Thursday, March 12, 2020

NYC - Day Two

We checked out of our hotel on Sunday morning and began our walk to Central Park where we had brunch reservations at Tavern On The Green.

We stopped for coffee on the way and we were right across from the Ed Sullivan Theater, home of the Late Show with Steven Colbert. I had to snap this photo for Jeff. He loves the Late Show. We tried to get tickets a couple of years ago, but evidently they are hard to acquire. 

Tavern On The Green was wonderfully fancy. The doorman was decked out in a top hat and tails. The food was great and we enjoyed a bottle of sparkling rose. 

This was my first visit to Central Park and I was amazed at how beautiful it was, even in the brown of winter. I would like to go back in late Spring or Summer.

It was a cold day, but the sun was shining and there were lots of people in the park.

We were on the train by about 3pm and back in New Haven, CT by 4:30 pm. Too tired to cook we ordered pizza from Frank Pepe's. Pepe's is a "must have" when in New Haven! It's coal fired pizza and their white clam is super yummy.

The trip was great and it's good to be home. Of course I did all of the things we are advised against doing during a pandemic... flew on a plane, rode the train to Grand Central Station, visited the biggest city in the USA, went to crowded restaurants and a theater. We did our best to not touch our faces and the usual hand washing, things I typically do anyway. I hope that everyone is being cautious and that all my family and friends remain healthy.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Be Warned... Vacation Pictures!

The week before last I took a little break and flew to Connecticut to visit my daughter. She lives in New Haven and from there we took the train into New York City for a mother/daughter weekend.

We had a blast! We stayed at the Paramount Hotel in the theater district. It was a tiny room with twin beds, but it was clean and affordable, by NYC standards. We were walking distance to everything we had planned for the weekend.

We decided on the trip to NYC because we wanted to see the off-broadway production of "Sideways". We are both big fans of the movie and were curious to see how it translated on stage.

The theater was small and intimate. Every seat was great and we enjoyed the show.

We ended the night with a bottle of wine at a sweet little French restaurant, Le Rivage. The bartender and waiters all spoke French and French music played quietly in the background. The dinner crowd was gone, and it was the perfect place to unwind after our long day.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Week In Review

What a week it has been! We unloaded the gas kiln, had a snow day, and I worked through a few more letters in my modern calligraphy course.

We had a really good firing. The copper reds looked great. I have a few ginkgo bowls that I am pleased with but I haven't gotten photos yet. I had two piggy banks in this firing that weren't orders. I posted them to my Etsy shop and they both sold within a few hours. I can't seem to get ahead of the banks. I like to have a few in the shop that are ready to ship. I shouldn't complain... I guess it's a good thing.
We actually had a couple inches of snow this week. It's mostly melted now, except for in a few shady areas. I will admit, it did make for a pretty day. I am just happy that here in North Carolina we can enjoy the pretty and then it's gone. In New Hampshire we had winters where we didn't see the bare ground for months. A few days after fresh snow, we had to live with brown, dirty snow banks all along the roads.

I am now at the half-way point of the minuscules portion of my calligraphy course. Today was the letter m. I now know enough letters to be able to write my name.

I feel like a proud 4 year old.

I have been itching to do some letters in color. I ordered a set of large brush pens. There is definitely a learning curve with these. The tips are very long and flexible. I need to go back to the beginning with these pens and practice the basis strokes.  I guess I can compare it to learning to throw pots with stoneware and then throwing porcelain for the first time. As with any new skill, practice, practice, practice.

Tombow does make some small harder tip colored pens. I may have to breakdown and buy a set of those too.

This could become an obsession.

Friday, February 14, 2020

We have spent the week glazing and will fire the gas kiln over the weekend. We are so behind in our schedule! Jeff had a sink that blew up in the bisque firing and it needed to be re-made before we could glaze fire. Luckily the sink mishap didn't break any other pots in the kiln. The sinks can be problematic to bisque. We typically preheat one day, turn the kiln off over night, then fire extremely slow the next...often not finishing until 2 or 3 am the day after that. Even then, they sometimes crack. Aside from the sink problem, the crazy weather last week also set us back.

I have started on the second segment of my modern calligraphy class. This session we are learning to put together minuscules (lower case letters) using the basic strokes learned last month. We learn and practice a new letter each day. When we get to the end of the alphabet we will start on the majuscule letters (uppercase). The following segments will focus on putting words together and stylizing words. If I am not mistaken, the whole course will take until June to complete!

Wishing everyone a happy Valentines Day. Make it special, even if it's just for YOU!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

How did it get to be February already?

Piggy bank orders have slowed down a little in the last few weeks, but I was happy to get an order for a large bull pig bank. I always have fun making these and while I was at it I made a smaller one too.
My back has been bothering me lately, mostly late in the day when making piggy banks. I have been thinking that my work table is a little too low. It's a standard height, long cafeteria table which isn't the same height as the bench I worked on when we were in the log cabin. Last week I decided to buy bed risers to give it an extra 3" in height.

I found a set on Amazon for $7.99. They are neon green and are supposed to glow in the dark! The black ones were a few dollars more, but for the studio I really didn't care about the color. I haven't been out at night yet to see if they really do glow. I like the new height but haven't yet determined if it will help my back. It's the left side that starts to ache and since I am left handed, I think it may also be an "overuse" issue. Time will tell.

I have enjoyed the warm weather we have been having. It's great to walk each day without a coat, hat, and gloves. The downside is that many of the trees are blooming early, which probably means we won't have that big splash of color when we get closer to real Spring.

I usually walk on the streets around town, but occasionally head to the local park. They have a walking track that gets rather boring. There is also a nature trail loop that includes a good hill. I like to do that at least once during my laps, for a better cardio workout and to increase endurance. When I first started I had to take a break half way up the hill. Now I can do it without stopping... YAY for progress!