Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Kusudamas!

I've been busy folding kusudamas lately, they are a terrific winter evening pastime.  Some of the models I've folded before, some are new to me.

Two traditional flower balls, a third that incorporates the compass rose design I folded recently with a basic base.  All are folded with 2 inch square paper.

A Tomoko Fuse model, another flower ball and another compass rose, all three with 2 inch paper.

Three more Fuse models, this time with 3 inch paper, the fourth with 2 inch paper again.

Some of the paper I overdyed with several colors or added a metallic gold wash to, and on the flower balls I played around with the basic design a bit.

Some detail...

Some of the paper has a white back side, some is the same color on both sides.  It makes for quite a different look with the identical fold.  The black/white/blue model blends vintage wrapping paper with modern paper.

The blue and pink model incoporates pink vintage wrapping paper with some gorgeous Rossi Florentine artisan paper.

It was kinda overcast today and not the best light for taking pictures.  I'm playing around with various new overdyes on some of my paper and kusudamas with two or three models of varying sizes on the same cord.  These are simple kusudamas of 12 units each, now that I've folded these for practice I'm moving on to more complex models with 30 to 60 units each...

...and one with 144 units.  That one I'm not to sure about because it's coming up on a busy time of year for me, but we'll see.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


So...what can you make with an old bicycle wheel, some chain, threaded rods and assorted hardware?

Why, a chicken consternation producer, of course!  Just add food!
Thanks to a swivel at the top of the chain, the Wheel of Food spins freely, the treats also spin on their rods when pecked.

...then hang the Wheel Of Food at chicken level from a sawhorse in the chicken yard.  After that, just stand back.
Bloop supervised it's installation.

Although to Zip goes the credit for being brave and approaching the thing while a bunch of the others milled about at CMSD--Chicken Minimum Safe Distance.

But Zip took her time studying the Weird New Thing. It has yet to win chicken-y approval.

Criminy, it's like she's studying the thing for her doctoral thesis.  At this point we sprinkled chicken food beneath the Wheel of Food to tempt them in.

Eventually (think a couple of hours) most of the rest of the flock unhinged themselves enough to go ahead and peck at the food, although there was no shortage of staring.

The rest of the afternoon we were rewarded with the occassional 'Twang!' over Chickam as the food disappeared.  I'm thinking as they get more used to it the Wheel of Food will be accepted more quickly and *maybe* the old ladies will join in instead of sitting huffily in the coop.

Now to figure out how to make the treats bob up and down ala a merry-go-round... 
...and maybe make a clown-horn 'Honk-a!' sound with each peck.

Y'know, nothing too extravagant.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chickam 2015 Is On!

The first set of hatching eggs are ordered! We'll be having TWO rounds of hatching this year, both planned for March.

I'll set the first group of eggs February 27th & 28th, hatch date will be March 20th & 21st.
Second hatch will be set March 6th & 7th, hatch date will be March 27th & 28th.

The reason I'm staggering the set/hatch dates over two days is so more people have a chance to catch an egg hatching. This will be kind of an experiment, but should work just fine with the ReptiPro since you don't have to do the strict 3 day lockdown with it.

The eggs I ordered today for delivery next month for the first hatch will be mixes:
Frizzled Ameraucana/Silkie
Easter Egger/Silkie
Frizzled & Smooth Polish/Silkie
Salmon Flavorelle/Silkie

So the chicks should be, ahh...'interesting' to say the least. I haven't ordered eggs for hatch #2 yet but I've got my eye on some. I'll put some of our own hens' eggs in each hatch as well. The other day I caught Mushroom the bantam Cochin roo successfully mating one of the Giant Cochin girls, so God knows what we'll get...

As always, after the hatch the camera, with sound, will be on the chicks in the brooder box 24/7 for  the first 8 weeks of their lives so everyone can watch them play and grow up.  Since the brooder box will be located in our dining room in the house (God help us!), you will also hear us going about our daily activities.  We will broadcast the hatch and the chicks on our UStream channel, here:  Chickam2008.  The UStream channel also has a 'chat' feature that we welcome people to use as long as they are polite and follow the rules. As we have been doing throughout the year, between now and then (weather permitting) we will use the UStream Chickam channel for our Saturday broadcasts of the existing flock outdoors.  We like to plan various little entertaining activities for our flock and the new chicks as well during our Chickam broadcasts, usually they involve treats for the chickens provided in hilarious and challenging ways that are a lot of fun to watch.

Hopefully we'll have a broody mama available, Rambo the buff Brahma and Pompadour the gray Giant Cochin are both *just* starting to go broody now. We will of course really start to encourage this nonsense about two weeks prior to the hatch dates and get them all fired up in time for chicks.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

DIE, School!

So the kid's binder broke in class the other day, and her teacher was kind enough to lend her a used one until she could get home for us to replace it--like most parents, I think, we have a mini office supply store here at home.

When I first saw the lender binder, I thought, 'Oh, how cute.  Little purple hearts!'

Then I looked closer...

...to see that some enterprising soul had carved the words, 'DIE SCHOOL' into the cover.  CARVED.  That's some seriously deep convictions of your personal beliefs, right there.

I love this thing.

Now that I've switched out her stuff to the new binder I'll have to return it to the teacher with some kind of appropriately smart-ass note, though.  This is just too good to pass up.

Ahh, high school.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Ghost Of Christmas Past...

...is in my living room.

Yeeaahhhhh...what a mess.  Sure smelled good while it was here, though.  Now to vacuum up a gazillion pine tree needles, and continue to find weird stray ones in impossible places for the next 6 months.

Thing left a trail all the way out to the street, it grabbed onto everything possible in it's wake like it didn't wanna go.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Dog Shaming

I was putting together some kusudamas last night--sewing the modular components together--and had gotten up to add more wood to the fireplace.  I had literally gone three steps and turned back to look, even though I was only away from my project for a second and it was on a high table.  I swear that dog sprinted for the damned thing the instant my back was turned.

So, Dusty earned herself a neck sign today.

Damned dumb dog, she's lucky I turned around and caught her.  Also lucky that the needle had fallen off of the thread, which I ended up having to pry her mouth open and go spelunking for.  Nothing like yanking a wad of dog-spit-covered thread out of an unwilling dog mouth while scanning said mouth for a needle.  The kid found the needle on the floor, thank God, so the dog was spared a trip to the vet's office.

The kid insisted on making her a neck sign, though Dusty realized it was not a Good Thing and didn't really want to get her picture taken with it.