Remnants Made Magical by Local Indie Crafters

We took the opportunity to go to a local Indie Craft Fair today, as advertised in a blog post by one of the vendors, Wrensong Woods.

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Some of the other vendors at the event were Artisan Original Pens & Such: pens, bottle openers, and other artful utilitarian items made from recycled materials, Cat Feet Designs: showing unique jewelry, My Purple Goldfish: with lots of gorgeous colorful fabric and rope bowls, Joffe Creations: mosaics, Gator jewelry & Designs,  Hatfield’s Treasures,  Platypusfile.

The vendor DH liked best was Kiker Brothers Boards, AKA the Young Woodworkers in Training booth. DH is always happy to promote woodworking to members of upcoming generations. He really admired the young mens’ beautifully finished boards, and bought one of camphor wood to use as a platter for serving items on the dining room table.

woodworking

Young Woodworkers in Training display, including sleek, polished rock remnants

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Other booths featured artwork, fabulous crocheted jewelry with vintage found objects attached, sewn rag quilts, linens, shirts, unique items of clothing, and many other fabulous finds.

I loved the magical musical instruments by Judy Robinson, whose blog alerted me to the event. My purchase was a 5-holed Native American style branch flute, with a felt carrying case and a sheet of instructions. The vendors encouraged me to come to the local Flute Circle, which gathers once a month at the public library.

flute and case

Wrensong Woods flute and case

Remnants of wood, rock, metal, cloth…once just leftovers, now beautiful objects of art and utility. L ❤ V E

In case you didn’t realize, today is National Thread the Needle Day. So far, I haven’t actually sewn anything but I hope that I do have at least one sewing thing done by night time…although the site says that threading the needle can be taken at its figurative sense…

So figuratively, I may have threaded a needle by: getting groceries or kitchen implements to prepare a dish, preparing for a more musical lifestyle, becoming more familiar with artisans in the community.

Life and Times, with Remnants

Life, I’ve lately realized, is fleeting.

We’ve been celebrating the life of my mother, the mortal phase of which ended two weeks ago.

 

Mom

Me and Mom 2014

Mom

Mom (1929)

 

I’m seeing some similarities in more than just the hair styles in these photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With lots of family things going on, and getting back into the flow of daily events again, I haven’t finished many sewing projects, except for this one, a shopper I started last year.

Shopping bag

Kwik Sew Shopping bag with steam punk embroidery motif

The embroidery motif is from a collection of steampunk Christmas designs at Urban Threads. Notice how the bag makes exemplary use of small pieces of remnant fabric? I hope to make more of these lovelies, but I can’t guarantee that I will have time now, the holidays being almost here!  Distractions abound!

Time, that fleeting thing that life is made out of, has been taken up with associations, both usual and unusual. Relationships have been both renewed and undone. Motives have been questioned. Long-standing resentments have been acknowledged and tolerated. Prayers have been issued. Cold hands have been held, then relinquished and folded together in repose.

Do I feel bereft? No. I believe the dead are still with us partly, in spirit. I am one of those who believes that the Spirit World is the Earth’s spirit. Just like our spirit is attached to our physical body, so is the Spirit World attached to the Earth’s body. I believe in eternal life and in the Resurrection, when spirit and physique will be reunited. I don’t feel swimming in denial, but full of hope and faith that God is in charge of this whole scenario, and that His plan will prevail. It’s going to be good, all good.

Surprisingly, my recent post about a video-game themed wedding has been scrutinized. Some folks have been wondering just what I may have been alluding to in the post, asking to whom I was referring, because of course, I surely could not have attributed abusive behavior to them!

“If the shoe fits, wear it.”  Put it on, fasten it up, take a practice step in it, see how it feels, and wear it. Abuse is abuse, whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or whatever.  How exhilarating to wake up to the prospect of living life without fear, without the dull ache of having been put in your place, a place of inferiority and submission to another person who is supposed to “love” you. Exhilarating to reclaim one’s self-esteem, which has been systematically beaten back time after time after time.  Hmmm, there may be some sense in living through miserable times, if you can learn to appreciate the good times.

Meanwhile, DH is closer to completing his table.  Lots of months of hard work!

walnut table

DH’s natural-edge walnut table

ebony plugs

Breadboard edge of table with ebony accents

Remnants of the 7th Annual Turkey Shoot

My DH, at many times in his life, has been a youth leader at church. This year, after a hiatus of doing other things at church, he’s back with the youth and so he wanted to revive an old Thanksgiving tradition: The Annual Turkey Shoot.

Turkey Shoot

Turkey Shoot

The young men were supposed to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for about 30 invited guests, including empty nesters and folks who might be alone or away from their family for the holiday. The young women were assigned the job of decorating. They provided table decorations, fresh flowers, fall leaf garlands, and these crafty little ornaments and fridge magnets that they put together ahead of time so each guest could have a memento of the event. DH ended up getting some already cooked turkeys and pumpkin pies from Honeybaked Ham. The only real cooking was minimal: baked sweet potatoes, mixing up packages of cornbread stuffing, throwing packages of frozen green beans into a pot of boiling water and simmering for 10 minutes, and pouring jars of turkey gravy into a pot and warming it up. There were also packages of rolls from the grocery store and margarine sticks on the tables, and pitchers of ice water. About 35 people sat down to eat.

crafty mementos

crafty mementos

Each youth was to serve as a personal waiter to a guest, asking what they wanted (i.e., “Would you like gravy on your stuffing?” “Would you like whipped cream on your pie?”) and then going to the kitchen and preparing and serving each plate of food.

kitchen scene

kitchen scene

More than that, the youth were asked by the leaders to go and sit at the tables with the guests and talk with them. “We know you might feel like you want to sit with your friends,” counseled one of the leaders. “But go and sit with the guests. Ask them to tell you stories, things about their lives and some Thanksgiving memories.” The kids learned that one lady had been in the military, and another man had once lived in Cebu, the island in the Philippines that is now serving as a staging area for the relief effort after the Supertyphoon went through last week.

enjoying each other's company at dinner

enjoying each other’s company at dinner

guests had good stories to tell

guests had good stories to tell

Then came the entertainment portion of the evening. Traditionally, the turkey was shot using whatever implements of destruction the young men devised at the time, be it paintballs, slingshots, blow darts, bow and arrows…but this year one of the boys had a friend who taught him the art of throwing knives. So he passed along his instructions and let everyone who wanted have a go.

Calling on his woodworking and engineering skills, DH made the turkey out of two sheets of plywood and bolted them together with a screwed-on panel across the back. He transferred the design onto the boards by using the graph method. He drew a grid of squares onto the picture and then a larger grid onto the boards. By eyeballing and drawing what was in each small square into the corresponding large square, he had a pencil outline of what he wanted it to look like. He wanted to use latex paint, but alas, the only colors he could find at the hardware store were red, yellow and black. That’s why it is an orange turkey instead of a brown one. I discovered that I liked the idea of painting something that was going to be riddled with knife-wounds by morning.

demonstrating the art

demonstrating the art


zeroing in on it

zeroing in on it

Score!

Score!

two out of three!

two out of three!

Weekly Photo Challenge The Golden Hour

Wood drying in the golden hour

Wood drying in the golden hour

For the weekly photo challenge, we are supposed to take a pic in natural light, during the golden hour before sunset or after sunrise.

Although other entries I’ve seen look much more golden-colored than my shots, that’s what I’ve got. And this one is from late in that hour after sunrise. The first set I took, about 10 minutes after sunrise, all used the flash. Duh. The second set I took, I had forgotten to insert the SD card. Duh. Uh oh. Clutz! During this set, the light outside was much more golden than the previous two attempts. And when I experimented with “enhance” on the photo editor, it took out the gold and made the look of it more neutral-colored. Don’t worry, I undid that so this photo you see is un-edited.

But I appreciate the opportunity to get up at this magical hour, with a 2-yard piece of fabric from the sewing room wrapped around me sarong-style, because I didn’t want to wake up DH who will be snoring for another hour at least.

This is just one of his piles of wood drying. We had to cut down some trees to better make use of our rooftop solar collectors. Since he is a worker in wood, those trees did not go to the dump, they got sawn into planks for him to make into future furniture and bowls.

The Day I Became a Woodturner

Oh, it was a happy day!

My instructor is Skip Ingley, also known as my DH, AKA University of Florida College of Engineering 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year (I mention this so that through my filial bias I do not appear to be the only one who believes he is an awesome teacher). Leading up to this hands-on adventure, we watched LOTS of DVD’s featuring great woodworkers like Jimmy Clewes, Alan Lacer, Paul Sellers, and other masters who make it look so easy and fun!

We began with terminology: I must learn to identify the names of the tools and parts of the machines and their functions.

The Jet Lathe, DH’s Father’s Day present

The tailstock

The headstock

The Banjo and Tool Rest

Now, I am going to get one of these wood remnants, which are pieces of what used to be a 2×4.

Poplar or birch wood remnants

Next, I attach it to the spindle by pricking a little hole in the center of both ends of the block with an awl so the drive center mechanism can grab it and turn it.

This is another block he’d been working on, shown “speared” by the tailstock revolving center for a tight hold

The headstock drive center has a little tooth on it to attach the other end of the block.

To make this square peg a round one, I will use the Roughing Gouge.

roughing gouge

skew

I liked using the skew chisel most of all. I learned to use it for planing cuts and peeling cuts.

planing with a skew chisel

peeling cut in between two parting cuts

In planing, I am moving the skew down an area of the block, evening out the rounded surface. In peeling, I am digging into the block to cut out a portion of the wood. Cool as heck! The smell of wood is invigorating. The hum of the spinning spindle is an agreeable one. I can see why the wood shop can be an enchanting place to hang out. Before I became a woodturner, it just seemed like a large, disorderly storage area.

Now I try out the parting tool. It makes a straight (if you don’t tilt it) deep (if you dig in far enough) cut, the width of your blade. You can make two parting cuts and then peel or plane between the two.

parting tool

Or you can make a parting cut with the intent of severing one part of the piece from the rest of it.

contentedly rough-gouging

I will probably practice on that pile of 2×4 remnants before I take on a real project. We have discussed a honey dipper (definition #1, lol), a spirtle, a candlestick, or a little vase for dried flowers (weed pot) as a possible first project. Which of these, or another project, would you choose?

Teacup memories

I am so thrilled with my tea cup shelf (the one my DH made–see yesterday’s post)! I thought I might highlight a few of the displayed items.

This 1953 Paragon cup set commemorates Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

Paragon ERII set

Another memento marking her Diamond Jubilee. Wow! Can you believe she has ruled for 60 years now? And she is still lovely and regal and inspiring.

Don’t you love the rich burnished cherry wood shelf and how it soulfully contrasts with the gleaming porcelain china?

Trip to Canada cup

This cup, with its beautiful wavy maple leaves, commemorates a visit to Canada by HRH the Princess and her husband Philip in 1951.

St. Lawrence Seaway cup

This set commemorates the Queen’s visit to open the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959. My grandfather began working at the American Embassy in Ottawa in 1951, and he and my grandmother moved into a newly-built apartment in the French section. “It was nice to live in a virgin apartment,” she wrote in her journal. Most of these tea cups were part of Gran’s collection.

Various cups and plates from Gran’s collection

This pic shows some Asian cups and a few other smaller-scale items, on a smaller shelf not made by my DH. The cup set on the bottom right is Irish and is such delicate porcelain, it’s almost transparent. The one in the middle says “A Present From Dunoon.”

This is my most recent cup set, commemorating the marriage of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Prince William and Kate Middleton set

Paragon stopped doing the official commissioned cups for the royals in 1960. This one is made by Royal Worcester.

Take another look at the gorgeous shelf made by my dear hubby; his labor of love for me! After seeing this beautiful vehicle all decked out with porcelain treasures, I had the most warm and wonderful memories of my grandmother.

Cherry wood teacup shelf

I can recall my gran drinking tea and coffee from beautiful, rounded, full bodied cups like these. When we stayed at their house on Spring Street in Alexandria, Virginia, drinking scalding liquids was such a big part of her morning routine. I can hear in my mind, the soft clink of her silver-plated teaspoon against a porcelain cup while she read the morning paper. As you may have guessed, I did not turn out to be a coffee or tea drinker. Her kitchen had a little dining alcove next to a window that opened onto the roof peak over the back cellar door, and in the winter she’d throw bread crumbs out onto the snow-covered roof peak for the cardinals to gather and eat, much to our delight! Breakfast for her was often tea and buttered toast, and she liked her toast well done, on the verge of burnt. She loved the “red birds” or cardinals, but especially loved to see the robins come to Alexandria, because it meant spring was on the way. She wrote in her journal about traveling around Canada in the 1950’s: “Nearly everyone on the bus had on some kind of a fur coat. They would be damp from snow and the bus smelled like a bunch of wet animals.” She didn’t learn to drive a car until she was quite elderly, retired, and living in Florida.

I wouldn’t know many of these details if Gran hadn’t left a typewritten 27-page journal, along with these mementos, her china and collectibles and linens and sewing desk. I’m sure each cup, each item, has its own story, but many details are already lost and irretrievable. Some day, someone may want to know about you. Won’t you take the time to record your thoughts for the fun and enlightenment of the next generation?

The Remnant Re-doer and the Woodworker

I, the remnant re-doer, collaborated with my DH, the woodworker, on a very exciting project!

He put together a wonderful plan for a shelf to display my teacup collection. And now, so soon after my happy birthday month, it is finally finished. So, that’s the woodworking part of this post, what about the remnant re-do?

The remnant project is on DH’s head!

He was out in his shop many, many hours, working on the cutting, sanding, staining, and assembly of this shelf. Some days were pretty beastly hot, and he asked if I had any remnants around to make him a sweatband to wear in the shop. I found a wash cloth that was quickly reworked. Here’s a little cartoon I drew (humor me please, it will be over soon!) on Penultimate, to illustrate the process.

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20120601-205831.jpg Bless his heart, he loved it! He said it was the best sweat band he’s ever had, because it is a wide sweatband; most of the store-bought ones are much more narrow and not as functional. 🙂

close up of the top saucer backrest

attaching the shelves and backrest bars in the shop annex AKA dining room

I actually got to help with some of the gluing and positioning. He carved a shallow groove at the back of each shelf for the saucers to stand upright.

finished cherry wood teacup shelf


He said it right: “This was a labor of love!” In between the time he started and finished the shelf, he had eye surgery, finished up a semester and started a summer semester, and was honored with a standing ovation at commencement exercises when they announced him as University of Florida Engineering Department teacher of the year. Fantastic!

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