V: Vagary

V is for Vagary. Fluctuation, variation, quirk, peculiarity, oddity, eccentricity, unpredictability, caprice, foible, whim, whimsy, fancy.

I can’t think of a better word, or set of synonyms, to describe the new 1:12 scale echeveria kit available now over at MMS+S. There are no fewer than five leaf sizes and shapes that combine to make three sizes of a charming pointy-leaf echeveria. I’ve redesigned the build method, too, to start on a fine paper-wrapped stem wire (included in the kit), which is perfect for armatures (gnarly-armed structures) and general ease of shaping the plants.

Here is a bushel basket of prototypes, using both of the base colors — white or apple green — colored with alcohol-based markers. (If you want true reds and yellows — or blues and purples — order the white stock. If you’re good with more muted tones and want to spend less time coloring, choose the green :)

Possibilities of color combinations are endless (and fun).

This is a versatile kit, and a form to make a succulent wreath is available soon!

Let Scarlett’s tail and rabbit feet, seen here in complete repose, be your inspiration.

I recently re-found this unfinished Henri Rousseau-inspired collage panel, and glued it to the side back of the Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries set.

The MMS+S set is in disarray, like many aspects of my life, but potentially still functional.

Zoom out now, please, to 1:1. The former owners of our house built this charming, funky wave-topped gate (seen here from the back). But, inexplicably, they painted the front of it the same dispirited brown as the rest of the decks, and completely ignored the back. For four years, it has *nagged* at me.

Yay go me. Here it is finished in four shades, by the light of the silvery security beacon.

Albie and I survey the change. You can just see that sad brown deck color peeking out under cat and mat.

This is the old hardware, atop the treacherous birdbath pedestel, for those of you/us interested in these things.

And finally. Keli and I have been challenging ourselves to … not let the bastards drag you down draw a random thing and post it on Instagram, until, for each of us, momentous events transpire. (For me, that’s undergoing replacement surgery of both hips, on 01 October, 2018.) I have chosen Crayola and ink as my drawing medium. We are #messy_k_enge and #curlymuenich, if you care to follow along (+also under our regular names @iseecerulean and @nancy_k_enge). We are expecting phat coffee table art book publishing contracts to swamp our respective agents.

How could they not?


23 thoughts on “V: Vagary

    • Nancy Enge says:

      I KNOW! This challenge changes EVERYTHING.
      We can at least make a tiny commemorative version, in-between interviews on NPR and the late-night circuit, book tours and “readings.”
      And all the collateral merchandise and action figures approvals :)

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thanks, Sheila! Two of the shades are actually going to be the new house and trim paint colors :)
      The patina on the hardware is mostly sad brown deck paint, from sloppy touchups (NOT ME). A lot like how we arrive at in miniature :)

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Marilyn, thank you; I’m glad you like it! I actually bought the same exact hardware (painted black) to replace it, not wanting to engineer new holes. It *looked* the same, with the same dimensions, but of course it didn’t fit quite the same… Yay for funky!

  1. Christina says:

    I love seeing the true scale of the MMS+S set — and the real life ‘meh’ of Stormy and friends 😂

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Oh I’m glad, Christina! It’s sort of like the man behind the curtain, but really, for those of us who create the illusion… seeing it all is both constructive and comforting, yeah?

  2. Joyce Merten says:

    I especially like the gate, the succulents and Scarlett! Most of all I like your more optimistic attitude.
    Keep up the good work!

  3. Barbara W. says:

    What a great idea for the gate! I loved seeing your Rousseau inspired piece again – one of my favourites. Stay strong – sending positive thoughts from the (way) north.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      I had to think about the gate a long time, apparently; many ideas fell by the wayside. In the end (at least for now) simplicity and and fabulous colors carry the day. I was glad to find the Rousseau panel again; do you know that I once entertained the thought of doing this 1:1 in our oddly angled hallway from living room to studio… silly, silly girl.
      Thank you for your positive way northern wishes. I need them, facing absolutely due west, as I do. Half the compass accounted for!

  4. Megan Wallace says:

    Love the succulents, the hardware, and particularly the gate. It was clearly made for those colours. Your drawings are a great idea, and I will be randomly following you and Keli to see what you come up with. Lots of luck for the hip. That kind of thing is distressing to go through, but once you are out the other side, you will come to love the new pain-free you with better mobility.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Glad you like the new succulent, Megan. It brings me one step closer to understanding how to do a protea.
      Both my husband and I like the the idea of living in a little blue house on the mountainside, as we do, (especially if you like Unknown Mortal Orchestra). The current shade is a little too pastel for my taste; I trend toward a robin’s egg blue, which proved a little too green for my husband. So two of the four gate colors will be keepers for our whole house :)
      Y’all are welcome, should the fancy strike, to join in the #untilchallenge. The parameters are basically none, just draw what gets you through the day, until one (or all of us) gets a book contract or a new idea, or the *thing* happens.
      Most importantly, for me, thank you for the hip surgery blessings. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to fly after this.

  5. Elizabeth S says:

    Hi Nancy
    Your basket of succulents is Even MORE Realistic looking IF that is possible;
    Scarlett is a BEAUTY as is Albie and so is your painted gate!
    Colouring is thereputic and has certainly become “all the rage” for adults.
    As to your upcoming total hip replacement in October, I’m sure that it will all will go well. My sister had one too and has never looked back!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Elizabeth! I’ve missed you. How goes the Villa L? Every time I eat a simple luncheon of bread and cheese and olives, I think of you :)
      I know, it’s ridiculous how comely Scarlett is, a trait only matched by her sweetness. Also her fearsome prowess as a ratter, or rodenter, and general badassery. She has finally, mostly, turned her interest from my builds to the natural world.
      I continue to recommend coloring for *everyone*. My own choice of crayons and ink for the #untilchallenge alleviates so much anxiety about making a perfect adult drawing.
      I appreciate your confidence for my upcoming procedure, based on your sisters experience. It’s a beautiful world we live in!

  6. Shelleybweb says:

    So happy you have a date. Now just relax and don’t think about it. What a lovely gate, so pretty now that you painted it. The eyebolt shadow on the blue wall looks like your notebook fish! Albie and Scarlett in the same post!! Thank you. That vessel of verdant, variegated vegetation is so voluptuous, it has a lot of va-va- vavoom! Sending a steady stream of happy healthy thoughts your way.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hah! Your suggestion of ‘relax and don’t think about it’ struck me so forcefully, as the utter genius of what is … nearly the exact opposite of my recent troubled mindset. Thank you, Shelley! Sometimes answers are so simple — sometimes — that we turn away from letting things be easy. I’ll keep you apprised :)
      I know, the white and the black one, their souls stolen within a post’s timeframe …
      The cascade of V sounds is comforting, and happy healthy thoughts are good for everyone <3

  7. Bennie says:

    I love the finished gate. The wavy top screamed out for those colors. The succulents look amazingly real!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Bennie, thanks, and I’m glad you like it. There was some discussion of how to do the color transitions, but I’m happy with my minimalist, non-painterly — or is it uber-painterly? — approach. I would have died if it looked ‘crafty’.

  8. azteclady says:

    The gate looks great! Whimsical, soothing, lovely.
    Everything about this post — and your imminent success as a published author! — is lovely.
    Sending you good thoughts so that the next few weeks are uneventful, as pain free as possible, so they fly by for you.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Many thanks for your kind comments, C’lady. Making light of unpleasant situations is challenging, but poking fun takes a lot of the pressure off and is easier for all concerned :)

  9. Jeanne says:

    I’m a bit boggled that someone could make a wave-topped gate and then paint it brown. Your version is very cool, and totally right.

    Best of luck on the hips — my mom had one of hers done in June. Really bumpy at first, so I’ll recommend that you drink LOTS of fluids, even though it will be hard at first to keep getting up to use the bathroom. There were far too many unpleasant aspects of dehydration for my mom to cope with completely cheerfully, and unfortunately starting the day of surgery, in addition to the hip itself. It sounds kind of pessimistic, but I think that expecting to breeze through it didn’t help, either, as it made her completely-normal (and not uncommon) “molehills” into mountains. Amusing, distracting things to do are a great idea. “This too shall pass.”

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