Posted on Leave a comment

Looking back just a bit

It was a busy time

of making, baking, and fighting the never welcomed viruses of the season.

I was hopeful about the baking part… I wanted to make Christmas cookies with the grandkids, my father in law’s traditional nut rolls (thank you to Bob and Kathy for sending nut rolls!) and assorted pies and other goodies.

It. Did. Not. Happen. Thank you Jackie, for the amazing berry cheesecake for Christmas dinner!

I was off to a late start designing and making this year’s annual ornament. Caught a nasty virus that had me down for over a month during my busiest making days. After building the needed energy and endurance, ornament production was shifted into overdrive!

It had been a flurry of ornament design, stamp making and production of this year’s almost record breaking making season! I’ve made over 250 ornaments this year, mostly celebrating our mountain towns along with family and friends!

Some of the first of many porcelain trees drying. Getting ready for cleaning and their bisque firing.

It took a while to finalize this year’s design and quite a bit more deciding on color combinations to work with the great crystal beads found to dangle within the ornament to add a bit of sparkle! I began cutting and shaping them with the town names of our first holiday faires. I am so happy to see past customers each year, knowing that they are adding to their collections! I’ve made annual trees for our small Santa Cruz Mountains town of Boulder Creek since 1991 and am awed by those who have been collecting my ornaments for many years. It is such an honor for my work to be a part of many familiy’s holiday traditions! I’m also happy that these can provide a small welcome memento to new neighbors in the small towns in our valley.

Loving the texture of this year’s design!
While making the cutout shapes for the crystals, I saved them with a little more texture to make new glaze samples. Hundreds of teardrop shapes, with so many great glazes to sample!

I was a little afraid of the space between the teardrop cut outs and the edges of the tree. I was pleasantly surprised that the narrow edge really didn’t cause much of a problem. I laid unglazed terra cotta tiles on top of the tree shapes to allow them to dry slowly and flat. The problem with warping was pretty much solved as long as I was patient! (Of course, there were some that warped when fired and they will chime brightly in our garden!)

With hours and hours of time in the workshop, I was kept company by many Hallmark Christmas movies, keeping me in the spirit! It really was assembly line time around here. The kiln was on every few days, with some kiln loads fired as soon as cooled batches were unloaded!

Ready for their bisque firing. One of several shelves on their way to the kiln.

I had a hard time deciding on glazes again this year. I found these great crystals in a couple of nice sparkly colors to dangle within the tree shape. I chose a rustic traditional Christmas palette for the golden crystals and another with the more fanciful colors reflected in the second crystal.

One tray of trees, ready to be hung on their satin ribbons

Well, another year of my porcelain trees is complete and I’m already thinking about the design for 2019. Maybe, I should get an extra early start on them this year. You never know what surprises, good and not so good can affect your best plans!

Wishing you a Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Cheers!

Leave a comment

Every Day is Valentine’s Day ❤️

At Least it is at Our House!

My husband and I welcome each day by wishing each other a “Happy Valentine’s Day”!  We don’t fuss over February 14th so much because we know that our love and appreciation for each other should be shown every day of the year!  (I must admit that February 14th does pose a little pressure, as it is “Double Valentine’s Day”!)

Love birds ornament

We play a little card game after breakfast, and whenever the ace of hearts is played or moved, we kiss.  (Yes, I know this is incredibly corny!)  Celebrating our love for each other is central to our day, even with this simple game, taught to us by Mike’s Uncle George and Aunt Bonnie, (we added the kissing rule, much to our pleasure!) we are reminded how important and joyful it is to appreciate each other often, every day!

kiss ticket

We are a team. That’s how we roll.  Maybe, a bit too concerned about each other’s feelings.  As in, “What would you like for dinner?” with the response, “No, what would you like?”  That’s usually the closest we get to a “fight”.  Of course, we feel we win by making the other happy.  Sometimes, “please, just let me know what you’d like”, I plead, just turns a simple decision into a circle of wanting the other to choose… How funny, we are!

Married 40 years and counting, hoping for many more and kisses galore!

IMG_4501

I’m starting to list Valentine’s Day jewelry and ornaments in my Etsy shop !  Here’s a peek at some listed and others on the way!

Happy Valentine’s day to you and your special someone today and Every Day!

Thanks for stopping by,

❤️ Carol

 

Posted on 2 Comments

‘Tis the Season!

It’s just after Thanksgiving and I’m on a third batch of annual ornaments for our town of Boulder Creek! It felt terrible to disappoint folks at the tree lighting and Santa sighting last evening.  They had sold out before some could claim theirs.  Not to worry, I’m cutting a big kiln load today and will have them ready by the end of the week.  IMG_2458

I’m always surprised at how many ornament collectors there are in our small town!  As every year, since I began making dated Boulder Creek trees since 1991, I am honored to be a small part of families’ holiday traditions.  They adorn trees of our community and some are sent to family members who might be a little homesick for our mountain town.

Now, I make my trees for nearby towns as well as for family and close friends.

Here are some bisqued shapes, ready to glaze.

IMG_8322As with many of my ornaments, my husband created the design I used to make the stamp for these trees.  Like most years, it was a process of trial and a few errors, getting the image just right for the stamp.

IMG_0008I’ve decided to glaze these in the traditional holiday colors of green, red and gold, and added Swarovski crystals to add a little sparkle!

IMG_8870

I’d better get back to the workshop. Lots more trees to shape and get ready for their first firing tomorrow!

I’ve listed “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” ornaments in my Etsy shop!

Wishing to all, a wonderful holiday season and a very Merry Christmas!

❤️ Carol