Carrying On, A Maker’s Dream

Practically like Stonehenge — I imagine — establishing where the deck posts might go.

After the interesting maths of determining (and re-determining) the height of the stair stringers, I cut the posts for the deck surround.

Surprisingly more complicated and variable.
I tipped over a pot of yucca before the glue was set.

Best of all, I received an email from a woman who’d purchased a couple of yucca tree kits from my Etsy shop. She posted a lovely video of her results and I could not be more impressed or surprised. Do 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!

Sometimes, things work out better than hoped for

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The topic of this and last week’s Santa Cruz commute thinking time was about how to render the Sea Rise Sea House Pavilion’s greenhouse windows. I knew I wanted to do something leaded (or leaded-esque), and I knew the inevitable off-square measurements of the actual structure would be a nightmare to fit.

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I’ve built two wing extensions on either side of the main deck to increase the living space area. One side is the greenhouse, and the other will be the shower and sleeping alcove. For the greenhouse leaded glass, I drew my designs using 9-point (1/8-inch) lines, which seem reasonably robust for a seaward structure. They’re cut from black cardstock, and glued front and back to non-glare Plaskolite, which provides a semi-opaque — and salt-spray burnished — surface.

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My initial approach was to tediously center the Plaskolite within the 3/16-inch framing. (Of course if I was more dedicated, I would have routed a channel in the one million each of the frames, or, have built them with three layers of stock. But I’m not.) As I was fiddling about with measurements and drawing and cutting prototypes, I realized the best — and squarest — way is to cut the panes and cardstock leading a scant larger than the outside window openings, and glue them atop the frames. Then, trim out with thin strip wood.

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It looks just fine! Intentional, even. The two layers of cardstock, glued to the Plaskolite front and back, look believable. Even the little schmutzes of glue make sense in a marine environment (although they are easily cleaned up.)

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Here’s the whole structure-in-progress, including the new roof extension, which might be where the sleeping quarters wind up.

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And here is the main — or one of the many — reasons I drive down to Santa Cruz each week: for Ruby, now four months old. She lights up a room, no batteries, routing or wires required.

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 :(