Friday, August 28, 2009

"Frightening" Friday!

Halloween IS Coming! 

Okay now I'm hearing a lot of you exclaiming "WHAT??? It's still August!" And you are right it is still the summer, but planning ahead is key in all things. Right? I mean if you look at the stores you'll find Christmas deocrations out before Halloween for goodness sake!

As I mentioned in my last blog, I like to pick out a few patterns and take them down to the workshop to cut each day. And this means somedays I cut clocks or holiday decorations or various other items as they strike my fancy. Over the last month or so I've been coming accross some cool Halloween patterns and finding new ways to finish them has almost been as much fun as cutting them.

Some of the patterns that I've been cutting have come from pumpkin stencils. What better place to find Halloween designs then Pumpkin carving sites! One of my favorite sites is Zombie Pumpkins!, they have some free patterns but most are for members only. In fact one of my all time favorite Halloween patterns came from another Pumpkin carving pattern from a Scary Products. Scary Products is all about Halloween as the name implies but they do have a section on Pumkin carving.

I made this "Welcome" sign out of Baltic Birch and spray painted it black. But then my delima was how to finish it to do it justice. I knew that I wanted to be able to hang it in a window or perhaps on a door because, well, that's where you put Welcome signs! So I added picture hangers on the back and used a soft brass wire to accomplish that. But still the sign was not quite finished in my mind. I had purchased some coloured cellophane a few years ago for a project and thought, hmm... I wonder. The end result is quite pleasing, I think, especially when it's in a window with a soft back light to it. 

Another place that I've found some great patterns for Halloween is from Scherenschnitte sites. Scherenschnitte is the German art of paper cutting and the patterns work very well for Scroll saw in that both mediums need to have at least one continuous line or the items will fall apart. I found a site that had a number of free patterns uploaded from a publication called 'Back Street Designs" one of which contained these two great cuttings that I could not resist.

The first is a skeleton which I painted white. What amazed me about this pattern was the amount of detail involved as most skeleton patterns I've found are lacking in that department. My picture taking is seriously lacking, and sadly, most of the detail seems lost :(

The other great pattern from this site (and actually on the same page) is this great "Best Witches". These friends are busy brewing up a batch of something good and you have to wonder if it's almost ready as they cackle together! I am slightly disappointed in that I made the mistake of dipping them in regular paint as I would have with stain and of course, it doesn't react the same way and caused some "glopping". I have since learned you are supposed to thin the paint first or as I'm doing now use a spray paint. But live and learn :)

Lastly, I am always finding great scroll saw patterns out on the web. There are a number of sites that offer free patterns to people (as with my Chickadee Clock), in addition to books or sites where you can purchase patterns. 

One of these great sites is Free Scroll Saw Patterns run by Arpop. You do need to be a member to be active on the boards or to access the free patterns but membership is free and as the commercial says "Membership has its priviledges". The people on this board (as are those on other scrollsaw boards I belong to) are GREAT! Always friendly, full of advice and a cheer for an item you have just made and are "bragging" about. 

Like my 'Welcome!" sign this Flying Witch pattern (by Arpop himself) was as fun to cut out as it was to come up with a way to finish. I started out by spray painting her (after having learned my lesson with regular paint!) a flat black. And while she looks wonderfully witchy ... something just wasn't quite right in my mind. 

Looking through my every growing stash of "finishing materials" I spied a roll of golden coloured cellophane. The end result being a Witch on her broomstick flying accross the moon. I'm quite happy with the result and again in a window, in the dusk with a small light behind, very spooky!

If you are interested in finding out more about Scherenschnitte, Meggiecat has a great blog you can read. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Chickadee Clock

Each day I look through my folders of scrollsaw patterns on my computer (and there are 100's and 100's of patterns hehe) and pick out 3 or 4 to take down to the workshop with me to work on. Some days I cut one item and sometimes I cut a few.

Last night when I was searching through my files a Chickadee clock caught my attention. Why a Chickadee clock you may ask? Well,  I have a great friend Kim who just is crazy over birds, in fact she writes her own fabulous blog (and is the person that got me into blogging!).

As is quite often the case, I made two of the Chickadee clocks by stack cutting. Stack cutting is much like it sounds. I glue the pattern on to a piece of 1/2 inch Baltic Birch (my favorite wood to cut). I then took a second piece of Birch and used Blue Painters tape to tape the two pieces together. By doing this I am able to cut two exact copies of the same item. I then made the bases out of 1 inch reclaimed Pine boards that had been laminated by my Dad.

Since I had two copies of the clock I decided to use two different stains so that they were not exactly the same.

The first clock I used Minwax Golden Pecan stain on 

While the second clock I used Fletco Cherry 2402 stain on
The above Chickadee Clock Pattern is one of many great patterns made by Travis at Scrollsaw Village!

If you are interested in checking out my inspiration for cutting this clock, Kim AKA LadyWoodpecker's blog is Lady Woodpecker

About Me

When I was growing up the smell of sawdust and the sound of some tool filled the air on many a weekend or night while I was in bed. My Dad would work away in the basement to make things for around the house or to build things like decks and planters. I would go down into the workshop where I had my own little one sized tools and with his help I'd make little items like birdhouses or toy cars.

As I got older and we moved houses the workshop grew to include more woodworking tools such as a lathe, planer and scroll saw. The scroll saw intrigued me as I saw it as a saw that was easier to use than a handsaw and I could make little things with it. I started to use the scroll saw and found that it was relaxing to spend hours in the basement cutting wood and making my own piles of sawdust.

When I moved out of my parents house the scroll saw came with me, borrowed of course. I made art work for my walls or little pieces for family or friends, but the majority of what I cut went into a big cardboard box, or if it was winter time ... into the fireplace! When I showed things I had made to friends they would say to me, "Wendy, you should sell this stuff!" but I just laughed and thought "who would buy my things?".

After a number of years and too many horrified looks of friends to count, when I stated that I threw my things in the fireplace, I decided to take a leap of faith and place some of my items on e.Bay. Much to my suprise and delight a few items sold! So, I've decided I'm going to give it a try and create my own little business and see how it goes.