Friday, January 1, 2016

Year 13, Week 46, Day One (week 691)

Year 13, Week 46, Day One (week 691)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-26-15 Saturday

Fast moving clouds, dry, strong wind with gusts tugged at hats, 79 in the morning, 84 in the afternoon. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

During the Week.

I finished lettering all my cards on Wednesday. Some I gave out on Monday and was adding interior stuff as I was giving them out. I somehow misplaced about ten cards. Either I gave them to people I’ve forgotten or I lost them. I have no idea which. I did keep two cards for my collection, where I have a copy of most of the cards I have made to date. 

My Christmas cards for this year. This is only part of what I had made.

We gather on Christmas Eve and open presents so the kids have all Christmas morning to play with their toys. If the parents have to go to visit someone else, they can go on Christmas day but the kids already have toys to play with. 
I did not think I had enough presents to give everybody so the day before, I stopped at the dollar store and got some items. Since the kids were teens, I started the practice of giving money as the gift, but adding something inexpensive for them open as presents. Many times, the small items turned out to be great gifts for them. I’ve continued it since they became adults
After the presents were open, an In-law with her kids arrived. I had brought a few extra things because I was thinking I missed someone or did not pack something in the gifts. Early this year, I was given, by mom, some craft stuff that included some stuffed animals. Sorting through them after I got the beany babies a couple weeks ago, I chose to give the ones I did not want to keep. I had just a few left on Christmas Eve. I let her kids choose their stuffed animal and gave her a dish cloth I had made. What really made Christmas for me was her littlest one, two or three years old, was walking around all evening long clutching a panda bear he picked out. For me, that was the best thing that happened that night. 


We knew there would be few, if any, yard sales, so we did not even try to look for them. We instead went to the stores. I got good exercise at Walmart, basically going around the perimeter. I dodged some desperate yarn in the craft craft. I don’t think they were quite awake yet as it was morning and their timing was off. I ignored the pleading of some ornamentation that could go onto my carvings. I did rescue a couple pieces of white felt, that I have ideas for. I picked up a few items along the way as I circled the store. My biggest complaint is that none of the stores carried pumpkin-spice coffee that one can brew this year. I have seen K cups and Tea, but coffee, no. I did find some pumpkin-spice instant coffee mix and am using it like a creamer, using just enough to get the pumpkin spice flavor (I usually don’t use creamer because I am not a barbarian......).

Later in the day, I went to the dollar store and found some of the same things that I purchased at Walmart, but for a dollar rather than six. I got more anyway even though I don’t need it. I love the dollar store because it is like yard sailing, but with new stuff. I also got some craft ideas for later....

I went out back and set up the table, dremmel and carving basket. I dug through some bags I had and sorted them. Someone asked me a few months ago to make a cross for him. A tiny one for a necklace. I selected a piece split from Sea Grape that I had, that was about the right size. I thinned, squared and straightened it with knife and sanding disk. I then drew out the dimensions and used the dremmel to cut it. I had to do some hand sanding to clean it up. I did not like the looks of it. It was not straight and square.  I knew I could do better.  I dipped it in some old varnish and it took all day to dry The varnish needs to be thinned a little. I prefer wipe-on poly, but this was Spar varnish. It was at hand at the moment.
I took a chunk of sea grape that was about three inches long and about an inch and a half wide and thick. It had some bark on it. I first split off the bark using an hatchet and hammer. I then split off a second piece. I see I can get more out of that piece but each one will be less wide which might not be a problem. Splitting it parallel to the bark allowed the pieces to be fairly even in thickness. 
I took both pieces to the disk sander and started by sanding off the bark, getting that side flat, then flattening the split side. I sanded both sides of the other piece, and squared both pieces. Satisfied, I sat down and measured out the size of the crosses. I made the “boards” about the same thickness as the wood was.
Using a cutting blade in the dremmel, I cut the excess wood off, leaving the line and a little bit more.  Errors in technique basically made the width about right. After lots of sanding and cleaning, I got the crosses where I wanted them. 
I had found that a brad (a tiny nail) made for a good drill bit for eye-hook starting holes and I drilled the tops of the crosses and then added the eye hooks. I liked the shape of the second two a lot better than the first one (Editorial note, my friend took the first cross I made. I think because it was smaller).

Several weeks ago, I had picked up a package that contained  set of four metal crochet-hooks. I decided I needed a handle on them to make them easier to use and less likely to get lost. I had a rod of oak I had made either for a crochet hook or for a handle, I forgot which. As a crochet hook, it would need a handle and would be a very big crochet hook. 
I measured half way on the rod, which did not match any number I had on my rulers, and then cut that, then measured each piece in half and cut them (there ended up some difference in lengths not noticeable unless you compare them). I tried a succession of drill bits but after drilling the tiniest drill bit, the next size kept wandering. I used my brad, which was a little bigger than my smallest drill bit and that got me to where my larger bits would work. The final hole was slightly bigger than the crochet hooks, but I used a lot of glue to fill the gap. 

Several weeks ago, I had turned some snowman bodies and then put dowels into them as arms. Since I had the dremmel out and plugged in, I put a flap sanding disk on the dremmel and did a little bit of cleanup. I really should have done that on the lathe, but if I remember right, I was at the edge of my endurance for that day. I did some correcting on parts of the surface, but there was places that the sander could not get to. I will have to do some hand sanding. I do plan to carve these so some of the corrections can be done with the knife.

I have hopes for tomorrow, but will see who has what planned.

crochet hook handles and crosses I made. 

Year 13, Week 46, Day Two (week 691)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-27-15 Sunday

85 degrees, lighter winds than yesterday, a few dots of showers but they were gone before they were really noticed and none during the time at Mom’s house. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

A couple weeks ago, I got some plastic tool / fishing boxes. I had considered giving them as presents, but that did not happen. My truck has storage beneath the back seat. My metal tool box would not fit. It was too tall. Out of curiosity, I checked and found the plastic tool boxes did fit beneath the seat. That is fantastic. I transferred my tools to them. One box is double walled so it does not hold as much as it looks like it should. The contents of the big box filled both small boxes. I had to leave the trays out. The metal box went into my shed. I might find a use for it later. Getting those tools out of the way was great. 

My brother and nephew came up. Before lunch, I did some more sorting of bags while we were talking.  After lunch, we were catching up on old times. I did go out and put everything away, then a while later, called it a day as I had stuff to do at home while they were still talking.

I do not know if there will be any yard sales next week. I have several ideas of projects as to what to work on. Some of it will depend on the weather. This has been a fairly wet year this year and that has made working outside a bit tough. This is our traditional  dry period and we have not had very much dry weather. Usually they are already talking about water conservation by this time of the year. 
I have ideas for Christmas ornaments that I was supposed to have made this year. I think I might make them for next year and if I come up with more near the end of the year, all right. I have three designs in mind already. Will see if there are more that show up. It is nice to get back into working wood, even it if is little things. 

I will see what I do next weekend.

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