Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Optimism....!




Progress Is Progress....Even If Small!

A Week ago, Dear Readers, the ground in my garden was bare and snowdrops were blooming. The clocks had been turned ahead an hour, making the evenings sunny long after returning from work. It was so easy to think that Spring was almost here! But then it turned bitter cold again, and we were reminded very clearly that this is New England and it often snows even in early May.... and as I mentioned in my last post, it was snowing hard and continued all day. We did not get as much as some areas near here, but we did get a heavy 12 inches, and it stayed cold and windy so not much has melted. The above picture is the morning after the storm. And as I had mentioned, I had stayed home from work and I was sewing cushions to soften the blows of life... big and small....

As you can see, I made quite a few more little cushions 
for the attic room of The Lovely Old Dollhouse!
And between drinking many cups of tea, 
I also stitched some more on the Tea cosy....

I completed all the blue threads 
and have begun the cream background.
I find it quite difficult to sew the paler colors 
because it is difficult to tell if the stitch is the cream thread 
or just the white cloth showing.
I even attempted to paint some more on the Castle Hall ceiling, 
but with the winds howling and the poor light of a stormy day, 
I put it off for the weekend instead.

Meanwhile, Dear Readers, I have decided that 
I am making finishing this ceiling a priority!
(I apologize for the blurry photo. It is very difficult 
to get this ceiling photographed clearly!)
As you can see, the painting of
the peasant's labors has only just begun, 
and half the Saints still need to be completed. 
There is still a long way to go before this will be done!
I am leaving it set up on my "easel" and in the way 
so that I will work at it often....
 and hopefully complete it soon!
And I did make Some progress on the weekend....

The individual characters all need to be given their basic colors first....
And since I have drawn from so many diverse 
Medieval Miniatures as my sources... 
I have to adapt the colors somewhat 
in order to make this ceiling balanced.

In these first pictures I have only added the flesh color, 
which blurs the facial features....

And here I have begun to paint the base colors for several of the figures.....
This is so I can get a feel for the overall color balance...
The detail work will be done later.

And then the subtle additions of more ground 
and trees where the stag is leaping...

And ground where the sheep are flocking....

And earth that the oxen are plowing....
And here I am deviating from the originals,
 because the Medieval paintings often lacked 
the "background" that we assume is necessary!

And this is as far as I got, Dear Readers....

Again, I apologize for the blurry pictures!

Still Such a Long way to go!

And the Garden too, still buried in snow... 
after an entire week.... but it Is slowly melting!
And I am sticking with my Spring Optimism, Dear Readers, 
Progress Is Progress, even if it is only little!



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cushions for Comfort....




Feeling the Blues.....

Not Very much was accomplished in my mini worlds last weekend Dear Readers, because most of Saturday was spent traveling way up into the mountains to attend a Memorial Service for a dear woman, a co-worker for twelve years, who passed away recently after a long struggle with cancer. The road was long and snowy and nostalgic, we used to go that way when I was a child and used to ski in those mountains. The weather was bitterly cold, not getting above 15 degrees F, and windy too. The tiny New England church in the Village was packed with family and friends, there to reminisce and say "good-bye" to a beloved woman whose life was too short. She is Home now. Back up in those hills where she was born and lived most of her life. We miss her. But life goes on. When I got home late in the afternoon, my eyes fell on a little pile of cloth scraps... scraps I had bought a couple of years ago on another terribly nostalgic trip to a different Memorial Service at another tiny New England church.... and had not yet made use of.....

Something about the cheerful blue flowers called out "cushions" to me....
The scrap, bought at a little quilting shop in the back of beyond, 
was only 2 and 1/2 inches wide by 22 inches long.... 
just the right size to make mini pillows!
So I spent the evening stitching up a couple of tiny pillows 
with bright 60's era patterns on them,
 and then wondered where in my many houses they should go....

I had always thought the Attic of The Lovely Old Dollhouse 
should have an old "Hippy Vibe" to it...
as though it was decorated by a teenager in the 60's....
The cushions would be perfect!

And then I thought there should be curtains too!
But there was so little fabric... 
would there be enough...?
It is such a tiny window.... 
surely there would be enough....

So I cut the remainder of the cloth in half 
and stitched hems on all the sides...
Leaving a pocket at the top for the curtain rod...
made from an old coat hanger
 (just like all the other curtain rods in The Lovely Old Dollhouse!)


Can you Believe the serendipity of how the pattern aligns?
I think they look simply Gorgeous!
But that window was still unfinished... 
It was the only window in the house that had no trim!
So I dug around in my scrap wood...
 and found the remains of that lovely old lumber
 my brother had cut for me so long ago....
And sawed it into pieces to trim the window...

And glued them in place.
The window still has no glass....
But that will have to wait for another day...
building the glass windows is not a simple task!

The framing is rough as befits an attic.
I screwed in some tiny eye-screws to hold the curtain rod...

And hung the curtains!
It was getting dark, so the picture is not the greatest...
but I think they are the Perfect curtains for this attic room!
And the only other project I made progress on Dear Readers, 
was the petit point embroidery for the Tea cosy...

I completed the front side with the Blue Willow pattern.....
And started on the reverse side....
Ii know, it doesn't look like much yet.... 
I think it is a stylized Oriental Cloud pattern.....


 Anybody can guess where this Tea-cosy will end up....!
And speaking of Clouds.... 
We are under the clouds right now...
It is snowing heavily and blizzard winds are forecast... 
we are supposed to get a LOT of Snow!
I am home from work today... trying to stay cozy...


Perhaps I will stay curled up in bed with Cushions and a Book...
For what better comfort is there than Cushions, Dear Readers,
When feeling a Little Blue?


Monday, March 6, 2017

The Other Kind of Painting....




It's Just Got To Be Done....

You Might recall, Dear Readers, that I was also working on the shingles for the roof of The Cloud Palace during my recent vacation. One of those tedious tasks that needs to be given plenty of time. The shingles were not the best quality and needed to be sanded and trimmed and cut to fit to the angles of the roof. And because I had gotten fancy with the roof where the Palace joins the Tower, there were extra fiddly places where the shingles had to be fitted carefully. I really wanted to get this roof finished so I could move on to the other tasks (like finishing the rocks for the sides of the Towers) which are so easily put off when there are so many more exciting things to pursue!

So I worked at it a little every day and finally all the shingles were attached!
And then it was time for primer and Paint!

There is little that is more boring than Primer!
Except that in this case, 
it changed my original ideas about the roof color!
You will probably laugh when I tell you that I had been planning
 to paint the shingles the soft gray color 
and then try silver "accents" on the edges....!
But this is The Cloud Palace, I hear you say.... 
shouldn't the roof be all white like a beautiful cloud?
(I am really Not an All-white kind of decorator!)
But seeing the roof with the white primer
 made me change my mind.
I painted the shingles pure white.

But I didn't like it.
It was too bland. Too flat. Too boring!

Even in the bright morning light 
you could barely see the texture of the shingles!
So I decided to try the silver paint  "accents" 
that I had intended to add to the gray shingles.

I added a silver edge to just the bottom few shingles to test how it looked.
At night it just looked like gray edges.

But in the morning light they glowed!
I thought it might just make all the difference!
So I painted the edges of all the shingles with the silver paint...

Of course, in ordinary light it all looks just like gray edges....

But viewed from the right angle.... it shines!

And even when it isn't glowing.... 
it accentuates the shapes of the shingles 
and adds "interest" to the roof!
So while I had the silver paint out, Dear Readers,
I also decided to touch up all the other edges 
that were still incomplete....

Like along the front edge of the floor where 
the "tab" from the kit intruded on the floor pattern.

And also on the inside where more tabs disrupted the tile pattern....
Tiny little details that really make a lot of difference!

I am loving the way the shingle pattern stands out now.... 
a subtle counterpoint to the geometric floor tiles.... 
same colors, different pattern!

And while I was finishing up all the details.... 
finding tiny places that needed paint.... 
one of those Magic Moments happened....

The setting sun reflected off my neighbor's windows, 
and shone into my house from the East......!
And lighted up the Cloud Palace so Beautifully......

I could not have planned for this if I tried!

Shining all the way in to the painted planters.....

I am always amazed at what the sunlight shows!

And as the sun was setting... it didn't last.....

Gone so fast....

An unexpected gift....!

And even though the Painting was boring, 
Dear Readers, the results are not!
That other kind of painting....
It just Has to be Done!