Some evening last week one of local roe deer grazed in the lower, and so far mostly overgrown part of the garden.
You can see the ugly old fence post in the left corner marking the border between the garden that belongs to our house and the part that we merely rent from the city.
We keep the brambles at bay, so while there’s tons of stinging nettles, there’s also grass and herbs.
What I didn’t know at that time was that she has a sweet little fawn hidden somewhere close. We only found out when on Saturday we heard a sound that was actually more like a bird of prey and thought that maybe there was an injured animal in the backyard. Since then we’ve been seeing them on and off, she tolerates us at up to about 10m, but of course I usually don’t have the camera ready, but today I had. Tell me if that isn’t the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. I banned everybody from the garden for the next half hour so they could have a bit of peace after I took my pics, but they seem to regard the kids on the trampoline as a non-threat anyway.
Today when I went into the workshop I had to light the fire because, despite reasonably sunny weather, the temperatures are really low. And this little fellow was sitting on one piece of wood and he gave me quite a start, for I have mistaken him for a wasp. Which is the point of its coloration, of course.
Unfortunately, I was only able to make these two pictures. The beetle was quite sluggish in the cold workshop, but when I took it outside in the sun, it warmed up quickly and flew off before I could make more with better camera settings. I hope my entomologist friend will be able to identify the species. Preliminarily I think it is some species of longhorn beetle that has emerged from a pupa in firewood.
This week we’re looking at Andrew Lang’s Crimson coloured fairy book. I had a terrible time choosing the artwork to showcase in this post because all of it is wonderful. H.J. Ford’s full-page drawings are full of whimsy, and each one has some element or another that makes it worthy of a look, so I’ve included all of them for you to see. Enjoy. [Read more…]
I tend to go through crafting cycles. Right now I have little motivation to mix resin or, lets face it, sand it (sorry, voyager. I promise you will receive your stuff). Right now it’s back to the sewing and embroidery machine. I also found the cutest Pokemon designs on Etsy (apparently they don’t try to beat their fandom into dust by wielding the copyright maze heavyhandedly)
The technique used here is called “in the hoop” embroidery, which means you’re not just embroidering some designs onto fabric, but assemble the whole project more or less with the embroidery machine while your fabric remains in the embroidery hoop.
These neat pouches are a combination of an in the hoop design from Urban Threads a long time ago and the Pokemon applique I already used on the mask.
They are also neat ways to use scraps because you only need a bit more than a letter size piece of fabric.
Next one was created by sewing the individual pieces in the hoop and the assembling them by hand. It’s not a toy I’d hand to a baby (but I got lots of baby suitable plushie designs anyway), but aren’t they cute?
The little one( meaning my kid) “borrowed” the larger one (meaning the Eevee) and the told me the next day that Eevee had called her mummy and she couldn’t return it now because you mustn’t separate babies from their mums. Yes, I got a smart kid. It’s not the first plushie that she adopted by emotionally blackmailing the original owner. Not that I wouldn’t have simply given it to her anyway…
Now for the cost of those: this is not a way to save money. I had the fabric for the larger one lying around, but of course I needed (cough) some better fabric for the small one, so between the design and the fabric (though there’s still quite some left for more of them) I’m down 50 bucks and of course I could simply have bought two Eevee plushies for that money…
These sweet floofy faces were photographed by Emily Davis, who is the daughter of Anne, Cranky Cat Lady.
Emily has been watching the swans at Holyrood Park during her daily bird walks. They’re nesting, and today she has pictures of fuzzy cygnets.
Just as with carpenters, there will be more of these in due course. Is there a terminus technicus for people who craft things from resin? Probably not, we will have to do without.
Today I want to share two videos actually because there is a follow-up to the first one, where she learns from her mistakes and improves her art.
I have decided to throw the pictures at you piecemeal and not all at once. I want to say a bit about each blade and I think that cramming that all in one post would be counterproductive, it would take too long before I could do it and I might get depressed by writing about all the things I did wrong with every piece all at once. I hope you don’t mind.
Two knives are not only finished already, they are with their owners. I did not get any feedback on their use, because for that was not an opportunity yet, but they were well received, despite their flaws. But, well, they say don’t look a gift knife in the mouth or somesuch…
First, let’s say a bit about this universal kitchen knife for my favorite aunt.
It is one of the best blades, strong, straight and stiff. Exactly what I was aiming for, capable of cutting leeks as well as melons. The handle is made from black elder (Sambucus nigra) wood.
You can see tiny cracks on the faces. I personally do think they can add a bit of a character to the wood – especially if the wood is partially decayed, as you will see on some of the next blades too – but that is not always the case and sometimes they are just blemishes. From a functional standpoint, they won’t be a problem. They are filled with the boat lacquer and thus sealed and glued shut. Anything that destroys the wood now would destroy it even if it were pristine. But it is something I have to figure out how to prevent. I will probably have to seal the ends with silicone or epoxy glue before pickling the wood in ammonia next time, or make the pieces a lot longer (I did make them longer prior to pickling, but apparently not enough).
And pickling black elder wood I shall, that one thing is sure. Untreated elder wood is yellowish, but the color is nowhere near this bright and rich. I have always loved yellow color, and I think this canary-yellow looks just beautiful. Unfortunately, I cannot show you untreated wood for comparison here, but I will at some point in the future.
What I do not like are the dark shadows around the pins. They are not burned wood (they are grey-ish, not brown-ish), but maybe they are dirt from polishing that got stuck in the epoxy. I will have to look into this next time and maybe not go on too high grit polish before the lacquering and maybe carefully scrape it instead. The wood is beautiful, hard, has small pores, and is a joy to work, but it dirties easily.
The second presented today is a fish gutting & filleting knife for one of my uncles.
This was ground from one of the blades that came out curly, but it was my plan to take one of these blades and re-grind it for a fish knife from about November 2019, when my uncle expressed a wish for it. The blade is very thin, flexible, and pointy. It would cut vegetables of course too, but I do not think it is suitable for tackling difficult cabbage.
The handle is made from black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), and this is one of the woods that had a really strong and a bit surprising reaction to the ammonia. You can see in one of my previous posts that untreated black locust wood is honey-yellow/brown with a greenish tint to it. But it apparently contains a lot of acidic components that react with the ammonia and its color got real funky in the process.
When working it, I thought at first that I am burning the wood, and I was trying to sand it slowly and carefully not to do so. It took me a while to realize that whilst I indeed can burn this wood (it is super-hard), I am not doing it. It just looked that way. My subsequent reaction during the work was somewhat “meh” and I thought I won’t bother with this in future anymore, there is plenty of brown woods out there.
And then I have changed my mind.
What you, unfortunately, cannot see in the picture is a sort of tiger’s eye effect the lacquer has brought out in this wood’s grain. It looks iridescent and it changes color from light brown with a golden glint to nearly black depending on the angle you look at it. So I went from ” I won’t bother with pickling this wood again” to “I am going to pickle this in buckets”.
Regarding flaws, this knife suffers from uneven shoulders, and it won’t be able to correct them with exercise. I only noticed when I was etching the logo, that I ground the forward-facing facets on the scales slightly askew. Nothing major, but it is visible with the naked eye.
Slight asymmetries in the handle scales that I have spotted too late are actually a bit of a theme in this batch and it is something that I too will have to try and figure out how to prevent. Eyeballing the things during grinding until my eyes start to water apparently still is not enough.
And that’s it for today.
We visited the Zoo at the weekend, which in hind(haha)sight was not the best idea. Their concept to prevent infections sounded really good, but the obvious blind spot was that they’re dealing with people. Thankfully it was all open air (and I didn’t need to pee because obviously Corona can’t spread if you’re just using the bathroom), but it#s certainly not something I’ll repeat soon. But I still got some nice pics for you.
Sika deer. You can still see the layer of velvety skin over his antlers. I always think that they look like the prototypical Bambi.
Speaking of Bambi… Lunchtime!
Next one is a blackbuck kid with its mummy. I have no clue why they’re called blackbucks. In German they’re “Hirschziegenantilope”, because whoever named them was apparently a bit confused as that translates as “deer goat antilope”.
It must be pretty young because it was still not very secure on its legs and had this slightly underfed look many babies have shortly after making it to the great outside. But it was very, very cute.
And last but not least: Snugglebeasties, better known as goats.