Sunday, September 28, 2014

Year 15, Week 36, Day One (week 732)

Year 15, Week 36, Day One (week 732)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-27-14 Saturday
    90 degrees, strong breeze, lots of patchy clouds heavy humidity. One momentary shower early morning that was just enough to wet the ground while the sun was shining bright, then it and everything else was gone for the rest of the day.    This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
    I got really sick with what turned out to be an infection. I basically stood and looked at what I wanted to do rather than do it. I mostly napped and accomplished nothing. Antibiotics prescribed Monday have been working to get rid of the problem.
    A story I wrote, FINDING WAXY, has hit the presses, available at
search either for FINDING WAXY or Roger Stegman.

My copy of the FINDING WAXY book I wrote.

    We hit a couple yard sales but there was nothing at them that was of use.
    I napped several times during the day. I did go out and start rough carving some ornaments. I broke the ears off a couple mice I was carving and had to set them to dry. I spent my time rough carving the socks and mittens.
    One problem I am having with my carving is for some reason, I am hitting the thumb holding the knife. That usually does not happen. I am not sure what I am doing wrong.
    I learned years ago, it is easiest to rough carve the blanks first, removing the corners and getting the basic details in. Once they are all carved, one can then go and do finished carving and adding final details and get the surface you are after. The mind-set and technique for each stage is different. Horsing off excess wood does not require care or patience.
    In the afternoon, I had completely cleaned up and laid down to nap. It bothered me that I only had four mittens. I finally got up and went to the band saw and after drawing a quick shape on some pieces of four inch long two-by-two I had already cut, I band-
    Once I had them band-sawed out, I was able to lay back down and nap for the afternoon.
    I plan to work on the ornament blanks I have cut out and see how far I can get the others to a finished level.
    I will have to see what I do tomorrow.
Year 15, Week 36, Day Two (week 732)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-29-14 Sunday

    92 degrees, strong breeze, patchy clouds, light humidity some good sun. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.
    I got out back as soon as I arrived at Mom’s house before Noon. I dumped out my Christmas Ornament blanks and settled down to carving on the mitten blanks I made yesterday. I had to glue an ear back on one of the mouse blanks as it came off with the jostling in the project bag.
    One of the pieces of wood had a nice knot in it, and that knot spread to all four mittens that came out of that block of wood. Knots are “fun” to carve. They are harder than regular wood and the wood around it tends to be tough to cut in one direction, and splits easy in another.
    I rough carved several mittens when the knife slipped and hit the thumb of my carving hand AGAIN. This was a bit deeper than a nick, and I dashed off and put a Band-Aid on it to keep the blood from getting onto the work, which was a problem I was having yesterday from the various nicks I had.
    I may have worked three or four mitten blanks. I have more to do, but once the blanks I have are done, I will have a full dozen of mittens. I have close to the number of socks I need also. The mice will require a bunch more blanks made.
    Now that I have mittens and socks roughed out, I will be satisfied with them as ornaments. I have not fully decided on the mice and need at least one more design.
    I will need at least one more design for ornaments for this year. Luckily, I am ahead of schedule on my ornaments, which is nice.
    Both the mittens and the socks will have presents put into them. I have kept the trimmings from the ornaments as I band-sawed them. I will cut them into tiny sizes, paint them and then glue them into a hollow I have to add to all these ornaments.
    I was doing well when I turned wrong and messed up a muscle in my back. It was about the time my brother was going to check to see if he can figure out where the leak in my radiator was. It turned out to be a hose on the very top. It easy to get, except you have to move a bunch of things to get to it.
    It is surprising how a little thing can mess you up nicely. Between the thumb and the side, I decided it was more than enough work for the day.
    Next weekend, a lot will depend on the weather. Mom is talking about having yard sales in the next couple weeks. I have more ornament blanks to work on and should make more mice blanks. There are a LARGE number of projects I have partly done or partly started that I really need to dig into.
    What I work on will pretty much have to be seen.
    I will see what I actually work on next weekend.

 SATURDAY ornament blanks and the work I did on them.

sawed out some new mitten blanks. I wanted them as big as possible so I made the thumbs smaller than on my first four blanks.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Harper Collins
The sophomore volume of Dick Wolf's fledgling Jeremy Fisk series begins shortly after the conclusion of the debut novel: The Intercept.

Fisk of the New York Police Department's Anti-Terrorist Intel Division is on mandatory desk duty, mourning the loss of his former partner/girlfriend, while making threat assessments and security arrangements for visiting dignitaries because New York City is about to host the annual United Nations Week.

Meanwhile, an assassin for hire known only as "Chuparosa" is also on his way to NYC, as well as the very determined Mexican Intelligence agent Cecilia Garza, who vows not only to protect her President as he heads to New York on a diplomatic visit, but to catch the killer too.

Dick Wolf, the creator of the Law and Order and Chicago Fire/PD franchises for television, is a masterful storyteller who has written another page turner that keeps you wanting to know what happen's next even after the end of the book.

It was wise of him not to give Jeremy Fisk another love interest so soon, although there was definitely some mutual interest between Fisk and Garza.

However, while I caught no obvious errors like the New York Yankees/Mets situation in his first book, I am quite surprised by Fisk's actions towards the end of the novel.
I'm not saying I don't understand the reasons why Fisk did what he did, but that I perceived the character to be a better man than to do the deed in question.

In any event, I give The Execution my highest recommendation and eagerly await the third installment of this series.

Lee Houston, Junior, one of the founders of this fine blog, is the Editor-In-Chief of The Free Choice E-zine and the writer/creator of Hugh Monn, Private Detective and Alpha the superhero.
When not busy writing, in what he laughingly calls his "spare" time, he wishes he had more spare time to work on the manuscript for ALPHA, BOOK 2: WAYWARD SON.
He maintains a presence on G+, Facebook, and his own writer's blog. His creative work can be found in both print and e-formats at and other outlets.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Year 15, Week 34, Day One (week 731)

Year 15, Week 34, Day One (week 731)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-13-14 Saturday
90 degrees late morning, 81 degrees around four, high humidity, A depression passed over the past couple days and was gone early morning. Mostly cloudy, mostly high, all day, some showers in the afternoon. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

Because of real early morning weather, there was almost nothing in the way of yard sales. We did see one in the paper and went to it, finding a second real close by. It was at the second one that I found a bag of yarn. I had the bag in my arms and the money in the woman’s hand before Mom had a chance of turning around to see what I was up to. I keep telling myself I will not buy any more yarn. I also tell myself I will ONLY buy cotton and wool. I lucked out this time. It was mostly cotton and a tiny bit of wool. This worked out perfectly as I am just now starting on making dish cloths and they are made with cotton.

The other yard sale was just setting up. The very early morning inclement weather frightened them from getting set up earlier. 

After stopping at several stores, we got home and took a short nap. I then started a project. I went through my stock of stuff I keep in the truck. I was surprised at how many tiny unfinished projects I still have to do. 
I have a set of black walnut crochet hooks with oak handles that I need to sew a rolling case for. I have everything to do it except the time and initiative. I found out that, not counting that set of hooks, I had been carrying with me 19 hooks. I got things sorted and put where they can be found. 

I finished a scarf I was working on. Mom suggested that instead of tassels, I should do something like loops on that scarf. I decided to do shells. After a few attempts to remember how to make crochet shells, I did them quickly. The second end was much faster. I also found out later that I had different number of shells on the scarf (Sunday morning I removed the four shell end and made it three. That one shell I removed used two feet of yarn).  That scarf is now done.
I am going to be creating dish cloths the rest of the year. Hopefully, I will have enough made to give out as gifts. 
One thing I’ve done is give my toothbrush crochet hooks a good test. The ones with the handle bending toward or away from you when you have the hook up, are quite usable, but they are not the most comfortable hooks I have used. They are just not quite comfortable in the hand. The angle of these are way too much, and they force the fingers into the wrong position. They do work so that is not a problem. I could even use them a long time, but they are just not quite right. I will be testing my up and down crochet hooks on the first dish cloth I will make. 

It was quite stuffy outside and I am using my working with my yarn stuff as my excuse to not go out and do work. I was busy so that was something. My back was not doing the best today and that was another excuse. 

I have some stuff to do at home that cannot wait so I will not be going to Mom’s house tomorrow.  

I will have to see what I do next weekend.

yarn find at yard sale. Notice cloth in front.



ends of scarf after first picture was taken.I later repaired the end on the left to make three bumps rather than four.

That cloth in the yarn picture, after I added edging. Mom said this was to be part of a sweater.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Year 15, Week 33, Day One (week 730)

Year 15, Week 33, Day One (week 730)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-07-14 Saturday

92 degrees, heavy clouds, quite questionable weather, which held off until around eleven. Then light, off an on until about four. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.


Last Monday, I had the day off so I took advantage of it. I made a batch of bread from scratch, which makes two loaves. I also used a bread mix that makes one loaf. The bread came out good, but it dawned on me after tasting the bread, that I am not kneading my bread enough. I am not developing the gluten in the dough so the yeast can really lift it up. I must remember that for the next time I make bread. 
On the bread I made from scratch, I have some starter dough in the freezer. It was getting old as it had been several months since I used it. I had alternated between starter balls and decided to use both of them this time. I broke them up into little pieces into the liquid and used the blending wand I got last week to mix them into the liquid. 
My starter dough had become a sour dough and I did not want to use a sour dough this time, so I used sweetened condensed milk as part of the liquid and to replace the sugar. The results were pretty good, if only I had worked the dough enough to allow it to rise properly. Instead, all the loaves I made are kind of squat. 


When I got to Mom’s house, Mom had a big bag of yarn waiting for me. A church had a yard sale Friday and Saturday and she got the yarn Friday. 
There was a tangle of yarn in the pile. Later in the day, Mom untangled all the yarn for me. There were lots of bits and pieces of yarn in the tangle. I balled up what could be balled and we bagged the bits and pieces that was not worth balling

After breakfast we went yard sailing. I got a clothes hamper and that SHOULD be for yarn. The only problem is that I have to pull out my entire yarn stash and rearrange it to make room for the hamper. 
I also got a wedge pillow to sit on. One of mine is getting tired. 


A friend pointed out some Christmas ornament designs that I could try out. I looked at them for several days. I decided to give one design of a mouse a try. 
My intention for this design is to rough out the blanks on the lathe, but I needed make sure the design would work first, so I decided to use the knife to make these first ones.
The mice I saw in the pictures were nicely sanded and polished. My style is to leave the knife marks in it so there is no question it is carved. 
I would have pulled some equipment out in to the wetness to get to the bandsaw to cut more wood. Since I did have one twelve inch stick of wood already cut, I chose to use that.
I chose one end and started shaving wood off. I was designing as I was cutting. I did not draw or measure, but just cut letting the wood show me what it wanted to be. 
I got one carved out, and the hardest part was cutting the mouse from the stick. I then carved a second one using the same methods. It went pretty fast as I already knew what I needed to have. On this, I marked where the ears were with two lines, in front and behind the ear, and then started shaving. The head and nose require the most wood to be removed. 
I had a piece of wood for the third mouse, but decided my hands had done enough of the work. 
I was quite satisfied with the results.

It has been a while since I did some serious carving like this. I had lost my callouses on my hands. I have some blisters on my carving hand where the knife rubbed and pressed into the fingers. 

I am quite satisfied with the results of these mice. I will have to add a tail to it. I have to figure out what material I want to use. I looked at some turned mice I made many years ago. I had attached a rubberized cloth for the tail and ears on the turned mice. On these carved mice, the ears are carved in. I will explore some ideas for the tail. 

The weather looks Iffy tomorrow. What I do will depend on the weather.  

Year 15, Week 33, Day One (week 730)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-07-14 Saturday

92 degrees, high feathers and plates to the east, low heavy puffs to the west. Light breeze good humidity, some sun. Other that what was on radar real early in the morning, the weather remained good except over the Everglades all day. This weather report is brought to you by the city of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I got to Mom’s house, set up the table, then moved equipment out of the way so I could get to the bandsaw. 
I took a short piece of wood and made a number of blanks for the stockings. I about eight stockings from the blank. 
I then cut two more twelve inch sticks of two-by-two wood. The eight foot board is getting short. I used the bandsaw to cut three mice blanks. I cut for the ears, cut angles for the nose and parts of the back and tail. That amounts to a lot of slices of wood that I don’t have to make with the knife. A couple of the straight-in cuts are a bit deeper than they should be, but I can correct for that no problem.
I had another idea for an ornament. It is mittens. The suggestion was to also have presents inside, just like I am doing with the socks. I carved two of them into shape to see how they will look. These will be painted much like the socks, red with a white fur at the opening. I still have to touch up the paint on the socks to make them look better.

I am not really satisfied with the socks or mittens, but they are something. I can always come up with several more designs later.  I will do a bunch of these. They are fairly easy to do so they won’t really be wasted time. 
I will keep my eye open for other designs I can explore. It is nice that it is still the beginning of September and I am this far on coming up with useable designs. Usually, I haven’t even thought of a design until after the end of October, and then have to try to get everything done before the start of December when I display my work at work and other places. I have no problems having more than four designs. 

When Mom had her sewer put in, they mis-estimated how much sand was necessary. Mom quickly assembled a bin and kept a bunch of the sand. Well the bin quickly started breaking down. We put on some straps on the bin to hold it together and the straps rotted several times now.
Mom got some nylon cord and we decided to pull the bin back together to keep the sand under control. A cheep strap I had gotten rotted into pieces. One strap we got from my brother is still pretty good. We tied the cloth straps together to grab the ends of the bin and ratcheted it tight. We then used another ratchet and ran the cords through that and pulled the front tight so it would close it well. 
Before we could do the straps, we had to move sand, piling it out of the way in the pile. We were lucky that the sand was really wet so it did not cascade down on top the holes we were digging. 
Because I had to do some shoveling, and some bending and twisting to get the ratchets working, my whole body said that was enough. I sat to work a little bit on one of the carvings I already had started, and decided that was not a good idea. Of course I had to put everything away. 

I plan to be working on Christmas ornaments next weekend. I have some good designs, and some blanks to work with. The socks and mittens should be really quick to make. The mice is much more work. I intend to keep my eye open for more designs. Several years ago, a friend had sent me some pictures of ornaments as ideas. I need to take the time to find them and see if something is of use.

I will see what I actually do next weekend.

part of the yarn stash Mom got for me.

The laundry bin I got.

The mice and one stick of blank. I have more carving on these  before they are done, but iti is a great start. I will give them a varnish finish and leave them wood colored for the white mice.

all the blanks I have now, along with a few of the carved pieces

The bin pf sand as it is now strapped up.