Friday, December 19, 2014

almost empty shelves

I haven't spent much time in the studio lately, except to pull orders for packing and shipping.  The past couple days my mood has matched the weather.. kinda gloomy.  So, early this morning I fired up the pellet stove in the studio and spent a few hours hand-building while watching Hallmark Christmas movies.   Doesn't that sound heavenly?  It was.

Hey, I see a berry bowl I forgot to list. Darn.  I also see a bottle of beer.  How did that get there?

For me, the rush is over.  My studio shelves are sparse and I'm so thankful for that.   

My inventory went fast this year.  I was tempted to put up some "made to order" listings, but I'm glad I stopped myself from doing that.  Pottery came into my life as a way for me to let go of stress, through creativity.   It's important that I keep it that way.

Tonight I'm going to wrap presents and enjoy some pumpkin pie with my Sweetheart.  Way too many goodies this time of year, eek!  I'm starting to look like Mrs. Claus.

Good for a smile :)
9 year old boys are so funny.  I told my grandson Reilly that I wanted to take his photo by the Christmas Tree.  This is how he chose to pose.  Ha!

Prayers for a wonderful weekend to all! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

When shipments go missing

Over the years I've had several parcels delayed during shipping.  One even took a detour to Puerto Rico before getting delivered to NY.  Some how, some way, they have always made it to their destination.

Right now I have 7 missing orders.  All USPS Priority that have been off the radar for over a week.  All were last scanned in the Reno, NV sort facility.   Total 14 pieces of pottery missing.  Mugs, yarn bowls, baking dishes and more.  I have been on the phone with the USPS for what seems like days.  I have opened cases on top of cases and a local post office investigation. 

I still have hope they will turn up.    I'm praying they will turn up soon.    I soooo don't want to tell customers that their order is lost in the mail.

Everyone shipping orders this season, remember to buy shipping insurance to cover the value of the order.

UPDATE - 12/6 - 5 of the 7 are back on the radar! 

UPDATE - 12/11 - 1 package is still missing.

UPDATE - 12/15 - Last package was delivered today after 19 days in transit.  One of the four mugs had a broken handle.  I'm going to file a claim for it.  I'll let you know if USPS will pay for it.

UPDATE - 12/20 - Received a check from USPS for the cost of the broken mug.   

Peace and Love Everyone

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Stopperless Salt Shakers

It's always fun to make something new.  This time it's stopperless salt shakers.  Mine turned out petite and if I do say so myself... they're adorable.
Rose Salt Shaker in Vintage Turquoise

Stopperless Salt Shaker

just give it a little shake and out falls a serving of salt.

A great conversation piece and super fun to use.  
Stopperless Salt Shaker 
in Turquiose and Lime

I'll be listing these shakers and more in my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop 

Stopperless Salt Shaker 
in Frozen Blue with Daisy

Stopperless Salt Shaker
in Vintage Pink

Monday, November 24, 2014

fun little surprize

Yesterday I was looking through my new December 2014 issue of Sunset Magazine.  There was an article on a beautiful Washington home.  The photo of the kitchen caught my eye because there was lovely open shelves for the dishes instead of cupboards,   I looked a little closer and noticed two pieces of my pottery sitting on the kitchen counter.   

Made me smile :-)

DirtKicker Pottery Sunflower Honey Pot
 and French Butter Keeper

Happy Clay Days!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Christmas Kiln is Cooling

Christmas making and glazing are finished.  Kiln is cooling. 

Even though it's time to get into selling mode, my thoughts are still filled with making pottery.  I'm getting excited for 2015.  What new designs will God inspire?  I plan to utilizing my spray booth a lot more.   It's fast and kind of exciting to spray glaze.  

Aurora Borealis Mugs

If you missed out on my Aurora Borealis Mugs, I'll begin listing more in my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop this week, along with lots of other great pieces!

Bisque load from a 10 cubic foot kiln.

I've decided to buy an additional kiln.   A bit smaller, 6 cubic foot L&L Easy Fire with quad elements.  When the new kiln arrives I'll blog about and what I took into consideration when selecting a new kiln.

Stay warm and happy clay days!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Kiln Vent Motor Replacement and Baking Oatmeal Cookies

L&L Kiln Sure-vent

4 years ago John installed a Sure-vent on my 10 cubic foot L&L Easy Fire Kiln.  It made a HUGE difference in my glaze results.  No more pinholing, brighter colors plus my elements have a longer life.    

Over the past year the vent motor had become very noise.  Last firing it sounded like I had a subwoofer hooked up to my kiln.   I also noticed that the last couple glaze kilns had several pieces with pin holes.    It turned out that the fan had zero air movement.   I ordered a new motor and John installed it.   I took a photo to show what 4 years of firing did to the motor.  

The kiln is firing bisque today with the new vent motor.  Its so quiet!!!!   I have no doubt that my glaze firing will be pinhole free.

While the kiln is firing, I'm making Everything Oatmeal cookies.    I had to show off my pretty new cookie sheet.  I love to bake this time of year.  It makes the house smell so good.

Everything Oatmeal Cookies 
ready to go in the oven

1.5 sticks of butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
3 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup Craisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup semi sweet choc chips

bake 350° 8-10 minutes

Excellent with Tea!  
BTW, this dough freezes well.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Using Produce Bags to Help Pottery Dry Evenly - Pottery Making Tip

Usually I throw pots the first half of the day, then afternoons I trim and decorate the pots I threw the day prior.    I stand while throwing, so breaking up the day is a healthy balance for me.      

The dry climate in Northern Nevada gives me a lot of control over how quickly I would like my pots to dry.    After throwing my pots I let them sit out until the rims firm up, then I put them in my DIY drying cabinet over night.

Aurora Mugs in process.
This will be my 4th Christmas making them.

The next morning I remove the pots from the bats.   I place them in produce bags rim side down with the bottoms up and open to the air.   The produce bags protect the rims from over drying while allowing the bottoms to quickly dry to leather hard for trimming.

When making mugs,  I trim, handle and decorate,  then place them all together under plastic.  I leave them under plastic over night and it helps equal out the moisture level of the body and handles.   An even moisture level helps prevent attachment cracks.

The following morning I place them upside down on a wire rack and loosely drape a sheet of plastic over the top.    By afternoon I remove the plastic and allow them to finish drying in the open air.

It may sound like a lot of steps, but it's well worth  it.

Happy clay days everyone!
Aurora Borealis Mug
by DirtKicker Pottery

2014 Aurora Mugs will be available for purchase Early December in my