Friday, November 29, 2013

Let Us Give Thanks

I have so many blessings and so many things to be thankful for, like most of you that read my blog.... family, friends, good health, a nice place to live. Good food and music surround me. Life is good.

One more Hope Floats quote, "my cup runneth over"!!

Its been a very lovely Thanksgiving here in Broomeville. Gerry had a brilliant idea for us to have Thanksgiving dinner here on Wednesday. We usually host his family on Thanksgiving day, but this year his brother did the hosting and was "keeping it simple". This meant no traditional Thanksgiving foods for us, no frig stuffed with leftovers, no turkey coma, travel for four hours.....

So the Wednesday idea was perfect. I cooked all day, healthy food, used some Weight Watchers recipes, tried in vain to stick to my points (which I did until we cut the pecan pie). Wesley got home early, just in time for a few snowflakes to fall. I got out my old oil lamps and lit candles, and the world was a cozy place. The house smelled wonderful, we were warm, the lamplight was soft and glowing, and we had a long peaceful dinner, catching up with school stuff and telling stories. I was so relaxed, not stressed about having fifteen people in my house and getting it all right. Just us three, sitting in the warm glow of my great grandmother's lantern...... sigh.....

I thought about my ancestors as we ate. Did my grandmother sit by this very lamp at night doing her school work, did her mother light this lamp at night and eat by it just as we were doing? I am so thankful to have these pieces of my past to hold on to and to remember.....

I'm also so very thankful to have this sweet child in my life. She brings absolute joy with her when she walks through the door!

Here is my version of Thanksgiving turkey. Wesley has been a vegetarian since conception. As soon as I got pregnant with her, meat became a problem for me. She has never eaten meat, and going places for the holidays can be problematic since most people's meals center around some sort of meat product. This is what I brought along to the family hoedown. In my WW meeting last week, a photo of this veggie tray got passed around and we all agreed to do one. It's so funny, but healthy!

When we first found out we were doing Thanksgiving at Gerry's brother's house, I balked a bit. The main reason I do it here is because I live with the two pickiest eaters on the planet. When we do family gatherings somewhere else, I usually end up bringing a trunk full of food for them. Plus, I am doing Weight Watchers, and that can be a problem too. However, this turned out to be a really good meal. Brother and wife obviously worked very hard putting the day together. Their house was lovely, warm and festive, the food was healthy and good. There was salad and veggies and plenty for us all. The best part was I just showed up with my veggie turkey and ate, no dishes to deal with, no stress, just a nice time with family.

Wesley got out her keyboard when she got home, and music is creeping back into her busy film life. Wednesday night after a wonderful dinner, she went down to Franklin St. to jam with some of her old band mates at a local bar. I absolutely love that she did this. Reuniting with her music friends, food for the soul!

Even after going a bit overboard with food for two days, I can still fit into jeans I haven't worn in a very long time! I was very careful to eat mostly veggies that were in salad form or lightly steamed. There might have been some excess on the gravy, I love savory way more than sweets. I stuck with my WW leaders suggestion to have three bites of a dessert, one bite for taste, one bite for texture and one bite just because. It works, that's all I had and all I needed.

My brother in law always brings this hateful thing called "Cherry Yum Yum". It's basically cherry pie filling, whipped cream and graham crackers. It's really basically a diabetic coma just waiting to happen. Last year I ate one half of the serving dish, yes I did. This year I ate three spoonfuls! and I enjoyed every tiny crumb of it! It's a ridiculous dessert and thank goodness it only rolls around once a year!

We got home around 4pm, yesterday, the sky was glowing with the setting sun, and I had to get out there in it. Wesley and I bundled up and went for a long walk. We saw the neighborhood deer family, the crows called to us, and there was peace on Earth, at least here on our little patch of it.

I hope everyone had a lovely day of giving thanks. As one of Wesley's friends so wisely put it on Facebook:

We spend Thanksgiving day giving thanks and then go out the next day and trample each other and pepper spray our fellow humans all for a better price on an electronic device at Walmart. It's a sad reality isn't it?

I am most thankful for the fact that this is not my reality!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Now That's Happy

Hey Ya'll! Just want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. I'll be off cooking and eating for a few days, so I though I would just say a quick hello and then get busy!

Yesterday Gerry had an assignment up near Stokes County, the land we love, so I rode along with him. It's not often I have a chance to go along on a fun assignment so I take advantage when I can. Now tell me truthfully, have you ever seen a happier girl :) This is the life for me!

This was a fun assignment.  The AP is doing a story about a goat dairy up in Germanton that is participating in small business Saturday shopping, to counteract the horrible Black Friday (aptly named I think) and Cyber Monday. Go small business!

I think the goats really liked me, don't you? I know I liked them. This place was so great. Goats and chickens and turkeys and llamas, and sheep and dogs and cats. What more could anyone want!?
Heaven right here on Earth. Some days the world seems just right, doesn't it?
This was one of those days.....

Johnny and Robin are two of the sweetest people and they actually talk more than I do. So fun! I loved her insulated pink overalls, they would be perfect for a cold pottery studio or kiln firing outside, like my pal Susan just did, brrrr.....

They run a great little business up there at Buffalo Creek Farm. I bought some goat cheese, of course. Garlic and chive, feta, and they gave me a small gift of date and honey. This is some of the best cheese I have tasted and they had the medals from the state fair to prove it. They entered the fair for the first time this year and came home with four medals. Not bad!

The shop is very quaint with a country store feel to it. They sell crafts made by their daughter and several other artisans in the area. I also bought the cutest chicken ornament made from recycled sweaters. I'll show you later. I love that they are not only supporting a wonderful lifestyle for themselves, but supporting other craftspeople as well. There were even some french butter crocks made by a potter up in Boone.  If you aren't working in your own small business this Saturday, try to get out and support some local folks who work hard and love what they do!

This is not the most flattering photo of me, but who knew, I have a mouth like a goat! haha! ugh, those wide angle shots.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Hope you have a lovely week

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's a wrap

I've been working on a few wrap bracelets, trying out the new techniques and ideas I learned in the Nina Bagley workshop. I love making these bracelets, but the challenge is keeping Nina's voice out and  my voice in. It's so hard to learn something new from someone and keep them out of your own creativity. This first bracelet has parts of a turtle bracelet my friend Laura gave me, some sea glass from Maine, a really cool belt buckle I found at a thrift store, buttons from my mom's old sewing supplies, and some old pearls I picked up in an antique store. I really like the ability to reuse items and give them a new and pretty life.

This one, a bird's nest that Nina demonstrated and I have become obsessed with making. When Wesley left for college it seemed like everything I made had something to do with nests.

I'm getting there, making is becoming easier as I figure out what not to do, what works, what I like, what will say me and not say "Nina".

I still have this miserable cold, making pots of soup and pots of chili, trying to stay warm and hydrated.
Starting to feel the stress of the holidays upon me more and more. The days before Christmas seem to get more and more compressed every year, and just rush up on me and then rush past before I know it.
I'm trying to work out how to make this a pleasant time instead of getting annoyed with it all.

I got a text from Wesley saying that she went to church this morning and how lovely it was and how she feels like a better person today.  She is certainly a better person than me. She lives near Old Salem and the Moravian church and from time to time she goes. She gets up by herself on these very cold mornings and goes alone. I love this child and her love for life. Yesterday I got a text from her saying she was alone all day and typed out a story on her typewriter about Jesus and Aliens. Ha! Yin and Yang....... :-)

Have a great week of Thanksgiving, I'm giving thanks for these folks I live with!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Blog Brag

Mom brag alert! I know many of you out there have kids and are damn proud of them, just like me. I share the joys and sorrows right along with you, because I too am a proud mom!  I shared an email this morning with one of my newer bog pals, whose child has similar  film related things going on.

Wesley has bee nominated by the UNCSA faculty recently for several amazing opportunities, and we have fingers crossed while we wait to hear if she is accepted. I'll let you know!

One of them I can share. The faculty selected 50 students from all disci[lines at the school to participate in the Kenan Institute's Cirkus project. She is the one of two film students participating, the rest are dancers, musicians, and production and design students. She is on a team of five and will work this year to create a performance for submission to the Cirque du Soliell jury. WGBH in Boston is also collaborating on this and documenting the entire process. I am so excited for Wes, these are such great experiences to learn and grow from and I am so proud of her for being chosen by this very amazing faculty that teaches at UNCSA.
Please send up some prayers to the Universe for her other submissions!!!!! Hopefully she will get some good news soooooo!

Very proud of you, Wesley, xoxo

Cirkus Theatre Project at UNCSA
A collaboration with the UNCSA School of Design and Production and Cirque du Soleil to develop student-driven creative performances for jury by representatives of Cirque du Soleil. Several small teams of final-year UNCSA students will each create an 'act' of original creative work. In the summer following graduation, these students become Cirkus Theatre Resident Artists employed by UNCSA to rehearse and stage the acts for an invited audience and for a jury from Cirque du Soleil.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rosary.... for me

I never make myself anything. The things I make are always with the thoughts of selling it or giving it to someone. So yesterday I sat down at my worktable and made myself a necklace. I have all these charms and crosses and beads that I like and have saved for a someday, and so I put it all together in a necklace for myself. The first little cross on the right is a cross I got when I was "confirmed" in the Methodist church, probably 8th grade, still have it. The tiny black beads are from a rosary I found in an antique store, the peace sign from a favorite pair of earrings, bone from my pal Laura, stick from Linville Gorge last month, sea glass from a blogger friend, rock from Maine, pearls from a junk shop, ribbon from Nina Bagley. Lots of little mementos and treasures all in one necklace. I have some other things I haven't attached yet, it's a work in progress and the fun part is that I can add to it as I get new things.

and here I am at my 10% Weight Watchers goal weight! 
145 as of today, YEAH! 5 more pounds to go to get to my final goal of 140.
I started at 161 on July 5 this year, and I have literally worked my ass off to get here.
Feels really good! This belt I have on is in the last loop and it's too big, ha! 
Not too shabby for a 53 year old, of course it helps that I am a 10 year old mentally :-)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thanks Readers!

Thanks to all of you for the comments and the emails over the past few days. I love hearing from all of me peeps out there in the blog land! I have been a bit slack in the replies but I have read each and every one, promise! Wesley came home sick this weekend, Gerry has been sick, I'm trying to snap out of my funk, and probably because of mental stress and two sickies in the house, I now feel like crap too.

 If you have a blog on my blogroll I am reading and more often than not I am commenting. However, I am having a really hard time getting my comments to post, and then there is this new thing where I have to verify my email and a password, sometimes more than once on my computer. I have no idea what is going on, but if I'm not leaving a comment, this is why. I am reading, never fear!

Here is a fun idea for the upcoming holidays. I snapped this at lunch one day with my friend Meredith at Whynot Pottery. She has introduced me to a new restaurant in Asheboro, The Table, and it is so wonderful. This looks simple to make, but so pretty and festive. Maybe I'll take these along for the family Thanksgiving gathering. Looks good, right?!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Relieves tension

Saturday morning. Wes is tucked in her bed upstairs, still asleep. Gerry had to shoot a game last night, he is also still asleep. Both are sick with a cold. I have been making lots of soup.
The house is quiet, coffee made, leaves are raining down in the yard. I have a script to finish reading, lots of jewelry making materials on my table waiting for me and a whole Saturday with nothing on the calendar. Life is good! I am safe and snug in my own home with my family, sigh.....

 My step father gave me a huge box of tomatoes when I was at the beach. Thursday, I canned 12 jars, froze two quarts and made a big pot of vegetable soup. There is nothing prettier to me than a canned jar filled with beautiful vegetables, waiting for the winter, to be made into soups and stews. I love the process of canning, it's a very meditative and satisfying thing to do. Relieves tension, which I have a lot of this time of year.

I am trying hard to ignore the fact that Christmas is just a few weeks away, but the pain in my neck and arm tell me that the tension and stress are indeed back, thanks, in part, to my mom starting her yearly "I'll send you a check so you can do my shopping because I just can't shop anymore" routine, in spite of the fact that every year I tell her how much this angers me.  Also, never mind that she shows me all the clothes and shoes and household items she bought lately from Belk and Stein Mart and TJ Maxx, etc. She sure doesn't have a problem shopping for new clothes and furniture for herself. They actually told me they are looking for a new house because she does not have enough closet space! If she was in a nursing home or a wheel chair or disabled, I would understand and gladly shop. But she is up at 6am, dressed with her nice clothes and jewelry on, and stays up until midnight. She has more energy than me some days.

This year, I just flat out refused to do it. I gave in last year, sucked it up and went and bought myself Christmas gifts from my mom, then bought Gerry and Wesley's gifts from her also, wrapped them up all nice and put to and from name tags on them. Not doing it anymore. What is the damn point? It made me nauseous and sad. Not to mention the snarky comment I got on my blog from someone that said they feel sorry for my mom. Seriously, don't feel sorry for her. As long as she can buy new shoes, she is very happy. She just didn't get the daughter she wanted.

I believe a gift is something you buy for someone or make for them because you value them as a person and you want to let them know they mean something to you. You give money to charities, homeless people, bill collectors, the IRS, but you don't just hand money to your one daughter every year for Christmas. For me, it just says I really don't care to put in the time to get to know who you are and what you love, just take the money and go away..... maybe I have just been a shitty daughter and I really am a bother to get to know.... I write this every year, don't I? Must get it out somehow. Screaming on the beach works too.

She did give me one of these to use for my shows to put my jewelry on.
I'm not kidding....................

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What I learned

Here is my first bracelet from the workshop in Wilmington last weekend. I started it there, but it took the quiet space of my studio at 2 in the morning to bring it all together.

The raku beads on the turquoise leather are some I made last week, the round disc they are attached to is mother of pearl, a piece of shell I found on the beach while having my meltdown, the antique brass birds nest I made in the workshop, the coin, melagro, and stones are from my pal Laura, the chain found in a junk shop, deerskin leather, and that's about it. This took a very long slow time to make, and I loved every minute, except for the sore neck I have right now.

This is a wrap bracelet or you can wear it around your neck. If your neck is tiny it will go around twice. I might make the next one a bit longer....

A whole new kind of workspace.... so exciting. new tools, new techniques, new stuff. I'm convinced I just like the process of learning and then I have to move on. Might as well get used to it, this seems like a pattern I will never outgrow.
Quick story: see the piece of wood way up in the top of the frame that says I love you? My dad worked in a furniture plant and there were always loads of scrap wood around. He would save them up for me to use as firewood. One day I got a UPS shipment and it was a box of this scrap wood. On the top of the pile was this block of wood and he had written I love you on it. I am almost crying just typing this. It was very unlike him to do that, but the funny thing was him shipping all that wood. It must have cost quite a bit, even back then.

One of the demos in the workshop was this little birds nest. Look for many more of them to come, I really love making these and they are really pretty, so many possibilities too.

So, on to more bracelets and learning. I have tons of stuff to work with, now to put it all together. I hope I will have some made for the studio tour but it's coming up really soon. I see some late nights ahead.....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Learning new things.... mostly about myself

 I'm back from a beautiful weekend in Wilmington NC and the two day jewelry workshop with Nina Bagley.
I am inspired, recharged and looking towards new paths for my journey through my art life.

The workshop was fantastic and my head is very likely to explode at any moment from all the new information trying to squeeze in there. I learned new techniques, discovered new tools, and found that I might just want a slower pace for creating.

I like this jewelry making thing, like it a lot. I even sold a few of my raku beads to one of the very sweet workshop participants.

My blogger pals were even there in spirit. See the little clay bird from blogger Julie Whitmore?!

There were 12 of us in the workshop, the studio space was charming, the hostess, Kim Beller, even more charming than the studio. But I managed to have my usual social anxiety when stuck in a crowded space with loudness and too many people talking all at once. These were all very talented and very sweet women, but I just cannot manage to be in a room like this for very long, so I spent a lot of time on the second day outside, by the pool in a chair by myself, sewing. I'm sure I appear to be aloof and antisocial, and well, I am, but not on purpose. I just get overwhelmed mentally with a lot of loud noise and I have to go to a quiet place to get my head clear.

I would come in from time to time for the demos, gather around the table with everyone while Nina showed us something amazing and wonderful, then run back outside for air. I am quite possibly nuts!

 Nina brought Walter, and I could probably be best friends with this amazing creature. My next dog may have to be a springer spaniel. What a dog!

 I ended up making nothing, but learning much. Most everyone made a bracelet, all beautiful. I don't know how people create and talk and listen to others talk. Am I the only one that needs a quiet room to work, a quiet room to sleep, a quiet room to eat? I basically need quiet.....

Nina Bagley is one very talented and very wise woman, and I am so glad this workshop came together for me. I have been a fan of hers for a few years, love her blog, and being a fellow Libra, I totally got her teaching style. She brought lots of tools that I was not familiar with and I have a long list of things I want now. See that bright orange cylinder in the right corner? That is a tiny butane torch that I will have to have. I tried it out on my copper raku glaze, and it created the most interesting sparkles when I heated up the bead. Might be an interesting thing to play with for surface treatments.

Walter, you sweet boy!

Not quite the same work table that I am used to, but it was fun to learn new things.

Thank you Nina and Kim for a wonderful weekend to recharge my art battery. I am ready to get some new work made, but first I have to go to the theater today and pull some props, Gerry is off tomorrow and we should probably do something fun, my art pals have summoned for a gathering this week,  Wesley may come home for the weekend, and I need to make more stars, and I need to fire my kiln, and on and on it goes......  more time please!

Of course it wouldn't have been a trip to the beach without some ACOA drama with my mom, but I will spare you. I sat here for awhile yesterday and added some tears to the ocean. God, I have spent a lifetime trying to outgrow the pains of childhood. It just never goes away. I couldn't get home fast enough to the quiet and sanity of my house. Poor Wesley, thanks for listening to me for an hour on the phone yesterday while I drove home. You are an anchor in a turbulent sea, you and your dad.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Back soon..........

"You find something you love and you twist it and torture it and try to make money at it. And at the end you can't find a trace of what you started out loving."

Justin Matisse (Harry Connick Jr)
Hope Floats

Hey ya'll, I have been leaving comments on your blogs, or so I thought, but a lot of them are not posting. Sorry, I am reading and commenting in spirit at least :-)
also having a time when I do, the word verification continues to be a pain and now I have to sign in every time I comment with my email and my password. ugh!

I like this quote, pretty much sums it up for me. And yes I watch Hope Floats every time it's on TV, I have a girl crush on Sandra Bullock, yes I really did say that and yes I really do watch Hope Floats:-)
I do have my strange ways, haha

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I thought this would be easy

 First of all, I lied to blogger Lori Buff. The other day I left a comment on her blog saying I think there is more loss with wood firing than raku, also stating that I almost never have loss anymore with raku.

Well, that sealed my fate of course! I couldn't just leave well enough alone and be quietly happy that my kiln has been good to me lately.....

I'm not that into clay making these days anyway, but I was messing around with some coils the other day, thinking I would start some coil pots, and I made a few snakes just for fun. I thought that maybe if I just made some stuff for the fun of it, instead of worrying about quantity and cost effectiveness and time management and gallery sales and special photography for publication, blah blah blah.... that I might actually get back to enjoying clay. Well, that lasted about a minute today.

Let the cursing begin. The first little stripey snake turned out great and I was excited to fire the rest of them
 No Reduction...........


and the rest were just a big fat F.U.B.A.R.
my pyrometer has decided it doesn't really want to tell me the true temp in my kiln, my glazes have decided they don't really want to participate in copper reduction, my stilts want to stick like a mofo to the glaze, the wind wanted to blow, the sky wanted to rain, glazes overfired, underfired...... I lost all of the blue snakes due to glaze malfunction.
so much for enjoying the process.

and then.........Gerry said this.......

"why don't you just make cheap knick knacks that people can afford instead of the $200 houses you have been making?"

Can I just say....... this has not set too well with me. Is that what I make? knick knacks? Fuck, I know what he meant, and he was truly not meaning to insult my work, and he is right on the stop making expensive work that no one can afford thing. But, all along I was thinking my pretty stars were hand crafted one of a kind items that you would love to buy for a friend or family member for Christmas or just collect for yourself.

Knick knack....... this statement came after me trying in vain to explain how near impossible it is for me to be a full time potter and spend any time at all with my family. I have a husband whose schedule changes on a daily basis, so I adjust to fit that.  I nearly drove myself mad the past few years trying to fit the crazy nature of clay into his schedule, so I have backed way off, it's not worth it to me. Well, never mind, nobody's listening.........

Anyway, here is the small amount of work I have to show for two days of glazing and firing my raku kiln. Not a lot. I managed to get two dozen stars that are quite pretty, and they are inexpensive and you can call them a knick knack if that's what floats your boat. I also made this small dish for testing a new glaze and it went crazy in reduction, unlike everything else. And I got some very nice beads for my weekend workshop.

Tomorrow I leave for the NC coast to spend the weekend with 12 other women making jewelry with the lovely Nina Bagley. I am beyond excited to meet Nina and make something other than clay!
I did get a bunch of beads from this firing, so all is not lost. Just some other stuff, like the snakes I was really digging for a minute.  I'll be back later

peace ya'll

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Inspired by my friends

 I am blessed to have some very talented friends. I'm inspired by them everyday! Inspired by their talent, but also inspired by their enthusiasm for their craft, their energy, their workspaces, their work ethic, their families, their art. When I am feeling like I need some art energy, they are the best people in the world to go be around. I think all artists need other artist friends, because those are the people that get you the most and can offer support and encouragement, which we all need as artists.

One of my friends, Shannon Bueker, had a reception at The Carolina Brewery on Sunday. I stopped by after our first read through for A Civil War Christmas at the Artscenter. A nice crowd of Chatham artists showed up. There was good food, good beer and fantastic art on display. If you are in the area of Pittsboro, you should stop by, have a nice meal and see Shannon's work, along with Salinda Dahl's work.

One of these days, I will have pennies to save, and I will get one of Shannon's paintings..... thankfully Shannon creates beautiful cards as well, and these I can afford. I got this bunny card, just love the colors.

I am leaving for Wilmington this weekend, for a jewelry workshop. As I started pulling things together to take with me, I noticed how much I liked the colors in this card and how some of my odds and ends seemed to blend with it nicely. The card inspired me to pull together some parts for a bracelet I want to make. These parts came from one of my other very talented and very generous friends, Laura Farrow. Laura gave me a bunch of stuff to take with me to the workshop. Now, I'm thinking maybe I should pull out the other cards I got from Shannon, maybe I need to go get more cards, her colors really inspire me.

Thanks to my pals, I am eager to get to this workshop and start making something!
I have my kiln firing today with a tiny load of bisque, it's a pitiful load, but it's about all I could conjure up. There are some beads that I will raku this week, but it sure is a big old kiln just for bead firing....

We are now in rehearsal mode for a new play at The Artscenter. The Whipping Man got amazing reviews, even props and lighting got a shout out, which almost never happens. This new show, A Civil War Christmas promises to be equally as good. It's a musical, so that will be fun. My December is going to be crazy. I am doing the studio tour the first two weekends, I am bartending at the reception, and I will be in tech and buying props for a play, not to mention the stress I always deal with during this season, which I really don't like too much. Just taking a deep breath........... and holding on!