Monday, May 21, 2018

And A Little Bit More....

How Long......

I tell Myself All the time, Dear Readers, that I will finish this Lilac Shrub project Someday.... and I will! I Promise you! But the longer I work at it the Crazier I think this Idea is! I know, creativity and insanity are sometimes not very far apart! But I tell myself that I will persevere! I will just make the next blossom and then the next and then the next..... and eventually I will have enough to decorate the shrub. And then I will worry about the Leaves.... which are needed for two of the shrubs.... when I get there! Meanwhile, I fret about all my Other Projects.... which surely need some of my attention... and certainly I could maybe devote just a little bit of time to them each week... so as to accomplish something on anything that is not just another lilac blossom..... *Sigh* ...... And then I remind myself that there are Three other shrubs also needing my attention.... and I decide to devote my Wandering attention to them for now! Above you can see that I have placed the second "branched" shrub in place beside the porch so I can test the fit of all the branches. They have very little room to fit under the eaves of the porch and really must bend just so in order to be able to fit in and out of the garden spot!

And here you can see I have begun to add the branches to the third shrub!
And just so I can keep from getting them confused
they are numbered on the under-side of each pod!
And as I progress with this third shrub, 
I have decided that I simply Must get
 all four of the shrub "skeletons" finished
 before I lose track of the steps needed to finish each one!
That means I need to finish branching and
 painting and "texturing" each shrub....!
Yes, I have a Loooong way to go!

But look....! 

This week I have managed to complete Two more lilac blossoms!
The pieces for number eight are being assembled to the right.... 
and hot on their heels are the florets
 for number nine in the box at the left...!

Here are eight completed......

And number nine too....!

And here are all nine in the box!
(Only How many more to go....?)
I will not count because
 I do not know exactly how many I will need...!
But I am making progress!
 And I have only been making them for seven weeks!
(I think I can do this!)

And because You are so good and Patient 
with this project, Dear Readers,
 I have traveled back through my archives
and found another project that you have not been shown....
and I will share it with you now even though it is not yet done....
It has to do with the Second Gypsy Wagon,
 the one that belongs to The Fortune Teller.
And I must confess, that when
 I began to build the Gypsy Wagons
 a couple of Summers ago, 
I was embarrassed to show you both wagons...
 because it seemed like it was too much.... 
but I knew there had to be two wagons
 because the Gypsies would travel in a group...
so I only showed you the first wagon....
 but for every step on that wagon
 I was doing the same with the other wagon too! 
(I know, it sounds familiar, doesn't it?)
And the only differences were in small things,
 like the style of the carved trims around the doors...
 or the color of the wagons.

But then I decided that one of the wagons
 would have an extra window in the back wall
 of the sleeping compartment... high up.....
I could just see it with a deep window sill...
 with flowering plants on the sill...
So I cut the opening for the window!
And then, many months later, 
when I was thinking about how I was going to Build this window....
 because all the kit came with was 
the lovely frames for the windows... 
(I added all the glass panes...)

It occurred to me that in order to have 
a deep window sill to hold flower pots.... 
it needed to hang off the back of the wagon....
 and if it was hanging off the back of the wagon...
 then maybe there should be a "chest" or "box" as well... 
something to store things... 
that would explain the extra depth of the window sill.

So I started to build a framework 
that would attach to the back of the wagon.... 
with shelves maybe... 
or compartments......
 Or nesting boxes for chickens!....
 for surely the Gypsy Grandmother 
would want to have her chickens!
And it could attach like this...

And have nesting boxes like this.....
and doors, of course......

 with lots and lots of hinges!!!
Because all the compartments needed
 to be able to access separately....
 one chicken at a time.... 
and the bottom area for bigger creatures...
 maybe a goat or two?

And all those doors need extra interior trim
 to cover those sharp screws......
(And I have not yet decided how they latch!)

And since we have just added a Barn
 to the back of the wagon....
 perhaps there is still room for shelves in the corners... 
to hold a plant or two.... 
herbs, for example....
 and perhaps a cage or two...
(might as well maximize the real-estate while we are at it!)

Which could hold chickens or rabbits too!
(Just Think of the possibilities!)

One on either side..... 
with a hinging door.....
(Hinge still not added)
And the garden shelf above....
(still not added...)

So you can see, Dear Readers,
 what happens when you deviate
 even a little bit from the plan.....
But did I get my deep window sill?
Well, it's a start!
(It still needs all the trim....)

And with a temporary roof.....

And perhaps the suggestion of bedding.... 
oh, we have such a looooong way to go!

But I assure you, Dear Readers,
There will Always be A little bit more....
More to do and More that is done!
And I hope it will continue so for a Long Long time!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Lilacs Encore.....

Taking A Closer Look.....

The Lilacs are Finally blooming in my RL garden, Dear Readers, even though they are a looooong way from blooming in my Mini ones! And so while they are putting on their annual show (admittedly very very minor here in my yard) I am taking the opportunity to have a close examination of exactly how all the pieces come together! The blossom on this plant is the only one this year. It was a harsh winter here and many of the plants are showing a sparse bloom, especially when compared with last year which was so abundant! And besides that, this plant was only newly planted here, having endured for several years in a spot it did not like, (it was too wet). I moved it a couple of summers ago, and now it is finally showing some growth! It is a sprout of the plant that was next to my old Home which had been there for almost two hundred years! It has the very pale lilac blossoms. And the second lilac in my garden was here when I moved in, and it too has struggled, and also suffered much damage a couple of years ago in an ice storm. But it too, is surviving. It has a few small and scanty blossoms...

They are the deeper purple that I love so much.... 
and I am trying to copy in my minis.....
(I need to make the unopened buds a redder hue...)

And I am happy to report that I have managed to complete
 one more blossom for a total of seven!
  Plus I have assembled the florets for the eighth one,
 although they are still not painted.

And while I have standardized my method (for the moment)
 to grouping the florets into clusters of four before attaching them to the stem....

I have noticed upon closer inspection that the RL blossoms
 often have many more florets in their bunches.....

As you can see here on that same bush
 a few days before they opened....
And you can also see that there are two blossoms
 sprouted from the tip of the branch, 
while the leaves are sprouted from buds farther down the branch!
Believe me, I was glad to see any blossoms at all on this bush this year!
And while we are taking a closer look at the lilacs, 
I wanted to show you the ones where I work...

I couldn't get very good pictures 
because it was windy with a storm coming...
 poor light and plants in motion....
But it shows the scale of the much older shrubs
which I am modeling my mini versions on.
And these shrubs also have taken a beating over the past few winters.
There are many broken stems and more dead wood than usual.
And here you can see where the new branches
 have sprouted from the old broken stump...

Showing how over the years the shape of these "trunks"
 become quite irregular and have awkward "joints" 
between the stems and the trunks...

And bulky, knotty places along the stems
 that seem to be unexplainable....

Twisted and covered in lichens.....

Irregular, broken, bent....
 certainly not flowing in a smooth continuum from large to small....
And just as surely telling a tale of endurance...!

And so I flatter myself, Dear Readers, that Upon closer Inspection, 
My mini shrubs too can tell a tale of survival.... 
and that my Despairing comment of last week, 
that I would console myself that no-one would be looking
 too closely to see how inaccurate my "joins" were.....
can be revised!
Because the Truth of the matter is that
 I Would know that they were not good enough
 even if no-one ever saw them!

And truly, with only a little more glue and paint work.... 
(a task that was already on the list of things to do!) 
great improvements in the accuracy 
of my mini shrubs can easily be attained!
I am now consoled that they are not so far
 from the originals as I had thought!
(And I hope that now you, Dear Readers,
 can recover from any shock my comment caused!)

Even though they are far far far from done,
 and already hopelessly out of season,
 I am making progress...

The second one has all the branches added now, 
and I even added the glue to the tips of all the branches!

It is now ready for the first layer of painting the branches.....

Here you can sort of see the unpainted one
 with the painted one in the background...

And another shot with the two of them for comparison....
Yes, I have adjusted my expectations of making them identical,
 and am watching the process of growth and change
 that can happen in just one year!
And believe me, 
I am getting a little bit anxious about the Leaves!
I am going to have to start working out the method
 for making them sooner rather than later!

But for now, Dear Readers, 
I will Leave you with a picture of the seventh blossom....
because Upon Closer Inspection I think
In a small way,
 they are pretty close to being perfect!

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Little Background....

Blossoms, Branches and Biography.....

I Left you last week, Dear Readers, with the fourth blossom  completed and the fifth one painted and ready to assemble. I had once again hoped I would manage to make two blossoms in a weekend, but once again I only completed one more. Above you can see the unpainted florets lined up in the box I am using to keep them safe during the many steps required for this process. The florets are tiny and could easily be scattered by passing pets or brisk breezes! I was planning to make the next batch of florets, but decided I needed to make the remaining three shrubs look a little more like the first one before I forgot the steps needed to do so!

Here you can see two of them with only the main stems, 
and even a few of the secondary stems still not attached.
I attached the last few missing stems
 and then wrapped all the joins
 in extra layers of brown paper and glue.
This was to strengthen them and also to smooth
 the transition from one size branch to the next. 
It is only marginally successful at that, 
but I console myself with the assumption
 that no-one is ever going to look that closely
 between the branches!
And because I have already made one of these shrubs, 
I have a good idea of how many smaller branches are needed!

I need to make forty-eight twigged branches for each shrub!
Above you can see twenty four with the twigs added and the glue drying.

This is the number two shrub with the 
stems ready to have the branches added.
I tried to give them the same shape and twists
 as the first shrub, but some adjusting will
 probably be needed as we go on.
 It is remarkably difficult to make the two shrubs
 closely resemble each other!

Here I am starting to add the twigged branches to the stems.....

And more added... 
I think this is fifteen or so of the branches added.....
But it was getting late,
 and I was also assembling that sixth flower blossom.....

Oh, and I forgot to show you the completed fifth blossom!

Just for the record .... here it is!

And here you can see the six completed blossoms together!
(Along with the failed previous method at the right for comparison!)
And the other little bit of background I worked on Dear Readers,
 was the cream colored stitches in the petit-point embroidery.

See? And I have no idea how many stitches
 I added, because I wasn't counting!
It is very therapeutic to sit and stitch on a Sunday morning!
 And since I have so little that is new to show you Dear Readers, 
I thought I would continue with the retrospective of this blog, 
this time sparked by a comment left by one of you Readers!
In the picture of Rose Thorne Cottage that I posted last week,
 visible in the background is the doll whose picture
 is the icon for my blog.
 But I have never introduced you to her!
You must meet Penny Wooden!
She is entirely hand made by me,
 carved from wood a long time ago when I was nineteen.

She is a mortise and tenon jointed wooden peg doll....

She is much larger than dollhouse scale, 
standing about sixteen inches tall....
(Which she doesn't do very well as her knees buckle easily...!)

I had never carved wood before....
 and didn't know how to carve the features.....
I remember going to the mirror to try to see
 how a face rounded from the front profile to the side....
And then I had no idea how to paint the features.....
I do not even remember where I got the paints!
The hair is my brother's hair.... collected after
 he got his long hippie locks cut short....
beautiful curly hair!

The hands are also carved wood.... 
I think the entire doll is made from scraps of pine wood
that we had kicking around at the Farm.....!
I added the swivel joints in her forearms
 so her hands can change their angle of repose!

She is really rather fragile at this point, 
her wood having aged and dried and shrunk....
I let her sit quietly on a cushion beside me on my drawing table.
But her story is a.... well,
 Let me tell you her story!
I made her at a point in my life when I had not yet left home. 
We lived in a very rural area and 
creative materials were hard to come by. 
Trips to the city, which were few and far between,
 always involved looking for
 fancy cloth and books and other artistic supplies.
Shortly after I completed her, I did leave home,
 and decided to give her to my sister 
who was living half way across the country at the time.
I made a fancy traveling box to keep
 her secure and shipped her off.
And I truly forgot all about her!
I was young and doing other things... 
including making cloth fashion dolls for a few years.
My sister is the one who named her "Penny Wooden"
(Because she was carved in the style of the 
antique "penny woodens" of the eighteenth century.)
She sewed her some alternate costumes, 
but decided to keep her in her original gown which you see here... 
(sewn by me with all the underclothes in accurate detail)

You can see here her "bodice" is not
 completely covered by her "stomacher"....
If you care to know such details!
My sister kept her carefully in her box most of the time....
but did let her out once or twice to play with her daughters.
Her leather shoes and neck ribbon and hair lappets got lost along the way.
But my sister moved a lot, 
and boxes get stored from time to time, 
and so she was forgotten.
Truly forgotten. By all of us!
Then a few years ago we were all
 preparing for my Mother to move out West,
 so there was a big clear out of her attics and closets,
 and Lo and Behold,
 There was Penny Wooden in her tattered box!
Wrapped in the old blanket I had first shipped her in.....
only a little the worse for wear...
(A mouse had made a nest next to her at one point,
 and chewed a hole in her gown...)
And so she came back to me!

I keep her there on my drawing table.... 
yes, even when I am painting the Christmas cards
 and doing other calligraphy work...
I think she helps me with the creative Dreaming....

So there you have her story Dear Readers,
 along with the blossoms and branches
 And a little background!