Friday, March 31, 2006
I'm standing about where the parking area will be.
I am standing on the back retaining/foundation wall, looking down into the dogtrot area. The wall and the footings for the other side (you can see here) are poured through for the dogtrot. Right now our framing stops at the begining of the dogtrot.
Here, I'm on the east side (where the rest of the house will go).
I'm standing in the dogtrot space now, looking down the front of the house. At these columns, I can walk completely to the other side without bending over. The bottom of the joists on this end are about 4" about my head (I'm 5'6") and on the other end, I have to stretch to reach the joists. Lots of space. The rock wall I am going to build to close up the house will fit right up under that overhang of the joists.
This is at the NE corner. That one tree (that the scaffolding is leaned against) is fairly close to the house but I believe we still have room to put that deck even if we enlarge it a little over what was first drawn.
This is taken from what most people would think of as the back yard.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
This view is one I showed before and now it has evolved some. This is standing on the west end of the house looking back at it. We are really having some difficulties with this covered walkway in the back there. I really like it and the way it looks but its going to block all my sun and thermal gain coming in through the lower part of the house. We would have to rely solely on the clerestory for solar gain. I don't want to try that plus I like sun in the kitchen. We've thought of skylights, cutting the walkway down etc. Now, the grid pattern and the windows, etc. are what is on the inside walls of the house. I was very confused by this when I first saw the drawing because I knew I did not want those big windows on the west end. Too much heat in the summer. Those windows and door are going to be on the wall next to the dogtrot. Those things projecting off the front of the house are the deck and a large planter. There are still plenty of details to add and other stuff. This weekend we hope to put down the subfloor and then next week I must finalize the window sizes because we'll be standing walls the next weekend!! I have to decide between double-hungs or casement windows etc. I like casements but we may have to go with double-hung (which I think is what he has drawn anyway) because of cost.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
I love the fact that you can still see and feel the potter's throwing lines on the inside. I wonder how old it is and what the person was like who made it. Judging by how consistant the thickness of the walls are, I think he was probably a pretty good potter. And I guess it was a he; I don't think there were too many women potters awhile back.
This is just a little piece of a teacup in the Blue Willow pattern. That's very popular here in the South. Both pieces had been in the creek so long that all the edges were worn very smooth. Allen keeps hoping that one of us will stumble upon or over a large gold nugget in the creek. I would settle for a big emerald or ruby too.
Monday, March 27, 2006
We are still waiting on drawings for our house and did not do a whole lot this past weekend on it. We are ready to put the subfloor down but the local lumber yard was out of the plywood we needed so we just worked tidying up and putting in some last framing. We could have got the plywood at Lowe's (devil store) but they are running about $5 a sheet more than the lumber yard here. Lowe's, Home Depot etc. are generally a rip on lumber (and some other stuff) and I don't like buying from them anyway.
This post is also in memory of an old friend too. An old carpenter I worked with years ago when I was just a little apprentice girl, passed away this past week. He was a dear man. I worked with him on the first 2 jobs I was on and back then he was one of the few men who would work as my partner (apprentices are always put with a journeyman until they get some experience). He used to tell the most awful, corny jokes and I could not help but laugh and we would get in trouble with the boss. Boss man always threatened to seperate us but he never did. He had not been retired long when they found out he had cancer and he did not last too long. Alot of the guys I have worked with are really good friends still. Some people tend to think the men wouldn't treat a woman construction worker well but for the most part they are some really good men.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
I have got to finish this second column and then Allen will pour a slab at the height you see that first one at and then we will continue the columns on up and I will lay a wall in between the columns so you won't see under the porch. This is why I haven't blogged every day or have been late posting comments! We go in pretty early and have been working until dark. It's a little slow work trying to fit those stones because they are so irregular. I like doing stone work but I'll be glad when I'm doing it at my own house. I have had one job offer from a guy passing by too!
The weather has been great although a bit chilly at times and this tree is beside where I'm working so the enviroment is nice. Don't know what kind this is but it has a great smell too.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Anyway, here I am trimming. I make a small foot on the bottom to recess my name in so it doesn't scratch the surface the mug is set on.
I attach the handle at the top and let it drap over 3 fingers and then attach the bottom. Alot of people ask me why I put that little wiggle at the bottom of the handle. One of my ceramics professors always said that a handmade item that had a utilitian purpose, should also carry a mark of the person who made the item so that the human to human connection would be obvious and complete. Their hand would use the item that your hand obviously made. Not like the sterile items from the stores. This is not a very good example of the wiggle that I'm talking about though. If you let the clay get just a little too dry it's very hard to do right.
And here's the completed mugs! Ready to dry and then be bisqued fired. Then they will be glazed and fired again. I don't know if you can see it, but on some of them I press a little seashell around the rim or bottom or some other natural object that makes a nice impression.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Hey Pablo, I moderate my comments so even if you are on an old post and leave a comment, I will see it. Maybe you or Blogger or whatever is the problem will get that straightened out soon! We miss your input!
Sunday, March 19, 2006
I'm not sure what I was talking about here but I seem to be discussing something him. These are 14' long 2x10's that are lapped on the middle supporting beam. This section of the house is only about 1,000 sq.ft. so that's why it may look a little small. But we just don't need alot of house. I have had several people question me about this but I see alot of people that have these large houses and only use half the rooms in them. That doesn't make alot of sense to me unless you do alot of entertaining where those rooms are used then. I like to entertain but our parties are just not that fancy.
We worked until after dark because we knew it was probably going to rain us out today. Allen wanted a picture after dark that showed the underside. I'm not sure why. I think he is just thrilled that there is now enough of a house to have an undeside. He keeps trying to convince me that we can just put a tarp up over the joists and move in but I don't know...... it's still a little chilly here at night.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
On an unrelated note, the other day Allen and I went searching for stone for a house he is building in Birmingham. Many of you have seen the posts here and on Rurality's blog about all the stone in this part of Alabama but even I didn't realize the extent of the different types available. There are several quarries and stone yards just down the road from us and these pics where taken at one of them. There are just acres of all kinds of stone in all different colors; its really cool. I guess I'm weird but I just drool over all these rocks and what you could build with them.
These were some of the more unusual ones we saw. I had never seen any stone around here like this before. These pics really don't do the color justice; they were much brighter. These had been sawn into tiles about 16"x 24" x 1" thick and were fairly smooth. They did not have many and I wasn't even going to bother to ask the price. Allen and I have been trying to think where we might could use a piece or two of this maybe as an accent or something. We could probably afford a little bit.
Here I was just trying to show a little better detail in that one stone. It appears to be some type of sandstone I think, so I don't know how well it would stand up to foot traffic.
Also, we received our first large delivery of lumber this morning for framing so hopefully I will have pics of that tomorrow or next day if the rain holds off. And by the end of next week I am supposed to have completed drawings of the house. Or very close. I can't wait!
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Putting it in the garbage can with the combustibles is called reduction because it sucks all of the oxygen out of the atmosphere in the can. This lack of oxygen causes certain colors to come out in the glazes like the bright copper you see on these pots. If you just let them sit out in the air the glazes would just be green. Same principle as how when copper metal is left out in the weather it turns green over time. The black areas are where there is no glaze and the pot absorbs carbon from the burning of the combustibles. After reduction most people quench the pots in water to seal the colors on but you can just leave them in the can and let them cool completely. However, something about Raku robs you of your patience and you've just got to see it as soon as possible.
The original Japanese process did not include the reduction part and they actually used theirs to drink out of. In the 1950's Paul Soldner and some other potters brought the technique to the U.S. and started monkeying around with it, like we Americans do with everything I guess and came up with this. I don't do as much Raku as I used to but would like to get back into it a little more.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Here Allen is explaining or bragging about things to Fred and his twin daughters. Allen's daughters, not Fred's.
This is just a little detail of the beams from underneath. The beams are just nailed now but we will bolt all three 2x's together at the joints this weekend and they are also bolted to the steel columns with lag bolts.
Someone asked me about architect fees the other day and I don't think I answered that as well as I could. Maybe this is better. Most architects get 10-12% of the estimated value of the building. Allen says residential architects get a little more than commercial. I don't know.
I will post some more pottery photos as soon as I can as I have had some requests for that.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Here you can kind of see where the rock sits in relation to the house.
Keep in mind that the rest of the house will continue on past where we stopped the wall at for now and also what most people would consider the back of the house is kinda the front. The house really won't have a definate front or back. The rock is near the top center of the photo. The ground level elevation at the base of that biggest tree over on the right is what I want the finish floor elevation in the house to be. So, all of that tore up dirt in between the tree and the wall will be filled in and flat. I have found a tremendous amount of flagstone on our land and will use that to build the patio here, upon which we will sip libations in the heat of the summer.
We have dup up tons of rocks everywhere! Big ones, little ones, flat ones, you name it. I am currently piling them up wherever there seems to be a concentration of them. Later I will use them to build the wall that will close off the underside of the house etc.
This is a small pile of the flagstone. Most of these came from the old dam and were placed around the spill way. I believe these were probably hauled in but maybe not. I need to gather alot more of these to have enough though.
Friday, March 10, 2006
This is Allen's version of the house that he drew some time ago. Now, he could actually build the house just from this but I told him I wanted just a little more to go on. We have one more I have not put up that shows the house from the outside but it is going to change considerably. We feel that the house should "reflect the vernacular of our area" as I once heard it put. I suppose that could bring many things to mind. It will employ some old southern methods of cooling such as a dogtrot that will also give it a retro look as well as the metal roof and lap siding.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Monday, March 06, 2006
It was getting dark when I took these photos and on this one I used a flash. I thought it made a really funky effect with the water. The green stuff at the top is watercress which grows abundantly in these streams. I have heard that it will only grow in fairly pure water but I don't know. There are also these little cone-shaped snails that Fred calls "periwinkles" but I don't know much about them either. I will try to get a photo of them though.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Thursday, March 02, 2006
This is the back retaining/foundation wall. It is a standard 8" thick and 4' tall here and then gets taller down where it turns. Poured concrete is much better than block and sometimes just as affordable. But even if it costs more, concrete is worth it. We will put a french drain down at the footing and then backfill so that we will have a flat area for a patio at the entrance. We set anchor bolts in the top of the wall (approx. every 4') when we poured which will be used to bolt the rat sill down. The rat sill will be a P.T. 2x6 and will carry the floor joists on this side. There will be a termite shield in between the concrete and 2x6. I don't think termites are going to chew through the concrete (although I have heard urban legends to the contrary) but they are a real issue down here. Having two 90 degree corners in this wall also stabilizes it greatly and relieves us of having to worry about putting bracing in between the foundation posts on the front of the house.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Here, they have picked the crucible up with the help of a little motorized chain hoist. The bronze is somewhere around 2,200 degrees F. I think. It is somewhere in that range. The crucible is made of silicon carbide, the same material that kiln shelves are made of. The little box looking things in front of them are the molds for what they are going to be pouring. There are several ways to make molds and different materials that can be used for the molds in casting bronze. These particular molds are resin-bonded sand and they are using the lost-wax method of casting which I think is fairly standard with bronze.
Here, they are pouring as you can see. It is a fairly nerve-wracking procedure; or it was to me. It can be very dangerous and you have to pay attention to everything. That is the prof. again there on the right. The students are actually doing everything themselves but he is guiding them along. That really helps the nervousness part.
They did not have to let the molds cool for very long at all (about 20 min.), so we were able to see them bust the pieces out. This mold actually cracked in the pouring but the piece was fine. I don't know if you can tell it is a hand. The forearm is still encased in the mold.
Edited to add: Kara, check my comments under the" Time Out" post and I tell all about how I got started in pottery etc.