Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Dad's 85th Birthday

Yes, my Dad is turning 85 on August 15, 2016!

If you are reading this and want to send my Dad a birthday card, 
his name is Bill Earl and you can send it to him through me.  

My address is PO Box 173, Pendleton, SC 29670

I just thought this would be fun to see where the cards come from.

Thank you!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A breakthrough!

After having a gazillion ideas running rampant through my brain, I finally was able to create today.

First, I graphed out the patterns for my Christmas Iris Folding class that is on July 30.  (I will post the samples once they are finished... waiting for some papers to arrive.)
 
Christmas Iris Folding 2016

 Once I had that finished (Yes, I know the photo is upside-down, Instagram did that to me, and I just left it.), I actually was able to create 6 new clay angels!  In the last several months I have only been able to manage 3 total, so 6 is a really big thing for me!  I do have other ideas swimming around in that grey matter in my head, but this is the first step and the rest will come in time.

Clay Angels 2016!

No, it's not world peace, but I myself cannot achieve that.  It is a big deal to me to break through the creative block.

I had an extra day off yesterday.  We were planning to close the store on Saturday for our trip to Atlanta to the wholesale buyers market.  Terri was wanting to leave earlier on Friday to get to see some showrooms, yet it was not a good idea to have the store closed 2 days in a row.  So, I proposed that Terri, Ben & Phyllis go and I stay home and keep the store open all day Friday while they got an early start.  Our friend Marsha spent the day with me and we had a good day!  It was worth me not going to Atlanta.  Yes, I missed going, I haven't been since last July (I was so sick at Christmas that I stayed home to continue recuperating in January.), but it was the best decision in the long run.  So, what did I do with my extra day?  I spent all the money I have been saving for months from my house & pet sitting.  And I got something that should last me a long time... 55,000 miles... a set of 4 new tires for the Equinox.  I usually have been buying used, but the price was right for a set of new.  Oh, and I also got an oil change.  I know, I really know how to party, don't I?

This week has been a series of emotions.
  • Tuesday marked 5 years since Mom passed away.  Sometimes it feels like she has been gone forever, sometimes I can hear her voice in my mind and almost feel her presence.  
  • On Thursday, my little sister from my college sorority sent me an email because of this blog.  ((( Leslie! ))) I have not been in contact with her in about 15 years or so.  I was so happy!  She is a special lady and hearing from her made my day!  
  • Then, on Friday, one of my best friends through high school sent me a message request on facebook. Another special lady who helped me break out of my shell all those years ago.  ((( Jacque! ))) I have not been in contact with her in over 20 years.  Another day made!  
  • In among all that I sent a care package to my niece Sammy who is undergoing breast cancer treatments.  In it were scarves that Verne gave to me as well as ones his mom gave to me.  I also made her a pair of earrings and sent some other little somethings to let her know I am thinking of her and wish I could be closer.

Well, enough for today, I need to get some other things done this evening.  I am grateful for the break in my creative block :~)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Me again :~)

Checking in, I have nothing new to really share, but I wanted to make an effort to post.

I start a house & cat-sitting job after work today... and when I finish next Tuesday morning, I go to another one Tuesday evening for 3 days, home for a day after that and then 5 days at another.  I leave that one on one day, and go to the next one the next day!  Busy time of year!  But I love it!

The only drawback to the pet-sitting is that I am afraid to bring my clay.  First of all, I don't want my clay mess in their homes and secondly, yet just as critical, cats and wet clay items do not always mix well... I remember that well from Max.

Well, I need to get back to some things I am working on.  I don't even know if anyone reads this anymore.  But I felt I needed to try to make a habit of posting again.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

It's been too long

I could make up all sorts of excuses for not blogging like I used to.  But there is really only one reason: I got out of the habit and it is tough to get back into it.

I work 6 days a week at our store and as much as I love our customers and what we have to offer the world, it is still a lot of energy used and one day to recuperate is not always really enough when there are so many other things that need to get done that day as well.

I try to spend what time I can creating with clay.  Last year I had a wonderful run with some clay angels I was making (I plan to make more).  Each one is different and I can not promise that I can make one to anyone's specifications.  What happens when I pick up the clay is what happens.

All of these have since sold...  :~)
I have also been doing more of the house & pet sitting than I was before.  Right now I have 5 clients (friends & family) that I help out.  Three homes of cats, one of dogs and one with both.  In fact, today I am finishing up at one of the homes with cats and later this week I head to the other.  I already have times booked in July, August & September!  This month alone I think I will only get to sleep at home a total of 7 nights!  Dad doesn't mind, I usually still have dinner with him and I stop in every morning to get lunch together for work.

The extra cash sure helps when I need car repairs and really came in handy when I got sick over Christmas.

Nothing earth-shatteringly serious, just a really bad case of Bronchitis set off by a sinus infection.  I was out from work for nearly 3 weeks and missed Christmas with family.  I was cat-sitting at the time.  That threw me into a pretty deep depression that I am still trying to climb out of.  I have come a long way, but still have a way to go.  All I can say is that I felt nearly totally deserted.  I had two visitors the first week, one from a friend with bags of groceries (thankfully!) since I had run out of food.  I got sick the night I moved in.  I had planned on eating with family for Christmas & the day after.

I learned recently that my niece (well, technically, my late ex-husband's niece) has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Cancer does suck!  But, she is young and has a wonderful family, friend, medical support system.  And, from what I can tell, it was caught early.  I have a package of things I plan to send to her this week.  It is difficult being so far away.

On the creative horizon, I am doing a lot more hand-building these days.  I still love my Ebony porcelain, but I am exploring other avenues. Among the hopeful projects:  Toad Houses, Soap Dishes, more Angels, Santas, Christmas Trees, Buttons, Pendants, and more... at least the creative juices have started flowing again!

Until next time... I will try to find at least five things to be grateful for every day.  For today: 1. My general good health, 2. family, 3. friends, 4. faith and 5. a good station on Pandora!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Celebrate Clayton

As much as I really wanted to participate again this year, my obligations to my family's business has taken much of my time and energy.  That has made it difficult to create enough pottery for the show.

I will miss all of my fabulous customers and the hospitality of the Clayton community.

May all of you have a successful show.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Fitting Tribute

Dogwood trees and blossoms were a favorite of my mothers.

While growing up, we lived in an area that Dogwood would not grow.  When my father retired, they moved South and Mom was finally able to enjoy Dogwood in her own yard.  Although the photo does not show it, in addition to the large pink Dogwood in the yard, up closer to the house are several young white Dogwood that were no longer in bloom when I took this photo (a few years back).

Pink Dogwood in the side yard... Mom's favorite tree in the yard.



Mom passed away nearly 4 years ago.

In our area there is the Upstate Heritage Quilt Trail.  A group pf people create quilt "squares" out of wood (or now aluminum) boards & paint to copy a fabric quilt that already exists.  They are then mounted on buildings and added to their web site with map coordinates so people can find them.

Fabric quilt made by Sue Congdon (my sisiter).


I noticed that there was currently only one such quilt square in our downtown area.  (Since then 7 more have been added with 2 more to come, that I am aware of.)  I talked to my sisters (I have 3) and we all decided that it was a great idea to commission a quilt square to mount on the side of the building that our store is located in.  And we all decided it needed to be Dogwood blossoms.

I scoured images of Dogwood quilt patterns and nothing really "spoke" to me until I saw this one (design by Annette Ornelas).  The fabric quilt pictured above was made by my oldest sister Sue.

We raised money through family (I also have 2 brothers), including my father, one of my mom's sisters and a close family friend.  Then, I filled out the paperwork and sent them a check so they could begin the production process.

They borrowed the fabric quilt to use as a guide and they chose paints, drew templates and started taping off areas to paint.



 The painting was done once a week (or so) at a facility about 15 miles from us.  Because of work, we were not able to make it to their painting sessions, although we (and anyone else) were welcome to help.  But they were sure to send photos of the progress.  (See the fabric quilt on the table in the background?)

Once they had put marine grade varnish on all surfaces to seal it, they delivered it to us and we waited a few days until the installation crew could come by.

Blue Ridge Electric - you guys know your quilt installation "stuff" - Thank you!



With my sister Terri Brooks on the day the square was installed.

Once the installation was complete, the 4' x 8' copy of the approximately 2' x 4' fabric quilt looked quite small...


We know Mom would have loved it.

Creatively, all I did was find a pattern I liked & asked if my family agreed.  The rest was completed by others.





Here is the wooden quilt :


Sunday, January 25, 2015

A bit of progress


More work on angels today.  It was rough because I was not feeling in the creative groove.  But I was persistent and completed 10 more for a total of 16 so far. 

When I started working on these, I had orders for 21, it is now up to 24!  That is good!

These angels are hand-built out of a ^6 stoneware clay.  No two are alike.