Archive | December, 2012

Tomahawk Throwing

31 Dec

Have you heard?! Chris got me a SOG Tomahawk for Christmas! I don’t know about you, but whoever said diamonds are a girls best friend wasn’t hanging out with very interesting females…

I’ve been interested in them for a while. How useful they are in the woods for splitting wood (and your enemies heads from horseback!). Once I opened my gift, I at once was fascinated by its beautiful weight and balance! I opened up my Mac and started at YouTube. I watched video reviews and throwing demonstrations and techniques. How interesting!

During the holiday Chris had also ordered himself a set of throwing knives so we drove the Argo down to the range on the farm to test our skills. It took about an hour for me to learn to throw it correctly. I found that (as the videos suggested) distance and straightness were most important. It was quite frustrating, but once I got the feel for the Tomahawk, I hardly ever missed. I challenged myself by walking through the forest throwing it at random trees as I went. It was surprisingly accurate. At first I thought: How in the world can anybody throw this thing with any certainty of where it will land or even that it hits the target blade side up!? Seeing my frustration, Chris’s brother made the excellent point that baseball pitchers are able to pitch balls with absolute precision; altering speed, rotation and targets with every throw. …Practice makes perfect. I was happy with my fairly consistent throwing at the end of the day and look forward to practicing next week.

Chris’s throwing knives proved extremely difficult. I’m unsure whether the ten or so that sank into the target were due to improved skills or to luck. The knives are much smaller than the tomahawk and are easier to throw with a slight wobble, causing them to hit blunt end first. I’m sure that the increased number of rotations between the thrower and the target compared to the larger tomahawk also create added difficultly. They are also quite light- I think if they were heavier they may also be easier. We will keep at it.

Tommmaaa Choooppp!

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Canadian Style Christmas.

27 Dec

Canada is a beautiful place to spend Christmas. With snow covered trees and streets, the hustle and bustle of shoppers and turkies flying off of grocery shelves, everyone seems to be a bit cheerier. A Canadian Christmas Experience usually involves a few common traditions. I thought I would share some of my Christmas with you- wherever you may be during this Holiday.

Christmas Eve- Chris and I spent Christmas Eve together wrapping presents, listening to Christmas music and eating chocolate. We decided to try and make bread for Christmas morning so that afternoon we made the dough and set it to rise for 18 hours. This was our first Christmas together in our own place, so it felt very special.

Christmas Morning- I’m unsure who woke who up first, but by the time I rolled out of bed, Chris and Katie-dog were basically bouncing off the walls with excitement. We made coffee, kneaded our bread and opened our gifts under the Christmas tree. Chris got me an awesome SOG Tomahawk and Grey Chisel-toe Blunstones. I’ve had two pairs of Blunnies in the past- they are great riding boots. Apparently they are ‘fashionable’ now? Anyways, I love them! Chris and I watched YouTube videos of Tomahawk throwing while we sipped our coffee- I cannot wait to give it a try! It will also be very useful in the forest when we cut down trees and split wood for the fireplace. I gave Chris two gun cases, gun socks and a book called The Chemistry of Pyrotechnics… he’s been buried in the text since he opened it!

After we finished our own traditions, we headed over to the farm to visit his family. We had a lovely Christmas potluck brunch. Usually we save Christmas dinner for a few days later because most of Chris’s family works in the hospital and are usually on call during the holidays. After our visit we drove home together and spent the night digesting.





A Boxing Day Adventure

27 Dec

Well, yesterday was the day we’ve been waiting for all year: Boxing Day.

Every year my mother and I brave the elements, idiot drivers, packed parking lots and crowded malls in search of the ultimate deal on December 26th, Boxing Day. While most people are tucked in their beds with bellies full of turkey and dreaming of sugar plums, we are eagerly speeding towards shopping adventures. What treasures will we find today?  My mother is quite the Fashionista-she travels just to shop! Fashion is and has always been her passion (and her multiple closets testify to her conviction)!  Me? I’m a bit more practical and functional when it comes to my clothing choices. I only inhabit one half of our closet in the apartment. I like pieces that are simple, well made, comfy and timeless. It’s not so much about ‘buying stuff’ on Boxing Day that I enjoy, but rather spending time with Mom and the adventure.

This year we were on the road around 7:00am heading towards the train station: we had decided to take the train into Toronto. I hardly ever take the train so it was fun! Once we arrived in Union Station, we headed to the subway and headed towards Bloor Street. We spent the day walking, shopping, sipping Christmas Blend Coffee and laughing. We each found some great deals! You can’t beat a $150 shirt marked down to $20!

…Only a 364 days to go until Boxing Day 2013.

Happy Holidays!

Finished my First Quilt

20 Dec

Well, it may be a Christmas miracle: Tonight I finished my first quilt. I enjoyed learning how to sew and quilt. It’s by no means perfect but it’s lovely and fluffy. Katie dog likes it anyways- she’s beside me sound asleep under it!

Thank you to everyone who ‘liked’ my last post and gave me some great tips! I’m looking forward to starting a table runner or coasters… any suggestions?

Until next time, Merry Christmas!

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Chris vs. House

19 Dec

Hi Everyone, Chris here.  Its been a while since I have posted. For the last two months I have been working very hard on a new show for Discovery called “Never do this at Home“.  Last week was the big finale and lucky me I am off for a couple weeks !  The finale was sort of “pre” released through a local new channel. Which is great because then I can talk about it ! Usually there is a clause in our contracts that we cannot give away the content of the show before it airs. However if its released through another channel then I can talk about it. Its a funny system but I guess it saves the show from losing all its secrets. You can see the news clip at the link below:

http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=823963&playlistId=1.1074170&binId=1.815923

Oakloand House Explosion News

We used propane to demolish the house. This is apparent due to the very slow nature of the explosion. I know “slow explosion” sounds like an oxymoron, but in our field there are many types of explosions. We classify explosives as high order, or low order depending on their ability to produce work and the speed in which they do.  A propane explosion is a very slow almost ultra low order explosion as it travels at about one foot or so per second. Compare this to detonating cord, one of the fastest common blasting agents which burns at 4 miles per second.  At the bottom of this post I have attached two videos, one of the Never Ever propane explosion/ new real, and one of an explosion of approximately 150meters of det cord. In real time the difference is unbelievable.

On Never Ever, the hosts had wanted to simulate a gas leak explosion (which by the way, if you want a first hand account of one, ask Jess, she survived one). Gas leaks are tricky things mostly due to the properties of propane, which is heavier than air and is most explosive around a 4% mixture. Get this mix too high and the result is a flash fire, too low and there is either no ignition or no percussion or crack to the explosion. The crack is the change in ambient pressure which actually doing the work. The pressure change is caused by the creation of gas through a chemical reaction in the explosion. Again differnt agents produce differnt amounts of gas. Amex, a mining agent for example, creates 1000 liters of gas for every kilo present. There is no wonder that it can blow the side off a quarry or vaporize a truck, like we did on D-Day to Victory.  A 100 kg bag going off is instantly creating 100,000 liters of gas so fast it actually compresses the ambient air. I will post another video later to show this , its like the matrix in real life !

Back to exploding houses, so far we know that propane is slow, heavy and only really explodes with great force at 4% mixtures. These properties presented some problems in our house scenario, we needed first to circulate the air in the house, otherwise the propane would settle out on the floor. Also we needed to make sure there was an even distribution of propane throughout the house. If not, only pockets would explode and flash fires would result in other areas. To work around this we installed ducting and special “explosion proof” fans to circulate the air. These fans are guaranteed to not spark, however they do not seem all that “explosion proof” once you drop a house on them.  The only other problem and it was a doozy was that the house leaked! It was a drafty old farm house and we did not want our propane to sink into the walls, floors or basement. The fix was about 2500$ worth of plastic vapour barrier and tuck tape. Effectively we sealed the house to the point it was one big plastic bag. Flash bags were wired and leads were run to our bunker. Next we filled with the house with the appropriate amount of propane, 60lbs or so for a 13,000 cubic foot house. Then. . . KABOOM.  It was a nice orange fireball, showing us we were a speck on the rich side. The house still blew up great and the visual was amazing as well.

All in a days work!

And here is a high order PETN explosion for comparison. This video was shot in super-slow-motion. I will upload a real-time version as well.

Quote 12 Dec

“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
– Christopher Columbus

Learning to Sew

9 Dec

Well, it’s been on my bucket list for a while: learn to sew.

I realized my time had come to learn when one of the guy’s I work with walked past my desk and casually said ‘Hey, want a sewing machine? Haha…’ He was carrying a sewing machine out the door. Immediately I jumped up and said ‘YES! I would love a sewing machine!’ He turned around and gave it to me, explaining that his wife didn’t want it anymore and he was to take it to the thrift store that evening.

All the way home from work I smiled and patted my new little machine that sat in the passenger seat. ‘Tonight I will learn to sew!’ I thought. Well, after googling ‘How to Sew’ I realized I needed thread, bobbins, special roller cutters and something to sew…some fabric. Tomorrow I would buy my supplies.

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After visiting ‘FabricLand’ the fabric superstore on my lunch break I was anxious to get home and start. I bought the cheapest fabric I could find that quasi-matched. I also read that I needed a iron and ironing board to ‘press my seams’. I didn’t have one so I borrowed my landlord’s for the time being.

When I got home from work, I continued to google sewing instructions. I learned how to thread my machine on YouTube and learned simple sewing techniques on About.com (http://quilting.about.com/). This site had wonderful videos and explanatory pictures with thorough instructions. As I was threading the needle on my machine, I turned on the switch on the side thinking it was just the light, not the ‘power’ switch. I was concentrating very hard on threading the needle when Katie-dog came over and stepped on the foot peddle. The sewing machine burst to life and the needle nearly stabbed my finger. Note to self: power off if fingers are underneath needle.

After much tinkering, I had a piece of brown fabric with some thread in it. My first creation!!!

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Having started two hours earlier, watching three 15 minute videos, threading my machine and having sewn my first piece of fabric in a straight(ish) line, I decided I should make a quilt. I’ve always wanted to learn how to quilt and I figured I was on a roll so, hey, why not keep googling and try to start one!?

The quilt I am making uses a Double Four Patch Block. I found the pattern and instructions here: http://quilting.about.com/od/blockofthemonth/ss/orange-and-pink-four-patch_2.htm

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It’s a very simple pattern. I studied the instructions and started immediately! Here’s my first attempt at the pattern:

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After I completed this square, I decided to start on the real thing. I stayed up until 1:00 am sewing that night! It was so fun! Here’s the progression:

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Photo on 2012-12-07 at 22.48 #2

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Well, that’s all I have so far! My friends think I’m crazy and weird for wanting to quilt but I think it’s awesome. I can’t wait to finish this quilt and learn how to put the border on and the batting and backing. I read that a quilt is like a sandwich.     I love sandwiches.

I plan to make a Star Trek quilt next if I can find the fabric.

Please let me know if you have and sewing tips or tricks! I would love the help! :)

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