Tuesday, May 29, 2012

It's A Turkey!

No Really!  This guy/gal was wandering around in the woods behind the house yesterday.  I don't usually see single turkeys at this time of year.  It's possible that she took a break from egg sitting or was food searching for turkeyettes.

 These are majestic birds.  I love the way the changing light changes the coloring.   Courting males with their tails in full array are something to see.  Now I see why Ben Franklin wanted the wild turkey as our national bird.

I made four new molds yesterday.  This will be a medium size plate, suitable for a sandwich or a snack.  I like to make my molds out of high fire clay fired to a low bisque temp.  They are absorbent and I don't have to worry about plaster getting into my clay.

I make the ovals in various sizes.  Sometimes I add little feet and glaze the exterior.  Most of the time I like to leave the exterior unglazed and burnished.

We had a pizza pig-out of Sunday.  Unfortunately we were so excited about eating them that I forgot the camera.  We did sauteed onions, potatoes and swiss cheese;  chicken, potatoes and provolone; bacon, tomato and cheese; and pepperoni and two cheeses.  We didn't do them on the grill as it was too windy.  We cook with charcoal and wood and even though the woods are wet it's stupid to take chances.

Thanks to my new followers for finding me.

Thanks for stopping by..............*s*

Friday, May 25, 2012

More Shoes

I've been looking at more of my shoe whistles.  Yes I did actually own pairs like these.  I only wore the big sole sandals a couple of times.  I bought them to go with a pair of pants.  Ah youth! I never had any qualms about wearing them.  Not anymore!  Without any sort of back strap they are ankle killers in the extreme!

Not so with the slides.  I wore them every Independence Day until they fell apart on my feet.  They were cute and comfortable.  I've never been able to find a replacement.

 All of which leads me to getting even more excited about making more shoes.  Somewhere I still have the prototypes of the baby shoes I used to make.  I'd rather make new ones than tear through old boxes!

The Yellow Flags Are Blooming!

I had these for several years in a pot under a drain spout so they always got plenty of water, but the clump never got very big.  Last summer we hacked it apart into five pieces and planted them around the pond.  It was probably a combination of constant water and the mild winter but they have taken off like gang busters.

I am not overly fond of yellow flowers except in the spring.  Yellow is a color that is rarely seen over the winter in this area.  For me it's a real harbinger of the season.  Now I need to get blue flags.

Have a good Memorial Day week end.

Thanks for stopping by...........*s*

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Something Neat......

.......Is the way Gwen Murphy recycles shoes into strange wonderful personalities.  All should take a look at her work.

It was a little strange to find Gwen as I had been thinking and looking at the shoe whistles I made a few years back.  These are fairly small. 

 I think I'm going to try making some life size, but not pairs.  The impetus for singles comes from seeing single shoes by the side of the road.  How does you lose one shoe?   Do that many people ride around with their feet hanging out of windows?  I used to do a lot of driving and never saw feet hanging out of car windows.  Or perhaps it's like a bad divorce and the pairs break up any way they can.  

We'll see, grasshopper, we'll see...........

And yes, they do whistle.

Thanks for stopping by...............*s*

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

After last week end's adventure this is what we have been calling Aloysius.  He got out around midnight Friday, when we were taking Winter out before bedtime.  This cat just oozes out of any space he can find.  Of course Winter decided it was time to play, Aloysius panicked and ran off into the woods.  No amount of calling brought him back.  We almost had him Saturday, but a local cat attacked him and he ran into the woods again.  He stayed hidden until Sunday morning when his cries sent us searching the brush piles.  Finally we got him in by putting a little kibble on the deck.  His whole attitude seems to be, "What! You got lost; it's about time you came back!"

We are so pleased to have him back.  Aloysius does not love being an indoor cat.  On the other hand, he generally cries and waits to be brought in when he does get out.  There are too many dangers in the woods (fisher cats, rabies, coyotes to start) to let the cats or dog out loose.

And finally a turtle, or tortoise for Linda.  She has wonderful turtles down in Florida.  Occasionally we see box turtles, upon which this guy is based.

More rain today; we are beginning to look like a jungle.

Thanks for stopping by............*s*

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy Sunny Day!

Weeeellllll......I was going to start with the driveway but I'm so excited with the teapot that I have to show it off.  This is an idea I have been exploring for a while, but this is the first one to make it this far. The balance between the spout, handle, and feet , both physical and visual is the most difficult aspect.  It's all too easy to make pots that fall backwards when full. 

This is a one cup pot.  I generally like my teapots to hold fourteen to twenty-four ounces.  Small enough for one, but big enough to share.

Now I need to make some bigger ones.

And finally the driveway......it was redone as part of a right-of-way agreement on the far side of my property.  It makes us look so much more civilized!

The shed is just to the right of the top photo.  (I could stitch them if I wanted to take the time.....but I rather be potting!)  Now we have to work on the rest of the yard.  I find that's the best kick to get me going.  Fix one thing and bring everything else up to it's level.
I'm off to buy the papers and hopefully a few plants and get the dahlias in!

 We'll see, Grasshopper, we'll see.......

Happy Sunny Day to all.

Thanks for stopping by............*s*

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Lots of rain......Hopefully preventing a drought later this summer. 

 This beech tree is probably my favorite tree on our property. Two years ago we cut down all the brush and weed trees around it.  The lower branches, which were shaded and crowded are recovering and starting to fill out.  Canopied forest means the trees have full crown and few if any lower branches.  This one is on the edge of the house clearing so it had more light than most.

Beech tree are survivors.  Shortly after we moved out here in the mid seventies we had a gypsy moth infestation that had to be seen to be believe.  It looked like april in july.  In all those years of devastation we never lost a beech.


Winter has been growing.  She's gotten over much of her initial shyness, although the wild turkeys gobbling are cause to be aware of monsters in the woods.  It's hard to get a picture of her as she spends most of her time bouncing when she is outside. 

I have two glazes being made.  One is my tried and true Linda Arbuckle.  The other is one we used in a Walter Ostrum work shop at Haystack, over twenty years ago, Andrea Gills WOM (Walter Ostrum Majolica....although Walter says it isn't his.)

It's starting to thunder so I'm going to turn stuff off.

Thanks for stopping by...........*s*

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Frogs are Out!

Frogs in the pond remind me that it's time to put the garden critters out.  These guys are usually under the waterfall, but we are working on that area so for now they are enjoying the sun.  Perhaps they are toads?

The real frogs are enjoying sun and water.  I think this little red guy was here last summer.  I have no idea what he is.  Below is a garden variety frog, the type I look at when need to look at eyes, feet etc.

I finished another loaf of slow rise bread yesterday.  This one is very simple, made with unbleached white flour.  The flavor comes from the sour dough starter...it needs a little more salt.  I think salt is one of the trickiest ingredients....too little and it tastes flat, too much and it loses all flavor but salt.

I'm really looking forward to baking this type of bread on the grill this summer.  Charcoal adds a whole new layer of flavor.

We are having sun and warmth......happy week end all.

Thanks for stopping by...........*s*

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Get a Handle

I have finally found another square shape I like for my square mugs.  Many years ago square mugs were my first big success.  I used a square small milk bottle which was perfect for what I wanted.  Alas I never made any permanent forms and the bottles stopped being made; even plastic wears out eventually.  But hydrogen peroxide now comes in square bottles, pint and quart sizes.....oh happy day.  I use hydrogen peroxide a lot for cleaning so it's a double deal.....recycle, recycle, recycle.

One of the things I enjoy about hand building is that most of the work can be completed in one step.  These need to have the rims finished and a general clean up.

I've been experimenting with some new mug handles.  I am not thrilled with what I have been making. They are adequate, but have not evolved along with my mugs.  I'm trying wider, flatter handles with various ridges in them.  The two views of the first one has a ridge down the center.  The edges are slightly rounded; using a mug is not supposed to be painful.


 The second two views show a handle with two ridges with thinned out and rounded edges. I like to put the handle on the corner as it forces the user to drink out of a corner.....sort of like a pitcher spout.  It's possible to make a square mug which uses the side rather than corner, but it takes altering the rim a bit.  Otherwise it's like drinking Niagara Falls.

I've been remembering two artists.....Maurice Sendak, eighty-three, who gave us a vision of his unique world, and Roman Totinberg, one hundred and one,  who was still teaching while bedridden in the last days of his life.  Artists have LONG LIVES!

There was a rather soggy humming bird (It's been raining for three days.) at the columbine.  Now I have the camera out in hope that he/she will return.

Thanks for stopping by..............*s*

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Considering Mugs

I've been thinking about mugs and cups lately.  Mugs are the most interactive and intimate pieces I make.  I hold them in my hand(s) to use them and put my mouth on the lips to drink.  I am most concerned with the shape of the rim and how it feels against my lips.  The lip can be uneven, able to be used at only one or two positions but it has to feel good.  I don't like the sensation of drinking over sandpaper.

I've been using the cone and inverted cone for my hand built mugs lately.  These are pleasant to hold and drink from.  I also make square mugs, but I don't have any at present.

 I like to make a nice plump form when I throw mugs.  The roundness fits very nicely into my hand.  I tend to cradle round mugs in the palm of my hand with my thumb through the handle for steadiness.  The indented ridge prevents a lot of spills and splashes.

Below is an early form I made many times.  I had to be careful in making the rim.  If I pulled it too far out it would dump tea (or beverage of choice) around my mouth down my front, which was disconcerting to say the least.

Feet have to be sturdy and stable.  I don't want to think about how I have to put a mug down on the table.  Feet also have to be smooth.  For the last year I have been using terra sig and burnishing the feet.


For the first time in at least a week the sun is out.  I know we needed rain but it was starting to get ridiculous! 

The white bleeding heart has gone mad this year.  I'm going to divide it a little and put some out near the pond. 

This is a small...less than half the size....wild white violet.  In the last few years it has established itself in the lawn and some of the planters.  It's a little later than the other violets so it keeps the season going a little longer.

And here is the last of the daffodils.  Due to the up and down temps I have had daffodils blooming since the end of February.  In this area it's generally and cold and unpleasant spring which suddenly gets hot and stays hot, which means most bulbs are doomed to a few days of flowering.  This year has been a pleasant change!

Happy sunny day to all

Thanks for stopping by ............*s*

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dear Pete

Seeger, ninety-three years old today and still going strong.  When artists get going they seem to go on and on....to the benefit of the world!

 The columbines, one of my absolute favorites, are in bloom and today are for the song "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"  I love the colors and profusion of blooms.

Another rainy, cool day......not so good for working outside, but the colors are poppingly (is that a word?) vivid.  I guess we use gray backgrounds for a reason. 

 I'm having two glazes made up and WOW! tin has always been costly but now it's out of sight.  Fortunately after consulting my far flung notes I see that I can substitute zircopax or superpax for tin.  I just use double the amount.  I even found a couple of examples in old photos I took long before the world of digital cameras.

Many thanks to all those who were sympathetic with my migraine problems.  I think this is the first one I've had since last fall's allergy season.  There are a few foods that I never eat.....chocolate, in particular, which actually had me in an emergency room about fifteen years ago. No need to express sympathy.....I lost my taste long ago for something which is life threatening.

The white and yellow columbines are new this year.  I hope they survive.  I bought them at a local, very reliable greenhouse.  They said that the ones planted in their display gardens have been there for several years.  Still wintering over tends to be a crap shoot in this area due to up and down temps which can totally stress out plants.

I've had the pale pink for so long that I don't even remember its origin.  It may be one that just grew on its own.  Columbine does that.

The flamingoes wandered into the garden last week.  I hope more are on the way.  I have to admit to a certain fondness for big pink birds.  Somewhere I have an old photo that Proge's dad took many years ago at a zoo in Germany of flamingoes in the snow.  That is just plain ODD!

Thanks for stopping by.....................*s*