Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Special Place

This is going to be a “scenic” post.
A few weeks ago, I received a call from one of the junior youth animators asking how they could make the scene described in Lesson 9 of “Breezes of Confirmation”. Unfortunately we were out of town, but I gave him a few suggestions on how the group could recreate that special place. However due to several schedule changes the project has yet to be done; so I worked up this example.
Creating miniature scenery is something I had done quite a bit of, but had not come across an application for it in the core activities until now.
During the 90s in Scotland I ran a miniature figure painting class (Children and Youth), for the local Community Education Group. This was mostly based around the “Games Workshop“ gaming figures, which the (mainly) boys, would paint and then use to game with.
The town where I lived was called Old Meldrum (or usually just Meldrum), so we had a competition each year where they competed for the “Meldrum Wizard” trophy for the best painted figure. I would paint a different wizard for the prize each year.(Similar to the picture below.)

The story in lesson 9 is about Musonda’s special place, where she goes when she wants to be alone and think about things. It’s a beautiful place, close to a river, with a large flat rock shaded by a tall tree. Musondo likes to climb onto the rock, lie on her back and look up at the blue sky through the branches. She always feels calm and happy in her special place.
You can create your own special.

• Cereal box
• Tissue paper
• Wallpaper paste
• Paints
• Sand
• Flock
• Small stones
• A large stone
• A tree like twig
• Artificial moss
• A small bird

Cut out one side of the cereal box and then bend/fold it into the shape you require. In this case I made a hollow for the river and two raised sides to form the banks.

Take some blue tissue paper, scrunch it up then paste it into the river bed. (I used wallpaper paste, but if you do not have wallpaper paste you can water-down the white glue)
Set aside to dry

Whilst you are waiting you can make the tree.
Take your twig and using white glue, fix suitable pieces of the artificial moss to the branches to form the foliage. Set tree aside to dry.

You can now select some small stones for in the river and a large one for Musondo’s rock.
If you get the stones from the garden be sure to wash them before use.

Repeat the process with green tissue paper for the banks, but do not “scrunch” the tissue up as much. Whilst the paste is still wet sprinkle the green flock liberally on the two banks.

Flock is available from model and model railway shops, and is used to represent grass on models and layouts. An alternative is to use fine sand, and paint it green (This is what was used on the wizard base). You can buy sand in the craft shops, but you can get from various other sources.
What I do with “non-packaged” sand is to spread it on a tray and bake in the oven. This achieves the purpose of both sterilizing and drying it. I then use sieves to grade the sand and to remove foreign material such as vegetable matter, and then store it in jars.
NOTE: Be sure to allow the sand to fully cool before working with it, and observe the normal precautions used with any baking activity in the kitchen.
Also be sure NOT to use the normal kitchen utensils (This for some reason seems to upset the kitchen owners).
Set aside to dry.
Once everything is dry shake off the extra flock/sand, and keep for the next project. It may be necessary to add more paste and a second application of flock.
Then make a hole in the base for the tree, (I used an awl for this purpose) and hot glue the tree in position, from the under-side. I added some sand around the base of the tree to hide the joint
Paint the river with suitable colours, and then stick the small stones, in place with white glue.
I also applied some glue along the banks and added sand. Then glue the large rock in place under the tree.
As a final touch Juliet “quilled” a yellow bird to represent the one seen by Musondo.

And now you can relax and contemplate, in your very own Special Place.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Craft and Community

I am a regular listener of podcasts and a favourite is Laurie Taylor’s “Thinking Allowed”, from the BBC, where he and his guests discuss current questions relating to sociology
I just listened to an interesting on one on crafts.
Laurie and his two guests,(David Gauntlett and Richard Sennett), discuss various questions

• Does making things really make us happy?
• How does craft contribute to bringing people together?
• How do you create communities?
• What can be considered craft?

You can listen to the show at the link below.

P.S. The second part of the show speaks about fox hunting, so if you have strong views you may want to stop after the craft section.

BTW: There is a Junior Youth craft posting coming soon.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Of Quilling and Queens

The Quilling
I was back in California on business again, but this time Juliet came with me, to attend the North American Quilling Association 2011 Conference in Newport Beach. The conference ran through Friday and Saturday, so Juliet was able to meet with her fellow quillers and has produced this slide show of the event.
I am sure you will enjoy.
Juliet is also planning a quilling project for her May craft evening, which will be featured in a later post.
For information on quilling go to the North American Quilling association web site:

The Queen
We both had Sunday free so we decided to go to Long Beach to visit the Queen Mary, prior to Juliet catching her afternoon flight. The weather was great, and we enjoyed sunshine and blue skies. When we had visited a few weeks earlier it was blowing a gale complete with torrential rain, and we just glimpsed the liner through the rain and mist.

The Queen Mary through the mist

The Queen Mary is “craft” on a massive scale. She is a product of the famous John Brown & Company of Clydebank, and is one of few surviving examples of the Scottish shipbuilding industry, that dominated the maritime world for the later part of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century.
From her elegant upper decks to her massive engines she is a shining example of the many crafts of the early 20th century shipyard.

For more information see:

Juliet on the fore deck

One of the engine room instrument panels

Ready for some delicate craft

The Bridge

The Queen Mary

Long beach with the Villa Riveria in the centre

Sorry it did not get any pictures of the state and function room decor, but I guess I was more interested in the engineering stuff.

There are several more post in the works, for this month, will be back soon.