Friday, December 31, 2010

The DuPont 12 Months of 2010

In the first month of 2010, the DuPont family…

….made an impromptu trip to Canada to ring in the New Year with family and good friends and Isla learned to ski.

In the second month of 2010, the DuPont family…

…baked bread, brewed beer, entered a cake contest and retired a crib.

In the third month of 2010, the DuPont family...

---celebrated Gold medal Hockey, hosted family and friends in Logan, and enjoyed some terrific spring skiing.

In the fourth month of 2010, the DuPont family…

…walked the streets of Philadelphia, hunted for eggs with Grandma Lady and finished year two of graduate studies.

In the fifth month of 2010, the DuPont family…

…began our epic summer adventure, went clay hunting in Idaho, got a quick whiff of Kootenay air and had one terrific party with my brother Chris and his wife, Sarah at their wedding.

In the sixth month of 2010, the DuPont family…

…spent an incredible month in Medicine Hat at the Medalta Artists in Residence making pots, making friends, and surviving the floods.

In the seventh month of 2010, the DuPont family…

…toured Canada’s three western provinces, extended the residency in Medicine Hat, and had yet another terrific party with Robin’s brother Jai and his wife, Kelsey at their wedding.

In the eighth month of 2010, the DuPont family…

…worked on the house, beautified the property, hosted the annual pottery show and sale and embarked upon a crazy eye surgery adventure.

In the ninth month of 2010, the DuPont family…

…underwent successful eye surgery, and felt the incredible love and support of an amazing network of family and friends.

In the tenth month of 2010, the DuPont family…

…learned to ride a two wheeler, championed the potty, and were all reunited as a family in Utah after spending 6 weeks apart.

In the eleventh month of 2010, the DuPont family…

…celebrated Isla turning 5 years old, enjoyed being together again, made pots, made pots, made pots, made more pots,.

In the twelfth month of 2010, the DuPont family…

… celebrated Roscoe turning 3 years old, graduated from grad school, enjoyed the wonderful friends we’ve made these last few years and looked forward to moving home to Canada.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year! xo the DuPonts

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our not so Merry little Christmas

Tried as we might, Christmas 2010 was a bust for our little family. With great expectations of eggnog sipping, some skiing together as a family and shouts of joy from little ones on Christmas morning - the scenario was something more like gatorade chugging, trips to the ER on Christmas day and moans and groans instead of squeals of delight.

What a nightmare! Our little family came down with a very nasty strain of Influenza, nearly a week ago, which made all Christmas festivities and events practically non-existant. Santa took pity on us and did produce some wonderful treats under the tree, but they we met with much less enthusiasm than we had hoped, due to the miserableness we all felt. Instead of the much anticipated Christmas duck dinner we had planned, it was noodles and butter for Christmas day dinner this year.

For some strange, but lucky reason, I seemed to escape the symptoms at first and held strong through the week - able to dole out medicines, fetch cold cloths and make smoothies and chicken soup. That was until yesterday when the illness gripped me, just as I thought I'd escaped it's clutches.

Well folks, I hope you all had a happy and healthy Christmas this year. Let's just say it'll be one I'd rather forget.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pre-Christmas funk

'Twas two days before Christmas
when all through our place
three were quite sickly,
and ashen in the face.

The daddy, the daughter
and the smallest one too
had caught a nasty flu bug,
but the mama sailed through.

B'tween naptimes and popsicles
and cuddles on the couch
this Christmas, all we wish for
is the return of good health.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Guest blogger - Roscoe

Hi! I'm Roscoe, and I'm three. I went skiing for the first time yesterday on my birthday, it was fun, but my mommy didn't let me go on the chairlift and that makes me mad. I do like my new airplanes and monster trucks though. And banana cream pie, that makes me happy. I'm three!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

All smiles

The smiles and whiskey were free flowing last night, with plenty to celebrate about. Yesterday afternoon, both Robin and CJ independently met with their academic committees to defend their thesis work and the last three years of their graduate studies here at USU. And gauging by the smiles in the photos, you can assume they were both successful. Hooray, Hooray for the MFA's!

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Moment: So Proud!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - Amanda Soule

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My sister, my hero

We all have people. Spouses, friends, neighbours, family. You know - your people! Each has a role and a purpose in our lives, sometimes to help us, sometimes to comfort us, sometimes to make us better people ourselves.

And those special people that we rely on the most, don't always get the thanks they deserve. My sister is my behind the scenes person. The last few years while we've been away, she's my direct dial whenever I need some help, a favour, or an ear. Quite frankly, I would have a lot more grey hair on my head if it weren't for her unconditional love and generosity. She's reliable to a fault and I am truly lucky to call her my sister and my hero.

Make sure to tell your heros this Christmas how much they mean to you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why did the pot cross the road?

To live on the other side, of course!

We have some really lovely neighbours opposite us here in Logan. Since the first day we arrived, when Marilyn showed up with a welcome basket of goodies, they have been fantastic neighbours to us. Our exchanges, however brief, are always pleasant and reciprocal, sometimes including an offering of fresh fruit or vegetables, or the gift of homemade soup or cookies.

Although, the greatest part of living across the street from Marilyn and Ed is the view. Their place is beautifully landscaped and impeccably maintained, with the added advantage of having the stunning view of the mouth of Logan canyon as a backdrop. Nearly every day I have lived in here in our little brick house, I have looked across the street and admired the view. Never once did I ever consider what the view was like from the other side of the street.

The other day Marilyn called up and inquired whether Robin would consider selling one of his large jars to them. But it was a particular jar, she was after. One that had sat on our front step for the last year at least, for which she often found herself admiring from across the street. Considering our predicament that we have several of these jars laying around, and the fact that they cannot all come home to Canada with us, we were happy to see one go off to a happy home.

P.S. There are still several orphan jars available for any other admirers.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our pal P.Haas

Meet Perry Haas. Perry has been a character in our Logan lives since we arrived back in 2008. Perry is finishing up his undergraduate degree this year at USU, having come out to Utah originally from Chicago, inspired to learn as much as possible about the wood firing process. He eagerly has participated in two USU study abroad trips, to China in 2007 (Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute) and to Korea in 2009 where he extended his stay to study under ceramic artist Hun Chung Lee. And from his record here, Perry was always up for a firing, no matter who needed help filling the kiln or stoking the flames. Even this year, as he obligingly finishes all the other non-studio credits required to fulfill his BFA, he still has been an active participant around the department and even managed to create a body of work for a solo show this semester.

Last weekend we took part in a local gallery walk event around town and made sure to visit Perry's show STOKE that was showcased at one of the participating venues. It was a fun night out, and we were stoked to see such a great turnout for his show while we were there.

Perry is still not completely sure what his plans are after graduation this spring, but is looking into some residencies and perhaps some more travelling abroad opportunities. He's intent on keeping his focus on making work after graduation which I don't think will be a problem with his prolific making tendencies.

Robin will miss having Perry as a firing partner, and we hope to get him up to our neck of the woods one day perhaps for a firing or two. We wish him the best of luck and are rooting for him as he's been nominated for the a prestigious award, the Windgate Fellowship Award. Did I mention, he's also one of Roscoe's 'favwit fwends' - translation Roscoe thinks Perry is way cool!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Art of Optimism

I've been wracking my brain tonight, trying to come up with the appropriate blog post title to convey this past week. And all that came to mind were bad song lyrics 'When the going get's tough', 'Mama said they'll be days like this', 'Like a bridge over troubled water'?????? Then I realized I really must be losing it.

It's been a challenging week, needless to say. The mama has been sick with a nasty head cold for most of it which hasn't helped the situation. The kids seem crankier than usual, the skies more grey and that light at the end of the tunnel just won't appear soon enough. Perhaps some of my sourness can be explained by the 'pre-dinner' hour phenomenon.....when the kitchen is busy with preparations for supper, the house looks like a bomb hit it, the children are hungry and hanging off your leg and housewives and househusbands all over the world begin glancing at their watch wondering when oh when is my darling spouse going to arrive home?

We are so near the finish. And I am certain that we'll make it there. If only I could do something about this head cold. Cough, cough, HONK!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

'Tis the season

To buy pottery! Don't forget your check book (or cheque book if you happen to be Canadian:)
USU Ceramics Guild Annual Holiday Sale
Dec 9th - opening reception 5 - 9pm
Dec 10&11 - 9am until 8pm

Sunday, December 5, 2010

One Fine Fir

The Christmas season has officially started in our house, now that the house is filled with the sacred scent of a live tree.

Robin and the kids spent the afternoon traipsing around together to let me get a bit of R&R, after one whopper of a nasty cold took hold of me in the night. I'm sure they got up to all sorts of silliness, and wasn't the least surprised to see a tree strapped to the roof of the car upon their arrival home.

We spent a good part of the evening checking the bulbs on strings of lights strewn about the livingroom, and eventually got our gorgeous tree all a glow. Although the kids almost preferred the lit up dancefloor.

Friday, December 3, 2010

This Moment: Mother and Son

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -Amanda Soule

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ducks in a Row

Today is the deadline for Robin to have all his official paperwork in to complete his graduate studies. Signatures accounted for, forms filled out, proposal submitted and now the last dash to the finish. Well, sort of finish. He is defending his thesis on December 17th, but as a potter's work is never done, he will likely continue to fire over the Christmas break to see if there are any more gems to be had out of the overworked soda kiln. Good luck to him, and to the rest of us these next couple of weeks. Let's hope nobody Quacks!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Isla's Snow Gauge

The blizzard that came through here last Tuesday and what it left behind pales in comparison to the dump we've been getting this weekend. Thankfully no high icy winds, just lots and lots of snow.

It was almost eerily quiet this morning when we went out to shovel the driveway the first go round. And for most of the day, the roads seemed quiet and the flakes continued to fall. We opted for making some flakes of our own, and decorated some paper wreaths with what was left of the frozen bird berries on the bush outside.

We've decided that our fishbowl kitchen window will become this winter's snow gauge, and each day it snows we'll add to the collection of snowflakes.

So if you're in Logan, drive on by and check out Isla's snow gauge, or better yet bring your sled!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ballerina Buddies

Things are starting to get real festive around here. It seems as though Thanksgiving weekend is the kick off for the Christmas season in America, with people putting up lights, tree lots opening up in parking lots around town, craft fairs and even a performance of the Nutcracker at the local theatre.

This afternoon we took in the matinee performance with some neighborhood friends and it was a real treat! Isla even got to meet some of the dancers a little earlier in the day at a separate Sugar Plum tea event. We may have a ballerina in the works here people.......

Friday, November 26, 2010

This Moment: Oh Deer!

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - Amanda Soule

BBQ'd bird and Bongo Boarding

I think I'll celebrate Thanksgiving twice every year from now on. The last 3 years since moving to Utah, we've continued the tradition of celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving in October and a month later joined in on the American festivities without apologizing for it. I do love turkey dinner!

Last night we hosted the clay crew at our place for an evening of turkey, wine and pie. Not one, but two turkeys met their fate, and both were spectacular (many thanks to Trevor and Donna). Trevor smoked one on the barbeque while the other was roasted to perfection the ol' traditional way.
The kids were thrilled to have a house full of people milling about, laughing and sharing stories. Just about everyone had a turn visiting Isla, the esthetician, and we topped the night off with some good ol' bongo boarding. Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

True to form

Despite the severe storm warnings put out by the National Weather Service on Tuesday afternoon, despite the reported 118 traffic collisions and 119 vehicles that apparently slid off the road, despite the treacherous driving conditions, high winds and poor visibility that closed down sections of Interstate I-15 that night.......

....the ceramics students at Utah State University persevere. Kudos to Perry Haas, Louis Reilly and Alix Brodeur who were unstoppable in their wood prep yesterday afternoon as the blizzard hit Logan. And good luck to them with their firing this long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, may they find their way through the snowy streets to our place for a little turkey at some point.

Monday, November 22, 2010

6 inches under

Break out the toques, mitts, boots, snowpants and coats cause Winter has arrived in Logan! This past weekend marked the first major snow fall here in town for the season, a month prior to the official start of Winter, but welcome nonetheless.

It started snowing on Saturday and turned to a blizzard some time in the night last night. We woke up to a blanket of white covering everything and it didn't let up until much later in the afternoon.

I was ready for the snow to descend down the mountains, and the kids were thrilled to spend much of today outdoors playing in it, with the occasional hot cocoa break.
Now tell me, Who doesn't love winter?

Friday, November 19, 2010

This Moment: Early morning kiln check

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~Amanda Soule

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Suck Truck

It was warm enough this week to do a little leaf raking outdoors. And with the right amount of moisture combined, it made for a wet and soggy mass of leaves to drag to the curb. Although they weren't suitable for pile jumping, at least they didn't blow away.

Besides the curbside recycling and garbage pickup that I am going to dearly miss when we move back to the woods, the Logan City Department also has a curbside leaf pickup. It's fantastic! Around this time of year or sooner, you start to see piles of leaves being collected and mounded at the curb in front of homes. Ambitious folk bag their leaves, but many such as I, just rake them up in a pile and wait.

Wait for the suck truck, and today it came. A garbage truck equipped with a massive sucking hose on the side, designed to drive along and suck up leaves each fall. Worthy of a post, I'd say.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The little teapot that could

The 2011 Annual NCECA Conference, “Tidal Forces: The Next Wave,” will be held in Tampa/St Petersburg, Florida at the Tampa Convention Center, March 30 - April 2, 2011. As part of the NCECA conference each year, a National Student Juried Exhibition is held, open to all full time undergraduate and graduates enrolled in a US ceramics program.

Robin was one of 22 graduate students from across the country selected to exhibit in last year's show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And with great pride, I am excited to spill the beans that he's been selected again for this year's show in Florida. The teapot above is the lucky winner that will take the tour d'fedex cross country this spring to the University of South Florida, which will host the NCECA 2011 National Student Juried Exhibition March 21 - April 2, 2011. Yay!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cupcake cure

Today was supposed to be the much anticipated Birthday party for Isla. Instead of the pancake pyjama party we had planned for her and her pals, she spent the entire morning laying on the couch complaining of a sore tummy.

Turns out the birthday girl has strep throat! Who'd of known since she never complained of a sore throat. Rather it was the fever that triggered me to cancel the party and take her into the clinic.

I have to say that despite the rotten situation of having to cancel her party on her, she was a real trooper and willingly agreed to sleep the entire afternoon away. She even managed to summon a smile when I pulled out the 'birthday cone cupcakes'.

Roscoe enthusiastically inquired whether we could eat the entire batch since the party was cancelled. I suppose it doesn't hurt to ask.

Who knew you could bake cupcakes right inside the cones?Just use your favourite cake recipe, fill the cones 2/3rd full and bake in oven at 350 for 30 mins. To help to ensure they don't come out flat, preheat the oven to 500 before putting them in and then turn down immediately to 350 for the baking time. Another tip to help them stand up in the oven is to use a paper egg carton: cut the lid and bottoms off and insert a cone in each egg slot. Then bake in the oven on a cookie sheet. The paper doesn't burn, I too was skeptical!

Friday, November 12, 2010

This Moment: Hard a work in the studio

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. ~Amanda Soule

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Every girl should be so lucky... have a daughter as sweet and special as mine. Happy birthday Isla Belle. Five years ago today you made me a mama, and I have cherished every moment together. I love you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What's missing?

Roscoe here is having a good ol' chat with his buddy Buzz Lightyear, informing him of how he no longer wears diapers. NO MORE DIAPERS! I can hardly believe it myself. I have endured five solid years of diapering, and I can now say we are at last a diaper free family.

With much help from my mom (and a few bribes) this fall, we were able to potty train Roscoe. But I am most proud of his own accomplishment of night training himself - he's been sporting underpants through the night since we arrived back in Utah with no accidents! Way to go Roscoe!!!!!!

My boy has grown up in more ways than just this it seems lately. I catch myself often marvelling at his language and detailed descriptions of the world, his agility and bravery on the playground and his eagerness to take on new adventures. We decided to enroll him a few mornings a week at the same facility that Isla is attending. Last week was his first experience in this kind of setting ever and he was both curious and successful.

Despite the lump in my throat when I dropped him there that first morning, he seemed ready and confident in his own sweet and humble way. And although my heart still sometimes pangs at seeing him so grown up, he is indeed showing his mama in so many ways that he's ready to take on the world.

To infinity and beyond!!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Get in line!

The soda kiln in the courtyard at USU has been cranking out the pots these days. Amidst our friend Adam Field's visit and workshop this past weekend, he also somehow squeezed in a firing.

And it was a good thing for daylight savings, as it allowed for that extra hour Sunday morning after a late night studio potluck, for the guys to unload and clean up the kiln shelves before Robin's intermediate class started loading it up again at noon.

Robin's thesis work will all be soda fired, and he's getting a good handle on some firing techniques to manipulate the flame during the process. Our spare bedroom has become somewhat of a private viewing showroom for his eyes only as he has already started to accumulate some successful pieces for the show.

Adam also had success with the soda kiln and was happy to take back a load of pots that will be part of an upcoming holiday sale at Red Star Studios , in Kansas City next month. The sale opens December 3rd, so don't miss out on some of these sweet soda pots.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Korean Style

Our good friend Adam Field is visiting this weekend from Durango, Colorado. He's here to do an Onggi and Carved Porcelain Workshop for the folks at USU, presenting the traditional Korean Onggi coil/paddle methods he learned during a 10 month apprenticeship with a South Korean master, Kim Il Maan a few years back.

Adam came bearing gifts from the Korean market in Salt Lake City, and we had a few folks over friday night to dine Korean style on our living room floor. The food was delicious. Somehow I was able to work some magic and the kids were asleep in the their beds before anyone arrived. I'm sure the first thing out of both of their mouths had they been awake would have been, "But Mom, you said we're not supposed to eat in the living room!"

Friday, November 5, 2010


Will they or won't they? It's November 5th and despite the incredible autumn colours, the leaves are still holding out, the sun continues to shine and we are doing a lot of bike riding these days. The weather has been fantastic this week and much of last, but the forecast is for snow this coming weekend, so we are taking every opportunity to pedal while it is still nice.

With winter right around the corner, that also means the looming deadline for Robin is not far away. He is incredibly busy in the studio these days, firing nearly every week and sorting out details for his thesis defense in December. I'm doing my best to steer any undue stress or parental expectations in the other direction so that he can concentrate on this last push to the finish line, but much to the kids delight he happily still finds time for bike rides.