I hadn't realized

That it's been almost a month since I posted here.  Before we left for our vacation, I was almost ready to stop pottery.  Ordered more glazes and realized that all of my kiln shelves needed to be ground off and re-coated with kiln wash.  One kiln, the littlest of my two, needs to have all of its elements replaced.  So I gave myself permission to stop before I made myself insane, ordered my new parts, asked a friend to help me with the electrical stuff when we returned, packed our bags, and left.

 I love the shells.  Brought back entirely too many of them.  

 Found what might be my favorite ever sun hat.  Wore it at every opportunity.  Freckled anyway, despite the sunscreen and the shade.


And- is it a cliche to come back inspired by the colors and shapes of the sea?  These looked so pearly white, translucent almost like baby toes (they are all smaller than a nickel or a dime), but on closer reflection, they're varying shades of cream (a divine reminder to be satisfied with my creamy clay bodies?).  The shells left me dreaming of organic, imperfect shapes and washy cream and grey glazes in see-through thin porcelains.  I'm almost ready to work again.  First, the grinding and re-coating of all of my kiln shelves, a bit of re-wiring.  Those are things I can do accompanied by a young man who doesn't start camps until next week.

I had planned to have a home sale next weekend- but it isn't going to happen.  There will be some small pop-up (in my house) sale this summer, but all of the firing and glaze mishaps mean that I have no inventory, and what I have needs to go to my local shops who have been waiting so patiently for me to solve my problems.  Stay tuned.


March

Hello, March!  75 degrees today in Memphis. I'll turn 37 later this month. I'm working in the studio this morning, eating my lunch outside while the chickens roam.  We'll get new chicks at the end of the month, and I need to set up a brooder.  Today will be my first full day in the studio in about 3 weeks.  I'm trying a new clay next week and using the last of my old standard clay that refuses to work well with any turquoise glazes.  I'm looking forward to all of it.

This week I began the Spring Surfacing e-Course Diana Fayt is teaching.  I'm not sure but I think the class *may* still be open for registration through March 4.  This is my work from yesterday:
They are self-footed platters that we'll use for different surface design techniques in the coming weeks.  Someone in the class has made a hexagonal platter- I could see using that for a series of bee platters.  I am going to try to not put bees on everything I make in this class, but I am, of course, going to stay true to my botanical leanings.  I'm going to make more of these today out of porcelain, just to play with.

My old man left the hospital this week.  I went to see him at his rehabilitation facility yesterday.  It was, without exception, the nicest place I've been in 3 weeks.  I am so grateful that he's improving, and grateful for the thoughts and prayers of my friends.

February has kicked my hiney.  I'm tired (but recovering) and looking forward to March.  I did keep up with my daily drawings last month and will scan and load them in a single mosaic file.  All but two are already up.  I used more color this month and immediately put a fast flowy chicken sketch to use decorating tumblers.  More of those later. 

Hope y'all have a good weekend.


it must be seasonal.


I find myself obsessed with chickens.  I love to watch my chickens, I'm drawing my chickens, I'm (gasp) ordering more chickens.  This will be my girls' third year, and to keep our egg production up and happy, I need to replenish the laying stock. 
I think this interest is seasonal, because as enamored as I am with chickens, I haven't been this crazy about them since I first started with this little flock.  It must be a craving for spring.
I turned this little sketch I did this morning into a pattern to use on my pots- the middle and lower hens, anyway.  The top is a little too cardinal-like. I'm looking at special underglaze paper that works like carbon paper to see about simple reproductions- or maybe I'll explore decals.


In non-chicken news, I am throwing like crazy.  Making things for spring, filling orders for individuals and shops, and trying to stay on task.  I'm finally putting in my seed order (for things like herbs, cucumbers, peppers, and beans and flowers- I've given up on starting tomatoes myself) and thinking about where I'm going to put my bee hive.  We haven't had much of a winter around here, but I'm hungry for spring.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

return





We've been back for almost a week and school's begun.  Our trip was filled with art, inspiration, rest, rejuvenation.  We were sorry to leave, happy to be back.  Still a little quiet around here.  Working steadily, wrapping projects up, beginning new ones.  
Captions: Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs, MS.  Community Center Mural
Beach glass
Ship Island, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore
Bottlenose dolphins following the ferry
Last morning's low-tide beach combing expedition

look!



This is my favorite part of the weekend.  It's been excessively difficult, but this bee tree- a new colony, it seems- in my mom's yard seems to be a message of renewal and life in the midst of trial, struggle, and succumbing to the end. 

Thanks for your kind comments and support of my work and the direction in which I'm heading.  It means a lot.  Y'all mean a lot.

I'll be back here on Friday.  Have a good week.

And-

I'm glaze shopping again.  For clear this time; the new batch of white is doing exactly what it is supposed to, but the clear- oh goodness.  I tell you that it BITES to spend, say, six hours on a set of cups (start to finish, hands-on time is about 10 hours for these 20 cups, not including firing) and pull them from the kiln and find them rough and streaky and/or cloudy.  I tried to reglaze them but the glaze wouldn't stick because it was too thin.  Not terribly good for someone trying to fill wholesale orders. On Tuesday I cried about it and told my son I didn't want to be a potter any more.  He asked what I'd do with my wheel and kilns.  Good question.

And then I see lovely photos of my work in friends' homes, and someone I know sees me out at supper and tells me that she loves the new piece she bought, and my knitting friends are tickled with their newest batch of seconds, and I realize that it's ok.  And that I am in serious need of a re-boot.  A vacation.  So we're taking one.  I'll be back here in a few weeks, with some new clear glaze, and hopefully some work to share.

Happy Memorial Day.  Enjoy your holiday weekend.  Remember those who have given and lost and be thankful.

peeking

Here's a preview of half of my kiln that is ticking and cooling out back.  about 2/3 of this load is intended for local shops.  The other 1/3 is for my etsy shop.  I love love love these pieces.  Yesterday, when my assistant was over, I had her roll out slabs to make some platters to draw on.  I checked on them last night and am looking forward to spending an hour with them later this morning. 

I keep feeling like I'm working and working and not having much to show for it, but I remind myself that keeping things in inventory is not my goal.  Making and moving them out is.  I do need a certain amount of inventory to, oh, stock an etsy shop or have a sale at home, but I realized that I'm accustomed to having six huge rubbermaid bins chock full of pottery- 60+ lbs each, but that's not how I'm working anymore.  It isn't efficient or, frankly, the best way to generate income for my family.

Tomorrow I'm getting a new batch of the glaze that worked best for me so that I can finish one of my dinnerware orders and start a second.  (hint to Melissa- THAT's where your effort has been going!)
This afternoon I'm going to pick strawberries with a friend and our children, and then we're going to make JAM!  Canning season has begun (I snuck in a batch of rose petal jelly and syrup on Mother's Day) and I have a plan.  Tonight will be rocking at Levitt Shell, our neighborhood free concert venue- I'm thinking about a picnic of Zapps (google it!), banh mi, and rose- or abita, as it's a new orleans band.  And on Sunday, I'm working on putting those front-yard raised beds in.  In the middle of the yard.  Because it's my yard, dang it all, and I'm out of veggie space.  Possibilities.

I hope your Friday is full of potential.

hope (one hundred two)


hope (one hundred two)
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I feel like one of those kindergarten mice on an exercise wheel- going and going and going and getting nowhere. Not that I'm nowhere, but I have been working like crazy and not feeling like I've got an appropriate (ha!) pile of work to show for it. So. I'm here, I'm hard at work. I'll be at MFM on the 23rd. Etsy restocking isn't happening this week. I painted a bunch of "bonjour" and "good morning" latte cups today. I work on getting pots ready for glazing for about 4 hours this morning and afternoon. This is the first day in, oh, six, that I haven't done a 8-10 hour day. Monday and Tuesday nights I worked until 10 pm. YUCKY. This is not, folks, why most people decide to work for themselves. I will tell you, though, that this is also why most pottery is as expensive as it is. It's because each cup takes about 2 hours of hands-on time, lump of clay to finished product, not counting the 16+ hours of firing and 40+ hours of cooling time.

To top it off, I cannot get my pictures up to blogger and I have to use flickr to do it.  The day's been caca, I tell you.  I am managing to keep up with my photo-a-day, but just barely.  But we're here, breathing, well(ish), together.  That's all that matters in the end.

So. A poem. Not mine.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me



Thank you, Miss Emily.

changes and challenges

Last week was spring break.  It was a good week- probably our last week to use the woodstove, and the first week with open windows.  I had a really good meeting about a new project I'll be working on.  I had a good birthday (hello, 36!).  We took a camping trip with a friend and her family that was just divine.  And, thanks to my dear friend Natalie, I got a lot more work done before the trip than I thought I might.  She helped me crank out a ton of platters for a new retail account- they are in the kiln now (my stars, it is STUFFED) and this week we'll be glazing them. 

That retail account is one of the new changes/challenges I'm facing.  I have four wholesale and consignment accounts right now, which is pretty amazing to me.  It's a lot for one person and a 2-4 hour a week helper to tackle.  I haven't been terribly good about keeping my accounts as stocked as I should.  And I'm realizing that I've let some things that are good slide and some things that aren't as good take up more space in my brain and my life than they should reasonably be allowed.  I'm shaking that up.  Over the past year I've really neglected my etsy shop.  Sure, there have been egg cups galore, but I haven't put up as much new work as I would like.  I've been operating on a zero-inventory basis.  I make it, I sell it.  Make it, sell it.  This morning my accountant was finishing up our 2010 taxes and asked about inventory.  She seemed a little surprised when I told her that I never really had any.  I think that should change. 

So- the changes.  After early June, I'm taking the summer "off".  I'll still work on filling orders for my accounts and keeping the etsy shop stocked, but I'm not going to be as publicly available as I have been in years past- at least, not to anyone but my family and friends.  It has been five years since I've had a "proper" summer.  Our school year ends right before Memorial Day and begins the second week of August.   I'll be at the Memphis Farmers Market early- once in April, May, and June, and I'll have my annual home sale in mid May.  After that, I'll have work available in stores (more on that soon) around Memphis, at Etsy, and I'll have an early holiday sale.  Life isn't all about work, is it (I have a hard time with not working all the time)?  I'm looking forward to having more time with my boy in the garden, at the pool, storing up the seasons' bounty, reading, relaxing.

I'll be back later this week with some photos of new work and where it will be available-
Y'all have a good week!

this week

I feel like a lost a bit of my motivation this week.  I know that the root of this is that I worked so so hard last year, and since Gary was hired on his contracting job as a full time employee with benefits, I felt like I could finally take a little break.  So so much relief at my house- I just can't even tell you how relieved we feel.  But a little break became no-motivation to work week.  I threw a little, trimmed a little, fired a small kiln-load in which two big bowls blew up because they were, alas, still not dry.  Alas, alas.  Glazing is always hard for me to start, but there's no point in making pots you aren't planning to glaze.  So I've glazed, babysat the men who are installing our wood stove, and strangest of all, I waxed the floors in the dining room, living room, kitchen, and bath.  I'm not sure what wild hair got into me.  They look good, but ahem, I'm still glazing.

Thank you, thank you for the teacup love.  More are coming. 

This pile of bisqued pottery is the first half of a dinner set that a local customer ordered.  It's a set of 8, so I made 10 of everything to give a margin for error.  The plates were the biggest stress point for these, but I threw 2 at a time over a few weeks and they turned out well, I think.  They're smaller than commercial dinner-size plates, maybe 9" in diameter.  Luncheon or breakfast sized.  I still don't plan to make plates as a rule, but it was really nice to get these done.

Today I have an acupuncture appointment, more babysitting workmen, more glazing, hoping for no snow, and hoping to go to an art opening tonight.  Tomorrow I'm going on a silent day retreat.  I'm excited about that.  Excited about quiet?  You bet.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

whelmed.

So, this is a year, alright.  Since the first week of January I feel like I've been on a roller coaster.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad.

The exposure from Southern Living has been incredible.  But I've learned a thing or two from it: about how to make/list/describe pottery, that I won't make everyone happy with my work, and how I should deal with that in the future.  It boils down to the fact that I'm responsible for me and what I put out, but nothing else.  And most importantly, that I can't let my feelings get hurt because I (or my imperfect ware) didn't meet someone else's expectations 100%.  That is a difficult thing for me to get past, but if I'm going to keep doing this, I just have to.   I want to make people happy, but it isn't up to me to ensure that they are overjoyed.

We had snow!  Last monday.  About 6 inches.  It was fun and incredible and there is still a 6 foot tall snowball on the green at Rhodes College, even though it made it up to the mid 40s again on Friday. 

On Friday I had acupuncture, which really really helps my arms.  Despite the rest, despite learning how to re-center and throw differently, I still have tendonitis.  Acupuncture helps SO SO SO much.  Before Christmas I wondered if I would be able to continue pottery as my profession.  I was in both physical and emotional pain because of it.  I'm happy to say that while my arms may never be 100% and I probably shouldn't, say, swing an axe ever again, with proper care and treatment, I'll be able to keep working.

One nice side benefit of acupuncture is that is can be very relaxing.  It is almost as if the "irritation" section of my brain gets turned off and I feel incredibly peaceful.  I was very grateful for this because a dear friend's home burned on Friday.  They lost 90% of their possessions due to fire, smoke, or water damage.  The community I live in- both in Memphis and online- responded with incredible generosity and grace.  By Saturday evening all of my friend's basic needs were met.  I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love I've witnessed.  I'm also overwhelmed with things- donations have been pouring in and I'm working on getting her "good mom" stash of hand-me-downs for her 4 kids boxed up in appropriate seasons and sizes.  I've been very fortunate to have friends hand down clothes for my son- they are all up in the attic in bins waiting for him to be a size 8, 9, etc.  If that security (because somehow, it is security) was suddenly gone, I'd miss it. 

I feel like my life is very full right now- and very busy.  I am grateful to you for your friendship and support.  I had some big plans for making things this month, but they'll wait.  Thanks for being here, and thanks for reading.

to make changes.  to read more.  to fulfill our goals.  to think creatively.  to ask deeper questions.  to love each other.  to make grand plans.  to do something fun.  to stretch our boundaries.  to re-envision success.  to find compassion.  to be the essence of who we are.

Oh, and I'm doing the 365 project again (you can see 2010's photos here.  I can't wait to get back up into the studio tomorrow morning when school starts up again.

Have a nice week!

The sale this weekend went so, so well.  I sincerely thank everyone who came out.  I know you have a choice in where you spend your money and I am deeply, deeply thankful when you choose to support my business and my family with your hard-earned dollars.
I did something a little different this year- I had a "soft" opening Thursday evening for some area moms- it was good to get set up early and have Friday free from the usual pre-sale stresses.  I think I'll be repeating that.

The weekend was capped off with the mortal release of someone who had been both a friend and foe.  I went to visit her early this morning- she was no longer cognizant, which was a blessing, really.  I spent a short time with her, did my other errands, and came back home to a phone call that she'd passed soon after I left.  I'm grateful that we were able to have peace with one another, grateful that she is no longer in pain and conflict.    Beginning my day with a release like this one is odd- I'd planned to have a quiet day; now it is more so.

This little porcelain cup is one of my favorite things- I bought it in Sewanee, TN, and can't remember the artists' name any more.  I keep a beeswax votive in it to light when I pray and meditate.  Today has been a very meditative day.

Peace, friends.

moments of grace

last week after my kiln debacle(s) I decided to take a nice long run with my dog after dropping my boy off at school.  I headed into it happily, hoping to burn through some tension.  Just as I started the last leg, one mile from home, I tripped on a sidewalk crack and landed on both knees, right underneath someone's sprinkler system.  I got up, kept going, finished firing the kiln (glazing the vitrified pieces didn't really work), and got ready for the market on Saturday.  Saturday was miserably hot.  I left early.  And I decided to take an extended internet break.  I'm still on it, technically, because life has been consistently kicking me in the shins.  And I'm terribly, terribly tired of it. 

I think one of the best ways to get out of a slump is to count your blessings.  And as tough as it has been, I can't say that there haven't been good moments.  A friend and I have been planning a one-night sale featuring etsy sellers from Memphis.  We're so close to finding a location.  She also rehabbed my bike.  My sister in law passed on her old trail bike to me several years ago.  It needed a bit of work and I didn't have the know-how.  And I hadn't been on a bike since, um, 1997.  Before that (1997 was a single bike episode), I hadn't ridden my bike since maybe 1987.  Yesterday I took my first bike ride in 13 years, and the first time I've used a bike with gears or hand breaks.  I enjoyed it immensely.  I have dreams of riding though the paths at Overton Park, which is a stone's throw from my neighborhood.  First I need a helmet.

Another friend has been really involved with a new farmers market in town, one that serves an area that could easily be called a "food desert."  Every week for the past three weeks she's been bringing me pounds and pounds of produce.  Okra, squash, tomatoes, lima beans, corn- and I've been able to pass the surplus along to people who could use it.  The okra (one week there was easily 3 gallons of okra) has become pickles- pickled okra is one of my favorites.  Lima beans and black eyed peas have been blanched and frozen.  I've been in high vegetable heaven. 

And this picture- Edna laid her first egg today.  I watched her carefully build her nest (they don't like our egg box, for some reason), step into it, and lay her egg.  This evening we had huevos rancheros for supper- made with our own organic eggs.  Soon we'll have enough eggs to share.

I'm still working on making pots, trying to build inventory.  And I'm heading back off-line now, and into a book.  I've got a list of books as long as my arm that I'm interested in reading.  Right now I'm half-way through Out Stealing Horses: A Novel.  Really enjoying it.  Also on my list is  Lucky Jim and March.  And I'm trying planting my fall crops by the moon phases.  Just to see if it makes any difference at all. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer, friends.  I'll be back in this space soon.

gob-smacked

has been my state of mind lately.  Sometimes it seems like everything happens all at once.  Good things, crazy things, inconvenient things, happy joyful things, things that make you want to just go back to bed.   There are some wonderful changes and events afoot, and a few hurdles to cross before they happen.  I'm trying to stay in an optimistic frame of mind but sometimes the daily grind makes that difficult. 
But I'm focusing on the good.

I told you about the tomato farmer who gave me six lbs of lovely beautiful heirloom tomatoes that he considered culls?  And I turned them into beautiful summer-flavored tomato sauce?  Six whole pints (that's six instant suppers!)?  I made him this tomato mug.  I did my usual leaf-imprint, but while thinking about this class I'm taking next weekend, I decided to write "tomato" in the really-too-dry clay.  I say too dry because if the clay had been a hair closer to leather hard rather than completely dry (it was completely dry),  I would have carved a bit deeper, which would have left more room for the glaze to pool into and the word would have shown up more.  Which is to say, at all.  But I am thrilled with the potential.  And totally excited about the class.

Other things in the works- weddings.  I have a love-hate relationship with facebook.  Love that I've been able to reconnect with so many college friends I haven't heard from in years.  Love the instant communication with in-town friends.  Really, I love the exposure it's given my business.  I just hate the (self discipline I don't have) time suck factor.  But one of my little sisters* from college is getting married at the end of August and I'm making her wedding party gifts.  And we reconnected and she saw my work on Facebook.  It really really makes me happy.

Did I mention I'm taking a class with the lovely and talented Diana Fayt?  And I'm completely over the moon about it?  She is very much a mentor to me, and I'm tickled to get to learn from her in person, not just in the over-email-advice-seeking capacity the internets provides.  Photos of the workshop to come.

OK.  This weekend I'm at the market.  It will be hot.  I will have fewer things than usual.  OH!  But the really good news is that the tent and shelves and everything fits neatly into the car with the seats folded down.  I was overjoyed when we did our "test pack" earlier this week. 

So have a lovely weekend, I'll be back in this space in August.  I'm giving myself a break for the class and clearing those hurdles I mentioned earlier.  Think good thoughts, will you? 



*I went to a women's college, Salem, in NC.  It is a very small school, and there are "sister classes"- ie freshman/junior, sophomore/senior.  My little sisters and I were close but had lost touch, so it's wonderful to reconnect and play a small role in one's wedding.

weekend again?

I can't believe how quickly the summer is going by.  I'm doing less than I planned, but I always plan to do too much, so I'm ok with that.  I've been swimming a lot.  Every day, a lot.  It is a joy.

On Tuesday I was getting ready to glaze my pots when I realized that I'd bisque fired several honeypots without piercing holes in the lids.  Hmm.  I'll probably make new lids for those pots, but I decided to make jam- blueberry blackberry- instead of glazing.  I processed the blueberry butter, then made the jam.  I have 17 jars of blueberry goodness in my pantry.  I told myself that jam was less demoralizing than honeypots that wouldn't hold a wooden honey dipper.  It turns out that there was another reason to wait to glaze- my friend and glaze helper called and wanted some pottery time.  If I hadn't set my work aside, I wouldn't have been able to have her help.  And I was so happy to have her help.

It is raining!  Big wonderful fat drops.  I hope it keeps up all night.  This is the first rain my garden has seen since June 11.

I'll be at MFM this weekend.  In the "T".  With honey pots, butter crocks, speckley things, berry bowls.  This coming week I'll have several of these same things in my neglected etsy shop.  And my boy has an all-day long camp next week, so I'm planning to throw on the wheel every day. 

I hope you all have a nice weekend.  Thanks for your support, your friendship, your time.

making

 Hi.  Several times this week I've caught myself sitting down, ready to write, but with little to say. 

I'm making a lot this week. 

Throwing and trimming and doing some slab work. 

Tomorrow is my 10th wedding anniversary. 

The weather's cooled down some.  I'm very grateful for that (and for the 10 years).

Today I sat underneath the fig tree on our old metal glider with some iced coffee and a book, watching the chickens root through my newly-laid mulch in search of bugs.  They found several and chased each other every time one found a nice juicy bug underneath the ailing green beans.  Extreme heat (28 days of highs over 94 with high humidity- over 70%) has killed a lot in my garden.

There are still only 2 chickens.

The coop and yard are locked up tighter than Fort Knox. 

I'll plant more beans when the temps cool down a bit.  Maybe a second crop of okra in case they don't.  The tomatoes are mostly in the front yard and they're doing fine.

I enjoyed the sitting in the shade.

ok.  have a good rest of your week.

the week ends

and it has whipped me. After I finally got the kiln loaded, I crawled in the bed. I am beyond tired. Six months of striving, toiling, getting no. where. I'm not upset, I'm not depressed, nothing catastrophic has happened. I'm just worn slap out.

So last night I looked over in the dim, whole-house-asleep-I'm-still-working-kitchen, took this photo (have I mentioned how I hate CFLS and the light they cast with regards to the camera?) of work being reglazed and started shedding.   I've postponed my sale at home.  Felt immediately better.  Today I was midway through finishing glazing (To be ready for saturday it has to fire on wednesday.  Today is not Wednesday.  My kiln's size requires 24 hours cool-down, and if I leave the house at 5:40 to go to the market, it would mean 4:40 unloading and pricing, and I'm not up for all of that) when I canceled this weekend's scheduled appearance at the market.  I sent the boys to an IMAX movie, finished loading, showered, and crawled into bed.

So.  I may reschedule my sale.  I may not.  I may sell it online.  I don't know.  I have a lot of work but no energy to do anything to promote it, smile, explain it, market it.  I'm sapped.  I'll be quiet around here for a while until I have something to say again.  Right now I'm just going to rest.  See you when I get back.

weekly wrap up

I just peeked into the kiln to see how my glaze firing did. Top load looks just swell. Some of these pieces (like the big platter on the left) are gifts- others are designated for the shop and custom orders. Many others are going to some friends' new store, the Trolley Stop Market. I've been working hard this week on cranking out a custom order for a wedding- I have two pieces left to make. Keeping my fingers crossed that they turn out as desired!

It has been such a full week. Full of good things, blessings, surprises, and a few trials. Sunday was spent doing Sunday things, plus clearing out all of the baby gear from our attic. On Monday I got a good deal of throwing done- I was happy with my work. I also got the kiln loaded to bisque fire half of the wedding order. Tuesday our utility company knocked on our door to let us know that they needed to take out a shrub that I happened to like. To compensate, the used a back hoe to remove a block of hollies that we've been trying to remove ever since we moved into our house! I was so, so happy about that. The resulting sunny space will be dedicated to tomatoes in the short term and to a pomegranate bush in the long term! That same day a dear friend overnighted me a package of lovely lacy ferns. I took them right upstairs and made several large pieces- platters, bowls, even a few vases- all decorated with her ferns. Wednesday was spent shipping, buying more shipping supplies, detail-glazing the ferns.

I tried to do too much on Wednesday. Way too much. Woke up tired and cranky Thursday morning and sent out a cry (ahem. whine) for help. A friend came over, helped me glaze the last of my load of pottery, brought sweet buttery pastries, AND took a load of my old dress/professional clothes to Dress for Success. I called another organization to come and get all of our baby gear. Another dear friend and her daughter spent some time in the afternoon visiting, and my mom came and brought supper! This morning I was talking to my neighbor about the rain barrels we're putting in and she gave me tomato plants! Another friend also gave me tomato plants (I had a tomato seed disaster this year. I didn't water them and they dried right up.); I think you know where we're putting them.

I feel so busy, blessed, stretched. Sometimes sorry for myself, but I'm reminding myself to laugh at it, not take pottery or trials too seriously, and to delight in the good things. Thanks for being part of the good things.

Have a lovely weekend.

respite



There are so many things that I need to do today, but after weeks of cold and dark, and last week's intensity and sorrow with Haiti's earthquake, I needed a break. So I spent most of this glorious, warm day outside in the garden. Clearing out the asparagus bed, mulching, weeding, cutting down a prickly holly or two, pulling oak and privet seedlings. Filling the birdfeeders for the new chickadees, putting out more apples for the mockingbirds, adding a good thick layer of compost to the vegetable garden. Tackling the hateful bermuda grass that has crept into all of my front garden beds, strangling the perennials with their rope-like runners. I still need to pack and ready boxes for shipping tomorrow, but it was so wonderful to be outside. 60 degree days in January is one of my favorite things about living in Memphis.