Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Well I finally have progress to report!  The kiln is cranking away down in the basement, thanks to the electrical genius of my dad and my husband.  Everything had to be wired from scratch, and luckily Gene is an unlicensed pro!  :)  I have dubbed her "Retirement Plan B"- she's small but hopefully I'll have her for years to come.  Seriously, I just bought the smallest kiln I could find, a "test" kiln.  It's not big enough for large pieces, but fine for right now.  It was still quite an investment.  Perhaps in a few years, if I'm still getting bit by the pottery bug, we'll get a bigger one.

Right now I'm just experimenting, because it's been a few years since I have actually been hands-on with anything pottery related.  I haven't worked with glazes since 2008.  And I've never fired up a kiln before.  My pottery instructor Dianne back in South Carolina, always fired my pieces for me in the industrial-sized giant kilns at the city rec center.

I've made a few bowls, and a few tiles, but right now most of these pieces probably won't end up online for sale.  I just wanted pieces in the kiln so I could get a feel for how it works.  I'm having bad problems with the kiln wash flaking off, and I've already had pieces stick to my shelves, which is not a situation I want.  I've done some research online to find a solution, but so far all I'm doing is making a mess downstairs.

I've got the kiln loaded right now with my last batch that needs to be bisque fired, and now I have a cabinet full of pieces to glaze.  I've been using antique butter molds to create the tiles above, and I think I might make enough of those to sell on Etsy.  I'll still make my small bowls with the stamped impressions, and as always, my 4 x 4 tiles that I was selling so nicely before we moved.

I am excited and will hopefully get items listed on Etsy in a few weeks.  We leave for vacation next weekend, and I will wait until we get back.  More than anything, I plan to get back to the blog as well, I miss it and although it does take up a lot of time, I used to enjoy it.  Facebook is just so much quicker to connect with everyone and post photos, but you just don't get to say everything you want to say in a one-sentence post sometimes!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Time For A Major Purchase!

It's time to get back on the pottery horse finally. Although I looked at kilns a few months ago, I've yet to make the purchase.  I've got one picked out, a small kiln called a "test" kiln, or sometimes a doll kiln.  Now I'm just waiting for a free Saturday to go order/buy/get trained on how to use it.  Even a small kiln is going to run me (us) about a grand, but James- my ever supportive rock- said he is okay with that.  As long as I will use it, and not let it wither away under a coat of dust like I have other items I just HAD to have.

I don't expect to make money, in the sense of a profit, on my pottery.  When I had my Etsy store before, it was mostly for fun, and a hobby.  But I would love to work towards one day making a go of it.  I call it my "exit strategy", as in, what else can I do besides work away my life at a office.

James wanted to know that I'll be serious about my pottery, if we buy this kiln.  So I went ahead and made a few tiles, and also worked on a new idea.  I'm going to give a go at making really small pieces for jewelry (above).  I've got a dozen pages in a notebook filled with ideas and sketches.  I made a few pieces that are now dry and ready for their first layers of glaze.  That way, when I do get the kiln, I'll have items ready to load on in there.

Unfortunately, it's still going to be a bit- I know for certain we can't make it up to the kiln store for at least another month.  With their hours, Saturday mornings are the only time we can get there, and our Saturday AM's are booked up already for awhile.  But I think I'll keep making some small pieces, and have them ready to go!! I am excited, I feel like it's a new chapter in my life- as an "artist" anyhow.  Now I just need to learn to throw on the wheel- next step...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Time To Buy My Kiln

I am very excited to say that I have been in touch this week with one of the local gift shops in our downtown area, and she wants to carry my pottery. She was especially interested in my tiles. I sent her photos of all my work, including my bowls and sculptures. She wanted to know how soon I could bring pieces in. Unfortunately, what I sent photos of, are the items I made back when we lived in South Carolina and I had a studio to go to, where I left my pieces to get fired. Everything from back then, I sold long ago. I had to let her know that right now, I don't have anything to sell, but planned to start up again soon.

Last night I spent the evening getting my work area set up, and organizing my tools. I had bought clay a few weeks ago but so far have not busted it out of the bag yet. Although James and I looked at kilns months ago, I have not purchased one yet. For now, since I consider myself a novice potter and I do not make large pieces, I've decided that a small table-top kiln would work best for me. It runs off regular household 120 volts. Even this little kiln will be about a grand. Any other kiln would be too expensive, plus the added cost of having to get an electrician out here to rewire my space for 240 volts. I hope to get the kiln ordered this week- then I'll have to get the nice ladies at Atlanta Clay to show me how to use it!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Please pray for our dear friend Jimmy on the loss of his son.

Published Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A U.S. Air Force carry team transfers the remains of Air Force Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Tuesday.


A U.S. Air Force carry team transfers the remains of Air Force Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Tuesday.

Community shocked at loss: Flags to fly at half-staff for funeral

By Winston Skinner

The Newnan Times-Herald

Flags will fly at half-staff in Georgia on the day of the funeral for Nicholas Schade Whitlock, who grew up in Newnan and died Saturday in Africa.

The bodies of Whitlock and three other men who perished in an airplane accident in the East African nation of Djibouti arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware early Tuesday. Whitlock's parents, Jimmy and Clare Whitlock of Newnan, were in Dover along with the airman's wife, Ashley, and her parents.

Gov. Nathan Deal is planning to order flags at state facilities be lowered to honor Whitlock on the day of his funeral, which still has not been set. Stephanie Mayfield, the governor's press secretary, said Deal is planning to have "flags at half staff on the day of the funeral."

Whitlock, 29, was stationed at Hurlburt Field near Fort Walton Beach, Fla. and had left for Africa about a week before his death. His wife was notified of his death at their home in Destin on Saturday.

In addition to Whitlock, those who lost their lives were Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens and Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten. The four were aboard a U-28 aircraft.

Military dignified transfer ceremonies for the remains of the four were held at Dover on Tuesday.

Whitlock, who was promoted to captain in November 2010, was a U-28A pilot and was on his fifth deployment. He entered the Air Force in 2006, receiving his commission through the Officer Training School. He had been assigned to the 319th SOS and then to the 34th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field since 2008 and had more than 800 combat flight hours.

The cause of the crash remains unknown.

Nick Whitlock was a 2001 honor graduate of Newnan High School. He played football and baseball at Newnan, was an Eagle Scout and earned his private pilot's license while flying at Falcon Field in Peachtree City and at Newnan-Coweta Airport.

Whitlock attended Mercer University where he earned a bachelor of business administration degree. Nick Whitlock also held a master's of business administration from the University of Florida.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012, at least 1,771 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.

The AP count is six less than the Defense Department's tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EST.

At least 1,479 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

Whitlock and the other three Hurlburt airmen are among 104 members of the U.S. military who died in support of Operation Enduring Freedom outside of Afghanistan. The AP count of total OEF casualties outside of Afghanistan is six more than the department's tally.

Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 15,343 U.S. service members have been wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department.



“We never expect it to be one of ours.”

Dianne Webb reflected on the shock of learning of the death of Capt. Nicholas Schade Whitlock, the 29-year-old airman from Newnan who died in a plane crash in Africa on Saturday. She remarked on the regularity of news reports about young men dying in war zones, but the loss of one of her son’s childhood playmates made the headlines and news reports suddenly, dramatically personal and real.

“I never expected it to be one of Jonathan’s friends,” she said.

Whitlock’s family learned of his death late Saturday. Associated Press reported Tuesday that Whitlock and three other airmen were aboard a reconnaissance plane that crashed six miles from Camp Lemonnier, the United States’ only base in Africa.

According to AP, the four men were returning from Afghanistan, quoting military sources.

The news of Nick Whitlock’s death was being shared by Newnan friends on Facebook Sunday. The family was on the prayer list at numerous churches in Newnan and in other nearby areas including at the Methodist church at Haralson in Coweta’s southeastern corner.

The Whitlock family’s influence and friendships spread far and deep in Coweta County, and many who heard the news knew the fallen airman or at least one member of his family.

Alan Wood, who was principal at Newnan High School when Whitlock graduated in 2001, remembered a remarkable young man. “He was a goal setter,” Wood recalled. “With his imagination, he could touch the sky.”

Most of Webb’s memories of Nick Whitlock are from when he was a young child. Webb lost her son, Jonathan, to an accident in February 1992. Jonathan and James Whitlock, Nick’s older brother, were close in age and were friends.

Nick Whitlock often was part of their adventures. “I remember him tagging along with them and being a sweet little boy,” Webb said.

She remembered that Jonathan Webb and Nick Whitlock carved their names into a cork bulletin board with a handbell tool when they were supposed to be practicing a handbell piece at First Baptist Church. The boys sometimes spent the night at each other’s homes and enjoyed a trip to Stone Mountain in the summer of 1991 to see the laser show.

The kudzu patch behind the Webbs’ home was a favorite spot. “The boys had the best time,” she remembered.

“I never, ever had to worry when Jonathan was with the Whitlock boys. I knew Clare and Jimmy, and I knew James and Nick. They were good boys from a good family,” Webb said.

Nick Whitlock was active in sports at Newnan High School — playing baseball and football. He also excelled academically — graduating with honor in 2001.

“He was an extremely intelligent, personable individual who had effervescent creativity,” Wood said.

The longtime Coweta County school administrator also remembered Whitlock’s determination to become a pilot — something he began by flying from local airports in Newnan and Peachtree City. “He was one who fulfilled dreams,” Wood said.

Whitlock spent his formative years surrounded by family. His middle name — Schade — is the maiden name of his mother, Clare. His grandfather, Wendell Whitlock, is a World War II veteran who was the county public works superintendent for years, and Nick Whitlock has aunts, uncles and a large number of cousins in Coweta County.

Nick Whitlock worked with his brother, James, in the Alaska’s Healing Hearts, which offers a year-round nationwide outdoor program that focuses on taking disabled military on hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

In recent months, the brothers took three disabled soldiers from Fort Benning on a two-day trophy deer hunt at Antler Creek plantation in Alaska. In an interview soon after that trip, James Whitlock described Alaska’s Healing Hearts as “a different kind of rehabilitation.” He said, “This is our passion. We love to hunt and fish, and we love the veterans.”

Funeral plans for Nick Whitlock have not yet been finalized. A memorial service for him and the three other men who died — Capt. Ryan P. Hall, 1st Lt. Justin J. Wilkens and Senior Airman Julian S. Scholten — is also being planned at Hurlburt Field in Florida, where all four were stationed.

Officials told AP that it did not appear hostile fire had brought down the plane, a single-engine, fixed-wing U-28A. Camp Lemonnier is near Djibouti’s border with Somalia.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Sorry I am being redundant since I posted on Facebook already this morning, but I have to say Happy Anniversary to my husband. If you read my blog, you know how truly amazing he is and what a wonderful life we have together. I have a mental block about what my life was like before I met him! I can't imagine my life now, without him in it. It's been a long bumpy ride since that first kiss on New Year's Eve 2003, but I wouldn't trade in one second of it. I love you James!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Somebody Likes Me!

I just wanted to share the award I was presented on Friday night, at a large company dinner. Our sales force voted crazy little ol' me, their sales support excellence winner for the whole of 2011. I was tickled and thrilled, to say the least. I did not suspect a thing, considering James and I have been to the ceremony in the past- he as Director of Operations, me as "...and spouse". The best part is, I realize all the long hours and hard work, are recognized and appreciated. The worst past, getting up on stage in front of about 300+ people to accept! Thank goodness I did not have to give a speech, just shake hands and pose for a photo! Tomorrow, it's back to the grind, to see if I can earn it for 2012.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's Not HGTV...

So I posted these funny pics on Facebook with the "You Might Be A Redneck If" tagline, just to get a few laughs. And I did! But, I also wanted to share the rest of the story as well. Yes, that is James on the lawn mower, with our couch in the trailer on the back, and his friend David walking along. That is actually my old furniture, that I had in my house before James and I got married. And it's been the furniture we've used ever since. I've been wanting to get a new living room set, and finally this was the year it happened.

There's nothing wrong with the furniture, it's just a little worn and looking a little rough. Still comfortable though. So, we really didn't want to just toss it out. Along with new furniture, we are getting a new TV- because finally finally after all this time- we will have an entertainment center. Which our old TV- James' gigantic monster from his bachelor days- will not fit in. Definitely James did not want to get rid of the TV, it's his pride and joy. We talked it over and decided that, even though our basement is completely unfinished, why not set it all up down there?

Since our house is situated on a hill, and our backyard sweeps down below (our basement is actually built into the side of the hill), the hurdle became- how to get everything down there? One weekend James and his buddy David had a nice guys-only getaway weekend, and on their return that Sunday- I made a big lunch of hamburgers, onion rings, sweet potato fries, and all the fixins'. The guys took everything out of the living room and down to the basement. James' idea of putting it all on the back of the lawn mower and driving each piece down the hill, was actually pretty inspired, and worked like a charm. They did have to carry everything out the front door and get it to the tractor to begin with, but it sure beat carrying everything either down the stairs, or down the hill. (Romeo inspecting their work safe from his window perch.)

So everything is now down in the basement, and we've been spending our evenings down here for almost two weeks now. We spent all day Sunday watching football, and other than it being cold, it's actually been pretty fun. We do have the small space heater and blankets, but since I like the cold, it's not bothering me. We moved some of the cats' hideaways down there as well- when we go downstairs, they do too, they can't seem to stay away from the action. I imagine, even when we get the new living room fixed up, I can see myself still coming down here and spending a weekend afternoon, hanging out.

Now the living room is empty, and we are waiting on the new set. The sofa was on back order, so we still have about two weeks before it gets delivered. We had Stanley Steemer come the other day, and clean all the carpets in the entire house. I was a little disappointed that they couldn't get all the "cat stains" out of the carpet (gotta love being a pet owner), but the house was long overdue for a cleaning. I will post again once the furniture gets here!

Monday, January 2, 2012


I had to share a photo I took this morning of "new" kitty Socks, relaxing by the fire. Socks came home with us on Thanksgiving weekend. She belongs to James' grandmother, who recently had to go live at a nursing home. My mother-in-law says Socks' vet records states she's 13, but Granny insisted to me that Socks is 16. We just know that Miss Socks is a senior kitty, no matter her age.

She prefers to sleep upstairs in my "studio", but she has been coming downstairs to visit. She loves to roam down in the basement, apparently at night, because that's where she is every morning when we get up. So far no big spats with any of the other Truan felines. Maarten hisses at her, but he's a big sissy anyhow. I can assume that since no one is fighting with her, that they've all already accepted her into our family.

We look at ourselves as foster parents, because we promised Granny that if she ever goes to live somewhere that allows her to keep a pet, we will gladly bring Socks right back to her. For now, and for however long she needs a home, Socks is our kitty and we love her very much already. She has particularly stolen James' affections, he is quite taken with her. But, he's a big softy when it comes to the cats, so it was no surprise!

Let's Get It Going Again!

I was reminded today by a friend on my Facebook page, that I hadn't blogged in a very very long time. Family members have told me they've missed my blog as well, as it was the one way they could keep up with everything that James and I have been up to. It's true- I've become lazy and have been 100% dependent on Facebook because it's SO easy to just load all my photos in an album and upload. Blogging does take up a lot more time, and I can only put a few photos on each post. But, I get to write a lot more. I promised myself I'd get the blog going again in 2012.

I found about 4 posts that I started in 2011 and never finished, so first order of business will be to get back to those. Then to start catching up- James and I have, as usual, been busy busy busy on the weekends and taking lots of trips.

Work has been staggeringly overwhelming, in terms of stress and hours on the job. 2011 was probably the roughest year of my entire life, as far as work goes. I've been doing accounting and working in an office since I was out of high school at age 17, and I just turned 45 this weekend. And for me to say that 2011 was the toughest ever, and I really really mean it!!- then I want you to all know I am hoping for better times ahead.

Not only did we have the computer conversion which was grueling and took months, then we had lay-offs that decimated a third of our staff in finance yet did not alleviate any of the work load. The last few weeks I've been surviving on four hours of sleep, Cheetos, and ice cream. It's not much of a life right now, but I wholeheartedly appreciate my job and my paycheck. Just trying desperately to find a balance between the hours at work, and the little bit of free time I have at home.

I promise I'll be back on here regularly again, and looking for new blogs to follow. Thanks and Happy 2012!

(Romeo in his Christmas outfit)