2013 grand prize winner

Inviting you into the Sea House Pavilion, in a magic carpet way

Inviting you for tea or cocktails at the Sea House Pavilion, via magic carpet

Having the Sea House Pavilion win the Grand Prize award in HBS’s 2013 Creatin’ Contest feels like this pic: dreamy, delightful, unbelievable. Completely unexpected. Truly an honor.

Come sit down

Come sit down and hang out

And it has afforded me the opportunity to learn to spell pavilion correctly (I still keep wanting it to have two Ls).

I mentioned in an earlier post that I made a tiny version of my notebook, open to some of my first sketches done in April 2013 (seen above, on the couch).

Computer, enhance.

Some of my sketches and notes for the Charming Cottage

Some of my sketches and notes for the Charming Cottage

I spent most of last year getting our house in Rhode Island ready to sell, then packing it up and driving across the United States in a 31-foot motor home with my husband, our very large dog and two disgruntled cats, to return to Northern California, where I am from. (We shipped all our stuff, except the guitars.) The starting kit Charming Cottage in blue tape dry fit was as far as I had gotten before the move until Mid-September, when I was able to unpack my studio, try to decipher my notes and begin to build in earnest.

I worked on it nights, weekends, holidays and vacations right up to the deadline. I was so happy when I learned we could make a digital contest submission this year.


The sun is starting to set. Might we get some rain?

The Sea House Pavilion is part of a compound in coastal Northern California, in the same town where Loft No. 1961 is, my first-ever build and a First-time Entrants’ Award winner in the 2012 HBS contest. More about that later :)


Loft No. 1961, the studio of a woman writing a book about her father’s death

The loft bed where she can sleep when she’s worked late

The loft bed where the writer can sleep to dream

You might notice some themes that seem to carry through my builds :)

Tiny Baluchi prayer rug: finished

Baluchi miniature rug

Finished stitching the tiny Baluchi prayer rug. Because I worked without a hoop, it was way skewed.

Blocking the tiny Baluchi prayer rug

Beginning blocking the tiny Baluchi prayer rug

I gently washed it with mild soap in warmish water, blotted out excess moisture on a microfiber towel, then pinned it to a piece of foamcore covered in cotton batting and old soft cotton sheeting, gently stretching and re-pinning it into square. Then waited impatiently for it to dry.

I trimmed the excess silk gauze to 3/8 inch and folded to the back, mitering the corners.

Binding the edges, with scary dinosaur fingers

Binding the edges, with scary dinosaur fingers

Using a doubled length of blue Gütermann silk (the outermost color in the border), I stitched through both layers, from back to front, with a few extra stitches in the corners to square them out. I cut a piece of Pellon featherweight fusible interfacing a bit smaller than the rug, and ironed it on the back. This both protects the gauze and stitching, and ensures that the rug lays flat. (And hides a less-than-elegant backside if you’re a novice needlepointilist like me :)

Inviting you into the Sea House Pavilion, in a magic carpet way

Inviting you into the Sea House Pavilion, in a magic carpet way

Not sure where it might ultimately reside, but I really enjoyed making it. As I mentioned in the first post, it’s stitched on 49-count silk gauze with six colors of Gütermann silk, with a stitch count of 81 x 126, adapted from a design by Meik and Ian McNaughton. Finished size is 1.5 x 2.5 inches (38 x 64 mm).

Now I can get back to the Animals rug!

tiny baluchi prayer rug

miniature baluchi prayer rug

My little guy next to a photo of the original rug pattern (5.25 x 3.5 in, 137 x 88 mm)

I wanted to do a “quick” small rug and started this 20th century Anatolian prayer rug design from Meik and Ian McNaughton’s Making Miniature Oriental Rugs & Carpets. Their patterns are charted for 24-count canvas and crewel wool or cotton floss, so mine, stitched on 49-count silk gauze with Gütermann silk, will be about half their projected size of 5.25 x 3.5 in, 137 x 88 mm. But no fringe. I hate fringe.

Of course I had to change up some of the colors. Wanting to emphasize the vitality of the tree of life motif, I added a deep green for the five-stitch leaves, and to carry the “live” through to the red border. My version kind of has a Scandinavian pinecones and twigs-with-leaves thing mixed in with the pomegranates on the tree, but in my worldview, these go together.

miniature baluchi prayer rug

The compromised area is just to the right of the lower right creature, past the Greek-looking motif in the red border :(

Started the first of the year, I got sick soon after, and managed to snip a bit of the silk gauze trimming a waste knot :( (I blame the psychotics sold as OTC cold meds.) I carefully stitched the threads in where the tiny cut is, and hope the fusible backing I’ll use to finish it will stabilize it sufficiently. If not, I might need to add a dot of fabric glue or something. It’s not horribly visible, and I’ll just remind the tiny people to take off their shoes and not scuff their feet. Or position an ottoman over the spot. (Haha, see what I almost did there? Ottoman over an Anatolian? Get it? Sorry.) Or maybe just let the hole be, and age the whole rug to historic vintage.