Albie, Yucca, Frustration

Albie_072317

This is Albie, absorbing the morning sun through the studio sliding doors. Our large middle cat, he is a handsome warm inky black, and very difficult to photograph. This one has zero interest in destroying miniatures.

MMSS_072317

Re-working the Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries set a bit. I built a corner planter for specimens, and glued in one yucca tree with the new, narrower leaves. For the rest, I want to keep the plantings fluid and easy to change out, so I devised a kind of armature on the stalks of rolled brown paper for elevation. They are planted to the floor with tacky wax.

MMSS_nursery_072317

Here’s how it looks planted out, and with other plants massed around, like a typical nursery.

yucca_proto_072317

Still experimenting with colorways on the different stocks. This is the original shape leaf cluster in medium green, with leaf and pine markers. After the glue is set, the leaves are separated and arrayed.

proto_shaped_072317

Here is a similar leaf cluster, scored down the middle with the back of an Xacto knife. it makes it into a whole other plant.

side_by_side

Here they are side-by-side. So much potential!

And now for the frustration rant: Cricut has released a new version of their Design Space app that has inexplicably broken my SVG files — the format for my drawings used to cut all these shapes. I have been in close contact with their support staff for the last two weeks, but no answers, fixes or workarounds yet. I even abandoned Firefox for Google Chrome. It is all very tedious, time wasting and — frustrating.

04 May 2017

physicalfitness_050417

Stormy is mortified that Zilly has taken up physical fitness, and insists on sharing his progress.

Also, many thanks to our readers who noticed the newsletter has not appeared :) It is late this month, sorry.

Yikes

slippers_022817

The new issue of the newsletter Cut, Fold + Make just went out and I forgot to harangue you to subscribe, if you’ve not already done so. There’s a complementary 1:12 scale vertical file holder template, as well as some inspirational and obscure links of creative goodness. Don’t make my imaginary business coach scold me.

It’s chilly nights here in coastal Northern California— as is seasonally appropriate — and Scarlett is taking comfort as she finds it, in recently vacated slippers.

Prototyping Complete

purple

Feeling confident about the rightness of the basket kit patterns, I move on to test-coloring the white base cardstock. My charming husband gifted me a set of Winsor & Newton water colour markers, and I’ve been eager to use them. This is, um, not exactly — nor even close to — fine art, but watercolor tints differently than either stain or alcohol markers. I used an intentional kind of crosshatch to fill the larger pieces. Gorgeous color/colour, yeah? W&N Mauve 398.

pear

I built the purple mauve watercolor basket, and moved on to an alcohol marker. These bleed and blend much more readily into the cardstock. W&N Pear Green Y635.

most

Here are our happy fellows to date. In this picture you can see the difference between the heavier-weight yellow basket, and the slightly lighter-weight, tinted and white cardstock ones.

duck_egg_blue.jpg

I realized that tinting the outer edges of the lid pieces (even though they are eventually covered) helps mask any gluing misalignment, so had to test-make one more basket. This is W&N alcohol marker Duck Egg.

green_blue_rain

And here are the last two basket prototypes, with some hen succulents, held up to the last of our stormy, freaky light. I noticed a similarity between the terracing of our wee hillside backyard, and the woven fabric of the baskets. Huh.

Newsletter, Calendar, Party

calendar2017_project

There’s a new issue of my newsletter Cut, Fold + Make going out tonight that includes a modern miniature calendar for you to make.

calendar_gluing

It’s a quick and simple project.

calendar2017_finished

You can sign up to receive it with the newsletter link on the right.

mms_calendar2017

It’s a good  way to keep track of yourself in sequential time.

mms_party_123116

And, there’s a party going on to celebrate the new year and new pergola being built at Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries. All the furniture from Sea House Warming Hut has been dragged over, and there’s a beach driftwood fire blazing, as well as festive beverages. Come on by! It’s been too long since we’ve all hung out together.

godzilla_123116

PS: Godzilla will be there.

 

MMS+S Signage

sign_fail_4x5

I continue to explore what works and what does not on the Cricut Explore Air 2. I’ve not yet moved beyond cardstock. I wanted to make signage for the courtyard set. This is my first attempt at cutting a sign 2.25 inches (5.7 cm) square. Lessons learned.

better_cut_4x5

I scaled up to almost four inches, and it cut beautifully.

released_4x5

Here is the sign, 23 picas square, released from the sticky mat. I glued a nice piece of translucent plastic salvaged from Japanese rice cracker packaging to the back, and cut lengths of 1/4-inch basswood for the top and bottom.

hung_4x5

The finished sign. At least for now.

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.

hens test

hens_holes

Hen and chicks are one of the first succulents I fell in love with, so this design is dear to my heart. And I felt like a right genius because I figured out how to get the machine to cut a hole in each center. It is not an automatic process and involves what Cricut calls “attaching” layers. (The above holes are three points in diameter; I’ve since upped it to four.)

hens_fun_part

This is the fun part. Removing the waste from the sticky mat makes a musical plinking sound that is very satisfying. And as I soon learned and as Nora suggested, it’s far easier to remove the cut shapes after the mat has been “de-sticked” a bit — which seems to happen with use.

hens_shaping

Color test and shaping. The little point on the end of each leaf adds such sweet realism. My inspiration:

live

These guys are in a bit more shade now in my early winter backyard, so they’ve lost most of their edge-leaf color.

hens_proto

Prototype hen. Next up is to draft a smaller-leaved pattern set for the chicks, so we can build happy succulent families. This one is about 5/8-inch (16 mm) across.

hens_storage

And this is how I’m keeping all the very many parts organized and identified. I’ve long kept a stash of these useful little containers from takeout food, but ran out quickly. Dollar store to the rescue! Ten cups with lids/$1. I should probably cost them out in greater quantities :(

 

Testing

first_test_cut_120116

I drew some succulent patterns in Illustrator and exported them as SVG. The Cricut Design Space, the app the cutter uses, is fairly straight forward and easy to navigate. First cuts! The sticky cutting mat smells like a toxic headache, though.

more_120116

Here’s the first batch. The software arranges the cuts for best use of the material.

shapes_120116

By far the most difficult and tedious task is removing my many, many small shapes from the cutting mat.

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A proposed stack. As it turns out, the two 11-leaved pieces don’t work well at all for miniature succulents.

prototype_120116

Here’s a first model and prototype. I’ll need to make some several before I work out the best construction techniques.

12x12_120116

After revising the patterns, I cut a 12 x 12-inch sheet of colored stock. That’s a lot of prying off to do. Best tool I’ve used thus far is a thin, flexible wedge-shaped palette knife. The next thing I want to determine is if the pen can have a broader tip, and can outline the cut line, and hold registration with the cutter. Learning!