Monday, November 13, 2017

Teeny Tiny Curtains....!




Pursuing A Dream....

Some of you May recall, Dear Readers, my mentioning that I was not satisfied with the paper curtains that are provided with the Secret Christmas House kits. To begin with, they are very "fussy" and are just not my style. But more importantly in my opinion, they are Flat! As you may have noticed, I have been trying to add a third dimension to many of the pieces that come in these kits...(thickness to books, roundness to teapots and candlesticks, depth to picture frames and door frames to name a few!), so it should come as no surprise that I would want my curtains to appear more realistic and have at least a little bit of dimension to them! How to achieve this and with what materials has been the pursuit of many hours both waking and asleep. There was no way to finish decorating the Secret Christmas House without adding curtains.... and they needed to be added before the furnishings could be put in place. And in case you had not noticed... the Christmas Season is fast approaching! Would I give up on completing this project this year? Or would I try yet again to make suitable curtains....
The above picture will show you some of my attempts. They are a bit embarrassing.... made from coffee filter paper smushed into a curtain-ish shape and painted a color approximating the ones in the kit. Even with lovely gold trim, they just looked horrid when tested in place...

No, this just would Not work!
I decided I was going to need to be very precise with the "folds" of the material... 
and I also decided I would prefer to use cloth if possible!
From there I tried many methods of making the material fold like pleated drapes.... 
I even tried winding the wet cloth through the teeth of a comb while it dried!
But none succeeded in giving me a small enough pleat.
Finally, last weekend I decide to try making a wire "jig" 
to hold the material in place as it dried.

I thought that perhaps if I made a frame of wires in a curtain-drape shape,
 and placed the wet cloth over the wires....
Using a method described by Elizabeth of Studio E Blog...
 (The material is dipped in a watered down glue.... 
thank you for the tutorial Elizabeth!)

And then laid more wires over the wet cloth....
 pressed into the valleys between the first wires.... 
to hold the wet cloth down while it dried....
Then maybe it would dry with small enough pleats!
I also tested the method of just using pins
 to hold the fabric in pleated folds.... 
(which you can see above to the right.)
This method left large pin holes in the cloth 
and not enough consistency to the pleats.
But the wires method seemed to work fairly well...!

You can sort of see the test curtains here.... 
I know they are very pale and you can hardly see the pleats....
 but it shows promise!

I tested more versions with coffee filter paper.... 
but did not like the results.
Paper is out... cloth is in.
I quickly made more with the cloth...

Well, not quickly... it takes a couple of hours for the cloth to dry!
Here I am using an antique silk charmeuse scrap...
it has a very fine weave and a soft and malleable hand.... 
and is also a cream color that could be painted if necessary....

Here I am testing one of the dried panels in the parlor..... 
I think I am getting somewhere!

How about two panels together....?
I think these could work!
Now, Dear Readers, I am getting Excited!!!

Here I am testing the pale silk in the Sitting Room again... 
but I am not happy with the color for this room... 
it is too pale. The curtain just disappears.
And I am not really happy with the way it looks painted... 
that will serve as a last resort... 
but first I want to try other fabrics.

Starting with a green silk....
 the very same green silk I used for the bed curtains 
for the Tree House bed!

Here you can see several of the different versions 
together with the original printed paper kit versions.
The green silk is too "yellow" for the Sitting Room... 
so I try them in the Dining Room....

Oh my...!!! 
What a perfect color match!!!
And the fringe even looks okay!!!
So now I need to make the curtain rods.....

Like so...!

And testing the Parlor curtains......
I have decided to go with the cream color in this room... 
it tones down the pink a bit and won't compete with the Tree....!

And now I have Glued them in place!

The Sitting Room curtains wanted to be a darker green....

Here you can see it drying in the wire "jig"....

And in place in the Sitting Room.
It is hard to get the colors to look the way they are in RL... 
this appears a bit too blue in this light.
But the "green" in this room is a very blue-toned green!

But I must say, Dear Readers,
 I just want to Crow about these curtains!!!
Even though they will practically "disappear" 
when the room is all furnished...
 I think they look Perfect!

See what I mean? 
You hardly notice the curtains!

Here, come a little closer.....

I just Love the way the Light shines through them!
Well, Dear Readers, 
I just can't tell you how Excited I am
 by these tiny bits of cloth...
Catching that Dream....
Teeny Tiny Curtains!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Where Was I.....?




Hmmmmm..........

It was weeks and Weeks ago, Dear Readers, that I last accomplished any building on any of my many projects! I hope you will be able to remember that I was building the attic "knee walls" for the Lovely Old Dollhouse sometime back in September, before I got swept up in the recent story-telling binge. This was a project I had been contemplating for nearly fifty years!!! I had even made a version of these knee-walls back in my teen-aged years when I was first trying to "up-grade" the decor of the dollhouse, but my construction methods were not sturdy and did not last. This time I am being a little more thorough and not relying on glue alone to attach the parts. At the moment they are all still removable while I decide how detailed the walls and doors need to be. But I did manage to add a coat of primer to the basic parts! It makes an amazing difference in the feel of the rooms to have the walls painted!

Of course, the lighting is not very good in my photos... 
and you can hardly see the wall behind all the furniture..... 
but that is sort of the point! It now feels just like a wall!

And the same is true of the bedroom....

I am still not sure if I will be trying to make 
the walls appear to be "bead-board" paneling....
since that is a later style of decor than the supposed era of this house. 
But I probably will... 
because "up-grades" would have been done over time, 
like with the kitchen walls.
 
And these were not the only walls I was painting, Dear Readers, 
as you may have spotted in that first photo!
I was also working on painting the 
sleeping compartment of the second Gypsy Wagon!
 
Here I have started to paint the dark blue base coat.
 
(Yes, I know, I have not shown you this second Gypsy Wagon!
But you might have spotted it in the Meadow with Beatrice!)
It is becoming quite different from the first, 
starting with an extra rear window in the sleeping compartment.
And I wanted the mood to be more "mystical"....
beginning with deep blue walls and silver-gray forest...

Here you can see how the walls fit together... 
only the gray under-painting has been done so far on the trees.

Here I have started to add the black details...
but decided that I really needed to add the silver color first...

You can see on the tree to the far right that I have added the silver .....

And now I am adding the black over the silver. 
I wanted a reflective effect because the compartment will be quite dark,
 and this way the trees will stand apart from the blue background.

Slightly closer shot.....

Most of the black texture added.....
There are still many details to be added... 
I have not decided how much foliage to add... 
but there will be more added!

Here the walls are assembled temporarily.....

And a hint of the decor... 
viewed through the compartment doors......

And closer..... 
Yes, it will feel much more Mystical than the other wagon!

And speaking of doors....

The exterior doors needed trim added....

And the doors needed the draft strip added to the center 
where the doors don't quite meet when closed.

And a lovely old tarnished bronze door knob too!

I love the way it looks in the morning light!

Well, Dear Readers..... 
I seem to have discovered where I was 
All those weeks ago!
Where I am going is another matter altogether....
Hmmmmm.... we shall have to wait and see!

Monday, October 30, 2017

It Is Time.....!




The Dark Times Have Come.....

Helen and Charles were among the first to Arrive at the Annual Castle Halloween Party, Dear Readers, because Helen was afraid they might be late and Charles was always willing to reassure her by being early. But it did not take long before most of the other guests had also arrived.

The Aileen's came dressed as a Pirate and a Fair Lady....
and their son Jasper came as a Musketeer....

Pollyanna and Arthur arrived soon after....

With Sally May and Chip right on their heels....

Along with Annabelle, Victor and Joanna.

Fleur brought Juliet... 
but couldn't persuade the girls to leave the Gypsy's Table....

so she left the girls in Gabrielle's care
 while she and her husband Daniel joined the dancing in the Hall.

She had barely left when suddenly the Gypsy's Crystal Ball grew to twice it's size....
And the Gypsy began to chant in an eerie voice...
 
"Two who have been Found will find One who is now Lost.....
Two who have been Lost will Find One who has been searching....
Three must leave with Two Before Two can Find their One....
All will Find their way before This night is Done....."
 
She stopped as suddenly as she began....
 and the little Princesses just stared in fascination.... 
unsure of what had just happened!

Meanwhile in Another Time altogether... 
Caroline had just arrived at the Castle hoping to find Tommy and Beatrice.


She was relieved to find Prince.... 
but neither Beatrice nor Tommy were there!
She did not want to search the old Castle Ruins....
 it was getting late and dark...
but Snowy had other ideas.....

and went dashing off into the dark old castle... 
leaving Caroline to try and follow him!

And you may recall, Dear Readers, 
that Tommy and Perry had crossed paths
 in the empty old Castle Kitchen 
and had decided to search for Treasure together!

It was not long before they came across 
an old abandoned chest in the Lord's Council Chamber...

They weren't afraid to open it....

They couldn't quite believe their luck.....

It was full of old weapons!

And I am sure you will Understand, Dear Readers, 
when I tell you that Old Meg was Alarmed!

She stood in the empty Old Kitchen and stared into the fire.
 
 
It had been a Very very long time since she had felt the need 
to cast a Spell of Protection over the entire Castle!
But the Darkness was encroaching.... 
reaching its tentacles into the very Fabric of Time...!
She was going to need help....

She summoned her Sister Witches...

They would need to Guard the Portals of Time....
while Old Meg went back....
 
 
as far back as she could go....
 
 
 to a Time before the Castle even stood....

To the Sacred Grove.....

and the Spring of Faith....
Wherein she might see the certainty of that which she would Dream...

And with that Certainty...
 ignite the Sacred Fire....

Without which there would be no Future....
No Dreams......
 
Only Darkness.....

And Drawn by her implacable Faith... 
the Little Dreamers appeared....

And Bound with a Magic as Old As Time itself.....
they were once again inside the Ancient Castle Kitchen.... 
for the Little Dreamers were not tied by Time....
They could go where Old Meg could not.... 
even if they could Not see what Old Meg could!
Their task was to find the Young child 
who had strayed out of her Time and bring her Back!

And Lest you think I have forgotten the two young boys 
and left them too long alone with sharp weapons...
no time has passed since they chose their swords.

"We could be Pirates" declares Tommy excitedly as he holds up an old saber!
"I want to be a Knight" replies Perry as he flashes his sword.

"But this is a Cutlass" said Tommy... "it can't be a Knight's sword!"
Perry glanced at the chest and saw another hilt.....

He leaned into the chest and grabbed the hilt and pulled... 
just as Tommy leaned in and grabbed the sheath...

The sword came free in Perry's hands.... 
he could feel the weight and strength of this sword...
"Hey... this is a real Knight's sword...." he said in awe!
Tommy just stared.... "Let me have a try..." he said after a minute.
But Perry wasn't listening.... 
he was imagining all the feats of valor 
such a sword could perform.....

He turned and swung the heavy sword in a mighty slash through the air......

And to his utter amazement... 
it sliced through the air cutting right through into another Time.....
And there stood the Wizard!

Right in this room .... where before it had been empty!
 
 
"I see you have brought 'Harbinger'" declared the Wizard....
"or has It brought you....?"

Suddenly Tommy wanted to go home.... 
 he turned and ran back through the empty Castle...

where he found Caroline coming through the Kitchen.
He was very happy to see her, 
even though she was looking annoyed.
 
 "Where is Beatrice..." she said?
"I don't know..." said Tommy... 
"She didn't come with me..." he added.
"Well, she must be here somewhere" said Caroline... 
"she left home right after you... "
"I haven't seen her at all... 
and I've been all over the place" declared Tommy.
"Well, Snowy just went running off too... "
 said Caroline, beginning to feel worried.
"We have to find her!"

Well, rest assured Dear Readers,
 that Beatrice had hardly moved from the same spot
 since she had arrived at the Castle with the Gypsy Lady
 and discovered the Castle was filled with strange people!

And in fact, such was the Fickle nature of Time, 
that the Gypsy had hardly finished uttering her baffling prediction 
before the Little Dreamers were there by her side!
Beatrice did not know them at all.... 
but they had been told who she was... 
and no sooner had they arrived then
 the air about them began to shift.....

And all the strange people disappeared.
And in the very next second.... 
 
 
 Snowy was running into the room...
 
And jumping up to greet her!
"Snowy!" cried Beatrice "where did you come from?"

But Snowy just turned and ran back the way he had come..... 
so they followed him.....

And there were Tommy and Caroline..... 
just getting ready to look for her!
"Let's go home" said Caroline "before it gets too late!"

And back in the Guard Room, 
the Crystal Ball is just its normal size 
and nobody seems to have noticed anything strange at all. 
The Little Princesses are having their Fortunes told,
 and Gabrielle is looking after them.

The Deadly Nightshades are filling the Great Hall
 with all your old Favorites and even a few new ones you haven't heard before.....

The Guests are Dancing.....

The Night is young.....
You are welcome to stay as long as you like, Dear Readers, 
and I do hope you are enjoying the Party!
Yes, The Dark Times have come....
Happy Halloween!