Monday, December 24, 2012

favorite Christmas cartoons

Well the other day I made a list of my favorite movies and today’s list is cartoons but not the obvious ones. These cartoons are some that have a Christmas spirit to them. Cartoons can be fun and still convey the heart of the season, can’t they? I think they can, hopefully this something we can all learn. Let's keep the true meaning of Christmas and still allow a little fun in our holiday. Can’t we worship Christ and still enjoy the stories of Santa and Rudolph? I think we can, hopefully someone out there agrees with me. So on to the list, I have not included the obvious ones that everybody knows, “Charlie Brown Christmas” or “Santa Clause is coming to Town”. This list is of cartoons that our family has found throughout the years. Some more known than others, in no particular order.
  • The Very First Noel
  • Buster and Chauncey’s Silent Night
  • Tom and Jerry A Nutcracker Tale
  • Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol
  • Flintstones Christmas Carol
  • Mickey’s Once upon a Christmas
  • Walt Disney’s Classic Holiday Stories
  • (hard to find) Peace on Earth Christmas classic cartoon from MGM 1939
  • A Muppet Christmas Carol

I know the holiday season is almost over and it seems silly to make this list now but it has been a busy holiday for our DVD player since the networks aren't playing much on the tube holiday-wise. Today is Christmas Eve and tomorrow is Christmas, but that doesn't mean it is over. For most families with kids there is still a week of vacation to enjoy. At some point in the next week the TV will surely be turned on. At my house we don’t shut down the day after Christmas, we keep the holiday festivities going up until the last day possible, and why not, it’s Christmas. So,

From our family to yours

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Favorite Christmas Movies

Well it is here Christmas once again. It seems to have gotten here so fast this year that many have not taken the time to enjoy the season itself. I hope everyone has a moment or two to stop and enjoy the holiday for soon it will be over and a new year will begin.
As some may know I am a big movie buff, and the movies from the 40’s are my favorites, black and white movies don’t bother me at all. I thought I would take a moment and name a few of my favorite holiday movies, some you will know and maybe some will be new to your list. All the movies listed will be from my oldies collection, so here we go and not in any particular order.
  •          The Shop Around the Corner
  •          The Man Who Came to Dinner
  •          It’s a Wonderful Life
  •          Miracle on 34th Street (1947 version)
  •          Meet John Doe
  •          Holiday Inn (first time for Bing Crosby to sing White Christmas)
  •          White Christmas
  •          Going My Way
  •          Christmas in Connecticut
  •          The Bishops Wife
  •     A Christmas Carol (Alastair Sim 1951)

Many of these you can find on TCM and some you can get through Amazon and other outlets. These are some of the warmest and funniest movies of the holiday. Like many, I need a distraction from today’s definition of what Christmas has become. Maybe it is the artist in me but these movies help me refocus my head and heart during the Holiday and help to remind me of what Christmas can and should be to all of us.

 Merry Christmas 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I sold a carving, you will never guess where

First let me say Happy Thanksgiving to all, this is the part of the year I love the most. This is a time of thanksgivings and blessings. I hope everyone has time to reflect on these before the mad rush of the holidays begins. 
On a carving note I am thankful for the progress I see with my carvings, but more importantly for the new and old friends I have been given through the carving community. Also for the mentor and teacher, both who have influenced my work.
Have you noticed how funny life can be? Sometimes it is funny odd and sometimes it is funny ha-ha. Well this was a funny ha-ha moment. With Christmas closely approaching we have begun to realize as we look at the new list of gift suggestions from our boys, how many things we have that are not needed and taking up space. For instance in my garage I had a full size Shopsmith and a Shopsmith mini body holding my scroll saw. Did I mention we have a one car garage. So I decided that the large Shopsmith must go, make some needed room in the garage and it wouldn't hurt to have some extra cash for the holidays either. We also have some items in the house like a box of r/c cars that we got from a yard sale that the boys no longer play with and an 8 mm projector that won’t work with our movies, they are super 8, isn't that just super. So I decided to post a few items on craigslist and see if we can make some space. To my surprise, we not only sold the Shopsmith but also the r/c cars. The funny ha-ha moment of the story was folks saw that I had some wood working items in the garage and the conversation would turn to what type of stuff I did wood working wise. Following both inquiries and showing a carving or two (I am shy that way) they purchased an ornament. The first gentleman didn't even buy the Shopsmith, just an ornament. This ironically after I sat up at a craft show at my boys school and sold nothing. Barely got glances from the people eating chili, you see it was a chili cook-off and craft show, mostly chili cook-off. So the message to take from this story, post things on craigslist and have a display of my carvings in the garage for when people come by to see the item. Even if they don’t buy the thing posted online maybe they will pick up an ornament or two. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

one more piece to the puzzle

Well I have added one more piece to the carving puzzle. Yesterday I picked up a Delta 9" band saw, used but in good enough shape to get the job done. Of course there are some minor parts that had to be ordered to get it put back together. I ordered the parts yesterday and including shipping and one or two additional accessory that is needed I will have paid more for parts than I did for the machine itself. The person I bought it from had no use for it and made it worth my taking a chance with buying it not knowing what the cost to repair would be.

On a side and more serious note the woman that had this for sale, her name is Barbara and she has lost her husband to cancer. It was his machine and she wanted it to go to someone who would use it. He was a wood carver, he was someones husband and I believe someones father. So everyone who reads my little insignificant blog, today it has a purpose. Please lift up Barbara and her family for comfort and peace this holiday season.

While we are on our knees, can we remember all those who faithfully serve to protect this country that we so dearly love. Many will be away from home this holiday season and many in harms way. Almost all of them volunteered to protect and serve. There was One other who served on our behalf, He came willing to take our place, to redeem a lost world. His humble beginnings, born in a stable, let us remember Him this holiday season. To both of you who read my blog have a Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Well this weekend was a busy weekend. I got to the point where my garage had gotten way to small and it was time to make a move and so I did. My Shopsmith system with all it gadgets are now gone. I am a wood carver and even though it was a great system it was more then I will ever use. I also found that the band saw for the Shopsmith, which was my main interest in the system, was anything but efficient and accurate for cutting rough cuts. So I posted it on Craigslist Friday evening at an extremely reasonable price and by Sunday afternoon early it was gone. I still have my Shopsmith mini and that is not going any where.

A little side note, if you have something for sale you need to ask yourself some basic questions. What do I have in it, how bad to I want it out of my house and how fast do I want it gone. Too many people have unrealistic ideas on either how much something is worth or how fast something should sell. If you want big money for something you might have to sit on it for awhile and if you want to get it gone you can put a fair and reasonable price without giving it away. I sold my Shopsmith for more than I paid for it but could have gotten more but wanted it gone, Christmas is coming and I wanted a cushion.

Also this weekend one of the gentlemen who showed interest in my Shopsmith had some wood gouges that he ended up selling to me, yeah I had something for sale and I ended up buying or should I say trading instead. I had a second Shopsmith band saw and I traded it for twelve Swiss made gouges, hooray. And a great reminder why I am happy to be earning my way into the carving community, my mentor down in SC Mark Akers (my mentor extraordinaire) offered his help in restoring my tools if I needed it. Shortly after that a carving buddy and carving teacher up in Williamsburg, Bob Soderholm invited me up not to carve this time but to sharpen some tools, twelve to be exact.  I have to give a big thank you to the both of them for offering their help once again.

 My experience is this, I have done graphics in the past and now am back to carving and I can without any hesitation say that the carving community is the most welcoming and helpful group of guys and gals that you would ever want to associate with, and recruiting members daily. There is always room for one more carver at the table.
So as you see this was a busy but wonderful past few days. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dapper Dan the snowman color

So here he is with color, orange nose and a burgundy-ish pipe. I was happy with the look of the hat band and that top hat itself. I tried to not give it a completely even covering to make it look like an older hat. I haven't added eyes or the buttons and not sure if I will. Some have said it looks good like it is some have said he at least needs the buttons for the shirt. Not sure which I prefer so for now will leave it just like it is. I think the next snowman I try will be to carve the snowman cartoon sledding down the hill. I think if done right this one could come out really cool.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dapper Dan the snowman

If anyone has looked at the “Dapper Dan” link you would have seen my snowmen cartoons. Yes I do like snowmen, winter and of course Christmas. This previous spring I played around with the wood lathe and while learning this new craft I made a snowman. This was a turning point for me because even though I was happy with the snowman I wasn't happy with how stiff he looked. This made me realize that even though wood turning was enjoyable, carving was a greater passion for me and this would plunge me back into carving and to where I am today. So recently I decided to carve this snowman some essentials that all snowmen need. I carved him a carrot nose and a pipe. In all my cartoons that one that have pipes don’t have corncob pipes but instead a traditional pipe, one that a child would borrow from his father to give to a needy snowman.

So here is the unpainted version of Dapper Dan the snowman, eat your heart out frosty.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Santa bust, maybe

Yeah maybe a bust, I added color to the Santa bust and bricks at the base. I am thinking too much color, or should I say too strong a color. I didn't obey one of the rules of carving I have been taught, paint the color on a spare piece of wood first to test it. The red of the bust is too strong for my taste and gives it a cartoony effect that based on the title of the blog you would think I would like, yeah, no. I have found that a thinner color best suits my taste for the overall look of a carving, so this one in some ways is a bust. You be the judge, and if I am right, “don’t tell me I don’t want to know”. Good grief Charlie Brown. 

My son had an idea I might try, to put chimney smudges on Santa, make it look like he has been busy.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Santa bust

My latest is a Santa bust from Mark Akers collection. I have carved a few of his and though I like this one it is probably not my favorite. Not because of the rough out itself but because, from time to time, the knife or should I say the holder of the knife makes a slight mistake and it impacts the carving. Somehow I nicked the nose flare and had to re-adjust the nose on this one. Even though it ended up looking OK  I still see how the nose just isn't the way I wanted it. I feel like with this one I have made some strides in my carving of the beard. This one seems to flow better, although back when I had a beard mine never flowed, maybe I didn't grow it out long enough. Overall I like the design of this one and am happy with the result. So here it is and of course color will proceed shortly.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

bottle topper gets color

Well here it is, bottle topper with color. I still need to put a finish on it but I can at least show it now that the paint has been added.

 I haven't decided whether to paint the beard or not. I have painted some beards on my ornaments and I have left some natural. I like them either way, I wonder, since he is an elf should he have a white beard if I do paint it. What color should it be if not white?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

rough out carving, bottle topper

Well I wanted to make a bottle stopper but instead made one of Mark's bottle toppers. I thought this would work better for most bottles but not sure, I don't drink wine. I was happy over all with the carving and really enjoyed playing with the design of the cap. I am not sure if I exaggerated the fold of the cap to much but I thought it gave it a nice flow. I should have spent more time on the ears and cleaned them up better, but you get the idea that they are ears so let's move on.

I still need to refine my beard carving, I don't get the flow that many do, so there is more room for improvement. It's not like that is a bad thing. Overall I am happy with the carving, wait til you see it in color.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

color added to both

Well two more have been painted and awaiting finish coat. I have been experimenting with a thinned out paint application compared to my earlier works and have been happy with the results. It almost seems to be too faint in color but once the finish is applied all colors darken slightly. This does help with the wood grain still being slightly visible even after the paint and finish are applied. So here they are awaiting a finish to complete the carving.

Friday, October 12, 2012

latest carving

Another ornament but this like the last one is carved out of a 2" corner cut with very little rough out prep. Mostly cut out the outer shape of the ornament just to get it started. This one was a bit thinner due to the band saw issue previously mentioned, which in the long run I liked how it made the carving come out. There were some issues on this that I wasn't happy with but just means room for improvement.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

latest ornament

Well just finished the main carving of a Santa ornament. This one is just a basic corner cut carving from a 2” block. Tried to set up a holder for my band saw to get a straight cut but first attempts didn’t go well. I will get out the Shopsmith manual for the band saw and see how I can make it cut better. Until I get it figured out I will continue to cut the blocks free hand. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bass-ics Santa with paint

Well I got time in for painting the other day and am happy with the results. I watered down the color even more than normal and am very happy with the results. Like the civil war bust I tried to apply the paint so that the grain will still show through. With the cap I painted the color one time and never went back to make it even out. Overall I am very happy with the results and am ready to carve another.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Red Skelton presenting the Pledge of Allegiance

 No carvings today, instead I wondered if you have you ever heard this before? Well I have and to this day it touches my heart and reminds me why I love this country, and I do, unashamedly. I guess I am an old heart because I have always loved the movies and music from the 40’s. I loved the comedies and the musicals of that time. My favorites ranged from John Wayne, Cary Grant, Kathrine Hepburn and of course Jimmy Stewart. I could go on and on here so I won't. When it comes to comedies I am a big fan Danny Kaye and of course, Red Skelton. For those who love this great land of ours, this is a treat. So without further ado, may I present;

Monday, October 1, 2012

back to the bass-ics

Well I got back to the bass-ics for my latest carving, back to bass wood. This was a rough out of Mark Akers and to be honest I struggle with rough-outs not sure if it is there seems to be too much detail starting out or that I feel limited in what I am getting ready to carve. But I am fairly pleased with this one and am anxious to get some color added. Not un-happy with the beard but not totally happy either, sometimes my beards seem stiff and hard. I think there is still room for improvement in this area of my carvings, but overall happy with it so far.  

Sunday, September 30, 2012

wood spirit hair

Well I had most of my family saying I needed to do something with the upper portion of the wood spirit so I did. I have to admit it does look complete now, so hope you enjoy. If you don't, "don't tell me I don't want to know".

Famous quote from what show and who said it?

There were some issues with this but if you didn't catch them by now, I'm not going to be the one to point them out.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

cottonwood bark

Well I have been learning new things as of late and the newest is carving on cottonwood bark. This is a soft wood and has a strong grain to it so you need to be mindful of this when carving. With this wood it seems like you can peel off layers fairly easy and it does chip easy at least from my experience last night. I have an local carving mentor up in Williamsburg, Bob Soderholm, who has taken on the task sharing his carving knowledge with me and helping me to refine my carving skills. It is his fault that I am carving in cottonwood.

Yesterday during the day we got together and worked on a wood spirit. He used the Mark Gargac video to teach from then he would follow up with additional information while we proceeded to carve the piece. We are probably half way through maybe so I bought another piece of cottonwood from him with the idea that I might carve some over the weekend. Well even though low on sleep from the night before due to our youngest dog who sleeps on our bed and doesn't share space well at times, I decided while still somewhat fresh in my head I would try my hand at what I had learned. Here is a few pics of what I got done so far, might still come in and do some clean up, possibly carve in some detail for hair.

The verdict is still out on the cottonwood. I will share more as I move forward with this and see how the final piece from class comes out.