Sunday, February 24, 2019

Thus Begins the Year of Scrounging

This year I want to try and limit my spending.  I've decided that if I can't buy it with my weekly 'allowance' or with my gift certificates I'm going to try and either do without it or make it myself.  It's mostly an exercise in budgeting and trying to track what I'm spending more closely.  And also to see how well I can make things instead of buying them.

Plus, this would get me to use things from my stash instead of buying new.  My stash is getting more than a little out of control.

I got the new kit in the mail this week.  That was exciting.  So I did a dry fit.

I like it.  I want to make it about three times taller, maybe an inch wider and an inch and a half deeper.  But I want the footprint to be relatively small.  The size is going to depend on a couple of things.  But the windows will all be on the front rather than two on the sides.

I want to do a mansard roof, so it doesn't get too tall.  That will give the living quarters some interest and realism I think.  I'm thinking a spiral staircase on the ground floor up to the second and then a straight staircase in the back up to the third floor.  And since I wanted to do a spiral stair case up to the loft in the Downtown Loft I that will be good practice for the shop.

I have been working on the Downtown Loft.  I cut a larger window in the upper front wall of the addition and built up the wall thicknesses to match the original kit.  I also closed in the backdoor since I decided I didn't want it after all.

And I started work on the spiral staircase.

Cutting out my steps and some side braces was the first step.

I plan to paint the entire thing black metallic so it looks like wrought iron.  That way the flowers won't really show up.  I ended up needing thirteen steps so I cut one more after I got all these glued.

Then I did a dry fit to see how everything would look together.

I don't like how the front pieces don't meet the steps under them.  Rather than pry them off or add 'legs' to the sides I'm going to use some of my lace and glue it over them.  That will join the steps up but keep it a bit airy looking.

My next issue is figuring out the spindles.  Rather than something really thick like typical spindles I'm planning on toothpicks with beads.  I worked up three different designs and I'm having trouble deciding between them.

Number one:

Number two:

And Number three:

I like three, but I was also thinking of doing alternating spindles of one and two.  Or maybe a reverse of three, with two round beads in the middle and one oval to alternate with three as it is.

The big issue with how I'm making this staircase is that it might end up being a bit too elaborate for the Downtown Loft. The house is supposed to be more modern and simple.  So I'm still debating.

But I'm in no rush and playing around with design is part of the fun.

I'm also seriously debating selling a couple of my houses.  The Beach Bungalow and the Gothic Victorian maybe.  Possibly the Craftsman Tiny House though that one is smaller and doesn't take up so much room that I'd need to get rid of it.  I'd have to do it for pickup only since shipping for either of them would be astronomical.  My husband tells me that I don't need to but at the same time, I haven't worked on either of them in years (literally) so I'm still keeping it in the back of my mind.

How are all of you doing?

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Wicked Queen's Retirement Cottage - Cecelia Alyce Speaks Up

Feh!  I object to the soubriquet ‘Wicked Queen’!  I am no such thing.  I am Cecelia Alyce wife to the king, may God rest his soul, and step mother to his daughter Elianora.  She may call me wicked, hating that her father loved me after her mother died too young, but saying it does not make it so. 

Truly, Elianora might call me a Wicked Queen, or when she was feeling unkind, a Wicked Witch, but she had no idea what she was saying.  I do have a few small talents, enough to keep my work flowing smoothly.  An extra pair of hands can be very helpful, and I am always careful to never let any of the town’s folk see the pease pottage stirring itself or the kettle and carafe pouring out of their own volition.

Spinning and weaving are far safer past times for my neighbors to witness, or gardening.  My stillroom always smells of apples in the fall, when I make my cider.  The apples come from my tree, still bearing fruit even so late in the season. 

I have a bountiful harvest and my kitchen is rather messy at the moment.  And no thanks to that wily rabbit who still attempts to steal my lettuces.  My sweet little friends, Boadicea, a lovely black cat, Bathsheba, a regal black and white feline and Cleopatra, my adorable little calico do their best to keep the rodents from rampaging through my garden and household.  Arthur is my hedgehog, he’s a bit shy but he enjoys the warmth of the fireplace and pays for his lodging by eating worms and bugs to keep them from eating my stores.

Elianora was a sweet child when she was young, if a bit spoilt, but as she grew older she became more and more angry with me.  And more demanding of her father.  I did my best to be a good mother to her, out of love for her father, hoping she could love me as a daughter would.  Alas it was not to be.  And when my beloved died, she grew angry and resentful for he had named me regent until such a time as she reached her majority. 

Feh! Wicked!  Who was it kept the country from war?  Who was it dealt with trade and sickness and a bad harvest and kept the people of our land from starving?  Certainly not my silly little step daughter who had no interest in the practicalities of being a princess and soon to be queen.  She was more interested in her music and needlework and gowns.  Not running a household and from there learning to run a kingdom.

The foolish girl, truly she has more hair than wit, ran off and met some wandering fop who claims to be a prince of a land of which I have never heard.  He’s a handsome fellow, and practical, thank God, so likely now that they’re married he’ll keep her from running the kingdom to ruin with balls and tournaments and hiring minstrels.

But once she married Elianora was insistent that I leave the palace.  Truthfully, I longed for my simpler life, my cottage where I’d lived as my town’s wisewoman, providing them poultices and tinctures, salves and potions, and acting as their midwife and healer.  T’was how my beloved and I met in fact.  Elianora had grown ill on their journey from the capital into the country and his majesty had heard from my townsmen that I was an accomplished healer.

I was able to help Elianora recover, truly it was no great feat, she had a terrible cold, settling in her chest and needed rest and warmth and a few potions to speed her humors to proper balance.

As thanks for saving his only child my beloved offered to build a second floor onto my humble two room cottage.  I was able to have a proper stillroom and workroom for my weaving thanks to his generosity, and lived at the town inn nursing Elianora while the rooms were built.  My love even had the chimney pots specially made, with dragons, since I made up tales of them to entertain his child while she was ill. 

During the time I cared for Elianora his majesty began to court me.  I’m no great beauty, though I’m fair enough, but my king grew to love me for my plain speaking and thoughtful nature as well as my ability to listen without judgement.  It was the most joyous day of my life, the day he asked me to wed.

While Elianora was making plans for her wedding, something that very well might have bankrupted the kingdom had I not had a firm word with her and the merchants selling her cloth of gold and ruby studded slippers, I knew it would soon come time for me to leave the capital and palace. 

I had a tower constructed and attached to the back of my cottage, with a lovely stone winding stair and a room at the top from where I might look at the stars.  My love educated me in the study of the heavens and gifted me with one of the most wonderful telescopes, newly invented in Southern Europe.  We had no such things where I had lived and I was astounded by the knowledge my king possessed.  He gifted me also with a lovely orrey to mimic the planets of the heavens and a armillary sphere as well as the tellurion.  I have installed all of his wonderful gifts in the tower that I might continue my studies.

I miss my beloved greatly and brought with me from the palace a few things I could not bear to part with.  The bed with its draperies and lace was the one we shared, and while it makes the bedroom of the cottage feel small, there is a comfort to it.  The lute was another gift, as was the mirror on my mantle. 

I also brought with me the crown my love placed upon my head when he named me his queen.  It is mine by right and certainly doesn’t suit my stepdaughter so she may use her own, or the one belonging to her mother, kept safe in the treasury.

Now I live simply again, and keep my eye upon the wind for change will come upon us whether we will it or no.  No one can gainsay the Almighty after all.  And Wicked Queen she might call me, but I am Cecelia Alyce of Cornwall and I am content with the life I’ve been given.  Have some tea, and tell me what troubles you this fine day.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

2018 Creatin' Contest - Grand Prize Winner... Me!

The alternative post title was 'The screech of shock heard around the world'. But that was a little unwieldy as a sentence.

Guys it was soooo hard to not tell you.  Thanks so much for all your good wishes, positive thinking and support!  Most of you have already seen the pictures of the Cottage but here is the link.

I'm so excited!  I couldn't have done this without all of you cheering me on and giving me advice.

Thank you all so much!