Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Progress....




Big and Little....

I was absolutely Determined, Dear Readers, to make Progress on the Teeny Tiny Garden before I did anything else this past weekend! All that was left to assemble were the tables and chairs and some "refreshments" and decorative planters. All the pieces were carefully sorted in teeny tiny plastic bags and the instructions were very straight forward. It didn't take too long to make the tables and the two planters with "flowers" in them. Both are in place in the above picture, but you might need to poke the picture before you can see the details clearly. The flowers are standing next to the fountain. Then I needed to assemble the "refreshments" to sit on the tables. These consist of bowls with colored beads in them, and tiny "glasses" cut from a straw!

Can you see them?
Yes, they are very tiny!!!

Maybe you can see them better in this picture...
And those are the chairs off to the side...!
But then I decided that the pond also needed 
some "koi" swimming in it.....

Can you see them?
Tiny orange specks in the pond?

Here you can see the chairs have been added too...
I swear this garden is getting "smaller" with every minute!

Lady Virginia arrived to enjoy the Garden Party....
I guess she will have to wait for her sisters!
( I can see I will have to make a bigger Tiny Garden
 if they All want to come for tea!)
The Garden kit came with some "paper doll" style ladies...
 but I am going to keep them for another day.
But I have to show you the Tiny Garden in the Morning Sunlight.....
 

Surely the best moment to visit the Garden!

Rather than Leave you there, Dear Readers, with so little to see,
I will show you several other Projects that I worked on over the weekend!
It was a Long weekend for most of us, and I am also having a Vacation week, 
so I have decided to tackle several larger unfinished projects.... 
and another Teeny Tiny New one...

I've begun stitching another of Janet Granger's needlepoint kits...
This is an oriental patterned Tea Cosy kit... 
stitched on 40 count silk, using single strand of cotton floss.
It is my first attempt at this count and I am using my magnifier.

I think I'm making good progress so far!
I stitched the darkest blue on Sunday and the lighter blue on Monday.
There is still a Long way to go...
but at least I've made a start!

And that is not all I want to show you....
I also have Finally made a start on 
attaching the Shingles to the Cloud Palace roof!

As you can see from this picture, 
the Palace Main room is not attached to the Towers,
And here it has been cleared of all the furnishings and inhabitants!
Where did they all go, I hear you ask?

Well, they are all temporarily on "Retreat" 
at the nearby SkyTower Pavilion!
It is a bit of a Squeeze.... 
but they are having fun!

And it leaves the Cloud Palace free to have the shingles glued on....
I am using the method recommended by the kit instructions 
which say to use hot glue...
It is slow going!
The back is all attached....


The front will take much longer....
It has so many gables and dormers!
And then it will all need to be painted.....!
And speaking of Painting, Dear Readers....
I have been Itching to get back to painting the
 details on the Castle Great Hall Ceiling....
Do you even remember where we left off?


I had begun the Little borders with the Ordinary People....
Even though All the Saints were not quite finished....
That was .... How long ago???

Here is the central panel border.... it is really only just begun!

And the right hand panel with the dancing figures....
It was so long ago I had to spend hours 
searching all my books for the "originals" 
I am using for my models!

And I am slowly but surely adding all the tiny details 
that make the pictures come alive....

Here you can see my painting with the tiny "source" painting in the book below....
This is a tiny volume of miniatures found in 
the Pierpont Morgan Library in NYC. 
This one was painted around AD 1350 in Belgium.
(Sorry about the glare on the page!)

I spent all afternoon on just this painting!

But now I am very close to finished with this painting!
They all have their faces, but I still have to do the hands, 
which is the hardest part!
And then the other panels....
And then the rest of the Saints......
And the borders on the other side of the ceiling!
Can you believe it Dear Readers?
I am finally making Progress!
Big Progress on the Little Things...
and Little Progress on the big ones!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Winter....




It's Been Snowing....

Winter has been Relentless lately in my Neck o' the Woods, Dear Readers, with one storm after another Roaring through and dumping freezing rain, ice, sleet and snow in great quantity! Every couple of days it seems we are being bombarded with more snow and fierce winds! It makes it very challenging just to get to work and back, as I have a drive of over thirty miles each way and my workplace is up in the Hills to the North of where I live. Yes, the Groundhog said six more weeks of Winter.... and so far we have made it through one of them! It snowed all day yesterday and part of the night, and we woke to a Winter wonderland with snow coating everything and piled deep on the ground! Twelve more inches on top of the nine we got on Thursday on top of the four we got on Tuesday....

Yes, that is my RL garden underneath all that snow!

Is it any wonder that I don't want to have anything more to do with snow?
Not even to decorate the Secret Christmas House
 with a layer of glittery artificial snow?

 
Well, I pulled out my faithful scraps of the "Christmas" snow
 that is supposed to be used in Christmas village set-ups.... 
and quickly added some to the Secret Christmas House.... 
but it is not the permanent decoration for this kit. 
I have bought several different kinds of "fake" snow for this project, 
but I have yet to get the courage to Apply it to the House! 
It seems so irrevocable! I don't want to mess it up! 
I think I need to do some "practice" samples 
to get the feel for how it goes on.
And somehow, rather that testing the snow, Dear Readers,
I found myself digging out another small kit I had bought
 several years ago at the Sturbridge Fair....
A kit for a Tiny 144th scale Garden....!
It is made by Ginger Landon Siegel 
and has all the materials you need to put together 
a mini tea party in a Garden....!

There is a tiny patio area on a base... 
with greenery on all sides....

And a tiny wall with a fountain niche....

Cut from printed paper that you must carefully layer 
and adorn with sand to resemble stone....

 And almost before I could blink.....

Halcyon came to have a look!
It seems I am not the only one dreaming of Tea in the Garden!

She can just imagine.... 
but where are the tables....?
Well, there are still many parts to construct 
before we get to the Tea!

Starting with the hedges which flank the fountain.....

And adding rocks which surround a little pond....

Adding the painted "water"....
(And discovering that the sample fake water provided 
in the kit was too old and dried out to use....)
So I attempted to use a layer of clear gel glue instead.
It doesn't really work...

It just looks like a layer of dried glue.
I will have to try to fix that.....!
There are still all the tables and chairs to construct, 
potted flowers and little trays of tea and snacks... 
not to mention some "ladies" to dress....
 (really just paper dolls with clothes...)
And the ever present temptation to go beyond the kit 
and add a tree or two... or a Pavilion.... 
or more lawn and flower strewn borders....
the possibilities are boundless!

So, No, Dear Readers, I was not playing with the snow.... 
I was far Far away in a Tiny Garden!


Even though Winter doesn't stop....
We're supposed to get even more on Wednesday!
Yes, It's been Snowing!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bunka!!!




Oh What a Difference....

I can Hardly believe, Dear Readers, that I was very Nervous about applying the Bunka to this House! I had never used it before, and in spite of having read many many tutorials and mentions on other blogs about how to use it on everything from rugs to doll wigs, I really had no idea where or how to start! The Secret Christmas House kit supplied the bunka, already partly unraveled, but I had no idea if it was supposed to be "pulled" more or applied as is.... or what kind of glue.... or how to shape the applied pieces....! I really wanted to Not mess up the exterior of this Beautiful House! So I looked it up on-line and sure enough the Tutorial by Casey of Casey's Minis showed up near the top of the list! It is no wonder, it is a great Tutorial! Thank you Casey! It explained everything and showed useful steps and even though it was explaining the techniques for a rug, it gave me the confidence to just get started! In the picture above, you can see the "potted trees" that come with the kit. On the left it is just the wooden piece painted, and on the right I have added the bunka! Oh, what a difference it makes!

Here you can see I am testing the "potted tree" next to the door, 
and you can also see a close-up of the printed Christmas greenery 
decorating all the windows.
Seeing what a difference the bunka made to the tree 
gave me the courage to add it to all those windows!

I used a toothpick to apply a small dab of Aleen's Quick Dry Glue 
on the end of the printed garland on the house
 and carefully lined up the end of the very squiggly bunka thread 
where I wanted the garland to start. 
Then I added another dot of glue and gently nudged the bunka thread into the spot..... 
it is a little hard to control because it is so stretchy and wiggly.... ! 
As greenery it is best if you don't try to make it lie in a straight line, 
but let it have little waves and wiggles in the application.... 
if you see what I mean!

Here is a close-up view!
The red "ribbons" are tiny snips of red bunka pushed 
into the dab of glue at the appropriate spot.

Here you can see the windows on the Parlor side of the House.

And the front of the House too!
And while I am adding all the greenery in its 
Three dimensional  splendor, 
I am also finishing a few of the other tiny details....
like the doorknobs!

Can you see them?
I had to cut down a couple of little brass nails or pins, 
and carefully press them into the holes 
which were pre-cut in the kit wood.
It was not easy to get the tiny stubs of the pins into the teeny tiny holes! 
And at one point one of the "knobs" pinged off into the room...
 but I heard where it hit and was able to find it!
It was important to add the knobs 
before gluing the Potted Trees into place.
And since the green garlands made from bunka worked so well, 
I also added the green bunka "boughs" to the window boxes.
Of course, it will all look even more festive when it "snows"!
Which reminds me, Dear Readers,
 that I had been working on perfecting 
the Icicles that are to hang from the roof eaves.

They are the last wooden pieces of the kit and are very delicate!
And they required many coats of paint,
 all applied carefully so as not to clog the "teeth" of the icicles.
First I painted them with a gesso primer then plain white on both sides.
 And then I thought about real icicles.... 
and realized that they are actually a clear bluish gray color.... 
being frozen water.... 
and so I painted my icicles a pale bluish white. 
And then I coated them with a layer of Aleen's Clear Gel glue.... 
hoping that it would make them look a little more like ice!
(And I think I might add another layer still...!)

I think the Icicles will look a lot more realistic 
once there is some "snow" on the roof too!
And I am really glad I completed the bunka garlands 
before I attached the icicles which hang over them.

And here I have attached the Lovely potted Topiary Trees too!
The Table still needs its drawer pulls added, 
and perhaps some decorative detailing.
But other than that,
 I think the only other part still not added is the Snow!
I might be almost finished with the House portion of this kit!


And I don't know about you, Dear Readers, 
but I still can't believe what a 
Difference that Bunka makes!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

More Tiny Christmas House....




Inside and Out.....

No Matter how much work you put into it, Dear Readers, the progress on this Secret Christmas House kit is always Tiny! Even though the final room needing its interior walls decorated is the Largest and fanciest room in the House, it needed only the same treatments as the others. I started by making the gold picture frame to add to the printed wallpaper version. This time I made it from two layers of card, one cut slightly narrower than the other, and glued them together.

Here you can see it once it was painted with the gold paint....
which I applied in a textured manner to suggest the carving on the frame.
It is by far the largest and most elaborate frame in the house.

Here you can see I have glued the frame to the printed wallpaper.

And here the paper has been attached to the back wall of the Parlor.

Here you can see the ornate window in the Parlor 
before the wallpaper has been fitted.

The kit comes with interior window frames 
which are supposed to be glued to the wallpaper 
before it is attached to the wall...
but I found that was going to mean 
I could not adjust the placement of the frame 
over the opening of the window 
because the paper needs to fit the wall precisely.
So I fitted the paper to the wall first 
and then tested the window frame.....

And then I noticed that the interior frame 
was not exactly the right shape 
to match the exterior window frame!
The center cross bar was going to be too low 
and would interfere with the view in the window from outside!
So I removed the center portion of the frame....

Which you can see here.

And here it is glued in place.

And the door needed a frame around it like the ones in the other rooms.
At this point I had to postpone making the baseboard trims 
because there will need to be a fireplace mantelpiece 
to surround that beautiful glowing fire 
and until it is built I will not know where to end the baseboards.
The fireplace surround comes in a separate batch of kits....
 
 
Yes, there is an entire houseful of teeny tiny kits 
for all the furniture and decorations shown in these pictures!
But meanwhile, Dear Readers,
 I was also trying to make some tiny curtains....
 
From coffee filter paper painted with acrylic paint
 and "wrinkled" to shape as it was drying.
The idea is to let the acrylic paint 
act like the "glue" used in other methods.

They needed a brass curtain rod..... 
and maybe a draped top.....

Or at least some gold rope tie-backs....

But I am beginning to think I have to be
 more precise with the drapery folds.....

Because when I test them in the room... 
they just look messy!
Yes, I will need to refine the drapery a bit!

And that is not all I accomplished Dear Readers, 
I also made Tiny progress on the exterior of the house!
I really want to "finish" the exterior 
before starting on all those dozens of interior furniture kits.... 
if for no other reason than that I would hate to lose 
any of the final outer pieces before I got them attached!

The House is designed to sit attached to its own perfectly lovely table....
which I am painting a glossy silver gray.
But then I started thinking that maybe I shouldn't attach it to the table.... 
because what if somebody wanted to Play with it? 
What if there needed to be a garden...? 
or a beautiful Landscape....? 
Perhaps it should be able to sit on a larger table 
where the sides could sometimes be open ....?


So I painted a piece of cardboard to be a separate base.....

Making it look a little like the rocks on the foundation....

And then I glued it and the (painted) steps to the House!

I think this allows for much more versatility! 
And it can still sit perfectly on its own graceful table!
 
You can also see here that I have
 painted and attached the tiny window boxes.

The kit suggests that they be painted red, 
but I wanted to downplay the red on the exterior 
so I painted them green.... a much more traditional color!
There is a supply of green and red "bunka" included 
in this kit to make the greenery three dimensional. 
I have yet to try bunka.... 
so I am looking forward to learning how to work with it!
The exterior of the house still needs the "icicles" added 
along with the fake snow and "bunka" greenery....
and suddenly I am getting "Cold feet" 
about making this permanently a winter scene!
Really! 
I am just going to have to accept it....
It is the Secret Christmas House Kit after all!

And even if I decide to add a Garden.... 
it could be a beautiful Snowy garden scene!
So you can see Dear Readers, 
That a lot of Teeny tiny steps were accomplished,
Inside and Out.... 
And there is only a little more to do 
to finish this Tiny Christmas House Kit!
(If we don't mention all those furniture kits, that is!)