Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saturday, December 16, 2017

“Handmade”: Meet Mississippi’s Greg Harkins

Talk about devotion to craft... this gentleman has been making chairs for 43 years.

Want to watch the full clip? 

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Cowboy Christmas 2017 - Don't Miss It!

It's that time of year again!

The funny thing is that I'm not a huge fan of Christmas, but the Cowboy Christmas show puts me in a whole new mindset for the holiday season.

I wouldn't miss it for the world! 

This year was better than ever, 

I've never been disappointed at this huge show at the Convention Center.

 There are more saddles, 


buckles (on steroids!)


(big and small!)

 and home accessories, like these bottle stoppers 

and woodcrafts.... did I mention the woodworking? 

mostly because I like the owners and their artistic vision. 

This salad set is gorgeous. If you can't miss the show, here's a link to check them out.

I do love the home accessories -  

they're kitschy and common-sensical, like using these horseshoes for tray handles. Ingenious! 

This humongous ottoman's hand tooled leather was amazing. 

And this bench ... wow.

Just walking around the convention floor, you'll be in awe of the sights - like this fabulous  bronze sculpture of two cowboys shaking hands. I forget the exact name of this piece, but it was something like "gentleman's agreement" - someone's vision of an old fashioned "contract" in the field. Nice.  

I love these cigar store Indians,

apparently the booth's owner does too!

Looking for western clothing? 

There's an abundance of stuff for everyone, from jewelry - 

more hats! 

rustic "blanket" purses, 

these "all gut, no butt" suspenders were selling out!

I really love these metal yard sculptures, "protecting" your property. 

Check out this video!

And this chair with its tractor seat and wagon wheel sides - I just love their creativity!

 I ran into Sundie and Brad, of Vintage Sculpture from Norwalk, Iowa, who make sculptural felt wall art. 

It's always nice to catch up with them, and their booth (as always) was filled with amazing new work. 

Their pieces always draw me in for further inspection.

 My photos of their booth sucked, but they graciously texted me these images ... WOWZA! Seriously...  check out their website, you won't be sorry. (These pictures don't do their work justice, BTW.)

But my favorite booth in the entire show is this one - Zeller's Trunks.

Chuck and Sherry Zeller make the finest steamer trunks I've ever seen. Their trunks have so many things going on - sliding compartments, hidden spaces, GORGEOUS tapestry lining, custom hardware.... 

I swear,  there aren't too many pieces of other woodworker's work that I want in my home, but I WANT one of these trunks. 


this is their latest model - the Hump Back Embossed Tin Panel Trunk. 

Read about it here... you won't be sorry. 

Look around and you'll find some charming sites -  like the Ms. Behavin' store.

Want to pose on a life-sized steer? Climb on up! 

Speaking of steers, these young kids already have a great start to their roping career.

These metal sculptures of cacti just floor me... and since one of my neighbors has some of these on the corner of his property, I get to enjoy them often. 

There's even a Cowgirl Hardware Store! 

And a genuine tee-pee.

 Meanwhile, upstairs at the Outdoorsman show, there were more mainstream  pieces, like this Harley Davidson portable fire pit. 

This show seemed less about retail, and more about education. The display on animals and how they shed their antlers was interesting,

 and the bear pelt with its massive paw was something I'd never seen this closely. Amazing. 

My best recommendation? 

The Cowboy Christmas show on the main floor is a MUST for getting holiday spirit on, but don't miss the show upstairs.  Both offer different perspectives on a Christmas experience, even if you're a bah, humbug! kind of person!

Hope you're enjoying a wonderful Christmas season!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

It's Watch week!

It's Watch week!

It's been a great year, and as we head into this last month, it's time to make some wristwatch clocks in the shop.

 This might be one of the most requested projects that we offer, and it's always a great gift to give. They're a little labor intensive to build, and really cool to personalize - who wouldn't want that challenge? 

If you didn't get into the Instant Gratification Woodworking class this session, you're really missing out!

 I've said it more than once - becoming a good woodworker is all about PRACTICE. It takes some practice to be able to be able perform simple woodworking operations, like drilling straight holes, or developing an eye to see where wood needs to be sanded. Scratches often don't appear until too late, like when you're applying the final finish!

 My best advice? Don't overwhelm yourself with huge projects right off the bat. Start small, grow your skills, become competent in resolving problems.  

Oh - and make some great pieces!