Hopalong Hollow....

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

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Pippity's pantry is simply stuffed!

Pippity TRIMBLE has a Pantry that would be envied by any mouse, or human, for that matter!
  It took an effort to stock the little scullery, but between the two of us  (PIPP and me) we managed to gather together more than enough crocks, cheeses, baskets,jugs and bottles and receptacles to fill the small strip of room.
We started with filling the mustard colored  cupboard.
I couldn't match everything in the illustration exactly, but where I lacked the proper item, I replaced it with something better.
I did the same everywhere in the scullery, and ended up with far more than I expected, even more than is portrayed in the illustration.
The candles were dipped using beeswax, I didn't know how to get tiny candles any other way.
Using "Blank" ceramic crocks and pitchers, I was able to paint them as McCoy-Ware and salt glaze stoneware. Pippity likes to store her food items tightly in crocks with waxed cloth lids.
 It's a tight fit for Pippity to get through her little pantry, but she is very happy to have such a well appointed larder.

If she can't reach an item, she just climbs her little ladder.
 She has promised to bake me a pie for all the help I have given her.... I just hope it is bigger than a quarter.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Autumn planting...

Autumn is a good time to prepare a Basket Garden and plant flower seed for next year's blooms.
Just weave a "basket" against any building you want to feature, using your fall prunings from vines or rambling roses. I use wisteria which I must trim off  an arbor in the Spring AND the Autumn. If I don't prune that thing it will swallow our house! I weave the whips in and out between rebar that I've pounded into the earth, about 1 ft apart.
 This garden is a combination of bulbs, annuals planted from seed and perennials.
This is the time to plant your bulbs AND drop some seeds for annuals. Zinnias will be very successful for you, no matter where you live.
It's a pleasure to do a last bit of gardening in the fall as the temps are lower.
This video is my basket garden in Spring and again just last week.
I missed the summer edition, but it looked totally different in JUNE
 Enjoy your garden while you still can.... it will be snowing before you know it!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Pippity's Pantry...

 I'm Stepping inside Trimble Manor

 to begin building rooms, starting with Pippity's Pantry.
  When I drew Pipp's pantry for the book, I had not yet built any of the rooms in the house.
 All the furniture and items came from my imagination.
 SO, I am copying the ILLUSTRATION to create the room, rather than the other way around.
( I'll have to do the same thing in her boudoir)
(Still have a bit more to paint here)
This makes it fun (like a treasure hunt) to fit what I DO have, to match the artwork.
  I first marked out the spot for the pantry; with the foyer behind it; on one side runs a stairway and on the other side, a kitchen.

The walls fit neatly into place, but can be removed as needed.
It is a small narrow room.
I used my leftover stone from the house facing to do the floor, still needs mortar.
 Because it will be difficult to get into that space surrounding the pantry once the walls are up, I thought it best to do the wallpaper under the stairway and around the front door.
 The "Wallpaper" is simply beautiful art paper from Hobby Lobby.
I also plastered the ceiling and put up beams in the pantry at this time.
Most importantly, I want to duplicate the cupboards that I created in the book, as closely as I can. I had several little cupboards of various styles, but they didn't match my book... so I had to make do.  I removed drawers, shelves,doors and in the case of the yellow cupboard, I put 2 small cupboards together to create the long hutch across the back wall.

  You may be thinking, "that is a really cute cupboard, how could she take it apart?!"
Well, it is a cute cupboard..... and I had 2 of them, but it did not match the book illustration.
 Until I dismantled it and painted it yellow. Not exact, but close enough.

Hobby Lobby sells those little pine cupboards for only 3.99... so I will replace the ones I took apart and use them somewhere else in the Manor.
  Here is another cupboard after being "REARRANGED" to fit more closely with the artwork..
 and here is another.
 Because PIPPS house is so very old, the furniture in the pantry must be aged as well, that was easy to accomplish using multiple paints and sandpaper. I want the cupboards to show centuries of use.

  To make the last pantry shelves on the right side of the room, I used wood  saved from the house-build. I knew this would come in handy at some point.
 This provided me with my last cupboard.
Not exactly a professional job, but it suits.

Packed in like sardines
 It's a snug fit, for sure. But wide enough for a little mouse to gather whatever she needs to gather.
  Now, I NEED to gather the stuff to fill those shelves.

I have a few things, others I will need to make or hunt for online. Pretty sure I can build cheeses and breads from clay. It's pretty dark in there, Pipp will need a lantern.

 The stairway running opposite the pantry wall is off to a good start. I've actually had that little desk for 35 years! I will stain it mahogany. The rug was needle-pointed by a dear friend

 Hopefully, the next time you see this illustration completed, you will see a fully stocked pantry in Trimble Manor as well!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Pippity's Peas

Moving along on the little book....

I'm able to work on the porch as the weather has been pleasant and delightful.

Painting Peas is also a pleasure,

and Preying Mantis as well.... he is my very best bug.


I make a real mess when I paint. I generally have 3 palettes going at once AND I  use the masking tape  Border for a palette as well .

I dearly love my new character, Pippity Trimble
I hope my readers will love her too, especially since I plan on having  6 volumes in this series.

It's easy to come up with mouse stories for

a very small mouse, in a very small book.

Now I am painting the pantry......
I really enjoy painting tiny things.

I loaded several new images  of Hopalong Hollowfolk onto my website this weekend.
Please give it a look-see at:

 Look at the size of those pears, they are HUGE...but virtually inedible. The pear tree provides us with vast quantities of fruit...but it is SO HARD. My donkeys, sheep and goat are the happy recipients of the  bounty.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

America's Downton Abby

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and a mere 2 hours from us, is America's Downton Abby.
The Biltmore Estate
Construction of the house was completed in 1895 
It was the vision of  George Vanderbuilt ( grandson of the famous industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt) who fell in love with the beautiful landscape of the North Carolina Mountains and woods.

He envisioned a great Mansion, inspired by the great castles and manor homes in Europe and spared no expense to create this incredible "Chalet style" home..
He, his wife and one child lived in this luxurious home....
with 200 servants. 

We visited the estate with my 91 year old mother, it was quite wonderful.
From an artists point of view, this place is a masterpiece of sculpture, design, opulence and elegance.

Everywhere you look, there is something spectacular to view.

 Little gargoyles, angels, lions and medieval characters make appearances from every nook and cranny. The take you by surprise!


 This "American Castle" is HUGE.

 It requires  many hours to take it all in.. Each enormous room is so full of architectural details, as to boggle the mind.
 Those are actually organ pipes up above the carved relief.
The ceiling in this banquet room are 70 ft high.

Mr.Vanderbilt collected art from all over the world, and he used his house to showcase
the work of painters, sculptors and designers.

 All the ceilings are simply breathtaking!
 Even the ceiling beams are inlaid with geometric designs

 There are  numerous 16th century tapestries in the home,
and 65 fireplaces.
This stone fireplace was my favorite

Just look at this Solarium, wouldn't you love to breakfast here?


 This is the top  of the solarium roof looking out of a 3rd floor window.

The Library contains over 10 thousand books

I don't remember the square footage of the house, but it is said that Downton Abby would fit comfortably  inside the Biltmore 1 and 1/2 times.

 One thing that really stood out to me, was the width and ceiling height of the hallways, even in the basement, where the kitchen and servants quarters were.
The halls were enormous and the servants rooms were really quite nice, though simple...
it was kind of a relief after experiencing all the opulence Upstairs.
 Gosh, see that kitchen table? I have one just like that in my studio!

As someone of simple tastes, I always seem to prefer the Downstairs Quarters in great homes, and can see the absolute beauty of the pots, pans and the
 Killer stove!

One of my favorite rooms in the basement was this one... It was actually 3 rooms;
 all of them, for the sole purpose,

of creating FLORAL arrangements for the house
Look at the wonderful glass cloches on the top shelf!
They didn't have to look far to get the flowers and plants for the arrangements....

 because located on the 1000 acre property is a fabulous Conservatory

 and several Greenhouses


 You can just see the tops of at least 4 greenhouse in the distance.

Walk through these gates....

and enter into a FABulous group of garden rooms !
  The borders just go on and on and on...

 Even at the end of August, the plants are still stunners.

 I could post dozens more pictures, but I've already gone on too long.

 We must go back in the Spring when thousands of Spring Bulbs will be providing a magnificent show!

My dear mother enjoyed it as much as I did.
I've only given you a taste of the BILTMORE.
It's quite enjoyable to see how the other half lived at the turn of the century.
  I urge you to visit the Biltmore website and plan a trip to America's Downton Abby!
PS. I want to thank you for your prayers for little Bryce and feel it only fair to tell you a bit about the situation. My son and his wife had taken in the little boy for over a year with the intention of  adopting him, when abruptly, the birth mother took him back. Under normal circumstances, one hopes for a child to be with the natural mother....but these are not normal circumstances and your continued prayers for his well-being are much appreciated.