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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hughes Pottery gets a nice mention

Got this in an email.... I can't disagree

A day in the life of Joe Republican

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. And fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised. All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs.

Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills.

Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression. Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe is home from work.

He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans.

The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good.

He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Drowning in Receipts

What's an overworked and overwhelmed potter on the go to do?

I think I've just solved one of my biggest problems ever. Business receipts and financial documentation. I'm constantly on the fly, never caught up and always worried about it. Recently tI've discovered two new business tools that I am starting to use. They are effective and priced right for my very small pottery business.
The first is, their tagline is Free yourself from accounting. I signed up a couple months ago when it was a free service. They are now only giving 30 days free, but 
they have managed to prove themselves to me. I'll be signing up for the $9.95/month service, because it is automatic and effective.Since most of my income is now through online transactions, Outright accesses and catalogs my merchant accounts (like Paypal)  whenever I log in. Other transactions can be entered manually or imported as CSV files (like from Which is how I'll be handling the next big problem..RECEIPTS!

The second tool is A service to take the piles of receipts you and I haven't sorted and scan and catalog them according to standard IRS deduction categories. You take the stack of receipts, put them into a prepaid envelope (like returning Netflix) and send it off. A few days later it is scanned and sorted. The information is then available for you to download and import into your accounting software, including my new

I signed up for the $50/month plan to get caught up, then will be downgrading to the $9.95 plan. All my accounting needs will be taken care of for $20/month.between these two online services.

I feel so much lighter already!

I encourage you to investigate them yourselves, and if you are interested in signing up let me know and I'll send you an invite, because I can get bonuses for referrals :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mixed Results

Look closely and you can see the horrible deformities of the bloated clay body

The Good Big Bowl, surrounded by bad little ones.
A few weeks ago I was writing about how we were suffering from bloating in the clay body we were using. I had a lot of clay pre-wedged for use and some of it was fine and some of it was bloating. I feel like we've worked through most of the problems, but some bowls I had suspected of being from the bad batch came through today and truly they were the worst of the pieces we've seen so far. Alongside them were some perfectly beautiful mugs from a different batch of clay.

Now we're faced with a dilemma, how to proceed. My wife and I are in disagreement on how to handle it. She wants to return the whole  rest of the batch and get a new batch from a new mix. Where I see how this would solve our problem it will also take a couple weeks for that to happen  as well as a lot of labor and time on our part. Then what do I do in the meantime? Fall behind in production schedule with no hope of getting anything done. If I continue to work through the current batch I will get mostly good pots and some that aren't, but it won't  put me behind while the new batches are mixed and sent and we drive down and pick it up.

I kind of feel like we've worked through the worst of it and will probably have no more problems. At least now I know to track the inventory numbers along with what I'm making so I will know what to report back to the clay company.

Monday, March 21, 2011

AH HA! I think I found the source of the bloating blister problem

I was trimming pieces today and I found some questionable material revealed under the blade of my tool. I'm going to pack it up and send it to the clay company unfired and see what they say about it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Did you miss us?

When you last heard from us we were frantically producing wares to take to Mississippi for the SCA's Gulf Wars event. It was not going as planned.

The biggest problem among many was we had a couple bad boxes of clay that were producing bloated pottery. big gaseous warts that would split open right on the piece itself! With the result that most of what I produced the first two weeks I threw turned out to be garbage, or at least fodder for our chimney mosaic project. A very few pieces ended up in our Etsy online store as seconds, but most were unsafe to put out for public use.

So we ended up rushing and rushing and not sleeping and trying desperately to get together 3-4 K of pottery to take to Mississippi and hand over to Jessa who is the boss of the shop that carries our work and her clothing all around to time travel events such as Gulf Wars and The Bay Area Renaissance Festival.

Our plan was to drive down over two days, drop off the pieces and visit with Jessa and our friend Kerry of Fire Horse Pottery  then head into New Orleans for a day, a night or two depending on the prices of hotels, and head back to PA by Thursday. It was a lovely time, Spring was evident, the weather was warm and we managed to find some screamingly good hotel deals on the trip.

We met in Hattiesburg at a lovely little Thai restaurant called Jutamas had a great visit and then headed towards NOLA. We  ended up just outside the city in a Comfort Inn, spent the night and headed in to NOLA in the morning.

First stop was the Visitors Center, to get a tourist map and to take a quick trip across the street from them to see the old city cemetary that has the grave of The VooDoo Queen of New Orleans as well as a 9 foot pyramid that will be the final resting place of Nicolas Cage.

Then we headed to The French Quarter, and had a Margaritaville, Rum based Brunch and went wandering the streets, window shopping, listening to the live music that appeared every few blocks and lazing the afternoon away. We had lunch at the Market Cafe, Crawdads for Rowan and A greek Salad for me, as well as an additional infusion of alcohol. Overall a pretty nice day. A few hours later we drove off into the sunset (OW!) and headed to our next adventure in Biloxi.

Biloxi was a mixed bag for fun.. I have a soft spot for Biloxi having visited it several times before Hurricane Katrina wiped 90% of it off the map. It houses the brand new George Ohr museum which was one of the things wiped off the map during Katrina.. It has the first Casinos I ever visited..and had slots loose enough I could play on $20 for hours.

I visited Biloxi two years after Katrina and it was still a wasteland of downed buildings, garbage and scrap heaps along the beaches, it was heartbreaking.

This time it looked like a bustling city. There were still some empty lots and foundations, but most of the downtown area looked vital. Many of the Casinos were rebuilt and there was a lot of traffic. We had trouble getting a good price on a hotel room in the middle of the week (used to get a spa room in a casino for $69 on a Wednesday) so we opted for a couple hours of slots ( a whole lot tighter than they used to be) and that was enough fun for us, meaning I wasn't gonna give the one armed bandit another bill without getting at least some good bonus action... we found a convenient waffle house for a 10:30PM dinner and headed towards home, hoping to find a good hotel in a couple hours. 2:00 AM we finally found a place.. the road we were on was desolate, but it gave us a good jump on the rest of the trip.

The drive home wasn't as much fun as the drive down, but we had some great conversation and saw some great sights and by the time we rolled into our driveway last night at 10:00 we were so glad to be back to our home and ready to face our regular day. Next time..I want a real vacation. without rush, struggle or 2 day time limits. I know Rowan feels the same way. Mixing work and play isn't the same as just play, no matter how we try to justify it