Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Maharajah's Palace- Mehndi

This is an excerpt from the post from Day 88 Pt 5 & 90 of My Maharajah's Palace:

I have given my "Banjaran" female dolls mehndi and tattoos.

I used less than 1 packet of Body Tattoo transfers bought at Daiso for S$2.00. To apply, I peel away the pattern, put it on the side of the hands which can be seen, wet it with a tissue and then remove the paper leaving the design on the palm or the back of your hand and their waists as tattoos.

My Maharajah's Palace- Mini Cushions

This post 1st appeared on Day 92 of My Maharajah's Palace:

In India, where furniture was not introduced until after the 16th century and even tables and chairs were regarded as Western and untraditional, an important furnishing must surely be the floor cushion.

Even in decor books or movies on great Maharajah's palaces, I often see vast sitting rooms of beautifully tiled walls and intricately carved columns standing on floors that appear to be covered in miles and miles of the most luxurious carpets with nary a piece of furniture. But always, there are pillows, bolsters, floor cushions.For even the Kings and the Queens sit on the floor.

And thus these floor cushions were made using my most precious material, so that they be fit for the most delicate of bottoms.

The most exquisite jacquard ribbons I have ever seen, I found them in a quaint little shop on a side narrow lane in Delhi, India.

For those of you who do not feel like clicking through to Day 21-22, this is what I had written about the shop:

"I shall not tell you how badly I was fleeced at the lace shop but no, no, no regrets for it is the most incredible tiny 3 level lace shop I have ever seen. Can you imagine 3 levels of lifesized room boxes filled with nothing but ribbons, laces and tassels of all shapes and sizes and every colour ever conceived or not? Yes, I swear I met a few new colours at the shop!"

It was a good thing I only had 10 minutes at the shop or I would have been completely broke.

With this range of ribbons, I already knew they were going to be fashioned into floor cushions because of the designs. Each "mandala" is a 1 3/8" square and there are 2 alternating patterns and 4 combinations of colours. So each ribbon can make 2 different cushions with 2 different sides.

I cut 2 "mandalas" for each cushion and used glue instead of threads. This ensures that the integrity of the designs remains with no unsightly sewing.

I then stuffed the cushion with dried shells from bean sprouts before the last side was glued.

The eventual cushion measures 2" by 1 5/8" (because of borders). I believe they are the perfect scale for the smaller life sized throw cushions.

I am going back to India, even if it is just to buy more ribbons.

My Maharajah's Palace-2 Tables & A Pot

The making of these items were 1st featured on Day 90-91 of My Maharajah's Palace:

I made my 1st Indian Side Table for Ranjit Singh, the carpet merchant who eventually occupied the tent that I built.

This "rosewood" version was built using the same method . Instead of merely 4 panels for the I had used the top part of the fretwork wood which although filmsier, had more intricate designs. To compensate, I used 3 pieces for each panel. The carved table top is one of a pair of ear-rings bought for a few cents.

The rosewood side table (1 1/2" high, 1 1/2" wide tabletop) is more beautiful, sturdier and better in many ways. As such, it is to be put to a more important use as well.

It will grace Ganesh and Rosanna's gold plated "tableware" given to me with her set of pillow and bolster. Using the gold pieces, I crafted bowls (ranging from 1/4"- 1") for offerings to Ganesh. These bowls and cups hold a huge rose, a macaron made by Rosanna and a "sandalwood" incense (made from a cone like pot pourri).

The basket below (2 1/2" high and width for base) was made using a broken pottery and ribbons together with resin roses.

I glue the S$2 ribbons and resin roses onto the pot for a "over the top" look. This is because it will be used in a setting that is a la Moulin Rouge.

This pot is made to hold the Royal Fan because it could not stand without falling in a windy room (when I turn on the ceiling fan). The pot will be placed against on a pillar with the Royal Fan leaning onto the pillar.

Using the same method for carpet chairs, I made the following table.

The blue and gold damask ribbon used for the top was bought in India. The lace for the side is S$2 dyed "antique gold". Oriental beads with butterfly, grapes and flower relief were used for the legs. The table tops were bigger pieces of the wooden base for the dolls.

I built 2 tables, one higher (2 wooden base instead of 1, 5" length, 2 7/8" wide, 1 7/8" tall) than the other by a slab. Now at 1st glance, these tables look fairly ordinary. In fact, the print on the damask may be regarded by some purists as too big. The beauty of this piece is not however, in its form but functions .

Display Table

Coffee Table


(where you can keep unsightly things underneath the table)


Chaise Lounge

This table has been named "A 6 in 1".

My Maharajah's Palace-Mini Royal Fan

This is an excerpt from the post which 1st appeared on Day 88 Pt 4 of My Maharajah's Palace :

If you are building a Maharajah's Palace, there are a few iconic items which are almost inevitable. One of them has to be the tall feather fan.

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 33 of "Accessories Of Dress" by Katherine Morris Lester and Bess Viola Oerke:

The fan, like the sunshade, originated in tropical countries. Here it was in daily service as a protection against the sun, as a means of cooling the air, driving away bothers insects and, when necessary, fanning the fire into a flame. In the Far East the fan was extensively employed in the service of religion, but its use as a costume accessory also dates back to remote antiquity. Some authorities state that the fan was known in China three thousand years ago. The Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Hebrews, Chinese, Japanese, and the people of India used fans as far back as their records of history go.

Among Eastern potentates, the fan was a badge of rank. The dignity of these rulers required that their fans be carried by slaves or attendants. The ancient form of the fan is therefore pictured with a long handle, and resembles a standard. Figure 529 A wall painting at Thebes pictures twenty-three sons of Rameses the Great in a procession, each carrying a ceremonial fan of semicircular shape attached to a long staff. The office of fan bearer to an Egyptian king was one of high honor, one to which only princes and other sons of the highest nobility could aspire. Figure 529. These attendants served standing at the right and left of the monarch as he sat in state; they attended him when he rode forth and during ceremonies in the temple. When not serving in the capacity of the fan bearer, they waited upon the king as members of his staff or in some other service of distinction.
In india, a fan made of swan and peacock feathers is a symbol of status and so I decided I will have to make one too.

I found my swan and peacock feather and some decorative wild grass I picked from the park behind my house.

I used an old chopstick for the handle. First thing I did was to spray paint the wild grass "French Blue". I also added some glitter to the peacock feather which I had removed from a cheap Venetian mask I bought for a costume party.

A little side note: peacock feathers can be bought quite cheaply in Little India, 50-70 cents per stalk. Hunting a peacock for its feathers is illegal in India and the feathers can be sold only if shed from the birds, which they apparently do very regularly. Peacock feathers are considered auspicious and "protective" here.

This project was time consuming because feathers are very difficult to handle with sticky agent since they bunch up and stain very easily.) I used double sided tape, spray adhesive (big mistake!), and little bits of wood glue for the part around the handle.

As you can see from the 3rd picture on the left, it wasn't easy.

Each time I make a mistake with the glue, I just kept adding feathers (my poor feather duster is very bald at one spot). It was a frustrating exercise and often, I would throw it down and go to sleep only to come back to it again.

Just yesterday, I wanted to junk the fan and thought, finally, my 1st piece of work that I will trash. Well, I am obviously still gutless when it comes to "rubbish". So this is what I did with it.

I realise that the fan is not spreading properly because the back is floppy so I added a "fan" of 8 toothpicks (painted) to give the back feathers some support and a frame (see top pic 2). I then cut and shaped the edges to round it so that maybe my fan will look more "regal" . I also changed the decorative head of the handle by using a more suitable earring.

The final result is a 11 1/2" tall feather fan spanning 5 1/2" at its widest. Huge by 1:12 standard but a rather effective flywhisk (for me) and

My Maharajah's Palace-Bazaar-Mini Flower Stall

This post 1st appeared on Day 88 Pt 3 & Day 89 of My Maharajah's Palace:

After I did the post on the flowers from J.J, I decided that I liked the stall so much that I would keep it for a while. I thought I could display it as a centrepiece for my dining table until I eventually build something more permanent for it, if at all.

There were not enough leaves at the stall, so one of the 1st thing I did was to convert this banana leave tray (above, about 10 1/2" long and 1 1/2" wide) into a signboard for the stall. It was inspired by the header at Tallulah-Belle Originals.

Next, I made some sword ferns.

I think I am addicted to the impossible tasks of trying to make fake plastic plants look realistic. These were 1:96 (?) palm trees that came with a packet of plastic animals I bought a while ago. I did my usual spray paint thing and then use a black marker to "draw and smudge" out the veins. Hopefully, one day, I will master the technique but it is useful to record my attempts.

I also made some pruned hedges (pom pom topiaries) for the back of the stall:

For these hedges, I used materials I already owned for ages. The pots were used to store salt. Two of them were mine and the 3rd I stole from mum. Wonder if she found out yet.

As if there is not enough green at the stall, I decided to add one more for Tallulah:

Here's a hectic Tallulah wiping the sweat off her brow and holding a pot of geraniums made by Jayne.

For the structure, I used 2 candle holders and the dome is a coin box I found at Mustapha during one of my 4am sleepless jaunts (20/6).

I have also added different levels to the display of the flowers so that they don't look so flat. I also made one more basket for the leaves and the ground is laid with a bamboo placemat.

Except for the topiary "trees" and the stall frame, I have tried to use material that gives a sense of portability, hopefully to suggest that this is a stall at a bazaar and not a shop. Tallulah is to be able to "pack everything up" at the end of the day, put a chain round all the stools and empty baskets and go home.

This is how my not so temporary flower stall in a bazaar look at the moment.

Except for 2 pairs of dolls, all the "characters have been "modified" to distinguish them from each other. Eventually, I hope to work on their dresses as well so that no 2 are wearing exactly the same clothes.

In this setting (above pic) , we see a bit of a lull at the stall. Most of the customers save for 2 girls, have already finished their purchases at Tallulah's and are on their way. The rest are browsers or chattering. At one corner is our romantic, loving and somewhat clumsy couple, with a new handbag. Her green kerchief is sticking out of her bag.

At the other corner, we see Tallulah. I have displayed all the flowers (except the lotus) made by Jayne on the tray between the girls. Thanks to the lull, she is able to speak to Tulip SriViNa, possibly about how she's looking for a partner, since business is going too well and she can hardly cope.

But actually a customer, standing next to SriViNa is waiting to pay for a bouquet and her basket on her head is getting heavy. If she operates on battery, I would have made her tap her foot impatiently.

Diametrically opposite from SriViNa and standing far far away from her is Saffron Syvia. You guessed it, Tulip Srivina and Saffron Syvia are the Kashmiri Twins. Syvia is talking to one of the Delhi Triplets, possibly about how to make money from saffron.

The rest of the Delhi triplets and their eldest sister are leaving the flower stall, making their way towards the Emperor's Emporium, which is 1 day away.

Standing at the middle of the stall is Moran, the lead dancer of the Nautch Girls from the palace. As she turns around, she catches the lecherous looks of a man whose arm is wound tightly around his girl, giving her a false sense of security. Moran is used to attention like this as her beauty is renowned.

The couple next to Mr Roving Eye are fighting. The lady is upset and the man is trying to explain

why their basket is filled with nothing but toddy. You can see here one of the 2 "shabby" baskets I made.

Here's the other one, carried by another girl riding pillion on a 3rd bicycle.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Eva for her comment on my flower post where I posted the picture below.