These are my ruminations on life, design, and the pursuit of happiness…

2012 Pinewood Derby

Last weekend was Theo’s Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. Last year he won a trophy for the “Most Realistic” car, so this year he decided he wanted a bit of a Steampunk look. After sketching it out on paper, he spent several days carving and sanding it out of the wood block. Then with his dad’s help, he covered the exterior with copper and silver tape. “Rivets” were added with a punch, and the dome was made from a plastic spoon.

Here is the result:

And the final result? Best Of Show!

Busy week

I guess I’m always busy, but this week I was busy with fun stuff. First another trip to the Printing Museum with my class.
We are thinking of starting a “wall of shame” or maybe just a “binder of shame” for prints such as this:

April02Which doesn’t really look bad until you realize it is supposed to say “Wanted, Reward” which is why I later added the image of Einstein.

Then Friday I got to go with Theo and his 3rd grade class to the Aquarium of the Pacific.
April06We all had a blast, as the Aquarium was closed to the public due to the Long Beach Grand Prix. The kids even got some views of the Grand Prix trials over the fence.

Sunday we had a mini Grand Prix of our own
April09 with Pack 007’s Pinewood Derby.

car1This was the first derby for Theo, and he and Dave had been working on the car for about the last month.

April07We weren’t sure it would go very fast, as last weekend they had a trial run, and the car was getting hung up on the rails. But they brought it home, and Theo cut out the bottom more with the dremel.

April08He wound up winning fastest in his bear division!

April10Not bad for a car we didn’t know would run!

His sister even designed a car (built by dad)
hedgie1(it’s a hedgehog)

Hers we WERE expecting to go fast, as it was scoring under 3 seconds in the trials, but it just didn’t perform on race day. When we got home we realized the axle had been bent, and the wheel was rubbing against the frame.
Sorry Sadie, better luck next time!

Unemployment Benefits

So those of you who know me and mine know that my husband has been out of work since May. This being Thanksgiving week, I thought I would put a positive spin on a bad situation, and share with you what good has come out of this forced “time off”.

Project 1: Olie Olds

We are a bit of a car family. (That’s a bit of an understatement) My husbands recent car “favorite” is his 1956 Oldsmobile 88 convertible. We found it in Michigan through Hemmings Motor News and had it shipped here to California. It had a few dents, and some bubbling of the paint from rust in spots, but wasn’t half bad.

It originally was an all black color scheme, but somewhere along the way had been painted black and white. The interior also had been poorly and incorrectly redone, but it drove, it was cool, and we had fun in it for several years, always knowing Dave would eventually get around to it’s restoration. We had accumulated most of the necessary tools while he was still employed, he had the talent, and then suddenly had the time!

First he did all the body work, rust repair, and replaced the doors. Sanded. Sanded. Sanded.

Then primer, (more sanding) and paint, all of which he accomplished in the driveway. (Told you he has talent!)

Then it was off to the upholstery shop for new carpet, interior, and top.

Thanks to a tip from a friend we found a great shop to do the work, at a fraction of what some other shops were asking.

So now “Olie Olds” is looking beautiful, but sadly I didn’t even get a good finish shot of him before he was garaged for the winter so Dave could move on to…

Project 2: My Dream Car

So being that he is “car inclined” Dave has subscribed to Collectible Automobile magazine on and off over the years. Way back in August of 1993, (I know this because the issue is for sale on ebay right now) they did a feature on the Austin Atlantic. I saw it. I was smitten.

The Austin A90 Atlantic was a British car produced by the Austin Motor Company, and was designed specifically for the American market. Unfortunately it didn’t take hold in the states, and only about 350 of the 7981 produced were sold here between 1959 and 1952. (350! Thats it!)

Well, I never really thought I’d have one, or even see one for sale. In about 2002, we did see one for sale, and fairly close too, within driving distance anyway, but at that time we were just getting ready to start our house remodel. We tend to be wildly impractical at times, but even we thought it would be a bad idea to spend the money on a car when we had a house waiting for a second story.
(And yes, this is reminding me I need to get back to blogging about our house remodel someday.)
Dave wouldn’t even take me to go see it, because “If we see it we won’t be able NOT to buy it.”

Forward to about October of 2007, when another A90 surfaced on ebay. By then the house was more or less done, and a new project seemed like a fine idea.

We had her shipped from her former home in Fargo, North Dakota, and by November she was here!

In this photo you can see the beautiful lines of the car that I fell in love with. And notice the cool flying A’s on the fenders!

Speaking of fenders, they had to be removed to get at all the rust the car was unfortunately full of.

Rust was ground back, and in some cases cut away completely. Dave made patches, sometimes making cardboard templates first to insure proper fit.

Somehow he found a neighbor who had been itching to buy a welder, and didn’t mind if we used it first.

(Don’t you love neighbors like that?)

So this is where the project stands currently. Dave is still out back everyday keeping his sanity by throwing energy at the car, looking for jobs when the sun goes down.
And I’m still finding plenty to be thankful for!