Monthly Archives: October 2013



Raven had dreams of fans in the vardo last night, hmm. Breakfast in the backyard with a view, a walk to the apple tree, then off to town for coffee.  We stopped at the farmers market, pomegranates, beets for Raven, pineapple guavas for me and potatoes to go with the lunch burgers. Home.

Raven’s starts painting the details in gold, when the neighbor boy Jamin shows up. Good kid, wants to help paint. A time at the Dollar Store I picked up some water colors, break them out and paper, he’s happy. Mom comes by to get him, keep the paint.

I’d rather sew but the vent needs to go in. I read the directions and take it out of the box, lay out the lines on the wall behind the stove shelf. It will need a switch and box, I dig through the supplies and find one of each. All this came from Restore, habitat for humanity on the cheap, fan was $7, box and switch for a quarter each.  I cut out the paneling using the Fien multitool, careful not to cut deep as there are wires in there (power unplugged, saw on extension). The fan box won’t fit easily so I punch a couple holes in it and cut the tabs off, grinding them smooth on the lapidary sander. I remove the vent plastic exit with flap, slide the vent box into the wall. It fits, but the exit vent won’t fit as the wall is only 2 x 3, dang. Hungry, lunch break.

I pick some basil and herbs as Raven wants to do those organic pesto burgers again, sounds good to me.  As she cooks I remove the excess pink insulation, eek, with Dad’s knife and attach the electric box to the stud with screws, one partial loose for grounding wires.

Lunch is ready, burger patties, baked potato wedges, good cornichon pickles, garden tomato, arugula, lettuce and condiments, skip the buns, this is great.

After lunch I steal power from the upper socket on the side screws and route it to the switch box with 12 gauge Romex, wrapping the ground crimped and around the long screw to ground the switch box. Another piece of Romex up to the fan box. As the vent won’t fit I plan to cut the paneling and add a box over. I need a tight elbow to route the vent out, head for Bosworth’s up at the corner, Harry’s got a 4 piece bend cheap enough, I’ll take it, hmm, won’t really fit as there is no room for a large sweeping bend. Off to Garret’s next town over. They help me dig around, find a flex tube that will work on a sharp bend, good. Back home I bend it and cut it with Dad’s knife easy. As I have the measurement now I lay it out on the panel and cut it with the Fien tool, everything fits. Harry’s elbow even looks good out side, but temporary as I’ll get an outer flush vent cover at Home Depot. Finish the wiring with the switch on the neutral white, bad black twist crimp sealed, the fan wires twist crimped and ground attached to the fan box with the clip provided. Plug in the main, turn it on, it works, “Hey Rave, check it out.” She does the honor of turning it back off carefully as we’ll need another switch cover from Restore for a dime. Meanwhile she’s been painting the cupboards black for the stencil pictures.


Taken at an angle, a bit disorienting, but it’s Halloween soon. Here is the vent.


We need a switch cover and to box it in. I’ll make a new metal vent cover instead of the plastic. Here’s a shot of the detailed front window.

detail window

A good day.



Raven slept well in the vardo after her dance last night.  We ate breakfast in the back yard table with a view of the mountain and vines to the river, beautiful. I want some coffee so we headed to town, Starbuck’s and across the street to the farmer’s market. Raven wants pomegranates for a Halloween alter. Wow, they have pineapple guavas, I love those, fill my pockets for a buck. The granitas are $3 most places but one has them for a dollar a pound, Raven picks up a bunch, some in pairs on the branch, pretty for an alter display.  Tomatoes for a buck a pound, score, I filled a bag for more sauce.

We head for town, there is a store I want to visit, secret until we get there. I’ve been cutting stencils at work after hours for the vardo cabinets. We arrive at the art store off Dutton, Raven enjoys that as she’s not been. She’s checking out the books as I’m looking for a good deal on some inexpensive acrylic paint, not obvious at $40 bucks a set. I look in the kid section, a plastic set of secondary colors for $3 bucks, perfect.


A couple more small $1 brushes, Raven picks out some cool Celtic stickers.

Next to the Viking Festival, it’s right around the corner, how convenient. The Norway Society puts it on, with battle enactments and well made armor, inside are many booths with food and trinkets. My friend Chris Botka is here with his family, his kids have grown. A lot.

According to the Harbin seamstress we need muslin inside the cushions , OK, next stop Joann Fabrics, 36″ is on sale, I crunch the numbers on my watch calculator, 7 yards should do it tight, I hope there is enough around the sides, should be.

Home, hungry, a sign on the way says BLTs at the heirloom tomato fest, that sounds good and we have tomatoes.  I have some good homemade bacon by my work friend Dougie, he’s Scottish, it’s loin meat, so good. Garden lettuce with some cucumber, O mayo too. Yum. Raven wishes for a spare cabinet door, Chin gave me some, granted.

Time to get working. I bring out the saw horses and maple counter with Raven’s help. We open up the fabric and fold it boat sail style zigzagged. I have a piece of tailor’s chalk and know where, in blue, perfect. I lay out the measurements on the fabric as Raven experiments with some stain, the stencils, paint. The red stain won’t penetrate the varnish, black paint she likes, with the new acrylics and stencil, she lays down a nice test picture. Oylofre is Chaucer for gilliflower, an ancient carnation.


This works well, she pulls a few cabinet doors and paints them black in the middle.

Meanwhile I finish cutting out all the fabric. We have just enough with an 8″ piece after the main panels and the sides have enough. There is a wee bit of scrap, not much. I rigged up a holder as I have a huge reel of red thread.

sewing machine

It works, a large dowel, a piece of step wood and a some PVC tube to reduce the friction.  I loaded up the lower bobbin to max, installed, threaded up the machine. There’s enough scrap to run a test. I tried it out, it all works, We have a small pillow cover, open on the end for hand sewing to make a mock mattress cover.


We’re ready, The real parts await, cut and ready.


The sewing machine is working, the fabric is cut, next we make cushion covers. This is cool, we can sew anything we need with a fixed machine. Raven wants a cover for her tablet, I have plenty of soft leather but not a machine task, needs to be hand sewn, she cut out a pattern, a loan of needles, my best waxed nylon thread and a three prong punch. Use 2 needles and sew it in and out with both needles to form a solid saddle stitch. That should keep her busy. A very productive and fun day as well.


We met at Santa Rosa Starbucks this morning for coffee then headed for the foam shop. We picked out a 3″ piece of foam, medium density. The standard is 39″, exactly the width we need, had them cut it in two 20″ and two 14″ pieces to fit the bench and bed.


Off to Joanne’s Fabrics to look around. I measured the width of a bolt at 56″, so many pretty patterns and half off, but we’ll wait as we have to figure out the total amount we need.

A stop at the Restore, nothing we need but always good to look. Trader Joe’s next, hungry, we picked up stuff and a couple sandwich wraps for lunch, munched in the parking lot under the redwood tree. I need to fix my shower wall, off to Home Depot and got a kit with glue, just fit nicely in Raven’s truck. Head for home.

I bought Raven a new gold fine point pen at Joanne’s. works well on the detailing, which is what she continued to work on using the big umbrella for shade.



I cut some new pieces in redwood on the table saw for the bench to secure the backs to the wall, angle cut to match the slope of the backs, then cut to match the 5/8″ plywood, sanded smooth on the rotary sander.

Time to crunch some numbers, I moved in to the vardo table with the new foam cushions, ahh. Four 3″ cushions, Two 20s, two 14s, figure a half inch seam allowance and a full inch seam on the zippers. So 15×40 four times, 21×40 four times top and bottoms. That leaves 16″ on the edge of the 56″ wide strip. Three sides around plus the separate zipper panel. I laid it all out on paper, we’ll need four and a half yards by 56″ to cover the cushions with exact cuts and measurements laid out on paper. I went looking for my tracing paper roll, damn, it’s at my sister’s place from the rebuild. Oh well, we’ll need to sew it here. Cathy doesn’t have time to get it done in India while she’s there and I can’t make the pattern without the paper.  But the numbers are here, ready.

Raven kept working on the details as I pulled out the shower kit, set up the saw horses, door bench and cut the plastic pieces to fit. Scored with Dad’s sharp knife and bent they broke evenly, the fixtures cut with a hole saw and sanded smooth. Ready to install after prepping the stall walls.

We made up the bed with the new cushions, perfect fit, Raven will try it out tonight after the gig up at Isis.

Plenty done, a good day.



Last week was my birthday so not much got done on the vardo, although I did get the P side bench hinges in place. As Raven worked details in gold.
Yesterday Raven went to a metal concert, I canned stuff from the farmers market, 12 lbs of tomatoes made 2 jars tomato juice and 3 pints of thick tomato sauce. Next I did a couple pounds of Meyer lemons into marmalade, 7 jars of various sizes and a partial open one. I prepped a small batch of bread and butter pickles but they take an over night salt soak. I also picked the last of the pears to take to work. While I was in the orchard I picked a few granny Smith apples as the tree is loaded. I tried one, usually they’re a bit dry and tart for cooking, but after last weeks rain they’re juicy, still just a little tart but really good, wow.

I got up late today as it’s Sunday, a bit chilly, I fired up the canning water bath. I rinsed the B&B pickles a couple times. I need sugar and a cup of coffee, off the water, up to the corner store and back. I mixed up the syrup for the pickles using Joy’s recipe. Waiting for the canning bath water to boil before I dumped in the pickles, sterilized everything in the hot water, jars in the oven at 215 as it’s easier. Three pints even of bread and butter pickles.
I broke out the apple peeling machine I got at a yard sale, nifty device, one of the three spikes is broken but it still works with two. A hand crank and thread rod pushes the apple into a springed swivel peeler and round core cutter as the blade cuts a spiral of the flesh, you end up with a slinky of apple, cut in half for slices or one side for rounds. Lemon juice and cold water bath to keep the apples white. I threw them in a pan with some water to cook, mashed them with a potato masher into sauce, jarred and into the hot water bath. Plus a half cup open into the fridge as Raven showed up.
I had checked the email, she’d be late. The stuff was too hot to eat. I showed her the apple machine, she tried a wee bit of apple, she’s not a fruit person.

She broke out the gold paint for detailing, it’s very slow delicate work cutting in to the pencil lines with a tiny brush.
I worked on securing the main sink counter to the cabinet using two brass hinges and a barrel latch so we can still add and remove the stove as necessary, quite the challenge. I had to remove the 3 drain pipes and hot and cold above the valves to get the counter out, with pen marks to mark the hinge and barrel placements. I cut a doubled birch plywood extension from drawer face scrap on the table saw for the barrel to allow a 1/4″ of wood to secure the stove side of the counter. I secured the hinges to the other forward side of the counter top adjacent to the lines. I installed the counter into place, then marked with pen where the barrel will fit and the hinge holes for the outer hinge, the inner one is hard to reach so I marked the outer hinge lines. I drilled the barrel hole, good fit. I removed the hinges from the counter top and secured them to the sides, installed the counter. This is tough getting the screws into the tight space between the sink and blind. Finally I removed the table, bench and side panel, got it in. Ultimately, this doesn’t work as the end wood won’t allow the counter to open, although there is enough play to get the stove installed, which is the purpose, so it does work and secures the main sink counter. A bit hokey, but functional, it works, the stove will go in and out if required.
Raven knocked over the gold paint can, oops. I dug a large horse syringe from the trunk of my car, boat tools, and we saved some of it into a jar. She continued with the details off the driveway as a pallet.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


The corners are looking good, intricate.

Three jars of apple sauce and more apples picked too, a good day.