Monday, November 30, 2009

Antique Oribe basket

Another revisited pot. - this time an antique Oribe basket form that I purchased in one of my visits to Japan.
It's one of my favorite pieces, and it's currently doing duty as a candy dish on our living room coffee table.

I've been waiting all morning for a call from Dell to help me install the new Windows 7 operating system in my crashed laptop. Since I'm relegated to the house, both with that waiting and dealing with sinusitis which is making me avoid studio dust, I'm using the time to hit the paper pile in my office. After an hour of sorting, I'm wondering why I thought I couldn't live without all this information, recipes, etc.

This afternoon I'll make a pot of turkey carcass soup. We finished the last of of the turkey leftovers yesterday and now it's time for the soup which I'll stick in the freezer for another day. Tonight it's pork chops au poivre with a cream and sherry reduction and home fried potatoes and butternut nut squash with an orange, brown sugar, butter sauce.

Well, time to get back to the paper pile.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Linda McFarling Soda Fired Jam set

Here's another revisit of my Linda McFarling Soda fired Jam set. Linda is one of my favorite potters. I love her sense of simple, yet strong forms. The crackle slip works really well on these jars and the contrast of the flashing slip and the matt black of the stand make a stunning contrast.

Yesterday was spent mostly with computer woes. Transferring files individually with my limited knowledge of DOS took me two days at least; but it's finally done. It's going to take even longer to sort all those individual files and get them re-loaded on the Laptop once I get a new operating system installed. The new Windows 7 Software is here but I'm still waiting for the Dell tech to call me to help install it. That probably won't happen till Monday. There was also a freezing mouse problem with this old desktop that I was finally able to resolve yesterday by deleting and doing a clean install.

In the meantime I'll be going through more paper piles and plan on enjoying a lazy Sunday morning with some bagels, smoked salmon and cream cheese for breakfast, reading the Sunday papers,  and re-heating  the last of the leftover turkey with freshly cooked veggies for dinner.

I've been staying out of the studio because of these computer woes as well as dealing with sinusitis which doesn't seem to be responding to treatment. It's definitely been an interesting couple of weeks!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ellen Shankin Jar

Here's re-visit of another great pot in my collection - an Ellen Shankin stoneware, ash glazed jar.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. My day was spent cooking and transferring files from my dead laptop (that job will continue today). It's taking me forever to use DOS to transfer all these files to the stand alone hard drive. If I can finish that, then I'll get on the phone with Dell to have them guide me through installing a new operating system.

This computer project will eat up most of my time today. Fortunately dinner is taken care of - either Thanksgiving leftovers or dinner at the seafood restaurant in town if our friends are available. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Michael Cardew pottery teapot

 Here's another re-visited pot - a darling, one person teapot that I purchased from Michael Cardew in the early 80's.

Yesterday I figured a way to save some of my files on my laptop. Using Dos, I was able to access my documents and got a lot of them copied to my stand alone hard drive. It took forever to do with all the typing of those DOS commands, and I still have more to do after breakfast. The new Windows 7 software is due to arrive today, so my day will be split with doing some Thanksgiving veggie prep and cooking and maybe getting on the phone with the Dell Techie to get the new Windows installed.

Fortunately I have leftover mushroom bisque for dinner. Not having to cook will free up that time to deal with the laptop problem.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ruggles and Rankin Wood fired jar

Today we're re-visiting this wonderful slip decorated jar by Will Ruggles and Douglas Rankin.They fire in a multiple chambered kiln fueled by gas, wood, and oil with a combination of salt and soda.We were very fortunate to have them here in Western North Carolina for all those years and I'm looking forward to seeing the work that they'll be making in their location in New Mexico.

Computer woes continue. Dell tech couldn't get past the blue screen of death either, so we're going to have to reinstall Windows which means losing everything on the laptop. Fortunately, I'm pretty backed up with my documents, thanks to a stand alone hard drive. I'll only lose a couple of family photos and recipes which can probably be easily replaced. Instead of reinstalling Vista or Windows XP, I ordered Windows 7 which the laptop will support. Vista is what caused this problem and XP will soon lose support, so Windows 7 seems to be the best option for now. I just hope it's going to work with all my old software. If not, then I may have them create a dual boot drive so I can install the Windows XP as well.

Yesterday was spent with the Dell tech and by myself, to see if I could find a back door into the program. Cooking, plant watering, animal care and other chores filled in the rest of the day. The studio will just have to wait till after Thanksgiving.

Today I need to do all my Thanksgiving food shopping and tomorrow I'll be doing a lot of my pre-Thanksgiving vegetable prep. If the software arrives today, then I'll be dealing with that as well.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thomas Clarkson large ash glazed stoneware jar

Here's another great pot worth re-visiting. This is a large, ash glazed jar by Thomas Clarkson of Charlottesville, Va.

Yesterday was spent on computer woes and cooking. The blue screen laptop problem is still not resolved and I didn't have time to call about it yesterday since I knew it might take a long time and I had an early big roast pork dinner planned.

After breakfast, and plant watering, I'll get on the phone and see if they can remotely access the laptop and find a way in so we can do a CHKDSK /F and get an idea of the problem.

Tonight I'm making salad and mushroom bisque for dinner. After a heavy meat dinner last night, the soup will be a nice change of pace. We'll have the leftover pork another day - probably tomorrow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Robin Hopper Stoneware pitcher

Since I'm dealing with a major computer problem, here's another re-visit of a Robin Hopper stoneware pitcher from my collection. 

Dealing with computer laptop hell this morning - the Windows blue screen of death that I need to address. It tells me to do a chkdsk /f, which of course, I can't do because I can't find a way in. None of the safe modes work. Diagnostics aren't turning up a problem, so it might be a virus, which I have no idea how I could get since I am super careful, anti virus always up to date, not opening email attachments, etc.I hope Microsoft and Dell have help available today! I'm using my old desktop just to catch up on email, then going to see if this can be fixed today. Jim says he has 3 words for me "Buy an Apple!"

I'm cooking a pork roast dinner this afternoon, so it looks like the whole day is spoken for at this point. Fortunately I got my bowls trimmed and all but one, waxed yesterday, before I had to come in and get ready for a date night with Jim - dinner at the Knife and Fork. I had the roast leg of lamb and Jim opted for the rabbit ravioli - nice meal, as always!

Hope everyone is having a nice, quiet, no computer or other problems, Sunday!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Robin Hopper teapot

Here's a Robin Hopper teapot from my collection. Unfortunately the lid was dropped. I need to get it glued one of these days. I bought this from Robin before he moved to Canada's west coast, and was still living and working in Ontario.It's a nice example of resist design on the raw body, cobalt slip over and clear glaze over part of the cobalt slip.

Never got to the studio yesterday, other than covering some leather hard pots to trim today. Bread baking and dinner prep and some household chores usurped all my time. Dinner was a tossed salad and steamed mussels in white wine, garlic, onion, pernod, and basil with an addition of  a cream, shallot and lemon sauce. It's  the original Carrabas recipe "Cozze in bianco",  that I found on line -and  not the  clone.. The only thing missing part of the recipe was the lemon butter sauce, so I had to search the various recipes on line and settled for the classic French, lemon butter sauce. The recipe called for chablis which Jim picked up for me;, but next time I'm going to use a sauvignon blanc instead. Chablis is pretty undrinkable and not great for cooking either (just my personal preference); but I thought I'd follow the recipe as given the first time.

We're going out to the Knife and Fork in Spruce Pine for dinner, so I'll be able to get in some good studio time today. The pots are definitely ready for trimming and depending on how I feel, I'll either throw a few more things or mix up a couple of flashing slips and start decorating.

Friday, November 20, 2009

David Gilhooley chocolate covered frog ice cream cone

Finally got around to taking pictures of a couple of  more pots from my collection. Here's a wonderful whimsical chocolate covered frog ice cream cone by David Gilhooly. David was one of the leaders of the funk movement, initially setting up a vegetable cart in San Francisco, selling these fun ceramics.. He was one of the  artists in a gallery I started while living in Canada in  the 70's and when I sold the gallery I kept this piece. He stopped doing making pots some time ago, which is a big loss for the world of ceramics.

I've been busy this morning with taking photos and getting a batch of no knead bread started. It's on it's second rise now. This time I added more yeast and which seems to be working well. It should be ready to bake in another hour or so. In the meantime I'll check the pots I threw yesterday and see if they're ready to trim. I uncovered them at 6am,  so should be ready for trimming today.

I only threw a few small, 2 lb range bowls using the last bit of Loafers Glory. It was pretty firm, but I was very encouraged that I could wedge and center it without too much chest discomfort and the best part is that I feel good thing morning. I also added some throwing slip to the reclaim and got the mixer going for a bit and got some studio sweeping and other cleanup. It felt really good to be getting that much studio time and not feeling the worse for it!
Jim is up inBanner Elk in search of some clams, but just called to say they're out, so he's picking up mussels instead and I'll try a Carrabas clone recipe for steamed mussels in a pernod, white wine, lemon, garlic, basil sauce. That, along with the freshly baked, crunchy bread will make for a nice, light supper.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Visiting an old wood fired soda pot

Been too busy to take more photos, so here's a re-visit of one of my wood fired soda pots.

Experimented with letting Bonnie kitty have the run of the house early this morning. She certainly provided a lot of interest and exercise for our dog Bodhi, as the two of them chased each other almost non stop for about 45 minutes. Fortunately she didn't knock over anything, although she did attempt to use the sofa and one chair as a scratching post, which is why Jim hasn't wanted me to allow her the run of the house. Guess I need to get a water pistol and learn how to aim it! I was able to distract her with the new laser toy. Like the fishing pole with the bird feathers, this one is a big, kitty, winner in the toy department!

After I water the house plants, and get my morning vitamins, I'm going to head for the studio and see if I can find something to do without hurting my chest. I think I might just get the de-airing pugmill working and see if I can get some of the Moon White clay soft enough to throw a few small things.

Dinner is leftovers again so I'l just have to make a salad to go with the chicken thighs, stewed tomatoes, peppers, andouille sausage, etc, and biscuit topped casserole. Jim really liked this recipe so it will go in the permanent file in the favorites recipe box.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November blooming azaleas

These pictures of a blooming shrub and azalea near our front porch was taken a couple of days ago. With the unseasonable warm days, I guess they thought that spring had arrived!

We went from spring like, 70 degree weather, to a rainy, cold, dreary day; but I'm not complaining - just trying to keep that cold from reaching deep inside my bones!

Today has beena day of small, non studio chores. I'm still having a challenge with some of my grow lights and I think that another fixture may need replacing. New bulbs didn't work and I had to move a bunch of plants under another light that I was planning to grow lettuce under. I know that these cheap fluorescent fixtures don't often last very long, but the fixture in question looks pretty new. :-(

It's going to be a simple salad and pasta night. Cooking for two makes for a lot of leftovers, so I won't have to cook for another couple of days.

I found an old Moosewood, low fat favorites cookbook on Amazon for under four dollars, and I've spent the last hour going through the recipes, making notes of the ones I want to try.They have some interesting vegetarian stews, as well as a Italian fish stew I'm looking forward to making.

 I also got the Thomas Keller "Ad Hoc at home" cookbook which I'll try to go through more thoroughly after dinner. We've eaten at his restaurant "The French Laundry" a couple of times, but I don't have the time or energy for some of his more complex, exotic recipes. The Ad Hoc cookbook is mainly family style recipes; but with his signature style.  It's a gorgeous cookbook with very high quality paper and photos and the recipes all look doable without spending the whole day in the kitchen. I don't think I'll be making oil poached sturgeon (not something I can buy locally); but from my quicke perusal, it looks like most of the recipes have ingriedients that would be locally available. He has a leek bread pudding that looks like it would be a lovely side dish with a simple pork or beef roast.

You should never food shop or read cookbooks when you're hungry! LOL

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Busy non studio day

 After a frustrating half hour trying to upload a photo, I'm giving up. The size and format is correct, so I don't have a clue as to why I keep getting a "failed" message". I'll try again tomorrow. I'm too tired to fight a losing battle with finicky software.

Jim and I have been out galavanting all day in Johnson City, TN. Originally, the plan was to drive to Asheville. That's before I discovered that there's an Earth Fare in Johnson City, so we made a quick change of plans since Johnson City is a bit shorter drive than Asheville.

After my morning animal chores, animal care, light breakfast and plant watering, we headed out to Tennessee in time for an early lunch at the Indian Buffet, followed by a lot of shopping stops - everything from kitty toys and food at Pet Smart to groceries and clothes etc.. Earth Fare was wonderful. It's similar to the Whole Foods markets, but on a smaller scale.  Since we had such a large lunch, we just opted for snacks for dinner - smoked trout spread, cheese, grapes and  wine.

The minute I got home, and put away all the groceries and other purchases, I had some chicken stock to make which I'll freeze it for mushroom bisque next week.Now I'm just settling in, catching up on email and updating the blog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Burning Bush in all it's fall glory!

 Woke up to the most glorious star filled sky this morning! With the garden sporting mostly shades of brown this time of year, this burning bush has waited to exhibit it's glorious color at time when when it could shine without competition! This crazy weather (in the 70's the past couple of days), has two of my azaleas putting forth a few blooms; and the calendulas are still going strong.

Yesterday I trimmed one pot. Yes, that's right, 1 pot! They other 2 went flying off the wheel! When I released my foot from the foot pedal, the foot pedal demon who has taken up residence, spun the wheel out of control. It was quite a sight! The universe is having quite a laugh at my expense lately. First I can't wedge or throw unless the clay is like cream cheese, making it an impossible task, then this demon takes up residence in my foot pedal. So today I will do an foot pedal exorcism to remove it and hope it's just a minor adjustment and not something needing replacing.

In any case, I think today is going to be a paper work and cooking day. I have a chicken thigh casserole with a biscuit topping that I think I'll make, and I have a huge paper pile that I need to go through and some glaze recipe notations to make.

Well, time to feed kitty, AKA, the organic alarm clock, and let her out of her night time quarters.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Beautiful morning

Lovely sky this morning!

Getting ready to make our Sunday morning bagel, cream cheese and smoked salmon breakfast, then read the Sunday papers and hit my paper pile for a while. After lunch I'll get in the studio to trim a those couple of pots and see if there's anything else I want to do in there that won't require using any chest muscles.

We're trying to clear out the freezers, so tonight will be spaghetti and meatballs. I think I'll start another no knead bread after dinner so I can bake it tomorrow morning.

Here's the requested  recipe for the blue glaze in yesterday photo.

#1532 Limestone blue (U of Hawaii) C10Reduction

38.1 Kona F4 soda spar
 9.5 Epk
19.1 Whiting
28.6 Flint
 4.7 Barium Carb
Add: 5% Rutile, 2% Cobalt Oxide, 2% Copper Carb, 2% Bentonite

Likes reduction, but not too much. Don't fired too hard a cone 10 or it may pinhole (same thing with too much reduction or too fast a firing). the rutile tends to pinhole in this glaze unless you baby every phase of it. Works best on porcelain or white stoneware. If you like blue, this glaze is worth the trouble. It's a beautiful lapis color, as you can see in yesterday's blog photo.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Braised cabbage in U of Hawaii blue glazed bowl

Here's the braised cabbage,potato,tomato,onion, mirin dish I had the other night. This blue glaze, from the U. of Hawaii, is one I used in the 80's - gorgeous but finicky glaze - needs reduction but not too much, can be prone to pinholing, better on a white body, etc. etc.

Yesterday I got in the studio and threw a mug and small bowl; but even that is sending sharp pains in my chest, so I'm just going to have to be patient with this healing. I'll trim them later and maybe just use my bit of studio time this morning to weigh out a glaze test or two.

It's another gorgeous Indian summer type day, so this afternoon we want to get out and do an hour of garden cleanup before joining friends for an early dinner at the restaurant in town that has switched to a mainly seafood menu. We were there when they opened last week and it was pretty good and inexpensive - a good place to have dinner after a heavy studio day when you just don't feel like cooking or driving a half hour to Spruce Pine.

The Tapas restaurant in Banner Elk was MUCH better last night than Monday. I guess the thing to do is to limit our visits to the weekends when everything is fresher.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Craig Martell porcelain jar

Finally got around to getting all the extension cords so I could test my new photo setup. Here's an exquisite Craig Martell porcelain jar that I photographed this morning.

It's a gorgeous day - sunny, mild and only the slightest breeze. It would be a good day for some garden work, but I think I'll head to the studio for an hour or so and see if there's anything I can do in there. Throwing is painful and I'm afraid, delaying healing. Yesterday I threw just one 4 lb shallow bowl and dried more of the wet reclaim; but that bowl was all my body would let me throw. Today I'll see if I can just throw a couple of very small kiln fillers and see if that will make my chest happier.

Our Friday night porch sitting has been pushed off to Saturday, so we're going back to the Tapas restaurant tonight to pick up a case of wine, which they are selling us just 10% above their wholesale cost (a nice thing they do for their customers). So we'll have a few of their Tapas selections and do some pick up grocery shopping on the way back.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yoga for neck and shoulders

Found this neck and shoulder video on you tube and thought some readers might benefit from this. I know I will:

Had a very aggressive osteo treatment yesterday and found out that fall I took about 7 weeks ago put one of my ribs out of place. It's now back where it belongs! My overnight droopy eyelid, turns out, is just from sinusitis, which the doctor said is probably from all this rain, dampness, etc. For a day or so I thought "boy this body is aging fast. Soon I'll look like the "Picture of Dorian Gray". LOL

Guess I'd do better living in the desert, but Jim's sinuses don't fare well in a very dry climate. Also found out that my thyroid is sluggish. No wonder I've been cold and tired so much lately, with a body temperature of 95F! So she sent me off  with some bottles of thyroid support, barley powder (I need to alkanize this old body (another minor temporary problem), and sea salt for the sinusitis. It was good to know I wasn't falling apart, just needed a good oil change and grease job, and told not to drive this body too fast. LOL

Our plan to go to Asheville today was changed for us by nature. It's raining, rained hard overnight with more rain expected today and through tomorrow morning. There are flood and wind warnings, so we're going to stay put other than Jim making his usual post office run to pick up his USA today and other mail only to find out that it's a holiday. I have the leftover roast chicken for dinner so I'll just make some mashed potatoes and honey ginger carrots to go with it. The rest of the day is going to be for studio time - finally!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reclaim clay bridges drying

First thing this morning I got out some of this reclaim clay and made a few bridges to help firm it up. It's deliciously plastic and moldy but way too wet to throw anything other than plates and I have enough of those already for the next firing. I also trimmed a  2 lb test bowl I threw with this clay yesterday. Getting my hands on the clay felt so good after a couple of weeks and I want so badly to get back to work; but today and tomorrow are spoken for with doctors appointments and an Asheville shopping day tomorrow.

Hopefully by the time we get back from osteo and lunch, I can get an hour or two in the studio before dinner. Gone are the days when I'd have enough energy after dinner to work in the studio till midnight. These days the only late night time I get in the studio is on  firing days and the few days before when I'm glazing and loading.

We had a nice evening with friends, celebrating Jim's 76th birthday at the Tapas restaurant in Banner Elk. We were happy to find that they had a Lytton Springs Zinfandel, which is one of our favorites; but all things considered, the four of us agreed that the Tapas restaurant in Asheville  is a bit better.

Since we're having a big lunch at the Japanese restaurant today, I might just make a simple linguini with fresh tomato, capers, garlic and white wine sauce for dinner. I think I have enough cherry tomatoes from my one lone plant that is still producing well under the protection of  Remay, for the sauce. We have a Netflix documentary "Earth" to watch after wards and Jim, who is a big fan of  "World Series of Poker", is watching the final tonight. He's been looking forward to this and talking about it for a couple of days. I'll opt for a meditation and some play time with kitty Bonnie instead and maybe watch the very end of the Poker with him if I can manage to stay awake till 11 o'clock.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Studio AKA winter home for some of my tropical plants.

Here are some of my tropical plants. As you can see, some are way too tall to put in the basement. That tall one is an avocado tree. These plants were originally intended to live in a greenhouse I was going to build, and then my sanity returned and reminded me that I don't even have enough time to do all the other things in my life and adding one more at my age was certainly not wise, not even considering the cost of a large greenhouse. I'm looking for someone with a large greenhouse to adopt some of these plants!

Kitty Bonnie aka the alarm clock was very insistent this morning. Fortunately I was already up, just enjoying that morning, twilight time and the warmth of the comforter. By now everyone was awake, including the birthday boy (Jim's 76 today) and Bodhi, who was ready for his morning walk.

Tonight we're going out with our friends Jim and Laura to a Tapas restaurant - Jim's birthday wish. On our birthdays we take each other out for dinner and the birthday person pays and someone else drives.

Yesterday we didn't get to the garden work. A virus alert on my computer and dealing with a my space person who is impersonating Jim, took up all that gardening time. Later I made some Wikepedia changes on his bio. They had his birth date and some other things wrong. It's amazing how some of these days unfold in a way that has nothing to do with my original plans!

We'll get out to the garden for a bit this afternoon and hopefully finish the last phase of the fall cleanup before mulching once we get another sunny day. Between cooking, pet and plant care, garden work, shopping, needing time to heal these torn chest tissues, and all the other little things of daily life, there just hasn't been any time or more importantly, any energy left, for the studio. I'm hoping that I can get in there tomorrow and uncover all those pots and see if they haven't dried too much to slip and decorate.

This morning I need to try to figure out the my space instructions to prove Jim is who he says he is. The first try at the link they provided doesn't work, so this may take a lot of time. We have to make a sign with the my space photo and id, have him hold it, take a photo and send it to them. I think it would just be easier to call a lawyer and have them write myspace to either remove that site or get the person to be a disclaimer at the top of the site saying that they're not the real Jim Perry. Why do people do such things!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

No knead sour dough

Here's the no knead sourdough I made the other day. I need to tweak the recipe a bit because, initially the dough was way too wet, probably because my starter is wetter than that of the person who posted the recipe. Fortunately, it tasted great, even though I had to add extra flour later in the process.

Enjoying a totally lazy Sunday, so far. We had bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon for breakfast which should fortify us for another hour or so of garden clean up this afternoon.

I'm making a roast chicken, mashed potato and fresh garden beans (the last of the season thanks to the Remay covering the plants) dinner tonight. Before we head for the garden I think I'll have Jim take down some of those pots in my studio so I can photograph them for the blog when I can find the time.

Time to put kitty Bonnie Lass out for a few hours. She loves her outside adventures and so far, we haven't had too much trouble getting her back in around dinner time.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

My photo setup

Well, here it is - finally - my new photo setup! I took Joy Tanner's wonderful photo class and learned how to make my own light box and other accessories, as well as how to take better photos, use a gray board and reflectors and diffusers. Next I have to take some test photos; but probably not for another day. The garden calls today. 

It's going to be around 70 degrees this afternoon and I need to plant some late parsley and continue general garden clean up and harvest what I can.  I'll probably be too tired after that to do anything more than make dinner and vegg out over a Netflix movie tonight.

This morning I baked the sourdough version of the "no knead" bread. The dough, from an on line recipe, was way too wet, so I kept folding more flour in without kneading, until it would hold it's shape a bit. Obviously, the poster has a much firmer starter than the one I use. The loaf looks good; but I don't know what it will look like when I cut into it. Even if the texture isn't right, I'll get an idea of the flavor and just adjust the amount of water next time.

We had another lovely dinner at the Knife and Fork in Spruce Pine. I had their stack cake - my first time eating this local cake. The history of stack cake goes back to early weddings in these mountain, where many of the woman brought one cake and then all of the cakes were stacked with applesauce in between. It was delicious, as was the rest of the meal.


Friday, November 06, 2009

Hardy calendulas

These calendulas are holding up well after a couple of freezes which have killed most of the other annuals.

Last night's frost got my pepino melon. I'm hoping that the straw mulch will protect the roots so that it may come back next year. I decided not to bring it indoors with the rest of the tropical plants. Frankly, the fruit isn't that great to warrant all that winter care and energy cost to keep it under lights.

Finally got my  photo setup finished, with only one minor correction to get the light box a bit closer to center over the table. I had to change the direction of the table, which then meant moving a heavy sink and cabinet and other things. The whole job took even longer than expected. Even getting the new, larger backrop out of the box turned out to be a chore because of a stubborn cap

After breakfast I'll get back down to the basement to make those little adjustments, get the protective plastic off the backdrop which is already hung and get the reflectors up and get the other lights in position and turned on for a test run.

I have a few more pots from my collection to photograph; but they're sitting high up on a ledge that runs along two walls of my studio. Jim's going to get some of them down so I'll be able to photograph them for the blog in the next couple of days.

There isn't much planned for today other than getting that photo setup tested, going out to an early dinner, do some food shopping and the animal,  plant and house care. Between all these other things and not feeling 100% yet, there doesn't seem to be any time or energy for the studio yet. It amazes me how quickly the days are seeming to fly by lately without my being able to accomplish everything  on my "to do" list - like feeding my sourdough starter yesterday!  In fact, I'm going to do as soon as I get my shower!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The uncarved pumpkin

Am I the only person who still hasn't carved their Halloween pumpkin???? Guess I'll cut it open today and get the seeds out and cleaned up for roasting and make it a Thanksgiving pumpkin!

It's cool and quite breezy so we're going to put off gardening clean up for another day or so. Today's main chore is getting my light box u-bolts moved and reinstalled evenly so it will hang properly. Jim is heading to the hardware store to see if he can get me the wood I need to hang the back drop paper.

Last night we decided to try one of the restaurants in town which, just yesterday,switched to a mainly seafood menu. It's not gourmet fare; but it's inexpensive and everything seemed fresh. Jim also liked their hush puppies and fried clams. I opted for the clam chowder and fried cat fish and both were good.

Tonight I'm making pizza again since I already have the dough and leftover margarita mix.  Well, time to feed my sourdough starter before I start on todays projects.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Japanese cherry tree leaves in the fall

I love the color contrast on these fall leaves of our Japanese Cherry tree. When I planted this tree, I sited it so we get our first peek of the spring blossoms when we woke up.

Up at 5am walking  Bodhi under the stars and feeling the nip of this frosty morning, then coming in for that first cup of morning tea made for a lovely start of the day.

Yesterday was another one of those man plans, God laughs days. Since Jim had to make a dump run he suggested we take that country drive I've been suggesting and off we went, ignoring the other "to do" chores I had planned for the day. It was too beautiful a day to waste hanging out in the basement working on my photo setup. We had a lovely drive turning on to untraveled mountain roads, a big lunch out and by the time we got home we were tired and not good for much more than a nap for Jim and some computer work for me.

Today will unfold, probably like yesterday - with good intentions and lovely distractions. But I am hoping I can find time to set up my light box, or maybe just give in to procrastination once more.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My latest no knead, same day bread with the faster but not too fast rise

This new method that I contrived yesterday, (only because I was too tired the night before to start my bread), worked out great. The bread didn't have the same large crumb (bakers term for the holes in the bread), but it looks good, has a wonderful crust and tastes great - even worked well for toast this morning. The best part was that it was still a "no knead" bread; but I made it with an 8 hour rise instead of 19, which is what Jim Lahey.s original method calls for. I added 3/4 tsp of yeast instead of 1/4 and added 1/4 tsp of red wine vinegar. This is  my amended version of the 3-4 hour version Mark Bittman of the New York Times came up with. His short version (3-4 hrs) called for 1 tsp yeast and no red wine vinegar. I think if I can get the instant yeast, which I'll order today, I may even be able to shorten the time. I'm looking forward to playing around with these no knead recipes some more, especially interested in trying the sourdough version some time, as well as his latest  no knead pizza dough which I'll make after I use up my current batch of pizza dough.

Looks like another gorgeous fall day, so we'll probably be getting out in the garden to do more cleanup this afternoon. It would also be a nice day for a little ride. There's so many roads in our own little town that we've never explored.

Right now I need to head down to the basement and move some tables and chairs and get some boards up so I can get my photo setup finished today. That chore is long overdue. 

Monday, November 02, 2009

Jenny Lou Sherburne at Spruce Pine Potters Market

 Here's a shot of Jenny Lou Sherburne's booth at the Spruce Pine Potters Market. Her colors are delectable and I love her forms as well. There's a lot of time and work in these pieces.

Wow is it foggy out there this morning. I think it's going to be a good day for baking bread!

Yesterday the plan was to get the light box setup but one of the workers used the board I bought that was part of the setup, so Jim is heading out this morning to get me a replacement. Today's activity will be baking bread, and getting a lot of nails in that board which will be used to adjust the height of the background paper. Once that's done I'll move the table back in place and hang the light box. Pottery is going to have to wait a day or two because we also have garden cleanup to do if and when the sun comes out.

We have some leftover pierogis that I'll make for dinner again with some tomato bisque, which I'm taking out of the freezer as soon as I post this, so dinner will be easy. 

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Michael Kline decorating demonstration at Crabtree Creek Art Gallery

Here are some pictures of Michael Kline taken yesterday at his demonstration at the Crabtree Creek Art Gallery in Micaille, NC. Michael brought a lot of his bisqued pots to decorate for the demo, as well as a good group of fired pots.

Michael has devised a unique mixture of liquid wax resist and oxides for his beautiful brushwork, which is then covered with a white slip and fired in his wood kiln with a light salting at the end. As you can see, the results are some pretty spectacular looking pots!

Driving home from Michaels very generous, decorating and informative, as well as entertaining demonstration, I saw all the children in town dressed in their Halloween finery. What a joyous sight that was. I smiled the whole time on the way home. There were Princesses, Harry Potters, and assorted other characters and fashion plates parading down the main street with their bags of candy. All the businesses in town were participating in making a safe and Happy Halloween for the Bakersville children.  It was pure Americana, worthy of a Normal Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover.

It rained hard overnight but had stopped by the time I walked Bodhi at 4:30 am. On this hazy, cloudy Sunday I think I'm going to see if I can find the right sized board in my scrap pile to create a support for my light box. If I hang it from available supports beams in the basement, the setup will be too close to the utility sink, so I need to nail a board on both beams and then hang the lightbox on had it so it will be better positioned. If I don't have the wood for that project, I'll try to get some studio time this afternoon. Most times, Sunday morning is for lazing, enjoying a leisurely breakfast and then reading the Sunday papers.

Dinner is just going to be some simple sauteed fresh potato pierogis that Jim got in Asheville the other day. They're not as good as my home made with my moms recipe, but they're better than the frozen ones that are generally available.  Making them is an all day process so I'll have to find time once the garden is finally put to bed to make a batch. I have 2 baskets of potatoes from this years planting, so we will have plenty of potatoes for the next couple of months for pierogis, potato pancakes, potato leek soup, etc.etc.

Time to think about breakfast - buckwheat pancakes this morning.