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Bay Area People! [Dec. 10th, 2010|11:14 am]
[mood |busybusy]

Begging for Booth help on Sun Dec. 19!Collapse )
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7 Sins ring wax exists! [Apr. 27th, 2010|02:08 pm]
Here is proof that this ring exists in wax and is about to exist in metal as well. It is the same style as the Chivalric Virtues ring - triangular cross-section with two lines of rustic blackletter engraving. 

This one should be able to size down to a 6, but I'll find out for sure once I have multiples to size. 

All you wonderful people who indicated a willingness to preorder these are respectfully requested to PayPal $20 to lscavanaugh@earthlink.net. If you include your ring size, you will be the very first to receive this mew ring style. I will probably have them in stock by the end of May, but people who preorder will get them before that. 

I did laugh about the suggestion of charging $66.60 for these, but I am still trying to keep the cost under $50 because only a few people will pay an extra $16 for humor. Hmm. Maybe I can gild the word "avarice" on some of them and sell that version for $66.60. :-)

Thank you all for your encouragement! 
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By popular demand... Sins! [Apr. 22nd, 2010|09:42 am]
[mood |busybusy]

Enough people have bugged me over time about making a ring with the seven deadly sins that I'm going to make this as part of my annual pre-Pennsic product development push. This will look much like the chivalric virtue rings - two lines of text on a triangular-shaped band. My proposed text is:

gluttony lust avarice
pride wrath envy sloth

because it fits nicely that way. I like wrath instead of anger, and everyone should know what it means (I hope). I may have to explain that avarice means greed, but at least it's a one-word explanation, unlike "franchise". Both Dante and Chaucer used pretty much exactly these sins for the 7 deadlies. What do you all think?

I am going to take some more of the work on this in-house to try to keep the final ring price under $50. Silver is up 45% from a year ago (Eek!). I'm hoping that if I do all the sizing and polishing myself I can keep the cost down. I really need a new hotcake item like the virtue rings, and I'm afraid that a silver ring that costs more than $50.00 is not going to fly. 

Also, I'm thinking of opening these up for preorders. I have to invest in casting the original, getting a mold made, and buying silver to get these produced, and the finances are a bit strained right now.

What do you think is reasonable? I could take a $20 deposit towards rings for June delivery with the balance due when the ring actually exists. That would kick my butt into gear to make sure I have these in stock well before Pennsic. I am reluctant to presell the entire thing until I know how much they will cost me and how long they will take to size and polish. 

Feedback, please! 
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BusyBusyBusy! [Mar. 16th, 2010|10:19 pm]
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |busybusy]

So naturally, because it was one week until the convention, I got sucked into a particular project. It had become a challenge. Eventually, though, I triumphed! I had created a new charm of a sextant with wee little mirrors and telescope that was 3/4 inch high, and went along nicely with the other charms. People (the ones who could see it, or who I pointed it out to) were impressed. It took me all damn week. How many did I sell?


That's right. A big fat zero. A couple of guys were looking at it for a watch fob, but it was too small. Facepalm. I promise to post a decent photo as soon as I manage to take one. A fellow at the con took a few, but he hasn't posted them yet.  I have vowed to revitalize my Etsy shop with these things so that I can attempt to make back some of the effort I have put into them.

Oh well, the rest of the con was pretty fun. Many amazing costumes and contraptions and actual steam-powered gizmos. A woman with a mohawk and a doohickum that puffed "steam" that smelled like artificial maple syrup. A complete line of mens and womens steampunk corsets debuted by Dark Garden. The Cutest Top Hats Ever. Being all cool and non-fan-girly at Phil and Kaja Foglio, except to squee about Agatha fighting off Lucretia from within her own head. ( Read girlgeniusonline.com if you don't understand that reference) Dancing at the Steampunk Ball in my 1865 peach gown. The St. Clair Aeronaut Crew delivering messages that were texted to the mechanical teletype machine. Seeing many many friends from several different crossover fandoms. 

The absolute coolest thing of all, however, didn't even happen at the hotel. There was an offsite open house/mixer at the Shipyard, an industrial art space in Berkeley where they build crazy fire-spewing art sculptures for burning Man, biomass electrical generators, robots that mix your drinks, steam boilers that power carriages or anything else you want,  a 3-story Victorian house on wheels, and basically anything else they want to build. alessandro_bard  and I were completely agog at the mills and lathes and welders and grinders and giant forklifts and electronics and the wacky things that had been built with them. The place is huge. It is made up entirely of nooks and crannies, each of which is filled with serious tools, crazy things built with those tools, sculptures in pieces, and scrap materials that cry out to do something neato with them. He had never been through the Neverwas Haul before (www.neverwashaul.com), and of course peppered the builders with questions and enthusiasm. I really want to see it all in daylight. A and I are now bubbling with ideas for the railcar. Bwaaaaahahaha! 

Tomorrow I get to judge the county Science Fair! How cool is that! learnteach  will be there too and gave me some pointers. Apparently my experience dealing with contest entrants will be more useful than would a detailed knowledge of the subject matter at a higher level than I have. I am prepared to be completely blown away by the stuff these young people come up with. It's for Science!

On Thursday there may or may not be something personally interesting happening involving ice cream. Or at least frozen yogurt which usually has so little yogurt culture in it that they might as well just call it ice cream.

Meanwhile this week I'm moving the auxiliary workbench back downstairs and doing some much-needed Spring cleaning in the studio. Monday I went over to Sam's place and got started on the master model for misagillian 's coronet, which I hope to show her this weekend. I will be at the event this weekend, but I'm not setting up a booth. I'm undertaking a radical experiment to see if I can just go to an SCA event and enjoy myself. I do have business to do there, but just the idea of not having to park my butt in a booth all weekend has me actually *not dreading* the event. 

Therefore, onward! Excelsior! 
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Thought for the day [Jan. 30th, 2010|04:13 pm]
 Big girl panties don't wad up. 
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More Computer Woe [Jan. 5th, 2010|04:49 pm]
The screen on the new netbook is black. I've turned it off and on a few times and it hasn't helped. I'm going to leave it off for a few hours and try again. I'm posting from the old laptop with the dying hard drive, which is very slow and may give up the ghost at any moment. If you need to get in touch with me, please call.

I am unimpressed with technology today.
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Last Silliness of 2009 [Dec. 31st, 2009|07:01 pm]
[mood |creativecreative]

Just because I can, I decided to make one more silly thing before we kick 2009 to the curb.

It's a pierced earring. Get it?

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Sherlock Holmes! - no really bad spoilers [Dec. 25th, 2009|06:44 pm]
Saw it today.

I come from the perspective of never having read the novels or even seen the old TV shows. I get that it won't be like the books, and I thought it was pretty clear from the preview what kind of movie it would be. The preview did not lie. Much action, chasing, clever detectoring, sinister occultists, and dashing men in Victorian dress with hats. I love a man in a long coat and a nice hat.

The preview showed a bit of a boxing scene, and that was indeed an entire scene of RDJ being athletic and shirtless. I'll give those of us who appreciate such things a moment.


Jude Law was less annoying than usual, perhaps because his character was supposed to be a bit peevish at Holmes. The Plucky Damsel did have a brain, but was still mostly patronized through the entire film. Watson's love interest was a small role, but better written. The whole occult-mystery plot was fairly foolish. The crows were overdone and annoying, but minor. Cool scientific and technical machinery, gadgetry, and weaponry. Not specifically steampunk because all that stuff maybe could have been period (except perhaps for the Fantastic Contraption toward the end and one particular handgun), but visually fascinating anyway. Cool coaches, filth on the streets and on the people but not stupidly overdone. Clever back-and-forth dialogue. Victorian social mores about a man and woman being alone together were completely ignored.

In short, it was overblown as only Hollywood and Guy Ritchie can be, but a good, fun action (not mystery) flick with excellent explosions. If you understand this going in, you will likely enjoy it, and if that's not your thing, you likely won't. Purists about the original stories had better stay away.

Laurie-Bob gives it two thumbs up, and I would see it again in a theater with a larger screen.
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Steampunk Cookie Cutters!!! [Dec. 11th, 2009|11:43 am]
[Tags|, ]

I was inspired to run off and do something silly and irrelevant after finishing the Big Damn Coronet, so here goes. I made cookie cutters patterned after my charms:

An 8-toothed gear, A pair of goggles, A ray gun, and of course a cartoon airship.

I then had to try them out to be sure they work, you know:

Those are plain, from my great-grandmother's sugar cookie recipe. I figured I'd frost them in astounding ways, with piping for gear details and airship ropes, and wee brass pipes going here and there on the ray gun. Yeah. That takes forEVer. I did get some good food coloring, abut the copper turned out rather pumpkin and I got tired of standing around frosting cookies when I should be working, so I cut to the chase:

so I've eaten a ray gun and a pair of goggles, and they're tasty. ;-)

These are a prototype set of cutters, made for the heck of it, and I've figured out that it would be worth my time to make another set for $60. I thought that sounded high, but it turns out that handmade copper cookie cutters seem to average $12 - $15 each at various websites, and mine average out to $15, so that isn't so bad. I think I'll make up one more set on spec for Etsy, and see if any orders happen. I will include a paper illustrating some of the design possibilities, and maybe even include that recipe. It turns out rather fluffy cookies, because it uses both baking powder and baking soda, and the cookies are intended for frosting - there isn't much sugar in the cookie itself. I of course, love them, and no other sugar cookie recipe is quite as good.

Anyway, there's my silliness for the day!
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A long-awaited project [Dec. 7th, 2009|02:42 pm]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

Finally done!!

There were many adventures along the way, and I'll need to get some better photos - I'm having a heck of a time with the reflections and glare. But it's done! Ha!

And from a slightly different angle:

I'll be bringing this for show-and-tell to Girlie Monday. I so need a drink.

ETA: The lettering is Aldith's motto, four times around the band - Ars gratia artis, "art for art's sake" the design is based off a wedding crown from 1460.
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Collecting excellent and silly phrases [Nov. 12th, 2009|07:53 pm]
[mood |sillysilly]

Help me out here. It's been a long day, and having just  taken great delight in the term "higgledy-piggledy", I wish to collect some silly terms and phrases. I know you can do it.

Great Googly-Moogly!
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Gah! [Nov. 2nd, 2009|08:27 pm]
[mood |annoyedannoyed]

 I got my windshield replaced today with the money from selling that ring. Just when I feel like I'm starting to catch up with life, however, my computer has decided that several important folders do not exist anymore. Like the entire Acanthusleaf Designs folder. I've got a call in to a repair place - I hope they can fix this tomorrow. All my email archive is gone too. I'm not going to panic yet. Really. 

Bloody laptop is five years old. Keyboard is dead, the fan is making weird noises, and now this. It's a clear sign, but I don't want to shell out for a new one. We'll see how much the repair costs. 
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Weekend of Win! [Nov. 1st, 2009|09:04 pm]
[mood |happyhappy]

 Went to Friday Night Waltz and had a good time. Learned some 4-count Charleston. Two weeks ago they played the Mos Eisley Cantina Band song and I figured out it was a Charleston, but I didn't know how to do much with it. I know more now! Also read the rest of Jay Lake's Mainspring

Saturday, I had both a productive day and a good time. Worked on cleaning and reorganizing the studio, dug out an old project and had a couple of new ideas on how to move it forward, installed a nice brass door latch, bought batteries and reinstalled all of Mom's smoke detectors, etc. Later in the day, went over to WFC in downtown SJ to do Barcon. Saw janni  and lnhammer shelly_rae , and got Mainspring signed. Larry made me an origami griffin. Yay! annmprice and hrj  and I went out for dinner, and I covet the app that HRJ has on her iPhone that calculates how to split the bill at restaurants. There was a big party for Edgar Allen Poe's 200th birthday, with a giant balloon-shaped cake in shades of gray. I was too full to eat any cake, but we ran into Linda Levy and her friend from Australia at that party. There was another party up there promoting the release of Soulless, a new steampunk novel by Gail Carriger, whom I had met at FNW a few weeks ago. Cucumber sandwiches and other delicacies were adorable, but still with the too full. Cute outfits, and I ran into another woman I had met at SteamPowered a year ago. Lovely evening!

Sunday was even better! I got up early and changed the clocks, puttered about in the studio for a while, and was just considering picking up Escapement when Ann called up and we arranged to meet back downtown. She and HRJ and I chatted outside a pastry shop in the lovely sunshine until klwilliams  got back from her lunch excursion, then we all trooped across the street to the Tech Museum and went to the Star Trek exhibit. It was really good, but those of us who had seen the Star Trek Experience in Vegas had to readjust expectations. There were lots of props and costumes, both original and reproduction. They recreated the bridge of TOS Enterprise, and we got our photos taken in the captain's chair. Further on in the exhibit, the four of us also got a photo taken in the Transporter Room. Klwilliams will be scanning these and soon they will appear in an LJ post near you. Excellent geek-out opportunity. Also, they have the new Star Trek movie in IMAX for only $8, so I will be going back to see that. 

After a wee snackie at the pastry place, we all went back in to the Fairmont lobby bar, which was again hopping with WFC attendees. Hung out some more with Janni and Lnhammer and this author named Lee something-or-other who Ann knows and has written 54 novels. Shelly_Rae came through again and dragged me off to meet some more of her friends. I was wearing a charm bracelet of all the new steampunk charms and my various rings with airship earrings and a pennyfarthing necklace. I have finally mastered the art of remembering to put on the jewelry before I leave the house. :-) Good thing, too, because Klwilliams and Shelly_Rae told everyone they should check out the jewelry, so they did. That was gratifying, but even more so was selling the sphere ring right off my finger to the woman who owns Dark Carnival Books in Berkeley! One of my teenage meccas! Amazing. Great conversations with smart, interesting people. I have got to go to these things more often. Handed out a bunch more cards, too. 

As the con was winding down, K, H, A, K's british houseguests, kateelliott , and I all went to dinner near K's house. More yummy food and great conversation. Kateelliott's children are all grown up, and this makes me feel old. :-) The last time I saw her twin boys, they were toddlers, and now they are old enough to drink.  I drove her back to the hotel, and we got to catch up on each others' lives a bit from 20 years' absence. Our friendship had been rather strained by my general lack of maturity when I was 19 and 20, and I got the chance to apologize to her for that. In succeeding years I realized how poorly I had behaved and was glad to get the chance to say so. She took this well, and we parted warmly. I'm delighted to heal this breach, because she is another smart, interesting woman that I respect. 

I managed to both goof off completely and make money all in the same weekend. Solid Win! 

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It can't be this easy [Oct. 30th, 2009|08:59 am]
[mood |surprisedsurprised]

I was facing a large wall of despair,  because my health insurance through the "company" I had formed with my previous landlady is ending on Nov. 30. I figured, "Oh, crap. Companies are dumping people and finding every excuse to not insure people right now, before any new rules go into effect". I put it off until after Steamcon, but Wednesday I went to ehealthinsurance.com and took a look. I picked what looked to be a good policy from Kaiser, which is the closest medical facility to my current residence, and filled out the lengthy online application. I distinctly remember doing this five years ago and being turned down. I figured I'd just keep applying to the next best thing until someone accepted me, but this morning I got an email that Kaiser had accepted me. I'm astonished. I guess some previous health problems were now far enough in the past that I qualified. It's a much lower deductible for a decent policy. 

Maybe the other shoe will drop when I get the paperwork. Hmm. 
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SteamCon Report! [Oct. 26th, 2009|11:27 am]
[mood |chipperchipper]

What an amazingly costume-and-contraption-tastic weekend!

Backing up to the wee hours of last Tuesday morning, I woke up at 2:30 AM with the idea for my booth sign in my head. I sketched it out in my Maker notebook and went back to sleep. On Tuesday proper I called in the cavalry to help me out, which was psychic_frog on Tue and learnteach  on Wed. They figured out how to take the corrugated plastic I had left over from booth pedestals and make a sign out of it that I could C-clamp to a table. It also fit into a cobbled-together box that I could lift and carry through an airport along with my other luggage. I was, as usual, working on stuff until the last minute, but the plane flights were appropriately boring and I arrived at Sea-Tac and met up with Leila. We had a late dinner and crashed. Friday morning breakfast was in the same hotel restaurant (the only one they had), which looked out onto an atrium with a walkway along which all the con attendees strolled between the programming rooms and the art show and vendor room. Even before the con officially opened we were seeing amazing outfits. I made sure that tanssi_orava  and her friend were on the registration list, then we set up the sign and the table in modern clothing and then changed before opening. I had raided klossen 's closet before leaving (which saved me!), but still felt underdressed. Leila and I decided that she was my Evil Minion. She is a *rocking* Evil Minion. She caught onto my spiel about the sphere ring and jewelry with gears that turn and was excellent with engaging the folks who walked by. I swore I'd take photos, and got more than I usually do, which is none, so a few are going to have to suffice. I'm sure that more will be up on the Steamcon website shortly. This is me on Friday.

This is the table with hardly anything for sale, and the floppy sign. Need a better design, or different materials, or both:

After the room closed, we ate at the restaurant and then went to the Abney Park Victorian Sing-Along. The first part was AP doing some songs from their new album, but with Kristina on a grand piano! Neat! I didn't like the new backup singer's voice, but the songs sounded great. Then we all got lyrics for some genuine old cool goofy songs and sang along to Come Take a Trip in My Airship and Take Me Up in Your Airship, Willie. Cap'n Robert sang the line that is supposed to be, "You can fondle and kiss me, Willie" as "my Willie" and we all cracked up. He did this three times and even though we knew it was coming, we all busted up anyway. We also sang Yo ho ho and a Bottle of Rum, and something else I can't remember. Very silly and fun. I tottered off to bed, while the Evil Minion went to the DJ dance and got her big toes crushed.

Saturday was long and I got no photos of my outfit, which I had borrowed entirely from klossen . Evil Minion and I were bummed out because I had failed to get tickets to the Airship Invasion concert before they sold out. Hundreds of astounding outfits and contraptions were paraded past my table. Over 90% of the attendees had made a pretty good shot at an outfit, and many of them were excellent. I was surprised and delighted to see Victoria Ridenour there, in a different spectacular outfit each day. Someday I will have her sew for me. And it will be awe-inspiringly excellent. Anyway, Sat was a long day of talking and assembling charms that I hadn't finished at home. After the room closed, I met up with tanssi_orava again, and we found Victoria in the bar. The look on [info]tanssi_orava's face when I told her Victoria was here was priceless. They had a great time catching up, having not seen each other in over a decade. The con had set up a photo salon with backdrops and good photographers, and you could get a CD of your photo session for $2, so Evil Minion and I went and got dolled up for photos. This was the only time the whole weekend I wore my corset. After that we went out to the bar and I ran into shelly_rae , who I didn't even think was going to be at the con. We had not seen each other in 22 years. Amazing. I hope we can catch up some more when she's in town for World Fantasy this week. She introduced me to Jay Lake, which was pretty cool. My friends know all sorts of professional authors. My feet hurt in the cool boots, so I went up to the room to crash, and was talking with klwilliams  about how her move went when Evil Minion called repeatedly, so I had to pick up. She had got last-minute concert tickets! Woo-Hoo! I got re-dressed (no, not in the corset) and zoomed downstairs. We missed the first act entirely, but we heard some of Vernian Process and the whole of Abney Park. They *rocked*! Cap'n Robert was pogo-sticking though almost the entire show. They played all their high-energhy songs from several albums, and the highlight was of course, "Airship Pirates". Nathaniel plays that fiddle like it was something delicious. The band had great rapport and never take themselves too seriously. The new backup singer sounded much better at the concert. Much jumping up and down, dancing and hollering along with the choruses. Of course I was up late, and slept like a stone.

This is me on Sunday in a Steampunk-light lazy outfit.

I'm always itchy on the last day of an event, and try to pack up as much as I can while still staying open. Good thing about cons - no tent to take down! Evil Minion did valiant service in disassembling the floppy sign. She is the best Evil Minion ever, and when I holler, "Pull the Switch!" she actually pulls the switch! We are so getting a giant switch for the table. Because we can.

Got home very late, and today is all about cleaning up, getting photos to Loupnoir for the website, and pulling my act together. Plus a nap. :-)

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Off to SteamCon! [Oct. 22nd, 2009|03:22 pm]
[mood |busybusy]

Running out the door to jump on an airplane, but I thought I'd let you all see some of what I've been slaving over lately.

These are the wee charms I wrote about before. You can't see the tiny pedals on the pennyfarthing, but the wheel does turn. THese will be earrings, pendants, watch fobs, charms, hat decorations, or whatever else anyone thinks up.

These are pins whose gears turn each other. The gemstone gear heads can also be stackable rings.

I am determined to take photographs at the con, so perhaps when I'm back online next week you can see some evidence of the coolness that went on in Seattle.
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More money goes away [Oct. 5th, 2009|12:02 pm]
[mood |poor]

Great. My health insurance premium went up again. $338/mo with a $3,000.00 deductible.

Thanks, Blue Cross - I mean Blue Shield - I mean Anthem. Changing your name is not going to make me feel better about you.

No love,

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Tea and navel-gazing [Sep. 22nd, 2009|12:35 pm]
I have figured out why the tea is always gone. Turns out I can drink tea on a level below conscious awareness. I’ll be reading along on some website and when the cup reaches my mouth it is empty, and that brings it up to my awareness. I hope I’m enjoying it.

I also found a phrase, that while it was originally used derogatorily, captures the way I want to live life. Violet Blue of SFGate referred to the “Disneyland of BoingBoing” as a way to dis the artists and Steampunks who went off to Burning Man and left her in a much emptier city where she could find parking and sex. Ok. The phrase caught my attention, though. BoingBoing.net is a blog with multiple contributors and they talk about art, robotics, science, music, craft, copyrights and other rights, and are generally like an ongoing Maker Faire in blog form. The overall tone is hopeful and positive, with the acknowledgment that we sometimes have to speak up, write, protest wrongdoing, and actually work to make the world that way. That world is amazing. Everything is hackable, configurable, and decoratable. We can change ourselves, our brains, our bodies, our living spaces, our vehicles, our laws. We can create amazing gardens, toys, stories, robots, and we can take what is already out there and enhance, subvert, add to, and remix it into something we like better. The possibilities are endless and the world can be full of smart people and books, comics, and homemade ukulele music. Ok, sometimes I skip the ukulele music. This world doesn’t ignore the problems of the world outside, it comes up with unusual freeware crowdsourced ways to make a real difference. This is the way technology both high and low should be used. I want to make my life into my own version of a BoingBoing theme park.

Right after my nap.

On the Steamy charms front, the goggles are done, and I’m working on a penny-farthing. This is complicated, because of course I want the wheel to turn with the pedals, and it needs to be two-sided. Because it does. So it’s not done yet, but I have high hopes for later today.
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Wee Pewter Airship! [Sep. 9th, 2009|08:56 pm]
[Tags|, ]

Ok, a week later I have a photo of a wee airship in pewter. I'm not getting good pours, so this has tiny bubbles all over the surface that will not appear in the silver or bronze versions.  The whole thing is about 3/4 inch long. I'll offer them in pewter too if I can get the quality up. 

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Coming soon: wee airship [Sep. 1st, 2009|10:49 pm]
[mood |creativecreative]

Tomorrow I am determined to carve a cute little wee airship for earrings or a necklace or a charm bracelet or whatever. I have a sketch. It is cute. It's kind of a chibi zeppelin but I like it and I want one and that's why I do this stuff. Photos upon completion of the wax.

This is to be part of a series of steampunk / gaslamp fantasy charms. There will of course be goggles, and probably a sextant and a spyglass and an armillary sphere. My other ideas are in a notebook that I put in a very safe place.  What do you all think I should carve? Oh and they will probably all have a moving part. The propeller on the airship and a pivoting lens on the goggles for example. 
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