Last weekend the girls and I worked on a giant pile of homemade valentines for their classmates. We made 73 valentines! I asked them if they wanted to use store-bought cards this year, but they picked homemade. I was thinking our days of homemade valentines were nearly over with my oldest, but her crafty instincts are strong.
This year the girls picked the printable butterfly valentines from Cindy of Skip to My Lou. I did the printing and cutting; they did the stickers and writing. I bought googly eyes that already had adhesive on them in order to avoid a glue mess. The larger eyes seemed to work better on the lollipops — they had more surface area of stickiness.
The girls were a little concerned by the butterflies’ lack of antennae or mouths, but these were quite enough for them to handle without those things! They turned out really cute
I just noticed the little note on one of these that says “Books rool.” That’s my girl.
I hope you have a good Valentine’s Day!
Here’s what I have been working on this week. I made a couple plywood molds with a jigsaw. Working with power tools is always a little bit exhilarating. (You know, with the threat of cutting off your fingers and all …)
I made an asymmetrical mold because after all the wheel-thrown pots, my brain needs a little asymmetry. I also wanted to start making some tray forms because that’s really the easiest way to play with some new surface designs.
My goal with this one was to reproduce the look of bokeh. I tried to use a paper stencil method I learned in a Meredith Host workshop, but I had some problems. First, I was too impatient to let layers of underglaze fully dry before peeling off the paper stencils. (When you have limited studio time, you get impatient. Well, I do.) Also, I think my paper was weird. It was just copy paper, but it seemed to have some sort of coating, and the water turned blue when I soaked my stencils. Then the stencils stuck and shredded and tore, even when I broke down and let them fully dry, and it was not fun.
I need to figure out a better way to deal with the stencils, because I do still like the basic idea of this. The white areas may burn out more than I’d like, but this is an experiment. Next time I also want some of the bokeh blobs to go up the sides, too. I’ll show you how this turns out. Soon. I have a whole lot of making to do before the kiln is full.
These are the first couple pots of 2013. It took me a while to get back to work! I guess I have been working — it has just been the boring stuff: listing things in the etsy shop, setting up bank accounts, paying state sales tax. I suppose it all needed to be done, but now I’m out of throwing practice. My arms were a little sore after wedging up only four balls of clay. I don’t know if I’m not used to it anymore, or it’s because my studio is very, very cold and the clay was pretty stiff. (probably a little of both)
While my sister was visiting for Christmas, we decided that I should make a tiki mug version of my inverse mug. So the tall cup up there is my first attempt at this. I don’t have the best handle on shrinkage rates, so we’ll see if this is the right size. It seems a little wide to me. I can calculate the shrinkage — I just can’t visualize it very well. Anyway, I hope to make a bunch of these cups. They’ll be great for tiki drinks or any tall cocktail.
My work last night was accompanied by Kate‘s best of 2012 mix on Spotify. Since I’ve had kids, I don’t have as much time to seek out new music, so I have become a big fan of end-of-the-year music wrap-ups. They help me do all my new music scavenging all at once. I haven’t had a chance to check out my usual go-to yearly lists from Pitchfork and The Onion. So I’ll link to them here for your sake and mine:
I don’t have too terribly much to report today. Things have been moving along in the typical fashion for January. I’m digging in to do some preschool auction work. I usually work on decorations, and I’ll be doing that again this year. What else?
- I’ve been keeping up with my daily sketching.
- I’ve been hauling things to Goodwill, which is an ongoing process…
- I have 15 days to go on my cleanse. I’m past the achiness and random rashes and am moving on to the crabbiness, following the same pattern as last time. I’m starting to get a little bit of relief from the headaches that plague me most of the time.
- We got out of the house last weekend and saw this movie. It was good, but I was surprised when it won the Golden Globe.
- I bought some boxes so I could start shipping the items in my etsy shop. It was cheaper to buy large quantities. So now I am overrun with boxes. They have nowhere to go.
- I put up my new calendar. My super ginormous calendar! This year I went with a Stendig, and the sheer size of it tickles me.
- I’ve been listening to this CD that Santa put in my stocking for Christmas. The sweet title song mentions Kansas City! I like how this review calls it “cozy sweater folk.” That is so spot on. That is the type of music I tend to like in the wintertime.
- But sometimes I need some pop for waking up or cleaning or snapping out of a funk. Robyn has been fitting the bill lately. Love this one. I heard it on the third episode of “Girls,” which I am slowly working my way through.
- I finished all the episodes of “Breaking Bad.” No more episodes. Now I have to wait just like everyone else. I resisted this show for so long because it felt so depressing to me. I was wrong. Mea culpa.
- I read this book, which was really good.
- I signed my oldest up for piano lessons (Groupon!). I hope practicing doesn’t turn into homework war part 2.
- I’ve started planning a gigantic road trip for this summer. There will be camping (which the girls have never done before). And Disneyland. And the Grand Canyon. I am scared. And excited.
Finally, I haven’t made a single pot this year. I did get my studio cleaned up and ready to start again, and I will soon. Soon.
I listed some pots on etsy! This is the first batch of pots I’ve listed since around the time Charlotte was born. So, over five years! I just took Charlotte and Margot with me to pick up some shipping boxes down in a warehouse near downtown, and they were completely bewildered by how dirty and warehouse-y it was. Sheltered children.
Anyway, I have a few more pots and some buttons that I still need to photograph and list. So this will be it for round one. Check my shop out here. Thanks!
Happy New Year!
My sister and her family came from California for a nice long visit with us this year. So we’ve been busy eating, laughing and holding babies (well, baby — singular). And driving to Arkansas to visit my grandmother. And making snowmen. And tiki drinks. And eating too-big burgers at the mall. And now I’m back to piles of laundry and making grocery lists.
But I do plan on doing some new things this year. Resolutions? Goals? Whatever you call them, here they are:
- I’ll be doing a sketch a day this year. For some reason, it seems like every time I’ve taken an art class, I have purchased a new sketchbook. I never fill them all the way up. So I have at least three mostly unused sketchbooks. I’m set — except for that exploding pen today. A set of Microns is on the way. I’ll be taking photos of the sketches semi-regularly. They will go here. I will be working in pen to keep myself from getting too mired in trying to be perfect with the option to erase. Pens show process, and this is all about process. I’m hoping to become more confident drawing on pots.
- My ceramics goals: producing multiples (first up: a set of cereal bowls that I might even keep for myself), maintaining an online shop, participating in the Clay Guild sale again, and mixing my own glazes. Even if I’m not consistently using my own glazes this year, I at least want to learn how to mix.
- I’ll be doing the Clean Program cleanse again. I always feel a little unwell after the richness of the holidays, so I am ready for this. I’ve already started weaning off caffeine and alcohol. Today was my first day without coffee, so I’m a little sleepy.
- Yoga. I need to start doing this again. When I have a few days where I’ve done a lot of work in the studio, my body hurts. It needs stretching. There was a year or two pre-children when I did yoga 1-2 times a week, and it felt really good. So I hope to get back to that. I’m a little worried about some vertigo I seem to have developed that kicks in when I do downward dog. So I may need to find my own way here … The idea is just to stretch and move a little. Maybe it will end up having to be walks and non-inverted stretches. We’ll see.
Here’s to 2013! Cheers.
Our yearly Christmas drive through the city in our pajamas always yields some interesting light photos. As I was taking them, I was telling Chris that our children are going to have to dig through all sorts of this nonsense if they ever delve into my photo files after I’m gone. Bloggers have a strange collection of photos: plates of food, raindrops, craft supplies, streaking Christmas lights.
It has felt odd but necessary to continue on with our Christmas traditions this week. I have not told my children about the unthinkable tragedy in Connecticut. There is no reason those children should have had such terror visited upon them, and there is no reason my children should live in fear either. My mind is full of sympathy, grief and worry — mentally composing letters to my representatives and wondering what can be done. But my girls are oblivious and joyful. So we frost sugar cookies and roast marshmallows in the fireplace and watch the pretty lights go by.
I finished my first sale! That was my main ceramics goal for the year, so I’m glad I managed to make it happen. I know yearly goals are arbitrary, but they give me a framework for progress, which is important when time seems to be slipping by more and more quickly now that I have kids.
The sale went well. I came home with many fewer pots and also acquired a chest cold that has slowed me down this week. (Hence the lack of an etsy update. I don’t think it’s going to happen before the end of the year, and that is OK. Making Christmas happen for my kids is important, too.)
What I learned:
- To my surprise, people like buttons! If they don’t do so themselves, everyone knows someone who sews or knits or collects buttons. The problem: these are a low-price item. So, they are nice, but by no means am I going into an all-button business.
- People are not freaked out by handle-less mugs! I sold all my cups, and not as many mugs. Huh.
- If people are confused by something, they won’t buy it. That was the fate of my button bows. Fambly: expect button bows on your Christmas packages this year.
- I could use more shelves/vertical elements in my display.
- The people at the Clay Guild couldn’t be nicer. It was a pleasure to hang out with them all weekend. I was one of the only first-timers, and everyone was very helpful and encouraging.
So, all good things. I’m relieved. And tired. And ready to do it all over again next year.
Today is the big day! I’ll be at the Kansas City Clay Guild’s holiday sale, tonight 6-10, Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5. I’ll have mugs, bowls, cups, wall tiles, ornaments, buttons, and button bows. I’ll be putting the shop on vacation until Monday. I’ll report back next week — I’m sure I’ll learn so much! Like, uh, nobody wants to buy buttons at a ceramics sale, or $30 for a mug???, or five thousand ornaments are too. many. ornaments. You know, useful stuff like that.
We always do a craft or two as one of our advent calendar activities. Last night the girls made marshmallow wreaths. (Instructions here.) I came across these on Pinterest. (Of course — where else?)
Here’s how it went. The girls were able to complete these fairly independently, which is my main concern. So thumbs up on that count. But the instructions said you could use full-length toothpicks on a flat foam wreath. When we did this, the toothpicks were way too long, and went completely through the marshmallow by quite a lot. There was no way the girls were going to be able to partially skewer the marshmallows, so we cut the toothpicks in half. This created a ten-minute lag during which the children ate half the marshmallows. So Chris had to run out and buy more. Then while he was gone, Elise decided to roast a marshmallow on the advent candle and set it on fire.
So, stabbing! Fire! Fun holiday times!
No, really, this was a pretty good craft for the girls. I tried hanging the wreaths before setting in the refrigerator overnight, but marshmallows kept falling off. So I refrigerated them and hung them this morning. The marshmallows are still falling off. So, fingers crossed for no toothpick ingestion. Happy fun Christmas times!