Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ugly Wallpaper, New Design

This is the wall paper in my bathroom. I hate it. I did not choose it. It came with the house. It is ugly. I have stripped wall paper in 5 rooms, patched, plastered, painted. I am done for now. But yet, design inspiration comes from mysterious sources. I actually love hydrangea, in all of its old fashioned grandmother glory.

A few months ago, I started playing around with lino cuts for texture on handbuilt pots. The hydrangea design emerged. But then it never went any where. I just wasn’t ready. So in a moment of just playing with clay I rolled out a slab of clay over the design. I sort of liked it but it lacked dimension. Then the penny dropped and I realized I could carve around the lines left by the lino cuts. Six hours later and 3 clay models emerged. One of the problems with creating clay models is getting fine raised line detail. The lino cut seemed to solve that problem.

I'm so pleased that just playing around has given me a new technique. I'm thinking we all need more creative play!

Wishing you a creative day of play, LeAnn

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The winner is....

Mellisa at Chinook Jewelry who correctly guessed that there were 208 pieces in the bowl of little bisque pieces! Yep 208. I know. I counted each and every little piece in there and then put them all away in a neatly organized set of drawers. This is a first for me ( the neatly organized part). So congratulations Mellisa! Email your address to me at Pick any set of things from the pic and I'll mail it out to you straight away.
Thanks everyone for playing the guessing game. I had fun and I hope you did too. You'll get another chance soon. I promise.
Cheers, LeAnn

Monday, February 23, 2009

Isn't this pretty?

I found this beautiful ruffled neckwarmer by Janice Rosema on Etsy this morning (read procrastinating with random searching). Janice bought buttons from me earlier and this neckwarmer is sporting one of my royal blue dotty buttons. I’m just as pleased as can be. And I don’t often get to see my little creations in action.

Janice is a designer, spinner, knitter, crocheter, and all around fabulous fibre artist. She’s been creating wearable accessories and garments in natural fibres for more than 35 years. Her work is absolutely superb and she uses some of the most innovative techniques I’ve seen. For those of you who knit you should check her Etsy shop for her designs which she sells as PDF patterns. For those you who shop, and who doesn’t do that, she’s got a range of lovely knit items listed. You can even keep track of what she’s up to on her blog. Really, truly, I love this woman’s work!

Don't forget to check back Tuesday to find who wins the mystery prize from my give-away.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I opened the kiln and

as usual I have mixed feeling. There are pastels in their. I am not a pastel person. But when I was glazing I felt all sort of springy. And one thing just lead to another. I will have to get used to them. Do you ever stray off your usual path just because the sun is shining and the air is warm?

The good news is that someone actually liked one of my spring daisy buttons and it was gone from my Etsy shop this morning. I am just a little sad about this one though. I liked it too. I will have to make another.

On another note. There are things in there ready for my little give-away. But it is still a mystery. Well not to me. But just as soon as I summon up a bit of energy, I'll post some pics. And no that bowl of bisque is not all glazed and fired. I am slow. It will take me a while.

There is still time to get in on the give away! Just stop over here.

Happy Sunday, LeAnn

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Handmade Help...2009 Victrorian Bush Fire Appeal

This organisation came to my attention via the folks at Burda. Handmade Help is an Australian group who've come together to coordinate the efforts of us art/craft indie biz folks to get stuff out to those folks, including the wildlife, who've been affected by the devasting bushfires, in Victoria, Australia. There are lots of ways to get involved, including donations to the Red Cross, Victoria Wildlife, restocking crafters who've lost everything, and much more. You can read all about how to get involved here.

As an American Australian, and as an expat Victorian, this is near and dear to my heart. The areas that have been decimated by the fires are some of the places that I am most familiar with. The King Lake area in particular was one of our favourite bush walking areas, a place we went to get out of the city for a few hours. Fortunately, all of our friends are OK. But it really tears at our hearts to think of the devastation. Some 180 people have died, 2,000 homes have been destroyed, and countless numbers of wildlife have been lost or displaced from their habitat.

What I am doing is donating 50% of my sales from my Etsy shop to Victoria Wildlife through Handmade Help. It’s not much, just a drop in a really huge bucket. We’ve all seen the photos of the koala drinking from the water bottle of the CFS worker. I’ve been privileged to experience not just koalas, but kangaroos, possums, even snakes in this really truly unique environment. The need is great, the recovery will be long.

I urge you to consider doing what little thing you can to help out. There are lots of small things you can do. Check out
Handmade Help for some ideas. Many of us have Etsy shops. You can donate an item to an Etsy shop, OzBushFireAppeal that is raising funds for the Australian Red Cross. Or consider shopping there. Handmade Help has similar options.

There is a wonderful children’s story I know about Horton the rain drop. Horton wants to save the dying flowers in a dry land but he is only just one little rain drop. Well as the story goes, no one believes that a few individual rain drops can do much. But Horton has belief and fights to rally together the rest of the rain drops and of course, the bucket fills, spills over, and becomes that life giving force that saves the day. It’s amazing what just a tiny little thing can do when it becomes a collective effort.

Cheers, LeAnn

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Have you ever tried to guess how many jelly beans were in a jar? Well now is your chance to win a fabulous prize from Summers Studio by guessing how many pieces of little bisque buttons, connectors and pendants came out of the kiln this morning!

Clues? You want clues? OK then, the size of the pieces in this bowl range from 1" (2.5 cm) to 2" (5 cm) in diameter. 10% of the pieces are 2" (5 cm) in diameter. All of them are about 1/8" (3 mm) thick. The size of the container is 8.5" (21.5 cm) by 3" (7.5 cm) tall. That is about 0.10 cubic feet or 0.0028 cubic meters. Alright then, it's a wee bit bigger container then those short bread cookie tins at Christmas time.

Would any of this information actually help me to narrow down how many things are in this bowl? Of course not. My brain is just not configured that way. But this might help. There are between 150 and 250 pieces in there. The number of pieces in there is an even number.

Rules of the game:

You have until midnight (CST) on Monday to submit your number.
You may enlist any of your math geeky friends to help you out.
Enter your guess as a comment.
You may not choose a number that has been previously submitted.

And just what is that fabulous prize? It is a mystery! It is a mystery even to me. But I can tell you that it will be the final glazed version of a set of things in this bowl. And that there are several brand spanking new designs in there and that you will have a choice of jewelry components or buttons or both!

Just why am I doing this now. Well I just made 151 sales in my Etsy shop. And at least 1 number in 151 is common to both my age, birth month, and birth year. No, you do not get bonus points for guessing my age. In fact I'm thinking you will get penalty points for that.

Let the contest begin......

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


OK, I confess, I have had Moorice for a little while. He was waiting for me when I came home at the end of January. Moorice is from an adorable line of Kidlet Critters designed and made by Gaea Cannaday. Moorice came to me as the result of winning a giveaway over on Gaea’s blog. In a moment of silliness in the naming contest, I followed up on her Moorry Christmas, theme and tad da, Moorice had a name. The truth is I didn’t actually realize it was a contest or give away. So I was just tickled pink when the name was chosen.

Moorice is very sweet and you can see more versions of him from Gaea’s last firing. He is from a line of jewelry she designed specifically with children in mind. That’s such a great idea, and I know my daughter would have loved having her own special handmade jewelry when she was a little one. There are piglets, owls, kitties, and more, all named of course, so be sure to check out her website. Personally, I think these pendants have got a lot of appeal for us big people too! Especially if you like a bit of whimsy.

Thanks, Gaea. Moorice is living in a good home and is much adored by his people.

Monday, February 16, 2009


My Grandma & Grandpa about 1940, looking very American Gothic
Today, Lynn showed us a lovely little red girl piece in in her post, "Red Rover, Let the Joy Come Over." And I've just got to say that I've been just flooded with the best kind of childhood nostagia all day. Red Rover was a game we played as children all the time. And the little girl piece reminded me of my dear gramma (or Oma as we called her). Gramma used to make us yards and yards of paper dolls from newspaper, that we then cut apart and decorated. I spent a lot of time with my gramma. She lived only just a block away from us and was there every morning to help get us ready for school. She'd be there every afternoon when we came home.

After reading Lynn's post I spent a great deal of the afternoon, thinking about my childhood with gramma. A lot of who I am now is connected with who my gramma was. She raised 8 children during the depression and got by all of her life bringing in a little extra money by sewing for other people. I spent countless hours in her sewing room making clothes for my stuffed animals. Gramma was very generous with her time, her scraps, and her buttons. It struck me as quite ironic how much influence she had on me and what I do. You see this afternoon, I made about a million buttons!

Gramma has been gone for a long time now but at least today my childhood memories were fresh. For me, she was one of those people in my life that I've had the good fortune to love. One of those people who showed me how to be kind, generous, and live with a gentler spirit. I think we've all got someone special like that. At least I hope we do.

And Lynn, just many, many thanks for being at the start of my little journey down memory lane. Isn't it just lovely when one little piece of art can take another person so far?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I am obsessed!

I confess! I am obsessed with garden things right now. I think spring must be just around the corner. The buds on the redbud, peach, pear and apple are just starting to plump up on the trees in my garden. I am so excited. It has been a long cold winter for us here. OK I know you northerners have had a much harder winter. But hey, we had at least one whole week where the temperature was in the teens, ummm, at night. And we had snow on the ground for more than 12 hours. And I had to dig out my parka on more than 2 days. That's pretty darned cold out here in West Texas.

These are a few of the pendants and links that came out of the kiln this week. It's all sort of experimental at this point. I turned my leaf buttons into pendants and made daisies into pendants and links. And if all of this garden goodness wasn't enough, I made more clay models of flowers, pansies and something that started out a like a dianthus but ended up more like a zinnia (or something). Who knows where this will go. I may end up with an entire porcelain garden. Sort of like a ceramic field guide, only all of the illustrations will be entirely made up with almost no link to reality.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What a surprise!

I woke up this morning to a message on Etsy that my buttons had been included in a Treasury called Cool Colors. The treasury is chockers full of teals, tans, creams, and soft colours. Very pretty. Go have a look and give it some love!

This just doesn't happen very often to me. Actually I don't think it has ever happened to any of my buttons. So I'm just the tiniest bit over the moon. Thanks, erdart.

Have a lovely day all, LeAnn

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hot out of the kiln

Well not really hot but brand new! These two are couple of the things that came out of the William Morris design excursion last week. I'm not entirely sure that I've actually accomplished an ancanthus leaf feel to these.
The pendant is about 1.5 inches in diameter and matches the small tablet shaped connector beads. They are glazed front and back so should be lovely and smooth against bare skin.

Now that I've had a couple of days to get used to them I'm starting to like them. As usual when things first come out of the kiln, I'm pretty ambivalent. I think it's the anticlimatic feeling that comes with competing a process.

I've got a few other designs I've been working on but as luck would have it somebody left the camera on and it has no juice. I wonder just who could have done that?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tray full of kiln goodies

As usual, I have mixed feelings about the results when I fire new pieces. But over a few hours, days, I find new things in the pieces. There is always something that can be tweaked. Maybe that's why of all the things I've done over time, I always come back to ceramics.

Dissapointments in this lot? Yep, absolutley. My favourite old pigment "peacock" is no longer my favourite. It is too dark, too intense. It looked much better when I was working in a beautiful red terracotta. It does not translate to well to porcelain.

Success? Some. I've been working on tweaking a clear base glaze that, to date, I've only used on stoneware. Yippy Skippy!!!! It is working! It is a bit glossy but with just the most wonderful satin feel. I wish I could it into your hand. Very touchable. And it takes colours well. I am in love and have all sorts of ideas of where to go with this one.

And the Morris inspired pieces are coming along. I'm not sure that they look a whole like an acanthus leaf. But I'm starting to like the blue and green glaze effects. And as usual, I have a few more ideas of what to do with these. I've got a couple of ideas for pendants and buttons and......
So just check back soon. I'll start listing some of these next week and give you a wee preview.
Happy weekend! Cheers, LeAnn

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Kiln is Firing

The kiln is firing and the kiln god sits watching the magik. Well maybe it is not magik, maybe it is just chemistry. And maybe it is not really a kiln god so much as a kiln gargoyle. He used to have 2 ears. In fact he still has 2 ears but one fell off on our move back to the United States from Australia. Someday the ear will be attached again. I did not make the kiln god/gargoyle. My son made him for me when he was about 15 years old. Sometimes, I think he should be the one doing ceramics. Clever boy!

The kiln god always sits on my kiln in gaurd of the works inside. Pure superstition.

So in this kiln is a whole lot of new things. New glazes, new combinations of glazes. Lots of blues, greens, and blue greens (I think). I never know what will come out. I sometimes wonder why I do all these new things on an entire kiln load. I've got new things in there. Not just buttons, some pendants and linky things in new designs.

So stay tuned...the kiln will open tomorrow...I'll post....But I may or may not post the failures. My ego you know.

Cheers, LeAnn

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Most Dangerous Cake Ever!

OK this is way beyond musings, and studio, and so forth. But then again it does involve chocolate and , really, doesn’t chocolate have an awful lot to do with creativity? Well it does for me at times.

My friend Lyn recently emailed me this recipe. I thought no way, no how. I said Lyn, “is this for real?” She didn’t know. So out of the Lindt, Sees, Cadbury from Christmas, in a moment of absolute desperation, I made it and believe it or not, it works. This is a little like mud cake crossed with a brownie, and coupled with a bit of French vanilla ice cream it is a little bit of heaven.
So with no further ado……


4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
a small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high).
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?

Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

In moments of chocolate desperation, I can attest that this is indeed 5 minutes to bliss.

Enjoy, LeAnn

Monday, February 2, 2009

Where did my table go?

For that matter where did my day go?

Beneath that mess somewhere is my dining room table. Eating at the table is over rated isn't it? Lots and lots of new things were made today. None of them had anything to do with the orders I have to get out. But there are a whole lot of new pendants, links, and bead type things in there. I just found myself obsessed with making little things. Tinier and tinier, and well one thing just led to another and whoops the day was pretty much gone. Does this ever happen to you?