Show and Tell Ceramics II

“”Flower” small serving bowls.

This semester, my Ceramics instructor challenged us to make a set of small bowls that fit together around a center, chalice-shaped bowl, all resting on a plate. It really was a challenge! It took almost the whole ten classes to make, with a lot of mess-ups. My instructor said, “It’s all about the process.” When we’d had a particularly frustrating throwing day, the other students and I would remind each other to slow down and concentrate.

Hon, doesn’t “It’s all about the process” apply to so many things? That’s why I love my wise instructor and the patience Pottery teaches.

Closer look at bowls that fit together. Imagine them filled with different candies. You know I’m all about the sweets!

Unglazed outside of a bowl made with marbled clay.

Another marbled clay bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bowl with visible “throwing rings.”

 

Jekyll and Hyde Doggie

Lucy hypnotizes us with her “people eyes.”

Don’y let Lucy’s cutie cuteness fool you.

I am an accessory to aggravated assault and I blame Lucy!

My former sweet, little angel has never shown an interest in birds. Chipmunks? Yes. Squirrels? Definitely. Groundhogs? Think fatality. In the animal kingdom-also-known-as-my-backyard, she saves growling and running around the yard 30 mph for small, skittish mammals. Birds are barely worth a low huff, wet nose, or tail twitch.

Our vet thinks Lucy is a part Border Collie, part Black-Lab (aka. Labracollie), which explains why she loves to retrieve tennis balls and herd young children. When Lucy herds, she uses a “soft mouth” and wet nose, bonking and nipping as if to say, “Hey, you sheep, you cows, cluster!”

When Lucy’s outside, she surveys the meadow (umm, yard) from the porch, alerting us to cars and passersby. I’ve read that Border Collies hypnotize herds with their intense, brown eyes, and I believe it. Lucy stares at us intensely with her “people eyes,” hypnotizing us with her inner thoughts. (“Give me meat.” or “Play ball with me.”)

A few days ago, we spotted a Blue Jay fledgling on our driveway. It was all fuzzy down and short feathers. I was fascinated. (Hon, do you know me at all?) I squatted down. It stared at me. I inched closer. It squeaked. I came a little closer. It hop hop hopped down the driveway. Adorable! Lucy was indifferent. Since birds were never a cause for maniacal barking or hypnotism, how was I to know she was secretly Jekyll and Hyde?

The next day, Lucy and I spotted the fledgling on the sidewalk. “There you are,” I said. “Aren’t you cute?” I said. “We won’t hurt you,” I said. Lucy lowered her head as if to sniff the bird, so I let her get a bit closer. All of a sudden, she lunged and grabbed the bird!

After yanking Lucy’s collar while screaming, “Bad dog!”, I picked up the baby bird* who wasn’t bitten or bleeding but limp-ish. Oh no! Did Lucy break its neck or pick it up with a “soft mouth?” Was the bird was just shaken up, stunned and going to come-to later? I searched the internet to find out if birds play dead, and found that some people witnessed this phenomenon, but without confirmation by an expert, it seemed like a wish.

When I returned to the scene of the crime later that day, the baby bird was gone. Did a cat find it? Or a fox? Or–maybe, just maybe–as soon as we left, it perked its little head up and hopped away?

One can only hope.

Adorable Baby Jay.

* It’s a myth that if you touch a baby bird, the mommy won’t take care of it anymore. Click here to read more.

Source: Live Science

I’d love to hear if your “sweet little angels” are harboring killer instincts.

Book Review, The Inquisitor’s Tale Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

Box of books found at The Book Shed.

On a recent visit to my brother and his family, my daughter and I discovered a hidden gem, a great idea, and the reason we’d been receiving random gifts of books…The Book Shed. In Newton, Massachusetts’ Recycling Depot, gently used books organized by genre and author are stored in a shed, and you know what? You can take as many books as you want!

So many stories. So many worlds to explore. Not enough hours in a day!

I didn’t pick up The Inquisitor’s Tale Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog at The Book Shed, but I did listen to it on Audible. This middle grade novel, written by Adam Gidwitz and illustrated by Hatem Aly, is a 2017 Newbery Honor Book and Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

The story is outrageous, hilarious, fascinating, engrossing, and excellently written. This book may be for 8 – 12 year-olds but, hon, its a must-read for any age. I loved it!

The bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm takes on medieval times in an exciting and hilarious new adventure about history, religion . . . and farting dragons.

1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children: William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne’s loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead.

As the narrator collects their tales, the story of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.

Their adventures take them on a chase through France to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned. They’re taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. And as their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

Beloved bestselling author Adam Gidwitz makes his long awaited return with his first new world since his hilarious and critically acclaimed Grimm series. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam’s trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor’s Tale is bold storytelling that’s richly researched and adventure-packed.

Goodreads.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

 

Herbed Celery-Potato Salad

Small purple and yellow potatoes.

Herbed Celery-Potato Salad

Herbed Celery-Potato Salad

We hosted a Memorial Day bbq and, in addition to needing dessert ideas (the search resulted in Top Ten Patriotic Desserts), I needed a side dish. The Herbed Celery-Potato salad from a Martha Stewart Living magazine was easy and delicious.

Make ahead. Serve with lunch or dinner. Pack a picnic. Hon, it tastes like summer.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds peewee potatoes, scrubbed (I used both yellow and purple potatoes.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

5 teaspoons apple-cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups mixed fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley and basil, chopped

2 scallions, chopped

1 stalk celery, finely diced (1/4 cup)

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with 2-inches of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and season generously with salt; cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, 10-12 minutes. Drain. (Note: the purple potatoes needed less cooking time, so next time, I’ll remove them earlier than the yellow potatoes.)

2. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve and transfer to a large bowl.

3.  Add oil, vinegar, herbs, scallions, and celery. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

4.  Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Tip: “Make ahead to let the flavors meld, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you’re using larger potatoes, boil them longer, and quarter or cut them into one-inch pieces after cooking.”

Serves: 6 (I think it serves more than that, but I guess it depends on how big a serving  people take.)

Source: Martha Stewart Living

 

Top Ten Patriotic Desserts

In preparation for the unofficial start to summer, here are the Top Ten Patriotic Desserts. Click on dessert names under the photos for links to each recipe.

Ever wonder how Memorial Day originated?

HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY care of History.com

Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, but in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees and declared Memorial Day a federal holiday. The change went into effect in 1971.

Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday.

Happy Holiday, hon!

Sources: insidebrucrewlife.com, tasteofhome.com, delish.commarthastewart.com, yummyhealthyeasy.com, familycircle.com, thououghlynourishedlife.com, history.com

 

Live Event: Martha Graham, a Short Video

My daughters love to dance!

My youngest daughter (aka Plus One) takes ballet, jazz and modern. Combine a show by her dance company Dance Innovations, the Martha Graham studio in Manhattan, and a Digital Video Production class project, and you get a short video showing the girls’ trip into New York, warm-ups, parts of the show, and my daughter and friends relaxing afterward.

Click here to watch the 2-minute video titled “Live Event: Martha Graham.”

My daughter (left) and her friends.

Where it all started.

Short Video: “Live Event: Martha Graham.”

 

Book Review, The Nightingale

I’m addicted.

I love words, sentences, and stories, but my compulsion to work until I drop doesn’t allow much time for reading novels. Books I intend to read pile up while books I’ve started sit on my nightstand barely touched. Last year, I had a revelation–audio books! Sure, I’ve borrowed audio books from the library (think long car trips) and listened to a few podcasts, but it was a once-in-awhile-thing. Enter Audible. Last year, when I started taking the train regularly from New Jersey to Baltimore, I subscribed to Audible and became addicted to listening to books while I ride a train, drive, cook, knit, walk Lucy…hon, you get the idea.

Now that I am reading–umm, I mean listening–to books, I want to share the ones I like with you. Welcome to a new category on the Bmore Energy…Book Reviews. I’d love to hear if you’ve read or listened to= these books, too. What did you think?

Exquisite is the word that came to mind when I finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I wiped away tears at the unexpected ending. Breathtaking writing combined with  a gripping story puts The Nightingale on the list of my favorite books ever!

Summary from Goodreads:

Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

Quotes from the book:

“Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”

“Today’s young people want to know everything about everyone. They think talking about a problem will solve it. I come from a quieter generation. We understand the value of forgetting, the lure of reinvention.”

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”

“But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.”

― Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

DIY Wedding Decorations, Food and Drinks (Part 3)

A table set with love.

Head Table

Linh and Dan didn’t sit much, but their table was set with His and Hers wine glasses, votive candles and an array of succulents, ranunculus and roses. Dusty green, pink, peach and ivory were carried through the centerpieces and decorations.

Toast the newlyweds.

How great is this bottle cork heart? It sat by the bar where a sign (below) featured a drink called the “Berry Marry Sangria” and said, “Eat, Drink and Be Married.”

Centerpieces.

The centerpieces were creative and lovely. Tables were wet with stacked books, clustered corks, votive candles, and mason jars of succulents, ranunculus, roses and hydrangeas.  This place setting would be beautiful at a brunch, engagement party, bridal party or–think picture books–a baby shower.

Opaque bottles decorated the dessert table.

Lots of “Love” to go around.

 

 

 

 

 

Birds and a birdcage are sweet accessories.

Wedding cake.

I’m guessing the wooden perch that the cut-out birds are resting had stakes to stand inside the cake.

Happy party planning, hon.

Related Posts:

DIY Wedding Decorations, Ceremony (Part 1)

DIY Wedding Decoration, Cocktail Hour (Part 2)

 

DIY Wedding Decorations, Cocktail Hour (Part 2)

Welcome-to-the-Celebration-Table

Wedding Wishes

One of the benefits of an October wedding in Paso Robles, California is dry weather. In the  Northeast, there’d have to be a rain date or a tent!

Welcome-to-the-Celebration-Table

The table displayed the light, airy and romantic mood with its floral lace tablecloth, photos of the bride and groom, handkerchiefs, bubbles, potted plants, and sweet accessories.

Guests were invited to take dainty handkerchiefs–for tears of joy, of course.

I love the potted succulents and ranunculus!

Jenga Advice along with Shabby Chic  “L & D” and stacked books.

Advice for newlyweds? Guests could pen theirs on Jenga pieces.

Next Up: The party continues.

Related Post: DIY Wedding Decorations, Ceremony (Part 1)

DIY Wedding Decorations, Ceremony (Part 1)

Wedding Season

Hubby and I attended an October wedding in Paso Robles, a city in San Luis Obispo, California where we were amazed by the ever-changing landscape. One minute, there were farms, the next wineries, forests and the Pacific Ocean. Gorgeous!

Not only was the landscape a treat, the wedding was beautiful and–hon, you know I love a theme–I appreciated the DIY details that the bride attended to. Shout out to Linh, the lovely bride who put it all together.

Wedding Greeter.

A chalkboard sitting on an easel greeted guests.

This way!

How cute is this sign?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Handprinted signs pointed the way. We didn’t know that ceremony would be under a..

A screen of flowers hung as a backdrop to the ceremony.

…300 year-old tree. This floral backdrop set the mood for the romantic, airy wedding.

Bride and groom.

Lining the aisle.

Lining the aisle were mason jars hanging on hooked stakes.

A lily pond and mini waterfall were nestled along the path. So pretty!

Next up: DIY wedding decoration continues all this week. Happy planning, hon.

Related Post: DIY Wedding Decorations, Cocktail Hour (Part 2)