Monday, July 28, 2014

Muggy Majolica Monday

I'm being a little punny today!  We've had about two inches of rain since yesterday.  It's like living in a steam bath.  As I write this the sky has been clearing and the humidity dropping.  It's time to go out and take a look at the plants.

This is another one of my balloon mug experiments.  I make the mugs around an inflated water balloon.  They end up holding about 12 oz.  I glaze the interiors with a Spectrum low fire clear that I tint with a little red-brown Mason Stain.  I wait to glaze and decorate the exteriors after the bisque firing.  

There is a lot I'm changing about this one.  I am now making them with several little feet to give them a little lift and more stability.  I like the idea of the handle but I don't really like the reality of it.  I like to be able the cradle a mug in my hand with my thumb through the handle.  This doesn't really work!

This one is glazed with Spectrum #799 Majolica White, painted with Mason Stains.  The green and yellow are mixed with 'paste'  (50/50 gerstley borate and frit 3124).  The other colors are Mason Stains mixed 50/50 with frit 3124.

Enjoy the day and the August really on our door step?

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

Majolica Monday

Where are they hiding? I found another fish whistle!  This one is in a white ^04 clay.  I'll be once firing it, using Spectrum Majolica White #799.  This is a glaze that works very well on raw clay.  

When I am brushing glazes I always put some in a separate container and add food coloring or anything that will burn out.  It is much easier to tell where I have brushed glaze if it is contrasting with the previous coat.  On bisqued clay I use three layers on green ware I use four.

The lower photo shows the whistle itself.  As I've said before, I like the whistle to be a part of the fish or other animal.  Next I am going to do ocarinas and flutes.

I find From Mud To Music  by Barry Hall an invaluable resource.  Has anyone tried water whistles?

My camera is doing some very strange things.  I think it's something to do with the shutter.  I have a feeling it's going to be an expensive fix.

Finally after days of dull, gray clouds the sun has come out.  It still feels cool for July!

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Birthday Remembered

My dear big sister, Prudy, would have been 79 today.  Here she is as a little girl.  Our big brother used to tease her(and me) and say, when she reached her teens, that she looked like a plucked chicken.  I think she was a darling, beautiful little girl.  
Prudence Ann Caswell (Goodnow) ca. 1939-1940
There is nothing quite like the unconditional love of a big sister.

Enjoy the day.

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

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Look What I Made!

Pistachio Butter!

I've been reading about making your own almond butter and the light dawned!  I could (and did) make nut butters from any nut I want.  My local market sells all sorts of nuts at a reasonable price.  Pistachio is the first try.  And it's quite successful, if I do say so.

The photo below is pistachio butter on toast, shown on my bosc pear test tile.

What surprised me was how easy it was!  Threw the nuts in my Cuisinart, ground until they started clumping; added grapeseed oil to and a little salt to get the nut butter consistency.  I ground to a coarse texture to match my favorite (very expensive) almond butter.  Probably any good oil could be used.  I like grapeseed oil because it has a neutral flavor that lets the nut flavor shine.

Next up macadiamias and perhaps pepitas.....who knows where this will go?

 We bought the head of organic lettuce at our local farm stand.  It's fourteen inches across and smells as well as tastes great.  They sell their lettuce with roots stored in water, so that is what I am doing!

We've been putting in some perennial flowers this year, but have decided to hold off on vegs until we can get a good space established.  Last year's garden is going over to herbs.

Sunny days are here again, enjoy!

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

Majolica Monday

This is another oldie!  In addition to glazing all the flotsam in my studio.  I have been going through boxes of pots I saved for one reason or another

This is from a Walter Ostrum workshop I did at Wesleyan Potters in Middletown, Conn.  According to my notes (Yes, I am that compulsive that I have notebooks going back to forever) We were throwing and altering ring forms.  I obviously made an oval.  The raises 'S' is formed from a coil on the back.  This was the first time I used oak leaves for decoration, which is odd because I live in an oak forest.

I've made other press forms since then (almost 20 years ago).  Because they are bisqued clay I don't worry about needing a release of any sort.

Our named day lilies have begun to bloom.  We were happily surprised to see these, as we thought they would need a few more days to pop!

We made pizza on the grill last night as a belated Fourth of July celebration.  No, no pictures; it was eaten too quickly!  I made a small loaf of bread from leftover dough which I baked on the grill.  It had a nice woody undertone to it.

The weather is in one of its mutable states.  Hot today, hotter tomorrow....a day for sitting under umbrellas with the beverage of choice and swims as needed.

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

Friday, July 4, 2014

238 Years of Independence


Toes crossed that all enjoy dry and sunny celebrations!

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

Thursday, July 3, 2014


My lilies are blooming so finally I believe summer is here to stay!  This beauty is a stargazer.  I have no memory of it being a double.  

Two years ago red beetles arrived and ate all the liliums before they bloomed.  This is the first time they have bloomed since then.  The daylilies just go on growing and flowering.  The plain oranges have begun to flower; the named varieties are in bud.

In other news Hurricane Arthur is down south being a hurricane.  It's predicted to hit, if at all, south of Cape Hatteras which means it will go out to sea as it comes north.  We'll get rain, and most likely high tides, but no hurricane.  Besides it's a category one, not very strong.  This doesn't mean it should not be taken seriously.  In a way these weak storms are more dangerous because they aren't taken very seriously.

There is enough rain predicted that the Boston Pops Esplanade Concert is going to make tonights full dress rehearsal into the performance.  All are hopeful that the fireworks will proceed!

Toes crossed that everyone stays safe and dry.

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

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Teapot Tuesday

Yet another refugee from the back of one of my unfinished shelves of pots.  I seem to have some dim memory of experimenting with slip with slip trailing, but that is only a guess.

I've decided that a cool thing about pots like this is that I no longer have anything invested in them so am free to experiment with glazes.  I'm going to once fire this after glazing it with Spectrum Clear, decorations and a coat of lightly (I hope) tinted clear.

 Originally there were no tea bags so all tea was brewed in a pot.  I still use only loose tea, although I do have some filters on hand so I can make my own bags for travel.  I brew a good sized pot every morning, no matter the weather.  On a hot afternoon like today I make frozen tea coolata with almond milk.

I use fine mesh baskets that fit inside my pots.  Tea baskets have a long history.  I am thinking about making them to go in teapots that I make.

Lori has some nice thoughts about teapots on her blog today.  Gary has a beauty in emerald green!

Take a look at Lori's and Gary's blogs for more neat teapots.  Any other teapotters out there? Let us know you're around!

Enjoy our sunny summer days.  As always, thanks for stopping by..........*s*