Category Archives: Wendy Welch

Tin Can Ally

When the pandemic started, recycling was the least of our concerns. But we hated throwing away the plastic bottles and tin cans we’d been accustomed to sorting at the dump, so I started piling them up. If you have a decent funnel, bottles can be quite handy for storing all sorts of leftovers–especially if you aren’t going to the store to pick up Tupperware anymore.

But the cans? They became planters for tomato seeds to give away, holders of cooking grease, even tart burners on coffee warmers. And still they piled up. We have a dog and four cats, after all.

I began cruising Pinterest, which always makes Jack nervous. It’s not that he dislikes me picking up new hobbies; he doesn’t so much enjoy the part where “I just need you to poke the holes for me” and such. But he gamely welcomed my latest diversion: tin can snowmen.

It’s a 2020 thing.

Production began last night. We plan to make a few dozen of these and line the front walk with them, give some away to neighbors, just generally enjoy getting rid of the cans in a fun and fashionable way.

The funny part is, I figured this craft would be almost free, since we had the cans. All I had to buy was the paint. Over the summer when I got a supply online, it was relatively inexpensive, but schools have been out awhile now, and I suspect those with means to do so will thrown any amount of money at water-washable crafts that keep the kids quiet. So, the paint prices had tripled.

When I said as much to Jack, he waved a hand. “If it keeps you occupied, dear, I’m all for it.”

Hmmm. I don’t feel so bad about asking him to punch the holes for the arms now. Actually, he’s painting the faces because he has a steadier hand than me. And I’m doing the base coats, and the hats. We have become Tin Can Allies. The couple that recycles weird trash into cute Christmas ornaments during a pandemic, stays together.

If you want a pattern, just google Tin Can Snowmen. There are hundreds of ways to make these little guys. Have fun! (And buy your paint now. It’s still going up.)

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Filed under blue funks, crafting, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

Up, Up, and Away – –

Jack makes it in time again – just – – –

I came across a photo recently that brought back many memories of one of my teenage passions.

I think I was first introduced to the magic of flying model planes by my Dad – he was recuperating from two broken ankles and built a model glider from a kit. Then a beloved woodwork teacher at the high school I attended started a model building after school club when I was about thirteen. He and some of his adult friends went on to establish Dunfermline model aircraft club and rented an old empty house in a village just outside town. I joined that and could go there any time to work on my models or just hang out with my pals. We also shared copies of two popular specialist magazines – Aeromodeller and Model Aircraft.

We lived on the edge of town with fields right behind the house where I could test fly my planes, but the club had permission to fly on farmland further away. So most weekends when the weather allowed I would walk the thirty minutes to the clubhouse and then a further thirty minutes to the flying site.

Most years a group of us would rent or borrow a van and drive to the Scottish and British championships, although we rarely won anything.

I was most interested in two specialist types of planes – competition free flight and ½ A team racing. Free flight involved the model corkscrewing up vertically under power for 15 seconds and then gliding for as long as possible in circles. You were allowed three flights and if any exceeded three minutes that was termed a ‘max’. All those that got a full set of maxes went on to the next round and so on until you had a winner.

But there was one member of the club who was a few years older than me that became a big influence on me. He introduced me to jazz music and he was snappy dresser, so of course I became a snappy dresser too! Ian wasn’t interested in free flight; his passion was team racing. This involved planes flying very fast (80 – 100 mph) in a circle aiming to be first to finish. They were ‘control line’ models (U control in the US), with the pilot in the middle of a 100 foot circle holding a U shaped handle with two thin wires attached to the plane which controls the up and down movement. The models have a specified size, engine capacity and fuel tank capacity. Up to four planes fly simultaneously with all the pilots entwined round each other in the middle. I was the ‘pitman’ and my job was to refuel the racer and restart the engine while dodging the other ones flying over my head.

I continued as a member of the club until I was about twenty and over time there began to be quite an overlap between models, jazz and eventually folk music.

That link eventually re-emerged when I was booked to sing at Dunfermline folksong club about twelve years ago. My old high school woodwork teacher, George Simpson, was in the audience!

Many years later and after I retired and moved to the US I revisited my teenage passion and discovered that electric motors had taken over as well as cheap and easy radio control. Much less messy and much less likelihood of losing models – or breaking a finger with a back-firing diesel engine!


Filed under between books, crafting, Life reflections, Scotland, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch