Monday, November 2, 2020

The Future is Open


This might look empty to you, but it's a harbinger of great things to come in the future. Soon. Like, 2021. I've had enough of living in The Co-Void already.

The project started in my imagination when I saw these in a wholesaler's warehouse two years ago. They were hideously expensive but I coveted them from the moment I set eyes on the boxes. In January, the company had a closing down sale and six were left, priced to go. A bit battered but still sturdy and at $2 per box, you can't buy the materials to construct your own.

I feel a cat-like attraction to hollow things. My thinking isn't 'Will my bum fit?' though, it's 'What can I put in there?'. These boxes were screaming miniature display.

The first order of the day was getting rid of Michael Jackson.

It needed many layers of paint but eventually, I could say, 'Bye-bye Michael'. This happened in June; you can see that we're in the middle of winter and the garden is quite dull. It was also the middle of lockdown here in South Africa and I had nothing to do except to watch paint dry.

Next, I made some neat liners for the box and the lid. Being unable to scoot out to the craft shop for inspiration, I found a wallpaper sample on the internet, rescaled and tiled in Word, and printed it on ordinary paper in grayscale.

I added some little shelves and sealed all the surfaces with matt varnish for durability.

Fast forward a few weeks and back to the exterior of the boxes. I glued Velcro to the spines and outside edges of each box.

This way, many boxes can become one. 

Stood on its side and opened up, I have 80cm x 90cm of display area with 36 little shelves the perfect size on which to display miniatures.

It breaks down in less than a minute and stores in a box light-weight and ready to transport to a show. Now all I need is a miniature show. And stock. And customers would be nice.

I hope that you're doing what you need to do to stay safe and that this year hasn't been terribly unkind to you. My heart goes out to the people I'm in contact with remotely who have suffered everything from misfortune to outright tragedy in the last few months. I carry your sadness with me and I think of you every day.

Personally, I've never experienced so many awful things crammed into such a short time. My family has been visited by setbacks, sickness, and death and it's been a trial for all of us but I will tell you about it in another post.

Right now all I can say is that despite the hardship, I'm being extraordinarily creative and productive. I'm studying, experimenting, making things. 

I'm looking forward to a day when life can move forward and I can start growing again instead of lying dormant waiting for this season to pass. I hope that on the day when you see this display bursting with miniatures at a show, you will celebrate with me. Even if we have to wear a mask and hugs are not allowed. The way we do things needs to change but humanity is robust; we can hold on to hope and adapt. We're going to get through this!

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Time and a Little Dust

I've always done my own cleaning so I don't miss the bed-making fairy. What I have never done, is to measure the length of time between cleaning something and the next time I do it. I imagine that for me, it's a mindless process like an animal sets up its burrow in a comfortable way.
With the world in Lockdown, many things seem to have become a count-down. On Friday, we reached day 50 here in South Africa. The regulations are as draconian and ridiculous as ever but I'm still happy in my blanket fort.
What I have noticed, is that little piles of stuff I was going to sort and put away seven weeks ago are still in the same place, with maybe a slightly more substantial sprinkling of dust. Projects I started with gusto are stalled, and they've been joined by many more beginnings of something promising that petered out. Where does the time go?

All is not doldrums though; I'm working on a new batch of little houses and they're fun.

I've completed another (hopefully final) batch of cloth face masks. Unless the pandemic continues until they wear out.

Some things don't stop growing even in winter. On Friday, Henning and I gave each other a haircut at the Doornkloof East Open Air Salon. Note the dustbin bag and clothespin ensemble. We run a classy establishment here.

I hope you're well and keeping sane in an increasingly disturbing world. Remember that in the game of rock, paper, scissors, a level head tops what the scaremongers and the politicians say, every time.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Uh Oh, Blogger is Broken

Since the second week of April, I've had various issues with Blogger. From not being able to log in, to not being able to comment on posts, to images disappearing from posts. My blog statistics have plummeted and I'm feeling exceedingly grumpy.
I'm not the only one; thousands of bloggers are picketing Google and the people at Blogger are dodging us without answering. Here's their latest non-communication:

If you see a minus sign instead of an image, you can read it HERE.
I love Blogger and I feel sentimental about it because it's the first place where I started seriously writing. However, if the problem persists, I'm going to ask you to move over to the Wordpress blog which I set up as a backup a while ago when I heard disturbing rumours about the future of Blogger.
Let's see what happens in the next few days, I really hope that it will blow over.

In the meantime, I hope that you're staying safe during the lockdown and adhering to the rules in your country. Here in South Africa, we're still under total lockdown and haven't left the house in more than a month. I'm happy to report that we're healthy, our state of mind is good, and apart from worry about how our future will be affected, we are well.

I'm maintaining a wholesome routine and working on various projects. All in all, it's a good time for self-care and reflection.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Soft Landing

I've met many people who start a project and work on it exclusively until it's finished. They build a puzzle, crochet a blanket, make jam, whatever. But they won't start with the next thing until they finished the one before. All I can say is that their homes must stay very tidy during this pandemic and I envy them.
Even at the end of the world as we know it, my habits remain unchanged. I'm sculpting, sewing, painting, writing, casting silicone all at once and all over the place. And when I'm not busy with that, I'm gardening, spring cleaning, working with tarantulas, doing ballet with a kitchen chair for a barre.
The upside of this is that I'm never bored. In fact, I have so many projects on the go that I often find things that I left half-finished and feel excited to rediscover them and carry on.
The downside is that it can sometimes be a long while before I finally see the fruits of my labour and I tend to lose track of time. There are people out there who are writing a lockdown count-down so that they can tell their grandchildren all about what they were doing when the big bad virus threatened the world. Someone reminded me that today is day eleven of the South African stay-at-home order and that we're halfway through it already. My reaction was, 'Whaaaaat, I haven't even started with half the things I had planned'! So, if time is dragging for you, my recommendation is that you take your mind off it by starting a few more projects.

For me, one thing often leads to another. I made a whole lot of cloth face masks (yes, western countries are finally starting to adopt the idea that we will be wearing them in public spaces for the foreseeable future) and I ended up with a pile of postage-stamp-sized fabric offcuts. Many had pretty pictures or interesting patterns on them and I was wondering what I could make with such small pieces? Dollhouse cushions, of course! So, the ironing board and the sewing machine are still standing around and I've made more than 100 cushions so far. It's a bit addictive. Heaven knows what I will do with them all.

If you want to make some dollhouse cushions of your own, I highly recommend the tutorial on Jessica Cloe's blog. Here are pictures of some of my favourites so far. I soldered the wrought-iron day bed a while ago and when I took it out to use as a photo prop, it made me think I should heat up the soldering iron and make a few more...
Wishing you soft landings in the coming week.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Every Breath You Take

Mr. Blueye Bonehead Modeling a Cloth Face Mask
I haven't finished the birdbath yet, but I'm getting there.
Yesterday, I took time out from crafts to sew reusable cloth face masks for my family. I searched the internet for patterns and after testing a few, decided on the one offered for free at CraftPassion. You only need a small piece of cotton fabric and some elastic and it's all sewn by machine so it's quick to make.
What I love most about it, is that it's fully reversible and comfortable to wear. Whenever I go out on a supply run, I've been using my N95 mask which I usually only put on when spray-painting or sanding resin. Apart from being overkill, it's hot and cumbersome. These funky cloth masks are much more practical and stylish.
I'm not going to preach in this post. All I'm saying is that if you don't wear a barrier mask when you go out during the coming months, you're more stupid than Mr. Bonehead!

When I asked my husband to choose fabric for his mask, he said the 'camo' pattern looked most practical. Haha, shall we tell him it's actually teddy bears?

Wishing you all a safe and peaceful week. I'm going back to the birdbath now.