Tuesday, 4 March 2014
If you follow me on instagram you will know that last week I accidentally bought a secondhand pottery wheel.
I was browsing on Ebay one day, looking up wheels and how much they cost when I found a Venco wheel like the ones I've been using at my ceramics classes. This one stood out because it was a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than all the others. It got me daydreaming about how nice it would be to have access to a wheel at home to practice on!
I watched that listing for a few days and when the price didn't go up I thought I would try to bid on it. There was a slight problem in that it was in Wollongong, but I thought I'd work that out if and when I bought it!
Well luckily at the last bid I missed out on that Wollongong wheel, it went for $225, still cheap but over my self imposed limit.
Suddenly fate stepped in, as the screen refreshed Ebay suggested another Venco wheel listing for me. This wheel and drying block had only been online for two hours, was in Sydney and had a buy it now price of $117.
So I accidentally bought a wheel.
Ceramics is a hands on skill that builds up from time on the wheel, making simple shapes over and over until your hands learn what to do. I love the idea that I can now work on it whenever I want, that I can practice things at my own pace. And if my love affair with clay dies out I can sell the wheel on to someone else.
A quick trip in the rain to the Pottery Supplies shop (candy store) and I had the basic tools to start. I came home and with my gang standing around asking questions and cheering me on threw some pots. My new wheel, which I found out was born in May 1981, works beautifully.
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
And here we are steaming through February! I was saying to someone the other day, it sort of feels like I've stepped on to a spinning merry go round this year. What about you? What with all the work to catch up on after our long slow holiday, the new terms, music and sports starting for the kids, and all those other distractions that go with the start of a year. Embarassingly on my last two visits to the library I have managed to leave my card behind. I blame my overloaded brain!
I've managed to squeeze in some creative pursuits though which help keep me sane. There's been quilt binding, a bit more cheesemaking, and I've also started another Ceramics course.
For quite a while I've wanted to have a go at making with clay, and the four week ceramics course I did before Christmas only strengthened that idea.
This year I'm at Pine Street Creative space in Chippendale for a nine week course. One night a week I jump on a bus and head in for some time on the pottery wheel. I find it really helps to clear the cobwebs. However tired or stressed I am, I end up thinking only about keeping that lump of clay on the wheel and how to turn it into something beautiful. Without fail I walk out calm and destressed. Making as mediation, it works for me!
It also helps that I know Mr F has a dinner and a glass of wine waiting when I get home at 9.30!
I've also been trying to do some morning yoga in place of my daily walk to school now the kids are leaving earlier to catch the bus. There are some great quick yoga workouts on youtube (oh how I love you youtube!) and I've been doing these ten minute Yoga Solution videos followed with Salute to the Sun every week day and some weekends (this is a good video if you want a refresher or don't know this great series of poses).
I've also been doing this crazy online meme called the plank challenge though I've modified it to suit me, there was no way I was going to progress to 2 minutes planking in 16 days! Currently I'm up to about a minute and as I get stronger I'm slowly increasing the time. I'm inclined to get lower back pain and core strengthening makes a big difference.
On Saturday night we had Miss A's long awaited sixteenth birthday party. If you haven't held a teenage party yet, its a little different from a toddler party, but not much, they just eat more and pickup is way later! Luckily the weather played nice as we'd set up the garden with lights and candles and balloons, couches, chairs and trugs of ice and drinks.
I remember being a bit worried the first time we held a party for bigger kids, but I shouldn't have been. A has the sweetest gang of girls and boys and it was just lovely, if exhausting, to have them all here. I like them and their parents a lot.
Luckily a great time was had by all, and a crowd of them stayed over and watched movies till late. A couple of brave parents dropped in for a chat, and apart from the food the kids were self sufficient. Hooray for no party games! I made waffles in the morning and Mr F cooked them bacon. Lucky things!
As you can see we set up the garden with couches and chairs and Mr F improvised a firepit with the salvaged inside drum of an old washing machine. Have you ever seen this done? We've been meaning to do it for ages as a friend of ours has one and it is the best thing.
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
We welcomed another baby to our extended family late last year. Precious little Sidney.
We've been dying to see him since he came, but sadly circumstances and distance have conspired against us!
Finally the other day his family were going to be camping an hour and a half's drive from us. By coincidence we were all going to be together with a free afternoon after the school presentation day on Friday, so we decided to take a roadtrip.
Little Sid rewarded us with beautiful baby smiles. Is there anything quite so precious as those infectious smiles a small baby gives so generously! Sid is as adorable as in his photos and twice as cuddly.
Around here another baby means another baby quilt. A new traditon I started for a new generation of babies. First came Poppy's quilt and then Penny's.
I was really pleased to finally pass on Sid's baby quilt. I like to think we are heading into quilt season now anyway!
I actually started this quilt top a while ago, playing around with all my different fabrics. I'm proud to say there are quite a few featured - 22 out of 35 squares in fact! There's my RickRack design in red and aqua, my marbles print in different colours and scales and my Bricks prints in large and small. Also here is my neglected but favourite Triangle Twist pattern which I keep meaning to print in different scales and colours.
I love how they look together! My bricks design has proven so popular since I introduced it and its always nice to sew with it myself.
As usual the binding put me off. I forget how easy it is and procrastinate until I'm forced to do it. I actually cheated and used self binding for the last two and if you don't know what that means check out my Baby Quilt tutorial. For this go round I found this video tutorial invaluable and used a 2.5 inch binding. I then followed this video for hand sewing it down.
Quilts aren't actually that difficult. Its just a fair bit of straight sewing and a bit of confidence! If you aren't a quilter (and I still don't consider myself a real quilter after four quilts!) and want to make a really simple gift like this check out my simple baby quilt tutorial. It has lots of photos and I've tried to include all the information a beginner would need to tackle a small quilt like this. And actually I always find the best way to learn is to start.
In a funny coincidence, on Friday just before I finally gifted this quilt to dear little Sid we had a call to tell us that another new baby is coming later this year! A lovely nudge to start planning the next quilt!