Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Please fasten your seat belts, and put your tray tables and seat backs in the upright and locked position. 2012 is going to be a wild ride, and the captain thinks we might experience some turbulence. ;-)

Happy New Year everyone! Here's hoping 2012 treats us all well!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the big news, and a Christmas list

Hmmm, how to break some big news to you all...

Should I just come out and say it?


No, I'm not getting married. That would definitely be more shocking than the real news. ;-)

I am, however, moving. Moving out. Moving away. Friends of mine who own a ranch in the mountains east of Redding (Oak Run, CA) have asked me to move up there, and I've said yes. After determining that all my necessary "stuff" will fit (just barely!) in the barn loft that I will call home, and giving it excessively careful consideration as I am prone to doing, I realized that I'd have to be crazy not to do it. So... a grand new adventure will begin next year, and I'm excited!!! I will probably be leaving Wilton in mid to late April.*

There are a lot of people and traditions here I will miss sooooo much and it definitely makes me sad to move away from so many people I care so much about, but hey, I'll be less than 200 miles away; there's no excuse for not visiting me! :-) And since I'll still have family here, with all the holidays and birthdays and artsy things, I will probably be back fairly often...

There are still a million things to figure out. The most daunting thing to me actually seems to be how to relocate all the birds. I will be cutting back even more, but will keep the BBRed flock and a few other birds, but this means starting from scratch with chicken coops, in a land with lions and tigers and bears oh my. Well, maybe not lions and tigers, but there are raccoons and coyotes and bears. Oh em gee...

Yes, I'm taking the horses! And Olin too. Angus and Homer will stay with my mom.

I will of course still be working in fine art/scrimshaw. I think you all know me well enough to know I'd drive off a cliff if I had to stop doing that. ;-)

Surprised? I'm sure. :-) So, local people, if you need something from me while I'm still living here (photo shoot, road trip, baking for any more weddings, hot date, etc.), don't miss your chance. ;-) Time will fly...

Are there things I need? Goodness yes, a lot, big stuff like a computer and chicken houses (eeek!) Pardon the utter shamelessness which I am about to embark upon, but here's my Christmas (New Year, Birthday, Valentine's Day, Easter, etc) list:

I want people to buy art!!! I won't have space to take it all with me (I am moving into less than 400 square feet). Drawings are here and scrimshaw is here.

If Santa Claus is reading this, or if I have any secret admirers out there in blogland who are desperately wanting to lavish me with gifts (hey it's almost Christmas, and my birthday AND Valentines Day are in less than two months!), I'm not usually in need of "stuff" but these next few months will be different! Gift cards... Did you know Apple has gift cards?!?! (Did I mention I have to buy a new computer?) (I even have a wish list of things I think of that I'll need, though I'm making a list for my own purposes to keep track of things I think of, you're welcome to look at it even though the contents are a bit eclectic)... Or maybe Home Depot or Tractor Supply for chicken house building stuff. IKEA? Winning lottery tickets?

I'll have a lot to blog about, won't I...

*that's the current timeline, life is subject to change, but I'm pretty sure that's when...

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 14 work in progress

Okay, oh my goodness, December is a really busy month. No, I'm not getting much scrimshaw done lately, I'm afraid I just have 4350934850983 other things going on at the moment. But there is at least a little progress. Actually I have more done than what's pictured here tonight, but it's at an ugly stopping point (no worries, I just mean one wing is half-shaded), and besides the camera is in the other room AND it's after midnight and all I can think about is flannel sheets and the cat that's already curled up on my bed.


If you're one of my readers who visits the studio in person sometimes, you'd maybe notice I have the desk set up a little different than usual. Because the knife is so very large, I didn't want to use my vise for it, but feel MUCH safer keeping it on the tabletop. So I've pulled the table forward up over the top of the vise stand. Works pretty well that way! And I'm remembering how much I like keeping my elbows on the table when I work. Maybe this will become my default setup again, I'll have to think about that. Working on a piece of this size can get pretty awkward, and that's part of the reason I keep it thoroughly padded and taped, so as not to skewer body parts that I would rather not have skewered.... I was going to post a photo to illustrate this, but it seemed like a pretty gratuitous boob photo (I'm sure at least one of you would have enjoyed that though) so you'll have to use your imagination....

So yeah, some progress! As you can now see, this side features the F4U Corsair. There will be a very full background. What will it be? Well, just wait and see!

And I would just like to say that putting the border on the curved upper and lower edge of this knife was really hard. I'm feeling very happy to working on a mostly-flat surface though, unlike the pistol grips which required me to constantly refocus the scope every time I moved them!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

a hummingbird story

This morning, my mom found a hummingbird that was somehow stuck to the hummingbird feeder. I never quite figured out how that happened, but nevertheless, it was stuck.

The bird, a female Anna's Hummingbird, was in pretty sad shape. Who knows how long she'd been hanging there. She was fluffed up mostly kept her eyes closed... very weak.

I knew she needed to get some food if she was going to recover, I remember learning that hummingbirds expend so much energy flying that they have to eat often, so I mixed up a little bowl of hummingbird food. It didn't take her long to figure out where the good stuff was, and she eagerly drank and drank and drank. I sat with her perched in my hand for well over an hour as she warmed up and refueled.

My niece Chloe came over for a visit and was pretty enthralled with the little bird. We named her "Princess Hummingbird" and she was very gentle about petting the little bird.

Look at those little feet! :-)

Much perkier!

Once the bird was bright-eyed, awake, looking around, and starting to move her wings around while sitting in my hands, I decided it was time to put her outside. I carefully placed her on the perch of the hummingbird feeder. She sat there for a bit, drinking more, and then buzzed away out into the yard.

Quite an experience holding such a little thing. :-)

Saturday, December 03, 2011

the next scrimshaw project

Okay, this is the beginnings of part two of the Greatest Generation project, a very large knife. Here's a pic I posted months ago before starting anything:

And here it is all wrapped and taped and padded so I can work on it:

The WWII theme will continue here, of course. This is one that has undergone a lot of changes. My client's original suggestions did not turn out to be feasible options for this piece, so there was a lot of brainstorming to come up with other ideas. My mind was actually sparked while perusing an article in one of my art magazines about a photographer of horses. The photos had these dark moody clouds in the background that really caught my attention, and that got me thinking about the sky, which got me thinking about airplanes.... AIRPLANES! Yeah! Those can be compositionally arranged to fit a long narrow space! That idea went over well and we were off and running. So the knife will feature a few of the iconic airplanes from WWII, one side representing the European theatre and the other side representing the Pacfic theater (corresponding to the Patton and MacArthur images on the pistol grips).

Now, I should have gotten a lot more done in the last few days, but guess who totally mashed her right thumb into the wall a few days ago while, um... I hate to even admit this... hunting rats... Yeah, that would be me. It's finally feeling better today (and what a lovely shade of purplish blue!) but it had all the strength of a bag of jell-o there for a little bit. I'm bad for thumbs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

more better

Thanks for the suggestions on yesterday's post about the coop door. Obviously I don't know much about raccoons, and I haven't managed to trap the varmint yet either. But I made the door on the little house in the pullet pen ("little house in the pullet pen"... could be a novel or something, right?) a bit more Fort-Knox-ish today.

That plastic mesh is a whole lot stronger than you might think (I can barely cut it with a wire-cutter!) but I put a piece of wire fence over the top, and then added another strip of wood to keep little prying fingers from the bottom of it.

Oh, and yes the latches are quite tight! :-)

Monday, November 28, 2011

ugly but functional!

There has been a terrible predator problem this fall, and a lot of coops were not originally built to be very predator-proof, because, well, there weren't predators to contend with. Boy that has changed all of a sudden. One of mom's big chickens was nabbed from the coop two nights ago and dragged out into the pasture (trail of feathers). I found her dead in the morning, missing her head and one wing. Oh geez that is heart-wrenching. :-(

The ground conditions were different than when Pablo disappeared. It was muddy, and the footprints I found by the fence between the corral and creek (by the gap where the water drains out to the creek) really shocked me.

Raccoon tracks, after almost 14 years of never having a raccoon on the place:

And... fox tracks?!?! Yikes! These are too small for Angus and too big for the cats and there haven't been any dogs visiting here.

For comparison, this is footprint from Angus (dog). Much larger, with big deep claw marks:

So I had to build some hasty modifications onto the coops that are out by the barn. I'll be the first to admit my construction skills really suck. Sometimes I think I have it all planned out but I always end up redoing something. I make things the wrong size, I put the hinges in the wrong place, it ends up all wonky... sigh. On the upside, this crappy stuff will manage to get the job done, and I used all scrap stuff from around the barn, so it didn't cost a dime.

On the egg chicken coop, one of the modifications was to put a little door on it so I can close the birds in at night. That way anything that comes in through the outdoor run can't get to them. They don't appreciate being jailed at night, but I don't think they appreciate being murdered either.

From the outside, open and closed:

From the inside, open and closed (fancy hinges, eh? It was the only matching pair I could find in the "hinges" container!):

The aviary that has all my show pullets is even more vulnerable. Closer to the creek, and totally not raccoon-proof. So I built them a door too to keep them in the little house at night. They don't appreciate being jailed either. And I don't love having to go out after dark every day to tuck in the birds, but... I gotta do it.



By the way this is my 1500th blog post.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

May you all have a wonderful day today, surrounded by people who bring you joy, and I hope you get to eat some delicious food! And as always, here's hoping for a minimum of family drama. ;-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"The Greatest Generation" Colt 1911 Grips

Woo hoo, the grips are done! I am really, really, really thrilled by how these turned out. This is a tremendous project to be involved in (and a tremendously large project!). I'm all smiles. :-)

Here they are!

You want closeups? You got it!

What, not close enough? Okay.

Seriously, more detail? Okay... fine, but that's all you get.

Next up, the knife! With airplanes! Thankfully the time pressure is off, nobody involved was going to be ready for a Dec 1 deadline. *WHEW*