Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Back from the Holiday!

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a lovely holiday! Today is my "official" first day back to the studio after my holiday break but to be honest I'm seriously considering taking until the new year to fully get back into it. Michael has the week off from school and I'm really enjoying spending some time with him that doesn't involve working, traveling or visiting with family. For the new year I plan to clean out and reorganize the studio. My goal is to make enough space down there to bring on an intern next year. Plus, it's a dingy basement and now that I'm down there 24/7 I could stand to see it a little more cheery. We have a little money saved and I'm going to paint, get some new studio furniture (as of right now I work on a folding table and metal folding chair, yuck) and more storage. Any studio design suggestions from fellow potters working in smallish spaces?
Also, look forward to a HUGE sale in my shop as I clean out a bunch of pots to make room for my new digs:)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Great Gift Idea for the Hostess!

A great gift for your Hostess, breakfast for the next morning in a pretty ceramic bowl. I am restocking the shop this week so be sure to check it out! Lots of tumblers and juice cups:)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shop is Empty!

Hey everyone, thanks for coming out to the BEST craft fair weekend! The shop is currently cleared out until I am able to unpack what's left from the shows and restock. Thanks for understanding:)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Great Gift Idea for Him!

It's so hard to find the guys in your life the perfect gift. Make it easy this year by getting him something he will definitely love, a handsome tumbler paired with his favorite beer!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A gift for the cook in your life.

Spoon rests make a great stocking stuffer or pair one with a lovely tea towel and wooden spoon for a completely unique gift! Come see me at Holiday Heap this weekend to pick one out for that special someone.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gift Idea

Hi there! I'm gearing up for some super crafty shows this weekend and next. As part of my holiday display this year, I am posting some holiday gift ideas for creating the perfect gift using my handmade pottery as the center piece! I thought that I would share them here as well. I'll post more ideas throughout the month. Check my etsy shop to purchase the pottery or just send me a message if you don't see what your looking for. I have most of my inventory packed up to travel the Holiday Show circuit but will be happy to pull something for you:)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey day everyone! I'm so excited to be spending this holiday at HOME this year:) We always end up traveling for the holidays and while it's great to see the family, it's getting kind of exhausting. We always work so hard during the season, it's really nice to relax and not worry about fighting traffic! My mom is joining us for Turkey tomorrow and I'll be making all the fixin's! You can check out my post on Cranberry Sauce right here on the Lillyella blog. Hope you get some quality relaxation time as well, gobble gobble!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mugs are out!

I've finally started to unpack and photograph my work from Crafty Bastards. You can check it out in my etsy shop! Lots of new pieces are being unpacked so be sure to check back in the next couple of days to see what's new.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spicy Sweet Potato Bisque with Smoky Bacon

It's been a while since I shared a recipe on this blog so I thought I would share this tasty soup I made last night. I based it on a soup special Michael and I had last weekend at Annabelle Lee's after Crafty Bastards. It was the perfect thing to eat after a long day of hard work. It's smoky, sweet, a little bit spicy and perfectly comforting on a crisp fall evening.

Spicy Sweet Potato Bisque with Smoky Bacon
makes 4 servings

8-12 oz. thick sliced apple wood smoked bacon, roughly chopped(I used a whole 12 oz. package of Trader Joe's brand but you could use less if you don't want that much bacon)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbs. dried sage
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4-1/2 tsp. red Cayenne pepper (adjust depending on how spicy you like your food)
2 lbs. sweet potatoes peeled and roughly chopped
3 cups low sodium chicken stock plus 1 cup of water
1 Bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the bacon in the bottom of a large, heavy bottomed stock pot. When the bacon has rendered some of it's fat, add the onion and continue to cook until the bacon is lightly browned and the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the dried spices and stir to combine. Add the sweet potatoes, stock and water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from heat and use an immersion blender* to puree the soup, leaving some of it chunky for a rustic feel. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*If you don't own an immersion blender you can also puree in batches using a regular blender but be very careful of splattering....the soup is HOT!

This soup is really filling and delicious paired with a rustic rye bread for an easy supper. It's also pretty healthy aside from all the bacon:)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Plate 500!

Yay! I'm super excited that my plate was chosen for the 500th plate on the "Plate a Day" blog. You can check out the post here. Here is what the juror, Carol Epp had to say about my plate...

"For # 500 I chose "Out of the way plate" by Pink Kiss. The aesthetic of this piece was quite compelling for me as it reminded me of a vintage prairie kitchen, where simplicity and family dinners coexist with hard work and the usefulness of objects, rather than excessive consumption. The statement, "because they were out of the way; no one would see them" printed on the plate opened a number of narratives in my mind. From heart racing love stories to an eerie "what's the building in there" sort of Tom Waits reference. The piece for me was so much more than a one liner. It was a conversation starter. I can picture the place it might hold on a dinner table between family members or close friends. Mealtime when stories are recounted and shared. This piece to me serves more than one function. It is a carrier for food, an instigator of daydreams, and a beautiful object to behold and cherish."

*blush* I'm really honored and blown away by Carol's amazing write up. I really try to achieve just that in my work and it's so great to hear that someone else gets my concept right on the money.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crafty Bastards

Well everything turned out ok. The kiln was fine and my glaze firing came out just peachy so I had plenty of work for Crafty Bastards. The show was great and it totally made up for all the headaches before hand. M and I even decided to take yesterday off to go to the movies and eat sushi with friends. Today I will need to clean up the studio as in the mayhem of wet-vacing I threw some things out of the way and there is equipment piled on other equipment as well as glaze buckets strewn about the basement. Ugh, I just depressed myself. I did decide during the big soak that it's time to clean up/ rearrange my studio for real. I want to make it feel a little more light and open and less like the basement that I am in every day. Once I do that I think I'm gonna put a call out for an intern. I could use the help for a day or two a week and I think I could be benificial to an aspiring artist....maybe? Anyway, here are some shots of Crafty, they aren't very good but it was the best I could do in the heavy crowds! This was the one time the booth was empty and I had to act quick! I'm really starting to get my display down, just in time for the indoor shows to start. As soon as the sun shows itself again I will be listing some of the work that made it home with me in my shop.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bad day..

I don't know where you are in the world but here in Md we are getting pounded with heavy rain. All day. I came home from class today to find my kiln room 4 inches under water. Luckily the kiln is on stilts and the electrical parts are up higher than the water can get to. Apparently the guy who installed it did know what he was doing. No damage but I did need to use the kiln tonight to fire work for a show on Saturday.

My original plan for the day was to come home from class, glaze my work and get it in the kiln by 3-ish. What actually happened was this... After scooping up two 5 gallon buckets by hand and getting no where I got out the wet-vac only to find it broken so (tick tick tick) off to Home Depot I go to buy a new one. Back in the studio I spent at least an hour (tick tick) sucking up 100 gallons of water from the kiln room floor. I could only afford the 6 gallon wet-vac and after heaving multiple 6 gallon containers of water into the utility sink I was actually happy I didn't get the larger size 'cause I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to lift it.

Once I got the water up I went around the basement to suck up any little leaks that pop up on our floor when it rains really hard (tick tick tick). I came back to the kiln room only to find that while I was gone another inch of water had crept back in. So I sucked that up. And it came back.

I thought it was coming through the door so I plugged that up the best I could with some old towels. Still coming through.

Then I saw it. The waterfall streaming down the stairs coming from one really large crack in the basement steps. Really it's amazing it took me so long to see this because it was shooting water in a steady 3 inch stream out of the step.

Frantically I raced around the house trying to find something to stop the water from coming in. Epoxy, water proof tape... anything! Everything I came across had to be applied to dry surface (hello, it's a leak?) and wouldn't work. I didn't want to drive back to Home Depot for fear that all 4 inches of water would creep back in while I was gone.

Then I had a brainstorm. I just needed something waterproof and moldable to shove in the crack. It only had to hold until the rain stops and we can properly fix the stairs. What I had that fit the bill was old modeling clay from college. I dug it out of my studio drawers (hey, sometimes it pays to be a pack rat), pulled off a hunk, rolled it into a coil and shoved it into the crack. The water stopped. I can't even believe that worked. I found every other major crack and jammed some it to them too. It's still holding.

I wet-vaced up the rest of the water and started glazing my work. Of course I realized that I was out of black liner glaze and had to run to the clay store to get more (tick tick tick). By now it's about 4:15 and the store closes at 5, since it's about 20 minutes away across town I hop in the car and take off. Of course since the weather is so bad there is an accident on the way and it takes me twice as long to get there but I do, just in time. I pick up my glaze and race back home to start my glazing.

It is now almost 6 by the time I get back home and in the studio. It takes me a few hours to glaze but I manage to get everything loaded by 9, which is exactly when it starts to monsoon again and other leaks start popping up. Bah! I am wet-vacing again! I hate the rain today!

Lessons learned:
1. If it's the weekend before a major show do NOT drink too much wine at a wedding on Saturday and decide that you can have Sunday off to laze out on the couch.
2. In a pinch, modeling clay will stop a leak.

I will let you know how the firing comes out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More white pots

Hi again! Two days in a row...aren't you impressed? Here are some photos I took quickly today of the porcelain pots I pulled out of the kiln last night. Like I said yesterday, still not there yet. I need the glaze to be thin but when it's thin enough to not pull the prints, it's too thin on the rim. Maybe my rims are just to thin structure wise? It's different from working with the red clay for sure. Any advice on glazing? I was thinking about a slightly more matt glaze on the interior and rim in the hopes that it won't break as thin. Any ideas or recipes for a good liner glaze?
I was also thinking of leaving the exterior bare with just a liner spilling over the edge like in these pots but I'm not sure how they will hold up to daily use.
This one came out nice, it most resembles my work in the red clay. I really prefer some sort of color on the interior.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Photo love

Ok, ok, ok! I didn't forget about you's just that things have been kinda busy around here and the blog had fallen off of my "to do" list. I'm putting it back on though....I swear! I've been playing around with a little more white clay, porcelain this time. It's not quite there yet but it behaved way better than the little loafers. I was getting some major weird cracking and it didn't like the pressure of me printing on it AT ALL. The porcelain is better at that but I still haven't gotten the glazing down yet. It takes such a thin coating for the prints to not run but then it can get too thin and the surface doesn't feel comfortable for use....if you know what I mean. I'll be taking some pics of the latest pieces soon but for now I'll just share this photo I took today for my Lillyella post that goes up tomorrow.
You can check it (scroll down to Slow Food in a Modern Kitchen for previous posts) but you have to wait until tomorrow for my popcorn post! Really I'm just liking this picture right now and am feeling pretty proud of myself for taking a nice shot (among many many more that were not nice at all) that's kinda food photographer-ish. Maybe all those hours pouring over food blogs and home magazines "in the name of research" has finally paid off!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blue Water Lily

Hi there! I just wanted to share some new designs I have been working on. These dishes are made from my usual red clay, painted with white slip and printed with a vintage blue water lily and black stitch design. They are now available in my shop or you can come see me in Chicago at the Renegade Craft Show...more info on that soon:)
Hope you enjoy!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Best of Baltimore;)

Woohooo! I'm so excited that Baltimore Magazine gave me a Best of Baltimore award this year!! I just got the letter yesterday:) Of course I had to run out and buy a couple copies of the magazine right away! (sorry for the crappy photo) Hopefully Michael and I can go to the big party they host in celebration. Yay! Just had to share my news;) M and I are off to NY for the weekend, it's gonna be HOT. Luckily we are there for fun and not for standing behind a booth for long hours in the ridiculous heat. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Single Serving Coffee Maker

Artscape is finally over! For those who don't know, Artscape is the biggest arts festival in the USA an it takes place right here in Baltimore! It's 3 days of scorching heat, thousands of people and long hours of standing at your booth. I was lucky enough to have some wonderful booth mates and my super awesome mom who came for the weekend to help me survive. I met some wonderful people and sold lots of pots, thanks to everyone who came out for the weekend! Now that it's over I'm taking a couple of days to recover on the couch and get some work listed on etsy.
One of my favorite new items is this single serving coffee maker. Just add a #2 coffee filter, a few scoops of your favorite ground coffee or loose tea and set on top of your favorite mug (fits all my handmade mugs as well as standard commercial mugs). Slowly pour hot water over the grounds and let the coffee maker drip your hot fresh coffee into your mug. This is a perfect way to make just one cup of coffee without all the waste (and expense!) of a commercial pod coffee maker. Keep one at your desk so you can have a fresh cup of coffee anytime you like!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Get Ready Ashville!

Tomorrow Michael and I are heading down south for a mini vacation and craft show. I'm so excited because we are planning to visit the Penland studios while we are there! I've never actually been and can't wait to see....I'm hoping someday to be able to do a small reidency there. I'll share some pics when we return but if you are in the Ashville area be sure to stop by my booth at the Big Crafty on Sunday and say hello! I will be taking full advantage of the time off because when we return the next weekend it will be Art Scape which is CRAZY! I will surely need another vacation after that.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Photo Booth

Happy Friday and 4th of July weekend! Here are our pics from the Pile of Craft Photo Booth. I clearly didn't see the first shot coming:)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Getting back to work.

Pile of Craft was so super fun but M and I needed a couple days of recovery! We took pretty much all of Sunday to veg out and eat Chinese food on the couch, thank goodness for Netflicks! Monday and Tuesday were still a little slow but we managed to restock Red Tree, unpack the car and get some pots going in the studio. Here are a few shots of my booth that my friend Jenny Strunge took and sent to me....I totally forgot so I'm glad she was on the ball!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Technical Question

So it seems that last night my kiln took extra long to glaze fire. I'm thinking that my elements may be starting to go. I have had the kiln for a couple years and it's on it's 215 firing or so, does that seem like when you would need to change the elements? I've never had to do this before so I also don't know if it's something I can do myself or would need professional help. I have an L&L easy fire with the automatic programing. I also have only been using it for bisque and low firing until recently. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks in advance:)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pile of Craft this Saturday!

Hey everyone! I've been busy getting ready for our 4th annual Pile of Craft Show at St. Johns Church this weekend! It's gonna be great so I hope you can come out. We have over 40 hand picked vendors, food and drinks from Red Emma's coffee shop, a raffle basket to support the Village Learning Place , a FREE photo booth from Magnolia Photo Booth Co. , demonstrations and more! Come on out and do some summer shopping! Make sure to stop by my booth, check out the new stoneware work and say hello!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Craft Party TONIGHT!

For all you Baltimore folks....tonight is the ETSY Craft Party in Roosevelt Park. Come join the Charm City Craft Mafia and BEST as we host one of the top 50 craft parties! It's supposed to be a lovely evening and fun for the whole family so bring a blanket and join us for some outdoor crafting:)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In a hurry

Yesterday morning I threw a bunch of mugs, here is one tray on the shelf. I trimmed most of them last night and today I am hoping to finish them up before my family from out of town gets here. I also need to run to the clay store to restock some supplies. It's gonna be a busy day!

Also...if your looking for something to do tomorrow evening there is an ETSY CRAFT PARTY going on! I'll be there with more members of the Charm City Craft Mafia and BEST. Hope to see you there too:)
Click HERE for more info on the craft party.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Stamps

I'm so excited! The other day my new custom stamps came in. I found a site that will take my (and Michael's) drawings and turn them into rubber stamps for me to print with. I'll share more later but for now here are my new stamps:) I will be ordering more pronto!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Adventures in White Stoneware

I know a while back I promised to share some of my white stoneware work with you and today I finally have some pieces (espresso cups thrown off the hump) that work and that I have pictures of. I forgot how different this white clay behaves. My first batch I applied the glaze the same as I have been doing for the red clay and it ran all over! Low fire stays put but mid range runs when it's thick....duh! So I thinned out my glaze, added a pretty Celadon interior and got printing. I'm so excited that this is finally working out. I really love the throwing body (I use a white stoneware similar to a porcelain) and the way the final pot feels in your hand. It's such a pleasure to work with. There are still some kinks to work out but I'm having fun playing with the surfaces and experimenting with different slips and underglazes. Now I just need to see if my hand building techniques will still work on the white clay without major warping and cracking. What do you think? Any suggestions for hand buliding with a porcelain like body?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Berry Strainer

New product! This cute little bowl will wash up your fresh berries and catch the water drips while the drain. Each bowl washes about 1.5 cups of fresh berries but can hold a little more. You can use them to wash up cherry tomatoes, peas, herbs or any small produce. Perfect for the home gardener. Check 'em out in my etsy shop!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Planter Vases

My friend Jon is great at giving me ideas for new products to try, he's very creative. The last show we did together in Philly he suggested that I make these hollow stakes that are unglazed at the tip and decorated at the top. The idea is that you stick them into a potted plant, fill them up with water which slowly seeps out of the unglazed part and keeps your plant watered. Great idea. As soon as I was back in my studio I thought I'd give it a shot. The first batch really didn't work out. For one thing, they are way to small to keep a plant watered. The water would last about a day. Second, the top layer of glaze ran all the way down the interior sealing the inside of the tube. That totally defeats the point of the object. So I'm left with a few of these weird stakes that I'm not really sure what to do with. My best idea is to use them as mini flower vases to spruce up some potted plants. Sadly I don't have any potted plants in my house since my kitty is partial to eating them up. This looks like another "mom gift", she loves my rejects and can always find something to do with them!
On the plus side, I tried a new stain on top and really like how the unglazed surface came out. That may be showing up in my real work soon....not sure if I will give these plant stakes another go or not.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Yesterday we had a few friends over for a BBQ in our backyard. I made all the food which was a little exhausting but well worth the effort. The menu consisted of egg salad and crackers to start with, I used freshly grated horseradish in the salad for a little bit of kick. Rosemary studded burgers with homemade brioche rolls, marinated chicken kabobs with roasted peppers and for dessert I made s'mores treats with homemade graham crackers, and my cardamom marshmallows. Yum! I also picked a bunch of mint from the garden and M made us fresh mojitos. Let summer begin!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's me again...

Well, hello there. It's been awhile. I do apologize for my absence but it's been a crazy crazy month. That's not entirely true, it's been a crazy crazy year so far. I haven't written on this blog because to be honest, I was feeling a little down and beaten by the world and I don't want to spread the negativity. But, things are turning around, I can feel it.
Just to fill you in a little this year so far I have had my mother's illness (which you know about from other posts), came home to be snowed in for 2 weeks, my kiln needed repair, my clay supplier stopped selling my clay body, my husbands car was smashed with a brick through both front and side window, my car was totaled while parked outside my house at 8:30 in the morning (we just got a Honda Element to replace it), my mother had to have cancer removed from her lip, twice, and my father whom I haven't spoken to in 2 years went in for open heart surgery and still didn't call me. Don't worry, I'm over it.
Like I said, I feel a change in the universe. The second half of 2010 is going to be soooo much better. I'm working on getting my buisness together, shows are going to pick up, I found a new clay body that I like (it's actually an old friend but I'm making it work with my way of decorating now) and summer is coming. I love summer. It means long evenings sipping wine on the porch, BBQ's with friends and fresh veggies from the farmers market in my kitchen. I just changed my display a little (you can see it in the pic above, but please note that that was a very rainy show so it's not the best set up) and can't wait to get my hands in a little more of this white cone 6 clay body. I've started doing yoga and strength training to help clear my mind and keep my body healthy. I'm a firm beliver in not letting life get to you. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try something else. There is always a solution, you just have to think outside of the box, or in this case...wait for the storm to pass. Here's to more sunny days ahead:)
p.s. Sorry about the grainy iphone pics.