Wednesday Working – Scroll Saw Train

I have been working on my quilting project, but nothing worth taking a picture. I have finished cutting a scroll saw project. This one was started last year and I’ve just not had the time to work on it, but now with winter taking away yard work and my brother doing better I got a good block of time to finish this:

This is a pattern I saw online. It’s a 11×8.5 inches. The project is cut out of 1/4 junk plywood I had and this was stack cut so I got two pictures for one set of cuts. The next step is to frame these and put a backer panel on it. Then it will be ready for a gift or hanging on my wall.

That’s it for this week. Next week I should have some progress on my table runner so until then, if you need me, I’ll be in the shed vacuuming up the dust.

Posted in woodworking | Tagged , , | 30 Comments

Explorer, A Poem

I don’t post much poetry here, but when asked what I do, I generally say that I’m a poet. I’m also a woodworker, writer and quilter. You’re more likely to see my other creative outlets here, but mostly I feel like a poet. One reason I don’t publish much of my poetry here is that I do submit my poems out to journals from time to time (no one publishes my poems, but sometimes I send them out) and most journals consider poems posted to a blog as “previously published,” and won’t look at poems I’ve posted here.

This fall I’ve been taken another workshop on ekphrastic poetry. It’s a twelve week class and I’ve been busy writing a lot of poetry. Basically it’s writing a poem a week and then doing a workshop on all the poems written that week by the class. It’s great feedback and I’ve been learning a lot. As a reminder, ekphrastic poetry is where we start with a piece of art and then write a poem in response.

The poem I want to share this week is based on a 1933 black and white photo of Ernest Gutman taken by Alfred Stieglitz. We do a bit of research into the artist and the media used for the art. Then it is up to the poet to re-interpret the art in a poem. Here’s the photo I was given to work with:

And here is the poem I submitted:


Andrew Reynolds
after “Ernest Gutman 1933” by Alfred Stieglitz

Face of an arctic explorer,
looking past the camera,
into a distant snowy sky,
for a hint of rock outcropping to cling to.

Body shrouded in white walls
with the shade pulled down to shut out the light.
Grey face held between light and dark - 
between bursting suns and fading night.

Eyes exploring the photographer
looking for that perfect angle
to set into wax
that metaphor looking at him.

Wax to create an empty space
where brass can flow.
Metaphor to feel
how to move from enigma
to sheltering rock.

This is considered “draft” quality and the next step is for me to edited and rewrite based on the comments I received in the workshop. This one didn’t generate many suggestions from the other poets, but there are one or two things I plan to change. Sometimes refining a poem comes down to removing a comma or changing a line break – not exactly the same kind of editing you’d do in prose – small details count as big ideas here as a poet is trying to say the most with the least words.

So let me know what you think and what changes you’d make to this poem.


Posted in Poems | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Friday Wisdom – Military

Today is Veteran’s Day and we remember all who served in our armed forces. My father served in WWII as an army radar operator and maintenance specialist with the Coastal Artillery Corps in the Aleutian Islands. There wasn’t much action there and mostly his posts operated long range bombers that were attacking northern Japan. Now there was one night that they thought they were tracking an enemy ship just off the coast, but when the sun came up it turned out to just be a big rock in the harbor.

My brother served in the California Army National Guard for 26 years. He was only called up for service once during his service and that was for the 1991 LA riots. This really bothered me when I heard. You see, my bother was a mortarman and I was wondering how bad things must be down there if you need a mortar platoon for a riot.

Me, I never serve. When I was 18, I considered it. My father told me that I’d make a horrible solider and if Uncle Sam needed me, he’d call. Uncle Sam never called. Which is likely a good thing since my friends voted me, “Most likely to drop a live grenade in my own foxhole.”

But that hasn’t stopped me from being a supporter of our veterans, a student of military history and a collector of military wisdom so here’s what I know about our men and women who serve:

What is the soldier’s least favorite month? March.

ARMY is actually an acronym. It stands for: A Recruiter Misled You.

The Navy recruiter told me that I needed at least seven C’s in High School to join.

The new private was told to take cover, so he stole a blanket.

Each service uses stars differently: The Army sleeps under the stars, the Navy navigates by the starts, the Air Force chooses hotels by the star.

You heard about the karate master who joined the Army? First time he saluted, he nearly chopped his own head off.

Why don’t the Marines accept Twitter users into their ranks? They’re too quick to retweet.

Where do Generals keep their armies? In their sleevies.

What happened when the Airman walked into an enemy bar? He got bombed.

A drill sergeant yells at a trainee, “I didn’t see you at camouflage training this morning!” The trainee replies, “Thank you very much sergeant!”

Note to all mess officers, “Coffee tastes better if the latrines are downstream from the encampment.”

What’s the difference between a carrier pilot and God? God doesn’t think he’s a carrier pilot.

Second law of military aircraft: The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.

How do you know when an Air Force pilot shows up at your party? Don’t worry, he’ll let you as soon as he walks in.

They’re teaching rabbits to fly. Yeah, they want a new hare force.

What do they call a 2nd lieutenant surrounded by PFCs? Lost.

Army is actually an acronym. It stands for: Airforce Rejected Me Yesterday.

The Marines’ main mission is to make sure the Army never gets it’s feet wet.

My friend try to join the Marines, but didn’t pass the tests so they put him in the Navy. Turns out he’s sub-marine.

Why don’t sailors play cards? Because the Captain is always standing on the deck.

If you lose your rifle in the Army, they charge you $800. That’s why Captains go down with their ships.

A Navy recruiter asked the high school student if she can swim. She says, “Why? I though you had boats?”

My friend was in the Army and I asked him what his rank was. He wouldn’t say. Told me it was private.

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Wednesday Working – Snow and Moving Indoors

It’s transition time. We’ve had our first snow here in the high desert which officially closes the outdoor working season. Of course there is a long list of things I wanted to do, but didn’t have time for that. All of that will now have to wait for spring. Now, I’ll be moving on to my indoor projects. First on the list is this quilting project:

This is a table runner pattern I bought at a local quilt shop. This one uses a curvy log cabin pattern for the four big dots. I’ve completed one of the 16 small squares for this. You’ll note that some of the strips are narrow and others wide – that’s how the curve effect is done. This one is going to take some time to do. I’m still a beginner at the sewing machine and this pattern is complicated for my skill level.

And here is why I’m mostly inside:

It’s not a lot of snow, but it is cold.

Next week I hope to get into my shed workshop and finish up a scroll saw project and start on a marquetry project.

That’s if for this week – if you need me, I’ll be in the sewing room.

Posted in General | Tagged , , | 32 Comments