Siteground update broke WordPress

So… after some struggle, I figured out why this site was completely broken. Thanks to a “helpful” update by my provider, this little line was removed from wp-config.php.

require_once(ABSPATH . 'wp-settings.php');

As a result, I was getting errors:
Fatal error: Call to undefined function wp() in wp-blog-header.php

Once I added it back at the end of the file, all is well again. The best I can think is that it was an artifact of my provider’s autoupdate, because this was in the file in its place:
# Disables all core updates. Added by SiteGround Autoupdate:
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );

I’m putting this out online in the hopes that someone else will find it, and it will help them too! (Because it was crazy…) Good luck wordpressers!

CyberMonday 25% sale!

Maybe its the season, maybe I’m feeling extra crazy because family Thanksgiving was today… I might not be hungry again for days… but I’m getting in on the Cyber Monday thing. CyberCreatures14 gives 25% off anything on my etsy site, http://CurtinsCreations.etsy.com/. Dec 1 only. Get in there!

Wine Stopper process howto – epoxy or glue?

I was asked after a facebook post “Wondering what type of glue you use? I’m always afraid things won’t adhere to the pottery. And does it work as well ceramic on ceramic?”

It made me realize I’d never discussed my process for attaching ceramic to the metal stoppers. So – here ya go: I hope this will help someone else down the road!

I went through several different epoxies and glues and finally settled on Loctite Hysol E-00CL. (McMaster-Carr has it and the dispenser here: http://www.mcmaster.com/#loctite-e-00cl/=ule32q). I make the ceramic end of my stoppers with a hole up through the bottom that matches a hole in the metal piece. (By the way, this hole also makes glazing easier, and means I can put the stoppers on stilts when firing to keep them from sticking to the shelf or falling over. Win/win/win. :) No glaze on the bottom of the piece, a threaded rod cut to length that’s small enough to slide freely between the two + epoxy = a very strong bond. Its really tricky to get it to all be clean, ventilation is really important, but its worth it – super strong bond, crystal clear. The ceramic will break long before the epoxy does.

Stoppers curing after being epoxied

Stoppers curing after being epoxied

Keeping the join clean… that’s almost another post. I use a mixer nozzle with a fine tip to squeeze epoxy into the hole in the metal end. Just the right amount that when I push the threaded rod in there will be a bit of epoxy squeezed out of the hole. I then do the same on the ceramic end’s hole. The set time for the epoxy is 5 minutes, which gives me just enough time to work on about 4 stoppers in parallel:

  • Hold the metal end upright, add epoxy, insert threaded rod.
  • Add epoxy to a ceramic end, place it hole up.
  • Repeat a few more times, then go back to the first and:
  • Flip ceramic over and slide down onto rod.
  • Immediately clean off any epoxy that’s out of place – I do this with qtips snapped in half and small pieces of index card.
    The desire is to have the epoxy just to the edge of the metal and the ceramic so metal to ceramic is a smooth transition with no seams or edges.
  • Prop up stopper however necessary so there’s no movement while it finally sets. Once the bond is sturdy, it can complete curing over the next 24 hours without any concerns.

I initially tried several glues (including E6000), but found that they didn’t harden inside the piece, or shrank (the epoxy doesn’t shrink at all), or didn’t form a strong enough bond. Epoxy fills voids, dries absolutely solid, and looks just like glass – when done right, if its visible it can actually add something to the piece!

Don’t forget to protect yourself when working with epoxy – there are concerns with both fumes and skin contact. (And obviously you shouldn’t lick the stuff. 😉 I always wear gloves, and work in the bathroom – I can close the door, and have installed an overly-eager fan which sucks air out fast enough that there’s no inhalation issues. (I actually had to enlarge the gap under the door to allow enough airflow. This fan really sucks.)

Have fun! If you have any questions or success, let me know here or on my Facebook Page: Curly Creatures. Enjoy!

More from yesterday’s epic session

How many hours at the studio yesterday? I lost track. Tons of good work through, despite a few pieces that needed to be redone on account of glaze going on too thick and peeling away as it dried. (Grr.)

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I finished by having some fun throwing geometric shapes. The cylinder and biggest sphere are going into a new lighting project. BTW: throwing a sphere is hard – it’s still not quite right, but prob as good as I can get it. Anyone have tips for this?

There’s some glazin to do heah!

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Tons of goodies came out of the bisque today!

A few goodies

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Last night’s quick studio session produced these three beauties. With luck, they’ll be out by Christmas! (It’s going to be tight.)

A lesson for webmasters…

A lesson that I shouldn’t have needed to learn: backup your site before doing any upgrades. I know better. It had been a while since I updated my WordPress install, so I clicked the button… done! Hmm – themes have updates too, no problem, I’ll do that…

It didn’t even occur to me that changing the theme would totally break my custom code – the new version of Atahaulpa disabled embedded php code. Suddenly, main page of the site = blank white nothing. Sometimes its good for the mind to be a blank slate, but not so much when that’s what the rest of the world sees.

So… working on fixing things here. In the meantime, the main page now directs to this blog instead of Finished Work.

Speaking of finished work, I’ve got all of my stoppers up on my Etsy page. A lot of work lately on functional stuff – some great bowls and new glazes I’m really happy with. One of my Creatures has gotten a gold-leaf upgrade (I’m struggling not to put gold leaf on everything now.) And I’m working up the best way to make custom handles for high-end espresso tampers… Fun stuff afoot! Right after I fix this site.

Thoughts on branding

Ok – had a great discussion today with my neighbor who happens to spend a lot of time on marketing and ideas. Her thought: there are actually two types of stoppers, and they really should be separated:

Why? Well, the tall curls or spires are unadorned, simple, artistic. The creatures are more whimsical, fun. The creatures make you laugh, the spires make you say “ooh”. They definitely have different feels to them – it would be much easier to give a spiral to someone and know that they would like it, where the creatures have much more personality, which means they can appeal more to an individual, but also makes them more of an individual’s choice, rather than a gift.

So – thinking of names. For the creatures: Wineosaurs. Party Animals. Like them both, for different reasons. Wineosaurs is a fun thing, but totally skips the fact that they’re actually at least as well suited (if not moreso) to sitting on a bottle of scotch than a bottle of wine. (Scotch you open once and drink for a long time. Wine lasts a day or two usually.)

For the others… having a hard time with that so far, but would love thoughts. Something like “wisp”, except they’re more solid than that…

Busy season!

Stoppers are on the march, y’all.  Shelburne Vineyard has them for sale, home on Shelburne Rd will be selling them when they reopen (sounds like a cool place: wine tastings, local foods, local crafts, furniture – I’m curious to see how it works out.)  Block gallery in Winooski will be carrying them during their big yearly show in November.  There are a few other local spots I’m looking to get into as well.
Shelburne Vineyard display

All of which means: get making!  There are nine in the bisque kiln now, and I’m hoping to keep up at least half a dozen a week for the next month.
Waiting for firing

Its tough being in this stage – I believe in the product, retailers believe in the product, but I’m needing to make ahead something whose rate of sale is totally unknown.  One a day?  One a week?  A month?  Here’s hoping I don’t end up with too many in stock or too few to keep stores full!  Anyone have any tips on predicting this kind of thing?

Roadshow: pro

It occurred to me this week that I need a better way to keep a selection of stoppers with me. While travelling I spoke with someone who would have sold them in his shop, but since I didn’t have any I may have missed the opportunity.

This fits the bill really nicely. Its a “pistol case” that I picked up for under $30 from a local sports store. Two layers of convoluted foam and one of “pick and pluck”. The pick and pluck means you can pull out chunks of the foam based on a grid to make room for things.

So now I can carry a ton of single and double displays, two of the longer point-of-sale displays, a box of Moo cards, and a dozen or so stoppers. It shows very well (much better than unwrapping a dozen stoppers from bubble-wrap), and better yet it makes great protection. Even after a drop of a few feet down onto the floor, the stoppers didn’t move at all. I think now I’ll just plan to keep this filled with a full dozen and keep it with me any time I travel from now on.

The last thing it needs is a price sheet (or just price tags?) of some kind that’s generic enough for a shop owner to be able to choose the stoppers they want and me to keep track of that. (I think if I want to step up production, I’m going to need to stopping naming each stopper. Or I’ll go nuts.) (More so than normal. 😉