Thursday, April 26, 2012

Best Laid Plans...

Well I had the best of intentions when I started years ago, but we all know how that old saying about intentions goes. Just because I have not written daily  (yes I think I planned on blogging daily originally) it doesn't mean I have stopped making. In the next few posts or however many it takes, I will try to bring everyone up to present day on my maker projects. For this post, so as not to strain myself I will simply give a list off the top of my head of the things I have made/ am making since my last post. For today's post I want even begin to tackle the things I still want to make. So here in no particular order are some of my projects...

  • Many, many pages of sketches & Illustrator files for a children's preschool workbook featuring trains as a theme.
  • A still unfinished recumbent bike / trike built from old bike parts.
  • An awesome, waitng to be stained 8' high x 4' wide bookcase (now cut down to 7' high to fit in our current house) 
  • Two Tiki head book ends(need more carving) hand carved from 3" thick pine stock (scraps from pergola projects at work)
  • A book shelf built out of leftover materials (awaiting trim & paint) whose shelves are only high enough and deep enough to hold my collection of 50's era Popular Science and Popular Mechanix magazines.
  • A 14" long hand carved wooden model of a DC-3 (needs a little more carving and sanding).
  • A completely dismantled 1970 Honda SL-70 I got when I was 10, awaiting engine rebuild, re-painting and assembly.
  • A young adult novel tentatively titled "Adventurer's Inc." modelled after "The Mad Scientists' Club" books, my favorite books of all time. (outline, character development, chapter ideas ).
  • Replaced a blown head gasket on my 1991 Toyota Paseo (  a project worthy of several pages of blogging in itself).
  • A rhyming children's picture book, 99% written, ideas developed and sketched for most pages. This project has been hanging around for about 10 years.

O.k. Im starting to get a little overwhelmed so I'll stop here. perhaps I can even through in a picture or two provided I don't have to re-size them or do anything to them.

Original sketch for preschool workbook

Sketch for "letter find" activity
Concept art for web page header

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Further out on a limb

With no low branches to climb, I used a rope thrown over a limb to climb the tree. It was with this same rope that I hauled board after board up into the tree. Working like an ant I climbed up and down the rope ,tying on boards and hauling them up until I had enough to start construction.
Slowly, the treehouse took shape. For a long time it was simply a platform that I unwisely covered with an old piece of carpet which acted as a sponge. Later, when I was able to scavenge more lumber, the treehouse began to look more like a treehouse. 

 Much of my motivation for building the treehouse was fueled by the many books I read as a kid. Books like Henry's Clubhouse and The Mad Scientists' Club spurred me on to create a headquarters from which I could carry out my elaborate schemes. While these schemes and plans never quite matched their fictional counterparts and in many cases existed only in my mind, they nonetheless, were high-powered fuel for my ever active imagination and creative whims. 
For all my vivid plans for my headquarters in the sky, I only camped out in it once. Eventually, gravity and nature won. The continual swaying and twisting of the trees in the wind over the years caused the nails to work their way loose and the whole thing came tumbling down. By then it didn't really matter, all the hard work, the dreams and plans, because ultimately a maker  lives to make.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Out on a limb

I believe a tree house has got to be somewhere in every maker's past present or future. For me, it is past and present and most likely the future. I remember remnants of a treehouse at my grandparents' house--some 2 x 4 steps held to the gnarled trunk of a pine tree with dozens of nails, half of which where bent over, victims of the misguided hammer blows of amateur tree house builders that would grow up to be my uncles. The platform to which this crude ladder ascended, had long since succumbed to the elements but my mind could still fill in the blanks and imagine it in all its glory.
My own treehouse project begin on a hot summer day beneath the cool shade of what we kids called "the gum ball tree" in reference to the spiky ping-pong sized balls which hung from its limbs. This three trunk behemoth rose to what seemed like 500 feet, at least from a child's perspective. In reality it was probably closer to 75 feet. It's lower limbs had long since been trimmed away to make cutting the grass around it easier. Now the first limbs beckoned from what seemed an impossible 15 feet above me (to be cont'd)   

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Son of a Maker

I was born the son of a maker. I did not realize this growing up. I thought everyone's dad made stuff. It was only later, that I realized my good fortune-- to grow up around someone  who seemed able to make anything and who was always making something. From the the house he built and still lives in today, to the riding lawnmower that looked like a  Mad Max vehicle, he built things not because he had to, but because he wanted to. While my creations pale in comparison to the things he built, I still love to create. It is what led me to get a degree in Industrial Design--the ultimate degree for makers. Now with the advent of the internet, I have yet another set of tools with which to create, using words and pictures. Another project. The story of my life. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I am creating this blog for several reasons, one, simply to create, and two, to serve as a journal of my many ongoing projects big and small that I want to make, am making, and have made