Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kangaroos, the good folk and the complexities of the quadrupel......


Apparently the largest kangaroos are the reds, which can grow to a height of 6 1/2 feet.  Disappointing...I thought they got bigger than that. I was really hoping for a nine foot behemoth that could stand on its tail and put a foot through a brick wall...oh well.  On to the meat know.

This is a quick shot of some volunteer potatoes I pulled out of the compost yesterday.  They are all just little things, but they were unexpected so it was just a nice little bonus.

It has been hotter than a...something that is really, really hot...I'm not very clever. such I moved my decoration operations indoors today (I usually do my sgraffito scratchy scratchy outside, better light & such) in an effort to keep a little cooler.  

It did not work.  My studio is in my un-airconditioned garage, so it is still pretty warm in there.  Not as hot as it is outside, but still quite uncomfortable.  (And don't worry, the dog in the background is not dead, just resting.)  Thus I am now inside working on the computer and whatnot.

Excessive heat aside, here are a few of the things I have been working on the last two days.
Hopefully these wine buckets/crocks will be occupying shelf space in a local gift boutique.  I like the one on the left with the offset feather/leaf thing.  The one in the middle with the lattice pattern is so-so.  And I am really digging the one on the right with the art nouveau-ish flowers.  Thoughts?

One of the things I am working on while escaping the heat is drawing.  I try to work in my sketchbook whenever I get a chance, which is unfortunately not too often.  It is usually when I have a custom order for a subject I have not really worked with before.  Thus is the case today.  I recently got an order for a mug with a fairy on it.  Now I am not really a fairy kind of person, so I need to do a little research and drawing first.  Where to turn (aside from the computer webs)?
A fantastic little book called Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee.
I originally saw one of Froud's books in the Barnes and Nobles and loved both the style of the art and the fantasy theme (I am a bit of a geek some times).  Being remarkably cheap though, I passed on getting it.  Later when I needed reference material for a fairy order I knew exactly what to look for.  Off to the Bookworm (our local book store) to get this classic tome. 

And lastly, while in town getting a great book on the wee folk I also acquired a fine bottle of beer to celebrate yet another year of not dieing.  
In case you cannot read that label, the brew is Three Philosophers from Brewery Ommegang in NY.  It is a very complex, very tasty quadrupel ale with a dash of a cherry ale thrown in for good measure.  It takes some time to work through all the different things going on in this beer; definitely a sipper.

Up next...dreams of flight.

-Rob, Simple Circle Studios

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monkeys, pie and how not to fix a truck...

 The first monkey to be sent successfully into space was Albert II, a male rhesus monkey, who made it to a height of 83 miles (134 km) on June 14, 1949. Albert II was carried aboard a V2 rocket as well, though his fate was not as lucky as that of the fruit flies: a problem with the parachute on the recovery capsule sadly led Albert II to his death from the force of the impact upon landing.

This past Sunday my sweet wife did something unprecedented...she baked a pie.  Scratch that, she baked two pies.  It is not like she never bakes pie, but it is pretty damn close.  If you count the one she baked for me Sunday, I am averaging one pie every five years.  It is ok though.  She made me a pecan pie and it was freaking fantastic.  Which naturally leads to the question, how long does it take one person to eat a whole pecan pie?

The last piece...such a sad, sad day.

I managed to make this one last two days but it took a great deal of restraint.  I probably could have polished it off  as soon as it came out of the oven.

And after she finished making my pecan pie she made a chocolate pie for herself.  The thing I have always thought was kind of funny about chocolate pie is that it is just chocolate pudding in a shell.  Why not just put it in a bowl and save yourself the trouble?  
On a side note, these are the egg yolks she used to make her pie.  Now those are some big, orange yolks...definitely NOT from factory farm chickens.

 And now for the (unfortunately) continuing saga of the truck.  I thought the fuel filter did the trick.  I took the truck for a spin after I switched it out and it ran fine.  The next day I went into town to run some errands and my trusty, reliable truck shit on me again...twice.
Luckily I was right next to the sweet wife's place of employment and was able to swing it into the parking lot.  There it sat for the past week plus; I finally go it home today. 

 Now, it could be fixed.  Since the fuel filter didn't correct the problem, it is probably the fuel pump...or something else fuel related.  The alternator also appears to have gone by the wayside, though.  Again, it could be fixed, but the sweet wife and I have been dabbling with the idea of getting a new truck anyway, so now seems like a pretty good time.  I am actually going to look at a truck tomorrow, so hopefully the saga will conclude by the week's end.

**Wait!  There is late breaking news on the truck front!  My two year old son just said he could fix my truck with prunes...perhaps...perhaps...

In studios news, I would like to again sing the praises of the portable, home made damp box.  I think I did a post on it a while back, but I couldn't find it.  The idea originally came from Meagan Chaney and I have been using it successfully since I read her post.  Basically you fill the bottom of a plastic container with plaster.  When the plaster is set you saturate it with water and add a lid...boom, instant damp box.
I have had a lid in one for a few weeks that was actually too dry to trim when I put it in.  I pulled it out today and it trimmed just fine.  Perhaps a little on the dry side still, but good enough to get the job done.

Compost crock says, "Me eats garbage, me makes good dirt!"
 And thus ends the Simple Circle Studios blog post number...whatever it is.  Now I have to go brush my teeth; good oral hygiene and whatnot.  

Next tall is a kangaroo?

-Rob, Simple Circle Studios

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Don't ever say your car is broke...

Go the picture.  You know you want to.
And here you thought I was going to go on some SoAD rant.

A little more than a month ago I did an art fair in Paducah, KY.  Aside from it being a little hot, it was a good show.  Right up until I tried to go home.  I was cruising down the road in my gem of a truck when things went awry.  Whenever I tried to accelerate the truck would hesitate a bit, then pick up again when I let off the gas.  Not a good sign.  (Actually it started happening on the way to Paducah, but only once or twice and I had things to do, so I didn't think about it.)  The problem quickly got worse, forcing me to down shift to 4th, then 3rd, then finally to pull off the road where the truck promptly died.  The sweet wife kindly came to pick me up because it was too late to do anything else.  The next day I borrowed my in-law's car to check things out.  A few hours and two tow trucks later the truck was back in the driveway, still not running. 
And there it sat, patiently waiting to be fixed.  Unfortunately I could not get around to doing that as I was getting ready for another show in three weeks. 
Finally this week, after a kick-ass show in Webster Groves, MO (more on that later) I chatted with our mechanic neighbor and came to the conclusion that it was probably the fuel filter that was gumming up the works.  Between yesterday afternoon and this morning, after two trips to the auto store, the truck is running once more!  Turns out it was indeed the fuel filter causing problems; the new one is performing like a far.  

Now I have almost three months until my next show, so I have a good deal of time to build up inventory, work on the display and post stuff on etsy.  Heck I just might even have time to get some yard work done.  Or at least post on the blog a little more frequently.

Next time...Space Monkies!