More Pottery… Labor Day Weekend

Labor day weekend always marks the start of college football. Time to start entertaining myself!

The PYOP studio where we held my sister’s bridal shower closed. It’s a tough business with inventory that can sit for ages. Fortunately, a new place just opened in Elizabethtown!

Artspress is more than just a pottery studio. They have an oxygen bar, laughter yoga, espresso and tea, art lessons, writing lessons, Reiki massage and more. The owner, Jeneva, is a kindred spirit who loves art as much as I do!

Lea is the detail-oriented plotter when painting pottery. She pencils in tiny details and researches quotes and symbols on my smartphone every time we paint. Once she took two days to complete one piece. I literally brought her back to the studio the next day to finish. Usually her pieces pay homage to a favorite fandom or genre and this weekend’s choice was no different. Artspress had a pie-shaped plate. The opportunities are endless! A Pi plate, a pizza plate… these ideas were passed over for the obvious choice – a Supernatural pie plate.

unfired

unfired

Supernatural Pie Plate

Finished product

Finished product

If you don’t get the reference, Supernatural is a TV show that you can watch on Netflix Streaming. In a nutshell, two brothers cross the country in an Impala, staying in tacky motel rooms and slaying demons, ghosts, and other, well, supernatural beings. One character likes pie a lot. It’s an endearing show and if you are mildly interested in the genre of fantasy TV shows you should check it out.

Speaking of fantasy/sci-fi TV show fandoms, yes, she is wearing a Firefly tee shirt.

Emmi made a set of measuring spoons and cups. Because she likes to bake and because the set is ADORABLE.

Measuring teacups

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I needed something to look pretty enough for my desk at work to hold paper clips and binder clips. All I have are ugly plastic dip cups and they are stuck in a drawer behind me. After scouring the inventory I settled on a divided baby plate.

So zebra prints have been my thing since before animal prints were hip. I’ve always collected zebra stuff. At my last job I was never given a tape dispenser or stapler or scissors so I eventually tired of borrowing these tools from my coworkers and bought a set at Marshalls – zebra of course. Once I was established in an office again I brought my own tools along. It makes for a cute conversation started with customers.

I think the zebra print is easy to paint. This was my first attempt. But that may be because I stare at this pattern all the time.

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divided plate

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We ended our painting session and Jeneva gave us a quick laughter yoga session.

I’m a big believer in smiling to feel happy. I perfected the genuine fake smile as a waitress in college and I’ve utilized it ever since; the weird thing is that after a while, the fakeness fades and you really start to smile because you are cheerful. There was a recent study linking this phenomenon to Botox. It’s a chicken/egg debate in the psychological community whether smiling induces happiness or happiness induces smiling but I for one never considered injecting poison into my forehead until reading this article. They suggest that because you cannot frown after receiving the injections you actually develop a better overall mood. Of course it is possible you feel better because your forehead isn’t wrinkly and old looking. If you can’t afford Botox, Laughter Yoga is a good alternative.

Laugh Captain Jeneva lucked out because we three sisters are already at ease with one another and tend to laugh a lot. What can I say; funny is genetic. The interesting thing is that the laughter begins as an exercise without a joke. You just laugh. But it becomes a real giggle quickly as you make eye contact and practice and eventually your muscles and voice just take over. Having the session in a beautiful old house like the one where Artspress operates only helps.

Lea, Emmi, me, and Jeneva after laughter yoga

Good use of my time on the first football weekend of the season, eh?

 

 

 

 

 

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Custom Pottery Bridal Shower

One of my issues with weddings is that they are expensive for everyone involved.  The last time I was a bridesmaid it cost me well over a thousand dollars.  Once you do the bridal shower, a gift for said shower, the bachelorette party, dress, shoes, hair and makeup, gift for the wedding, and possibly take a day off of work thanks to trendy wedding dates, you probably don’t want to look at the statistics on the success rate of marriages in the US.  You have a 50% chance that this was just a wasted effort and cost.  And you’re lucky to get a thank you note and possibly a crappy piece of jewelry to commemorate the whole fiasco.

Knowing I am in the “elope now or never get a sympathetic ear from me ever ever EVER about what stupid flowers/colors/shoes/food your future mother in law wants you to get” camp when it comes to weddings makes most people tread lightly around me when mentioning nuptials.  Look, you can invite me to your wedding but I won’t be happy about it, okay?

Still, it seems to fall on me to take care of things for my middle little sister as she prepares for her small wedding next month.  So I threw her a shower.

2014 Emmi's Wedding Baked goods1

I guess because I have to be different, or because it is such a small wedding that there aren’t even any attendants, or maybe because Emmi dislikes being the center of attention, we didn’t do the traditional shower with gifts.

Have you ever been to one of these paint-your-own pottery places?  The greenware (pottery that is already fired once) is layered on shelves and you pick a plate or figurine or whatever and paint it with special ceramics paint. (A quick lesson in ceramics: the paint is not paint but a glaze – liquid containing tiny bits of colorant and minerals that will actually melt into a smooth glass coating once the item is toasted in a kiln for several hours. ) There is more technique than skill involved in painting, but it is a fun and creative way to spend an afternoon.  I may or may not have a slight addiction to painting pottery.

My baby little sister Lea and I made invitations with a cute poem and invited the 20-odd guests to just come and make something for Emmi instead of bringing a gift along.  This solved my ethical hangup with showers: I’m already getting something for this greedy bride for the wedding so I have to get her a second gift for the shower, too?

We went to our favorite outfit, a great independent store called Star Glazers.  Hey had tables ready for us, balloons, and extra staff.  You can always bring your own food and drink.

So there is always a risk that people are terrible at following directions/using a paintbrush.  I made a Pinterest board to collect ideas and bounce them off of the bride.  CLICKY!

Was I successful in orchestrating a pottery class/party in which 20 women made coordinating ceramic dishes for a mutual friend?

You be the judge!

 

 

Football Road Trip to Ohio 2010

Every year around Labor Day weekend there is a Big Special Game that involves a team that BU does not usually play.  This means that to get to the game, one of the teams has to travel.  Really far.  Today, Chuck is in Easton, MA to see the season opener.  Google tells me the game is the Bloomsburg Huskies at the Stonehill Skyhawks.  I’m kidding; I was actually planning to go along and once the plans changed, I kept the day off from work.  I worked on the kitchen and had someone hook up a propane line for my range.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a weekday off to tie up loose ends.

Two years ago this weekend I travelled with Chuck to Ashland University for the season opener.  It was an epic football weekend road trip.  Chuck scheduled four games in three days because moderation is not known in the football vernacular, and I tagged along because I guess he had no one else to bring along.

Actually, I had a great time.  I can read in the car and I love hotel rooms so as long as I have daylight and an indoor pool I will go anywhere.  I’m no stranger to “roughing it” but my husband always tries to keep me comfortable when I tag along on football-themed road trips.  So I usually milk him for a room with a Jacuzzi.

spa tub

Our hotel room in Kent, Ohio, 2010

If you ever have to drive through Ohio, one place you cannot miss is Mike’s Place.  This has nothing to do with football (well, if you are a Kent State fan or alum, it might), but has everything to do with kitsch and good food so actually, everyone wins.  If you do not love tacky, geeky, cluttered décor and hundreds of menu items, you probably just need to take an Adderall.    Leave extra time to explore the contents of the restaurant’s walls.

Me in front of the X-Wing Fighter at Mike’s Place in Kent, OH

We also went to Toledo, Ohio for a football game.

To make up for it, Chuck took me to the Toledo Museum of Art.  I know what you’re thinking.  It’s either, “I don’t know anything about art so this new blog is clearly not for me,” or “Toledo, Ohio is not a place where any reputable artwork will be found.  C’mon.”  Well, you are wrong.  This experience more than met my expectations. The Chuck Close was not on display for some reason, but the collection includes works from many of my favorite artists, the special exhibits are accessible and interesting (when we were visiting this temporary exhibit featured 1960s psychedelic rock posters!), and the glass pavilion did not disappoint.  The Matisse mural “Apollo” was my favorite.

Me in front of the Matisse

My next post will be about the other things we did on our football roadtrip to Ohio in 2010.

Things I did today instead of driving the whole way to Massachusetts to watch a football game:

  • Stayed home from work anyway
  • Met the propane technician and hooked up the range in my new kitchen
  • Bought a newspaper and worked on the puzzles while eating a BLT in a booth at my favorite diner
  • Filled my new china hutch