bunn: (dog knotwork)
It's been a few years since we went out and bought a Christmas tree, but this year we went out into the garden and found that it had been gardened so thoroughly that there were no reasonable-sized holly trees left.  So we bought this fir tree - I think it's a noble fir.   I feel faintly guilty, although really it is no different to buying, say, a cabbage.   Fortunately, the cats are all old and staid now, so I don't have to worry too much about them climbing it.

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bunn: (dog knotwork)
"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-- Of cabbages--and kings--
I've stolen this clever update format from [livejournal.com profile] alitheapipkin

One longer walk and one short one today in bright sun under blue skies, plus I filled the garden bin with clippings, which always gives me a feeling of having achieved.

Rather guiltily that I meant to try to do a couple of hours or so of work this weekend, but have not. And also that I should have phoned my mother, but I have not done that either. Possibly should rename this section 'vague guilts' as it appears my thoughts are not very profound.

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The first episode of 'Childhood's End'. Good ending!

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bunn: (Smaug)
Here's a tiny wooden Aragorn I have made for [livejournal.com profile] lindahoyland.  He's not quite three inches tall.   I was terribly keen to carve him once I had the idea, because I thought Aragorn in his Ranger's outfit would work well in the style of a Lewis Chessman.  He's come out a little less cartoonish than they are, but I am pleased with him.  For one thing, he stands up!  I find that quite hard to achieve: this is why many of my carvings are designed to hang up rather than stand up.

I agonised over which wood to use.  I had almost settled on oak, for its durability, and I even cut a piece of oak for the job, but I kept looking at it and it was *just wrong*.  So I went out and wandered around looking at trees, and realised that actually, I have the perfect tree for an Aragorn figure in the front hedge: Rowan.

 It's not a long-lived tree, as trees go: it lives perhaps two hundred years - but it pops up in unexpected places from seed.  It has white blossom like the White Tree of Gondor, the fruit has been used to flavour beer, it's a tree that hybridizes easily.   It is sometimes called the Wayfarer's Tree, or the Traveller's Tree.   And of course it is well known to have strong powers to ward off evil.
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bunn: (dog knotwork)
I was thinking how to design the little Isle of Lewis chessman -style Aragorn I plan to make for lindahoyland, and trying to decide which wood to use (apple?  holly?  cherry?  Maybe even hazel or ash. Or green oak? Although oak is awful hard on the hands when carved seasoned, it should be much easier if carved green and allowed to dry.  And Aragorn seems quite an oak sort of person.).

Anyway, I was turning wood over in my head, and it occurred to me that I should also carve a set of Eregion carvings, in, OF COURSE holly!  I could do a Celebrimbor, a Narvi, a Durin III, a Galadriel and a Celeborn (maybe not Celeborn.  I just can't really like Celeborn, for some reason).   Can't think of any other named characters in Eregion.  Maybe just some generic Gwaith-i-Mírdain, if I don't run out of steam. 
bunn: (Christmas)
Fell over on this morning's dog walk and bashed my knee quite hard on a granite boulder.  Seriously Ow.  STILL Ow.  Stupid boulders.

But at least it was sunny, so time to slaughter a tree and drag it into the house.  This involved some serious sawing (note to self, really need new blade for the bow saw!)   We chopped quite a lot off the bottom before we dragged it to the house, but once we'd got it there, it was clear that we had quite ludicrously overestimated.  But that was OK.  After all, it's easier to chop it off than stick it back on.   More sawing required...
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bunn: (dog knotwork)
Last year's holly Christmas tree turned out to have a little dragon sleeping inside it.  A little dragon with a very twirly tail.  He seems more of a Pratchett dragon than a Tolkien one to me.
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bunn: (dog knotwork)
I went for a relief carving this year rather than a figure, cos relief carving is easier, and have made, on the one side, a Lonely Mountain, and on the other side, a dwarf he tree was holly, so I've tried leaving the bark on the sides, although I'm not sure if it will fall off as the wood dries. It's quite a diddy little thing, only about an inch across, as the tree was pretty slender, and it does have a bit of an unintended curve to it that I should probably have tidied up if I hadn't decided to leave the bark on. 

Ho ho ho

Dec. 24th, 2012 07:27 pm
bunn: (Christmas)
Our Tree )
Merry Christmas all!
bunn: (dog knotwork)
Last year's Christmas tree had quite a wiggle to its trunk. I wanted to catch that wiggle in the decoration that I carved from it. In my head this was a 'dancing' wiggle, and so I tried to make a dancing figure, to stand for Cottia dancing in this post-Eagle of the Ninth story that I wrote.  

Cut for carving photos and wittering )

bunn: (Default)
Today I have made 4 and a half jars of apple chutney.  I still have a lot of apples and some vinegar, onions and sultanas left so I may make some more yet.  My attempt to Eat All the Apples has failed : even eating 4 or 5 apples a day the lawn is covered in them.

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This weekend, my mother finally made it home after her broken hip. She's still walking on crutches and the leg is painful - not because of the hip, but because of the original problem that probably caused her to fall over in the first place. She has had pretty good care, I think, which is cheering. Note: if you want to break your hip, August is a good time to do it, because the busy time for hip-breaking is the winter. We still have her dogs, as she is not up to walking them yet. I don't know if they will both go back to her or not, but I'm leaving that decision to her. It's a bit of a pain having four dogs, but worse things happen at sea and all that.

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bunn: (Skagos)
After I posted those pictures of pretty hound knotwork, I noticed that Az was trying to be knotwork too. See pics )
I've also had a go at drawing an Eagle of the Ninth book-Marcus (young, with heavy eyebrows and big nose).  This is him celebrating with his friend Cassius after winning the Legion's Saturnalia chariot race in the chariot that he borrowed from Cassius - that's why Marcus is wearing laurels, and both of them look a bit drunk. The pic )
Sweff sweff! )
bunn: (Christmas)
Our 2008 Christmas tree had a little hound inside it:

I have an idea for a holly and ivy design for the 2009 tree, a bit more traditionally festive than most of my carvings so far!
bunn: (Default)
Carving across the grain is now going better. I have remembered that the art is in making sure the design is all shallowly shelving cuts, not trying to force the chisel directly down. Also:

- make sure the chisel is very, very sharp.
- sort of pull it away as it moves sideways, so you get a slicing motion sideways as well as forewards
- keep an eye on the grain, and if the wood starts to tear even the least little bit, turn it round and slice at it the other way.
- don't use any force, work with the sharpness of the blade only.

Design was originally intended as a snowflake, but it appears there is no snowflake in this particular tree. It morphed in the direction of a star, and now seems to have turned into a sort of stylised angel. All seem like reasonable designs for a tree decoration, so that's all good.

I'm planning to use some of my Grandad's gold leaf to decorate it. The leaf has been sitting in a cupboard since approximately 1963 (or maybe earlier, I don't know!), but I think it probably keeps.
bunn: (shadow)
It's about 20 years since I last attempted to carve into a cross section of a tree trunk - now I remember why I've not done it since. Every damn cut is across the grain and the whole thing is a nightmare of interspersed superhard bits and splinters.

Note to self: ALONG the grain. Along is good. Am wondering whether to chuck this dratted piece and start over.
bunn: (Default)
I haven't yet managed to go and get some holly from the tree at the top of the garden. But I have installed a festive Firefox theme.

"Deck Firefox with pictures jolly, tralalala lalala la...."

There are a couple photos in here, so cut for space. )


bunn: (Default)

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