Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I used Random.org to generate the winning numbers.
For the mug, 15 said they would like to try to win the mug, and Random gave me the number 12. So BlessedWithFriends won the mug.

12 wanted in for the little square bowls, and Random gave me 5 and 9, so Bertaberta and The Laurinak  won those two sets.

!0 wanted to be in for the card holder, and Random gave me 6. So Miss M won that. I'll be contacting the winners today!

Thanks for playing!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Solstice!

Wow! This holiday season has been crazy busy, especially in my Second Chance shop on Etsy, though AntB on Etsy was bustling too.  So, I'm sorry this post is so long overdue, but it was for a happy reason. 

Solstice means Giveaway!

I have a couple little things to giveaway. First I have two pairs of dipping dishes. These are small square bowls that would be perfect for holding vitamins so they don't roll away before you can take them, or for holding a couple tablespoons of wasabi. Put one by your sink to hold rings or earrings. So many uses! They also are just the right size to hold a regular tea light.  
With their sun and moon images, I thought they were perfect for the winter Solstice. 

There are two pairs of these, just the same. These are similar to the ones I sell in sets of three on Etsy. 
These little dishes are about 2.75 inches square (7 centimeters). They are porcelain and dishwasher and microwave safe, though so small that I doubt you would put them in the dishwasher or microwave. 
 Next, I'm also giving away a mug. The images are from antique sources, and the words are my favorite phrases from this post on Regretsy.com
Thank you to Helen Killer!

The mug holds 16 oz and is dishwasher and mirowave safe.  Inside it says "You have no privilege to utter falsehoods on the internet" and "Some people are wreck less fools".  A somewhat labor intensive design, but sooo much fun, especially if you are into Etsy drama.  (like me!)
 And finally I'm giving away something from AntB too. 

This little holder is great for ACEO's and ATC's as well as Polaroids and recipe cards. It also will hold about 10 business cards too, so if you do craft fairs, it might be useful. 

To win any of these,  just leave a message in the comments. Say which one you would like to have a chance win. If you want to be in the running for any or all of them, just say so, and I will put you in for all of them. If you have won before, I DON'T CARE! Comment to win again.  :D

I will be picking winners on Monday (Christmas Eve). **Be sure to put a way to contact you in the comments!!**

Thanks! And HAPPY YULE!

Wintering Greens using Old Windows and Hot Box

I have more windows that my son found, and I have the hot box I made this last spring. Here's a quick video showing how I use them to keep my garden producing into the winter. The blog post about making the hot box is here. 

Friday, October 19, 2012


The winner is the 8th comment, which is Ally!
Thanks to everyone who played!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Holiday Tree Ornaments

I wanted to have ornaments to sell in my decal ware shop, but couldn't think of what to do.
I found these porcelain ornaments online, and ordered some a couple months ago:
First I tried firing decals on them. Because they were already glazed, I held them off the kiln shelves with wadding.  The wadding worked, but the decals didn't. They were absorbed by the glaze and became invisible.

I was bummed.

But last night I was cleaning my office and came across them.  I had some Diamond Glaze (water based craft shiny coating) left over from another project, so I printed some Christmasy images from the Graphics Fairy and copied some from my own stash. I printed them onto tissue paper, and cut them out and tried to decoupage them on the rounds.
I made a terrible mess and the Diamond glaze reacted with the ink and the colors ran like crazy.

I was bummed.

  Then I tried adding my decals to the ornaments. That worked better! Even though they are all just black and white it still looked pretty good.

At first I used more holiday themed images. They looked good, but with the black and white they weren't that interesting.

Next I tried decals that would maybe not seem Holidayish at first glance, like cephalopods and bats.

I was pretty pleased with the octopus wreath, but I was downright proud of the flying bat Christmas Tree!

I let the decals dry on the ornaments, and then covered them with the Diamond Glaze to protect the delicate waterslide paper.

I let them dry overnight, and this morning they look pretty good!

I did have trouble getting the Diamond Glaze to be smooth. There are tiny surface bubble marks, and on the Weeping Angel there is a texture from getting the glaze on too thick.

I will enjoy these being on my tree this year.
Especially the skeleton one!

As a matter of fact, I think I will give one away!
If you would like one, just comment the one you like best, and I will pick one comment at random and send them the ornament of their choice.
Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you win, and if you like more than one, leave a comment for each one that you like. I don't care how many times you comment.
Here are a couple of pictures of all the ones I have finished.  I will assign a number to each of the comments and use a random number generator to pick.  I will pick tomorrow evening (Friday night).
Each of the ornaments also has an image on the back too.
 Oh, and please check out my shop and my other one or this one if you have a minute!
And Thanks also to  the Graphics Fairy and Theerin for some of the images!

This contest is now closed!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Etsy Front Page

This treasury made the front page of Etsy today. When I saw that my shop views were in the thousands rather than the hundreds, I figured something was up. Thanks to Andrea for making such a great treasury and including me!

Monday, October 8, 2012

More Tags!

According to the blog stats, the tags from the Graphics Fairy are pretty popular, so I thought I would share some more.
These tags are from a blog I just discovered, Stellar Four. It is an enjoyable read, and she also has these great printable tags:
I love the allusion to Alice, Harry, Snow and Charlie!
I can't wait to use these for Halloween! And you know Gracie's lunches are going to get some of these tags too!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Halloween Labels To Print

I just love the Graphics Fairy!
And she has come up with some Halloween Label Printables that are just wonderful! I have linked to them, just click here  to go to her blog and get them!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Joy and Nodsu were the winners for the Mabon giveaway! Congratulations!
Thank you to all who commented!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Autumnal Equinox Giveaway!

Mabon, the Autumnal Equinox,  is fast approaching.
The Free Dictionary says of Mabon:
According to Welsh legend, Mabon was a magical youth renowned for his hunting skills. His mother held him captive in a cave, but the warrior Culhwch, with the aid of several animals of the forest, came to the boy's rescue. For many present-day believers, Culhwch's search for Mabon symbolizes everyone's search for the inner child. 
Typical Wiccan and Neo-pagan celebrations of Mabon, which take place throughout the world, are circle ceremonies that recognize various harvest themes. 

 For this Equinox celebration, I am giving away a tiny cauldron with a handmade pumpkin bead and a little broom.

This would be fine for a little travel altar.  Or, if you are searching for your inner child this autumn, you can use these in your dollhouse or Halloween miniature display.

You can also win a couple of handmade beads.
Add caption

These are two stoneware and glass pendants.  They look quite nice with macrame or with chunky glass beads.

To be entered to win one of them (the cauldron set or the two beads) just leave a comment telling me which you would like to win -- the cauldron set or the beads.

If you would like to be entered to win both of them, let me know that too, and I will enter your name for both.

I will pick a winner from the comments for each prize using a random number generator.  The winner will be chosen and announced next Tuesday, September 25th. 

And of course, don't forget to stop by my shops! Links to them are at the right.  Happy Mabon!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Octopus Bowls

 With school starting up again, I have more time to work with pottery. Unfortunately, thrown and handbuilt pottery takes me months to go from wet clay to finished bowl.

 When I was asked to donate some pottery to our local food pantry for a benefit, I knew I wouldn't have the time to throw something for it, so I decided to use a restaurant ware porcelain bowl and do something with decals.

Of course I used my favorite images, the ones of octopuses.

I used an image from Karen at the Graphics Fairy along with an old etching of an octopus verrucosus. 

 First, I measured the bowl around at the rim and then a little lower, above the foot. I used these numbers to divide the bowl, and drew lines down with an erasable marker to guide the placement of the images.  I did the same on the inside rim.

I printed the images out with my iron oxide printer, printing them onto waterslide paper.
 After soaking the decals, I used my guide lines to apply the images to the bowl.  Then I shrunk the verrucosus image and made a bunch of little decals and put these around the interior rim.

I had a few images left over, so I also decorated a smaller porcelain bowl with them.

I put them both in the kiln on Monday night, fired them to cone 4, (over 2000 degrees F) and this morning unloaded them while they were still piping hot.

I couldn't be more pleased!

The larger bowl is pretty huge, about 6 inches tall and more than 11 inches wide at the rim. I am guessing it would hold more than a gallon of liquid.

The smaller bowl is what I consider cereal bowl sized, or a largish rice bowl,  about 3 inches tall, and 6 inches wide.

Because the decals are fired into the glaze, both bowls will be dishwasher  microwave safe.
I am thinking I will donate them both as a set, and hopefully they will get a good price at the charity auction.

Update: The person who coordinates the charity auction chose to auction off one of my older wheel thrown pieces instead of these. So this set will be going into my shop. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ratatouille, My First Try

Last night I had a headache, and didn't want to go to the store to buy anything to make dinner, so I googled some of the ingredients I had, and found that I had all the makings for ratatouille.

I've never had ratatouille before. I didn't know how it was supposed to taste. All I knew about it was from the animated movie.

I used the following recipe, one I got from here:
Most of the ingredients I got from the garden: eggplant, zucchini, yellow summer squash, onions, tomatoes, the herbs.

I did make changes so I could use what I had on hand. I used some tomatoes I had canned as salsa, but had turned out too sweet and mild to be salsa. The spices in the tomatoes were basil, onions, and some mild peppers. Being lazy, I didn't peel the eggplant, and I didn't have and Italian spice blend, so I put in rosemary and summer savory from the garden along with the salt and pepper.  I also added some leftover chopped turkey breast meat. Other than those substitutions, I just followed the directions.

The scent as it cooked was complex and wonderful. I never would have imagined that such simple ingredients could smell so good!

I wasn't sure when it was finished, so after an hour we just ate it.  I had made a simple quinoa pilaf (quinoa cooked in chicken broth with chives) to serve with it.  We ate nearly all of it, but the leftovers I heated up for breakfast. It was even better!

I have been reading up on the dish, and have found that there are as many variations on it as there are cooks. The veggies can be sautéed separately and then baked as a layered casserole, or it can be more of a stew, like the recipe I used.  Some people drain the liquid and use it as a filling for crepes or omelettes. The ratatouille in the movie, Ratatouille, was actually a confit byaldi from chef Thomas Keller, where the tomato sauce and spices are spread on a sheet pan and the veggies are sliced thin, fanned out, and roasted on top.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Sale At Second Chance Ceramics

I have my summer themed pottery on sale in my ShopDelighted store.
Mugs like this garden tools design are more than 25% off.

Or how about a fisherman's mug? Again, more than 25% off!
This would be a great time to get some of your early Holiday shopping out of the way!
And this sale is ONLY in the ShopDelighted store, not my Etsy shop, sorry!
Though, I have an coupon code for those shops that you can use anytime:
will get you 15% off anything in my Etsy shops.

Oh, look, this one is on sale too!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Farmer's Market

The summer is winding up, but the harvest season is in full swing. The farmer's markets where I sell, are brimming with great produce. My favorite market is in Beloit, Wisconsin on Saturday mornings. When I can, I get away from my booth and wander the three main aisles of the Y-shaped market. My booth is in the parking lot, or the tail of the Y.
In the other sections are produce vendors and crafts people from all over the stateline area. I wandered around this last Saturday, and admired the huge variety of great food and items for sale.
On the intersection of the Y, there is music each week. Last week a harpist played.
My booth is fairly close to the raised music platform, and I get to hear the selections really well. Since the set is so long, (9 am to 12 pm) most of the musicians have repeated some of their selections.
 For some reason nearly every musician has played Eleanor Rigby.  The only ones that didn't play it were a jazz quartet. Eleanor Rigby has  become an in-joke in our area, with groans and laughs each time it is played.
Apples are just starting, and so are pears. Zucchini are everywhere. Tomatoes are at their peak, and sweet corn is almost done. Watermelons and cantalope are just getting good, and last week I saw a few pumpkins. One vendor even had some delicata squash already! Many produce vendors are also selling their beets and other root crops now. like a second crop of carrots, and the slow growing turnips.
As the days get cooler, broccoli will appear in the market again, and in October there will be greens again, pumpkins and brussels sprouts.

The farmer's markets have been a great ending to each of my summer's weeks. They allow me to get out and see people, and buy the produce I can't grow. I just love them!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Bread and Butter Pickles

Yesterday, Jasmine and I made Bread and Butter Pickles, which are Jensen's favorite. He asked where the name "Bread and Butter Pickles" came from. I didn't know, but this morning I used my Google Fu to find out.

According to egullet.com, they are named Bread and Butter, because during the depression they were as common on the dinner table as bread and butter.
That didn't seem right to me, since I remember my grandma saying she had them as a child, and that would have been before the 30's. So I kept searching.

Some sources said that during the depression people made sandwiches from them with bread and butter, (Yuck!) but again, I doubted that was the beginning of them.

The Journal of Home Economics in July of 1929 says that they were eaten with bread and butter instead of being merely a condiment. So, they were around before the Great Depression.

Then I found this on CooksInfo.com :
In case you have ever wondered where they got their name, GFA Brands, which owns Mrs Fannings, has supplied the background. In the early part of the [Ed: 20th] century Cora and Omar Fanning of Streator, IL found themselves short on cash. What they had going for them, however, was a reliable crop of cucumbers and Mrs. Fanning's great recipe for sweet & sour pickle chips. Mrs. Fanning worked out an agreement with a local grocer, who gave her groceries -- including bread 'n butter -- in exchange for the pickles. The name stuck, and has been used by many companies ... Although Mrs. Fanning's pickles began in the Midwest, they are not widely distributed there, but are more readily found in the Eastern, Southern and Western states." -- Feingold News. Feingold Association of the United States. Alexandria, Virginia. October 1996. Page 5.
"TWIN CITY PEOPLE in Other Cities. Mr. and Mrs. Omar Fanning were here from Streator Thursday, calling on relatives. Mr Fanning will go east today to close a deal with a large corporation for the sale of his pickle business in Streator. Among all the former Sterling people who have succeeded unusually well in other places, Mr. Fanning's success has been unique. He engaged in the business of raising cucumbers at Streator a number of years ago, and gradually developed a pickle business in order to use the small cucumbers that had been a waste product of his greenhouses. In time the pickle business became the main business and his products have met with immense sales all over the United States. A business regarded as in the millionaire class thus grew out of the thrift that prompted Mr. Fanning to make use of the waste product, and it is said that an old receipt for making pickles that had been in his family for two or three generations had quite a lot to do with the popularity of the "Bread and Butter" pickles which he originated and put on the market." -- Sterling Daily Gazette. Sterling, Illinois. 11 June 1926. Page 2 The Fannings went on to create a small pickle fortune.
All because of Bread and Butter Pickles.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Octopus Teapot

I pulled this out of the kiln, and am so pleased with how it turned out that I thought I would share:
I used a plain white porcelain teapot, and added iron oxide decals that I made from a vintage image I found at  the Graphics Fairy.

First, I printed the image out onto waterslide paper using my old printer.
I reversed the image for one side so the same tentacles can wrap around each side.  It looks great from the front!

I soaked the decals to loosen the backing paper, and placed and smoothed the decals.

After I applied the decals, I fired it to 2050 degrees F. in my electric kiln.
Now the image is permanent, and the teapot (with its image) is dishwasher safe.

And of course, the mugs that match are in my SecondChanceCeramics shop on Etsy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My whiteware shop, SecondChanceCeramics on Etsy, has been featured on the A Little Etsy Love Blog.
I am giving away a mug there too, so head on over and get your comment in! I would love it if one of my readers won!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Heirloom Pole Beans

This year I decided to grow a different pole bean than I usually grow.  I want to grow mostly heirloom vegetables in my home garden, so I chose purple podded and rattlesnake pole beans. I also planted yard long beans.

Purple Podded Pole Bean Vine
The purple beans grew the first and fastest. The stems of the plant are purple, the flowers are a pretty violet,  and the leaves are a darker green than the other beans.  The beans start out green with a purple tinge, and then get solidly purple velvet over the whole bean when they are ready to pick.   The flavor is deeper than the Kentucky Wonders and Blue Lakes that I have grown before. Cooked, they turn a dusky green that is more blue grey than regular green beans. You can tell when they are just done by catching them the moment they turn from puple to green. Their flavor is sweet and grassy under the normal green bean taste.

Rattlesnake Pole Bean Vine

The rattlesnake beans haven't been the overachievers that the purple podded beans have been, but they flowered and grew beans pretty quickly after the purple ones. The vines aren't as tall yet as the purples, but I have gotten some large beans from them  already.  The rattlesnake plants are green vined with bright green leaves. The flowers are more on the pink side of violet. The beans themselves are flattish with stripes of purple mottling on bright green.  They get more purple mottling the bigger they are, it seems.  Only a few have made it inside to the cooking pot because they taste so good raw. Their flavor is green bean intensified.  Green bean to the second power, sweet and a little bit musky.
Purple pods with  rattlesnake beans
The yard long beans are way behind the other two.  They haven't started flowering yet, and are only about a foot high. I have grown these before, and they never climb very high -- only about to shoulder height. They also set beans a couple weeks after you are getting other beans pretty regularly, and they are not as prolific bearers. But, when they do grow beans, they really work at them and they grow them long and thin. I never waited for them to be a yard long, but instead picked them when they were smaller and sweeter, from 12 inches to 15 inches long. Their flavor was more savory and musky rather than sweet. Some people call them Asparagus beans because of the flavor.  I like the yard long beans for stir frying because they stay crisp in a stir fry and are uniformly narrow all the way down the bean, so they cook evenly over the high heat.

Purple podded vines next to Rattlesnake vines
An added benefit to growing these wonderful heirloom pole beans has been unforeseen.  In years past Japanese beetles (Gracie calls them japaneetles) have found my green bean vines about the time they reached head-high. I have done milky spore applications in the garden area to no avail.  Last year I broke down and sprayed tthe bean plants with Sevin, since the beetles were so bad it looked like we wouldn't have any veggies if we didn't.  Even though I spent an hour or more every morning tapping the vines with a stick to make the beetles roll into a bucket of sudsy water, they still ravaged the plants, especially the top third, which they ate down to the stems.  And each year, once they had found the beans, they infested every other vegetable too. My granddaughter didn't want to play in the bean tunnel, since with every vibration Japaneetles would fall on her head. I didn't blame her!

This year I haven't seen any of those horrible pests on the beans. I found a few on my roses in the front yard, and got them off pretty quickly, and they don't seem to be interested in these heirloom beans at all. This in turn means I haven't had a Japanese Beetle problem in my garden at all so far this year.  I am so happy! Wonderful, tasty, pretty heirloom beans and not a Japaneetle  in sight. Yay!


The winners for the Solstice Giveaway are:
Girl on the Net for the witch hats, and Ravenia for the soap dish.

Convo me on Etsy to give my your address, and I will mail these right out!

Thanks to everyone who played!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Solstice Giveaway!

Happy Litha!
For this Solstice, I am giving away a soap dish from my latest kiln load, one made from folded clay slabs. Also, you could win a set of three witch hats. 

If you would like to win either of these, just leave a comment saying which you would like to win (or both if you want to be in the running for both of them!) along with how I can contact you (your etsy name, twitter, facebook, or something!).

Feel free to link to your shop or blog, if you have one.
Comments will be open until Midnight, June 24 (Sunday night). Then I will choose two comments at random on Monday to win them. Its that easy!

And while you are out and about, please check out my shop on Etsy, antb.etsy.com and SecondChanceCeramics on Etsy too. 

So, get to commenting, and HAPPY Solstice!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Windowsill Planters

A couple years ago, I was introduced to Global Buckets, and experimented with making my own from found objects. It was a great way to extend my food planting out of my garden.  I ended up giving away several that I started to interested neighbors.  I also made a few pots that had reservoirs and wicking systems but they were so labor intensive that I never even tried to sell one. They also were as heavy as heck.

Then last winter I read about Window Farms for the first time. I was fascinated.  If you don't know what window farms are, check out this blog post. I looked at my windows in a whole new way!  I started putting little potted plants with edibles in every sunny window that could hold them.  The problem was that most of my window sills could only hold the smallest pots because of the way they were shaped, and the smallest pots didn't work well for many edible plants.

I started playing with pot shapes that would work well for windows and yet were deep enough for herbs and  dwarf vegetables. I came up with a bag-like pot, made from thin slabs of stoneware clay, that was quite deep for its size. I planted the first ones I made, and they worked well.  Mache', summer savory, malabar spinach, chamomile, mint, chives, spinach, nasturtiums, basil and most other herbs, and even a strawberry plant all work well in these.

They hold moisture fairly well, probably since the top opening is small.

Watering them is easiest if I use an ice cream bucket that is 2/3's full of water mixed with organic fertilizer. Just put the little pots in and let them sit for a second or two, and hold them over the bucket until they stop dripping.  Then put the lid on the remaining water/fertilizer solution for the next watering.

If I lightly fertilize with each watering, my herbs grow very well in a sunny window, and they don't mind being cut back hard and often.

I am using all of my first batch of pots, but I just pulled a few more out of the kiln. So, if you want to buy one, please look in my shop. They each come with a simple little drip catcher.
I will be listing some over the next couple of days.