looking back

late afternoon
Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
Yesterday afternoon as I was starting supper and gathering things for my weekly knit night I noticed this shadow cast by a ceramic birdhouse* on my kitchen wall. It seemed an appropriate way for me to end the year- looking back on the things (and people!) that I love and have influenced me.

It has been quite a year- filled with good things in both business and my personal life. For a girl who likes boundaries, it has been interesting to watch the good things flow back and forth in ways I would not have expected. This blog has been fun- and you all have been such a support for me, both personally and professionally. Thank you.

My friend Molly was responsible for thrusting me into this blog/etsy/flickr community I've come to rely on for inspiration and feedback. Thanks, dear friend. So many of you are valued friends and have really MADE this year for me.

I hope that good things come to you all in this new year. I'm excited and hopeful for the future. Be safe tonight, everyone. My own New Year's Eve plans will be quiet- some sushi at home in comfortable, cozy clothes with knitting and the boys that I love (Little boy came down with a rip-roaring case of pink eye yesterday, so our more "festive" plans have transformed into comforting ones, which are 100% acceptable to me!). Happy 2009 everyone!

* this birdhouse may be the first piece of pottery I ever purchased- there's one other contender for that honor. It was made by a fellow from Spain who lived in Oxford in 1999-2000. You can barely see the serpent crawling up the side towards the nest and eggs. I love it and have glued the bird back together on top of the house at least four times. It's one of my favorite pieces.

celebrating the little things

Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
Are you worried? I'm worried. Sales are slow, I had a big car repair this week, virus season is upon us, and there's the rest of the world that seems to be tanking. I am not naturally an optimist- it is so easy for me to get bogged down in the worry. I don't know about you, but I'm making a concerted effort to focus on what's good and wonderful in this life, especially right now.

This morning I bought a load of wonderful crunchy delicious Arkansas Black apples, grown 20 miles from my home. I picked up my CSA and found more produce than I'll be able to use in a week. I had an extra $5 after I bought my farmers market groceries and treated myself to a bouquet of sunflowers and horsetail grass. The heat has finally broken, I'm wearing a hand-knit sweater, and focusing on what's uplifting:
knitting, cooking, fall leaves beginning to color up, an upcoming camping trip, another 5k to run, intensely blue sky that only happens once summer's over, open windows, a job that is keeping me busy, a beautiful happy family, Saturday morning pee-wee soccer games, friends and customers asking hopefully after my holiday pottery plans - the list could, and should, go on. Let's all focus on what's good and possible instead of worrying about what is or might happen. I hope that you all find something wonderful this weekend to buoy your spirits.

Happy weekend.
Some of these apples are going to go into a surprise galette for my boys this evening. I wish I could share it with you, too.

just when you're ready to say STOP

I've been having a bit of a hard time lately. Last week I got some medical news I'd hoped I wouldn't get. Nothing drastic or dreadful, but the sort that makes you realize that you'll be meeting your insurance deductible much sooner than you'd thought. And pottery is NOT going well. Because I need to meet that deductible, I tried to fire last night. This is the first oops. This is a platter for a dear friend that literally crumbled in my hands. And a half-dozen botanical dessert plates that went with it. They're on top of the first platter for said friend that broke in firing. Eerily reminiscent of that last thing that made me want to quit pottery. But I persevered and fired the smaller-than-I'd-hoped load.

As I'm unloading this morning, I'm finding that the early morning trimming and too-dry pieces are indeed cracked. I had to pitch 3 in the mosaic pile, and a 4th lost its handle as I was waxing the foot. Better to lose it in my hand than a customers, but. . . .

Despite the losses, I decided to get down to business. I was feeling really really sorry for myself. Poor Melissa. Stuff breaks. She has to work to earn money. Oh, life is so hard. Then the dogs and I hear a car in the drive. The car leaves. A 30 second stop. We go in to the front door to find a bag of homemade oatmeal-chocolate-butterscotch cookies hanging from the storm door.

So I'm not all alone, and I'm reminded of my gratitude lenten observance and am grateful that I have work to do, orders to fill, friends and family who love me, and the insight to pull my head out of that dark place, get my work done, and take my child to the children's museum to enjoy his summer. Thanks for the chance to reflect, and thanks for the cookies, unseen friend.