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so, I need to get off my butt & get to work. My stereo is fixed! I have the music I’ve waited 20 years to hear again & no more excuses to not start creating some artwork. I owe a few good people some animal portraits, so I’ll be working on them. I have to have more than one thing going at the same time. I get bored easily & when I do, I can move on to one of the other projects. Sometimes, you just have to step back & look at what your doing from a distance. I hate rushing. I work well under pressure, almost to a fault but the stress is too much.

The next post will probably be a portrait of “Otis”, a beloved pet who has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I’m working on him today. It’s raining outside. It’s a good day to draw while listening to Cat Stevens; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young & maybe Pure Prairie League.

A New/Old Tattoo

This is a tattoo I did for my son. The dragon is the old tattoo, done around 2003ish, it is our Family Dragon, designed & tattooed on 4 family members by me.

The new tattoo is everything else. Robert wanted a sleeve with a Koi & a lightning bolt in the design. I used a yin yang flow to incorporate the Koi & the Dragon. I have a hard time taking pictures that do the tattoo justice










But this time it’s a good thing. Many changes in my life in a very short time, some good, some bad. Goes to show you, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. All in all, this may be the last 2 yr. rut. Hopefully we will be moving to a place where I can focus on living healthy, inside & out, someplace where artists are appreciated, where I can focus on my artwork & live as far off the grid as I can. Moving is scary, but the place where I live now, is sucking the life out of me. The pace, the people, I lived here all my life and I can’t wait to get the hell out of here. I NEED to be free & close to nature. I shouldn’t be falling apart this early in my life. I blame it on  where we live & the way we live. The only hard work I want to do is what ever it takes to live off the land. Not work my ass off & have nothing to show for it. I haven’t posted in a long time so I felt I needed to update this blog. After the dust settles, I’ll be setting up a new workshop. I’ll have plenty of inspiration & I’ll be posting my newest projects. But before that, I’ve been working on a new/old tattoo that I have to finish before the move. Keep an eye out for it.

Chuck Stapel made these two knives for my husband Greg. A HUGE Arkansas toothpick and it’s mate.


I fell in love with the little dagger, so I had to make a special sheath for it.


This is a two piece sheath. The center piece is covered in dyed rattlesnake skin.



The leather was cut and sewn by hand. Both pieces were wet molded to the knife & dyed.

Now I’m working on a matching sheath for the Arkansas toothpick. Check back soon!

This is my 1st knife sheath. I was going to attempt a piggy back sheath for the two knives, but I decided not to bite off more than I could chew. In the beginning, I started making the sheath for the big knife. So I designed it on thin cardboard, (mistake #1) left 1/2″ of room along the edge of the blade (mistake #2) and cut out my design after tracing it out on the leather.


When I folded the leather over, it was too short and I had no room to sew it, add a spacer and fringe. So, I tailored it to fit the small knife.

I had to cut a lot off. Using thicker cardboard would have compensated for the thickness of the leather when folded over. I also left 3/4″ of room along the edge. These are the tools I’m using.

Why the forceps? I’m going to use them to push & pull rawhide when I lace another piece of leather to the sheath for strength.

Here is the new design, cut and marked out, allowing for the bend in the leather. The black leather is to line the sheath. The knife is made from a file and it kept catching on the suede. The smooth part of the black leather will be facing out against the blade so it goes in and out of the sheath smoother.
I’m cutting my own fringe from a piece of buffalo suede that I scraped down to make it thinner. I didn’t have the right tool, so I used a single razor blade and yes, there was blood involved in the making of this sheath! Best thing I found to shave the leather was a double bladed safety razor. To cut the fringe, I taped the leather to my board with clear packing tape, covering the entire piece. I marked it out and cut it using a ruler and exacto knife that I kept sharp with a honing stone. This the was key to cutting the fringe.

I cut & dyed the fringe. I cut some notches in the belt strap & cut a strap to hold the knife handle. I don’t have a snap setting tool, so I’ll use velcro to close it. It doesn’t look like I left enough room for the knife in the picture, but that just because of how I placed the knife on the sheath.

I added another piece of leather near the top of the sheath for strength and support. I used rawhide shoelaces (that I split in 1/2 lengthwise because they were too thick) to sew the leather to the sheath. I thought it would look cool but boy what a pain in the ass! So I glued the bottom half on. I also sewed the strap on the belt loop but now I have to cut it off because I didn’t leave enough room for a normal sized belt.
It all looks kind of rough right now, but it’s for a Mountain Man Knife, so it’s alright if it’s rough as long as it’s tough!

Glued up these pieces.

Checked the fit.

Sewed it all together, fixed the strap & added velcro

Back of sheath.

Fits like a glove.

Oops! I forgot to post pictures of this Custom Mountain Man Bowie, Chuck Stapel made for my Husband. I just ordered some leather and I’m going to attempt to make a piggyback sheath for this and the skinner that Chuck made. This Bowie is over 15″ in length with a 10 1/4″ Blade. Chuck Stapel is making another set but in the Arkansas Toothpick Style. Haven’t got it yet. Will post pictures of it when we do and the sheath when it’s made. May even do a WIP.



What Ever Happened To…

all the knife manufacturers in my State, Connecticut?

Sad but true, this State was once a manufacturing Meca. Guns, knives, furniture, clocks, hats, textiles, submarines, etc. were all made here. And it’s not just Connecticut, it’s the United States in general. It’s cheaper to make stuff in other countries, and like the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

Some of the earliest American Manufacturers who specialized in pocket cutlery (on a mass production level) were right here in Connecticut.  Many were started by Cutlers from Sheffield, England. Until the 1940’s, Connecticut dominated the pocket knife industry in the U.S. Today, Swiss Army/Victorianox is headquartered here but I don’t think they make the knives here.

This is a list of Connecticut, Ax, Knife  and Shear Manufacturers that are no longer in existence.  I’m sure there are more. I’ll update the list as I learn more.  The dates are as accurate as I could get. (I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I started this!)

How many have you heard of?

Connecticut Knife Companies circa 1800’s -1966

American Knife Co./Plymouth Hollow Knife Co., Thomaston (Plymouth Hollow) CT – c. 1849 – 1911. The company was called “Plymouth Hollow” until 1875.  The town’s name change to Thomaston in 1875 in honor of Clock maker, Seth Thomas (Pocket Knives)

American Knife Co., Winsted, CT – c.1919 – 1948 (Not the same company as above) In 1948, the company had changed locations and was now called the Kendal Manufacturing Company. In the same year, it was re-named the Bukar Manufacturing Co. and continued until 1955.

American Shear & Knife Co., Hotchkissville CT – c.1853 – 1914 (Factory burned down in 1914.) First pocket knives they made were in 1870.

B. H. Morse/Waterville Co., Waterbury, CT – c.1857

B.T.CO./Bridgeport Tool Company, New Haven, CT – c.1922

Billings & Spencer, Hartford, CT – c.1900s. This Hartford tool company began making novel and expensive styles of knives. One was an early type of “butterfly” knife.

Birmingham Knife Works, Derby, CT – c.1849 (Pocket knives)

Bradley Lyman, Middlebury, CT – c.1861?* (Pocket knives)

Bridgeport Knife Co./ Bridgeport Hardware Manufacturing Corp., Bridgeport, CT – c.1904.

Bridgeport Tool Co., New Haven, CT – c. 1910 to 1920 (Pequot)

Bristol Knife Co., Bristol, CT – c. 1868 to 1874 (Wrench Knife)

Bronson & Townsend Co., New Haven, CT – c.1923 to 1938 (Pequot)

Bud Brand Cutlery Co., Winsted, CT – c.1922  (Pocket Knives)

Capital Knife Co., Winsted, CT – c.1920s (Pocket Knives)

Challenge Cutlery Corp., Bridgeport & New Britain, CT – c.1891 to 1928 (Wiebusch & Hilger),

Clark R. Shelton, Derby, CT – c.1849  (Pocket knives)

Collins Co., Collinsville and Hartford, CT – c.1826 to 1966 (machetes, axes)

Connecticut Cutlery Co., Naugatuck, CT – c.1867 to 1883 (Pocket Knives)

Cornwall Knife Co., Cornwall, CT – c.1800s

Eagle Knife Co., New Haven, CT – c.1916 to 1919  (Hemming Pat. 10/01/1918)

Empire Knife Co.(Beardsley & Alvord), Winsted, CT (moved to West Winsted, CT in 1880) – c. 1852 to 1930. Empire did a lot of private-brand contracting. Some of the knives they made were Military knives used during W.W.I. The TL-29 Signal Corps Knife is one. They also produced straight razors .

Excelsior Knife Co., Torrington, CT – c.1880 to 1884  (sold to Northfield 1884)

Flylock Knife Co., Bridgeport, CT – c.1918 to 1928  (by Challenge Cutlery)

Frary Cutlery Co., Bridgeport, CT – c.1876 to 1881. This was the most hi-tech knife company of its time.  The firm was sold in 1881 and Frary started James D. Frary & Sons, also in Bridgeport. This company was sold in 1884 and was re-named LaBelle Cutlery Works.

George Schrade Knife Co., Bridgeport, CT – c.1929 to 1956 (Presto, Commando, Wire Jack knives)

Geo. W. Miller, Meriden, CT – c.1886 co-owner of Miller Bros.

Griffon Cutlery Works (A. L. Silberstein & Co.) Bridgeport CT

Hatch Cutlery Co., Bridgeport, CT – c.1886 to 1889.

Hemming Bros., New Haven, CT – c.1923 to 1924 (had operated Eagle Knife Co.)

Henry Cowlishaw, Hartford, CT – c.1881 to 1911 (the Pearl)

Holley Manufacturing Co., Lakeville, CT – c.1844 to 1930’s.   (handmade/forged pocket knives)

Humason & Beckley Mfg. Co. (H. & B.), New Britain CT – c.1853. Sold to Landers, Frary & Clark in 1912.

H. Wilkinson, Hartford, CT c.1860 – one known example of a Bowie.

Landers, Frary & Clark (“Universal” Brand), New Britain CT – c.1865 to 1965.  (Made Bowie style after 1890’s) Makers of late bowie-style hunters in both stag and imitation stag handles popular during the 1st quarter of the 20th century. Was the largest cutlery firm in the world at the turn of the 20th century but did not make pocket knives. From 1914 to the 1930’s, Humason & Beckley (H & B) produced their pocket knives.

Lyman Bradley & Co., Naugatuck, CT– c.1841

Meriden Cutlery Co., Meriden CT – c.1861?*

Miller Bros. Cutlery Co., Yalesville & Wallingford, CT – c.1863 to 1926 (Moved to Meriden in 1872.) Won U.S. Navy contracts to make sailors knives. Also made the TL-29 Signal Corps Knife during W.W.I.

Naugatuck Cutlery Co., Naugatuck, CT – c.1872 to 1888

Northfield Knife Co., Northfield CT – c.1858 to 1929 (made the 1st cast iron handled knives, patented by Samuel Mason in 1862) The Company purchased the American Knife Co. in 1865 & the Excelsior Knife Co. in 1884. Adopted the Trademark, UN-X-LD in 1876.  Northfield Knife Co. was sold in 1919 to Clark Brothers Cutlery of Kansas City, Missouri. The name Northfield was no longer used. The company went bankrupt in 1929.

Rawson J. & Sons, (Westville) New Haven, CT – C.1861?*

Rice, Lathrop & Clary, West Winsted, CT – c.1861

Smith & Hopkins, Naugatuck, CT – c.1848

Son Bros. & Co. (Yale), San Francisco CA, (manufactured in Meriden CT)

Southington Cutlery Co., Southington CT – c.1867 to 1914 (Pocket Knives)

Thompson & Gascoigne, Winsted, CT – c. 1852. In 1856, it changed hands and was renamed the Empire Knife Co.

Thomaston Knife Co., Thomaston CT – c.1887 to 1923

Twitchell Brothers, Naugatuck, CT – c.? (Pocket Knives)

Union Knife Co., Naugatuck, CT – c.1851 to 1885.  (Pocket Knives)

Waterville Mfg. Co., Waterbury CT – c.1843 to 1913. Grew to be one of the largest U.S. pocketknife producers of the 19th century.

EK Commando Knives,  Hamden, CT near lake Whitney  – c.1944 to 1949

( Jim Frost of Frost Cutlery, aka Cutlery Corner, is buying the rights to use old knife companies’  names to put on his “made in China” knives.)


It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, so here’s something new. I recently finished this tattoo of Titan, our English Mastiff, for my husband Greg.

????????Titan Tattoo

My Titan

My Titan

Here’s the original drawing I did.


My Titan is 9 1/2 years old.  A few weeks ago, he got real sick all of a sudden. He stopped eating and drinking. Thinking maybe it was a stomach bug, we waited it out over the weekend. By Monday, he had to see the Vet. It was the 1st time Titan actually wanted to go. He knew he was sick & that Dr. Pieper could help. The Dr. suspected kidney problems, said he was an old big dog, that if he was a Chihuahua, he’d be 15 years old.  Test results came back positive for kidney failure, liver problems & infection. OMG! We were devastated. Titan is like our child, the good son. LOL! So, So smart. His only chance was to have dialysis.  The next three days he spent at the Vet.  We went to visit him. He looked a little better. He started drinking, but not eating. We brought him his favorite food, chicken. He only ate a few pieces.  He really wanted to go home.

After 3 days, the Vet said his blood work was still showing bad numbers. He lost at least 20 lbs. The only thing left to do was bring him home for the weekend, spoil the crap out of him, do the things that make him happy, and if you think it’s time,, we’ll put him to sleep on Monday. The Vet gave us medicine that has kept many dogs and cats with kidney problems alive for years. We bought Titan a new toy and I wrapped it in Christmas paper so he could open it. We took him to visit his fans at the grocery store. We prayed, a lot. I had to force feed him  yogurt.  (He couldn’t spit it out.) He ate pancakes with fruit. I gave him ginger tea with honey. We alternated between ham, steak, chicken. He hated the chicken & rice and the hamburger and potato mix I made him,  He didn’t need help drinking but trying to get him to eat at least a pound of food a day was hard. On Monday, we brought him to the Vet & he said he would never put a dog down that look as good as Titan. He is now eating better and putting on the pounds. He’s not out of the woods yet, but his blood work has improved dramatically. He is acting like a puppy again. He is a walking, living, breathing, miracle. He is an ambassador of good will & believes his job is to make people smile.


On my about me page,  I mention the Harley I engraved and airbrushed. Here are some pictures of pictures of the “IRON WOLF”.



???????? ????????

Keep an eye out. The next post will be pictures of the Mammoth Bowie, Chuck Stapel made for my Husband, Greg.



Women That Used Knives

Women played such an important role in the development of knives over the centuries, it’s amazing how little information I could find on the subject. It’s even been suggested the first knife may have been invented by a woman! Everyday they use knives and pay little to no attention to this tool. Not like the Guys!  But wait, these Ladies are sure to open your eyes.

Historically, women have played an important part in military battles. Though little reference is given to the weapons used, one can only assume that knives, swords and axes were part of the equation. Here is a gal who fought in 13th century BC.

Lady Fu Hao

Fu Hao led 3,000 men into battle during the Shang Dynasty. With up to 13,000 troops and the important generals Zhi and Hou Gao serving under her, she was the most powerful military leader of her time. This highly unusual status is confirmed by over a 100 weapons unearthed from her tomb – long range bows, double pointed lances, spears, pikes, long bladed sabres, short swords, daggers, helmets, shields. The most interesting was four battle axes – the symbol of highest military prominence.

Fu Hao.jpg                      

Lady Fu Hao and a Bronze Ax found in her tomb

Queen Boudica, Longswordswoman

In AD 60 or 61, Boudica was the wife of a “king” who was really only an elected official in a region of Britain during the years of Roman rule. When the king died, he left his half of his land to Rome and half to his wife and two daughters.

When Rome decided they wanted Boudica’s land also, she resisted. To teach her a lesson, the Romans whipped Boudica and raped her daughters. The result was a decade of gruesome warfare with an army led by Boudica, slaughtering nearly 70,000 people, both Romans and Roman sympathizers.

Boudica and her soldiers fought primarily with long swords. It was the difference between blades that eventually ended Boudica’s bloody rule, as the Romans eventually overcame her army with short swords, javelins, and organized fighting tactics.

It is believed that Boudica ended her own life with poison to avoid capture. She was before Joan of Arc!

How about these women?

In 101 BC
– General Marius of the Romans fought the Teutonic Cimbrians. Cimbrian women followed the men in battle, shooting arrows from mobile “wagon castles”, and occasionally left the wagon castles to fight with swords. Marius reported that when the battle went poorly for the men, the women emerged from their wagon castles with swords and threatened their own men to ensure that they would continue to fight. After reinforcements arrived for the Romans, the Cimbrian men all were killed, but the women continued to fight. When the Cimbrian women saw that defeat was imminent, they killed their children and committed suicide rather than be taken as captives.

All I can say is “Wow!”

Let’s fast forward to the present century. What I was really looking for, was more in the way of pictures, rather than a history lesson, because let’s face it,  a picture speaks a 1000 words.

This Gal will sure impress you. I live near Bridgeport, CT, home of P.T. Barnum. Edith Clifford joined the Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1901 as a sword swallower. Here’s more.

Edith Clifford – Sword Swallower

Edith was born in Boston Massachusetts on November 22, 1886. Clifford began swallowing swords in 1899 at the age of 13 after learning from sword swallower Delno Fritz, and was said to have swallowed 18 to 20 inch blades without a problem, and a longer blade up to 26 inches long. Edith swallowed a variety of swords, bayonets, a serpentine blade, large straight razor, saw, and a sword sandwich of up to 24 swords. She performed for 28 yrs. Here are some pictures.

                              Tools of Her Trade

Edith’s Grandson with one of her swords


Well, if swallowing swords isn’t your thing, how ’bout being on the receiving end of a blade? Check out
Caroline Haerdi – Knife Thrower

Caroline is a tall, statuesque Swiss. She often wears ankle-length evening gowns and poses holding handfuls of long, gleaming blades. Her target -Arno Black, her mentor. There aren’t many women knife throwers out there (must be a lack of human targets) but there is an International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame (IKTHF) where some of the women & men, throw knives, axes etc. at non-human targets. Here are pictures of Caroline.


If these other women didn’t impress you, then take a look at this girl. She’s so cool!

The Anonymous Chef

This young Chinese Chef doesn’t even realize that she’s being tape ’til near the end of the video. Then she smiles, almost embarrassed to be filmed.

OK, you can pick your jaw up off the floor now!

I’ve got another Lady you’d better RESPECT!

Edessa Ramos -Modern Arnis Practioner & Guru(teacher)

Edessa Ramos is a Filipino Martial Artist, a student and master of Modern Arnis, a form of martial arts that emphasizes the use of blades. She holds a third degree black belt in Modern Arnis and a second degree black belt in Combat Arnis.

Modern Arnis is a term for the traditional martial arts of the Philippines that emphasizes weapon-based fighting with sticks, knives, other bladed weapons such as Bolos (machete), and various improvised weapons. It also includes hand-to-hand combat and weapon disarming techniques. Just goes to show you why this is one of my favorite sayings, “Never under-estimate ANYBODY!”

I had a hard time keeping this list short and sweet.  Turns out, there are more women than I thought, Playing With Knives!     I hope you enjoyed this post.

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