In summary, 2017…in the studio

In summary, 2017…in the studio

As December ticks by, while most everyone is out decorating for the holiday, baking sweet yummies and buying gifts, I have been reflecting on the past year as well as where I hope to go in the new year. It seems the older I less I have to stress over Christmas. At first I thought the magic of Christmas disappeared from my life but finally realized it has just changed a bit.

Ben and I don’t exchange gifts anymore. Truth is we really don’t need to. Our lives are simple enough and we are in want of nothing. When we need something we get it for ourselves when we are able to. All we crave now is a calm existence and the time and energy to devote to our crafts.

2017 ushered in retirement for both of us. We finally screwed up the nerve to let go of our e-commerce tool business that lovingly supported us for the past 18 years. What a hard decision that was to make but we do not regret it. With the money we received from the sale of the assets and inventory we were able to pay off all debt! Oh, what a wonderful feeling that was.

I now completely own my studio.

That took a huge weight off of my shoulders! With monthly bills at a minimum, I can now look forward to experimenting in the pottery and that is exactly what I plan to do in 2018!

So watch out world! Things are changing!

I look around my gallery right now and I see almost empty shelves. This past year my pieces sold almost as fast as I could make them which made my artistic heart soar. You have blessed me by liking, wanting and gifting my pottery. As I usually do this time of year I think about all the pieces I have sold in the last 30 days that are now wrapped up in pretty paper with someone’s name written on it. I try to envision the delight I hope they feel when they open their gift and see it’s something special, handcrafted and purchased with love.

What’s in store for 2018

As you know, I started playing with a technique called sgraffito which I love. I love carving in clay and I will be working more and more in this technique. I also plan on experimenting with glazes more, coming up with new colors. I will be treating 2018 like a year in school, reading books on glazes, watching YouTube until I am blind, making test tiles, expecting to fail and then finding success.

Last January I set a goal to purchase a new kiln by the end of the year. My kilns were old manual kilns and they worked but so many of today’s glazes work so much better when temperatures get held at a certain degree for a certain amount of time. This is almost impossible with a manual kiln. So my goal was to get one with all the bells and whistles and computer programmable.

I am so excited to tell you that…

L&L Kiln I hit my goal and I ordered my new kiln yesterday! It should arrive mid-January. That ties in with experimenting with new techniques, and new glazes. I will be learning it all with a new programmable kiln. I feel like I am almost starting over in a way.

Oh my goodness, I feel like a kid again.

My life is blessed and although things can happen, at this moment I am enjoying every second of every day and loving my life. Retirement fits me well. My studio is my happy space.

Thank you all for your support, for loving my work enough to buy it, for following me on Facebook and Instagram and for all the encouragment you have given me throughout the year.

I am in Utah and out of Ketosis

I am in Utah and out of Ketosis

My trial run of whether I could do this diet was a great success and I look forward to enjoying it more when I return from Utah. It was my hope that I would last a little longer before I carb indulged but I never even made it out of Fort Smith Ar, the first leg of my journey!

The Fort Smith airport is one of thos wonderful tiny airports with comfortable living room seats and very little hustle and bustle, it’s close to home and even though it costs a tad more than flying out of Tulsa, it’s worth being relaxed on the first run.

The weather was horrid in the morning but our fight was at 2:30 pm so we piddled around at home and leisurely made our way there. Expecting to have a rather long layover in Dallas I packed nothing but Kale Chips.

Note to self- Kale chips smell aweful in a baggy in a back pack.

We are told at the ticket counter that the plane was delayed a bit but not enough to miss connections. That’s cool. So we found some comfortable chairs and sat.

And sat

And sat

And sat

Checking the American Airlines online flight status our flight was still on time but now it was a half hour late.

And we waited.

Flight to UtahFort Smith is so small that it doesn’t have planes of its own, so the plane we were waiting for was coming in from Dallas. Word came in that our plane was finally leaving Dallas to come get us. Opps. Not looking good.

By now I should have been in Dallas picking out a restaurant. My breakfast was two hard boiled eggs but that was long gone. My head was beginning to pound and I was getting grumpy. The only restaurant in this airport was outside of the security area and they only open that when they had too, and all passengers were already checked in. Off to the machines I went.

First on my list was water. I didn’t have any $1.00 bills so I threw a $5 spot in there to pay for a $2 bottle of Dasani. The machine gave me my water and then started chachinging like I hit pay dirt at the casino. My lucky day, I thought! But what I got was $3 in dimes! Great. So I tried to use the dimes in the food machine and it wouldn’t take dimes and it wouldn’t take $5 bills so I was basically screwed.

Fortunately the lovely lady in the chair next to me heard my sad story and worked for a peanut company and had Peanut/oat type bar which I ate.

Eventually our plane arrives and whisked us to Dallas. Our next flight still showed on time at 5:10 and we weren’t going to hit the terminal until 5.

The Airline app now showed us rescheduled to the next flight leaving at 7:30 pm. Thank you American Airlines.

I thought of a lovely dinner at one of the top notch restaurants at the Dallas Airport. I knew that I would be throwing my diet off kilter but hey what the heck, I was on vacation and I deserved a reward for not blowing up and ranting and swearing and all kinds of nasty things I really wanted to do!

As I hit the terminal I happened to glance at the board and our original flight was delayed…. with just enough time for us to get to it, if we moved fast. So we did. We hoofed it. We speed walked. We got there just in the nick of time!

Back on track and still hungry as hell. My choice for dinner on board the plane? Pretzels or cookies. Since I had pretzels on the first flight I opted for cookies on this flight.

By the time I got into SLC my head was swimming.

My dear sweet daughter in law had a huge pot of Tortilla Soup waiting for us which I drowned in Tortilla Chips. I was beyond hope at that point.

And ya know what happened? I felt awful, bloated and guilty!

So maybe my mindset is being changed, we shall see. We have vacation, bbq’s eating out and pizza yet to contend with!

I almost did ok…Keto Diet Day 2

Yesterday was my very first day and I must say I did good. Not great but I did my best. As you know breakfast started out with two Duck eggs and Kale Chips. Believe it or not that actually kept me satisfied until about 2. I was in the studio with limited food so I had to be careful. My cabinets are filled with cookies, crackers and chips for the painting parties and my brain never lets me forget that.

Yesterday was my mother in laws 80th birthday and we wanted to take her out to dinner, to anywhere she wanted to go. With that in mind, knowing I would be eating out I munched on two small turkey sausages. 

Still doing great! 

My hope was that my mother in law would choose a place where I could get a roasted chicken breast and some fresh veggies. That would have been perfect and all day I set that intention. I played it out in my mind over and over. 

“I would like the roasted chicken and fresh broccoli please”

You have probably figured it out that this isn’t exactly what happened. My mother-in-law decided she wanted to go to the “Catfish Barn”. Catfish Barn is one of those All You Can Eat Fried Catfish, fried chicken, fried shrimp, fried okra, canned green beans, over boiled corn on the cob, , corn fritters,  sugary cole slaw and  banana pudding Oklahoma favorites topped off with sweet tea type of places. The salad bar was purely an after thought. 

Not the best place for someone watching carbs. 

But I did my best with what they offered in the way of salad, with ranch dressing which is all they served. I ate the coleslaw which was pretty sweet. Canned green beans are still a veggie. I did have some Catfish and some shrimp but not that much. Oh, and some fried Okra (which I love). I did stay away from all the fried potatoes which I forgot to mention above, and the chocolate pudding.

So I did get some control in there for which I am proud. 

Today will be better!

Keto Diet for Weight loss

Keto Diet for Weight loss

This time I am going to do it!!   Lose Weight, that is!!

Gads, how many times have I said this to myself and had all the right intentions only to fail miserably after a few days of hardly eating.

It seems the older I get the harder it is to lose weight, plus I am not all that active because of the problems I have with my back.

I think a lot of you can really relate to that last sentence!!

I keep hearing about the Keto Diet where you get yourself into a state of ketosis and the fat burns away since your glucose is depleted.  On the Keto diet you give up carbs but get to eat wonderful things like bacon and cheese.

Sounds like a great diet. 

So today I am going to go for it and I need you all as my support team! Are you game? You really don;t have to do anything (unless you want to cheer me on) but for me its all about accountability!

So I am going to be accountable not only to myself, but to you.

I am using a free app called MyFitnessPlan. You set it up on your PC but you can log what you eat from your phone or tablet using the apps. Sounds like my type of program.

Kale ChipsDay 1 

Breakfast-  I had some lovely, fresh kale in the fridge that I really needed to eat before it wilted so I made kale chips.   I also hard boiled the duck eggs and had two!!  YEAH ME!!

How to make kale Chips –

  • Clean the Kale under cold water.
  • Cut the fat stem out if your leaf has it.
  • I like my chips on the large size, they will shrink in the oven so cut or tear them about 2″ long
  • With the Kale in a bowl pour in some Olive Oil (Around 2 tbsps)
  • Gently massage the Kale and the Olive Oil so that the oil covers the kale
  • Lay out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle with your favorite seasonings.  At our house we adore Santa Maria Seasoning from SuzieQ. I buy the non-MSG one. Its a staple in our home.
  • Bake at 275 for about 20 minutes or until crisp
  • Enjoy
2016 was one fine year in my new Pottery Studio!

2016 was one fine year in my new Pottery Studio!

Here it is Dec 26 2016. Its the Monday after the Christmas weekend. All the presents are opened,  gifts exchanged, food overeaten.

I spent yesterday thinking about all the pottery and gourd pieces that someone opened and saw for the very first time yesterday.  Oh, I wish I had some way to spy into every one their living rooms so I could see what they said and experience what they felt when they opened their gift.

Nothing does an artists heart so much good as someone LOVING something we so paintakingly made.

Life for handmade seller has slowed down. It is a great time to reflect on the past year.

I got to tell you guys, 2016 was an amazing year.

Inside my gallery, there is not much left

Not a whole lot left in my gallery. In face that big gourd in the back sold just after I took this picture

First off, and the most important thing is that both Ben and I had great health all year long. We are both in our 60’s and we are feeling our age (especially Ben who seems to think he should still have the strength of a 20 year old Ben) but we are wonderfully healthy.  YEAH.

Social Painting Party

Check the Calendar for the next social Painting Party. They are fun!

Last year at this time I was not happy. I was running my artisan gallery, which I thought would really fulfill a need within me but it actually did just the opposite. Without going into it too much detail, the gallery actually took away some of my creative spirit and was suffocating me. I wanted to make my pottery but that had to be saved for weekends when I was home. I started envisioning what it was I really wanted and it was to have a beautiful studio with lots of room for all my equipment (my small studio at my house was too crowded and pretty uncomfortable). This building had to have enough space for classes, a place for my own personal gallery, and lots of room so I could make lots of pottery!  Oh, and it had to have a Reiki room as well.

I dreamed of this studio, I talked about this studio. I checked into metal buildings and even looked at some property.  Then one day, as I was driving, I saw a building that I had seen over and over in the 4 years I have lived in this town, but this time I saw it differently…. and saw the For Sale sign.

Below is a picture of what my studio looked like when we bought it. The roof leaked, the outside wood was rotted. It was painted hideously and the building was in a pretty sad state of neglect….

Yellow Cottage Studios - Before

This is what the Studio looked like when we bought it!

 

 

But we saw through all of that. Ben worked hard to fix the outside. We had the roof redone, had a new A/C Unit put in, and painted the whole place. On the inside, Ben had to build me cabinets and put in sinks. The bathroom floor has sunk and he had to pull it up, jack it up and secure it all.

Today I have a studio I am proud of!

Look at it today

 

Everyday now I am thrilled I could go to my beautiful studio, my second home. It is here that I have made pottery, taught people how to throw on the potter’s wheel, held social painting parties and saw friendships emerge. It is within these walls that I held Reiki Classes and gave Reiki Treatments.

And it is within these walls that I found my place in the world.

This studio (and my dear sweet Ben)  has allowed me to be who I have always needed to be, an Artist.

2016 will always be an amazing year for me. I am excited to see what 2017 has in store!

What the heck am I thinking..a very painful day!

What the heck am I thinking..a very painful day!

As a young girl I loved horses, what young girl doesn’t. I rode all the time at the local stables and got pretty good at it.

Then life happens and horses take a back seat to boys, school, work, boys (oh I mentioned that already, didn’t I).

I know for many young ladies horses remained on the top rung of their life ladder but my family did not have acreage so owning my very own steed was not something that ever happened.

Now here I am, in the beginning of the Autumn years of my life. My life is charmed, I have a wonderful husband, two beautiful dogs, a small house that takes nothing to keep it clean, a pottery studio and the time to make pottery.

So why oh why did I decide to take up horseback riding again?

And the answer of course is…

because I could.

My new friend Rebecca has two beautiful horses and also loves making pottery. How’s that for a friendship made in heaven. The problem was that Rebecca’s doesn’t like to ride alone anymore. She’s a tad younger than me so I get that. So I step in, waving my hands madly shouting “I’ll go riding with you”.

And we have, every Sunday morning for the last month we would ride for several miles in the Ouachita National Park. Strolling, looking at the pretty greenery, just my style.

But today was different. Today there are tons of hunters in the Ouachita’s, hunters with guns. It’s deer season. So we decided that today would be a good day for some ground work and riding lessons, to build my confidence and get Charlie, a beautiful red horse, used to me.

Charlie was a little frisky this morning, maybe it was the cold, but we worked together making figure 8’s, stopping when I wanted him too, going where I wanted him to go.

I was getting it and oh so proud.

With my chest puffed out in pride I ventured into the pasture where we would have more room. Now the pasture is where Charlie lives, so he thinks he is home and would prefer grazing and doing his own thing but he had to this pesky old woman on his back. As we rounded a tree a loud gun went off, Charlie spooked, I spooked, Charlie spun around really quick and I fell off his back.

Hard

Ouch

Shit

Nothing broke, at least I don’t think anything did. But boy oh boy do I hurt. I think I pulled a groin muscle. It hurts to walk, it hurts a lot. I took an epson salt bath, with Lavender, and Lemongrass essential oils, took a pain pill and sat my aching butt down in my chair with nothing to do but blog!

They say you have to get back on the saddle and ride the horse that threw you. I will be getting back on, in a couple of weeks. Until then though, I don’t think I will even attempt to go to Zumba.

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