Monday, March 10, 2014

projects new and old

It's funny the things we'll think of when winter's dark seems as though it will go on forever. Some weeks ago, during just such a time, I remembered the little candle chimes my Swedish friend, Inger, used to unpack each Christmas. This time I had a spot on top of a new bookcase that didn't really need a reading light, but did need something interesting. Although I'd liked the angel lights, a candle powered anything didn't seem like the right thing for regular use. After a little searching I found a small company in Vancouver called 'Magic Lamp' that makes what are known in Japan as 'Mawari-Doro'. They had some on sale for a very reasonable price so I ordered the one you see here.

Now I've begun the process of seeing if I can make one of the paper cylinders that spins inside the little rice paper walled box. This is how far I'd got by this afternoon. Since I wasn't able to find any colored cellophane like what's been used in the cut-out windows of the original, I had to order sheets of colored mylar from an art supply company in the US. Getting supplies I'm used to having easily available is a bit frustrating, but not an insurmountable problem. While I expect it's going to be tricky figuring out the right weight and balance for a new spinner, I think the result will be worth spending the time. I'm already getting ideas about carving and gluing balsa wood frames..

I also have a new plant friend, one rescued from the grocery store a few days ago. I thought it was a cactus, but it turns out it's a Euphorbia Trigona, a plant native to South Africa where they're often grown into hedges to keep wild animals out of the gardens. Yes, this is a very small one and I must be prepared for it to grow to six feet or more. We may need a bigger pot and a dolly - eventually.

Lastly, and in case you wondered, I did finally finish Final Fantasy IX, the game I began to play late in January. Just in case you might (possibly, maybe) be interested in seeing what held my attention for so many afternoons the following shows some of the video highlights of the game. Good video games can provide entertainment like no other medium I know. Yes, 50% is fighting and figuring out puzzles, 5% is movie, but the rest is all about traveling around discovering a world and getting to know (and love) the characters who live there.

'You don't need a reason to help people.'

~ Zidane


marja-leena said...

I enjoyed this glimpse into your home - the lamp, bookshelves, plant and what looks like a Charlie Chaplin figure.

We've had several of those Swedish angel chimes. After decades of use (some were my parents) I find little bits have broken off and the brass is tarnished. I do miss them at Christmas now.

Your lamp idea is lovely, and an interesting art project! Do show it to us when it's done. Oh, and I assume you are using electric lights, or battery-power?

Life As I Know It Now said...

Your home is cozy, artistic, and stimulating--reflecting the occupants no doubt. :)

Tom said...

Such a sense of joy and enthusiasm in your home. Love it!

susan said...

Thanks, Marja-Leena. Our place is actually quite small, but we try to keep it entertaining and comfortable. The Charlie Chaplin you noticed is a puppet made in Yugoslavia.

Yes, the angel chimes Inger had were made from very fine weight brass so I'm not surprised they break over the years. I did see a place that sells the genuine ones during my explorations.

I will continue to take pictures as I make the magic lamp insert. If it works once it's done I'll post the process. The lights are low wattage candelabra bulbs.

susan said...

I bet yours is much the same, Lib.

susan said...

Thanks, Tom, but I still wish I had a garden - particularly one in the South of France.

Ben said...

Maybe I haven't thought this much in the past, but you have a very curious kind of creativity. It always seems to be looking for new places to play in. It's quite admirable.

Hope you have fun with the euphorbia. Careful with the sap, of course. I read about the guy who said he was blind for two days.

Oh, the things that the Little Tramp gets himself involved with!

clairesgarden said...

very creative!! interesting looking plant.

susan said...

Making things I haven't seen before, or different versions of those I have, has always been the most fun. Then again, it's likely I could still entertain myself for hours with a mud puddle and a few sticks and stones.

I will be careful with the euphorbia now that I know. We had a 'crown of thorns' plant in Portland - the skinny cactusy thing with the red flowers - that's also a euphorbia. I mucked around with it a fair amount and didn't have a problem (lucky, I guess). The really dangerous euphorbia is the cooperi (or candelabra tree). It's armed and very dangerous. I won't be getting one of them.

Yeah, the Little Tramp abides.

susan said...

Nice. Glad you've made it through the winter, Claire.

The plant is unique, isn't it?

Lydia said... there is a new term for me. The "lamp" is gorgeous, and I'm so glad you were able to find one. What I am most amazed by is that it inspired you to begin one of your own. You are so amazing, Susan!

Your plant friend needs a name, one suitable for a large guy, maybe a tribal leader. He is very fine indeed, and I congratulate him for having attracted your attention.

Ol'Buzzard said...

We had candle chimes but somewhere during one of our moves they were lost. We have looked for replacements since but haven't found what we want.
the Ol'Bizzard

susan said...

Mawari-Doro is apparently the Japanese name for lamps that turned like Buddhist prayer wheels. They really are very nice for any room and the extra cool thing is there's a guy in Seattle who also makes beautiful ones (Harmony Lantern). I think I like giving myself challenges :)

Funny thing is he does have a name: Cactaur! He seems very happy.

susan said...

There are some really nice antique ones I've seen pictures of, but nice newer ones are hard to find.