Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye to 2010

As I look back at this past year, it has been filled with so many things.

There have been ups and downs with Mom's cancer journey, and the year ends on an up note.  They have reduced the dosage of her chemo treatments and taken out the PICC line (to be replaced on Monday with a 'permanent' port.)  There seem to be no signs of the nodules at this time.  Her blood work was good before her chemo on Wednesday, so she did not need a Neulasta shot on Thursday.  She continues to gain her strength and be able to do more.  We can only hope that the new year will continue to bring good news.

I have had my ups and downs with my creative muse this past year.  I started off the year with winning an award for the best of show in pottery at the Spring show I do in Clayton, GA.  I wanted to use my prize money to take a wheel throwing class, but my teacher got some sort of stomach bug and had to cancel.  Then, I needed my prize money to pay some bills... My brother in MA was down for a visit, and took one of my drawings home with him to turn on the lathe.  I now have my larger mug... if I can get past the handles breaking off before they are finished... That itself has gotten me in another creative slump... I need to take the time to work on the handle a bit more so it will cooperate...  And my brother has given me the gift of making 3 additional models for me.  I just have to decide which ones other than a tea pot that I would like made...

Work has been rewarding.  I love working with the public, and teaching creative classes.  My sister Terri & I have had to take on more responsibilities at the store because Mom is not able to come in often.  And Dad is taking more time to help Mom as needed.  We have a wonderful clientele.

My health has been generally good.  

My family is wonderful!  We have had visits from all of the siblings this past year... wish we all lived a bit closer to one another!  We plan to have a family reunion in 2011, I am looking forward to that!

I don't like to make resolutions, I know I cannot keep them.  I just want to strive to be a better person and to grow creatively.  

Thank you all for following my blog.  I hope to get a bit more organized in the future.

I wish you all a wonderful New Year!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A labor of gratitude

I have been keeping busy.  Not getting as much pottery made as I would like to, but that is mainly an energy issue.

In among working and casting mugs, I made this wreath as a Thank You gift to the nursing staff and everyone on the Cancer floor at AnMed Hospital.  They took such wonderful care of Mom during her recent stay there.  

One of our wonderful customers brought us a beautiful Magnolia blossom that she had made.  2 days later, Mom was in the hospital.  I brought the blossom to her to keep on her night table, knowing it wouldn't wilt or need watering.  The staff loved it and could not believe that it was made out of balloons!

When Mom was released, I decided that I wanted to make them some Magnolias and give them directions to make them themselves.  After discussing it with Mom, we decided that making a wreath for them to display would be the best idea.

2 of the small Magnolia blossoms on the wreath

The completed wreath
So, off to the party store to buy white balloons.

With a little help from scissors, wire, unshelled almonds and floral tape, the blooms started to come into shape.  (I also made some Poinsettias from red balloons.)

We had this beautiful artificial mixed greens wreath and I added the blossoms, a few small ornaments and artificial berries, whipped out a big festive bow, and voila!

The photos are not the best, I am still having problems with lighting...  But, you get the idea.

I just need to finish writing the Thank You card (I made one last Saturday...) and get this delivered to them this week.

The instructions are all written, if you would like a copy, leave me a message with your email and I would be glad to share.

I need to take a photo of the Poinsettia (and the card) as well and add it here later so you can see how it looks.

Mom is getting stronger every day.  We miss having her at the store with us, but know that staying out of crowds and conserving her energy is best for her in the long-run.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A giveaway at Stone Lotus Pottery...

I forgot to say that this giveaway is over at the blog of Stone Lotus Pottery...


Holiday Giveaway #2  (click here)

Our newest giveaway is this turquoise cross wall hanging. It is hand carved and measures approximately 6 inches tall and 4 1/4 inches wide. It has a small ring adhered to the back so it can simply hang on a nail in your wall or if you prefer you can thread a ribbon or cord through it.

Just leave a comment on this post with an email address or link to your blog (we have to let you know if you win after all : ) We'll pick a winner at the end of next week!

Get additional chances to win:

1) post a link to our shop and giveaway on your blog

2) post about this giveaway on Facebook

Just leave additional comments letting us know and we'll enter your name up to three times!

Only available within the U.S. You must leave a way for us to contact you in order to win. Once notified of winning, you have one week to provide a shipping address or we'll pick another winner. Good luck!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Suggestions anyone?

As I have been working on getting large mugs made for the people that have ordered them, as well as mugs for other orders, I have been thinking.  (I know, I better be careful, thinking can be dangerous!)

I would like to offer a little more diversity in my product.  I will keep the current items, and I will pull out some of my Victorian Hands that are just waiting to be fired, but I am looking for an idea of where to go next?

Another look at my booth at Mistletoe Market 2010
I have thought of several different things... a nice vase or two, a teapot (shorter and rounder than the coffee pot), I'd love to do plates (but haven't had too much luck with them in the past), beads, pendants, buttons, spoon rests, the list goes on (and on).  But I would like input from all of you out there as to what you think would be a good thing for me to add.

All suggestions are welcome, I value your opinions.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, and thank you in advance for your suggestions!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A little rambling goes a long way...

Mom is home now, and she is gaining strength.  Today is a little slower, because of the chemo side-affects kicking in.  But there is definite progress.

I have been exhausted these past couple of weeks.  I wasn't always able to go to visit in the hospital, because of either preparing for the show I went to last weekend, or teaching a class.

I am extremely grateful for my 2 older sisters helping to keep Mom company, as well as taking care of Dad.  I usually ended up being the one holding down the fort at the store.  

A Wire-wrapped Pendant I made - inspired by my late friend Lucia...
My niece and her husband came up for the weekend to visit as well, at one time we had 9 people in the hospital room visiting!  I am very lucky that the large family I am a member of is very close-knit.  We come together whenever we are needed.  Not always physically together, but definitely we are there for one another.  

While I was at the show, I met some new people and had a great time with some of my show friends.  I get so much satisfaction out of doing shows.  Making the pottery is my go-to activity when I need to creatively re-charge.  

Part of my booth on Saturday morning...
The stoneware display
Tomorrow I get to spend the day teaching a Calligraphy workshop.  I am trying to instill in the students the need to practice their pen-strokes, drawing the letters and not being worried about whether theirs looks like mine or the one in the book or not... consistency is the ultimate goal.  And we even get to have lunch from The Village Baker!  MMMMMMMM - MMMMMMM - GOOD!

I tried to call my FIL yesterday to wish him a Happy Birthday, but the line was busy... I tried several times... and again today... busy signal.  I hope he knows that I love him and wish him many more birthdays to come (he just turned 85!)  My great-nephew also had his birthday yesterday... I can hardly believe he is 2 years old already!  And he is as adorable as his parents!

In a little over 2 weeks, I turn 50.  I am more than OK with that... age has never bothered me.  But, I was wondering if I should celebrate this mile-stone in some special way (other than having family here for Thanksgiving).  And if so - how?  Any ideas out there?  I can't promise you I'll be able to celebrate in the suggested way, but I am curious to hear what you think.  And please... keep it clean!

OK - enough rambling... off to take care of some pottery and other things that need attending to.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

rough week

Mom is back in the hospital.  I don't have the time to go into the details right now, I need to get to work.

Here is a photo of her from 2 weeks ago with my little sister Regina

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Keeping busy...

It has been a busy month.  

Mom has had some rough patches in her chemo treatments, including an adverse reaction to an antibiotic when she had a sinus infection.  This left her pretty sick for a while.  But, she rallied and was feeling better when my sister Regina and her family, plus my sister Sue came for a weeks visit.  She went into work for the first time all month just yesterday.  Today she is feeling a bit tired, as is natural for the 3rd day after chemo.  But she is definitely stronger than she was after that sinus infection/antibiotic reaction!

Classes at The Mercantile have been hopping!  That is a GOOD thing!  We have a total of 11 wonderful ladies taking classes through Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Clemson each week.  They just completed week 2 and have 3 more to go!  And our regular class schedule at the store is also quite full.

I am in the throes of getting ready for my last show of 2010... The Mistletoe Market at the Anderson County Museum... this coming Friday and Saturday!  Casting, trimming, bisque-ing, sanding, glazing, firing...   I have a bisque firing and a glaze firing yet to do before Friday.

I hope you all have had a good October, and that November will be even better!

Somebody I know turns 50 in November...


Friday, October 15, 2010

Moving right along...

I had a dry spell with creating yet again, but I am back in the groove.  Having an upcoming show can do that!

The molds filled with porcelain slip

I have been casting at least once a day, having to work around my work schedule at the store. 
The Large Mug waiting for the handle

Roly Sake Cups drying in the molds...
All scored and ready to attach!

I have also been taking LOTS and LOTS of pictures lately... most of the 4-500 are of jewelry class samples for work, but I have also been taking pictures of the changing season and other things that catch my eye...

One of the several clusters of mushrooms in the side yard

A Black-eyed Susan

The Red Japanese Maple

Looking past the Dogwood out into the side yard at the Pink Dogwood and the Crepe Myrtles

The Camellia on Wednesday morning

The same Camellia blossom on Thursday morning

The Camellia in the front yard

Autumn is definitely in the air, especially at night.  The day-time temps of 70's and 80's doesn't really feel autumnal though... 

The caterpillars are even slowing down, they aren't eating the parsley as fast this time... and there are only 2 of them.

I need to get back to trimming pottery, and helping clean to prepare for visitors.  My most favorite little sister is coming with her hubby & munchkin on Sunday and my most favorite oldest sister is coming in to visit also - all 4 of us girls will be together for a few days!

My mom is undergoing chemotherapy for a metastasis of her breast cancer (first diagnosed 11 years ago).  She discovered yesterday that her hair is starting to fall out.  So, in true Mom fashion, she made an appointment to get her hair cut SHORT this morning!  

I hope you all have a great day and a wonderful weekend!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giveaway at Sand Fibers ends tonight!

  It's October, and The Best Little Bead Box has had a great project launch, and Sand Fibers has had a great two months, and,  just because I feel like it  (and I am the boss and the boss gets to do what she wants every once in a while!)  And, while this may be "just because," it certain isn't "just any" giveaway.  

This time, the random number generator and I are going to choose 10 (yes, you read that right:  TEN) winners!  The first 9 numbers drawn will receive $15 Sand Fibers gift certificates (enough for two patterns - 3 for 2 will not apply, however). The grand prize winner, the 10th number drawn, will receive a Blooming Bead in the colors of her/his choice, a $58 value.    

To enter the drawing for these prizes, you can do one or more of the following. Please note that to take full advantage of these you must leave a separate comment for each. 
1. Leave a comment here. Just say hi or something ;) 
2. Blog about this give away and leave a comment here with a link to your blog post.  
3. Twitter about this give away and leave a comment here letting me know you did. Be sure to reference @SandFibersRedux in your tweet.  
4. Link to this post on Facebook  and leave a comment here letting me you know you did.  Be sure to use the @SandFibers tag in the post (it will show up on my fanpage wall)  Please leave your email or your etsy/ArtFire/Bonanza store name or something in the comment as well so that I have a way of contacting you in case you win.  

If you do all four of these things, you will leave four separate comments and have four separate chances to win. You could, of course, choose to just do one of the four, or two, or three...and that's okay as well. Just enter!  

Entries/comments must be made by midnight on Monday, October 11. I will use my trusty random number generator to determine the winners on Tuesday morning and will announce the winners on this blog later that day.   

Regardless of the number of entries, each person can only win one prize. If a name is drawn a second time, the random number generator will be asked to pick another number/name.   

Now be well and get going! Be(ad) well and prosper!

Friday, October 1, 2010

This 'n That

I have been a little remiss about posting regularly.  But life has been busy.

We have been teaching two 5-week series of beading classes at the store... (just finished week 4, one week off and then two more 5-week series begin...)

Working on Kumihimo Braids... look at that concentration!
And we were planning, preparing and teaching a big class (21 ladies) lats Friday night  at our favorite pizza place, NEW YORK PIZZA (on Civic Center Blvd. in Anderson, SC) in conjunction with a Rubber stamp convention that was in town...

Make & Takes over the weekend at the store...

My pottery has suffered from neglect, my items to ship out are sitting un-packaged, my energy level has been almost nil.  My creative muse has left the building again...  I feel a little lost.

One thing that has continued to inspire me and caught my eye is the sky.  The cloud formations and the way light plays upon them...

Rain in the distance...

The sunset's reflections on the clouds

The sunset over Pier One Imports last week...

I took today to just re-charge and try to get motivated again...

My apologies to those of you waiting patiently for some of my pottery or jewelry, it all has just  been sitting here while I was concentrating my energies toward the family business.  I have not forgotten you, I will get things moving again on Sunday.  It is my next day off from work and I can concentrate on enticing my creative muse to come back and help me finish projects long overdue.

Thank you to my friends who have been there for me, whether on-line or in person, your friendships mean the world to me and I cherish them all!  Sometimes it is just that your blogs or facebook posts are there for me to read, and others you are there for me in person.  Sometimes we all need a little encouragement, and I am so grateful for the network of friends that I have who can give me the encouragement and support (and inspiration) I need.  THANK YOU!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm here!

I've been busy working with my sister and our friend Phyllis to prepare for a big card making class we are putting on this Friday evening in conjunction with the Heirloom Anderson Rubber Stamp & Paper Arts Festival being held at the Anderson Civic Center this weekend.  We have 20 people signed up!  It should be LOTS of fun.  We are having it at New York Pizza (can't seem to add another link - grrrr) on Civic Center Blvd..  The students get pizza & salad with their class as well!
I WILL post photos! (Both here and on the store's blog
Today, my favorite traveling bead wholesaler comes to town for me to pick beads for our next trunk show!  MMMMMMMMMMM - BEADS!  It should be an all day event.  Then our local rubber stamp club (The Crafty Crew) has it's monthly gathering at the store.  It will be a LONG day, but a VERY enjoyable one!

This is not one of the cards we are making, just one I made in a class last week

Friday, September 17, 2010

Another Adventure in Pet Sitting

Sandie & Cleo

I spent the last 3 nights pet & house-sitting... the pets are 2 Labs (Yellow & Black) and a bob-tailed indoor cat.

Sandie is the younger of the two Labs, and if you can believe it... she doesn't bark!  She has this muffled woof-ish sounding thing, but no real bark.  And she whines to get your attention.  But that being said, she is a sweetie.  She loves to be around you and has a soft silky coat, even at 2 years old.  But she definitely likes her beauty rest!

Cleo is 6, I think, and she is the Black beauty of a Lab.  Her attention-getting maneuver is to put her paw on your leg or to nuzzle her nose under your arm until you have to pet her.  She is the definite watch-dog of the family with her resounding bark.  But a real softie to those who know her.  

Eliza is the cat of the house... and she can head-butt you until you pet her too... great disposition.

There were also all of the birds out at the feeders...

The Mourning Dove perched atop the feeder roof...
This doesn't look like a Hummingbird...
Not to mention the deer... I didn't get a photo, but there's a doe and her two fawns and a buck as well that frequent the back yard.

I had a great time!

The sky on my way into work on Thursday... had to stop & take a pic!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Large Mug - again!

I don't have much to write about this morning.  

All is going well with production of the large mug.  

I have not been able to get to the PO to ship out some things promised to people (wedding gift, prize, necklace...) because when I have the time, the PO is CLOSED!

I took this shot on Monday before Kathy picked up the FIRST first quality large mug to be finished!

As you can see, the wooden model is to the left, and the original mug is to the right.

Kathy was so pleased!  And that makes me feel good too!  I have the rest of them in production now for those who have been promised one or more.  The glaze on Kathy's seems to be the glaze of choice... ALL 6 that I need to make are the same color!

Well, back to production... I have to go consult this afternoon about my next dog/cat sitting job that starts Tuesday...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What inspires you to create?

In reading other posts, both on clay and on jewelry, I have seen a lot about inspiration.  I am curious what inspires people to create what they do.  Is it nature?  Something you see that someone else made?  Thoughts about a person or place?  Dreams?  I have been inspired by others work to make something with my own twist or flair, I have also created because of a thought of a certain person.  Sometimes, when wrapping a stone pendant, I 'let the stone tell me what it wants me to do'.  I have seen things in the print on fabric, or in cloud shapes in the sky.  My inspiration can take on many forms... what about you!  Come on, leave a note, I'm curious to read about your inspirations!  Don't be shy...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lorelei's Blog: Talk is Cheap

My friend Lorelei is having a sale in her Etsy shop... you can go to her blog and read about it here...
Lorelei's Blog: Talk is Cheap: "Sometimes talk is cheap. Sometimes you just have to do it. I am tired of hearing myself talk about how I blowing money on Etsy fees . I am ..."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A technical question for my clay friends & followers

I was preparing to place an order for my favorite clear cone 6 glaze last night and discovered that after 21 years of using it, the company has discontinued it!

Ebonyware Roly & Straight Sake Cups
If you notice, the inside of my pieces have a clear glaze, and on the Ebonyware, it enhances the blackness of the clay...
Well, to my dismay, I have tried many other clear cone 6 glazes over the years, and they either make the black clay look very brownish or they are milky/cloudy no matter the thinness or thickness I apply them.
My question to all of you out there in the blogosphere is can you recommend a crystal clear cone 6 glaze that I can try???  I would rather not change that aspect of my work (the look, that is).  Last year it was the company I got my porcelain from going out of business!  Luckily for me, I found a better source closer for an equally wonderful clay!  Let's hope that with your help and my determination, I can find the right clear glaze as well!
Thanking ALL of you so very much in advance for whatever direction you can direct me in!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


After so much heat  and humidity, but not much rainfall this summer, we did have some nice rains that gave the flowers the nourishment they needed.

Sweet Autumn Clematis on the courtyard fence
I went out to take a photo of the Sweet Autumn Clematis... as I walk past it every morning on my way to the car, I see snow capped mountains.  The photo doesn't do justice to what my eyes see.

No much more that 2 weeks ago, the poor Black-eyed Susan's were scraggly and their blooms were weak and waif-ish. 

 They are not show-stoppers now, but they sure look a lot better!

I am working on glazing, and the photos of that are not too good, so I thought I'd give you some flowers to look at during the wait... Kathy's Midnight Rain large mug is in the works, as are the 2 for brother Bill and others as well...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

TA DA! The Larger Mug!

Bisqued mugs with glaze Plum and Surf

This morning I loaded up the kiln (well... really only one shelf of it).  I was so excited to finally have finished larger mugs!

First peek!

So... I loaded it up and fired it off before I went into work.  Past experience has proven that this clay body can handle quick firing VERY well.

After work, I went out to the shed and checked to see that the kiln sitter actually did turn it off properly, and it was no longer glowing.  So, I propped the lid open about an inch.  And I went back into the house for dinner.

It was soooooo hard to wait, but wait I did, I gave it til the end of dinner, and then took this first peek photo before closing the lid onto the prop at about 3 inches to cool some more.  Then I checked the quick photo and saw no obvious signs of cracks or excessive warpage.  That is a good thing!

I then waited about an hour for it to cool enough to unload with the kevlar gloves... 

the finished mugs!

It was worth the wait!  The mugs are GORGEOUS, if I say so myself!

In this photo (sorry about the color being so off), I put one of the smaller mugs (a second) to compare the sizes, yet again...

The new mug is a TINY bit (1/8") larger than I had planned, but that is fine with me!  It holds 1 7/8 cups per dinnerware industry standards (to the rim) compared to a cup for the original mug,

I must say, as long as people have been asking for this new mug, I am so glad it is finally here!

My thanks go to a number of people, mainly my brother Bill for getting the beautiful model made for me after my sitting on the drawings for so many years.  My friend Mike needs thanks for helping me get the coddles made quicker than I could have done them by myself (and for pushing me extra hard to get back to making my pottery 5 years ago...).  I also need to thank my ex-husband Verne and my father-in-law Wally for all they taught me about model & mold making and the ceramic industry, without your teaching me, I could not do what I do.  My parents need to be thanked as well for their moral support in my creative process, and giving me a place to live and to create.  All of my friends and family get thanks as well for their support, suggestions and encouragement.  And my customers need thanks too, for liking my work and buying it!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Successful Bisque Firing!

This morning I loaded just the large mugs that were dry enough into the kiln for a bisque firing.

6 large mugs ready to bisque to cone 04!
 I started the firing at about 8:15 or so and then went off to work... When I returned home, I unloaded the kiln after dinner.  Of course, they were still a bit toasty (needed kevlar gloves to unload the kiln) but they cooled pretty quickly.

5 large mugs sanded...
Unfortunately, I had not made much in a few months and I forgot I was nearly out of 400 grit wet/dry sand paper... and I could only sand 5 of the 6 mugs before the paper was too worn out to do any good.  (Need to pick some more up tomorrow!)

large mug and small mug with ruler for comparison
Here is a photo comparing the bisqued mugs in both sizes.

As I sanded them, I was able to detect that the firing was a total success!  None of them cracked!

large mug & small mug bisqued, small mug glaze fired
This photo shows the comparison of the small mug bisqued and then glaze fired... When the large mug shrinks in the glaze firing, it should end up approximately the size that the small mug is when it is bisqued...

(Those bisqued mugs really are straight, the towel under them tilted them a bit to the left...)

the return of the parsley!

And lastly, just to show that the parsley really is doing well, a photo I took of it on Sunday morning... soon we'll be able to enjoy it again!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Comparison #2


I cast the first of my Larger Mugs last night!  Being the first pour of a new mold, it was slow in releasing... so, I let it sit overnight (OK to do since there are no undercuts to hang-up during shrinkage)... 

When I woke up this morning (at 5:15!) I was not clear-headed enough to feel like I should be handling the mug... so, I waited patiently (ie - caught up on my blog reading) and opened it about 6:30 when I was feeling a bit more clear-headed and steady.

First pouring of Larger Mug!
I am soooooooooo pleased with the results!  The 2nd pouring is draining as I type and may be able to be released from the mold before I go into work this morning... if not, that's OK, it can wait until I get home this afternoon (not sure if I can wait that long though!) [** UPDATE - I was able to release it before 8 AM, and a THIRD one is draining right now!**]

As I was photographing the new mug, I noticed a dry mug in the background that it's handle broke, so, to compare the two at this stage is close to the final difference in size.  The amount of shrinkage in the drying is minimal, compared to the final firing.

The handle-less Original Mug (dry) with the Larger Mug (leather hard)

So... a side-by-side comparison... WOW... I am EXCITED!  Can you tell???

A top view... color is off... but it works...

This is 20 years in the works... the excitement I feel is hard to describe!  To actually see it in clay... that drives it home to me.  The wooden model was great, to see in 3-D finally, but in clay brings it to an altogether different level for me!

In my bog reading this morning, I concentrated on clay blogs... well, clay bead blogs... I have been trying to get some clay beads and pendants and buttons made, now that my clay muse has returned, and is in a productive mode... maybe I can get some of those done as well... WHILE filling the requests I have already on my list!  Starting tonight, I will add a status line at the top like my friend Kelley does, that way everyone will know where they stand.  Why not now, you ask... because I have clay to attend to, that's why!

Wishing you all a fabulous day filled with wonderful things...

And sending purrs to Kelley on the new addition to her family... can't wait to see pictures!