Thursday, March 31, 2011

Glazing today,,,,,


The sale I am signed up to do is fast approaching.  April 9th will be here before I know it.  So today I am glazing all day.  I want to fire the kiln tomorrow morning and again next Tuesday morning.  These days are on my calendar in between appointments, LOL.  I also need to get some house cleaning done today as I had not gotten as much done yesterday as I would have liked.

I have put off taking pictures until next week so I can have everything glazed and fired.  Then I can take pictures as I am pricing and packing everything for the sale on Saturday April 9th.

If you are in the Clinton, IL area on Saturday April 9th please do come out to the sale.  It will be located at The Assembly of God Church here in Clinton from 9am to 3pm.  Lots of goodies to enjoy while you are there.

Until next time,,,,,,, Blessings!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Good news!!!


God is so very good all the time.  He really does answer prayers for those who believe and call on Him.

I have two pieces of good news to share that I received yesterday.  First some of you may know about my long, ongoing work comp case, but a brief history for you.  I was actually injured on the job 11 years ago this coming August.  I am still in a heated battle with both the insurance company and the employer.  Neither of them deny that I was injured on the job, there were after all about 60 witnesses.  The whole battle over these years has been, who is going to pay for it?  Both the insurance company and the employer want the other one to pay and I am caught in the middle.

Our next step was to go to the Appellate Court.  Which here usually takes about a year to a year and a half to get a court date.  We were looking at next summer before we could get in.  Yesterday, my attorney told me he got a letter from the Appellate Court that they were going to expedite the case and I will have a court date in September, of this year!!!  Praise the Lord!!!  That is such awesome news and an answer to prayer for sure!!!  Thank you Jesus!!

Next, and to me, this is a biggy.  My landlady has sold the house and the one she owns next door to one person.  We had a verbal agreement to buy this house on contract for deed but like most people, her word was not kept.  Seems people do that a lot these days.  We kept expecting to get evicted any day now and did not know where we would go.  Rentals are very scarce these days and especially those that would allow pets.

I prayed and turned it over to God to handle.  I asked him to make things work out for the best, we need a place to live and I can not handle this alone.  I always believe God will answer my prayers, so I let it be.  Yesterday, the realtor showed up with a letter.  My first thought is, now we will get evicted, but I will still believing that even if we did, God would show me where to find a rental.  I opened the letter to find the new owner's name, address and phone number.  And that they will continue to rent to us on a month by month basis. 

I called the new owner and found him to be very nice and easy going.  The bottom line is we can have several months to find another place and he is willing to work with us.  The rent will stay the same and he is happy to have us as tenants.  Thank you Lord!!!  God always answers prayers.  We just have to believe and trust in Him.  He is so very good all the time!!

This takes such a load of worry off my shoulders right now with everything else that is going on.  I know it is not easy to turn something over to God and not try to take control over it back.  But if you are still and patient God will work all things out to the good for you.  He says, "Be still, and know that I am God".  What a powerful statement to think about.  Its not easy to do sometimes but if we live by that one line when in need,  if we are still and know that he is God, he is in control, He can and will work things through for us.

Thank you Father God for always, being true and patient with those who are true and patient with you!!  Father God, you are so awesome!!!  Thank you, thank you!!!

Until next time,,,,,, Blessings!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Finding balance,,,,,,


I seem to have lost my balance, I fell off the chair, LOL.  No, not that kind of balance, I am just kidding, LOL.

In this busy and hurried world we often tend to lose our balance.  That is to say, we get so busy doing one thing we tend to neglect other things.  A case in point was me yesterday.  I am pushing so hard to get ready for a craft sale on April 9th that I tend to forget other things I need to get done.  Yesterday I did try to find some balance but wound up really over doing myself and am paying for it today.

Yesterday, I glazed ceramics, did laundry and did some much needed house cleaning.  I must have looked like I was running around here like a chicken with my head chopped off, LOL.  In the desire to strike a balance in my work load I over loaded myself.  Way too many trips up and down the basement stairs in one day and I had muscle spasms all night due to the fibromyalgia.

Bending over and picking numerous things up and organizing and my back is screaming.  Hunched over my work desk for too long of periods at a time glazing and my neck feels like someone wrung it for me, LOL.  So, finding a balance that allows me to get the most amount of work done with the least amount of strain is essential.

As I laid awake most of the night dealing with the muscle spasms and pain I was thinking about this.  I have decided to put myself on a schedule.  1 load of laundry a day rather than several.  Less trips up and down the stairs in the same day that way.  Stairs kill me, they flare the fibromyalgia real bad.  Spread the housekeeping over a few days rather than trying to do everything on one day.  And once this sale is over on the 9th continue to build up inventory rather than scrambling to get enough done in time for a show.

Now granted there are some things that come up that tend to throw my best laid plans right out the window such as doctor's appointments, lab work and general medical stuff.  Dealing with landlords and looking for a new place to live also throws my schedule out of whack.  I guess that is life.

The next thing I think I need to do is develop a back up plan for when things interrupt the schedule.  Hmmmmm,,,  can we ever really find balance??  How do you find balance in your every day life?  I think I need a day planner and perhaps a bigger pocketbook to carry it in.  So many times I am at the doctor's or somewhere else and I have to rely on my faulty memory to know when there is free time, no doctor's appointments or other appointments to keep.  Sometimes I wonder if I even have any free time, LOL.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time,,,,,,,,,, blessings!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Busy, busy, busy,,,,,,


The last few days have been extremely busy, busy, busy.  No signs of it letting up for the next few weeks to a month.  But we are moving right along getting all the doctor's appointments and lab visits out of the way.  I am still plugging along working on the ceramics whenever possible.

It is so bad I have gotten to the point I have had to start scheduling when I glaze, LOL.  I am scheduled to do one more firing on April 5th before the sale which will be on the 9th.  I sure hope to have enough made by then.

So as I posted recently, I will be hit and miss for a while.  Please bear with me.  My plate runneth over.  So much going on it is over whelming at times, but this too shall pass and things will once again settle down,,,,,, eventually.

Please check back when you can and I will try to get in here and at least write a line or two whenever I can.

Until next time,,,,,,, Blessings!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Back from the kiln,,,,,, very pretty :-)


I am back from picking the stuff up that I fired yesterday and yes I have pictures to share!  I took pictures of items as I took them from the kiln.  These are of course not the best quality pictures but they will give you an idea of how things came out.  I plan on taking better quality pictures next week of all the things I have completed so please check back.

The first look inside the kiln and things look pretty good.  I wish the pictures were better quality.

Top shelf coming out.  A tea for two set, vase and cat food bowl I made for Missy.

The tea for two set.  These pictures just don't do it justice.  This is part of my Spring Collection Line.

With the top shelf unloaded, this is the middle part of the kiln.  Looks good!

I love how the Americana Salt and Pepper Shakers came out!!

My version of the old time "yellow ware"  Absolutely striking!!  Set of 3 mixing bowls.

In the foreground is a set of Salt and Pepper Shakers, behind is the bathroom set consisting of tumbler, toothbrush holder, and liquid soap dispenser bottle.  All part of the Spring Collection Line.

The Spring Collection Line vase.  So pretty!!

Next week I will try to post better quality pictures where you can see detail and design much better.  I am very pleased how things came out.  I can't wait to fire additional pieces I have already glazed or ones in the works, LOL.  Keep checking back.

Until next time,,,,,,,,,,Blessings!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Loading and firing the kiln,,,,,


This morning I went and loaded and fired the kiln.  I thought you might like to see a bit about what it is like so I took some pictures.  This old kiln is about 25 years old.  I bought it new had it for a few years and sold it to a friend, Mike.  Mike had it for several years and last summer I bought it back from him.  It has taken a bit of a beating over the years and has had prettier days but it still fires like a charm.  I need to clean it and do some repair work on it one of these days. 

This is the box of items I fired today.

These items will be fired today.  A 3 piece mixing bowl set, 3 coffee mugs, 2 sets of salt and pepper shakers, a tea pot, a vase, a heart shaped bowl, and a bathroom set consisting of tumbler, toothbrush holder and liquid soap dispenser.  They should all fit, but lets find out, LOL.

This is the inside of the kiln.  I used the half shelf to raise the mixing bowl up off the floor of the kiln.  There are 4 posts in place to hold the next shelf that will go in place.

This is the largest of the three mixing bowls.  I will not put anything else on this layer because this is such a big piece.

This is the shelf that sat on the posts in the previous pics.  As you can see there are a set of 4 new posts to hold the shelf that will go over this one.  Under this is the largest mixing bowl.

This is the middle sized mixing bowl in the center.  Around it are salt a pepper shakers, the bathroom set and one of the mugs.  Notice the set of posts that will hold the next shelf.  Also in this picture at the bottom center you can see the kiln sitter with a pyrometric cone in it.  This is what tells the kiln when to shut off.  The cone will melt and trigger the kiln to shut off when it reaches proper temperature.  This is the old fashioned way of doing it.  Most kilns today are all fully automatic.

The top and final shelf is now installed.  There are two layers of items beneath this shelf.  Note that none of the items can touch each other or they will be fused together permanently.  I "dry foot" all my items do I do not need to use stilts to keep them from sticking to the kiln.

The top shelf is now loaded and I am ready to start firing the kiln.

You can see in the picture that I have used a small post to prop the lid open.  Also on the left side of the kiln are two peep holes.  I leave both the lid and the peep holes open until I turn the kiln to high.  This helps to allow any gases in the ceramics to escape.  Most people do this only in the greenware firing but I do it in all firings.  On the red box on the front there are 5 switches.  These switches turn on the heating elements inside.  I turn on the bottom two switches first.  Because heat rises this will help the bottom part of the kiln to get hot enough.  Then every hour I turn on another switch working my way up the panel.  When I have turned on the last switch on the top then I will close the lid and the peep holes.

It took a little over 4 hours to fire.  Tomorrow the kiln will be cool enough for me to take the items out.  I can't wait!!  I will take some more pictures tomorrow of unloading the kiln.  :-)

Rusty usually goes with me when the weather is good.  Win's yard is fenced in and he can run without having to be tethered.  He likes that!!  When he gets tired of the yard, he comes in to the basement with mom to keep an eye on the kiln while it is firing.  He is my best buddy and good company!!

Until next time,,,,,,,,,,,,, Blessings!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hit and miss,,,,,


Looks like I am going to be hit and miss for a while here.  Especially this week and next.  We have a lot of appointments coming up and I am also trying frantically to get ready for a craft sale on April 9th.  Not to mention that my yard work has fallen way behind again!

I will make sure I take pictures of my items after they come out of the kiln.  I plan on doing a firing load tomorrow morning for sure.  And hopefully at least one more before the sale.  So much to do, so little time.

Today I have to get out and pay some bills or they will be late.  I also have to stop at the court house and pick up the paperwork to renew my Order of Protection against my ex-husband.  Also need to modify it some to include some new places I will be setting up this year to sell my ceramics.  And add on the house my kiln and molds are still at as I have not been able to get them over here yet.  While at the court house I need to check on property lines for this house and the one next door.  We are considering buying the house we are in if we can work out a good deal with my landlady.

My seedlings are coming along good.  Some of them have already sprouted.  That makes me really happy.  I can't wait to have a garden and I hope we get to stay here to have it.  Would make life a lot easier in some ways.  :-)

Well, I am off, have to get the day hopping, LOL

Until next time,,,,,,, Blessings!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!


A very Happy St. Patrick's Day to all my Irish friends out there!!  I would have forgotten except I have cornbeef and cabbage to cook today, LOL.

Yesterday turned out to be a very busy day and I never made it on to the computer but for a few minutes to check emails.  We had to get Frank's truck to the mechanic as the starter went out a week ago.  We were so hoping it would start one more time for us so we would not have to pay for towing but no luck.  It cost $50 to tow it.  I could have put it on the insurance but don't want my rates to go up for something minor so we paid it.

The real shock was the bill for the starter.  $333 and change!!!  Boy has that thrown my budget way out of whack for the rest of the month.  It's gonna be real tight again, but we will make it.  Seems never ending.  I have been trying to get ahead of things for a while now and save up for a trip this summer to Frank's family reunion.  Seems like I get a little padding in the bank account and something else goes wrong.

We also have some extra bills this month and next month as well as both of us have plates coming due on our vehicles at $99 each.  When will it ever end?

Folks, if you don't live on a fixed income like we do, you have no idea what it is like to wonder if you will be able to pay for meds or put groceries on the table.  With prices continuing to rise and income not increasing it is getting harder and harder to make ends meet each month.  I feel sorry for senior citizens depending on social security to see them through.  They have not had a cost of living increase in a few years now.  But they sure have seen their cost of living get higher and higher with each passing month.

I watched the prices in the grocery stores climb steadily now for a few years.  Yesterday I spent $135 at the grocery store for basic items and only one package of meat, the cornbeef I am going to cook today and try to make it last until next week.  I am a frugal shopper and do not buy junk food and typically do not buy something unless it is on sale or mark-down or I have a good coupon for it.  I watch the sales fliers and am very careful what I spend. 

I don't buy a lot of pre-packaged foods, or frozen foods because the cost is usually much higher than if I make it from scratch.  Not too mention all the crap they put in frozen entrees to make them edible.  Ugh!!  Will it ever end?

I don't drink and I especially don't like beer, but I think I will raise a frosty mug of green beer this evening with my Irish friends and hope we all survive this economical nightmare!!

Until next time,,,,,,, Blessings!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Woooo hooooo, happy, happy is me, LOL


Woo hoooo I am so happy.  I got a lot done yesterday in spite of my back being out of whack.  I managed to work on several pieces of ceramics and I also got my seeds planted finally!!!

On the ceramics, I managed to get a few more pieces glazed to my spring collection I have started.  I almost have a full kiln load now and will try to fire towards the end of the week.  I still want to glaze a few more pieces.  I will load the kiln up as full as possible.

I have several seed trays started now.  But I still have one more to do today.   I am going to start some herbs.  I love going out and cutting herbs fresh from the garden and using them in my cooking.  My excess I will bundle and hang to dry for winter use.  Nothing like knowing where your herbs and produce comes from.  I grow organic with no chemicals on my gardens.  I can tell a difference in taste as well as how I feel when I eat chemical free foods.

I also love the money I save.  I spent a total of $25 on seeds, starter medium, and peat pots.  But I will get hundreds of dollars of food out of my garden.  Yes there is work and time involved in raising a garden, but it is still well worth the effort to raise your own food.  I have been gradually moving my canning supplies over here from Win's house.  What we don't eat fresh this year will be canned.  Frank loved the spaghetti sauce I made from the garden tomatoes last year.  And I hope to do a lot more this year.  I am putting in 20 tomato plants.  10 Rutgers and 10 Tip Tops.  Both are good all around tomatoes but the tip tops are a little bit better for canning than the Rutgers.  We will use the Rutgers mainly for fresh eating on salads and sandwiches.  The extras will can into stewed tomatoes or juice.  The tip tops are a very meaty tomato that will make good sauce.  I might try my hand at making ketchup too.  :-)

Today is another rainy day so I am going to glaze for a while then get the herb seeds started. 

Until next time,,,,,,,,,,,, Blessings!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Having the time of my life,,,,,,


I have spent the last few days working on ceramics and I am having the time of my life!!  Working on ceramics is suppose to be a job for me but it doesn't feel like one.  I love what I do!!

I have added to my "spring collection" line.  I started out making a set of sundae bowls for myself and decided it would make a neat line to offer my customers.  So, I will add on salt and pepper shakers, a vase, coffee mugs, and dishes to the set.  I think I will also add on a bathroom set of tumblers, toothbrush holders and liquid soap dispensers. 

I also started working on a special edition coffee mug.  What makes it special is its being designed for a family reunion.  Frank's family reunion we are going to in July.  Everyone who attends will get a special coffee mug commemorating the event.  Just a little something I wanted to do for everyone.  I showed the first one to Frank and he really liked the design I used.  I am not going to give any more info about it on here though as I do not want to totally spoil the surprise.  :-)

Being creative in ceramics is my passion, my joy and I truly am having the time of my life!!  It is my wish that everyone could work with what brings them the most joy.

Until next time,,,,,,,, Blessings!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Getting ideas,,,,,,,,


Yesterday when taking a break from yard work I sat on the computer doing some research, getting ideas for different dish patterns for my ceramics I make.  I had a lot of fun.  Several ideas popped into my head as I was zooming along the information highway at warp speed.

First thing I though of was Pennsylvania Dutch Hex sign patterns.  Would be colorful and fun!  So I went searching the next and here are just a couple of what I found.

This is just a few.  And of course I would have to make some adjustments to them to be able to do them on ceramics.  I wonder if enough people would be interested in plates, bowls etc. with the hex signs?

Then I thought blue delft would be interesting to do.  So I did a search for blue delft and this is what I found.

I like the blue flower pattern.  It looks like it would be a little time consuming but not difficult.

Until I did my search I always thought that delft wares were only blue, but I found several with other colors added.  This is just one example.

Then I started to stretch my limits a bit, LOL.  My friend Erik told me about Polish Pottery, so I went a looking.  This is very intricate, highly detailed work but I love it.  It would give me a good challenge.  :-)

That is a lot of intricate work, but it sure is pretty.

I can see me doing this sort of thing at some point, but maybe not immediately.  I love the detail and all the design work.

Well, this made me think of the Ukrainian Eggs I saw as a kid.  I would love to put that sort of design work into a piece but I would think this would be more decorative than every day dishes type thing.

I can see some of these patterns on dishes.

Now that is some intricate design work!!

I have also found some basic patterns from other pottery shops that I would not mind doing something similar to my dishes.  This is one of the best ways to get ideas.  Just go see what everyone else does.  Find what you like then make it your own.  I will not do any pattern exactly like someone else's.  But this is a great way to get ideas for my own.

I love this design and the brush work on it.

This would make a nice fall and winter set.  A set with Poinsettias would look pretty too.

I have a lot of ideas now to work from.  Should keep me busy for quite a while picking out which ones I want to work with and then getting examples of each made up.

Searching the internet for ideas has been a lot of fun.  I have shown you only a small sampling of the things I have found.  I guess you are going to have to wait until I get some done, LOL.

Until next time,,,,,,,,,, Blessings!

Friday, March 11, 2011

What a wonderful day,,,,,,


It's the 11th day of March and what a wonderful, spring day it is to be!  I little chilly this morning but lots of sunshine and it is suppose to get to a high of 55 today!  Glory hallelujah!!!  I love spring!!  It is a new beginning.  The awakening of the earth after a long winter's nap.  A time to be rejuvenated and to start over. 

The bible says to everything there is a season.  Winter is a time to rest and recover.  Take stock in the previous year and make plans for the upcoming year.  Spring is the time of new beginnings.  A time to sow.  Summer is a time for growing and tending the fields.  Nurturing what you have sown.  And fall or autumn is the time to harvest.  To reap what you have sown. 

If you follow this basic plan of living a simple life you will find that you are most blessed.  Of course when the bible talks about sowing and reaping it is not always talking about a vegetable garden.  It is often used as a metaphor for many other things.  We especially have spiritual sowing and reaping.  We can have "sowing and reaping" on a business level, educational level, and work level.  Take time to think about what you sow in your life and in the life of others today.  You just might be surprised!

As for me today, I am going to sow a little bit of work out in the yard this afternoon when it is going to be so warm and sunny, LOL.

Until next time,,,,,,, Blessings!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another rainy day,,,,,,


Its another rainy day here in Central Illinois.  The robins are loving it as they are running around pulling worms from the wet ground and having a feast.  My dog hates it.  He does not get much outdoor time when it is raining.  Just goes to show you, you can't please everyone, LOL.

I have to get my new printer hooked up and then do some research online.  I don't seem to have much energy today and feel pretty run down.  So its a good day to go slow for the day.  Feel like I am getting another rough sinus infection.  :-(

Maybe I will get to glaze today or work on my garden seeds.  So many things I should be doing, but really, I want to sleep, LOL.  Oh well, such is life!!

In case you can't tell, I just don't have much to write about today.  My mind is in slow motion today, LOL.

Until next time,,,,,, Blessings!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What a nightmare of a day yesterday,,,,,,,


Yesterday started out bad and went from bad to worse it seemed.  First, my printer died.  It will not communicate with the computer at all any more.  My printer is a piece of equipment I use almost on a daily basis.  I can live without my cell phone, I can live without the TV but I can not live without my printer!!

So, I dug into my "mad" money I have been squirling away for a rainy day and ran to Wal-Mart.  I spent $60 on a new printer.  It is a printer, copier, scanner.  It is also wireless.  I went with the wireless so if Frank is on his laptop and needs to print something he can also be printing on it.  Otherwise I could have got a printer for a little less money.  I can't really complain, I had that computer several years and really used it a lot.  I got my money's worth out of it.

Then we are on our way to the VA in Decatur because Frank had to do his blood work yesterday.  We stopped at the local grocery store to get a little money out of the ATM so we could stop for a bite to eat on the way back.  Frank went into the store, I went to the mail box to drop some mail into it.  After we get back to the truck, it won't start.  It won't start!!  Ugh, we have an appointment in 40 minutes and his truck won't start.  Also in the process of all this my cell phone fell out of my pocketbook.  I had not noticed until I went to call a friend to come help us.  What next?!?

Luckily, some honest person turned my cell phone in to the grocery store.  I had decided to walk in and check with them just in case.  OK, that's good.  I try calling one friend and no answer.  Got a hold of another friend and he came to get us and take us back home so we could get my car.  In the meantime I called the VA and let them know we might be late but we will get there as fast as we can.

As it was, we made it to the VA exactly on time.  But yes, I was speeding, LOL.  I know, bad me!!!

We took care of things at the VA and went to Papa John's to get pizza to bring home for supper.  Frank ordered a pizza I can not eat.  Way too spicy for me!!  He should know by now that I do not eat spices.  I do not like the bit or my mouth burning.  I do not even eat regular black pepper.  So the pizza he ordered had "Spicy Hot Italian Sausage" on it.  To him, its mild, to me, its setting my mouth on fire and I can not breath.  During the course of the night, Frank ate an entire large pizza.  Good for him.  I ate some cheese sticks and some salad I already had in the house. 

After we ate I called both the grocery store and the police department to let them know the truck would be sitting in the lot all night.  No problem there.

Frank was not in the best of moods and neither was I.  I did not sleep 5 minutes last night.  I am definitely going to need a good nap today.

I went and did my blood work this morning and then ran by where the truck was left just to see if it would start.  It did on the first try.  So now the truck is home and will sit in the driveway until we have the money to have a new starter put on it.  Frank says its the starter.  I'll have to take his word for it, LOL.

I am one tired out ole lady today.  Please Lord, let this day be a quiet one!!  And Lord, thank you for not letting us get all the way to the VA 25 miles south of here before the truck decided it did not want to start again.  It would have been much harder to get someone to come down there to get us.  Thank you for always watching over us and protecting us!!  Thank you Jesus!!

Until next time,,,,,,, Blessings!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What happened to customer service???


I was not sure what I was going to write about this morning, but then I went to a friend's blog, she was discussing the prices of things today and that, in a round about way lead me to this topic, LOL.

Last week I bought a small bag of apples at the grocery store.  The next day I went to cut some up to have sliced and they were all bruised to the point I could not find one good slice in all the apples and had to throw them away.  I will complain to the store when I go shop this week but I was not going to make a special trip down there last week and burn up more money by way of gas tank.

It sure is not like it used to be.  When a customer had a complaint years ago, the store owner, manager or someone in charge would practically bend over backwards to make it right for you.  For example, bad apples, they would personally hand picked a bag of new, fresh apples and insure none were bruised.  They would also apologize several times for the problem.  Not today!  I am sure if/when I complain I will get a simple, "gee that's too bad" as they turn and walk away.  Most of the time today, you won't even hear someone say, "I'm sorry".

Frank and I went out to what was suppose to be a nice restaurant for Valentine's Day.  We had the house special that day, Rack of Lamb, Steamed fresh vegetables, Garlic mashed potatoes.  We ordered the Lamb medium rare.  The lamb was more than medium rare it was down right raw in the middle.  The vegetables, were not cooked, they weren't even warm, and had no seasoning.  And the garlic mashed potatoes, even though they had no garlic in them were probably the best part of the entire meal.  There was no seasoning on anything.  When I complained the reply was, "Oh,  well I hope you come back again" as the waitress walked away.

I was so upset I even went on their facebook page and complained there.  Still no reply almost a month later.  Imagine that!!   I worked in a restaurant back in the 70s as a waitress.  I can assure you, had I ever treated a customer like that I would have been fired on the spot.

It sure seems to me customer service has gone out the window.  What a shame!!  It seems like us Americans have gotten both greedy and lazy.  "I want to make lots of money but I don't want to do anything to earn it", seems to be the attitude of most Americans today.  I wish we could turn back the hands of time, at least for some things.

Well, I will promise you with my ceramics you will be happy or I will make it right!!

Until next time,,,,,,,,, Blessings!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Isn't this interesting????


I have always said, butter is better for you than margarine.  In fact I maintain that if it could be produced during biblical times it has got to be better for you than those things that are produced today.

I got this in an email a few days ago and thought I would share it with you.  Sort of makes you think and wonder, just what is going into our food today???

Pass The Butter ... Please..

         This is interesting . . .

Margarine  was originally manufactured to fatten  turkeys.  When it killed
the turkeys, the people who had put  all the money into the research wanted
a payback so they put their  heads together to figure out what to do with
this product to get  their money back.

It was a white substance with no food appeal  so they added the yellow
colouring and sold it to people to use in place of butter.  How do you like
it?   They have come out  with some clever new flavorings.

DO  YOU KNOW... The difference between margarine and butter?

Read on to the end...gets very interesting!

Both  have the same amount of calories.

Butter  is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8  grams; compared to 5
grams for margarine.

Eating margarine can increase  heart disease in women by  53%  over eating
the same amount of butter, according to a recent  Harvard  Medical Study.

Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in  other

Butter  has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and
only  because they are added!

Butter  tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors
of  other foods.

Butter  has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for
less than 100 years .

And now, for Margarine...

Very High in Trans fatty acids.

Triples risk of coronary heart disease .
Increases  total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and
lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol).

Increases  the risk of cancer up to five times.

Lowers quality of breast milk.

Decreases immune response.

Decreases  insulin response.

And  here's the most disturbing fact.... HERE  IS  THE  PART  THAT  IS

Margarine  is but ONE  MOLECULE  away  from being PLASTIC... and shares 27
ingredients with PAINT

These facts alone were enough to have me avoiding margarine for life  and
anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is  added,
changing the molecular structure of the  substance).

You  can try this yourself:

Purchase  a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded
area.  Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:

*  no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it  (that should
tell you something)

*  it does not rot or smell differently because it has  no nutritional
value ; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will
not a find a home to grow.  Why?   Because it is nearly plastic .  Would
you melt your Tupperware and  spread that  on your toast?

Share  This With Your Friends.....(If you want to butter them up')!

Chinese Proverb:  When someone shares something of value with you and you
benefit from it,  you have a  moral obligation to share it with  others.

If only half of what is printed here is true, I will stick with my butter thank you, LOL

Until next time,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Blessings! 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Time for a change,,,,,,


I don't know if you have noticed or not but I like playing with the background and colors.  I guess that is the artist in me coming out even on here, LOL.

This background reminds me of many things.  An Italian Restaurant, peace and quiet, good food and good company, baking, gardening, making things from scratch, and so much more.  I would love to turn this background into wallpaper for my dining room.  :-)  I love the soft colors. 

I once had a neighbor who gave me all her grapes from several arbors.  It took days to cook and can them all into juices and jellies.  I never did try making wine, but I would like to sometime.  Of course those who know me, know I am a bread baker and have sold home made breads at the local farmers market for a few years now.  But time for a change in that area too as I will no longer be selling at the local farmers market on a regular basis.

To get ready for a 4 hours sale on Saturday took all week baking.  Then you had the risk of getting rained out as this was an outdoor market with no where to go during storms.  Sometimes I made very good money, when everything went right and sometimes I lost a small fortune when the weather was bad.  Too much work for too much risk.  Besides, I want to concentrate on my ceramics and crafts and this farmers market is just not the right venue for that.  So, time for a change.

There is a place called the "Third Sunday Market" up in Bloomington, IL.  It is strictly antiques and hand made crafts.  It cost a whole lot more to rent a space at but they have the people come through there.  There is a ton more exposure and opportunity to succeed.  So that is what I am planning for this year.  I need to really work hard to get ready for it.  I feel so far behind schedule it is not funny.

I have finished glazing the Sundae Bowls I was working on and am now working on Salt & Pepper Shakers.  I have one set almost complete and just about ready to start another set.  Need to keep busy, but I love it!!

Of course if Frank and I do find a house we want to buy, there goes my plans for a while as I will have to do all the packing and moving when the time comes.  Then unpacking and getting settled in.  But it will be so worth it.

Time for a change?  Ha!!!  Life is always changing!!!

Until next time,,,,,,, Blessings!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One day at a time,,,,,,


My blog friend Michelle told me I needed to slow down a bit and she is right, I do.  That is a bad habit of mine, over extending myself then running into a brick wall at full speed because I am trying to do too much.  I need to take one day at a time.  I have been walking around singing in my mind that old gospel song, "One day at a time, sweet Jesus"  I should use that as a reminder I think, LOL.

I did get a lot accomplished yesterday but not everything I wanted to.  Of course I always want to get more done than I actually do, LOL.  I keep forgetting this old body is getting older and slowing down even more.  These old eyes don't see as good as they used to see either and if I strain them too much then I have to rest them a while.

Because of my eyesight I have had to stop reading a friend's blog.  I don't think he understands.  But he does not use paragraphs and one sentence runs into the other.  I can not follow the lines as they seem to blurr on me.  I guess that is what happens when your eyesight is not as good as everyone else's.  I have to take more frequent breaks when I am glazing too and especially doing detail work on the ceramics.  The eye strain gives me a headache if I don't take a break.  :-(

I have the paperwork to fill out the application for a mortgage but the print is so fine I can not read it.  Not sure what I am going to do about that, but I have to get it filled out.  Seems I am the one who takes care of all the business around here, LOL.

Well, I plan on doing some glazing this morning while Frank is still sleeping.  Then I will decide from there, LOL.

Until next time,,,,,,,,,,Blessings!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Boy have things changed,,,,,


Back in the 80s when I sold real estate, we had to help the house buyer find financing.  Which meant we had to know a great deal about financing and not just bank names.  We had to know which banks handled which types of mortgages.  Whether it be FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Conventional, Fixed Rate, or Variable Rate.  We had to know how to calculate how much a person could afford to pay for a house.  How much down payment they would have and what repairs might need to be completed for the house to qualify for a particular type of mortgage.

Now that Frank and I are house hunting I am finding that real estate agents do very little.  They will not even show you a house they have listed until you are "prequalified" for a mortgage.  If you want a particular type of mortgage you had darn well better know what is available and where to find it.  You start talking various types of mortgages with some of these Realtors and they have no clue what you are talking about.

Be prepared to spend hours on the computer researching before you start your house hunting.  I can certainly see where people can get in over their heads in a hurry.  The banks try to talk you into borrowing more money, perhaps more than what you can afford.  Then you get into trouble and lose your home.  Don't over extend yourself no matter how enticing it might be.  Sure we all want the perfect home but at what cost? 

Be willing to compromise on your wants vs your needs.  I want a 3 bedroom home but I really only need 2.  I want both a garage and a basement for my ceramic business but really I can get by with one or the other.  By being willing to compromise if need be I will be less likely to get talked into something I really can't afford.  Next we need to figure what is the highest price we are willing to go to get what we want.  We need to figure out what the monthly payment would be so we know we can comfortably afford that payment.

All these things I am talking about, "we the buyer" having to do, the real estate agent used to help you do that, back when I sold.  Today, it seems the agent does nothing more than show you the houses, after you have done all the figuring, gone to the lending institution of your choice and gotten pre-approved for up to so much money on a mortgage.  You are asked to show the realtor your letter of preapproval and then they will show you houses in that price range.  Once you pick one the houses and make an offer the realtor writes up a purchase agreement and presents the offer to the seller.  And for that they collect a big fat commission!!

While researching online yesterday I accidentally discovered that at least here in Illinois, starting this year, anyone who sells real estate will have to get a brokers license.  No more sales licenses.  If I understand this correctly then anyone can have a brokers license and sell independently and will not have to be associated with a "real estate firm".  They can work in someone else's office if they want to but they won't have to.  Sounds good to me, that means the commission for a sale would be higher because I would not have to give the boss a cut.  Hmmm,,,, easier work, bigger commission, maybe I will go get my brokers licence.  Sounds like a winner to me!!

Boy have things changed.  But is it for the better, or worse???  Who gets hurt the most by this? Is it the real estate industry as a whole or the consumer who is stumbling blindly in a world of mortgages with no one to trust to guide them safely through the maze?  You decide!!

Until next time,,,,,,,Blessings!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sundae bowls,,, in the works,,,,,


Still a long ways to go before they are done but I thought I would share some pictures of the Sundae Bowls I am currently making.  Right now I am underglazing, which is putting 3 coats of color on then a glaze will be applied over the underglaze and they will be fired.  I am underglazing to the bisque rather than greenware.

You might recall I had posted some time back that right now I am purchasing bisque wholesale as I am not currently set up to pour my molds yet.  Not the best way to do things as I love pouring molds as much as the glazing and painting, but for now at least, I have no choice.

Frank and I are looking at a house and thinking about buying it.  If we do, once the work is done it will be awesome!!  I will be able to set up a little store in the garage and possibly even have classes again.  I hope we can work things out and get the house.  It needs a lot of work but it is livable as we do the work in it.  Time will tell, I will keep you posted.

Just starting to put underglaze on.  That color will actually be a bright purple.  Underglazes never look like they will after they are fired in the kiln so it takes a bit of planning and knowing colors.

First coat is on, two more to go.

A set of 6 Sundae Bowls, all 3 coats are on, now its time to start the flowers.

These pictures do not do it justice.  There are purple flowers, with yellow centers and green leaves all over the white background.

I always try to sign my art work.

Just 5 more to go and I can put on a clear glaze on the top.  This particular underglaze is designed to go directly on the bisque and once completely dry clear glaze is applied right over the underglaze without having to do a firing first.   I use only American made glazes certified non-toxic and lead free.  My utilitarian wares are microwave and dishwasher safe and of course are meant to be used!!

Until next time,,,,,,,,,, Blessings!!