Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

marshmallow ghosts tutorial

I had to try these Halloween ghosts made with marshmallows from Martha Stewart!My first ones looked like neighborhood bullies had attacked a snowman with blowtorches. Eventually I made ones I like. Here are my tweaks to Martha’s ghosts. First of all, select only the roundest marshmallows. I made a bit of “glue” by microwaving a marshmallow for 10 sec, until it melted a bit and then used the sticky part to attach the parts. I also used an edible food coloring marker for the faces. Test it first because if you press too hard the ink blurs.

I also made a few place settings with my marshmallow ghosts, dried seed pods, candles, and mismatched plates and my River Journey bowls. Each setting becomes a bit comically spooky by using odd angles. My table centerpiece will be a simple arrangement of candles sitting on pods, dried leaves, plastic spiders, and white pumpkins painted with glow in the dark paint so they will glow. Here are some settings:

Lee Wolfe Pottery Halloween setting  Halloween place setting

I love the one night when we let kids fly their freak flag, stay up to late, and eat too much candy. The laughter and excitement lives in our memories throughout adulthood. May the magic and freedom you felt as a child on Halloween carry your spirit aloft tonight!

Halloween Ghosts tutorial from Lee Wolfe Pottery

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Simple and natural holiday table

My favorite meals are with a few people at a time, and I like an intimate setting that lets us all shed our worries, relax, and enjoy that exquisite pleasure of being appreciated. Without taking hours of time, I make a few welcoming arrangements of candles, flowers and pottery in my foyer, living room, and dining room. I like this a lot better than an over-the-top table runner packed with tall, intimidating objects so that you can’t see across the table. These look great when you are making them, but I’ve found that they aren’t truly inviting. No one feels comfortable being the only one who can’t recognize a Rookwood vase, or comment knowledgably on Japanese floral arrangements.  I pull more precious objects out for large gatherings but for my small dinner parties, I like simple and natural. Like this:

white reindeer ornament in simple display simple and natural holiday decor

natural and minimalist table centerpiece arrangement natural winter decor with Owl House ornament

minimalist holiday place setting place setting with handmade dinnerware

Click on any pic here to see details or purchase. Hope you have some guests over soon!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Moody Side of Autumn Beauty

skywhite mums

Last Rose


blue pumpkindrying hydrangeas photography by Lee Wolfe

Before the magic show of turning leaves, autumn days have a soft foreboding quality that I find beautiful. The last roses bloom pale and their petals will drop soon. Full round pumpkins have hard shells to insulate against the coming chill. Preservation. Harvest. Gathering in.

It seems like we have so many seasons when we are young but as we age I’ve come to understand that the reason seasons repeat so continuously without variation is that the lesson to be learned is hard. Things change. Bodies change. Relationships change. All that is mortal  is impermanent. If you are very, very blessed, you have stumbled upon what endures. I hope you have.

I took these shots at the Arboretum yesterday, where I laughed and felt lighthearted with my husband and daughter-in-law Hayley. Only later did it occur to me how somber the photos are that I took. Perhaps it is because I walked here so many times with my baby, with a group of small school children, with my husband when we were younger and newly in love. That’s the seasons; all that has passed. Our family, though it looks quite different, is still here. And the same gaiety I felt as a child myself at  mums and pumpkins and twilight.

                                                          Blackwater woods quote

Saturday, October 12, 2013

More Adventures in Photo Styling: Rustic Wood Planks

I have found myself lately captivated by logs in our woodpile. There is so much recorded in the growth rings, the peculiar places where a branch emerges from the trunk, the darker striations of bark like wisdom lines in a human face. The shapes and textures inform my ceramic work at deep levels beyond a conscious choice to illustrate. There is just a delight and fascination  in picking up each log that emerges with no effort at all in the organic shapes of my trays or the combed facets on mugs and vases.

I decided to use a rustic wood plank as a styling board, and went to Asheville Hardware to look through their selection of slab wood and reclaimed lumber. The selection is intoxicating! From beautiful slabs of maple, poplar, oak and cedar to reclaimed barn doors, vintage flooring, and bins of scrap wood to rummage in. Half a day later I selected a slab that my husband has lovingly hand sanded. It is not yet stained nor oiled but I’ve already begun shooting pottery on it. Plus planning several future purchases!

If you are planning to use rustic wood planks as a table centerpiece or styling board, look through the thinner slices because wood is pretty heavy. You can use the pieces that aren't as prized for tabletops and shelving because irregular shapes, holes, and knots are visually interesting. Personally I love love love the bark left on. You can spend as little as $10 for an unsanded piece that is quite wonderful, or as much as $600 for a finished piece of the same size and quality so you can save a bucketful with a bit of DIY. Also, Asheville Hardware’s prices were 1/3 of what I found on Ebay, so definitely visit them if you are in Asheville. Or hunt down a similar store selling rustic planks and reclaimed lumber.

Here are my initial results:

_DSC5655 _DSC5652

fern tray

raven luminary 1

I want to thank my husband, my most incomparable love, for his help. Besides sanding my rustic board, Ken is the gardener whose flowers give life to my vases. He also dropped my off at the opening weekend of Trader Joes where a parking place was nonexistent and the traffic was slightly insane so I could buy the little squash and other food staging necessities. He then parked blocks away. I think I owe him a nice home cooked meal after I get done using it for my food styling!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lemon Curry Roasted Cauliflower and Beets

I recently stumbled upon a new type of artisan food shop specializing in flavored balsamic vinegars and olive oils. They are phenomenal! I made this simple, low fat, gluten and dairy free veggie dish in 30 min. Served in one of my flower bowls with brown rice, it was a perfect autumn evening meal.


Lemon Curry Roasted Cauliflower and Beets


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 large clove of fresh garlic (crushed/minced)
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 large head of fresh cauliflower
  • 3 fresh beets
  • zest of half a lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 t lemon balsamic vinegar
  • optional garnishes: chopped green onion tops, sesame seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Mix together oil, curry, garlic and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  3. Cut florets off cauliflower, and put in bowl.
  4. Cut beets into thin rounds.
  5. Sprinkle in the lemon zest and mix to coat.
  6. Spread the veggies on a cookie sheet. 
  7. Sprinkle with a few generous pinches of Kosher salt.
  8. Place in oven to roast for 25 minutes (turn a couple times during roasting), or until cauliflower is soft and caramelized in spots.
  9. Transfer to bowl, add balsamic vinegar and stir to coat
  10. Top with garnishes as you like

Here is the vinegar and olive oil I used


And the flower bowls, in Autumn glazes