Skiff, Brackets

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Scarlett has grown into a far more helpful studio cat. Here she continues the weathering process on the underside of the Sea House Pavilion Squat roof, while I work on building a wee skiff.

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I eBayed this vintage 1989 Midwest Products skiff model. I love this kit for many reasons: The superior 36-page construction manual and a full-size plan. Each of the 117 steps has a little checkbox next to it, to track one’s progress. Shipbuilding vocabulary: inwales, cleats, chafing plank, stem and false stem. strongback, painter, breasthook, skeg, knee and quarter knee, transom, fairing.

Here is step 109, inwales:

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Even with the apprentice skill level 1 rating, there was still plenty of late night swearing, especially setting up the framing. I realized very early on how glad I was that the finished model would be heavily weathered.

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Making the oars was possibly my favorite part. They’re built from dowels and stripwood, whittled and sanded into final shape. (Still have to varnish the second one.)

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The outdoor shower is old Reutter Porcelain, tragically discontinued. One of my all time favorite pieces!

At some point, the Sea House Pavilion was retrofitted with sturdy brackets (much like the foundation of the SH Warming Hut.)

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Made much easier this time by cutting the components on the Cricut machine. I used the scoring tool to mark angle folds and placement of the bolts, which are two dots thick. (Note to self: hmmmm, maybe make available to sell? Have good metallic cardstock by Neenah. Am thinking of drawing contemporary and or retro wrought iron patterns, too?)

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Recently, most of my building has been in the quiet of late night. Scarlett keeps me company on the studio thinking couch. Good kitty.

 

Studio Cat, It Has Begun

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I’m going to lead with this pic of Scarlett, lest you think she only haunts my endeavors. Here she is at the control center of Brian’s studio, enjoying the warmth of electronic musical components, and inexplicably enduring loud sounds and buzzing. Purple and contented.

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Last night, we had freak thunder and lightening storms, which drove all cats inside. I had dismantled the Sea House Pavilion build earlier, in preparation for the remodel. What better way to begin aging and distressing the various parts than to allow wet cats to regain their composures lounging about the structures? The roof cradle was their favorite for grooming (not pictured), and I can only hope a natural, organic weathering effect is underway.

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I used pliers and my fingers to yank all the cut silk and preserved moss foliage off the base. It was a major effort, and took a couple of goes. The whole build was constructed in three detachable parts: base, pavilion, roof. I also removed the back arched brick wall remains. Not sure if I’ll re-incorporate it into the new structure — sea level rise does take its toll. I remember it was part of the backstory of the Sea House Pavilion, and I do love combining old and new. That sense of place, the evocation of those who came before us, even as we go about our contemporary lives. We’ll see what happens.

 

Rousseau, Painted Paper, Collage

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A few weeks ago I came across this spread in the April 2017 issue of House Beautiful. It’s a wall mural inspired by the imaginary jungle paintings of Henri Rousseau. Designed by Laurel Canyon homeowner Molly Luetkemyer, it was painted by LA artist Jeff Robinson.

I was instantly smitten, and thought a miniature version could be the perfect third wall for the MMS+S set. Since I am currently very keen on repurposing and/or drawing from my considerable hoard stockpile of materials and supplies, I grabbed a peaked MDF wall from — um, actually I no longer remember what build it was from.

Years ago, I dabbled in some cut painted paper collage paintings, inspired by Eric Carle. I love this method of illustration. For this 1:12 wall, I plan on using hand- and machine-cut painted papers augmented with markers.

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Here is the wall (MDF, 12 x 17 inches) with the preliminary foundation background painted in acrylics. I’ve been studying Rousseau’s jungle paintings, and making note of elements I want to include: light to dark background gradations; sky, moon/sun, jungle; exaggerated plant details; simple two-tone object shading. In Luetkemyer’s inspiration mural, she says the plants are based on California’s landscape, and I plan to do the same. What an awesome opportunity to draw all my favorite plants and flowers: yucca, ficus, succulents, sansevieria; gorgeous orange and red mystery fruit; outrageous florid orange and yellow flowers.

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Using 14 x 11-inch medium-weight drawing paper and acrylic paint, I’ve begun making my papers, starting with the greens.

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And then some warms:

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It’s getting late, and I’ve run out of room on my drying rack, so my helper cat and I are calling it a night.

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Nancyland’s August (or Fogust, as we say here in the Bay Area) home page splash image is made from two of the above painted papers, layered using the magical “Lighten” blending mode in Photoshop.
The lyric snippet is from Grouplove’s “Colours”, a song Maddie and I both enjoy singing along to when it comes on the radio :)
Lyric snippet update: The National’s “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness”. Listening to on repeat.

 

Albie, Yucca, Frustration

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This is Albie, absorbing the morning sun through the studio sliding doors. Our large middle cat, he is a handsome warm inky black, and very difficult to photograph. This one has zero interest in destroying miniatures.

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Re-working the Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries set a bit. I built a corner planter for specimens, and glued in one yucca tree with the new, narrower leaves. For the rest, I want to keep the plantings fluid and easy to change out, so I devised a kind of armature on the stalks of rolled brown paper for elevation. They are planted to the floor with tacky wax.

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Here’s how it looks planted out, and with other plants massed around, like a typical nursery.

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Still experimenting with colorways on the different stocks. This is the original shape leaf cluster in medium green, with leaf and pine markers. After the glue is set, the leaves are separated and arrayed.

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Here is a similar leaf cluster, scored down the middle with the back of an Xacto knife. it makes it into a whole other plant.

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Here they are side-by-side. So much potential!

And now for the frustration rant: Cricut has released a new version of their Design Space app that has inexplicably broken my SVG files — the format for my drawings used to cut all these shapes. I have been in close contact with their support staff for the last two weeks, but no answers, fixes or workarounds yet. I even abandoned Firefox for Google Chrome. It is all very tedious, time wasting and — frustrating.

Fish, Scarlett, Ruby

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I have made a new variation of the sketchbook.

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Three different covers. Endpapers are cut from one of Recollections “Black Jack” papers. Book pages cut from a nice substantial Southworth paper I’ve had for maybe… *thinks back to the last time we may have actually printed out a résumé* … a really long time. I drew the fish a few years ago when I was dabbling in surface pattern design. So we meet again, eh, fish?

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Of course an ephemera pocket.

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I have been gone a lot lately from my home, and Scarlett especially was not stoked. There was some regressive behavior and acting out.

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I was reminded, though, of how much I liked the Sea House Warming Hut living roof, and how much I miss having a current build. But then I remembered the fate of the Argo Wool Works…

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… and sighed. Thus far, the room box that houses the set for Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries is unravaged, cunningly set atop a bookcase, so that will have to continue to suffice for my construction longings. Scarlett is a year old now — a small cat in stature forever! — and although her depredations have diminished considerably, I am reluctant to reengage with my nemesis.

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The reason for my absence is shown above, in this picture taken by my daughter, of her daughters. Here is four-year-old Maddie reacting to the sounds of her 10-day-old sister, Ruby. We are all so in love.

 

 

Anthers, Easter, Stormy, Bunka, Scarlett

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The buds on the recently-noted succulent flower open out into pretty minimalist flowers, but look at all those tiny anthers! Nothing says Spring like pollen :)

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Of course, tiny Easter baskets. Undelivered because of a sudden plague at granddaughter’s house (resolved now).

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My husband was biz traveling for a long week, and we’re all very glad to have him back.

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I scored a one-gallon ziplock bag stuffed full of gorgeous, pristine (though moderately tangled) bunka for $5 at one of our local thrift stores. I’m not entirely sure of the implications. The colors are spectacular, and it untangles surprisingly easily. Fascinating stuff.

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At ten months old, Scarlett has mellowed considerably. She spends a lot of time outside exploring and “helping” me garden, and is still incredibly needy demonstrative with her affections and vocal interactions. I texted this pic to my daughter today with the caption, “So sad. My cat only has one leg.”

Same As It Ever Was

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The late night sorties continue, despite my best defenses.

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This just made me laugh out loud; she so looks like Alice in Wonderland/Grace Slick doing “One pill makes you larger, and…”

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Zilly and Stormy continue to meet up after work, and are really enjoying getting to know one another. Here they are, chatting away, sitting on what I refer to as the “floral footstools of anxiety”. It’s got nothing to do with them, and is a story for perhaps another time? The fabric, however, is fabulous: “London Calling” from Studio RK for Robert Kaufman. I want to reupholster everything in it.

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For my birthday I purchased a set of lenses for my iPhone from Photojojo. I’ve not had much time to purposely explore them — it’s not even quite my birthday yet— but here are a few snapshots.

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I was most interested in the macro and telephoto, but could not resist the fisheyes and filter lenses. Above is EC01 Echeveria, looking fabulous larger than miniature life-size.

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These are very lively moss flowers, less than a half-inch tall, growing on the backyard retaining wall, as seen through the macro lens. Who know spores had EYES?!

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And here is either the fisheye or super fisheye, good for laughs and turning one’s home into a hobbit-hole. In the foreground are the lens boxen. I heartily recommend!

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I’m about to go south, and then north, for a couple of days. I wrote and photographed the instructions and listing for the first of the MMS+S Office Essentials, in colorway “Warm” today, but will hold off actually listing them at MMS+S until I return and have a chance to kit and document the whole series.

The south part is to my family in Santa Cruz, and the north part is to a *very* special tour my delightful husband has managed to arrange, of a very special archive of amazing artifacts, all housed on a fairyland ranch that is so sprawling and gorgeous it takes one’s breath away. (And/or, is typically Northern Californian.) Happy birthday to me, and all the March babies!

Yikes

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The new issue of the newsletter Cut, Fold + Make just went out and I forgot to harangue you to subscribe, if you’ve not already done so. There’s a complementary 1:12 scale vertical file holder template, as well as some inspirational and obscure links of creative goodness. Don’t make my imaginary business coach scold me.

It’s chilly nights here in coastal Northern California— as is seasonally appropriate — and Scarlett is taking comfort as she finds it, in recently vacated slippers.

Teleportation

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*While we patiently await documentable evidence of more substantive progress, behold, teleportation!

Scarlett: I can’t even make eye contact with you, no matter how many sounds you make.
Nancy: I know. That’s why you should get down right now, of your own accord.
Scarlett: But then I would have to admit defeat.
Nancy: It’s not a contest. I have already lost.
Scarlett: Maybe if you could just look away.
Nancy: Fine. I’ll just go sit over there.

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Scarlett: Fine. It’s pretty boring in here anyway. Also, the lighting is all askew. And the shelves are empty.
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Scarlett: Can you just go to the bathroom or refill your drink or something while I make my exit? I feel self-conscious.
Nancy: You don’t have a whole lot of choices…
Nancy: Fine.

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Nancy: You made the right choice.
Scarlett: I’m very, very tired now.
Nancy: I’m sure you are. Teleportation is exhausting.

*Translation: I’ve been making stuff, but am happy with none of it.