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French polishing---it doesn't mean what you think it means

French polishing refers to a way to finish wood using shellac and other cool stuff. Shellac is made by harvesting the shells of lac beetles. The shells are ground up, sifted, blah blah blah---what am I? Wikipedia?---and sometimes bleached to get it very clear. There are varying grades and colors, some shellac is waxed, some isn't, and so on.

It is very easy to apply---drop some flaked in a container, add alcohol (but not the vodka, I'm using that), and shake very gently to dissolve the shellac. Strain through a paper coffee filter. You can apply by wiping it on with a cotton rag all bunched up or spraying with an HVLP system. Read more about French polishing---it doesn't mean what you think it means

twig's picture

Do We Make Things To Make Ourselves Feel Better?


Is knitting self medication? Are people who make things -- even if it's dinner, the bed, laundry, gardening and other activities that require physical engagement -- just getting a dose of the poor person's Prozac?

Possibly. Lifting Depression, A Neuroscientist's Hands On Approach to Activating Your Brain's Healing Power makes a good case for "effort-driven rewards," like crafting, as an alternative or addition to medication and/or psychotherapy. Read more about Do We Make Things To Make Ourselves Feel Better?

votermom's picture

Artesanía: word of the day, theme of my new year

Artesanía is the Spanish word for handicrafts (I looked it up!). I love how pretty the word is, just as I love making things with my hands. I know a lot of Correntians love working with their hands too, so I wish you all a New Year of Happy Handcrafting!

So who wants to talk about their crafting plans, goals, wishes for the year with me?
I'll go first. I want to improve my knitting and crocheting methodically, and I want to get to a point where I can make some hobby money with it. So I am going to study off a couple of books (of which I need to get my own copies).
I also started a "memory crochet diary" -- check it out at
and tell me what you think of it. Read more about Artesanía: word of the day, theme of my new year

chicago dyke's picture

Winter Hobbyist


So, up here in 5b land, it's dark, bleak, and cold. A lot. The moon is shining and making pretty play on the snow just now here in MI, but of course that never lasts. Like many, I fill my winter 'downtime' with indoor hobbying and crafting. Last year, as you may remember, it was tiling. I plan on doing more this season, but I like to try to learn new things every season. This year, I have to confess: I'd scheduled learning to sew "for real," but coming back from London and all the museums, I'm more inclined to...paint. I just love "modern" art! It's probably pathetic, but I don't care. Read more about Winter Hobbyist

Sarah's picture

Depression skillz -- who has them?

Take a hard look around you, boys and girls. The GOP is going to shut down GM if they can, and maybe Ford. How come? Autoworkers. Union labor. Kill the Big Three (Chrysler's already gone) and you can stamp out the next-to last vestiges of not-serfdom in the US.
"Clean coal" programs will, in all likelihood, lead us back to company towns. The middle class might be doomed -- but the skills of our grandparents, great-grandparents, and for those of us of a certain age, parents and selves might prevent our kids from suffering too much, if we gather them up and pass them on. Read more about Depression skillz -- who has them?

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