Thursday, December 31, 2009


I keep an extremely messy inspiration board.

Gennine Zlatkis does not.

Neither does J. Otto Seibold.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A delicate balance

The Amaryllis is blooming with such exuberance that Mr. Cranky had to rig a yarn and twig support.
We love having flowers in the house.

A poetical visual musical interlude.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cardamom Pistachio Rugelach, by popular demand

nuts & spices on the cutting board

dough ready to roll 

dough ready to cut

my favorite* part

*favorite part, except for the eating part

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas morning

Tangerines from Santa.

Grandma's linens from Norway.
I like the one that says "god jul"

Mr. Cranky couldn't find any tape for paper wrapping, so this was his solution to gift-wrapping.
It took about five minutes to open.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Solstice aftermath

Torches were lit, a bonfire burned, drums were beaten, dancing occurred, feasting proceeded, snow fell.
So  delightfully pagan. 
We probably brought the sun back. 
You're welcome.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Last plug

I'm making more rugelach.

And Amanda's famous pecan fingers.

We still have lots of pots.

And of course you will want to see the latest incarnation of Mr. Cranky's seasonal decoration out on the terrace. Tigers are involved.
Saturday, December 19th, from 10-5

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday spirit emerges for Mr Cranky

Mr. Cranky pretends to eschew all things holiday, but just look at what he made last night. I call that a seasonal decoration because I spy holly in them there antlers. And I am sure that when we light the dual torches it will inspire reverance, if not piety.
*Mr. Cranky just informed me that this is not "worked out" yet. Stay posted for further developments...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ice round as sculpture

You can use the ice rounds netted from winterizing your outdoor pots in an Andrew Goldsworthyesque sculpture.

Or you can use it for target practice.
Or both.
Goldsworthy's is luminous:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


sunflowers, cut freehand, still green (wet clay)
I am indulging in my obsession of making tile to put on the outside of our house. I aspire to make our house the tiled version of the Watts Towers in the northwest (not really, I am not delusional. Not to imply that Simon Rodia was. He was INTENSE. I'm not intense either.) I made some birds, now I am moving on to flowers and leaves.

sunflower, leatherhard, waiting for bisque firing
I really should have made a template for the petals. Cutting them out freehand means that each petal has to go back exactly where it originated, which means transferring each one precisely every time I handle the flower..from green carving onto the tile setter to bisque fire, from the tile setter to my work table for painting the colors, from painting the colors to the wareboard to spray the glaze, from the wareboard back to the tile setter for the glaze firing, from the glaze firing to the wall for installation (hardest part to track). Gah, I'm an idiot.

this one won't be as complicated as the others to keep track of

a template would have been easy to make
I am pretty excited about these though. I think I'll make Hollyhocks next, trending toward tall flowers for big walls. These will be the stems:

I'll use three of these per flower, glazed green

these are the leaves, I'll incise veining and glaze them green like the stems
Side note:
Don't forget that we are having an Open Studio on Saturday, sign up over there to the right---> ('click here and I'll send you a postcard'; but actually, I'll send you an email this time because there's not time for a postcard now. Why didn't you sign up before, hmmm???) and I'll send you an invitation with the particulars.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Winterizing outdoor pots

We bought these huge pots from a Chinese grocery in LA's Chinatown about a gazillion years ago. We spotted them outside behind the store with all the used cardboard boxes, baskets, and other shipping crates. I think they charged us $8.00 each for them and were amused that we would want the containers left over from shipping 1000 year old eggs (they did have a funny smell).
This being Oregon and all, they will collect water over time and if left alone, said H2O will freeze, come winter. If you don't remove the ice cap, the expansion of the water as it re-freezes the next night will crack the pot.

two frozen discs
Mr. Cranky takes out the ice and turns the pots over and that is all it takes to preserve them for another year.
I know, I know, we could just turn them upside down before it freezes. Where is your sense of adventure anyway?

We keep a couple of the larger ones upside down permanently, the shallow depression on the bottom makes a perfect birdbath.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I have cookies for you

Pecan fingers

The freezing rain never materialized, but the weather report was convincing enough that our Open Studio attendance was pretty much squelched. A big thank you to the stalwart souls that did come. Bless your intrepid hearts! Mr. Cranky and I ate far too many cookies and drank too much hot cider (luckily, the wine never got opened because all the activity happened early in the day), but it is always nice to have plenty of time to visit with people.

roasting the vegetables first makes the soup more delicious 
We comforted ourselves later with the some delicious soup (African Squash and Peanut)  and bread (Spinach Feta Roll). I try to make something ahead of time because we are often starving and tired by the end of an open studio day. Plus, I like to have something easy and abundant in case people are still around at dinnertime.

spinach feta bread benefits from lots of caramelized onions

spread out on bread dough, later sprinkled with crumbled feta

then rolled up, ready to bake
We pretty much ate this all up (with help, mind you) so I can't show you the pretty finished spirals.
It's still dry out here today, but I hear that Portland has icy streets this morning. We still have lots of pots, so come on out next Saturday for some (freshly baked, of  course) cookies. The pots will be here all week, call/email if you have another time you'd like to come by and we will open the gate for you!

Friday, December 11, 2009

pray to the weather gods

Set up for our Open Studio tomorrow proceeds apace. 
It has been freezing outside for a couple of weeks now and the weather has been gorgeously crisp and sunny. Now the weather forecast contains a chance of precipitation for the weekend. Sheets of ice on the road= terrible. Please wait until Sunday, rain.
We were feeling capricious when pricing yesterday, so there are some very good bargains to be had.
Please come! I'm baking today, mmmmm...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Glazing the birds

Choosing colors=  fun + nerve-racking

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Annual Holiday Open Studio

Last year it was sunny!
So, I have been pestering Mr. Cranky about the decrepit cars* littering our property. My latest threat was that I would not (stomps foot) have another Open Studio until he had gotten rid of them. I will not tell you exactly how many there are, it is too embarassing.

 We have signs now too
Anyway, I lost, he won. If you come out to our place on Saturday, please look neither right nor left until you reach the house itself.

Thackery will be there
Alternatively, you may simply assume that we have very eccentric friends and customers. Because that would be true, even if the cars don't belong to them. But they might; maybe the cars do belong to them.

We always have some bargains in the studio
If you would like to come, we would very much love to see you. If you look to the right sidebar here under "more of us" there is a link to sing up to recieve a postcard. Do it and I'll send you one! Easy-peasy. I know I typed 'sing' up instead of 'sign' up to recieve emails, but now I like it like that.

There will be something yummy to eat also
Sign up, really, it's not too late. I'll send an email right away. And we are planning two consecutive Saturdays to be open, the 12th and the 19th, from 10-5.

 *If it weren't dark out now I would send you a picture of a wreck sprouting blackberries to desensitize you so you could be prepared. It's really traumatic and disappointing. I'm sorry.

Friday, December 4, 2009

More birds and leaves in process

Afternoon sun streaming into the studio
Those oak leaves remind me of cookies.

I am making more birds and leaves. The owl is new.

My  favorite. I gave him a 3-D beak.
They weren't drying fast enough in the studio.

So I moved them up to the house.

It does inspire me to make some cookies.