The Last Christmas Cookie

dscn2566snowmanOur daughter Ann lives in Florida and works in Alabama. Ann is a remarkable person in so many respects – and one specialty is baking. She has baked the most astounding Christmas Cookies since she was a little girl. I admired her creativity when she was a child, and more so now. Ann bakes the most wonderful cookies at Christmas time – the decorations and artwork on them are breathtaking. Pictured here is the Last Christmas Cookie for 2016. We saved it until today to relish the fantastic taste. The colors are slightly runny form storage in plastic wrap, but the impact on our memory at how wonderful and warm and Loving they are…. Thanks, Ann, for making our Christmas 2016 most very special!

Love, Da Da & Momma Cat

Appropriate Greeting, New Energy, and a Blue Christmas

img_0001Well, I am surprised all of the time. Many times customers send me a card with their payment for looms and tools. Today Jessica Ostrow – Weaving Rainbow – in Sunset, Texas sent me one of her personal creations. Just look at this card! Such thought and design is so appropriate for the looms she purchased from me! I hope that she’s smiling now to see her card in my blog…….  Don’t you agree with me that Jessica’s card is neat, or what!
New Energy in my shop complex. James and I are producing at a rather blistering pace. He is such an efficient worker and as creative as myself. We are not “ahead” quite yet, but getting there. Today we moved several pieces of equipment into the new addition. James spent quite some time cleaning the main shop – and now I can walk thru and around inside and not have to step over anything… More improvements will be made including some rearrangement. Removal of equipment helped a lot, now little things like moving the Powermatic band saw and large sander will make it much more production oriented. James’ ideas are really good and I appreciate his efforts more every day. He actually designed most of the equipment placement in the addition, too. Yesterday we built a rack to store and use my very old component stereo system. I’ll mount the Very Large speakers high in that room – then just listen to the 200 watt amplifier send ZZ Top with vigor……. I can hardly wait…. James moved and stacked two pallets of wood pellets this morning – in 25 minutes! He is such a powerful and efficient worker. And, his touch with a mini lathe is delicate, too…
Christmas approaches, Cat and I will enjoy the day with a dear friend, Ruth, in Albuquerque. We just don’t do a big thing on this special day unless we have friends or family with us. I wish every person reading this the most enjoyable Christmas and holiday ever…. Who knows what we all will really face next year. I hope we all survive.  This is “my year” for our tree.  One year it’s all the colors of decorations.  The next year it’s blue lights and most decorations are blue.  It’s a Blue Christmas….

Merry and Happy Everything!
Jim

The First One!

first-oneLorainne, a customer of mine, sent me this photo of her very first attempt at weaving! I’m not a weaver, but it seems that this is quite an accomplishment – the technique and style are not especially representative of most first-timers. I hope that she continues her craft and finds great enjoyment with my little looms, perhaps even growing into a large floor loom!
Jim

My Tongue was on the Ground – the Cavalry Comes!

I contracted to enclose the covered pad in front of my shop. Conclusion will greatly expand the work space in my wood shop – and I will no longer be so crowded. This is the first time here that I’ve not done construction that I could have done. I’m too busy, and just did not feel quite as physically capable now. All that remains is installation of the custom garage doors. In order to save time, I left yesterday morning before 5 to pick up the doors at Home Depot in Los Lunas as my builder is finishing an addition in Pie Town. The previous evening I had hooked up my 10′ trailer.
As I entered I-25 from Socorro headed North towards Los Lunas approaching 75 mph I felt sudden jerks and bumps unfamiliar to me. I looked in the mirror and saw the trailer moving in an unfamiliar manner. It seemed that perhaps I had lost a tandem wheel so I slowed, preparing for a stop as I should do in such a situation. The action continued. After stopping I went to the rear and horrified to discover that the trailer had disconnected from the hitch and was stuck under the hitch on the truck! The tongue of the trailer was on the ground! I had obviously neglected to secure the coupler lock onto the trailer hitch ball on the truck, and when I went over a rough bridge joint, the trailer jumped off of the hitch. Thank goodness that I very securely connected the extra heavy duty safety chains. I had changed what came on the trailer for even more heavy duty chains after purchasing the trailer.

I attempted to gain the attention of passing drivers for assistance to release the trailer from the truck hitch and reattach to the ball, but no one seemed to even look or slow. So, I worked and worked and finally got it to release. Then, how to lift the tongue of the rather heavy tongue and maneuver it forward to the hitch, lift it high enough, and over the ball. I had to pull it about 24″ and over about 18″, dealing with tandem wheels on a 10′ trailer. It was severely challenging with both my shoulders still recovering from major rotator cuff surgical repairs. I had not exerted myself to that level in decades, but felt that I had no other choice. I strained muscles in my left arm and left leg. I’ll recover, and the discomfort in especially my back will eventually fade. The loss of layers of skin on my right ankle will grow back in time. But the injury to my pride will leave scars. I’m smarter than this. Or, so I thought. I will not make this mistake again. One “helper” that will always travel with me in this truck, trailer attached or not, will be an aluminum jack I had purchased to carry in the enclosed show trailer I had when I did shows……..
I did get the doors that will be installed Saturday by Simon. Pat will do the electrical and lighting Tuesday. I begin to move in Wednesday.
After Thanksgiving the Cavalry comes! My son James comes for a two month “Trial”. I KNOW that he’ll return permanently. He is ten times the woodworker that I am. Just wait and see what happens to Hokett Would Work! Among dozens of things, who’d like to see the return of Hokett Drop Spindles????????????????? YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jim is a Very Happy man!

Carolien Loom Stands AVAILABLE NOW!

dscn2508dscn2509Please look at my post of September 25, 2016 titled “Carolien Hand Loom Stands” for background on this subject. Carolien is such a marvelous young lady from Belgium who has been such an inspiration to me in many ways. She has been to others as well. And, recently she sent Cat and me a box of genuine Belgian Chocolates! Ah, but the brand new tastes we experienced – firsts for both of us. Such delicacies we’ve grown to appreciate so much having rationed so carefully. Now, we just look at that empty box on the mantle….

Today the stands are finally available. They would have been sooner, but frantic orders for so many things, looms especially, have taken so much of my time. Full mornings and more have been spent just packing overnight orders daily for some time now. I’ve worked late every day, missed riding our bikes so much, missed rides in our car, and so much else. Cat has been such help as always.

Here are the details:

TABLE TOP: Base of various exotic woods about 1” thick and from about 10” square to about 12” square. Square steel tubing vertical supports that extend from 14” to about 20” high. The loom is secured by a “C” clamp. The loom could be placed higher or lower in the clamp as individuals might prefer. Intended for use to weave with any of my hand looms. $85 plus shipping and tax if in New Mexico.

FLOOR MODEL: Base of various exotic woods about 2 ” thick and from about 10” square to about 12” square. Square steel tubing vertical supports that extend from 32” to about 50” high. The loom is secured by a “C” clamp. The loom could be placed higher or lower in the clamp as individuals might prefer. Intended for use to weave with any of my looms. $110 plus shipping and tax if in New Mexico.

Once the initial (very large) run of the table top stands is sold out, orders will be filled in the order received for the next runs produced. Please remember that I’m a one-person shop that is very busy with very many things. The looms are remarkably popular, too.

For orders email me at: would.work@yahoo.com. Include your mailing address please. If you would like my price list, just ask. I’ll ship in the order requests are received. Thanks a bunch, and thank you for being patient. I continue to work as hard as I possibly can to support each and every one of my very faithful customers. Sometimes it seems that for every good step forward I slide back several at times……  But, I’m hard at it every day.  Happy November, everyone!

Jim

Stands, Shots, and Cocobolo

Well, Finally all of the Carolien Stand bases are DONE. Tomorrow morning I cut all the steel for the risers to length. I’d normally go ahead and start sanding the burrs, but we’ll be heading to Albuquerque. Why? Well, I have another torture session with the eye doc to shoot me again in my right eye for MD. I’d love to either hear that it’s cured and no more shots, OR – it;’s just not going to work, quit the shots, and you’re going to lose the eye. EITHER would tickle me, for these injections are horrible torture for me. With that in mind, I’m seriously considering just giving up and withdrawing from any more, regardless. There are levels of tolerance for everyone…..
The stands. I have bases in a great variety of woods including Bloodwood, Jatoba, Bubinga, Sapele, Wenge, Padauk, Purpleheart, and more. I have the clamps ready, and the rest of the hardware. My welding equipment is set up, shipping boxes prepared, and I’m so anxious to announcing that I’m ready. Just a few more days – now, hopefully by Friday!
COCOBOLO! I’ve made a deal for a dealers full personal stock of old Cocobolo! That’s my favorite wood on God’s Earth! It’s quite remarkable examples long unavailable and now exceptionally difficult to find, and quite expensive when you can find some. This much is quite an investment, but oh so worth it. I’ll be doing very special runs of the little looms, especially. Very special notion boxes will be included as well. I still have two world class boards of Cocobolo I’ve been saving for years – each about 1″ x 4″ x 36″ and very swirly curly burly and the most remarkable combinations of colors on earth…… These two boards have not yet told me what they want to be. I’ve been listening, not so patiently as I’m quite anxious….. With this new huge batch, about a hundred board feet, the two exceptional boards will be safe for a few more years, perhaps….
Next post will be the Carolien Stands!
Jim

LOOM STANDS STARTED! SHOP EXPANDING!

Late yesterday I started the first run of the Carolien Loom Stands! I’m wonderfully excited by this – she was so inspirational to help me design this wonderful tool. I have all of the parts and pieces – and I’m going to town. MANY bases are cut to size and today I begin the shaping. Perhaps the steel will get cut to length this afternoon. I expect to have photos and prices by the end of next week. To those more than 50 who have firm orders, not even knowing the price nor seeing a photo, everyone is going to be so pleased, I promise! Carolien loves hers, and you will too.
On another note of great joy, construction begins this morning on enclosing the pad in front of my shop. I’ll now have about 15′ x 35′ more shop space! There will be two roll up doors – 10′ and 6′ so that I’ll still have a sense of working outside. Simon is doing the work. Pat will be adding more electrical and lighting. Cat and I will paint the interior white for better light. After it’s all complete, I’ll move several pieces of equipment out there so that the woodshop will not be so crowded, along with the existing dust collector. Then, a new much more powerful dust collector will be added to the main shop. Me being even more efficient? Is that even possible? Yep!
This is a fantastic day! Joy to the World!
Jim