After yesterday's start, I have decided to come clean. I am addicted to starting. There. I said it. I have been doing it for years and years and more years.
Maybe, If I show you some of these starts you will guilt me into finishing them. This is probably the oldest start that I have kept. In the early 80s someone showed me a rug made on #40 silk canvas. I had no source for silk canvas at the time. So.....I found a piece of a black silk chiffon/mesh type fabric and went to work....It did work, but the silk was much softer than the canvas. I am not sure why I chose those colors. It will probably never be finished. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.
Later I graduated to real silk canvas, linen in various thread counts and #24 congress cloth. I do finish lots of rugs, but I still can't resist starting new ones. I do my own designs as well as patterns from other people. This one is a Pamela Warner design from one of her books....I actually finished it....Then I got the harebrained idea to do it on #40 for a half inch house(also unfinished).
There is a LOT of critical counting in this one. The center design has lots of stems and flowers that go in all directions at once. I do love this design and probably will finish the smaller one some day....
This one is from a Dover book on Celtic designs. I am doing it on #40 also....another one that will get finished sooner or later......
Some pieces, I have no excuse for not finishing. The three on the top left are other people's designs and are basically finished. All I have to do is press them and assemble them. Loss of interest...
The four way bargello was just to see what it would look like. It is silk thread and I am not really impressed. It is too fluffy for long stitches. Maybe I will like it better when it is done.
The bottom one is a start to an oriental rug that I am doing from a photo....I have an excuse for this one...I can't find the photo. I know it is around her somewhere. All I have to do is find it. Another reason that I am cleaning the workroom...
I could go on all day. Each of the plastic boxes have a rug start and thread in them. The pile in the foreground consists of trial runs, experiments and the large pink Tibetan one that I designed from a book on Tibetan rugs that I have. That one I really want to finish. It is one of my favorite pieces.
As you can see, the critic is in the picture now..... This is evidently Widget's opinion. I think that he would rather have me working on a cat bed for him. At least he is giving everything a good pressing.
When people ask about all of these starts, I have a really good explanation. I tell them, "I can't die until I finish all of the projects that I have started. This is insurance. I am going to live to at least 481 years."
I think that I will go start something new now....More insurance.
Need I say more? I still haven't finished rooting out the workroom. This morning I went in with good intentions. At least I don't need a shovel and a rake anymore. Just a waste basket and good intentions...
I tend to get sidetracked every time I come across something interesting, unfinished or even not started. I stop to play, to take breaks or get a snack every once in a while.
This morning it was a drawer full of House of Miniatures kits, both unfinished and not started. I grabbed one for a daybed and decided to play with it. I got it in my head that it didn't need to be "authentic" like the box said. I took all of the pieces out, grabbed a foot and started carving.
I got as far as a claw and ball foot on one of the side legs and some fluting started on the knee. Neither got finished. Tessie came in and asked what I was going to do with it....She spoiled it for me. I had no idea what I was going to do with it....It was just for my own amusement.
A severe lecture on wasting time ensued. I don't think that she liked it. She didn't even try to claim it for herself. She just demanded that I get back to work. No fun at all.
I did get as far as dragging out unfinished needlework. Look what I found. There were a couple of pieces of mini bargello and a piece of crewel work from a long time ago. It was going to be a bedspread....I made the mistake of drawing it on the fabric with one of those disappearing ink pens for sewing. Not a good idea when you aren't going to finish the piece in a few days time. It's only been ten years or more...Now my only problem is trying to remember what it looked like before it all faded away....Unfortunately, I never made an original sketch. I just did it on the linen. Live and learn.
I do believe that one of these days I am going to sit down and try to figure that piece out. I keep having visions of a four poster bed with that on top.
Oh well...Not today. Tessie said so. I am supposed to be in there doing more cleaning now....
Don't tell! I think that I will go find something else to play with. I'm in that kind of a mood.
Oops! I accidentally pushed the publish bar right after I loaded the photos...Rather than re load them, I decided just to edit. Hang on. I will actually write something as fast as I can.
I was out in the back yard this morning, feeding the squirrels and birds, when I noticed that there were some dead branches on the rosemary bushes. This is not a bad thing.
They make wonderful trees and other rustic wood pieces.
I brought some in and in a matter of minutes I had a small new tree growing in front of Cordelia's house.
I simply pruned the branches to the shape that I wanted and glued on foliage from the train store. I think that they call this reindeer moss. It makes a kind of creepy tree because there aren't really leaves, just green prickly looking stuff. If you keep it misted with water every so often, it stays nice and soft. It lasts a long time if you take care of it. I have some trees that I made back in the early 80s that are still going strong. When I finished that, I decided to make some brooms from what was left of the twigs.
I usually make brooms with plain old dowel handles. Tessie insisted that these would be better. Contoured to fit the body....She considers crooked twigs contoured...
Anyway, I pulled out a piece of Penelope needlepoint canvas and started unraveling the edge. Then I cut in about two inch lengths.
First I tied a bunch around one of the twigs, with the end of the broom facing towards the top of the handle. I just used brown sewing thread. If you are worried about the straw coming loose, you can use some white glue to hold it next to the stick. Next I gently bent the straws down towards the bottom, tied them with another piece of the straw wrapped around the neck several times, then trimmed the ends. More efficiency for sweeping with a straight across bottom.
Tessie was so pleased that she agreed to help clean up the mess from the tree. It seems to work pretty good.
Maybe I will put her to work on the kitchen floor where I dropped the sugar canister the other day....Four pounds of sugar is not easily gotten rid of. I have mopped and mopped and it still feels sticky here and there.
I guess that I should go try again. This time, on hands and knees.
We are still working towards Halloween...The real one.
This morning when I got up, Tessie started pestering me about costumes. I kept trying to tell her that she was already in costume, what with being a witch and all....She wasn't buying it."I never get to wear a mask. I want to be in disguise. I want to be mysterious...."
I knew, right from the get go, that I was not going to win. So...I went to the computer and put Halloween masks in Bing search and punched images.
Tessie found a lot that she liked. She didn't go for the bloody or scary ones. She actually went for the cute animal ones....Then Zar got involved. He liked the wolfman. They made plans for a costume party and decided that everybody would need masks.
I printed out some that I thought would work on cardstock and sprayed them with sealer. I did it in my Print Shop 15. I made them all a little less than an inch across.
Remember when you were a kid and they put cut out masks on the back of cereal boxes? I do. I remember cutting them out and wearing them around the house even after Halloween was over. Usually they kind of wrapped around your head, were held on by a piece of string that your mom dug out of the junk drawer and some were really fancy, you cut a flap where the nose was and it stuck out. I wonder if they ever do that now? Probably not...
Tessie quickly picked the zebra mask and went to work. As I said before, Zar wanted to be the wolfman.
It didn't take long for them to make those. It may take a bit longer to make all of the ones for their friends.
After they finished cutting them out, I helped a bit with curling the masks and folding them in places to make them more realistic. Zar's mask got curled in both directions to make it more rounded. The nose flap was cut out and bent.
Tessie's was easy. I only had to curl it around her head and bend some folds in the ears to cup them. Then all we had to do was glue a piece of string to the edges over the ears and tie them in the back.(Actually, I cheated and made them stick them on with Mini Hold...Shhhhh....The two hams had to try them on and then get all dramatic. Wolfman vs. the Zebra woman....Come on now....You know who is going to win! She always does.
Tessie is off somewhere looking for her zebra apron. Easy costume.
I need to go round them up and put them back to work if they really want a costume party.
The Wednesday Witches' party was this afternoon. I started getting ready about 6 this morning.... I just made it by the time the witches started pouring in. A good time was had by all. We ate everything in sight and then fooled around with poly clay all afternoon....Then we ate some more.Daisy was not amused....She had to sit in the corner and guard her pumpkin whilst the rest of us played. Can you say disgruntled? Yup. That's the word for her mood. There really isn't much to report. The witches in the warehouse seem to be starting their Halloween festivities early...The bottom floor of the store is trashed and one of the witches seems to be passed out on the floor. I am going to have to look into that tomorrow. I did notice that someone managed to drop the warehouse and the redwood log on which it sits, on the Wicked Witch of the West.... Meanwhile, over at Zar's place, he and Tessie seem to be having their own party. The two skeletons are up on the roof and Tessie and Zar are still feasting on the everlasting cakes. The only decorations so far are pumpkins everywhere. Bumper crop this year. Sorry that there is not more news. I will try to do better next entry. I have had enough fun for one day. I am going to go collapse now. See you tomorrow.
I am getting ready for the Wednesday Witches Halloween party tomorrow. I noticed that the bats in the Witches' Warehouse were getting old and the worse for wear. Time for a new generation of bats.
I think that the original ones, made 20 years ago, have held up pretty good, but as I remember, I made their wings of black construction paper. They have faded to a dull pinkish tan. I am not partial to skin colored bats, so I decided it was time to do something.
Come along with me and I will have you knee deep in bats, in no time at all......That is, if you want to be knee deep in bats...Maybe not.
Personally, I like big healthy bats that can be seen with the naked eye. You can scale down the wing size if you don't want them that big. These turn out about an inch across when they are folded and put together. It's a personal choice.
This time I used heavy scrapbooking paper that is black on one side and kind of a metallic purple on the other. Perfect batty colors.
In this photo, you see pretty much all of the bat assembly.
You will need one black chenille stem. That will make lots and lots of bats. Each bat takes an inch or a little less. I don't really measure. After all, not all bats are the same size.
Basically, all you do is trace the wings onto the black paper. Cut them out. Remember, if you are using a two sided paper, to cut opposing wings. I usually cut them two at a time by drawing the wing on one side along the edge. Then I hold two pieces together to cut. That way I get pretty much the same wings on both sides.
Next I fold the wings from the top point to the bottom two points, making a V shape. Then I fold down just the tip of the wing.
Now take your piece of stem and fold it in half. This gives you some place to put the wings. Put glue on the inside edge of the wings and overlap them inside of the fold, one on top of the other, and position them the way that you want them. Let them dry and then if you want to, you can put two #14 or smaller beads on the front of the head. I used green this time, just for fun.
If you want the bats to wander around underfoot, bend their wings closer to the body and make them stand up.
If you want them to fly, you can do that too. Just attach a length of black sewing thread to the top of the head. If you place it further back, they will look like they are swooping down towards the ground. You choose.
Here is the result of the replacement. I drew lines on the folds with a regular pencil to make them stand out more.
I glued one to the wall. One is on the floor in a bat can. The third is flying about. You can hardly see the thread.
I don't think that the fortune teller is at all happy about the invasion...The old bats were very quiet. They were old....
I am afraid that I really have done very little in mini this weekend. I did get a little more done on the center of the rug...Very little.
Sunday morning I got up with a ouchy knee. I don't know what I did to my left leg, but it felt like I pulled a muscle or something, so I have been trying to stay off of it some.
I did ask Walter to bring in the storage tubs with the Halloween decorations...I thought that there were two. I evidently rearranged things and threw away some. He brought in two tubs and I found that one contained Daisy. I haven't used her for a few years.
She is in need of some plastic surgery and other refurbishing. I sculpted Daisy about 30 years ago, when soft sculpture was a popular pastime. Hey! If you had spent the past ten years curled up in a box, you would probably be in need of some help too!
When I put her together, I made her my size and used a size ten Vogue basic pattern....She has spread out a bit since then...OK...So have I. I discovered that her head swelled. I think that the nylon that I used has lost some of it's elasticity. I may have to get out the old sculpting needle and work on her a bit.
In case you are wondering, she has real glass eyes. I knew someone that had a relative that worked with a prosthesis maker and he gave me quite a few of them. Don't worry. Nobody's missing an eye. They were rejects...In fact, the typesetter's drawer behind her has some of them in it. If she loses one, she has lots of spares. I need to dig up her turn of the century shoes too. She is a witch and she does need her hat...Maybe a new one.
This is George. He is the intelligent one in the family. He hangs out in the bookcase and reads a lot.
Last, but not least, this is Gertie. She has some kind of a spinning mechanism under her skirt that revolves(she doesn't revolve) and makes the fiber optics in her hair, broom and pumpkin change colors all the time.
When I got her she was just dressed in cheap black material. I thought that she deserved better. Her apron is antique lace and her dress is much nicer than the original.
Actually, she did deserve better. She has been coming back and lighting up the party for about 8 years now. Old reliable.
Anyway, sorry for the non mini content and I can't even tap dance to entertain you ....Never could.
I thought that you might like to see some close ups of some of the items from yesterday. These cakes are so real that they almost make me hungry....Almost...
Tessie has already managed to put a spell on them to replenish themselves every time they are eaten. That made clean up after her nap with the chocolate one yesterday easy....Zap and it was back and no crumbs! I want to learn that spell...It could be very useful.
Here's the bottom of the basket. I am in awe of whomever made this. It is real wood splints and It is exactly like it's large version would be woven. Notice the lines beneath it....That is the one inch mark is not quite to the edge of either side. The whole basket is 1 1/4" wide.
The doily on the left is the new one. It is even more intricate than the ones from last year. Laurie just gets better and better. Poke the photo for a better view.
The chopper is another item that I really like. I am told that it is by Sir Thomas Thumb. Thanks for the info, Roxanna!
Tessie took one look at it and announced, "Hey! A cake cutter. One whack with this and it will be cut all the way through. None of that gently slicing with a cake knife!"
Zar is nothing, if not crafty....He invited her over for dessert and mentioned that he liked cake...
Zar. Beware. She brought the replenishing cakes, but she also brought the chopper....One wrong move and you will be without a finger or two!
I am off to make sure that they play nice. The rest of you, have some cake. There will be plenty to go around. Tessie fixed it.
Tessie got wind of the TMS Show and Sale that was happening this weekend and when she found out that I was going, she insisted on going too. It was her very first show.
After a lot of her following me around, whining and whinging about it, I finally agreed to take her as long as she stayed in my pocket and didn't talk to strangers....She stayed in my pocket for the most part and made a lot of new friends that are no longer strangers...
The secret of keeping her from jumping out of the pocket? With a great deal of carrying on on her part and a lot of struggling to get the safety pin in place on mine, I pinned the back of her vest to the flap on the pocket.It worked until we got to two tables that belonged to Gloria Bogulas. She is a local woman and I have known her for about the same length of time as I have been doing minis. She always has lots of fun items on her table.
First I took a photo of Tessie with one of her Halloween wreaths. Tessie liked it, but it wasn't edible. By this time it was about time for lunch, or at least a snack....
Gloria suggested that she get a photo holding one of the beautiful cakes that she carries.Somebody mentions food and Tessie is all for posing with it....unfortunately it is hard to keep her from sticking her fingers in the frosting and licking them....To make a long story short, "we" bought the cake that you see in her lap and the one that is two cakes over, white with chocolate decorations. Yup. She tried them both. I got her out of there before she could run through the rest of them barefoot!
If she had gotten to all of them, I would have been in a lot of trouble. Back in the pocket and pinned securely to the flap.
She did talk to a lot of people. Some she knew, mostly Wednesday Witches, some she didn't. She likes everybody.When we got home we had quite a haul. The two benches and table were from the "garage sale table" and cost me a total of six dollars for all.
The bicycle was twice that. It is a working model, but she is too bushed to try it out. She grabbed her second cake and took a nap with it....That is going to be fun to clean up.
Most of the other stuff was lighting and other accessories. I also got some wood that isn't in the photo. It was priced at 25 cents a piece for some walnut, cherry and bass, that are pretty large slices of 1/16" and veneers.
The doily under the cake is one from Laurie Miller Landa. She is an IGMA artisan and I am amazed every time I look at her crochet. I will show you a close up, maybe tomorrow.
For today, I am finished...Tessie has the right idea. Nap time...
I was supposed to go out with April this morning to hunt for a new sofa. When I got up, I had a runny nose and part of a headache, so I called and cancelled.
I wasn't really in a mood to do anything adventurous, so I opted to turn on Netflix and kind of watch Vampire Diaries while looking for something to do.
I made the mistake of leaving my notebook of rugs out on the bed and Tessie found it.
Before I could get it away from her, she announced, "You know, rug making cures sinus headaches and your nose will stop running."
By that time, she had three patterns picked out. Of course, she opted for the one with the complicated center and corners....Those don't cure headaches. They bring on headaches.
She ignored me when I tried to tell her that. Then she proceeded to go through all three of my floss cases, that were in numerical order before she started pawing the contents.
She picked out three colors of green, two of a puce-y pink, two blue, a yellow and an off white for the background. She did that with the help of Widget....He was not really that thrilled with having cards of thread shoved under his nose whilst trying to sleep.
Somehow, Tessie gets away with things that other people don't, when it comes to the cats. They seem to tolerate her much better than they do me. I would have been minus a couple of fingers if it had been me poking him with cards and asking which color smelled the best....
No....He didn't snap her head off after the photo was taken. She got away with it again! How does she do that?
I looked all over the blog to see if I had put the pattern for this rug on yet. I can't seem to find it anywhere. Either I haven't put it on, or I forgot to list it under the "rugs" section. Does anybody recognize this one? I told you....Senility is setting in....
Poor Tessie! I made her wait until this morning for the operation. I did give her a bottle of Zar's magic elixir to keep her soothed. Let's just say that she was feeling NO pain...
I thought you might be interested in how her foot replacement surgery is done.
I am a very gentle doctor when it comes to transplants. She gets to keep the old one until the new one is finished and it is just a matter of a couple of seconds that she is without a foot.
I took a hunk of flesh(translate that to Super Sculpey) about the size of her existing foot and start by shaping it around a bone(chenille stem, wrapped with floral tape). Then, after I get about the right size, I start smoothing the ankles and shape of the foot. I use a toothpick as a tool for most of it and my fingers for smoothing....
I put a lot of dots at the end of the last sentence to let you catch your breath before I tell you how to get a perfectly smooth surface on your clay. Some people are going to say UGH, but it is a foolproof method. Lick your finger, and use it to smooth. For some reason just wetting your finger doesn't work as well. If you are worried about poly poisoning, simply use a wet wipe in between licks. Someone taught me this about 30 years ago and I am not dead yet. I also have very smooth poly skin by doing this. I know....Icky!!!
The only tools that I use for this, other than fingers, are toothpicks, exacto(to separate toes) and a tapestry needle to make the toe nails.
In this photo, I still need to do some smoothing on the toes. You can see just a bit of the chenille stem sticking out of the top. That will be bent to make a stand for the foot to rest on in the oven.
I put the foot in the oven. Set the oven temp to 275 degrees. Then I turn on the timer for 15 minutes. I turn it off after that and let the foot cool in the oven.
As of now, Tessie has a new foot, is dancing on the balcony, on a chair. She has the bottle of elixir, which is now about 1/4 full and she is feeling no pain. In fact, she is doing a happy dance with Spike.
That was Tessie's answer when I caught her with the paper plate full of Charcoal paint and a whopping big paint brush this morning.
She read my entry yesterday and decided to have at it. I was about a half hour to late to stop her....She only had three square inches left to cover when I saw what she was up to.
The townhouse is now charcoal gray and who knows what she is going to do to the trim?
Typical of Tessie, soon after I arrived and took the photo, she announced that she had had enough fun for one day and then said, "When you get a chance, put another coat on here. I see a few little blue gray spots shining through. I am going to go watch Vampire Diaries now."
She and Spike are ensconced on the balcony with a pitcher of bug beer and some cold cuts. And yes, they are watching TV.
If she expects me to finish the painting, she has another think coming. I have to go to the Wednesday Witch's meeting this afternoon. She will just have to sit and wait.
Maybe she should just put her feet up and relax. She broke three toes by dropping the super sized paintbrush on her foot. I am going to have to do foot surgery now.
I hate to admit it, but I do kind of like what she did. Already the house looks a bit more sinister and witchy... And it puts me in a better mood. It can't be all bad.
I am going to have to do some touch up on the trim too. She got a bit sloppy with the charcoal after she hurt her foot.
Maybe I should just follow her lead. After all, it is her house....
I am doing just about anything that I can to get away from the townhouse right now.
Back to the workroom... While looking through my big notebook of ideas and plans for future projects this morning, I found an old plan that I drew up and built in the early 80s. I only built one and the owner of the shop that I was connected with at the time, talked me into giving it up for a raffle...
Somehow, I never did get around to building another one. Maybe it's about time to do it again.
The only catch is, if I build it, I will have to make flowers... I am not in love with the idea.
It is three tiers of step shelves and would hold at least nine bunches of flowers in pails.Tessie has volunteered to help, but we all know how she does in that department. I don't think that this is the problem solver that I am looking for...
For some reason, I can't seem to muster any enthusiasm for the townhouse right now. I am drifting....I think that the problem is, that house is not lending itself to Tessie's style and I am fighting it every step of the way. Can you say "Square peg in a round hole."? It just isn't fun like the Clockwork Caravan was.
I am going now to see what I can come up with to bring back my enthusiasm...And finish the laundry....Bah Humbug!
It was a bright sunshiny day and Hudson was a hungry bird....To no avail. He sat there on the fence for quite a while, deep in thought....Maybe studying the menu. He finally gave up after a while and went to a different eatery. I just liked the look on his face this morning, so I had to put him on the blog.
Anyway, I am doing laundry and cleaning house today, so no minis. I confess that I did stop to look at a couple of tatting websites. That made me think about all of the antique needlework tools that I have. I have been collecting longer than I have been doing minis and they just seem to materialize out of nowhere...
I thought that a few of you would like to see some of the things that I have. You notice that I said "some of". These are just scratching the surface.
The first photo is some of the ivory and bone crochet hooks that wandered in. On the right of the photo there are three awls for punching holes in fabric. On the far left there is a one of a kind crochet hook with a wire wrapped handle. I am sure that there are more out there somewhere, but I have yet to see them. It works pretty well. Non slipping. Next to that is an early punch needle. the third item is a three size crochet hook. the Hooks fold in and the little metal case slips over them to protect them, or maybe the person carrying them. They are very sharp.
I had to dig around to find the Chinese basket that my Grandma Daisy used as a sewing box for as long as I could remember. It still has it's original glass beads and glass ring for a handle.
The metal box to the far left is a cast bronze pin box with a peacock on the lid in a raised design.
Most all of the lace that you see is hand made.
The piece down front is probably the oldest. It is embroidered on net and every stitch is perfect. It needs to be gently pressed so that the design can be seen better.
It is at the bottom of this photo and as you can see, someone embroidered dots on the background above the main design...I do not envy the person that had to do that. Each one is separate from the next.
The two Victorian collars are also hand done. The person the did them was an amazing needlewoman.
The needle case is carved ivory and still has some of the needles that were in it when I purchased it. Very old.
You may ask why I am boring you with this stuff, aside from playing for time? Actually, it was all an introduction to a new website that I was introduced to this morning by Elga's blog. http://elgakoster.blogspot.com/ She is one of the most talented miniaturists that I know. She does amazing French knotted rugs and makes fantastic furniture. She is doing a rug from this site on #40 canvas with french knots right now. Do go look! As I said, "Amazing!"
Anyway, this is a site for real people, not just mini people. It is called "Antique Pattern Library" and it preserves all kinds of antique needlework patterns for our use. No selling them or anything. http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/ It was great for me, because I was looking for antique tatting patterns. If you go there, poke "catalog" at the top of the page. When you get there, Poke the word technique. That will take you to the list of different kind of needlework that is included. Take your pick. Grab a cup of coffee or a soda and prepare to stay a while if you like any kind of old needlework books and patterns.
I have to get back to the laundry and mopping floors now. You can just sit back and browse while I do that....Have fun!
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