This month we have a special treat: a CraftOptics two-fer, Don and Joanne Doud. Don is a woodcarving whiz; Joanne loves all things cross-stitch and has started painting many of Don’s carvings. And they both love the difference their CraftOptics make when it’s time to create something special.
Joanne: It’s very enjoyable and relaxing. It’s fulfilling and it’s all just fun. I love the process and the end results. I like creating something beautiful that I can be proud of.
Don: There’s a thrill in taking a block of wood and pulling something beautiful out of it. I have a lot of pride in seeing that happen.
Plus, woodcarving has given me a nice hobby in retirement, and it’s created a community for me. There are a bunch of us “seasoned” citizens who get together to work on our projects and Joanne has started coming along too.
I enjoy the fact that woodcarving is a very portable activity. I designed myself a little box that holds all my tools. And with that and my CraftOptics I can go all sorts of places and create.
Joanne: My mother was a quilter—I never did get into that, but I did always like to do fancy work. I started on a small piece of cross stitching and really enjoyed it. Then I started making these rather large cross-stitch Christmas gifts for my children and my sisters and their spouses—and now everyone wants one. But sometimes, something turns out so well that I think, “This one is mine.”
As far as the woodcarving, it started one night when Don had been showing one of our grandsons how to carve. There was book of easy projects and it had the plan for a puppy dog. I decided that dog was the project for me.
Don sat down and in two hours or so, he showed me how to make it.
Don: In my professional life, I was a furniture maker. But as I got older, I had some injuries, and it became too difficult to use the equipment.
About five years ago, I saw that the local Woodcraft store was having classes. One was on carving a Christmas ornament; I thought that sounded like fun and signed up. I was extremely fortunate because not only was the instructor wonderful, but I was the only student who signed up that day. I got a lot of very focused attention.
As I like to say, God closed one door for me on the furniture end but opened another with woodcarving.
Please share a favorite project—or something you’re working on now
Joanne: It’s really hard to choose between the cross-stitch projects and painting Don’s wood carvings.
I love it when you have a cross-stitch that’s so fine it looks like a painting until you get right up close to it. But I also enjoy making one of Don’s Santa’s warm and welcoming. The eyes can be especially hard to get just right. You need a steady hand and a really good light!
Don: My Santas are my favorites. A little secret—some of them have a mistake. I like to say those give your pieces personality. You can often salvage a piece, as long as you know what you’re doing, and you didn’t make a huge gouge. But there are times when a piece just ends up in the fireplace.
Joanne: I got them about five or six years ago at the quilt show in downtown Houston. My sister and her husband came down and we went to the show together. I saw the glasses and I was really intrigued by them. I thought about it overnight and went back to the convention the next day and got my glasses.
Don: As soon as Joanne got hers, I started wanting a pair of my own! I saw what a difference they were making for her. I got in touch with CraftOptics and they helped me configure a pair. It was my birthday and Christmas present that year.
Joanne: I’m 75 years old, so my vision is not the best, especially when I’m working on something with a very fine count. I have a magnifying lamp, but it’s big, heavy and cumbersome. With my CraftOptics I can bring my cross-stitch with me anywhere—including work. I do home health nursing and I like to bring my cross-stitch along for when I have a patient who needs a transfusion, which involves a lot of downtime. It’s worked out wonderfully for that.
Without my CraftOptics, I basically wouldn’t be able to cross-stitch anymore. It really makes a difference.
Don: The DreamBeam light is definitely my number one feature. The magnification is important—it’s wonderful to be able to see a specific area up close. But when you’re doing woodcarving, you need a good light, and overhead lighting alone won’t do. With the DreamBeam, you’ve got the light aimed right at where you’re making your cuts. You don’t have to squint and you can be confident you’re carving right where you want to.
Joanne: I bought my CraftOptics for my cross-stitch, but I’m constantly finding other ways to use them. They’re great for absolutely anything where you need to see really well. I’ve used them to remove a splinter, cut Don’s toenails and give him a haircut. I save money all the time because of the things I can do at home. I bought my CraftOptics because of the fun things I wanted to do with them. But the practical things have been extremely important too.