Friday Wisdom – College

“Don’t let college interfere with your education.”

My father would said this to any person he met who was either attending college or thinking of enrolling.  The simple sentence was normally followed with a ten minute to two-hour lecture on the difference between getting a degree and getting an education.  The length of the lecture depending on the politeness and tolerance of his victim audience.

I won’t subject you to that lecture today.  I’ll save it for one of my Sunday essays.

More wisdom next week,

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Wednesday Woodworking – Louis Cubes, Parquetry or Marquetry?

Last weekend was the quarterly marquetry workshop and this month we’re building a box with parquetry on the top using the famous Louis cube design.  The name comes from France and the reign of Louis XIV because the pattern was very popular during that time.  The pattern is sometimes called, “tumbling cubes.”  Most of us who try to make the pattern call it a pain in the rear as you need to be very precise or you’ll mess up the whole thing.

Technically the Louis cube pattern is parquetry and not marquetry, even though you use the same materials and tools.  The difference is the kind of pattern.  Parquetry uses geometric designs.  Louis cubes, chess boards, herringbone, parquet, and other patterns based on geometric repetition are considered parquetry.

Marquetry is more free form and includes general artwork like still life, landscape, portraiture and even abstract designs.  Think of marquetry as “painting with wood.”  Marquetry is generally done with veneers while parquetry can sometimes be done with solid woods, often in flooring.  Herringbone and other geometric patterns such as parquet flooring is considered a form of parquetry.

So, I won’t mind if you call my parquetry “marquetry,” but if you call my marquetry parquetry I’ll have very strong words for you and we’ll have to repeat this whole lecture again.

Louis cubes is also a popular quilting pattern.  I’ve seen a number of well done quilts with this pattern.  Done well, the effect is stunning.  It’s also a great pattern to hone your  precision cutting and sewing skills as all the little diamond shapes need to be exactly the same size.  One very small mistake can throw the whole pattern off and ruin the effect.

Now for the pictures of the work in progress.  The box is done except for some sanding and I am about halfway through doing the parquetry.  I have all the little cubes cut and am now assembling them.

The cubes being assembled. I cut about 120 diamonds.

The cubes being assembled. I cut about 120 diamonds.

The little marks are chalk to tell me which is the right side up on the veneer.  Yup, veneer has a right side and a wrong side, just like fabric (please note the not so subtle comparison between marquetry and quilting) .  The knife is a surgical scalpel with a #11 blade.



Basic cherry box that will get the parquetry.

Basic cherry box that will get the parquetry.

The box is 10 inches long, 4 wide about and about 2 1/2 deep.

Instructor's sample. This is what it should look like.

Instructor’s sample. This is what it should look like.

Well that’s it for this week.  I hope to get some time over the weekend to finish this.

If you need me – I’ll be in the shop

Posted in Marquetry, wood working | Tagged , , , | 33 Comments

Routine Shift

“Variety is the spice of life, but routine is the essence of life.”

This is a quote from Joe, a recovering alcoholic I knew in my teen years.  He was an interesting man and I learned much about life from him.  It’s come to my mind today because my daily routine is shifting.  Despite my objections, I now have to spend a little more time caring for my body.  Each day I gain a new appreciation for the old adage, “If you have your health, you have everything.”

Oh, I could fill this whole post with little one-liners and seem very wise.  It’s not how I feel.  Honestly, I feel a bit frustrated about it today.  There are so many things I’d like to do with such limited time.  And now with a new medical diagnosis, I have to shift my routine again.  I don’t want it to, but it does change the essence of who I am and adds to an ever-growing list of small concerns.

The routine that has changed now is bed time.  There is putting the cats in their room, turning out lights, checking doors, brushing teeth, PJs, pillows, and a bit of reading.  Now, I add CPAP, check the machine, strap on the mask and put my head down without tangling myself in the hose.  Millions of people do it each night, but it’s annoying to have that one more thing to do.

Mornings have changed too, as before I even swing my legs out of bed there is a hose, a mask and a machine to deal with.

My mind rebels with the thought, “Not the life I want.” It’s similar to the thought I had when the doctor called to tell me I had cancer, “Not the journey I want to take.”

How often in life are we forced down a path we don’t chose?

Still, in everything there is some good.  After the mask comes off, I have more energy than I had before.  There’s been no more foot pain since starting with my new footwear.


Shower, shave, dress.  Clean the litter boxes and vacuum the carpet.  Go to the workshop for a little creative time. Make a cup of tea and sit at the keyboard and write.

Such are the routines I’ve done today.  Soon I’ll have to add six month checkups at the sleep clinic to the list of routine health care that includes the dentist, blood tests and my semiannual reminder that I had radiation treatments.

So the question in my mind tonight is, “How to maintain creativity as a part of my routine?”  As part of my life, as part of my essence?

I have no answers tonight.  All I do know is that it’s Sunday and time to write and that is the routine I choose, the essence I wish to have at my core.

Till next week,

Posted in General, Health, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 34 Comments

Friday Wisdom – Quitting

If winners never quit and quitters never win, what fool came up with, “quit while you’re ahead.”

More wisdom next week,

Posted in General | Tagged , | 26 Comments