Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gnomey's Possessed Pillow

My grand daughter came to visit, and brought a plush toy to be altered. By altered, I mean, have a sound unit removed from its insides. This sound unit played a loud obnoxious tune whenever it was bumped. And, you guessed it, mom and dad had had enough of it. So my wife removed the unit, and I made a small pillow to install it in.

The message from Gnomey to the flower girls explains what I did with the sound unit.

Another mom and dad to be annoyed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Carving Santa - #3

A bit of a note, before we start. This is a message to those readers who are experienced at navigating around Blogger and building any tutorials and/or sequential photos, within a posting. IT"S MADDENING!#!!#$&::??/ (Snuffy Smith cuss words)

We left off with having our Santa Ornament drawn and with most of the necessary stop cuts made. Now we will start defining Santa's features a little.
Step 1: CARVE THE BOTTOM OF SANTA'S NOSE. To achieve this first cut to define the bottom of the nose, make a thumb/push cut from about 1/4 " below the stop cut at the bottom of the nose up to the stop cut. Then remove the little wedge of wood.

Step #2: SEPARATING SANTA'S FACE FROM THE HAT AND TASSEL. Use your knife to make a thumb push/slice cut from the top of the eye socket stop cut, up to the stop cut at the bottom of the right side of the hat, as illustrated in the photo. Make the same type of cut for the left side, only follow the stop cut that defines the tassel.

Step#3: CARVING THE AREAS FOR THE EYES. This is the area defined by the stop cut at the top of the eye socket, and the stop cuts at the sides of the nose. See the shaded areas in the illustration.
Since the eyes must be set further back into the wood than the rest of the features we'll have to remove a "chip of wood" from the shaded area. We must remove a chip of wood the shape of the shaded areas in the illustration. This wood chip should be thicker at the top than at the bottom.
This can be achieved by laying the knife blade on the cheek area, tilting it slightly up to make a thumb push/slicing cut. Follow the stop cut and go a little deeper with the knife as you move up the side of the nose to the top of the nose.

Next, continue to cut following the top of the eye socket stop cut.

After this cut is made you should be able to remove the wood chip, and be left with a recessed area for the eye. Do this for each eye area.

NOTE: Right handed carvers will hold the Santa as illustrated in the photo, and remove the "cheek chip" as in the photo. Then to carve the other cheek area you'll find it much easier to turn the Santa up side down, and use a paring cut towards you. You may want a thumb guard on your right hand for this paring cut.
Step #4:CARVING THE BRIDGE OF THE NOSE. Start by making a stop cut on the top of the nose, between the two eye areas. Next, remove a small wedge, by using a thumb push/slice cut up to the stop cut.

Step 5: DEFINING and ROUNDING the CHEEKS. The cheek areas that remain are defined by stop cuts at the top of the mustache and what is left of the stop cuts of the eye sockets. We will next "round" the cheeks by making knife cuts from the cheek area down to the top of the mustache and out to the cheek sides.

Here are some samples of finished Santa's. Look at the cheeks. Some are more rounded than others. There are a limitless number of different looks that the Santa can have.


Carving Santa - #2


NOTE: You will notice that I do not wear a glove when I carve. Perhaps I am foolish for not doing so. Some say that is why I carve Santa's. When I cut myself, I don't worry about coloring the carving. Actually, the reason that I don't wear the glove, is that, a lot of my carving is done at breakfast in a local diner, and other places that I just wouldn't have the glove with me. You must make up your own mind about wearing the glove. I would strongly recommend it, especially if you are not so experienced. Anyway, before any cut is made look in front of the knife blade. If you have a finger, or any other body part there, change your position, and move it away from the path of the knife. Always take light cuts. Don't try to force the knife - it will slip. It will cut anything in it's path. Now if I haven't scared the bejeebers out of you lets begin.

STEP 1: Draw the bottom of Santa's hat and the tassel as illustrated.

STEP 2: Make stop cuts at these drawn lines. These stop cuts should be about 1/8 inch deep. There are several things to remember about stop cuts. Never let the knife tip move off the edge of the wood when carving. When nearing the edge of the wood "rock" the blade so the the heel of the blade goes to the edge of the wood. When making the stop cut, try to angle the blade in the direction that you are making the stop cut.

These stop cuts may be made in one knife cut or a series of short stab cuts.

STEP 3: Draw the eye sockets and nose as illustrated.

STEP 4: Make stop cuts at the drawn lines that define the nose. Start these stop cuts at the nose bottom. You can make a curved stop cut for the nose bottom or tip. OR you can use a series of "stab" cuts to define the nose tip. These "stab" cuts may be easier for the newer carver. These cuts are a series of straight cuts that when all done make up the curved line.

STEP 5: Make stop cuts on the drawn lines that define the sides of the nose. To achieve these stop cuts stab the knife blade into the wood at the top of the nose, and cut down the nose side to meet the stop cuts at the nose tip.

STEP 6: Remove a small "wedge" of wood from the corner of the wood, just under the nose tip. This cut and wedge removal should result in the nose sticking out from the rest of the face, and will be the center of Santa's mustache.

STEP 7: Make stop cuts on the drawn lines that define the tops of the eye sockets. Start these stop cuts at the top of the nose, where the nose sides stop cuts end. To achieve these stop cuts, stab the knife blade into the wood and follow the drawn eye socket line in a curved arc. OR you can use a series of short stab cuts to make the arc.

NOTE: You may want to experiement with holding the knife in the wood and turning the wood into the knife blade, instead of just moving the knife to cut/slice the wood. I feel this is a much safer way to make cuts; if you can do it.

STEP 8: Draw the bottom of the cheeks as illustrated. These lines will also be the top of Santa's mustache.

STEP 9: Make stop cuts on the drawn lines that define the bottom of Santa's cheeks. You can either start these stop cuts at the nose and move out to the stop cuts from the eye socket of from the eye socket stop cuts and cut to the nose. OR you can use a series of short stab cuts.

Step 10: Draw the bottom of Santa's mustache as illustrated.

STEP11: Make stop cuts on the drawn lines to define the bottom of Santa's mustache. To achieve these stop cuts, start with a stab cut at the bottom center of the mustache and follow the drawn lines out and up to meet the cheek stop cuts.

NOTE: Steps 1 - 11 are merely drawing the outline of Santa's face with a pencil and going over these drawn lines with a knife, making stop cuts where you have drawn these lines.

Tomorrow we'll start removing some wood up to the stop cuts that we made today.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Carving a Santa Ornament

This step-by-step tutorial will be broken up into daily parts, not so much to benefit the person trying to carve the Santa, but to benefit me, who must assemble this effort. It also will serve as a much needed FEEDBACK mechanism. FEEDBACK is where you can tell me where I have confused you. Where you need some clarification. I promise I will address each comment...and make adjustments to the tutorial.

Before we start to actually carve, lets sketch a few Santa faces. Our sketches should be about the same size as the one we will carve. And, that would fill a space about one inch wide by 3 inches long. Notice the differences between each of the sketches. Sketch #1 has a mustache that is curled down, while the others have a mustache that is turned up. You might also notice that when the mustache is turned up, the face is kinda smiling. Notice the different shapes for the beard. See how the cheeks can determine a different look. I think the rounder the cheeks are, the happier the look is. Therefore, I'm going with Santa #4, for my carving. Any sketch you select for your carving will work fine with the step-by-step-directions.

OK, now we might begin to think about carving this Santa. I will be carving a piece of 1/2" x 1/2" x 4 " Basswood. But I like to carve smaller. I recommend starting out with a piece of 3/4" x 3/4" x 6" Basswood. If you cannot got a piece of Basswood that size, have someone rip a 3/4" strip off of a clear Pine board, that can be purchased at Lowes or Home Depot.

What you will need to carve this Santa:

A. The wood. 3/4" x 3/4" x 6". (several pieces for additional trials)

B. Carving knife. I use a pocket knife. (The sharper the better)

C. A Carving glove for the hand holding the wood when carving.

D. Strop. For touching up and keeping the knife edge sharp.

E. Pencil. For drawing lines on the wood.

F. Band aids


This step-by-step tutorial is intended for the advanced beginner or intermediate wood carver. This means that I will not be getting into sharpening your knife, nor any detailed safety related to wood carving. I will, however, try to include some tips that make things easier, and some other more basic things that will serve as a review.


The 5 minute wizard was my first attempt at writing a step-by-step tutorial for carving. The steps that were used in the 5 minute wizard are nearly the same as for the Santa. Only with the Santa there will be more detail and more facial features.

Step 1: Stop cut at bottom of hat.

Step 2: Slice/thumb push cuts up to the bottom of the hat stop cuts.

Step 3: Cuts on each side of the hat bottom / outside corners of the wood.

Step 4: Thumb push cut to remove wedge of wood at nose bottom.

Step 5: Stop cuts to define each side of nose and the tops of the eye sockets. Then use push/slice cuts to remove wedges of wood from each side of the nose, up to the top eye socket stop cuts.

Step 6: Draw and make stop cuts defining the mustache. Further shape the nose and use thumb push/slice cuts to the mustache stop cuts; to define the beard, and cheeks.


Stop Cut: This cut is usually a knife cut straight down into the wood. The stop cut allows you to slice up to the cut and remove wood to obtain the sharp edge that you want.

Thumb push/slice Cut: This knife cut is made using the knife holding hand and the thumb of the hand that is holding the wood. The thumb of the hand holding the wood pushes the knife blade to the wood, while the other hand holds and controls the position of the knife blade.

You will notice that both the wizard and the Santa will be carved on the corner of the 3/4 x 3/4 inch wood.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Carving A Santa Ornament

Beginning next week I'll be posting a step-by-step tutorial on carving a small Santa head. As in the photo, the Santa can either stand on its own, or it have an eye placed in the top for hanging on a tree. This little Santa is carved from Basswood, using a knife. Santa's beard is done with a small U gouge.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gnomey's Note About the Scary Yard Art

The last episode involved some new yard art, in the form of gargoyles, and toad houses. The gargoyles just had to elicit a response from Gnomey.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Yard Art vs Gnomes

Discovered yet another Toad House in the flower girls yard. Also, observed (actually I heard it) a rather cute incident with Dahlia (4 year old ). Evidently Dahlia doesn't want to wait on her mom or her sister to write a note to the Gnomes. She just gets down on the ground, knocks on the Gnomes door and shouts at them. In response to Gnomey's message about the "Toad House", Dahlia knocked on the door and shouted "it's not a Toad house it's a TOAD TENT, and I painted it"!

I also found several other objects of interest in the yard, near the Gnomes door.

These are sure to result in a reaction from the Gnomes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here Goes The Neighborhood!

A walk through the neighbors yard this morning revealed an addition to the Gnomes front yard. A bit of quizzing and I found out the flower girls saw this Toad House and talked their mom into getting it. The paint job is pure Zinnia and Dahlia.
Gnomey had to respond to this addition to his landscape. We'll have to see what the girls have to say.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Art Festival, Swap, Gnomey!

These little 2 inch Santa's are left over from the Arts Festival. I carved these while sitting at the booth on Saturday, then stained them on Sunday. Sales of these little fella's were real good. I did not however, sell one Noah's Ark. But then the Arks are priced a whole lot higher than the carved Santa's. But that's fine! I now have "extra" arks.
This is the swap quilt that I finished and sent off today. Like an ol' man, I forgot to get a photo of the 20 inch quilt before I mailed it off. I don't remember if the quilt has binding and quilting in this photo. The finished quilt had both binding and was hand quilted, in an all over meander pattern. In this swap, the partners send each other the fabric for the centers of any style log cabin design. The little quilts cannot be over 24" x 24", and must be a log cabin style quilt.

And finally, Gnomey had to reply to the flower girls for all the presents. Gnomey has to be careful to include Dahlia in the messages too. Since Dahlia is only 4 she cannot write let, so Zinnia is the one who does the writing. Gnomey can't "short" Dahlia.
I am hopeful that things will slow down for me, so I can get a grip on things. It has been extremely hectic around here, and I some times have felt overwhelmed. Heck! I have been overwhelmed. Don't know if its ol' age or the fact that I am involved in too many things.....

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Mail" For Gnomey

You may recall that I was a little concerned about how Zinnia would react to some of the comments (from her 1st grade classmates) about her believing that Gnomes lived under her deck. I took some of the advice that was given by you readers, and did not say anything nor did I do anything. Well, except wrap up that Tiny Little Golden Book, and have Gnomey give it to her for her birthday. No message, just the book. Well, that must have removed any of the doubts. Zinnia's mom said that when Zinnia opened the present she said, "Gnomey must be real, because just look at this book. It's gnome size, and I've never seen any other books this small. And it's old too."

Zinnia prepared a package for Gnomey and left it taped to Gnomey's mailbox. The photograph includes the wrappings and the contents. The items at the bottom of the photo were the wrapping paper for each of the items plus the yellow piece of paper that was made into an envelope. I would guess that there was at least one half roll of Scotch tape used in all.
The gifts include: the two notes, a purple crayon, one dragon fly and a worm made out of some rubbery material, a Styrofoam ball, and two small "jewel stars". I would guess that Zinnia means for Gnomey to make a craft.

The adventure continues.......

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Arts Festival - Set up

We set up at the Delaware Arts festival this morning. Two main streets are closed off for the weekend, with exhibitor taking over. This is the space. This photo was taken prior to opening. If I wasn't taking the photo I would be sitting in the chair whittling. I do this festival with a friend who turns pens. His display is to the left.
This is one of my displays/ Four Noah's Arts and the pairs of animals, a red doll hutch with some small Santa carved ornaments, and a couple of framed quilt squares.

The final photo is my other display cabinet. The cabinet is a major part of the whole display, as it hold the tent down. The tent bracing is hooked to this cabinet. It was needed today, as a few storms moved through.
It was a good first day, as far as numbers of people go, but the economy hurt sales of the higher end stuff. Higher end, meaning Noah's Arks. Carved Santa ornaments went like hot cakes. But Sunday is always the better day for sales.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Zinnia's Birthday Present from Gnomey

Zinnia's 7th birthday is today. There will be about 13 kids running loose at her birthday party. Gnomey got lucky and found some of the Little (and I mean little) Golden Books. A perfect present from a Gnome to a little girl.

However, I do have to report a serious setback in the adventures of Zinnia and Gnomey. You may remember that Zinnia made a scrapbook of all the messages that Gnomey wrote to her. She included Gnomey's family photo, the gnomes tooth, and everything else she collected. Zinnia took the scrapbook to school (1st grade) for show and tell. I guess the other kids don't believe, and some I am sure made fun of her. Don't know if the Gnome bubble has been burst, or just wounded. I feel bad for Zinnia. I am thinking of my next moves.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Arts Festival This Weekend

This weekend is the annual Arts Festival in Delaware, Ohio. This is one of several shows/sales that I participate in. The main reason I know that the festival is this weekend, is that the weather forecast is for thunder storms and rain all weekend. It's that was most every year. This is an outdoor event. They close off the main streets in town for the participants and the public. I have a "tent" like every body else, but the winds last year nearly blew all the tents down. But it's fun. And it's a chance to pick up some pocket change to purchase some carving wood with.

This a sample of what I'll be taking this year. This year I'll have Noah's Arks and pairs of animals, carved gnomes, carved Santa ornaments, some cottonwood bark carvings, snake-in-the-box toys, framed quilt squares, and some wood quilt squares framed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Flea Market Find!

In town at the county fair grounds there is a weekly flea market on Sundays. This flea market is well attended in the morning, with lots of vendors as well as customers. There is probably around 75 vendors, so you can imagine the different types of stuff. This stuff ranges from junk to treasures. Guns and ammo are big this year. Knives and tools are always big. But last week I stumbled on a vendor who had several big tubs of FAT QUARTER bundles. I picked up these for $3 per bundle. Each bundle has 8 color coordinated fat quarters of 100% cotton fabric. I hoped to return next Sunday, but may have a problem, since I have a booth at the local Arts Festival on Saturday and Sunday. I will try to get back to the flea market before opening up the arts festival booth. I need more fabric like I need a hole in the head. But I can't resist the good deal. If there is any left on Sunday, and I can get there and buy some, maybe I'll send some to all my friends.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gnomes Get A Surprise

A quick walk-by the Gnome door yesterday revealed some visitors. It seems the flower girls have taken over one of moms planters and made a nest in it. Into the nest they placed these yard art birds. I asked the girls, "what in the world are these things"? Dahlia assumed the attitude posture and stated, "they're goo-goo birds". What she really meant to say was, "you big dummy, don't you know anything, they're Goo-Goo birds". Anyway Zinnia, came to my rescue and said that they thought that Gnomey might like to see the Goo-Goo birds so they put them in front of the Gnome door.
This is the note that Gnomey left for the flower girls today.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Quilting Class At Senior Center

My self and another person are teaching a basic quilt making class, at the local Senior Center. The class has 10 folks, and all are considered beginners. Most have however, sewn before. Some have had less than successful experiences with quilt making in the past. The first photo may illustrate this fact. I suspect the fabric in this UFO is 20 to 30 years old.
These pinwheel squares are being done by a lady who is very accomplished at hand sewing. She is getting used to machine work. When she cut the triangles with a rotary cutter, she was amazed at the speed, accuracy, and ease of rotary cutting. She had never used one before. For a beginning quilt maker her accuracy is amazing.

Not all the folks have a sewing machine. However, the Senior Center has about a dozen that were donated. This poor student got stuck with this ol' relic.
One of the things we stressed at the beginning of the 12 week session was to pick a project that they felt they could finish. This learner wanted to make a wall hanging that had John Deere tractors as a theme. She is hand quilting the hanging. Next will be hot pads to match.
This last photo is kinda what I had in mind for a beginner. This will end up being a large lap quilt.
All and all I am glad that I consented to being a co-teacher of these quilt making beginners. The class members are all senior citizens, some only 55 to 60 years old while one is 85 years old. I felt right at home. Each and every one will have a completed quilt project when the class is over. And each will be proud of the work that they have done. I will however, try to recruit some males for the next go-around.