Monday, March 18, 2019

Almost Spring....




Not Much To Show....

It was a Hectic weekend full on Non-mini projects, Dear Readers, but I had set myself the challenge of seeing whether I could produce the weekly blossom plus ten leafy stems. I am happy to report I was successful! Above you can see blossom number Forty-eight mid assembly while the ten leafy stems were also being painted. It turned out that the two tasks worked well side by side, because I could paint while the glue was drying and glue while the paint was drying!


Here is blossom number Forty-eight completed!


And here it is in the box!
What a sight!

Here I am painting the leaves.
 I paint the paler underside of the leaves first, 
as well as a wide stripe down the middle of the top side of the leaves.
 Then I add the darker leaf green on the top side, 
carefully leaving a narrow stripe of the paler green in the middle.
 It is much easier to paint up to the narrow stripe from each side
 than it is to paint a narrow pale stripe down the middle of the leaf.
Above you can see just the top two leaves
 have not yet been painted with the dark green, 
showing you the wide center stripe I painted initially.
 It will be almost completely covered by the darker green.
 
And here are the ten leafy stems all painted!

And I even started the painting 
on all the rest of the stems I had partly finished...
They just need the darker green paint added!

So there you have it Dear Readers, 
I don't have much to show,
 but I am making good progress
 and it is Almost Spring!

Oh, and if any of you know why my blog ID photo
 has suddenly stopped showing on my blog... 
and on some of my comments... 
I would love to know why...
and if there is something I can do to fix it!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Spring Forward.....!




Ready or Not.....

I am sure you will Think I have already shown you this, Dear Readers, because in a way, I have, but actually this is the Other Winter Lilac Shrub finally getting the buds painted! I am struggling to get caught up with all the steps I had completed on the Snowy Lilac shrub.... and of course, I thought it would be a quick little job to paint all those buds. It's not. Hours of carefully painting all those glue blobs .... it is so much easier to add them than to paint them! And believe it or not, they have two sides...! You think you have covered the whole bud blob... but if you turn the shrub, the back side is still just dried glue! And you have to reach into all the branches and only get the paint on the glue blob bud! And you have to be methodical and resist the temptation to just paint the next nearest one... that path is chaos. It is important to proceed one entire stem at a time so you don't overlook a single dried blob of glue! As I said, this is not a quick little step! And this weekend we even had one hour less Time because the Clocks had to change. But it is done! And it is the last shrub that will have painted buds!

Then I also needed to add the nest.... 
which still needed to be "aged".... 
here you can see it with the other two remaining nests,
 also getting their wash of brown paint.

Here I have added it to the shrub.... I know, 
it is hard to get a good picture.
I think the twigs confuse the camera.... 
it doesn't know where to focus.

I also started a serious study, Dear Readers, 
of the Time needed to produce
 the leafy stems for the Spring and Summer Shrubs.
 Above you can see the stems with twigs prior to adding the leaves.
 I estimate I will need four leafy stems per branch.... 
times roughly  thirty branches.....
 (the number of main branches on the shrubs)
 which totals about 120 leafy stems per shrub.
I have about thirty already made but not painted...
 which leaves about 90 left to produce.... 
and only nine weeks left till blossom time!
And my study determined that it takes roughly
 one half hour per leafy branch from beginning to end.
 

 


At ten branches per week, that takes five hours... 
 
 
in addition to the four or five hours needed for the blossom plan....
 Will there be enough time....?

                
 And speaking of Blossoms... here is blossom number Forty-seven!!!
 

 And in the Box!
(Even I am becoming impressed!)

But really I wanted to show you
 the Other Winter Lilac Shrub in The Folly Garden....

 I did not add any more snow to the shrub... 
(even though it snowed again on Sunday...)
Because at this time of year the snow is melting .....


And the minute the sun comes out .... 
all the snow is gone from the branches... 
even if it is still thick on the ground!


Those bare branches give us hope!
 

 I still have to add the suckers to this shrub.... 
and the fungus to the stumps.... 
and the lichen to the stems......
But I think I am making progress, Dear Readers,
Springing Forward....
Ready or Not!
 

Monday, March 4, 2019

And More Snow.....




Marching On....

I spent a good bit of Time, Dear Readers, adding more snow to the branches of the Lilac shrub. Above you can see it in the glaring light with all the branches at least "dusted" with snow. It is very slow and persnickety work! Those twigs are very skinny and flexible and the "snow" just doesn't want to stick to them! It is important that the snow only stick in places where gravity would naturally collect it.... and the slanted stems are difficult to coat in the right places. I thought I had made pretty good progress, and maybe even had added enough snow... until I tested it in The Folly Garden again.

It hardly looks like I added any at all!
This is probably because most of what I added was on the twigs...
and when seen from the under side, you don't see the snow.

I tried to take a picture looking down from above... 
but the camera wouldn't focus well...
The snow just doesn't show up very well.

I tried taking a picture in the Morning light...
it is a little more visible here...

Daylight does seem to make a difference!

And looking down form above...
(I know, it is hard to focus!)
But is it enough, Dear Readers?
Especially in light of the example set by Mother Nature last night.....

A March snowstorm..... 
begun after bedtime, done by dawn......

Wet enough to stick to everything.....
No wind to speak of....

Look at the "hat" on that little garden light!

And the "pile" on the delicate rail of the gate!
I think Mother Nature was trying to show me how it's done!
 
And meanwhile, 
the only other thing I got done was the blossom...

Number Forty-six completed!
I will be making them all as individuals from now on,
 not adding them to the already finished stems,
 because not every blossom on a shrub is a "double" one.

Here it is in the box...
 (with the other singles in the left hand corner.)
 
Well, Dear Readers, It will probably have to keep on "snowing"
 for a while until I get the desired effect on the shrub.
But Time is moving quickly on.... 
and Spring is right around the corner!
I had better get a March on!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Snow.....




Winter Woes....

From the Beginning, Dear Readers, I have been planning to include Snow on one of my Winter lilac shrubs. Because I live in the North, and Some amount of snow is inevitable at some time during the long six months of Winter at these latitudes. I am sure that if you know snow the way I do... a deep acquaintance for all of my life.... you will know that there is no such thing as just plain snow! There is light fluffy snow, heavy wet snow, icy pellet snow, perfect snowflake snow, sleety mixed snow, crusty corn snow, sugar snow, concrete ice snow and so on. Some snow sticks to everything, and some just blows away or melts the minute it touches anything. So when it comes to adding "snow" to one of my lilac shrubs, I realized I was going to have to decide what kind of snow I was making in order to get it to look right. If I was trying to make heavy wet snow, it would need to bend all those branches.... if it was going to be just a dusting of snow.... it would not lie smoothly along the branches.... and maybe would not stick to the stems either. Could I make it somewhere in between? And could I find the right kind of "snow"?  I tested a number of different "snow" products and was not entirely satisfied with any of them. But before I even got to the snow, I needed to add some of those "suckers" I had mentioned in a previous post. If you look closely at the above picture, you will see four (only four for now!) additional skinny stems at the base of the lilac. I added the buds too. And then it was time to get brave and make snow!

I am using DecoArt Snow Tex....
It is not very easy to apply!
It has to be dabbed on and doesn't stick right away
(sort of like real snow!)
But once it sticks and dries it is solidly attached.
I tried to build it up from the bottom.... 
working up the main stems....
Imagining where it would land....
I am not done yet, it is a slow process!

I needed to test it in The Folly Garden....
Parts of the shrub are under the roof overhang
 and would not get as much snow...
 only of it was blowing in as it fell.....
(I apologize for the poor lighting... night has fallen in RL)

But if it is snowing... 
we need to make it look like it is snowing!
(Another thing I didn't think of....
 what the "blanket" of snow would look like
 next to the snowy shrub....)

Especially if you were trying to look closely....!
(Perhaps I can find better "snow blankets" for the rest of the landscape...)

And certainly, I didn't even finish adding the snow to the branches..... 
(I had to go make dinner.... the Vacation Time was all run out!)
 
And if your Winter is anything like our Winter this year, Dear Readers, 
you will have seen plenty of snowstorms which end with sleet and rain... 
making a serious concrete-ice mess!
(Not very pretty to copy in miniature.)

So It's not perfect... but it is a start!

Oh, and I almost forgot to show you blossom number Forty-five!
(Or is it Forty-six?!!)


And here it is in the box with the rest of them!

Well, Dear Readers, Winter in The Folly Garden 
may not be going quite as I planned....
But that's often the Way of Snow.....
A Slippery cold frozen Beautiful Mess!
Winter Woes are here...

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

One More Little Thing....




Can You See It....?

I am in the Middle of a week of Vacation, Dear Readers, and in spite of my best intentions, so far I have had next to no time for minis! The list of things I hoped to accomplish is long.... and the Time allotted is speeding by with very little to show. But I have managed to add one little detail to The Folly lilac shrub. Can you find it in the picture above? I know it is not fair that I have not told you What it is.....

Perhaps you can spot it from this angle....?

Or now.... Can you spot it now...?

Well, I suppose the Birds would be glad that it was so hard to spot!

Because, I am sure you will agree that there had to be
 a bird's nest hidden in the branches....
built in the Springtime when the leaves hid it from view...
and still there in the Winter when the leaves have fallen.

Here you can see how I constructed it, Dear Readers,
 starting with some tiny twigs and bits of rough twine.

I separated the strands of the twine and cut it into short lengths
 and glued them in a circular shape, leaving rough ends sticking out, 
hoping this would look like stems and grasses in mini.

I tried to keep it about the size of a Robin's nest....
 our American Robin is a larger bird than the European Robin,
 so the nest would be roughly six to eight inches across.
The American Robin uses quite a bit of mud in the building too....

Of course, I needed to test it in the shrub.... 
to see if it was going to fit right....
(it needed adjusting...!)

And eventually I "aged" it with a wash of brown acrylic paint.

Here it is up close!
I think it will pass as an old Robin's nest!

 
And then I made three more.... one for each of the Seasons......!
(They are not yet completed....)

But now that you know what you are looking for.... 
Can you spot it now?

And Meanwhile, I have not forgotten the blossoms!

Here is blossom number Forty-four!

And in the box with the rest of those Beauties!

As for the rest of my Vacation, Dear Readers,
I hope to make much progress on my list of Little Things...
And that there will be plenty to see when I am through...
Even if some of it might be hard to spot!