Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Husband's New Addiction

My husband has developed a new addiction
but this one is pretty cool. He has 
been turning wood on his lathe and using his various
saws to create trinket boxes and now pens!

He has three pens with various shapes and using different woods.
 For more elaborate looking woods or acrylics, 
blanks can be ordered through Woodcraft.

This is his trinket box using various scraps of wood we had
around the house plus the bottom was created
with wood from our own cedar trees.

He is introducing our granddaughter to the band saw
so she can make some Christmas ornaments 
and going forward, painted wooden decorations. 
In the past I used fabric transfer sheets for the basic shape, 
cut them out and then paint the image using the colors you prefer.

We will be experimenting with other wooden items,
he's found some interesting and more unusual things on line.

 I'll might find I am quilting more as he spends time in the 
garage.  I am pretty far behind plan right now,
still working on my Halloween banner!  LOL.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Rusted Old Bones

Rusted Old Bones
As we passed by I felt drawn to this shop
where rusted old bones wait throughout time
for the body man who never appeared.
  You can still make out the words of the 
weathered awning: 


In my mind I drift through a rift in time
when this little town at the Missouri/Arkansas border
was bustling with industry.  The men would gather
at the diner, drinking coffee and reviewing football scores while 
the women tended to the home and kids danced at the soda shop.

We made this trip over Hwy 67, through Corning, Arkansas,
several times over the last three months and each time I
felt as if I needed to stop and capture these photos of what 
most would view as an eyesore.

Crazy though it is, I love them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm Home

I left Hot Springs, Arkansas on Saturday where it was Fall

and returned home where it was suddenly Winter.

Surprise, Surprise!
Our farm supply stores don't even have their salt out yet
as we normally do not receive snow until December or January.

I've been taking care of Mom who is recovering from a 
serious illness, spending three months in the hospital.
She is progressing well and is expected to make a full recovery
but needs live in help for a bit.  The Doctors say 
that it takes 2 days to recover 
for every one day you spend in the hospital.

She is making plans for dinner parties and Thanksgiving celebrations
so I think she is well on her way!

Me- I will be working my way through the (gulp) countless
e-mails at work that I have been receiving since Nov 6 when I left.

Coming up- Scenes of Corning, AR 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fall in Hot Springs

The hydrangeas are beginning to fade leaving papery blooms ranging from bluish grey to purple here in Hot Springs where I am visiting my mother, who has just been released from the hospital after a three month stay ranging from intensive care to physical therapy rehab.    

Her holly bushes are thick with berries and squirrels are jumping from tree to tree collecting their winter stash.  The winds yesterday resulted in a firestorm of acorns falling like tiny rockets which have blanketed the drive and walks.

A pretty red leaf floats in the lake which has been lowered for winter.  You can see all the shells that have washed up to the sea wall and if you were in the mood to collect them, you could jump down and stroll along the wall.  This year they opened the dam and took the level down three feet which is not a problem; however some years it is lowered more than that and docks have to be moved, in areas where the water is not deep enough the boats have to come out or end up on dry land.

If you look closely you will see how many acorns fell into the water.  I like being able to see what lies beneath, unless I am swimming and there is a big fish!!

While the crepe myrtles have lost their blooms the bark is so pretty that you still have something to look at.

I will be visiting until I return home Saturday morning. My husband has been taking care of the house, cats and chicks plus keeping me up to date on what is happening at home.  I just love my Nexus7 tablet for this.  We use Google hangouts to talk to each other with video!!  Plus I kept up with email and all my Facebook buddies.    

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Making a Trinket Box

  Making Boxes- A Guest Post by
Tom Usher

I'm a carpenter and I love wood! There, I admitted it (the first step in curing a problem...). I make my living manipulating, shaping and cussing over it. I trim houses for a living, installing cabinets, doors, crown molding, baseboard and the rest of the things that turn a plain white box into a comfortable and attractive place to live. It's a persnickety way to make a living. All of my work is on display and everyone that looks at it is judging all the things I do. Every cut has to be right on the money. The material is expensive, usually hard to get quickly and generally supplied in quantities that are "just enough" to get the job done.

In other words, mistakes are very costly and something to be avoided. All that and we need to get it done NOW, too.

So, what do I like to do to relax? Play with wood in a way that is a thousand times more persnickety, more unforgiving and more cuss worthy.

At least the time constraints aren't an issue! Usually.

Years ago my brother and I bought a whole bunch of really high quality shop tools. Tablesaw, jointer, planer, bandsaw and all the other necessary implements needed to make furniture and other wooden niceties. We put together a cramped but effective little shop at our old house and built some really nice stuff. When Kathy and I moved to our current house fourteen years ago I packed up the shop, tore down the tools and put them in the basement. I intended to set it back up but never got around to it. Most of the tools that we have for the shop I also have in smaller jobsite versions so I limped along using those. They will generally suffice for my work as a trim carpenter.

I've decided to put the shop back together and in doing so I've had to reset, tune up and test out all of the tools. This little box is part of that process.

It's nothing special. Some maple, padauk (from Africa) and a mystery wood that I think comes from either Africa or South America. You see, I have a pile of old scraps that I've stored in the basement. There are a few things in there that I can't identify. The majority of the top is mystery wood, with the padauk in the middle bracketed by a thin strip of maple on each side. I sawed the mystery wood in half, ripped a couple strips of maple and a piece of padauk, glued it all up, made sure the grain was going in the right direction and clamped it together. After it dried I belt sanded it flat, squared it up and cut it to size.

The angles were cut into it using a Delta tenoning jig. The relieved section on the bottom was done with a router mounted in a router table. It creates a raised center that just fits in the box to keep the lid in place. I also used the router to make the small cut around the bottom of the box. The reason for that little cut is to create a shadow line. Details, details.

The body of the box is 1/2 inch maple, resawn from some larger scraps I found, and the little splines at the top are made from the padauk. The bottom is made from a piece of eastern red cedar from our property. I made the box using miter joints. Not my preferred method of joinery but this was just a box made to test equipment. The splines, while being a nice decorative addition, will also help to strengthen what is an otherwise inherently weak joint.

Even though this is a very simple little box it still requires accuracy levels at or better than 1/64 of an inch. See what I mean about persnickety? Building it let me see where I needed to tighten things up. It found the weak links in the system and now I'll have to address them. Blade vibration, the bandsaw needs a bit more tuning, the carpenter needs to bust out the instruction manuals and brush up - things like that. It also pointed out the very limited usefulness of my jobsite tablesaw. It's as dialed in as it can get, probably withing a couple thousandths, but is still isn't adequate, for a variety of reasons. I can't put my shop saw together yet. It's a BIG piece of equipment and I need to make room for it. The new carport is coming in a few weeks so the John Deere will move out of the garage and the saw will move in.

I'm sure that Kathy will have more about putting the shop back together in coming posts. After all, why bother going to all this trouble if it doesn't provide fodder for the blog? :) I'll try to show and explain the tools and techniques that carpenters use. And I hope to show Kathy doing some of the work, too! She always liked using the bandsaw. With the fine scrolling blade it can cut some intricate designs. And bandsaws are just about the safest saws in the shop, too. I'll explain why when we get around to seeing the quilter getting her woodworker on.

Now, I have a question for all of Kathy's readers. Any good ideas on how best to use the internet to market the things we make?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Bushes and the New Hedge Trimmer

I planted tiny bushes when we first moved in the house.
Tiny mostly because we are on almost solid rock so
digging down to allow for a large root ball was impossible.
Although many said that they would take forever to grow large,
it must be the magic spot for hostas and bushes because
they all grow like crazy with little or no maintenance.  
I rarely ever water them!

They go so tall that they blocked a great deal of
the view into the courtyard and left no room
between bushes and the porch to retrieve anything
that fell or rolled off the porch.
They filled out so well that they ended up a good deal
into the courtyard itself and became a worry in the 
heavy snow as the branches were weighted down.
I would have to occasionally brush off the snow
with a broom stick to keep the branches from breaking.

I mentioned to my Facebook friends that I think my husband it out to kill me.
I've been after him for years to fix up the porch and paint it again.
I think I'd have a heart attack if he ever finished it.
Every year I hear the same promise.
I've even gone so far as to ask friends!

Oh, is there anything I can do to help you?
Yes, paint my porch!

They look at me so oddly, I can't imagine why.
Although my neighbor said she WOULD come over and paint it!
Really, I'm just kidding, Tom can do this but if she wants 
to keep him company and bring over her famous
pineapple cookies, please do!!

As you can see, I can now reach all the little things that
fall behind the bushes and my husband has a huge space
for that ladder while he paints the columns!

It looks like it really might happen this year
(fingers crossed)
He has some boards to replace first which 
he is currently working on, until it unexpectedly
rained yesterday. So much for drying out the wood.

In the meantime, the burning bushes are all aflame!
I do need to trim these as well because the path to 
the hose bib is between two of them.  These seem
to do really well too and rarely ever get watered.
They get lots of sunlight and are against the white siding
so they stay warmer for awhile and really stand out 
in the fall when the leaves change.

When I walked out of the garage and saw the 
dead weed (wildflower) stalks, it really hit me that it's Fall.
We will have a frost this weekend and not much will be
left of coleus, hostas, garden stragglers or patio flowers.
I might just find another tiny pumpkin or two that trailed
out the woods though. I love a good pumpkin hunt!
The drawback is returning with those burrs that are like
little needles which pierce your clothing and poke at your skin.
My granddaughter decided to sled down the hill one year
and came back covered in hundreds of them which 
means I spent a lot of time picking, picking, and picking!

Inside it will still be summer while I babysit the orchid
which now has four open blooms.  There are two more
to go so I hope I can give it back while they are so pretty.

How's Fall treating you?
And Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Purina Farms- Haunted Hayloft

It was a very haunted weekend!

We visited Purina Farms on Friday 
and had a Pirate Adventure Saturday.
(select link to view separate post)

 My sister in law prepared an outdoor meal Saturday 
evening and my husband hooked up the trailer for an
 evening hayride up and down our road  Saturday night.
We hooted and howled as we passed the neighbor's bonfire
and on the return trip picked up a couple of hitch hikers
  wanting to tag along.  The poor neighbors at the bottom of
the road kept running up to their windows as we turned around
and headed back up the hill. They must have wondered
what the heck was happening!

We always take our annual trip to 
in Gray Summit, MO for their
VERY kid friendly Haunted Hayloft.

There are mazes, rope swings, a
"haunted house,"  movies,
magic shows, petting zoo,
dog trials and much more.

A highlight for us is the multi story Victorian cat mansion
 with a spiral staircase so you can view the
cats as they play or relax on the cat sized furniture.

This guy has the right idea.
Dogs with no shedding
and what a great diet.
These bones don't make him look fat at all!

What's a festival without festival food?
Taylor enjoys a corn dog on the patio.

My husband said you can save a bundle
at Christmas.  Just buy a sack of corn,
add some tractor equipment and the kids go wild!

We took a break at the movie theater that
spans the walk way between the main building
and the barn.  You can watch as you walk
or sit awhile and rest your feet while you
watch vintage cartoons on this curved screen.

The  patio hosts a center stage for magicians
or dog tricks, a relaxing snack or gathering
place to meet up with your friends.

It was a great evening with perfect weather!
 If you get a chance to visit Purina, you won't regret it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Neighborhood Is Changing

Our neighborhood is changing.
Just when you find a place to put down roots
 so you can raise your children and grandchildren,
just when you think all is well, 
a bad element comes into town.

Now I'm all about diversity 
and kumbayaing with your fellow man.
I'm willing to try new things,
to open my mind to new ways of doing things
but then

 the pirates moved in next door.

Oh sure, at first it was all Yo Ho Ho Come Share Our Rum
  So we reached out and embraced them,
tried to celebrate their pirateness.

But I think I made a grave mistake!

We started noticing little things
that were just not right.
   You know how it is, you get that tingling feeling
like things are a little off but you just can't put your finger on it.

 I should have known.
This guy tried to warn me to RUN!!
 Really, what does he know,
he doesn't even have a leg to stand on.
So I shook it off.
For a while.

Then I began to have the feeling they were watching my booty.
HEY, get your mind out of the gutter ! Not THAT booty.

You all know I have a veritable fortune in dehydrated tomatoes.
And tomatoes are full of what??? Vitamin C
And what happens on a long sea journey?
YES, Scurvy !
And HOW do we prevent scurvy?
Right Again- with vitamin C.
Get the picture?  Booty!

It was about then that I really started feeling
  something was
Like I said, it's getting to be a rough neighborhood!
I have no idea what this guy did,
but whatever it was, I don't want to be next!

When I turned around, this guy was just hanging around 

right next to this "patch" in the asphalt.
Hmmmm, what sort of shape is that?

Ohhh, this sort of shape! 
TAYLOR, Run, Run, Run!


Decorations courtesy of my brother and sister in law.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Big Fish Story

I caught a fish in a wicker basket!
In the closet no less.

Now you must be wondering how someone 
catches a salt water fish in a fresh air closet.
Well, it was easy.

Way  back when, Dad went fishing in Florida. 
He loved to deep sea fish and always hoped I
would grow up to be a marine biologist.
After spending a couple of (expensive) deep sea fishing charters
with me laying down or hanging over the edge
about as green as seaweed, he came to the realization
it would probably not happen.

Well, mom said he caught this fish and really wanted 
to have it mounted.  It always hung in the family room
and inadvertently topped the Christmas tree during the holidays.
Tom and I are pictured here with my grandparents
sometime around 1974 - 1976 maybe?

It's a nice sized fish, coming in at about 24 inches.
 There are some condition issues but I still think it's pretty cool.

But back to how I caught it in the closet.
I was looking for a spare pillow when I opened the 
closet in Mom's back guest room.  There, 
sitting nose down in a wicker basket, was Dad's fish!
This was two houses and 40 years later.

I asked if I could take it home and without hesitation, Mom agreed.
I don't think the fish fits into her decor!
It will be perfect for me except my living room is pumpkin colored
and the fish will blend right in!
A Camo Fish!

No, I'll put it upstairs, maybe in the girl cave for now
but if the man cave gets fixed up some day,
it would be perfect there.

So, that's my Big Fish Story!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blooming Again- Orchid flower 3

It is a blooming good time here in Robertsville.
Our little orchid visitor is really being a good guest,
gracing us with yet another bloom.
If all goes well, there are a few more blooms
yet to open, and the buds are growing daily.
The poor thing will be all tuckered out 
by the time I have to return it.

I don't know if it likes the diffused Northern light
that seeps into the dining room window - that
sits behind a nine foot deep porch.
Or does it like the well water?
I have no idea but something is right.