Thursday, October 17, 2013

Change is coming!

Goodness!  I haven't written since July.

See?  This is exactly why I'm changing my website.

I've been so busy with custom orders, and getting things done, and child rearing, that blogging seems to have gone by the wayside.  Can't say it will be gone for.ever. but at least for now.

I hate that it sits here, unused, stagnant, almost as if I've abandoned the whole business.

I assure you, I have not!

Look for a new website, coming soon!

Stay tuned.  Same bat time.  Same bat station.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kiddie Storage

So, we had this.... the family room.

Not good.  Can we say "eyesore"?

I'm absolutely fine with my kid's toys being around the house, because, well, that's what you sign up for when you have children.

But, this chaos?  This had to end.

I looked, and looked, and looked for a furniture piece and just couldn't find something I liked.  It's a good thing Miss "picky with a shade of vague" met Mr. "I can decipher what you want and then build it."

And with the help of friend, it's good guy time.  

Of course, little man went out to "help", too.

I sanded and sanded, and filled holes and painted.

Then sanded some edges, because y'all know I like that sort of thing.

I found some 3Sprouts bins that I really, really loved.  They disguise the toy mess.

And, we're done!  

I love the craftsman style of the piece, how large it is to accommodate larger bins, and how it fits into the adult room, but still has the kid friendly feel.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Designing Gone Bad

Sometimes, when I hear a friend or a family member has a special occasion coming up, I get ideas on something to make for them.

Not every occasion, though, because a sign for every occasion, in one family, would get old fast.

I started playing around with filigrees and wingdings seeing if I could make something pretty.

But it ended up looking more like an octopus spider of sorts!

That just won't do.

Maybe I'll have better luck later.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wood Grain Wednesday - Beautiful in our Differences

I often wonder what these trees go through....what is the story.

And, while I was sanding this one, I became so curious.

Just like humans, they are beautiful in their differences.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Product Shots - Photo Bomb

Owning your own business also means juggling tasks from time to time.  Like, trying to take some really quick product shots while also watching a toddler.

Playing with a dead bug.

Staring at the rain.

I don't really know, but the dog is fixing to run out of the house, too.

I told him he was stealing the show.  :)
He's a ham.  I sure do love him.

Even if he tries to get into all the product photos.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wood Grain Wednesday - Eye of a Storm

With all the bad weather situations around these days, I couldn't help but see an eye of a storm in this one.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wood Grain Wednesday: Ripple

This one I saw as I was about to cut the edges of the board to the right size.

As if a droplet of water fell, and created a ripple cascading outwards.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What is FSC? And why we use it.

If you order a custom sign, these carvings are on FSC White Wood.  Our wedding cake stands are made from FSC Select Pine and Birch.

What does FSC mean? 
FSC = Forest Stewardship Council

What is the FSC? 
They are an international non-profit organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests.  

What does that mean? 
This offers customers, around the world, the ability to choose products from socially and environmentally responsible forestry. 

Think: Eco-friendly

What about reclaimed wood?
We do use our fair share of reclaimed wood for many of our smaller signs, and non-custom phrase designs.  Unless specially requested, we don't use it for custom signs due to the lack of consistency.  We've found customers typically want something similar to what is in the item listing photos, and the only way we can achieve that is through the use of wood that looks comparable, free of nail holes, nicks, and scratches.

Why don't you use MDF when it's more economical? 
Well, that's because MDF is an engineered wood. They break down hardwood and softwood into fibers, and then press them back together. 

Why is that a problem? 
Well, because Formaldehyde resins are commonly used to bind MDF together, and testing has consistently revealed that MDF products emit urea-formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds that pose health risks at sufficient concentrations, for at least several months after manufacture. 

Think: NOT Eco-Friendly or Healthy (like, at all)

Where we land:
We believe a custom wooden carved sign in your home should be free of contaminants and be as eco-friendly as possible. By purchasing wood that is in regulated forests, protecting nature and the life it supports, and using eco-friendly finishes, we can make something healthy and sustainable for your home, that'll last for years upon years. And, with no harmful chemicals or agents that can be emitted into the air you, or I, breathe!  YAY!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wood Grain Wednesday - Faces

I always see lots of faces in wood.

And most of them look like aliens to me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Harebrained Ideas

Why is it that when I'm ridiculously busy that I get these creative sparks to do new and different things?

Like I have the time to implement them.

I have a folder on my computer dedicated to things to make later...and then a physical file of sketches and ideas that come to me throughout the day.

It feels a little like procrastination, but it really, really isn't.  I don't have the habit of putting things off.  I'm more of a doer, can't sit down for a second, and someone that loves adores checking things off lists.

But this one, this one, didn't hit my "make it later" pile.

A friend of mine, his profile picture on facebook, is a drawing caricature of himself.

Last week, I got the harebrained idea to make a wood carving out of it.  And, then, just stain the drawing outline in black, like ink!

Like I had the time.

But, I made the time.  I was so excited when it came off the machine, I was bouncing around the house.  We even had our friend come over this weekend to get it because I couldn't keep the secret.

His laugh, chuckle, and smile, when he saw it, made my day.

Big thanks to my hubby for re-drawing our friend's sketch in Illustrator for me, and making it possible.  Sometimes the harebrained ideas are the best ones.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wood Grain Wednesday - Rock Biter

Have you ever seen The Neverending Story?

I just cannot wait until my son is old enough to be able to handle the scarier parts of the movie.

This edition reminds me of the Rock Biter.

If I ever find one that looks like Falkor, that'll just make my day.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Scrap to Wonderful

All around the workshop are piles of wood.  I can't bring myself to throw any of it away.

I mean, I'm in the business of re-using things...bringing the reclaimed wood out and doing something with it!

I've gotten busy with all the sign making for the past couple, well, years.  I've been working with clients, coming up with new designs, and carving into pieces of wood, phrases I really like.

I received a request to make a few more of my reclaimed wood "pieces" crosses.  

I had a maxed week ahead of me, and they needed to get done on this particular week, to get to my client in time for a Confirmation.  I went back and forth on whether or not to do it.  

My heart said, "yes, of course!" but my head said, "No way, dude!  You don't have time!  Look at this list of signs!  I mean, come on!  It's just not possible!  It's too much stress!"

At night, when I brought it up with my husband, he said, "We'll get it done."

Which makes me laugh, in part, because "we'll" is me.  Like, when I say, "we put the sandbox together" and it was all him?  Ya.  Same thing.

Except, that I suppose, the "we" part triggers in on the other party manning the baby.  So, that counts.

I only had to make three for this client, because I had two in the shop already.  

Then, overnight, before she could buy it, one of the crosses sold!  Now, I had to make four.

I was in the "I can do it" mode, but I have to admit, I was still a little like.....what the heck?  Why now, when I'm so busy?

I got to them right away, laying out the wood, and marking all the lines.  I'd lose track of time, while cutting, sanding, and putting them together.  

I'd go out late at night, after the baby was asleep and all the chores of the day were done, and work on them some more.

Then, I'd work on them first thing in the morning.  I'd completely forget about any other little thing that needed to be done.  

You know that part of work where it becomes blissful?  It was that.

I ended up making 6 crosses that week.  And, now I have 3 more on my workbench.

I had forgotten how much I like this sort of "assembly" type work, and making something wonderful come out of a pile of scrap wood.

I had sent her pictures before shipping them off.  I told her the striped wood is actually left-over from a guitar my husband is building with a friend.  My client said it was perfect because one of her students plays the mandolin and was thinking of making one over the Summer.

Sometimes being pushed to do something I don't quite think I have time for, is exactly when I remember why I enjoy my job as much as I do.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wood Grain Wednesday - Shocked!

Maybe he was electrocuted?  Or he's just shocked.

Or, he's a ghost!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wood Grain Wednesday - Spots

I love these pieces of pine that have awesome spots on it.  Like an animal.  

Especially once they're stained.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wood Grain Wednesday - Lines

I was sanding out in the workshop this morning, and I ran across this piece of wood.  I have never seen straighter lines, and I thought it was quite beautiful.

Sometimes I wonder what these little trees go through in life to make the patterns in the wood.  It would be an interesting story, I'm sure.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pine Cones

Why is acorn one word, but pine cone isn't?  I mean, they're kinda the same.

If you've looked at my listings on Etsy, you'll notice these three pine cones in almost every single photograph.

They aren't some random pine cones I picked up one day.  They're actually near and dear to my heart.

A long, long time ago....  Okay, so not that long ago...  In my childhood tweenhood eh, two houses ago...there lived this gorgeous pine tree. 

My parents planted all the trees and plants on the property.  Some of the trees where in ill condition when transplanted, but my mother worked hard to bring them all back to a healthful life.

I don't think my parents knew how big this pine tree would get once it was set in the ground.  

We don't have too much snow in North Texas, but I have a picture of this tree, that I always look back on, and think is magnificent.

I think it's funny, and adorable, that the houses look like little smurf homes in the background.  The properties out here were all 1+ acres.

I've gone past our old house, and noticed the tree no longer there.  It was right about the time I was creating my shop, and going through the zillionth picture taking of all my items.  That's when I decided to add the pine cones to the listings.  

The pine cones give perspective to the size of the sign, and the tree gets to live on in my listings and memory. That's win, win, win.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wood Grain Wednesday - Curly Maple

The thing about curly maple is it's a bit like a sandy shoreline, just waiting for the tide to come in.

Which I could really use today.  Because it's been one of those kinds of days.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bird Feeder

I've been feeding birds since I was so little I can't remember ever not feeding birds.  Or rabbits.  Or raccoon.


I have a bird feeder I bought at the store, that came with a basin in it, to fill with water.  But, I never really used it, so I just filled it with more food and put it on top of our fenceline in the back yard.

They didn't seem to mind, but every time it got windy, over the fence it went.  Then, I had to go retrieve it.  It's not like there's a door in the brick wall, either.  So, around the block I went.

When I was sick for a month, I about had enough of that.

Plus, it's not attractive.  That plastic thing.  And, since it didn't have holes in the bottom, it always filled with water when it rained.

And, apparently, birds do not like water-soaked seed.

So, we constructed something new.

Since we're woodworkers, reclaimed cedar isn't really hard for us to find in our own garage.  And, my mom had just given us an old office metal filing system.  The metal part makes a great bottom, since it has holes in it to drain water when it rains.

There are little feet at the bottom, too, to keep it off the stone for water drainage.

Just add seed!

The first to check it out were the grackle.  They will walk up to anything.  When the morning dove sat in it, I knew we had scored.  And, the sparrow, he visits when the hanging feeders are empty.

The kid loves bird watching.  I swear he wasn't going to attack them.  He just loves his bubble sword, too.

Now, it's onto making a couple more.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wood Grain Wednesday - I see you!

"I see you!" was the first thing I thought when I saw this piece of wood.

And, now, all I see are two little eyes staring at me, with those nostrils beneath.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Repairing Wood - Wood Glue and Wood Filler

I often find myself repairing wood.  Maybe it is broken.  Maybe someone else tried to fix it.  The first is always an easier fix than the latter.  

To remove old glue, a heat gun is a handy tool to have around.  It won't, necessarily, get all the glue off, but it helps.  You just have to be careful not to scorch the wood.

The two broken pieces here, were gorilla glued onto the main piece, but were crooked.  (Regular gorilla glue, although it works on wood, is not ideal.)  A little heat separated them nicely.

One of the hardest things about woodworking is patience.  When fixing an item like this, I'll have to work in sections.  I'll work on attaching the smaller carved piece to the larger carved piece first.

I did a rough sanding over everything, trying to get the old glue off first.  And, what I couldn't get off, I just roughed up.

If a piece of wood breaks like this, and it hasn't been "fixed" like in my situation, it's best not to sand.  Leave it be.  It should perfectly match up to the other side, so when you apply the glue, it'll clamp together nicely.

Get a good wood glue.  Any kind will do.  I like using little brushes as it helps me be more precise and not get glue on my jeans.  Thoroughly coat the area.

Clamps are a woodworkers best friend.  If you don't have any, ask a neighbor!  If they don't, you can use rubber bands and weights.  Just make sure everything is level and back together as it should be.

If someone tells you that you can stain wood glue, they are lying.  Once clamped, get a wet rag and wash that stuff off!

Handy tip: For getting glue in to small, hard to reach places, a syringe works great!  This one is re-purposed from my toddler's Tylenol bottle.  (Don't get me started on teething!)

Gloves are good, too.  I tend to use my fingers a lot to wipe glue here and there.  This way, my skin is protected.

Here is where patience comes in.  You have to wait for the glue to dry.

Ugh.  I know.

You can work on something else in the meantime.  And, once it's dry, then you can come back and do the next step.

When I reattached the carving, it ended up with 3 clamps, a rubber band, and a weight on it!  In the end, just do whatever you have to do to get them to stay together evenly.

The best part about wood glue is that once an area is broken, and fixed, it's unlikely it'll ever break again.  Okay, okay, it's unlikely the wood will ever break on that particular grain line again.  That's because the glue bond is stronger than the grain bond.  

Another BFF of the woodworker is wood filler.  This helps seal gaps in the wood, and give a nice smooth finish overall.

I'm not a huge fan of wood filler, because I've yet to find one I really like.  I tried a fourth this weekend, that was pretty expensive, but I have to admit it did a really great job.

Note: If you're going to be staining the wood afterward, you'll need to make sure the wood filler is stainable.  If it isn't, there is no way, in the world, the wood filler is ever going to tint.

This piece had some work done already.

The can will tell you to apply, and let the filler dry.  The above is what happens when you do that.  Gloppy.  Mess.  And, filler isn't easy to sand, either.  Especially on something that's carved.

I tend to apply, let sit for a couple seconds, and then immediately sand it off.  This does two things.  One, it gets all the excess filler off really quickly and easily.  Two, it adds dust from the wood, created by the sandpaper, in with the filler.  This, I've found, helps it stain better later.  (I've also used this "sanding right away" technique while glue is drying, when I won't need a filler, and it works pretty well!)

For the gloppy piece, a little piece of coarse sandpaper will do the trick.  I've found hand-sanding is always better in these situations.  Power tools can get out of control really quickly, sanding way too much away.

So, when it's all done, glued, wood filled, and sanded, the pieces are once again renewed and alive, and ready for staining!

There's rarely a need to throw perfectly good things away.  They just, sometimes, need a little TLC.