Wednesday, January 30, 2013

week 279 Woodworking

Year 13, Week 13, Day One (week 679)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
01-27-13 Saturday

    On the 17th, I had passed the start of my 13th year of woodworking. Back on January 17th 2000, I decided that because my dad was in his 80s, I did not want one of those "I wish I had done, I wish I had said, kind of situation when his demise finally came. Over the next years, he and I had some good times together. He taught me how to carve, make my own knives, and set the foundation for my other woodworking. He died about five years ago and I have continued to work wood, creating some pieces he would be really proud of.

    I have not done much woodworking over the past few months since my accident. I've only done some quick projects like drum sticks, crochet hooks, and some crosses.

    Lately, I have had some health problems that kept me away from my woodworking. Sometimes I was simply unwilling to get covered in saw dust as it would aggravate some of my problems, even if it was only perceived.

    I also work outside, so inclement weather prevents woodworking. Electrical equipment and rain don't get along.

    The urge to do wood working has increased over time. In the past couple weekends, opportunity and conditions came together.

    A month or so ago, I repaired the stick shift of my truck. It has an aftermarket ball on top and had come loose. It took me a bit to figure out how it came off and went back on. I put it back together and over-tightened the screw, cracking the plastic hemisphere. Over time, that started breaking apart.

    Saturday, I took the ball off and went out back with it. I took it apart and took measurements as to what size piece of wood I needed, and to figure out the best way to remake the project out of wood.
    the week before, I was thinking about making the part out of metal, plastic, and other materials, then it dawned on me that I work wood and could make it on my lathe.
    A block of Zebra wood would have been nice for this project, but the only wood that was really the right size was some POPULAR I had. I cut a piece off that would be more than big enough. The piece was two and a half by three, and I made it a three by three by two and a half cube.
    I located the center after I sanded the wood at the disk sander, and then dug out the forsner bits my mom has. the plastic sphere has a small hole through it for centering and shortening the screw. It then has a larger diameter hole for a decorative metal plug that the screw goes into. I drilled the larger hole first, then drilled the smaller hole all the way through the piece so I could find the center easily on the other side since I did not get the drill exactly centered on my lines.
The broken plastic sphere on stick shift knb

    To work the wood on the lathe, I put the tail stock point right inside the hole which it fit just right, and used a friction fit on the face of the chuck, rather than closing down on it. I figured this would automatically center the piece.
    Using the friction fit, I gently started shaping the top of the piece. I stopped after I got a good start and band sawed the corners off to make rounding it better.
    Using calipers, I measured the size I needed several times. I also took the piece off to check the fit and depth since I had more room than I needed.
    When I was satisfied with the size of the piece, I parted it most of the way and then used a handsaw to finish the cut all the way around.
    I then found that the smaller inner hole was not as big as needed and carefully mounted the piece in the chuck and gingerly enlarged the center hole.
    Once I got the piece finished, I put it together and stuck it on the shift column. I need to make an adjustment on it, as I mis-measured on the size at the bottom edge, and could adjust the shape slightly. I plan to do that this next weekend. It is not bad otherwise. 

The parts including wood sphere

Assembled stick shift ball


    A couple weeks ago, I  had picked up some cutting boards at a yard sale. On the way to Mom's house Saturday, I grabbed a swivel stool that someone was throwing away.
cutting boards before cleaning

    I dug out the palm sander and sanded each of the cutting boards to clean up cuts and some oil that got spilled on them. The smaller cutting board had a burned spot where they put a pan on it. there is some of that blackening still on there but I got it cleaned. Later in the week, I gave them a coat of vegetable oil so they can be used.

    I also sanded the seat of the stool as it was dirty. I should dig out a detail sander or dremmel to clean up around the backrest but cleaning up the main seat was really what was needed. I might later give it a coat of varnish for protection. I will see.
swivel stool after sanding bottom

    I have hopes of some wood working this weekend, but will see how the weekend goes first.


Knitting needles I got at yard sale

Following are views of dish cloths I made over the months before Christmas

 this dish cloth was re-done later

 this dish cloth was re-done later
 the wave stitch with two kinds of yarn
 "odd ball" dish cloth using bits and pieces of yarn.
 the wave


how the dish cloths were given, Poem says
thank god for dirty dishes for they have a story to tell
while others may go hungry, we are eating well
with health home and happiness we shall never fuss
by this stack of evidence, god's been good to us.

first batch of Christmas Cards

Second batch of Christmas Cards

added to my cotton yarn stash, only to find I had twice this much in the wrong bag.

Mom got me to start doing scarves. A friend got the top one, Mom ended up with the middle two and the bottom one is my latest finished piece.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Where has Nancy disappeared to?

Well, you are probably all wondering where the heck I've been. The answer to that is... quite busy! 

Follow the underlined links below to see what I've been up to.

Seriously, I have had a ton of stuff going on, most of which pertains to writing. For instance, my latest novel is out! 

Yep, this is it, PROPHECY'S GAMBIT is finally available from Pro Se Press! You can find it on in both paperback and Kindle versions. It's also available on Barnes and Noble online as a Nook selection, and on Smashwords in just about any other E-format you'd care to download. 

Shortly after PROPHECY'S GAMBIT debuted, I was honored to have Pro Se Press feature two of my stories in the monthly digest. I was given an entire issue of my own, featuring one story each from my private detective series THE KEENER EYE, and the dark fantasy series THE SONG OF HEROES. Pro Se Presents December 2012 is available on in both a digest size paperback and Kindle formats. On Barnes and Noble online you can find it both as Nook and paperback. And it is on Smashwords in other E-formats as well.

Now I haven't stopped there! I'm still very busy writing. In fact, this fall I was privileged to be tapped by the nice folks at MECHANOID PRESS to get involved in writing for a very kewl anthology where the Cold War was fought not with nuclear weapons proliferation, but with gigantic Kaiju style monsters! Oh yeah, that is SOOOO me. I'm proud to say that MONSTER EARTH is now out, and available on as both Kindle and paperback, and on Barnes and Noble online on their Nook.

And I'll bet you think that's all huh? Nope! Read on...

I was very proud to have been asked to be guest interviewed on author Derrick Ferguson's blog BLOOD & INK. If you pop over there, you can read all about me, and what I'm up to. 

You should read the rest of the blog while you are there too, Derrick is a great guy, he's interesting as all get out, and he is one fine pulp author to boot. 

And then, because sometimes lightning strikes twice, I was also asked to guest appear on an EARTH STATION ONE podcast episode. On Episode 147, I am in the Geek Seat to answer some questions about who I am, what I do, and why all this fantastic craziness. Had a blast with Bobby, Mike, and Mike—even considering all the straps and restraints—and would love to do that again sometime. I notice that these nice folks also have a bit of a blurb about MONSTER EARTH up on their site too. That just goes to show you how us pulpster geeks help one another in getting the word out. 

I finally have an author's page up on Amazon too. Now you can see almost all of the books I have either written or have stories in over the last couple of years. Impressive huh? It's something I'm very proud of. 

Well now you know why I have been too busy to blog. Behind the scenes, I am Assistant Editor for Pro Se Press and have been working with a few authors this past fall, getting their books ready for print. Add to that my usual deadlines for the year (three novel sized books and 3 short stories for Pro Se alone), several special writing projects I can't yet talk about, and the ongoing renovations here on the farm, and it's a wonder that I have any time to myself. Well... I don't get much but I sneak out now and then. I will have some thrifting pictures coming up the next time I get a chance to post here. 

Before I say goodnight, I just want to give a couple shouts out to my blogging buddies Roger Stegman and Lee Houston Jr. They are both important reasons why I have this blog.

Roger is still recovering from the accident he had back in April of 2012, and not quite up to snuff yet. 

He isn't feeling well enough to do much in the way of woodworking these days, but he does putter a bit, and has been doing some writing off and on. I am hoping we will be seeing some posts from him again in the not too distant future. I'm sure you all miss him as much as I do.

Lee has been busily writing too, he just completed the sequel to his HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE anthology—this time a full fledged novel. Be looking for future announcements about that one! The first one is still available folks, and a great read, as is his superhero novel, PROJECT: ALPHA. Lee has an author page on Amazon where you can find most of his stuff, though his books have appeared on Barnes and Noble and Smashwords as well. 

Kudos to Lee also for his stewardship of The Free Choice E-Zine in it's various incarnations since 2005. In it's current Blogger version it began on Friday September 5th, 2008, and as of today Lee has just made his 1000th POST THERE!!!! Congratulations to Lee and The Free Choice, and onward to another 1000 posts beginning tomorrow. Lee says this is his second straight month where TFC has had more than 2000 page views and the 5th straight month of more than 1000 page views. Way to go Lee! 

So yep, we have all been busy people. I will at least try and get in here a bit more often. Besides having a big bunch of pictures to post and all sorts of newsy bits and bobs from family and so on, I am going to have lots of writing news as well. 

So 2013 is looking like an even busier year than 2012. Wow...


Friday, January 4, 2013

Lee Houston Jr's PROJECT: ALPHA book gets some love!

You have no idea how happy this makes me for one of our own here at In My Spare Time...

Lee's book PROJECT: ALPHA, the seminal tale of a superhero-in-the-making, got some well deserved love from none other than the celebrated new pulp author of The Rook and Lazarus Gray, Mr. Barry Reese. On his website today, Barry picked his favorite new pulp books of 2012, and PROJECT: ALPHA was one of seven. That says an awful lot about the quality of this novel, because it was in there with some hard-hitting company. Way to go Lee!

PROJECT: ALPHA by Lee Houston Jr., published by Pro Se Press, is available on, Barnes & Noble online as both paperback and Kindle/Nook offerings, and on Smashwords in just about any E-format you can imagine. Check it out folks, this book is a real winner!