Saturday, August 17, 2013

Have You Heard the One About the Psalmodikon---or An Amateur Luthier Makes One

My friend, whom I shall refer to as The Luthier, tinkers with and creates many types of musical instruments. These instruments can include those with bellows and reeds, such as accordions and pump organs, or stringed instruments made of many types of woods or cobbled and cannibalized from various other stringed instruments.  It is quite a creative process this requires speedy searches by myself on the internet for types of wood The Lutheir seeks or specific mandolin or viola strings, whatever the heat of the moment is requiring.

As far as the psalmodikon goes, I found it fascinating and even the pronunciation of the word required some education on our part by The Hermit.  The Hermit is another character in this process who also provides internet searches and information on tech processes and of course, pronunciation coaching.  It was determined that the best pronunciation for this instrument of Scandinavian origin is "som-OH-dick-on."

It is a long wooden instrument with one string that generally has a low, almost guttural sound.  It is known in states such as Minnesota where many Scandinavians settled in the 19th and 20th centuries.  The one string is often played with a bow used on other stringed instruments and they will be played in quartets of the instrument to provide a variety of notes.

The Luthier did build his psalmodikon and it looked fine.  I would have liked to play it and it held a fascination for me.  Maybe because the Scandinavian culture has always been an interest;  probably ever since seeing the Viking ship model my oldest brother made when I was a young child and sneaking into  his bedroom too look at it, but never daring to touch the model.  And I must admit those Midwestern Scandinavian lumberjacks are some fine looking specimens, too.

The Luthier's creation did not remain whole very long.  It was disassembled and the spruce that it had been composed from became another musical project.  This is someone who has the specifications for the Stradivarius stringed instruments posted on the refrigerator in large font to refer to when needed.

Here is a link to some music by a psalmodikon quartet:

The psalomdikon quartet music is well-suited to sacred music, as you will see, if you viewed and listened to the music on this web page Nordic-American Psalmodkonforbundet.  This page has lots of information on the topic, if my article has piqued your interest.

The Luthier, of course, is on another project, and the Hermit and I just shrug our shoulders and know the Lutheir will be requesting new internet searches and information soon for the next and the next and the next...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Laundromat Musings

Washing and drying clothes at a laundromat involves a whole set of skills, that many may not be aware they might need.  Take a couple loads of laundry to the local laundromat when you've never been to one and it will become apparent that it isn't as simple a process as it might look.  Not to be gender biased, but if you're a man standing around waiting for someone to feel sorry for you and tell you what to do, you might get some sympathizers, you might not.  A lot of the women that are going to the laundromat may have children or grandchildren with them , as well as having hauled on heavy loads of wet and dirty clothes and don't see this endeavor as an opportunity to assist the clueless male on how to do his laundry.

Hopefully, the male in question, had a parent who taught him the basics of laundry when he was growing up and he will not be as clueless as originally conjectured to be.  Note, I was once asked to sniff and smell a man's newly laundered pair of pants to see if it still had a burning smell left from the fire he had his house recently.  I asked myself internally, "Is he serious?" but I played along and did as he asked.  I couldn't smell any burning smell, and there might have been a slight odor of kerosene, but I'm not the best person to ask, because my sense of smell is practically nonexistent, except after a superb night's rest, which can happen very rarely.

This was going on as two young children were rolling the laundry carts back and forth and coasting on them as entertainment, while their harried grandmother finished drying some bedding she had washed.  One sincerely enjoys silence after an experience like this, believe me.

Using the same laundromat all the time, one gets acclimated to which washing machines and dryers are the better ones.  One learns the washer that sounds like it will launch into orbit when it is spin drying or the dryer that will leave one with a mass of wet clothes after an hour of drying on the highest setting.  On the opposite side of things, are the washers that don't spin dry at all and leave sodden clothes and the dryers that may melt  the polyester shirt back to its roots as a  product of crude oil.

Who would have known the adventures that await at the local laundromat?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Following Craft Blogs----I Love It!

I follow several craft blogs by email and on facebook.  Probably two years ago I discovered Craft Gossip which publishes every day and is a digest of many types of crafts and features projects made by artists, artisans, craftsmen, you name it, it has been featured.  At least you can name it within tasteful limits.  This blog is a good  way to learn your way around the craft blog world and what you like and what suits your particular likes and dislikes.

I don't claim to be an expert in this area.  I don't attempt to write a craft blog because I don't think I have the self-discipline that I observe is required to do so.  I enjoy seeing the posts and pinning on Pinterest or bookmarking in my browser the crafts and ideas that I think that I might make some day.

And that is the crux of the matter:  some day.  I think this is the true enjoyment I receive in seeing all the wonderful things that can be made with fiber and fabric and all the other materials that are used by these wonderful bloggers and artisans.  I live vicariously through these people's talents.  I know I do.

In a better world, I would have the self-discipline to make all these beautiful objects that I see daily in the posts of such blogs as,  Schwin&Schwin, Crafting a Green World, Positively Splendid, Sew Can She, Crazy Little Projects, Graphics Fairy, Awesomesauce & Asshattery, Cornflower Blue, Chemknits, and meijo's JOY, to name just a few.

It is all such a wild circus of creativity and beauty that comes to me via these blogs and I enjoy them so much.  If I never make every single project that I yearn to make, I have still shared in the making, I believe by viewing the creative spirit of these blogs and the people who create them.  It is a blessing to me.