Forest Thrones, Part 15: Silk Seats

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Hallelujah! The trees are finally finished! I’m so happy to get them off my desk. My painting desk looks so big now.

I did two more things to them before they were finished. First, I made cushions for the seats. The seats were originally pretty perfectly round, but since, as I’m sure you know by now, I’m very stupid, I overlapped the branches over the seat a little, resulting in each seat being off round just a little bit — and each of them being different. Sigh. I had this idea of these beautiful, neatly tailored little silk velvet cushions with perfectly smooth sides. Yeah. Those of you who have worked with silk velvet before can stop laughing now.

No, I mean it. Stop laughing.

I started by making a pattern for each seat cushion. I also labeled them and the seats so I wouldn’t get them mixed up. I had read somewhere that silk velvet was kind of slippery (STOP laughing!), so I ironed it onto freezer paper. Then I traced the seat patterns plus some seam allowance onto the freezer paper. I traced the seat twice so I’d have a bottom and a top.

Can you see my mistake yet? Keep looking. That’s right, I didn’t reverse the pattern for the bottom of the seat. Sigh again. Naturally, I had cut them all out before I realized my mistake. I had more fabric, but it was late and I didn’t feel like cutting out more pieces, so I decided to punt. I roughly measured the length of the side pieces, which turned out to be close enough to the length of my fabric that I didn’t need to measure. Then I carefully marked and cut inch-wide strips.

Due to the difficulty of working with silk velvet, I had to pin the side strips onto the top piece, hand baste them together, and then sew them. About four times each. Sigh again. On about the last one, I figured out it would get less gathered and bumpy and messy if I sewed them with the top piece underneath, rather than the sides. It turns out, you need to make five or six cushions to get the hang of it.

Notice there are only four cushions.

After I finished that — or maybe before or somewhere in the middle, I don’t remember — I used my patterns to cut cushions out of upholstery foam. Now, if I’d had proper bottoms for my cushions, I’d have pinned, basted and sewn the bottoms to the sides just like the tops, leaving an open space in the back so I could turn them and insert the cushions. Since I’d screwed up the bottoms, though, I ended up just gluing the sides of the covers to the underside of each cushion. I’d already established that they were going to look gathered and messy, and gluing them kind of enhanced this effect. I have been assured by my husband and my best friend, who are both apparently experts on fairies, that real fairies would rather have messy cushions than perfectly formal ones anyway. Who am I to argue?

So the chairs are finished. Oh, wait, the second thing I did was to add feet. While I was working with them, I discovered that just moving them around under normal use caused the paint to chip off the underside of the trees. This is bad, not just because it damages the trees but also because it might damage the surface they were sitting on. I decided to add felt furniture footies, but the logical places to put them, the bottoms of the roots, weren’t wide enough. So I made little feet out of air-dry clay, let them dry, and painted them before applying the footies with Goop glue. They’re not going anywhere.

I was going to do the big reveal in this post, but honestly it’s too long already. So check back in a couple of days to see the final product!

Index of Forest Thrones posts is here.

And then these mushrooms happened…

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Hi! It’s me! Remember me? I’m still alive. I’m so disgusted with myself that it’s been a year since I started my forest thrones project and they’re not done yet, that I’ve been hiding out from the blog. Real mature, right?

Money’s been real tight around here, but I got some cash for Christmas and spent it on some LaDoll clay. See, I ran out of the paperclay I was using for my trees, which was irritating because I just needed that much more to finish the little details. So I decided to come up with some other projects to use the LaDoll with before it dried out. I bought LaDoll this time because it’s stronger than paperclay and I wasn’t happy with the performance of the paperclay in some cases.

Anyway. It took a while to work up the nerve to work on the trees again, so I decided to ease into it by doing another project first … and then these mushrooms happened. Maybe I’ve been playing too much Plants Vs. Zombies.

Three flowerpots of lifesized mushrooms, a topiary and my BJD, Trixie.

Trixie is unimpressed by the giant mushrooms.

The flowerpots are mini terra cotta pots which I painted and distressed. I want to learn to upcycle furniture, but the idea scares the heck out of me, so I’m starting with baby steps. I’m thrilled with how these came out, so I’ll be distressing more painted objects from now on.

So then I filled the pots and built the mushrooms. Okay, I have a confession to make. Their armatures are paper. The stems started as paper lollipop sticks and the caps are index cards. Then I bulked them out with Model Magic, which is horrible of me but I had a bunch of it lying around that I got for cheap. The LaDoll is strong enough that using these lightweight materials inside doesn’t seem to have made a difference.

See? They’re quite strong. I even dropped one on accident and it was fine.

Then I painted and glossed the shrooms, and dressed the “dirt” inside the pot with model train landscape fuzz for moss and raffia grass. If you look carefully, you can see they each have a little rock in the pot, too. I was going to add more stuff, but I think they look good like this. I added the lace and gold ribbon to the pots to draw the white down a little, unifying the colors and such. I have an art degree, leave me alone.

The scale thing kind of makes me chuckle… they’re giant mushrooms for the doll, but in reality they’re about life-sized (modeled after the ones that grow in my yard). Trixie is about ten inches tall, if you were wondering. The rabbit is wood and I don’t remember where it came from. I swear it isn’t blurry in real life, but it came out that way in all the photos.

The topiary is an old ufo I finished up last year while waiting for glue to dry on my forest thrones. I’m planning to make several more of them.

Meanwhile, I promise I’ll finish up the trees soon. I want to take them to a show in May.