Larry.s Creative Zone

Larry.s Creative Zone

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thursday's Things........


This is a real bale of hay.  I took a double take the other day while in the school's woodworking shop.  The kids were creating for someone, two of them, fake bales of hay.  They were to be used as deer hunting blinds, that were as large or larger than this real bale of hay.  The were constructed with curved joists and then covered with a cloth mesh like material.  The color match was perfect for humans but I bet the deer could smell a person inside of them.

They are now positioned out in the field to allow hunters to fool the deer.  I don't know if they place them in a field with real bales but the fake ones were really good except for the little flap doors that were installed on the ends of them.


A gift from a blogger friend that I received last year.  I don't know if it is actually glass blown but it sure seems to be the real thing.  I really like it.  We hung this on our tree on Sunday along with our many other decorations.  The antique fish ones don't begin to look as great as this one. We put our largest tree up first this year and the small ones are soon to follow. We have a goal to get my wife's angel tree up tonight, or at least get started on it. The weekend is coming and we think we may be snow stormed in for the two days.  We will wait and see. If we are stuck in we will bring out the rest of the trees.


I swapped a violets with my wife's cousin giving her a multi-colored flowered one.  She gave me a deep red blooming one.  I am going to get back into the business of starting new ones from that violet and I have a couple of others that I want to duplicate. 



I have too many dark blue violets but they are the old fashion ones that just start the easiest for the leaf propagation.  I won't try to create anymore of those plants. I may have to find some new homes for some as I am up to a dozen plants and a third of them are all the old fashion dark blue, or some call it purple.

Today I am speaking Espanol in the classroom.  They are doing worksheets so I am not in trouble.  First hour class is a very mellow bunch but I don't think that the Spanish speakers are all like that. Hopefully the rest of the classes will be this great.

Thanks for stopping by and have a good day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Look at my discovery!


This is a photo of one of the four kittens that were raised out at my garden shed two summers ago.  The mother cat, a feral cat, belonged to the neighbors.  They were made aware of them and the little twin girls came over and snatched them back to take them home to raise them. They came different days and captured one kitten at a time.  I hated to loose them even though they were not mine and Barney wouldn't allow them to be near the home. They supposedly raised them in a crate in their living room and they were declared tame. 




This is a photo I posted recently showing a cat huddled against the garden shed.  I took it's photo and didn't make any connection until I was going through my picasa photo files.  It is the same cat! It hangs around in the back yard and Button the mean poodle likes to gently chase it out of the back yard. I have not been able to get close to this one even though they said it was tame. Maybe I  should take some food out with me once in a while. They do get fed off of the front porch next door.

Thanks for stopping by my post today.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gracie Jane........


This cute little girl came to visit us and our dogs on Saturday.  She belongs to my wife's first cousin. Her name is Gracie Jane and she is a Fox Terrier.  She seems small compared to our neighbors Jack Russell dog.

She was very well mannered and thought our dogs were a little loud.  She was not so shy as she was not use to so much noise.  Some of the things that she experienced in her past made her bashful or left her a lot of room to learn new things. She is out there learning new things everyday having been freed from a restricted life.  Her new owners are really nice to her as she is such a sweet little dog.



I keep posting things from the art show that we participated in a few weeks ago.  The ISU students help to design these drafting tables.  They were wired for a large drafting lamp and I bet it was designed to raise and lower for drafting work.



Our dog is doing well.  I told you earlier that he had started a hot spot on his inner leg.  His nervous condition that he created because he pulled out fur to get to a thorn or bur made him turn into a self destructing dog.  He ended up taking most all of his fur off of the inside of one of his legs and also a part of the other.  He would lick and pull hair night and day.  We had to sit with him continually to stop the behavior and to calm him down.  We found a spray that really did help it to stop the soreness and infection.

Two days ago it was complete calm.  He had finally healed up enough to not be bothered by it anymore.  His skin has all started new healing and he has just a little itching which he licks calmly and then he just goes to sleep. We keep spraying the disinfecting medicine on it because it has soothing ingredients in it.  He is back to acting like his normal poodle self.

Thanks for stopping by my post.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bricks and Quilts


While tearing out an old foundation of the small house that was built on the farm, I found some unusual bricks.  They are clay bricks but the structures are different that what I am use to seeing.

The  small single story farm house was built for my wife's parents to live in while her dad worked the farm for his dad.. It was like a hired hand house.  The family lived there until my wife's dad bought the family farm.  They then moved into the big four by four house.


I have brick that look like ceramic tile in my basement  that was put in during the 1940's.  This brick reminded me of that from the farm house, but I have never seen the internal structure configured like this.  It actually is a double thick brick compared to mine and would have made the making of the foundation go faster.  It doesn't have a glaze on it like mine does. 

The house itself that sat on this foundation was accidentally burned down by my father in law during one of his burning sessions that he liked to do in the fall. The foundation had to be ripped out and buried into the basement area and then fill dirt was put on top of it.


This brick came from southern Iowa and it was a paving brick for a street.  It has the grooves in it to help the bonding material to hold on to it.  The material probably was cement or an asphalt like material.


While shooting photos of this quilt I could see squares of different projects that my mom and grandmother had going on in their lives.  My grandmother made stuffed chicken figures from cloth.  There were two sizes but the material is scattered throughout this quilt.  My mom made photo albums that were covered with padded material and the leftovers from that project are also in there.  One of the pieces is actually a scrap from which my mom made for me many years ago. 



Just another shot of the quilt.  I gave it to my son and his wife when they were back from Thanksgiving.  They were very glad to receive it.

I am an office worker today but will probably teach tomorrow.  The staff came back with bad colds or with flu in their families so I am sure I will be subbing a lot more than in the past.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Outdoor views.........


Yucca plant


Raspberry plant leaves


The little guy just keeps guard of the corner intersection all through the seasons.  I bet he has seen people not stop at the corner before proceeding into the intersection. If I get my act together I will try to bring him inside this year before he gets frozen down into the ground.

Have a good Sunday and thanks for stopping by my post.

Creative ventures..........


I spent Friday afternoon trying to get these all hung on the wall.  Every year as things are sold out, I have to rearrange the entire display.  The wall is full of small nail holes which I will eventually fill with filler and then repaint the wall.

I finished this Saturday morning getting the rest of them on the wall.  We didn't actually sell so many with the economy in the ditch but we did remove a lot of them to take to the art show and I needed to rearrange them.  We did sell a few of them out of the bunch.


While I was out planting tulip bulbs I noticed I could find a few thinks to shoot.  After planting I brought out the camera and took a few pictures.  The last two leaves left on the red maple tree.  The look like young late sprouts from the branch,


We ate out breakfast on Friday morning with our oldest son and daughter in law.  I chose the time to send off another quilt.  This one went to Chicago and Andy and Patricia were pleased to receive their now second one.


While I was out taking photos, I turned and saw one of the neighbors many cats sleeping next to to the garden shed.  It wasn't scared of me but the cat did really wish that I would go away so it could go back to sleep.

Thanks for stopping be to visit my blog.  I have been busy enough that I didn't realize that I had missed a day.  I see the earth didn't stand still so it must be ok for me to miss once in a while.  Enjoy your Saturday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Chicken Waterers.....



I picked this up from a pile of rubble and dirt out on the farm.  It was so coated with soil that I didn't know at first what it was.  When I was on my family's farm my parents used these to water our baby chick.  Sometimes they would put a medicine in the water before they would give it to them.




The jar was filled with water and the glass tray was set over of the jar opening.  The whole thing was then flipped over so the water could drain into the glass tray.  Today they sell plastic devices that screw onto the jar and they work the same way.

While on the farm as a youngster my parents would buy baby chicks from the local farm and home store.  In the utility room in our house we put down many layers of newspaper and then took some old table boards and placed them on edge into a square to create a contained area for the chicks.  The weather was too cold usually at the time to put them in the chicken house so they were raised in the house for seven to ten days until they started to gain a few white pin feathers.   It was always a fun time for me to watch them as they would eat and drink freely and grow right before your eyes. They were taken out to the chicken house once they reached maturity to handle the cool air.




They worked well until the chicks grew up to be so large that they could knock them over with their bodies accidentally.  I hope to use this in the summer.   It will be a special thing in which to water the wild birds outside on the patio.

We are having breakfast out today with our son Andy and his wife.  They will return to Chicago today.  They braved the Christmas shopping in Des Moines yesterday and were hoping to get some of that shopping done early.

I have to plant my tulip bulbs today even though the air is cold out there.  It was so nice yesterday that I foolishly didn't do it then.  Christmas decorations seem to be dancing in my head but I don't know if it will develop into any actually work.  I may just spend the day resting again today.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving to you all and your families.  May the day be one that gives us a chance to really appreciate that in which we have been truly blessed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday's Wanderings........


I looked at the African violets today at Lowe's and I resisted the temptation.  I have a lot of them even though most of them are all the same color.


What I did buy was a bag of tulip bulbs.  Our ground is not frozen so I can still get them into the soil.  I bought them for under two dollars. I have not planted new ones in a few years so it will happen the next few days.


I looked at the Christmas cactus and found this one to be the right size and price.  I don't like how they put their starts in the soil in such a random way.  It looks like they did it while they were moving down a conveyor belt. They need to root in more and maybe they would stand up a little more.  I am not so sure that the potting soil is the right thing for them as it looks like starter soil and not real soil.  It is light and fluffy and the pieces act like they could fall out of the container.



I haven't had one of these for a long time and I actually had more colors than pink to choose from.  The white ones are nice but the red one really caught my eye.  I really don't need more plants to care of but these plants take a lot less care and watering.

Thanks for stopping by today.  I hope everyone will have safe travels for tomorrow and that it will be a good Thanksgiving Day for you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The dogs in our lives.......


Barney was a rescue dog who ran in circles and under tables banging into everything on the way.  He has mellowed out a lot and as you can see he has the luxury life of napping on the love seat.  He loves the cold weather and really does like sleeping in the old bay window as it is cooler there than in other parts of the living room.  Yes, I know the dog shouldn't be on the furniture but the dogs seem to be the boss of me.


Button Dog walked into the light for his photo shoot.  He doesn't seem to mind if I take his picture.  We have had a bad week with him but all is better now.  When he gets something in his fur and we are not around to notice it, he takes it out of his fur.  The problem is that he takes it out of his pulling the fur and all.

We have had him do this before and we never know what is going on until he has taken major areas of fur off of his body.  It was a mess.  We were gone for the art show and when we came back he had cleaned off the fur of an entire inside of his back leg.  He had hit other areas also and then he would stop.  Once he gets the fur out, he has pain and then thinks he still needs to remove the stinging areas. He becomes this nervous mess and me and my wife become a nervous mess.

We have had to sit with him night and day to keep him from continuing to hurt himself. He would sleep with us wrapped in a towel and we still would have to waken and stop him from bothering it.  We found a disinfectant spray with aloe in it that actually seems to numb the area.  His turn around time started about two days ago and he slept through the night completely last night for the first time in seven days.  He doesn't know that he is making it worse and his licking it really does help it but he also disturbs the healing time by licking it too much.  With the spray, it seems to settle him and he just falls down on a very soft towel and then sleeps.  He is out of the woods but we still sit with him if possible just to keep the healing going.

One time he had a cockle burr stuck under his chin and he then removed all of the fur from his chest before we knew what had happened.



I am going to finish today's blog with a remember when photo.  Our spring was so green and sunny.  I thought it was a nice memory to share.

I am a physical education teacher part of the day and a techie man the rest of the day. No school tomorrow so I will sleep in to 7:00 then.  Thanks for stopping by my posting for the day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ready for winter....

Woodward, Iowa

The grain in the field I believe has all been harvested.  They were still at it a couple of weeks ago but our dry weather has allowed all of it to be harvested.  I did see a field in southern Iowa last Friday that hasn't been worked on but sometimes they don't pick it.  I don't know the circumstances of it but a field can be left for no reason through spring not being harvested.

Just to let you know I did finally get my patio furniture put away for storage.  It wasn't snowing and blowing wildly this year so it was a rare sight to see me doing it on a good day.

I did get my gazing ball carried over towards the basement stair door and it will go downstairs before it gets frozen into the ground. Most years I think of it too late and it has to winter outside. I even took in most of my little statues for the winter.

I mowed over some of my flower beds this year and yet I like to leave some of the dried stems for the beauty of them in the snow. Button and Barney were wearing the dead leaves into the house and it was getting to be difficult to have to sweep them up two or three times a day.  I pulverized them with the mulching mower and that has stopped some of the leafy transporting.


Here is another one of my leaves that I brought in from the side yard.  The subtle colors and textures are so nice.  This is actually a shiny leaf and it weathers better than the silver maple leaves.  I will never have my leaves all picked up and I don't really care.  The first mowing of the spring grass will take care of any leftovers.

I am in the high school math room today.  The teacher is so sick that he wasn't able to make out lesson plans.  I hope I don't catch that particular form of viral infection.  It is a quiet day so far and I can just hear my keyboard making sounds as the students are all using their free time to catch up on homework.



I talked to my oldest son last night and he and his wife are coming to Iowa for Thanksgiving.  His wife is allergic to cats and dogs so we will be going to the Machine Shed for our meal.  We will find a place afterwards that is open to hang out for a while and then they will go back to Chicago in the afternoon,  I am going to use their visit to be an opportunity to give out some family things from Andy's grandmother.  I have another quilt for them to take home with them now that they have a home in Arlington Heights, Illinois.  The above quilt is actually my youngest son's quilt that I gave them but the one I want to give to the old son is a similar quilt as above only it is done in tan's and browns.  I thought I had a photo of it but guess that I don't.  My mom had so many quits and I will give more of them out as time allows. Photographing all of the quilts should be a good job for this winter before I send them out to new homes.

Have a good Monday and take care.  Thanks for stopping by to visit my blog.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Look what I found......among the brown and gray.


I have a ornamental pear tree and a chokecherry tree that keep putting out these stunning leaves.  As I worked in the yard I really couldn't help myself and had to pick them up for a later photo shoot.

The zinnia patch is finally gone, with the stems pulled from the ground. The neighbor's leaves are chopped up that were collecting among the dead stems.  I burned the stems and other stray branches from my yard along with  a few leaves as tender to get it started.


I tell everyone to water there violets only once a week and in most cases that does seem a successful regime to keep them healthy.  But as you view these violets the furnace is on and they became dried out enough to start to wilt.  I think that it had been a week and a half since I watered as we were too busy last week for me to get the job done.  They will look better tomorrow.


Another old thing that will need some restoration.  I found it in the old farmhouse and it looks like an old medicine cabinet.  It looked like there had been a door hinged on the front and it could have been a mirror.  Perhaps the mirror broke or the mirror was removed and hung on the wall when a  new cabinet was purchase.  Whatever it was I do know that the outside wood is a hardwood and maybe a little paint remover will show how nice all the wood might be.  I can see my antique collections of things fitting into this shelving unit of old.

It is Sunday and it is cold in Iowa today.  We dropped twenty five degrees from morning yesterday and it was 30 degrees by Saturday evening.  Have a restful day and thanks for checking in on my post.

A Preview of a Future Blog.......


This will be a short blog today as I need to get outside and work.  I am giving you a blog tease by showing you this chair.  I will need to take better photos of it and then will proceed with the story on a later posting. 

The tease for the future story is the relevance of Abraham Lincoln and this chair.  No this chair was not Mr. Lincoln's but I will share more on another day.

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy you weekend.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Warmer weather predicted for Saturday.....


I should be able to get out Saturday and finish up on my outdoor work with warmer weather predicted.  I won't rake up the leaves in the orchard area as they just become a part of the soil.

Life is so busy but I will be back soon with many more words for you to read.  Thanks for stopping by...........

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday's Things......


 This is another work by Carolyn Guay an artist who was showing at our event last weekend.  I really liked the things she created and the colors in this one are so rich.  Look closely at it and see how many different kinds of things that are in her tessellation design.


This is an archived photo of two bottles and a cuckoo clock planter.  The blue of this glass is so remarkable to see and the clock doesn't ever change it's time.  I haven't planted anything in it but maybe I will pick up a cactus or small vine for it.

I mulched-mowed my leaves yesterday and I am almost done.  I really don't have the need to have my grass looking like a freshly vacuumed living room carpet so you know I have left a few leaves out there.

My mower is in such bad shape as the oil needs to be changed again and the air cleaner gets filled up with the powder of the mulched leaves.  Because the oil is old it cloggs up the spark plug so all in all the owner needs to maintain his machinery.  I have mowed two yard with it for three summers and it is worn out because it was not made with great quality.  I call the mower a disposable as the country that makes them figures we will just throw them into the landfill and buy another one every couple of years.

Because of the problems it was having it quit working late in the afternoon.  I had all but one peony bush left to  pulverize and I had not made it to the dead zinnia patch.  So one more day and I will have that completed.  I will pull the zinnia stems and then mow off the debris under that.



In spite of our hard freezes that we have been having I noticed my mums were still hanging in for the last of the season.  I am assuming that they are sort of freeze dried and will turn brown eventually.

I miss all the color of the last three seasons and I am just gearing up to find appreciation for the white stuff.  Snow can be beautiful but I have to work myself into recognizing that at this time of the year.









Thanks for stopping by today. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A future project......



I found this in the attic of the farmhouse of two generations of family.  The house is now gone but we save a little of it for memories.  The Grandmother of the family moved out of the house and I really don't know how much she took with her.  My wife's family had moved into the house and a lot of furniture came into the house from friends and distant family members.  A lot of things are of unknown origin. My wife had a small vanity that a great Aunt has specifically given her when she was young and we now have that in the basement.

This piece really does look like doll furniture as it is small. It could have been like a jewelry chest and could have sit on a table against the wall.  The work I do with it will be creative charity as there just isn't much here to work with but I can do it.  It originally had a mirror on the left side and one drawer had been left in it's original finish. As you can see there is one original drawer pull.   The rest is really a finish of dirt and grim and is very aged. It sat near an open attic window for a few years.

I saw at the art show where a man made chest of drawers with wood different than it base frame and I could do that.  I also could just make the two horizontal spaces into shelving spaces.  Right now it is just in storage awaiting my time and inspiration to set in.  Right now I will be going home and finally get to the raking of my leaves.  It will be a cold 43 degrees out there but I will warm up as I work.

I am a tech guy again today and my boss is keeping me quite busy.  Thanks for stopping by to see my post today.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday's Things.....


Our neighbor's booth was occupied by two different artists.  One was a retired art teacher who sold tessellation designs and the other was a stained glass artist who owns a business there in the town.  There are very few glass items as this was taken on preview showing night and she had not really brought much up for her table. She brought a lot of other things up the next day.

The Christmas tree is neat as it was made out of many pieces of twigs.  It was a display piece in which to hang free gingerbread cookies for visitors to the booth.  She had purchased it and I don't know if it was a commercial piece or a craftsperson made it.


This is a piece that Carolyn Guay created using a mathematical style of design to repeat shapes. Tessellation design was first found in a Dutch artist's work, Escher.  You can see there are different creatures among the repeating designs.


Another booth on our floor was a photographer who printed her work out of a special metallic paper.  I was not familiar with the material but she then mounted them on foam board.  The material has a glossy surface and I don't know if the photo is printed on the backside of the material to show through the clear covering.

I am tired again today from the weekend of work and will be troubleshooting all day.  The tech guy has stuff for me to do and I will pick up in rooms where teachers have to go to a meeting with an administrator.

Closing day was suppose to be today on my parents house but the support crew, a lawyer, doesn't have their work done.  I will get back to you on that one. I know I would never have been able to not meet a contract date but I will be patient one more time.

Thanks for stopping by my post.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A report about the show.......


We found out from our experience that the economy dictated what would be sold at the art festival.  Framed work is more expensive and we found it kept people from buying them.  They took the option of buying  unframed items, cards and small prints to the most part. My wife and I did each sell one framed item apiece but that was it.

It is good to get a lot of  our work framed though, even though it didn't pay. It will be hanging in our gallery for another time, another place and another show.


Our display table was a large drafting table designed by ISU students from Ames.  They have classes in this room in Perry studying city planning and design.  The tables had a place for the large light to shine down on the table surface, as you can see the slot in the table.


This is our view of our neighbors sales area.  We were on the top floor of an old bank that was renovated and redesigned by the same ISU students who created the table designs.  I will share about the corncrib board shutters later in another blog along with info about the whole project.

I am a high school math teacher today.  Thanks for stopping by............