An Exaltation of Yuccas

I’m excited to share photos of some incredible yuccas, made by two different miniature artists, both starting from the same kit.*

*Uhh, to clarify: each had her own kit. Two artists, two kits, two locations. Nancy finished first. Not that it was a contest.

yucca_02_nancy_bristow

This is Nancy Bristow’s work. (Nancy has been making miniatures since the 1970s, and it was she who finally identified the Braxton Payne pots I had bought at auction, and pointed me to his obscure website.) She hand-colored the leaves using markers, and I love that she styled them curling out and upward. So pert and jaunty! They’re planted in BP pots she “aged”, and used bird grit as gravel.

yucca_3_nancy_bristow

Here’s a shot of Nancy’s work-in-progress, adding knot holes to the stems. I noticed she chose to curl the leaves first, before attaching to the stem. Brilliant! It is so gratifying — and informative — to see how other makers work with my kits. One can learn so much.

yucca_keli_111917

This is Keli Minick’s interpretation of the yucca tree kit. Look at those colors! I love the graceful trunk, and the stubby branch. Two completely different plants! She suggested using round nose pliers to separate and shape the leaves after attaching — which makes the process much less tedious. And she kindly pointed out a typo in the armature instruction sheet. Argh!

YU01_contents

Here’s what the Broad Leaf Yucca Tree kit looks like to start. This is the green leaf variation; cream and white are also available. (I believe Nancy B started with white leaves; Keli with cream?)

What would you make of it?

Sincere thank-yous and expressions of humbled awe to Nancy and Keli for allowing me to share their work. 

Sea House Pavilion Remodel: Flitting About

front_exterior_111717

I finished planking the Sea House Pavilion front entry remodel — though there are still stain touchups to do. This build is very different in that components will remain modular, to facilitate access and photography, rather than be a single, connected structure.

front_110617

Inside walls are stained eggshell white. The main living area ceiling (the underside of the sleeping loft) is in, made from bead-board paneling. (Here barely seen, as IRL).

front_interior_110617

You can glimpse the original Pavilion roof ceiling, now lifted to accommodate the sleeping loft.

front_interior2_110617

A view of the sleeping loft addition, and a roughed-in kitchen wing and shower stall (fireplace removed.)

loft_floor_111117

After deliberation, I chose varnished cork for the sleeping loft floor, which occupies three bays. Many more decisions remain, especially since I’m thinking ‘nest’ rather than traditional bedroom. Think ‘sleeping in a pile’ (my favorite!) from Where The Wild Things Are. Because post-sea-level-rise living will probably benefit from that.

elf_trolley_111917

I made my first-ever ELF Miniatures order, for this kitchen trolley kit, as well as an under-counter sink and 2-burner stovetop surface for the kitchen wing. I am smitten.

kitchen_3walls_111517.jpg

The kitchen wing occupies two bays, and will have a countertop with sink, prep area and the two-burner electric stove (powered by rooftop solar panels.) There’ll be non-opening cupboards below, and an under-counter refrigerator. Two walls are paneled in horizontal bead-board, to which there will be shelves attached; the third wall is papered in the same vintage San Francisco map as the ceiling. The window is made from this weird thick glass disc, a bag of which I found in the crap/craft store.

hydroponics_planning

Moving on to greenhouse hydroponics. I did a bunch of research to arrive at an aggregate vision of what a system might look like on an off-the-grid tiny home scale. The grow vats are restaurant jam tubs. I made some wonderful Georgie Steeds lettuce and cabbage kits, and from there worked out optimum growing layouts. I fiddled with the vat top layouts, and used the Cricut machine to cut the final patterns.

hydroponics_lettuce_cabbage

I noticed many hydroponic systems had these sort of “grow rings” around the cutouts. They appeal to my graphic sensibility, so I laboriously added them to the system. They can barely be seen beneath the lush growth, but we and the devas know they are there.

hydroponics_rings

To the greenhouse I added rails and slats to support the grow vats. I’m experimenting with wire and shrink tubing to evoke a water and nutrient circulation system. One of the challenges is keeping each of the wings modular, yet connected as a whole. In that the greenhouse and kitchen wings need to connect to the solar panels and water collection systems located on the pavilion roof and aft deck. As do the roof gutters need to funnel rainwater into the cisterns located under the pavilion. And so on.

hydroponics_111717

I leave you with a view of Georgie Steeds’ Nasturtium kit. It’s just barely finished, plonked in a Braxton Payne pot and glop-waxed to the bench. I love nasturtiums; they’re ubiquitous in NorCal gardens. I’d very much like to twine these throughout the greenhouse wing, while also keeping it detachable. We’ll see.

nasturtium_111517

 

Sea House Pavilion Remodel: Front Entry

front_102917

Work has begun on framing in the front entry, using 3/8-inch stock to match the existing structure. I chose a set of Houseworks French doors, installed backwards so they open outward. There will be a 5-inch wide transom window above. The door woodwork is finished in an eggshell white stain, and the two side panels will be reclaimed weathered gray horizontal planking.

front_transom_source

I got curious about the line weights in intricate pattern that I might successfully cut (and remove from the mat) on the Cricut, and got down to 6 points (.083-inch / 2.1 mm). This seems a good scale for the narrow panels of the doors and transom (the greenhouse window leading is 9 points (.125- inch / 3.2 mm).

inside4_102917

The difference in scale between the front doors and the greenhouse windows makes sense (especially now that I know I can cut finer line weights). The interior front wall will be planked in the eggshell white stain, with a matte varnish.

inside5_102917

Now I’m thinking on how the ceiling between the main floor and the sleeping loft will work, and how to finish out the fireplace through to the roof — some tricksy geometries. I ordered a bunch of vegetable kits from Georgie Steeds at The Miniature Garden — my favorite miniature plant kit purveyor — to populate the long shelf in the greenhouse. The interior greenhouse windows are open to the room so the potted trees can reach out.

gh_inside_102917

Also, how is it almost November?!

 

 

 

Sea House Pavilion Remodel: Greenhouse Wing Leaded Glass Windows Complete

greenhouse_102717

The leaded glass windows for the Sea House Pavilion greenhouse wing are completed and installed.

greenhouse_2_102717

Here’s a mildly different view. (It’s late, and my studio lighting is rubbish.) But if you were the caretaker of an historic heritage seaside resort that was abandoned because of sea level rise, wouldn’t you want a place to grow fresh greens and fruit to supplement your subsistence gatherer lifestyle?

I know I would.

gh_all.jpg

And I would want it to be beautiful.

 

Sea House Pavilion Sea Rise Remodel

stormy_100817

Turns out — after a lot of experimentation and test builds and weathering practice and pondering and faffing about — as much as I am captivated by abandoned miniatures, I do not wish to actually build one. I felt a bit sad when I realized this, but also relieved. The pavilion remodel still has sea level rise as a core premise, but now it’s more of a retrofitted, off-the-grid, self-sufficient adaptation that’s been going on for some years. With scavenging and memorabilia. The old skiff, with its faded Sea House emblem, stays. Stormy is just passing through :)

Studio Cat, It Has Begun

studio_cat

I’m going to lead with this pic of Scarlett, lest you think she only haunts my endeavors. Here she is at the control center of Brian’s studio, enjoying the warmth of electronic musical components, and inexplicably enduring loud sounds and buzzing. Purple and contented.

dismantled_081117

Last night, we had freak thunder and lightening storms, which drove all cats inside. I had dismantled the Sea House Pavilion build earlier, in preparation for the remodel. What better way to begin aging and distressing the various parts than to allow wet cats to regain their composures lounging about the structures? The roof cradle was their favorite for grooming (not pictured), and I can only hope a natural, organic weathering effect is underway.

base_091217

I used pliers and my fingers to yank all the cut silk and preserved moss foliage off the base. It was a major effort, and took a couple of goes. The whole build was constructed in three detachable parts: base, pavilion, roof. I also removed the back arched brick wall remains. Not sure if I’ll re-incorporate it into the new structure — sea level rise does take its toll. I remember it was part of the backstory of the Sea House Pavilion, and I do love combining old and new. That sense of place, the evocation of those who came before us, even as we go about our contemporary lives. We’ll see what happens.

 

An Idea Occurs

Some backstory: A long time ago, there was the Sea House Pavilion build. Good times.

SH_Pavilion_side

It surprise-won the Grand Prize in that year’s HBS contest. Then more stuff happened, and once again, we packed up and moved house. This time, up the coast to Pacifica. Time passed, and we got a new kitten. Whereas the older two boy cats had always ignored my work, Scarlett’s relentless depredations of all miniature endeavors, um, challenged my work flow. All the builds had to go live on top of tall bookcases.

image_090417psd

Here is the above-mentioned cat, now slightly less naughty, and a partial view of our north fence line, in the process of being demolished and rebuilt.

backyard

Late this afternoon, I sat outside on the retaining wall, looking at the back of our little blu house. We’ve had some very high temperatures in the San Francisco Bay Area — like, tacky wax melting; all the miniature pictures and signs fell off walls in all the builds. Triple digits F° hot. Today was the first day it was cooler than the face of the sun possible, pleasant even, to be outside.

backyard2

Perhaps it was the temporary expansiveness of a fence-less suburban back yard… but an idea — a solution to something else entirely — occurred to me.

master.jpg

The idea began when I unearthed this lovely corroded Master lock, as I was weeding and tidying up some of the excavations before the fence guys return tomorrow. Kris Compas’s post about how she dilapidates upholstery, read earlier in the day, and the steady stream of Abandoned Miniatures in my FB feed no doubt contributed to my thinkings.

idea01

idea02.jpg

2+2=5 was playing as I wrote :)

So the idea to reimagine the Sea House Pavilion as “a post-sea level rise coastal squat” may be the solution — a transformation — to the problem of housing all these builds. Just keep remodeling them! And I get to do research and problem solving and learn by doing new techniques! My favorite things! There’s still Scarlett to reckon with, of course, but she may turn out to be my assistant disheveler.

Fiesta Yucca

FY01-02_both2Two first-ever specimens of yuccas — finished potted plants, not kits —  will soon be available over at MMS+S. I’ve boldly named them Fiesta Yuccas, a taxonomy unique to nancyland, which means they’re not strictly exact replicas of yuccas one might encounter in this mortal coil. The leaf pattern graduates from a rich medium green to lime to sunflower, tipped in gold and striped with moss. The flat leaf pattern looks like a very appealing mandala. Sure to add light and life to your arrangements.

FY01-1

The taller of the two is slender and graceful, with three branching trunks. Both specimens are potted in Braxton Payne terra cotta cylinder pots. Of course.

FY01-5

FY02-2

The shorter one, potted in a slightly smaller cylinder, has the same three-leaf cluster structure as its taller sibling, and projects a powerful presence. The trunk armatures remain pliable and can be curved or straightened into most any form.

That I have arrived at not one, but two! specimens that tilt my acceptance meter to ‘yes, this is worthwhile’ is a tremendous achievement (she who regularly invites to tea the three-headed monster of perfectionism/paralysis/procrastination).

So that means I get to post a cat picture.

rectangle_082817

Here is our yearling+ Scarlett, sleeping out the very foggy summer on a side deck bench. Every time I walk by she rouses enough to meow some variation of “Mao, wow!”

I smile every time.

 

Treasure Map, Yucca Kit

treasure_map_081317

Maddie drew a treasure map. The iconography is bold and challenging on many levels, not the least of which is her rendering of the letter “R”. Type designers, bow down, maybe even despair a little bit, that you might ever envision an “R” this way. I’ve not yet heard her telling of the map story, only that the thing that looks like a Crusader shield is an “X marks the spot”.

YU01_outside

I’ve listed the first yucca tree kit over at MMS+S. It includes both an armature kit and a leafy clusters kit, with a choice of three base colors: white, manila or green. I plan on making kits of just the leafy clusters available, for those who want to make their own armatures, and eventually just supply packs of leafy clusters sans instructions, for those who get it and want to build more yucca plants. Every build needs at least one good yucca :)

_scene03

So many possibilities! There’s one more versatile yucca houseplant kit in the queue, and after that, it’s on to making specimens. I’ve drawn a different leaf cluster, longer and finer, and am working with a smaller gauge armature, just for the finished trees and plants.

Maddie_Ruby_081417

Here is Maddie, studying the most recent Eric Carle book, and Ruby, being what contented two-month old humans are. Kind of my world right now :)