Saturday, 27 June 2009

Day 79-Mobiles For The Emporium

Extra! Extra! New stocks at the Emperor's Emporium!

It all started last Saturday when Kreistel, MarG's 9 year old niece came to visit. You know how kids are, attention span the length of their nose. MarG sent her to me , my very own child labour, she said, to help me build any mini I want.

Drats! I had just finished lighting up the tent and was in a " research " and not "make" mode. In any case, what possibly can a 9 year old do that I will want for my palace, I thought a trifle scornfully.

And then I remembered. ORIGAMI! I had, just the week before, bought these origami papers from Daiso, to entertain my nieces when they come over.

I passed Kreistel the papers and before I could say "dinosaur", she had folded a Hiroshima peace crane. She even showed me how to flap the wings! My goodness, an origami child protege!

To keep her interested, I told her I needed it to be dollhouse size. So she kept halving the size of what she made earlier. After 3 versions, she finally hit on the perfect scale using 1/16th of the paper i.e. 2cm by 2cm. I was thrilled to bits when I saw the result. You are a genius, I told a beaming Kristel, now you can make me 2000 of these. 1000 for Hiroshima and 1000 for me.

Kreistel made me and Fafa do it with her of course and we "worked" from about 9pm Saturday till 1am on Sunday. By about 10pm, Kristel had finished 10 (in between teaching me like a trillion times and many many breaks for chips, water, computer game, cementing etc etc). Fafa did 5 and me , I was still struggling with my 1st. By then, my child labour had become "Master" and she was quite scornful, politely of course.

Now for those of you who are as disgusted as Kreistel on my progress or lack thereof, please click to see how you can make this bird. Then try doing it on a 2cm by 2cm piece of paper.

See how small the bird is? Eventually, the 3 of us made a total of 33 birds. 2 by me. The "diamond" step was impossible!

Unhappy that I am not smarter than a 9 year old, I took out my encyclopaedia of papercraft to see if I could try a even more difficult piece. Was I in luck! This book has a section devoted to origami with projects divided into 3 categories, Simple, Intermediary and Advanced. And guess what is the the most difficult of the difficult? An elephant! How perfect is that?

This is what Paul Jackson, the designer of this origami says in the book :

The final design in the advanced origami section is appropriately the most difficult. Step 7 contains a fiendish closed sink, which will have the most experienced folders fumbling a little. The Step 11 half closed sink is a little better...

So Fafa and I started working on it. Kreistel did the 1st 6 steps and gave up. I struggled and then waited for Fafa to figure out what in the world is a "closed sink". About 1/2 an hour later,Fafa finished her "big" elephant while I was placing birds on Kreistel's finger nails and taking pictures. We both started working on the "mini" version with her intrepreting to me what the book said. Since it was so complex, we used a 4cm by 4 cm paper. Surprisingly, they took a shorter time than the birds (actually, it was easier because we cheated and cut a few steps including the confounding Step 7). You can check out the easier version here.

My 1st mini elephant (1/2" tall, 1/2" wide", I made 3, Fafa 4) :

A week later, i.e. today, I strung them together and made Indian wall hangings or mobile.

To protect the paper, I used Krylon "Preserve It", a paper protectant which is also good for other material. I sprayed on the mobile after they are done.

Here they are in the tent:

Kreistel hasn't seen them yet. I am sure she will be thrilled that her masterpieces are displayed here. I am very proud of her. Just so you know, she can also make origami lotuses and stars and loads of other "advanced" pieces and she learnt it all by reading an origami handbook, no coaching.

Thank you, baby, for these precious gifts.

By the way, there are other "new products" but they pale in significance.

I am sure Kreistel will want to dedicate her peace cranes to the memory of all those who have left us, including Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett, if only she knows who they are.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Day 78-Ara's Wedding Chair

The palace is abuzz! A gift has arrived from Tara's new best friends, Morticia and Gomez Addams. A gold leafed Americanised Indian double seater wedding chair with interchangeable cushions to suit mood swings! A legendary work of art that is to last for generations to come!

Episode 1-How They Met

After the unfortunate incident with Taenia, Tara has sworn off making friends with single ladies. Already, she was plotting her revenge..Luck has it that when she was wallowing in her grief shopping for a cemetery lot in the USA for Prince Raj Singh what did she chance upon but the condemned site of the Addams Mansion.

In the distance, she heard cries of "Bubbele, bubbele" and saw the handsome Gomez kissing Morticia's arms, up and down, up and down, while Morticia was cutting off rose-buds from the stems.. Oh, if only I have this, poor Tara cried. There and then, she wanted to be their fiend.

Episode 2- The Exchange of Gifts

Morticia and Tara connected immediately, largely due to Morticia's supernatural ability to connect telepathically. For a brief while, Tara lived with them and joined their cult. She soon found out that the Addamses are celebrities and very rich and that they love hookahs!

Of course, Tara immediately summoned one to be made in their honour and told Sans! she better let the Addams cut the long queue or else her head will be the next football for the Addams' children! Today, one of Sans! range of Katrina hookahs (named after Katie and not the hurricane) is now sitting at the Mansion. You can read all about it at Ara's delightful blog.

Weeks passed and then months. You can't stay here forever, the Addamses told Tara, it's time to go home, they persuaded her. And so with a broken heart, Tara pleaded for a memento. She was given a lovely family portrait (1" by 7/8") with the tiniest autographs. It will be placed with all the other luminaries ' pictures at the Palace, Tara told her hosts.

But we know that is not all. Tara had shared her tale of woe with her fiends and unbeknownst to her, the dear darling Addamses had immediately commissioned Ara, their Sans! equivalent and better, much better, to make her the most remarkable wedding chair( 4 1/2" w, 4" h, 2" d) Remarkable not only for its beauty but also for its magical power!

Having ceremonially smeared the sedan with gold leafed spit from Morticia and Gomez, the chair is now empowered to make any male sitting on the chair so smitten with the female sitting next to him that he will not stop kissing her arm! That was why the Addamses shooed Tara home, so that she could test the chair for them.

Episode 3- The Magic Wedding Chair

News of the magical chair spread fast and wide, news always do in India. The buzz around the chair was loud , very , very loud

for there was already a queue of eager girls and wives with their reluctant men lining outside the Royal Pavilion where the chair was safely placed under balls and chains.The queue grew and grew and

in less than 12 hours after the chair arrived,that queue is already longer than the one for Sans! hookahs.

Season Finale: Tribute to the Addamses

It was one of Tara's happiest days and she really wanted to let her fiends know how grateful she was, pronto! But back in those days, there was no telephone or email. Then Tara had an idea.

She prepared herself and dressed up accordingly. Shortly before the stroke of midnight, she left for the nearest cemetery.

There she found many dead twigs and gathered a huge bouquet for Morticia.

At the stroke of 12, she squeezed her eyes shut and telepathically transmitted her bouquet and tribute to Ara, Morticia and Gomez. Here is Tara, in the Addams' fashion with the only black attire she could find in the whole of India and fake saber teeth.

I hope you like my tribute, Morticia and I pray that the pictures in your head won't come up blur. Thank you, Ara! It is clear everyone at the palace loves your chair!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Day 76 & 77- Electrify!

LET THERE be light and there was Light, on Day 77.

I don't know why I had "electrifybia", maybe it was because everyone I know told me it's hard. The articles I read said it's a pain . The must-do, must-have list is a mile long and I kept forgetting what they are. Of course, the fact that there is no dedicated dollhouse shops here where I can just buy a pack of "everything -you -need -to -electrify" adds to my dread. That's why it is already Day 77 and I have yet to start on Termite House because everyone says you need to electrify 1st so that all the wires can be hidden behind the wallpaper/ceiling/floor boards.

Many things happened on Day 76. One of them was this strange resolve that I must get the lights done. It suddenly became numero uno on my Urgent-To-Do list after lying dormant for 7 months. Must be the Light Award...Anyway, I took off at 3pm from work and called Treewizard Chris to check where I should go for mini light-fittings. I don't know how but I was persuaded to drop by his place. He said I MUST check out these "fantastic LED lights that turns on when your hand move over the sensor". Wow !! Ok, so I took a cab and rushed down only to be shown this awful gadget. "OMG! It will look like a spaceship stuck on the ceiling of my tent !" I protested! By the way, you turn the lights off with a switch!! Sensor works only with "on". Shikes!

I made Chris give me one of his trees to appease me . So that's the other thing that happened that day.
I got this beautiful Darwin tree in 1:24 scale. It came with a black base which I modified that night so that it looked like a shrub growing up from the floor of the tent. I also added some more moss and the ferns (made by Chris with paper) to the tree.

While I was at it, I also modified the 4 flower pots Mercedes gave me earlier (Day 63) and this is the transformation process:

I didn't like the 1st version so I redid them again.

As you can tell, in line with the yarn factory, I changed the flowers into cotton plants. A very unruly bunch too. I liked using real materials from my garden for plants because you can't make them any more real than that. So the dried leaves, moss, barks are all real. I dried them and painted them a bit but not the fern leaves which are so beautiful just being themselves. Cotton flowers are made with real cotton.

That was some digression but I did say many things happened that day. Back to the lights..

And so, after 2 quick glasses of coke light and a cup of ginger tea with Chris, I went home, dumped my bags and headed straight for Sim Lim Tower, THE place for L.E.D lights. I forgot to mention that both Chris and FaiZ told me to use LED. All this rushing had given me a headache which grew worse at Sim Lim. It is one of those places where everyone there know exactly what they are doing or at least what they want. There I was, not even knowing what to look for! After asking 6 shopkeepers and another call to Chris, I found Shing Lee Hardware (Pte) Ltd.

At first, the lady at the shop was irritated with me because she kept telling me I had to let her know exactly what I need or want done before she could help. Luckily I had the good sense to bring down my "chandeliers" to show her that I wanted to convert them into lights. I also drew for her where I want them placed in the tent with dimensions of the tent.

She warmed up after a while since I was not a complete dud. She's used to working with students in their art projects and told me I made the chandeliers beautifully. I didn't have the heart to tell her they are christmas decor but I did confess that they were not made by me. Anyway, 10 minutes later, she showed me how a row of LED lights could tranform my ornaments into bringers of joy. I am so, so pleased with my lady angel of light. I thanked her like a million times.

What they do is they solder the row of LED lights (these come in multiples of 3 depending on how bright you need them to be) to wires (you have to let them know how long) and then to the adaptor (or power source which already steps up or down the voltage). As my tent will need 3 lights, powered by the same source, her colleague soldered 4 wires together, 3 of which with a row of 6 LED lights and the other with a switch. So when everything was done, they look like this.

I am completely in love with this little switch. He really turned me on! Seriously though, I think I am a lucky gal if little switches can make me so happy. This is where my darling ended up:

It's on the left side of the tent where Chris' shrub is. I made a little cement holder for it with Blu-tack.

I showed SuZ my light fittings and she gave me some suggestions on how to place the bulbs. I went to work on it the very next day after work. And it was easy peasy (Merce), lemonade pancake (Rosanna). Really! I took longer making my Indian stool and for the amount of time I spent on my baskets, I can wire 3 houses, ok, make that 4!

Too bad I can't photograph this better but I swear by LED. They really add a sparkle to hanging lights and they are so unobtrusive, you can't really tell that they are there. I am not sure if they are expensive but here is the breakdown of the costs for everything:

LED lights: S$2 each but she gave me S$6 discount and charged me S$30 for 18 bulbs.
Wires: S$1.50 for the whole lot
Grand total :S$53.00

This has to be the cheapest therapy ever for my fear is now completely gone. I am already planning to go back to my angel of light with the requirements for Termite House.

After I fixed the lights, I knew I had to change the tent top. This has been the bane and pain of my whole tent experience. Here's the evolution of the tent top:

The black and white one was done by my dear sis, SuZ who gave me a very good structure. I changed the pillow case into a torn white Indian piece (thankful I could never throw away anything Indian even though it was really torn to bits, owned it for 20+ years) that had laces at the fringe and pick the striped orange cloth from SuZ's stash. The top piece is a cloth coaster I bought in Little India for S$1.

In that stash, I found gorgeous cloth samples from India . They were perfectly scaled for mini carpets and so I hung them at the side of the tent where the yarn factory is.

I had wanted to hang coloured threads as Katie had suggested but when I saw these colours, which matched my "Dye" post, I knew I had to use these. So beautiful that all my girls were immediately drawn to the tent. I added uncoloured balls of cotton yarn next to the wheels , ominously, I hope, as a warning to my unsuspecting girls.

On this side, you can also see the subsidiary company of The Emperor's Emporium, "The Emporium Freight Forwarders Co" and here's the ever expanding staff members:

The main change for the left side is the new home for Sissy and of course, my new love, the Switch
The love seats are still there with a new plant.

For the front, I have added a ladder, some pots with ingredients for the dye (left) and cotton plants (right)

For the inside, I have changed the legs to Taenia's table .

The emporium also now sells elephant candle holders standing next to Kiva's perfect pastries.

And I have placed an immaculate beauty Fafa found in my garden, at the feet of Maharajah Ranjit Singh.
I told her I would post it on the blog and claim that I made it . Eat your heart out, Jayne, stamens that you can see!

And so here it is, my Tent project in all it's entirety sitting alongside my next project..

Thank you for being a part of this. I couldn't have done it without you.

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