Gary Jackson: Fire When Ready Pottery
A Chicago potter’s somewhat slanted view of clay & play
Categories: mugs, process, production

Hopefully, “Beans & Leaves” will be selling a LOT of handmade mugs…
and if so, I need to make more mugs… so I threw another batch tonight.

Categories: gallery, mugs

Well look who’s now carrying handmade mugs by Fire When Ready Pottery

Located in historic downtown Long Grove, Illinois, Beans & Leaves is a cozy cafe featuring fresh, locally roasted fine coffee and a wide variety of loose leaf teas. Stop in to pick up a latte and pastry on your way to work, or linger outside in our beautiful patio and gazebo. A gathering place for friends, family, musicians, and artists. Check out the live music schedule and enjoy performances by talented musicians. Come to a cafe where neighbors gather, where music is played, and where memories are made! With free Wi-Fi too!!!

320 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove, Illinois 60047 – (847) 821-0011
Monday-Saturday 8:30am-5:00pm • Sunday 9:00am-5:00pm

In addition to enjoying the coziest cafe in Long Grove, you can also purchase their coffees, teas and now handmade ceramic mugs online. So if you need a quick fix, a shot of caffeine and a new mug… click online and do some shopping!!! Click here to shop handmade ceramic mugs online.

Categories: bike, photography, sunrise

Dark clouds early morning. Blue wispy clouds a bit later.

Categories: bike, sunrise

Lots of clouds. Lots of layers.
Lots of contrast between the low-flying dark clouds and the higher cloud mass.
Followed by wispy blue skies pushing the dark clouds out over the lake.

Categories: art fair, artists, My Talented Friends, tiles

The tiled collaboration pieces I made with my friend Cory McCrory had a really great reception during “Art In The Garden” last weekend. It was so much fun to see people enjoying our collaboration. Especially when they would take time to “figure them out”… and when they belted out a good belly laugh when they got it. But now that our “Garden” Party is over, we have a couple collaboration pieces available. They’re a VERY Limited Edition… don’t miss out on one of these last six pieces.

Bleeding Heart

Foxglove : SOLD 9.7.14

Poison Ivy

Spider Plant  : SOLD 9.8.14
And notice how the green tiles are “straight” vines at the top and curled patterns at the bottom much like the way a Spider Plant grows!

Spider Flower – aka Cleome.

Butterfly Bush  – complete with a magnifying glass to see the “tiny bits.”

Here’s the info about the West End Art Festival in LaGrange this weekend. Cory will be there with the last six of our collaboration pieces. They’ve been going fast… don’t miss out. And say hello to Cory for me while you’re there…

If you’re interested in a collaboration piece, but can’t make it out to LaGrange this weekend, you can also send Cory a message on her Facebook page. Click here to connect… and “save” one for yourself!!!

Categories: artists, creativity, inspiration

“Can we talk?”…

Another comedian gone too soon.
Another sad day with the passing of comedy legend Joan Rivers.

She was one of my favorite comedians. Always telling it like it is.
I’m pretty sure I wore out my cassette tape of “What Becomes A Semi-Legend Most.”

From her early days of stand-up, to hosting “The Tonight Show”, to one of my favorite guilty-pleasures “Fashion Police.” With a sharp tongue, a quick wit and an infectious laugh, she could always make me smile. Whether making fun of a celebrity, politicians or herself, Joan could always make it real – and would always say what your were already thinking!!!

•  “I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.”

•  “I hate housework. You make the beds, you do the dishes, and six months later, you have to start all over again.”

• “I was born in 1962 … and the room next to me was 1963.”

•  “I have no sex appeal. If my husband didn’t toss and turn, we’d never have had the kid.”

•  “I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die, they will donate my body to Tupperware.”

•  “A study says owning a dog makes you 10 years younger. My first thought was to rescue two more, but I don’t want to go through menopause again.”

•  “Half of all marriages end in divorce – and then there are the really unhappy ones.”

•  “My breasts are so low, now I can have a mammogram and a pedicure at the same time.”

•  “Don’t tell your kids you had an easy birth or they won’t respect you. For years I used to wake up my daughter and say, ‘Melissa, you ripped me to shreds. Now go back to sleep.”

•  “I was dating a transvestite, and my mother said, “Marry him, you’ll double your wardrobe.’”

•  “At my funeral, I want Meryl Streep crying in five different accents.”

We will miss her dearly…
and no matter what people say, she looked pretty darn good for eighty-one!!!
She should. She paid enough for it.

For those who need a little more Joan…
check out the documentary about her life & comedy “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.”
It’s a wonderful look into her world, her dedication to her craft and so much more.

Categories: food, special events

Yesterday was my first adventure to the Sandwich Fair. Friends have been talking about it for years… tempting me with stories of animals, rides and food!!! So when my friend Cory suggested that we go for Opening Day, I was in!!! So I drove out to Sandwich and met Cory, and her daughter Deni, at their house in Sandwich. We went over to the fairgrounds and started our adventure. First things first…

We started with Corn Dogs and Lemon Shake-Ups.

Then we started going through some of the Exhibit Halls looking at all of the entries and the prize ribbons that had been awarded earlier that day. It was a bit overwhelming. The sheer number of entries. All of the ribbons. And how everything had been so pain-stakingly displayed EVERYWHERE!!! So much time had been taken to spread things out, keep them organized by category and showing off their ribbons!!! Fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, baked goods, canned goods, quilts, arts & crafts, photography and so, SO much more!!!

And what county fair would be complete with out some amusement rides?!

Then we tackled some of the livestock barns to see the “living” entries.
There were hundreds of sheep…

And hundreds of goats… none cuter than this one…

And a barn full of chickens…
that surprised me by how many varieties and how striking so many of them were!!!

But then there was the Rabbit Tent. A large tent filled with a ton of rabbits. Practically every breed imaginable. And most of them were for sale. My favorite was this one… dark black on the top, and a warm cocoa brown on the underside.

But could this be any cuter?…

Well, apparently yes.
A gray Lion-Haired Rabbit that looked more like a stuffed animal.

And then we were dancing in dangerous territory…
and I “almost” came home with a rabbit. Almost… but look, can you blame me?

Luckily, good sense prevailed and I avoided the adorable fuzzy companion.
Cory and her daughter Deni however did not. Too adorable… too cuddly… and SOLD.
They got a very cute tri-colored Mini Rex rabbit… very similar to the black cutie I was playing with, just a different color. You could tell very quickly that “at least” one rabbit would be going home with them.

For the record… they ended up with just one rabbit…
and a hermit crab, and a goldfish… but who’s counting?!!!

At some point evening started to set in… and there was still more food to be had…

Part of the Carnival Midway was traditional games. Plastic rings on plastic pop bottles. Ping-pong balls into goldfish bowls. Squirt guns into clown mouths to inflate balloons. But I had never seen THIS one before…

Be afraid… be very afraid…
And yes, that is a REAL mouse being tossed onto a spinning roulette wheel. Whichever hole the mouse decides to disappear through indicates the roulette winner. Yes, a REAL mouse!!! The real concerning part was the crate of mice under the wheel. They said they bring about 60-80 mice with them for the five-day fair. So the question is why?… because the mice get smart and run away?… or die? Neither option is a good one.

But the highlight of any County Fair is always the food.
And I was more than ready to indulge… had had skipped lunch in preparation!!!

And ya’ gotta love a good typo…

So, what did we eat ???.. and by “we” I mean mostly ME

We started out with Corn Dogs and Lemon Shake-Ups.
Followed by a cinnamon-sugar dusted Elephant Ear.
And then a deep-fried Onion Blossom, deep-fried Pickles and deep-fried Green Beans.
Then I couldn’t make up my mind…

So I had them all…
a deep-fried Twinkie, a deep-fried Snickers AND some deep-fried Bacon with Chocolate.

Washed down with the Vanilla & Strawberry shakes that Cory & Deni couldn’t finish.

And since we still had more fun at the Fair… eventually I was ready for more food. Sure, I might have been in some sort of a sugar-coma-haze, but LOVING every minute of it!!! So we kept the train running on the tracks…

And followed up with deep-fried Cookie Dough.
Never heard of it, but let’s just say YUM!!!

Night had settled in. The carnival was spinning full speed. And we were nearing the end of our time at the Sandwich Fair. We had had a long day, and it was still a “school-night” for Deni… and a late night for her new bunny!!!

As we were leaving… we needed one last treat for the road…
Everyone said that the Cream Puffs were spectacular… but they don’t have chocolate in them…
so I went for the Chocolate Eclair instead… wrapped up to take home.

Let’s just say… it didn’t quite make it home.                 




Categories: Chicago, photography, sunrise
Categories: bike, sunrise

After yesterday’s crazy food fest at the Sandwich Fair, I really “NEEDED” to do some pedaling this morning. More clouds. More wind. But not enough to deter me…

Soon enough there was a red glow on the horizon… which accentuated the low rain clouds on the other side of the lake. You can practically see the rain coming down over there!

Categories: bike, sunrise

Clear skies this morning. Just a beautiful layering of color across the horizon. A fun contrast to the cloudy days we’ve been having. And a nice addition with the blinking red lighthouse light… fun trying to catch it when it’s on!!!

Soon enough the sun crested the horizon line and brightness shimmered across the water.