I recently made several of these fun marble trees. Originally, I made a batch of four and published a video on Instagram and Facebook. Almost immediately, they were purchased and several more people expressed interest. I recently made a larger batch to cover those who first expressed interest and potentially more. It has been a fun project.
Friday, August 14, 2020, was my last day of employment with Oracle Corporation. That evening, our kids threw us a COVID Style drive-by retirement celebration party! Claudia and Eric had invited dozens of people. Many drove up and offered their congratulations. The grandkids handed out ice cream treats. It was wonderful!
Here are a few photos of the event:
This final photo was created by out oldest daughter, Heidi Bartle, offering a synopsis of my 43 year career!
People often ask me what my favorite woodworking project is. To date, it has to be the case I made to display the flag that lay atop my father’s casket. He was proud of his contribution as a World War II Army veteran. It was a distinct honor to make this case and give it to my wonderful mother.
At the time I made this case, I struggled with my nascent woodworking skills, but finally, on the fourth attempt, I finished the case. I have been able to make a few more flag cases since that time, but none surpassed the significance of this first case.
When our oldest daughter was three and a half years old, I got the brainy idea to make a little cupboard for her, modeled somewhat after a cupboard Claudia had when she was a little girl. By this time, I think I owned a circular saw and jigsaw. I must have bought my first router to finish the curved edges. The important thing is that Heidi loved it. After 35+ years, the little cupboard, with most of the parts still intact, is still going strong. The grandkids love to play with toy dishes and other treasures that live in (at on top of) the cupboard .
Although I didn’t become serious in my pursuit of woodworking until just a few years ago, i dabbled from time to time. My first real project was to build a desk. Before we got married in August 1976, I knew I would need a desk for our apartment at college that fall. So, with only my dad’s Skil saw, a hammer and nails and a bit of imagination, I built a desk out of plywood and pine boards. It was about 3 feet deep and 4 feet long, with three drawers. The photo below is the only one I could find that showed the desk. My niece and nephew are a lot better looking than the desk, but it served me well until I graduated from engineering school and we moved into our first house. I don’t remember whatever became of that desk, but I was pretty proud of what I had built.
This blog is the rebirth of a project first launched in 1998 by Angie Dixon, then 15 years old, as a school project to explore what people thought about personal freedom. Through a website designed and operated by her dad, Mark Dixon (me), she invited people from all over the world to share their “Testimonies of Freedom.” During the next couple of years, people from nearly every state in the United States and several countries around the world had shared their thoughts about freedom for posting on the site. I also added a rich collection of reference material about freedom and patriotism to the website.
Starting in July, 2009, Mark re-launched the site in WordPress blog format and periodically posted messages related to the topics of freedom and patriotism.
Now, starting in August, 2020, I am re-purposing the site to share my experiences in woodworking. After 43 years in the computer industry, I am retiring from professional life. This will allow me to spend much more time with my passion – learning the art and craft of making things with wood. Hopefully, this will be a place where I can share things I have made and lessons I have learned along the way.
Please feel free to join me on this journey!