Thursday, February 28, 2013

Future kiln shelf cart

Here's my future kiln shelf cart for the heavy Skutt shelves - that is if George the handyman shows this afternoon with his circular saw. I was off a day for the handyman, (thought yesterday was Thursday). It's what happens when you fail to check a calendar; but I'm grateful I live in a way that I don't have to any more. I was grateful for my day's mix up, because I was able to get that gardening time during the warmest part of the day and even found a little bit of time to move some things around in the studio in the morning.

By mid afternoon, it was 59 degrees and  that enabled me to get out and clean up some of the planters and fertilize and clean up some of the squares in the raised beds. More seeds just arrived, so I'll be starting some of them tomorrow.
For now, it's back to the studio to continue organizing. Those various, new storage boxes are working out very well.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

3 D printing on ceramics

Imagine a printer, that prints out a powder to make your pre programmed designs - amazing! I don't this as viable to studio potters; but it seems like something that industry might be able to use for standardized forms and repeated design.

Yesterday I set up my fluorescent light for the seedlings and moved them to their new home this morning. After breafkast I'll head to the studio to put more things away. I'm saving early afternoon for garden work if it warms up as much as they say.  It didn't yesterday, and since this cold bug is still hanging on I'm not pushing it.

 Mid afternoon I have to get back in the studio to work with George, the handyman, and go over my plan for the kiln shelves cart. That and moving one of the heavy wood shelves are top priority. I can never get more than a couple of hours from him so I definitely need to just verbally give him things in my order of importance, rather than handing him a list.

Lowe's hardware couldn't make all of the smaller cuts I need to make on the 2x4's. Seems their cutting machine can only make 16" or larger cuts, so George will have to cut a couple of inches off 6 of those 2x4's. I could have spent twenty dollars for a new circular saw (gave my ancient, super heavy one away before we moved); but then I'd have to store it and I really don't see me having a need for it after today. And since George's hourly fee is less than a circular saw, it's actually a savings to have him make those cuts and I don't have to store another piece of equipment that I really don't have future need or space for.

Paring down studio, house and garden has certainly been an interesting challenge, opening the door to exploration of  currently available storage solutions. There's a lot of good solutions out there.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Amazing video of remarkable production throwing.

This man brings production throwing to a whole other level!

The only studio related job I've done the past two day were a trip to Wall world yesterday to buy more storage containers for the studio, and a trip today to Lowe's hardware to get the plywood and 2 X4's and hardware for the kiln shelf cart I have to build or have the handyman put together Thursday, and one piece of plywood just to rest on top of my kiln furniture cart to server as another place to put some bulky light weight items.

The rest of my time yesterday was spent in the kitchen, feeding starter, baking a couple of breads etc,  a couple of other household chores and on the phone what seemed like forever, trying to resolve an email problem which I thought they had fixed a couple of weeks ago.

So, in case anyone has written me in the past several weeks and didn't think I answered you, it's because my own Internet provider has been marking all my mail as spam, including emails I sent to myself!

Gardening, other than indoor seed starting, has been backed up because it's just too cold or wet or both; but we're expecting a mid 60's weather this weekend, so that will be my day to transplant these veggie starts and plant some root veggies.  Some of my first seedlings peeked through today, several tomatoes and a couple of leeks. Spring can't be too far away.

Time now to unpacked the new fluorescent light fixture and the grow light bulbs that I also bought today. I over planted these small peat pots so I'll have to be transplanting some of these very, very soon and get them more light. After that it will be time to start dinner. Tonight it's orecchette pasta with broccoli, pignoli nuts with a garlic, olive oil, anchovy sauce - a nice healthy, Mediterranean diet dinner. Jim just read me an article on the Mediterranean diet and reminded me that wine is part of it. So I have to admit, that at least in part, he is following that diet. (she says with her tongue firmly implanted in her cheek.)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Firing results

 Here's two views of the test results and the few bisqued test pots. I was very happy to see that my revised clear glaze is great. The original had ghastly borate, and I reformulated it with frit and a couple of other minor adjustments. A lot of the colors give me a good starting point. One of the yellows is pretty much what I was looking for in a yellow; but I think I'd also like that a lighter version of it.

Today I'll glaze the new, bisqued slip tests and get those fired in another day or two in my tiny test kiln, and make notes on the firing about results and followups.

Yesterday turned out to be pretty productive even though I was moving slowly in the morning. In addition to getting the kiln unloaded, I spent a good amount of time organizing some raw materials. There's a lot more to do on that front; but first I need to get more storage bins and other containers to maximize that area.

Since it's Oscar night, and Jim has requested an early, fun dinner while we watch the show, I have to quit studio work around 3 o'clock to get dinner ready at 4 o'clock when the show starts. I'm just doing simple Buffalo type baked drumsticks, celery sticks and potato skins - kinda like Super Bowl foods for the occasion.  Time now for a healthy oatmeal breakfast and then some kitchen time to make a blue cheese dip, and the hot sauce for the chicken.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Making space

Afternoon rain yesterday put an end to the plan for outside garden work; and frankly, I wasn't feeling so terrific, so I spent my time re-locating some studio items, filling this new cart which rolls right under my slab roller, did some computer work, simple cooking, fired the Skutt kiln and popped a lot more vitamins and cold/flu medications all day long.

The kiln is cooling - down to about 250 F now, so I'll be able to unload that this afternoon. I'm eager to see those slip and glaze tests, particularly the clear which I reformulated for frit instead of ghastly borate.

It's colder today with rain possibly in the forecast, so it looks like I'll get studio time to continue organizing the studio space. Ten months ago, when we moved here and I unpacked, a lot of the smaller studio items and bags and jars of raw materials, they were just placed willy nilly until I could get to them.

The house and grounds needed many months of work and the studio only got what was absolutely necessary, like shelving, plumbing, heat, insulation and other electrical work. Now I'm finally getting time to refine the storage which at first assessment appeared to be a daunting task; but on closer look it all look possible.  I'm finding that some shelves need  to be raised so I can make better use of them.
By doing that I can free up some of my very limited table space for a small, future pug mill.  Going up on existing shelves and under existing tables is freeing up one ware cart and partly freeing up the other movable cart that will double as a ware cart.

Jim's been helping with organizing the parking side of the garage/studio, and freed up a bit of space for some of my file folders and other items. A three dollar heavy metal, desktop file folder that I found at Good Will the other day solved that small problem. It's going slower than I wish, but it is going forward, albeit at snail pace which is preferred to no pace at all.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Kiln on and seeds waking up

Here's one of my charity shop finds from the past few days. It's even on rollers - not bad for ten dollars! It will slide right under my slab roller and provide some extra, much needed storage space.

Before breakfast, I finished organizing this years seeds, and then got the kiln started. It's only a half load of slip and glaze tests and some test re-fires. Hopefully I'll get what I'm looking for and then I can get on with making more pots, batching another slip or two and a couple of glazes.

Yesterday was for garden chores - shopping for mushroom compost, potato seeds, and some bean inoculant for the Fava beans I want to plant this weekend and a few other goodies.  Lunch out and starting seeds pretty well rounded out the day.

I had to start more seeds than I thought, because an order for some mail order tomato plants fell through. Evidently they can't ship tomato plants to Oregon. Who knew! And these are tomato varieties that I usually start from seed because some of those varieties are not available locally. Now I'm going to have to figure out what to do with them when they sprout and have to be divided, and transplanted. I don't have a basement any more, and I gave away the light fixtures, so I'm probably going to be putting them in my office or guest room, and get at least one new fluorescent fixture and some proper grow lights.

If weather permits, this afternoon I need to get some of the squares in the raised beds cleaned out and fertilized. This morning I figured out, with the help of on line converters, just how much of my organic fertilizer has to be used on each square of these raised beds which are just up with one foot square grids. It's taken a lot of pre-planning for this square foot/companion planting, but will save a lot of time during the growing season.

Meantime, my partly loaded kiln is firing. It's set for a slow bisque with a ten minute end soak. After reading about Ron Philbeck's ruined load of beautiful pots because of an easy error for any one of us to  make, of setting the soak to ten hours instead of 10 minutes, I paid special attention to that this morning.  You really have to pay attention to the digital demons!

Anyone who has been doing pottery for any length of time has at least one horror story. I have a couple! One was using what I thought was a leftover brick from my wood kiln construction, for a post. Turns out it was a low fired brick which did not look like one. It melted, and seeped right into one of my burners on my Geil, gas kiln. Fortunately there were two other good posts and a couple of taller pots which that bottom shelf could rest on, otherwise it would have been an even worse mess and greater loss. The other was the time I lit the kiln and soon realized something was amiss. They smell and smoke gave that problem away. I had some thick strips of plastic type material covering the burner ports to keep out the mice after one made a nest in one one time, and I forgot to remove them before loading the kiln. All the pots were covered with carbon. Fortunately, once I let it cool, removed the port covers and started the kiln again, the firing went well. Whew!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I like the mistakes

This is a lovely, heart felt and brilliant video by Chris Staley about how we view our pots and what we perceive, are our mistakes. Thanks Michael Kline for posting this and suggesting that other bloggers share it.

Setbacks, whether health or our work or personal relationships, are always an opportunity to put our focus elsewhere. So, maybe they're not setbacks at all, but the first step on the road to new beginnings.

Having to deal with a bad cold or whatever this thing is that has invaded my body the past few days, I was able to focus on my garden plans. Doing hours of research with my companion planting and square foot gardening books and copies of last seasons planting plans, I was able to get all the information needed and made new plot plans for this years planting.

Jim and I drove to the local Grange co-op yesterday morning. I really didn't think they've have much in yet, but they had all kinds of cold weather veggie starters, so I bought spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, etc. Yesterday I checked the beds, to see what need to be pulled and found that the broccoli which I had planted last fall had headed. I guess the few warm days we had last week, woke it up. So I harvested that and tonight will use it in a stir fry.

Breakfast is done and it's time to get dressed. The plan for the morning is to plant some seeds in starter pots. Then I'll wait till the afternoon to get out back and clean out some of the squares in my square foot beds, fertilize, and put in some of these transplants. It's looking a bit ominous out there now, so if these clouds bring rain, well, it just opens a path to possibly something better to do - maybe bake bread or continue with studio organization. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Carrots Love Tomatoes

Feeling a lot better than yesterday; but still going to take it easy and use the day to plan my garden according to companion planting, moon signs, etc. When it warms by mid afternoon, I think I'll plant some radishes, beets, peas, etc. if I feel OK.

Did you know that carrots love tomatoes, leaf lettuce, onions, leek, etc but don't like cabbage?  Beans like potatoes, but don't like onions or garlic; and pole beans like radishes and lettuce but do not like beet. Do you find this as interesting as I do?  One of my favorite garden books is "Carrots Love Tomatoes" - a great one for companion planting as well as a lot of other valuable formation. Can you tell that I'm excited that spring is on the way!

Yesterday, Jim did yeoman's work, consolidating a lot of boxes and other things in the garage, making more storage space for me. I worked as advisor - the only thing I was up for yesterday, other than a quick stop at the store for more storage boxes, cooking and popping hand fulls of vitamins and cold remedies and liquids the rest of the time. I did manage to put a couple of things away in the studio, and loaded the last pots in the kiln, which I considered a hard day based on how cruddy I felt. Mercifully, I was asleep by 9pm.

This morning I started on my vegetable garden plans, for my two raised beds, and my one earth box, incorporating companion planting and square foot gardening methods. Last year my beds weren't ready till later in the season, so I just popped in what I could; but this year I have time to really plan it well. It was also my first year doing square foot gardening, and this year I'll combine that with the companion planting.

It's going to take me a while to figure this all out since we are now in a slightly warmer zone than our last house and I have to do a bit more research, then make up a planting and feeding schedule for the season. I think it's going to be a good day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A week of echinacea chicken soup and organizing

This is partly a re-post of a another post which mysteriously disappeared off my blog two days ago; and I thought some of the info for good studio equipment purchases might hold some interest for my readers.

This is my ten dollar ware cart, which makes great storage for most of my kiln furniture. It was originally a bakery cart.

I purchased this and other goodies in Brevard county, Florida. The county had a huge warehouse full of no longer needed or wanted supplies from the schools in the county. It was a treasure trove for everything from potters wheels, to office supplies and all other kinds of goodies that potters can use.
It would definitely be worth a call to the school superintendents office or just do a google search  with your county's name and surplus sales, etc, and see if you can find out what they do with surplus school and government equipment. Some have permanent sale places, others have auctions on some things like cars and potters wheels, and yearly lawn sales for other items.The other things I bought at the same time were a high quality file cabinet for $15, and two amazingly heavy, big, cafeteria tables for $20 each, so it's really worth exploring this source if you are in need of any furniture and other studio equipment.

While organizing this cart, I realized that I could just set a piece of plywood on top to act as a shelf. It wouldn't have to be attached, since I've positioned the cart right next to the Skutt kiln, so it never has to move. Hopefully,  a trip to Lowe's hardware for some wood, is going to be on the agenda next week. 

I've been on an organizing roll while dealing with a cold/flu bug, and feeling really good about giving a week to this. We've been running around the county visiting charity shops and the dollar store, etc. for stackable boxes and other organizing items; and the rest of the time has been to get my garden seeds sorted, cleaned out, organized according to the planting schedule, and getting all the markers made for the seeds to be planted this season.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A sgraffito learning curve

 Got some good studio time yesterday, but had to quit around 4 to get ready for an early dinner at our son and daughter-in-laws. I partied well and was moving slowly this morning after a tossing turning kind of night. Fortunately the plan for the day was to sgraffito these pots. It was a good sit down job, making for a relaxing, working Sunday.

Trying to sgraffito dry slip presented the challenge of the slip chipping off. So I thought I'd try using a spray bottle to mist the areas I wanted to work on; and that worked as long as I worked quickly; but if they dried before I could finish, I'd get those little flakes of dried slip coming off. Next time I'm not going to wait till the slip is this dry. The rest of the afternoon was spent updating my glaze and slip notes and making another "to do" list.

Yesterday was spent weighing out possible yellow slip and glaze tests and getting them on tiles, and getting the slipped pots cleaned and touched up. With my self imposed, retirement schedule, I'm finding that I can't get all that much done in five hours, at least not as slowly as I seem to work these days, and then have to use some of that time clean up the studio before I call it a day. 

While the latest tests and pots dry, I think I'll spend some time in the next day or so, doing more studio organizing, which I keep putting off because down deep, I'm feeling that it's going to be almost impossible to find places for everything. What I really need to do, is set aside a day to search charity shops in the county for an old, but stable and inexpensive coffee table that I can fit under the slab roller to gain another level of storage space, which will make room on my other ware cart which is being used right now to store things like mortars and pestles that aren't used regularly, and an assortment of other non ware items. I think it's time to get to a dollar store for some plastic bins , preferably stackable, to help the cause.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Got some studio time yesterday slipping a few things and weighing out a couple of yellow slip tests with a mason titanium stain. The praseodymium stain I've already tested is really a very bright, intense, lemon yellow so the search for a very light toned, warm yellow is still on the table. In this next firing I also have a few tests with Buttercup yellow as well.. Hopefully, one of them will either be the one or close enough to make a minor adjustment to get it just right.

The first order of the day is to weigh out a test of my clear base glaze with a 6% addition of the titanium stain and then I'll wet mix equal parts of that and the plain clear to get a 3% batch. I'm not sure what will work best - a yellow slip with my clear glaze over it, or a yellow glaze over my white slip. The testing continues.

Some of the dipping/pouring slip is still a bit thick judging from the drips I'm getting, so I'll have to scrape or sand those and thin that slip out a bit more. Once I get it right, I can weigh it out to determine the specific gravity so it won't be guess work in the future.

I also want to sketch on the couple of slipped pots and some sgraffito, and that will be it for the day. I'll let this current group dry and fire them as soon as that happens.  I still haven't started any early garden seeds, so I hope I can find time to at least just start a couple of the early cold crops, if not today then tomorrow for sure. Time to get to work.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines day everyone

Here's one of the test pots I slipped yesterday, inspired by a Doug Fitch piece. I think it would be nice with a honey or amber glaze or just clear with some color accents. So many things yet to test!

The others I slipped yesterday, and a few I threw, are drying under cover until I can get to them. I'm still playing with the slip thickness. Both the brushing and dipping batches were too thick, so I thinned them both out a bit. Hopefully they'll work better now, particularly the one for dipping which I'm hoping will low better, yet still give me ample coverage.

Clumsy me dropped one mug - that sucker just slipped right thorough my fingers. I should have taken a picture of it's messy, splattered body but I just didn't want to get in the house to retrieve the camera, even though it would have made an interesting blog photo. It's amazing how big a mess one splattered, freshly slipped mug can make.

Most of today has been in the kitchen - got all my potato, cheese and onion perogis made (all 50 plus of them). That dough is tough to roll out. Next time I'm going to bring out my pasta machine and have it do most of the work.

Jim is off delivering the first batch of perogis to our sons house. After my little  "give my back a rest" break I got the second half of the batch of cooling perogis wrapped and in the freezer and got some dinner prep done.  It's pork chops and roasted garlic and rosemary potatoes and black bean and pineapple salsa tonight. I think that's about the only other work I'll do today, unless I get a miraculous second wind after dinner; but I really don't think that's going to happen. I'm going to save whatever energy I have left to lift a glass of wine and eat some of my Valentine's chocolates, and hopefully stay awake long enough to join Jim for another episode of House of cards on Netflix.

Hope everyone has a Happy Valentine's day, filled with unconditional love coming at you from all directions! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Nice video on the potteries of the Shenandoah valley

My bolognese sauce has been simmering since 6:30 am.  This sauce requires a half a day of cooking, so I wanted to start super early so I'd get a full afternoon in the studio to sieve slip and slip a small group of pots. That job has to be done this afternoon because tomorrow is going to be an all day in the kitchen day making perogis for the family. They're coming up for the weekend and the grand kids have been asking for more of nanna's perogis. Making a regular, big batch of them (over 50) leaves no time or energy that day, for anything else.

The sun is shining this morning. We haven't seen much of it this winter; but that's typical of winters in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon. We make up for the lack of winter sun in the late spring to mid fall. If I wasn't intent on getting studio time today, I'd be out back cleaning up my planters and getting them ready for spring planting.

I've already gone through my seeds, sorted them in order of planting time and I'm ready to go as soon as weather and time permit. This has been a good week for organization.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day came early

Jim just couldn't wait to give me some Valentine's flowers and candy. So here are my goodies, two days early.

I just love these white roses! Years ago I read that the reason florists carry mostly red roses is because that's what men prefer to buy, even though women actually prefer pink or white.

Dinner salad is put together and the dressing is made and the pesto sauce which is going over the cheese tortellini is defrosted. The freezer has been re-organized and not because of any burst of energy, but one shelf collapsed, so I decided to re-do the whole thing.

Still working on learning Jcloud - the on line storage I subscribed to; and I found the right box to click to back up my documents folder. Now I have to figure out why it's not responding to the backup button, even though I re-set the backup time; but that will have to wait a while because I can only deal with that in small doses.

The only studio thing I got to today was to finish cataloging the fired glaze and slip tiles; and make some followup notes. It was then time for dinner prep so we could enjoy an early dinner while watching the Westminster dog show. The Tibetan Mastiff who was just up, looks like a lion! Amazing group of dogs.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Playing with mug shapes

Playing with mug shapes, since I didn't want to just fire a kiln load of test tiles; but at the same time, I do want to see those tests finished so I can decide what slips and glazes I'm going to use for this new venture into earthenware. I think all have these shapes have their uses. The bottom three are good for sgraffito or multiple color choices. The top one, which is a yunomi form I've been making for years, and now transitioning to a mug, would be good for soda or wood, so I'll have to do some more color sketches and see if anything more than a simple glaze will improve it or ruin it. Earthenware certainly gives you a lot of color choices and decorating opportunities. 

Got a few pots finished yesterday and did some studio organizing. I got all the test batches of earthenware slips and glazes put on a mobile cart, in numerical order and made a  3 page detailed chart of all I have on hand, and their status.

I promised Jim a lovely, Sunday, rack of lamb dinner and I've also started to go through the living room paper pile of unread mail and books and do other tidying. We have our sons in-laws coming over Monday afternoon  for margaritas and munchies which is always a good excuse and chance to tidy up a bit. If I can get some of the dinner prep and tidying done before lunch, I'll try to get some of those pots waxed and slipped in the afternoon.They are definitely ready for slipping. Right now I need to clean and peel tonight's asparagus.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Winding down

The morning was spent doing early dinner prep and more of the never ending computer cleanup, email and other chores. It takes a couple of hours to heat my studio, so using that time for household chores works well for me these days.

After lunch, it was time to head to the studio to pull handles and finish the couple of mugs I threw yesterday. Instead of testing those yellow slips, I decided instead to put that off till tomorrow and throw a few more things. It almost took me as long to clean my wheel and tools and the floor, than it took to throw and finish a few pots; but with my newer, smaller, garage/studio space, it's important for me to have a clean wheel waiting. That's particularly true now that I'm working with red earthenware, since I don't want to track that red clay into the house.

Having never worked with earthenware before this, unless I count my childhood play with the raw clay in my grandmothers back yard in Pennsylvania, I wasn't sure if I would like it's handling properties, but it seems to be fine for throwing, at least for small items, which is mainly what I'll focus on at my age. 

With most of the dinner prep done in the morning, it didn't take long to get dinner made - fresh asparagus on whole wheat toast, topped with lemon butter, chopped hard boiled eggs, and fresh cooked bacon bits. The new toaster oven did a great job on the toast, better than our regular toaster,  so we were able to put away the old toaster which made space for some of the items that were displaced by the new toaster oven. Time now for the next episode of the addictive series "House of Cards" on Netflix. It's been a good day.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Erins tea party and my day

I'm showing this photo of our daughter Erin's recent tea party, because on tomorrow's studio "to do" list is to make some yellow slip tests to try to match some of these yellow breakfast plates in the photo.

I'm looking for another good studio day tomorrow, to do those yellow slip tests and trim and pull handles on the couple of mugs I threw today. Erin wants a teapot that would work with those pieces. She gives these amazing. large tea parties.. We're talking tea parties to the max. Her table settings look like high tea at Fortnum and Mason or Harrods in England; but knowing what a great cook she is, I'll bet her food offerings put them to shame. So the least I can do it try to make her another teapot for those large parties. Frankly, I'm a bit embarrassed looking at photos of my over 36 year old or older teapot of mine that she's still using! Fortunately, it's not in this photo!

Got a pretty full day in the studio - cleaned floors, put a bunch of things away, re-hung my wrench holder which had to be taken down when we added a small reserve tank next to the water heater, recycled a little bit of clay, softened a couple of bags of clay, got a few more glazes on test tiles, threw a couple of mugs and some test tiles, got test tiles cut and marked and  dipped some of them in slip after dinner. I'll save the rest for those yellow slip tests tomorrow.

After a quick Indian food dinner and some wine and chocolate, followed by some studio paper work, I'm ready for some mindless Netflix offering - probably a continuation of the Kevin Spacey series "House of Cards" that we've been watching the past couple of nights. Sweet dreams everyone.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

This is a nice video presentation by Louise Cort of the Smithsonian. If you want to avoid the long introductions and go straight to her presentation,  just move the video forward to about the 16-17 minute mark.

It's been a cooking and clean up day so far. Lunch is over, my bread is on its second rise and the sauce, blue cheese dip and potato salad are made for another hot wings dinner.

The last of my new kitchen tools orders arrived today and I got that unpacked and put together the new electric pepper mill. The new food mill still has to get unpacked and washed and some food items needs to be put away; but I'll do those things while the wings are cooking later.

 I told Jim that next months visa bill will be very small. He's been pushing me to replace a lot of this old equipment and who was I to argue! :-)

With all the other things I've had to deal with the past few weeks, there hasn't been much studio time - just a few sporadic hours here and there.  Yesterday I got a couple of other test glazes mixed and on to tiles, marked and in the kiln. I'll try to get back in there to do another one or two as soon as my bread finishes it's second rise and is popped into the oven for about fifty minutes.

While the bread was on it's first rise, I got a start on planning out my two raised vegetable beds. It's already time to plant peas according to the monthly garden report I got for our growing zone from National Gardening, in an email,  two days ago. It's also time for zone 7 growers to start seeds indoors for cold weather crops so I'll be doing that in another day or so.

The timer has gone off -  time to get the bread in the oven and head to the studio for a bit.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Since I've dealing with computer problems from hell, as well as being on a kitchen organizing kick, a job which has been thrust on me because the arrival of new kitchen equipment necessitated having to move and deal with lot of "needing to be filed" recipe cards,clippings, and other assorted kitchen paper work,. Yesterday morning, before I jumped into that project, I came upon his  inspiring, organizing video. There's no way I'd ever be this anal about storage, but there are some good ideas in this video. 

Hope everyone enjoyed the Superbowl. I enjoyed it so much (2 margaritas and nachos), that I fell asleep before 9pm. Good thing I taped Downtown Abbey which I still haven't had time to view; but I'm heading to the studio now and will use it as background sound while I mix glaze tests.

Some computer problems are solved, and others still need time and attention.  Century link is still trying to figure out why I can't send an email to myself. They turned the problem over to their engineering department and it was supposed to be fixed by yesterday afternoon; but it's not. I'll test it again after dinner, and I suspect I 'll be on the phone again.
Yesterday was a shopping, and organizing and filing day. That job will need another morning or two to complete. This morning I tried to test the toaster oven and it's not doing what the book says. That digital display and those knobs are not intuitive; but I need to get to the studio and I've played with it enough. Jim has promised to read the manual and see if he can figure it out. I've been dealing with enough problems this week and just hoping they're not going to follow me in the studio.

I  bought some fresh some crab and cheese raviolis at Costco yesterday, for tonight's easy, work day dinner. I just have to make a simple, lemon cream sauce and Jim has promised a nice Chardonnay - making a nice end to whatever the earlier part  of the day holds.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Pottery of India

This is a lovely video. Enjoy!

I was in India in December 1989 and into January of 1990. Staying at an ashram in the north, meals were served on non glazed earthenware. These pots were treated like paper plates and after the meal, the pots were thrown over the the size of the steep cliff, a few yards from the kitchen.

It's interesting to see how different cultures regard potters. Some hold them in high regard in countries like Japan, but in India, somehow working with clay/dirt, somehow puts you in a lower part of society. Yet in Japan, people who work with butchering, are viewed negatively. We humans are an interesting species, which all too often looks for ways to separate ourselves from others with so many different, conditioned, cultural beliefs.

I guess I'm waxing philosophical this morning, after a very busy week, filled with a lot of cooking time, a family visit, a lot of computer issues, frozen pool problems, and re-organizing parts of the kitchen and studio.

Some new kitchen tools and appliances arrived this week and I've been unpacking and washing them and and moving other things around to make space for the new. Dealing with the computer problems took up a lot of the weeks time; but I cleaned out a lot of old software and photos; but there's a lot more to do, since drives have moved and the same drive seems to be in two places and I have no idea how that happened! Also, I researched and signed up for an online cloud type storage, but haven't figured out how to get that to work after installing it; and just didn't have time this week to sort it all out.

This morning I woke up with chills, swollen glands, etc. etc., so after breakfast and a long very hot shower, I decided I'd see if my brain can work well enough to deal with the JustCloud program. Our son gave me his Blackberry yesterday, and I need to figure that out. I'm not sure I'll even keep it, because I'm not thrilled about paying $50 or more a month for another phone. I already have an Ipod Touch, and a generic cell phone that only costs about $90 a year, but it's old technology and there's no speaker.

Our son has been bugging us to keep our cell phone on all the time when we're in the car; but I told him I don't like to use it because they're so unsafe and when he found out that ours has no speaker, he gave me his new Blackberry. I spent an hour or more last night trying to figure out which Bold model it was, since it doesn't say, and the home screen doesn't look like any of the 6 models on their web page; but it looks like I will have to sign up for some service to be able to access some of the settings - just one more thing to deal with today or tomorrow. If I can sign up for an option that let's me just pay $2 a day for phone calls on days I used it, then it will be a keeper. 

Since it's Super Bowl Sunday and I promised Jim nachos and Margaritas, I'm going to do some early prep while I have some energy, and before I tackle the computer issues. For most of the rest of the day, my butt is going to be in front of this computer,seeing if I can made hide or hair out of this on line storage software and the other problems I've been having with people not receiving my emails, backups and duplicate drives showing up in two different places, etc. etc.. Maybe some gremlin in the universe is screwing with the computer, so I'll spend more time sitting and using my brain cells in a different way, because that seems to be the outcome!