Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaping Ahead....

A Little Stitching, A Lot of Glue......

Well, Dear Readers, It is Leap Day, in a Leap Year, and I have some Leaping progress to show you! It has taken me more than two years to stitch these tiny Bed Curtains, and now that they are nearly finished, I have asked myself What took me so long? The embroidery part is now complete... (unless I decide to add a few more leaves in another color....) but the pattern is now done! I was originally not sure how I would "finish" the edges, whether or not glue used to stop the fraying of the silk would be enough, or whether I would need to hem them. But having read Josje's post on the durability and longevity of materials used, I now question using ANY glue on fabrics! I will be stitching the hems! But besides that, I had also realized that these tiny curtains would need to be lined... because they hang on the bed and the "back" side of the stitches would be visible! They are "relatively" neatly stitched.... but the back side of the embroidery is not as pretty as the front! Having reached this stage with these curtains, I thought it would be fun to see how they are going to look .... so I pulled the Pagoda Bed out of the Tree House....

Of course, it is really difficult to get a sense of how they will look.....
but I carefully folded the fabric and held it next to the bed!
 Heavens, it makes the flowers look Huge!

But the Main thing I got done this weekend, Dear Readers, 
was a Lot more Gluing of the structure of Hardwick Hall! 
I left you last weekend with the side walls attached, 
but only part of the Parlor Bay windows was done.

Here you can see the Parlor Bay Windows "propped" in place, but not yet glued.
There were several steps I needed to do while the wall was partly open.
I needed to make the curtain rod for the bay window while measuring was easy, same with cutting most of the baseboards and the windowsills for the bay. And I wanted to attach an outlet on the outside wall beyond the bay window so future lamps could be added at will.

Can you even see the outlet I have added?
 I painted it brown and ran the wire down into the basement!
Then I worked on adding the sides to the bay window.....
They didn't fit very well...
I ended up shaving a lot off of one side panel,
And the other one was a bit warped.

It took all day to get them attached!
Here you see them in the following morning light.

And from the interior.... 
with the baseboards and windowsills mostly added.....
And another view.... the trees with the lights in the branches 
are still waiting for me to finish painting them.

Here is a close-up of the interior windowsills....
I think they turned out very well!
But you can see the daylight through the seams of the wall panels!
This will have to be covered with the exterior trim....
although I don't think the kit provides any for these seams!

This is what the house looks like before the attic walls are attached. 
What you see here is now all glued in place!

I had done the preliminary preparing and painting 
of the attic walls a year ago, 
but then realized I could not attach any of it 
without finishing the side walls of the house. 
This is a complex structure to assemble!
Here you can see I have glued the main attic walls in place!
(weighted with a can of paint!)

And then I added the side dormer walls, also "prepared" long ago!
It feels so good to Finally be able to work on this attic level!
I plan to make "adjustments" to the kit plan for this room.....
but I could not even begin to test my ideas without the structure completed this far.

Here you can see I have also added 
the "rear side walls" on each side of the house.
I thought the width of the kit pieces was much too large,
so I "thinned" them down to about 3/4ths of an inch on each side, 
rather than the almost two inches they start out as!
This will allow for the rear corner trims, 
but also allow for maximum access to the rooms!
I am Finally making Progress!
And with the tiny stitching too!

I know I have mentioned before how difficult it is 
to photograph the Tree House rooms....
but I thought you would like to see the bed and the curtains in place.

So you can see, Dear Readers, 
with a Little stitching and a Lot of Glue
I have been Leaping Ahead!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Birds, Blossoms, Walls and Wires....!

Hardwick Hall Progress... And More!

Believe it or Not, Dear Readers, I added a few more birds to the murals on the Bedroom Wall in Hardwick Hall! And whether or not they can all co-exist in Harmony in the Real World, here on my Mini Paradise Walls, I wanted to include as many of my favorites as I could! So I added a pair of Tufted Tit-Mice, which you can see on the branches to the left, and I also added a pair of Common Yellow-throat Warblers to the tree on the right. Because I was home on vacation, I spent a snowy/icy/ windy/freezing day flitting from bird to bird in my own little Springtime! And because I had so much Time to pursue all those little Details on my List, I also began to run all the wires from the Bedroom and the Parlor through the kitchen and into the basement.

These are the wires for the two bedroom sconces, the bedroom fire, the front porch light, the downstairs hall light, the two parlor sconces and the parlor fire. They all needed to be lengthened in order to reach the plug unit which will be at the back of the house along the foundation. I carefully spliced longer wires, using shrink tubing at the joins. (I neglected to take pictures, of course!)

I used ordinary masking tape to "flatten" them against the wall, and to keep them separated from one another so they would not rub and cause short circuits. Because they will be covered by the Hearth wall, I am not concerned about the tape failing to hold over time. They will be held in place by the wall itself. (At least this is the theory!)

And here is the view of the underside of the house, 
where the wires come through the floor 
and pass out from the foundation at the back
(which is at the top in this picture!).
I tested every light before and during and after 
the procedure of splicing...
 just to be sure they still worked!

Parlor sconces and hearth fire and downstairs hallway.... check!

Front porch.... check!

Bedroom sconces and hearth fire.... check!
So far we are good to go!
And of course, there were still a few more Birds that got added.... 

There are a pair of Downy Woodpeckers, one on each tree (the female has no red spot on her head) and also a pair of Rufous Sided Towhees, scratching in the flowers on the ground. The female is more brown and is on the left, the male is black backed and is way at the right in the corner formed by the back wall extensions. I also added another flowering Quince shrub to that corner (still not finished in this picture!) My goal was to get this wall finished so it could be glued in place!

Then I remembered that there were two more lights 
that would need to be run down the kitchen wall...
One was the kitchen light itself.....
Here you can see that I have added a chain 
to support the light so the light is not hanging by the wire alone. 
I have snaked the wires through the links 
and added a jewelry finding as a ceiling plate.

The other light which will need to run down this wall is the upstairs hall ceiling fixture... which is attached to the underside of the third floor... so I have to get that floor glued in place before I can run the wires down... and before I can glue the third floor, I have to glue the outer side walls!
And the front hall upstairs will be forever viewed only through the adjacent doorways...

Here is the view looking down from the top before the third floor is attached....
The Moon Maidens are marching up the stairs from the front hall to the attic,
 each one representing a different phase of the moon.
There are thirteen of them in all.

And since I was finally done adding birds.... 
well, I could go on adding, but enough was enough!...
I had Finally reached that important step, Dear Readers, 
the one where I take my courage in my hands 
and GLUE the wall in place!!!

It was a tricky manoeuvre, Dear Readers, because the walls were a bit warped, and I still was not supposed to glue the top front sides together because the third floor needed to be tabbed into slots on all three sides before gluing could be done! Of course, I didn't take any pictures because it was late and dark.... but the next morning the light could shine into the bedroom with all the walls in place! (Although you can see from the gaps in this picture that I had not yet glued the third floor in place!)
I wanted to attach an outlet into the baseboard that runs along the outside wall before I put the ceiling on! The wire would run through the groove in the baseboard and out the back corner where it could run down the outside to the plug strip. This would be covered eventually by the corner trim boards.

Here the kitchen light is glued to the ceiling, 
but it's wires have not yet been spliced.

And then, because nothing else could be done 
until the third floor was attached....

You can see my inventive method of "clamping" the walls together while the glue dries...
Because I have no clamps big enough... and ALL the walls were quite warped and unwilling to just sit nicely in place until the glue dried! I used a toothpick to insert some glue into the cracks of the upper half of the front corners, added tape and braced the stick against a nearby doorjamb!
Then I went to bed! (It was late!)

And in the morning I went to see if all was well.....
So far so good!!!

But I still needed to attach the wires to the lights from the hall and kitchen....
and run them down through the basement....

Kitchen light.... check!

Upstairs Hall light.... (viewed through the bathroom door)... check!
And you can even see a few of the stars glowing!

Progress, Dear Readers, 
This is Progress!!!
But I promised you blossoms too, 
and so far they have been missing...
 Here you can see I found time to sew 
the backing on the needlepoint pillow 
and stuffed it with seed beads...

I am in love with these needlepoint kits!!!

I think it looks so comfortable on this settee!

And that is not all! 
Do any of you even Remember 
the embroidered curtains 
for the Thee House Pagoda Bed?

Well, I couldn't remember when I had last stitched on them,
 and couldn't find a good picture, 
and forgot to take one of the "before" 
when I started stitching again....
Only about half of the blossoms on the left hand curtain had been done.

They are each about two and a half inches long, 
the basting stitches outline the curtains edges.
They are getting very close to finished!
So There you can see, Dear Readers, 
between the birds and Blossoms and wires and walls,
I made Great Progress on Hardwick Hall!
And Beyond!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Birds And Blossoms....

Dreaming of Spring.....

I have Finally Embarked on one of the Tiny petit-point pillow kits I bought years ago, Dear Readers, and I am determined to actually Learn the correct stitching methods for these tiny projects! This is a kit I bought from Janet Granger and it comes with everything you need to make the pillow (except Time and Patience!). I thought it would be easier if I started with something quite small so that finishing it would not take forever! Well, in spite of the very good instructions and diagrams that came with the kit, once I had placed the first ten stitches in dark red, I panicked! I had no idea  how to move from one direction to another, up, down or over or diagonally, or how far you could "jump" without starting a new knotted thread! So I put it aside because I knew I really needed to master the basic stitches first! So I pulled out a scrap of needlepoint canvas, and just started Sewing! I practiced the tent stitch and the basket stitch until I felt comfortable with them. Then I added in a piece of pattern, just to try working around different colors, and after a while I felt that I understood the basic stitching techniques well enough to try the pillow again! As you can see from the above picture, I am figuring it out!

Here you can see I have added the leaves and the border too...
All it needs now is the background filled in!
And the best part is that I am Enjoying it So much!
I have always loved to sew....
But I am loving this More than I thought I would!!!

But that is not All I have been doing Dear Readers, 
I have also been making Great Progress with the painted murals 
in the bedroom of Hardwick Hall!

Here you can see I have added two Blue Jays
to the trees on the front and side walls.
You might recall that I have not yet glued 
the outer or inside wall in place, 
just so I can still paint these small details on the front wall!
(I apologize for the blurry picture, It is really difficult to get the focus just right!)
I thought that if I can just get All the birds painted, 
I can at least glue the inner wall in place.

Here I have added the American Goldfinch
as well as a Red Breasted Nuthatch...
(The one climbing head down on the trunk....)
Their mates are on the opposite tree with the Blue Jays.

Then I painted a pair of tiny Wrens on the big tree beside the fireplace....

And a pair of Tree Sparrows in the lilac shrubs.....
Can you see them there... just under the sconce?

Then I added a pair of Rose Breasted Grosbeaks.....
the female is quite plain...

Here is a larger view of this wall.... the hearth fills the empty spot.

And you can just see the Sparrows when the hearth is in place!
(Yes, it was very dark and late by now....)
But I continued painting more birds the following day!
I added a pair of Baltimore Orioles to the outside wall....

And since I decided that the inner wall was ready.....
I GLUED it in place!!

The front wall was a little bit warped, 
so I had to turn the house on its side 
and add the weight (a paint can) 
to ensure a good glue connection.

But meanwhile I continued to paint birds 
on the outside, unattached wall...

I added a pair of Chickadees and a pair of Indigo Buntings.....
(The female Indigo Bunting is a plain drab brown.)

Here I have added a pair of Mockingbirds.....
He is on the tree top at right, 
while she is in the Quince shrub at lower left.

And once the Glue had dried sufficiently, 
I righted the house and glued the baseboards 
along the inner wall and the front wall!

But I still was not done adding birds....

A pair of Barn Swallows swooped in.....

And a pair of Hermit Thrushes joined the choir.....
He is in the lilac at lower left while 
She is scratching in the dandelions down below....
(Yes, it is a trifle hard to see them... it is getting late again!)
I am nearly done adding the Birds!
And as for the needlepoint....
I got started on the background.....

I am really so pleased with my progress, Dear Readers!

It didn't take me long at all to finish the background!
(And there were only one or two mistakes!)
It might still be Wild Winter 
in my RL World, Dear Readers,
But in my Mini World, 
it is all Birds and Blossoms 
And I am Dreaming of Spring!