Monday, December 26, 2011

Did you write? 12-26-11

Did you write? 12-26-11

Where has the year gone? I am still preparing for Easter and Christmas arrived and passed.
This note is intended to give you a place to tell about what is going on in your life and in the process, to brag or cry about your writing. If you post regularly, it will help to keep you writing or to keep to your goals. Repeatedly reporting failures does a lot to get one to get to work.

As to what is writing, we all know that new writing is writing. Editing is also writing, even if it is the work of others. Critiquing is a form of editing and also counts. Poetry, writing assignments, articles, technical writing, blogging, world and character creation are also writing. Bulletin board posts and E-mails can be writing if they are very wordy and pertain to story or writing. In essence, if you have to ask if it is writing, the answer is yes.

How much writing does not matter. It could be the RIGHT WORD, or it could be half a book. the fact that you open something is real key.

As for me, I have has most of the week with no writing at all. I am editing my work in progress, about to submit it. Preparations for Christmas got in the way, leaving no time to write. It hurt as I am so close. I was off today and was able to spend some time on the project. I figure I will finish this pass tonight, and will try to do one more tomorrow since I am off tomorrow too.

On the story idea front, I am happy to say that after last week's mistake of overwriting the file I store my posted story ideas and some un-unwritten notes, I was able to recover the all the notes. I had copied the directory to a CD a short while back, and finally remembered about the copy after looking elsewhere. Finding them, and having a good week of coming up with ideas gives me 52 ideas in my compost pile. I will have some good writing for a while before I get to the top of the permanent compost pile.
It should be noted that in December 1997, I started posting my story ideas. I have averaged at least an idea a day ever since.

It is a good idea to start looking over your work this year and get your statistics.

Over the past week, I finished one set of painted cards, and painted a second batch. I got a lot of comments about the results of the first batch of cards, several saying it was the best I had ever done, and others saying that it was professional quality. I also worked late losing some home time that would allow writing, and tried to get gifts all packed. I hated not getting back to writing. I am so close to finishing it.
As for Christmas, I gave "right" and got well. I had a pleasant time with friends and families. this was one to remember.

As to the question of the week,



Week 635 wood working

Year 11, Week 50, Day One (week 624)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-24-11 Saturday

I have no idea what the temperature was this weekend. I am thinking it was in the high 70s. The sky was partly cloudy, about half blue sky, some sun and some shade. There was a light breeze. Quite comfortable over all. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Fort Lauderdale Department of Tourism.


I finished my first batch of nine Christmas Cards. I decided to give them out early. It was good as I had forgotten about one person and had to give his card the next day. I got a lot of compliments from everybody in the office saying it was a professional quality card or that it was the best I had done. I gave my brother one of the cards and he said essentially the same thing.
I started my second batch of 16 cards and ended up working most of the day Christmas Eve trying to get them finished. They were not as good as I had hoped, but came out pretty good. Everybody who got them really liked them. White card stock of the first batch is so much easier to work with than the brown card stock of this second batch. I have a few that have to be finished. They got skipped because I did not put them out to dry in the right place and forgot about them. Just a short bit of time is necessary to finish them. I will end up with four spare cards, actually five because I kept one.

I had to use creative boxing of several of my presents I gave out. With one, I took the box apart and refolded and taped back together for a fairly flat but large package. The wrapping paper I was using did not come in a solid roll like most rolls come in. They had curled cardboard that the paper was wrapped around. I took one of these and folded it in half and was able to use that as hard containment wrapping of that present. the wrapping paper then covered the cardboard.


We have the tradition of opening our presents on Christmas Eve so the kids can play with their toys all Christmas morning rather than having to wait until everybody gets together. That meant I had to rush to wrap packages and finish my cards.
Most of the presents I gave out were thrifted from yard sails over the year, especially the past month or so. A couple things I gave were things I already had, but found lower quality replacements for them that I would keep instead. It seems like everybody really enjoyed what I got them. One of the last presents I packed was for my sister in law who I had almost nothing for. Ages ago, I somehow got hold of a cracker cheese server. I cleaned it up and pack it. She really liked it, commenting that she was thinking about getting one but never got to it. Talk about good gifting.
I also gave members of the family some of my ornaments. With my nephew and his wife and with my brother and his wife. I split the ornaments of the year between them so I did not have to give two sets.
One of my nephews is learning blacksmithing. I had a decrative cookie box I got from work and stuck some old charcoal into it. I then made a card from SANTA that said inside "YOU HAVE BEEN SUCH A BAD BOY, I BURNED ALL YOUR TOYS." giving him the bag of charcoal instead. He really got a kick out of that. He was happy to get the charcoal anyway.

I decided that a knife would work better for cutting wrapping paper than scissors. I had cut a sheet of paper and sort of waved the knife. It nicked my finger on my left hand. It was like I hit my juggler vein. It kept bleeding. I had to change Band-Aids four times before it finally decided to stop bleeding. It was such a small cut too. It barely went below the surface of the skin. It did not even hurt.

I got gift cards, a manicure kit, and a AS SEEN ON TV hamburger maker. They will all get used.


I got a late start. I planned to bring some coffee and forgot that, and I forgot my camera. It ended up that I would not have taken any pictures anyway. I just hate having it just in case.

I arrived early and settled in back and carved while my brother did some sheet metal work. I helped him in several stages. I carved a turkey ornament. I could have carved a couple other ornaments but one was enough. I used a different design plan to make it and it came out all right. Paint will tell people what it really is, just like the other three of them I made.

The project my brother was doing was to make a metal box for his sockets. The body was already done, but I helped him with the top. I helped him bend it with the bender. I watched him while he brazed it sealed. He brazed the hinges in place. after sorting his sockets to figure out what he needed, we tack welded it together. It was quite a project. It will last longer than the plastic box he used before. The technique to build it was actually quite easy.

I spent much of the time playing with my PALM PILOT. Yesterday, I found the battery was dead and lost the data on it, so I put new batteries in and used the sync on my computer to put the data back on. I decided to play with it some.

Christmas dinner was excellent. I over ate and did not care.

I have to wait a week or so before I can post pictures of my second batch of Christmas cards. they are going to get mailed out this week and I want to keep it a surprise.

I have the next two days off. I have a lot of work around the house, re-arranging things and straightening up. I want to be able to find project materials. I have a story I want to send out this week and have to finish editing it, and I have some painting projects to do.
Next week I have loads of projects to work on. I need to make some more ornaments so I am caught up on what should have been made. I have a dragon and a five face vase to make. I have a couple projects I would love to try my hand at, such as a popper fishing lure, a winged bowl, a couple more of the bird ornaments, but bigger, just to name a few.

I will see what I actually do next week.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Hello Everybody!
Guess you're surprised to see me posting, especially upon such a subject as "Cheap Christmas Decorations".
Well, just because I've been extremely busy with other creative endeavors doesn't mean I'm totally out of the loop on this blog, and the fact that I'm a guy doesn't mean that know nothing about decorating, let alone decorating for Christmas.
I've been a bachelor my whole life and know first hand what living on a (tight) budget is like, so here are some thoughts on how to decorate for the holidays without spending a whole lot of $.

Now, Nancy is the Queen of doing this, but this time of year at places like Salvation Army or Goodwill, there are always Christmas decorations (or potential Christmas presents) that someone has donated. Granted you may not find exactly what you are looking for at your first stop or visit, but over time you might find some cherished item or nick-knack that becomes part of your holiday decor.
Besides, the money you spend at those establishments goes to worthy causes and I'm sure there will be other holidays through out the coming year that you might be able to find something for.

A couple of pieces of string to drape all those cards of Christmases past upon will do wonders to brighten a room. Just be careful to chose cards that don't have handwritten messages inside that are either too personal or too embarrassing for anyone else to read.

Believe it or not, this was something I had to do the first year I was living on my own because I could not afford an official Christmas tree, real or artificial. So I made my own.
This could also be a fun project to do with your children.
01. Take an outdated phone book that is still in relatively good shape. Sizes vary between towns and cities, so choose carefully, especially in relation to Step 2.
02. Start dog earring the pages. Fold one corner of a page until it is pointed towards the center of the phone book. Obviously, the bigger the phone book, the more pages you will have to fold, but try to make the dog ears as uniform as humanly possible. A smaller dog ear will give you a wider tree while a bigger dog ear will have the opposite effect.
03. When you have dog earred everything, including the covers or the outer pages if any of the covers are gone, open the phone book until the farthest outside pages/covers meet.
04. Find some way to attach those ends to form a somewhat circular object with the phone book when viewed from above. You can use glue, tape, staples, or whatever else might be available, but try and make sure whatever you use is not visible from the outside if possible.
05. You should now have a basic tree shape roughly outlined.
06. Decorate your tree. If you're really ambitious and have the supplies available, you can spray paint the tree green first. Otherwise, you can cut out decorations from construction paper, magazines, or whatever else is available.
07. If you need/want a tree topper, you will notice a circular opening at the top of your tree from the phone book pages being fanned open. Attach your topper onto a pencil or Popsicle stick if it will not fit on top on its own. The pencil/stick will sit inside the circular opening on top.
08. If you want to preserve your tree after the season passes, you will have to put it in a box as if it were a hat or some other precious item and store it until the next Christmas.
Unfortunately, I changed apartments between that Christmas and the next, so mine didn't survive the move.

While there are more specialized designs amongst all the wrapping paper that is available for purchase/use, if you are wrapping a gift for someone very young that what the paper looks like won't matter, you can always use previous editions of the Sunday Funnies from your local newspaper.
It is colorful enough to keep the baby's attention while still ending up where it was destined to go (hopefully a recycling bin) anyway.
The Sunday Funnies gift wrap idea can also be used at other times of the year, depending upon the gift and the age of the person receiving the present.

We've all made them at one time or another when we were in elementary school. Or at least I did in the first grade. Another fun project to do with your children.
01. Take a couple of sheets of construction or computer paper, at least two different colors, and cut them up into strips. For Christmas, most people use red and green. Cutting them width wise in relation to the size of the paper will give you more strips, cutting them length wise will give you bigger strips.
02. Take a strip of any color, bend (do NOT fold) it around until the two ends meet, and then attach those ends with tape, glue, a stapler, or whatever might be available. You have now created one link of chain.
03. Take a strip of another color and repeat step 2, but be sure to put that strip THROUGH the link of chain you have already made BEFORE connecting the ends.
04. Keep repeating the link making process, alternating colors, until you run out of color strips.
05. You now have a decorative, home made chain to hang or drape somewhere.
More appropriate colors can be used to make chains for other holidays like Easter (yellow and green), Halloween (orange and black), etc.
I certainly made plenty of those over the years with my younger sisters, usually because I was the only one my mom trusted with the scissors.

In any event, there you have it folks.
Some inexpensive decorating ideas for Christmas and, in a couple of cases, beyond.
Whether it's Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa; I hope everyone has a happy holiday season!

Lee is the author of Hugh Monn, Private Detective from Pro Se Press; available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, or CreateSpace, and is the Editor-In-Chief of this blog's sister site: The Free Choice E-zine at

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dec 19, 2011 Did You Write?

Dec 19, 2011 Did You Write?

I am having to make this extremely short.
The idea of this note is to give you a chance to tell about what is going on in your life, and in the process, tell about what is happening in your writing. The hope s that repeated posts of not writing or not meeting goals will force you to open something just so you can report positively next week.

I give long lists of what is writing. In essence, if you have to ask if it is writing, the answer is YES.

As for my writing, I have not had any time. I spent half of one evening looking for a grammar checker. I cannot remember what that was hammed so I cannot find it. I did run my story through another one and mostly what it found was that it did not like my character's names and did not like conversations.
In my reading editing, I got only to page 14. I expected this to be completely done by this week. Where did the time go? I ended up adding ten words to the piece. Word reduction is not a bad thing. Getting it right would even be better.

On the story idea front, I do have some bad news. In a moment of not paying attention, I selected SAVE AS rather than OPEN, and overwrote my December story ideas, including two ideas I had not posted. I was able to recover the posted story ideas and then sat and recovered the two lost story ideas since I still had the papers that they were based on and I remembered what I wrote.
The bad part was that I kept 10 story ideas at the end of the file, which were ideas I got by E-mail or something else on line, and never transferred them to paper. those ten story ideas are long gone. I do remember two were by picture prompts and know where I can look to find them, though they will take quite a long time to find. Somewhere, I know I have a copy of those ideas, but they did not show up in a couple quick searches.
Since I lost those ideas, I cannot count them. I have had a good week of coming up with ideas, but I am a couple days behind. As it is, right now I have 35 story ideas in my compost pile.

I am nearly done with my first batch of Christmas cards I painted. I have to do another batch. I have a bunch of stuff to mail off. I also need to get a bunch of things boxed and wrapped. I am exactly where I needed to be at the beginning of the month. Even so I could use another week to get prepared.

As to the question of the week,

I can say

(though nothing like I was supposed to)


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Week 624 Wood Working

Year 11, Week 49, Day One (week 623) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 12-17-11 Saturday

70 degrees early morning, 78 degrees in the afternoon. Some weather just in this area before breakfast and it became less and less threatening as the day went on. It turned out to be a pretty good day, except there was no blue sky, let alone any sun. Otherwise it was nice. This weather report is brought to you by the city Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism

I started painting my Christmas cards I think my design will work out nicely. the background went fairly fast, except for waiting for the paint to dry. I am now doing the figure on the front. I think it will end up looking pretty good. After this set of nine is done, I have to grab another pack of cards and start another set. Since many get mailed out and given out before Christmas, I have a lot of cards to make and send out. My biggest problem is that I am now very busy at work. That is killing in my crafting time.

I did some touch-ups on the vase with the scene inside. I added a star shaped bead on top the tree, placing it point down into the tree. If I had more time, I would have run a wire through the bead and put it into the tree the right way. It still looks good in spite being upside down. I was worried about the weakness of the tree, in spite the fact that I had doweled it in place. I gobbed glue around the base, and then added all sorts of shapes of beads around the base and against the tree. I figured it would add strength to the tree. I also found it added something to the scene.
If I had time, I would have made little houses to put into the scene and maybe a few other scene elements to really make it nice. It turned out to look good. I got lots of comments from my family, from those at work, and at the turning club.
I ended up selling it to my boss. It was far lower than what it was worth, but the chances of selling it elsewhere at any higher price was slim. I like his money more than I like my wood.
Now that I have done that with this vase, I can see opportunities to do it with other works should they be of the right kind. To protect the tree, which could still be broken off, I cut the bottom out of a paper cup, then cut a slit down the side. With a little overlap, it fit into the mouth of the vase, protecting the tree nicely.

village vase as seen at the Turning club meeting


We had the turning club meeting on Thursday. We have a video camera and TV set up so that the audience can see details you cannot see unless you are right next to the machine, especially since they are on the opposite side of the lathe as the operator.
The demonstration was of winged bowls. One takes a board, mounts it on a screw chuck and turns the underside of the board. One forms the outside of the little container in the middle, and then curves the rest of the board, deep at the center and curving toward you as you get closer to the edges of the board.

the edge view of the winged bowl just turned.

One then turns the board around and matches the surface to the underside you already made. You then turn the inside of the cup, following the outer bowl you had made on the first side.
He makes a lid to fit the piece.
He then draws out and carves the "wings" of the bowl in interesting shapes. It is something I might try when I get some time. I do have wood for it.

Several finished winged bowls after they were carved.

Me holding the village vase

me holding a Norfolk Island pine vase and the vase itself.

Me holding beaded cups.

I had won the bring back prize last month, so I had to pass on my creation to the next winner. The winner was a young lady that is just learning to turn. She seemed to like my present a lot.

The bring back prize and me with the winner

One of the members cleaned out his garage and brought in a bunch of small tools. I ended up with quite a few. some will become presents for someone else. Others I have a good use for.


I visited only one yard sale. I picked up some lidded jars with the metal clasps. I have a use for those in my kitchen.
I also picked up some JINGA blocks. I don't play the game, but do see how they can be made into carved and turned items easily. It was cheap enough to make full use of them in my wood working.

storage jars

Jinga block game

The cat was a sweety today. He was a bit irritated at me in that I did not stay seated as long as he wanted me to, and I was not giving him the attention he felt he rightfully deserved. He did get some, though.

I saw a wood turning program where they made a turned bird. The technique was simple and the results were pretty good.
I decided to give it a try. Not fully sure of the full technique, I chose to make it small, using two by two wood rather than the large pieces he made his from.
I mounted the piece in the chuck. My chuck closes down enough to hold the two by two in place on the flats. If that does not work, I can turn the wood some and hang onto it where the jaws dig into the corners.
On my first piece, my gouge slipped and I dug way too deep. I took that piece of wood off and tossed it. I mounted a second piece of wood on and this one worked right.
I rounded off the corners first. Then I hollowed out a cone into the end. I made that the way I liked it, and then turned the outside, following the inside, making the wall fairly thin.
About at the point of the cone, I turned a ball for the body. I parted it off after I finished sanding.
I turned a second ball that was smaller than the body and parted that off.
On the TV show, the host used a band saw for this cut. Since I was working small, I used my dremmel with a grinding wheel. I marked and cut away the underside of the cone, creating the bird's tail. where the tip of the cone met the ball of the body, I ground a transition so the cone inside blended into the body ball shape.

The completed bird and the parts of the bird.

ON my first bird, I mounted a piece of oak from a wine barrel into my little machine lathe and machined a pointed stick which became the base, and a rod that became the leg of the bird. I drilled holes into the head and onto the body and put a dowel into the holes to mount them together. I glued the beak into a hole on the front side of the head, and drilled a hole in the bottom to mount the leg. I also had a square base and mounted the leg into that.
ON my second bird, I took a large skewer and shaved the ends to fit into the holes. I used the pointed end of the skewer for the beak. This ended up being much faster.
I like the size of these birds. they are going to be Christmas Ornaments. If I work in production mode, I can make quite a few of these quite quickly.

A couple weeks ago, I had started a Cornucopia. I finished carving the fruit today. I just needs to be painted.

finished pieces for Saturday

Because I was playing around with the birds, I did not get much done. I was also planning on leaving early, which I did since I had a bunch of stuff to do.

Tomorrow, I need to make a couple more turkeys, and a few more of these birds, and really need to make more of all my other ornaments from this year. I won't be going to Mom's house next Saturday, so I need to make up my carving basket so I can work on Christmas day at my brother's house where we will have Christmas Dinner.
I basically have a month's worth of work to do in less than a Week.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 11, Week 49, Day Two (week 623) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 12-18-11 Sunday

75 degrees, blue sky, strong breeze, some clouds around the horizon, especially over the Everglades. Early morning sky over the Atlantic was pastel reds with distant clouds looking like mountains. Very pretty. I did not take a picture, though. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of tourism.

Mom saw some flowers on sale at the nursery so we went to get them. I got one flower, a begonia, I think. I liked the color and velvety texture of the petals. I have a pot at home where the plant died so I stuck the flower in there. They had the plant under the shade roof area so I think it might do well enough on my porch. I will see how long it lives.

My new flower

On the way home from the nursery, we stopped at several yard sales. They were sales that were not put out yesterday because of the weather. I picked up a set of four metal end tables. I will use these as work tables here at home.

Metal coffee tables.

I also picked up a real long spade bit. I guess electricians use these. Later, I mounted this in the handle I won in the bring back prize last month. I made use of it on one of my turned birds. I will likely leave the bit as it is for now, but I plan on re-grinding it as a turning tool later. NO rush on that. I have plenty to work with now.

Drill bit in package, drill bit in tool handle.

After petting and feeding the cats, and setting out my equipment, I dragged out the lathe and made three of my birds. I turned the body first, making the tail the cone, and then the ball of the body. I parted it off after a good sanding. On the third body, I was using too long a piece of wood and a slight catch would send it off center. I ended up taking that off and using shorter wood.
I then made three beads, balls for the head, out of the same piece of wood. I would make one complete, part it off then make the next one. I could have made all three, but this way if I messed up and had to go bigger, I was not wasting a partially done bead.
A bit later, I shaped the tails, drilled and doweled to put the heads together. With these three, I did not add the base. I can do that later but not right now.

all my birds,

I made one blank for a polar bear and cut some wood for turkeys. I started turning one and it came off the lathe after a catch. I decided I will do them with the knife entirely.

I turned a blank for a polar bear and selected several pieces of wood to go into my carving kit. I won't be going up to Mom's house next weekend so I wanted my carving kit with me for the Christmas day Dinner.

During the week, I have to finish my first batch of Christmas cards, and then start a second batch. I have a lot of stuff to pack, some of it is being mailed out. They will get there late but they will get there. I will be picking out a bunch of my ornaments to go.
We have a practice of opening our presents on Christmas eve so the children can have all Christmas morning to play with their toys. I expect to spend all of Christmas Eve, Saturday, packing and wrapping things.
I am about two weeks behind where I need to be.

I will see what I actually do next weekend.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Flash Fiction Friday piece...

There's a wonderful site: that posts writing prompts. These are the folks who turned out The Lost Children Anthology that I was privileged to be part of. You will see a link for where to purchase that to the right of the blog. 

Anyway, they posted a prompt this week that spoke to me. I've had a couple of days where I've been so busy running errands and shopping, I've had no time to write. Tonight on Facebook I saw that a new prompt had been posted and decided I wanted to do something for that. The prompt is here: and my story is below.


I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You

It was Friday, before Christmas. I walked in from the rain, shaking it off my coat before I tossed it over one of the hooks by the door. The Last Stop was the name of the place, a little watering hole-in-the-wall before a long stretch of dry towns. Incongruously plunked down in a middle American bedroom community called Exeter, it stood out like a purple mashed thumb on a hard working hand.

I was coming from a book signing in some former mill city trying to reinvent itself, driving a rent-a-buggy on the road to nowhere, when I stumbled across it. It didn’t appear too promising, with nothing but a YES, WE’RE OPEN sign and garish blinking Christmas lights around smudged windows. There were a few cars in the lot. I was hungry and thirsty, and they had cheap bar food.

I don’t turn heads. Writers don’t have to be glamorous, we spend most our time behind a keyboard anyway. Only the books have to shine. I travel alone a lot, so I don’t want to attract attention. When I’m on the road, just jeans and a tee shirt mostly. Granny boots with block heels give me an edge on height. I keep my hair up in a pony tail, out of my face, and I wear big glasses because it makes me look like a librarian or Sunday School teacher. I know what I am—a burnt out, near-sighted, self-published hack with somewhat of a following.

I shoved my way through the loungers on the battered padded stools. “What can I get you Miss?” the guy behind the bar said as my soles crunched on peanuts. Bunch of older dudes around me, balding and midlife crises hanging over their belts. If the one on the left patted my fanny again, I was going to smack him.

“A cold Becks and a plate of hot wings,” I said, tossed down some cash, and went to find myself a seat at one of the tables. Green bottle, red sauce. The comforts and joys of the season.

A perky blonde in red leggings and a candy cane striped sweater brought my stuff over. She smiled and said she hoped I enjoyed it. I just nodded. I don’t like talking to people when I’m not behind a book and pen.

Three more stops and I could go home. Three more friggin' stops…

Two independent book stores and a mall with a big media outlet. That’s what they call them now, the chains. They sell all kinds of stuff in there, and most of them have a cafĂ©. Glitzy and chic, well dressed people carrying tablets and six dollar coffees. And me, the humble mystery writer, sneaking in the back way so as not to be noticed before I had to walk out there, read an excerpt, answer some questions, and look like I enjoy this. It gets tiresome. Smiling and scrawling platitudes to people I will never know. Gotta hawk my wares if I want the sales though.

I relish the quiet anonymity afterward.

Just my luck, amateur night. A couple of middle age ladies did a duet on The Sound Of Silence. Simon and Garfunkel they weren’t, but being able to sign along with the song made it interesting. While several more tuneless renditions of country oldies droned on, I pulled out my pad and pen and jotted notes for a story based on a singer who was murdered backstage and the only witness was a deaf mute fan who disappears mysteriously.

I was considering titling it ‘Killing Me Softly’, when some guy with a guitar and a battered fedora strode up. Must have been a local, and well known, because there were cat calls and whistles, though everyone was gathering around.

He plopped onto a stool and strummed; then opened a vein. With a voice like a gravel pit, he sang about small town life and the harsh unforgiving city lights. Girls that done him wrong, things that didn’t belong, and being alone at the end of the day with nothing but a bottle and cigarette for company. I let my food get cold but I had another beer, and gave him my full attention, because as harsh as this guy’s growl was at times, it was the most honest damn bunch of songs I had heard in ages. And he had bottomless blue eyes I wanted to get lost in.

“Who is that?” I asked the guy across from me. He glanced over like I was some alien species. Which I guess I was.

“That’s Old Tom. Nobody knows who he is; he just comes on in and puts on a show one Friday a month.”

“Guess I was lucky to be here for it,” I said, not realizing the song had stopped and my voice was a bit too loud.

“No, you was drawn to me by cruel fate,” Old Tom said, taking a drag from his cigarette and crushing it out on the floor. “I got a song about that too.” He got to his feet, and setting the guitar down, shuffled over to an old piano, launching into something about being too shy to talk to a girl in a bar.

I fell in love with him that moment. We were kindred souls. Except he was too busy being a singer, and my mind was wrapped up in creating stories about who he was, where he was from, and what kind of experiences compel a man to walk into a bar with a guitar and a hatful of songs one Friday a month.

You know how time gets away when you’re busy. Old Tom sang his set, tipped his hat, winked at me, then strode out into the night. I tried to follow, but the fog swallowed him and I was alone once more.

Never saw him again. But I got a damn good book out of it. So maybe that was fate's Christmas gift to me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Did You Write? 12-12-11

Did You Write? 12-12-11
Neat date.

This is a place to tell about what is going on in your life. In the process, you may also tell about what is going on in your writing. the hope is that posting here will become a habit, and seeing that you did not write, or did not meet your goal, will shame you into being more diligent in your writing. Many among us will write once every couple months unless ridden to do so.
By their posting here, it reminds them how little they are writing so they will open their work in progress or something new and get some words on paper to develop a habit of writing at least once a week. While writing each day would be a laudable goal, once a week is far better than once every couple months.

How much writing is unimportant. It could be one word or a whole chapter. It is more about actually opening the work. for those among us who do write regularly, one might be aiming for a word count as their goal and reports of not meeting those counts will remind them not to slack quite as much. Their reports are also great for those among us who write less, letting us know we could also do that too.

As for what is writing, we all agree new writing is writing. Editing is also writing, even if it is the work of someone else. Critiquing is editing, so it counts as writing too. Poetry, blogging, articles, writing assignments, technical writing, world and character creation, synopsis, are all forms of writing. E-mails and board posts can be writing if they are wordy and pertain to story or writing. In essence, if you have to ask if it is writing, our answer is yes.

Several people recently reported that they reached THE END on their work. Fantastic. those are magical words. that is the first goal of every writer. Getting published is the second.

AS for me, I caught a cold Monday, waking in the morning with a sore throat. I was luckily this time that the cold was not a sloppy one, the most mild cold I have ever had. It did knock me off kilter a little which reduced my writing. Full weeks and busy weekends also reduced my writing activities. I am doing a READ OUT LOUD editing system at this moment. If you trip over a sentence, you know it is written wrong. I am catching as many other kinds of corrections as badly written sentences. In my first real editing session I got to page three. On my second session, I started at the beginning again and got to page four. Not good for getting this stupid thing finished. What also has happened is that I decided I need to do three scenes from another point of view, or at least show that point of view among that of the others. I also realized a couple scenes could be fixed. I might do those changes, before I resume my reading editing again. I need more time to write so I can get this thing done soon.

On the story idea front, I have, including the idea I am posting tonight, 41 story ideas in my compost pile. Not spectacular but the new ones seem to be interesting.

On the personal front, I am now in holiday mode. I am setting up to get things done. Tonight I added the very first color on my first batch of cards I am painting. In the past several years, I have painted my own cards. It started several years ago when I picked up a teddy bear stamp and was going to do stamping on the cards. Several technical issued made me realize it was faster to paint my cards than it would be to do the stamping. the first set of cards were pretty good. I skipped a year or two then decided to paint the cards again and have done so ever since. It is one thing to pour over the cards on the racks to find the right one. It is something else to actually create your own. There is more of you in them than if you just picked one off the rack. Over the years, I have had several people mention they thought the cards were commercially done. that is a pat on the back.
I am still making my ornaments. I had poor production this weekend as other projects got in the way. One such project was a vase I made where the interior cut through the outside of the wood. I decided to make a tree that came up out of the mouth of the vase and put little people around the tree. the open sides became like an amphitheater. Everybody who has seen it really liked it. I had thought of something like this for several years but had the materials and opportunity to finish it up. I had another vase I was planning on carving to hide chips on the lip. I changed my mind and cut the mouth of the vase down past the chips. The vase actually looks a little better now.
I had other projects going on so few ornaments were made. It was a productive weekend. what made it nice was I barely noticed I even had a cold. Today at work, I was reminded a bit more but doing well.

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



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week 622 Wood Working

Year 11, Week 48, Day One (week 622) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 12-09-11 Saturday

76 degrees, heavy clouds moving fairly quickly. The wet morning ground dried out quickly. The clouds thinned out a little as the day wore on, with some blue sky showing, more to the north. This weather report is brought to you by the city of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.


I caught a cold. It started with my waking with a sore throat on Monday. I started treating it with the over-the-counter medicines that I had found to have worked somewhat before. That and lots of broth and soups. This cold never got to the sloppy mess most colds get to. I am now in the "clean up" stage of the cold, not having hit a peak. I do half expect to get blasted by it a short time later.

I sold four of my ornaments. My price has not changed since I started in 2003. Ten bucks a piece, four for thirty bucks. My boss picked out a dangle which is an ornament simply designed to dangle, a polar bear, a palm tree, and one of my spinners which I made for a spinning competition in the club. This one was hollowed out and then pierced. I now can buy some more tools!!!!. I am actually way behind on my hobby paying for itself. Over the past three years, I have made far less than what it cost me.

My ornament display at work


We went yard sailing. When I got up in the morning, it looked like it might not be great for yard sales. Once I hit the road, I decided it would actually be a good yard sale day.
We hit quite a few yard sales, but really only purchased at a couple of them. At one yard sale, I got a set of seven bar clamps. The price was excellent. I now have another item in my Christmas list filled. I then picked up a meat pounder for a dollar. I am thinking of a use for it.

bar clamps and meat pounder picked up at yard sales

At another yard sale, I picked up some toy soldiers. when I got home, I dug out all the others I have. I am thinking of making a display using them. I thought I would take something I turned and use it like an amphitheater for them. I will give it some thought. I have a bowl that I have considered for this before. I think I can fill in another space in my present list.

ornaments picked up at yard sale

I had to leave early so I was not planning to get involved in something spectacular.
I photographed my findings and my ornaments. I petted and fed the beast of the back yard. He was not being of good behavior and actually swatted at me twice. He did, though, sleep at my feet later in the day which I always love. I read recently that cats are vulnerable when asleep so when they sleep with you, they are trusting you to protect them while they sleep.

all my ornaments laid out on display

I decided to carve a couple more turkeys, which I carved an experimental form last week. I decided to see if I could do better this week. My first one came out pretty good. The head needs a tiny bit of work.
On the second one, I accidentally lopped off the top of the head. Instead of the head "riding high", his head had to be reaching out. Of course I had to cut back the shoulders more to make it work. I was at the last part of shaping the head and made a cut with the grain rather than against it and it split the wood. I tried to glue the head back together while it was still attached, but the glue seemed to squeezed all out of it each time. then the top of the head came off and I was able to re-locate it among the shavings and glue it back on. I will have to finish both heads before I can paint and finish them up.

Two carved turkeys. A little touch-ups and they are ready for painting.

I left early and got nothing else done other than cleaning up. I did grab a piece of wood that I can cut the wings for my dragon out of. I have to do some heavy cutting to get to the blocks that hold the wings. Even then there will be a whole lot of cutting to free the wings out of the wood.

I have a couple more projects to finish to fill in spaces in my Christmas list. They won't be the way I had planned on finishing them, but they will be fixed up nicely if I get to them.
I have more ornaments to finish or make. I plan to gift a bunch of them so I need a few more made.
Since I have more projects than time, I will do my work on what catches my attention at the moment.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 11, Week 48, Day Two (week 622) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 12-10-11 Sunday

A cool 78 degrees in the morning, a scorching 80 degrees in the afternoon. A steady breeze with some gusts, clouds moved quickly. One sad cloud wept on me in the morning but it had stopped before I got all my equipment under cover. The rest of the day was patchy clouds of several levels and styles and lots of blue sky and some nice sunshine. the sun being to the south of us made it more difficult to give us long periods of sunshine because of the clouds in the way.
This weather report was brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

This morning started with finishing up some projects that had to be done now.
I brought all my collection of circus / parade / mini ornament sets and a bowl I had that really needed something. The first project was to mount a two by two into the lathe and make a tall Christmas tree. The corners were not going to let the wood fit where I wanted it to go, but I would round the corners of the base so it would fit. I really wanted a bigger piece of wood but decided to go what I grabbed first which was an over-long two by two.
I mounted the base end in the chuck of the lathe, and the point of the tail stock in the center of the other end. I then cut in creating a Christmas tree effect with the rows of bows getting bigger as they went down the tree.
When I had that, I sanded well and touched up some errors. Then I mounted the piece, with the point of the tree going inside the shaft of the head stock and gently clamped down the chuck onto it.
The way the chuck is designed, is that the jaws fit onto plates that slide in a slot when you rotate screw. The inside of the plates close down almost but not quite, completely. When you put the jaws of the chuck on, the design of the jaw prevents it from closing quite as far. When you slip something inside the tubular shaft of the lathe, the bottom of those plates will close down on smaller pieces.
I had the base sticking out and held firmly enough not to wobble but not enough to damage the wood, and I was cupping the bottom slightly to fit the suface it was to mate with. I then was trying to slope the top of the base so it would not stick up like a big block the way it did. I got a catch and almost the entire base blew off the trunk of the tree. I cleaned up the trunk and then hand sanded the marks of metal touching wood at the jaws. I touched up the bottom of the trunk so it sat flat which it now had to do, and then drilled a hole for a dowel.
I painted the tree a dark green. I then hit the bottom part of the bows with white to represent snow. Finally dabbed different color dots all over to represent lights and decorations. I had decided not to wait to add beads to the tree.
The bowl I brought with me today was a natural edged bowl that did not come out right. I turned it on the side and did not mount it quite center so where the interior cut through the bark, it came out wrong. the bowl was both nice looking and ugly. I fished it out of my junk bowl box twice, a box where junky pieces go to be finished or tossed later.
I drilled a hole in the center of the bowl and stuck a skewer through and glued the tree over the skewer with the top fo the tree sticking out the top of the bowl.
I had laid out my "little people" which are ornaments for tiny trees, decoration figurines and such, and after taking pictures, put all the big pieces away. I then added the tiny figures around the base of the tree, looking out and looking at the tree. Everyone in the family I showed it to said it really maid a big difference. I had thought of doing this many times over the years and never had the gumption enough to do it. This month, I had acquired several baggies of these figures and now was a good time to make use of them. It sure saves the bowl.

Bowl I saved by adding Christmas tree and figures

I touched up several ornament carvings so they are now ready to paint. I will paint them this week.

A friend sent me a plunger for a kitchen device and was asked me to copy it but in one piece of wood. I dug out the ones I made, two in Mahogany and one in Oak, and touched up some "boo-boos" they had. They are now ready to send back. When I made them earlier this year, the problems seemed too difficult to fix. today, fixing them seemed so easy. Sometimes when you are having a problem with something, give it a few weeks and it will suddenly be solvable.

My nephew came up and wanted to work on something, so I dug out my little lathe, helped him set it up as a milling machine, and then had him mill the bottom fairly flat, a whole lot flatter than it was anyway. It is good experience for him. He eventually wants to have a whole machine shop and now is a good time for him to learn how to do it. It helps me as I have not had time to get to that project because of the Christmas Rush.

My nephew Machined the bottom of the aluminum block that will be used for a tool I am making

I had a couple pieces that needed sanding. Usually, I will take my drill out, mount the sanding disks on that, and move the drill while holding the work in place.
I got an idea. I mounted my Jacobs chuck (drill chuck with a taper attached) into the lathe and put my flap sander on it. I then moved my piece around as the lathe did the sanding. I could adjust the speed of the lathe as needed, slow or fast. At fast, it was not too fast either.
I then put a two inch sanding disk and sanded other places on the pieces to clean them up. It actually made short work of bringing two pieces up to something of a standard.
I had thought of making a big sanding disk to fit on the lathe, but it was only today that I thought of using the drill chuck for this. It sure did a great job

Jacobs chuck mounted in lathe with sanding disk

I had a Norfolk Island Pine vase I made a while back that had chips on the mouth. I had planned on carving it so the knots would be the centers of flowers. I just had not come up with a design I really liked. One thought was to pierce it all the way through with the design. It is one of the few pieces I have made that was thin enough for that. carving or piercing would hide the missing chips in the edge.
Looking at it, I decided to take the easy way out. I mounted the piece in the lathe, with the sanding pad still in place and centered the piece the best I could, and then cut the rim off just below the lowest chip. I went about a third of the way through and the piece seemed to be wandering in my arrangement. I took it off and used my carving knife to deepen the groove I already made until I could pop the damaged part of the rim off. I then used the disk sander and some hand sanding to finish off the edge. I actually like this look a bit better than with the taller, wider, mouth it had before.
I Can still carve and pierce this piece, but except for a few more coats of varnish, it is done for now.

I have a turning club meeting on Thursday. That was one reason I rushed to get some pieces done today. I like to have work to show off, and one of the pieces I worked on is a Bring Back Prize. I won the Prize last month, receiving a tool handle someone made. I need to have something to give out this month.
I will be running the video camera again this month. The guy who does it is not going to make the meeting. The video camera shows details of the demonstration that the audience cannot see from where they are seated. Of course I also take pictures for the club web site.
In the next couple days, I will paint the three ornaments I have done, and add them to my ornament display which I have set up in my office at work.
I will add more finish and touch-ups to the pieces for the club meeting. I always take them to work to show off before I take them to the meeting.
I MUST get started on my Christmas Cards. They are due weekend after next and I generally have to make up two dozen. These cards are hand painted and lettered on white card stock. I have a design in mind and the process thought out. It is just finding time to get started on it.
Next week, I will still have to make some more ornaments and have a couple pieces that I need to finish up that might be gifted. I have several things that need to be packed up and mailed out. I also need to start wrapping items. I may need more boxes.

I will see what I actually do next week.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another New Pro Se Magazine!


And yeah, I have a story in this one too, as does our loyal blogger follower Kevin Rodgers, a writer of riveting horror; and two very talented gentlemen, Andrew Salmon and C. W. Russette. You don't want to miss this one! Available on both the Createspace site and 

The holidays are coming, so why not give books, the gift that keeps on being opened over and over again.


Monday, December 5, 2011

December fifth 2011, Did You Write?

December fifth 2011, Did You Write?

I bet some of you are just getting back into the swing of things after the Thanksgiving holiday, hoping to stay in it for just a couple weeks before Christmas and New year messes you up again.
This note is mainly for those who write maybe once every few months. This is an opportunity to shame yourself into writing By posting here whether you have written or not. After a few times of not writing, you will feel shame and start writing so you can feel good about accomplishing anything. For the rest of us, we can feel shame for not meeting some goal we aimed for, during the week.

How much to write is not important. It is more about first opening some work in progress or starting something new. The more you do the better but opening something is the most important part.
As to what is writing, It can be just about anything. New writing is of course writing. Editing, even if it is the work of others is also writing. Critiquing is a form of editing and therefore counts.
Poetry, technical writing, blogging, writing assignments, article writing, world and character creation, synopsis, outlining are all writing. Bulletin board writing and E-mails can be writing if they are wordy and pertain to writing or story.
Of course, many of these might not be looked at as writing. The rule is, though, if you have to ask if it is writing, the answer is yes.

As for me, Yes I have been writing. I got to THE END on my Spirit of Vengeance story on the clean up editing pass I did. I am now in the final stages of editing. I ran it through two grammar checks this weekend. I have two others, plus reading aloud.
With grammar checks, each author considers certain things a problem. They will flag those things as a problem. I used one ages ago that flagged FROM and asked if I really wanted FORM. It was something the author felt was important.
There are standard problems they flag that we all would agree with. Then they have flags that basically say "there is a problem with this sentence but I have no idea what it is."
Grammar checks are also not designed for fiction. Conversation throws them into a tizzy. "foreign" names also bother them a lot. The help files and instructions are written by people who know language in detail, for people who do not need a grammar check.
The key to using a grammar check is to learn what to ignore and what to pay attention to.
I used two of my programs and they did help. I did get a kick that they disagreed with the spelling of one word, though.

On the story idea front, I have 40 story ideas, including the one I am posting tonight, in my compost pile., It would have been a worse except that I came up with four new story ideas today. I was getting down to the top of the permanent compost pile. I cannot remember if I mentioned it and won't bother checking, but I did one story idea at the end of last month that was supposed to be two. It dawned on me that the first one was simply a description of a disaster. The second one was the aftermath. I combined the two. I have one other double story idea in the stack.
Last month, I posted 30 story ideas for a 30 day month and it ended up on Page 35 with 21229 words of pure drivel. One never knows when one might spark one's imagination I happened with my Spirit of Vengeance story. It was originally a story idea. It looks little like the original idea but that is not important. If twenty people wrote stories from that same story idea, we would have twenty different stories when they went to market. It is why I have no problems using ones I have already posted.
I started posting these story ideas in December 1997. I need to locate about two year's worth of files in my backup disks to be able to work out exactly how many stories I have posted. at an idea a day, It is a lot of ideas and I doubt I have repeated one.

I brought my Christmas ornaments to work today. I have at least six of each kind of ornament. I really need twelve of each but I have enough to start.
I got an idea for a bowl that would be a turkey. I was going to have the tail integral to the bowl and add the carved head. While trying to work out the process, I decided I should try it small, a Christmas ornament, to see if my concepts would even work.
My first attempt showed me I did not fully given thought to the shape of the body. I had it backwards. After some thought, I decided to carve it by hand. When I was done, I showed the unpainted carving to my mom who tried to set it on the tail and have me add a tail to the belly. Oops. I did some touch-ups and then painted it. Once painted she saw what I was doing with it. Now I am considering making a bunch of them as Christmas ornaments using corrections I learned on the first one.

I heard on the radio that they are going to take some genetics found in a mastodon bone and clone it into an African elephant The host asked if we have not learned from Jurassic park yet.
Consider if we somehow got dinosaurs to come alive and start breeding them. Since one line of research says they are related to birds, and birds essentially taste like chicken, think of raising dinosaurs for food. Harvesting the eggs, The babies sold as big chickens. The adults processed for slabs of chicken or mass produced chicken products. think of how many chicken nuggets an adult dinosaur would provide.
My original thought was for something like Velociraptor or T-rex but herbivores would be better as what would you use to feed a predator? There are always dietary concerns when eating a predator.

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



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week 621 Woodworking

Year 11, Week 47, Day One (week 621) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 12-03-11 Saturday

75 degrees, strong almost constant breeze, fast moving clouds, a couple in the morning were sad enough to sob a little giving just a little mist before we ever got started. Because they were moving fast, it only lasted a minute. Some sun but most of the clouds blocked the sun. This weather report was brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.


I painted the ornaments I made last week, getting them ready to be finished. I mainly had to add beads to the palm trees and varnish all of them. The polar bears just needed one color of paint. the seals got two, where I painted the belly white and the body blue. The palm trees got several colors of green and some brown at the base.
The cornucopia required lots of different colors. I had all six in front of me and I added one color to all of them at the same time, cleaned the brush and then did the next color.
On the second session, I had to touch up some spots on all the ornaments and some of the Cornucopia fruit got a second color.

My newest Christmas ornaments are done.


When I arrived, mom asked me if it was getting light yet when I said yes, she took me outside and asked me if I noticed anything. I had to look a bit before I realized that a palm tree was missing. the tree was in the neighbor's yard and he removed the tree I have needed to trim for over a month. I procrastinated long enough and did not have to do the project. That corner looks bare. The tree did a good job of filling in adding privacy.

We went yard sailing.
At one yard sail, I picked up a plastic drawer unit for small items and it turned out to have some beads in some drawers. that was a good find for the price. In moving it around many places, I lost a bunch of small beads such as when I put it into the car upside down and the drawers moved partially opened, and when it tipped when transporting it.
I also picked up some small plastic kitchen measuring stuff, and some good stoneware dish set, eight plates and six bowls all in a gym bag.

Stoneware plate and bowl set. kitchen gadget set.

beads and a partial view of the unit they came out of.

At another yard sale, I got some quilting magazines, mostly from around 2000. Someone is gong to be surprised when she finds it in her mailbox in a few weeks. There were also some cross stitch and knitting magazines along with a 100th anniversary issue of McCalls. I will hang onto those.

Knitting and 'other' magazines that I will keep. Quilting and sewing magazines that I mght send out later.

After loading the magazines into the car, I went back in and picked up a pair of drill bit / drywall assortment sets with one still in the shrink wrap.
I picked up a Harbor Freight style battery powered drill of a type I have several of and it works. The charger and battery works with all my other equipment.
There was also and a small battery powered motor tool kit that works good. The motor tool has no real guts, but is useable. I used it today when I needed to drill holes to start the eye hooks on my ornament and this tool was perfect for that.
This was a moving sale and they were unloading everything at a good price. A lot of people were there.

Drill bit sets, one still in shrink wrap. Small battery powered motor tool

Harbor Freight drill kit.

When we got back home, I fed and petted the beast of the backyard, and examined the stuff I purchased, taking pictures of each item. I sorted some of the beads I retrieved after they were dumped out. That took longer than I planned, but was fun.

While petting and feeding the beast of the back yard a second time, I added eye hooks to the new ornaments and a couple older ornaments that were missing hooks. I found that the hooks did not want to go in on their own, so I used the little motor tool and one pointed grinding bit to poke a hole so the screws would go in. That cut the time to do the remaining ornaments by three quarters of the time. There were other ways of making the small hole, but this worked out better and I did not have to bother the cat to use it.

I then dabbed white glue on the palm tree trunks, and dipped them in a bag of seed beads. The multi color beads resembles Christmas lights. I let them set for a while, then added glue to the fronds and dipped them again in the beads. I found that white glue works good for this. Most of the beads fall of but enough stay on to look good.
I let the palm trees dry for a while. I dipped all the other new ornaments in wipe-on varnish to protect them and set them on a rack to dry. When I decided the glue had dried enough, I sprayed them with spray varnish to set the glue and beads in place some, and when that dried, I dipped them in wipe-on varnish.
I like to soak my work in wipe-on varnish because it soaks in everywhere, into the nooks and crannies where a spray cannot go. It also gets into the fibers of the wood.
Wipe-on varnish is essentially a thinned varnish. when working on a larger piece of work, one would wet a cloth with the varnish and wipe the work all over. Then one rubs the work all over until the varnish is completely dry. There is no bubbles, no hair in it, no drips or drops. It really should be called a Rub-on varnish. Most people tend not to be that energetic though. I know I am not.

After the ornaments dried enough, I packed up to leave. This was around noon since I had some places to go.

I have some of my wood turning work on display down at the Candlelight Antique shop down in Dania Beach. It is on the west side of US-1 right at the Dania Beach Blvd.
I have had my work in there for about three years now. I have not sold much, but my chances of selling something is better there than being kept in my closet.
I re-arranged my display a little, giving it a slightly different look. It might make someone think that there is new stuff in there. I have not had time to do anything new so far.
I gifted a carved Christmas tree and one of my palm trees to the owner of the place. He is a good friend and he has several of my ornaments.

My display at the antique shop. my stuff has been there for three years now.

I stopped and gifted another Christmas tree at a thrift shop I frequent. I was able to walk out without anything though I saw several items I could use, or think I could use.

During the week, I came up with an idea for a project. I have seen a sort of sunray/fan kind of thing in furniture carving. It dawned on me I could turn a disk as a start to make one. It then dawned on me that it looked like the tail of a turkey.
One popular way to make natural edged bowls is to turn the wood side grained, so the curve of the log is the top edge of the bowl. If one goes wide, one gets what is referred to as a BANANA BOWL which is long lightly curved, sort of like a banana. If one goes close to the center, once can get the sides to really dip low. I used a couple of mine as napkin holders.
My idea for a project is to turn a piece in two directions. Thinking about it, I would first turn it length ways but off center. I would turn a disk that would become the tail.
I would then mount it sideways. I would hollow inside, and form a disk on the bottom which will become the feet of the bird. While the front might be a bit thick, the tail would already be formed and not have to be added. I just have to make sure I don't cut into the tail part when hollowing it.
The disk on the bottom, sort of a saucer, becomes the feet, I cut away the back side of the saucer, blending it into the rest of the work. I call it a saucer as I made one where the disk was whole and that is what it looked like.
I will have to see how easy it is to do, and how it turns out. It will be another project to work on when I finish with my ornaments.

For tomorrow, I will make some more ornaments. I need a bunch more polar bears. I need six more each of seals and Cornucopia. I started on my BRING BACK prize but have more finishing to do on it. I have to sand out some tool marks created by removing some flaws I had.
I have several projects to finish up also. I want to make some more rods for crochet hooks too.
My project right after the Christmas rush is to prepare for the art show I do every year. It was moved up to March so I have less time to prepare. I have two main projects to do. One is a dragon I started carving, and the other is a face vase with five faces on it. I won't be working on them tomorrow unless it is to cut the wood for the dragon wings. They will start out roughly as rectangular blocks and will be shaped later. the wood is out in the weather and needs to be put under cover so they don't weather any more. If I cut them, I will also cut the turkey wood out of the same block.
My ornaments still have priority. I have to make the blanks, and carve as many of them as I can so I can finish them up this week. I am taking my ornaments to work for display Monday and will add the others as they get done. Many will end up being gifted, but some might be sold.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 11, Week 47, Day One (week 621) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 12-03-11 Saturday

80 degree, really strong wind in the morning weakened some in the afternoon. I was setting up some ornaments and they kept being blown over in the strong morning wind. Later I was carving and the chips which go in all directions, kept being blown back at me. The morning had lots of thick clouds, almost complete at one point, then the sky became mostly blue as the clouds raced away from us. It became mixed again later. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I left my camera at home so that changed a few plans.
I dug out all my ornaments and cataloged what I am starting with this year. Some ornaments are from the year I first came up with them and others were made again to keep the number up as they were popular.
I have some bells I made in my very first batch in 2003, for example, and I have made Snow Men and Christmas Trees every year since then. Other ornaments have had extra made but mainly I have whatever remains of what I made the first time. AS it is, my total count right now as I type is 108 ornaments to display.

I had an idea of making a turkey bowl made on multiple centers. I realized that a bowl like that would be a bit tough from the start, so I decided to make an ornament to see if some of those ideas would work. I mounted a piece of white pine I am using as my ornament wood into the lathe.
I set the wood off center close to one of the corners and started it spinning. I worked the tail first. I cut in slightly on the end of the wood so the "underside" of the tail would be cupped and curved. I then worked the front of the tail to match the rear, though I had it thicker than it would be in the end. I then shaped the body in a graceful curve.
I stopped to look at it and realized it did not have the shape of a turkey body.
Later, I decided to try again but this time just carving. The other day, I had cut up an eight foot long two by two into twelve inch long pieces. I took one and somehow measured wrong so instead of getting three pieces the same length, I got three different lengths pieces.
I grabbed the shortest one and knocked off one corner as the base so the other corners would give me the most height and width. I then started carving the tail.
The knife does not like end grain all that much so I did not do well on dishing out the end of the wood so the tail would angle in. The front of the tail was easier as I was attacking it from the side and at multiple angles. I got a good angle on that side, but it was thicker where I stopped at the body.
I then shaped the body. I left room for the head at the front which would stick up to the height of the wood. I had a knot at the shoulder and used the bandsaw to cut so the head would stick out in front. I angled the shoulders ack. I also did a couple cuts below the head and angled the chest back a little. I carved the rest of the body to shape and formed the wings against the body. I then shaped the head.
I thought I had something pretty good and showed it to my mom. She wanted to set it on the tail and have me add a tail to the bottom. I had to explain how I had it carved. She explained what I did wrong, showing me an example too.
I did some touch-up carving and then painted it. Once painted, there was no question on how it was supposed to be positioned. It does look like a turkey now, just not a great one.
I can see how to make it better if I choose to make more. I have not decided yet I will see if anybody wants it this week when I put it on display. If it sells, I make a bunch more of them.

Two views of my turkey ornament.

I mounted some sticks of wood in the lathe and roughed out some polar bears. I had one blank to carve so I made two more real quick. I then sat down and shaped and carved them. These are the easiest ornaments to make. The lathe does the worst of the work. I just touch up all the surfaces, and then shape the rear legs and the head.

I had a number of things I wanted to take pictures of, but because I left the camera at home, I never got those pictures
A friend of mine died early this year and They are starting to refurbish his home. He had an art piece mantle and I have a chance to retrieve it for another friend of mine. I loaded the tools to do that into the truck.

My plan for next weekend is to do a few more Christmas ornaments, but now I am thinking of making some presents for Christmas.

I will see what I really do next week.