Thursday, 6 March 2014

A whittling he will go!

If I had a pound for every occasion when Dave has offered to whittle, carve or otherwise knock up something for me, I wouldn't be sitting here writing this, I'd be taking a trip in my private helicopter for a week in the sun on my private island. If I had a pound for every item Dave has actually whittled, carved or otherwise knocked up, I could probably scrap together enough to buy a bag of pick 'n' mix. There are signs, however, that I may yet be able to swap sweets for sunshine.

It began with Valentine's Day. I wanted gifts for our Valentine's weekend guests. I'd seen various bric-a-brac, shabby chic, crafty type shops selling slate hearts bearing assorted printed words of love, but wasn't convinced that the workmanship matched the price tag. Ever hopeful, but with little expectation of success, I showed a picture to Dave and enquired as to the likelihood of him knocking up something similar. Well blow me down, if before I could say "don't worry, I was only asking, I can always buy some from that shop in Lampeter", he'd whipped out his Rotozip and was off rummaging amongst his scrap yard off cuts. OK, so the prototype was a slightly wonky, strangely misshapen heart, but armed with a cardboard template there were soon not one but two slate hearts flying off the woodshed workbench production line. I let the side down with some dubious handiwork with brush and paint (which in Dave's opinion did not do justice to the quality of his own workmanship), but all in all I think that between us we did a rather good job for the princely sum of 45 pence for a strip of ribbon.

He didn't stop there. Next up, the tree lamp. We'd been following the fortunes of our friend Sarah on the BBC's Great Interior Design Challenge (which she won by the way, so if vintage, quirky unique interiors are your thing, I recommend you take a peak at her website before she's a rich and famous designer to the stars!). Anyway, shameless plug over, on one episode of Great Interior Design Challenge Sarah created a lamp from a silver birch tree (not the whole tree, obviously). This idea lodged someone deep within Dave's brain, where after a few days of mental whittling, it blossomed into a new project. A redesign of the dining room in Cwt Mochyn cottage has been in the cards for some time, with a new lamp having been on the "to buy" list for months but with no junk shop find or eBay listing having taken my fancy. Dave was now on the case. Dead tree identified, chopped and lopped, stripped and whittled. Handy tree surgeon log cast off re-located to the woodshed, stripped and whittled. Of course, our version of Sarah's tree lamp would have to be "eco". The retro filament bulbs she used look very cool but are about as eco as a hot tub is, so Dave sourced an alternative and needless to say our eco but cool bulbs came at eco but cool prices. It's still neither easy nor cheap to be green.


Right now I'm sourcing the wildlife for Dave's tree. I have a felt robin ready to nest in its branches, and one of Sarah's very own blanket birds should be flying this way very soon (well they are made from Welsh blankets so it seems appropriate that one should come home to roost). You'll have to wait for the birds to arrive for the "after" picture and the grand unveiling of the finished article.

As if those two masterpieces weren't enough, before the varnish on his tree lamp was dry, he was plucking willow whips from the grassland, then back in the woodshed, whittling knife at the ready, knocking up a couple of willow hurdles. 

Is there no end to this man's talents? I intend to find out! I will be shamelessly exploiting this sudden burst of creativity. I've already put in my order for reclaimed wood shelving for Cwt Mochyn cottage. Dave may now be the whittling king, but I am the queen of lists, so I'm pretty sure that his enthusiasm will be on the wane long before my "to make" list will be complete.