Making Soup

Yesterday I made one of my favorite dishes; Pasta Vasul! This is one of those dishes that reminds you of childhood or home. I grew up with smelling the wonderful aroma of this cooking in a pot in the dead of winter on my grandmothers stove. Since the weather has turned a bit nippy here in the North East, I thought I'd make a pot of it for the week. YUMMM...you can see its in one of my favorite Ron Philbeck bowls and beside it in good company is a mug by Linda Christianson.
Here's how you make Pasta Vasul.

* Large can of crushed tom.
*2 cans diced tom.
* 2 cans white beans
* Two links of Italian sausage
* leaves from a couple celery stalks
* salt/pepper ( to your liking..about a two pinches)
* elbow pasta( to your liking)
* 2 TBS olive oil
*one whole onion

Take the sausage and lightly brown it in the bottom of the cooking pot with the olive oil.
Add a few leaves of celery ( I'd say about 4-7), cook on low.
Add your cans of Tomatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes
Add your beans, salt and pepper and whole onion. Leave cooking on low for about 40 minutes.
Add pasta when your ready to eat!

Its really easy and tastes great!


Heading Out To The Kiln

Here are a few things the will be stained and sent out to the bisque kiln this evening. It is slowly getting full. Yesterday I had a very nice gallery owner come to the studio and pack up a bunch of work, which was nice. I never like turning galleries down when it comes to showing my work but in the Fall I have to admit it always makes me nervous to clear off my shelves when I've booked a number of different shows. I never know what is in front of me family wise that could hinder what seems like a short amount of time in the studio. Being in a crunch mode is never good, so for the most part I've been able to keep my head just above water with filling shelves and keeping up with other responsibilities I have.

The one very positive thing about having my stock go a little down is that it allows me to really focus on my time in the studio and what I need to make. I'm looking forward to this evening working since last night was devoted to teaching. Today was a productive day so that felt great!
Here are some bottles.
Bowls with cut feet.

And a few of the pillow tiles.


Pitchers I Promised

Here's a quick shot of a few of the pitchers I was working on last week. I'll get some shots of the pillow tiles also for whomever was interested in seeing them before they go into the first firing.

I was going to write out our whole menu this weekend because once again Joey did a great job feeding everyone. Some of Joey's family members and his mom came for the weekend which was fun. We don't get to see his mom as much since his Dad passed away and she doesn't like to travel by herself much. His family is always amazed at what he comes up with and he puts us all to shame with his cooking. Unfortunately sitting here at the computer this afternoon, I can't find any of his gourmet recipe books to locate the names of everything we ate. So I thought I'd take a different approach to reporting on our meal by illustrating that anything "fancy" as my kids call it usually means they are not happy with what is on the table. Hotdogs, chicken soup and pasta are dinners of choice on the week days and on the weekend we usually get this response to anything "out of the ordinary". I made Quaid demonstrate his disapproval of the meal by using a common facial "words" that most kids enjoy at this age! And yes...he did have to sit there and eat what was on his plate.


Good Tunes For The Soul

We had a good weekend and I think I'll post something about it maybe tomorrow. Tonight I"m working on some computer stuff and put on the headphones for a little escape. I like to go to the NPR's live concert website and pick different people that I don't normally listen to. Its called XPN Fridays and Helen Light usually introduces the bands. I like listening to these because its all live and I love alittle insight into the people behind the music. I guess its the same way I feel about a pot. If I like the potter, I appreciate the pot alittle bit more! This evening I was feeling like I really needed to mellow out so I knew that Damien Rice was the guy for me! Click on this link below and you can check out Damien live in concert.


Pie Dish in Use

Last night I had a craving for Quiche so I went out to my studio and swiped one of my pie-dishes. I believe the last one I owned I gave to someone at a pot-luck because they liked it so much. ( This way I didn't have to wash the dish!) I don't make pie-plates that much even though it is a hot item among my family members. Joey's family is coming into town this weekend and he's been planning one of his wonderful meals all week. He was asking me if for dessert I could make a deep dish Carmel-apple pie. I have to admit the homemade crust comes out great in a clay pie dish. We'll see if I have some time to bake this weekend.

At any rate, this ham quiche was wonderful on a cold day with the side salad. Now that the winter months are here, there will be a lot of soup in our future and I'm sure the pie-dish will have many quiche's in them to accompany the soup.

Last night I had to take a break from wet clay and stain some of my bone-dry work to move it along, out to the shed. Here are twin vases ready to have the stain wiped away. These little guys are tricky to fire because they all have a match and the arms allow them to fuse together in the kiln. Hence...the twin theme. I have to credit this idea to my good friend
Amy Sanders who has her own type of twin vases ( I have a set I love!)


Stages of Pitchures

Last night I started throwing some pitchers. Here are the beginning stages of a few.

This guy is pretty tall, about 15" and of course being the it is porcelain, it was shrink to about 12" inches after it is fired.

This next shot is the start of the beak and how I have squared it off body. Today I will add a bit more clay to the spout to give it more height and add the handles.

I wanted to load a bisque kiln this weekend but I'm not sure I have enough stuff to pack it full. My elements looks like they are about to go bad on me so I feel like I have to make the best use of space with all my firings since I'm getting into the "crank it....many shows coming up before Christmas!!'' mode. Changing elements right before the big Christmas race scares the heck out me! Maybe I need to make a few electric kiln gods just in case.


Feeling Like Monday

Since the kids where home with me for 4 days plus the weekend, my concept of the days of the week are completed off. Today is Tuesday but in my mind its Monday. I felt like I was teaching on a Sunday Night when I drove into Charlotte last night!

Today I got back in the swing of things. Yesterday I took a few shots of the items I worked on while at Vicki this weekend. Today I finished up some twin vases and organized the studio a bit more. Here are some pillow tiles and mugs.

The kids had a good break. Here is a shot from yesterday.

The girls had a friend over and Quaid was busy making his outdoor "concoctions" with various liquids I allow him to have from the inside and organic material he finds outside. He really wants to create some kind of explosion or smoke when he gets going on one of his "experiment days". I don't dare tell him that vinegar mixed with oil and some food coloring really won't do that much. And yes... he has gone through a bunch of my baking soda so making fake volcano's has been done!


Crisp Sunday Morning

I'm enjoying a relaxing crisp Sunday morning. Eggs and waffles with berries where the choice of breakfast this morning and a nice hot cup of coffee in of course a great mug. ( Maker unknown.....)

Today I will back at BlueGil Pottery with Vicki. It was obvious yesterday the economy is effecting the buying mind of the public. At least that was the case in Gastonia NC., our part of the world. Vicki and I had a nice day of talking a catching up on pottery talk. Of course I never grow tired of that! I also was able to bring some work with me to work on so it was not a day of sitting around. Today I plan on putting some handles of mugs and finishing up some pillow tiles I made yesterday. Hopefully this evening I'll be able to get back and go for a nice walk. The pecan trees around our neighborhood are starting to drop nuts all over the sidewalks so I'm one of many who on brisk walks, stop and load up our windbreaker pockets with as many nuts as a squirrel my size can hold!


Fall Open House at Blue Gil Pottery

Today I will be setting up a show at Bluegill Pottery..Vicki Gill's place. We will be there on Saturday 10-4 and and Sunday 1-5. Please come out and say Hi if your up for a visit!

Last night I was able to throw lots of mugs and start on some double vase forms...plus watch the debate!
I'll try to get some shots up of work in progress over the next few days.


Stuff, Stuff , Stuff

Yesterday I got clay made and cleaned, packed and separated pots to this place, that place and the other. Sad day...no throwing. The evening was spent at Book club talking about a book called " The Double Bind" by Chris Bohjalian. I joined book club after many of my mom friends kept asking me to come. I can always use the excuse that I have to work at night but I know I need a good balance of things in my life so I signed on. For the most part I think I can only get through about 3 books a year but I do try to keep up via books on tape and the Internet. I enjoy the discussions and always think that in the later years in life I'll have more time to sit around and enjoy a book in my free time. I'm enjoying see Quaid laying around his bed after school and on the weekends engrossed in one of his books. Joey and my father are both big readers so I hope this is a family trait that my kids will inherit. It took a long time for me to enjoy books growing up.

Today I'm here for the morning grading tests and doing my usual morning world-wind clean-up, back to Gastonia at noon, off to shop and do parent teacher conference than back for dinner time. TONIGHT I can throw. Mugs and butter dishes are first on my list I think. ( But true to form I can change my course of action depending on which way the wind is blowing.) We'll see what I come up with!


Shipping...good lordy!

This morning I had to get a box out to Illinois for a show and of course half way through the process I realised that I didn't have a big enough box to fit my other box into!

Yikes...time to go dumpster diving!

There I was today at noon in my clay cloths, studio clogs, hair up in a pigtail and no make-up just driving around behind the local dollar stores in hopes of a sea of fresh boxes. Low and behold I found a bunch right in plain view of the road next to Dallor General. I have to admit they where a little wet but the perfect size for all my shipping needs. I decided to stock-up on a bunch and I quickly returned home to finish packing up my plates for a show called "Clay 3".

Here is the box and yes I know it looks a little stuffed and beat-up but I always feel good that I don't go out and buy new boxes and packing material. One reason for this is I don't want to add that expense onto my business cost and two I like to recycle with my newspaper, old peanuts people send me and boxes that are just being tossed out.

I'm I the only person that hates peanuts out there in the packing world? To me they are like that game "hot potato". As soon as I get some I try to ship them out to someone else the next day because they are just so messy! And if my kids see them....well...its curtains for my studio and the yard.

Anyways back to packing...the biggest issue of my packing day was the cost once I went to UPS to send this guy out. LORD, I nearly fell over backwards when I found out how much shipping has gone up in the last two weeks!

Good lesson for me.....charge more for my pieces going to juried shows to pay the ridiculous cost of shipping them there.

Tomorrow is a clay making/throwing day. YAH!


Photo's from Barn Sale

Here are some shots from yesterday. The first one is one of my new bottle forms that I'm really "diggin" with the red added.
Here is a shot of Ron's booth, mine and Vicki Gill's all together. Its always fun having a neighbor that you know!
Here is Kari and her sweet little boy Colin. Kari is a wood worker and helped make my booth set-up along with Amy Sanders husband Brian. (I can't resist a baby shot.) Another potter took pity on Ron because it rained a bit.She brought over this umbrella for him so he would'nt melt. He's such popular guy and I love to tease Ron!Here is Vicki. Next weekend I'm going to be a guest artist at her studio for her annual Fall Sale. I'm so thrilled that she asked me to join her.
Here are some of my current and former students. That is the great thing about the Charlotte clay guild. This sale has such a wide mix of potters who are just learning how to sell their work and those of us who "think" we know how to sell our work. Ha!

Here is Robin and Chris.

And here is Dorothy and Susan.

Today is family day for me and a little studio clean-up so I can get back to work in the morning.


Barn sale Check-In

I'm winding down my day from the Barn Sale. I just wanted to put a quick little post up and tomorrow I will get some photo's down loaded and put up for everyone to see.

It was a beautiful day weather wise and at the beginning of the day there where a ton of folks walking around so I think many people came out to view a lot of pottery. I saw lots of students and familiar faces that I took some snap shots of. Joey even came out to help me towards that end of the day and of course, I always enjoy having him around. Thanks to all who came by my booth and said HI.

We ended the day with a great meal at my folks along with my sister and her family. They all came down from Raleigh for a visit since we'll all be scattered this Thanksgiving. Once again the topic for most of the meal was on the election and the economy. I don't think a day goes by that we can get away from it! I know many people came in my booth and said they where buying a lot of practical things this time around.

Check back in a day or so for some photo's. Hope everyone is having a good start of fall weekend


Fresh Pots

I really liked that way my kiln came out today. Not one second which always is such a relief and only a tiny bit of grinding so that is good as well. Here are some shots for you.

New mugs. Nothing to fancy so I can charge a good price. I decided since the economy is in such a wreck that I wanted to make some smaller items for gifts people could afford.
Here are some mixing bowls. They are not meant to be stacked but I liked the way they looked together.

Raven pots.

Small covered jars.
Plates. My amber is pretty yellow this go around because I ran out of the colorant I use for this glaze and had to skimp on the measurement. I do miss the amber, but I think some people will like this color also.


AHHHHH...the glazing

Yesterday was my glazing day. I was thinking how at one point in my career ( I think it was the beginning), I use to say how much I liked glazing. Boy has that changed! As I was uploading these photo's I was thinking how horrible the pots look with wax and dray glaze all over the surface.

I always approach a glaze day with a sort of sour look on my face because I know I'm just going to be covered in dust and chemicals for a day and I know how unhealthy that has to be for me. I always clean up my glaze shed before I start and most of the time I wear a dust mask. I'm sure I look like a crazy person to any onlooking from the street because while I am sweeping, about every other second I'm running outside my shed to get away from the dust! I dream of having some sort of Dr. Seuss looking machine that would just go to work for me and sweep, suck-up and wash down all my surfaces each time.

The count-down to show number.....I think four?? is soon approaching. The weather is looking iffy for Saturday so wish all of potters in Charlotte good luck!


My Only Political Rant

I'm sure by now if you read my blog its pretty obvious that I'm a Democrat. I'm also proud to say that I come from a long line of Democrats. My earliest memories of childhood are of my father dashing from the dinner table at 6:30 to see the evening news and pretty much yell at the TV every time Nixon came on. When George Bush senior was in office, the same thing occurred.

Now that I'm grown-up ( oh..that is a funny thought) I still enjoy the fact that my parents have been liberals since day one. Last week they went over the Obama headquarters and volunteered. Pretty much the talk whenever we go over to my parents house is how much of a mess the country is in and how they are sad that their kids will not be as well off as they are due to the last eight years and maybe perhaps the many before Bush Jr.

Today my husband called to tell me that 40 people in his company where laid off. We sit pretty much every week in fear that this will be us as well. Its cost Joey lots of sleepless night lately.

So..on that note, if you do read my blog and others that are in the "pottery blog" circuit, you'll see the "Obama cup campaign" that a number of people are participating in. My good friend Ron Philbeck is one of the people working hard on this project and I plan on getting a cup for my Dad this Christmas. This way I know I'm supporting two good causes, Obama and maybe some smart change for the country as well as my fellow potters who always are in need of more currency to keep them going in this world as well.
Below is a link you can go to for more information!
Peace everyone!


Saturday Post

Its 10pm and everything is silent in our house except for me typing away. I thought I'd turn in early this evening and give my body some much needed rest. Of course I have to end my evening with a few minutes on the computer.

We've had a great weekend so far. Friday night Joey and I got to spend sometime together at the opening for a Circle of Eight show at Lark and Key gallery. Ron Philbeck has some great photo's from the show up on his blog so please go look. It is a very nice gallery and the gallery crawl was fun. After the opening a few of us went out to dinner and had a good time.

Our big event today was going to the Cleveland County Fair in Shelby Nc. Ron last year talked about the fair so I thought as a parent it was high time to go visit the pigs, cows, bake goods and rides so my children would not miss out on such lasting memories I have as a kid. When I was a child my grandparents lived right behind the NY State Fairgrounds so every year I could not wait for my grandmother to take me and my sister for a whole day of fun and fair food! Today brought back memories of how my grandmother never would take us "down to the midway" because she was always scared the some Carney would steal us. I have to admit, being one with the huge imagination, I was holding on to everyone hands pretty tight.

Here are some photo's from today. I think everyone had fun. We figured out soon that you needed to take a second mortgage on your house to REALLY have fun at the fair. But we managed to let everyone ride one ride and pick one type of fair food.

Tomorrow we have birthday parties to get to, football games and of course more studio work. Next week is firing time in the studio for the Barn Sale.


Lipstick on a pig!

WEll, I guess I got you there because I don't have anything political to talk about today ( I'm waiting for the debate tonight!) I do have a pig to show off! My fellow blogger buddie Becky Story made this cute little pig and she gave it to me last week as a surprise when I got to class. Isn't it great! Thanks so much Becky. She's going to live up in my shelf with all my other little treasures.

Here are somethings I was working on today.

Today was a fun day because my friend Debi came over and kept me company while I worked in the morning. Alittle bit of company to pass the time is always fun.

I got some exciting news yesterday via email. After a few years of trying to get into the ACC here in Charlotte, I finally got accepted for the 2009 show. Ye-ha!