I am a girl after all

One of my very good friends, Rose, is leaving for Costa Rica today, so yesterday we went and got pedicures! It was my first, and I have to say I am thoroughly hooked. It was a little pricey, but for $30 we got pampered for over an hour… rubbed, massaged, oiled, exfoliated, steamed, trimmed, buffed, massaged some more, oiled some more, lotioned, rubbed… and then, of course, our toenails painted. Mine are now sparkly red, Rose’s a bright sparkling robin’s egg blue. They look like a jukebox (in a good way).

Sweet Taco sat in my lap the whole time and was soooo good. She would stare down at my feet and then try to pull off her socks. Before we left, all the girls wanted to hold her, and she didn’t cry once.

I felt like such a girl.

Then I went home and installed new lighting above the sink, while getting mild frostbite from insisting on walking around barefoot on our freezing concrete slab floor. Today I will peel back our carpet and caulk the junction between the floor and the exterior wall. Barefoot. My toes will be beautiful until they fall off from cold… or until I drop a hammer on them.

3 Responses to “I am a girl after all”

  1. David Says:

    I read your post on a website about ollas where you said you planned on making your own. I am not a potter but I would like to learn how to make my own ollas as well. I live in Kansas and south of my location, I’ve seen red dirt that may make good olla clay. Of course, I really don’t know for sure. Is there any chance that you may post your olla making on your blog? Any ideas are welcomed.

    PS. How did the old ones make pottery without kilns? When I was a child I used to visit old Native American camps and always found tons of pottery chards but never found anything that resembled a kiln.


  2. songspinr Says:

    then your toes will also be robin’s egg blue, then yellow…

  3. diana Says:

    David –

    we had such a wet, wet summer (and I was so very, very pregnant) that I never did make ollas. I still think they’d be easy to make, though. I was thinking I’d roll slabs (you can roll clay like pie dough), wrap them around a wine bottle (covered with newspaper, so I could slide the clay off later) to get a tube form, and then slap a bottom on them. The top could be pinched in later to give it a smaller circumference. They wouldn’t be the traditional shape and wouldn’t hold nearly as much water, but they would still work as long as they were only low-fired, not high-fired. They’d just need to be replenished more often.

    I’m sure there’s good clay in Kansas, you’d just have to find it (look near a river). The problem with plain old dirt is that it has much larger particles than clay, so it doesn’t stick together the same way – it just turns into mud. Clay’s particles are evenly sized, as fine as silt, and oval-shaped so they slide over each other. If I were you I’d just buy some clay: it’s not expensive. Look at Bailey’s (www.baileypottery.com) low-fire or earthenware clays. Those are clays that mature at low temperatures (1500 degrees), which is what you’re talking about if you want to fire in the old-fashioned way.

    The way Native Americans did it is called a “pit firing”, which you can learn lots about just by googling that term. They basically stacked pots in among piles of dried dung and sawdusty stuff, covered and filled them with that stuff, covered the pile with wood, lit it on fire, and came back the next day to sift through the ashes. It can give you some beautiful results, but a) none of it is waterproof unless later treated with fat or wax, and b) there is a tremendous percentage of loss in a firing like this due to the unpredictability of the fire, weight, etc.

    I’d encourage you to look up a local community center and see if they have an intro to ceramics program, or perhaps just a place where you can fire your stuff. Everything I know about Kansas I learned from Dorothy, but if you ever have dry summers there then I’d encourage you to experiment.

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