hens test

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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.)

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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!

New Kit

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Listed another kit in the Etsy shop, a larger, more-specimeny succulent that pairs nicely with SV01. Continued heartfelt gratitude and thanks for your warm wishes and interest. I wish I had like a whole line plan to lay out — and I do! In my head! — instead of this kit-by-kit piecemeal showing. And soon, on offer, completed specimens, in some of the most wonderful containers I’ve ever seen! However. I am learning by doing, and this is bootstrap crafty business making. Rhetorical question: would we have it any other way?

First Listing

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So pleased to announce the first kit is available over at MMS+S. I expect I’ll be making editing tweaks for a while, in between assembling and listing new kits. Potted specimen succulents and sundries coming real soon. Heartfelt thank yous to all who showed interest. Happy making!

Just Kitting

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First article! Well almost. I’m waiting on the brown kraft paper to arrive, and, having just finished re-re-shooting the instruction photos, to get those printed.

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What’s in this kit? There are options for white, cream or sage green stock, as well as for me to color the leaves (US$5 extra; I may live to regret it :) One kit makes seven stems, with extra leaves to practice on. The example is the yellow-edged green variety, but of course you can paint them as you like. There’s a special hashtag to use if you post on socials, so we can all see what people are coming up with.

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Need to finish writing *all* the stuff for the Etsy listings and blahblah. And then let it go live. Gulp.

Redirect

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First light, and we’re continuing to enjoy some much-needed rain here in Northern California. There’s bustle going on downstairs in the studio, but it’s uninteresting compared to Scarlett, sleeping off an early morning foray into the great suburban outdoors.

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In that respect, her explorations are not that different to my own, except I’m neither five months old nor a cat. No matter how much I wish.

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Still. She approaches her new domain with seemingly equal amounts of enthusiasm and caution.

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I want to be like Scarlett. Especially the perfect nap part.

First Packaging Prototype

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Exciting times here in Nancyland. Been researching and getting in supplies for packaging and shipping, and working on the graphics for labels and such. Need to reshoot two four photos for the first kit instruction sheet, and that’s done. Then do glamour shots and write product descriptions for the Etsy shop, and actually list stuff for sale. Getting good response to the newsletter offering — thank you, thank you — and Volume 01, Issue 01 drops the first of December. Whirlwindy!

Sempervivums

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Another new species of succulent! I’m classifying this one in the sempervivum genus. Also, I’m working towards putting these (and others) into production, as both kits and potted specimens, in my Etsy shop! You can peek through the window here. I’ve been sourcing some great planters and containers for both inside and out, as well as classic terra cotta pots. Wish me focus and follow-through!

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