Tag Archives: gnome

The Next Piece

1 Jun

Soon after the ginormous Gnome was completed, a change on subject matter to carve would be good. After all, I ran out of wood for Whales. However I do have an abundant supply of long Meranti wood pieces, why not carve a Monument?

Honestly, it’s been a while since I last carved a Monument. A quick check on the carving log and my… my… the last one I carved was 2 June 2019, a year ago! So carving another Monument now is apt.

It should be good fun and not too difficult, this piece should not take too long to complete.

A Totally New Gnome, Part 2

19 May

The latest ginormous Gnome is a ginormous challenge. The balance was off and so much effort has gone into it already. Obviously I did not want to waste the piece and decided to reshape things to save it.

It’s coming along

Days when I have the chance to carve, I’d be focused instead of planning on what to cook for hubby and M2. And this worked out.

Originally, I shaved off too much of the shoes and it wasn’t stable on its feet literally. Hence some patch work was needed to increase the footprint and this decision turned out well.

The cap was problematic from the beginning and I stressed over this. So I filed it, vigorously if I may add to shape the overall to look like what it is now. As best as I tried, it is still lop-sided. This fella certainly wears his cap differently from the rest.

I’m at the tail-end working on ginormous Gnome. Despite all the imperfections, I’m rather pleased with the result. The homestretch to complete now is just sanding to fine tune the lines and putty work on the holes before the gesso and paint process.

A Totally New Gnome

8 May

I have stopped carving Whales for almost a month already for a couple of reasons. Number one reason being no more correct sized Meranti wood. However it’s not that I have zero wood supply anymore, it’s just that there’s a lot of odd-sized pieces. And it would be too tedious to trim to the size required.

Second reason being I wanted a change. With the 60th Whale (in total since the beginning) completed on 12 April, I felt like a factory, having carved a dozen of the same thing during the MCO (Movement Control Order) period.

So a week after Whale #60, I started on a new ginormous Gnome. But this totally new Gnome had a lot of ups and downs.

Plans to carve daily did not work out well as I had to juggle between cooking and design work. Throw in meal times and playing Homescapes, I simply did not have the luxury to sit down for a few uninterrupted hours to carve. And as work picked up too, this was far more important than all other activities. Hence progress on the piece was slow.

By the time I had the chance to sit and carve–and this would be by nightfall–I would be so tired mentally and physically, there’s no more energy left to even lift the carving knife.

Then there were errors and hiccups working on the piece. The initial outline on the big two-piece Meranti block looked okay with a slight tilt of the cap but when I got down to it, not only was I off, I managed to nick my finger without realizing. The Gnome ended up with a very obvious lop-sided cap and a slightly bloodied nose. Oops…

The cap turned out too lop-sided!
Sweat and blood stains

It’s not only a totally new Gnome but a totally new challenge as well. I thought the Little Birdy was tough, this one was equally if not more. But I ploughed on because I don’t have the correct sized wood for Whales.

MCO Extended, Phase 3

17 Apr

It looks like this Movement Control Order (MCO) is never gonna end as the Covid-19 cases keep growing. There are still idiots who are not abiding the law to stay home. So after the second phase concluded on 14 April, it was extended!

Even my Gnomes are showing the way to do it – stay home!

We are now into our third phase which started on Wednesday, 15 April and will conclude by 28 April. For the record, we have been confined, restricted, staying home and distancing ourselves since 18 March. That’s a whole month already. Dang!

Will we be the same once the MCO is lifted and we are allowed to be out? I think no. Life from then on will never be the same again.

Looking Back at 2019

31 Dec

Well well… it looks like another year has gone by again. Time to file the memories away to recall later fondly and another set of annual resolutions to make. Or break. But the end of 2019 is much more than another year gone by, it’s the end of a decade!

Looking back, I’ve had my fair share of good memories and heartaches with many things happening in the year. After all, there’s 365 days. What stood out most for me can be summed up to these.

Both girls are all grown up, with one having graduated and continuing on with grad school in the US and the other just starting college in Ireland. Proud parent moments. Then there’s me reaching the milestone big five birthday. Happy me occasion.

My carving hobby resulted in a mixed growth in Gigglesville’s population this year. There were only 13 new Citizens to reach 194 (I couldn’t push myself to reach 200), the Whales grew to 48, with 30 new ones while the Gnomes had only two new giant ones to make three dozen as of 2019. It could be better.

But with this carving activity, there was a price to pay: my aggravated injuries. My golf game suffered as a consequence and for the first time, I find myself not giving the sport any priority anymore. I lost the will to excel when injuries persisted. Hopefully this mindset can change to a more positive one come 2020.

Besides the sports injury, my endometriosis pain was well, a pain to deal with this year. More acute than ever, I was at the mercy of a monthly recurrence, it was dreadful. So I started the 16/8 intermittent fasting diet to manage the painful backache and cramp attacks. With a controlled diet and a list of food to avoid, losing a fair bit of weight along the way was a booster and motivation too besides minimizing the agony. It helped.

Not everything was rosy and good though. My iPad Mini has been wonky and unreliable with each passing day, my MacBook Air had to be resuscitated but nothing compared to losing our beloved English bulldog, Rooney aka official pet number one to old age and sickness. It was the saddest day of our lives and suddenly, the house was emptier than ever and our lives changed.

Looking back, if I were to put 2019 into perspective of a phrase, ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ aptly summarizes the year for me. Now as I ponder what to expect for the new year and new decade, I hope it will be one that focuses on ‘the good, the better and the best’. No resolutions needed though.

To everyone, here’s wishing you an awesome 2020 ahead, Happy New Year and Goodbye 2019!

A Cut Too Deep

19 Nov

After completing Ginormous Gnome the Second, I moved to carving a Whale. Somehow for this piece, I had reservations when I started but I did not take heed. The two pieces of Meranti were different – one was too hard and the other too soft. I don’t know what I was thinking when I glued them together. I decided to go ahead to carve out the usual.

It wasn’t easy because one side being so soft, created a lot of craters when I worked on it. I didn’t even exert any strength and it would break. But the other side being so hard, I had no choice but to exert strength and this inadvertently hurt my elbow. Sigh… and I didn’t want to abandon the piece, so I ploughed on.

And then this happened – the tail broke off… Arrrghhhh!!!! I was aghast! What have I done?

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The soft, the hard and the broken…

The piece was on lying on the softer side when I was shaping the harder side of the tail. But it was a cut too deep and the pressure broke the softer side of the tail.

Instead of abandoning the piece by now, which I was still reluctant, I thought a little prosthetic tail can perhaps save the piece. I felt that I have put in so much effort up till now, I didn’t want to give up.

How to salvage this fella? I had to plan and devise a rescue mission.

Here’s Ginormous the Second!

18 Nov

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Ginormous the Second looks better from the side than the front

I’ve finally gotten around to painting up Ginormous Gnome the Second. And I must say it does look good especially from its side profile. Compared to Ginormous the First, the difference in body width is very obvious. I think if I have two blocks of the exact same size, both pieces would still come out slightly different.

As every piece is hand-carved, there’s bound to be some variation, subtle or obvious that gives each piece their unique character. The end result of both looking the same is only in terms of the overall shape and colors.

I’m pleased that the second piece turned out good and preparations are underway to start the next gnome soon.

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Side by side, Ginormous 1 and 2 are very different in size!

A New Direction, Part 2

12 Nov

The efforts on Ginormous Gnome the second has been coming along fine. My only problem with it was its width – a wee bit skinny. It actually looks fine from the side profile angle but from the front, a tad too thin.

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The nose job was tough!

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Putty added to smoothen the surface throughout

The nose was the biggest challenge for this piece despite it being one piece unlike Ginormous One, which had an add-on. And since the overall body was rather skinny from the front, the big nose had to be shaved down to be proportionate to the body.

A lot of work but at the end, I’m pleased with the result. Once it’s painted up, another excellent Gnome to be displayed with the rest. Or I could give this fella away? Hmm…

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Looking good from the side with gesso applied as base before painting it up!

 

Looks like there may be more giant Gnomes coming up considering I have recently gotten new supplies of wood. Yay!

A New Direction

8 Nov

After the bout of carving six Citizens not too long ago, I was ready for another big piece. Suddenly carving big pieces is the way to go! This latest attempt at another Ginormous Gnome is again a combination of three Meranti wood, making it the second piece with three glued pieces.

This time there’s no add-ons for depth, learning from the previous piece. Also I am unfazed by the height because I know what to do. And there certainly won’t be any hole in the cap because I sketched the Gnome to be smaller with plenty of room to shape.

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Let the carving begin!

These days I seem to prefer carving big pieces over little Gnomes as it does not aggravate the left wrist because I don’t need to have a dead grip with the left hand. If you must know, carving Citizens is not painful because it’s on soft balsa, not semi-hard Meranti wood.

But I still have to find the right balance with this new direction because at times, the right golf elbow can still be aggravated if I’m at it too long – the repetitive motion on the semi-hard Meranti.

Sometimes if I have a weekend game coming up, I’d carve less to prevent any recurrence of pain. However if the pain persist on game day, I have no choice but to pop painkillers and use Salonpas patches to subdue it.

Perhaps with the new lighter golf set making golf enjoyable again, I can find the middle ground to have satisfaction to enjoy both golf and carving simultaneously without giving up one or the other.

I’ll see how, until then onwards with the new piece!

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Slowly but surely it’s coming along!

The Ambitious Piece Completed

7 Oct

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He’s one good-looking gnome I must say!

I am so very pleased with my latest piece of carving. My best effort yet. This was an ambitious piece because of its height at almost 20cm to begin with and the unevenness of the glued pieces to tackle. The protruding excess was, well… excess.

But once it started taking shape, the height wasn’t the issue and eventually it got shorter. The completed Gnome now stands at 16cm (about 6.5 inches).

Soon after I painted it up, I would just sit at my little work station to admire it from all angles at every opportunity possible. I didn’t even bother to start on the next intended piece. No hurry as I bask in the satisfaction on a job well done for the time being.

Yes, I love my new Gnome!

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