honey

This past week I spent more time worrying about my bees than doing anything else.  The city mosquito truck came by and I noticed some bees on their backs, little legs flailing, inside the hive.  I called Vector Control and had my house taken off the spray route, and plan to cover the hive the next time they come spraying.  We already knew that the spray was bad for bumble bees and butterflies, and the supervisor I spoke with was very responsive and concerned about my hive, which I appreciated.  Then, later that day, when I went into the hive to really do a full check (something I do every couple of weeks, and I'd noticed some problems I needed to take care of), I let one of the frames of honey, quite large and weighing almost 10 lbs, get too warm and it collapsed/fell into the hive.  What a mess.  I salvaged about a quart, cleaned up as best I could, and let the bees clean up the rest.   It wrecked my day.  But, I learned what NOT to do next time I go in, and I learned how to manually extract honey and render wax with a top bar hive.  Not the best day I'd ever had, but the results, well, they were sweet.  And my bee mentor came over the next day and helped me do a frame-by-frame inspection to check for mosquito-spray damage and melissa-inflicted damage.  Not much of either.

I also spent a lot of time grinding down my kiln shelves and had to stop before I was ready because an hour + of using the grinder aggravated my tendinitis. Gary ground more for me, but I've realized that I will need to finish the rest in stages, mix the kiln wash and grind/coat several shelves in each firing I do for the rest of the summer.  I hope that new thicker kiln wash will save some of the porcelain-sticking issues I'd been having this spring.

This week will be a busy one.  Two friends are in from out of town, I'm ready to work again, and I've been bit with the purging/reorganizing bug.  Tennis camp (this week and next week) begins in the morning, and I'm ready to get rolling.

Hope yours is a good one.  Night, friends.

results

I unloaded the glaze firing that included my Mississippi River clay inlay experiment.  thrilled with 2:3.  Inlay is better than brushing it on as a slip.


One of my baby chickens is a cockerel.  Confirmed by my own chicken experience (the tail feathers are curving downward), experience of other friends who have been equally unhappily surprised when their pullets turned out to be not so, and, possibly most damning, by a farmer friend who saw a photo and asked how "that baby rooster is doing".  Looking for a new home for it.  (also looking for a new home for my old volvo sedan, um, if you're interested).

One more week of school.  A week of decompression after that, then a week at the beach.  So so looking forward to that, and even more so now that I know that there is an excellent grocery store in the town.  Not having to worry about packing groceries for a week is a blessing.

Alrighty.  See y'all later.

tuesday

New bee flight school on Sunday when it was warm and sunny.
Little kiln ticking away to ^7 to see if the glaze fit issues will resolve on cups and the chicken platter.
Big kiln waiting for a large bisque load.
Lots more cups drying and drawing in the studio.
Chilly day.  If it were March I'd start a fire in the wood stove.  
Enjoying the quiet.

some quiet

Thank you, sweet friends, for your kind comments on my last post.  They mean a great deal to me.
I'm going to take a few weeks "off" from the internet- after losing so much time to the flu and then the unpredictable chemistry of pottery, I feel like I have a great deal of work to do (and I do, several orders still outstanding, some custom dinner sets I have yet to finish or even begin) and I need to figure out where I want to go with my work.  I'll be popping in periodically with photos, and I hope to be able to have a body of work to put up for y'all, both locally and in my etsy store, at the end of my internet sabbatical.  So I'll leave you with my favorite piece that I finished from my recent surface decoration e-course.  I want more of these!

Have a lovely weekend.


snap, crackle, & STOP

Of Friday or Saturday I opened my kiln to a total disappointment.  I knew I was testing, but I'd hoped to have some pieces I could use, and I didn't count on it being so bad that it would bring me close to tears.  Most of this work had been previously fired, to a low-ish ^6 (that's in the high 2100 to low 2200 F range) and I had a lot of problems with glaze fit.  I glazed a bunch more work, including some porcelain that I hadn't tried in the little kiln, and fired it again to a hotter ^6 (that's pronounced Cone 6, by the way, and I took it to the 2260 F range).  Still, it was crackle city.  Can you see it in this cup?  The crackles in the bottom?  The ones that will trap the honey and the tea from your hot cuppa and grow bacteria?  I'm trying it again at ^7 (almost 2300F) later this week when my cones come in.

This is a platter I made just for me, and the entire thing is a fine map of crackles.  Both the cup and the platter are a new-to-me clay (the glaze is one I used and liked well enough to buy a gallon of).  I'm out of the clay and won't buy more of it.  I'd love to rescue both the dozen cups I made and the platter- the cups because they're pre-sold and the platter, because, well, I'd like to use it.  All told, this is two weeks' worth of work that is potentially lost.

I've moved on to another stoneware and ordered several more white and clear glazes to keep testing.  All this to say that I'm feeling perpetually behind.  Glad that I'm not signed up for any events or sales or markets.  But I have some custom dinner orders that I'm sitting on, and I'd like to get them out the door.

I would like to address one thing- so many of my customers were kind and understanding to the absolute utmost degree when I told them that their orders would be delayed further.  I had one negative experience out of the whole lot, which shook me pretty badly.  It was downright venomous, and I think it was due to a miscommunication that made me feel defensive and then downright shocked.  I try hard to accommodate all kinds of requests and try to send out my best work.  I think that *most* people who have handmade businesses try their very best to please their customers.  They all have feelings that are easily bruised by unfair, or, even if fair, harsh, criticism.  This just to say that we should all (me included) remember that we're dealing with people who have lives and families and feelings and we never know what's going on in their lives- illness, failed work, failed relationships.  I'm stepping off my soapbox, but I was accused of gross misrepresentation and unprofessionalism, and it hurt.   I'm mostly over it, but I wanted to address it for my own learning, as much as anyone else's.

I had a lovely Easter, and hope your Spring holidays were wonderful, as well.  See you again soon.

deadlines

Good morning!  It is mid-morning here, now, and I'm ready to start my day in the studio.  I've been spending a lot of time planning and drawing this week because I realized, late last week, that a deadline was approaching much faster than I'd anticipated.  As in, weeks sooner.  And that I was somewhat behind in both planning and production, given this new deadline.

This summer I accepted an invitation to show at St. George's School here in Memphis.  I had a plan and was thinking through how I'd be hanging my plates, platters, and bowls on the wall.  I'm still working through that- have had some successes and some abject failures in the hanging department.  The show is in November.  Plenty of time, I thought, to work steadily and give myself some days off to regroup, refocus, re-evaluate.  Friday I shuffled through the papers that came with my contract and realized that photos and artist statements are due this week.  Eek.  Work needs to be finished by mid October.  Eek.  I have several pieces in process, but only a few pieces are actually finished and ready to be shot.  Eek.  I have a plane ticket for Oct 3, and wanted a clear plate before I leave.  Well.  Time to revise the plans.

My solution is eating breathing sleeping drawing bees on pieces that I've thrown and handbuilt.  I've made a good bit of progress (my plans, roughly sketched out, above) but I have miles to go.  Realistically, one can only sit hunched over a plate/platter/bowl you're drawing on for 3 hours a day.  The actual making of the pieces is a breeze, but the surface design/detail work is hard on the body.  Yoga has become my good good friend.  I'm excited about the work that I'm making.  That helps.  The other work (those large cylinder vases) are on the back burner for another week or so because I'm 4/5 finished with those large pieces and they aren't due until November.  Progress and process.  I don't work well when I'm freaked out.  I do work well when I have a plan.  So I have the plan, and it will all be well.

See you soon.


little bits of happy

yesterday I pulled this piece, and a few others (it was a tiny kiln load in my tiny kiln), from my kiln.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  This blue is a new color for me- brighter than I wanted, but I'm pleased.  The photo is dark so it's difficult to see (especially with the high gloss finish), but I really like the watercolor-y lightness and depth of color.  I want to play more with this watercolor effect.

I was also pleased that my little kiln made it up to ^6- I regularly bisque in this kiln- the bisque fire is the first firing- I take the kiln up to about 1900 degrees, slowly at first to make sure the pieces are bone dry- then finish up fairly rapidly in 10 or so hours.  Yes, I said rapidly.  The second firing goes to the mid 2200s and typically takes 13-14 hours.  The little kiln is older; the coils need to be replaced, but I rarely glaze fire because in the past it hasn't reached ^6 in 14 hours.  Happily, it did on Tuesday night and I opened the kiln up Thursday morning.  I've taken to letting the kiln cool for a full 24 hours before I even touch it- I don't want to risk cracks in the glaze or worse, the pots, from cool air flooding the hot pottery.  Once, in my first few years of making pots, I melted the sleeves of a down coat by taking a too-hot piece from the kiln.  I've learned my lesson there.

Other happy bits- the weather has cooled down to windows-open temps.  Next week will be back in the 90s, but this week's been a lovely reprieve.  And it's reminded us to get our firewood ready for actual cold.

I bought my plane ticket for San Francisco!  Only after much hesitating and dithering and nausea caused by sticker shock.  Lesson learned: next time, buy it when it's $300.  I am excited to go, and more excited to see my friend and mentor, Diana.  I'm also grateful that Gary's company is having a big meeting in an interesting city.  Work (at home, even) is going well for him, and I'm glad for that. 

This piece of pottery is for an Oct/Nov invitational show.  I'm really excited to be working on a large group of unified pieces.  They all have to hang on the wall- that's a challenge I'm working through.  I've figured out flattish bowls and platters, but I'd like to hang some deeper pieces.  Time for some experimentation.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

right here

is where all of my energy has been going lately.  So far I think I have 8 of each of these pieces, maybe a few more.  The ones on the upper shelf are 7.5" x 5-6" oval cylinder vases.  The lower shelf is 5.5"x 7.5" ovals.  Not shown are 13" diameter shallow bowls. 

I need to have 10 of each of the 3 styles, so I'm making 14 of each. 
I'm also working on finishing glazing the dinner set I showed you last week- the touch ups and replacement pieces, plus two sets of bowls for a client who has been ordering her dishes piece-meal fashion. 

I did not labor on labor day.  I didn't even pick up my camera.  Today I glazed.  Tomorrow I'll trim and throw a bit, then tackle a few boxes of tomatoes.  Those won't last.

details

Good morning!
Today is my glazing day.  The first of two before next weekend's sale.  so of course it is overcast and looking like rain.  Inevitably if I set aside a day for glazing it rains.  Such is life.  I am grateful to have glazing help today, and grateful to have had help yesterday in cranking out the last few platters I wanted to make.
I am tweeting.  Sometimes I feel like I have something to say or share, pottery-wise, but not enough for an entire post.  We'll see how it goes.

Yesterday I picked up my sale postcards.  I'm mailing some, emailing some, facebook-inviting some.  I always feel awkward inviting friends- Hey!  Come buy my stuff!  Love you!  Ok!  Bye!- But what do you do?  So while I'm not glazing I'll be addressing postcards.

This cake plate is off to California.  I hope to have another like it for next weekend.  I have a base and am waiting for the plate to dry.

Oh!  Today I am glazing the first of the honeycomb foundation pieces.  Can't wait to see how the glaze pools up in the impressions.

There is much to do.  See you back in this space next week. 

plates

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words- here, on Facebook, and elsewhere- regarding my departure from the crazy-making and unattainable land of perfect.  I really appreciate them.  We jetted out of town for a long weekend of lakeside family reunion for my grandmother's 90th birthday and to help another relative move into her new house- it was cool and rainy and there was no internet access.  I napped and knitted and organized rested and unpacked and watched the river roll by my aunt's new house.  It was nice.

Shortly before I left I unloaded this stack of plates from the kiln for a client's dinnerware set.  I've done teacups, tumblers, salad/dessert plates, and now her dinner plates.  She's getting her set one component at a time, and while these aren't *quite* where I'd want them to be, I am, by and large, pleased.  It has  taken me years to get to the point where I could make plates- both in terms of skill level and in dealing with tendonitis.  I've found that I can make 2-3 plates a day if I alternate plates with smaller pieces that don't require as much force to center.  I started with around 3 lb of wet clay and threw them around 11.25." After bisque and glaze firing, they shrank to 10-10.5".  I made 12 hoping for 8 successful plates.  Another client has asked for a botanical set of dinnerware and I am about 1/4 of the way through her set. 

Yesterday I found an email from a potential client who wanted tea bowls for matcha.  He was kind enough to send me a link showing me exactly the shape and slope he wanted- I had no idea there was so much variation.  I did some online research and really enjoyed watching this series, which included the chawan bowls I've been asked to make.  There are so many different shapes and styles of tea bowls, from refined porcelain to rough and rustic groggy clay.  This should be an interesting project.

If you happen to be in the Memphis area, Original Ink is having their grand opening/open house on Thursday afternoon/evening.  We have a conflict or I would be there, but I hope that you can stop by and see their lovely shop.

Have a good week!

I stink

at blogging this year.  But ironically, I'm making like gang-busters.  Everything I make, like these platters, I'm making in quantity.  Platters, honey pots, latte  cups, mugs, berry bowls.  I've been making 8 at a time of everything.  First, I'm working on filling my wholesale obligations and the dinner sets that people have ordered.  Second, I'm working on building inventory so that I can have a sale at home in June, and put things up on etsy.  I seem to have been unable to have enough work to put it online.   And I've been doing little projects around the house, like painting a new mailbox for the front porch so that the mail doesn't fall through the slot and get permanently lost under the sofa.  Not good when that happens with bills, or netflix envelopes.  Trying new things in the studio and outside of the studio.   Reorganizing the studio with found and new-to-me shelving.  Painting lots of things.  And summer's almost here.  Ten more days of school.

Hope your weekend is swell.

the glaze test

I've unloaded the kiln and am mostly happy with my test results.  This is glaze one, which was totally new to me.  Um, No.  I'm not sure if you can see that it has an almost eggshell like texture to it- almost miniature dimples.  It is bright white and runs all over the place on the pieces that I dipped.  I tried it on one of my botanical mugs and you can't see the leaf at all.  It was fine for brushing, but again, the piece that I brushed had a 4-leaf clover in the middle and the image was almost completely obscured.  The glaze also dripped all the way down to the kiln shelf on several pieces, so I have some shelf maintenance to do now- you can see this on the little bowl, which had a really clear margin of wax on the bottom to keep the glaze off the bottom of the pot.  This will probably be a good liner glaze (to go on the inside of mugs, particularly the mugs that I draw on), but this glaze is not for me.  I bought 5 lbs of it, which makes a gallon, and it should be fairly easy to use up if I use it exclusively on the inside of pieces.


Here are glazes 2 and 3.  Glaze 2 is my old glaze.  Glaze 3 is my old glaze, just a fresher batch.  Again, I dipped and brushed pieces.  I measured 100 ml of each glaze and then weighed them.  They each came in at 146 g, 145-150 being the optimal weight according to the manufacturer (less weight means too much water, more weight means too much glaze solids).   No shivering off this time with the old glaze, but there were still patchy rough places.  In this photo I dipped the platter on the bottom in the new formula and it was almost perfect.  Lesson 1- start dipping ALL of my pieces if possible.  The second piece, on top, is the new mix of white on top- nice and thick, 3 brushed-on coats.  On the bottom, the old mix- again, 3 brushed-on coats.  I'm not sure if you can tell in the photo, but the top layer is much thicker than the bottom layer.  The really interesting thing about these tests is when I mixed up the  glazes, there was a discernible difference between the two buckets of the old and new glaze.  The old glaze was bright white and settled out quickly, even though I'd added a stabilizer.  The new glaze was creamier, almost beige.  It didn't need a stabilizer, even after I'd been using the bucket for an hour or so.

I didn't glaze under ideal conditions- it was raining cats and dogs for most of Tuesday morning, and I was in the even-more humid basement.  I always have problems with the glaze sticking on humid days, so I expected some problems.  I'm pleased that I didn't ruin too many pieces with Glaze 1, that 75% of the pieces I used Glaze 3 with came out near-perfect, and Glaze 2 did exactly what I expected it to, which was to under-perform. 

If you're interested in knowing which glaze I used for Glaze 1, shoot me an email (I don't get most of the email addresses with your comments) and I'll tell you.  Glaze 2 is an at least 3 year old 25 lb bag of Opulence Gloss White.  Glaze 3 was a brand-new bag of the same.  There is one other white glaze I'd like to test, but since I buy all of my clay and most of my other glazes from Opulence (they're based in Nashville, fairly close to me), I think I'll stick with them.  Now to work on those dinner and wholesale orders!

I'll be at MFM for Mothers' Day shopping on Saturday.  Maybe in the new section of the pavilion.  Come say hello!

good morning!

It is, finally, a beautiful sunny day.  We've had torrential rains for the last few days (Sat pm through Monday night), which, coupled with the MS river's almost record-breaking depth (we're almost at 45 ft, expected to be at 47 next week.  Official flood stage is 34 ft), has almost everyone on alert.  Last year on May 1 we had flash flooding that caused creeks to rise, threw municipal pumping stations off line, and caused all sorts of havoc.  We didn't know it was coming.  Now we know it's coming and people are evacuating, planning, sand-bagging, worrying.  I'm grateful for the warning and lead-time.

Weather aside, yesterday I tested my three white glazes.  My old white glaze that had been giving me problems, a new batch (same glaze, but made recently- my I bought my old batch several years ago), and an entirely new brand.  I mixed them up on Monday, let them rest for 24 hours, then screened and glazed a load to see what they would do.  Mugs, small platters and little bowls- I tested dipping (my preferred method of glazing) and brushing (what I have to do for larger pieces) to see how they'd turn out.  The kiln finished firing around 4am, and I'll need to wait until Thursday morning to unload it.  My fingers are crossed.  There was a discernible difference between the new and old versions of my "regular" white glaze- both in how the glaze felt when mixed and dried on the pieces, and in its color.  I loaded the kiln so that each glaze  got its own shelf - we'll see.  I'm hopeful that the new/old white will work well and that maybe the new-new white will, too.  Because I've got a TON of pottery that needs to be glazed white, and I'm ready to put that dinnerware set to bed!

Thanks for your good thoughts and emails about how my family fared with the bad weather here in the Deep South.  I really appreciate it.
Happy Wednesday-

new work

For the past 6 weeks I've been working like one crazed- typically 8-10 hours a day, 5-6 days a week.  I feel both satisfied and dissatisfied with this- I have very little product on hand to show for the time I've put in, but my last two (previous to the load I just unloaded) kilnloads were sold before they were even fired.  I've made a few dozen large platters, mugs and honeypots of all sorts, these latte cups, egg cups, and spoon rests, all pre-sold.  It's craziness.  Right now I have these cups, spoon rests, and not much else to take to my first of three appearances at the Memphis Farmers Market.  Plenty of herb markers on hand thanks to my once-a-week studio helper, Natalie, but pickings are slim.  I'm grateful for the pre-sales and feeling slightly crazy at the same time.

These latte cups make me really happy.  I kept one (a bonjour) for myself, and I have several more upstairs drying.  It's also berry bowl season, and my friend Jeanette Zeis shared some new-to-me techniques that seem to have stopped the insidious cracking problems I've been suffering through for the last three years.  I'm actually excited about making berry bowls again!

Ok.  Must run.  There are pots to price and pack, pots to trim, and a brother to pick up from the airport in the next five hours.
Happy Easter weekend, Happy Passover friends.

this week:

First, thank you for your comments and suggestions regarding my chronic  tendonitis.    I threw three days last week and didn't have any real problems- I even threw "big".  Soft, wet clay is easy for big forms, but harder to throw tiny forms- egg cups, bud vases, etc.  I'm looking for the happy medium.  I have acupuncture again on Friday, and I've found that the liniment my practitioner made for me really works well.   I can't tell you how very very happy I am that clay texture, different centering (that's hardest, really), and the acupuncture/liniment/massage (massage to get the liniment into the muscles) really seems to be working to solve my problems. 

This week I'm working on finishing up a dinnerware order for one of my regular MFM customers, finishing up a wholesale order, working on a project for a school, and preparing the den for our new woodstove.  I am finally going to finish painting the woodwork in the den, mostly because if I don't do it before the stove is installed, it won't ever get done.  So I'm taking an hour a day to finish sanding, priming, and painting the baseboards and windows.  We've been in our house for 5.5 years- I'm ready to finish those small nagging projects that bother me every time I look at them.

Pottery-wise, I think I'm returning to teacups.  Every few years I make a half dozen then stop making them altogether.  I made a few of these speckled ones last year and had a request from a potential customer that made me pull them out.  Three of them have been stacked up on my kitchen table this weekend, and I've given them a lot of thought.  I prefer drinking out of tumblers- I want to feel the warmth of the tea or coffee with both of my hands, but the form of teacups has always been visually appealing to me. I guess it's fitting that they keep returning as Josiah Wedgwood is one of my pottery heroes.   I made a set for a friend a few weeks ago- they're ready to be glazed.

OK.  Time to go get to work.  I hope your week is productive and warm.  Especially for my friends in the midwest and northeast- stay safe in the snow! 

experimenting

Since the holidays, I've been experimenting with different ways to make pots.  Before the holidays, I worked too hard and steadily cranking out egg cups.  I overused my arms and the tendonitis flared back up.  I've had it in both arms for several years, but since December, I've been attacking the problem in some new ways. 
One: acupuncture.  Works wonders.  Fabulous.  Until I start really throwing again.
Two: wrist braces.  They're fine for centering (and sleeping), not fine for throwing.
Three: Chinese Herbal Tincture (related to acupuncture).  I spray it on and rub it in several times a day, and it seems to help.
Four: limiting my throwing time.  Like to an hour or two, tops, a day.  This part I hate.
Five: throwing with really wet clay.  I know a baker who used to be a potter until his wrists gave out.  He suggested a) stop making pots (imagine my very sad face here).  b) learn how to center differently. c) use really wet clay to throw with.  
Six: homeopathic/herbal anti-inflammatories and glucosamine.  They also seem to help.  My favorite is a combo of several herbs with ginger and tumeric (called something like inflam-action).  I need more of these soon.
Seven: stop doing other things that hurt the arms- laptop, knitting, carrying heavy things, pilates, etc etc.

The suggestion to stop is one I first considered when the pain got bad.  Stopping to rest, yes.  Stopping and find a new profession?  I'm not ready yet.  I go to acupuncture every other week and am diligent about taking my meds- herbal and otherwise- that help.  Today I threw for a little over an hour and a quarter and so far I'm ok.  I tried throwing with super-wet clay.  Some forms worked well.  Some forms were disasterous.  I am centering differently and have a carpel tunnel brace that I wear on my left arm (my "centering arm").  I think that I'll be making less work this year until I figure out how to work without injuring myself.  This is one reason I haven't been blogging much here- I didn't want to whine about pain, I didn't have new work to show, and I haven't been doing anything else terribly interesting.  But oh- the house is clean.  That I can do.

I'm grateful that I have options, grateful that some of the less-invasive treatments work, grateful that I can still work in the studio at all.  Not a terrible way to begin the week.
Have a good one, y'all.

right now

right now I am sitting at the kitchen table, glazing a fern platter.  I'm feeling a little under the weather- you know, when it's just starting and you know that you can stave it off if you go to bed early and take care of yourself?  That's where I am.

But it isn't entirely unpleasant.  I'm watching the little sparrows (and occasional cardinal, finch, and rascally squirrel) at the feeder just outside the window.  I'm listening to a history of the world in 100 objects, wishing that there was a companion book to the series.  My favorite episode so far is the one I've just heard- about how the image of Buddhism- the young, seated Buddha- is the one we think of when presented with the idea of Buddha.  But really, they're all just fascinating.

I've just had my very favorite tofu curry soup (so spicy, so rich, so full of veggies), delivered by a soup fairy (thank you, thank you Jess), and am smelling the warm mingled spiciness of my umpteenth cup of chai and gingerbread warm from the oven.  Homework is being completed beside me as I work.  A little later, once I've cleaned off the bottoms of my pots, I'll get into bed with more tea, knitting, and finish watchingthe Gleaners and I.   I'll wait to fire the kiln until the morning. 

I feel so much relief since re-adjusting my holiday business plans.  And I thank you, friends, for your support and understanding.  It means a lot. 

quiet

 I am, I will be, I want to be, a little quiet around here for the next week or so.  I'm working on building inventory for holiday sales- my own pre-holiday home sale on Nov 12 and 13, a ladies' night before that, a post-thanksgiving sale, and another thing or two in Memphis.  And a big etsy update, as well.  
I'm excited (always am) about new work and have a harder time cranking out the things that people actually "need," like mugs and bowls.  I'm making those too.  Honeypots, butter crocks, colanders and tumblers.  You know, the things that sell and bring in my income.  I have a lot of pots to make in the next few weeks.

Today I'm not making any pots- I need to bisque fire, and it has been rainy so I've made bread and tomato soup.  I went to see a new movie (I hope there will be more info up at this link later) screened at the Indie Memphis film festival.  I wish that this movie were a book so that I could read it again and again. 

ok.  see y'all later.  hope you have a good week!

finally fall

The weather's finally cooled down.  As much as I looked forward to summer, I really never thought it would end.

This weekend I went camping with some good girl friends- it was fire-less because of the drought we've been having (I think we're on day 40 without rain), but the weather was crisp, the breezes were plentiful, and the skies were amazingly full of stars.

Once home, I made a batch of spicy tomato jam (and I do mean spicy) for gifts and for the pantry.  I have another 7 quarts of quartered tomatoes on the stove, and this evening I'll finish up my last box with as many pints of marinara as I can eek out.  Last summer I canned 2 boxes of tomatoes- maybe 10 pints of puree and 12 quarts.  This year I've gotten almost 4 boxes of tomatoes- I have no plans of scrimping on my tomatoes or running out.

Outside the kitchen, it is time to really ramp up on the making.  I'm participating in a "trunk show" type sale at a friend's home, my own pre-holiday sale (Nov 12 and 13), a Thanksgiving weekend sale, and the Memphis Farmers Market second annual holiday sale.  Plus I plan to have a fully stocked etsy shop for the first time in, oh, who knows when.  So, folks, it's time for me to get rolling- I've already begun making pomegranates.  And I'll have lots more butter crocks and honey pots.  I can barely keep those in stock, and I'm grateful for that.

Have a great week, y'all.  I'm off camping again at the end of the week with some really dear friends.  I can hardly wait.  See you next week!

break!

the heat has broken.  Finally.  Our low tonight is supposed to be 73.  I'm firing the kiln, finally, including the things I made at the workshop in Atlanta.  And not a moment too soon, given my inventory issue.

Have a good week.  I'll see you at the end of it!