Anthers, Easter, Stormy, Bunka, Scarlett

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The buds on the recently-noted succulent flower open out into pretty minimalist flowers, but look at all those tiny anthers! Nothing says Spring like pollen :)

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Of course, tiny Easter baskets. Undelivered because of a sudden plague at granddaughter’s house (resolved now).

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My husband was biz traveling for a long week, and we’re all very glad to have him back.

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I scored a one-gallon ziplock bag stuffed full of gorgeous, pristine (though moderately tangled) bunka for $5 at one of our local thrift stores. I’m not entirely sure of the implications. The colors are spectacular, and it untangles surprisingly easily. Fascinating stuff.

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At ten months old, Scarlett has mellowed considerably. She spends a lot of time outside exploring and “helping” me garden, and is still incredibly needy demonstrative with her affections and vocal interactions. I texted this pic to my daughter today with the caption, “So sad. My cat only has one leg.”

Decorations, Sketchbook

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The latest issue of the newsletter Cut, Fold+Make is out. If you missed this month, the sign up is over on the right. It’s a short curated list of ideas and links that inspire and support creative practice.

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There’s a fun suggestion for a miniature paper garland, and first looks at the new sketchbook kit.

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Possibly what’s most adorable is the ephemera pocket on the inside back cover. They’re  available as kits now over at MMS+S in iconic black cover, kraft, as well as the Warm colorway (orange, yellow and gray) of the Office Essentials line of organizers.

It is spring!

 

Where I’m At

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Between my good fortune of building MagnaTiles by the first warm light of morning with a four-year-old adept…

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… and extended bouts of staring at the walls, change is ahand and afoot here in Nancyland, in the best possible way. The Office Essentials suite of kits over at MMS+S is still imminent, plus of course I still keep thinking up more essentials — the quintessential journal?! — and wait, a graceful, worthwhile pencil cup! But, and so you see. However. The newest edition of the inspirational newsletter Cut, Fold + Make is about to be released, and I think the wee pencil cup plans will be the giveaway. Please sign up if you’ve not already.

You know that feeling of being drawn in several different directions, all good, all at once? A bounty of opportunity and satisfaction. I choose this way :)

Same As It Ever Was

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The late night sorties continue, despite my best defenses.

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This just made me laugh out loud; she so looks like Alice in Wonderland/Grace Slick doing “One pill makes you larger, and…”

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Zilly and Stormy continue to meet up after work, and are really enjoying getting to know one another. Here they are, chatting away, sitting on what I refer to as the “floral footstools of anxiety”. It’s got nothing to do with them, and is a story for perhaps another time? The fabric, however, is fabulous: “London Calling” from Studio RK for Robert Kaufman. I want to reupholster everything in it.

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For my birthday I purchased a set of lenses for my iPhone from Photojojo. I’ve not had much time to purposely explore them — it’s not even quite my birthday yet— but here are a few snapshots.

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I was most interested in the macro and telephoto, but could not resist the fisheyes and filter lenses. Above is EC01 Echeveria, looking fabulous larger than miniature life-size.

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These are very lively moss flowers, less than a half-inch tall, growing on the backyard retaining wall, as seen through the macro lens. Who know spores had EYES?!

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And here is either the fisheye or super fisheye, good for laughs and turning one’s home into a hobbit-hole. In the foreground are the lens boxen. I heartily recommend!

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I’m about to go south, and then north, for a couple of days. I wrote and photographed the instructions and listing for the first of the MMS+S Office Essentials, in colorway “Warm” today, but will hold off actually listing them at MMS+S until I return and have a chance to kit and document the whole series.

The south part is to my family in Santa Cruz, and the north part is to a *very* special tour my delightful husband has managed to arrange, of a very special archive of amazing artifacts, all housed on a fairyland ranch that is so sprawling and gorgeous it takes one’s breath away. (And/or, is typically Northern Californian.) Happy birthday to me, and all the March babies!

Colors

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It’s late, and the light is incandescent, but here is the first offering of 1:12 scale modern office accessories. There is a horizontal file holder, a vertical file or magazine holder, a cache pot (which means a useful container to catch all the loose things), a rubbish bin/trash can, and coordinating-colored file folders. The horizontal file holder can also be combined to form a two-level multi-purpose holder of things. The first colorway is orange, yellow and gray. Available over at MMS+S real soon!

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Scarlett has embraced the warmth and cubby holes of my husband’s music studio, at least in the evenings when he is home. For incomprehensible to me reasons, the noise does not bother her. She bites guitar strings and scales bass traps. And only occasionally chews wires. She’s such a good buddy cat.

Boxen

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Gee golly gosh oh man golly, does taking something to market take some time? Answer: yes. Not complaining; I want to get it right as right as I can make it can be.

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Up in the MMS+S shop today are three cardboard box kits. Three sizes of boxen, each the epitome of scale fidelity and utility. If you didn’t know you needed these before, well, it will soon become apparent.

I’m pretty much over my basket weaving overload aversion, and am looking forward to bringing the mildly-redesigned Toto basket into production. Priority: next.

Thank you, thank you all for your support and interest. You make a difference.

Success, Failure, Success

I took the coast road down to Santa Cruz on Wednesday. There was a mad gale blowing, and pouring down rain, and I just didn’t feel like hydroplaning on the Peninsula freeways. Mid-week, the coast road — in addition to being spectacularly beautiful — is a good place to think, and I needed some thinking time. The weather was intense, especially on the open coastal bluffs; the road oddly deserted, and I felt alive and free, so happy to be on the way to seeing my baby girls (the little mama, Maddie, and the bun in the oven :)

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I had this great idea to do diagonal weaving that occupied much of my drive, with the first project being an open-sided ottoman on stylish legs. After our joyful reunion at preschool, and snacks, Maddie and I sat side by side on the couch, she absorbed in an animal show on the iPad (special treat!) while I sketched out my ideas. Above you see some of the sketches, along with Maddie’s later commentary. And the next day’s failed attempts to devise a workable diagonal paper loom.

But no. I tried a few variations, redid my measurements, cut different spoke looms, wove this way and that, but it’s just too hard to do in paper, and not fun at all. Feh.

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However, my notebook has been enriched with an almost-4-year-old’s visions. This is one of my favorites. So much going on!

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Today, after happily spending the morning kitting and filling MMS+S orders, I noticed the supply of old presentation materials I have been hacking and re-purposing for shipping was dwindling. (Seriously, they are like 20 years old? And I’ve held on to them all this time? = paper hoarder.) I determined to craft new ones. Some trial-and-error, but I learned how to use the Cricut scoring tool (super useful!) and cut up bunches of cardstock that is too heavy for weaving (thrifty!) to make colorful new shipping inserts.

Heartfelt thanks to Brae and Keli for writing about the basket kits. Your esteem and influence is plain to see, and I am so very glad that you like them. In our tiny community, you set a standard of generosity that is priceless.

Lime Spice, Liners, Soon, Stretch

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Last night, I thought this color combination was a really good idea. Note my test markers in the lower right corner… I rejected better colors for the jolt of lime. Tsk. But all is not wasted. I refined the Toto basket handle assembly, and experimented with interior/exterior color differences.

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Which led me to this, this morning. I’ve been holding onto this fabulous piece of wrapping paper for some years, creases, tape and all. With the sticky mats of the Cricut machine, I sacrificed precision of placement for precision of cutting.

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Perfectionist me was disappointed, but do it me did something.

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Basket liners! I don’t know why I thought the wrapping paper offcut would make a good photo background, but here you can mostly see three of the round lidded baskets, stained golden oak, dark walnut and cherry, with their new bling liners. I quite like the contrast between understated exterior and patterned inside. And, as a technique! I encourage you to explore.

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The new basket kits require larger packaging, which necessitates a different form for the instructions and mailer. Here is a ’neak preview of the thing. The weather forecast is for clear skies tomorrow, so I’m hoping to finish the instructions photography then. And then, then, actually list them in the shop!

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Finally, of course, Scarlett. I’ve shown remarkable restraint in not posting multi-daily photos of her adorableness. At almost seven months old, she’s approaching cat teenhood. The best thing to have happened to the harmony of our multi-species family is her access to the great outdoors. She still torments the two older cat boys relentlessly, but a lot of her alpha ways are absorbed in bug-and-other hunting and exploration. And she’s still got that crazy striped lemur tail.

Cutting 1/16-inch, New Basket, Erosion

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After trying several different 1/16-inch materials — illustration board, mat board, chipboard — I finally found a cardboard I can get the Cricut machine to cut all the way through (on the 2mm thick leather setting, five passes with a deep cut blade). Unfortunately, it’s from my cardboard stash pile, and I’ve no idea what it is :\ These circles will make an easier base to work with on the soon-to-be released round basket kit.

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Here’s a peek at a new rectangular woven paper basket. Too bad the light is so poor; the two colors of this prototype are “Spice” accented with “Burnt Orange” and are very appealing. Still very early stages. Now that I can command shapes… ideas may expand.

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Keeping things real, here in Northern California (in Pacifica, at least) we’re enjoying some drying out time, after a series of very wet, damaging storms. This is the remains of the already sketchy trail that leads to the sometimes-beach below the bluffs at the bottom of the hill. It’s the last super-low King tide, and a beautiful view stretching to the Marin headlands. Gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation.

Prototyping Complete

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.