I unloaded my kiln this morning, after the first firing of all the jewelry pieces I've been making. Pendants, charms, beads, buttons. Whatever you want to call them. Now they are ready for glazing. Last night I ordered the wire that I will need to use, to suspend the beads and buttons for the glaze firing- so the glaze won't stick to anything in the kiln, like the shelves. I had ordered a bead rack from a pottery supply website, but the wire that came with it, had a diameter that was at least twice as big as the holes in my beads. So I went direct to an electrical supply outlet online, and ordered much smaller wire.
The wire is nichrome wire, which I think it short for nickel chromium? This type of wire can withstand the heat of the kiln, and seems to be what everyone uses to make beads and buttons. The glaze, I guess, does not stick to the wire- at least I hope not. But, since this is just still experimenting, I will find out soon! The downside of a smaller diameter wire, is that the heat will make it bend more than the thicker wire, especially when the weight of the beads is added. I think I will have to use very short pieces of wire and support them well on both ends. This is why I wanted my own kiln- so I can learn and experiment and not worry about screwing up someone else's kiln. But, I sure do miss the expertise and guidance from my old pottery teacher Dianna back in South Carolina. I don't have anyone here to ask questions, and I have to rely on what I can find online.
Other than pottery, James and I have still been working in the yard. I have a few more plants that are in pots, that I'm getting into the ground in the new flower beds. It's been slow going for me, because I have to wear the brace on my right wrist whenever I'm working in the yard right now. But after I get all the plants in the ground, we'll get everything mulched for the summer. Then it will be on to the never-ending maintenance of trimming the shrubs and pulling weeds. But I am trying to look at it as great exercise and a daily dose of Vitamin D.
I may plant a few more perennials later on this year, depending on what fun things I find at Lowe's. Every year they seem to have plants that I've never seen before, and throughout the summer they get in new plants every few weeks. I will probably wait until later in the summer, to see what arrives. It seems like every year I buy up plants early, and say I won't plant anything else, then in August and September I start seeing new perennials in the garden center that weren't out earlier in the year.
This past weekend we went to a flea market in Atlanta, and James lucked up and found a nice Troybilt rototiller at a great price- about a third of what they cost new at Lowe's. We've been wanting one for awhile, and have been watching to see if they went on sale anywhere, but never could find one in our price range. And for something we will only use a few times a year, we didn't want to pay $600 or $700, or worse, the inconvenience and cost of renting one every time we needed it. So, this is a fantastic- and budget friendly- addition to our garden equipment. It will come in handy later on this year when we go to dig up and make beds around our new trees in the front yard.