December 8th, 2014
Season's Greetings! I hope everyone is having a terrific holiday season. Here in the workshop, we're rocking along to the Christmas beat, scrambling around as usual trying to get all the shopping and decorating and wrapping AND some pipes done in time for Christmas. If anyone is looking for a nice gift, for someone else or for themselves, I've just posted four new Ligne Bretagne sandblasted bulldogs to the catalog. Three are naturals, one is holiday green, and all are quite nice. My main focus right now is on the 2014 Talbert Yule Pipes, though. I stated in the last email notice that we had three slots open - All are now spoken for. If I can get these finished and shipped and still have time to do more, I will, if there is demand for them. I don't want to over-commit at this point, though, and end up still making Yule Pipes in January...
November 21st - Rocketing on towards December! Damn, it seems like just yesterday it was the beginning of the month... but in any case, there's a small update today, two new Ligne Bretagne squat bulldogs and a new black, clear-stemmed Ligne Bretagne Collector Rhodesian. Unusual and extremely elegant, to say the least. I'm mostly working on orders and Christmas pipe stuff so expect site updates to be sporadic and small for some time yet. Also, holiday shoppers should be reminded that we have one Goblin in stock, if anyone's looking for a rather weird Christmas gift for a significant other...
November 8th - New pipes! The last two of the October Goblins are now posted for sale. As usual, I planned more pipes than I had month for, so there was a little overrun. These will probably be the last Goblins for a while, as we're on to doing Yule pipe work now. Also, there's a new Ligne Bretagne Collector in the zippy long-stemmed bulldog-cutty shape I've been enjoying making. Very tavern-style, the perfect thing to smoke in a dark corner somewhere over a mug of stout beer...
Also, Talbert Briar fans might want to have a look at the Talbert Pipes catalog page - There's a new "Old Sea Captain" posted, though it's sold already. However, its presence marks the return of the Talbert Old Sea Captains, and anyone curious about what that means might want to have a read of its catalog page description.
In other news, I'm running another fundraiser raffle/lotto. Unlike the charity donation for Japan after the earthquakes, this one is a lot more personal and specific. A good friend of mine is a young fellow struggling to make it on his own, and trying to work his way out of the McJobs-and-Ramen stage of life that I'm sure we're all familiar with. Some recent financial catastrophes have hit him pretty hard, and he's having a very rough time of it. To help out, I am donating a smooth, natural finish Ligne Bretagne grade 4 as a lottery prize. For the full details, check out the catalog page here. If you're able to help, please buy a $10 ticket - Your name will go into a hat and you'll be eligible to win this $193 Ligne Bretagne, and at the same time your money will be helping keep a hard-hit young guy in a warm apartment this Christmas instead of spending it on the streets. ANY help you can provide is appreciated!
October 20th - It's the charge of the fat Goblins tonight... There are a pair of new ones posted, and they're both pretty pudgy little things but one is truly ridiculous in its proportions. There's a good reason it's nicknamed "Toad". Also posted is a new Ligne Bretagne bulldog. It's a bit unusual, in that it has an acrylic stem instead of the normal vulcanite.
October 14th- Welcome the October Goblins! I've just posted two very dramatic (and very large) new Goblins to the catalog page, as well as three new Ligne Bretagnes. The Ligne Bretagnes are all three Dublins, or at least Dublin variants, so they make for a change of pace from all the recent apples.
Also, for those of you who may be following my "Pipes and Godzillas" web comic, there's a new strip up with more on the way! And now I'm off to find some good haunted houses...
October 8th - Hello October! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Halloween season! Here in our workshop, we've just finished up the Autumn Apple Harvest, and the last few apples are now posted on the Ligne Bretagne page. Also, there's a new Goblin in town, and it's rather warty... It's definitely the right time of year in the Talbert workshop! I probably am not going to do any actual Talbert Halloween pipes this year, however, just Goblins. I thought about it long and hard, but ultimately I need to keep the money flowing this month to pay off some old debts, and making Goblins is a much less risky alternative than sinking the whole month into doing a couple of $2000 Talbert Halloweens that might or might not sell, and might leave me broke for cash if even one did not. I'm a little disappointed because I was hoping to get seriously sunk into doing some really extravagant Halloween pipe designs for a change, but sometimes the needs of the business trump the needs of the creative, and fortunately Goblins are plenty fun to make in their own right.
September 30th - We're closing out the month of September with a nice varied update that covers a lot of ground. First up, there are new Ligne Bretagne apples, from the Autumn Apple Harvest. These innocent little apples, however, are also joined by a pair of new Goblins, one a churchwarden and the other... well, a vampire. You'll see. Finally, I've posted an estate morta from my own personal collection, one that I made and have kept for myself since 2002. It has rather a story behind it, so check it out if you're interested in the odd and unusual history of our little company/adventure.
September 24th - Last time I said there were more to come, and here they are! Five more new Ligne Bretagne Apples are up, once again in a range of finishes, colors, and grades. A little something in there to please everyone, I hope!
September 18th - The Autumn Apple Harvest continues! I've just posted five new Ligne Bretagne apples to the catalog, in a variety of finishes, and there are more to come.
September 6th - September kicks off the Autumn season here at Talbert Pipes. It's my favorite time of the year! I plan on posting the usual selection of Goblins and who knows what else, but also, I wanted a nicely seasonal theme for our regular Ligne Bretagne production and I got it when Emily suggested, "Why not make all apple shapes and call it the Autumn Apple Harvest?" She's so much better at marketing ideas than I am! So, voila... In the weeks to come, look for lots of new Ligne Bretagnes apples in all sorts of finishes. There are four new ones posted today to start things off, three sandblasts and a beautiful natural smooth.
Also, because fall is Goblin season, there's a new Goblin up... one that's a bit wilder and weirder than my usual, which is probably saying something...
August 25th - It's been quiet here for a bit, as I've been doing lots of work behind the scenes on commissions and such. My most ridiculous hobby/project was setting up a fulltime home for my "Pipes & Lizards" web comic, which can now be found at Giant Radioactive Lizards eloquently discuss Collectible Tobacco Pipes. What can I say, I had some time to kill, and I thought the idea of combining some of my Godzilla toys with discussions and observations from my long history in the pipe hobby was too weird NOT to turn into a comic strip. Unlike my old hand-drawn Kentucky Fried Popcorn strip, this is easy to make, and that means it will actually get updated more than once or twice a year. On the comic page you can use the "First" link up at the top to go back to the first strip and page through in sequence. It's still pretty much a rough goof-around in progress.
BUT, that's not what you came here for, I'll bet. Seven new Ligne Bretagnes are up! Six are standard shapes with a nice mix of smooths and blasts, generally of higher-than-average grade this time around, and there's one really, really bizarre sandblasted Collector.
August 13th - The summertime Goblin invasion continues! I've just added two new Goblins, both churchwardens, to the site. Also, I've posted three new Ligne Bretagnes - Two really weird looking blasts and one beautiful paneled smooth, so there's a little something for everyone's tastes and price ranges!
July 28th - Welcome the summertime Goblins. I've posted a really excellent update today, I think, with a wide variety of pipes on offer, from a beautiful smooth Ligne Bretagne panel to a pair of Ligne Bretagne Collectors that are like Jekyll and Hyde in personality, but probably the biggest news is that the first two Goblins of 2014 are now posted. I was quite surprised when I went looking at the last Goblins to find I hadn't made any since last year! I guess all of these standard classical Ligne Bretagnes I've been doing over the past few months have left me feeling creatively antsy, as these first two Goblins are a bit nuts... Huge, extravagant things perfectly suited to living wild at the bottom of anyone's garden. Needless to say, it's clearly getting into Halloween season here at the Talbert Workshop, and the mood is in the air...
July 17th - Stubby Madness continues today with no less than SEVEN new stubbies added to the Ligne Bretagne catalog page. One of these is our first Ligne Bretagne Collector in several months, though I do have a few more on the way with the next updates. I would not put great odds on any of them having grain to match this one, though! There's a little something for everyone with green pipes, naturals, Liverpools, squats, and more.
July 7th - It's Summer Stubby Madness! Our new running theme is stubby - Short, squat, shirt pocket-sized pipes. As with the now-closed Bulldog Madness, I'll basically be making as many stubby pipes as will sell, for as long as I can enjoy doing them, and we'll see which gives out first, market demand or me! At least with the general theme like stubbiness, I have more variety than just making bulldog variants over and over. This first batch consists of seven new Ligne Bretagnes in a wide variety of bowl shapes, from Dublins to billiards to princes. More to follow soon!
June 30th - Time to close out the month of June! This is the last you'll hear from me till probably the second week of August, as I've got a lot going at once here. This is a small update in quantity but a big one in unusual-ness. First up are two new Ligne Bretagne Dublins, the first different shape from bulldogs that we've had to sell for a while now! The bigger news is the new blond, sandblasted Talbert Morta that's now available. I've got three more blocks of this material left and two are already spoken for. When it's gone, it's probably gone for good, so if you've had an eye on getting one of these blond mortas, now's your chance!
June 27th - Here endeth the Madness! Yes, all good things must eventually come to an end, and so it is with Bulldog Madness. After three months straight of producing almost entirely bulldogs, it's time to put the dogs to rest for a while and do some other shapes again. The next theme is going to be stubby pipes, so noseburner fans take note. I doubt there will be as many fans of stubbies as there are of bulldogs (Seriously, we've made hardly anything else for three months trying to satiate the market and they just keep selling!), but we'll see. In the meantime, check out the last five Ligne Bretagnes bulldogs just posted - Four sandblasts and one very beautiful natural smooth.
June 18th - Back from vacation! We had a great time and spent a week staying at Wrightsville Beach, an island off the coast of NC, in a house on the sound. We hadn't been down there since the 90's but it used to be one of our favorite places to go, and it still is. It's a little boggling to think that this week off work was the first time I've taken off a full week since the year 2000.
But, it's pipe time again! I've just posted five new pipes. Bulldog Madness continues with Ligne Bretagne, with four new fullsize bulldogs up, including a couple of horn stems and the requisite green one. Also, I've posted a first for me - a new Talbert Morta made from non-Breton morta. It may be the precursor to a whole new series of large-size Talbert mortas in "natural blond", we'll see how it goes. The full story is in its catalog page, and might be an interesting read for anyone who's an enthusiast of the material.
May 27th - TWELVE new pipes are up! I'm pretty sure this is the biggest-in-numbers single site update I've ever done. Most of the new pipes are bulldogs, as Bulldog Madness rocks along, but there are a few Canadians mixed in. Also, there's more of a mix of bulldog variants this time. I wanted to play more with the shape and see what small tweaks and alterations I could produce, so this update is much less "A bunch of pipes all the same shape". There's also a nice wide grade range, even including a new natural Grade 5.
In other news, I'm soon going to be taking off for a week. This will be my first vacation in five years, so I intend to fully enjoy it and not do anything even remotely pipe-related for the whole week. As a result of this, the website will shut down and no pipes will be shipped in the first week of June. Anything bought by Friday will ship out this week, but purchases made after about 2pm on Friday afternoon (Our post office closes at 3) will not ship until I'm back at work in the second week of June. So, basically, if you see something you want, grab it before this week is out.
May 14th - More Bulldog Madness! I'm not crazy yet, although some might argue that I've been that way for years, maybe even decades. I've just posted ten new Ligne Bretagnes for sale in what may be the biggest site update I've had so far. Two of them are from a previous update, however, from a sale that fell through so they're now back in the catalog available again. Regardless, I'm not sure I've ever had ten pipes available all at once before, ever. It's been a very busy month. If I seem to be updating a lot, it's because I'm trying to get as much work as possible done before the end of the month, when I'm taking a vacation for the first time in five years.
May 7th - Bulldog Madness continues. I've just posted eight new Ligne Bretagnes to the catalog, our biggest site update in quite some time. Will this be enough to satiate the bulldog demand? They're not all 'dogs, though, several are oval-shanked designs that I'm working on alongside the mountain of bulldogs just to have something different to do.
April 27th - Bulldog madness! A big ongoing run of bulldogs kicks off tonight. I was talking on Facebook with some folks about the fact that bulldogs tended to sell very quickly, whenever put them up, and it spurred me to wonder just how *many* bulldogs I could make before temporarily satiated my buyer demand... so, as a result, I'm diving into an ongoing project of making and posting a whole bunch of bulldogs, just out of curiosity. Tonight's pipes are all Ligne Bretagnes, six examples of the ever-popular large straight bulldog. Upcoming pipes will probably include some more of the smaller-size bent LBs, plus at least one Talbert Briar Fantasy Bulldog, currently in progress.
April 23rd - And now for our biggest update this month... There are SEVEN new Ligne Bretagnes posted! Six are standard series in a variety of shapes, and one is a bent freehand Collector. And we're still not done with April...
April 17th - And one more small update to follow up! I've just posted four new Ligne Bretagnes, including the last two bulldogs of the set I mentioned earlier, and the last of the squat paneled pumpkins. I'd intended to wait and add a couple more pipes to this update until I realized we were almost up on Easter weekend and the post office would be closed and if I wanted to get any pipes sold and shipped, I need to post what I had on hand today and not wait.
April 13th - Lots of new Ligne Bretagnes up - I've just posted five new pipes to the LB catalog, in a mix of bulldog and longstemmed squat panel shapes. Look for more like this over the next few days as well, as I work on getting into a semi-pattern of making and posting multiple matching shapes together.
April 5th - Hello for April! I've got four new Ligne Bretagnes posted today - two regular series and two Collectors. I hope everyone out there is enjoying a nice Spring! I can certainly say that it's nice to see the sun here, especially after last month's ice storms.
March 17th - And finally, to cap off this weekend's stream of constant site updates, I've just posted a really wild LB Collector sandblast - my own little personal commemoration of NC's crazy ice storm.
March 16th - Following up last night's post, I've just uploaded another pair of Ligne Bretagnes to the catalog. These are bents, a sort of stubby apple/pear shape, one smooth and one blast.
March 15th - Still alive! For those who don't follow the national weather, the reason we haven't posted any updates in a while is because our state was hit with an unexpected and massive ice storm last week that shut down huge sections of the state, including us. The prediction for that Thursday night was, "Sleet and freezing rain." We were awakened early Friday morning by what sounded like bombs being dropped on our neighborhood - several of which were so massive that they shook the entire house. Then the power went out. When I went outdoors to take a walk around and see what was going on, I found a solid 3" of ice accumulated overnight and trees down everywhere... There was a power line hanging broken in the road next to our house, and I had to help our neighbors drag a fallen tree to the side that was blocking off their driveway completely. It became obvious really quickly that this was not going to be a power outage that would get fixed in a couple of hours.
And that was what kicked off the next six days - All the hotels were filed up so we shifted between staying here in the freezing house under piles of blankets, and staying with family and friends. We only finally were able to come back home and resume work yesterday, after six days lost! All is well here, though - We didn't lose any trees, thankfully, and didn't suffer any damage apart from losing the contents of our fridge. However, now I definitely have a LOT of work to make up! Keep an eye on the site over the next two weeks as I will be cranking like mad to finish up a lot of previously-in-progress projects in order to get us caught up and get some income again. When you're self-employed, if you can't work, the money stops immediately, so that amounted to an enforced, unpaid week off, gack... Lots of catching up to do!
February 20th - It's been a while since the last update but it's tax season here, and Emily is doing our biz taxes herself this year, which has required a lot of research and consultations with the accountant for final error-checking, plus learning tax software, etc... and in our case, the rather ridiculous addition of having to get a Windows computer since the tax software package we needed isn't available for Macs! Ergo, after about 8-9 years, I have a Windows (7) box in the house again. I look forward to making a toy of it once the important money stuff gets done.
But, that's not why you're reading this! New pipes are up. The big addition is the amber Talbert Cutty that I've been posting teaser photos of on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. Also, there are five new Ligne Bretagnes posted, in an unusual mix of offbeat styles alongside some reliable favorites.
February 1st - Kicking off the month with a small update this weekend. I had planned to wait a while longer before the next update, but one of the previous sales ended up falling through so I had an extra LB to put back on the site, and figured I'd just go ahead and post what was ready now. The new Ligne Bretagne Collector (First of 2014!) is a thing to see...
January 28th - Back again with another update, this time a fairly major one. I explain it further in the description of the pipe itself, but suffice to say, I'm indulging in a very long-held dream this month by posting a new Halloween pipe for 2014. For many years now, I've often said that if I had my best wish, I'd do nothing but make Halloween pipes all year round. That's still not going to happen any time soon, but this year I'm moving one step closer to that goal by beginning to post Halloween pipes throughout the year - Every month can be Halloween! Well, as my time and inspiration allow, anyway. My goal is to leave open some free space for sudden attacks of creativity, so that if and when a design idea strikes, I can make it and post it, instead of having to cram all of my Halloween pipe work into September and October. I'm sure I'll still do more Halloween pipes during those months, but now I'm going to be making them as I have the ideas for them, and I hope it will be fun for me and my buyers alike.
Also new are four more Ligne Bretagnes, so there's certainly something for everyone at either end of my price range!
January 15th - Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that your 2014 is off to a marvelous start, especially all you brave souls who have just signed up for gym memberships! I write this first update of the year while sitting here wearing my new Gunnar Optiks computer glasses... What a concept! I'm hoping they will help with the eye fatigue I get sometimes on days like today when I spend most of the day sitting in front of a computer screen instead of a workbench. I swear, I don't know how office people do it - It's amazing how tiring it can be just staring at a monitor all day. In any case, I'm here with new pipes posted! There are six new Ligne Bretagnes to kick off the year, and one fabulous green Talbert sandblasted poker, complete with my own custom-blended and cast stem material. That should get 2014 going on a positive note!
Older news posts can be found here: