Category Archives: DIY

Making a few things by hand…

Good Material

We’ve had several days of rain these last few weeks. 

Wind, too. The windmill went crazy. Pieces here; scraps over there. It is now in the Restoration Stage. 

But the Treehouse escaped damage from every tree that fell in the forest. See? Although just barely visible, we were able to move and cut the surrounding trees and will have wood to use for other building projects. 

  

We’ll haul the wood up to the sawmill we’ve constructed on our property. 

Oh yes. There is now a sawmill. My contribution was to photograph the original sawmill before it was disassembled and then moved. I had to draw and label pieces, as well as make working diagrams in order to be able to put it back together again. 

So the storms have provided us with good building material. We’ll cut the logs here:

  

And build a footbridge and shelter here:

  

We will have good materials for building. 

A creative group of writer friends will be sharing some tips and their knowledge about Writing Middle Grade novels. Check them out if you’d like to learn more:  they are using their collective skills to build something wonderful as they set up their blog tour. 

Check out the Middle Grade Mafia at:

www. middlegrademafia.com and tell them I said “hi.”

Happy Creating!

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Catching Up and Time Travels

I have issues with time–both in the here and now, and with the past and present. I can get creatively busy and forget how much time might have passed. Going from the house to my barn studio, I’ll travel from the twenty-first century back to the nineteenth century if I don’t take my phone.

(I’m still wondering if that’s some Time-Warp-Thing.)

Since it’s rumored that a picture is worth a thousand words–I’ll share a few photos and see if they SHOW what I’ve been doing:

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Every day can be a creative day!

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Practical Application(s)

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies strength. Whoever loves much can accomplish much, and what is done with love is well done.” (Vincent Van Gogh)

All right, I’ll admit it….I love to do a great many things. Every once in a while, creative distractions lead to something else. Which leads to something else. And then to something else. If I’m not careful, I get scattered in SO many directions, I face the possibility that nothing could get accomplished!

I’ve been like this for as long as I remember. Yes, I’ve done research over the years into why this happens and when I discovered it was one of the natural characteristics of Creative People, I breathed a sigh of relief. Ah, that explains it, I thought. There are others who do that, too.

Straight Backed Chair

Straight Backed Chair


The practical applications for all this is that I can do a lot of useful things. In my quest to learn about Homesteading and Appalachian homecrafts, I’ve taught myself how to repair chairs. I have a fondness for straight backed chairs. (I have no idea why this is so.) On junkets to flea markets or antique shops, I’m drawn to them like a magnet. My latest project has been to repair the bottoms of a variety of chairs using a paper rush as well as an older handmade footstool using seagrass for the seat. When I got the footstool twenty-something years ago, it was woven with cornhusks which had been twisted and woven for the seat. I talked with the craftsman about his work and he shared a few tips.
Footstool with seagrass seat

Footstool with seagrass seat

It’s the end of May now and garden is mostly planted, except for a few things I wanted to start by seed. I’ll transplant those when they get a bit larger, too.
I classify all of this as “research” and move on. I know it will give authenticity to my characters as I work on (a variety of) writing projects.

Yes, I do. Thanks!

Yes, I do. Thanks!

Happy Creating!

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Hark!

Handmade angel

Handmade angel


November came and went. Fall was beautiful out here on the farm. I stayed very busy with the animals, working out in the barn when I could or inside the house creating handmade items for Christmas gift-giving. Many wonderful hours have been spent in front of the fireplace– knitting, sewing, spinning and with a cup of hot tea or coffee. Yum!

I’m happy to report that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I imagine my studio space is more than a little bit messy and I THOUGHT about taking a photo, but no…that might reveal too much about my work habits. I try, really, to keep things organized but it just doesn’t happen. Honestly Santa, I try to be good, I really do.

What’s that you say? Wait a minute….Santa’s laughing….Ho Ho Ho! Admittedly he thinks the idea of a clean workspace this time of year is very funny indeed.

I’d love to see Santa’s workshop.

Maybe, just maybe, my space looks a lot like his.

Happy Creating!

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Old Dogs, New Tricks

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Yes, I’ve heard that old saying too. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Supposedly to be an explanation of how it’s easier to teach something new to someone younger. That expression has been around since the 1500s, and quite possibly just as inaccurate then as it is now.

To my way of thinking: it depends on the dog.

From time to time, I try to teach myself a few new tricks. I like to think I can knit and am mostly self-taught when it comes to that. There’s something oddly self-satisfying about the repetitive hand motions which accompany knitting, crocheting or hand spinning. While researching hand spinning, I came across a general statement about how Gandhi used spinning as a form of meditation and if he did, I understand how that works. My mind is clear, yet focused, and I can use that time to allow the most amazing creative thoughts to develop. Multiple points of view(s) are explored, plot points developed, dialogue planned, characters fleshed out: when I use that time as a technique for writing, it frees my creative consciousness to go to a whole other place. I’m not just spinning or knitting. I’m WORKing my brain! If I knit while riding a recumbent bicycle, I’m working my body as well. (Before you ask, the answer is yes.)

My friends who knit socks are encouraging me to give socks a try. So I’ve watched them, watched videos, knit and UNknit the same sock multiple times. The sock has to fit my foot and calf, right? (Yes) But it will go in a shoe, so does it matter if the toe is all the way closed? (Yes) Turning the heel part of the sock is a whole-other-matter. And you need two socks that sort-of match to have a pair of them.

My creative path to making socks is evolving. I can make two fairly good “tube” socks, with no heel. I am learning to knit from the toe-up and I enjoy having made my own double pointed knitting needles out of wooden dowel sticks. Granted, my work looks like a tiny porcupine with all those needles sticking out of it but that’s not what’s important. Just like those messy first drafts, I am working it out. Even if I have to unknit later, even that will have taught me something about the process. I will learn to knit a heel; short rows seem to be the way to go. There are SO many ways to knit a sock.

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Looks like a toe has begun to form, doesn’t it? As I keep going, maybe the rest of the sock will appear.

As I keep writing or drawing, I’m fairly certain the ideas will come together, too.

I’d show you a photograph of one of my dogs, but she’s not in the mood to pose for a photograph. The offer of extra kibble-bits just won’t do it.

The dogs suggest I come back later. They’re wise to me.

I think I’ll go knit. Or write. Or draw.
Happy Creating!

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