Sunday, October 7, 2018

Year 18, Week 39, Day One (week 977)

Year 18, Week 39, Day One (week 977)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
10-06-18 Saturday

80 early morning, 90 in the afternoon, mostly blue skies with some clouds zipping along, clouding up more in the afternoon. The predicted showers never arrived here. Mom had to water her plants that are in pots. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism. 

I am not doing much yard sailing lately. The time to do my yard sale runs leave no time for any kind of wood working. We did stop at a couple yard sales right after breakfast on our way home. One guy is in a neighborhood that is being bought up for a project. I am not sure what it will be. I picked up a stainless steel pot, with interior strainer and a steamer basket. No I don’t need pots. I liked the idea of the steamer basket, though. He had a lot of lids and I should have picked up the big ones as I have pots without lids. He did find a glass one that fits the steamer basket. 

Last night, I took a few pieces of wood I was thinking of using as my rocking horse blanks. I had mom draw a rocking horse on it. At home, I dug out my wood working stuff. I rough cut the rocking horse out, but did not get near the lines, using a dremmel cutting disk. I did not have the bits I need. I have to search for my good dremmel kit. It has the grinding bits I need to clean up my rough cuts. The only bit I had for grinding was going to take forever to remove the wood. Nothing is where it belongs.
I cut a gingerbread house and a tea pot from the two by two. I have the tea pot nearly done, but only removed the bulk wood from the gingerbread house. It dawned on me that by ten, the shade at the vice is gone. That was when I packed up the woodworking.  I think what I need to do is to spend my time cutting blanks at the vice while it is in the shade, and then go into the corner of the house and carve while that is shaded. I need to get more than one of each thing done.
I really need to dig out the scroll saw to work with. Digging is the right word, by the way. It will make the rocking horse ornaments real easy. I cut two legs, one body and then glue them together, and later carve them rounded to be more like a rocking horse. 

At home, I made some ice cream. Well sort of. I had a lot of bananas frozen and some frozen blueberries. I have tried this before and have seen it on the web. I pureed the blueberries and the bananas together, they have to thaw some to work into a cream. My bananas were in a big zipper bag and I poured hot water into a bowl and flipped the zipper bag a bunch of times until the bananas started thawing, then dropped them into the food processor until they became like cream. I mixed the berries into it and then put some in mini loaf pans lined with foil, and the rest in a foil lined sheet pan and froze them. 
When totally frozen, I slowly pealed the foil off. Just work really slow and it comes off very well, except for one loaf pan where a fold stuck deep into the ice cream. I t hen sliced the sheet pan ice cream into chunks. The loaf pan ice cream sliced into thin disks. Back in the freezer they go. I added nothing else, no cream, no sugar, just the fruit. It is really good. It is not too sweet but tastes good. 
I will admit that I likely ate half a cup of ice cream while “licking the bowls” when this is gone, I will make more. 

I really need to get more efficient on the ornaments. I think I am going to get sawsall from mom (she knows where it is) and use that to do my cuts. It will be faster and likely more accurate. 

I will see what I do tomorrow.

Year 18, Week 39, Day two (week 977)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
10-07-18 Sunday

80 degrees early morning, 89 in the afternoon (in the shade). I got to mom’s and found that the vice was in the sun. I really did not want to be out there working with hand saws with no shade. Instead I hung around moms until lunch was ready and we watched TV and talked for several hours. 
At about four, I decided I really needed to make some blanks. I saw that the vice was in the shade so I took my stick of 2x2 and started cutting. As mentioned last week, hand saws require skill to use properly. It is one thing to simply cut a piece of wood. It is another to cut accurately. The little fine toothed rusted saw cuts nicely but slowly. I am finding that the big course toothed saw cuts fast, but also, for some reason, cuts on an angle. The cut always tips to the right. Even when I tip the saw to cut left the cut still goes a little right. 
There are techniques I have seen like lining the reflection of the wood on the panel of the saw with the wood itself to make it square. The saw I am using does not have a really good reflection and even so, there is a slight tip of the cut. There are ways to keep the saw from flexing. Either I cannot remember what they are, or they don’t work. 
My biggest problem is when I cut the angle of the roof of the gingerbread house. The cut angles out, rather than going straight. I put a positive angle on the blade and it still tips out. 
Today at four, I cut four blanks for the gingerbread house and decided not to bother on cutting the roof angles on the fourth. The other three fought me way too much. They are sloppy and one of them I cut the house too short so it might not be too useable. I will likely make it work, but still. The corners of the roof are at all different heights. Being end grain, it is not easy to correct this with the knife. It would be easy to fix if I had the sander out also. But since I don’t.....

I really do need to concentrate on wood working. Having three ornament designs this early is a real treat. Usually November comes and I am still trying to come up with an idea. Whether a forth design comes up, I am not worrying about that. It is a lot of fun to be creating and doing this. If I can get the blanks done, it will be easy to carve these. 

At home, I have some 19 grains. I mix them and use the mixed grain instead of rice. I do it only because I can, not for any health considerations or anything like that. I was really low, maybe one more serving left, so I dug out all my grains and mixed them again. Several kinds of rice, rye, steel cut oats, bulghur wheat, millet, several kinds of quinua, buckwheat, just to name some of the grains. I had remembered that it took me a long time to mix them the last time, a couple years ago, but this time it took me about ten minutes. The plastic mayo jar is mostly full when done, adding about a quarter cup of each. Mixing them when done was easy. I just slowly turn the lidded jar end for end a bunch of time. As the grains tumble down the slope, it mixes and after about ten (I think I did it about forty times, turning the jar a quarter several times) rotations, the grain is well mixed. 
I intend to borrow mom’s saws-all next weekend and see if I can get a lot of blanks done quickly. If I can get all the pots and houses roughed out, it won’t take too long to carve them. I might get mom to help me get the scroll saw out (It might have to be stored in the neighbor’s garage, more lawn mowing to keep him happy) and work on the rocking horses. I can stack the wood and do them quickly.

Our normal summer weather is where the storms pop up parallel to the ocean and then move from there. Either driven west if they develop more towards noon, or they go east if they develop in the later afternoon.  This summer, we have not had much of that pattern. Mostly we have had a flow from the east with dots of showers rushing across the shore line. A lot of them disappear quickly before they get very far. From my understanding, there has been a series of highs over the middle east coast of the country and that is driving the showers from east to west. 
There is a storm developing over the Yucatan and that is coming north. Indications is that it will be a high category one storm, or a low two when it hits Mississippi, or the arm pit of Florida. Most of the rain will be to the east of the storm so most of the western florida coast will get wet. There is indication that the Carolinas will get it again. They don’t need more rain.

example of pop up showers

example of popup showers

example of popup showers

pop up showers showing where everything is in relation to them.

Will see what I do next weekend.


coffee pot (was supposed to be a tea pot) and gingerbread house from last weekend.

mom's drawing of the rocking horse, the legs are different piece from the body.

rough cut rocking horse using dremmel saw to cut it out. Need to cut closer to lines.

molding boards being used for rocking horse.

my saws with two by two stick.

the coffee pot, the house and rocking horse from this weekend.
there was a knott running side to side through the house. If I had thought about it, I would have had it go through the front and back of t he house and make them into door or window. 

house, rocking horse and coffee pot from this weekend.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Year 18, Week 39 , Day One (week 977)

Year 18, Week 39  , Day One (week 977)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-29-18 Saturday

78 early morning, 90 after noon, lots of blue sky, some clouds, a little bit of a shower very early morning, but not over us. Our normal summer pattern is where showers build up parallel to the ocean, then either come east heading to sea, or head west over the Everglades. This week we had two days of the summer pattern where they headed west, Most of the time this month, we had dots of showers coming in off the ocean. Sometimes it is just a few dots here and there, but other times it is an army of them marching past. This weather report is brought to you by The Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism. 

This month would have been my Dad’s 101th birthday. This would also have been my new dad’s 87th birthday. 

After breakfast, we headed to a church that has many “yard” sales. It is in a separate room. There were several items I had to dodge as they lunged for me, but none tackled me and forced me to buy them, so I got away empty handed. 
We stopped at a yard sale on the way home. Oh that was so tempting. I saw a bookshelf , some bar stools and a couple small items but somehow left without them. That was partly because mom was driving and she does not have much room in her car, and partly because I would have to figure out where to put them. She looked at a pair of metal “bar stools” that she considered getting for plant stands, but decided against it. Wow, I did not buy anything!!!!

At home, I dug out my carving stuff. I did a serious search for tools to work with. There was nothing in view, and what was in view could never be reached without moving a whole lot of stuff. I did find a sharp saw. I already had a small dull rusty fine tooth saw I found last week. I had and set up on the work bench.  I get crochet newsletters in E-mail. I saw a pattern for a gingerbread house. I only looked at the picture and  thought maybe I could give that a try as a design. During breakfast, I did a quick sketch, figuring out how to do my saw cuts to speed the project.  I did not have the band saw, saws-all, or really any other power to do any cutting.
I took a two by two stick of white pine that is a couple years old. I quickly found that the sharp saw had difficulty getting started, so I used the dull saw to get the groove started, then switched to the sharp saw. I removed the pieces, then had to make more cuts to correct inaccurate cuts. 
I learned something very important. Using a handsaw requires skill. It is one thing to make a cut. That takes some effort. But to make an accurate cut, is something else. It turned out to be a skill that has to be developed. I cut a groove around the bottom of the roof to create eves, and had to redo it farther down because of another mistake. 
I saw a video of a guy carving a bowl with an hand Adz. He said that if you are starting out, you will likely only cut for about fifteen minutes before your arm gives out. It will take a while to develop the endurance to cut like he did, which was a good portion of the bowl before he had to take a break. 
The same is with hand saws. There is a whole bunch of techniques one has to develop, such as holding it up straight up and down (one problem I had), not bending it (another problem), cutting straight on your line (again another problem I had), making efficient strokes, just to name a few mistakes I fought. 
One corner of the peak of t he roof ended up lower than the other because I had my angle wrong in every way.. Mom likes that effect . The bottom of the house is not square or straight, tipping from one corner t o the other. It is hard to cut “slivers” of wood off to square something up. This is end grain which the knife fights with a passion. 
I started carving, removing the wood from the body of the house to create the overhang.  Once I got it deep enough, I then carved in the windows and doors. My hands know how to carve. I can see the shapes, and know what cuts to do, but there are some skills I have to relearn. It is mostly dealing with “feathers” where the wood where it did not cut cleanly.  I am not wearing carving gloves right now so I made sure I gave thought to how my left hand is holding the work, making sure nothing is in any pathway the knife could go. 
I did forget about one thing. On the hand holding the knife, I put my thumb against the work to get leverage. I have a few nicks on my thumb where the knife touched it. More like paper cuts, than anything. Have to concentrate on where my thumb is. 
Anyway, I ended up with reasonable results when I was done. It showed me that if I can cut the blanks out fast, these will be good ornaments to make. Painting will make all the difference in the world. Also, if I can make blanks fast, I could take more time in carving decorations into the houses. I might be able to make some ornaments this year. I will be able to get into wood working again.

I ran the plane on the black walnut sticks in an attempt to make drum sticks. The plane is too gentle for hogging wood off the stick. I need something that will dig in deeper. I will dabble in it a bit more until I can find the tool I really need.

Will see what I do tomorrow.

Year 18, Week 39, Day two (week 977)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-30-18 Sunday

78 early morning, 90 after noon, lots of blue sky, some clouds, a few dots on radar but that is farther south and in the morning. 

We had a period where the sun was in our eyes in the morning. It is not quite directly in our eyes right now, though that could have been because of clouds over the ocean. 
At noon, I got outside with my tools and started carving on an idea that mom gave me. She suggested a tea pot as an ornament. Again I used hand saws to do the cuts. I had a better idea of what I had to do. I cut a chunk off the whitewood stick, on an angle again!! And then put the chunk in the vice with the corner sticking out and cut off one corner, and then the opposite corner. I then put those two “flats” (a comment on my cutting) and started shaping the other two corners. One of the corners had a piece sticking up on the end where it broke off rather than cut, so I decided that would be the spout. It was a tiny bit higher than the rest of it. I shaped the bottom. I flipped it around and cut the top and bottom for the handle. I then set it up and cut down on each side of the corners so there would be a narrow spout and handle. I put the saw to the spout to slice it down, but being end grain, I decided it would be safer to use the knife and carve it away. 
I took to carving it, rounding the bottom some, and knocking off what corners were on the body, and shaping the handle and spout. I had a lot of mistakes and it turned into a coffee pot, rather than a tea pot. It needs a lot of work, but proved the concept of the design. 
Like the gingerbread house yesterday, cutting the blanks quickly will make the job easier and faster. Usually when I make ornaments, I aim at having a dozen of each. I try to sell some (wood and tool money), and then give others as gifts. These two designs are do-able.
I’ve wanted to make rocking horses for several years now. I figured out that it will have to be roughed out on the scroll saw, the legs and body as separate pieces, then glued together, rounded and detailed with the knife. The scroll saws are buried in Mom’s garage. 
It really did not take too much time to make this, as sloppy as it was. It is common for me to rough out the ornaments, then spend a different session cleaning them up and fine tuning them, so this is not bad. Mom called us for lunch. When I came out later, the shade I was in, was gone. I do miss the awning. Maybe we will get the frame rebuilt after hurricane season. 

I am happy I accomplished SOMETHING. If I get serious next weekend, I should spend my time cutting blanks. It would only take about an hour if I used the band saw, but that is buried. If I do the handsaw, it could take several weekends to make enough to just sit and carve. I can see that the carved Christmas balls I thought about would be too much work by hand.

I will see what I accomplish next weekend. 

coffee pot and gingerbread house. both out of a two by two. Mom says the coffee pot needs a lid. I had considered drill it out.

The slope of the roof, front to back, was caused by inaccurate handsaw skills. Mom likes it.

the coffee pot almost looks like a misshapen elephant from this angle. It needs more work, for sure.

Year 18, Week 38 , Day One (week 976)

Year 18, Week 38  , Day One (week 976)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-22-18 Saturday

Dots of showers zipping off the ocean from the South East. One hit north of us, but missed mom’s garden. 90 degrees, light breeze otherwise fairly blue skies. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.


I had forgotten to mention about the turning club meeting last month. Having a turning club meeting this month reminded me of it. The demonstration last month was on hollowing a vase. They started with a log, with the bark off, and shown how to turn the outside out side of a log to a rough shape. This month, he demonstrated hollowing out the insides. He was using a hook tool to do the hollowing. Some people use a ring tool which is a circular piece of metal with the upper end sharpened. He said that those clog quite often. The hook tool does not clog as much, though he had to unclog it several times. He showed how to hold it against the wood and how to push or pull it to do the work.  
One trick he used was to take a magnet from the back of a speaker and stick that on the side of the lathe bed. He then leaned his turning tool against it so it would stay put while he was working around it. He said that if the hook tool hits the floor, it will shatter.
He drilled the inside of the vase partway in, and then hollowed it out to the bottom of the drill, then drilled it again, each time was two or three inches deep, and then hollowed down to that point. He said that you get your walls to about the thickness you are after, and then don’t touch it again as you work down. He said he will finish the vase and bring it in next month.

They had a “Do Dad moment, where someone shows off a tool or device, or sometimes a technique. It usually is only five minutes long. Tonight, one of the guys showed where he attached a rotisserie motor to a block with a bearing and a bolt that can fit one of his chucks. He then explained that when he is finishing his work, he would rather not have his lathe tied up, waiting for the finish to dry. He mounts the work on this set up and it will rotate slowly while applying the finish and then can hold it until the finish dries, during which he can be creating new work. 
Another demonstrated that a cheep (new) plunger cup can be used as a Jam chuck when stuck over the jaws of your chuck. A jam chuck is where you take your piece and turn it around, fitting the mouth of the piece, jamming it over something that fits, the jam chuck. The tail stock holds the work in place against the jam chuck. One can then finish the bottom or make changes in the bottom of the piece.  Many will shape a “scrap” piece of wood. With the plunger, you can open the jaws of the chuck as much as needed, fit the plunger over it. The mouth of the piece the goes against the plunger. The plunger protects the piece and prevents slipping while the chuck holds the work solidly and centered. 

The club has a raffle called THE BRING BACK PRIZE. It is where the winner the previous meeting brings back something for the new winner to receive, and then they have to bring back something. It is a way to get works by other members. Over the years, I have won several times and they are really good pieces. One piece I like was by a rank beginner and he simply had a stick that he tapered from the ends and thinned down in the middle like a finial. I like that piece. 
I won the bring back prize this time. I have to bring something for the next winner to get. I might dig out something from my stock or give an ornament, which I also have a lot in stock. Will have to see what I come up with.


I had dug out a stick of black walnut in an attempt to make some drum sticks. I searched and found a dull fine tooth saw to cut the pieces to length, then a plane and used that to knock off the corners. That did not do a good job of removing wood. I really had nothing else on hand to work with and now have a pair of badly shaped octagon sticks. This is going to be a lot of work. The neighbor is having work done in his garage so everything on one side of the garage is piled up against all my wood working stuff. My lathe, which would make this project really easy, was not at the very end near the door either, so it is out of reach. I did not notice any other useful tools within view, let alone reach. 

I mowed Mom’s neighbor’s front yard. That took all my get-up-and-go out of me.. I was smart and did this after I played around with some wood. 

I will see what I do next weekend.

The finishing station using a rotisserie motor to slowly rotate the piece as you add finish. 

My bring back prize, made with plywood

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Year 18, Week 37 , Day One (week 975)

Year 18, Week 37  , Day One (week 975)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-16-18 Saturday

Sunny, mostly blue sky, 90 degrees, light breeze, good humidity.  The constant dots of rain clouds that have pestered us the past month has finally stopped. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.

A family member has been really sick and I have spent all my time with them, helping the care giver and spending time with the family member. Projects were put on hold, even writing notes was kept short. We are now past, that so I can look forward to possibly getting some projects done in the near future. 
During this time, we had family come down for a visit and had a bbq. Of course, it was my job to clean up. Ugh!!

Yard sailing was shut down. Could not take the time to do that. I did go to a big yard sale a dealership organized. One woman had a box of yarn. I don’t need yarn. That was one time where I wished I could see in the future. If she was not going to sell it, and was going to toss it, I would have gotten it, but for no other reason. Another woman had what could have been 50 or 60 dowels of different sizes. I could have gotten that fairly cheep. The only reason I did not get it was I would have to carry two batches of them across the big parking lot and I have no place to store them. Otherwise I would have loved to have gotten them. The next day, I saw a use for a small dowel and did not have them at hand. 
Once in a great while, while yard sailing, we see something we kick ourselves over. We either kick ourselves for not getting it, or kick ourselves for getting it. Also there are “what if”s where you really have no use for it but could see possibilities. I will wish I got those dowels but in a way, glad I did not get them. Several years ago, I saw a big roll of leather, taken from a couch. I have wondered if I could have used it if I had gotten it. I have seen one or two projects where it would have been nice. About 5 years ago, a woman had like 7 jars of buttons. That would have been a nice catch if I had gone for it. I bought a commercial style meat slicer. I realized that it was not something I even wanted to use as I did not want to have to clean it. I had a friend who was able to get that to someone he knew who could use it. 
I am not sure I like that I picked up that lawnmower for mom’s neighbor. I am the one who mows the lawns. At this time, the lawn needs to be mowed every other week because it is growing really fast. At 90 degrees and high humidity, it is a real challenge to get it finished. I mowed yesterday and did not finish the back yard. I did get the area people get around, but did not have what it took to finish it. 
Another problem of yard sailing is that stuff gets buried or put away and forgotten. Stuff collects really fast. All you know is that you have a pile of stuff and not sure what is there. 

I have done some reading during this time, finishing 2 of 4 books I have wanted to read. I have done crochet. I started a zig zag scarf. My Zigs are a bit too long, but I will go with it anyway. I also started a zig zag dish cloth with really short Zags and made a bunch of other mistakes, including trying to correct other mistakes. Since this is going to be for Mom and she is really tough on them as she uses them in high chlorine water when doing dishes, It does not have to be pretty, just useful. 
I will continue to do crochet but not as much as when I was helping with the sick relative. Where the time is applied now has changed.

Mom’s  neighbor, in who’s garage my wood working equipment is stored, is nearing the end of his remodeling. All the stuff in his garage is packed against my wood working equipment because of work in the opposite side of the garage so there is no way to get to them. The lathe still needs a wheel repair anyway. It will only be partially useable during the repair period. I likely will need a real cleaning and lubing before I can use it anyway.

Without the lathe, I decided to try to make some drum sticks. I did dig out some black walnut. This is a hard wood. I learned quickly that it does not take to the knife well. I was more humiliating my knife than shaving down the corners of t he sticks. I dug out a plane and started knocking off the corners. It was doing the job but this was going to be a long project at that rate. I have not had a chance to do more with it that making it more like a misshapen octagon.  I have a draw knife somewhere, but where it is, and whether I can get close to it is a problem. It would make the removal of the worst of the wood really quick.  I likely will worry the wood away until I end up with results.  I will have to do a search to see if I can find some tools to make this project faster. I need to hog a lot of wood, almost half the diameter of the sticks on one end, and even more on the other,  before I can start thinking about fine tuning the shape. 
If we ever get the awning up, which does not look like it will happen soon, one big project is to get all my hand tools together in one place and see exactly what I have. 
I see videos of making lathes, and dowel jigs and all sorts of other interesting projects. My problem is locating my basic tools just to do that. They are not easy to grab. Much of it is buried. 

Christmas is coming. I have a number of projects I want to do. Several need a lathe to rough out quickly. I want to make Christmas balls and then carve them. I still want to make the rocking horse ornaments. I have considered some other designs that require wood turning to rough them out. I might just dig into them and use the knife. It is already getting close to the time that I HAVE to get started.  A lot of ideas that have caught my attention comes from crochet ornaments. The problem is that I have done many those designs before over the years. 

I also need to get to thinking about my Christmas Cards. I would love to have them done at the beginning of December, (same with my ornaments by the way) so I can concentrate on other things. It is not fun to be finishing the cards the day they have to be given out, and also not nice to not be able to give them to some people when you last see them before Christmas because you don’t have the cards yet. 

I will continue to worry out the drum sticks, while searching for missing tools. I will also start shaving wood for a few Christmas ornament experiments. 
We will see what opportunities will provide.


a skip stitch scarf half done. Mom ended up with his

Another skip stitch scarf. I gave this to a family member.

a test of a zig zag to see if I understood the process. it worked. It gave me confidence to actually try it. on a real project
The blue scarf above was done with this yarn.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Year 18, Week 28 , Day One (week 965)

Year 18, Week 28  , Day One (week 965)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
07-15-18 Sunday

91 degrees as the high, 79 as the low, blue skies with feather platter above, and puffs building over the Everglades. I am about ready to take my jacket off as it finally got warm... Very light breeze that does not really help unless you are under a very large tree. Some possible showers late in the evening. Much the same the rest of the week. The past weeks we went from regular rain to very little, in the right places.
Mom’s house is in the driest location in the county. All her plants are in pots and they are now struggling. I keep teasing her that it will rain hard right after she waters everything.
This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Department of Tourism.

Still no wood working. We had a BBQ on the Fourth. Mom’s neighbor let us use his house for our gathering. He has a yard and the little ones in our family live in a Condo. They were running and running for a good portion of the day. We used my grill, which meant I got a chance to wash it a couple days later... 
I agreed to mow his yard with the electric lawn mower I got him. It reduces the chances of him getting bothered by still storing my wood working machinery that has been in his garage since the storm last year. The front yard has about a two foot drop in 25 feet. Not a problem for me to mow. I learned to start at the house and work my way to the street so the extension cord does not get in the way. I had to lay down for an hour or two to cool down and rest after mowing one yard. The back yard is a bit more work as there are patios and a tree to go around which means twisting and turning to reach certain areas. I have to do that in two sessions, even though it is flat. I can only do one yard in a day. I need the rest of the week to recover. 
One nice thing about the electric mower, I am not spending an hour pulling a cord over and over again to get it to start. Plug it in, move a lever and pull a handle and one has a running lawn mower. It is also not as heavy as a gas mower either. 
Something I heard on a radio back in the 80s describes Florida so wonderfully.  “We are entertained by a lightning show on the way home from work. The high nitrogen in rain then fertilizes the lawns to cause them to grow vigorously. You almost need a safari to get from the street to the front door from the growth that happens. If you mow the back yard first, by the time you finish mowing the front yard, the back yard needs mowing again.  I found a great way to keep the grass under control. It is a flame thrower. It is not good at edging but it really knocks back the grass for a while......”

The week before the Forth, a friend at work gave me a skein of yarn. She said she wanted to do a project for her sister and realized she did not have the time or patience to do the project. She left the yarn on my desk. You know you have an addiction when you see something you like and you get a special warm feeling at the sight of it. 
During this time, someone spent time in the hospital and I stayed there for an hour or two on most days. During this, I took the yarn and started a scarf. I used to start my scarves at one end and go back and forth. I had a lot of trouble keeping the rows even. I started end to end and with only six to eight ends, rather than 2 or 3 hundred ends, it is easy to keep them even. 
I decided on a skip stitch scarf where you do like two stitches, then skip two with a chain, and then add two again. When you go back the other way, you put your stitches into the spaces of the row below. I had to pull the stitches out three times, once to the beginning due to mistakes. For example, one time I accidentally used 3 chains instead of two and got to the end and started the next row and saw it was not going to work. The next time I did it, I found a mistake after about 8 stitches into the second row, but adjusted for it, then about half way down, I found another mistake so I ripped it out to that second mistake. 
Once I got the pattern working, I was able to whip it out quickly. Other than a few yarn tails, I had it done by end of the weekend before the Forth. She sort of gasped when I gave it to her Tuesday. She was shocked and delighted to get it. It sounded like she was going to keep it for herself. 
I then started another scarf. This time, I did a row of the purple yarn she gave me, then a row of white, and alternated until I had three rows of white with purple on the outsides. I finished that the following weekend. I gave that to her that Monday and she was happy.
I have been working on teddy bear clothing which takes some concentration. These scarves were “mindless” and that made them fun to finish quickly. I thanked her several times for giving me the chance to do something that was pure fun. 

Having to mow the lawn eliminates most of the yard sailing. If I yard sale, It is too late and hot to do the work. It is best to get on it early morning after breakfast. We have stopped at a few yard sales that were available. There is not much that I really need.

It is interesting about technology. When a technology is superceded by something else, it is usually near perfection. With the Steam locomotives, they were already testing the adding of diesel fuel into the steam chambers after the engine was up to speed. The fuel gave a jarring push rather than an expansion that steam gave so was harder on the linkages but was still being looked at as the next step in steam locomotives. Soon after that the diesel internal combustion engine with locomotives designed around them and electric generators running the motors came into being. The diesels proved to be easier to operate, maintain and their design solved a lot of problems that steam had. 
With photography, film was nearing the maximum resolution they could get when digital cameras came into being. I have no proof but I have a feeling that modern digital cameras are near what film cold achieve. What makes digital great is you can take ten times the number of pictures, see the results instantly and not have the added expense of processing if you have a camera. 
The propeller powered plane was at the maximum speed it could go when the jet became into use. 
Battery technology is replacing corded motors. For contractors, getting an extension cord to where you needed is a real hassle. It is easier to plug in a fresh battery and get to work. The battery powered motors are getting to be as strong as the corded motors were. I know a couple contractors that only use battery powered machinery now. 
Cell phones are as powerful as desk top computer and can do so much more. Many homes no longer have a house phone at all. Everything is cell phones. 

Another thing I have seen is that as a profession gets replaced, it becomes a hobby and sometimes a small profession again. Manufacturing processes have eliminated the use of a blacksmith. Now black smithing is a hobby and a custom making business. Weaving was once done by individuals, then became a factory business, and now it is a great hobby by individuals again. The same with yarn and thread making. 
Absolutely anything that was once done as a business has now become a hobby. Some people can turn their hobby back into a business, but more for more custom items rather than for production. There is always a panache to getting something hand made. One sometimes hears where they don’t want something that is perfect, that looks like it was made by a factory, but instead something that looks hand made (has mistakes).
Early in the year, I picked up a Garman Nuvi Tracker at a yard sale. It worked nicely. A few months ago, I came across a pair of them with some accessories. These were newer models. The people I bought them from said that they were getting rid of them because their phones do the same thing. One of the units cannot seem to find the satellites. The other one works nicely. I put my old one and the new one in my truck to compare them. Much the same but there are slight differences. I would have to pay to update the maps. There are differences between the maps on what they show. For me, these are wonderful. Just seeing what is ahead of me is fantastic. There was a time recently, I went to a part of the county I am not totally familiar with. I used the address location to one place I was going, but I did not know the address of the second place I was going. I did not want to take the freeway which is a real pain at that time of the day, so I went the back way. Being able to see about half a mile to a mile ahead helped me spot the roads I needed to take and get to my destination the back way.
I don’t have an advanced cell phone so I don’t have access to mapping. These are great. Older technology that has been replaced, but still works great. 

There are no wood turning club meetings in June, July, and August. The school we meet at is closed for the summer. Two years ago, I was preparing to do a demonstration on how to make platters for the club. We had taken down the awning because of a storm that summer, and took several months before we put everything back up. By then, life got in the way. Last year, we had the storms again and have not put the awning back up because the frame needs repairs.  When ever I get to do some wood turning again, I am going to have to start all over in my learning to do the platters and figuring out how to explain what I am doing and why. 

I really need to get serious about carving. I can do that without the awning, and do it just about anywhere.  Christmas is coming and I usually do several ornaments, but several of my planned projects either failed or I am not ready to start on them yet. Most require some machine that is  packed at the back of the garage and covered in stuff. 
One idea I had recently was to turn Christmas balls and carve designed into them. I sort of avoided that idea, intending to work on more complex kind of figures. It is hard to come up with something you have not done, especially since you have done something like 50 different designs already. 

I guess I will have to see what happens next week. 

the two colored scarf I made.

The scarf I am working on now, demonstrating the skip stitch. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Year 18, Week 23 , Day One (week 960)

Year 18, Week 23  , Day One (week 960)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
06-19-18 Saturday

76 low 85 medium high, good humidity, carefully timed showers to prevent yard sales.  There was a few periods of sun. This weather report is brought to you by the city of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I went on line to get my week count right. When you skip a few weeks of posts, it is easy to get messed up.

Mom needed some wire shelving racks to be cut to size. These are basically flat with a rod backbone on one side. I said, “I will use my dremmel.”  First I had to remember where I hid it so I could use it. I have two dremmel boxes, one with the dremmel I use all the time, then another with all my extra bits and stuff, (along with bamboo rods for making crochet hooks) Then I had to remember where my cutting disks were. They were not in the little cup that holds most of my bits. I realized I had one of those cute little boxes in there with the cutting bits of all kinds. I then had to get the cutting bit on.  Ok, it was time to get work.
I wanted the ends to be snug with the wires going across. The first wire wore the cutting disk down in half. The second wire broke the disk. I struggled to get the screw loose, so I could replace it. I then broke a second cutting disk on that wire. I finally cut through it. I then had two thick wires to cut as part of the backbone. I got through them. I then had to cut to length and I went through two more disks. I figured out that I had a wire cutter and I could “scrunch” the remains of the disk between the holder and the screw, freeing the screw. It worked. I did not have a screw driver fine enough and I was not confident with the knife blade. It was not catching the slot right and I was concerned of a slip and cut. The nipper worked nicely.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing since not too much could be done anyway.

Year 18, Week 23  , Day two (week 960)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
06-20-18 Sunday

76 low 85 high, higher humidity than yesterday, mostly cloudy with clouds moving due North with pop-ups building and disappearing as they move.  This weather report is brought to you by the city of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I mentioned in my last post about a teddy bear dress I was working on in crochet. I had started the top, and was not happy with it, so I ripped it out and did the top over.  I decided this top was good enough. the total dress came out cute. Nearly all my crochet is done away from home, many times while sitting and waiting in the truck for something to open, or at the place waiting for someone to show up. It is not much time each time, but I am getting some results over time. 
Wood working is not doing well this year. My schedule, the weather, and not having the awning to work under, has killed much of what wood working I could accomplish. Considering that we are entering hurricane season, we might not set up the awning even if the frame was repaired. Most of my equipment is still at the neighbor’s house. His place is still being remodeled and my equipment is not in his way at this moment. We will see what happens when he finishes his work. 

I do hope to do a little carving next week. For right now, the air conditioner feels good. 


This teddy is more a sitting bear. She is wearing the new dress I made.

This shows t he dress a little better, with the straps running over the shoulders.

This is the back of the dress with the single back strap. 
you can see by the size of my hand that this is a TY BEANIE BABY.; 
this one is a model, the dress will likely be on a different bear. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Year 18, Week 20, Day One (week 960)

Year 18, Week 20, Day One (week 960)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
06-02-18 Saturday

Sunny some clouds 74 degrees early morning 81 mid day 81 late day. Light breeze low humidity. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism. 

Sorry I have not posted for a while. things have not been going on that I can report on. 
There were a series of wood working tool yard sales. I still don’t understand how it happened. I went to each one and somehow walked out without buying anything. I mean, the stuff they had was exactly what I would usually scarf up as fast as I could empty my wallet and I left without even a purchase. It helps that the awning in back of my mom’s house is not set up yet, it looks like it will be at least a year before it is setup. Because of that, I have no place to put anything. 
I accidentally missed the wood turning club meeting. They did film the demo by Lee Sky 
that you can view on line. It was educational even for me....

We had torrential downpours last month, before and after Albert passed by. I refuse to exaggerate how deep the water was. It was just that one night when I got home, I had to wait for a massive yacht to sail past my driveway on its way back to the ocean before I could pull into my driveway 
My mom’s neighbor’s lawn really loved the rain. We had to run an expedition using porters and guides to cross his jungle-thick lawn. Today, I stopped at a yard sale and found an electric 
(Power cord) lawnmower really cheap. The owner who was selling it had replaced his “lawn” out by the street with shells. I gave the lawn mower to my mom’s neighbor. He used it on the front lawn. The monkeys and tigers moved to the back yard. Environmentalists are fighting to prevent his mowing the back yard because of jungle habitat destruction. He is letting the homeowner’s association fight the environmentalists. The home owner’s association was angry that his yard was “a cut above the rest.”......

There are deals to be had at yard sales if you take your time (sometimes lots of time) to look. There are things I am looking for and have not seen for one or maybe two years. They are usually things that I wish I had gotten when they were available. I learned that if you are after general items, say cook books, or wrenches, or cookware, you will see them fairly quickly and just have to decide if it is exactly what you want. For specific things, you might not see them at all. Or once in a great while. An example, one family had a giant roll of leather they had taken from a couch. I wanted to buy it, but had no place to store it. That was the one and only time I have ever seen that. There is a certain type of insulated pitcher I like. I had found several in quick succession several year ago, and have not seen one available since. I think this is the third electric lawn mower I have seen in the past year or so. 
At times, when yard sailing, it comes down to “kick myself” decisions. You will kick yourself if you buy it, as you have to store it and it might not be useable for a while,  but you will kick yourself if you don’t buy it as you might not see it again. I think some products go through trends, people buy something that is popular and later unload it because it is either not what they want or they don’t need it any more. I see that often in products I have no interest in. 

Most of last month was not good for yard sales. Rain messes things up and we went weeks without a dry period.
[edit, the Fort Lauderdale Department of Tourism forbids the use of the word “Rain” in any description in this area. The official term is “Liquid Sunshine.”.]
The last few days is the first dry days we have had in a long time. People were panicking when the sun came out. They did not know what it was.
(There was an actual billboard along the highway in the Seattle area back in the 1980s that said “DON’T PANIC. IT IS ONLY THE SUN”.) If the early week weather report says that the weekend is good weather, a lot of people have yard sales. When you do not know if there will be good weather until the night before or the morning of, not many people will plan to take the chance.

A couple months back, trenching work done in the neighbor’s yard allowed me to get my hands on a couple pieces of Mango root. I carved three pixies from the really green wood. Sap was coming from the ends. A couple weeks ago, I grabbed a piece of now dried Mango root and carved another pixy from it. It is not a wood that holds detail as it will split easily. I lost a nose and had to go deeper. It is better carving than Balsa wood but is not a strong wood. The dried piece I carved came out slightly darker than the first ones I carved. I really need to touch up all of these the best I can and then use paint to add details. 

The way I usually color my carvings, is that I let the wood be the skin tone and just paint everything else. I feel that if you are going to do something in wood, you might as well show some of it. I remember my dad buying flesh colored paint. No wood showed from his work. Of course, a number of things I do is a reaction to what my dad did. My dad did a series of cowboys and their arms were straight down their sides and their legs were straight. I tend to bend knees and have the arms in front of them or something else as long as it is not straight. Yes, he was copying a popular style, but from the very beginning, I veered away from straight figurines. My forth carving was of a person kneeling. All of the fairies I have carved, which would be about six inches tall if standing, are never standing, but crouching, lounging or otherwise “folded up”. With these figurines, I am leaving a block of the raw wood they are standing on. 

I have done minor crochet. I finished a dress for a teddy bear and have a good start on another. The one I finished, I started with ten single crochet, then increased the size of the stitch as I went to the hem, then reversed it. The other one, I created a skirt going around, each with a wider stitch and many “increases” as I went around. The problem is that the skirt came out fairly flat. I am trying to figure out how to fix that. I did start the top witch is straps, but I am not happy with that. Projects like these dresses are quick, easy, and people I show them to, like them. 

I will have to see what I do next weekend. I do hope to carve on something.


back side of dress on teddy bear

front side of dress son teddy bear

my mango root men the three on the left were carved while the wood was wet. the one on the right was carved after the stick had completely dried.