Monday, February 28, 2011

Did you write? February 28th, 2011

Did you write? February 28th, 2011

For those of us who are slackers, or generally slackers, the idea is to post here each week as to what you did in your life, and also to report how you did in writing. The hope is that you will realize you are not going to be reporting any writing, so you rush a project open and write something, anything, so you can brag that you actually wrote this week.
For those of us who are writing regularly, this becomes a place to brag, and to get the rest of us to long to be that productive and make changes in our lives to make it happen.

New story writing is always writing. Editing is also writing, even if it is the work of someone else. Critiquing is a form of editing, and is also writing. So is blogging, technical writing, writing assignments, poetry, character and world development, and even E-mails can be writing if they pertain to writing or stories. If you have to ask if it is writing, the answer is yes.

On my work in progress, I have edited another 163 out of it. This is all fixing sentences and finding a way to combine something or eliminate something. This is likely my best edited work, but it is still way to long. Each scene I have appears to be important to the story. I really cannot see how to remove something without major editing elsewhere to correct for the missing information, or to remove reference for the missing information.

On my contraband character history, I am not supposed to be working on it, I have added 1315 words. It is now on page five. As I write on it, other things come to mind. Too bad there is no story there.

I did well on my story ideas. I wrote 28 story ideas, and they took up 34 pages, amounting to 20444 words of pure drivel.
I do feel sad that a few of them should have been developed more and a couple missed the point because I wrote them short.
I had one story idea based on a song I heard. I wrote a few words down with the intent to fill out more of the idea. I never got to adding more information. I am looking at what I wrote and it makes no sense to me at all. A couple words were badly scribbled. If I were to hear the song again, I would remember the idea, but have not heard the song. The way the station is handling music, it is not all that likely to repeat it for a while. I hate losing an idea.

I have an art show coming up next month. I am working on just about everything except for what I really need to work on. I have "played" with all sorts of new equipment I acquired over the past few weeks. The most time consuming projects have gotten the least amount of attention. If these projects are not in the art show, it would not be so horrible, but I do want to show them off. They are going to be really good for people to see.

A dear friend of mine died Monday. It was his birthday. I knew he was not going to be in this world long, but he went faster than expected.
I had been checking in on another friend in the nursing home for years and when she died, I shifted my visits over to this friend. I will miss him.
He had sold me a special metal working lathe and he gave me a bunch of tools. I will remember him through the tools.

As to the question of the week, '
I can honestly say



Yes I wrote. I am now this rare creature that is called an 'author'. That is a fancy way of saying that instead of just writing for fun and amusement, I've had stories published, three of them so far, in real magazines that people can (and do) buy. I even got one story nominated for an award (the competition is fierce, so don't hold your breath), so I guess someone actually enjoys what I do. In my mind, that makes me a professional now, which is why I take a professional attitude toward what I write. I make sure my butt contacts with the chair and fingers hit the keyboard just about daily in pursuit of new material, and that what I turn in when I'm done is as good as I can make it.

While simply writing for pleasure is fine and I've done that for years, writing well enough for publication requires a totally different attitude. Any good writing—published or not—involves skills that can be learned and honed by regular practice. The difference between a hobbyist and pro is in the discipline and dedication to make writing the first thing you do once all your most pressing regular life obligations are met and to write what your publication needs and your fans enjoy. If you want to be a published writer, you have to write regularly and often, with a workmanlike attitude and a love of the material that makes you continue to sit there and wrestle the right words out of your head onto the page. That means you set aside the excuses and distractions, and make writing a top priority in your life, not letting things like email, games, phone messaging, TV, and other distractions get in the way. Setting aside a dedicated section of the day when you are least likely to be disturbed is important, and using it wisely is vital. It's very easy to fritter away that time doing other stuff, and that's OK if you just write for amusement or as a hobby. It will kill your career possibilities fast if you don't get yourself into a routine, because the competition out there for publishing space is fierce.

I try and write just about every day of the week now, at least a couple hours a day and sometimes many hours at a time with short breaks. I love every moment of it and can't wait to get to work each day. To be able to write like this is a privilege that I longed for back in the days when I was a stay-at-home mom raising my kids and devoting most of my time and energy to the family. Now I am not needed as much, and I get to pursue my own dreams at last. I have good days and so-so days as far as how much actual writing gets done because I also do a lot of research. Working from home with a large family and many pets around has its pitfalls and perils, and I've had to sacrifice some things I used to do to free up this time. I can say from experience that not everyone around you will always understand that this is a career and not just fun & games, and that you are actually at work at that keyboard. Now and then I take a day off for fun, and I can afford to do that, since I put in so much regular time trying to get something publication-worthy on the page. Every good writer I know—and I know quite a few now—works this hard. None of us would trade this life for anything else either. :)

Except for one big project I've been picking away at, I've averaged about 1-2 short stories, from 8000-30000 words each, every single month for the last 10 months. Each one of the 20 short stories I've turned in over the last ten months has been accepted for publication. I juggle seven regular series of stories and still do some standalone work. I have two more in the final stages as I write this. I also edit for one of the company's magazines and for friends and people who ask me nicely or bribe me with dark chocolate and decaf coffee from Dunkin Donuts (ALWAYS light, no sugar—no sweet tea ever consumed here, BLEAH!!!!). I consult with other hardworking writers when they have problems, questions or issues, and post on this blog whenever I get a chance. Other than that, most of my time online is writing research. 

I spend most of my days writing and catching up with housework and whatnot around here, so I can spend my evenings with family, watching TV and hanging out. The only crafts I have time for now are pickup crochet, and a little bit of beading—making good luck charms and so on to hang in my window and sparkle or ward off evil spirits and bounce back bad thoughts sent my way. So far they seem to be working just fine. LOL On my days off, I try to get out and do some thrifting, because that's something I very much enjoy. Now and then, I even cook something. 

I'll have some more pictures and regular entries of my own again in the not-too-distant future.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week 581 Wood Working

Year 11, Week 07, Day One (week 581) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 02-26-11 Saturday

63 degrees early morning, 82 degrees as a high, blue sky, some clouds around noon but that cleared up, little breeze in the morning that picked up in the afternoon. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.


A very good friend of mine, James T Duke, died on Monday. It was his birthday and he was 73 years old.
He was a professional sign painter and I took sign painting classes from him back in the 1980s. I lost touch with him for several years, and then he contacted me and we started getting together again. He had been treated for cancer caused by the solvents used in the paints, and was suffering the effect of lead poisoning as he used lead paint for decades.
I kept in touch with him after that, helping him through Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Wilma. When a friend I was visiting in the nursing home died, I shifted over to visiting him each week. As he started getting bad, I started visiting him twice a week. He had the son of an old friend who move in with him and took care of him to the end. I visited the day after he had died.
A few weeks back, I purchased a mini lathe and he gave me a bunch of tools. I wish I had spent more time with him, but second guessing is useless. I did what I could do at the time.


I started the process of applying Linseed oil on the cannon barrel. I took to pouring the oil inside the barrel as a reservoir, and then wetting a cloth and wiping the outside down. I would then stand it up so whatever was inside the barrel would soak in. It really make the wood stand out.

cannon wiped in linseed oil

I picked up some putty at the grocery store with the idea of making a mockup of a carving I want to do. 'the problem was that this stuff slumped at room temperature, becoming a puddle after about an hour. that did not solve my problem. I am not sure what I will do with it.


We went yard sailing after breakfast. I picked up a hand powered food processor made by Tupperware.

Tupperware food processor

roller blades

I did not need it but it was two bucks. I also picked up a pair of roller blades, also for two bucks. They were in bad shape. I am happy to get them as they are going to be a tool for the lathe, a STEADY REST. That is a set of wheels that are placed on a piece in the middle to hold it steady. There are times when you can place them on the end and not need the tail stock.
I removed the wheels from one of the roller blades. I will have to see what design steady rest I will make. I stopped at a friend's house on the way home and he showed me his design. It was not what I was thinking, and not one I would have thought of.

four jaw chuck I cleaned up

Last week, My brother took a rusted four jaw machinist chuck I got from Duke and heated it up with a torch. He had soaked it almost all week in a de-rusting solution he made. The de-rusting solution did not do the job. After he got the chuck fully hot, he dropped it into water, quenching it. this allowed us to disassemble the chuck.
Today I took the parts and cleaned them up, sanding on them, brushing them, working them. My brother showed up and gave me a bunch of stuff for the little lathe. He told me that the jaws had to slide through the guides with hand pressure. At the time I had to drive it through. I took a file and filed the guides and suddenly the jaws slid nicely. The screws that move the jaws had a little problem. I figured out that one had a bigger Allen Screw socket than the other three. To use this chuck, I have to use two Allan Wrenches. I got the chuck working sweetly.

To test the repaired chuck, I stuck a white pine two by two and marked the tail stock end with a bunch of off center dots. I centered the jaws of the chuck first, and turned both ends round. I then shifted the jaws off center, and moved the tail stock point off center. I then turned it. I did this about six times, essentially making a badly designed crank shaft. I was excited as that proved a concept of using the chuck to do offset turning. There are projects where offset turning is highly desired for specific effects. Now I can do it easily.

Off center experiment

I emptied the box the little lathe was in, cleaned it out a little and re-packed it. I then took some purple heart cuttings and decided to play around. This purple heart was cut off the end of the board so the grain goes across it rather than down the length. I mounted the piece in the lathe and machined off the corners of the piece. I had it basically round. I stopped with the bit against the wood. When I turned the lathe back on, the bit caught and broke the wood in several pieces.
I will say that machining something is very time consuming. You don't "horse" your way through the material. This lathe uses belts instead of gears to transfer power and is prone to slipping. I broke a fine rubber belt while working. It is known as a rooky mistake.
My brother came and gave me a "care package" for the lathe, bits of metal to work with, some milling bits, some turning bits. It adds to what can be done with the lathe.

machined and broken wood

I stopped on the way home and picked up some molding clay. I am making a king frog and need to make a model before I start cutting on the wood. I just made a frog, but used too much clay and did not have the robe and crown. I will make another one either later tonight or sometime tomorrow and make it right. I also picked up some bandsaw blades. the blades were more than I should have spent, but I am not sure where I will be able to get them after the local WOODCRAFTS closes.

I am thinking of starting over on the carriage for the cannon. I just don't feel it is as good as the cannon itself. It is not square and has some problems. If I do make a new carriage, I will use the table saw to get my cuts square. It will be a royal hassle to get the saw out of the garage but well worth getting quality cuts. I want this an art piece and I made too many mistakes for this piece to be artistic. It is more junky. I can use it for measurements, though.

I have loads of projects waiting for me to do and deciding which project takes precedence is the question. I really need to get to the stuff already in process.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 11, Week 07, Day Two (week 581) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 02-27-11 Sunday

85 degrees, breeze enough to blow sawdust around, blue sky with some patchy clouds that disappeared. It conditions were exactly like this weekend all year long, at least on weekends, I would think I was in heaven.
It should be noted that the 85 degrees right now does not feel as warm as 85 degrees will feel in the summer. For one thing, there was no humidity to speak of. The air is not carrying a whole lot of heat within it. Everything not air is still cool, not heated up. In the summer, everything you touch is 85 degrees. The wind even feels warm. Today the wind was cool and felt good. Of course the humidity makes the air thick and that makes it feel even warmer.
This weather report about a perfect day was brought to you by the City Of Pompano B3each Department Of Tourism.

I got to Mom's house earlier than planned. I started by bothering the cats. Scarface is a sweety and likes attention, but has his limits. He eats his fill and walks off.
The beast of the back yard back-slid yesterday. I rubbed his head while he was not in the right position. as I pulled my hand back, he swatted me with a claw out. I got a light scratch out of it. Other than that one moment, he was a super sweety, not really interested in food, but really interested in attention. I gave him attention six times yesterday and four times today. He would eat just enough to justify him receiving attention, and then just relax and soak up my petting and rubbing him. If I was willing to sit there all day, he would likely have let me pet him the entire time.

I decided the carriage of my cannon was below par. It was nowhere near as good as I wanted it to be. I decided to start over. this time I dug out the table saw. It was buried by all sorts of storage and yard sale stuff in the garage. I unloaded it and then dragged it out into the drive way. I sliced the slightly rounded edges of the boards first, then measured and cut them to size. It took me a bit to remember how to cut things properly. the fence is your friend. I got them the same size by setting the fence to one piece and then cutting the second piece.
I did run into a problem. Not having used the saw in a long time and only limited usage then, I was cranking one of the wheels and saw it was on an angle rather than upright. I crouched down and figured out that I was turning the wrong one. I turned it to straighten it up and when it got near zero, the wheel disengaged. I ended up removing the wheel, seeing that the plastic that was supposed to key into the flat of the shaft was stripped. I drilled a hole and stuck a screw in. I tightened the screw once I had the wheel on and that cured that problem. I was able to get the saw square, though I did do some cuts accidentally at five degrees and had to trim that. I had set the wood on end and they were tipping, which was how I found it.
Once I got the saw set up and worked out how I had to do things, I got the pieces for the carriage cut. The plans had a bottom on the carriage so I decided to do that too, which had me cut the braces differently.
I have to sand the surfaces. I cannot find the stick on sand paper for the disk sander. If I can find that, I will put some course grit sand paper on and clean up the pieces. I may have to go to "plan B" if I cannot find it.

New cannon carriage

I had a tool handle that was drilled out way to big. It was given to me. I decided I was going to make that into a cannon for my grandnephew. I showed it to my brother when done and he decided that my old carriage was too heavy for it. I broke the old carriage apart and my brother will use it for pieces and parts for his toy trucks. I can use them too.

toy cannon barrel

I have a flap sander for the drill. I have several. Flap sanders are pieces of sandpaper looped in strips on a shaft. when the shaft spins, the sand paper straightens out. You press them to the wood and they will bend on contact and then straighten out, getting into tight areas. I had one that was a size the dremmel could handle, but the shaft was too big. I dug out the little metal lathe and after some fiddling and some mistakes, I machined part of the shaft so the dremmel can hold it. Perfect. I have a flap sander that was a bit bigger, but decided to leave that shaft as it was as it was really too big for the dremmel. the dremmel goes way to fast for something that big.
It was great to be able to fix the shaft of that flap sander. All I really need is some raw material and I have a number of projects that the little lathe is perfect for. My big lathe could machine things, but holding the bits to metal is difficult and it is really impossible with my setup to get things straight and square.

machined flap sander.

My brother arrived and decided he wanted to mill something. He mounted the motor like a drill press and changed the bit holder to a hold down. He then milled a slot in a piece of metal. He had me do it and I made a few little mistakes like intending to tighten the chuck and turning it the wrong way. Once I got the bit at the right setting, I made a few mistakes on changing the height.
My brother then had me put the machine away, which was good as I saw the setup as I took it apart. I think I can now set up for milling. More projects appear in my mind as to what I can get done rather than buying them.
I found that if I am shown how to do something in machining, I can understand how to do it on my own. My brother showed me how to use the hold downs which now makes sense.
My brother took some measurements and will be making a vice that will fit on the machine to hold parts we are working on.

lathe in Milling machine configuration

Last night, I made two clay frogs and they looked like frogs. I planned on making one at Moms house and prepare a blank. I never got around to it. I did find a piece of wood that will be perfect for it. I likely will do the body and apply the legs separately. I will make a few more of them to get the design fixed in my mind.

clay frog pattern

I visited a friend on the way home and he showed me a different design of a steady rest. it is a simple design and could be easy to do. It does have problems as it requires good friction to stay in place. I have some designs in mind and will see what design I lock onto.

Next week, I will be going to the antique shop and check to see what is going on there. I will give him advance warning that I will be picking up my stuff next month for my art show.
I will work on my cannon, fairy scene, frog, face vase along with dozens of other projects I am looking at.

I will see what I actually do next week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I am also a thrifter. My thrifting tends to be more toward hardware than “goodies.”
There are some of what I found this month.
Many of these have been seen in my wood working posts,, some are additions to things I already shown. A few might not have been seen.

Tin of buttons.

more buttons, in cards.

A hot plate. Works great

Selection if good quality knives

cast iron fry pans and coffee grinder The pans work nice

A selection of tools including ice tongs, ratchet screw drivers,
nut picks, a machining guide tool,
and old time screwdriver with interchangeable bits (wood handle) and case.

folding roller bag/ cart

Incomplete yarn projects


toy soldier Christmas Ornaments
These cost me a whole quarter.

February Flowers.

It is February here. There is snow up North, but here in South Florida, we are in our growing season. It is also our dry season, but watering will help any plant.
Here are a few plants I photographed this month from my mom's yard. All plants are in pots so she can move them around easily. She will bring them out when they are flowering, and set them back when they are done, to bring out others.

Her garden is not a show garden, but instead has samples of many plants. She starts many plants from cuttings while others she purchased or was given.

I don't know my flowers. Many flower type names enter one ear and fall out the other without so much as stopping. Some plants are not named here and I may have gotten a few other flowers wrong.




pretty purple flower

Tababula (Golden shower tree)

desert rose

Cock's comb

Grows from a bulb

Red Flowers

Mixture of flowers

More flowers

Monday, February 21, 2011

Feb 21, 2011 Did You Write?

Feb 21, 2011 Did You Write?

What a shock to see this note come up. I did not get as much writing done as I thought I would.
Knowing this note is coming up, the slackers among us are supposed to have some pressure to open some work so they can announce they accomplished something. The hope is that we will post what is going on in one's life during the week, even if one did not write. That adds a little bit more pressure in getting to write. It has worked for me, and also failed too.

New writing is writing, but so is editing, even if it is the work of others. Critiquing is also writing, along with poetry, blogging, technical writing, writing assignments, world or character creation. Even E-mails can be writing if they are wordy and pertain to story or writing. If you have to ask if it is writing, it counts.

I read about half my story to a friend last week and it showed up some small problems. when I sat down to edit, I saw even more problems. I did a lot of rearranging, but removed nearly 300 words from my piece. I hoped for more but that was not horrible. I did eliminate another page. Each page gone is good. Maybe next week I will feel my target is within reach.
One night, I over-did the coffee an woke in the middle of the night wide away. I edited on my story, then decided to blast out a history of a character I had thought of over the years. I don't have a "Story" but do know some interesting situations and incidents. I decided that if I got it on paper it would help as I keep forgetting parts of what I had thought of. I wrote three pages, 1500 words on that during that evening until I felt I could go back to sleep.

On the story idea front, not counting what I am posting tonight, I have 53 story ideas in the compost pile. some are a bit strange. One story idea I wrote this week is about a hero sandwich. You know how hard that is to get a handle on? I thought it was going to sink out of sight in the compost pile before I got a clue on how to use it. I have a few others that are almost as bad. They tend to be either fun to write or they sink quickly.

I have a belief that a good weekend is one where you go to work to recover, especially when you have a physical job, which I don't have.
I was making a lot of stuff, but not really finishing any of them. I also carried buckets of sand, helped my brother dig his truck out of a hole when he drove onto the non-compacted shoulder of road construction. I stood and did a lot of wood working, including destroying a bandsaw blade when it caught in some wood.
we tested out the new (to us) metal lathe we got, working out how to do things that are done differently with other machines. that is one really nice machine. All you have to do is figure out how to do it and it will do anything. You essentially have a frame, a motor and accessories and you can get it to do anything you want it to do. An idea and some planning is all you really need.

Using the above as a story idea, there is the concept where people go into the wilderness with a tool system where you have one motor that plugs into different devices. something similar to the concept is the battery powered equipment where they all use the same kind of batteries. The idea is that it is all interchangeable.
Another thing is that if you have one motor and interchangeable attachments, one can carry a lot of equipment with minimum weight or space.
He needed to escape his past life, enemies and the law. He chose a smaller ship than most people would use. Not enough storage for the things they needed. He made up for it by selecting a tool system that was completely interchangeable. He figured he would need a maximum of six motors running at any time but went with four motors only. The system he chose had a couple hundred accessories. He chose two sets to go with his four motors. This made for half the space he would normally need. He chose two sets in case he had breakage.
He then went with highly compressed or concentrated foods, two sets of purely practical clothing that can be combined for the need.
His entertainment was not the best, but more space conscious. He made up the final space and load available with supplies to work with.
He got into his ship and slipped out of the docks almost touching a freighter as it pulled out No one noticed he was there and was well into space before he dropped into the thrust of the big ship and got away from it undetected.
He went to a terriformed planet that was rated for colonization but listed as not ready. He lands in an optimal location. His ship is his shelter and he gets to work building his life. He has his machinery to make anything he needs, He just has to figure out what to make, and how to get his machinery in the right arraignments to make it.
By the time people realize he is really gone he has made a good life for himself. by the time authorities detect his activities on the planet, he built himself a comfortable life and the rules make it impossible to remove him and he might have claim on the planet as being the sole owner. The story might be about how he deals with equipment failure or cannot figure out how to get stuff done with what he has.

As to the question of the day, I can honestly say,



Week 580 wood working

Year 11, Week 06, Day One (week 580)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
02-19-11 Saturday

59 degrees early morning,70 when I got out back to work and a high of 79. Blue sky with a light breeze. Perfect working weather. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.


I took my fairy to work and got a lot of comments. One of my bosses that tends to ignore my woodworking, looked the fairy over for quite a while. I felt good about her after that.
I went to the turning club meeting, showed my fairy off at the carving club and then at the turning club. I also had a sea urchin ornament I made.
I told the club that I am turning the mushrooms and other scenery elements for her.
A few people had some wood we could take. I got a mango branch and a few pieces commercial wood.


After breakfast, we stopped at a couple yard sales. I got a few items at one. I got two pair of ice tongs, some old fashion pump screw drivers, a old screwdriver kit where the bits are held in a wood body, and some nut picks. No, I don't need any of it. I will offer some of them to the antique shop if he wants them. I also got a item used in machining. I will discuss with my brother what it is, but I think it is used to make sure something is centered on the lathe by measuring bounce.

My hard sale finds

I sanded more on my cannon, fixing some things. I decided to assemble the carriage. I have some more work and it is not as good as I hoped it would be, but it looks all right. I now have to run dowels into it to hold it together. Right now, just some glue is holding it together and it is not going to be strong enough to handle play.
I have to add the barrel and wheels and will have my brother help me with them. Darn! I just remembered that my brother told me how to get the axles square. I have to disassemble the carriage to do it. Oh Well. He told me to put the two sides together and drill through both of them. I guess that will be an early project tomorrow. It won't be too hard.

Glued up cannon carriage

Last week, I was given a Tababula (golden shower tree) log. I decided to cut a piece off and make something.
I took the log and stuck it in the band saw. I started cutting and found a bit of bark sticking up a bit too high to cut. I started backing the blade back out and accidentally twisted it and the blade came off the wheels in the bandsaw.
Bandsaw blades use tension to move them. There are two wheels inside the housing one wheel is powered by the motor, The blade, which is a loop, is held in tension against it and turns a second wheel. The instant the blade loses contact with the wheels, it stops. Well, as I backed the blade out, it caught in the wood and the blade stopped.
To slide the blade into place or slip it out, it goes through a thin slot in the table. Trying to get the blade out of the slot and out of the wood, it ended up getting well kinked up.
I had to take the electric chain saw and cut the log from the other side to finish the cut to free the blade.
Since I had the chain saw in my hands, I cut a second chunk off the log.
I tried to straighten the blade without removing the "set on the teeth. Saws work by having teeth tipped one side and the next to the another. This causes the channel cut by the blade to be wider than the blade itself so it does not bind. There is a couple places where the blade is bent front to back. That was beyond what I wanted to deal with at the time so I set the blade to the side. The only other blade I had was a half inch diameter blade. the one I bent up was a quarter inch blade which does scroll cuts quite well. It is not designed for cutting well straight and not really good for cutting green logs.

I took one section of the log and mounted it on the lathe. The bark on this wood is thick and soft. I wanted to keep the bark on the edge at least. I mounted it between centers to make a tenon for the chuck to hang onto. I then started turning it. I decided quickly to make it a hollow bark container. I hollowed it until I had it deep enough, I was going to part it off, then changed my mind as I was cutting in. I decided it would have a pedestal. I coved in and made the base. I got the stem where I felt it would look good. I removed the piece, turned it around with the chuck against the bottom on the inside, and finished the bottom.
I did some grinding on the inside with a grinder and with my knife to fix a few problems which I made a little worse, and got some stuff inside and it darkened the wood a little.

My bark bowl

My bark saucer

I have a crochet project that I have to undo a lot of the yarn. I had decided I needed a something to gather up the yarn as I pulled it off. I took a piece of Cedar and sanded it on the disk sander, then drilled two holes and glued in some dowels. I will wrap the yarn on it as I remove the yarn from the crochet project.

My yarn holder

I took the other section of the tababula and sliced it up into disks. I mounted one in the lathe. I opened the chuck as wide as possible and just used the tail stock pressure to hold it against the chuck. I gently cut a saucer inside on the tail stock, then turned it around and closed the chuck so it fit inside and did the bottom. I used a grinder to remove the posts that I used for holding the piece in place.
I started a second one and got a catch and broke the post holding tail stock I have ways to work around that and will do so tomorrow. I had cut eight of these disks and will try again tomorrow most likely.

The backyard beast acted so much like a cat that It was impressive. He came to get attention and food six times during the day. It is hard to believe that he has tamed down this much. It has been over a year since I last tried to pick him up and don't plan to do so. He does well enough as it is.

I did not do any carving, and should really get onto the face vase. I also need to spend more time making mushrooms and base for the rain fairy.
I really need to get some clay to form a king frog for my other fairy. I need to have something to go by to the shape right. I have not seen anything that fits my image of a king frog I like.
I really need to carve some ornaments. The ones I made this year are all but gone. I want a few more of them for the art show. I might not have room for them, but would like to have them on display.

I have loads of work to do between now and April and really do not know if I can get it all done in time.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 11, Week 06, Day two (week 580)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
02-20-11 Sunday

78 degrees as a high, sunshine, blue sky above, some clouds around the horizon. there were some gusts of wind to move sawdust but mostly it was quite calm. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

The beast of the back yard has picked up a new trait. He will meow like a kitten sometimes. He is just letting me know he is waiting again.

Mom had me scrape some sand along side the road for her garden. I got her nine buckets of dirt, but had to take a break and never got back to it.

I had started making saucers yesterday with the bark on the edges. I had cracked the post the tail stock stuck into and set that to the side. Today, I decided that was going to be a mushroom. I remounted it and shaped the outside first, then flipped it around and did the inside. I handled the post a bit differently and that solved the problem.

I glued some yellow pine boards together after measuring carefully how the fairy would sit on them, and set that for the glue to dry. I then sat down with the dremmel with a grinding bit and started shaping it for the base of the rain fairy. I have a long ways to go to make sure it does not look like a board.
I also shaped the stem of the mushroom. It might need more work but is a good start.

My brother arrived and called me out front. They are putting in sewer and water lines and the road is dirt right now. it has been this way for a while. My brother came in with his company truck and it sunk into the dirt on the side of the road. When he tried to back out, his bumper hit dirt and he was stuck. He would not have gotten stuck but the tire in the"road" dug in too. He knows how to handle such situations and the road was compacted poorly other than in the center. I got out boards and he jacked the truck up and we put the boards in place. He then was able to get out of the hole. We filled the pits but it is still soft. We did not plan on starting that way but that was how it went.

We dug out the little metal lathe and played around. We took out an aluminum dangle from a wind chime and machined the end of that. We then took a bolt and removed the head. I dug out some cutting bits I had and my brother made a special bit for parting metal off. It worked nicely.
We then figured out how to do angles, It requires turning the lathe head on an angle. It worked pretty well.
I tried machining some wood with the grain going across it. I broke one and was doing well on the other, but because I had the lathe at high speed, we had to stop it as one of the bearings was talking to us.
The lathe needs to be cleaned and lubed, but works pretty good especially at slower levels.

I brought home the cannon barrel. I will "paint" it with boiled linseed oil. We regularly soak Norfolk Island Pine in linseed oil to bring out hidden colors in the wood. Because of the thickness of this cannon, the oil will not go all the way in and it is not necessary. I will add the oil to the surface of the cannon over several days to get the colors I am after.

Next weekend, I will work on the cannon, the rain fairy base, the saucers I started. I will also likely do some new projects. I should carve on the face vase and I have some ornaments I need to carve. I have a lot of projects to do. I do not know if it will be next week or the week after, but I do want to go to the Renaissance fair.

I will see what I actually do next week.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Makes My ♥ Go Pitter-Patter...

This Valentine's Week blog post is brought to you by homemade Shepherd's Pie, all bubbly warm with gravy and onions in the meat, butter in the corn, and cheddar and colby jack in the mashed potatoes. Mmmmm... Don't you just wish you ate here that night?

This is my favorite family size casserole dish. A Chantal ceramic, it's heavy, and way bigger than 13x9, but cost me only only $12.95 at a discount store. Yep, I am the queen of bargains. 

Below is more of what I've been up to, and some thrifting finds. I took a couple days away from the keyboard recently to get my top-of-the-month shopping done. Bear in mind, I write most days now for anywhere from 2 to 8 hours, in shifts with housework and other things going on around me. I currently have a couple of hot writing projects, one long term thing that is an overhaul of something I've had around a while, another is a brand new short story. I have a LOT of stories on back burners awaiting my attention. I also edit both for Pro Se and those special folks in my life who ask me nicely, and are serious about getting their work to me in somewhat of a finished form. My days are packed, and I love it!

But I do other stuff besides write...

 This is the latest project in crochet, a chair cushion. All those little pillows are stuffed with quadruple layers of batting, and crocheted shut. I sewed them together.

 This is for the big Boston rocker. It proved too  thin to be a seat cushion, but will work perfectly for the back. I'll come up with something else for the seat. I'm still adding to the length. Yep, going for a patchwork look. 

This one is a great stash buster BTW. So yes, I do actually use that yarn I keep adding to. This one is at least 2/3 secondhand yarn from my thrifting runs. Only two new skeins have been added recently, to round out my color selections. Notice the Altoids tin above? That holds stitch markers, safety pins, yarn needles and other little doodads. So I don't just buy stuff, I recycle things I have around here too. So there!

Went out to the mall where the pet supply place is Friday, and hit the craft store there. I had to grab this punch, it was half price, and you don't see that often. Always wanted one of these.

 I was conservative but bought myself a few baubles. As you can see, many of them were on sale. ——>

We went thrifting afterward. I say 'we' because Lee, my faithful companion and chauffeur, did the driving. He loves bargains too. 

I have a few ceramic cannisters like this on a shelf in the kitchen with most used spoons and utensils. I added this one to it, and moved a metal one over near the stove for spatulas and such. I like country designs and this one talked to me. It was half price day, so that helped. 

A couple of books, one for my reference bookshelf, one for reading with the grandson. It's about the misadventures of a witch who finds a wizard's spell, and the illustrations are darling! 

A small hodgepodge of things. The cross stitch and the pattern will likely be gifted, but I'm keeping the maple leaf punch. 

Aw c'mon, you knew the yarn was coming! Remember, everything was half price that day. The doll hair will get used. 

There was a cardboard box full of broken oddments on the floor of the thrift shop. Didn't look like much, and I almost passed it by, but my inner voice said to take a peek inside. 
Good thing thing I did because in the bottom was all kinds of needlework stuff. Got the yarn and roving above, and all this precut rug yarn for latch hook...

... along with these lovely hanks of teal blue crewel wool...

 ...and a TON of color coordinated embroidery floss. I figured out that even at Dollar Store prices, I had over $16 worth of floss alone. WOW!!!!!

Had to go out one more time to exchange something on Monday, and we hit a different thrift store. Wouldn't you know, they were having a half price sale too! I got these 6 cup size bowls for half price. Loving that! 

Found one more book for me, and one for the grandson. Joel Rosenberg is an author I really have read a bit of, and didn't realize this book was in his Guardians of the Flame series, which I really enjoyed. I glanced through the children's book, and liked the story, sort of a reverse King Midas tale about a king who has everything but happiness, which doesn't come in shining gold. A good message to share.

I guess I'm a bit of a peculiar person, all excited about buying up other people's castoffs. Think I care what anyone thinks? Nope—stopped that when I turned 50 and realized most likely, half my life was already over. Sure, I can afford better—and yeah, I really don't need all the clutter. But in this world, there are a lot worse things than bringing home second hand items and filling the crannies of your life with them. I figure if you can still walk through the house without tripping, and use the furniture for what it was intended for, I haven't gone completely ditsy. 

I look at these things that were once desired and are now no longer wanted, and they remind me that life is short, circumstances change, and bad times come up unexpectedly. I come home with a few new little sparklies and remember how love is sometimes  fleeting once the luster wears off. I plug away at a craft project, making a special meal, or pounding out a story I'm writing, and that brings the realization there is a a whole lot of hard work and a real learning curve to putting together something worth having. Too often these days, when the next shiny prospect comes along, what's tried and true gets chucked aside. So I buy someone else's dreams secondhand, and bring back at least part of what they were before.

Keeping my hands busy and my mind occupied has always been my way to cope when times are tough, and people or events around me become difficult and hard to deal with. When your whole world falls to crap and you don't know if you can stand yet another bitter disappointment, it's good to have something to get up for in the morning. A cat in the lap or a wet dog nose under the arm doesn't hurt either... I keep busy, and I love the life I've made here for myself. Not many people these days can say that, and it's a damn shame.

You know, my life is not idyllic, but I have reached that part of it where the serenity comes from within. So for every snide remark I get, each time something comes along and blindsides me, or some little veiled insult is made that I have to choke back the tears from, I have faith there will be a balance struck. I'll always have songs I can sing, warm hugs, lovely sunsets, good food, the scent of a new rose, or a spotted fawn walking beside a doe that will come along to cheer me up. Now and then, I make sure to look up and glance around for something worth smiling about or someone to say something loving to, before I go back to what I need to accomplish once more. 

Contentment is something you can't measure or buy. But you'll sure know how much it means if it's missing.