How to see all posts

A number of people have found it difficult to see the whole blog. At the bottom of each page, there is a "newer post" and an "older post" link. just click on these to see more posts. There is also a list of pages by month in the left sidebar.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Why I haven't posted in so long

Not long after I started the Ryokan, I began having a lot of health problems. They kept treating me for asthma, but I knew it wasn't that. Finally, last July 11th, I had my husband take me to the emergency room in a hospital in western Maine. They performed an emergency tracheostomy, and transferred me to Portland by ambulance. I was in the hospital all summer and fall, being treated for cancer. I'm still not out of the woods yet. I need a biopsy and some other things, and have been waiting for an opening to get it done for about a month now. I don't have any of my craft supplies at home now, so can't work on the dollhouse. Keeping my fingers crossed that things will get straightened out soon. Health care is in such a mess.

We never qualified for Obama care, and don't qualify more Maine care either, but the IRS thought it was fine to charge us thousands of dollars because we couldn't afford health care. I had to give up a few months worth of doctor's appointments last spring, just to pay the IRS the fines. My husband got laid off last summer, because he missed too much work, and still can't get a job, because he can't be there. Now, with almost a million dollars in hospital bills, we are going to have to choose between paying the IRS fines for no insurance in the spring, or paying hospital bills. With only $1,700 per month social security coming in, it will take months to get enough money to pay the IRS. I am terribly bitter about that, and can't stop myself from posting it here, because I am so sick of people trying to tell me that we have affordable healthcare in this country. Luckily, I turned 65 in December, so now I can get medicare. I have part B, but the bills are still adding up. Anyway, sorry for the rant about the lack of health care for those of us who were living paycheck to paycheck, but yes, it makes me mad. It also makes me mad that it wasn't considered a life changing event for me to be treated with cancer, and have to stay in a hospital four hours from my home, and having to use a feeding tube to eat, all the while my husband also was laid off and we were left with nothing but social security, and almost a million dollars in hospital bills. Nope, the government says that's not life changing, we still didn't deserve Obama Care.

Yeah, we will survive, (or at least my husband will), but it still sux.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Landscaping on the left hand side

Lately I've been working on making greeting cards for a craft show I will be doing on Saturday, so I haven't gotten as much done on the ryokan as I wanted. I have been drawing out plans for a tea house, and making lots of flowers though. This photo shows some of the flowers in place. The steps down to the lower level will be behind the pergola, and there will be a pathway to the teahouse, which will sit in a garden on another piece of styrofoam. That garden will just butt up against this one, so it will be easier to move. I hope to actually be able to add a bamboo fence to the tea garden.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Torii Gate installed

Tonight I painted and installed the torii gate. I had originally planned on sinking it into the base to make it more stable, but there really isn't room enough. Instead, I used some silicone glue to attach it and added some Celluclay to reinforce it. Once the Celluclay is dry, I'll paint it and add greenery to look like low bushes around the legs.

After that, I used the rest of the Celluclay I had mixed up to make more stepping stones. I was running out of the ones I made during the summer.

I also had a bit of a disaster. I was trying to get around the ryokan platform to get to the couch. (I told you it was too big for my living room). Anyway, I tripped over the container of stones I was using for the retaining walls and my hand landed on the corner of the base near the pond. I cracked and bent the styrofoam down in that corner, and it lifted the stream right off the base, and messed up some of the landscaping. The base of the ryokan sticks out a long way over the edge of the coffee table on all four sides, so there is nothing supporting those four sides. Anyway, I managed to even it all out. Then I pushed some boxes under that corner and used those to hold that corner up where it is supposed to be. I'll have to wait until I bring it back to the shop before I repair it, because I don't want to disassemble the ryokan again.

Once it's back at the shop next summer, I think it will stay there forever, because it's too difficult and fragile to move.

Anyway, I like the torii gate, even though it really is supposed to be the dividing area between the regular world, and the world you enter on the way to a Shinto shrine, and not on the way to a simple tea house!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Working on the torii gate

No matter how hard I try, and how many times I cut things, I can never get them perfectly straight. Anyway, this is going to have to do, because they seem to be getting more crooked every time I recut something. I'd like to make curved ends on the top, but I think I'm going to leave well enough alone. I guess it really does look like a torii, and that's a good thing! It's drying now, but tomorrow I'm going to paint it an orangey red, and then I will be able to install it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Starting the landscaping on the left hand side of the ryokan

Yesterday and today I worked more on the stone retaining walls and added more "moss" to them. That wasn't interesting enough to take a picture of though, so I didn't post anything until tonight.

This morning, I decided I would make a separate base to go on the left hand side. It won't be permanently attached, because it will take up too much room, and will make it even more difficult to move around when I need to move the whole base. This base will be approximately 18" from back to front and 12" wide. (All my rulers are at the shop, so I'm estimating the size of the rectangle of leftover foam I have).

It will match this base, but will just butt up against it when it's on display in the shop. (We can barely move in our tiny living room right now because the ryokan is taking up so much room already). Anyway, the tea house will be on the new platform. This will give me more room so I can give it it's own garden space like the ones I have been reading about on the internet. I've gotten some really nice ideas. I may even be able to incorporate a bamboo fence on the added platform, since it will be easier to move that piece when I need to without knocking the fence off.

These photos show the path going off to the left. I made that last night and tonight. I started out by trying stepping stones only, but they didn't look right, so I made a matching path for this side of the front to match the one on the other side. At the end of this path will be a torii gate to separate the pebble path from the stepping stones, then stepping stones through the pergola. Next there will be steps down to the lower level, where the teahouse and garden will be. I'm going to try to make the route to the teahouse very interesting and a little bit mysterious!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

More work on the pond and gardens

This morning I spent a long time looking at Japanese Tea Houses on the internet. I really think I'm going to have to do something on the left hand side of the ryokan so I will have room to add one.

Most of the day was spent off the island, getting groceries and things we need for the real house. We didn't get back until late. In fact, it was already dark when we got to the grocery store an hour away from here.

I think that one of the most depressing things about fall and winter, is that it is dark so early now, and we aren't even on standard time yet. Living in Eastern Maine, we see the sun first in the morning, but it is dark by 4:00 pm in December and January, and that is too early!!!

Anyway, when I got home, after dinner, I added more landscaping to the middle level on the right hand side. I sort of wish I had waited. It was late, and I just used some premade stuff I bought at Hobby Lobby. I think I will change those flat grass like plants and make it more interesting back there. This level is almost done, but I still need to add more stones and moss to the retaining wall.

Then I made more waterlilies, and added some more moss to the rocks around the pond.

I'm getting very excited about working on the left hand side, and it won't be long now before I can start it!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Making waterlilies

I didn't get much time to work on the ryokan today, but I did try some waterlilies.

I was trying to figure out a way to be able to make them fairly quickly, and decided to use these two punches to make the leaves and flowers. I used the apple punch for the leaves, then just trimmed them a bit until they looked more like lilypads and less like apples. Then I used the flower punch and cut two sets of flowers for each waterlily. The top part of the flower was curved up and glued onto the bottom flower offsetting the petals. Then I curved the bottom petals up a bit, and put a dot of yellow paint in the center.

I only got a chance to make a few. I glued down the lily pads I had so far using the liquid nails clear sealant I used for the waterfall. I haven't glued the flowers down yet, they are just sitting there waiting until I make more leaves and/or flowers. I'm not sure how many I will want to add.

I also put a few pieces of mossy/grassy stuff over some of the water on the side. I'm not sure yet, how much of that I will add.