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.

 

 

DeskMess

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I have long been a fan of Cavallini & Co. paper products, especially their vintage maps and posters.

I used their map of San Francisco on the underside of the Sea House Pavilion roof.

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And their vintage map of Italy on the back wall of Loft 1961, my first ever miniature build.

Cavallini & Co. print on beautiful cream-colored Italian paper of a substantial, but not too heavy, weight. I finally found a retail source, Two Hands Paperie, that carries *all* of their posters — at the best pricing! — and invested in a supply of lovely vintage city and country maps.

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Because we all need vertical file holders to tidy our bookshelves, and journals, folios and file folders made from perfectly-scaled vintage maps of favorite places: London, Berlin, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Rome, Paris.

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Vertical file with file folders. (London pictured.)

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The vertical files hold three sketchbooks or travel journals, as well as file folders and the new Vintage Map Journals with jaunty red bookmarks. The files are the same size as the solid-color Office Essentials vertical files, although of a different construction. The vertical files can also house the new Vintage Map Folios that hold fine cream-colored stationery or map file folders. The folios can also act as a slip case for a sketchbook or journal. It’s an elegant system designed to organize the shambles of your miniature office. Look for them real soon over at MMS+S.

 

Alcatraz Afternoon

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There’s a 1:87 scale model of Alcatraz Island at Pier 33. (You can get a good overview of the model in this video made by Family Travel Fun.) The guard tower in the dock area was especially well done.

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Poking around the island and its buildings is a compelling and visceral history lesson. This trip I became interested in the textures of decay. Here is a light on the Electrical Repair Shop, just past the Guardhouse and Sally Port.

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An interior light switch in the New Industries Building.

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A map of peeling paint on a cement support column.

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Overseen by pipes, velveted in rust.

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There was a new art installation in the New Industries Building, but I found this partial view more interesting.

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A busted sink and commode. And pipes.

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Closer to the sink. It looks friendly.

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Looking north towards Marin, the remains of the Post Exchange, built in 1910, as a general store for soldiers and their families. (When Alcatraz became a federal prison in 1934, the PX was converted into a recreation hall and officer’s club, with a dance floor, gymnasium, two-lane bowling alley and soda fountain.) It was destroyed in a fire in 1970.

The quotation on May’s welcome page, “New ideas need old buildings” is from Jane Jacobs.

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.”

Sensational Travel Journals

Oscar Wilde wrote, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”

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In that spirit, the OE Travel Journals kits are available over at MMS+S. There are two kit options listed, and one secret option at hand. The two listed options are for three blank journals, or one road atlas and two blank journals. I’ve made a video of the secret option:

YES. It is a secret gatefold pages option for both the sketchbooks and the travel journals. They work well with the single pages and maps, and are fun besides. Just add a note when ordering and I’ll include as many as you like with your kit/s, until I’m able to list them properly. Though they won’t be secret anymore, they’ll still be fun.

Production notes: If you like quiet page-turning fx, turn your sound on. The alarming bandage: I bashed my poor knuckle on a boulder rock emptying a cement bird bath. I tried to keep it out of the frame, but it’s like it has a mind of its own.

Maps Variation

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Like many others, I love pretty much everything about maps, for many reasons and in many ways. Soon after I finished the first round of sketchbooks, I thought about the iconic appeal of a road atlas, and built a few from an old spiral-bound Michelin North America volume I had on hand.

I experimented with covers and endpapers until arriving at this version of the classic sketchbook.

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With a road map cover over mint green cardstock.

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Graphically chosen road map endpapers bound to the blank cream pages.

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And all those invitational blank pages, awaiting your expression.

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I *wish* I had thought of this option before I listed the sketchbook kits over at MMS+S; I like it that much, and will be adding it to the shop. For those of you who have already ordered sketchbook kits — thank you! — please message me if maps appeal and I’ll send you the components to add to your kits. Then we’ll all be happy and mappy!

 

Sketchbooks Listed, Echeveria Eyecandy

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The sketchbooks are kitted and listed! Each kit makes three books. The pages are cream-colored and acid-free :) You have a choice of cover colors: black, Warm (orange, yellow and gray) or kraft. I went detailed on the instructions, and introduce a good vocabulary word: bifolium (singular); bifolia (plural).

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Here are three sketchbooks in Warm, before their bookmarks get trimmed.

I was shuffling around outside, pulling weeds between storms, and noticed this leggy echeveria on the shadier side of the yard is working on a flower display.

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Buds closeup:

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Love these colors. And just before it started raining again, (wind blowing, hard to focus) this closeup of a hen-and-chicks echeveria flower:

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Yum.

Decorations, Sketchbook

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The latest issue of the newsletter Cut, Fold+Make is out. If you missed this month, the sign up is over on the right. It’s a short curated list of ideas and links that inspire and support creative practice.

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There’s a fun suggestion for a miniature paper garland, and first looks at the new sketchbook kit.

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Possibly what’s most adorable is the ephemera pocket on the inside back cover. They’re  available as kits now over at MMS+S in iconic black cover, kraft, as well as the Warm colorway (orange, yellow and gray) of the Office Essentials line of organizers.

It is spring!

 

Where I’m At

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Between my good fortune of building MagnaTiles by the first warm light of morning with a four-year-old adept…

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… and extended bouts of staring at the walls, change is ahand and afoot here in Nancyland, in the best possible way. The Office Essentials suite of kits over at MMS+S is still imminent, plus of course I still keep thinking up more essentials — the quintessential journal?! — and wait, a graceful, worthwhile pencil cup! But, and so you see. However. The newest edition of the inspirational newsletter Cut, Fold + Make is about to be released, and I think the wee pencil cup plans will be the giveaway. Please sign up if you’ve not already.

You know that feeling of being drawn in several different directions, all good, all at once? A bounty of opportunity and satisfaction. I choose this way :)

Honor, Office Essentials, A Sconce

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Earlier this month, I was delighted to receive an email from Uppercase magazine publisher Janine, saying that the Plastic Litter collage would be included in No. 33. Today, while flipping through a lo-res digital preview of the upcoming issue, I was astounded to see it was given a full page! Whoa and wowser. Above is a photo from her newsletter, with action shots of the printing process. Of course all of you are already subscribers, so I don’t even have to go on about how truly worthwhile and inspirational this publication is.

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I’m about three-quarters of the way through photographing and writing instructions, kitting and listing the four or five kits that comprise the new Office Essentials line over at MMS+S. Then it will be on to the wall sconce kit, which is through prototyping, yay!

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For my birthday, our water heater ruptured and flooded the under-house utility room for $1,750. Other than that rude occurrence, everything was lovely. Thank you! I’m getting back to work now!