Art Mart 2010

November 30, 2010

The Workspace’s Annual Art Mart Sale will be held this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the M-Shop in the ISU Memorial Union. Items for sale include pottery, jewelry, baskets, prints. As always, there will also be LOTS of glass for sale from the ISU Gaffers’ Guild.

At least twice a year the Gaffers’ Guild has a big sale. Members are expected to donate about half the pieces they make to these sales so that we can afford to keep the studio running. After being in the club for four years, I really look forward to these sales. I have glass vases, bowls and paperweights scattered all over the house. Its nice to look around, take inventory of what I’ve made, and see how much I’m improving. I always hold on to my favorite pieces, but what I contribute to the sale gets better year after year. This time I gathered up a pretty nice assortment – old and new, colorful and clear, good and lopsided. I’ve made room in the house so that I can fill it up all over again!

Here’s a selection from my current contribution:

That would be my signature in case you want to check pieces for authenticity 😉

So if you’re going to be in Ames later this week, please come to the Art Mart Sale! And don’t wait till the last minute, because the good stuff goes fast.

Thursday, December 2 from noon – 5pm
Friday, December 3 from noon – 7pm
Saturday, December 4 from 10am – noon

Maintenance Shop, ISU Memorial Union


Of Lightbulbs and Beads

October 21, 2010

Last fall, I took a intro lampworking class with my friend, Amanda. I enjoyed it so much that I set up my own little mini-studio in the garage. I’ve made a few pieces of jewelry as presents, but mostly the finished beads just sit in little organized boxes waiting to become something brilliant.

A couple weeks ago, Nate found this book for me. He knows I have a thing for bugs.

And the lightbulb went off. Over the weekend, I took these:

A little big of this:

A whole lot of this:

And made this:

I love his googley eyes.

Now he just needs some friends…


Cooking with Liz, part I

October 7, 2010

After reading Nate’s lemon poppy seed post, I decided to do a little digging and look what I found:

Aww, memories. That’s the exact failure that he so vividly described yesterday. In addition to all the mistakes he listed, it looks like we also forgot to grease the pan.

But like he said, we had fun, ate the good bits and made the most of it.

I’m amazed that we actually documented this because we always forget to take pictures, especially those pesky “before” photos. But we’re making an honest attempt to get better (hence last night’s baking post and I guess the whole blog in general).

And since I just don’t think the nighttime iPhone photos did justice to our success last night, here are a couple more I took this morning.

Breakfast of champions.

And yes, it was every bit as yummy as it looks.


Cooking with Liz, Part II

October 5, 2010

So, most of you probably don’t know, but Liz and my second date was something of a fiasco. Probably not as much of a fiasco as the first, but there was an issue with some baking we attempted.

To bake lemon poppy seed muffins, you usually need a muffin pan. If you don’t, you might be tempted to use a normal pyrex bread pan. While this might seem like a decent solution to a potential problem, you will be stuck pondering how much time this new formula needs to properly percolate. Temperatures are another problem. Muffins bake fairly quickly, at a potentially higher temperature than a loaf of material would. Sure, you might adjust for this problem, lower temp for longer. You keep checking in on it, hoping it is getting closer. At some point you think, “Dear lord, this can’t take any longer”. So you take it out and try to eat it. Notice that the top is looking decent, now notice that you can see the bottom through the clear pyrex pan. And you notice that the bottom is an unfortunate shade of black. Attempt to remove the item from the pan, and now notice that the center is quite completely not cooked yet. Have a laugh, eat the bits that you don’t think will kill you, and watch a movie.

We had a fun night, and it might have set a bit of a precedent for our cooking. I don’t think either of us got food poisoning out of it either.

Liz suggested that we try out making a sweet bread tonight. It happened that we had the ingredients for making lemon poppy seed in our new bread maker (Awesomest thing ever! Home made honey whole wheat is spectacular!).

Do we have everything?
I think we have it all.

Eggs are gooey

Two eggs, yummy.

In goes the sugar

Cutest wife ever!

Natasha likey

Even Natasha wants to help! (Don’t worry, we made sure that her paws were clean.)

The cutest wife in the world

Almost done!

It emerges!

It has emerged, we are victorious!


Tada, and it was tasty!

So the moral of the story is, sometimes it takes 5 years to get things right.

I would also like to clarify that I did all the photography for this post. These might look a little off, but I’m trying to use my iPhone for more impromptu photo documentation. I think the biggest problem is that we need better lighting in the kitchen.


Fauxtobooth Video

September 28, 2010

Finally, on our one month anniversary we have a completed Fauxtobooth video.  Check it out!

From the looks of it, a lot of people had a great time making spectacles of themselves. We realize that not every picture is the most flattering, but too bad.  We love it all.  This wedding wouldn’t have been the awesome event that it was without all our friends and family, and I’m just glad that everyone there had a good time.  We hope to have the still images up from the video shortly (Liz is a perfectionist, and wants to make sure they look perfect).  So keep tuned for that.

For those who are curious as to how we made the booth and the video, it wasn’t too bad.  It amounted to a camera connected to a computer which triggered a new picture to be taken every 10 seconds.  All those pictures were saved and imported into iMovie on our iMac where they were sequenced and put to music.  For those people who didn’t stay all night, the music happens to be what Liz’s brother Nick “performed” for us a little later on in the evening.

Apart from a few small bumps in the booth operation, things went smoothly.  I hope you enjoy re-living (or remembering) the experience as much as we enjoyed seeing it for the first time.  We hope to document our future projects around the house in a similar fashion so that you can feel the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into our home.  Keep on checking back for when we start redecorating the main floor now that his home is really ours.


Fauxtobooth Teaser

September 15, 2010

Nate and I have survived our first couple days back in the real world, though we’re both suffering from vacation withdrawal.  The wedding and the honeymoon were both better than we could have imagined. We have tons of material to keep us busy little bloggers for awhile.

To get things rolling, here are some teaser pictures from the fauxtobooth (don’t worry, there are LOTS more to come):


The sky is falling!

August 13, 2010

In case you hadn’t heard, Ames has had a pretty rough week. Between Sunday and Tuesday we had a few storms that dumped well over 10 inches of rain on our town. The Skunk River flooded. Squaw Creek flooded. The storm drains couldn’t keep up and 8 water mains broke. All this has left us with flooding that has rivaled, and in some spots surpassed, flooding from 1993.

Nate and I are fine. Our house stayed perfectly dry (including all the wedding decorations piled on the basement floor). But, like the rest of the city, we’re conserving water so they can have enough to flush the system and hopefully have things back to normal sometime next week. Until then, the water is not safe to drink, cook with, or clean dishes. Luckily, Nate and I just bought a bunch of bottled water for the wedding, so we haven’t had to run all over town, dodging the barricades and closed roads looking for water. We’re set.

Now for some flood pictures:

(Picture courtesy of J.P.)

Welcome to Ames! This is my coworker, John.  Both he and my boss, Chuck, spent Wednesday riding around taking pictures of the flood.


(Picture courtesy of C.F.)

This is the corner of Lincoln Way and University (formerly Elwood), one of the busiest intersections in Ames. You can see the Maple-Willow-Larch Dorms in the background.



University and Lincoln Way



Welcome signs for the ISU students – move in day is tomorrow.



On the left is the Scheman Building (home of the Brunnier Art Museum) and Stephens Auditorium is on the right. In the background you can see the Jack Trice football stadium.



Here’s the Scheman Building from opposite side with Maple-Willow-Larch in the background. You can see from the muddy grass that the water had already gone down quite a bit at the time this picture was taken.



It almost looks intentional, right? What a nice reflecting pool in front of Hilton Coliseum. The baskeball court floor was floating.



Way back there, you can see the football team’s practice field. This parking lot fills with tailgaiting motorhomes on game days.



On the North side of town now, here’s 13th Street near the softball fields.



“City of Ames Bulk Water Sales”  Love the irony.



Here’s the 13th Street bridge over Squaw Creek heading towards Frederickson Court, where I lived for two years.



Across the street from the previous photo, this is the brand new aquatic center.



This picture is taken from Stange looking south towards Freddy Court and ISU. To the right was the golf course. Notice the big logs in the road? Earlier this summer, we had a big storm that took out a bunch of trees. The city is still cleaning up from that storm. At least it made for a good natural barricade.



Thank you, Captain Obvious.




Just a couple more gratuitous water photos.

They didn’t get any photos of Duff, HW 30 or I-35 but those were closed too. Here’s some proof:


This is Duff Ave. The two large buildings on the left are Target and Walmart.



Highlight from the Ames Police scanner as posted on FB by a fomer co-worker:

“We have a jet ski in the Target parking lot pulling a wakeboard, can we get rid of that? Copy.”

Apparently later he was spotted pulling an intertube behind the Meadow Lane Trailer Park.




This is HW 30 near Dayton Ave. But don’t worry, you probably wouldn’t have recognized this part of Ames even without the water.


The good news is, the water is receding. They predicted storms last night, today, and tomorrow, but we’ve managed to escape all that.  Now its just time to start cleaning up and getting things back to normal.




The Happy Couple

August 7, 2010

3 weeks from today, these little guys are going to be famous.


Its the future!

August 1, 2010

Does anyone else remember this episode of the Simpsons? Lisa’s wedding was supposed to be today. Just an FYI.



Sanding away my sanity

July 25, 2010

So here I am, and what you see here is my curse.  My desire to make pretty things.  Somewhere early on I decided to make 30 centerpieces for our wedding.  I stuck with it through all the questioning, and debating on if it and the cakes were a good idea.  I must admit that a few times over the last few months I’ve felt like I have officially dug myself a very deep hole.

with ~30 cake stands, that makes for ~60 legs.  As you can see on the first leg above, some of them had some “issues”.  This required a significant amount of special care and attention.  The stands themselves appeared to take on a unique personalities.  Some of them felt old and worn, some were new and smooth.  Some flashy, and some plain.  They all had their faults.  And maybe I was just losing my mind.  I mean really, can pieces of wood really have a personality.

Maybe I had spent too much time alone in the garage.

Much of my time was spent like this.  Hunched over a single piece.  Examining all the edges for defects.  Lovingly sanding the heck out of it to hide the defects as much as possible.  All with a 3/4″ wide strip of sand paper.  Back and forth, back and forth.

At some point I lost my mind, and it seemed the only way to get it back was to improve the process.  Enter the flap sander.  This beast of machinery spins 12 strips of sandpaper at 1800 rpm to beat the edges of the wood into conforming in as little time as possible.  I almost felt silly after getting it in how fast the rest of the sanding went.  What had been weeks of sanding turned into one weekend.

With my future firmly in control again I started in on the tops.  The twelve inch expanse of wood needing some serious tlc.

Fortunately I already had a power tool at my disposal.  Not that I wouldn’t have liked a new one to make it go even faster, but we all have a budget.

Here we see what a partially finished product looks like.  Note the beautiful grain patterns exposed by the oil rub.

And here we see an oiled stand conquering its unfinished brethren.  On  a related note, the oil used was Boiled Linseed Oil which is made from flax seeds.

Which makes my garage smell like breakfast…