Monday, May 4, 2009


I came pretty darn close to begging Ben to come with me to Pottery Fest this year, and as always, he agreed to join me. I'm so lucky to be married to a man who is totally willing to do things like this, even when he had a zillion other things he'd rather be doing instead. So, we headed out to the Shaker Historic Site in Albany for some pottery shopping and some really neat demonstrations. The festival itself seemed much bigger this year than in the past and I must have picked up and put down several dozen pieces that I wanted. So many amazing things. I scored some sweet little magnets from Mud Slipper and Ben bought me a little bird box (which is actually an incense burner) from another seller whose name escapes me right now.

We left the main barn area and headed to the main field area to watch two potters demonstrate raku firing. We timed it perfectly because several pieces were coming out of the fire to cool when we arrived.

I love the look of raku, and the results seem much more immediate than kiln firing, but from my understanding the pieces are not functional and not food safe, and serve more as art than dishware. Am I wrong on this? If I am, would someone please set me straight? I hold off on buying raku because I feel like I can't use it in the kitchen, and much like Alton Brown, I don't like unitaskers. Poo.

The raku people finished up and we headed to the second festival spot in the commons room of the site. Tons of vendors were set up to sell their wares in the hall and we wandered around getting lost in the stacks of bowls and dishes and whatnot, listening to the Pine Hills String Band play while we shopped.

I really hope the folks at the Collar City Clay Guild keep this going every year. It's a small festival that only seems to get better with time, and I hope to keep going every year.

Since Ben agreed to come with me, I asked him to choose something he'd like to do next. We both love bookstores, and The Book Barn in Latham, a smallish used book store, is one of his personal favorites. It must have been my lucky day because I scored a small ton of great finds there, too!

My personal favorite is this book:
I haven't made my way through the entire thing yet but the images are gorgeous and there are tons of great ideas nestled in the pages. Reminded me a lot of this blog. This is a Better Homes and Gardens publication and I'm pretty sure it's out of print. If you can get your hands on a copy, though, go for it.

Another beauty is this little find:
There are tons of great craft ideas in this book and I highly recommend it. The author encourages you to include as many natural touches in your day to day living and suggests that you simply go outside and have a look around when you need a gift for someone. Think outside the box kind of stuff, you know?

This little lady was simply an impulse buy:
I love reading about the historical importance of herbs, their medicinal properties, how to plant them, how to cook with them...the list goes on and on. Sweet little illustrations and inspiring photography make this book one of my new fave kitchen handbooks.

If you love Viva Terra like I do, you'll love this book:

Simple design, shabby chic style, natural touches. Three of my must-haves for comfortable living. I've found so many things in this book that I'd like to try in my own home. Books like this make me want to gut my house and start all over again with a totally new look.

And last but not least, I grabbed this book with the hope that it will help to inspire me with my sewing and jewelry making:

I love combining colors and textures, especially in different combinations than you'd normally see. There were some really interesting combos in this book that I'd never considered and I plan to keep this close by for those times when I'm not feeling very inspired. Hopefully it'll help.

So, I spent less than $50 throughout that entire day and had a total blast. I can't guarantee that Ben had as much fun as I did, but it was so nice to have him along there with me.

How was your Sunday?


Nancy said...

Hi Kate just a few days b-hind went to martha and did a recipe search using just the word fiddlehead and 3 came up,,,, sauted fiddlehead ferns, fiddlehead breadstixs and spring crudites w/ orange caper sauce... makes me want to go fiddlehead ya nancy

Elisabeth said...

It's so fantastic and sweet that Ben will go to things like the pottery fest with you! Adam is very sweet that way, too...perhaps they really could be BFFs! ^_~

If you ever do come to visit us here, please remind me to take you to Oregon and Grand Detour (though I'm not likely to forget since there is very little ELSE to do around this way other than the obligatory visit to Chicago). Both towns are gorgeously scenic, full of amazing old buildings, and there are a lot of little shops with handmade pottery and stuff (especially in Oregon). Oregon & Grand Detour were each home to artists' colonies in the past, and Oregon even has a "castle" (really a replica built as a private residence by some rich guy back in the 20's or 30's, I think) where they hold a tiny, weird medieval faire every October. When I was little we lived a couple miles across the river from Grand Detour, and I attended kindergarten and 1st grade there. I have fond memories of buying penny candy from the old general store that used to be there. Fun times. :)
I would actually really miss Oregon if I were to move away from this area, and I've often wished that we lived there instead of Dixon.

I really love first photograph--the composition is amazing! Was that a candid shot?

leah said...

sounds like a blast. i love it when days come together like that. the raku man with a ponytail is a friend of mine. his work is beautiful eh?