April 15th, 2015

HAPPY TAX DAY!!!! OK OK so flog me….I know that it has been a month, but I challenge ANYBODY to keep up with the two of us and what goes on in this whirlwind world of Kats and mine..whew. We have been on the run since we last chatted, a lot of it turning and catching up on some projects.

We started with a six hour class on a Saturday put on the the St. John’s Cultural Council; Marketing For the Independent Artist.  It was taught by a woman who has been in the business for many years and really opened our eyes to some new ideas.

Class

Class

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The middle of last month I got the pleasure of meeting up with some dear friends of mine in Orlando.  Susan Claesson and her son Henry came down so that Henry could compete in the Junior Nationals swim meet, it was so much fun watching the kids (and adults).  We worked together at Dairy Queen a lifetime ago and Susan and I traveled together for a year as Director of Operations trainees.

Susan And Henry

Susan And Henry

I met the most amazing guy, his name is Bryson Breitenbucher and he is a friend of the Claesson’s.

Bryson and Susan

Bryson and Susan

We took him to the meet and it was so cool to hang with him. He knows so much about cars and is the most curious guy that I have ever met. We talked about cars, music, turning and his swimming skills; he is an up and coming speedster in the pool. The most amazing thing about this ball of energy is that he is a diabetic with an insulin pump, but he is positive, enthusiast and just a joy to be around nothing is going to get in his way.

The Hotel

The Hotel

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That weekend we had a demonstration with the North Florida Woodturners. We got the privilege of spending the weekend with Ashley Harwood.

Ashley

Ashley

Ashley is from Charleston, SC and is not what you would expect in the world of woodturning.DSC01311 Ashley uses a push technique along with a 40 degree grind on her tool to get an amazing cut and finish on her work. When she “roughs out a bowl” it is finished to the equivalent of 120 grit sandpaper without sanding – what a time saver! DSC01319 DSC01320I also had the pleasure of doing a hands-on workshop with Ashley on Sunday.

Bernard, Tina, Ray and Doris

Bernard, Tina, Ray and Doris

Daniel

Daniel

The Hands on Crew

The Hands on Crew

It has really helped and given me some new ideas for my bowls. Ashley is also known for her finials, and after watching her I understand why!

Ashley's finial

Ashley’s finial

I have been working on mine since the demonstration and they are getting better.

My last finial

My last finial

You can check out Ashley’s website at www.ashleyhardwood.net

The next weekend was Easter and we were scheduled to go back to the Suwannee for a kayak trip but got rained out, so we spent the weekend running around and catching up. Friday we ran errands followed by Saturday checking out The Mandarin Art Fair. It was a nice Fair that we would consider participating in next year. Saturday night Kat’s son William came home from Tallahassee to visit for a couple of days and it was wonderful to see him.

William

William

We all went to our friend Mary’s for Easter dinner. Her daughter Ami was down from Norfolk with her sons Carson and Corbin and it was a nice way to spend the day catching up and playing with the boys. Funny story, Mary called me the week before and said that she needed help. When I called her back she said that a goose had died on her porch and could I please come pick it up for her. I don’t know what I was expecting but this thing was HUGE! It was about 3 feet long and quite a hassle to pick up. When she called to invite us to Easter Dinner Kat asked her if we were having goose….we all got a laugh out of it.

The Goose

The Goose

Last weekend we had a full weekend of great food, home time and shop time! It was wonderful to slow down and relax a bit. We did have my nephew Chaz and his fiancé Olivia over for dinner Saturday night and Kat fixed feta cheese stuffed sliders, roasted corn on the cob slathered with basil pesto aioli…..delicious. For Sunday dinner we had rotisserie chicken with stuffing; I love it when we stay home!

Now between all of this I got to go to St Augustine to help my friend Tina install a cat door for my buddy Turbo and prime her irrigation pump, finish three bowls for my customer Catie Wallace who works for Volunteers in Medicine – Jacksonville.

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These guys provide a wonderful service for those having trouble affording healthcare in our area and they award bowls to volunteers, you can check them out at www.vim-jax.org. I also finished two mortars and pestles for Julie Traylor,2015-04-10 16.43.00 a couple of wands for Alchemy in Louisville, a wand for my friend Julie Lasko, a bowl for my friend Vickie, 2015-04-06 07.49.23another one for Jennie and Coleman Hulette,IMG_12861 a couple of pens and finally birthday presents for my nephew Will (sorry dude no pictures).

So that is it, you are officially caught up on Kat and Don’s excellent adventure.2015-01-09 09.03.23 I will try to be more up to date next time, but as I am constantly reminded “Life Is What Happens While You Are Planning It!”

Don and Kat

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March 14th, 2015

My my where to start? I have such a hard time remembering where I am supposed to be today let alone what I did last week! And I have to confess that as much as I love sharing our lives and business with you guys, I get a little guilty when I take the time to spend with you. You know I’m an important guy! With lots to do and so little time it is hard to prioritize needs to be done versus what I want to do and categorizing the two! Sometimes I need to just take a deep breath and sit quietly and let God tell me what to do. It is really that simple when I remember to do it; I don’t always know what to do, but I sure know what NOT to do and I can see the value in all those tasks that are truly important so pick one that is important and needs to be done……one thing at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time.

Last week started with a visit to my new found friend Don Geiger. Don is an excellent turner that has developed a company Geiger Solutions.  Don has found a niche in our sharpening needs and is one of the most knowledgeable people that I have met when it comes to the practice. You can take a look at his website http://www.geigerssolutions.com/ for his offerings in sharpening needs and lathes. I have to admit that working with all of the wonderful turners that I have had the opportunity to has turned my brain to a muddle of sharpening facts. Should I use a jig like Micheal Mocho, Al Stirt and Ed Malesky or should I freehand like Beth Ireland, Mark Gardiner and Ashley Hardwood. Is it 40 degrees, 45 degrees, 60 degrees, 65 degrees……. or a combination. Diamond wheel, CBN, slica, aluminum oxide, white or blue, 60 or 80 grit; so I packed up my grinder, a couple of tools and went to Newberry Fl to spend a day with Don. What a relief! It turns out that it is not so important how you sharpen, but that your grinder and wheels are tuned up and working properly so that you can recreate the style of sharpening that you decide on.

Grinder is ready!

Grinder is ready!

He taught me how to set up my grinder and jigs then guided me through the process. I now have a starting place that is reproducible and can move onward trying out different grinds and adopting new ones as I see fit.

By the way, it was a spectacular week, a real break from the chilly weather. To be in shorts with the doors and windows open was incredible! But as all good things are on Friday was my nephew’s Chaz birthday, and if it is Chaz’s birthday it is a New England Boil. Well that day it turned cold again so I went to my sister’s early to help put together heaters so we had enough room for everybody and they were warm. It was a great party with good friends and wonderful food.

Fire Girl

Fire Girl

Kat kept the firepit going, Jan cooked and I socialized. DSC01203 DSC01200 DSC01199 DSC01220Against our better judgment we stayed until the last that ended in all of us trying on a wig and laughing so hard we cried.

The burned out rocker!

The burned out rocker!

Sexy Jan

Sexy Jan

Silly Kathy

Silly Kathy

Euro Chaz

Euro Chaz

Laid back Patrick

Laid back Patrick

Hot Olivia

Hot Olivia

Even Finn got in on it!

Even Finn got in on it!

A good time was had by all

A good time was had by all

The night wrapped up with us giving Chaz and Olivia a ride home having some great laughs in the car on the way.

Saturday we go up and met our friend Tina from St. Augustine a Florida Cypress. DSC01266It is a great place to find cypress if you need it! They have acres and acres of cypress from stumps to logs to boards and molding.DSC01263 DSC01262 DSC01261

Molding

Molding

Tina is turning traditional rice bowls for sushi and apparently those are made from Cypress – who knew! The highlight of the visit were 2 huge boards that were big enough to make a 2 conference tables, I didn’t even bother asking a price

Incredible

Incredible

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. We wandered and probed just looking while she selected her piece then the three of us went out for Mongolian BBQ. After lunch Kat and I decided to skip a trip to Ray Smith’s for more wood with Tina for a needed nap after the long night before!

I did get to see Bernard for a minute Saturday, he needed to plane a board for a project that he was working on, and as in the case of most of us, it was easier to come to my place and do it than dig our your planer. We took a look at my “wood coffin” and decided that I needed some holes to circulate the air so as always the visit was much appreciated and enjoyed.2015-03-08 16.30.55

Sunday – what else but family barn day! I worked on a platter for Kathy to marble, while Kat worked on carvings and Yoda and Sydney oversaw operations. Truly the perfect way to end a week with someone you love.

Carvin' Kat

Carvin’ Kat

Curious Sidney

Curious Sidney

Yoda the wonder dog

Yoda the wonder dog

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Magnolia Bowl

Magnolia Bowl

This week – Forget about it! Monday I was processing green wood and made it through the chain saw portion with no trouble.

Success so far

Success so far

Then came the band saw; I was rolling right along until I hit a “punky” spot on a blank and the wood shifted putting my left pinky finger into the blade.

The Culprit

The Culprit

Good news is it is still attached with all appropriate tendons and nerves….bad news a trip to Care Spot and 5 sutures.

OUCH!

OUCH!

That is not to mention we had the Turners meeting Monday night, so I hurried home to get our stuff, picked up Kat and we got there just on time. The funny part of the evening was the safety talk was on being safe around blades and there were about 5 of us with band aids on our fingers! Rickey did his finial demonstration that we reviewed a couple of weeks ago and he did a great job.

Ed's Black Vessel

Ed’s Black Vessel

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The preacher’s dip bowl

Daniels natural bowl

Daniels natural bowl

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Kathy with our marbled bowl

Me with the small bay bowl (notice the finger!)

Me with the small bay bowl (notice the finger!)

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Tina’s multi-axis vase

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Ricky’s demo

The rest of the week was even more of a blur going Tuesday to Tallahassee for a meeting then finding out Wednesday that our friend Mary has been in the hospital and our Chiropractor was going to deliver her baby so I hung up the day and went downtown to have lunch with my sweet baby Kathy. We dined on Krystals then walked up to a new place called Sweet Pete’s for desert. It is at Hemming Plaza and what a place! It is a restaurant and candy store that truly caters to a sweet tooth. It is 2 stories of sugared delights. There is a restaurant, desert bar, ice cream, candies by the pound, bento boxes, lunch boxes, candied apples, every flavor of gummie bear, chocolate, salt water taffy, nuts, drinks, and a factory; it was an excellent thing that I was full! We got some treats for our friend Mary and her family as well as a candied apple for Kat, a caramel apple for me and a half pound of salted caramels to get us back to the bank!2015-03-11 14.19.23 2015-03-11 14.19.08 2015-03-11 14.17.54 2015-03-11 14.17.32 2015-03-11 14.17.22 2015-03-11 14.17.13 2015-03-11 14.15.53

Guys that catches us up and thank you for letting me share our times with you as always it has been a pleasure. Until next week hug the ones you love, consider why you dislike the ones that you do, and please love yourself.

Don

February 28th, 2015

 

Did you ever have a period of time when you can’t remember what you did an hour ago let alone last week? Well after some thought and memory recharge I have it!

Home Sweet Home!

Home Sweet Home!

 

We started with our “normal” ( is there really such a thing) Sunday in the barn. Kat was finishing up some carving while I started a new experiment.

Carving Kat

Carving Kat

While we were in Louisville I found a piano dehumidifier so I created a drying box for the boiled blanks. I will monitor the progress and let you know how it is going.DSC01190

Dehumidifier Box

Dehumidifier Box AKA The Bowl Coffin

 

The work week started crazy with a shop requesting Harry Potter type wands. Now they want hollow handles! So I spent some time and got that in order. I wonder what will be next? 2015-02-23 18.57.31

Hollow Handle

Hollow Handle

Plus the weather was awful! It was cold and rainy all week. Yoda does not do well in the rain…..he thinks that he will melt and he is even worse in the cold! Every time I went to the door he followed me only to stop when he saw the rain…he is driving me crazy following me around.

 

I did have to have a “discussion” with God this week concerning humility. That hollow form that I finally finished; well I decided to put it back on the lathe – wrong idea! Now I know that I have to turn them finished and given the fact that #5 also blew up I was about ready to hang up my bowl gouge. Oh did I mention that I blew up 3 magnolia bowls too? It’s a good thing that I wear a catcher’s mask and safety goggles! We will see if God is done with my lessons!

KaBoom

KaBoom

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Safety First!

Safety First!

 

The good news of the week came from a meeting at Unity Plaza on Friday. Unity Plaza is a community gathering place modeled after Brooklyn Park and Pioneer Courthouse Square. Jen Jones is the CEO of the project and you can read more about their innovative ideas at http://unityplazajax.com/. You can also check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.co/UnityPlazaJax. I will be working with Jen and several other artists to design the “Artist In Residence” program. Further, I will be the first sculptural artist and be overseeing the sculpture portion of the program. Really exciting news!unity plaza 4 Unity Plaza 3 Unity Plaza 2

Unity Plaza

Unity Plaza

 

We were planning a quiet weekend, but my wood buddy Bernard called Friday night with a sighting of downed Maple. Bernard can hear a chainsaw from 5 miles! Bernard is quite a “Chip Carver” as well as a turner so Kat went along Saturday morning to get a carving tool sharpening class. As most trips to Bernard and Susie’s we ended up there for hours and had a blast.

Susie and Bernard

Susie and Bernard

And we returned with a truck load of maple so big that Kathy was worried about the tires popping!

That's what I'm Talkin' About!

That’s what I’m Talkin’ About!

We finished out the day with a fire in the fireplace and enjoying each others company.

Chillaxin'

Chillaxin’

 

I almost forgot – Saturday was Beth’s birthday so we spent some time catching up. She says that they have already had 81 inches of snow in Maine. To put it into perspective we only had 60 inches by the end of March last year and you all know how bad I bitched about that!

Birthday Babe!

Birthday Babe!

 

Oh, remember that maple bowl from last week?  Well my Awesome collaborator chick got a hold of it and it is SPECTACULAR!  You will have to wait until next week to see it finished!

Turned

Turned

Marbled Rim

Marbled

Enjoy your week this week and try to make the best out of what comes your way. God has a plans for each of us and all we have to do is move forward and try to do the next right thing.

 

Don

 

February 21st, 2015

What a great week! Of course it started in the best way Sunday in the shop with my sweet thing, and of course the shop support Yoda and Sidney.   I had not turned a thing in over a week and I was Jones-in for some lathe time. 1st up round 3 in the great hollowing experiment and hallelujah success!DSC01160 DSC01166 DSC01164

Three Times Charm!

Three Times Charm!

I figured that I better quit while I was ahead so I started fixing dinner for a rare Sunday visit by Uncle Mike. We had grilled sausages, sliders and pineapple…delicious.

 

Monday the exciting stuff just started. I set aside my fear and contacted two stores in Louisville that expressed interest in my work and one has come back with some requests!   Confession; I know that I am getting better and have turned out some spectacular pieces, but deep down I suffer like most of us with doubt and fear of my abilities. My experience in the program and in life has begun to show me that I need to listen to the people that I have come to trust rather than the ones in my head. I have listened to them for too long and all that it got me was not taking a chance, feeling less than and making up lame excuses for why I was not going to participate in an idea or activity. NO MORE!

 

Most of the rest of the week was spent processing green wood and building inventory with Yoda overseeing operations.

Yoda

Yoda

Maple bowl Set

Maple bowl Set

A Doorstop for Tricia my Yoga Instructor

A Doorstop for Tricia my Yoga Instructor

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Finished Maple Bowl

Finished Maple Bowl

 

Saturday Kat and I set out on an adventure looking at a couple of people’s studios and shops.

Woo Hoo Kat and Don's excellent adventure Chapter 42!

Woo Hoo Kat and Don’s excellent adventure Chapter 42!

First stop was Green Cove Springs where we visited an old friend of Kathy’s, Keith. Keith is in the process of shutting down his studio due to health issues, what an incredible space!2015-02-21 11.08.32 2015-02-21 11.08.24 2015-02-21 11.07.50

Keith's

Keith’s

If Green Cove wasn’t so far away, it would be a great place to work. He is looking to sell a 12 in Craftsman band saw if anyone is interested. We departed Keith’s to explore Green Cove Springs and Kathy took me to the spring.

Green Cove Spring

Green Cove Spring

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In it’s peak of popularity the spring was considers a “heath elixir” due to it’s mineral content and the city was promoted by PT Barnum as well as others as a place of healing that attracted visitors from all over the world. The town is filled with historic architecture and sites, definitely worth and afternoon visit – WHO KNEW? We finished the visit with a lunch trip to Ronnie’s for a dozen oysters each and wings – YUM2015-02-21 12.25.042015-02-21 12.54.482015-02-21 11.56.14

 

Next up we set the GPS and headed to visit Rickey and Gloria Crews in Bryceville, FL. Rickey along with Tina Minahan is the Turning Club’s demonstration coordinators.

Rickey and his turned acrylic box

Ricky and his turned acrylic box

Ricky is preparing a demonstration on making finials and wanted Kat and I to preview the demonstration. Rickey has an incredible shop filled with cabinet making, metal working and woodturning tools. There are surprises hidden in each corner. 2015-02-21 18.03.04

Rickey's Shop

Ricky’s Shop

Ricky is an incredible turner whose focus on detail shows in his finished work. Gloria works with gourd art and does a nice job with her craft as well.

Gloria's Gourd

Gloria’s Gourd

She is also pretty good in the kitchen and had fixed salmon bites, mini quiches, bleu cheese with raspberries on bread, a pasta salad and lemon cake. Needless to say we did not need dinner when we finally got home!

 

Well guys that does it for the Penny’s – next week is filled with shop time and meetings – I can’t wait to share the results with you. Have a great week!

 

February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015

 

Another fun filled packed week was had by all! Jan, Albert and I departed Jacksonville last Sunday morning to go to “The Frozen North”, Louisville, to celebrate Mom’s 83rd birthday on the 9th and Jan’s 58th on the 11th. We were all looking forward to the trip because the 3 of us were raised in Louisville.

Jan and Albert

Jan and Albert

We flew to Charlotte, NC where as usual you have to make the 3 mile trek across the terminal but they do have a really cool mobile of flight at the half way point in the terminal.

Flying Mobile

Flying Mobile

We then boarded a puddle jumper for the rest of the trip and Louisville greeted us with cold and overcast weather.

Louisville

Louisville

We schlepped our bags to the rental car pick-up and found that the car they gave us was really dirty. Now my sister has NO tolerance for items that you rent that are not perfect so Albert got to go back in the terminal to complain and get a new car while we chilled (literally!)

 

The first stop on the way to Mom’s was the local Kroger for supplies where we realized that we were not in Florida anymore. It was deja-vu of Maine! Everyone was in heavy clothes and bundled up; there were snow shovels for sale in the grocery store.20150208_171642_resized_1 HELP! The next sign was the valentines display. Where else can you buy a six pack with peanuts and a red bow for your Valentine?   20150208_171031_resized_1Finally I found this truck in the parking lot and as I was talking a picture of it the cart jockey came up and exclaimed “isn’t that awesome!”

AWESOME

AWESOME

 

Well we finished the night at Mom’s ordering pizza for dinner and making plans for the week. Now my mother lives in a retirement community that is housed in a high rise in downtown Louisville. It is a nice place with a bank, exercise room, movie theatre, mail room, hair cuttery, and a nice lounge on the first floor. The second floor is for people needing constant medical attention, while 3, 4, and 5 are assisted living. The top seven floors are for independent living. Needless to say the place was roasting! When we got upstairs to Mom’s we had to open the windows to get comfortable. All week long we were opening windows in the rooms we were occupying much to the dismay of not only my mother, but the residents.

Mom and Jan

Mom and Jan

 

Jan and I spent the week walking downtown. Now that required a trip to Target for additional warm exercise clothes, but it was worth it. We walked at least two hours each day remembering what it was like growing up and exploring new places.

Main Street

Main Street

Louisville has a great downtown filled with restored buildings, new construction and an expanding population. The city fathers have done an fabulous job revitalizing the downtown while adding art to almost every corner. DSC01127

Check out the penguins above David!

Check out the penguins above David!

DSC01131Main Street has the country’s largest collection of wrought iron adornment on their buildings and many have been restored.

Wrought Iron Adornment

Wrought Iron Adornment

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I wonder how in the world they got this on a lathe?

During the week we stopped at the YUM Center, home of the Louisville Cardinals, Flame Works, a glass blowing studio, Hillerich & Bradsby, home of the Louisville Slugger and a host of galleries and shops. DSC01124

DSC01135 DSC01134All the while sweating and coughing from walking in the cold!

 

We also had an incredible week of dining! Monday night for Mom’s Birthday Jan and I went to the store after our walk and shopped for a feast. We had standing rib roast, mashed potatoes, marinated brussel spouts and green beans followed by birthday cake.20150209_193415_resized

The "Heron" has a permanent home!

The “Heron” has a permanent home!

The next night found us at Selena’s Willow Creek Tavern in Anchorage, KY where we had steaks, chicken picata, trout, catfish and any number of treats. We ended up the dinner with one of the best bread puddings that I have ever put in my mouth.

Decisions Decisions

Decisions Decisions

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Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding

I would be remiss if I did not share the story of our trip to the restaurant. Brother Joe had made a 6 o’clock reservation so the 4 of us set out to Anchorage at 5:15 to allow plenty of time to get to the quiet little berg. Albert pulled out his trusty I-phone and asked Siri for directions; FIRST MISTAKE! Well we got off the expressway just before 6 and texted Joe that we would be right there and 30 minutes later we were touring the farms of Kentucky. Unfortunately we were hopelessly lost and upon referring to Google Maps I found that we were 30 miles past the restaurant. The good story is that we saw some beautiful country and an beautiful sunset and while Jan and Mom ordered their drinks and appetizers by phone so when we finally arrived they were on the table. I spent Wednesday night catching up with my old friends Coleman and Jennie Hulette then Jan and I met some lifelong friends for dinner and catch-up at Chuey’s on Thursday for Mexican and great camaraderie.

 

In between all that we did find time to help Albert’s mom, Kitty, clean out her condo that she has put on the market before he went home on Thursday morning and a couple of other things. Jan and I spent Thursday afternoon looking in the shops for new ideas. We went to a place that is in a converted meat packing plant and contains space for a couple of hundred artist studios. They needed more tenants, but the concept was really cool.DSC01094 DSC01099 DSC01098 DSC01097 DSC01100 Another group of shops were in a converted dustpan factory and there were alot in storefronts on Market Street; DSC01116DSC01120and as an added bonus while we were running around we found 2 stores that were interested in seeing my work!

 

Before we knew it Friday was here and we boarded the plane back to Jacksonville.

Louisville

Louisville

Finally HOME

Finally HOME

It was really nice to get home to my own bed and Kathy. We spent some time running around Saturday morning and took a nap Saturday afternoon. We ended our hectic week at Hamm and Julie Traylor’s were they, with the help of Mike and Michele Kennert, had put together a birthday surprise for Jan. They gave her a cooking class with Chef Mauricio Jimenez that resulted in a paella dinner for all of us. Check out his facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chefmauriciojimenez, his private cooking lessons are great!

Chef, Jan and Kat

Chef, Jan and Kat

Jan and Albert

Jan and Albert

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Delicious food and great friends

Delicious food and great friends

What a fun way to end the week, especially when we gave Jan her birthday present. While I was gone, Kat marbled the rim of the bowl and it turned out stunning! We are so proud of our first collaborative piece.IMG_1269

Our first collaboration!

Collaborative Chaos!

 

That is it guys thanks for checking in with us. I am looking forward to getting back to the shop tomorrow and back to a normal week at home – YEAH RIGHT!

 

Don

February 7th

Well I hope that you guys had a great week. I did, but what do you expect from a guy who has the world by the scruff, living a dream with people he loves – kinda’ tuff not to be on top of the world!

 

The weather was really crappy this week! Monday and Tuesday were rainy and cold I thought that I would freeze in the barn and poor Yoda was so psycho by Wednesday I was ready to sedate him. That dog lives to go out to the shop, so bad that he comes and looks for me in the morning waiting for me to change clothes. When he sees me put on shop clothes he will not lay down for fear that I will go out without him.

Guarding The Door

Guarding The Door

Now he also abhors water, if it looks like rain you have to drag him outside and throw him off the porch to get him to go to the bathroom. Imagine his distress standing on the carport watching it pour knowing that I am going out to turn. I finally had to pick him up and carry him back into the house so I could get to work. He stood in the laundry room and looked out the window all day. He finally got to go out Wednesday afternoon when we gratefully saw the sun.

Happy Boy!

Happy Boy!

 

I spent Monday and Tuesday morning working on a bowl for a friend of mine in Louisville. I had donated a bowl to Beacon House in Louisville for an auction and Jennie saw it, but missed buying it. Well I have been trying to turn something to fit with what she wanted for months with no success. I am going to Louisville for my Mom’s birthday next week so I decided that I had to get what she wanted – FINALLY triumph!

She Gets A Choice

She Gets A Choice

 

The rest of the week was spent processing green blanks and trying to clean

up the shop.

DSC01076

New Form

New Form

I have been experiencing some migraines due to the weather changes and pollen and on Wednesday as I was trying the second “Trent Bosch” hollow form I started to get another one. It suddenly dawned on me that I was really bending over so I decided to raise my lathe 2 inches. Needless to say, 2 hours later when I got it up to where it is supposed to be, the headache subsided! I still have the headaches but they are now manageable – who knew.

Raised Lathe

Raised Lathe

I am sad to say I still screwed up the hollow form, but I figured out what I was doing wrong and I got a mortar and pestle out of the base!

Another Learning Experience

Another Learning Experience

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Did get some "Good Ones"

Did get some “Good Ones”

 

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New Shop Flag

 

Kathy finally broke down and went to the doctor on Monday and it turns out she had bronchitis. They started her on antibiotics and flonase and finally by Thursday her 2 week fever broke and by Saturday I had my girl back! She finally finished the Heron carving and decided to give it to my Mom for her birthday.

Finished!

Finished!

DSC01044She started the next project Saturday, but I can’t tell you what it is yet.

 

And of course there was still yoga. I have continued with my practice at St. Marks on Tuesday and Thursday nights under the guidance of Patricia McCauley-Cox. It really helps to keep me mobile and comfortable at the lathe and we just found out she is going to be teaching a Saturday class so I get back to 3 days a week! I really enjoy the fellowship and serenity of her practices.

Yoga Practise

Yoga Practise

 

Saturday we got up and spent the day together. I was really nice to catch up with Kat Friday night and Saturday. With her being sick and going to bed by 8 we realized that we had not talked in 2 weeks! We went to the tax man to pick up our taxes then went back to Woodcraft. Kathy bought a new scroll saw. Let me tell you how sweet it is when your wife buys shop tools – no more guilt! We spent the afternoon in the shop working on a collaborative for my sister’s birthday. Sssssssh

Hard at Work

Hard at Work

 

The last highlight was getting back in touch with my buddy Bill Butman. He caught me up on the Maine scene and as always left me with a smile. Well guys I need to go pack for my trip to Louisville tomorrow. I am going with my sister Jan and brother-in-law Albert to visit my Mom. Sadly Kat is not going to make it, but it will still be fun. Thanks for checking in and we will chat next week.

"Chillaxing"

“Chillaxing”

 

Don

January 31st

Apologies for not publishing last week, but we have had 2 long weeks! I have been processing green wood getting some inventory built up as well as finishing my strum stik and trying to develop some new techniques and skills (we will get to that later).

I have been blessed with more wood thanks to Bernard and Ray. There is so much wood down that I can’t get to it all! So Yoda and I ventured out to the woodpile and spent the week processing as much as we could. I cut up and processed some maple, sweet gum, pear, bay and hackberry. Thank God Kathy and Friday showed up, but I got some great blanks!DSC01021 DSC01022

Finished Blanks

Finished Blanks

I wasn’t the only one having a long week – I talked to Peter and Laurel who were both under the weather as well as my nephew Chaz. We have a nasty virus going around Jacksonville and if you don’t have it, you know a couple of people that do.

Last Friday night we had Uncle Mike, an old friend of Kat’s and Mary out for dinner because they missed the birthday party. I fixed vegetable soup with all of the meat and vegetables from the party and reheated Kathy’s wings, what a feast! We just sat out on the patio and talked until we all were ready to fall asleep. Ahhhh, life in the country.

Saturday, we started the day at the tax man to file Kathy’s taxes done.  The bad news is that Mike wanted my stuff too! – BY THIS WEEKEND. Now I am one of those kinds of guys that have the BEST of intentions. Last year before I left school I wanted to get together all my receipts and mileage so that I would be organized for tax time well I found that pile in the bottom of a storage container filled with a years worth of invoices, receipts and expenses. I spent Monday, Tuesday afternoon Wednesday and Thursday morning getting it all together. BUT, I did get January 2015 together so there may be hope for me yet! – as I am often reminded – Progress not Perfection! After taxes we went to one of our favorites – Woodcraft! Kathy needed a new carving tool and I found another 10 things that I can’t live without. After that we went to Outback for lunch and ended the afternoon at HomeGoods where we bought some “stuff” for the house and shop.

New Rules!

New Rules!

It is humbling to be loved by those around you so I would be remiss not to thank those who provided lunch and shopping today in the form of wedding presents – thanks Lynn and Leslie we love you too. We finished out the day fixing the pot stickers and wrapped hot dogs that Kathy fixed for the party because neither of us got to try them at the party. It was delicious.DSC01030

Almost Done!

Almost Done!

OK I said that I tried out some new stuff for me. I turned a really pretty bowl but it has the center of the log running through it and of course the pith has cracked on both sides.  I am trying to use contrasting keys across the cracks. Ricky suggested using a chisel to cut the shapes in the bowl, so I drilled out the middle first and started at it. DSC01027  DSC01028I hope that it turns out better than the second project – my first one piece hollow form. You know I watched Trent at the symposium do 3 of them and he made it look and sound so easy that I could not wait to try one of these new green blanks. Well at least I learned a lot! Like you can’t let the tool catch or you widen then opening and more importantly if you rip out the top and try to reshape the form remember to measure where the bottom is!

Oops!

Oops!

I did have much better luck with an ambrosia maple utility bowl and with my strum stik and, as you can see, it is getting close to done.DSC01036DSC01042 DSC01024

Kat worked feverishly on the “Harmony of the Heron” almost completing it until she fell sick on Tuesday with a fever and a cough that would have killed most of us, but of course she pushed it to the limit for the rest of the week.DSC01033 DSC01034DSC01026

 

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I put a tile floor in Leslie’s utility closet on Tuesday and worked with Kay on Friday at our turner’s club community project.  We teach boys at Safe Harbor how to turn. We get a new set of 3 boys twice a year and the project has been such a success that Safe Harbor has included the project in their regular curriculum.  The boys made pens this week and as you can see they did a great job.DSC01051

Today while I finished Leslie’s floor Kathy took it easy and is now lying on the couch in front of the fire waiting to go to bed. DSC01053 DSC01054

So I am going to close up the fireplace and take my wounded warrior to bed – goodnight until next week.

Don

January 19th

What a great week! Ms Kathy was off work and despite the cold rainy weather; we had a wonderful week of travel, shop time and togetherness.

We started out our week together with a trip to the Florida Woodturners Symposium in Lake Yale Florida.

Lake Yale

Lake Yale

It was a blast! We had 32 choices for demonstrations of which we could see 8. We saw:

All did an excellent job as did the ones that we missed, the whole lineup was:

National Demonstrators

Regional Demonstrators

Workshop Leaders

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Wildlife at Lake Yale

Wildlife at Lake Yale

The only snafu for the weekend was when our dog Yoda bolted from his babysitter Jan. Early Friday morning Jan let him out in the backyard and he bolted through a hole in the fence. We did not hear a thing all weekend and I could not find him Monday at the pound or the Humane Society and had just about written him off when a veterinary clinic called with a name and number. It seems this nice woman had picked him up Friday just after he got out. She took him to the vet for a bath and haircut, then went to the store and bought him 3 kinds of dog food and a bag of treats. When I called her he was laying in her lap giving her dog kisses. She told me that she had walked him so much her legs were tired and sore! Apparently she had made him a pallet next to her bed so when he got tired of sleeping on the couch he would have a comfortable bed. Needless to say he was extremely disappointed that we picked him up.

That night we had our woodturners meeting and did a recap of the year. Because of the holidays we only had 3 entries in the instant gallery, but it was nice to relive the weekend with all those who had attended the symposium.

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Tina's Minitures

Tina’s Miniatures

Kay shows off the box she won watching Bob Rosand

Kay shows off the box she won watching Bob Rosand

Kat trying to explain "Birds Without Feathers"

Kat trying to explain “Birds Without Feathers”

Besides that we had a week in the shop until Thursday when we ventured out to the store to by supplies for my 60th birthday party and our bi-weekly visit with Align Chiropractic, jacksonvillefamilychiropractor.com, to adjust away the aches of turning and old age : ) . On the way home we made a stop to a really cool place called Eco-Relics, www.ecorelics.com. It is a 50,000 square ft warehouse and outdoor lot filled, and I mean filled with salvaged building materials. They definitely give Liberty Tools and Joe Ley’s a run for their money. We must have spent 2 hours just scratching the surface, we will definitely be going back.

That afternoon our good friend Joanne came out to spend a couple of nights to help us prepare for the party on Saturday. So we spent Friday and Saturday cleaning and cooking.

Joanne

Joanne

Hard at work

Hard at work

By the time 6:30 came on Saturday we were ready to relax and enjoy our friends and family. DSC00976 DSC00975

Getting ready

Getting ready

We had about 25 people for and outdoor birthday party around a bonfire. Kat fixed pork barbeque, sliders, chicken wings, potato salad, pot stickers, procuttio roll-ups, vegetables, chips, dips and an incredible carrot cake. She was grilling sliders and wings for 4 hours! It was humbling to see friends from AA, woodturning, family, and from the past all come together to celebrate and enjoy each others company. William even came from Tallahassee to be a part of it, I am a blessed man.

My sister Jan and her family

My sister Jan and her family

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Fun around the fire

Fun around the fire

Sunday, Kat, William, Kathy, Kathy’s nephew Evan and I got up about 11 and after we started the fire back up and sat outside in our pajamas, we went to V’s pizza for lunch and to celebrate Evan’s birthday. Best pizza and wings in Jacksonville! www.vpizza.comDSC00991

The morning after!

The morning after!

Clean -up

Clean -up

Finally we ended the vacation by spending Sunday afternoon and Monday in the shop together. Kat worked on her heron carving and I worked on my strum stik and preparing blanks to boil and dry so we can get some inventory back and try some new ideas from the symposium.

Shop support!

Shop support!

Kathy Carving

Kathy Carving

The Heron gets closer

The Heron gets closer

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Beautiful bowl in progress

Beautiful bowl in progress

Purple-heart and Sycamore Strum Stik

Purple-heart and Sycamore Strum Stik

Boiled and drying

Boiled and drying

Oh, and by the way in case you have missed it, you can check out our website at www.studio5032.com and our Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/Studio5032. Have a great week and we will catch you up soon.

Don

2015 A New Start!

January 2015

 

I’m back! And this time I will stay back with weekly updates –I promise! What a whirlwind year filled with highs and lows as most of our lives are. I need a new name for the blog – Yes I’m still the “Woodschool Guy” but I was thinking along the lines of “Woodworking Guy” since the circumstances have changed. So give me some ideas!

 

Let’s see where to start….Personal life well after a short spell under the weather my Mom is doing wonderfully. She sold her condo and moved into a retirement complex. It is really nice with a bank, post office, movie theatre, hair dresser and a medical staff. Her place is very nice and roomy plus she has an “assistant” that checks in on her twice a day. Thank God for my brother Joe and his wife Nancy who facilitated the move and take excellent care of her on a daily basis. I also have my niece Sarah who takes her out every week for some “fun” time. It’s good to have family.

 

Speaking of family, mine has expanded! Kat and I tied the knot in August! We were going to Louisville with my sister Jan and brother-In-law Albert to see my Mom so we called my Mother’s minister and the complex and set up a surprise wedding. The crew at the complex turned the family dining room into a chapel and the family (Jan, Albert, Mom, Joe and my niece Sarah) were supposed to go on a tour of the facility. Brian the minister was waiting in the dining room and we surprised them all. It was a nice ceremony followed by underground zip lining at Louisville Mega Caverns for Jan, Albert, Kathy and myself – what a blast!

The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple

Brian, Jan and Albert

Brian, Jan and Albert

 

 

Honeymoon!

Honeymoon!

Spiritually, I am still sober and relying on God for this journey. When I look back on this year and all the blessings that I have been given it overwhelms me at times. After some difficulties my family is closer that ever, I am in love with an incredible woman that shares my passions, except yoga, a career that is slowly, but surely, progressing and a life that is a dream. God is good and I have come to believe that He gives me what I need instead of what I think I want.

 

That leads into this woodworking world! I have been blessed with ability to be able to be a handyman, and while it does not include turning, it has given me that ability to contribute to the bottom line. Thanks to Jan, Leslie and Tina, along with a host of others, for keeping my Tuesdays and Thursdays full. I have been turning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (and most Saturdays and Sunday’s with Kat) to keep progressing and trying new ideas.

Bowl in progress

Bowl in progress

Coring Bowls

Closer

Finished!

Finished! Private Collection of Vickie Clark

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Maple Set

A Strum Stik that I am starting

A Strum Stik that I am starting

Along the year I got to demonstrate wood burning at one of our Northeast Florida Woodturners meetings and had the chance to spend a weekend with Mark Gardner for one of his demonstrations. It was nice to catch up and share ideas with him again. The Woodturners Club has been a

wonderful source for friends and motivation as well.

Kathy has been very proficient herself.  She won 3rd place in the Embellished Turning Category at the Jacksonville Fair for her “Garden Girl” and has had a blast with “Birds Without Feathers” and starting to carve.

Garden Girl

Garden Girl

 

Birds Without Feathers

Birds Without Feathers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carving

Carving

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Kat and our daughter Sydney

Kat and our daughter Sydney

I have a new “Wood Buddy” Bernard. Bernard and his lovely wife Susie live close to Kat and they have become great friends.

Bernard & Susie

Bernard & Susie

Bernard hates to see a downed tree not being used so now any time someone calls or he sees a tree he either calls me up or brings me a load of wood! So far this year we have shared cherry, 2 run-ins with pear, bay, hackberry, and a ton of maple as well as some great times on the craft show circuit.

Yoda Guarding The Wet Wood Stock

Yoda Guarding The Wet Wood Stock

Together he and Susie Kat and I have done three shows and learned a lot about the shopping habits of our fellow Jacksonville fellows. We all look forward to many new adventures in the future.

Our Outdoor Booth

Our Outdoor Booth

 

Then there is Ray and Phyllis. Ray called with 2 downed maple trees so Kat and I loaded up to go pick up some. Well 4 hours later we had to leave but had a great chat and look forward to spending some more time with them.

 

People that I have come into contact with have been supportive, full of complements and incredibly generous with their orders and their time. I wish that I could mention everyone by name, but they are too numerous to mention. We sold over 100 acorn boxes during November and December alone!   And while I become so attached to all of the pieces it is good to know that they are being cherished by people who love them.

 

During December the club turned at the zoo for an event called “Zoo Lights.”

Kat turning at "Zoo Lights"

Kat turning at “Zoo Lights”

At night they open the zoo and have it lit with Christmas lights and displays and to promote the club we turn objects for the kids. Imagine the chaos that ensues with free stuff and double it and you have an idea of what it is like.   But as in most cases, just when you start getting grumpy and tired, God gives you something to be grateful for. Kat and I turned on two Saturday nights and during the first a woman asked for my card when I finished two snowmen for her daughters. When we got home I had an email waiting thanking me for my time and generosity along with a video of me turning a snowman. The second week there was a young girl who kept getting pushed back by the crowd and when she finally made it up I asked her what she would like and she replied, “anything that you would care to make for me would be wonderful” needless to say it melted my heart and when she smiled and thanked me for her snowman I thought that I was going to cry. I really wanted to do something special for her, but before I could ask she disappeared, but her kindness and smile will never go away.

 

To wrap this up, we had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, love and celebration followed by a weekend in the shop for Kat and I.

William, Kathy and me

William, Kathy and me

Christmas Eve Dinner

Christmas Eve Dinner

And in case you are curious – I got a big boy toy for Christmas – an 18” Stihl Chainsaw!

More Power!

More Power!

 

 

Oh and one last thing – Thank you Beth, for the friendship, contact, motivation and “slap me’ sessions this year – you have made it not only easier, but more fun.

I’ll leave you with a couple of my favorite pieces for this year

Pear Bowl With Burned Rim

Pear Bowl With Burned Rim, Private Collection of Peter and Laurel Grogan

 

Pear Bowl

Pear Bowl, Private Collection of Dennis and Lynn Doiron

Natural Edged Burl

Natural Edged Burl

Best Wishes,

Don

 

 

April 2nd – April 11th

It has been a whirlwind 2 weeks for me. I know I promised one week but sometimes we do the best that we can. Kat and I spent the 1st week just getting re-acquainted and working around the house. We blew the leaves off the roof; FACT leaves fall in the spring around here – I think it is more that the dead ones are pushed off more than falling, but a small price to pay for warmth.

The House

The House

The Shop

The Shop

Next we pressure washed the patio and drive then helped out our friend Mary who has just moved. We hung a ceiling fan, her patio door blinds, and some pictures. Finally we took a 3 day trip to the Suwanee River for a kayak trip with Paddle Florida. We had a blast!

Ready to Go!

Ready to Go!

A Stop at the Suwanee Head Springs to look at the river

A Stop at the Suwanee Head Springs to look at the river

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A Stop at the Suwanee Headsprings

A Stop at the Suwanee Headsprings

Selfie

Selfie

We traveled on Friday to Suwanee River State Park, where we checked in, pitched our tent, and started to meet the other 60 participants. We had a group dinner then they did a presentation on the conditions being experienced by Florida’s rivers and springs. The only problem was that I forgot to charge the battery for the air mattress so we had to sleep on the roots and rocks Friday night. It was one of those nights where you woke up and were disappointed that it wasn’t morning yet!

Putting up the tent

Putting up the tent

View from the tent

View from the tent

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Big Iron Wheel in the park

Big Iron Wheel in the park

Riverboat paddle drive

Riverboat paddle drive

Confederate fort holding 2 rivers

Confederate fort to hold 2 rivers

 

 

Around the park

Around the park

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Finally Saturday morning came and we had breakfast then were transported with our kayaks to the Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park for a 20 mile paddle back to the State Park. The river was up and it was an easy paddle filled with incredible scenery and talks with the other paddlers.

Ready to load

Ready to load

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We stopped for lunch at Gibson Park much to the dismay of an air-boat party who was trying to put in amidst 60 kayaks trying to get to lunch! He was further troubled as they came back up river and encountered all of us fed and heading for home. We made it back about 3:30 with about a 15 minute rain just before we got there that served to cool us down before we grabbed a shower and just chillaxed watching the river while the freshly charged battery added air to our sleeping mattress.

Chillaxin'

Chillaxin’

It was a bit rainy but the trees kept us dry for dinner and before the concert they had planned we decided to lay down for a minute resulting in an early evening of laying in the tent, reading and listening to the concert – nice day. Sunday we were transported to Madison Blue Springs State Park for a 13 mile paddle back. It was even nicer than the day before. We brought up the rear with the Paddle Florida rep batting cleanup for the procession. The hardest part of the paddle was the last 200 yards when we joined the Suwannee River again and had to paddle upstream against the swollen river – quite a workout. After a big send off lunch we packed up and headed back to Jacksonville. It was so nice to sleep in the tent listening to owls and birds and the drizzle after a great day of fresh air and exercise; we both slept like babies (when we finally got the mattress pumped up).

This week was filled with taxes, going through 3 months worth of mail, paperwork and getting down to moving this adventure forward. I had forgotten how long it took to do those tasks, but we persevere. I did get back to yoga and it was nice to see the group again; I had not realized how tired I was of the recordings that I had, but it did keep me injury free while at school and for that I am grateful.   I did finally make it back to the lathe on Thursday. I took time to grease up my lathe, unpack my tools and get all of my tools back in place before I began finishing up a bowl that I had started for my mother in November. It was a spalted pecan bowl about 14 inches and all was going well until I was finishing by jamb chucking the bowl to turn off the tenon. Just as I began the tenon disintegrated with just enough time to turn before the whole thing blew up. Thank God for face sheilds, protective glasses, and gloves or it would have been a trip for stitches! I guess I did learn something at school and what the heck I will just turn her another bowl.

Blown to bits

Blown to bits

Tomorrow we are going to One Spark in downtown Jacksonville. www.beonespark.com

One Spark is a five-day event for Creators. From April 9 – 13, 2014, artists, entrepreneurs and innovators will display Projects in a 20-square-block, multi-venue gallery in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. One Spark is about connecting people with great ideas to the resources they need to make them a reality. It’s the community behind great ideas. It’s your chance to submit and decide on the next big thing. It’s the opportunity to get involved, be inspired, connect and collaborate and you vote for your favorites who will split part of a $310,000 pool to fund their ideas. It is a great time. Next week I will be traveling to Louisville to see my Mom and catching up with the grand kids and my family and I am really looking forward to the trip. So until next week have a great weekend and HAVE FUN!

Don