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


  1. Watched CNN all morning hoping you are all right:) Saw these rivers so wild and taking everything with themselves - scary really. So I am relieved you are fine!! Thank God for that:)As for the rains, they are like mad ones even here - strong, with a lot of water coming down like we have the rainy season instead of summer.;)
    Anyway, I just love the ceiling in Victorian's house - just fab! I wish I could paint like you do, Betsy.:)

  2. Thank you, Ewa! I really didn't want to Alarm people... because I am in a safe location... but with Storms like this one you just can't predict what will really happen! The most unnerving part for me has been hearing the helicopters all day today and not knowing what is really happening... The River flooding is Extreme and even North of here in Vermont where I go to work it is Awful. I am not sure if I will be able to get there tomorrow! (I had today off because I was supposed to go to Boston but I canceled that!)
    I hope the rains where you are stop soon and give you some Sunny Hours! :)
    And I'm glad you like the ceiling... it is a project that is Running Away With Me!!

  3. The ceiling is perfect!

    So happy to read you have no flooding or damage and are safe.


  4. Thankfully nothing happens to you !!!The ceiling you have made is really amazing,I love it.Jeannette

  5. Glad to hear you got through it all unscathed and you certainly put your time to good use. The ceiling is lovely.

  6. Thank for shareing what you has hapend. My son and his wife are in NY just now. So we have looked at tv what was going on there. And we prayed every day. We all feel better now when the storm has gone. Hugs Kati

  7. Dear Betsy, since I blog, I can not remain insensitive to the weather information coming from other continents ... Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes ... I try to do a mental, every time, to remember who lives where, and cross my fingers, because a friend really makes things more serious ...
    I know that Irene has caused much damage and some loss of life, but I'm glad that you and your dolls are comfortable, and the sky is blue, inside and out ...
    Mini hugs, Flora

  8. I can't tell you how much I love that the ceiling reflected the hurricane-you will never forget this weekend. It could be called the Irene Ceiling. I'm happy as can be to know that you and your real-size home and your miniature homes and miniature people are safe and well.

    I saw the artwork of a Chinese artist who moved to the US, and describes his adjustments by building large dollhouses that are partially destroyed, cultural hurricanes, you could say. He has a traditional Chinese house colliding with a New England style house, as if it had blown off course, trailing a deflated air balloon. I think you would really find it interesting, especially after all this anxiety!

    The house is looking gorgeous, I love getting to watch it grow and fill and warm--

  9. Thank you Jeanette! I'm glad you like it!

  10. Thanks, Irene! It was really kind of odd how productive the day was... I had taken care of ALL the chores just in case... so Nothing got in the way of minis!

  11. Thank you Kati! I am glad your son and his wife are safe! And Welcome to my blog!

  12. Flora, I find the same is true for me... knowing someone in another part of the world who might be experiencing these Natural Disasters definitely makes the distant trouble feel closer to Home! The World is Smaller than it used to be.... it is hard not to worry! That is why I wanted to be sure to let all you Blog friends know that I was safe! Thank you for your kind concern!

  13. Thank you, Amy! (How did you know I was thinking of it as the "Irene Ceiling" ??) :)
    I will go have a look at that link.... soon....
    I like the idea of colliding cultures reflected in the mashed together houses.... the image of the mind as the rooms of a house comes to Mind....
    I am finding it interesting how much I am feeling driven to make progress on this house.... no dividing my time with the other houses.... it's as if it has all been bottled up inside me for YEARS and Finally is POURING out! It will be interesting to see how long I stick to it....

  14. Bets, your Brownstone is coming along so wonderfully . And angels must be whispering in your ears when you painted that ceiling, telling you to have faith and that blue skies and sunshine is just round the corner :).

    And I love the floor too, Bets. The staining has turned out just right.

    I know how devastating Irene has been and I don't want to make light how scary the whole situation must have been but the misted windows in your pictures are reminiscent of the rainy afternoons I love. Like everyone, I am really happy that you have been spared.

    By the way, the link to Do-Ho-Suh really rocks! He did an installation entitled Cause and Effect. Go look. :) Fallen Star 1/5 colliding dollhouses) is mind blowing. Prepare to gasp.

  15. Glad you stayed safe. And what a productive day you made of it! Everything is wonderful. That ceiling is regal. Fantastic job!

  16. The opening picture, of the back yard in the rain, took my breath away - I had to summon Patrick to look at it. As for the ceiling (and the door of the brownstone!) - Lovely. I went on Facebook & there was a video of the flooding Saxtons River, taken from the bridge - reminded me that that bridge is pretty new. The old one would have washed out, for sure.
    Lots of love,

  17. I'm glad to hear that the storm passed by you without leaving damage. I'm in Eastern Mass. We were on the windy side of the storm but we also got alot of rain. We lost power for about 27 hrs otherwise all is well here also.

    I love your stormy ceiling, sometimes we find inspiration without even realizing it.

  18. I'm happy to see that you didn't suffer any damage. There are no such storms here in Venice, luckily..
    By the way, the pics with rain and flower are so beautiful..

  19. Hermoso trabajo
    Un saludo desde España