I got a new toy

There’s some things I’ve been eyeballing for ages, but could never justify the expenses, and one of those things is a die cutting machine. Basically those things are two drums that are moved with a crank and the cutting happened via pressure. You can make very fiddly and intricate designs . Having paid off my teeth (and just before I got a new toothache and our washing machine broke), I decided to treat myself to a basic die cutting set and make some paper crafts.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

These are beautiful. And a lot of work. They are about 10 cm in total and consist of three parts: the bottom and two side pieces. Not to mention the deer and squirrel, which are added separately.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Making the little boxes from colourful paper was a good time filler for the little one’s birthday. I guess I#ll be making my own christmas cards this year.

Have some cake

I’m sorry, here I am again apologising for being a bad host, but what can I say, meatspace is demanding right now. But we got to celebrate the little one’s birthday this year, with cake and her first Covid shot.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The filling is one of my favourite fillings right now: a cream cheese and cream filling stabilized and favoured with jello, in this case lemon jello. It makes for a light filling and you can add fruit to taste.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Next step: frosting with vanilla buttercream. Thankfully it doesn’t have to be too even. This is after the cake spent some time in the freezer, because on top you get mirror glaze.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

When working with mirror glaze, you always have leftovers. I decided to refrigerate them and use them for Halloween. Here’s two things I learned:

  1. Purple mirror glaze resists all efforts to be died black. It will just become deep purple (haha)
  2. My cellar wasn’t cool enough to let the frozen and glazed cakes thaw slowly. They decided to spontaneously disintegrate.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Well, on Halloween things are supposed to look horrible, aren’t they?

Frosty Morning Walk – Part 3 – An Orange Flower

Just like avalus, I have no clue whatsoever what flower this is. And I also agree that it is beautiful, both with the ice crystals as well when covered with tiny water droplets after they melt.

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

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

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

I’ve Been Robbed

Maybe “robbed” is not the exact word, because no violence or threat thereof was used, but I’ve not been pickpocketed either. I have definitively had money stolen from my person.

When I went shopping with my parents today, I was approached by a man who pretended to want to exchange a 2,-€ coin for smaller ones to be able to take the shopping cart. I have looked into my purse and I told him that I do not have the exchange, at which point he started approaching me and touching my purse as if trying to search for the change himself. I batted his hand away several times and I told him to not touch it but he did not understand Czech and he also either did not understand or (possibly) pretended to not understand Russian and German too, despite telling me that he is German. During this exchange, an elderly lady approached and told me that he stole money from her under the same pretense moment ago and that she has just found out when she saw him trying the same thing on me. At which point I closed my purse and endeavored to call the police.

He of course scarpered. I did not attempt to hold him up, I do not think that would be very wise.

Only when talking to the police later and explaining what happened I have found out that despite my attempts at keeping him away, he did successfully manage to snatch some bills from my purse, over 150,-€ worth. I never carry big amounts of cash and I would not have even this much if I had not needed some cash the previous week, of which this was just the rest. I might not have even noticed the theft at all, but I keep € and crown bills separately and the € compartment of my purse was suddenly completely empty.

Any act of kindness won’t go unpunished. The most jarring result of this is that I shall be more wary of panhandlers and generally of anyone asking for any help. I do not feel quite well right now. A shitty human just made me into a worse human too. That pisses me off more than the loss of money.

Fosty Morning Walk – Part 1

Avalus went on a walk one frosty morning and he was kind enough to take his camera and make some beautiful pictures. So let’s begin with some moody shots of colorful fall landscapes.

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

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

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

Sunflower Residence – Butterflies Finale

This is the last post of this series this year. I was saving up something special – Aglais io, the peacock butterfly. These butterflies are so ridiculously beautiful that some of the pictures look fake.

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

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

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

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

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

Oy! Geroffmylawnyadamnkids!

My father’s knees are not what they used to be and he also has unstable blood pressure. So he needs a walking stick for support. He has a nice pair of aluminum sticks for nordic walking which he uses when he goes to town, but those are not entirely practical for when he goes into the garden and needs to, for example, carry a tool or a bucket in one free hand. Or hang the stick on the fence when he fills the bird feeder.

Thus I have decided to make him an old-fashioned walking cane to shake at clouds and kids stealing apples etcetera. It was a fun little project for a few days with me gathering walnuts in between its steps.

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

I have started with approx 25 mm thick and just under 150 cm long hazel branch fully dried offer the last few years in the attic. I have shaved off most of the bark with a drawknife and then I have straightened all those small bends it had using the same method that served me well when making my walnut collectors.

Then came some more work with a drawknife and a plane, until I had a straight-ish and round-ish stick approx 20 mm in thickness.

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

I have cobbled together a template for the bend and after boiling the end of the stick in water for circa 15 minutes, I have put it in and bend it about half the way.

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

Old trizact grinding belts are soft and pliable, whilst being very strong. so I have used one as a backing to prevent raising splinters. Unfortunately, I did do a mistake in subsequent bends so I have raised splinters eventually that has led to a loss of circa 2-3 mm of wood on the outer curve, but hey, I have never bent wood this much before, so I was still learning, despite having some prior knowledge and experience.

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

With a succession of several heats where I have been bending the stick more and more, I have gotten to a stage when it was fully wrapped around the template. Then I have put it aside to dry for a few days.

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

When the wood was completely dry, I took it off the template, sanded the whole thing to 320 grit (although definitively not as thoroughly as I would a knife handle) and I scorched the wood with a propane torch. Scorching serves several purposes – it makes the surface of the wood a bit harder, it gives the wood nice dark color and it makes the surface more resistant to rot.

I have also added a piece of steel pipe to the bottom of the stick to give it a better purchase on the soft garden ground, to prevent the wood from splitting, mushrooming, and abrasion.

After that, I have spent several weeks applying several layers of linseed oil by wiping it on-off every two to three days until the surface was sealed but not too shiny.

The last step, finished yesterday, was to add paracord wrap around the handle. It bulks the skinny handle a bit, compensating for the loss of material during incompetent bending. It has a lanyard loop so my father does not need to drop it whenever he needs both hands for short time. And the bright color makes it easy to spot when – not whether – he forgest it somewhere in the hedge or near the garden patch.

I have positioned the lanyard near the straight bend to force my father to use the stick with the hook end protruding between the thumb and index finger and the supporting stick being aligned with the ulna. There are many people who use these walking sticks the other way around, but in my opinion that puts more strain on the wrist and is actually less safe. I do not have scientific data on this, so I might be ronk. But this stick is ever so slightly bendy and when I test it, it seems to be more rigid this way than the other way around.


And what I have learned? First that I can do this. Second that I should make the template in such a way that the bend is drop-shaped, not semi-circle-shaped because the wood springs a bit back after taking it off the template. If I ever need to do this again, I shall do better. I can make snazzy walking sticks now is what I am trying to say.



Whoomf! Fire When You Do Not Want It.

I did not expect this to happen, which is probably why it did happen. I was cutting wood for handles and stand and one piece started giving me some grief. Either the saw is a bit dull or that particular piece of birch was exceptionally hard (birch is amongst the hardest woods, contrary to what many books say). It smoked a bit, but not much. So I paused the work, tried a different cut when suddenly there was a lot of smoke. Like, a lot lot. In seconds, the workshop was full of it.

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

Luckily I tend not to lose my head in emergency situations. I noticed the smoke going from the vacuum collecting dust. I have immediately unplugged it and the saw from electricity and I dragged the vac outside. The paper dust filter inside was on fire and it was impossible to put out because it was windy. I have barely managed to take it off and leave it to burn safely on the concrete pavement. The wooden dust was smoldering a bit but I have managed to scoop it out and toss it in the oven where it could burn safely.

I do not know how this could happen, I have been using this setup for about a decade by now with zero problems. Either the saw was so dull that the friction started the fire – birch is much more flammable than other woods – or a metal splinter or something somehow got in the cut and it struck a spark. Visually, the blade does not seem dull and I cannot find any damage on any of the teeth, so I am baffled.

Tomorrow I have to go and purchase a new vacuum for my shop. This one could be repaired, but it would take a really long time. I will probably not bother. But it can be easily converted now into a dedicated blower, so I shall probably do that.

I had to take a few hours rest, I was in a bit of a shock afterward.

Eye Yam on Insta Gram

It is not as if somebody complained, but I do not wish to constantly “knife up the joint” at FtB anyway, so I have finally, reluctantly, made an Instagram account to share pictures of knifemaking and knives. If nobody minds, I will still post longer written articles about knives and knife-making here, but only for bigger or more special projects, whereas on Instagram will be snippets and pictures and off-the-cuff thoughts. Probably mostly about knives. There may be some garden pictures in due time too.

There won’t be any sexy photos of my beautiful body in lingerie or insights into my lavish lifestyle with expensive gadgets, that I can promise for sure.

If you are interested, here is a link – click -.

Reproductive Injustice: Adding insult to injury

CN: Descriptions of periods, medical procedures, etc. But hey, if half the world can deal with this, the other half should at least know about it.

I have heavy periods. And I really mean heavy. Like the bottom is falling out. An average period is 60 ml of liquid. My mens cup holds 48 ml and I can fill that three times in an hour when it’s a bad one. Add the cramps, the migraine and the iron deficiency that goes with it and I was fed up. This is clearly an issue that affects my life and my health, so I decided that something needs to be done and that the something is an IUD. IUDs have a great success rate at reducing periods, up to not having any at all (my ob gyn mentioned this as a side effect: “But then you may not hay any periods” as if I knew any cis woman who was happy having hers). Sounds like a medical solution to a medical problem, right?

Nope, nope, nope. As a side effect, the IUD also works as contraception and we can’t have the sluts having sex without at least paying heavy money for it. That would be absurd. Because people afab need to suffer for the very fact that they have a certain biology and they are not allowed to offset the suffering by having fun sexy times. As a society we’d rather have them suffer even without fun sexy times or when they’re using a different method of birth control before we help women and others with uteri to not suffer*.

So I had to pay private for my IUD. With insertion it was 350€ and from what I know this is even cheap compared to the USA. I’m not poor, I could pay, but a poor woman can’t. This would be 75% of what a person on welfare gets a month, and the fact that with any luck this will last me five years doesn’t change that. I’m still angry about it.

So to recap, I have a medical problem, there’s a highly effective therapy, but because I get birth control as a side effect, it’s not covered by health insurance. Fuck the patriarchy.

*And if you get m,ore offended by my wording than the fact that this is happening, kindly fuck off.

Women Educators on YouTube – Architect – Belinda Carr

This Hempwood product sounds interesting. I actually think that with a bit of tinkering and upscaling of the production, it could become cheap enough to be a viable material for large-scale construction. Definitely, it could replace for example wooden OSB plates for walling. And since the fibers run lengthwise, it could also definitively be used for making load-bearing beams.

Completely independently of this – this spring I was actually really thinking about growing Hemp in my garden for fuel, but although it is legal to grow technical hemp on a patch of land up to 100 sqm, the costs of seeds are prohibitive and there is a risk of cross-pollination with someone’s illegally grown weed so producing my own seeds for future poses risks of accidentally creating hybrids whose THC levels are above the legal limit. It is not worth the potential hassle of discussions with the police. My only hope there is that hemp gets finally legalized for personal use. Until then, I will try and grow hazels, poplars, and willows on my unused land to try and reduce my personal carbon footprint.

Edit: my PC glitched out and the article was initially published with nonsensical title.