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Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Corner "Studio"



Forecast, 5 more inches of snow today

Soon we will have a large celebration in our little town. I must think of new ideas for my Sale. The warrior will become a plaque. Right now he wears only Italian pigments. See the large uneven, yellowish spots? Those are created with wax resist. It is supposed to make this plaque appear to be centuries old, that is, once it is glazed and fired in my kiln. It is the unpredictable that makes painting ceramics so exciting.


This is where I paint. In a small corner of my kitchen. I never feel left out, life goes on all around me. My dogs come by and keep me company. The smell of cooking and baking surrounds me and when I get tired, all I have to do is lift my eyes.



It really doesn't take up much room.

All of my supplies come from Italy. A good excuse to plan another trip.

Gina

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Keeping Orchids in your Home


You don't have a green thumb?




Then you are the perfect candidate to dazzle your friends with growing this very beautiful Orchid, namely the Phalaenopsis Orchid.

The problem of not being able to grow orchids does not originate with you. Long before you take your orchid home, the dye is cast. From the Grower to the Seller a lot of unkind things happen to an orchid. Now, a few growers are changing the way orchids are packaged and shipped. They are packed in bark AND moss. It is the moss that helps retain moisture and that is the secret to bringing home a healthy orchid.


Try to purchase your orchid when they first arrive in a place such as Costco. If you see buds that are discolored, do not buy the orchid. It is already doomed. My favorite place to purchase orchids is from Trader Joes. They are delivered fresh every morning.

My orchids, above, have bloomed repeatedly. All you have to do is rinse them under warm tap water and let drain in the kitchen sink, as you see above. Keep them away from heat and cold. That's all folks.
Gina

Today, I'm foining  http://romantichome.blogspot.com/

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winners Announced



Congratulations, Gosia, Renee and Annie


Picking 3 winners was not easy. Frauheuberg, travelingmama, Little Pinwheel, Brooke, Frau Mayer, Anna Fernando and vineeta, thank you for joining in the fun.

Dare I say that "Fancy Feet" are available in my Etsy shop.

Tesoro, you have been a loyal reader and so a 4th "Fancy Feet" is sent to you.

GOSIA, Renee, Annie and Tesoro, please send me your addresses.

Thank you everyone, I didn't know that giving something away could be so much fun.

Gina


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentines Day



This Cyclamen has been patiently waiting in my greenhouse
Love thyself
Gina

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pictures of special tablecloths


For Wini who wanted a closer look






Left cloth, found at a flea market in Germany, all linen. Middle, hand block printed in true indigo from Atelier in Burgenland, all cotton. Cross Stitch purchased in Italy at flea market, all linen.


See earlier post entitled "The Tablecloth, The Flower Bouquet"

Gina


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blank Canvas



Be still my beating Heart . . .


What handsome shapes, and they are not small and not easy to throw. They are like a blank piece of paper. How to begin painting them? A little stage fright? A little writers block, maybe?




Cindy, my premier student, and I painted all day yesterday. And when she made her 2 hour drive home, she left behind these beautiful bisque vessels and hand built tiles. See how perfectly straight the tiles are? Not easy to do.

Thrown by Cindy, on her potter's wheel, the shapes make my heart jump for joy. I see all of the possibilities . . . but is my painting worthy? Should I just glaze them and leave them all white, or should I add only a little gold? Should I make them look as if they have survived centuries, as I often do?

What do you think?

Gina


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Life Story Assignment



My dear Readers, here is week 4 homework assignment - BYW

Every Day Life Stories on the Farm

My blog is only 6 months old and I recently celebrated my 100th post.



We really are not Farmers. That doesn't mean that we don't "farm" our land, growing every vegetable and fruit that is willing to survive in this short growing season. We live at 6,000 feet in a charming and historic town of 500 inhabitants.



This is the time of year when little lambs are being born. Recently, a good friend and sheep Rancher asked us if we could lend a helping hand. His son was getting married in the big city and his yews were giving birth. Our assignment was to make sure that every yew, who showed signs of birthing, would be brought into the large shed where fresh straw and fresh water for drinking (yews drink more than a gallon of water after giving birth) was waiting for them.



There were hundreds of yews. We watched carefully but sometimes they would give birth so quickly that the little lamb would end up outside, in the cold. We would quickly pick up the little one and, naturally, the yew would follow, often giving birth to another lamb, once inside. After a little while we would put mother and offspring into a separate holding pen where they were warm and happy.



Some yews needed help birthing. Some yews did not like their offspring. One yew tried to kill her second lamb by forcing it against the cement wall. We had to take all three and put them into a holding pen. We tied the yew by her neck and one foot to only allow limited movement. This way the little lambs could nurse. As soon as their mother's milk is digested and leaves their little bodies, yews will readily accept those lambs they initially rejected.



Now and then some lambs will never be accepted and some mothers will die in the birthing process. These little lambs become "Bummers". I have raised quite a few of them. There was one quite special Bummer, his name was George and here is his story, one of my first blogs.

http://ginaceramics.blogspot.com/2009/08/bummer_06.html
Gina


Friday, February 5, 2010

Tutorial, a Trumeau




There was a design problem... I needed to fill the spaces above 2 windows.
All of my windows, on the main floor, are very large French windows. However, the front facade windows are much smaller. Window treatments can look very awkward if placed at different heights in the same room. But now what should I do with the empty space? A Trumeau will do the trick.


What you will need is a sturdy wooden board, not very thick. Cut it to the appropriate size to fit your space. Cover board with dry wall compound (add little builders sand), see earlier posts about frescoes. With screws attach garland and shell motif or something similar. I found these at TJ Max. They were hideous, gold resin architectural fragments. With an old brush apply more dry wall compound onto resin pieces and fill any open spaces. Let dry. Cut a stencil from mylar film and push dry wall compound through stencil to make frame. Or you can add a more conventional frame to your masterpiece. Let dry again. Mix a few acrylic paints with beer or water and brush helter skelter over entire surface. Last coat, age the piece a little by adding a warm brown color mixed with beer or water.





See the space above the left window? So forlorn looking.



So much better


Now, this is the way I like it.

Gina

Today, I'm linking to  http://pinkpostcard.blogspot.com/
Today I'm joining  http://restoreinteriors.blogspot.com/


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Collage of Life



My dear Readers, are you wondering what these posts are all about? Well, I'm in school. In a blogging school (Blogging Your Way). Our assignment for this week?



A Collage


You can see that my Life is full of travel, gardening and ceramics and animals. Every now and then a picnic and a bottle of champagne rounds off the picture.

Gina


Monday, February 1, 2010

The Tablecloth, The Flower Bouquet



What I must have is a Flower Bouquet and a Tablecloth on my Dinner Table. And whoe to the person who wants to remove my bouquet to make more room for another food item.



What I can't resist is a simple tablecloth, old or new, made of cotton or linen. Each one of these cloths' has a story to tell and I remember each and everyone of them. They all come from countries we have visited in Europe.
The embroidered, in cross stitch, linen cloth on top, was purchased many years ago at an Italian flea market. The simple red and white checkered cloth I found at the weekly market in Busseto, Italy. With a big smile, the vendor "threw in" a present, another cloth, this time blue and white.



The dark blue, with dots, tablecloth has a very special story to tell. It came from an Indigo textile dyeing and printing shop in the Burgenland of Austria. An elderly couple, whom we visited, spent the day with us demonstrating the time consuming art of printing fabric with natural indigo dyes.
The most remarkable part of their Atelier was the huge Roller Press, pulled by 4 large horses. It occupied the entire and very large building. It's purpose was to produce a very shiny material, made of cotton, which mimicked silk, a fabric the Austrian middle class could not afford.