Saturday, January 7, 2012

A New Year

Holy cow how time has flown and things have changed since I last posted in my blog!

After relocating twice, I have finally returned from wince I came, back home in good old Indiana. I haven't decided if I am happy about being sucked back in to the black hole, but I am content to be near my family and most of my friends.

Two of the greatest things in South Bend are my beautiful niece Gabriella Alexis and handsome nephew Collin Patrick, born in July 2011 to my brother and his wife. The last six months has just been awesome, watching them grow and I can't wait to see what kind of people they will become. I am looking forward to teaching them all the things I know about and I can't wait to take them everywhere.

My life here in South Bend is just as busy as ever, between the new job with all the new responsibilities, trying to reconnect with friends and family, making a strong effort to get into shape and playing in with clay, I don't have much time for anything else, but I try to squeeze in more.

Starting January 14th, 2012, I will be teaching an introductory ceramics class at Moon Tree Community Studios on the Ancilla College Campus just west of Plymouth, Indiana. I am very excited that I have an opportunity to start sharing my knowledge with others. I can't wait to share my passion for getting dirty and creating functional and unique art. I am also working on setting up a class for children at Fire Arts Inc in South Bend, Indiana. Hopefully I will have more information about that class soon.

Besides teaching, I am also taking part in classes at Fire Arts Inc. This past fall I had my first introduction into High Fired Stoneware and Raku Firing. I learned a few lessons and hopefully will not make those mistakes again. I truly fell in love with Raku!! I am not one who likes to take time decorating the pottery for a glaze fire, but Raku just solves that problem. I've always loved Raku fired pieces, but now that I've created my own, I just can't wait to do more! Unfortunatly, most of the work I did this fall is not worth sharing, so I don't have any photos of finished pieces. They looked pretty awesome before I glazed them, but we had some problems with the glaze quality (first time I've used custom mixed glazes) and the kiln misfiring. I'm going to try and re-fire several pieces and maybe I'll be able to salvage them, keep your fingers crossed.

I am always full of ideas, I love being inspired to create new ideas and I love Inhabitat,
a weblog devoted to the future of design, tracking the innovations in technology, practices and materials that are pushing architecture and home design towards a smarter and more sustainable future.
I was inspired by one of their DIY projects to create Felted Wool Mittens out of recycled wool sweaters. I thought that they would make fantastic Christmas presents. So I did a little research on the internet where I found out that a pair of mittens goes for $35 on So I dug a little deeper, I found a fantastic how to guide on the blog Five Green Acres and then I went shopping at my local Goodwill & Salvation Army. I ended up making 7 pairs of mittens for my cousins and friends for Christmas. They turned out wonderfully, so warm and cute. I would love to start making them to sell.

In the next 51 weeks I have set a few goals for myself:
  • Create one craft item a week for a year
  • Focus on losing the spare tire around my waist
  • Develop my pottery skills
  • Create a successful pottery class for kids and adults
  • Become more confident in my abilities at work
  • Take time to stay organized
  • Buy a house and start making my own Home

Monday, August 2, 2010

Asian Pasta Salad w/ Tahini

The goal of this week's trip to the grocery store was to purchase items that I would use for recipes I pulled out of one of my favorite cookbooks, 1000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles. One of the recipes I chose was Noodles with Sesame Sauce.

This dish was SUPER simple to prepare and it tastes pretty darn good.

8 oz Angel Hair Pasta
1/2 cup Tahini
3 TB Dry Sherry
1 1/2 TB Soy Sauce
3 TB Water
1 1/2 TB Sugar
2 ts Sesame oil
1/2 ts Ground Ginger (I used fresh that I micro grated)
1/2 ts Chili Oil (optional, I used more)
3 Cloves Garlic
1 cup Chopped Snow or Sugar Snap Peas
3/4 cup Shredded Cucumber
1/3 cup Sliced Scallions

  1. Cook the noodles, drain and chill under cold water. Place in a bowl
  2. Place tahini, sherry, soy sauce, water, sugar, sesame oil, ginger and chili oil into a blender. Process until smooth. Add garlic while running and process till smooth.
  3. Add snow peas, cucumber, and scallions to the bowl with the noodles. Pour sauce over the salad and toss until completely combined.

I added grilled chicken and grated carrot.

A few tweaks that I'm going to try next time:
  • Instead of shredding the carrot and cucumber I'm going to julienne them.
  • I think this dish needs a little more chili oil.
  • Definitely needs salt and pepper.
  • The book suggests adding 1 cup of mung bean sprouts

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Year

Today was my birthday. I had thought it was going to be dull and lonely, but it turned out much better. The day flew by. So many people sent me their love. I just want to say, Thank You, one more time, for all the wonderful wishes! I am truly blessed with the Best Family and Greatest of Friends. I know this is going to be a Excellent Year! And thanks to my best friends in Tahoe, Jennifer Haereiti & Te Kanawa Haereiti, for a delicious Basque dinner and great conversation. I tried Rabbit for the first time, it tastes like turkey.

So another year begins. I am looking forward to the rest of 2010. Wonderful things have happened so far and I just know that the second half with be even better. Things with my pottery have been coming together lately and I'm very proud of the work I've been creating. I've spent some time creating gifts for several of my cousins who have wedding bells ringing.

I've made several very nice Flower Pot sets. I have been experimenting with the shape, size and color of these groupings. My favorite of all sets is the one I recently made for my Cousin and his Bride. I chose to use a chocolate brown glaze and a crystal glaze called Outer-space. I think the combination is beautiful and I look forward to using it again in the near future.

I enjoy the challenge of creating flower pots with saucers attached. When you throw a piece like that you have to center the clay in two different locations and then pull out a bowl and a saucer. It's also challenging to trim the pot. You have to find a way to put drain holes with out gouging the saucer. I'm getting pretty good at throwing these type of pots and I just love it. I love the shape. I love that the saucer is attached. This particular pot is my new favorite, mostly because of the glaze that I used. It is called Fantasia and it has shades of blue, green and cream all mixed together.

Another style of flower pot I've fallen in love with is a square planter. I saw a video on Ceramic Arts Daily that showed how to create this style of pot. I've taken what I've learned and created my own designs. I really like the look of this particular square planter. I took a swirl stamp that I had made and pressed it all over the slabs of clay before I assembled this pot. I think it just looks so fun. I also love the color, I used a glaze called Organza-Orange.

I look back over the last year and see how much I have learned and how much I am loved by my friends and family. I look forward to taking what I have learned and transforming it into something that will take me through the future.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bug Buffet

Let's face it, my car, The Turtle, is just DIRTY! I could see that it was covered in a layer of dust and pollen, but I didn't realize how gross my car was until I saw some birds perched on the hood and realized that they did not want to leave their bug buffet. I was walking up to my car the other day and I saw two birds hanging out on my car. I thought this was interesting because they didn't fly away when I opened the car door and got into the car. And then I thought it was strange that they still didn't fly away after I started the car, put it in reverse and started backing out of the parking space. What really got me was that they stayed there for at least 20 more feet once I started to drive forward. I thought to myself... WOW... What's up with the birds? Fast forward a day later when I happen to walk past the front of my car and it dawned on me.... OH! They were eating.... Eating all the nasty things I kill on my 70 mile round trip drive every day.

For weeks now I've been contemplating washing my car... but I don't see the point... By the end of the day the Turtle is gonna be dirty again and I would have just wasted $10 so that my car could be clean for 15 minutes. Last night was a good example of why I should not wash the car... I'm driving home from Pottery and the bugs are being splat on my windshield like it's raining. Is their a way to prevent this? I have yet to figure it out.... Got any suggestions?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Made 4 U Pottery Designs

I have always had a creative side. I have spent many years learning how to create different types of arts & crafts. I have been making things for as long as I can remember. I learned how to sew and knit in 4-H when I was a kid. I attended many types of arts & craft camps. I've tried painting and drawing. I think I have finally found a form of art that I think is really me, pottery.

My first pottery class was in 1988. It was a hand building class through 4-H. I made a bowl that we used for many years as a water/food dish for our cat. This class only gave me a taste of what pottery was and I had longed to take other classes. I always wanted to learn how to throw on the wheel. I'm sure part of this was sparked by the movie Ghost. Everyone knows the scene where Patrick Swayze & Demi Moore are playing with clay.

I finally got the opportunity start attending a open studio pottery class in September of 2008 at the Parks & Rec Department in Truckee, Ca. I remember walking into the first class and being asked by Susan Dorwart, "What would you like to do?" to which I replied, "I want to learn how to throw". She gave me a look and explained that it was very challenging and tried to talk me into making something hand built. I was adamant that I was there to learn to throw. She got me started. It was challenging. Demi Moore had made it look so easy and really it is not.

Over time, practice and research I finally started to comprehended how to create things on the wheel and I just fell in love with the whole process. I love getting down and dirty with the clay. I love experimenting with glaze. I enjoy researching new projects and techniques. I love the reward of seeing a piece go from start to finish and then seeing the looks on the faces of the people who receive my pottery. There is so much more for me to learn, but I think I have come to the point that I want to start selling my creations. This has lead me to create "Made 4 U" Pottery Designs. It is my intention in the near future to start selling pottery to the public.

I believe my pottery is unique in design and function. Unlike most pottery I have seen for sale, I am focusing primarily on creating pottery intended to house plants. This may change over time, but I find joy in making beautiful things for plants to live in. Over the last year I have made many styles of flower pots the majority of which I have given away as gifts.

Please contact me if you would like to order a custom flower pot made by me just for you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's a Miracle!

Well it's Miracle Whip really and I put it on my face last night. I've noticed that my skin has been really dry and I've been getting a lot of blemishes. So I thought I'd do a little research to find some home remedies for facial care. I'm tired of spending an arm and leg on skin products that just don't really help the issues. (I also don't have extra cash just laying around right now.)

I found several websites promoting Miracle Whip has a facial, so I thought I would try it out last night. I spread it all over my face in a fairly thick layer and left it there while I watched Iron Chef. It smelled like tartar sauce and kind of tingled while it dried. I should have spread on a more even layer. Most of it had melted/dried and became translucent. I washed it off after approximately 30 minutes (may have been a little longer). My face was very smooth and soft, but my skin burned and it was definitely red. I put some mosituriser on and went to bed.

Today my face is soft, but it still itches and it's red. How can my skin be allergic to something I can eat? Maybe I should have used regular Miracle Whip, I only had the Light stuff.

Have you ever tried this? What were your results?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The First of Many

What am I doing here? What is the point of all of this? Where is this going?; These are questions I ask myself all the time. I really do what to find answers to my life and become truly happy. I have chosen to create this blog so that I can document my everything and so I can receive feed back and encouragement from people who care about me.