Thursday, January 31, 2013

Shoutout to Lakeside Quilts of Maine

In a society dominated by big name box stores, it is quite refreshing to network, interact, and shop from small businesses.  Especially when they are local!  For the next 10 days, I will be talking about 10 small businesses that I have the pleasure of having made their acquaintance.  Networking is everything, as is reaching out a helping hand to your peers and neighbors.

Lakeside Quilts of Maine

I LOVE this bag of hers that can be found in her Facebook album.  It is a BEAUTIFUL black and green floral motif bag with lots of pockets!  Quite handy for us working mothers!!

This flour sack cover is a PERFECT Valentine's gift as well!  I LOVE it!  Click HERE

Lakeside Quilts of Maine is run by Brenda from her home in Naples, Maine.  You can find their items on Facebook , MaineMade and Etsy.

This is from Brenda's Etsy profile: 
I make many one of a kind gifts that are perfect for birthdays, bridal showers, baby showers, hostess gifts or weddings, any occasion. If you like it, better buy it, I only make one at a time!
I also offer custom Embroidery, contact me with your ideas and we will work to make it happen.
My prices are very affordable but please know I don't skimp on quality.
I love to create and sew, I never know what I am going to make next so visit often! Write me if you don't see what your looking for, I just might have it.
I love anything fiber, buttons, and Threads!!
I also enjoy making my own pizzas, breads and jams. I have re-kindled my love of home canning. My way to control the quality of what my family eats, plus every jar I fill keeps a can out of the landfill.
I don't mass produce, I am one person doing what I enjoy. Everything is made in my SMOKE FREE home. I put a lot of creative heart into each item I create.

Member of the Etsy Maineteam and registered with Made in Maine products "Maine Made" is recognized worldwide as a term for quality and integrity.
Thank you for supporting handmade"

Find the Etsy Maine Team Blog by clicking HERE.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Finding Home

So this post is going to be more of a brief history up to present about my disabilities and how pottery has helped me...and our search for a "home" to call our own.

Easter of last year, I had a significant decline in my health.  I had what the ER docs called "transient blindness".  My vision was next to nothing for about 48 hours and then it gradually started coming back to normal.  Took about a week.  But during that time, my legs also started to feel extremely weak.  I had several falls because my legs just gave out.  LOTS of bruises later, the VA docs gave me what are called "Canadian crutches"...the ones with the elbow brace.  For a couple of weeks, I had to use two crutches to get around.  The nerve pain came and went as it pleased.  Some days were/are better than others.  But due to the leg pain, it made walking even worse.  So the VA gave me a wheelchair.  I just recently acquired a new wheelchair from the VA that was custom made for me.  It has all terrain tires so I can get around better.  But I digress... 

Before my legs started "acting up", my fiance and I lived in a second floor apartment.  Needless to say when I started using the crutches and the pain/weakness became more constant, I could no longer do the stairs.  During this time, my parents offered to let us live in their cabin about 3.5 hours north of where we were currently living.  It's a single story ranch style log cabin.  MUCH more ADA friendly.  So last summer, we moved up here.  I was able to get my pottery studio established and have really been able to grow my Etsy store.  It's been GREAT for that.  But unfortunately, there are a lot of other experiences we could have done without.  It's been hard on my fiance being so far away from family and people who can help him/us.  He is also my caretaker and takes his "job" very seriously and worries about me a lot.  The cost it has taken to heat the house this winter has really set us back and forced us to rearrange our finances.  He's not happy here, and it breaks my heart.  :(  We are also 9 hours away from my punkerhead (my son lives with his father due to my health issues..) who lives in Massachusetts.  Needless to say, we are looking to move as soon as we can make it happen.  We are looking for OUR home.  But we are limited.  The home has to have a first floor bedroom because I can't do stairs, my fiance wants LOTS of land, and it would be HIGHLY beneficial if the garage was attached so there was a place to set up my pottery studio.  Now that I have my business up and running we can't afford for me not to have somewhere to do pottery. 

It's a daily struggle, and one that we will find answers to when the time is right. 

Thank you for letting me "vent".  :)  More pottery related posts to follow soon!  I have been WICKED busy in the studio and trying lots of new stuff.  Can't wait to show everyone and get it listed on Etsy!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Productive Day!!

 Today I came to the realization that my sleep schedule is finally getting back on track!  I'm going to sleep earlier...but I'm not sleeping the day away which makes me a happy camper!  I woke up at 8 this morning, enjoyed a couple cups of coffee in my mug that Mark  Campbell made for me.  I LOVE being able to look at my baby boy's smiling face every morning, and every time I drink something hot.  This is my GO TO mug, for sure!!

Once I woke up, I got to "work" and started rearranging my Etsy shop.  It needed some early spring cleaning!  Now the sections make much more sense and items can be more easily found.  Added some new items that I am quite proud of.  (You should check it

And to end the day on a bright note..I threw 3 of the most beautiful bowls!!!  I can honestly say that they are the BEST I have ever made!!  I had intended on making a couple of soup bowls for a non-profit event, Empty Bowls.  But I soon realized that with 2 pounds of clay...the bowls turned out to be a little larger than a soup bowl.  More like a really large salad bowl, or a small serving bowl.  Regardless, I'm pretty proud of them!!  I'm slightly disappointed that I can only sit at my wheel for 20-30 minutes at a time before I need to take a break for at least an hour (due to my disabilities).  But, as I hone my skills, I am able to produce more pieces that are better quality in that time frame. 
Trimming a bowl

 I've had to redefine my definition of "productive".  I want to continue to make with my hands, and pump out as many of the ideas I have running around in my mind.  But I know that my body will retaliate and I will not be able to create on the wheel for days.  A slow and steady pace is one that I need to learn to embrace more than what I do.

At any rate!!  Today has been a good, productive, and a-ok day.  Even health's been ok.  Not great..but not bad either.  :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fighting Through the Pain

Yesterday I went grocery shopping with my fiance and cousin and discovered what my limit is.  (ALWAYS looking for that silver lining...ha).  My legs started hurting after 30 minutes of walking, pushing the cart and using it as a "walker".  Took us a total of 45 minutes to finish everything.  Needless to say, I was a hurting unit.  Today wasn't a whole lot better.  But I had "work" to do. 

When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.  :)  My pottery and ceramics allows me to zone out and fight through the pain.  Today was just such a day.  I had a lot of pieces to glaze and forced myself to get it done.  Lots of little trinket plates with various stamped impressions, pendants, and several custom orders.  My cat plate was one of them...they are quite popular!  The display on the shelf changes with each plate, so each one will always be unique. 

Also in the kiln is a lighthouse light/nightlight.  First one I've made and really like how it turned out.  I'm hoping that the glaze job I did with my cousin turns out just as well and highlights the awesomeness of the piece!  hehe 

I have several more custom orders that I need to start working on.  I love custom orders, and made to order items, as they give me something to focus on.  Rather than the stabbing pain in my legs, I instead focus on the creative aspect of my pieces.  The detailed hand painting some of them require.  the hand-built pieces that require extra attention.  When I'm in the middle of the creative process, I zone out.  It can be a nice reprieve from the pain.  But the moment I come out of the zone, the pain is no longer blocked, and it comes back with a vengeance.  Tonight is such a night.  After my glazing marathon, and starting the glaze kiln; I am in my wheelchair.  Ah well.  So is life.  There are good days and bad days....and today is just "one of those days".

I know my posts are kind of all over the place right now.  Thank you for staying with me.  I'm trying to get my mind back into the habit of writing with fluidity.  I used to write quite fluidly without much thought; but now it's more difficult.  I lose my train of thought, have a hard time finding the right word, difficulty explaining certain things...just part of the package I guess.

Anyway...THANKS for all your support.  I love feedback and please leave me comments.  I'm open to corrective criticism.  It's the only way I'll get better!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Etsy Maine Team M.O.M

WOW!  I'm really glad I decided to take a break from playing with clay and was on the computer editing pictures!!  It was just announced that I was nominated to be Etsy Maine Team's Member of the Month!!  What a GREAT way to start the new year!!!  <3  THANK YOU to all my colleagues and friends who nominated me.  You all are just too much!!

Please check out the Maine Team blog HERE.

You can see my "About Me/Profile" section HERE

You can support the Etsy Maine Team on Facebook HERE.

I'm just...stunned...and truly honored!