Friday, March 16, 2012

Ay Carumba, Oy Vey and for crying out loud!

I woke up the other day to go to work, which is in and of it’s self, usually a chore. Not only did we have to put our clocks forward for that ridiculous daylight savings nonsense (which causes me to feel so discombobulated for at least a week or 2 in the spring), but I have never ever, in all my living memory, been a morning person. I can probably count on one hand, the number of times I have woken up with vim and vigor ready to “take on the day”. Anyway, I wake up, wondering why it is so dark outside ( you turned the clock forward dummy, it is 6:00 am in your head, but it is 7:00am according to the freaks that make us change our clocks), stumble into the bathroom (I am pretty blind until I poke the contacts into my eyes), turn on the taps in my tub and pull on the shower diverter knob thingy….nothing…..yank, swear, twist, push, pull, etc. Diverter is stuck I think, how can this be….I get it pulled out far enough so that water is diverted to the shower head, but not enough to prevent water from still come out of the faucet. Whatever, I am going to be late if I fool with it, and with my luck, I’ll break the pipe. So I jump in the shower, and although the pressure is a little wonky, I manage to have a shower and get myself to work on time.
Today…similar story. I have not yet fixed the diverter as I don’t know if I can do it without a plumber and was going to wait until the weekend when I can spend more time in the bathroom. I had taken off the collar to check out the valve doohickey to see if it would be a simple or a complicated fix. Looks like a lot of mineral deposits have deposited themselves all over the stem valve
and it will probably require a lot of coaxing with various tools, none of which ar meant for this job, swearing, WDForty, Calcium Lime and Rust remover, and bleeding knuckles (which I am sure that the various chemicals I will need to use to dissolve the minerals will be good for). Anyway, I turned on the shower and fiddled with the hot and cold until it felt kinda right and jumped in. It was a bracing shower that definitely got the blood pumping. The water pressure is ok if you jack around with the knobs, but it seems that it sometimes only lets cold water go to the shower, and others only hot, and then a little bit in between at times. This change in temperatures happens all of a sudden, not a gradual heating and cooling. One minute it is just right, the next you are freezing and then you are at a rolling boil and then back to sub arctic, and you never know which direction it will take you. So that is what I will be attempting to do this weekend. I will be working at Ceramics Canada, and then off to the pub for some Guinness to celebrate St. Paddy’s day. After a few beers, I should be in perfect shape to fix a shower, right? Maybe I will blog about the experience so others can share the pain, tears and potential exhilaration when it all comes together and culminates in my being able to have a comfortable shower (don’t worry. If not, there is a YWCA down the road from my house sorta on the way to work. Wonder if they would let me use their shower?

On another note, I purchased my first bag of dried lac beetle excretions. I mixed up an 8oz jar of shellac in a 2lb cut ratio last night. Alright, I guess I need to admit that I guessed at the quantities, I roughly split the 4oz bag into 2 portions by sight and feel. The bag I bought was a 4oz bag, and according to the website that gave me the directions, I “measured” out 2 oz of the flakes, and then added 8oz of isopropyl alcohol (cheaper than using the drinkable kind). I knew it would take a while to dissolve, so I put the lid on and went to bed. I woke up this morning to check on my shellac and there is what appears to be a solid mass of shellac at the bottom with a rather amber coloured liquor on top

I did not attempt to stir, but vigorous shaking would not dislodge the mass. I will poke at it tonight when I get home. The next step is the task of straining out the potential bug carcasses that may be present, as advised by the instructions in the bag. So I will set up a coffee filter straining rig tonight too. I am excited to start using this concoction. I only mixed up half of what I bought, as I found out online that shellac made from un waxed flakes will only be good for up to 6 months. After that, it may not harden as well. I am pretty sure that I will not go through it that fast. Hmmm…just had a thought, I wonder if I could shellac a projected image onto a pot. I could make memorial mugs of all of my grandparents for all of my relatives with a stylized portrait of sorts of each of them. I tried doing this with a mason stain and linseed oil lithography process, but my home made gum arabic went moldy (I tried dissolving the powdered form (from a cake making supplies place) in water, and it worked (after I heated it in the microwave), but did not store well, who knew), and I could never find that perfect image to transfer, they either came out too dark or too light. If I handle all my practice mugs tomorrow night and loosly cover them, they may be dry enough to at least begin the initial shellacking. On top of all this, I have 2 paintings on the go. I had a bunch of clear plastic tubing that I had used to siphon off my terra sigilatta last year that I washed out, cut into short lengths and glued onto the canvas with heavy gel medium. I initially laid down some colour and then the tubing thinking that it would act as an interesting element that would allow the eye to “see into” the painting. I applied a layer of Liquitex modeling paste to hide the cut ends and not so nice areas. This also adds extra dimension to the canvas that can then be painted over. Talk about a lot of projects.

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