Friday, December 31, 2010

A dirty clock of old......

My dad had rescued this clock from an old Victorian house that he tore down 35 years ago.  He stored it in an old burlap bag in the attic of his garage.  I stumbled onto it while cleaning out the attic of the building. You can see here that it is covered with years of dirt.  the bottom window in the door is still in tack but the top one is missing.

I should not have used water but I didn't have any other ideas to get it cleaned. Here is the front of the clock after it  had been washed down with soap and warm water.  The veneer is not all there and I knocked of just a little of it with the washing.

This is the back side of the mechanical parts of this clock. The case shows evidence of the weights that hung down below the box.  I will share more about that in another blog.

I took this to show how dirty it was and also the metal bracket part that probably held the sound piece  to it. It must have chimed or gonged or sounded on the hour I am assuming.

There was a paper backing on the inner wall of the clock and I did have to wash this piece but most of the paper was already gone.  The well stuck pieces survived my cleaning.

Here is the partial part of the directions.

This was in three parts and I have placed it into position to show what it originally must have looked like.

Metal clock face is totally gone.  One can barely see the numbers on it.  White backing with black Roman numerals.

I am declaring it a SETH THOMAS clock and have yet to figure out the rest.  Can you see the eth and parts that give me clues that is say Thomas.  I am open to anyone who wants to help me figure the rest of it meaning. The location of the company is printed there partially.

I don't have a clue what will happen to this piece but I will develop something from it. I have yet to look up this clock on the internet but I have seen clocks like this before, but they were run by a spring.  You had to wind it daily or every two days.

This seems to be a daunting project.  I could just turn it into a hanging cupboard but I will do some more work with it to see what I can do to make it into something useful.

Thanks for stopping by...........

Thursday, December 30, 2010

JFK...........the airport

This is an archived photo of JFK airport two years ago.  It was in August and as you can see there is no snow on the ground.  It didn't take a snow storm to keep us there for over five and a half hours.  Our layover was to be three and a half hours, but an Air France plane was stuck on a runway and we didn't go anywhere for an hour and a half wait. 

Then when we got onto the plane we had to wait for another half hour as the compressed air needed to get the jets going was depleted.  We had to get a boost of air compression in the planes tanks so the engines could get fired.  Fortunately we did make our next connection from our little vacation at JFK.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Barney the dog.......Barnabas

His birthday is unknown as he was rescued from the streets of a Missouri town.  He was not willing, I am sure, to be captured.  We adopted him seven years ago December 28th and various people believed he was seven months old at the time.  He was a thin young dog who has grown up to be such a great companion. 

Border collies are known for their black and white coloring, but as you do research you can find many a border collie out there with tan markings.  Genetically there can be a whole litter of black and white puppies and among the litter will be a tan one.  Dog books today are just now showing them as tan or red tan furred animals. The purists who talk about the tan or yellow collies state that the mother usually is a red tan dog to cause the genetics to work for tan dogs.

When we adopted him, the rescue group thought he was part sheltie just because of his coloration.  But as we studied and researched the breed we knew we had a border collie.  Of course the dog books say right away that you should not make them into house dogs.  Too late, he has been in since day one and he goes out and rants and raves at the neighbor's cats to get exercise.  Because of his fears, he at first thought we were going to hit him when we would raise our arm to pet him.  That is over with but he never would go with the frisbee training as he thought we were throwing things at him.  He will play ball in the house but outside he is too distracted to do so.

He still is scared of little girls carrying umbrellas, but he loves his neighbors three little girls.  He will sit down next to the fence and let them pet him for how ever long they want to before they get distracted. He does not like them riding bicycles.

He has his negatives but his positives have really out weighed them.  He is great friends with the little fuzz ball Button and the two of them are quite the pair.  Barney has taught Button how to bark at things outside and so you can see the little guy barking madly, really not knowing what it is that he is doing, but barking because that is what he is suppose to do.

Thanks for stopping by.......

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Outside and Inside.......

I remember seeing photos in National Geographic of people's houses in Siberia in their worse times of  winter.  The different photos showed them growing plants in their window while the build up of frost is covering the window.  It is just like being in Siberia here only it is in Iowa. The file photo is not taken in winter but the plant is still looking like this even though it is cold outside.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday's mutterings.......

Aaron and Keegan are our two kids that live in Maine.  They sent us this mobile for Christmas.  It is made from beach glass.  I have written about sea glass before as being the disposed glass items that have washed ashore on the beaches.  The waves have polished it among the rocks and sand and eventually it comes to surface in the sand.

I have reviewed two different books about the abundance of the material along the eastern coastline, especially along the Maine coast. Divers go down in protected harbors and bring up China dishes and doll heads.  Ceramic bowls and glass pieces from bottles are found in harbors and along the shore.

Goose Rock Designs is the company that made this chime.  It is recommended not to place it outside where the wind is strong.  Iowa's 60 mile and hour wind storms would destroyed it so we will probably hang it in a window.  It sounds wonderful and the colors are great.

This is a view of our driveway that has not been cleared.  The leftover plants and shrub portray a still life in the foreground.

The redtwig dogwood looks great against the snow.  I took this Sunday afternoon.

This morning I took this view of the same bush looking over the top of it.  The frost is covering every shrub and tree right now but soon it will seem like it is snowing as it falls off the branches and floats to the ground.

Thanks for stopping by...........

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It is cold outside..............

I know there are people north of us that have much lower temperatures but the high of 13 degrees F.  is a shock to the system. I ventured out because I said that I would and even with warm clothes on I really was chilled.

The Austrian Pine is showing which direction that the snow came down.  I didn't have to return and scoop the walks again today as we just had a light dusting over everything this morning when we awakened.

My backyard buddy is disgusted with me and I did promise to bring him inside for the winter.  He really isn't dressed for the weather out there.

My one and only ornament that I received on Christmas day was this guy.  My sister in law Linda gave it to me.  She had to tell the story behind it when I received it.  She has a younger sister that drags her along to the early morning shopping sprees after Thanksgiving.  That means 5 in the morning she is standing outside of World Market with her and this is all that she bought once inside.

I hope it was on a good sale.  I have to admit I have never seen an Italian snowman before but I have one now.  He is wearing his traditional striped shirt and has wine in one arm and a container of bagels in the other.  What a deal this is, I really like it.

I did receive five ornaments from a blogger friend in Indiana earlier before Christmas so that adds six in total to the collection.  Insanity I know but I shut down soon on this subject until next December. 

We had a potluck meal today at church with our Asian ministry families. We teach their kids or should I say grandkids. It was a wonderful time and I will share more about it another time. True Asian food served in America, it was so good.

Thanks for stopping by.........

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

A quick last look......

at the treeeeeeeeeee..............Merry Christmas to you all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The real Radko..........

A correction to the incorrect......
I use to say that I lied about something, expressing that I said the wrong thing.  My wife told me not to  call myself a liar when I really am either confused or misinformed.

I blogged somewhere among my different blogs that the above soldier was my Radko purchase.  I see now that the one on the right is the real Radko.  They both are soldiers but as you can see they don't look a thing alike.  The one above is smaller than the one at right and I guess it does all blur together when you over collect ornaments.

The last of the frame jobs left today and we sent out a couple dozen Christmas cards. Della and I sat down and hit the pile in an hour. We don't hear from a lot of the people except this time of the year. My brothers live in Arizona and California and their kids have scattered. We only see them at funerals.

The trees are all up and the few presents to be wrapped will happen tomorrow. We will go to Christmas Eve services if the weather holds out. The county above us is already in a winter weather advisory so we may not make it.

If you don't read my next blog tomorrow I will wish you a very Merry Christmas. It is my pleasure to know you all and thank you for your unconditional friendship. I wish you all well for the new year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bears on review.........

Della was under the weather so here tree stood bare for quite some time. Yesterday she placed her bears on the tree barely in time for Christmas.

This little guy is moaning over my overuse of the words  bear and bare.

At the base of her tree she places larger bears who cuddle in to cover the whole area below the tree.  This little guy is a multicolored teddy with really soft cloth.

Thanks for stopping by............

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Under the tree.....

I set up my dad's train set under my small tree.  It was a gift to my dad many years ago from one of my brothers.  I think that there is track for it but it needs to be found up in the storage room.

Here is the middle of the train. 

The caboose is one of my favorite cars on the train.  It is sad that they have eliminated them from the trains here in the United States.  I know the new technology makes it easier to keep track of the back of the train and they don't need to man a whole car at the end of the line of cars.

My one brother didn't take many things from my parents home.  I know if he ever asked for it, I would gladly send it to him.  I don't know if he remembers sending the gift to my dad.  The set actually has another modern looking engine and six or eight more cars.

I have one small frame job left to do and all of our shipping of packages is done.  We have one large order to be picked up, Della's four framed commissioned artworks went out the door today, and two other frame jobs are to be picked up soon. Della just sold an artwork over the internet so we will ship that out immediately tomorrow.  The dust really is settling around here even though it doesn't sound like it.

Our shopping for others is actually done too, but my wife and I are headed to the mall Wednesday morning to do a little shopping for each other.  We will be getting together with my wife's brother and his wife on Christmas day and we are looking forward to relaxing and taking it easy.

The weather forecast seems to be unpredictable. It is said a snow storm is coming and then maybe by Christmas day it will quiet down.  We will just wait and see what happens.

Thanks for stopping by............

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Polar Express

Chris Van Allusburg is a very accomplished book illustrator.  His book The Polar Express was and still is a very successful book in which he created wonderful illustrations in the medium of pastel.

The movie version created by many creative people including Chris Van Allsburg and Tom Hanks is a new Christmas classic.  It is more than a children's movie.  The quality of the illustration is matched with the same degree of sophistication as Allsburg's original book. 

The story is wonderful and is far deeper than a simple story.  It promotes honesty, caring for others, and creative thought and belief.  The thing about the train is to decide if you should get on.

For those men and women who are train buffs, this movie has been illustrated showing such clarity of the real Polar Express train. You get to see the cars up close and the engine and coal car in great detail.  The inside of the steam engine is illustrated in great detail.

This movie has become our new tradition in our family of two.  We watch it each year now just like "It's a Wonderful Life." Maybe someday we can share this moment with grandchildren and hopefully give them an appreciation for good writing and illustrating. If you have a creative soul and are willing to go beyond the stereotypes of what adults are suppose to watch, I think you will really like this movie. Rent it first if you don't want to put the money out front, but give it a chance.

As a side footnote, one of my former students is a train fanatic and he wrote to me to tell me that an old steam engine is going to be traveling through the main south tracks in Iowa in July.  I hope I get to go see it. 

Thanks for stopping by..........

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A slow day......indent replicas

 Replica ornaments that once sold in our hardware stores. I remember them back in the 60's and they were so magical to see.  I actually believe the newer versions are made from tougher glass. I do remember how fragile the ones were that we  hung on our old cedar tree and it is probably why not any of them are still in existence today.

Have a great Sunday and thanks for checking in.......

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rock swapping......

My friend Doug stopped by a couple of days ago and surprised me with some more gifts from the great outdoors.  They are all three new stones that I don't think I have seen before. Yes I have seen some similar but these guys are different.  The three were polished by the action of Lake Superior waves for many years.  From my science knowledge, I know that they have been beaten against rocks harder than them or they wouldn't have become polished.

The dark rock is easily identified as one with iron ore striated through it.  I have seen rock from the Lake that are of this shape, but never have I see one with iron in it.

This one is a granite rock.  I have seen large granite mountains in Maine but on the North Shore I guess I have not seen any.  Granite is the stone that they use to make grave markers.  This rock has been tumbled by the waves and it is smooth. Probably the North Shore rock is volcanic rock too and it made of granite and I just have given notice to it before.  There are a lot of kind of rocks along that shore and some are soft compared to these three.

This stone is a complete mystery to me.  It reminds me of the cue ball that I have that was made from elephant's tusk.  It is an old antique one with the same line patterns crisscrossing with subtle colors.  The lines are actually  perpendicular to each other.  It is a very hard stone also.

I first thought it was a pretend, small Chinese garden decoration when I saw the three together.  I think I will have to get out my bonsi pot and put a plant with them to make a small garden scene with them.
It was a surprise to get these from Doug and it tops the stick that he brought me the last time he was here.   I did give him a piece of iron ore that I had collected and it had a painting of a lighthouse on it. He was happy and so was I.  When he starts to bring me Native American beaded necklace to trade for my house,  I will have to stop trading thing with him.   Thanks for stopping by......

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bubble lights with mushrooms........

I first saw bubble lights as a very young boy at a country school where my three older brothers were attending.  I liked the sound that they made and the movement of the fluid in the tube was more than just magical in 1953.  It had to be supernatural for technology back then was in the cave man days I am certain.

I bought these on a sale and have never regretted it.  I would like to buy another set someday.  I know the Christmas Store in Kansas City at the Hallmark mall, Crown Center has them.  The prices are sky high and I am never there when there is a sale.  I will find them somewhere sometime. I bought these at a Pamida, but they don't sell them anymore.

I blogged about this a year ago but I found in a collector book that the mushroom shape is a traditional glass blown ornament from the very beginning when they started selling them.  This one is a 1970's variety and I think the hippie era influenced the painting on the dots for this ornament.  The one here has a very cheap hook on it which does compare to the older types.

Jumping to the future, I am showing  you my peacock ornament.  I have two of these and purchased them a couple of years ago. 

I will get off the ornaments for a while as I received a new gift from my friend Doug today.  It isn't a stick or broken piece of iron ore, or crystal rocks.  You will just have to wait and see.  He keeps bringing me good stuff that he finds in nature.

Saturday is soon to be.  I think we will be shopping tomorrow for Christmas presents.  My wife and I are seeing daylight with the projects curse.  There is still more to do but the load seems lighter for us.  We need to ship presents on Monday and we know the batch to Maine will never get there on time.  The mail in that state goes to dog sled delivery once it hits the state. We mailed a painting of Della's to Hong Kong a few weeks ago and it got there faster than anything that we have shipped to Maine.   Thanks for stopping by........

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quit being so serious.......

I think this blogger needs to lighten up a little. Sure he is in a panic but I bet a lot of others are in the same state of being.  This little guy had his nose painted on him while being moved down an assembly line.  I think that carrot nose projects a snowman who has had a little too much to drink.

Spot seems to be a happy pouch.  He has a couple of siblings on the tree as they came as a set of three.

This guy came in a set that looked like it was from a Ukrainian country.  The coloring and the shapes seem Russian even in the with the way they handled the beard.   I think he is suppose to be a wise man.  I have two others and at first I thought they were unusual Santas.

Things were accomplished today.  I had set backs along the way but I think that I see the end of some of my projects are coming.  It is down to 6 degrees tonight and they promise that it will not snow anymore.  Thanks for stopping by...........

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


As we put the last of the ornaments on our large tree in the living room, my wife and I both experienced some sadness.  Some of the ornaments are gifts from friends who aren't living anymore. A lot of them my mom created from yarn, and many of them are from people whom my brothers are not married to anymore.  Della brought ornaments into the collection when we married and there are ornaments which were for her Dad while he was living here with us.  We also bought ornaments to remember trips to Kansas City.  Andy and Aaron have musical ornaments of the ones they played in jazz band and home made ones from aunts with their names on them. There is a green elephant made by a teacher friend of mine who made it for Andy when he was born in December of 1975. 

One wouldn't always think of it as a family history record, but it is a record of those who cross your paths as you live life.  Family, friends and experiences that you don't ever forget. Our tree is loaded down now and when it is daylight I will try to photograph it parts of it. 

We both are meeting deadlines of products for customers for Christmas.  We both are really stressed out as it doesn't seem like we will get it all done.  The demands of artwork that Della does and the last stray framing has always stolen our time getting ready for Christmas.  We have packages to buy and to mail out soon. 

We have minimal plans this year for family plans but we do want to keep doing the traditions.  We will have each other this Christmas and will meet with Della's brother and sister in law sometime on the day.  We maybe will be done by then with all the work and will be able to rest and enjoy the day. 

We have a new layer of snow on the ground this Wednesday evening and they promise freezing rain and more snow.  Thanks for stopping by.......

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The calico cat saga continues......

She actually is a tortoise shell colored cat, but she has one back toe that is white. We call her Callie from Calico just because it is a nice name.

She sleeps in our neighbor's garage at night and she begs good canned cat food by day.  She is so tame that I can set a dish down by her and almost touch her.  If I touch  her she only flinches back a foot then comes right back to eat.  We are being very patient to catch her.  I now feed her by placing her dish partly inside of a pet carrier.  Some of these days I will place it as far in as possible and she will be caught.  She could be lounging in the warmer basement rather than outside in below freezing weather.  It is going to happen as I have said for the past three months.  She has been wild for almost two and a  half years now so she is just not liking the closeness stuff and she has not heard of domestication.

This is the box of rejected ornaments.  They really are not sad as they know that I will eventually find a small tree to put them on but they are very small.  With all the larger ornaments they were just lost out of sight. A lot of these are not glass blown but are cast metal or plastic.  The still have been hand painted with the shiny glass enamel paint.

The house design is one of the earliest designs created by the ornament makers.  This one is not an antique but it is over 35 years old.

A blurry view of the lights on the tree.  I did overkill this year as I found a set of 400 clear lights that I decided to add along with the older sets.  We aren't having kids coming  home this year so we are having mixed feelings about putting it up.  The thing is that we may have Della's brother and wife over for Christmas pie, so they can enjoy it.

Plus, I will share it with all of you who are all over the world.  That makes it worth while.  No ornaments have been added from what you see in this photo, but Tuesday night we added two boxes of different baubles and we will have one last box to put on it Wednesday.

Thanks for stopping by...........