Kitchen Knives Set – Part 5: “Fun” with Resin

Somebody somewhere in the comment section (I think on Marcus’s blog) expressed dislike for resin stabilized wood along the lines that it is the same as making the handles out of plastic. I disagree. Stabilized wood is a pain to work because it behaves like plastic in that regard, but it does not look like plastic and neither does it feel like plastic in the hand – it feels like wood. And as I was working on this project, I found out that it even sounds like wood – stabilized pieces give out very nice clonk-clonk when hit against each other. I think it might be possible to make musical instruments out of it, but I won’t try.

However, before said wood reaches its desired stabilized state, I have to work with epoxy resin. Lots of it.

I hate it.

It is gluey, it sticks to absolutely everything and it is transparent, so when it drops somewhere it is difficult to see in time. Tools and surfaces need to be cleaned with paper towels soaked in denatured alcohol, which is not cheap and the fumes do not smell exactly delicious. And the work needs to be done fast, because if the epoxy gels, it won’t soak into the wood no more.

With my macgyered vacuum pump I have reached a vacuum of 0,2-0,3 bar, which was sufficient for extremely porous wood, but might not be sufficient for this. Applewood has very small pores and is very hard, even the very decomposed pieces were still harder than for example poplar or basswood. So I have decided to bite the bullet and buy a small, cheap vacuum pump in the hope that it will work better. And it does – and it does not.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Even with my poorly sealed pickle jar, I have easily reached vacuum 0,6 bar within a minute. The wood released so many bubbles that the resin developed foam head like beer.

However, the pump also got very hot after a few minutes of running, which made me a bit worried. My macgyvered pump was a bit cumbersome and awkward, but overheating was completely a non-issue. I am not so sure about this one. I hope it does not burn out before I at least get to sell some knives.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Overheating aside, the wood soaked up the resin very nicely and although I have only used clear resin, it developed very nice and pleasant colors. The resin would cure over time at room temperature, but it is possible to speed up the curing by heating it to 60-80°C. So I did that the next day and I baked the pieces for two hours, after which I could appreciate the nice clonk-clonk that I was talking about at the beginning.

I have also approached the issue a bit more scientifically this time and I have weighed all the pieces before and after. Here you can see the results.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

This made me very happy with the results. The relatively healthy wood has gained approx 30% in weight, the not-very-much rotten root wood doubled its weight and the more decomposed wood has almost tripled its weight. All pieces of similar size weighed approximately the same after the stabilizing process, irrespective of what wood they were made of. And finally, all pieces when put in water either sunk completely or just barely floated with 99% submerged. So even the relatively healthy wood should be soaked up with resin to sufficient depth.

Now that the wood is stabilized, the only thing that is left is to psych myself up to go into the freezing workshop and finish the knives. Which includes first a bit of grinding and drilling, and then a lot of gluing. Even more fun with epoxy awaits, hooray!

Resin Art: In the Midnight Hour, She Cried More, More, More

I hope you aren’t tired of my jewellery yet, because I’m once again firmly stuck in the crafting phase of the pandemic and I have no interest of getting out of it soon. For one thing, there are worse coping mechanisms (just don’t ask my bank account. OTOH there’s little else to spend my fun money on right now). For another, I end up with cool jewellery. I can start something and then before I notice or have time to worry, it’s midnight and I go to bed happy.

As I mentioned before, I’m currently working with UV resin, which also means I watch a lot of UV resin tutorials on Youtube. Here’s an interesting divide: Tutorials for epoxy resin, especially lamps and such are often by American guys with huge tool shops that make me constantly unhappy, because I lack the space and probably 20k to blow on the machines.

See for example this guy, who does make cool stuff:

UV resin artists OTOH tend to be female and Japanese. You can watch their videos for inspiration or pure relaxation, like this lady’s videos:

I’m wondering if it has something to do with culture, but also space, of which Americans outside the big cities seem to have more.

Anyway, I wanted to show you what I came up with:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

These two pairs are made with nail art transfer foil. They’re not perfect yet as the transfer foil is tricky and needs some practise, but I do like them. I’m currently wearing the gold ones, which look really classy.

The next two pairs also belong together, one being trial and error the other being what I actually intended.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Don’t get me wrong, these are perfectly lovely earrings (though the right one is a bit bubbly from the flowers). They are just not what I had planned- I first made a smaller square with the gold foil, which was then embedded in the larger square… Of course the small clear square vanished completely in the clear resin, making that extra step pretty much redundant.

Back to square one (haha). This time I mixed golden pigment in with the small square and now I get those crisp geometrical lines.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I need to remember to dip the flowers in resin before I embed them. Too many bubbles, but I still really like the simple elegance here.

Than goodness they came out fine, because the third project for that night surely didn’t.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I was using up some UV resin that I still had, and I still had it for a good reason: it’s horrible. I have no idea how something can be that thick and runny at the same time. As a result there are tons of irremovable bubbles but it also kept flowing over the sides, making the whole piece clunky. I was looking for some delicate elegance, I got this. I tried again yesterday and this time the results are much more what I was looking for:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Pendant with matching earrings. The colour is a bit dark in the pic, they’re the same midnight blue as above, a pigment that I absofuckinglutely love. These pieces also show one of the great advantages of using UV resin: precise control. I can add the wire and the pearls and the beads and place them exactly where I want them.

And last but not least, a completely different technique: Cherry blossom earrings

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I like earrings where it#s clearly a pair, but two different designs. These are made by forming the wire into petals and then adding a thin layer of resin. Here you really have to get the consistence right. I first tried with the above mentioned blue pigment, but adding pigment made the resin too thick, so I had to try again with clear ink for resin. I’m not completely happy with how the flowers are dangling on the chain and might try to change that again. I also think I need a matching necklace.

Fungi Friday

It’s unusual to find mushrooms in the winter, but Avalus has a good eye and found a few to share with us. Enjoy.

Here are some photos I took over the last few days of January mushrooms.

These two I found in front of the department building. I really like the colour of their tops, they look like leather. The undersides look fascinating too. (photos 1 & 2)

Yesterday we had some snow as well and today I found this little fella, poking out the fresh snow. (photo 3)

Photo 1, ©Avalus, all rights reserved.

Photo 2, ©Avalus, all rights reserved.

Photo 3, ©Avalus, all rights reserved.

The Art of …

… modern American Artist, Frank Morrison

Morrison began his career as a graffiti artist but has become known for his work portraying black culture. According to the artist’s web site,

Morrison strives to capture people as they are, translating emotions through his paintings and leaving a memoir of our life and times today. His work depicts African-American livelihood in a way that is both familiar and comforting to those who often feel histories have been forgotten and culture has been usurped.
Citing both Ernie Barnes and Annie Lee as forebearers of this tradition, Morrison remarks on his practice, “My work dignifies the evolllution of everyday, underrepresented people and places within the urban landscape. I seek to both highlight and preserve the soul of the city through the lens of hip-hop culture and  urban iconography. I want people to experience the visual rhythms that choreograph life for the average, everyday person.”

Picture That, by Frank Morrison. Image from Afropunk

“What!” by Frank Morrison. Image from Afropunk

Jack’s Walk

Looking east and dreaming of seeing the Gaspe again ©voyager, all rights reserved.

I’ve been struggling to write this column, which is why it’s been so long since you’ve heard from Jack and me. We’re both fine, but our lives have changed, and we’re not having many adventures anymore. My sweet, beautiful Bubba will be 13 on Feb. 29th (March 1 in this non-leap-year), and he’s succumbing to the ravages of old age. He’s a big, heavy boy and his weight-bearing joints are full of arthritis, making it difficult for him to get around. He still wants to go out a few times a day to wander around the yard, but taking a real walk is no longer possible. We’re lucky to have an excellent vet who keeps Jack comfortable, and he remains a happy boy who spends his days gazing out the window or dozing by my side.

My vision for Jack’s Walk has always been for it to be a happy place where we take a moment to appreciate the wonders of the world around us and maybe take a deep breath and have a smile. It’s been hard to find that voice over the past few months, but it’s still there, and today, I have a HappyJack story to share.

Bye, Bye big bloody wart ©voyager, all rights reserved.

For the past year or so, Jack has been bothered by warts on his face that itch. He rubs his face on everything – table legs, people legs, carpets, snow, grass, dirt, telephone poles, his bed, my bed, my hand if it’s dangling in reach, and sometimes even poop if it smells just right. One wart grew very quickly and then started to break down and bleed, and it’s been so bad recently that the vet and I finally decided to go ahead and have it removed. That would mean an anesthetic, which is risky for an old boy like Jack, who was listening in to our conversation and making plans of his own.

A few days later, I noticed that Jack wasn’t rubbing his face, and then it struck me that the big ugly wart was gone. I took a closer look, and all I could see was a small, clotted stump resembling an umbilicus that was ready to drop off. Apparently, Jack scratched it off himself.  No need for surgery, no need for wound care, and no need to spend the estimated 1,200 dollars. What a good boy, eh?

In which Biden disappears 157 million women (give or take)

With great mourning I must inform all of you that president Biden has disappeared about 157 million women. I am very sorry. This has come as a surprise to many, probably especially my formerly female cis American friends who woke up this morning to a terrible wasteland in which ALL their rights have been destroyed and they themselves ceased to exist, going on a a loosely connected set of uterus and ovaries.

What has happened?

Evil trans cabal cultist Joe Biden has issued an Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. The horrors! Protecting queer people, no matter them being gay or bi or trans or any combination from discrimination must be the end of all civilisation. The religious extremists are very shocked and upset, and by “religious extremists” I mean our dear “gender critical” friends, especially over on Terven Island.

Here’s the LGB alliance who tells you that an executive order forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation is actually bad for gays and lesbians:

We are appalled by @potus’s executive order erasing the sex-based rights of women and girls. It deals a severe blow to women and girls in sport, prisons, rape shelters, hospitals etc and bans lesbians and gays from having our own spaces. We will help our US friends to oppose it.


Because we all know that’s exactly what happened in all those countries with similar regulations. The Irish Camogie teams are now just all the cis boys who didn’t make it in the Hurling team and are now allowed to beat all the cis girls up with the hurley. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s just because the international all powerful trans cabal suppresses the truth.


BTW, this is from an actual US right wing religious extremist. Do you spot the difference? Me neither.

..Normalizing transgenderism and pursuing public health policy of gender reassignment surgery in minors under 18 must not be allowed. Hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery’s are extremely dangerous to long term physical and mental health of children…

.As a former competitive athlete and a mother to a daughter who is a D1 collegiate athlete, I staunchly oppose biological males in girls/women’s sports, locker rooms, and bathrooms. This completely violates women’s rights in every way…

…I by no means judge others for their sexual choices and dearly love my friends who are gay. I love people but stand firmly in God’s truth, which is this. Whether you believe in Him or not, God loves ALL of us and created us in His image, male and female…

…This is why the left’s pursuit to cancel gender and erase who’s image they were created in, is completely evil.


Not to mention that by her own tweet god’s image is female AND male, but there’s hardly any difference now between the religious right and “gender critical” people. Oh, sure, many of them condemmed the worst of Trumps actions, but they also think that Biden doing the least thing to protect trans people from discrimination is kind of worse than  Trump raping women and having women thrown into concentration camps where non necessary hysterectomies were done to immigrant women. “Gender critical” people seem to think that the religious extremists are wrong on every single issue except trans people, yet they are also willing to sacrifice every single right if only they can hurt trans people.

It’s time they owned that shit, packed their bags and went to Mar a Lago.



Please, if there are any women left in the USA, give us a sign. We’ll send cookies.

The Art of …

… posters, by Ridwan Adhami, Shephard Fairey, Jessica Sabogal, Ernesto Yerena, Delphine Diallo, Ayse Gursoz, and Arlene Mejorado.

They were  commissioned by The Amplifier Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises the voices of grassroots movements through art and community engagement.

Today seems like a good day to wave hi to the U.S.A. and show off some of her best modern artists.


Poster series We the People by various artists. Image from NBC, courtesy of The Amplifier Foundation

“American identity starts with Native resistance. In this artwork, Ernesto Yerena honors Helen Red Feather of the Lakota tribe during her bravery and resilience at the Standing Rock reservation in 2016. She was originally photographed by Ayşe Gürsöz while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.” Words and image from The Amplifier Foundation.

Ridwan Adhami decided to photograph a Muslim woman wearing an American flag as a hijab for the five-year anniversary of 9/11. They stood at the site of the World Trade Center, capturing the iconic image, without knowing just how far it would eventually go…More than a decade later, Adhami and Shepard Fairey reincarnated the image for Amplifier’s We the People campaign. As the Trump administration’s Muslim Ban continues to wage a war on Islamic faith, the artwork’s message will keep ringing loud and clear. There is no room for fear, only freedom.” Words and Image from The Amplifier Foundation.

“This piece from artist Jessica Sabogal focuses on the love, affection, and inspiration that will continue to persevere through the darkness.”Words and image from The Amplifier Foundation.

“At a time of so much discrimination and injustice, this photograph taken by French and Senegalese artist Delphine Diallo and converted into an illustration by Shepard Fairey reminds us of the power of youth and the world we’re building around them.” Words and image from The Amplifier Foundation

“…this photograph taken by Arlene Mejorado and illustrated by Shepard Fairey is a crucial part of the We the People campaign. Mejorado, a photographer and documentary-maker from California, describes herself as “the daughter of migrants, brown, queer, multi-ethnic, and aspirant of beauty and truth.” The image depicts Xicana activist Maribel Valdez Gonzalez, described by the artist as “an incredible queer, first gen, muxerista, educator who constantly pushes my politics.” The final artwork was carried by thousands at the Women’s March for the 2017 inauguration.” Words and image from The Amplifier Foundation

Doiling Away All the Time

My vacuum pump was delayed one more week but it should be due to arrive today afternoon. In the meantime, the weather was cold and I could not be arsed to heat the workshop and start another project. So I have decided to spend some time exercising my bobbin lace making skills again.

Last year I have taken my grandmother’s old blueprints and I scanned them. And now I took the scans to photoshop and I refined them into a form that can be printed out.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

As you can see, these are true antique blueprints, made with the technology that actually gave us the word.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

For the printable templates, I have refined the curves a bit but I have done my best to preserve the original placement of pins and knots as well as the type of weave. My intention was to reproduce the old work, not to reinterpret it.

Round doily, ca. 16 cm across. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Round doily, ca. 20 cm across. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Oval doily, ca 16×25 cm. © Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Doilies are insidious. You make the inner circle first and that is quick and easy. Then the next inner circle takes a bit longer but it is fairly quick still. The next one then takes even longer. And the outermost one then drags on and on for what feels like forever.

Bobbin lace making shows itself to be a reasonable upper-back and shoulder exercise. The bobbins weigh next to nothing but holding your hands at breast height for hours is not easy. It is not exactly hard work, but it is not as easy as some might think.

Regarding my technique, I am not at my mother’s or my grandmother’s level yet. I am not able to hide the beginnings/ends as well as they do, neither can I make some types of lace (the diamond shapes on the last one are fugly) as neat and regular as they do. However they both were making bobbin lace since childhood and for decades, whereas I only learned it last year, so I am not losing any sleep over not being as good as they.

Winter Wonderland 5: Miscellaneous

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Well, it’s not the Arctic sea, but for a frozen puddle it looks dramatic enough.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

A little chaffinch used the open ground under the trees to look for food.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The Nile Goose knows how to pose with a frame of tree branches.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Aaaand, save the best for last. It’s my absolute favourite. Taking pics of crows is damn hard, because the pitch black will just throw off your auto focus and they rarely keep still for long enough to adjust it manually. But in the bright sunlight, the auto focus caught on and the blue and green frame it perfectly.

The Art of …

… illustration, by Al-Jazari

This is one of many whimsical illustrations from the ancient Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Inventions by Turkish artist Al-Jazari. I’ll be featuring more pages from this book from time to time. It’s a treasure trove of wonder.

The Elephant Clock, from The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Inventions, 1206, by Al Jazari. Image from Wikiart



Winter Wonderland 3: More Swans

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The two juveniles must be about the same age. They are still smaller than their parents, although they have grown a lot since they first arrived, but they have always been about the same size and started out the same cygnet grey. Yet one of them keeps clinging to its baby colours, only reluctantly letting go of the grey and slowly turning white.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved