Tuesday, August 31, 2010


In this watercolour from some years ago, the Lab is enjoying the ripples of water as they gently wash against him. Life can be a little like that too, I think.
I recently had the opportunity to do something thoughtful for someone who had been very much the opposite to me in the past. When the request came, my first inclination was to brush it off . . ."Not in this lifetime, Cookie!" But then I began to think about it. Was I going to withhold the little thing that was being asked of me because I really didn't want to do it, or was I saying no out of revenge? It bothered me that I was heading into revenge territory, so much so, that I did as I was asked. I didn't expect anything in return, and there was nothing I wanted. I just didn't want to do something (or not do it) out of vengeance. My spirits lifted immediately.
And the person wanting the little favour . . .did they respond by doing something nice for me in return? Not on your Nellie! :-0. BUT .... since then, one by one, good things have been rippling into my life. Good friends reaffirming friendship, new friends entering my life, spontaneous good times, little kindnesses dropping out of the blue, a pick up in business after last year's tough economy, better health, and moments of quiet peace. When you take the high road, the universe rewards.
Now if something like this comes up again, I can say no, knowing I'm saying it for the right reasons.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mini Monday - back stairs and floors

Just a little slice of an image today, but it was a lot of work. I wanted to have a washing machine/dryer in my little house, but it was a problem where to put it. There really wasn't room in the bathroom, but if I use a European all in one machine, it will fit in one corner of the studio. The problem was that the residents of my little house would have to cart laundry downstairs and through the whole house to get it there. So I came up with the idea of a back stairway built into the imagined thick walls of the "old" house. I painted two images of stairs, one going down and one going up, glued them onto the walls one above the other, then made simple doors that you can barely see because they are both open in the photo. So there will be a laundry hamper in the bathroom with the machine downstairs.
This whole arrangement has changed a bit since this photo was taken, as I literally painted myself into a problem and I had to take these pieces off and move them over a bit. But it is still essentially the same.
This past week, I took some time to restain the bathroom floor a darker colour, as the room was going to be too blah with the white tile, white tub, sink, etc, and the pale floor. The floor fits in the pink area in the photo. I also did the main upper floor for the bedroom, hall, and library in wide planks (craft sticks) and the same dark stain. Actually, I use acrylic paint, as the smell of stain is harmful to me. The paint looks good when it is put on as a translucent glaze and then given a coat of shiny acrylic medium.
The next thing I will do is the ceiling on the livingroom and dining room (the underside of the newly completed floor of course). Once that section is installed, I will move on to the roof. This is getting exciting!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Mini Monday - tinkering with the Bathroom

Yesterday, I decided that the pale wood floor in the bathroom was going to be too bland against the white tile and light blue walls. When it's time to add the white tub and other fixtures, the whole room was going to be totally underwhelming. So I sanded the floor and repainted it a deeper oak colour that will add strength and drama to the room - I hope.
Today I want to show you the bathroom window as well. I apologize for the poor quality of the photo, but this seems to be as good as it gets with this one. I decided I needed a Stained Glass window in the bathroom, so started looking around for a fantasy image I liked. I found it on a needlepoint vest that I own, so I laid it flat, photographed it from above, judicously cropped the photo, and printed it on window cling acetate. Then I set it into the bathroom window and there you are. I love this image with all it's fairy tale colours and the big white horse, but I see it a bit differently than many people do. To me, it isn't the defenseless maiden being rescued by the all wise and powerful hero . . . .I see it as the lady rescuing Mr. Macho who has got himself into a pickle. Then, after finding out where he is, riding to the rescue, and talking the dragon into letting the guy go, she is exhausted, so the least he can do is drive home! But that's just my quirky mind :-0

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mini Monday - bathroom

Mini Monday is a little late today, as we had quite a flood to contend with in our real life size house after the severe rain storm we had on Saturday night, Sunday morning. We were still recovering from the clean up today.
When I go somewhere, I want to be assured that there is indoor plumbing and a decent looking bathroom. Pathetic I know, but I have very low Euww factor. Therefor, the very first thing I got going on the mini house interior was the bathroom. I love the ocean, so I decided on an ocean theme for this room. The walls are a strong blue and actually have just a hint of green(that doesn't show up in this photo) I used a craft paper for this, and the lower walls are board and batten on one side, and on the side you can't see, a white faux tile made from a strong, low gloss craft paper. I was thinking of the water with the white foam-tipped waves. I included a second door leading to a painted staircase that leads to the studio where there will be a washer/dryer combination. I've got to keep my Mini people neat and clean! I will give you a tour of those stairs and doors at a later time. Also for another time, is the painted bathroom door and the stained glass window in the room. I'm just finishing and installing the floor, done from small craft sticks and glossed to look like pale oak. I didn't want tile on the floor because I prefer the feel of wood on my bare feet. As if my foot would fit in that bathroom :-0

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Poppy - Belgian Sheepdog

The Belgian Sheepdog wears several different coats, this black one being the handsome Groenendael. These intelligent, beautiful dogs served in war time as guard dogs and Red Cross dogs, and now they excel at Agility.
A black dog is a challenge to paint, and I have enjoyed the challenge of painting this fellow in watercolour. Poppy is an 8 x 10 watercolour on Arches 140 hot press watercolour paper.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mini-Monday - Front Door

Hope everyone's Monday is off to a good start. Today I'm showing you the front door of the Mini-House. One's front door says a lot about the people who live in the house - it's sort of the welcoming committee to anyone approaching, so the front door has to make a statement.
I decided I wanted a solid, traditional door with a touch of elegance. Naturally, the door that went with the doll house kit just wasn't right, so I set about doing my own door. Ignorance is bliss.
I settled on a door with a curved top and a stained glass window. What was I thinking?!!! I cut out a square door to fit the doorway opening, and then cut the curve out of that. Before I left this step, I cut a window into the door. To make the frame for the door, I had to do the side pieces and the curved top pieces to fit the door. I used a light wood to do this - the sort of stuff you find in hobby shops. It's not at all decent wood, but at this stage, it is what I am comfortable working with. It took several tries to get it right, and about the time I was ready to scream and abandon the project, I got something I felt I could use.
Next, I cut and glued "boards" to one side of the door to make it look more substantial and to give it an older look. It was hard getting the wooden pieces I used to fit to the curve at the top, but eventually it more or less came together.
The window was next. I cut a tiny piece of clear plastic (saved from packaging) to fit the window frame, then painted daffodils down the middle (on the back of the plastic) for the stained glass effect. It was glued along the edged to the front of the window so that you see the painted daffs through the plastic. I glued a matching piece of clear plastic to the back of the window, and then framed both sides.
The door was given a bit of carving - not one of my strong points, at least so far, and then painted to resemble mahogany. The last steps were to make a "brass" door handle out of a bit of twist tie painted gold and to glue a foot plate - a bit of shiny gold ribbon, at the bottom. Then I attached the door to the frame with paper hinges.
The surround was made from built up wood painted grey and the bas-relief over the door, stating the year the house was built (1575), the Tudor roses, the initial of the knight (T for Thorn) and his crest - a wolf's head, was done in clay, then baked, painted, and glued in place. The doorstep is a piece of tile that I bought at the DIY store.
No part of this little house is perfect. I've seen perfect miniatures, and I marvel at them. I am going to do things as best I can at this stage and enjoy the creativity rather than aim for perfecting one item at a time. I could spend years attempting that, and look at the fun I'd miss!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mini Monday - Bricks & Mortar

Monday again, and another installment of my Mini adventures. I decided I wanted my house to be built of brick, a building medium that was just coming into vogue in the late Tudor era. To achieve this, I painted a sheet of mat board with several layers of various brick colours ( acrylics) until I got a pinkish brick that I liked. Then I set it aside while I painted the bare wooden house pieces with a coat of gesso, and then a pale grey.
I decided to start with the foundation stones at the bottom, and to make them, I cut out pieces of mat board in appropriate shapes and sizes, covered each one with glue, and them smushed bits of paper towel into/onto the surface to create a rough texture. After letting them dry, I painted them first in grey acrylic, and then sponged on a mix of light ochre and pale grey. When they were totally dry, I glued them onto the base of the walls.
Now it was time to cut and past each individual brick into place. This took HOURS! Days!! As you can see, the house is in three sections. There were times I lost the rhythm of the lines of brick and had to remove a row and start again. I began to wonder who's bright idea it was to do a brick house before I had finished gluing that last brick in place.
I added some grey mortar between the bricks that was a mix of grey paint stiffened with some glue, but it was not as successful as I had hoped. Still not sure the best way this could be done, but I decided that what I have is fine until I learn a better way.
Then I put the kit windows together, painted the frames black, added "leaded" window clings to the "glass" and popped them into the window frames.
Now it was time for the decorative trim around the main front window and the door, and for the door itself, but you will have to check in next week to find out how I did that.