Saturday, 17 August 2019

Storage Space

Hi all,
I would like to be showing you something fantastically creative but alas it isn't going to happen. I have a problem with storage, namely a great big double mattress stuck in the middle of my workshop. For some reason, all storage issues in our house seemed to be resolved by sticking it in my workshop.

In this case we ordered a new mattress and bed, off two separate companies on the Internet via Amazon. We do a lot of on line shopping and it is usually very good. And so was the case this time with the mattress. However, the bed itself was a different story because it failed to arrive on the day it should have done. The company were apologetic and gave us another date which didn't happen either. Over the period of the next few day they offered pillows for compensation and said they send it out on overnight delivery. In total we exchanged about a dozen email before the penny dropped that, as nice as they seemed to be, these people we either scammers or hadn't got a bloody clue what they were doing. We had 2 emails asking us to review the quality and delivery of the bed that we hadn't received so if that is incompetence I don't know what is.

Anyway, we asked for refund and Amazon sorted that out very quickly. We now left wondering why these people are allowed to trade on what is normally a well trusted site.

Anyway, yesterday we went o a local bricks and mortar shop and they are promising to deliver a bed of our choosing next week. I just hope they do it and I can get back on the lathe.

Meanwhile the digital art has benefited from the bedding crisis. Here is link to a birthday card that I painted for my wife.
Hope you liked it, please consider subscribing if you did. I am going to upload some woodworking videos in the near future.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Butterfly Painting

Hi all,
It has been a pretty lean time in the workshop recently because my wife has been in hospital so I have been looking after her and her mother who has heart failure, diabetes and Alzheimer's. Yes, I've been a busy little bunny and spending time in the workshop has not been an option because it is not within earshot of my patients.

I have however, managed to do a digital art painting of some flowers and a common blue butterfly. This is about the only thing that has kept me sane over recent weeks.
The app that I use to do the painting is called Procreate and it records the painting while you do it which is nice because it makes it easy to create a youtube video. Procreate must be the best thing I have ever spent a tenner on. If you have any questions about it or digital art in general please fire away.

Anyway, here is the link to how I did the painting. If you enjoy it please subscribe and another one will be along shortly.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Earphones Box

Hi all,
You will be pleased to know that my finger is healing well after I managed to slash it last week. I have however, stayed away from carving by concentrating on woodturning, pyrography and digital art.

A few moths ago I purchased some blue tooth earphones, which are brilliant for use with my kindle. The only downside was that they came in a strange little velvet bag that was difficult to keep track of.  So I turned a box that I could keep on shelf next to my chair next to my other essentials, a bottle opener and a tooth pick pot.

I'd already made the two latter items so this week I turned and did the pyrography on the earphones box. Here it is finished.

I'm very pleased with the way it turned out and you will see in the next photo how I used the same pyrography design so that it fitted in with the other two items.
Very harmonious don't you think, well it keeps the mrs happy.

On the digital painting front I was photographing some bees on a bush called "Lady In Red" and one of the images just needed to be painted. Here is the finished painting, done digitally on my ipad using a app called procreate.
If you would like to see how I painted it please watch this short video.
Please consider subscribing if you want to see more.

One last thing. sometime in the next couple of months I'm going to unpublish my books. I am doing this because the rewards are no longer worth effort. I am well past retirement age, but because I'm selling books I am trading. This means I have to keep records of all transactions, maintain a business bank account and fill in tax forms.

,I'm too old and had enough of that malarkey, so I'm knocking it on the head during the next couple of months. This means my books will no longer be available, which is sad but I've had a good run. In fact, I have sold a lot more books than expected especially in the early days. Now that there are literally thousands of free books available to everyone on Amazon the bottom has fallen out of the market for me and I expect it is the same for lots of other independent publishers.

See you soon, any questions or comments welcome.

Saturday, 6 July 2019


Hi all,
I'm afraid I'm going to have to give up carving wood. I only did it for about a year an have enjoyed most of it, but it has come to an end. Here's why.
You may recall that I was going to do another shelfie based on this character that I modelled with Plasticine.
I drew out the design on piece of lime wood and cut a big chunk out behind the legs so that I wouldn't have so much wood to remove with my knife.
I cut that piece of wood out with my bandsaw and was all set to chop a few more corners off but the blade came off the wheel on the bandsaw. This was most annoying. I tried to get the blade back on the wheels and managed that, but it didn't seem to want to stay on. It is a hobby bandsaw from Axminster so not that robust. I use it infrequently and slacken off the tension when I'm not going to use it for a bit. Anyway, either I'm crap at setting up bandsaws or the saw is temperamental, probably a bit of both.

So given these problems with the saw I decided that I'd just have to cut all the wood out with my knife. I was doing pretty well, here you can see I've started to remove some wood.

It was a lovely sunny afternoon and I was sitting in the garden when disaster stuck. I lost concentration and managed to slice through a finger on the hand that was holding the wood. Blood was flowing freely so I legged it up to the house and got some kitchen towel around it while my wife sorted out some plasters. I held the wound together in an attempt to stop the flow of blood and quickly wrapped it in plasters.

It turns out that it wasn't as bad as I first thought it was, but even so it was a shock to the system.

Why weren't you wearing a safety glove I hear you ask? Well here is the sad thing about the whole episode. I was wearing a glove, but I'd put it on the hand that was holding the knife. Very funny really, but very dangerous. I hope it was just tiredness and lack of concentration that allowed me to put the glove on the wrong hand, and to also to use my knife to cut in the direction of my fingers.

I was so unnerved by whole episode that I chucked the wood in the bin and vowed to give up carving.
In fact, I'm carefully considering all my activities at the moment and, those which present any danger to me in my old age, are going to get the chop.

The reasons for this are simple. My wife has had two stints in hospital this year for unrelated problems. I won't go into detail, but I was left in no doubt that it is a really place where you don't want to be. I have lost all confidence in the medical profession and therefore I want to avoid doctors and hospitals like the plague.

I'm sure all the doctors and nurses are putting in a great effort, but something just ain't right.

On the bright side I have managed to do another digital painting of a robin and some autumnal leaves.
If you would like to see how I painted it, here is a short video.
If you enjoyed it please subscribe to see another one soon and if you are carving wood, please take care>

Monday, 24 June 2019

Flower of Life

Hi all,
I have just completed a new pyrography project. It was a bit tedious but somehow it was still enjoyable, probably because it needed a lot of concentration.

The project concerned a birthday gift for my wife's daughter who is of Pagan persuasion. Knowing that we both indulge in the black art of pyrography, she rang up one night asking if we could do her a wooden board with the "Flower of life pattern" on it.

We hadn't got a clue, but that didn't matter because we have good old Google. We soon found what we were looking for and sourcing a suitable piece of wood for the task. This turned out to be a wooden cutting board from a kitchen ware shop.

If you are wondering what the flower of life pattern is, here is the finished piece.
Now you can see why it was tedious. A lot of lines and they needed to be accurate or it wouldn't have looked very good. I am quite impressed with how neat I managed to get it. It looks like it could have been done with a machine.

The secret of my success was, as usual, the Peter Childs machine and the spoon tip, which I used inverted. Using it inverted means that you get a natural curve to the burnt line.

I've just started a new walking stick and you can see the start of it and the last one I did on this short video. Please consider subscribing if you like it.
Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Finished walking stick

Hi all,
In my last post I showed you the horrible knobs that I'd made for my walking stick, well I've done another one that isn't perfect, but it's a damn sight better than the previous two and it'll do for me.

Here is the top of the knob complete with turquoise inlay.
Pretty neat even though I do say so myself. Here is the pattern on the body of the stick.
That also turn out very nice. Here is the whole stick ready to go for a walk.
You can see in this photo the shape of the knob which is much improved. The only thing I dislike about it is the size of the metal ferrule. I think it needs to be half that size. My wife has asked me to do a stick for her so I'm going to reduce the size of the ferrule on hers.

There is a lot of work in that stick but every part of the process was pleasant. I enjoyed drawing the design and doing the carving and pyrography work. Okay it was time consuming but it was also therapeutic.

I have taken it for a couple of walks and it does the job well. It feels sturdy and a aid to my poor old legs.

I have started work on something called a "Flower of Life" and I should be able to show you that in my next post.

I am also managing t keep up with digital painting and have just uploaded a painting I did of some calla lilies.

Please take a look if you are interested in seeing how they were done and subscribe if you would like to see more. My next painting will be of some autumn leaves and a robin. Any comments on the video or the stick are welcome.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Couldn't get it right

Hi All,
I have been very busy trying to finish the walking stick. I made a knob for it and did a bit of pyrography to finish it off.
I also used my Dremel to do some inset carving on the flowers and the stalks. I also burnt the background to give it some contrast.
Here is the finished stick.

I hate to say it but I don't like it. A lot of work for nothing. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong.
Was it the wrong shape ? Too big? Was the pyrography over the top? Would a plain knob have been better? I'd love to know what you think.
Anyway, I decided that I could do better and did another one; a different shape and no pyrography.
Yes I know, and I can hear you laughing. My wife thought it jolly funny and made all sorts of lewd comments. Another wasted effort. Well perhaps not because it has helped me the solution. I need to make a smaller knob, which isn't all that easy. Let me explain.
The reason the knob is so big is because about an inch of the end of the stick is inserted into it. This is done to give it strength and I thought the design would be simple and look OK. Evidently I was wrong, so now I need a new design.
I have decided to use a ferrule to joint the stick to the knob which will give it strength and allow me to make the knob much thinner and smaller. Hopefully this will give me a balanced stick. I have sent for a piece of tubing to make the ferrule and when that gets here I will turn a new knob. With a bit of luck it will be in time for my next post.

I'm still doing art on the ipad and have just finished painting some crab apple blossom with a honey bee . It is the first time I've painted a bee. If you are interested, I have done a short video to show how I painted it.

If you enjoy it please subscribe, it costs nothing and if you don't click the bell icon, you won't even get bothered with notifications.
Any comments, I'd love to hear them.