Thursday, October 15, 2015

Feeling Very Thankful

Life is funny.  I have this art studio that has never come even close to paying for itself.  It's not a business, it's just for me...  for my sanity.  But recently I've been thinking I have to buckle down and produce more and be more mindful of my Etsy shop and try to make the studio at least pay for some of the rent, just to justify its existence.  Pretty much immediately after I had come to this decision, I went to a conference for work and reconnected with some lovely folks from my training course. This rencontre resulted in an order for the studio that will keep me busy for several months to come, but which will, in the end, pay for about 6 months of studio rent.  Huzzah!  Seek and ye shall find, ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Bucket List

Almost a year ago my lovely friend Gab and her lovely father Glen took me salmon fishing, and a miracle occurred.  I actually caught one!! They'd taken me salmon fishing several times before.  Apparently I suck as an angler, because not only had I never managed to catch a salmon before, but while I was along no one else caught any either. I've caught other fish over the years, but I really wanted a salmon.  It was on my bucket list.  In fact, I had planned on taking a salmon fishing excursion in Alaska, but when I came to examine the details of the prospect, it was so expensive and then there's the issue of getting your catch home from Alaska if you should be lucky enough to snag some, I decided to go off-roading in the Yukon instead, much to our mutual satisfaction.  Anyway, a couple of months after the Alaska trip, Gab and Glen kindly invited me along and the result was at long last successful.

I look creepily excited.
It's always satisfying being able to cross something off your bucket list.  Looking back at this outing got me thinking, I don't actually have a physical bucket list written down.  I have a mental list, but we all know a goal is much more likely to be accomplished if it's set down on paper, so today I'm going to do that.

Things I want to do before I die:
See the Grand Canyon, (mule ride to the bottom)
Visit the Smithsonian
Travel to Scotland
Visit my cousin in Palm Desert
Visit my cousin in Washington DC
Weigh less than 200 lbs
Hike the Milford Track
Climb a volcano (driving up the one outside Bend doesn't count!)
Own a house and land
Make my studio support itself
Drive to Alaska
Write something (novel, screenplay, book of verse, children's book)
Raise chickens
Go sky diving
Take a hot air balloon ride
Ride a camel/elephant
Learn to fly a plane
Get a PhD
Do a European road-trip
Fly first class
Produce something on my pottery wheel
See a Broadway play
Sing with Dave Plaehn
Learn to make cheese
Take a vow of silence
Learn Spanish or Mandarin
Attend an All Blacks test match
Test drive a Rolls Royce/classic Jaguar/Mercedes
Visit all 7 continents:
   North America
   South America
Visit all 50 states:
   New Hampshire
   New Jersey
   New Mexico
   New York
   North Carolina
   North Dakota
   Rhode Island
   South Carolina
   South Dakota
   West Virginia
Visit the Las Vegas Strip at night
Attend the running of the sheep
Visit Chichen Itza
Keep bees

I'm sure more things will occur to me, but this will be enough to be going on with for awhile :)


I have long wanted a cat or a dog, but I don't live alone and my mother has been consistently and vehemently opposed to the addition of pets to our tiny abode.  Apparently she has recently been replaced by pod people, because a few months ago she unexpectedly changed her decades long anti pet stance and agreed to let me get a cat.

At first we were going to get just one, but I fell in love with these brothers and we couldn't bear to separate them.  They've lived with us for 2 months now and I don't know how we did without them.  They are endlessly entertaining and a total joy.

Meet Fezzik and Inigo.

Fezzik making himself at home on Baathsheepa.

If we shaved his head he'd look like the alien from Independence Day.

So teeny!

Came home to find this mess one day.  Yes, black lives do matter.

Grandma human with her baby boys :)

Fezzik can sleep anywhere.

Typical morning.  I suspect I will find it increasingly difficult to be on time.  They're so cuddly when we wake up :)

Their castle.

Yeah, I didn't want to use the computer anyway.

Hellooooooo, ladies.

Wow, I need to vacuum.

Brotherly love.  They groom each other all over pretty much every day.

Fezzik looking sly after a morning of mischief.


Awwwww. That face :)

Fezzik's curly little tail.
I know they're not particularly unique, (most black cats look surprisingly similar), and the photos are not extraordinary in this world of uber cute cat photos glutting the internet, but they're ours and we love them.


A little over a year ago I rented a tiny little space downtown and turned it into an art studio.  I have a kiln and about 27,000 paints and pieces of bisque. It is my haven.  Here are a few things I've made since I moved in there.

My studio logo. Lol.

Back wall of the studio.  I'd like to report that it's tidier since we finished moving in, but that would be a lie.

I made this for my wonderful friend Gabrielle for her birthday this year.  I finished it in January and her birthday isn't until July.  It was torture waiting to give it to her.

I made this last year and posted it in my Etsy shop.  It got lots of attention and sold fairly quickly.  A gentleman saw it and ordered a custom one for his fiancee, pictured below.

I painted this ginkgo bowl painstakingly and intricately, using different glazes to shade the leaves and get the shapes just right.  This photo is before firing, mid-way in the painting process.

When it came out of the kiln I laughed loud and long.  All that detail work for nothing.  The ginkgo leaves are so blobby!  I took it to the gallery to show it to Paige, thinking to give her a good laugh.  She made me leave it there and it sold!!  Unbelievable what people like.  Lol.

A year ago I promised my SIL a bowl to go by her front door that she could put keys and stuff in.  I finally finished it last week.  Heh heh.  I guess I dragged my feet a bit because I wasn't really liking it, but she loved it, so that's all that matters, right? 

Bottom view of the bowl.

I got this new copper glaze that I wanted to try.  Here it is on a mug.  I love it!  So sparkly :)

Here it is on an unfired bowl.

And the fired bowl - totally different effect from the mug.  That's what I love about ceramics.  You never know exactly how it's going to turn out. 

I got a custom order for a funeral urn and this was the end result.  I'm still kind of gloating over it :)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cruise Photos part deux

I did promise to post the rest of the photos from my cruise... last year... heh heh.  So here they are:


We arrived in Ketchikan very early in the morning and had lovely weather and lovely views of the harbor.

I quite liked Ketchikan.  It was very quaint and charming, the little bit of it we saw.  We had time for multiple excursions but we wanted to do different things, so Gab headed off for a wilderness adventure and I trotted off to the lumberjack show.  I had very strict instructions from the ladies at work not to come back without lots of photos and I did not disappoint.  I took over 400 during that one hour.  I won't toy with your patience by posting all of them, but here are a few.

As well as being extremely easy on the eyes, these guys are actually all real lumberjacks who work for real logging firms and compete in real lumberjack competitions throughout the year.  Working at this cheesy little tourist attraction in Alaska and competing every day gives them much needed practice in the off season, apparently.

After the lumberjack show, I boarded a bus and headed to Totem Bight State Park, where they've made an effort to preserve the abandoned totem poles on the island.

If I had blogged about this right after I got home I could have told you what all the various animals mean and related stories about each pole... but alas, now I can't remember.  If you're really interested I'm sure the park website has information.  Lol.  I do remember our guide telling us about the last pole pictured here. The master carver, when asked why he chose to carve the fish sideways on top of a square pole instead of choosing the more traditional style, replied, "for the halibut".  Yes, I know.  Groan.


We were only in Victoria for a few hours.  Like 3.  We were delayed arriving, so the amphibious bus tour we had scheduled became unavailable, and there were very few other options, so we ended by going on a horse drawn carriage ride through Victoria in the evening.  I didn't get many photos, nor did we frankly get a very good look at much of anything in the dark, but it was still a lovely night to be out and about in Canada, and our guide was adorable.  It was quite breezy and a bit nippy after the sun went down and there was a group of geriatrics in the rows behind us who were disgruntled about the difficulty seeing anything.  Their comments got snarkier and ruder as the ride wore on and our lovely guide took it all with good humor and grace.  She answered them kindly and ignored their rudeness.  We learned that she was a native of Victoria putting herself through college.  I thought she was a great example for the kids on the ride, who were cuddled up next to her enjoying being close to the horses.  I don't remember her name but she was very impressive.  The horses were also lovely :)

That's the end of my photos.  I suppose I should have some pithy summation of Alaska or cruises or something relevant... but I don't.   I'm ready for another trip!