Friday, June 14, 2019

The Rug Is Finished!

I have finally finished the main rug for the Sagamore Hill library!

Its border looks lighter in the photographs than it does in real life.  It almost looks white in the pictures, but it was worked with DMC 739 (very light tan), which to me looks like a pale, peachy gold.  I am very glad I did the borders around the medallions.  They definitely give the border more punch.

Still one more rug to go (the one under the orange chair), but I am taking a break from cross-stitch for a couple of weeks!

I have been playing around with a some more design ideas, including two more purses.

Can you tell this is supposed to have a caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly in it?

Also, those of you who follow Samantha (BluePrintMinis on Instagram) may have seen the San Francisco-themed gift basket I made for her.

Since half scale is really my preferred scale, I wondered if I could create a half-scale version.  I did run into a few snags--for starters, I can't find half-scale mugs anymore.  They definitely used to make them, but I've looked just about everywhere and can no longer find them.   I also can't find white wine bottles, so the half-scale basket ended up with two reds, which I guess is OK.  I may see if the guy who makes the 1:12 bottles I use would consider making half scale.  The final snags were that I didn't have a jar small enough for the olives, and the candy bars weren't easy to see when shrunk to half scale.  I ended up substituting chocolate sauce for the candy bars and mustard for the olives.  I also substituted copyright-free versions of the all of the pictures.  Google allows you to search by usage rights, and I was pleasantly surprised by how many good pictures of San Francisco are available free for commercial re-use.  All in all, I'm pleased with how it turned out. 😊

My final bit of news for this entry is that Carrie decided the new tenant in my Fairfield needed a maid, so she dressed one for me!  She found a great half-scale doll that had already been painted, and gave her hair, a dress, apron and cap!

I had already set up a maid's room when I built the Fairfield, so she lost no time making herself at home in her new digs.

She then went to work immediately, serving tea in the sitting room . . .

and cooking what I'm sure will be a delicious meal!

Many thanks to Carrie's fabulous Victorian employment agency!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!  Hope you get a lot of time to do minis (or whatever your passion is).  Thanks for stopping by!  I really do appreciate all the comments I get.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Making Haste Slowly

Now that I am so near to the end of this project, I find myself slowing down.  You'd think I'd speed up a bit to get it truly finished, but I often find the ending of a build a little sad, especially when I don't have another project waiting in the wings.  By coming up with little side projects, I can delay that final bittersweet moment a bit.

I have been making progress on the rug--a few rows every night.  The border is almost done.  When I started the border, I decided there wasn't enough contrast in it, and so tested outlining the little medallions in navy.  Now that it's nearly done, I don’t think the original colors look all that bad.  I'm debating removing the navy outline altogether, or perhaps just keeping it on the coral-colored medallions (both the light and the darker coral).  I'll see how difficult removing the stitches is.  I really don't want to mess the rug up at this point.  Once that section of the border is done, there will be two rows of the steel blue and one of the navy to fully complete it.

This past weekend, I also made 14 more books for the small bookcase, and hung the curtain on the left-hand window, so I have made a little headway.  😊

In other news, I have been participating (most days) in the #mayminimakers challenge over on Instagram.   It is so much fun to see the incredible work other miniaturists do.  And here is the really exciting part—I've sold some of my work!  For the "lucky penny" challenge, I posted pictures of some little jeweled handbags I had made on a whim using nail art.  I had photographed them next to pennies, just for size comparison.

People asked if I was selling them.  I have always hoped to have an Etsy store someday, but I didn't think I would be making sales quite so soon.  It truly was a lucky penny! 😊  I did make up nicer copies (I've improved a bit since my first few tries), and then someone asked if I could do a roadrunner.  Since I knew she worked in 1:12 scale, I tried both a 1:12 and a 1:24 version, and she took both!

Now I am playing around some more with both 1:12 and 1:24 purses, thereby further distracting myself from the main job at hand.  (One completed design below.)

I really need to do a full-court press on those books!

Hope you all have a great week, and, as always, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Exterior Finished

After much thought, I finally decided to go with veneer for the exterior of the room box.  I really wanted to try using the exterior colors of Sagamore Hill, but, to be honest, just painting what I had wouldn't have looked that great.  There are lots of imperfections in the box I built.  It was my first scratch room box, and my skill at "larger" construction is somewhat lacking.  Maybe if I had put siding on it, it would have been OK, but that wasn't really what I wanted to do.  The advantages of veneer are that it can hide some of those imperfections, it will go with the interior wood on the room, and if the box is placed on a bookshelf (which is where I intend it to go), the wood exterior will blend with the wood of the bookcase, so the focus is more on the interior.

I had planned to use some veneer that Carrie had kindly sent me, but it turned out that none of the pieces were big enough to cover the top.    I ended up ordering some cherry veneer from Amazon.  I love the cherry wood in the floor, so figured I couldn't go too wrong with cherry veneer.  As with the floor, I stained it a mixture of golden oak and red mahogany.  I made pattern pieces for all the exterior walls and "roof," then cut the veneer and sanded and stained it before applying.  I also went over the stained veneer with 0000 steel wool before applying.

After I applied it, edges were sanded flush and another layer of stain was put on.  Then steel wool, satin varnish, steel wool, satin varnish, and finally a rub down with a bit of worn brown paper bag.



I am pleased with the way it turned out.

The library has also had a visitor. 

I recently purchased a beautiful half-scale doll from Maria Narbon.  While she will be "living" in the Fairfield, her clothing seemed perfect for the era when the Roosevelts were in residence at Sagamore Hill, and I'm sure Edith would have been delighted to have her has a guest.  Here she is in the Fairfield:

This weekend, I am off to Arizona for a week to visit Mom.  I will be taking my rug along, as well as some printed book covers, and hope to get more done on those.

Enjoy your weekend, and happy mini-ing to all!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Ceiling Is On!

When I last blogged, I had canceled my order for the trim and cove, and decided to just go a different route.  (The seller did refund my money, with no explanation for the delay.)  No one else sells the trim I wanted, so I decided to make my own.  I glued two strips of railroad lumber together—one 1/8" x 3/64" and one 1/16" x 3/64".  I didn't have to worry about staining first because I knew I was going to be painting them.  I then used a sanding twig along the edges to round them off.  Not sure how clear it is in the picture below:  the piece in front is shown pre-sanding, and the piece in back has been sanded.  This got me some trim fairly close to what I wanted.  Then I painted them and was ready to begin cutting and gluing.

Because the ceiling projects over the bay window, there is a portion of the slide-in section that forms the nearest edge of the ceiling. Therefore, some of the trim pieces went on the ceiling perimeter (the portion that would be glued down), and some went on the slide-in section.

When the slide-in section is in place, the whole ceiling will look like this:

I know the pictures got a bit washed out, so that you can't see the ceiling paper, but it really is there.

Next, I worked on the cove.  I honestly don't think the wood cove I had ordered would have worked.  Maybe it could have if I had made it part of the walls when first building them, but at this point it would have stuck out from the walls and not looked at all right.  Instead, I decided to paint some card stock.  I started with a light green, figuring the green paint might cover it better than white card stock.

Then I cut strips and curved them carefully around a dowel before gluing them to the three sides of the room.  I had to cut a piece of crown molding to use as a template for cutting the side edges of the strips.  I always have difficulty visualizing how I need to cut them so they'll go together correctly.  My card stock cove was just a bit thicker than the paper border, so I simply added a second layer of the border to even things out.

Then it was time to glue the perimeter of the ceiling in place.

The cove butted nicely up against the trim around the ceiling perimeter.

And, finally, I could glue my larger pictures and my animal heads in place.

With the slide-in section in place:

Next up:  the exterior.  I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  My three options so far are:  1) paint it an unobtrusive color, like black or maybe dark brown; 2) paint it to match the exterior of Sagamore Hill—this would be pewter gray with dark green trim; 3) cover it in a stained and varnished wood veneer.  I'm leaning towards 2 or 3.  Thoughts?

Sagamore Hill Exterior Colors
There are obviously still things to do inside:  curtain on the left-hand window, the remaining rugs, books.  The "short break" I took on the books has turned into quite a long hiatus, and I really need to get back to them, but I'm not sure I'm psychologically ready yet.  😊 It was such a pleasure working on other items for a while.  (Carrie has received her package [yay!], but poor Sam is still waiting on hers, due to a surfeit of holidays in Australia and the general [in]efficiencies of postal services in both countries.)

Enjoy the rest of your week, and happy mini-ing!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Another Wonderful Gift!

This will be the last post where I whine about not receiving my trim materials.  I still haven't received them, but I have come up with an alternative plan of action, which I hope to be able to execute this weekend.  I've canceled my order, but, of course, the seller hasn't responded.  I used PayPal to pay, so I will need to look into how to get my money back.  *sigh*

On the good news front, I got another wonderful gift!  Carrie of It's the Little Things in Life had purchased some dress forms that were advertised as 1:12 scale but, when she received them, clearly were not.  (The seller had put them on a tall pole, but that didn't change the dimensions of the forms themselves.)  She offered to send them to me, as she couldn't use them.  But she didn't just send them—she dressed one of them!  She made the most beautiful white silk and lace wedding gown, complete with veil.

Honestly, the pictures don't do it justice.  It is so lovely, and the back is just exquisite!  Carrie knows how much I love a good bustle.  😊  As you can tell, she removed the tall pole, which apparently was an adventure in and of itself.  I haven't yet decided where it will go.  It may end up in my wall display, or it may go into the Fairfield.  I'm afraid on the wall display, no one will see the back.

Even though it was a gift for my one-year anniversary of the T.R. library (and, unbeknownst to her, it also arrived a few days after a decade-changing birthday), I of course wanted to reciprocate.  I'd had an idea for something for her anyway, and this gave me the impetus I needed to complete it.  Her gifts are on their way, but, naturally, they are a surprise, so no information here.  😉

Hope you all have a great mini weekend, and I hope to have a post showing progress on the library next week!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A One-Year Anniversary and Some Slippers for Mr. Roosevelt

It has been one year since I made the first piece of furniture for the Roosevelt library.  As I suspected would be the case, the project has taken a full year, and I'm not quite done yet.  For one thing, I am still waiting for the materials to finish the ceiling.  I am about to cancel the order and go elsewhere.  *sigh*

Fortunately, during this period of downtime and just before last weekend (not this past one), I got an inspiration for a thank you gift for Sam.  Unfortunately, I can't post pictures of what I worked on without ruining the surprise.  I will say that I am very happy with the way things turned out.  The gift is something I've assembled.  Most items I've made, a couple of items I had to purchase (although I then modified them), and I'm even including something from my childhood dollhouse.  And those are all the teasers you're going to get.  😉

Last week was a difficult week at work, and this past weekend was busy with other non-mini events, so I didn't get as much done as I would have liked.  I did get the paper on the ceiling.  When the ceiling is off, I'm not super happy with the fact that you can see seams where I had to piece.  However, when it's in place, you really don't see them, so I'm good with it.

Also, Sam's gift reminded me that I have put shoes and/or slippers in nearly every build I've done, but I had nothing for this one.  There are no shoes or slippers in any of the pictures I've seen, but I decided to take some of the leftover leather from the brown chair and make a little pair of men's slippers.  I will put them under the desk.  That way, when Mr. Roosevelt is hard at work on government business, he can take off his shoes and slip on more comfortable footwear.  😊

To round things out, I thought I'd post some pictures of Sam's gifts in situ.  The ship is in Jim's study.  I had a ship in there, because I really wanted Jim to have a model ship, but it was a metal mini that I had painted and didn't look nearly as nice as this one does.  The new one looks right at home.

The purse is on the kitchen counter.  I have a feeling that when Margot comes back from shopping, that is exactly where the purse ends up.  

Once I had it in place, it became glaringly obvious that I needed a set of keys next to it.  So I purchased some little 1:24 laser-cut keys off eBay.  The key chain is simply gold thread and yet another bit of fingernail art.

The shoes are in the bedroom, on the bed for now.  That is where my new shoes end up when I first bring them home.  They may move to another location at some future date, but for now I like them in their box.

And that's it.  Hope you all have a great week, and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Ceiling Solution

Having tested my foam core ceiling and realized how a fixed ceiling would impede access to the room, I decided that a removable ceiling was definitely the way to go.  Using the cove as a "lip" on which to rest it also appealed to me.   I liked Jodi's idea of fastening the cove to the ceiling, so that when I inserted it, it would stay nicely in place.  However, with the animal heads affixed to the wall up near the cove, I was afraid they would be at risk every time I put the ceiling back on.  My solution was to create a lip within a frame.  The frame would attach permanently to the walls, and the lip would extend in over the cove.  The "stepped" framework would allow for exact placement of the ceiling each time, as well as make it more stable (I hope).

Cutting wood is not my strongest skill, and it's also one of my least favorite things to do, so for the "frame" of the ceiling, I used a combination of strip wood and plywood.  The part that sits over the fireplace and inglenook has a layer of my leftover board and batten on the part that will face down into the room.  That is because, according to the Historic Structure Report for Sagamore Hill, the real-life inglenook has a tongue and groove ceiling.  (Yes, I know no one will ever see it, but I'll know it's there.) The board and batten is 1/16" thick.  To get a 1/4" thickness (in keeping with the rest of the room box), I added a layer of 1/16" plain basswood, then a layer of 1/8" plywood all glued together with wood glue and clamped with about a dozen clamps.  (Seriously.  We had to make a run to the hardware store to buy more clamps to make sure I had enough.) 

 The main part of the ceiling frame is made from 3/8" and 5/8" strip wood.   The 3/8" strip wood came in a 1/8" thickness.  The 5/8" inch came in 3/32," so I added a layer of chipboard to the base to bring it up to 1/8" thickness.  In an effort to create further stability, I had the cross-wise (back wall) strip of the 5/8" wood run from the left wall to the inglenook ceiling, and the 5/8" pieces that run along the side walls butt up against it.  However, the 3/8" side wood pieces run all the way from the front edge to the back wall, and the cross-wise 3/8" strip is inserted in between them.

This creates a lip all the way around on which to place the ceiling.

I glued the frame to the engineered piece that fits over the fireplace and inglenook, and puttied and sanded the join.

I then cut two pieces of 1/8" thick plywood—one to fit within the lower lip of the frame:

And one to fit on top over the ceiling and the lip, and within the top layer of the frame:

One piece was cut lengthwise on the plywood sheet; the other was cut cross-wise.  I was hoping that that would also provide more strength and stability.   More wood glue and clamping later, I had a single ceiling/roof piece that fits within the frame and on top of the lip.  Edges were puttied and sanded (although the exterior will all be covered at some point) and all the wood was primed and sanded.

View inside:

There will be cove in place around the top of room, and there will be trim (similar to the picture rail trim but painted green) around the inner underside of the lip.  This will help cover up the join between the lip and the removeable ceiling.

Detail from the actual ceiling
The underside of the ceiling itself will get embossed paper (and paint).

The embossing on the sheets doesn’t show up very well.  It's this pattern.  Unfortunately, as you can see, no matter how I position them the sheets won't cover the ceiling without a bit of piecing.  *sigh*  Now I'm just waiting (im)patiently for my trim and cove to arrive.  <tapping foot>

Since there isn't much eye candy in this post, I thought I'd post a picture of the main rug in progress.  I looked everywhere for a miniature rug pattern that I thought was close to the original.  Finally, I gave up, and made up my own pattern.  You can see, in the upper-left-hand corner, how it will look with the dark blue background filled in.  It's far from perfect, but it will mostly be covered up by the lion skin rug anyway.  I'll also have to design a border for it.

It is being worked in tent stitch on 28-count linen.

Then I got the most wonderful surprise in the mail yesterday!  Samantha (BluePrint Minis) sent me some gifts all the way from Australia.  Because she knew how much I liked the work of Tiny Finery (whose Etsy store never seems to be open anymore), she picked me up the sweetest little pair of shoes and a handbag at the Brisbane Miniature Show!  The shoes come in their own little shoe box with tissue paper, just like a real pair of shoes.  Then she added one of her flotilla of tiny model ships, because I had mentioned how much I like miniature ship models!  All of these adorable treasures have already found their way into the Merrimack (my mid-century modern house), where Margot and Jim, the imaginary owners, are thrilled and delighted with their gifts (as am I).  😊  More pictures to come.  Thank you, Samantha!

Thank you all for visiting and have a great weekend!  Happy mini-ing!