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Friday, 28 April 2017

One Quarter Done

The corner with the water basin and the lantern is now done to my satisfaction. I added a bush (foam ball cut in half, painted, coated in railroad coarse "grass"), a hosta plant, some pinkish stuff kind of the same colour as the Japanese maple under the hosta, and a stepping stone and grass. The grayish things to the left of the lantern are plastic plant parts, as some height in a neutral colour was required there.

Next, I have to make more hydrangeas for the bush that will go in the other quarter of this size of the garden. Five flower heads have been made, but I think I'll need at least a dozen to make a good show.
That's for tomorrow, along with many, many leaves....

Stuff Everywhere....

Landscaping takes time. You can only do a small area at a time, fitting components of the landscape in place, deciding if they work that way, drawing around them so you know where the grass grows, and then the inevitable waiting for a thick application of tacky glue to dry so you can brush off the excess of that darn staticky foam that gets everywhere.

One small corner is more or less done, with voids for where other elements of the design will go. I painted up some very good plastic fern fronds I acquired years ago, and sponged and painted them to look like Japanese painted ferns. I have some of these in my garden, right outside the window beyond my work area, and every year I kind of hold my breath in the hope that they've survived yet another Canadian Maritime winter and its snowloads.

It's a mess! Bits of plastic greenery, paper leaves and flowers being prepared, pieces of styrofoam balls here and there, and I haven't photographed the mess on the floor around my work area; boxes and bags of landscaping materials. In the foam block hosta leaves and variegated iris foliage are drying; I have to figure out how I am going to place these in the base. It will likely involve drilling holes in the MDF and bundling leaves into clusters tied with fine gauge beading wire. The little yellow container is full of printed hosta leaves ready to plant around the front corners of the vignette.

And by the way, there is a snowshoe hare sitting on my lawn, just beyond the trees of the empty lot next doors, chewing at leaves or grass or something. It is partly still white, although the more normal brown summer colour is coming through....

It's the white thing on the grass at the edge of the path....

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Green Foam Bits Everywhere....

I started some of the landscaping yesterday, and managed to finish getting the gravel onto the walkway.

I rather like the wider strip to one side; this was taken directly from a pathway nobedan I found on the internet. It mimics so-called label stones with crazy paving, with gravel at the edges and in between.

This next photo, despite the flash, is quite dark;

I'm going to pretend it is evening here! The green domes are the beginning of round mossy ground cover, that will go to the side of the lantern. Because so much of a Japanese garden depends on playing off shades of foliage with accents of colour, I am using some plastic plant pieces to mimic various ground covers. It's a good opportunity to use up some of that stuff I've been giving house room to for twenty years.

The grass has been "planted" around the bamboo, and next to the shoe-removing stone by the step to the veranda. It's a very messy job, as everything is very staticky - hence the title of this post. In order to create various shades of green, I'll mix the various colours of railroad foliage I have for the different foliage mounds. Now that most of the snow is gone, I hope to find a good twig - or perhaps I'll have to create one - to act as the trunk for a cloud-pruned pine or juniper, very Japanese and a good foil for the maple, the many hostas, blue hydrangeas, and possibly rhododendrons and Japanese irises. I also need to make a variety of sword-shaped leaves in a wide range of colours.

Which means that I won't be tidying away all the foam for a while yet!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

I Am Not a Happy Camper....

The walkway's stones are in, I forgot to chalk them so that will have to be done after the fact, and I will also have to figure out how to fix the chalk because I don't think I can spray the vignette without a great deal of masking.

Why am I not a happy camper? Things were going so well. But, I have mislaid, lost, misfiled, call it what you will, the coarse white gravel I used under the veranda of the house. I need that to fill in the gaps in the stones of the walkway.

As I really, really want this finished, I decided to try the dark gray fine beach gravel/coarse sand, but it is too dark for the gravel of the veranda. So that won't work.

So I borrowed some white gravel from a little zen garden I got years ago, but it is too white. That won't work either. I need the slightly grayish/yellowish gravel I used before. There are two more bags of sand from that batch, each finer in consistency and they are simply too fine, too much like, well, sand, to simulate gravel here.

Bah! Tomorrow I work, and then I am away for a few days. The show for which I want this finished is in about 2 weeks....

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

...And Another Photo

OK, so I'm trying to encourage myself! This is the water basin in my hand....

Front Garden Tsukubai or Water Basin

I had intended to put the Japanese word in italics, but I guess you can't do that with titles.  As indicated Sunday,  today I worked on the water basin, which will go near the front door into the house behind the Japanese entrance garden.

It looks a bit unfinished right here, as the paper band holding the "bamboo" edging is visible; this will disappear once I add the "mossy lawn" to the setting (I hope!). The setting is illustrated in my book, as a Flat Garden, Intermediary Style; I am trying to stay true to Japanese garden design.

The stone basin is a repainted terra cotta planter that I picked up years ago on a yard sale table at a show. It is mounted on two layers of mat board, surrounded by "wet" stones, and has the bamboo pipe and spout behind it. There will likely be some ferns planted at the back of this element of the garden.

 Although it isn't visible here, the back of the water feature has moss growing between the stones; I think this may be seen if you look over the longer side fence into the garden. The dipper is made from manila card and a toothpick, with some faux finishing. The water inside the bowl is a piece of acetate that doesn't quite fit flush, which means it shivers realistically if the base is touched. That is what is called serendipity, I think!

The lantern also got a new paint job; now I have to wait for a sunny day to go outside and spray it to keep the chalk in place. It will also be set into the mossy lawn. After several really nice sunny days the last three have been gray, wet and miserable; we had a little snow overnight....

This morning I had an existential crisis at 3 a.m., probably as a result of attending a funeral Monday for a lady who was at least a dozen years younger than I am. It took the form of wondering if I should continue on with miniatures and other hobbies, or just finish what I have not finished yet and stop cluttering the house with my creations. I hate the thought of these miniatures being put out with the trash when I am no more; I don't know what to do with them when my time eventually comes - who is going to want this stuff? Not to mention the containers of components cluttering up the storage area in the basement. I think I will have to start giving stuff away....

Sunday, 16 April 2017

That Took Some Time For Sure...

...especially with a cracked thumb on the right and a broken thumb nail on the left! Somehow, the ties I was using had an annoying tendency to either get caught up in the broken nail or on the adhesive bandage, which kept rolling up on me.

Do click on this one for a close-up view, it's actually quite convincing. This is the "moss" being applied to the cracks in the rock wall; I have a pet peeve with huge quantities of moss being applied to miniatures, as it completely wrecks the illusion. This is being done tiny bit by tiny bit, keeping in mind how the rain water and shadows of the rocks would affect how the moss grows.

I mix my "moss" up out of three or more shades of model railroad foam scatter, with tiny amounts of yellow and sometimes orange added to suggest flowering weeds in the moss; this is the  finished, mossed wall in progress in the previous photo.

This is what almost drove me around the bend; trying to tie each individual bamboo stake (reclaimed from a window blind sample) to the horizontals between the "cedar" (actually painted dowel) fence posts. This fence is a somewhat spread-out version of real Japanese fencing; it is wider apart because I wanted the garden to be fully visible, as that is the focal point of the vignette. Traditional Japanese fences tend to make what is inside of them invisible.

Now that the fences are done, although still not attached, I can concentrate on the actual landscaping of the front garden. I am thinking of trying to make shallow domes of air-dry modelling compound, to mimic the mounds of moss so often seen in Japanese gardens. Painted green, with the "moss" scatter glued on, they will add some shape to what would otherwise be a flat garden. Within groups of these mounds, I can place the water basin, lantern, and whatever else will fit in the garden.

I still have to re-tie the woven bamboo fence; for some reason, I can't wrap my head around how to get a decent cross-tie effect on this fencing. Back to the books for research!

Happy Easter, everyone. Although the last few days have been wonderfully warm, with blue skies and sunshine, today is overcast, grey and rainy....

Friday, 14 April 2017

I've Got Rocks in my Head....

Today was spent, in its entirety except for a church service this afternoon, making and gluing rocks on the rock garden walls for the Japanese vignette. I am happy with it!

The rocks are a combination of egg carton stones, beach gravel, and wooden cores. Fortunately, the papier mache of the egg carton does lend itself to some bending and shaping when wet with glue. The colours were done with both sponged-on acrylics and chalk powder. The larger gaps between the large rocks were filled in with the gray-brown beach gravel.

Tomorrow, I hope to find the time to add some moss here and there in the narrower chinks between the rocks; I may also have to touch up the wood underneath in a few spots. After that is done, I have to make - and design - the open "bamboo" fencing to bring the garden walls to a proper height, likely around 6 inches (15 cm). Then it's on to the landscaping....

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Japan Again

Yesterday I experimented with "weaving" my own Korean bamboo fence screen; the raffia was too uneven, the broom straw was too stiff as well as uneven, and floral wire just wouldn't remain straight, so I gave in and painted a piece of coarse, mono needlework canvas, with at least 10 holes per inch, to represent the split bamboo latticework. The broom straw did get used, to make the bundled "reed" sides of the screen; I have to redo the tying, as the knot used in Japan looks like a cross-stitch, rather than a single stitch. This is a very old type of fence, also used in Korea. I'm happy with it.

It was very messy work, bundling the "reeds", I had tacky glue everywhere! Now that everything is firmly fixed in place, I can untie the brown strings and do proper cross-shaped ones. I did look at the particular knot that is traditionally used, but it is too complicated for miniatures....

The fence has legs of heavy-gauge floral wire, that will be glued into holes in the base. I bent the curve around a bottle, then glued the canvas on, on the bias. The canvas was then painted with two shades of straw and ochre yellow, dark brown, and a bit of green, with the bundle of broom straw right next to it in order to have the colours match, using half a dozen coats of dry brushing.

The bases for the rock walls on either side of the large gate have been cut, and painted with a sponged on mortar coat, 4 colours of paint. Most of this will be covered with egg-carton stones, but painting it beforehand means I don't have to worry too much about mortar gaps between the stones. Once they are in place, I will add bits of moss and algae to the stones of the wall.

On top of the wall I want to put a "bamboo" fence that will allow you to look into the garden; this is definitely not traditional, all the photos I viewed have the garden wall high enough to completely hide the garden. As the garden is the main point here, I am creating my own, Japanese-inspired design.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Well, the Sun Was Shining

And I didn't feel like doing a test strip of stain on the iron-on veneer that will hide the raw edges of the Japanese vignette, so I made a couple of flowering plants for the shabby chic shop. The red one is a bromeliad, destined for the summer display, while the pink one will go into the spring display. I should know the name of this plant, but until I remember I will call it the Maria Malmstrom plant, as I followed the tutorial from her blog.

When looking at the photos of the interior of the shabby chic shop, I felt there was too much green and not enough colour, which means that I will have to create flowering plants to fill the gaps. Why do I keep digging myself deeper into work? Don't enlarge this photo, the illusion is not as nice as I had hoped....

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Back to the Japanese Vignette

The show in Halifax was fun, which is a good thing because sales didn't really cover expenses. It was good to reconnect with some people I hadn't seen since last Fall or since 2015.

The shabby chic flower shop survived the trip very nicely. Although I still haven't found the 8 tiny rare earth magnets I hoped to use to keep the store front in place, double-sided tape helped for the show. Transport was a breeze, as I stuck everything down on acetate overlays on the various surfaces, with small and micro-size glue dots. A loosely bundled pile of gift-wrap tissue kept the furniture from sliding around during travel - the roads here are generally very bad, full of holes and bumps, at the end of winter.

The items on the tables and shelf were stuck to cut-to-size pieces of acetate from packaging, which makes it very simple to pull all the items on a particular surface off for replacement, for example. The entire front window display, coloured "floor" and all comes out ready to replaced with other seasonal displays.

The shop as it looked at the show. The light green border on the outside edges is the colour I'm using to paint the sides and back of the Japanese vignette, a soothing wasabi mustard sort of green.

The interior of the shop, with some grape hyacinths on the left to add a bit of colour to that area. The painting and shutter on the back wall were hiding the fact that I still have to add some interest to the middle of this floral shop composition, not to mention the currently blank side walls. You can enlarge the photo for a better view. The acetate sheet is virtually invisible.

I took a separate photo of the window display; the crocuses in the white "tin" planter and the Easter arrangement were among the three things I put together at the last minute - Thursday evening saw me making the Easter eggs (polymer clay) just before packing everything up. Yes, that is masking tape hanging off the left side, in the absence of the magnets I am using that to keep the front on so the cat won't be tempted to pull things out of the shop to play with....

In an hour I get to put the second coat of green paint on the Japanese vignette; then it can dry overnight and tomorrow will, hopefully, see cherry-wood stained stripwood over all the narrow MDF edges. Hopefully, using the same stain as on the house and gate will unify the piece.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Tuesday's Work

I spent  yesterday morning making printed scrap booking cardboard flower pots with rims, and then the afternoon and evening in making the tiny succulent plants to go into them. You can see them in the corner shelf unit, and the odd one scattered here and there, in the photo below.

This was also the try-out of the FAME club project, minus the front display window etc., to see what I needed to make. There are a couple of gaps, most noticeably the wall area; however, I don't have the time to make a shelf and a wall planter, so I will put a temporary something in there.

Today, I made a crocus arrangement, a grape hyacinth arrangement, and an Easter arrangement to go into the display window. These will fill some of the gaps, but I would like to make a hyacinth basket arrangement as well; however, it will have to wait until much later in April.

There are two tall plants in front of a white shutter between the tables and the corner unit; I will have to raise them up a bit temporarily, to fill a little of that back wall space. I think there will be enough to display this project as a "Work in Progress" - still to come are a couple of buckets of roses in yellow and salmon. Now I am going to take everything out of here and make a hole to hang a wind chime so it will be visible from the shop window.

I hope to stick everything in place for travel tomorrow afternoon, after a slightly truncated work day. We head out to the show bright and early on Friday....

Monday, 3 April 2017

Moving Right Along Some More

Two or more days' work, have resulted in a pillar for the fancy arrangement, a step arrangement for smaller plants, Cattleya orchids under the dome, hydrangeas under the table, and a set of 3 small ball topiaries. I am tired....

I should have lowered the photo a little, too. Tomorrow, I hope to make some polymer clay plants and pots for the Shabby Chic flower shop.

Friday, 31 March 2017

More Plants for the Club Project

The sun is shining very brightly today, which is interfering somewhat with my attempts at daylight photography. This week, once the commission was done, I've made some more items for the FAME club project, the shabby chic flower shop.

The plant on the left is  commercial one I purchased at a show some years ago. The variegated ivy in the macrame hanger was Wednesday's project, along with the little yellow birdhouse with the sun .
It was made from mat board and cardboard from a package, with a bit of brown floral wire for the perch.The macrame hanger was a Camp MiniHaHa gift.

 Today, I put together the variegated pothos plant, sitting on the shelf; we have a couple of these in the house, they tend to put out very long branches which you then have to lead along shelves or something. There is one, belonging to my daughter, just above the computer. Now I just have to wait for the stems to relax a little more.

I made both plants from scrapbooking card in pale yellowish-cream. The ivy leaves were punched with two Ruth Hanke (Hanky Panky Crafts) custom punches, from the card which was painted green on the back. Each ivy leaf was then hand-coloured, using a dark green, fine-tip marking pen and two very sharp colouring pencils, in related shades of green. The leaves were then creased on a foam sheet, using the back of my Xacto knife. The stems were made from 4 pieces of sewing thread glued together.

The left-over card, with its back painted green, I painted a light green on the front. When this was dry I dry-brushed with two shades of yellow-cream paint, and then spattered with a toothbrush dipped in cream and white, watery paint. When all that was dry, I gave the card a coat of varnish, and proceeded to punch two sizes of small, heart-shaped punches. This plant also has thread stems, light-green in this case. By clicking on the photo, you can see the detail better.

And I decided to photograph the arrangement I kept, in the shop window; it fits very well in the bay.  I am very proud of this arrangement. Because of the sun, it was impossible to photograph both the shelf with the pot plants and the arrangement without huge blank areas of sun reflection, so I did it on its own....

Monday, 27 March 2017

Done in Duplicate

And here is the final product; you can click on the photo for a larger view. The brass pot arrangement will stay with me, while the arrangement in the pedestal vase is destined to go elsewhere. I am really pleased with how they turned out. I also learned quite a bit while making these, so it's win-win all around.

The arrangement was adapted from a Real Life one, changed a little to be suitable in miniature. It's meant to evoke Spring, and I think it does that.

I am now going to waste my time watching television rubbish for a while....

Sunday, 26 March 2017

I've Finally Gone Round the Bend....

For those of you using Google translate, that means I've really gone crazy today! I decided to try a new way of making actual, fuzzy pussy willow buds. carries a tutorial, which involved bits of thread, drops of glue, and flocking.

You start by making little "shelves" of glue, rather like thorns on a rose, along a piece of floral wire, and allowing those to dry. Then you paint wire and thorns reddish brown (I used brown iron oxide), and let that dry. While that is doing what it is supposed to do, you make tiny fuzzy buds on teeny pieces of brown sewing thread;

You stick those into foam (I used a grocery store foam tray) to dry thoroughly. Once dry, you cut the little fuzzy ball off just underneath the flocking, and glue those onto the "thorn" shelves on your floral wire. The result is really nice,

especially with the sun shining through, but it is a lot of work! When I first made miniature pussy willows, early in my attempts at flower making, I used tiny birch twigs from the garden, dotted glue here and there, and sprinkled very fine white decorator's sand over them. Years later, they still look pretty good. This new method may well be a once-off, but I'm glad I tried it!

The forsythia branches have now got tiny pale green leaves here and there, and the cherry blossoms are glued to their branches. The next step is assembling the floral arrangements,,,,,

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Spring Flowers

This is a quick entry, as I spent the day making spring flowers. Two more sets of flowers to go, then I can start the arrangements. Because these are intended to be floral displays, the flower stems won't get any leaves; the leaves in floral arrangements, according to my daughter who worked for several years as a florist, are added afterwards to fill in gaps....

So we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, 24 March 2017

FAME Project Roof with Progress Photos

So I described how I painted the card roof of the display window of my FAME club project; today, I painted the wooden roof of the structure. I began by gluing on thin wooden battens to represent the strips that hold the "copper" roof sheets in place, bringing them down over the front edge to give the illusion of applied copper sheeting rather than paint.

You can click on the photos to enlarge them, to see the detail. This is the dark khaki coat, which was then dry-brushed with terra cotta.

Here the turquoise and lime green blotching has been added; the raised areas of the roof pick up very nicely on the various paint colours. At this stage, things are already looking more like verdigrised copper than painted wood.

In this photo, the bronze metallic paint has been brushed on with a very dry brush; I love the way these effects come together! The original idea for this finish came from a Joann Swanson article in an old Nutshell News from 1995, but I adapted it for a more whitewashed look, to go better with the whole shabby chic ethos I have going on with this project.

And this is the end product, with the whitewash finish in place, dabbed and smudged with more of the bronze metallic paint. I'm now ready to do some chalk antiquing, but first, I have a commission to work on, to be ready for next weekend. As part of that, take a look at the before-and-after photos of a painted wooden "bean pot", that I hope to use as the basis for this commission:

I had originally intended, some years ago, to create an antique stoneware effect, but something put it off and it languished in my stash of stuff. It is a bit large for my flower shop, so I re-purposed it.

Again, please click to enlarge the photo to better see the detail. I have a number of aged brass flower containers in my house, complete with bits of verdigris and corrosion; I also see quite a bit of aged brass at my volunteer job, which involves museum accessioning, so it was fun to try and create an aged brass container. So here is my attempt to create one of these....

Now I have to see if it meets with the criterion of the commissioners of the project!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Display Window Roof Is Done

One of the things I wanted to try was a roof over the bay display window; I had planned to do a similar roof on my book vignette project, but it just wasn't going to work with the book spines. There are brass screws holding portions of the FAME project together, so doing a roof to cover them up seemed like a good idea.

As I am measurement-challenged, I tend to go with trial and error, so that is how this cereal box under-roof was designed. It is being supported by 3 wooden brackets inside the roof.

Because there is a slight gap between the top of the plastic window, and the top of the window frame, something was needed to mask that shortcoming (ha! that's a pun!). I've been playing with decorative scissors, so decided a verdigrised copper window surround might look good. Yes, I am very happy with that! It was made from manila file folder cardboard, and much paint. It is glued in place around the white top frame of the window.

This is the card roof; manila file folder with "rolled edges", cereal box cardboard strips for the copper strips, and more manila file folder for the corner peak flashing. The edge of the roof overlaps the edge of the decorative strip by about 1/8", or 3 mm.

And here is the painted, verdigrised copper roof. I need to do a tiny touch-up in one corner, I see. The paints used to create this effect include: a base coat of dark khaki, made by mixing dark brown and foliage green; then a dry-brushing with terra cotta paint to give the idea of weathered copper,
then a mottled layer of turquoise. This was followed by a mottled layer of lime green, created by mixing leaf green, light leaf green and turquoise. After that was sort of dry, I used a fan brush, quite dry, to add some streaks of metallic bronze acrylic. Over it all went a coat of whitewash, watered down, cheap dollar store white paint, brushed on from top to edge with a stiff bristly brush for a streaky effect. Once that was dry, I used my fingertip to dab and smear on bits of metallic bronze here and there, for copper shining through.

It's turned out just as I had hoped; the turquoise in the verdigris matches the turquoise of the door, and I still have a washed-out, chalky effect going. Well, that was my day....

Monday, 20 March 2017

Three Days of Work!

I decided I wanted a spring tulip bouquet as part of the window display in the FAME club project, so I tried a new way of making tulips. While I like the results, it took three whole days to work my way through the various steps. The instructions were from Michele Carter of Pepperwood Miniatures.

In the back row, are the bead on top of the stem, with stamens and pistils made from glue-stiffened sewing thread; a single strand of black for the stamens, three strands of light green twisted together for the pistil. When dry, dot yellow paint on the pistil. So step 1, day 1 was stiffening the thread. Step 2, day 2, included snipping the threads to 1/8" (3mm) lengths, gluing the pistil in the centre and then gluing on 6 stamens per flower (!) once the pistil was dry. Then you trim (the back row isn't trimmed yet).

Step 3 is punching 6 petals per tulip, shaping them, and then gluing them on; first 3 evenly spaced, then 3 more when those are dry. The pink ones are complete, but the white ones only have 3 petals at this point.

So I punched petals while waiting for other petals to dry, and that took me all morning and part of the afternoon. Then you add the leaves, and plant the whole thing in a pot. Was it worth it? Well, you can see below; I won't make tulips this way again most likely, but the end result did turn out well.

The maddening thing is that all those lovely, time-consuming pistils and stamens are pretty much hidden by the petals of my tulips....

We miniaturists must be nuts!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

New Photos of FAME Project

Our meeting last week didn't happen, because of yet another storm. We are meeting this coming Tuesday instead. I have been working away at the club project, because I hope to take it to display at the CFB Shearwater Hobby Show in early April, in Halifax-Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

I have made some more flowers, in this case roses in white, to add to the shop. I'm trying different things inside the shop and window, to get some idea of how much space there is. The answer? Way more than I thought....

The shop with "stuff" in the window is shown above: I'm going to have to build some display pieces to showcase plants and flowers in the window, as different heights will display them more easily. On my worktable right now is an effort at making a large tulip display for the Spring window display.

The white roses are newly made, while the pink ones are my experiments from some years ago. They suit the colour scheme of the shop and will remain in place. The bucket of iris in the foreground is also several years old; their pastel colours will also work quite well. The large hanging plant needs to hang from a bracket on a beam to get it to a better height, right now it is tied on with fishing line.

The "marble" display table is finally done! It went through quite a number of incarnations, before I convinced the Carpenter-in-Chief that my original idea was the best one. I wanted room to display plants and flowers! I still have to design and build a shelving unit, though, based on a photo of a Real Life plant display unit I saw on the internet.

The irises and the roses are a little more visible here. I experimented with the pink ones, but I think I have it worked out with the white ones; they were done assembly-line style to allow glue to dry, and done in a couple of hours.

It's coming along nicely!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Club Project Mostly Built

The shop is mostly built; I just have to add a roof to the top of the display window, and do a few little housekeeping chores. The windows are in place, the door is in place, the shelf is up, but the top (roof) is still loose, as is the rooftop sign and the decorative finials.

Now I can start filling it up. This means building a couple of pieces of furniture, as well as adding more and more flowers and accessories.

The name on the sign is a "cheat" in that, with the help of one of the resident computer experts, I made a computer sign in outline, then painted it in old gold, and then in metallic gold. Once everything was dry, I outlined it with a fine permanent marker. Then I cut the name out fairly close to the letters, and used Mod Podge to glue it onto the roof comb. I'm happy!

The whole thing still needs a bit of aging, and perhaps some old posters on the side walls.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Of Brackets, Buckets and Beams

I had hoped to have the shelf and beams installed today, but as usually happens, things got in the way. The buckets are ready to fill with flowers, once the glue holding the weight in the bottoms dries up. I'll push a piece of floral foam in to keep the flower stems in place. In order to keep paper buckets from constantly falling over, it is a good idea to give them a little heft; I use split shot from the fishing department for that.

The little brackets are picture framing, cut and painted, and will hold up the shelf all along the back of the flower shop. The beams were going to run perpendicular to the wide edges, but it was since decided by the C-in-C that across would be better, so new ones were prepared. They are intended to hold up the plexiglass insert to allow light into the shop, as well as a place I can put hooks to hang things from.

The brackets under the display window are in place; just a few more things to go, and the shop building portion will be done. There are already lots of things to fill it, but some furniture is needed to hold it all.

Today, just to give myself some more work, I thought it might be fun to have a small variety of window displays ready to insert, for different times of the year. As we are heading towards Easter, I think I'll check my German and Dutch mini magazines for ideas to dress the window for that holiday. There could be a display for Christmas, and another for Autumn, as well as a summer one. I think if I stick the pieces to transparent plastic, it will be very easy to swap one season for another; also, small displays won't require that much storage space.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Today's Work

New today, two birdhouses, the beginning of many roses, and some galvanised metal cache-pot containers. The tall birdhouse is a commercial unfinished one, the small one I cut down from a scrap of wood, both painted by me using a very fine brush, the end of a toothpick, and my fingers. The roses are made of paper circles (they still need leaves), and the flower containers are made from light-weight card, cut with decorative scissors, then punched with small paper punches and painted.They need a coat of varnish to strengthen them.

My younger daughter says that all flower shops are incredibly crowded, and she knows as she worked in one for several years. And this one will be crowded! Accessories will go on the shelf that will run below the roof all along the back wall, so lots of those are needed. I have quite a stash as I've been planning a flower shop for years, so there is lots to fill the place up with. However, I also need to make some items that are specifically shabby chic.

I may do a tutorial for my method of making roses, some day, if there appears to be interest. They are made with commercial paper in various closely related shades, and don't require specialised punches.

As you can see, the bay window is now in place, just waiting for the glazing to be installed, I hope to have it ready to show at our next FAME meeting, next Tuesday, although it definitely won't be filled as yet....

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Filling the Flower Shop

In the last few days, in between other things that had to be done, I've assembled some more plants for the FAME project. The door to the shop has been aged, the transom window has been "frosted", but the door handles and the display window are not yet in place.

The side bars for the bay window are in place, but the main part of the window is still being constructed. The Carpenter-in-Chief feels things should be held together with glue and screws, but it is taking time....

Two taller plants have been added; the wonderful hanging (commercially made) plant will hang from the eventual ceiling beams. As well, several more (3, I think) smaller  plants have also been completed. Marilyn D. gave me the super glass dome on a stand, it is an antiqued bronze finish and is just crying out for a special plant. She has also given me some gorgeous picture frames, to be painted, aged and then have gold highlights added, to go into the shop.

It is a small space, and I do have to be careful with what goes into it; the dressing table and mirror frame are definite, but I have yet to decide what other surfaces/shelves will work with my shabby chic flower shop vision. I think I like the idea of an old dry sink, shelves on the wall and along the ceiling, and perhaps a table with a marble top and a shelf underneath. If it will all fit, that is!

I've also made the hostas for the street-side beds of the Japanese vignette; they are ready to be planted once I make up my mind how to put the fences in place. Pictures of that to come when things are a little more ready.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Working Away, But It Takes Time

Applying many coats of paint, and then waiting for the crackle finish to get really dry, does take time. In the time in between working on the door and window components for the FAME club project, I've made a few more potted plant leaves, and begun the hydrangeas for the Japanese vignette. That one is now in the throes of landscaping; first you paint all the lawn areas green; check, and done. 

On reading my book on Japanese gardens, there are a lot of rules to follow. Everything down to the tiniest detail seems to be laid down by master gardeners, and the plans have been in use, virtually unchanged, for centuries. I really, really love the Korean bamboo fences in the book, but couldn't figure out where I'd get stuff thin enough to bend, that looks like bamboo. Well, the light-bulb lit up. and I am going to try corn broom straws; they are the right colour, and I think that if I soak them and bend them around a jar or can, I can make nice rounded bundle fences.

There should be a small fence near the front door; the water feature, in my case a hollow "stone" with a dipper, needs to be next to that fence. There needs to be a shoe-removing stone in front of the step to the house. There are several interesting types of walkways that I can build. The lantern also has a specific place in the garden. Alongside the front gate, there will be fences, perhaps on "stone" bases, with bamboo tops. These should allow a glimpse into the garden and its flowers and plants.

And of course, lots of photos to study in the meantime, too. Surfing the internet is a good way to pass the time while waiting for paint to dry....

Friday, 24 February 2017

Sometimes Stuff Breaks....

The gate to the Japanese vignette is finally finished, but it apparently fell onto the Japanese maple tree. While showing that one off recently, we discovered one of the tiny branches had snapped. I needed that branch to bring shape to the tree, so I thought and thought and came up with a way to fix it that I think worked very nicely:

In my stash of stuff I have a spool of very fine wire, vintage stuff likely used when people were doing wired bead flowers or something. I wound a length of it around a thick tapestry needle, making a coil, then glued the coil onto the branch stump. Then I glued the broken portion into the top of the coil, and glued on some leaves to hide the repair. It is the right-hand branch at the top that was repaired, but the repair is nearly invisible.

In rescuing the tree, I managed to catch my rather large ring on one of the slats over the window in the vignette, and of course it snapped off.  That repair was somewhat easier:

Yes, the vignette is on its side! Only a few pieces of the gravel I had glued down a couple of weeks ago came loose, so I guess they're fairly firmly in place. The can and glue bottle are acting as the weights. I am going upstairs to eat lunch, so I don't fiddle with my repairs....