Monday, March 26, 2012

03-26-2012 Did You Write?

03-26-2012 Did You Write?

I am running really late so I have to make this short.
This note is a place to tell about what is going on in your life, and in the process, tell about your writing. It matters not if you wrote or not, the habit of posting is most important so you can develop the habit of opening something, anything, just so you can say you wrote, or that you met your goal.

In previous weeks, I listed the things that can be writing. the list is not exclusive or a law, but is just a suggestion. If you have to ask if it is writing, it is.

As for me, I removed 2000 words from my work right after I posted last week's post. That was out line material and scenes I decided I was not going to use, if only not in that way. they went into a ORPHAN SCENES FILE. I can use them later if needed. That was something suggested to me years ago but only now have I made use of it. the scenes are good, but not for this story.
I had a sore throat on Monday after I got home from work and it took me a couple hours to realize I was getting a cold. Using over the counter treatments kept it from becoming a full blown cold, but it really messed up my writing time. I came home from work and napped, rather than write. I also had a meeting that also killed a day. In all, after I removed all those words, I ended up adding 250 new words.

On the story idea front, I am a day behind. I only have a few days to catch up. For some reason, it is taking longer to write them than they had been. Also I am working later into the day so I have less time to do any kind of writing, story idea or real writing. I don't plan to end the month an idea behind, but it will take some work to fit in an extra story.
I have 40 story ideas in my compost pile. I do have some new ones on top the stack that might be worth writing. I had a period where I dug deeper into the stack so while the number is not great, the depth of the new stuff is a bit more than it has.

As to the question of the day

I can honestly say



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Week 637 Woodworking

Year 12, Week 11, Day One (week 637) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 03-24-12 Saturday

76 degrees, still air in the morning with high streaks early morning, 86 degrees with a bit more wind, Mostly clear blue sky and feeling good sun in the afternoon. This weather report is brought to you by the city of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.


On Monday evening, I developed a sore throat. It took me about two hours to realize it was the start of the cold. I used zinc lozenges and cough drops to keep it knocked down. It never really developed and by Thursday, it was just a periodic sniffle and on Saturday, it was just a very periodic cough. those zinc lozenges seem to really work since this is my second cold that was almost nothing.

last week, I took out all my turnings and set up a rough display of what I wanted to show at the antique shop. I went over my pricing and re-tagged a few items and lowered the prices of a few others.
My basic pricing is that the better I like it, the higher it is priced. If I keep it, I don't mind. If I sell it at something like the marked price, I won't mind.
I have a bunch of items that are priced cheap such as pencil cups. I then graduate the prices between my favorite items and my cheap items based on how much I like them or how good they are. Over the past year, A few items have become less important to me than they were when I made them so their prices were reduced to more what they should be priced.


We had a turning club meeting.
One of the projects of the meeting was a tool auction. Members brought tools to the meeting and people could write their bids on them. I saw several tools I should have gotten, but was not quite ready to get them so I ended up not placing any bids. I kind of wished I bid on a couple items now.

We had a turning challenge. Last month, they did a demonstration on natural edged bowls. The challenge was to turn something that had a natural edge, with or without bark. I did not have time to finish my project last week. the display had plenty of imagination and skill, even among those who were just beginning in the hobby.
The key of the challenge is to get people to turn something that they never turned before, or have not turned in ages. to0 make it interesting, they give out gift certificates to the "winners" who are selected randomly. With this system, a rank beginner or old master has an equal chance of winning.

Two images of me holding my tea pot. I ended up selling it to my boss


We hit two yard sales. At one, I picked up four cake molds in the shape of fish. I am about to ship out a package and they will be part of that. The price was right.

cake molds in the shapes of fish.

I also got a tire pump that you plug into your cigarette lighter. I tested it on my tires and it seemed to work. Mom might buy it from me or I have a couple possible projects in mind.

Tire pump and emergency tool

I also got a emergency tool, still in the original package, that you crank to power a light, a radio, has a tool to cut the seat belt and a hammer for breaking windows. It will also take batteries and a charger (not included) I am not sure but I think I cranked it a wrong way and broke it. I will disassemble it and see if it will be fixable. I will test it with batteries first. If it works with batteries, that might be more than enough for my uses.

At another yard sale, a church yard sale that they have several times a year, I missed getting something interesting and ended up without anything. I also saw people leaving with a few items I would have picked up had I seen them. We were a bit late for the really good stuff.


I petted and fed the beast of the back yard and Scarface. Scarface's new scars are healing. The beast wanted company and attention, and I accidentally found ways of not given him enough. He was very disappointed with me.

I helped mom with a few of her plants. One tree had gone through the bottom of the pot and into the ground. I dug a little dirt from the front off the pot and slipped the handcart under the edge. Pry up, slip in, pry up, slip in, we pulled the plant out. the roots were tiny yet so it will not likely suffer much. Mom des not like her plants in the ground. We lifted it out of the pot, added a whole lot more dirt and set it back in, adding dirt around it. I hauled dirt for her so she could raise the soil level in several pots.

I dug out the fairies that I broke during the art show and repaired them. One fairy is adding nectar to flowers for a butterfly. her wing broke off. I ground out the remains of the old wing stub and then glued the wing back in place. I have some clean up to do but otherwise it is done.

I also glued back together the WHAT IF PEOPLE REALLY EXISTED fairy carving. I glued her back into position on her mushroom. I really need to peg her in place. The base was a slab of naturally shaped wood and one piece broke off. It had a mushroom on it. I glued that piece back on, onto the base so it adds a little bit of interest. I had a mushroom, I am not sure where it came off, that had a screw holding the head to the base. I removed the screw and filled the hole with sawdust and glue. I glued that onto the base also. I have a bunch of clean up on this carving as there is glue build up on the mushroom the fairy is kneeling on. I kept having to move her from side to side, back to front to get her into the right position where she was aiming right and solidly in place.

At about eleven, I laid down for a nap, something needed because of the remains of the cold. I got up at around noon. I could have slept more but had to get ready to go. I packed up my stuff and was ready for my second project of the day.


I chose this weekend to set up my display at the antique shop. I had several boxes, some part of the display, and a bin for my load. In the area I was to set up, the shop owner had some steamer trunks and chests he just got in. I rearranged the trunks so people could see what he had, yet give me as much room as I could get. I then did my setup.
I had brought a brown folding coffee table and several boxes. I had tissue paper that I draped over the floor, and also over the boxes and table. I then used my pieces to hold the tissue down.
I was after having multiple levels for my work and this did it well. It spread things out too. On each level, I had some commonality of the display, though it was not well done. I did bring some pieces back home so I don't have everything there. If I had about two more feet, I could have.
On displays, there are two trains of thought. One is that items should be separated, alone so people can really see what you have. this is why when you go to an art museum, they really don't have a lot of works on display. You are supposed to have the piece of art fill your whole experience.
the other train of thought is, If it is not on display, you cannot sell it. This means that you have to get as much on display as you can. It is really poor for showing off art as people don't know what to look at first. It is kind of nice as each time people look, there is something new to see, even if it is from a slightly different angle.
In all my display is not really all that much different than last month's display that I picked up.

My display at the antique shop

I need to do some real woodworking tomorrow. What I actually work on will be decided when I get to work. I have a lot of options to work on and what is exciting will get priority. I know what I SHOULD work on, but that is something else.

Year 12, Week 11, Day Two (week 637) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 03-25-12 Sunday

80 degrees at nine, 87 degrees at one. Brisk wind kept things moving all day long. The clouds were ever changing, high feathers and haze, short towers, translucent puffs, thin shields. Early morning radar showed a band of rain working its way across the state. We never saw any signs of it, though some clouds over the Everglades looked a little grey. It turned out to be a perfect day to work. This weather report was brought to you by the city of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I stopped at Home depot for a couple items. I intended to use some gift cards I had on me and at the very last moment, I forgot about them and paid cash. Darn.

My first project was to take care of some broken Bungee cords. I have learned from dead bungee cords that the stretch is not critical. It is nice and helps, but in most cases, one can live well without it. they do their job anyway.
One of my home depot purchases was some braided clothes line cord. I tied sections of the clothes line cords over the bungee hooks. I made several sizes and have more cord in case I need to make more. My only concern was on whether my knots will hold. I tied it a bunch of times on each end so they are not going anywhere.

New tie downs from Bungee hooks and braided cords.

I decided to see if I could figure out why the emergency light/radio I got yesterday at a yard sale was not working. I dismantled it step by step very carefully. Even with my care, the wires came off the crank unit. That made figuring out the repair easier, but I did have to have my brother solder the wires in place.
When I finally got the gear box taken apart, I found that they had a really stupid design. they have a metal plate set on top the drive gear. the crank shaft sticks into the metal and the gear to drive it. I guess they decided that the plastic grear was not strong enough to handle the force on the shaft. My guess is that the metal plate was just pressed onto raised plastic.
to repair it, I used SUPER GLUE to lock it in place on the raised plastic. I then reassembled the gear box, my brother soldered the wires and I put it together. It works!!!!. that is not a good design.

disassembled emergency tool. The black thing with the crank on the left is the generator where the problem was. the yellow things in the upper half of the handle are the permanent rechargeable batteries. All these devices have batteries in them.

The repaired and re-assembled tool.

My brother brought his work truck up and we went through several of the "bins" replacing the lidded plastic nut and screw trays, sorting them, and consolidating materials. Mom helped him most of the time, but I helped him some. he thought he was done and found that one bin had to be completely empted before he could put the trays in. He found all sorts of things he forgot he had, or that he purchased more because he did not have them and now have twice as much.

I was examining at the leaves from that broken leaf bowl trying to decide where to cut more leaves for the dream catchers. I then noticed that one broken leaf fit in place on another leaf. I decided to glue that in place because it looked better. I then was looking at the rest of the bowl and figured out how to match up other pieces. Except for a few mis-starts on my gluing, I ended up repairing the leaf bowl rather than cutting it more apart. it is fragile and I am not sure how to make it stronger. After the glue dries a few days, I will do a little clean up and give it a coat of varnish. I had thought to use epoxy for the repair but could not find it so I used white glue which tends to be very good.

leaf bowl while the glue was drying.

Another purchase I made at Home Depot was for some Jute. I needed some cord for my dream catcher. I decided the Jute would look good for the lines through the middle. I had several wraps and found I did not like the look- too heavy. I cut that off.

dream catcher with the Jute string. too heavy for the diameter

I have some flat yarn that when tensioned, will unravel and become thin and longer. I figured it would not be strong enough for this project. If it were not for the unraveling, it would be the perfect material for this project.
Since the jute was not going to work, I decided to use the yarn anyway. I tied the first knot, and decided to run the line continuous all the way around, I would not go directly across but to one side and then to one side of the opposite and keep doing that until I returned to the starting point where I tied the two ends together. I did not quite get it right but it looks pretty good.
I then drilled a hole through the acorn. I tried binding up the center with a red yarn but that was not working the way I wanted. I was not getting the lines at the right crossing for the effect I was after. I then basically tied the acorn in place on the top crossing of the yarn.
To finish this dream catcher, I need to hang feathers or something on the sides as the final decoration. I may well go to the craft store and see if they have something that will work better ripping out all my string and starting over. I don't fully trust the yarn, while it is strong enough as a group.

Finished for the moment dream catcher That is a twelve by twelve stone it is resting on..

My cold is almost nothing. I am where I normally am in a cold after three weeks, rather than one. I did have a coughing fit when I laid down to sleep but otherwise I might have something every few hours and that is very minor. I am really impressed at how well the zinc lozenge works.

I ended yesterday's post with a comment that I would have to see what I worked on, not having any plans. It turned out to be the best plan. I had spent the past couple months working intently on the art show projects and not working on anything in particular was kind of nice. I do plan to start on some real projects again.
I will likely not get much done on Saturday as after yard sailing, I have to do something at home in the early afternoon. That usually does not leave a whole lot of time for wood working.

I will see what I actually do next weekend.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Last Fall In This Old Farmhouse...

Wow, it has been a while since I posted anything! I've been so busy with writing and other projects, the days just go flying by. I wonder if this blog will ever catch up with the current season, now that it's almost spring again. 

So much going on around here, about the only thing that is dragging along is the renovation. We've been picking away at that, because we had a big tax bill we were worried about, and so didn't want to overextend ourselves either in building supplies or in hiring someone. Happily, it turned out to be no bigger that we expected (WHEW!!!!) and with some creative financing and continued good luck, it shouldn't hinder us from continuing to work on this place, albeit at a slow pace. But things are getting done and the demolition part of the renovations goes on. 

To give you an idea of the scope of this project, here are some pictures from late last summer into early fall. The three main bedrooms here face the road, and they very much needed updating. No heat in two of them, old windows, old substandard wiring, and plaster walls that really weren't walls at all. It's been interesting to watch it come out, and dream of how it will look when it's done. I had been living here off and one since June but made it my permanent residence in October, and just recently changed my mailing address. For Ariel The Wonder Dog and me, the farm is home.

So here we go!

Ariel says hello and welcome to our new home. She is sitting in one of the stripped out bedrooms in this photo. The wooden floor is not painted, but stained with lime plaster dust from ripping out walls. Yes, they are using respirators and face protection, and a fan blowing out the window too.

For some reason my pictures did not upload in order, so we'll be all over the house in these.

You can see what a mess that room was before it got cleaned out. Plaster as old as this crumbles when you touch it. That was what started this project, trying to get a rough opening measurement on that window to the left. The wall below it started to fall apart. But with all that out, you can see the original Colonial era post and beam construction. The wall paper that was in there refused to release from those old corner beams.

Above those ceiling joists is the attic and we do have space up there for a long narrow room, with plenty of storage against those eaves. That is going to get finished off, wired and insulated too. Lots of heat loss in this house even with the low ceilings, so we shut the bedrooms off for the winter. No plumbing in there to freeze.

OK, for some reason we are now looking at my kitchen door and the entrance to the living room. The kitchen and dining room comprise the ell, and they are perfectly usable as is, if a bit desperately in need of paint, some trim, and new windows. We're getting to things as we can. For now I am living with what I must.

The previous owners put in the cabinets and slate flooring in the kitchen and raised the ceiling in the entire ell. There is one inch foam insulation underneath that sheet rock, and it holds heat well. The husband built that door BTW, it has an old fashioned tongue latch which gets balky but I find it charming anyway. Sometimes it blows open in heavy wind if I don't lock it. I was getting some of my old thrifting finds up on the wall at this point for 'atmosphere'. It makes it feel more like my home. Boy was it HOT in there this summer though! I sat outdoors a lot during the day and ran fans when I had to be inside.

Cobwebs, soot and all, I had to show you those old chestnut beams. You can see some of the pegs that were left when they took out the cross ties that these beams were notched to hold. Not to worry, it is properly supported elsewhere. I look at this work with amazement because this was done with hand tools and grunt labor, and not by a specialist carpenter either. People built their own houses in those days, and they built them to last. And this one sure has, since 1770. This place makes me even prouder to be an American.

Everyone who steps through that door for the first time remarks about those beams.

Once I was living here on a more full time basis, I started using the kitchen for cooking. Had to buy a few new small appliances, but no biggie. That lovely wicker and metal bakers rack was part of the purchase deal where we bought certain contents. I had it moved from a bedroom to this spot in the kitchen where a small refrigerator used to be. It fills that gap nicely. Around this time I started pulling things out of storage I hadn't been able to use for years—like that dehydrator—and finding new uses for them. I did dry some herbs, mostly basil and parsley from the garden.

One of three bed frames left here, so I got a new mattress and boxspring set and borrowed sheets and pillows from the old homestead. That comforter was a thrifting find, more beat up than I wanted but serviceable once washed. My bed is in the livingroom because we weren't going to do anything with that this year, and we haven't. I'm still sleeping there. There is a window that opens to the right and at night I can hear the pond life and crickets... and coyotes too. The birds would wake me up in the AM, singing as soon as it was light out.

This is the livingroom fireplace, which basically takes up one entire wall. Isn't it gorgeous? No, we haven't used it because a whole bunch of stuff is piled in front of it now, since the other rooms are being cleared. But I foresee many a fall and winter family gathering or raw, rainy days where that will be a focal point. That was designed and built by the last owner, a mason by trade, and the hearth is made of a granite piece from a building in a local city. I love the feeling of homeyness and history that is blended here. As I've found out through the winter holidays and birthdays, the family does love to gather here.

This is the little hallway that runs from the living room to the other door outside, which for some reason also faces the driveway. I'd like to change that someday, and have a door leading out of the opposite side of the house, and make this a garden window. Someday... The furniture you see was part of my buyout deal. I love rustic stuff and it belongs here. The little primitive coffee table is back in the living room now, but it is holding my stuff for now alongside the bed. That bench goes to the maple kitchen trestle table and so we cleaned it up and shoved it in the back against the wall, in case we need more seating room. The rocking chair is in storage but we will eventually bring that back out when we have the room. I also kept another, smaller rocker that has a wicker seat. That one goes back and forth between the kitchen and dining room. My mother loves that chair when she is here.

This shelving unit was in one of the unheated bedrooms and held the last home owner's canned goods. We moved it to what we call the 'utility room' and then out to the barn. It'll still get used for something. That foot board you can see is part of another complete bed frame that was left to me. It is a full size, like the one I am sleeping on. We have it in storage too. Wooden beds that well made are hard to come by. Even the slats were still with it. As the family grows, they may need another bed.

This is the middle bedroom, and the smallest of the three. One wall is the brick back of the fireplace, so it will be warm, and it is the only bedroom with a single window. This will be my mother's room, because the passive heat will make it nice and cozy in the winter. We will use that fireplace! At this point, this room had not been demolished yet, and so that wall behind the shelf is what is left of the plaster and lath between this and the first room we tore out. That double door hiding back there looks Victorian Era to me. This room used to have the front entrance to the house, but the last homeowners changed that. It opens to a steep bank over a busy country highway, so it made no sense to leave it there.

Remember I mentioned storage stuff...? We've moved tools and things we've brought over from our other house all over creation. This end bedroom faces the driveway and road. The window you see here faces the highway, and when we removed the blinds, the entire interior across the top was one massive wasp nest! You can see bits of a dark stained pine four poster cannonball waterbed frame, which is complete. It is queen size and in very good shape, and that sucker is MINE. I am getting a conventional mattress set for it once we have bedrooms again, and it will go in the bedroom at the other end. I love the waterbed frames because they are low to the floor, so easy for short, arthritic, bad back prone me to get on and off of. I think Ariel, who also sleeps with me, will like that too. This room is warm and sunny, and goes to another family member who really feels the cold. It was the only bedroom that was ducted for heat. That too will change.

Another look at that bedroom as it was. It's all torn out now, in fact there are no walls between any of the bedrooms on the front part of the house. That will all get rebuilt properly. The town has been super in working with us on this, no complaints. You can see that waterbed foot board here, that is now also in storage. That 'rod' is actually a banister rail, and it was taken down in one piece and be used somewhere else. This window faces the end of the driveway. This is by far the sunniest bedroom. It's not a bad sized room for an old house. We are going to have to find armoires though, because none of these rooms have closets and the walls aren't set up for them.

Water damage from what was a bad leaking roof was worst in this bedroom. Once the paper was off, it was obvious this beam is fairly rotted. It can be patched or studded alongside, and I have been told they make a resin compound to firm up old wood like this. One way or another, it will get fixed. The core is solid and it's still holding up the house. After 241 years, I am impressed! The slanted casings over these beams was something that the Victorian Era folks liked.

OK, we're back to that first bedroom, the one on the north side of the house. This one will likely be mine. At this point it was the only room torn out. That is the double door I was talking about, and I'm betting at one point, this was a parlor. It bifolds back toward the camera. I think we saved it, I honestly can't recall. If you look to the immediate right, you can see the plaster and lath construction of those 'walls' which weren't framed at all, but just had boards standing up between them. Yet they lasted for 200 years that way... I will show you later how we know when they went up. You find things in old walls like this. This is an amazing old house and it's far sturdier than it looks.

This is the utility room. It was once used as a bedroom too, though it is pretty small and has a door to the attic stairs in one wall. It is across the hall from the other bedrooms, and so far we haven't touched it as far as renovating. The other rooms were in far worst shape, in this one I think that gawdawful wallpaper has a protective force field or something, LOL We'll eventually get to it. A lot of this clutter is gone right now, and we have a spare fridge, shelves, and buckets for birdseed and whatnot in there. Eventually this might become the laundry room. We'll see. That single window faces the driveway, and the wall beyond that corner borders the walkway to my kitchen door. I left the ratty curtains up because they provide privacy and I don't want to put anything decent in these rooms until we get rid of the dust and mess.

Another shot of the utility room, across the room from the window. Don't stare at the wall paper, or you will see things that aren't there. LOL That white door you see goes to the attic stairs which are very narrow and steep. We'd like to open that up so heat will rise up there. Someday...

OK, hopping around again, standing by the kitchen door looking into the kitchen toward the dining room. I'm amazed by how many little things we've changed since then. Those buckets are for hauling out plaster and lath. Lime plaster is not hazardous to the environment as long as you're not dumping it in a waterway or on your well. It's been going up back, spread in an old gravel pit area where the rain washes it into the soil. The lath, minus the old hand forged nails, gets burned as kindling.

The windows are low with wide sills here. Ariel loves that one behind the buckets because it is right near the door and she put her paws on the sill to see who is coming or bark at the birds at the feeder and the deer in the field. I have filled most of the other windows with plants now. While the house is dark and this kitchen needs better lighting, it is sunny all day all around, and so houseplants thrive here. The brickwork you can see is a divider between kitchen and dining room, which I am told was originally the farm house's wood shed. There is a chimney in the midst of it, and the furnace is below that in the ell part of the cellar. That desk you can see behind the table is what I am typing this on, but it is now across that room, turned around against the opposite wall. That desk was built by the last owner too.

This is the bypass window over the kitchen table and it was broken when we moved in. There was a pane between the broken panel and the great outdoors. And YUCK it was full of dead bugs. I was glad to see that get replaced and the only reason that didn't happen immediately is I had to special order the opening size and it was over a very hard spot to work on a ladder from. The knoll the house is built on drops off severely there and so it was a precarious job.

Even with the new window, the opening had to be recut just a bit. Nice view huh? The wasps and flies were tormenting everyone that day. Dunno why I didn't get a picture of the finished window. We never got any trim around it anyway, so oh well... Like I said, priorities. It was wonderful to have another window to open and close, the house got so hot and stuffy without any cross breeze. Most of these old wooden windows are shot, so I went with vinyl. Yeah, I know, not traditional, but I'm not young and I don't want to paint, stain, or replace them again.

Ok, for some reason we now have a close up of the back of a plaster and lath 'wall'. There would have been the same thing on the side facing us, only it was coated with plaster and wallpaper. These big boards all look like rough cut chestnut and we saved every one we could. It's a rare wood these days but was plentiful in Connecticut until the 1940s blight wiped out the native trees. These might have even been cut on this property when it was first cleared. My other house has woods behind it full of old chestnut stumps and tops from being logged out when the trees died. Some of the heartwood on those pieces is still relatively solid, I have sent Roger some for wood turning.

You can see this is not a real wall, and yet it stood the test of time. But it was far from plumb or square and wavered down the line. I'm still impressed!

Here is how we know when the plaster went up. Newspaper was used for insulation and backing, and this was stuck fast to one of the interior wall surfaces that is not being touched right now. We don't dare remove it, the paper is so old and crumbly. Look at that date—that is history! This paper was a local one which ceased publication in 1816. 

this is my laundry room, which faces the living room. It's the size of a small pantry or walk in closet. It had a door, but my machines are bigger than what was in there, and now it doesn't fit. We can get one of those bi-fold louvered things eventually. For now, I am just thrilled to have a first floor laundry room, because my other house had the hookup in the cellar, and once we added a second floor, I always had to get help lugging laundry around. That first bedroom we tore out is behind that right side wall, and so is that newspaper header I showed you.

Eventually I'd like to move the laundry to the utility room, and make this a combination coat and mudroom, with some pantry storage. I'd put the other door to go outside where that window is, and maybe build a little deck out there on the lawn. There is a beautiful magnolia bush and a couple of fruit trees on that side and the view up the road is pleasant. Having doors on each side of the house makes more sense to me. It would be far easier to have a small run for Ariel on that lawn too, so I don't have to tromp over ice and snow to get her to the ladies room in winter. Someday...

This is the part of the bathroom you can see from the living room, to the left of the laundry room, It is sort of a long room, so you can't get it all in one shot. The fixtures are old and decrepit, and we had to replace the toilet, and the tile on the floor is lifting. It's usable for now. Long term I want to replace the sink and counter, might have to do the cabinets too, because the interior shows water leak damage from the sink. I want sheet linoleum for the floor. I'm not crazy about ceramic tile floors, they are cold and slippery when wet. The grout on this one is gross and I have no love for excess scrubbing. The upper walls were textured to look like adobe, an experiment I am told that wasn't quite successful.

I was using this as my clothing storage and dressing room at the time. That window was the only other one in the house I could open besides the living room one until we replaced the kitchen one. The towel kept the bugs out, as the pull screen doesn't fit. Eventually that window will be vinyl too, because the wood is impossible to open when wet. No storm windows on this place.

Gee, that's not much of a picture, though that is a thrifted shower curtain that was brand new in the package for $2.99. The tub here is low and narrow, easy to get in and out of, and safe with my mat inside and that nubby carpet on the floor. Just using what I had spare at the time but the aqua and beige pink doesn't look too bad together. The toilet is to the left of that end of the tub, nothing fancy and plain jane white porcelain, so I didn't bother snapping that. The floor tile next to it is slowly lifting and I've been sweeping it up for months. It's eventually all coming out; we'll live with it for now. Priorities...

OK, back to the kitchen, you dizzy yet? This is looking from the sink toward my range, the chimney, and the dining room beyond. That pot rack is the very first thing I negotiated for, the kitchen table was the second, and the fireplace tools the third. I know what I like. I was just starting to cook here at this time, because we had the gas installed, and so started hauling my pots and pans over. I have a lot more on that rack now, and boy does that save cupboard space. I love to cook.

That ugly dirty brick enclosure in the foreground used to hold the last homeowner's gas range but it quit working and he stopped cooking very much. My range is longer, so it wouldn't fit in there. That brick thing is one of the worst features of the kitchen as there is no slate flooring beneath it so we can't just tear it out. Right now I am using it to corral my garbage, compost, and recycling buckets, and we've talked about knocking it down a level or two and putting a work surface on top. I'm not sure what I'm going to do there, but a prep area would be great, if we had some additional overhead lighting. A small florescent fixture over the sink and that ceiling fan way up there are the only lights in here so the kitchen is far too dark. It's all on the to-do list for... yeah, someday.

You can just see the chimney where the wood cook stove was in here, right where my range is now. The rest of the brick supports the hardwood butcher block serving counter, a nice feature for holiday dining.

The working end. I do enjoy cooking, when I have the time. My range is 40" which is quite a bit bigger than the standard size. It has a 5 burner gas cooktop and double electric ovens, the big one has the convection fan. It was an affordable compromise on the ex$pen$ive Viking or Wolf stoves I was drooling over, and I'm not sorry I got it. At 1/3 the price, it is a very well built stove and it cooks beautifully. I've had it several years and I have been happy with it.

The fridge was supposed to end up out in the garage, which is why we got a black one. It is far smaller than we have now, but was adequate at the time, with just me living here. It is NOISY and makes the most horrific 'monsters eating zombies' sounds at night. We now have it in the utility room, and upgraded the kitchen to a bigger, 
stainless steel French door job with a bottom freezer. It has water and ice dispensers in the door, modern LED lights inside, and it only clicks and runs quietly. I have louder wall clocks. This black one is great for extra stuff like cases of beer and soda, veggies from the garden, holiday overflow, meat sales, or platters of food. When it became obvious the family likes to gather here, we decided we had to have something big enough to hold tons of food. These people love to eat!

I was just moving over small appliances and gadgets at the time, so things are here and there. Utility room rack storage helped clear those counters. You can't really see it, but between the stove and fridge in that brickwork is the house woodbin, which we now have crates of canned goods in. We're all about food here. *S*

Well, that was the late summer tour, and things have changed since then, but you get the idea. I really don't mind 'roughing it' here, it's been kind of fun in fact, though it has its moments. 
As Ariel can tell you, sniffing out the history of this place has been pretty fascinating for us, as little pieces of the puzzle of this old farm fall into place. Now some folks have asked us, why aren't we keeping it more historical as we go through and renovate? Well, for one thing, that is expensive to do, as well as time consuming, and we're no longer young. And since we're all older adults that will be living here, I want things easy to care for and clean, and comfortable too.

But most of all, I look at this place, with its long history of use, and I have to smile at the myriad of changes that successive generations and owners have brought to it. I'm sure that long before the original Colonial builder started a house on this land, Native Americans roamed the woodlands that must have been here, and their lives were far different than that of the man clearing the land and building his home with the lumber. Besides those upgraded plaster walls, I know this was a working dairy farm for many years, and then it was a hobby farm, construction and then trucking business base. We're just the latest in a very long line of innovative new owners who love this land and are going to leave our stamp on it. 

So if I don't put in the right windows or keep the old buckled floors, can you blame me? My predecessors wanted a more modern and up to date home too. I write my stories here now, and make holiday dinners and birthday meals. My youngest son and his fiancee are getting married on this land next month, the first of my two boys to tie the knot. My 78 year old mother just celebrated her birthday here, and when she moves in this year, it will likely be her last home. My grandson fishes in our pond and he can come and learn to ride his bike safely here. So yeah, this old farmhouse might be showing the passage of time, but it's all new again. Another family is filling the rooms with love and laughter, and really that's all the history any house needs. The rest is just window dressing. 

A house becomes a home when a happy family occupies it. Happiness isn't something you can buy or hang up. It comes from how you feel about your life, and what you chose to do with your time. Let the environment around you reflect that, and don't worry too much about the cobwebs, dust, and crud that shows. You can always deal with that tomorrow. Make the most of today, while you still have it. 

Now go do some amazing things with someone you love, 

Did you write? 03-19-12 Spring has sprung

Did you write? 03-19-12 Spring has sprung

It is that time again. Report on what is going on in your life, whether you wrote or not, and then explaining why you did not meet your goals in the process. Of course, if you did write, tell about what is going on, brag about your accomplishments.

I generally give a nice list of what can be writing. I am lazy today so our rule of thumb is, if you have to ask if it is writing, it is.

As for me, Yes, I did write.

I am aiming right at my ending now. I have a good picture of how to get there. There is still a lot of wiggle room and I may need to add a few more scenes than planned to get to where I am going, but now I am on my way.
I had a problem of not finding a lot of writing time this week. I generally try to start writing by a certain time so I have room in my evening to take care of on line stuff before bead time. This week, each time my writing time came, I was enveloped into some other project or otherwise was nowhere near ready to start writing. Usually by the time I was done with what had to be done, I was unable to write.
I have a writer friend who puts 600 words down on a bad day and a couple thousand on a good day. I momentarily feel shame when I see her numbers, then realize I have less hours to write than she does. Work is good, money is coming in and I remember worse times. I need to "Make hay while the sun shines." My writing has to be fitted in.
I can say I did write over 600 fresh words this week in spite my lack of time. I will also say that next week, my word cont will seem pathetic, even going backwards as whole section of text is coming out tonight. I wrote several scenes I am not using, and my outline is coming out too. It will be disappointing to see what looks like a lack of progress, but I will then get more realistic word counts on my piece.

On the story idea front, I have only 36 story ideas in my compost pile. I have gotten some new ideas this week, but have also dug into the pile a little bit. I have dug far enough that I skipped past the top of the stack a couple times for something to write.

The glow of last week's art show is dying out. Some of my work will be going into a local antique shop as it fits his decor. I had to dig out all my work that could go to the shop, and check for damage, check for missing pieces, replace price stickers and change prices. I also tested an idea on how to display them differently than what they were before. It killed some writing time to do this, but I liked the result.

Using the above as a starting point, consider futuristic or fantasy artworks. While this won't be an actual story, it cold be a starting point.
In the future, think about what the art might be. You might have holographic projectors, small coffee cup things. Give them power and painting like scenes appear in the air overhead that looks quite realistic from any angle yet not like a photo, it would have painting like effects.
If that does not get your juices flowing, try three dimensional carvings in an impervious material that are actual working robots. Turn a crank key and they move on their own. these are carved by atomic beams from a solid piece of material.
How about jewelry that have computer controlled effects, they change color and apparent shape depending on the light or the situation.
For fantasy, consider paintings that talk to you, jewelry made from small creatures, carved dragon claws, clothing made from Elf's hair or Dwarf's beards. figurines might be carved by magic, or have magic in them to do certain things. Fine musical instruments that play by themselves.
As I said, this could be just one element that shows the place you are in is not here and now, adding a tiny bit of flavor to the scene. Consider an outsider who needs permission for something. The character is taken to the art show to see the person and one describes what is seen and is in awe with the quality of the work.

As to the question of the day
I can honestly say



Sunday, March 18, 2012

week 636 Wood Working

Year 12, Week 10, Day One (week 636) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 03-17-12 Saturday

83 degrees, nice breeze that moved sawdust around, blue skies and plenty of sunlight, with white puffs. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.


Had a pretty good day of yard sailing. at one place, I picked up some sand paper, a SINGER sewing machine motor with a buffing unit attached, and a clamp for something like a dremmel. I paid six bucks. I found out later that the dremmel model I have is a bit too big for the clamp. It was later suggested to add a pipe and clamp the work to that. It looks like it was a holder for some piece of equipment anyway.

Singer sewing machine with buffing arbor, and a swivel clamp

At another yard sale, I got a set of five stainless steel bowls. I also got a candle from a woman who makes them. Mine was a small beer.

Stainless steel bowls. One is larger than the other four. Candle made to look like beer.

I picked up a set of knitting needles and some copper molds at a third one.I don't need more knitting needles but this guy did not look like he would get a lot of people who had any interest in yarn art. The copper molds are for a friend.

zodiac mold and grape bunch mold. Knitting needles and exercise book.

On the way home, I made an error and accidentally did a good thing for someone else. I went to a gas station with twenty pumps. I accidentally told the cashier that I was on pump 18 when I was on pump 19. I ended up donating twenty bucks of gas to someone. If you are going to be dumb, you have to be tough...


The beast of the backyard was interested in company and was disappointed when I would not stay seated. Scarface has another scar. He has been catting around again. There is a cut down his cheek.

After taking pictures of my finds, I dragged out the lathe. it was past ten. I decided to make a natural edged bowl. Looking at my collection, I grabbed a piece of Osage orange which was left from another project. It had an interesting shape for a natural edged bowl.
I wanted to turn it sideways, so the ends would fly around. I also wanted to make what is known as a banana bowl. It is a long narrow bowl. It took some time to decide how I wanted it to look, which way was between the centers and what was the sides. I also had to decide what would be the top and the bottom.

Osage orange before I did anything

Decisions made, I mounted it between centers and spun it. I carefully removed wood from the bottom, forming a tenon for my chuck to hang onto it. When satisfied with that, I flipped it around and removed the drive spur, which I stick into the chuck, and mounted it.

Osage orange mounted in lathe but not yet turned. the bottom is at the tail stock

I started rounding the ends. The wood is spinning around like a fan blade, running as fast as the lathe will go. Since the ends are cut flat, I nicked the corners then worked it until the ends were completely rounded. I found two problems in this process. Bits of the wood under the bark split off. As the end passes, the took catches the leading edge and slices off the wood. At the trailing end, the wood is not supported and if there is any give to the wood, it will pull away a little.
I had a couple chips fly off as I worked. It just does not look good. I know how to hide that when the time comes.
I was about ready to work on the inside when I decided I needed to get going to work on a few things.

Osage orange held in chuck after end is rounded, nice bark side, and chipped side

While giving the beast of the Back Yard Beast some attention, I decided to work a bit with my dream catcher. I have this flat yarn I got at a yard sale and was going to use that. I found it won't be the right material. when I pulled it tight, it thinned out. It is sort of like woven yarn and when there is tension, the weave pulled out and it became thin. that was not the effect I was after and I know that would not be good for this project. I could see someone pulling on it wrong and the yarn thinning and stretching out. I will have to look around to see what I have that will work better. I like the flat yarn, but stretching and raving like that is not what I want.

For tomorrow, I want to finish the piece I was turning today. I may do some carving on either the face vase or the dragon. Tonight I may try to practice my arrangement for the display of my work at the antique shop. I have more stuff than I can display, and I also have lost parts and pieces and have to re-locate them. I also will change some of my prices.
My pricing system on my work is quite simple. It is on the idea of the better I like a piece, the higher it is priced. If I don't sell it, I won't be sad. If I do sell it, I won't be sad. Everything else is based on how much less I like the things. I also have items that are priced cheaply, and then work my way up. This way I have prices in all ranges.

I will see what I actually do tomorrow.

Year 12, Week 10, Day Two (week 636) (January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.) 03-18-12 Sunday

83 degrees, blue sky mostly sunny with lots of white puffs. A nice breeze kept things nice and comfortable. I did drive through some mist about the time I got home, but where I was working, it was perfect. If it stayed like that all year, it would be heaven. this weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.

I started the morning with a flat tire. I have had problems with this tire over the past few days. I pumped it up twice before and it was a slow leak. Yesterday, I made sure all tires were up to pressure. This morning this tire was flat. I have an electric pump that you plug into your cigarette lighter(Shows my age. Nowadays they are called power outlets).I pumped the tire up most of the way and then went to Mom's house. Midway through the morning it was half flat. I considered driving into the nearest canal and watch for bubbles, but decided to change tires instead.
I had changed tires a few times since I owned this truck and just now found out that they had included wheel blocks, angled metal shaped and designed to go under the tires to keep the truck from rolling. I had always assumed they were just to keep the jack in place tight. I grabbed them, thinking they were part of the jack. Only after I noticed there were two of them that it dawned on me what they were for.
I changed tires with no problems but the spare was low on air. Again came my electric air pump. A short time later I was ready to drive off, when I was ready to leave. There is a place near where I work that sells good used tires, and installs them for about a quarter what a new tires costs. I will have my rear tires swapped out later in the week.

When mentioned about my yard sailing yesterday, I had forgotten about some sanding disks an such I got at one yard sale. There were two packs of hook-loop sanding disks, a brand new file, and a knife buffer for sharpening. I paid a whole dollar for all of them. The buffer has the compound and arbor and was never opened.

Sanding disk, power strop and file.

About seven years ago, My mom and my brother built a model railroad layout in her back yard. After my dad died, it stayed covered, and became a home for the cats. Last year, we disassembled the layout and had the plywood hauled away. We had saved same materials from it and mom had them stowed in her shed. Today, she decided to dig the materials out and deal with them. Most of it was wire and the control panels and connection strips. I helped her remove screws and coil up the bundles of wires. We ended up with about eight terminal connector strips and a small bag of wire nuts. We also had loads of wires.
A couple weeks ago, I brought up a pretty, but worse for wear popcorn tin. I had never cleaned it out when I had finished with it and the salt caused surface rust on spots on the inside. We were not sure what to do with it, but tossing it did not sound right. Mom got an idea. She had me coil the wires and place them in the tin. When we were done, the tin was full and all the wire was accounted for.
Mom uses wire to tie up many of her plants. Over the year, we also have projects that involve wire, such as repairs. Mom has more room in her shed and we have the wire available if we remember we have it.

Wires from Mom's model railroad. Tangled wire on the table, coiled wire inside popcorn tin.

Last night, I did a very rough test of a display layout design idea that I will do when I go to the antique shop. I took all my work out, and looked at the prices of all my pieces, and replaced many of the price stickers. I reduced the prices of a number of items so there are more in line with what they would likely sell for. I also made the numbers on many pieces so they cannot be mistaken, a hundred dollars for ten dollars.
For the display, I will be using a folding coffee table as the central holder of my work, and then have boxes on the floor around the base of the table. They will all be hidden by covers and the work will be piled up around them to give differences of height. Many pieces will be on the floor too, and there will be a cover on the floor. I think this will look good.

I have a bunch of folding coffee tables, one I picked up a couple weeks ago that needs some work. Today, I decided to clean up the top of the table. The table had been left where it got wet. It had stains and some water damage. I took out the orbiting sander (could not remember where it was last week when I wanted to sand the cutting board) and hit the surface of the table. Other than being power, it was a light sanding as I saw where the veneer was coming up on one spot. I wiped it down to remove the dust, and then gave it quite a few coats of spray varnish to give it some protection and improve how it looks. The veneer looks like it might be oak.
When I got home, I dug out all my similar tables. I have a matching pair in a light wood, then two that are light wood but not matching, one of which was the one I cleaned up. Then I have a dark table that is painted a dark brown. That dark table will be the one that goes to the antique shop since the dark color invokes age. It also does not match any of the others. I have a set of four metal tables in use around my house so these will remain in storage until needed.

folding coffee table with sanded and varnished surface.

I took my tea pot and gave it the sanding it needed. I removed some drips and runs, and when I made it, it was not well sanded, so I went over all the surfaces well. There were some surfaces that showed scratches and dings so I cleaned that up too. I then gave it a bunch of coats of varnish. It needs another sanding before it gets more varnish as I can see some runs. I will let it dry at least over night before I sand it again. I think I will sand the mouth where the lid fits so the lids will fit a bit better. The varnish built up to make the lid not fit quite right. After next week, I may make a new handle for the pot, and when ready, remove the existing handle and put on a new one.

refinished tea pot.

My brother purchased a set of mechanics rolling drawers from Mom. She got it at a yard sale. I helped him get it onto the truck. I never did get pictures of it. I had been using the surfaces for my stuff while I was working. I now have to keep my stuff just a tiny bit more concentrated when I work. He gave me some tools that were in there and I figured out that they are tools for use on repairing motorcycles. There were cable pulls and clamps and such.

My lathe is on a sheet metal stand which is screwed down to a plywood base. The base has wheels that can be lifted out of the way so the lathe sits on wooden blocks for absolute stability (I should but don't do that when I work). I then have wood and weight lifting weights stacked on shelves beneath the lathe to give it mass.
I also screwed some two by two wood around the upper part of the lathe stand and have wooden skirts attached to keep the worst of the sawdust out of the shelving. I also have a bunch of PVC pipe sections screwed to the wood on the back side of my lathe for my turning tools to hang.
Mom had given me holder for something that was a bunch of PVC pipes glued together. There was a thin PVC bottom to he piece to keep whatever was put in them from falling out the bottom. I had screwed that to my lathe and it has held my tools for a long time. The screw pulled out several weeks ago and I have procrastinated on reinstalling it.
Today I screwed it back on. The way my pipes are designed is that there is a small hole on one side for the screw, which is screwed in from the inside, and a bigger hole directly on the other side which is for the screwdriver to reach the screw.
The first screw was easy as it went through the biggest of the pipes. A pair of plyers could hold the screw in place inside over the little hole.
I then drilled a new set of holes, going through two stacked pipes. That one was a bit tougher as my plyers would not fit into the one inch pipe. I found a pair of wire cutters were smaller and did fit. Then getting the screw aimed right and then the screwdriver.
I always had the problem that the thing tipped. It was good to get tools out of the way, tipping them on an angle, but it was not really good. Now with the two screws, it is not going anywhere. I have it on a slight angle with the handles tipped a little bit away from the head-stock which tips them away from the tail stock where it usually is used.

on the left is the glued up PVC pipes. On the right are individual fittings and pipes holding tools

I showed my brother the tools I got last week. He looked on line and found out what it was. I was right on how it was used, as a depth gauge. It also can be used to set tapers. It is old school tools. Now they use magnets and dials to do the same thing.
The metal pieces that came with it are holders for gauges. Rods are supposed to go into them and then the gauges clamp onto the rods. The problem is finding the right sized rods. If we really wanted to, we could make our own.

I did a little bit of turning on the Osage Orange banana bowl. I was cleaning up the outer surface and kept getting catches. I could not seem to get it to stop. these catches were placing divots in the middle of the ends of the wood. I then sharpened my turning tool again, simply using a grind stone to touch up the surfaces, and it removed the damage without any more catches.
When I was done cleaning up the outside, I cut a tiny bit of wood on the inside. It was then time for lunch and later, I realized there was no way I was going to get the piece finished by the end of the day. I cleaned up and rolled the lathe away with the piece still in the chuck and will work on it next week. There won't be any rush to work on it now, though as I wanted it ready by Thursday.

Osage Orange. Outside done enough, started on the inside by humiliating the surface.

After lunch, we sat and watched some pictures mom took. Many were of the art show last week. For some reason, we always get sleepy when watching our pictures, no matter how interesting they are.

From what I understand, Thursday is our turning club meeting since the school where we meet was closed for spring break last week. I wanted to show off the Osage Orange banana bowl for that, but did not have time. I will just have my tea pot to display there.
At a yard sale a couple weeks ago, I picked up a pair of doggy brushes. I went on line and read about how to use those for CARDING fibers for spinning. At the moment, I am experimenting with cotton which really needs finer brushes, but it will work well enough. A project I want to do in the next few weeks is to make a drop spindle for spinning yarn. From what I saw, they are simple to make and use. That I am carding fiber, I can test my drop spindles to see if they work. That will go good with my crochet hooks. I also need to make more of them too.
I have to get back to carving on my dragon, carving the faces on my face vase, I have ornaments I never finished, wood that needs to be made into something, cats to pet, just to name a bunch of things that I have projects for. That does not include the metal working I want to also do.

I will see what I do next week.