Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In Honor of New Years...........

I present the heaviest, most time consuming cake I have ever made. We are going over to a friends house for dinner tonight and I wanted to bring dessert. In these days of diets and carb watching, people who like to bake rarely get a chance to stretch their culinary wings. Anytime we are invited over I always raise my hand to bring the dessert.

Will loves carrot cake and I have a wonderful old recipe that makes a great cake every time. But this year a friend gave me a Martha Stewart Cookbook and I wanted to see how hers compared. Well, let me tell you it is definitely a more time consuming cake by about 3 hours. It is also a silly cake. It is so elaborate that I wonder if it will even taste good with all the extra sugar added by the layer of candied carrots on top. ( Though I love the color and the glistening sugary surface of the cake with the addition.) I will let you know what the verdict is after the dinner tonight.

***Update...this was The best cake I have ever made. Love, Love, Love, it! And worth the extra time spent. A huge success...Thanks Martha!****

Sunday, December 21, 2008

One Day When the Sky Grew Black with Birds.....

Three days ago, while I was finishing the Bird Girl painting, I heard a super loud explosion of someone shooting a shotgun. Scared for the dogs, I ran outside the studio to see the sky black with vultures. Here in North Carolina, we have 2 types of vultures, Turkey Buzzards ( with the unfeathered reddish head ) and Black Vultures.
These were the black vultures swarming in the sky, settling in the trees, big bodies heavy on the branches. I was so excited to see so many at once. There must have been 40 birds flying over the house and studio, quiet except the rustling of their feathers as they flapped against the wind.
Will and I stood watching in awe, the big birds leaving their shadows across our shoulders blocking the sun.
The next day we came home to them again roosting in the trees behind our house. I ran out to the woods and stood directly under the birds, them staring down at me not moving not scared. It was a mystical experience for me to be in the presence of such large birds. I felt very blessed to have had that moment in time, my only regret is that I didn't have the camera to share the sight.

Trees outside the studio

Finished Bird Girl painting

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And the Winner is.....

Sorry I took so long in getting this give-away finished but I had to convince Hubby to give up the hat for the drawing. Isn't he cute?

And the winner is Corrine!
Of Jafabrit!
Congratulations Corrine
And Merry Happy Holidays to everyone from me and Will!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Gift!

I have been inspired by all my favorite bloggers out there who have been hosting a give-a-way on there blogs. I want to join in!

Blogging has become such a happy part of my day. First thing in the morning I sit in the kitchen with a cup of coffee looking at your blogs, and being so delighted when someone leaves me a comment. I feel like ya'll are a special part of my day. And to thank all of you out there who leave sweet comments that make my day, I am offering this bowl.
Just leave a comment on this post in the next week and your name will be entered into a hat for a drawing. Whoever Hubby pulls out of the hat wins the bowl.

Some new images...

I have been searching to reach out to new images in my work.
Here are 2 new ideas.
The first one is an image of the tree makers. Siamese Twins that create trees with their hair. These girls are a fairy tale I have been making for about a year. I haven't been able to finish the story but I thought I might try to when my season is over.

The second is obviously crows. I was inspired by some images of MC Esher's that Robyn has on her blog. My negative space makes up nothing but I like the movement in the air.

Speaking of new ideas..

I have been thinking of starting a series of flowers and trees. I want them to take on the appearance of tattoos...very graphic, I guess I have to say kinda Southern Gothic meets Victorian. We will have to see what happens.
What do you think?

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Feast fit for a Queen and King.......

Well, we are not quite a King and Queen but we sure had a meal fit for Royalty. Thanksgiving was a beautiful day full of love and a thankfulness for all we have been blessed with. All the wonderful traditional items graced our plates as we sat in the sunny backyard. The dogs crowded around our feet waiting knowingly for their plates of turkey and gravy.
Isn't Will (hubby) just the happiest man alive waiting so patiently for me to take the picture so he can dive in.

I was feeling very rosey this week. Here is a finished rose bottle and a vase carved just yesterday. I love this pattern. It reminds me of tattoos which I also love.

Some rooster salt and pepper shakers. These are glazed in a new glaze called Amber Celadon. If anyone wants this recipe let me know.The color is fabulous in person and look better with another color behind it....alas.

Some Meany Head Mugs

A crazy box with a little crazy man inserted in the chest. And the crow heart box. This one is my favorite right now and I bring it in the house with me to look over things while we are getting ready for the home show this weekend.

And last but not least some nuthatches flitting across the breast of this pot.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This is what happens when your studio is too crowded

This is what happens when your studio is too crowded,you are a huge klutz, and you set a pot precariously on the edge of the carving table.
Imagine the cussing and yelling my neighbors got an earfull of yesterday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The day the rabbits came to town...

My friend Christina, owner of a wonderful shop called Just Be , is making her Christmas window. It will be a wonderland filled with all sorts of wintery outdoorsy things. Last month she called and asked for some of my rabbits and birds for the window. She designed this window for a downtown window competition and I sure hope she wins! Good Luck Miss Christina!

Here are some of the rabbits getting ready for their debut in the window. They are looking forward to being models and preening for the customers.

I wanted to have a different pose for the rabbits. I imagined them in the snow sliding on their bellies with their legs flying out behind them. These are so fun to make and I will have to do some bigger ones. The picture is slightly washed out. When they are glazed I will post them so they show up better.

And finally an updated picture of the girl in the white dress ( for lack of a better name ).
I thought she was finished but she kept calling me back. She may still need some work?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 work

Here is the finished peacock vase with glaze.
And a grouping of crow boxes.
Then a new skinny neck bottle with roses.

and the finished???? small painting.
Is it done?
I couldn't make the hand work. and she seemed to need a dress. In my mind it is an eyelet dress, stiff cotton, hanging straight out from her body, crinkley with starch. I may have to give it more detail to achieve the feeling that I want. Or she may just need another painting of her in a full dress with patent shoes.
And I am ambivalent about her hair. I think it needs more detail but I haven't figured out how I want the hair to come out. Any ideas will be welcome!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's a doggy post

I can't help it I have to share.
So me and Will were at Target (big shopping store) at the Halloween discount isle. I was looking at the the hanging costumes when I saw this ugly brown shiny thing. I picked up the bag and it was a mullet wig. I told Will ( college professor) that he should get it and wear it to class. He picked it up and said it's a mullet for a dog. Well, I had to have it for my friend Nicole's dog Lu Lu. When we got home I couldn't resist. Who could? And boy right after the picture, when Will let go of Blue, the other dogs tore that mullet off of her and they played chase with it for a good while.
I haven't laughed so hard in at least a year.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Peacocks and Crows

I wanted to make another murder of crows box, one that would also be a rattle. So this one is without a drawer. The drawers are complicated though I feel I am getting better at them. Because they are clay they don't slide well unless they fit perfectly. A lot of times in the kiln the clay will shift a little and so the drawers don't fit the way they should. This is very frustrating and causes me to throw tantrums and screaming fits when they come out of the kiln. It was nice not to have to worry with a drawer.

And here is the revival of the peacocks. A friend of mine asked for some peacock pieces so I revived the little devils in all their finery. I am trying to change the image a little by making myself try to get the feel of feathers in the carving. We will see if I can manage that challenge.

And here is a little painting I started last week.
Lots of work to be done here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oh My! It's Fall Again...

It's Fall. And so beautiful now that we have moved to the new house. Don't get me wrong. Fall was beautiful at the old house. But the new house has really old trees and quite a bit of land. The trees rustle and quietly speak the whole day through. The crows are loud and rascally reminding me of their presence. I am a happy girl. I love sweaters and gloves and all things winter. I wear jeans and boots with relish. Collecting warm sweaters from Goodwill is a hobby. And now that Hubby doesn't wash my sweaters anymore, I can actually fit in them from year to year.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Leanne's Crazy Caesar Dressing

Not for the feint of heart nor for anyone who plans to be kissed after dinner

Leanne's crazy Caesar dressing serves 4-6
2 large egg yolks
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons of lime juice
6-8 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of chipotle mustard (dijon will do in a pickle)
2 teaspoons of worcestershire sauce
1 palm full of really good parmesaen sp?cheese chopped. (don't scrimp on the really does make a difference)
blend in processor or blender until garlic and cheese are smooth.

This is one of my husband's favorite things so I thought I would share with anyone who is a garlic lover like us.
It really is just a basic Caesar dressing with extra garlic and pepper. I also substitute lime juice instead of lemon for an extra punch. You can use lemon and it works just as well. And for those lucky people out there who have your own chickens this is a great recipe to use up some eggs.

More from the Bird Queen

This is a platter that I have been making over and over trying to get the exact image that I want.
It is getting very close. After I figure out the image in clay then I think I will try the image in color and also as a lino print. This is the opening line for the Bird Queen story I have been writing. My sweet and talented niece Queen Crafty Girl
(you can't tell I am a proud Aunt can you?) has been writing her own story about the Bird Queen that is AMAZING...much better than mine I'm afraid.

The first line of the story if you can't see clearly, "Once when the sky grew black with feathers, the Bird Queen was born under the old crow tree."

And here are some bird girls in their finery with feathers flying from their hair.

Robyn over at Art Propelled
did a blog post about crows that I thought was amazing and funny. Crows are a great inspiration for many artists and she highlights some beautiful and some creepy sculptures.