Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well, here it is again. Didn't this just happen? I tend to find New Years rather depressing, but not as bad as my birthday or Valentine's Day. I've never had a particularly exciting New Years Eve, and this year certainly does not break tradition. I'm not much of a partygoer anyway (with the exception of poultry show parties of course!) and this is one of those nights where it sucks more than normal to be single. So, I may as well stay home and get some work done.

But for a glimpse into my super glamorous life, here's how I spent New Years Eve:
got up late
fed horses, checked birds, etc.
business stuff, emails, paperwork
worked on cleaning studio
finished cleaning studio/front room
cleaned guest room
put out tables, chairs, tablecloths, candles, etc for tomorrow's brunch
washed 7 roosters (I have two shows coming up, in two weekends)
did some research about microscopes
watched a bit of the news
sprayed all the birds for mites
did laundry
cleaned bathroom
vacuumed kitchen
watched "The Empire Strikes Back"
will I make it to midnight? Hmm, does it matter?

So, 2008... This year has to bring changes. I am so tired of being broke. I compare myself to where my friends are now in their lives and I feel like the biggest loser on the planet. It's ridiculous, and I don't know how long that poor old car is going to keep going....

I think the new year will see even more of a shift away from "fine art" toward scrimshaw. If there's a future for me in art I think that's where it's at. And I hate that I just said "if." There HAS to be, gosh darn it! I am getting SO much positive feedback and reviews on the scrimshaw, and it's pretty cool that so many people have written and told me I've inspired them to try it, but I really need to inspire some more people to buy it! ;-) Anyway, it's not like I'm going to stop drawing or painting, and of course I'm still taking commissions, but much of time I'm pretty fed up with the fine art scene. I honestly don't know what to do about all that licensing stuff, and as much as I am leery of doing this, it may actually be time to consider an agent. There IS a market for the artwork, I just don't have the knowledge or connections to go out and find it. I really envy artists who have someone to help them.

I want to buy a microscope as soon as possible. As much as I am grateful to be able to use the one next door, it is not an ideal setup and I could put in so many more hours if I was able to work here, since then I could also work after dark (a large chunk of the day this time of year!). I was going to try to save up for a new one but I just don't feel like I can justify spending that much. Used ones pop up on ebay from time to time and if I can spend half the amount and still get a good scope, I'm totally cool with that. Even if it means not getting the "perfect scope" right now, but more of a starter setup just to get me going and maybe resell in a few years. It's going to be expensive either way though. If ever anyone was inclined to buy something right now would be an excellent time. Tell me what you want, make me an offer... :-)

I am still thinking I may cut back on birds... a lot. I'd still be willing to sell the whole flock of Brassies and Blue Brassies but I'm not sure the right person is out there to take them. Mostly I think what I need to do is just really cull hard and get rid of anything that isn't darn near perfect. That might weed out another 1/3 of the flock, or maybe more, I dunno. That's a tricky thing though because my "reject" birds are sometimes a lot better than what other people are selling as show or breeding stock, and yet I don't feel right selling them as such. What to do! I guess I just need to sort through them all and take inventory of what I even have.

I need to ride more, or even just spend more time with the horses.

So wish me luck, cross your fingers, tell your friends to buy stuff, whatever it takes...

Here's hoping 2008 brings us all what we are looking for. :-)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Scrimshaw Necklace Pendant: Moose

I made this for my mom for Christmas, she's a big fan of mooses. I deliberately chose to depict a moose without the huge antlers because I couldn't figure out how to fit one of the big dudes on these vertically oriented pendants!

Scrimshaw on pre-ban elephant ivory cabochon. Mount, bail, and chain are sterling silver.

Scrimshaw Necklace Pendant: Gypsy Horse

This is a scrimshaw necklace pendant on pre-ban elephant ivory, it's a portrait of JC's colt "Aragorn" and was a commissioned gift from DC. :-) The mount and bail are sterling silver, the cord is 18" black leather. Hmm, you could get a custom pendant featuring your critter too! ;-)

Acrylic Painting: Three Corgi Dogs

"Dash, Pudge, and Belle" (Welsh Corgis)
15x30 inches
acrylic on canvas
sold, commission (this was commissioned as a Christmas gift)

Friday, December 28, 2007

the weary traveler returns

I'm back from the annual pilgrimage to my homeland (San Diego). Left here the morning of the 25th, got back late this afternoon. Guess who did all 990 miles (round trip) of So sleepy!

I had a good Christmas although it seemed more rushed and stressful this year. It was kind of weird down in San Diego, so many times I kept thinking about what Grammie would be doing if she was there.... sitting with us in the living room in the evening, watching television with Pop, bossing everyone around in the kitchen.. We all really missed her. Several of my cousins were unable to be there this year so the crowd seemed small, but chaotic nonetheless. ;-)

Mom and I went to the Zoo yesterday. It's so crowded this time of year! Ugh. I always enjoy going there though. It's SO different than how it was when I was a kid. Does anyone else remember the spider monkeys that were right by the exit? I miss the junglefowl too.

Here are a few pics from the zoo:

It cracked me up to hear some lady standing next to me describe these to her kids as "Bacterian Camels." LOL!

Egrets and a heron perched atop the bird of prey aviaries...random. Oh how I would love to have those aviaries, I'd fill them with chickens! ;-)

Awwwww!!!! :-)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas everybody!

It just wouldn't be right if I didn't put up silly pics of animals in hats, so here they are!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

letting the Kat out of the bag

Okay, I can't not-talk-about-this any longer. It's not a secret, because some people already know (I think there are about 25, give or take). I've really debated if I wanted the *whole world* to know, but gosh darn it this is just too exciting. I have to talk about it.

It all started a little over a year ago. My friend CS asked me if I'd like to get involved in learning this thing. And my first thought was "omg NO, seriously, me? Really? Is she insane? I can't do that!" But I thought about it more, and figured well heck, it might be good for me, and it might be FUN. So yeah, sure, why not!

So she and I and a few other people would get together every week or two and learn some stuff and practice and it really was fun. And addicting. And thought-consuming, and time-consuming. Things to practice, stuff to make! We showed our skills to a select group of friends last January and people seemed to get a kick out it, which fanned the fire even more, although unfortunately it was hard to get together as much as we wanted.

Last March she and I went to a HUGE festival that featured this thing. Wow, that was awesome, and inspirational.

So in April I talked another friend (I am not sure if she wants to be anonymous or not so I'll just call her "A") into joining this adventure, and we ("A" and I) started taking lessons. Oooh, loved it. Great group, great teacher, totally hooked. Six months of beginner class and then we moved up to intermediate... Two and a half months there and we were in our first performance Wednesday night!!!

Are you confused yet? What the heck am I talking about?

*ahem* Drum roll please....


I am a bellydancer.

If you fell off your chair please pick yourself up. If you don't believe me, believe me. That's the truth. I drooled over the talent and costumes at Rakkasah West in March (when I stayed with my cousin in the bay area), started formal lessons in April, and performed at a banquet in Stockton Wednesday night. That definitely contributed to recently being really busy, as there was a lot to practice and I did quite a bit of work helping A assemble and sew a costume. I totally love it! It's fun, and I absolutely love the group of people. I totally adore the costuming, that's one of my favorite parts, I really like sewing stuff and making stuff and dyeing veils and I *really* like getting all dressed up! Whee! I think there's some appeal in it being something that really surprises the heck out of people too. ;-)

I'm not yet a member of the troupe but am like an apprentice, part of the student troupe. A and I were invited to take part in the performance (at a medical society banquet) on Wednesday, which was really awesome. I was nervous but excited. I made a few mistakes but nothing really major, probably nobody even noticed, and the other ladies said we were great, so yay!

But here's the really super duper exciting news. Thursday night in class we were invited to take part in the Rakkasah festival in Vallejo in March of 2008!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!! This is *the* festival, this is a really big deal, I am really quite shocked that I am going to be part of it. That's soooo exciting!!! My teacher has more faith in me than I do!

Looks like there will be one or two performances in January, so I'll probably be talking about those as they get closer. It's been *really* hard not talking about this for so long! But on the other hand it was also kind of fun to keep the secret, and it's still going to take me a few minutes to actually hit the "publish" button on this thing.

I know you want pics! I mostly have pics with other people and I don't think I should post those without permission, so I'm just going to put up one that A took here on Wednesday night. It came out all blurry and weird so I photoshopped it and made it arty, but you get the idea. Fun outfit, funky pose. ;-)

So, my very non-commenty bunch of readers, if this doesn't get you talking then nothing will!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I think I'm ready

Wow, I think I'm actually ready for Christmas. I finished making gifts yesterday, and wrapped them all today. I finished baking cookies this morning. No more art til early January, but expect pics of the recent projects in about a week. I have a ton of work to do around the house tomorrow, and I must remember to get my entries in for some upcoming poultry shows! It won't be much of a show string. *sigh*

It's been cold, which much of the rest of the country will laugh at, because by "cold" I mean it's been getting into the 20s at night. Brrrr. (it doesn't even snow here). The horses are so fuzzy! I need to post some pics of them. I'll have to chip the mud off first... Time to put rice hulls in the chicken coops to combat the muddy conditions.

If you haven't poked around my store for a while, I have most of my for-sale items on line now. Still a few to add but most of it's there now.

Not the most exciting blog post, I know. Just wait... ;-)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

progress and dilemma

Two down, one to go! Well, I still need to varnish the painting tomorrow but it's essentially done. I'll be delivering it on Thursday afternoon. Cross your fingers and toes that the client likes it! Paintings make me nervous because they aren't an exact likeness (like graphite or colored pencil) so I still worry about the reaction

I need to spend a lot of time at the microscope in the next few days and then I'll be set for Christmas.

I am still in a dilemma about that group, the one I've mentioned a few times with "the issues." I was re-elected as an officer, much to my surprise. I am not sure what to do though. I think "my" side is the minority among the officers. On one hand I feel I should stay and fight on and help my comrades and try to keep the club on the right track. On the other hand I feel like the battle is already lost, I know I'm going to have a hard time working with some of the other officers, and I disagree with a lot of the decisions that have been made and don't care to be associated with them. I don't want other people looking at this group and thinking "that was stupid/rude/insensitive/dishonest, why is Katherine in on that?" when in fact I'm not! I've been asking around seeing what other people are doing and getting mixed answers, and some people are waiting on me so they can decide what to do! Pressure! Ugh!

Monday, December 17, 2007

now don't get huffy

It's funny, if I don't blog for a few days (or almost a week) I hear about it! Nice to know someone out there is paying attention I guess. ;-) I've been busy. Busy with art that can't go on here yet, and busy with something I've never blogged about but I'm thinking I might.. Mm, say what?

So last week was pretty much workworkwork. Saturday morning I went with friends AC and TC to look at a puppy. A family friend's dog had an "oops" litter. Well it worked out perfectly, they loved one of the pups and the timing was right for them and I'm super excited that it all worked out. Cute little buggers but boy I don't think I would want one! I like them older, and mellower. :-)

Sunday morning I met BM and she drove us up north to JC and DC's for our annual Christmas get-together. Wow, that was just yesterday?! This is nuts. It was a fun, if whirlwind, visit. Nice to see everyone. Got back home this afternoon, had a bit of caffeine, went and cut down a Christmas tree, was out and about all evening, and now it's late and I need to work on a painting that I want to FINISH tomorrow. I still have a way to go but I think I can pull it off. I am good under pressure. It's to be done by Christmas. My client seems to be getting ancy. Have faith! So I have that and another Christmas thing to do this week, plus about a zillion and a half other things.

What can I say, it's the Holidaze!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

this and that

One down, two to go, on the gotta-get-done-by Christmas stuff. I'll post it after the 25th. :-)

It was a busy weekend. Cleaned the barn, including *finally* putting up bridle brackets in the tack room. I've only been here ten years, and had the brackets sitting in a bag for at least a year. They're up, it looks great. No more bridles on nails! This should inspire me to get out and ride. Actually, it's not for lack of inspiration that I barely see my horses lately, it's just lack of time. Get up, make art all day, it gets dark, make more art, go to bed...

Anyway, other than that I helped Mom with making caramels, did a bit of sewing on a fun little project, and watched two movies. I thought Children of Men was horrible. Charlotte's Web made me cry.

It's been chilly at night and we had I think two days of rain, but it's been quite dry. That's not good.

Eddie is doing pretty good. For all I know he could last another year. His breathing requires more effort than that of a healthy chicken. But he crows... I put him out in the yard during the days but I think he prefers to be indoors, he paces the cage outside. Here's a pic I took today. His crop is hugely full and sticking out funny. Almost 12 years old!

Friday, December 07, 2007

crack that whip!

Woo yeah, busy! I have three projects underway, unfortunately none of which can be posted on line as WIPs because I can't risk any of the recipients accidentally seeing them. Have to get them done in time to be shipped/delivered by Christmas.... :-) That's pretty much the extent of my life right now.

I have a rooster living in the house. That might make me weird, but that's okay. It's Eddie, the almost 12 year old BBRed Rosecomb, the great (many times over) granddaddy of my ENTIRE flock of BBReds. He's special, to put it mildly. But he's also older than dirt and not in great health. He's not sick, just old, and I really don't know how long he will last. He's certainly not on death's doorstep, but I think the cold weather really takes it out of him. He's spent some time indoors every year around this time when the weather changes. I can put him outside on nice days but I always bring him in at night now. Good ole Eddie has earned his right to be spoiled in the winter of his life.

Nothing else to report.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dragon Scrimshaw Necklace Pendant

Woo hoo, done! (Finished yesterday but the necklace parts arrived today).

multicolor scrimshaw on vintage pre-ban elephant ivory
sterling silver bail and sterling silver 2mm 18 inch wheat chain
this piece has a nice heavy feel, it hangs very well and won't shift around on the chain
It's 1-1/8 by 1-5/8 inches at its widest points, and 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (it tapers). Front is flat, back is the outer part of tusk so it's curved, stained, scratched, but polished smooth. Very cool piece!
for sale, please email if interested (will post price and info on scrimshaw website soon)
cannot ship outside USA!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

December, already?

Oh gosh, I'm not ready for it to be this late in the year! Yikes, there is much to do.

It was a busy weekend. Saturday morning I sorted through all the young birds again. Wow, not too impressive. There are 11 pullets in the show string, and I don't know yet how many cockerels, but not many. Still waiting on sickle feathers, and possibly a lost cause. What is it with that??? If these guys don't feather out properly then I have almost nothing to sell. *sigh* I think it's time to outcross the Black Rosecombs. Hatch rates have been inching down over the years, and the number of good birds seems to be decreasing. Counting the out-of-condition birds I am keeping as breeding stock (not for show) there are only maybe 6 keepers out what I hatched this season. That's pretty bad. It's been ten years since the last outcross, maybe it's time.

I am down to only 75 birds right now but I want to cut that back even more. I still am too lenient with putting up with faults in some of the varieties but let's face it they will never progress if I don't cull out the problems. It's tough though, like in the BBRed females I feel like I have to use anything that has a good head and decent type and halfway decent color. But, that means for years I bred from females with heavily stippled main tails and loads of shafting. Is it any wonder now that most of the males end up with red in the main tail?? If they are supposed to improve from year to year, why I am still using birds that are more than a few years old in the breeding pens? Time to go through them and see what I would have left if it thinned it down to only what really fits the Standard. I know, it means I can't possibly hatch enough to make everyone happy. But I haven't been able to do that for a long time anyway since shipping became such a pain in the butt.

There was a show this weekend that I did not attend, but it was 400 miles south and I had zero interest in doing another big trip right now. There are four shows I hope to attend in January and February. We'll see.

I need to decide pretty soon if I am going to take my art booth to the PPBA show in early January. Pros: potentially make a little money, been doing it for years and people expect it, ego boosting, commissions?, guaranteed place to sit down during the day (that's scarce at a show). Cons: a LOT of work, reduces my enjoyment of the show because it's such a busy weekend that way, takes a lot of prep time (PLUS getting birds ready), a LOT of work. Hmmm.

Today was the meeting for the group that I've sort of mentioned a bit, the one with the "issues." It didn't exactly satisfy. It was decided that there needs to be a separate meeting just to discuss these issues and get it ALL out in the open in a neutral environment. In a way it would have been nice to just hash it out right then and there, but at the same time it really wasn't the time or the place to get into it. I didn't say a word other than to present my committee report, but seeing as how I'm the only one on my committee, that particular aspect runs quite smoothly and has no problems. ;-) So, we'll see. Time will determine the course of action.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

November 29 work in progress

Okeedoke, I finished re-emphasizing some of the black lines. Much improved, but I'd like to not have to do that again! Once I have color on there I don't like putting black ink on it again... (I'm still working on that lion, wait til you see that, it's not "correctly" done but it's sort of interesting). So... one more color to go on this dragon...another day or two I'm guessing.

To everyone who ordered Christmas cards: First off, thank you! Secondly, they should ship by Wednesday of next week, if not sooner. I'll have a few sets extra if anyone forgot how much they desperately want to order some before the deadline. ;-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

November 28 work in progress

Good news. It wasn't that expensive to get my car fixed. It got a new serpentine belt and a new pulley (lol, I wrote pullet, sorry inside joke for chicken people). My eternal gratitude goes to the Wilton Garage. :-) So that's a load off, I was afraid that was really the end of the road for the old car. *whew* Of course I do realize it DOES have problems but as long as I don't do any huge road trips I feel pretty okay about it.

I finished the red parts. I'm still learning this... I had applied a layer of wax when I finished the black took a lot of the black off (I thought people were crazy when they told me they are doing multicolor images with no wax barrier, but I see now why it has to be that way). Sooo, now I am going back in with black and *carefully* re-scrimming and re-inking some areas. After I do that I'll do one more color (yellow ochre). This is taking hugely long, it may be more of a show piece than anything else, since of course the price will reflect the time that's etched into its surface!

Back work on this one (JC, yeah, it looks the same as last time you saw it pretty much). You'll see changes starting now though. I have to photograph this one in the morning instead of late at night like usual!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

November 27 work in progress

So in other news... the car is making noise again. Arg! I had my neighbor take a look at it this evening, since he's a car whiz. He put belt dressing the belt and that stopped the squeak and he says the belt looks like it's in good shape. BUT, there's still this awful noise going on, and it's something related to the belt, a pulley or bearing or something. Crap-o. I know this car is on its last legs, so to speak, but I need it to hang on a little longer. It's going to the mechanic tomorrow morning so I can get a diagnosis and an estimate on how many of my limbs I'll have to cut off to pay for it. Waahhh. :-(

Between that and the other crap that's going on with the club politics I'm sort of on the verge of a meltdown. I need a hug. :-(

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I stewed for a while, and decided to finally express my opinions to the group.. the group about which I really can't say much. So I wrote a long email, a long pissed off email, but one on which I spent a lot of time and gave a lot of thought and spent a half an hour staring at before I finally had the nerve to hit the send button, and couldn't find any other way to say it. And I said how I feel, I said I am disgusted with how that group is being run and that I don't care who I piss off with what I have written. I don't care. What do I have to lose? Nothing. What can they do, kick me out? Do it, I'm already on the verge of resigning. I know there are people who share my thoughts and frustrations, and I hope they back me up. I know there are people who are mad at me right now (and in fact I already received a fairly rude reply from one of them) and I suspect someone will look for a way to smear me. People I used to be friends with are no longer friends. I hate that it came to this. Somebody had to say it, so I did.

"May the force be with you."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day everyone! In keeping with tradition, here is my first poultry art ever! In case you can't tell, I was rather young at the time. ;-) I hope you've had a good day and a belly full of good food. I actually had a pretty lazy day today, which was nice! And a wonderful dinner at the home of family friends.

I'm trying to start back in working on a horse portrait I started about a month ago, and dang it's hard to dive back in to something that I haven't touched for that long. Don't worry, I'll get it right, but it definitely reminds me why I don't like to stop part way through something.

Anyone wanting art or scrimshaw for Christmas, please get those orders in ASAP if not sooner. Hmm, looking at calendar, actually I'm not sure I can squeeze in more art, but there's a bit of room for scrimshaw.

I've started looking at microscopes. I *really* want to get my own, and I'm definitely serious about doing scrimshaw long term in a big way, so at some point I will get my own, it just as always comes down to money. But I picked out what I would get... And then of course I'd need a table of some sort. I found a really nice compact corner desk that would be fabtastic but I'm not sure it would support the weight of a 40lb scope, so I'd have to go see it in store and find out. This is all still a ways off, but the more I do this the more I am aware of how much easier it would be with my own setup and how I could put in a lot more hours, particularly after dark. I did bring a heater next door to use in the shop when I'm in there and that helps a lot (it's been so cold in there the lenses fog up all the time). Of course as it gets colder and rainier it'll be less enjoyable to trudge over there and I'll be longing to spend my day in my own studio in flannel pants and slippers. :-)

Oh my car stopped squeaking. For now anyway. I put some stuff on the belt and it stopped the squeak, but I guess if it gets wet it'll do it again, so I really ought to keep that stuff with me in the car. Mind you I have had a mechanic take a look at it, and he did not feel the belt needed to be replaced. *sigh* It's always something.

There's some stuff I really want to rant about, but I can't get into it. Have you ever been a part of a group for a long time and then over time you get to see more and more of the politics and crappy back-handed stuff that goes on and you realize you aren't sure you want to be a part of it anymore because you cannot see eye to eye with these people and you aren't sure you want to be a part of a group that operates like this, and yet if you resign you feel like you're just caving in and allowing the things you don't agree with to go ahead and happen? It sucks. A rock and a hard place, and it's so incredibly stupid.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

November 21 work in progress

I finished the black parts of the dragon today. So now I need to let the black ink dry over the weekend before I start in with color. (cross your fingers!)

November 20 work in progress

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas Cards!!!!!!!!! Hurry LIMITED TIME OFFER!!!!!!

DEADLINE EXTENDED!!! All orders and payment must be received by 5pm Monday November 26th. Come on now, you know you want these cards! :-)

Click here for more info!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

a different sort of show

Okay, I have now seen way too much of the south-of-Sacto stretch of hwy 99 too. No more traveling south for a while. In fact, I'd really just like to not travel anywhere for a while. Which is convenient, since the marathon of weekends away is finally over... at least for a few weeks. ;-)

I left Friday afternoon and headed down to Selma, where I stayed with my "chicken friends" JR and LR. They probably don't read this, but big THANK YOU anyway. That was loads of fun, and sure beak the heck out of staying a motel in a strange town full of nobody that I know. I left there early this morning (geez, that seems like yesterday) and drove down to Visalia for a game fowl convention (oh, and my car stayed outside overnight, and got wet again, and my stupid serpentine belt WON'T STOP SQUEAKING, yes this worries me, more than the transmission in fact, I'm going to put some squeak-stop stuff on it but if that doesn't solve the problem it's going to need a new belt, ugh ugh crapfurters, I love that car when it's running right but those times are getting to be fewer and and farther between and it's eating money and I can't afford a new one or even a crappy old one and waaaahhhhhh).

Anyway, onward with the story, game fowl, Visalia... I set up a little bit of art stuff (two originals, some prints and cards, the portfolio, no booth, just on a table, sorry I have no photos). I knew two people there early in the day but they left before lunch, so for most of the day I knew absolutely nobody. I had talked to two people on the phone but this was the first time I'd met them in person. I did meet lots of interesting people, seemed like a nice crowd except for the guy who walked off with my pen while I was talking to someone, just picked it up off the table and pocketed it, um hello!? (yeah right like I was going to say anything, it was just a cheap freebie pen anyway, I'll just fume about it). Very different group than the usual chicken functions that I attend. Note to self, next time bring a friend, I felt very alone. There were a lot of people there, several hundred I would say.

I sold enough to cover expenses plus a little, so in other words not a whole lot. A bunch of people took fliers or business cards and asked about custom work, so as always "we'll see." I don't know if I would do it again. If there's any significant follow up then maybe, but otherwise probably only if I knew other people who would be there, I really didn't like being there all alone. I travel alone all the time and that's fine, but I normally know people when I get to wherever I'm going (plus I noticed that people came over and looked at my stuff more when I was talking to someone else who was looking at my stuff, particularly if that someone else was well known... hmm, must befriend someone well known)...

It feels like Sunday. It felt weird not to have birds in the car. You know what I've eaten today? Pancakes and bacon for breakfast, a chocolate muffin and a coke for lunch at the show (it was either that or chili and I don't like chili), an oreo milkshake in the car on the way home, a glass of iced tea for dinner, and a slice of nectarine pie for dessert. Geez, way to be healthy... I feel like I need to go to bed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

November 14 work in progress

This is REALLY challenging. I am attempting to do this one properly and work dark to light (I tried to do the lion from light to dark, I'm still working on it but it didn't turn out as I had hoped). So this dragon will be in color. And I'm warning you now, it might not work. Color scrim is still new to me. But you get to either watch it turn out really cool or watch it not work. Hopefully not the latter. This is really hugely detailed, going to take a long time!

I met up with my college roomies tonight for dinner. It was great to see them. Funny how the years go by and yet we seem to just pick up where we left off. :-)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

interesting things

I haven't done this for a while.

I can log into my website and see what keywords people have put into search engines that brought them to my site(s). Sometimes it's really obvious, like "chicken drawings" or "rosecomb bantams." But sometimes it's pretty darn funny, either because I can't figure out how it leads to my site, or it's just from some totally random thing I said, or why the heck would someone be searching for that anyway??

For example (these are real things put into seach engines that led to some part of or in the last few months):

"half onion" (recipe doesn't call for a whole one?)
"hairy spider" (the shaved ones are just creepy)
"really" (yeah, really)
"how long can chicken stay in the fridge" (!)
"lady cowboys" (I think we call those cowgirls)
"saw horse drawing" (I did too, but she wasn't very good at it)
"buff male" (umm, we talking chickens?)
"katherine of aragorn" (Aragorn from LOTR? Oh yeahhhh, bring it on ;-))
"history motorways too straight" (um, what?)
"other thing that margarine" (umm, butter? crisco?)
"plumers pot" (lol, no!)
"homemade items that sell like hot cakes" (this cracks me up! The answer is little cute things that take a hugely long time to make and you can never get enough money to make your time worth while so don't bother)
"chicken and rant" (some of my favorite things)
"lady horses" (mares or fillies I think would be the more correct terms here)

Streets of Bakersfield

It was another crazy weekend, but the last of the poultry shows for nearly two months (waaahhhh!). JJ and I headed down to Bakersfield on Friday afternoon in her car, me driving.. Wow what a pleasant change from the Taurus. ;-) It was unusual to spend most of the time in the fast lane....

This show seemed really hectic for some reason, I can't quite put my finger on it though. I didn't have anything to do. I didn't take art and I didn't clerk, but it seemed, well, just hectic. I had a good time though, I so enjoy spending time with my "poultry friends" and I met some new people, that's always fun. My birds didn't win anything major this time around, but that's okay. There's always next time.

The banquet was held at a Basque restaurant. It was really good, I did skip the pickled tongue though... Afterwards some of us went to Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. Sadly, it was closed for a reserved event, so we could only look around the lobby. I even wore my super duper western shirt in honor of being in Bakersfield... Here's me with statues of Buck Owens (behind me) and Bob Wills (next to me). Once again no parties, I was bummed.

So now it's back to the same ole. I started a new scrimshaw today. The first step is the transfer the outline onto the ivory. I did that today. It's darn near impossible to see it without the microscope, but it's a dragon.

I also received my order of Tagua Nut slices (aka "vegetable ivory"). It's... different. Looks like I need to polish it more. It'll be interesting. I wish it didn't have the cracked area in the middle. I'll give it a try but I think I'm going to prefer the ivory, just because it looks like a higher quality item, if nothing else.

Gotta go feed critters...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

love it when that happens!

I finished something early! Woo hoo! That's a big load off my shoulders. I had two drawings that needed to be done by the end of the day today and I was fairly concerned it would take me that long. But.. I knew I had a gazillion other things to do too so I put in long hours (12 hours on Tuesday!) and finished them LATE Tuesday night (err, Wednesday morning?) Yay! These are two drawings that were done to be used as holiday cards by the client who commissioned the originals.

"Winter Window #1" (Buff Cochin)
6x8 inches
colored pencil and graphite on gray paper

"Winter Window #2" (American Game)
6x8 inches
colored pencil and graphite on gray paper

And in other news, well there was my own Christmas card (which y'all need to order, hint hint!) and washing chickens and more cleaning around here and starting the next scrimshaw image. It's going to be a Chinese dragon, in color. If it turns out half as cool as I think it might, well that'll be darn cool.

Oh geez, I gotta go to bed!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Christmas Cards!!!!!!!!! Hurry LIMITED TIME OFFER!!!!!!

At laaaaaast! Some people have been pestering me for years, so here it is, voila, a holiday card!

"December on the Farm"
digital mixed media based on original colored pencil drawing

The catch is that it's a VERY limited time offer, I need to have all orders in by 5pm November 19th. So don't wait, get it while you can! All info and order form HERE.

Please tell your friends, cross-post, etc. Help me get these cards out there. Thanks! :-)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

upcoming stuff

Okay, I am trying *really* hard to finish up a Christmas/holiday/end-of-year card that I can market and sell for this season. Granted, it's way late to be doing this but I'm trying... If I can get that done this weekend, then I will be releasing ONE card image this year for sale (a chicken in a winter barn scene, no this is not the same image(s) that I am doing for the commissioned stuff if anyone who's in on that is reading this). OMG, talk about time crunch.

This is the next pendant up for scrimshaw:

It's 1-1/8 by 1-5/8 inches at its widest points, and 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (it tapers). So it's a chunky one. The front side is flat. The back side is the outer part of the tusk, so it's curved and stained and scratched, but polished smooth. Very cool little piece. Pre-ban elephant ivory. Do I need to explain what that means? It means it's from a tusk that was imported before the 1972 ban. This does not harm any elephants that are in existance now.

If anyone's up for a custom image do let me know right away. Most images will be somewhere in the $200-$300 range (this includes sterling silver bail and chain, sorry no gold for this one). Extremely dark images will be more. If nobody urgently wants this done custom it's probably going to have a dragon on it, maybe even in color, hmmmm.

Okay, stay tuned for Christmas cards, I hope. I'm tryin....

Friday, November 02, 2007

wolf scrimshaw necklace pendant

*Finally* finished today. Dang skippy, that took a lot longer than I anticipated.... The price will increase on this if someone doesn't snag it right away. Remember, a scrimshaw piece is a one of a kind item, entirely created by hand by making thousands of dots or lines in the ivory and filling those lines with pigment (in this case it's etching ink, and this is entirely stippled..dots, no lines.). Incredibly time consuming and eyeball straining. I can't even begin to explain how much work that background was!

white wolf scrimshaw
18x25mm pre-ban elephant ivory cabochon
back is inscribed "original scrimshaw by Katherine Plumer 2007"
$185 + $10 shipping/insurance
+ 7.75% sales tax (CA residents)
INCLUDES your choice of sterling silver or gold filled mount, and your choice of sterling silver chain, 14/20 gold filled chain, or black leather cord

It felt weird not to pack up and leave today. This is the first weekend since late August that I haven't had a show or some other thing going on. It's kind of nice, but of course it means I have gobs of work to do. I have to finish two drawings by the end of next week. Eek!

I am taking the last of the cull chickens to auction this weekend.

Gotta go draw...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

another show!

Woo hoo, I'm going to Bakersfield! Not that Bakersfield is all that exciting in and of itself, but it's a poultry show bwahahahaha! Glee! Thank you JJ for agreeing to let me drag you down there. Truth is I probably wouldn't be going otherwise. ;-) I'm not taking an art booth there, just the birds, for a nice pleasant relaxing weekend!

I talked to the guy in charge of the game fowl thing today and he is urging me to go...sounds like a really nice guy. Hmmmmm.... Probably I will but gosh darn my weekends are getting all filled up again.

The scrimshaw wolf is going really well, but it brings to mind three things:
1) solid dark areas = AAAAARRRRGH!!!!! (whacks head on desk)
2) prices will absolutely go UP, in fact even now if someone wants an image with a lot of solid dark areas it'll exceed the quoted range of prices... but that's okay, because I said "most images will be..." Not all. It's taking FOREVER.
3) I need an ipod! When I'm in my studio here I just play itunes or CDs or the radio but over there in the barn there's only the sound of the flourescent lights. Today I brought my ancient walkman (ha! remember those? I think this one is from the mid 90s.) It only works in certain directions. Better than nothing though.

Anyway, it should be done tomorrow if all goes as planned. I'm also working on two drawings for Christmas cards, and have JC's horses, KG's dogs, and BM's chickens "in the wings" so to speak. And more scrimshaw. Bring it on!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ventura Venture

As if I hadn't seen enough of the south-of-Sacramento stretch of I-5 in recent weeks, I drove down to Ventura this weekend. That's about 390 miles southwest, on the coast. It was, as you can surely guess, for a poultry show. ;-) Up until just a week or so ago I hadn't been planning on going, but I hated to miss out on it since they were featuring the rose comb class, and I decided I'd turn it into a business trip and bring along all the artwork...the chicken art anyway.

It was a hazy day to begin with even up in northern CA, but by the time I was approaching the grapevine it was noticeable smoky outside. I couldn't see the mountains until I was practically right there.

In Ventura itself it was foggy too, so the outdoors was gray and gloomy. I got down there around 5 and cooped in all the birds and set up the walls and table for the art display.

In an attempt to save some money, since the host hotel was enormously expensive, I stayed with my aunt and uncle in a nearby town about 20 minutes from the fairgrounds. My friend S.S. went with me, since she needed a place to stay too. It was fun to see my relatives and so nice of them to let us crash there. My uncle even came to the show on Saturday, that was cool.

Since I was pretty much chained to the art booth I feel like I didn't get to see much of the show itself. It took a while to set up, and then a few hours later I had to take it all down. I didn't even make it out to the beach (a stone's throw from the show hall, just ran out of time, oh well). I really wanted to see more of the game fowl show but I only caught the tail end of it, thinking they would be around longer. Those birds are so gorgeous. I actually wouldn't mind having one, as long it's friendly to me! I'm kinda partial to birds with big tails and flashy feathers and I think these guys are great.

Even though it was a pain in the butt to have the art stuff down there I did pretty well with it, paid for all expenses and then some. Even covered the expenses of framing "Green Legged Hatch" and getting some new stuff printed. So that's not bad at all. Stupidly, I forgot to take a picture of my booth. Oops!

I got Reserve RCCL with one of my black Rosecomb pullets (not the same one from the Paso Robles show).

Somehow I managed to do something awful to my right wrist on Saturday night, probably while reaching behind me while driving to shove something out of my way in the rear view mirror. By the time I went to bed it was excruciatingly painful and I could hardly move it, and I woke up a lot during the night. It was a little better in the morning but I was still pretty freaked out that something awful was happening to me. I need my right hand! It's almost all better now, so I guess maybe I pinched a nerve or something. Egads, that was scary.

So it seemed like a really fast weekend. Definitely not relaxing. Fun though (no party on Saturday, everyone pooped out and went to bed). I hope to go next year too. As far as it is, the drive really isn't that bad. I guess I am just so used to driving all over the place that it doesn't bother me anymore. Plus I took the minivan instead of my car, and it's faster and I don't worry about it dying. ;-)

Next up is Bakersfield. I am still iffy on going for the usual reasons of 1) *really* trying hard to conserve money 2) worry about car 3) I've been gone 26 days in the last two months and I'm so far behind already. I want to go... I have to decide in the next day or two. There is also a game fowl convention down in Visalia a week after that and I'm really debating whether that would be worth attending with some prints and a portfolio. Hmmmm. I need to call the guy in charge and see how that would work.

I am starting a new scrimshaw pendant tomorrow. It's a wolf. Will be on the higher end of the price scale (~$175 probably) since it has a lot of dark areas... is for sale.

This evening there was thunder and lightning and rain. My attempts to photograph the lightning were completely unsuccessful but here are some pretty leaves instead, the light was interesting for a while:

custom scrimshaw

Treat yourself or a loved one to a one of a kind gift: scrimshaw!

What is it?

Scrimshaw is the art of incising lines into the surface of the chosen material (usually ivory or bone or some sort of plastic) and filling those lines with a colored pigment in order to create an image. I would be happy to work on your custom scrimshaw job if you have something in particular you would like scrimmed.

I do not have the tools to slab ivory or do extensive sanding and finishing. I can purchase blanks for numerous types of jewelry, and can order some slabs and tusks. Knives and pistol grips must be provided. Thus far I have worked on plastic (it's okay but I don't love it), and elephant ivory (my preference). I have not worked on walrus ivory, hippo ivory, ancient ivory, bone, or paper micarta. I'm willing to try but would want to try a sample piece first.

What's the cost?

Right now I am only taking commissions for black and white scrim, as I am still learning the color process. Most projects will be $125-$175 per square inch, but everything is a little different so please feel free to ask me for a quote. Simpler or lighter images will be less than darker or more complex images. This does not include the cost of ivory or other materials, sales tax (CA residents), or shipping, travel expenses, or any miscellaneous stuff that I'm overlooking right now. Please note that ivory cannot be exported!!!!

Here are some prices for various scrimshaw pieces that I can create for you using pre-ban elephant ivory. These prices do not include sales tax, packaging, or shipping. Prices are good through December 31, 2007. Contact me for a quote on your individual project. Please note that holiday gift orders must be received by November 15, 2007. I can only accept a limted number of orders due to time constraints.


Necklace pendants
18x25mm oval cabochon
prices include sterling silver or gold filled mount, and your choice of sterling silver chain, gold filled chain, or black leather cord

sterling silver cuff with 13x18mm oval cabochon inlay (photo available)

13x18mm oval cabochons, your choice of gold filled or sterling silver hardware: $150-$200 per pair
18x25mm oval cabochons, your choice of gold filled or sterling silver hardware: $200-$250 per pair

Bolo Tie
38mm round, black leather cord, your choice of gold or silver tips, $280-$380
38x52mm oval, black leather cord, your choice of gold or silver tips, $390-$500

Belt Buckle (domed ivory oval inset into brass buckle, belt not included)
43x29mm oval, $250-$330
65x45mm oval, $520-$700
75x51mm oval, $710-$950

Money Clip, sterling silver with hinged back clip, approx 1x2 inches

If you are looking for items that would just be "fine art" and could be framed, consider a piano key (approx 1x2 inches) for $250-$350, or the ovals listed in the belt buckle section, or a tusk slab.

Pre-ban elephant ivory tusk slabs are available in sizes ranging from 1x3 inches to 2.75x4.5 inches. Contact me if you are interested. I can also get hippo tusks and wild boar tusks. Prices on request.

What subjects do I work with?

I prefer to work with subjects that could be broadly categorized as "anything alive." Wildlife, western art, animals, birds, some human portraiture, including nudes. While I respect that nautical scenes are a tradition in scrimshaw, if you are interested in images containing boats (or cars, buildings, etc) I would be happy to refer you to another scrimshander, but would prefer not to tackle those subjects myself. It's just not my thing. :-)

I can work with your designs or make my own, but please be prepared to furnish quality reference photos if your subject is not something I can easily research (your dog, for example).

How long does it take?

Well, when you sit there looking through the microscope, it seems to take forever. ;-) Ha ha. Honestly, it varies. Smaller pieces may take a few days, large pieces may take a few weeks, and it depends on waiting lists (I do commissioned fine art too) and my own schedule with art shows and other obligations. I strive for a quick turnaround, but your scrim piece needs time for the paint to dry before I can safely ship it off to you.

How do I care for it?

Carefully!!! It is easy to accidently scratch or damage it.

Do not clean your scrimshaw with any type of solvent, as this could remove the paint. Do not get your scrimshaw wet (no swimming or showering with it!). If you are cleaning the jewelry setting around your scrimshaw, please be exceeding careful not to let any chemicals come into contact with the scrim itself. Use a polishing cloth instead.

With care, your scrim will last a lifetime and be a cherished piece of artwork.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

my brother :-)

Way cool, check this out. See the guy with the shaved head right in front of President Bush? That's my brother. He's down in southern California fighting fires. I wish he had a blog, I can't possibly convey everything he has described about his experience.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

scrimshaw necklaces

I don't think I've posted this yet. Finished about a month ago, it's a Cochin hen on a tiny piece of ivory piano key. Not for sale (was a gift for someone).

I finished this one today, Rosecomb hen on ivory pendant. For sale, ask if interested. Mounted in sterling silver on a black leather cord. [Edit: SOLD]

Monday, October 22, 2007

catching up

I am so tired. Let me summarize the last few days.

Wednesday I did not manage to finish that drawing. I put in about an hour which was all the time I had, and that included staying up til 1:30am.

Thursday we left here around 8:30am and drove to San Diego. My brother J drove the whole way. 8 hours. I slept a lot in the back seat on the way down there.

Flopped out in the back seat (yes I'm wearing a seat belt). Not my usual vantage point for recent road trips, but a pleasant change:

Saw a lot of cotton bales in cotton fields, cool!

The mood was pretty subdued down there, and it just seemed wrong that Grammie wasn't there at the door to greet us. There were a handful of relatives around the house that night. My brother D flew in from London, arriving shortly after midnight. The memorial service was Friday morning at a church a few miles from the house. There were a lot of people there, most of whom I didn't know. It was a very nice service. Very sad to hear people talk and see Gram's photo up there on the altar, but it was very nice.

I had to leave about an hour after the luncheon finished up. Cousin V drove me to the airport and I hopped on a plane back to Sacramento. I got home around 8. I had missed the wedding rehearsal and dinner that evening, but had to be back as soon as possible since the bride was staying with me that evening and we had to be up and about early.

I wish I could say I slept well that night but I didn't. I tossed and turned and had to be up at 6:30am. This wedding was for a friend I have known since I was in junior high. I can't quite remember the timeline, whether we first met through school or first met through 4-H, but I think it was the latter. She showed rabbits, I showed (still do!) chickens. Several of the bridesmaids met up at a salon early that morning for hair and makeup. We all had curly up-dos. My hair is long. Understatement. I can almost sit on it. How that gal managed to get it all up remains a mystery, except that I had 41 bobby pins in there! It looked great, but with the fancy hair and the over-the-top makeup I didn't feel (or look) like myself at all. Like a doofus, I didn't bring my camera, so I'll have to wait for the official photographer to post his. We all looked super hot, for sure. ;-)

It was a fun day, I only wish I hadn't been so wiped out, I literally could barely keep my eyes open by the end of the evening. I won't even whine too much about the dress. We all looked very pretty, but after 7 hours in it the urge to take the darn thing off was almost too much to bear. A whole day in high heels and a tight dress really did me in. Got home at 8:30, went to bed at 9:30, that's unheard of.

Yesterday I finally got to sleep in, but I HAD TO get that drawing done, so once I settled in to that around noon there wasn't much that could pull me away from it. I worked 11 hours yesterday. The background... JUST the background of this drawing took 13 hours. You might not think that by looking at it. I finished it at 1am last night. I LOVE it!!!!! :-)

"Green Legged Hatch" (American Game)
colored pencil, graphite, on white paper
14x11 inches
$1680, is custom framed

Today I did a few hours of file prep for printing (new cards and prints) and went to the frame shop and the photographer and between that and a few other things suddenly here it is the end of the day and I'm just whooped. I'm going to bed.

Oh wait, one more thing, I am going to Ventura!!!!!!!! Anyone who asked heard the answer "no I'm not going." Change of plans, I'll be there with 13 birds plus sale birds, and a lot of chicken art. ;-)