Sunday, October 17, 2010


Someone once told me that I change faster than the weather. There might be some truth to that, but I prefer to think I change with the seasons, and in a gentler, more slow-lane way.  Isn't that what life is all about?  If everything always stayed the same we'd be clubing each other with sticks and walking on our knuckles.

What brought on this train of thought you ask?  Well, for one thing I have no weaving to concentrate on right now. I have a project warped up and ready to go but I want to make a video of it as it begins. It's a visual demonstration of Linda Hendriksen's Dog Leash handle. If a picture is indeed worth a thousand words then my next video should be worth millions. But I Digress. 

In the Spring I wanted to garden, that's pretty normal, isn't it?  During the sumnmer all I wanted to do was sit on the porch with hubby and listen to the birds. I wove a bit to keep my hands busy but really, I didn't want to do much of anything. But it's cooler now and sitting outside is not a comfortable option. So I'm inside. That means I see a lot that I'd like to change.  That's pretty natural as well,  isn't it?  It certainly is for the women in my family!  Of course where they go shopping, I go making.

It's time to make sawdust!   Yahoo!  And I've got three days off to do it in!

A coffee table for both the living room and the family room are on top of the list.  Oak for the formal one and  perhaps Birch or Pine for the family room.   My Dad is on board for helping with the difficult parts but he has described a jig I can make that will help make the tapered legs.  I think will take a full day just to make the jig! 

A couple of cabinets for the Wine Shop are next, but I have to practice first on a couple for the wood shop. I have a new Kregg  Jig I'm aching to play with, which is why I need to make the tapered leg jig so I can make the tapered legsfor the tables so I can use the Kregg Jig to put the rest of the table together.  Makes perfect sense, don't you think? 

Once I get the tapered Leg Jig made and the Kregg Jig figured out well then it's onto bedside tables.  I mean heck, I can put a cloth over the coffee tables is I screw up but the bedside tables will have drawers. Real drawers! Can't put a cloth over them, can I? 

If get all that done before Christmas it will be a miracle, but it will sure be fun to try.  Christmas!  It's coming up pretty soon, isn't it? Wow, it was just Spring a while ago and I was gardening like crazy. Where did the summer go?

So it's not really me that's changing, it's the seasons. I'm just being appropraite. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


ps. Love you R.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Onward though slightly lateral...

I have a new toy, and boy is it going to be fun. Of course, I have  to learn how to use it before the actual fun can start.

I bought a NetBook.  It's small enough to fit in my purse. It's a pretty big purse, which is great, since I tend to carry a lot of stuff anyway.  When I was clearing a space for the Netbook I took a fairly hard look at just exactly I'd been hauling around with me.

One pair of pliers. One pair wire cutters. One necklace with seven delightful green lamp work beads on it.  Five student-made beads waiting to be delivered. Two fold-up nylon grocery bags. Fray Check. 20x20 scarf to Furoshiki with. Sewing kit. Two hair combs.  Three types of painkillers and a few vitamin D tablets. Seven pens and one really nice automatic pencil.  Seeds for pink four o'clock flowers. Portable  drive with instructions for cabinet making on it.  Index-card size recipe book full of recipes, art ideas and things I need for work.  Gum wrappers.  Cell phone that needs recharging. Empty eye-glass case. Hair barrette. Flattened copper penny that is ready to be etched. A clip-on calculator with really, really, really small buttons. Engraved corkscrew that barely works. Key ring.  Way to many grocery store receipts. One tube lipstick in a color that really doesn't suit me. One strand finished finger weaving.

And oh yeah, my wallet. It's big enough to be a purse on its' own for some people.

I think I should pair that down, don't you?  Or am I just procrastinating in learning how to use the NetBook?  Maybe I'll think about it after 'Hawaii Five-O' is over!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Card Weaving with a Selvedge

 Finally got video number two done. This one shows how to card weave a design with a selvedge on both sides. The sound isn't great but hubby's camera work is excellent. 

The original soundtrack had to go. I weave outside and there was a particularly loud robin nearby chirping every few seconds! Changing the recording location would have meant loosing the great evening light. What's a girl to do? A voiceover of course!  Always something new to learn.

Finding a room inside the house to record in was also a challenge. My sewing room ended up being the best but the sound still isn't great.  I may have to start saving egg cartons and come up with a whole new decorating scheme for the bathroom. The sound will be great with them stapled to the walls!

In the end I'm pretty happy with the result.  I'm working on Christmas presents now. More on those later!

Weave on!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Portable card weaving loom for long lengths

I love cardweaving. Inkle weaving lets me create longer lengths of weaving but card weaving allows me to create more interesting patterns.  Combining the two was problematic but I'm pleased with the results.   I still have to comb out the warp sometimes but a girl can't have everything!   I can't figure out how to get the tension I want, the lengths I want and the freedom from 'comb-out'. Swivels for each card would dramatically increase the width of loom when I use finer threads.  Suggestions welcome on how to solve the problem would be welcome.

This is the gear and ratchet tensioning device.
The  warp threads go through the dowel and are tied around an old knitting needle. The dowel slides out of the holder to make the threading easier. When I weave it gets secured with a string that acts as a washer to stop it from pulling out.                                                        This is the tensioning device that secures the warp supply.  I drilled two holes in a scrap block of oak and sliced it into three. The wing nuts loosen so the warp can be released and combed. They get tightened again for weaving. There are pieces of leather on the blocks.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Long time coming........

My husband and kids are the best thing that ever happened to me.  By just being themselves they push me to places I should have been a long time ago but was to scared to go.  They have more faith in me than I have in myself and I am continually grateful for that.  Well, grateful once the 'you want me to make what??' is over.

Recently Mark, my youngest son, asked if I could make him a small statue to represent his section of the Air Force Flight School class he was in. They used to have a mascot, but it had been stolen and sold on e-bay.  Very embarrassing, but also a good reason for an update.  He wanted it about 30 inches high and as heavy as I could make it. Oh, and could it please have a place on it for a chain and a lock? And can it look like a cartoon superhero but with six-guns, a bandit mask and a flight helmet?

Silly me, I said yes. Didn't even hesitate.  Be glad to help, I said the day he phoned.  You want it in six weeks? Piece of cake.  Ha!

Hubby Russ was in the background warning me not to do it. He said I didn't have the time.  Shows what he knows. I can always make time for something my sons want.  It was my lack of any idea of how to go about it that was the problem!

To make a long story short, The first try was a disaster.  I carved the figure out of foam insulation and used paper mache for details. As recommended by the miriad of websites I researched for the project, I sealed the figurine with several coats of rather expensive shelac.  But even with a good amount of release, it got stuck in the plaster mold. I mean really stuck. It ame out in bits and pieces.

The first deadline came and went. The idea of creating a mold to pour concrete into went out the window as well. Waaaaay to expensive. I'd need at least $200 worth of rubber compounds in order to avoid another disaster.  Even though I was dying to try out that method, the cost of materials certainly wasn't in the budget.

The next plan was to mold with the concrete itself. I had done a bit of this years ago but only over a form that was already solid. This needed to be a free-standing wire armature. Out came the concrete sculptor's bible 'Making Concrete Garden Ornaments by Sherri Warner Hunter'.  With the book and help from Russ in suggesting copper tubing for the basic armature the project finally looked like it was going to work.  This, of course, was after a morning of heating rebar and trying to bend it into shape.  And discovering we don't own a reliable bench vice and that the 3/8 rebar I had on hand was complete overkill.

Here's the wooden box for the base with holes drilled through it so the copper tubing could be anchored in the concrete that would be poured into it.  I used screws to hold the tubing in place. It was much easier to drill than I though it would be.

The mold base had to be supported upside down while the concrete dried. It got only 24 hours to settle before being righted so work could continue.  Ordinary mortar mix was used for the base with a layer of wire mesh added in the middle. The ends of the copper tubing were barely hidden under the cement so they would give maximum support to the sculpture right from the start.

Chicken wire was wrapped around the tubing to support the concrete. For added measure glass fibers were added to the mortar mix before it was applied. The water used in the mix was cut 3 to 1 with acrylic bonding agent that makes the concrete stickier and more suited to vertical application. This statue was going to be a strong as it was heavy!

Bit by bit the concrete was applied. Each layer or section was covered in plastic and allowed to set at least 24 hours before any more was added.  Two inch wide sections of woven scrim tape used for drywalling was wrapped around each layer before more wet cement was added. That way each layer had it's own integral support.

Some of the detail was created by careful grinding and filing. A dremel tool worked well for fine detail and for getting into the tight curves.  Using a big grinder was much more dramatic and way more fun!  

Other sections of detail were added by mixing concrete and using it like clay.   The bandit mask and harness straps were pieces of cloth dipped in watery concrete and stick to the surface. After they dried they were reinforced with several layers of thin concrete.  The final surface was a brushed on slurry coat.  

Painting took two days!   The eyes were a challenge. I had made the brow-bone too emphatic. It was much to late to change it. By now Mark's course was just about over and everyone would be leaving soon. It was time to wrap this project up and get it shipped whether I was 100 per cent happy with it or not.

Mark will apply a glossy spray once the paint has cured a bit. It really needs that.
Russ helped with the crating. Or, should I say I helped him with the crating. I didn't trust myself to build  it right. I knew I'd either overbuild or underbuild.  The shipping limit for the bus was 100 pounds. In the end the statue and crate weighed in at  93 pounds! Just made it!

Marks likes it and is presenting it to his class mates next week. Hope they like it too.
If this mascot gets stolen and sold on e-bay I hope it sells for more than the last one!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

sewing 'troops'

These are so cute!

They are meant to be weights to hold pieces of sewing pattern on fabric.   Five Green Acres posted the pattern recently and I found it through Whip Up.  I couldn't resist trying the pattern. I was in a funk and needed a quick creative fix.  I may have been carried away just a bit but I can explain!

As a compulsive right brainer I sometimes have difficulty following rules designed for the left-brained analytical world.  It's been a struggle most of my life, especially in the work-a-day world where I am expected to 'just do it' like everyone else does.  When I can successfully put a bit of myself into my work the task at hand becomes easier and much more pleasurable.

When I found a pattern for these little guys something that had been weighing on my mind became fun. They would become my soldiers in the battle of 'getting it done'!  Obviously another explanation is necessary.

Part of my new job requires scheduling four employees. Normally that would be easy, but where I work there are some shifts that are more desirable than others. Staff all want a turn at working them.  Making sure everyone gets an equal amount of work and a fair share of the good shifts was keeping me awake at night.

Neither computer programs nor a piece of paper and an eraser appealed as the right tools for the job. That was much to ordinary and slow.  I wanted something I could move around quick enough to keep up with my thoughts.   I had just purchased poster board to draw squares on when I came across Five Green Acres design.  With different colors of fabric representing each staff member I 'whipped up' as many as I had material for.  Scraps in each color  made do for the rest of the shifts to fill.

 With the 'troops' all in place creating the schedule was easy!  If I need to change it I still have the weights available and now I have a bowl full of sewing weights for my next project!

Thanks Mary Jo and may your Five Acres always be Green.  And thanks to Whip Up for pointing me in the right direction.