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The Return of the Sea Lions

The Return of the Sea Lions

For a week I had been hearing a colony of sea lions barking across the Bay and although I had viewed them from the dock I also was eager to observe them from the water however the weather was not cooperating with my plan. The winds had been playing havoc on the waters and the temp was near freezing so I waited impatiently for the weather to be more agreeable for a paddle.

Yesterday was picture perfect!IMG_7837

The sun was shining, the winds ceased blowing, the water was flat and my kayak was beckoning.
Each year the sea lions come for a visit. They just inexplicably appear, stay for a couple of weeks and then depart as mysteriously as they arrive. I find these winged foot mammals fascinating.

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Top Ten Sea Lion Facts

• Sea Lions enjoy relaxing and basking in the sun
• The males are called bulls and the females are called cows
• Males are massive and can weigh from 1,500 pounds to 1 ton in exceptional cases and can also be up to 11 feet long
• Females are smaller with an average weight of 700 pounds
• Female Sea Lions become part of a harem with a male that protects them
• They give birth to pups, which are born on land and can weigh up to 50 pounds at birth
• A Sea Lion is able to dive up to 600 feet for food in the water
• They can remain under the water for up to 40 minutes before surfacing for air
• They can swim at up to 25 miles per hour but generally they only move about 10 miles per hour unless they feel threatened
• The average life span in the wild for a Sea Lion is 20 years1

A link to Pacific Ocean Sea lions:
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=pacific+ocean+sea+lions&qpvt=pacific+ocean+sea+lions&FORM=IGRE#a
Are you a nature lover? What excites you about the outdoors?

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!
An Example of one of the Carved Lintels

An Example of one of the Carved Lintels

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

Some years ago, following my urge to cut, carve and gouge, I became one of a group of apprentices participating in a Community Center Carving Project. The group project was led by George Norris, a celebrated artist, sculptor and wood carver. I longed to learn carving from a master and our task was to carve intricate details in broad wooden lintels that would be placed throughout the Community Center. George shared many insights, from his rich career of carving with the group, among which was an important lesson: Don’t bleed on the wood as it penetrates the grain and unfortunately there is only one way to remove blood stains from wood and that is by removing the blood stained area, hence the wood itself.

Carvings on Yellow Cedar Posts

Carvings on Yellow Cedar Posts

I learned this important lesson by experience while blood spurted wildly from a hand wound, caused by my ineptness with a lethal weapon aka the number seven carving tool. I mention that it was a number seven so that anyone who is aware of carving tools can appreciate how hazardous this tool can be in the hands of a beginner. Anyone who can’t imagine the damage that it can cause may want to check out my scar, a rather large one, to validate this.

Carving Exercise Block

As you might imagine I yelped a little when I stabbed my own hand, drawing the attention of the master carver who quickly came to my side to observe, not my wound, but the lintel where I had unknowingly leaked some blood. While I stanched the flow of blood as best I could, George quickly drew up a plan to remove the bloodied wood and in haste created an altered carving design to accommodate the removal of the bloodstain. There was no denying that my bloody wound came second to the importance of the lintel being carved.

Artists and artisans often recall with fondness the words of wisdom from a mentor and for me the words I remember most fondly as my first words of professional advice were

DON’T BLEED ON THE WOOD!

What words of wisdom do you recall from a mentor?

 
4 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2013 in Bits & Bites

 

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Positive and Uplifting

Positive and Uplifting

I am thrilled to share this “very positive” Buyer story

I just sold from my Etsy shop a mirror and shipped it out on Feb. 5th, to Brooklyn, NY the Buyer wanted it shipped to her friends as a gift. It weighed approx. 24 lbs. and was carefully packed in bubblewrap, foam and layers of cardboard.

I always request that the Buyer send me a quick note to say the product has arrived, however this Buyer (like most) didn’t send me a note on receipt of her purchase.

So yesterday I sent a follow up note to see that my product had arrived safely.

IT TURNS OUT THE MIRROR ARRIVED SHATTERED!

Now here’s the incredible part, the Buyer didn’t ask for a refund, send negative feedback, open an Etsy case or anything horrid that I often read about Buyers doing. Her reply to my note was upbeat, said it was unfortunate that the mirror broke but it could easily be replaced and then said how much she liked the frame and how appreciative she was that I had sent it!!!

 Aren’t some people just wonderful!

I want to reward her for being so understanding, forgiving and amazingly incredible so I’m happily mailing her a cheque (that she hasn’t asked for) to cover the mirror replacement. I think she deserves this and more.

As Sellers when we speak of who our target market is, my target market is a Buyer like this, who understands that sometimes things happen, and no one is at fault or intended for it to occur and good karma should always be rewarded, especially when no reward is being requested.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on February 17, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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Two By Two

Two By Two

bright cut out animals
Have you ever wondered how Folk Art is created?

One of the Folk Art items I enjoy creating is Noah’s Ark. I create the Ark from reclaimed wood that I salvage from demolition sites or old homes. Along with the ark I include a number of small wooden animals.

Following is my step by step method of creating wood animals from reclaimed wood:

1. The first step is to design the animal on paper and then carefully cut it out and laminate the design for a tracer that you can utilize over again for future animals. That would be a practical thing to do.
Or you can do as I do and draw the animal directly on a piece of suitable wood, which is my quick and easy no nonsense preference. Each animal becomes a ‘one of a kind’ with its own irreplaceable character.

2. When the outline of the animal is drawn onto the wood it is essential to cut it out. I use a scroll saw; I love this little saw and have used it for many years.
It was a present from my supportive husband who recognized early on in our life together that I was not the kind of woman who cared highly for roses or bling, but one who would appreciate the value of a sharp saw or belt sander. I have cut through many a board with this little saw, broken many a blade and stained wood with my blood.

3. Once one of Noah’s animals emerges from the piece of reclaimed wood the next step is to sand the rough edges. You can use a medium weight sand paper and do this by hand.
I utilize a belt sander, another gift that thrilled me more than a mix master would have. Many a knuckle has been sanded and skin lost, during this procedure!

4. As soon as the animal feels smooth all over the fun of painting begins. I use old house paint.
This is an efficient and practical way to recycle products that could end up in the landfill. Fortunately I find painting the house, inside and out, a pleasant and meditative pastime, so I am never short of dribs and drabs of paint.

5. After a base coat I apply the appropriate color and once it dries I apply a second coat. A bit more sanding, then an application of varnish or stain or wood wax depending on the amount of distressing I might do.
Additional details such as some hemp rope for the tail and mane on the horse are added.

The finishing touch on all the animals is to add the eyes. This last step ensures that the animals come ‘alive’!

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Tutorials

 

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Etsy Time

Etsy Time

045BLACK CROW CURIOS believes in creative reuse by reclaiming and transforming cast off items into useful and decorative home accents.  Beach combing and the inspiration of the outdoors are essential components of the BLACK CROW CURIOS design process.

Take a look around Black Crow Curios, you may discover an item that you just can’t live without…

Click on this link to learn more About BlackCrowCurios an Etsy Shop:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios/about?ref=announce

Visit my online shop at:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios

048043IMG00266-20120807-1011

Etsy Time

How much time are you devoting to your online business?

I am finding that I am spending wayyyyy more time on my Etsy Shop than I had imagined I would. Literally 5 or 6 hours some days. I don’t have an addictive personality, however when I do decide to do something I get 100% involved and I have to be careful that when I ‘power up my computer’ and sit down at my desk I don’t get sucked into the Etsy vacuum and lose myself in the reading, absorbing and applying of what I am learning.

Normally I keep my life balanced. Allowing and enjoying time for family, friends, real job, hiking, kayaking, creating something and yet lately I’ve begun to feel that I am spending more time than I had expected to allot to an online business. Some of this time is very constructive, interacting in the discussions, learning new strategies and applying them, but I need to come up for a breath now and then and determine where best to put my time here, and my hope is that this time will all be well spent, like sowing seeds for a later harvest…

How much time is too much?

Etsy Shop Link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios

About BlackCrowcurios an Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios/about?ref=announce

Happy 2013!

My Etsy shop is new and I don’t have a ‘previous year’ to compare it to, so while my Etsy team members are preparing for their approach to 2013 and setting goals, I’m more focused on my accomplishments and reflecting on what I have learned.

And I have learned and accomplished plenty!

I’ve learned that opening an Etsy shop is time-consuming and comes with an enormous learning curve. I’ve accomplished opening a shop, stocking it with Barn Window Mirrors, Driftwood Boats and Hooks and Folk Art and I am actually making sales from people other than my friends and family. People unknown to me actually felt my product was worth purchasing. Go figure…

In reviewing my successes in 2012 the only thing I know for sure is that I am exactly where I need to be. I enjoy being creative and I required an outlet to sell my product so opening an Etsy shop was the right solution.

So what does 2013 bring?

I learned that if you want an honest critique from your team that is exactly what you will get. If you want compliments ask your friends and family! I have learned many things from the team I have joined, such as my photos are horrible, dark and cluttered and my shop is not cohesive. • So 2013 will see new brighter product photos, a more cohesive look and a paring down of product line. • To increase my shop’s reach I am learning the INS and OUTS of social media. So ‘friend’ me on face book, ‘like’ me on my blog, ‘save’ me on Wanelo and ‘pin’ me on Pinterest.

Basically I am requesting all your hearts and attention…

My Question To You: What have YOU accomplished in 2012 and what Business Strategies work best for YOU?

Etsy Shop Link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios About BlackCrowCurios Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios/about?ref=announce

Visit my online shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackCrowCurios

After some wild winds and big swells some lovely pieces of driftwood were washed up on our shore.  Perfect for Sailboats and coat racks!After some wild winds and big swells some lovely pieces of driftwood were washed up on our shore. Perfect for Coat Racks!
 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Etsy Shop Talk

 

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