V: Vagary

V is for Vagary. Fluctuation, variation, quirk, peculiarity, oddity, eccentricity, unpredictability, caprice, foible, whim, whimsy, fancy.

I can’t think of a better word, or set of synonyms, to describe the new 1:12 scale echeveria kit available now over at MMS+S. There are no fewer than five leaf sizes and shapes that combine to make three sizes of a charming pointy-leaf echeveria. I’ve redesigned the build method, too, to start on a fine paper-wrapped stem wire (included in the kit), which is perfect for armatures (gnarly-armed structures) and general ease of shaping the plants.

Here is a bushel basket of prototypes, using both of the base colors — white or apple green — colored with alcohol-based markers. (If you want true reds and yellows — or blues and purples — order the white stock. If you’re good with more muted tones and want to spend less time coloring, choose the green :)

Possibilities of color combinations are endless (and fun).

This is a versatile kit, and a form to make a succulent wreath is available soon!

Let Scarlett’s tail and rabbit feet, seen here in complete repose, be your inspiration.

I recently re-found this unfinished Henri Rousseau-inspired collage panel, and glued it to the side back of the Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries set.

The MMS+S set is in disarray, like many aspects of my life, but potentially still functional.

Zoom out now, please, to 1:1. The former owners of our house built this charming, funky wave-topped gate (seen here from the back). But, inexplicably, they painted the front of it the same dispirited brown as the rest of the decks, and completely ignored the back. For four years, it has *nagged* at me.

Yay go me. Here it is finished in four shades, by the light of the silvery security beacon.

Albie and I survey the change. You can just see that sad brown deck color peeking out under cat and mat.

This is the old hardware, atop the treacherous birdbath pedestel, for those of you/us interested in these things.

And finally. Keli and I have been challenging ourselves to … not let the bastards drag you down draw a random thing and post it on Instagram, until, for each of us, momentous events transpire. (For me, that’s undergoing replacement surgery of both hips, on 01 October, 2018.) I have chosen Crayola and ink as my drawing medium. We are #messy_k_enge and #curlymuenich, if you care to follow along (+also under our regular names @iseecerulean and @nancy_k_enge). We are expecting phat coffee table art book publishing contracts to swamp our respective agents.

How could they not?

 

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.

Newsletter, Calendar, Party

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There’s a new issue of my newsletter Cut, Fold + Make going out tonight that includes a modern miniature calendar for you to make.

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It’s a quick and simple project.

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You can sign up to receive it with the newsletter link on the right.

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It’s a good  way to keep track of yourself in sequential time.

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And, there’s a party going on to celebrate the new year and new pergola being built at Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries. All the furniture from Sea House Warming Hut has been dragged over, and there’s a beach driftwood fire blazing, as well as festive beverages. Come on by! It’s been too long since we’ve all hung out together.

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PS: Godzilla will be there.

 

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 :(

 

First Listing

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So pleased to announce the first kit is available over at MMS+S. I expect I’ll be making editing tweaks for a while, in between assembling and listing new kits. Potted specimen succulents and sundries coming real soon. Heartfelt thank yous to all who showed interest. Happy making!

Just Kitting

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First article! Well almost. I’m waiting on the brown kraft paper to arrive, and, having just finished re-re-shooting the instruction photos, to get those printed.

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What’s in this kit? There are options for white, cream or sage green stock, as well as for me to color the leaves (US$5 extra; I may live to regret it :) One kit makes seven stems, with extra leaves to practice on. The example is the yellow-edged green variety, but of course you can paint them as you like. There’s a special hashtag to use if you post on socials, so we can all see what people are coming up with.

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Need to finish writing *all* the stuff for the Etsy listings and blahblah. And then let it go live. Gulp.