Friday, December 25, 2009

orchid photos

The pink and yellow orchid is Slc Crystelle Smith, the large pink with multiple blooms is an unregistered cross I got years ago from Hauserman's in Chicago, the little red one is Slc katie's cutie x b nodosa, the little yellow one is Epi morning star x b nodosa), the larger red one is C ford motte 'Cherokee' x Blc Younges Island 'Mr 1,' and the stoplight orchid is Epc Rene Marques.

Monday, December 7, 2009

orchid seedlings December 6

Here are the seedlings at 7 months. I'll probably repot the largest ones after the holidays.

Friday, November 6, 2009

moss garden

I've been admiring the mosses I see around the yard as I do the fall cleanup. I collected a couple of them and put them in a small planter. I added a couple pieces of old brick, since I noticed that some bricks that were lying around were covered with moss. I have no idea if this will live inside over the winter. I'll give it a try, and if it doesn't work, I'll see what happens if I leave it outside.

The pot is made of orangestone clay with a strontium based turquoise glaze. ART's orangestone clay does odd things to glazes. And in this case, it was at the upper edge of its firing range and slumped a bit, so that the circle became a rounded triangle. I like it that way, and it fits the moss perfectly.

Seedlings november

Here's the seedling tray in November. I'm continuing to see good growth and more plants with a second growth. One plant shows signs of speckles on the leaves, which I suspect means that its flowers will be more likely to be spotted. It's the top leaf below and only two of the speckles are large enough to show up on the picture. They are speckles, not disease spots.

One plant appears to have a very very tiny sheath. Another looks like it has a new growth coming out of the center of the first growth. I tried to get pictures of these, but they're too tiny for my camera to capture. Maybe next month.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

orchid seedlings October 5

I think I can finally see that they're getting bigger. Now I'd like to see if I can put the images into an animated gif format, keeping the animation slow, since the images won't be exact matches.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

ugly hat

Wanted to post this to the list of ugly finished projects on Ravelry and it needs to be on the web--don't see a way to upload an image. I knit this exactly like a couple others that fit fine and the yarn did not appear to be different in weight. My sister chose the color, so I'm not entirely to blame. But besides not fitting, the colors are really ugly. It looks to me like the kind of thing Lucy's friend Ethel would wear over curlers.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Orchid seedlings September 5

Jeepers they are growing slowly. I supposed it's like a watched pot that never boils.

Otherwise, I've checked, cleaned up, repotted if necessary about 50 of my plants from outside--probably close to half of them. I'm limited by bee activity, which is a drag. I'm allergic, so when they start zooming around I have to come inside.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two lace vases

I've also been experimenting with lace texture on some free form vases. I've one with a white glaze and one with a black glaze, both partially wiped off to show the texture. Here they are:

I like the feet and the non-flat bottom better on the white vase, but I somehow think there's something wrong with the tops of the vases--they look unfinished. Here's the black vase with my hand over the top so I can try to imagine a better way to finish it.

I think I need some kind of band on the top that is non-textured and solid black or white. Then I'd bring the feet out slightly and make the sides of them glazed solid too. The next question is should this top piece attach to the outside of the vase body or to the inside of it?

Another problem is the seam. When the glaze is wiped off this way, it accentuates the seam. I can try an inny seam rather than an overlapping one, and/or I can try to make the seam curved or at least slanted.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Purple potatoes

I've planted several containers with potatoes this year. Blue ones were a bust--small, few in number, and hard to find in the dirt. Swapped an orchid division for a few fingerling potatoes and dug one up the other day. It was purple. I knew she'd given me a couple different kinds, but the color of these was really neat. The purple color didn't really last thru cooking.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pottery boxes

I've now fired the first batch of pottery boxes. A couple of the lids stuck, which I think is because I didn't smooth the edges enough that I could clean them completely. I think my favorite is the smaller of the two toaster shaped boxes. The dark brown/black glaze is a scrap glaze made from all the darker leftover dibs and dabs of glaze tests with a bunch of rio and some cobalt carbonate added to make a dark brown. I hate wasting glaze scraps. So I think I'll make a few more of this general shape, but with unobtrusive feet.

This is my second favorite, although I forgot the lid and did not apply the glaze to it at the same time as to the box, so they don't match up well. The glaze is a combination of the black scrap glaze and bronze green, both wiped partly off. I think I want to try a slightly larger and shorter version of this. The texture comes from banging the side of a sheet of cardboard into the slab.

The next one uses a lace pattern. What I tried for was a mottled yellow/blue/pink/white coloring, but only the white seems to show up. Still, I rather like it. I think I need to fuss more with the glazing and add some feet. I did figure out how to get nice round flat on one side balls for feet--make a small ball and then press it down with the palm of my hand. That leaves the one side round.

Last are a box and a vase made with rhombus's, so that there'd be a twist. I think the box is too big and the glazes didn't come out the way I'd hoped. And the lid stuck. Not sure if I want to pursue this further, although I do have a couple more of this style made but not fired. Since the shape was angular, I made the lid line angular rather than curved. This and the lace box and the vase below all used a darker clay body. Since I'm just puttering around, I'm trying to use up leftover partial bags of clay.

And finally, there's a vase made with just one rhombus so that the join line twists around. It's interesting but still doesn't really work for me. I think I may play with it some more, perhaps altering the angle of the top. It could also be that the slab was too thick for the size of the vase. The glaze is a strontium base turquoise.

I'm trying a couple larger vases now based on the box that reminded me of a creature from Fantasia. I glazed the bottom section only. This is also the turqoise glaze, but obviously a heavier coating of it. Not subtle...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Orchid seedlings August 5th

The seedlings are clearly rooted now and I think a little larger. Here's a picture of a couple of the larger seedlings.

Friday, July 31, 2009

pottery boxes

A couple months ago I took a Vince Pitelka workshop(super workshop!) that included instruction on making boxes. Here's the one I made in the workshop.

The box worked, but I wanted something more flexible, softer. I changed the lid demarcation line from straight with tabs to random curves and used glazes rather than clay dots to clarify which way the lid fit.

That still seemed stiffer than I wanted so I tried a couple boxes made from a tube on its side instead of upright, and tried feet on one of them. My intent was to use something like the same glazing technique. I'm not sure whether or not I like the feet. Perhaps I'll know after I glaze them.

Then I tried a couple jars rather than boxes, meaning something that's taller than wide.

The first one has too tall a lid and is too pointed, but I like the bottom part of it. I don't like the top part of the second one, but I like the toes sticking out on the bottom. I think I want to try a vase with this texture--but no toes.

To be continued...

Glaze tests

I guess this is something I should have done years ago, but was never sufficiently organized. I tested a dozen of my glazes at cones 4, 5, and 6 to see which worked equally well across the range and which were clearly better at one end or the other. Most were either OK across the range or better at cone 6. The exception was the pink glaze I make that's a mix of Burgundy Opulence and a cone 6 majolica. It began to fade to white where thin at cone 6. Here are some test tiles that show three of the glazes that definitely worked better at cone 6.

The glazes are from left to right: Zakin's Mouse Black, Pinnell Bronze Green, and Blue Sugar--from Clayart several years ago. Cone 4 tests are at the top and cone 6 at the bottom. Blue sugar--which really needs to be on a darker clay body--does not get its "sugar" until cone 6 and mouse black doesn't really melt until cone 6. Bronze green is decidedly smoother at cone 6. The shine on the glazes doesn't show in the images, but mouse black is glossy with surface texture and bronze green is more of a satin that truly glossy.

The mouse black differs from the original published recipe, which called for Albany slip. I subbed Alberta slip and then added enough gherstly borate so that it would melt at cone 6.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

calendars with pictures

This is the second year I've printed out my own monthly calendars with my own photos. I've also made calendars for my grandson with photos of him and the family. Here are a couple examples of some of the months.

These are made using I print the pages on heavy matte photo paper. Here's an example from the calendar I made for my grandson.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Couple of orchids

Just got back from the Ann Arbor art fair. Always interesting even if I don't buy much. Met a woman who makes felted bowls similar to mine. Lots of glazes that look much the same, shiny, lots of colors smeared together in some random fashion.

In between, my sister and I visited two orchid growers, Taylors and LittleFrog Farm. I picked up this paph at Taylor's and Roman Holiday--a nodosa chocolate drop cross at Little Frog Farm.

Then when I went to feed and water my orchids I found Jiminy Cricket blooming outside and brought it in.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Orchid seedlings July 6

I still don't think they've grown much. But they're certainly still alive and healthy. I think a few of the individual seedlings may have grown. I think there are several now that have more than the first set of leaves.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mapping a Garden

Just finished the final map for this year of the butterfly garden at hitchcock center. I used MS Word's drawing tools--specifically the autoshapes--for the plants, put ID numbers on them, and used different border and fill colors for the different plants. While this is not a perfect tool for mapping a garden, it's an accessible one and certainly easier than trying to do it with pencil and paper. It's easy to move plants around, add them, or delete them. I wanted something that would be helpful next spring when the same or a different crew is assigned to clean up the garden.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Orchid seedlings 1 month after de-flasking

This is taken a day early, on June 5th. I see no sign of any real growth in size, but they look healthy and there's no sign of rotting or pests. They obviously made the transition from the flasks to community trays OK.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Unflasking the Seedlings

The flasks arrived in the mail this morning. Here's a picture of the box they came in and the two flasks--which are actually spaghetti sauce jars with a small hole in their lids, stuffed with cotton. The seedlings are in a dark grey sort of lumpy media, which is why the flasks look sort of dark.

I removed the lids from the flasks, filled them with lukewarm water and poured the water out a couple times to remove most of the grey media. Then I dumped them in a small plate and rinsed them there a little more. Now they look like this.

Then I separated them out and sorted them roughly by size. Here some are on a newspaper to give a better idea of their size.

I filled a mixing bowl with sphagnum moss, wet it thoroughly, put a layer of it in the bottom of each tray and then one by one wrapped each seedling in a bit of sphagnum and put them in one of the trays. There were about 40 seedlings per flask, some of them very very tiny. When I was done, the trays looked like this and I put them under some fluorescent lights, partially covered with a piece of saran wrap.

I'll keep them moist but not wet. I'm a bit concerned about having them all in the same large tray in case of a fungal infection and may get another tray and move half to a different location just in case. I did use brand new trays and a new bag of sphagnum.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Story of an orchid cross

On May 28th of 2007 I crossed LC Mini-Purple "Blue Hawaiian" with C Brabantiae. This is what they look like. Brabantiae is the spotted orchid and is somewhat larger than the Mini-purple.

While the pod on Branbantiae did not take, the one on Mini-purple did. It seemed to take longer to mature than the pod from a similar cross I made a few years ago, but it did mature. I sent it in for flasking on May 8th, 2008. I expect the flasks back this week.

My intention is to post images of the baby plants every week or every other week. If these bloom out like the similar cross I made, they will be pink with darker pink on the lip and a few but not all will have some spots or freckles.

Update on LED light testing

At this point, the first marigold under the fluorescent lights is beginning to flower. There are buds on the marigolds under the LED lights, but they haven't begun to open yet. In addition the stems of the plants under the fluorescent lights are a dark red, while those of the plants under the LED lights are a mix of green and pink and do not look as sturdy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Knitted Hats

I've been experimenting with knitting hats the last couple of weeks. The first one was too large because I used a rather stretchy yarn. The second one was a bit small, but wearable and I really liked the yarn--Tahki's Bunny Print. The third one, using Licorice and black worsted came out just right. The pattern called for knitting them from the top center down, starting on double-pointed needles and then moving to circular needles. I began on straight needles and then just sewed together the small gap. This was much easier than dealing with a few stitches each on double-pointed needles. Part of the sizing problem is that the hat is sort of scrunched together on the needles so it's difficult to really tell how large it is.

Here's a picture of the three hats. The Bunny Print is the one on the right. I made the black and white one for my son's girlfriend.