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The studio is cleaned up a bit. When I go down it is chilly inside. I have drawn the shades against the cold. It is that "In Between Time."

Well, it's that in between time. Holidays have raced by. Now there is time before spring to renew, recharge and rediscover one's love for clay.

It's not that I do not love clay. But as with any creative passion, the inspiration gets bogged down by finishing, marketing, billing, mailing and just needing some down time.

And it's a good time. For some of us our studios are too cold to use in really wintry weather. Others of us are just worn out. And a few of us address neglected health or household chores.

I have enjoyed reading. I spent a lovely few days with Peter May in Provence. I reread a delightful children's book and ordered two owl books since I have found a steady market for my owl candleburners.

I am finishing a summer sweater and starting another. Making garden seed lists takes lots of time. I believe I receive every seed catalog there is for the US market.

All my roses now grow in pots. Deer you know!

Years ago my husband and I did research trying to find a rose under stock for the humid climate on the Gulf coast. After seven years we had a nice display bed and a stock we believed was "the one." Then a hurricane struck. We found two bushs after the winds and water receded. But my love for roses never left. Now I spend hours searching for roses we knew and worked with and the delightful miniature roses I showed when I lived on the coast. If you have any sources or stock to share contact me. Please!!

The nicest tween time activity we revived was a studio day. All the group came to my studio. After lunch we went down and worked happily all afternoon on bowls for two Empty Bowl projects we will take part in. Our bowls (donated) will be sold at soup suppers and proceeds will be given to the sponsoring charity. It was a fabulous fun day. We made some unique bowls and a few mugs for the mug share part of our clay conference weekend next month.

We are in full planning mode for our final fun time during the Tween Time. For the first time in four years we will all travel to Birmingham, Alabama for the annual Alabama Clay Conference. It is always a weekend of inspiration, learning. friendship and plain old fun. I am quite sure you will see photos and stories from coming blogs.

As for inspiration during Tween Time - well it's a bit of a story. My son is planning to move from his Florida home to be closer to me and the rest of the family. So he and I have spent three weekends traveling around the mountains of Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. On our last excursion I saw a sign at a saw mill advertising that they had or would cut corn hole boards. Well! I have two model clay bowls with a place to cut kernals and at the same time hold the bouncy dears,   We'll see how that comes out. Makes me long for summer and fresh corn. Oh well, that too is coming.

Speaking of new and refreshing, all of us will be updating our websites www.etsy.com and refreshing our individual pages. Please watch for the new and the lovely old as well. We treasure your friendship, your visits and your business. And we are:

www.etsy.com/shop/SimplySusansPots

www.etsy.com/shop/Eastburnoriginals

www.etsy.com/shop/PotterybyNoell

www.etsy.com/shop/Runningrabbitpottery

 

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Mural above kitchen range

Mural painting for the Church of the Ressurection "Feeding the multitudes” by Jaymi

We started the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in 1993 with twelve families which quickly grew into many happy souls. In 1996 we started building our new Church building.   My husband and I decided to do a mural for the kitchen as our gift to the Church.  The following is the explanation of the mural that I wrote at the time we installed it.

 

Front of Church. In the valley between two mountains.

“With God’s help, our church kitchen will feed all who come into it and bring joy to those who serve the Lord through it.

When Chuck and I decided to do a mural to celebrate the happiness we feel for our new church, it just seemed logical to carry out the theme of the miracle when Jesus served “fellowship dinner” with only five loaves of bread and two fish. 

What church mural would be complete without grapevines and stalks of wheat throughout?  This symbolizes the body and blood of Jesus and the shared communion each Sunday that holds us all together.

Wine is mentioned in the Bible many times, but I was especially inspired by the miracle of changing water into wine.  This was the first public demonstration of Jesus’ heaven-sent power.  We, by the building of our church, are making a public demonstration to the world of our love for Jesus and each other.

The pomegranate design above the sink is the symbol of the resurrection power of our Lord, who was able to burst forth from death and the tomb.

Mural over sink area.

       

Butterflies

  I chose two butterflies to paint, the Little Copper and the Painted Lady.  The Little Copper is small, but dazzling to see.  What really won me over was its ability to adapt and thrive in areas disturbed by human activities or natural events.  Wherever it lands it is right at home no matter how disturbed the site.  This is my symbolic statement representing the tornado that devastated the property before we built our church.  I was attracted to the Painted lady because of its worldwide distribution.  It is the most widespread butterfly in the world, found on every continent except Antarctica.

Mustard flowers in front of the jug of wine.

I added the mustard flower, not because of the mention of the mustard seed, a tiny seed from which a large plant grows, where birds can come and find shelter (even though this reflects our church).  I choose it because the mustard seed flower is in the shape of the Maltese cross that we also have used in our rose window design.

Hyssop Flowers with Pomegranate

Until recently, because of inconsistencies in the Greek texts, many believed that hyssop was probably oregano or savory.  Now, with the discovery that penicillin grows on the leaves of the hyssop plant, it is believed that hyssop was indeed a useful medication that acted as antibiotic protection when lepers were bathed in it.  This is the lavender flower in the mural.

They offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 

All my life I thought Jesus refused to drink because it was foul tasting.  If I had been Jesus, I would have refused it too!  Now, with my new knowledge of what gall is, I don’t know that I could have refused it to alleviate my suffering as Jesus did.  For, you see, it is now believed that “gall” is the juice of the poppy plant!

Poppy flowers with wheat and pomegranate.

I read about gall in a gardening book.  I ask Steve Lipscomb, our Priest, about it and he said he had never heard that version, but that was not to say it wasn’t true.”

 

Since writing this we have had a number of Priests.   We happily now have Rev. Scott Kidd, who has become a central part of the continued loving atmosphere of our Church family.  We are now expanding the kitchen and adding a larger parish hall.  I was really made to feel wonderful when a number of people in the Church said, “You aren’t taking down the mural!”  The answer was no they weren’t about to touch the mural.

New Parish Hall under construction.

 

A little Church history in relation to this mural is the story behind where we built our Church.  We were meeting in the historic Courthouse and then the Bank annex building in downtown Cleveland GA, as we searched for property to build on.  In 1995 a huge tornado tore through our county and over Mtn. Yonah and touched down on property owned by one of our members.  They were living in a hundred-year-old home on the property. They were 2 weeks away from moving into a large beautiful new home they were building on the rise behind their home.  The tornado did terrible damage to the livestock and completely wiped the new home off of the face of the earth.   The wife said she could not rebuild and so they offered the property to their Church Family.

The name Resurrection, that we had named our Church certainly stood for where we have built a beautiful Church family home.

Everyone who visits says, this Church is truly “God Blessed”.

Amen!

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Happy New Year to one and all! It's hard to believe 2016 has come and gone! Is this what happens when you're middle aged? The days just seem to fly on by. Why Christmas is just around the corner. I better start making my ornaments. Before you know it, it will be Christmas Eve!

January is a calm month for me. All the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over and now I can get back to my knitting (currently making a welcome blanket), finishing one book and starting a new one, and catching up on my shows. I usually record my shows because I can't stand the "never ending" commercials.  It's amazing how short a show is without the commercials.

My daughters and grandbaby with 2 more on the way

I better enjoy the peace and quiet because both of my daughters are pregnant and due within months of each other (a girl in April and a boy in June). I already have a 16 month old grand baby girl, Madison, who I love and adore. Just think, I will be a grandmother of three and all three will be in diapers and under the age of 20 months. I have a feeling this year will be a busy one for "Ni Ni". My granddaughter has started calling me "Ni Ni" (not sure about the spelling) and with a little coaxing from my daughter, she's even started calling her grandpa "Papa". So it looks like our names are set.

One inch of snow.

Earlier this week we were cooped up in the house because we just had our first flurry of snow. Not much snow but the temperature did drop. My husband and I braved the cold to walk around our neighborhood. It felt good getting out of the house and walking briskly in the cold air. It reminded me of days gone-by snow skiing out west. That brisk air just wakes up the soul and we look forward to a hot toddy when we get back. Even my left knee says "thank you" because the more I walk the better my knee feels. It will be almost a year since I had my knee replacement surgery and it was well worth it.

It's the middle of the week and we're going from 18 degrees just a few days ago to 70 degrees by this Friday. That's our unpredictable Georgia weather.

Greenware bowl drying--for charity

So between now and baby time, I will be working in my clay studio making plenty of pottery. I enjoy the peace and quiet working in my small studio. It's very therapeutic and I've been pleased with the results of my work. I just met with the rest of my Lady Fingers tribe to make bowls for charity and just hang out and try to solve all the problems in the world. (still working on that part)

Since it was pretty cold earlier this week, my husband made some chili. He keeps the recipe in his head and there is no measuring, so I took it upon myself to write it down. It's pretty good when he makes it. I just hope I translated it correctly.

John's Chili Recipe:
Ingredients:
1 lb ground turkey
1 lb ground lean beef
1 large onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 box Carroll Shelby's Chili Kit
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 TBS molasses
1 TBS cocoa (unsweetened)
1 green pepper diced
1 can chili beans
1 can canolli beans, drained
1 TBS worcestershire sauce
1 can chicken broth
1/2 cup water

Directions:
Lightly saute onions and garlic in 1 TBS olive oil in a skillet
Brown Turkey and Beef in a separate skillet
In large pot add broth and 1/2 cup water (add water as needed during cooking)
Add molasses, cocoa, and worcestershire sauce in pot and stir
Stir in box of Carroll Shelby's chili kit
Add sauteed onions and garlic
Add tomatoes with juices
Add beans and green pepper
Add browned Meat (Turkey/Beef)
Heat to boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for an hour

Bon Appetit and God Bless

Visit our Lady Fingers Pottery site often to read interesting articles from our members.

Also, stop by and visit our potters Etsy site:

www.etsy.com/shop/PotterybyNoell

www.etsy.com/shop/simplysusanspots

www.etsy.com/shop/eastburnoriginals

www.etsy.com/shop/runningrabbitpottery

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Holmes Family Christmas 2014

That is a happy group.  That was Christmas 2014 for the Holmes family and we lived it up on the ski slopes of Colorado, ate at great restaurants together, had game nights and saw a movie or two together.  Together!  Did you notice I didn't mention the gifts we gave each other?  We did that of course, but that is not what we remember.  We remember being together.

Yesterday, December 27th, I was having some quiet time in the morning and I was reading a devotion that lead me to write a little on the subject of the season.  The author mentioned a neighbor who had set up a large inflatable Santa Claus in their yard.  A couple of days after Christmas, the Santa suddenly deflated.  Kind of says it all when it comes to all the holiday madness, don't you think?

2014 was the last Christmas we have had together. (I have already resolved that in 2017 we will all be back together again.)  The last two seasons had situations that have prevented us from all gathering together.  Last year was the first year without my boys and daughter-in-law.  It was grim.  I was not a happy girl.  This year, however, I once again made myself a promise to dwell on the true meaning of this blessed of all holidays.  I do this every year and some years are better than others.   But this year I'd have to say I was more prayerful about our situation.

These two have my heart.

In November we went to Denver to spend Thanksgiving and my birthday with our family.  It was fabulous.  I loved our time together once again.  We did this because we knew Christmas would be out of the question.  My husband was scheduled for surgery two days before Christmas.  It was a major surgery on his foot and for six weeks he would have to be totally off of his foot.  Did I say "six weeks"?!?

I knew I had to mentally prepare for this.  Playing the part of nurse maid is not exactly my strong suit. I know.  Shocking!  But my closest friends will verify that fact.  But it's good to know your weaknesses, don't you agree?  So that's when I decided to focus on the real reason for Christmas.  Christmas is celebrated because of the gift that was given to ALL of mankind - a Savior.  Jesus came down from a cushy throne to live among us and not as royalty as we know it.  His is the gift that gives for eternity and won't deflate two days later.

Yes, I missed my boys and daughter, but there wasn't this grim, poor, pitiful me this year.  My prayers were answered.  I received the gift of thankfulness, patience, joy and peace.  These are gifts that keep on giving.

We are now about to complete day 7 of post-op and I haven't once raised my voice to my precious, demanding husband!  We are doing fine and this too shall pass.  New Years is around the corner.  Spring and then summer will be upon us before we know what hit us.  Fall will slip by and Christmas will once again be here.  Try to remember the Christmases past.  Do you remember the gifts you received?  I'm betting not.  But times together with family and friends are what will most often come to mind.  This year I want to grasp those moments that I share with family and friends and cherish them for years to come.  God bless you all this coming New Year!

Oh Yeah!  And look forward to more original and new pottery from us Lady Fingers in 2017.  What we create DOES make wonderful gifts for your friends and family!  🙂

http://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplySusansPots

http://www.etsy.com/shop/PotterybyNoell

http://www.etsy.com/shop/runningrabbitpottery

http://www.etsy.com/shop/EastburnOriginals

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Mural of fruit and veggies.

I have painted many a tile mural over a span of about 35 years, some I remember vividly because of the customer, some good and some bad.  The main one I remember that was funny was this huge kitchen with tile murals everywhere.  It was on the inter-coastal in Ft Lauderdale FL.

Kitchen mural

The kitchen island in the middle was so huge you could not reach to the center of it.  I ask the owner what she planned to do to the middle since my painting was all the way around the edge of the island.  She told me “Oh this kitchen is just for looks, I don’t cook!  In fact, my husband suggested we put in a room filled with vending machines.”

 

Sculptured veggies mounted on tile.

Which brings to mind another job I did with the same story.  This lady had me sculpt in porcelain 3-dimensional veggies and fruit on the tile.  I said, "these will be very fragile."  Her answer was “no problem, I don’t plan on cooking”.

 

The stories though that have the most meaning to me are the ones where God certainly had a hand in creating. I’ll tell you about two of them although there are probably more.

 

Intracoastal mural

The first one is a mural that is 9 feet high and 26 feet long at a home in Ft Lauderdale, FL.  The home was originally one of the motels that were built probably in the nineteen forties.  The man who contacted me had turned it into a home. The living room, which had been the reception area of the motel was now the living room,  it was solid glass with the eastern view overlooking the ocean and the western view was looking out over his swimming pool.  On the other side of the pool was this blank wall that was the side of his garage, and on the other side of the garage was the intercostal waterway.  He hired me to paint the intercostal on tile and install it on the wall.  The man appeared to me to be a bachelor who enjoyed the good life; so I painted him on the front of a yacht going down the inter-coastal.

Yacht with man and woman on front

He had a beer in his hand and I painted this really sexy red head laying sunbathing and drinking a glass of wine as they enjoyed the lazy cruise down the inter-coastal.

Finally, I got the call that the tile was installed and I drove down to approve it.  I stood there enjoying a job well done (although one piece of the water had been installed upside down).  When the owner came out of his house and told me that he was really pleased.  He continued, “I’m getting married on the patio in front of this mural on Saturday”.  About that time this gorgeous redhead walked up to him and I could have dropped my false teeth.  Standing before me was the lady I had painted on the yacht.

Full view of mural location

Thank you, God!

The second mural was painted after I moved to the Georgia Mountains in 1992.

A lady came to me and she had just purchased a second home and she wanted to bring the memory of her South Georgia plantation home up to the mountains.  She brought me a photo of her back yard and a wedding photo of the family.  She said her three boys just loved to fish.  We decided on a mural for the game room to be a skillet waiting to fix the fish and fishing gear.  There was a sink and the mural was going on the wall behind it.  I divide the wall into two windows like casement windows with the skillet and spices under one window and the fishing gear under the other window.  I then decided to paint one window looking out to the backyard with the swimming pool and pool house.  I painted her and her husband by the pool.

The second window I painted the three sons.  One was sitting on a rock reading a book with the fishing gear beside him.  One was standing there trying to get the reader to get up and get going.  I painted the other son down the trail with the fishing pole over his shoulder like he was whistling and having a great time. Then I thought every boy needs a dog to run beside him.  So I painted in a black dog.

Large mural

After we installed the mural I waited to hear from the couple.  Several weeks past and I was beginning to get worried.  Then the phone rang and this woman was crying in my ear.  Oh, crap!  It turns out her dog which she had had for many years had just passed away and I had painted him into the mural.  When she calmed down she also told me that I had painted the boys’ personalities true to their nature.

Again, Thank You, GOD!

P.S. The first photo of the veggies has absolutely nothing to do with this story I just chose it because it fit across the top of the page very nicely.  The only interesting thing about that mural is that lightning struck the home and knocked the plaster out between the tiles, but the tiles stayed in place.  Go figure?

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studio-017

 

Not too many people have the time or opportunity to visit a working pottery studio. It can be quite a surprise. Of course every studio is different, depending on size, the artist’s work and the total use of the space.

 

studiio2016My studio Running Rabbit Pottery is large compared to my fellow Lady Fingers work spaces. I have 14 ½ feet by 37 feet of space and two levels. The ground level is all work space. The kilns are in the lower space where they can be well vented. Kilns reach temperatures over 2000 degrees and run for hours. My first studio was 6 feet X 6 feet. I threw in my garage so I had to wash the car after every session.

The studio is both work and display space, as well as a learning space. Since I teach the size works well. I can handle 4 students comfortably although I prefer no more than 2 students for beginners since I am very thorough and a bit of a demon about safety and best practices.

So what do you think about visiting Running Rabbit Pottery in Cleveland, GA? My studio is a sweet yellow building tucked back among tall trees. You walk down a gently sloping path to the door. There is usually a wreath or some seasonal welcome on the same.
studiotour1 The door opens on my slab roller. This is my most prized and used piece of equipment. They are not cheap and I bought the best I could. It is great because the height allows me to use it as a work table.

I always have music going in the studio. When my Lady Fingers Clay buds come for a studio day jazz is my first choice, or maybe some Native American flute music.

My studio cat Pippi Longstocking loved to ride on the slab roller and napped with her head against the rough metal roller.

To the left is the glazing table backlit by the French doors. Every surface is designed to be easily cleaned because even trimming and sanding outside, the dust is always a problem.

studiotour2

Beyond the table on the East wall is a floor to ceiling shelf unit where I store chemicals, finishing tools, stamps, rollers and some work waiting to be finished like wind chimes needing to be strung.On the North wall I have low fire glazes, underglazes and cold finishes. On the South and Southeast walls the shelves house high fire glazes and containers.

studiotour5        But you are here to see pottery. Just past the slab roller to the right is  the     work area. Students who wish to sit to work do it there. It is an amazing maze of pottery tools, and items used to do the work.

 

Beyond, the walls are lined with shelves of finished pieces, they are usually displayed by seasons.      img_3756

The final point is the table and lamps I use to photograph the work before listing it in my Etsy RunningRabbitPottery shop.

You can see the work made here in the studio at my  Etsy. Runningrabbitpottery/shop.  Between November 24 and midnight Pacific time November 28 you can make the virtual open studio tour, and take a nice discount because if you came here personally I would give you some little piece from the pottery.

You are always welcome to the studio by appointment. Potters are generally a friendly lot. We love sharing our work and our passion for clay with others. We love clay and know the friendships and pleasures it has made possible in our lives. Each of the Lady Fingers came to the group through the love of clay and the warm welcome they found just being around potters.

Enjoy your tour, real or virtual and if possible take home a piece to remember us by.    img_3769

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays. May you be blest with beauty and joy.

img_6577The four friends from Lady Fingers Pottery want to wish each and every one of you a happy and tummy filling Thanksgiving Feast. May each of you be surrounded by friends and family, and in spirit, we will be with you giving thanks for our wonderful country.
Jaymi, Patti, Pat and Susan

In the photo, you have Sue, Jaymi, Patti, and Missy.  Pat is taking the photo.  Missy is our fifth wheel.  She is a potter also, but more than that she is part of the family of five as we travel on our many adventures.

 

green-nd-blue-ribbon-boxes

 

Patti Petit, at Running Rabbit Pottery trying not to get caught up in the holiday mash. Do not get me wrong. I love the holidays. I grew up in a large family. We moved often because of my Dad's work so we were very close. Now we are scattered, even my children. Holidays involve some travel and schedule hopscotch. But this year my son plans being here with us (being my daughter, son-in-law and adopted family the kind mutually adopted in love and friendship). That is for Thanksgiving. Later in mid December I will go to his home in Cape Coral, Florida. That is a 12 to 14 hour drive with two dogs, a cat and a canary. Folks ask if I am afraid traveling alone. Why should I be? Who is going to tackle a crazy lady with a menagerie in her car?

A few years ago we cut back on the gifting for Christmas, settling on one small gift. Last year we cut back to cards. We donate to several causes dear to us and now we can give more.

green-nd-blue-ribbon-boxes

I am not averse to gifting. I love it. I love presents and surprises.  But we give nice gifts often through the   course  of a year. And we now spend every minute of the holiday season, decorating, cooking, visiting and entertaining, gifting friends and loved ones, enjoying seasonal music and favorite films. "A Tuna Christmas" has become a must, and it isn't Christmas until we hear the entire Nutcracker through. We all participated in the ballet many years back. What memories!

 

3rd-whitewreath

 

 

In my clay life Christmas means angels  and  candle  holders and little gift items that speak   of the holiday. I am always happy when someone wants one of these gifts because they are made with love, lots of music in the studio and the wonder that comes with the holidays.

 

 

joyangel2

This year an old friend renewed acquaintance and commissioned angels and owls for her two galleries. One, Wander, is in Clayton, Georgia, the other Addington Osborne LTD is located in Atlanta. Renewing a friendship has been the nicest gift of this holiday season so far.

partyplatewithwineglass                                                                        I even designed a wine and hors d'oeuvre  dish that should be handy for parties anytime of year. While I have a set in bright colors, I am also working on a sophisticated black and white design for the same pieces. The holidays go on longer here in the South.  After all  -  we have Mardi Gras!

 

Meanwhile I have been able to update and list holiday pieces on my www.etsy.com/shop/runningrabbitpottery store.  My clay bud Lady Fingers are hard at work too. Can't wait to see what they are up to. You can check up on

Jaymi Hampton - www.etsy.com/shop/EastbournOriginals

Susan Holmes www.etsy.com/shop/SimplySusansPots

Patricia Noell www.etsy.com/shop/PotterybyNoell

 

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This is the continuing stories by Jaymi about why she believes God guides her hand.

Spirit Homes
Spirit Homes

I do not remember how my “Spirit Homes” came into being, but I suspect one of my friends was sick and I pondered how to cheer her up, and then bam, there the idea was in my brain.  I believe that God sends ideas into my head, after all, who else could come up with some of the crazy things that come out of my hands?  I thank him every day for the gifts he sends my way.

When I give the Spirit Homes away, or customers buy them, I get feedback that is always positive.  I remember one young mother was having her kitchen redone, and it was the kitchen from hell.  We put a spirit home in the kitchen window and not only did her kitchen end up beautiful, about two weeks later she met the man she would soon marry.  She still has the spirit home because in her mind that is what completely changed her life.

Hanging Spirit Home
Hanging Spirit Home

One lady was having marital problems and every time she needed to take her rings off she laid them in the spirit home above her sink.  The marriage is still strong today.  I’m not claiming my spirit homes perform miracles I am just saying that if you believe in miracles anything can happen.

I always include a write up that says, “Good Spirit Homes provide a soft bed of cotton for your good spirits to rest and revitalize.  If you are having a bad day check the cotton it might have become lumpy or dirty.”

For a joke one day I made a “Bad Spirit Trap” with spiders and snakes.  It has hooks over the entrance so the bad spirits can’t get out.  The saying I send with it is “Do not place the Bad Spirit Trap near the edge of a shelf, because if two are more bad spirits get inside they will start to fight among themselves, and pretty soon the Trap will start rocking and rolling and fall off of the shelve, breaking and releasing your bad spirits back into the room.”  Men and boys are the only ones who have purchased these traps so for.

Bad Spirit Traps
Bad Spirit Traps

I made Bad Spirit Traps with magnets on the back and I called them calorie traps.  You would put them on your refrigerator and when you got something like ice cream out to eat, the calories from the food would flow into the trap.  You could eat in peace knowing the calories couldn't get out and land on your hips.  This must have come from my brain instead of God's because I never even sold one.  Oh well on to the next project.

Just a final note.  As I am writing this it is election day and i have voted.  My husband and I went to our Church also and we prayed to God.  Not to let our candidate win but rather to watch over America during this time and to guide us in the way you want us to live.  God Bless America!

Here is the address from each of us to go to our Etsy shops and enjoy all of the new art we are creating.

Patti Petit http://www.etsy.com/shop/runningrabbitpottery 

Jaymi Hampton - http://www.etsy.com/shop/EastbournOriginals

Susan Holmes http://www.etsy.com/shop/SimplySusansPots

Patricia Noell http://www.etsy.com/shop/PotterybyNoell

potterybanner
Some of the pottery I sell on ETSY

My mother was born in Trieste, Italy and when I was a little girl, I enjoyed listening to some of the stories that she passed on to my brother and myself. Many of the stories were sad because during her young adult life she was living through the horrors of WWII.

When she met my dad, who was an American soldier stationed in Trieste, she played "hard to get" so it took 4 long years of courtship to finally convince her to marry him and move to America.

My mother was lonely at first with her family still living in Trieste. She was probably the only foreigner living in this small town in Georgia. The town took her under their wings and she eventually made plenty of friends. I oftentimes asked her why she left her family and moved so far away and she said "that's Amore".

My mom and dad, late 1940's
My mom and dad, late 1940's

Over the years, she corresponded through letters with her mother and sisters--all in Italian. To this day, I still have those letters in a large bin but have yet to translate them.

My aunt Anny before she had her own child, would make and send my mother matching outfits for my brother and me. We had some beautiful sweaters and coats. We were the best dressed couture toddlers in town. My mom and her sister were wonderful seamstresses.

My twin brother, Jim and me
My twin brother, Jim and me

My twin brother and I had never met my mom's family until the summer of 1964. We were eleven and we traveled to Trieste by ship, and stayed all through the summer--the best years of my youth.

Before we left for Italy, the local newspaper had taken our pictures and wrote an article about our upcoming travels. That was big news back then. How many children back in those days from a small town can say they lived in Italy for the summer? It was wonderful getting to know my uncle, aunts and cousins and especially my Nona (grandma). She was a sweet lady who loved to cook.

My cousin Tiziana, Aunt Anny, brother Jim, me, Mom and Uncle Edy summer of 1964
My cousin Tiziana, Aunt Anny, brother Jim, me, Mom and Uncle Edy summer of 1964

While there, we traveled all over northern Italy and other nearby countries. I still hold on to the memories and mementos we obtained while visiting various countries. Two years after our first visit, my Nona died unexpectedly. That summer of 1964 was the first and last time I ever saw her.

nona-2
Nona at the stove as usual

Since that summer, my mother stayed in touch with her family and over the years we would either visit Italy or my relatives would travel here. Even though we lived so far apart I felt a strong kinship to my Italian family. Over the years, one by one, my uncles and aunts passed away. My mom was the last to leave us. Before she passed away in 2008, I visited my cousin, Tiziana, in 2005. Her mom, Anny (my mom's sister,) had died the year before and I wanted to spend time with my cousin and my uncle. While I was there, my cousin would cook pasta and my uncle would pick up fresh fish and we'd have fried octopus, squid - you name it, I ate it. Everything tastes better in Italy. The food is simple, yet mouth watering.

Tiziana and her husband, Fabrizio and their dog Heikki
Tiziana and her husband, Fabrizio and their dog Heikki

So while I was in Italy Tiziana decided to show me how to make tiramisu. Watching her make it seemed simple yet complicated. She used all fresh ingredients, because tiramisu is a dessert that doesn't require baking, so it's important that the eggs are fresh. I thought, I GOT THIS. I wrote down the recipe while she was making it. I forgot all about the recipe until years later while my daughter's in-laws were in town, I thought I would pull out the recipe and make them Tiramisu. They are both Italian so I was hoping to impress them. What a disaster! The tiramisu looked good from the outside but once I cut into it you would have have thought I was giving them pudding. I may have soaked the ladyfingers for too long in the espresso coffee.  When my cousin made it, it came out perfect. I guess there's an art to making tiramisu.

I somehow managed to lose the recipe, so I contacted my cousin, Tiziana, and she was happy to oblige.  So here's the tiramisu recipe straight out of Italy.

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup brewed espresso or very strong coffee, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (8 Tablespoons)
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese(1-1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons rum
  • 6 whipped egg whites
  • 18 to 20 Savoiardi Italian lady fingers
  • 1 ounce grated bittersweet chocolate and/or cocoa powder for dusting

Directions:

Combine espresso or strong coffee, 2 TBS Rum and 2 TBS of confectioners’ sugar in a bowl

Prepare Filling:

Beat egg yolks and 6 TBS of confectioners’ sugar and set over a double-boiler saucepan in   simmering water 5 to 8 minutes. Use a whisk and continue to beat until you remove from the heat. Once you remove bowl from heat then beat in mascarpone cheese.

Beat 6 egg whites in a bowl until it holds stiff peaks.  Once the yolk - mascarpone mixture has cooled a little, gently fold in half of the beaten egg whites and then add the remaining half.  If you have concerns about raw egg whites be sure to use the freshest and highest quality of eggs (short of owning a hen).  Look for Grade A or AA eggs in the egg shell.

Assemble Tiramisu:

Dip half of the ladyfingers very quickly into the coffee, and line the bottom of a 11 by 8 inch dish or 9 inch square dish. Spoon half of the mascarpone filling over the ladyfingers and spread into an even layer. Grate half of the bittersweet chocolate over filling.  Then dip the remaining ladyfingers very quickly into the coffee and arrange a second layer over filling. Spoon remaining mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers. Dust with cocoa powder. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours.  When ready to serve, dust with extra grated chocolate or cocoa powder.  Leave out at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving.

Let me know how yours turned out.  ENJOY!   Patricia

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