Snow fell large as leaves and blanketed the yard with somber stillness. Each ordinary object, once outlined with white, became a discovery. I tramped through deepening drifts and felt buoyantly pulled into winter’s most glittering spell. Here is my home.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Sunday, February 2, 2014
I’m not a big fan of making a big production out of Valentine’s Day, not that I haven't been there and done that a gazillion times, so if you are young and still relatively unjaded, go ahead and buy the perfect dress and pressure your lover to find the perfect restaurant, or even better, the perfect romantic weekend getaway. And good luck with that!
I’ve found that it’s pretty easy to just create a bit of magic and enchantment at home, with simple objects, whimsical plating of food, candlelight, wine (optional) and a decadent dessert (essential).
For example, here is a salad Ken and I enjoy, made with roasted butternut squash, strawberries, shitake mushrooms and greens with a balsamic vinegar dressing. On the left, I cut a heart from the squash, and on the right, I arranged the salad in a heart. It’s a simple way to make him smile.
My poppy bowls are great for evoking romantic flair without being predictably Valentine-y:
Love lives in the moments when two people are present to each other. If you have that, it only takes small gestures to celebrate Valentine’s Day. And some of my best VD days were spent with a wonderful friend, or my child, or one time when I set the table for myself, ate a nice meal, drank for 2, sang You’re So Vain while channeling Mick Jagger more times than I care to recall. I am glad to not be in my 20’s anymore. Because love before you get at least halfway jaded is exhausting.
All pottery pieces are available from Lee Wolfe Pottery.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Here is another batch of my gluten free sugar cookies (recipe here).
I made royal Icing with Martha Stewart’s recipe here.
I used neon food coloring, adding it in increments, from pale pink to bright neon pink, and then used sanding sugar and colored sprinkles on some. You have to put the sprinkles on right after the icing is applied as it dries quickly. I piped the icing on as an outline and then spread about a teaspoon of icing inside to fill.
These are easy and delicious!
The White Minimalist platters are available at Lee Wolfe Pottery.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
I spent a chilly afternoon baking Valentine cookies with my girlfriends. What a fun way to bring out your inner 8 year old child! I originally thought we would just bake and cover them with sprinkles, but when the sprinkles failed to stick, I pulled out some lemon curd, berries, pink sparkle gel, candies, and sanding sugar and we got creative. This gluten free sugar cookie recipe is not overly sweet so you can add sugary toppings without turning them into a lump of corn syrup. Lemon curd also adds a tart balance. The cookies will keep up to 2 weeks in an airtight container but the fruit and lemon curd need to be eaten within a few hours or they lose their fresh look. So don’t decorate alone unless you have guests eminently coming!
The Modern Lace bowl, minimalist platter, and gray Poppy Bowl are available on Lee Wolfe Pottery
For cookie crust:
1 C (2 sticks) butter, room temp
1 C sugar (I use organic)
1/2 t salt
1 t real vanilla extract
3 C gluten free all purpose flour blend
1 jar lemon curd, berries, whatever sprinkles or candies you like
In large bowl or Kitchen Aid, cream butter, sugar, and salt until creamy and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until batter is one consistency. Add flour a cup at a time beating on low until fully combined but don’t overbeat.
Pat into ball and into circle on floured board. Place in center of oiled 12” pizza pan, and press out to edges with a shallow lip on the rim. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees 7-12 min until golden brown on bottom. Remove from oven.
While crust is still warm, spread lemon curd over surface. Decorate as desired.For fruit decoration, sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake an additional 3 min.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Once a month Clay Club meets at a designated potter’s studio in Western North Carolina. If my schedule, obsession with my own work, and introverted moodiness allow, I go and always enjoy meeting and hanging out with my claymates. This January was the second annual Clay Olympics, with categories such as Biggest Thrown Vessel, Blindfolded Throwing, and Ugliest Face Jug. It was definitely the most fun I’ve had I ages. Free spirited, creative and dirty… these are my people.
Tallest Thrown Vessel
I entered Ugliest Face Jug, where we had 8 minutes to decorate a pre-thrown jug. Here is my entry:
It was a tough competition with 20+ entries. I won 3rd place. The highlight was the experience of working side by side creatively with other potters. I want to do that more. Maybe I’ll take a class at Odyssey this year. I don’t have the temperament to work well with others but when it comes to play…. that’s easy.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Looking ahead to the new year, I’m going to explore the same themes in my pottery as in my personal life. This is no big insight or revelation to those who study the things that drive artists. No matter what we say our motives are, we also want to create something we don’t find in our life outside the studio. We are alchemists, magickians, philosophers, mad scientists, shamans intuitively calling forth objects that exist because our will, our vision, needed them to be.
For the last decade or so, I’ve worked on the symmetry of concentric shapes:
This past year I’ve been captivated by the negative space between vessels side by side. And isn’t it fascinating that the term for this is “negative space”? Since, coincidently, a lot of what sits between people as we get close to each other ain’t so harmonious. I wonder why that is. So this New Years Day, as I set intentions for the next spin around our sun, I choose to explore that gap of negative space. An old line from a Pink Floyd song played in my mind when I thought about it- “If I were a good man, I’d understand the spaces between friends.”
I think it will be an exciting and productive year ahead!
Friday, December 20, 2013
With my red dining room, Christmas decorating is easy! I like to set a simple table with neutral table linens and dinnerware so that the centerpieces on the table runner become a focal point. By keeping the arrangements low and using many candles, I’ve found that we can talk easily with everyone. For this table I gathered greenery from outside, focusing on aromatics like pine and lavender which is still green. I also gathered accents to spray gold. Here is my quick DIY:
Krylon metallic fast drying gold spray paint
leaves, pine cones, seed pods, dried flowers
Spray outside, wait 10 min, turn, spray backs. These accents can be used for many years. They also make a Yule/Christmas table transition into New Years with a few minor changes. Here are some I made this year:
Here are the Lee Wolfe Pottery pieces I used. Click image to see details:
You can find my recipe for the Gingerbread Cookies here- they are gluten free and wonderful.
I also used my totem animals. I enjoy making these for fun. They take a bit of time but really let you return to that magical time when you were 4 years old and a wolf could have neon eyes or a penguin chevron green wings.
With simple greens , candles, and handmade accent pieces, I’m ready for a few dinner parties and Christmas guests.
Have a merry little Christmas, Happy Yule, and dream big for a New Year!