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.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Larder

I love the idea of a well stocked larder/pantry which can be seen through an open doors in the kitchen. Beautiful baskets hanging from ceiling beams, braids of onions, garlic, peppers and hanging herbs. 
Today I wanted to see what all this will look like through a door. Though the shelves will be very different. Much older deeper and going from floor to ceiling.
On the back wall of the kitchen in the center will be a fireplace surround over the cast bronze stove I made. Then on both sides, closet doors.
I was very disappointed that Tiny Ter Miniatures (Teresa Martinez) was not going to be at the Tom Bishop Show this April in Chicago. Her work is just beautiful.  I wrote Teresa when I got home and ordered three more of her canned goods. They are pictured here on the second shelf. From left to right...  A jar of cauliflower, carrots and green beans,  a jar of pears in wine sauce and sliced carrot sticks.

Taking photos gives me an idea where the holes in the collection are. I may be missing a couple of dead rabbits hanging from their back legs! ;-O Also I don't like this spiffy clean look! 



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tom Bishop Show Chicago, IL 2017

I spent last weekend at the Tom Bishop Show in Chicago. It was great fun to see and meet so many Blogger friends and artisans.

Linda Master had a table at the show selling her beautiful work. She kindly allowed me to sell a few things I had made at her table. It is the first time I came home from a show with more money then I took with me. Thank you Linda!!!

One of the highlights of the weekend was meeting Catherine Buron and her wonderful husband. I do not speak French and Catherine speaks very little English, Her husband very kindly translated everything for us.  I also met a few other French ladies who are friends of Catherine's and very fine miniature artisans. Dominique Autin and Christine Voirin. Christine makes the most exquisite porcelain I have ever seen. Sadly, she had very little left after doing a different show and I missed getting to buy more from her. I meant to get everything she had left.

Meeting Lidi Stroud and her husband (Peter) was also a treat for me. I have always adored Lidi's baskets. It is funny how you make a connection with people long before you ever meet them in person. How that happens through a computer acquaintance is a mystery but I absolutely know it does. I have always felt Lidi was a friend. 
OK down to business...

WARNING...I didn't buy much at all! I was looking for a few things I didn't find, like a French country armoire and a chest of drawers. I did arrange a few commissions. One with Chris Malcomson that I am very excited about!

I couldn't resist this Westinghouse  circa 1906 fan. It has a cord with a plug on it but this one doesn't work. Though he did have some that do! Perhaps you can read Westinghouse in the center of the fan.

I was totally blown away by this "plique a jour" Butterfly hair comb. The colors of the 'glass' are very strong, there are three different colors in those wings. You can see right through it when you hold it up to the light. I also was amazed by this watch with a leather band. Both of them are so tiny and perfect. 

A fun whimsical teapot by Christine Voirin. The lid which is the table top and shelf does come off. I will add this at some point to the kitchen hutch with all the Stokesay Ware.

I bought some paper thin/soft leather & few small tools. And a light fixture by Scott Hughes That I will photograph another time.

Rushing to get ready for a house guest today.  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Barbara J. Raheb, Pennyweight Press, Miniature Books

Some of the first miniatures I ever bought were books by Barbara Raheb. They were made long before we had computers and printers. How they exactly they were made isn't something I can tell you about. Perhaps you know and will tell me more about that. I do remember someone telling me once they were typeset. I can't fathom it.

At the time I started collecting I had very little fun money so these were big purchases for me. The unabridged Romeo and Juliet was the first book I bought and EB Browning was the second. I was fascinated by the beautiful printing and  covers she created. I  have never opened Romeo and Juliet. Once they have been opened, they never close tightly again.

I knew Barbara had started losing her eye sight due to macular degeneration in 2002. I spoke to her a coupLe years before that on the phone. Someone recently told me we lost her. However, I cannot find anything about that on the internet. Please let me know if you have any information.

Her books are now selling for fantastic sums. I would still love to have a few more. I regret not getting all the Jane Austen books and so many others!

The good news is...  You can still buy them used either on Ebay or here...  Have a look at the prices they are asking for them now. PHEW!