Friday, October 29, 2010

Beer & Sun Chips Day...

I am having one of those days where I feel a little in limbo. A bit without direction and full of frustration...


Inspired, yet not...
Chill of Autumn has set in...
Should make up some chili for quick meals...

Warm socks not quite enough to keep the feet warm from working on a concrete floor in the basement...


Time for more substantial shoes...

Also feeling frustration for not finding the time to blog more...


But enjoyment from scratching out some new textures...

Finding satisfaction in the not so polished textures...

Maybe so for not so polished surfaces - which reminds me: why am I so drawn to other ceramic artists work that is finished with oil paints. Why have I never even opened or smelled them... I want to come across someone's unused, discarded remnants of oil paints to use them. Something just feels right about that rather than something sparkling & new...
Will trade beads for oil paints...
Just throwing that into the electronic wind...

-- Pictures Taken With & Posted From My iPhone

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thanks For Visiting, Here Is A Treat For You...

Thank you for stopping by and hanging out for a bit during this 2nd Annual Fall Beads-of-Clay Bloggers Open Studio Event. Please leave any comments about how to improve this for next year and we'll see if we can work the suggestions into our layout.

I would like to share with you some of our annual fall traditions…

I have a friend Natalie that has a small farm down the road from us. For the last three years we have gone there to get our pumpkins for Halloween along with some small gourds & pumpkins, corn stalks, mums, and veggies…

Here are some pics of our trip last weekend:

Riley's first glimpse at the pumpkins in the field… Think he likes it?
Riley teething on the pumpkin stem & Chloe wondering if she needs to tell him not to do that.. you know - like all big sisters should...




Hanging out with friends is fun - especially with Lincoln the dog!
The family picture in the pumpkin field...
Chloe pretending to drive the gator. Riley - hold on buddy!
Chloe and Natalie (my favorite picture!)
Watch out Dad… Riley is going to get that old tractor into gear!
Chloe lined up the gourds when we got home… She likes organization too! Notice I used this as my banner???


And now for the Sweet Treat:
A dessert recipe that Dave's Grandmom used to make and now he and Chloe enjoy making it. I help out with beating the egg whites to a peak...
Grandmom Zambino was an amazing Italian Grandmom…
And she always had her eyes out for dessert recipes to try out (a woman after my own heart) so this probably appeared on the back of a box somewhere…



Graham Cracker Pie (makes 4 pies - Hey, we're Italian… gotta feed everyone!)

Pie Crust:
4 cups of crushed graham cracker (comes in a box now)
4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp cornstarch
2 cups butter softened
4 tsp brown sugar (white sugar can be used as well)

Bottom of Pie Filling:
8 tbs corn starch
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
8 cups of scalded milk (do not burn)
12 egg yolks beaten
4 tsp vanilla extract

Top of Pie Filling (meringue):
12 egg whites
1 cup white sugar

Directions:
1. Make pie crust first: mix ingredients in a large bowl, then press into pie plates. Make sure to leave some extra for putting on top of the pie (see picture below - we like a lot of extra for on top ;)
2. Bottom of Pie FillingMix thoroughtly the corn starch, sugar and salt.  Slowly add to hot milk stirring contantly until mixture thickens (Best to use a double boiler - or pots rigged up as a double boiler since it will be 4 pies worth).  When you think it is thick enough, blend a little (approx 1/2 c ) of this mixture with the egg yolks.  Mix and put back in pan, stir & cool until eggs get set (about 2 minutes). Add vanilla and pour into cracker crust. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
3. Meringue (Top of Pie Filling): Make meringue from the egg whites. Beat egg whites (make sure there is no yellow yolk or else it will not beat up.  Beat til stiff and slowly add the sugar. Layer this on top of pie filling already in pan, then sprinkle with extra pie crust crumbles. Then place back in oven for about 5 mins or until you can see it browning around the edges.





…When done promptly call all of your siblings, friends, neighbors or extended family and tell them that you made four three Graham Cracker Pies and whoever gets there first gets to have some…

THANK YOU so very much for stopping by this Beads of Clay Bloggers Open Studio Event and for making such great comments.

Without a community like this to be a part of, something would seem like it was missing in life… (for me I know this to be true - I treasure the friends I've made here online!)
I hope that we continue to have interest in this event and maybe pick up doing it maybe again in the spring and then next fall…

We may also throw around the idea to have a stagnant listing of inlinkz for those members of BOC that can't be here live and another for those of us that can.
Life is crazy, things come up - And don't we all know it!

Please remember to stop by the BOC blog and make your comment on the main blog post for a chance at winning more beads - until midnight tonight…

Also, support the artists by purchasing items from their Etsy shops and by telling your friends and family about Beads-of-Clay

My 30% off sale is going on until Midnight on Monday, October 25…
MarshaNealStudio.com

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF MY WORK!!!
I will be uploading more work to my Etsy shop tonight after the kids go to bed and tomorrow during the day… So check back often!



Second Giveaway Blog Post For The BOC Open Studio

Ok, here it is… 
You have 15 minutes to make a comment on this blog post to get a chance at winning this pendant:
Cutout Flower Pendant in Torched Copper Glaze

Good Luck!!!
I'll announce the winner when the 15 minutes are up.
Make sure I can get to your email address so I can email you for your shipping address…

Thanks!
Oh, and don't forget to comment on the main Beads-of-Clay Blog for a chance at winning a group of donated beads… That ends at Midnight tonight...

Welcome Into My Studio - The Actual Studio Space

Welcome to the Beads-of-Clay Bloggers Open Studio Post where we get to welcome you into our actual physical studios…

The Actual clay working area (wet work, glazing, cleaning, decal pieces - you name it…)

The "New" Business Area...
As I mentioned previously, my studio is undergoing some major transformations in the way that it needs to find maximum flow for creativity to happen.
Starting to organize better for Etsy items...
Studio shelving - lots of tools and texture plates (and who knows what else?!)
Line Curls Texture Plate (large scale - older plate from my tile making days)
Porcelain Tube Beads with new glazes applied. Decals are wanting to go on these!
Chloe checking out my computer while I'm trying to write these blog posts...
Thanks for stopping by my studio…
More in a bit (another giveaway and recipe coming up).

Also, don't forget to make a comment on the main Beads of Clay Blog to get a chance at winning that group of beads. Lots of artist blogs to check out too...

First Giveaway Blog Post For The BOC Open Studio

Ok, here it is… 
You have 15 minutes to make a comment on this blog post to get a chance at winning this pendant:
Marsha Neal Studio Daisy Drawing on Large Rectangle Porcelain Pendant in Blue Glaze

Good Luck!!!
I'll announce the winner when the 15 minutes are up.
Make sure I can get to your email address so I can email you for your shipping address…

Thanks!

Welcome Into My Studio - I'm Marsha

This first post is an introduction to the artist and the artist work, later I will walk you through my studio, then share in some of our fall traditions and a yummy dessert recipe.

Here are some pictures of me…
The artist...

I've been trying to keep up with a blog post on Fridays inspired by Nina Bagley at Ornamental & Andrew Thornton's "Self Portrait Fridays" in order to try to refocus on the person that I have become in the last 5 years or so.

I have gone through a lot of major life changes in the last 5 to 10 years…
Went from College & working full time to just working and dabbling with clay to running my own bead business and traveling a lot for shows (talk about burning oneself out…).
Then Moved into our current house, & I stopped traveling so much (thanks to Darlene picking up shows), had a couple of kids, lost my mom to Leukemia right in the middle of it all. 

Now my focus in life has become my family.
Making beads has become something I do when I can find the time when they are at school.

I have also renewed my love of gardening in the last couple of years…
Heck, I even have a Blog dedicated to my garden and nature inspirations:
I have always loved nature and find inspirations in the patterns, colors and textures you can find there - and now have a great tool to help me capture it all (love my iPhone and the photo apps it has).

Right now my life and my studio are under major transformations…
I am struggling with priorities (who isn't right?).
The studio is being organized to find its potential flow and get through all the tons of "that would be a fun project to work on" piles down there.

I think my clay work will start to evolve once I can have space and time to experiment again. 
And to get my life in order. 
There is so much to experience in life and I think I am ready to slow down a bit and get off of the crazy full speed ahead without any direction train…

I am thinking about more gardening related education - a "master gardner" perhaps - school starts in the spring. Maybe landscape design? Maybe just go pick up a job at the local garden center (avoid saying "will work for plants" at the interview… must remember that!)

Come along with me on this journey and "follow my blog" by clicking on the side bar up to the right.
Check out my garden blog too - maybe some of the images can inspire you as well…

See you in a bit for the first giveaway!
Oh, and don't forget to shop my website and Etsy shops and use code "OpenStudio30" for the 30% discount (I will email you an updated invoice before charging you - see yesterday's post for more details).
Thanks for stopping by!

BOC Open Studio Event - Preview

Welcome to the Preview for the Marsha Neal Studio Open Studio Blog Post.
Happening 10/24/10 from 2-5pm EST
These two pendants will be giveaways at 2:45pm and 4pm EST (one piece per giveaway) for commenters on those posts.
Right now through midnight Monday (10/25) you can visit my Etsy shop or my main Marsha Neal Studio website and use the code "OpenStudio30" and I'll send you an updated invoice with the 30% off your retail order.
If you want details about my sale, please see yesterday's post by scrolling down or just click HERE.
I've got to admit - these spiraling trees are some of my favorite designs…
And now that I have the green and blue glazes working with the decals - I'm having a blast creating pieces. And have more in the works (a red/pink color is currently being tested).
There are a bunch of these in my Etsy shop in various sizes and shapes...
Spiraling Tree Drawing Design on Blue, White and Green Glazed Porcelain Rectangles

We will welcome you into the studio at 2pm…

And share some of our fall traditions with you...

As well as share one of our favorite family fun dessert recipes with you… David's Grandmom's Graham Cracker Pie (recipe makes 4 pies!)

So make sure to stop back at 2pm EST to visit with us and all the other participating artists on the Beads-of-Clay Blog to share in this fun Bloggers Open Studio Event!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sale Details and Self Portrait

Tomorrow is the Beads-of-Clay Blog Open Studio from 2-5pm EST.
There will be giveaways during the event but you can start shopping now and get 30% off of items in my Marsha Neal Studio Etsy Shop and my Marsha Neal Studio Website (see below for details)

I have been working for the last couple weeks making new pieces for orders, restock for D7 Studio, and my Etsy shop. 
New items for my Etsy Shop
All day yesterday I worked on trying to take pictures (very frustrating still - I can't seem to get the lighting situation fixed - grumble, grumble…) and ended up taking a bunch of quick pictures with my iPhone. I have spent this morning cropping and now have to upload a bunch of things to my Etsy shop for tomorrow's event.

Dave has been away teaching for a few days and is now back - so I hope to work on stuff most of today, but it really depends on the kids. I don't want to spend all day here on the computer and miss out on doing things with them.

Like last night, I had the Chloe & Riley to myself. My sister called and wanted to hang out. She picked up our 8 year old niece on her way here and then saw my sister-in-law and borrowed her 4 year old daughter (her brothers were all going to be playing baseball in the almost freezing cold) and we all headed up to Longwood Gardens for their Friday night October Smell & Taste Halloween event...
Longwood Gardens Conservatory water garden area...
I LOVE my family garden pass from Dave and the kids for Mother's Day! I love being able to grab some of the other kids (under 4 years old are free) and head up there… My sister took the three girls (after drying them off from the kids indoor water garden) to a second round of "smell" and taste events (halloween candy - YUM!) and I gave Riley his nighttime bottle then took a moment for myself (oops, missed my Friday self portrait post). I love it up there… it's magical!


Ok - so for the Beads-of-Clay Bloggers Open Studio Event I am offering 30% off of all purchases from today (10/23/10) until midnight Monday (10/25/10) on my Marsha Neal Studio Etsy shop and my Marsha Neal Studio Website Shopping cart for this special Open Studio Event.

HERE IS HOW TO GET THE 30% OFF either of my shops:
1. Put Code: "OpenStudio30" into the message.

2. For the Marsha Neal Etsy Shop, select "OTHER" as type of payment, and I will adjust your item prices and will send you an updated invoice through paypal by 10/26/10. If you send me a payment through paypal before I adjust it, you will have to be responsible for the fees that they charge for refunding monies if any. Please select "other" to make it easier for us all ;)

3. For the Marsha Neal Studio Website, go ahead and enter your cc info. I have to manually enter it all anyway, so I will recalculate your invoice before charging your cc (or send you an invoice via paypal - whatever you prefer).

If you are buying multiple items from both shops at different times as I list new things, make sure that your email address and shipping address are the same so I can look at the orders and know to combine them and adjust the prices and shipping so everything can ship together.

Shipping will all be sent out via USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate $5 boxes. So no matter how many pieces you buy, they should all fit into one of these boxes, so I'll adjust your shipping to $5 total. So shop away, as often as you want until midnight Monday...

**If you happen to purchase any of my porcelain pendants at retail cost through a bead shop, online bead store, D7 Studio bead show table OR even an artist that has made a piece of jewelry with one of my pieces in that particular piece, and you have a copy of the receipt (must indicate Marsha Neal Studio pendant with the dates 10/23/10 to 10/25/10 and price paid), I will calculate 30% of what you spent and will give you that much towards your Marsha Neal Studio website or Etsy shop purchase to be used by 10/31/10. This offer has "no cash value" meaning I will not be giving you money back, but you can get more items. Email me if you are confused or have any questions.