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We visited my wife’s parents this weekend, and they sent us home with something old and broken. In this case, though, it’s pretty cool. What you see here is a dough bowl carved by my wife’s great-grandfather William Rice with his pocket knife pocket knife after he walked home from the Battle of Atlanta to Blount County, Alabama, in 1864. Family history says that that he was shot through the abdomen and threaded a piece of bedsheet through the bullet hole to stop the bleeding. When he got home, he cut down a tree and carved this bowl while he recuperated. What a badass!
The bowl measures approximately 15 x 25 inches (38 x 64 cm). It’s been stored in an unairconditioned storage room and has dried out and split in the middle. It appears to have had one or more coats or modern varnish or polyurethane applied to it. The question now is, what to do with it? The purist answer is probably nothing: stabilize it as is. Nonetheless, I’m tempted to fill the split, sand it to remove the modern finish, and put a coat of varnish oil on it so we can get some use out of it.
My son’s class recently celebrated their 100th day of school by dressing up as cowboys, and he has a very specific idea of how cowboys dress, so we spent about a week putting together his cowboy costume. Two pieces of the costume were particularly tricky: the vest and the shirt. I found a pattern for a cow-spotted vest online, and simplified it just a bit. The original directions called for cutting out a single back piece and two front pieces from white felt and then gluing seams at the sides and top of the shoulders and gluing black spots all over the vest.
To make our vest, I went to the fabric store and found a fleece print that would work. They didn’t have a cow print, but they did have a black/grey/white camo print that satisfied the exacting standards of the costume director, so I bought one yard of fleece and two packs of black embroidery floss. To make the vest, I taped the front pattern to the back along the side, giving a pattern for half of the vest. I then folded the fabric in half and pinned the center edge of the pattern to the fold, yieldinging in a single piece of fabric that required sewing only two seams at the top of the shoulders. I hand stitched them with embroidery floss and then did a whip-stitch around the edges to complete the vest. I wound up with enough fabric left over to do another vest if I had wanted to.
The other issue was the yellow shirt with a red grid pattern. We couldn’t find anything even close, so we bought a yellow shirt and a red Sharpie, and I drew the grid pattern on the front and back. It turned out pretty well, even if I didn’t do a great job of matching along the sleeves.