Yup. I'm back in the workroom....I never finished it last time and it is already getting messy again.
I keep telling myself. One piece at a time...Then I turn my back and the pieces all jump out of place again.
Tessie is no help at all. I finally locked her in one of the boxes that she thinks should be a future closet. Hey! At least she can see out.
She does put up an awful racket if she can't participate though.
Yes. That is Zar's Clockwork Cottage above her head....Suddenly I am itching to get back to that one. I have to finish the Tudor cottages fast!
It is the last day of August. Time to start doing the Christmas knitting. Don't worry. It won't cut into minis. I do that at night, while watching TV.
I did purchase some yarns this morning. So I am all set to start. In fact, I couldn't resist. I knitted about an inch of something. There at the front of the basket.
Believe it or not, it is made from the yarn that is stuck through the center of it. NOT socks. I am tired of socks. I decided to do something else this year.
I can't tell you what. Some of the recipients are old enough to read and sneak in to see what is happening on here, once in a while...So...You will just have to wait and see what comes of this.
Meanwhile, it is 92 degrees outside and rising....So where does Tessie settle in? There she is, all warm and cozy. Actually, she is laboring under the delusion that I am knitting for her...Don't tell her I'm not. She is finally quiet and I am getting a lot done.
I have mentioned my Grandma Daisy on here a few times. She passed away in the early seventies. She was 97 at the time. I hope to follow in her footsteps. How else will I get all of my projects finished?
I was cleaning, once again, the workroom this morning and found this.
It was the sewing basket that always sat by her chair in the living room. Her needlework was mainly tatting and quilting.
She did teach me to knit, crochet and embroider kitchen towels...I hated those. I got as far as Tuesday in the towels for every day of the week and rebelled, but it did get me started on that track....I never thought about it, but I must take after her somewhat. She did a little bit of everything involving a needle or hook too.
I hadn't opened the basket for a few years. I first gave it a coat of the infamous lemon oil to bring it back to life.
When I lifted the lid, this is what I saw. I have thrown anything in the way of antique handmade lace into the basket for years. It's a way to keep it from getting lost in the shuffle.
There is very little left of grandma's sewing stuff in there. My dad, was so proud of cleaning it out...I didn't say anything about the stuff that was in it before he got to it.
As I said....I had not peeked into it for a long time. It solved several mysteries for me.
I found my peacock pin box of cast bronze. I also found some of the oldest buttons that I own. they are on a wire in the top right corner of the photo. Someone made them by hand and they are very Victorian in style. Also bronze.
I found a full box of darning silk and the darning egg to go with it....Evidently the lady that bought that box didn't ever use it. I can't imagine having to darn silk stockings...It seems like it would be well nigh to impossible.
The lace at the bottom right is one of seven pieces of needle made lace that someone saved from a Victorian period dress. I found them carefully pinned together in a bag of remnant pieces in an antique store.
The white buttons are bone from the same period.
I won't go through everything that was in the basket, but the cards and bundles of trim at the top are machine made tapes and coronation cord for making lace. You can see an example of the coronation cord in the crochet at the top right.
The two strips towards the front are hand made Victorian collars. The white work in those is amazing.
The piece of tatting that they are laying on is a strip for a pillowcase that my grandma made.
Last and definitely not least is the hand carved ivory needle case. I got that at an antique fair before they got scarce as hen's teeth. I think I paid about twenty dollars at the time and thought it was outrageous. The price has gone up since then....I got a bargain.
The piece of lace that it is laying on is another fine needle made lace that is grounded on net. You can barely see the stitches in that one. Each of those little circles on the net is done separately, one at a time. This is probably the oldest lace I own. I couldn't give you a date though. It is very soft and intricate. I would have to have a powerful magnifying glass to stitch something like that.
Anyway, I thought that you would rather see these pieces than photos of the piles that I am trying to put away...And I enjoyed looking at them again too.
This is the pallet that I used. If I were going for gray rocks, I would have Ceramcoat Hippo Gray on there too.
Since I am going for rocks that are from the same quarry as the chimney stones, I used Trail Tan for my base coat instead.
My pallet is, from the Antique White at the top, clockwise, burnt sienna, trail tan, Wedgwood green, red iron oxide, and charcoal.
They are all Ceramcoat. That's the paint that I use most. Better coverage than most.
The only paint that I use straight out of the bottle in color is the base coat. I still added a little water....Needless to say, a little thicker where the writing was on the egg carton.
I painted an area about 8" long. I don't want to do it all at once, because I want to work in the wet paint. It blends better that way.
As you can see from the pallet, the rest of the colors are a free for all. I keep putting more color on the brush without rinsing.
Here, I have put on, in this order, Wedgwood green, brunt sienna, red iron oxide and charcoal...Each color is mixed in the center pallet, picking up some of the previous color. I don't necessarily mix them together on the brush. Sometimes they are pretty well blended. At other times I deliberately load each side of the brush with a different color.... That way I don't get so much spotting of color.
I mentioned my most important tool in the title of the post....
If you are squeamish and don't like to get your fingers in the paint, don't look at the last photo!
Of course you could use a paper towel or tissue to dab at the wet paint, but the secret is, the fingers can get into places where towels and tissues can't. And fingers don't steal paint from the surface like absorbent towels or tissues. You need to keep the moisture on the wall, not take it off.
Hey! It's acrylic paint. It comes off with soap and water! No problem.
Basically, all I can tell you is, I go at it as if I were doing a painting of a wall. Add the colors a soupy wash at first and sparingly. It's better to apply too little and build up than it is to get it too wet and have to wait to do more.
The last color to go on the brush is the antique white. Again, I don't rinse the brush. That way you aren't getting glaring white. You are just getting a hint of highlight. It is like the sun is shining and the highlights are just barely touching the outer bits of rock...I do use the fingers on this too, but lightly.
By the way, I don't use straight black. I use charcoal because it is easier to blend in with the other colors and doesn't get as muddy as black does when you blend it. It's just a personal quirk. You can use black if you want to. As far as that goes, you can use any colors that you like.
The best way to decide what colors you want to use is to find a photo of stonework that you like and try to analyze what colors are in the rocks.
On the chimney that I showed you yesterday, I went a step further and did charcoal washes in all of the places where the serpentine stones go up the side. I did if very sparingly and very weak, but it makes the serpentine design stand out a bit more.
I am back to turning egg cartons into stone. I want to get the foundations of both of the Tudor cottages finished.
By the way....Keep every egg carton that you can find. Our Walmart store stopped carrying regular eggs in the mache cartons last month.
I don't know about you, but I tend to break a lot of eggs in those silly foam cartons. They don't protect the eggs at all.
I decided to go into more detail on how I use them. I hope it's not too late. I am either going to have to start buying very expensive organic eggs, brown eggs or eggs in the 3 dozen or more sizes to get the cartons.
The first photo isn't just a record for posterity. It's to show you how I use them. The inside is what counts. It's all bumpy and lumpy. That's what you need for good rocks.
See how the lip of the carton curves out? That's the part that makes great corners for rocks. The flat part is just for pavement.
I start by cutting off the flat part of the sides with the lips....No corners.
Then I cut them as wide as I need for the side of the foundation in this case.
The part with the lip curve over the edge and the main piece covers the side.
The piece that I cut off of the bottom is used to form the top of the rock on the top of the foundation.
In the second photo, you see all the steps, beginning with the cuts. I take a strip of the curved side piece and cut it, at random into odd pieces. Those get glued to the side first.
Then I use the piece that I cut off to do the tops, matching up the cuts on the sides and the tops.
The next step is done with my handy dandy, metal #00 crochet hook. The point of that size is perfect for sculpting the stone. I figure that there is more of a chance of you having a metal crochet hook that size or a little larger, than there is of you having the right size of ball stylus.
I wet the head of the hook and press down hard on the mache. You don't want the material to be too wet. Just wet enough to make it stay where you want it. This section that you see has just been done and there is not any sign of water on it.
A lot of times I will just touch it to the tip of my tongue to get it wet. That's all it takes. If you get too much water on it, it just goes back to the shape that it was.
See the crack in the center brick? It's not a separate piece. I simply put the crack in with the tip of the crochet hook. Same with the brick to the left.
Notice that the seams between the top and sides have disappeared. I just keep smoothing the edges of the two pieces until the seam kind of seals itself together.
I only have two and a half sides to go, putting stone pieces in place and sculpting them. That will probably take up the rest of the day.
Tomorrow, I will do a detailed description of how I do the washes. Here's a teaser.
This chimney could still use a little more sculpting in places. That's the nice thing about the egg carton technique. Until I put on the final protective coating, I can go back and keep working. Even after it is painted.
In case you are wondering where the terrible two are this morning, as soon as they saw the egg cartons, they left. This isn't their cup of tea...Mention rocks and they run for cover.
OK. So it's not all hers. She does not acknowledge that fact. She claims the Weaver's Workshop building and ALL contents.
When I cut the wood for Tessie's cabinet, I also cut 3/4" strips of the leftovers to make Zar some shelving for his workshop.
It is also basic shelving. You simply cut the strips the depth that you want the shelves. In this case it would be nine inches in the big world.
Then you cut the sides the height that you want the bookcase, less the thickness of the wood.
The top piece is the width that you want the outer shell of the bookcase. In this case, four inches. The three inner shelves were cut two times the thickness of the wood you are using, less than the top. That way when you put them inside, the top should just be even with the outside edges of the sides. In other words, it sits on top of the sides.
I glued all of the pieces together in the jig, starting with the top and one side, which I had marked for where I wanted the shelves. Then I put in the shelves at those lines and the other side on. Holding everything together with the magnets makes it a relatively easy job.
I decided that Zar needed a shelf to hang above the workbench.
To make it a bit fancy, I used "Tiny Turnings". They are rods of turned wood that you can buy at mini shops and shows. They are fun and easy to work with because you really don't have to measure them...You can just cut them all the same length by using the skinny part of the turning as your cutting point.
They always have some kind of finial at the ends. I used those as the top and bottom of the poles to make it look like they go through the shelves. They don't really. They are just glued together.
After they were dry, I put a coat of lemon oil on all of the pieces. That's when Tessie zapped in. You know that she times it so that she doesn't have to do any work. She just picks up the pieces....of furniture, not scraps.
First she zapped her cupboard into the weaver's attic. Then she started filling it with her things.
I think that I am going to loan her some baskets to go in the bottom shelves to act as drawers.
I will have to see if the ones made with Woodsies will fit, or if I will have to custom make them.
Meanwhile....Zar and I took the other pieces to the workshop downstairs.
I have yet to help him hang the fancy shelves over the workbench, so just pretend that they are about two inches above where they are.
Zar knew what would happen next, so he made a sign....Sometimes he is not too smart.
Tessie never looks above her head when entering a building, and besides, she would just say that it didn't pertain to her anyway. She owns the building...
I am going to spend the rest of the day trying to keep the shelves where they are and Tessie is going to spend the rest of the day trying to grab them....Luckily, she has a hard time zapping things unless she is touching them.
Back to work. I will be on furniture watch if you need me.
See you tomorrow. P. S. Sorry this is so late. I accidentally pushed the "preview" button instead of the "publish" button...It should have been up about nine this morning....
Tessie still insists that the cabinet that I made yesterday is hers.
It doesn't matter that the loom has to sit at an angle in order for the cabinet to fit under the eaves.
She is swearing up and down that she likes it that way...I hate to say it, but after looking at it, I kind of like it too.
It gives the room a more casual, lived in look.
I have an excuse for not doing minis.
Seth went back to Ghana again on Thursday, so April and Amare came over here to spend the day.
We sat up a huge baby corral in the middle of the living room and Amare avoided getting into it most of the day. He liked it outside the corral where all of the interesting things were....
I wish that I had thought to get a photo of April and him looking at the Witches Warehouse. She is trying to teach him about Halloween....He isn't a year old until November....That makes no difference. He liked the lighted pumpkins and the witches anyway.
Maybe we have another miniaturist in the making?
Since I didn't think to take photos while they were here, I opted for a couple of cute cat shots. They both spent the day in the bedroom, as far away from tail pulling as they could get.
Sorry about the absence of minis, but sometimes other things just get in the way.
I finished Diane's challenge last night. I haven't blocked them yet, so just imagine them completely flat and completely straight... Come on. You can do it. Thanks Diane, for the day of fun!
I talked Tessie out of the tiger stripes for the first one and she backed off to this lavender/yellow/white variegated tatting thread.
I have no idea what brand it is. Most all of my fine tatting thread is inherited or thrifted. Many times, without labels.
I had to start it three times. I drew the pattern on Diane's card without number of stitches listed and I had to work that out as I went.
I think it turned out pretty good for a "flying by the seat of your pants" kind of thing.
I liked the pattern so much that I picked out the variegated peach/orange for my own. Tessie is eyeing it greedily, but this one's mine.
Here you can see the pattern a bit better. I started in the corner of the finding with a 3-3+(attached to finding)3-3 ring and worked my way around with a chain of 3-3-3-5 and attached to finding. Another chain 5+(attach to previous chain)3.Turn and do another 3-3-3-3 ring. Then I reversed these steps until I reached the next corner. I am not a pattern writer. Just an explainer of what steps I took.
Since I was in a tatting mood last night, I pulled out a necklace that I have been working on.
This one is with #5 over dyed pearl cotton, around a pottery button that I made when I was in college.
I have three more buttons just like it. Either more pendants or a shirt with matching buttons will probably follow sometime in the future.
The piece of tatting that you see at the bottom is a piece that my great grandmother made a LONG time ago. I suspect it was meant for the edge of a pillowcase(real life sized). It is an unusual pattern. It's very irregular along the top. Made with chains that slant to one side and tiny rings to hold it together. One of these days, when I get brave, I am going to have a go at copying it.
For now, I am happy with doing small pieces. Three foot borders are for the brave hearted.....I am chicken.
I am very close to finishing the weaver's part of the Tudor cottage now. Close enough that the Terrible Two have moved in and are taking over.
Unfortunately, on the way, they stole the penguin's cookies....Something that one should never do. The penguins will follow you to the ends of the earth to get their cookies back.
Also unfortunately, Spike is in charge of penguin wrangling. He is not happy when someone lets the penguins out....They are very hard to corral.
On another front, a few days ago, Diane at "Lace-lovin' Librarian" http://lacelovinlibrarian.blogspot.com/ posted about some doodads that she had to give away to tatters. We had to promise to take what she sent and add tatting to them and put them up on the net when finished.
My pieces came in the mail yesterday. They are perfect for miniatures. Very pretty brass filigree. As soon as I opened the envelope, I started planning....I have never tried doing tatting for minis...She sent the two in the photo. I immediately started sketching plans for them.
Another unfortunate happening....I seem to be using that word a lot today.
Tessie was there when I opened the envelope. Her eyes glazed over and she also started planning. I got out the finer tatting thread and she dove in head first.
In the middle of planning, I had to stop and give her a new hairdo....It's all better now. Anyway, I had to do it whilst she grasped the antique brass finding in one hand and, tossing balls of thread every which way, chose this one.
Her explanation was, "It sort of matches my apron....Sort of". I am not sure that will be my choice of color. She already is talking about either hanging it on the wall or using it as a table mat in the weaver's cottage. We shall see...
She is hovering around me as I type whispering, "Type fast. Then tat. Hurry!"
Thanks again Diane! This should be fun....First I have to go tie Tessie to a chair with tatting thread to match her apron. That won't stop me from using that color. I have several balls!
Maybe I should say a better book....Since I am sitting more than standing because of my stupid big toe, I am catching up on things that require that I sit.
I was going to do some wicker. I got out the books and then changed course.
This is the very first book I bought as a reference for wicker back in 1983. I can't believe that I have been doing wicker that long, but I have.
Anyway, it has been falling apart for quite some time. No fun to try to flip through it anymore. So, I decided to use one of my favorite remedies for falling apart or otherwise annoying volumes.
I went and found a small notebook cover, about the right size. Then I looked until I found the infamous, hiding, 3 hole, hole punch. It is never where I think it is.
I adjusted the punch to the size of the notebook holes and went to work. It takes a while, because you can only do a few pages at a time, but now I can flip through it once again.
I glued the cover to the front of the notebook and the spine to the spine of the notebook. A whole new book!
I have done this for years. I don't do it to books that I think may have some value later on. Mostly it is paperbacks that I want to keep in one piece.
Things like the wicker book were not meant to last. The values from a 1983 issue of the wicker pricing guide would be next to worthless.
This is the first one I did. I am sure that some of you have a copy of Mott's Miniatures Workbook. It is the most irritating miniature book that I have ever seen. It was bound like a stenographer's notebook, at the top edge. The people that published it thought that it would be good to make a book that would stand up so that you could read it as you made things.
They didn't think about people wanting to just look through the book. If you do that, you have to flip and turn it around and various other actions to see each page.
I got tired of doing acrobatics whilst reading so I took it apart. I lopped off the top edges of the pages, where the spiral was, with a paper cutter.
Then I proceeded to flip and turn the pages until I had them in the right order for a regular book.
After making sure that everything was right, I used the three hole punch that matches a regular notebook.
This is the result. Tessie no longer has to stand on her head to read it and neither do I!
This one had a hard cover, so I just put it inside and labeled the outside on the spine with a label maker.
I did this one less than a year after I got the book.
I bought it at Mott's, when they still had a larger museum at the back of Knott's Berry Farm Park a long time ago.
I went in early one morning to look and I was the only one there, besides the man running it...He must have been bored and started following me. We talked about each exhibit as we came to them and he seemed to know just about everything there was to know about each one. He didn't introduce himself, but was very pleasant and fun to talk to.
I bought the book and took it back to the hotel. I opened it and discovered that identity of my guide. It was Mr. Mott, himself. I have always felt very honored to have had a private tour of the miniatures that he made, by the maker himself!
I am sorry that I messed up the book, but it had to be done. My sanity was at stake. Standing on your head to read every other page is no fun.
OK....I will be sitting down with my right foot up for a few days, as much as possible. I either badly sprained or broke my right big toe this morning...Klutz that I am, I stubbed it while walking on flat ground.
Now for the arithmetic... Merri, you were right. One of the pieces is going to be the top to a dressing table...However, it has multiplied into two pieces. I am winging this as I go, so no pattern to speak of. I don't even have a drawing to show you. It is all in my warped little brain.
More multiplication...I had to stand up to do this and now I am whimpering. Back to things I can do whilst sitting down.
Remember the lumber in the first photo yesterday....One piece of cherry. Not even a full slab.
It is now the basis for two settees, three chairs, two plant stands with shelves underneath, and two sewing boxes.
Nine pieces of furniture from one piece of wood..
Now all I have to do is find the time to make them.
On to the subtraction. I have a LOT of crochet thread. Some is new, some is stuff I picked up at thrift shops and yard sales. All gets put to good use.
It is, however, clumsy when it comes to storage.
Which would you rather find a place for? The little pile on the right or the big pile on the left of Tessie?
I decided, since I have a nice ball winder, I would rather store the little ones. I sat down this morning and took all of that thread off of the big old cardboard tubes that the manufacturers put them on.
The ones in the after pile are less than half the size of the original. All I got rid of was the cardboard and lots of air in the middle. I will put paper cuffs around them to keep them tidy when not in use,
See the net bags on the left, that I store the big ones in? I can get 3 to 4 times as many little ones in one bag. By the way. The bags were crocheted by holding three strands of thread together and using a larger hook. That's how I use up a lot of leftover thread. If I run out of one color, I just tie on another one. It makes for a colorful bag. They are useful for all kinds of things.
Anyway, I am going to go put my big toe up on a stool now and wind thread for a while.
After much discussion and lots of dragging out of fabric samples, Kathie decided that she will send me a fat quarter of one of her fabrics to do the upholstery on the wicker that she won.
So....I will be waiting a few days for that to come.
Whilst waiting, I don't want to lose the momentum, so yesterday I cleaned out my wicker drawer.
I realized that I have a LOT of supplies that need using. I may as well do something wicker to pass the time until I can work on Kathie's furniture again. I forgot to look for Rit this morning, so I have to work on something besides dying.
When it came to the wood pieces that I use for bases, I found that I need to cut some new chair, settee and other bases. I marked out three chair, two settee and a few other smaller pieces to cut out of the piece of cherry that you see at the top of the first photo.
I did find these two. The one that Tessie is leaning on was the base for a bassinet...As of yesterday evening, it is something completely different.
The other piece that you see is part of the last of those pieces. I sliced off one side of it and repositioned the holes.
Do you want to play a game? Guess what these will be when I am done. I am not telling. Only that they won't be bassinets... I did the wicker work on the one that is built up, last night. Tessie immediately figured out what it was and announced, "This is mine!". So what else is new.....?
While I was in another drawer, I found several of these swans. I bought them at an after Christmas sale years ago. I only finished one. That one has been on the blog a few times.
I am going to try to use up some of the supplies that I have been hoarding for years.
Tessie took one look at it and, knowing what it was going to be, shrieked! "I am not pregnant and I don't intend to be pregnant!! Put this back where it came from!!!"
This is one thing that I don't think that she is going to confiscate!
These are fun to make because the body of the bassinet is already done. All I have to do is build the base, the mattress and the crown draperies.
I have the feeling that Tessie will even leave me alone and let me finish it fast...Not her cup of tea...
Anyway, I am off to work on the two projects....The secret is, never let the right hand know what the left one is doing....Good thing I'm somewhat ambidextrous...
I found a couple of bottles of tan Rit Dye in the cupboard last week when I was cleaning...They have been there for maybe 5 to 10 years.
I just ran out of my dyed thread, so I decided, since I had it, I should use it..
If you have never dyed thread or yarn, it is a long drawn out process. First I had to unwind the ball of thread. Thankfully, I had a couple of these yarn winders. Or in this case, unwinders. If you decide that you need one, I recommend this type that clamps to a table. My other one is on a weighted base...It still moves around.
In case you didn't notice, Tessie is in her usual place on one of the arms. Every time I get one of the yarn winders out, she thinks "amusement park".
Also, every time I tell her not to do it and she does it anyway....Then comes the dizziness and headaches.
Here you see the thread prepped for dying. I tied it in four places, while it was still on the winder. That way when I put it in the dye, it doesn't get all tangled up and unusable.
Here it is after 15 minutes in the spaghetti pot...I had to leave it in for at least half an hour and stir it quite often.
About half way through, I remembered what I did last time to avoid the yellow-y, color.
Left over morning coffee does the trick.
Here it is after about 45 minutes. The color at the top of the photo is more the real color than the front part.
It still needs to dry. It will be a bit lighter after that.
That gave me the bug. Next time I go to Walmart I will have to check for dark brown and dark green.
Once the thread is dry, I will put it back on the winder and roll it back into a ball to work from.
2008-2013 Text and image files on this website are the property of caseymini.blogspot.com and may not be reproduced. The information contained in this site is for personal use only. Information contained in third party links may or may not be copyrighted by their respective owners.