Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in the kitchen

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We had a nice little Christmas by ourselves. Our family is all a thousand miles away, so we have gotten used to a quiet kind of Christmas. And it was a White Christmas this year, so that was very nice.

As in other years, i'm still putting presents together. I just CANNOT ~no matter how good my intentions and how strong i think my will to do so is~ get my gifts together and posted in time for Christmas. Epic fail, as my kids would say.

I got a fabulous set of pots and pans from DH. I think that's why i spent Christmas afternoon in the kitchen without even a grumble! Nothing like fine cookware to bring out the Julia Child, eh? My candied yams were delectable. I used less sugar and added slivered orange rind to my cranberry sauce, and it was awesome. My gravy wasn't even lumpy!

Because of the subzero temps, i've got my torch clamped to the kitchen table. I'm working on a transparent purplish series of beads.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Owl love

My youngest niece, Holly, loves birds. We believe it started with her attachment to a funny little stuffed toy owl, but there again, why choose the funny little owl toy when you have cute little kitty and teddy toys to choose from? It seems to be a genuine bird thing, because she also really likes ducks. I just made this little owl beanie toy for her.

I borrow this book from the library over and over again because the toys, although very small, are designed with the nature of the animal in mind. I've sewn up many of these patterns over the years, and i don't know anywhere else that you can find a beanie walrus pattern (really good). Some of the patterns are a little fussy, and i won't make them again, but many can be done in just a few hours. I'm going to do a wiener dog for one of my older nieces--teenagers need handmade stuffed animals, too.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

and it only took five years

I've been working on my part of a kids' book project, off and on, for a very long time. Maybe not five years, but at least two or three. In that time, my BIL has had a child and made his daughter a couple of really sweet books for the last couple of Christmases, and i think that is so wonderful. So i also used one of those online book-making websites and brought my project to the real, hardcopy, world. I am so proud of myself (see photo).

The two companies that i looked at were and They are really easy to use. Just pick a format and plunk your own files and text into it. Click the "order" button, make your payment, and within 3-5 days, your printed and bound books are shipped to you. I highly recommend it to anyone who has the dream to publish their own book!

It's a guilty pleasure

I haven't read the Twilight books (and haven't seen the movie), and i don't know that i ever will. But i have read all the Laurell K. Hamilton books. Which is an explanation in itself. Not that i don't think the Twilight writer must be a good writer. Lord knows Hamilton is not. But you don't read Hamilton for the nuances.

From what i understand, the Twilight books are very noble and as chaste as you can be while being totally titillating. The Hamilton vampire series was titillating until the 6th book and then innuendo was replaced with in-your-face descriptions of sex with vampires and werewolves. But that's only half of the reason why i like them. I love that the heroine is a killer in the bloodiest way. She isn't the classic female who twists her ankle as she's running away and some male has to kill the big bad vampire to save her. (Actually, if she isn't killing it, she's having consensual sex with it.)

I live in a small town and i visit the public library often. It was very unsettled when i realized that the librarians knew me by name and often commented on my book selections. I am actually embarassed when i check out the latest Hamilton or Charlaine Harris vampire romance pulp novel. But i can't help myself, cuz i do enjoy them.

So i hand over my library card and the incriminating books for check out, and hope that the librarian is too righteous to have any knowledge of these tepid examples of literature. Then i think, although she will not have read them herself, she will recognize them as "those disgusting vampire lust books from the Science Fiction shelf that no intelligent, self-respecting woman would ever read." And i think to myself, "Yeah, i know." But i also read the entire works of Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, Braughtigan, Cohen and Kafka before i was out of my teens, so please cut me some slack, library lady.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A couple of brilliant moves

Unheated studio and two weeks of frigid weather. Dear hubby even went out and bought a space heater, which really helps, but when you need to leave the windows and doors open for ventilation, "heater" is a bit too strong a word for it. It keeps the chill off my knees and postpones the grip of the deep, bone numbing chill that inevitably sets in.

But, in a flash of inspiration (go ahead and say it: Duh!), i brought my torch and equipment into the kitchen. Just one of the perks of using the propane gas torch system--no hoses and big tanks. To prevent the build-up of toxic fumes, i only do one bead at a go, taking a break between to yell at the kids or put a dish in the dishwasher, and i shake my head that i never thought of this before. And so my spread of junk around the house grows. And so my stock of BirthBones is building. But where are the sales!?

Second stroke of geniousness in as many days: I added a BirthBones Gift Certificate to my etsy shop. I was thinking: what if people are looking at my BirhtBones and saying to themselves, "Well, that would be an excellent unique little gift for Kathy, but i don't know her precious pooch's birthdate. Oh well." And now, they can just go ahead and buy the Gift Certificate, and cross Kathy off their list.

The BirthBones and a little charlie brown christmas tree of my minigourd snowman ornaments are now available in the Crafty Creations shop downtown. BirthBone sales have totally stalled at the vet's office. I will pack that one in if that doesn't change by mid month. Maybe they need to be in a business where you spend money on your pets frivolously, rather than out of medical necessity.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A tat like this

Even as a younger woman, i have never really wanted a tattoo. But i do appreciate a good tattoo on someone else. The topic of tattoos has come up several times in various places over the past few weeks, which has made me think about tattoos more. IF i were to get a tattoo, what kind would i get? Where on my body?

I toyed with the idea of a lifesized 3D spider tattoo in an ticklish area for a bit. I think this appeals to me because it would be small and i could keep it hidden if i wanted to, and as an arachniphobe, i would get alot of personal bang for the buck. But i wouldn't find it beautiful.

I thought about a foot tattoo. Maybe something soothing like a sea turtle. But then i remembered that i once decided that small tattoos were wimpy. That if you were going to get a tat, you might as well be serious about it.

And that's why, if i was going to get a tattoo, i would have to get something like this gorgeous big black and grey inked koi with stylized splash and blossoms. Oh yeah.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cookin up bones

I'm using my bead making time these days to make BirthBones beads. Not that they've been flying off the shelves in my etsy shop, though. But it strikes me that my best sales for the dog collar charms should be Christmas sales. So i'm renewing often on etsy, and getting another display board, outfitted with charms, to another vender in town. And then i will lean on friends to push BirthBones on all of their friends and acquaintances. Oh yes, i will stoop that low.

How do you like this T-shirt design? It is in an etsy shop (which is worth a look for it's public announcements). I believe the stated intent of this T-shirt is to do the speaking when the child you buy it for is quiet or shy. The T-shirt does the defending and the threatening, you see, and thereby protects the wearer from unwanted attention. I wouldn't be surprised if the potential perp would instead be scared off by the thought of the mother who dressed their child in this T-shirt.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Flower Photos. uh oh... Winter.

Pretty flower colors are no longer available in my garden. Although the winter will supply endless op's for dried weed photos.

After a very very nice week of fair fall weather, we are getting some winter temps and snowfall. The kids are nuts about snow and don't seem to mind the cold. But i barely tolerate it. I sure do miss our hot tub, but it is sitting empty in the back corner of the yard thinking about becoming a fish pond.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Special Parts

I just returned from spending an unexpected week back home. My father was hospitalized, but is back at home now and doing very well. He took these photos from his hospital room window. I don't know what these things are, but they serve some important function for the hospital. They make me think of our body's own complex little organs and tubes that carry out all the work that keeps us ticking. In the one picture, i like how the neat little black stairs provide access to the control panel and inner workings of those big ducts. Thank you, staff at the St. B., for keeping my dad ticking and taking his photographs for a while longer.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BirthBones Grand Opening!

If you haven't already done so, please drop by my new etsy shop,, for a look. Twelve months, so only twelve items in the shop. The listing for each month includes a horoscope for dogs born in that month. (I have never studied astrology, so take it with an extra grain of salt.) But they're fun.

I'm offering my charms with FREE SHIPPING. And with Christmas coming up, i hope that's a good enough incentive for pet lovers around the world to drop all sorts of orders in my In box. I'll be focusing on shop promotion for the next few weeks. And we'll see what happens!

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Charlotte", new beads

Aren't these fine beads? The customer, a jewelry designer, thought my Alien Aura pattern (with the clear lens) was close to what she wanted. She suggested making them without the clear lens in the middle, and these beauties were born. I really enjoy artistic collaboration.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Too many web id's

I think there is actually a point where you can have too many website ID's, and i think i just maxed out. I can sit here at the keyboard and go out of focus for a while trying to keep straight which account i'm in on what website in which window... But, I'm plugged in, right!? I don't have time to watch TV anymore, and that couldn't be entirely bad, could it? (I saw today that a study showed that the average American watches almost 5 hours of TV per day. And they made it sound like a bad thing. Hey, wait a minute, i think i saw it on TV...) One big difference is that my screen of choice has what i want on it, in fact i'm directing most of it.

The dedicated BirthBones shop is shaping up and i will be adding my own astrological interpretations of your dog's personality based on his/her month of birth. And then,... THEN i will announce the Grand Opening.

I have been working on a neat bead commission and will show the set next post. In the meanwhile, here is my much-talked-about cat, Archie. His 2 month old neck wound is almost healed, but not enough to leave bare to the elements just yet. He's quite used to, but sick of, wearing these bandages. Fortunately, he looks quite dashing in a turtleneck.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saturday is Tidy Day

Hey, boys and girls! It's time to play our favorite game: "What's On Your Kitchen Window Sill?"

You may know this game as "Who's the Bigger Weirdo?" Or maybe "And That's Why No One Stays For Dinner!"

Here's my kitchen window sill: a dried frog, a dried toad, a dried mouse, a duck skull, big beetle, a mud dauber wasp nest, three recently acquired (legitimately) kid's baby teeth, some kid art made from found wire and rocks, as well as some requisite fossil specimens. (Full disclosure: i did remove most of the dust and live spiders prior to photographing, and thereby canceled my hopes of winning.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I finally put these new beads in my etsy shop. Things have been busy for a while and i'm not getting the torch time that i like. But the things i've been busy with (babysitting, family obligations) are all good, so i'm not complaining, just excusing. :-)

I'm sure you will remember my cat, Archie, and the story about his gaping neck wound. It was 2 months ago that he dragged himself home with the skin of his neck missing. We never did learn what happened to him. He only has one section of skin left to regenerate. It's about 1 cm x 5 cm. I have to confess that until recently i've been taking him to our vet to change the bandages. I have since toughened up a bit and can do it myself with no queaziness at all. There will be much rejoicing when he has finally patched it all in with skin. His fur has filled in on the new skin that he has grown, although it's darker than the surrounding fur. And the stripes down the back of his neck have grown like they have been pulled to one side. But he has been a really happy cat, once he got through the bad first couple of days. Really amazing. I think that if i had a big patch of exposed muscle tissue, it would really bother me. But that's just me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

oh man, i couldn't post again without any photos, so here's a timely photo of red leaves. And my dog, Jack, for good measure.

I was wrestling with technology this morning. I am not computer savvy. I know my email, how to do web searches, some photo stuff, but that's about it. I'd like to learn it all, but one makes choices, you know? So after trying to figure out registering domain names and choosing website hosts and then making a webpage with ecommerce linkage, well, i just took the easier way out. So now i am in the middle of making a second etsy shop for my BirthBones lampwork pet charms. While most of my lampworking is targetted to jewelry makers/designers, my BirthBones are for dog lovers. That is quite a seperate customer and i need to be able to advertise and promote the charms differently. My BirthBones will soon be available by going to (I'll make a big Grand Opening posting.) The only negative to this is that the customer must register for an etsy account. Easy enough to do, but one gets leery of giving out one's personal info. Plus they would already have to have a PayPal account. I'm not sure how many people do PayPal. I prefer to use PayPal over giving out my credit card info any time, but probably different strokes, etc.

Monday, November 2, 2009

fell back

I enjoy the time change. It is much more pleasant to get up in the morning when the sun is also rising. I hate not posting with pics, but i'm just running off to bed to read Kathy Reich. Tune in tomorrow for the pictorial version. Just a quick note on things:

We had a nice halloween. I was a witch. I'm always a witch. The kids were Death. They're always Death. I don't know why i'm not more creative with Halloween costumes. But i sure do enjoy other people's costumes when they come up with clever ideas.

the weather is great! We've had enough frost that the marigolds and zinnia's have bitten it, but i harvested a big bunch of cilantro today and the mums still look good. The gourd vines have dried up and i see that i have fewer gourds than i thought. Aw. But there's a lovely big kettle/cannonball one.

With the nice weather, i've been able to spend time in my unheated workshop and i'll have some beads ready to list in a couple of days. I've got two sets of silver foil beads, and a princess bone beads order tentatively coming in. I may wait to run the kiln for annealing just one time. (I don't have a programmable kiln so i have to babysit it and it's easy to forget about it and before you know it it's 1200F and your beads are all melted. No, it's never actually gotten that bad, but it could! :-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Beans, Beads and Boards

It's "blustery" today. A perfect autumn day. I believe it might even be mild enough for me to be out in the workshop this afternoon. But, hmmmm.... what to work on? I seem to be without a lampwork plan. Often that will change as soon as i sit down in front of the torch and pick out a couple of rods of colored glass. Then i'll get an idea for something to try. I'll be counting on one of those spur of the moment inspirations if i get out to the workshop. I'm putting a big pot of beans together at the moment. Beads and beans. How's about beads that look like pinto beans? That would make some elegant jewelry! ha!

As i mentioned earlier, i've got a number of CatBling cat collar charms made up. I don't quite know what to do with them. I threw one up in my etsy shop at $5 with the entire sale going to my local vet for her emergency rescue fund. I don't know if the others will follow suit, or not. They're cute, but i'm not sure there's a market for cat jewelry, you know?

Middle Son lives and breathes skateboard. He dearly wants a good (read "expensive") digital video camera so he can upload his tricks to YouTube. Meanwhile he got me taking some still photos of him. The sun was low, the skatepark was under a roof, and i'm not the most knowledgeable camera worker. The quality of the shots are mediocre so i tried to compensate by playing with them in a photo manipulation program. I like some of the results. But they weren't quite what Middle Son had in mind.

There, now we've got beans, beads and boards!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Fish Beads

I've got a few new fish beads to get listed in my etsy shop. I like the shape of the orange, no make that tangerine, one.

My BirthBones dog collar charms will soon be available on a Dutch luxury pet supplies website. How cool is that?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Prize Chicken

Here's a pic of Betty W.'s prize. It's in the mail, Betty! :-)

I've got some cat collar charms to show you next posting. And i'm working on some nice twisty bones as a special request. And working on a small sock monkey for my bf (babyfriend). And trying to assemble a tin flower/glass bead combo thingy for mom's bday (pretty sure she doesn't read my blog so no surprise ruined). But at the moment, i'm running out the door and leaving the house in a mess ... ! When will they invent a self-cleaning house?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We have a WINNER!

Yay! Betty W., fellow New Mexican knew the object in the bottom photo of my 18 Oct. posting was a Devil's Claw. Very cool dried seed pod of a wild growing plant in the southwest. (I've heard that folks use them as a natural crafting material, but i've never seen anything made with them. This one is acting as a rearview mirror decoration at the moment.)

Betty will be receiving one of my fish bead charms/zip pull (or a chicken, if that's her druther) in the mail next week. Well done, and thanks for playing! :-D

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Odd Couple

Here's a handsome couple. Getting this photo was no mean feat when you realize that i am an arachnophobe. I was crouching in the weeds just inches from this lovely big spider. She was a good 2 inches from tip of front legs to tip of back legs. I don't believe i've seen one like this before. It wasn't until i was looking at my photos at home that i noticed the little gentleman visitor! Isn't he ambitious!?

What i've been up to: making a supply of BirthBones pet charms, looking for another pet-related business to help me market them. I'm so glad to be back to my part time babysitting gig. Little pip is 4 1/2 months old now and just so delightful! He's taking so much more of an interest in the world around him and the way he can giggle at a shaken toy for 20 minutes straight makes you laugh right along with him.

Don't forget the *CONTEST* in Oct. 18 post. Still awaiting a guess!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Winter Sun or My Harsh Statements AND *Contest

We've had the flu in the house. But we're all better now, thanks for asking.

I've been feeling prickly lately. We had a really nice day in the country today, though, and i'm feeling much better. But apparently the hostile sensibilities showed up in my photography...

*The first person who correctly identifies the object in the bottom photo wins a special Sock Monkey Beads lampwork bead prize!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

An Eye for Robots

One of my favorite parts about raising children has been introducing them to all sorts of new things, and when something catches their interest, facilitating them in their pursuits and watching them discover things about themselves and the world around them. Makes parenthood sound pretty good, doesn't it!?

The children are now aged 11 to 16. Somewhere in the early teen years they seem to lose some of that old fascination with discovery. Or maybe it just isn't "cool" to be passionate about anything when you have teen peers. The youngest, however, still has an enthusiasm for building robots. When he was really young, he would go through the kitchen "junk drawer" for screws, clips, batteries and wires and then use scotch tape to make little robots. Lego Bionicles toys and their mechanical-looking interlocking parts have been great.

The other evening, i was showing my robot child how fun it was to look at things on etsy. We typed the tag "robot" into the search bar and found today's highlighted etsy artist: ReClaim2Fame (click on the photos to go directly to this etsy shop).

My son's eyes lit up, he bumped me off the computer chair, and he must have looked at every one of ReClaim2Fame's pieces! He was very enthusiastic. And hopefully you can share some of his joy: these sculptures have so much character, even the simpler ones. Son and i have been looking around the house for possible parts and we've been discussing options for how to connect bits. He points out that a bottle cap would work great as an eye because the jaggedy outline looks kind of like eyelashes on a surprised eye. The top part of an aluminum drink can looked like a good basis for a face. And he's off!

It just warms my heart to see the creative lightbulb go off in a kid's head. But there may be some dumpster diving in my future... Oh well, anything for art's sake.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bones Beads Clearance Sale

Starts tomorrow morning! Whoop!

I will be listing a total of 12 separate lots of bone beads. I hope to get some in the shop before i go to work, but all of them will be on the shop shelves for sure by the end of the day.

Lots will range from 4 bones to 11 beads each. I've organized them by color in some cases, size in other cases, by style in other cases. I'll be listing them at $2 per bead and less--pretty reasonable for artisan made lampwork!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Confessions of a Guppy Nerd

I wish these beads didn't take so long to make because they look sooooo cool! But i don't have as much patience as i should have. I mean, it's good to take the time and make something special, right? But when you constantly have the feeling that there aren't enough minutes in the day, you tend to want to wrap things up quickly. Fast art for the convenience junky. But my X Fish take time and i almost always feel that was twenty minutes well spent.

I was an odd teenager. One demonstration of this was my guppy breeding experiment. One year my room was filled with about 60 jars and tubs with breeding pairs of guppies and the offspring of various pairings. I kept detailed notes and made full colour illustrations of all my subjects in this breeding operation. I can't remember what characteristic i was trying to promote, maybe big red dorsal fins or something. When i have a group of X Fish sitting on the kitchen counter, i am reminded of those good old days of abundant fishies, and i am happy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Vacant Chair

I'm working on various bone bead projects and an X Fish commission. I had an early supper since i missed lunch and my husband and the kids are all doing their own things, whether it's football games or skateparks, so i decided to step out for a bit before it got dark. Since it has been raining with fair regularity i haven't had to tend the gardens much. I needed to check and see if they were still there. And there it was: a chair in the middle of a beautifully lush and colorful garden corner...with no one using it. This part of my yard hasn't looked this good all year, and there it was all by itself with not a soul enjoying it. So i did some deadheading, took a picture and came right back inside to post about how sad it is that i don't take the time to sit in my garden. How's that for numbskull? But i did make myself a promise: since tomorrow is Saturday and the morning will be liesurely, i'll take my coffee out there, sit in that chair, turn it 45 degrees every few sips, and enjoy every viewpoint.

I love zinnias, and the big ones are fantastic, raggedy, orangy pinks. The hard shelled gourds are putting on a late growth spurt and and have gotten so dense that i'm going to have to wait for the fall die-back to see all the gourds. Although i planted seeds from about 10 different shaped gourds, i've seen only bottles, kettles, and stumpy dippers. Oh and my mini bottle gourds are doing really well, which is fantastic, because i like to make snowman ornaments for Christmas.

That was my garden interlude. Now out to the workshop to make some glass fishies. :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Sometime at the end of this month or the beginning of October, i will be putting a number of lots of my bone beads in my etsy shop at nice prices. Date to be announced.

I think these bone beads are really great. For the past two months i've been wearing a bracelet made from etched black ones and warm grey/brown pearls, in tandem with a simple string of small black beads. The black bones are simple, yet interesting, and the etched finish gives them textural interest and lets the glow of the pearls balance the ensemble. Ha!

You beaders might think that i should have tons of jewelry since i make tons of beads. But not so. I find making jewelry to be really frustrating because i get so caught up in design and i don't seem to have the eye or knowledge to get really pleasing results. I have made a couple of nice things, and i usually give those pieces to family members. Earings are easy to make, but i don't have pierced ears! And i don't find wear necklaces. That leaves bracelets, of which i have ten or twelve, but most of them i've only worn maybe once because they just weren't me. I guess i'm just not much of a walking jewelry manequin.

But i've got too many bones, and they've got to find new homes! Maybe someone out there has a plan for Halloween jewelry.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pink Chihuahuas

Welcome to my momentary art gallery!

Today's exhibition of fine art features the work of etsy artist crookedhue. Come in. Walk around. Take your time and enjoy.

As a special bonus today the artist has joined us! She has set her shed up in the back there where she's working on another piece. She may poke her head out now and then for a good natured gloat at her own work. But she's fairly harmless otherwise. And you will probably hear an occassional chuckle or guffaw. I guarantee you she lol'd aplenty when she was working on the chihuahua painting! I certainly did the first time i saw it (which is why i sought her permission to show her art here). Sure Cyclops has a pathetic combover, but look at the sweet sincerity in his eye. I like Man Painting because that's how my father paints. There is something so positive about a Penguin Enthusiast and there is nothing truer than this pink Chi! Visit crookedhue's etsy shop for more of her original paintings.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Back from break.

A few notes this morning:

Hubby has filmed the fiber artist sponge fly creating its tidy outer cocoon cage with the "chain link stitch". Coolest part? it uses its butt. A dazzling display of dexterity.

We've been dealing with another "walking dead" lately. Not the chicken, Sean, this time, but our cat Archie. I would love to upload the photos, but it would make the squeamish hurl. Skip ahead past the next paragraph if you are faint of heart. Every year or so we are adopted by another stray cat. We live on the outskirts of town and our yard is a handy dumping ground for unwanted litters. We currently take responsibility for 6 male cats. This is not recommended. Although we had all of them neutered in a timely manner, there is something about having to share their territory with other males that makes them regenerate the ability or desire to spray. You just can't be a house cat if you're constantly marking the hallways, closets, upholstered chairs, drapes, etc. as your territory. Sorry.

Archie came home after not being seen for a few days. He had a gaping, maggot-infested neck wound. Okay, actually his neck skin was completely severed all the way round except for 2 short spans. Which is fortunate because otherwise his hair shirt might have slid right down over his shoulders. (Now there's an image.) The vet fixed him up as best he could, but bandages don't cover the entire thing and we get an anatomy lesson every time we look at him. You can count muscle fibres. Looks like it will take quite a while to heal as the skin has to grow over an inch-and-a-half gap. But he seems to be feel fine, which is the freakiest part. We can only speculate as to what happened to him. He wasn't wearing a collar so it didn't get hung up somewhere. He might have got caught in something, but i think he got an abcess on his neck, from a skurmmish with another cat, and it just festered to point of weakening the skin.

Sorry if that was too much detail for you.

In a MUCH prettier note, i took a job caring for a baby on a part time basis. He's just the sweetest, easiest little guy! It's such a pleasure to completely change the pace of my day and spend time with him. Oh the things I'm going to show him and talk with him about. He's only 3 months old, so a dot on a blanket can hold our attention for a good ten minutes!

I would love for someone to let me know why my blog views jumped from 100o to 12000 when i wasn't looking...

I've been working on the BirthBones business. I'm designing a counter-standing display board for them. I will start with a few local vets/dog grooming places and see if they will take them to sell in their establishments. I was approached by the Handmade Brigade of Orange County to supply BirthBones promotional material for a craft sale event they are having later this month. And some animal shelter and other dog-related fundraising groups in Tennessee will be using my lampwork bones in fundraising items this fall. So I've got a head full of the business side of things--not my forte at all, but it's a learning thing!

Tomorrow's blog posting will be about an etsy painter. You'll want to see her fun work!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sponge Fly: Fiber Artist

Lately i haven't blogged enough about crafters, so here's a report on a really tiny one:

My husband teaches an invertebrate zoology course and regularly collects live specimens for his students to study, believing that live material is much more likely to capture the rapt facination of students, than dead and preserved specimens. You might think it would be impossible to find an example of live sponge in the high plains desert, but not if you are willing to go that extra mile. He found freshwater sponge in the bosque out Fort Sumner way and upon microscopic examination he found the larvae of a little neuropteran called a spongefly chewing about on the growth (view it on Youtube).

The adult is a tiny (5-6mm) lacewing (Climacia sp.). The larvae are only about 2mm long when they are mature and ready to pupate. They build this outer "cage" and then spin their little coccoon within it. (Again, hubby is the photographer.) You can see clearly the way the fibers of this outer wall are woven together just like a chain link fence! How do these tiny little larvae do that?