Friday, December 31, 2010

Simple Whittling Exercise

I am always looking for easy projects that will help a newer whittler/carver practice, learn, and improve. This little "twistee-pointer stick" or Christmas tree ornament will do that.

This project is designed to provide repetitive knife cuts that will help one get familiar with their pocket or carving knife.
Start with a 1/2" X 1/2" X 6" piece of Basswood, and a sharp knife. The first thing to do is to carve a 5-minute owl at one end of the stick.
This 5-minute owl makes use of stop cuts, slice cuts, and plunge cuts.
After the owl is completed, taper the bottom of the piece to its end. At this point, you are ready to make a tapered-twisting-spiral stop cut from the bottom of the owl to the bottom tip of the piece .
Next, use the knife to make small cuts to the spiraled stop cut .

Do a bunch of these and you'll be amazed at how much more knife control you develop.
Do some with a Santa head instead of the 5-minute owl, for a Christmas tree ornament.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

It's Christmas eve! I would imagine that most who, from time to time, check this blog out either have grand children, great grand children, children of their own, or relatives with children. So hopefully it's a happy season.

I want to thank all who check out this blog and wish them a Merry Christmas, Happy New Years, and Seasons Greetings.

I am going to be one of the first who state and share a new years resolution. Last fall my daughter sent me a bunch of quilt tops that she has assembled. They are now machine quilted and are awaiting binding. One of my main new years resolutions is to complete the binding on these quilts.

Check out my new Blog This new blog is about making toy Noah's Arks.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My New Ark Blog

This is an invite to check out a new blog that I am in the process of creating. The blog will chronicle the design and construction/carving of toy Noah's Arks, and the animals that go with them. I generally make 12 to 15 Noah's Arks each year for displays and shows, and as commissions. Here's the link!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Noah's Arks

This blog is titled and generally devoted to quilting and woodcarving, both of which I do. I do these as a hobby, not a business. Since my hobby does result in items that others may wish to acquire, I offer some for sale. I have been making Noah's Arks with carved animals for a number of years. I participate in several art festivals, wood carving shows, and Christmas shows/sales each year. Through the years my Noah's Arks have been placed in several gift shops and offered. These efforts in total have generally resulted in the sale of 10 to 15 Arks per year. Four days ago the Columbus Dispatch newspaper ran an article that featured me and my Noah's Arks. I did not anticipate what would happen when this article was published. In four days I have sold the remaining two Arks from this years efforts, and received fifteen commissions for Noah's Arks for 2011. The power of the pen is at play.

Here's a link to the article:

Crafting toy arks floats retiree's boat

Friday, December 3, 2010

Latest Gnome

My niece wanted me to try to do a Gnome playing a tuba. I tried to carve the tuba out of Basswood too but no go. Too small and to many changes in the grain direction. So I ordered a Christmas tree ornament and carved the Gnome to match the ornament. This little fellow is 3 1/2 inches tall.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I can't believe it's been over one month since my last post. I am beginning to see why some folk dislike this time of year. Not me, I love it! It's just that everything seems to conspire to require ones attention at this time of year. Wood carving shows, craft sales, Christmas demonstrations, etc., etc.; all during the months of November and December. The following is a list from memory (a very suspect memory) of some of what I am talking about.

Carving demonstrations at quilt and gift shops
Dayton wood carving show and sale
Columbus Christmas Fair (Craft sale)
Article published in Woodcarving Illustrated
14 Noah's Arks and animals to finish (18 pairs of animals each)
80 carved Santa tree ornaments and pins
3 newly commissioned Noah's Arks (18 pairs of animals each)
24 sets of Santa earrings to carve
Quilting classes to co-teach
Quilting class Christmas part to carve ornaments for each class member
Christmas tree ornament exchange where 18 ornaments are carved and exchanged
Lots of small little whittlings done to give away.
Honey do list to keep up with...........

But, you know what? I love it. It's just that some things must be put on the back burner for a while.

The shows and sales are over. The commissions are completed. I'm just about caught up.
Oh, all most forgot, the shows and sales when well. I'm not rich in a lot of new money, but I did cover expenses and have some cash to spend for Christmas presents. And most of all I hope I made some folks happy with what I could offer them.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Holiday Season - Noah's Ark's

Here's half of the Noah's Ark's that I have finished for the 2010 Holiday season. Each Ark averages 12 pairs of animals. The larger Ark's have more, small less. But all and all it means that I have to whittle over 600 animals to fill the Ark's. Maybe next year I'll scale back. Several of these Ark's are already spoken for (buyers). The smallest Ark has my pocket knife placed in front of it for a size comparison.
I am doing some Quilting too, along with co-teaching a weekly quilting class. I am presently providing one on one assistance for brand new quilters, along with keeping the older machines running properly.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Civil War Soldier Bust

In an effort to escape from carving and painting animals for Noah's Arks I tried a bust of a Civil War soldier. The soldier is whittled from basswood and is just a tiny bit over 1 3/4 inches tall. I mounted him on a 1 inch wooden toy wheel.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Exercise For Quilters

A member of the quilting class I co-teach passed this "Quilter's Exercise Block" out to all of the class. (You'll have to click on the image to read the info). The first photo shows the bag, with the block in it, and the second photo shows the block with the instructions.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

How Long Does It Take?

I have been whittling and carving for right at 5 years. I remember my very first attempts at using a carving knife, and asking "how long does it take to learn to carve"? Silly question! But the answer has stuck with me. An experienced carver told me, "carve 1000 faces and you'll begin to get there".

Now this brings me to where I am now. In my marriage contract it states that my wife does not do breakfast. I love breakfast! So, I drive a bit down the road and eat my breakfast in a local diner. I do this five days each week. While having my coffee I carve two Santa or Gnome heads for pins or tree ornaments. It has occurred to me that I've carved a lot of Santa and Gnome heads, during these past five years.

(5 days per week) X (2 Santa/Gnome heads) = 10 carved heads per week
(52 weeks per year) X (10 Santa/Gnome heads) = 520 carved heads per year
(520 Santa/Gnome heads per year) X (5 years) = 2600 carved heads.

But lets say I sluffed off and missed a few days. Lets round the final number to 2000 carved Santa and Gnome heads done in the past 5 years.

Hum! I'm not there yet. But then again he said, "carve 1000 heads and you'll BEGIN to get there.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Whittling & Carving Fast!

Those who have followed this blog know that I like to whittle and carve as a demonstration to kids, and other interested folks. When ever I am participating in a carving show I like to whittle and carve small items and give them to interested kids. Part of my reason is to hopefully get some kids interested in wood carving. Plus it's just fun. One of the considerations in doing this is to have something that can be whittled or carved quickly. There's the 5 minute owl, the 5 minute wizard, and the Santa ornament. The Santa takes more time than the owl and the wizard. But I am refining the knife cuts to a point where I can complete a small Santa ornament in a very short time. The only reason to speed the whittling up is to have more Santa's to get out. Plus it's a challenge. Kids attention span is quite short, so I try to be fast, while maintaining safety.
The above small Santa can be done in 6 minutes. That's 6 minutes after some practice. But remember, each practice session results in a Santa. I carve these small Santa's in the round, on a 3/8" x 6" piece of Basswood. I can get 6 Santa's from the 6" piece (3 from one end then 3 from the other end). But since I give them to the kids who are watching, I cut them off as I go, and this means I only get 4 per 6" piece. I need to keep a "handle" to hold when carving.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

They're Out To Get Me!

Several days ago a very big white commercial truck ran a stop sign and used me and my van as a "stop cut". In non wood carving lingo, that means the large white commercial truck hit me. While the accident did not hurt me or my wife, it did result in considerable damage to the van. But since the accident I have noticed several cars pull out in front of me to the point where I had to slam on the brakes. I've noticed several more run stop signs. Maybe I am just more aware, but it sure seems they're out to get me.....

Friday, September 24, 2010

On patrol - Off to school!

As I sat with my 73rd cup of coffee this morning I observed the kids moving up the lane to the school bus stop at the main road. The image reminded me of a squad of troopers humpin their rucks on patrol. Course they'd be technocolor instead of camouflaged, and I'd be viewing them through the wrong end of the binoculars. Kindergarden, 2nd and 3rd graders. Back packs larger then than they are, water bottle holders flapin, several complete with boonie hats. What a scene. And I'll bet it's repeated all over the country every week day.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Been absent a bit. Been under the weather a bit. Been overworked a bit. Getting old a bit too.

I am convinced that there exists in each of our lives, certain points where we change. If we can remember these points, and the conditions that existed at the specific time, we can identify specifically when our bodies/mind had changes foisted on them them. I can identify three of these moments.

First, my current condition. One week ago from this past Sunday I provided wood carving demonstrations for a bunch of kids. As a result of this activity, I became infested with some "Kid Cooties" Cooties of the bad cold type. Colds are nothing new to me, or any of us. But up until this last "cold" I would be over the cold in a few days. It's now going on the second week and I am still not over this cold. Sore throat, headache, muscle soreness all over, snot and flem (green) from nose and throat, hives, the works. Yet another signal that my body has changed into being old.

Second condition, was when my legs gave out. Several months ago my son-in-law asked for my help in assisting him install cable to additional rooms in our house. This installation involved "snaking some cable from the basement up to the second floor. To achieve this we used a "snake". We ran into all sorts obstacles and interference pulling this cable. My assistance started and ended with running up and down the steps from the basement to the second floor about 100 times. At about the 50th trip my knees and legs started putting up an argument. The next day it was clear that my body had given me yet another signal that I was old. It was a correct signal, as my legs have never recovered.

Third condition, was when my arms, legs, and back gave out. Several months ago I was playing on the floor with one of the flower girls from next door. She climbed on my shoulders. I tried to get up to my feet. Couldn't do it. I had been able to achieve this minor feat at any time....up until then. Yet another signal; you're old.

I have not been able to come back from these life altering events. I am wondering if this "cold" will result in the same type of thing. An omen if what's to come.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Flower Girls at Play???

While sitting on the swing on the patio, with a pocket knife carving some little 5 minute owls, I could not help hearing lots of commotion from the next door back yard. The Flower Girls were on their trampoline. I can only see the very top of the trampoline because of the bushes and trees. Actually I can only see the girls when they are jumping and at the very top of their jump. Not only were they jumping but they were screaming, yelling, and even whining. I walked over to find out what was going on. When the girls saw me they got off the trampoline and came running. Greeted me like they'd not seen me in weeks. I asked them. "What in the world all the commotion was"? They answered, "We were just trying to kill each other". And it sounded like it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cable Guys!

Old TV died. Bought a new TV. I have cable. I have HD. I have a VCR/DVD. I have an A/B switcher so I can tape one show while watching another. Called Cable company to install new TV and hookup everything so it works. For $19.95, it's called a stress preventer. Cable guy comes like he's supposed to, when he's supposed to. Puts new cables in, changes out a few connections. I ask hime if everything will work the same as before. He says yes it will. I say even with the A/B switch? He says yes. Then he's out of here.

TV works fine. I throw the old remote into the box with the 37 others that I have accumulated over the years.

Go to watch a tape. NO WORKEE! Call cable company. Listen to 10 minutes of advertizing. Talk to a technician. Who asks my problem. He says you can't do that with the equipment I have. I say BS! Send another technician to make it do what it always has done. That's just tape a TV program and watch it later......

I know I'm old. I know I don't listen well. I know I don't follow instructions. I know I have to pay others to do this kind of stuff....


I am waiting for the second technician to arrive,

I am calm!

OPPS! he's here.

Finally a good one. He actually explained and demonstrated everything to me. Made me demonstrate it all back to him. Went to the truck to do the paperwork. Came back and made me redemonstrate again. Then asked if I had any additional questions. He was so damn good I al,most asked him for a stock tip. Maybe I just looked stupid, but I sure appreciated his instructional manner......

Friday, September 10, 2010

"Secret Hiding Places"

Me, "Honey, We have any more pretzels"? Answer, "Yes, on the floor in the back hall closet, between the red sweatshirt and the tan jacket on hangers". Dang! she was right.

Question, "Can you bring down the shampoo in the blue capped bottle, under the bathroom sink, beside the white capped shampoo, which is to the right on the left hand door, on the bottom shelf"? Me (after going right to the shampoo she wants), "Sure". I don't have a clue how she does this, as there are 37 different shampoo bottles under the bathroom sink.

Question, " Can you go to the basement freezer and bring a can of frozen OJ up to thaw? It's on the top shelf of the door, on the right hand side". It was.

Statement: When you to the grocery store, don't forget to get a can of peanuts. The last trip to the store yielded no can of peanuts. I walked up and down every row, but after a few minutes every can looked the same. There's trouble, when there's no peanuts at home. I said "they must have run out of peanuts". No buying that excuse. Here's the answer: You'll find the peanuts in the first row past the soft drinks; to the right when you face the pharmacy counter, about two thirds down on the top shelf. Dang! right again. I bought four cans.

About now, I was wondering about replenishing the supply of gummy bears. But I remembered that there are several hiding places for the gummy bears. Hiding these became a necessity when the Flower Girls came visiting. They have always been able to scope the candy out.

I am finding out where lots of stuff resides here at home......

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Continuing Nurse Ratched Adventures!

I am now experiencing a reoccurring nightmare. This nightmare stars my wife, who in the nightmare, has grown to like (make that enjoy); my new role.

Prepare and deliver to her, three meals per day.
Deliver two snacks per day.
Make sure we do not run out of Cheetos and Pepsi.
Make her toast following instructions and specifications more detailed than the engineering plans for the hydrogen bomb.
Do the dishes after each meal,
Do the wash.
Do my own ironing.
Fold the laundrey and put it where it belongs.
Do the shopping. Be aware of and use all coupons.
Answer all telephone calls.
Restock the bathrooms with toilet paper.
Anticipate the need for food items prior to actually needing them.
Plan the night meal earlier enough to take what is needed out of the freezer to thaw.
Carry the walker up and down the stairs each time she goes up and down the stairs.
Find things that she has placed in a cabinet, pantry, in a box, or on a shelf.
Sort the mail, throw out the crap, and give her the bills. This I gladly do. I don't ever want to know what things cost, and how much we spend.

Egads, I'm not made of the same stuff she is. Few men could do the day to day work that their wife does. Heal baby heal!

One Good Thing About Modern Things!

Our old TV set began its death throes yesterday. After I got over the fact that it was at least 12 years old, I realized it was time to replace. Got on the Internet and determined what the highest rated TV set was. Measured the space in the cabinet where the set must fit. Decided that the largest TV set that I could fit into the space was a 32" set. Got back on the Internet at PRICE GRABBER and found out what the best price was, and printed it out. Took off to BEST BUY and purchased a new 32" set, for the same low price that I had found on the Internet.

Now here's the good thing about new/modern technology. The new TV set in the box weighs about the same as a folding chair. I had to get the help of a much younger and stronger neighbor to help me remove the old set from the cabinet. There's probably a 100 pound difference......Now lets see how long the new set lasts..

Monday, September 6, 2010

Keep Your Eyes Open - For Good Free Machines!

If you're like me, you just cannot pass on a free sewing machine. If you ever are told that "my old machine just doesn't work anymore", or "they wouldn't give me anything on trade in", or "I found this in moms basement"; if the machine is offered - TAKE IT!
This model 4552 SINGER was offered to our class at the senior center. The owner said it didn't work, and if we couldn't get to sew, just throw it away. I took it and tried it out. Well it sewed, but the stitch was so bad, I could see why it was offered. But I remembered somewhere reading that the first thing to do when attempting to "fix" a sewing machine was to clean it. After that, return all settings to as near to zero as practical. Put a proper new needle in and be sure it is correctly set. Thread the machine with new thread, according to the instruction manual. Instruction manuals are available on the Internet. Begin to sew a test piece of folded fabric. Inspect the stitches, and adjust the tensions as necessary.
Through experience I have found out that the above actions will return most old sewing machines to service.
This older SINGER model 4552 now lays down a near perfect stitch.......and it was free.

A New Appreciation!

I have always realized that keeping up a house was work. I will however fess up and say that at times I wondered why some thing had to be done like they did. I always knew my wife went shopping, clipped coupons, saved money by shopping sales, never ran out of the things needed to keep the place working. But I gotta tell you, I never realized just how difficult the total job is. Doing the big things is hard enough, but all the little things that make the big things happen are a whole nother thing. And there is just the two of us. How moms with a family continue to manage is beyond me. Here's just a sampling of what I mean:

Toilet paper: Making sure there are spare rolls in the bathrooms - at all times! That's even more important than replacing the rolls on the dispenser.

Bread: Breads bread to me, but someone I know requires fresh baked bakery bread. I still have not mastered the secret of buying two loafs at a time and splitting them and triple bagging smaller bags, and freezing them to prevent molding. I still wonder why my cheap bread will last for weeks without molding and wife's only four days.

While we're on the bread thing, I never realized that making toast was such a detailed art. How much easier can it be to make toast, add butter and jam? I learned that the toast must be just so dark (well not dark at all, just one and a half shades darker than white, but hot and a wee bit crispy). All the top surface of the bread MUST be covered with butter. The butter must be of a required consistency, that is only achieved when taken out of the icebox for 30 minutes at room temperature of 70 degrees. The thickness of the butter must be correct too, but so far I don't know what that is. I just keep adding more. I am sure I'll be told when I have enough. The jam is not a big deal. I think it's the butter that is critical.

House and out side plants and flowers: Why do they die when either over watered or under watered?

I'm tired, gotta rest.

Thirty minute nap later!

I now know how/why my underware is always clean and in the drawer.
I now know that the orange juice does not automatically get made when it needs to.
I know you have to plan ahead for meals and thaw frozen stuff.
I now realize that if you don't sweep the floor on a regular basis you'll need a shovel.
I understand that if dishes are left overnight it's harder to wash them in the morning.

I could go on and on about all the little things around the house that my wife always did, that I never gave a whole lot of thought to. I'm learning!

Monday, August 30, 2010

New Skills Continued

As explained in earlier posts, I am being Nurse Ratched to my wife who is recovering from a total hip replacement. In addition to my "nursing" duties I am am learning a whole new set of skills. Yesterday I focused on the laundry (washing. drying, and folding). Today, lets take on shopping for food and drugs. Two items that should be quite easy and not time consuming at all. Yea, right!

The shopping trip was initiated by the crime of supplying my patient with stale bread for toast. I was handed a list of things to purchase. Eight things to be exact. Bread, hamburger buns, eggs, American cheese, peanuts, washing detergent, Pepcid Complete, and ALKA-SELTZER.

Instructions included using two $4 coupons (pepcid Complete and WISK washing detergent). My wife provided me with a job aid in the form of the ad from the flyer that had a picture of the WISK that was on sale.

Going to the store is not a real easy everyday thing here. We live out in the county, and every shopping trip involves about 14 miles round trip.

First stop was Walgreens for the Pepcid Complete, and ALKA-SELTZER. No problem with the Pepcid Complete, except a mild heart attack at the price. Instant heartburn. Found the ALKA-SELTZER, but every box had been opened. Now momma didn't raise no fool. Never buy a package that has been tampered with or opened. I passed on this item, to purchase at the next store.

Second and final stop Giant Eagle. Started out great, 1 pound of American cheese. Bread is fresh bakery bread. Only two loafs left, both with a sell by date of August 31. Into the cart one goes. On to the eggs. List states one dozen large eggs. Sorted through about 100 cartons of eggs, but all had a use by date of September 3. I guess we'll have to eat these eggs in 4 days. On the list, so into the cart the eggs go. Start looking for peanuts! Found the display for the special on the WISK, but no red bottles with 36 loads as pictured in the flyer with the $4 off coupon. They had 26 load, 50+ load, and 96 load. The coupon is only good on the red bottle-36 load size. Hightailed to the customer service counter for a "raincheck". Gal tried to take advantage of my telling that they were substituting the 26 load bottle for the 36 load bottle. Here again, momma didn't raise no fool. 26 loads of wash is a wee bit less than 36 loads. No way, give me the raincheck-but make sure it lasts after the coupon expires, next week.

Continue and look for peanuts. No friggin peanuts can be found. I know they're there, but damned if I can find them. I look at my watch, and see I've been here for 45 minutes, just to purchase 7 items.

I go to the checkout with my measly 7 items. Six checkouts and only two open; each with about four customers in line. I picked the one that I thought would be the fastest. Wrong again! Lady in front of me had two screaming kids and about 10 to 15 items to purchase; one of which was a gallon of wine. She tried to pay for the stuff with food stamps or some other kind of voucher. Took the cashier and the assistant manager about 10 minutes to convince her the wine could not be purchased with the voucher. By the time it was my turn the cashier was whining to the lady behind me that she would be glad when her shift was over, that the whole day had been a day from Hell. I observed the cashier ring up my seven six item, correctly. As she kept on complaining about the rude customers to the lady behind me, she commenced to put my fresh bread into the bag and toss everything else in on top of the loaf. I said, " hey! you just crushed my loaf of bread by tossing everything in on top of it". She looked at me for the first time and snarled," do you want me to replace it?" My reply, "I really don't care, but the bread is for my wife, and she would say, REPLACE IT!"

Now I can understand why my wife does not enjoy shopping like she used to.

To be continued.......

New Skills!

In addition to my nurse Ratched routine, there is a whole new skill set having to do with the everyday activities of managing a house. Now I realize that most women will laugh at my plight with this new skill set. But you see, I have been a "kept man" for nearly 50 years. In the past ten days I have had to learn to do the following activities. Maybe I haven't learned, but I have had to do them, never the less.

a. Sort light from dark stuff to wash. Sounds easy. Sounds straight forward. Not so! There seems to be shades of gray (or any other color). If not mastered, pink underwear may result.

b. Load the washer. Simple! Well, what if you try to do more than you should. Don't ask me how I figured that one out.

c. Set the controls. Hot or Cold? Light load, normal, or heavy load. I did find out that the "heavy load" setting will not compensate for cramming all the towels and levis, and bathroom rug into the washer.

d. Add the soap. Everything is fine here, until I discover that there are at least three kinds of soap. God, I hope I picked the right one. What ever happened to the boxes of regular soap? Now it's all liquid (at least at my house).

e. Load the dryer. This proved the easiest thing. That is until after the load was dried, when I found out I should have pulled some stuff and put them on the line to dry. Something about"delicates".

f. Unload the dryer. There again, this should be simple. I did not know that you must unload the dryer as soon as it quits its cycle. Never, never let the dried clothes sit in the dryer.

g. Fold the laundry. Not so simple, when there is a right way and a wrong way to fold.

If I can get some rest, I'll go into the other skills I'm learning. Consulting on meals, shopping and the whole area of coupons, cleaning, bed changing, putting toilet paper rolls on the roller, etc, etc.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Birthday Present!

Well, among everything else that is happening I had a birthday slip in. I had honestly forgot about it. But the Flower Girls did not. Notice the Gnomes holding hands to form the "H".
In addition to bringing flowers for my wife, and some cake for me, they brought me a present. The present is a great little Gnome Home for a flower bed. I love it. Gnomes will be next.
After hugs and kisses, the girls begged to see the incision from my wife's hip replacement.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Slight Delay in Postings

Some may have noticed that there has been a delay in new postings. There is a reason. I have been distracted from the normal day to day activities that some times become the basis for my blog postings. I have assumed the role of "Nurse Ratched" here at home. My wife had total hip replacement surgery on Wednesday August 18, and is recovering here at home. As amazing as this surgery is, it still limits ones mobility for a while. It means that I have new responsibilities, and a new role as "coach". One one hand, I have available a whole new area of posting possibilities. While, on the other hand, my allotment of time has been altered. One of the "Flower Girls", has been over to visit, and the other will be here any moment now. Perhaps out of these visits I'll have something of interest to report.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Shadow Box

Seems I'm always losing some of my small carvings. The shadow box is a great way to not only display the small carvings, but a good way to keep them too. I put a small dab of that "Reusable Adhesive Putty" on the base of the pieces and that hold them in place. This shadow box measures 16" x 12".

Friday, August 6, 2010

Little Ark!

A little Noah's Ark always needs pairs of little animals. My pocket knife is there so you can better get an idea of the sizes involved. With this ark are, camels, brown bears, polar bears, elephants, horses, and rhinos.

Oh! I am also selecting some 30's fabric to start cutting for some quilt squares. That is, if I haven't forgotten how.......

Sunday, August 1, 2010


What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, than painting spots on cheetahs. Could it be stripes on tigers? Maybe! You'd better be sure your hand is steady...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Painting of Animals Started

Spent some time painting the animals today. Did the base color only. No spots, stripes, or other colors yet. Have to break up the tasks to keep from getting too bored...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Noah's Arks - Progress!

Here's a few of the arks that are nearly done. Must still add some antique look to them.
And some of the bazillion animals I have to do. Some of the arks will get 12 pairs of animals and some 18 pairs. These 75+ will next be painted.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Surprise! Something quilting related.

A flea market find. Toy sewing machine for one whole dollar.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Something "COOL" Not Quilting or Carving

The temperature today was 94 degrees, and the heat index was 104. I even heard on the radio that we were under a heat advisory, and if we had any older neighbors we should check on them. I waited until about noon to be checked on, but no one came. So I decided that it was just too hot and muggy to do anything around the house. I remembered that the BLAST FROM THE PAST car show was in town. Over 600 cars in town. They closed off the streets and parked these beauties every where. Most were on the main drag, which is about 8 blocks long.

Hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I do.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Time Out for a Mini Carving

Took a couple of minute off from the Noah's Arks and animals to carve a mini Civil War soldier bust. The carving measures 1/4 inch wide x 3/4 inch tall. After carving, dipped it into sanding sealer, waited for it to dry then applied Mylands dark wax and buffed.

Weird as it may seem, I do these mini's to relax....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ark #2 completed

Ark number 2 is done, and measures 15 inches from bow to stern, and 18 inches tall. Just need to wax it.

My plan to complete all the arks took a turn when someone just ordered 5. Now I must find the time to make some more. Egads! Right now I'm painting the first thing in the morning, when eyes are fresh and hands more steady. About 2 hours maximum per morning for painting. Next is about 2 hours of carving animals. In the afternoon I spend some time carving Santa's and any other things. Busy busy busy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Two Arks Painted!

Several days ago I might have mentioned that the Flower girls and I were going to play Tom Sawyer. Instead of me painting some Noah's Arks I would get the Flower girls to do it for me. I asked their mom, and she said I didn't know what I was getting into. But she said alright. I set up a table with a tarp over it. Brought out two small paint brushes, and a bucket with about 2 inches of paint in it. I put an old tee shirt on each girl, and turned them loose. The stack of photos shows nearly everything, except the clean up. What did I learn? That you really can paint with your hands if are so inclined.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What's On My Bench!

Pieces and parts of six Noah's Arks.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Ark Completed!

Here's the new "economy" Noah's Ark, completed. I plan to have several of these available at a Christmas Fair (Sale) in November. I'll have 6 pairs of animals, plus Mr/Mrs Noah for each of the arks. This Ark is 13 inches tall and 12 inches long.

Now I just need to put a price on it. Any suggestions? Lets hear from you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Design - Smaller Noah's Ark

This is a new design for a smaller Noah's Ark. The animals that I placed on the Ark are about 2" tall. I am attempting to arrive at a design that will work with 6 pairs of animals. In this manner I am hoping to keep the price lower. I'll post a photo of the completed Ark tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Going To Try to Pull a "TOM SAWYER"

I'm thinkin the Flower girls must be gettin a wee bit bored this summer. I need to get some paint on some Noah's Arks. I think I'm goin to try to get them to paint the Ark hulls with me. I've got the dark brown paint, some sponge brushes, lots of blue tarps, and some old tee shirts they can wear. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ark Progress - Money Saving Tip!

If you notice, I like to paint the Noah's Arks in various shades of BROWN, GREEN, RED.These colors are bright enough to appeal to kids and still retain a certain subdued look for collectors. I seldom pay full price for paints. Sears used to label all mixed paints that did not work out as "OPPS" paint; and then discount it. As you can see I am using FLAT wall paint for the most part. Check out the prices on the cans ($1.00 - $4.00).

Each time I select a paint to use, I like to make a sample on scrap wood. I want to make sure that the selected paint dries to the proper color.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Noah's Arks - Progress

The wood that is used in the arks is 3/4" pine, 1/4" plywood. and recycled crown molding and other moldings.

When ever possible I use recycled or end cuts of 1/4" plywood too. I have several builders who drop stuff off for me.

When I make just one or two arks at a time I usually paint the pieces before assembly. This time, doing six at a time, I don't have the room to paint each component separately. I'll assemble and paint after. Probably will be more difficult.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Christmas Fair 2010 - A

These are some photos of what I am making for the 2010 WINTER FAIR sale that is held in November. I am making six Noah's Arks with 16 pairs of animals.
As many pairs of earrings as I can get done.

As many Santa ornaments and pins as I can get done.

And, as many pencil toppers as I can.
I already have about 40 pencil toppers, 30 Santa pins, 20 Santa tree ornaments, and three Noah's Arks with animals.
I'll be posting my progress in photos as the time permits. And time will permit, as this is when I rest my hands......

Friday, July 9, 2010

Christmas 2010-Starting Now!

ChristmasFair is a craft fair featuring 150 artists and crafters with unique, handcrafted items....pottery, folk art, paintings, stained glass, jewelry, photography and much, much more. 2010 is the 24th year for ChristmasFair!

I am one of the 150 that participate in this event. This will be the first time for me, and I have begun to build the items I'll have for sale. In addition to the Santa ornaments, pencil toppers, and just plain carved Santa's; I'll have Noah's Arks.

Beginning in the next few days, I'll be posting up my progress in preparing for this event. I'll be posting photos of the Arks and the various stages of their construction. I'll show photos of carving and painting progress of the pairs of animals.

I may also try something that I've always wanted to do. That being, attempting to price the Noah's Arks; with your input.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Went for a swim!

Well the flower girls made it back from there vacation. Two weeks Colorado and Kansas. While they were gone I repaired a rescued gnome that was their favorite, but broken. Then I returned it plus a smaller new one to their flower garden. They noticed them both within one hour. I overheard the oldest one telling the younger one that it's proof that gnomes have magic. She said, "I remember mom threw Mordecai in the trash last year, because his leg was broken off."

You all know that it's hot. 93 degrees here and no wind. The girls have a large inflatable pool that they filled with water, and have lots of fun playing in it. I go over and talk with them, and they try to splash me; but either their mom or dad tells them not to get me wet. And generally they listen and stop splashing. Well this PM I decided to have some fun. I emptied my pockets, took off my shoes, and left my glasses at home. I walked over and started to talk to the girls , and as soon as they started to splash me; I jumped in. Needless to say, they were stunned. So was their mom. Also, needless to say, we (I) had a ball. I am nice and cool now.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Rescued Gnome!

Here's a little 8 inch tall Gnome that I found in a flea market. It set me back 25 cents. I'll find a good home for him in the flower girls flower garden.

Friday, June 25, 2010


It's been a while since I've posted. Out of town, very busy, worn out, etc, etc , etc. Always excuses. The flower girls are currently on vacation, so it's very quiet around here. Sometime last year I retrieved the pictured gnome from the flower girls trash. Its left leg was broken off, and their mom could not keep the glue holding it together when she tried to repair it. I took it on the sly. Well I just ran across it. I carved a long piece of wood to fit into the body and the leg. Kinda like an internal splint. Next I glued the whole thing up and it's holding very well. What I plan to do is place the repaired gnome back in their flower garden, and wait to see what happens. This was the girls favorite gnome. The younger sister even slept with it on occasion. They named him Mordecai.
I'll prepare a note from Gnomey explaining the healing powers of gnomes. Healing and repairing expertise, that is.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction

In a previous posting I mentioned the Arts Festival, and the Popsicle stick switchblades that were a big success with the kids, and some dads. One of the neat things that happen at these events is the comments from the kids.
Upon seeing the Popsicle stick switchblade, a little girl asked if I had seen the book MINI WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION. I said no! She said that I should get it, because it's really good. Well my carving buddy ordered a copy and it'll arrive this week. I googled it up and on the cover it has an illustration of a mini catapult made from clothes pins. Cannot hardly wait for the fun I'll have with this book.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"How About Some Quilting"

I woke up this morning with the memory of a little voice that had whispered into my ear, "the name of your blog is QUILTING and CARVING, how bout some quilting". The little voice just had to be this Gnome. He is correct. I need a quilt project to begin.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Arts Festival - #1

The Arts Festival was a good one. The weather cooperated. finally. Large crowds. Lots of family's and lots of kids. I made expenses in the first morning, and from then on it was just fun, fun, fun. I did sell one Noah's Ark, got one commission, and and an inquiry about photos for a magazine. When I say I had fun, it's because all I need to do is make expenses. The top seller was to kids. The "Popsicle stick switchblade". These were a surprise seller. Of course the price of $3.00 was a major factor. I took a bucket full of them. The kids liked them, and one older fellow bought five to take to the office. Some ones going to be in trouble. I spent a lot of time sitting and whittling, the little 1/4 inch wizards and small totum poles to give out to interested kids.

Art Festival Report #2

No photos! My booth looks the same as what I posted from last year. The weather cooperated and it was nice for a change. Crowds were good. But the folks seems more intent on spending their money on fatty food, than "art". Although, I did fine. At least on the inexpensive and fun carvings for the kids. I'll post some photos of these later. But now it's time for the "soapbox". Sorry but I cannot help myself.

What is happening to us, as a nation? I'm talking fat. Not merely heavy as one ages, but fat. And fat from the "get-go". Way, way, way too many FAT young parents pushing strollers with fat babies. Way too many fat young teenage girls parading around with their fat bellies hanging (and I mean hanging) out. More like waddling. I couldn't help but feel sorry for them. Destined to be that way forever. Never being able to look into a mirror and seeing themselves as a healthy, sexy woman. I don't mean just a few. I am sure there were just as many (maybe more) obese teenagers as thinner ones. And not just the girls, the boys are getting huge too. Also saw many obese middle aged folks on scooters (mobility devices), because they were either too heavy to walk around or the health affects from fat had immobilized them.

As with any outdoor festival, the food vendors were plentiful. But unlike the art vendors, many of the food vendors ran out of deep fried food, and had to replenish several times during the weekend.

We discussed this with a doctor that stopped to chat. He shed some more light on the subject. He said if you're poor(er), you can hardly afford to eat healthy. Full fat hot dogs under $1.00 a package, compared to fat free at over $4.00. Healthy whole grain bread at over $2.00 a loaf compared to to more unhealthy bread at under $1.00. And on, and on, and on.

I'm off my soapbox now. In to the kitchen for a donut.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gutter Fringe!

Sorry, forgot to get a photo. You'll just have to use your imagination!

We have several large mature maple trees, that were loaded with seeds - you know, the twirlers/helicopters. In the winds of this past weekend they all blew off the trees. And every damn one of them landed in our gutters. Our gutters are covered with a perforated top, designed to keep leafs out. Every little hole, and there are millions of them had a maple twirler stickin out of it. When the wind blew, they waved like wheat in the field. The gutters on both first and second floor were loaded.

This morning Flower Girl Dahlia noticed them and started laughing. She asked me what they were. I responded, "why it's gutter fringe". The look on her face was indescribable. She ran up for a closer look, and her laughter was even louder. What she said next reveals how smart she is. She said, "those are tree seeds and you better get them out of the gutter or they'll grow into trees". I took her advice, and hired a younger, unemployed friend to clean the gutters.

Moms Day Aftermath!

I probably never will really comprehend the awesome responsibility that a mother has. But what really is the ultimate mystery to me is how so many mothers manage to be so involved in so many things, and do them all so well. I some times whine (well more than sometimes) about how I can't seem to get everything done. And each mothers day I think back on all the things that mothers always get done. So, there is just really no excuse for me not to have made a quilt lately.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"Show Time"

Those wood carvers who enjoy participating in the carving shows, arts festivals and exhibits know that the season has started. I've already participated in one wood carving show, this season. The Johnny Appleseed Show in Mansfield Ohio. This was a good show, in all; and for me too. I have three more major shows, Delaware Arts Festival, Dayton wood carving Show, and Christmas Fair, Columbus Ohio. These are all fun shows, but require lots of prep. By prep, I mean carving and whittling. I need to have at least three Noah's Arks complete with carved pairs of animals for each show. And the idea is to sell them, which then may mean making additional arks. I guess what I'm saying is that it's kinda like fishing. You enjoy the whole experience, whether you catch any fish or not. And sometimes catchin fish is to much of a bother. I also must have a complement of carvings and whittlins for each show. This means that sooner or later I have to set prices. My goal is to just cover expenses. This usually happens. But not because my items are pricey, but just the opposite.