Monday, June 29, 2009

Wolf loves pork

This must have taken forever to make. So creative and cute.
I meant to leave this up for the weekend, a little movie for you, but I got sidetracked when the sun finally came out.
Yay summer! Yay garden! Yay sitting around reading as if I didn't have work to do!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tales, Annabel plays the accordion

I've seen two movies (liked both) lately that have an accordion in them, Bread and Tulips and Revanche.
My sister used to play the accordion, which I found hilarious and absurd at the time, but now I want one.
And a magic fairy to help me be able to play it well right away.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tales, Bear sports a new look

Handlebars aren't just for bicycles.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tales, poor Ravenna

Ravenna saw that Ron's robot had roller skates and insisted she be given a pair immediately.
I resisted, but she is not one to take "no" for an answer. I hesitate to say it, but although she is quite a graceful dancer, Ravenna is not noted for her athletic prowess.
As soon as the skates were strapped on, one leg went left and the other went right, ripping the wiring in the back of her leg completely out of place.
You will now find her, post the robot version of achilles tendon surgery, reclining on the couch with her laptop and tv remote, demanding muffins, lattes, and sympathy every fifteen minutes. Loudly.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tales, PDX Annual Naked Bike Ride

Little, Ranger, Bear, Woodrow, Ruby, and Jam naked

The Annual Portland Naked Bike Ride takes place every June. It is a worldwide event designed as a protest against oil dependency and to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists. Riding a bike nude in Portland is not illegal and the police helped the ride by controlling traffic in intersections where the cyclists passed through. Estimates of up to 5000 riders make Portland event the largest in the world. Beginning at 11:59 pm, it took an hour for the parade of riders to pass.
Little stopped at an intersection beside a van containing five Muslim women in full hijab who high-fived her and took her picture with their cell phones. Yay freedom!
More PDX bike fun here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tales, parking lesson from lucy

Remember that one of Lucy's claims to fame is that she can drift? Here she is (wearing a man suit to protect her identity) demonstrating her mad skills at parallel parking.
She has, in actual fact, received applause from random bystanders on two occasions for her parking ability.
So proud.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tales, Thackery is small

Thackery is in Hawaii just now and I miss him when he's away.
He's probably eating pineapple cupcakes on the beach right now.

*in the etsy shop

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Customer Service

I had a client who bought something from the studio (long distance) that wanted it sent to the recipients as a wedding gift. I blithely offered to wrap it before sending it, not realizing that I had no appropriate wrapping paper.
Luckily, I had two lovely young ladies* visiting at the time who were delighted to spend the day decorating the package in a properly romantically themed and extremely glittery fashion.

*thanks Betsy & Grace, it's beautiful!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ivy Fail

This is the re-fire that I predicted would not work. A spectacular fail. It cracked with so much force that it blew itself apart. Really uncalled for, I'd say. It must have emitted a sharp report when it cracked, which is why I'm glad I wasn't in the studio at the time. It would have scared me. And angered me. And saddened me.
Fortunately, I also had a freshly decorated one in the firing that is perfection itself.
And that, as they say, is a monkey off my back.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tales; how Ivy cheers up

Everyone has something they do when they need to cheer up. I'm pretty sure that only monkeys wear cupcake hats though.

*coming soon the the etsy shop.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tales, Annabel is wonder full

Marilyn Monroe said something like this once.
Annabel finds many layers of meaning in this..

*In the esty shop now

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Artist, bunliu

Very creative.
I love stop motion video.

*thanks Mat :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

in the studio, kiln repair

Here is the culprit that ruined the pair of Ivy tiles last week. The topmost image is the old sensor rod for the automatic shut-off device. Observe the difference between it and the new one below it in the picture. Notice how corroded and thin it has become, so much so that it lacks the weight to push down on the cone that was designed (when sufficiently melted) to trip the shut-off.

The first step is to open up the controller. Well, that's the second, first SHUT OFF THE POWER. Then take the whole thing apart and remove the tube assembly containing the sensing rod. The rest of the process is, frankly, pretty boring, so I will just go on to my "tips" section of this post.Tips:

1. Vacuum the area around the kiln before you begin because you will most certainly drop the teeny-tiny itsy-bitsy set screw before you make it to the plate you have (very prudently) set up to receive the disassembled parts.

2. Provide a plate to put all the little screws and what-not on for ease of retrieval later.

3. Set screws are very very very tiny, don't drop them. Especially when there are two in different places in the assembly and you will most likely drop each of them several times and have to get down on your hands and knees and crawl around on the dusty floor because you forgot tip # 1 and you actually have to feel for them because they are smaller that the human eye can see unaided and geeze you never thought you'd need a dust mask to replace a sensing rod.

4. Get both a small phillips head as well as a slot screwdriver because kiln manufacturers have a warped sense of humor.

5. Stop in the middle to go to the aid of your daughter who got food poisoning having breakfast with a friend to celebrate his graduation because she needs gatorade because of all the vomiting and is too weak and nauseous to go to the store herself. And be sure she lives thirty minutes away.

6. Remember the owner-builder's rule of thumb regarding time estimates for completing a task: round up to the next unit of time from what you estimate it will take. For example, if you think it will take one hour, the next unit of time is one day. Use that. Or if you think it will take one day, go up to one week. And so on. Trust me, it is true.
So now you know how I spent my day. My whole day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cakes that are chocolate

so chocolate it is almost black
About a year ago, my sourdough starter died. Ever since, I have been on a quest for another chocolate cake that can rival our birthday standard, sourdough chocolate cake.
this is all that was left to photograph, seconds after I frosted it
Here, after countless trials of ideal-sounding-but-not-nearly-wonderful-enough chocolate cake recipes, is the only chocolate cake I will ever make from now on.
Oh, the hyperbole! I'm certain that is not really true... so don't quote me.
However, this is an amazingly chocolaty cake (just look at the color!) and not too sweet and loads easier to make than sourdough cake. So, thank you Epicurious and Gourmet and Smitten Kitchen for all your good ideas and recipes. It's been fun, but I am done looking for the ultimate chocolate cake at last. Recipe here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Inspiring, Iranian/Persian bowl

Tenth Century Iranian/Persian bowl

Elegant, rich.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Um, where is St. Patrick* when I need him?

Here are the two Ivy tiles. Yeah, that is blood on the edge of the first one. My blood.
It's there because I cut my finger on these shattered baby tags. Yeah, that's blood on Cecilia too.

It happened because the automatic shut-off on the kiln failed. So the kiln over-fired. So the baby tags fused with the tile setter and stuck in a million places and cracked to pieces. And, inexplicably, the glaze on the Ivy tiles was nearly completely absorbed into the tile, leaving a nasty matte surface.
I normally use handmade tiles, but the tiles for tabletops need to be flat and square, so I buy factory tile for that. I have never seen the glaze disappear like that before. Weird.
I plan to re-glaze them and try again, but I am nearly positive it won't work. Sigh...
I'll make another fresh one too.

*St Patrick (patron saint of ceramic engineers) commented that he should be prayed to when attempting to invoke the good will of the kiln gods. I guess I forgot.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More cakes that aren't chocolate

Caramel walnut banana upside-down cake

Now I'm on an upside-down cake baking tangent. Who knew there was anything but pineapple in upside-down cake form? Actually, I made a pear version once, yum.

Pineapple upside-down cake

Cherry cornmeal upside-down cake
And just to prove that I'm flexible, I made a lemon cake too.
Lemon cake

Seriously, it's just two of us in the house at present and I made all of these cakes in the past three weeks. I eat cake three times a day. It can be breakfast, right? All that fruit?

You can blame my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen for all this. All of these are from there:
Caramel walnut banana, pineapple, cherry cornmeal, and lemon.
I made a few changes here and there to the recipes. Ask me if you have any questions because it seems too boring to write about here, to be honest.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Two Ivys, just in case

This time, I made two Ivy tiles, just to make sure that what happened doesn't happen again.
Fingers crossed.

*send good thoughts