Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some Assembly Required

So we have moved. But we are far from being settled. While the house is functional, it is far from being a place where we would feel comfortable inviting the new neighbours. The new place is large. Very Large.

Here are a couple of pictures before we moved things in.

Dining room

Mira's room



Living room
The house is bungalow with 6 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 kitchen, work room, studio space, countless closets, laundry room, linen closet, and A DISHWASHER!

These are the "before" pictures. I am not going to show you the after pictures just yet. And the reason for that is...well....let's just look at a few more "before" pictures. These are of the old place the weekend before the movers came.

OMG! Look at all this Stuff! How did this happen?

I think you get the picture. There are more rooms like this.
Our former living space Filled with Boxes of Stuff. Good Stuff. Bad Stuff. Random Papers. Cables and Cords. Computer Parts, etc. (yes I am speaking to you Dear) Kid Stuff. My Stuff. Stuff we Need and Stuff that We should have gotten Rid Of Ages Ago. (hint hint-no time like the present!)

Seriously! We had been at the old place for 15 years. When we moved in, it was Me, Bill, Mira, and Bug the Cat. The cat eventually went to the Great Catnip Field in the Sky and in the mean time was replaced by Three Kids. So that made 6 people in a space that fit 3 comfortably. And they all had their own stuff. Sort of reminds me of A guy named George.

In any case, it all went into a truck.

And there was more stuff so they came back for a second trip. Although I will say that the second trip wasn't quite so full. The main reason for the second trip was to pick up the freezer, which had to be emptied, and seeing as they were picking things up on Monday and delivering them on Tuesday and seeing as I didn't want my frozen foods sitting out over night I thought that it would be better if we just got the freezer and the food and what ever else didn't fit into the truck although it was a whole lot more than I thought would be left over so I was glad that we had their services for another day even though it ended up costing Way More than I had estimated it would.

A few words about moving guys.
These fellows really know how to pack. At first I was a little concerned because they seemed to be taking a Very Long Time getting things on the truck. There were three guys and two of them seemed to be taking an awful lot of smoke breaks. I was frantically packing the last of the things in the kitchen and it wasn't until we were at the new house that I realized Why they were taking so long. The truck was packed like it was a Tetris Game! No wasted space. Everything was snugged up quite tightly and a lot of the furniture was wrapped in blankets. Reality dawned. I am glad that I am not a mover. 

In any case...The kids are going to school, we are working, doing homework, laundry, meal preparations, dishes, unpacking, Garden Stuff STILL ( more on that later) And I am thinking about starting to try and prepare for one of my three Christmas Sales that is NEXT WEEKEND? WHAT!? 

Deep, calming breaths.

The long and the short of it is that we haven't been solely focused on unpacking. And so the house looks like a combination of the pictures from the old place and the new one.  All that space with all those boxes. I really hope to be settled by Christmas with Most of the boxes unpacked and stuff put away, or disposed of, or given away. The kitchen is mostly unpacked and functional (although I am still playing the "Where did I put That!" game.) The kids bedrooms are mostly  unpacked. My studio space had carpet which had to come up, which also meant carpet tack to remove, which then meant that concrete patch had to be bought (done) and applied (not done) before the floor could be painted and all of my stuff moved in.

I am at the point of saying "it will happen when it happens"

And you will be able to look forward to a new view when I post pictures of the snow storms that will hit this coming winter. Not looking forward to That! Although shoveling the drive way will be much easier because it is much shorter and there are no houses right against it! Whhhheeee!

Friday, September 16, 2011

I haven't been avoiding you.

We are moving and that has taken all of my energy.
Well, that and starting actually teaching including developing some curriculum and delivering said curriculum instead of hovering in the background and quietly helping students.
And dealing with all of the produce from the garden.
And then there are 4 kids and all of the things that they need. Like regular meals and clean laundry and someone to throw a cleaning cloth at the bathroom occasionally.

I have been very very busy.

But once we are settled in about two or three weeks, I will return and give you a tour of our new digs!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

one pot

One of the things that I love about raku is the total unpredictably of what is going to happen to the glaze in the bin with paper. Sometimes one side of a particular pot may look totally different from another.
One of Bill's pot was such a pot.

Don't they look different?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The rest of the yarn bowls

And, here are the rest of my yarn bowls. I wasn't sure which profile I would like the best and so I threw several different styles as well as hand built a couple of different styles.

A couple of them turned out to be seconds, which in Pottery world means that there is a flaw or two, but it is still functional.

Oh yes, there is one more of which I have yet to get a picture. The yarn bowl in question was my third favorite one and given to a very dear friend who promised to take a picture and send it to me. You know who you are!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bill's production

Here are the pots that Bill made during the raku workshop. I am sure that he will have something to say about them.

This one is about 13 inches across the rim

The bottom of this is what is called "naked Raku" where you put slip on the bare pot and glaze over top of the slip and the idea is that the carbon from the burning paper doesn't penetrate where the slip and the glaze are. Except that this one dried too fast and a lot of the slip fell off.

Here is a hand built pot not unlike my yarn bowl. Only larger.
This is a test piece mug. The idea was to mask out portions of the clay before you applied the glaze and you would get black areas.
A two tone vase.
What we call the Ming Vase. More on this one later.
And another naked raku. This one was much more successful.

It is really hot here and I am so glad that I am not firing raku today. It would be brutal!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Raku 2011

This summer I was brave enough to take another raku course. Raku is a kind of pottery that is fired to it's final glaze temperature rather quickly. The clay is made to withstand relatively quick temperature changes.

You start by throwing or hand building your pots. I was really interested in making some yarn bowls. I threw some on the wheel and hand built a few. The clay that we were using was really too stiff. The teacher was rather upset with the supplier for sending the wrong blend of raku clay. It was so stiff that I ended up ripping some skin off of my hands on the first day. Which is why I  ended up doing some hand building.

Bill also took the class with me. He enrolled in a pottery class last winter and really liked it. I knew the teacher of the raku class and thought that Bill would learn a lot from him so I basically forced him into taking the class by getting it for him for his birthday.

After the pots have been bisqued (which is to fire them in a kiln to a low temperature to drive off the excess moisture and make them firm so they don't come apart when they get a bit wet) you put the glaze on them and put them into a kiln. The kiln is them brought up to the melting point of the glaze which is somewhere between hot and stinking hot depending on the weather. We had a hot windless day and so it was stinking hot.
The next day we went to the teachers place where he had a river nearby as well as a cover over his raku kiln.
And we turned the kiln on to fire. The pots on the top were put there to dry a little more. Because of having to put pots into a hot kiln, they needed to be warmed up just a little bit before hand or the clay and glaze may pop and explode a bit. NOT what you are looking for!

And then you wait around for about 45 minutes while the kiln comes up to temperature. Beer may be involved. So may munchies.
When the pots come out of the kiln, They are put into a metal garbage bin with a base of wood chips and some newspapers. The cover is put on and they are left to cool down some for about 15 to 20 minutes.
The pot is then plunged into a bucket of water and scrubbed to remove the carbon on the surface.
Here are two of my pots. I focused mainly on yarn bowls and these were my two favorites.
 Here they are a little blurred but the colour is about right.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Summer Studio

Seeing as it is officially summer, and summer generally means that we are going to spend a bit of time at the lake, and seeing as the official list of "ToDo's" is much, much, much shorter at the lake (at least for me), This year I decided to move a bit of my studio there. My little Dorset loom folds up to be quite small and seeing as space is at a premium at the lake, it is a perfect fit. When I want to weave, I open it up and set it up on the porch.

On the weekend I manged to warp up and weave off 4 silk scarves. I have three more warps ready to go and if I keep up this production level I will need to make and dye some more warps. And soon!
And the view is spectacular.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Spinning Weekend!

Last weekend a small group of spinners (and knitters) who usually meet up at the Spinning Retreat decided to get together for a mini retreat. Spearheaded by the energetic Steph, she contacted us, found the perfect accommodations on the Kingston Peninsula in New Brunswick at Adair Cabins and organized people into meal preparation groups.

My Retreat Buddy, Sarah, and I set off after kissing kids a happy last day of school and only managed to take one wrong turn. This is actually a record for us. Usually we take at least two, and on the odd occasion more. The fault usually lies with google maps directions and surprisingly enough, Lady Gaga. This time the missed turnoff was smack in the middle of a construction zone with lots of dust. Lady Gaga was also present.

Because the peninsula is a peninsula and we were approaching it from a way that necessitated crossing water, we were treated to a ferry ride. There are a number of ferries in New Brunswick that are part of the highway system and at this time they are all free. The crossing only takes a couple of minutes.
Ferry on the way

Our cabin was called the Deer Run
After a quick stop off at our friend Liz's place, we continued on to Adair's. There are 5 log cabins smack in the middle of the woods. Our group was small enough (or big enough) to have 3 cabins. Steph and Janet had the one with the biggest common room and so it was decided that we would spend the majority of our spinning and hanging out time there.
The place where we spent most of our time

We would also eat there.
Sunday Breakfast

I was actually rather amazed to see that a couple of the cabins were of different construction techniques.
Flat cut log cabin. Note the cell phone on a "shelf"
Round cut log cabin

On Saturday, we went down to the "shelter" which had a kitchen where we could do some dyeing.
Dyeing in the kitchen

There was also plenty of room to spread out and a comfy couch for the knitter to curl up on.

I helped a couple of people to dye with my acid dyes. There was also some people that were using Wilson Cake dyes! The colours did totally unpredictable things! I had no idea what to expect out of that pot! There was also someone with Gaywool dyes. Again, something new for me. The colours were beautiful. The Moncton crew were dyeing fools and by the end of the weekend their front porch looked like it was decked out for a party with all of the coloured fleece! I didn't get a picture but I did get one of Sarah's and my sleeping accommodations. The beds were super comfortable and for once there were enough blankets on the bed!
Our bedroom

Because we were in the middle of the woods, and because it was a particularly wet weekend, there were more than a couple of slugs around. In fact, it looked like a slug convention! Walking between cabins became a game of dodge the slugs. Sadly more than one slug lost the game and ended up being unwittingly tracked into the cabins. Ick.
Big Slug.

There were 12 of us and meals were easily divided into 4 meals with 3 people contributing to each leaving Friday night as a free for all potluck. Needless to say the food was amazing and I regularly ate too much.

I managed to get three skeins spun in slubby form to transform into scarves to hopefully sell.

Piggy Navigator.
And with Piggy on the dash, we made it safely home with no wrong turns! Here he is looking out at the ramp on the ferry on the return trip.

I was sorry to leave on Sunday morning, but we all declared the weekend a huge success and are going to try again next year.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I never thought...

That I would like pink and yellow yarn. But I dyed it. I spun it. And I like it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


We managed to get a lot!

43 pounds worth. Considering that I saw them for $4.99 a pound this year. I think that we did rather well.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Learning

Why not take a break this summer from your usually hectic relaxation plans and sign up for one of these exciting workshops?
They all take place in Fredericton and are anywhere from a half day to 5 days! There is something for everyone!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

New York 2011

Yes. This is a bus. This is a bus full of people that I know who are on their way to New York City!

One of those people was my daughter Mira. She hates having her picture taken. I figure that if I keep putting her "faces" out there that some day she will stop making faces when a camera is pointed at her. So far it hasn't worked.

There were lots of rocks and trees and grass that we saw on the way. We left at 5:30 am and arrived at the hotel at about 7pm. We lost an hour when we crossed the border but that still works out to a lot of hours on a bus.
Everything was moving fast in New York City! Including the trees!

We were at the Hotel Pennsylvania which was on the corner of 7th Ave and 33rd Street so we were super close to Times Square. Everyone goes to Times Square, so we went too. What a lot of lights and noise and people.

Just off Times Square was the M&M Store. Three floors of chocolate. And loud music. Mira voted that we didn't stay long. I concurred.
This was Mira and my roomie, Karen. After Times Square, we decided that it was time for a little liquid refreshment and a quick snack. We found a small pub called the Pig and Whistle and had a glass of wine (Karen) a beer (me) and a cranberry juice (Mira).

Mira's cranberry juice came with a lime wedge,I like to eat limes so that is not why my face is sour. She was not quite impressed with NYC. I, however was very happy to be there.

The next day was Sunday and one of the ladies with us is a Flea Market Goer. She had found some flea markets that happened on Sunday and one of them was very near to the Museum of Natural History. I had never been before and thought that Mira might enjoy it. There were a lot of wonderful exhibits. One of my favorites was of the animals that were a link between dinosaurs and mammals.
When Ice Age came out a number of years ago, I thought that, as often happens, many of the creatures featured were basically made up. Apparently not! This fellow was very much like one of the characters that was trying to escape the ice age in the first (I think) movie. There were a couple of other creatures that I recognized that I thought were really from someones fertile imagination. Who knew?

There were also a number of taxidermy critters from Africa. They were behind glass in "a natural setting" which included some real looking fake trees and shrubs as well as a painted background. Pretty spectacular.

There were a lot of other things including this very primitive loom from Africa. I am glad that I don't have to weave on one like that!
We also went to the MET another day, but seeing as Mira was the one that took most of the pictures, I will leave that tale up to her if she decides that she wants to share.