Sea House Warming Hut: Argo Wool Works

This morning, nearby farm Argo Wool Works started delivering their line of pillows, blankets, felted toys, roving and yarn for the winter fair. This season they’re featuring woolens from both their Gotland sheep and Angora goats. Both flocks pasture on the headlands south of the Sea House Warming Hut, and lambs and kids are frequent springtime visitors. Stop by to see — and feel — their incredibly soft-and-sturdy offerings!

Sea House Warming Hut: Farmer’s Market Setup

Setting up for the local farmer’s market. The pumpkins (smaller this year because of the drought) have arrived, and the apples, pears, potatoes and more herbs and flowers will be coming soon. There’ll be cider, honey, goat cheese and the first press of this year’s olive oil to sample inside. And there’s been great white shark sitings from the cliffs. If you’re out and about, come on by!

Sea House Warming Hut: Chairs Again

After looking at the photos, the chairs looked a bit leggy to me, so I added front and back stretchers to square out the bottoms. Much better, yes?

I also decided I didn’t care for the shiny exposed pin heads. I tried dabbing on a tiny dot of black paint, but my hand is not nearly steady enough to deliver consistently. I’ve gone with 1/16-inch punched dots. Countersinking the pin heads would have been ideal, but instead I’ll wait for the glue to dry and then smush the dots down with a pencil eraser, conforming the paper around the wee tiny stupid pin heads.

I call done again no really.

Sea House Warming Hut: Side Tables

The woodworker elves came during the night and finished the other two chairs, and added a poppy-hued piping made from three strands of cotton floss (DMC 720). That inspired me to sketch a design for two side tables, as well as think out what else might be going on.

Same materials and similar construction as the chairs. The table tops are cut from 1/4- and 1/2-inch x 1/16-inch basswood, and edged with 1/16-inch square trim.

I lost the light last night, so I got up early to photograph and finish. First table, unstained:

Stained and be-glided.

And in place ‘round the hearth:

(The fireplace is out being repainted again.)

Off now to the other side of the room my office. Many voracious pixels eagerly await my return!

Sea House Warming Hut: Begin Chairs

I had a hard time getting up this morning. I was up late last night working, my husband is away in Minneapolis on a business trip, and it was densely foggy, but bright outside.

I made a deal with myself to work on the Sea House Warming Hut fireside chairs in short segments interspersed with my *real* work. This is a downside of having one’s office and one’s studio in the same place. Chairs won. And that’s what’s bad about me.

I decided to build Jane Harrop’s “Utility Fireside Chair” from her book Thirties & Forties, with just a couple of changes.

I located all the stock, cut out the pieces and labeled them, and put them in a project tray.

Then I did a whole hour of *real* work. What happened after that is kind of a flow blur, but I realized the light was changing outside.

Here’s the chair frame, unstained. I added the little crossbar to support the back. The legs and stretchers are only 1/8-inch (3mm) square, so the whole assembly is held together with wee pins and glue. I opted to leave the heads on.

And here it is stained, with the beloved Minwax Classic Gray 271.

I could not resist adding some self-leveling gliders, because after all, these chairs will be moved around the fireplace a lot.

With the upholstered cushions, in luscious peacock blue linen.

I brought the new chair up to the living roof (moss don’t mind) along with a sketchbook to continue my *real* work, while watching the sun set into the foggy horizon. Sometimes there’s a fine line — or no line at all — between work and ideas and how things get done.

Big Butt: Complete

Finished the stand for the big butt. The clay pot is 9.5 inches (24 cm) tall and 10 inches (25.5 cm) in diameter.

I made the flowers and leaves from various papers I had on hand, 18 and 22 gauge stem wire and florist tape. Working in macro takes up way more room and materials!

I chose the papers because in this context, they looked diseased :)

As I was working, I heard a crinkling sound. It was Napoleon, my helper cat, ensuring the papers stayed put.

The flowers are made from the same kind of rice paper as the leaves. Like I said, they look like they are succumbing to something dire.

I glued a piece of florist foam to the bottom of the pot, and packed in Spanish moss around it. The flower stems were a little too bendy, so I wrapped another length of 18 gauge around them with florist tape.

After I stuck the flowers in the foam, I packed the pot with layers of glue and all my leftover preserved moss from the Sea House Warming Hut living roof.

I heard another rustling. This time it was Albie. I guess Napoleon’s shift was over.

I made a dead flower :(

What do you think of my rendering of disease by toxic chemicals leached into the environment? I used a brown Sharpie marker.

Wait! I don’t want to end this post on such a sad note, so here’s the finished piece again. Isn’t my house a cheerful color? (I didn’t choose it.) I glued bleached moss on the dead side of the pot, and shades of green on the narrow rim that’s still living. Underneath the cigarette is crushed charcoal (and more glue). Note how the living flowers are straining to get away from the big butt. There’s a story here.

Now I want you all to put on gloves and go outside and pick up all the cigarette litter you see.

(If you’re really dedicated to making a difference, you can keep doing this and save them up — carefully, that stench will get on you — and send them to be safely recycled at Terracycle.)

Unless you want this:

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 to make a guest book for the Warming Hut.

The page spread is set in 1.5 point type :)

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

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

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 :)

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?

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

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.)

Sea House Warming Hut: Living Roof Planted

The base plantings for the living roof are complete. Yay me!

I finished it up today, after marching with Pacifica Beach Coalition in the annual Fog Festival, dressed as a bee and playing a kazoo. (Our original plan was to kazoo Flight of the Valkyries, but that proved a bit too ambitious.) For those of you that know me less well, marching in a half-mile parade before hundreds, if not thousands of spectators, in a bee costume, could not be further from what I might typically choose to do. All that brave eye contact and self-in-presence! I celebrate with you, and you with me: we pick up trash on the beach, and our individual and collective efforts matter. Thank you.

Who knows what’s next?

Never say never. Say yes, instead?

Sea House Warming Hut: Living Roof Growth

To get more use from the many bags of preserved moss, I decided to shred the lower stemmy parts into a coarse scatter, and use that to plant around the taller rounded mounds. I practically got carpal tunnel from snip, snip, snip snipping.

The scatter also adds more texture and another level of growth.

This morning I realized I didn’t like the straw-colored moss clumps, and got out watercolors to green them up, like a photosynthesis devi. That was so satisfying I added some darker tones into the other plantings as well.

I let two of the red poppies sprout, but have determined they wouldn’t survive on the windswept roof. I still like them as flowers, though, so into a bucket for the flower stand (or as starts for planting) they will go.

Sea House Warming Hut: Living Roof

Wanting to ensure even plant color distribution with a random appearance, I changed up how I’ve been “planting” the living roof. I’m going through vast quantities of moss because I prefer the fine rounded tops more than the stemmy lower growth, and colors are not consistent bag to bag. This way is more fun, too.

Poppy propagation continues, with a new flavor. This punch is about 1/4-inch (6mm) — compare it to the 3/16-inch (5mm) round — and reminiscent of a pompom variation red field poppy.

Sort of. I like the way they look, and think they’ll complement the CA poppies :)