Friday, May 28, 2010

Contrasts Are So Cool

The Greenleaf Spring Fling 2010 contest is drawing to an end this weekend and this is the part that I love the best.  The eye candy is always awesome but my favorite part is seeing how one kit can be interpreted in so many ways.  I'm fascinated by the way creative minds work and seeing these types of contrasts is truly exciting for me.  I get all twitterpated when I see the very same kit representing complete polar opposites.

This is the kit as released by Greenleaf:

The entries are still coming in but some of the participants have already posted pictures for us to see and this morning I was just blown away about two of them in particular because of my love of contrasts.  Check these out:

This first one is a super modern beach house done by Chris (what2craftnow).  

Isn't that just the coolest modern house ever!  There is absolutely nothing rustic about this house at all.  It's smooth and sleek and divinely chic.  I love all the glass detailing that Chris used to give it so much sparkle.  Click on this link to see the other pictures and you'll be thrilled with all the details that bring it to life.   The architectural features like the sliding glass doors, the cantilevered stairs leading down into the sunken living room and the skylights are so elegant.  The vision that Chris had of this house is so different from the original kit and it's that kind of creative thinking that fascinates me so much.

Grab hold of your chair because this next one is as different as north from south but it's every bit as amazing.  This ghost town ranch house was done by Brae (Otterine) and has had me in a state of ecstasy ever since I saw it.

Go check out the rest of the pictures of this hauntingly beautiful work in Brae's gallery here.   I have a passion for aged minis and for ghost towns, so looking at these pictures has had me literally saying "oooooooooh" and "aaaaaaaaaaaah" and "omg, that's perfect!".  The aging and distressing of the wood and other features of the house are done so wonderfully well that it's hard to believe this is a mini.  Every tiny detail is perfectly realistic.

But the most intriguing aspect is the dramatic difference between Brae's interpretation of the kit and that of Chris.  Doesn't it just make your brain dance around in joy to see the wonderful workings of the creative mind?  This is the kind of thing that simply delights me as an artisan and it's why I love these contests so much.  

The contest doesn't close until Monday so there will be tons more pictures and entries yet to come.  The winner won't be announced  until mid-June but most of the entrants will be posting pictures of their creations in their Greenleaf galleries.   You'll want to pop into the main gallery from time to time and see who has updated their albums with their Spring Fling 2010 pictures.  

I'm looking forward to the announcement of the winners and really don't envy the judges their job at all.  Greenleaf will send out an official email announcement as well as it being announced on the Greenleaf forum when the winners are chosen.  In the meantime, I'm going to go back to the galleries and contemplate the wonder of creative contrasts.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Dollhouse Hall of Fame

I'm so excited!  I keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming, (which really hurts but no one said reality checks weren't painful).

The first fabulous bit of news is that the Dollhouse Hall of Fame is opening in Cooperstown, NY soon.  The second fabulous bit of news is that I'm in it!    How's that for exciting news!  You can see why I have to keep pinching myself because it just doesn't seem like it can be happening to me.  I was all happy when I heard about it and about two weeks later I called up one a dear friend of mine who is also going to be in the DHOF and said, "OMG, I just realized that I'm an inductee!  I am an inductee, aren't I?  Holy cow, I am!  OMG, I think I'm gonna faint".      I've never been real quick on the uptake but this really took awhile to sink in.

Wow!!  I'm in a hall of fame which is beyond anything I'd ever dreamed of, but to be in the Dollhouse Hall of Fame is enough to make me cry with happiness.   Dollhouses are my whole world.  They've brought me more joy and happiness than anything else I've ever known and to be included in something as wonderful as the DHOF is, well, it's pretty awesome.

There will be a big screen TV running a video display of my dollhouses in the museum and the gift shop will carry some of my dressed furniture and beds and hidden fairy houses.  I've been working on getting some new stuff made for them and I'll add the pictures in just a few minutes.   I think that I'm going to send my C'est Si Bon french cafe to go on display in the museum after I get it re-landscaped to travel.

The DHOF is located in Cooperstown, NY which I think is a stroke of sheer genius because that's where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located.  Stop and consider that for a minute and you'll see what I mean.  {pausing} {listening to the sound of evil chuckling from across the country}  Yep, you figured it out.  How easy would it be to say, "Honey, I know how much you've always wanted to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame. Let's just do it! Let's go to Cooperstown for our vacation this summer."  {cackle}  Hell, you'll be halfway home from New York before the light of dawning comprehension will come across his face as he gives you a suspicious look and says, "Heeeeeeyyyyyyy............"   hehehehehehehehe  The main thing is that you'll both have had a terrific vacation. Hubs will go home happy at having visited the baseball mecca and you'll go home thrilled with having been to the Dollhouse Hall of Fame.    Here's the link for their website (just getting set up) so you can start planning your vacation now. 

Oh, I was going to show you some of the new things I made for the gift shop.  Hang on and let me get the pictures.

This is the Golden Leopard bed.  The fabrics are all silks and it positively glows with energy.

Then there's "Roses at Midnight", black silks and satins with jet beads and gold tassels.  I love it!

This "Spring Garden Bedroom" is one is my favorites because I love doing silk ribbon embroidery.  The embroidery is an original design and it's surrounded by delicate seed pearls.  The layers of lace are hand appliqued.  I decided to go with a full bedroom set of furniture for this one because it's too pretty not to have matching furniture. 

I'd been holding this fabric back for something special.  This is the Blue Delft Floral Victorian Parlor.  The pillows are made of a navy blue textured silk that's out of this world.  Wouldn't this set be gorgeous in a room with a blue delft fireplace?   I bought up enough of this fabric to do several projects because finding coordinating furniture for a blue delft room isn't easy.  I lovingly set the rest of it back for custom orders.

These other two are new but not going to the DHOF.   One is a red and gold modern living room set that has already found a home in an awesomely cool Tennyson and the "Sweet Daisy Mae" bed will be going up on Etsy real soon.  

I've been really into furniture lately!  I'm finishing an order this week and then I'm going to have a little fun with some Wedgewood blue fabric and an oak parlor set and then see what else I can do with some beds.   In fact, I think I'll head to the studio now.  I just had to pop in and share some good news with y'all!  Grab a map and start planning your trip to Cooperstown!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Doin' the half scale happy dance (and a quilt show report)

By this time next week, I should be in half scale heaven.  I couldn't resist those sweet little houses.  Every single one of them is calling my name so I don't know which one I'll build first.  The Chantilly is being chatty already and I think she's going to want something very special but I'm not sure what it will be yet.  I'll wait till they arrive and we'll have some quality time together before I decide.  All I know is that I must build one of those sweethearts immediately!

As some of you know, my best friend of 31 years came up from Oklahoma this weekend and we went to the annual quilt show here in Denver.  It's sort of a tradition for us and we always have a great time.  This year was no exception.  There was a beautiful display of all sorts of quilts.  One of the most interesting was a panoramic wall quilt of a quilt show.  Yep, it was exactly how it sounds.  The artist had created several mini quilts and put them together in one panoramic piece, then added people in front of them.  The detailing was incredible.  The display curtains were left free on the bottom and sides so you could see the poles holding them up.   Some of the people in the quilt were taking pictures and the artist had put micro quilts on the back of the cameras so you could see what they were taking a picture of.   When we walked up to that display, there was a line of people standing in front of it and it truly created the most incredible visual effect of people looking at a quilt of people looking at quilts.  It took my eyes a minute to adjust!  As a miniaturist, this was definitely my favorite piece in the show because it was such a cool mini scene.   Even more fun is that we happened to come up when the artist was there and got to talk to her a little bit.  She shared some of the motivation behind bits and pieces of the quilt which was fascinating.

After we'd gone thru the show and had a bite of lunch, we headed for the vendors.  We were prepared with tote bags and boy, did we need them!!  Kathy found some beautiful fabrics that were perfect for a couple of projects she has coming up.  She also bought a state-of-the-art iron that does everything but wash windows.  We both did some stash enhancing.  When I saw a vendor selling Caryl Bryer Fallert fabric in 6"x44" rolls, I made a beeline for them!  These are ombre solids in the most mouthwatering and vibrant colors.  If you've never seen her work, drop in here and take a look.  You can see why I was so delighted to find her distinctive fabrics in just the right size cuts for what I need and I came away with 14 different rolls in all colors of the rainbow.  There will be some beautiful minis made from these fabrics!!  The hardest part is cutting into it for the first time.  It's such pretty fabric that I almost want to leave it whole so I can just sit and look at it.

We had planned on going to the mall on Sunday but the quilt show was a little more tiring than expected so we settled for going to the Great American Quilt Factory so Kathy could look for the one fabric she hadn't been able to find at the show.  It was a lucky decision because she found something even better that is going to be gorgeous in her wall hangings.  While she was matching swatches, I pillaged the remnants and fat quarter racks and came home with a dozen more teeny prints.  I think my biggest treasure of the whole weekend was finding a piece of fabric in an almost perfect Wedgewood blue with a delicate white floral spray design.  I've already matched it up with a pristine white fairy frost and it will be a beautiful parlor set soon.

Oh, I almost forgot!  One of the vendors was selling glass nail files.   We had to go check them out and you should have seen the look on her face when I asked her if they worked on wood.  *cackle*  She gave me the strangest look!!  I explained what I do and she understood a little bit better but still seemed to think it was an odd question.  However after looking at them closely, I decided to give it a try and bought a set of three.  I tried one out on a bit of scrap wood when I got home and it works wonderfully well!  The vendor had said that the glass seals the edges of what it's filing which is what made me think it would work on wood and it does!  I had nice smooth edges with minimal work.  Now that's a great find!

The weekend wouldn't be complete without good food and we definitely had that!  On Friday night Kathy and I went to our favorite chinese place where we can sit in a back corner and they'll feed us the best chinese food while we talk.  On Saturday we went to Olive Garden after the show and had a nice italian dinner and on Sunday I took Kathy to Rosie's Diner which is like a trip back in time.  It's an old railroad car diner complete with neon lights, a counter with stools, a bubbler jukebox and little juke boxes in the booths.  The food is just as retro and it's some of the best home cooking in the whole city.  All in all, it was a perfect weekend!

The newest update on the medical front is that I saw the endocrinologist at the University hospital this morning and she had a few surprises for me.   I told her about my endocrine history with some hesitation since every single doctor I've seen has told me that I must be full of shit because those things could never happen.  This doctor listened and said that it's definitely not normal, but situations like mine have been documented.  She also gave me a good explanation about why things had gone so bad when they took me off the meds I'd been on for 14 years.  I found myself nodding when she talked because she was giving me logical and informative reasons for some of the mysteries I've been facing...........things that other doctors have blown off as all in my head.

The biggest surprise was when she told me that my thyroid is actually two inches lower in my throat than where it should be!  This explains a whole lot!!!  It's lodged under my collarbone on the right side.  Now I've been telling doctors for the past two years that I have excruciating pain in my right collarbone, especially when I sleep on my right side or raise my right arm.  It makes sense that it would hurt like hell since it crushes my thyroid into the bone when I do.  *begin rant* For two years doctors have been telling me that the pain couldn't possibly be related to the thyroid at all.  I'd like to go tell each and every one of them that we're going to shove one of their testicles up under their hip bone and see how they feel.  *end rant*  I'm sorry for being so graphic but that's pretty much the equivalent of what I've been living with because they didn't notice that my thyroid might not be in the same place where they saw thyroids in pictures when they took Anatomy 101.

It occurred to me on the way home that this could be a lot of the problem with why my fibromyalgia is always in flare since there's a fibro pressure point in the same location.  I'll talk to my rheumatologist about that the next time I see her, but this could definitely be that "underlying cause" that has contributed to so much fibro pain.  And since the symptoms of fibromyalgia and Graves Disease are so much alike, it could definitely be why it's seemed like my thyroid has been the culprit.  In a way it is, but it's because of the size and location, not the hormone levels.  

Anyway, the new endo, Dr S., said that my thyroid is twice the normal size which by textbook definitions wouldn't cause the breathing and pain problems *except* for the fact that it's not where it's supposed to be!  In its current location, it can definitely cause the breathing and circulation issues and the pain.   She's going to arrange for me to have some pulmonary tests done first to determine exactly what's causing my oxygen saturation problems and she said that after she gets those tests she'll probably consult with a surgeon about getting rid of this mess.  (if there are any pulmonary issues, those will have to be stabilized first)  She said we need to consider the future as well as the present because there's nothing that can be done to stop the growth of the nodules.  The good news is that she's pretty sure they were wrong about the microcalcifications being cancer.  She wants to get actual copies of the pictures from my ultrasounds to be sure but she said it seems like it's probably crystallizations of thyroid hormones instead.  That sets my mind at ease a little bit, but she said that it's still like having a time bomb in my throat.  When I asked how long I have to live like this before something is done, she said that she'd do everything she could to make sure it wasn't much longer.  

I've been thru too many bitter disappointments to allow myself to be too optimistic, but as always, I'm hopeful.  And this doctor has given me a little more confidence that she knows what she's doing and will try to make things right.

So, a new doctor, a great weekend with my best friend, new fabric to play with and half scale dollhouse kits on the way!  Life is good!!