Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Dragons

The Christmas Dragons arrived en masse yesterday.  They always come on Christmas Eve to wish everyone a Season of Peace and Joy!

Enjoy this day with loved ones or even alone if that is what you prefer!

Merry Christmas!

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

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Shortest Day

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreens;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This the Shortest Day.
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

                     The Shortest Day
                     Susan Cooper

Here's to lighter, brighter days ahead!

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

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Glazes

I ordered some of the new (to me at least) Spectrum Metallic Low Fires Glazes  a few weeks ago.  They were on back order but arrived yesterday.

These are the raw glazes on a bisqued white ^04 body.  That is not the photo coloration.  They all look amazingly alike.  I am assuming that the true colors will show with the glaze firing.

I'm going to do some more tests on terra cotta and greenware.  This stuff is not cheap so I am trying to be a bit more organized and not just go ahead and glaze on my favorite pieces with mixed results!

 Golden Halo; Moonlight; Wrought Iron; Brushed Bronze

Due to the season and all the stuff that needs to get done, I am probably going to wait until January to fire again.  This is an exercise in patience on my part!

Meanwhile...we are having sun and a bit of warmth with no wind.  It's a good day to be outdoors.

P.S.  I ordered these from Bailey.  They don't have them up on the catalog but they do have them.  Bailey generally does a 25% off on Spectrum glazes, so these cost $13.50 instead of $18.00.

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Stay At Home Teapot

I'm calling this a stay at home teapot because it has several problems.  This is the second lid I have made for it.  I dropped the original while I was unloading the glaze kiln.  The lid looks fine but it doesn't work the way I like my lids to fit.  A larger problem is the spout.  The opening needs more work.  The sides need to be higher so it pours in a stream.  Right now the first cup goes everywhere over the edges.  Tea is not supposed a bathing experience!

There was a wonderful post in Ceramic Arts Daily on how to handbuild a teapot in thirty minutes.  It's built over a form with everything but the bottom done while it's still on the form.  I took a bit longer because I am an OCD freak!  It's a fun thing to handbuild that even beginners can enjoy making.
 CAD: 30 Minute Teapot!

I made another one of my bread experiments.  With this one I used 3/4 Cup Rye Flour and 3/4 Cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat, a pinch of sugar and 1/4 Tsp. Yeast.  I let the whole thing ferment over a day and gradually added flour a cup or two at a time with hours of rest between each addition.  When it held together, but was still very wet I turned it onto the counter and folded and kneaded using my bench scraper.  I did this a couple of times.  I baked it at 400F. in a preheated oven and covered cast iron pan.  Usually I watch it, take the lid off, turn the oven temp down a bit.  This time something came up and I forgot about it for a bit over an hour.  It came out perfectly with a moist crumb.  The only problem is that I can't stay away from it!  YUM!

We're having more typical, gray New England weather.  It's not too cold out, with no wind so I may go out in a bit and do a little yard pick up!  That never stops!

Happy Hannuka to all those who celebrate.  A Festival of Light is much needed at this time of year!

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

Thursday, December 11, 2014


It's been snowing in a very half-hearted way for about four hours.  This little bird is from last year, but the birdies on the rail look just as cold and unhappy.  The ground is warm and wet enough for the snow to melt as it hits the ground.  Not so on the deck and steps.....real back breaker weather.  Careful everyone!

Thankfully we aren't deep in white stuff the way we were last year.  I don't love the squirrels as they will eat everything in sight and destroy stuff if given a chance.  Last lear was so rotten I did put out goat food for them.  The scarfed that down with abandon.

I've got my studio winterized to the point where I can turn the heater on.  Last night I left everything on low; it was 62 F. at 8:00 AM.  That is a bearable temp, but if I can get it up to 65-70 I will be thrilled. It will be interesting to look at the elctric bill when it comes in!  I've had to change my glaze and chemical storage a bit, so I do my own stuff, then sort and reshelf for awhile.  So far so good!

Our Holiday Sale at the South County Art Association continues through December 20.  So far we are doing much better than last year!  Oh frabjous day!  Calloo!  Callay!

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Another Advent Calendar

Here is this year's calendar from The Met.  It's a pop-up of the skaters at Rockefeller Center.  The windows are of vintage cards and postcard from around New York City.  There are two palm fronds in front. 

It looks like we have more rain in the near future.  I'm so happy it's not snow!

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

Monday, December 8, 2014

Advent and Santa

Do you ever save old Advent Calendars?  I do when they are as pretty as this one from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  This is the Beaux Arts facade designed by Richard Hunt that faces Fifth Avenue.  There is always a huge tree in the lobby at Christmas time.

I made the Santa many years ago when my class of developmentally delayed students wanted to make Santa lamps.  These were fairly easy to make using a soda bottle as a form, and were a great hit!  The bulb in Santa's hat is too bright to photograph when lit.   Little bulbs can focus way too much light sometimes!

I can't seem to skip below the photo today.  Such are the vagaries of Blogspot!  I'll try moving the photo later.  We'll see, grasshopper.......we'll see.....

I spent the week end doing the long overdue chore of winterizing my studio.  It's not difficult, but does entail a lot of moving of stuff!

I understand that a large storm is headed our way.  We are supposed to get a lot of rain, which is still needed.  Pond levels are holding even since we started getting more rain but have not raised very much.

Good wishes for all to stay cozy and warm.  Is it may imagination or has it gotten cold much earlier this year?

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

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's Always Sumthin'!

This is a teapot I made last January.  I finally managed to fit it into the kiln.  I did not have hight expectations, but I did not expect it to leak.  If you look at the third picture you can see the blow-out on the bottom of the pot.  Yes, it goes all the way through.  It pours beautifully though.

  The blue on the handle looks much better in the photo than it does in reality!  I was aiming for a lighter washier blue.  I'm pretty sure I mislabeled the glaze. 

 I like the design of the fish  but the colors are lost in the photo.  I would have taken a bit more care if I had taken them for more than a record of my failures.

Live and learn I guess!  I want to make more teapots after Christmas!

Meanwhile we are having a sunny day with temps in the 50's F.  Nice days tend to bring people out.  Toes are crossed for a successful day at our Christmas Sale!

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

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Enjoy the day!

Happy Thanksgiving one and all!

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

Monday, November 24, 2014

Don't Like the Weather?

Just wait a few minutes!  Last week it was 20 with an added wind chill.  Right now it's 60 and supposed to be in the fifties and sunny tomorrow.  I could really go for this kind of winter.

Lately this is KikiLaSois's favorite way of sitting on the couch to watch tv and give everyone the kitty stink eye.  She is the quietest cat I have ever had with a little tiny mew.  If you can hear her purring from a foot away she is truly ecstatic!

Below are two clocks that survived the firing.  I had them ready to go ages ago but life kept conspiring!
They are only about eight inches across.  They can go on the wall or on stands.  I'll show those next firing!

The S.C.A.A.  Christmas, excuse me, Holiday Sale starts Friday the day after Thanksgiving.  I hope all who are in the area will come by!

Stay warm and dry in all this rain.

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

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nobody Loves My

Terra Cotta Santa!

I made this guy two years ago and he has always been left behind by customers.  He's about six or seven inches tall and will hang off a sturdy branch.  All the pink Santas sell like the proverbial hot cakes!

Do people think Santa needs to be pale?  I have yet to understand the buying public.  When I made a white Rudolf that was considered pretty odd too!

If Santa doesn't sell this year, I'm keeping him!

Aloysius will sleep anywhere.  This is the crate I put over my computer when I am away from it.  I stuck it over Aloysius yesterday when he was bound and possessed to go out in the cold.  I kind of forgot about him and found him fast asleep.  He didn't stir when I took the photos and the crate away!

We have had an absolutely amazingly gorgeous day.  The temps were well over 60 F.  Rain tomorrow (still always welcome) and another beauty forecast for Tuesday!

Enjoy the week ahead!

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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Catching Up?

I use the phrase catching up advisedly.  When are any of us truly caught up with stuff?  Ideas breed ideas, so always feeling a little behind may be a good thing!

I have been glazing and painting stuff like crazy, and also making things. This is the joy and benefit of doing bisque and glaze at the same temperature.

I made this pig around a balloon last week as an experiment.  Taking a little time for a new idea helps keep me going during busy times.  I wanted her to have a sort of patched together structure, which worked quite well.  Unfortunately, there was a minor but time consuming emergency elsewhere.  Poor Pig was left out for too long and split over the balloon.  Most of the time my balloons lose air relatively quickly; however, not this time!  See what happens when you go for the quality product?

I managed to get these photos, mostly for my own records.  This looks like a neat thing to explore when I have more time.  Meanwhile Poor Pig went to the slop bucket!

Oh and yes, she does have three legs.  Three legs are so much easier to stabilize than four.  Three legs add to the general goofiness I am aiming for! 

I picked my last dahlia a week ago today.  There were some buds I could have brought in for forcing, but didn't.  This is a smaller version of what were some huge flowers earlier during warmer weather.  Today all the toes are coming up and will be stored in peat over the winter.

The lack of rain was hard on a lot of plants this summer.  As soon as we started getting regular showers and the weather cooled just a bit the flowers went crazy....good crazy!

 Aloysius and KikiLaSois are back in their favorite box by the stove so I guess cold weather is here to stay for a while.  We have offered some very comfy kitty beds, but the box with packing bubble sheets is the preferred resting spot.  Winter uses the other bed quite happily!

I have been patching my 4RUNNER with fiberglass to get it through inspection.  It's not difficult but I am not fond of fiberglass and resin and bondo.  For the last bits I am going to rig a small drying tent with a tarp and a heat lamp.  I really should have started earlier, but it was far more fun to lie around the pool all summer!

It looks like we will be enjoying a sunny but chilly day today.  Toes crossed that everyone is enjoying weather to their liking!

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

Sunday, November 2, 2014


In celebration I roasted a sugar pumpkin stuffed with quinoa, chicken pesto sausage, eggplant, mushrooms and onions!  Drank a pinot grigio with it. 

It was delicious!

Rain and gray today with our first frost and possible snow predicted for tonight!  AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

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

Friday, October 31, 2014

I Was Looking For Old Santas

Instead I found 
Three Little Witches

I made these many years ago when I was teaching developmentally delayed adults.

I still haven't found the Santas!  Maybe I gave them away!

Happy Halloween!

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Mug

This is the prototype mug I made back when I became slightly nauseated at the mawkish sayings that were appearing on mugs and other items.  This one reads Scratch One Sweet Bird of Youth!  Yes, that is a bird in his/her mouth.  I don't think I have any Catch the Bluebird of Happiness around.  You can use your imagination for that one!

Reactions were always at the extreme, either people thought it was hysterical or that I was a severely cynical person for making these!

A Happy Birthday shout out to Meesh (a.k.a. Michele Hastings)!  Have a great day or week, because birthdays should be celebrated over several days!

Enjoy your day.

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Another Dahlia

Just because it's pretty!

We live in what could be called an odd mini microclimate.  The house is in a wood consisting of beech, oak and maple.  We don't have a lot of space cleared so the trees tend to keep cold off the ground.  I still have morning glories and other flowers happily blooming.  Hopefully the frost will stay away for a few more weeks.

It's stuck in an old mug. Not the best color choice, but it was at hand.   I often save them for various uses.

It looks like we are having a sunny week end with temps in the sixties.  Toes crossed that all have equally enjoyable days.

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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lost Stuff Found

The dahlias toes that I found at the beginning of August have begun to bloom.  The toes were in a bucket of dry peat and cat litter that I thought I had emptied.  All I really wanted to do was give them enough growing time to get strong enough to make it through the winter.  The blooms are a real bonus. These is also a lavender and purple that is starting to open.  Toes crossed that it makes it through the oncoming rain.  Mr Harrelson had a find old time chewing up a bunch of them that blew over in some wind a few weeks ago, so we moved them up close to the house.  Even the gnawed ones are showing signs of buds.  Maybe frost will hold off for a few more weeks!

I made the pigs and garlic pots back in the fall of 2011.  The garlic pots dried so fast that I never cut the air holes in them.  The pigs were supposed to be banks.  I cut the slits but never made the cork holes on their bellies.  Then their feet fell off and were glued back on with spooze.  I saved them for glaze tests and experiments.  I went digging for them yesterday because I was thinking about making a bunch of test bowls; remembered these guys; it only took me an hour to find them!

I may make a few of a better size for our upcoming Christmas Sale.....we'll see, grasshopper....we'll see!

We are expecting a couple of days of rain to start soon.  Toes crossed we get some heavy showers.  Things are not dire....but rain is good.  It's amazing how the garden has picked up with the few inches we have had.  Plants are much happier with rain than with hand watering!

BTW to see how dogs are celebrated with their own holiday in Nepal go to Jenny Mendes's blog!

We've had warm days and cool nights; I hope everyone is enjoying good weather too.

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

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Comes And.....

So do mugs.

I've been experimenting a bit.  These are handbuilt in white earth.  The interiors are glazed with Spectrum #700 clear.  The exteriors have a bit of Mason Red-Brown added to the clear.  The designs are done with Mason Stains in paste (1:1 Frit 3124 @ Gerstley Borate).  I'll brush a coat of clear over the exteriors when they are good and dry!

These are the last of the bunch.  I forgot to take any photographs of the others.  Documenting work goes out the window when I get into a deep work mode.  These stayed on the shelf overnight so I took a few shots.

We actually started the wood stove last night.  This may be the earliest we have lit it in several years.  We still haven't had any frost!  It's warming up a bit .  Seventies are predicted for tomorrow.

Enjoy the week and the changing season.

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

If It's Tuesday It Must Be......


I finally found the little raku teapot I made many years ago when a group of us from the SCAA Potters Coop were firing with Tom Ladd at his studio.  We became a pretty efficient crew.  I think one day we did fourteen pulls.  And we always managed to bring a lot of good food too!

I pinched this from a either a raku clay or a ^6-8 white.  It holds about twenty-four ounces of tea.  Being raku, I have never actually brewed tea in it.  However, it pours very nicely indeed.

Perhaps it's because I have drunk so much tea in my like but making dripless spouts has never been a huge problem for me.  Those are words I may come to regret, so I am knocking a lot of wood!

The lid was fired separately.  The little drip of glaze at the end is pure serendipity!

I was listening to the Berlin Philharmonic and Anna Sophie Mutter playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major this morning and it struck me once again how much I miss my big AR speakers.  I have top quality Bose speakers for my computer but they cannot match the room filling sound and nuance the big speakers had.  Alas they died of old age this past winter.  Meanwhile we are saving our pennies!

It's a strange, warmish, mostly cloudy day today with rain expected later on and into tomorrow morning.  We still welcome rain.  Toes crossed that we will catch up after our very dry September!  Meanwhile I am starting to bring plants in, a sure sign of the changing seasons!

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

Saturday, October 4, 2014

More Spoons

I found two of the plastic spoons that used to come with Chinese take out.  I like the shape so I used them as molds.  The funny little one is an experiment to make it sit upright.  I think I will make future spoons of this type with a little wedge of clay at the base to make them stand.  The back one is made from the same larger spoon but with a long handle.  It's meant to be a 'tasting spoon'.  Does anyone remember these?  You put the soup in the spoon and tilt it down the handle so you can taste without burning your mouth.  Both my mother and Nanu had these in wood.

I'll make a few more of these to get the feel of them.  I think I'll make the tasting spoon with it's own spoon rest.  Who wants soup all over their stove or counter?

I hear rumors of it going down to the thirties tomorrow night.  Today I'm getting out all my old blankets and covers,  just in case!  I'll bring in a bunch of plants, but I want to keep the morning glories and dahlias going.  We could have a few nights of light frost, then great weather until Thanksgiving!

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

Enjoy the coming week.

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

More Stuff!!!

I came across these while I was sorting a bunch of stamps and cutters.  They're made from wooden blocks used for Indian Block Printing.  I stamped and put wash on them to get some idea of what they looked like in positive.  As far as I can remember I have never used them.  They might be interesting on bowl rims or mugs.

Click on the images for a larger view.

I'm not sure where I got them, possibly at a Gina Halpern (sp?)  workshop from a VERY LONG TIME AGO!  There are the initials GH in addition to my name on the back.

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to speak of many things."

Cleaning has been a journey of memories.  I keep finding things that I haven't looked at or even thought about.  Part of this is because of the way I moved my studio over here.  I moved all my decoration equipment into this house when P. was terminally ill in 1997.  I sort of got organized when I installed the kilns.  Then I sold my back house, which I had lived in for close to thirty years, and just moved everything as quickly as I could.  Now in addition to reworking my studio so I can enclose part of it for the winter, we are also reconfiguring the entire first floor.  That ought to keep us out of trouble for the winter!

I managed to drop a pound of ground beef and a bag of turkey on the floor when I was searching for something in our little deep freezer.  I'm very happy that Winter and the cats didn't make off with the packages.  The potential for unlimited disgust is not to be considered.  So we are making calzones and sauce tonight and I have started turkey soup for tomorrow.  Oh how I love my crockpot!

We are having a slow drizzle of rain with some heavier showers which should continue until tomorrow.  Every little bits helps.  We have been careful enough with water use so that we should be okay if we have even small amounts of rain.

Woody, or as I have named him Harrelson, is in his hole.  I am sure he is eyeing the mums I have been putting in as great additions to his lunch counter.

Enjoy the day.

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teapot Tuesday

Well, it started out as a teapot!   I pulled the handle and spout and decided it was better off as a watering can.  It holds about three cups of water and is good for getting under the foliage.  

 Perhaps I will make some more as teapots.

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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another Week

Still cleaning up past work and rearranging my studio so I will be able to survive a winter there, if it doesn't go on forever!  Meanwhile we have had sunny days and no rain; although we did have about one-half inch last night.  It wasn't enough to do much for the water table but it did give the garden a nice bath and refreshed the plants.  Ponds and rivers are lower than they have been for years, but all we can do it wait and conserve water where we can.

Below are two more pufferfish whistles.  I am having fun painting all the unglazed stuff I have found.  I keep thinking that it's tons of stuff.  In reality it's no more than two kiln shelves.  I'm using stuff I had set aside for one reason or another for glaze experiments and tests.  Gosh at some point I may have to make more test bowls!

We are definitely entering autumn weather with warm days and cool nights.  I am hoping that the dahlias that I put in so late will have time to bloom.  They are budding up nicely.  Woody is still around, my he does love a tasty petunia.  I've moved the pots up close to the house for their own good.

Proge's father has a woodchuck that only eats the weeds in their garden.  If they figure out how to get others to be so discriminating they will be in the money!

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

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Time Fugits

I think it's been almost three weeks since my last post.  I've been cleaning and sorting my studio.  It never fails to amaze me at the amount of stuff  I manage to accumulate.  Some of it I am tossing, particularly if I can easily get more.  Just how many herb and vitamin bottles do I need to save?  Some of the shapes I use for handbuilding I keep even if I use them occasionally.  

Then there are the surprises.  I have no idea when I made this little spoon.  It holds about a half teaspoon.  It's glazed and ready to fire so into the kiln it goes.  I am jamming more and more stuff in, but am not going to fire until the weather cools down a bit.

Of course now that it's September we are having the hottest weather of the season.  I am so glad I did not close the pool during our chilly weeks in August.

I've been baking bread.  This is a loaf of oatmeal sourdough hot out of the oven. It has a very nice toasty flavor. I have a countertop convection oven which is wonderful for baking in the hot summer months.

It's Allergy Season!  We have managed to get rid of most of the goldenrod and ragweed among other stuff, but it's rampant here on top of the hill.  I'll put up with annoying allergies if we can have one of our long golden autumns.

I've learned the hard way to read labels on vitamins and supplements.  I switched to a chewable Glucosamine-Chondroitin supplement.  I was feeling worse and worse over a week or more until I finally asked myself, "What's new?"  The ingredients list coconut oil.  I can't eat coconut; it seems to be a family thing.  Within two days of stopping them I was feeling better.  Live and learn!

I hope everyone is enjoying these late summer or winter days, depending where you are.  Toes crossed that no one is experiencing floods, fires, landslides or any other disasters.

We're expecting thunder showers later on; any rain is welcome at this point.  We'll see, grasshopper ....we'll see.

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

Monday, August 18, 2014

How Many Birds.....

Can you kill with one stone?

Monday Majolica
Monday Mugs
Handbuilt Mugs
Mug Repairs

These are all various majolica mugs I have handbuilt at one time or another.  The middle poppy mug is a black glaze the design is on white glaze.  The unglazed mug is another experiment.  I was drilling out a 'thing' in the cup and managed to go through the wall.  The mend is with thick spooze paper clay.  I will refire it before glazing. 

I keep usable rejects because they remind me of What Not To Do!  I also use them in the studio and outside because I continually misplace them in those locations.  Currently two are somewhere in the garden.  My highest count has been five! 

These are the exteriors of two of the little dippers.  I am also making some to bisque fire.

I know I said I wasn't going to make any new stuff until I got completely caught up with all the unglazed stuff hanging around my studio.

All I can say is that the best laid plans......etc.

I am finding myself stimulated and getting many ideas from old work.  There are variations on ideas and new paths to explore.  Staying busy is a good thing!

We are adding water to the pond and the pool over the next few days.  It's been sunny, breezy and dry lately.  It's great weather for drying clothes and clay, but it does make for faster water evaporations!

We keep changing and adding to the yard.  If I ever get my camera shutter to behave I'll take some photos.

Enjoy summer while it's here; I'm not sure where it's been going!

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

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Teapot Tuesday

I made this one last winter when I was thinking of doing a different handbuilt teapot every week as a way of staying away from the winter doldrums!  Unfortunately family stuff intervened and I never got very far with the idea.

Ceramic Arts Daily did a post last year about making handbuilt teapots over a form in about an hour give or take some time.  I made this one over a bowl.  I did everything while it was still on the form.  The form gives the clay enough stability to be able to do everything.  By the time I had cut the lid opening and added the handle the clay was stiff enough to have the form taken out.  I placed it immediately on a clay slab.  I cut a circle a bit bigger than the base and attached it quickly using spooze.  I didn't worry about the tissue paper left inside as it peeled away when the pot dried.  I think I made a different lid from the one I cut out of the form. 

I've glazed it with my old faithful Spectrum #799 Majolica White on unfired clay.  The fish designs look odd as I cover them with a green tinted wax resist as soon as I am finished with a design.  Unfired stains smear easily so this solves that problem.  I think I'm going to add a little something more to the background.  I don't want them to look like they are floating in air.  Although, now that I think of it the fish in the pond look like they are swimming in air when the water is clear!  Hmmmm, now I have to think about it.

It's a cloudy, warm, muggy day with heavy rain on the way tonight and tomorrow.  Hopefully we will get several inches.  We are by no means suffering from water want, but rain in summer and fall prevents drought in the winter.

We are considering Woody's Garden behind the shed.  We have violets galore this year and I may get some end of season marigolds and petunias.  These appear to be the great favorites.  If we were starving I would not hesitate to kill and eat him, but we are not, so he can live on sufferance for now.

Lastly, I am so saddened to hear of Robin Williams death.  What pain he must have been suffering to have been driven to take his own life.  We knew him for all the joy he brought.....let that be his legacy.

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

Majolica Monday or Time Flies

I can't believe a whole week has passed since my last post.  I have been caught up in trying to make little dippers to go in some honey pots I want to make.  If I continue to make them at the pace I have been, the price of the honey pots will more than double!  NOT a practical idea!  These each hold between a teaspoon and tablespoon of honey.  Of course they will be smaller once they are fired.

I don't have the patience to put them though a bisque and glaze firing so I will glaze them with my oh so reliable Spectrum White #799 and once fire them.  The handles are particularly fragile so a delicate touch is in order here.  The middle dipper with the coil is an experimental mend.  Long ago I learned in an Elsbeth Woody workshop that if you can't hide a seam, emphasize it and make it part of the design.

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

My day lilies are glorious this year.  I was a little concerned because our winter was so rough, but they have come through better than ever.  My camera is still not doing well taking pictures outdoors.  This was a bud I knocked off so I brought it in to enjoy.  It's in one of my little Delft cow creamers.

We have a new, slightly unwelcome resident!  A woodchuck is living under the shed.  He/she is quite bold and comes out in the middle of the day and stands on the ramp into the shed quite happily surveying all in sight.  Winter barks when she knows he/she is out there but her run doesn't go over to the shed.  We've been walking her around the ared and encouraging her to do her doggy business there.

If the crittur would remain happy with the violets it would be fine.  Unfortunately there seems to be a developing taste for petunias!

One of the pool hoses developed a leak.  It was a very slow drip so I wasn't too concerned, but did go buy a new hose.  On Friday I noticed the leak was getting worse.  Then before my eyes a nice little stream appeared with a hiss.  I grabbed a screwdriver to undo the clamps, got the hoses tied up so no more water leaked out and had the skies open up.  It finally seems to have stopped raining, so repairs can be done.  Just in the nick of time as the water is getting a pretty green glow to it.

My toes are crossed that all our little disasters stay just that.  Small and easily solved!

The sun is finally coming out; hope all is well across the world!

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

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*