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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....

Saturday, 13 January 2018

The Flu Hit, and Then It Hit Again

Apparently, Alberta is the hotbed of flu for Canada right now, so I suspect I brought the flu back with me. A day after I succumbed, my youngest daughter in Alberta, who has just moved out there, was also hit.

So I missed the FAME Little Christmas party, but I went in spirit; the carpenter-in-chief delivered my portion of the pot-luck dinner, as well as my exchange gift, so I got a gift back. The wonderful little Christmas table is ready to pop into a Christmas setting; there are wine glasses, a pair of heavy brass candlesticks, a plate of cookies, tiny table-top tree, and a wee snowman scene, as well as the gifts under the table. It was assembled and made by Sharon B.

Years ago, I was given a wooden book form, which was intended to become a Christmas setting; this may well go into that, as I think it may be a good backdrop for Christmas items on my sales tables at shows. Once the Advent project is done, I'll have a go at putting the book scene together.

The flu lasted about 5 days, then I thought I was better, and it sort of hit again. I hope to be back to normal sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Back At It

While in western Canada over the holiday season, I had a miniature visit with six members of the Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton (MEE), hosted by Maureen H. It was wonderful to re-acquaint myself with Maureen and Tina, both of whom are CMHH alumni, and to meet Barb, Joanne, Marg and Teresa.

Tina has a laser cutter, and gave me a gorgeous Chippendale-inspired trellis - or it could be a room divider - which may end up in the Japanese vignette. Maureen gave me one of her readable, illustrated mini books, which is going into my Steam Punk bookstore.

Isn't the trellis lovely? Laser cutters are the coolest tool created, as far as I'm concerned.

I also got back to the Advent project; the edges of the builder's foam were sealed and painted, waiting now for me to decide whether I want to "stucco" them, or cover them in muslin. The strange thing on the floor of the vignette is an old CMHH kit for a fire guard, which I am slowly putting together. (It is very cold here, like much of Canada and parts of the US, and I wish I could hibernate!)

The fire guard is made of thin mahogany (I think) veneer glued onto black fine bridal tulle. Once the glue is dry, I'll trim the netting, and add bead feet and some other decorative effects. Then I get to varnish the wood without getting any of the varnish on the tulle. We'll see....

In my stash of stuff I found a tall, cone-shaped brass fitting, like from a bolo tie, and a pair of tiny golden wings; these will be the base for making a gold-coloured Christmas angel for the setting. Tomorrow, I work so it is unlikely I'll get any minis done, so it's on to Friday. On Saturday, our FAME group is celebrating Little Christmas with a Pot Luck and a gift exchange. Lots of minis this week!