Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Request For A Play Date!

Read the note the flower girl (Zinnia) sent Gnomey. As soon as the girls got up the next morning after arriving home to 10:30 PM, from their vacation, they checked out the Gnome house and the message box. This was their response. Once again I must be very careful. Are they testing me? Is it a trap? Do they still believe? Or are they stringing me along? Don't quite know how to respond. I could send any one of the following messages:

Gnomey don't play in the day time.
Gnomey don't go out side in the day light.
......is too bashful
......is too afraid

Any ideas??? Please, the continued adventure may depend on the answer that Gnomey gives to Zinnia.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lonesome Gnomey!

Last, night well after I went to bed, I was awakened by some familiar voices from next door. The flower girls had returned from 10 days at the shore. It seems their daddy drove all day and most of the night to get home. It's been real quiet around here. No Gnome news to report when the girls are gone. Gnomey voiced his opinion too, in a message awaiting the flower girls.

We'll see if we can pick up the adventures of the flower girls and the Gnome.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Little Quilt From "lucyellen"

A while back I sent a few carved Santa ornaments to "lucyellen". In return "lucyellen" sent me this fantastic mini quilt ( 8"x11" ). "lucyellen" makes these little chairs in quilts quite often. This one is titled "Sheperd's Chair". And as one might guess I am thrilled to get it. This little quilt showcases the talent of "lucyellen" as a designer as well as a quilter. Did I mention hand quilted?

THANK YOU "lucyellen".

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Fun New Ball Point Pen!

For someone who, when not quilting has a piece of wood in one hand and a pocket knife in the other; this is a fun project. I picked this idea up from Steve Brown, carver and author. Just take one of those cheap ball point pens that we all have around, and pull the tip and the ink tube out. Take a 1/2 x 1/2 x 6 inch piece of wood, drill it out to accept the ink tube and the writing tip. Carve up the piece of wood, paint, and stuff the ink tube and writing tip in.

There you've got yourself a very unique pen.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Macho Rag Lap Quilt - Snag

The last time I made a flannel rag lap quilt, I did not follow the directions. My name is TOM remember. That's still a male name, so what do you expect. The directions called for a 1 inch seam. Yep! you read it right, a 1 inch seam. I did not think that was such a good idea, so I changed it to a 1/2 inch seam. However, this time I followed the directions. A 1 inch seam it is. After making up and laying out the squares I started to sew them together. Holy crap, my lap quilt became half a lap quilt. With that 1 inch seam, it means that each of the squares end up 2 inches smaller. The lap quilt started out with 9 squares to a row. Two inches X 9 = 18 inches. That means the lap quilt ended up 18 inches smaller. So I'll just add at least 2 more squares in each row.

What do ya bet I'll end up adding more than 2 additional squares to each row.

When this lap quilt is finished, it will be so heavy that it will have earned the name "macho".

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quilting Class Update

I am quite proud of the quilt projects that the members of my beginners quilting class are completing. I wish I could take all the credit, but my co-instructor is not only a fabulous quilter, but a great teacher too. This first quilt is being done by a lady who wanted to use a sewing machine instead of all handwork. This quilt is one of the most precise quilts I have seen. Its machine quilted with an "echo" pattern, about 1/4 th inch from the seams.
This quilt is one of my favorites. The fabric was contributed from lots of sources as you can see. The colors all seem to work together very well.

This shoulder bag is completely lined and has pockets too. The lady that did this one is an avid flea market visitor, and was too intimidated to do a quilt for her very first "quilting" project. I hope that problem of hers is solved now. This is very well done.

This was so much fun, and so rewarding, I'll do it again in a few weeks...
Next week I'll have the rest of the photos..

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Macho Lap Quilt!

This is a Lap quilt that I am assembling. It is flannel on both sides, with batting inbetween; and as one can see, will be a "Rag" quilt. "Rag" meaning that there will be a fringe between all squares.

This quilt is a fun and forgiving quilt to make. You don't have to be too precise, as the fringe covers lots of mistakes. That is, if one is predisposed to make mistakes.

I titled this post "MACHO LAP QUILT" But after thinking about it for a few seconds, maybe the words Macho and Lap Quilt don't go together. Can the use of a lap quilt by a male be a "Macho" thing? A guy using a lap quilt at the football game in the winter may be macho. But, beyond that I just don't know. However, in the privacy of ones own home, I may try to use a lap quilt, if I get cold enough. I would stand a much better chance if the lap quilt was at least Macho in looks.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gathering Of Gnomes

While the flower girls are on vacation I am gathering some stuff for them to look at when they return. In this photo, I know they will realize that I carved the Gnomes, but they will still get a kick out of the "Fairy Circle" of mushrooms. I have also placed a Gnome out back where the chipmunks play. I am trying to get a photo of a chipmunk with a Gnome. Maybe nose to nose.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Grow Your Own Donuts

The flower girls are on vacation, so the Gnome adventure has slowed down considerably. I don't remember if I mentioned that I packaged up some Cheerios, and labeled them DONUT SEEDS. The girls thought that I got them from Gnomey. Yeah, I kinda remember posting this. Oh well, I'll play the old dude bad memory card.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New Blog For Carving Beginners & More

Since there are a few wood carvers that follow this blog, I thought I'd alert you all to a "new" blog that is focusing on newer carvers (and any others interested too). Thomas Perrin (Thomp) on the Woodcarving Illustrated message board, has organized this blog. The unique part of this blog is that Thomp will be opening the blog up to a few other woodcarvers to contribute postings. He asked me, and I said yep. I guess that means that he trusts me not to "foul" his blog with nasty stuff. Thomp is working up a "new blog" GIVE AWAY, that will be announced soon.

Check it out! http://beginnerscarvingcorner.blogspot.com

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Walking Staff

While at the Evart, Michigan Woodcarvers Roundup last week I started carving a walking staff/stick. The stick is 46 inches tall, and is Aspen. I decided that I wanted a Gnome on the top and then added a Gnome house at the very bottom. In between the top and the bottom there is a leafed vine with Dogwood flowers. And since I am basically a whittler, the staff was carved entirely by pocket knife. The only blunder I made was trying to tint the staff after I had returned from the eye Doctor with my eyes dilated.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Upholstery Samples!

At the quilting class that I am team teaching, someone dropped off about 6 big boxes of upholstery fabric samples. Some of the samples were about 12"x18", some larger 24"x24".

Some of the samples are ugly, while some are very nice. I have used this type of fabric to make over the shoulder carry-alls in the past. It seems such a waste not to use these samples.

Any one care to make some suggestions?????

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Woodcarving Group Projects/Exchanges

From time to time an opportunity presents itself for carvers to participate in a carving swap or exchange. These photos are of mini friendship cane segments that were carved and exchanges is just such a project. These particular cane segments had to be carved out of a wood block no larger then 2/4" x 3/4" x 2".
This exchange was set up where the participants had to carve 13 segments and send one to each participant. The segments had a hole drilled through them so they could be strung on a 1/8" dowel.

As you can see, there are some absolutely fantastic carvings here. There are several reasons for me to post these photos. First and foremost is to share the great carvings, and let folks see what a carver can do when carving "small". A second reason, and just as important, is to explain how any level woodcarver can benefit by participating in just such a project.
The key to woodcarving, as in everything else, is practice. Practice, Practice, Practice. An ancient Chinese woodcarver once said "you'll have to carve 1000 faces before you feel confident in your ability". Whether it's 1000 or 100, there is truth in the saying.
Newer woodcarvers should not be discouraged from joining and participating in these projects. It is a great way to gain experience and in kinda forcing yourself to get better and better. It's also a great way to get some really nice woodcarvings. But as in any swap or exchange, if you do sign on to participate, remember that you have a responsibility to complete the effort.

For any woodcarvers that are interested, there is an ongoing effort on Woodcarving Illustrated Message Board. http://woodcarvingillustrated.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gnomey Needs to go to Day Camp Too

The big dilemma or stated more directly, "what the heck do I do now"? Gnomey has taken a backseat to all the other things in the flower girls life. They haven't noticed the bench/table in Gnomeys front yard. Or at least they haven't said anything. School was over last Friday. On Monday one reported to "Farm Camp", the other to "Invention Camp". These are both day camps. Holy Cow! When do they get summer break? I asked Dahlia if she like the Farm Camp. She said "yes". I next asked if she got to clean up cow poo. Her answer to that was a loud, "euuu, NO, and I WON'T either". So not to slight Zinnia, I asked if she liked the Invention Camp. She said "Oh yes". Then she went on to explain the "rest of the story". She said, "it's not just an invention camp, but the inventions must be made out of recyclable materials, and do we have any interesting recyclable materials. Egads, how did I ever grow up, without farm or inventions camp?

Maybe Gnomey needs to take a vacation. Maybe Gnomey needs to find some kind of day camp to go to. Maybe "Global Warming Camp".

Monday, June 15, 2009

Boy - O - Boy! The flower girls were home more, when they had school every day. I'm givin them a little test. While the girls were gone today, I put a little bench or table by the Gnomes door. We'll see how observant they are.

I am in the process of gluing up a pair of leather boots for Gnomey. When I get them done I'll have to think of something to do with them. Perhaps I'll cover them with mud and leave them by the door.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

EVART Woodcarving Roundup

I have been out of town, out of touch, and at times plain out of it; for about a week. I have been participating in the Evart Michigan Woodcarvers Roundup. And rather than post about 100 photos (I only took a few), I'll post this photo of a "cupcake". Looks yummy doesn't it! Well I thought so too, as I walked by it sitting on a table. But it's carved from Basswood. Now this carving just plain interested me. I thought I could learn something from whoever carved this. The carver is a very talented and innovative woodcarving instructor named Lou Anne Stearns, from Michigan. So, I sat and carved with her for two days. I didn't carve a cupcake, but I am nearly finished with a walking staff. The staff has a Gnome at the top, and a Gnome Home at the bottom, with vines, leafs, and dogwood flowers in between. I'll post a photo when it is completed. And, I will be carving some cupcakes too.

When I returned and got out of my van, one of the flower girls (Zinnia) came running up and said that while I was gone, they got a message from Gnomey. Well, I asked what it said, and she relied, "he wants some flowers in his front yard". So! maybe we'll get some action in a few days.

I know, I have to be patient. But I am not patient. I want some action and I want it now....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Gnomey Cleans Up the View!

Finally, "Gnomey" got a chance to do some yard clean up. But it looks kinda bare now. The following photographs are of the rest of the Flower Girls yard.
I am thinking Gnomey might like some flowers of his own, in his yard.
This is what Gnomey sees right out his door.
This is right around the corner from Gnomey's door.
This an out front view. This one kinda scares Gnomey a wee bit.
Out front too.
Don't you think Gnomey needs some flowers too? I would plant some myself, but then the girls might get the idea that I did it, and not Gnomey. But! this is what I am going to do instead. The girls know that I'll be out of town the rest of the week. They know, because I bribed them to bring in my paper and the mail every day. I gave them a big box to put the papers and the mail in. Their payment is a small bag each day. The bag contains various penny candies and such. So I am sure they will remember I'm not home. So I prepared a message from Gnomey to be put in Gnomey's mailbox for the girls; by their mom while I am out of town. Sly, don't you think?
The message will be a plea for some small flowers in Gnomey's front yard.
Do they have real flowers that small???

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Gnomey's Yard Clean up!

As you can see, the Gnomes door and front yard area is getting quite shabby. Holee pointed this out. Mail box leaning, clothes line about to fall down, and weeds and other debris all around. I said I'd try to get it straightened up. Well, what I meant was that I'd try to get Gnomey to straighten it up. But, the persistent problem is that the flower girls have been around the whole week end. So, I decided on a different approach to the yard clean up. When I was talking to Zinnia (7 years old), I exclaimed that I thought the Gnomes yard looked kind messy. She kinda shrugged. So I asked her if she thought that maybe we should clean Gnomey's yard up a bit. Zinnia's reply kinda surprised me. Without any hesitation whats so ever, she answered back, "maybe Gnomey likes his yard like that".

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Camera Stand/Stage

Since I like to carve "small", I'd always have difficulty photographing my carvings. The photos would generally be "lost" in the background, and/or out of focus. I next started using a piece of fabric to sit the carving on to photograph it. That too, had it's short comings. I could seldom find the piece of fabric, and then I still had to find a flat surface. To solve this problem, a friend suggested I make and use one of these "stages". The use of this stage eliminates the background, and out of focus photos. The background is flat black in this "stage", but if you painted the "stage" in 13% gray there would be no background in your photos. I choose black, because it tends to highlight color better. You would not want black if you intended to print out hard copies of the photos. By placing the object to be photographed at the marked spot on the "stage", and screwing the camera down with the tripod screw it prevents the camera from moving and shaking. And it also ensures the same distance between the camera and the objects to be photographed.
This is a sample, and there was no other light source except normal room light.

Friday, June 5, 2009

All Quiet On The Gnome Front

School is winding down for the flower girls, and that means lots of activities going on. Activities related to school that is. Not much time for the girls playing at home and in the yard. But that will soon change. I look foreword to seeing and hearing the girls running and playing outside, from sun up till sundown and beyond. There will be be lots of fireflies to catch, you know.

Next week, is the Woodcarvers Roundup at Evart Michigan. This is one that I will be attending. Last year there were around 550 carvers in and out during the 3 1/2 day event. Lots of instructions and demonstration, and all round carving fun. I am looking forward to this event.
I'll have my camera, and will attempt to remember to take some photos, for sharing. Whether I get a chance to post during that week remains to be seen. I'll have to locate a computer first.
We'll see.

The beginner quilting class that I am co-teaching is nearly over, and the participants all have done great. We'll probably keep on running the class as an open event, until the next scheduled class starts.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Update On The Gnome Adventure

While the flower girls were gone today I made a quick walk through to see if anything was happening at the Gnome door. I found only one item, other than flower seeds sprouting everywhere the girls planted them. That one item being a little yard decoration consisting of a Gnome sitting on a mushroom. I'll have to find out what the girls were thinking when they did this.

The flower girls did tell be about the pillow that Gnomey gave them. They said it did make loud music when it was bumped.

Now the "rest of the story" according to the girls dad. Seems when they returned home from the weekend of camping they both ran to the Gnome door looking for a message. When they saw the package with the pillow and the note in it they got all excited and began pulling and tugging at the pillow to get it out of the bag. I am sure that with just one of them pulling and tugging it would have come right out. But no, both wanted to get the pillow. And of course the pillow did come out and popped up into the air and fell to the ground. That was enough to set it off. Their dad said both girls screamed and then stated laughing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sick Day! Personal Day!

Blogger called in sick!


Make stab cuts at the bottom of the mustache to define the mouth area. Make one stab cut to the right of the center corner, and one to the left. Then remove the chip that is created.

Next we can begin to relieve the area below the mustache. Use a series of thumb push cuts up to the stop cut that defines the bottom of the mustache. After you relieve one side of the mustache, turn the piece over and relieve the other side. Go very lightly with the thumb push cuts or risk cutting the mustache off. Start these cuts at the center on the corner and work out to the mustache ends.

Next, we'll refine Santa's nose. There are lots of nose shapes that can result. You can start this nose refining process by making thumb push cuts to narrow the nose, and taper the nose from the tip to the bridge. Remember, the nose should be nearly the same on both sides of the "corner". So when you make one cut on one side, turn the piece and make the same cut on the other side of the "corner".

We can continue to refine Santa's nose by cleaning up the nose bottom. If the shape of the noses bottom is triangular, make small cuts to remove the right and left nose "corners". This will help to round off the nose bottom. Making additional small cuts at the the "corner" will round off the nose. You can even use your knife to cut nostrils at the point.

Next we'll round out the forehead and the hat brim. Use a thumb push cut at the center corner and remove the corner, up to the hat bottom. This cut will create a flat plane at the center of Santa's forehead. Smaller thumb push cuts on both side of the corner will round out the forehead.

After the forehead is rounder out, follow the same sequence of cuts to round out the bottom of Santa's hat.

Finally, use a series of thumb push cuts to taper Santa's hat up the a rounded point at the top. Work your way around the hat like sharpening a pencil with a knife.

This is about what we've done so far.