Constructing Roman Leather Military Boots (Calcei) – Part Two

Sooooo I should have had this finished ages ago, and I’m sorry for keeping everyone waiting. I hope its worth the wait! If you need a refresher, this the second part to the Roman Military Boots Pattern Making article I published oh, ummmm *mumble-mumble*…yeah about 2 years ago. . .

ANYWAY! Here’s the follow up and as always, if anything is unclear, or if you have questions, feel free to comment below!

Cutting and Prepping the Leather

I feel like the act of cutting out the leather from the pattern is pretty self-explanatory so to summarize:

  1. Place pattern on leather
  2. Trace pattern onto leather (trace onto what will be the inside of the boot)
  3. Cut out leather – Ryan used an exacto knife (went through a lot of blades though)

This is a super simple design, so the only other thing worth mentioning is to make sure you transfer your calibration marks and fold line to the inside of the boot.

Ryan often works faster than I can photograph so he got quite a ways into it before I took any photos. The images start a few steps forward with the pattern cut out, calibration marks transferred, skiving done, toe stitched, and notches cut. Using Florentius’ calcei assembly steps, you can see his detailed step by step process and its what Ryan referenced numerous times throughout the course of constructing these boots.

Skiving

You’ll want to do the skiving before any sewing – obviously this image shows the toe stitched up, but the skiving was done beforehand. You can see where the leather seems to get a bit flimsy about 1 inch from the bottom edge and that’s where the tapering from the skiving is.

Making Calcei: Skiving, Notches

The skiving seemed to be the trickiest part – I didn’t know the term skiving so I’m going to assume some of my readers don’t either. Skiving is done to make the leather thinner and easier to fold. The inch we added to the bottom of the pattern gets folded under and wedged between two sole pieces and this is the part you want skived.

Ryan tried using two different types of knives; a curved skiving knife and a Super Skiver. He ended up getting more adept at the curved skiving blade once we got a large polished stone tile to skive against and a wet-stone to keep the blade sharp. The whole point behind skiving is to thin the leather by tapering out the thickness so it folds under more easily, and doesn’t leave you with a lot of bulky leather underneath.

Curved Leather Skiving Knife

Here are a couple videos that may help visualize how to do the skiving if you’ve never done it before:

Stitching

The first bit of stitching you do for these boots is along the toe. As you can see from the photos below, you do a running stitch until you get to the last inch where the leather folds under. For that last inch you want a stronger hold so it won’t come apart where you can’t easily get to it. (In addition, you can see in the photo on the right how thin the leather is after skiving – Ryan may have made it a little too thin so keep that in mind).

Making Calcei Stitching, Notches, Skiving

Using an awl to poke holes ahead of time will make life much easier. Make sure to keep everything aligned as well – shifting is no bueno! The Florentius example shows that he glued the toe seam together first, poked holes once it dried, then stitched. That seems like a good way to do it, but Ryan didn’t bother gluing first.

Notches, Alignment, and Gluing

When you have the toe stitched up, you want to [ideally] have a shoe/cobbler’s anvil to put the boot on and kind of eye-ball where you are going to need to cut out your notches (triangular notches shown above). Basically, you want the leather to fold under the inner sole without folding over itself creating lots of unpleasant bumps.

After you cut the notches, line up your calibration marks with the sole again, and you want to glue the sole to the upper. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to align the calibration marks. . . if you don’t you’ll have an ill-fitting, twisted boot. Since the leather that you fold over doesn’t meet in all areas, ie there will be an oblong section in the middle where the folded over part doesn’t touch, and you’ll want to cut out a filler piece; this will prevent sagging, and uncomfortable dent in the middle of the boot.

Next you need to cut out two more thick, bottom soles. Glue those on one at a time. The glue Ryan used was MASTER brand All-Purpose, Quick-Drying Cement. Some people will stitch all the layers together – some people don’t have the patience for that – and some people use a more historically accurate bone glue (so I’ve been told, but don’t hold me to that – I’m not an expert on historical glues).

Calcei-sole-closeup-3671

(That gap can be filled in with glue or something similar).

Florentius shows a much more detailed progression of the sole gluing steps so if you need more imagery and step by step descriptions, check it out.

Shaping

Shaping is an important part of the process to make the leather fits more snuggly and comfortably to your ankle and gives proper room in the toes. You’ll want to wait until your glue is completely dry, then fill the toes of the boots up with water to soak the leather and make it more flexible. Stuff plastic bags into the toes and press out the toe areas. Leave the plastic bags in and stick a shoe tree in there if you have them (Goodwill!!). Leave them like this and keep doing it until it fits comfortably in the toe.

Ryan also opted to soak the ankles, then wrap them tightly with fabric while wearing them for a couple hours. This shapes the leather to your ankle.

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Oiling

Once everything is dry, but before hobnailing, you’ll want to apply neatsfoot oil to the entire boot for protection and preservation. This also makes the leather more supple, making the hobnailing process a little easier.

Hobnailing

Before hammering a bunch of hobnails into the boots, you’ll want a hobnail pattern. I created a hobnail pattern based off this red and blue pattern we also used for the caligae pattern. (Click on the image for the original article).

valkenburg-hobnail-pattern

My pattern, below, might look a little peculiar because I decided to be lazy and just make one pattern that changes based on which foot I’m putting it on (it’s one piece of paper with writing on both sides so some of the holes are crossed out). Ryan’s feet are a bit asymmetrical so we need separate shoe patterns for his feet and the sole on his right foot is slightly narrower so the hobnail pattern needed subtle changes to easily transfer to each foot. I don’t recommend using my exact pattern and I’ll explain more below.

calcei-sole-hobnail-pattern-001

Transferred the pattern onto the soles. . .

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After hammering in the hobnails. . .

Calcei - Hobnails

Now I will suggest that you DON’T copy this exact hobnail pattern because its not ideal – use it as a reference if you want. Like I said, we were basing it off of the red and blue pattern above, but as you can see, that one is much narrower than Ryan’s foot. Not only did I need to stretch the pattern, I also had to limit the number of hobnails used because we had a finite number of them and (at the time) no way to get any more.

I also thought that by having them more spaced out, that would make the grip/traction a little better, maybe? Wrong. Leather is not stiff and therefore sags… with sagging comes wear and tear. It also means as the leather sags, the shank of the hobnail pokes into the inner soles, making them uncomfortable. It’s like laying on a couple nails, versus laying on a bed of nails.

calcei-hobnails-wear-and-tear

The heel is fairly populated with hobnails, but the ball of the foot and around the edges could use a few more. I suppose if you can find use out of the pattern, just add more hobnails in the gaps. Luckily, we have now found some new sources for hobnails (though we haven’t ordered from them yet) and will plan for a more dense hobnail map in the future.

Inner sole

After hobnailing, cut out another sole piece for inside the boot to cover the clenched shanks of the hobnails. Some people will then put in a normal/modern insert for more confort, or felt insoles, or another piece of leather. Depending on how many or how thick your insoles are, you may need to stretch out the toes more.

Laces, Tab Trimming

Once you’re done hobnailing, that’s all the hard stuff. All you need now are leather laces and to cut some holes in the leather tabs. Put the boots on and get an idea of where the laces will go, then punch your holes. You can also trim off any excess tab you don’t need/want.

Hole punched in tabs with small slit. . .

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Finished!!

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Ryan finished these two years ago and I only had this post halfway done as of a couple weeks ago so if something seems lacking, please feel free to demand more info! I hope the links to the resources we used are helpful too!

Happy boot making! 🙂

Giveaway Number Four – The Mystery Giveaway!

First off, I must apologize for my delay in announcing the winner of the Airplant Stand Giveaway and in getting this mystery giveaway up! Better late than never, right?! SO! Congratulations to Sarah S. for winning the Airplant Stand! I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy mine 🙂

Now, onto this Mystery Giveaway. I decided to extend the length of the giveaway since the holidays kind of crept up on me and I must have fallen into a wormhole because it’s already almost the new year and winter term starts in less than a week. OYE!

I’m unveiling only PART of the giveaway for now because I find mysteries are far more fun. The first item, is a hand-made pack of 5 snowflake note cards I designed.

Snowflake Note Cards Set

The cards are made from black linen embossed paper, painted with white acrylic paint, and have a white interior for writing.

fluffy-snowflake-2-the-kerrminator geometric-snowflake-the-kerrminator tribal-snowflake-the-kerrminator slim-snowflake-the-kerrminator fluffy-snowflake-the-kerrminator

You can use these after the holidays to send thank-you’s to some of the generous people in your life. Also included are envelopes WITH stamps. Total card pack valued at $50.00 (including S/H).

Hand Painted Snowflake Card with envelope

The second part of the giveaway is an item from my friends at Crooked Brook. It’s a newer item of theirs and I’m waiting a little longer to unveil what it is. I’ll give you a hint though: it’s something to relax with and is valued at over $50.

Enter below for your chance to win these two great items! Total giveaway valued at over $100!! Giveaway ends 1/15/15 at Midnight!

Good luck!

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Terms and Conditions:

-Winners must reside in one of the 48 contiguous states
-Must be 18 years or older to enter
-No PO Boxes for Shipping. If address is undeliverable or prize is unclaimed and sent back, winner is responsible for re-shipping charges.
-Prizes will be shipped within 30 days of giveaway end
-All entries will be verified
-Winner has 48 hours to reply to email notification or another winner will be selected
-The items will be shipped separately

Giveaway Number 4!

Is it time to announce the next giveaway already?! Well, first let me congratulate Nicole S on winning last week’s Mohawk Valley Trading Company Giveaway! You should have received an email and have 48 hours to reply to the email in order to claim your prize! In addition, don’t forget to enter my Handcrafted Air Plant Stand Giveaway ending this Friday if you haven’t already!

The next and final giveaway is going to last for about 4 weeks, ending on Christmas! So, the winner definitely will not get it FOR Christmas, but you’ll have a gifty in the mail shortly after to extend the holiday a little longer. So what is it?! Welllllllllllll. . . . . It’s a secret! Actually, with finals next week I just need a little more time to get it prepped and photographed. I will post more about it next week, but in the mean time, we can call it the Mystery Giveaway 😉

Christmas Mystery Giveaway

Happy winning!
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Handcrafted Air Plant Stand Giveaway!

It’s time for week three’s giveaway! First, I’d like to start off by announcing last week’s winner of the Corky Friendz Giveaway so congratulations to Laurie M! You should have received an email and have 48 hours to reply to the email in order to claim your prize! In addition, don’t forget to enter the Mohawk Valley Trading Company Giveaway ending this Friday if you haven’t already!

So are you ready for this week’s giveaway?! Well this one comes to you from yours truly! I’m giving away one of my Handcrafted Air Plant Stands valued at $55.00 (including s/h)!

Airplant stand giveaway

These are great for plant lovers and dull cubicles that need a little nature! This sturdy plant holder is made from a half coconut shell, hung with macramé jute twine from a hand crafted wooden stand. It’s approximately 10.5″ tall, 4.5″ wide, and 6.5″ long.

Each stand includes:

– One Half Coconut shell strung with jute twine
– One Wooden stand
– Rocks
– One Tillandsia Air Plant (varies depending on availability)
***Please note that each stand will vary due to the nature of this hand crafted item. Also depending on coconut size, shape, color, and plant availability.***

Airplant stand giveaway

ABOUT THE STAND:

The stand is hand crafted out of poplar, with decorative edges, stained in “Early American,” top coated with outdoor urethane for endurance against moisture, and felt pads attached to the bottom hand made out of Alpaca wool to protect desk tops and tables from scuffs and scrapes. Each is embellished with a hand-made-by-me copper makers mark with my initials, SFK.

airplant-stand-giveaway-mm

ABOUT THE COCONUT & TWINE:

The coconut is a half shell coated in outdoor quality urethane to protect against moisture as well as to enhance the color of the shell. I don’t recommend submerging or filling the coconut with water as this may cause mold growth or mildew to form and potentially rot the plants.

The twine is not treated with any weather resistant materials so I recommend removing the plants from the holder to water them or spritz them with water to prevent the twine from rotting or causing mold growth. If you to choose to spritz the plants in the holder make sure it is a well ventilated area or in indirect sunlight to allow for quick air-drying.

ABOUT THE PLANTS:

Each stand comes with one tillandsia air plant – the specific type will vary depending on availability. They are nestled into the rocks and easily removed in order to water them.

Airplant stand giveaway

PLANT CARE:

They need a lot of light, but not direct sun. Prolonged direct sun will burn many varieties of air plants. Air plants grow best in temperatures from 50-90F. They cannot tolerate freezing temps.

Water 2-3 times per week. Thoroughly wet the entire plant from top to bottom with a spray bottle or by gently running under the faucet. It is a good idea to give the plants a light misting on the days you do not do a complete watering. This is especially important for tiny plantlets, as they can dry out sooner than larger plants. It is also equally important to make sure that your plants are drying off within 3-4 hours after watering. Prolonged wetness can cause the plants to rot.

If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won and would like to order one of these cute stands, please visit my Etsy Shop and use the coupon code HOLIDAYGIVEAWAY at checkout to receive 10% off!

Airplant Stand Giveaway

Happy winning!

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Terms and Conditions:

-Winners must reside in one of the 48 contiguous states
-Must be 18 years or older to enter
-No PO Boxes for Shipping. If address is undeliverable or prize is unclaimed and sent back, winner is responsible for re-shipping charges.
-Prizes will be shipped within 30 days of giveaway end
-All entries will be verified
-Winner has 48 hours to reply to email notification or another winner will be selected

Maple Syrup, Raw Honey, 100% Beeswax Candles – 2014 Holiday Giveaway from the Mohawk Valley Trading Company

It’s week two of my 2014 Holiday Giveaway series and it’s brought to you by the wonderful people at the Mohawk Valley Trading Company. I’ve held giveaways with them before and always love to have them back!

This giveaway includes a variety of their products that would make a great gift bundle for someone you love this Christmas, or maybe parcel them out to a few friends. Or treat-yo-self! And keep these just for you! Hey I’m not judging – I wouldn’t blame you if you did. 🙂

One winner will receive:

  • One 16 oz glass bottle of Grade A, Pure, Dark Maple Syrup. . . $15.00

Sierra Exif JPEG

  • One 1lb glass jar of Raw American Bamboo Honey. . . $10.00

Sierra Exif JPEG

  • A trio of 100% Pure Beeswax Evergreen Tree Candles. . . $28.50
    (small evergreen: 3.5”. . .$5.50, medium evergreen 4.5”. . . $8.00, and large evergreen 5.75”. . . $15.00)

pure-beeswax-pine-tree-candles-27

Total giveaway valued at $67.00 (including s/h)

In addition to this awesome giveaway, the Mohawk Valley Trading Company is also offering a 20% discount on all of their maple syrup, honey, beeswax candles and handmade soap from 11/18/28 through 11/28/14 with the Coupon Code: The Kerrminator’s 2014 Holiday Giveaway!

Just be sure to mention the coupon code to receive your 20% discount! 😉

All of the items at The Mohawk Valley Trading Company would make great christmas gifts! I paired their honey and taper candles with some local teas and a jar of homemade jam for a gift last year. Do you know anyone who recently moved into a new place? Make them a house-warming gift basket! Find a nice local wine, embellish it with one of Corky Friendz’ Wine Bottle Charms, throw in a set of Mohawk Valley Trading Company tealight candles, and some all natural soap and BAM! #cuteandcustom

About Mohawk Valley Trading Company 100% Pure Beeswax Candles:

Mohawk Valley Trading Company 100% pure beeswax candles are hand poured, hand dipped and made with 100% cotton wicks and 100% pure, all natural, unbleached, yellow beeswax produced by their bees in the USA. In addition to the taper candles, they also make Pillar Candles, Votive Candles, Birthday Candles, Menorah Candles and Tea Light Candles as well as some unique decorative candles.

Beeswax is one of the oldest sources of artificial light and today is still the most natural candle material. The lovely fresh scent, a long burn time and the natural origins of beeswax make it the preferred candle for many types of people from the Catholic Church to environmentalists.

About Mohawk Valley Trading Company Raw Honey:

Raw honey from the Mohawk Valley Trading Company has not been heated, filtered, blended or processed. All of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals and aromatics are in the same condition as they were in the hive.

If you are planning to buy honey for its health-benefits, it must be raw honey. Heating honey (pasteurization) destroys the all of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, and aromatics. Honey that has been heated and filtered is called commercial, liquid or regular honey.

To order MVTC products, please email info@tenonanatche.com
or Call – Tel 315-519-2640
7:00am – 7:00pm – 7 Days a Week

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Giveaway Terms and Conditions:

-Winners must reside in one of the 48 contiguous states
-Must be 18 years or older to enter
-No PO Boxes for Shipping. If address is undeliverable or prize is unclaimed and sent back, winner is responsible for re-shipping charges.
-Prizes will be shipped within 30 days of giveaway end
-All entries will be verified
-Winner has 48 hours to reply to email notification or another winner will be selectedCorky Friendz reindeer ornament

Also, make sure you enter into last week’s Holiday Giveaway with Corky Friendz ending this Friday! And don’t forget to check back each week for new giveaways! 😉

Holiday Giveaway with Corky Friendz

Portland, OR — Ahhhhh! Why have I not been blogging?! Well. . . school. It’s going well so far, only a few issues with professors – the most annoying things right now are that my nutrition professor can’t spell or create coherent quizzes and my Psych teacher pronounces the word “etcetera” as “egg-sedra.” It drives me nuts. haha

On to more important things! The holidays are coming quick and I want to give you some gift ideas AND the opportunity to enter in some giveaways. 😀 The plan is to post a giveaway each week for the next few weeks, each running for about 10 days.

So let’s get right to it! The first giveaway comes to you from Corky Friendz! You might remember Corky Friendz from my Epic Wedding Giveaway a few months ago and I thought it would be great to team up again.

This giveaway includes a classic Corky Friendz Reindeer Ornament – one of the first corky creations that helped develop this brand into what it is today! This friend is 7”x4” of fun for your tree, mantle or as a gift to brighten up anyone’s holidays! Handmade from recycled cork, wire, a hat and scarf, and a bell; valued at $18.95.

corky friendz reindeer ornament

Corky Friendz is also giving away one of their all-new Wine Bottle Cozies. These bottle neck charms are a great way to wow your friendz, and brighten up your kitchen or add a special accent to that bottle of wine you’re gifting. Each wine bottle cozy is handmade using wire, and recycled cork and hand decorated using a wood burner; valued at $9.95. The wine bottle charm included in this giveaway is made with blue wire and embellished with a wood burned snowflake cork charm.

corky-friendz-wine-bottle-charm

All cork is donated from local Portland, Oregon businesses, then the artist uses a wood burner to freehand a design on each charm. The colored wire is then worked into a swirl around the wine bottle neck, and fastened with the corky charm.

About Corky Friendz

Shannon Stoner-Graham came up with the idea for Corky Friendz while pondering crafty ideas for Christmas gifts one year. She wanted to make something that was cute and corky, light and cheerful, and even little on the goofy side. It started with her corky reindeer ornaments, in turn sprouted the idea for the name “Corky Friendz” and has led to an array of up-cycled wine cork products. Each wine cork is collected locally from businesses (wine bars, and vineyards) in Portland, Oregon and surrounding areas. In addition to the many styles and types of corky creations available in her shop, she also takes custom orders. Being an artist at heart, she loves making unique, personalized creations.

Check out Corky Friendz at https://www.etsy.com/shop/CorkyFriendz

This giveaway is valued at $35.00 (including shipping/handling). Enter below using the rafflecopter widget. Ends 11/22/14 at 12am.

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Terms and Conditions:

-Winners must reside in one of the 48 contiguous states
-Must be 18 years or older to enter
-No PO Boxes for Shipping. If address is undeliverable or prize is unclaimed and sent back, winner is responsible for re-shipping charges.
-Prizes will be shipped within 30 days of giveaway end
-All entries will be verified
-Winner has 48 hours to reply to email notification or another winner will be selected

Artwork For Charity & Pet Portrait Raffle!

Photo from the Oregon Ferret Shelter's Facebook Page of Rocco.
Photo from the Oregon Ferret Shelter’s Facebook Page of Rocco.

As I mentioned in my last entry, I will be attending Oregon State University this Fall, majoring in Nutrition. While I was filling out my school application, I realized I haven’t done much charitable giving other than dropping off items here and there to Goodwill and The Salvation Army. I decided to make more of an effort to help others in my own way.

I remembered reading last year about the Oregon Ferret Shelter having some zoning issues with Clackamas County. Apparently they got the issue somewhat resolved, but Clackamas County decided to be dicks again and is going after them for other reasons.

The ferret shelter is located in Oregon City, Oregon and is in a district zoned for general farm use.

Here are a couple snippets from an article about the ferret shelter’s citation last year:

The county’s definition of ‘general farm use’ in property zoned as a Rural Residential Farm Forest 5-Acre District includes: “Feeding, breeding, selling, and management of livestock, poultry, fur-bearing animals, or honeybees.”

According to the county, a shelter that adopts and cares for domestic ferrets does not meet all those stipulations.

“They aren’t breeding them; they aren’t producing new animals,” McCallister says [the county planning director].

The fact that the shelter cares for and adopts ferrets for use as domestic pets – rather than breed them – is not a “normal and customary farm practice,” according to the county.

Clackamas County maintains that since the animals are not being managed or sold for the purpose of producing fur, the shelter is in violation of the ordinance.

It’s unlikely she [Chris Mathis] will apply for a home business permit. The application fee alone is $520, and she says the process would require thousands of dollars in fees for surveys, necessary renovations and other costs.

“We just don’t have the money. We’re hand to mouth here,” Mathis says. “Every dime is going to the ferrets.”

The full article can be read here on Oregon Live:  http://www.oregonlive.com/pets/index.ssf/2013/04/pet_talk_oregon_ferret_shelter.html

This is a note from the ferret shelter’s website from Chris Mathis, owner of the shelter, updating the public on the shelter’s current situation:

Clackamas County first tried to shut us down by saying we could not have a shelter on farm land and wanted us to get a home business license. We hired a lawyer for $4,000 plus CC fees and got their decision reveresed to our benefit. Now they are trying another technique called “change of use” for our garage! With my husband retiring this month and finances and his recent stroke and pancreatic episode, they have our back against the wall financially. If we do not meet their demands, the shelter will close. That will leave approximately 350 ferrets per year with no place to go! You see, the Oregon Humane Society shut the door on ferrets years ago. Animal Control will pick them up but doesn’t keep them. Please help our cause for the sake of the ferrets. We will need to purchase an air scrubber, new lighting, exit signs, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, submit drawings for approval and other structural changes to satisfy them.

Chris Mathis, owner of the Oregon Ferret Shelter

Weasels Dancing in the Park - Steampunk - by Sara Kerr

I didn’t have any previous contact with the shelter, I just knew they take in, care for, and find homes for ferrets; and Ryan used to own a ferret that had been adopted from that shelter several years ago, before he enlisted. I’d love to own a ferret some day (can’t swing it financially right now). I couldn’t get over how cute they are the first time I saw one run! Their backs arch up and they’re like floppy, furry little tubes. So cute! Anyway. . .

Earlier this year I spent some time on the shelter’s website to learn more about what they do. I came across their Weasels Dancing in the Park event page and saw that they have auctioned off artwork in the past during this event to raise money for the shelter.

I reached out to Chris and Dave and asked if I could help by donating my time to design t-shirts for their event this year, as well as create a piece of artwork for them to auction off. I chatted back and forth with their Volunteer Coordinator, Melissa, and we worked out the designs shown here. I dropped off the painting this past weekend at the shelter and hope they receive a nice chunk for it at the auction this coming weekend. Any little bit helps! I’m even selling prints of the painting on Etsy and for each print I sell, I will donate $10 to the shelter.

Frisky Whiskers Ferret Painting by Sara Kerr

You can order a signed print of my painting “Frisky Whiskers” here.

If you’re in the West Linn area this weekend, you should stop by the event.

Oregon Ferret Shelter - Weasels Dancing in the Park 2014

In addition, the ferret shelter has been running a FundMe campaign for the past month to raise their goal of $7,000 to be able to pay for all the changes the county is forcing them to make. The campaign ends in less than 5 days and they only have 10% of their goal. To help them reach that goal, I’m holding a donation-based raffle for a custom pet portrait. The main goal is to raise money for the shelter so for every dollar you donate on their FundMe campaign, you will get one entry into my raffle. Donate $1, get one entry, donate $20, get 20 entries – you get the idea. I need to see your name on the donation page so add your name to your donation and comment below when you have donated so I can make sure to get all your entries noted!

One winner will be chosen randomly using rafflecopter and they will receive:

  • One 5″x7″ colored pencil illustration of one of their pets (winner must provide a high-resolution photo of the pet – doesn’t have to be a ferret!)
  • Custom matting for the illustration

This raffle item is valued at $119 including shipping.

I’m trying to raise awareness of the shelter’s plight and hopefully get them some more support, whether it’s financially or finding more people who’d like to adopt a ferret. Once you make your donation, make a comment below so I can check your name and donation amount and I will confirm your entries. There are a couple other entry methods as well, so even if you can’t donate, you can still show your support by following the shelter and myself on facebook and twitter.

Please keep in mind that the FundMe campaign will end on August 04, 2014 at 08:50 and the Oregon Ferret Shelter will receive all the funds pledged even if the target is not reached. My raffle ends on August 3rd at midnight!

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**Disclaimer** I am not affiliated with the Oregon Ferret Shelter and the shelter is not associated with or responsible for this raffle in any way. I am not being compensated for my time or services related to this raffle.

Raffle Terms and Conditions:

-Winner must reside in one of the 48 contiguous states
-Winner must be 18 years or older to enter
-No PO Boxes for Shipping. If address is undeliverable or prize is unclaimed and sent back, winner is responsible for re-shipping charges.
-Prize will be shipped within 90 days of raffle end
-All entries will be verified
-Winner has 48 hours to reply to email notification or another winner will be selected

Merging Careers: Art & Science, hand-in-hand?

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A blogger I follow published an article yesterday mentioning how July is half over already and its been a month since he last posted anything. I realized I haven’t published a new article since May! Well, if you’re interested, I’d like to explain why:

About a year to a year and a half ago I was living in an apartment with my boyfriend and another roommate. I was working crappy jobs, spending not nearly enough time on freelance work, and doing almost no creative projects just for myself. I was struggling with the idea of continuing on my path of shitty jobs to pay the bills, and finding time to pursue my freelance career as an artist, designer, and illustrator.

Let me backtrack to about seven years ago: I was graduating from high school in upstate New York — legit upstate, not just 20 miles north of the city, but I digress — I was top of my class and hating almost every minute of it (mostly dreading the idea of having to give a speech, plus other bs that was going on with the administration). I was the valedictorian and by the end of the school year, I had no intentions of going to college. As you can probably deduce, my focus in high school was fine art so, I did consider art school, but ultimately chose not to go for a myriad of reasons:

  1. I had my older brother, TJ, as an example to follow (sorry brotato, but you were the guinea pig). He went to a school in Boston for music technology and dropped out after a year because it wasn’t until after he was already down the rabbit hole, that he realized he hated it. One year. Over $30,000 in debt. No thanks.
  2. I already had a job that allowed me to explore my creativity in fashion design, graphic design, web design, embroidery, modeling, writing, photography, illustration, and plenty other creative outlets. I was basically going to school and getting paid for it.
  3. I wasn’t 100% certain it was worth it to get a degree in fine art since I was cocky and let myself believe that I was already really good and wouldn’t learn anything.
  4. I felt like I had something to prove and wanted to show people that I could take the “hard road” to success and succeed without a degree.
  5. I didn’t think the degree was worth the financial burden.
  6. I didn’t want to conform to what I considered society’s standard: to follow along with the crowd as one of The Man’s little marionettes, and being forced into a life as a puppet getting walked through the educational system to fetch my piece of paper that would, down the line, mean something to employers.
  7. I was bitter.

There were probably more reasons, but the gist of it is that I didn’t want to be rushed to a decision, and the more that people tell me I have to do something, the less I want to do it. Plus, I’m a thinker, a planner, a worrier, and probably, nay definitely, a little bit of a procrastinator. I wanted time to think about what I really want to spend the rest of my life doing and to this day, I still feel like 18, for most people, is too young to know the answer to such an important question.

At the same time, I reflect and find hypocrisy in my opinions (this is going to be a tangent, so bear with me). I hate the notion that we have to have very specific careers and learn very specific skills to do a job that contributes to a larger entity. People aren’t as well rounded as they used to be and seriously lack a lot of basic skills they should know, as humans, in order to survive. People don’t even know how to plant and garden for shit’s sake! If grocery stores just vanished, I can’t imagine how many people would just starve because they can’t sustain themselves. Anyway, the hypocrisy lies within my mindset of wanting to find that one thing I want to do for the rest of my life: If I want to do one thing, isn’t that limiting, and narrowing my path to well-roundedness? I’d like to think not since I intend to pursue art as well as a science and I have other hobbies too, but I kind of feel a little hypocritical.

So, fast forward to last year. I had a conversation with Ryan (my then boyfriend, now fiancé), about my career:job:life angst. He told me he understands my reasoning behind wanting to thoroughly consider careers before jumping into school and wasting my time and money; he too went into the work force right out of high school. He then told me that eventually I need to get off my ass and make a decision because I can’t sit around thinking about it forever.

At first, I was a little insulted, but it was very sound, logical advice and it really kicked me into high gear over the past year. Sometimes I just need a boot to the ass to get motivated.

While pondering careers, I was hired to do a sketch of a woman based only off of verbal descriptions, like forensic sketch artists do, and it got me thinking about how I’d like to maybe become a sketch artist for law enforcement. After some research, I discovered that job is primarily, though not always, left to someone within the force who already has artistic skills due to the liabilities involved in having a civilian interacting with witnesses and victims as well as the financial burden of hiring an independent contractor.

With that in mind, I considered what areas of police work I could see myself being involved in so I could get my foot in the door to becoming a sketch artist. I had been interested in forensics for a long time and decided to see what I’d be looking at career-wise, locally. I signed up for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy – a two month long class that walks citizens through various areas of the sheriff’s office, both lecture based and hands-on – and part of it involves a presentation by someone within the forensics department.

I very quickly learned that the jobs in my area are competitive and not very interesting: It would most likely involve finger print analysis or just collecting evidence. It’s possible other agencies nearby might have more interesting jobs, but after some consideration, I didn’t think I’d be able to handle the grotesque nature of the job. Aaaand just like that, two potential careers went out the windowIMG_5195.

I don’t remember exactly when, but I watched a few documentaries about nutrition, health, and obesity in America and it got me thinking about how much common sense people seem to lack in regards to eating right, and many peoples’ hypocrisy when it comes to not taking care of themselves then expecting someone else to pay their health sickcare bills. I thought back to when I was researching primary care physicians when I first moved to Oregon four years ago and how I ended up choosing a naturopath. What attracted me to my naturopath was her thorough examination into my health history and her genuine caring and interest in my health. Also, the fact that she is conscientious of my preferences and opinions of how I want to get healthier and doesn’t just prescribe pills right off the bat to cure everything (though she can if need be).IMG_2094

It clicked for me that nutrition is something I feel passionate about and enough so that I can definitively see myself making a career out of it. More IMG_3058-001research ensued and to make this long story a little shorter, I’ll just say that my goal is to become a Registered Dietitian and I will be attending Oregon State University in the Fall (finances and vehicle longevity permitting).

I still intend to pursue my art, and in an ideal world I will be able to combine the two in some way. I have ideas, I just need to keep chugging along, stop procrastinating, and just. Get. It. Done.

I’m working on — by working on, I mean it’s churning in my head — a series of phrases to help keep me focused and motivate me, that I want to turn into a series of illustrations or t-shirts or both. You can expect a transitional mish-mash in my blog topics that incorporate either or both art and nutrition and I hope you find all topics interesting and helpful.

One final note! An amazing coincidence happened this past year that I hope will help transition and merge my artistic career with a health and wellness career and I can’t wait to talk about it, but I have to wait until I get the go-ahead to do so. Yeah, that explains nothing. . . just stay tuned! It’s exciting!

Gigantic Wedding Themed Giveaway with Crooked Brook, Corky Friendz, and The Mohawk Valley Trading Company

Portland, OR — Wedding season is here and being recently engaged, I’ve been staring blankly at the seemingly endless list of tasks I need to get done before the big day. Also, as many of you likely know, Oregon lifted it’s ban on gay marriage this week and it is now legal for same-sex couples to tie the knot in this beautiful state! Now they can legally clamp on their ball-and-chain like the rest of us! haha

Whether or not you’re pro gay-marriage, I think we can all admit weddings are both exciting and stressful. I have found that the hardest part to planning a wedding is knowing where the hell to start. We’ve [kind of] started our guest list, researched venues, and have been utilizing Pinterest for decor, favor ideas, cakes, and dresses. If you don’t know where to start either, start here! Lucky for you, I’m teaming up with three other companies in the hopes that we can assist other couples in getting started on their wedding day planning.

I’m teaming up with my friend Shannon Stoner (who is also getting married soon), as well as my peeps at Crooked Brook and The Mohawk Valley Trading Company for this special Wedding Themed Giveaway. This package would be an amazing gift for a newly engaged couple looking for ideas for wedding favors and wedding decor. If you are soon to be married or know someone who is, READ ON! 😀

This epic giveaway package includes:

Crooked Brook DTG Printed T-Shirts &
Personalized Embroidered Fleece Blanket

Crooked Brook Wedding Giveaway Photos

I don’t know about all the other couples out there, but I love cuddling under a soft fleece blanket. Crooked Brook’s fleece throws are the perfect size and thickness, plus their ability to personalize them with high quality embroidery makes them an excellent gift for either the bride and groom, or maybe a favor for each of your guests. Snuggling under the fleece blanket wearing “Bride” and “Groom” t-shirts, now that’s perfect.

-One, in any stock color, 50” x 60”, 100% polyester Personalized Wedding Fleece Blanket (winner can pick one of the two stock designs shown)…$23.00

-Two, pink or white, Gildan, G200 6.1 oz. Ultra Cotton® T-Shirts made in 100% preshrunk cotton, with the words “Bride” or “Groom” printed on the center front chest… $34.00

About Crooked Brook Fleece Blankets and Fleece Throws:

Fleece blankets (also called fleece throws) are made from Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or other synthetic fibers and can also be made out of recycled PET bottles or recycled fleece. They are lightweight, warm, soft, and hydrophobic; holding less than 1% of their weight in water which allows them to retain much of their insulating powers even when wet.

Fleece blankets are machine washable, dry quickly, are very breathable and will not lose their thickness when compressed; it does not matter if you crush, pull, twist or wad up the blanket it will come back to its original shape and thickness.

About Crooked Brook DTG Printing and Personalized T-Shirts:

Although the most popular method of printing t-shirts is screen printing, Crooked Brook t-shirts are printed using Direct To Garment Printing (DTG) which is the process of using inkjet printers to print an image directly onto t-shirts without the use of screens that are needed for screen printing, which requires a lot of setup e.g., creating screens for each color.

In addition, DTG printing uses eco-friendly, water soluble ink, unlike some screen printing methods that layer Plastisol (a suspension of PVC particles in a plasticizer) on top of the t-shirt. The only requirement for DTG printing is for the image to be high resolution, resulting in photograph quality printing with no setup fee or minimums for custom t-shirts.

Corky Friendz Custom Wedding Favors, &
Cake Toppers

These corky creations are unique, and to quote the kids these days, “totes adorbs” (or is that like so 5 minutes ago?) At any rate! I absolutely love the cork wine glass charms and to think I didn’t even know there was such a thing! The charms would make a great memento for your guests to take home and use on their wine glasses. Genius!

Corky Friendz Personalized Charms, Cake Toppers, and Cork Magnet

-One Pair of *Live* and *Love* Wood Burned Wine Glass charms…$10.95

-A Set of Champagne Cork Wedding Toppers…$35.95

-One Personalized Cork Magnet (Wood burned with your wedding date and last name)…$5.65

Mohawk Valley Trading Company Delicious Raw Honey, and 100% Pure Beeswax Taper Candles

The taper candles would be excellent as either wedding favors or part of your table decor plus their sweet scent is PERFECT for such an event. The honey would make excellent favors as well and is sure to make your guests happy! YUM!

Mohawk Valley Trading Company Beeswax Candles, and Raw Honey

-Two, 100% Pure Beeswax Taper Candles…$10.00

-One,1 lb Glass Jar of Raw Honey…$10.00

About Mohawk Valley Trading Company 100% Pure Beeswax Candles:

Mohawk Valley Trading Company 100% pure beeswax candles are hand poured, hand dipped and made with 100% cotton wicks and 100% pure, all natural, unbleached, yellow beeswax produced by our bees in the USA. In addition to the taper candles, they also make Pillar Candles, Votive Candles, Birthday Candles, Menorah Candles and Tea Light Candles as well as some unique decorative candles.

Beeswax is one of the oldest sources of artificial light and today is still the most natural candle material. The lovely fresh scent, a long burn time and the natural origins of beeswax make it the preferred candle for many types of people from the Catholic Church to environmentalists.

About Mohawk Valley Trading Company Raw Honey:

Raw honey from the Mohawk Valley Trading Company has not been heated, filtered, blended or processed. All of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals and aromatics are in the same condition as they were in the hive.

If you are planning to buy honey for its health-benefits, it must be raw honey. Heating honey (pasteurization) destroys the all of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, and aromatics. Honey that has been heated and filtered is called commercial, liquid or regular honey.

The Kerrminator’s Personalized Felted Soap Wedding Favors, & Hand Drawn Custom B&W Portrait of the Couple

My custom Alpaca Wool Felted Organic Soaps can be personalized with initials, hearts or other cute designs to be given out as favors for your guests. They are the perfect size, and gives your guests something unique and useful to take home with them.

In addition, turning one of your engagement photos into a drawing would make a unique and creative display for your guest book to welcome your family and friends.

The Kerrminator Custom Hand Drawn Portrait and Felted Soap

-Three Wedding Favor 2oz. Felted Bar Soaps (Patchouli, Honey & Oatmeal, and Soothing Herb Blend) and needle felted with hearts…$36.75

-A Custom 5”x7” B&W Portrait of the lovely couple…$75.00

About The Kerrminator’s Felted Soap:

Felted soap is bar soap that has been wrapped in wool roving, most often sheep wool or alpaca wool, and wet felted. Sometimes the felted bar soap is decorated with contrasting colors by wrapping wool yarn or strands of wool fiber over top of the base color, or by needle felting.

About The Kerrminator’s Custom Portraits:

Many of my illustrated portraits are drawn from photos; I do not use computer programs to manipulate images and fancy printers to create the illusion of a hand painted or drawn portrait. I offer portraiture in a wide variety of media including charcoal, colored pencil, graphite, oil pastel, soft pastel, colored charcoal, oil paint and acrylic paint as well as mixed media. The winner will provide me with the reference photo they would like me to use and I’ll recreate it in a style and medium I see fit.

This entire Wedding Package is worth over $250!!!
Ends midnight on June 9th!

Wedding Giveaway

Now here’s your chance to make this fantastic prize yours! Anyone can enter (just check the terms and conditions below the entry widget). There are multiple entry possibilities and the more you share, the more chances you get, so share the love!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

-Winners must reside in one of the 48 contiguous states
-Must be 18 years or older to enter
-No PO Boxes for Shipping. If address is undeliverable or prize is unclaimed and sent back, winner is responsible for re-shipping charges.
-Prizes will be shipped separately from each company within 30 days of giveaway end
-All entries will be verified
-Winner has 48 hours to reply to email notification or another winner will be selected

Can’t wait to see if you won? The Mohawk Valley Trading Company, Corky Friendz, Crooked Brook, and myself are all offering the following discounts now through June 9th!

Receive a 15% discount on all Mohawk Valley Trading Company 100% Pure Beeswax Candles, Maple Syrup and Honey  from 5/21/14 through 06/09/14 with the Coupon Code “The Kerrminator’s Wedding Extravaganza Giveaway”.

Receive a 15% discount on everything in the Corky Friendz Etsy Store from 5/21/14 through 6/09/14 with the Coupon Code “JuneWeddGiveaway”.

Receive a 15% discount on all Crooked Brook custom shirts (embroidered or printed), custom polo shirts (embroidered or printed), custom sweatshirts (embroidered or printed) or custom hoodies (embroidered or printed) custom fleece blankets (embroidered) and custom embroidery from 05/21/14 through 06/09/14 with the Coupon Code”The Kerrminator’s Wedding Extravaganza Giveaway”.

Receive a 15% discount on all of The Kerrminator’s wedding favor felted soaps (custom orders via email AND in my etsy store), custom wedding portraits and engagement portraits (painted, or drawn), as well as 10% off custom picture framing and matting for your portrait from 05/21/14 through 06/09/14. Simply shoot me an email with “JuneWeddGiveaway” in the subject line and tell me what you need! *Note* Coupon code JuneWeddGiveaway also applies to felted soaps, custom portraits, mats, and frames in my Etsy store.