Monday, August 21, 2017

A Long Way From Complete....




Eclipse.....

It has been very hard to ignore, Dear Readers, that on This side of the Atlantic we have been presented with a Solar Eclipse that was a Total Eclipse for the entire path across the United States! If you were lucky enough to be near the path of totality, then I hope you had great viewing. Here in Northern New England, the eclipse was nowhere near a complete one, but still, it caused a few moments of complete focused attention, even in the Doll Worlds! Arthur and Pollyanna joined Will on the Terrace of the Folly which has a wonderfully unobstructed southern view!

With the special glasses, one could stare directly at the sun 
and view the moon's shadow as it covered the sun!

I stepped outside at work for a few minutes myself....

And took a picture through the glasses with my camera!
I know, it's tiny and far away, and terribly amateur....
But that is pretty much what we could see from here!
(Poke the pictures to see if it is better close-up!)
And while I was sharing my glasses with co-workers who didn't have any, 
I was noticing the shadows on the ground!

The sun cast crescent shadows through the leaves of the tree!
So even though it was not a complete eclipse in this neck of the woods...
it was a complete blast to get out and have a look!

And because it has been that kind of a week here, 
Dear Readers, I only have a couple of other 
small incomplete things to share with you!
As you might imagine, while I was painting the mural for the Tinker's wagon, 
I was also starting the kits for the final room of The Secret Christmas House. 
This room is the Parlor, and it will hold the Christmas Tree 
along with a decorated fireplace, clock, sofa, and two candle stands.

I started by assembling the fireplace, which has a lovely mantle 
and a hearth which I thought should be painted to look like bricks.

And then I decided that the top of the mantle 
should be painted to resemble black marble
 because the plain white seemed to disappear
 against the ornate walls of the room.

The fireplace has a lovely profile which you can sort of see here.

Here I have glued the mantle to the hearth.
 And then I realized that in order to create a more realistic fire 
than the one that is printed on the wall...
 I would need to attach the fireplace to the room, 
and I needed to "decorate it before I did that!
So instead, I assembled the rest of the furniture for this room.

A lovely Swedish style clock, 
a Victorian sofa and two candle stands or side tables.

You really do need another project to work on
 while you are assembling these kits, Dear Readers, 
because they take only a tiny amount of work gluing pieces 
and then long stretches of waiting while they dry completely!

And then you paint them..... and let them dry....
And then you varnish them.... and let them dry....


And finally you can add the printed art for the clock face!

And the lace doilies on the tables.....

And the upholstery for the sofa.....

And you will be relieved to know 
I did not try to paint my own cloth upholstery for this sofa!

I even glued the carpet into the parlor, in readiness for the furniture. 
And that's as far as I got, Dear Readers...
it's all still a Long Way from Complete... 
 
But like many things in life..... 
it's not really about how complete it is, 
it's about how much Fun you have with what you've got!
I hope you all have had safe and fun viewing of the eclipse....
However much you could see!
And if you are overseas and not near the path.... 
I hope you can enjoy the view from here just a little bit too!
Happy Eclipse!

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Tinker's Dream.....




Sweet Summer Solace....

I Had a week of Vacation, Dear Readers, during which one would think I got a Lot done because I went Nowhere at all, except perhaps to Travel far far away into a land that never was and perhaps will never be, trying to find the Tinker's Dream. That elusive place where the horses are always running free but never running far, where the sun is always just rising, or just setting, and one can sit and watch the shadows shift with the promise of peace and go nowhere at all! And there is a soft mattress in a quiet corner where the Dreams find you and steal you away....

Perhaps some of you will remember that A year ago 
I got swept up in building a Gypsy Caravan.... 
and as with so many of my in-progress projects,
 I came upon a challenging place 
and jumped to an easier project instead!
In this case the challenging place was the realization 
that in order to complete the outside of the wagon, 
I had to first complete the inside!

Which meant first of all adding glass to the windows!
This kit comes with lovely frames, but no glass panes.
(I wanted real glass panes)
Here you can see that the windows are finished....

Including the ones in the front door panels 
which here are open wide to give you a view inside. 
They required quite a bit of fancy measuring, cutting 
and additional interior framing to hold the glass in place.
(The roof is only temporarily in place.)
But that was just the beginning! 
Because a Gypsy wagon has to be very well organized... 
and all the spaces have to be carefully planned.
And in this case the sleeping compartment was so dark and gloomy... 
even with the two windows.... 
It made me think that perhaps the Tinker had painted the walls
 to bring in a feeling of the outdoors he knew so well.... 
and perhaps he had painted all his beloved horses...
So I had to see if I could find that place and bring it here....
 
The beginning is many coats of gesso...

And then a rough sketch and the beginning of layering the sky.....

You might be shocked that the next layer is the yellow ocher for the ground...
 but I wanted the warmth of sun to infuse the land.....

But there would be deep shadows 
so next came the burnt umber wherever the shadows lay.
At this point I began to need to be very specific about the source of the light in the painting... 
which is the sun just tipping the hill....

And then I start to add the greens....
 first the chrome green which is an olive yellow green....
And then the pthalo green which is a very translucent and blue green.... 
layered on top for the shadows....

And then I started to place the trees in the middle foreground..... 
to start to define the distance of the horizon...
And the ones at the "corners" which would frame the illusion 
of the outdoors on all sides of the wagon....

Arching their branches over the top of the "view" to enclose it....
To make it more sheltered and intimate and moody...


And of course, there will be horses!
They need a coat of white under-painted first...

But it has gotten very late and I had to pause for the night, Dear Readers, 
lest I begin to make too many mistakes...
And I go to sleep dreaming of grassy meadows I have never seen before...

And in the clear light of morning, start chasing shadows again.....

feeling my way into the left-side of the wagon...

Here I need to check that the shadows "run straight" 
once the wall is at 90 degrees angle to the main panel....
Of course, it depends entirely on the exact point of viewing to see it correctly....

And there will be another horse there too!

The horses will be colored... 
but their coats require the layering of colors too...
 
And too many details to enumerate... 
and shadows to ground them....

Being careful to leave the highlights of the lighter color where the sun strikes them.....
(sorry the surface is reflecting too much....)

And more close-up of the left side....

And the right too.
And another day has flown and I must stop for the night.

And with the fresh eyes of morning I can see 
that the central horse needs to be patched with black markings too....

And shadows added to ground the shire on the left.....

And highlights added to the leaves at the top....

And shadows in the trees....
 always tweaking the shadows.
And at some point Dear Readers, 
one must decide that enough is enough!
And move on the the framing.... 
here being the "structure" of the wagon...

The arched piece comes with the kit, 
but I have added the corner pieces....
because by now we are desperate to see how it will look when assembled!

Looking through the open doors to the sleeping compartment....
 (the blue tape is still on the inside of the door panel 
which has not been finished yet!)

Closer.... to see the right side panel too...

And the left hand side.... 
I know it is dark... the sun has set....
Can we feel the Tinker Dreaming?

So you can see Dear Readers, I did not go anywhere at all...
but I spent my Summer vacation in search of solace...
chasing the Tinker's Dream.
I hope you did not mind that I brought you too!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Setting The Table.....




I Promised you Plates....

It was quite some Time ago, Dear Readers, that a dear blogfriend sent me a selection of beautiful ornamental ribbons and trims as one of the wonderful "giveaways" on her blog, and here you can see some of them packed into an old wooden trunk where they are still awaiting special projects. While she has not been blogging for a while now, her Treasures are still giving me joy! And last week when I rashly suggested I could make some teeny tiny plates for the Teeny tiny dining room, it was because I had remembered these trims! How could they Possibly make me plates, I hear you ask? Well, if you look closely you will see that several of those trims are made of little sequins!

Just how little the sequins are was the only question in my mind....

And if I carefully painted one..... 
would it be the right size to serve as a plate?
See the painted one on the right?
(Do remember to poke the pictures to see them larger!)

Can you see I have painted one to resemble china?
I was happy to see it looks about the right size!
So I quickly made five more....

Well, perhaps not quickly..... 
because the method requires several coats of paint.....
which must dry between coats.
Above you can see the white blobs of paint on the plastic, 
and each one covers a single sequin.
The surface tension of the wet paint covers the hole in the sequin 
and when the layers have dried thoroughly, 
you carefully pull the "plate" off the plastic.

Here I have added the decorative details before pulling them from the plastic. 
(It is much easier to paint them when they are stuck to the plastic!)

Here they are removed from the plastic and with their edges carefully cleaned up....

And Ta-da!!! The plates on the table!
But maybe we want to see how they look with chairs too....

Oh, and did I mention a basket of rolls....?

Can you see it there in the front? 
I know it is a little blurry... 
it is so hard to convince the camera to focus on the tiny things!

How about on the table.... can you see it there?
(This is made from a blob of glue that was dried onto a toothpick, 
painted to resemble a basket with a linen cloth 
and then tiny orange no-hole beads glued on top! 
Sorry I forgot to take pictures of the progress!)
 
And then I realized, Dear Readers, 
that if we were going to have plates and a basket of rolls.... 
we would need to set the table properly with glasses and utensils too!
(Who had thought that far ahead???)
So I pawed through my beads to see if I could find any 
small enough to pass for glasses....

I found some tiny milky white ones.....
which needed to be tested on the table....

Can you even see them there? 
I am less than impressed.
These are not what I wanted at all!
And then I remembered something Dear Readers, 
that I clearly had been saving for just this sort of occasion.....
In one of my little boxes somewhere.....
Aha!

Do you see what I see?

Here.... look closer.... 
Do you see wine glasses?
(This is a piece of plastic used to attach price tags 
to clothing in the department stores!)

Carefully cut apart.... 
with a dab of "The glue trick" to make the foot....
I was giddy with excitement!

And can we see them on the table?
Ooohh, I think they are Perfect!
And can we see the table in the dining room....?

Wowee, I do love those wine glasses! 
But now we are faced with the challenge of silverware.....
Tiny knives are not so hard......

Snipped from an aluminum foil baking pan.....
 
Here you can see it in better light......! 
But the Forks.... arggghh... 
the forks are not so easy....

The first couple were much too big.... 
here you can see me testing them.....
So I persevered in trying to make them smaller....

The operative word being "tried" .... 
with marginal success.
The forks still look too large.....!
(waayy too large!)
But perhaps we should see if it is even noticeable when in the dining room?

Especially when all the other furniture is in place,
 and the chairs block part of the view....
Are they small enough...?
(Yes, I know... you are saying "what forks"?)
 
Well, Dear Readers, 
I think you will need a magnifying glass 
to even see them with all the other pieces to look at....!
Especially those wine glasses... I Love those wine glasses!
I might have promised you plates and a basket of rolls....
But I ended up having to set the whole table!
(And we won't mention the hound unless I succeed.....)