Welcome to my blog. Let what you see stimulate your imagination and inspire your own creations.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fitting my new Dust Bee Gone mask

When my new Dust Bee Gone mask arrived, I discovered that it was just a little too big for my face. I was pretty sure that the youth mask would be too small, so after consulting with the woman who designed the mask, I got to work. I detached the mask from the lower tie, and trimmed off about a half inch. I then basted the parts together to secure them for machine sewing. I also trimmed off about 3/4" from each end of the lower tie, which meant removing the velcro pieces and repositioning them. When everything was fitted properly, I sewed the pieces securely into place with my sewing machine.

Now the mask fits perfectly, and I look forward to giving it a "test drive" in the shop tomorrow. Among the features that attracted me was the fact that you can talk without having to remove the mask, a terrific advantage if you do demos involving cutting or sanding.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Cupcake RING Box

In my cupcake box videos, I mentioned that the box could easily be turned into a ring box. The change to the box itself involves only one easy step: before gluing the rings together, you need to drill a hole through the center of the lid insert, just until the point comes through the upper face of the bottom circle, using a 1-1/2" Forstner bit. Then the rings are glued up and the box finished as usual.

Instructions and patterns for making ring inserts from 1/2" foam core and adhesive backed velvet are in the box book, but I made a slight change in procedures, which allows a ring with a larger stone or setting to appear centered on the velvet.

Enjoy the video, and if there's a "ring occasion" in your future, give it a go!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Finding the right tool for the job

I'm not the only woodworker in my house. Joe, my partner, makes the "big stuff", while I make the decorations. However, sometimes I'm called upon for specialty work. This is Joe's fifth leather topped desk. We have three, my son has one, and this one is for Joe's daughter. Since I'm the "finesse" person, my job is to glue and trim the leather for the desk top.

We use a double strength wallpaper paste for the "glue", since it works really well, and is very forgiving. We've gotten four tops from one cowhide, bought on ebay, at a lot better price than anywhere else. The top is frame and panel. We start by making a template out of paper. The leather is cut to exact size, (which, of course, is never exact) then moistened on the underside. Paste is brushed onto the top, and the leather is unrolled.

My tool of choice for smoothing the leather and eliminating air bubbles is a plastic fondant smoother. Fondant is a sugar paste icing, and once applied to the cake, has to be smoothed. I use a wide putty knife and Xacto knife to trim the leather, keeping the putty knife on the leather in case of slippage. For trimming any places that I can't do with the knife, I use a small embroidery scissors.

The bottom line is that the tools you need for a job aren't always found in your shop or toolbox!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Cupcake Box Video

Here's the first set of videos coordinated with the new box book. I hope you find them a useful supplement to the written instructions, and that it inspires you to "bake" up a whole batch of delicious little cupcakes.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mini-seminar sign-up information

I've been asked by Advanced Machinery, the North American distributor of Hegner scroll saws, to participate in writing mini-seminars for scrollers. These seminars are slated to go out monthly, by e-mail. Topics will vary, depending on who is writing the piece for that month, but all will focus on ways to get more enjoyment and productivity from scroll sawing. These mini-seminars are free and entirely opt-in, and will not result in a flood of unsolicited e-mails

The first edition will go out sometime in January. It will contain my mini-seminar on making beautiful bowls on the scroll saw, and provide an overview of the scrolled bowl, from basics to more advanced work.

If you'd like to give the mini-seminars a try, here's the link to the sign up page: www.advmachinery.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Preventing cherry from blotching

As some of you may have discovered, cherry tends to blotch when finished, and benefits from a wash coat of thin shellac. Since I usually use shellac, either by itself or as a sealer under lacquer, I haven't had to think about this for some time.

However, when creating the first version of this serving tray, on the right, I decided to use an oil finish (Boo's Mystery Oil--which is totally food safe) directly on the wood. I completely forget about the possibility of blotching, but that's exactly what happened. Once there's bread and cheese on the the board it won't be very visible, but on the next version (using a revised pattern as well) I used a wash coat of spray shellac, rubbed it down well, then applied the oil. Although the color wasn't as rich, there was absolutely no blotching.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The box book has arrived!

I've been checking in on Amazon to see when the box book would be in, and to my surprise, it was listed as "in stock" as of yesterday. I know that folks who pre-ordered the book received notification that it would be arriving next week, a little ahead of schedule.

I'm hoping that people who put their trust in my work are not disappointed. I know that folks who have seen the projects always ask if they're for sale, which is a good sign. But until the reviews--formal and informal--start coming in, I won't know for sure if my enthusiasm is shared by others.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My furniture suite

When I wrote the bowl book, I asked that the publisher use all the bowls from the book for publicity, since I was totally unknown, and I thought it would help raise interest for reviewers to see the actual bowls. I also did not know where I would put them if I did get them back, so it worked out well all around.

This time, I decided to take the projects back, but still had that same problem--very limited display and storage room. So, I used this as an opportunity to get rid of stuff that I didn't need to free up closet space. I also decided it was time to change the "exhibit", and put out some of the newer projects. These boxes are all from the chapter on boxes that look like furniture. Most are variations of band saw boxes, so there's no joinery involved. All the drawers interiors are flocked, and perfect for use as jewelry boxes. It was fun to create the miniature objects, and to use tiny photos to personalize the projects. I used to do this with sugarpaste for my cakes. Now I do it with wood.

Not as tasty, but lasts a lot longer!