Saturday, December 24, 2016

I finally have some time to show off the Yule gift my beautiful wife gave me ... a gorgeous piece of hand-blown glass ... I love it.
... now to plan a window around this beauty.
Thank you, my darling ... I love you with all my heart.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Today is the longest night ... today is the first day of winter, when the world is at its coldest and the land goes into a long sleep ... but the Wheel keeps turning. I don't think anyone would disagree that this has been a hard, and at times bitter year ... I know for me and mine, we have suffered many loses of family and loved ones, as have many others ... I know many are dealing with watching their loved ones battle disease and old age and their own inner darkness ... we have suffered loss, and we have suffered hurt ... but the Wheel keeps turning. But in this darkness, we also rejoice with the promise of new life ... children not yet born ... hopes rekindled for a brighter tomorrow ... and friends and family still with us - in our lives and in our hearts ... for the Wheel keeps turning.
So I wish for you a most Blessed Jul, my dears ... for while this night is long and the wind blows cold ... Spring is coming.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Well now that the gift has been delivered and received, I can show you what's come off my glass bench lately. The person the gift was for has recently taken up bee keeping and is a medieval re-enactor in the SCA, like me ... so I felt a medieval skep (that is what the straw bee hive was called) would be a good motif for this panel.  I'm pretty proud of this one because it is an original design I created and executed myself.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ladies and gentlefolk ... I would like to present the new home of the Oak and Hammer Forge ... ☺ ... 
I'm still in complete shock that it is finally here after 13 years of planning and saving.
I have so many people to thank in making this possible ...
Canadian Heritage Sheds (the builders), Stoney Creek Concrete (they were awesome), Michael Stewart (contractor friend who spearheaded tearing down the old shed and the pouring of the concrete pad), a long list of awesome friends (who helped through various stages) and most important of all, my best friend and the love of my life Leslie ... who I love with all my heart and who made all this possible.
There is still a lot of work to be done on the inside ... but that is winter work. Tomorrow is the final inspection!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

It's been a while since I last blogged (... can blog be used as a verb???). The usual depression blahs have taken hold ... but we ever struggle on  and the fight is day by day (... by day ... by day ... by day ... etc.) 
Life has been all kinds of things ... difficult ... stressful ... frustrating ... exhausting ... (you get the picture) ... :(
But some EXCITING stuff has been happening too ... and though it has been adding to the tiredness and stress, it's the "good" kind that I don't mind so much.


Now some of you may be asking yourself ... "Is that a real ugly helmet?" ...
Others may be asking ... "Is that a real ugly planter?"  ...
But to the educated Norse re-enactor, they will be saying, "No, it a real ugly DaLarna-stytle cooking pot! ... and they would be RIGHT!
I was fortunate to get invited to go down to Pennsylvania and visit with my new friends Stevan and Marci Waleff and participate in a weekend cauldron making class.  In two days Stevan taught me (and a few others) how to shape 3 flat plates of steel into a "replica" of a Norse period 4L cooking pot.  It's not quite finished yet - I had to leave early to make it back home in time to get ready to return to the classroom on the following Monday - the handle and hangers still need to be formed and attached but I think I can handle that on my own (... see what I did there? :) ) 
I know it's not that pretty ... and there are LOTS of mistakes in it ... but I think I've figured out where I went wrong and look forward to making more of these.  I came out of the workshop with one (almost) complete pot and templates to make more 2L, 4L and 6L DaLarna cooking pots. Stevan is talking about a spring workshop to make Oseberg cauldrons ... I really want to take this one too ... I hope I can fit the time in. 
... huh ... pots ... who knew?

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Despite the heat of the last few weeks, I've still been able to find some time to work at my jewelry bench.  I love having time to indulge my "make stuff" side - I got to expand existing skills and develop some new ones.
I made a trichinolpoly necklace in sterling silver (single-5 weave), more bone and bronze Norse needle cases, more bronze needles, lots of bronze chain and my first attempt at antler Norse combs. 
I enjoyed making the combs - I've been working up to trying this for some time now ... today seemed as good a time as any. I look forward to making more of these and other styles of combs as well.
YAY Making Stuff!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Had a good day today - but, of course, I think any day spent in a forge is a good day. This all started last fall when I got a most interesting email. My blacksmith association (OABA) sent out an email with a link about an amazing event that was going to happen in the fall of 2016 ... the link is . 
2016 is the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of Ypres and to commemorate it, blacksmiths from around Europe and Canada are going to construct a cenotaph IN Ypres, Belgium. Well, I can't afford to go to Belgium (and the event is happening during school-time) ... but the interesting part was that the event organizers put a call out to all smiths to contribute steel poppies to the project - they need 2016 poppies! - they even provided a template to cut out the blanks and instructional videos in how to forge them into shape.
A friend of mine, Darrell Markewitz ( set up a forging day at his shop today and he, myself and another friend Neil were able to cut out and forge 5 poppies (cutting them out of the 1/8" steel plate and grinding them to shape was the hardest part). I forged out 2 poppies - my arm is a bit sore, but I had a great time working at the anvil. 
We'll have no way of knowing if our flowers will be used in the project,  but just participating in a project like this was a great experience.
My two poppies I forged today - the right one still needs to be drilled. I learned a lot about texturing today.