Oh my, Charlie … what a mix!

A few years ago, we adopted a small two-year-old poodle-mix dog from a city shelter near San Antonio. He had curly hair like a poodle and a curly tail.  But, his nose and his chest were broad.  We thought he might be part Schnauzer because he seemed a bit headstrong.

We attributed quirks to his being a “street dog” for most of his life and having to protect himself from dangers seen and unseen. He settled down quite a bit after he was neutered and went to a month of boot camp.

Then, I learned about a DNA kit for dogs. Hmmmmm … it would be nice to know exactly what breed(s) are in Charlie. So, I ordered the kit and, when it came, took a cheek swab and sent the kit off to be analyzed.

Well … the results are in! And guess what!!  Charlie is mostly poodle but he’s also American Staffordshire Terrier and Lhasa Apso.   His genetics make-up estimates his age to be 42 (human) years and his adult weight to be 28 pounds.  Last time he was weighed, he was 26 pounds.

The good part is that he is not at risk for any canine genetic diseases or defects.

 

By lizzieb42 Posted in Pets

I’m Baaaaaaaack …..

Just realized that it’s been more than a year since this blog/website has been updated.  I’m mortified but realize that time keeps plodding along and, if I don’t actually sit down and post something, the elves won’t do it for me.

And, actually, quite a bit has happened in the past year, including:

  • Started taking pottery classes at Brookhaven College.  Love the fact that they have cone 10 firings in reduction, soda and wood.   And there’s also a raku kiln.  The teacher and students inspire me.
  • Late October 2016, broke my right wrist again and was in a cast for approximately six weeks.  Darn … that slowed me down a little.
  • My granddaughter had her first child in February.  A boy who looks a lot like his father.
  • Installed new landscaping around the house but a hot summer wreaked havoc on some of them.  They just couldn’t take the heat.

So much more happened but these are the highlights. Hope to post some pictures in the next few days.

And the winner is …

A small group gathered at the main Dallas Public Library for the FODPL reception on Wednesday, August 10th.   All 16 entries for their “Reading to my Friends” competition were on display.  There was such variety and creativity that the judges had a tough job choosing winners.

The piece below on the left was the grand prize winner and it’s beautifully conceived and executed.  The other three pieces were honorable mentions … including my piece on the far right.

All pieces will be on display at the main Dallas Library until the end of August.

“Once Upon a … Happily Ever After”

Remember a couple weeks ago when this piece was a “work in progress” and I couldn’t decide how to finish it? When in doubt, ask an expert.

So, I asked my friend and expert pottery teacher, Nancy Trezza.  She suggested that I just put a coat of paste wax on it.  Great!!!

Lowe’s carries the paste wax and I had plenty of soft rags to apply it.  It gave the piece a soft luster.

Then, this piece (“Once Upon a … Happily Ever After”) was delivered to the Friends of the Dallas Public Library for their exhibition.

Fun with Decals

Lately, I’ve been looking at different ways to add a “something extra” to some of my pieces … so, I’ve been playing with decals and learned that there is definitely a learning curve in working with them.  There are several types of decals:  those you apply before the bisque fire and those you apply after a piece is glazed and fired.

UnderglazeDecal

The piece to the left has a decal that was applied before the pot was bisque fired.  It’s an underglaze design that’s been printed on a thin piece of rice paper.  Directions say to wet the decal and apply it to the piece.  I found it easier to brush water on the piece and then lay the decal over it and smooth with a dry brush.  It’s easy to smear the decal; so, it’s best to handle it as little as possible and leave it alone to dry.  This piece was glazed with a zinc-free clear and fired to cone 5.

Decals applied after a piece is glazed present other challenges.  The decals have to be soaked until they come loose from their backing paper before applying to the glazed piece.  The decal is fragile and can wrinkle or tear.  And after the decal is applied, it has to be gently brushed to remove all air bubbles; then, left alone for 24 hours.  Finally, the piece with the decal is fired to cone 017.

I didn’t realize how much he glaze color can affect the decal.  The moon & stars decals (below left) were put onto pieces with a dark blue glaze.  Mistake!  The moon & stars look green because the decal was yellow; blue & yellow = green.

Mistake 2: the middle picture shows decals that get lost with all the fru-fru around the edge.

The cats & dogs turned out pretty well.  Hooray!!  One out of three isn’t bad.

Buh-bye, Succulents

succulents

After struggling all winter and spring to keep my succulents alive (note: not thriving but surviving), I finally gave up and placed an ad on a neighborhood bloody thing offering them for $5 to $10 each.  Several neighbors took me up on the offer but there were still about 40 – 50 succulents left.

Next, I called a local charity group to see if they would take a donation of live plants, hoping to keep them alive until they were picked-up.  Yes!!  They would!!

About a week after my call, their truck showed up; the plants went into the truck and were taken away.  In fact, the truck driver was fascinated with the plants and several may end up with him.  Hope the rest have found good homes where they can be loved, appreciated and grow.

What Else?

This piece was built specifically for an exhibition at the Dallas Public Library.  It’s an open exhibition which means: just show up with your piece (I think).  The theme is “Reading to My Friends.”

Okay … so, the piece is built and red iron oxide was added when it was bone dry.  Then fired to cone 05.  Question is:  What else?  Do I add some underglaze and/or glaze and fire again?  Or do I just add clear shoe polish and buff it?

Decided to add some underglaze and dark highlighter.  Now, it’s back in the kiln, going to cone 5.   Also in the kiln is a test piece with low-fire clear underglaze and some crystals.  Thinking about adding those and firing again once this firing is finished.

So Excited!!

About the middle of June, I entered a juried competition to (hopefully) be included in the Creative Arts Center of Dallas member’s exhibition.   July 13th arrived.  The selection emails were sent and …

I received two emails.  The first said, “Thanks for entering.  You weren’t selected.”  The second said, “Congratulations!  Your piece was selected for the exhibition.”  I was confused because I only entered one piece.  How could it be rejected and accepted??

Then it dawned on me:  I submitted three photos of the piece.  And, although the piece was accepted, they had to accept one photo and reject the other two.  WHEW!!

Today, I delivered the piece, Mystic Dreams, to the gallery and am planning to attend the opening reception next week.

Glaze & Texture Experiments

One reason that I was able to clean & organize the studio is that all the current work was in the kiln being fired.  And this is the result of the firing.

Overall, I’m pretty happy (i.e., thrilled) with the texture and the glaze layering.  One idea lead to another and voila ….

0709_kiln

 

Yes … It Can Be Done

studio

Much of the time, my studio reflects a “work in progress” and isn’t the cleanest or neatest place.  I tend to spread out and use all the space available.  And, after a month or so of creating flower pots and finishing up the sculpture, the studio was a wreck!

I spent several days cleaning and organizing.  I didn’t really have a place for my most-used tools; they were usually scattered all over the work space.  Luckily, I found these cute little wire-mesh containers at Target … for $1 each.  Such a deal!!!  Such inspiration!!!

Now, with a semi-clean (is a pottery studio every completely clean?) and organized space, I’m ready to create more.