Saturday, 27 July 2013

Day 397-398-If I Were A Sculptor

If I were a sculptor, 

I would carve fairies out of stones; 

sculpt butterflies from metal.

I would paint my butterflies 

with all the luminescent colours of the world 

so that their iron wings would shine in the sun

 and glow under the moonlight.

If I were a sculptor,

I would work so hard;

I would never rest.

I would sculpt and carve, 

grind and pick; 

I would work my tools to their bones.

I would not stop until my butterflies really fluttered 

and I could hear their wings in the breeze.

I would watch with my tools still in my hands,

as my metal butterflies turned to life



far, far away.

Will you believe me now 

if I tell you this abandoned house do make anything 

Ro's present in 2012



Monday, 22 July 2013

Day 388,396, 400,403 -Tool Box

Slow is when you take 3 months to finish making a toolbox. Especially slow is when the toolbox is a really broken one that look like something you can bash in a few minutes.

It all started at our dollhouse meet 4 months ago on 2/3/2013. Cinds had suggested we try our hands at making a luggage. Asuka and her even brought the materials to the Dollhouse.

We used stock card as the base, did the measurements and then cut out the templates.

Cinds and Asuka made leather suitcases and they used faux leather cloth. I wanted a wooden version. The background of this picture is actually a piece of self adhesive wood grained paper. 

Gluing the pieces together was such a pain and I made quite a mess. I kept it though because my wooden case was meant to be rather broken.That is the beauty of what I do. Mess is good.

So I painted my case and then just carelessly left it in a heap of junk only mini makers treasure.

I gave the wooden box some finishing touches only after I was done with the tools and that was more than 14 weeks later. By then, my wooden case was so abused and worn that it looked like a hundred years old.

For those of you who know me well, you will be able to guess that not only will I not throw a case like this away, mini or life size, I will gladly bring one home if I should find it in a dumpster. I bet I am not alone in this. Who can resist a wooden case, right?

So bring home I did and I stuffed it with some more hardware and rags and other things one generally will need when you want to build something with your hands. One man's broken luggage is another woman's toolbox, I say.

I slipped my toolbox under the work table and then laid my tools on the table.

Now that everything is in place, I think I am finally ready to build something. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Day 399- Tools of The Trade

Have you ever looked at a set of old tools and wondered

how many holes must have been drilled;

how many nails hammered;

how many twists,

how many turns;

how many things broken,

and how many more things;

beautiful, wonderful, amazing things

were built;

before they became this old?


In case you are wondering......


 this time, I did paint them.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Day 397-Painted Plates, Labelled Jars

Amongst the Old Man's many garden paraphernalia was a stack of unused flowerpot saucers. Made from really fine terracotta, I often thought they were destined for better things.

So on an April Sunday morning when I could not go running because of the storm, I decided it was a good day to summon the calling of these plates. I picked 3 of the best pieces from the stack, put on my rainy day music and started painting.


At first, the strokes were tentative, even clumsy and all over the place, never where I really wanted them to be.  The harder I tried, the worse it became. 

Then just as I was about to throw the plate against the wall, my favourite song came on and that made me smiled. Something wonderful happened with that smile for when I started painting again, my hand was steadier and though they were still far from perfect, I thought what I painted  echoed the botanical prints on the opposite wall nicely. Even the 1st experiment didn't look so bad now and I kept all 3 plates to remind me of my virgin attempts at ceramic painting. 

Things just kind of flowed into place after that. While I waited for the paint on the plates to dry, I started on the labels for all the glass jars of herbs and plants. I then arrange those jars on the respective shelves, smiling again as I spotted three of those jars which were special presents from my dear friend Ro.

 Ro had bought them when she was in Kensington and she had sent them to me in a parcel via post. 

In one of those jars, I store fresh basil, basil because I love her pesto pasta. In the other, I put the flower bundles for blooming tea. Yes, she loves tea too. Then mushrooms because I remember how thrilled she was one day while out harvesting wild mushrooms with her dad. Those jars I didn't label because how does one put a label on memories shared with friends? 

The shelf space below Ro's jars is decorated with Old Man's amber glass bottles.  There is also a half glazed amber vase into which I stuck some pink blossoms. More smiles. 

The last thing  I placed on that shelf between two of my plates was Teresa's clay jar , a traditional rustic jar from a set of four which were all handmade by her and which she had very generously gifted to me when I was in Spain visiting  Eva.

By the time I stood back to look at what I had done, I was incapable of feeling anything but happy and satisfied. The last of Old Man's odds and ends, unified by their links to all things garden,  neatly lined up. My shelves against his red wall, my imperfect paintings on his plates, the wild harvest in his jars. My memories, his keepsakes. 

In that instant, I saw it, the fruition of our great collaboration, that of the Old Man and me. 

I cannot explain the heightened emotional state that came over me after that. My eyes welled up and I started to tear. I thought of how far I have come in these past months working on this house, guided  by the Old Man through his journals, passions, the house he had built. All the things I found myself doing, things I didn't think I was capable of. 

It really is that simple, isn't it? If you try, you can and if you can, you will. The Old Man has pointed me to the right direction and now, it is up to me to see how far I can go. And I definitely intend to keep going further . There's no stopping me now.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Day 396- Wildcrafting

One of the things I really enjoyed doing around the abandoned house is wildcrafting. It is the harvesting of plants in their natural or wild habitat. Armed with a couple of Old Man's botany note books and a basket, I  could spend hours examining an unusual flower or plucking leaves or digging through for roots. 

I have found flowers that will bloom in a cup of hot water, making the most fragrant tea.

 Giant dandelion tops and roots that make good food and medicine.

And of course, my favourite kind, plants that give great colour for dyes and paints.

After harvesting, I'd bring them back into the abandoned house for drying. They are then stored in glass jars which I placed in a row right next to the sacks of seedlings. 

Old and new, side by side. 
I thought they make perfect companions for each other. 

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