Now and Then: Chairs, Leadlights, Conservatory, Rocks

The first of two estate chairs for Sea House Leadlights. Probably.

I bought two of Kris Comapas’s Estate Chair kits because I wanted to use more of this thrift store dress fabric, which I love.

From a Pescadero thrift store strapless, bubble-hemmed dress
Happy little estate chair, work in progress

It’s a rather large scale print for miniature upholstery, as well as being a very fine and lightweight fabric, but did I mention how happy it makes me feel?

Though legless and unpiped, still a very welcoming estate chair

Kris includes good instructions and cord to make fabric-covered piping in her kits, but I generally prefer a twisted cord made from 3 strands of embroidery floss.

Yes, K-2’s eyes light up (when he sees me)

Here you can see my associate K-2SO inspecting the floss piping with his massively articulated fingers. (I love him, too.)

I find attaching tiny piping gracefully onto miniature upholstery to be a tedious task, so I’m putting it off until I feel more… um, articulated dextrous. And patient.

Sea House Leadlights design studio

The Leadlights design studio also has a new chair. Makes it look way more office-y, don’t you think? I’m really pleased with the level of quality and detail in this chair. (Ack! This photo also reminds me I want to finish tricking out the desk accessories, and to trim that orange bookmark on the last-minute-made sketchbook!)

That brick rubble is glued down Scarlett. (Yes, she checked.)

Work continues on the Sea House Conservatory build, with a sea level rise remediation support pier in place.

Model Magic air-dry clay rocks and boulders

Geologic rock and boulder construction is underway. My preferred material — think I’ve tried just about all of them — is Model Magic air dry clay, made by Crayola. It is lightweight, inexpensive, readily available, pleasant and responsive to sculpt, accepts all kinds of pigments well, and dries with virtually no shrinking.

Spatters and washes and sprays, oh my
Lots and lots of boulders and rocks
Granite-veined black rocks

With this last batch of rocks, I experimented with adding black acrylic paint or India ink to the white clay before sculpting. One batch had fine black gravel mixed in. The paint or ink initially made the compound stickier to work with, but it was nice to start with a pre-tinted base. These have green and gray washes spritzed on. When dry (takes a day or two depending on size and relative humidity) with a fine brush I painted the surf erosion holes and granite veins with white acrylic, diluted 1:1 with water.

As I was ordering new clay, I learned Model Magic also comes in black, gray, and “Earthtone, Bisque and Terra Cotta”. So stoked to use these colors on the next exploratory rock and boulder sets.

Closeup before the tide comes in

The finished rocks are slicked with a satin multi-purpose sealer, as they’re meant to look wet. The final Conservatory project base will have about an inch of water in tidal flow. (I’m excited about that, too, as I’ve never worked with a “water feature” before :)

Sea House Conservatory, in progress, February 2020

Deck planks are installed, and I’ve finally arrived at a stair design that makes sense and blends into the overall structure.

Yesterday I was at Chrissy Field in the Presidio, and took a bunch of pier photos for genuine detail ideas. It was a perfect winter’s day, cool, clear and sunny, with very little breeze.

Looking north to the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin
Chrissy Field, Presidio. See the fog horse galloping over the City?


10 thoughts on “Now and Then: Chairs, Leadlights, Conservatory, Rocks

  1. Sheila Lester says:

    You’ll have to tell us how the ‘water’ goes for you! I love those chairs. And the rocks are awesome. I think I see another of Kris’s kits as well! They’re so cool aren’t they?

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Yup! That’s Kris’s Lisa Sofa kit, done in leather; first time I worked with that material in miniature scale :) I love modern furniture and architecture, but I also like mixing up styles together…
      Glad you like the rocks! They’re fun and easy to do, and such a part of the landscape around here (and in my imaginary world :)
      I’ve watched about a million videos about “scenic water”, and am saving up for the materials expenditure… Should be some good photo ops, and hopefully no disasters. (I picture resin leaking out and making a perfect waterfall over the table’s edge onto the floor, and Scarlett running through it…)
      And the estate chair :) I mean it when I say that fabric makes me feel happy. Glad you see it too. As for the office chair: recommend.

  2. Shelleybweb says:

    Albie and Scarlett photos are always welcome. Those rocks are fantastic, I can hardly wait to see the water feature. Your makes are always so elegant and well thought out. I love how they all mesh together with their interesting back stories. That oversized print looks wonderful on the estate chair. Your new assistant does look very handy.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hiya Shelley! What’s new with you?
      Thanks for the cat pic indulgence. I have no shortage of them; even of Albie, notoriously hard to photograph in his pantherness.
      Glad too that you like the rocks; they’re a big part of my 1:12 (and also 1:1) world. Making them brings great joy.
      Here’s a secret: Having a connecting backstory makes building *so* much easier. It’s like the fear and dread of the blank page is vanished, and all I have to do is listen.
      As for the fabulous dress fabric: it’s a perfect combination of preferred colors and bold nature-inspired design. The unexpected grids are cream and goat cheese frosting, sweetened with local honey and orange zest, piped on carrot cake cookies. (To me.)
      K-2SO is a soulmate for these modern times. With perfect articulation. Recommend association.

      • Shelleybweb says:

        I have been sewing, no room in my RL room to do minis as my ironing board is my desk and work table. Everything is precariously piled, layer upon layer. I’m switching back to minis now, but the siren call of the sewing machine is still strong.
        Congratulations on your third place win! (I was on the site when they corrected their labeling mistake! Whew, they caught that quickly) That fabric makes a great rug too, good enough to eat.

  3. Bennie says:

    The chairs are adorable. They had a pop of color for the fireplace. And I love the fireplace too. How do you have it look like there’s a little blue inside of it

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Bennie, many thank yous! But you have to stop using voice dictation, your wise insights are being rendered near incomprehensible :) I will have to assume by “blue” you mean, “that red glow that looks like firelight”.
      It’s created by three little flickering LED lights, set in place behind the log pile, and powered by a coin battery, easily disguised. I get mine from Evan Designs
      and they’re wonderfully easy to use :)

      • Bennie says:

        ha, ha, yes, I meant RED. How does the voice dictation not know the difference between red and blue? I must not have been wearing my eye glasses.

        BTW – congrats on the contest win! I saw the announcement and photos and thought – I know her, well, kind of, and have been following that build for a year now. All of the entries were amazing. I liked the few titled “Cheryl’s replacement she shed”. I bet the insurance agency would get a kick out of them as a cute promotion.

        Thanks, I’ll check out that link for the fireplace.

  4. mormson says:

    Happy dance just looking at that fabric — I absolutely know how it makes you feel. What a glorious mix of colours and shapes none of which should work together at all and someone had the vision to know they would… that is true art. Isn’t it a shame that some of the everyday things we use don’t get raised to ‘art’ status. That fabric creates an emotion and is a joy to be with — definition of art surely. Enough… enough… sorry. So, yes, the chairs are glorious and spot on right for their place in the world. As for the rocks… I have no idea how your brain comes up with these things and then how your fingers make them real but I am glad they do.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      How wonderful it is when someone gets exactly what one is trying to convey. It make the attempt so worthwhile! Am so glad you see and react to this fabric just as I do.
      And the rocks :)

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