The family was playing in the front yard the other day and while we turn up our share of cicada shells, never have we found a live cicada emerging from it’s old shell.  It was our lucky day.  While playing, we watched this little guy for more than an hour.

Happy-Bungalow-cicada-alt001-570 Happy-Bungalow-cicada-alt002-570 Happy-Bungalow-cicada-alt003-570 Happy-Bungalow-cicada-alt004-570 Happy-Bungalow-cicada-alt005-570 Happy-Bungalow-cicada-alt006-570

We also put together a little stick house; for bugs, fairies, or whatnot.

Happy-Bungalow-stick-house-outdoor-craft-alt001-570 Happy-Bungalow-stick-house-outdoor-craft-alt002-570

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Miniature Kitchen Cabinets

Miniature furniture is perfect for my small shop.  Transitioning from woodworking as a hobby into a business the new tools, more wood, and project storage space has severely cut into the shop free space.  So full size furniture building is a trickier proposition.Happy-Bungalow-miniature-furniture-custom-cabinetry-kitchen-alt002-570

This is a kitchen I modeled on my own full size kitchen.  Except in real life I don’t have room for an island.  And I don’t have the nice walnut furniture piece you see on the left (though I do have an herb garden in a window box – not a bad trade).


The little brass knobs I bought, but the dark walnut knobs I made.  Tiny little suckers.  A bit more than 1/16th inch square.  I don’t have any dedicated miniature tools, but I’ve learned to cut accurate scale lumber on full size saws.Happy-Bungalow-miniature-furniture-custom-cabinetry-kitchen-alt001a-570

It was a real chore to come up with the counter-tops and have them look something like stone.  Real stone doesn’t come in 1/8 sheets (too brittle I suppose) and laminate isn’t at the right scale.  In ended up painting thin pieces of oak in multiple layers while the paint was still wet.  It has sort of a marbled look – I’ll keep working.


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Wood Hardware Finished with Fire

Before there were The Kids the only residents in this Happy Bungalow were Liz and myself.  We were alone in a house in need of major renovation:


Let me tell you, fixer-uppers are a lot funner when you’re watching someone else do the work on television.  Though, no one at the Bungalow is shy about working hard, so out came the tools, and something like nine months later there’s this:


But before there were these:



the cabinets were devoid of hardware.  The kitchen renovation was done as frugally as possible.  Buying nice cabinet hardware would have cost more than the cabinets did.  But I figured if I could make the cabinets, I could make the hardware.  Originally I was going to make sand molds, melt aluminum cans in a cast-iron pots, and pour the molten metal into the molds.  Violla!  Rough-hewn, hand-crafted, custom-hardware.  (triple hyphenated-word threat)

Then I did a little aluminum research.  It melts at something like 1200 degrees.  I’m pretty sure my skin melts at a lower temperature.  Hmm.

So I ended up with this:

Happy-Bungalow-cabinet-hardware-wood-knob-unique-poplar-FIRE-alt001-300Which is the basic shape I had in mind for the aluminum hardware, just made from wood.  Though I did keep fire involved.  The dark color isn’t stain – it’s scorch marks.  With a torch, each knob was burned and quickly dunked into a water bath.

Happy-Bungalow-cabinet-hardware-wood-knob-unique-poplar-FIRE-alt004-570The color of each piece is different; sort of like a snowflake.  Love these knobs so much you need them in your house?  Head over to the Bungalow’s shop and pick some up today. Happy-Bungalow-cabinet-hardware-wood-knob-unique-poplar-FIRE-alt006-570

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Fresh Tomatoes


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Easy Saw Blade Cleaning DIY

This post may start off a bit dull, but by the end, I think it will be looking mighty sharp.  That’s right – it’s a sawblade sharpening post!

Clean and sharp saw blades cut cleaner and are much safer than dull and dirty blades.  Keep your saw blades cutting better by cleaning them regularly.  The cleaning process is easy and cheap.  Skip the fancy “systems”  you see in catalogs – you only need five things to clean your saw blades:  Soap, Water, an old toothbrush, a plastic container big enough to hold your blade, and a towel.

I use a cat-litter box (never-used) for washing in.  The plastic is soft and won’t ding the tips of the saw blade like a metal pan might.  I add car-wash soap or dish soap (whatever’s handy) to an inch of water.  Place the saw blade in the water and let sit for five minutes.  Then brush off the pitch on the blade with a toothbrush.  Rinse with clean water and dry with a towel.  Repeat with your other dirty blades.  It’s as simple as that.


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Fairies and Unicorns!

Fairies and Unicorns.  All the girls here at the Bungalow love the fairies’ newest friend:  The Unicorn.  I hope you’ll love them too.


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Magic Wands!

Just wrapped up a wholesale order for 125 magic wands.  Sounds like picture time.  I think I’ll have to do a follow up post showcasing the more than 125 pictures I took ( I did not realize the continuous shutter scaled down the size of each picture ).




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Pa and the Dragon

The full title:

“Pa Never Thought Much of the Sinkhole Until the Dragon Came out of It”

wood + geode + dragon

(scroll to the send for more yapping)

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More about this piece:

Pa stands outside the barn eying the infant dragon crawling from her egg.  Another figure watches the scene from the porch.

I sell at a weekly farmer’s market along with some guys selling rocks, minerals, and gems.  I picked up some pieces of quartz and some geodes.  What to do with them?  I started off with the quartz and channeling Renaissance Festivals past I thought of wizards and dragons.  So I start doodling castles and imaginary lands, but I wasn’t feeling it.

I liked the dragon idea though.  Then poof -  a farm hits me.  A dragon crawling out of a sinkhole!  I put down the pencil and start digging around the shop.  The top board is a piece of maple I had been saving for a furniture piece (a table), but I thought it made a great sinkhole.  A piece of oak made the perfect subterranean earth.

Originally the geode was to be the mouth of a cave, but the scale of the buildings and the process said the geode served better as an egg.  Pa thought the egg just another hunk of rock and earth.  The sinkhole a convenient dump.  Now though.  Now he doesn’t know what to make of it.

The geode is from an Indiana creek.  The top board is maple with natural knot hole.  The lower board is oak.  The other woods are a mix of poplar, walnut, hickory, cedar, oak (again), maple (again), walnut, and cherry.  While not built to scale, the buildings are roughly an eighth of an inch to a foot.

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wood + wax + copper

I’ve had this piece of wood laying around the shop for years now.  A slice of red oak covered in red wax.  When a tree is cut down and ripped into rough lumber the ends of the boards are coated in wax (or something similar) to prevent the wood from drying quickly.  This piece of lumber was overly slathered in wax – it’s different – it looks cool.  I kept it to the side.

So what you see is naturally unnatural.  I applied the little walnut structures and inserted the copper wire.  During the production of this piece I slightly damaged an existing flaw in the wood.  Care will need to be exercised to avoid further degradation.

Happy-Bungalow-Abasement-wood-sculpture-storytelling-wood-copper-wax-alt006-570 Happy-Bungalow-Abasement-wood-sculpture-storytelling-wood-copper-wax-alt002-570 Happy-Bungalow-Abasement-wood-sculpture-storytelling-wood-copper-wax-alt008-570 Happy-Bungalow-Abasement-wood-sculpture-storytelling-wood-copper-wax-alt007-570 Happy-Bungalow-Abasement-wood-sculpture-storytelling-wood-copper-wax-alt003-570 Happy-Bungalow-Abasement-wood-sculpture-storytelling-wood-copper-wax-alt004-570

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Robot Love

Some love from the January 2013  issue of Cincinnati Magazine


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