Monday, June 12, 2017

Little by Little.....




Progress at Last....

Every day, Dear Readers, I discover another thing that I can do that was much too hard only the day before! I attribute it to the miraculous healing ability of a good night's sleep! Some of you may remember the petit point tea cozy kit I was stitching earlier this spring which was almost finished when I broke my arm. It has teased me for all these weeks.... only a small amount of the white background at the bottom left to stitch, but alas, I could not hold the frame in my left hand and so I could not finish the stitching! But last Sunday I decided to give it a try and see if I could do the stitching.... and I could! It was a little awkward to hold it in the right position, and even harder to hold it steady enough to place the stitches correctly.... but I managed to finish the stitching!

It only took a little over an hour to complete... 
and then I decided to try to stitch it together while I was at it....!

Here are both the sides completed before cutting them apart.

I did trim them a little neater before I started to sew them together....

The edges of the gauze have been turned under 
and now the sides are being sewn together..

And here it is Done!

And the Cloud side...!
You can understand that I had to show it to Blue right away!

And of course, she knew what to do with it right away!
Tea for two on top of the Tower!
 
I felt so empowered Dear Readers, I could not leave it at that! 
I had to try another unfinished project!
A short time after I broke my arm, 
when I had not realized how little I could do, 
I had tried to make a small plant using a punch and floral wire...

All I needed to do was cut apart the petals and glue them to the stem....

And I managed quite a few before I gave up.
I was not going to be able to finish them until I could paint again....
So they sat there still on Sunday and I pulled out my paints....

First I painted the undersides a pale green....
It was a little difficult to hold the wire at the right angle... 
but the painting did not need to be precise!

Then the other sides needed two coats of a darker green....

Then I painted a pale stripe on each leaf....
and cut the stems apart and glued them into a bunch...

And then I thought I would just use up the rest of the leaves....
making another whole batch!

Adding the stripe to the leaves....

And finally, testing them on The Folly ground by the steps....
This is supposed to be "Vinca" or "Periwinkle" 
a lovely evergreen ground cover.
(Sorry the picture is so dark... it had gotten late!)
 
 
I am sure it will look a little better once the stems are inserted into the ground, 
and the bunches overlap in a more natural manner. 
I will wait until I have more bunches before I do that step.
The stems are bendable and can be positioned appropriately as needed.
I have a long way to go... 
a lot of ground to cover!
But I think it is a good start!
 
And the morning sun made it all the way over to The Folly steps...

Putting the Vinca into clear focus.....
I think it will do....

And I Do feel so accomplished!
I completed Two whole plants!
Little by Little Dear Readers,
I am making progress!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Shopping Therapy....





Sturbridge Miniatures Fair......

Thank you, Dear Readers, for all your kind and supportive comments on my recent posts. I am making good progress with my healing, but typing is still a slow and uncomfortable process. At the end of a day at work (which is mostly typing numbers) my hand is sore and my arm is tired. My comments on all your wonderful posts have been short or non-existent, even though I am trying to keep up with the reading. I am trying to be patient and let the healing happen, and I will be doing more exercises soon. So there is still no real progress on any of my projects to report. But last weekend was the annual Sturbridge Miniatures Fair, which is the only Fair that happens near enough to home that I can drive there and back comfortably on the day of the Fair. I debated not going this year.... but decided that I Needed the "Shopping Therapy"! And I came home with some sweet Treasures! Above you can see one of two tiny "house" boxes that were made as favors for one of the big minis conventions, and the dealer decided to sell hers at this Fair. It is smaller than 1/144th scale as the entire "house" is less than 2 inches tall!

And here is the other one... 
I didn't get a good picture of the front on this one...
 it is very detailed!

And in no particular order I will show some
 of the many little items I came home with....

Some metal platters and tiny glassware....

A set of Tinker Toys!.....

Some clocks and games.... 
all from "Wright Guide Miniatures"...

And yes, another Pony!
Meet " Copper"....
He was ever so eager to find his friends....

A beautiful dish drainer with colorful dishes....
(I think the house for this has not even been started yet.... 
still in it's box in the cellar...)

A Vintage porcelain bathroom set.... very cheap....

A handsome wardrobe....

A Lovely stoneware crock....

Two more Teeny dolls... each about 1/2 inch tall!

A couple of lovely old rugs made in Japan...
The one on the left is up-side down, so you can see the stitches...

Here it is right side up!

And last but Not least, another Robin Betterley kit....
 the Christmas Wagon in 1/4 scale!
(Do you think I will finish the Secret Christmas House before I open this kit???)

It did not take Copper long to find the other ponies.... 
(I apologize for the dark pictures... 
it has been dark and gloomy and rainy here for weeks!)

And here is a glimpse of the larger rug in Hardwick Hall.... 
I think it is perfect for this little dining area!

I hope you have enjoyed this little review, Dear Readers,
I am feeling so much better...
It is amazing what a little Shopping Therapy will do!
I am so glad I went to the Sturbridge Fair!


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Patience Is A Virtue.....




Still Dreaming.....

I Bet you cannot tell, Dear Readers, whether I have added any details at all to Saint Bridget in all the time I have been on my "break"! It quickly became clear to me that just managing the essential tasks of each day was going to tax my abilities to their limit. The message was clear. I was going to have to be a "Patient".... and wait Patiently as my body healed! Not easy. Not fun. But necessary. Yet it did not mean I was unable to Daydream.... to add to my wish lists.... to think a thousand times "if only"....! And because everything takes twice as long to do with only one hand, I was really kept very busy... very slowly just getting the basics taken care of. I could not wait to get the cast off.... only to learn how incredibly weak my hand is now! I am slowly (Patiently?) gaining the strength and dexterity in my hand.... but it will take some time before it is as good as new. Even so, yesterday I decided to try to open those tubes of paint... the ones that get stuck tight if they are not opened frequently.... and to my surprise I was able to twist off the caps! I started with the black paint..... it has a large fat cap with a good grip.... and perhaps I could even remember a few places I needed to apply some black on the Castle Hall Ceiling.... still sitting there Patiently awaiting my return!
Ah, the Joy of it!

Perhaps you do not remember me mentioning that 
I still needed to add details to the trees where the hunters are riding.... 
Above you can see it before I added anything.....

And here are the Plowmen, needing details in their clothes.....

And the Shepherds too.... 
the trees and the clothes all need work.

And here you can see I have added black leaf details....

And in the grass I have added some daisies.....

And with the Huntsmen too.... leaves and daisies....
Such a trifling detail....

Here you can see it even closer...
I know it doesn't look like much.
But Oh, it feels like an enormous step!




And yes, I added black to Saint Bridget too....
Outlining her halo, her torch, the church,
 and even the folds of her cloak!
I never would have Dreamed, Dear Readers,
 that so little would feel like so much!
And I am still Patiently Dreaming of all I will be able to do...
as I regain my strength....
Patience is indeed a virtue!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ooops......




Taking A Little Break....

Do you ever say "give me a break" Dear Readers, without really thinking what that means? Well, like it or not, I have managed to break my wrist, so I will be taking that "break" from minis and from many creative pursuits that require both hands! I am still learning just what I can do with only one hand..... everything is a challenge! (Even typing this post is very slow and awkward!) It is a simple break, and should be better in about six weeks.... and I might be able to accomplish some mini things... if I can figure out a good way to open paint tubes I can still paint as I am right handed! I had good intentions about replying to all your kind comments on the previous posts.... but I think I will have to settle for thanking you all here instead. Your encouraging comments are very important to me and I am so appreciative of the time it takes to leave them. It really makes blogging so much more than just "show and tell"! And speaking of "show and tell".... I will show you a picture of my garden...

Where the crocus are finally blooming!

And I will tell you that I might not be posting much for a while.
I didn't want you to worry, Dear Readers,
But it seems I will be taking a little break!


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

And The Saints....




Details Continued...

There is One detail I often forget, Dear Readers, and that is to take a "before" picture when I start to work on any project that has been languishing for a while. I wrongly assume that I will be able to find a picture "somewhere" in my archives that shows just where I was when I stopped working on the project. I started painting the Saints years ago and have only worked at them sporadically, and it is really difficult to find any good pictures of progress. Saint Cecilia, patron Saint of Music, was one of the last I started working on, and I have the fewest pictures of her. The above picture shows her after I had done quite a bit of work last weekend! The only starting reference picture I could easily find shows only a portion of her while I was focused on designing the border "people".

You can get a sense of some of the missing details... 
color on the cloak lining, harp details, the seat, the sword....
 and that is just the most obvious ones.
I added those details and then remembered to take a picture!
 
Several more small details have been added to this picture...
(Halo, harp, blossoms, cushion, hand....)
 
And then I needed to add some details to Saint Matthew too...

Even here I had added some details before I remembered to take a picture....
In particular, the hand from the cloud above.
The most notable part of Saint Matthew that needed work
 was the folds of his cloak....
 here just under-painted with the white.
This image is one of the most challenging ones for me. 
It is taken from a very old manuscript, 
from the beginning of the ninth century AD,
 probably made for the court of Charlemagne. 
And the only version I have of it is in black and white!
I must guess at the colors.... 
and try to emulate the graphic details....
Here, have a look!
There is just something about his expression 
that made me want to use this version!

Red colors tend to photograph as black, 
and I am certain his cloak would not have been painted in black,  
so I have chosen to make it red,
but the highlights are open for interpretation!
They could be a pale pink or a pale blue or even a green.....
But I have used pale green for his robe 
and I need to keep the colors balanced with those of
 the other Saints on the ceiling.
Mark is pink, John is pale blue.
And I wanted the details to contrast with the red, 
so I decided to use bright blue.

Here you can see it with only the first layer of blue added.
But it immediately presented me with another problem....
Once the folds were blue..... 
there was too much blue in this corner of the ceiling!

I plan to add some paler highlights 
to the cloak of Saint Cecilia, 
which will tone down the blue, 
and I like the bright blue on Saint Matthew's cloak.... 
(what other color would work here?)
The only solution I see would be to adjust 
the intensity of the floor under Matthew.....

Which is done by adding a grid of white and "checkers" of red oxide....
as if they are patterned tiles.
This shifts the blue just enough from brilliant to almost pastel.

And when I have added the paler highlights to the folds 
of Saint Cecilia's cloak, I think the effect will be 
to have tamed the rampant blue in this corner!

Here you can see the ceiling as a whole.....
And it is noticeable how much more intense the blue is
 on this half of the ceiling!

Meanwhile, Dear Readers, 
there are a few more Saints who still need attention...

Saint Lucia only needs a tiny bit of detail 
added to her seat and her cloak....

Saint Nicholas needs quite a few small additions....
His Crozier needs defining, 
his seat, his hands, his vestments, 
and his "gifts" all need attention.

And Saint Bridget needs many small details....
 her "church" needs definition, 
her cloak needs many layers, 
her seat is unfinished.... her halo too.

And finally, Saint Luke needs a few small refinements.
Most notably, the portrait of the Virgin, 
his paintbrush (missing altogether), and his foot.

And even though I have made progress with Saint Matthew, 
he is still far from done.
(That hand from the cloud!... the cloak..... the footstool....)

And Saint Cecilia too...
Her cloak and her gown and her seat all need layers.


But most of all, I am concerned that she looks too "modern" to me!
 I am sure this is because there are so few authentic 
Medieval images to use for her source. 
I could only find one illumination 
from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves... 
and because she isn't holding a harp in that picture,
 my version looks nothing like that one.
I might have to try to "age" her a bit!

So you can see, Dear Readers, 
when it comes to the Saints,
I will be painting Details 
for quite some Time!