Monday, November 23, 2015


Thank you to all the wonderful friends, customers, and visitors this weekend at the Crafters' Marketplace. I am a lucky gal for all the support and love. Happy Turkey Day to all and stay tuned for Mudstar's next holiday show - XO!! Rae

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Crafters' Marketplace This Weekend!

Hello, lovelies!! Been a busy bee, getting ready for the Crafters' Marketplace this weekend. The Bates Scholarship Fund is the worthy beneficiary, with the added benefit of your getting a hop on your holiday shop! If you're in the Princeton area, please stop by. And snag me some of that off-the-chain toffee from the toffee ladies.  (That's how good it is. They are just known as the toffee ladies. No proper names - none needed.  Fair warning: buy TWO boxes. You can give one away…) xo Rae

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Strip It Away

Our days are just a quilt of the random, aren't they? But if you strip away the laundry, the making of dinner, the paying of bills, there are some beautiful things in there.

1) This snippet about Maurice Sendak and Terry Gross from her interview in the NY Times, this Sunday. It moved me to tears and I've been thinking about it ever since.  

On ‘‘Fresh Air,’’ we listen to Gross grapple with the most complex questions of existence — racial prejudice, faith, family, illness, morality, betrayal, gratitude. In 2011, when Maurice Sendak was 83, Gross called him at his home in Connecticut. What was meant to be a short conversation about his new book, ‘‘Bumble-Ardy,’’ became a meditation on his nearness to death. You feel Sendak looking over into it from his living room.

Sendak: Oh, God, there are so many beautiful things in this world which I will have to leave when I die, but I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready. You know, I have to tell you something.

Gross: Go ahead.

Sendak: You are the only person I have ever dealt with in terms of being interviewed or talking who brings this out in me.  There's something very unique and special in you, which I so trust.  When I heard that you were going to interview me or that you wanted to, I was really, really pleased. 

Sendak is scratchy and emotional, and Gross is gentle with him. ‘‘And almost certainly, I’ll go before you go,’’ he tells her. ‘‘So I won’t have to miss you.’’

2) Kiln-washing the shelves: heavy, messy and necessary.
Detail of our rotting pergola, which I find strangely beautiful.

3) A walk in the woods.

4) The good, practical advice from Stewart O'Nan to carry around the last sentence you wrote, so you can ruminate at the water cooler, in the car, on line at Shop Rite.

5) Finding inspiration up, down and all around.

6)"The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools." -- Henry Beston

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I'm Not One of Those Adorably Messy Artists.

My office view.
Always, a bluebird.
How can a creative person work neatly?  It goes
against principle, doesn't it? I don't know. I'm just not one of those adorably messy artists who pace floorboards dotted with a rainbow of paint blobs, or rustle amid leaning towers of papers, only to pull out the right one. Eureka!

That kind of creative chaos looks delightful and romantic to me, but I can't work that way.  I've got folders, lists and bulletin boards.  I like a deadline. I like to know where I'm going to be at 2pm.

Yes.  I'm one of those.  My theory is that there's so much swirling chaos and so many thoughts competing for attention in my head, that if I had chaos on the outside, too, I might just implode.  Or, you know, I need therapy.  Whatevs.

Thought I'd give y'all a glimpse of my shared office space - the one that's OUT OF THE HOUSE. Go ahead, wrap your head around that little nugget. I get so much more done here than at home. There are no piles of laundry here. Neatly-folded piles, that is.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

Inspiring Lately

There's a crackle and hum that wasn't here last month. The skies are heavy with blue. There's a new parklet in front of Small World Coffee, jubilant with the reappearance of the Nola. Summer girls totter in gladiators and tiny dresses in every hue. Kids yell louder, skate faster, spoon up their blend-ins from Thomas Sweets. The University's iron gates stand empty except for tourists and their iPhones.

My bones feel it, too. They're awake now. I serenade them with wacky jazz murmurations from Koop and scribble funny lines like "a gray imposition in a blue composition." I chew chlorophyll gum because I never did that before. That seems right.  Here's what else is inspiring lately:

Morning, everyone.

This book: My Cool Shed by Jane Field-Lewis. I want every one of these hideaways. Maybe this is where the good words live?

This art: End of Days by Brandie Grogan, because her palette, her repetition, her words, show me that there are others out there...

This amazing tutorial on how to make a clay and rope bowl. Guess what I'm trying next? 

This dramatic and old-new glaze design by Michael Kline at Kline Pottery.

And to the butterfly that flew with me on my walk yesterday, thank you:

this butterfly,
an impossible black,
reminds me of a dark-haired boy 
who folded up my heart
into his paper thin wings
and flew away.

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Rainbow for the Inside of a Cloudy Brain

One of my clay faves is Adam Welch, Director of Greenwich House Pottery in NYC, so when I heard that some of his work would be in Beyond Function, the ceramics show at the Arts Council of Princeton, I hopped to, swung 'round to Small World Coffee to pick up a Nola, then strolled and sipped and stared at these for a while. I'm pretty sure that the artwork did more to wake me up than the icy caffeine did. Like a rainbow for the inside of my cloudy brain.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

Old Tyme is still a-flying...
It's so much more romantic when Robert Herrick says it. Or when John William Waterhouse paints it. Enemy time. There's never enough. The thought of that fuels my fire every day. So much to do. So much to write. Work to do. Parenting to do. Books to read. Places to see. Spring brings it all to the surface again: the green flush of the grass, the gray-green furred buds on the magnolia, the yellow crash of the forsythia at the end of the drive. Another season of creativity is here after the sweet, slow hibernation of winter, and it's out there, waiting, wondering what I will do with it.

John William Waterhouse, 1909.
Copywriting is what I'm doing right now, and it's high time for real estate. Seven days a week for the last month, with another month in front of me. I would have thought that there would be no room for creative thought with all the hours I've been putting in to write about archways and gracious floor plans, but something strange has happened. All this "technical" writing has allowed my creative brain to roam freely. It's like when you have eaten a giant meal and the waiter asks if you have room for dessert. Of course, you say, that's a whole separate area

This current gig has taught me the value of the edit, the hook, of using less words to mean more. Because of the additional income, I feel legitimized to have a shared office space, which has the added benefit of allowing me a quiet place away from my musical, sports-filled, boys-filled household. I've learned to be very economical with my time. Does anyone really care if I make an elaborate meal from scratch or will a rotisserie chicken do just fine? I work in the car while waiting for soccer practice to end. It sounds a little frenetic, because it is a little frenetic, but I like being busy, being useful, earning my own money, encouraging energy to beget energy.

I am also trying to remember to take my walks and my tea, to read my book, to slow down for those morning hugs before the busy day begins. And you know what? I find I savor them all just a bit more because I know these quiet moments are to sustain me and provide me respite before off I go again.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Polka Dot Love

I've been busy with some writing work lately, but found a little time to make these little polka dot dishes.  I'm think I'm partial to the red glaze. (I always seem to be partial to the red glaze, the brighter the better, right?) but I think the pink is quite sweet, too.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends! Hope it's spent with those you love.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

So Plant Your Own Gardens...

If you're like me, sometimes you focus a lot more time on what you did wrong than what you did right. It's so easy. We all know how easy it is.  Second nature sometimes.  Berating yourself, maybe even mentally calling yourself names, getting angry at your just being human.

But what if we tried to see - really see - what we did right? What would that look like?  I tried to keep a list this week.  I'm not saying it was a perfect week.  Far from it.  But at least there was some positivity to balance out the self-flagellation.  And guess what? It made me feel better.

What if we took it a little further? What if we did the same kind of nice things we do for our family and friends, for ourselves?  What would that look like?

Here's my week:

1) I chose an apple instead of chips. Twice.

2) I remembered my coupons for Staples. And mentally congratulated myself. AND saved $7.

3) For some reason, working at home felt like house-arrest this week, so I called a friend and asked her to go for a walk with me. The whole dynamic of my afternoon changed.

4) I pulled on the dreaded spandex and kept my appointment to lift weights. This usually gives me agitata, but I flexed my arm before I left the mirror, and damn it if there wasn't a muscle there.

5) I fully accepted a hug when I didn't feel particularly hug-worthy.

6) I patted myself on the back for marrying well.

7) A little cup of peppermint tea goes a long way.

8) So does a hot shower.

9) Or a fire in the fireplace, even if it's just for me.

What right things did you do this week?  How did you take care of yourself?  How COULD you take care of yourself?  C'mon, think.  I bet that list is longer than you thought. Or if not, it could be…just sayin'.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January Morning

icy rain sings a hard little song against the window
cardinal hiding under brambles
bitter coffee in the cup

my hair still holds last night's sleep
i find the notebook that holds last year's thoughts
so different from my thinking this morning

i wonder where those old words will go now
i wonder where the new words will come from
i wait for the rain to fill the well

Monday, January 5, 2015

Prayer of a Sort

Today I am grateful for:

the cold wind and blue skies and tall pines.

a healthy body with which to take walks.

enough food to eat.

a family who loves me no matter what and whom I love with my whole heart.

to always be curious about and sometimes delighted by this strange world in which we live.

to always be hungry to make things of one sort or another.

a hot cup of tea. Always.

bad jokes. Q: What's a skunk's favorite sandwich? A: Peanut Butter and Smelly (HeeHee…)

the hope that lists provide.