All In A Days Work…

There hasn’t been anything too exciting happening around here. Jeff and I have been busy with the usual production.

Sinks and pigs are continuing their popularity into 2018.

Late yesterday I finished this round of salt pigs, piggy banks, and big piggy banks. I think when all was said and done there was around forty. It seemed like it took forever to get them completed. Our studio has been very humid and I did a lot of shuffling them around, covering, and uncovering to get them to, and keep them at, a workable state.

We are enjoying some warm Spring like temps and the daffodils are blooming. No matter how many years I live in North Carolina, flowers in February will continue to amaze me!

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Progress

Time flies and I can’t believe we have been working in this space for over two years. It’s been difficult to manage getting our studio and gallery to where we want it to be and to continue making work to be able to pay the bills. Over the last six months we have bought new display shelving from IKEA, a little at a time. We would like to purchase two more shelf units and then we will move on to a vessel sink display, utilizing real cabinetry.

It all feels like baby steps!
Jeff and I have also been discussing what to do with the peeling paint on the trim and shutters on the outside of our home and studio. Scraping and painting seems daunting, and a task that has to be done every few years. Never mind the fact that most of it involves ladders and staging. Thankfully most of the house is brick! I am not a fan of plastic, but I am also not a fan of painting… I would love to be able to wrap the trim in vinyl and be done with it!
I think I better start making more piggy banks to pay for it.

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Sometimes it’s the little things…

Jeff threw a mini pot on the wheel using our “505 Clay”, dug in our own backyard. Ash glazed and fired to cone 10 in the gas kiln.
While taking the photo I noticed that it created a neat shadow on the wall behind it. I couldn’t resist playing with it until I could get a decent shot.

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Share the Etsy Love

Jeff and I have worked hard at creating successful Etsy shops. We couldn’t have done it without all the Etsy shoppers who are willing to take a chance purchasing something online, from craftspeople who live across the country or around the world from them. I have always felt that the universe gives back to you what you put in.

Since joining the Etsy community, I now go there first when shopping for gifts. I like to support other makers and Etsy makes it easy to make a purchase and have it shipped directly to the recipient. You now even have the option of writing a personalize gift note that the seller can print and include in the package! Etsy is also a great place to shop for yourself.
Which is what I did last week…

Since we moved into the house at 505, I had been wanting to do something with this blank space on the side of the wall oven. My first thought was to paint the whole wall with chalkboard paint, but that would have been too dark for my taste. The other thought was to cork board it, but then it would start to look cluttered. I found this chalkboard from the SignsofWisdom1 Etsy shop and they offered it with a turquoise stain. The size and color are perfect. The back wall between the cabinets and counter are painted in a similar turquoise.

When we are getting low, or run out of something, Jeff and I always say, “put it on the list”.
Now we have a real place for the “List”.

Speaking of Etsy. I have some new piggy banks in the shop that are ready to go.

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Figuring Things Out

Occasionally I pop my iPod nano into my old speaker dock and play it while I am cooking dinner. The speakers aren’t the greatest and since Jeff had a vessel sink on the counter, waiting to be shipped, I decided to set my speaker dock inside it for a better sound. Low and behold it worked great!

I haven’t updated my iPad in what seemed like forever so the next day I decided to plug it into my computer. When I did I got the big pop-up that said…”Would you like to format this disk?”

YIKES! I totally forgot that my iPod was formatted for my now nearly dead Macbook Pro. I figured that I may as well bite the bullet and reformat the darn thing. After all… my Mac days are over for at least a few years. I had a back up of my music… just in case and then followed directions that I found online. Everything APPEARED to go smoothly until I synced my iPod.
My music list was in iTunes, but wouldn’t sync to the iPod. Even though iTunes recognized, would go through the sync, but nothing transferred. I searched for a solution online. I did all the recommended stuff. Uninstalled iTunes, reinstalled iTunes, rebooted my computer.
Nothing fixed it.
Jeff looked at it, tried to manually move the music from my backup, and still… Nothing!
After wasting a good portion of my afternoon, I decided to see if iTunes would play music from my list on the computer. Sure enough it did. I still had my iPod connected and when I went to eject it and give up for the day, I noticed that the one song I played was now magically on my iPod!!
I went back to iTunes and realize that while my music list appeared it wasn’t truly downloaded from the cloud. I had to highlight each song and download them.

Evidently the row of “clouds” with the arrow meant I needed to download the songs! I can’t believe the hoops I jumped through for such an easy fix. I hope that posting this well help someone else who has to reformat an iPod from Mac to PC. Many years ago when I went from PC to Mac it was a very easy transition. I seem to remember doing it in no time at all. Another example of why Mac’s are more user friendly.

All of this iTune, iPod, sound dock, activity, prompted Jeff to head out to the studio and experiment with creating a smart phone amplifier.

I wonder if I can turn it into a pig?

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Good-Bye to January

Despite feeling like I got very little accomplished last month, I seem to finally be catching up on having a few piggy banks in stock and ready to go to new homes. I am slowly getting them photographed to add to my Etsy shop.

The “Bull bank” is one of my favorites.
Then again, I have a soft spot for anything glazed in shino!

I am happy to say good-bye to January and hello to February… we are getting closer to Spring every day.

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Slowly coasting along…

When the holiday rush was over I found two coasters that were forgotten. They were wrapped in plastic and still leather hard. I had been trying to talk myself into braving the cold studio and getting some work done. Opportunity was calling my name! I got out there, applied some slip and once they were dry enough, carved a design. I was so proud of myself for finally getting something done. Jeff laughed because there were only two, and I wimped out with a simple design. Cut me some slack… it was really cold in the studio!

After the bisque firing I applied liquid wax to the rims and then filled in the carving with Amaco’s Jet Black Velvet Underglaze.

Once the underglaze was dry, I wiped over it with a damp sponge. I am not too fussy with the clean up. Most won’t show through the glaze. When it does, I don’t mind the “blurry” look.
I poured the glaze on to the coasters, quickly pouring off the excess. If any spots get on the rim I just wipe it up with a damp sponge.
They came out of the kiln on Monday, so now I have a complete set of……..TWO.

With our new heater in the studio we should be able to be more productive on a regular basis this month. Coasters are on my “to make” list.

PS… Thought you might like to see how we treat the backs of our coasters. Cork buttons with adhesive backing. They come in a large roll and are relatively inexpensive. I believe they came from Widgetco.

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Organizational Skills

I have organizational skills, I just don’t always use them! It’s something that I am working on. Some time ago I was in IKEA and fell in love with a Raskog cart. It came in my favorite color, the price was right (about $27) and it came home with me. My first inclination was to use it in the studio for tools. After putting it together and letting it live in the house for a few weeks, I decided I wanted it for storing art supplies. It has worked out great. I can roll it to where I need it or I can hide it away in my office. It also makes a great stand to hold the pyrometer when we are firing the gas kiln!
It doesn’t look very organized right now. I guess I need to get my organizer, organized.

We recently ordered new IKEA shelving for our gallery. They were offering free shipping so I ordered another cart with the sole purpose of studio use. The color offerings were fewer and I settled on burnt orange.

Before the cart, I had all my tools in containers and crocks on my worktable, making the table very cluttered for rolling out slabs and doing any hand building. The cart gives me flexibility to roll it near my wheel or next to the worktable. I have also been able to roll it out of the way when we are having a group in the studio for lessons.
After re-organizing my “art cart”, I should tackle some closets…

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Organizational Skills

I have organizational skills, I just don’t always use them! It’s something that I am working on. Some time ago I was in IKEA and fell in love with a Raskog cart. It came in my favorite color, the price was right (about $27) and it came home with me. My first inclination was to use it in the studio for tools. After putting it together and letting it live in the house for a few weeks, I decided I wanted it for storing art supplies. It has worked out great. I can roll it to where I need it or I can hide it away in my office. It also makes a great stand to hold the pyrometer when we are firing the gas kiln!
It doesn’t look very organized right now. I guess I need to get my organizer, organized.

We recently ordered new IKEA shelving for our gallery. They were offering free shipping so I ordered another cart with the sole purpose of studio use. The color offerings were fewer and I settled on burnt orange.

Before the cart, I had all my tools in containers and crocks on my worktable, making the table very cluttered for rolling out slabs and doing any hand building. The cart gives me flexibility to roll it near my wheel or next to the worktable. I have also been able to roll it out of the way when we are having a group in the studio for lessons.
After re-organizing my “art cart”, I should tackle some closets…

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Fire Away…

 

Jeff worked into the evening, loading the kiln and bricking the door, while I cooked dinner in the warm kitchen. Hmmm… I wonder who got the better end of that deal?! He lit one burner and “candled” the kiln for a couple of hours, turning the gas off just before we went to bed. Early this morning he turned one burner back on. We always fire slowly, and this time probably a little more slowly. Jeff has a vessel sink in there that is being re-fired, hence the extra caution. I am sure the firing will go late into the night.

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…Better Living Through Handmade Pottery.