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Wednesday 29 February 2012

Mike's pots I like

Hi everyone! We have had a mild day, and even sunny in the afternoon. My mother in Japan told me that it was snowing heavily there. Once a while It's not bad to hear Tokyo is colder than here.

Today I am going to show some of Mike's pots. He likes making bowls. Jane, the former tutor of our ceramic course always said that his bowls are pleasure to handle. This one is a really nice bowl that is not repeatable. It was a chance in the kiln.

Inside has greyish brown little dots appeared.
Inside became slightly warmer cream colour
Isn't it beautiful? The greyish brown dots don't make a full circle. Being Japanese, I love asymmetry; it is a spirit of 'Zen'. This is my favourite bowl among his works. Needless to say he threw it well on the wheel, too. 

Green 'Oribe' glaze ran beautifully.

This bowl and his other works are for sale on ebay right now.

This small egg vase is another of my favourite of his works. He made it years ago, and we have displayed it on a shelf. But this is also on ebay too. We sell our works, even favourite ones, so we make space literally and also in our mind to create something new.

P.S. Now it went to a loving home.


Sunday 26 February 2012

Dog's ear repaired, and a failure.

Hello everyone. How was your weekend? We have had a busy one. I have preparing ebay listings at PC whole day today except for a half an hour of Six Nations on TV. I realised that one listing takes about one hour including editing photos.

First I thought it wasn't at all productive, and I am wasting time, but then after second thought, if it were too easy to list items, nobody bothers to open a shop on High streets. So it, a kind of, makes sense.

Her ear is back!
Mike repaired the ear of the dog. He carefully attached it. Her tail is still docked. But I am happy with her.

Tail is still docked.

Here is something I will share with you. A failure. This is Priggy. Somehow he became shiny dark brown. Tears.... he was supposed to be like this glaze sample.

Why? ahhhhh, why? Look at his little hands and bathing constume look so cute, but he became so, well, moster-like! LOL

Friday 24 February 2012

My new pots

Hello everyone! How was your week? It has been a tiring busy week for me. Very glad to see the weekend.Here are some pictures of my new pots. One mug and one yunomi. 

Pretty handle!
Medium size mug

Yunomi ladies' size
A shame about the reflection of fabric on green glaze.

Yunomi- green glaze came through.
The yunomi her friend bought.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Spring flowers

Humhumhum, spring has come to Canterbury. We had a lovely day. Bright sunshine from late morning through the sunset. Ah, such warm air. I saw several students walking in half sleeves. I meant to update my new pots today, but I couldn't take good pictures of them. So I will show you some spring flowers from the garden.

Helleborus is one of my favourite flower families. I like green flowers in general. years ago, I bought a rare bred one from a well-known breeder who since ceased trading. But it died on me after several years. These flowers give me lots of inspiration. The details of plants thrilled me!

Helleborus Orientalis

Helleborus Foetidus

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Mike's sweet demitasse cups with my handles

Hi everyone! As I promised yesterday, I took several pictures of our new pots. Tonight I will share Mike's sweet demitasse cups. They are tiny, a size of egg cups. Perfect for espresso. As usual, I made handles.
Egg cup size - Demitasse cups by Mike
This white cup with a blue handle is made from porcelain white stone. White glaze looks great on white body, so I thought it was worth testing colours. I think it looks good. This is also a demitasse cup. It seems to me that temperature went up a bit higher than usual. White glaze ran a bit.
New colour test on new clay

Tuesday 21 February 2012

My new works from a kiln

'Malta Kano'
Hello everyone! Here are a couple of my new freshly fired pottery. It was getting dark, so I only took two of our new works. Do you remember her? The red colour looks very similar to the Camellia that just opened in the garden. I call her 'Malta Kano' who is a mysterious character in the book I recently read, 'The Wind-Bird Chronicle'. Apparently I was not aware of her 'existence' when I made her in the first place, but when I decorated her, I realised that she is Malta!

Camellia Japonica in the garden

She was intended to be a sample, but I still  disappointed that her pupils and iris were disappeared. I bet oxide was too strong. I will add some details in her eyes by enamelling later.

Whippet detail

Whippet maquette has had hardship. First, after bisque firing, a student must have touched her, and she lost a tail. I tried to repair it, but it was not possible. I decorated her the way I wanted. The result was wonderful. But while she was waiting for me, she was knocked down a bit, and lost her ear. So she came home less that what she was. Mike will glue her ear; he is an expert on gluing! But she has to live with a docked tail, sadly.

I will show you Mike's and my tableware tomorrow.

Oh yes, it was Pancake Day today. We have had pancakes with cooked pear filling and the lovely desert wine we opened about Christmas. We had better finish it. 

Thursday 16 February 2012

Sleep deprivation and our bird family photos

Last night, I was struggled to fall into sleep again. Finally about midnight, when I started feeling dozy, Fifi the Patagonian conure thought it would be a good idea to start a party in the dark.She started banging a bell and squeaked several times. Sigh. Our two Greys have never done this. They are quiet during nights.

Fifi, Patagonian conure. Party lover.
We were woken up about three in the morning again. Topaz whined. She has bad tummy. I assume it is caused by one of her favourite food, cooked potatoes. Yes, simple microwaved potatoes. When we stopped her giving her potatoes, she got better. So we resumed offering some, she started having a trouble again. Poor girl usually never ask to go out during nights. She is very clean in the house. One of her a few good points (another is her high intelligence). Once she clears potatoes from her system, she will probably recover. If not, we will take her to the vet. I even took a photo of her stool, thinking it might be any aid of diagnosis when we take her to the vet.  

Musical and Mechanical, Beaper

I have had the lack of good night sleep for 10 days. My head is heavy and I can't concentrate enough to read reports today. Also Topaz wants to go to the garden every hour or so. So I gave up. This is a good and a bad of point of working for myself. I don't need anyone's permission to take a day off, but I also have none to back up my work. Luckily it has been a quiet day. Taking a nap is not an easy thing to do in our house. We have three parrots. Scooter talks loudly a lot, Beaper whistles and sings very loud, and Fifi screams and bangs her metal dishes. They do these at the same time, and thier room is next to our bedroom. Nobody could sleep.

Scooter (top) and Beaper
Yesterday I found Japanese African Timneh Grey owner on Twitter and got in contact with her. We had out first parrot-like birds in 1998. There was nobody who kept parrots, whom I knew in Japan, then. Besides not so many people was connected to Internet then. Most information I gatherd was from US at that time. They were well ahed of the world. The world really changed so fast and so much.

Recently I was contacted by a nice Russian bird lover. She asked if I could giveher a permission to translate my articled on Kakariki into Russian. Of course, I gave her a permission. It has been already translated into Polish a long time ago. I started the website to help Kakariki in captivity. If even one kakariki has benefit from my old website, I am just happy.

I hope we have uninterrupted sleep tonight. Topaz has been ok for last couple of hours. Fingers crossed!   


Wednesday 15 February 2012

News from NZ, Norwegian Wood by Murakami and how Pearl has a nap

I go an email from a friend from NZ. He and his fiancee were in our ceramic class before. It is nice to catch up. He is thinking to skype their wedding for those who can't attend. What a brilliant idea! We would go if we didn't have so many animal family. But 3 parrots, 2 dogs (one mad and one a bit leaky), one finch and one chicken, we can't ask anybody to look after them for longer than a day or so. They are taking a throwing lesson from an old potter on his road. They were learning very quickly and improving a lot in a short period. How marvellous! I had offered if we could send some of our tableware as a gift, but I guess they can make their own now! He got one of my rabbit girl. I know she is very happy with them.

Don't worry, she is alive. She can sleep with her eyes and mouth open.

I worked hard in the morning. But later in the morning, I was in the mood of telling the world what I like to say! Twitter! Having slept well, I got my energy back and cheerful self. Then I got a strange follower. Hmmm, she looks a normal lady on the avatar, but the link is something to with 'xxx'. Ping! rang in my head, and I blocked her. She had lots of followers, though! I used to receive lots of junk emails saying Russian girls called, Nina, Nene etc. want to meet me! hahaha. So did Mike. I told him, if I die sooner than he does, he shouldn't ever get in touch with these email brides. All money would be taken and he would be ended up at the bottom of the sea with a rock tied around his ankle. He seemed to have taken my advice seriously.

Belly up, she is very alive
I read more of Norwegian Wood after dinner. There are several suicides and loads of sexual description in this story, just like Wind-up bird chronicle. But, strange enough, there is no moisture in these parts. So dry. So detached. I am not sure the reason is because the book I am reading is translated in English. I don't know. I asked one of my old friends, Mimi, if she had read it. She said she hasn't read any of Murakami's books. She also said that she mainly reads on comuuters' train, and it is so embarrassing to read books with such sexual descriptions in public. Yes, she has a point.

She fed up me using flash.
I noticed that Haruki Murakami stopped twittering since before Christmas even though he did so frequently before that, when I decided to leave my messages for him after reading his book. I was VERY tempted to say 'Mr Murakami, are you alive?' just like characters do in his story.     

Bu not that fed up enough to wake up.
This afternoon, I was a kind of waiting for the movement of certain companies' share. There was, but not enough for me to act. So I took some photos of Pearl the whippet. 
P.S. She is sleeping in almost identical postion, right now.       

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

After three nights' inadequate sleep, I really wanted to have a good night sleep last night. I did some ceramics, a sure way to get a good night sleep for me. It always works. I fell into sleep quite easily. Three in the morning, Pearl the whippet started 'crying' like a baby. 'fee feee heen heen'. I check on her, and Mike checked on her, but we couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. He thought she could get up because I put her a nightie on. Anyway, Mike took her out in the garden, just in case.

Then Topaz started barking. In response to that, Fifi, the Patagonian conure screamed from a next bedroom. We were wide awake. Mike went down to make a tea at half past three, but luckily I was able to go back to sleep.

My favourite, Champagne Truffles
So, this morning, I was a bit sleepy. When Mike brought a cafe au lait to the bed, I really didn't register (imagine BGM is parrot's wild calls!) Just before he set off to a office, he came in and said 'Happy Valentine's Day' and placed a paper bag on a duvet.

I suddenly widely awake! Just like a magic. He is so nice! Every girl needs some really nice chocolates! Mine are champagne truffles. My favourite!

They are delicious, very boozy (an important point to me!). Thanks, Mike! I love you, too! (Ok, when I saw this picture, I like to eat one fo them again!)   

Monday 13 February 2012

Prada is Prada even it is very old.

Hi Everyone? How is your day so far? I have spent the most of my waking time in front of PC listing on ebay last 24 hours! Gosh, it takes so long to upload photos, and writing up. To be honest, I was underestimated how much effort it required. I seldom sell things on ebay. But this time, I am selling our ceramics to test the water, so to speak.

Ceramics are one of the difficult things to 'feel' from photographs. I have bought some on Internet. Some were wonderful, as I expected, but a few were disappointment, and I juts gave them away to a friend. I have bought from US when Pound was stronger against dollars, and also form Japan.

But now I will tell you most exciting fun sale I have had on Ebay in past. There were two. One was old Prada bag bought in Japan a long time ago, and lovingly used ever since. It was beige Tote bag with a dust bag. It wasn't particularly dirty, but as you know, it has just become old. I wiped it clean and took photos of them, and listed on ebay, hoping nothing much. Oh, it was so popular. I restricted that it is only for UK buyers. But I got an enquiry from Hong Kong. There were lots of views and bids, and the final bid was much higher than I expected for such a old bag.

Lulu Guinness bag. SOLD.
Another one was a really sweet party bag from Lulu Guinness. I bought it at almost nothing two years before the year I finally thought I would never use it. It was brand new with still a tag on it. I listed it just before Christmas. Thank you very much, it was sold 8 times more that I paid. I only wished my investment would give me such high return!

I have also things that never sold like Ralph Lauren summer dress in a really pristine condition. It was a bit tight for me to start with, and as I get 'older' -sigh- it became tighter, so I didn't touch it for 10 years. It was still in a dry cleaner's bag when I found it in a wardrobe. But it is Japanese small size, and that is really really small. So there is no market for this nice dress in UK.

I have loads of bags and loads of shoes. I used to be called 'Imerda of Hasuda (where my parents lived)' in a company I had worked for in 1980's. I just like them to match with clothes.

One thing I am wondering if it is worth selling is another old Prada tote bag. It is in better condition and I can still use it. I, therefore, kept it. But I work from home now. When I go out, I tend to take a tiny bag, not a tote. Is there any taker? lol


Saturday 11 February 2012

Lovely ladies' lunch

I had a great ladies' lunch with my friend at Michael Caines at Abode, my favourite place in Canterbury. We had a grazing menu with recommended wine for starter and main, which is perfect for ladies. Food is lovely, Jane had a chicken liver for starter, and grey mullet for main. She had some chocolate desert. I had salmon for a starter, Kentish beef for main, and raspberry cheesecake for desert. Their bread is the best in Canterbury. Service is also very good, as usual. If you come to Canterbury, do check it out.

We laughed a lot (we both are bubbly), and enjoyed chats. Once a while, I love to have a really good chat with really good female friends. We, women have a different vibe when we are alone! So relaxing!   
The face I started making last week 

Mike gave me a lift to the door to the hotel, and also picked me up. It was sooo cold. Maximum was 1c. When I got in the car, the first thing he said was 'You smell very strong booze!' ??? I only had a small amount of wine though.

After that, Mike and I enjoyed a Six Nations match, Italy vs England (we won again, but Italians was plucky and attacking well). The stadium at Rome had snow, and it looked cold. After a light supper, we went back to TV to watch another match at Paris, but it was called off due to ground condition. La Seine was frozen, and temperature drops to -10C. I am sorry for Irish fans who flew from mild Ireland to literally icy Paris to watch this match. So here I am, updating my blog.

Mike's quick pasta dish - garlic, bacon, Tomato passata and broccoli and Parmigiano Reggiano on top. This Wakefield Shiraz 2009 is delicious wine. It has distinctive plumy taste with lovely spice on the tongue. I loved it.
We still have got snow here; it is too cold to melt.

My old friend in Japan and I have been plotting to set up a date for a mutual friend. So far, it is not going well. We communicate via twitter and emails. Our dear friend is becoming an old maiden, and we want her to blossom. I will tell you how it goes.



Friday 10 February 2012

Mike already broke a thing within 2 hours of my prediction!

I am gaining the power of foretelling. Within two hours of my prediction Mike has already broken a wine glass. It made pretty sound when it hit the ceramic floor tile!

Clumsy Mike

Those who know Mike, can't imagine how clumsy he can be. They see him baking, cooking, placing topping on a pizza like decoration, or planting tulip bulbs in regimental way. He seems to do everything neat and tidy. Not so.

Last night he broke two of my ceramic rabbits. Two at the same time!! I put them somewhere high so that our dogs won't be able to knock them down. It worked, but I didn't think about Mike. Well, actually, I did. I thought about him. But after Christmas, He suggested that I should decorate some of my nice rabbits on the shelf. I hesitated, and said 'They might get knocked down (by you)'. He said something like they will be ok on the shelf. So I was persuaded.

Yesterday there was a delivery. Mike ordered a box for HD. Only programs I watch are more or less business news, so I said I don't want it. But he said 'there is no point to have HD screen if we don't see programs in HD. Oh well, get it then. So he was connecting the box to TV when I heard a big sad,


from another room. One of my virtues is that I don't make too much fuss on something broken. Because there is no point. So I didn't say much.

Victim 1

Victim 2
But I calmly told him that he must be more careful with things. He has broken a wardrobe by carrying it on the staircase just after I bought it (I tried my best to stop him, but he didn't listen). And then two picture frames that were made to order by hurling a metal baby gate from the top of staircase (he said it was an accident). He also broke a handmade ceramic bowl given as a wedding gift by kicking on the staircase (Yes, you guessed right. He put it there!) He dragged the large cabinet on beech wood floor, and made terrible zigzag marks on the floorboard (yes, he dragged it in a zigzag way. Although I told him to put a blanket to protect the floor, he didn't listen). He smashed a plinth under kitchen cabinets by forcefully pulling out and a list carries on.

Now I will not at all surprised whatever he breaks. I am a kind of anticipating him smashing a glass cabinet including its contents, given by my mother as a wedding gift. It is something he is likely to do. 

He also often falls. Once he fell from the lower part of staircase, and literally smashed his face to the corner of a furniture, and had to get it stitched up. I was so scared to see his Frankenstein face that whenever I saw his face, I screamed! I couldn't help it.

I can almost hear you saying, it is a balance that's what he is in lack of. I think that's it. I imagine that his balance only deteriorates as he gets older. So more things will break in our house. Sigh. Only thing I can do to prevent breakage is that I should never listen to him, and put things where he can't reach by any means. But I bet he will manage to break one or two things soon.

Last night he was attaching broken ears and hand to rabbits with super glue behind me. I haven't seen them yet. I am too scared to look at them. They might have turned into Frankenstein rabbits. You see, he can't see close range well.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

This week's new pots and easy chicken casserole - I only make easy ones, but, belive me, they are yummy!

Hi everyone! We have had another cold day. The snow hasn't completely melted around us yet. I keep dog walks to minimum. When it is as cold as this, we really look forward to a hot meal after a hard working day. Don't you? Here is my very easy chicken casserole. Meat falls off from bones. Very tender and yummy! After eating all meats and vegetables, we will have soup for a lunch. You need to remove the fat on the top before warming up.

  • Heat a large pan.
  • Place chicken (thighs, drumsticks etc) skin side down in the pan.
  • Peel and cut vegetables into chunks (carrots, potatoes, swedes, onions, mushrooms), and add them on top of the meat.
  • Cook them on a gentle heat for about three hours. Add any wine you have got into the pot. (1-2 TBS)
  • Season and enjoy.
Midori's very simple casserole
Vase inspired by volcano
I made this vase in 2010. I had kept them unglazed for a long time. When I got it glazed, I didn't like the way the glaze behaved, so I got it fired two more times. Finally it became something I expected. The lines on the pot are atrractive and dynamic. I imagine flowers look great in this vase. I can't wait to pick some flowers from the garden in spring!
Volcano vase
Here is Mike's new cup. It is lovely! We really like this combination of glazes. There are more of his cups coming up later. He did some experiment on one of them. We hope it will come out pretty!

Mike's beautiful cup

This little white bowl is our glaze sample. It looks like icing sugar! This glaze usually crackles on any clay containing frits. We used to use German smooth white stoneware with this glaze. It was a perfect match. But the price for Greman clay quadrupled; I had to source another clay locally. So I bought specially this smooth clay to try last summer. It takes us a bit of practise to throw this clay well, but we will get there. I intend to make a rabbit mug, and use this white glaze for it. Watch this space!

Glaze Sample

Mike is making a cake for our parrots and our polenta muffins, right now. The casserole is on the hob. I can smell it. I am getting hungry. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday 7 February 2012

More snow and Mike's baking

Snow on Japanese acer buds

 We had about 15cm snow.

Topaz sprained her right front foot (lifted)
Mike's baking - Fruit bread and walnut cookies
My favourite! Close-up of Walnut cookies.

Carrot cake without carrots (substituted by apples and raisins)