Stained Glass Chess Set

I’ve never been more proud of any project I’ve worked on. There have been many of all types but this is and always will be my favorite! A previous co-worker loved the game of chess and tried to teach me on several occasions. I made this set for him. He was always so kind to me and had been very supportive when I started working in Chatham County. It took over a year to completely finish the project.
(Go to the full photo album to see all the details)

Lights change quickly

Lights fade in and out

My first animation attempt

Over the past few years I’ve attempted to learn 3D modeling, animation, and visual effects.  I’ve always been interested in the subject.  In fact, right after college, I had high hopes of learning all about the VFX world and moving to California.  During a trip out there, I tore some pages out of the local phone book (back when they still existed-1995) that listed contact information for several of the well known studios.  I  purchased an Introductory book for 3D Studio Max and thought I could teach myself.  It was a lot more difficult than I expected.  Either way, I lost the confidence that I could ever learn enough to financially support myself.  I gave up and moved on with my career in law enforcement.

Recently, I decided to attempt to learn again (only as a hobby this time).  I began taking several of the free online tutorials.  This was my first attempt at all aspects (modeling, texturing, lighting, animation, and visual effects.  It’s more of a “cartoon” than something that is meant to look realistic.  It was the product of an introductory tutorial that walked me step by step through the process.  I’ve continued to learn as much as I can and will try to publish more recent projects soon.

Harris Lake geocaches

Kayaking…and…geocaching! Two of my favorite things. I decided it was my turn to start hiding some “yak” caches at Harris Lake.  If nothing else, I’d at least have more excuses for making trips to the lake with my kayak.  Since there are a bunch of them (7), I put them all on a different page.

Click here to check them out!
Video and Photos of my Harris Lake Geocaches

Dharma clock

I loved the show “LOST” which aired on ABC from 2004 to 2010.  I had already originally watched the pilot episode when the show first aired but with my schedule, I wasn’t able to watch weekly.  Believe it or not, I never did watch the show while it aired on TV.  I actually started having some medical issues that required surgery.  At the time, I wasn’t allowed to work and wasn’t really able to do much at home either.  So, TV has always been a good way to waste time.  A friend mentioned that I should get the DVD’s and watch the entire series while waiting to return to work.  Needless to say, I was hooked!!  I watched the whole series (at least two times) and couldn’t get enough.  Since then I’ve probably watched the series at least another 4-5 times.  There never has been and never will be another show like it.  I can’t describe the reason why, most people that love it can’t either.  I decided to combine my love for the show and my hobby of woodworking and this is what came out of that.  I picked the security logo because of my current profession.  What do you think?

I’ve attached photos of the process as well.  I had to draw out the design and then transfer that over to the main piece of wood.  Then I had to start placing the square dowels to make sure each section was in the right place.  I had to add spacers in between each one so that they would all line up.  Once everything was in place and I removed the spacers, I was able to paint the whole piece.

Courthouse fire – my office in Chatham County

After working as a community level probation officer in Charlotte for two years, I decided to move back towards the Raleigh area. A position opened in Pittsboro which is only about 30 minutes from Raleigh. Anyway, my first office was in the historic courthouse which was located in the traffic circle in the center of the town. On March 25th, 2010- one of the scariest events of my life happened. We had just finished up the superior court docket for the day. I had gone back to my office, closed the door and was working on my files from court. I have a bad habit of leaving the files on the floor while I’m working on them. I hadn’t been there long until I heard some yelling in the hallway. I opened my door and heard someone ask for a fire extinguisher. My co-worker said he thought there was a fire in the building so we started walking out the back door (hindsight: we really sure have been running instead of walking). When we were going out the door, both of us looked up and saw that the entire roof was already on fire. I won’t ever forget that day.

The top floor (judge’s chambers) didn’t exist anymore. The second floor (courtroom area) was almost completely destroyed as the pictures will show. Our offices (along with the District Attorney) were on the first floor. The District Attorney lost everything. Our area was lucky in that our walls didn’t cave in- the damage was still severe.

When my supervisors entered the building a few days after the fire to retrieve files, they obviously had no idea that I left files on the floor. Thankfully when I was allowed to enter the building to check on our personal items, I remembered that they were there. I scraped up the soggy mess and put it into trash bags. My plan was to try and salvage them. Who else would go to this much trouble? I’m proud to say that I ended up saving all of them by separating each page and laying them out in my garage to dry. Kept me from having to re-create the files (would have been a nightmare). Wow, I didn’t mean to write this much. I guess it just shows how much of an effect this whole event had on me.

Eli Travel Bug (geocaching)

I post about geocaching a lot…it’s a favorite hobby so what do you expect? Anyway, one of the things you can do is create “travel bugs” and then put them out there for other cachers to find. Here’s the ‘definition’ from the geocaching website:
–a Groundspeak Travel Bug is a trackable tag that you attach to an item. This allows you to track your item on Geocaching.com. The item becomes a hitchhiker that is carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world and you can follow its progress online. —
So, I created my own and did so in honor of my beautiful siberian husky, Eli. The goal was to be transported to the location of the Iditarod Sled Dog race site in Alaska.  He didn’t get there in time for the actual race but fellow cachers, “Snoopinaround” were able to take pictures of him at the site (along with another husky travel bug).  

Army Wives

My cousin, Mollie, worked as a set painter for a well-known tv series, Army Wives. She knows that one of my favorite actresses is Catherine Bell (she played Lieutenant Colonel Sarah MacKenzie in the television series JAG from 1997 to 2005 and also plays Denise Sherwood in the series Army Wives). Mollie had an awesome surprise for me at campmeeting- an autographed photo and t-shirt from season two. Such an amazing gift! I just had to figure out a way to display it (used my love of wood working and new found talent of mat cutting for frames). There’s no way to express how appreciative I am! Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!

Glass Kaleidoscope

This is a short video that is meant to give you an idea of what you see when looking through one of my stained glass kaleidoscopes. Honestly, it really doesn’t do the colors justice. However, it should still be fun to watch…especially if you love kaleidoscopes. I’ve also posted some still images for you to see.

I may start making these stained glass kaleidoscopes to sell at some point. It definitely won’t be until after Christmas. If anyone that visits my site is interested, just send me a quick email to let me know. I’ll get back to you with more information.

Stormtrooper from Star Wars

This was actually the second piece I created for my cousin (visit my other blog post about the first one which was horrible). Anyway, she was nice enough to get me an autographed photo of the cast of Army Wives. I decided to repay her by creating a stained glass piece for her. The first piece was the logo from one of her favorite establishments in Charleston and it was one of my worst pieces yet. So, I had to redeem myself and come up with something better. She really likes stormtroopers from Star Wars (not sure of the back story). So, I found a pattern online and this is the result. Much happier with this one! In fact, I’d probably rank it in my top 5 favorite pieces.