Thursday, June 30, 2011

365 Grateful Day 30 "Sweet and Sour"

In a very simple and round about sort of way this kind of goes along with yesterdays post. Oh and by the way these are super yummy! Why else would I dedicate a day to them?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

365 Grateful Day 29 "Pain"

I know pain is a weird thing to be grateful for and sometimes I don't feel too grateful for it. I have suffered a great deal of pain in my life both emotionally and physically. So I guess by default, when there is an absence of pain, I recognize and make the most of those glorious ebullient moments. It is the same when you have horrible people in your life trying to slough their misery off onto all those around them, those kind of people make you really appreciate the good people in your life.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

365 Grateful Day 28 "Brains"

I have a beautiful brain. Statistically speaking, I don't have a "normal" brain which sometimes makes me struggle more than most. But my brain is a highly creative problem solving machine. I love challenges and I honestly don't think there is anything that I cannot accomplish once I set my mind to something.

I am grateful for the brains God gave me.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

365 Grateful Day 26 "Mornings"

I used to be a "morning" person. My hubby is definitely NOT a morning person. I drove him crazy for years getting up early while he tried to sleep in. Eventually he wore me down until I became more like him...sleeping in!

Well, I have rediscovered how beautiful and serene mornings can be and what a feeling of accomplishment it is to get your work done by noon!

I am grateful for mornings and look forward to enjoying many many more!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

365 Grateful Day 23 "Hobbies"

I have been a photographer since I was 13 years old...and that was a pretty long time ago. I have a passion for images, composition, and the cameras themselves. In fact I am an avid camera collector. I suppose my collection isn't very impressive but each and every one of my cameras is in operating condition and most importantly I know how to use them.
This camera is my oldest; it is the Kodak Brownie Junior Six-20; a fixed lens box camera. It is photography at its very basic.
Something, and I am not sure what, has reignited my passion for film photography so I took this baby off the shelf, cleaned her up a bit and loaded her with Fujifchrome MS 100/1000 slide film. Oh and by the way, I discovered that this camera will take 120 spools just fine so I didn't have to re-spool my 120 film onto the 620 spool. That was a nice bonus! I downloaded the camera manual from the internet just to refresh my memory on its operations. Since this is a medium format camera and I can only get 12 shots out of it I will have to be very choosy about what I shoot. It won't be like the literally 1000's of photos I take every week with my digital cameras. Nope I will have to take my time and make every shot count.
Truly, I am giddy with excitement all over again! I just LOVE sturdy old instruments of ingenuity!
I will share my photos here when I get them developed....that is unless they are awful. Which is a possibility because sometimes I just get overzealous.

These old box cameras can be picked up for a song on Ebay. Most sellers won't know if one is in operating condition or not but these are pretty simple and can most likely be easily made to work again.

I have many hobbies and am very grateful for them because they are the "zest" of life.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

365 Grateful Day 22 "Storms"

Yes, I am grateful for storms. Their magnificent power is awe inspiring. They put promptly put me in my place and remind me how precious and fleeting life is.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

365 Grateful Day 21 "Air Conditioners"

Oh yes, I am soooooo grateful for what I consider the greatest invention of all time! God bless the person who invented the air conditioner!

Tri-pots, custom orders and tired clay...

Have some chilluns coming to visit and we are going to "paint" plates. I am going to cover time, labor and materials and momma is going to pay firing costs. This should be a super fun project. This is one of five personalized wheel thrown plates.

I've been working on these hand built vases with tripod feet.
Here we have a small crock for a friend to keep his sourdough starter in.

I will be mixing my own glazes from here on out so I have no idea how all these pots will look finished. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't ruin them all.

Speaking of "ruin"...my clay is getting over-pugged. The first batch that this happened to was clearly my fault for running the mixer too long. It got all hot and dog-eared. Couldn't throw it to save my life and it is rubbish for hand building too. I am letting it rest in a bucket for a couple of weeks in hopes that I can use it in the future. In my defense, I am still trying to figure out how to properly operate Boris. But with this second batch I have been super careful and barely have mixed at all and yet the clay seems to be going the same way and is just falling apart.

If there are any potters out there who have some words of wisdom for me concerning this problem, I would appreciate the enlightenment.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

365 Grateful Day 19 "Wild Flowers"


We spent a wonderful Father's day afternoon walking among these beauties. What a blessing wild flowers can be!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

365 Grateful Day 18 "Naps"


I am grateful for naps, no matter where and when you can fit one in, they are wonderful things.

Friday, June 17, 2011

365 Grateful Day 17 "Quiet"

I am grateful for quiet time. I need quiet. I have hyper sensitivities to sound and commotion. Sometimes it is hard for me to be around loud and boisterous people but I can do it as long as I get enough quiet time in and around. Right now it is very quiet and I can think and reflect and relax. Ahhhhh!

In the studio


These are over sized mugs with three dimensional decor. They are really more like small bowls with handles. My hubby loves over sized mugs and asks me to make them all the time. These are very special because they have a secret compartment containing beads to make them rattle.
They are rattle mugs.


There are even 3D decorations inside the mug to further delight.


I finally got around to making myself and hubby what I call "mommy mugs". I have been doing them for other mommies and daddies for years, so I guess it is our turn. I take an impression of baby's hand and then use that mold to make an expression on the mug. It has a really cool effect....and what a keepsake eh?


One thing I am super glad I did when I was prego was to get a belly cast. This cast is me at 38 weeks. My hubby helped as I was contracting the entire time. Anyway, I spent some time today painting it with drywall primer/sealer just to make it stronger and more durable. I actually did two casts; one is for my daughter when she grows up if she chooses to keep it.


I wanted to test one of my extrusion dies on Boris. Yes, I named my pug mill "Boris".
This die extrudes handles and coils of every shape and size. I actually found it a lot more tedious than just pulling handles the old fashioned way. But it was fun to play around with and I am sure I will find many uses for it in the future.
The rattle mugs above have extruded handles and the "mommy" mugs have pulled handles.
When the mugs are completed I think I will ask around and see which style people prefer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

365 Grateful Day 15 "The new world of Apps"

So I know I am a little behind the "bandwagon" but I bought my first app for my Nook color. It is the Epicurious app and I love it! I have been making all kinds of wild recipes. We are preparing and eating things we have never tried before.
Like this penne pasta with garbanzo beans and charred tomatoes.

I am grateful for my new app that has helped me become adventurous in the kitchen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

365 Grateful Day 14 "Faithful friends"

This dog is my first child. She is the sweetest happiest loyal soul anyone could ever ask for. I am so thankful for all that she has taught me.

Monday, June 13, 2011

365 Grateful Day 13: "Photography"


I have been a photographer since I was 13 years old. I love photography and old cameras. I take pictures every day as a way to document the way I perceive my world. I am especially thankful for digital photography which makes this process easier, however nothing replaces that satisfaction of recording a moment with a good old fashioned film camera.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

365 Grateful Day 12: "Mac N Cheese"


Yummy cheesy goodness. Who doesn't like Macaroni and cheese? I made some from scratch today and had it for lunch, second lunch and dinner! Thank you God for Mac n cheese!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

365 Grateful Day 11: "Labor saving tools"

I am so thankful for labor and time saving devices. This would be all my appliances that I do NOT take for granted. Dishwasher....gotta love that one especially if you've spent most of your life washing dishes by hand. Washer and Dryer, Vacuum cleaner, microwave, lawn mowers ...etc. We are so lucky to be able to own and use these machines.
Today I am celebrating my pug mill. I spent all day putting it together all by myself. Of course hubby helped me lift it since it weighs 210 pounds but I assembled everything else. I even recycled my first batch of clay...which means I will be spending the weekend throwing on the wheel with awesome clay. No more self reclaimed lumpy clay for me! What a blessing!

Loading my dry scraps.

Adding water.

Turning on the mixer

Waiting patiently

Perfectly pugged clay.

YAY...I am doing my happy dance!

Friday, June 10, 2011

365 Grateful Day 10: "Stainless Steel"




Whoo hoo! My pug mill has arrived. I am sooo NOT sorry that I decided to spend a bit more to get the stainless steel version. It is a thing of beauty!
I am thoroughly going over the owners manual and anxiously waiting for hubby to come home to help me assemble it!

Again I would like to thank Peter Pugger for an excellent purchasing experience!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

365 Grateful Day 9: "Customer Service"...my Pug Mill journey is just beginning!

Today I am grateful for good customer service. Remember my pug mill journey? Well, representatives from Peter Pugger found out about my disappointment with their customer service and they wanted to make it right. And make it right they did! They apologized and gave me an offer I couldn't refuse. That is definitely something I can respect. We are all people after all and sometimes we make mistakes. I know that as a business woman I have made mistakes but as long as I own up to them and make it right with my customers I can sleep well at night. I feel like the Peter Pugger company went the extra mile to make me happy!
My Peter Pugger VPM-9SS pug mill will be delivered tomorrow and I am soooo excited! Yes, I decided to go with the stainless steel version. I think this is a machine that will be my good friend for many years to come.
Thank you Peter Pugger!

I will do a review on my pug mill after I have operated it a few times.

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

365 Grateful Day 8: "Appetite"


Somewhere in 2008 I lost my appetite....about a month ago it returned and I am so grateful for that. Imagine not caring for food for almost 3 years...I was really sick and that continued into my pregnancy and 6 months postpartum. Not only am I starting to enjoy food again but I am also enjoying cooking for my family again. I think they are grateful too!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

365 Grateful Day 7: "Rain"


Here we are a full week into June and it's been raining and pouring....and that is just fine by me! While other people may cringe at this soggy existence I remind myself of the alternative. We could be having 100+ temperatures and drought and exorbitant electric bills and fire risk...I could go on but you get the picture.
Even though I have leaks in my roof filling buckets of water I am so grateful for this fresh air cleaning life giving element...and I don't think my grass has ever been greener!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

365 Days to be grateful! Day 4: "Ebay"


O.k. I know being grateful for Ebay may sound weird but I think this is really special.
When I was a little girl the picture on the right hung on my wall. I still have that picture today but it is pretty beat up. I thought wouldn't it be nice if my daughter grew up with such lovely and whimsical art work too? So I did a little search on the artist Enda Vierra and I found out she was one of the first "collage" artists who did her art in the 70's. I don't know how accurate my info is since I did glean it from the internet. But anyway, I looked on ebay and sure enough a few original prints in excellent condition were up for sale. YAY! ...and as a bonus (I never knew this) she did a matching boy painting too so of course I had to get the pair. Whenever my baby girl gets her own room I would like to decorate it with vintage Raggedy Ann and Andy items (which I have been collecting most of my life) and I think this pair of prints will go perfectly with that decor.
So Mrs. Edna Vierra wherever you are my dear...thank you! And thank you Ebay...the place where you can find almost anything!

Friday, June 3, 2011

365 Days to be grateful! Day 3: "Grapes"


I do not take for granted that I live in a country where I can get virtually any kind of food my heart desires. How awesome is that? Today I am grateful for sweet, plump, juicy, purply (and green too) grapes!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

365 Days to be grateful! Day 2: "Vintage finds"


I don't even know where to start with this one! I love sea foam green, I love old cameras and I love giving vintage items a caring home. This camera was made in the early 60's before my time. It is a tangible piece of history. Thinking of where and when it came from makes me thankful for where I came from and where I am today.
I will take this baby out for a spin and snap a few pics with it once I find some 620 spools!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Pug mill journey continues and it has been a bumpy road.


This is the new SHIMPO NVS-07 Stainless Deairing Pugmill Mixer.
In fact I believe it was just released today. I am now thinking of going with Shimpo because my experience so far with Peter Pugger has been less than impressive.
Let me just say that this is a HUGE purchase for me. It will be, by far, the most expensive piece of equipment in my studio. With that said, I have been diligent in my research. I thought I had settled on the afore mentioned PP-VPM9. I contacted Minnesota Clay Co. Sheffield Pottery, Highwater Clays, and Peter Pugger over three weeks ago asking for details like price and shipping charges. The only timely response I got was from Highwater Clays, even Peter Pugger themselves took two weeks to respond.
So far this has been a frustrating and joyless venture.
I do have to give full props to Highwater Clays though. Their customer service rep Denese is FABULOUS with prompt and professional service.
Since I am pretty disillusioned today I decided to re-visit the other pug mill makers. This new Shimpo looks promising. I have contacted them and am awaiting a response...we'll see if their customer service is better than Peter Puggers.

....to be continued.

365 Days to be grateful! Day 1: "Amber Eyes"


I have decided to participate in the 365 Grateful project. I hope to blog everyday for a year starting today June 1, 2011. Perhaps I am "hopping on the bandwagon" a bit late but God knows my heart and soul needs a project like this.
So I'll just jump right in.
Day 1


I am sure this ol' gal will show up many times throughout this project. I love this dog. She is my first child. I am thankful for her beautiful amber eyes which are the window to her sweet loyal soul. I have learned so much from her. She is a beautiful constant presence in my life.