T: Thoughts, Things

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T is for Tobin’s Tunnel. Yesterday, it was clear and sunny. B and I walked out to Mussel Rock at low tide, and came upon the remains of Tobin’s tunnel. It was first blasted out in 1874 so the landowner could enjoy scenic carriage rides along the beach without having to detour around the headlands. Very soon the tides, winter storms, and finally, the 1906 earthquake made other arrangements of the work. This is the only section that remains. (NOTE: The geologic and social history of this area is truly fascinating; I recommend a google dive. The best is Shawn Heiser’s SFSU thesis, Living on the Edge: Environmental History at Mussel Rock, 2010.)

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T is for triptych. The view looking west, over the ocean. That’s Mussel Rock on the right, with the wooden posts sticking up, and old highway riprap, which forms part of the seawall, in the lower right. The San Andreas fault line is directly underneath us.

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T is for trails. The network of trails leading down to the beach — when there is one — are the remains of the old Ocean Shore Railroad (abandoned in 1920), and the Ocean Shore Highway (bypass over the headlands completed in 1957).

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T is for thread. I am eagerly awaiting the San Francisco pattern I ordered from Haptic Labs to hand-stitch a small quilt. Serious goodness in this shop. I’m sure I’ll have much more to say when it arrives.

T is for thought. I can’t say I’m fond of this particular enamel pin, but the copy that accompanies it struck a chord:

“Handmade is as much a path as it is a product, an ethos that creeps into every aspect of life. When we make things for ourselves, we take a singular pleasure and satisfaction from every use, sure of its provenance and intention. The creations of our hands become the warp and weft of our days, until life becomes a tightly woven tapestry inspiring us with purpose and pride.”

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T is for tea. Fermented kombucha in this instance. My daughter gave me a book of recipes and a large Weck jar at my birthday. This is my first batch, brewed with Yorkshire Gold — a two-week-process in my chilly kitchen — bottled for second fermentation. That’s Meyer lemon + ginger in the Weck, and ruby grapefruit in the cute recycled bottles. Yum and Salute!

Funk, ABChallenge, Mudroom

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I’ve been in a bit of a creative funk recently. It feels like Scarlett looks.

(Even though what she’s really signaling here is, “If I don’t make eye contact with you, you can’t see that I’m up here again, biting on the lead blade of the scythe and chewing the potted palms.)

My symptoms of creative funk include seeing everything I do as crap, simultaneous restlessness and fatigue, dropping things on the floor even more than usual, and a sense of dullness.

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In a creative funk, even though many wonderful things continue to occur, like finding surprise! beautiful flowers on the doorstep, like magic… well, actually, unexpected kindness does wonders for boosting spirits.

I know to keep breathing through a funk, not push too hard, to listen. Go for walks. Take naps. Soon, I’ll issue the funk an invitation to tea.

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I decided some arbitrary and not-too-difficult challenge practice might help, so I started ABChallenge: Take or draw a picture representing every letter of the alphabet, in order from A to Z. Nothing stupid like every day, but don’t be lazy. Why not do it with me? Then we’ll have something to talk about.

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I finished the mudroom in the Sea Rise Pavilion remodel, meant to be a shrine for the pieces from Charlene’s Legacy that Keli gifted me us. Here it is the late night of completion, with cruddy lighting.

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As seen from the interior.

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And through the open back door in the fresh light of morning.

Funk slumps happen to us all, I think. What do you do when you find yourself in one?

Greenhouse Lighting, Lineage Legacy, Beauty

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Growing in electrical confidence. I pulled the beautiful 12 volt bulbs out of these fixtures from miniatures.com, and replaced them with 3mm 3 volt LED bulbs.

lighting_01.jpgI drilled holes through the greenhouse framing to accommodate the aluminum tubing. Here are the fixtures upside down, glue drying.

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Right side up, but still wobbly.

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On the outside of the greenhouse I routed the wires down through 3/32-inch shrink tube, and drilled holes back into the interior. I’ll glue the shrink tube conduit to the vertical leading on the outside glass, and re-gather the wires inside to connect to a coin cell battery concealed in an under shelf tub. All in all, an elegant solution to a lighting retrofit? You will please be the judge as I implement the plan :)

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In other goings-on, I received a parcel from Keli, containing — among other things! — an astonishing bestowal of gifts from Charlene’s legacy. I will share in detail in future posts; I am still processing the magnitude of what I was gifted, and am in flat-out awe of the artistry of miniaturists. These things need to be shared.

I flashed on a fever dream/hallucination I had while living on the East Coast, and had contracted Lyme disease and was very ill. In bed, gazing out the window to the woods beyond, I had a vivid vision of all the people of my individual lineage, stretching back through time — all my ancestors — accompanied by a tremendous sense of comfort and rightness. Coupled with that biological heritage review, there was a sense of recognition of others who were of my tribe. Miniaturists are my tribe :)

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This is my older granddaughter Maddie, who will be 5 years old in March. Photo taken by her mum (my daughter) on a family hike with her baby sister and Papa on New Year’s Day. The expression on her face… serious wonder.

Humble Lighting, Cats

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I got my lighting order from Evan Design: replacement chip LEDs for the under shelf, and five 3mm LEDs for the pot lights (3/16-inch brushed aluminum eyelets) in the ceiling. Look at how warm the “warm white” is!

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And gah! Look at what a tangle the backside is. There’s five chip LEDs (the tiny red and green magnet wires) and five 3mm LEDs, wired to two 3V battery holder/switches. I’m posting this in all humility and baby steps learning. I *will* get better at wire stripping and making elegant connections. Because how I love learning new things?! Even though I cringe at being clumsy and awkward doing so.

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Speaking of elegant connections… I went to post this at my main workstation, but found Scarlett snugged in my chair (and absorbing the under desk Dyson heater warmth). Of course I could not disturb her, so I retreated to the couch with my laptop.

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And there was Albie, snugged into a fresh, warm load of laundry waiting to be folded. So now I’m arrayed on the other end of the couch, with laptop, phone, sketchbook, freshly sharpened Blackwing pencil, two reference books, a baggie of lighting components, and a glass of wine, all amid the piles of half-folded laundry. Same as it ever was,

Wrought Iron Sign Salvage

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I wrought Sea House emblems for the landward and sea-facing sides of the pavilion roof. They’re meant to be salvage from the old Sea House Pleasure Pier and Estate. And so they are.

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Sized to fit between the raised seams on the metal roof, I cut seven copies of the emblem from 65 lb. black cardstock and glued them together. After drying under weight, I sanded the edges even, and slightly beveled the top edges. I added fastening “bolts” then lightly stippled and dry brushed some wear and weathering. Not too much. The caretaker is diligent about her conservation duties.

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Then I had to make a smaller version to mount on the fireplace.

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It looks splendid, don’t you agree? (Well, except for the ripply rug. There’s always something.)

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I bashed out the support column in front of the kitchen, and felt much better about the space, even though it still looks like every other ELF kitchen ever made, ever. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) I’ll scrape away the brackets on the floor, patch where the post was, and it’ll be an intentional remodel artifact :) I found the LED pot lights I ordered, then lost, so next step will be the ceiling/roof, and then the exterior siding.

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In the greenhouse, the hydroponics have been relocated to an anchored barge just off the rear utility deck.

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Meanwhile, I got to open an early present, a vintage sign hollow aluminum lowercase n, about 12 tall by 3 inches deep. Feeling the love. Thank you, my B.

Boxen, Handles, Slipcases

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There’s a new set of boxes over at MMS+S, reminiscent of the “dish pack” size, for all your miniature packing needs.

I installed ELF handles set in reversed eyelets on the Sea Rise Pavilion front doors, and then glued the whole panel into the frame. I think I’ve finally worked out which components will be attached together, and which will remain removable. Rethinking having the hydroponics inside the greenhouse; they might get moved to the lower back utility deck. There is still much I don’t know.

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Working on a simple slipcase kit to fit single and triple sketchbooks, in the classic and smaller sizes. Adds a nice finishing touch, and keeps your shelves and bookcases looking tidy. (And yes, that’s an April Wright mug — her pottery is wonderful! The wee bear bowls being used as bookends are feves from Laurel’s ValueARTifacts shop.)

Other stuff in progress and in sketch phase, brimming and swimming with ideas and plans. Focusing now on finishing up work projects for the year, and spending the holidays with family, and taking some time off.

Be good to yourselves, dear imaginary friends!

 

 

 

Pavilion Remodel: Kitchen Progress

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This is the first time I’ve ever made fake “fixed door” cabinets, and I confess I feel like I cheated to achieve a look, and/or once again betrayed my core values for the sake of… <fill_in_the_blank>

However, I really do have a bigger picture for this set/build, so faux kitchen doors and drawers are just fine. I am more than pleased with the ELF sink, tap, handles and two-burner electric stovetop. After futzing with the door/drawer front layout in Illustrator, I cut all the pieces from a single length of eggshell white-stained basswood with pretty grain. I sanded the “opening” edges ever-so-slightly to distinguish, and made templates to drill for the ELF handles. Using pliers to gently make the handles fit helped a lot.

I’m still considering the lighting/windows/shelving/roof design of this module. I know, that’s a lot to still be figuring out at this stage, and welcome to my world. I’m off to Santa Cruz for a few days tomorrow, so I’ll have some good thinking time on my drive to ideate.

Also, the perfect mug and plate on the countertop is from Keli’s friend April Wright, a miniature ceramicist working in 1:12 scale.

Sea House Pavilion Remodel: Flitting About

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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.

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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).

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sea House Pavilion Remodel: Front Entry

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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Also, how is it almost November?!