Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hammered Steel Bowl

I spent six months away from my anvils! Within days of returning to California I've gotten to flex my muscles and mind in making and repairing things, and it is such a relief. I changed a tire, made dough, fixed a vacuum, tried my darnedest to fix a garbage disposal, and made this steel bowl. I got really good at drawing this year, but it's not the same. It felt so good to troubleshoot the vacuum, my mind racing.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Reusing my 2012 Planner

With 2013 on its way, I started wanting to make plans, break down my resolutions by month and season, and just generally do that January stuff. But I don't use a planner that much, because it is not nearly as omnipresent as my anxiety. My anxiety can be relied on to remind me two or more times every day to: make sure I have my keys and the rent is due in 6 days, car payment in 15, visa bill in 21, the milk is 1/3 full and won't expire until a week from the 25th. Last year I didn't even get a planner until I saw an irresistible one in May, and then I used it to plan my June travels and for one diligent week in November (when I aggressively filled in a week of goals and checked them off through Tuesday). 

So, because this year's planner was empty and suits me perfectly, I bludgeoned it into a next year's planner.

I drew pink boxes around the few 2012 entries. I think it will be fun to see what I did on those days, like a 5 year diary. I used my computer calendar to make sure the days of the week matched and I didn't put 31 days into any 30 day months or vice versa. Then I went through a second time and crossed out all of the dates. It took less than half an hour and wasn't too boring, because I was watching television. 
I didn't see a more elegant way to do this without adding bulk. Now I'm thinking that I could have hole-punched out last year's dates, but that wouldn't preserve the Edo prints, which I like a lot.

Finally, I was ready to use it to play 2013, The Year I Got Completely Organized Forever, so I put in some holidays and birthdays and wrote my resolutions inside the front cover. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Mexico

photos from the Land of Enchantment.

Museum of Osteology

Ah the Museum of Osteology is amazing!!! If you are ever in Oklahoma... this was the best place of our 3,000 mile roadtrip. Admission was $6.50. I always like to see animal skeletons, and this is the biggest collection I've seen. I took 60 photos and did two pages of sketches.

Here's Casey with a hippo and me with a giraffe. I love giraffes. The neck really isn't where they get their height, judging by the skull and partial neck I've seen at the Bone Room in California, which is shorter than I.
The entire experience is made of highlights, but here are some: the big mammals, the horned skulls, the big and small outliers of a species displayed together (dog, horse), the teeth (narwhal horn, elephant molar), the toads, and the wonderfully skillful articulation, especially apparent for the birds and snakes. 

I usually only get one commemorative smashed penny, but these were so compelling (and 1/2 price from my perspective, since the machines usually cost $1) that I got three. The gift shop was really good too. Casey got a thumb bone, and I got a rhinoceros skeleton postcard but I had my eye on The Moose Manual- How to Prepare and Articulate Large Hoofed Mammal Skeletons.

Amarillo, Texas

Casey and I didn't stop for much in Texas but went letterboxing and had dinner at the Big Texan. We'd hoped to go to Cadillac Ranch, but the patron is newly (and oldly, but I didn't realize) charged with child molesting and it was nighttime (those reasons are separate, not compound) so we skipped it.
I liked the super casual blue jeans and cow parts atmosphere.

Their big thing is the free if eaten in an hour 72oz steak dinner. We were pretty keen to try, but if it's not free it's $72 and since we were just passing through we didn't have a fridge for leftovers. We saw 5 big guys attempt, and none succeeded, but we still kind of wanted to try.

Grand Canyon, AZ

NRA Museum

The NRA Museum is full of old and rare guns. Actually I am sure I saw hundreds of rifles, but they didn't catch my eye because I'm no hobbyist. 
 My favorite thing was a display of unusual, mostly small inventions. Here is a brass knuckles gun knife.
 There were several working (or once working?) teeny tiny novelty guns, which I would love to play with.
 This alternative history-looking monster is a pepperpot pistol.
 This gun signals at a time of day, or after a certain length of time, by setting the fuse with the magnifier.
 This gun was my favorite. It is from the 1970s, and it is for vampire hunting.
 We headed in here on a whim, but it was great! There is a lot to see but it's all in 5 or 6 small rooms, so it doesn't take long. I loved seeing everything up close. There was some history- guns of important folks, very very old guns and bullets- but I mostly liked the novelties.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Library of Congress

Here is how to use the tourism side of the Library of Congress: Go through the metal detector and put your belongings through a scanner ("there's a million nails in your boots!"), then walk through the exhibits (or use your wheelchair, or one of the available wheelchairs). 

Here is how to use the Library as a library: From the tourism side, take an elevator to the cellar, then walk through a service tunnel to another building in the complex, take an elevator to the ground floor. In the card issuing room, present an id and confirm that you want the Reader Card for research rather than as a souvenir,  which is forbidden. Take your new card back through the tunnel and up the elevator to sign into the computer room and present library card to the security guard- oops! No coats or bags are allowed! Back down the elevator to the coat check, then up to the computer room (can skip this step if you have the call number memorized or have looked it up in advance). Fill out a request form and hand it in in the Main Reading Room. Within 90 minutes, your book will arrive at your numbered wooden desk, unless the book is stored offsite. The reading materials can't leave the room, of course, but you can make photocopies. 

I completely love libraries so I wasn't willing to visit the Library without reading any of its holdings, but I did get more out of the tourist part. I got to see the installation of the reconstructed original collection from Jefferson times, as well as a number of Lincoln relics. The three books I requested (Urban Workers on Relief, Comparative Study or Rural Relief and Non-Relief Households, Citizens and Paupers) were very dense books that I wouldn't choose from open stacks. Luckily, Casey wanted to go to the Newspapers and Periodicals room (back through the tunnel!) and I had a nice time reading microfilm newspapers from 80 and 150 years ago. Then it was back through the tunnel to get our coats and bags, and then out into the night.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Botanic Garden Visit

A few weeks ago I spotted the Botanic Garden at night and was smitten. It was closed, because everything in DC closes for the evening, but I got to visit this weekend and it was so lovely. 

They fill it with poinsettias and Christmas lights for the holidays. It's completely lush and colorful. I think the models of the local landmarks (made from mushrooms, bark, cork, leaves, vines, and other things) are there year-round, and they are fantastic. The Capitol is above and the Washington Monument plus reflecting pool below. 
I loved seeing these little terraria in ornaments. I'm making a few of these into glitter snowglobes, they are very cheaply available at craft stores. 
 I am studying Japanese and Casey is studying Chinese, French, and Spanish, and those were the exact four languages the Botanic Garden Guide is offered in. I did a pretty good job parsing mine over pizza afterward.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Village Thrift

Casey and I went to Salvation Army to find a big wool sweater to alter and felt down to his size, but we got lost on the way and when I saw a thrift store I asked him to pull over. I am so glad we did! The Village Thrift was full of people and the clothes were pretty good.Casey found a perfect, nubbly blue silk sweater and so it seemed silly to keep looking for a huge misshapen one even though I'd been looking forward to altering it. Casey lost his driving glasses so I had to drive us home, even though I didn't know where we were.When we got home they called us to let us know the glasses had turned up. We drove straight there and back with no trouble, and we were so grateful we did a second batch of shopping. 
 floral mother of pearl buttons!
 Christmas cards!

I got a snowglobe and I dissected it. 

 This was hidden inside. I think music box mechanisms are so charming.