Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sticky parts?

Things are pretty busy this week, so not much time to write anything. But - here's a pretty handy tip from American Woodworker!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I told you it was a small world....

Life has felt kind of heavy lately, hasn't it? The events in Boston and West, Texas remind us of how precious life is, and how it can be gone in an instant. 

TIme for a break!

I thought I'd give you a couple of things to smile about - first - in the "Wow, the world really is a small place" category, I received an email today from a woman who recently visited Maui and met Moe, the same tiki carver I met a couple of months ago. Remember I blogged about him here?

Stephanie bought one of Moe's carvings and when she did an internet search for him, she found my blog. How cool - she even sent me a couple of photos.

Seriously, if you're ever down on the south side of Maui, near Big Beach, look for him on the side of the road. You won't be sorry.  

Stephanie added this - 

"The carvings in the turtle represent the road to Hana and a Haleakala sunrise...both activities that we did here. And I had told Nathan that I wanted a hand carved turtle as our souvenir because while snorkeling we swam with three when we met Moe and saw this turtle, it was meant to be. :)"

That is one of the magical things about Maui - the sheer coincidences of things that occur there. You ask for something, and something comes your way.

Here's a true story - something like 15 years ago, I was snorkeling in a small bay by Little Beach. There was a fellow spear fishing, and he had a squid on his spear. It was surreal, and since I had an underwater camera with me, I asked if he would take a picture of me with the spear. 

(I'd post the picture here, but it was a nude beach and I'm not so sure my mom would appreciate seeing that.)

Anyway, I got the fisherman's address and told him I would send copies of some of the  pictures I took of him, they were very cool. The water was SO clear and he was surrounded by fish and squid ink.

Later, when I returned home and sent the pictures to him, they were returned to me - he had moved. 

I hung on to them, and a few years later, when I returned to the island, I was walking on the beach and ran into him again. Luckily, I had stuck his photos in my sketchbook, which I always have with me on vacation, and was able to give him the photos in person! 

What are the chances? He and I were amazed that we ran into each other again - and that we recognized each other; this time we had our clothes on!

So here's Moe and Stephanie and Nathan - with a little commemoration of their carving experience. (Thanks for sending the pictures, Stephanie!)

Finally, this video just made me smile, which I think we could all use right about now. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Speaking of Earth Day - Sundays are for Gardening. And Carving.

A friend of mine gave me an amazing tip for starting plants in my garden.  I've never started plants from seeds, but she said it was a hell of a lot cheaper, and really simple. I started saving the cardboard tubes that we're all familiar with. Don't you feel good when you recycle?

I filled them with dirt, dropped some seeds in them, and kept them hydrated. 

Whoa - three weeks later, I had about a dozen zucchini plants.

In fact, I had so many, I took some to the Carving Class and shared them with everyone. We all agreed - we need to do this every year, with each of us starting a different plant.

The little plants were really healthy,  

and went into the ground easily. 

But it was still a little chilly at night when I planted them, so I covered them with yet another recycled container - one of those large clear tubs you get when you buy an industrial supply of spinach. 

(Or - as Stella says - green treats.) 

Here's that same plant, six weeks later. 

And another. 


All told, I have about a half dozen around the yard. Yes, I love zucchini!

That got me thinking - what else could I start from seeds?  I love this yucca plant, the pink shoots and flowers attract hummingbirds all Summer long, but the local nursery charges way too much for them. 

You guessed it - I saved up some more rolls 

and found a pod of seeds laying near the plant. The plant drops these pods at the end of the summer. I never knew what was inside until I noticed Stella gnawing on one. She had little black seeds all over her tongue, and you know what your mom says - if you're going to eat that, you're going to have plants growing in your stomach!!! (Where do mothers get those lines?)

I grabbed some of my favorite planting mix 

but you-know-who was all about playing, rather than helping. 

Fold the bottom up, 

put a little dirt in it and drop in some seeds.

Keep your fingers crossed. 

Of course, just after I planted all these seeds, I read an article about pre-soaking the seeds before planting them - that it gives them a boost in the sprouting stage. 

Next time!

These will be out in the sun until they're ready to go in the ground. 

Here's a recipe for a great organic weed killer - don't you feel guilty spraying highly toxic stuff on weeds? I know I do! I'm planning on making a batch of this ASAP. 

Yup, that's it - pretty much what I fill my Sundays with - gardening, working around the house, and catching up on my R & R. This lettuce looks great, doesn't it?

Speaking of R & R, someone asked me the other day what I do for relaxation. Ummm.... I had to think about that one.  Yesterday I had the day off, and this is what I played with - a simple carving based on a tee-shirt I just bought. 

It was an interesting design, so I thought I'd try my hand at it.

Happy Earth Day!

Friday, April 19, 2013

More talking dogs...

In other words... a slow day in the shop!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Where were you?

You know how you mark historical events by remembering where you were at the time? 

It's just easier to remember the event when you recall where you were at the time it happened. Like being at a concert when Princess Diana was killed, or at work when the shuttle exploded, or the Cowboy Christmas show when Newtown was decimated by an insane freak. I even remember the night John Lennon was killed - don't you?

 Or - if you're really effin' old -  at a toy store when President Kennedy was assassinated. 

I was at the lumberyard buying wood when I got a call, asking if I'd heard the news about Boston. I'd found an amazing board - luckily the sweet guy working in the warehouse was willing to put up with me taking a picture of it. 

Yes, this beast was 23" wide. I haven't seen boards like this in... well....fuckingforever. This is a once in a lifetime board.

You've got to know your limitations - so I bought the next narrower board - a mere 18" wide specimen. I don't even know what I'll do with it, but I had to have a piece of this magnificent tree.

Dee was even kind enough to help me load it into my truck. That was service with a smile!

My heart is (once again) broken for the victims of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. It's horrific and I'm pissed at the evilfuckers who did this. 

Have I ever mentioned I'm a huge believer in karma? Somewhere, there is a place waiting for these idiots.

Where were you?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

For your morning reading...

Like most people in their morning routine, I like to settle down with a cup of coffee and  read the morning paper online. 

I'm not sure how it started, but reading the San Francisco Chronicle 

has become one of my favorite morning rituals. The columnists are insightful, the food columns are to die for, but the absolute best part is the reader's comments. No where on the planet will you find funnier statements about news stories. 

Want a terrific example? 

In today's paper, there was a story about someone walking into a Home Depot and practically cutting his arms off. My first thought - uh oh, a panel saw accident. Turns out the man was either mentally ill, or drugged up, and just grabbed a drywall saw to hack off his arm. 

Not necessarily appropriate reading material for my morning coffee. But the best part - the comments that followed. Here are some of my favorite ones. 

(Click on the first image below to enlarge all of them.)

By the time I'd finished writing this blog, there were another fifty comments left.

I won't even comment about all the readers leaving comments about another person's misfortune, and what it says about our society. Instead, I'l just pour another cup of coffee and go back to the paper. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Carving Class is winding down...

The WoodCarving class taught by Dennis Patchett ended this week - it was so much fun that we added one extra class to the schedule. Here's one of his linenfold panels, he probably whipped this up in an afternoon!

There was definitely a nice vibe in the shop, with everyone in their own zone. 

Look what John made!

One of the nicest things about this class is that Dennis brought a tool chest full of his amazing chisels -  so everyone had a chance to use tools that they might only see in specialty catalogs.

And by the end of class, everyone thoroughly understood how to use this buffing wheel. 

Mike was by far the most productive carver, coming up with all of these designs during the class. 

M is for.... ? 

He's an amazing carver.

Here are some random shots of everyone working.

They make it look easy, right? Well - truth is - it's incredibly hard to do, as you really have to develop an "eye" to see what to leave and what to cut away. The good news is - by the end of this class, their eyes were getting much more developed. 

Even though this video is in Italian, you'll get the idea of what's involved in carving something like the panel shown below.