U: Until

U_until

U is for Until I Can Press Publish Again. It has also been for Unaccomplished: unfinished, unconcluded, undone, ugh. Unpleasant, as in occurrences and diagnoses. Understanding, as in where has my mojo gone? Oh.

fresnel_lens

This is a first order Fresnel lens from the Pigeon Point lighthouse, just south of Pescadero, California.

Maddie_Ren

Here is 5-year-old Maddie Lou, draped in Kylo Ren’s leather cape and light saber, at Lucasfilm in the Presidio.

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Wheelie and I enjoying a sublime egg salad breakfast sandwich, on freshly baked sourdough in Pescadero.

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There is a new kit of pointy-leaf echeverias over at MMS+S. It might be the best ever. Check it out.

 

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).

SF_quilt

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!

S: Smorgasbord

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S is for Smorgasbord. Yes I know I’m stretching it, and being somewhat silly. There was a break between storms, and the ocean at Manor Bluffs looked so pretty. That’s the unstable, crumbling edge of the cliff you see in the lower right, and the beach 60 feet below. (This was also the vantage point for February’s H: Horizon shot.) 

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S is for Slice. In this case, grapefruit. Or pamplemousse in French, which is a superior word. 

S is for Shelley, sharing. I bribed Shelley with some wider (taller?) looms to continue experimenting with her weaving magic. She sent variations on three traditional patterns, bird’s eye, twill and goose eye.

shelley_B_birdseye

shelley_B_twill

shelley_B_gooseeye

Mind blown (again.)

jan_toto2

Jan of morphunkyMiniatures in Edinburgh, UK let me share what she’s doing with the Toto2 basket kits. Love the vintage illustrations on the lids! Be sure to check out her other great luggage, furniture and “eccentricities” — very original and beautifully made.

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S is for Stone. I like rocks, a lot. This one is incomprehensibly old, and it used to be alive O_O. Keli recently surprised me with a package of Michigan goodness, including this specimen of fossilized coral called Petoskey Stone. Well worth reading about! In the sun, the white parts sparkle. Stunning.

S_sign

S is for Sign and a Sign-off Story. This is a large — almost five feet wide — sheet metal sign, “handcrafted by an Amish craftsman known around Lancaster County as Rusty Merv”, that I accidentally got some years ago. Originally ordered as a gift for my daughter, I mildly damaged it slicing open the shipping box with an X-acto. (In my defense, it was very poorly packaged.) So I had a new one shipped to her, and held on to this one. It was a nice brick red color at the start; when I lived in the mid-century house with all wood paneling, I spray painted it this dull moss color.

Right-reading, ‘gather’ has hung in various places in a few different houses, and most recently, perpendicularly in the entry way that opens to our living room. With the nancyland studio re-org, I moved it over the thinking couch (which folds out into a guest bed) and hung it upside down. This makes me smile all the time, I think because I’m an introvert.

R: Realization

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R is for realization. Across from Twin Lakes beach in Santa Cruz, there is a small natural history museum graced with a life size sculpture of a gray whale, installed beneath a grove of native cypress trees. It totally does not meet any safety standards, and has been a beloved part of the community for as long as I can remember. Maddie and I visited today.

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Scaling and traversing the whale is a challenge, even for the brave Maddie. For me, the place is awash with memories — I probably have not been there since her mother was young — but for Maddie it is all new and interesting. The museum itself has stayed up to date, which I am glad to see, and we spent an hour enthusiastically exploring the exhibits. The old neighborhood of beach cottages has gentrified, but the museum grounds are the same, a small city block of mature cypress, eucalyptus, oak and bay trees. Small orange flags mark where native annuals and perennials have been planted. A rain-swollen tiny stream was running full to the beach; ferns and mushrooms in abundance. To be in two places in time, in one place, with an agile, active five-year-old pointing out details is to realize a continuum of experience so transcendent and joyful that there’s really nothing more important than deciding where to go for lunch. (Bagelry, Seabright.)

Q: Quandary

Q_quandry

Q is for quandary. Where to next? How do I get there? The signs are not clear. What to do?

Things have been a bit unsettled in nancyland of late. Not in a bad way, but in a way that hasn’t necessarily been conducive to working on the Sea Rise pavilion project, or the miniature protea kit, or posting … anything. So it goes. (Thank you Kurt Vonnegut, for that all-expressive phrase.)

Slow progress — and regress — on the studio reorg, but the end *is* in sight.

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Got the bookcases installed along the half-wall upstairs, and the reference library culled and organized. There’s happy Scarlett in her old-cashmere-sweater lined new-location fleece bed.

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One of my favorite places on Earth is Harley Farms Goat Dairy in Pescadero, perfectly located halfway between Santa Cruz and Pacifica. On a meandering birthday drive home, we of course stopped there to check in with the mamas and babies. These are some of the very pregnant mamas in the loafing barn, waiting to give birth.

K-2SO_plant

K-2SO is fully functional — with articulated thumbs! — and has begun work at Modern Miniature Succulents + Sundries.

painting_with_maddie

Spent a recent morning painting and drawing with Maddie, who just turned five years old. If you’re looking for artistic inspiration and to question and push your boundaries, I highly recommend the company of a child.

hardware

Or you could just go to the hardware store.

 

 

 

P: Procrastination + Progress

K-2SO_box_01

P is for Procrastination. Of course it is. I *am* making small, steady progress on the studio re-org, and/but my delightful husband brought this home for me, a new Bandai K-2SO kit.

K-2SO_build_01

It’s one of the more soulful characters I find very appealing, and the level of detail in this kit surpasses previous high standards. There are many tiny pieces.

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The articulation in the feet and knees is so lifelike and satisfying. Once completed, I feel certain it will be very at home in the nancyland pantheon ;)

O: Organization Orchestration

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O is for Organization. Lack thereof in these photos, because I am completely reorganizing my studio and office. Moving everything off and out of every cubby, shelf, drawer, bin and pile. Going through everything, purging non-essentials. Beginning to make new piles and groups of like things, so I can see what’s what. Sorting bits and bobs back into their storage boxes. Making sure I maintain a walkway through the chaos.

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O is for Other Side. This is the left side of the room. I’m pulling my reference library out of the two bookcases (partially visible left foreground) and moving them out of the studio into three new bookcases, dusting, sorting and divesting as I lug them upstairs. This frees up lots of shelf space for things used more frequently. (Fortunately, I have a separate space where all the wood cutting and sawdust-generating tools live, a wee shop on the back of the garage. It means a lot of back and forthing, but computers and sawdust don’t do well together.)

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O is for Ongoing, OMG. The disarray is total, the only clear spaces being my main workstation (not very visible behind the bookcases), and the emptying shelves. This is a challenging project, but it will be so good when it’s done :)

N: N

N_00

N is for … N.
I’ve been collecting vintage sign salvaged Ns for some years. My husband is especially accomplished at finding and gifting really good ones.

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Some I admire for their intricately weathered surfaces.

N_01

Some I love for their over-the-top appearance. This one is three feet tall, of heavy wood painted red, and oversees a stairwell.

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Much of the typography is beautiful, like this well-balanced classic uppercase N, of green metal.

N_04

This is the newest one, a hollow aluminum lowercase n, about 12 tall by 3 inches deep, an early Christmas present (of course) from my delightful husband.

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N is also for Napoleon, my stoic and dingy old man cat, who is growing very boney. It makes me so happy to see him comfortably napping in the early morning sun.

dawn_021418

This was the remarkably pastel dawn over the ocean that morning. There’s the horizon obscured with a far-off fog wall, as often happens, but the colors — especially the lilac and rose — were extraordinary.

 

M: Mandala, Map + Other Baskets, ShelleyB Weavings, Mystery

M_mandala

M is for mandala.
I love this shade of green outlined in white tracery, punctuated with thorns. And that a blue jay tucked an acorn inside. Good cache, jay!

VM_basket _01

M could be for maps woven into baskets.
I’ve been fooling around with taller/wider looms. This one is woven from a vintage map print of Berlin. Really liking the subtle colors and patterns.

VM_basket_00

Another view straight on, where the cream colored paper core catches the light less.

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M is for mind-boggling.
ShelleyB has continued to experiment with her fantastical weaving patterns as well.

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More of her madness carefully plotted charts. Love the houndstooth!

black_and_whites

(I’m also working on a set of black and white storage baskets for the pavilion remodel, using black looms and plain old white weavers. And a jaunty circle-dot lining :)

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M is always for mystery.
Another of the Rockaway Beach abandoned dollhouses. Who or what is behind that open door?

 

 

L: Left Behind

L_leftbehind

L is for left behind.
I felt a brief, but distinct, sensation of being left behind, as my newly-mobile seven-month-old granddaughter paused to look back at me as she crawled off into another room.