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Yesterday I completed a Center for Basque Studies proofreading project on a book about Basque exploration in the Pacific Ocean by William Douglass. Such a great read, especially with me living in California and having spent time in many of the places detailed: Monterey Bay (reached in the mid 1500s), Morro Bay (late 1500s), and the San Francisco Bay (late 1700s). It’s amazing to read of the hardships and accomplishments of the crews, and at the same time sad to know the price the native populations paid for this European gain.

A few fun facts from the book: The Victoria of Ferdinand Magellan’s historic expedition was the first vessel to circumnavigate the globe. It was constructed in the Basque town of Zarauz in 1515 and completed the journey sailing into Sanlúcar de Barrameda, just north of Cádiz, Spain, in September of 1522 with just 18 survivors on board—Magellan not one of them, having died pursuing pagan conversion on Cebu Island in the Philippines. The Basque Juan Sebastian Elcano (Elkano) captained the vessel that historic day, though Magellan had already sailed to the Philippines there years prior so he technically completed his famed circumnavigation.

1589 Pacific Ocean map courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand.

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Over the past month, I’ve built a few webpages for AdventureSmith Explorations, my former employer. From writing about sloths, monkeys, and mangroves on a new Costa Rica–Panama cruise to whales, brown bears, and sea lions on an Alaska small ship cruise, it was fun to revisit the AdventureSmith CMS, banter with my former colleagues again, and do some photo editing. With so much book editing this past six months, I really enjoyed stepping back into the multiple layers of content creation.

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A sampling of some of my crafted gifts this Christmas: (above) pine cone made out of shaved almonds and marzipan for Grandma Daisy; blooming cactus stationery for my mom; embroidered llamas as a gift to myself (he he); and block printed mountain goat towel for Grandma Daisy. (below) Christmas sugar cookies for everyone; embroidered panda bandanna for Alanna; block printed cow, mountain goat, and llama kitchen towels for friends; mountain goat bib for Grandma Daisy; and embroidered bandanna for Max.

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I also made some little herb packs from sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano that I picked from the Udsen garden and neighborhood streets in Templeton and then dried—forgot to take a picture though! Max made an epic craft gift for his friends, old books turned into succulent planters. Mine, pictured below, is in an old Reader’s Digest anthology.

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I completed copyediting another memoir, Snorkeling in the Soup, which is the companion book to Alan North’s Of Love and Stone. This tale follows the author on his rock climbing and cultural travels in British Columbia, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Yosemite. It tells of theft, struggle, triumph, injury, fire, friendship, love, divorce, and lots and lots and lots of street food. The author plans to self-publish, so I’ll keep you posted on the book’s release.

Nong Sam River photo by Carrie Kellenberger/flickr.

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Hello world, my little postcard printing business has doubled, ha! I’m now selling my hand-carved and printed designs at Dudleya Studio in Atascadero on California’s Central Coast near Paso Robles. Two of my new designs (blooming cactus and thank you mountain goat, pictured above) are for sale there. Dudleya is the cutest little shop with art space for classes like felting, which Max recently surprised me with a private lesson in! We made miniature felted llamas of course (ironically, with alpaca wool). Here’s a picture of my postcards on the rack at Dudleya:

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And of Max and I in action felting:

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The most recent proofreading project I completed for GoldieBlox is now available to buy! GoldieBlox and the Parade Float book/toy set teaches girls engineering principles (wheel and axle in this case) and builds confidence in problem-solving. I proofread the box cover as well as the companion book. Though she’s not pictured on the cover, be on the lookout for adorably evil Katinka, a mini dolphin ballerina.

And speaking of floats… did you see the GoldieBlox parade float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? You can watch a video of it pre-parade here. So proud of this company and the play they promote!

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I have a new llama block print that I whipped up the other night. I modeled it after the profiled cow stamp I made some years ago, and really like how it turned out despite some issues with my carving tool/material (see crumbles on the stamp below), overcarving a few areas, and a general lack of planning on the design. Sometimes it’s good not to be a perfectionist and just go with what you end with! The finished postcard is printed on French Paper’s Speckletone Kraft cardstock.

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This new postcard design and the cow it’s modeled after are available for purchase at Riverside Studios in Truckee.

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