Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tea Time

I am not a coffee drinker, never have been. However, I do admit to having a slight obsession with good tea. Except for when it's blistering hot out, I have a cup (or pot) of tea just about every afternoon. (Maybe I was British in a past life?) Probably my favorite part of this ritual is choosing who I will have tea with that day. And by who, I mean who's mug. Over the years it been fun to collect and trade for these wonderful pieces. Each one has a personality and story all its own.

When we have guests at the house, they're always surprised that we actually use these beautiful works of art. It's fun to explain how the potters I know generally want their work to be used and not just admired. I'm not sure if this is the case for every potter though.

To the potters and collectors out there reading this blog: What do you think? Does all functional work, need to used to be fully appreciated?

Just wondering,

Monday, July 28, 2008


I am a creature of habit. For whatever reason, I have always worked best when I stick to a routine of some sort.

Lately, I have found my way into a wonderful routine!!! It seems almost too good to be true and I'm wondering how long I'll be able to keep this up.

I wake up, have tea, eat breakfast. Then I check my email before heading off to the gym. (Today it is was yoga! Fantastic!) The rest of the morning is spent gardening before the afternoon thunderstorms roll in and water all the new plantings (today I planted a lemon tree). Then I jump in the pool to cool off before lunch. After lunch, I walk down to the studio, and get in 5-6 hours of solid working time.

It feels so balanced to me! Like thing are just falling into place. I love days like today!

Today, Studio time was spent working on a project for the HandMade House at The Ramble. I was able to finish the scale drawing and start the clay forms. The deadline is just around the corner, so I hope things go smoothly.

What about you? Do you work best with a routine?


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Studio Tour

Well, I've made tons of progress moving in and unpacking the studio the last couple days! Thought I'd take you on a quick tour of my progress...

I've been able to organize everything in to sections for the most part. You can see the Glass Area in the front of this picture and my Glazing Station in the background. It's strange to think that we've had all this stuff stored all over our house for the last 18 months! So glad to have it out and have access to my equipment and materials again!

That big blank space is where my kiln is going to go.
We haven't tackled the task of moving that yet, hopefully this weekend.
And I still have a couple peg boards with test tiles to hang on the wall over there too.

Here's the view back toward my main work tables.
I'm so glad we decided to put in so many windows!

My Tea Counter by the front door and a view into the bathroom.

And that concludes todays tour! Hope you enjoyed it!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

We Did It!

We Passed Our Final Inspection!! It only took us 6 months, 2 weeks and 1 day from the day our permit was approved. Oh, and you can add another 2-3 months (give or take) for planning and permit application preparation. But we did it! Let the moving begin!!! The inspector was barely out of our driveway before I started hauling things out to the studio. I managed to move just about everything I could physically handle by myself. Ben and I will finish moving the rest of my equipment and work benches this weekend. Ahhhh! The hours of blissful organization can begin! I feel great!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


[New Tile Plaques I finished up last night]

Hope you're having a great Tuesday afternoon. It's been a typical rainy afternoon here in Central Florida. Keeps our plants nice and green, but man does it make it humid!

So, I tend to believe that all things happen for a reason. Sometimes it just takes a while to realize those reasons.

Since discovering last Thursday that we had to have our brand new water heater replaced because a defective one had been installed, I've been trying to figure out the reason behind all these issues that kept me from moving in the studio over the weekend.

So, here's the best I've been able to come up with so far... I've actually been able to fire the kiln twice this week with work I've needed to finish up for awhile. One glaze load that had a couple custom orders in it, and I've got a glass firing going now with another batch of pendants. And I was able to ship those orders off today. I always have such a sense of accomplishment when I'm driving back home after a FedEx drop off. All of this would have been delayed for weeks had I started moving and unpacking. Now I'll be able to relish every minute of new studio organization instead of having other "To Dos" on my list.

Speaking of which, the plumber just arrived with the new water heater. Yay! Gotta go!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

My grandmother always told us, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." That's how I've been feeling this week. I'm so close to being able to move into the studio, but cant! We passed 2 of our 3 final inspections yesterday. And I thought I had made the necessary corrections today so that we could pass our final electrical inspection in the morning. But come to find out, they installed a faulty hot water heater and wont get a replacement in until Monday or Tuesday. So, no moving in this weekend. BUMMER!!

Hope your week has felt more productive than mine!


Sunday, July 6, 2008

My Favorite Painting Tip

So, do you hate washing out those paint rollers and trays as much as I do? Especially when you know you're going to be using them again the next day for the 2nd coat?!
Instead of using excess water to wash and re-wash, cover them with plastic and put them in the refrigerator! That's right! With the paint trays, make sure the plastic covers all the surface area and is tucked into the corners nice and tight. The plastic will roll right onto the roller. Then double bag the whole thing with old grocery bags and stick it in the refrigerator. You'll be ready to go the next day. Or even the day after that. Not sure how long you can keep this up. But I'm going on day 4 now of refilling the tray as needed and cooling it at night. (I don't recommend it with brushes though. Except for a quick lunch break or something.)
Wish I had a photo of the fireworks show our neighbors put on. Ben and I were able to watch it from the comfort of our den. Fantastic! They went off just above the studio. What a way to celebrate! Here's an interior shot of the trim - painted and ready for installation. We should have our final inspection on Wednesday. Fingers Crossed!

Hope you had a great 4th! Do anything exciting?


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Thoughts on Construction

And the painting begins! I've spent the last 2 days priming and painting the studio, and should be done with everything but the trim work by dinner tonight!

I found myself thinking a lot about our 6 month construction adventure while my brush and roller were adding color to the walls.

Do you think its true that if you want something done 'right', then you have to do it yourself?

This studio has been our baby. Seriously! While our friends email us pictures and videos of their newborns and toddlers, we're sending off shots of lumber and siding. There have been moments of frustration or exhaustion when I wish we would have just hired someone to just come in and get the job finished. But the few things we have sub-contracted, have turned out a bit below our standards.

Lets take the drywall for instance. The walls and ceilings looked fantastic! But they didn't take the time to mask outlets and fixtures or protect the floor when they sprayed the finish. So even after their "clean up" we were left vacuuming and scrubbing the floor for most of Sunday afternoon.

Live and learn. Next time (if there is a next time) there are definitely a few things we'll do differently. But overall, though building the studio ourselves has taken longer, we've saved a lot of money, we've been able to do things exactly as we want them, and its been a fantastic project for my husband and I to tackle together our first year of marriage!