Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A few new ceramic pieces

I haven't had many successful ceramic pieces in the last few months.  However a few have turned out more or less the way I wanted them to.   I'm trying to be more selective about what pieces I keep, since I now have 4 boxes of ceramic stuff that I have made and have no use for (or space to display).  I've tried selling, once or twice, at local craft fairs, but didn't sell much.  And selling online is somewhat involved and would mean I'd have to package and mail the items.  I'm not sure the effort would be with what I would get by selling them.  So, for now, I'm trying to be more selective with what I keep.  I've also made some things to go outside in flower pots or just in the flower beds.  This morning in class I made an elf.  If he turns out ok (it will be several weeks before he is finished) I may try to make some more.   To make matters worse, I am again taking the Raku class at Montpelier Art Center.  This will eventually produce perhaps 5 or 6 items.  Some will certainly be masks.  I don't know what else.  I have, however, sorted through the boxes of my ceramics and donate a box to one of the local thrift shops.  They will sell them for next-to-nothing, but at least they are not taking up space in my basement.

These photos show the ceramic birds I made for the tops of the colored branches.  Of course, during the summer, I am somewhat obsessed with my flower gardens.  As I mentioned yesterday on Facebook, I have spray painted an old bicycle, turning it into a 'work of art' or at least a bright spot in the backyard!  I have hung two planters from the handlebars, with yellow and orange/red flowers.  It definitely brightens up an 'empty' spot in the backyard flower bed.  I should explain that the spot wasn't exactly bare.  In fact, it was covered with the wild violets that have pretty much taken over the whole bed.  In the spring they are lovely with their little dark blue blossoms.  Unfortunately, they keep on growing and by this time of year they are about 6 inches tall with lots of leaves.  They tend to choke out any less hardy (i.e., more desirable) flowers.  So, yesterday I was out there again, pulling up violets.  I have cleared most of them from the path, and actually planted some ground covering plants, which are supposed to spread, but stay low to the ground.  We'll see how that works.  In the flower bed, I have tried to clear a space around any of the flowers that I actually planted back there.  I probably should fertilize the remaining plants, but I certainly don't want to encourage the violets, so I need to get them out, before I add fertilizer to the bed.  I know that they violets will bed back in the spring, because in about half of the cases, I was not able to get the roots out (actually a corm or something like that).  But at least some of them will be gone.
If you look closely at the photo on the right, you can see a butterfly enjoy the butterfly bush.  The photo on the left is the painted bicycle with hanging baskets.  Hard to see, because there are still too many violets!

In the front yard, I have given up the battle with the groundhog.  I took down the chicken-wire I had covering the bed, but it appears that the critter has found another dining room.  Perhaps it doesn't like the smell of the mothballs that I sprinkled around all the flowering plants!  I'm not sure the critter is gone, but nothing has been eaten lately, so I have hopes that the problem is over for this summer.  (Having said this, I will probably find more buds eaten when I check tomorrow morning.)  It doesn't look particularly exciting out front, but I have some mums that will (if not eaten) bloom later this fall and a few surviving bright-colored zinnias.  I have hung small birdhouses (minus the birds) from the Japanese maple tree and on the decorative fence around the flower bed.  So, there is some color, even without as many flowers as I had hoped for.  The flowers in pots on the deck look lovely.  They are blooming vigorously and will continue to do so until frost, as long as I water them regularly.  They are my real success story this year.