Friday, June 29, 2012

Shopping, shopping and more shopping

I got some early studio time moving finished pots on to a bigger cart and putting a few more things away. Then it was time for breakfast and shopping! First stop was Lowe's for wood, and shelf brackets for another studio project, fire extinguisher, wire mesh for the gas burners to stop back burning, buckets, etc. etc.

Then it was on to TJ Max in hopes of finding a matching planter to finish off the trio near one corner of the pool. I didn't have much hope of them having them any more since stock like that comes and goes quickly, but I got very lucky and bought the last one. I also treated myself to a new purse. :-)

A quick, drive through, lunch and on to the next stop to buy a flexible gas hose. The propane place doesn't stock them but can order one. Those things are pricey! So I only ordered a 4 footer and will hard plumb the gas to the ground and add the flex hose so I can wheel the kiln away from the walls.

It's our anniversary (53 years) and our son is having us over for a lobster dinner. We went out to dinner with friends last night and we had the most incredible, warm salad with home made gnocchi, fava beans, tidbits of crispy pork belly and mixed greens. The gnocchi was the lightest I've ever tasted - amazing dish! The bacon wrapped quail wasn't bad either!

When we got home last night the electricians were here working on the exterior lighting and they stayed till after 9 to finish installing the exhaust for the electric kiln and moving one of the outlets, since the location would have put it under my wheel - not convenient at all.  They'll will have to come back in a week and a half to finish the rest of the electrical work outside and in the garage. By that time I should have the studio well on it's way to being done - I hope!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Finally got a sink!

Got the studio sink installed yesterday, and this new table also arrived. We're making progress  - going a bit slower than I'd like, but going nonetheless.

The electrician didn't show and that's unlike him. We called a few hours ago but haven't heard back. George the handyman may come today to just do the shelving above my wheel. If not he'll do it Saturday when he's coming to blow insulation in the space above the garage/studio.

I got most of the raw materials away yesterday, but since I gave away my biggest glaze bin (with 20 bins), which would not have fit in this smaller space, some of my materials will have to be in buckets. Today or tomorrow I need to get to Lowes for the  buckets and some wood to make a stand for one of the magnetic tools holders for my jewelry bench which is sitting in the middle of the room for lack of wall space.

My garden is watered, and it's time for lunch, then off to do some planting at our sons place, then Lowes or home to make some Indian food for dinner. The time sure flies by lately!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Early to bed early to rise

Here's a nice throwing demo by Phil Rogers.                                                                            

Phil Rogers 'Throwing Demonstration' from on Vimeo.

Yesterday I got the wood for the shelving set up  behind my wheel. It took forever going through all that wood, trying to find un-warped boards with knots not in the wrong places, and then waiting a long time for someone to come and cut one of the boards.I don't have the right clamps to glue the boards, so handyman George took them home to do the job.

It's been a busy day starting with taking Bodhi to the groomers right after breakfast, grocery and  garden shopping, picked up Bodhi, then back home for a bit of other chores.  Mid afternoon we were off to the pottery supply store to pick up my order which they didn't have time to finish Saturday, then back home to make a pasta casserole, and finally getting some relaxation time catching up with correspondence.

The local pottery supply is somewhat limited in stock they carry on a regular basis, but they can get things from Georgies in Portland. The earthenware I wanted to try is going to take 2-3 weeks to get here, since that's about the next time the local supplier will be getting their next order. They also don't carry Amaco velvet or lug under glazes. Fortunately I still have a lot of work to do in the studio before I'll be ready to get started on that project and hopefully by the time the rest of the raw materials and clay arrive,  the studio will be ready to go. In the future I'll have to make sure that I order things way ahead of time if I want to support our local supplier and avoid heavy shipping costs.

Meantime, there's  still a lot of studio work to be done -  rest of the outlets installed (promised for tomorrow night), insulation blown into the crawl space above the studio/garage and more shelving, both of which George promises to do on Saturday, getting a heater installed,  getting the gas kiln hooked up and last, but not least, a sink, which is getting installed early tomorrow morning.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Out and about

George the handyman actually showed up two days ago and finished the last couple of shelves and put together another end table for the patio furniture and the fire pit. Now the grand kids can roast marshmallows after swimming.

Having those extra shelves up was a huge help. I've gotten a lot of things put away and emptied several more boxes.  When my hip and knees gave out, I used my rest time to order some things for the house and studio - a couple of magnetic tool holders, a new Bailey hand extruder (sold my pneumatic one since I had no space to spare for the large compressor, nor did I think the neighbors would appreciate the noise), and another small, sturdy table to put between the sink and wheel.  The extruder was on sale which was a nice surprise!

Since the plumber didn't show as promised, nor call, I'll just guess at the sink width since most of those single laundry tubs are pretty much the same width. I've measured the area around my wheel and just have to get to Lowe's in the next few days and get the wood for shelves and background to store and hang throwing, trimming and some other tools.

Now that the shelves are up in the glazing area, it's time to restock the raw materials that I'll need for testing low fire slips and glazes. I'll be doing that right after lunch. I also need to look at the available clays. Hopefully they'll have the new earthenware from Georgie's that I want to test. It looks like one that I may be able take up to at least cone 1.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The horror of moving

This is what the studio/garage looked like a week or so ago, and I can't honestly say that it looks much better now. There are a lot less boxes but so much of the unpacked stuff is on tables waiting to find homes on shelving. Getting a few shelves up two days ago has helped a bit. I was able to unpack enough boxes to open more pathways through this mess.

Right now I'm taking a short break to soak that still, unhappy, infected big toe and then I'm heading to the studio to continue putting things away and unpacking.

The electrician came at 6 o'clock last night and left at 9. He and an assistant got the electric kiln hard wired, another fluorescent light and several outlets installed. He'll has to come back Tuesday to finish the rest of the outlets,vent the kiln and do some electrical work in and around the house.

I moved some carts around in the studio this morning and it looks like I have enough wall space for a manual extruder, and a much needed, extra small table for some of my lapidary machinery.  It's going slowly, but going.
While it was still cool this morning, I headed to the back yard and planted several more planters, a coreopsis and did my first hand watering. The east facing side of the house seems to get enough sun for lilies, so I may go out again after dinner to plant a few herbs in the little bit of space that's left to plant. Jim and I very happy with how that mass of pool and concrete called our back yard, is coming along.

George the handyman said he was coming today. As usual, I won't hold my breath. Meantime, it's time for me to bandage this toe and get on with some studio unpacking and organizing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Earth box

It's been a couple of busy days digging out heavy clay and planting. I bought this new earth box and got it planted with an eggplant and some peppers. These boxes got good reviews but for some reason it's not drawing the water up from the well at the base. When I add water in the tube it's coming out the bottom, which is a sign that there's enough water there but it doesn't seem to be wicking up into the plants. Hmmm???? Anyone have one of these and having the same problem?

George the handyman called Monday to tell us that he was going to grace us with his presence Tuesday.  And joy of joys, he actually showed. He got a few shelves up but didn't bring the right sized boards or enough of them. Somehow he thought he would get two 11'4" boards out of one 20' board. So he promises to come back Thursday with the wood to finish the shelving. I had the brackets on hand, and he got those all up, so the shelving should go fast when he returns. When that will be is anyone's guess. :-)

We moved my small Olympic kiln outdoors and Jim and got it covered with a tarp and secured with some bungee cords. And he removed an existing shelf and cabinet and re-installed them elsewhere since they were blocking the spot where my ware cart is going to sit.

The electrician had to cancel but promises to come after work today. 

The past couple of days have been spent gardening and some unpacking and even managing a little bit of time for some play.

I even found time this week to bake some bread, so I guess we're really settling in.

Today Jim decided I needed a day off since my back and hip were raging with pain even two days after several hours of  heavy digging through heavy clay and planting, as well as too much time on my feet on the garage/studio concrete floor, so we took a lovely drive up to Fish Lake in the mountains and had lunch among the pines, a couple of stops home on the way to pick up a couple more tomato stakes and  more screws to install shelves tomorrow (that is, if George shows).

The potted plants have had their second watering, dinner is done and I'm just waiting for the electrician to arrive and go over the "to do" list and get him started.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

No handyman no new shelves

This corner is a work in progress. Most of the pots for this area are planted and I just have to get them arranged a bit better.

Another no show day yesterday, for George, the handyman. I figure he has a pattern of showing up 1 out of 3 promised days, so I'll have to re-arrange my thinking here! I asked him to at least drop off the wood for the shelving, figuring I'd be able to get some of the smaller shelves up myself this weekend; but he didn't show for that either, so it looks like there won't be much more studio unpacking till he decides to grace us with his presence once again.

We spent yesterday morning running around shopping for brackets and screws for the shelves which never got installed, and a few other shopping stops  and then I spent several hours in the afternoon  gardening. I got a couple of clematis planted, filled and planted 4 window boxes which will sit on a narrow ledge near one of the side fences, as well as a couple more herbs and perennials. Then it was time to cook a simple steak and salad dinner, and call it a day.

The universe has a warped sense of humor. Wherever I have lived, it's always been a struggle with the soil - rocks, adobe clay, etc.. So we buy a retirement house with a backyard that's 99% concrete and pool with one narrow strip near the back shelves with about 7" of soil and that little strip is filled with rocks and gray clay. The clay is sticky stuff, sitting about  5-6" down. A coil cracks when bending, so I'm think this may be fire clay. This Rogue Valley is filled with clay. I don't know if it's a leftover from ancient volcanic activity from nearby Mt. McLaughlin or native metamorphic rock aging over the millennium. When I have the studio set up I should try to throw and fire a little test cup with it.

Tonight we have our first porch sitting with old friends - nachos and margaritas by the pool. The morning will be spent out and about doing more shopping. I've decided to plant the climbing rose in a big pot because there's no way I can dig out enough of that clay  in such a narrow strip and get this big climbing rose transplanted.  So, after breakfast out at our local greasy spoon (they have a very good breakfast), we'll head to Costco (another perk of living here) and pick up one of their big pots, then off for some more plant and food shopping, home again for some porch sitting prep, and ending the day poolside.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Slow going, but going

I'm still waiting to get enough shelving up in my new studio space so I can make more headway with unpacking and organizing the area. It's all going slower than I'd like, but maybe it's a good thing that I'm getting some time to ease the pace of the last several months, which has been crazy. At least I'm  making some progress with the container gardening. Here are a few new ones. I'm looking forward to seeing them when they fill out more in the next month or so.

The electrician was here a couple of days ago to install a new power box. He comes after work and could only stay a few hours, so the kiln hookup and finishing the box and getting more lighting installed and extra outlets will have to wait till he can come again; but he has promised to finish it all next Tuesday.

The handyman finally showed and got two ten foot shelves put up in the studio and a few other jobs around the house. Hopefully he'll show tomorrow as promised and I can get some more shelves installed.

The plumber hasn't been in touch, so I guess my studio sink that he ordered hasn't arrived and neither has the clay trap I ordered.

Today I made good headway in my office/meditation room, and the back yard is really starting to take shape. If I could get two or three days just for the garden, I would have it finished.

I unpacked in the office till around 3 and then we headed to Ashland for an early dinner which was fabulous - freshly made linguini with morels, bacon, smoked chicken and a creamy gorgonzola sauce and fresh basil. We're really enjoying having all these great dining choices and good and varied shopping nearby. I had forgotten how much we missed all these conveniences.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

We now have a small area for porch sitting or for watching the grand kids on their swimming visits. It took a while to find a set with a love seat and chairs that rocked a bit for comfort. That area is small and wouldn't take a full sized sofa. 

Feeling wiped after 4 hrs sleep and a very busy, on my feet all day kind of day yesterday; but I got a lot done. George the handyman showed up, two hours later then promised, which seems to be his norm,  and together we put together 3 metal shelving units and a metal cart. It would have been 4 shelving units, but seems the movers lost or helped themselves to four poles and 3 shelves from one of my heavy, chrome, shelving units. So now I have a couple of extra shelves and no poles, so I'll have to check the manufacturer and see if I can buy some replacements.

We also got another hanging shelf installed in the studio. I'm not thrilled with it hovering over my head when I'm wedging and throwing, but that was the last place in garage/studio where it would fit. Since every inch of the new, smaller studio space is so precious, I'm having to go upward for more household storage and save the floor shelving for studio storage as much as possible.

It was also a gardening day, starting at first light, getting a couple more planters filled with soil and planted, potted and staked another tomato, swept the whole back yard (concrete is a lot more care than grass!), and got the hand watering done.

Several deliveries came yesterday so I was unpacking some larger planters, an outdoor end table which will have to be put together today and new, copper hose bowl, which came with a dent in one side and since the box wasn't damaged it make me think they sent me a flawed product.

If George the handyman shows today with replacement boards (yesterdays 20 ft board had a crack down the center), we'll be putting up a couple of heavy wood shelves to hold smaller buckets of raw materials. Since the morning rain has cooled things down, it should be another good day to do some more studio unpacking and put more things away.

If it clears by late afternoon as forecast, I'll get soil in the two larger planter that arrived yesterday, and get them planted. I'm hoping to have all the planters on hand planted and in place by the end of the weekend or at the latest, early in the week.

Before I start working I need to find out how to treat a big toe infection (have no idea how this happened!.) Maybe google will have the answers.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Day of rest - sort of

Yesterday was a busy gardening day and working with George, the handyman who was able to get three trellises installed, hang some shelves in the laundry room and put together a couple of shelving units in the garage/studio. I planted several herbs,filled and planted a couple more planters and staked some of the tomatoes which I'm growing in plastic growers bags. Here my first effort to cover some of the well worn wood fencing in our back yard. These will hopefully get fuller in the weeks to come.

When you halve your living and working spaces, and have to make do with about 1/10th of your former gardening space, you have to find storage above and do some vertical planting  which also helps a bit to soften the old wood fencing.

Now that I have some shelving I'll be able to start unpacking some of those studio boxes and doing a bit of organizing in the garage tomorrow. A colder, rainy spell is on the way so the garage will be a more comfortable working environment for a couple of days.

After dinner I did a google search looking for some possible new information on cone 3 and found that in 2006 Joseph Conrad published a Cone 3 book of slip, clay bodies and glazes, so I ordered a copy from Axners.

After breakfast we'll head to Lowe's  to pick up a third hanging storage shelf for the garage. Then we're going to treat ourselves to a half a day off and drive to the mountains toward Crater Lake. Mid way you reach the pines which Jim loves, and a nice little, rustic  lunch place with great home made pies, and hopefully a burger for Jim. The rain isn't expected till later in the day, so it should be a lovely drive.

If I'm not too tired when we get back and weather permits, there's more garden work or unpacking waiting. I'd be happy if I could just get the 2 clematis planted that I didn't get to yesterday.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Musing about future choices

We finally reached the handyman who again, promises to show up this morning. It was raining earlier, so that ends the possibility of him finishing up the decking area near one corner of the pool so I can set up my container garden. So, instead, if and when he shows, I'm going to have him put together all the garage and studio metal shelving units which the movers took apart but didn't re-assemble. Once that's done I'll be able to start organizing the garage and studio.

Even though I still haven't unpacked the studio and still have my office to unpack, I'm starting to think about the direction my work is going to go, since my only viable choice which this huge, recent change of location and lifestyle that fate has forced upon us, is electric firing.

Living in a community with codes and covenants means no smelly gas firing and no working at home, even part time! So now, I will be a hobby potter, still working hard at whatever choice I make once I can get my hands on clay again. What that clay will be is still up in the air; but at this point, I'm thinking it might be fun to go in a totally different direction from the cone 10-11 soda/salt work I've been doing for the past ten years or more. The idea of earthenware and playing with all those colorful under glazes ware is appealing; and I must say that the thought of just setting the kiln on automatic instead of dealing with 30 hour soda/salt firing is a big plus at the age of 72!

I'm going to get some earthenware samples when the time comes and see if I can fire them  up to cone 3 for a stronger finished product. I've been thinking about this for a while but I still have a lot of unpacking and gardening to do so it will be another six weeks or so before I can even re-supply the studio (gave 90% of my raw materials away) and get it organized. Before we left North Carolina I had started a notebook with collected information on earthenware slips and glazes. Most of those are in the traditional earthenware temperatures, so I'll be spending some evenings playing with my glaze software to tweak some of those up to cone 3 limits.

Life has hit us with some lemons in the past few months and it's time to make some lemonade!