This and That – Truth, Andy Amazon, Epoxy Resin

This – There is More than One Truth

Imagine that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are far out in the English countryside in pursuit of a unique case involving an agricultural mystery.
They have settled down in their sleeping bags in a small tent for the night.
Just before dawn, Sherlock nudges Dr. Watson awake, and says,
“Watson – look up and tell me what you notice.”
Dr. Watson tells him that he sees the stars – that the clear sky means the weather will be good in the coming day – that the very faint light in the east says it is almost dawn. “What do you notice, Holmes?”
Holmes sits up. “I notice that someone has stolen our tent during the night.”
– Robert Fulghum, Now What?

That – Shopping in the Time of Covid

If I find this mat on Amazon, I’m going to buy it…

The Car Guy calls him (though sometimes it is a her) Andy Amazon. Andy visits our house a few times a week. He/She has delivered everything from printer ink to kitchen sink taps… epoxy resin to tools… all the things that our local stores either don’t ever carry or  can’t get because of Covid caused supply chain issues.

The absolute nicest Andy was of Asian descent. He left a parcel at our front door, rang the doorbell, then headed back to his vehicle. I got to the door before he got to the end of the patio.

I opened the door and said, loud enough for him to hear, “Thank you!” He turned and… bowed.

Whenever it snows, I trudge out to the main road and shovel down to bare dirt so that Andy knows exactly where our driveway is. If Andy is just a few feet off the mark he/she could end up in the ditch. That would really mess up Andy’s day and maybe we would get a black mark next to our name and all the Amazon Andys would tell the dispatcher that they definitely don’t want to deliver the parcel to the house in the country with the really deep ditch that sucks your car in right up to the door handle.

Without Amazon, The Car Guy and I might go crazy… no, make that crazier…

Serious Lock Down Advice:
Everyone please be careful because people are going crazy from being locked down at home!
I was just talking about this with the microwave and the toaster while drinking my tea, and we all agreed that things are getting bad.
I didn’t mention any of this to the washing machine, because she puts a different spin on everything.
Certainly couldn’t share with the fridge, ’cause he’s been acting cold and distant!
In the end, the iron straightened me out. She said the situation isn’t all that pressing and all the wrinkles will soon get ironed out.
The vacuum, however, was very unsympathetic… told me to just suck it up.
But the fan was very optimistic and gave me hope that it will all blow over soon.
The toilet looked a bit flushed but didn’t say anything when I asked its opinion,
but the front door said I was becoming unhinged and the doorknob told me to get a grip.
You can just about guess what the curtains told me: they told me to ‘pull myself together!”
We will survive!
– Author Unknown –

The Other – When do you have Enough Drink Coasters?

Clear Epoxy Resin drink coasters with computer parts embedded in them

The Car Guy, Daughter the Nurse and gHosT the dog (who has posted on this blog a few times: gHosT the grand dog) get together once a week for a day of woodworking. For the past few months they have dabbled in woodworking AND epoxy resin.  One of The Car Guy’s first projects was embedding computer parts into the epoxy – in the shape of drink coasters. He has also embedded rocks, photographs, wood slabs and many other things. When we had answered the question “How many drink coasters does one house need?” the subsequent coasters left home and took up residence in the homes of various family members.

You might remember from a previous post that The Car Guy went through an epoxy resin glitter phase during the holiday season: Epoxy Resin Snow Flakes.

Daughter is cutting out intricate shapes with a scroll saw and filling in the holes with resin!

I am thankful that The Car Guy has embarked on a new hobby that challenges the creative side of his brain. I’m not saying woodworking isn’t creative, but the epoxy resin also challenges him to think more like an artist. An added bonus to this new hobby is that it is absolutely excellent daddy-daughter time and goes a very long way to keeping us ‘older folks’ from feeling very alone in this locked down Province.

gHosT wants to add this:

it was cold at the Red House. today. so cold no one. took me for a walk. but they put me in the fenced yard. i ran and ran and ran and borked. i smelled something. it was big. i think. it had a big smell. grandma said it was. moose. ive never met a moose. if i did. i would bork and bork. even more. the moose wouldnt know if it was a. friendly bork. or not. all my borks sound the same. even to me.

Scroll saw dinosaur with epoxy resin – by Daughter the Nurse

 

How are all you folks passing the time these days? Are you in some sort of lock down too? Are you feeling fearful or optimistic? Do you have things to do that make you happy? Do you have someone to share your life with?

Wonkey Weaving Gourd Baskets

I’ve taken three Gourd Art classes from a talented artist,  Margaret Sullivan of Rio Verde, Arizona.  In two of the classes we used very large gourds that we stained with leather dyes before we launched into the time consuming technique called ‘Wonkey Weaving’. The bare bones of the weaving is done with reeds soaked in water to make them pliable. The wonkey meant you were supposed to leave lots of odd shaped gaps to fill in later with wool or other pliable materials.

My first gourd had not become very ‘wonkey’ at all by the end of the class. I took it home and completed the rest of the weaving and added purchased feathers and beads.

At the second class, I achieved wonkey.

In the third class, we made a Totem Pole  from small gourds. We stained the gourds, etched them with a dremel, then decorated them with feathers, beads and paint.

Back in Canada, I could add feathers that I had collected from the grounds around our house. (In Alberta, it is legal to pick up feathers off the ground. It is not legal to do that in the United States, according to the American Migratory Bird Treaty Act.)

American Migratory Bird Treaty Act Reform – There is movement towards decriminalizing accidental bird killings. Federal Judge Edith H. Jones observed that the MBTA prohibits all acts or omissions that “directly” kill birds, but she also said that where these bird deaths are “foreseeable,” as is the case for all owners of big windows, communication towers, wind turbines, solar energy farms, cars, cats, and even church steeples, it seems unreasonable that these people or businesses should continue to be found guilty of violating the MBTA.

There are so many criminal and regulatory laws and regulations that no one can count them. It is estimated that the average citizen breaks 3 laws a day without even knowing it! Can you think what any of them might be!?

Knitting – Spare Time Crafting Stories

My mom was a knitter. She knit in her spare time – but she could knit in ‘unspare’ time too. By that, I mean she was a multitasker long before that term became popular. She could knit and watch TV. She could knit and enjoy the scenery on long road trips. She could knit and have conversations with friends. She probably could have knit and played bridge if Dad had built some sort of card holder for her.

green wool

My children are knitters too. Eldest daughter likes to knit in her spare time. Wander over to her blog, The Good Life List and you will see a photo of this lovely project when it was finished.

pink wool

Middle daughter likes to knit too. She takes her knitting on road trips (like her grandma). Last I heard she couldn’t multitask – she has to watch the progress of each and every stitch very carefully. If she doesn’t, she ‘drops stitches’ which is a knitters term that means a stitch got lost about 6 rows ago.

dog scarf

Youngest daughter knits, though I don’t think she has as much passion for that as she does for making lampwork glass beads (Beadlejuice Beads). The dog is a good model for knitted scarves, but not so good for glass bead necklaces and bracelets.

pantyhose craft
Me? If the love of knitting is passed down from generation to generation, it skipped mine. I don’t remember my mom even trying to teach me to knit. That task, which must have been an incredible challenge, was given to a no nonsense family friend, Norrie. Norrie tried to teach me European knitting and how to make Scottish Shortbread Cakes.

To Norrie’s and my credit, I did knit several sweaters. Bob, in the photo above, is wearing the first one I ever completed. I made it for The Car Guy while we were still dating. Bob has had the sweater on for just over an hour now, and that is the longest it has ever been worn. Enough said.

purple wool needles

knitting http://www.savagechickens.com/Over the years I did knit a few other things, but I can’t claim to enjoy it much. I like to buy wool, though. Sometimes I roll it into balls. Sometimes I even find a pattern and some needles. I might even think about knitting, but that is as far as I usually get!

Have you ever tried knitting? What do you like to do in your spare time?

This week’s WordPress.com photo Challenge is Spare.

This and That – Our Library, The Alphabet and a Good Crafting Intention

Our ‘Snowbird’ Community has a small Library. The volunteer librarians have developed a book filing system that theoretically allows them to house the largest number of books. The books are sorted by subject, then by size, then alphabetically by author’s name. This means that book cases with shorter paperback books have one more shelf than the taller hard cover book cases.

The problem with this system becomes apparent when the users want to find books by a particular author. Books by Stephen King, for example, can be found in 6 different locations – non-fiction, science fiction, fiction paperback, fiction hard cover, mystery paperback, and mystery hard cover. On any given day, the whim of the volunteer who shelves the book will determine where the book is.  This means that two hard cover copies of a single book will invariably be shelved in two different places.

Now and then, whole shelves of books will simply disappear. I’m assuming there were multiple copies of some books, and they were  donated to another little library. But in a system like this, it would be very time consuming to find duplicates. Suspiciously though, most of the books by my favourite British authors have disappeared…

This library really is an interesting example of how logic and good intentions can have unintended consequences.

Logic is a large drawer, containing some useful instruments, and many more that are superfluous. A wise man will look into it for two purposes, to avail himself of those instruments that are really useful, and to admire the ingenuity with which those that are not so, are assorted and arranged.
– Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon –

 

527-rudolphcorksI can appreciate what can happen to good intentions. Last Christmas I was going to make a whole herd of Cork Rudolphs. Their little bodies and heads would be etched with the ‘alphabet soup‘ of the wine world. Each little ungulate would be a reminder of  those special events when the wine flowed freely.

After many attempts, much oddly bent wire, and a bit of blood letting, a single reindeer was produced. Wine corks firmly resist any attempt to poke wires into them…

YOUR TURN: How do you organize your library? Do you alphabetize anything besides books?

This week, the WordPress Photo Challenge is Alphabet

Tree Branch Hooks

After I had made three Stacked Wood Christmas Trees, I had a large pile of discarded branches that were too big for the chipper and too small to make more stacked trees. Though some of the “V” shaped sections would have made excellent sling shots, I settled on the more mundane project of making tree branch hooks.

The Car Guy searched his stash of things he might need some day, and found some wood that I could use to make a frame. I chose to make one with an interior dimension of 8 by 20 inches (20.32 by 50.8 cm). Once the wood pieces were cut, we used a T-square to make the corners square, and an air gun nailer to quickly assemble the frame. (The Car Guy insisted on the T-square, because the way I was going at it, the frame was going to be really lopsided…)

I selected tree branches that had forks of about 45 degrees. Then I used a chop saw to cut  the branches into 8 inch (20.32 cm) long sections. I tried to vary the position of the hooks so that they would be at random heights in the frame.

Once I had the hooks all laid out in the frame, we used the air gun nailer to secure them in place at both the top and the bottom.

woodworking tree branch frame

We attached nail hangers on the back – one near each end – to keep the frame level on the wall.

I was really pleased with the finished Framed Tree Branch Hooks. The project may not actually be very practical, but it is pleasingly rustic, and is a nice reminder of the types of trees we grow here at The Red House.

I have one more wood project on the go – a twig chair. I had high hopes of making all sorts of twig things, but the chop saw is a seriously spooky tool that I’m getting less fond of as the days go by…

What power tool do you enjoy using? What do you shy away from using?

Stacked Wood Christmas Tree

We saw Stacked Wood Christmas Trees at The Cross Roads Collective in Invermere, British Columbia. The Car Guy said, “We could make one of those, you know”, and I thought, “Sure we could, but will we?”

Many months later, we made our first trees. This is a project, though, that actually took many years to come together. This is why, and here are the instructions:

1. I married a man who keeps everything.

2. We bought a cabin with copper pipe plumbing that ran under the open underbelly of the cabin. The pipes sometimes froze and split if we had hard frosts after we turned the water on for the season. The Car Guy changed out the pipes for flexible plastic tubing that didn’t burst as easily. He brought the copper pipes home, because he might need them some day.

4. The Red House needed a new deck. The Car Guy built one, and salvaged any good wood, because he might need it some day.

5. A heavy snowfall broke many branches off the trees around The Red House. The Car Guy and I piled all the wood up in various locations on our property – because we might need it some day.

Salvaged deck lumber

6. Some day eventually arrived.  The Car Guy used the salvaged deck lumber to build the X shaped bases for the Stacked Wood Christmas Trees.

Salvaged copper pipe

7. He cut 4 feet (1.2 meters) off one of the 3/4 inch (1.9 centimeter) pieces of copper tubing.  Then he drilled a hole in the center of his X-shaped base, and stuck one end of the copper tubing into the hole.

Drilled hole

8. Then The Car Guy taught me how to use the electric chop saw. I went to work cutting the long broken branches from the trees into shorter pieces. (The longest was 3.5 feet (1.1 meters).) When I had them cut up into the right lengths, The Car Guy drilled a hole in the middle of each branch with his drill press. (The Car Guy has an excellent selection of tools that he buys because he might need them some day.)

Stacking branches onto the pipe

9. I laid out the branches in the order I wanted to stack them, then ‘threaded’ them onto the copper pipe.

Stacked wood Christmas Tree

Ta Da! The completed Stacked Wood Christmas Tree.

I also made a star for the top. I cut 5 pieces of branch, equal lengths and laid them out in a 5 pointed star shape.  The Car Guy used his air gun nailer to tack them together, then we nailed it to the top  branch.

Measure twice and cut once – there’s no board stretcher in the tool kit.
– Author Unknown –

The words ‘Hoarded Ordinaries’ came to mind when I watched The Car Guy drag this and that out from here and there until he finally had all the components to make these trees.

What sort of things do you or your spouse ‘hoard’ and what unanticipated use did you finally make from the stash?

Origami Kusudama Flower Balls

Origami –  how difficult is it? Fold a piece of paper to form a peak, and you have a mountain fold. Fold it the opposite direction, and you have a valley fold. Make a couple of folds, then open them up a bit and squash them, and you have – tada – a squash fold.

Its just mountains and valleys…. How hard could it be?
– Unknown –

My youngest daughter has been making origami Kusudama flower balls. I asked her to teach me how.

We started with a trip to a Hobby Lobby to buy a package of 12 inch by 12 inch patterned paper, a stick of super sticky glue (double sided clear tape or a glue gun would work too), and some  long paper clips.

I would have bought a paper cutter if I didn’t already have one, because each sheet of 12 inch paper had to be cut into four 6 inch by 6 inch squares. If I had wanted smaller flowers, I could have cut the paper into smaller squares. For the project I had in mind, I needed to make 24 flowers. 5 petals per flower. 120 squares of paper.

black white

There are many websites and YouTube videos that explain how to fold each flower petal, but I’ll fast forward through that rather tedious process so I can display the flowers themselves. The photo above shows some of the petals in various stages of being joined to create a finished flower (which is the one in the centre of the photo.)

black and white

In the photo above, I’m almost finished one half of a Kusudama Ball. Six flowers form half a ball. I used the paper clips to hold the glued sections together until the glue dried.

black white

Once the half ball was finished, I attached it to a thick piece of black cardboard and mounted it in a frame.

I could have joined two half balls and made a full ball to hang from the ceiling.

The boredom of making 120 petals was relieved somewhat by the variety of papers I chose. If they had all been one colour, or solid colours, I might have abandoned the project!

I don’t suppose any of you have some half finished projects that were simply too boring to finish?!

I was going to start an origami business but was afraid it would fold.
– Unknown –

Those pics are paper-view…
– storm avoider –

Crayon Art – Melting

Last fall each of my grown children purchased new crayons and artist’s canvas, and it wasn’t for the grand-children to take to school. No, they used a glue gun, a candle and a hair dryer to create a merger of the crayons and the canvas. Here is what they made:

The result was my Christmas Present last year.  I’m hoping they will do the same this year. I loved the results! One daughter, the one who lives to cook, presented me with this beautiful bundle of vegetables. I can only imagine how long it took to melt the crayons with a candle, then plant each melted bit onto the canvas!

Another daughter glued black, grey, white, green and yellow crayons onto the top of a canvas, then used a hair dryer to melt the pointed ends so they dripped. Note the new colours that formed near the bottom where one colour ran into another.

The third daughter – whose husband rides the same model of Harley that The Car Guy did – chose a Harley Davidson theme and colours. She combined the melted dot technique to outline the Harley logo, then she used the drip method on the ends of the crayons.

The only consultation between the three girls was the size of the canvas they were going to use. It was so wonderful to see how different each piece turned out!

There are lots of websites that explain the process for these projects. Here are a few:

Wingledings

Pink and Green Mama

Origami – The Math of Fortune Telling

“Pick a colour!”
“Red.”
Schoop, schoop, schoop. (This is the best I can do at describing the sound made when a Paper Fortune Teller is manipulated.)
“Pick a number!”
“Six.”
Schoop, schoop, schoop, schoop, schoop, schoop.
“Pick another Number, and I’ll reveal your fortune!”
“Two.”
The flap with the number two is unfolded and the fortune is read: “You may be small but your ideas will be BIG!”

If I had received this fortune when I was a kid, would I have thought it was hokey? Or would I have thought ‘When I grow up I’m going to share all my BIG thoughts on a blog, which will be read by very few people, but I won’t care because…’  Of course, when I was a kid there was no internet and therefore no blogs, and I certainly didn’t think I was going to remain small, so I would have thought it was a dumb fortune.

But this was the fortune I got when I downloaded, and made a Paper Fortune Teller plan posted by the Children’s Author, Deborah L. Diesen. (She calls it a Cootie-Catcher, but that wasn’t a term used in my day.) Deborah warns that her fortune teller doesn’t really tell fortunes or predict the future, but I beg to differ with her!

When I was a kid, the Paper Fortune Teller would appear on the playground a few times each year (it was banned from the classroom, which was unfortunate.)  Once one person made one, everyone made one, and the craze would last for a week or two, then disappear. At the time, we didn’t know it was a very simple example of Origami and we certainly didn’t think about the geometric shapes we were creating when we folded a flat piece of paper into a three dimensional object.

Paper folding has likely been happening since paper was first invented! However, Origami as a Japanese art form began when paper first arrived in that country in the 6th Century. Paper was quite expensive at that time, so objects made from folded paper were reserved for special occasions. A butterfly, similar perhaps to the one I made, might have adorned the Sake bottles at a formal wedding ceremony.

Origami today is an entirely different duck as a result of the work of a number of  individuals who have described the mathematics of origami, extended the range of what can be folded, and applied origami to real world science situations. One of these ‘Folders’ is Robert Lang. You can see his remarkable Compositions on his website – Robert J. Lang Origami or you can listen to his story in the TED talk, Robert Lang Folds Way-New Origami.

Even the simplest Origami is not that easy as you will see when you try to open up the Paper Fortune Teller for the first time. As for the Butterfly I made – well, I won’t give you the link to the instructions because they were abysmal.

Happy Folding! May your mountains and valleys be crisp and precise!

Paper Craft – Where a Newspaper Can Take You

A visitor left a newspaper on my kitchen counter. After I scanned the headlines, I thought I’d like to write a post that tied together: the price of Groceries in my city, Eco-Friendly Cat Litter, Brier Curling Results, the Stock Market Report, the latest on Gadhafi in Libya, and what people are saying in the Letters to the Editor. I couldn’t find a common thread, and didn’t really want to spend much time looking for one.

Yet, I did accomplish what I set out to do, thanks to a website dedicated to green design projects. All I had to do was gather up the appropriate newspaper pages, fold and tie them as directed, and then fan the pages into a Pom Pom shape. In about ten minutes, I had tied all my stories together, though not in the way I had originally intended…

I can’t think of any practical use for this Newspaper Pom Pom in my house, but I have no use for Cat Litter nor Gadhafi either, so I guess this project is a useful social commentary.

I’d never make another one, though, because I really don’t like the feel of newsprint, and I don’t like ink all over my fingers. Which got me thinking about books and ink.

I was at the library the other day with my sister-in-law (The Reader). She absolutely loves books – she likes the feel of the paper, the smell of the ink, and the weight of the book in her hand. Those types of observations would never cross my mind. I don’t think much about how things feel, nor how the smell, for that matter. So while she was happily browsing the books, I was talking to the information man about eBook readers and which books I could download onto my Nook.

If I am not really a tactile centered person, what am I? That question took me to a site about Learning Styles, a place I had no intention of going when I started writing this post. I had not thought about what my learning style was. Yet, there I was in the Visual Learning Section. It described me so thoroughly that it was spooky:
– Good at spelling but forgets names. (This is a big relief…)
– Needs quiet study time. (No TV or radio when I am trying to write!)
– Has to think awhile before understanding. (Explains that blank look I sometimes get.)
– Take notes, make lists. (Is there anything that can’t be put on a list?)
– Likes colors. (Did you guess this by my blog theme?)
– Understands/likes charts. (I like maps too…)

I learned a lot today. I think I’ll go make a list of those things…