Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! These days you can find me on Instagram @jessivangundy to get a peek at in progress pottery, cute pics of my pets, and check out my vegetable garden.

Friday, June 19, 2015

New Pets!

Hi again! Oh holy moly, it's been a long time since I've written anything here! Yes, I'm still alive. I'm still making pottery and gardening and all the stuff I do.

I do have a couple new things to share with you. And they're both pets!

This is Ramona!

And this is Oscar!

Ramona is an Australian Cattle Dog, also known as a Blue Heeler. She came to us last Autumn from a family member who couldn't keep her. When we got her, we took her to the vet and found out that she had heart worms. Eeek! Heart worms are scary to treat and both the worms and the treatment have the to potential to kill a dog. So for the first three months that we had her, she wasn't allowed to exercise at all. Like no walkies, no play time with Caleb, no fetch in the backyard, nothing. It was scary (for us) and painful (for her) and frustrating (for all of us).

But then she got better! She still has a couple little health problems that we're learning to manage, specifically food allergies and some arthritis. But she's so much happier now. She loves to play fetch in the backyard. She really loves this big red ball. As a cattle dog, she loves to herd things around (like people and other pets!) so the Jolly Ball is really great for her because she can "herd it" around the backyard.

Our newest pet, Oscar, came to us in the winter. One afternoon I was out playing fetch with the dogs when I heard a kitty crying in the bushes behind our house. And I found this little guy with an owie on his nose standing by some frozen rain water. Poor thing just broke my heart. Over the next few days I gave him fresh water and a little tuna to lure him out of the bushes long enough to take photos.

About a week later on an especially cold night, my husband was out with the dogs for a last potty break very late at night before bed. And the kitty was following him around, crying again. So we trapped him with a dog crate, some tuna, and a string and brought him inside and set him up in our least used bathroom. We didn't really know what we were going to do with this terrified little cat, but we just knew we couldn't leave him outside in the cold.

We thought about taking him to the shelter or setting up a feral cat house outside. But over the next couple weeks he slowly became comfortable with us. And we just fell in love with him. So we checked around to make sure he didn't have a family somewhere and then we decided to keep him.

When we took him to the vet, we learned that he was somewhere between 5 and 7 months old. He was completely healthy, other than a easy to treat parasite. And he was most likely feral. I think he probably got kicked out of his colony, as adolescent male cats often do, as was looking for a new home.

So those are our new pets! And we are so happy to have them with us!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Summer is in full swing here in Knoxville. The fireflies are out and all the plants are growing so fast! My garden is doing great, even though I got a late start on it. The tomatoes have tiny little flower buds sprouting on them and my potato plants are getting huge! We got our first CSA box of the year on Saturday. It was full of greens. Two heads of lettuce, collards, kale, and mustard greens. They also included radishes, turnips, garlic, and a tasty bunch of arugula flowers.

May was a bit of an intense month. It was one of those times where it seemed like everyone we know had something major going on in their lives. In addition Caleb, our dog, broke his toe and right after that we took an unexpected trip to New England to attend a funeral. Which was sad but also good to reconnect with family.

All of that made me feel emotionally spent so I've turned my focus in towards my home life for a bit. I've been spending a lot of time working on our garden and cooking. Matt and I are slowly working our way through Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food. It's been fantastic. Last night we dug out the pasta roller and made herb ravioli from scratch.

I've also been working on the shop a little. I have a custom order for a set of mugs that I'm about halfway through. Next step is to carve birds into them. I'm making extras for the shop, so they should be showing up in about a month or so.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Studio Tour

I spent most of yesterday cleaning in my studio, so I thought now is the perfect time to give you all a little tour!

My studio is a little sunroom under our porch. I think the previous owners used it for potting and feeding their cat. (Caleb found a few cat food pieces in one of the cupboards.)

It has windows on three sides so the light is fantastic in here. That little blue table is where I do all of my stenciling and sgraffito work. The rosemary on the counter is a seasonal occupant and soon it will be headed back outside for the summer. Along the wall to the right I have two big industrial shelving units.

This is where I keep most of my things. My shop inventory is on the top left. Below that are finished greenware pieces that I've left out to dry. Down from there is a lino cut that I have been working on sporadically. And below that are all the pieces to my light setup for taking photos of my work. The right self holds things that I made that are interesting but didn't quite work out, tools, clay, and on the bottom, plaster molds for slip casting and a bucket of slip.

Off in the corner, I have my wheel, a bucket for clay scraps to recycle, and a mop. Right now I'm using the matching chair to my little blue table but I need to get comfortable stool instead. The seat on that mosaic chair is tilted the wrong way and it's very much not ergonomic.

I keep pieces that I'm working on in these cupboards. I wrap them in plastic to slow the drying time. I also store underglazes, stencil, newspaper, sheets of plastic, and a few tools in the cupboards and drawers.

Pencils, brushes, and decorating tools live in cups, making it easy for me to grab the whole thing when I'm working.

I have a couple bulletin boards set up for sketches and printouts and random insprirational things. That gray thing is the top of my space heater. This room doesn't have heat and it can get really cold in the winter!

And over here by the backdoor is Caleb's favorite spot.

*In case you're wondering about kilns, I also rent space at a local pottery studio. So when I'm finished making and decorating my pottery, I load the pieces into boxes with lots of foam and packing peanuts to protect them and drive them over to Mighty Mud to be fired. It's also where I do my glazing.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Little Plates and Other New Things In The Shop

It's been a busy week for me! On Monday and Tuesday I repainted my living room. Wednesday through today (Friday) I'm been photographing and listing items for the shop and working on some new items. And I am pooped. It's 5:00 and I am ready to call it a day. So instead of trying to come up with something interesting to say, I'm just going to show you photos. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

I'm so flattered! chose me for their Best of 2013!

Craftster Best of 2013 Winner

I'm so flattered and excited!

They featured my yarn bowls and black and white lace animal mugs. How cool is that!

 Thanks, Craftster!!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I'm back!

I'm back from my annual holiday vacation from blogging! It seems that whether I plan to or not, I always take a break around the holidays. And then it takes me a while to get back into the swing of things. So how about some bullet points to bring everyone up to speed?

- I had the opportunity to make some neat custom mugs in November/December! That was a great experience. I love working with customers to create something I may have never thought of doing on my own.
- I went to California in December. It was simultaneously trying and wonderful in the way that only visiting family can be. I also saw those two rather elegant deer in the blurry photo above.
- I've picked up my knitting needles again! I'm making some wool socks for my husband to keep his toes warm in the cold.
- Speaking of cold, the "polar vortexes" have hit Tennessee and we've been getting single digit temperatures and even some snow. The dog loves it of course. Me, not so much.
- I bought the dog a new bed for Christmas. It's great! It's made from hemp and the filling is made from recycled plastic bottles. And it's completely washable. Which is so important when your dog spontaneously decides to pee on his bed.
- I'm really excited about my garden. It's too cold to do anything with it right now, but I've been picking out seeds and drawing up plans. 
- I'm working on some new things for the shop! I'm experimenting with more colors and I have some new ideas that I'm excited about! I can't wait to show you!