Ceramic Pumpkin Box

When I started ceramics again last fall and was in a luminary phase, I got the idea to make a ceramic Jack-o’-lantern. It’d be much cleaner than an actual pumpkin and could be reused year after year. Since I was working on other projects, I didn’t get around to making my ceramic pumpkin until December, and because of a mess up (that I describe below), it wasn’t ready to take home until January.

I first made the bottom half as a pinch pot. Then I carved the ridges. Unfortunately, I made the lid a bit too small, and by the time I had made it, the bottom half was already too dry to make smaller. (I tried squeezing it in, but it was too late.) Still, it stays on because I had put a ring around the inside. (I’m not sure what that part is called.) After seeing how small my pumpkin was, I thought it would be difficult to carve a face on it, so I left it as a pumpkin and I like it better that way.

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The diameter and height are both approximately 8 cm.

I painted the outside orange with “tangerine” underglaze, and then it went in for the bisque firing. When it was time to glaze it with clear glaze, I was applying wax resist with a brush onto the foot, but wasn’t careful, and a drop of wax resist slid onto the pumpkin where I wanted it glazed. It had to be bisque fired again to burn away the wax; otherwise, that part wouldn’t have gotten any glaze. That delayed it from getting completed earlier, because I had to wait for the next bisque firing, and then the glaze firing after that. However, after that incident, I have been very careful when brushing on wax resist.

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The interior is the natural color of the clay (B-mix) with clear glaze.

I wanted the stem to be green, even though brown would be more accurate. I first dipped the rest of the lid into clear glaze while holding it by the stem, then used my finger to dab in the spots closest to the stem that I had missed. I used a brush to paint the stem with Antique Jade glaze, and I like how the color turned out. (The strange thing is that Antique Jade sometimes looks like a lovely aqua, but I’ve never gotten it to look like that. Later the instructor said it’s a bucket glaze so it shouldn’t be painted, only dipped, but my previous ceramics instructor was open to whatever worked. The truth is, it is harder to brush on a dipping glaze because it is thinner, and I’ve read that you can add gum arabic to thicken it.)

Autumn Kusudama Centerpiece

Over the course of this year I have been making Kusudama balls, and I was left with paper in colors that I wouldn’t normally use: orange, brown, and yellow. Luckily, they go well together and are fall colors. I also added some red and golden-yellow, which (in hindsight) goes better with the other colors than the bright yellow. Instructions for making a kusudama flower can be found here.

With Lee Bay, of course!

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I was going for a dusky look, but it may have been too dark.

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With Lee Bay, of course!

That beautiful leaf

I was taking a walk when I spotted a leaf with beautiful colors on the sidewalk. The way that the red and orange was distributed was gorgeous. I bent down to take a close photo of it.

P1080471e1A few days later I was looking at the photos I took that day, and came upon the photo of the leaf. I have noticed that my camera sometimes takes photos that have what looks like a crosshatching pattern over certain colors. Did it do that again? I wondered. But then I zoomed in closer, and noticed that parts of this leaf were fraying. That beautiful leaf was cloth! It was a fake leaf. No wonder it was too beautiful to be real.

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I am amused that I never noticed the leaf was fake until I saw the photo.

Autumn/Halloween Cookies

My boyfriend and I made cookies since we were having guests. He made the dough and did the actual baking. I rolled the dough and cut the cookies with cutters, and I did most of the decorating. It was our fourth time making sugar cookies together, and we had made enough mistakes the previous times to be able to get them very delicious this time. It was my first time decorating with store-bought icing and squeezing it out of tubes. The only other time I had decorated cookies before was with homemade icing and letting it fall from spoons.

P1080304cqThe green, black, and white were Wilton decorating gels. We did not know at the time that they take a long time to dry (like a day). Six hours later they still hadn’t dried so if you weren’t careful, they would smear or transfer onto other surfaces. I drew the faces on the jack-o’-lanterns freehand. Someone asked if I had used a stencil. It hadn’t occurred to me to do that. It does feel weird to eat something black. I kept wondering is that even edible?

Anyway, the cookies were a hit. Our guests said they were delicious and left with a bunch of them, so we didn’t have to eat them all ourselves (sparing us of all that sugar and fat.) I look forward to decorating more cookies for the holidays to come.

All the cookies we made that day.

All the cookies we made that day. My boyfriend drew the more creative faces.

How I see the world

Here are some photos that I took from 2009 to 2011, when I was first starting to be interested in photography. The photos and the text have all been posted before on my old blog (uru_n_imi), which is now defunct.

Autumn (2009, 2010)

None of my photos ever turn out the way I envisioned them to be. I have long ago concluded that my eyes (actually brain) sees things differently from the way my camera does, so I can never quite capture exactly what I saw and how I saw it. That, or my photography skills and lenses aren’t good enough.

“You can’t see the forest for the trees” describes me pretty well. Perhaps that’s why I can’t see the the tree for the leaves, literally.


Fraction of the view from a window at my Dad’s workplace, last December.


This one was taken about a year ago, shortly after sunset.
My eyes were drawn to the vine, but I guess I was missing the bigger picture.

Shadows cast by an autumn sunset (2010)

As a child, I was drawn to bright beams of light juxtaposed with shadows. Morning light has always been my favorite, though sunsets also produce beautiful, fleeting effects. None of these photos have been edited.

There were actually two candles, but it didn’t look right, so I cropped the image. However, the wick is not very visible on this one, and I liked how the sunlight shone on the wick of the other one, making it stand out against the dark background. The red was also brighter and stood out. Maybe I’ll post that one someday.

Spring 2011

This was actually taken back in early February, when it was unusually warm for a few days. I thought that Californians were lucky to have such nice weather, while the people on the east coast still had snow. (This was right after I came back from my trip.) Ironically, it’s been unusually cold in this part of California this May–feels more like March–so we weren’t that lucky after all.


Buds of peach blossoms. They really were hot pink!


It’s not spring without tulips! But they don’t last very long.

Apple blossoms (2011)

The interesting thing about these apple blossoms is that the buds are a bright pink, but when the flower actually opens, it’s a pale pink.

This was how it looked April 10th.

The same branch, six days later.

I would like to believe that my photography skills have since improved.