Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 3: Albuquerque to Amarillo

Okay, I think it's going to be easier for the most part of I just blog via photo captions, otherwise I'm mostly repeating myself, and by the time I get all the pics done it's late and I'm tired anyway. We went from Albuquerque to Amarillo today, which really isn't very far, but we spent some time in Santa Fe too, and we're ahead of schedule anyway.

The Cross-Country Adventure!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 2: Kingman AZ to Albuquerque NM

I am sooo tired. We're in Albuquerque tonight, and I just finished uploading a zillion pics. Link is in yesterday's post, I'm too lazy to paste it here tonight. We made a brief stop in Sedona, and then went all the way to Albuquerque. I think that's about 550ish miles, but it was a loooong day. I'm having a great time, and the weather has been fantastic. All's well. Enjoy the pics.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 1: dry, dirt, desert

And the adventure begins! About 600 miles driven today, and tonight Jan and I are in Kingman, Arizona. That's not the most exciting drive. Flat central valley, and dry desert. The trip finally seemed "real" when we left the central valley and headed east into what is (for me) uncharted territory.

I probably won't get a chance to blog or upload photos every day, but I'll do it when I can. My wireless internet card doohickie doesn't seem to work anymore on this old laptop for some reason, but I'm plugged into the wall tonight. This all takes me forever, I'm using different programs and it takes me a while to edit the pics!

Pics, yeah, I'm putting them all in an album instead of posting them here. Makes life easier for me. So, want to have a vicarious road trip? Here ya go!

The Cross-Country Adventure!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Scrimshaw Zebra Pendant

Wow, the last posting was the 1234th one on this blog. Isn't that cool?! :-)

Zebras (pendant)
scrimshaw on mammoth ivory

That's the last piece I'll be making before Blade Show.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

African Sunset scrimshaw pendant

African Sunset, Elephants (pendant)
multicolor scrimshaw on pre-ban elephant ivory
30mm diameter

Saturday, May 22, 2010

how the moth story ended

First off, the moth has been identified as a Antheraea Polyphemus, or Polyphemus Moth. So, I was wrong yesterday, but pretty close.

To my extraordinary surprise, the moth not only didn't die last night but was very much alive this morning. So I let him go. He walked up my hand, flew onto my forehead (right, did I mention I'm not a bug person, don't think my heart didn't go flippy flop right then), and then was up and away into the blue yonder.

I may never see another.

Oh yeah, and those wing spots are clear! How cool is that?!

Friday, May 21, 2010

unlike any moth I've ever seen!

Okay, I am not a "bug person" by any stretch of the imagination, but this blows me away and I think it's stunningly beautiful. Just before sunset tonight I found it clinging to the corral fence just a few inches about the ground, swaying gently in the breeze like a crumpled leaf.

I didn't want to touch it, for fear of accidentally hurting it, but it was too dark to photograph it outdoors so I herded it gently into a container and carried it inside, where I set up some lights and snapped some photos.

As far as I can tell it's an Antheraea oculea, or Oculea Silkmoth. Perhaps male? I've never seen one before. The information I gathered on line suggests the adults live only about ten days, and alas if that is so then today is his tenth day. He was weak when I took him from the fence, and now is nearly dead, resting in a small box in the other room. I just didn't relish the thought of some critter eating him tonight. As I said, I'm not a bug person, but this moth transfixed me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 20 work in progress

What kind of crazy person would do an image with a large area of solid black?!?! Oh yeah, me. ;-) As I go through the list of subjects now, I think "how can I do this different than the other scrim I've seen of the same subject, what will fit on the pieces that I currently have in stock, and what can I do that gives me a chance to try out a slightly different technique."

Watch and see what kind of coolness this becomes in the next couple days.

I have sooooo many ideas for things to scrim. Some will be better suited for framed pieces, and I don't have time to frame anything before Blade Show, so those will wait til I am working on things to take to Jackson. I'm just so incredibly inspired and in the zone right now.

I'm excited and nervous about Blade Show. The excitement is currently winning out, but I worry too... what if nothing sells, what if I make a fool of myself, what if blah blah blah.

I am aiming to do two more pendants before I leave.. these elephants, and one more. If I get those done super fast and can whip out another, that's awesome, but I'm not counting on it. There is soooo much to do.

This weekend:
clip Gwen (foxtail season + hairy legs = uncomfortable horse)
move chickens into slightly different breeding pens
turn on incubator
make strawberry jam?
photograph completed hippo tooth scrim
pack two pieces for shipping
pay bills

Before the show:
more scrimshaw!!!
finish photo prep for portfolio
assemble portfolio
labels/price tags
pack clothes
pack scrim
pack table/display stuff
wash dog?
finish pendants, including selecting chains, and gift-boxing everything
freak out
chill out
make lists like a crazy woman and check them endlessly, like this list right here
call about hay delivery
eggs in incubator
write cell phone # on business cards (alas, cheaper than getting new run of cards printed, sigh)
empty camera memory cards
wonder what I'm forgetting
finalize travel plans
feed the birds, label pens so that Mom can pick up eggs
make travel reservations for next show
figure out something to work on at the show???? (not sure I'll need to, not sure what kind of traffic to expect at the table, art shows can be soooo booooring I always work on something, scrim isn't as portable as drawing though!)


OMG, did you watch Grey's Anatomy tonight?! I was clutching my blankie almost the whole time!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baby Panda scrimshaw pendant

I figured since the last one (the ravens) was kind of dark and edgy, I'd better max out the cute and fuzzy factor this time around. Gotta please as many of the people as I can, right? ;-)

Baby Panda (pendant)
multicolor scrimshaw on pre-ban elephant ivory

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ted's talk

Tonight's blog is all about Ted. Ted, a fantastic writer and all around pretty cool guy who I'm proud to call a friend, has been giving a talk called "What I Learned at Straight Camp" at various colleges and venues around California. I had the privilege of seeing the first of these speeches. See, Ted (who is straight) went undercover (posing as gay) to a Christian-based "straight camp" therapy program, which attempts to turn gay people into straight people. It's a pretty fascinating, and in some ways deeply troubling presentation, and he talks about not only his own experience there but also that of others who have gone through these programs in an attempt to change themselves, and what does (or doesn't!) result from that experience.

Ted has a blog.

Ted is also writing a book, and has part of it posted here.

Ted would like to give this presentation at locations outside of California. Interested in hearing the speech? Know a place that would be perfect? Contact him.

Rock on, Ted. :-)

[EDIT: here's some words from Ted himself!]


I’m a straight atheist who went undercover in gay-to-straight conversion therapies. I spent a year attending weekly support groups, conferences and a 48-hour “healing touch” camp in Arizona.

I have created an 1-hour speech about my experiences. It includes videos, audience participation and a live demonstration of healing touch therapy.

Previously I have given the speech to crowds of over 300 at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and Cal Lutheran. Next week I will address Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

I’m willing to speak to any group that will cover my travel, feed me a couple of sandwiches and give me a comfy couch to sleep on.

As you can imagine, my undercover project has generated lots of media attention. Here’s just some of the recent coverage:


Ted Cox

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Raven scrimshaw pendant

This was a bit of a departure for me, kind of a different look... a little darker and edgier. And a different style. I was originally going to do this all with dots, but at the last minute decided to actually fine line engrave the ravens and tree. I REALLY like how it turned out, and am pretty intrigued with the image. I can definitely see doing something similar at a later date as a framed piece.

Ravens (pendant)
scrimshaw on pre-ban elephant ivory
1 by 1.25 inches (1/16 inch thick)
sterling setting and chain (chain not shown)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

barn owl tragedy

I have terrible news. The barn owl babies are all dead. I don't know what happened, I can't quite piece this together in a way that makes sense, but I'll tell you what I know.

Yesterday morning nothing was amiss. I did not go back out until it was time to feed the horses around 5pm. At that point, I found three dead owl babies on the floor of the barn. They were not near the nest box, they were on the opposite side of the barn on the cement slab where most of the owl droppings and pellets are (the adults perch up there on a beam). It appeared that they had been dropped from that location onto the cement. The youngest was certainly not more than a day or two old, and the others a few days older.

Aside from being dead, they appeared to have been in good shape. Fat bellies, not a mark on them except the littlest one had two (that I saw) puncture marks on the body.

I don't know whether they had died (got chilled overnight? ate poisoned rodent?) and were removed by the adults, or whether the nest was raided and the babies were killed.

Considering the stack of dead rodents that was in the nest box, they aren't exactly fastidious house-keepers. I really can't imagine the adults removing dead nestlings, and from the looks of them they had not been dead long when I found them. It's just the location where they were dropped that makes the adult owls somewhat suspect.

If the nest was raided and they were taken by another bird, why did they show no sign of trauma on their bodies? And why were they carried across the aisle and dropped, rather than killed and dropped near the box itself?

Who would raid the nest? An internet search led to research showing that Great Horned Owls are known to that. Well, we do have them here. I rarely hear them, and haven't for quite some time, but they are around. There is a pair of kestrels nesting about 30 feet away from the barn, but they are such timid little things I can't imagine them doing anything, and they've shown no sign of aggression toward the owls. I have seen Red-Shouldered Hawks chase the owls outside the barn. Could they have done it? It had to have been a bird of some sort. No other animal can get to the box (except me with a ladder). The only birds I see in the barn other than the owls are sparrows, starlings, and the occasional scrub jay.

This just breaks my heart, those poor babies! I can't figure it out though, it doesn't make sense. I'm so sad about this. :-(

I have not seen the adults for the last two days. There was a dead gopher dropped in the barn this morning, so I know they'd been around, and I heard them tonight. I have no idea if they will re-nest. On one hand I sure hope they do, but on the other I'm worried that whatever happened with happen again.

Pardon the badly stitched panorama, but this the where things happened, and it doesn't make sense to me.

Waahhhh!!! :-(

Monday, May 10, 2010

owl update!

Remember a few months ago I built a nest box for a pair of Barn Owls that had been hanging around? Did I ever officially tell you they're using it? The pair has been hanging around ever since, and the female pretty consistently would fly out of the box whenever I would go into the barn (that's a few times a day, what a spazz!) for nearly a month. So, she was obviously nesting. I don't see the male too often anymore, just sometimes in the morning he'll be up in the rafters of the barn.

Well, I'd been pretty worried the last two days. Normally, I see the female several times a day, whenever I go out there. But there was no sign of her yesterday or today, and Barn Owls are pretty frequent road kill around here. I went out there this evening and did some shouting and whooping, but still no sign of her. I was going to drag a ladder in there and climb up to the box, but before I did that I stood under the box and pounded on the wall with my fist. And there she was! She flew out the box. And in the silence, I heard the tiniest softest little screechy noises.

Yes, the owls have babies! I felt bad about scaring her off the nest, but I was pretty concerned that she was missing, and I know she returns quickly to the nest. I'm glad she's okay, guess she's just sticking tighter to the nest now that there are babies. I won't know what's in there til they fledge, I have no intention of going up there and sticking my face in a box of grumpy owls.

I will say, to their credit, I haven't seen a mouse for about two months. They are, however, incredibly disgusting and have crapped and yarfed up pellets all over the barn. And I'm sure it'll be worse when the babies fledge. Oh well, I guess it just means I can't leave stuff sitting around the barn. Gotta love nature... :-)

In other news... there isn't much news. I finished a scrim piece over the weekend, and I'll show you in June what it is. Started another pendant, and hope to finish a few pendants before I leave for Atlanta. I'm SO excited about the show, but getting super stressed about the logistics, expenses, etc. The first time at a show is always pretty nerve-wracking, but especially one that's 2500 miles away!

I shipped out the last of the sale birds this morning. And the last of the sale eggs will go out tomorrow. I'll set eggs in my incubator before I leave, and hatch a batch or two when I come back.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

just all a-buzz

Come to be Bees at the Bee art show this weekend! My pendant will be there. And I will too, though I probably won't be there right at 3pm (no can do).

I'm working on a pretty cool piece right now. It's a commissioned piece that has to be shipped out by the end of the month, it'll be done in a few days. Since it's a gift I won't show it here til the recipient sees it though.

Sorry, I just don't have much to say lately!

Sunday, May 02, 2010


It's Sunday night, a few minutes before midnight as I start writing this. I'm exhausted, and I'm wishing I would have made my bed right after the laundry was done instead of waiting til now, because all I want to do is crawl into bed and go to sleep. I have to take birds way the heck out to Sacramento tomorrow to ship them. This'll be the second time in a month that I've shipped birds, after about a 12 year hiatus from it. (Because it's a pain in the butt, but sometimes a necessary evil). There will be one more shipment to go in one more week, and then the chicken flock will be greatly reduced, and I'm glad. Just a couple more weeks of selling eggs left this season, and OMG again this weekend someone is incapable of following the "24 hours to pay" specification. Really? REALLY? Ugh that gripes me, it's way over 48 hours now and not a peep from them.

Anyway, it's been super crazy busy, the weekend was a blur. Last week was a blur. Same with the weekend before.

On Friday I went on a tour of the Gladding McBean factory with my mom and grandpa (who had been visiting for a week). I freaking love Gladding McBean. I've been on the tour 3 times (it's for the Feats of Clay show). They manufacture ceramic sewer pipes, roof tiles, etc from local (Lincoln, CA) clay. There is a huge amount of fascinating old stuff in the factory, and I just am crazy about that place. Brings back a lot of memories of doing ceramics work in college, and yes I will admit I definitely miss sculpting!

Sewer pipes!

Walking amidst the beehive kilns (HUGE!)

This brings back memories of firing kilns! Though the ones at school were of course much smaller!

Today I made cupcakes for a baby shower/BBQ and I used a whacky frosting recipe from The Pioneer Woman's site. It's cooked. And whipped. And wonderful. But it looks weird, which might scare people. But the cupcakes are even from scratch. That's just how I roll. Super yum, as a friend of mine would say!

I've started working on sewing tablecloths for Blade Show. 8 yards of black velvet and 3 yards of cream satin. Oh my. Good thing I'm driving, I'd exceed the airline luggage weight limit just with all this darn fabric! But it'll look amazing. I wish there was a bigger table to stretch it all out on for pinning/cutting/sewing!

I was going to caption this "do these ducks look indecisive to you? They seem a little on the fence to me." and then I realized they're not really on a fence per se, just posts, but you get the idea.

Oh. Em. Gee. I am so tired.