Sunday, July 28, 2013

Eat your fruits and veggies!

The farmer's market here is in full swing with beautiful fruits and vegetables overflowing at the vendor's stands. I arrived yesterday morning around 7am, not crowded and enjoyed shopping for my fruits and veggies without having to stand in long lines.  Figs and blueberries seemed to be the most popular item, most all of the stands had them. I shot some really nice photos, but my camera somehow managed to eat them. Too bad, the vendors all do such a nice job with display. I'll try again next week maybe.

The afternoon market that I do was a washout, big thunderstorms rolled through just about the time I got my car packed and headed down the road. I just turned around and came home. Been there, done that, no thanks!

Weight Watchers is going well. I can't wait for Fridays to go to my meeting, weigh in and spend 30 minutes getting some great nutrition information. It's been three weeks and I have lost 6 pounds. I'm averaging two pounds a week... safe, healthy weight loss, and I am never hungry. That's the best part, no cravings, no crankiness from hunger. I feel so much better, I feel lighter, I have more energy, no more wanting a nap in the afternoon, and Wesley and I go out every day for a 30 minute walk up five steep hills in our neighborhood, and a couple of nice downhills.

I have also started to get up early and go for a Wog. Yes, I am once again a wogger, I walk a bit then jog a bit. Pretty soon, I should be able to run the whole street, but for now, I am making sure my shins don't get sore so I won't quit.

One thing WW suggests is putting your fruits and veggies up front in the frig, all nicely cut up in bite size bits and in clear containers, so when you open up the door hungry, all that healthy goodness is staring right at you, saying "eat me, "eat me!". It works, I swear. This is how my frig looks all the time now. Of course the grapes and pineapple came from the grocery, but everything else is fresh and local. This is what I reach for when I want something but don't really know what.

I bought a new cookbook at the meeting last Friday. It's called Veg Power, all vegetarian recipes. Everything I have made for us since Friday came from this book. It is fantastic!

Here is one of the recipes and my new favorite sandwich:

Toast two slices of whole grain bread, spread on goat cheese and fig preserves, then add thinly sliced pear and a small amount of black pepper. OMG! This might be the best sandwich combo I have ever had! The pear was crunchy and tart, the goat cheese creamy and the figs sweet. Heaven! Try it!

We now have about 20 days before Wes goes back to school. Yes, I am now counting the days..Weh.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Back to Basics

This week I got my loom back to work. I have all these pretty yarns that I need to do something with, so I stopped messing around with the rags and I went back to a basic weave with a cotton/linen yarn. I have found my new weaving yarn love! It doesn't tangle or buckle or ravel or get fussy with me. It's a dream to weave with. I decided I needed to quit experimenting for awhile and just get a basic technique down. I have been jumping all over the place with total lack of focus, which was fun for awhile, but ended up keeping me from even touching the loom because I had no direction.

I have also discovered that I think differently than most weavers. There's a surprise! Everyone keeps telling me to put more than one project on the loom to save time dressing it. Well,  I get antsy when there is still a whole bunch of undone on the loom. I'm ready to get the project off as soon as I start it. So I figured out that I can do one project at a time right now. I put on enough warp for one scarf, and I am happy with that. It was easy to get the warp on, and in a day, I have made a scarf, easy peasy! This scarf is not as baby blue as it looks, it's more of a gray blue and very soft and pretty. I'm thinking of sewing some antique buttons on that my mom gave me....
Practicing some consistent patterning while I'm at it, instead of random selection. I kinda like the repetitiveness of it.

I have also been rustying up some sheets a friend gave me and thinking of what they will become. I like this process so much....

And we started the process of moving Wesley into her new house this week. Her room is very tiny, but very cozy and I think she will be much happier living in a house with friends than living in the dorms. Just about three more weeks, and I will be here alone much of the time again. Gerry has already started back to shooting sports, ugh. can you believe he has football practices to shoot this month? Already?
and baseball. and basketball will be back soon. What a sports obsessed society we live in. Wouldn't it be nice if people were that obsessed with art? There was a good mention of that from Suzi (smartcat) this week. No truer words.....

So it's weaving for me for a bit, and clay is still waiting for me to get inspired..... it's coming..... soon....

Weigh in is tomorrow, I'll let you know!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Good Karma

Here's a good story for you. Saturday I was in Saxapahaw selling (or not selling as it was) my wares up on the porch. I was looking down on this farmer that had just driven up in his old beat up pick up truck. He had the truck bed full of watermelons. He took one out and cut it open and it was the most beautiful juicy red melon I have ever seen. My mouth started watering just looking at it. I went down to buy one and as I spoke to him, I realized he was the dude that broke one of my heart dishes during the monk visit. Just as I asked him how much the melons were, he said, "oh hey- I broke your dish up on the porch didn't I?" and he gave me a melon in exchange and apologized once again. I have to say, it was a good trade. I felt really sorry for him, so I bought another one. This poor guy. People were walking up to him and asking how much his tomatoes were and he would just say something like, oh I don't know, just take a few and give me what you want to for them....... lord have mercy, not a way to make a living selling at a Farmer's Market.....

There are people that walk through this world that need someone to look after them. He is a happy sort of guy, I think there is some artistic talent there with woodworking, but no talent for how to make or handle money. He is just happy walking around breathing air. As they say here in the south,
"Bless his heart".

The market was slooooow on Saturday, where is everybody?! I have never seen so few people at the market, even the vendors were scarce. I sold nothing. I have six more weeks there, so hopefully people will come out for the last month of good music, produce and crafts. Not sure it I will do it again next year, but I am committed to finishing out this year. On a positive note there, the space that was once the Saxapahaw gallery has been filled. A new mercantile shop will be opening soon, and they will be selling local art. I met the girl opening the store and I will be soon supplying her with some ornaments and other objects for the holidays. I'm excited about this new store. I think it will be a great space.

Also, these three little guys are back together again. A very sweet collector bought the green one and the red one, and emailed last night that she had been thinking about the blue one and wanted it too. I'm really happy to see them back together. They have been photographed together so much that they seemed like one piece instead of three. 

We had the Chatham Artists Guild meeting last night to review the upcoming holiday tour, and it occurred to me that the tour will be here before I know it. I will have to have three pieces ready for our gallery receptions. I think I need to get busy and get some new work made!

The Tour de France is over and this week we are beginning to pack up Wesley's stuff and send her back to school soon, so I have no more excuses, time to get back to the studio.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 tour. What a great stage yesterday was. We sat in front of the TV all day watching. It was quite a closing ceremony! Mostly congrats to Nairo Quintana, my favorite new rider. 23 years old, his first Tour de France, and he wins second! I'm looking forward to seeing him race next year and win first place. He is going to be a great future rider!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Good to be home........

 I love my mom's back yard, it's so private, there is a pool, there are pretty flowers, and it is so quiet and peaceful. The only sounds are the birds and the little waterfall in her pool.  I could lay there for days just reading and napping. It's so nice for her to have this space in the later part of her life. Growing up was nothing like this for me. We lived on a tiny lot sharing side yards and a backyard with neighbors, our house was very small and there was no privacy. If my parents were yelling at each other, everyone in the neighborhood heard it. I wonder who I would be now if I had had this back yard instead of the one I grew up with.....

It's a nice place to visit, but it's good to be back home.

I continue to purge the things we no longer need. I drug all of our old backpacks and duffel bags down from the top shelf in the closet where they were stored, most have deteriorated and it's time to throw them out. Time for lots of things to go. Only the things I love or find of good use should stay.
Thank you William Morris for that wisdom I learned long ago, but fail to follow. I continue to keep my head down while walking, picking up sticks, rocks and rusty things, and I bring them all home......

Weight Watchers check in today. I have lost a total of four pounds, average 2 pounds a week, yay. Good healthy weight loss without starvation and depravation. Spending the week at my mom's set me back a bit, but I was strong for the most part. For example, she had a doctor's appointment and left before we got up. She put "breakfast" out for us. Pop tarts, croissants, brownies, muffins, and cheese danish. Ugh...... I gathered it all up and put it all back in the pantry, got out the blueberries and strawberries in the frig, cooked up an omelette and had a nice healthy start to the day instead of a sugar buzz. I watched my portions carefully except for the beer I had to have as soon as I got home (no alcohol allowed in her house) and the extra portions of chicken bog. Do you know chicken bog? If you live in South Carolina you do, otherwise you might be saying ick, about now. My mom makes it for me every time I come down, because I love it and can't get it anywhere else. You cook a chicken all day, cook up a huge pot of rice, mix in the chicken and rice with some spicy sausage and lots of black pepper. I mostly don't eat meat because no one else in my family does, but I will eat me some chicken bog! I paid for it on the scales, but in my WW meetings the mantra is:  "is this food I am about to eat worth the points?" and hell yeah, chicken bog is worth the points!

Wesley has taken on duty as my personal coach and she is kicking my butt on our walks. We walk these hills every day, fast and I nearly pass out, but I feel so good at the end of it, and she is so great to be helping me out with my weight goal. After dinner the other night when my mom brought pecan pie and caramel brownies (I know!) to the table, Wesley looked at me and said: "Is it worth it?" and no, it wasn't! I didn't have one brownie or piece of pie, so I could have more chicken bog :-)
 I told my meeting leader that story today and I got a bravo star for Wesley, ha!

I finished reading The Garden of Evening Mists by the pool. What a beautiful book. If you enjoy Japanese culture, this is a great book. I was sad to come to the end of it.

We went to the library yesterday for more books. What a great thing the library is. There are art books I have checked out many times, over and over. I saw some of them yesterday, they are like old friends. It made me smile to see them there on the shelves. I checked out a book about a Chinese chef and a food writer, but so far it isn't as great as I thought it would be.... we'll see. I have cut back on my computer time and added reading books in it's place, enjoying this change very much.
We also got some movies. Last night we watched The Fall. This is an AMAZING movie, you should watch it!!!! It was filmed in 18 different countries and it's eye candy as well as being a really great story! HERE is the trailer

Still being a lazy artist, but I have lots of inventory, so why not. I'll have to get back to it soon enough. Right now we are on the last stages of the Tour de France and then summer, for me will seem over and I will send Wesley back to college. Lazy days right now though......

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Blog break this week

I have now sold all of these. I kept three small place mats, one pink runner and one other neutral runner for myself. Might be time to start thinking about weaving again. Ugh, the agony of doing math and dressing the loom!

I'm taking Wesley for a grandmother visit before she goes back to school. Three days at the beach.... maybe there will be sun...... we got a little blue sky today, it was shocking and bright to my eyes and they had a hard time adjusting to something that was not gray. We had a long walk and soaked up the vitamin D, it was so great. The hills in our neighborhood are really steep and hateful, and quite a workout, but they are getting much easier. I lifted weights today and did some light yoga stretches. I ate mostly fruits and veggies, my favorite new snack is a granny smith green apple with peanut butter, so summery and so filling! Drank lots of water, and I had one beer before dinner. I earned that sucker!

Thanks for all of your comments and interest in my new plan for eating and exercise. I'll talk about some things that are and are not working if you're interested. It's mostly about portion control and moving some, but I think the MOST important thing is writing down what you eat. When you see on paper what and how much or how little you eat and drink water, it's very informative. And you are accountable to something so you are more likely to eat the right thing and make better choices.
We'll see how I feel about this in 10 weeks, but right now, I love this plan!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A good week

Rainy Saturday here. I'm not even going to bother packing my car for the Farmer's Market. Who is going to show up on a day like this? I didn't even get up to go shopping for veggies this morning, and I seldom pass up a chance for Saturday morning market! Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain............

Small victory on Friday. I had my first check in with Weight Watchers and I have lost three pounds, woo hooo!  My tipping point last week that got me to the meeting in the first place was when I could not find one single pair of pants that I could button. For my check in, I wore a favorite pair of pants that would not button the week before to the meeting, and they were loose! The best part is looking back over the past week at my journal entries and seeing the small changes I am making in my eating habits and exercise. It's not like we are bad eaters, we eat very healthy food, but my portion choices are out of control. All I did this past week was cut down the portion size. I still ate chocolate and drank beer and had bread and ate out in restaurants. I just watched how much I ate. Instead of sitting with the bag of almonds in my lap in front of the TV, I measured out a one ounce portion, ate that, and was satisfied. One piece of dark chocolate a day instead of a handful of chocolates. Also, Wesley and I have gone out walking every day, steep steep hills and I am making good food choices and thinking about what I put into my mouth before it goes in there. If I write it down and see what I am eating, I am accountable, and I make good choices. Its the random eating and heaping large portions that has been my problem. I used to have an insatiable metabolism and could not get enough to eat, but those days are gone baby!

"Is this food really worth the points it will cost me and is it worth writing down in my journal? Do I really want it?"
my mantra.

I got three bravo stars at the meeting and yes I am four years old and yes I was excited to get them and put them in my journal, haha! I was asked to present my journal I made and even got a star for that. It is such a head game, but fun and it works for me. I celebrated by treating myself to a really great lunch at the cafe next to WW meeting space. It was a good day. And then our friend Corky came to stay for the weekend, and we played Skyrim! Life is good :-)

I have been asked to do props for four more shows at The Artscenter and also asked to do an art installation for Hidden Voices. It's nice to know I have some money to look forward to and not have to worry about making something, getting it out of the kiln, taking it somewhere and hoping it will sell. Clay seems to be less and less important to me these days. Sometimes it is a real pain in the ass. I am less and less in love with it and more and more interested in getting back to work for money, instead of working so hard and hoping something might sell. It's gotten really old! I think I am just feeling some burn out.  I did go ahead and pay my dues for the studio tour and will continue to make some nice ornaments and jewelry, but I have a good inventory of barns and don't foresee making many more. I picked up a few from Lark and Key last week, it was nice to see them again. They still have a good selection and they are displayed beautifully in the gallery, I just overloaded them, so a few came back with me.

We have just a few more weeks with Wesley before she goes back to school so I am spending time with her, feeding her well, and being lazy with her on these gloomy rainy days. I'm just being a mom right now, and loving it! There will be plenty of quiet time soon enough for studio work....... is she really going to be a college junior?!  eek!

Hopefully I can knock off three more pounds in the coming week! I'll let ya know

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Enough is enough

For the past ten years I have been completely obsessed with clay. Learning how to throw on the wheel, how to hand build, to mix glazes, sell my work, get in galleries, get in good shows. I even took a workshop on kiln building. I know a lot, I'll never know enough, and definitely will never ever know all there is to know about clay. But all this learning and obsession has pushed many things aside, including my appearance. Dirty clothes all the time, hair that barely gets brushed, dirty fingernails,worn out shoes. Charming right? I have had no interest in fashion or shopping and my eating habits sort of took the same path. I was shoving in whatever I could grab at the drive through on my way to the studio, or not eating lunch because I was involved with my clay. Well, I'm just about tired of this lifestyle and ready for a change. The hair brushing is still an issue, but I have been putting on some cute clothes and wearing better shoes. I just braid my tangled hair and no one knows the difference! If you look back at the photos of me at the beginning of this blog, you can see how the pounds have piled on and really in a very short time. I was around 135 when I started this blog!

Ten years ago,  I joined Weight Watchers to get off some mom/moving stress weight. I was eating everything in sight and gaining a bunch of weight. I joined WW and the weight came off fast. I maintained that weight for a good while and then all of a sudden, I hit 50, I was obsessed with clay and the weight started piling back on. I'm just going to say it. I have gone from 140 to 160 in just a couple of years, and it is not what I want to look like. I have a small frame, and on me 160 is too much weight. I did that BMI test thing and it said I was OBESE! Oh hell no, I am not obese. but I am out of shape!

Enough is enough, so last Friday, Gerry's sister went with me to a WW meeting, and it was great. It's all such a head game, and the "conditioning" is pretty much a brain washing session, but bring it on. I'm ok with being brainwashed into eating right again and exercising. It's all about accountability for me. I bought a tracker at the first meeting to keep up with everything I put in my mouth, every walk/run/hike I take. That's the only way I can do this program. A friend of mine joined the online program last November and I agreed to do it too. She lost 20 pounds, I gained three. So much for doing it on my own.

I live for the "bravo" stickers, and the gold stars, and writing in my tracker. What an OCD case I am! I even found my  "I lost 5 pounds" bookmark from my last go at this. And my tracker? I painted it and glued on a birthday card I got last year that looks about the way I have been feeling, and I carry it everywhere. It's just another art project for me! So far, I'm doing really well with this. It is amazing what I will eat when I know I have to write it down and be accountable for it, and know that in a week I am going to step on the scale at the meeting and I might get a gold star! It's brilliant. It's not cheap, but if I sell one necklace a week at the farmer's market it pays for my meeting that week, haha! not a bad trade off.

I feel really good. Wesley and I are going out every morning and walking these hills from hell in our neighborhood (hence the name Chapel Hill, I'm sure!). I am eating no meat, no sugar, no white flour, only fruits, vegetables, grains, and lots and lots of water only. No soda, no caffeine, except for one very small cup of coffee in the morning.

So stay tuned for the incredible shrinking woman photos to come!

Sunday, July 7, 2013


If I had a "classic" piece from all the work I have made, I would say it is this little barn. I have been committed to making this piece for awhile now, and have never grown tired of it. I sold two of them yesterday to a very sweet collector that came out to Saxapahaw during the farmer's market just to pick them up. Michele, thank you so much for giving my little barns a wonderful new home! I have very special customers, and they get this sparkle in their eye when they leave with their package and their little barn. It's hard to explain, but I almost cry every time I sell one of these things. It's so nice to see how happy they make the new owners!!! I only have a few of these left and probably won't make anymore, at least for awhile. I want them to stay special and mass producing them would take away some of the magic in making them and owning them, I think.

So check this out.... I pay $9 each week for my space at the market. Except for one unfortunate week, when I didn't sell one thing, I have had pretty good Saturdays there, it's definitely worth the effort to show up each week. On the other hand, last November,  I paid $525 for my booth at the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show, plus membership dues, I sat there for three days and also one day set up, and last night I made more in four hours than I made in four days at the CDCG. Unreal! I got to listen to some great bluegrass instead of stale muzak Christmas tunes, I got to soak up some much needed vitamin D, met some great people, and basically had a really good time.

The farmers market is certainly a long ways from the exquisite crafts at the CDCG, there are some really ticky tacky crafts there unfortunately, but there are also some really nice crafts, good food vendors and fantastic music. It draws people from Cary, Greensboro, Raleigh, Durham, Burlington, and there are always folks bringing out of town guests out for the evening. Last night I had a customer that was going back home to England today and another visitor from Australia. It's a fun night and I'm glad that I made the commitment to show up each week. In the past, I would back out at the last minute because it was hot, or I was tired from a busy Saturday, or anything basically to find an excuse not to go. Not this year, I'm showing up!

This year seems to be about commitment all of a sudden. I joined Weight Watchers last Friday as my scale tipped into the zone of no return.... got to get a grip on this eating thing! More later about this topic :)  Now I need to commit to my studio and get some work made! A new week is ahead of me, maybe this will be the one when I actually get something done, ha!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Welcome to North Carolina

I borrowed this image from the Alchemy of Clay blog here. Great way to sum up what's going on in our state capital right now!
This pretty much speaks for the state of North Carolina these days. I am so ashamed to live in this state where a bunch of old sneaky white men (or "good old boys" as they say here in the south) are just criminals and dragging this state back into the dark ages.

When are we ever going to start electing lawmakers that actually create legislation that support someone other than rich white slimy men!? Here we are supposedly celebrating our "great nation" this week, when in fact the nation we are celebrating is being run by a bunch of self serving greedy ass politicians that could give a rat's ass about me.

I know that abortion, gay rights, and religion are touchy subjects and everyone is certainly welcome to their own opinions, so I won't go there, but for me personally, I don't appreciate some old white dudes preaching conservative christianity to me while deciding what I can do with my own body. Fuck off!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dream Fish

This is a dream fish. As you can see it is tattered and torn from years of protection against bad dreams.
It was given to Wesley by her best friend Tyler's mom in kindergarten. Our dog Tyler was named after him and he was as close a friend as anyone could be, loyal and true.

His mom was a wonder. She knit her children beautiful sweaters, built teepees in the house, organic gardened like no one I knew at the time, sewed, baked, home schooled, she could even put a car engine back together! and she was a wonderful story teller. and she was beautiful, inside and out.

About the time Wesley hit 5 years, she started having scary monster dreams. Tyler did too. His mom made both of them one of these dream fish, the softest thing you ever held, I swear. And it worked. The bad dreams went away the day the fish swam into our house. It is a precious treasure.

I have always wanted to try and make one, and for some reason today I got a wild hair and made one. I cut out a random pattern and got out my fabric stash and had a go. It's pretty damn cute! I had so much fun using my sewing machine. I thought it was going to be a clay day, but I have some childish and petty things going on in my head regarding clay, and I need to get that dealt with first. Lord, do we ever grow up!? Thanks to a very nice customer for her email today telling me how much she liked my houses and wants more. That will help with the psycho drama going on in my head!

I know a little girl that is about to hit the scary dream age and I thought this might be a nice thing to pass on to her. It's smaller than Wesley's but she is a tiny thing, so it will be just perfect. I hope it passes on the protection of dreams just like Wesley's fish has...........

and guess what? it's raining as I type this, it's just bizarre, this weather. Sorry for the crap photos, but I ain't seen the sunshine in I don't know when! Hard to get a good photo in this dark house.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summertime Blues

I am in a big 'ol art emptiness right now, nothing whatsoever going on in the right side of my brain. I'm used to the ebb and flow of creativity, the stillness, the emptiness. Nothing to do but wait and see what comes. The rain, rain, rain, rain of the past few weeks is soaking everything here, trees are falling down, driveways are washing down the roads, the gray light in my house is causing drowsiness to hover in all the rooms. Gerry is so busy right now, Wesley is editing her film and I am cooking new things, reading, simmering ideas in idea pots, but not really accomplishing much of anything. Does summer do this to everyone? Cause your brain to take a vacation?

Raku bud vases are on my mind, some tall clay shrines are there too. I want to weave some shawls in bright colored stripes, and also grays and browns. I would like to sew some things. I am also thinking of some coil pots for raku. But instead I have been experimenting with dyeing some fabrics, reading about natural dyes, reading about Appalachian weavers, reading about Native Americans.

I said something to Wesley the other day about how lame my problems were when compared to the struggles in other parts of the world, even in our own country. And she wisely said to me
"everyone has their own kind of problems".  I feel blessed that mine are so trivial, but I also feel sad that others have problems so much greater than mine. The world is so big, my world seems so small.....

Happy 4th of July week to you U.S. readers, happy week to the rest of you :-)