How do you recreate in wood an iconic childhood toy? With a little bit of wood, some sandpaper, great attention to how close your fingers are to a sawblade, and time. Lots of time.Read more
Being a child of the 80s, I’m a big fan of the Transformers. As a young parent I still had a number of my original toys as my kids got into the series. It is one of my dearest memories; watching the cartoon with my kids as they played with those same toys.
I’ve made wood toy cars and wood toy robots, but not both at the same time. The cars could be stood up on end and be made into a “robot”, and the robots could be rearranged to make a “vehicle.” But I never got around to making a transforming robot vehicle.
UNTIL NOW!Read more
HANDMADE: A TALE OF PRODUCTION
Part One: That Old Magical Cabinet
by Don Clark
We open on the weary toymaker, Henry. He makes loads of old timey wood toys inside the coolest little workshop that was formerly the cutest little barn. It’s not a barn barn. More like an outbuilding that sheep (or something) lived in.You wouldn’t know that now though. Henry re-outfitted the building decades ago. He heats it in the winter with a pot-bellied stove fueled by shop wood scraps. Handy. Henry had the shortest commute he knew of – about fifty feet. He and his wife lived in an old farmhouse. Their kids were grown
His shop it a cozy little place filled with sunlight, toys, and tools. Some of the tools he’s inherited, but most were picked up at yard sales and the like. He has a professional interest to be sure, but, good grief, he has more rusted hand planes than he’ll ever find the time to restore. Let alone, need. In addition to his power saws, he has four or five dozen handsaws. Maybe six? And let’s be honest here; you can make do when one or two. Henry has a half dozen hand-drills. Like he needs any more help adding to his arthritis.
On top of all this, he’s not even sure what some of the tools are.
That doesn’t matter though. Henry’s chief interest is the tool’s owners and their stories.
Take that saw over there. Some old fella used that saw for thirty years before he was just too old. Then he spent a decade first cupping his ear and saying “WHAT?,” before relenting to the inevitable and just nodding when someone spoke to him.
Then he passed, where his tools, rusted from an untended decade in the garage, were sold at an estate sale. His children and grandchildren holding back tears as they swapped old stories. But the tools don’t look like much, they mostly went unsold. Henry can’t bear to think of those tools being shuttled off for scrap.
He bought all the unsold tools. Henry had to keep those tools in use.
Because he can’t bear to think of his old tools suffering a scrap-yard fate.
This is our toymaker. Making toys for the young folks, some of which have grown up to buy his toys for their young folks. Read more
In recognition of the abnormal, weird, disturbing, and just plain scary, we present:
Terrifying Tales from the Attic!
Nefarious Noises from the Cellar!
Shocking Stories of Crossed Wires!
The Horrors of Home Repair!
– or –
How to get your ‘new‘ old home at a scary cheap price!
The sunlight is waning; the leaves are falling. The chill in the air tingles your skin. The moon rises. You think you’re safe inside your own home when you hear the growling noise vibrating through the walls.Now! You must stop and ask yourself this: Do you want the noise to be a reanimated poltergeist intent on doing ill to your home and family.
A fault in the mechanical system that will lead to a series of repairs, lost weekends, and countless buckets of spilled cash?
We will help you answer such a question as we now enter the home of Mr and Ms Levitt. John and Susan. They have two lovely young children and are whispering about a third.
Eight years ago, when Mr and Ms Levitt were newlyweds, they thought they knew what they were getting themselves into when they purchased a one-hundred-and-something year old house. A long-past-its-prime Victorian that had suffered through decades of half-hearted repairs, misguided renovations, and plain old neglect.
Now, Ms and Mr Levitt bought the house intent on a proper renovation, and, of course, they knew the unexpected would occur.
They were more right than they knew. Read more
The Daring Adventures of Riley Justice!
Riley Justice, the hard-working (or is it hardly working) accounts-receivable cog helping to keep the corporate machine grinding on, while occasionally foiling Corporate Raider’s sinister plots.
Riley Justice and the Corporate Team Building Exercise in Deception
Where Riley Justice Thinks Outside the Box to Strategically Move to the Rear of Department Restructurement
Accounts Receivable is an efficient and ruthless machine. Invoices are processed and dispatched within hours of completion of contract. Payment is expected statim vel propter aliud. Statim vel propter aliud is a Latin turn of phrase crafted especially for Accounts Receivable. It’s meaning is ambiguous; it’s intent is menacing. Payment is expected upon receipt.
Past-due notices are sent the following day.
Accounts Receivable is an efficient and ruthless machine, but still, there is room for improvement. Thus was formed the once-yearly Planning Exercise in Creative Thinking. PEcT for short. They’re always held off-site at some corporate creative outside the box blue sky center. There’s grass, fresh air, comfortable furniture, and loads of snacks and drinks.
And you can wear shorts. Read more
In 2016, once a month [or so], Happy Bungalow will be pulling back the curtain on the wood shop to show what life is really like owning a small / family / crafty / handmade / diy / maker / struggling / mom&pop business (further referred to as SFCHDMSMP business).
I have been struggling to write this article for months. My life and family’s life was turned upside down this year. Ultimately it was a good thing, but oh man was it a HARD year. So hard that everything suffered, including my business. I won’t go into the details because apparently I can’t get it all straight and on paper.
However, I’m not sure if I’ll continue this whole behind the scenes business. I really want to, but I’m struggling to make it interesting and honest. Especially this previously mentioned article. It’s a mental weight I’m going to put aside now. I’ll focus on writing the fun and silly articles.
I want to say this though – for the small business, the one-man shop, and honestly any living person: Read more
The Hare Hair Stylist
It used to be that journalists had just one job. For instance, a fashion reporter, style reporter, or the offbeat / quirky news specialist. Never was one person called upon to do all four jobs. But times are tough; People just aren’t reading magazines like they used to. Unfortunately many people lost their jobs. Most eventually found new jobs; some even started up their own companies.
But for those left with a job, their blessings were mixed. Yes, they still had a job, but now it had become jobs. Plural. So fashion / style / offbeat beat came to be handled by one person.
Melanie McKay was such a person. This is the time she found herself on the niche interview of her life.
Selling at Craft Shows is Easy
Earning Money at it is a Bit Harder
Doing it Without Breaking a Sweat May Be Impossible
IT’S EASY TO SELL STUFF AT CRAFT SHOWS
Craft shows span the spectrum from the elementary school fundraiser to the High Brow Art Faire. From the 2 hour church bazaar to the hip pop-up shop in the old hat factory. From the corporate office employee-only “farmers market” to the Crafty / Craftin’ / Handmade / Rebel / Outlaw / Misc. Profanity / Etc. Indie Art Show.
In more than four years of business I haven’t set up toy shop at every type of show, but I’ve done most of them. I’ve been out in the baking sun, in back hallways where the scant crowd didn’t even know I was there, out in the cold spring day that unexpectedly turned rain-storm, and at those beautiful shows where people are almost throwing money at me.
Gnome Gnews – Spring Cleaning Edition
5 Spring Maintenance Tips that are Charmingly Easy
Life is beautiful when it’s well maintained.
Practical Home and Garden Maintenance Tips from the Idyllic Gnome Glades.
Clean Vegetation Around Your Air Conditioner(AC) Condenser.
Problem: Do you live outside the perfect Gnome Glades where temperatures rise above the comfortable? Oh dear, we’re sorry to hear that, but taking proper care of your air-cooling machine can be a snap! You only need to clear away the vegetation that has grown up around your air conditioner condenser.
Introducing Our New Serial!
Who Ate All the Fish?
Archibald Penguin, Our Bird,
The Famed Detective.
The Cheeky Penguin who
Loves Fish as Almost as Much as
He Loves Fighting Crime!
Polar Bear — A Hungry Animal
The Walrus — A Certain Tusked Mammal
Seal — A Happy Fellow
Pelican — A Creature with a Large Mouth
Archibald Penguin — Our Bird
Henrietta Puffin — Penguin’s Ever-Present Companion
Shark — A Miracle of Evolution
Killer Whale — Poster-Fish for the Misunderstood
“But there is one thing missing Ms. Puffin.”
“Indeed Penguin. Indeed. What do you suppose is the cause of this?”
“What my dear Puffin?” Our bird spun on his webbed feet to look inland. “Or more precisely who?” The pair looked down at four sets of footprints leading inland. “This cove is normally teeming with fish, but there are none to be seen. What is to be seen, however, are three sets of footprints.”
“Yes,” Ms. Puffin added, “If I’m correct, the tracks of the Walrus, Seal, and Polar Bear.”
“ I concur. I purpose we follow the trail of the Walrus. The trail looks particularly heavy.”
“Laden with a multitude of fish?”
“Perhaps that is so. Let us go and find out Ms. Puffin.”