Saturday, December 31, 2011

I made laundry soap today

There is a recipe floating around on Pintrest for making your own laundry detergent. Well of course I had to try it.
I even splurged and bought a 1 gallon clear glass jar for a whole 10 bucks at wally world.
So this detergent is easy enough to make, it's supposedly much stronger then the stuff you buy at the grocery store. 
The ingredients were all found at Wal-Mart (in the laundry detergent isle) and total cost was $22.00 (not including the $10. for the jar).
This is all you need:

1- 4 lb box of Borax
1- 4 lb box Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
1  box Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda 55 oz (3 lb 7 oz)
3 bars of Fels-naptha soap
1- 3 lb box of oxyclean (this is optional but I did use it for mine)

You mix up all of the ingredients, use a cheese grater to cut up the bars of Fels-naptha soap. Or cut it up in chunks like I did and toss it in the food processor, here's a tip I learned tonight. When you put the bars of soap in the food processor it's kind of sticky like cheese as it chops, BUT if you add some of the baking soda it will dry it out and be a wonderful powder consistency, I totally recommend adding the baking soda for the chopping. I lined a 5 gallon bucket with a garbage bag and dumped all of my ingredients in  that and when I was done adding, I twisted the top of the bag took it out of the bucket and rolled it around and mixed it in my lap, being careful not to puncture the bag and then I dumped it into my new jar and waalaa... 1 tablespoon per load and this looks like it's going to last for a long time.
I must say... it smells pretty good. Also it does not foam like soap and other users say it is safe for High efficiency washers and front loaders.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Guess who broke their finger?

Yup... that would be me, I broke my index finger on my left hand today. Thank god I have all my orders shipped out and I'm taking a break for the holidays because I sure would be in a mess right now. The thing about breaking a bone that I've noticed since this is my 3rd time is that the pain causes me to either feel like I'm going to throw up or pass out. Thankfully I didn't do either one but boy was it close.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Home again

I'm back from Fort Jackson, I picked my son up for Christmas break. He looks great and has a wonderful attitude, that is so refreshing and wonderful to see. He's happy and likes what he's doing, I can't ask for anything more than that.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Interpreting Cat hand writing is tough

As I posted previously, my youngest son Levi joined the Army and is going through hell basic training now. He's been gone for weeks and his letters sound home sick and like he's having a bit of a rough time. So after a few glasses of wine last night I decided that the cats should write him letters. These will surely make him laugh.
from Little Cat

Also from Little Cat

from Spookers
 The good news is he comes home for Christmas break on Dec 16th. I can't wait :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

As promised, the new plate

Sorry for the crappy cell phone pictures

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Over fired plate = more work

I did a custom plate for a friend a few days ago and over fired it, which needless to say I ruined it. Today I redid the plate and if this turns out the way I'm hoping it does, this one will be so much better. It needed more color. Since this plate is for a little girl, I wanted the colors to pop and be vibrant and happy. The other colors were more pastel and the whole plate was white... boring! The good thing about making huge mistakes is you can look at it and know what needs to be tweaked. So sometimes screw ups are awesome :)

Here's my screw up... if you look closely you can see blisters in the glaze. 
I also hate that it's all white. 
 And here is the new version, This is before the firing, which I watched like a hawk and it fired perfectly. This looks dull right now, but after it's fired the greens are actually a pretty bright lime green and the same goes for the reds, they will be bright red. I'll post a picture of it tomorrow when I unload my kiln.
Here are some sketch shots, originally I had her holding a leash, but I scrapped that idea and went with her hand on her hip.
She evidently has a favorite stuffed kitty that she carries around so of course I had to put him in there.
  I also rounded the dogs nose and got rid of part that comes down. The more I looked at it, the more it just looked odd to me.
I can't wait until I can open my kiln tomorrow to see the finished  plate :) Just keep your fingers crossed for me that I didn't screw up again!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Roll on!

The sky has been a dreadful grey color for days, I hate that it affects my mood, it feels like the life is sucked out of everything including me! The past few days as I posted previously have been awful. Today I attempted to shake the funky mojo. I failed. I packed up a bunch of orders and went to the post office only to be told they can't take any credit cards or debit cards, their system was down for the entire nation! wow! How does that happen? So here I come back home with my orders pouting the whole way. My business account doesn't have checks, only my debt/credit card, so much for technology. So I bought myself and my wrists a new gift to make myself feel better... ready?

That would be my new slab roller *doing my happy dance*  Typically when I roll out a slab of clay I use a large wooden dowel like a giant rolling pin and it kills my wrists and it takes forever. Almost. This new baby will be here next week! Boy oh boy do I have plans for this baby! Together with my slab roller and my new extruder I'll be ready to take on the world or at least my own little world within my studio lol

Sunday, November 20, 2011

RIP Annie

The past few days have been nothing but terrible. My dad got sick Thursday, fell on Friday. He's ok but boy did he give us a scare. My father in law also took a fall and ended up in the hospital.
Saturday very suddenly we lost our dog Annie to a stroke. Emotionally and mentally, I'm drained.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My baby boy is gone :o(

My youngest left for the Army Sunday. I was prepared for his leaving, it's been coming for months but when it came time to say goodbye... I broke. Yep, I tried to fight back tears with everything in my soul but I failed. I've pretty much cried off an on for 2 days now. Funny how kids have this way of breaking you down. The good news is he is getting a nice 2 week Christmas break so that will be awesome.

Ok so now on with pottery stuff. I have 2 new glazes I'm dying to use, I'll do that hopefully tomorrow.
I made this little dish and I'm liking it so much that I think I may use the texture on the left for full size dinner plates, what do ya think?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm Back! And my Etsy is open again :o)

I'm baaack! My Etsy shop is now open! I'll be adding more new things this week. This is a new spin on my travel mugs. I made decals and fired them onto the mugs, this is permanent and will not wash off. The iron oxide in the ink has been fused into the glaze. I love this process and the experimenting that goes along with it.
 I'm still hard at work, I have so much glazing to do. I literally have 3 large tables and 6 large shelves filled with bisque waiting for glaze.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The count down

We are 5 days away from my youngest son leaving for the Army, he ships out this Sunday. I have some really mixed feelings over this, not only being the mom but the control freak in me is starting to have anxiety about it. I'll just keep breathing and working and remind myself that this will be good for him.

Halloween came and went, we all stayed in with the family and in our traditional halloweenie way, I went out and bought too much candy and we spent the evening loading up on sugar and watching scary movies in the dark.

I closed my etsy shop for a few days which has turned into a week (I'll be open Thursday). I'm working feverishly to crank out work.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In the works...

Here are a few of my latest projects. These along with lots and lots of new goodies will be in my Etsy shop around the end of the month. 

I'm in love with this little jar, I had some left over clay from a larger project and this happened.

I'll have several carved vases as well

And this is my 2nd needle felting project. A spur of the moment idea while on a car trip. She took me about 3 hours. This picture doesn't do her justice, she's adorable.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Little birdy

Just for the pure hell of it, I taught myself how to needle felt today. 
This was my first attempt ever.

 I did manage to stab my finger pretty good while making this little guy.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Juicers may be my new favorite thing to make. I made these in a larger size and a smaller size and I made several different kinds of handles for them. I like the idea of a lug type handle instead of a traditional type handle like you would see on a coffee mug I'm still tweaking handles to see exactly what I like the best. Overall a fun thing to make.
One of my customers was sweet enough to take a picture of one of my pigs, this is actually the only sugar bowl pig I've made. I should do more, they are pretty cute. This is made with a vintage piggy bank mold. Instead of cutting the slot for the coins or a hole for the stopper he became a container. Cute eh?
And here is my funny for the day, I found this online somewhere. Kinda reminds me of the mouse I had living in my studio last year.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

And down I went

I had a great work day, I ran out to go to the post office to ship some orders and when I returned home I threw a several vases on my wheel and did some hand building. After I finished working in my studio today that little voice in my head that I should never listen to said "Denise... you should mow the lawn". So off I went to the garage to get the mower. I should add that I never mow. I started the push mower up with no problem and I was in business. I mowed about 80% of the front yard which has a slope. I walked down the slope and lost my footing and BAM! I hit the ground, still holding on to the mower. The front of the deck was in the air with the engine still running, I'm laying on the ground in pain. The mower has that safety feature, when you let go of the handle it shuts off, nothing in my brain said "let go" my natural reaction was to hold on. I tried to get up and I spun the mower deck back toward myself and I think holy crap! when it came near me, so I spun it back around as I made it back up on my feet and I continued to push it back up the hill *cursing* and I parked that damn mower back in the garage and I will NEVER touch it again. Ever. At no time during this whole dramatic / traumatic experience did the mower shut off because if you fall your natural reaction is to hold on, right?
So I luckily walked away with a bruised knee, bruised and very sore hip, sore elbow and the palm of my hand got a bit scraped up.
Lessons learned:
#1 Don't listen to the voice in my head
#2 Holding on while you fall is not always a good thing.
#3 Lawn mowers are to be avoided

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The result

Good morning! I slept really well last night with my sock bun. I took it out and this is what I ended up with.I ran my fingers through it and waalaa...
I fixed my bangs and I'm ready to walk out the door :o)

Friday, September 23, 2011

No title :o)

My girlfriend Shelly's birthday was 2 weeks ago so I decided to make her something special. She's a gardener so I stuck to that theme and I made her this wreath for her front door.
Pretty cute, ya think :o)
My youngest son Levi (age 19) finally got his drivers license. He refused to get it when he was younger because that's just how he is. So after he got his license we had to make a stop off at the college and would you just look at this parking job.
Haha! I can't tell you how much we laughed over this.

I learned a new braid, the fishtail braid. It's a bit messy but that's how I like it, it's a few hours old in this picture.

Tonight I decided to try a new trick *drum roll* "the sock bun". Allegedly if you do this sock bun thing to your hair it will leave your hair with curls that will last all day so I got my bun on after dinner tonight, this is what it looks like, get ready to laugh...

If I do one on each side of my head, you'd have Princess Leia hair
It's a granny bun lol BUT if I did this right I'll have loose wonderful curls in the morning and I won't have to do a thing to my hair and that would be awesome. You sleep with your hair like this and because it is on the top of your head it doesn't interfere with your sleep because you aren't sleeping on a massive hair wad.  Just so you know, I literally have a sock in my hair holding that bun together. It's pretty comfortable I must say, I'm a bit surprised by that really. I'll let ya know what the outcome is.

I've been working a lot lately, I'm fixing to leave town for a bit to visit my family. My son Levi is leaving for the Army November 6th and he wants to see his grandparents before he goes, so that's the reason for the trip.
 I'm trying to get caught up on orders. I'm seriously considering shutting down my Etsy shop so that I can get some work done.
Christmas orders are piling up and it's starting to get a little stressful. So I'm thinking if I shut down online sales for a week or two I'll be able to get ahead and not feel like a complete ass for not answering emails immediately. I hate being one of those people and that's just what I've become here lately (a slow responder). Right now it can't be helped, when you are a one woman show and there are only so many hours in the day. So that may be my plan, a brief shut down so I can create. I have so many wonderful ideas and very little time to try them. So I'm gonna make some time :o)

But right now... It's Ninja time!
It's been chilly and damp here the past few days which means miserable in my studio. The cold damp air and my joints don't get along well, so I moved my working area into the house and I took over the kitchen table.
I'll have this load of mugs ready this weekend :o) I'd like to get some Ninja plates done as well, but they may have to wait.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cornbread bakers

I noticed someone had visited my blog looking for instructions on how to use cornbread bakers.
The directions for cornbread bakers are as follows,

 Coat the pan with baking spray, pour your batter into the pan. Place it in a cold oven *do not pre heat the oven* turn the oven on whatever temperature the cornbread direction calls for and waalaa...
The only thing you have to get use to is not preheating the oven, which is great for me because I've never been big on preheating.
 I threw more of these last week, I should have them ready within the next few weeks.

Breaking stuff feels good sometimes

I'm not at all happy with my last kiln load of pottery, the glaze I used blistered, cratered and pin holed on almost every single piece. I used a commercial glaze, "Sea Spray", it's an Opulence glaze put out by Mid-South Ceramics. Out of the 3 glazes I have by them this was the only one acting correctly when fired. I was having trouble with their "Blue Moon" glaze running off the pots and all over my kiln shelves so I emailed them to ask for help and if I could add something to it to make it more stable, they never responded... shame on them. I know the problem didn't stem from my bisque firing because I had pieces with the same clay, same bisque firing same shelf with the glaze I mixed and those pieces were beautiful with no problems, only the Opulence glaze had problems. This will put an end to my using commercially made glazes forever. It's heart breaking to put so much time and effort into something and have it get ruined because of something stupid.
I had the pottery spread out on top of my 2 kilns and 2 tables so I could be pissed off about if for a few days. Then when I had enough I broke all of it, piece by piece, it made me feel a bit better in a way I guess. On some of these I used Sea Spray with the rim dipped in their antique iron glaze. The same problems occurred on the pieces glazed only with sea spray and that where rim dipped in antique iron. It's all crap!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Zombies and potato's.

What a funky Monday this has been. I stopped at a little store with my son and his girlfriend to grab some lunch. For whatever reason, the lady taking our order and I were not communicating very well over potato wedges. It was way too stressful for a order of potato wedges, I may have to boycott that store because of it.
We decided to eat dinner at Wendy's tonight, Mike and I both order a baked potato with broccoli and cheese. We get home and discover we got baked potato's with broccoli and chilli... Who in the hell eats or would order a baked potato with broccoli and chilli? I think maybe there was a language barrier with the cook or he/she is on crack. WTH Wendy's!?

On another note...I've decided  I MUST have this
Zombie Garden Gnomes! OMG!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fresh from the kiln

A few goodies fresh from my kiln today. Everything in this load was hand built from slabs of clay or thrown on my pottery wheel.
Just opened and still warm
A small birdbath for the garden
a sponge holder
soup bowl with a cracker pocket
hand built tumbler from a slab of clay
My new glaze "floating blue"
The last picture I used a glaze that I mixed, it's called floating blue, it's really nice, it breaks a pretty root beer brown color, has a very good feel to it and is very stable, I've used it several times and it has never run, probably one of my favorites at this point.
The recipe is:

Floating Blue

Nepheline Syenite – 47.3

Gerstley Borate – 27.0

EPK – 5.4

Silica – 20.3

Red Iron Oxide – 2

Cobalt Carbonate – 1

Rutile – 4

Bentonite – 2

Monday, September 5, 2011

The worst craft fair ever and a fun trip to the flea market.

Saturday my husband and son left to go backpacking in the smokey mountains with some friends and I had the house all to myself which means... girl time! Shelly came over Saturday night and we had some wine and some deep girl talk and laughed, oh my lord we about laughed ourselves silly. The following day, Sunday I went to a "arts and crafts festival". I went alone and I'm so glad I did, It was the worst attempt at a festival I have ever seen, I was actually embarrassed for them. It was free to get in but you had to pay $2.00 to park. I was half tempted to ask for my $2 bucks back... yes it was that bad. I even took a picture.
Yep... that's it. No lie.
 So I headed home, on the way I passed by a small flea market that I usually ignore but feeling a bit disappointed in the fair, I figured what the heck, after all it's just down the street from my house and not out of my way.
 The first vendor I encounter sharply barks out "2 dolla" and holds up 2 fingers at me as I pick up an old glass citrus juicer that was coated in dirt, I looked at  him and held the juicer up and asked "does the dirt come with it?" you could tell he was a little taken back by my question and he replied, "uh.. yeah" so I said to him, "well... I'm not interested in the dirt but I'll give you one dollar for the dish", he said ok and I happily went on my way with it. I'd been thinking and talking about making some out of clay and this would be an excellent model for inspiration.

So I moved on and I met 2 of the silliest elderly gentlemen who were both vendors, in fact their booths were next to each other. I walked up and started looking at the first man's flea markety treasures and before I knew it he was out of his seat and talking to me (I'll call him Fred for this story). So Fred say's to me, "Hey how ya doin?" I replied "just fine, you?" then he says, "everything here is for sale, I have a lot of stuff for sale but no one wants it" and he giggled, just then I look up and Fred has the biggest silly grin on his sweet wrinkled face and he only has like maybe 4 teeth, so I giggled too. As I'm leaving and going to his buddy's booth with him on my heals still talking my ear off, his buddy (I'll call him Jack) Jack looks at me and Fred and hangs his head and laughs to himself as Fred is asking me, "where ya from?" I said "Rossville", he replied "Rossville huh? I use to know where Rossville was (it's down the street mind you from where we are now). Being the smart ass that I am I said "yeah? well they haven't moved it, it's still in the same place", Jack is obviously enjoying the banter because he hasn't stopped chuckling. Fred seems to be hung up on Rossville because he's rambling on and on while I'm looking over Jack's junk table. Fred say's to me, "hey now isn't Rossville over yonder?" and he nods his head in the wrong direction so I reply, "no... it's down yonder" and nod in the other direction, Jack tips his hat down and looks at his feet and he is giggling harder then ever. I reach my hand into a bin that held 2 items, a ceramic fish and a odd shaped piece of pottery *bing* I get Jack's attention as soon as I reach out, "That there is just what you need, that fish" said Jack. I cocked my head and looked at him and I said, "now what I'm gonna do with a fish?" (yeah I know... "what I'm gonna do" but that's what I said). Jack laughs and says, "more then I'll do with it, heck I can't get rid of the thing", So my hand slips by the fish and I pick up the odd shaped pottery piece and Jack says, "I don't know what that is, but it can be yours for fifty cents". I said "Sold", as I'm handing him a dollar bill and he starts rooting around in his pocket for change he tips his hat and give me the most curious look and say's in almost a whispering voice, "whatcha reckon that is? a candle holder or something?" I laughed and said, "nope, that there would be a handmade vase", then I told him to keep the change and consider it a tip. Meanwhile Fred is still going on about Rossville, "oh I remember when Rossville burned" he said, I replied "well that's before my time, where are you from?" Just then Jack tightens up and is holding back the laughter which he lets loose when Fred answers my question with "Rossville". We all three just burst into laughter, I told them to have a great day and I giggled the whole way to my car. I just love meeting characters like these guys.  Here is a few shots of my odd little pottery find.

It's a bit strange, but I kinda like it, and at .50 cents, I couldn't say no :o)
After I returned home I went straight to my studio and got to work, I had to fire some custom order pieces and I ended up putting in 14 hours of work, time flew and for whatever reason I decided to glaze some  pottery that I had made, some of it had been sitting around for a year on my shelf, shame on me! (59 pieces in all). I got everything I wanted to get glazed done and made it to bed at 4:10am. 
At 9am my sweet 10 year old niece sends me a text message that woke me up, the message said "Happy Labor Day!" I couldn't help but laugh and I replied with "Happy Labor day to you too!" I do believe that is a first for me, I've never been told happy labor day lol gotta love it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My first platter

I recycled some clay last week from my slurry / scrap bucket and made my first platter with some of the clay today.
 I went camping this weekend and came home with the worst case of chiggers. I am an itchy girl, I've just about covered 70% of my body in clear nail polish. If I used red polish I swear it would look like I was bleeding to death.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Keeping busy

My dad called and one of the first things out of his mouth was "are ya busy?" I said "yes, I'm throwing stuff", well you can imagine where that conversation went, he thought I was literally throwing stuff as if I were having a temper tantrum lol. I love that :o)

I made some of these bowls several months ago for myself, they are smaller than a cereal bowl, maybe hold about 1.5 cups each. They are the perfect size for snacks and salsa and ice cream! yum :o) So anyways since I use mine so much I figured I'd make a bunch of them for my Etsy shop. I just trimmed the bottoms on these today.
I'm also happy to report I'm still off diet coke, it's been about 3 weeks, it took about 2 weeks for the intense migraine headaches that I was getting everyday to finally stop. I feel good and I've been told that my attitude has improved. I can tell you I feel less stressed out and much more focused. It's funny when you constantly pour caffeine into your system and then stop what happens to your body. I did make the mistake of having a large glass of sweet tea shortly before bed a few nights ago, which left me laying in bed wide awake, I won't do that again.

On another note, my poor sweet nephew broke his arm today on the playground, a fall from the sliding board earned him a spiffy new cast.
  He'll be 6 next week, I'll have to think of something really cool to make for him. I just noticed my sister's time stamp on the picture is wrong, she's a day ahead.