V: Vagary

V is for Vagary. Fluctuation, variation, quirk, peculiarity, oddity, eccentricity, unpredictability, caprice, foible, whim, whimsy, fancy.

I can’t think of a better word, or set of synonyms, to describe the new 1:12 scale echeveria kit available now over at MMS+S. There are no fewer than five leaf sizes and shapes that combine to make three sizes of a charming pointy-leaf echeveria. I’ve redesigned the build method, too, to start on a fine paper-wrapped stem wire (included in the kit), which is perfect for armatures (gnarly-armed structures) and general ease of shaping the plants.

Here is a bushel basket of prototypes, using both of the base colors — white or apple green — colored with alcohol-based markers. (If you want true reds and yellows — or blues and purples — order the white stock. If you’re good with more muted tones and want to spend less time coloring, choose the green :)

Possibilities of color combinations are endless (and fun).

This is a versatile kit, and a form to make a succulent wreath is available soon!

Let Scarlett’s tail and rabbit feet, seen here in complete repose, be your inspiration.

I recently re-found this unfinished Henri Rousseau-inspired collage panel, and glued it to the side back of the Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries set.

The MMS+S set is in disarray, like many aspects of my life, but potentially still functional.

Zoom out now, please, to 1:1. The former owners of our house built this charming, funky wave-topped gate (seen here from the back). But, inexplicably, they painted the front of it the same dispirited brown as the rest of the decks, and completely ignored the back. For four years, it has *nagged* at me.

Yay go me. Here it is finished in four shades, by the light of the silvery security beacon.

Albie and I survey the change. You can just see that sad brown deck color peeking out under cat and mat.

This is the old hardware, atop the treacherous birdbath pedestel, for those of you/us interested in these things.

And finally. Keli and I have been challenging ourselves to … not let the bastards drag you down draw a random thing and post it on Instagram, until, for each of us, momentous events transpire. (For me, that’s undergoing replacement surgery of both hips, on 01 October, 2018.) I have chosen Crayola and ink as my drawing medium. We are #messy_k_enge and #curlymuenich, if you care to follow along (+also under our regular names @iseecerulean and @nancy_k_enge). We are expecting phat coffee table art book publishing contracts to swamp our respective agents.

How could they not?

 

U: Until

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U is for Until I Can Press Publish Again. It has also been for Unaccomplished: unfinished, unconcluded, undone, ugh. Unpleasant, as in occurrences and diagnoses. Understanding, as in where has my mojo gone? Oh.

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This is a first order Fresnel lens from the Pigeon Point lighthouse, just south of Pescadero, California.

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Here is 5-year-old Maddie Lou, draped in Kylo Ren’s leather cape and light saber, at Lucasfilm in the Presidio.

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Wheelie and I enjoying a sublime egg salad breakfast sandwich, on freshly baked sourdough in Pescadero.

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There is a new kit of pointy-leaf echeverias over at MMS+S. It might be the best ever. Check it out.

 

T: Thoughts, Things

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T is for Tobin’s Tunnel. Yesterday, it was clear and sunny. B and I walked out to Mussel Rock at low tide, and came upon the remains of Tobin’s tunnel. It was first blasted out in 1874 so the landowner could enjoy scenic carriage rides along the beach without having to detour around the headlands. Very soon the tides, winter storms, and finally, the 1906 earthquake made other arrangements of the work. This is the only section that remains. (NOTE: The geologic and social history of this area is truly fascinating; I recommend a google dive. The best is Shawn Heiser’s SFSU thesis, Living on the Edge: Environmental History at Mussel Rock, 2010.)

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T is for triptych. The view looking west, over the ocean. That’s Mussel Rock on the right, with the wooden posts sticking up, and old highway riprap, which forms part of the seawall, in the lower right. The San Andreas fault line is directly underneath us.

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T is for trails. The network of trails leading down to the beach — when there is one — are the remains of the old Ocean Shore Railroad (abandoned in 1920), and the Ocean Shore Highway (bypass over the headlands completed in 1957).

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T is for thread. I am eagerly awaiting the San Francisco pattern I ordered from Haptic Labs to hand-stitch a small quilt. Serious goodness in this shop. I’m sure I’ll have much more to say when it arrives.

T is for thought. I can’t say I’m fond of this particular enamel pin, but the copy that accompanies it struck a chord:

“Handmade is as much a path as it is a product, an ethos that creeps into every aspect of life. When we make things for ourselves, we take a singular pleasure and satisfaction from every use, sure of its provenance and intention. The creations of our hands become the warp and weft of our days, until life becomes a tightly woven tapestry inspiring us with purpose and pride.”

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T is for tea. Fermented kombucha in this instance. My daughter gave me a book of recipes and a large Weck jar at my birthday. This is my first batch, brewed with Yorkshire Gold — a two-week-process in my chilly kitchen — bottled for second fermentation. That’s Meyer lemon + ginger in the Weck, and ruby grapefruit in the cute recycled bottles. Yum and Salute!

Q: Quandary

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Q is for quandary. Where to next? How do I get there? The signs are not clear. What to do?

Things have been a bit unsettled in nancyland of late. Not in a bad way, but in a way that hasn’t necessarily been conducive to working on the Sea Rise pavilion project, or the miniature protea kit, or posting … anything. So it goes. (Thank you Kurt Vonnegut, for that all-expressive phrase.)

Slow progress — and regress — on the studio reorg, but the end *is* in sight.

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Got the bookcases installed along the half-wall upstairs, and the reference library culled and organized. There’s happy Scarlett in her old-cashmere-sweater lined new-location fleece bed.

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One of my favorite places on Earth is Harley Farms Goat Dairy in Pescadero, perfectly located halfway between Santa Cruz and Pacifica. On a meandering birthday drive home, we of course stopped there to check in with the mamas and babies. These are some of the very pregnant mamas in the loafing barn, waiting to give birth.

K-2SO_plant

K-2SO is fully functional — with articulated thumbs! — and has begun work at Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries.

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Spent a recent morning painting and drawing with Maddie, who just turned five years old. If you’re looking for artistic inspiration and to question and push your boundaries, I highly recommend the company of a child.

hardware

Or you could just go to the hardware store.

 

 

 

O: Organization Orchestration

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O is for Organization. Lack thereof in these photos, because I am completely reorganizing my studio and office. Moving everything off and out of every cubby, shelf, drawer, bin and pile. Going through everything, purging non-essentials. Beginning to make new piles and groups of like things, so I can see what’s what. Sorting bits and bobs back into their storage boxes. Making sure I maintain a walkway through the chaos.

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O is for Other Side. This is the left side of the room. I’m pulling my reference library out of the two bookcases (partially visible left foreground) and moving them out of the studio into three new bookcases, dusting, sorting and divesting as I lug them upstairs. This frees up lots of shelf space for things used more frequently. (Fortunately, I have a separate space where all the wood cutting and sawdust-generating tools live, a wee shop on the back of the garage. It means a lot of back and forthing, but computers and sawdust don’t do well together.)

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O is for Ongoing, OMG. The disarray is total, the only clear spaces being my main workstation (not very visible behind the bookcases), and the emptying shelves. This is a challenging project, but it will be so good when it’s done :)