Monday, November 12, 2018

Revisiting......




More Stems and Twigs.....

You will think I have done Nothing at all, Dear Readers, from looking at the pictures of the stems of the Lilac shrubs, but I assure you that I have spent the weekend adding layer upon layer of paint to those shrubs! The point of the four shrubs is to make them look like the same shrub.... in different seasons... so I needed to duplicate the same paint layers I had used on the first one! That one was somewhat experimental, but the truth is, each layer of paint that is added makes for a more realistic end result. This is because the bark on a shrub (or tree) is never really just one color. It is many many colors, seen in different light  and shadows and blending to form an "impression" of "bark color". Most people see this as brown... but upon close inspection it is usually a very grayish brown sometimes with a more tan hue and sometimes with a red or black hue.... which is challenging to duplicate! But I was repeating what I had already done on the first shrub... which was to start with a dark gray layer that would be visible in any "crevices" in the bark once lighter colors had been layered over it. Above you can see one of the shrubs part-way done.

The next layer went to the opposite extreme... 
almost the color of bare exposed wood... 
but it adds to the depth you see when other colors
 are added over it and not every bit is covered completely.

The third layer tries to close in on the "color"
 people think they are seeing when they look at bark...
 a drab brownish gray..... again leaving
 highlights of the previous layers visible in spots....

And the next layer is a darker more brown less gray layer....
really just brushing on highlights over the other layers,
 not trying to cover it completely at all.

Which I did for all the rest of the shrubs! 
Now at least they are all at the same layer of color depth!
 I am sure I will continue to add layers...
 I don't think it is completely right yet... 
but it is getting closer!
And at the same time I need to add the color to the rest of the twigs... 
which so far have only been painted on one of the shrubs! 
And in between all those layers of paint...
 
 
 I did complete blossom number Thirty-two!

And in the box with the ever growing
 group of double blossom stems!
(Remember there are already four blossoms attached to the shrub..!)
 
And because it seems so boring to just show layers of paint....
I will share with you Dear Readers, 
a rare peek into the Tree House....
because the sun came to play for a minute or two on Saturday morning...!
 (You have no idea how rare a thing this has been this year!)
 
 
Do you even remember the Tree House? 
Standing so patiently beside The Folly.... 
on the Other side from the lilac shrub and the Glass House.....
It is the home of the Rats... 
it is approximately one-quarter scale (1:48)

At the very bottom, nestled in the ground between the roots is the Kitchen....
(I have not built anything on this project since 2014....!
 But it is still not finished at all...)

The next floor up is the salon.....
Since the leaves are off the RL trees
 the sun is shining way into my workroom
for a few minutes early in the morning....

Sorry about the reflections....
 I needed to snap the pictures 
in a hurry before the sun ran away....

The next floor up is the Library.....
 where so many items have fallen on the floor....

Nobody has been in to tidy up in quite a while....

I do love this room....!

And the bedroom on the next floor.....
( Oh!.... There is somebody home! 
So sorry for intruding...! 
It is rather early to be visiting!)

And the floor above... the Bath Chamber.....

With the most beautiful Tub in the world....!
All these rooms are lit with LED's....
 and the entire Tree is just a Tree beside The Folly....
I have not had the Time or the Focus 
to work on the next rooms in this project...
 perhaps when I am done with the Lilac Shrubs, 
I will know better how to finish the Tree!

So I will keep working away at the Lilac Shrubs, Dear Readers, 
In the hopes that I will be mastering techniques
 that will be useful on so many other
of my unfinished projects!
Because Someday I will be 
Revisiting the Tree House... 
to make Twigs and Stems again!


Monday, November 5, 2018

After The Tempest.....




Twigs and Blossoms.....

I must admit, Dear Readers, that after all the Turmoil and Drama that has been the dominant Theme on this Blog and my Life for the past few weeks, this post seems very very bland! I would be complaining that I had nothing at all to show you except that I spent the weekend (when I wasn't trying to put my RL house to rights) trying to get the Lilac shrubs stems completed before the paints I had mixed weeks ago dried up! You might recall that I am making four versions of the same Lilac shrub.... one for each of the seasons... so that The Folly Garden can continue to be a seasonally changeable photo venue for my mini worlds! Yes, I know it is an insane idea.... but that is what I am doing! The four shrubs are each attached to a removable section of pink foam which will insert into the landscape and can be swapped out as the seasons change! All I have to do is make the four shrubs as similar as possible in their basic structure.... Above you can see two of the shrubs with just the first coats of paint applied. I am using artists acrylic for the first coats.... treating it like a primer that will seal the paper stem wire without making the paper too soggy (which a wetter paint might do).

Here you can see three of the bases together.... 
the one on the left has not been painted at all,
 the middle one has had all the stems and all the twigs painted,
 and the one on the right has had only the stems painted.
I am focusing on the stems for now,
 trying to get them all to the same level of completion
 while I have the ingredients prepared!

Here you can see all four of the pods  together.... 
the middle one is the one I had been working on
 before the Story-telling mania took over...
 and I had developed what I think is
 a workable texture for the main stems!

Here is a closer shot....

Here I have painted the stems with the flat latex house paint
 with the texture additive mixed in. 
It makes a very rough surface.

After that has dried, I cover the stems
 with a thick artists modeling paste,
 scraping textured lines into the surface 
to give it a more bark-like appearance.

This takes longer than you would think!
Especially when you are doing it on four separate shrubs...!
So I didn't get to the painting part yet... 
except for the first one which I am now trying to repeat...

And which you might be able to see in this picture... 
has the beginnings of bark "lines" drawn
 onto the stems using a fine point marker....
only added at the base so far!
I think it adds a layer of definition 
which hopefully makes it look more real.
Still a long way to go... but Progress has been made!
 
And lest you think I slacked off, Dear Readers,
 and neglected my blossom-a-week program....

Here you can see the beginnings of blossom number Thirty-one.....

Along with all the pieces....

And number Thirty-one completed!

And in the box along with the paired blossoms
 number Twenty-eight, Twenty-nine and Thirty....!
(There are already two paired clusters attached to the main shrub as well!)
I was planning to attach these clusters as I made them,
 but realized I needed to get the stems all completed
 before I went too far with attaching the blossoms....
so that the blossoms would not get damaged in the process.
Alas, I have fallen behind in making the leaves and twigs...
but once the main stems are finished
 I will be able to concentrate more on the leaves.

And before I leave you, Dear Readers, 
I want to Thank you for all your appreciative comments
 on the Never-ending Tales!
 I do get a bit carried away..... 
 and it is like a huge whirlwind
 inhabits my otherwise peaceful mini worlds..... 
just for a week or two....!
But the mini people do have a way 
of insisting that their Tales be Told.......
 I am just going along for the ride!
It is Wonderful that you are here to share it with!
And after the Tempest is over....
 we are left with the blossoms and twigs...!



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Dreams.....




Never Ending......

I Hope you will understand, Dear Readers, when I tell you that it was a good thing that Tommy's pony Prince ran home alone, leaving Tommy on the ground, because his arrival without Tommy alerted Beatrice that Tommy was in trouble, and she told Papa right away! With the help of their dog Snowy, Papa was able to find Tommy before it was completely dark, and he brought Tommy home and put him to bed. But it was a long time before Tommy was himself again! He talked wildly about a sword and Wizards and the Castle and had his family completely alarmed.

It took Tommy several days to return to "himself"
 and even then.... he was sure he must have been Dreaming...
because if he hadn't been Dreaming.... then he had lost a sword....
and he got a headache whenever he thought about it.
And I am sure you will not be surprised 
when I tell you that the Sword was not lost for long!

Perhaps it was that very next afternoon
 as the Gypsy Rowena was riding to the Castle 
so she could tell fortunes at the Halloween Party
that she spotted something glittering in the leaves on the ground....

She stopped to investigate....
and saw the hilt of a beautiful weapon under the leaves.
She could feel the power of the sword even from a distance...
 she was almost afraid to pick it up...

But she thought that she would not have seen it
 if she were not meant to take it with her...

So she picked it up and continued on her way to the Castle.
Perhaps it belonged to someone who would be there tonight...
She would wait and see!

And because it had been such a Beautiful Autumn Day after a stormy night...
On a Cloud not very far away, 
Sweet Pea the Fairy Beary had decided that
 she wanted to go seed gathering before all the seeds had fallen...

Brother Beorn thinks that is a great idea and he says he would like to go too!

When Tiny Bear hears them planning to go to the Ground (from off the cloud!)
 he jumps up and asks if he can go too!
(Because he cannot fly ... he is always nervous that he will fall off the cloud... 
and has secretly been waiting for an opportunity to get back to Earth!)

And he gallantly offers to escort the Tiny Dolls, 
Little Rose and Sweet Pea,
 (yes, she is also named Sweet Pea!)
 who are also a little bit nervous up in the Clouds!
Before you could blink, 
they were all safely nestled in Sweet Pea's basket!

And before long they were wandering through
 a mossy old garden searching for seeds!

"Oh look!" says Sweet Pea... 
"Violet seed pods..... just what I was hoping to find!"
"They are such an innocent flower..."

But Tiny Bear is really hoping they will be going to the Distant Briar Moors...
 he is thinking of Rose Thorne Cottage and how happy he felt there...

He clears his throat and asks...
"Any chance we will be going to the Distant Briar Moors?
I was hoping to return the Tiny Dolls to Rose Thorne Cottage... 
but we don't want to be any trouble!" he added.
"Oh...!" said Sweet Pea.... "well, I wasn't going that way...
 but we could find someone who is....!
Look...! Here comes Copper... 
we'll ask him if he's going that way!"

Copper agreed that he would not mind 
carrying them to Rose Thorne Cottage..... 
it would be no trouble at all...!

And Just like that, he picked up the basket.....

And raced off to the Distant Briar Moors......!
 
And Lest you think we have forgotten, Dear Readers,
 that it is All Hallows Eve and there is a Party at the Castle to attend,
 let me reassure you that nothing could be further from the Truth! 
Because even now, the guests are arriving....

Helen and Charles came with Victor and Joanna. 
While they were not the first guests to arrive,
 they were nearly so, because Helen is always afraid they will be late,
 and she doesn't want to miss a thing!

Arthur decide he felt like being a Pirate this year...
 and Pollyanna is his Sweetheart....

Annabelle is once again a Fairy.... she is such a cute fairy!
And Chip is once again an "Ordinary Guy"..... 
the party would not be the same without him!

Juliet is once again fascinated by the Gypsy Fortune Teller's Crystal Ball...
had she Dreamed it... or did a Voice sometimes speak from the ball....?
Perhaps she would hear something tonight...!
 
Little Jasper was once again Robin Hood....
(He took the hat back from Victor...!)
 

 And Gabrielle is trying out a Maid Marion look....


 
But the Guests are not the only ones
 who have been preparing for this Night, Dear Readers,
 Old Meg had spent the Evening stirring up potions
 in the Attic of Hardwick Hall...



 She knew that Trouble was Afoot
 and that her Help was needed!
"A pinch of violet for innocence.....
and dandelion to chase the darkness...
St. Johnswort for immunity......
Lavender to sweeten the Dream.....
 
 
    Three grains of the sands of Time.... 
She chanted as she mixed....
 
 
The Darkness had grown too strong... 
and was growing still.... 
Even the Wizard had succumbed to it's lure....
It would take great Innocence to brave the Darkness and bring Hope...
And she knew just the one to carry out this Task....

And I am Sure you are Wondering, Dear Readers,
 Who would answer
 the Little Dreamer, Amy's call for Help!


 Blue, The Blue Fairy Beary was drinking Tea
 on the Tower Terrace with Sir Orion Blackthorne
 when she heard the faint call.......


 "Did you hear that...?" she called to Sir Orion....
"I have to go...." she added as she flew off....


Amy was not sure which way to go... 
she couldn't remember the way to the Castle
 where the Wizard lived in the Caves....
She called for Help....

Suddenly Blue The Blue Fairy Bearey appeared before her... 
"What do you Wish, my child...." she asked.
"I need to get help for my sister..." said Amy....
 "she's stuck in a Dream.... she won't move...."
 "I can't wake her up....!"
"I cannot grant Wishes that are made for another..." said Blue.... 
"I can only grant the Wishes of the one who is wishing... 
what is it that You Wish for..."
 

And suddenly Amy was aware that what she really Truly wished for
 was to go home to Rose Thorne Cottage.... 

And suddenly there was a wishing star in her hand that glowed brightly....

And the next thing she knew she was standing on the Distant Briar Moors....

And there was Old Meg.... as if she was expecting her to arrive...
and before Amy could even turn around,
the little pony Copper galloped up...


And in his mouth he carried a basket...


And out tumbled the Little Dolls and Tiny Bear!
"Ah....!" said Old Meg... "Just the one I was looking for...!"
And she leaned down to Tiny Bear....

And said "I have a Task for you..... If you are Willing...."
Tiny Bear could only stammer... "Of... of.. c..course... 
whatever I ca..ca..can do...!"
"The Wizard needs a potion brought to him..." said Old Meg.... 
"And it must be brought by one of Great Innocence and Steadfastness.... 
who is not prone to being swayed by the Dreams of others....." she added.
Tiny Bear nodded... although he wasn't entirely sure what she meant....


"He will not see you...." she said... 
"But you must throw the potion in the Fire.... 
and when he wakes tell him this... 
"'His Dreams are Only what he makes of them...!'"
"Copper will take you to the caves...." she added...


Tiny Bear looked up at Copper.... 
he wasn't sure about any of this.... 
but before he could blink he was on Copper's back....


And once again they were racing across the Moors....
"Hi ho Copper..." thought Tiny Bear as he held on tight...!


Amy gathered the Little dolls in her arms.... 
at least help was on the way for her sister!

When Tiny Bear reached the Caves it was as Old Meg had said...
 the Wizard did not see him at all! 
He climbed over the rocks until he stood near the fire....


When he was close enough he threw the potion in the flames...


It burst into a mist of stars.....


And wafted upward towards the Wizard......


It was as if the Mist was seeking the Wizard......

He suddenly gasped and inhaled deeply....
as though he had not breathed truly in a long time...


Then he saw Tiny Bear!
"You are not part of my Dream..." he said....
"Old M..m... Meg sent me....." stammered Tiny Bear.
"She said to tell you 'Your Dreams are
 only what You make of them...'" he added.
 
And at that moment Perry appeared!
"Oh hi Tiny Bear..." he said. 
"I wondered where you were!"

Well, Dear Readers, we have to leave them here...
 because the Night is passing...
Time is worn thin and frayed at the edges....
Are all those who Dream awakened...?
Or are those who are Awake... Dreaming still...?
Perhaps we will never Know!
But I can tell you... there is a Party at the Castle...

The Deadly Nightshades are just getting started....


The Gypsy is telling Fortunes......


The Dancing is about to begin....


And Charles is going to dance with Helen...
 the Fairest Lady of them All...
What better way to push back the Darkness...
than With Innocent celebrations!
I hope you enjoy the Party!
Happy All Hallows Eve!