Category: "Watson Mill"

Bargello seat covers - part 1

by brae  

I have my 40 count linen on the frame and ready to attempt the bargello pattern from the book Miniature Needlepoint and Sewing Projects by Kathryn Falk.  My test on 32 count Jobelan required three strands, but the 40 count linen needed only two.  I did try a sample of single thread but it left noticeable bare patches.  I opted for medium beige linen to mask any bare spots that might arise with the two strand coverage as well.  The linen is less even in texture than the Jobelan, but bargello stitching covers more area so it's doesn't seem to impact the end result.

This is roughly an hour's work so it does cover a good area rather quickly.  The linen works better than gauze for me, though it does take some concentration to start.  You have to be so careful with the count, but I can at least see the threads this time.  Once you get the pattern started, it seems to go faster as well.  I've stopped short on the right since I wanted to measure against the seat insert and didn't have it handy.  Bargello makes for a bulkier end fabric, so I want enough to cover the seat insert without having to tuck stitched portions underneath.

Here is the 32 count sample so you can see the difference.

I wonder if the 40 count linen might be something useful for my cross stitch projects where I want the higher count.  I'll do a test sample to see what I think of the results.  The occasional bulky thread might not work for cross stitch, though.

Watson Mill - books and tulips

by brae  

What else could Gustav need for Watson Mill but books and tulips?  :D  I haven't assembled any more of the Cricut insert books, though they are neatly situated in a box for a movie night or two.  In the meantime, Lyssa was clearing some mini clutter and sent me many packages of the Houseworks book blanks.  These seem better cut than the ones I've seen at other stores, so they stand on their own and are uniformly rectangular.  One drawback is the elastic band around them tends to mar the two outer books.  I saved those for making old worn out books for another day.

I edited and printed covers to match the book dimensions.  Sometimes, I glued the paper over the existing cover and other times I removed the cover and used the insert just depended on the final fit.  These do go much faster, but they have a tendency to open, which is part of the reason I like the glued inserts and blocks of wood. I ran a line of glue long the open edges to help them stay closed.  This is just a sampling. There is a whole bag left!  Thank you, Lyssa!

These are all the same size but will look fine once interspersed with my other random sized books.

Debora made me tulips for my birthday last year, and I have had them in mind for the Mill.

She offered to make some more, and they just arrived.  :D  So beautiful!  Thank you, Debora!

I have two paper kits, which will add another 6 tulips to the bunch.

It has been a bit of a slow week for mini work, but the long holiday weekend is just ahead.  :]

Watson Mill - main room furnishings, part 4

by brae  

Continuing work on the main room furnishingsElizabeth suggested measuring the table height with Gustav in the seat, so that's where I started in determining whether to cut down the table legs.  I put the cabinet in the scene as well, since counter height and table height should have a slight difference.  With the original legs, the table seems a tad high.

Since you can't put the wood back on after cutting, I opted to place wood samples under the cabinet and chair to see how a 3/16" reduction in the table legs would work.  It seems a better proportion, and a modest 3/16" reduction at the top of the legs would mean the table keeps its appealing tall, skinny profile for the most part.

I needed to prep the table for whatever process I ended up using for the enamel tabletop design, which is likely to be delicate once applied.  The less I have to handle the table after, the better.  I started by wet sanding the top and discovered this is a very porous material, almost like cast plaster.  I primed the entire piece with white craft paint and tidied up the glue spots from the manufacturer.  The primer showed the flaws and air holes, so I filled and filed before giving it another coat of white.

I masked and painted the apron with Zinc by Americana to coordinate with the chairs.   I cut and painted the table legs, too, but left them separate so I could work on the tabletop without fear of breaking the legs.

Time for the enamel tabletop.  The material I opted for was water slip decal, using Testors Decal Bonding spray since I had that on hand.

Because my design is so small, my intent was to cover the entire table with the film since there would be no way to cut around the tiny details.  This should provide a uniform surface without a halo around the border design.  It's not easy to place a large decal.  You have to give it a little more time in the bowl to loosen from the backing paper.  Here it is on foam core board.  It has a lovely gloss sheen on its own, but I wasn't sure how delicate it would be without sealing.  I opted for Testors Gloss Lacquer Overcoat since it had worked so well evening out over the Model T paint.  Overall, the test sample was a success.

I then moved on to the final table.

I probably should have sanded the surface more beforehand, but it was too late.  Even after the gloss sealer, the cross-hatch painting imperfections showed through.  I guess it's just an old, well-loved tabletop.  I always trust the happy accidents, and the surface is not very noticeable in photographs unless you try to capture it.

I glued the legs on with white glue supplemented with super glue gel so they would grab fast but remain movable for a few minutes.  I lined up the feet on graph paper to help keep the table straight and square.

Once dry, I touched up the paint between the apron and the legs then tried out the final table with the chairs and Gustav.  I think we have a winner!  :D

Watson Mill - main room furnishings, part 3

by brae  

Continuing work on the main room furnishings.  I painted the kitchen chairs Zinc by Americana.  What I like about this dark grey is the blue cast to it, which should go well with the enamel tabletop.  I've been trying out processes for the tabletop, so more on that later.  In case that doesn't work out, it will still be a lovely color with a plain white tabletop.  :]

I finished with Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish and upholstered with a cotton print from my stash.

I replaced the damaged foam from the kit with two layers of white felt.  The seats aren't glued in since they fit well enough with tension alone.  I can easily clean or replace as needed.

Watson Mill - main room furnishings, part 2

by brae  

Continuing work on the main floor furnishings.  I tried out some new Minwax stains I picked up at Lowes.  This is Natural, Fruitwood and Driftwood (left to right) used on basswood scraps.  Natural gives the grain a lift and a slight warm tone.  I might use this on the circle library since it will seal the wood without changing the aspect much. Fruitwood is a lovely light color that coordinates well with Natural, so I will likely use this on the dumbwaiter and its cabinet.  Driftwood has a green grey cast and works well with the grain.

I cut down the depth of the Houseworks 2" kitchen cabinet by 1/4" since it was a tad too deep and used Driftwood stain with satin varnish.  The knobs are wood painted black.  A beautifully rustic cabinet.  :]

The pitcher and bowl are from my stash of minis.  It's a favorite that I had been hoping to use in the mill but it wouldn't fit upstairs.  Problem solved.  It's now a kitchen wash set.

I stained the red oak flooring with Minwax Dark Walnut.  I love the grain of this flooring but not the pink cast, and the dark walnut was able to highlight the grain and tone down the red.

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