Sunday, May 31, 2009

fuzzy adorableness

Okay, first of all, the big news that was waiting in my inbox this morning:

The zebra knife sold today at Blade Show in Atlanta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I hear it got lots of rave reviews!!!!!!!

And as for the other news of the day, pictures will say it better than words, though "awwwww omg cute!" pretty well sums it up. For those of you who sorta know my birds, the non-black hen is "It." As you can see she is molting in some normal colored feathers, and I'm super curious to see if she loses the wing bays. Either way, she's got the mama-skillz!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


The mockingbirds fledged today. I'm not even sure where they nested this year (last year was right under my bedroom window, joy!). I know it was somewhere in the back/garden/orchard area, but the adult birds vigorously defended the entire area between the creek and the garage whenever the cats were around. So, hard to narrow it down! Funny thing is even though they dive bomb the cats without mercy, they never fussed at me poking around out there. Even today when I found this baby 2 feet off the ground in a rock rose bush:

Jessie's nose was working overtime snoofling around trying to find it, and I didn't really want to see it turn into a doggie snack, so I picked it up* and moved it into the nectarine tree with it's sibling.**

"If we hold reeeeaaaally still maybe she won't see us."

* It's okay, I know what I'm doing and how to handle little birds, did years of wildlife rehab, etc, and that old tale you heard about how a mother bird won't take back a baby is not true. Birds have a very poor sense of smell, with the exception of turkey vultures, who use their fantastic sense of smell to find suitably rotten things to eat. Sorry, got all bird nerd on you there. The little bird did not fuss and the parents were watchful and aware that I had the baby, but did not dive bomb me at all.

** There may be one more too, but they are darn hard to find when they are quiet and not moving.


I set out to start making the presentation box for the belt buckle today, and needed some fabric for the interior (yes, I am one-stop shopping for all your scrimshaw needs). My frustration at digging through the fabric drawer for random scraps became a full fledged organization-fest (you're laughing if you know me, I'm usually a total pig but sometimes have the overwhelming urge to sort, bag, and label). A few hours later, all the scraps were rolled, sorted by color and print (or fabric type), bagged, labeled, and repacked in the drawer with room to spare. Yeesh, what a weirdo.

But I decided I'm going to make a quilt. Not right now, but some time this year. There are so many little scraps of fabric, many of which have a long story behind them. So I'm gonna make a little quilt, for a little someone. :-)

Okay, sleepytime.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

pictures today

It was a crappy hot day, but a lovely evening, so I went out and took some photos.

I spent the morning weed-whacking (or "weed-eating" which I guess is the more trendy term) around the barn and chicken coops. To my chagrin, I had to get my Yard Goddess neighbor to start the stupid thing. I simply do not have the magic touch with machinery, and the first time that contraption is used each year it's impossible for me to start. Makes me want to throw it on the ground and stomp on it, but of course that would not help matters much. As a general rule I'm a pretty patient person, but being unable to start the weed-whacker totally gets to me. So do busted hoses, water pipes, waterer valves, or anything of that nature (so a double whammy would be hacking a hose to smithereens with the weed-whacker, thankfully I did not do that today but I've sure done it before!)

I drew three out of four preliminary sketches for the next Colts. I can't quite wrap my brain around the fourth image (and I also can't really talk about it, sorry) but hopefully I'll figure out something soon. The other three look good, to me anyway. Hopefully my client will agree.

And I cut and sanded down a rough ugly slab of ivory into a nice pendant shape. I still have to do all the polishing, that'll take a while. Not my favorite part of the process... :-/ Ah, nothing like the small of ivory dust (eww, it stinks).


Ye olde horse, Gwen. She's really looking old... and looks way different with her "feathers" shaved off!

Hmm, what's that behind the waterer float?

A tree frog!!! (Yes, I love amphibians).

Ye olde dog, Jessie, age 14.

These Bachelor Buttons are growing out of the compost box, and they are as tall as me. No joke.

What's that white stuff all over the ground? (side note, anyone want to buy that fixer-upper boat?)

Ugh, it's cottonwood seeds. They are everywhere, get into everything, make a huge mess, and induce some serious allergies. *achoo!*

I'm sllooowwwly going through my blog entries and trying to "tag" more things, as you might notice. It'll take a while. Partly it's so I can track some things, but also to make it easier to find certain subjects and follow certain threads.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

now what?

I had to let the extraordinaryness of 1000 blog posts sink in. That and I'm not quite sure what to talk about. Back to life as normal! (not nearly as much fun as life on vacation).

I am busily working on a bunch of new projects. Unfortunately, it's looking like I'm not going to be able to show you any of them in progress because they're all commissioned as gifts. So obviously I'll have to start honing my writing skills again since I can't depend on a steady stream of photographs to keep you all entertained. I can tell you what I'm doing though, no harm in that.

Not necessarily in order (all scrimshaw):

- an almost-matched set of pistol grips for two Colt .45 SAA guns. I am working with the same engraver I collaborated with on the CCA project. Not sure when this will all be done an assembled, a few months I would guess.
- a belt buckle, will be done in mid July.
- a pendant, will be done by mid August.
- a dog portrait

And probably a bunch of little things squeezed in around those.

I'm still attempting to arrange the ever-increasing amount of furniture into the designated 8x10 foot "studio" area (I totally got poked fun at for calling it a studio, hey I try to be a little classy!) ;-)

I put the first batch of eggs into the incubator on Sunday (lol, only about two months late!) Can't wait to candle them.

I mailed in my entries for State Fair (art show) and Draft Horse Classic today. Cross your fingers!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Search for Sasquatch

This is my one thousandth blog post. :-) Happy anniversary, blog. You're pretty fun, and thanks for bringing some new people into my life.

You might have noticed (did you?) the week-long gap in blogging. I was gone. I am back. I had fun. :-) It was time for the Search for Sasquatch, a sequel to Bears and Boulders. Heh heh. Yay for longtime readers who know what Bears and Boulders is.

First, a sentinel bird is sent out to scout the area. Sentinel bird says it's safe:

(Or, perhaps the real story is that I spent the last 5 days in the mountains east of Redding with JC and DC and my cute horse Shylah, lots of trail riding, lots of fun, and J agreed to adopt two Rosecomb chicks I accidentally hatched (long story) since she had just gotten hatchery chicks).

The sasquatch thing came up as a joke that we would be sure to see something really awesome (like a bear) because I was only bringing my munchkin camera and therefore would not be able to photograph it well. I won't even get into the rest of the story, it's one of those "you had to be there" sorts of things, but that's how the Search for Sasquatch ride came about.

This is normally something we do in the fall, but busy schedules and a few other complications made that impossible last fall, so this was a makeup ride. It was interesting to see the place at a different time of year when things were still green. The weather was decent. A little hot, but not bad. JC and I went out riding for several hours every day, and I also got to see Star Trek (loved it!) and even managed to get a little bit of work done too.

The riding was GREAT. Shylah seemed so much more sure-footed this year, and over-all very calm and confident on the trail. She's slow, yes, very slow, and takes hills even slower than slow, but I can deal with that. You just have to adapt to a different time frame with Shylah, you can't be in a hurry, she's just not a fast horse so you'd better kick back and enjoy the scenery. She's a "stop and smell eat the roses" kind of girl. She does try to graze constantly, which drives me batty, but that's another story. J was riding her "green" 3 year old Gypsy cob gelding, Aragorn. I was very impressed by how well he's doing in his training. He was a little concerned about Shylah at first, but quickly settled down and they ended up being a great match. Both slow. Yay! It's darn near impossible for me to trail ride with anyone because of the speed difference (especially the gaited breeds!). Shylah spent most of the time as the lead horse, and I have to say she seemed to enjoy that position. This was definitely the best pairing we've tried for trail riding (this is the third time we've done this), and it was so much fun. I sure wish I could do that more often. It's beautiful up there, except when it's a gazillion degrees. ;-)

Here are a bunch of photos, a virtual trail ride for you. These are from all the days, so this covers a very large amount of acreage.

There's a few rocks up there...just a few...

That's Mt. Lassen way off in the background. It was really hazy. Click on the pic to see it bigger.

That's Mt. Shasta off in the distance.

I was amazed at how well these two got along. Not that they were super chummy or anything, but Shylah didn't try to kick him and only made a grumpy face at him once (when he was backwashing and blowing his nose in the water trough as she was attempting to be a normal horse and take a drink)

(Slowly) climbing the rocky hill! This hill is her least favorite, for sure.

The view from the top of the world. Awesome.

Shylah says "grass, must eat grass, must eat..."

"can almost reach..."

How bout a closeup of that lip action. "so close! mmph, errg."

In the end, I think I can safely say a great time was had by all. I'm not sure Shylah loved the hills (in fact I'm pretty sure she didn't) but she does seem to enjoy being out and about and looking at things, she's quite the lookyloo on the trail. The chicks settled right in with their adopted brethren. We did not see a bear, or a sasquatch. Thus, the search shall continue.... :-)

The CCA 2009 Auction Gun, another photo

I can't resist posting another photo! Courtesy of Mike Dubber.

[EDIT: The CCA asked me not to post photos of the completed gun until it's released for publication later this summer. I will re-post all the photos at that time. Sorry for the confusion.]

Engraving by Mike Dubber.
Scrimshaw by me.
Accessories made by Joe Lozito.
Accessories engraved by by Ron Nott.

If you would like to read the forum comments about this gun, you can do that here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The CCA 2009 Auction Gun

I have a few pics to show you of the Colt Collector's Association 2009 Auction Gun (on which I scrimmed the ivory grips). I am hoping for pics that show the entire thing, and I know I'll be getting more eventually, but yeah right like I could wait!

[EDIT: The CCA asked me not to post photos of the completed gun until it's released for publication later this summer. I will re-post all the photos at that time. Sorry for the confusion.]

In other news I HATE HOT WEATHER. It was over 100 this weekend. There's just no need for that. Grumble.

I am rearranging the scrimshaw/engraving part of the studio again. I just have not been happy with the setup, and since at least for the next while I'm doing more scrim than metal engraving, I'm going to try working on the tabletop again instead of at the vise. This will change the whole placement of the scope and chair and actually allow me to sit more like a normal person. Less back pain = yay. And I bought a set of plastic storage drawers at Staples so I can get all my supplies in order. I have trouble maintaining tidiness, but for some reason sorting things into labeled plastic baggies and organizing into drawers brings great glee. Weird.

Friday, May 15, 2009


It's going to be very hot this weekend. I'm going to complain. You are warned.

I shaved the "feathers" off my draft horse (well, half draft) Gwen. It's ultimately easier than trying to comb stickers out all the time, but she does look a little funny. Luckily Shylah doesn't need to be clipped.

I am working on a spring art sale (via the internet) like I did last summer. The website is entirely updated (I think) with price discounts, and I plan to post it all here too. Not everything is for sale, and there are no discounts on scrimshaw. I just want to move some of this stuff outta here!

And to sweeten the pot, there's this:

I really want some drawings on the list. There are quite a few scrimshaw projects on the waiting list now but I really need to break up the microscope-time with some drawing! Too hard to sit at a scope all day.

I totally want to bake. A lot. Like, I want to make every single recipe of cookies that's in the ginormous cookie cookbook I have. However it would be really bad for my butt to eat all those cookies. Sometimes I get into these extreme baking modes. OMG, and I'm sewing. Yup, it's a full blown Martha Stewart phase. It happens. I wonder if there's any way to do some very small-scale cookie sales (batch a week, anyone local willing to fork over a few bucks to cover ingredients?)

I need to remember to turn on the incubator tomorrow. Going to set eggs next weekend and I need the temperature in the room to warm up and stabilize so I can get the incubator temperature stable. Yeah, chicks in a month, woo hoo!

Since you asked, if you would like to eavesdrop and see why I'm feeling all rock-star-ish, take a peek at what I posted on the engraving and knife forums:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

other things

The works in progress will return, do not fear. :-) However, at least one and possibly all of the upcoming projects are gifts and can't be shown in progress in case the recipient sees them. What will I talk about?! We'll see.

I've spent the last couple days catching up on all the non-art things that I've been neglecting. It's good. There is much to do. But I'm eager to get to work on the next project.

I finally got in touch with the folks from the Miniature art show up in Jackson Hole. I did not get in. And apparently my rejection notice really was lost in the mail, I should have gotten it months ago, along with the return of my application materials. That's a bummer, but not at all surprising. I'll keep trying, maybe by the time I'm old enough to retire I'll get in. ;-)

That's all folks. Blog posts might be a little sporadic for a while as I busy myself with other things and go off on an adventure soon!

Monday, May 11, 2009

the zebra knife

I seriously think this is the best thing I have ever done. My goal was to create the most awesome image I possibly could, and I really wanted to kinda mirror the damascus pattern a little bit in the scrim itself. Mission totally accomplished. I'm so excited. :-) The knife is going back to the maker, and he will have it at Blade Show in Atlanta at the end of the month. So if you're going to Blade Show, find Don Cowles and check out this knife!!!

ps- full color scrimshaw is really hard.

pps- remember you can click on the pics to see a larger version

Scrimshaw grips for the Colt Collector's Association gun

These are grips for the 2009 Colt Collector's Association Annual Auction Gun. It's great to be done, and I can't wait to see photos of the entire gun. I have not seen it, though I know the Battleship North Carolina is engraved on it, and I'll bet there's a lot of gold! The theme this year was North Carolina. It was a huge honor to be asked to do this job by the engraver Mike Dubber. I'm told I'm probably the first scrimshander to work on one of these auction guns, and definitely the first woman to work on one of them. That's kind of a big deal. :-) The gun will be published on the cover of Rampant Colt magazine (published by the CCA) and will have photos and a bio inside the magazine. That comes out in September, I believe.

Friday, May 08, 2009

the final stretch

Hey little microscope buddy, how's it goin'?

"Well, I'm tired. All we do is work work work."

I know, I'll give you some time off next week and work on other stuff okay?

Yeah, me too!

No, I haven't lost my marbles. ;-) Not all of them anyway. The CCA grips are done. The knife is getting there. You'll see them when they are finished. No more WIP pics of these two! I'll have pics by Monday.

I keep adding to my list of things I need to do:

1) not look through the microscope for at least a day or two ;-) (actually, more than that)
2) start preliminary drawings for next pistol grip projects (price quotes too!)
3) bake chocolate mint sandwich cookies (J, stop drooling)
4) sew something small and frilly (but not pink)
5) start a drawing project (details to be determined)
6) make strawberry jam!!!! (3 batches to make so far, still taking orders, let me know ASAP!)
7) price quotes for two, wait no three other things
8) tidy up the dang studio, geez girl!
9) ART SALE!!!!
10) painting for State Fair? (low priority, I already have other things to enter)
11) clean chicken coops
12) get incubators prepped and ready to turn on
13) take computer in to get fixed? NOT liking this noise. It had gotten better, now worse. :-(

Thursday, May 07, 2009

May 7 work in progress

I'm getting very close to my 1000th blog post. What do you want me to talk about?

The Cape Hatteras image is almost done, just a little tweaking still to do, and then all the final polishing. You will get to see pics of the entire gun, but I'm not sure when. I don't have it, I've never even seen it. These grips will go back to the engraver, and when he gets the gun back from the gunsmith he'll put the grips on, and take pics, and then it'll go to the Colt Collector's Association, and they will take pics for their magazine. This really is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things, and one of the rare cases where the word "opportunity" isn't just a line, it's the real deal. :-)

I started work on the blue areas of the knife today. If you were afraid I was talking about bright blue or something..ha ha no. The dark blues are very dark, and the lighter blues will be kind of a faded denim color. I'm still trying to get the right color mix... tomorrow. *yawn*

When these things are done I need to organize my studio. I'm accumulating more scrimshaw related stuff and it's driving me nuts having everything on the table top. I think I'll get one of those plastic organizer things with a zillion drawers from Staples. Could put it right there, but I'd have to move the little bookshelf, hmmm, where to put that. I frequently think about packing up the paints and easel, hmmm.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

May 6 work in progress

I love this! :-D

I still think I'll pull this off in time, though it looks like the knife will not get an image on the back. Maybe something really simple? Just a border? I dunno. That tape is looking skanky to the max, I can't wait to get this done and untape it so I can see how fabulously cool it looks. Can't risk accidental scratches in the mean time though. I might do the blue color next, and then the brown. Hmm. I'm probably going to wish I'd done the blue first, but that's okay, it'll work.

The CCA grips are nearly done, just need to finish the clouds on the Cape Hatteras side (tomorrow, if all goes well). Then multiple coats of wax, and photo time!