Before and After – Spoon Carving

blog spoon

We are currently in the process of taking out a rather mongrel hedge and replacing it with a fence. The hedge seems to consist of all sorts of different bushes and trees cut to hedge size. Every now and then, as we pull out the hedge 8 feet at a time, we come across a decent sized tree trunk and branches; these have been going into the “save” pile.

Above is a spoon cut from the hedge. It sits on the remainder of the branch it came from. I am eternally fascinated with taking a raw piece of wood and turning it into a functional object. As the wood has a mind of its own, you never quite know what you will get.





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Refinish and Renew – The Story Of Our Table

It seems like March has been a month of renewing, we’ve been reorganizing, refreshing, and basically eliminating a lot of the rubbish in our life.

Our dining table was one of these projects. Still sturdy and strong, and a style we quite liked, the table however was showing the effects of heavy family use. Hundreds of dinners, plus many hours of working and crafting and playing, had left scratches and dents across the table top. I figured we were at the point where we had nothing to lose and that perhaps it was worth attempting to refinish the table top.

blog refinish 1Before refinishing. A well loved and well used table.

blog refinish 2The point of no return. A good couple of hours were spent with the palm sander. This is where you wonder if you had made the right decision.

blog refinish 3Sawdust EVERYWHERE! I must research dust collection systems.

blog refinish 4Sanded and looking better already.

blog refinish 5Praying that the wiping stain matches. I held my breath through this stage and through the topcoat stage as well. It was my first experience with wiping stains and I was very impressed. I was also able to refinish a small portion of wood flooring ( a parquet floor quick fix that actually worked!) and a south facing window sill at the same time.

blog refinish 6The finished table. I was completely thrilled with the result. Twenty-five dollars and a bit of time and the table is literally as good as new…….or better…….I think the topcoat I used is better than the one originally on the table so hopefully this will take a lot more wear.

blog refinish 7And now to research the next project, the 1946 the table is sitting on. Only by the table is it worn, the rest of the floor is in great shape. Does anyone have any idea what the finish on the floor is? Shellac? Varnish? I am toying with just stripping and sanding individual boards and refinishing them. The way the boards are laid I think it will blend well ( I did a blending on the parquet floor and it worked). If anyone has any thoughts let me know.







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Carved Spoons – My New Obsession

blog 2 spoons_8276

Carved spoons is my latest handmaking obsession. It is something I just had to try and I admit I am hooked. I have a thing for functional items. We live in a small house with lots of people, there isn’t a lot of room for 3D decorative items, but if an item can be beautiful and functional I am thrilled to own it.

My first ever spoon is the one on the left. Chunky and rustic, yet measures a perfect teaspoon. Great for measuring sugar and spices.

blog spoon 2_8256

My second spoon is the one on the right and in the picture above. I was able to refine the shape more to seem less rustic. The branch in the picture above is the left over part of the branch that the spoon was carved from. This one went from being part of the crabapple tree (it needed pruning!) to a spoon in two days.

A third spoon has been made and just needs oiling and finishing, while a fourth has just been started.

As the spoons are being crafted from prunings that would usually just be collected by the city’s green waste program, it is great to see “waste” turned into functional items. As I find larger pieces of wood I will be able to expand my scope to scoops, cutting boards and other usable objects.

Photography by Debra Hunter

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Summer Diversion

I must admit my blogs have been scarce recently. It seems there have been lots of diversions. One big diversion is we are fence building. Of course to build this fence we have to remove the current fence that has been in place for 69 years. Digging up posts. Untangling roots. Removing huge rocks . Heritage properties bring challenges. We even unearthed a very old brick; my guess is from the building of the chimney of the house next door 110 years ago. It sounds like a lot of work, but strangely we are enjoying it. We have no doubt that completing the fence could possibly take the whole summer, but there are certainly worse things to be doing than working out in the sunshine.

(By the way, the wonky two by fours above the fence are our neighbour’s handy work….. we take no responsibility for that construction!)

The Making of the Buttons

Yesterday I shared an image of some handmade wooden buttons, so today I thought I would show how they came to be.

I had actually dabbled with making wooden buttons about a year and a half ago, but as it had pretty much ended in disaster I put the project to the side and had pretty much forgotten about it. A few days ago my three year old came up to me a whacked me with a stick, and instead of the usual telling off I responded with “Hey, my button stick. Where did you find that?”. So with a whack of a stick I was back attempting making buttons.

stick and tools

The stick was a pruning from one of our many trees in our yard, probably elm orĀ  crab apple, maybe apricot. In my previous attempt I had stripped off some of the bark which was handy. One of my biggest mistakes last time was the wood was too green, so time solved my first issue. I lined up a different saw this time (the other issue last time was the wrong saw) and EVENTUALLY a miter box, thanks to my dad. My husband had put mine “somewhere” …..we have “his & hers” tool issues in our home to the point that my parents bought me my own drill for Christmas (which is safely stowed …A.K.A. “hidden”…..under my desk).

slices of wood

From here I sliced the stick into small disks a bit thicker than a commercial button as I wanted a rustic looking button for embellishing some of my “Coffee Sweaters”.

sanding the button


Next was a bit of sanding.

drilling holesdrilling holes

Then drilling the holes with a rotary tool.

Hand Made ButtonsFinally……buttons!

It seems quite simple when I look at the steps but it sure didn’t go that quickly.

 wood buttons

They do look wonderful on the “Coffee Sweaters”.

Coffee Sweaters made of  naturally hand dyed and hand knit locally produce wool.

Coffee Sweaters made of naturally hand dyed and hand knit locally produce wool.

Another batch is off to a local store, Sunworks, in Red Deer, Alberta. You can find them on the counter in the Coconut Room.

Time to get knitting and dyeing again!

Art , photography, illustration and fibre wearables and useables
by Debra Hunter
Hunter Photographics & Studio H

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