Sunday, October 18, 2009

Quiet Places

213Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. Mark 6:31-32 (NIV)

God wants us to go to quiet places, with him. It is where we are renewed. For me, it's difficult to put away all the projects, chores, cell phones, television and computers to make time for those quiet places and slowing down to center my life. I have a short attention span for it.

Sunday evening is when I plan my week. My husband and I plan our meals; I finish putting away the laundry so I'll have clean clothes for work; we' have started talking about what we'll do next weekend and looking forward to it; the house is organized and clean. The rest of our week will be devoted to work and general life. It will go by very fast. It always does. So, in addition to the busyness of life this week, I'm also planning the quiet places.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Studio Crawl 2009 – Marbakka Studios

Each year, my husband and I set aside the first weekend in October to attend the Studio Crawl in our area. This year, we went to only a few studios, but spent more time talking with the artists.

A most fabulous artist, and all around wonderful man, happens to be my husband’s Uncle Bob. He is a potter and we were fortunate to be able to watch him fire some pots at Marbakka Studios, which is his art studio in rural North Dakota. 031Bob made these pots and it’s difficult to see in the photo, but the pots are covered with a glaze. It’s a powdery glaze. Bob tried to explain the glaze to me but the answer involved a lot of chemistry, which I can’t begin to explain. All I know for sure is that these will be gorgeous Raku pots when they are done. 033

The pots go into the kiln. They get fired at 1800 degrees.


Bob can tell by looking into the kiln if the pots are done firing. He’s been doing this for many years. The darker colored pots in the kiln have cobalt in the glaze that is on them.

Once they are ready to come out of the kiln, the glowing hot pots are taken to the reduction area. This allows them to cool slowly after leaving the 1800 degree kiln. They are placed on newspaper, which immediately catches on fire from the heat. Then, they are covered with a metal garbage can which had been filled with leaves and newspaper. During the time the pots are covered, the glaze is bonding with carbon. Again, there is a chemistry explanation that much smarter people than I understand.

I never realized until today how much science there is in art.

043 051 052046aRaku pottery is unpredictable. Until the pieces come out from the reduction, there is no way of knowing exactly how they will look. Each one is unique. When the pots are sufficiently cooled, it is time to see the creation. This is my favorite part!


014 015

Bob uses a torch to clean the carbon from the pots. This pot had a crackly glaze. 019 The darker colored pots have more copper in the glaze.


This is a most beautiful pot, fired today. I can’t stop looking at it and marveling over the metallic shades of copper, blue, and green. Thankfully, I don't have to as this pot is now proudly displayed in my kitchen.


Pot made by Robert Kurkowski, glazed during the Studio Crawl, October 4, 2009.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Slice of Heaven – Sweet & Savory Pizza

I’ve loved pizza since my mom made it at home when I was a little girl. When I was in high school, my friends and I used to hang out at a pizza shop where the pizza had really gooey cheese. I was thrilled to find that I could have pizza delivered at 2 in the morning when I went to college in the city. When I first got married, my husband and I had almost no money and bought super cheap frozen pizzas from the grocery store. When my kids were growing up, we ordered pizza most Friday nights. My tastes have changed, but I still love pizza .

I seldom make pizza at home, I like it delivered. It’s just so easy.

For a special pizza at home; I make this pizza. It is very different from a typical pizza. It doesn’t have any sauce or meat. The crust is thin and crispy. This pizza makes an excellent appetizer. It’s different and delicious. Sweet and Savory. The recipe is from Taste of Home magazine .

Caramelized Onion Gorgonzola Pizza

1 loaf (1 pound) frozen bread dough, thawed

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 cup shredded mozzarella

3 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola

2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup pitted Greek Olives, chopped

Divide the bread dough in half. Press each portion onto a greased 12 inch pizza pan; build up edges slightly. Prick dough several times with a fork. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. 014

Meanwhile, in large skillet over medium heat, melt butter with brown sugar. 010Add onions, cook for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. 008006017011 





Brush dough with olive oil. Sprinkle the basil, oregano and garlic powder over the dough. 020 Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes.025

Arrange onions and tomatoes over crusts; sprinkle with cheeses and olives.

028 030

Bake 8-10 minutes longer or until golden brown.

040 Enjoy!

Friday, October 2, 2009


It turns out canning tomatoes isn’t nearly as difficult as I believed.



Don’t they look pretty. 002 Hearing the pops as my jars of homegrown tomatoes sealed.

It was a beautiful thing.