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Bigger and Bigger, Part 2

21 May

The carving seems to have taken a toll on me. Lately with all these bigger pieces that I am working on with Meranti wood which is harder than balsa, I could feel a slight pain especially on the right elbow when I exert some strength. The tennis elbow problem! And this is evident when I try to play golf. Sigh…

When an injury hits, one never truly recovers. The body is weakened, the game suffers and the confidence drops, a vicious cycle. Add in the lack of playing because of my other problems (the Infectious Colitis and the laparoscopic surgery recently), I simply have not had much opportunity to go onto the fairways.

I need to find the right balance to carve and play golf without one activity suffering at the expense of the other.

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Bigger and Bigger

18 May

It looks like the flavor of the month has changed. In April, I was carving up Gnomes, this May it’s Monuments that I am doing. And they are getting bigger in size too.

Excited with the result of the 3-Citizen Meranti Monument without a platform, I went on to carve another Meranti piece but with four Citizens. And in between painting it up, I started an even bigger 3-Citizen piece. Soon the house will be full of Monuments!

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The latest and biggest Monument

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Comparing the height of all the Monuments

Ten Little Gnomes

7 May

The Gnomes of Gnomie-wood are taking over my life! Citizens of Gigglesville took a back seat last month as I found myself carving up Gnomes instead. With so much Meranti wood at my disposal, I was glueing pieces to make big blocks to carve into giant Gnomes.

And each one gets bigger than the previous. With the latest Gnome 10, standing at 5.5 inches tall, I now have 10 Gnomes in Gnomie-wood! But Gnome 10 is not the tallest; it comes in second. Gnome 9, a two-piece Meranti stands the tallest at 7 inches, while Gnome 2, carved from balsa, is the smallest and shortest among the lot at 43mm tall.

It’s been so addictive and fun. More Gnomes to come is all I can say!

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Family group shot

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Gnome 10 before the paint job

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The beginning of Gnome 10

More Wood

4 May

Aunty Dearest has given me another five boxes of wood last weekend. So much wood, so little time. And I had to sieve through the supply to ensure the pieces are actually good to be carved. I say this because recently I carved a Big Citizen on a block that has a knot within the wood grains. I didn’t think it would pose a tough challenge but it did.

I should have been more careful in the first place when selecting and glueing the pieces together to make the big block. The imperfection was super hard and came out in a chunk, leaving a big gap in my poor Citizen’s shape. I think it will take me awhile to get this piece done up properly.

Meanwhile the five boxes were vetted as pieces that were uneven, cracked and have knots had to be thrown away. In a way it was painful to throw away all the wood but it had to be done for the good of the Citizens of Gigglesville.

A Great Supplement

3 May

Wood Filler is the next best thing to have for any wood carving enthusiast I must say. I found this tube at Daiso and thought it would be a great supplement to aid my carving. And indeed it is.

There are times when the pressure to shape the wood is too great and little chunks come off, the Wood Filler is then used to smoothen out the mini craters. And after sanding down and paint added, you can’t even tell there was a mini crater in the first place! I love it.

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Undecided

30 Apr

Now that I am carving bigger pieces with the Meranti wood from Aunty Dearest, I am unsure how to categorize them. As you know, there are the Citizens, Superheroes, Monuments and Friends of Gigglesville, and each piece is labeled and recorded. Those who leave Gigglesville are granted passports to enable the migration.

Then there are the Gnomes who have grown in numbers and are now in their own hamlet, Gnomie-wood. Certain pieces like the Superheroes and Monuments stay put but I am still undecided whether the Gnomes can leave, I like them too much. We shall see.

Now these pieces, the giant Citizens are putting me in a bind. They look like the Citizens of Gigglesville but they are not Citizens because of their size nor are they Monuments because they are single pieces, not stacked up. See my predicament?

Maybe I should create another new category. Besides these differences, they also have a felt cloth underneath, making them more like paper weights than anything else!

Hmm… I have to sort this out soon.

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Replenishing the Supplies, Part 2

26 Apr

After much thought, I decided to repaint the two-tier Monument. From its original of being all dark brown, I thought one species being bronze might look more regal. And I think it does.

I then tested on a three-tier Monument. Compared to an earlier piece looking colourful and very playful, the brown/bronze/brown version looks more serious and monumental. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong to paint all these up.

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Replenishing the Supplies

20 Apr

The carving is in full swing! And the supplies need to be replenished. I was able to get these items last week during the slow work week to add to my stock – new gesso, gloss varnish, new colors and of course more balsa which I still need for the regular sized Citizens! I thought it would be a change to try several different brands of supplies from my usual.

And I think it’s exciting to see what comes out from the new colors especially the solid bronze. Stay tuned.

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A New Tracker, Part 3

19 Apr

Recently, I had to replace my activity wearable, the Xiaomi Mi Band2 with a new unit of the same model. The OLED of the old one has been very dim and I can hardly see what is showing on the screen especially under bright conditions, whether indoors or outdoors. Plus there was a couple of occasions the reading went haywire.

I guess it’s time to change. After all, I have had the old unit since Aug 2016 and the lifespan is almost up. The new unit came last Friday, courtesy of online shopping. I love online shopping!

When I put both side by side to compare, the difference is pretty obvious in its brightness. Well, goodbye old Mi Band2, you have served me well but now you need to be retired; and hello new Mi Band2, you are the way to go to continue tracking my activities, strides taken, calories burnt and all.

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The old and the new

Biggest Challenge Ahead

17 Apr

Last week, I took a big plunge and attempted my biggest piece ever! All these while, the biggest I have done are four-inch tall carvings, Halloween Owl, Dinky and the first giant Gnome, from ready sizes of the basswood.

Now this chunk is two pieces of Meranti glued together to become a towering 7.5 inch block. An ugly block to begin with but it’s not stopping me, even with the outline drawn and redrawn for a better proportion.

Within three days, I managed to complete the piece and the biggest Gnome ever in Gnomie-wood was ‘born’. It’s seven inches tall after sanding down and towers over the rest. It’s just simply adorable. Love it.

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