Yucca

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New project: yuccas. The trunk is cut from an organic Medjool date pit :)

yucca_proto_partsI’ve been thinking about yuccas for a while. They’re such an iconic houseplant, and here in California, many varieties grow in the landscape. Above is the design process: free form shapes cut in paper, then drawn in Illustrator and cut from cardstock with a Cricut Explore Air 2. I’ve got pretty good working models, which will be refined as I build and rebuild. Still a long way to go with colors and details.

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This is an armature from a succulent I had at the ready, and I learned a lot from messing with it as a yucca plant. There are characteristics of the tree-form varieties that will translate well in torn paper-wrapped wire. And Braxton Payne’s exquisite pottery makes for perfect containers.

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(Speaking of Braxton Payne, I just saw he’s making a Southwestern-style beehive fireplace… which I think must replace the Scandinavian-style one currently in use on the MMS+S set.)

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Yucca Proto_01 on a Peter Tucker bench. Much as I love terracotta, I think I’ll glaze this pot matte black to match the black sand. And then switch to lighter color sand for future specimens. Imagine this plant much taller and more gracefully limbed. Getting back to work now.

 

Sealed With A Fish

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I’ve been enjoying making fish sketchbooks, and have finally come up with packaging I like. They’re individually packaged in a cotton fiber vellum folio, and sealed with a fish.

:)

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There will also be a kit of three blank fish sketchbooks, with some bonus printed fishes for you to play around with.

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I have a little more photography to do, then look for them tomorrow in the shop!

 

 

Packaging Process, In Progress

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The new finished open sketchbooks require different packaging than the current MMS+S flat kits. I set about designing an insert for the books’ 3 x 4-inch plastic bags that will provide a protected, recessed container. After roughing out dimensions on paper, I work in Illustrator to draft a model. White cardstock cuts first, with numerous and many revisions.

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Once I’ve got a solid working white model, I cut models in my intended paper, a rich black cardstock.

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Numerous iterations transpire. Where does the cutout appear? Where will the labels go? How does it fit in the bag? Where are the dominant folds vs. the grain of the paper? How can I best optimize use of paper, given a 12 x 12-inch maximum dimension? How might I make this easier, more elegant to assemble?

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Some versions later, I’ve got my best solution (though what’s pictured is not it :) I streamline the pattern in Illustrator for optimal cutting on the Cricut machine, joining paths, eliminating rogue anchor points, and doubling key scorelines. This happens about 11 times.

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Earlier today I walked out on the back deck to take the mass quantities of paper scrap I generate to the recycling bin, and I noticed this sudden dramatic bloom on one of the new nursling succulents. Dumb angle photo, but what a pleasant surprise!

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A side view of the insert. It’s effectively one layer of cardstock thick on the sidewalls, and three on the bottom, with two on the immediate front face. Sturdy enough to withstand shipping? Do I need to add another layer to the sidewalls? Test mailings will tell.

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The backside. Utilitarian!

Sidenote: I work in inches for packaging, and in points and picas for most other applications, such as labels. Graphic designers are bilingual that way.

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Insert sorted for now, my attention turns to labeling. The current 3 x 3-inch labels will not work for this package. I consider two 1-inch labels — enough to order some — when a header card occurs to me. First ideas include, for some reason, a cutout circle to hang on a rack.

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But then I wonder why? I’m not a hanging rack sort of shop. The circle is unnecessary.

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I rework the design a bit more. A staple will anchor lower center, through the bag and insert, to secure the header card and further reinforce the package.

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Because this packaging is for a one-of-a-kind, original artwork, a signed certificate of authenticity is included :D

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And the deskmess to back it up (not included).

Alrighty

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The first three Vintage Maps organizer kits are up over at MMS+S. There’s combinations of vertical file holders, file folders, and folios, and they all come with cream-colored rounded-corner stationery sized to fit.

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Still to come are Vintage Maps sketchbooks, and combo kits with folios. Of the ten Cavallini & Co. maps I bought from Two Hands Paperie, these five had the scale and style I was looking for: Berlin, London, Rome, Seattle, San Francisco.

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london

rome

I’m still a little iffy on Seattle. A bit too much water and legends.

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SF

Also in MMS+S is an Office Essentials kit of three vertical file holders, 12 matching file folders and 12 sheets of cream-colored, round-cornered stationery. (Additional file folder sets are available separately.) The kit is available in the Warm colorway (orange, yellow and gray) and Grayscale (white, gray and black), as well as all black or all white. The white is perfect if you want to color your own surface patterns with markers or watercolor.

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Granddaughter Madeline is about to have a new baby sister, hence my general distraction/absence from writing and commenting on all your wonderful projects. I miss you.

Remember this succulent flower stalk I posted a while back?

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This is what it looks like now, fully bloomed.

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(The background looks a little different because I cleared out a bunch of growth that had developed unsightly speckling. Sub-optimal location.)

View from the top:

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There’s a lot of stuff going on! It’s holding its own, with very little insect depredation, stable and very long-blooming. May we all be so blessed.

Sensational Travel Journals

Oscar Wilde wrote, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”

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In that spirit, the OE Travel Journals kits are available over at MMS+S. There are two kit options listed, and one secret option at hand. The two listed options are for three blank journals, or one road atlas and two blank journals. I’ve made a video of the secret option:

YES. It is a secret gatefold pages option for both the sketchbooks and the travel journals. They work well with the single pages and maps, and are fun besides. Just add a note when ordering and I’ll include as many as you like with your kit/s, until I’m able to list them properly. Though they won’t be secret anymore, they’ll still be fun.

Production notes: If you like quiet page-turning fx, turn your sound on. The alarming bandage: I bashed my poor knuckle on a boulder rock emptying a cement bird bath. I tried to keep it out of the frame, but it’s like it has a mind of its own.

Shade Concept

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Inspired by the bicycle basket of Almira Gulch, I’m happily exploring different size weavers on the 1/16-inch paper spokes loom. (Wait, please click the link. Years ago I had a boyfriend who would hum this song whenever he thought I was being too crabby. It still makes me smile.)

Anyway. This is made with eighth-inch weavers. The shade is 1.5 inches in diameter, supported by two interior rims, cut from cardboard and covered in cardstock.

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Here you can see the intriguing patterns cast when light shines through the structure. Considering that the flat weave is made from two rectangular shapes, the effects of layering and light are interesting. (I don’t know why my thumb looks like a misshapen grub.)

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I’m also working a 3/32-inch weave. That’s one less than an eighth. Finer.

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Hard to compare the eighth-inch weave because of the curvature, but maybe squint your eyes? Don’t yet know which I prefer.

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Light shining through. So pretty! I see now that I’d move the lower rim to the very bottom of the shade. Undecided if additional trim is warranted. Next I will fiddle with a top thingy to channel the wires (I picture this as a hanging lamp). Don’t think I’ll mess at all with a harp, as it all seems so particular to the kind of bulb one is using.

Lightists, now is when I would *love* if you’d chime in and tell me all the things I’m missing and should consider. I’m just here watching the Miss Gulch clip a few more times :)

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.

Absent, Not Idle

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The Toto2 basket kit stalled when photographing the instructions, and underwent a minor redesign. Necessitating more prototypes and models, etc., as everyone who has ever been involved in bringing a product to market knows. At least I am my own boss and manager, and our production meetings are… relatively honest and supportive of everyone’s efforts.

Then I got distracted with designing some office supply products: a coordinated group of essentials, in different colorways. Here is the first, in gray, orange and yellow, that will eventually have a fashion name like Southwest or Urban Warmth. The kits will consist of a horizontal file holder, a vertical file or magazine holder (not pictured), a cache pot, and a trash bin. Oh, and coordinating file folders. The trash bins would also make stylish planters, given a coat or two of planter-style finishing.

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And then there was this development. One day I came home and noticed a small artifact on the kitchen floor… a tiny thing I knew was a prop from Argo Wool Works, which is next to the Sea House Warming Hut. Supposedly safely ensconced atop a six-foot tall cabinet, protected by a buffer wall of foam core. (Relegated there after the previous degradations on the work table.)

Breached. I knew not yet how. A day or so later, as I was working at the work table, I heard a thunk behind me and looked up to see Scarlett, atop the living roof. She is now agile enough to leap four feet in the air from the adjacent desk to plunder forbidden miniature worlds. And plunder and pillage she has done.

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I documented these first raids, then cleared all the stuff, and her, out. There have been many subsequent scruffings, even though she knows it’s wrong.

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The tiny shelves, once filled with wool products, are decimated. Her hopeful forays have been abated as long as I remember to position my Luxo lamp at an upward angle, blocking the leap from lower desktop to shelf top.

Toto2 Prototype, First Article

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Rounding out +Sundry baskets, here is the final Toto2 basket prototype. There are at least two handle styles possible, and I played with the idea of basket hardware.

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I improved the proportions from the first Toto, and experimented with lid types.

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Here is the first article. It’s Minwax Golden Oak stain and W&N Promarker Marsh Green.

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Tomorrow, light and electricity permitting, I’ll be able to photograph the instructions and shop listings. There’s a big windy storm blowing in, and with the ground already saturated… Everything will be alright.

New Basket Kit, Newsletter, Godzilla

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A-tisket, a-tasket, a new basket kit! Shown here in base white, how many of you will want to make yours green and yellow? This one is open, round, a little shorter than the lidded basket (9/16 x 1¼ inches, 14 x 32 mm) and with a/n optional handle. It works well for knitting, fresh produce or catch-all.

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The kit instructions include an explanatory diagram for the first time! I’m finishing up the photography and bits later; the kit’ll be available over at MMS+S tomorrow, individually and as a 3-pack.

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The February issue of Cut, Fold + Make goes out tonight at midnight, so you still have a few hours to sign up (link in upper right column) for a monthly dosage of creative provocation and exclusive content. Hint: boxen!

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Godzilla wants to show you his new lovey — an iridescent vert comme un lutin (leprechaun) named Verti. The two are inseparable, and it’s heartwarming to see the monster so happy-go-lucky.