Saturday, March 29, 2014

Aaaaand Breathe!

Finally, a day to just sit and chill!

My week has been full of work training and utter exhaustion, plus sick children and appointments.

Then spring break started yesterday, with me up at 7 AM to get the baking and cooking going for Emily's lunchtime birthday party. I got it all done JUST in dash off to take Davey & Bub to my boss's son's birthday party! By the time boys were retrieved and teenagers went home, I was exhausted again.

I did manage to fit in a quick run to the Arts Center to see how my last batch of glazed ware turned out. I had a couple failures - that darn Stone White glaze!! - and plenty of success. Jim likes us to leave our stuff there until everyone in our class has seen it, but I couldn't help myself and brought this mug home with me.

It's very big and I LOVE IT.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Another quick update

Let's see. The weather here sucks. Temps in the teens to zero in the mornings, and not even breaking above freezing most days. I'm really tired of it.

I applied for a job, and got it - I'm the new weekend baker for The Grain Train deli. I started training yesterday, and have been enjoying it so far, even though I have to be there at 5 AM. The only downside to the early start has been the aforementioned cold, as the kids have to walk to school no matter what, and the fact that my younger boys have been sick this week. Bub has been pukey since Friday night, and David has been having panic attacks since last week, plus not feeling good on top of that. So my assurances to my boss that there would be no problem having my training this week were HIGHLY over optimistic, which is disappointing. He was very understanding, though, as was the girl that is training me.

I got another round of flowers sewn onto my quilt, and have been getting the next round prepared, while keeping myself entertained with a constant stream of South Park. I'll probably do a bit of that this afternoon, since I had to head home early to be home with the boys while Ian went to school.

Pottery club is started back up again. It was nice only having about a week's break from the last session. We glazed enough last night to get a kiln load going, so I should have some more completed pieces to show soon. Next bisque load won't be fired until after spring break, though, so no more 'till mid-April. I'll just keep throwing until then.

Gotta get the house cleaned up this week, as Emily is having friends over for her 15th birthday. So I'll work tomorrow, baking all day, and then Friday morning I'll get up and....bake all day!

Body pain is coming back hardcore. I'm hoping that my new job will help me stay on track with my food, since I'll be at a natural foods grocery every weekend, and get a discount on what I buy as well. What I DO know for sure is that eating egg/pepper/potato breakfast burritos for breakfast is a moronic idea that I should be kicked for, and that I deserve an extra kick for the chocolate chunk scone eaten later.

Emily goes in for a job interview at Julienne Tomatoes today after school, so wish her luck and keep her in your thoughts this afternoon! I'm excited for her - this will be her first job, if she gets it!

I think that's it! Off to sew for a little bit!

- Stell

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Poor Decisions

I really really really hate it when I wake up feeling like shit about myself, and then make shitty decisions on top of that.

I had my kids walk to school today. I had no idea that it rained last night and then froze into sheer sheets of ice on the whole route to school. So I just stayed holed up in bed, blithely telling my anxiety- and depression-riddled children "it's warm enough to walk! Get going!"

Both my girls fell on their walk. They're both pissed at me and the depressed one is saying she doesn't have enough energy to deal with the walk AND school. I'd write it off as her being melodramatic, except that I know EXACTLY what that feels like. And then David probably had the same problems, only his school counselor won't let him call me when he's just upset (and not physically ill), so I don't know. But I'll get to hear about it, plus how it ruined his whole day, while he dissolves into fresh sobs and misery once he's home from school.

Boy, today is just great.
Sincerely, one lonely-as-hell broken shitty parent
- Stell

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Faerie Fever

This week, Dawn and I bought our passes for FaerieCon East, to be held in Baltimore MD in early November. Fun thing about this is, though we've known each other for about as long as we've had kids, we never really hung out together much until she asked me if I'd like to go to FaerieCon in 2008. It was the first time the FaerieWorlds crew tried hosting a Con, and they had one of Dawn's favorite bands, Omnia, playing at their Bad Faerie Ball. So we decided to go.

It was quite the adventure - we spent months putting together clothes and wings and hairstyles and makeup techniques, making test runs for garb and makeup at Ren Faires and Dagorhir events, and then finally our first major road trip together to Philadelphia for the Con.

Turns out, Omnia never made it there. It was to be their first gig in the US, but they got paranoid at the last minute and chickened out. Which REALLY bummed us out. And to top it off, Brian Froud wasn't there because his retina detached a couple days before, and Alan Lee didn't come due to a death in the family. ALL the people we were excited to see weren't there.

Despite all that, we still had a total blast. First of all, it was Toby Froud and his goblin Ignatz who broke the no-Omnia news to us. That DEFINITELY helped to dull the sting a bit....mostly because they're both so damn cute. And we still got to meet all sorts of artists and craftspeople, and some of the event organizers, which then led to us making it to other FaerieWorlds and FaerieCon events.

So now, we're finally going back. Much has changed for us in the last five years.....and I definitely need a serious overhaul in the faerie department, as my last trip to the Ren Faire pointed out so painfully! I honestly need new everything - shoes have holes, corset doesn't fit anymore, tops and skirts no longer cover what needs covering, makeup essentials are missing....and my wings are absolutely MANGLED.

My last trip to the Faire *did* find me a new friend, though. His name is Cedric. He's a cicada. He is also dead....but don't sat that too loud around him, because he doesn't know it yet, and we don't want him to feel awkward. Cedric and his beautiful shiny wings was my constant companion at the Faire, and by the time I got home, I had pretty much decided that I needed a serious Cicada overhaul.

So that was my project this weekend, after buying FaerieCon passes, ball tickets, and making hotel reservations. I got to work on my cicada wings.

I started with this picture that Tom found for me. It was perfect! Using my light box, I traced the wing outlines, and the approximate relative distance between the right and left sides.

I knew I wasn't going to have the patience to do all the veining in the wings, especially since I was planning to construct the frame primarily out of 14g and 16g steel wire, held together with 24g wire wrapping. So I just made up a pretty vein pattern, keeping in mind that the pieces would need to be wire-wrapped together.
Once I got the design drawn out, I needed to enlarge it. I used my omnigrid ruler to figure out how big of a wingspan I wanted, then drew a grid over my drawing, 13 squares across so my final wing pattern would be 13" wide. Then I drew a 1" grid on pattern paper and transferred the design by following the grid.

I used an old sheet of plywood and some nails I had in the basement to build a bending jig, and some of my grandma's old pattern transfer paper to transfer the design to the plywood.
The tricky part was remembering that the wire always has to be bent around the outside of the curve. So if you're bending even a slightly sinuous curve, the nails you place will switch from being placed inside the line to outside the line at some point.

I did learn a few things in the process.
1. Only place nails for bending the main frame outlines on the main area for your jig. Trying to bend accessory pieces (and place the nails for bending them around) inside the main outline is a HUGE pain, and there's really no need.
2. Make a separate bending jig for each accessory piece on a different spot on your plywood.
3. Once your pieces are bent around the jig, you have to take them off, true up the wire by hand, and then finish the bending-to-shape by hand as well, using your drawn pattern as a template. The jig won't do the job - all it does is put the main corners and curves where you need them.
4. Use little strips of duct tape to hold joints in place while you do the wire wrap joins. And then epoxy glue the joints into place, because those stupid wire wrappings like to slide around!! I still have to do that part.

They turned out pretty well, I think! I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with them from this point, though. Leave them as just a wire frame? Prime and enamel them? Try covering them with cellophane or tissue paper and glue? I don't know! What do you think?

- Stell

Friday, March 14, 2014


OK, all you bloggy people. I figured out how to get subscribe buttons thingies to show up. I figured out how to get blogs I follow to show up. What I can't figure out how to do is categorize my blog posts. Like, I'd like to have my archive divided up by subject, so if someone is looking for all sewing posts, they'd be in one list, etc.
Can someone walk me through? And do you have any other suggestions to improve the look and usability of this place? I would like it to function well.....but I'm not in a space where it feels like effort well spent to try to figure it out on my own right now. Pretty please? It would be most appreciated.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

This Might Take A While

Ian got the game. I got the guide. So long, guys; momma's RPGing.

- Stell

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Julienne Tomatoes Mug Day

HOORAY!!! The day is here!! Two months of planning and throwing and testing and painting and WAITING are finally over, and I was able to gift my friends Julie Adams and Tom Sheffler with a set of mugs for their café Julienne Tomatoes.

From the time Julienne Tomatoes opened, when Bobby was just a baby being toted everywhere on my back, Julie and Tom have been absolutely amazing neighbors to our family. Their giving, generous spirit is widely known here in Petoskey, and they are well appreciated by many.

So, when I saw a sign posted on the pastry case one day saying "Bring us your extra mugs!" I hatched a plan. I decided that rather than rifle through my cupboards for extra mugs, I was going to MAKE some. And make them SPECIAL.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mess Up the Pottery Day

Oh boy! Today is Mess Up the Pottery Day!! Woo hoo!
SO MANY problems with not being able to get the clay *quite* centered, and then LOTS of problems caused by letting things get too dry. Because, you know, I forgot about them. I blame this.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Etsy Shop is Open

Well, I said I would do it eventually, and today I did. I opened an etsy shop to sell my pottery....and whatever the heck else I decide to make and sell as the whim strikes.

You can find my shop here.

I've got tumblers listed,