Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in a (Photo) Review

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This pretty much took FOREVER! to create. Really! I worked on this so long. I think next year I will make a folder in My Pictures that is 2013 Favorites, so I can just put them in there and easily get them quickly for next year. Jeesh! Going through all the pictures by date on my computer is what took forever.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

End of 2012 Review

Well, I went back and looked at my goals for 2012 and I didn't quite accomplish all those things I had
set out to.

I did do 5 different 5K runs, one was a Warrior Dash which has 11 obstacles (tough!) over the course.

The runs were:
*Maple Syrup Run
*Medford 5K (don't have a pic from this one)
*Warrior Dash
*Color Run
*Scare in the Bear

I took snowboarding lessons which ended badly with me hurting my wrist. I was bull headed and never went in to the Dr to have xrays but wore a metal brace (courtesy of Andy's motorcycle accident several years ago) for over a month, but I have maintained exercising 5x a week all year even while I was injured. Did I mention that before that I fractured a rub, Jeesh! I didn't start out the year good to my bones.

So, those injuries squashed my plans for the indoor tri. I still would like to try one of those first before I do an outdoor one.

As for my goal for an outdoor one, I was dragging my feet on buying a road bike (it's a big expense I wasn't sure I wanted to spend but I do love my new bike) and I wasn't working on swimming and all of it kinda freaks me out. I need to build up more confidence in myself to be able to tackle I tri I think.

I did take my wheel pottery class and enjoyed it - you have seen the posts. I joined the art center and hope to get back to there 1-2x a month so I can make new creations.

I did not make my rag rug. I wonder if I could get that done in a day. There is still tomorrow left to 2012. Or at least start it.

I did go kayaking - once. I think the fact that we bought a boat this summer had an impact on this.

And the winter of early 2012 did not yield snow to do any XXCing or snowshoeing. Boooooooo!

Looking in to 2013 I still would like to try my first indoor tri and I think I have convinced myself to do my first half marathon (in May - eeeek!). I am signed up for another Warrior Dash (different location this time) and will probably do a couple other 5Ks (not signed up for any others yet)

I would also like to tackle a do-it-ourselves (on a budget) semi remodel of the kitchen involving updating cabinets, wood trim & wainscot,  backsplash and possibly countertops (we gotta see how much that will cost.)

The other do-it-ourselves (on a budget) semi remodel I want to tackle is turning the unfinished area in our basement that I use for sewing (& storing all my crafting supplies) in to a cheery and more organized space. Most of it will be painting the gray bricks but there is also a floor treatment I want to try and getting more storage solutions and organizing it more.I have started the organization piece and have all my fabric organized (holy cow do I have a lot of fabric!!!!) but there is so much more that need to be sorted and labeled in bins.

And we need to get a new flat room (over the playroom) put on next spring and want to put in some more gutters -- those are not really goals, but something that is is in the works for 2013.

I should be working on a rag rug instead of still typing this post. LOL!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Elf Yourself

This video is only good through 1/1/13, so enjoy it now!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Week #1
Have not made plans yet with what to do with this small bowl or this mug. I think I am keeping both mugs for us and this small dish will be on my night stand to hold small things like chapstick or hairties.

Week #2
Another mug I will probably keep and my husband has put a claim  on this small bowl to use on his nightstand.

Week #3
I do plan to keep my bulbous vase. And the bowl in the back with the black on it is being used as a candy dish. I have not decided what to do with the other bowl.
Week #4
The smaller dish I plan to give as a Mother's Day gift to be used as a butter dish. I have made another one that I will be glazing soon so that I have a butter dish to give to my mom & my mother-in-law. I have not decided what to do with this platter. My instructor had suggested we can always give pieces as a hostess gift when we go to a dinner or party and put a snack to share on it and leave for the hostess to keep. So that might be what this one becomes, although my daughter really likes it and wants it. But I do have something else for her that is waiting to be glazed. The circular platter is being used as a candle holder, it matches the candy dish I made above.

Week #5
My daughter has already claimed the curvy dish as something to put her jewelry in. The other curvy piece is a low vase, which is perfect for the wildflowers we have planted in our landscaping. The others  I was thinking about giving a friend with a candle to use as a candle platter and the circular piece I am planning to fill with candy and give to my daughter's teacher for Teacher Appreciation Day.

Week #6
The 2 big pieces I did to use as decorative pieces in our bedroom (a bedroom re-model is in the near future). The bowl and other cylinder piece I have no idea what I will do with.

This is everything I created during the duration of the 7 week class. I did go in a few times and made 12 more items! I am still amazed that I made 17 items during those 7 weeks and only 1 broke. Currently, the 12 items have all been glazed and being put in the kiln for the final firing this afternoon. I plan to go pick them up this weekend.

Most of those 12 pieces I have plans for and made them with people in mind. I made 4 coordinating pieces for my brother and new sister-in-law to give them as wedding presents. I hope they like them and appreciate them. I can't imagine that they have much for party/dinner service ware and might appreciate having some matching pieces. Also, I made plates with my kids names on them for them.

I hope to take another class in the future to learn better techniques and how to make some new stuff, but in the meantime I did purchase a membership to the Art Center so that I can buy more clay and make more stuff. I spent some time on etsy & pinterest yesterday getting ideas of other things I want to make.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pottery Class - Week #7

 Here is the glazing room at the Art Center. All those buckets are different colors of glazes.

On one of the walls is examples of all 2 color combinations of glazes on both red and porcelain clay.

This was fun trying to figure out what color combinations I wanted. Since I had no plans for any of the pieces (couldn't get attached, you know!) I had not thought how they would be used or given to.
I ended up decided to use the color Caribbean Green as the under or over glaze for each one of my pieces, then no matter what I chose to use them for they would coordinate regardless of the type of clay, pattern or shape of the piece. That color was my favorite.

This picture is of many of our glazed pieces, just waiting to be fired next time the kiln was loaded.

Pottery Class - Week #6

This was my most productive week. I made 5 pieces in one night, but it helped that I didn't have anything ready to be trimmed and there wasn't much for instruction this night, so we could get right to work.

I hopped on the wheel right away and made 2 pieces. I really have no idea what I will use this for. It could work well for a vase my my peonies, or maybe a pencil holder.
 I wanted to learn to make a piece that flared out, as I had not really done that with any other pieces. There is just so much to learn how to do.
I wanted to do some slab rolling with the porcelain and see how it worked with that. This platter I did a fabric imprint. I am not sure I am happy with how it turned out with the creases, but I guess we will see how the finished product looks when it is all glazed.
 This was a deeper dish and I really liked the curvy pieces I made before so I thought I would try a bigger one. I was thinking it might make a very pretty fruit bowl, very decorative!
I had made this piece in the red clay during week #4, but it had shattered after when I put it in the bisque room. I really wanted a platter this size/shape/pattern so thought I would try it again in the porcelain clay.

I should totally be wearing makeup if I am going to have my picture taken. Thought I would get at least one picture of me with my stuff, to show I was actually there. :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pottery Class - Week 5

 Here are my 4 pieces I created during week 5. Only 2 more classes left and then we have 2 weeks after class ends to come in during open lab time to finish up our projects.

I came in to this day's class wanting to go a  little more free form and try to make something quirky, very one of a kind. I think I succeeded.
 This was my first piece of the night. Since I had 2 weeks off from the wheel I wanted to start out with just making a bowl and see how this porcelain clay works.
 I was working on a bowl, but made it too thin towards the base and had to cut it off. Didn't want to waste the opportunity, so I sculpted it in to a trivet. Our instructor says that trivets are a good way to experiment with glazes. And to be honest, I could use a nice candle holder for a 3 wick or to put a jar candle on.
 I went in to this one wanting to experiment and make something quirky, but what I first started out trying to accomplish (as far as the look) is not what I ended up with. Since I am working with limited skills, I was not quite the manipulator of the clay, so I let the clay be more in control and worked with the fluidity (is that a word even?) that the clay had and made this wavy bowl.
Again, I was trying to do something else and then I caught my hand and it pulled the clay in and I was deciding between starting it over and trying to see what I could create with my new form. I went with continuing with my new form. I had intended on making a vase (and it still is), but my vision changed and I really liked how this turned out. I really hope this makes it through glazing and final firing.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pottery Class - Week #4

 Remember how I told you that I sprained my wrist snowboarding on Saturday, well, I was still able to make stuff at pottery class this week. I even made 3 pieces, trimmed 2 pieces and made a mug handle.

 Turns out I was lucky and the teacher and previously decided to teach us slab rolling as another option, which was pretty do-able with my wrist brace. 

This is the roller and stack of canvas that I was using.
 Here is my mug handle. Not the prettiest & most even, but I did it all on my own without the teacher helping me.

This was also one of the pieces I trimmed.
The 3 pieces lined up in front are my first 3 pieces of bisqueware, meaning that they were fired. All 3 pieces of greenware I set out to be fired did not crack or break. Woohoo! The bowls seemed to shrink quite a bit. Next step will be glaze these items, but we haven't learned glazing yet.

Only three more classes left. It seems like we still have so much more to learn and so much more practicing to do. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pottery Class #3

 This is the stack of all the plates we put on the wheel. Makes cleanup easier by putting these plates on there. Some leave their items right on the plates to dry. So far mine have all been able to be removed. Usually it is the bigger pieces that stay right on the plates.
 These are all the open drawers of the tools we use. Thankfully there are signs (should take pictures of them next week) that remind us what the tools we normally need are called & look like.

I am really happy they have everything there for us to use. I am considering buying a membership to the Art Center so that I can buy clay from there and use their stuff. They don't allow you to bring in your own clay. The cost of the clay they sell you includes use of everything, as well as firing and glazing.
 My creations this week. There was a fourth (well, it was 2nd chronologically) that was weak in an area and collapsed, so I have 4 creations drying this week.

I was able to trim out one of the pieces I made last week. The other one was still too tacky and had to go back to the shelf. I was able to move my 2 pieces from week 1 and 1 piece from week 2 to the Firing Room to the shelf labeled Greenware.
This was the first creation this week, used my clay. The second piece that collapsed was made with my clay. I imagine this might make a good fruit bowl.

What I mean by "my clay" is the clay I purchased from the Art Center. All of us bought 25 pound bags of this clay and it was all quite hard and we switched to recycled clay after a while, which is what the other 2 pieces (lighter in color) are made from.

 The one on the left was my 3rd attempt. If this make it, it could become a planter.

The one on the left & bottom was my fourth creation. I was attempting to make something to be used as a vase. This is a shorter one that would be good to hold all the flowers in our landscaping. I would like to attempt a taller one too. So many things to learn. I still want to learn to make a saucer too.

I know I have mentioned ideas of how to use each item, but in actuality they told us to expect that half our stuff is going to break. Well, that's discouraging.
But now I have this sprained wrist, so I am not sure how much I can do in my class on Thursday. Although I will have 4 pieces to trim out and a mug handle to make, so that will take some time to do all of that. I will ask to use the recycled clay again since that did was very soft and see if I can work with that and tape up my wrist to support it. If it won't work I may ask the teacher to build up my clay for me and than I can take over with the opening part. I hope I can make at least one piece, but we'll see.


So, I took snowboarding lessons with a friend this past Saturday. This was shortly before I crashed and hurt myself. I am hoping it is just a sprained wrist. Over the last 40 hours the pain has gone down & mobility has increased, so I hope that continues & that there is no fracture in there. Ugh.

My thoughts before crashing (although I only crashed because I was trying to avoid crashing in to my instructor who had just crashed into a young boy who swerved in front of him at the last minute and I was supposed to be boarding down behind my instructor following the same path, but 15-20 feet behind him) were that this felt uncomfortable holding my feet in the position and taking a high squat position for the trip down the hill. I also had a hard time figuring out how to undo my straps.

I didn't like that as soon as I turned my board even the slightest I would start going down, whereas with skiing I felt like I could stop pretty easy. I thought leaning on the board to keep it from going down was uncomfortable too. With all that said, I was progressing pretty good in my lesson and caught on fairly well. If I had not crashed & hurt myself I might have gotten used to the feeling of being in the board and using it. Skiing felt much more natural for me.

I am not sure I would do another lesson. I did think our instructor pushed us a little fast , so a different instructor might make me feel different too. I liked skiing much better.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Pottery Class #2

 The top picture is  of all my creations so far. This second class I made another mug & another small bowl (bowl are facing right side up) and then trimmed the bottoms on my other small bowl and mug and added a handle to my mug (I cut off the handle in picture - oops!).
This is a close up of the two I made this week. I really wanted to make a vase, but I can't figure out how to get the clay to move up so tall & narrow. I am going to have to ask for help from the teacher on that one. I would also like to make a plate some time, but at this rate I am going to have a bunch of bowls & mugs. Hope everyone wants those for Christmas in 2012.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pottery Class: Week 1

I am actually writing a whole blog post about this for another blog I write for. That post will be published in April, after I have finished my 7 weeks of class (+ 2 weeks to wrap up afterwards).

I did want to share pictures from the class, some of these will be in that post, some will not. There will be other commentary on that.

 The foot powered potter's wheel

Most of us will learn on this and can move to the electric wheel when we  get a little more experience handling the clay. The foot powered one you can control the speed better (is what I am told.)

This is the actual wheel I worked from during class 1.
 These are my projects for the night. One is a small bowl with a lop-sided edge (grrrr!)

The other is the start of a mug. We are going to be learning hand-buildling of handles and trimming up the bottoms next week.
 A close up of my mug. This was actually the first one I did and I was happy with myself for a first thing.
 My second thing - close up of my small bowl. If anything breaks while drying or in the kiln, I will not be sad if it is this. I gotta let go of needing it perfectly straight or this class is gonna get to me.
Inside of my mug.

Self-Evaluation Thus Far: Needs Improvement, too self critical, learn to relax & have fun!