Posted in Beads, Fiber, Pain, Photography

Making Some Changes and a Messenger Bag

We took a little vacation this past week. The original plan was to go up to Albuquerque, spend a day at Bosque del Apache wildlife preserve, a day in Albuquerque and a day in Santa Fe.

We drove up on Monday, and stopped at Bosque del Apache so I could do some bird and critter photography. Mostly bird. I learned a few things. It’s tough to get a decent bird in flight photo. A telephoto lens doesn’t do what I thought. I still had little birds in a big pond. I had to crop like crazy to get a half-decent shot. My telephoto doesn’t have image stabilization which makes it just about impossible to use without a tripod. And it’s just about impossible to use a tripod to photograph birds. Even on the ground, birds move fast.

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Sandhill cranes.

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I couldn’t resist an artsy shot. The water was dead still and the sun was in the perfect position to catch this reflection.

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No idea what kind of ducks these are.

I did see a bald eagle – the first I’ve ever seen in the wild. I took a shot that I knew would be crappy. I wasn’t about to leave with out a shot – even if I would be the only one who knew it was of an eagle.

Bald Eagle 1-8-18

Note the details on the eagle’s feathers. That’s okay – I can’t see it either.

Canada geese look different in the southwest. I’m used to the northeast version with much darker coloring.

Canada Geese 1-8-18

 

Cropped flight 1-8-18

My only decent cranes in flight shot – and it’s not that great.

I’m now researching zoom telephoto lenses. I want something with decent glass and image stabilization. At the moment, I’m looking at Tamron lenses. I’ve heard good things about those lenses.

We skipped Santa Fe. Driving in the old part of the city is a challenge. The streets are narrow and lots of one-way streets. Parking is expensive. The newer part of Santa Fe looks pretty much like Albuquerque.

I did get to go to a gem store and replenish my semi-precious gem supply. I saw a magnificent string of yellow opals full of fire and sparkle. Unfortunately, the string cost $1800 which is well outside my budget.

I had forgotten to pack the gabapentin, which sometimes helps with the neuropathy pain. All I had with me was the TENS unit and CBD oil – something that also sometimes helps. By Wednesday morning, I was in enough pain that we decided to head for home. A winter storm was blowing in and I can’t see spending money to sit in a hotel room and watch it snow. Few people in New Mexico know how to drive in snow. Being on the road with inexperienced winter drivers is to be avoided whenever possible. We got home ahead of the storm.

My A1C test shows I’m in the pre-diabetes range. I need to make some serious changes in my eating and exercising habits. I bought a glucose monitor kit and I’m now keeping a log of glucose results and food. I want to see which foods will cause glucose spikes and which won’t.

I made vegetarian chicken soup today. As I cut up the carrots, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I cut up the celery, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I added peas, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I added the corn, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. As I added the can of chopped tomatoes, I thought about how I need to eat more vegetables. At that point, there was no room left in the 4-quart slow cooker for the chicken, which went back into the freezer. Jim and I will be eating this soup all week.

I’m working on a messenger bag. I thought I had designed it to hold my iPad Pro. I’ve got the 12.9″ version. Now that I’m putting the bag together, I think I might have made a miscalculation and it will be a touch too small. Nothing to do but keep on going and finish it. I’m putting a zippered pocket on the flap, a zippered pocket on the back, an welt pocket on the inside, and two zippered pockets on the inside.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

If you’re looking for a gift, or want to give yourself something nice, please stop by my web store, Deb Thuman Art here. Thanks.

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Posted in Photography

And Sometimes, It All Goes Right Even If It Starts Out Wrong

I prefer to shoot when no one is around. I don’t want people asking me questions or getting in my way. I want to be able to get down on the ground to get a good shot if necessary. I don’ want to be tripping over people and I don’t want them tripping over me.

I wanted to get some shots of the the Christmas lights in Las Cruces, so I went downtown, and discovered half the town was there. There were vendors set up on the plaza although the only ones selling anything were the food vendors. I had to dodge children and adults. I was sure my shots weren’t much good. One, that I was going to delete, kept talking to me until I agreed to really look at it.

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Not wanting to go home without taking photographs I could play with, I started shooting with no firm idea of how I wanted to play with the shots.

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The original shot.

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Playing with an overlay.

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Playing with a lens flare.

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Overlay on a close up of what made up the lighted ornament in the first photo.

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Turning the above photo into a kaleidoscope.

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Some of the lighted decorations. The bear’s “skin” was the plastic stuff used to wrap items for shipping.

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Wood fired pizza made to order.

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City streets.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  Stop by and see what other artists have been doing this week.

I have new items in my store, Deb Thuman Art, here.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Clay, Judiasm, Photography

A Different Kind of Stress

Christmas looks a bit different when you’re Jewish. I don’t face Holiday Hell each December. Used to be, I’d drop into a deep depression starting the third week in November and lasting until New Year’s Day. Jim and I used to escape by planning to be a few states away from the family over Christmas. I knew there was a problem when I found myself eating a leftover sandwich in a hotel room, watching Christmas Story, and thinking it was a pretty good Christmas day.

That was before. Now, no family misery – fighting, screaming, crying and that was just what happened before desert. It got worse as the day ground on. There were Christmas cookies before, but I have no idea where they came from. They were home baked, but I’ve no idea when or how. I’ve never understood Christmas cookies. I asked a woman who thought cleaning the bathroom was exciting about Christmas cookies. She told me she started baking in October and froze cookies. Why would anyone do that?

Now, after finding out my family were Polish Jews cleverly disguised as German Lutherans and reverting to Judaism, (the rabbi called it conversion), I have no Holiday Hell in December. I do have a different type of stress. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I had one of my best days at the local Farmers & Craft Market. I had made little ceramic trays and the customers nearly cleaned me out. So I worked like crazy to have a new batch of little ceramic trays for this past Saturday. I had my best sales day ever and the customers nearly cleaned me out. I don’t have time to make another batch of little trays.

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Big little trays.

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Little little trays.

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Medium little trays.

Needing to fill the table, and reading about rice pillows on the Mildly Offensive Fiber Artists Facebook page, I decided to make rice pillows. I have some black rice that I discovered I didn’t care for so I’ll use that for rice pillows. Jim said the rice pillows would make nice gifts – and he wants to send the gifts out early this week. I dug through my stash and found fabric that I could cut out 12.5” squares. I folded the squares in half, sewed around two raw edges using a 3/8” seam allowance, folded right side out, folded over the top, not yet sewn edge so I’d have a nice edge. I drew a line down the middle of the pillow so I’d have two channels running the length of the pillow. I used an empty spool from a cone of thread for a funnel and filled the first pillow 2/3 full in each channel. Then, I sewed the neatly folded under edge closed. And I was out of black rice. I’ve got about 15 more squares to sew into rice pillows and another two already sewn and need to be filled. I’ll have to stop at Sam’s Club tomorrow to buy some cheap rice. I’ll sew bags in the morning, go to the gym, pick up the mail at the post office, then stop at Sam’s Club. I’ll come home, fill the rice pillows, and try to remember to make something for dinner. These rice pillows had better sell well when we set up on this coming Saturday.

I’m having bipolar misery. I let myself get working way too fast today. When that happens, I wind up and can’t wind down. Worse, I try to do more than one thing at a time and don’t do anything very well. Yes, I know, you don’t multi task well, either. Take your experience, multiply it by a factor of at least 10, and you have how I feel when I’m wound up and well medicated. Multiply your experience by a factor of 25, and you will have how I felt wound up and unmedicated. Mental illness isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a gift? Check out my website, Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in Photography, Pottery

Does This Come In Blue?

We went up to Santa Fe so I could do some street shooting. I try to take shots that don’t look as if I were on a tour and had 10 minutes to shoot the entire city. I also like to play around.

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Santa Fe as seen through the park benches.

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The Plaza in Santa Fe.

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This one is a Tourist Shot. Native American artists come to Santa Fe for the opportunity to sell their art at the Palace of the Governors. A bell is rung each morning, and lots are drawn to determine who can sell their art that day. All art must be made by the artist. I was astounded at the quality of the work. The jewelry I saw was so beautiful I wanted to give up beads because my work is so inferior to what I saw.

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This was a throw away shot. I decided to make a half-hearted attempt at photographing a pigeon. Considering how fast the pigeon was moving, I’m surprised at how well the shot came out. Moral: Always take the shot.

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Fall has lingered this year and there were still roses and hibiscus blooming.

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Fun with architecture.

I wanted something cute to wear to the Farmers & Craft Market. Something that shows me as an artist. I found this fabric in Albuquerque and wanted to take advantage of the print. So…I made a scrub top. I still have no idea where my ribbing is. Last time I used this pattern, I used a piece of spandex in place of the ribbing. It worked, but was a bugger and a half to sew on. Spandex doesn’t stretch as much as ribbing. This time, I added 3” to the sleeves and put in a button hole and a button. I didn’t measure, and I left the cuffs too lose. I’ll need to move the buttons a bit.

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I had my best day ever at the Farmers & Craft Market on Saturday morning. The good news: I sold a lot of pots. The bad news: I now need to make a lot of pots to replace the ones I sold. But I have class and I’m modeling on Tuesday and Thursday. There’s no way I can get my pieces made, bisque fired, glazed and glaze fired in time for them to be cool enough to unload well before dawn on Saturday. I’ll have to take what I’ve got on Saturday and take the new pieces I’ll be making the following Saturday. Such problems!

I got to hear the famous question on Saturday. A lady picked up a small bowl glazed in blue, green and pink celedons. “Do you have this in blue?” No. She wants it in blue and with a lid. Yes, I can do that, but if I need to make a lid, I have to price the pot higher. I’m not going to worry about it.

I sold a pair of earrings from my store, DebThumanArt.com. The nice part is someone I don’t know bought the earrings. I appreciate the support of my friends and I’m glad I’m being found by people I don’t know.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Please check her blog and see what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a gift? You can find my store here.

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Posted in Baking, bipolar disorder, Clay, Photography, Pottery

Pretzels & Pinch Pots

Rolling out dough for a big, soft pretzel is a cross between rolling out a coil and pulling a handle. I’ve got a sourdough recipe for English muffins. I can’t fit more than 8 English muffins on a pan, so I’m making 8 English muffins and 8 big, soft pretzels. I had ordered some pretzel salt from King Arthur Flour Bakers Store and I’ve been wanting to give it a test bake. Rather than cook the English muffins on a griddle, I’m baking them in the oven. I have English muffin rings (King Arthur Flour Bakers Store). I put parchment paper on one cookie sheet, grease the rings, put a glob of dough in each ring, cover with parchment paper, and put another cookie sheet on top of the raw English muffins. As the muffins rise and later bake, the muffins are confined to their rings and end up the size and shape of commercial English muffins.  I put parchment paper on top of that cookie sheet, and made dough ropes to form into pretzels. There are pretzel makers who can flip the dough into a pretzel. I’m not one of them. English muffins and pretzels are rising at the moment.

I’ve been working on little pinch pots to be used as glaze experiments. I put the bottom glaze on the inside and part of the outside of the pinch pot. Then I put the top glaze only inside the pinch pot. No runaway glaze disasters if the two glazes are only on the inside. I was aiming at a Wednesday glaze firing, but that’s not going to happen. I have no energy today and I’ve got a half dozen mugs, a plate, a rattle, and two large planters to glaze before I can fire.

I’ve had an energy problem the last few days. In some ways, it feels like before I was diagnosed with hypothyroid. In other ways, it’s just weird. Normal manic events have a culinary nature. I have an incredible urge to cook and I’m buying things for making whole grain baked goods. Normal manic events come with too much energy. I have to be careful not to get too wound up or I won’t be able to wind down. This time, I hardly have enough energy to walk across the room. I think this is a mixed episode. Whoopee.

In an effort to become healthier, I’ve been pushing exercise on myself. Last night, I was about to get on the elliptical machine when I looked out the sliding glass door.

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So I took time to do some photography. I’ve been trying to get the sky and the ground to look in a digital image how it looks to my eyes. I’m still working on that.

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Yes, I did get on the elliptical machine after taking 54 photos.

Thursday, I stopped into JoAnn’s. I have my writing class on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I have no intention of paying for a parking pass for one class. I park in the strip mall parking lot nearby. JoAnn’s is in that strip mall. I was armed with sales fliers and coupons. My original intent was to fondle the JoAnn’s version of a fabric called Minky. I need a longer kimono (the one I have is knee length). I thought Minky would be a good choice. I never found the Minky. What I found was this.

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The bolt on the shelf didn’t have the 5 yards I needed. Fortunately, there were two full bolts up on a high shelf. I told the clerk to give me 6 yards. Then there was one yard left on the bolt and I got it for half price. The fabric, a cotton knit, was on sale and I had a 25% off coupon. It will be a kimono and a jacket when it grows up.

Then I found a fake fur that I think will be a nice purse. I bought a yard and it, too was on sale.

That’s about all I have energy for right now. Can’t wait for this episode to be over. I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a gift? My online store, Deb Thuman Art, is here.

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Clay, Cognitive problems, Photography

Pain Sucks

I saw the neurologist on Thursday and demanded to know what caused the neuropathy, the extent of the damage and how this can be reversed. I’m having a nerve conduction series next month. I was in pain from 3:00 AM on Saturday until Tuesday afternoon. Then I had a reprieve until about 2:00 AM today. The pain was bad enough that if I could have been sure I wouldn’t have gotten caught, I’d have bought something on the street. You might think that after 23 years as a criminal defense attorney I’d know where to buy street drugs. Nope. I haven’t a clue. Probably just as well….I couldn’t stand to hear the cop laugh when I got arrested. Plus a felony conviction gets me disbarred from all my law licenses. 

The problem with neuropathy is that there’s nothing causing the pain. The pain doesn’t even exist. What feels like horrible pain is damaged nerves sending a scrambled signal to the brain.

It takes an hour and a half for the gabapentin to take effect, so I went outside and did some night photography. We’re at about 4000′ elevation here and when we have a full moon like last night, it’s BRIGHT. Everything had sharp shadows. So I played around with ISO and exposure length.

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I got maybe four hours sleep last night; I’m exhausted, and I can’t fall sleep.

Every time I think I’m done with withdrawal, I find out I’m wrong. I stopped taking Wellbutrin completely last week Friday. I was bouncing off the ceiling during my class on Thursday. It was embarrassing. I thought I was okay, provided I didn’t have to be around people, until yesterday. I experienced severe anxiety. I tried art. I spent a couple hours in the mud making another large planter. I listened to my relaxation music. That helped, but not enough. I finally broke down and took a klonopin. For some reason, I feel like a failure when I need to take meds. Silly, I know. I still feel like a failure. I’m making progress, the feelings of failure used to be a whole lot worse.

Meanwhile, I’m having difficulty spelling. I know how the words are spelled, I type 72 words per minute, but I can’t get the words typed correctly. I’ve no idea how to solve this problem. I think I’m just going to wait until the withdrawal is finished and my brain learns how to work without Wellbutrin.

I’ve been experimenting with earrings.

Yellow:green leaf earrings 10-7-17Rootbeer earrings 10-7-17Purple & crystal earringsMulti purple earrings 10-7-17Irridescent purple earrings 10-7-17Greens earrings 10-7-17Clear & crystal earrings 10-7-17Black earrings 10-7-17

This is the necklace I made to go with my amethyst earrings.

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These are necklaces I’ll be selling. I was going to set up at the Farmers Market this morning, but that’s not something I can do on four hours sleep. Next week, God willing! 

Green leaf necklace 10-7-17Green fan necklace 10-7-17Green circlie necklace 10-7-17

Monday, I get the prep work done for the crown to fix the tooth that broke in half lengthwise. I’ll be glad to be able to eat food that isn’t either liquid or really soft. I’m so looking forward to eating crunchy food again.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing.

Looking for a gift for someone special or for yourself (you’re pretty special, too)? My web store is here.

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Jewelry, Photography

Mental Illness Is Not For The Feint of Heart

I was going to correct the spelling error in the headline, but I kind of like it. It matches how I feel. I am going through withdrawal. Wellbutrin stopped working and started causing me to have hallucinations. Because the hallucinations were not interesting and were annoying, I decided to go off Wellbutrin. I went down to ½ my usual dose. This worked great for a few days. On Monday, I felt as if I were trying to climb out of my skin. I downloaded anti-anxiety music which did help. By Tuesday, the climb out of my skin feeling was gone.

I had a couple good days, then on Friday, I was walking into walls. I thought it was positional vertigo, so I did my ear exercises. Eventually, I looked up the symptoms of withdrawal from Wellbutrin. Nausea – which had developed by then, and dizziness. Saturday, I was better.

Today, I did fine until I fell onto the counter that holds the bathroom sink. Landed on the corner of the counter. I’d have been fine if the room hadn’t moved. Now, the nausea is back.

This is what life on psych meds is like. First, I feel bad enough that I know I have to go back down the rabbit hole and have tea with the Mad Hatter. Then I have to go through med adjustment which lasts 2-3 months. During this time, I walk into walls and I get to feel my brain change a little each day. Then, for a period of time, the med works properly and life is great. Then the med stops working and starts causing enough problems that the problems are worse than withdrawal. Withdrawal lasts 4-12 weeks. I’m in Week 2. I get to repeat this process for the rest of my life. It’s not easy being mentally ill. I’ve had clients bitch they don’t want to go off methadone or stop using heroin because they’d go through withdrawal. If withdrawal from psych meds were like withdrawal from heroin – puke and poop for three days – I’d be thrilled.

Meanwhile, I popped a crown off on Tuesday while simultaneously breaking another tooth in half lengthwise. My dentist was on vacation last week, and the earliest appointment I could get was for this coming Thursday. I’m on a liquid diet and wishing I could eat something that required chewing. So far, I’ve lost 3 pounds – all of which will return when I can once again eat solid food. With a liquid diet, liquid in means liquid out. The last time I had to pee so often, I was on lithium. Lithium is processed through the kidneys and I had to drink lots and lots and lots of water each day.

I’ve been working on earrings, but I haven’t gotten them photographed. I finally managed to do a decent job with a brick stitch and made dangly earrings with long fringe. At the moment, I’m learning Russian Leaf earrings. I ordered beads from Lima Beads and my order arrived on Friday. I put together some earrings – which also aren’t photographed. I bought a number of pendants and now have to make necklaces. I can’t find my crimp bead covers. I’ll have to order some of those.

I have been doing some photography. Considering the dizziness, I’m amazed that I can hold the camera still.Moon smile 9-17-17

I’ve been wanting to take a smily moon photo for a while now. I finally got the chance a few mornings ago. I had the camera on the tripod when I took this shot.

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The neuropathy acted up last night and it takes an hour and a half for the gabapentin to kick in. Nothing to do but grab the camera, pop it on the tripod, aim at the sky and play around.

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Sunset a couple nights ago facing east. The western view wasn’t that exciting.

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Tonight’s sunset facing west. I am really liking that graduated neutral density filter. The filter darkens the sky so I don’t have blown out sky when I’m taking landscape shots.

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When I was taking shots of the nasturtiums, I was intrigued by the bright white lines in the leaves. So I took a leaf shot. I’m not sure if that was an art moment or a withdrawal moment. I’ll be fine in a couple months.

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I like taking the shots other people ignore. So here are a couple darned near dead zinnia shots.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists are doing.

Looking for a gift? Check out my web store here at DebThumanArt.com.

Posted in Emotions, Photography, Pottery, PTSD

Pottery & Pondering

On Sunday, I re-fired the pieces that didn’t fire well the first time and fired freshly glazed pieces. I’m almost satisfied with the plates.

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I like what happened with the glaze experiments on the rattling rocks.

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I gotta stop making boob soap dishes.

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Jim did a bit of glaze experimenting and I’ve no idea what he did.

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I decided to sew up a pair of shorts I had cut out a few weeks ago. When I went to attach the waist band, I realized I had neglected to cut a piece out. So I cut another piece. Still not enough waistband. I’ll give it another try later.

I’ve been working on an exercise that is supposed to allow for emotional and physical healing. I write about the crap that happened when I was a kid and the crap that happened when I was working for the Public Defender Department. This is triggering flashbacks and leaving me wanting to curl up into a ball and never again emerge. The theory behind this exercise is that I’ve buried the feelings, the feelings need to emerge, and then I can move on. I’m reading Childhood Disrupted –  I got the title wrong last week – and that’s from where the exercise comes. Sometimes, when I look back on all the years I’ve struggled with this crap, all the wasted time in my life infuriates me. What could I have become if I had decent parents?

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.

You can find my web page, Deb Thuman Art, here.

Posted in Fiber, Photography, Pottery, PTSD

Fiber, Clay and Ruminations

I’ve been working on different things this week. I am reading “Childhood Interrupted.” It’s about adverse childhood experiences, how they alter one’s brain and express themselves years later in physical ailments, and how to heal. I grew up in an insane asylum run by a violent narcissist and a violent drunk. As you might imagine, I had a lovely childhood. I wonder if the peripheral neuropathy and the hypothyroid are yet another gift from my mother and her husband. I’m slowly working my way through the section on healing. One exercise is to write about the adverse experiences. I’m doing that. No one is ever going to see these writings. The process is causing flashbacks.My psychologist told me that the nightmares and flashbacks are finite and would eventually stop. I haven’t had a nightmare in several years, but the flashbacks still happen. It’s been 45 years since I lived with the narcissist and the drunk. How long does it take for the flashbacks to stop?

Most kids only have one or two crappy parents. I get to have three. My father, near as I can tell is still alive. Near as I can tell, he still lives in Houston. I saw him once in 1988. Then he walked out on me a second time. For most kids, the absent parent only walks out once. My father walked out twice. How did I ever manage to be so lucky? I’ve been watching the news to learn the names of those who died in the storm. So far, my father’s name hasn’t been listed. I’m amazed that I’m having difficulty dealing with the uncertainty and the notion of his death. He doesn’t mean much to me alive, but I’m still bothered by the though of him dead. I wonder how long it takes to get over an absent parent who walks out twice. I’m angry because he’s a selfish prick who thinks of himself and refused to even remotely think about me. Hey! I’m your kid, you asshole! When I did see him, I asked him why he left. He had no answer to give me. I was looking for a rational reason. No. It’s not rational. It’s just selfish and self-centered. Yes, evil people become parents. It happens all the time. There will never be a rational explanation.

A few years back, I started working on Bedside Boxes, ceramic boxes designed to hold things you don’t want to leave out in the open but don’t want to have to hunt for when you want to use them. I still like the idea, but it’s expensive to ship ceramics. I have been making Toy Bags. This is storage for toys you don’t want the kids to find but don’t want to have to hunt for when you want to play with them. There’s a place for the toy as well as a place for the charging cable

On my first attempt, I used something akin to Peltex for interfacing. That was way too stiff. My latest attempt utilized quilt batting. That worked out much better. I was going to have the side seams on the inside of the bag, but that would have made the flap look odd. Instead, I used fancy thread, fancy stitches and sewed the side seams on the right side. I put a row of hearts along the flap. How to close this? A button and button hole would work, but would that leave enough space for the toy? I decided on a button and a ribbon. The ribbon wraps around the button to hold the flap closed. This allows the Toy Bag to expand a bit to accommodate a toy. The bag is about 12″ wide and about 4″ tall.

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Once I figure out a price and take better photos, I’ll be listing this in my store here.

I did a glaze firing on Friday and managed to misread the cones. I am now doing a glaze firing with some of the under cooked pieces from Friday and some pieces I had glazed that didn’t go in the Friday load. I won’t know what this load looks like until Monday evening. Here are a few of the pieces that weren’t absurdly undercooked. I sort of like them.

Weeping Plum Plate 9-3-17

I took some desert plates and used them as a slump mold. I took some of the crocheted pieces I did over the winter and used them for texture. I’m not all that happy with the glazing.Lavender Plate 9-3-17This one is an experiment. I used a cobalt wash under a lavender celadon. I’m sort of happy with the cobalt wash, but I’m not happy with the glazing. I wonder if I  got so many streaks because the load was under cooked. I’m using ^6 clay and glazes and when I looked at the cone packs, only ^5 was moving but not down yet. Soap Dish 2 9-3-17Soap Dish 1 9-3-17

I’ve been working on soap dishes and experimenting with the animal cutters I got a couple months back. I also used crocheted pieces and texture tools Jim had made me. Yes, I do realize the purple one looks like breasts. If I use that tool again on a soap dish, I’ll have to make three impressions. Rattling Rocks 9-3-17

Rattling rocks. They are hollow and when you shake them, they make a rattling sound. I use them for glaze experiments.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what other artists have been doing this week. You can find my web store at http://www.DebThumanArt.com, or click here.

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Posted in Bigotry, Photography

Speaking of Many Things

If you’ve flown over the Gulf of Mexico along the US coast between Florida and Texas and looked down, you saw thousands of off shore oil rigs. Let’s think about this for a minute. Hurricanes are fairly common in this area. Remember the BP disaster? The oil well that wasn’t supposed to barf oil into the ocean for days? The oil well that had safety measures and took a few days to cap off because the normal ways to cap off the well didn’t work? Remember that? Multiply that by a few thousand and add a Category 4 hurricane. Suddenly the Exxon Valdez starts to look like the queen of environmental safety.

Why isn’t the military helping to evacuate people along the Texas coast? We’re paying soldiers whether they work, rescue, or sit in a chair. And we don’t have to pay them overtime. We paid for all sorts of fancy cargo planes. Wouldn’t these cargo planes have been a good way to evacuate hospitals and prisons? What, you think prisoners can just leave and go for shelter in a safe place? Don’t be silly. We are judged by the way we treat the least respected among us. If we treat prisoners inhumanely, we’re barbarians.

A hurricane shelter in I forget what city in Texas is supposed to be hurricane proof. So was the levee around New Orleans. Until it broke in more than 50 places.

A friend works disaster areas doing body retrieval and identification after the disaster has passed. She said many people in New Orleans who died were found in attics. They kept going up higher, and then were trapped in the attic where they drown.

Residents of one Texas city were asked to write their names and social security numbers on their arms. That’s actually incredibly good advice. It’s tough to identify a body that’s been submerged, then baked in the sun until found a week later. Writing your name and social security number, using a waterproof marker, makes it much easier to identify your body. A tattoo is even better.

The sex-offender-in-chief pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff in Arizona. I didn’t think the sex-offender-in-chief could do worse than his disgusting remarks about the violence in Virginia caused by white supremacists, KKK, and Neo-Nazis. I was wrong.

I wanted photos of the eclipse, but didn’t want to spend $80 for a special filter. Looking at the sun damages your eyes and your camera pointed at the sun damages the sensor. One woman on the Digital Photography School Facebook page paid $177 for a top-of-the-line filter and still damaged the sensor in her Nikon.

I like Jimmy Breslin’s theory of journalism – look at where all the reporters are, and go in the other direction looking for a story. Everyone has shots of the eclipse. I have something different. I wanted to test out my new graduated neutral density filter. I set the Canon up on a tripod, focused on the mountains behind my house, adjusted the filter, and took photos about every 10 minutes from an hour before total eclipse to an hour after. Where I am, the eclipse was maybe ¾ rather than total. I had forgotten how unnatural the world looks when the moon passes in front of the sun. The shadows in the photos appear odd.

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The beginning of the eclipse. Darkest of Eclipse 8-21-17

The darkest it got. Roosters crowed. Shadows looked weird. The darkness looked unnatural.

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One hour after the peak of the eclipse.

While I had set the ISO at 100 and the aperture at f/11, I neglected to set the shutter speed. Because the camera automatically used a shutter speed that compensated for the darkness, my photos aren’t dramatic. They are different from the other eclipse photos, though.

The Digital Photography Photo Event organized for today is to take a photo of your street and post it on the page. It’s hard to have a glorious street shot when you live on a boring street and need to keep every identifying feature out of the photo. Several years back, someone tried to burn my house down. I’ve been stalked. You want an exciting life? Be a criminal defense attorney. I took some shots this morning, but I’m not sure if I’m happy with them. They’re all right, but they aren’t magnificent.

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My Street 8-26-17

I did not hold the camera crooked. Look at the bottom of the sign post. The sign post was hammered into the ground at an angle.

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The original photograph. Rocks can be fun to play with in editing.

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The same photo played with in editing.

I’m having a problem getting motivated to work in clay. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe I shouldn’t be worried about it. Maybe I should bury myself in the media that hold my attention now. Beads. Sewing. Writing. Photography.

Tuesday was my birthday. To celebrate, I bought sliced roast beef, horseradish, made kummelweck rolls and had beef on weck. It’s a Buffalo, NY delicacy and I miss it. The horseradish was fairly decent but not the pungent, clear out your head horseradish I’m used to. It was old fart day at the grocery store, and I told the clerk I am an old fart. She asked for photo ID. I told her it was my 65th birthday and asked if she wanted to see my Medicare card. She declined. Who lies about being older than 60?

I’m linking with Nina Marie. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing here.

Looking for a gift? Check out my store here.

Posted in Beads, Bigotry, Clay, Fiber, Photography

I Think I Found A Good Antidepressant.

And it doesn’t cause suicidal ideation. No prescription required. Maybe shopping therapy really exists. I’ve been depressed, angry and anxious since last weekend. My birthday is next week, and I got a 25% off whatever I buy that’s not on sale coupon from a local sewing machine/quilt shop. I also had 3 60% off coupons and 2 40% off coupons for JoAnn’s. I needed some jewelry findings, so I went to JoAnn’s. I must have counted my coupons wrong, because I was a coupon short. The lady in line behind me had a 60% off coupon she couldn’t use, so she gave it to me.

After that, I went to the sewing machine/quilt store. I had intended to buy fat quarters, but there weren’t any. Almost not any. If I wanted to let someone else pick out my fabric, I could buy a bundle of 20 fat quarters all folded like stars. I decided to buy half yards of assorted batiks. I have a sewing room full of medium value fabrics so I focused on light and dark. I picked out 16 batiks. What amounted to 32 fat quarters cost less than the 20 pre-selected fat quarters. I’m happy. In fact, I’m no longer depressed, and I have no idea what I’m going to make from these half yards, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

My writing class started yesterday and I was a bit anxious about going on campus. New Mexico State University has a large student body, quite a few international students – many from Arab nations, and a number of women who wear what I call traditional Muslim dress. I don’t the correct names for the garments. I will not let haters force me to hide so I wore my Star of David earrings and a necklace that has my name spelled out in Hebrew. Nothing of note occurred.

I’ve been working on learning brick stitch because I want to make earrings with dangly fringe.

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At the moment, I’m playing around trying to get good at brick stitch. Design will come later.

Yellow Mexican bird of paradise bushes grow like dandelions. They bloom like dandelions, too. The red variety is finicky. Just getting it to grow is an accomplishment. Rarely does the bush ever flower freely. We’ve had enough rain lately to cause the red variety to bloom.

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Red BOP 7 8-16-17\Red BOP 6 8-16-17\Red BOP 1 8-16-17

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R BOP 2 8-17-17

A reader had asked that I post photos of the house when it’s painted. I can’t do that. I take great care to keep my address a secret. My driver’s license lists my post office box. I am required to keep an address on file with the New Mexico Bar Association, the New York Bar Association, Federal District Court and the Supreme Court of the United States. The only address on file is my post office box. Many years ago, before I started keeping my address a secret, someone tried to burn down my house. It wasn’t difficult to figure out who did it and why. It was because of something that had happened in court a few days earlier. Since then, I’ve been diligent about not letting people know where I live. I won’t post a photo of my house, but I will show you the colors I chose.

Color corrected house color 8-17-17

Jim is almost finished painting the house. Next will be painting the front door red-violet. Then the blue-violet on the garage doors.

The semi-precious gems I ordered arrived, and I started making earrings. Most of these are in my store here.

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I did a bisque firing on Wednesday. It took me 8 hours, but at least I didn’t have any destroyed pieces. Next: spend lots of time glazing and do a glaze firing. While I was doing the bisque firing, I worked on bowls using a slump mold. I’ve got three sizes and I’ll be glazing them glossy black. I used a clay that doesn’t thrill me because it fires brown and all of the glazes are dull and uninteresting on brown clay.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  See what some other great artists are working on.

Posted in Bigotry, bipolar disorder, Photography

Skinheads, Photographers & Bipolar Disorder

Jim and I went hiking on Friday. He was on vacation last week and he used his time off to paint the house. The leaks around the windows were caused by the paint failing and water seeping into the stucco. So, the house is getting painted. The white is now a soft green. The trim is going to be peach. The front door, which faces south, will be red-violet. The garage doors which face east will be blue-violet. Any paint with red in it will fade in direct sun. I’m hoping that the blue in the blue-violet will outweigh the red and the doors will stay purple longer. The garage doors get hit for a half a day all year. The front door is under a roof and never gets direct sun.

Back to hiking. We went up on the Organ Mountains. The last time I set up at the Farmers Market, a lady asked if I had any photos of the Organ Mountains. Um, no. I needed to remedy that. The traditional, and over done, view of the Organ Mountains is the view one sees from downtown Las Cruces. The mountains were named Organ because they look like organ pipes lined up. We were on a different side of the mountains and I got photos of a part of the mountain most people don’t see.

Dripping Springs 18 8-11-17 use this one

Dripping Springs 17 8-11-17 use this one

I tried getting a decent shot of a few hummingbirds, but I wasn’t successful. I have a collection of Where’s Waldo shots.

Dripping Springs 20 8-11-17

Dripping Springs 19 8-11-17

I had the 18-55mm lens on the Canon and I really needed the 75-300mm which was home. I can’t do decent close shots with the 75-300mm and I can’t shoot birds with the 10-55mm. I don’t take both lenses because I don’t want to change lenses when I’m outside. This is a desert even though everything looks green. Dust, sand, pollen, and any other crud that’s blowing around damages the sensor.

This morning, I got into a posting match with someone on Facebook. The thread was about people who just have to come up to you when you’re shooting and start talking to you. Personally, I dislike that. Actually, I detest it. Art is a way for me to return to center when I’m either depressed or manic, a way for me to heal emotionally, and a way for me to heal physically. When people come up to me and start asking questions, I want to ask them if they would appreciate it if I came up to them when they were working and demanded they stop what they are doing and talk to me. Whereupon a troll emerged. I’ll skip the truly nasty stuff although it was amusing when he told me to stop responding to him. I tried hard to point out that if I could control my moods, I wouldn’t be on psych meds. I kept telling myself to stop responding to this person because I’m never going to convince a troll of anything. Part of my brain wanted to keep posting because I had an opportunity to tell people who don’t know much about bipolar disorder what kind of struggle it is at times to get back to center.

Why not just tell people I don’t care to talk to them right then because I’m working? Because it’s not that simple. “Leave me alone. I feel like jumping off a cliff,” is not something I’m ever going to say although it is something I do feel on occasion. Such a comment would precipitate a call to 911 and the situation would deteriorate. If I think you’re trying to take me to a hospital, I’m going to try to kill you. That’s not an overstatement. Have you ever been in a locked ward? You lose all control. Someone else decides what meds you will take, and you will take those meds or you aren’t getting out of the hospital. Telling the glorious doctor the meds aren’t working doesn’t work. I’m the crazy person so what do I know about what I need? Under no circumstances will I let you take me to a hospital.

The manic version would be worse. “Look you fucking idiot, I’m working so leave me the fuck alone.” That’s particularly pithy if the person at whom I’m snarling is accompanied by a three-year-old.

I wouldn’t bother any photographer. The one time the situation came up, we were in the Everglades at the edge of a pond looking at water birds. I asked the photographer – who got there first – if I would be in his way if I stood where I was standing. He said no. That was the entire conversation. I don’t know why he was there and it’s none of my business. All I know is his equipment cost more than mine and that he knew the Latin name for the ducks we were looking at. I made a comment to Jim about the coloring of the ducks – it really was spectacular coloring. That’s when the photographer told me what kind of ducks they were.

So, if you see me and the Canon trekking about, wait until I’m done shooting to talk to me. We’ll both be a whole lot happier.

I’m deeply disturbed and frightened by the national news. Skinheads marching because a statue of Robert E. Lee was to be taken down. Counter demonstrators. Things got ugly, the police intervened and the governor called out the National Guard. Later, a bigot drove a car into a group of counter demonstrators killing at least one and injuring at least 19 others. There’s a photo in the New York Times of the car plowing through the crowd. The photographer was behind the vehicle and there’s a nice shot of the license plate. There’s also a shot, not so nice but very well done, of a black man flying off the back of the car after the car had run into him. A white man is upside down in mid air after he had been struck. The photo and article are here.

These are equal opportunity skinheads. They don’t just hate blacks, they hate Jews as well and probably a slew of other groups of people. That’s scary. That’s infuriating. That’s wrong.

Being upset, angry, and scared, I turned to art. I started making beaded Stars of David. Once I get the technique worked out, I’ll be putting Star of David jewelry in my store,  DebThumanArt.com.

Star of David 2 8-1-17Star of David 1 8-13-17

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing this week.

Posted in Beads, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

Jewelry Photos Are Tough

I wonder if my new glasses are affecting my ability to focus the camera. I needed new lenses because my prescription had changed. My glasses finally came in and I’m working on getting used to them. I’ve worn bifocals for 23 years and I’ve always had a line in mine. I don’t want the progressive lenses because I know way too many people who have them and don’t like them. Anyway, every time I get new frames, the line in my lenses is in a different spot. It’s a tiny difference, but it takes my eyes a couple days to get used to where the line is.

I have spent the last couple days photographing jewelry and I’m not happy with the results. I have beads out of focus in nearly every photo. I’m going to have to reshoot – for the second time – the earrings and this time try having more space between the camera and the earrings.

Here are some of the earrings I’ll be putting in my store, DebThumanArt.com, over the next day or two. Yes, I know these photos aren’t the best. That’s why I have to reshoot almost everything. Thank God for digital! I’d be spending a fortune on film and developing otherwise.

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I tried putting together a necklace from a pattern I found. I must have ripped it out a good half dozen times. Now, I hate what I made. It will not lie flat.

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I’ve been hiking. It’s a getting healthy thing. I need to lose weight. I need to increase my endurance. I’m hoping the weight loss will help with the neuropathy. I’m not sure why it should, but that’s what I’m hoping.

Jim and I went hiking on Thursday. Remember how Jim hated my Canon DSLR and only wanted to use the Nikon point and shoot? He refused to learn how to use my camera. So there we were walking up the mountain when Jim appropriated my camera and refused to give it back. I did get a couple shots.

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Every time I reach this spot, it looks to me as if the trees were marching up the mountain.

There are several abandoned buildings along the path to Dripping Springs. I’d love to be able to go inside this building, but it’s roped off. The Bureau of Land Management maintains this part of the Organ Mountains. No going off the path – it’s a fragile ecosystem. No playing in the abandoned buildings. No picking the flowers.

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Notice the cactus growing out of the top of the wall in the background.

We did get to where the water was flowing. It’s called Dripping Springs, but this wasn’t dripping. Too much water and way too noisy for dripping. This may not look like much of a waterfall, but for the desert, that’s a huge amount of water.

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And we made it to the end of the trail.

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We set up at the Farmers & Craft Market on Saturday. Finally, we had a Saturday without rain. I’m selling my art each time we set up, but I’m not making a whole lot of money. I’ll keep at it, though.

Jim is painting the house. We discovered the windows leaked because the stucco paint had failed. New sealer and new paint solved the window problem. The house is a soft, almost mint green. It’s going to have peach trim, a marine green/blue metal roof and a purple door. I haven’t figured out what color to paint the garage doors.

I’ve been taking photographs of the zinnias, cactus and nasturtiums that are blooming.

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Nasturtium 3 8-6-17

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Cosmo 8-2-17

Cactus 3 8-2-17

Cactus 2 8-2-17

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing this week.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Clay, Garden, Jewelry, Photography

An Interesting Brain Is Not A Boring Brain

Life is never dull when you’re bipolar. Sometimes, my moods are a reflection of what’s going on in my life, only instead of moods, I have MOODS. Sometimes, my moods have nothing to do with my life. A couple days ago, I was the most depressed I’d been in a long time. Not suicidal, but severely depressed. Jim asked if I had a pill for depression. Who, me? I got all sorts of psych meds. I took one of my emergency psych meds. Twenty minutes later, I was back at center and I’ve stayed there. Sometimes, I feel like a hockey puck after a slap shot. Sometimes, I wish I weren’t bipolar. Most of the time, I try to make something good of it. Like telling people what a bipolar brain feels like. The more we talk about mental illness, the less mental illness will be stigmatized.

Jim and I got senior passes that allow us to get into National Parks, National Monuments, and Bureau of Land Management areas for free. The pass is available to any US citizen or legal permanent resident 62 or older. Now, it costs $10. On August 28, the price will rise to $80. The passes are good for life.

I took my camera and went to Dripping Springs – a BLM area in the Organ Mountains. Having a senior pass, I didn’t have to pay the $5 entry fee. I wanted to get to both the abandoned, falling down building and to the spring at the end of the trail. I didn’t make it. I got about 1/3 of the way there and turned around. I seem to be out of shape, and there’s only one solution – go hiking more often. Jim and I have plans to hike Baylor Canyon and Dripping Springs next week.

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I haven’t been able to figure out why I like this photo. When I took it, I was concentrating on the line of trees leading to the top of the hill. It looked as if the trees were marching to the top.

Ever the suppressed botanist, I found something blooming that I could shoot. Dripping Springs 4 7-23-17

I’ve no idea what plant this is.

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Photographing fog on the mountain isn’t easy. This is the best out of a number of fog/mist shots I took. I really should have used the telephoto lens for these shots, but I didn’t bring it with me. Switching lenses outdoors in the desert is a great way to destroy the camera’s sensor and I have only one camera body.

I’ve been working on experimental ceramic pieces. Here’s a bird bath that’s low to the ground. We have quail, ground squirrels and rabbits who can’t reach a traditional bird bath. I used a styrofoam wreath base as a slump mold and made a hollow base.

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The design needs a bit of work, but the critters aren’t critical. Or picky.

I’ve also been working on lanterns. I considered the size of the pillar candles sold by Pier 1 and added an inch. I haven’t tested the lanterns yet. For the first efforts, I used a hole cutter to poke holes into the lantern. Then I bough a set of tiny cookie cutters and cut animals out of the second lantern. Yes, that lantern is an ugly color. Jim took all the glazes that had only a little bit left and combined them. I cut out little animals and put them in the bottom of soap dishes. This dish will go in our bathroom. Look carefully and you’ll see a crack in the side.

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A friend sent me 20 pounds of buttons and I’m in the process of turning some of them into earrings. I haven’t finished them because my sewing room is a disaster. We have a stucco house, and when the stucco paint fails, it rains inside the house around the windows. We’ve got 4 windows where water was leaking in. Two of the windows are in the sewing room. Things got moved in a hurry so that sewing machines and the serger wouldn’t get damaged by the water. Storage boxes got moved. I want to make sure that the paint Jim put around the windows solves the problem before I move everything back.

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Sunrise, sunset.

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I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists are doing.

Photos and jewelry are for sale in Deb Thuman Art here.

Posted in Clay, Cognitive problems, Fiber, Photography, Pottery

Someday, I’ll be able to fire the kiln again

 

We’ve been getting some rain each day for about the last week. Nice for anything growing, but bad for pottery. The kiln house has to have ventilation which means it’s not waterproof. Rain on a hot kiln is bad. It could cause the kiln to explode. So I’ve got a load to be glaze fired and can’t fire it for a while. In this load are two experimental bird baths and an experimental planter. I’m also testing out a glaze Jim “made.” He took leftovers of commercial glazes and mixed them together. I’ve no idea what I will get.

I’ve been working on still lifes and I have to think differently to photograph them. Still lifes don’t move, aren’t subject to wind, and aren’t as easy as they look. I started with a white background but didn’t like what I got.

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Then I tried a black background. Nice, but the light was all wrong.

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Then I tried no artificial light. Much better.

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I played with Sharpies, with thread, and with bobbins.

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I tried telling a story with the shots. What do you see these shots saying?

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Jim put a quail block and watering contraption near the sliding glass door so the cats could watch critters feeding.

These were taken through the door. Not the best approach, but it was all I had.

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This morning, I tried taking the yoga mat to the patio, setting the camera up on the mini tripod, and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. No diners.

I’m reading Eric Clapton’s autobiography. Because Eric battled alcoholism, drug addiction and had a toddler son die after falling out a window, I figured the book would be interesting. He’s a great blues guitarist, but he’s not much of a writer. The book badly needs an editor.

The cognitive problems are less, but still evident. Several weeks ago while making a pair of earrings using Swarovski crystals, I dropped a crystal snail. I searched. Jim searched. No snail. Earlier this week, I was searching for a sewing pattern and found the crystal. It was stuck between boxes of patterns. I put the crystal on the cutting table thinking that I should put it with my beads. I really should have, because I lost it again. I found it on the floor yesterday when I was ironing 4 yards of fabric I had washed. All fabric goes through the washer and dryer before I do anything with it. If it’s going to shrink, I want the shrinking done before I cut into the fabric.

Jim picked out a pattern for pajama bottoms and boxers. He needed pajama bottoms, so I dug into the stash and made a pair.

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I had some tension issues. It may be time to take the machine in for a deep cleaning and tune up.

The crotch depth was too deep, but they are pajama bottoms so he’s willing to wear them. I adjusted the crotch depth for the boxers. Crotch adjustments are tricky because a tiny adjustment makes a huge difference. I guessed right, and the boxers have the right crotch depth. I used leftover fabric for the boxers. The original yardage I used to make a blouse.

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I’m linking with Nina Marie here.  Stop by and see what other artists are doing.

If you’re looking for a gift for yourself or someone special, please stop by my on-line store Deb Thuman Art.