Sunday, November 16, 2008

Danger, Will Robinson, danger!

Remember that show, Lost In Space? It was great. I'll bet to see it now would make you cringe at the lack of production quality. I can remember what the landscape looked like in the show; fake beige mounds representing the terrain.

Take a look at this Skype screen shot that popped up on my computer.
In case it's too tough to read the small type, it's telling me that my computer is infected with a virus.
Then it says, "Recommendation: Users running vulnerable version should install a repair utility immediately. Your system IS affected, download the patch from the address below ! Failure to do so may result in severe computer malfunction." Then it gives a link to click on.

This is a very typical way for something known as a trojan horse to be loaded on a computer. A trojan horse is very bad because it takes over your computer. According to the Wikipedia entry,
"Malicious Trojan Horse programs are used to circumvent protection systems in effect creating a vulnerable system to allow unauthorized access to the user's computer."

When I saw this pop up on my computer I knew immediately what it was. But that is only because my husband is an expert in IT security. I wonder how many computers they were able to infect with this scheme.

Beware! Danger, Will Robinson!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Eye of the Amaryllis

That's actually the name of a great children's book by Natalie Babbitt. I will soon learn up close and personal what the eye looks like. Check out this plant that I'm growing in a pot in my house. I took my mother to Odd Lots, something she likes to do about once month with me for whatever reason. We meander through the isles searching for bargains. Last time we were there I found a couple different varieties of bulbed plants and me being the sucker for plants that I am, I bought both. They came as a kit with the plastic pot, potting material in compact disk form, and the bulbs. One pot came with one amaryllis bulb and the other with three narcissus bulbs.

The amaryllis has surprised me as to the height it has grown. And now it has started to open. I can't wait to see its full beauty. Here are a couple pictures and an extra one of my cat.

Monday, November 10, 2008


It's official! I've set up my Etsy shop. If you go directly to, search on Pottery59 (you have to select the 'Sellers; Usernames' choice). I've listed three items so far. We'll see how they do. You can also use this link:

While you're there you will no doubt want to check out all the other cool stuff made by wonderfully talented people. It's a great place to go holiday shopping.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Some of the good ones

These are a couple of the garden art mushrooms. The maroon one stands 7 1/2 inches and the yellow one is 10 inches. I'm pretty happy with these. I can't wait to glaze the other 3 tops that made it through the firing and also to make more. They're fun! I'm going to go on now and see if I can set up a store to sell my work. Thanks for the encouragement, V and Richard!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A time to create is followed by a time to be humble

My worry was a bit misplaced. The anticipation that comes with firing a load in the kiln is fun and nerve-wracking at the same time. I kept peeking into the little hole in the top to see if I could make anything out. I have to look when it is hot but not up to its final temp because once it gets that hot the only thing I can see is a bright, bright orange color, the color of fire. I carefully snapped a picture of what I could see through the hole and I didn't like what I saw. My heart sunk but it was a good warning to get myself psyched to open the kiln to mayhem.
The lower shelf, with the mushroom stems, fired without mishap but the upper shelf - WHOA! Was there an explosion!!
Here is the bottom shelf with a few shards from the top shelf.
All was not lost and I quickly brushed a top glossy glaze on the pieces that needed it and also made some test tiles of my new glazes. Here is the result, some of the spoon rests completed along with a couple mushroom tops.
I'm looking for a good vibrant red glaze but red is a tough color to produce without lead. Here is a test tile of the red I have right now. The second picture is of a test I did with the red and then glazed over with a crackle effect glaze. Pretty cool, I think.
So, I've shed a few tears for lost pieces, lost time producing but I've learned a lesson or two and will keep playing in the mud!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Time to create!

My hands have been busy in the clay again. It feels so good when I get going playing in the mud! I have been working on Christmas presents and I loaded my first bisque firing this morning of all the things I've been working on. This is what the bottom shelf looked like after I was done loading it. I put the things that I thought could possibly explode separate from the other clay pieces in which I have more confidence to stay in one piece. Pieces can explode if there is air inside the clay with no way out.

The long, vertical tubular things are the stems to the mushroom garden art I'm working on. The round base at the bottom will get buried in the earth for support. The stacked triangular things are test tiles for my new glazes. I'm all geeked to see the new colors!

These are the mushroom tops. Some of them are colored already with underglaze. They will then get another coat of clear over them for the glaze firing. The others will be glazed with regular fire glazes, colors to be determined later when I see my new colors.
This is a platter and dip set. I painted some under glaze on them but will also add over glazes for the second firing.
Here are two different pieces, a candle holder on the left and a soap dish on the right.

I've been working on a bunch of different spoon rests. Here are two pictures of seven of them. Five of them have been decorated with underglazes and then will be coated with clear glaze for the final firing.

These little gems were made by Hannah. She just created them one day by just playing in the clay. They are ring holders; a great idea, I think. They are so cute! I told her if she produces a lot of them I will take them to the local art shops in Birmingham and see if they will sell them for her.
These two pieces are stamps used to imprint into clay. My daughter, Courtney, and I plan on making more soap and I want to make soap molds. I thought it would be fun to have designs in the molds. I might use these for that purpose.Here are a few 'boxes' I have made. I feel funny calling them boxes as they are round but I guess a box can be round, as in a hat box. I'll glaze these with over glazes and maybe put a marble at the bottom of each one for a cool effect.

Here is the top shelf partially loaded. Unfortunately, I only have two shelves right now. With the bisque firing the pieces can get stacked on top of each other without them sticking together. During the 2nd (glaze) firing the pieces cannot touch or else they will be co-joined. Also, with the boxes above, the lids have to stay on top of the piece so they will fit together after they shrink. So when I glaze the boxes the surfaces that touch cannot have glaze on them. Here's the full top load! Wish me luck! I hope I don't get too much explosion. I'll post pictures of the kiln and pieces when I open it up tomorrow (or later tonight!).