This post is totally off the topic of woodworking and painting, although I still think it applies to appreciating art and craftsmanship, and I wanted to share this with you.
About a year and a half ago, in my never ending hunt for fun and exciting “cat” pictures to entertain you all with here in the blog, I came across some pictures from a site called Coffee Cats. Those of you who know me at all know that not only do I have an obsession with cats, but I love my morning coffee too, as well as my evening tea. They are every bit a part of my daily life as breathing.
So you can imagine my excitement when I saw these lovely pieces of pottery that were all hand made by artist April Gadler. They were fun and whimsical and so wonderfully different from anything that I had ever seen. And one of the best parts about them was that they were not mass-manufactured somewhere in China, but each piece was hand made by April herself.
I just HAD to have them.
But things being as they were, and not being a wealthy woman, I had to do some planning. I am doing alright here, but we all know that the economy is troubled and buying patterns isn’t really high on everyone’s list. I try my best to live within my means and not buy anything that I can’t afford and don’t have the money for because it alleviates all the stress of being in debt. I had lived in some debt for much of my adult live and if I have learned anything, I have learned that part of what allows me to live my life as I do is not overextending myself and separating the “needs” from the “wants.” And this definitely was a “want.”
So I tucked the thought of them away (for the moment) and I began saving.
Well, finally around this Christmas I felt that I had nearly enough set aside to order a set. It helped a great deal that I received some money for Christmas, which I had designated to go for the cause. With that money in addition to what I had already earmarked for the pieces, I was able to order the entire set with a clear conscience. And I did just that.
I ordered them just after the holidays, as April had taken a bit of time off for Christmas as many designers do. She was wonderful with letting me pick my pieces and since each piece was hand made, I was able to choose exactly how I wanted them. I even put in a request for her to create some small cookie plates to go with the cups, using the paw print motif that I chose as well as a larger platter for cake or cookies. She graciously agreed to make them for me.
A couple of weeks later, I received an email that they were completed. I was a bit worried about the pieces being shipped without breaking, but April assured me that her husband Larry did a great job of packaging them for shipping and they thought they would be OK.
Well, I received my pieces yesterday and she was right. Everything arrived in “Purrrrrfect” condition! I couldn’t stop smiling as I unpacked each beautiful piece! They were pretty awesome!
The main part of the set was the teapot and the creamer and sugar:
Since I have one black cat and two orange tabbies, I chose to make my all-black Coco the teapot and Richard and Pancakes for the creamer and sugar bowl. Although you can see the sugar bowl has a cat on the back, which I decided to also make black.
The top of the teapot and the sugar bowl have an adorable hand shaped mouse as a knob:
Here is a picture of my coffee today with a few cookies on the cookie plate:
What an absolutely FUN way to wake up in the morning!
Of course my favorite cups are the black cat and the orange tabby:
Initially I was going to order maybe three or four of each, but the other cats were so cute that I decided to have a “mix and match” set and I ordered all 8 different breeds of cat cups that April made. Besides – who knows what cats I will have here in the future! ;)
While getting this set was totally frivolous and unnecessary, it certainly is something that I love. I am not really what you would call a “collector” (unless it is paint or painting books or wood or tools!) but I know that I will keep this set forever and enjoy it every single day. I believe that nice things should be used, and I can’t help but smile every time I look at my cool “Coffee Cats!”
I want to really give a call of thanks to April and her husband Larry for working with me on this. They don’t normally ship to Canada because of all the red tape and customs stuff, as well as the ways the packages are handled, but they made an exception and were very nice to work with. It was quite a relief for all of us that everything arrived intact and nothing was damaged.
I showed the pictures of my set to my daughter last night, who also loves cats and she loved it. I think I know what I am going to get her for her birthday this year! It will be a great way to buy her something that she will have as a keepsake, and support a very talented artist too. It is a win/win for everyone!
So “Merry Christmas” to me! And thank you again to April and Larry for making such wonderful, quality products and being so easy to work with. I will cherish my pieces for the rest of my days!
”Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale ‘til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"