Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

just plain busy

June always seems to be a busy month. I don't know, something about the halfway point of the year, where I look at back and look forward but sometimes get so sidetracked I barely look at what I'm doing right now. I'm also gone about as much as I'm home this month. Actually, let me look that up [looks at calendar] indeed yes I have been or will be gone for 14 of the 30 days in this month. It's all good, just a little crazy.

Speaking of crazy, it's sprinkling outside. I was quite enjoying the cool weather though. Not complaining! Just observing. :-)

I made a whirlwind drive to San Diego and back over the weekend for a memorial service. The 500 mile drive took a horrendous 11 hours on Friday. Construction on I-5 at the southern end of the central valley put me in Los Angeles at the WRONG time (then again, is there any right time on a Friday??) and it took for-freaking-ever to get through there. Anyway I had a really good visit with relatives down there, seemed less crazy than Christmas often is. Sad occasion for a gathering, obviously, but an enjoyable time with everyone.

Raining a little more...

The various baby animals are growing like weeds. I stopped hatching several weeks ago, goodness knows how many birds I ended up with. A lot, but not in the colors that I hoped for. I have some big decisions to make. I always seem to have big decisions to make about the birds. Obviously the whole "I'm selling all my birds" notion of a year or so ago didn't pan out. Good, I would have regretted that.

Okay now it's pouring rain...

But seriously, some chickeny things need to change for various reasons, not all of which are blog-ready yet. I do have the opportunity to buy back a flock of BBReds, and that might be a really good thing for my flock (they are of my line, sold years ago). I don't have room for everything though, so something else would have to go, and I'm not sure what. At any rate I need to make up my mind asap.

Still pouring.

I don't know I blogged about this, but I have this fantastic little baking "gig" if you will. I'm testing out dessert recipes for a friend. She wants to have a dessert buffet at her daughter's wedding and has all these recipes to try out but no time to bake them herself. So I'm doing it! She bought all the ingredients, all I have to do is make them, try some, and give them away to my friends! Have I mentioned that I seriously like to spoil people with desserts? Ummm yeah, I'm loving this. I have an album on my facebook page for it, but haven't been posting pics here...

I hope I didn't leave anything out in the rain... I probably did.

I have lots of work lined up in the art and scrimshaw department, including some very very big things! The dragon knife that I posted recently was offered as part of the quarterly custom sale on the William Henry site, and it sold! Awesome, I'm so happy that it's in the hands of a collector now. Ooh I need to update my website... I'll add that to my ever-growing to-do list.

Anyway that's about it. I swear time is flying like never before. When people start calling and asking if I'm alive, I guess that means it's time to blog about something. :-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

just a few photos

We had the first super hot day of summer today. On the first day of summer. And I'm already tired of the hot weather. I really think I get wimpier every year! Even Olin got a little melty. This is going to rank right up there among my favorite photos of him.

There are a lot more California Quail around this year then I've seen before. I actually took this a couple weeks ago, but forgot about it. They are so skittish they're darn near impossible to photograph, or get anywhere near, so this was taken through my bedroom window, oh well.

And here's another terrible photo, pardon it being blurry, I was holding the The Beast camera up over my head to try to get this and it was dark outside. One of the baby owls was peering out of the nest box just before it got all the way dark outside. By the time I got my camera and went back out, it was totally dark, and the owl had stepped back, so this is what I got by "shooting in the dark."

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 20 work in progress

Here's something new that I started recently:

not yet titled
9 by 13.5 inches
colored pencil and graphite on tan Stonehenge paper
sold, commission

Friday, June 17, 2011

American Bittern chicks

Remember how I hatched out those Common Moorhens a couple weeks ago? Well, I got to hatch something else pretty silly too. American Bitterns! Those are kind of like herons for those of you who aren't bird nerds, and if you don't know what a heron is please go look all these names up. ;-)

I see Bitterns flying over here from time to time, and have certainly heard them while out bird-nerding in marshy areas. Don't know what a Bittern sounds like? Here's a video I found on line:

Anyway... shortly before I left for Blade Show, my friend Anne, who also found the Moorhens while out cutting hay, brought me 4 mystery eggs from a nest that had been destroyed. They were dark olive in color (like a pheasant) but more similar in size to a teal, but not the right color for a teal. I was stumped, but guessed Bittern based on the size and color of the eggs, so I'm totally stoked that I was right. It was pretty shocking to see those big gangly beaky things unfold themselves out of the eggs. I was trying to describe them to a friend, and I said "imagine Big Bird as a baby." Yeah, I think that covers it. Two of the eggs were dead when I got them, but the other two hatched right after I got home. Of course I had to take a million photos, and these birds were so funny I really couldn't narrow it down. I'll post some videos on Facebook later. They are loud babies, bottomless pits when it comes time to eat, and spent a lot of time pecking their own and each other's toes. I am not raising them, they are now with the same nice lady from a wildlife organization who is also raising the Moorhens.

These pics were taken at a few different times. By the end, the oldest chick was 48 hours and the younger one (which was not hatched yet in the first pics) was 24 hours old.

The Dragon Knife!

I finally got the photo a couple of days ago! When I'm working on the William Henry knives, I never have the whole complete knife in hand, so I can't shoot my own photos. I LOVE how this turned out, and if someone doesn't buy this real quick... they are seriously missing out.

TITLE: The Dragon Knife
Knifemaker: William Henry Knives
Engraver: Jim Small
Scrimshander: Katherine Plumer
DATE: © 2011
SIZE: the ivory scales are 2 and 1/8 inches in length
MEDIUM: scrimshaw engraving on ancient mammoth ivory
PRICE: contact William Henry Knives

Photo above by William Henry Studio. Photos below by me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

the cutest kid

It is my job, as the proud aunt, to remind you every now and then that my niece is the cutest and smartest kid in the universe. No disrespect to all my friends' cute and smart kids, of course, because some of them are pretty darn adorable too.

Here we are studying the fine art of relaxation in the hammock. I even got her to say the word "relaxing." It was brilliant. We looked at the sky and the trees and the birds flying over, and she sighed and said "relaxing." Ah yes, it's an important skill!

Speaking of skills, here she is displaying an interest in the Kitchenaid mixer. Oh yes, I'll make a baker out of her some day! For now she was happy just to wear my old apron and hold a measuring cup while I whipped up a batch of cookies.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blade Show and the Engrave-In

For reference, the things I talk about in this post happen in the following places:

It really didn't seem like a year had passed since I was last at Blade Show. Time flies! The trip had a whole different flavor this year, since I flew instead of drove, since the Engrave-In was beforehand instead of afterwards, since I was on my own this time, and since I wasn't a first-timer this year. Could it be that I've gotten so used to travel and shows that they barely make me nervous anymore? Wow. :-)

The day I left, I awoke to a foggy morning. I went out to feed in jeans and a sweatshirt that morning. That will be the last cool weather I'll see for a while, I'm sure.

I flew out last Tuesday afternoon. Miraculously, I fit everything into one carry-on suitcase and a backpack. Of course I'd shipped a suitcase-sized box ahead with my display stuff, but all the original scrimshaw and all my clothing and multitude of shoes went with me. I'm still not sure how I managed that. I friend of mine told me that I packed lighter than any woman he's ever known. I'm flattered. Packing light is not my strong point....

I have mixed feelings about flying. I love to look the out the window. I do that in a car or a bus too, but flying gives a pretty cool view of how the terrain changes, and no matter how many times I see the tops of the clouds, it amazes me every time. But I hate the crowds and the hassle and the uncomfortable seats. I took Southwest on the way there and Delta on the way back and I have to say Southwest is way more comfortable. If it wasn't for the pain-in-the-butt factor of flying, I'd enjoy it more. A private jet would be nice. Especially if it includes some handsome feller on board to rub my feet after I wear stupid high heels all day. Mmm yes.

Leaving the Sacramento valley:

Somewhere between Sacramento and Phoenix:

Somewhere between Phoenix and Nashville::

I got into Nashville at the absurdly late hour of midnight. Why did I do that? Simple answer, the flight was WAY cheaper, and my sweet and wonderful friend Emily said she didn't mind picking me up. What would life be without wonderful friends?? I guess mine was the only flight getting in that late, the plane was half empty (a whole row of seats to myself! I tried to stretch out and sleep but that's impossible for a leggy person to do on an airplane no matter how many seats one has!) and the airport was utterly deserted. We took a bit of a, um, scenic detour on the way back to where Emily lives (her family hosts the Engrave-In) so we rolled into the driveway around 3am. Getting up a few hours later was a challenge.

But there's nothing like some cannon-shooting to liven up one's morning! Yup, a real cannon. You see (and eat) things in Tennessee that you don't find in California.

Here's Emily shooting the cannon:

What else happens at the Engrave-In? There are a few educational seminars, people show off their work, there's a lot of sitting around talking, I took a nap, people play music (these engraver people are very musical), and we eat a lot of extremely delicious food. On Wednesday night for dinner we were served shrimp, fried catfish, alligator (yeah I ate alligator!), hushpuppies, coleslaw, watermelon, and lots of dessert. OMG yum! And then I sat and watched fireflies over the pond. Fireflies! What a novelty! (We don't have those here). It's really an excuse for a social thing, that to me is what it's about. Last year it was after the Blade Show, but this year due to their family schedule it ended up beforehand. I much prefer it to be afterwards, I'd rather do my work first and then go party, but nevertheless I had a great time and am glad I was able to attend.

Emily brought her horse Rebel under the shade tarps to meet people (and eat watermelon!)

Sam, the orange cat, on the jeep. That cat gets into everything! He was just a kitten last year.

Emily and Forrest picking blue raspberries and mulberries. I gotta give props to Tennessee, it grows good berries. I've never had blueberries like the wild ones I ate last year, and our mulberry trees here and bland and boring compared to those!

After lunch on Thursday I hitched a ride with another engraver to Atlanta, which is about three hours away. I checked in at the show and checked in at the hotel and hit the hay as early as I could!

This was the view from my hotel room, the Cobb Galleria is where I would be set up for Blade Show for the next three days:

This is my table. You may recognize the arrangement from the way I had it set up at the Western Visions show in Wyoming last fall. I liked how that looked so I sewed a new tablecloth this year and set it up the same way. It was just me this year, I did not share a table. Now let me just say, because people often ask, yes it is hard doing all this alone. More than once I heard "I can't believe you're here by yourself!" Well... thanks? It's not like I have a choice. If the day ever comes when I get to share all this fun stuff with some else, that would be swell! Anyway... in the mean time I say again thank goodness I have the best friends on the planet. :-)

I said something on Facebook recently about how the world would be a better place if all the drivers who are too rude or stupid to move the #$%& over and not nearly run me over when I'm out walking Angus would vanish off the earth. I was told I need to carry some sort of sharp object. I found the perfect thing at Blade Show. It was a tad out of budget and therefore I did not buy it, but hello is that badass or what??? I really would need to wear the Xena outfit to get away with that though. I think I know a few guys who could make me one of these.

And the weekend flew past. I made some sales. I got some orders. I made some important connections with some very important people. I liked my table location better this year, I felt like I was more a part of the action, and having been there before it seemed like my work got more attention this year, more noticed. Heck I even got interviewed, which means I made an absolute nerd of myself and someone recorded it, oh dread! It was a good show! I nearly finished a drawing that I'd brought to work on (note to self, do this again! Drawing there is a very good thing to do!). I had a great time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I could hardly believe how quickly it went by.

Before I knew it I was back on an airplane. Flying west in the evening is like watching the longest sunset you can imagine. It wasn't too colorful but every time I'd close my eyes for a bit and then look out the window, it was the same state of "almost darkness"... for hours. Seeing the sun glint pinkish gold off the TOPS of the clouds is something everyone should experience in life. That said, I preferred the cross-country drive last year. I couldn't have done it this year, it wasn't practical, but I'll do it again some year for sure. Even if I have to do it alone. ;-)

I came home to hot weather, eggs hatching, things to do, and life as usual...

And I may never catch up on blogging!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

barn owl update (OMG!!!!!!!)

I gave up on the barn owls quite some time ago, probably almost a month ago. The female had been sitting for well over a month, I'd never heard babies, and then I stopped seeing her at all. No fresh pellets or droppings or dead stuff in the barn, and not once did I ever see the male. I figured nothing had hatched, for any multitude of reasons. I hear owls at night, but hadn't seen any around the barn for a long time.

Shortly before I left for Blade Show, I was out in the barn and thought I heard something thumping around in the owl nest box. I made a lot of noise, nothing flew out, so I figured sound was just bouncing off the wall or something.

Early this afternoon I was out in the barn visiting the horses with a friend, and I heard something in the owl box again. Noooo, couldn't be. I figured there must be rodents up in the loft or something nesting under the eaves....

Late this afternoon I was talking about owls with another friend, and I mentioned how mine had failed (again) this year, and hadn't hatched anything at all.

This evening I heard the noises again. Curiosity got the better of me and I had to look. I was afraid I would find either an injured adult, unable to leave the box, or one half-starved baby that had consumed all of its siblings. Or maybe a family of rats. I put on jeans and long sleeves, welding gloves, and a face mask (overkill? Yes... But better safe than sorry!) and climbed the ladder with a mirror and a flashlight.

To my absolute amazement, what I saw was four BIG healthy babies, several weeks old, or more? OMG!!! I was shocked. That means not only did she hatch them, and not kill them, but she's actively feeding them despite me not having seen her for weeks.

Here's a photo of their reflection in the mirror. There is one is in the lower left, mostly blocked by my thumb. There is some sort of dead thing on the right that I can't identify, it may be a fifth (youngest) sibling, that would not be unusual for not all the babies to live. Or it could be a rodent, I'm not sure. At any rate, OMG babies!!! :-)

Olin allergy update

I'm sure you don't really love looking at pics of my cat's nether regions, but woo hoo look at that!

He's turning into a normal furry cat again. Poor thing has been on a twice-a-day dose of Benadryl for months. He has not received any meds for the last week because Mom doesn't like to give pills and I was gone for most of that, so I guess we'll see how he does off meds. So far so good...

Sunday, June 05, 2011

dragon scrimshaw pendant

This is the last piece that will be completed before Blade Show. I don't know if I'll be blogging while I'm gone. Probably not, best to figure that I won't be. :-)

This is pretty much the same dragon that I scrimmed on the knife recently, I liked it so much I wanted to use it as a subject in something else. I'm still waiting for knife photos, so I'll probably have to post those when I return.

Dragon (Pendant)
scrimshaw on pre-ban elephant ivory
30 by 42 millimeters, sterling silver setting

This piece is for sale.

random pics

Just a couple pics from the last few days from when I happened to have my camera in my pocket. The weather is sooo strange, we've had a lot of rain in the last few days.

No matter how busy one gets, one should always have at least a few minutes to lounge in the hammock and stare at the clouds. :-) Sometimes other animals like to share the hammock too!

And then the next day it rained a lot.