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.