Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Looking for a logo

Any of you out there graphic designers? I'm looking to get a logo made up for my shop (as well as a banner and avatar for etsy, and a business card design).

I put up a request on alchemy.

I'm not sure what price is fair, and think that the business card design will probably push it up over the price I listed, but being a college student I can't be throwing around *too much* money. I do want something professional looking though.

So if you think you're up for it - click the link above.

Basically I'm thinking a sewing machine with a colorful plush centipede wrapped around it. Pretty much describes what I do in one simple image, you know? I could draw it myself, but I want it to be a design done on the computer and I am totally hopeless at those sorts of things (all I can do is edit photos, haha). So yeah... excited to work with someone on this :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It's like magic

One of my snakes, Misty the pacific tree boa (Candoia carinata), is a color changer.

Not as dramatic as something like a chameleon or octopus, but she can change how dark/light her patterns are. This isn't with each shed, but daily.

She's usually pretty dark, but this evening I found her wearing the most drop dead gorgeous shades. She's not washed out from the flash, this is actually how she looks.

Here is how she usually looks, for comparison:
She started out as such a problem snake (wrong species, got wrong feeding info from the company, didn't eat for 8 months, then only sporadically on treefrogs for a year, finally eating pinkies and gaining weight the past couple years, now is healthy, robust, and an eating machine) but she's a total pleasure now. Full grown at around 22" long.

She's hanging out around my left hand now, making it difficult to type. Getting a little darker now, but beautiful as always.

Here is a paper on the subject! Physiological color change in snakes

Home for the week

This is my "reading week/spring break" from school... home visiting my boyfriend, family, and pets. May or may not post anything else here this week or keep up with my shop. Lots of cages to clean!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Family Buprestidae, the metallic wood boring beetles - some of my favorites from the collection.

Julodis klugi... look familiar? Made a soft sculpture of this one, will do a comparison post soon.
Chrysochroa ocellata, I think the spots are fabulous.
Chalcophora fortis
Sternocera pulchra
Dicerca tenebrica
*A reminder that these are all my own photos, please do not use without my permission.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hello from the Lyman

I'm actually blogging from within the insect collection surrounded by my beetles. See?I'm currently working on identifying the beetles I have sorted and pinned, as well as some beetles from someone else's project. This involves sorting them to family first, and then searching through the collection looking for the genus/species (as well as using books, keys, dissecting scope and the internet). Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's nearly impossible. I don't think I'll be able to ID all of them, but I've gotten a good chunk of them done that I'm reasonably confident about. And I've got another big unit tray of beetles I've been pinning the past few weeks that I'm waiting for my prof to make labels for.

So now I've got two databases going - one for the ones I've been identifying, keeping track of the species in each family, and number of specimens (when they get added to the collection eventually, they'll need to know how many I've got). And the database for the beetles of Mont. St. Hilaire (the big project). I won't be adding these beetles until the end of the semester and someone checks them over, so far the database includes specimens from the collection and various records found in books and other peoples' projects.
The above pic I took when I was wrestling with a beetle in the family Pyrochroidae (fire beetles) - ended up being Dendroides canadensis.

Now that I've got enough work done for the day, think I'll browse through the collection looking for more plushie inspiration...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Darwin!

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Charles Darwin - being interested in evolution and entomology he's quite a role model of mine.

On this special day, I want to share a little connection I've had with Darwin recently.

I had heard rumors that the Lyman museum holds a beetle specimen collected on the voyage of the Beagle, possibly by Darwin himself. Since he was extremely fond of beetles, the chances are very likely that he indeed collected and pinned it himself. However, nobody was sure where the specimen was!

Part of my project for school has involved me going through all the drawers of beetles, reading their labels. So it was inevitable that I'd come across it - however the thought had totally left my mind until one day there it was, in the middle of a drawer.
My heart skipped a beat as I read the label... I was in awe. I ever so carefully touched the top of the pin, wondering if Darwin himself had touched it.

And then I wanted to get a closer look at the beetle. It's in the family Anthicidae (known as the ant-like flower beetles), genus Notoxus. It doesn't appear to be identified to species. It's a fairly tiny beetle, but with a fascinating extended pronotum.
So happy birthday Darwin, we're still inspired by you after all these years.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I've decided to start a series in which I take photos of specimens that intrigue me in the Lyman Museum on campus. This time I forgot to keep track of the names of the specimens as I photographed them, but I will in the future.

Today I went exploring amongst the cabinets of Scarabaeidae - scarab beetles

This is just a tiny sampling from the 7 cabinets of scarab beetles - according to the museum records, they have 25,877 specimens from this family. They certainly hold the potential for much plushie inspiration.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Like I really need another distraction

A cool new craft community website! Just started up, it's

And hey.... who is that lovely face on the front page...?I'm honored to be chosen by soapdeli to be the first featured artisan - check out the site to read more about me!

A little more about it:
M. Adam Kendall, also known on etsy as infivision, decided he wanted a better social community to promote handmade. While ning offers this to some extent, he felt it was too generic and has a poor user interface. In a quest for something better he developed ByHand serves as a free social network for those who make handmade and those who buy handmade. Here's a run down of what you can expect from the site:

* Artisan Directory
* Forums
* Member Blogs
* Social Networking
* Chat
* Private Messaging
* RSS Feeds
* And more.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

New goodies in the shop

I keep telling myself I'll try to stick with more of a bug theme in my shop, but when inspiration hits I have to take it as it comes.

So I've got a few snakes!
Diamondback Rattlesnake
Brown snake
Yes, I know snakes don't have eyelids... but they usually do have structures above their eyes that look like eyebrows that make them look a bit more menacing. I like that look. The fabric I found at the thrift store, it has a great texture to it.

I also have some Ediacarans - inspiration from my Evolving Earth class. They are extinct animals from before the Cambrian Explosion, 635 to 542 million years ago.
They're especially strange because of their fractal, tri-radial structure. No other animal since has had this kind of body plan. It came and went with the Ediacarans.

Also... if you're looking for a last minute silly Valentine's day gift, I've got a kissing bug:
Might sound romantic, but the name is from the fact that they bite people on the lips to suck their blood. Order Hemiptera, suborder Heteroptera, family Reduviidae (they don't really have a heart design, though, that was just me).

And... this little duckling. Made him this summer for an Adirondack show, he never sold, then I was holding him for someone who never followed through. So here he is, the lone little bird in my shop:
I'm working on even more custom orders now, keeping busy with sewing and with school. So far I've gotten As on all my exams, going to try my hardest to keep it up! Working on flashcards right now for Systematic Entomology - my absolute favorite class ever. Nothing excites me more than the organization of insects and knowing what everything is and how they're related.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Here is a series of photos I took at random points during the creation of a custom order Mandarin Fish. One of my most complicated and detail intensive projects ever.

And there it is! Spent all day in my pjs and glasses watching Law and Order and sewing. This is how life should be.