DeskMess

deskmess0

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.

inside_roof

sleep

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.

deskmess1

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.

 

Courtyard Set

floor

I wanted to build a courtyard set in which to photograph the miniature succulents, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time doing it. I mulled it over conceptually for a few days, then remembered I had this egg carton paved floor from a few years ago. It had been sealed, so I grouted it with DAP spackle.

end_wall

I spent about half a day going through all my MDF scrap, windows, doors and gates, dry-fitting various combinations to fit the floor. And getting frustrated when they inevitably collapsed, as all dry-fits do. All the while sighing with that sinking feeling of I really don’t want to do all the work of cutting, patching, painting, sanding. Then I remembered I didn’t have to, and settled on a peaked end panel from a garage kit, and a length of half-inch foamboard for the long back wall. I mixed up a stucco slurry from some fine texture medium, thinned acrylic paint and a little tacky glue. It was a very enjoyable application :)

drying

After gluing the pieces together, I put it on the floor in front of my wee-yet-powerful Dyson heater to dry overnight.

done

Today I added a few pieces of wood trim — a cross beam and some posts — all stained leftovers from Argo Wool Works, and called it done. Actually, tomorrow I’ll drill some holes and add small nails and dowels for increased stability. Also I’m currently incubating designs for building anchor stars to cut on the Cricut and a few implementations of MMS+S signage :)

deco_vase

Here are some vases that will be available real soon over at Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries. (These are just my prototype succulents; the actually plants have thinner stems.) Above is a turquoise-glazed porcelain Art Deco vase, about an inch tall.

seahorse_vase

This is a glazed porcelain vase sculpted with cavorting sea horses.

lady_face_vase

And one of my freaky favorites, a reproduction of an ancient 15th–13th century vase marked Chypre (Cyprus). Fierce! Nasty!

cyrpus_vessel

Update: Original vessel is in The British Museum, whose website is impossibly slow, but I found this image on a Pinterest board. “Glazed composition vessel in form of woman’s head. Ancient Cyprus in the British Museum”.

cyprus_zoltar

For you, Pepper.

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.

modern miniature peacock rug

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.

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!

 

Vintage stools for the Sea House Pavilion

Metal stool (unpainted) made from cardstock, wood and string from a tutorial by Kris Kompas

Metal stool (un-metal, unpainted) made from cardstock, wood and string, from a tutorial by Kris Compas

Kris Compas over at 1inchminis has a great tutorial this month for a vintage metal stool. I love this design!

They work well in the Sea House Pavilion. I am not happy with the thread detail to simulate a rolled metal edge — I couldn’t get it to look like anything other than fussy thread — but without it they look a bit plain. More exploration of materials is called for.

New vintage chairs for the Sea House Pavilion. Come sit and watch the sun go down.

New vintage chairs for the Sea House Pavilion. Come sit and watch the sun go down.

I also made a pattern for a slightly modified seat back, so I’ll be able to experiment more. And order new spray paint. Check out this range of colors from Liquitex!

Thanks, Kris!

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.

SH_Pavilion_side

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 :)

Enge_Loft_003

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 :)

sea house pavilion: fire place moss trough

hmmm… the moss seems to have grown unruly since I first transplanted it

hmmm… the moss seems to have grown unruly since I first transplanted it

One of the things I like about outdoor rooms is how luxurious commonplace interior items, like a fireplace, look and feel. The granite blocks are cut from textured cover stock, glazed with matte acrylic washes of warm grays and taupe, and very lightly spattered while still wet with Payne’s gray on a fine brush. They are glued onto a foamcore structure (which also conceals batteries) that extends up into the rafters. I painted the firebox black and drybrushed on some char and ash. Brian split all the logs and made the grate by soldering bits of metal fencing together :) There is a shelf/bench of salvaged planking from the Sea House Pleasure Pier on one side and part of the front, made from basswood stained with Classic Gray Minwax, weathered with a fine-toothed razor saw blade and mechanical pencil, then sanded smooth.

The final addition was a low trough of the same wood planted with moss, which thrives in the cool marine climate. I like how it adds softness to the linear structure, and a bit of life and color. It also conceals a devilish leveling problem with the old wood decking and the quarried granite.

sea house pavilion: tiny charming cottage

tiny charming cottage dry fit

tiny charming cottage dry fit

To illustrate how the pavilion adds outdoor living space, I made a 1:144 scale model of the Charming Cottage in an early dry fit, with a tiny roll of masking tape, the instruction sheet, and my notebook (with rounded corners :) open to some of my initial sketches. And plenty of back issues of dwell, for inspiration and research.

tiny tiny Charming Cottages

tiny tiny Charming Cottages

Since then, I’ve built a few more to refine the pattern and improve my skill. The first were cut from 1/16-inch basswood; this one is from 1/32-inch. I doubt I have the patience to paint or to make 1:144 furniture, but I guess I should make a model of the pavilion itself, just for that recursive view thing.

If you’d like to make one, let me know and I’ll send you my pattern.