Temporarily supplanting Operation Machete as my top priority, Operation Ornament concerns my plan to not only finish ornaments for the family before Xmas Eve, but to finish ornaments for potential resale as soon as inhumanly possible. So far, after testing numerous materials and designs, I finally have several double-sided drum blanks made up, as seen in the above photograph. That's canvas (grain not quite so obvious in Real Life), primed with textile medium, and bound with crochet thread over (painted) rounds cut from a 3" diameter shipping tube. No, it's not drum-tight, but it's not exactly loose, and I got more tension than I expected; cylinders are surprisingly sturdy, especially compared to one's fingers when one is pulling on crochet thread. Ouchie... but it's not a proper project if you aren't willing to bleed a bit, I suppose. Anyway, the test-image eagle is from a photo I snapped at a raptor demo during Salmon Days (a local fish-themed fall tourist magnet.) I'll be doing a bit of embellishment after painting, of course - I'll be adding a hanger, and probably some beads or a simple little cut-dowel drumstick and cheapy feathers. But my priority is getting the drum itself painted up; current plan calls for an animal image on one side and a matching footprint/feather/something on the other. I painted the eagle on a sacrificial blank to see how it would work, having never painted on canvas before. Nice eagle, huh? Get a load of that eagle. I hope people like eagles, because at the moment it seems to be the only thing I can paint with anything resembling competency or consistency.
Oh, I have other design templates. I grabbed some royalty-free images from the 'net, and I have some other photos. But for some reason I can't quite seem to pull them off. One drum blank already met with an unexplained accident after repeatedly resisting efforts to be transformed into something remotely ornamental. Fortunately, I have a fair number of blanks made up, and materials for even more. Unfortunately, time is not a friend to me here; I have to get something ready by mid-November at the latest if I'm to have any hope of selling it. So I've been taking some time off, playing with my grayscale pens in the hopes of fixing in my mind the process of buiding images with blocks of value/color, as opposed to the linework and details and cross-hatching and stuff which my pen-and-ink-skewed brain keeps steering me towards. Doesn't help that I have lousy lighting and little room to mix colors at the workbench, but you work with what you've got...
At least time's being a little less evil to me. I'm back to chapter 14 or so in the story - I was rereading some earlier stuff and determined that that's about when I lost the energy that, to me at least, was making the thing work - but I actually like what I've written aside from that and feel compelled to keep on going, which is good. (Still don't even have a working title, which probably isn't good, but I want to know how it ends before I label it.) I also, by virtue of ducking out of work an hour early (we were finished with work proper, but there was a surprise baby shower for a coworker I barely know the name of which most everyone was going to hang around for) and running off to Half Price Books, snagged a book I've been hunting for for well over a decade (The Flight of Dragons by Peter Dickinson - under 8 bucks, too.) Hey, time's even giving an extra hour to play with this weekend.
I suppose I ought to take advantage of the time I've been given to get my lazy tail off the computer and back to work. Operation Machete can't go forward until Operation Ornament is complete (or reasonably close to completion), and Operations Budget, Clutter Cleanup, and Finish A Frellin' Story are waiting in the wings.