Ceiling, Standing Stone, Brick Arch, Yipes Stripes, Bench


For the Argo Wool Works showroom ceiling, I glued the two roof sections from the Backyard Bungalow base kit together, and edged with half- by quarter-inch (13 x 6 mm) basswood to extend the overhang. I measured the placement of the beams and walls in dry fit like three or four times, encountering anomalies each time.


Yet another dry fit, this time with the upper window frames in place, and one section of ceiling planks. I’ve decided a 1/16-inch wiggle room is acceptable, especially since the whole ceiling and under eaves will be semigloss white, and any gaps will blend into the painted bricks… or something. I’m using the ever versatile 3/4-inch rustic clapboard siding from miniatures.com to cover the ceiling.

In the lower right of the photo you can see this standing stone feature I’m working on:


It’s two gorgeous crystalline mineral shards that I promptly forgot the name of, found at a very eccentric bead and rock shop here in Pacifica.


The back of the build was to be clad with the yellow and gray siding, but I decided today to have the bricked-in arch from the interior carry through to the outside wall for interest. I might mess with the foundation to suggest remnants of more of the building, too. There’s only just over an inch of space on the base, but I think it’ll be enough :)


Small progress on the Yipes, Stripes rug, at 2.5 x +2.5 inches, it’s a bit more than half finished. It’ll fit well in the showroom. (Stitched on 48-count silk gauze with ten colors of Gütermann silk; making up the design as I stitch :)


And here, lit by the westering sun, is my first bit of tie silk upholstery — nothing too challenging. Our dear BW sent a vintage Daisy House bench kit (so sad they’re no longer in business), and the fabric is a lustrous gray, black and ivory woven dot pattern. Thanks again, BW and Suz and Dave!

Elephant Tea Cozy


Finished the elephant tea cozy from Janet Granger Designs! It is stitched on 32-count silk gauze with Anchor stranded cotton. Bummer side note: Janet’s site was hacked and hijacked and she’s in the process of restoring it; you may not be able get through :(

The differences in the elephant’s blanket shawl were not intentional, nor part of the pattern. By the time I realized I was off, I was disinclined to rip it all out. I can live with an imperfect tea cozy, especially because you only see one side at a time :)


Here it is trimmed, and the two sides hemmed and stitched together. So adorable. I want to make the ginger cat next.


A new load of barewood outdoor furniture was delivered today, so I made tea —green, with fresh mint leaves and ginger — and sat on the unfinished deck to think about color.

Table and chairs from my stash of Bruce Dawson, regrettably retired from miniatures. Ooooh! I just saw that SP Miniatures has some of his cherry pieces. Grab them while you can!  Teapot, cup and saucer are from HBS/miniatures.com.

Couch, Mounds, Stripes, Sea Wall Fail

couch_022816So happy with the results from the first of Kris Compas’s new line of kits, the Lisa Sofa. The micro-check fabric is cut from a thrift store-sourced man’s shirt. I used three strands of DMC floss to make the piping.


This was the couch last night. I thought I was going to use yellow piping — having also considered tomato red, plum, pumpkin and bright olive green — then opted for the charcoal gray. Keeps more options open for pillows and stuff.


The kit comes with unpainted cute fat feet. I used the aubergine acrylic the first set of doors was stained. The feet are not blurry in real life.

I am a bit surprised how well this curvy couch works on the covered porch. I had intended to use a sleek modern couch, upholstered in wool. Alternately, I have an old Houseworks Chippendale sofa kit, the one with the squiggly back. If I can find the right scale silk brocade, or maybe a fantastic Paisley man’s tie… then the wood base and legs could be yellow… The deadline for this build-along project is September 26. I don’t have to decide now :)


I cut slices of styrofoam eggs to build up areas of the ground and glued them to the project board.


I mixed thick glue and Ceramcoat “Trail Tan” and coated the mounds and surrounding area, then sprinkled on a fine sand/tea mixture. Still drying. In addition to farming wool, Argo Wool Works also grows lavender. There will be lots of it, as well as California poppies and succulents. I found this awesome echeveria tutorial from Annie Christensen of We Love Miniatures. Very excited to begin propagating.


Small progress on the Yipes, Stripes Meets Checks rug.


End of day Friday, B left work early and we went down to Sharp Park to watch the waves. We walked out onto the pier, and then along the esplanade. This is where a sink hole opened up in the sea wall a few storms ago. There used to be about eight more feet of walkway there. The sun was setting and there was a blowing mist in the air from the waves. A somber view of the ocean’s power.

Also, viewed together, the Yipes, Stripes rug and this photo have a certain commonality.

Yipes, Stripes; Keystone, Geometry


Work continues on the Yipes, Stripes rug. A new working title has evolved: Stripes Invaded by Checks. It’s a very enjoyable and intuitive process watching it develop. Thus far we have the chaos of irregular stripes organizing themselves into more regular expression, as influenced by the surprise appearance of an upstart checkerboard pattern. I expect I’ll know how it’ll turn out at the end — when the length reaches six inches.

Making steady progress (and regress) on the new build. I finished the interior brickwork, and after a few color assays, decided on a soft white semigloss. There’s like four layers of gesso, some DecoArt Snow-Tex for mortar texture, floor and wall gaps filled with DAP CrackShot, and three layers of acrylic latex enamel paint. That’s authentic, right?


I’ve one more sanding and finish coat to do on the wall cabinet.

I glued in place the three interior walls, back porch wall and supports, and beams.


This is by far the most fiddling I’ve done with a base kit and am encountering many delicious measuring opportunities. The keystone pieces provided with the kit make excellent hide-one’s-crap-joinery structural reinforcing plates. I mentioned earlier how delighted I am with the hardware I ordered from Olde Mountain Miniatures. Here you see her star-shaped anchor plates and some punched paper bolts applied to the keystone.

I also stepped away from the aubergine-stained doors, opting instead to carry through with the gray stain. This leaves me far more options for adding color, and as I intend to use this build as a prop for photographing products, the more neutral the better.


The entire rest of the day was spent figuring out how to build the additional support posts, beams and window casings. I felt like Leonardo da Vinci contemplating Vitruvian Man or something, but I finally worked out the various dimensions (if not the angles; that’s what sandpaper is for). Then it was time to watch the sun set on this warm and mild day with a glass of wine. I’ll sketch out and record my findings tomorrow — many dimensions of strip wood are involved! — and work out how to correct the warp in the kit base board :(

No wait, I mean :) That’s tomorrow.

Adorable Elephant Backside


Here’s one side of Janet Granger’s adorable elephant tea cozy (teacosy). Stitched on 32-count silk gauze with Anchor stranded cotton, it will be 1.5 x 1.125 inches (4 x 3 cm) when finished. If I do (someday) make one on 49-count, at 49 x 36 stitches it would be… like an inch wide by less than that tall. Might be just too much cuteness packed into that small of a space.

And the deadlines, how brightly they burn!

Yipes, Stripes, Stuff


This pattern variation appeared after watching 20,000 Days on Earth, a good, if mildly self-indulgent film chronicling memory, writing and performing — made unbearably, poignantly tragic by the recent death of Mr. Cave’s son, Arthur.

One of my favorite scenes is Warren Ellis’s recounting of Nina Simone’s backstage pre-performance requests. Many thanks to Austin Kleon for pointing us to this worthwhile talkie.

Then the next day I woke up and David Bowie was dead. I am sad.

I made a little yellow table from the stain test. This shot is for Keli.


I don’t often do adorable, but when I do, it’s one of Janet Granger’s tea cozies. I love this design (and the cat one). The only thing that’s sad is that it’s worked on 32-count silk gauze, and there’s more gauze show-through than I’d like to see. I might actually go back and do full cross stitch (rather than tent), or start all over on 49-count with silk. Probably when monkeys fly out of my butt, as Wayne so cheekily observed :)


And since I’m stuck on miniature needlepoint, at least until I start a new build, all you sewists, beaders and book artists should check out Thread Heaven, a quite effective thread conditioner in a wee cobalt blue box that has made my stitching tangle-free. A merciful reprieve. Because science! And, as their site proclaims, it’s non-petroleum-based, and vegan :) ? !


Wait! Everything just changed:


Looks like it should arrive near the end of my current, um, fierce vigorous fiery set of work deadlines, so yay!


Stain Test, Yipes Stripes, Storm


Keenly considering staining the as-yet-undetermined exterior cladding of the 2016 HBS contest build this daffodil yellow from MinWax. Waiting for it to dry so I can sand the test pieces, maybe build a little table. It’s a compelling color, yeah?


Have reached one inch (2.54 cm) in width on the Yipes, Stripes rug! Contemplating adding a red in. As I mentioned previously, variations of the black-and-ivory motif will recur every inch or so.


Back-to-back storms continue to blow through much of Northern California. This day there was a lull in the rains, and the combination of King and high tides + storm surge was pushing in 15-foot waves without cease. Some crested 30 feet, and twenty minutes down the coast there were 50-foot wave faces at Mavericks (!) It was, is, as is said, EPIC.

Cats are getting tired of all the wet, though.

Here’s a slightly different view of the beach (and more of this month’s splash image).


Yipes, Stripes!

First of all, my cat wants to welcome you to 2016.


Second, I needed a project to fill time and quiet my twitchy fingers before the next build. Although I fully intend to get back to the Animals rug, last seen somewhere around here:


It’s been hibernating in an old soft cotton pillowcase for like a year. I love this thing, but stitching it requires a lot of concentration. But as John From Cinncinati suggests, I need to get back in the game. My ideal project right now is something I can fit in between work, and not have to read or follow a chart. While still deriving all the benefits miniature needlepoint stitching brings me.

So I came up with this, sized to fit on the 49-count silk gauze remnant I have on hand. Behold, the beginnings of the Yipes, Stripes rug.


It will be 2.5 x 6 inches (6.35 x 15.25 cm) when done, using Gütermann silk thread. I’m making up the design as I stitch along, although variations of the black and ivory motif will recur. Feels good to be nimbling up my fingers again :)

Sea House Warming Hut: Interior This & That


Working on a wee Gotland sheep using, you guessed it: Gotland fleece and dyed black wool roving. The fleece is from Big Sky Fiber Arts in Montana; check out their wonderful selection of fibers, silk and prefelts. The wee (1.5 inches/38 mm) sheep will be an ambassador for Argo Wool Works :)


It’s overcast, foggy and damp here in Nancyland today and the light is low. I wanted to used vintage photography as wall art in the hut, and have found some good imagery that sets the historical background of the area (real and imagined).


This undated shot from before 1950 shows some of the headlands and other parts of the Sea House Pleasure Pier empire (now demolished).

I found this postcard of an old view south of the Warming Hut


and decided to tint it


but didn’t like how it looked on the wall. I’m showing it here anyway because I like the handwritten greeting from George to Tom.

And of course there will be this map from Cavallini & Company.


It’s the same one that is on the ceiling of the Sea House Pavilion (2013), and the source of the color palette. The green, anyway.


Merrily, merrily, merrily…
and with love to all.