Did you know that today is Show and Tell Day? It's true. I read it on the Internet, so it must be true!
So a couple of weeks ago I asked people to ask me questions, things I hadn't shown or told, and I got three responses -- to see the outside of the kiln, to talk about shipping, and to show the slab roller in action.
I can't run the slab roller this week, because I'm winding yarn and the slab roller and the swift take up the same space, so I can't use them both at once -- so I'm afraid the slab roller video will have to wait a couple of weeks until I'm working on ceramics again.
Shipping! I could almost do an entire post on shipping... or three posts... but I'll try to just cover the basics.
I ship two ways: FedEx, and USPS.
Domestic FedEx is super easy; pack, weigh, go to the website, type in mailing info, select next-day pickup (unless it's a Friday, and in that case, I'll drive it to the FedEx office rather than wait until Monday). International is a little more complicated, with online forms to fill out that are rather vague and yet seem rather threatening if you get them wrong.
USPS is easy, once you figure out the eight thousand ways you can ship. The three I use most often for Domestic shipping are First Class Parcel Post, Standard, and Priority Mail.
First Class is for anything that weighs less than 13 ounces; a couple of bars of soap, a skein or two of yarn, very light ceramics. Stitch markers and buttons, as long as they're not purchased with anything else that's too much heavier. First Class is inexpensive, since things are light, and usually take 2-4 days to get to their destination.
Standard is good for heavy things that aren't time sensitive. Anything over 13 ounces, and although lighter things seem more expensive than Priority, the heavier it gets the more comparable it gets, and very heavy things (say, more than four pounds) it's usually more cost-effective. This usually takes 4-9 days to get to its destination, depending on destination. Florida to Georgia, not that long; Florida to California, longer.
Priority Mail can either go in my boxes, or in USPS supplied boxes. I usually use mine, because my PO has a small supply of regular Priority Boxes and I don't use Flat Rate Shipping all that often. The reason I don't use Flat Rate is because it seems like they don't offer a variety of boxes in sizes I need. The free boxes are unfortunately either too small, or not the right shape... so I prefer to buy boxes from a shipping supply company. Priority Mail can range in price depending on weight and destination, and usually takes 1-4 days to get to its destination.
The shipping I do Internationally for USPS is either First Class (regular, not express) and it has no guaranteed delivery date, or Priority Mail International that takes 6-10 business days on average. The price of shipping is determined by the weight of the package and can vary widely from country to country.
I could go on more about shipping; how I wrap things (stay tuned for International Bubble Wrap day later this month for a post on that!), why the cost is why it is (hint: it's set by the carrier), and where I get my shipping supplies (hmm... I thought I did a post on that a long time ago, but I can't find it in search). But this post is getting long, and I don't want you to fall asleep from boredom! Any other questions about shipping? I'll be happy to answer them some other time.
And I'll leave you with a photo of the outside of my kiln...
That "0032" reading is a temperature gauge. That's how cold it is on the inside of my kiln right now. And it's not that much warmer outside of it, either.
(As a bonus, on my personal blog, you can read about when I got it.)