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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ney Years Cheers

Happy New year to you and yours.

To Life

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Gift

I recall the story of a potter who talked about the gift of a potters rib she received for Christmas every year.  Where she appreciated the gesture it was just not the type of tool she used and it was a little sad a frustrating.  I suppose if she stored them up for a few years she could make a nice donation to a school or something.

Thankfully, I didn't have that issue this year.  One of my gifts was a pair of beautiful ribs made by Troy Bungart.  All his ribs are hand crafted out of beautiful woods.  He's also a potter so one would think he really considers how the ribs will be used.  I already have a couple of his tools and I really love them.  They are formed and finished beautifully plus it's nice to have ribs that are not in mass produced shapes.  Don't get me wrong, I love my Mudtools ribs a lot.  It's just nice to have the more unique forms.

Pottery Ribs by Troy Bungart

As much as I wanted to sneak away to the studio and play with them yesterday, I resisted the urge.  It was a holiday after all.  Now I'll get my chance.  The large rib is about 7" at it's largest, I can see using this for platters and serving bowls, and I'm already envisioning other forms to create.  What would you make?


I hope your Christmas was warm and happy and full of love.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, December 23, 2013

Meatless Monday - Peanut Soup

This cold December weather calls for something hearty and warming.  You feel like you want to be filled up and comfortable so you can snuggle up with a good book and a good dog in front of the fire. At least I do.  I've also had the misfortune of contracting the flu, I'm feeling much better now but I still don't want to eat anything that is full of dairy products even though my body is also craving that creamy goodness.  What I've created here is a soup that is warming, full of healthy veggies, is vegan (no animal products at all), and gluten free.  It's also delicious and very easy to prepare which is nice when you're still feeling a little under the weather or handing off the cooking to someone who doesn't normally cook.  This is some pretty nice comfort food.

The veggies are all going to be chopped finely so using a food processor can be a huge time saver.  You don't have to peel the potatoes, just scrub them really well.  So many of the vitamins and mineral are in that skin it would be a shame to loose them to the compost bin.  Also, using a baking potato will give you a creamer soup since they break down more than other potatoes but if you don't have a baking potato, any potato will do.

Peanutbutter Soup by Future Relics Pottery
Peanut Soup
Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbls oil (peanut or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder (more or less to taste)
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 - 5 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 baking potato, scrubbed and finely chopped
  • 1 small - medium sweet potato, scrubbed and finely chopped
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth or stock
  • 6 Tbls crunchy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup sweet corn
  • salt and pepper
  • roasted peanuts for garnish (lightly salted or unsalted are best for this)

Directions:

Heat your stock pan, add the oil to coat the pan.  Add the onion and garlic and cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes until the onions start becoming soft and translucent.  Add the chili powder and cook for another minute.

Add the peppers, carrots, and potatoes.  Cook for 4 minutes stirring occationally.

Pour in the vegetable broth then stir in the peanut butter and sweet corn.  Stir well until everything looks well combined.

Bring to a boil then turn back to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, laddle into bowls, garnish with peanuts and serve.

This recipe makes about 6 servings.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, December 16, 2013

Meatless Monday - French Onion Soup

Winter is soup season.  I honestly can eat soups all year long but in winter a nice bowl of hot soup just sounds really appealing.  French onion is one of my favorite soups but it's usually made with beef broth which doesn't work for a vegetarian diet.  So I developed my own version which is just as delicious but is animal friendly and has a little less fat than traditional French onion soup.

Before serving this soup you have to put the bowls under the broiler for a few minutes.  This may be a concern for people using handmade pottery bowls but the solution is simple.  I warm the bowls up by letting them sit on top of the oven, near the cooking soup on a cookie sheet.  This way they are not cold going into the broiler but not too hot to bring to the table.  They will keep the soup warmer longer this way.  I've been doing this with a set of soup bowls I made when I was 17 years old.  They have been around quite a few years.

French Onion Soup by Future Relics Pottery
Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
5 large onions (about 3 lb.), halved and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cubes Not Beef Bouillon
4 cups water
2 cups apple juice
⅓ cup brandy
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
6 ½-inch slices crusty bread, toasted
⅔ cup shredded Jarlsberg or Gruy√®re cheese (Jarlsberg Lite is fine)

Directions:


1. Heat butter and oil in heavy, large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic and salt, and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat to very low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 50 to 90 minutes, until onions are very tender and brown.

 2. Stir in flour, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Blend in bouillon, water, brandy, apple juice, and mustard. Cover, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in sherry vinegar.

 3. Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into six warmed bowls. Top each with slice of toast and grated cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly and golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve hot.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Friday, December 13, 2013

Love From Highwater Clay

Do you open your clay box upside down?  I do.  It's easier to get the bags out because Highwater folds the top part of the bag underneath the clay.  I assume this is to make sure the bag stays shut tight and the clay stays moist.

Today I found a message stamped into the flap of the box.  I never would have seen it if I had not opened the box at the bottom.  It felt like I found an Easter egg.

Special Message

I'm not certain but I think it says "Packed with love by T. Crittenden and crew."  I looked at a few other boxes that I have open, none have this or a similar stamp.

Thanks T. Crittenden and crew, returning the love.


Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Thursday, December 12, 2013

No Rest For The Potter

This is the time of year when many potters are so busy selling they don't have much time to actually make work.  Some of us are fortunate enough to be selling and making.  I have some orders to fill so I am one of those fortunate ones.  I'm actually really glad to be busy and to have the orders which will most likely be delivered after the holiday rush.  Thankfully the customer is very understanding about the life of a potter.

Ceramic plates by Future Relics Pottery
Freshly Thrown Plates


I've also just realized that I have a big festival to do in Atlanta the same weekend that Firedworks starts in Macon.  I'm thinking about the logistics now (nothing like planing 4 months in advance) but I'm really pretty sure I can pull it off provided that I keep making a decent amount of pots between then and now.  I can see 2014 on the horizon and it looks like a fun year already.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Supporting the Community

"This was my fifth grade classroom." announced a man as he looked around the room that had been transformed into a micro-gallery for the Annual Decatur Holiday Marketplace.  Yes, it's a show that draws people back.  It's a show where people get it and make it a community event.

It starts with the volunteers who are often the parents of kids that attend the school.  They do a lot of the heavy lifting, literally.   They clear the classrooms of furniture and make them ready for the artists then they help the artists bring art, craft, displays, and all our accouterments into the rooms so we can make them look like beautiful art spaces.  Parents do this in other schools all over the country because this is a a fund raiser for their child's school.  They get it.

Ceramic Nesting Batter Bowls by Lori Buff
Nesting Mixing Bowl Set
Then the people come to shop.  They are those same volunteers, they are students and former students, they are people from the neighborhood, they are people from all over.  They buy.  They buy gifts for friends and family, they buy gifts for them selves, they buy things they need and things they want.  They support the artists which supports the school.

These people all understand, on some level, that if they support us, we support the school which supports the children which makes a great community.  I cannot express my thanks enough.  When you shop at an event like this, whether you are buying a piece of pottery, a bar of handcrafted soap, or an artistic photograph, you are helping make your world a little bit better.  THANK YOU!!!

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Friday, December 6, 2013

Decatur Holiday Marketplace This Weekend

This weekend is the 22nd Annual Decatur Holiday Marketplace and Cafe at the Clairemont Elementary School in Decatur, GA.  The school is located at 155 Erie Ave, you can click here for a map.  With about 100 different artists plus a cafe and a tour of homes, this is a really great show, one you won't want to miss.  It's also inside the school, so it's heated, dry, well lit, and comfortable.  It's a great opportunity to do some gift shopping without the maul of the malls.


While your there enjoying the art you should also stop by the cafe.  They transform the school cafeteria into a place of delicious homemade soups and desserts and entertain you with local musicians.  You would not think a school cafeteria could serve such delicious food but they do and everyone love it.  You might want to think about stopping in for lunch or dinner.

I'll be there so stop by and visit for a bit.

Show dates and times:

Friday Dec 6th 5:30pm - 9:30pm
Saturday Dec 7th 10am - 8:00pm


View Larger Map

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Have Mug, Will Travel

The travel mugs have been glazed and fired and taken for a few test drives.  Now they are ready to go to their new homes.  They hold a full 12 ounces of coffee, or tea, or whatever your favorite beverage is.  It comes right up to the splash guard which is perfect.  The are light enough to be carried comfortably but heavy enough that they don't tip over in a loose cup holder like the one in my truck.  We also tested them out in a car with a nice deep cup holder and the handles are high enough to stay out of the cup holder.

Ceramic Travel Mugs by Future Relics
Travel Mugs

They are made with the driver in mind so the handle and splash guard is oriented so you can pick it up with your right hand and drink directly. However, since their is also an opening on the opposite side of the splash guard people who prefer to hold a mug with their left hand will still be able to use the mug.  I tend to be ambidextrous when it comes to using a mug and this is a feature I really like.  I have a handled, lidded travel mug that I can only use with one hand unless I continually turn the lid around.  It annoys me so it's rarely used.  I do think I will make some that are oriented for the passenger, which may also be appealing to left handed folks.

Which hand do you use to hold a mug?

This is the last entry for the Mudcolony blog.  It's moved over to Facebook so check them out there after this week.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Strength in Numbers - Lessons Learned

The studio sale was rather successful.  Not only was it a lot of fun for me and hopefully all or most of the visitors but it was fairly profitable.  Of course I didn't have to pay a fee to enter this event so that saved me some money but I did have to do a good bit of the advertising myself.  I advertised on my Facebook page and my Twitter feed, and The Buzz, I sent a press release to the local newspaper and the East Atlanta Patch.  I cleaned up the signs that some politicians left littering vacant lots near by, repainted them and made them into advertising posters and I brought fliers around to many of the businesses in the village.

It seems though, that the best advertising was the brain child of another East Atlanta Business.  We have a local deli and specialty grocery store in East Atlanta named Urban Cannibals, the owners wanted to take advantage of Small Business Saturday but didn't like that Amex (who is very instrumental in orchestrating this initiative) is now only giving registered card holders $10 back when last year they gave $25, and many small businesses can't afford to accept American Express cards because the fee is higher.  So they started an initiative within East Atlanta Village that for Small Business Saturday participating businesses would give a 15% discount to anyone who had a receipt from another participating small business from the village.  So if someone had lunch at Urban Cannibals they could take that receipt to Bound to Be Read Book Store and get a discount.  People seemed to love this idea and it really did help my sales.  It seems like it was good for the businesses in East Atlanta Village also.


Other nice factors are that, similar to an art festival, multiple businesses advertising helped build up interest for other area businesses.  And keeping the money in the local businesses keeps the neighborhood vibrant and makes it a place we want to live, work, and play.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale

Today is Cyber Monday the day where we all sit home and shop in our PJ's or go to work and shop online on our breaks or while the boss isn't watching.  In celebration of cyber Monday, I'll be offering a 10% discount on all purchases made through my Etsy shop.  You'll need to enter the coupon code POTTERY when you're checking out to receive the discount.

Thanks for visiting, I'll post a new Meatless Monday recipe next week.
Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blogging Friends Visit The Pottery Sale

Yesterday, right after I got everything set up and ready for customers Terry Kearns who writes the fantastic blog Architecture Tourist.  I showed him my pottery and was showing him around the studio and talking about working with clay while he (like a good blogger) was asking a lot of questions and taking a lot of pictures.  Then someone else showed up.  I excused myself and stepped outside.  The new visitor pulled out her camera and started shooting.  I looked over my shoulder and said to Terry "This person must be related to you."  He never looked up from his camera.

As I approached the new visitors the faces looked familiar, "Hi Lori, do you recognize me?  It's Linda."  And so it was, Linda Starr of Blue Starr Gallery Blog and her husband Gary.  Linda writes another blog that I read regularly so I was thrilled to meet them in person.  She also reads Terry's blog so we visited and chatted about blogging until Terry had to leave then we visited and talked about pottery and the house that the Starrs are trying to buy.  It was so much fun visiting with them.

Blog Writers Linda Starr and Terry Kearns visit Future Relics Gallery
Bloggers Linda Starr, Terry Kearns, Lori Buff

In the world of blogging I've found a few blogs that I read regularly and the writers and I share comments almost everyday.  We've formed a little community and I feel like I know these people, I am happy for their successes and sad when they have sorrow but I don't often get the chance to meet them face to face and chat.  It was so nice to be able to do that yesterday.

The open pottery studio and sale is still going on today, I am excited to see who comes by for a visit.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff