Monday, August 31, 2009

Hewitt, Matisse, and others

Saturday, a couple of friends took us to Mark Hewitt's kiln opening. I have been out to see Mark's work on several occasions before, but never for a kiln opening. It is well worth going to see if you are near Pittsboro, NC. He lives on an old farm and has used the old buildings for his clay works. It is such a lovely setting. John and I did buy a couple of Mark's apprentice's work, A. Matisse, the great-great-grand child of Henry Matisse. You can check out Mark's website at

John and I did work in the studio over the weekend. He was able to throw several nice pieces. I, however, was moving a lot slower and was only able to complete one coiled piece - but it was 16" tall. It takes over 150 very thin coils to make a piece that size.

Our shelves are starting to fill up. We are getting ready for our show in Chapel Hill on Oct 4th. Time is passing too quickly, we need to fire, glaze, and fire and we still don't have the new kiln hooked up.

Also, I want you to take a look at this weeks featured artist: Annrose. You can read about her on or you can visit her shop at

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mr. Bones

I just have to introduce everyone to Mr. Bones. He has been part of our family for a number of years.

Being married to a person who is an artist and a scientist, you begin to feel comfortable having things like Mr. Bones hanging around your house.

Mr. Bones is always present in John's Anatomy and Physiology classes at Meredith, but he also goes with us to the ArtCenter in Chapel Hill for our Anatomy and the Arts classes (life drawing classes with anatomy thrown in).

Some times he just hangs out in the garage until he finds out what his next assignment is. This does give us some weird looks from the neighbors. And I love when a delivery man has to put something in the garage. I just tell them Mr. Bones is one of my exes.

John drives the van usually and I drive the Mustang usually, but tomorrow I needed to take the van and a load of stuff to the studio. Mr. Bones is so happy he gets to ride in the Mustang tomorrow!! He can see much better sitting in the passenger seat, rather than laying in the back of the van. Can't you see his big smile?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tear it up and put it back together again

I guess I have my Dad to thank. When I was a teenager, my Dad was having me take computers apart and replace parts or build new ones from pieces. He said that I had a very mechanical mind and I understood reasoning. We also took some computer programing classes together and I always found them too boring because it was too easy. He said that he would spend all night trying to finish the homework, but I would show up to the class with nothing and within a few minutes I had written the programs. Don't get me wrong - he is the smartest man I know when it comes to computers, electronics and any thing mechanical - air conditioners, plumbing, what ever. He was always a little frustrated with me because I never took that kind of thing seriously.

But, I think that he has taught me a lot. I am never afraid to rip something apart just to see how it runs or try to fix something myself. I love tools and all types of machinery. I have taken an electrical class, welding, and a machine tech class to name a few (which I loved).

Well, my sewing machine has been broken for about two years - just sitting on my desk. I checked into getting a professional to look at it, and they said it would be around $200-$300 just to look at it - without guaranteeing that it could be fixed. This sewing machine is a nice one and I wouldn't want to have to go out and buy a new one, so last night I tore it apart!

I definitely learned a lot about how a sewing machine works. I was starting to get a little frustrated, just because I didn't have a mechanical schematics or anything to work with. I can follow any kind of directions, maps or schematics, but there was only the user manual. I am not sure how long it took (more than a service shop would have ever spent), but finally around 11pm last night I got it working!!!!

It was so late so I just went to bed. But, this morning I put it all back together, adjusted all the settings back to where they should be and tried it out. It worked great! I guess you could say I am proud of myself, but again I owe it all to my Dad and the things he taught me.

Oh, and of course there was a little tiny screw left when I was finished putting it back together. I guess I can figure out where that goes next time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Contests - Feeling lucky

Please check out this contest.
It is a $50 gift certificate to Novica.

And check out this yoplait gift bag give-a-way!!!

I also just won an apron from Heather at FabulousFunFinds!!!

AND I just won a set of stationary from Nfall2rt* Design Studio!

now I am off to enter some more contests on the great blogs that are out there!

Monday, August 17, 2009

David Sedaris

I am not sure how many of you have heard of David Sedaris, but if you are from the Raleigh, NC area it is hard not to. David Sedaris had a regular spot on NPR called This American Life.

I just finished reading When You are Engulfed in Flames, a #1 national bestseller. Most of his books are actually a bunch of short stories. This makes them very easy to read because you can pick it up and start any where you like. I am not sure which chapter I liked best, but I think it is April in Paris. He just reminds me that I am not the only crazy one out there. We all have little things that make us different.

His writing may be a little "crude" for some people - he says it like it is and doesn't care what others may think about it. But I do suggest taking a look at some of his work, you can't help but laugh or maybe cry, but it is all good stuff.

This is his official website: and a little blurb about the book.

Trying to make coffee when the water is shut off, David considers using the water in a vase of flowers and his chain of associations takes him from the French countryside to a hilariously uncomfortable memory of buying drugs in a mobile home in rural North Carolina. In essay after essay, Sedaris proceeds from bizarre conundrums of daily life-having a lozenge fall from your mouth into the lap of a fellow passenger on a plane or armoring the windows with LP covers to protect the house from neurotic songbirds-to the most deeply resonant human truths. Culminating in a brilliant account of his venture to Tokyo in order to quit smoking, David Sedaris's sixth essay collection is a new masterpiece of comic writing from "a writer worth treasuring" (Seattle Times).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Today was "nature" day at the river. This morning when I went out, there was this huge garden spider. They are pretty amazing web builders. Then around lunch time five deer showed up (one not in the pic). The one in the front is "Sunflower" and then her yearling is the second one. Not sure how the other two females and the buck that is in the back fit in to the family tree. I am sure that the buck will be kicked out soon as he is starting to get his horns - they are about 6" long now.

Also, a fellow blogger - Blase' came out to the river for a visit. He got a tour of the studio and then we took a hike down to the river. It was really nice except for it being so humid! It is always cool to meet someone in person that you have only known threw the internet. And we always love to have company!

A couple other blogs to mention:

I want to thank Nancy for chosing me as a winner in her latest contest! I won tons of cute notecards and envelopes. Be sure to check out her blog and also her Etsy and Artfire stores (links on her blog). Thanks again, Nancy!!!

Also, one of my guilds is having another contest: Vabeachquilter is the sponsor this month!!! She has some great items, so take a look.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Things go in circles

I just finished making my daughter's quilt that she will be taking with her to college on Saturday. As I was finishing it, I started thinking or remembering the first time that I started to sew and also about me moving out for the first time....

I started to sew when I was very young, maybe around six or seven. My grandma came to visit us and we spent a good part of the time sewing pin cushions. They were shaped liked bunnies and chicks (it was around Easter when she visited) and they were made from scraps of material and felt. She had a neat tool that made pom poms and I wrapped them to make the tails for the bunnies. That has been my pin cushion ever since. It still sits beside my sewing machine!

Then maybe two or three years later, I went and stayed with my grandma for the summer. She set me up a place in the living room with a table and her sewing machine. I spent the entire summer making stuffed animals. My favorite was a snake that was about six feet long, that I made out of blocks of material. The mouth even opened and was lined with pink satin.

When I was thirteen I went to a boarding school (at the time we lived in PA and the school was in SC). I remember that I showed up with one dress folded up in my suitcase. I was rushed into the ladies room and was made to put the dress on (I didn't know). I wore that same dress for a week until I could get some more. My Mom bought me a sewing machine and I started to make all of my clothes. I had a couple simple skirt and top patterns and made tons of outfits. I even made a white dress-suit for graduation.

I have also made dresses for my daughter and Halloween costumes for both of the kids over the years.

I have since given the sewing machine to my daughter and she has made some clothes and lots of bags and purses. However, my sewing machine died on me so I used that same sewing machine to make the quilt for my daughter. It still works great after all these years.

It is amazing how things go around in a circle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Featured Artist

I wanted to give everyone a link to the blog that features Liquidambar. Please take a minute to read it and leave a comment. Also the ClayFire Guild needs followers, so if you are interested in pottery check it out. Thanks!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Today was productive

I made a couple of things today. The first was eight pairs of earrings made out of bottle caps. These were all collected (along with a thousand others) by my kids while we were living in Kenya. Tuskers is a beer made in Kenya. Notice how most of the tops have 16ks (kenya shillings), which is about 25 cents here.

I finally was able to get them all listed on Etsy. Here is one link:

The second thing that I made today was a fabric bowl. This is the first time I tried this pattern. I started pretty simple, but I have lots of ideas for more. (Thanks, Mom, for the fabric!)

The other thing that I wanted to mention was that one of my guilds put this list together and I wanted to share.

A few of the great stores at ArtFire:

Cards & Gifts -

Cards, Gifts & More -

Crocheted crafts -

Crocheted creations -

Crocheted handbags & gifts -

Crocheting, Knitting, sewing -

Handbags & totes -

Hand dyed & spun Fiber -

Hand painted Fabric crafts -

Jewelry -

Jewelry -

Jewelry -

Jewelry -

Jewelry -

Jewelry -

Jewelry -

Jewelry, candleholders, décor -

Jewelry & Gifts -

Jewelry & Wine charms -

Origami décor -

Pattern dyed Fabrics -

Pens, baby items, jewelry -

Pottery & Jewelry -

Quilting -

Unique Gifts -

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Sunflower Contest

I mentioned before that some of the residents in Redbud (where the studio is located) were having a sunflower contest. Well, this past weekend was the official sunflower measuring. We had seven sunflowers to visit. As a group we went to each persons house and measured their sunflower.

This was the order in which we measured:

Mary Ellen & Paul: 8' 4.5" - 3rd place
Kitty & John: 7' 10.5" - 4th place
Kira: 7' - 6th place
Cricket and Paul: 21" :-) - and just glad to still have a stalk left after the deer.
Simone & Danny: 7' 4" - 5th place - Simone organized this!
Vicki: 11' 6" - Winner!!!!
Skip & Anne: 10' 2" - 2nd place
The picture is hard to see, but they are measuring John's and my sunflower. Actually, I should just say, "John's", he did all the work and made sure that it stayed watered. It is in a pot on the second floor balcony so the deer won't get to it. We had tried once down in a flower bed and that lasted about two days. (That is why we have a deer named "Sunflower".

Vikki's sunflowers were amazing! We all think that the power lines had something to do with it. The stalks were about 2" in diameter and the heads were a good 14" or so across and they all were over 11'!!!!

The last picture shows us having a good time at Skip and Anne's house. (that is Anne on the left - and John and I are on the right.) Thank you Anne!

I told them that John and I were taking notes and that we would be prepared for next year!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

What will they remember?

It is funny how we remember certain things about a person. As I was going through my Grandma's things I kept coming across little things that only she and I would know why she held onto it for all of those years. I hated to throw things out, but what would anyone want with most of those scraps of paper, fabric, or little plastic things? I have so many things that remind me of her that I do not need another trinket. But the one thing that my Mother made sure that I got after my Grandma passed was a little gold heart that I had given to her when I was a teenager. She wore it everyday!

Trying to clean things out, my Mom asked if there was anything that I wanted of hers. I told her that I wanted a plastic seagull that she had on a top shelf out in the garage. She couldn't even remember it, but to me it was a symbol of her. When I was a pre-teen my Mom went through this "White Bird" stage. That was her favorite song, plus she drove a white Thunderbird, and had white birds all over our apartment. This plastic bird I wanted is more than just a trinket, it sums up a whole time period of my life spent with her.

I was thinking what would people (my children) remember about me and there is one answer - a 64 1/2 Candy Apple Red Mustang Convertible! I don't know why I love them so much. I never knew anyone that had one (that old), but I have always wanted one. The closest I have been able to get is my 1995 Mustang - it is red, but not a convertible, but the only thing I can afford. Probably weird for a female, but I even have toy cars sitting at computer and of course there is the red Mustang!

For my birthday this past week, my son made me a model. He spent about a month painting it and putting it together. I love it!!!
I know all of these are "things" and that other good stuff will be remembered, like the fact that they are loved and all of that mushy stuff. But, I bet that every time they see one they think of me (whether they want to or not).

Photo Shoot at the Railroad

One of John's and my great friends, Scott, took us out to the old railroad station so we could shoot some photos.  As you probably know,...