Taking a Look Back at 2014

We had a new addition to our family!

Our granddaughter Grace was born on February 5, 2014

grace's red coatFS80jpg

I can’t believe my beautiful blue-eyed grand baby is almost a year old already!

We had a lot of first’s this year!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I took the very first photos of Grace. I love this one!

grace and mommyblack and white boost20(2)jpg

The first photo of Grace and Mommy, my beautiful daughter Jayme!

daddy and grace black and whitejpg

Grace and Daddy, my son-in-law Max!

Paige four years oldjpg

My beautiful blonde, blue-green eyed granddaughter Paige started school for the first time this year. I can’t believe she’s in school already! 

Paige 6-30-14 (2)jpg

What a cutie pie!

paige alexanderblack and white boostjpg

Awww…so beautiful!

Paige's 1st symphony

Paige’s first symphony…love her dress!

first day of school dawn10 8-21-14

My beautiful brown-eyed granddaughter Faith started middle school this year.

OMG…I can’t believe it! Where did the time go?

Faith and Paige dawn20

Faith got her first cell phone. I love this photo, they’re so excited and I love how Paige has her arm around Faith…that is so cute!

Faiths first selfie dawn

Faith’s first selfie. It came out great!

ice cream

On September 4th, I became dairy free for the first time in my life. I’ve been gluten-free for almost 4 years now, which really hasn’t bothered me. I must admit, I really don’t have a choice…I have Celiac Disease. I’ve also been 90% grain free for almost a year now. Dairy was harder for me to give up. I love ice cream, especially rocky road, or any other chocolate ice cream with nuts.

And I love cheese!

dip

I have to say that cheese is the thing I miss the most, and that really surprises me! I thought it would have been ice cream or sugar, but no…it’s cheese! I’m not sure if I have to be dairy free forever? Maybe when we move to a drier climate, I might be able to eat it again? Right now…living in Florida (swampville), I can’t eat it because of my sinuses.

sugar

I also cute down on sugar this year. I’m about 90% sugar-free on a good day!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Except for when I need a little more chocolate!

NaNoWriMo

Like when I participated in National Novel Writing Month. This year was my first time participating, and I definitely wasn’t prepared for it. It was very intense and I needed lots of chocolate to get me through it!

#NaNoWriMo was the hardest thing I did this year! But it was worth it. I feel like I’ve grown as a writer. I’ve learned that I have to make time for writing…everyday, not just when I have time and next year…I will definitely be more prepared! 

Winner-2014-Twitter-Profile

My greatest accomplishment this year was…being a #NaNoWriMo winner!

48C

This year, Faith became a big sister for the first time!

21C

They’re first photo shoot! How cute is this!

12C

Baby in a basket! This is too cute!

3C (2)

I love this one!

6C

OMG…look at the way they’re looking at each other!

36C

Awww…so cute!

33C

Awww…

51C

Awww…my beautiful girls!

54C

I love this one!

These photos came out great!

I’m so glad I have three granddaughters! After having four boys and just one girl, it’s so nice to have more girls around. Jayme and I have been out number for years! I think we need a few more though!

What I loved most about 2014, other than having a new grand baby…was all the hugs I got from my husband. He gives the best hugs ever! It’s my favorite place to be…in his arms!

So…even though 2014 was a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs and twists and turns, it was a good year. I can never say my life is boring!

I‘m looking forward to 2015…being an even better year!!!

Time to clean up!

Since National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo is over and the Christmas rush is slowing down…it’s time to clean up my workshop!

I’ve been using every flat surface in my workshop as a table. My slab roller was covered with unfinished items, tools that needed cleaning, there’s even a bowl of slip that I forgot to finish working on, and put away in a plastic container, it dried up! My potter’s wheel is covered with sketch books that I didn’t put away, napkins for photo taking and other stuff I don’t even know or remember.

Sorry, I didn’t take any photos of the mess. I’m a little OCD about messes. I think it’s because my mother is a Virgo, or maybe it’s just me…because my bedroom was always neat and clean growing up. Everything was in its place and my mother never had to tell me to put anything away. I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve learned to deal with messes…especially raising 5 children (four boys…need I say more) who wasn’t as clean as I was, that’s for sure. I’ve had to bite my tongue a lot and just leave the room. But, I can only take it for so long…then it needs to be cleaned.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Ahh…my worktable is clean!

And ready to start working. I have water, my spray bottle, paper towels, buckets, sponges, tools, brushes, clay…I’m all set!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My canvas-covered workbench is clean!

I’m sure it won’t look like this for long…once I start working on something. Then I’ll just have to clean it again. It’s a never-ending process for me. Make a mess and clean it up! I could really use a cleaning lady but, I’m not sure I would let her in my workshop? Yeah, I don’t think I could let her clean my workshop, she can clean the house and I’ll clean my workshop, that sounds good!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh…Yay! My slab roller is clean!

I love my slab roller! Now I can get to work. I was planning on making some mugs first, but then yesterday I remembered something I’ve been wanting to make and didn’t have a chance to yet. You’ll have to wait and see what it is. I’ll post photos once I make them. Then I’ll make some mugs, or maybe I’ll just make both…we’ll see.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I can’t wait to roll out a slab and make something new!

I haven’t finished the slip yet, I just added water and stirred. I’ll get to it later. And I haven’t even attempted to clean my potter’s wheel. But, that’s okay! I can hand build and clean my wheel later. I’m anxious to start working with clay again. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty. I can’t wait to feel the clay squish through my fingers again.

I’m going to try some new glaze combinations too, so I’m excited!

Do you have any ideas about what I should make? I’d love to hear from you!

I did it…Yay!

I’m a 2014 #NaNoWriMo Winner!

Winner-2014-Twitter-Profile

It must have been all the chocolate I ate! lol

It was yummy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Check out my other blog for more details! 

http://melindamariealexander.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/nanowrimo-winner-2014/

#NaNoWriMo 2014 Participant

I’m participating in this years #NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo

So, I don’t think I’ll have time for my pottery blog this month!

I’ll try and update you on my progress though.

Check out my #NaNoWriMo Emergency Survival Kit on my other blog

http://melindamariealexander.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/my-nanowrimo-emergency-survival-kit/

So far…as of November 8th my word count is 11,806

Not bad for my first year and being a pantser – headlighter!

This is intense!

I’m exhausted!!!

 

Raven Hill Pottery is re-opening!

Midnight…October 22

Raven Hill Pottery (2)

Don’t mind the mess, I’ll be busy re-listing expired items and updating my shop!

Come on by and have a look around.

http://www.ravenhillpottery.etsy.com

See you there!

Making Birdie Bowls

While I’m taking some time off, to heal my shoulder and get over a stubborn sinus infection, I thought I’d catch up on some blog posts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My birdie bowls started from a sketch I drew a long time ago. I thought it would make a really cute bowl. So, I cut out the original bird and transferred it onto some graph paper, so I could enlarged it. But I ended up taking it to Office Max and had them make it for me. I decided to make three different sizes, one for a birdie bowl, one for a bird ornament, and one for a smaller birdie bowl. Once I had the sizes I needed, I cut them out, and traced them onto a piece of poster board. I made a bunch of them and cut them out so I could have a template…good thing I was good at cutting out paper dolls. And here they are! The only thing is, they don’t last very long. After I use it a few times, it gets messed up, so I have to make more templates. I need to find a better way to do this, so I don’t have to keep cutting out paper birds! In the meantime though, it works great!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve only used B-mix 5 for my birdie bowls, but I have tried a stoneware clay called #60 on some of my bird ornaments, but I haven’t glazed them yet, so I don’t know how they will come out! If they come out great, I’ll try it on my birdie bowls too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After I slice off large chunks of clay with my wire tool, I put them on my slab roller.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I absolutely love my North Star Slab Roller, it was the best investment I’ve ever made. She is my work horse…I call her Willow Northstar!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Okay, all the clay I need is on my slab roller. I always, always use an old sheet over the canvas…for two reasons. One, it keeps my canvas nice and clean and two, I have a nice smooth surface. I always overlap the clay and then punch it with my fist. I kind of like punching it, it’s a nice way to get out your frustrations. After I punch it, I cover the clay with another sheet and cover the sheet with my canvas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s already to roll!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And here it is…my slab!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I place the bird template on my slab and trace around the edge with my pin tool.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After I trace it, I carefully remove the template…hopefully without getting any finger prints or marks on my bird. Then I remove the excess clay around the bird before picking it up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Like this! Now I can lift it gently off my slab roller and shape it into a bowl.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is what they look like after I shape them into bowls. I let them stiffen up a little before cleaning them, so they hold they’re shape.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is what they look like after they’ve been all cleaned up and are completely dry and ready to be bisque fired.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These are the smaller birdie bowls, they’re really cute too!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made some with a pointy tail. What do you think? Should I make more of these?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And here it is…all finished! I think these were the first birdie bowls that I glazed.

birdie bowls by melinda marie alexander ravenhillpottery.etsy.comjpg

These are some of the textures and colors I’ve used…Orange, Scarlet Red and Chartreuse. Not sure if I’ll continue to use these glazes? I love the colors but, this glaze is a pain in the butt! It’s never consistent and gives me problems with pinholes…I don’t like that!

birdie bowls2 by melinda marie alexander ravenhillpottery.etsy.comjpg

Coyote Light Blue Shino on plain birdie bowls and Scarlet Red on texture.

birdie bowls3 by melinda marie alexander ravenhillpottery.etsy.comjpg

And one of my favorite glazes…Indigo Float by Potters Choice. Now this glaze is amazing, not only is it beautiful, it always, always comes out great! Now that’s the kind of glaze I like! Always consistent and perfect!

I’m definitely going to try more Potters Choice glazes, maybe even do some glaze combinations and see how they come out.

making birdie bowls by melinda marie alexander ravenhillpottery.etsy.com

And I’d like to try more Coyote glazes too, especially with some texture. These will definitely be more rustic, I think they’ll look fantastic!

making birdie bowls by melinda marie alexander ravenhillpottery.etsy.com2jpg

These will look great too!

Hopefully my shoulder will heal soon and my sinus headaches will go away, so I can start making some pottery. I think this is the fourth week…with a constant sinus headache…I honestly can’t remember now, it’s been so long! It’s day eleven on antibiotics. In the meantime, I’m just hoping I can start concentrating on my writing, so I can work on my book.

No Pottery for a While!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I injured my shoulder last month.
I rested it for a few days, but as soon as I made something, it flared up again. This happened over and over again. So, I decided to put my Etsy Shop on vacation, but I had to wait until my orders were processed. These are the last two sales I had, before putting my shop on vacation. My shoulder was actually feeling a little better, so I thought …Hmmm, maybe I can still keep it open. But then I packed these orders and it flared up again. I have to rest my shoulder, no pottery, and no packing! Thankfully it’s my left shoulder and not my right.
I’ll still be blogging when I get a chance. Maybe I’ll be able to catch up on all the blog posts I’ve been wanting to do, and hadn’t had the time!
So, now I can work on my book!
If you’d like to see what I’m doing, check out my other blog, Facebook Page and follow me on Twitter. Thanks!
See you soon!