Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bye Bye Jazzy

It's been a very, very difficult week. Our gorgeous Jasper was sick on Wednesday night, when I picked him up on Thursday morning I was concerned as he was off his food and a little unsteady on his legs. I immediately thought antifreeze.
He was rushed to vets, put on a drip and had his kidneys flushed, on Saturday morning his blood tests were worse.
He came home for the weekend, but after Saturday refused to eat or drink. On Monday he had another day of a drip, but still would not eat or drink.
Last night I had to make the awful decision to allow him to go. His kidneys had been poisoned by something, not antifreeze this time, but something that was bad enough.

I am really glad that we had those last couple of days together, but I'm totally gutted that he is gone from our lives so quickly. Jazzy came to us after being abandoned in late April '13. He was from the very start an affectionate cat who loved to snuggle and would go to sleep much happier if he had his paws on you or was snuggled up close.
He was such a laid back lad and wouldn't let any of our older cats bully him. Fufu and Jazzy spent hours chasing each other around the house tussling and tumbling. He had the littlest meow, but the biggest purr and even though we only had him 5 and a half months he made a huge impact.

Gone, but Never Forgotten
My Gorgeous Jazzy J
16.10.13

Sometimes he chose to sleep in a really funky way.

Jazzy

Jazzy and Fufu May 2013

Last few days with Jazzy

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hi, ho, Hi ho

is back to work I go....
My 3 weeks down tools is over and I'm back at work.
I didn't achieve as much as I wanted, but we have made a decent start on the Kitchen and will continue to work on it at the weekends and the odd evening.

This

and this

are the inspiration for my kitchen. I did have another pic in mind, but can't find it anywhere. Basically this kinda colour walls with white and red accents - although I'm probably going to have cream/magnolia in there too.
I would like to put a photo of the kitchen up, but  it's at repair great big holes in wall time (lathe and plaster walls) and decide what to do about cooker. So photos soon fingers crossed.

Anyway in amongst the upheaval I made a roast chicken dinner and some Beetroot Brownies - They are half the fat of regular brownies, really easy to make and very, very scrummy. You should really try them. I used packet beetroot that I heated in the microwave until hot. So successful my 13 year old ate 6 in one evening.





Thursday, August 8, 2013

Celtic platter

I'm not very good at making plates and I'm not always happy with the results. Recently I used a baking tray and some clay to make a slump mould and made this:

Platter
I drew a stencil from a book of Celtic design. Painted on white slip with velvet blue underglaze and hand painted the detail round the edge. 
I think it turned out pretty well and it will be winging it's way to Australia pretty soon with my Mum's Cousin Ellie.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fufu

Fufu aka Fluffy Bum is our second youngest cat. She's actually a Granddaughter of our cat Fizzy.
She's about 10/12 months old and she's a mix between moody, playful and snuggly. Definitely a Mummy's girl at the moment. Her new best mate is Jazzy Jeff, the youngest member of the clan and fellow scraper.

I was sitting doing pottery round at P's one night and had in my hand a large nicely shaped mug slipped in white that was in desperate need of a cute design.
I had a gander through my pics on my BBP and saw this one of Fluffy bum not long after we brought her home.


I thought hmmm, maybe I should have a go at painting my cat. Here's the finished cup


Holds over 350mls and although not a very accurate pic of my cat I'm still quite happy for a first attempt. 
In fact I was showing a colleague and she would like one with her cat on for her birthday. Practice makes purrfect as they say.


Jazzy Jeff


was up at my mum's the other week and her landlord who lives in the big house (Mum has the large flat above their garage) had found a kitten. The boisterous little guy came bounding over to us , to get loads of petty as he was obviously delighted that someone had found him and fed him. He then followed me into Mum's and made himself well and truely at home.
Anyways we put up a note in the local shop and I put him on my facebook, but no-one has ever come forward to claim him. Plus people who live just round the corner from Mum found a kitten same age on the same day...coinsidence? I doubt it.

So Jasper aka Jazzy Jeff is now a full member of the household and comes with a squeaky little meow and a huge purr. He's Fufu's (Fluffy Bum) best mate and a truely sweet little cat.



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dragonets

I recently blogged about deciding on a theme for my pottery. I had a look through my Mum's book of fish, all of which can be found around the waters of Scotland.
I found this fantastic shaped and coloured fish called a dragonet.

Common Dragonet
Spotted Dragonet

These guys or variations on them will be appearing on a teapot, mug and two bowls in the very near future. The designs are all hand drawn by me and therefore unique. Really happy with them.

I also tried a portrait of one of my cats :o0 that was a bit scary. It's turned out OK, but no pics yet. It was scary because I used underglaze and painted the portrait directly onto a greenware tankard. I suppose not a total lose if I hate it once it's bisque I could always cover it in a dark glaze. I'll get pics of my hand painted greenware for my next blog.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Octopus Bottle

I'm really proud of this guy. Started off with a double pinch pot. I then beat it up, cut a whole in it and used my fingers to push out the shape of the head. I added the body and the tentacles, then finally added the detail.
It was then bisqued, dipped in tin white, Laguno blue was sponged over the body and some underglazes washed over the rest of the white.









I love the way this has turned out. Really lived up to expectataions

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Themes

I have been pondering lately how unfocused my pottery is. I think it's due to there being so many different techniques to try.
I have absolutely no problem with having heaps of unmatched plates, bowls, and cups in my cupboard, but I think if I want to start selling some items I need to develop a style or theme.

I think I have about 3 emerging in general: Mushrooms, Chickens and Sea life. Chickens and Mushrooms are my type of design - I'm drawn to 70s style and I think that these fit in well with this. Sea life is much more to do with my roots. I come originally from a fishing village and  grew up with the fishing industry in different forms. Dad fished and supplied the Restaurant my Mum ran with Shellfish. Mum cooked and filleted fish before studying marine biology.

I'm thinking about doing more fish themed things. This will come as no surprise to P. You should see my pottery Pins.http://pinterest.com/zombiecazz/boards/
I had a look through Mum's fish identification Book to see if there are some cool coloured fish to use. So far I like the Opah, the Dragonets and the Lumpfish. Of course there is always the Salmon, crab, prawn and lobster too.
Anyway here's a little reminder of my interest in the sea.

Fish box made for my Mum. About my 3rd/4th item of pottery ever

That's my fish plate there too.

goblets

Salt Fish


This was inspired by seaweed floating in the sea.
My Octopus Bottle. Really must blog about him

Another salt fish drying out.

Tentacle Mug.
So it does look like the theme is already there, but I need to do loads more.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tumbling Tumblers

Just back from a lovely relaxing time in Uist and P did a firing while I was away. The results are fab. We've been having some issues with some of the underglazes ending up being rough and blistered. When I was taught pottery our teacher always instructed us to use 3 layers of underglaze, but I have watched a couple of majolica videos and they use watered down underglazes for their work. Hmm I thought. Would this sort out our issue.
So with this in mind I have been applying underglaze to greenware in a watered down version with only one or two coats. Here's the result for the first lot of tumblers

Stoneware, cone 6 underglaze at greenware stage and some carving . Inside LHS and RHS is Scarva  Helios glaze.

I'm really excited by how well these turned out. Definitely have to do some more.

Here are some cute little wine tumblers. Not sure how much they hold yet, but pretty sure there's at least enough for a glass of wine.

Thrown Stoneware wine tumblers. Covered with blue slip and then  designs carved into them.  Some have been splattered with red and yellow underglazes.
The slip on these was made using white stoneware clay and some cobalt carbonate and rutile. Really love the colour and will have to try to make some more.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pendants - in progress

Been wanting to have a go at making pendant for a while now. We did some reading/research and decided that with a small outlay for some High Fire wire, we could probably do some pendants.

Anyway the other night we had a go and hear are my drying pendants.



I have painted some at Greenware stage and left some to paint at bisque stage and some to have a colour glaze on top.

At the moment they're in a bisque kiln, but we need to fire the pendant tree before we can fire in a glaze firing.

I'm really quite exciting about wearing some of my own designs. if you open the photo have a look at the hedgehogs and squirrels. I'm completely stoked about wearing a squirrel around my neck :o)
Fingers crossed.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Finished Kontiki Man

Just thought I'd quickly post my finished Kontiki Man Mug. Has been pinched by my DD.



Really happy about how well he turned out.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Salt Pig Commission

My Mum is fed up of pouring salt into her hand and ending up with too much. So she asked if I would make her a salt pig so she could just get a pinch of salt at a time.

So i did a little trawling the internet for ideas and decided that as she's a marine biologist it would be a salt fish instead of a pig.

I started with a lrge double pinch pot, battered it into an oval shape, added fins and eyes. Then I cut out a whole for the mouth and shaped it. Finally I added some scale detail and voila salt fish was made.



Once bisqued it was dipped in our new Saturn Glaze and glaze fired.
Here's the final Salt Fish



Mum is delighted with him. :o)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Green Pea, Garlic and Chicken Pasta

This was dinner tonight.




My OH developed this recipe one evening and it's been definitely added to our list of home meals.

Ingredients
3 chopped red onions ( white would do)
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp of marg/butter
1 tsp olive oil
3 or 4 cups of peas
1/2 a stock cube
1 cup of hot water
2 tbsp of vermouth (optional)
3 chicken breast.
enough pasta for 4 or 5 people.

Method
1. Marinade the chicken in some herbs and lemon juice.

2. Chop up the onions and crush the garlic, saute the garlic and onions in the marg and oil.

3. Once the onions are cooked add the peas, stock cube, hot water, vermouth and seasoning. Then simmer until peas are cooked.

4. Whilst this is simmering cook the chicken (I do mine on a Forman Grill) and cook the pasta.

5. Remove the peas sauce from the stove and liquidise.

6. Chop up chicken to bite size piece and mix into the pea and garlic sauce then check seasoning in the sauce.

7. Mix sauce through cooked pasta.

I've also made this with smokey bacon.

Served in a home made bowl with some cracked pepper - Enjoy.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mum's New Mug

I've painted on Tin white before, but this time I use watered down underglaze, then wax design and washed with colour.

Here's me working on the mug.



I free handed the design painting on black outlines of flowers and then green leaves.



I then waxed the leaves and flowers and washed the whole cup in orange and highlighted bit with green



The final cup!! My mum loves it. Holds about 11 fluid ounces.
Will definitely be using this tecnique again.


BWS tips button

Monday, February 11, 2013

Finished Animal Bottles

I mentioned recently that we had bought some new glazes and I was making some funky animal bottles to test the glazes. Well the first ones are finally finished.

First pic are all the bottles, both mine and my studio partners.
At the back are my Cat, Fox and Elephant. At the Front PG's Cat and Kitten. Her cats are dipped in Amaryllis and Laguno Blue glazes.



A closer look at my bottles. First up my cat. Eyes, nose, whiskers and ears were underglazed and then waxed prior to dipping in the Acropolis glaze. I'm quite liking the acropolis, comes out as a multitude of colours.



Next my Fox. This guy had a little accident in the bisque firing, part of his tail exploded off, think there was maybe a small air bubble under the tail. Anyway I sanded it down and used some acropolis glaze stippled on top of the Amaryllis to detract from the missing piece. Not sure about the amaryllis is a bit too pink, when it was actually meant to be purple. It does though allow the carving to be seen easily.



Finally Mr Elephant. I think he is possibly my favourite. The marcasite glaze comes out in some gorgeous colours. Check out the close up below.



PG's kitten is glazed using the laguno Blue. I love it, but it does come out mainly black with blue highlights and too thick to show carving. I'll need to think of what animal I'd like to make to dip in this.

We have one final glaze to test out it's called Saturn and is a green shade. I've made a fish shaped salt pig which will be dipped in the green.

Going to put together a tutorial on how we make the bottles, just in case anyone is interested.

The story





Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Crafting Plans 2013

As I have already mentioned I plan to "Make Ahead" presents all this year and I'm beginning to make a start. Thought it was maybe about time that I started putting some ideas down in writing.

1. Animal Scarves
2. Animal Hats
3. Home Made Jams
4. Home Made Chutneys
5. Home Made Liqueurs
6. Hand Made Mugs
7. Hand Made Bottles

These are all presents for other people. I would like to make sure that friends, family and colleagues have a Zombiecazz Mug.

I've already made a start....
Kontiki Man



The pale slip will turn a denim blue when fired and I'm going to paint the features before firing.

Craft Plans for myself in 2013

1. More pasta size bowls.
2. Some plates
3. work on pottery designs
4. paint Kitchen walls and put up loads of shelves
5. Paint Bathroom and put up shelves
6. Patchwork Cushion
7. Tshirt quilt
8. Loads of de-clutter and recycling.

Anyway Back to the grind :o)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fox Scarf

First Completed For Someone Present. You know how I mentioned that I was going to try making presents throughout the year so that there isn't a mad dash before birthdays and Christmas to get stuff finished.

Anyway project number one is complete and project two has been started.

Fox Scarves - Using this pattern



On the left we have my finished Fox and the right is my 1/3 done fox using a different combination of yarns.

This was an easy project. Skills needed knit, purl, increase stitch, decrease stitch and cast off.

I'm really pleased with them and I'm hoping to maybe try different animals. Maybe a Raccoon?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Animal Bottles

We recently purchased some new dipping glazes and I wanted to test them out in a new funky way. I really like useful items (you may have noticed) and I also love to use underglaze, but wanted useful and detailed enough to show off glaze.

I was inspired by a few of my Pinterest pins and came up with these hand built bottles. They start as double pinch pots, to which you add necks and lids.
Here's my cat and fox



Photobucket


Photobucket


I also plan to do an elephant, jackal and falcon.
They take a full evening to make one, but I love how engrossed I get. Hardly notice the time going by.