Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Road trips

I don't seem to have a photo of the 1952 Pontiac that my grandparents bought for me during my Senior year in High School, but here is a similar one.  Mine was green.  It was huge and had that very handy running board but not those classy white walled tires or the spoke wheels.  Cruising along at 100 miles an hour was no problem at all with its powerful engine.  Of course it had no seat belts and did not compare to my grandparent's newest Cadillac which was very plush, but it was a car!  I could drive to school, make to the trip from Hobbs to Eunice to visit my friend and fellow artist, Jeffan Yell, cruise down the main street to see who else was out and about, and run errands for my grandparents. I looked forward to driving it to college the following year.  It certainly was a step up from the cars my parents had owned through the years of my childhood.  Not that those cars were not the very latest thing, but they did not have air conditioning.  

I remember many trips across the country to visit both my Mother's family in Maryland, my father's family in New Mexico, and a great-grandmother in Independence, MO as we were transferred from place to place while my Dad was in the Air Force.  Of course, because of the school year, these trips always happened in the hottest part of the summer.  My earliest memories included wet towels hung in the car windows to create cool breezes, a cooler full of ice to be renewed in a washcloth to hold against pulse points, and a water bag hung on the outside mirror to cool emergency water in case we broke down going through DEATH VALLEY.  I always thought the water was to pour in the radiator if it boiled over, but now know we would probably have saved it to drink ourselves.

Rest stops were few and far between and my impatient Dad would never stop at them anyway.  By the time we had spotted them and asked to stop, we were well beyond them and he would not turn around.  We were required to time bathroom breaks with filling station stops for gasoline.  To this day the Pegasus sign, though rarely seen now, represents a sense of relief and an icy cold coca cola, something I was usually not allowed to drink.

My grandmother and I took many road trips in her first Cadillac. Lordy, I did love that car.  I always felt important as we barreled along at 30 MPH over the posted speed limit (because it would go that fast so easily). When they sold this model for a newer one, I missed the fin tails!

Sometimes we would go to Santa Fe to visit my Godmother.  Sometimes to Tulsa to visit her sisters. Sometimes to Independence, MO. always arriving several hours before expected.  When I would remind my grandmother that we should call my grandfather and let him know we had arrived safely, she would glance at her watch and blithely say, "Oh we can call him in two hours,"  knowing full well he would have a fit if he knew how fast she had driven.

Last weekend, a friend and I took a road trip through Western Colorado on the way to visit my newest grandchild.  We enjoyed the incredible purple and yellow wildflowers set against the light blue skies and dark blue mountain ranges and we stopped in Buena Vista next to the Arkansas river for lunch.  I could not help thinking about how much more comfortable the trip was than those of my childhood. 

Eliza and Me
And of course, the arrival was so sweet!

I never did drive that Pontiac to college.  My grandfather decided it was not dependable enough and sold it.  Instead he and my grandmother took me to school and came and picked me up for holidays.  My parents had moved to Atlanta, Georgia in the middle of my senior year and left me with my grandparents in New Mexico so I could graduate with my class.  My father died that first spring semester of college and I inherited his 1966 Mustang convertible.  

Oddly, I cannot remember what color it was.  The following year, my sister and I shared it when we both transferred to UNM.  Eventually it was passed down to my brother and he killed it by not changing the oil.  So sad.  It was such a fun little car.  As I get older, I shudder to think of the speeds I used to love, although my daughters assure me that, like my grandmother, I still drive way too fast.  65 MPH does seem to be a little pokey on our long empty highways in the West.  And don't let me even start about how fast my husband take curves in his little WRX.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Baby Mandrakes Growing Apace

Today I am linking to Jane's "Flowers in the House" with the flowers that I created for my miniature version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Professor Sprouts greenhouse is being rebuilt and many new plants will soon be arriving by Owl Post. 

You can click (below) on older posts to see Dumbledore's office and Snapes Potions Lab.  Don't forget to visit Jane's blog to see some wonderful photos of cut flowers by visiting bloggers and the newest members of Jane's family..a pair of kittens.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Silver goblet winner!

Congratulations to Becky Rawls McDonald who won the little silver goblets.  She correctly guessed that the little blue pensieve pictured below is an antique eye wash container.  She shared that her grandmother had one.  Because Becky has a wonderful dollhouse and tons of miniatures that are currently in storage until a grandchild might want them, she does not actually want the goblets, so we will have another contest soon to give them away.  Thirty more of them are ready to go into the Great Hall which will be constructed one of these days...

Thanks to all who emailed with their guesses.  The cabinet for the pensieve is under way.  Here is the beginning....
And the movie version...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Uphostering a Wing Chair in Miniature & a Dollar Store Score!

How hard can it be to make a little wing chair?  Especially since I found a little kit at one of my favorite antique stores.  My sister was with me and she patiently checked to make sure all the pieces were included since the company that makes it is no longer in business and I could not order a new part.  Sure enough, one of the legs was missing.  Well how hard can it be to carve a new little leg?  Really, really hard! However, I soldiered on and glued up the frame.

Next up was cutting and gluing on the leather to the seat.  After several attempts with a little piece of "pleather".  I decided I would buy a chair instead.  Off to Esty to discover I was going to have to spend at least $40 on a wing chair.  Yikes, maybe Snape could have a kitchen chair in his office!  

On to other projects, like building four lab tables for the Potions classroom.  Browsing at the Dollar Store, I found these little tables for $1.00 each. 

They are not quite big enough, but cutting a new larger top will be much easier than making, from scratch, four tables.  And of course painting them will help as well.
And that little Chippendale wing chair?  

Well, I located some paper that looked like leather and found it much easier to work with, so here it is.
 Several bad words where uttered making this little beauty and I just have to admit that $40 no longer sounds like too much to charge.  I wouldn't sell this one at all!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Beauxbaton Academy of Magic and Durmstrang School of Wizardry Arriving!

Professor Snape has complained to the Hogwarts's architect (that would be me) that his potions classroom could not possibly handle the imminent influx of students when pupils from the Beauxbaton Academy of Magic and the Durmstrang School of Wizardry join the Hogwarts Student body for the Tri-Wizard Tournament.

So the house elves are busy at demolition to expand the potions classroom into the adjacent chamber.  Professor Snape was preparing his syllabus in the Great Hall, when much to his annoyance and everyone's, Neville, who is spending the summer at Hogwarts, once again let his cauldron overflow. Snape has informed Neville that he might consider giving up Potions altogether.

Meanwhile at Hogwarts, the new greenhouse for Professor Sprout is almost complete after the unfortunate incident involving a plant that exhibited a decided preference for wood rather than it's usual meat.  No one realized it was eating the support posts until one side of the greenhouse collapsed.  Here is a sneak preview of the new greenhouse
Most of the plants died when their pots broke and no one discovered the devastation for two days.  Fortunately two of the baby mandrakes survived.   Professor Sprout is recovering nicely from her hysteria.  Chocolate was administered immediately for shock.  Neville has volunteered to help restore order.  Check back soon to see the greenhouse fill up... as plant cuttings begin to arrive by Owl Post.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fantasy, Foamcore, and Fun...AND A CONTEST!

Dumbledore's office is almost complete!  

It needs a lot more little books to fill in the shelves of his library. 

The little chandelier needs to be hung... 

Finishing the phoenix for the bird stand is a priority because Fawkes is so important to the story...

Still need to print and frame the portraits of former headmasters.
Portraits I cot out of an old art book which I intended to use before finding the great images below on line.

And I haven't yet figured out how to make the cabinet for the Pensieve.

Here is a photo of a fabulous Pensieve that a crafter made and was selling on Esty.  It is sold (thank heavens since I am not married to Bill Gates or anyone else that would not question $175 for one miniature item for my Hogwarts.)

My version of the pensieve

Contest Details:  The first person to identify what the blue part of the Pensieve was originally used for wins a set of six miniature silver goblets.  You may either use the comment box below or send me an email.

Set of six miniature silver goblets could be yours!. 1-12" scale.

Clearly the fantasy part of this post is the World of Harry Potter.  I confess to being a fan!  Every summer I am transfigured into Professor Minerva McGonagle for the Harry Potter camp at Camp Stoney.  Too bad, I cannot actually make myself a different size so that I could sit at Dumbledore's desk.

The Foamcore part of this post is the primary construction material used for this project.  You can paint it, press designs into it, cut it with an exacto knife (only a very sharp new blade works, however) and glue it together with white glue.  Because my project will be several stories tall, I did glue some wood support posts here and there to give it extra rigidity. 

 And the fun?  Self-explanatory to my artist friends!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dumbledore's Desk in Miniature

Having completed the Potions classroom, I am moving on to Dumbledore's office.  I started the project by looking at photo's of his desk and looking at the materials that I had on hand, and came up with a design that uses painted panels to simulate the carving on the desk.  Here is the desk from the movies.

And here is another image

Photo by Lindsey Brown via Flicker

The front of my desk before assembly...

 Not quite finished, but couldn't resist a few accessories to see how
 it would look.  Off to purchase an Ott light for my old eyes that not see the tiny areas of missing gold last night.

And of course Dumbdore will need a chair!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

One Things Leads to Another in a Small, Small World

My sister, Rosalind gave me a box of miniature slate tiles for the front porch of the dollhouse.  Rats, not enough!  Casting about for a way to use them, I arranged them on a piece of cardboard. Still not enough...

So I looked for a mosaic to use for the center and (gasp!) cut it out of one of my art books.  Okay, here is a floor, but it still doesn't fit in the dollhouse, but it is very cool.  How could I use it?  Maybe a Hogwarts miniature potions classroom.  So better make some walls...rock perhaps to go with the slate?

And, of course, more Byzantine art work to fill the arched doors.

How did I make the stones?   With a foam meat tray.  These are from Costco and held wild salmon. Yum!  Unfortunately, after washing, they still smelled a little of fish, so I re-washed them with Dr. Bonner's Peppermint Soap which I use for hand soap, to wash clothes on river trips, and anything else that smells really bad.  We buy it by the gallon and refill all our containers.  
Available at REI and most drugstores.  Also comes in Lavender. 

Cut off the edges so you have a flat piece.  Then draw the stones by pressing firmly with the end of a paint brush.

Then paint it to match your decor.  I chose gray to go with the slate.  It would look even better if you filled the lines with grout.  However I was anxious to get on with "stuff" for the potions classroom.

Here is the room...
The flash make the walls look blue, but they are really gray.  Don't you love the little mini skeleton which I picked up at the Dollar Store as part of a garland.  Think that Michael's and Hobby Lobby carry them as well.  Or if you can't find one, email me and I will send you one of the five left on the garland.

And the room with laboratory "stuff"...
I have not been able to find much in the way of miniature supplies in Albuquerque, but here are my sources...

Potion Bottles - Hobby Lobby
Miniature books - Hobby Lobby
Small scale balsa to make the shelves - Hobby Lobby
Jewelry findings - Michael's
Small chess pieces, chest, table and owl - Vintage Market and Design on Lomas.
I have picked up a few other items for future projects as well. 

I am still searching for the perfect little Snape's doll to keep order in this vignette.  If you know of a doll maker who could help, let me know.