Been making California poppy and echeveria planters for a little while now.



I first learned how to make echeveria from this wonderful tutorial by Annie Christensen of We Love Miniatures. She uses brushed pastels at the end to tint the leaves. All the succulents in the Argo Wool Works foundation plantings were made using her method.

Lately, I’ve taken to using markers to tint and edge the various shapes punched from cardstock painted with acrylic wash, as seen above.

Also, do you see those footed flat clay planters? They’re from Falcon Miniatures, made in Thailand, and seem no longer available. If any of you know a source, I’d be very stoked :)


This afternoon I was fooling around, searching for some new shapes from the limited punches I have. I covered a bottle brush seed pod with overlapping petal shapes, and set that in a base of cupped leaves. Then I stuffed an emerging flower shape in the apex hole — I really need to look up the correct botanical terms — and… a new, fairly convincing succulent/cactus hybrid variety was born! I’m quite pleased with its appearance and will post a step-by, after I get a manicure :)


This picture of Scarlett nuzzling into Albie expresses my joy. I expect one day to stop posting so very many cat pictures, but she is so stinking cute and delightful…


Back Brick Arch


After tipping the build backside up, and using the same pattern as on the inside wall, I glued on the bricks and sealed them with Mod Podge. I favor these bricks by Andi Mini Brick & Stone because they’re a solid color throughout, well-priced, and easy to cut.


Mortared with a palette knife and gloved fingers, using DAP Crack Shot. This and the following shot were photographed at night by ambient light of my Luxo lamp, hence the color variations.


Gruzz brushed on with gray and deep green powdered pastel.


Finishing out the rest of the farmer style board-and-batten siding. Yay for using up offcuts. Fooling around with preserved reindeer moss, mostly roots and mid-structure  (rather than the rounded top mounds) to give a slightly more lichen-y feel.


The finished-for-now back wall. I added some floor board remnants and foundation elements to the existing structure. After carving out a lot of mortar and rounding all the exposed brick corners, I sea-sponged on a thin white wash of white acrylic, then re-scrubbed individual bricks clean. The siding nailheads are made with a soft-leaded pencil tip rotated in place, then wiped downwards with a fingertip to create stain trails. Convincing!

Now I have to do a bit of research on street names and sign styles of 1906 San Francisco. I’m tempted to use my old address, but have to see if the area was even developed then. (It was in the outer Richmond, near the backside of Sutro Park.) Alternately I could cut a very fine stencil of the Argo Wool Works logo


to paint on the bricked-in arch, which might look something like this:


My final offering is this delightful piece filled with the pure light of truth, by one of my very favorite contemporary writers, Mallory Ortberg of

It’s satisfying to read aloud.




Fairy Incursion, Part 4


I sent the fairies a tea set, table and chairs and a candelabra from HBS/ It’s cheerful, but not really their style.


So I set to making some furniture from beach driftwood. I sanded a thin piece relatively even in thickness and silky smooth on the top. Look at the color of the sawdust! The legs are drift hardwood twigs, about a quarter-inch (7mm) in diameter, with holes drilled for the dowels. I used exterior wood glue and sanded the top smooth again, then applied a few coats of sealer.


It blends into the site much better, and looks like it might be able to walk on its own :) Pull up a champagne cork stool! Clouds are blowing in, and it’s nearly sparkling hour.