Melting Pot #8

Getting Baked!

French breadOne of the most fun things you can do in the kitchen (besides THAT) is to bake. You take on your mad scientist persona and mix all this stuff together to create magic in the oven. Unlike stove top cooking, where you add things while you are making the food, the ingredients are mixed together before the cooking process begins. A mistake in measuring can result in a waste of time and money. Exciting!

I particularly enjoy baking bread. It just smells so good when a fresh loaf comes out of the oven. Next in line would be baking cookies, they are easier to do but just as rewarding. I haven’t made a cake from scratch in years, maybe I should set that as a goal over the next few weeks…

It is really easy to find great recipes online. I like recipe.com, they have a pretty good variety but there are several places to find recipes so have a search and let me know your favorite. One of the things you have to be aware of is the authors of the recipes are not always correct in measurements. I used a bread recipe recently and there was too much flour, the loaf was way to heavy.

I will add some of my baking experiences and methods in the next couple of days. In the meantime, let me know what sort of stuff you want me to make and I will have a go.mmmmm Cookies!

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Los Angeles Day Two!

ASAP Main Stage Backdrop

So here we are, day two in beatafull downtown LA. Hollywood actually but whos counting. I got a ‘Tap’ card, which is the LA version of a Fast Pass, seven days for $2, less than parking and gas would cost to drive to the ASCAP event every day.

The bus stop was only about a block from the hotel so no big deal. I said ‘good morning’ to the driver as I got aboard the bus, it took him by suprise so I guess being polite hasn’t reached southern California yet… The bus ride was only about 5 blocks, then I transferred to the Metro line, the Los Angeles subway/train system. The train was a little behind schedule but no big deal. The ride to the venue was only about 10 minutes. I like using public transit, you meet really odd people and you don’t have to look for parking.

The ASCAP Expo is being held at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, right in the heart of tourista-ville. Michael Jackson was there, one of the Harlem Globetrotters, several Batmen (all in various levels of decay) and a Spider Man who looked like his web had snapped. Ah, the magic of the movies!!

I went in to the hotel, got lost, found myself (right where I had left me) and then picked up my ID badge and lanyard. I also got my swag bag. It is a nifty little thing, just big enough to hold a laptop but flimsy enough for said computer to shatter to a billion pieces when dropped. I’ll give it to my daughter, I love her…

There were tons of events to go to, and it was hard to figure out what to do first. I ended up going to the opening speech, given by Paul Williams. Williams wrote ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ and other top hit songs. His presentation was great and was a promising start to the expo.

I then went on to forum of song writers titled ‘Anatomy of a hit song’ there was lots of interesting information, but the main take-a-way was to be true to your point of view and use a web site to find rhymes. The next one was a sales pitch by one of the sponsors, selling their web design service. Even the sales presentation was a little useful so that was cool.

I went to lunch and had a $3.00 ham sandwich that cost $9.00. Great to be in Tinsel Town, where even the crappy food is a star…

The afternoon was more great events and chatting with other attendees. I would have stayed for the afternoon social events but my back was feeling shreded ( I have spondylothesis) so I went back to the hotel to lay down.

Well, that’s about it for now, that’s the life of a rock-n-roller for ya…

Blender is Fun!

Teddy Bear made with Blender

If you are like me, you enjoyed The Incredibles, Despicable Me and all the other cool movies that have come out over the past several years using 3D computer animation. The programs that are used to create this stuff is pricey, really pricey. Except one. That program is Blender from Blender.org. You can just go on and download the program FOR FREE!!

I know what you are thinking, how can a free program be anywhere close to a program that costs thousands of dollars…well, Blender is pretty amazing and there is a large community of Blender artists out there making really great animations. Plus there are tons of tutorials available on the internet.

If you or someone you know interested in learning 3D art or animation, you should check out Blender. It is a great way to get intoNapkin with Glass the world of computer animation without spending tons of money. Now, the learning curve is pretty steep but if you hang in there and stick with it you can pick stuff up and make progress at your own pace. The images on this post are things that I made while following along on a couple of tutorials.

Get out there and try it, all it is going to cost is a little time to learn.

HAVE FUN!!

Book Restoration Continued: Mending Tears

 

Title Page, ABH

Title Page, ABH

 

Our sheets have been guarded and put under weight for a few days. Now we need to repair the torn pages. There are a few large tears, especially on the page that was pulled out and used as house plans. I am following the instructions in Edith Diehl’s Bookbinding, Its Background and Technique (Vol. 2, page 53).

Starting with the front of the book, I examined each page for tears. If they were good I set them aside, if they needed mending these are the steps I am following:

Check for bevel. Most of the time when a page is torn there is a taper at the edges of the tear. I will make sure the bevel is lined back up so the fibers will re-align.

Cut tissue. I cut small pieces of Japanese tissue a little bit larger than the torn area.

Glue up. Using a very small brush I apply glue along the torn edges.

Press in tissue. With one piece of tissue under the tear and another on top I press the area with my bone folder (wax paper provides protection from rubbing and pulling.

These steps are repeated for every tear. When the tears have dried completely, in a few hours to be safe, I will pull the tissue up from the pages. This will leave a few strands of the Japanese tissue to reinforce the repair. The entire process has taken about 2 hours for this particular book, if there was just one tear the whole job would have only taken a few minutes.

The next step will be some light trimming and then arranging the signatures for sewing. Once the signatures are sewn I will add mull, glue up the spine and then do some more edge work.

That’s it for now. I think we are almost to the half way point for this project. I am not usually a very patient person so this has been a bit of a challenge to work on something so tedious. Good therapy I guess…

Thanks again for reading all this silliness, see ya!

 

When I Grow Up

'When I Grow Up Stories' by Nancy Lee, 1921 'Policeman

‘When I Grow Up Stories’ by Nancy Lee, 1921 ‘Policeman’

 

 

So, a long time ago I bought these children’s books. They were the ‘When I Grow Up’ series, written by Nancy Lee and published in 1921 by Stoll and Edwards. There are four books in the series: Policeman, Fireman, Banker and Farmer. The stories are about what these four professions do and how the Little Jerry wants to grow up to be just like them.

I have had the books about 20 years now. They have been pretty   much just sitting on my shelf in plastic sleeves. One day I was looking for something to do on CorelDraw so I decided to draw the covers of the books using tools in Corel. As you can see by the original scanned image, the covers are a little rough. The Fireman book even has the top part torn away.

After scanning I brought the original into Corel then started tracing. I have used CorelDraw for a long time but I am still FAR away from being an expert, I would rated myself as and ‘Advanced Novice’. When I re-draw something I try to break it down into elements. For these pieces there is a black background and then colors laid over the top. I traced the outlines then worked with the node tool to line everything up. The tracing and adjusting took the longest, about 2 hours or so per image. It is funny how you get dialed in to working on something like this and you forget time.

When the tracing was done I started coloring in the images. Then using the diffuser I would give a fade to the edges of shading. The Fireman is still a work in progress, I need to add some more detail and finish off the image. I am pretty happy with the Policeman, he has a lot of the details and looks kind of stylized a bit. I think I will print this on a t-shirt or poster or something…

Anyhow, I will post all four covers once I get the project completed. I just started working on the Farmer and still need to wrap up the Fireman cover. Thanks again for reading, I hope this inspires you to go out and try tracing and painting your own vintage piece.

Have fun, and please feel free to comment or ask questions. Cheers!!

The Book Restoration Project Begins

Title Page, ABH

Title Page, ABH

So, I have taken a good look at The Album of Beautiful Homes’ it isn’t so beautiful…

Rather than just jump in, I decided to do an in-depth triage of the book. It is clear that this book was used by the original owner to build a house. There is a page that was removed, folded several times and then (thankfully) taped back in. There are pages with lots of edge wear, they are dirty, corners folded, gutters ripped, sewing loose.

When you first think about taking on a challenge like this, there is a bit of bravado. There is the belief that you will be able to handle the work, no worries. Well, after REALLY looking at this book, there are a lot of worries. But I am going to press on and get this book restored. It just might take more than a week…

Here is a list of things that will need to happen:

  1. Disassemble entire book
  2. Separate text block into individual pages
  3. Clean paper and de-acidify (books printed in the late 1800’s to today have a high acid content in paper)
  4. Repair tears and worn edges
  5. Guard gutter areas to strengthen sewing structure
  6. Re-assemble sections and sew
  7. Make a new set of boards and cover in appropriate cloth
  8. Replace end papers
  9. Mount restored text block in new case
  10. Build a slip case or clamshell box to protect book

I think those are all the steps, if I find more issues or other challenges I will update this. For reference I am using Edith Diehl’s Bookbinding, It’s Background and Technique, Cockerell’s Bookbinding and the Care of Books, Johnson’s Book Repair and Conservation and Greenfield’s The Care of Fine Books. I think all these titles are available on Amazon and AbeBooks.

Here are some photos of typical damage to the book:

Fun with Lasers: Another Project

Packard and Duesenberg magnets, cut from 1/8" birch plywood.

Packard and Duesenberg magnets, cut from 1/8″ birch plywood.

I did a show in Auburn, Indiana once at a flea market held during their big car show and auction week. I did some laser cut car models and other trinkets, but wanted something more. It had to be easy to do, grab the eye and not take up a lot of space in someone’s bag.

I had already been doing the Train Magnets, so I decided to do some Antique Car Badge Magnets. I didn’t want to run the risk of copyright infringement with current manufacturers, so I avoided Ford, Chevrolet, etc. The photo shows a couple of the magnets, I did a few other out-of-business badges. They all sold well.

I downloaded the badge images from the internet and traced them on COREL Draw. If you haven’t used COREL before, it is a standard program in sign shops and laser engraving companies.

 

Tracing in COREL is pretty easy, you just use the pencil tool to draw around the original piece, then using the shape tool you adjust your lines until they match the actual piece you are copying. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube for node editing with the shape tool. I prefer doing traces by hand versus using the trace tool in COREL, the trace tool just doesn’t do that good a job when you want to make a useable drawing.

Thanks for checking this out, as always if you want more info or the original files (if I have them) just drop me a line.