When I go to a gallery exhibition, I love to see the artist’s earlier works or practice sketches. It reminds me of the amount of work and practice that goes in before you make something you’re happy with.
It also reminds me that,unless you’re some kind of super human freak, most artists generally don’t start out creating great works, they create a lot of crap before it starts to get any good.
The key thing is, they don’t give up.
I find this even more inspiring than seeing the finished pieces.
Over the past few months we’ve been cutting prototype after prototype, trying out different finishing techniques and materials, creating a lot of crap and some good things. I’ve also been tweaking and improving all the tap designs and I thought I’d show an example of a first attempt alongside the latest version of same.
Keep in mind this “First” edition is still the one that made it to production. My actual first sketch of Krampus looked like something a talentless, drunk chimpanzee might draw.
Incase there’s ever a burgeoning market for talentless, drunk chimpanzee art, I’ll hang on to it.
For now, here are the first and last edition Krampus Winter Ale taps:
We’re only about 2 weeks behind schedule so far, which is actually about 2 weeks less behind schedule than I thought we’d be at this point. So we’re actually ahead of schedule.
Work on the taps is going swimmingly. I’ve got 16 tap designs that we’ll be launching at the end of the month. We’ve been testing finishes and getting the process down, faster and faster.
Derek will be doing some big upgrades to the CNC in the next couple of months. We’ll post a video once it’s done. A shopping cart will follow in fall with more products coming in spring (bar stools, pub signs etc).
Here are a couple of new taps freshly engraved on the CNC ready to be cut out and filled with epoxy.
Our latest taps including this one, as well as our bar stools are currently at the GPAG till the end of the month.
It may have appeared as though Derek and I dropped off the face of the earth sometime this past year. Rest assured, we have just been wholly preoccupied with what is now referred to in hushed tones as “The Great Renovation of 2016” or “The Renovation to End All Renovations”. It has been all-consuming and exhausting, driven by obsession bordering on madness, and has left time for little else. And now…dare I say…we’re done? No, I’d best not, that’s just begging for trouble.
As you may already know, Derek and I bought our first house in 2013, beside the beach in Roberts Creek. It’s a lovely spot, and has been a dream come true after many years of renting.
The house was about 1000 sq ft, and badly in need of some attention. It came with 30 year old, stained and peeling kitchen cupboards, some creative wiring and the infamous blue carpet that you will be all too familiar with if you’ve ever been a guest here. The blue carpet has endured decades of use with different families, children and pets before we finally finished it off. Daily tracking in sand and dirt, muddy paws from the garden, one incontinent senior dog, 2 new puppies were more than our carpet cleaner could handle. Gross. Why, yes it was.
We tackled our first, smaller renos in our first year here. The first stage of our workshop and the bathroom reno. (old blog post here) The bathroom was a surprise, high-priority item when we realized that the base of the toilet was leaking into the floor which of course was made of particle board and not plywood. Surprise! The swelling of the particleboard caused the toilet to recline further and further back each day. I fondly referred to it as “The Lazyboy”.
These first renos gave us a good idea of what to expect for time and cost as we started planning for the Big One. Even so, it was a daunting project to take on.
The first stage of drawing up the architectural diagrams, floor-plans and elevations and planning all the interior finishings, was actually a lot of fun. That’s because the project was still imaginary in my head at that point, and imaginary projects are easy and don’t cost anything. That all changed.
I think it was when the concrete boom truck showed up in the driveway that I realized, “Oh shit, this is actually happening in real life” and “Who’s in charge here and how is it that I was allowed to make these decisions like I’m an actual adult?”
We have hired Laurie Lacovetsky of Sound Construction with his capable crew, Scott and Andy for all our renos and we’ve never regretted it. They are hard working and knowledgeable with great attention to detail. Progress went very quickly on the back extension to the house and workshop and within a few months they were tearing up the inside.
It was a colder than normal winter this year when our drywall and insulation was removed from the walls and ceiling, and our kitchen torn out. It was then, with impeccable timing, our dryer gave out.
Here are a few photos from December:
The dismantled kitchen and new cabinets piled up in the living room, our wet clothes hanging from makeshift clotheslines, but best of all, no blue carpet. In hindsight, it might have been a good idea to move out during this part.
Once the main renovations were done, we did much of the finishing work, wood trim, painting etc. ourselves to save cost, and to be honest, because I enjoy using power tools. This kept us greatly occupied for many months.
Fast forward a few more months, we have no more blue carpet, and lots of cool before and after photos. I think it was worth it. What do you think?
Beautiful concrete counters by Julien of La Cote Concrete and Maple counter by Christian of Lafor Wood Products. Why yes, that is a plumbed in beer tap in the above photo, on the left. Also on the left, a cutting board I made from cherry wood from a tree we cut down in the back yard.
In the photo below, the pebble floor beside the patio door is mostly sourced from the beach and is a great way to hide the dirt that the pups track in every day. The cedar panel along the front of my desk came from a cedar tree we took down in the back of our house. The center of the tree was split and rotten but there was still plenty of perfectly good wood that we have used throughout the house.
When I was a wee lass, perhaps 5 or 6 years old, my family took us for a camping trip in the English country side. The English weather lived up to its good name. It rained the entire time and the field was muddy. Before long, my wonderful father suggested the brilliant idea of taking me to a nearby pub. I realize now that it was probably at the request of my Mother, to get me out of her hair so that she could get the tent set up. (Thanks Mum) However, at the time, I just thought my Dad wanted to take me on a great adventure.
My memory of that pub is as keen as if I was there yesterday. The worn wooden bar top, darts and snooker tables, footy on the telly, and the stench of stale beer soaked carpets …. in other words….paradise! I was perched up on a tall bar stool and given a strongbow to sip. Oh what heavenly nectar, sweet as a hummingbird’s kiss! I was done with camping, this was what life was all about.
It made an indelible mark on my young mind and since then, it’s been my lifelong dream to have my own private pub in my own house.
Well, now we do, complete with plumbed in kegs. Here’s Derek pouring a pint:
It includes a 9ft long custom maple bar top which has been in the works for a while.
It started about 8 years ago when in Reimer hardwood I came across a 9 ft, 2 inch thick by 14 inch flawless slab of maple. I decided that one day it would be our bar top. We lugged it around for several years before we made it here. With the kitchen reno designed, we realized that the maple slab fit the bar area perfectly – almost like it was meant to be.
Today, I’m putting the last coat of finish on the 2 final bar stools. These feature four rather cheery local scenes (Georgia strait, Elphinstone, Granville Street and the unforgettable Vancouver Skyline) The beautiful stool legs were created by the incredibly talented Kelly Backs (our local blacksmith). treeblacksmith.com