Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

Earlier this month Samantha came home from church so excited because her leader, Kathy, loves halloween and wanted to make a costume for her. Kathy is extremely talented and can sew like no other. She also is the mother of adult sons and missed out on the world of girls that I inhabit. Her sons had amazing costumes growing up (so I hear) but what to do with all the great girl costume possibilities? Throw a murder mystery dinner party for 16-17 year olds and then make a bunch of the costumes! Sam was a steampunk sheriff with a fabulous costume. She will wear this for the rest of her life! Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the back of the jacket. 2 layers of bustle on top of the long back - very cool. Way beyond my skill set.

Sydney was not invited to the 16-17 year old party but that does not mean she wanted to miss out on a fabulous costume. She went with Sam to Kathy's for a fitting and came home with a pattern and the statement, "Mom, Kathy said you could make this!" This being a jacket that was beyond anything I had ever sewn before. Sydney wanted to be a steampunk aviator. 20 hours of cutting, sewing, unpicking, ironing & more sewing later Sydney had the most awesome thing I have ever sewn in my life. 

Gretchen somehow latched on to the idea of Little Red Riding Hood. How can you go wrong with a big red cape? Fortunately I've made a couple capes before and knew that would not be a problem. I found some great fabric, made the cape & then realized I needed to make a skirt or something to wear under the cape. That wasn't very hard to do & she loved it.

Julia decided to be a ninja and was happy with a costume ordered online, bless her little mom loving heart. I did make it up to her though. When Gretchen discovered she loved the little red skirt because it was mid calf length and she could twirl in it, she wanted to wear it to church, school, everywhere. I was a bit hesitant letting her run around looking like a picnic table so I offered to make another skirt with some different fabric. Since I was sewing for Gretchen, I sewed for Julia too. She was equally happy with her skirts and I became super mom.

My girls all had a much better Halloween thanks to Sam's advisor. If Sam's costume hadn't been so amazing I doubt I would have spent so much time sewing for the Syd, G & J. I did not work in the studio at all during October. My head is full of pots to make. I'm anxious to get started on those!

Monday, October 29, 2012

I put a flower on it too

Really which is better - birds or flowers? I can't decide. I love them both. I don't just mean on my plates either. It's hard for me to choose which I like better so yay for me that I don't have to.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I put a bird on it

Earlier this fall I watched a clip from a workshop done by a potter named Chandra DeBuse. I fell in love with what she was doing and had to try making some pieces myself. There is another potter, Amy Higgason, whose work I admire & have wanted to try some of her techniques. So after the joyous occasion of school starting (really just kidding there, I would like it to be summer & playtime most of the year) I had a little time to venture back into the studio & see how much my clay missed me. Well, I guess my clay didn't miss me but I sure missed it! 

   One of the funnest aspects of these plates for me is the type of glaze I used on them. When I was in college 20 years ago (that just made me feel old!) I bought a set of underglazes at a clay convention I went to in San Diego. It was such a huge deal for me to go. And an even bigger deal for me to purchase anything while I was there. Brian was in med school, I was a full time student and finances were super tight. Anyway I splurged and bought these small containers of glaze, felt a bit guilty about it and then used them for some of my work at school. When Brian finished school & we moved for residency I put all my clay stuff in storage until the day I could do pottery again.  It took awhile for that day to get here.

When I started working in my studio a few years ago I looked at my little bottles of underglaze and saw that they were all dried out. I put them in a cupboard and kind of forgot about them. While forming these plates and thinking about what type of decoration I'd do on the surface I remembered my underglazes. They were still in the cupboard all dried out. I added water, waited, stirred & tried them out. Much to my surprise they worked! I quickly made more plates to try them again. I'm pretty pleased with the results!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Now that is a tomato!

For those of you that have seen our garden you know that Brian is a fantastic gardener. It's a big garden and a ton of work.  He does the majority of it. The girls were great weeders this summer but by August we were all weeded out. No one had any desire to spend their free time pulling weeds. Not to say there weren't plenty of weeds to pull. In fact, it was a jungle out there but so be it. I took these photos in the middle of July before we went on vacation.


 Soy beans


 Green beans & yard long beans

I'm usually in charge of the tomatoes. It's my job to look out for them since I love to eat them & Brian only wants them for salsa. Most of the time I farm out the harvesting job to the girls. I'm not a big fan of bugs or of sticking my hand in a place where bugs might be. When we came home from vacation, girl's camp and 5 full days of swim meets it felt as if the garden had exploded. All the plants were big, healthy and full of food. The weeds were just as healthy as the plants but we just ignored them. I grow heirloom tomatoes and the plants were enormous! I really have to rethink how much space to give them next year. I could also prune them back more often.  This year there was no getting to the middle of the plants, too many vines and bulk around the plants. It was a very successful tomato year. Too much so. Pay attention for next year; when we say come and get some produce, we mean it!

 UEA break was the perfect time for us to clean out the garden. My job was the tomatoes (of course). The plants required being cut with tree pruners in order to get to the cages. The amount of tomatoes I found was unbelievable. It just about broke my heart to see all the tomatoes in the middle of the plants. There were literally hundreds. Most of them were inedible because of the frost the past few nights. There were a few keepers though.

This picture does not do this tomato justice. I couldn't believe the size of this thing! It had 2 others next to it almost as large. This baby weighed 1.848 lbs. That dinner fork has it work cut out for it. I'm definitely saving the seeds from this one!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Let's try this again

Hi there! Long time no blog. Believe it or not I've spent a fair amount of time thinking about blogging. Not actually blogging but thinking about it. I've tried to blog only about my pottery and that has been hard! There is so much more going on in my life that I found it difficult to single out just that part. I've decided that I'm going to include the rest of my life too on this blog, hence the updated blog name.

Hopefully I'll be a more consistent presence out here in cyberspace. I was a little lazy on keeping my domain name and now I'm trying to get it applied back to this blog. I am not super computer literate. I don't know if I'd even qualify as semi-literate but I do have daughters and one just finished a computer tech class so she will be my helper. I'll let you know when she finishes fixing things for me. I'm a tiny bit OCD in some areas of my life and now that I've decided to move forward with this blogging deal I have to do it NOW so I can start thinking about other things too.

Since this will be about most of my life & not just pots I need to give you a glimpse of the cast of characters that surround me daily. Brian - husband, e.r. doc, gardener, playmate. Samantha - 16 yr old & driver of 1/2 my errands. Sydney - 14 yr old & passenger on 1/2 of errands. Gretchen - 12 yr old, ball of energy. Julia - 10 yr old, sweetheart.   We love to spend a lot of time playing together -  in our backyard, going to swim meets, skiing, vacationing.