First of all, there's this.
This is -- incredibly -- the fifth real animal skull I've put on display in my living room. It is the first, however, that came from my yard. (Though the second that I've cleaned myself -- bone only! I didn't skin anything.)
The lower jaw was still near the skull, all teeth intact, but the jaw broke in half when I retrieved it. It's a bit of a funny story, actually. My friend John was over, and when we were walking to my car, he said, "There's a pretty cool skull behind your garage."
I said, "Oh, I should check that out! ...pause... What were you doing behind my garage?"
"I knew you were going to say exactly that!" Let's just say he had his boy-type reasons for being back there.
Went back behind the garage, where I think I've never been in the time I've lived here, and there it was, sitting in a pile of leaves, almost entirely clean. From another skull I have, I recognized it as a raccoon; looking at the teeth, I'm guessing this guy died of old age. I cleaned it up with peroxide, although I haven't taken the next step of gluing the lower jaw together and then gluing and sealing the teeth. It will join the others at that point. When it's ready, I'll take another picture of this one next to the other raccoon I have -- it makes an interesting comparison.
But! I'm too excited about this right now to mess around with bones! Check it out.
I've been waiting to post about this. Early in the summer, I entered a t-shirt reconstruction contest online. The grand prize was a computerized embroidery machine, the Baby Lock Sofia. I posted photos of my three-tee hoodie and then waited. The winners were to be voted on by visitors to the site over a several-week period. Every time I checked in, there were more and more entries, and it really looked like I was falling pretty far behind.
Then a couple of weeks ago, I got email from a representative from the parent company of Baby Lock congratulating me and asking for my shipping address! I was so surprised, I was literally in disbelief. I had a thought for a moment that it was someone trying to scam an address out of me... but I checked the contest site, and sure enough, there was my project, front and center. I won!
This is kick-ace for two reasons. First of all, I've wanted a full-bore embroidery machine for the past couple of years. The problem is they're expensive and I couldn't justify the cost. (Plus, there are so many options, I'd need a machine embroidery mentor just to decide on a model.) Second, and maybe even more significantly, this wasn't a random drawing. I won this machine because people voted on something I made. Forgive me for using a somewhat abused word, but it was seriously validating.
Ain't it a beaut? I told pretty much everyone I know about it that day, but didn't want to say anything here until I had the machine in hand. (So so cynical.) It arrived yesterday, and it's killing me that I can't set it up completely and spend the next several days elbow-deep in machine embroidery. There's going to be a serious learning curve involved. Not to mention I have to find a good place for it! I'm considering making the radical move of displacing my (ancient) desktop computer and putting the embroidery machine in its place, in my work studio. This would be the first time in my adult life that I didn't have a major desktop computer set up.
Man. When did I become such a giant craft/sewing dweeb anyway?
Well, wherever it's going to live it's going to need a new name. I mean, "Sofia"? As if. Going to need something much more suitable to join its new brethren, Nigel (the Husqvarna workhorse) and Roland (the Jaguar serger).
But right now? I've gotta finish my ballgown. Pictures of that are to come...