Sunday, November 30, 2008

Willem Climbs the Mountain

Willem learned he could climb stairs and enjoys doing it. Yet another skill freeing him to roam under the watchful eye of mom and dad. He's also "be-bopping" to music.

Click below to see the climbing movie.

Wollersheim Winery Tour

While spending the Thanksgiving Holiday at Brian and Erin's they treated us to a tour of the Wollersheim Winery. We were all surprised to learn that the day we were there it was a special tour day and we were able to sample most of their wines and some excellent cheese.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A new hobby - Geocaching!

I have a new Hobby -- Geocaching.

Here's a YouTube video from Explore the Door. Learn more about Door County and Geocaching in this Geocaching Video

Roger and I did a bit of it today. My new hand-held GPS arrived yesterday so we went to Best Buy for a road trip and located three caches on the way to and back. Before heading out we downloaded the cache locations from to the handheld Garmin. With the unit turned on we left for Best Buy and located the first cache in the park behind the school. (See #1 in first photo whioch is an aerial image of where we live and the surrounding area.) After leaving Best Buy we traveled to the park by the Mall and walked up the hill into the woods to locate the second (#2). The third was near the swimming pool (#3). The GPS "tracked" all of our movements. After getting home I downloaded the "track" to MapSource on my computer. Then I asked MapSource to display the track in Google Earth - and that's where I got the pictures you're seeing below. By zooming in closer and closer we get more and more detail of the track - note the second photo is a close up from the right side of the top image.

Click on images to make them larger.
The map below from shows the caches around Eau Claire. Note the smiley faces as they are now logged on my geocaching account as found.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mike Moszer's Apprenticeship Begins

Today, 6' 4" Mike Moszer begain his cabinetmaking apprenticeship in my workshop. He has completed 2 hours of a 120 hour program. Mike now has an introduction to nail guns, the compound miter saw, Kreg pocket hole connections and biscuit joinery. The project was adding 4 inches to the height of Mike and Sandy's new vanity to make it easier for him to reach the sink. A little stain and a few coats of poly and it'll be ready for installation.

Friday, November 7, 2008

ECCC - A Dream Realized

In January 2008 I was asked by the Eau Claire Curling Club (ECCC) if I'd be interested in building an entertainment center to include a TV, fireplace and display cabinets for the club viewing room. Preliminary drawings utilizing commercial kitchen cabinets had already been completed, but the board was looking for other options. This caused me to recall the six months club members' spent building a significant amount of the current curling facilities during the late summer and fall of 1995. At the time, club members' dreamed of a TV and fireplace along the north wall.

Click on images to make them larger.

During building construction the gas meter was placed just outside that space in anticipation of the dream's reality. In addition, over a number of seasons, Friday night mixed curlers developed a modest fund earmarked for just such a project. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to design and build this cabinetry and be part of fulfilling that 13 year old dream.

My design goals focused on creating a "WOW" experience people would encounter as they entered the viewing room of the club as well as make the piece part of the much needed change in the institutional look of the space. During the next few months, research and quotes were obtained for the gas fireplace and several iterations of the design were prepared in SketchUp - a 3-D modeling software - for review by the Curling Club board and a variety of members.

Gary Kucho, another curler and architect (who usese SketchUp for his work) assisted by preparing a 3-D view of the entire curling club facility. I inserted the proposed cabinets into that drawing and prepared several views for final approval of the ECCC board and the Eau Claire County committee responsible for the County Exposition Center (AKA - Curling Club). With the season ending in March the project was on hold until the 2008-2009 season.

With approvals in hand, including recommendations for additional doors for the TV cabinet and door locks, the 12' x 10' project began during the first week of September. The projected completion date was November 1 - just prior to Open Houses for the new season. During the summer a friend and fellow curler announced he'd like to assist and learn about cabinet building. I couldn't turn down some help, but wasn't sure if our definitions of "help" were the same. Turns out that Ron King's definition far exceeded mine as he was there almost every day during the eight weeks of construction and installation. He was a tremendous help and a blessing in disguise as this project, like so many, took on a life of it's own. A special thanks to Dave Wallace and Roger Kees for their assistance as well. During the off season, one of the fireplace bids became obsolete as the retailer closed. An additional bid was obtained and ultimately became the club's choice. During construction, additional research was done on the latest LCD - TVs and it was decided to move from a 42" to a 46" which required design modifications as space was limited.

The project was installed during the week of November 3rd and was completed in time for the Open House. The fireplace is operational and adds not only ambience, but a significant amout of warmth which will be greatly appreciated when its 20 below zero in January.

This has been a very large project but quite rewarding throughout its various stages.

Click on arrow to view slide show.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween.

Although Willem couldn't trick or treat at our door, mom and dad had a special picture taken for the occasion. Brian has always loved hot peppers. They grow lots of them in their garden -- and then there's that cute one they call Willem. I think he's thrilled to be all dressed up for a family portrait.
We did have about 50 trick or treat visitors including a few adults without any special costumes. Nora was well prepared with candy and treats and her special pumpkin hat she wore this year. It was a fun evening and the weather was perfect. No snow or rain and no need for jackets to cover those cute costumes.

Sandy (Kees) Moszer stopped by with Toby and Talia. Aren't they cute!