Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Gossips

"Tatum, did you hear about the mysterious and dapper grey squirrel that recently moved into Chippy Cackle's vacated hole in the  Mulberry tree?
 
" No one knows much about his past, but it has been whispered that he's been loading hoards and hoards of black walnuts  into that hole, by the light of the moon!"
  "Dinah, You don't say!  Tiddlywinks! Do you suppose he could be part of the "Fly by Night Nutters Gang" that raided and emptied the farmers barrels a fortnight past?"
 
 " If so,he must have an entire winters worth of vittles  in that tree.... no doubt  Merry Goodweather will dress in her finest frocks and come a tap, tap, tapping at his door with a fresh  basket of Acorn Scones and a twinkle in her eye... hummmph!"
 .
"Hummmph! On that you can depend....tart!"
 "Tatum, I daresay she will use her charms to  get on the good side of a handsome stranger with the possibility of riches to be had, FIDDLESTICKS!"
  Speaking of Merry Goodweather, I hear-tell her Aunt Beanblossum had yet another husband spirited away by that beastly thug of a  Hooty Owl... Poor dear, she has now been  thrice widowed! No doubt the owl family is well-fed... it simply doesn't bear thinking about!"

" Well fiddle-dee-dee, what did her husband expect, gallivanting in the branches all hours of the night with a hungry owl on the loose?!" 

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"Hummmmmph...."
 

  "Nevertheless dearest, Aunt Beanblossum has at least a dozen little mouths to feed..."
 Perhaps we should tell Her about the wealthy stranger in the Mulberry tree before Merry Goodweather has him wrapped round her  long skinny toes!"
"Hmmmm...."
"Indeed Dinah, Indeed. Let's give her the news this very minute!"

"Must dash!"


  The Gossips are accompanying us to the Shaker Village in Pleasanton, Ky this week-end to the annual artisans show. It should be a very interesting drive.
https://shakervillageky.org/

Monday, July 31, 2017

Anatomy of a Needle felted Squirrel

Everyone needs a skeleton, unless you're a worm.
This squirrels skeleton is formed with wire and the toes are formed with cloth coated florist wire.

Next, the toes are wrapped with wool. I used my Sophia's wool, because it still has a good deal of lanolin in it, and wraps so nicely.
 Nevertheless, making toes is a pain in the behind.
 Next come pipe cleaners to wrap all the wire and help the wool adhere better when it comes time to add it.
 

The form requires a large amount of wool, wrapping and poking with your needle and wrapping and poking some more.



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 This white wool won't show, it is the core wool, used to built up the body structure.

 When the form is as you wish it to be, you can begin to add your "fur". This is the wool that will show on the outside and I have used Sophia's wool once again for this, along with some purchased wool of a Merino grade. A lovely light grey color.
  The cool thing about building on an armature like this, is that your creature is completely pose-able.

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If you didn't know any better, you may think you were looking in a taxidermy shop at a splayed squirrel.
Yikes!
After fleshing out the creature to some degree, I have added her head. I make the heads separately and then attach them to the wire neck with stitching.
 She is still much to skinny.. So I continue to add more wool.
 It took a while to fatten her up... and a lot of wool! James thinks she is still too thin, like a rat, but in observing the squirrels in our Hollow, they are not chubby, but slender and fit.


 I needed to replace my 2 gossiping squirrels that I sold at the Doll show a few weeks ago. That is why I made Dinah. Normally, I combine stitching with Mohair and  needle-felting to make my Hopalong Hollowfolk, but Dinah is different, as you can see.
  In my next post, Dinah will awe you with her oratory....

Friday, July 21, 2017

New life in the garden, new baby in the family...

There is a line in a poem that goes something like this:
 "You are closer to God in a garden, than anywhere else on earth..."
I think many gardeners would agree.

To observe the growth of a plant up close and personal, from it's humblest and seemingly insignificant beginnings:
a minute,and barely visible seed...

to a mass of  bold and sturdy stems lined with shapely, finely veined leaves and buds waiting to burst into bloom, THIS is a quiet adventure to a gardener.
 

 We are dazzled by 50 shades of green, pink, blue, yellow, red and white; starting at our feet and sometimes, towering over our heads.
What earthly artist could ever conceive of such colors?

Behold the humor,
.

 the intricacy,

the lush layers of seeming fragility,
  The surprises




and the delicacy that is found in the garden.

  Not only have we the  boisterous beauty, variety and vibrancy of the petals and leaves and stems, we have the scent. How do you describe the scent of lavender... or the heady, lush sweetness of a rose?

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 .Or the faint whiff of spice from an Iris?
 
 I cannot, I am not a wordsmith or a poet, I only know that when I am surrounded by the LIFE in my garden, I am witness to a loving Creator, who provided ALL of it: for us.

Squeeze a leaf of Basil or Rosemary between your fingers and tell me that the aroma  pleasing your senses  is merely an accident with no rhyme or purpose. I believe there is a purpose.
  The Hollyhocks bloom, the flowers fade, but left behind another marvel begins to form:
shaped like tiny green donuts, seeds dry, and separate into dozens of little uniform pods...full of the promise of new life and a Garden of HOLLYHOCKS for next year,
when the cycle repeats itself.

 I wish everyone had a garden.... it really makes you appreciate the wonders surrounding us.



As further evidence to all that is miraculous,
   I present to you
 This beautiful little rosebud of a baby...
  Meet Ramona, daughter of Matthew and Ashley... and our new Grandbaby.
 She is 6 months old now... and much more incredible than any flower in the garden.




Monday, July 10, 2017

Another finished Illustration, a fox an a garden

The 3 hour drive to Berea didn't leave me with idle 
hands and I managed to needle-felt a  character familiar to any that live on a farm.
I worked on her in the hotel room as well, and by the time we were home again she had a little companion.

  I was tempted to put a chicken or duck in her mouth, as that would have been truer to form, 
but I settled for a little squirrel instead....to keep her on her toes.


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Happily, I had no REAL ducks or chickens  missing when we arrived home.
I sent the Vixen into the garden to play, where the Lavender seemed to have grown  a foot in the last 4 days.

 Oh Joy!

P.S.
Another finished Illustration for Pippity Trimble...
The actual size of the pages in the book will be quite small at 6" square.
 Today I get to paint a favorite insect, a Mantis; he is also a character in the book.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Painting the stories for Trimble Manor and Pincushions for sale...



  "Pippity Trimble lives in a stately old, brick and timber Manor, in the center of a vast and lovely garden. Here, the foxglove grows the tallest and the pink tea roses bloom in abundance."
So begins the first story of our mouse and her house.

  You may remember Trimble Manor... I spent nearly 2 months building it for this little mouse.
Although, in the stories, the house was built in 1680, and PIPP's time is the 1890's.


The Manor is as much a character in this new set of books as is Pippity herself.
It rather defines her life as a quite fastidious and opinionated mouse-person.
 I'm moving quickly along with the paintings and hope you will enjoy seeing glimpses of them as I go.
 Back to the brushes and watercolor.....

UPDATED:
 PAGE one is painted...
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  PART 2 PINCUSHIONS
  I've had some inquiries on Facebook about my Pincushions 
 These are still available at the moment.... but I am taking them to a show next weekend.
 If you are interested in purchasing one, just email me at jeri@hopalonggreetings.com