Friday, October 31, 2008

happy halloween!

Weeks and weeks ago little boy told me that he wanted to be a rocket for halloween. Okay, I thought, that's better than the "harvester" he wanted to be last year (he ended up being Bob the Builder because we had the stuff and that's what he was the year before, too). A harvester? Like a combine? Yes. As in "Frank" the Harvester from the Pixar movie Cars. So a rocket was do-able. Especially since Gary had gotten this earlier this summer. So I drew this little sketch to see what he thought, and then I sat on it for three weeks. Or more.
The deadline is here. Friday morning is the halloween party at school, and I have to work (I'm going to be Frida Kahlo), so we laid out the mylar foam last night, roughed out a costume shape with sharpie marker, and I started thinking. I have a large bin of old wool sweaters and skirts from thrift stores that I've felted down for various projects. Those came in handy. I sewed up the shoulders and the sides (my sewing machine doesn't like to sew on foam, as I learned, so I put newspaper under the bottom piece so that the feeder teeth would actually, you know, feed). I cut out red and orange felt triangles for the flames at the bottom, red, white, and blue felt for the lettering and the star/planets that decorate. I glue-gunned those on, as sewing with a needle and thread meant that I repeatedly stabbed myself and bled all over the costume. But now it's finished, and we're mostly happy with it. I decided to dress as Frida Kahlo for work.

I've been so busy lately that I don't know if I'm coming or going, which leads to infrequent blog posts, and infrequent pottery action. I fired the kiln on Sunday but haven't even peeked in to see how the bisque fire went. I'll figure that out this weekend, after the halloween festivities.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

first frost

first frost
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
Last night they predicted frost, so I went out to cut most of my zinnias and all of my basil. We got two huge bouquets of zinnias, a pint of pesto, and another pint of thai pesto, which we savor and never have enough of. It's so simple- thai basil, fish sauce, lime, sesame oil, and a dash of rice vinegar. I also put in just about a teaspoon of peanut butter. If you have some leftover chicken or some shrimp, some jasmine rice (cooked or not), veggies, and stock, you can make a fabulous risotto in 10-30 minutes (depending on the rice). If you have some coconut milk, that makes it even better (I buy the powdered coconut cream from our local vietnamese market).

Old man winter blew a slight frost over our roof tops last night, but the rest of the zinnias came out unscathed. Tonight will be cold again, but we'll be back to our "usual" temperatures on Thursday. Every year it's just barely warm enough to wear shorts on Halloween- and has been for as long as I can remember. This is early for our first frost, but I was happy to bring in armloads of zinnias.

Later this week I'll have the "final" results of my Mississippi river clay to show you- I picked a glaze that highlights its natural color beautifully.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Friday, October 24, 2008

here's a little hint

a little hint
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
of what's up my sleeve. I was inspired by another blogger's creative output (but I'm afraid if I link to her you'll guess what this is too easily!) and made a dozen of these the other day. I'll have them bisqued and ready to glaze by Monday, I hope.
It has been such a busy week- full of good and moving and going- I feel a bit behind, but in reality, all I've neglected is my camera, this blog, and my mystery sock. I have Catechesis training all weekend- tonight from 4-8 and Saturday 10-3, so I doubt I'll have time for knitting chart-reading or much pottery, but sunday afternoon I have a date with my kiln.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

a give-away!

No, not here, but Stefani over at Blue Yonder is giving away what looks like a fabulous bread recipe and one of my little butter dishes. It might be this one. Due to some post office craziness, Stefani ended up with two of these, and we're all trying to declutter, right? Who needs two? So go comment and see if you win! And thanks, Stefani, for highlighting my work. (I'm not sure why the picture's so tiny, but Stefani has a better one.)

Lately I've been quietly and steadily working on things for the holidays. Some are Martyrs of Memphis related, some custom orders, and lots of easily-shippable holiday goodness that will go straight to my etsy store. Including more butter dishes, honey pots, and yes, even a berry bowl or two.

Happy Wednesday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


curried pumpkin soup
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
Thanks for the well-wishes, everyone. I think that I am officially on the mend. And happily, noone else at my house has gotten strep. Tuesday noonish I got really hungry but couldn't eat "real" food. I wanted curried pumpkin soup. Here's what I threw together:
1 can of pumpkin puree (solid packed, not sweetened)
1 can veg. stock
2 chopped onions and garlic
a little olive oil
1tsp each corriander and curry powder, maybe a little more.

This was super easy- even for a fevery-delirious woman who really should have gone back to bed instead of cooking.

That night we transformed this fabulous chicken with 40 cloves of garlic (our son's godfather was in town saturday, so we made this in his honor) into a wonderful soup by adding water, more onions, garlic, mushrooms, and barley and simmering for 30 minutes. We ate it again last night. We've made that chicken twice now, and each time we've made luscious soup from the leftovers. Last night I discovered that one of my tomato tipis had blown over when we were camping and badly damaged about a dozen large ripe "cherokee purple" tomatoes. Those are going into a fresh tomato soup out of this vegetarian tome. Yes, it's all soup all the time.

And I have some good or bad news, depending on where you are. I had to cancel my classes for today and tomorrow, and while trying to reschedule them, I realized that I have NO TIME. Every day, almost every weekend from now until mid November is booked solid. My annual pre-holiday home sale was going to be the weekend of Nov. 14. This week was supposed to be my pottery-making frenzy to get ready for that. I've made not one thing. Rather than make myself and my family crazy by trying to have enough work to show, I'm canceling it for this year. Whatever I have and manage to make will go up on etsy. That's good if you're out of town and are already an etsy shopper. If you're in town, I do apologize, but I'd be totally happy to make things to order and deliver before Christmas, or to sub out shipping for sales tax for things that you like that are listed on etsy.

Thanks, again, for the well wishes this week. I appreciate them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Today I am participating in Blog Action Day: Poverty.
We aren't wealthy, far from it. But we have more than enough. And my dear, dysfunctional, beloved city is full of poverty. Today, I will donate the proceeds of any sales and my day's wages to MIFA, the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Agency, headquartered in Memphis, which serves the poor in our community, offering Meals-on-Wheels to the elderly, job training, educational opportunities, utility-payment assistance, and many other services to the poor in the Memphis metropolitan area.
Please join me in helping to eliminate poverty in your community.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the. worst. ever.

Our last camping trip began with a nasty cold for daddy and more work for me. This camping trip began with mild aches that I wrote off to Saturday's 5k. I laughed it off- oh, haha, you were sick last time, I'm sick this time. Then came the chills. Then the full-on-fever. Grouchy Daddy who has to do everything, including taking care of ill mama and the little boy whose behavior takes a sudden nose dive whenever his mama gets sick. We stayed less than 24 hours. Went to the doctor's office yesterday afternoon because I could tell that this wasn't a normal virus. It's not. It's strep. The z-pak is already working and I'm going to make some creamy pumpkin soup since swallowing is problematic.

Poor family. We may never camp again (mosquitoes were still a problem). But the good things were: pre-cut and stacked firewood left by either the park service or some nice campers, and my impulse to grab the iced green tea from the fridge. It heated nicely next to the fire and soothed my throat. I'll see you all next week.

Friday, October 10, 2008

fall break

my kitchen table
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
good morning. today is our first day of fall break- it is really just now beginning to seem like fall. We have a busy day and weekend planned- glazing and Mars Lunar IMAX movie today, a 5K cancer walk, godfather visit, camping packing tomorrow, and a retreat to our favorite camping spot Sunday and Monday. Oh, and little things like the grocery store. Other than running in for milk and bread, I haven't had to buy groceries for more than two weeks. Thank you, CSA. Even though we only bought a half-share, there's more than enough for a week's worth of meals when combined with the rice, pasta, and beans in our pantry, and the chicken socked away in the deep freeze. That was a tangent.

For the weekend, I'll leave you with this little photo I took yesterday when I was frustrated with the length of time it took to pack a pottery shipment in my new "green" materials. I hope I'll get faster, because I'd really like it to work. But since the weather's cooled, my garden has come back ot life. The pineapple sage is sending up bright red spikes to attract teh late humming birds, the zinnias have burst into a profusion of blooms, and my dahlia keeps perking along. On the table are a dozen recycled newspaper leaves inspired by Maya. Her's are so much prettier than mine, but our crayons are crappy and I didn't use watercolors like she did. My boy is interested in sculpture and building- the allure of crayons are largely lost on him. Maybe the next child will want nice beeswax crayons. . . . But I'm looking forward to stringing these on some thread and hanging them from our dining room windows- or making more and gluing them to bare branches. . . . endless possibilities, limited time.

Happy weekend, everyone. It's time for me to get to glazing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

weaning myself

Or attempting to, anyway. I'm trying to give up petroleum products in my shipping. This morning I bought 250 feet of corrugated cardboard and drug out my paper shredder. I'm afraid to completely give up the bubble wrap, but I'm using less of it. One possible downside- the packages might weigh a bit more, which would increase shipping somewhat. What do you think? The guy at the packaging warehouse thought I was nuts and wanted to sell me on the foam egg crate-type material (be still my heart, pottery arrives perfectly cushioned, as if traveling on air), but the stuff can't be recycled at all. My hope is that if you get a package from me, you'll reuse the bubble wrap and chuck the rest into your recycling bin.

Monday, October 6, 2008

the greens

the greens
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
This entire kiln-load was full of mysterious outcomes. I have issues with my green pottery. Earlier this summer it came out all speckled, looking a bit like salt-glazed work. That, I believe, had to do with humidity and how wet the piece was when I attempted to glaze it. This time the greens came out much more bronze-flecked than usual, and certainly deeper. I'm not sure that I could even call this jadeite. It's bordering on downright jade. Still, I like it. I have a small creamer and sugar with this dotted pattern to go with an existing teapot, but alas, it is too dark. I'll need to make another teapot to go with them.

I have the next week and a half off of work so that I can devote my days to pottery. I am woefully behind (as in, if I don't get a move on, I won't have my annual sale in November)**Edited to add- I won't be putting much of anything new up on Etsy until after my sale. Unless you ask me rilly rilly nicely**.

With that, friends, I'm off to the studio and wishing you a happy week.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

the mystery of pottery

that's the color
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
You just NEVER know what's coming out of the kiln. Remember the clay a friend and our kids dug from the sandbars of the Mississippi river? How it turned to terra cotta when bisqued? I was so disappointed to lose the rich deep brown of the native clay. At 2200 degrees, it almost came back. Still pretty reddish, but it held up (I had a small fear that it might melt in the kiln) and I'm pleased with the body color. The clear glaze is another story. I thought it looked milky. Gary though it looked bluish or plumish. "Physics just gets turned on its head at 2000 degrees," he surmised. I still have a bigger, fluted bowl in this clay and more to make another for the family that camped with us, but I'll have to solve the riddle of this milky not-clear glaze. The clear IS clear over underglazes or a white clay body, but there's no telling what minerals are in this raw clay and how they'll react with any given glaze.

I have some other pieces to show you next week- my greens were deep and more jade-like than ever.

This morning's 5k was good- so cool (about 65)- and I shaved almost 2 minutes off my time. No walking this time. I think if I'd had my iPod on, it would have been even better. Next time.

Hope you're all having a happy weekend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

ladybug day

the good
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
Good morning! I'm in the throws of my after-run endorphins right now, so the idea of spending the day painting ladybugs isn't making me cringe like it might if I'd slept in. It was almost COLD this morning- 54 when I turned on my mac after my run.

Yesterday I prepped, waxed, and did single-color glazing for this kiln load. I was happy to get a good day's work done, and there wasn't so much to do that I got bogged down and blue about it (because glazing is my least favorite part of pottery. Isn't that funny, I'm not as thrilled about finishing the work as I am about starting it). Today I'm finishing the dozen-or-so ladybug pieces, mixing my new dry cobalt blue, and refiring one of my icons.

Today the sky is bright blue, the highs are in the 70s, and I've got plenty of work to do. Oh, if you're a knitter, Kirsten Kapur is offering a free Mystery Sock KAL on Ravelry. I'm using some trekking-like ombre blue JL Julia yarn. Even though it's a busy day, I've got the cuff pattern printed and I'm going to cast on when I break for lunch.

Hope your day is beautiful, everyone.