close crab

by sarah hair Email

close crab

THis crab came to visit us at the dock the other day. I took a few minutes to stalk him around a cactus and over to the fence. He was a pretty big guy, about the same size across as a dinner plate. While we frequently get the small little guys visiting us on the dock, we rarely (never?) see them as large as this guy.

He was very patient with me and allowed me to take several pictures of him as he posed in various backgrounds around the fence and near the cactus. This one is his close-up glamour photo. It was a little blurry, but he was just a little jumpy.

scary crab legs

by sarah hair Email

scary crab legs

I still can not believe people eat these things! First, there is the sheer creepiness of eating something that walks, then there is the grossness of eating something that eats poop and trash, but probably the worst is the idea of eating something in a shell... it is a bug!

I guess a lot of it is just how foreign the thought is to me, but imagining the first people who saw some crabs and thought, "Hmmm, I wonder how those scary crab legs would taste in some garlic sauce."

Anyway, this picture shows his scary side... he has those big scary legs with all the little hairs and creepy crawly bends and such. He looks super-big in this picture, like he is descending upon a village to attack its inhabitants. Maybe I will have the girls write a report on these crabs so we can learn more about him.

crab by the fence

by sarah hair Email

crab by the fence

Here crabby decided to peek out from behind the cactus and allow me a single full-body shot from up close. He was a little impatient, and rushed back behind the cactus once he thought I had finished, but I was grateful for the moment he spared anyway. I am pretty sure he had an important date to keep once we finished with his photo shoot.

He is a particularly beautiful specimen. I loved the light colors he sported, especially since all the crabs we see daily here on the dock are of the very dark and small variety.

I think this one is a male, because of his one big arm. Madison and Malia both thought this as well, since we had read somewhere about fiddler crabs who have one big arm on the males as well. It appears that the lady crabs think it is very sexy to have one big arm. This might not be the case with every species, but certainly fiddlers and several others we read about at the time.

crab on the dock

by sarah hair Email

crab on the dock

This big guy hung around for about half an hour before heading on his way. Unfortunately, I was not able to coax him into any area where I could use something as a reference for his size.

He is about the size of a dinner plate. Here he is just hanging out on the dock in front of our boat. For a while he looked like he would climb up on the boat, but he ended up hanging out on the dock and in the garden. I took several pictures of him in several different poses. He posed like a professional model!

We had a great time. Maybe he will visit us again before we go traveling.

Tokyo's Tumor

by sarah hair Email

Several days ago I woke as usual to the sounds of Tokyo and Sendai anxiously climbing the cage alerting me to their hunger. They greet the morning with a chipper and excited sound after a restful night's sleep, while the rest of us try to squeeze out some final moments of silence while hiding under our pillows which have been strategically placed around the entire head to smother both ears to filter out neighbor noises from both the late-night furniture movers upstairs and the pre-dawn television blazers next door.

No tumor showing

Usually at least one of us wearily stumbles to their cage, mumbles some sort of koochie koochie kooing and flattery about how cute they are, hands them some nummies and carries them around on a shoulder, shirt, in the hand, or to the bed to cuddle up for a few minutes to begin the day. Their little whiskers greet us in the morning and put all in a better state to take on the rest of the day.

This particular morning, however, was very, very, different. Tokyo assumed his usual position hanging from the side of the cage so as to show me and point to his hungry little belly. Sendai followed suit, both banging as loudly as possible and squeaking like a set of abused dog toys. No, that part was the same, but it was the state of Tokyo's belly which was different. His exposed belly showed a massive round object, as if he had swallowed a ping-pong ball whole and it lodged in his lower intestine refusing to go any further.

I ran rather than stumbled to the cage and gently removed Tokyo alone, leaving a hungry, confused, and jealous Sendai safely behind the bars. We stared, examined, and gasped at the large growth which had developed overnight on our favorite boy. Larger than his head in fewer than 8 hours. We had played with him only a handful of hours prior, just before retiring for the evening.

Oddly, our Tokyo was actually moving much more gracefully than his usual self. We had taken him to a doctor several months prior when he began to walk with an inexplicable labored limp, only to have it disappear after a single dose of pain killer. Assuming he was perhaps a junkie insisting on an injury to force a scrip for his fix, we discontinued use and watched the limp and his slow and occasionally labored movement come and go with no apparent pattern for the next several months. We have always favored him and treated him with a more gentle touch than that afforded Sendai, perhaps sensing that he was just that much more fragile.

A phone consultation with his doctor, yes, our rat has his own doctor, something I myself, and even our human children can not claim, calmed me down significantly after waiting all morning and afternoon anxiously hovering near the phone and hoping to maintain my status in the elusive coverage zone. He can be examined on Monday, a full 5 days away, at the soonest. Until then, we are to measure it and record the size no fewer than twice daily. Considering it grew to our initial finding of 1.5 inches across - larger than his head - literally overnight, this seemed at first to be inadequate. Further pleading with the vet technician on the phone revealed that the growth was probably not possible within that time frame and as such must have been present, although hidden, for some time now.

The hypothesis from the doctor is that he had the tumor growing within him from several weeks or even months back - probably before he had the difficulty walking those several months ago. The tumor, being most likely a benign tumor and not specifically attached to other parts of his body simply migrated to the outside of his belly, showing itself to us on this specific day. I certainly prefer this hypothesis to that of our first thoughts of him having grown that entire tumor overnight, and our two day findings seem to corroborate the initial prognosis, since the size has stayed close to 1.5 inches across, as measured by our calipers, and even dipping down to a little over 1.25 on one of our readings.

Needless to say, he is enjoying a lot more prodding these past few days, though a lot fewer sweeties. We have cleaned up his diet to give him significantly high calorie, low fat foods, especially focusing on fresh foods, to make sure he has enough vitamins and energy with that tumor leeching off so much of his nutritional intake.

We will find out more on Monday, but for today, he is resting more than usual - probably due to the higher calories we are allowing him to wallow in.

What is particularly surprising is that he is just now about 7 months old. While this is a little older than the natural life expectancy of a rat in the wild facing cats, rat traps, poisons, and other dangers, it is a mere adolescent in the 2-3 year life-span of his pampered counterparts in cages. What is more is to think that it may have been there for several months - appearing as early as in his infancy! I suppose now, it is little wonder he so quickly stole our hearts with his slow and deliberate movements and clever cunning ways.

Martial Arts Jewelry Sale is in full swing!

by sarah hair Email

I finally got most the things posted on etsy for our sail sale and finished up the photography for the web site all in one deep gasp. We are moving our things onto the boat finally and hopefully these last boxes of jewelry will have sold before we have to go.

I posted about 200 items, and we are almost down to 150, so they are selling pretty fast, however, the great news is all the sales from the new web site at Martial Arts and Crafts Jewelry !!

Here is one of the new origami necklaces I listed!
green sakura everlasting peace crane origami necklace

I managed to link them together, so the etsy site is listed as our clearance sale items on the main web site. It is working so well, I may leave it like this forever and just keep listing more of the fun things and one-of-a-kind items we make on Etsy which are not appropriate for listing on the main web site. Things where I can not make a lot of them are just too expensive and time consuming to put on the main web site, while things which I do make a lot of are just too expensive and time consuming to put on Etsy! It all works out when they work together!

We sold almost $150.00 worth of clearance items today to several customers, over the time it took to have dinner, so things are really swinging! Here's to hoping it stays like this for the next two weeks until we are ready to untie from the dock! Maybe even longer... I can make things all the time once we are cruising!!

Posted all day - bracelet preview

by sarah hair Email

I was posting sale items all day on my Etsy Site, but in the end only ended up adding about 5 items. Etsy takes a very long time to add items, not to mention the initial photographing of the items and editing the photos to work on Etsy.

I did get a chance to drop the prices on a lot of the items which are already listed, but alas, this takes a very long time as well.

I got this gorgeous bracelet listed today! Now only $15.00!

Starry Night Bracelet

Also got a bunch of work done on the boat, including working on the rat run and the jewelry shelving! I will very soon be able to work on new jewelry!

Half Off SAIL SALE on our Etsy site

by sarah hair Email

Trying to sort out the boxes surrounding me as we prepare to actually load down the boat for cruising, I had a realization... "Gee," I said to myself, "I certainly do have a ton of jewelry that we are not selling on the web site."

I am listing the gigantic box of one-off jewelry pieces in hopes to not have to bring them with onto the boat when we go cruising. We simply do not have the space for the extra items. Hopefully they will sell quickly, like within the next couple weeks before we go. To help this dream along, I am listing these pieces at HALF-OFF prices. Yes, 50% discount for the newly posted items, and on some other items already posted!

"Hellooooo Etsy!" This is the part where my talking to myself just needs to be omitted from the blog so as to avoid my seeming any more odd.

Maroon Peace Crane Beaded Necklace Now only $20.00
Beaded Peace Crane Necklace

Cream Bamboo Peace Crane Earrings - Now only $15.00
Everlasting Peace Crane Earrings

Red Hawaiian Hibiscus Earrings - Now only $10.00
Red Hawaiian Hibiscus Earrings

Since I am not making multiples of these pieces, they are mostly one-of-a-kind pieces, which are terribly impractical to add to the Martial Arts and Crafts Jewelry web site.

Check out the Etsy site to see more. I will be posting more pieces every day until they are gone or we are gone, and I have well over 500 pieces!

Purple Retro Flowers Origami Peace Crane Necklace

by sarah hair Email

I got new photographs for the origami peace crane necklaces!

This one might be my favorite, or maybe the red ones, or the black one. Well, whichever one, I love this photo! I was so excited to finally use my macro lens, I took a bunch of photos of everything just to play with it. The amazing part was that I only took one photograph of each necklace, since I was so happy with the result after the first shot each time.

Origami Peace Crane necklace with purple retro flower print

This paper is so pretty and it goes with all the retro style 70's clothing that my girls wear and are in style right now. I love the purples, but the funky flowers and bright shapes give it that retro flair. I have pendant necklaces with this print too, but I love the folded paper origami dipped in epoxy. It is bright and shiny and so unusual.

You can see the other origami peace crane necklaces at the Japanese Origami Necklaces page of our website at Martial Arts and Crafts Jewelry

finally painted!

by sarah hair Email

Three days in a row of hot sunny weather and the deck has a first coat!

We split the boat into three sections: inside the cockpit was painted on the first day, outside the cockpit up to the edge of the coachtop was painted the second, and everything else was painted on the third. All told, it took about 5 hours of painting each day, not counting the masking, sanding and alcohol wiping required before we could begin.

The second day we managed to paint both the inside cockpit area a second time and the outside of the cockpit and coachtop a first time, simultaneously since the girls partnered with us and did the "tipping" with the brush.

In the end, the boat looks simply amazing. I can not believe what a difference the new paint made, I also can not believe how much work it is to do.

Below are some images with the new paint. The color is off-white cream, though it looks pretty white anyway.

poop deck looking forward

by sarah hair Email

from the bowsprit looking aft

by sarah hair Email

There are my toes!

all the pretty new paint

by sarah hair Email

At the dock she is now the prettiest in our row...

Origami Peace Crane Hair Sticks

by sarah hair Email

Being inside this past few weeks did have its perks! I got some much needed and long-awaited photography done for some of our products.

I moved enough of our personal belongings onto the boat to clear a space to set up the lights and tripod for photographing in our tiny little bedroom staging area. Of course, it means that the children have to navigate past the lights to lay out their sleeping cushions and the lights stop the fridge from being opened, but, hey... there was nothing tasty in the fridge anyway, and we could all stand to lose a few meals. Well, I could, anyway.

Behold, the origami peace crane hair stick.

Origami Peace Crane Hair Stick with Koi fish print

I got to use my new macro lens too! First time getting it out of the box even!

I posted a bunch of new images for the hair sticks. I am only posting peace crane origami hair sticks for now, but I have them in a bunch of different papers with many colors. The others can be seen here on the Japanese Origami Hair Sticks page of our website at Martial Arts and Crafts Jewelry

Did not get another coat of paint

by sarah hair Email

We were all excited to paint this morning, adding to the win we had yesterday, but alas, it was not to be. The weather was threatening to rain and the possibilities to mess up when we have come so far were not what we wanted. Since this paint job has single-handedly set back our trip by two months already, the idea of making any mistake and having to do anything over is just too frightening to take chances. Still, it was so shiny I could see my reflection. Cool.

We painted yesterday all around and inside the cockpit. We used the Petit Easypoxy one-part paint in off-white. It was not really easy, exactly, but I suppose it was poxy, which would be just like a two part epoxy without the "e" part. It was particularly sticky and very fast to be tacky, meaning I had to "tip" it with the brush very quickly and it could not be put on very thickly.

We painted for over 5 hours and finished just the inside of the cockpit and the combings. This did not include the floor of the cockpit, where we had already painted and applied the non-skid.

It was hot, I got sunburnt, and after all that work, it rained on our beautifully painted and meticulously tipped fresh paint. Luckily, it had an hour or so to dry first and the paint did not seem to suffer for it. She looked shiny and new in the morning, though the paint had not set up enough to be sanded and we opted for more prep work to other areas of the boat instead of sanding the newly painted areas.

So far, we have opened 3 cans of the Petit Easypoxy paint, and we have 3 distinct shades of off-white on our boat. Coincidence? Probably not. Though, some of the discoloring may be from the rubber grit granules we used for the non-skid areas. The newest area we painted is much lighter than the other two areas, a blessing since all of it burns the feet in the blistering Florida sun.

Well, the girls got home today as well after a very exciting adventure in the Bahamas. They decompressed and after our first home-cooked meal in weeks, John cleaned up taco fixins and we all headed back to the cramped apartment bedroom for the night. Tomorrow we will begin moving aboard the boat, as the non-skid grit is now all sealed in and we can move about at least when we are between coats of paint.

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