Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

Ashley Smith

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snow Roller (aka A Post is Born)

So this is how my posts usually come about.

The screen saver on my computer is set to the “random photo” option. When I haven’t used my keyboard or mouse for about 5 minutes, it starts to rotate through all the photos in the “My Pictures” folder on the hard drive. I love it, although it has proven distracting to people trying to meet with my boss… One minute they are in deep philosophical discussion about a current issue on campus, the next minute they see a photo of my piggies pop up on my screen, or our cat with his Christmas tie on, or tapaderos or some such thing. I imagine, if you aren’t me, it would be a little bit discombobulating.

For me what happens is that I see a photo I love and then I want to post it and talk about it. Thus a blog post is born…

Today this photo captivated me:
Snow wonderful...

This is my adorable husband driving our (almost as adorable) Belgian team. The contraption he is driving is his Snow Roller. He built it himself with some old steel wheels, boards, bolts and a metal tongue he scavenged off something no longer driveable. He originally used a wooden tongue, but after this incident:

He decided metal is better for this application :) 
(thankfully, no horses or humans were injured in the making of this photo)

Driving this implement is his favorite winter-time activity. Neither one of us is much for snow (ha-ha on us for moving to the snow belt), but the Snow Roller makes it kinda fun. Conditions have to be just right, temperature above freezing, but not raining and then a good cold snap. If everything falls into place, Viola! I have a sidewalk to use for my walk to work! 

The holes are from the clod hoppers’ hooves!

Here’s some photos of hooking up 
(in the traditional sense, not the “down at the bar” sense) 

"Easy... Back..."

attaching the neck yoke

"Straighten up now boys. Good job"

Attaching the tug chains

And ready to roll! (pun intended…) 

 This is one winter-time happy camper!

Monday, February 7, 2011

My beautiful, numbered, loom!

I have been wanting to post about this for awhile, and just haven't had the time!

I love my table loom- it is an 8 shaft Woolhouse Tools Carolyn loom.  It is very sad, but Woolhouse is no longer producing their wonderful weaving tools.  The Carolyn is by far the best table loom I have ever used!

I did, however, have one problem using it with my pea-brain: every time I pulled the levers down, I would have to count to see what number shaft I had raised. Observe this photo:

With plain weave it is pretty easy, but any pattern that calls for a sort of random assortment of shafts to be up at one time, well let's just say my husband was tired of me counting out loud every 10 seconds.

It is pretty typical practice to either use a Sharpie or a piece of masking tape to label your levers, but this is my beautiful baby!!  I didn't want to mar her perfection with my chicken scrawl.  My husband suggested the wood burner, but burnt chicken scrawl didn't really seem any better.  Thus, the search began.

I looked at scrapbooking stickers, stencils, fabric numbers, but nothing looked right.  What I had in my mind's eye was old type writer keys.  Now, that would be cool.  But try and find numbers 1-8 in one set for a price that wasn't as much as the loom...  Time to blink my mind's eye and find something new.

What I found was:
How perfect is this???

Yes, I know. It's a ring...  but you get what I was thinking don't you???  

I contacted Tracy at 3Fine Design on Artfire and asked her if she could make me a set of leather discs numbered 1-8.  Not only was she willing, but she even found me some thinner leather that would work better on my loom levers.  She did a fantastic job! They are perfect.  And I got to paint them myself.

They came like this

and then I got my paints out:

and did this!

and this!

Aren't they pretty?  And then my beloved husband glued them on for me (he is way better with spatial relations)

The lowered shaft numbers are blue and purple (my personal favorite colors)
  The raised shaft numbers are orange and yellow (my new personal favorite colors!)

Now I have the prettiest loom on the block.  All thanks to the wonderful artist Tracy and her ability to not only figure out what I was talking about but to work with me to to get the perfect diameter and thickness. 

I couldn't be happier.  Well, maybe if we won the lottery, but barring that...