Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rainy Day Project

There have been some beautiful photos of the full moon posted in various blogs.  Alas, such is not the case here.  We have had clouds and rain since last tuesday.  There have been some heavy downpours and a lot of drizzle which is just enough to kill any thought of being outside.

Instead, I woke up yesterday morning with an image of these goblets in my head.  Perhaps related to some dream or reading, who knows?  Of course there is a long journey between my mind's image and the reality of clay.

The goblet is built around my trusty balloons; the stems are pulled and rolled around dowels.  The pushed 'knees' add strength.

What I find strange about making these is that I drink my wine from blown glass goblets.  While I like the look of clay goblets I don't, as a rule, enjoy drinking from them.

I'm not at all sure where I am going with these.  I may make a few more fire them and let them sit in their unglazed state while I contemplate them.  Or I may send them to the recycle bucket....always a viable option! 

Pond pump problems last week.  Proge turned the pump off to do some work.  When we went to fill the filter would not prime!  Trouble shooting ensued interrupted by a downpour......not a good idea to mess with electricity in the rain.  It rained all the next day.  Finally on the third day we got out there and realized it was sucking air.....joints reglued....wait several hours for drying and presto! we have a working swamp filter and waterfall.  The fishies are very happy.  Actually, I don't think they noticed as we threw a sump pump in to keep the water circulating.

I am still congratulating myself for not taking photos of Proge wading in the pond, swearing at the pump!

I had ten moonflowers in bloom when I took Winter out at 6 A.M.  yesterday.  The rain really beats them up.  The look like a bunch of bedraggled petticoats.

This post can also been seen at Mud Colony.  There's interesting stuff there; take a look!

Have a dry....or if you need rain....wet week end.

As always. thanks for stopping by............*s*

Monday, September 24, 2012

What Do You Do....


Christa posted photos of a walk she and her husband took yesterday.  Check out that barn!  What I liked most were the cups with plants in them.  They reminded me that using cracked or otherwise unusable pottery can often be recycled into other uses.

I took a few quick shots of pots I use for plants.  I took these on my deck.  I have some mugs by other potters that are out on the pool deck.  It was starting to rain, so I came back inside.  I can be such a wuss about a little rain!

This was a favorite bowl I used to take down to my studio with fruit in it.  The glaze was not good enough to sell it, but it was a good shape to use until the cats knocked it around and put a crack in it.  This is why I only use my own seconds in my studio and outside.  All the collected mugs are used only in the upstairs living area.where there are rugs and most things bounce!

 This was the lower part of a bird feeder I made a long time ago.  It works quite well as a flower pot.  I may do a few without the drain holes in the saucer section.

This is a goblet that is positively ancient. It has a crack in it to provide drainage!  It's in stoneware so it I must have made it in the first or second year I was potting, before I switched entirely to majolica and low fire clay.  I do remember that I had made about nine or ten of them that I put in my then co-op's Christmas sale and a customer bought eight of them.  I was thrilled!

I'm taking the car in for inspection this afternoon, after being completely oblivious to it's needing to be done at the end of August.  For the most part, I drive so little these days that I tend to miss dates.  My toes are crossed that all goes well and I don't end up spending lots of money!  I can't complain about car expenses this year...two new tires and air conditioning repairs....pretty good for an SUV that is Twenty-two years old.  My goodness, not only can my auto vote but it can drink too!

Have an enjoyable day and as always, thanks for stopping by............*s*

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Last of the Day Lilies


O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained
With the blood of the grape, pass not but sit
Beneath my shady roof, there thou may'st rest,
And tune my jolly voice to my fresh pipe;
And all the daughters of the year shall dance,
Sing now the lusty song of fruit and flowers.

William Blake  To Autumn

Enjoy your week end.

As always, thanks for stopping by............*s*

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A View


The environment outside my studio is almost as important as my studio itself.  This is what I see when I look out my south windows. I did shoot these outside the windows to avoid reflections.  The light is so bright it's difficult to get good photos.  I should have taken the camera out with me at six-thirty, when I took Winter out!

 Everything still looks pretty summery.  We have had cool nights but nothing near frost temps.  It's beginning to feel like autumn, however.  The light has changed.  The air has a clarity to it that only comes with the lower humidity of the changing season. 

 These are the morning glory and moon flower towers.  One reason I hope for a long fall is that the moon flowers and dahlias are blooming so nicely.

This is the shed with the newly dug area we are putting in for a small vegetable garden nest year.  The soil needs a lot of amending as we are on glacial moraine.

Further to the right is the pond in the foreground with the pool in the background.  With the last rain the water temp has dropped to 66F....too cold for me.  I still wonder how we swam in the ocean when we were kids and thought it was warm.  We would insist we were not cold even though our lips were blue.  But coming out of the water always meant a treat of some sort; so it wasn't too bad.


I've been fascinated with beer bread since Gary did a post a while ago about it.  His recipe is simple and tasty.  You will have to scroll down a bit but it's there.

Of course I have to complicate things by trying a slow rise beer bread.  This turned out to be very tasty indeed.  It's quite dark; Proge says it looks like chocolate bread.  It also makes a fantastic pizza dough.  We did one loaded regular pizza and one with goat cheese, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil.  I let it rise a bit longer than usual so it was almost like a foccaccia.

And finally the obligatory photo of animals.  This one is of Winter and Aloysius half arguing and half accommodating each other on my chair in the sunroom.  There is some doubt about who has what right to the chair and when.  Yesterday I had two cats an a dog on my lap.

I'm headed down to the studio to finish up some more bag pots I started yesterday.

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

This post can also be found on Mud Colony and Artists In Blogland.  Meet new people; go take a look.

Have a sunny day and, as always, thanks for stopping by...........*s*

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bowl Mold

While doing some clean up I managed to find the bowl that goes with the square plates I made much earlier.  I don't usually bother with molds like this, but I want the final bowl to be a good size.  I may make one using the inside of the bowl to make a smaller form.  One of the things I like about using clay for my molds is that by making and firing multiple forms I can shrink them and have the form remain consistent. 

Wrapped form on slab

Corners pinched with excess clay cut away

Corners cut, paddled and sponged

Form with bowl in it; excess tissue paper torn away; rim work

Form removed; tissue left in to add a little strength

Finished form
The early steps are done fairly quickly in succession.  Removing the bowl from the clay is a little tricky as the clay had to be dry enough to stand on its's own, but not so dry that it will crack as it shrinks.  I used both the sun and a hair dryer set on low to get this to the pint of removal.

Cloudy after early morning sun.  We're supposed to have a few showers, then sun for the rest of the week end.  I sure am glad I remembered to bring the laundry in last night!

This post can also be found on Mud Colony.  Go take a look!  Meet new people!

Enjoy the day and, as always, thanks for stopping by............*s*

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Cake and......

A Tomato.

We picked this big beauty last night for a BLT supper.  Home grown tomato, locally cured bacon and farm stand lettuce on beer bread.  The ordinary elevated to the extraordinary by choice of ingredients.

The sandwiches were delicious!

Plum came from the Food 52 site.  Unfortunately the site is not connecting today.  Fortunately I printed the recipe.  So without further  ado.....


Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prep nine by two inch round cake pan.  Butter pan, cut parchment paper to fit bottom of pan and butter. Dust with flour.

Measure and sift together in small bowl:
1&1/2 Cup flour
1 Tsp. baking powder
1/4 Tsp. baking soda

Beat together until light and fluffy:
1/2 Cup soft butter
2/3 Cup granulated sugar

Beat in one at a time:
2 Large eggs
3/4 Cup sour cream (I used whole milk Greek yogurt)
1/2 Tsp. Finely grated lemon zest

Beat in flour mix at low speed (I did this by hand)

12 small plums
2 Tblsp. Brown sugar

Cut plums in half and pit.

Spread half the batter in the pan.  Sprinkle with 1 tblsp. brown sugar.  Place 12 halves, cut side down on batter.  Dollop and spread remaining batter.  Arrange remaining plum halve cut side up.  Sprinkle with remaining sugar.  (Depending on size and variety of plums you may need fewer than 12.  I used eight.  The recipe originally called for prune plums, but any variety will work.)

Bake 50 - 55 minutes, turning pan halfway through baking time.  Inserted toothpick should be clean.

Let cool 20 minutes.  Invert onto plate, then invert again onto serving plate.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or plain.

This recipe can be found on Food 52-Your Best Plum Recipes.

(As I mentioned before the link is not working, but this is a site worth visiting.)

Later edit:  The link is working.  There's a nice how-to pictorial there Plum Cake.

And finally.....KikiLaSois looking disgusted at Winter's antics.

And more fish, which all the kitties would probably enjoy 'meeting.'  Thankfully they are all indoor cats!

 Enjoy what  looks to be a beautiful day.

As always, thanks for stopping by..............*s*

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Don't Forget The Fish!

Last week all the baby fish decided to surface.  They aren't easy to photograph due to waterfall and how quickly they move.  There are somewhere between one and a half to two dozen fingerlings.  I never knew that they could come in all colors.  I thought you needed black ones to get black ones etc....not the case.  We have a bunch of all black and many bi-and-tri-colored ones.  It's so enjoyable to go our and feed them and watch them eat.  I never thought a few ten cent fish from a fish store could provide so much pleasure.

Of course I had to do my own little homage to fish and make a bunch of whistles.  I did all these in white low-fire and glazed them with commercial Speedball glazes.  I mostly use commercial glazes when I am experimenting as I can once-fire them successfully.  As a rule I don't like white clay as I think it gives a stark, dead look to work.  It's subtle but terra cotta gives a warmth to white glazes that gives more depth to the work. If I am glazing a big piece on white clay I put a little rutile in it to warm it up a little.

The weather has been strange today....mostly cloudy  and breezy.  It feels almost like hurricane weather, but I don't think there are any hurricanes in the North Atlantic.

This post can also be found on Mud Colony and Artists in Blogland.  Go check them out; there is always interesting stuff to be found.

Enjoy Sunday, and as always, thanks for stopping by..................*s*

Monday, September 3, 2012

Moonflowers and.........

Winter decided that she needed to go out at 5:15 AM this morning.  It's now so dark at this time that I almost needed a flashlight.  On the plus side, I was up early enough to get some reasonably good shots of one of the moonflowers that was in perfect position for photographing.  Often they are in such odd, high positions that I would need a ladder to get a good view.

There is something unearthly about the way they glow in the dark gray pre-dawn light.  The scent is amazing.....sort of a cross between gardenias and something else.  The sun didn't come out until about thirty minutes ago, so this bloom lasted quite far into the day.  The moonflowers wilt as the morning glories bloom.

The vegetable plants are starting to be prolific.  The nice thing is that with so many we pick them while they are still young, tender, and tasty.

And a big shout out to Gary for turning me on to beer bread.  I made this as a slow rise bread with a cup or so of beer added.  I am not a beer drinker but it makes a wonderful, tasty bread.  We made a couple of pizza and the big loaf below.  I used Newcastle Brown Ale yeasty and nutty, it makes great sandwiches and is terrific as toast with with cheese on it.

This afternoon I am giving Gary's original recipe a try.

More glaze work today and some hand building  and, of course messing around in the yard.

Enjoy your Labor Day (Boy! That came fast!).  As always thanks for stopping by............*s*