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Thursday, 29 April 2021

Bits and Pieces and a Door

The "glass" is in the Dutch doors, and the two little L-shaped items in the foreground are the lever door handles of tarnished "brass"; actually, they were made of a slice of dowel and a piece of wood, with paint to make them look somewhat like brass. In my memory, Dutch door handles were always of the lever of the thumb lever type, I have no memory of round door knobs at all!

The log will have a hefty slice taken off, and become the cylinder for the little 2-burner gas cooker on which factory staff can heat water for tea or coffee. The round wooden item with bits of brass tubing is destined to become the top of this gas cylinder. And I did finish a tool, the T-shaped item, which is a pre-borer type of tool used to start hollowing out the quarter section of log that will become a wooden shoe. The other tool-like thing is the spade handle; I have to cut some heavier aluminum plate to make the blade for the spade, which belongs with the wood-stove; it is used to shovel the ash out.

When I was a kid in The Netherlands, we used to use coal ash from the living room hearth on slippery walkways, much as we use sand or grit these days. Waste not, want not! 


Friday, 23 April 2021

A Set of Wooden Shoe Tools


I had begun a set of tools for the wooden shoe workshop some months ago, but being caught up now with other projects, decided to make a few more and "age" the lot.  These are all various knives used in the shaping and hollowing out of the wooden shoes, and I don't actually know their names; they are collectively referred to as "knives". The blades were made from aluminum printing plates, which I begged from a local printing firms some years ago. The metal is thin, bare on one side and coated on the other. As the tools are meant to be hand-forged, they were eventually painted black (and gray and pewter!). 

The handles are cut from hardwood skewers, with holes carefully drilled in the shaped bottoms and through the tops, to run a piece of "rope" through to hang the tools up. The rope loops were made with natural linen thread that has been in my stash for years. It was  a bit of a production to get the loops through the wooden handles, requiring the aid of a needle threader and a crochet hook. I do like the looks of it.  The pencil sharpener is there because I cheated and used it to make the nice little pointed ends of the handles, much easier than carving! The ferrules (rings joining knife to handle) were made of thin strips of card, painted with black, grey and pewter, like the blades, to look like worn iron. The wood was dirtied up with dirty paint water, a small amount of water with a dollop of dark burnt umber paint. They were then finished with a coat of satin varnish.

The finished products are pretty good, I think. Two of the knives are in the little white wall rack, while the other five will hang on the boarded wall. Also in the photo is the little stove that warms the workshop in winter; it started life as a pencil sharpener in white or pot metal, but a few coats of a hammered metal spray paint made it look more "real". I touched up the raised surfaces on the ash and fuel doors with gold wax, as well as the knob on top, to add some dimension to the stove.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Decision Time!

While working on my trash to treasure project and the floral arrangements recently, I was mulling a decision over in my head, and have decided to go for it. 

Above is the photo in the magazine with the plans, of the wooden shoe workshop I'm building. Growing up in The Netherlands, only one room in our house was heated, and that was the living/dining room. It had a coal-burning unit in the centre of the interior wall of the row of houses we lived in. Our house was free-standing on one side, with large garden there, while on the other side were perhaps four houses with front gardens, while the rest of the row houses on the street fronted straight on the sidewalk. 

It had occurred to me that heating stoves are usually placed in the centre wall of a room; think fire places in North American homes. So why is the heating stove in the workshop right behind the door in a corner? It just didn't make sense to me.

My decision has been to put the stove in the centre of the right-hand wall, and place the wooden shoe painter, currently in the cramped little hallway, by the window to the right of the door, so he'll have natural light as well as heat from the stove in winter. The coffee and tea making table will move to the front of the roombox on the right, on the other side of the heating stove, along with the quartered log sections. That way they can be cozy while having a tea break. So that means that the other equipment, along with the log sections, will move next to the wall dividing the workshop from the hallway. The bench currently in the hallway will move to the stair wall, and there will be some shelves on the interior wall to hold finished wooden shoes. That way, a customer coming in the invisible door in the imaginary
 "front wall" of the box will have a choice of klompen sizes, as well as a bench to sit on while trying them on.

It makes much better sense to me! Now I'll have to see how it all works out in the newly arranged wooden shoe workshop....  

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Anniversary Arrangement in Miniature

Below is the anniversary arrangement I interpreted in miniature. I didn't do the palm leaves, as I found them to detract from the whole composition. The effect is somewhat oriental, and there is, in fact, a polished dark brown wooden stick wired to two of the Bird of Paradise flowers.

Here is my miniature version:

The computer keeps telling me "Update Failed", and it keeps turning the photos around, so I don't know how much more I can manage this evening. However, I am very pleased with the way this arrangement turned out, even found a shallow, hefty bowl to put it in. The original was in a rectangular container.

This is what I used to make my goldenrod fronds; a plastic plant, flat on the back side and textured on the front, which I cut into segments, glued to a wire, and then when it was dry, I glued sand I had painted on top of the plastic frame.

As I am not sure I'm making much sense (I'm tired and frustrated with the computer!), here are some finished fronds and one with the glue on it, ready to be dipped into the sand. As the pieces are mounted on a flower wire, they can be bent to a better shape.

Also, I removed the tallest yellow gerbera from the Birthday arrangement, and it looks less round and more triangular in shape. I'll do another quick photo of both these arrangements tomorrow, in the hope that the computer is over its mood....

Also, the computer has decided not to allow me to place a label on this post. Sigh!

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Birthday Arrangement in Miniature

 Several years ago, I received the flower arrangement below for a significant birthday from my older daughter, who comments on the blog as Lady Iolanthe. The arrangement looked like it should be do-able in miniature, so I took a good photo of it.

It has taken me at least two years to "get around" to making this arrangement in miniature, and it is intended to go into the display window of the miniature flower shop, Floriana. The last flower I had to "work out" in miniature was the goldenrod, of which there is quite a bit in this arrangement. I woke up too early this morning, and decided to give it a bit of thought. My first attempt, model railroad foliage with fine yellow sand, just didn't look right. Then I remembered that I had some fine plastic foliage, the right colour for the goldenrod base, in my stash. And here is the finished miniature:

It is a bit rounder than the original, but I think the result is pretty good! As I couldn't find my box of fishing weights, I looked in a box of washers for something to weight the tiny basket down, but nothing that would fit was heavy enough. That's when I noticed the cone-shaped chimney top I had removed from the stove in the wooden shoe factory, and that's what's in the basket; Waste Not, Want Not, I guess! It is heavy enough to give heft to the basket.

I will be making more goldenrod for the Bird of Paradise arrangement that was a gift for our recent 50th wedding anniversary, from our far-away children (no visiting, thanks Covid!) I will take a photo of how I did the goldenrod pieces, in case anyone else is crazy enough to try it....

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Got Some Work Done Toay

The sun came out, it was dry, and it was warm enough to finish spraying the stove for the wooden shoe factory.

Taken at an angle, obviously, and the metal plate to go into the wall is still on the kitchen counter. In order to dry the piece, I pushed a branch from the apple tree through the stove, which dislodged the pencil sharpener inside! Serendipitous happening....

The stove being done, I can now stucco the remaining walls of the wooden shoe factory, yeay!

I also did a dry run - minus most of the foliage and all of the goldenrod - for the first flower arrangement I am working on. It is obvious that I'll have to cut down on the number of flowers in the arrangement; a miniaturised floral piece is simply not big enough to be an exact copy. It has to fit into a small basket, and I need to find my tiny lead fishing weights to hold that down, before I do the planting. Also, I still have to "invent" goldenrod flowers.

At least I was able to get some miniature work done again!


Wednesday, 7 April 2021

New Batch of Flowers

It has taken a couple of weeks to work out how to make some of the flowers that I need to reproduce two Real Life floral arrangements in miniature, to be displayed in the Floriana flower shop. When the arrangements are completed, I'll post photos of the real thing and my miniature versions.

These were almost all made today, most of them during our Wednesday afternoon virtual mini meeting. From left to right, approximately, strelitzia or bird of paradise flowers,a branch of privet, orange and yellow gerberas, large and small carnations, assorted foliage, and in front on the left, some St. John's Wort berries.

The R & D phase of these miniature flowers takes much longer than the actual flowers themselves, as ideas are tried (and found not to work!), new ways of making them are considered, samples are produced, and then I get to play with colours. The berries were easy, as I made a whole plant of these a few years ago for the apothecary garden. I am very pleased with the way the bird of paradise turned out, as they had to be "invented" from scratch, based on photos on the internet. My wedding bouquet half a century ago was made up of these flowers, and they also feature on the tiled kitchen walls in our house.

The yellow gerberas are the second batch, as the first ones were multi-petaled, and when I looked at the photo of a several years' old birthday bouquet, they were actually quite simple. I have a bunch of yellow multi-petal gerberas now for some other arrangement....

The hardest thing, I think, will be coming up with a good miniature version of goldenrod flowers, which were used as "filler" flowers for both of these arrangements. I am playing with model railroad foliage, hair spray or something like that, and flocking powder; once I am satisfied with my version, I'll post a photo. Then I can actually build the arrangements!