Monday, June 27, 2016

Home Sweet Home

My surgeon pushed my walking on full weight on my healing fractured leg up a few weeks,  so I decided to home home a little over a week ago. I can walk a lot on my own in the house, but uusally use the cane when heading down the steps and while in the garden.

I was amazed at how OK the garden looked other than a lot of weeds and a huge amount of lettuce that was about 18" high and going to seed , as well as a few other spent veggies that had to be pulled. My good friend Kay came over to help me Monday and it was amazing how much we got done in a short time in the veggie garden. We both weeded and I planted while Kay hauled off the weeds and other debris.

Since then I've been gardening a bit every day, but those 3 hr sessions for a few days proved to be too much and my aching leg kept waking me at night. So now, I'm doing a bit less each day and spreading it out in two sessions or so.

Today was my easiest day in this 90 degree weather. In the morning I pulled some weeds and planted the last rose and before dinner, I did some hand watering, a bit more weeding, harvested some broccoli, fava beans and some berries and staked a few of the tomatoes. Even at 5:30 it was too hot out there to stay much longer, and I still had to go in and cook dinner.

My barn has been infested with rats, and that's the other job I've been doing - trapping them. Definitely not my favorite thing to do, but they've been so destructive in there getting into bags of expensive organic fertilizers, and even eating through plastic bottles of olive oil, ketchup, knocking light bulbs and cans and other things off shelves, etc. etc. Enough was enough! There's going to be a huge cleanup in there once I get caught up with the rest of my garden work, and get enough of these destructive vermin out of there.

Pottery is not even on my mind at the moment other than wondering how in the world I'll ever be able to get back to it in this place. The best I could hope for is trying to make a minimal, dismal, damp, low ceiling 100 year old basement with no reasonable way to drain water, work somehow with minimal storage, minimal tools and work surfaces. The rat infested barn, was a possibility but it's so open and I can't invest in closing it up to make it work, just to make a few pots now and then.  At least the basement has water coming in, but no inexpensive way to get it out, and it's also cool down there this time of year; but would be too cold in the winter.

Part of me is thinking this just may be the time to hang it all up; but maybe I'll feel differently when I am healed and can get the house organized and sells a lot of furniture and other items that don't fit this smaller house and garage.

Hope everyone is doing well. I haven't been reading blogs much the past month, so I guess I'll have to, to catch up with how you all are doing!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Broken but fixable

I was in a bad car accident last month; but the car and I are both fixable. I wound up with a Tibia plateau fracture in my right leg and can't walk/put weight on that leg for 3 months. The car will be fixed in two more weeks, but I have another 2 1/2 months of physical therapy and healing to go.

So I will finally have time to read all the wonderful pottery and soap making and other interesting blogs for a while.

At the moment my world is very small, basically living in the bedroom, under the care of dear friends till mid to late July. I guess I'll finally have time to get a lot of computer clean up done, and learn how to use my new Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge cell phone, which I love.

At least I got a lot of the heavy work done and a lot of planting done in my garden before the accident, but I won't be able to look at it until July.  My friends are harvesting some of the veggies as they mature so we will be eating the spring crops out of the garden for a couple of months.

Hope you are all having a safe, happy, lovely, and productive spring.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Photographing your pottery

Here's some helpful information on photographing your pottery from Dmichael Coffee, along with photos of his setup. Here's the link:


Several years ago I took a workshop on photographing ones work given by Joy Tanner and John Britt at his studio, and learned how to make my own light box, reflector cards, etc. It was a huge help.

These days I'm working hard at creating a vegetable garden and a flower garden at my new residence here in Ashland, Oregon. I'm still trying to deal with too much stuff, but hopefully by summer I'll have the heaviest of garden work finished, and be ready to sort and get rid of a lot of it. I've hand dug and made 7 raised beds so far, planted or transplanted about 50 strawberry plants, herbs, winter veggies, and now working on digging trenches to plant the rest of the asparagus. I've also planted several raspberries, transplanted a couple of blueberry plants, two grape vines and a couple of climbing roses for the arbor that leads into my secret vegetable garden.

All the beds are planted and I'm going to have to figure out where to put my bean pole and find a space to plant potatoes, the artichoke seedlings that are under a grow lamp in the kitchen, as well as onions, leek and squash.

The flower bed in the garden area right behind the house is almost fully planted with perennials now and I think there's only room now for some warm weather bedding plants. In fact, I should probably think about starting some cosmos in the house now.

The basement where my wheel, pug mill and shelving are stored, waiting I had hoped, to become something resembling a studio, is a dark, dank, cold, damp mess! A couple of weeks ago I went down there looking for a needle nose pliers among my jewelry tools and found a box of very rusted tools. Not fun! So now I'm waiting for delivery of a dehumidifier to set up and lessen the damage. Once the weather warms and the heavy garden work is done, I'll be spending time down there with a lot of rust remover!

I'm going to sell my little used larger cone 10 digital electric kiln that was only fired about a dozen times, mostly to bisque pots for a few firings of my large soda kiln, and the small Olympic gas kiln that I only used twice to re-fire some soda pots and some slip and glaze tests, and my big electric slab roller that's only had about an hour of use as a slab roller over the years and used only as a work table. It's too big to get into the basement, and even if it could fit, there's no room for it!  I might be able to find someone with similar but smaller slab roller and smaller electric kiln of the same model that I can do a trade with. I just don't have the space for them and I need to clear the garage and the work shop next to the garage, so I can get my car in there by summer.

If I can clear that garage workshop section, I may just move my wheel in there. There a spigot in the basement but not drainage and it would be expensive to put in a drain system that pulls the water up and out. For the little bit of work I'd be doing in the future, and that's if I decided to make pots again, I figure I can just bring some water into the barn area.

We have a place in town where you can rent studio space and get pots fired, so I will be exploring that this summer. I'm thinking I  can throw and bisque pots in a small electric kiln at home, and bring pots there to glaze and fire.

Well that's it for now. Time for my yogurt and blueberry breakfast, then on to paperwork and getting some tax papers ready for the meeting with the accountant in a few days.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

I'm still up to my ears with all the paperwork and now I have a big packet (looks like a book!), of tax information I have to fill out for the accountant. So I will try to get caught up in my other paperwork over the weekend and tackle the taxes next week. Thank goodness Jim has all that information in one huge, accordion style folder.

Last week I had to go down to the dark, low, cold basement (maybe my future pottery studio), to find nail cutters for my do Bodhi's nails that were out of hand, and while there I unpacked one box of bisqued pots. That was it! Hopefully it will be more comfortable down there in the spring. The ceiling is very low, but high enough for me to stand up, so it may be doable. There's water coming in through a spigot but no way to drain it out unless I want to invest in an expensive system that basically draws the water upward!

Since any pottery efforts at my age and with health challenges that seem to be coming at a fast pace, one after another the past year, or two, I suspect if I can get back to it, I'll only be making pots for the family, and I'm fine with that.

When I get this paperwork and taxes out of the way I'll be looking to sell my big cone 10 Skutt which has been fired less than a dozen times, mostly bisquing pots for my soda kiln; and my large electric slab roller or at least finding someone who wants to trade for a less wide one. Even though I've had it for years, it was only used about an hour for slabs, since I quickly found out that I didn't enjoy doing slab work, but it made a great work table for other things.

My largest and best ware cart is too tall for the basement studio so that will have to go as well.

The garage is still stacked with some antique furniture and boxes, so a garage sale is planned for spring or early summer unless I can find a local antique dealer who will be happy to buy those pieces.

Well, time for my liquid protein breakfast. My latest health challenge, diverticulitis is acting up a bit after eating normally yesterday. Guess I should have skipped the sake with the Chinese take out!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Free printable shrinkage rulers link

Here's a link for downloading and printing your own shrinkage rulers. They have several for various clay shrinkage rates.

free printable shrinkage rulers

I've been so busy dealing with paperwork after my husbands passing and I'm still not done. Either I'm up to my ears with paper work or on the phone with Social Security, AFTRA union pension office, etc. etc. I figure that by spring I should be done with this and be on some kind of a regular routine in my new life.

The kitchen remodel is done and most things are put away; but I still have boxes from the old house that I have to deal with and that's not counting all the studio stuff. Our weather has been too wet and cold for me to get into the unheated basement to do more unpacking of my pottery stuff; but there's plenty in the house to keep me busy.

It took me all day yesterday to figure out what Jim was doing with the checkbook; but late last night I finally finished it after going back a couple of years to achieve a balanced checkbook.

We had some big winds coming through last night and at 7am as I took the garbage cans out for pick up, I saw that my lovely grape arbor way lying in the driveway. Hopefully the gardeners who are coming tomorrow will be able to set it back up. I can't see if it's down because it's rotted at the base or just the winds combined with the heavy top of the grape vine and the trumpet vine which occupies the same space, was just too much for that wind.

I cleared the driveway of all the fallen evergreen branches and made three piles which hopefully, the gardeners will take away. It's always something!

At some point today I need to get on line with apple again - this time with a higher level of tech support since I can't access some things because every one of my electronics things (iPad, iPhone, Ipod touch), won't let me change my email address without typing in the old address and password, but since that old account has been closed for almost seven months, the old email and password are not accepted. The only place I've been able to change it is on iTunes. AARGH

This is what I've been doing the past couple of months - putting out little fires like this. I'd like to buy a new iPhone but don't want to risk spending that money and finding I have the same problem!

Between it all I did find time to make one batch of soap this month, and I did get all my seeds ordered for spring, took and passed my Oregon drivers written test on the first try, got my few Xmas decorations put away, and found out that I'm strong enough to set the rat traps in the barn and deal with the success of my efforts.

So that's what I've been up to in the 2 months since Jim passed away. Family and friends have upped their calls and visits to ease my loneliness. Life goes on. I don't know where I'm going, but I'll be taking it one day and one step at a time.