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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Everything Stops

It's time to leave for The Party. The end of the year bash my friend and business associate throws. 4 days of not worrying about the world that has me by the throat. I trimmed a board full of mugs and wrapped those and the rest up. I'll deal with them when I get back. These have 3 layers of plastic over and under them, they should be just fine.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Back to work

After a quick holiday with the in-laws, we returned today and I got back to work. I had left some mugs untrimmed and handle-less when I left, so after enjoying some couch time, I went to the basement and took care of things.

Tomorrow we have dinner plans at five so I'll be up and at it tomorrow trying to fill the shelves before time to go. Mugs, tankards and goblets on the list...gotta get it done!

Family Happiness

When I married Rowan, I got a surprise bonus family that I hadn't really thought about. In-laws are stereotypically difficult to get along with and sometimes I find that to be true, but I also have found my wife's family to be most wonderfully accepting of me. For the most part we get along pretty well and I feel grateful for that. I have also found myself in impassioned arguments with them and the nice thing is after arguing a subject out we go back to treating each other with dignity and respect. It's an added bonus!

So When we go to New Jersey, there are 3 groups of people. The Parents, Richard and Marilyn Petrosino, the Sister-in-law, Kelly and her kids, Ricky, Steven and Nickie. and then The Mother-in-Law (Vicky Rose) from Rowan's first husband Cosmo who passed away a number of years ago and sister in law Michelle, who was married to Cosmo's brother Victor and lives next door to Vicky.

Can you keep this straight? I can now, but at first it was difficult. And it was so hard meeting Mrs. Rose knowing that I was now married to the woman her son was married to before he passed away.

I need to say now Mrs. Rose is an amazing woman to be so gracious to me. She's one tough lady and I have an enormous amount of respect for her.

All in all I've come to love all of them and it is so nice having a family to spend the holidays with, even if it is often difficult to make all the travel arrangements. Having spent the time with them, it makes me think about my own family.

I do miss the days of my childhood when (mother's mother) Gran and my mother would do most of the cooking and the rest of the family would come for the day or weekend, I remember having 10-14 people every holiday. Now my Gran's family is so spread out and splintered I am not sure if it would even be possible, or wise to gather everyone in. When the Matriarch of the family goes, there is often fallout from the factions :)

Of course I know I could still break bread with my siblings..but since we are all over the country that's not likely to happen. Florida, Texas and California, with me in PA. No, I am glad to have a family to share the holidays with. Someday I hope we can host our own holiday dinners and the kids can bring their kids to visit the crazy grandparents, but I can wait for that :) I can wait a long time!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Pictures

I picked up a flotone backdrop so we could take good professional pictures of the pottery for promotion and show applications. Ro cleaned out the office and set it up and took these shots. I think they are looking pretty damn good. The next thing on the list is a light box so that we can eliminate the shadows.

There are still more to be edited, including the Pie Baker, Rice Bowls and Apple Bakers. Maybe we can get those done over the visit to NJ.

Christmas Pizza

Today we did our Christmas, distributed the gifts and had a special Christmas Pizzas made by Morgan for dinner. The kids got stockings full of ridiculous stuff and a one big gift each, Tom Tom navigators. These will make us feel better about their future journeys. They are hooked up! Morgan hand tossed the dough, there is a video of him doing it on my Facebook site. It is very cool. Hopefully the link works!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas or Halloween

A few days ago one of my friends commented it must be like Christmas every time I opened the kiln. I quipped something about or Halloween and not the good bits. And this is what I mean. This is Halloween.

These small pasta bowls were meant to go to my brother Bob's wife Patti. They were gorgeous except I stuck 7/8 to the kiln shelf. See the pseudopods of glaze? They are effectively ruined. I can knock the drips off and grind them, but I am likely to do even more damage with the grinding.

So I will try...and the survivors will go on the discount shelf and I will make them over again.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow Days

When we looked at the forecast all week long there was no snow, then suddenly yesterday we get reports of potential blizzards! On my extra sale day! *sigh* So since I have the sale in a tent in the yard I had to make some changes. The tent could collapse under the weight of the snow, so I moved it all onto the front porch today. WOW is it full! I just hope the weather isn't too bad and some folks make it out. We still have a LOT of cookies to give away :)

Snow Days

When we looked at the forecast all week long there was no snow, then suddenly yesterday we get reports of potential blizzards! On my extra sale day! *sigh* So since I have the sale in a tent in the yard I had to make some changes. The tent could collapse under the weight of the snow, so I moved it all onto the front porch today. WOW is it full! I just hope the weather isn't too bad and some folks make it out. We still have a LOT of cookies to give away :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Potter on the mend.

I feel better!

2 days ago I had my first chiropractic adjustment since June. Today I had another one. It's simply amazing how much better I function after these adjustments.A lot of the numbness, tingling and minor back spasms I get on a regular basis simply disappear and I also seem to get a burst of energy immediately following the neck adjustment. I love it. I'm so sorry I left it slip from my schedule for months.

In addition to the chiropractic my second day of dog walking in the dead of night went well. I went on a two mile hike through the neighborhood this time and Morgan came with me which was very nice. He's so fit that he had to try to keep the pace down so he wouldn't make my heart explode. We also had to take a few breathers on the way up some of the hills. Overall I am pleased. I think tonight I may take a shorter one because I don't feel like my legs have recovered from day one yet, but we'll see. For the second day in a row I have awakened feeling less stiff and sore than I have in months. I hope the trend continues!

In the pottery, I had my first day of regular help from my old friend and 2 time coworker Bill.

Bill is an interesting guy, he's curious , hardworking and he loves to BS over coffee. Bill and I come from two different places. I'm a flaming spiritual but not religious liberal, he's a cautious, steadfast, but compassionate social conservative with strong Christian roots.He has strong viewpoints that often come from a place that is the polar opposite that my own. We somehow manage to discuss and converse about the most delicate of subjects. We've done this for over 20 years. Bill is a hardware tech guy, more comfortable with building computers than using them, but he is also a 2nd generation security guy and of all things a locksmith. He does a lot of stuff. I had the great pleasure of taking him back to a place where he had to start learning something all over again. Wedging. He also helped me wax, glaze and load today. Once he gets into the swing of things I think he'll do great.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oops, wrong turn!

I've come to the conclusion that we're bad doggy parents. Pepper needs to get more attention. He sits alone most of the day and waits in desperation for someone to hang out with. He gets love and attention anytime we're around, but while we are working, he's just bored. He should be walked but we've been unwilling to do that because the roads we live on are scary. At least they were when we tried some dog walking when we moved in, but things have changed, the highway is open and there are less trucks. This has been in the back of my mind for a couple months, but I've not acted on it yet, but lately I've been feeling that familiar winter urge to reassess my life, take control of my overeating and get some exercise. Trouble is over the last year I've actually gained weight again.(*sigh* will it never end?) and I am feeling less and less like moving around and more and more like sitting around. My joints are aching on a regular basis and I feel tired upon waking. Some of this I am blaming on the cold and the lack of sunshine in my life, but some of it I am blaming on the burden of carrying myself around. So yesterday I concluded that I need to get active, which brings me back to dog walking and Pepper.

Pepper needs this as much as I do, so last night while sitting on the recliner with laptop I decide that I'm going to try walking the local roads again. I decide to make a loop, take Atherton St. Head up into a local development, then back out onto 550 and home. I decided that I'd just take my time and not worry about getting done..just walk, rest when I needed to and continue when I could. WOW did I screw up.

The red on the map is what I wanted to do. The blue is what I did. It took me 1.5 hours to go about 3.5 miles and even Pepper was worn out on the final leg of the walk. I actually considered calling Rowan for an emergency pickup, but I toughed it out. I'm planning on going again tonight after dinner, and not making any wrong turns. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The end of the sale, the start of production

Whenever a big event finishes we start preparing for another one. This time I am preparing for the whole first quarter of the year. I will send as much work to Florida with Elliot as I possibly can. When she first starts out she will be overstocked. Some of the work might even be back stocked in her bus because we just won't have space for it all to be out in the booth. As the season goes on, more and more will come out of back stock until it becomes essential to restock her, probably sometime around the beginning of May. At the same time I am producing for her, I will be producing for myself -the shows I will do locally, galleries and the etsy site. This makes for a huge amount of work.

I feel lucky that I have a decent amount of stock leftover from the Holiday sale. It makes a good start for the Florida stock. So over the next few weeks my priorities will be my best sellers. A variety of mugs small round, regular round, travel, tankard and a few "XL" versions of the round mugs and tankards. I will also have to do a few larger bowls, goblets, and some pitchers, cereal bowls and soup mugs. BUT the priority will be on producing as many mugs as I possibly can. They are my number one seller and I never want to run short.
I started my production run with something non-essential because sometimes you just need to make bowls.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Getting it together

The pieces are coming together. The last kiln is firing, tomorrow morning I will go to pick up the pieces that were recently for sale in Florida and tomorrow in the afternoon we'll set up the show. I am very pleased with my offerings. I always have regrets about what I didn't get made, but overall I am pleased with what I have and really excited to see it all lined up.

Rowan is finishing up the baking, she reports only the soup will be left to do tomorrow night. We've made the bread dough and put it in the freezer so we can bring it out throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. Those of you who can come to the sale will be in for some real tasty treats!

Hope to see many of you this weekend!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

1/2 way through the day

I'm taking a short pizza and Harry Potter break. I was glad to find we still have a bunch of leftover frozen pizza from Little Caesars. I just didn't feel up to making anything serious. I think we must have 8 frozen pizzas in the freezer. It's been a pretty good day in the studio I'm pleased with what I got done.

After I sit here for a few minutes and enjoy my pizza I'm going to head back to the studio and shift to glazing. I'd like to start a glaze kiln tonight and do another bisc tomorrow

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tea Pot Madness

Long day today, I started out by disassembling and diagnosing problems with the kiln at the Oasis. It appears to need two new elements. I was having an awkward time with some of the connectors so as usual Ro came to my rescue and did the fiddly things my fingers just can't grasp. She saved an hour of work :) YAY Ro!

After returning home, I put together a few teapots. I like doing them because they're some of the only things I make that I still allow to evolve in process. Everything else is very preplanned, so it's a bit of fun to see what I am going to end up with. One of them ended up as not a Teapot at all, At first I had plans to make it a big garlic jar, but then it ended up as more of a luminary, Either way it was fun and became a bright spot in my evening. I still have a whole board of Tankards to finish, but I did get four of them done.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Daily Pottery Update

We spent a good day in the studio today. I say WE because the lovely Rowan was there at 7 while I was still snoring in our bedroom above her head. She finished the Leaves and Acorns on the plates that go with the bowls she did yesterday. It's so nice to have the help. After I got myself up and around, had some coffee and ran errands I headed downstairs while she ran out to take Cath to a Doctor's appt.

I trimmed mugs and pulled handles, then threw tankards, then more plates to make into gift plates. So far they have been well received as an idea so I wanted to have more available. Then after a glass of wine with the lovely Rowan, I made teapot bodies and lids and she started on a marathon of biscotti making, which is continuing until RIGHT NOW..she just got up to turn another batch in the oven. (11:40PM)

Hell of a day :) but good.

and hey look! A HUGE stack of Pie Bakers!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Bounty Shared. The Gifting Plate.

The Gifting Plate

It comes with the words "Our Bounty Shared" stamped in the rim and it is designed to be payed forward like a good deed. I envision it filled with freshly made food-gifts and a healthy dollop of love from the heart. It should be passed from person to person, special occasion to special occasion never staying for more than a month with any person.


We are environmentally and economically concerned. We are spiritually minded. We are artists. We're big believers in shopping locally or from small businesses. We love to buy local foods and produce. We love to feed people and we love to gift people with foods that we have made.We know how much a well thought out practical gift can mean to people.

This plate is a piece that brings together most of our ideals and concerns and makes an active difference in our community and then as it gets payed forward, the world. By person to person and 6 degrees of separation, we can make the world a better place. One gift of food and love at a time, all from the same plate. It kind of makes me want to do a plate registry to see where they will end up in a year.

A small number of these plates will be available at our Holiday Sale. Each one will come with a card explaining the concept of a gifting plate.

Hughes Pottery Holiday Sale

Dec 12 and 13 9 AM-5 PM

5151 W Buffalo Run Road
Port Matilda, PA 16870

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A good day in the Studio

It was a really productive day in the studio,
First was the finishing of 6 mugs from the night before, then I got busy and threw a board full of round mug bodies, sorry, somehow I forgot that picture. Then I took a bit of a break and went bowling..tore my thumb up a bit, but scored reasonably well. 152, 200, and 153. Then came home and made deeeelicious chili, one batch con carne for Ro and Cath and one batch veg for me and possibly Morgan, though he hasn't been around for dinner much. Then back to the studio, 10 apple bakers, and 9 plates and 4 bowls. The 4 bowls and plates will get Oak and Acorn decoration and the rest of the plates will be for a special purpose which I will explain in a blog devoted to the idea.

Sunday's are for snoozing

Isn't it amazing how the first picture can lead to the second? I think the NJ trip has Ro all tuckered out :) For those who don't know our furry snuggle blankets, the tiger is Tuna Fish, the black cat is Sammy and of course Pepper the dog.

On the other hand, I am finally feeling a little more like attacking the massive numbers of mugs I need to produce over the next 2 months. All those handles are intimidating. I'll start with a board or two today :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sadness and Destruction

Picture number 2 is a pile of shards that used to be this 23" long by 16 inch greenware platter. It was a project I have been working on and failed several times since September.

It was perfect. except as it was candling at 200 degrees in the kiln the rim cracked and that was enough to ruin it. Insult was added to injury as I removed it from the kiln (hoping to salvage the clay) the thing disintegrated in my hands.

The platter also had a name carefully inscribed in the rim, but I covered it over in MS Paint as this was a special ordered gift and I don't want the recipient to stumble upon this by accident...I don't know if I'll be attempting it again. I need to get on with mugs and tankards.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Thanksgiving Day Blog

4:30 in the afternoon and I have spent most of the day alone save for a few minutes with Morgan and a little snuggle time with the animals. Pepper pretending he is a lap dog, Tuna Fish the cat acting as a neck scarf, Pitty sleeping on my hand and Soupy and Sammy ignoring me. I've played computer games, chatted and commented and simply relaxed.

Ro is having Thanksgiving in NJ with her family. I stayed back because the trip was going to cut a lot of production time out for me. As family visits tend to be it has been both good and bad. I wish I was there for her and then again I am glad I am here. I need some solitude sometimes and I've had 1/2 a day of it. Tonight I will be social..bowling with Morgan then a trip to Zeno's Bar to meet up with long lost friends. I'm glad for the time to do these things since friends are important too and I rarely venture out to any social setting.

I've thought about this holiday and its reminder to be thankful and be with family and friends and simply celebrate the bounty in our lives. I have a lot to be thankful for. Truly, my life has an unbelievable richness. I am blessed. To everyone who is a part of my life, friend, acquaintance, often seen or unseen, I am grateful. Thank You!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Back to Pottery

It was a pretty productive day, I loaded a kiln, cleaned up some reclaim and trimmings, made another 18" platter, made a trivet..why? I don't know. Then I made 8 Pie Bakers with more to come tomorrow. Yes I will be working a little tomorrow, but I also have some kid time planned with Morgan..maybe some bar time with some old HS buds too. MAYBE a movie if I can find someone to go with.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WOT- The Gathering Storm :) NOT a pottery blog!

I've been torturing my wife with these books in audioformat for the last two years. She has walked in on a very serious reader talking about the Aes Sedai or Rand Al'Thor more times than she cares to recount. 11 enormous books in an epic tale by Robert Jordan. Sword and sorcery, political intrigue, coming of age, heroes and villains, the slow crumbling of an entire world around a small cadre of reluctant heroes all coming of age and fighting it as hard as they can. Sadly Mr.Jordan passed away before the final installment of the story. Luckily his wife and editor passed his notes on to Brandon Sanderson, a passionate young author who adored the books as a reader and has done a phenomenal job of writing the last story of the wheel of time from Mr Jordan's notes. The final story was supposed to be 1 volume but in true Robert Jordan style, the information simply would not fit, so Mr. Sanderson has broken it into 3 books, the first is The Gathering Storm, which I have just finished. I am not certain when the rest will be released but I can't wait to get them.

Longtime readers, you will not be disappointed. I am absolutely thrilled at what Mr.Sanderson has written. It is a page turner, your heart will race and you will finally get the answers to so many questions and yet there is still more to be written. Go back, reread the series and then buy the new book. There is a price war on between the major retailers so you can pick up an hardcover for about $12 through , though it is well worth the original price.