Darlene Foster's Blog

I have always loved pottery and enjoyed creating displays of pottery in the gift shop and Museum and Art Gallery I worked at in my younger days.  As many of you know my own daughter is a talented potter. I wrote about her here  She has recently created a website which I think is amazing, proving she has many talents. Please check out her website 

If you see something you like be sure to place an order. Her items are one of a kind and if she sells a piece, there will never be another one like it.

http://www.madmudslinger.com/

Whenever I travel, I like to check out pottery studios and on my recent trip to New Mexico, I found many. It was on a drive through the Taos Canyon, that we came upon a unique wood-fired pottery and sculpture studio that enticed us to stop in.  Enchanted Circle Pottery was indeed enchanting. The couple, JoAnne and Kevin DeKeuster, who own the studio and create all the work, were away at the time. We were instead greeted by wonderful house sitting potters who gave us the grand tour. We spent quite some time looking at the various works of art and discussing pottery as well as other creative endeavours. Writing did come up as did an opportunity to brag about my potter daughter.

Here are some pictures I took of some of their work:

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From their website: The glazes are created from the wood firing, an ancient Japanese process which produces unique iridescent colours. As the wood burns in the kiln, the ash lands on the ceramic work. The kiln reaches such intensely high temperatures (2400 degrees), that the ash is melted into a glaze. The flames surging across the pots also add interesting marks and colour.

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The studio is in such a perfect setting as you can see from the front window. I am sure the potters are inspired by the beautiful nature surrounding them.

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There was pottery everywhere, even in the yard.

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We had an opportunity to step into the huge wood fired kiln. As you noticed, some of the pieces are very large so an oversized kiln is required.

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And much wood is needed to fire this kiln.

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I couldn’t leave without a purchase.  I chose a salt cellar which I gave to a friend who I know appreciates pottery. Aren’t the colours amazing!

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Should you find yourself in New Mexico, on Highway 64, between Taos and Angel Fire, you must stop in to Enchanted Circle Pottery. It is worth the visit!

 

We are blessed with so many good friends and this past while we have had the pleasure of spending time with many of them. I’d like to share some pictures with you.

We have lived in this area for fourteen years and only just discovered a wonderful place called the Riverhouse Restaurant. It is so lovely to sit on the patio, watch the sunset over the marina, and share a delicious meal with good friends.

Dinner with friends at the Riverhouse Restuarant

Dinner with friends at the Riverhouse Restuarant

Outside the restuarant

Outside the Riverhouse Restaurant

Watching the sun set as we eat

Watching the sun set as we eat

A romantic table for two

A romantic table for two

We enjoyed a fabulous barbeque at our friend’s acreage. We were greeted with a welcoming sign which I believe means “Home Forever More” as we pulled in the driveway. It was a lovely day with boccie ball, lawn darts and croquette organized, plenty of interesting people to chat with and an amazing display of food all in a picturesque setting.

A welcome sign to greet us.

A welcome sign to greet us.

Beautiful flowers everywhere

Beautiful flowers everywhere

Even an owl to oversee eveything

Even an owl to oversee things

A mare and her filly in the pasture

A mare and her filly in the pasture

A civilized game of croquette

A civilized game of croquette

Great food!

Great food!

Making sure everyone goes the right way!

Making sure everyone goes the right way!

Another fiend invited us to a salmon barbeque in her lovely back yard.

A beautiful backyard

A beautiful backyard

Opening the sparkling wine

Opening the sparkling wine

Dinner under the pergola

Dinner under the pergola

We have been so lucky this summer; plenty of good food, good weather and great friends!

I’ve created a trailer for my latest book, Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. Let me know what you think.

 

I was invited to read my books to the students and families of Sowing Seeds Preschool today. What a fun experience that was! Most of the children were preschool age, which is younger than I am used to reading to. But they were very attentive and well behaved. Parents and siblings were also invited so it was a large and diverse group. I read small excerpts from each book and allowed for questions and comments in between. The puppets were a hit again with Ali Baba stealing the show. He was passed around so everyone had a chance to hold him for a minute or two. One young listener was reluctant to return him to me.

The school went all out to make me feel welcome. As I approached the gates of the school, a poster announcing my visit greeted me.

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A walk of fame directed everyone to the gymnasium where I made my presentation. How cool is that!

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I set up my display featuring items representing all four books.

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I read short excerpts from each book, choosing passages with lots of action and animals.

 

 

 

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One delightful three year old girl, Bhargavi, asked me if Amanda was going to India. I said that it was a great idea and that Amanda would love to go to India, as would I.

answering questions

answering questions

 

When the children got a bit restless, the Director of the school had them stand up and do the Hokey Pokey. They loved shouting Yee Haw at the end (the cowboy version). So I donned my cowboy hat and read from Amanda in Alberta.

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I was presented with a delightful book the students had created together just for me as a thank you.

 

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It ended with thank you written in all the languages represented in the school. Something I will treasure forever!

And some may wonder why I write.

 

During my recent trip to New Mexico, my travelling companion and I visited the St. James Hotel in Cimarron on the Santa Fe Trail. The hotel was built in 1872 by a trained French chef, Henri Lambert. Many famous guests stayed in this elegant but often violent hotel. Cimarron is Spanish for wild or unruly, which was a fitting name for this lawless town in the nineteenth century when arguments were often settled with bullets. Twenty-six people lost their lives at the St. James Hotel.

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The lobby of the St. James Hotel

The lobby of the St. James Hotel

We had a delicious burrito lunch in the restaurant sitting under a huge Texas longhorn. We then wandered into the bar where bullet holes from days gone by, pepper the ceiling.

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Famous lawmen, outlaws and wild west characters  stayed in this hotel. Colourful individuals such as Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Doc Holliday, Jesse James, Buffalo Bill Cody, the author Zane Grey and Annie Oakley.We wanted to look inside the rooms that are still decorated in the manner Mr. Lambert had established. With luck a friendly maintenance man agreed to show us around. The St. James is still an operating hotel but since many of the rooms were vacant we could check them out.

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The Annie Oakley Room

The Annie Oakley Room

The very room Wyatt Earp slept in

The very room Wyatt Earp slept in

We had heard the hotel was haunted and were eager to learn more. Our guide told us that many guests have felt the presence of the spirits of those who have met their demise in this hotel. The staff tell stories of cutlery being moved around, a cowboy suddenly appearing and then disappearing and the sudden scent of rose perfume. Room #18 is never rented out as the ghost of a cowboy,  T.J. Wright, killed during a game of cards, resides there. The St. James Hotel has been featured on a number of television shows.

The card room where the guest of #18 was shot

The card room where the guest of #18 was shot

A peaceful sitting area outside with murals, a waterfall and a bear about to steal a freshly baked pie is a good place to escape from the eerie feeling inside.

Peaceful outdoor seating

Peaceful outdoor seating

 

 

 

 

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This was a great place to visit, full of wild west history and ambiance. I’m sure there are many stories contained in those walls. But I’m not sure I would want to spend a night.

More great pictures of the hotel and the rooms here

Today was a fabulous sunny day and a perfect day to launch Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. This is the fourth book in the Amanda travel adventure series. (Can it be possible that I have had 4 books published?) The event was held at Albany Books, a wonderful local book store. I was delighted to see so many of my friends and supporters stop in. I am blessed with the most amazing fans of my work. Those that couldn’t make it were there in spirit.

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Faithful followers of Amanda came from near and far.

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Young fans of Amanda and her adventures

My biggest fan and official photographer

My biggest fan and official photographer

I dedicated this book to my dear cowboy dad. The bolo tie I am wearing was his and the horseshoe on the table came from his ranch. I think he would have liked that. It was indeed a perfect day for a book launch!

 

Today I am a guest on Leanne Dyck’s informative blog.

Why I Write for Children by Darlene Foster

I began my love affair with books as a child. Some of my fondest memories are being read to by a family member, visiting the library for the first time, and discovering the ability to read by myself. I keep worn copies of favourite childhood books and revisit my old friends from time to time for comfort. Books and children go together like strawberries and ice cream.
Read more of the article here and add a comment:
The picture of the cutie reading is my four year old great granddaughter. Reading runs in the family.

 

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