Archive of posts with category 'Arts'

New Tools/New Project

My brother is getting into electronic sythensizer music (which is what I think it’s called). I mentioned that I was trying to get back to learning electronics (yet again) and he suggested I look at some of the music stuff that he’s been reading/watching. He wasn’t sure what to buy to get started. I wasn’t sure either, but this seemed like a relatively simple way for me to get back to learning electronics. He gave me a bunch of youtube videos to watch. One guy who seems really good has a bunch of videos for making different boards. So I decided to start with his Synth Voltage Controlled Oscillator.

Sewing Desk

I’ve been trying to use a bunch of old scraps to make a new table for my sewing machine. I had a lot of great plans for how I was going to do this. And I can also tell you that I failed at most of my plans. But I do have an acceptable table that seems to work. Most of the things that failed were part of my plan to make it easily disassembleable for moving. So that’s ok. I did learn a lot from these failures, so it’s not a big deal. Pictures below. I like it though I haven’t yet done any sewing on it. But it’s a definitely improvement over what I had been using.

Still Not Square Part II

I made another box and it’s still not square. Again out of boards I found in my basement. I tried to be a little more artistic with this one. Not perfect, but I’m happy with how it came out. My intent was to have a box to put my off-season clothing in. I’m not planning on going into the box very often. But I found an old hinge in my basement, so I used that for the top.

Still Not Square

In addition to not being able to make a square quilt, I also can’t really make a square box in woodworking. However, that doesn’t stop my from trying. I had some cedar boards and some old oak floor boards, so I decided to make a box. I wanted to have a box to store out-of-season clothes in, since I’m currently using a garbage bag in my room. I thought it would be good practice to try to make a nice box. Sadly, I didn’t succeed in making it square. Nor is it level. I’ve ordered some casters for it, so I should be able to use them to make it level. As for the lack of squareness, it’s not a big deal, except for the fact that it bugs me that I can’t make a square box.

Newest Quilt

Just finished my last quilt. I made a very short video of me making it. I would have made it longer, but my laptop is out of disk space and it was too much trouble to go through and delete a bunch of stuff. I also wanted to keep it under five minutes because I don’t know that quilting is all that interesting to watch. The quilt wasn’t done in time for my niece’s shower, but it was finished before the baby arrived.

2020 Projects #1 & #2

I’ve written more about these in my journals, but I thought I’d post a picture of my first two projects for the year. I made a new house number for my Mom and I made a calendar for my sister. I actually added a calendar hanger to this, but forgot to take a picture of it before I gave it to my sister.

First Mitered Corner Attempt

Since my corners are not so good, I’ve decided that I need to make around 50 napkins with mitered corners for practice. I found a YouTube Video on Sewing Mitered Corners to try to follow. The pictures below are from my first attempt. It’s lousy. Though I thought I was very careful to iron and measure things. I also took my time and sewed as instructed, but when I tried to lay the seam flat, the mitered corners just didn’t line up properly. So perhaps I need to find a book or something with more detailed instructions. Or I just need to practice and come up with my own system. Anyway, this is why I’m practicing. The other problem I had was that I must have mismeasured something. My intent was to make a 16″ square napkin. I wanted the edge to be 1/2″. And according to the video, I also need an extra 1/2″ folded under first. So I think that means I need an extra 1″ all around. I cut the square at 18″. But when I measured the final napkin, it’s more like 15″ square. So I guess I didn’t measure as perfectly as I thought. Oh well.

Latest Quilt

I just finished a baby quilt for my brother and brother-in-law. John’s friend Richard picked out the great material. I’m fairly certain I would have gone with more plain, solid colors. So it was great that he picked such great colorful ones.

Quick Baby Quilt

After the success of my Dr. Seuss quilt, I was in the mood to make another quilt. So I used only leftovers from my previous quilts to make a baby quilt for a cousin who is having a baby. My original idea was to make it in 30 days, but I think I took longer than that. I’d have to check my journal to find out exactly when I started it, but I finished it on July 31st. And the baby is due the first week of August, so I’m happy with that. I’m not happy that I haven’t yet mailed it to them, but I’ll try to do that soon.

My Latest Big Project

My cousin retired and she really likes Dr. Seuss. I came up with an idea for a gift and then I came up with the idea of me making a movie of me making the gift. And then it sort of evolved. This is the final gift.

Ideas

It’s weird. I’ve just spent the past two hours making myself a calendar. I was wondering how to design it and it just popped into my head that I have pictures from the early 2000s to now. Why don’t I use some of my own pictures on my calendar? And then find some quotes I like and put them over the picture. It’s a really simple idea, but I love it. I’m going to get a calendar that has motivational or inspirational quotes and I can look at pictures of things I’ve done which brings back those memories. Totally going to make me happy.

Project Time

I’m getting back into doing DIY projects at home, which makes me very happy. In general for the past few months, I’ve been thinking way too much about work and not doing things that make me happy. I’m shifting things back into proportion that will make me happier. The other day I finally bought myself a new sewing machine. It will get delivered soon, which makes me happy. And I’m going to use it for a big new project, which should be fun. I’ve also made a few stools for my brother’s pub, which was fun. I still wouldn’t call myself a good woodworker, but I’m improving which is all I can ask for. Still haven’t done much welding though and I would like to get into that. But today I spent a good chunk of money on supplies for my new hush-hush project that’s going to be a gift for someone. I’m looking forward to working on that for the next few months.

New Speaker

I bought this speaker yesterday to give to my Mom.

Sewing Machines

I took the sewing machine that was given to me in to get tuned up. The repairman called and said it needed a lot of work and that it would cost around $250-$300. For an old sewing machine that I didn’t like all that much, it was too much money. So I let them keep it for whatever parts they could salvage from it. I don’t sew a lot, but it is a tool that I’d like to have. So I’ve been researching sewing machines.

Birthday Project Result

I took my book out of the press this morning. It’s not perfect, but it’s not at all bad for my first attempt.

Birthday Project Part 2

My post yesterday wasn’t accurate. I hadn’t yet finished my text block. I still had to put the cover pages on it and the reinforcing paper. Before that though, I had to glue the binding. I made a book press out of a couple of pieces of wood and some clamps.

Birthday Project

I’m on my annual birthday vacation. Just took three days this year instead of the whole week. And instead of taking a class somewhere, I decided to try to teach myself how to bind a book. Technically, I should say I’m learning how to do this from YouTube videos. First up, I folded and cut a bunch of paper. Then I had to sew them into a text block. I followed the video below:

The Spice Rack

My brother-in-law requested a spice rack for his kitchen. And my brother sent me this link (https://www.amazon.com/Seville-Classics-3-Tier-Expandable-Organizer/dp/B001E2864K) to see if I could copy it. I knew that the rack had to hold 31 jars of spices and that each jar was basically 2 1/4″ in diameter and 3″ tall. So I figured four shelves were needed and the overall width of it should be 20 inches. I also had some maple boards in my garage that were old shelves from my condo. I figured I could split them on my table saw (which turned out to be difficult) and then cut out the pieces I needed. I’m very happy that I could use wood I already had for this, since I wasted a lot of the board when I couldn’t split it easily or evenly. I just used glue to hold everything together because the wood was pretty thin and I thought screws or nails would split it.

Been A While

My summer has been pretty crazy with a big work conference that is finally over. My life is now my own again. Yay! I’ve been very behind in doing my monthly checking, but that’s ok. The good news is that I don’t have to go back to work for over a week. So I’m trying to do a bunch of projects around the house.

Producing a Lot of Crap

I was reading some notes a person took on a book and found something that I really like a lot. In the book “The Geography of Bliss” (which I haven’t yet read, but now have a hold on at my library), the author writes that in Iceland, they produce a lot of crap. I guess the idea is that lots of people there produce art. So, of course, with so much art being produced, a lot of it is junk. But instead of thinking that’s a bad thing, it turns out that all the crap produced encourages even more people to produce art. So basically, all the bad art is working as fertilizer to help make more art. And every so often, something great is produced. I think that’s great! My immediate reaction is that I should start producing more and just accept that most of it will be bad. But, hopefully, it will work as fertilizer for me as well and maybe I’ll make something great.

It’s Funny

I’m a huge fan of YouTube for learning how to do different things. I’ve been watching tons of YouTube videos for woodworking while I try to build stuff with my reclaimed wood. Last weekend, I decided got a beanbag chair that had no cover. So I decided to make a new cover for it and in the process broke something on my sewing machine. So I was looking around YouTube for some help on fixing it. In the process, I watched a bunch of videos on sewing. It was so funny to me how the genders of the people hosting the videos just changed. For woodworking, I can think of one female who made videos. Everyone else was guys. For sewing, it’s all women. This just struck me as very funny.

Final Fun

Before I even think about going back to work tomorrow, I decided to try to do something fun in my basement. My project is to make something to hang coats by my door. I have a couple of boards that I made out of lathe that are around 6″ wide and maybe 30″ long. I sanded them down and painted them red with milk paint. Once they dry, I’m going to pound in some of the original nails to use as hooks. Then I’ll hang one of the boards on the wall by the door. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll hang them both. I think I’ll see if I like the one by itself first to see if I like how it looks. And how the nails work as hooks.

Full Circle

Lathe are strips of wood that are nailed to studs when building a wall. Before drywall was invented, plaster and lathe were how walls were put up in houses. My house had all plaster and lathe walls on the first floor. Here is a picture of the back of a plaster and lathe wall, as I was gutting the room that is currently my bedroom.

A Splendid Torch

This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

The Secret Life of Machines

I’m very grateful to someone for posting all the episodes of The Secret Life of Machines online. I LOVED this show when it was first on. A while back I actually looked to buy a dvd of the shows and couldn’t find it. This makes me so happy!

Unexpected Time Off

We had a bit of a storm here yesterday.

Clamps, clamps and more clamps

One thing I have learned is that you can’t have too many clamps. I basically had enough to work on one board at a time, which means I’d have to wait for one board to dry before doing another one. Since I’m hoping to eventually build something in my lifetime, that was too slow. So I went to the store and bought another eight clamps. I seem to need 7-8 clamps per board. Now I can work on two at a time. Pictured below are the boards that I’d like to use for the sides of the bookcase I want to build. One is basically done and the other needs some more lathe. I’m out of what I’ve already sanded, so it will have to wait until I prep more boards.

Board Repairs

I thought I should try to fix the holes in the one board I made the other day. My idea was to mix up a bunch of glue and sawdust. Then try to fill and cover all the holes with this mixture. Here’s how the board looked after I filled them all in. I wasn’t too careful about making it smooth because I knew that I’d have to run it through the planer again to smooth it.

Board #3

Here are all the boards I’ve made. The first is at the top, second in the middle and the last one at the bottom.

Early Lesson

I’ve now completed two boards out of old lathe. The picture below shows part of both of them.

Recycling Begins

I saved a ton of wood (mainly lathe) when remodeling my house and finally decided to get started on doing something with it. My first issue came last week when I tried to run both my planer and wet/dry vac on the same circuit. I kept blowing it. So on Friday, I ran a new 20 amp circuit to right above the planer. After that, things ran smoothly.

The Magic of Thinking Big

The title of this blog post is the name of a book that I just finished reading. It was recommended by a blog I read, though I no longer remember which one. It’s a basic self-help book by David Schwartz about believing in yourself. However, it’s clearly written for people in business and especially for salespeople. Note how I said salespeople there. One of the first things I noticed in the book was how it was pretty much geared toward men. In reading the first few chapters, I noticed that women were only talked about as wives for business men. This made me look at the publication date and unsurprisingly, it was 1959. I decided to continue to read and just made a mental note remember that date when I found little things that bugged me.

Making Xmas Gifts Fun

This year I wanted to do something different for Xmas gifts. I hate just buying gifts to buy someone a gift. I want my gifts to be unique and hopefully liked. I decided that I was going to make my own gifts this year. And after watching this video, I decided that I was going to make stationery for people.

Is it selfish?

For Christmas this year, I’m making gifts for some people. Yes, handmade gifts are all the thing. However, normally I think people mean that when they get something really nice as a gift. If I, as an adult, were to color them a picture, I don’t think it would be received as well as if I child did it. However, I like to try to learn new things. So I’m using Christmas as an excuse to build a contraption (can’t go into any more detail in case anyone who I might give a gift to might be reading) to make gifts. Here’s the thing, so far, my results are about the equivalent of a crayon drawing done by a five year old. Personally speaking though, working on my contraption has made me as happy as a five year old. So can I give my horrible drawings to people? Making them has made me really happy, giddy in fact. I’m grinning and giggling to myself as I write this. And in looking at my results so far, I’m laughing out loud because they’re so bad. I want to give them out because they’ve just made me so happy. But seriously, they’re crap and no one is going to want them. Is it selfish of me to give people a gift that makes me way happier than the person I’m trying to make happy with my gift? I have to think about this. Ok, yes it is selfish. But I’m ok with being selfish. 🙂

Latest Events

Even though my cousin Annie’s birthday is in July, we celebrated in September with a hike at Starved Rock. It was a lovely day and I got some great pictures here.

Samples

I’ve spent the weekend reading all about letterpress printing. I’m not sure why this is suddenly fascinating to me, but it is. I think I like that it has big machinery associated with it, but you can also do it yourself on a much smaller scale. In the course of my reading and watching videos, I discovered that I also don’t really know much about paper. It’s everywhere, so I pretty much just take it for granted. Going off on that tangent led me to reading all about different papers. I finally came to this company French Paper, which is a family-owned company in Michigan that makes paper. While it’s cool that it’s been family-owned for six generations, what I really like about them is what they sell. Specifically, they sell sample packages of paper and a little booklet describing all their papers. To me, this is brilliant. I wish more companies would do this, explain what they sell or at least offer an inexpensive sample so I could see if it would work on one of my projects. Anyway, I’m now waiting for my arrival of:

Blankets

In general, I’m not a great gift-giver. I’m probably not much of a gift-receiver either. I just think that if there’s something that I want, I’d go out and buy it. And if I don’t, then I probably don’t want it. If I’m giving someone a gift, I don’t want to give them more junk that they have to store. So my go-to gift of late has been flowers. They look pretty for a while and then you can just throw them away. Totally biodegradable. At times though, I might like to give a longer lasting gift. So I’ve been thinking about things that I have that I enjoy. The one thing that comes to mind for me is a blanket. I know it’s weird, but I really like a blanket. How would I describe the feeling of being wrapped in a blanket? I wouldn’t say it’s like getting a hug, because that’s sort of corny. However, I do think it’s just a feeling of being completely comfortable. Like how you feel when you’re hanging out with good friends or family members.

Getting Started

At this rate, I’ll read 365 books this year. 🙂 Anyway, had a lovely New Year’s Day, where I watched some hockey and just sat and read. I finished Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. I don’t really understand why, but I liked this book a lot. I guess it’s because I liked the characters and the weird things that happened to them, but I can’t really say for sure. This is now the second book by Murakami that I’ve read. I read 1Q84 a couple of years ago and liked that one as well. So I guess I’m going to add Murakami to William Gibson and Isabel Allende as authors that I really like.

Days Off

I took the rest of this week off. Today, I decided to drive to Glacial Park Nature Preserve in Ringwood IL, which took me about two hours to get to. I read they had a nice hiking trail and while I hadn’t ever hiked before, I thought it was something that I might enjoy. My goal on the hike was to take one picture that I could print out and hang on the wall of my newly finished house. All of my pictures are here. Most aren’t very good, but there are two that I think I’d be happy with on my wall. So, when I move back home, one of the first things I’m going to do is have a print made of one or two of them.

More Floor Work

Pulled a muscle in my back yesterday, so today was spent lying around making sure I didn’t make it worse. I bought the movie “The Visitor” and watched in a large number of times. Julie always says that I like sad movies and I guess she’s right. I do love that one.

Interesting Evening

I spent the evening poking around The National Archives. I found some neat images that I downloaded. I did a search for Theodore Roosevelt, because I’m currently reading a biography of him and I’ve been fascinated with him since I visited his birthplace a few years ago. And I searched for Thomas Edison because he’s always been one of my favorite people.

The Little House All Alone (from Google Cache)

Originally posted June 6, 2009

The Visitor

John and I went to go and see “The Visitor” tonight and it was terrific. It’s about a guy from Connecticut who finds two people living in his NY apartment. Basically, the idea is that your life could be changed drastically by people that you meet. The movie was really sad, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. (I don’t always like sad movies, but I did like this one.) And it wasn’t all sad, it had some very funny moments and some incredibly touching scenes. So I highly recommend it, except to my sister Julie who doesn’t go for sad movies at all.

La Traviata

I had the absolute best time at the opera last night. I saw La Traviata with Renee Fleming singing the part of Violetta. She is AMAZING! And, the two seats in front of me were empty, so I didn’t have to keep moving around to see the stage. I could just sit back and enjoy it. The two seats behind me were empty for the first act, but then an older couple sat in them. I wouldn’t have cared, except that they had the annoying habit of making little comments to each other during the applause. While normally, this would have pissed me off to no end, I was so enjoying the singing and acting that I didn’t really mind it. The tenor who sang the lead (the character name is escaping me right now) was terrific as well. I hadn’t seen La Traviata before and I just loved it. It was a little long, ending around 10:30pm, but when it was over, I could have sat and listened even longer. It’s for shows like this that I continue to subscribe to the Lyric. Finally, a great show from this season.

Juno

Since I feel like I’ve given my life over to my house since I’ve moved into it two years ago, I’ve decided that 2008 will be the year that I take my life back. So, starting with something easy, I went to see a movie, which is something that I think I did once or twice in 2007. I went with the Julies to see “Juno”. It’s the story of a pregnant teenager and it was very good. It was both touching and funny and I really liked it. The Julies thought that the main character looked like Punky Brewster, but I was a bit old for that show and never really watched it, so I don’t know about that. Whoever she looked like, she was really good. Anyway, I don’t want to get into details about the movie, except to say that I really liked it. Hopefully, I’ll get to see more good movies like this over the year.