Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I haven't gotten much done in clay due to the heat. Yesterday it was 112 and today was supposed to be 114, although I don't think it got that high. Then last night after dark, our well quit working. Only air came out of the faucet. Since we are into the third year of a drought, we were scared s@#%less that it was major. After a (literally) sleepless night and waiting all day for the water softener people to come and fix a leak, and the well guy to check our well, we found out it was just dirty contacts in the regulator. What a sigh of relief. But I did read that even a small drip or leak can waste a lot of water a day. So don't let any water leaks or running toilets go, please get them fixed. In the mean time I have been watering up a storm because when the temperature goes over 100, some things need water twice a week instead of once. So even though I reduced my watering areas, my watering has temporarily doubled. Despite the heat everything is looking pretty good around here and my back has been holding up too.

What's all this got to do with doodles? If you are anything like me, when you can't create in clay, you think and dream, and perhaps doodle your ideas on paper. Hey waiting in the drive through bank line I sketched the quail above. Guess I'll have to tape it into my journal. Do you do any doodling or sketching? I have, what I think are, several good ideas rolling around in my head. I was inspired by a couple of magazines I got for Gary to read recently, one called Atomic Ranch and the other Dwell. We're dreaming of our next house. We'd love to live in an atomic ranch styled house. Anyway, I'm formulating some retro designs. In preparation for these designs, I ordered a few (many, don't tell Gary) different colors of mason stain samples and I'm patiently waiting for their arrival. After seeing Kitty Shepherd's slip decorated work, I have wanted to use more colors in my slip decoration. In the meantime, I decided to draw some of my ideas on paper and use some colored pencils or marking pens to color my ideas. My thought behind this is to work out the colors on paper before I actually put the mason stained slip on clay. Since the mason stains are expensive this will save using colored slip to practice with. How about you, do you used colored pencils for your designs?

The colored pencils brought back memories of when I used to design and make quilts back in the late 1970's. Back then there weren't all the computer design programs and there weren't any ready-made plastic templates I could purchase. When I got an idea in my head, I would draw it on paper, usually graph paper so it was to scale, and then I would use colored pencils to color in my design. Once I got my design down on paper, I would make up cardboard templates for each piece of the design, cut them out and place them on the fabric and cut the fabric out. Then I would piece my quilt together.

All the quilts I made back then are long gone, some as gifts to others. My sister still has the baby quilt I made for her son, Casey, almost 28 years ago, and when her grandson, Ashton, was born, his first baby picture was taken with that quilt. Boy was I proud to be a Great Aunt but also proud that a quilt I made so many years ago was still holding up and usable. I have the birth announcement showing the quilt somewhere around here, but I can't find it right now. Since I didn't know the sex of my nephew ahead of time, I made a log cabin style quilt in aqua and purple prints. Some considered those colors risky or outlandish back then, but they looked good together to me. They're not so risky now, the three enlarged and digitally manipulated flower photos above have those same colors and they are hanging above the couch in my family room.

One of the projects Gary and I have been doing is going through all our possessions to see what we need to keep and what we can donate or sell. Cynthia Guajardo will be moving soon and she and I have had several discussions about minimalist living, what to keep and what you can do without. The other day Gary and I were going through some boxes and were pleasantly surprised to rediscover two, pieced throw pillows I made for Gary as a wedding present. Gary and I moved to the mountains and got married in the backyard of the first house we purchased together twenty-four years ago. Before we were married, Gary had once mentioned he loved down pillows. So when I made these two throw pillows for Gary, I ordered some real goose down and put the down in a liner inside the pillow. Then I made the outer pieced pillow portion with Velcro so it could be removed to wash. One pillow symbolizes the mountains where we were moving and the other the new home we would be making together. Of course, we'll be keeping these pillows.

Well I'm back to doodling and coloring. I know you're wondering about all those bisque and glaze loads I'm supposed to be doing, and you're thinking where is the PVC light box? I'll be getting to those projects real soon. Believe me they are weighing on my mind more than yours. It's just been too hot to run the kiln this past week and my back wasn't up to it. Household duties have kept me from building the light box. Besides that Gary hurt his back taking up the slack for me, so I've been taking up the slack for him. When it rains it pours. Wait a minute we could use some rain here in California. In the meantime, once my mason stains arrive, I'll show you some of my colored slip designs on clay.


  1. Hi Linda- i wish I could send you some rain!
    I love color pencils and love to doodle with them. I have posted notes on my computer of quick doodles...
    I love quilts- I bet you could use some of the same concepts in your clay work.

  2. Boy that's hot! Glad you're feeling better! :-)

  3. Quilting is one of those projects I keep hoping to get around "someday". I have a bunch of Wesley's baby clothes and keep thinking I'll have a quilt for her to go off to college with. But there is a kiln waiting for a load of reduction soooooo, what to do :)

  4. i bet those pillow are comfy with the goose down... can't get over the 112 and 114, the climate's gone wacky

  5. Wow - that is hot! Hope you're able to stay cool despite the heat and I'm glad you were able to pin point the well problem.

    Not to be apocalyptic or anything, but I seriously think the next big big war will be over access to fresh drinking water. Though, hopefully by then desalination techniques will be feasible on a grand scale.

    I love Dwell magazine! Never heard of Atomic Ranch, but I'm intrigued. One of the reasons that I agreed to move into the old home was with the idea that eventually, I will either build or buy a "minimalist" home reminiscent of the International Style of architecture. There are a few pocket neighborhoods here in Denver, but homes rarely come up for sale.

    Funny thing about destashing - last night my husband mentioned that he was going to start moving some of the boxes in our garage to the new home - and I had to slam on the brakes. My response was, we haven't touched those items in over 10 years - I don't think we miss them - let's get rid of them. He got all nervous, but he knows I'm right.

    Finally, I think your quilted wedding pillows are a fantastic gift idea. I don't think I gave my husband anything. (They're quite mod too!)

  6. PS. I swear by water color crayons for quick sketches. I love the saturation of color...

  7. Hi Meredith, I'm looking forward to using my colored pencils again. Some quilt patterns would make great designs in slip, I'll have to try some.

    Hi Miri, thanks, yes way too hot. A local farmer told me that when the outside temperature is over your own body temperature, that's when humans really suffer.

    Hi Gary, it's times like these I wished I lived where you do, then I think of winter.

    Hi Tracey, yes I think of quilting again too, but the clay draw is much stronger right now. I do love fabrics though.

    Hi Jim, yes the goose down is so soft. It's basically a desert here. If we didn't have irrigation it would be all dry grass a few oak trees and scrub.

  8. Hi Cynthia, it really is hot and the older I get the less I can take the heat. I'm bringing the cats in at 9 am, they're getting older too.

    The water wars are already happening here in California. Some farmers are cut off from water due to the drought and their fields look like barren wastelands. I went through the last big drought in the 70s and I think they should have made water conservation mandatory throughout the whole state at that time - now there are more people and more demand for water and it's really a problem.

    Gary and I were really drooling over the latest issue of Atomic Ranch - we had never seen it before but happened to be in the bookstore in another town and picked it up. The atomic ranches have that international flavor of architecture in them. I guess the homes are so liveable that's why they never come up for sale.

    Make sure you check the boxes to be sure you don't give anything away you don't realize is in there. I am still looking for my hand drawn quilt patterns - they're around here somewhere.

    Thanks about the pillows. I wish I had photos of all the hanging quilts I made back then - I tried all the usual quilt patterns and then started branching into making up my own patterns. My other nephew I made an airplane quilt I designed, I'll have to see if I can get a photo of it.

  9. Oh Cynthia, I saw those water color crayons and now I wish I had purchased them too. For some of my designs I do hope I can achieve that water color look. I might just have to get a package of them. Thanks.

  10. Holy Cow that's HOT!! Your lace platter is beautiful! Thank goodness your well wasn't dry -WHEW!! I was thinking of all your lovely garden areas and how much work/water they probably need. You must be busy. When Gus and I were in WA we felt like Polar Bears -ha! Glad we're back home in AK. I miss not working on my tan but I'm not worried about keeping my little guy hydrated!

  11. Hi Cindy, thanks about the platter. Hopefuly I'll get around to making some more lace pieces in Cone 5/6 soon. So Washington was hot? I could use some Alaska weather right now. I'm worn out, but I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I'm drinking water by the gallons, some diet green tea too.

  12. When I am at my part time office gig, I often get ideas which I then sketch on post-it notes and stick to the side of a file cabinet. The cabinet is getting papered. but I like it; it reminds me of who I am.

  13. Hi Lori, I'll bet it is an interesting cabinet with all your sketches. I hope your shoulder is doing better.

  14. I'm just now catching up on as many blogs as I can.... so, I may have missed it. Have you decided where you're moving to? If not, come to NC!

  15. Hi Amy, no we haven't decided where we will move. We have done this about 4 or 5 times and each time we say it is our last. We usually take off and travel around a bit and then settle down. Hopefully now that they're saying the houseing market is picking up we will sell soon. Unfortunately most places in North Caroline are too expensive for us to purchase property within our budget and stay be debt free as we aren't getting any younger and who know s what the future will hold.


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