Thursday, December 14, 2017

Winter Carpet Picnic

Last Spring when I was at the Tom Bishop Show in Chicago I met Lidi Stroud for the first time at her table. It was a real treat to see so many of her gorgeous baskets in person.  I was going to buy one of my favorites but instead we started talking about a trade. Lidi told me she liked my walnut shell cottages. Over the next few months a trade was never discussed again.

In November I emailed Lidi to let her know I had sent her a parcel. She wrote back and said... "Now isn't that strange, I sent you one yesterday." Strange indeed!!! I was sure she had forgotten all about our discussion.

I was thrilled to bits when her French picnic basket arrived! It has been a favorite since the first time I saw it on her blog. You can't really appreciate how fine her work is until you hold it in your hand.

Thanks again Lidi! I love it! XXX

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

 My neighbors asked me if I would collect their mail and parcels while they were out of town. Sadly the people who sent them these lovely flowers didn't know they were leaving for a 10 days.

They sure look nice in my dining room. The colors are perfect!



Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating today!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Lots of Flowers

As you can see I have been busy.
There are a few things I would rather do then make flowers. Like spend the day with my tax man or go for a colonoscopy. The entire time I kept thinking of dear Elizabeth making that garden all around her house. How did you survive that I wondered?  I survived by listening to one of the Outlander audio books. Good thing it has 47 disks!
Still, I have to admit miniature flowers have loads of charm. I am going to have to work on the color combinations.  I wanted some sort of setting for the French flower buckets, watering cans I made. I am hoping to start making those to sell next year. And yes... this project will have walls. ;-O

I think a cat popping out of a bigger flower pot might be fun next.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

My First Assignment in Metals Class in Art School

This was the first project I made in a metals class in art school. The assignment was to fabricate something in metal. Using forming and soldering techniques.  I chose to make a 1: 12 scale teapot on a stand.

The stand was made of sterling silver square wire because I needed that gauge and sterling was all I had. The flower cup holder was cut out of a dapped piece of sterling with a jewelers saw. Then the stand was oxidized to make it look like wrought iron.

The body of the teapot is in brass and was made of two dapped pieces soldered together. I wanted a tapered hollow spout and the only way I knew to make it at that time was to electroform it. I made a wax interior shape and painted a conductor on it. Then literally grew copper over the wax. Once I had enough copper on the wax I was able to melt out the wax and solder the spout on the brass pot. Everything brass had to be gold plated. The burner was made out of telescoping tubes and sheet brass. The wood knob and handle are ebony.

My father gave me the life size version of this piece for my birthday. For Christmas I gave him back the miniature I made of it.

More 40 years later this first project makes me cringe a bit. I made five of these pieces. Dearing and Tracy (miniature dealers from the 1970's)  sold the other four for me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Antique Copper & Brass Findings

I have been so busy with RL I haven't had much time for miniatures. Though I have finished several galvanized French Flower buckets.

I have found so many wonderful brass and copper findings lately. I have a lot of ideas about how I would like to use them. Any ideas you might have would be welcome. I think we all have had lots of uses for findings.

The copper pheasants and chicks are just 38 X 30mm. They detail is just incredible. Which will be greatly enhanced/defined once they have been oxidized and buffed. I can think of many ways to use this piece. The simplest of which would just be framing it.. The copper is pretty heavy, unlike other stampings I have seen. Which makes forming it a bit risky because hammering on it might damage the higher raised areas. I still may sweat solder it to a piece of brass and try forming it into cane/umbrella stand. That would be great next to a front door of a country house. 

The brass dragons drinking out of the fountain are 110mm long. Wonderful I thought for a pediment of a house. They would have to be painted to look like they were carved stone or plaster. They could be used over a double door too. 

I wish I had been able to get two of these copper pieces so I could have soldered them together. It would have required cutting off and replacing the bottom.  It will still make a nice wall planter. Perhaps in a green patina. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

1:12 Scale Vintage "Galvanized" Watering Can

I made several watering cans a few years ago and either sold or gave them away. When I went to make myself one a few days ago, I discovered I had lost the plate I engraved to make the raised rings around the body of the can. UGH! Sad, because that plate also had to curved engraved cuts for making French "zinc" flower buckets. This cans watering head has really small holes drilled in concentric circles. In a few days the polished brass will dull down and look just right.

I meant to take lots of in progress pictures but as usual I just got busy and just couldn't stop.

 It is amazing how many tools it takes to make these. Steel surface plate, ring mandrel, Small tapered mandrel (for making the tapered tube), dapping block set, soldering equipment, Flex shaft, hammers, gravers, jewelers saw and on and on it goes. I am sure you know very well how much stuff you have to drag out for a small project.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

” Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Ravens have managed their way into superstition, stories and poetry. It is said that if the ravens ever leave The Tower of London the Crown will fall and Britian with it. In Edgar Allan Poe's poem "The Raven" it symbolizes grief and death.  They sure have found their way into Halloween. I suppose that Poe's poem can take credit for that.

They are huge birds. As long as 25 inches in length and as much as 4.4 pounds. A lot bigger then a crow. 

The inspiration for the miniature was actually Pepper's Gothic dollhouse.  I wanted to make her something for it. She has received it now so I am not spoiling the surprise. 

I had no idea how she wanted to decorate it so that made making something for the interior difficult. Then it suddenly struck me that a raven might look right sitting somewhere on the exterior. Old manor houses also seem to have a lot of taxidermy around he might even be used like that.

I had ordered a lot of black turkey feathers for this project so I made the one shown here. It is very difficult to photograph black!  There isn't any white lint on the bird, I had to lighten these a bit so you could see them. Otherwise they would have looked like a silhouette. He is jet black!

I cut his flock out of black silk embroidery floss. He was sculpted out of polymer clay. I only used the tips of the turkey feathers to cut down.

No color tweaking below. Here he isn't grayed from lightening the photo.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Lazy Summer Day

It has been very hot and humid here. Yesterday the heat index said it felt like 109 degrees F.  The air-conditioner really can't get the inside temperature more then 20 degrees below what it is outside. So we have been enjoying lazy days. I have been working in polymer clay making  miniature animals, while Kilmouski naps next to me.

 There is a dormer window I put a kitty perch in upstairs. The fabric pillow he is resting his head on is printed with cats. One of which looks exactly like him. That pillow belonged to his predecessor. It still apparently contains the wonderful scent of Honeysuckle after more than 20 years! I wish I could buy him Honeysuckle wood sticks (for cats) but it isn't sold in the USA. You can only get it in Canada. Sadly, they won't mail it to the US either. Catnip just does nothing for him but he thinks Honeysuckle is magic!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I LOVE Silk!

This spring Linda  kindly allowed me some space on her table at the Tom Bishop Show in Chicago. I wanted to try to sell some of the William Morris silk chairs I made. When I got to Linda's table she asked..."Notice anything?" I was shocked! The chairs sold within 45 minutes of the doors opening on preview night. WHY, Oh WHY, didn't I bring more!

No photo can convey how beautiful that silk fabric is. The way it takes dyes is magic.  So... I have decided to make a few more. Each pattern presents a real design placement challenge. I try to and make a mirror image on each side.  On both sides of the wings, both arms and the sides. That can make you say some very bad words while you are working.

This one has hand carved legs made by Linda Master. She is a wizard! How she carves two perfectly alike is a mystery to me.

Here are a few 1: 1 scale William Morris upholstered chairs I found on Google. The scale seems to be close to what my miniature ones are. 

Pepper  very kindly sent me a gift of some beautiful silk she got at the York show in the UK. I was thrilled to bits! I have a very hard time finding fabrics. These are hand loomed. Just gorgeous!

AND... She sent me some Susan Bembridge silk in my favorite colors. I  LOVE the patterns! Thank you so much Pepper. ;-)

I am still collecting Terry Curran crocks. Here are a few new ones I found on eBay.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Chainsaws and Chippers... All around me

A faux bois picnic basket in my garden. They are busy spreading rather than blooming. 

Seeing sky behind this house for the first time. Most of the debris  has been taken away today.

On Saturday night a huge storm hit my city. The sound and the lightening told me this was going to be serious. Straight line winds wreaked havoc on my neighborhood & city again!

 It is hard to see but it tore the driveway up.

Again... Sky over a house that used to have huge trees all around and behind it. 

 When I moved here 20 plus years ago it was like living in a forest of enormous very old oak trees. Finding a place to plant something that needed sun was difficult.
In 2003 another storm ripped through the city. The destruction was devastating, thousands of trees fell. It was heartbreaking. They fell on houses cutting them in two all around me. The whole city came to a standstill.  I had no power to my house for three weeks in July. That is when the temperatures usually range from 90 to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit . There was no getting out by car or on foot because hundreds of trees blocked the streets. I was so happy to see the firemen. They knocked on every door to see if anyone needed help. For weeks and weeks all I heard were chainsaws and chippers. I was lucky my house was not badly hurt. My poor neighbors were not so lucky. Most of them had to move out for as long as two years while the repairs were made. Blue tarps covered most of the rooftops.

So you might understand why I cringed when the chainsaws started here on Sunday morning. I am still hearing them and the chippers that they feed huge limbs into.

Today I got out and walked around my neighborhood. I was a little wary because big limbs are still dangling from huge trees that managed to stand. I was happy to see most of the houses were OK.

My neighborhood of 300 homes was built around this private
lake & park. Most of the houses were built in the 1920's.