Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Updates--I am a bad blogger....

Well, once again: I can't believe how long it's been since I posted...but I've been busy.
In early March, I couldn't resist making the trip to the hatchery out in Caldwell--it was the 2nd week of the hatch & they were already sold out of the duckies we wanted & turkeys, but  they still had lots of bantam chicks---we looked through the book & ended up bringing home 12!  2 of each variety--some Seabrights, Blue laced Red Wynodettes, a pair of polish, & I cant even remember the rest!  We also put in an order for 3 blue Sweedish ducks to add to the flock of Blacks, & 4 Bronze turkeys: to be picked up in 2 weeks.



Of course, 2 days after we brought home the new chicks, 2 of my little hens decided that they wanted to hatch out their own eggs---Grey chicken & one of the black hens stuffed themselves into one nesting box on a pile of eggs...


A couple weeks later, I brought the new ducks & turkeys home...
omg; is there anything more adorable than baby ducks??


The weather warmed up & the new ducks, turkeys & chickens got a new outside run to play in during the day...


Another week gone by & they are growing like weeds!  Especially the ducks; it's amazing how fast they grow!  They are bigger now than the turkeys and chickens that are 2 weeks older : )

And then yesterday...
I found these to cuties under the 2 broody hens...



This morning:
4 more little puffballs....  The count this evening was 7, with 2 more hatching out: and still at least 10 eggs; we'll see how many hatch out....


We wanted to add some new color to the chicken flock, but this is getting a bit ridiculous...although half of them could be roos.    At the moment, we have about 8 laying hens; all banty (half sized).  We use all the eggs they make & have no extra, so doubling the flock would be fine--I would love to be able to give some away, pickle, & maybe even sell a few...so hopefully it will all work out : )

For the duckies, we have 5 hens at the moment & got 3 babies: hoping for 1 boy so we can hatch a few in the next year or so: ducks don't start laying for a full year, so we will see.  The 5 tuxedo hens would love to have a grey suit boy ducky to chase...  And maybe we would have some little mixed duckies next year : )

Plus the huge heirloom garden we are putting in, & trophy orders that won't quit; it's been a busy spring!  It's all good, though---happily, we are negotiating buying out the property plus the rental house in front!   This was all in the plan, but happening much sooner than I thought was possible : )  But work is so busy & we have contracts lined up for months, with no slowdown in inquiries, so timing is perfect!  I'm so excited about it; this place really is pretty perfect for what we do.

Happy Spring!

Amber



Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Public Art Sculpture Installed tonight in Downtown Boise!

Last summer (when it was still warm, lol), I was asked to submit a proposal for a piece of public art to be a part of a new development in downtown Boise.  Hawkins Co. asked me to come up with something using some of the artifacts that were dug from the site; including old railroad tracks, horseshoes, gears, & misc steel pieces & parts.  Well,,,I came up with 3 designs (small to large) & they chose the middle-sized concept---I was hoping for the bigger one, but still thrilled: I knew this concept would be a good fit for the space : )  We installed the finished piece this evening....pretty cool for about 6 months from start to finish...
The finished piece was over 5000 lbs, 26 feet tall.  I used the railroad tracks as the main structure of the sculpture; cutting & welding them into this giant cup design.
This is part of the original proposal & concept design; we moved the center up a bit for structural integrity, as well increasing the footprint of the base : )

pretty close!

I will admit; I was a bit nervous to tip the whole thing over onto it's side for transport to downtown: but it went really well; we had a bit of stress on some of the longer tracks; the sculpture wanted to turn & rest on the long pieces when on it's side---I was really nervous about the weight pressing down; afraid it might buckle the panels in between the tracks.  But: everything held just fine; no issues & we added supports for transport, just encase.
After the piece was rested on it's side, supporting all the weight; I knew there was nothing to worry about; was biting my nails when they were letting it down, though!

And up it goes to get placed on the trailer; for the ride from Nampa to Boise...

lifting it off the trailer; a site in downtown!

Up & over the buildings: it loos so small up there, lol : )

But, it's not so small...

A little help to guide it into place over the bolts embedded in concrete; it dropped into place on the very first try: thanks to pre-planning & a good bolt/template system : )
A few finishing details had to be welded in place...

We finished within 2 hours of arriving on site; it was dark by the time we were adding the final details...
 I'm really happy with how this one turned out & super exited to have a large scale piece in downtown Boise.  We may be adding lights this summer; maybe solar powered...it would really enhance the look at night; hoping we can make it happen!  

Large scale projects like this are really fun & scary & thrilling & intimidating & crazy, all wrapped into one project.  I'm really grateful to have a team of people who are willing to step in & help make things happen; I couldn't do it without them : )  Honestly; I am good at coming up with concepts, but need help to bring the vision into reality...  I love the large scale of these projects, but I can't do it alone---thankfully, I have an amazing engineer, drafter, fabricators, & crane experts that help me make these crazy ideas live in reality : )
It was a long day; running from 6am until well after dark to make it happen, but well worth it.  Seeing the finished project in place is the best part : )  Check it out if you are in Boise; the corner of 6th & Front Street.  

-Amber-



 



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Peggle2 Trophy--rainbows & unicorns & sparkles!

A couple weeks ago I got an email requesting a trophy for a Peggle2 Tournament.  Not having any idea what Peggle is all about, I did a google search for images...as they popped up, I started giggling.
Bright colors & cartoon-like images are not my thing; but I was just musing about wanting to do more whimsical projects.  So, I said yes : )
And this is how it turned out : )  It looks just like the game, complete with Bjorn the unicorn.  The trophy is constructed out of aluminum with a few accents of colored steel & it stands over 18 inches tall.    The tournament takes place this weekend; it's called Gamers for Giving and benefits a non-profit that helps get gaming consoles into hospitals for people who are recovering.   Pretty cool.
 I really had fun with the details; I have a weakness for sparkles & rhinestones--so it was fun to get to put them into the design.  I hope they like it as much as I do : )

Here are some looks into the build process
 
It all starts with a messy sketch of mine & then Josh gets to try & makes sense of it & put it into a CAD file; complete with all the layers & parts that we will need.

Parts are then cut on a CNC plasma table...

A quick clean up & the structural base of the trophy is welded together.


Then, every single piece gets cleaned & polished.  Some prepped for paint; others for patina, & some are left as is & get a clear coat to protect from scratches & oxidation.

Some of the accent pieces got a copper finish for an accent.

Once everything is colored & ready; we put it together to make sure the holes line up, & make any needed adjustments.  

During all this, I send the plaque design off to the engravers.  Once it's back, it's time for final assembly & adding in the little details like rhinestones & hardware : )
 
A quick photoshoot, & then it's off to FedEx for packing & shipping : )
 
We had a lot of fun with this one; I think it was a good idea to add in a bit of whimsical with all the industrial : )

-Amber-

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hacker Trophy

Last year, I made a couple trophies for Major League Hacking & right before Christmas I was contacted again--requesting a big, crazy, perpetual trophy with all the bells & whistles. 
We shipped it out today : )
It's huge; like crazy huge; about 3 feet tall.  FedEx charged me for extra extra over sized, lol.
It's big, but pretty lightweight; it's all aluminum besides the colored steel accents.
The really cool part: David from the Reuseum helped me out with the lighting/wiring: on the inside of the cup is a little control box that can be wireless-ly controlled:  the hackers can hack the trophy--make the lights blink, add more lights, etc.  So cool!  Totally beyond my skills, but I think they will have fun with it : )
Winners from each season will get a custom plaque added to the trophy, plus the rights to hack the lighting system however they want to : )  Pretty cool...
 
We also made custom medallions for each tournament; with a bit of imagery from the big trophy.
Too much fun; the medals are 3.5 inches wide with custom printed ribbons.

I've been having so much fun designing & putting together these custom trophies!  They have really taken over; been doing at least 2 sets a week for a while now : )  In the works right now; a custom trophy for Peggle2, some for Cisco, & maybe a run for AFLAC--might even be making duck trophies, lol : )  It's like making tiny sculptures--each unique & special--I hope the orders keep coming in; so far we are starting out the New Year running full speed!

More to come...

Amber

Thursday, January 16, 2014

More Trophies

Wow; has it really been a month since I last updated?  Sheesh...I'm a bad blogger : )
Actually, I 'm getting ready to give the blog/website a makeover & start posting a lot more; maybe even on a schedule...we'll see.

Anyway: just wanted to share the latest trophies that shipped out to Miami today (wish I could have gone with them)
These are for a big cross-fit competition called Wodapalooza.  We went with the kettlebell theme on the individual awards, & they requested a cup style trophy for the team awards.  I'm loving these cups!  They are about 20 inches tall, all aluminum & I think they came out great : )
We went with a weight plate inspired look for the base of all the trophies.
And the women's team cup got an extra special touch: this is actually one of the antique chandelier crystals I brought back from Italy: I couldn't resist--it added just a touch of bling.

We are starting off the New Year around here with a bang; been crazy busy since the holidays!  Part of it was being sick for a couple weeks; put me way behind on everything, but I'm almost caught up now.

Here's to the New Year & lots of new projects!  

Amber

 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Monarch Moto Trophies

Just wanted to share the latest trophies; these are for Monarch Moto; a new company out of Southern California that is sponsoring a Motocross Invitational this weekend.
They requested something classy, but still bad-ass; liked the idea of wings & wanted to showcase their logo; this is what we came up with... a substantial trophy at about 18 inches tall: made from aluminum, steel & acrylic
Details include the Monarch Moto taglines around the base of the trophy; & a star to match the logo : )  Eat, sleep, ride, repeat, F the Risk, Wreck less Ride More, etc....check them out on Instagram & Facebook for some really cool clothing & accessories--I'm debating on some holiday gifts myself ; )
This was a fun project; I'm really happy with the way they turned out--I hope they are as happy with them as I am : ) 

-Amber-

Friday, December 6, 2013

Quick Update

Just wanted to share the latest trophy design : )  These were presented tonight at the Idaho AGC annual convention.
I think this is the 6th year I have created trophies for this event--and this might very well be my favorite design yet : )  Made of steel, copper, aluminum & acrylic; they stand about 13 inches tall. 

On the schedule for next week; some really cool motocross trophies, a big order for Christian music awards, & a special custom commission for a large wall piece & house number--pics to come.  Oooh; & the big project that is going to be installed in downtown Boise--we are delayed a bit due to the cold weather; but hoping to make some good progress next week & maybe even install on the weekend!  

Happy weekend; stay warm out there--it's supposed to be 1 tomorrow night; sheesh!  So far, the bird herd is doing fine, but I do worry about them in the extreme cold--might break down & put a heat lamp in tomorrow...we'll see.  

Amber

Thursday, November 7, 2013

RIP Frooster...

A few days ago, we noticed that the Frooster (the frizzled roo) was acting funny; not moving around & being all spastic like normal chicken behavior.  Since he was moving slow; it was easy to catch him & bring him inside where it was warm; obviously he was not feeling like his indignant rooster-ish self; so we decided to keep him inside--away from the other chickens in a dry, warm spot.
Well; he stayed the same for a couple days; lethargic, not wanting food, but drinking water--we gave him electrolytes & every natural remedy  I could find on the internet & even tried antibiotics when nothing else worked.  He seemed to perk up on the 3rd morning, but by afternoon was way worse---he passed with a final indignant flapping of his frizzled wings; warm & cozy in Josh's arms.  We both had tears in our eyes; even knowing that he had a very happy life; free-ranging from the moment he was a tiny puffball out of the nest; spending his days chasing bugs; & in the last few weeks: the hens ; )  
Chickens are fragile & I know this from experience; but it's still hard when a favorite is taken, seemingly out of the blue.  He was a good roo; & very sweet & friendly; we buried him with lots of fall flowers under the new butterfly bush by the fence.

Looking forward to the spring hatch; maybe we will get another frizzled roo with gold tipped feathers.  For now; working on winterizing & keeping everyone warm for the winter : )

Amber

Sunday, November 3, 2013

And; the Next Big One...Public Art in Boise

A couple months ago, I received a call from Hawkins Companies; a commercial development company here in Boise.  They asked me to come up with a proposal for a piece of public art for a new development in downtown Boise---using some artifacts that were pulled from the site; including some railroad tracks....
And, so I did----this is what we are building; it's going to be about 26 feet tall & will be installed on the corner of 6th & Myrtle.  Pretty cool!  I'm excited to see this one go in; the bolts are already in place: the sculpture will go in a courtyard between 2 buildings.   A few of the panels will include laser engraved history of the site, some of the architectural details of past buildings that stood on the site, & the names of those involved in this project.
We are starting fabrication tomorrow morning; hoping to put in a couple weeks  & get it done; hopefully I'll be calling ICS Cranes later this week to schedule a pick up & install : )

More pics to come; this is going to be quite the project!

Amber

Friday, October 25, 2013

StarCraft WCS Finals Trophy-- with LED lights!

That Super-Secret project I mentioned last week....well, I finally get to share!  The tournament started today in front of a global audience; both in attendance & through a live video stream; we have seen quite a few peeks at the trophy; sitting in front of the stage for all to see : )
Sooooooo.....I got a message from Shawn at Blizzard Entertainment on Facebook a few weeks ago (when I saw Blizzard & WarGaming.net, I about fell out of my chair)  He wanted to know if we could create a trophy for the StarCraft WCS Finals; to be given away in Toronto at the big event.
-Uh, hells yes, we can do that!-
Sooo, I came up with a concept for a big, dimensional trophy, with built in LED lighting (after looking at past awards & seeing how the tournament finals worked, I so wanted to make the trophy have it's own lights! The venue is dimly lit for gameplay)
And this is what it looked like when we finished up.  Over 35 inches tall, layered metals, with a custom acrylic/graphic plaque, & lots of blue LED lighting for a very cool glow effect: just like on the game start-up menus.
With all the lights off; this is what it looks like : )  The trophy can run on a small battery pack (for the event; can be picked up & carried around) and for long term display can be plugged into the wall, just like a lamp.   The winner will be able to display it in his home/office with the lights glowing all the time--so cool!
Thanks so much to Dave at the Reuseam for making this happen; I would not have been able to do this without you!  We made this trophy in a hurry & the LED lighting was an idea I had never tried before; so I send Dave a message, knowing he is an expert in this type of thing & he was happy to help out & be involved in the project : )  Hoping we can collaborate on some future projects; I was definitely looking over their 3-D printed parts..ooooh, the possibilities!
 Anyway; the LED lighting came out perfect; adding just enough effect to make the trophy really reflect the game.    OMG: now I'm thinking of adding lights to more projects, lol.  Too much fun!
 This one was really one for the books; & I'm so amazed & thrilled to have been a part of it!  I still can't quite believe that we created a trophy for Blizzard; one of the largest gaming companies in the world!  And it was fun; even though we were up till 2 am a few nights in a row to get it all worked out & functioning perfectly, lol: it was so worth it!  

The tournament goes on all weekend; you can follow along with live gameplay at: http://wcs.battle.net/sc2/enhttp://wcs.battle.net/sc2/en

I'm so grateful to those who helped out; Dave at the Reuseam for the wiring & making the lights work, Ray at Rogue Design Syndicate for the perfect plaque graphics, the Sign Center for getting everything printed & ready for us in a hurry, & Josh for taking my messy drawing & making it into a real plan for a functioning design.