Tuesday, January 8, 2019

a few warm busy days

When we bought this place, the Big Backyard had a beautiful lawn, thick healthy grass. Today, it looks more like a meadow. About three years ago the grass started dying and we made no effort to stop it, some bug or other brought back by the lawn mower from other yards or just an invader or fungus except the lawns on either side of us are fine.

It's been sunny and warm the last couple of days and the early spring wildflowers and weeds think it's spring.

10 petal anemone and henbit

yellow and pink oxylis

woodland violet (and the bee is why these early spring wildflowers are so important)

don't know what these are and I'm too lazy to look them up but the little blue flowers are tiny, about 1/8”

chickweed and dandelions

There's more, like the noxious sow thistle and stickyweed and plantain, fleabane which blooms later. The flood brought us a flood of wildflower and weed seeds as well as hay grass like bluestem.

And today a cardinal is singing his love song and temps are in the mid-70s and someone at yoga last night said she saw a peach tree blooming. Hold up there, Hoss, it's barely January! It will get cold again.

I finally got the peas planted Sunday 

and picked up a cart load of branches from the Big Backyard. There's a pile in the Little Backyard and the side yard has yet to be gone over. Marc went over and fired up the burn pile last week and already the back of the truck is full of fallen branches.

I drove into the city yesterday to spend the day with the twins who are both back at their parent's house. Now in their second year of college, they no longer consider it home. We went to the art supply store to get Autumn her holiday gift (she wanted art supplies instead of money, being a working girl and all...a kit with 24 acrylic paints, a canvas, and a small easel), went to lunch at a vegetarian restaurant where they had vegan cheese (the one they had available yesterday was made from coconut milk and resembled mozzarella, I wasn't impressed), 

Jade took two pictures of Autumn and I and both times I had food in my mouth. When I gave her a hard time after the first pic, she took this one.

tried to go to the Menil (a museum that houses the Menil's private art collection and yes, a museum full) but they were closed, took them to the Rothko Chapel because they had never been and everyone should go at least once (I'm still not impressed by Rothko), and then I hit the road at 3 to get through the gauntlet of Fort Bend County road construction before traffic got bad and because yoga last night.

I got more samples made and added the powder to the feather form I had made weeks ago 

before firing...

and they came out of the kiln yesterday. 

after firing...

These samples and the feather came out too shiny so we'll have to tweak the firing schedule. I'm happy enough with my first attempt at the feather but next time I'll make some changes in my color choices and application. I also determined how much this stuff shrinks (17%) which will be helpful when I'm working on a real piece. Next I'm going to mix up some of the transparent fine frit and see how that fires. I'm sort of working on a composition in my head, a real piece to see how I like this modeling glass, how it is to work with it and how I like the end result. It has a completely different look than what I'm used to getting with the pate de verre. 


  1. I love that photo of you and your grandgirl, and how lovely that you share a love of making art. You inspire me.

  2. We keep waiting for our burn pile to dry up and meanwhile, it's getting bigger and bigger. It's going to take up a quarter of an acre before we get it burned.
    You're such a good grandmother. I know those girls adore you and the older they get, the more they will celebrate the fact that you are in their lives and have been.
    Those colors really intensify when they're fired, don't they? I love the feather.

  3. I love this post. The photos of the spring plant life and you and Autumn and your art work in progress are splendid and renewing. And I am astonished by how much you look like me and many from my mother's side of the family! It makes me wonder if we are related.

  4. Busy as a bee Ellen. Sparrows are busy in the bird houses under the eaves. Drakes on the lake are getting frisky/fighty and we actually got to 70 yesterday. God, I can't wait for spring. Donna@gather

  5. Nice detail in that feather. I burn my yard to get rid of obnoxious broadleaf. It is surprising what comes back.I talked to a gal from Houston and she seemed familiar with wharton.asked her if she wanted to move back and she said it was on her mind.

  6. Those glass colors are great - to me anyway. Love the picture of you & your granddaughter - quintessentially Ellen :)

    I looked up the two little blue wildflowers I could remember & it's not either of them, so you're on your own - ha!

  7. I love it when spring pops up when it shoildn’t. Enjoy it while you have it.

  8. I like that you are so into your art and that you spend time doing it with care. We had a bat here in the evening tonight. What the heck is he eating and does this mean there will be a much smaller hatch for our spring birds??

  9. This new work with the powder samples is intriguing and I am looking forward to more. And your spring pictures are encouraging, although spring looks months away here.

    Vegan cheese, oh dear. Maybe call it something else to avoid disappointment (or pretense, whatever)?

  10. I love that feather! I know I'll get hate mail, but what the heck is up with veganizing dairy products? If you feel that strongly about animals and animal products, why bother creating fake ones? It's like gluten-free bread. There is no such thing! There's bread and there's a variety of baked lumps of different textured products. I love the photograph - never give the photographer a hard time. It will come back to bite you. My lawn is being taken over by clover and wild thyme, both of which thrill me and the bees.

  11. Your commitment to yoga is noteworthy. We did a bit at school on Friday as part of a challenge and I need to do more to get my flexibility back. I like the colors once they're fired.


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