RIP Starla Argo v1


I came home to find this grisly modification to Starla Argo, whom I had thought was safely ensconced in the Sea House Warming Hut, up on a high shelf. Here’s the weird part: nothing else was disturbed.


And there’s a lot of random stuff on the stairs and deck.


When I asked Scarlett if she knew anything about this, she sniffed Starla a few times, then galloped off down the hallway.


I found her lounging in the kitchen sink. Her head was bobbing rapidly in that cat way of gathering as many perspectives as quickly as possible to assess if I was going to use my big voice again, which is why her face is a bit blurred.

It’s OK. Starla v1 was a learning prototype, and I had notes on changes to my technique and her design. But I am going to invest in some of those upright square plastic boxes I’ve seen stop motion animators use to store their models for v2 and subsequent characters.

Starla Argo


Introducing Starla Argo, a seven-point celestial, who lives in the semi-autobiographical North Coast community all my builds inhabit.


This is a first prototype and is not fully felted or finessed. I’m happy with the proportions, but want to try out some different construction techniques for the star rays, as well as highlight colors.

I also just learned about Paverpol Craft Medium, a liquid textile hardener that seems perfect for preserving details. I want to read a bit more about it, and then check it out!


The “tin” sign above the cubbies is this old yarn label I found at the Graphics Fairy, then tinted with watercolor and glued to a flattened wine lead foil.


The pair of porcelain sheep figurines on the back wall bookcases are feves from ValueArtifacts. For which I credit and blame our dear reader Barbara W for my growing obsession. If you’ve not visited the shop, there are some treasures to be had. The tiny fish pitcher on the table is from there, as well as the sleek white and black mid-century cat duo in the front left corner.

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.




Sea House Warming Hut: Couch


I extrapolated Jane Harrop’s chair design into a sofa that would totally not work in real life, and that’s why I love miniature building.


And then I stained it. You more northern and East Coast people will laugh at me, but it’s been chilly here (in the 50s F (10 C) and my wood shop is in an unheated shed. So I suffered a little bit. Also, everything I seem to need now is out there, or vice versa.

I persevered.


I used Thermolam Plus for the upholstery batting because that’s what Kris Compas uses. The fabric is this gorgeous wool that I cut and washed so it fluffed up in a very cozy way.


Binder clips are the miniature upholsterer’s friend, especially with a fat wooly fabric.


Upholstery nearing completion, with my signature glue pattern :)


And the finished couch, minus bolsters and losing the light.


Sea House Warming Hut: Argo Wool Works

This morning, nearby farm Argo Wool Works started delivering their line of pillows, blankets, felted toys, roving and yarn for the winter fair. This season they’re featuring woolens from both their Gotland sheep and Angora goats. Both flocks pasture on the headlands south of the Sea House Warming Hut, and lambs and kids are frequent springtime visitors. Stop by to see — and feel — their incredibly soft-and-sturdy offerings!

Gnome Retrofitting


I know. Still both busy and distracted, but able to work on these guys inbetween and on breaks. You can see I got some Mohair fleece wool. It’s like the softest thing I’ve ever touched ever. Also mustache wax for the dandy gnomes. And still learning lots, which makes me happy.

Part of my distraction is that I’m finally building out the little lean-to shed on the back of our garage to use as a wood shop. We had been using it for general storage, so my studio is now a shambles of unsorted boxes, disused music gear (his) and bins and tubs full of materials and supplies (mine) that all must find new places to be.

And this is just one side of the room. It is… unwholesome, and overwhelming, and not conducive to getting stuff done.

My granddaughter is sick today, so I’ve been sending pix of the gnomes to cheer her up.

The tall one with mo’hair is about to sit down and have a sunshine smoothie. Did you know gnomes live on smoothies?



I think this one needs ears too, but more sticky-outy ones. It is very proud of its mustachios.

Also I have learned the difference between combed wool roving and clumpy wool batting. And I want my own curly wooled sheep.

Gnelf? Elfome?

Finished Other003 between work tasks. And by “finished” I mean “This is what Done1.0 looks like. I don’t want to be the crazy gnome/gnoelf/gnelf/elfome lady.” Lessons continue to be learned.

Of course, there will be others. I want some of that curly wool for beards :)


Some of us are serial monagamists, sometimes some of us eat cereal and beer for dinner, and more than a few things have serial numbers as well as serial ports. I am a serial artist. Or as Emilie Wapnick terms it, a “multipotentialite”. I suspect most miniaturists are.

At the 1975 GRAMMY Awards, when the impossibly fabulous David Bowie addressed the audience, “Ladies and gentlemen… and others…” something zigged and integrated in my awareness about all the way things could be. I remembered his words when I recently came across Jessica Peill-Meininghaus’ The Gnome Project, an engaging book chronicling “one woman’s wild and woolly adventure” making a needle felted gnome every day, for a year.

For a year!?…

Of course I had to see what this was about. I had a bunch of wool roving, chenille stems and felting needles on hand from other (abandoned) attempts — I wasn’t instantly as good as Victor Dubrovsky, for instance — and Jessica’s gnomes looked doable-enough.

I learned a lot from making the first one, dubbed Gnome001. Like needle felting is very, very repetitive and stabby.

And even more on the second one, Gnome002. Needle felting can be very, very painful, stabby sharp and barbed. And as Keli added: bleedy.

These two took me what seems like a disproportionally looong time to make over the course of two days. How a woman with four children at home made one gnome every day for a year is beyond me.

Last night, because of Hallowe’en champagne, they got braids :)

I have a Scandinavian tomten and nisse heritage, plus my elemental preference is more elven :) so I want to make these guys more my own “other”. Thinner, with ears, and boots.

Here’s the beginnings of GnomeOther003. Wish me inspiration, patience, an accelerated learning curve, and financially appropriate amounts of time?

Also: This year’s raccoons are total hooligans!