Monday, November 5, 2018

After The Tempest.....

Twigs and Blossoms.....

I must admit, Dear Readers, that after all the Turmoil and Drama that has been the dominant Theme on this Blog and my Life for the past few weeks, this post seems very very bland! I would be complaining that I had nothing at all to show you except that I spent the weekend (when I wasn't trying to put my RL house to rights) trying to get the Lilac shrubs stems completed before the paints I had mixed weeks ago dried up! You might recall that I am making four versions of the same Lilac shrub.... one for each of the seasons... so that The Folly Garden can continue to be a seasonally changeable photo venue for my mini worlds! Yes, I know it is an insane idea.... but that is what I am doing! The four shrubs are each attached to a removable section of pink foam which will insert into the landscape and can be swapped out as the seasons change! All I have to do is make the four shrubs as similar as possible in their basic structure.... Above you can see two of the shrubs with just the first coats of paint applied. I am using artists acrylic for the first coats.... treating it like a primer that will seal the paper stem wire without making the paper too soggy (which a wetter paint might do).

Here you can see three of the bases together.... 
the one on the left has not been painted at all,
 the middle one has had all the stems and all the twigs painted,
 and the one on the right has had only the stems painted.
I am focusing on the stems for now,
 trying to get them all to the same level of completion
 while I have the ingredients prepared!

Here you can see all four of the pods  together.... 
the middle one is the one I had been working on
 before the Story-telling mania took over...
 and I had developed what I think is
 a workable texture for the main stems!

Here is a closer shot....

Here I have painted the stems with the flat latex house paint
 with the texture additive mixed in. 
It makes a very rough surface.

After that has dried, I cover the stems
 with a thick artists modeling paste,
 scraping textured lines into the surface 
to give it a more bark-like appearance.

This takes longer than you would think!
Especially when you are doing it on four separate shrubs...!
So I didn't get to the painting part yet... 
except for the first one which I am now trying to repeat...

And which you might be able to see in this picture... 
has the beginnings of bark "lines" drawn
 onto the stems using a fine point marker....
only added at the base so far!
I think it adds a layer of definition 
which hopefully makes it look more real.
Still a long way to go... but Progress has been made!
And lest you think I slacked off, Dear Readers,
 and neglected my blossom-a-week program....

Here you can see the beginnings of blossom number Thirty-one.....

Along with all the pieces....

And number Thirty-one completed!

And in the box along with the paired blossoms
 number Twenty-eight, Twenty-nine and Thirty....!
(There are already two paired clusters attached to the main shrub as well!)
I was planning to attach these clusters as I made them,
 but realized I needed to get the stems all completed
 before I went too far with attaching the blossoms....
so that the blossoms would not get damaged in the process.
Alas, I have fallen behind in making the leaves and twigs...
but once the main stems are finished
 I will be able to concentrate more on the leaves.

And before I leave you, Dear Readers, 
I want to Thank you for all your appreciative comments
 on the Never-ending Tales!
 I do get a bit carried away..... 
 and it is like a huge whirlwind
 inhabits my otherwise peaceful mini worlds..... 
just for a week or two....!
But the mini people do have a way 
of insisting that their Tales be Told.......
 I am just going along for the ride!
It is Wonderful that you are here to share it with!
And after the Tempest is over....
 we are left with the blossoms and twigs...!


  1. Congratulations on the tree progress! You're very brave to continue on this path of four different versions so you have one for each season!

  2. Ese árbol de lilas lleva un proceso magnífico! una vez empieces a montarlo será digno de ver!!

  3. Hi Betsy! It was one big party for reading your stories, as I said in my previous comment you're a master in telling stories :)!
    But after the 'tempest' is gone, I think you're also a master in making the lilac shrubs, just like the real ones. You made a terrific bark-look on the stems, and I fully agree that making flowers/shrubs/plants it's alot more work than one can ever think of.....except if you've done it self.
    It's very brave of you to continue the making of hte blossoms, they're so beautiful. I bet that the lilac shrubs will be the crown of your work at The Folly! Chapeau, for all your work at the lilacs shrubs and for your immense patience!!
    Hugs, Ilona

  4. Hello Betsy,
    First of all, the season changing shrubs is not a crazy idea at all. I think it will be absolutely enchanting! I am so impressed by the stems. your technique is wonderful.
    I am sorry I was away, but I am waiting for a quiet afternoon to catch up on all the stories I have missed.
    Big hug

  5. Oh Betsy! I admire your lilac trees so much, and the texture you're achieving is incredible! It may take a great deal of time and commitment to accomplish, but your lilac trees are going to be the pinnacle of what miniaturists strive for for a long time to come!

  6. The stems look stunningly r/l. Thanks for explaining the techniques. It's great to know how. I'd love to see the shrubs in full bloom.
    Hugs, Drora

  7. Your ambitious endeavor to make FOUR lilac shrubs continues to Astound and Impress me Betsy, not to mention the AMAZING lilac blooms with leaves.
    I appreciate all of the concentrated efforts with each detailed component and I KNOW that when the first tree is finally completed, WE will ALL feel SO PROUD of you and of your Artisty and the Perfectionism of your Work!
    Keep it coming! :D


  8. The trees are looking great, thanks for the progress/tutorial photos! Keep up the good work - Troy

  9. Hi Betsy, Your four-season lilacs are a brilliant idea. My lilacs are dropping their last leaves into the little pond below. I always watch with interest your progress on this amazing project.
    Regards Janine

  10. Hi, Betsy - Your vision of the four seasonal lilac bushes is fast becoming a reality, and I cannot begin to imagine the work and time involved in this creation. The photos and explanations of the steps you've taken are so very interesting. Already, the bark on the bushes looks incredibly real. This is such a gargantuan achievement! I know it will be a while in coming, but I can hardly wait to see the four completed lilac bushes. This project is truly awe-inspiring, as is your vision, your patience, and your amazing talent.

  11. ¡Que idea tan fantástica! será un trabajo muy especial ,pero sólo con el comienzo se ve que lo lograrás con éxito.Besos:-)

  12. Your progress on the lilacs is fabulous. It may not 'seem like much' but considering how tiny and how many there is to be made it is coming along quite nicely. Like everyone else, I am in awe of your perseverance.
    Anna x

  13. Not much time this morning - only to say those lilac stems are wonderful! Old bushes, like we had at Pleasant Hill Farm in the 80s.
    And I loved the story!
    Much love,

  14. I am really (and I mean REALLY) glad that the mini people know how to make their position and interests clear… because your tales need to be told! ;O) Hello and welcome to No. 31 and the family members we haven't met so far… beauty lies in your family, dear lilac blossoms, you're all so pretty and you will look amazing once you've found your places at the spring shrub. Btw - no, seasonal shrubs is not an insane idea at all... maybe ambitious… but in any way impressive and terrific. And while using these adjectives - I can also use them for your shrub's bark. You've been struggling for perfection and although your method is time-consuming the result is breathtaking. Wonderful work - I'm already looking forward to see this shrub in full bloom… whenever this may be… if there are a few tales and hopefully a few more on the way it will be great according to me! ;O)


  15. Oh Betsy, I have not caught up with your stories as I am so busy at work at the moment, I need a 48-hour day for sure. But, I will, I enjoy your stories very much. I admire your dedication. I have no doubt your lilac bushes will be gorgeous, you are a lady on a mision and it´s awesome to wacth all your experiments and trials to get the perfect bush or leave or flower. You will get there and we will be around to enjoy and admire it.

  16. Your Lilac trees are awesome wow 4. The blooms are so beautiful.
    Hugs Maria

  17. Yes it is a crazy idea but I love it! It's a fantastic idea! And I agree with Jody, you are setting the standard for all of us to aspire to!

  18. Your liliac trees are fantastic and the blooms too. I like to see your progress.

  19. Betsy, you always go the extra mile! You've really been perfecting your methods, the tree trunk stems look fantastic. So much texture and yet still to scale. I love this project and I can't wait to see more :)

  20. Hello, your lilac trees are very realistic. Thank you for showing your technique .