Monday, November 19, 2007

About Talented Kansans

Since I haven't posted in a while I thought I'd do a little bragging since I don't have anything new to add. About talented Kansans, most Kansans I know are multi-talented, though they don't consider themselves to be talented at all. We learn to do things simply because they need to be done, or make things because we want/need to have them. We see things in stores and think they're nice and at the same time think, "I can make that," and often go home and do just that. My daughter even told me when she was a teenager that she was tired of hearing me say, "you could make that a lot cheaper." For a while she was earning money babysitting and buying what she wanted, but as an adult raising a family is back to making what she wants (her scrubs are the envy of the care home). Her sewing skills are far beyond what I taught her. She amazes me with her creativity with pieces of furniture she recycles as furniture other than what they were intended to be. An old headboard for a twin bed was turned upside down and hung on the wall for a shelf. An old wooden decorative wall cabinet becomes a glass front display shelf. The top of a hutch is used for an elaborate headboard for her son's bed, another shelf laid on it's side is just the right size for the twin bed mattress getting the shelf out of the way and creating storage space under the mattress.

My son, the youngest boy in the family, is the really creative one. He claims that everything he knows he learned from me, but I only taught him that he could do whatever he wanted to do. In the picture below is a camera crane or jib that he built from scratch, making adjustments through trial and error.
He's in the process of building a better crane to possibly sell, but still has some bugs to work out. One of the first major projects that he took on was opening up and flooring the attic so we could use it for storage. First he had to raise the sagging roof and put in new braces that didn't obscure the area. He learned, through trial and error, about constructing a wooden I-beam for support to keep the weight of the roof off the open area over my living room. He jacked up the roof, built braces and made the roof straighter than it was when I moved in. We called in an electrician to install a light and check out the ancient wiring. According to our expert, the old wiring is safer and better insulated than the new, so we didn't replace it. Next the flooring went in. He had framed out a new hole for the entrance after consulting our neighbor who does this type of thing for a living and all this when he was still in High School. He later built the deck for the pool, the interior work for the showerhouse, the stage and the playhouse. His brother gave him a hand with the showerhouse and his sister helped with the playhouse and stage. He ran underground pipe for electric outlets in the pool/showerhouse area also an outlet in front for the dining area. He dug and put in the fire pit, ran wiring to the the entertainment center booth, hung a screen that my daughter made out or three long tablecloths and installed outdoor speakers. He put duct work in the ceiling of his rental house to hook up a central air unit that we were able to give to him. He repairs his own cars, if it needs doing and he can find a way to do it, he'll do it himself. And this is how most Kansans I know are. They have a "Can Do" spirit that's necessary for survival in tough times. This is just one of the things I love about living in Kansas.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Wooden Puzzle

One winter my brother-in-law made all the boys wooden 3D puzzles. To tell them apart he painted the ends different colors for each boy. They had a lot fun with these and at least one still exists, though I believe it may be a combination of two separate puzzles. Click on the picture to see the puzzle and all it's pieces. I don't know what I need to do to make an animated .gif work in a post on the blog. If anyone knows, please tell me.