Tuesday, August 31, 2010

hello Avalon, goodbye (soon) Taurus

After 15 years of driving my 1994 candy apple red Ford Taurus, the time has nearly come to say goodbye. Part of the San Diego trip, in addition to the wedding, was driving my "new" car home. It's a 1998 Toyota Avalon. I'm not sure what color that is... taupe perhaps?

It was my grandparents' car, but my grandpa recently stopped driving, and I inherited the car. It runs great, and though it has a few cosmetic bits of "character" (uh, it bumped into a lot of things in the last year of its previous ownership...) I'm thrilled to own it. I do feel a bit like I'm cheating on the Taurus or something though, this will take some getting used to before I'm accustomed to the Avalon. I have not yet figured out what I'll do with the Taurus. I'd like to sell it, but it's been made clear that having people ("strangers") come look at it isn't going to be allowed here, so I'm kind of stuck. I'm sure no used car place will want to fix up and resell a car that old with that many miles, and selling it for scrap won't put much in my pocket. I've known that car for 15 years, been through a lot of good and bad things with it. You can bet I'm going to be sappy and sentimental and cry when it goes away. If someone spent the money to give it a tuneup and fix the fuel pressure thingamabob that's messing up the mileage, I imagine it's still got some miles left as a commuter car. It was the mileage issue that kept me from driving it much in the last few months. I took the little pickup unless I was in dire need of air conditioning. And I didn't get the Taurus fixed because I knew I'd be getting the Avalon.

Whatever I do, I don't have time to mess with it til after I am back from Wyoming. Nor do I have time to wash the Avalon and clean the upholstery, which it desperately needs...

Want to buy a cheap Taurus? :-)

Monday, August 30, 2010

checking in....

Yup, I'm alive. I'm utterly swamped and though I've taken lots of photos of things I've intended to blog about, I tend to run out of time to do it.

I was down in San Diego over the weekend (drove down Friday, drove back Sunday) for my cousin's wedding. It was a lot of fun and so nice to see the extended family, but it's a whirlwind trip and taking time off right now makes me anxious.

Here are some beach photos from La Jolla to entertain you though:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August 25 work in progress and other stuff

OMG, I just realized when I wrote the date that I've lived in Wilton for 25 years today. Or pretty close to today, but August 25 is the date that sticks in mind. Wow.

Anyway, we'd been having this really abnormally cool summer, which was great. I should have talked about it more. It was really fantastic. Highs in the low 80s, nice breeze, I could do things like walk the dog AND ride the horse in the morning and not overheat in the slightest. Or comfortably work in the tool room in the barn in the mid afternoon without feeling like I might croak. Well, it changed. Now it's sort of over-compensating in the other direction.

Yup, 113.4 degrees and 10% humidity this afternoon. "At least it's a dry heat." I do mean that. But I'm inseparable from my lip balm lately, and walking outdoors makes you feel like your skin might just toast, desiccate, and blow away. I think it's going to be cool again next week. Weird.

I went to a concert up in Sutter Creek last Friday evening. I'm on the mailing list for the theatre there, and on a whim decided I'd really like an evening of culture and entertainment, rather than sitting at the microscope or watching the chickens or something. My friend Wendy went with me, and it was fantastic. The musicians were Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas playing Scottish fiddle and cello, respectively. I was in awe, and totally loved it. I'd really like to do that sort of thing more often. Seems I'm often gone on the dates of shows I'd like to see though!

We've reached the tail end of the peach and nectarine season, and the plums are gone. Eating the last nectarine is always a major tragedy in the house-hold, but it's been a lot of work! Total for the whole season (strawberry, apricot, blackberry, peach, nectarine) I made 123 jars of jam, froze several quarts of blackberries, froze probably 5 blackberry pie fillings, Mom made and froze 5 peach pie fillings, I baked a bunch of pies and cobblers, pureed and froze about 2 quarts of peaches (for smoothies!), and canned... get this... 26 quarts of assorted sliced peaches and nectarines. TWENTY SIX. Holy steam and sugar, batman! I did that all on my own! And mostly in one day. I still can't believe that last year I did all this with my thumb in a splint. And my neighbor shakes her head and says "I can't believe some man hasn't just swooped you up already." ;-) Yeah, me neither. ;-)

I'm super busy, things are really kind of a blur, there are so few work days left before I go, and still so much to do. I started a new piece that's actually NOT for the Western Visions show, it's for a scrim show in Rhode Island in late September. No, I won't be going there myself. Anyway, I need to make something very un-western for it so I won't be tempted to take it to WY instead, and this is an idea I've had for a while. I'll tell you the title later.

To do:
more scrim!
order frames
design and order new business cards
clothes shopping (blech, yuck!), need outfits for show
update portfolio
create and print explanation of scrimshaw process
create and print "care of scrimshaw" brochures for buyers

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

ladybug scrimshaw pendant

Given the popularity of the bee pendant, I thought a ladybug would be a good one too. I actually did this as my "donation item" for the Western Visions show... but I might donate something else instead. I don't know yet. I am required to donate a piece to the raffle, or silent auction or whatever it is. I'll either put in this one, or sell this one and donate "Lion Around" instead. "Lion Around" lacks the impact of my current work, I'll readily admit, but has the novelty of being the third piece I ever did (if you're wondering, you'll likely never see the first one, and the second one is sold). Hmmmmm, we'll see.

Anyway, the ladybug pendant is ~3/8 by 1-1/8 inch (10 by 28 millimeters) and is a multicolor scrimshaw on a particularly nice piece of mammoth ivory. The outer bark of the ivory is a very unique green and brown color pattern.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wolf scrimshaw finished

Scrimshaw + furry animals = yay! :-) They are my favorite subject matter, so much fun!!!

"Catching the Scent"
scrimshaw on pre-ban elephant ivory
approx 1-5/8 by 1-3/4 inches (40x45mm)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

glass or no glass?

The wolf scrim is about an hour or two from completion, which will happen tomorrow. I'll just keep you in suspense til then. :-)

Planning ahead a bit, I will need to order frames for several new scrim pieces before the show in Jackson. I've had them framed in several different styles, some pretty posh and some more simple. This is one of the really top notch frames:

It has glass on it. Most of them do. But I'm second-guessing that and would appreciate some input on it. The upside is it keeps them safely protected and unquestionably clean. Glass keeps the dust out. On the down side, the reflection can make it hard to really appreciate the work. See, it reflects the lights and such:

I actually think they might look nicer without glass. People want to touch scrim. That's fine! Just don't do it with greasy fingers, ink-removing solvent, or sandpaper! I guess the thing that most concerns me is that dust would collect inside the frame. That could be blown out, but do you think that's a problem?

What do you think, glass or no glass? If you owned one (or if you actually DO own one), would you rather be able to see the piece without anything covering it? Thanks!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

weekend "jam session" and other nonsense

Oh my, this has been a busy one. In the midst of all this fruity stuff, there was a doggie play date and training session (for a friend's dog) yesterday afternoon (I must take pictures of Angus and his buddy playing some time!) and I got up at the crap of dawn and went to a poultry auction this morning. Other than that, here's my weekend:

Right, you know I can't resist photographing Olin. Sometimes, when he's not nestled into packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or expensive silk, he likes plain unadorned boxes. Priority Mail medium flat rate boxes are just the right fit:

I washed a lot of jars in preparation for the jam session:

Starting on the jam:

But he's just so cute!:

Jam done (3 batches of peach, 3 batches of nectarine), starting on the canning:

Oh my, they are so glorious:

And big (that's a softball):

And heavy:

And delicious:

Canning done, at least for now... I actually may do more but that was all the jars I had today, and all the urgently ripe fruit. That's 19.5 quarts:

There are still a lot of nectarines on the tree:

The big peaches are almost all gone now:

But the little peach tree isn't even quite ripe yet. Oh my goodness I need more people to come over and pick it!:

The big hens were being awful about eating their own eggs. So I gave them permanent free-range status. Now they leave their eggs in the corner of the barn every day. Such nice girls:

Mmmm mmm, a beautiful jam session! ;-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

August 13 work in progress

Not yet titled
scrimshaw in progress on pre-ban elephant ivory

This is going to be pretty fun. :-)

what I'll be doing this weekend

Consider these the "before" pictures. Oh yes, and that's only what's fallen off the trees in the last 24 hours. :-0

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Swan scrimshaw on mother of pearl

This isn't the world's greatest photo. Unfortunately I can't scan it like I usually do, because of the weird reflective properties of MOP. It's weird in a lot of ways! Does it look kinda bumpy? It's not, it's quite flat.

I'm very pleased with this, but have mixed feelings about MOP as a surface for scrim. It would really just depend on the image I guess. Some things will not work. It sure is nice to be working on ivory again now! ;-)

I wish you could all hold this in your hand, it's pretty wild the way the light hits it.

"Tundra Elegance" (Tundra Swan)
3/4 by 2 inches
multicolor scrimshaw on white Mother of Pearl

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baby: 1, Blackberry Pie: 0

J and L and my sweet little niece C were over for dinner a couple days ago. I made a blackberry pie for the occasion. This was the first time baby C had encountered blackberry pie, and she was hilariously enthusiastic. ;-)

I'd like to think this translates into "Two thumbs up for the pie, Aunt ICantPronounceYourName!" but really she was just smearing it in her eyeballs and everywhere else:

Ah, plate-licking, passed from one generation to the next! She's a Plumer! You had to be there, but this was so danged funny I think we all about fell off our chairs. I think she likes it. ;-)

White-tailed Kites

There is a pair of White-tailed Kites nesting along the creek. I think they may be working on the second brood? I've seen some around that I can ID as juvenile, and yet there is still a bird sitting tight on the nest. I like them.

A Kestrel, a Red-shouldered Hawk (heavily molting!) and a White-tailed Kite all in the same pic!

This is a juvenile Kite:

Monday, August 09, 2010

a day in the life of Olin













8pm: (outdoors)

9pm: (outdoors)