Now that our bathroom renovation is nearly complete we are settling in and hashing out the small details. Spare towels and washcloths were stored in a large wicker basket on the floor in the previous iteration of the bathroom. The basket has taken a beating over time and it doesn’t necessarily match the new décor therefore Amy requested a new towel caddy.
Several designs were drafted by Amy before she submitted the final plans for the “towel caddy / scale garage”. Amy indicated in the verbal brief included with the delivery of the design the final project will be painted white. For this reason the variety of wood is unimportant. Initially I was going to use MDF but changed my mind because I don’t believe it will tolerate the periods of high humidity in the bathroom.
In the end I used half inch thick cabinet grade plywood and capped the exposed ends with solid pine. I was going to use oak because it’s durable, but the wood grain of oak reveals through paint. Biscuit joints were utilized to reinforce areas potentially weakened by overstuffing towels into a small space. I added holes for handles to the design to make the caddy easier to move around. The build is complete and is waiting for a few coats of paint.
A few years ago the Chismar family decided to stop purchasing Christmas gifts for one another. Instead, our family began to create unique crafts to exchange as gifts. The crafts include baked treats, wall clocks, rosaries, placemats and many other imaginative items. The craft exchange is always a hit with much excitement surrounding the reveal of each invention.
A few years ago my father decided to make everyone a puffin bird whirligig, replicating a whirligig he purchased on vacation in Alaska several years prior. The bodies of the puffins were carefully cut out and painted by my father’s hand. The wooden dowel used as the axle for the propeller wings were also cut, painted and inserted into the body. Unfortunately the propeller wings could not be completed in time for the holiday, so the project was packed up and stored in the garage.
About a year ago the box of puffin bodies was passed on to me, where it was stored in my workshop. This year I decided to add wings to my father’s puffin whirligigs. The original wings were plastic and attached to a dowel hub. Preferring wooden parts over plastic parts I created mini hubs and propellers from poplar scraps around the workshop. I spray painted the propeller assembly black and attached each to the axle dowel with a brass screw. It is my hope that we will enjoy our puffins for years to come.
Nothing says Christmas more than a tale about a little girl surrendering to hypothermia, alone on the street, afraid her father will beat her if she returned home. The Little Match Girl is a holiday tale penned by Hans Christian Andersen. The story is about a young girl forced out to the cold winter streets by her abusive father to sell matches to pedestrians about town.
Unsuccessful at her task and frightened to return home she huddles near a niche for warmth. To pass time and keep warm she begins striking matches. With each match strike the girl experiences wonderful holiday visions of food, fun and family. A shooting star reminds the girl of her grandmother explaining a shooting star is a soul entering heaven. The happy ending? The little match girl dies and joins her grandmother in eternal paradise.
Remembering the story I decided to make The Little Match Girl my Christmas card theme. The design process proved trickier than I originally anticipated. My first designs were of a shooting star, a flying grandma, the face of a little girl illuminated by a match, soaring Christmas trees and floating food. In short, the designs were too busy or gloomy. In the end I decided to join elements of grandma with shooting star and match strike sparks. It’s best to allow the imagination of the viewer to complete the scene.
For the past ten weeks Amy and I attended an introductory art painting class at the Yard School of Art in Montclair (NJ) Art Museum. Students were given the choice to paint with oil or acrylic paints. Both Amy and I decided to work with acrylic paints mostly due to the easy clean up in comparison to painting with oil. Being a newbie to the official process of painting was challenging and fun.
My prior color mixing experience is in the RGB realm of digital art; mixing paint colors is a very abrupt step into a new realm of creating colors. At first I approached mixing color in a very scientific and astute manner. Surprising to me, this proved more frustrating than helpful. Focusing on light / dark value while maintaining a relaxed attitude on hue yielded a more successful result.
The first class painting was a still life of various white boxes placed on a table. Building on the rudimentary skills learned in the first painting we painted an autumn still life of an arrangement of gourds. The third, and most challenging painting for me, was a rocking horse. Most students completed their rocking horse painting in three classes while I required four classes to wrap it up. The fourth and final painting was a landscape painting picked by each student.
We look forward to attending more classes at the Yard School in the future.