Category: Organization

Ode to my Pasta Machine

If you’re a polymer clayer there’s a good chance you understand this post in a deep and emotional way. For the others out there let me tell you how much I appreciate my pasta machine and it’s good friend the pasta machine motor.

This fall my old machine – or it’s motor, rather – began losing torque. I love my pasta machine motor. It makes doing blends so much simpler. I use it most days. And they’re not cheap, especially shipped to rural Canada.

Long story short, my poor motor finally lost enough oomph that it wouldn’t crank my pasta machine. I spent a few days hand cranking and then broke down and ordered a new one. At the same time, I ordered a new pasta machine, as well, since they come in fun colours now and it’s always good to have backup studio equipment.

Isn’t it pretty?

My partner – a handy guy – tells me that the commutator in the old motor is a little off true and is repairable. This is out of my nerd wheelhouse but I think it means I may have a second, working, motor. I know my older one died differently and was NOT repairable.

Either way, if you need to find me, I am making blends on my shiny new machine with the loud, energetic motor.

Bonus weird fact: my studio is open to the public and the pasta machine is clearly visible. It has been the source of many conversations over the years with random customers. I am pretty sure in my small town I have the most pasta machines, period. And I am pretty sure people figure I am making beads by day and weird pasta in my off hours.

Projects on the Go

barrenness of a busy life

I love quotes and this one is one of the ones in my notebooks. I usually have a friendly relationship with busy but there are always points where it feels like the projects are stacking up too high. Right around that point, everything feels busy but not as if it’s accomplishing much.

Of course, then you knock a few things off the to-do list, have a cup of coffee, and take a few minutes to breathe. It doesn’t necessarily fix everything but it’s a bit of a reset.

The best tip for avoiding being so busy your life feels empty? Learn how not to pick up every project ever. I’m still working on that one.

Continual Improvement

Butterfly Beads

I try, very, very hard to not fall into the trap of having to have things work perfectly the first time. I aim, instead, for small improvements, little steps, incremental progress. I can math well enough to know that compound interest is magic and I feel that the same concept applies to most things. You put a little effort into a project, over a period of time and the results will impress you. We covered this approach in a unit, in school, on Japan. They call it Kaizen and use it to mean the incremental improvements in corporate and manufacturing settings that keep a company steadily climbing. They contrast it with the Western approach where people aim for perfect in one go. I can’t do perfect but I can do a little better, often.

This applies to my site and my polymer clay life as well, of course. I’m going through the tedious process of converting materials from here into better formats and layouts. Some of it needs updating because I’ve improved and the clay work explained on here needs to be corrected. Other items need updating because I’ve learned how to use better tools for production content making.

First up: I updated the quickie Skinner Blend Plug tutorial. I added a section on how to make the blend, created new pictures and laid it out more effectively. I may need to take the image sizes down a notch but overall I’m pleased. For added fun, I ran the images through a slide show program and posted that on my Instagram so you can see the whole deal as a simple video. Once I shrink the images a bit, I’ll make an animated gif version for here.