Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Carving Knife

A friend who has arthritis in his hand wanted a new small carving knife for carving details in cottonwood bark. I decided to use a small knife blade made from small pen file. I felt that a larger, fatter handle would be more comfortable for my friend. Here is the step-by-step process that I went through. The first photo is of the knife made from a pen file.
This photo is of the blade and a drill bit. Notice that the drill bit diameter is a little larger than the knife shank.
I selected a piece of walnut for the handle. I made a pattern of the handle profile, and traced the pattern on the walnut blank. The handle is ready to cut out.
Cut out the handle, but leave a flat bottom at the end of the handle. Set the handle blank on a flat surface, locate the center of the blade end of the blank. At the marked center, drill the hole to accept the knife blade shank.
Without the blade in the handle, rough shape the handle. I use a drum sander in a rotary tool.
Wrap the handle and the cutting end of the knife blade with masking tape. This will protect the wood and the cutting surface of the knife from the epoxy. Mix up the epoxy and put come into the hole in the handle. Roll the knife blade shank in the epoxy and push it into the hole. Position and align the blade and let cure.
After the epoxy has cured, remove the masking tape and finish sand the handle. Apply any type of finish you want.
The idea here was to create a detail carving knife that would be more comfortable to use, when your hands might be tired or sore. I think carving with the fatter handled knife after using smaller ones will achieve the goal.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting Old!

Every now and then when I look into the mirror, I see an old guy lookin back at me. Some folks say the process of getting old is gradual. I'm not so sure of that. What about the time when a guy looses 12 - 15 pounds over night? Any ol guy readin this will know what I am talking about. You go bed and everything is normal. You look the same (pretty much) as you usually do. You wake up the next day and get dressed, but your pants are too loose. You think,"wow! that's neat. You go down to eat breakfast, and mention it to your wife. Your wife takes one look and starts to giggle, and states, "your butts gone". You say, "what", and go look into a mirror. And sure enough, your pants are loose and flat in the back where your butt used to be.

That is one of the first signs of old age. And it happens over night.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A New Challenge That I Have Accepted

On another blog my daughter and another quilter have accepted a challenge to make 100 little doll quilts in a year (next year). Well, my daughter challenged me to do the same thing. There's no way I could ever get 100 little doll quilts done in a year. So, not wanting to appear to be a slacker, I said, "I'll carve 100 Santa ornaments and/or pins". That's not so many to carve. Besides I'll get better with the practice. Suddenly it occurred to me, "what will I do with 100 carved Santa's"? My next thought was to somehow work them into my Blog. I thought that someone might be able to use the Santa's in some way to help make Christmas better for others. At that point my mind quick working, and I hit a dead end. But when one is writing an entry on a Blog there never is a dead end.

So, this is what I am proposing. I will carve 100 Santa's. I will donate them to someone who will put the Santa's to use helping others. What I need from the readers of this Blog who wish to participate, is a description of how you would put the Santa's to use helping others. I will post those ideas, and you all can then help me select the "winner".

Friday, December 26, 2008

An Old Friend

Spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day East of Cleveland, Ohio - smack dab in the middle of the lake effect snow belt. However, this year very little snow, just rain, ice and all associated yuck. Was at my daughters house, where I got reacquinted with a rag flannel quilt I made several years ago. This is the quilt where you cut the top flannel and bottom flannel squares, and then cut the batting. Then you sandwich the three together and machine quilt the individual squares. As soon as you get enough you sew the squares together with the one inch seams open to the top, where they will fray. This is a super easy quilt to make. And when the outside temperature is around 38 degrees and pouring rain this is the quilt to wrap up in.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tole Painted Santa

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas. This hand painted fellow is perfect. Several years ago my wife decided to take a tole painting class. I think this might have been her first project. I also think that it is excellent. A great example of tole painting. I thought maybe I could talk her into painting some of my carvings. If you have looked closely at my painted carvings I am sure you can tell that I have not been successful.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Ornament Swap

I am a member of Woodcarving Illustrated magazines message board. Several members have participated in the annual Christmas Tree Ornament swap. This Christmas wreath is decked out with the hand carved ornaments that have been sent to me. This swap is different from the doll quilt swaps. If there are 20 members participating in the swap, you have to carve 20 ornaments and send them out. Of course, the really neat thing is that you 20 back. I think you'll agree that there are some very fine carved ornaments here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Forty some years ago I learned that my wife was not a morning person. That meant no prepared breakfasts for me. Well, for the past 18 years I have been driving down the road to a local diner owned and operated by three Greek brothers, for my breakfast. Before they had the diner they had a bar, which I also was known to visit. By now I know these fellows well. In fact several of us have grown old during this time. For years whenever conversations at the diner got around to crooked politicians, welfare cheaters, and other local misfits the Greek brothers would say "to The Hole with them". It wasn't long before someone asked what they were talking about. They explained that in the Greek history of Sparta (which is the region they are from) they had a bottomless hole. And that into this hole they threw all their enemies, crooked leaders, and anyone who could not or would not contribute to their society. The "hole" was featured in the current movie "THE 300". Anyway, the Greek brothers were raised with threats of "To the Hole" if they did not behave.

This simple carving of "The Hole" , plus a bottle of excellent Greek Brandy is my Christmas present for the brothers. Now , when confronted with an unpleasant customer they can just point, instead of muttering "To the Hole".

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Traditions?

Well, the holiday season is upon us. To a lot of us this means Christmas. And Christmas means a lot of different thing to us also. Among what Christmas means is family and traditions. Traditions being those things that memories are made of. As I look around me, I see what might be the birth of new traditions. I hope what I see don't all become traditions. My memories and traditions might be replaced with the "new".

* Mine!

*Family goes outside and spends time together picking out a Christmas tree then cuts it down.
To many times now, mom goes to the basement and brings up the predecorated artificial tree.

*Everybody gathers around the radio, record player, or Grams piano and listens to Christmas songs.
Now kids are in their rooms or elsewhere, with things plugged into their ears, listening to who knows what.

*Family loads up the car with presents and heads to Grandpas and Grandmas house.
Too many now just give em a call on the cell, or Instant Message.

*Not too long ago kids still wanted lots of things for Christmas, but only really asked for 1 or 2.
Kids today ask for everything they saw on TV and probably expect it too.

*Church on Christmas Eve.
Each family member watching a different DVD.

*Mom, dad, the whole family making and decorating cookies.
Buy an assortment at the bakery.

I like my memories better!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fridays Blog topics - all dried up!

I have run out of ideas for todays posting. Nothing happened today that would be of any interest to anyone, unless they had a sewer plant being built across the road from their house. I just spent the day in meetings on that issue. My daughter said take the day off. To that I said "won't the Blog police come after me for not posting?" Sorry, I'll have to stir the pot tomorrow, to see what comes to the surface.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I should have asked, someone should have told me! But, alas! nobody said a word. Everybody let me discover that RICK-RACK shrinks when it is sewn. And Kelly, if you're readin this; I am also holdin you responsible too. After all it was you who sent me the fabric and the rick-rack to be made into a doll quilt. However, in defense of Kelly, she did send some ribbon too and left the choice up to me. But I was never warned about rick-rack.

First, I tried to sew it on with the machine. I couldn't even keep the stitches within the edges of the rick-rack. It became evident that maybe one must hand sew the rick-rack on. Okay, I can do this. I pinned the rick-rack around an inner border and left about one inch overlap at the end, then cut it. Found some yellow thread that matched the rick-rack and started hand stitchin it on. No problem. It takes a while, but still no problem. No problem until I get to the end and find out that while you hand stitch rick-rack it shrinks. It has ended up one 1/2 inch short.

I tried pullin my hair out, but well, it's already bout all out. What'll I do?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Small Stuff!

Just how far does a genetic predisposition go between parents and their children? We all know that a predisposition for certain medical conditions can be passed on to children. We can all see evidence of physical characteristics too. Most kids looks just like one or both of their parents. But does a predisposition also include things like likes And dislikes, interests, etc, etc. I say YES!

When I began to carve, I soon found out that I preferred to carve "small".

When my daughter started making quilts, she soon found out that she preferred making quilts that were composed of very small squares. You can judge the size of the log cabin squares in this large lap quilt by comparing them to the ruler.

And the doll quilt is only about 8 inches square in total. I just wonder how many other "predispositions" exist. Lets hope just the "good" ones.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

At The Senior Center

Every Tuesday morning I go to the local Senior Center and meet with a group of others and carve. This Tuesday was no different. This first photo is of a Cottonwood Bark carving in process. This carving will be Gnome Houses, carved to look like they were made from stones and rocks. Cottonwood Bark is a soft woody fun thing to carve.
This second photo is of two carved spoons.

This is what happens when you drop a wood spoon on the floor. A job for super glue, for sure.
Nope, this one is not carved wood. This is limestone. One of the fellows carved this. He's real fine wood carver, now it looks like he's a fine stone carver too.
Since this blog is titled Quilting and Carving, thought I'd add this photo. As I walked into the senior center this morning, these quilts were displayed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gift Cards!

Lets hear it for gift cards! Hip Hip Hooray! Not enough time to be a serious shopper. Not enough good gift ideas to be a serious shopper. Too many problems with shopping, trying to determine what gift will be liked. Lets hear it for gift cards! Hooray!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Banned From The Mall

We have a rather large and modern Fashion Mall in our area. I only go to this mall twice a year. Once when daughter and grand daughter visit in the summer and once at Christmas time. Well the other day was the Christmas trip. Had some last minute presents to get. My wife did, I haven't started yet. After this last trip I don't think they'll let me in the Mall again. Both the Mall management and my wife are probably drawing up papers right now. I just don't understand it. How can I be insensitive, I was just trying to be helpful. Here's the rest of the story:

My wife went into Sephora (expensive makeup store) and I choose to sit in the mall area and wait for her. I didn't want her to feel rushed, with me lookin over her shoulder. I selected a bench kinda in front of the Victorias Secret store. There were a lot of girls and women going in and out. I mean a lot of younger girls in line to get in. I noticed that more than half of these young girls were a tad bit on the big size. All I wanted to do was keep them from being so disappointed, when I told them that there wasn't a long line at the Lane Bryant shop. Oh! and then there was issue of me telling the clerk in the Hollisters shop that she could hear us and see us if she turned the music down, and turn some lights on. I don't really want to go back anyway. Just walking by the kids play area was enough for me to get some kid cooties and a sore throat and ear ache.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bag The Presents

Every year during the Christmas season, folks know what presents are from me, before they are handed out. There is usually some snickering, and a little outright laughing, because of the way that I have wrapped them. It seems that I always do a messy job of it, with way too much tape. The corners are all messed up with extra folds and wrinkles. I never realized that it was just like making a bed with hospital corners, until right now. I usually have to splice a piece of extra wrapping paper, to cover part of the gift, because I cut the paper too small. BUT NOT THIS YEAR! Last year after Christmas, Walmart was closing out their fabric in a smaller local store. All fabric was $1.00 a yard, but Christmas fabric was $ .50 a yard. I bought yards of the stuff, and have cut and sewn it into large and smaller draw string bags. I have three different sizes of bags to use. Now I just have to be sure that the present in the bag is worth more than the bag itself. I am also considering adding a tag to the bag that reminds some of the folks that the bag can be recycled. It could even be recycled next Christmas with a present for me. I doubt that I could get away with that. But there better not be any more snickering and laughing at the way I wrap presents.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bah Humbug.......Maybe!...

I am lucky if I get todays posting done. Do the words frantic, busy, behind, hopelessy behind, over committed, frenzied, etc.; ring any bells. How many days until Christmas???How much work do I have to get done before I can even think about Christmas? It's no wonder I'm beginning to get the Bah Humbug thoughts.

I know what a nervous breakdown is, I know what a physical breakdown is; but is there anything kinda inbetween the two?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Last Santa Ornament Order Done

Hopefully this is the last bunch of Santa Christmas tree ornaments that I'll have to carve this year. I lost track of how many I carved for this Christmas season, but it was several hundred. Actually, these are not going on a tree; at least at first. Customer will first use them as pendants.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

ALTO'S Quilt Cut 2

When in California, my daughter give me her Alto Quilt Cut 2 system. She would rather just go back to the basics and use a mat, straight edge, and a rotary cutter. This system comes with a 41 page instruction manual and a DVD. Now, being a male I'll do anything to keep from having to read the manual. Watching a DVD is totally out of the question. Anything that is so complicated, that one must watch television to understand it, is just wrong.

So, I am asking if any reader has used this system for cutting quilt fabrics. If so, please leave me a comment and any tips on its use.

To show my appreciation, all comments received by Friday December 12th will be put into a hat and one pulled out; with the winner having won a hand carved Santa Tree Ornament.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Voyager 17, Update

I am happy to report that the adjustments made to the Voyager 17 seem to have solved the problems that my daughter was experiencing with the machine from the beginning. Here is a full sized quilt that was quilted, using five bobbins of thread. Daughter reports that there were no problems with the Voyager 17 during this three hour effort.
She quilted the quilt with a medium meander stitch pattern, as can be seen in these two photographs. Just click on the photo for a close up.

Now , we'll just keep our fingers crossed, that the adjustments have indeed solved any problems with the machine. Several readers have contacted me regarding what I did to solve the two major problems we were having with the machine. The first, being thread shredding. The second being the thread tension and its inconsistency. If the adjustments that I did hold, I'll post a description of what I did.
By the way! That's a great looking quilt. You can tell my daughter likes the scrappy look, as well as the log cabin block. Well done kiddo!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

First Snow 2008

While in California, winter arrived at home. First, it was just cold, then last night the first bit of snow. The first two things that I noticed was that the snow covered up the leaves that I did not get raked up, and the conditions are getting right for me to begin to get into the spirit of the Holidays. But there is still lots of stuff to do. A new order of carved Santa's, a doll quilt to complete for a swap, three book shelves to make and finish, a Christmas woodcarving exchange carving to complete, Christmas shopping, change oil in car, maybe have windshield replaced (stone on trip), a cottonwood bark Santa to finish for a customer, plus all the stuff that I have put off for over a year, that I promised myself I'd do this year. Not a chance! Maybe I'll give myself an industrial sized dumpster for Christmas; and start throwing stuff out. Nobody accumulates more stuff than I do.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Observations From Driving Across the USA

First of all, I like to drive. I hate to fly. I am not afraid to fly, I just don't like it. The following is a final recap of driving across the country. Just some of my observations. There is no order, no hidden meanings, just what ever pops into this tired ol head; and manages to come out the two fingers that I type with.

1. Nobody except me drives the speed limit.
2. There are fewer and fewer professional truck drivers these days.
3. Even truck drivers seem to drive with a cell phone in their hand all the time.
4. There are more and more female truck drivers every day.
5. The price of gasoline is the cheapest in Missouri.
6. Nine out of 10 customers that are seen in a McDonalds are grossly over weight.
7. Fat teenagers out number thin teenagers ten to one.
8. You can gain 8 pounds in one week by eating breakfast and lunch at McDonalds.
9. No teenagers in the USA ware coats anymore.
10. Flashing roadway sign in NM "DWI BLITZ - COPS EVERYWHERE"
11. In NM, at freeway cross-overs there are signs that say "FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY"
But, there are also signs at those cross-overs that say "WRONG WAY", "DO NOT ENTER"
Does this mean that the cops in NM get confused and go the wrong way on the freeway?
12. If there are only two trucks on the road, they will be trying to pass one another in front of you, while going up a hill.
13. The signs that warn of a "SAFETY CORRIDOR" where fines are doubled, has nothing to do with SAFETY. It's just a way to get more money in fines.
14. When signs that warn of ROADWORK AHEAD, HIT A WORKER - GO TO JAIL, does a "worker" have to be working to qualify? I doubt it, it seems that there are always 4 or 5 "workers" standing around while one might be working. What if a worker wanders in front of you and gets hit? Do survivors go to jail?
15. I have discovered what happens to all those sand bags that highway workers weight the signs down with, once they are done with them. They recycle them as motel pillows.
16. Count on a stone being kicked up and breaking a windshield (at least 50% of the time).
17. Since when do motels allow dogs in the rooms? I'll start asking for a non pet room as well as a non smoking room from now on. I wonder if you can do that?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sewing Machine Switch-over

When in California I delivered a very nice Singer Featherweight sewing machine to my daughter. I acquired this machine several years ago, and was supposed to take it to her last year. But, being an ol man, I forgot to pack it. Not this year. For those that have one of these fine machines you all know that it comes with a foot that is quite narrow. If you want to use the foot as a guide when assembling squares you'd have an 1/8 inch seam.
I switched the foot from the White Jeans Machine with the Featherweight smaller foot. The Jeans Machine foot is wider and great for use as a guide for the 1/4 inch seam. These feet seem to be interchangable.

The Featherweight smaller foot on the Jeans Machine, can be used fine with the tape on the machine, to form a 1/4 inch guide for the standard quilt square seam. Or the smaller foot can be used when my daughter makes the small doll clothes that she makes.

Now here's the big boy! The Voyager 17 long arm quilting system with the cruise control, and everything else. This is the machine that I think I beat into submission. I originally thought that this machine was a female machine. Female machines are very difficult to get adjusted, and almost never stay in adjustment. But after I checked the serial number I was dismayed to find it was a male machine. That's why I had to "beat" it into submission. Once this machine gets into, and stays in adjustment it can be real fun to drive. Hopefully, we have come up with a set of our own instructions and fixes, that are an improvement to the ones that came with the machine.
All in all, daughter has a first rate set of tools, to match her first rate quilting.


There's no place like home! An uneventfull trip. That's just what I wanted. Perfect weather all the way from Southern California to Ohio. No snow, no rain, no ice, no speeding tickets. Although I could have caused all kinds of trouble for us, if my wife had not insisted that I just shut up and go with the flow. As soon as one passes into Indiania you are greeted be signs that announce the speed limit as 70 mph, and a plea to REPORT IMPAIRED DRIVERS, DIAL *54. Since I was driving the speed limit, and everyone else on the road was passing me I wanted to dial *54 and report each of those drivers as driving impaired - reading impaired, at least.

More, later!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Packing Up For The Drive Home

After one quick week visiting daughter in southern California, we're packing up for the the drive back to Ohio. The packing will include the following:

1. Ulmer Quilt Frame. Daughter loaning it to me since she has a longarm quilting machine for any larger quilting projects.
2. Three bags a clothes that grand daughter has outgrown. Hopefully will fit another grand daughter back in Ohio.
3. Christmas presents that were purchased in California.
4. More fabric that was purchased in California.
6. Lots of ribbon that was purchased in an fabric and trim remnant store.
7. Lots of chocolate.

We don't have too much room this trip. We drove the Toyota Rav 4 because it gets better mileage than the van. While at daughters house I was able to do the following:

1. Make some adjustments to her long arm quilting machine to reduce thread shredding.
2. Go through several adjustments to the long arm quilting machine to begin to understand how to properly adjust the upper and lower thread tension.
3. Learn to properly load the quilting machine with the quilt top, batting, and backing.
4. Quilt one large quilt top on the machine.
5. Re-write the instructions on adjusting and loading the long arm quilter in simple easy to follow language, supported by step-by-step drawings.
6. Carve several Christmas tree ornaments
7. Nearly complete my "Quilt In A Bag" doll quilt for the swap.
8. Pick up some new fabric.
9. Buy some Christmas presents for folks back home.
10. Have fun with daughter, son in law, and grand daughter.
11. Meet and have lots of fun with Cooper their one year old Picardy Shepard 62 (Winn Dixie dog)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Continuing Adventures with a Long Arm Quilting Machine

First and foremost! People with high blood pressure, no patience, and only two hands and suspect eye sight have no business trying to set up, adjust, and operate a long arm quilting machine. After finally adjusting the machine to not shred thread, and where the quilt back was without loops and rats nests I loaded the quilt sandwich, and was ready to quilt. Loading the three layers of the quilt is where one would benefit by having two extra hands. Made a few test stitches and found everything to be perfect and ready to go. WOW, WOWEE! This was fun, fun, fun. Quilted about ten inches of the top and it looked really professional. Then all of a sudden the machine started looping thread stitches on the back of the top. The tension had loosened up considerably. This cannot be natural. I only have two more days to figure this thing out. But when it works properly it's real fun. My hope is to finish the one quilt top, Then figure out why the thread occasionally gets shredded, and why it won't hold the proper thread tension; and load another top on for my daughter to complete after I leave for home.

Yippee! I think I've got it. Crap, I also thought I had it yesterday too. But maybe this is the time. After considerable un-sewing (quilting), lots of adjustments, I got it done. I hope I have learned enough to leave some simplified directions for set up, adjustments, and operation, so that my daughter will have more success with the machine. The instructions that came with it assume way too are just plain lackings. Example: while many photos are used, they show quilting with a light colored thread on a light colored fabric. That just photographs great for contrast and clarity. Also, the printed instructions are not always on the same page as the photos that they attempt to explain.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Work and Play

Since we discovered that JO ANNS was closed on Thanksgiving Day, we had to postpone buying quilt batting until today. So my daughter and I walked to a Michaels at 7 am to purchase some batting. A 20 minute brisk walk there and 20 minute back. Good exercise. Used a 25% 0ff coupon. Ready now to set up long arm quilter to quilt a full sized quilt. Also spent some time yesterday working on my QUILT IN A BAG SWAP QUILT for my swap partner. I plan to finish up this swap quilt except for the binding, today.

Some continuing observations about southern California. I think I have discovered Arnolds plan for increasing the fitness levels of the citizens. Crossing 4 and 6 lane streets is absolutely impossible during the limited time the walk signal is on; unless one runs. I don't know what you would do if you walked and stopped on the median island in the center of these streets. The plan must be working for some, because I saw no one still stranded.

More later....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Buddy

Here's a photo of my new buddy, Cooper. He's my daughters one year old Picardy Shepherd (Winn Dixie dog). He's sittin on the couch. Yep! he's a pretty good size puppy, all 62 pounds of him.

Also, I am happy to report that we have the long arm quilting machine all adjusted and in balance. Now we are ready to start quilting a full sized quilt top tomorrow. Early Friday morning will find me in line at JO ANNS with my 50% off coupon, ready to buy some batting.

Hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Adjusting Longarm Quilting Machine @#*%?

For some of you younger readers, that's "Snuffy Smith" language in the posting title. Before one can operate a quilting machine it must be checked and properly adjusted if necessary. And I am beginning to think it's always necessary. There are lots of variables that must be considered when adjusting a long arm quilting machine. Most typical problems will appear on the back side of the quilt. There might be open loops, excess thread, etc. Most of these problems can be fixed by making sure the machine is threaded properly (needle thread and bobbin thread). What adjustment remains is the tension (the amount of pressure that is on the thread to ensure a proper stitch on both the quilt top and back). Actually, adjusting one of these buggers is like juggling 5 balls in the air, with 2 more thrown in at any time).

The machine I am playing with is the VOYAGER 17, with CRUISE CONTROL stitch regulator, on the HINTERBERG frame.

I am sure it is much more fun once the machine is adjusted to the sample fabrics and batting I would like to use. Right now it's no fun.....Well, it's no fun only because I don't have lots of time. I do think it's an incredible machine and system.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Travel Excitment! Mini Crime Spree!

I would say that after nearly 70 years, of which 55 have been at the wheel of a vehicle, I would have encountered every possible adventure while traveling. Not so! As a result of two incidents on this road trip I am probably wanted in two states.

First, on a toll road in Oklahoma, the posted toll was 65 cents. The toll gate was one of those unattended ones where you toss the exact change into a "funneled" bin. As soon as the machine registers that the change is correct a stop light changes from red to green and off you can go. At least that is the way it's supposed to work. Not this time! I tossed in the exact change, waited, waited, and waited. No green light. I looked around for a call button. No call button. There were people starting to stack up behind me, so I said the Hell with it. I upheld my end of the deal. I paid. So I pulled through the red light. All hell breaks loose, Loud clanging bells, etc., etc., etc. I looked around for the police, but all I saw were signs that said NO TOLERANCE on PAYING TOLLS. I kept going! Then every time I saw a toll road patrol car, I thought I'd be stopped. Haven't been stopped yet, but they probably have a photo of the car with the License plate number, and I'll hear from them.....Wanted in Oklahoma...

Also now probably wanted in California. As seasoned travelers know, that all vehicles entering California must go through an agricultural checkpoint. At these checkpoints they ask about where you are coming from and whether you have any fruits or vegetables onboard. If you say yes, they confiscate them. Well we had an orange in the car, but my wife told the inspector that we had no fruits or vegetables on board. Luckily we were not searched. I wonder if the penalty for smuggling an orange into California is the same as taking a knife onboard an airplane.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Curmudgeon's Guide To Travel

After just completing umphteen drives across the country I have made many observations. Some of these observations were made as a much younger man, while some are recent. The recent ones may be tainted by advancing age, and a certain lack of tolerance, patience, and understanding. You may wish to consider the following as mere observations, suggestions, or rules. That's up to you. For me they have become RULES!

1. Always check out a motel in the light of day, cause they are all really scary after dark.
2. Never check into a motel that has bars and bullet proof glass around the checkin desk.
3. Do not check into a motel that has truck parking next to the building. There will always be at least one truck that is left running all night.
4. Sorry folks, but avoid "pet friendly" motels. There are too many ill trained pet owners as well as ill trained pets.
5. For that matter, avoid "kid friendly" motels! But since that's not possible, stay away from ones that offer free Mexican Hat Dance Lessons in the rooms above yours; and races in the halls.
6. When traveling, never make eye contact with anyone over 70, unless you're prepared to talk at length about where you are from, where you're going, and the price gasoline.

Please feel free to add a comment with additional travel tips!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


There are a lot more semi trucks on the road than passenger vehicles. People really must have cut back on their driving. However, with more trucks on the road that means more inexperienced and younger truck drivers. And, I am sorry; these drivers are really crappy drivers. Very few "Knights of the Highway" professional drivers anymore. If the truck speed is posted at 65 mph, most drive 70 mph. The trucking industry must have cut a deal with the Highway Patrol/State Police. These truckers just "blow by" them without even slowing down.

On the trip back, I hope I can survive the inexperienced truck drivers, girls with cell phones, and old fart drivers like myself.

Stay tuned for an Edition of THE CURMUDGEON'S GUIDE TO ROADTRIPS.

Arrived in California

Arrived in California after four days on the road. Main intent for driving to California was to spend Thanksgiving with daughter (Tracy) and family. Upon arrival it was soon evident that there was a secondary reason for being there. Was greeted with about one dozen quilt tops to quilt. Tracy has a long arm machine that I must learn to "drive". I am looking forward to using this long arm quilter. I have a stack of instructions, plus a DVD. My homework for tonight.

We had lots of fun and adventures on the drive, which I will post later.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Last Entry For Three Weeks

The SUV is gassed up with $1.79 gallon gas, it's loaded, and we are planning on leaving for California at the "crack of dawn" tomorrow. "Crack of dawn" is wife speak for 10:45 am. Unless I can figure out how to add postings from daughters computer in California this will be it until sometime in the first week of December. But if this trip is anything like the other trips there will be a lot of things to fill you all in on. We do keep a daily journal, so I am on the look out for interesting stuff. I'll have my camera, and will get some photos too.


In the continuing saga of the Gnomes and the Gnome Door that I installed next door there has been another development. Dahlia's mom reported that Dallie was painting a ceramic "toad house" in a craft session. She exclaimed that it was going to be a Gnome house instead of a toad house. Her mom noticing her painting the inside of the toad house told her she didn't have to paint the inside, cause no one would see it. To that Dahlia said, "the Gnomes will". You know, she believes! Aw, how wonderful the unspoiled mind of a child can be.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Assault on California

E Gads you would think that we were planning on invading another country. The lists of things to assemble and pack. I've tried to explain to my wife that all we need to do is throw some clothes in the bag, and box up the stuff we want to take to daughters family and hit the road. Nope, that's not the way it's getting done....or in this case maybe not getting done. In addition to the suitcase with our clothes (wait a minute! there's two suitcases with our clothes - one for the trip out and one for when we get there) there are other bags and boxes. There's the mail bag, the book bag, the snacks for in the car bag, snacks for in the motel bag, the carving bag, bags of quilt tops to be quilted in California, and never forget the cosmetics bag. Boxes of Christmas presents, books, stuff daughter purchased when she was home last summer, SINGER FEATHERWEIGHT Machine, even stuff daughter left here when she was in HS......etc. etc..

Oh well, we'll make up the lost time on the road....won't stop as much....!
Now I'm off to purchase Adult Depends........

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Travel Time! - Almost!

On Wednesday of this week I'll be leaving for California. Not flying, but driving. This will be our 12th or 14th trip where we have driven. I am not afraid to fly. It's just that it's so boring. There is little to see from an airplane. Speed is the only thing that is gained by flying. But when you are retired speed means little. It normally takes us 4 days to get to California . This trip we may allow one extra day for the weather, and one for old(er) age. It used to be that I would drive all night at least once each trip. In fact there are several advantages to driving all night. It's an excuse to eat candy bars all night to stay awake, there is less traffic, you save money on motel fees, and you get to your distination one day earlier. And the best of all - you arrive with an extra pair of clean underware.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Little "ol time" Football Player

I guess "ol time" in this instance means before they added the face cage to the helmet. Like when I was young. Was at the diner the other day drinkin coffee and whittlin, when the conversations all turned to football. Instead of a Santa being whittled, this little football player came out of the wood. Maybe it was Buckeye wood! I got him sittin on a penny so you can see howsmall he is.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pots and Pans!

You are probably wonderin what the heck do "pots and pans" have to do with quilting or carving. Nothing. But I have already confessed that I like to keep old things.
A friend of mine had the task of cleanin out an old storage building on some property that his dad had acquired. When cleaning out this building he found about one dozen big egg crates filled with these kinds of pot and pans.

I guess they would more properly be called enamelware and/or graniteware. He was planni on on takin them to the dump, when I intervened. These photos are just a small sample of what was in the egg crates. There were wash basins of all sizes, pie pans, double boilers, skillets, skimmers. ladles, cups, lids, tea kettles, coffee pots, and all sizes of cooking pots. They are all in my garage now. I must have lost my mind.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Old Fabric!

In an apparant move to lighten the amount of accumulated stuff that we have in our house, my wife was about to throw away a bag of fabric. But, before she did, she made the fatal mistake of askin me if I wanted it. She said it was old, and not very "purty". I didn't say anything, but the thought went through my head, "I'm old and not very pretty either, how long will it be before I'm thrown out"? Well, I kept it. Now what should I do with it? There are several yards of it.

Whittlin and Waitin

While sitting in the waitin area at the local car dealership waitin for an oil change, tire rotation, and anything else that needed attention; I just whittled. Got a cup of coffee, sat down under a good light and pulled out the pocket knife and some pieces of basswood. This is a great place and time to whittle. Since I carve small stuff, there isn't any big mess to worry about. When I am finished with my cup of coffee all the wood chips go into it, and it goes into the waste can. This is the result of one and one half hour of whittlin.

The cars is gettin ready for a little drive from Ohio to California and back. I suppose I'll leave a little trail of wood chips all the way out there and back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some Quilting Stuff!

Some of you all know that daughter Tracy and I are hosting the Mini Quilt in a Bag Swap. By now you also know that Tracy is the brains behind this swap. You also know that I am somewhat challenged when it comes to selecting fabric for a quilt. But I have achieved "lift-off". I will be mailing the fabric to my swap partner Kelly tomorrow. I said I liked red.... For those not familar with this swap; each partner (of a pair) sends the other some fabric. When you receive your partners fabric, you must design and make a mini quilt from the fabric. Once the mini quilt is finished you send it to your partner.

Oh! Remember, I am not mailing this until tomorrow afternoon. If anyone has any ideas of additional fabric, or if you think what I've selected is not so good, there is time to save this ol man....Hee Hee!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Carving and Quilting

The name of my blog is QUILTING AND CARVING. I like to do both. Today (Tuesday) was whittling and carving at the Senior Center. We have a group that meets once a week on Tuesdays mornings, whittles and carves and then stays for lunch. Our group is a mixed bag of males and females, very experienced carvers to new carvers. This first photo is the result of wood carvers carving 5 x 5 inch squares and assembling them into a "quilt".
Here's a work in progress. This is a style of carving called relief. You can click on the photo for a closer look at what it will be.

Here's a little snowman, that is being carved "in-the-round". Kinda 3-dimensional.

This is a spoon that is in the process of being carved.

When this carving is finished it will be a Santa Christmas Tree ornament.