Saturday, July 4, 2009

My Maharajah's Palace Project-Carpet

This is an excerpt of the post that first appeared on Day 80 of My Mahrajah's Palace:

This is my second carpet (8 1/2" by 5"), finished in the wee hours of this morning (2/7/09), 48 days after my 1st stitch.

I am pleased with it, only because my 1st one was really bad. Yes, the one that took me 81 days!

This time, I followed Casey's advice closely. I used a frame, 3 threads instead of 2 and I poked instead of scooped. Now if you do not know what in the world I am talking about, then I am afraid you have to go start and stitch your 1st carpet.

I enjoyed working on this piece tremendously because for the first time, I could see how it would turn out nicely for a change. This must be how the nomadic women felt when they weaved their carpets and really, there were moments when I felt suspended in time, transported to where they were, as I stitched away, lost in my own pleasure.

I used the following threads with number in brackets :

COSMO 169 (3)-Indigo
COSMO 2241 (2) - Maroon/ Liver Red
COSMO 800 (4) - Crimson
COSMO 1000 (1)- Ivory

I have also started on my next carpet today. This one is small Afghan rug again based on the Gul design. The design on this rug is versatile and can be expanded if desired. I will post a picture of the design when I have sorted out how to upload image without using the "Add Image" button as it is broken again! Has been so for the past few days.

My Maharajah's Palace-Tent or The Emperor's Emporium (2)

This post first appeared on Day 76 & 77 of My Maharajah's Palace

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.

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Maharajah's Palace-Mini Mobiles & Windchimes

I love mobiles and wind chimes, in all shapes and sizes, loud or silent. At home, every 100 sq ft, there is one, collected from one of my travels or when I could not resist.

It is therefore inevitable that I will end up making mini versions so that they can decorate my dolls' houses or my friends'.

I made one for Mercedes' porch, cutlery in a row because I have seen many homemade ones and my friend is Mrs Homemaker of the year.

I made one for Sylvia's beach house, spiralling dolphins with blue chime because everything else can be done much better by her and I thought, windchimes? She could not have thought of that.

I made one for my carpet seller, birds and elephants on dark strings because 9 year old Kristel inspire me and it will always remind me of a great weekend with her. It will forever be "The Weekend of the Mobiles" and the one I bought such an expensive vacuum cleaner, I had to pay it in 36 instalments. All because Kristel woke me up on Sunday for the "cleaning demostration" by a travelling salesman.

This is an extract of the post on Day 79 at My Maharajah's Palace

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

It all started last Saturday when Kristel, 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 Kristel 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.

Kristel 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 Kristel 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. Kristel 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 Kristel'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:

Kristel 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 Kristel 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.