Friday, December 25, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Advent Calendar 2015

I just realized last night that I had not shown my Advent Calendar for this year.

This one is from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pictured is the Unicorn in the Garden which is one of the Unicorn Tapestries at The Cloisters, one of my favorite museums.

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


It's warm enough for a bunch of little moths to be stuck to the windows at night.  'm glad they aren't inside as the cats go crazy trying to catch them!

Meanwhile, Aloysius had to see how well he would fit into the wreath I was decorating to go outside.  He seems to think he's just swell in it!

My amaryllis are starting to bloom.  I got the bulbs at the market which means that they may or may not last to bloom another year.  I pay so little for them that It;s not a worry.  It certainly is pretty to have more flowers blooming in December.

Enjoy the week.

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

Friday, December 4, 2015

Going On

These are more of the spoon rest, test/practice pieces.  I find so much enjoyment in doing these complex designs, that I have decided to go with it.  At one time I was trying to simplify my work in the interest of lowering time spent and possibly prices.  Simple is just not me!

 Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess!  In my style of majolica at least!


This is a deer tick many times enlarged.  Look at a pin head to get an idea of its true size.  I found this one on me after working in the garden yesterday morning.

We spend so much time outside doing our firings and clay reclaims that we should all be aware and check for ticks every day.  Just be careful; the long term effects of Lyme, Erlichioses, Babesiosis and other diseases are debilitating at the very least!

We have had some frost, but I still have one pot of passion flowers that are going strong.  I'm tempted to shelter and wrap it and try to winter it over.  On the other hand once we do get frost I may just dig the plants and winter them over inside!

We have a weekend of sunshine in store.  Enjoy the days wherever you are.

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

Monday, November 30, 2015

Mugshot Monday

When you contribute to Indegogo, Kickstarter etc. you get neat things!  This pretty mug arrived from Lina at Good Dirt LA before Thanksgiving.

I enjoy the connection that I feel when I drink from a mug made by the person whose campaign I contributed to.

Sunny but chilly today?  How about where you live?

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015


We had an amazing sunrise yesterday.  It started as a strip of red on the horizon and gradually reflected pink, red, orange and yellow onto the entire eastern sky.  It was a bright start to a gray rainy day. 

 The weather has gone nuts again with temps in the fifties and mid sixties.  This is actually pretty common for this area.  Somewhere in my photo files I have pictures of morning glories blooming in December.

My Thanksgiving/ Christmas Cacti have begun to bloom.  I had to cut most of them back a lot as they had a lot of die off over the summer.  They are now putting out all sorts of new growth.  I think they are popular because they are almost impossible to kill!

Our Thanksgiving was very low key this year with just the two of us.   Proge did the turkey on the grill.  He felt the breast meat was a little dry; I thought it was perfect.  By having a small turkey we don't end up with huge quantities of left overs.

 I made a casserole last night of left over brussel sprouts, onions, mushroom, and turkey with a sauce made with the cream sauce from the onions and gravy.  I spread the leftover mashed potatoes on top and put it in the oven until it was hot.  It was tasty, if I do say so myself!

Today is soup day.  Hopefully I will make enough so I can freeze a little.  Turkey soup on a cold January day is a treat.

I am still taking it easy in the studio.  The headaches are gone as are a lot of the aches and pains.  If I end up with a lot of stuff I may start selling on line.  I have an Etsy shop ready to go.  I have just never offered anything for sale!

Enjoy what is left of this week end.  Toes crossed that if you did have to go shop you managed it with a minimum of crazy!

With thanks to all the many on line friends I have made through this blog and FaceBook. You keep me in touch with the world.............*s*

Friday, November 20, 2015


You have to consider what may be best for you, rather than what you want to do.

To that end I decided to withdraw from the one holiday sale that I still do.  This bout of Lyme is taking its time in clearing up.  I still tire easily and can only work for short periods of time before I need to rest.

I could have put a few things in for the Thanksgiving week end and gotten a kiln fired to provide work for the rest of the sale, but when it felt completely overwhelming I decided that the best thing would be to withdraw for this year.

I am working a bit on things that please me.  Below is a small spoon rest.  The little dishes are really for me to use for practice.  I do sell the ones I really like, but most of them are for me to look at.

These are going into the kiln tomorrow when they are fully dry.  I use Mason colors which will look pretty much the way they do now/  The y will be a little stronger and shinier.  Sometimes I spray dry designs with hairspray to get more of an idea of what the fired colors will look like.

We had clouds and rain overnight with clear skies today.  It looked like the kind of sky that means cold temps.  Instead it has been in the fifties.  It's supposed to be good all week end.   No complaints here!  It's lovely to work outside without needed layers and layers of clothes to stay warm.

Enjoy the week end wherever you are.  My thoughts sympathies are with those who are experiencing flooding rains and other difficulties.

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

Friday, November 13, 2015

It's Always Sumthin'

I went outside in the rain and found this passion flower in bloom.  (This photo was taken last July)  

It was a lovely surprise, unlike the phone call I got from my doc to tell me that my Lyme Disease tests showed that I do indeed have Lyme.  I got two bites last summer that never really healed.  There was no bullseye, but headaches, muscle aches, occasional scratchy throat, all of which I blamed on allergies until I was talking with my doc at my annual physical and had a FER DUH! moment.  No Erlichiosis or Babesius which sounds like small comfort, but isn't!  It does explain the sudden bouts of complete exhaustion I've been experiencing!

Needless to say I am only going to do what I can, but nothing more, for the coming Holiday Sale.  I find taking antibiotics can be extremely tiring.  My currents theory is that my body finds it easier to heal while asleep!

It's going to be a bit cooler today with temps in the 50's and lots of sun.  Toes crossed that it will dry out enough to rake, rather leaf blow, some leaves into the woods.

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

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fall Into Spring?

It's November and the weather is in the high sixties and seventies.  It feels like spring; the flowers are blooming again.  I have to admit I love it.  Even the violets are blooming!

 Mother Nature is totally confused!

Meanwhile the oaks and beech are turning.  The red oaks are turning beautiful shades of gold to red.

Enjoy the coming week end.

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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Falling Into Fall

We are enjoying a run of warm fall days.  Temps have been in the sixties, seventies in the sun.  It's so much more pleasant to work outside in the sun, than cold blowing rain and mist, which is what we had last week.  Petunias, snap dragons, calibrochia and passion flowers are happily blooming away.  I'll probably bring them in next weekend.

Aloysius is always yawning to show how bored he is with the whole notion of fall and winter.  Now is the time to snuggle in down quilts and warm windowsills.  When we start the wood stove all will be under it. 

I have started practicing with the brushes I bought at NCECA.  I did this one with the brush on the left. It's an entirely new feeling, but I am very happy with the variety of marks I can make.

Somewhere, probably on Ceramic Arts Daily, I read about practicing making marks on paper plates.  Chinet plates provide something very close to the glaze surfaces I work on.  The problem with paper is that its surface is so different from a glaze surface.

I may do some black and white plates, once I become more confident.  There's no room for mistakes with this kind of brush work.

These are the trees in the yard just before the wind and rain began last week.  Most of the maples have lost their leaves.  The oaks and beech are really changing quickly now.  The oaks are particularly lovely  this year.  Their colors are ranging from pale golds to deep garnet reds.  Some years they just turn brown and drop.  There don't seem to be as many acorns this year.  That may have something to do with our fairly dry summer.

And last, because today is Halloween my little witches have come out once again to wish everyone a BOOtiful day!

Enjoy the fall, or spring.

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

Sunday, October 18, 2015

After Dark

I took this last night around 9:30 PM.  It's a Flower Bee (looks like a small bumblebee) asleep in a morning glory.  Proge found it by flashlight when he was out with Winter.  I had him use his flash while I focused; he then turned his light off and I shot it on auto with my little built in flash.  I would have done a time exposure, but I thought I might lose the shot if I took the time to set up my tripod. 


We had what looks like spotty frost last night.  Some of the dahlias are finished and ready to be pulled.  Other plants are fine.  It's definitely time to start bringing plants in.

Chilly this morning but it's supposed to warm up later in the week.  Toes crossed!

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

Monday, October 12, 2015

New Stuff

I've been working on a new mug design.  I dreamed about it last week and have been working on it through the week end.  So far this has been the only save.  I'm working on proportion, handle, and feet.  In other words the whole kit and kaboodle.  This has been a most enjoyable process.  I'm considering various glaze ideas too. 

These are little whisky or punch cups I have also been experimenting with.  Since I learned how to do tripods I am putting them on anything that requires a foot!

I make them over barely blown up water balloons.  The yellow and blue are ready to be removed; the red is obviously deflated.  The two in front are in the finishing process.  The rims need to be smoother, the feet refined.  I always brush on a coat of slip made from my clay body.  This gives me a smooth surface to work on; it also polishes nicely with a bit of chamois.

I sort of indulged myself in buying myself a new notebook.  I don't really consider it an indulgence as I have become extremely tired of dealing with cheap notebooks with low quality paper.  Strat 400, 80 lb. is a good all around surface which takes pencil, charcoal, aquarelle and others mediums extremely well.  I know some like to 'draw' on computers and ipads, but for me nothing beats the feel of pencil or brush moving on the surface of the paper.

I initially wanted a little fancier cover and then realized I could do what I wanted with the cover to make it my own!

Sunny day today; yard work to be done.

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Between doc. appointments, another three day migraine (due to low pressure, rain and allergies), and living I haven't been posting much.

During a lull in the rain Winter went beserk.  There was a large flock of turkeys in the woods behind the house.  Did she hear them?  see them?  smell them?  I don't know, but the birds were totally unimpressed with her antics.

Finally we are enjoying some sun and warmer temps.  We'll be working outside, prepping for winter.

Enjoy some sunny days, to those who are experiencing torrential rains....stay safe.

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

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mugs On A Monday Morning

Monday Mugs are kind of a thing among Clay Buddies on FB.  These four are currently in use for my morning tea.  Tea is all the more pleasurable when drunk from a beautiful mug!

What do you drink your morning beverage from?

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

(left to right)  Lori Watts,  Posey Bacopoulis,  Kate Missett,  Jeff Brown 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mold Making

I bit the bullet and have been making a large platter form.  I've been making smaller ones, about fifteen inches across from bird baths, but I've been wanting a larger surface to work on.

I covered the plastic form with layers of tissue paper and then a sheet of plastic.  I then took the slop clay I keep for molds and experiments and extended the rim to a curve I liked. 

I rolled out a thick slab and  finished it with a rolling pin.  Whenever I work with a large slab, I always finish with my rolling pins.  I roll in all directions, much like pie crust.  I have no real proof, but I think it makes a stronger slab.

Here the slab is covered with the thin jersey that I use between slab and form.

One of the hardest steps in the entire procedure is flipping the slab onto the form.  I suppose I could ask Proge for help, but where's the fun in that?

Here I've added more clay to the rim to strengthen it.

And finally I have the form shaped to my satisfaction.  This is all done by eye, as I want to maintain a handbuilt feel to both the form and what I make.


 I wrapped the form in several layers of plastic and dried very slowly to soft leather hard.  I took  the plastic off for a few hours at a time and changed to a dry sheet.

I forgot to take a picture of the flipping process.  It's quite easy as the bird bath form is there for support.  I braced the sides with rolled plastic and newspaper before removing the bird bath.  I left the whole thing for a day before working on the rim.  I used a sur-form to smooth things out.  Sharp edges can lead to bumping and cracking. I also worked to interior curve with one of Mud Tool ribs.  Yellow has just the right amount of give and control.

Now it's just a question of drying slowly and evenly.  I drape thin plastic over and periodically flip it to keep the rim from drying too quickly.  If it does look like it's drying too fast I will cover the rim tightly with more plastic.

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

We have finally had some rain more than four inches since Friday.  We are still down several inches, but we did set up rain barrels so there is water for plants if it gets dry again.  No matter how much I water, there is nothing like rain to perk the plants up.  It's cloudy today with more showers expected this afternoon.  The air feels very soft.

Enjoy the week ahead.  Here's hoping for cool, wet weather in all the areas that are dealing with fires.

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

Friday, September 4, 2015

Alien Invasion

This was going to be a posting about the pots I have been making, the flowers that are blooming and all the delights of late summer.

THEN!!!  About an hour ago we were out in the yard for our morning walk around when Proge yells, "Holy sh*t there's huge hornets' nest up there."  I looked and indeed it is a huge nest.  On second thought it's probably paper wasps!  We always get them around the pool trying to build nests under the rails; we never have considered the fish pond as a source, but of course it is.  This is right over the fishies so there is no way we are going to spray or use anything else to get rid of it.  They aren't bothering us so we will wait until cold weather to deal with it!  It would be another story if they were white face hornets, which are extremely territorial and will chase you down!  

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

On a happier note this little frog has been by the pond for most of the summer!  He likes to sit on the rock in the morning and relax in the pond the rest of the time.  We've had quite a few frogs this year.  Some summers we only have one or two.  We also have about a dozen baby fish!

I'll post about pots and plants next time.

 Meanwhile have an enjoyable Labor Day Week End!

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Busy Days; Busy Potter

I have finally been putting my fish out around the pond.  I sort of forgot about them, but now they are here and happy.  This blue guy is the first large one I made.  He started as a demo for a class I was giving and grew.

I enjoy making these, so when I have more clay I will indulge myself and make more!

Which leads to an oh fer duh! moment.  I was all set to start making stuff when I discovered that no I did not have 100 lbs. of clay ready to go, but a lot of clay waiting to be recycled.

The photo below is a small portion of what I have been doing.  I like to get all my clay for the year ready during the summer so I can do it outside, thus avoiding at least one potential studio mess.  I beat it to a slurry with my glaze mixer and put it out to dry on screens.  This came inside as a rescue when it started raining.  Good thing I did too as we had over two inches of heavy rain.

More recycle today!

I did find a bit of my low fire white so started a couple of three-legged mugs.  I want them to look a little more tilted and funkier than they do.  A paddle will beat them into submission!

We were cutting down a lot of sassafras sprouts that have been invading since last year.  In the process I found my old garden rattles That I made in a workshop with Elsbeth Woody in Port Chester,  NY around 1987.

They are some of the last thing I did in high fire clay.  It was Elsbeth's clay body fired to about ^8 with a red iron oxide wash.  They have beads of clay in them so they rattle quite nicely when pushed around.

I never followed through but I always had an image of some sort of lawn game with undertones of croquet and bocce.

And last, two little frogs that are out by the pond.  We have quite a few of them this year.  I'm not sure why; some years we only have one or two.  There are at least two bullfrogs among them who enjoy announcing they are present in the middle of the night.

The person who extolled the silence of nature obviously never lived there!

Enjoy what is fast becoming a late summer!  Where did it go?

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

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Are these the dog days of summer?  I must admit that  this is my favorite time of year.  Everything is growing and blooming.

My lilies have been spectacular this year.  I guess our long, snowy winter was good for the perennials.  Actually I think it's more likely due to the fact that fertilized like crazy last summer.

I love it when I get masses of flowers like the lilies.  These go from a pale pink to white and are so fragrant that they scent the whole yard. 

This alba is very special because it grew from bulblets that I did not know existed.  They were in another part of the garden where the original plant was.  The original died last year, so I was delighted with the new shoots.  I dug and potted them and will plant them when they finish blooming.

The day lily is a special one that I bought from Larry the pond guy the last summer he was open.  It bloomed beautifully in its pot, but last year had no flowers at all.  I am so pleased to see it blooming and in great shape.

I haven't put flowers on my work for quite a while.  I'll start out by drawing these from life, but use the photos for reference.  Digital cameras are so great for getting immediate results.

I woke this morning to rain, thunder, and a lot of wind.  It was one of those downpours that feels like buckets of water are being dumped from the sky.  We got about an inch which is always welcome.  Wind gusts of 80 mph were recorded in our town.  Much of the state lost electricity.  For once we didn't.  That is extraordinary in itself.  At this time of year we keep the car well gassed so if we do lose power we can switch to the power inverter.

We are working on restoring the pool.  Removing the liner was not the hassle we thought it might be.

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

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