Yucca

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New project: yuccas. The trunk is cut from an organic Medjool date pit :)

yucca_proto_partsI’ve been thinking about yuccas for a while. They’re such an iconic houseplant, and here in California, many varieties grow in the landscape. Above is the design process: free form shapes cut in paper, then drawn in Illustrator and cut from cardstock with a Cricut Explore Air 2. I’ve got pretty good working models, which will be refined as I build and rebuild. Still a long way to go with colors and details.

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This is an armature from a succulent I had at the ready, and I learned a lot from messing with it as a yucca plant. There are characteristics of the tree-form varieties that will translate well in torn paper-wrapped wire. And Braxton Payne’s exquisite pottery makes for perfect containers.

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(Speaking of Braxton Payne, I just saw he’s making a Southwestern-style beehive fireplace… which I think must replace the Scandinavian-style one currently in use on the MMS+S set.)

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Yucca Proto_01 on a Peter Tucker bench. Much as I love terracotta, I think I’ll glaze this pot matte black to match the black sand. And then switch to lighter color sand for future specimens. Imagine this plant much taller and more gracefully limbed. Getting back to work now.

 

Ceiling, Standing Stone, Brick Arch, Yipes Stripes, Bench

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For the Argo Wool Works showroom ceiling, I glued the two roof sections from the Backyard Bungalow base kit together, and edged with half- by quarter-inch (13 x 6 mm) basswood to extend the overhang. I measured the placement of the beams and walls in dry fit like three or four times, encountering anomalies each time.

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Yet another dry fit, this time with the upper window frames in place, and one section of ceiling planks. I’ve decided a 1/16-inch wiggle room is acceptable, especially since the whole ceiling and under eaves will be semigloss white, and any gaps will blend into the painted bricks… or something. I’m using the ever versatile 3/4-inch rustic clapboard siding from miniatures.com to cover the ceiling.

In the lower right of the photo you can see this standing stone feature I’m working on:

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It’s two gorgeous crystalline mineral shards that I promptly forgot the name of, found at a very eccentric bead and rock shop here in Pacifica.

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The back of the build was to be clad with the yellow and gray siding, but I decided today to have the bricked-in arch from the interior carry through to the outside wall for interest. I might mess with the foundation to suggest remnants of more of the building, too. There’s only just over an inch of space on the base, but I think it’ll be enough :)

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Small progress on the Yipes, Stripes rug, at 2.5 x +2.5 inches, it’s a bit more than half finished. It’ll fit well in the showroom. (Stitched on 48-count silk gauze with ten colors of Gütermann silk; making up the design as I stitch :)

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And here, lit by the westering sun, is my first bit of tie silk upholstery — nothing too challenging. Our dear BW sent a vintage Daisy House bench kit (so sad they’re no longer in business), and the fabric is a lustrous gray, black and ivory woven dot pattern. Thanks again, BW and Suz and Dave!

Aubergine, Overlook

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

www.nancyland.com

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 :)

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Looking south, with Pedro Point rocks in the distance.

Sea House Warming Hut: Interior This & That

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Working on a wee Gotland sheep using, you guessed it: Gotland fleece and dyed black wool roving. The fleece is from Big Sky Fiber Arts in Montana; check out their wonderful selection of fibers, silk and prefelts. The wee (1.5 inches/38 mm) sheep will be an ambassador for Argo Wool Works :)

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It’s overcast, foggy and damp here in Nancyland today and the light is low. I wanted to used vintage photography as wall art in the hut, and have found some good imagery that sets the historical background of the area (real and imagined).

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This undated shot from before 1950 shows some of the headlands and other parts of the Sea House Pleasure Pier empire (now demolished).

I found this postcard of an old view south of the Warming Hut

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and decided to tint it

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but didn’t like how it looked on the wall. I’m showing it here anyway because I like the handwritten greeting from George to Tom.

And of course there will be this map from Cavallini & Company.

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It’s the same one that is on the ceiling of the Sea House Pavilion (2013), and the source of the color palette. The green, anyway.

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Merrily, merrily, merrily…
and with love to all.

 

 

 

Sea House Warming Hut: Couch

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I extrapolated Jane Harrop’s chair design into a sofa that would totally not work in real life, and that’s why I love miniature building.

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And then I stained it. You more northern and East Coast people will laugh at me, but it’s been chilly here (in the 50s F (10 C) and my wood shop is in an unheated shed. So I suffered a little bit. Also, everything I seem to need now is out there, or vice versa.

I persevered.

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I used Thermolam Plus for the upholstery batting because that’s what Kris Compas uses. The fabric is this gorgeous wool that I cut and washed so it fluffed up in a very cozy way.

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Binder clips are the miniature upholsterer’s friend, especially with a fat wooly fabric.

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Upholstery nearing completion, with my signature glue pattern :)

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And the finished couch, minus bolsters and losing the light.

 

Sea House Warming Hut: Guest Books, A Sunset… and A Big Butt

Remember this photo? Barbara W. had sent a marvelous gift box of thoughtful miniature wonder, and I was inspired by the open butterfly book ( by Jennifer Hatt of lookingglassminiature.com) to make a guest book for the Warming Hut.

www.nancyland.com

The page spread is set in 1.5 point type :)

I logged myself in twice, in blue and black ink.

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I call these cheater books, because the pages don’t open or turn, but I did glue the signatures.

www.nancyland.com

I was going for a Moleskine notebook sort of look with black covers. I also made an open sketchbook with pages being ruffled by the wind, as well as a closed volume. There are no more photos of the process, though, as my husband called me outside to view the rather spectacular sunset. Here is a photo of him taking photos of the sky :)

www.nancyland.com

That’s the Pacific Ocean, looking pink as bubblegum :)

Anyway, there are the three books I made. I used a thin silk cord to make the page markers. And doesn’t the Peacock rug look splendid with the poppy-colored furniture?

www.nancyland.com

Instead of making a stand for the guest book, I made this today:

www.nancyland.com

A big cigarette butt. It’s 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) in diameter and about 24 inches (61 cm) long (unstubbed). I am especially happy with the “tobacco” — dried up leaves from my tomato plants, preserved moss, black tea (Yorkshire Gold) and paint, and a lot of glue.

(I volunteer with Pacifica Beach Coalition. This butt will be part of a display to build awareness that cigarette butts are *not* biodegradable. Did you know that cigarette butts discarded in parking lots, along sidewalks and in street gutters miles from the coast inevitably make their way through storm drains, creeks and rivers to the beach and the ocean, where they continue to leach toxic chemicals? Yuck.)

peacock rug complete

modern miniature peacock rug

After completing stitching and staring at it for a while, I trimmed the edges of the silk gauze to about a quarter-inch (6 mm).

modern miniature peacock rug

I washed and gently blotted it mostly dry, then pinned it into square(ish) and left it to dry overnight.

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The raw edges are turned to the back, corners mitered, and the edge oversewn exactly one row of the 49-count silk gauze with a double strand of Gütermann silk. I pondered the binding color at length, and finally chose the darker gray.

modern miniatures peacock rug

This is what the back looks like, and shows the combination of tent, basketweave and snarled stitches. Mistakes were made. Many were corrected, but some were discovered too late. Kind of like life.

modern miniature peacock rug

I fused featherweight interfacing to the back, to protect and seal the raw edges. Note to self: dust your build floors more often!

modern miniatures peacock rug

And here’s the finished rug, inviting you in to the Sea House Pavilion for a cup of tea or a glass of wine. It’s a great place to watch the storm blow in.

in no particular order

peacocks_120214Peacock rug getting there! Just the remaining green background left to stitch. Then blocking and binding.

(Finished size will be 4.625 x 3.125 inches (11.75 x 7.9 cm), 227 x 153 stitches, Gütermann silk on 49-count silk gauze, from a design by Roger Fry, as charted by Melinda Coss in Bloomsbury Needlepoint From the Tapestries at Charleston Farmhouse.)

Then I’ve been playing around with Kris Compas’s current tutorial for an upholstered parsons chair, using this great cotton stripe from a thrift store shirt. Other than (endless) work on the Peacock rug, I think this is the first miniature building I’ve done since I packed everything up to move in the summer. (The cording is made from three strands of DMC floss, and is more true to scale than using all six strands. In case you noticed.)

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Penultimately, here is my first repeating pattern!

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The color palette is a combination of hues drawn from photos of the ocean and from the persimmon tree in Soquel. The simplicity is perhaps underwhelming, but this represents hours and hours of work. Onward!

And finally, I did go back to the indie dollar store and buy up all the boxes of Prang KantRolls.

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Mostly because this:

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it’s that time (again)

Yes. We are moving. Well, actually, packing in preparation for moving.

Yes. We are moving. Well, actually, packing in preparation for moving.

About an hour and a half up the coast, to Pacifica. Very excited for new beginnings, very sad to depart the Soquel hills and the superior Santa Cruz County climate.

Finding a new house (oh, and working) is why I’ve not been doing any building the last few months. But I have been stitching — sometimes late or in the middle of the night — on the Animals rug, and a new, smaller rug project: Peacock.

Peacock, designed by Roger Bell in 1913–14.

Peacock, designed by Roger Bell in 1913–14.

I came across this remarkable book, Bloomsbury Needlepoint From the Tapestries at Charleston Farmhouse by Melinda Coss. It is both great art history and charts of designs by Duncan Grant, Roger Fry and Vanessa Bell.

You want this book.

You want this book.

Roger Fry’s original 1914 design was worked on 10-count double mesh canvas, and measured 22 xx 15 inches (55.9 x 38.1 cm).

Roger Fry’s original 1914 design was worked on 10-count double mesh canvas, and measured 22 x 15 inches (55.9 x 38.1 cm).

My version is on 49-count silk gauze with Gütermann silk, 227 x 153 stitches, 4.625 x 3.125 inches (11.75 x 7.9 cm). And although I wish Gütermann had more and better shades of greens and blues (especially), this piece gives me the comfort and focus I need right now. Thank you, tiny needlepoint!