Monday, August 29, 2011

The Eye of the Storm

The Day After

Dear Readers, In case you were wondering, the Eye of the Storm DID go over us, here in Western Massachusetts. Rest assured I am fine! Let me tell you how it was!
Sunday morning when I awoke early because I could NOT sleep when a Hurricane was on the way, the rain was already falling in earnest and the sky was Dark. Hurricane Irene was making landfall in New York City and was still headed our way. We still had power and the winds were barely noticeable, so I settled in for a day of working on the Dollhouses, drinking tea and waiting! By ten AM the Storm was downgraded to a Tropical Storm, so the Winds when they came would be less strong. But the RAIN continued to pour down heavily.

I was working on the Ceiling of the Dining Room of the Cupboard House. This is where it was at the beginning of the morning.... the ornate ceiling trim was stained and I was planning to add gold paint to the details. Of course, I forgot to take pictures of some of the progress.... but I DID add the gold paint!

And the floor of the Kitchen in the Cupboard House was partly done.... so all I needed to do was cut more sticks, glue them in and stain it....... a Perfect project for a day that is so Gloomy and you are WAITING for Disaster to Come Calling at ANY Moment.......

At Noon, the Skies were still DARK and the RAIN was still POURING down,

But the WIND was Nowhere to be found!

The Little people were all happily entertaining themselves while they WAITED......

And I went back to work on the Dining Room Ceiling. I wanted to paint a cloud-filled skyscape... in the Grand Baroque tradition. Even though this house is Victorian in Era, the Victorians were very enthralled with the Grand Homes and History of Europe.... and they Borrowed shamelessly from EVERY period of Design.... so I can be forgiven for painting this ceiling this way!
Here you can see a picture of the progress.... NOT complete yet......

At Three PM the skies are STILL Dark and the Rain is STILL Pouring down. And the Wind has been fitful at most and barely noticeable the rest of the time! But the Eye of the Storm was Still supposed to go over us! Can you see how Dreary it looks?

I continued working on the Kitchen Floor...... here you can see all the boards are in place and I have started staining it.... and Remembered to take a picture!

And here is the staining finished.... I used a Colonial American stain.... I think it is supposed to look like a dark maple flooring...... I didn't want the floor to be the Walnut stain as that would be too dark in this tiny room!

And THEN... sometime around Four PM... the Sun broke through the clouds!
I went outside and the sky above was as Clear and Blue as any Summer sky can be!
There was a fringe of clouds to the East......

And a Swirl of clouds to the West.....

And a Remnant of clouds to the South....... behind the trees in my backyard!

But above me the SKY was as Blue as Blue can Be!

And NOW the winds had arrived, blowing from the West instead of the East!
Truly, this MUST be the EYE of the Storm, thought I ..... so I rushed for my camera!

And took these photos of the Eye of the Storm!

Only to Realize later, when I was assembling the Dining Room Ceiling pieces I had worked on all Day... that it looked just a tiny Bit like the Eye of the Hurricane!
This picture shows the painted and gilded coving and the painted ceiling in the center, all propped against the wallpaper I have chosen for this room.... an ornate plum colored Rosy pattern... and an elaborate border too......

This picture shows me Testing the effect of Gold Paper in the bands between the border and the coving.....

Oh, and I mustn't forget the gilt central Rosette which will have the Light fixture attached at the center........ You don't think it will be a bit too much? Well, this is the VICTORIAN Era! They were all about Too Much!

Here you can see the ceiling mostly assembled and temporarily in place in the Dining Room....

And a Little bit closer.... I am thinking of painting Bacchus looking down from the clouds.....!

As for the Eye of the Storm.... we had Much more wind on the Back side of the storm.... but never lost our Power here where I live.
And when I got up this morning to a Beautiful Summer Day, I had a look around to assess possible damage. All was quiet in the Castle Great Hall.

The sun was shining once more on the Mini Rose Garden by the Folly.

Will and Daphne were exchanging stories and opinions about the Hurricane....

The Sun was Streaming into the Beautiful and still unfurnished Chinoiserie Bedroom of the Lovely Old Dollhouse.... so I HAD to share this photo......

Cousin Kitty and ALL EIGHT of her cats were still on the Hall Settee where they landed late yesterday when the FLOOD Waters began to rise and chased them from their apartment. Poor Cousin Kitty STILL looks Petrified!

Pollyanna and Arthur are happily entertaining Victor and Joanna.
It seems they did not need the Hurricane Lantern after all!

And Helen and Charles are in their favorite spot....
the Kitchen of the Lovely Old Dollhouse......
recounting the many Storms they have lived through together......

And the sun peeks into the Kitchen of the Cupboard House.........
Lighting up that new Old floor in such a beautiful way.......

And strikes the still unfinished Brownstone exterior.......
as if to say "It's a New Day... Get Busy!"

Dear Readers, I am SO Thankful for your concern for my Wellbeing! I am Happy to report that we are Fine. But ALL Morning the sky has been filled with Helicopters going by and the NEWS is filled with reports of DEVASTATING Flooding and Roads are closed all around us. This region got between five and eight inches of Rain in the twenty four hour period, and the ground was saturated and Rivers were already full because of the wet Summer we have had. The Nearby Connecticut River (NOT near enough to be a danger to me!) is a Large River draining the greater portion of New England. This water is still rising and will for days to come..... this IS a story that is still unfolding. The Hill Towns just to the West of us have been overwhelmed with the amount of rain and many of the major roads are washed away. This will take some time to repair and return to normal.
But Today the Sun is shining
and I am Thankful that we are fine and we survived
The Eye of the Storm

Saturday, August 27, 2011



Old Meg has Left her corner by the fire!
As EVERYONE knows, Old Meg NEVER leaves her fire! Today, my Dear Friends, she left her fire and climbed the Castle stairs....

She climbed through the narrow steep winding stairs.... up and up...

Higher and higher

To the topmost Tower of the Castle!
There she stood at the very edge of the wall and Blind though she is, she stared to the West...

And Gazed to the East

And then to the SOUTH.....

Where the Storm clouds were starting to Muster...
and the winds beginning to blow.....

She lifted her arms and Pointed her bony hand to the Sky

"BEWARE the Hurricane! Winds will GALE! Trees will FLAIL!
Rain will Pour! Remain Indoor! I SAY no more!"

Henry, who had feared for her safety and followed her to the top of the Tower, heard every word. Even though he was NOT sure he Understood what Hurrycane meant....... he could tell that her warning was SERIOUS!

And just in case he Didn't understand, when she was back inside,
Old Meg looked him in the Eyes and said...."PREPARE!"

So Henry told the whole Tale to Belle. He really was a bit Agitated about this "Horrorcane"! Belle calmed him with her simple words...."Our Kitchen is Stone, our Well is deep, our Fire is warm and I have just been baking the bread! What More are we supposed to do? Rest easy, all will be well!"

Meanwhile, the word has gotten out to the other Little people and they are PREPARING themselves for an EPIC Storm!
Arthur and Will are carrying the Garden furniture inside so it will not blow around.

Daphne is helping with the chairs and the potted plants!

And in the Lovely Old Dollhouse, Helen is preparing to fill all the Large pots with Water, so they will have some when the power goes out. She is old enough that she remembers a few large storms, but perhaps not one like this one!

Joanna has found the Old Hurricane Lantern and has filled it with oil and checked to see that the wick is just right. She remembers using it once in a while when the Power has gone out in other storms.... so she knows what she is doing.

Victor has dug around in the cupboards and found some OLD Beeswax Candles! They are a bit odd looking, but he is sure that they will burn a long time as they are pure beeswax! (Dear Readers, I MADE these candles in my teen years when we lived on the Farm and my boyfriend kept bees. We melted the wax and I dipped these candles!)

Pollyanna has brought some candles over to the Folly. She is sure they will be alright in the tiny house, but she has invited everyone to stay at the Lovely Old Dollhouse if they feel at all threatened!

Sally May has gone shopping to stock up on the essentials.... Milk and Eggs and Butter .......

And while she is trying not to worry, she is keeping Annabelle close, and they will spend the day baking.... just in case the Power goes off and they can't bake tomorrow!

And even Charles has found himself heeding the urge to PREPARE... he went shopping and came home with a basketful of produce and a rack full of Milk bottles! Nobody is going to starve!

So while we ALL PREPARE for this Epic storm, Dear Readers, very little has been accomplished on the Cupboard House! I have added a bit to the kitchen flooring....

I have been using my Rose Pruning shears to cut the wooden sticks to the right length..... and occasionally I have cut too short.... so there are a couple of gaps..... but I hope it will just add to the Character of the building! After all, it IS just an OLD Cupboard!

And I have done the tricky job of cutting and mitering the coving for the Dining Room ceiling trim! I have stained it and will add gilding to parts of it for accent. Here it is just temporarily held in place so you can see how the Dining Room is taking shape. The wooden cut out for the mantlepiece is probably just a stand in for the fireplace I will eventually either buy or carve myself. It will need to be ornate and ..... well... Victorian!

So, Dear Readers, I want you to know that we ARE expecting to be hit by this Hurricane Irene! It is forecast to go straight up the Connecticut River Valley as it crosses New England, arriving late tonight or early Tomorrow morning. I live in the Connecticut River Valley, about one hundred miles inland. We expect Strong winds and Lots of Rain and probable loss of Power. So if I am not on Blogger for several days.... please DO NOT WORRY! We will be fine! We are well above River level and have stocked up on candles, water and Food! I will spend this evening baking! And During the Storm tomorrow, I will be gluing floor boards in place, gilding ceiling coving, and Maybe even starting to paint the Mural in the Hallway....... ANYTHING to keep myself from listening to the WIND......!