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.
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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.