Covered Wagon Heading West

all the nice soft things for a good bed

The story goes that Thomas McCann met Blossom Blue at a social affair in Boston and had to act fast, he was on his way to Oregon to stake his claim on the new frontier. He didn’t have a real commitment from Miss Blossom but would woo her with letters until he could return for her later. He loaded up his wagon with trunks, bedding, tools, cooking utensils, and  everything he could carry to set up housekeeping.

a muzzle loader and 6 shooters in his gun belt,

He would be packing his six shooters and a muzzle loader. The gun powder is in the powder horn,  or in this case, a rooster spur.

 

Saws, hammer,brace & bit, and a good hatchet

Next he gathered up all the tools for building a place to live once he got there.

 

here are gardening tools which will go in a tool shed once it is built, A kerosene lantern is an important item, and a mouse trap~

A crate and gardening tools, they would be stored in a tool shed when he gets one built. The lantern is one of the most important things he owns

the photograph album is filled with old pictures

Some treasures are packed too, the telephone was ahead of it’s time but will be handy in the future

I can imagine the sweet sound of a guitar , softly filling the evening with it’s music 

 And how about a little music,(get your guitar baby)
 I will finish my Covered Wagon up tomorrow, then get back to flowers and recipes etc.

Miniature Covered Wagon~Goodbye

Miss Blossom tries out the front seat, she is wondering if she was a little too hasty~

It looks like it is going to happen, Thomas’ letters won  Miss Blossom’s heart  and she is gathering up her belongings and waiting for him to come and take her away. Aunt Edith has been on her bed bawling her eyes out for days~
A young lady needs her things

sewing basket, books, chamber pot, pitcher and basin, all those letters from her sweetie~

the pinto beans are loaded onto the mule, those keep for a long time

the china is made of clay and then baked, the silverware is from copper wire, flattened and shaped~pretty crude but the best I could come up with~

wash board, oak buckets and tub, ironing board and iron, clothes pins, and everything a woman could ask for~I like washing clothes~ put them in and push the button~

everything from coffee grinder to butter mold. The knives have oak handles and all the metal parts are cut from a tin can~

the pans are made from lids, the cast iron skillet is carved from wood, the spoons were copper wire, flattened and shaped

Off to Oregon and their new life together~

~as Blossom was saying~ “and when I was four my daddy got me a pony for my birthday and mama said he had been foundered because his hooves grew too long and he was too fat, but thin ponies got it too, so Daddy sold him and I remember how much I cried, but they said they would find me another one, but they never did, then when I was six~ ~ ~” 
This was going to be a long long journey, Thomas wondered if he might have made a mistake~

I have enjoyed doing this blog on the wagon. Time to take it back to the Schleicher County Museum where they are kind enough to keep it for me.

Miniature Covered Wagon

this wagon is one foot tall, ready to roll

We were in Mexico in 1968 and  I found a beautiful miniature Conestoga wagon. It was well made and I was excited to buy it. After I had it for a year I kept thinking about trying to take the measurements and copy it, but in oak instead of the light wood it was made of. At that time I had no power tools so the wheels were a challenge. I used a coping saw. This project took several weeks but everything was coming together and I could see it was going to work. It was a good feeling when I  put the ‘canvas’ cover over the bows, which was a  dish towel that I painted several times to make it stiff. It just seemed to turned it into a little house. Although the wagon is completely made of oak, I needed to make parts of it look like metal, I mixed silver paint with burnt umber oil paint and it did look like steel. I started adding everything a person would need, traveling across the Great Plains to Oregon in a covered wagon. A ladder, sacks of feed, a crate of ‘live’ chickens, a quirt, an anvil, tools, a lantern, and of course a muzzle loader. I used a rooster spur for the powder horn, perfect size. Then I found a little mule in a shop and knew this was going to be my one ‘bought item’. (I named  her Molly) I loaded her with sacks of feed, garden tools, and a butter churn. Now all I needed was a story to go with the wagon, so I named the fellow Mr.Thomas McCann. He was leaving his sweetheart Blossom Blue in Boston for the time being and would return for her later when he was established out west.  A package of miniature letters, each hand written, tells their story~ more on this later~    This has been my favorite blog to post, I suppose building this wagon and all the little stuff for it was was the most fun, but I always like whatever  project  I am doing at the time.

the envelopes are smaller than a postage stamp, all the letters are hand written~they are quite proper

 

Miniature Attic Room Restored

this room is for relaxing, snacking, and painting. It was one of the most fun to make and to restore, it had everything except my sewing machine~

Today I am showing the miniature attic room. It is also the painting room. I never had an art studio even though Dan wanted me to have one when we were building our house. I liked to paint on the kitchen table in the middle of family life. I would work for several hours after the boys went off to school, then put everything away to cook dinner. It was always nice to start out with a clean space again.

The sandwich here is 40 years old. (I have since made a fresh one), my favorite~ham, cheese, tomato and lettuce on soft bread~

Back to the attic room, there is a real card game going on, and place for someone to have a ham sandwich, bag of Fritos and a Coke.

In real life, I never used an easel or stool, I propped the canvas on my lap and painted at the kitchen table, I usually had a Dr. Pepper that lasted me all day~

Then a place with all the things I needed to paint pictures. The paint box has lots of tiny tubes of paint, brushes, turpentine, and yes it is a mess just like in real life. A stool, paint rag, pallet, and easel with a work in progress.

Finally a cozy bed, I like beds. I had lots of good feelings when I was restoring this room~

Miniature Dining Room

I don’t have a formal dining room, I never wanted one. When I was a child and someone passed away, they often put the casket in the dining room for viewing~yes and men came and sat up with the body all night~

this little tea cart is 2 1/2 inches tall, the paintings are scenes from Bourbon St. in New Orleans, copies of real ones I once painted . (We spent our honeymoon in New Orleans in 1953)

At first I thought this little dining room do-over would be the easy one. It took me more than two weeks. Everything in the china cabinet was in good shape, no repairs there.  The fruit bowl on the buffet has apples, oranges, and bananas that are carved from wood. I started by whittling a piece of fruit on the end of a dowel pin, this way I had something to hold to, then  sanding and shaping it with an emery board. Finally I cut it loose and painted it. The grapes are mustard seeds rolled around in Elmer’s glue to make a clump, dried and then painted. They are still good after 40 years. Pile it all in a bowl (perfume lid) and it is done. Copper wire is great for so many things, I hammered it out in a flat ribbon and made the arms for the chandelier and the drawer pulls from that an then painted them with gold leaf. The dining chairs got new covers. Glue has always been a problem for me. It needs to be tacky so it will  hold the pieces together and then dry strong. There is no way to join the parts and then hold each tiny piece for 20 minutes until it bonds, it has to be sticky.  I think I have finally found the perfect glue, it is Loctite Stik N’ Seal. The carpet is the original, velvet fabric that I painted a design on.  I  re-varnished all the little furniture in each room, it made a big difference. I use polyurethane satin, everything looks   brand new again. This project was almost as much fun as it was the first time ~except nowdays I get tired and think about a nap~

Miniature Bath Room

the perfume and lotion bottles are carved from wood and painted. I had a lot more stuff on the counter that I left out this time.

 

The commode and bath tub are carved out of wood. The toilet paper roll is 40 years old and still in good shape.

This is the miniature bathroom, renovating it was pretty easy compared to the other eight rooms, but I always hit a snag somewhere. This time it was a new mirror. It took three tries to get it right. I put new ’tile’ on the floor and walls, some left over from doing the backsplash in the kitchen. When I thought I was finished, Anna said I needed to put uba tuba ‘granite’ on the counter. I am glad I did. I like bathrooms, the bathtub especially, it is my reward every day. My sister Nancy gave me bubble bath one year for my birthday and said I would never have to wash the tub again~ but she wasn’t right.

Miniature Mess

This is some of the furniture and accessories for three of the rooms. Jitter Joe sits beside it to show it’s size. Every piece is hand made, no kits~

The blog this morning showes my big mess. Last year I was working all day, every day re-doing the miniature rooms and didn’t have time to put together a good blog. I thought this do-over would just involve a little  touch up painting and cleaning. No, all the stuff had to come out, furniture needed new varnish, walls repainted, (some three times because the paint color I was wanting  was the color of my knit shirt, I took it to Lowe’s to match it and when I put it on the walls, it looked like Pepto-Bismol). Not good for a formal dining room~ The old glue was failing on a lot of the things, I had to make  new draperies and curtains. Then when the kids came for dinner the next Sunday, Dan told me I should do a complete renovation on the kitchen with ‘granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and a travertine black splash’.  I think he was teasing, well big surprise Cowboy Bob, I did it. For the counter top I bought one floor tile the color of uba tuba granite (66 cents) and cut it to fit. I painted the appliances with silver leaf, and I worked on the travertine tile. Maybe I will have something better to show tomorrow. Right now I am going to go watch another episode of Downton Abbey. That is my reward~

Miniature Swing Set

The real barn had a child size bed, table and small refrigerator  for ZZ’s playhouse. (this miniature swing set is 4″ tall)

I made the real table, which washed away in the same flood that took the River Mouse. It would seat 8 people, with two stumps on the end to use as seats. This miniature is 1 3/4″ tall~

This is a miniature copy of the swing set at Camp Rock. (I didn’t make the trailer, it was a gift from Dan and Debbie). The barn is a copy of one Dan built, ZZ helped him by handing him each nail, one by one that went on the roof. There is the picnic table like the one I built that washed away. I bought the real swing set at Lowe’s and put it together.  It came in several heavy cartons full of pipes, seats, chains and a thousand nuts and bolts. I laid it all out on the ground, opened up the instructions and it said, ‘have your helper hold the first leg steady as you connect it to the horizontal top bar’. Well,the only helper around was my little dog Spook. One of these things can be assembled by one person because I did it that day. (a hard job) When it was finished, it was worth it. Our kids came for vacation from Albuquerque the next day, and ZZ had stars in her eyes when she saw it. She spent the next two weeks on the slide or a swing or sitting in the glider with her dog and her stuffed toys, she was three years old. I see swing sets in people’s back yards that are a piece of work. They have climbing walls and bridges, curved slides, ladders up to a landing  on top with a flag flying. They are made of redwood and and likely very expensive. I know it would take more than your dog to help put one together. But what a nice thing to have when your kids are growing up, it should last forever. When I grew up, we were lucky if we had a tree big enough to hang a rope swing. Ours was across the street in Grandmother’s yard. You could sit in it and have someone wind you up and spin until you were sick. You staggered out of that swing drunk as a skunk~

 

Miniature Bedroom

It has taken a week to re-decorate and restore this room~

This is the first miniature room I made, it was in 1972. I had planned to only make one room and I just kept adding things to it until it was to the brim, way too much stuff in it. It had criss-cross curtains and divided light windows, linen shades with a crocheted pull on them, and most of this work was hidden behind something else. The windows were too big for the rest of the room and it always bothered me. When I started redoing it last week, I took the windows out, made the curtains more tailored, and got rid of some of the clutter. The lamp shade had completely fallen apart after 40 years and it took me several hours to make a new one. A thing I have learned is to be careful with glue, it goes on clear but through the years turns a dark dirty brown. I had to take everything off the walls and repaint them because of the glue. It has been a lot of fun working with the different rooms though. Three down, four to go~

Miniature Bed Room

the real room had an oak desk, TV, organ, and a lot of other stuff . I didn’t make those things because they were on the wall in front, I had to leave this side open.

Another restored miniature room. This is a copy of a bedroom we had in the farm house where we lived for 20 years, a copy of the real furniture too.The year was 1972. It was one of the seven miniature rooms  I made that year Our two boys shared this room, It had one small closet. They kept it neat and clean, it opened up to the living room and it had to be presentable. I always warned them if they ever went to school without making their beds, I would go get them and bring them back home to do the job. They thought I really would so were good to do it. One day Dan was taking them to school and soon after they left, here he came backing the little green Volkswagen  down the road, out jumped the 9 year old, he ran in the house, made a circle and off he went. I figured it out, he wanted to be sure he had made his bed. I will  be putting the other rooms on the blog soon~

Father’s Day Card

this is the beautiful walnut rocking chair Dan made for his daddy, he worked on it for seven months, and what a wonderful surprise it was!

Dan made a rocking chair to give his daddy for Father’s Day  a few years ago. It took him 7 months, it was a work of art. He had to make all the jigs to bend the strips of walnut, spent weeks putting it together, sanding and rubbing the wood.Finally it was finished and it was  delivery time. Debbie called me when they got to the edge of town to have me to send daddy off in the car for something so they could come slip it in the house. Daddy came back, walked right in past the chair and sat at the bar, then  Dan gave him his card. Daddy read it and looked it over and was so happy. He said, ” you made this card yourself?’” Well yes! So he read and re-read the card and said it needed to be framed. He thanked Dan again and gave him a big old daddy/boy hug. We were about to crack up it was so funny. Then we all went

One more way to say "I love you Daddy"

Wonderful Day

 to sit in the den and Daddy saw his chair. He was speechless! He sat down and went over every inch of it, stroking it and saying over and over again, “I can’t believe it, and you made this chair!”  Daddy treasured things and was happy beyond words. What a wonderful day.

Miniature Living Room

Work started on living room

after the walls are painted and things start getting moved back in, it turns into happy time

the paintings are done on linen canvas,

It is hard to photograph these small rooms~

I restored my 40 year old miniature rooms, this is the living room. This is a job I have been dreading for a long time. As it turned out, I enjoyed working on them, it was almost as exciting as when when I first made them. Most of the rooms are 11″x16″. Through the years, the glue has failed on some of the furniture and just like real rooms, the walls need  repainting. They are old and it was time to redecorate. There are seven rooms in all and originally each one took about a month to make. Since the drawers and doors don’t have to be functional on tiny miniatures, they are easier to make than the larger pieces. The piano took a while to make, the keyboard is scored and has individual black keys, each one hand applied. I will put the all rooms on my blog  later.  I like the little things, there is a child in us that can live on for a lifetime.