Friday, 26 February 2010

I got me a little doggie

A short while back my dear friend Kim from
Flowers and Art had a giveaway for a wonderful needle felted doggie.

And woof....I won.

I was so excited to receive him...he is absolutely gorgeous and the pictures do him no justice whatsoever. He was Kim's first attempt at needlefelting and all I can say is wow...if this is the first then that gal will be producing masterpieces in no time at all.

Kim also sent me some yummy chocolate which always goes down well. And some beautiful seeds for my new garden. All wrapped up with Kim's signature wrapping and tags...all gorgeous and all hand there any end to that girls talents. She has set herself a goal of a new project a week...some miniature some not...go over and check them out

Now as grateful as I am to have him, I have to say I believe there was a reason for Kim giving this little doggie away.

He's rather a naughty dog. Maybe he is just excited after being cooped up for the journey from Minnesota to California and maybe he'll calm down. Or maybe I'll have to get him a kennel. Hmmm.

Tearing around and knocking over my plants. Bad Boy !

Hope he is only after the pickled vicar's wine !!!

I've been a bad blogger of late I know. I came back from Chicago and got a stinking head cold. Decongestant meds wig me out big time and not in a good way so I have to avoid them otherwise I am running around like a crazy woman. Would be a great way of getting things done quicker if they didn't leave me feeling so hung over and jittery. Still I shan't grumble as it has been at least 10 years since I've had a cold of any kind.

We have also been getting the front garden sorted out so I've had a gardener here the last 3 days and have been helping him...well, supervising at least :-) He has worked so hard and has dug up all of the front and sorted out the sprinklers system ready to add sod which hopefully he'll be doing tomorrow....the forecast is rain so I hope it is wrong. I'll share some pics next week.

I've also been busy working on a bunch of commissions which I'll be able to share photos of soon.

In the meantime these are some dead leaves ready for my next one. Interesting huh :-) They've had 7 colors painted on them so far and are curled up drying.

Isn't that plant pot awesome. it was a bead that I had Mick drill the center out. So exotic. I need to think of a suitably exotic plant to make for it.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Hi Honey I'm home

Well I survived Chicago.

Actually the weather wasn't too bad...didn't drop much below freezing and the snowfall they had wasn't much and was very pretty. The sun was out most of the time and when the wind dropped it was actually rather pleasant . They don't call it the windy city for nothing....and boy that wind up there is icy.

I am very glad to be back to being able to wear only jeans and a tee shirt outside though instead of 16 layers.

The band was OK although rather lackluster and not as good as in previous years.

The hotel was OK but not as nice as the one we normally stay in for about the same cost. We left it too late to get a room there :-( As with a lot of old hotels the room was tiny, which is fine, but it might have been better had they not crammed a huge 4 poster bed in there :-) The toilet....well that was in the shower. IN the shower. It appeared that at one point it was a cupboard which had been entirely tiled. The shower head was one side and the toilet the other. I would say the whole thing was about 18 inches wide lol. They called it a Euro Shower but I've never seen anything like it.

We stay in an area called Lake View. I love it there. It is a real eclectic mix of little stores and great fun to just mooch around. There is an 'L' station right there which means you can be anywhere in downtown Chicago in just a short time. The public transport system in Chicago is second to none and it is so easy to scoot about town. And only $5 for a 24 hr pass which can be used on the bus and train.

There is also a pretty neat dollhouse shop right there. Unfortunately, they open late and close early so I never seem to catch the opening times. I did make it in 5 minutes after they closed on Sunday but as they were packing up to go home I didn't have time to mooch about.

We normally spend our evenings in the bars and restaurants in Lake View but this time we took a walk in the opposite direction and within a few blocks came across Wrigley Stadium and Wrigleyville.

I've never seen so many bars and restaurants in such a small place anywhere in this country. Yes you'll often get places like this in major downtown areas but I've never seen it in the suburbs. So off we went pubcrawling...just like being back home :-)

There were ice sculptures along the front but with the warmer weather they'd started melting. It did seem to give them a different kind of beauty though.

The Natural History museum was spectacular. You could spent an entire weekend in there and still not see everything.

And we went to see the Thorne Miniature Rooms. You can view pictures on the website here but it is a bit of a pain to have to open each one separately. Or there is this YouTube video.

The Thorne rooms were very impressive but I have to say I personally preferred Collen Moore's Fairy Castle. It just seemed more 'alive' to me. I didn't help that the Art Institute was offering free admission for February so everyone and his dog seemed to come in out of the cold. And there were a lot of kids. Don't get me wrong I like kids....just not when they are in my way as I am trying to study miniatures :-)

I did love the way the Thorne rooms showed a glimpse of the outside though the windows and a peek into another room though an open door. And the lighting was done extremely well.

I was somewhat disappointed in the stained class windows in the church. I've been looking into miniature stained glass for some time for the Pickled Vicar. One of the ways I've seen it done is with printed transparencies which then have lead placed over them in squares rather than following where the original lead lines would have been. Now I am not crazy on that and don't think it is realistic enough for what I want....yet the windows in the Thorne room church were done like this. They looked fine but it wasn't what I would have expected. Perhaps I should be less picky :-)

With so many other things to do in Chicago we decided to skip visiting the miniature White House. It is coming to the Reagan Library in Californian in May so I'll go see it here instead. If anyone from around here is going shout up and maybe we can meet.

So that was our mini vacation. Now it is back to reality with an astounding bump. I have come back to loads of emails I have to sort and I am now behind in my commission work. I need to get cracking on that then I'll start to play catch up with the blogs next week. Then maybe I'll deal with the housework and laundry :-)

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

I must be mad

We are off on vacation for a few days.

Somewhere hot and exotic you wonder ? Not a chance. We are going to Chicago which is currently 18 degrees and looks like this.....

On top of this there is a winter storm warning in effect which is forecasting accumulations of from 12 to 14 inches of snow.

Oh joy !

So far today over 200 flights have been canceled so hopefully we will actually get there without too much trouble.

Now I could tell you that Mick is flying me away for a romantic Valentines day weekend....but the truth is there is a band playing there that he really wants to see :-)

Yes we are flying 1731 miles to see a band. Not quite as exciting as when we drove from Minnesota to New York to see December...that was cold as well.

(Note to band and beg them to start playing the SW)

Anyhow, we decided to make a long weekend out of it though and take in the sights.

At the moment the Miniature White House is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry alongside Coleen Moore's fairy Castle.

We actually saw the fairy castle last time we were in Chicago (yes seeing the same band) and the White House is actually coming to California shortly so we might wait till it comes here.

Hopefully I will get a chance to visit the Thorne Miniature Rooms though.

So, until next week, toodle pip.

Monday, 8 February 2010

A day in the life.....

My workshop as I entered this morning.

Am I the only one who works in such a mess ?

I really ought to clean it up as I leave each evening...but what is the point...I'd only have to get it all out again next morning :-)

It certainly makes me appreciate having my own room to make a mess in.

Controlled chaos !

If you click on the piccies you might get a sneak peek of what I am working on right now :-)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Happy Kidneyversary

To Mick and his third kidney....

When he was just 21 years old,
Mick got a phone call that would change his life forever.

A kidney was available for transplant and it was a match for him.

And here we are 29 years later.

A rather nephrofulous occasion you must agree.

And what's really amazing is that the expected life of a transplanted organ in 1981 was between 5 and 12 years.

He has really beaten the odds on this one. I don't have a current figure yet but when we had his Silver Kidneyversary party in 2004 there were only 414 people in the entire
world who had a transplant surviving that long.

If they make it though to 30 years there will be one helluva party

To all of my readers who are organ donors...
thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Without people like you our lives would be very different today.

Ode to a Man with Three Kidneys

I once knew a man who lived down our street

who had three kidney’s

- A remarkable feat

When asked why this was he would say

“I don’t know;

Perhaps I woke up one morning and it started to grow”.

“I did used to think it was a bit odd

I’ve even considered and act of God;

But whatever it was that caused it to grow

it’s never given me no trouble you know”.

I asked if he felt some sort of a freak

and he said “no not really I feel quite elite;

It give one a sense of being well off

Like owning a rolls you know , being a real toff”;

But all his elation was soon brought to ground

By a stranger he met in a pub in the town

they were chatting away and sinking the mild

When our man remarked in a casual style

“Ya know between you and me,

We’ve got five kidneys old son”.

To which the stranger (aghast) replied

“Bloody hell ain’t you got none”?

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Cleo part 2

hmm.....for some reason blogger won't let me comment on my own post lol

But I do want to thank you for all your wonderful comments on Cleopatra. I am pleased as punch you all like her as much as I do.

When Ara and I started first started talking about her I really had no idea how I was going to come up with something suitable.

For a start there was only one photograph of her....which was very old, in black and white and you could hardly see any of the plant.

So, there was only one thing to old episodes of the Addams family and the newer movies....all in the name of research of course :-)

Then Ara supplied me with a couple of sketches as to how she saw her.

And of course we needed to add color as Ara's house won't be built in black and white...although Mick thought that was a pretty cool idea and I have to agree that could be fun.

It was decided that the colors needed to indicate danger so her 'jaws' start off red then fade into orange and finally yellow.

I can make cherry blossoms, geraniums etc but anything like this is so far out of my comfort zone and I have to really throw myself into it.

However, I have to say I love her to bits. She was so much fun to make and I honestly didn't want to get rid of her. I'll miss her seeing her sitting on my workbench :-(

So, answer to your question it was fun to make something different. My mind just doesn't go in the direction of different or spooky so, although I like doing this kind of work, I don't have the imagination to think of what to make on my own. But given a little push in the right direction I get there :-)

Susan, I have learned all about Cleo in my research so I did know all about her.

As for the African stranger well.....I found many plants claiming to be the African strangler. It seems to be a general term for a plant that just takes well as the African strangler there is the Indian strangler, Australian strangler etc.

I have a couple of commissions I need to complete then I plan on hitting the clay. I really need to sculpt something again and now my workshop is finished I am raring to go :-)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Na na na nah

Ladies and gents ... I introduce to you


the plant.

And just in case you haven't guessed where it is she is with her new owner...

Yup...this hot little beauty is on her way to Ara where she will reside in the conservatory of the Addams Family Mansion

Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc