Saturday, July 24, 2021

First Covid. Now a Flood.


I haven’t written for two weeks because I’ve been in shock. What do you say when you wake up one morning and your entire kitchen is flooded? Other than unprintable expletives? 

After throwing every towel into the lake and turning off our water, we called the plumbing company. The very same plumbing company who had installed a new water valve just a few months ago. It was 7:30 in the morning but unfortunately, we were told they couldn’t make it out until 4pm. We spent the rest of the day continually mopping up the floor, emptying the bucket under the sink and trying to function with the water turned off. 

The problem: a failed water valve. Yup. The newly installed, new fangled water valve failed. The plumber installed another new one, at no charge this time. But we were left to deal with the flood. Call  the plumbing company, our home insurance company and wait. 

A great room that’s now not great. 

Our house is a great room concept. So it’s essentially one big room with the wide plank flooring. The flooring runs through almost our entire downstairs: laundry, kitchen, dining and living rooms. 

So does the flood damage. The water damage from the failed valve went under the floorboards from the kitchen sink at one end of the room to the living room on the other. Because it’s a plank laminate floor, the entire floor has to be ripped up and replaced.

Oh, that’s not all. Black spots appeared on the drywall under the sink. The drywall behind the cabinets on either side of the sink is also damaged. That means ripping out the countertops, tile and bottoms cabinets which is most of my kitchen. They are hoping the island is not involved but they don’t know at this point.

All of this is, of course, going to affect everything: baseboards, walls, paint. Yeah.  

No words.

After the evaluation, I was speechless. My husband and I helped design and choose everything in this house. It’s not just a house, but a loving home to our children and now grandchildren. 

And now we are left with mold and extensive water damage. The kitchen sink area is so bad, I have to hold my breath to use the trash can or sink, so I’ve moved things to the utility room. 

In addition, we’ve been left with the task of finding a licensed, honest contractor to do the restoration and rebuilding work. With the high demand on home remodeling, we are having a hard time getting even email responses. 

In the mean time, the water damage is festering and the floor buckling is spreading everyday. 

A good note?

I always try to leave my blog on a good note. Spread joy, creativity, hope or healing. I’m sorry to say, I just don’t have much right now except sleepless nights and high anxiety. But still I’ll try. 

I’m grateful I have enough work for an upcoming show in August. (I can’t get work done now)

I’m grateful for friend and family support and everyone fully vaccinated. 

I’m grateful for a good sign: seeing a mama deer and fawns trot by me on my daily walk.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Firing it up


Is it crazy to load and fire the kiln at 2,199 degrees in the summertime? Maybe. But when I have a deadline to meet, I fire whether it’s hot outside or not. And the last few weeks have been the hottest we’ve seen this summer with temperatures as high as 112-117 degrees. 

Working with porcelain in the summer is always a risk, especially when it’s both hot and dry. If the clay dries too fast, it will crack. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s usually the opposite problem, having the clay take too long to dry. It’s always a balancing act. 

Hot and happy. 

I love to work with clay anytime of the year. Especially when I have a new idea that sparks a whole new group of work. A few months ago, I made a dozen or so little plates. I really didn’t know what to do with them or why I was making them, but it was fun. And I needed some fun after this difficult covid year. 

Even in the heat, the little plates are fun to make. Add to that I was making them for a new cooperative project with a local artisan company, Plein Devie, online at They make crystal self care products. Beautiful crystal soaps, bath bombs, and fragrances. I was asked to make turquoise Celtic spiral plates for a new crystal soap. 

So firing up the kiln twice in two weeks had to be done. Yes, it was the hottest 2 weeks this year, but it was worth it. 

Lavender and bergamot, oh my. 

I grow lavender in my garden and every year, I harvest bunches and make them into sachets for my home. Another of my favorite scents is bergamot, which you might know is in Earl Grey tea. These two scents are just heavenly and relaxing all on their own. 

But the idea of mixing them into a soap? And putting in a beautiful Aventurine crystal? And wrapping them up on one of my turquoise Celtic spiral plates? Inspired.  

I’ve been so excited working on this project and couldn’t wait to smell the wonderful soap and see it paired with my little plates. 

 Plein Devie and Me. 

All the sweating paid off, none of the plates cracked or bubbled or stuck to the kiln shelf. They all came out beautiful. And the soap created by Ashley Dow, PDV owner, was just as beautiful. 

The soap scent is a relaxing mix of summertime sweetness and comforting spice.  And the layers of turquoise and lavender surrounding an aventurine crystal look so lovely on the celtic spiral plates. 

After you enjoy the luscious, scented soap, you have a porcelain plate perfect for a candle, earrings, or even a sweet treat. 

This week, I didn’t just fire the kiln, I got fired up with new ideas.