A Handmade Gift for Me

As someone who has been involved in creating handmade items for years I know the joy of pouring love, energy and skill into an object with the intention of giving it to someone else.  I have given away many of my handmade quilts for wedding gifts (one was actually used as a chuppah!) baby gifts and birthday gifts.  Now that I can knit, the scarves, sweaters and shawls are given to the people I care about most.  And in my mind, nothing says “nurture” more than a delicious meal or sweet, made with love and shared with others.

I haven’t received many handmade gifts over the years, not because people don’t care about me, but because most people I know are not all that into these types of hobbies.  And that’s fine.  We get nurtured in all kinds of ways.  But yesterday, David presented me with this:


I had mentioned not long ago that I needed a low cake plate for my various tarts and pies.  David hasn’t spent much time in his woodshop this summer because of the heat but he got back in there this weekend and emerged yesterday with this stunning turned cake plate made from mesquite wood.

It absolutely took my breath away, both because it is so beautiful and because he made it just for me.   A perfect gift.

Here’s a better shot of the grain:


The natural design and color variations are stunning.  Here’s a close-up of the fun yellow edge:


So cool. This piece of wood presented some wood turning challenges because of this:


It’s quite a job to do high-speed turning when the lathe is bumping into this!  Clearly David had a “make it work” moment (thanks Tim Gunn) in his woodshop.  And he did make it work!  The “imperfections” in the wood only add to the uniqueness of the piece.  I like this view which shows the beautiful shiny finish and rounded edges:


And I wasted no time in putting this plate to use:


Unfortunately this Linzer torte still sitting on the springform pan base isn’t nearly as beautiful as the plate, but you get the idea.  I will definitely need to find a more appealing way to present, cut and serve without damaging the beautiful finish.  Not burning the edges of the Linzer torte is also a good idea.

It is wonderful to be surrounded by beautiful handmade things.  I feel very lucky to be able to give and receive.



I’m Impressed!

I’ve alluded in many of my posts so far to David’s woodshop and woodworking.  Over the past month or so he doubled the size of our backyard storage shed to use for his shop.  While I don’t have a “before” shot of the shed here’s the “after”:


That entire front section used to be a covered porch.  He framed it out,  put down a sturdier floor, moved the window, relocated the door and sided the whole thing.  Here’s what the addition looks like inside:


and here’s the other side:


I know.  Some pretty intense-looking pieces of  equipment.  And notice how neat this space is (after an afternoon of David working in there)!  I shudder to think of anyone walking into my sewing room and taking pictures.

While all of the construction was going on, David was also planning to learn how to do woodturning.  He took a class at our local Woodcraft store several weeks ago and has been assembling the necessary equipment to get started.  Plus he’s been poring over videos online to learn as much as possible before engaging with this:


This is a woodturning lathe, and the idea is that a piece of wood is affixed to a spinner (a FAST spinner) and as it spins around a variety of sharp tools are used to shape it.  This is a mallet for the shop that David made during his class:


So after all this preparation (you have no idea how much prep time went into setting up the lathe itself!) David finally had some time this afternoon to start noodling around in his shop.  He planned on using some of this mesquite wood that the tree guy set aside when our trees were trimmed:


You can imagine my surprise and delight when he came into the house carrying this:


Wow!  Pretty impressive for the very first project. While this bowl is still unfinished (i.e. oiled, etc.)  you can see how the turning process accentuates the beauty of the wood grain.  The small dark area on the right side is a knot in the wood that actually creates an opening in the bowl.  I think it’s just beautiful.

It’s really fun to have a partner who shares my love of  “making things”.  I understand when David disappears for hours in the shop because I can relate to the wonderful feeling of being in the creative flow.  I know that it can be hard for men, who traditionally work long hours outside of the home to then sequester themselves and take even more time away from their partners and families.   It’s really all good with  me, and maybe in the not too distant future I’ll have some beautiful decorative bowls for this space:


Definitely a win-win 🙂