Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Five:

Case File No. 38-246

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AMBER LOVE 31-JAN-2022 Find out how all this began. Catch up on Year One, Year Two, Year Three, and Year Four cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency.

This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. For a one-time tip, you can go to PayPal.me.


Where We Left Off:

The Grumpy Old Man discovered some serious damage by the intrusive rodents. It’s a good thing Oliver and Gus hunt them down.

Treasure of the Garden State:

I don’t love my own hoarding tendencies. I gave away boxes of fabric when my sewing machine died. I can still sew on my mother’s machine, but I’m not even sure I thread it correctly. I hardly have any floppy comics left — one short box — and kept my trades. When it comes to other things that start to accumulate: clothes that are sentimental but don’t fit; tons of books I don’t want to get rid of; office and crafting supplies; and of course evidence the cats and I have collected — these are all things that require space which I ran out of long ago. It’s the evidence that called out to me.

“We’re filled with energies of nature and past people’s lives. Use us for witchcraft!”

That’s some bossy evidence stored in boxes, bags, and cabinets. Ages ago, I bought small silicone molds that are shaped like gems and held on to this little mold waiting for the day I felt brave enough to try making my own Infinity Gems.

Thanos gif

It took years for the craft industry to have more accessible (smaller sizes and affordable) epoxies, rubbers, silicones, and foam which you can now find as kits. Now, I feel like I’m way behind the trend and way behind the need of making an Infinity gauntlet which you can probably just buy. I also have bags and bags of plastic gems from Michael’s in case I never got around to making my own Infinity Gems.

B99 heist infinitude gems

Side note: One of the Brooklyn Nine-Nine heists was devoted to finding the “Infinitude Gems.”

This is a long way of saying that I want to preserve some of the super cool evidence we’ve found! Maybe some day I’ll get into making plaster casts of wildlife tracks. I never know where my brain will take my attention. I wanted to make faux fossils, jewelry, or artistic talismans inspired by the many talented artists out there who share their processes with clay, resin, paint, textiles, or whatever medium they use. There are so many creative as fuck people out there. (My Instagram Live recordings are at the end of this post.)

resin owl pellet gemThe first project was using some of the owl pellet material. That was documented in Fur You I Die, one of the more recent cases investigated by the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency. After starting with that small set of faux fossils, I tried something a little larger: a five-sided pyramid encasing some of a robin’s eggshell.

White Collar Neal Caffrey

The pyramid had a minor defect where a bubble was on one of the edges. Had it been inside, I would be fine with it, but I can feel that nick in the otherwise smooth surface.

Oliver helping

Oliver and I had a meeting to discuss what evidence I should try to preserve next. I wanted the items to be unusual specimens with interesting case files. Oliver also made a personal request. When I first renovated the box fort (the office and tavern), Oliver spent a lot of time in it. He hasn’t been spending time putting in office hours lately. I listened to his request and thought it was a great idea.

Gus at pond

Oliver wants a koi pond! Well, he’d love a real one, but a resin one will be fine. When I was shopping for miniature decorations, there was a cute goldfish bowl I wanted, but it was out of stock. I began to think about making one with resin. Then I realized that with all the molds I have, none of them are tiny spheres. I have a large sphere (not huge, but somewhere around three inches across).

I tried coming up with other ideas besides a goldfish bowl. I watched a good number of tutorials. I looked around to see if there was anything I could cut up to make a rectangular aquarium like you might have in your house or see at a restaurant. I didn’t feel like making my own mold though. I decided to wing it. I was going to use the rectangular soap molds for other specimens. I figured if nothing else, it would be a good experiment or practice to make a water feature using that same mold. It wouldn’t be an aquarium. It could be a koi pond miniature like Oliver and Gus dream of having for real in the backyard.

The other two rectangular molds were used for a baby Gorgon skin and unidentified feathers. The snakeskin was collected in 2019 and stayed intact the best out of all the snakeskins. The feathers were from a more recent crime scene where Gus and I found a lot of evidence to bag. This evidence was also part of Fur You I Die since we suspect the victim was the target of an owl.

gorgon snakeskin

I don’t know why I thought of it, but I decided to mount my phone and live stream when I was working on some of these projects. No makeup. Hair in clips to stay out of the sticky resin. Tiny work space. I took to Instagram rather than YouTube. It was great to see people actually tune in to watch! Embedded below are the IG Live episodes I did.

This may not seem noir, however, we’re talking about organic parts that were once attached to living beings. Organic in this case meaning carbon-based. In the clues of the feathers, based on how many feathers Gus and I found, I felt confident in stating that creature did not survive an attack. As far as film and literary genres are concerned, Hemingway isn’t noir, but he wrote about white men killing things.

As the curing progressed, I thought I had a good handle on things except for the feathers. I knew that project had to pitched into the garbage because it never cured. I demolded the other projects and thought they were all good. It turns out they weren’t. The second eggshell in a pyramid began to squish in my fingers as I sanded it.

gooey grilled cheese sandwich

The snakeskin started oozing like the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich. The koi pond and small gems are the only projects of this second batch to come out successfully.

 

 

Case Findings:

The only mysteries here are whether or not my crafting skills can make this work; and if these specimens can be preserved in the resin the ways I envision.

Case Status: Open

 

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