Saturday, May 11, 2024

Lilacs For Love...

 


And Sorrow....

It is That time of year, Dear Readers, when the Lilacs are blooming in the RL world, and so I must rearrange my properties and dig out the Blooming Lilac for The Folly garden and set it up so the morning light can bring it to life. The early morning light is still dim because it is a bit overcast today. But you can see the tall arching stems of this old and much loved shrub where it stands beside The Folly porch.

And as the daylight grows stronger
 you can perhaps see the blossoms better...
Each and every one lovingly made....
it took more than a year to do!
(Some of you will recall the blossom-a-week progress...)


And closer, by the door....
You will have to dream of the amazing scent...
for bringing that to life is beyond my small abilities.


The weather has been gloomy a lot lately, 
but every now and then we have moments of sunshine...
Catch them when you can... 
for they are fleeting....


Like Life itself....
Here and then gone...
 
 
Forgive me, Dear Readers if I wax lachrymose... 
My dear Father passed away recently.... 
and I am having trouble finding the sunlight...
 

He was 94 years and eight months old 
and lived a wonderful creative life.
I learned so much from him.
He was dearly loved.
And now he is gone.
 

 
And yet, the Lilacs still bloom...
Lilacs are for Love...
And sorrow...




Monday, April 29, 2024

A Small Distraction....

 


The Tree Stump House....

Way Back last Fall, Dear Readers, my Very dear Aunt by marriage (my Uncle's former wife) was visiting my house and meeting all the characters who share it with me, and when she got to the Cloud Palace to meet the Fairy Bears who live there she said "Ooooh... I wonder if I could get the person who made these to make one for me.....?" And I replied that I would ask, but I wasn't sure that she would be able to make one. And when I asked Birgit.... she said she would gladly "try", but it might take some time to complete. I told her to take all the time she needed.... we were not in a hurry and so Birgit got busy creating her magical Fairy Bear for my Aunt! And then one morning in the middle of winter I woke up and realized that if the Fairy Bear for my Aunt was coming here first... I could maybe make a little "Traveling House" for the Fairy Bear to live in when she first arrived at her new home... and maybe my Aunt would keep it or not or add to it or not, but it would be a "starter" home for this Fairy Bear. As you might imagine, this Idea would not leave me alone.... and so I commenced building right away! You can see above the "basic structure"... the ubiquitous "Quaker Oats" box which I have used many times already.... (several are part of The Cloud Palace itself!). And here I will apologize for the dark photos.... it was winter! The first step was to cut the "opening door wall"...

And this time the wall would need hinges so it could swing open or closed.....
because what good would an open house be to a Traveling Fairy Bear?
Here I am attaching the wooden supports for the hinges... 
the cardboard itself is not strong enough to hold hinges.


And because I needed help getting the size of the rooms correct for Fairy Bears..... 
Sweet Pea agreed to come be my assistant for this project.
The interior is cozy.... but a Fairy Bear enjoys the secure feeling!


In almost no time at all the hinges were attached!
 

The fireplace was under way.... 
and the "cornice" to support the second floor was in place!


The "Front Door" (Fairy Bear sized) 
was cut and hinged too...


(I do Love hinges!!!)


I hastily built a "sofa" covered in mossy velveteen...
(This whole project needed to be made quickly!)


Here you can see it fitted into the downstairs room
 beside the fireplace...


Here you can see the beginning of the "fire' in the fireplace!


And an overhead lamp!
I have also added logs to the fire...


Sweet Pea was only too happy to test the sofa!


There are some very rough stairs climbing up the opening wall... 
leading to the second floor bed loft!


Where there will be a velvet bed....


And a candle to light the room!


A window was constructed for the bedroom....
and a brass latch added to the opening door wall!


In order to make it look a little more like a "Tree Stump" 
I added root extensions to the corners...


One of them on the opening door wall...
and at it's base I concealed the battery for the lights.


The bottom section of the "root" stays in place
 when the door wall swings open over it!


Here you can see the bed in the loft... 
looking in from the open top!


And then I noticed Sweet Pea staring at me....
"You will make me one too...?" she asked very sweetly!
Oh My! Of Course I will!
I got started Right away!


As you can imagine... it will be just a Little different!
For starters, its doors are reversed
 so they open on the opposite directions.
The opening door wall will swing to the left 
and the "Front Door" will be on the right side.
She will also have a slightly larger base...
 so she has room for her garden, of course!
But all of that is for another time.... 
now I am hurrying to complete the exterior details...
 

The roof needed to have a conical shape...
(so it could shed rain...)


I covered it with sand paper and drew tree rings...
(to remind us it is supposed to look like a stump!)


And I needed to (quickly!) make a bark-like surface for the exterior....
I decided on paper grocery bags glued on all "wrinkly" and hastily!
(By now the Fairy Bear had arrived at my house 
and was waiting to depart on the final leg of her journey!)
But first the House must be completed!


Here the outer bark has been roughly added... 
next It will be painted.....


Here is the front view after several coats 
of two brownish gray colors of latex paint.


A "chimney" had to be tucked into the bark 
where the fireplace is located... 
 

 
and some whispy smoke added...
and you can also see the branches which 
"sprouted" from this old stump.... it is still alive! 
 

And because, Dear Readers, this is a "Traveling Tree Stump House"... 
you might have to think of it a little like the Tardis of Dr. Who fame...
 it Magically comes and goes!
And shows up in familiar places every now and then!
Here you can see it beside "The Folly"
 just across the little brook from the Tree House...
at the Edge of The Mysterious Woods...
Where we have never been before!
And in the background you can see a glimpse
 of the Fairy Bear "Floreena" whose house this is!
(You will see her closer later!)


There are only a few more details to finish
 before this House is ready to Travel to its new home!
The base needed to be covered with mossy velvet...


A baby Rhododendron Bush needed to be tucked in beside the Tree Roots...!
(these are the first three bunches of blossoms I made last Summer!)


Some tiny Oak leaves needed to be added the the sprouted branches!
(They are bent sideways so they will fit into the traveling box...
 but can be re-positioned when they arrive to their destination!)


And a tiny grapevine wreath made by my Sister
 and sent to me for may birthday!
It fits so perfectly!!!
And yes, may I introduce you to "Floreena"
The Fairy Bear guardian of the Forest...
Made by our Dear Friend Birgit of BiWuBaren fame!


The roof top hinges open (a leather hinge for flexibility!)
to access the Bed Loft...


I added decorative stitching to the pillow... 
which is made from a little scrap of fabric from the flower girl dresses
 my Sister and I wore in my Aunt's wedding to our Uncle!
(I don't know how I managed to keep the scrap all these years!!!)


And because I know there are Some of you, Dear Readers,
 hoping for a glimpse of The Cloud Palace gang....
Here is a picture of Floreena saying "Good-bye" to the Fairy Beary Gang 
as she prepares to travel on to my Aunts house on the other side of this continent!
(More pictures of her visits will have to wait for another day...)
And I can assure you all that she made the Journey safely... (if slowly!)
and is Happily ensconced in her new Home!
The Tree Stump House is much appreciated.... 
and Floreena (now known as "Oakareena Floreena")
 is much Beloved.
And I, Dear Readers,
 am still recovering from
 this Wonderful Little Distraction!
Thank you, Birgit!!!! :):)



Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Stitching Updates...

 


Progress All Around....

Way back in March, Dear Readers, was the last time I showed you any progress on the carpets I am stitching. It seems hard to believe so much Time has flown since then, but truly it also means I have progress to show you! I had just completed the outline of the second dragon, to make sure they were not bumping too closely anywhere. This was especially necessary because I had made an error in my stitching of the first dragon's tail which effectively "lifted" it up towards the second dragon by one whole stitch! You would think that would not matter.... but in the nature of curves and their geometric parabolic trajectories.... it did make a difference. I had to "shift" the hind leg of the first dragon away from the second dragon's face....  But who will ever know that? I was able to make the second dragon's outline much truer to my design (no counting mistakes!) and she now has her outline completed. I added length to her "hair" and "tail fringes" to differentiate from the first. I did not want them to be identical.

I had also made a fair amount of progress with the William Morris carpet. 
The leafy parts of the central section are nearly done, as are the pink tulips.
If you spot the errors, please don't tell me... 
I already know they are there!


Here you can see I have made progress
 on the first dragon's scales,
 as well as the background blue sky.


And here I am continuing with the first dragon's scales... 
adding the golden color.


Here you can see I have completed the gold in the scales
 and started the gold frame which will "contain" the dragons.
Remember this is the part of the carpet that I am designing... 
it is not part of the kit design!
But I am staying strictly with the colors that the kit uses.
As you might imagine,
 I really wanted to see how the dragons fit in the frame.
I did plan for very slight overlap in a place or two with the tails and feet.
Counting the stitches in those long diagonal runs was a challenge!


The gold thread in this kit is two very very similar shades.
They are virtually indistinguishable except when
 they are right next to each other, as they are in this frame.
 The inside row is the lighter gold,
 the outer rows are the darker shade.


Here you can see I have begun the scales for the second dragon. 
I decided to use the paler shade of gold for her scales....
I think it will be subtly noticeable in the finished carpet.


Even more progress on the scales!
And lest you think I have ignored the William Morris carpet...


Here you can see I have begun to work the outer border shapes.
This is where the carpet doesn't quite fit the frame!
For the top edge, I am holding the frame in my lap without using the stand
 while I stitch the top few rows of the outer border.
I will need to "scroll" the carpet when I reach the bottom border.
I am saving that part for last so as the minimize the stress
 put on the already stitched upper edge.
Alas, I have made a few stitching errors on those leaves.... 
(I really should not stitch late at night!)

I am really enjoying stitching both of these projects. 
And I think you can agree, Dear Readers,
 I have made good progress all around!