Yipes, Stripes; Keystone, Geometry


Work continues on the Yipes, Stripes rug. A new working title has evolved: Stripes Invaded by Checks. It’s a very enjoyable and intuitive process watching it develop. Thus far we have the chaos of irregular stripes organizing themselves into more regular expression, as influenced by the surprise appearance of an upstart checkerboard pattern. I expect I’ll know how it’ll turn out at the end — when the length reaches six inches.

Making steady progress (and regress) on the new build. I finished the interior brickwork, and after a few color assays, decided on a soft white semigloss. There’s like four layers of gesso, some DecoArt Snow-Tex for mortar texture, floor and wall gaps filled with DAP CrackShot, and three layers of acrylic latex enamel paint. That’s authentic, right?


I’ve one more sanding and finish coat to do on the wall cabinet.

I glued in place the three interior walls, back porch wall and supports, and beams.


This is by far the most fiddling I’ve done with a base kit and am encountering many delicious measuring opportunities. The keystone pieces provided with the kit make excellent hide-one’s-crap-joinery structural reinforcing plates. I mentioned earlier how delighted I am with the hardware I ordered from Olde Mountain Miniatures. Here you see her star-shaped anchor plates and some punched paper bolts applied to the keystone.

I also stepped away from the aubergine-stained doors, opting instead to carry through with the gray stain. This leaves me far more options for adding color, and as I intend to use this build as a prop for photographing products, the more neutral the better.


The entire rest of the day was spent figuring out how to build the additional support posts, beams and window casings. I felt like Leonardo da Vinci contemplating Vitruvian Man or something, but I finally worked out the various dimensions (if not the angles; that’s what sandpaper is for). Then it was time to watch the sun set on this warm and mild day with a glass of wine. I’ll sketch out and record my findings tomorrow — many dimensions of strip wood are involved! — and work out how to correct the warp in the kit base board :(

No wait, I mean :) That’s tomorrow.

Gratitude, Framing

Thank you all for your hearty congratulations and encouragement along the way. I really was surprised to win again, and a bit overwhelmed. When I got this comment from Bennie:


Something clicked with “I watched it evolve from beginning to end!” Sharing our work as we did has created a genuinely supportive community for both sharers and viewers, something I value. For me, there are elements of vulnerability and trust in posting imperfect works-in-progress, in letting you see unedited glimpses of my messy studio, my naked un-manicured fingers. One of my motivations is to spark your creativity, as a maker or a viewer. Inspiring appreciation, fostering delight, is another. So thank you for dropping by. Really truly.

The light today is crazy, brilliantly sunny then dark and gray. But I was glad to arrive at this point in the new build:


I got enough pieces from a second kit to be able to get a basic (and square) frame up, and determine with only minor maths the additional posts and casings that need to be built. Starting with the porch support post (finally).


Next, I’ll knock it all flat again to finish the interiors and exterior cladding, then reassemble with omg glue.

A peek at the side wall progress:


Now back to bricking.



Aubergine, Overlook

Using the kit’s doors, stained aubergine, with the mullions painted oxidized lead black.


Yesterday I took a picnic lunch (not pictured) to Thornton Overlook, just north of Pacifica. So pleasant to sit outside with mild sea breezes and a majestic view. The Sea House Warming Hut is not far from here, in case a chill fog sets in :)


Looking south, with Pedro Point rocks in the distance.

Floors, Brickwork, Walls, Circus!


I use great books to weight the flooring as it dries flat. I like to think some of the principles and observations seep into the wood and inform the structure.


I filled the voids in the walls with foam core (smooshes into the corners nicely), thin kraft cardboard (looks like MDF, sandable) and wood glue (dries hard). One of the side walls has a large arch that used to open into another room; it’s since been bricked over.


The century-old oak beams are still visible on the interior walls. I whittle-aged them without stabbing myself. Oak is way denser than basswood :)


Oopsie! I mis-measured the height of the arch :/ The century-old oak beam supporting this wall is/was/will be, um, custom fitted.

Then I spent a lot of time staining and sanding. The weather today was mild enough —and not raining! —that I could do it outside. That was nice.

The exterior walls are clad in vertical board-and-batten, stained daffodil Keli yellow and classic gray.


Looks like the circus came to town!

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”
—Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus


Interior Floor, Brickwork, Lighting!


I’m using Kiwi Scuff Cover in white to stain the interior wood floors. This is one coat. I wish this kind of applicator was available for all stains! The planks are my beloved Rustic Clapboard Siding Strips from HBS/miniatures.com.

Here it is trimmed.


And again the next morning, with a third application of Scuff Cover, before final weighting to dry flat.


I love the light this morning, with a break in the clouds between storms. (Pacifica just declared an official state of emergency from all the big wave damage to our sea walls and cliffs :(


I’m using my gruzzy pot of gesso as mortar and plaster for the brick walls. This is the first coat. I expect I’ll finish with very light sanding and a wash of mildly warmer white.

And, yay for me!

lighting_plan_012316My first ever lighting wiring plan. Big learns ahead.

Inner Walls


The interior walls of the 2016 build are exposed brickwork, which will be whitewashed, with star-shaped tie irons from Old Mountain Miniatures. The bricks are all salvage from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. More than this is not known.



I wasn’t going to lead with this picture, but it’s affecting everything I’m trying to do, as is the way with a large jagged wound on a primary finger. I was playing Prey Under The Covers with my usually gentle cat and one of us miscalculated… It’s a 3-bandaid kluge :(


And now, presented without justification or explanation is my beginning foray into the HBS 2016 contest base kit. I almost always order a second kit for parts, but somehow didn’t this time. As you can see, I’m mid-trial, but I can’t really go much further, or even see if it will work at all, until additional parts arrive. It keeps collapsing.

My consumptive work deadlines are over — met, even! — and the startup company I’m working with has officially launched, so I can share a peek of what I’ve been doing (logo, packaging, manual, web imagery, panel design) for the past few months.


This is from their website. Watch the video! Very cool stuff.