Friday, December 25, 2015

Year 13, Week 45, Day One (week 690)

Year 13, Week 45, Day One (week 690)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-19-15 Saturday

64 degrees in the morning with flags reaching out with a little bit of slump, fast moving patchy clouds following a front that just left us. I kept forgetting to get the afternoon temps but doubt it got past 80 degrees. The wind gusted mightily at very random times to blow light stuff off display tables, blow hats off heads, and make enough noise to panic a skittish cats.  You can tell it is fall by the changing of colors of licence plates. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I started painting my cards. The blocks of colors went fairly fast. I did the first two colors at the same time, covering the white card with blending colors. I did several more colors and shapes fairly fast. Each color change after the background was done after the paint dried. Because of my schedule, only once did I do two colors in the evening. When it came to details, things slowed way down. I ended up working with five brushes and finished the first ten when I completely run out of energy.  I hope to finish painting the rest  of them this weekend but will have to see.

Last week was an embarrassing riches of yard sales. This weekend was much like previous yard sales where you had to search to find them. I did buy a few items, but it was not until the last yard sale that I found “the pot of gold” in something that was inexpensive but a fantastic find. It made the whole day worth it. 
The woman said she had a friend that had a Tuxedo shop. She really had no idea what they were, but I saw possibilities in them even though I had no idea at the time as to what they were. I also got some costume jewelry that might be used in some projects. 

At home, I worked on a bunch of simple projects. I addressed the last of the tooth brushes I prepared, and made them into crochet hooks. One was so bendy that I essentially broke it, not that it is easy to break soft plastic and tossed it away. The others are useable. All could use some more sanding and polishing, but I got them to work.
I finished a dishcloth I was making from remnant cotton yarn. While working on it, a couple people said “pretty.”

I examined the pieces from the Tuxedo shop. I figured out that most of them are posts for cufflinks. There were three caps that use the posts. You slip the posts through the button holes and then slip the caps on (has a clip on the back that has a slot for the posts and then clips tight) for a decorative look. 
I dug out two of my crochet teddy bears that are in process. It took some effort but I was able to force the top of the post between the stitches and now these teddy bears have eyes. I just have to design-stitch them (Ears and neck),  finish filling and then stitch them closed. I like the looks of these eyes. 

I spent time with a new Kindle Fire tablet, figuring out how it works and figuring out how to find things downloaded. My big toe understands it but the rest of me does not......

Momma kitty was hungry for attention. She hung around as long as I was willing to pet her. She bolted when a wind gust really rattled things. It was loud enough to catch my attention.

I hope to finish my cards tomorrow. I will have to see what tomorrow brings.

Year 13, Week 45, Day One (week 690)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-20-15 Sunday

76 degrees in the late morning, cooling to 70 by noon. Flags waving straight out most of the time. Patchy clouds shifting around often. This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I helped someone set up a drum kit. We were missing one stand, but got it where it could be used otherwise. I had never set up a drum kit before and it was interesting. The peddle symbol took some time to figure out before I got it working.. Once we get that one missing stand, it will be a good setup for the drummer..

The wind was strong and we just sat outside in the wind protected awning area  and talked until it was time to go in and eat. I left after lunch as I had things to do at home. 

I finished the painting of my cards. That is a lot of work. Now I have to letter the back and inside of the cards. That is also a big project. At least I can do that anywhere. I really needed two more weeks at least, three would be better. The cards did not come out anything like I planned. In spite of the fact that I made all sorts of mistakes in the design but they came out pretty good. I gave out some cards yesterday and last night and some cards today so the first ten cards are gone. I did get a couple “cute” from people. 

This week is Christmas. I have not given much thought on what to give out this year. Usually I am planning ahead so usually I am not surprised. This season came too early. I am still not ready for Easter, let alone Christmas. I will have to do some scrambling to get ready. 
Of course, it effects the rest of the week and also the weekend. 

I have loads of projects in mind but will have to see what comes up next weekend.

plastic tool box

 Plastic tool box



These are cuff link osts. The three big ones on the upper right are the caps. The posts go through the cuff from the bottom, and the caps slide on to the tops of the posts and clip shut, holding the cuff closed. Upper left are more standard style of cuff links.

stepped display shelf for small objects.

The dish cloth I finished today, made from four different remnant cotton yarns.

tooth brush crochet hooks stuck in yarn used to test them. By holing the handle normally, the hooks are on top, middle and bottom. All are quite usable but it is  a matter as to what is most comfortable to work with. I am finding the side the best, and the bottom second best. More experimentation needed.

Partially done teddy bear with a face and the new link posts as eyes.

two partially done teddy bears with their noses and new eyes.

Six of my first ten Christmas Cards. Another forty to finish.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Year 13, Week 43, Day One (week 689)

Year 13, Week 43, Day One (week 689)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-05-15 Saturday

76 degrees early morning, 80 degrees late afternoon. Blue sky overhead all day long, with puffs all around the horizon which encroached toward the center in the afternoon. The wind gusts tugged at hats and felt good otherwise. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

Everybody knew the weather would be good this weekend. That meant everybody was going to have a yard sale. You have people wanting money for Christmas, Also those wanting to make room for new stuff they might get for Christmas, and then you have people looking for good, inexpensive presents for Christmas, along with your regular yard sailors. That meant that everybody would be busy.
I was right. They were out in force. It made it nice where in many places, several people had sales close to each other, taking advantage of each other’s signs.  In Deerfield, you have to get a permit and can only have two signs.

Mom and I hit a few yard sales together, before I went out on my own. I got a little bit carried away on my sales. I did skip several things that were great buys, but I already had several of them. A couple would have been worth getting if I knew what I would have bought later.....

There were so many yard sales, that I had gone only half the distance north that I intended, when noon came and I was wore out. I had spent my wad by then anyway. 

My best buys were a pair of cast iron pans (I decided I am addicted to them and will do something about the addiction if I see it a problem), a kitchen knife sharpener, and a coat for when the temps get low enough, like when it gets below the 56 degree frost temperature down here... 
One woman was going to give me a bunch of chop sticks and skewers. I gave her a few coins for them anyway. I can make the chopsticks into crochet hooks and I can use the skewers as dowels. 
I got some other things at other yard sales but won’t list.

After lunch, I napped a little bit (really needed it), then went outside. Last week I had removed the heads of some tooth brushes and made the shafts roughly the same diameter to the handle. Today I made three of them into crochet hooks and made all the other shafts to a standard crochet-hook diameter. 
I did have some fun. I have a extension cord with a set of plugs on the end that have switches and there is a breaker in it. I plugged the dremmel into it and it would not work. I searched the fixed plugs under the awning, trying to get them to work and nothing. I decided I was going to do as much as I could without power tools. I sanded with emery cloth and trimmed with the knife.  On a lark, I plugged the dremmel directly into the plugs and it worked. That told me the problem was with the box. I did all my work and then looked at the box. I plugged the dremmel into it and flipped the switch. It worked. I did the other side and flipped the switch and it also worked. 
The big problem with that box was that until this time, one of the switches would not work, with the plugs always on. Somehow, the switch decided to work and was set to the off position. The other side, which worked, was also in the off position and when I thought I flipped the switch, I must have flipped the other one. I found out that one plug, marked with a different color, is not effected by the switch. I never knew that after all these years. Sheesh!!!
It was getting past four and the sun was going down. I tested the three crochet hooks I made. As I held the tooth brushes as one is supposed to hold them, and I made the hooks, up, to the left, and down. I did not bother making a hook to the right. I gave each one a quick test and they worked, but need to be cleaned up and might need some adjustments. I will know what adjustments are needed after I test them out some more. 

I was happy that I was able to get a project done today. I can check off this project and start on something else now.

I plan to do something tomorrow, but will have to see what it is.

Year 13, Week 43, Day Two (week 689)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-06-15 Sunday

84 degrees as the high, hat pulling wind, puffs rushing past at high speeds with sneaky shower clouds leaping in to wet the ground and dashing away laughing. I would say the sky was half blue sky and there was sun showing between the clouds now and then. This weather report is brought to you by the Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

On the way to Mom’s I stopped at a yard sale I visited yesterday. A whole bunch of giggling tiny TY BEANIE BABIES leaped on me and they started tickling me until I agreed to take them home. I will have to adopt them out, as the teddy bears I already have do not want any competition for my love. 

A shower passed by while I was indoors at a strip mall before I headed to Mom’s. 

At Mom’s I set up the work table, got out my tools and got to work on the snowman bodies I made a couple weeks ago. I used a couple dowels I got yesterday to make arms for them. I used a fine drill to make a starter hole, in the bodies, then a bigger drill to open the hole more, then used a grinding bit the right size to drill into the holes so the dowels would fit inside. I stuck the dowels in the holes, marked the length, then cut them off before dumping glue into the holes and inserting the dowels. I intend to have packages or something in the arms I added so they are straight out. The one body that has the hat, I put the arms to the side and aiming down. 
The figures I was copying had arms turned with some shape, but I am gong the easy way on this, this time. I will do a little carving on them and some will get hair made from yarn. 

My brother needed to get to a grinder so I had pulled a bunch of stuff out. That allowed me to use the lathe, which still had the sanding disk mounted on it, to clean up some oak blocks I had cut that might work as a couple of the presents. 

I was just about finished with the last one when a few drips starting coming down. I rushed to put everything away. I had plenty to do. The table, which was the last thing to put away, was getting nice an wet when I folded it up. 
We sat and talked a short time before the dinner bell rang. 
I headed home after lunch, satisfied I had some accomplishments for the day.

I have ideas for projects for next weekend. I do expect yard sales if the weather is good. Ideas for wood working is coming in fast and furious now that I have actually done something. 

I will see what happens next week. 

Tooth brush rods for crochet hooks

laptop fans


Kitchen knife sharpener

Cast iron pans, jar and chop sticks

drywall tool


To the left are chop sticks I had before. Then comes small skewers, followed by large skewers, and finally new chop sticks.

A combination of stuffies I got from mom last year with some craft stuff and the new teddy bears I got this weekend.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Year 13, Week 43, Day One (week 689)

Year 13, Week 43, Day One (week 689)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-05-15 Saturday

I was warned again, that RAIN does not exist in South Florida. It is officially called LIQUID SUNSHINE. This is by order of the South Florida Department Of Tourism. 
75 degrees early morning 78 in the afternoon. Solid clouds with Liquid Sunshine coming down from a light mist to quite heavy at times, with a break in what is coming down, now and then. Good strong winds drove the water, coming off the roofs, under awnings to wet everything. Plants are singing with joy as they are getting lots of free watering.  This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of tourism.

With the wet weather, there were no yard sales. It did not matter as we had a family gathering at a breakfast Buffet. I was back against the wall of connected tables (Restaurant version of the kids table)  and could not go for thirds. It was enough anyway.

When we got back, I took a long nap after eating like a pig, “oink, oink” Well, actually, I did use silverware so that was not really accurate.......

I finally went outside with the idea of a project. I have to see the dentist later in the month so I thought I would make some crochet hooks, out of tooth brushes I have, for the hygienist who has messed with crochet before. I had a set of ten tooth brushes that had been run through the dish washer just for this kind of project .  
I cut the heads off at the band saw. Then set up my folding work table and got out my carving basket and got to work with my knife. I considered getting out the dremmel, but with the wind was blowing water in onto the table while it was fully under the awning, I decided it was not wise. 

Band-sawed tooth brushes

The rubber texture on one of the tooth brushes had became tacky, so I tossed that one. On the rest, I made the shaft an even diameter from tip to where the handle actually started. I carved away the taper up to the handle so I wanted  much shaft as possible without a whole lot of work. 
I rough rounded the ends with the knife. The more you cut away, the less grinding and sanding will be necessary. 
Next time I get out to work, I need to sand the shafts so they are smooth and even. Then I will use the dremmel cutting disk to make the hooks on them. I plan to use a little bit of power sanding to remove the knife cut edges then a tiny bit of hand sanding. I will have to check the diameters  to the sizing gage for crochet hooks and might need to make a little bit of an adjustment on the diameters.

prepared tooth brushes for crochet hooks. Now for sanding and cutting in the hook.
Notice the water on the table surface. It was blown in about three feet.

Tooth brushes curve from the handle. I made some of these tooth brush crochet hooks before. One can hold the handle in many ways and one can have the hook facing up, down left side or to the right side, in relation to the handle as you would hold it to brush your teeth. I do remember that they all worked, but there was one that I liked better than the others and cannot remember what that is. I am too lazy to dig through my records to find it.
I hope to have these made next weekend so I can go onto another project, which I have many projects in mind.

It is getting near the time I need to design and paint my Christmas Cards. Coming up with a design is tough. It has to be simple but effective. I am still considering my options. Some years I used an ornament I made as the basis for the card. Other years it almost came out of the paint brush. It is so nice to have the cards done weeks ahead of time so they can be given out to people I won’t see later. 

My nephew is getting married tomorrow, so tomorrow is utterly shot for absolutely anything. 
“Not all men are fools, Some are bachelors.”  
“I am waiting for that rich widow to throw herself at my feet and beg me to marry her......”

I will see what happens next week.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Year 13, Week 42, Day One (week 688)

Year 13, Week 42, Day One (week 688)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-27-15 Friday

76 early morning, 81 in the afternoon. Half blue skies, lots of puffs of clouds that were good for looking for shapes in the clouds. The hat-removing strong wind of yesterday calmed down a bit today. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

We went to the Cracker Barrel Restaurant and Country Store. This is the place that has antique stuff hanging from the ceiling. It is always a lot of drool. I mean fun looking at the stuff they have on display. Mom and Dad were pointing out things they used as kids. That was fun. We do have some of the wood working tools that were on display on the walls. Also I have some of the kitchen stuff. In the store, they have cast iron pans on display. They are the new ones they have for sale, but since they could well have been used “back then,” they fit. 

After Breakfast, I had to do some business with several stops. When I got back, Mom and Dad were napping so I laid down also. I woke a couple hours later and decided to head home.
I started the crock pot with Thanksgiving Turkey Bones after I got home and the place smelled great the rest of the day. 

I have several projects I want to work on. I will have to see what happens tomorrow.

Year 13, Week 42, Day One (week 688)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-28-15 Saturday

79 degrees early morning, 85 in the afternoon. I had thought there might be some showers coming in as I saw some dots north of us but they never showed up and became a great day. Saw some good shapes in the clouds. In spite of all the clouds, it was sunny for most of the morning. The breeze was gentle at times, but gusted enough to knock things over at a couple yard sales.  This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

After Breakfast, I went out on my own for yard sailing. The first section I drove through, had nothing. I wondered if the questionable weather might keep people from setting up. Also, since it is a holiday weekend, I figured people might not bother on setting up. 
I was wrong. In the second section of our usual rabbit runs, I found several sales. At one, I found some items that were dirt cheep but usable. One was a cutting board that was coming apart. I figured I might be able to repair it. I left with some good items that can be quite usable. 
At the beginning of the third section, the sale was inside the house. The guy had moved into a house on the Inter-coastal that has mostly glass(windows)  walls. The stuff he had on display was from several of his homes he had all over the country. I saw a drawer set that caused me to drool. The front drawers bubbled out and was filled with inlay. Several of the many paintings were impressive and would be nice to show off on a wall (if I had a bare wall to display them on, that is). There were statuary in various materials that were excellent. The guy doing the selling appeared to be a broker and he told about buying many of these things years ago. 
There was a carousel horse there. It was in good condition. Someone asked the price and I thought it was cheap, but not in my budget. While there was a lot of stuff I would love to have, I walked out without getting anything. There was nothing else in that section or the forth section.
In the fifth section was one yard sale. They guy tends to have a yard sale each month. He had out a cook book I had wanted a few months ago but skipped getting it. He rotates his stock each time so I did not see the book until today. I snapped it up. The book is called INGREDIENTS. It has a picture of everything that is used in cooking and tells what it is and mentions how it is used. It is surprising how much stuff is used in cooking. The pictures are great to look at even if one never used it for cooking.

Sorry the book is sideways

When I got home, I went outside and took the rod I turned all the balls on for snowman ornaments last weekend. I cleared the space in front of the bandsaw and cut the pieces out of the stick. I then used the dedicated disk sander to flatten the bottom and round the tops. 
The disk sander needs a new sanding disk. I could have cleared the lathe and use the sanding disk on that, but decided it was not worth the effort.
I worked glue in the cracks of the cutting board I picked up, and then clamped them as tight as I could. It has to dry overnight before I can see sand it and see how I did.
I set up the table and took out my carving basket and then looked at the project. I realized I needed to go to the drill press, get the dremmel out. Locate my large skewers and cut them to length and glue them into the drill holes, and then take yarn and, after glueing them on the heads and then unravel the yarn into hair....... I decided I was not in the mood to go much farther and packed up. 

The clamped up cutting board with snow figures sitting on it. I never took pictures of them sanded.

After I was done cleaning up, Mom asked me if I wanted to go to the store. We hit Walmart, then the dollar store (like yard sailing but for new stuff) and then went for lunch.

When we got back, I took a nap. I woke thinking about the teddy bears I was making a couple months ago. I dug them out and worked on two of them. One I did the whole face and  finished stuffing it. The second teddy bear already had a nose but I had to add eyes before I finished stuffing it and sewing it up.  I have two more teddy bears to finish up.
It was nice to get these two teddy bears done. The second one did not quite come out right. The ears are not even, but I know it will find some love. 

That finished my day.  I will see what I do tomorrow.

Teddy bears. I fixed the left one, but it still did not come out as well as I had hoped. It will get some love anyway.

Year 13, Week 42, Day One (week 688)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-28-15 Saturday

79 early morning 85 in the afternoon, sunny all day. Shaped Puffs everywhere, good wind made it feel cooler than in the air conditioning. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I sanded the cutting board. I used the sanding disk on my lathe. The dedicated disk sander needs a new sanding disk. It spins extremely fast and tends to be used for just about anything, even stuff one should not use a disk sander for. 
The lathe is a whole lot slower and I can use the whole disk if needed, which I wanted to use for this project. 
My glue job is not the best it could be, but this cutting board is something I can use. What I really needed to do was to pop it apart and re-glue it properly. It could be done some other time but I doubt I will. The separation of the joints was why I got it so cheep. If it really came to it, I could use the wood for other projects, but for now, it is a usable cutting board. 

My brother, I and Dad talked trucks until it was time to go. 

Mom gave me some ideas for Christmas Ornaments, and so did a friend. I usually bring my ornaments to work on December 1st for display. I have no new ornaments this year. I might wait a day or so before I bring them to work. I will work on some ornaments, but mainly for use next year, not planning them for this year. 

I understand there is something going on next weekend with our family so I doubt I will get anything done. 

I will have to see what happens next weekend.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Okay. It's been way too long since my last book review, so let's correct that situation now.

In the now published first draft to what eventually became the beloved classic To Kill A Mockingbird, an adult Jean Louise "Scout" Finch returns to Maycomb, Alabama during her annual vacation from her unspecified job in New York City to an eyeopening revelation of how much has changed in her hometown.

Jean must face altered attitudes towards racial relationships, small town politics, and social perceptions of one's self; while trying to come to terms with the now shattered childhood images of her beloved father Atticus.

Technically, Go Set A Watchman was written first. Harper Lee's editor at the time saw promise within the tale, but was more taken with the flashback sequences of Scout's childhood than the main story. A few rewrites later, Mockingbird was born. With its successful publication history and the acclaimed 1962 movie adaptation starring Gregory Peck, Harper Lee went on record as saying she would never write another novel, considering how well Mockingbird was received.

The original Watchman manuscript was then thought lost, but rediscovered in 2014 when a new lawyer assigned to represent Harper Lee had to take stock of the author's personal possessions after the passing of her sister, who had previously handled all of Lee's professional and personal business. There are those who question the reason(s) behind its publication, especially in light of the fact that Lee still apparently maintains her decades long reclusive lifestyle, although she now resides in a nursing home due to failing health.

After hearing so many differing opinions about this book upon its release, I tried to keep an open mind when I finally had the opportunity to read it recently. The fact that Scout's older brother Jeremy/"Jem" Finch suddenly passed away from the same heart condition that took their mother before the major events of Mockingbird happened was easier to comprehend than Watchman's portrayal of the beloved Atticus.

In my humble opinion, it is better to view this novel as a historical first draft, since not all of Go Set A Watchman's subplots are resolved by the end of the book. One can always go back and reread the more treasured and better written To Kill A Mockingbird later.

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.
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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Year 13, Week 41, Day One (week 687)

Year 13, Week 41, Day One (week 687)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-21-15 Saturday

76 degrees at morning dark. 85 degrees at eleven and at three. A line of radar to the North was supposed to come down over us but stalled out. Lots of ultra high feathery clouds, with sheets and mid level blobs from time to time. Light breeze that did not help or harm. A bit of sun after noon. Showers arrived around Three. I had bathed in the morning so I did not make use of the shower.... This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.


I went to the Gold Coast Wood Turning Club meeting for the first time in several months. There were a number of faces I had not seen before. Also a lot of friendly old time faces too. 
They had project challenge this month. These challenges are where they ask people to work on a project they might not normally don’t work on. The previous meeting has a demonstration on how to do the challenge project. The challenge is limited to work done in the past month. During the meeting, They give a raffle ticket to each person who brings in an item for the challenge and draws a ticket for a gift certificate. This time it was on making ornaments. The work was fantastic, making my best work look amateurish. 

We have what is called an INSTANT GALLERY. The pieces you worked on is on display where people can examine them, handle them, look them over. Then, we have a show and tell where the artists comes up in the middle of the meeting and tells what the project is, types of wood, finishes, why and how they made it, etc.  One can learn a lot from the instant gallery at times. There was a lot of excellent projects on display. along with the ornaments.
I brought the drum sticks I made last week just to have something to show off.  The only thing that caught their attention was the fact that they were made out of Sea Grape Wood.

This month’s  demonstration was on NORFOLK ISLAND PINE. Some people misname it as NorFORK Island Pine. This tree has an several interesting features. The branches grow in a circle, then there is a straight section of trunk, then another ring of branches, and does so up the tree. The knots are harder than the regular wood and have a deep reddish brown color and go to the center. The wood has streaks of colors running through it which gives additional interest, especially when soaked in oil. The wood is also soft. When they were discovered, they thought they would be good for ship’s masts. They found out that the trunks sometimes shattered when felled. Not a strong wood. The branches tend to break off during strong windstorms. South Florida used to have them everywhere, but Hurricane Wilma took down a lot and damaged even more, so people have been cutting them down and not replacing them with new trees. Years ago, I gathered a bunch of the branches and carved pixies out of them. Some I left the bark on for added interest. The inner layer of the Norfolk bark will degrade fast and it does not take long where you can put a slit in it and peel it off in one piece. 
The demonstration explained about how to get the knots in the optimal location and adjust for the ones that are too high or too low for an even pattern. He explained about problems and techniques for turning the wood. As usual during these demonstrations, I always think, “I will always remember that,” and then a few days later wonder what that trick or secret was he showed?”


At work, they found a desk buried in the back room. It was bigger than the one I have. Someone decided it would be better for me to have a bigger desk, and there was just enough room for it to fit at least by the tape measure. Of course, I had to do a lot of work to get the office ready for the new desk.
It is surprising how much stuff there is hidden when you have to move it. My old desk came out of the office easily once I showed them how to do it. The new desk was just a hair too big for the doorway. The guys ended up removing the door and then the molding and then just barely got it in. 
It is also surprising how little extra room a bigger desk gives you. Things don’t fit where had them so you make adjustments. Also, a lot of stuff is not yet where it belongs. That will take a little time to make corrections. It is also interesting that when your computer is shut down and disassembled, people need information on it the most....
My time on my feet would have done me in, but I was able to sit the rest of the day and recover nicely while I did my work. I had my workout for the month.....


After Breakfast, we visited two church sales. At one church yard sale which is run mostly by the priest and he has these often. The money goes for some youth projects the church sponsors. I had my hand on some pink yarn, and a coffee grinder. It dawned on me that I have three or four coffee grinders already, and two life-times supply of yarn and quite a bit in that pink color. I did donate a dollar, even though I did not buy anything. “It was the least I could do, I could not come up with less.” I
probably should have gotten the yarn. One thing that crossed my mind is to go through all my yarn and pick out the stuff I will never use and donate it to some group that knits stuff for donations.

At another church yard sale. I think it is one where people rent spaces from the church. I picked up a pair of loaf pans. I don’t need them but since I am thinking of making bread tomorrow, I figure they won’t go to waste. I examined some cross stitch kits but cannot remember who I had heard do that and I don’t want it in my house.

We stopped at a pair of yard sales next to each other. There was one skein of macrame or rug yarn and I picked that up. Yarn that size is always useful but I also know someone who could use it. That yard sale had two complete sets of dishes each in a different color. They also had a bunch of pans, pots and dishes in original boxes. One would love to get such things but I cannot use them!!! Living alone, I barely use what I have.
Next door was another yard sale, but there was nothing there I could not live without. They did have an exercise machine. I joked that it is a medieval torture device. “Confess or you get ten more minutes.”

We decided to head home after that. Being up beyond my normal bed time on Thursday, working hard on Friday, I decided to make up for missing that sleep by taking a nap. It was about nine thirty.
At eleven, I got up and went out back. I was not absolutely sure about how long the weather would hold out, and since I was working on a low mess project, I only moved the lathe out far enough to enough to get behind it. 
I could not get the jaws to open. I could not quite remember which way to turn the jaws to open them, I tried working it both ways and they would not open to release the drive spur I had left in it. These chuck jaws have a hole in the center when fully closed and I sometimes place the drive spur into that hole and close down the jaws on it, rather than remove the chuck and use the “Morris taper” of the shaft. Since the jaw would not work, I took a rod used for ramming stuck drives spurs when using the Morris Tape and banged on it a bunch of times on the back end. 
The drive spur then popped out and disappeared. I could not figure out where it went. It did not sound like hit the ground, but came to a stop on wood by the sound of it. A while later, I did spot it. It somehow fell into a cubby hole where it should never have ended up.

down by the pvc tube is where the drive spur ended up. 

how the spur got in there is something I will never figure out.

After the spur was out, the chuck worked perfectly. I still do not know if I will remember which way it turns. I need to paint on it arrows. I used to know instinctively, but it has been a while since I used it.

I had lost one point, but made a different one for another use. The cup on the right side on the second row is what I used for the drum sticks. The inverted cone naturally centers the work.

I mounted last week’s drum sticks in the lathe. I used a cup “point” in the tail stock and just stuck the end of the drum stick in the closed jaws of the chuck. The end of the drum stick was bigger than the hole of the closed chuck. 
I started, by chance, with the smaller of the two drumsticks. It had a bad wobble so I could not shave it down enough to get rid of all the wobble, yet keep it a good working diameter, but helped it out a lot. I got it to the same size as the drum stick I was copying and got the striking-end shape better than it was. 
I changed to the bigger drumstick and shaved it down to size and got the shape to match the first one. On both of these, I used a round nosed skew to shave the wood to size. In the places I did it right, almost no sanding was necessary. I did not do it right very often.  I sanded the sticks well before I took them off. While there are flaws showing, the results were good. They could use some more sanding, but I am going to use the excuse, at least at this moment, that the sanding scratches are to keep the sticks from slipping out of your fingers....
With both drum sticks to the right size, I mounted on the lathe a sanding disk I made a few years ago. It uses the 9 inch stick-on sandpaper disks. I white-glued a strip of emery cloth on the edge. The disk was originally a two by twelve yellow pine board which I was going to make into a platter, but instead cut it down to the 9 inch diameter of sand paper diameter. I have a faceplate mounted on the back so I can mount it on the lathe with ease. 

Sanding disk on lathe, rough end of drum stick to be corrected.

With the sanding disk on, I worked the butt end of the drum sticks which I could not reach because of the chuck. 
The drum sticks are petty good. They are about an inch longer than normal sticks but that is usually not a serious problem. I figured that it is easier to cut a drum stick shorter, than it is to cut a drum stick longer.

Finished drum sticks next to the one I was copying.

I was more than ready to pack up, but since I had the lathe out, I decided to make use of the opportunity. I took out a piece of two-by-two and made it into a rod. I then measured out for snow-man shapes, I think I made them three inches tall. I also measured for each ball of the body, each one successively larger to the base. Using the round-nosed skew, I shaped the bodies of the snowmen without hats. I had started half an inch from the end to get away from any problems, such as end checking, and decided to make that excess wood into a hat. 
I had seen on line where someone took figures like these where they made them into old ladies, angels, singers etc. I decided to give it a try since I was already at the lathe.

rod partially turned.

round nosed skew chisel I used for the this project.

It had been a while since I did any turning and I have completely lost a lot of the muscle memory I once had. I am finding this is a bit of a good thing. I am rebuilding my muscle memory. I am doing some things the way I am SUPPOSED TO DO, rather than the way I LEARNED it. 
With wood turning. The proper method is to hold the end of the turning tool against your body and move your entire body, shifting from one leg to the other, rather than use your arms to handle the tool. Your arms wobble bend at the slightest pressures while your body is solid. I was depending on my arms for control before this because I was getting results. Especially with making the rod for the snow men bodies, I moved my body, rocking back and forth on my legs. It is surprising how good the results were. For the balls, I would just have to twist and lift the tool to do the curves. It was a whole lot of fun. I am working more from knowledge of how things are supposed to be done which makes a big difference. It will take time to make it a habit

Project rod where I finished up.

Cleanup was tough on me. I was already on me feet longer than I intended.  I had to walk around to find the broom which just happened to be right next to the lathe all along. When I am on my feet a long time, I hurt all over to the point where picking something off the ground is nearly impossible. Of course, everything kept falling to the ground..... 
The ground swept up and everything put away, I took the rest of the day off.  I felt the day’s efforts for the rest of the day, but having accomplished a lot of stuff, It was well worth it.

I am taking tomorrow off to do some work at home. We have Thanksgiving with several days off. I will see what happens next weekend.

Year 13, Week 41, Day Two (week 687)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-22-15 Sunday

78 degrees most of the morning. Showers from a front passing through, clearing for several hours before returning and leaving again. 81 degrees at four. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Sunrise Florida.

I had decided yesterday to make some bread. Bread and noodles are a couple things I only make when I forget how much effort it is to make them. I still remember the effort it takes for making noodles so I have not made them for quite a while. Bread though, I decided, would be something easy to make and would be a bit of fun. 
This morning, after I got up, I started my first batch of fresh bread. I was out of Semolina flour, so I used regular white flour. I mixed and kneaded it, and then set it to the side to rise. I was getting a clue on how much effort is involved in making bread. 
I then started a second batch. I was given some Sweet Sorghum flour, Oat flour, and coconut flour and a leftover bit of whole wheat flour. I started with half the flour a batch required as a good mixture of them (2/3 cup each). I then boiled some mixed grain (19 different grains) and added that to the dough. I finished up the batch with regular white flour. 
The original recipe I am using was from a 1949 cook book. I heavily modified the recipe. It has no resemblance to the original. Instead of scalding raw milk to kill the enzymes. I use canned milk and don’t bother scalding it. I also add a small can of condensed milk for the sweetness, as I found I like my breads sweet. 
To get the bread to the proper consistency (the wet grains added liquid), I had to add much more flour than normal, creating a much bigger batch than required. 
Once I got the multi grain dough settled and rising, I did something different than what I used to do. I took the first batch of white dough and instead of punching it down to let it rise one more time before placing it in the loaf pans, I put the dough directly in the pans to rise the second and now final time. 
I had to leave the house for a while and knew that would give the dough a good chance to rise..
When I got back, the dough in the loaves had risen to past the tops of some of the pans. The multi grain dough was about to overtop the bowl.
I put the white bread into the freezer for later use and then put the multi grain loaves into pans to rise. I would later remove the dough from the pans (which I lined with plastic first) and put them back in the freezer. This way when I get a hankering for some home made bread, I can just thaw and bake it up rather than go through the effort of mixing and rasing it from scratch.

Much later, I baked up the last tiny loaf I had from a few months ago, and then a tiny loaf from each batch I did today. I always like to know what they taste like in case there is a problem. 
The bread is so good that I am not sharing any of the three loaves. The white bread loaf is the best, but the new multi grain has great flavor. I accidentally used the wrong temperature setting on the old loaf and while it came out all right, it is not as good as it could have but still good.   I am learning through experience, that bread is not something that is really easy to do badly. It is hard, though, to do it great.

While there is a lot of work to bake bread, I totally forgot about all the cleanup that is involved. One never seems to remembers the cleanup. At least I won’t have to do it again for several months or more. The dough is in the freezer. I just have to take it out to thaw and then bake them. 
I do see that the risen dough does collapse a little when frozen. I have no idea how or if these will rise when I take them out of the freezer to thaw. I am not worried about them not rising since I usually don’t do anything with the dough when I take it out, just bake it in the same sized pan I used when  I froze them.

We have Thanksgiving next weekend. Years ago, we had them at my brother’s house and would do woodworking. Now we are having them in a condo so no woodworking can be done. I do get an extra day of projects, so the weekend tend to work nicely on that account.

I will see what happens next weekend. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Year 13, Week 40, Day One (week 686)

Year 13, Week 40, Day One (week 686)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-14-15 Saturday

78 degrees at 10:00 in the morning, 72 degrees at 4:00 in the afternoon. The weather radar real early in the morning showed some showers well off the coast that seemed to be going east, away from land. By nine, showers were coming into land from off the ocean and decided to stay for a visit.  It was around three or four that the rain finally faded away, by then the day was done. The plants are really excited that it got well watered. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism. 

After Breakfast, we headed out to yard sale. Mom said the dark clouds to the north and East looked bad. She decided to cut our normal run short and kicked over into Deerfield Beach since the Library there was having a book sale. Mom felt a couple drops at the first yard sale we found. I did not feel anything. Other than some office supplies this yard sale had children’s stuff. They had a baby fence set up and the kids kept going into and out of it, having all sorts of fun.  I did not buy anything.

The second yard sale was in a breeze way at a condominium. I picked up a square,  cast iron, fry pan. I did not need it but it leaped at me and glued itself to my hands. I had to fork over some money or have them use solvents to get my fingers free...  I like cast iron pans. 

Square Cast Iron Fry pan.

We then got to the library where they had the book sale in the nearby building. They had tables and tables of books. I have no need of books as I seldom look at the ones I have, especially after I have read them once. They had signs showing what types of books they had. In spite having several boxes of paper backs and about 40 feet of tables filled with several rows of hard bound books, did not spot any science fiction or fantasy.  
Since that was out, I drifted to “useful” books. In the arts and crafts section of books, I found a book on pottery. In my wood turning, we can use pottery designs for our wood projects. Good design is good design. I was told that you should not use glass as a design pattern as glass handles light differently and it never comes out the same. Pottery, though is an excellent form to copy. 
I found some joke books that will be useful. I love to share jokes. That is why I want everybody to have my choice of politicians. They are all jokes..... Then I picked up a book on “how it works.”  It is printed in 1971, but still has useful information like how nuclear reactors work, foam plastics, engines, electromagnets, to name a few hundred other subjects. The last of the 5 books is a book on numbers. While some of it is a bit lame, other parts are really good. I ended up reading this entire book during the rainy day.

Books from Library book sale.

The rain really came down while we were shopping for books, but died down so we could get to the car and get home reasonably dry. It picked up later, sometimes becoming a torrential downpour. 

I read, took a short nap, read some more. Worked on one of mom’s computers,  And then napped again. I woke and wanted to go outside with the possibility of working, and the sky opened up, telling me to forget that idea.

There is some stuff that has to be moved out into the open in order for me to even work with the lathe under protection. That is not a good idea for that stuff. It was just not going to be a day to do anything. 

Years ago, I tried an experiment I had seen in a magazine. Take a cube of wood and carve a figurine in it. I carved a frog in one of them. It came out pretty good and that carving became my prince frog, in the “fairy and the prince” carving. 
Last night, I had imagined how to use the bandsaw to remove excess wood to make a the carving the rest of the frog ornament easier. I know of a couple people who would like that design. Because of accumulated stuff in the way where the lathe also has to be pulled out just to get to the bandsaw. Again, the weather also said no to that. 

Fairy and the Frog Prince.Frog was carved from a square. The crown added later.

Other than petting and feed the cat, and petting her some more, I accomplished little that was productive today.

I’ve decided to take tomorrow off. I have some projects to do at home which includes napping a few times. 

I will see what happens next weekend.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Year 13, Week 39, Day One (week 685)

Year 13, Week 39, Day One (week 685)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-07-15 Saturday

78 degrees early morning 92 in the afternoon. Loads of cloud puffs in the morning with Southern dots of rain, blue sky in the afternoon. Light breeze almost unnoticed. Because of the time change, the sky was almost light enough to not need headlights. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

After breakfast, we hit a few yard sales. One was nearby, but the lady was just getting her stuff out.  I glanced through a few of her boxes and did not see anything I could live without. My problem was that I don’t decorate. She had books and a couple seemed interesting, but I really don’t have time to read the books I have, let alone other reference books. 
We went to a set of yard sales in the yachting part of town. Both sides of the road was lined with two story mansions. Drool-worthy homes, to say the least, and that is just on the outside. Two yard sales were across the street from each other. Not much there. One has to look “just in case”
The properties are wide. Three to four times the width of normal properties. I saw that the other yard sale was “Just a few houses” up the road. I decided to walk there rather than get into the car and ride with mom while she turned around and drove up there, which she had to do anyway. It turned out to be a longer walk than I expected. I needed to do some walking, but.... Mom arrived not too much after I did.
I found a pair of the tubes for making shaped breads. I have seen them at other yard sales at other times. I just never decided to get them. Out of curiosity, I asked the price. She did not have a chance say another word other than Thank You, as I handed her my money. The instructions say they come in a set of three. A heart shape, a star shape and a ripple shape. The star shape is missing, I don’t mind. With these, you put your dough in the tubes and then bake them. The dough expands and fits the shape of the tube. One can then cut them into decorative slices of bread. I periodically make bread so this is something I might try.

Bread tubes, heart shaped and rippled.

A church had a craft fair. I seldom buy anything at these but it is fun to see the skills and imagination of these crafters. One woman made outfits for Barbie style dolls and for Teddy bears. They had trees of hand made ornaments. One that was interesting was they took the tiny decorative pots, hung them upside down and painted them to look sort of like a snowman. Another I liked was where they took a golf ball, added a long golf tee to the bottom like an icicle, and then painted a face on it. It was actually cute. Other ornaments were nice, but I was looking for ideas for me to make. That craft fair was nice to go through. They also had “do nots” I mean donuts for sale.... I am not into sweets.

When we got home, I decided to lay down. I laid for about half an hour and napped for about ten minutes Then decided I needed to do some work outside.

After petting the cat, pulling out my lathe and all the stuff that was in the way, sharpening some tools, I tackled the two Sea Grape rods I had for drum sticks.
My memory for how to sharpen tools was a whole lot better this time. A couple tools I sharpened, needs more work, but I was able to get several edges to where they were usable. It is surprising how one week improved my memory. 
I mounted the first rod onto the lathe and worked it down to the proper diameter. I started at the tail stock and made my way toward the head stock. I tested a couple tools and chose a tool with a flat top and a rounded nose that seemed to work best at sheering the wood off. At the start it was easy as the wood was held firm and steady, but as I got to the middle, the rod started flexing under the pressure of the tool. It also started vibrating.  The vibrating creates ripped surfaces which are not pretty.
What I need is what is a device called a Steady Rest. This is basically a frame with two or three wheels aiming towards the center. You set the wheels to a rounded piece of work so that when you apply pressure to the work, the work does not flex. The wheels hold it in place. If I had that, the work would stay straight and not vibrate. Other than constantly having to relocate the steady rest for where I want to work, it would make the work faster and better. I know how to make one, but given a choice of working on a steady rest or a project, the project always wins.
From the time I decided to get up from my nap, until the first rod was the right diameter and rough sanded, was an hour. I sat down for a couple minutes to rest, and then decided I might as well get the second rod done so I can say I did something today. I was already over-doing it for my physical condition.  It was an effort to pick up something that fell to the ground. I set up the second rod and started working on it to get it down to size. I finished it about twenty minutes later. Some very recent experience helped. 
I did have the problem that the rods would flex, the tool would go beneath it, and get dragged into the work in. My left hand, being closest to the work, would get pulled against the work. Ouch. Try as I might, I could not quite prevent that from happening once in a while. I would get some wood off, then the work would bounce up and in came the tool. A steady rest would have prevented that problem, of course. I did though, get both pieces to close to the right diameter. 

We went out to the Chinese buffet for lunch. I avoided over eating for once. I knew exactly what I wanted.
When we got back, I went right back outside and since the weather was good, I remounted each rod, rather than cleaning up immediately, and shaped the tips. On one, I made a mistake and broke the striking end of the drum stick. I made the other drum stick and got the end shaped right. After some thought, I disk-sanded the end flat until I was past the splintered wood, and then fitted it into the tail stock (the whole stick was now shorter). Luckily, I had more wood excess left on the handle end that I had not needed but also not had removed, so I worked the wood back until I had the proper length. I then shaped the tip so it was close to the other drum stick’s ends. 
One problem I found was that the wood had developed a wobble in the process, which changed over time, and that made it hard to get it really smooth and straight. 
I will say that at the moment, I am at that level of woodworking that 32 grit sandpaper was invented for. Heavy sanding can correct all sorts of blunders as long as you are willing to sand and sand and sand..... After I had the sticks shaped, I bandsawed the excess wood off and sanded the ends smooth. 
I tested them at night and found the sticks. They are a bit too fat and the ends don’t bounce right on the drums. I need to re-mount them in the lathe and clean them up. My tail stock has many kinds of removable points, some that have points that stick in, some are shaped to cup the work. I need to use a cup type point that goes to an angle inside – self centering. The handle end will go into the chuck to spin it and I should be able to remove the excess diameter and should correct some wobble errors that they have.

he two drum sticks along with the end that I broke.

I definitely over-did it today. I still have a way to go to build up my strength and endurance.  I do figure that the more I do, the stronger I should get. 

I will have to see what shape I am in tomorrow. I would like to work on the drum sticks but will have to see what happens.

Year 13, Week 39, Day two (week 685)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
11-08-15 Sunday

78 degrees at about 10. Never checked the afternoon temps. Heavy puffy clouds with a few dots of rain rushing by in various places to the south early morning. It was dry where I was. The clouds spaced out quite a bit in the afternoon and seemed continuously sunny. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism. 

My brother came up and since I was recovering from yesterday, we just sat and talked. We did check a few things out on my truck. He made some suggestions of what I should get in case of an emergency and to be able to do more with it.. 
He is trying to get rid of some materials he accumulated so he says he will see about making a new cart for my lathe, but will use aluminum. He needs practice on welding aluminum anyway. We need to eliminate the wood I have used for the cart as the bugs are loving it.. 

I will have to see what happens next week.