Tag Archives: Meranti wood

Felting is Fun! Part 2

10 Dec

What am I felting next? These days my routine has changed, and felting is my go-to activity when I need a break. To start a new miniature – DIY project number 23 is too time-consuming, especially with the year ending, Christmas coming, and so many things to do. I can forget carving too, as there’s not enough time for this as well.

The differences I find between these hobbies are many. Crafting and carving take a lot of time, patience, and discipline. In comparison, felting and carving require more creativity and the visualization process. My only hindrance is my inability to create what I see in my mind. By this deduction, carving on Meranti wood (not balsa) is, by far, the hardest.

But for now, felting is the way to go for me because it keeps me on my toes, as far as creativity is concerned. It’s a nice variation to balance my time, and it is satisfying to create something out of nothing.

My latest felting piece. What is it?

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.

The Gnome Trio

21 Jun

Last two weeks, I took a break from building miniatures and carved instead. I must say, it has turned out good this divergence. However, my tools are very trying. They are not as sharp as before, and it has been a challenge to get things right.

From the initial outline of the Gnome Trio, the outcome has evolved as I progress along. Delicate parts broke off when I exerted too much strength. As such, I had to modify the shape along the way.

The Gnome Trio

But I don’t think one can tell, especially if I don’t have the original picture next to the finished piece. It looks good, and I’m pleased with my efforts.

Over the weekend, I completed the tail-end of some more detailing work. Then I did a little more sanding down before applying a coat of gesso. I’m at the tail-end of adding colors before the final touch of a varnish finish.

Gesso for a white base then the signature red cap for all three!

And voila! The Gnome Trio will be at the front of the house proudly.

The Year That Wasn’t

1 Jan

Goodbye Year 2020! What a year it turned out to be. I felt that it was a year that wasn’t – in other words, we were, firstly, short-changed for nine months in our lives and secondly, didn’t turn out so great as many envisioned it would be.

Before reaching this nice number, people, myself included, thought it would be a spectacular year. But alas, how wrong we all were. The Covid-19 pandemic created so much havoc in the world. And everything is never the same again.

Gone are the closeness and freedom that we took for granted with our movement with friends, society in general, and places we visit; in place, it is now constant caution, fear to a certain degree, and restriction.

For me, I felt my 2020 was just three months only, the first quarter of the year. After we went into lockdown in March, the next nine months, day-in, day-out felt like deja-vu. A new routine was born, and old habits had to give way because we had to learn to adjust to the new normal. Thank goodness we didn’t go crazy with cabin fever, and instead, discovered ourselves in many other aspects.

I learned to appreciate my friends, the home, and family more. Although work at the office took a beating to practically zero design work in March and April, it did not dampen our spirits. M2 came back from Ireland and had an extended six-month summer break. M1 stayed put, and we talked every morning to keep her company.

The new normal made both of us manage our time better to be more productive in other things. Hubby learned to bake, an unthinkable endeavor in all the years that I have known him, and I brushed up my cooking skills to widen the variety in our meals because eating out was not an option.

I also picked up a new hobby to keep myself busy after my Meranti wood supply for carving depleted by May. From June onwards, I started working on DIY miniature sets, and have completed nine DIY sets thus far in a spate of six months.

Another good thing that came out of this situation was my golf game, which improved tremendously. With downtime in the office, I was playing more golf than ever. After the lockdown eased, and golf was allowed because it is an outdoor activity, I was golfing up to four times a week! So maybe the year wasn’t that bad after all on the personal front despite being in deja-vu mode.

As 2020 is behind us now, it does not mean the pandemic is over. Far from it, in fact. We should remain vigilant, put on our masks whenever we are in public areas, and keep a one-meter distance apart to be safe.

A toast to a better year ahead – may 2021 bring better fortune and goodness for everyone. Happy New Year, and stay safe wherever you are!

It’s Rather Monumental, Part 2

19 Jun

In between working on the DIY homes, I decided to complete the Monument piece. I knew what I had to do if it was to be converted to become a door stopper. I couldn’t just glue the carving to the wedge as is because it won’t be strong enough to hold together.

So I carved an interlocking section in the joining area of both pieces for better support. The snug fit then had Elmer’s glue added for additional strength.

Thankfully, the whole process didn’t take long and all it needed after that was time for the glue to dry and a coat of varnish. A pat on the shoulder for me for the well-done effort!

 

It’s Rather Monumental

8 Jun
My eight inch Monument of Gigglesville

As expected, I didn’t take long to complete carving my latest Monument. I am proud to say it’s rather monumental. At a towering height of eight inches, this piece is by far my biggest monument.

I’ve also decided to put it to good use rather than displaying it on the shelf like the rest of the other Monuments.

The wedge

Supporting it will be a wedge that I had painstakingly used the wood planer to shave off to get the correct angle as a door stopper! Clever, ain’t I? It should look good and certainly very practical.

Stay tuned for the final piece!

The Next Piece

1 Jun

Soon after the ginormous Gnome was completed, a change on subject matter to carve would be good. After all, I ran out of wood for Whales. However I do have an abundant supply of long Meranti wood pieces, why not carve a Monument?

Honestly, it’s been a while since I last carved a Monument. A quick check on the carving log and my… my… the last one I carved was 2 June 2019, a year ago! So carving another Monument now is apt.

It should be good fun and not too difficult, this piece should not take too long to complete.

Odd One Out

26 May

I took quite sometime to finish the latest Gnome because cooking and cleaning comes first over carving. And when I finally painted it up, it is an odd one.

Same same but different

Certainly a breakaway from the troop, it does not have the blue top or white shoes although it has the red cap like the rest. Well, it’s okay. Sometimes variation is good to make things interesting and also helps to improvise for the better.

However, when a piece in hand is not following a systematic way to carve, like carving the Whale pieces for example, the task in hand becomes challenging. And ginormous Gnome, at the height of 17.5cm was certainly a tough challenge.

One tough cookie… err, Gnome to carve

Well it’s almost completed (the varnishing being the final process), I am now contemplating what my next piece should be. Hmm…

A Totally New Gnome, Part 2

19 May

The latest ginormous Gnome is a ginormous challenge. The balance was off and so much effort has gone into it already. Obviously I did not want to waste the piece and decided to reshape things to save it.

It’s coming along

Days when I have the chance to carve, I’d be focused instead of planning on what to cook for hubby and M2. And this worked out.

Originally, I shaved off too much of the shoes and it wasn’t stable on its feet literally. Hence some patch work was needed to increase the footprint and this decision turned out well.

The cap was problematic from the beginning and I stressed over this. So I filed it, vigorously if I may add to shape the overall to look like what it is now. As best as I tried, it is still lop-sided. This fella certainly wears his cap differently from the rest.

I’m at the tail-end working on ginormous Gnome. Despite all the imperfections, I’m rather pleased with the result. The homestretch to complete now is just sanding to fine tune the lines and putty work on the holes before the gesso and paint process.

A Totally New Gnome

8 May

I have stopped carving Whales for almost a month already for a couple of reasons. Number one reason being no more correct sized Meranti wood. However it’s not that I have zero wood supply anymore, it’s just that there’s a lot of odd-sized pieces. And it would be too tedious to trim to the size required.

Second reason being I wanted a change. With the 60th Whale (in total since the beginning) completed on 12 April, I felt like a factory, having carved a dozen of the same thing during the MCO (Movement Control Order) period.

So a week after Whale #60, I started on a new ginormous Gnome. But this totally new Gnome had a lot of ups and downs.

Plans to carve daily did not work out well as I had to juggle between cooking and design work. Throw in meal times and playing Homescapes, I simply did not have the luxury to sit down for a few uninterrupted hours to carve. And as work picked up too, this was far more important than all other activities. Hence progress on the piece was slow.

By the time I had the chance to sit and carve–and this would be by nightfall–I would be so tired mentally and physically, there’s no more energy left to even lift the carving knife.

Then there were errors and hiccups working on the piece. The initial outline on the big two-piece Meranti block looked okay with a slight tilt of the cap but when I got down to it, not only was I off, I managed to nick my finger without realizing. The Gnome ended up with a very obvious lop-sided cap and a slightly bloodied nose. Oops…

The cap turned out too lop-sided!
Sweat and blood stains

It’s not only a totally new Gnome but a totally new challenge as well. I thought the Little Birdy was tough, this one was equally if not more. But I ploughed on because I don’t have the correct sized wood for Whales.