Because my dad had tons of 'Thank You' points on his credit card and nothing to use them on, he used them for me, and so now I have a new, functioning camera!! I am very happy - the new camera doesn't have as many bells and whistles as my old one, but given that it is 6 years newer technology, the picture quality is infinitely better, even without them - I don't think I could have gotten such good depth of focus images with the old camera.
Here's the piece I wrote about last week. I have lined the inside of my mold with the grape stems, overlapping them, and attaching them where they overlap. So far, I've got kind of a hollow Death Star thing going. I'm still not sure if the piece will work as I envisioned it, with the bird nestled in the middle, supported by grape stems. That many stems may be so dense that you lose sight of the bird, but suspending the bird in the middle of an empty sphere looks wrong, and lacks the sense of being trapped and supported at the same time.
As expected, using wax as an adhesive totally did not work, so I'm playing with different epoxy. For usability and workability, I really liked the Sumo Glue (from Locktite) I tried last night - but it seems to be drying with bubbles, which looks bad. The Gorilla Glue for wood has a good translucent color, which blends nicely with the grape stems, but it takes a longer time to dry. I've also been working with my old standby, a 2-part 5 minute clear epoxy that I bought at the local mom'n'pop hardware store. That was working pretty well, but I ran out and that store was closed (which is why I bought these other ones to try), so if I can't work with the Gorilla glue, I'll have to go back to the neighborhood place to get more.
Now I need to eat more grapes - luckily they're one of Leon's favorite foods these days.