Sunday, July 31, 2016
Friday, July 29, 2016
Yesterday I was away on an ‘adventure’. For most people, it wouldn’t be what they considered 'exciting’ but for me it was a nice day.
Keith’s mom had her knee reconstructed this past April. Everything went well and she is doing better than ever on it. However, she still has one more procedure to have done on her other knee. That will be done in the upcoming months.
Yesterday was a 'girl’s day’ in which we traveled up the valley to New Minas, where the main hospital is located. It is about a two hour trip, so it is something that usually takes the entire day. The reason for the visit was not only to get the first knee checked out by the physician who performed the surgery, but also to x-ray and asses the second knee and get things rolling for the second operation. I am happy to say that everything went well and is on schedule. Keith’s mom is doing wonderful and since she has been doing her exercises and following all directions, he new knee is working better than every (and more important – pain free!) We spent the morning going through the system of stops required to get everything checked. By lunch time she not only had a clean bill of health on the first knee, but a tentative date for the second operation (September or October) to be done. All went well.
Since we finished by mid-day, we had the rest of the afternoon to enjoy. We had a beautiful lunch at a nice pub in New Minas. We both had steak sandwiches and fresh vegetables that were simply wonderful. We then stopped at a couple of our favorite stores to shop. There is a store here in Canada called “Winners” that I absolutely love. It is similar to “Marshalls” or “TJ Maxx” in the states (I think the chain is owned by the same company) and is stocked with odds and ends of name brand stuff for a fraction of the normal price. The thing is, it is different each time you go there. You never know what you will find. To me, it makes it fun and exciting, as well as slightly dangerous. There are times when I leave there with nothing and other times I break the bank, knowing that the products that I liked would not likely be there the next time I visited. I think it is part of the fun though.
One thing that the do always have there are beautiful BOXES.
Yes – you read that right – I said “boxes”. Those of you who read often know that I am not only an organization junkie, but also a box junkie. I tend to save and even sometimes hoard boxes. It is a near-daily battle for me to actually dispose of a well-constructed box, and I have to watch myself because if I am not careful, I allow them to take over my world. I am not sure when this affliction began, but I believe there must have been one time in my life when I didn’t have a proper box for something I was organizing and things began at that point.
The fact that places like Michael’s and Winners now carry full lines of beautiful, amazing boxes only exacerbates the issue. Every time I visit these stores I need to act with restraint. It is hard not to dive in and just get more.
I pretty much had things under control for a while, but moving has caused this beast within me to once again rear its ugly head. With all the new places to organize and sort, there was a natural need for new boxes to put stuff in. It couldn’t be helped.
So yesterday, I picked up a few more which I need to finish sorting my supplies that will fit in our new cabinets. I promise to show you all the new furniture in my studio, but I will show you the dining room pieces first. I am still working on getting my studio in order and frankly, I am getting a little tired of 'sorting’. Hopefully (I say HOPEFULLY) this will be the last hurrah as far as buying organizational pieces. I fear that the quantity of boxes exceeds the things that I want to store in them. I am not sure of that, but it truly may be the case.
Here is my 'haul’ from yesterday:
Aren’t they lovely? The tops of the floral ones are 'woven’ and textured. The colors are exactly perfect for my “white room” studio (I am going to be dying linen fabric for use on the daybed and the small bench in similar colors.) They were made for me I think.
The 'book’ boxes are similar to several that I have already, and will make a nice presentation altogether. If I don’t use them in my studio, they will fit will in the wall of shelved I have in my bedroom.I am sure they will come in handy.
Oh – and I wanted to show a full photo of the beautiful cabinet that we had made for us for our eating area:
It came out perfect for our open-concept dining area. We had a matching piece made for the opposite side of the room as well:
Both cabinets are made of solid wood and to our own specifications. We are really pleased with them.
I suppose they are kind of like “boxes” as well – just on a bigger scale. They will both serve us well to store our smaller boxes of things and supplies and dishes.
Little by little we are settling in. I can picture this room all decorated for autumn or Halloween or Christmas. Not “overly” decorated, but with some pretty, seasonal accents. For now, the walls look a little bare and there is a lot of empty floor space. We are still deciding on what we will be doing for the windows in that room. It is hard to believe that it has been a month since we arrived here. They look rather plain without anything on them, but with time we will get to deciding. It all takes time.
I can honestly admit that I am getting a bit tired of 'sorting’ stuff. It feels like I have been sorting and organizing for years. I may take a break from it so I can get some designing done, as for now everything at least has a place. I think I know where everything is, too. I have a thermal label maker on order and perhaps once it arrives, I will be a bit more motivated to finish. I know it may sound goofy, but I look forward to receiving that.
Once again I came home to lots of emails last night. I plan to catch up with that and actually get some drawing done today. It is cloudy and it looks as if it will rain. I don’t think that is a bad thing. We need some rain once in a while to keep things lush and green. It is a good day to stay in and create.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend this final weekend of July. Enjoy these hot summer days as much as you can. Before you know it, they will have passed and we will wonder where they went.
Happy Friday to you all!
via Tumblr http://davidpires578.tumblr.com/post/148148058354
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Work has slowed to a crawl on the cabinets of late. With a newborn, spare time tends to be more limited. In fact it passes most peculiarly at times!
Our son is now a month old:
Getting to the point where he can make eye-contact and is making facial expressions of all kinds. It’s cool to see this unfold.
I manage the odd 2-hour block of time at the shop here and there, and have moved the drawers along a bit. In the previous posts in regards to the BCM Maker Faire, you can see that I managed to get one drawer dry assembled to bring along as an example of joinery work. I thought I’d post up a few more details about the process of putting the drawers together.
One of the seeming more mundane tasks is drilling holes to mount the drawer handles. These are spaced 65mm apart, and are offset 15mm up from the centerline so as to place the handle in a centered position overall. I used the mill to position and drill the holes from lay out marks:
It’s simple enough drilling holes, and with a brad point drill and backing piece, no issue cropped up with blow out. However, given that there are three different drawer heights and two different drawer widths, it was paramount to keep vigilantly organized so as to not place any holes in the wrong position. It would be all too easy to do, especially given my rather ragged sleep patterns of late, and one mis-placed hole would mar what is a whole bunch of work already completed. I managed to get through all 18 fronts without any mishap thankfully.
I had used the mill to rout both the dadoes and the mortises for the drawer side connections, and employed the hollow chisel, sans auger, to square up the mortises:
The mill allowed great positioning accuracy in cutting the dadoes and mortises, and following with the bare hollow chisel made for an elimination of the off-center auger holes that can occasionally occur when using the hollow chisel+bit as per normal. Not the most efficient process to be sure, but the results were as I desired so all good.
Once the drawer side connections were complete, I then did the same mortise squaring for the drawer rear wall connections, except that I completed that work entirely by chisel.
Here’s the first completed dry-assembled drawer being test fitted to the carcase:
This type of drawer has greatly reduced areas of contact on the sides, and the high precision offered by the mill when cutting the joints meant that these went in snugly, not too tight, not too loose, the first time:
The other side:
Should the drawer side runner ever bind to the carcase due to swelling from moisture gain, adjusting the fit would be very easy as compared to a regular drawer in which the entire drawer side is running against the carcase. If the fit became overly sloppy somewhere down the line, sistering on a small strip of wood to the side of the runner and re-establishing a perfect fit would be straightforward. The drawer runners, being wide, nearly triple the area on the loaded portion of the drawer side, ensuring considerably extended durability for both drawer and carcase.
I’m totally sold on my adaptation of the NK drawer design and plan to employ it in all future cabinetry projects involving drawers.
A view from above:
A couple of sample timber joints are laying in the drawer, not forming part of the assembly of course.
A view of the dry-assembled drawer before the handle holes were drilled in the front:
The tenons on the drawer rear wall are yet to be kerfed and (double) wedged, hence the gaps at the sides where the mortises are flared following cut out. As the drawer sides do not rub on the carcase, I can leave the wedged tenons long without any concern that they might scratch the carcase in passing.
A slot will be cut in the drawer floor directly under the mid-point of the drawer rear wall’s lower edge, so as to fit a screw which will hold the drawer to the rear wall. I’ll tackle that work when all the drawers have been dry assembled and fitted.
With the handle fitted to the front, and the drawer front fitted into the cabinet opening, the drawer can now go all the way in;
Fitting the drawer front took very little time, and I found feeler gages most helpful for that process. The drawer front lower edge also clears the carcase by about 0.01", as the drawer itself rides on the runners, allowing the drawer front to pass the carcase rail without rubbing.
One more for luck:
I’m looking forward to seeing how the entire blank of drawers will look when in place.
The handles come from a specialty tansu hardware supplier in Japan and is in a shi-bu-ichi finish. The drawer front will be finished with tinted Enduro Var in the same manner as the rest of the cabinet. The remaining drawer parts will be left without finish, though i may swab something on the end grain portions to slow moisture transfer. Everything is quartersawn as it is, so movement should be absolutely minimal.
All for this pass by the wicket. Hope you enjoyed your visit to the Carpentry Way.
via Tumblr http://davidpires578.tumblr.com/post/148102886154
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1751: On the Sixth Day of Christmas . . .
As most of you are going through probably the hottest time of the year, I am here in Nova Scotia humming Christmas carols to myself and working on Christmas ornaments. Things are going just as I planned.
many of you know that I have been working on a year-long project of creating no less than six sets of Lynne Andrew’s “12 Days of Christmas” ornaments (you can purchase the pattern book here: Christmas Blessings Pattern Book – or come and join our Facebook page dedicated to this project here: 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments by Lynne Andrews - We Are Making Them! ) I am also selling the ornament blanks for the style that my pieces are here on my site (SLDPK19 - Elegant Bevel-Cut Frame Ornaments - Sold in sets of three ornaments.) The series has been wildly popular for both Lynne and myself, and I have cut and sold several thousand ornaments to date.
The goal of this project is to paint one “Day” per month, ending up with painting the final and 12th ornament in December, thus completing the set(s) and having them ready for Christmas. Me being me, I decided to make six full sets. Five sets for my children and some very close friends (whom are also considered my ‘family’) and a set for myself. By only having to worry about one “Day” per month, I thought I would surely get things done on time. To me, it is a way to make something truly special for these people whom I love so much and it keeps “Christmas in my heart” all year long.
The group has done amazingly well. Most of the members are doing one or two sets. Several are doing multiple sets, as I am. The purpose of the group is to encourage and support each other through this very detailed and very fun project. With our cyber-friends cheering us on, we are bound to keep going and finish.
So far, as we are closing out the seventh month of the year, I am extremely impressed with things. This wasn’t really anything that I planned out. When I saw a project of Lynne’s on one of our painting groups and ordered several patterns from her last November, I also ordered the “Christmas Blessings” pattern book. Upon receiving it, I knew I HAD to make these ornaments! But how could I do so in a timely manner?
Because of the friendships and encouragement from the Facebook group, I decided that the way to go was to create a group project where we can all cheer each other on. There is no time frame there, as we each set our own limits. There is no penalty or chastising if our personal goals are not reached. Only positive encouragement for those who may get caught up in “life” and need some cheering on. It really does make a difference.
Each time I post new photos of my progress, more people join. I encourage people to join our group even if they are not painting the ornaments themselves, but want to see what we are up to and cheer us on. To me, it is like the crowd of people watching a marathon. The cheers from the sidelines often help those participating make it over the finish line. That is what we plan to do. Without the crowd and fellow participants, it would be much harder to complete the race. The same is true for these beautiful, yet extremely detailed ornaments which are sure to become family heirlooms in every household. I like to feel that we are making a difference.
With that said, I am slightly behind my own personal goal of “one ornament per month”. Here it is the final days of July – the seventh month – and I am just now completing my “Day 6” group. But as I tell others, it is nothing to worry about.We just need to keep moving ahead and I have no doubt that very soon I will catch up. Life happens and life is important. If I am a little behind or (God forbid!) I don’t finish by December, I will finish up in January – or even February. The important thing is that I keep moving forward and enjoying every step of the journey, which I do. My recipients all love me and understand. If they did not, they would not be worthy of a set in the first place. They are patient and grateful and I love the excitement that they express with the arrival of each new piece. It truly DOES keep Christmas in our hearts all year long. Even when the temperatures exceed 100 degrees.
Last night I finished painting Day 6 and put the final coat of JoSonja’s Opal Dust on the fronts of the ornaments. I think they came out amazing!
Here is a photo angled so that you can see the effect of the Opal Dust a bit better:
It truly makes them look beautiful. The thing is that the Opal Dust, applied as thickly as I apply it, takes overnight to completely dry. The final steps will be to apply the hot fix rhinestone 'berries’ on the pine sprigs and add the hangers and tassels. I will do that today.
Here is a photo of the finished backs prior to me applying their coat of Opal Dust:
I will be doing that as soon as I finish this post, and hoping they are dry by this evening. I will then be able to send them on their way.
I will also take final photographs of the ornaments I finished so far and show them on Friday. I have to head to New Minas tomorrow, so I won’t be blogging. Seeing the set 'grow’ is encouraging and fun in itself. It makes me want to get to the next ornament as quickly as I can.
I am not always the most patient person in the world. While I have endless patience in some areas, I lack it in others. As time goes on, I realize more and more that it isn’t only the destination that is important, but the journey to the destination, for that is where most of the lessons are learned and the memories are created. Learning to enjoy the 'here and now’ is something that many of us take for granted. Sometimes we are so busy with figuring out 'what is next’ that we allow the present to pass by unnoticed. Then we look back and wonder where the time went.
As I pulled out my previous five ornaments to gaze at as I painted Day 6, I thought back to what I was doing when I painted each one. While in some respects, July has come far too quickly, when thinking back on each “Day” and what I was doing at the time it was created, I realize that the days were full and happy. I am thrilled that I have those memories and even happier that I am going to continue with this project for the remainder of the year (or more!) If anything, it is helping teach me to appreciate each moment that passes. I am grateful for that.
“On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love taught me – appreciate for every moment of every day!"
Have a wonderful Wednesday. I hope you enjoy your day!
via Tumblr http://davidpires578.tumblr.com/post/148046004734
Monday, July 25, 2016
Having limited means can completely shut some people down. For others, it serves as a challenge – not only to meet, but often to be completely conquered. For them, having less doesn’t mean giving up, but trying harder and often coming out of the situation even better than expected. It can be surprising what one can accomplish with a bit of determination.
I grew up with limited means. My parents were divorced when I was very young (at a time when ‘divorce’ was neither common or readily accepted.) We moved in with my grandparents and lived with them for my young life. Because we had very little, I learned early in life that we took care of what we owned, fixed things when they were broken rather than replace them and respect the things that we had. While it may not have been an ideal situation all the time, looking back I feel as if it gave me a good base of appreciation and respect. Not only for 'things’, but for people as well. It is funny how some of these things that happened so long ago stick with us throughout our lives.
Throughout this time, I never really felt 'poor’ or under privileged. Of course there were times when I noticed that others may have had nicer clothes or more 'things’ than I did, but I can honestly say that I didn’t dwell on it. We lived with my grandparents during my grammar school days and had a home like everyone else. We had responsibilities to do our certain chores each week to earn our quarter allowance. If we wanted something, we would save for it. During the holidays, myself and many of my friends would roam the neighborhood singing Christmas carols at people’s doors. They would give a nickle or a dime (maybe to get us to stop!) and at the end of the evening, we would divide the extra money between us and use it for our gifts. It was a simple time.
These memories came to mind yesterday as I was working in my new 'shop’. For the first time in my woodworking life, I have a designated place to work. I am beside myself with happiness.
As I think back to when I began scroll sawing in the late '90’s, I have never had what one would call a real shop. I always worked in a corner of the room somewhere, tucked between other things. In Chicago, there was the corner of the very packed garage. In the winter I had a small ceramic space heater and had to use gloves with the fingers cut out so my hands would not freeze. I was limited to working out there only a short while, as it would get to the point when my fingers wouldn’t move anymore they were so cold.
In my first apartment, I sat on the closet floor. It was a larger, walk-in closet the size of a small room, but I had to drape plastic all over my hanging clothes so that the dust would stay off of them. I couldn’t sand or route there. I had to go outside to the patio to do that.
When I came to Canada, I worked in my kitchen. In the three places I lived here, I was fortunate to have an extra corner in the kitchen in which to scroll saw. Again – sanding and routing were harder, with my choices being outside or even in the bathroom, with all the towels removed. It was the easiest room to clean afterward and contain the dust. I made do.
But yesterday, as I went upstairs to my 'little shop’ as I call it, I felt like a queen. I put on my cordless headphones and apron set up for work. The set up was minimal, as everything had its place. I have two large work tables, a place to scroll, sand and drill. I came down for lunch and all it required was a quick vacuum and taking off my apron. No longer did I have to clean all the counters and floors and chairs to have a quick meal. It was heaven!
Within a couple of hours, I completed not only all of my orders, but extra pieces as well. I am trying to build up a little bit of stock now since I have the room to store extra wood. That way, I can work more efficiently and fill orders quicker when things get busy. I don’t have to stop each time something is ordered and make things one kit at a time. It will be much quicker, easier and more efficient.
I realize that some may still consider my shop small. Compared to others’ work places, it probably is. But to me, who is used to working in the corners of the kitchen and on closet floors, it is huge.
I got a great deal of work done yesterday in a short time. Not only was the process pleasant, but it was fun as well.
My biggest accomplishment though was realizing that by moving, we have opened up an entire new world for ourselves. I never felt deprived while working in my other places. If anything, it taught me to use the resources provided and make them work the best way I could for me. I think that is a valuable lesson. It also makes me appreciate what I have now even more.
Out of habit, I ran the vacuum after cutting every dozen of pieces or so. It only takes a couple of seconds, and when working in a small place, really helps keep things cleaner. When I was finished cutting, it took five minutes to clean my work space and put everything in its place. As I looked over my shoulder to leave my new little shop, it looked as nice and as clean as it did before I started. I smiled to myself and felt grateful. Not only for this small portion of my life, but for everything.
I came downstairs to see Keith drawing a new design at his computer while watching one of his favorite shows. He mentioned how nice it was for me to be able to work and cut without having to cover him in dust or having to hear the noise of the saw and vacuum and tools only a few feet away. I am sure he is very grateful as well.
We accomplished quite a bit over these past several years with our business. I am often asked how we were able to do it from such a small space. Whenever that occurred, it gave me a funny feeling. I suppose I never really thought about it – much like when I was a child and had to 'make do’ with what I had. We just do what is necessary with the means we have. Not only does that teach us how to adapt, but it also teaches us appreciation. I believe they are both good values which one needs to be successful.
I am grateful for so much these days. Little by little we are making our new place our own. Today the rest of our furniture is arriving – the five large storage pieces I spoke about in previous posts. I am beyond excited! It will mean that the last of the boxes will find homes and I can really 'settle in’ and the real work can begin. Designing.
It is a wonderful start to the week and will begin a wonderful new chapter in my life. While I did well in my previous circumstances, I feel as if I will do even better here. I hope you all come along for the adventure.
Happy Monday to you!
via Tumblr http://davidpires578.tumblr.com/post/147943508964
Sunday, July 24, 2016
I spent 10~5 yesterday on the boardwalk in front of the Boston Children’s Museum with a table presenting samples of Japanese joinery and my woodwork, most of which could easily be assembled and disassembled by small children. Here’s a snap of my table:
It was in the 90s (˚F) yesterday, so I drank a lot of water and was at least in some shade under a large tent with many other exhibitors. The vast majority of exhibits concerned robotics, battlebots, R2D2 controlled by joysticks, and the like. Booths devoted to more old fashioned things, like mine, were rather few and far between. Across from me were two others with old school stuff, one dealing with Japanese looms and weaving, and the other a project to teach poor urban Junior High kids how to make a plywood skiff in 11 sessions.
I had a lot of kids come by with their parents and it was a pleasure to watch them discover something about joinery as they took the models apart and put them together. Some kids were quite entranced and I had a few return visitors. Some parents knew a little something about the subject area of joinery, though many were as uninformed as their kids. Probably the two most interested kids that stopped by were a pair of 12 year old girls who asked me a great number of questions and were quite fascinated by the whole thing. That was rewarding.
I certainly got a lot of questions, and some, interestingly, cropped up time and again.
Here are the top 3 questions I received on the day of the Maker Faire, in order of frequency:
- “Did you use a laser to cut that?”
- “Are these puzzles?”
- “What is all this?”
I heard each of the above questions at least a dozen times, from both children and adults. One adult, of Indian background, came upon my table with his young daughter and, scanning the scene, asked, “what is all this?”. After starting to hear my answer, he snorted that, “there’s nothing here for my daughter to interact with.” As he started to move off, I said, “well, actually…”, and I showed his daughter who stood in front of him, around 8 years old if I were to guess, how to take apart one of the joints. As soon as she began to play with it, he pulled her away. Off to the next thing.
It is interesting to see how people’s preconceptions and snap judgments color how they perceive reality.
The questions about using a laser were humorous if it weren’t for the fact of their frequency and that adults were usually the ones asking that question. A lot of people just don’t have any familiarity with wood joinery, so I was able to at least introduce something new to them, but, it is a little sad to me all the same. Many, upon seeing an assembled joints, assumed that the parts were cut in the same manner as a jigsaw puzzle, and were flummoxed as to how I had made the cuts with, to them, nearly invisible lines. So I did a lot of explaining about that.
One fellow, a Chinese guy who I think was from MIT’s robotics lab, seemed dumbstruck that wood could be cut to fit tightly together without the aid of CNC equipment. He kept smiling in puzzlement and seemed at a loss for words. That was a curious moment.
Quite a few adults asked me if I used CNC, and when I told them I used rather more mundane tools to make the joints, were almost in disbelief or astonishment. Then I told them that the joints were deliberately made a little loose to aid in being interactive, and some had trouble taking this in. It’s as if they no longer imagine humans can do close-tolerance work. I pointed out to one person that the most perfectly round sphere ever created, was polished to final roundness by hand by Achim Leistner, as “his precision in handcrafting spheres was [found to be] superior to any machine”.
It was a long day, starting for me at 6:00 am, and I was pretty much on my last legs when I got home, a 2-hour drive. I think if I participate next year I can find a few ways to improve my presentation. It seems that joinery remains outside the scope of a lot of people’s awareness, so working to improve that is certainly worthwhile I think.
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Friday, July 22, 2016
It has been over three weeks now since we made our ‘final move’ to our new home. In reality, it is closer to four. I look back and consider 'moving day’ as the day we finally brought the cats here to our new home and began sleeping here, after our bed arrived. One would think that we would be all settled by now. Anyone who knows both Keith and I know how much we love to be organized. While he and I have many differences in the way we do things, one thing that we really see eye to eye on is having our things and work areas 'in place’ so that we have the most comfort and efficiency possible. It really is a way of life for both of us.
But sometimes 'life’ isn’t very organized, is it? We are thrown curve balls by circumstances and our own unrealistic expectations from ourselves are not met. It is then when we need to pull upon the 'flexible’ part of our personalities and adapt and make the best of things. Sometimes that is easier to do than other times though.
Moving from a small, one bedroom place to a house has been a challenge. Not in a bad way, but sometimes overwhelming nonetheless. When we made the decision to move her in March, the moving day of July 1st seemed like an eternity away. We wondered how we would last that long and there was an incredible amount of anticipation and planning on our part. Looking back, I am grateful for those many months. Without that extra time I think it would have taken us twice as long to adapt. The chaos of living in disarray would have doubled in time at least and we would have had to push even harder.
Yes. We did it right. But it is still unsettling and takes a bit of time to get used to.
Things are coming along very slowly. I WANT to get back to a routine and producing as much work as I did prior to moving. I know that eventually I will get to that point, but the journey back has taken much longer than I could have anticipated. Are my expectations of myself too high? Or am I just slowing down as I get older? I can’t tell which is the case.
As I look around me this morning, I do realize that we have accomplished much in these past few weeks. Last weekend I finished making the curtains for my studio room:
The room is shaping up, yet not completed yet. I still need to make the cushion covers for the daybed and the small bench. I had purchased some lovely white linen for that purpose and I plan to dye it in a way that will make it look really cool and 'artsy’. (The vision is in my head!) It will bring some vibrant color to the “white room” and hopefully look wonderful. I also want to build a shelf for the wall to the right of the bed. I want to put a groove in it so that I can display a painting or several paintings at once and change it over from time to time. I am not a fan of putting holes in the wall – especially if I plan to change things. I think that this would be a nice way to enjoy my favorite or seasonal works of art.
We are still awaiting five large pieces of furniture, but got word that they will be arriving on Monday. Two of the pieces will reside in my studio. Both will be large cabinets to hold my (already sorted) craft and work supplies. One will go between the small window wall on that side of the room:
And the other (taller) cabinet will go on the opposite side, next to my desk:
As you can see, there are piles of supplies that will be finding a nice home. As things are now, every time I need something, I have to fish through the boxes and (of course) what I am looking for is usually buried on the bottom of the pile. I can’t wait for them to have a home!
We are having two large pieces made as well for our dining room, and similar piles are located there.
Finally, there is a large cabinet for the laundry/mud room in our entry way and it will be used for storing house cleaners, the vacuum, etc.
It is hard to get 'settled’ until these things are put in their places. Monday will be a big day for us, and once we have these large pieces, we can finally feel like we are well on our way to 'settling’.
Because of this, I have found it a bit hard to concentrate and get back on track. I have tried working on some new things, but even settling in at my new desk requires some getting used to. I can’t tell you all how many times I have rearranged things on my desktop. I am trying to find a comfortable position for everything so that I can feel at home and at ease when I work. I can only assimilate it to when we drive a new car that isn’t ours – we feel somewhat uncomfortable and awkward.
Perhaps it is just a matter of giving things a little more time …
Even the cats are still adapting. While they seemed to be getting used to the new surroundings, and liking them, the other day Richard and Pancakes had a horrific brawl. There was literally fur clumps everywhere and fortunately no one was hurt in the fight. Keith and I both had to run upstairs to break them apart, as they sounded like they were killing each other. Anyone who has heard cats fight knows how terrible it sounds.
After the fight, they were constantly growling at each other like the other was a stranger. They have been together for 10 years and while they weren’t best of buddies, they were never like this. I decided the solution was to give them both a bath, using my Chanel soap that I use on myself. This worked once before when I had two cats that saw a stray and flew into combat with each other. I have read that they misplace the aggression on each other rather than the 'new’ animal. Since the owners of our house here had two dogs and a cat, there is no doubt that there are still scents of those pets lingering.
In any case, yesterday morning was spent 'cat washing’.
That is Richard on the left and Pancakes on the right. When they dried out, things were a bit better, although we still heard a grumble every once in a while. Since they all smelled like me, it helped neutralize the aggression and calm things down. Go figure.
It is a traumatic process for everyone, it seems. Yesterday, I decided since I wasn’t feeling very creative in my own right, I would work on my “12 Days of Christmas” ornaments by Lynne Andrews. I am behind in doing my six sets and working on Day 6. It was a good way to 'push the pile’ and at least accomplish something.
They are coming along nicely, and I hope to be able to send them out next week.
At least seeing them come to life makes me feel there is hope. Not to be able to change the focus on to my own projects …
It is all a process and I need to respect that and let it take its course. I think I am writing this post this morning more for myself than for you all to read. I need to keep telling myself “Things will get back to routine.” over and over again. With “routines” comes familiarity and comfort. That frees up my thinking and allows my focus to be on creating new things. We all work differently, but that is how things are for me. I need to allow the process to play out and respect the time it takes.
… soon …
I wish you all a wonderful Friday and a great weekend ahead. I plan on making my weekend wonderful and productive. Happy Friday to you all!
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Thursday, July 21, 2016
I’ll be at the Boston Children’s Museum this coming Saturday to participate in the Maker Faire.
As part of the preparation for that, I have made a few joinery models, including these two splicing joints:
The models, of four in total, were commissioned by the Museum for the purposes of educating children about Japanese carpentry. Part of the challenge for me was to make them just loose enough to allow for ready assembly and disassembly.
The shorter of the two splices, or tsugi-te, is a simple twin stub tenon affair, ni-mai mechigai hozo tsugi:
The longer one is an archaic form of half-lapped gooseneck, koshi-kake-kama-tsugi:
Partial separation reveals the intersections of the parts more clearly:
More separation, without anxiety:
How about one more for good measure?:
I’ll also be bringing along examples of work-in-progress, like this cabinet drawer, a sliding door with latticework, and so forth:
I also plan to display some of my Japanese hand tools.
If you’re in the area and have a moment to spare, please do drop the Maker Faire by and say ‘hello’.
All for now - thanks for visiting the Carpentry Way.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016
As I sit here this morning, trying to decide what to write, I realize how much we have accomplished in the past several weeks. I hope that I am not being tiresome talking about our moving adventures, but for Keith, the kitties and myself, it has been a life consuming event for the past several months. Not only from the day nearly three weeks ago when we finally brought the cats (and the coffee pot) to our new place here, but it has been on our minds for many, many weeks before that. We had first come to see this house early in March, and from the time we did that, we knew this is where we wanted to live. Both Keith and I had our own personal visions of how we want our personal (as well as shared) spaces to be. From that point on it has taken a great deal of planning to make it into reality.
I haven’t shown a lot of pictures lately, because we are still awaiting the five large pieces of furniture that we had made for us. We were fortunate enough to find a furniture maker in New Minas (about a 2 hour drive from our home) and we commissioned him to make these pieces to our specifications. We liked the quality of his work from what we saw at his shop, and felt that we would get something far better than items that were ready-made at a furniture store. We also felt good supporting a local business, as he had just opened his shop in town. By getting to him just a week after he opened his store, we were able to have him begin the job fairly soon.
Everything was made to order to fit into our home as well as fit our needs. I have two large pieces coming for my office/studio that will accommodate most of my supplies that I use daily. We have two large sideboard pieces for the dining area as well, as we want to store both kitchen items as well as some shipping supplies there. We do much of our packing of orders at the kitchen table and the printer will be right near there. (I will be showing that set up soon.)
Finally, we ordered a large cabinet for our laundry/mud room that will hold various cleaning supplies and our winter coats. We do have a large closet in that room though so we may change things up a bit on that. We will have to see when the pieces arrive and we are finally settled. We hope to get them all sometime this week.
Yesterday was spent doing for the most part, odds and ends. We cut the power for most of the day as we replaced many of the wall switches and outlets. I did some laundry and finally got my summer clothes out of storage (yes – in mid-July!) and washed them and hung them on the clothes line. That is something that I really enjoy – having a clothes line. It has been years since I have had that available to me and I have a really nice set up here with a huge pole in the back of the property. I just love how things smell after hanging on the line to dry. No packaged product can match that. Sometimes it is the simple things that make us happy.
I have designs in my head, but they are still incubating into projects. In the mean time, I decided that I will be working on my “Day 6” of Lynne Andrews’ 12 Days of Christmas ornaments. I am a month behind and need to make it up if I am keep on schedule for this year. It is a great ‘fill in’ project for me to do when I am undecided or in between my own projects. Each piece is more wonderful than the last. (You can join my group 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments by Lynne Andrews on Facebook and see all the beautiful variations that others are making on them and watch our progress.)
I can’t wait to begin my own projects, but I think it may be a day or two before I start. I am still working on some things in my head and deciding which direction to go. It may sound odd, but first I need to get into a working routine again. But it is coming… .
So we are settling in nicely, I think.
I looked at my desk this morning and I feel very fortunate.
The vision of how I wanted my office has slowly been realized. While there are still two small piles of boxes of supplies sitting near me in that room, I get just a little closer every day to being settled. Sometimes baby steps are the best way to approach things.
It isn’t always easy to make the transition from being in high gear to being creative. That is one thing about my job that some may not understand. We can’t just 'make’ ourselves create. It needs to come on its own. By forcing ourselves into doing something that we aren’t ready for, I feel that the result is not really optimal. It is best to wait and once again be patient. It will come.
As I looked around me yesterday morning, I saw my three kitties looking like this:
They are in pretty much the same positions right now as I write this morning. After the trauma of changing their own environment completely, they are finally seem more comfortable and I do believe they are happier. There is so much more room and so many more windows to peer out of. So much more to explore, too. While the initial change was a shock to them, as it is to us, they are also finding their own routines and settling in nicely. Perhaps I could learn a thing or two from them.
I suppose the theme of today’s post is to allow things to take their own time and respect the time change takes. Immediate comfort in a new environment rarely happens in real life. That is more something that occurs in the movies. Feeling comfortable and happy comes with time and familiarity, usually only after there is some time to settle in. But once it does come, it is very much worth the change. Be kind to yourself and allow it to happen.
I wish you all a wonderful day today. Happy Wednesday to you!
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