Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Family Christmas Tree Ornaments

Every year we create a special Christmas tree ornament for the folks at the annual holiday party.... mostly the Palmeri side if the family - our daughter-in-law's family!  Just a quick question - Why isn't there a name for that group of folks?  They are our son's in-laws, but no term for what they are to us.  I can tell you that they are family, and we are very lucky to be related to them!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

I recently created a one of a kind Candy Corn Top for a friend's birthday!  Being a "production" sort of guy, I don't create very many "one-of-a-kind" things, so  this is unusual.  I'll probably make one for myself sometime... I'm thinking about other candy tops, including trying some with Christmas Candy?

Monday, December 03, 2012

Some days just give us wonderful -- another reference to an old blog post

Almost 5 years ago, someone left a note on our front door expressing appreciation of the artwork on our front porch, and in our windows.  We were very moved by the note, and I scanned it and included it in a very early blog post here.

Saturday evening at a party for a friend's 60th, I was talking  with a couple about misc stuff.  While cycling through some pictures on my phone looking for the picture of my new Big Yellow Bike with grandchildren to show them, I went by a picture that showed some of our figures.  The woman exclaimed something on the order of "Oh you are those artists!"  A few moments later she said how much she liked our house, and that she had left a note on our door several years back!  Our mysterious stranger who made us feel so good years ago, had materialized right in front of me!

I love how the world works, connecting us to people and things that enrich us.  Those "out of the blue" moments that I've always said are really very specifically oriented and aimed at our soul.  I used to say, and may need to re-establish as a commonly used phrase, "Out Of The Blue" is a very specific place! 

Thank you to whatever forces are at work in the universe that make life so rewarding and exciting!  There are a lot of folks who seem to concentrate on the things in life that are not so pleasant, rewarding, or exciting, but I find most of my life organized by those "Out of the blue" forces.  Life is very good right now - Dad is doing well (for 3 months now), and I'm feeling quite creative.  And, even with my life in great shape, "Out of the blue" sent me another reminder.  On top of grandchildren, children, wife, dad, and my Big Yellow Bike, "Out of the blue" reached out and put a nice bright cherry on top of my sundae!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A tale of an accident!

This is basically a repeat of a post from about 3 years ago.  The reason for the repeat is that on our drive two weeks ago, Dad and I went through the intersection where the accident happened.  So - read on and learn why that bad fender behind my great grandfather Herman Babcock is really an improvement over the car's condition after the icy slide of 1944?

That's me on the left! I figure that this picture was taken sometime the winter of 1946/47 - maybe Thanksgiving '46? That's my Mom, Violet, holding me. Next to Mom is her mom - my grandmother - Florence Babcock Drake. Next to her is Herman Babcock - her father, my mom's grandfather, and my great grandfather! At that time, Herman was living with Glenn Babcock - Florence's brother - and his wife Katie. The picture was taken by my Dad outside their home. The car in the background is a 1938 Plymouth Coupe.

Note the damaged fender on the car. Dad had been in an accident at an icy intersection, and the right front fender was destroyed, but the collision shop could not get a fender - it was war time, and metal stuff was in short supply. He tried driving the car without a fender, but so much mud and stuff was thrown up on the windshield that he could not see to drive. He went around to junk yards till he found the right fender - not in good shape though! Still, it would catch the flying mud! The junk yard guy told Dad he could have it for free if he wanted to take if off the wreck himself. Dad went to work, and got the fender -- or at least most of a fender! Not pretty, but no more mud on the windshield!

Thanks to Anne for finding the picture in some of my brother's old stuff. Thanks again to Anne for knowing I would want that picture! Thanks to Dad for taking that picture 65 years ago, and thanks to Dad for another of his classic stories! And thanks to Herman, Florence, and Violet for passing on the heritage!

What Dad's 1938 Plymouth looked like before?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Uses for my Worksman Bike!

Well, some research reveals that what I have is a Worksman 2620 Stretch Industrial Mover! Worksman means it is made by Worksman They have been making a  wide variety of bicycles and tricycles mainly for industrial use since 1898.   They even currently operate in a solar powered factory!  If you've ever been in New York City, and seen those delivery people with the bicycles with the huge delivery box built in, it was probably made by these folks!  2620 means that the front wheel, with a built in drum brake ( none of those wimpy caliper brakes will do on this thing) is 26" in diameter, and the real wheels are 20".  Stretch means it is very long - I haven't measured the overall length yet, but that rear platform is 38" long x 26" wide.  My "basket" is 23" x 23" by 16" deep - plenty of space for a three year old with all his stuffed animals, etc.... and even room for his 5 year old sister - see below!  Industrial Mover needs no explanation - they are rated at 500 pounds capacity, so 70 pounds of grandchildren is no problem!  Even with grandpa included there is room for over 250 more pounds!   Price new is $1200.  I paid considerably less, and the little rubber string thingys from the molding process are still on the wheels, so it is not very old. Despite the "leaf spring" mounting of that rear platform, CJ declared the ride "bouncy" and we added a foam pad, and his blanket in the bottom for today's ride. I've put over 25 miles on it so far, and while I plan my rides to avoid "big" hills, it has very hill friendly gearing!
Besides possible use for craft/art show display, I'm fantasizing about  building a neighborhood Ice Cream vending thing, or possible other ventures..... maybe I could even deliver pizzas for our neighborhood pizza place or add a nice love seat on that platform, and start a pedicab business?  For now, carrying grandchildren is a great option that they seem to greatly enjoy.  Too bad the snow will fall soon --- :-(     I'm  even thinking that riding in the snow might not be too bad because with the wide stance of the rear wheels, skidding or sliding over into traffic seems less likely than on a regular bike!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wonderful day with Dad!

3810 Ridge Road, Ransomville, NY   Near Lockport, NY.  Dad's second job was here, as a farm hand at the age of 17 if I've got the numbers right?  He had been working on a farm near Utica, NY starting at the age of 16.  Had to drop out of school and work to help support his family.  Good stories!  He lived in the above house with the owner's family at first until he and my Mom moved to a tiny place just down the road when they married in 1945.  I arrived not long after, so Dad was working here when I was born!
 The place seems pretty run down now, but was a prosperous dairy farm in the day!  Dad has told lots of stories about his days here, including watching some of the very first top secret experimental jet airplanes flying over from a nearby air base.  This was the middle of WWII!
One of Dad's stories involved him driving a tractor through the wall of the shed/barn shown in the picture below, not long after it had been expanded using very hard to obtain lumber.  Again - during WWII and resources had to be allocated to the war effort first, and even though the owner of the farm also owned a lumber mill, he had to go through considerable paperwork to get permission to use his own lumber on his farm!  Another story to follow about a car accident Dad had just down the road a bit.  Is there a trend here?  But please remember that he was between the ages of 17 and 19 while working here!
Below --- Recent aerial view of the farm (photographed from my computer screen) Map/aerial view link I tried didn't work?  Later edit - I think this link will work.  Link works, plus you can click on the little guy and see a street view of the place.... this interwebs thingy is GREAT! 
As a farm worker during WWII, Dad got a deferment from the draft as an essential worker.  Food for the troops and for the folks at home was important!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beginning of my new display system!

For scale, this industrial strength human powered tricycle is about 7 feet from front to back..... the rear cargo platform is about 26" wide by about 36" long!  Before finalizing the purchase, I inflated  the tires, and took it for a test drive.  It rode a lot easier than I had imagined.... the gearing seems most well arranged.  It is a one speed system, but did not seem to be that hard to peddle - even up a slight incline!  The main odd thing is the weird sensation one gets riding a tricycle.  After years of bike riding, it feels very strange to not be able to lean into turns, or to shift your body subtly to adjust when riding on an angled surface!  It has both a coaster brake, and a front drum brake.  I'll want to raise the seat a bit when I pick it up tomorrow and ride it home.  I figure I can design quite a good sized cabinet, shelf, and wall system mounted on that large rear platform - even probably going out over the back a bit, and out over the wheels too?  Probably also add a front basket for additional capacity.  I'm even hoping  I can create something that will let customers sit on the bike and peddle to operate a moving sculpture! A couple of options on easier riding include possibly adding an electric motor boost system, or it appears that the manufacturer has a three speed hub or a seven speed hub available that might be retrofitted.  First step after adjusting the seat height will be to remove the plastic tulips on the rear basket!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dreidel Balancing Act

I'm very excited about my first three dimensional Balancing Act!  Previous designs, while layered, were still basically flat designs in the plane of  the rocking motion.  This one features a full three dimensional dreidel on top that rocks back and forth very smoothly and pleasantly!  I find the motion interesting additionally because while a dreidel is supposed to spin, this one moves but does not actually spin, which my brain finds pleasantly confusing?  See the video below.  Cheryl will have the first three of these at the upcoming show this weekend in Marlborough ( clicking on the link will enable you to print out a $2 discount coupon for admission!)  - stop by to see them if you are in the area. For the remainder of the year this design will be $40.  They are about 9" tall.  I'll post them on our Shopify on-line store sometime over the weekend.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Laser cut paper ladies

I love the patterns created by our cut lasered parts -- peel away the left over paper (or wood), and the above happens!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

This year's special custom tops for CJ's Birthday!

 Each year I design a special top for my grand children's birthdays.  The theme this year for CJ's birthday was John Deere.  (Those people have their marketing down!)  I can't believe that this makes the 8th special design for Maya and CJ.  I also created a larger version of the design as a wall piece for his room - about 15" across - see picture below.  Also in view is the 2012 Casey (Dad) created birthday (cake) - actually a large cookie because CJ does not like cake????????????? and the basket of tops - everybody at these parties gets a gift!

I'm getting pretty good at this, so if you would like some special tops created for your birthday, wedding, or other special  event, contact me!  I'm actually in the process of creating a separate division of our enterprise that will focus specifically on Don's mechanical and other moving things --- look for Moving Wood Studio coming soon to an event or store near you?  An actual moving sign for  the enterprise is taking form in my head, and I'm thinking through an actual moving craft show booth.  An industrial strength human powered tricycle with a fairly large built in cargo platform has been found, and my brain is running around the idea of selling off the back of the this tricycle, including moving sculptures that will be peddle operated!  And I've reserved the web site - - not active yet, but soon!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mushrooms along the bike path, and other creepy stuff

 Cool mushroom growing along side one of the parking lots  that I ride through on pretty much every bike ride.
 More cool mushrooms along the bike path in Genesee Valley Park - Rochester, NY.  This one I know the name of because I Googled them?  Omphalotus illudens The Jack O'Lantern mushroom.  The Jack O'Lantern part comes from the bright orange color --- they are even brighter orange in person!  Halloween is coming up soon .... a time for weird scarey things?  The story of Google and the Jack O'Lantern mushrooms.  Thinking that maybe I could find out what these were because they were very bright colored.  Also the size of the clumps.... the smaller clump was about 18 inches across!  I started typing --- b r i g h t  o r  -- and there it was!  Second on the list of Google provided options was "bright orange mushrooms"!  Pretty weird and/or pretty scarey!  Did Google know where I was, and deduce that Genesee Valley Park was a good spot for bright orange mushrooms?  Did Google have a record of somebody else having Googled "bright orange mushrooms" from that location?  Did  they somehow access  the pictures I had just taken?
And, in the scarey Google line of thought, the image above was the Google Logo on my Birthday!  Hovering the mouse over the image even made the little box say "Happy Birthday, Don".  Again - pretty cool, or pretty creepy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Recently Cheryl has taken up making paper beads.  Instead of stringing them like most folks do, Cheryl has been using them on cards, and other things.  This is the birthday "card" she made for me today.  Very Cool!  Click on pic to embiggen!

A great day to turn 67!  Over 50 birthday greetings on Facebook, a few real world cards, including the hand done cards by Maya and CJ of course, and a hand drawn "card" from my friends Jim and Lucia whom I haven't seen in at least 20 years, but their birthday note shows up every year without fail!  And of course the obligatory card from my life insurance agent!  :-)

I spent some time designing today (I"ll post pictures someday?), also cut some of the tops I've designed for CJ's 3rd birthday - hint - John Deere is the theme!  Some great books and balloons from Cheryl, dinner at the South Wedge Diner with family, and a gift card to our neighborhood bike shop from my son and daughter-in-law - support for my bike riding habit!  Didn't ride the bike today because of high winds.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Twenty Seven Years

27 years ago today I did the smartest thing I have ever done! 
 I joined Casey and Cheryl in their journey through life, 
and all has been good since!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

On the bike trail with Dad!

 Dad and I finally got out on the bike trail together today!
 Dad wanted a picture of the flowers along the trail.
 Close-up above, and detail below --- 
I love  that you can even see the 
shadow of the bee's wing on the flower petal!
Click picture above to embiggen!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Day with CJ

 Time with CJ while Maya was at school!
Above - swinging with grandma,
below - a Monarch butterfly observed stocking up on nectar before the long flight to Mexico for the winter.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


 Most of the info about Mom's passing got posted on Facebook over the past few days, but in summary, Mom passed away this past Tuesday after a day which saw the visit of her cousins Cloyse and Lyell Drake and their wives.  They offered prayers, and lots of good stories that I hope Mom heard.  Morphine was keeping her comfortable by then.  Later, two of her grandchildren, Maeve, and Wyatt, along with Anne and Rick came to visit, and about an hour or so after they departed, she left us quietly.  Mel, Don, and Cheryl were there.  Her obituary in today's paper, a picture of Mom in the courtyard at Kirkhaven just a few weeks ago, and below - Dad at the elevator from the parking garage at Rochester General Hospital, about two hours before we buried her at Elmwood Cemetery in Perinton, a couple of miles from where she raised her two sons!  I've posted the picture of this elevator before with the reminder to remember which floor you parked on.  I love it when life hands you reminders, suggestions, or just connections between things!
 Many thanks to all the friends and family who have shared their condolences with us, and very special thanks to all the staff at Kirkhaven, and at Independent Living for Seniors, who helped us all through the final days, and through the past few months and years of Mom's dementia. And many thanks to Dad who has taught me many things over the course of my 67 years, mostly by example.  His care and love for Mom has been extraordinary by any standard.  Love, and strength of character are who he is!

And today we are having a 5th birthday party for our granddaughter Maya!  Life is good!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Guest Photographer

 CJ took these pictures
 Great Grandpa Mel above
Grandpa Don below
The photographer at the bottom!
Thanks CJ!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Slow Sex?

My better camera was not with good battery, 
but my phone camera caught this. 
Mating snails.
Detail to the right appears to show one of the connected penises. Each snail is both male and female, and they impregnate each other.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

An Inspiration To Us All!

This woman was moving right along with her walker. 
 Not sure why she needed it!  
I was thinking the wheels might start smoking!
She is a real inspiration to us all!

Monday, June 04, 2012

It's A Linda!

I'll post a few pictures of our booth at 100 American Craftsmen this weekend later, but first, I want to share these two pictures.  We'll probably be seeing a lot more of these "Farewell Tour" signs over the next few years.  We are all aging, and while we still love making beautiful creative  things, we are finding it harder and harder to haul all this stuff around!  Driving a couple of hundred miles, give or take a few, setting up walls (sometimes a tent too), artfully displaying our work, smiling and talking for 6-10 hours for two or three days, and then packing it all up at the end of the day on Sunday, and usually driving home that night because we really didn't make enough money  to afford another night in a hotel, is getting to be quite hard on us ought to be retired folks!
If you missed getting a wonderful handwoven piece from our friend Linda this weekend, check out her web site --- It's A Linda

And next time you are at a craft show, and see all that grey hair, consider investing in some soon to be unavailable art for your life, or for your friends or family!

Saturday, June 02, 2012


Maya takes out the "T" -  leaving the ball totally undisturbed - hanging perfectly in the air right where it was before the swing!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Current show at Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union - Part 3

 Our show at the Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union is still up, and  we are gratified at how many of our neighbors have stopped us to say how much they have enjoyed the color and energy of our work!
 They even let us share our politics at the opening, but our famous fund raising handmade campaign buttons are not on display now.  You can contact us directly to get some, and have all the proceeds donated to the campaign!
395 Gregory St, Rochester, NY 14620-1327
Stop by to see the artwork, open an account, and support our neighborhood!  I'm not sure when the show ends, but it is at least a couple of weeks more!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

More license plates to ponder

 Assorted license plates spotted over the past few weeks.
 Clicking on the pictures will make them bigger and more readable - most are snapped through the windshield, and aren't in the sharpest focus?