The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.”
― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
Ah, the Dog Days of Summer -that comfortable sultry time when Sirius rises at the same time as the sun, or so I am told. Today is the last actual day of the the dog days for the Northern Hemisphere. There are signs already that summer is slowly packing a bag, in anticipation of heading back from whence it came, leaving us with that feeling that it was just not here long enough. I blame July for the let down that is about to arrive. July kisses us with such passion and urgency that it makes us fall head over heels in love with summer, and we expect that first blush of love will never end. But it does, and August is here to let us down gently.
Tonight, too, is a special night, in that the stars are putting on a show - the Perseid meteor shower dances through the sky, reminding us the universe isn't always all about us*. Hopefully you are in a place where you can see the sky - sadly I can't, because of the nagging little thundershowers plaguing my evening, but somewhere, there is a clear sky and someone gasping in awe, someone realizing just how Van Gogh must have seen things all of the time and feeling the magic of the universe in which we live.
*there will always be those who don't believe it isn't all about them, but we can usually discount them as twits.
Back here on earth, I am reminded this week also of a solid and implacable truth of the universe - if your house is in total disarray, you will have not one, but two sets of visitors, arriving within a week or two of each other. I am in the process of rearranging my craft room, which was momentarily a guest room, but the transplant failed and the guests will just have to make due as they have always done when they visit me, and I am madly racing the clock to get things done. Usually if my house is a good demonstration of the aftermath of a tornado, it is my own doing and I had fun making it happen - this time I am a victim of circumstances - a magical mystical creature was supposed to visit .... the "carpet guy". This is a promise made 3 months ago, and of course something "always comes up" - this time it is my patience, or more precisely, lack of, and they can wait until I am good and ready, not the other way around. I am reasonably sure that when I am knee deep in visitors this unicorn will come to call, but as I have been waiting 3 months, to that I say fie. You heard me. Fie! One does wonder why it is okay to let someone live in an uncomfortable manner for so long at their leisure, but if these individuals were asked to do the same, but if they were asked the same they would be all indignant at the very idea (see above comment about twits). So Mr. Unicorn-smart-pants can just stay away, I have better things to do. Or at least more pressing things to do. Life will out.
I did, of course, manage to do a little work on my projects, and specifically my wine room. Part of that work was to order some lovely items from Karen Benson, (okay, not "really" work, per say, although it was difficult to stop ordering...whee!) which should be arriving in the next week or so, barring any silly shenanigans by the Canadian Postal Service, etc. Sometimes I just don't feel like re-inventing the wheel or tracking down the raw materials with which I can "bash" into something suitable, so I purchased a couple of wine bottle kits (1/4 scale), amongst other items.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch...
I made a "light fixture" (not electrified, mind you) - This is in fact two scrap book "edgings", a flat bead spacer, and a bead.
I also worked on my wine racks proper. I tried a number of different approaches to the racks, and I finally settled on rounded shelves. The bottle slots started life as a strip of paper that was glued around a dowel.
I spaced the wine slots with wooden shelves. I also finished another sconce, which I think turned out splendidly.
The wine holders, painted. My insert and floor is not glued down, in case you are wondering - I still have to think about what I will put - if anything - on the stairs, and there are a couple of things I want to do before I put glue to paper. I have some splendid ideas for the outer box - I am thinking grape vines, maybe making the outside of the box look like a wine crate - we will see what goes down. It is always a logic puzzle, though, of what things should be finished before the next step occurs, so you are not inadvertently mucking up what you just finished (which can be heart breaking).
I have painted the white screen of the box black, which makes the screen "disappear" to the eye, cutting out the glare. To protect it from dust, I may insert a little plastic window as well.
This is the side shelf, too shallow for the wine, good for glasses. I think this came out not too badly. The wine glasses were made of a variety of items (beads, tooth picks, earring backs, very small circle punch outs). The silver items are earring backings and bead spacers. In the bottom shelf is a nice little shell. I have also softened the floor, which was a little bright, by "dirty-ing" it up a bit.
I can't really go too much further with my wine room until my orders come through, so I went on to a small project from my library to fill my precious time. I landed on a 1:144 scale adobe courtyard scene, under a dome (an old American Miniaturist project, picture is from same) that I have wanted to do for awhile, just hadn't gotten around to it until now.
I had a clever idea of using one of my "bead storage jars" as a dome, as I don't have one for myself. Of course, the ones I have are a little too small, but that is okay, I can build the insides for now. American Miniaturist used a dome from the company "Minikitz". They have them for very affordable cost.
I did want to do this all as one solid piece, and I cleverly drafted it as such. Do you see the whoopsie? Yup, I drew the third wall on the wrong side. Yay me. No worries, I cut that off and glued it to the other side. My only issue with the pattern (outside of my own drafting goof) was that it only gave me dimensions on two wall pieces ... the third was a guess. Happily the picture was "almost" to true size, so I was able to guestimate.
The pieces, cut. I used foamcore for the base, and covered the rough sides with a strip of cardstock eventually.
Oooh, nice clean finger nails. Mom would be proud. I maintain if you aren't covered in paint and glue at the end of the day, you simply weren't having any fun! Anyway, the pattern calls for a tile floor, and suggests going to the local train and hobby store to get flooring. Yeah, right - I am going to go out in a raging thunderstorm on a metal bike on the faint hope that a) the guy is open on a Sunday and b) he actually has something I can use....so not! What I have in my little fingers is a piece of aida cloth (for cross stitching), and doesn't that so look like a tiny tile pattern? Hmmm? Painted terra cotta and you get...
A Tile Floor! for 1:144 scale. I have glued the cloth to a piece of cardstock, in order to stop it from fraying.
That is pretty much where I stopped today, outside of applying a gesso covering for "adobe" to the walls and the base. I would have gone further, but humid days of course make that always infuriating drying time extend to infinity. Oh well, I probably need to get back to schlepping my craft room items back into their rightful places.
Hope you are melting into August like one would sink into a warm bath, and hopefully your summer days extend further than you would have ever dared hope and dream...Siriusly.
Until next time, my faithful companions!