud pine, but have now resigned myself to the fact that I will have to make my own pine tree armature. Hopefully, the dollar store still sells cheap, painted floral wire, because I need a fair bit of it to make a decent trunk and branches. A short cloud pine would fill this corner very nicely, if I can find dark green model railroad "grass", that is. I'll try the store on Monday; it is in a private house, and I do not really like shopping in people's homes.

Just a peek through the main gate....

When I googled Japanese hydrangea gardens, it immediately became obvious that the hydrangea season is akin to cherry blossom season, with masses of hydrangeas and hundreds of people wandering through. Add another day of work to make the second hydrangea bush! And the show is next Saturday.

Friday, 28 April 2017

One Quarter Done

The corner with the water basin and the lantern is now done to my satisfaction. I added a bush (foam ball cut in half, painted, coated in railroad coarse "grass"), a hosta plant, some pinkish stuff kind of the same colour as the Japanese maple under the hosta, and a stepping stone and grass. The grayish things to the left of the lantern are plastic plant parts, as some height in a neutral colour was required there.

Next, I have to make more hydrangeas for the bush that will go in the other quarter of this size of the garden. Five flower heads have been made, but I think I'll need at least a dozen to make a good show.
That's for tomorrow, along with many, many leaves....

Stuff Everywhere....

Landscaping takes time. You can only do a small area at a time, fitting components of the landscape in place, deciding if they work that way, drawing around them so you know where the grass grows, and then the inevitable waiting for a thick application of tacky glue to dry so you can brush off the excess of that darn staticky foam that gets everywhere.

One small corner is more or less done, with voids for where other elements of the design will go. I painted up some very good plastic fern fronds I acquired years ago, and sponged and painted them to look like Japanese painted ferns. I have some of these in my garden, right outside the window beyond my work area, and every year I kind of hold my breath in the hope that they've survived yet another Canadian Maritime winter and its snowloads.

It's a mess! Bits of plastic greenery, paper leaves and flowers being prepared, pieces of styrofoam balls here and there, and I haven't photographed the mess on the floor around my work area; boxes and bags of landscaping materials. In the foam block hosta leaves and variegated iris foliage are drying; I have to figure out how I am going to place these in the base. It will likely involve drilling holes in the MDF and bundling leaves into clusters tied with fine gauge beading wire. The little yellow container is full of printed hosta leaves ready to plant around the front corners of the vignette.

And by the way, there is a snowshoe hare sitting on my lawn, just beyond the trees of the empty lot next doors, chewing at leaves or grass or something. It is partly still white, although the more normal brown summer colour is coming through....

It's the white thing on the grass at the edge of the path....

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Green Foam Bits Everywhere....

I started some of the landscaping yesterday, and managed to finish getting the gravel onto the walkway.

I rather like the wider strip to one side; this was taken directly from a pathway nobedan I found on the internet. It mimics so-called label stones with crazy paving, with gravel at the edges and in between.

This next photo, despite the flash, is quite dark;

I'm going to pretend it is evening here! The green domes are the beginning of round mossy ground cover, that will go to the side of the lantern. Because so much of a Japanese garden depends on playing off shades of foliage with accents of colour, I am using some plastic plant pieces to mimic various ground covers. It's a good opportunity to use up some of that stuff I've been giving house room to for twenty years.

The grass has been "planted" around the bamboo, and next to the shoe-removing stone by the step to the veranda. It's a very messy job, as everything is very staticky - hence the title of this post. In order to create various shades of green, I'll mix the various colours of railroad foliage I have for the different foliage mounds. Now that most of the snow is gone, I hope to find a good twig - or perhaps I'll have to create one - to act as the trunk for a cloud-pruned pine or juniper, very Japanese and a good foil for the maple, the many hostas, blue hydrangeas, and possibly rhododendrons and Japanese irises. I also need to make a variety of sword-shaped leaves in a wide range of colours.

Which means that I won't be tidying away all the foam for a while yet!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

I Am Not a Happy Camper....

The walkway's stones are in, I forgot to chalk them so that will have to be done after the fact, and I will also have to figure out how to fix the chalk because I don't think I can spray the vignette without a great deal of masking.

Why am I not a happy camper? Things were going so well. But, I have mislaid, lost, misfiled, call it what you will, the coarse white gravel I used under the veranda of the house. I need that to fill in the gaps in the stones of the walkway.

As I really, really want this finished, I decided to try the dark gray fine beach gravel/coarse sand, but it is too dark for the gravel of the veranda. So that won't work.

So I borrowed some white gravel from a little zen garden I got years ago, but it is too white. That won't work either. I need the slightly grayish/yellowish gravel I used before. There are two more bags of sand from that batch, each finer in consistency and they are simply too fine, too much like, well, sand, to simulate gravel here.

Bah! Tomorrow I work, and then I am away for a few days. The show for which I want this finished is in about 2 weeks....

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

...And Another Photo

OK, so I'm trying to encourage myself! This is the water basin in my hand....

Front Garden Tsukubai or Water Basin

I had intended to put the Japanese word in italics, but I guess you can't do that with titles.  As indicated Sunday,  today I worked on the water basin, which will go near the front door into the house behind the Japanese entrance garden.

It looks a bit unfinished right here, as the paper band holding the "bamboo" edging is visible; this will disappear once I add the "mossy lawn" to the setting (I hope!). The setting is illustrated in my book, as a Flat Garden, Intermediary Style; I am trying to stay true to Japanese garden design.

The stone basin is a repainted terra cotta planter that I picked up years ago on a yard sale table at a show. It is mounted on two layers of mat board, surrounded by "wet" stones, and has the bamboo pipe and spout behind it. There will likely be some ferns planted at the back of this element of the garden.

 Although it isn't visible here, the back of the water feature has moss growing between the stones; I think this may be seen if you look over the longer side fence into the garden. The dipper is made from manila card and a toothpick, with some faux finishing. The water inside the bowl is a piece of acetate that doesn't quite fit flush, which means it shivers realistically if the base is touched. That is what is called serendipity, I think!

The lantern also got a new paint job; now I have to wait for a sunny day to go outside and spray it to keep the chalk in place. It will also be set into the mossy lawn. After several really nice sunny days the last three have been gray, wet and miserable; we had a little snow overnight....

This morning I had an existential crisis at 3 a.m., probably as a result of attending a funeral Monday for a lady who was at least a dozen years younger than I am. It took the form of wondering if I should continue on with miniatures and other hobbies, or just finish what I have not finished yet and stop cluttering the house with my creations. I hate the thought of these miniatures being put out with the trash when I am no more; I don't know what to do with them when my time eventually comes - who is going to want this stuff? Not to mention the containers of components cluttering up the storage area in the basement. I think I will have to start giving stuff away....

Sunday, 16 April 2017

That Took Some Time For Sure...

...especially with a cracked thumb on the right and a broken thumb nail on the left! Somehow, the ties I was using had an annoying tendency to either get caught up in the broken nail or on the adhesive bandage, which kept rolling up on me.

Do click on this one for a close-up view, it's actually quite convincing. This is the "moss" being applied to the cracks in the rock wall; I have a pet peeve with huge quantities of moss being applied to miniatures, as it completely wrecks the illusion. This is being done tiny bit by tiny bit, keeping in mind how the rain water and shadows of the rocks would affect how the moss grows.

I mix my "moss" up out of three or more shades of model railroad foam scatter, with tiny amounts of yellow and sometimes orange added to suggest flowering weeds in the moss; this is the  finished, mossed wall in progress in the previous photo.

This is what almost drove me around the bend; trying to tie each individual bamboo stake (reclaimed from a window blind sample) to the horizontals between the "cedar" (actually painted dowel) fence posts. This fence is a somewhat spread-out version of real Japanese fencing; it is wider apart because I wanted the garden to be fully visible, as that is the focal point of the vignette. Traditional Japanese fences tend to make what is inside of them invisible.

Now that the fences are done, although still not attached, I can concentrate on the actual landscaping of the front garden. I am thinking of trying to make shallow domes of air-dry modelling compound, to mimic the mounds of moss so often seen in Japanese gardens. Painted green, with the "moss" scatter glued on, they will add some shape to what would otherwise be a flat garden. Within groups of these mounds, I can place the water basin, lantern, and whatever else will fit in the garden.

I still have to re-tie the woven bamboo fence; for some reason, I can't wrap my head around how to get a decent cross-tie effect on this fencing. Back to the books for research!

Happy Easter, everyone. Although the last few days have been wonderfully warm, with blue skies and sunshine, today is overcast, grey and rainy....

Friday, 14 April 2017

I've Got Rocks in my Head....

Today was spent, in its entirety except for a church service this afternoon, making and gluing rocks on the rock garden walls for the Japanese vignette. I am happy with it!

The rocks are a combination of egg carton stones, beach gravel, and wooden cores. Fortunately, the papier mache of the egg carton does lend itself to some bending and shaping when wet with glue. The colours were done with both sponged-on acrylics and chalk powder. The larger gaps between the large rocks were filled in with the gray-brown beach gravel.

Tomorrow, I hope to find the time to add some moss here and there in the narrower chinks between the rocks; I may also have to touch up the wood underneath in a few spots. After that is done, I have to make - and design - the open "bamboo" fencing to bring the garden walls to a proper height, likely around 6 inches (15 cm). Then it's on to the landscaping....

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Japan Again

Yesterday I experimented with "weaving" my own Korean bamboo fence screen; the raffia was too uneven, the broom straw was too stiff as well as uneven, and floral wire just wouldn't remain straight, so I gave in and painted a piece of coarse, mono needlework canvas, with at least 10 holes per inch, to represent the split bamboo latticework. The broom straw did get used, to make the bundled "reed" sides of the screen; I have to redo the tying, as the knot used in Japan looks like a cross-stitch, rather than a single stitch. This is a very old type of fence, also used in Korea. I'm happy with it.

It was very messy work, bundling the "reeds", I had tacky glue everywhere! Now that everything is firmly fixed in place, I can untie the brown strings and do proper cross-shaped ones. I did look at the particular knot that is traditionally used, but it is too complicated for miniatures....

The fence has legs of heavy-gauge floral wire, that will be glued into holes in the base. I bent the curve around a bottle, then glued the canvas on, on the bias. The canvas was then painted with two shades of straw and ochre yellow, dark brown, and a bit of green, with the bundle of broom straw right next to it in order to have the colours match, using half a dozen coats of dry brushing.

The bases for the rock walls on either side of the large gate have been cut, and painted with a sponged on mortar coat, 4 colours of paint. Most of this will be covered with egg-carton stones, but painting it beforehand means I don't have to worry too much about mortar gaps between the stones. Once they are in place, I will add bits of moss and algae to the stones of the wall.

On top of the wall I want to put a "bamboo" fence that will allow you to look into the garden; this is definitely not traditional, all the photos I viewed have the garden wall high enough to completely hide the garden. As the garden is the main point here, I am creating my own, Japanese-inspired design.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Well, the Sun Was Shining

And I didn't feel like doing a test strip of stain on the iron-on veneer that will hide the raw edges of the Japanese vignette, so I made a couple of flowering plants for the shabby chic shop. The red one is a bromeliad, destined for the summer display, while the pink one will go into the spring display. I should know the name of this plant, but until I remember I will call it the Maria Malmstrom plant, as I followed the tutorial from her blog.

When looking at the photos of the interior of the shabby chic shop, I felt there was too much green and not enough colour, which means that I will have to create flowering plants to fill the gaps. Why do I keep digging myself deeper into work? Don't enlarge this photo, the illusion is not as nice as I had hoped....

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Back to the Japanese Vignette

The show in Halifax was fun, which is a good thing because sales didn't really cover expenses. It was good to reconnect with some people I hadn't seen since last Fall or since 2015.

The shabby chic flower shop survived the trip very nicely. Although I still haven't found the 8 tiny rare earth magnets I hoped to use to keep the store front in place, double-sided tape helped for the show. Transport was a breeze, as I stuck everything down on acetate overlays on the various surfaces, with small and micro-size glue dots. A loosely bundled pile of gift-wrap tissue kept the furniture from sliding around during travel - the roads here are generally very bad, full of holes and bumps, at the end of winter.

The items on the tables and shelf were stuck to cut-to-size pieces of acetate from packaging, which makes it very simple to pull all the items on a particular surface off for replacement, for example. The entire front window display, coloured "floor" and all comes out ready to replaced with other seasonal displays.

The shop as it looked at the show. The light green border on the outside edges is the colour I'm using to paint the sides and back of the Japanese vignette, a soothing wasabi mustard sort of green.

The interior of the shop, with some grape hyacinths on the left to add a bit of colour to that area. The painting and shutter on the back wall were hiding the fact that I still have to add some interest to the middle of this floral shop composition, not to mention the currently blank side walls. You can enlarge the photo for a better view. The acetate sheet is virtually invisible.

I took a separate photo of the window display; the crocuses in the white "tin" planter and the Easter arrangement were among the three things I put together at the last minute - Thursday evening saw me making the Easter eggs (polymer clay) just before packing everything up. Yes, that is masking tape hanging off the left side, in the absence of the magnets I am using that to keep the front on so the cat won't be tempted to pull things out of the shop to play with....

In an hour I get to put the second coat of green paint on the Japanese vignette; then it can dry overnight and tomorrow will, hopefully, see cherry-wood stained stripwood over all the narrow MDF edges. Hopefully, using the same stain as on the house and gate will unify the piece.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Tuesday's Work

I spent  yesterday morning making printed scrap booking cardboard flower pots with rims, and then the afternoon and evening in making the tiny succulent plants to go into them. You can see them in the corner shelf unit, and the odd one scattered here and there, in the photo below.

This was also the try-out of the FAME club project, minus the front display window etc., to see what I needed to make. There are a couple of gaps, most noticeably the wall area; however, I don't have the time to make a shelf and a wall planter, so I will put a temporary something in there.

Today, I made a crocus arrangement, a grape hyacinth arrangement, and an Easter arrangement to go into the display window. These will fill some of the gaps, but I would like to make a hyacinth basket arrangement as well; however, it will have to wait until much later in April.

There are two tall plants in front of a white shutter between the tables and the corner unit; I will have to raise them up a bit temporarily, to fill a little of that back wall space. I think there will be enough to display this project as a "Work in Progress" - still to come are a couple of buckets of roses in yellow and salmon. Now I am going to take everything out of here and make a hole to hang a wind chime so it will be visible from the shop window.

I hope to stick everything in place for travel tomorrow afternoon, after a slightly truncated work day. We head out to the show bright and early on Friday....

Monday, 3 April 2017

Moving Right Along Some More

Two or more days' work, have resulted in a pillar for the fancy arrangement, a step arrangement for smaller plants, Cattleya orchids under the dome, hydrangeas under the table, and a set of 3 small ball topiaries. I am tired....

I should have lowered the photo a little, too. Tomorrow, I hope to make some polymer clay plants and pots for the Shabby Chic flower shop.

Friday, 31 March 2017

More Plants for the Club Project

The sun is shining very brightly today, which is interfering somewhat with my attempts at daylight photography. This week, once the commission was done, I've made some more items for the FAME club project, the shabby chic flower shop.

The plant on the left is  commercial one I purchased at a show some years ago. The variegated ivy in the macrame hanger was Wednesday's project, along with the little yellow birdhouse with the sun .
It was made from mat board and cardboard from a package, with a bit of brown floral wire for the perch.The macrame hanger was a Camp MiniHaHa gift.

 Today, I put together the variegated pothos plant, sitting on the shelf; we have a couple of these in the house, they tend to put out very long branches which you then have to lead along shelves or something. There is one, belonging to my daughter, just above the computer. Now I just have to wait for the stems to relax a little more.

I made both plants from scrapbooking card in pale yellowish-cream. The ivy leaves were punched with two Ruth Hanke (Hanky Panky Crafts) custom punches, from the card which was painted green on the back. Each ivy leaf was then hand-coloured, using a dark green, fine-tip marking pen and two very sharp colouring pencils, in related shades of green. The leaves were then creased on a foam sheet, using the back of my Xacto knife. The stems were made from 4 pieces of sewing thread glued together.

The left-over card, with its back painted green, I painted a light green on the front. When this was dry I dry-brushed with two shades of yellow-cream paint, and then spattered with a toothbrush dipped in cream and white, watery paint. When all that was dry, I gave the card a coat of varnish, and proceeded to punch two sizes of small, heart-shaped punches. This plant also has thread stems, light-green in this case. By clicking on the photo, you can see the detail better.

And I decided to photograph the arrangement I kept, in the shop window; it fits very well in the bay.  I am very proud of this arrangement. Because of the sun, it was impossible to photograph both the shelf with the pot plants and the arrangement without huge blank areas of sun reflection, so I did it on its own....

Monday, 27 March 2017

Done in Duplicate

And here is the final product; you can click on the photo for a larger view. The brass pot arrangement will stay with me, while the arrangement in the pedestal vase is destined to go elsewhere. I am really pleased with how they turned out. I also learned quite a bit while making these, so it's win-win all around.

The arrangement was adapted from a Real Life one, changed a little to be suitable in miniature. It's meant to evoke Spring, and I think it does that.

I am now going to waste my time watching television rubbish for a while....

Sunday, 26 March 2017

I've Finally Gone Round the Bend....

For those of you using Google translate, that means I've really gone crazy today! I decided to try a new way of making actual, fuzzy pussy willow buds. carries a tutorial, which involved bits of thread, drops of glue, and flocking.

You start by making little "shelves" of glue, rather like thorns on a rose, along a piece of floral wire, and allowing those to dry. Then you paint wire and thorns reddish brown (I used brown iron oxide), and let that dry. While that is doing what it is supposed to do, you make tiny fuzzy buds on teeny pieces of brown sewing thread;

You stick those into foam (I used a grocery store foam tray) to dry thoroughly. Once dry, you cut the little fuzzy ball off just underneath the flocking, and glue those onto the "thorn" shelves on your floral wire. The result is really nice,

especially with the sun shining through, but it is a lot of work! When I first made miniature pussy willows, early in my attempts at flower making, I used tiny birch twigs from the garden, dotted glue here and there, and sprinkled very fine white decorator's sand over them. Years later, they still look pretty good. This new method may well be a once-off, but I'm glad I tried it!

The forsythia branches have now got tiny pale green leaves here and there, and the cherry blossoms are glued to their branches. The next step is assembling the floral arrangements,,,,,

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Spring Flowers

This is a quick entry, as I spent the day making spring flowers. Two more sets of flowers to go, then I can start the arrangements. Because these are intended to be floral displays, the flower stems won't get any leaves; the leaves in floral arrangements, according to my daughter who worked for several years as a florist, are added afterwards to fill in gaps....

So we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, 24 March 2017

FAME Project Roof with Progress Photos

So I described how I painted the card roof of the display window of my FAME club project; today, I painted the wooden roof of the structure. I began by gluing on thin wooden battens to represent the strips that hold the "copper" roof sheets in place, bringing them down over the front edge to give the illusion of applied copper sheeting rather than paint.

You can click on the photos to enlarge them, to see the detail. This is the dark khaki coat, which was then dry-brushed with terra cotta.

Here the turquoise and lime green blotching has been added; the raised areas of the roof pick up very nicely on the various paint colours. At this stage, things are already looking more like verdigrised copper than painted wood.

In this photo, the bronze metallic paint has been brushed on with a very dry brush; I love the way these effects come together! The original idea for this finish came from a Joann Swanson article in an old Nutshell News from 1995, but I adapted it for a more whitewashed look, to go better with the whole shabby chic ethos I have going on with this project.

And this is the end product, with the whitewash finish in place, dabbed and smudged with more of the bronze metallic paint. I'm now ready to do some chalk antiquing, but first, I have a commission to work on, to be ready for next weekend. As part of that, take a look at the before-and-after photos of a painted wooden "bean pot", that I hope to use as the basis for this commission:

I had originally intended, some years ago, to create an antique stoneware effect, but something put it off and it languished in my stash of stuff. It is a bit large for my flower shop, so I re-purposed it.

Again, please click to enlarge the photo to better see the detail. I have a number of aged brass flower containers in my house, complete with bits of verdigris and corrosion; I also see quite a bit of aged brass at my volunteer job, which involves museum accessioning, so it was fun to try and create an aged brass container. So here is my attempt to create one of these....

Now I have to see if it meets with the criterion of the commissioners of the project!