I can't believe how long it's been since I went anywhere, especially in 2020, The Year of The Pandemic, with all the concerns about Covid-19 and everything. However, I had a call recently from Mother Goose explaining that, "Yes, fortunately, Wanna, we don't have viruses here. We have occasional problems with big bad wolves or princes who want too much power, and such like, but it all works out in the end. Anyway, I thought you might like to come for a short visit just to get away from things." And I jumped at the chance!
"Well, who could pass up an opportunity like that?" I told my husband, as I reassured him that I would wear my mask until I got to FairyLand, and on my way home. However, as you know, getting there and back has always been a process that just happens, and to this day I am not sure how it works.
After we had tea and caught up on all the FairyLand news at her cottage, Mother Goose said, "By the way, Iris has retired, and I thought maybe you might enjoy a visit with her, now that she isn't so busy painting flowers and such."
I first met Iris the fairy when I almost stumbled against a rainbow she was painting, and it always amazed me how someone so tiny could fly around and juggle all those pots of paint and brushes and all. Even fairies eventually grow old, though, and I could understand her desire to take it easy after a very long time keeping the colors just right throughout FairyLand.
"I can't go with you right now," Mother Goose said, "because there's a council meeting and the frogs are acting up again. They always get a bit fractious when we don't get enough rain, and it's been a bit dry lately. Anyway, Iris's house is just around the corner," she added, waving off to the east. "Just call for Goosey when you are ready to go back home and we'll come and get you."
I had not been to Iris's house before, but as soon as I spotted it, I knew it was hers. We had such a fun visit, as she reminisced about various other residents whom I had either met briefly or heard about. "Do you remember Sunflower Sue?" she asked. "I think she's going to be retiring soon, as well. When I think about how tired I got from hovering around, painting my blossoms, I can only imagine the labor involved in dealing with those gigantic sunflowers! It all catches up with you eventually."
I nodded, remembering a couple of other Fairyland residents, Grandmother Matamosca and Grandmother Byrda, who were enjoying their retirement.
The last thing Iris did before I had to return to El Paso was to show me her bedroom.
"Would you believe the garden spiders wove that throw for my chair? It is so soft, and I enjoy wrapping myself in it while I have my last cup of tea of the day. I probably should get rid of some of the outfits I still have in that armoire, since I mostly wear just a nightgown these days, but you know how it is." I nodded in agreement. She continued, "And I always wanted a fancy bed but had to be content with simple ones throughout my youth. This was a retirement gift from the younger flower fairies. If I do say so myself, it is by far the most comfy bed I have ever been in and now I can sleep as late as I want. What do you think?"
"Iris," I replied, "That is a sumptous bed if I ever saw one, and I hope you have many pleasant dreams in your retirement. And speaking of retirement, my dear husband frets if I am away too long these days, and it's time for me to go."
I told her goodbye and left her happily crawing into her new bed. I went out front and called for Goosey and before you could say Jack Robinson, she was there. It always amazes me how that bird can hear me, no matter how seemingly far away I might be.
As they waved goodbye and started back to her cottage, I felt a bit of sadness when Mother Goose and Goosey left me at the border. But I reminded myself how fortunate I was to get away from the real world for a while, when others can't, and my visit with her and Iris was just what I needed to restore my sense of balance.
Next thing I knew I was back home again, in self-quarantine once more with my dear husband. As I told him about my visit, I regretted that I have to use a more mundane type of bed that I can raise and lower in my old age. "Too bad I don't have the resilience of fairies," I said, "or I would try to get a bed like that, too."
"Hon, you have all the resilience you or I need. Any more than that, and I would be up Salt Creek," he said.
Hmm, that got me to thinking. I wonder if there is a Salt Creek in FairyLand? I made a note to ask Mother Goose about that the next time I visit.
I like using my graphics program to clean up, straighten and reconfigure partial images of doors and windows and such to make full doorways, create new windows and walls, and turn them into building facades. Many of those images have been sent me by my husband after he completes online jigsaw puzzles. In May 2020, my friend Sandra Matthews Manring posted a series of pictures of Art Nouveau doors on her Facebook page, and one of those images was the impetus for what eventually became Iris's house.
When I do this graphics process, I open a new document and paste two copies of the original picture on the left side of the page. I don't change the original, and if I want to work on details, I use the second one as a spare, because I have accidentally erased my original in the past and then could never find it again on line. I paste a third image in the center of the open space to the right and that is where I begin cleaning up and copying and pasting to expand the image. In this case, I not only completed the framework around the doorway, I cut and pasted from the original to create the windows.
This is what the printout looked like after I created the full doorway, two windows and the entire wall. I always include a couple of extra windows in case I want to layer them for dimension or use them over the doorway, etc. The lower paler color was the wallpaper for the interior.
My original plan was to use the facade on a wooden craft hutch as I have done previously. This time, however, my plans were changed because of the pandemic we are now experiencing. When he couldn't find regular toilet paper, my husband ordered large rolls like those used in public restrooms. When we emptied the first roll, I noticed its core was bigger and much heavier than the standard tp core, and I went Aha! I would not have to worry about furnishing two floors, so that's why Iris's house is round.
Once I made that decision, before I went any further I looked through my stash so I could decide how to furnish the interior. Isn't it interesting how things come together?
I have had the quarter scale Robin Betterley armoire in my stash for years, and the chair was a swap gift. I made the throw from a wisp of trim and the heart pillow was cut from a larger piece of lace.
The most recent piece, Iris's whimsical bed, is a one-of-a-kind from UniquablesbyUrsula, made entirely from clay. I purchased it sometime ago on Etsy because it just called out to me. Until I started this project, I had no idea it would work so well with the other two pieces.
It has roses at every corner!
Here I am deciding on placement and where to cut the opening for the back. I reversed the process with the wallpaper printie inside the core so that I could also cut the inner opening.
I used a heavy piece of chipboard to draw circles for the top and bottom of the house and discovered a Ralph Lauren paint sample was just the right size for the floor so I glued it over the chipboard. For the ceiling I glued white paper for the underside.
I had gotten out a thin piece of green foam to make a base for my Thatched Cottage, and I pieced together some of the cut-off pieces to make the base for this small dome scene.
I painted around the edges with brown acrylic and used my regular coffee grounds and sand mixture for the base.
The roof is made from heavy crepe paper, doubled and gathered up. I drew my inspiration for the landscaping from some whimsical paper plants that I have collected over the years, including these somewhat fanciful, wrinkled looking iris.
I cut off excess wire and trimmed some leaves to make the frame for the doorway. Some of the leaves were cut smaller and attached with florist tape to create the roof peak. The other landscaping bits were in my stash, and it all just sort of evolved.
Because in El Paso everything needs to be protected from dust, I have learned to have a cover ready before I start any new project. For this one I decided to use a small dome just large enough to hold the round house with a bit of landscaped area to spare. Throughout the process I kept placing the dome over it to be sure everything would fit inside. But ... I forgot to set it on the wooden base, so when I had the whole thing finished, it stood up too high! Drat! So, I either need to slice off some of the foam base, or use it without the wooden base, setting it directly on my display stand. Not sure yet which ...
In addition to this house, I have several other door photos which I turned into similar printouts. I know already what one of them will be because I have the doll and furnishings already in mind. I do not know at this point, however, if it will turn into the two rooms of a hutch, or be a single round room like this one when we empty another of those large tp rolls!
Thanks again, Sandra, for the inspiration!