I’m so excited I can barely stand it. Can’t remember anything in recent memory that has both of us so pumped. We went to our pen turning class on Sunday. It was so much fun. I used for the first time a drill press, band saw and lathe. Still have all my fingers. We bought all the equipment necessary so we can make more pens at home. I don’t need my Tarot Card deck to see lots of pens and pencils as gifts to family and friends and maybe give to non profits for fund raising events. Maybe I can even sell a few. There were 5 of us in the class, all very new to lathes, and we produced 5 beautiful pens.
The photos show it all. The first one is me at the lathe, a midi size one vs mini size or the full size one we have at home.
This shows the size of wood we start with and how small it gets. It does make a bit of a mess.
Here are our finished pens. The wood is from Africa, have to go find my notes on the name of it. It was VERY hard. The color of the wood in the photo is pretty true. The fittings were shiny gold.
Pretty nice for a first try. Different size pens and pencils require different drill bits. For now we will just start out with the same size we used in class. There are also some fittings that are harder to put in so that will be when we are also more experienced. There are also fountain pens. Those fittings seem to be the most expensive. At Woodcrafter store the fittings are $4 to $14 and the wood is under a dollar. Seems inexpensive but you need a band saw, drill press, lathe and about $300 of other specific wood turning equipment to make it all work easily.
Here is what we can aspire to:
Here is the artist. She has been doing pens for a couple years.
Fay and the instructor.
In addition to everything else we bought, we got 5# of wood pen blanks. That is 73 pieces and about 8 kinds of wood plus many exotic pieces.
Bob already knows I will pester the heck out of him to finish getting his band saw and drill press set up. He just picked up the last of the big equipment on Saturday and is putting it together as I type this so soon you will see photos of his (our?) workshop.
Although I have always liked wood and refinished things 30 years ago, I never thought I would get so excited about wood turning. Just goes to show if you have an open mind you can start some very fun new adventures. I image by Wed. or Thursday I can be making pens at home.
We enjoyed a wondrful Thanksgiving with our friends Lyn and Bob in Charleston. We were joined by Lyn’s grandson Zach, who is 18 and a new friend Charley, a woman, and other friends Lola and Glen. Charley was a chef and owner at her own restaurant for 15 years in Charleston, Lola runs a cigar and hookah store and Glen is now a tour guide in Charleston but has had several other very interesting jobs. He is a big Civil War history expert so I love picking his brain about the history of the area. Zach came from MN about a month ago and is looking for a part time job (supposed to be starting next weekend at a real estate office) and trying to find a school program that he likes.
Bob had an apple theme to the meal with hard apple cider we brought back from N. Carolina to start things out, cider basted on the turkey done in a roaster and a delicious stuffing with sausge and apples. Two suprising recipes were the brussel sprout coleslaw and cranberries with a significant amount of djon mustard. Both very good. Sides included mandarin orange lettuce salad, sweet potatoes with pecan topping , mashed potatoes, wild rice and of course gravy.
Bob showing off the brussel sprout slaw.
For dessert in addition to pumpkin pie we had pear crisp with candied ginger. Out of this world. I think it was one of the best Thanksgiving menus ever. They sent home enough leftovers for four more meals for us.
Add in a the bottle of hard cider, bottle of white wine, several bottles of Beaujolais nouveau that we brought down and a bottle of port and you have the makings of a special holiday. After dinner there were also cigars for a few people out on the screened in porch. I just kept the smokers company. No cigar for me.
Like many of you I am thankful for my family and friends, good health, being able to pay the bills and do the things I want to do. Getting a closer relationship with our god daughter Amanda has been something I am thankful for every time we talk. She is a wonderful young woman in so many ways and brings great joy to my life.
This year all the new friends I have made here in SC and all the new things Bob and I have been able to do deserve a special thank you at the Thanksgiving table.
I try not to take for granted the life I have been able to enjoy. I know I am really fortunate and that also makes me remember all those who are now struggling with health or financial problems. Although Bob and I haven’t worked at the soup kitchen I think that there are a number of things we did last year to help family and friends when they were in need. Of course we could do more and we will continue to look for those opportunities.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.
These are examples of wood turning that we saw on Saturday at the American Wood Turning Association. Click on the little picture to see a bigger picture.
A week ago last Monday we went on our last walking tour at the
Upcountry History Museum in downtown Greenville. What a great new style of museum. Instead of a bunch of artifacts that you learn about they have about 50 interactive displays (with some artifacts) that tell the history of the SC Upcountry from the Cherokee settlements to the textile mills. They also just opened a World War II exhibit. We were there 2 hours on our tour and barely scratched the surface. Can’t wait to go back.
On Saturday we went to the Southern Highland Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC (about 30 minutes from our home). We had been there before twice to look at all the items for sale and on display as folk art but this time we went to join the American Wood Turning Guild and listen to a presentation on more advanced wood turning. The items on display were breathtaking. Pictures to come later. This Sunday Bob and I take a pen turning class and in January I take the same class Bob took for 5 weeks.
On Sunday we spent most of the afternoon with the instructor Bob had for his wood turning class and he showed Bob how to sharpen his tools and then showed us his work and sent up home with a trunk full of sycamore wood to turn.
This last Monday we went back to the Biltmore to see all the Christmas trees and the house decorated for the holidays. They had something like 45 decorated trees. One live cut tree was 38 feet. They replace it once through the holiday season. Unfortunately no photos indoors. We had a delicious lunch at the Winery Bistro and then attended a little Red Wine and Chocolate activity.
Weather has been rainy and overcast, typical fall day with temperatures about 45 and night and 55 during the day.
Fall for me is the time of year when I reflect on my life. My cousin Larry sent me this thought provoking item that he received from a friend of his and I wanted to share it with you.
In thinking over the weekend, it occurred to me (light bulb turns on) that everyone has a THEME that, in some ways, dominates and directs their lives. That theme is the driving force, the core of a lifetime’s desire, that runs through every person’s life. After pondering over the idea for hours, it occurred to me that my own theme is “staying alive.” I was born struggling to stay alive. That theme colored my life. My fascination with Cacti fits into my theme. Cacti are the ultimate survival plants. The stock market — learning to read the stock market gives one the advantage of possibly knowing what lies ahead. The theme of staying alive has entered into everything I do. It’s the reason why, in investing, I’m so careful to avoid taking the big loss. “He who sells and runs away, lives to invest another day.” If you invest intelligently and systematically over the years and avoid the big loss, you’ll probably end up at least prosperous.
You might think about a theme in your own life. Is your theme success, domination, making money, leadership, happiness, conquest, curiosity, helping others, adventure? Ask the average person what the theme of their life is, and they’ll look puzzled. They never thought about their life having a theme. Every person has a theme.
Fay says about her theme
As I thought about this question the theme that came to my mind about me is my quest for harmony, tranquility and peace. I don’t like to hurry. I don’t like conflict or crowds. I am an observer. I like quite music and fragrant surroundings. I want to be in harmony with plants, animals, the landscape and people. My interests are in crystals and tarot cards and flowers, getting to know a few people well rather then many people just a little bit, helping people, and making an environment for myself and others that is calm and healing.
I look forward to reading your observation of the theme in your life.
I’m so excited! I just reloaded our 100 disk CD player with a new batch of music. That only happens a couple times a year. Most of my listening tastes (75%) is instramental jazz and new age but I also have mixed in 70′s music, blues, old jazz, movie tunes, classical, vocals, island music and thanks to CD’s from my friend Kris’s collection – country. That should expand my listening taste. Don’t think we had a single country CD except for Nora Jones.
The last 20 CD’s are Christmas/holiday music. Won’t start those for quite a while. I ease into it with new age tunes that don’t sound so holiday like. I still continue in my years long crabby mood on the materialistic nature of the holiday. Don’t like that spirit at all. I will probably break down and have a tree this year. Some years that doesn’t even happen.
Holiday plans – On Monday we head up to the Biltmore Estate to see their Christmas season decorations with lunch at the Biltmore Bistro Winery and if we are lucky wine and chocolate tasting at the winery. Getting there before Thanksgiving should help us avoid the crouds. For Thanksgiving and Christmas we head to see friends in Charleston (4 hours) away and I hope get to see the Charleston incredible festival of lights that we saw last year. Greenville has two light tours – one at Hollywild Zoo and one at Roper Mountain Park. We are going with friends to see both of those. Have two holiday parties with Greenville Newcomers – one a luncheon at a 5 star private club and one Cocktails R Us at a country club house. Live music at the second one and a third holiday dinner with Greenville Woodworders. For my birthday we will go to Asheville to look at the Gingerbread House exhibit and contest and have lunch at a really nice historic hotel/spa. There are three holiday plays/performances (like Christmas Carol) in the area so I will pick one of them for us to see and last but not least there is the Festival of the Trees in downtown Greenville. Guess I’m not as big a grinch as I thought I was!
Have to go. There is a really good tune playing.
First of all, I hate to shop so even writing a blog about things to buy is not my nature.
I get so many catalogs and most of them go in the trash before I read them. I thought maybe when we moved the companies would loose track of me. Somehow all of them found me. Having said that, I just looked through a catalog that really impressed me with useful items I have not seen anywhere else. No clothes or knick knacks and decent prices. There are things for kids, the kitchen, men, women, gardeners, woodworkers, gadget loving people, bird lovers etc. We got on the mailing list because of Bob’s interest in woodworking so there are certainly wood working things but so much more. Try to get a copy of the Lee Valley Holiday Gift Catalog www.leevalley.com
Leave me a comment about what you thought of the catalog if you request one. Happy shopping!
Just a little of the yummy food people brought.
I hosted the November Greenville Newcomers Coffee at our house on Tuesday. No one could remember doing a coffee in Travelers Rest. Most of these get togethers are south of where I live so this was an opportunity to show off the northern part of Greenville. We didn’t know how many people to expect becasue of the location and Thanksgiving coming soon. Well, we had 50 people! He hospitality chair has everything so well organized. She provides big coffee pots, plates, napkins, coffee and arranges with 8-10 ladies to each bring something. The only thing I had to do was get all our chairs out and iron a tablecloth. It went really well and was a lot of fun.
Of course Tanya saw to it that she was the star of the coffee party. I expected her to go hide but she kept coming out to walk around and check things out, then go sit on the bed and wait for people to come pet her, which they did, and then decided she wanted to be a little cuddley fur ball and snuggled up on my shoulder during the short program where newcomers introduce themself. All cat lovers melted when that happened.
Bob did a great time helping me set up and take down all the chairs. He hid in his workshop during the event! Now his laithe and router table and air filtering system are in place. He can’t sleep at night because he is so excited. Still have the drill press to assemble and are waiting for the ban saw and table saw to be delivered. Yes, you will see photos once he has it all set up.
We had a very busy fun long weekend with our friends Pat and Leslie from Minnesota. They arrived after lunch on Thursday and we had snacks and a lasagna dinner at our house followed by a soak in the hot tub mixed in with lots of conversation.
On Friday we packed a picnic lunch and took off for Caesars Head State Park - 45 minutes from our house and then to nearby Pretty Place Chapel by a waterfall. We got a little lost finding the waterfalls in Dupont Forest but still enjoyed a late lunch at the waterfalls. We hiked to three of them, last three photos. This was a 4-5 mile hike. The weather was beautiful, 70 and sunny. Pizza for dinner that night followed by another soak in the hot tub.
On Saturday, another beautiful day, we drove Leslie to get some boiled peanuts at the Cider House and a stop at the Dixie Republic Store. I call it the all things southern and Confederate stores. If you want a Confederate bikini, they have it as well as some very interesting books and cookbooks. I can almost guarantee you won’t find the peanuts or the shop merchandise in MN. After that we had coffee at the local Lepoard Forest Coffee Shop (with award winning roasted coffee) in downtown Travelers Rest. Next came showing off the waterfalls and park in downtown Greenville, lunch outside and music at the Lazy Goat Restaurant and a trip to Mast General Store and a local brewery. The day ended with a dinner at our house of lemon pepper chicken, mashed potatoes and Waldorf Salad, followed by a movie. I think somewhere in these last few days there were also a few bottles of wine and pitchers of blue margaritas (made by Pat) and some good beer only found in the south.
We had a leisurely breakfast and relaxed Sunday morning and then packed another picnic lunch and went to Paris Mountain State Park (15 minutes from our house) and hiked around Lake Placid (a little under a mile), ate lunch by the lake, and drove to the top of the mountain. Back home to relax a little more before their 4:30 flight and then we had to say good-bye until we see them back in MN in May.
Hope that little story enticed a few of you to come visit!
Click on the little photo to see a larger photo.
Leslie and Pat were such easy house guests. Bob was a wonderful driver on all those curvey roads. My baking skills got an F. I thought the new chocolate chip cookie recipe needed 8 oz. of butter but it really needed 8 TBL. Gooey crisp crumbley cookies but tasted good. I tried a new apple cake recipe that was a dismal dry failure. Good thing I know our company can surive recipe failures. We had ice cream instead.
Leslie and Pat
Fay at Pretty Place Chapel