Monday, April 16, 2018

Every Little Bit Counts....

Doing The Math.....

It Might not look like very much has been accomplished in my Mini Worlds this week Dear Readers, but I have been telling myself that every little bit Counts. And if there is anything that I have been doing a lot of lately, it is counting! The petit-point stitching requires very careful counting of nearly invisible threads.... to make sure the stitches are exactly where they need to be. I use a magnifier for this scale of stitching... it is 40 stitches to the inch and the finished stitching will be a little under 1.5 inches square, or 56 stitches by 58 stitches... a total of stitches if I do it right and don't miss any! There are ten colors, and the vast majority of the threads are for the cream background.... because there is a lot of background needing to be filled in! I have made a start....

But it is really difficult to see!
It is the upper right hand corner.....

Here is a closer look.... maybe you can see now....
I have a long way to go.... 
but every stitch counts!
And Another project where it seems that not much
 has been done is the Lilac blossoms...
I left you last week with the first blossom still not quite finished... 
and I was counting the florets carefully
 so I would know how many were needed for each blossom....

Here is the first one finished!

And a closer view....
It has 48 florets, not counting the six "unopened" buds at the tip!
And I must admit that a RL lilac blossom
 probably has two or three times that amount.... 
but... I am willing to compromise!
And just to be sure I had counted correctly... 
and to continue on my self-appointed schedule
 of "one or two blossoms per weekend"..... 
I started right in on the next blossom!

Yes, this is 48 florets, most not yet painted, 
and the little unopened buds along the left hand edge of the baggie
 (it makes a great non-stick work surface
 when doing lots of tiny gluing and painting!)
I tried to time the process... 
and managed to make twelve florets in 30 minutes, roughly,
 not including the painting or assembling..... 
a much more time consuming part
 as it involves waiting for glue to dry!
(But who's counting, right?)
So while I was waiting for all that glue to dry,
 and not wanting to start another batch of florets
 because that might confuse my counting.... 
I decided to start the next step on the lilac shrubs instead.
 Which also involved a lot of gluing!
And counting.

You might remember me mentioning that each of the stems
 would need to have a "bud tip" added to the end of the stem....
 this is partly because the wire tips needed to be a bit camouflaged,
 and partly because the shrub needs to look like it has buds on the stems...
And it might have been easier to do this step
 before I attached all those branches to the stems! 
But I wasn't sure how many branches I would be needing
 or whether some of them would be cut back... 
and this is the Prototype shrub... I am learning as I go!
So Now I needed to add a blob of glue to the tip of all those stems.....
(which you can see in the above picture.)
Shall we count them? 
(So we can be sure we are getting it right on the Next one...
 and the next and the next one too?)
I counted.
There are for each "shrub" 6 main stems 
with a combined total of 29 secondary stems. 
And on those secondary stems there are
 a total of 48 "twigged branches"
which, once they are attached
 make a total of  96 twigged tips, 
for a total of 192 twigs....

Here is a close-up.... 
I know the blob doesn't really look much like a bud tip.... 
but I am going to add paint and "refine" them eventually! 
(The glue also serves to keep the wire covering from unraveling.)
It took a while... and I had to reach the glue in
 among all the stems which was awkward...
And no, I did not glue all the tips of the 192 twigs.... 
I decided to wait until after I had painted the shrub
 to determine if that was necessary!
What? You are going  to paint the shrub? I hear you say.
Yes, Dear Readers, that has been part of the plan all along,
 because as ideal as the texture of the paper stems appears to be...
 the green stems do not match and only the newest growth is green!

And to aid myself in determining the correct color
 I went out and pruned a couple of twigs from my own RL lilac bush.
 One is Old and nearly dead, and the other is a newer more vigorous twig...
 and here you can see them with a piece of the paper wire
 painted with a test color... yes it needs adjusting!
It is a very grayish brown, or brownish gray, 
with red overtones in the younger twig.
And it is really difficult to replicate....
 because it looks different in different light...

But you just have to jump in and see how it looks....
Here I have painted a part of the shrub, only the green stems so far....
and am trying to hold one of the twigs next to it for comparison...
 of course, it is a gloomy day and artificial light is not much help!

The RL twigs are on the left, in case you couldn't tell the difference!
And maybe we need to see how it looks in place...?
Only the branch on the left side has been painted.... 
and it reflects the light differently than the green cloth wire....

And with the two RL twigs next to it for comparison..... 
can you see the difference?
Well, I will probably paint and re-paint the stems
 every time I view them in a different light! 
But even this much painting took several hours....
 every side of every wire has to be covered!
(What was I thinking?)

And in case you (or I) need reminding.... 
there are three more shrubs in the wings....

They have all their main stems and
 almost all of their secondary stems...
 but none of their branches or twigs so far!

And as for the blossoms...
 did I finish the second blossom, I hear you ask?

Yes, I did!
 48 florets and six unopened bud tips.....!
Two blossoms in Two weeks!
And how many will I need.....?
Well, as I am sure some of you are aware, 
Lilacs bloom only for a blissful 10 or fifteen days every year.... 
so only One of the shrubs will require blossoms!
 (This fact is what got me started on the changeable garden plan...)
Even so, There are 29 secondary stems on the shrub.... 
and stems often have a pair of blossoms.... 
and  even if I argue that it is an old and sparsely flowering shrub.....
I don't imagine I will be happy with fewer than 29 blossoms....
Let's see... that is about 1392 florets!
Well, that's about the same number as the tiles I made
 for my Castle Great Hall Floor....!
(each one cut, baked painted, glazed, and aged before installing!)
 And that only took me a year or two 
(or was it three....?) But I got it done!
And we won't mention the possibility 
that more than twice that number
 will be needed in the end....
(Because, who's counting?)

So, you can see It really doesn't Look like
 much progress has been made Dear Readers, 
but I can assure you,
 I have been doing the Math, 
and Every little bit Counts!


  1. Betsy, I see that there's nothing wrong with your maths/counting, but I absolutely respect your patience! Personally I know how much work it is, making flowers/plants and all of its details. But you voluntary create complicated shrubs and in all FOUR seasons, so hat off!! The first detailed blossoms look fantastic. As you probably will have experienced, that if you are repeating the same step over and over again, than after some time you're losing least that often happens to me and I have to restart all over again ;O! BUT....the result so far at one of the last pictures is wonderful and that's what COUNTS ;O!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Hi Ilona! Yes, I get a little faster with each one I make! I am "counting" on this! LOL! At least they are looking the way I hoped they would! :)

  2. great job, a very realistic result!

  3. Hello Betsy,
    I think every miniaturist out there knows how long each step of a miniature project can be and we all sympathize. Your dedication to realism is inspiring! Painting the branches is a small detail in a way, but it makes such a huge difference. It really brings the shrub to life. As for the blossoms, they are incredible and I know I would never tackle such a huge project. I must say I am loving that piece of embroidery more and more. Hang in there and keep up the amazing work.
    Big hug

    1. Hi Giac! I know you have the patience for tackling large mini jobs! :) But I know that something like these shrubs are not for everyone.... most are happy to make one season! LOL! It will take a while, but I am going to be glad I did it... eventually! :) And the embroidery is fun because it looks so lovely as it comes to life!

  4. Ничего себе, Бетси! Ваша вышивка чудесная! Я выражаю вам свое уважение. Это очень сложная и кропотливая работа! Ваша сирень выглядит потрясающе. Меня пугает то, что вам предстоит сделать очень много цветочков! Я представляю эту красоту, когда вы завершите работу!
    С уважением

    1. Hi Tatianna! I am enjoying the tiny embroidery a lot! And the blossoms are getting easier the more I make.... eventually they will make a beautiful shrub! :)

  5. Wow! I'm amazed and impressed. I don't have the patience to do this for each season. I'd be stuck in spring and that would be it! I love your petit point though, and your lilacs will be beautiful.

    1. Hi Sheila! I am just not willing to give up showing The Folly under the winter snow.... so I have to make all the seasons! But only one needs the blossoms! :)

  6. Very impressive work, I admire your skills! The petit point is going to be a real tiny work of art! And the blossoms are wonderful, chapeau!!!

    1. Thank you Millicent and friends! I am enjoying the tiny embroidery... I do love to sew! And the blossoms are getting easier as I get used to making them... It might be a blooming shrub as soon as next year! LOL!

  7. What a beautifully written theme for your post, so apropos and creatively woven together! Every little bit does count, especially to those of us who know the score and really appreciate the minutiae it takes to create life in 1/12th scale! However long it takes, the results of the four seasons lilac and the gorgeous petite point are going to be a real treat. Meanwhile, I'll look forward to your progress posts and let my imagination dream...

    1. Thank you Jodi! (I sometimes get carried away with a theme...) I am having fun doing the embroidery... I find it soothing! And the tiny blossoms too are getting easier! I am Dreaming of the finished lilac shrub too...! :)

  8. The tree is coming together Betsy, slow and steady wins the race. I think your paint colour seems a pretty good match. Some light dabs of other tones will add realism too. You are a brave soul (who can do math!).

    1. Hi Shannon! That is one of my "mantras" ... slow and steady (I wish sometimes for the steady part! LOL!) I am glad you like the shrub color... it took longer to paint the first coat than I thought it would... but additional layers will not have to worry so much about covering everything, so they should be quicker!

  9. Your time spent counting and making every little bit count has indeed been time well spent Betsy!
    Math has never been a strong point with me yet I can see that being able to keep your gazillions of florets as well as your thousands of cream colored stitches under tight control, will make your mini-ing simpler each step of the way.
    I think that your mini branches look Identical to the real ones- FANTASTIC paint work! ❤


    1. Thank you Elizabeth! I do believe it making "small batches" out of big projects! I am just going to keep plugging away at it! I still have a ways to go with the painted branches.... and the other three shrubs too! LOL! :)

  10. I am not so sure about the '... it doesn't really look like much..' part, it is simply a matter of knowing where to look! I do fine embroidery and it is the exact same senario.. hours with needle in hand and 'it doesn't really look like much' but really that is what counts.. all that really fine and careful details..
    Your lilacs are going to AMAZING. I am not sure I could ever master that amount of dedication to making a 'gazillion' petals.

    1. Hi Anna! I have been looking at your fine stitchery.... and admiring it tremendously! I agree, it is about knowing where to look! I am making the blossoms "slowly but steadily" and eventually they will look amazing.... (I hope!) :)

  11. Hi, Betsy - Your petit-point piece is already beautiful and becoming more so with that background of "countless" cream-colored stitches. The number of lilac florets that you need - not to mention the stems, branches, twigs, and buds - is simply staggering; and your painstaking work and perseverance is astonishing. The paintwork on the branches makes those bushes look even more like the real thing. Your creation of the seasonal lilac bushes is an amazing undertaking, and it's such a pleasure to watch it all take shape in your delightful posts.

    1. Hi Marjorie! I am enjoying the tiny stitching because I do love to sew! The lilac blossoms are a challenge that is satisfying to solve.... and eventually I will think it was a good idea! LOL! But I will just keep at it! Eventually it will be a beautiful blooming shrub! :)

  12. How you have the patience and staying power amazes me! I imagine the embroidery is a pick up and put down piece - when your eyes start to cross! The shrub is excellent and probably very therapeutic once you get into the swing of it but I certainly wouldn't have the patience for it so very well done you - it a fab mini addition.

    1. Hi Irene! That is it exactly! The embroidery is soothing to do a little at a time, and looks good as you work at it! The florets are "growing" on me as I make them over and over....! :) They do become very meditative as I work at them!

  13. Those shrubs look amazingly real. Your very picky, time-consuming work was worth it! Hopefully you'll finish the lilac bushes before your retire... but if not, not! They are wonderful.

    1. Hi Mom! Since I can't retire for several more years... I hope I get them done first too! LOL! :)

  14. I'm so impressed by both your skill and patience! Both the petals and branches look so lifelike. Really great small work! Now I will have fun going back and check what you have been up to while I was away :-)

    1. Hi Helene!!! It is great to see you here again! :) I can't imagine anyone being able to catch up on my years of long posts.... I will put together a "review"....! :)

  15. What I really admire - despite your patience, courage and math skills of course - is your ability to care about every detail as usual... it's so you not only to take a real lilac twig to have a natural model but thinking way ahead to take two of them representing the old and the fresh wood. Your shrub looks awesome, I really like the last picture which gives a good impression of the dimensions and lets the imagination run how this will look in all its splendor in some future time. And whenever this future will be doesn't matter because it's well known that it's only the little things that matter. So keep on counting the little things - I can only agree, every little bit counts to make it a Betsy miracle in the end. And either it's your stitching or your lilac blossoms or the shrubs... bit by bit it goes on and will be terrific in the end.


    1. Thank you Birgit! You do notice all the little details!!! :) I still have to make the shrubs "look" like the different twigs... but at least I have made a start! :) And yes, I am a believer in the "bit by bit" part... or else I would never try anything!!! :)