Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Book Review: Wool by Hugh Howey

The first of a series of 3; this is a post-apocalyptic fantasy that is one of my all time favorite series.  Set in an underground silo (like a bunker, but huge--over 100 stories) the story follows the lives of some of the inhabitants as they survive within the confines of the silo. Without giving too much away; the writing is great, the story is compelling (the type to keep one up way past bedtime) and the world building is imaginative, but realistic.   I was drawn into the world in the first few chapters & happily devoured the next books in the series.  This is a series that has a permanent place on my bookshelf...not something normal for me; I typically resell books on ebay.  But, special books stay, & this is one of them--I made Josh read them too & he loved them as well.  From these books, I have become a Hugh Howey fan; just finished his latest: Soda Pop Soldier & will have a review soon : )


Saturday, October 8, 2016

New Custom Trophy Pics

Shipped out last week for an end of the year Harley-Davidson event in Maryland; steel sprocket trophies with custom rainbow patina & accents of polished steel with silver metal-flake.   Love the way these came out; the best of show stands about 14" tall, with the 2nd place awards at about 11", & the runner up awards at 9".   All got the rainbow torch treatment, which turned out great on all of them; lots of color. 

Also shipped out a batch of star medallions for a cross-fit completion.  Love the red, black & silver color combo; really sharp in real life/light.  We did 1st, 2nd, & 3rd: first being kinda ridiculously large; but I hope the winners get a kick out of it, lol.    Made from steel, with candy apple red paint & flat-black with a bit of metal flake.

Fun projects; working on more this week!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Google Trophies

Shipped out last week; 24 trophies for Google Chrome.  We came up with a custom design using their logo: these stand 12" tall and are made of polished steel with candy-paint.  Laser engraved plaques and hardware accents. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Boise Film Fest Trophies

Cute little film-reel trophies we made for this year's Boise Film Fest.  10" tall, polished steel with laser engraved acrylic plaques.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Vain Glory Custom Fabricated Trophies

Just shipped out a big (2' tall) logo trophy for a gaming tournament, along with a couple mini versions; the mini's will go home with the winners--the big one will go to the next tournament & will have the winner names added for each tournament.  This one was a struggle to be honest: parts were not available until the last minute & I spent the weekend & most of the week working to get it out in time.  Sleep deprivation aside, in the end it turned out pretty OK.  I'm not completely happy with how the big one came out...it looks cool for sure, but I didn't have time to put a gold leaf or gold chrome finish on it like we wanted.

I'm really happy with the black on the base: super cool looking, with a bit of sparkle under the right lighting.  And I like the contrast of the white lettering.   The gold however; I had wanted to do a gold chrome finish, but there was no way we could do so with the time-frame plus parts being late. It still looks nice, but I wish I could have delivered what was the original idea.

The small versions are adorable!  And; fun fact-I used Harley pipes to make the outside round part of the trophies.  They stand 14" tall, & were not exactly easy to make--I find smaller things harder to fabricate than the big stuff.

The tournament takes place this weekend in Seattle & will be streamed on Twitch. 

Yay for a long weekend; I'm ready for a day off to recover ; ) 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rocket Ship Trophies for the Aerospace Industry

Just wanted to share these cute rocket ship themed trophies we shipped out last week to the South Carolina Aerospace Industry.  They stand 12 inches tall, with a propeller shaped base & three "fins" that surround the little retro rocket ship.  It's hard to see in the pic, but the background of the plaques & the base pieces has a nebula colored pattern with purples, blues, pinks, & a sprinkling of metal flake for subtle sparkle.  All steel with laser engraved acrylic plaques.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

Book Review, Howl's Moving Castle

I've been a huge fan of the Miyazaki animated film for years; it's one of my all time favorites that I watch again & again.  So, when I came across a review for the book that said it's quite different from the film, I immediately put in an order on Ebay.  

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy whether you like the movie or not (how could you not...).  The book is different in ways, but a lot of the main characters are for the most part the same.  There were a few surprises that were pretty intriguing, actually: like Howl's home country for instance.  Calcifer; my favorite cranky fire demon is mostly the same personality, but a lot more interesting looking as described in the book--rainbow colored with a jaggedy grin.  Howl & Sofie are mostly consistent with  the film, Howl's apprentice is different in the book.

Anyway; the book is a pretty easy read--I finished it in one sitting & closed the cover with a smile.  I couldn't put this one back on my Ebay listings, as I see myself reading it again: might even search for a nice hardcover for my permanent collection : )  There aren't too many books that make it to my "keep forever" shelves, but this is one of them.  


Monday, August 15, 2016

The Bird Herd 2016

As usual, we have seen baby chicks since early spring; probably at least 6 different broods this year, including one hen that hatched out a single chick--they still hang out together; too cute.  The youngest group is just now coming into their adult feathers; this is my favorite part (except fuzzy baby chicks, of course).  We are finally getting a glimpse of what they are going to look like & I'm really happy with the new colors & combinations this year : ) 

Currently, our flock is all bantams ranging in color from red to black, with a few white & buff hens.  Also a grey frizzle roo, & a couple black frizz hens.  Black is definitely dominant, but we did get some interesting feather patterns this year.  I love this gray-ish little hen with the hints of red.  Also, lots of black with tips of red or white.

I think my favorite is the runty little hen (I think).  She has reddish feathers with black accents; definitely from our golden Seabright roo...  She is tiny compared to everyone else & seems to be very curious; I'm hoping she might turn into a people chicken like our favorite hen "Gold Chicken"  who love to come in the house & hang around & get pets.   It's hard to tell, though as we let the hens hatch & take care of the chicks with little interference on our part.

It looks like our hen to roo ratio is good this year; definitely a few roos in the mix, but mostly hens.  Yay for them; it means they get to stay & bounce around the yard all day eating bugs & getting spoiled.  Unfortunately for the roos, we can only keep 1 or 2; more than that & it's too hard on the hens & us; they are pretty pesky with the constant crowing & fighting over the hens.  Sooo, starting tonight when they roost up, we will start separating the roosters into their own run away from the hens & our bedroom window.  They will get lots of feed & water & treats until this fall when they will all go to "freezer camp" along with a few hens that were way to aggressive with the baby chicks.

We usually take them late in October for processing, along with any turkeys or ducks (none this year).  Fills our freezer with clean, organic meat for the next year.  It may take quite a few birds to make soup (they usually weigh in around 1 pound, maybe less), but at least we know they had a happy life & aren't full of antibiotics & sodium.  The remaining hens provide eggs pretty much all year--they do stop laying in winter if it get's really cold.  

At the moment, we still have a lone male turkey & lone female duck.  The ducky will probably be given away: we don't really care for the stronger taste of duck eggs or duck meat, so it seems a bit pointless to keep feeding her all year just as a lawn ornament.  The turk, however will stay; he is very friendly & we would like to have baby turkeys in the spring, so are searching for a lady friend for him.  Full grown heritage turkeys are bit hard to find, but hoping to find one soon. 

I love having the birds around; they are fun to watch out in the pasture & they eat bugs.  They do get into mischief too; turkey loves to see if he can sneak into the shop when I'm not looking & the chickens occasionally make pests of themselves in the garden...  But it's all in good fun.  And they provide us with eggs for breakfast : )  


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Book Review; The Goblin Emperor

This is the story of the emperor's 4th, half-breed son who was banished for 17 years until his father & brothers were killed in an "accident."  Suddenly, he finds himself crowned emperor: knowing nothing of court rules, decorum, politics, or even how to dance at the balls he must oversee.  Also, being a half-breed he must face discrimination & prove himself to the higher-ups in the government he is supposed to rule.   Of course power struggles, treachery, & murder attempts occur...

I quite liked the main character & his closest advisors.  It takes a while, but he does grow throughout the story & comes into his own at the end.   I actually would have liked to know more about what happened after he finally won over some of the characters; unfortunately there is no sequel yet.  

This is a long book, with tons of really weird, long names that are hard to keep straight.  Along with all the court politics & decorum: I found it a bit tedious at times.  I think there were some ideas and characters that could have been explored a lot more, but overall the writing was good. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who is into fantasy; although the fantasy elements are really minimal--it's also got some Steampunk contraptions thrown in that are pretty interesting.  I would say this one falls in at 7 out of 10 for me. 


Friday, August 12, 2016

Drag Race Custom Trophies with Diamond Plate

One of the latest sets of awards to get shipped out; made from diamond plate steel in simple shapes, with cable accents & mirrored acrylic plaques.  I like how they look really fast, hahaha.  I'm loving the new look on the mirrored acrylic; to get this look, the acrylic was laser engraved on the back, then I sprayed the back with color, making sure to get all the edges.  Great look for adding color & keeping everything crisp & read-able---we have used colored mirror before, but there was not that much contrast, making the lettering less readable.

Anyway; these are on the way to the big event; hope they like them!


Monday, August 8, 2016

Book Review; Daughter of Smoke & Bone

So, this one was coming up again & again on Litsy, Goodreads, etc; so I finally gave in & ordered if off of Ebay.  I must say; I was a bit skeptical---having found a lot of YA titles full of way too much teenage silly drama, googly eye romances, & social justice issues shoved into a story that made no sense besides to shove in SJ... 

Anyway, this book did start out a bit slow; but about half way through I was hooked.  The main character is an artist type girl with blue hair attending art school & doing "errands" on the side for the only family she has ever known.  That family is a bit odd; having animal & human parts combined: the are chimaeras & live in secret through portals in major cities throughout the world.  It all gets pretty complicated when she runs into an angel (mortal enemy of chimaeras) & is for some reason drawn to him & trusting in his promise not to hurt her.  Much drama & backstory ensues, & the book ends on a cliff-hanger (of course).  About 2/3s through the book, I had already ordered the next 2 in the series, & I'm curious to see where things go from here.  

This is not a love-sick teenage woe is me tale; there are some pretty dark themes & choices the main characters have to make along the way.  Although there is a nice romance that might be a bit over the top, I was OK with it--curious to find out the backstories of the two main characters.  There is magic, other realities, weird creatures, & street performers who pretend to be vampires, hahaha. 

Overall; I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoyed Harry Potter, although it's more of an  older teen book or great for adults; not for young kids.  I'm looking forward to the next 2 books in the series & hope it continues with the great world building. 


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Book Review, Railsea

Soooo; new to this blog, I'm going to be adding book reviews.  I read a lot; it's probably my favorite leisure activity--and reading outside whilst watching the chickens bounce around; even better.  So far this year, according to Goodreads, I have read over 80 books & I'm way ahead on the 100 books in a year challenge. 

Anyway; the first of many to come.  I read Railsea last week & quite enjoyed it.  I love anything that builds a world creatively, & this one was very original.  Post apocalyptic, but not in the usual way: giant rodents, Mad Max style chases & fights but with trains instead of cars, & a surprise ending.  The author as a very unique voice & sense of humor that kept me interested throughout the entire book.  I finished it in 2 days...and instead of relisting on Ebay, the book made it to my "keep" shelf for future readings.  

This is a YA title, but doesn't have much of the typical YA bull####.  It's a bit of a coming of age story of a young man who ends up on a wild adventure & figures out who he really is.  I would recommend this for anyone who has a bit of imagination.  Lots of page-turning action & a bit of Steampunk imagery on the side; all in all a fun read. 


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Drag Race Trophies

2nd year of making trophies for a drag-race called Outlaw Armageddon; this time we actually got some old engines from the scrap yard & took them apart, piece by piece.  It was tedious, but kinda fun in a weird way : )  Almost all the pieces on these trophies are from those engines; & I really like the skull shaped plaques that Josh came up with.   Making trophies out of recycled engine parts is fun, although a lot of clean-up time; the parts are usually covered in thick grease & it's a chore to get them clean enough to weld, then finish the pieces with wax or some sort of sealer after welding...

Anyway; I hope they like them as much as I do!!    Shipping our for their big event later this month : )   

PS: I'm sure our FedEx person that picks up our boxes hates us, hahaha

Sunday, April 24, 2016

New Chicken Sign!

We finally got a chicken sign made; there have been a lot of requests over the years, but we just never got to it...but finally---our first chicken design : )

This one is aluminum with a copper background; we are thinking of offering options for rusty steel, black steel with an aluminum background & some more finishes/colors.   Soon to be available on the Etsy shop!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Custom Metal Sign for the Holidays

Just finished up a custom holiday sign project for an old high-school friend today; he commissioned it for his wife, who is a huge Kenny Chesney fan (no shoes nation is the name of his fanclub)   So, we re-created the logo in metals--the finished sign is just over 3 feet wide & will live on a wall in their game room.

We decided on a background of polished aluminum with the letters & logo in rusted steel for lots of contrast.  I wanted a darker rust, so after "cooking" the rust patina, I added some hints of black as well, before sealing everything up & putting it all together.

I'm really happy with how the rust finish came out; looks like it could have been sitting on the beach rusting forever, and then maybe thrown into a bonfire, hahaha.    I hope they like it; she is picking it up tonight!