Archive for the ‘Photo’ Category


So, Ron hasn’t posted for a while. A long while. So I, Otter, will post for him. Because I natter enough on my own blogs.

Last year at MuseCon, Ron wanted to do the stained glass class, but didn’t. This year he did, and assembled a rectangular panel from pre-cut pieces. That was Saturday/Sunday (sorry, he hasn’t taken a picture AFAIK).

The Thursday after MuseCon we were at one of the local shops buying glass and tools.

This is the result, a Prairie-style design from a magazine:

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I didn’t quite like the design, which is kind of a Frank Lloyd Wright stylized wheat design, so I drew my own, which had three arms, and the ends of the arms vertical. Ron was playing with the beveled clear piece we’d bought for it, which resulted in a re-design by me, Ron, Xap, and Robin.
Here it is, hanging in my office window:

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He also made two versions (same design, slightly different background colors) of this design, from a different magazine (pre-soldering):

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 He ended up with two versions because we massively over-estimated how much glass it would take, so he had plenty for two.

Ron did the soldering on mine and the two green ones last Friday, as well as patina-ing (chemically blackening) the metal on the two green panels. Wherein lies a story. I got home from a Windycon meeting, and noticed that the house was really smelly. Ron said it was the patina chemicals, plus the flux+solder combo. He took a shower before bed to try to shed some of the smell, but it was persistent, and pervaded the whole house. I mentioned it smelled kinda skunky.

If you read my blog, you probably see where this is going.

Our room was still skunky come morning, but the hallway, not so much (we keep the bedroom door shut to keep the dogs in).

Yes, you guessed it, the smell was skunk, not stained glass chemicals. Pippin went to the vet for a bath, and Robin washed bedding. In our defense, Pip was not nearly as bad as Elrond when he got skunked last summer. But it was still a headdesk realization.

Anyway, Xap liked my design enough that she bought glass for one for Ron to make her one (my ego, let me show you it):

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Ron also did a couple-three smaller pieces. These are from a book of prairie-style miniatures. The vertical one is a bit under 11″ tall, the Transformers-ish-logo one is 4-6″ wide:

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Prairie style is nice for starting out on, because it has lots of nice straight lines.

I put together another small thing out of scraps from my panel, which looks a lot like mountains.

At lunch today I borrowed the office planimeter and was measuring the area of the parts for some more designs – some with lots of curves! And I bought an older mechanical planimeter via eBay. I was going to check and see what model the old mechanical one we had at the office was and look for one of those (since I know how it works), but it seems to be hiding from me. Hopefully not stolen, although we have a newer, fancier digital one. Locked up. Anyway, the one I got from eBay includes the manual, so it should be fine.

I think the plan is to go shopping for more glass tomorrow before the MuseCon post-con post-mortem. We’ll be going to Classical Glass, in Algonquin, who are very nice and helpful and totally sold Ron a grinder after letting him try one of theirs. Suevel Studios/Chicago School of Glass Art (two links for two sides of their business) are also very nice, but Classical Glass has a better selection of Glass. We won’t be going back to O’Reilly’s Stained Glass in Crystal Lake, the person who was there when we went was opinionated, and rude about it – no, using X size material is not “wrong”, thankyouverymuch, and it isn’t absolutely required to take formal classes to learn. The lady who runs A Glass Act in Elgin is opinionated but tactful, and quite happily gave Ron hints to get better patina results. No link only because she doesn’t have a web site.  And she’s not far at all from the Tandy/Leather Factory store, that I can hit from work at lunchtime.

No, I haven’t tried stained glass yet, other than putting the foil on my scrap/mountain suncatcher. I’ll stick to sorting pattern and glass pieces and maybe come up with another design at some point.




Tuesday morning I cleaned up the east hive, which died out over the winter.  We should have removed a couple of the boxes, I think they had too much space to try to keep warm in, so part of the failure was freezing.

The other problem was, I think, starvation, even though there was lots of honey left – bees are brilliant in an instinctive-behavior sense when it comes to things like building comb.  When it comes to things like reversing what direction they’ve been moving over their honey stores over the winter to get to a place with plenty of honey . . . not so much.

The first two pictures show the top of the top box of the hive, with come that they built between the tops of the frames and the inner cover – gives a sort of cross-section view of what wild-built comb looks like.  Not so neat and perfectly even as you might be led to believe.

All the bees you can see in the first two and the third picture are dead.  The third picture probably best shows some dead with their heads still in cells.  That’s a sign of starvation.

See all the capped (closed) cells on the frame in the fourth picture?  They’re full of honey.  The reverse side of that frame has even more honey-filled cells.  There’s really quite a lot left.  Hence our assumption of guilt on not reducing the number of boxes for the winter leading to freezing.

This fourth and last picture also shows a kind of strangely-built area in the center of the frame.  These plastic frames, it turns out, need to be pushed up against each other, or there’s enough space that the workers can get . . . creative in their comb-building. We thought we had remedied all their creatively-built areas, but apparently not.

I removed sections like that from several frames, hopefully the new bees will fill in with nice neat comb, like the lobes on the outer sides of this frame.

It was cool enough Tuesday morning that the two surviving colonies of bees were still snuggled in their hives, so I was able to clean up this one with no gloves or veil on, and could easily take pictures with my iPhone’s camera.  Elrond wandered around and did wander through to see what I was up to, but didn’t seem particularly interested in the dry, empty old comb I’d scraped out of some areas.

Finished these socks last night, here they are on Ron’s feet this morning.  Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight, in the Knitters Without Borders colorway, with cuffs out of Shadow (black) from the Raven Clan set of colors.

Much of what looks black in the Knitters Without Borders part of the socks is actually purple.  And hot pink, not red.  Good thing Ron’s secure in his manhood.

The socks were knit toe-up, in a chevron gansey pattern on the top/front.  The back of the legs are ribbed, so they have a chance of fitting Ron’s ankles while being big enough for his feet and to get his heels through.  They’re still a bit looser than he’d prefer through the ankles.  I used up all but a smidge of the Knitters Without Borders, stopping at a logical place in the pattern, then switched to ribbing for the black.

The colors do a continuous stripe around the foot one way for the first part, then reverse when the (non-obvious) gusset increases start.  you can see that on his left foot.  Go back to striping for about one round, then kind of zig-zag up the leg.  Interesting.

Picture taken with my iPhone.  Pretty good little camera, really.

Whril at play

on November 29, 2009 in Zoo No Comments »

Friday Otter and I went to the Brookfield Zoo and brought our cameras with. It turned out that Whirl, one of their Amur Tigers was rather active. It ended up as a day to do a tiger study. See Whirl at play on one of our other sites.

We ended up taking 449 photos of her all told after eliminating the various blah photos we ended up with 212 good pictures. Yesterday we made another pass to pick the best of the good photos, 88 in total, and that is what I posted at the above link.

Windycon Pictures

on November 16, 2009 in Photo No Comments »

Too many to be post here, on our website at: http://dracos-otter.com/windycon36/

Photo Walk

on November 8, 2009 in Nature, Walk No Comments »

On Friday my co-worker and I went to a local forest preserve to do a photo walk here are some of the pictures that I took. The first two pictures of my co-worker.


Just a quick snapshot from Halloween morning, before Robin went to school.

His shirt says:
Knowledge is Power
Power Corrupts
Study Hard
Be Evil

Here is the latest set of beads that I have created.  The first close up shows a bead with a twisted inlay of black and yellow the one on the right.

The last one is a close up of a bead that was made on a large mandrel and two hollow beads.  Unfortunately the one in the middle cracked during the cooling process.

“Angee” socks from Cookie A.’s “Sock Innovation” (link to .pdf preview of the book, showing most of the socks). No, this is not the yarn used in the book, this is the “Hearth” multi from Knitpicks.com, in their “Stroll” sock yarn. Good match, eh? My moosies are kinda covered up, though.

Well, that picture came out a bit dark, didn’t it. A variation on the “Twisted Rib” socks from Interweave’s 25 Favorite Socks book – the twisted rib columns are one stitch wider than the pattern is written. We’re all smart enough to figure that one out. 🙂 The yarn is Brown Sheep Co. Wildefoote, color “Tom Cat” which I thought was grey-ish with one pinkish ply, but I’m told by VS shows up as purple.

“Milo” from “Sock Innovation.” And the moose on my blockers. Yarn is “Ty-Dye”, and I think I did an awsome job of splitting the skein to get obviously-related socks, thankyouverymuch.


Yet Still Another Cookie A. pattern, “Monkey” from Knitty.com. Yarn is “Crazy Zauberball”, I don’t think the colorway has a name. I hope it shows up better on your screen than this one – it goes through dark teal, burgundy, grey, brown, and looks really cool, in about 3/4″-1″ bands. The heels I did in Wildefoote “Cranberry” to keep the color-changing going down the foot. I think it’s a decent color match, but heavier yarn.

Yarn Orgy Results

on September 14, 2009 in Photo 1 Comment »


Hmm. The picture above seems to be a bit dark. The three skeins on the left are the half-priced generic sock yarn I referred to in my LJ post about the Stitches trip. The middle one of the three big skeins is red and black or red and blue (still not sure), that may end up being another pair for Ron. The others are purples. The blue-green smaller skein (Cherry Tree Hill brand, no color name) is going to be the Mermaid’s Lagoon socks from knitty.com. No concrete plans yet for the orange and the green.

Above are the dozen skeins from Miss Babs, IIRC they’re all the “Yummy” superwash merino. She had a lot of nice solids and semi-solids, I could easily have spent a lot more money there than I did.

Let’s see, the two dark green skeins on the left are for Ron – I expect it’s going to take more than one skein to make him a pair. But I might be able to get a pair of anklets out of it, too. Don’t know what pattern I’ll be using with it.

The green and white (“Day at Sink Valley Park”) is going to be the “Glynis” socks from Cookie A.’s “Sock Innovation.” – link to .pdf preview that shows most of the socks in the book. It turns out that colorway is still not as solid as the sock really needs, but I’m not ripping them out for the 5th or 6th time, dammit! And if anyone plans to do these socks, you need to get a couple repeats in to really see the pattern. And don’t knit too tightly. Yeah, I have learned something in all the tries on them.

Next is a pale grey (“Oyster”), which is going to be the “Bex” socks from “Sock Innovation.”

One of the two rusts, not sure which it was now, except the more solid (“Terracopper”), (they are slightly different) is going to be the Baroque socks from Knitty. Yeah, that pattern needs a solid yarn!

The burgundy (“Merlot”), third from the left of the bottom four, is going to be the “Vilai” socks from “Sock Innovation.” Yes, I do like Cookie A.’s socks – I’ve got 2 more queued up from yarn in the stash – “Nebula”, “Ornette” (in about those colors), and 2 more that will probably be done out of the yarn orgy – “Stricken” – but not in light blue, yuck, and “Twisted Flower” – probably the other rust, since I didn’t actually grab a dark green – D’OH! – and I will be buying more of her patterns.

If you have suggestions of which yarn to do “Stricken” (or other Cookie A. patterns) from, e-mail me or leave the comment here on blogger directly (gmail addy is your blogger userid), comments on the LJ feed behave . . . oddly.