Thank you all for your suggestions for things to watch. I have been having a lot of fun checking them out, and they certainly helped get me through some of the more tedious part of swap assembly. While I still have many books to make, the swaps are finally done and arrived at their destination yesterday. Yay! I can now get back to working on the library. 😊
I’ve finished my first attempt at the orange chair. There are parts of it I like, but also parts of it with which I’m just not happy. For the back, I used the engraving tool I got for Christmas. I really like this tool. It is incredibly easy to use, just like using a pen. I did find that it was better to go over a line lightly a few times, rather than pressing harder on the first pass. The more I pressed down, the wavier the lines got. And, even though the engraving head is quite small, it still made fairly thick lines for half scale. I greatly simplified the carving for the back of the chair to make it something that would accommodate the thicker lines. The other thing is that engraving into bass wood, which is a soft wood, left the engraving area a bit fuzzy. I would love to give it another try with some harder wood. I believe I have some cherry in my stash on which I can experiment. Anyway, below you can (kind of) see the engraving on the unstained wood. I darkened the picture somewhat in an effort make the engraving show more, but it's still a bit hard to see. I did the engraving before shaping the back around a glue stick.
I stained and varnished before applying the upholstery. For some reason, this wood stained quite dark. It’s the same red mahogany stain I’ve been using, but it penetrated very deep. For the cushions, I got a swatch of burnt orange suede, and I do like the color. What I’m not happy with is the cabriole legs. They seem a bit thick and chunky to me, and I think the bends are too exaggerated. I cut the legs from some fairly thick bass wood and then sanded them to try to make them rounder. The wood I originally tried was too thin. I think I need to find something in between, as well as a different pattern for the shape of the legs. Anyway, I do like the way the carving on the back and the upholstery turned out, but the legs really bother me, so my next entry may be “Orange Chair, Take Two.” *sigh*
While working on the swaps (from which I occasionally needed a small break), I also finally made the candle holders for the mantel. The originals (seen below) were likely purchased for Theodore Roosevelt's parents' home on West 57th Street in Manhattan. The description says they depict birds, mice and snails, but, I admit, I don't see the mice, unless they are the earless things hanging off the flower stems.
To make mine, I used wire for the stems, heavy tissue paper for the flowers, a round of mat board (cut with my leather punch) for the base, and strips of tin foil and microbeads for the birds and snails (and hanging mice things). The nests are made from silk thread. I put some glue on my fingertips, ran the thread through my fingers and wrapped it around the pointy end of a knitting needle. I then pulled it off and let it dry. There are more microbeads inside the nests.
Here they have been given a coat of black spray paint. I stick them to blue tack on the top of a golf tee for spraying, so the bottoms didn't quite get covered along the edges. I went over them with a little flat black Testor's after this picture was taken.
I think they give a decent approximation of those very unique pieces.
To finish the mantel, I also added a picture behind the right-hand vase. I don’t know what it is in real life, but in one shot, I swear I could make out a ship. It’s not inconceivable that he’d have a nautical painting, since Roosevelt was Under Secretary of the Navy for a while. So I chose “Circle of Sailing Ships” by Jacob Adriaensz Bellevois, which has the right dimensions. For the scarf/stole thing on the right, I used some ombré silk ribbon, a bit of jacquard ribbon, and some miniature fringe.
Here is a close-up of the mantel.
This, at least, I’m happy with. 😊
Hope you all have a great mini week, and, as always, thanks for stopping by!