Tag Archives: balsa wood

A New Hobby

29 Nov

M1 recently gifted me a new hobby kit – a complete felting kit. I talked about wanting to try felting but never followed through because I was obsessed with crafting DIY miniatures. She must have remembered and bought the kit for me to try. Of course, I was thrilled when I received it.

The latest activity to try

But I was also afraid to even start on it. What if I don’t like this new hobby? What if I do like it? Then, how do I plan my schedule? As it is, I have so many things to do to keep me busy.

There’s the crafting of DIY miniatures. Currently, I am at the tail-end of DIY project number 22. And there’s carving on balsa and meranti wood to make my Citizens of Gigglesville and gnomes of all shapes and sizes.

Let’s not even delve into painting, which I have my easel and several canvases sitting there collecting dust. Throw in the cooking, cleaning, golf, and occasionally, some design work – there’s hardly any time left. And now, with a new hobby venture, how do I divide my time? Tough.

New Carving Direction

3 Feb

It’s February already but I must say with the new year and new decade, I thought it’d be good if I embarked on new shapes to carve to expand my collection and ability.

Towards the end of last year, I was debating what I should carve next when my margarita partner sort of decided for me. She was in Japan (last year) and stumbled upon some cute figurines during her travel. And after several exchanges with me on WhatsApp, I decided on this cute little Yew wood piece from Takayama. It’s not cheap, let me tell you.

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My carving/whittling skills have improved tremendously from my first piece to what I am able to do now. But I want to push myself further to do more challenging pieces. So cute little bird will be my mould to try. So stay tuned for the progress on this!

A New Direction

8 Nov

After the bout of carving six Citizens not too long ago, I was ready for another big piece. Suddenly carving big pieces is the way to go! This latest attempt at another Ginormous Gnome is again a combination of three Meranti wood, making it the second piece with three glued pieces.

This time there’s no add-ons for depth, learning from the previous piece. Also I am unfazed by the height because I know what to do. And there certainly won’t be any hole in the cap because I sketched the Gnome to be smaller with plenty of room to shape.

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Let the carving begin!

These days I seem to prefer carving big pieces over little Gnomes as it does not aggravate the left wrist because I don’t need to have a dead grip with the left hand. If you must know, carving Citizens is not painful because it’s on soft balsa, not semi-hard Meranti wood.

But I still have to find the right balance with this new direction because at times, the right golf elbow can still be aggravated if I’m at it too long – the repetitive motion on the semi-hard Meranti.

Sometimes if I have a weekend game coming up, I’d carve less to prevent any recurrence of pain. However if the pain persist on game day, I have no choice but to pop painkillers and use Salonpas patches to subdue it.

Perhaps with the new lighter golf set making golf enjoyable again, I can find the middle ground to have satisfaction to enjoy both golf and carving simultaneously without giving up one or the other.

I’ll see how, until then onwards with the new piece!

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Slowly but surely it’s coming along!

A Good Push

8 Oct

Pumped by the satisfaction of Ginormous Gnome being completed, it was odd I couldn’t push myself to start on the next Whale despite plans to do so and having all that energy to carve. Plus I had just given away yet another Whale, two pieces within a week, it’s reason enough to get back to producing Whales.

Citizens #188 right through to #193!

Instead there was a sudden burst for the Citizens of Gigglesville. Within a few days, six new Citizens came about! Which was kind of nice because this means I should be able to reach 200 in its population count sooner that I thought I would.

However, in the midst of this, I found myself planning yet another Ginormous Gnome as I have started the process for it. Should be interesting how this one will turn out after the trials and error from the last one.

Glued and clamped to have a big block

More New Colors, Part 2

26 Apr

It’s hard to stay away from carving Whales. After the balsa bout, I itched to get back to Meranti, so here’s Whale 28. This fella’s a bit odd in size because the wood block that’s available is wider than most of the other pieces that I have done. Oh well.

It is kinda cute in its own way and once I paint it with the new pearl Pink Taffeta color, it will just be so gorgeous!

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More New Colors

25 Apr

I thought carving up Citizen #182 was significant so I bought new colors to commemorate it. This time, I decided to introduce shiny colors for variety.

So besides painting up Citizen #182 in pearl Taffeta Pink, #183 was also given the new color, the glitter blue. Not content with this, I then refreshed a few earlier Citizens, adding clear glitter on top of their existing colors.

Maybe this year, glitter is the way to go as this latest batch look very pretty and shiny. I like ‘em.

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Picture not giving the gloss and glitter enough prominence

Win-Win-Win-Win Situation

11 Apr

This 16/8 diet seems to be really good for me. So far, coupled with my activities, it’s been effective – I feel good and there’s more to this. That’s why I call it a win-win-win-win situation.

The 16/8 is strictly on weekdays but I have lost weight. Win number one.

On weekends, I play golf. Win number two. And after golf, a nice lunch where I would eat and basically don’t restrict myself. I only avoid food that can cause discomfort due to my Endometriosis. But as I now eat at a 16/8 time frame, my tummy has shrunk and no matter what nice food are on the table, I don’t eat a lot.

The best part, I also drink during lunch. Win number three. A couple of whiskey shots, not necessarily excessive but enough to feel good. Sometimes at home at night, a glass of wine to relax. Alcohol, I must admit is one thing I can’t give up. I should stay away from beer though because unlike, wine and whiskey, I tend to drink more and that’s not good.

And I wouldn’t say I eliminated sugar totally as I do find myself snacking on some candies and cookies occasionally during the window to eat. Win number three and a half?

For the final win number four? Carving of course! I have turned to balsa for now because the existing stock pile of Meranti wood are not the right sizes for carving any Whales or even Gnomes. Basically a lot more work is needed to cut them to size and I avoided this to preserve the wrist prior to the Iron Challenge golf tournament.

But now that the tournament is done and over, I am in a good place to go back to carving, first with balsa to increase the population count of my Citizens of Gigglesville and eventually back on Meranti. What a win-win-win-win situation indeed.

Citizen #182

9 Apr

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Citizen #182 from all angles

After a four and a half months break, 26 Whales, two Monuments and nine Gnomes later, I finally carved a Citizen of Gigglesville. What a long break. I had almost forgotten how to carve a Citizen on balsa, taking a longer time than I normally would with #182, the first one for 2019.

But it looks good, I must say. It was awkward to hold, being so small and the balsa being so soft; I have forgotten what it’s like to control my strength. Despite all these shortcomings, I am pleased because there’s no strain at all on the left gripping hand and I can play golf without any nagging pain.

Maybe I should continue with more Citizens on balsa instead of the others on Meranti to preserve the hand. Reaching 200 population count is not impossible if I keep at this.

Killer Whales

12 Feb

Actually, carving on Meranti wood is not good for me. While it may be satisfying to channel my energy into it and then feel the joy whenever a lovely piece is completed, the choice of the wood is the culprit that adds to my Wrist Tendonitis woes.

I was carving a lot of Meranti whales in December and they are much bigger pieces than the Gnomes and Citizens, which unfortunately have not increase in their population count. And being bigger pieces, it magnified the Wrist Tendonitis on the left hand because I have been gripping the wood block too tightly, looking back at the situation now. Sigh.

Although I have a vise clamp albeit a mini one, it cannot clamp the block for me to work on. And I have not been using my workbench enough to ease the situation. It is not the repetitive motion that’s causing the flare up because the repetition is on the right hand, the carving hand, and not the left hand – the non-working but gripping hand.

If I am not carving daily, the situation can be contained because with ample rest, nothing gets aggravated and it’s fine. The therapy sessions, which concluded, helped but I must not overdo things that can cause a recurrence. That something obviously being carving, of course. And I guess I overdid it in December. Oops.

Then in January as we were busy preparing for M2 to leave, carving took a backseat. But after M2 left, I was back to carving whales full swing AND playing golf before Chinese New Year, double whammy you could say. I felt a teeny weeny set back. Uh oh.

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The whales, cute as they may be, are really killer whales. And I’d better take care especially if I want to play more golf this year. Perhaps I should go back to balsa instead of Meranti or get a bigger vise clamp if setting up the workbench is too much? Something to seriously consider.

Leader of the Pack

10 Jan

Besides buying hubby a gift for his birthday last month, I also asked him if he would like his own personal Gnome, carved on the same date as his birthday. Of course, being my biggest fan and supporter, he said yes.

But he wanted his Gnome to be different from the rest and this complicated matters. Haish… Why put me in a spot? If it were to be different he would have to wait until his next birthday because I need to develop my characters and this takes time. Can’t just happen overnight, what more on the day itself and not earlier considering it should be a birthday Gnome. Hmm…

So we compromised. Carved on Meranti and not balsa, it dons a golden yellow cap instead of the usual red. And although it’s shorter than the other Meranti Gnomes, it is taller than the balsa Gnomes. Sounds complicated. Nonetheless, he loved it and decided that his Gnome will be the designated leader of the pack. Cute little fella I must say.

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