Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hello.  How is April almost over all ready?!!  Our Farmer's Wife Quilt Along is continuing and for April we have the option of making 21 blocks.  Well I have gotten a very late start to making my blocks.  This top photo is #12 Broken Sugar Bowl.  I am finding that quilting little pieces of fabric is just like putting together a puzzle.  Unfortunately I have NEVER liked or been good at doing puzzles.  I am however enjoying this piecing together of my beautiful fabrics.  
 This is #20 Churn Dash.  This one makes me extra happy because my focal floral and blues are featured.  So I have completed 2 of the 21 blocks.  I will be making a few more but certainly not all of them.  I am making a wall hanging and do not need as many blocks as I would for a bedding quilt.  For both of these completed blocks I did not have all of the Marti Michell (MM) plastic cutting templates and needed to improvise.  I can really tell the difference in accuracy.
This is one of the blocks I would like to make however as you can see I will have to use several of the paper templates.  I was rather unhappy with my local store because I had ordered the MM template sets from them so I would be shopping local which is very important to our little community.  However, when I went in to pick them up at the agreed timing there were no templates for me to buy.  This has happened to me before exactly the same thing with them.  They forgot to order them.  The first time I was patient and waited for a few more weeks.  This time I was very sad and talked with them about this.  I left my name and phone number so a resolve could be completed and they would call me.  Never got a phone call and over a month has passed.  This is not the way to do business...especially in a small community.  Even worse I missed buying them online from MM with her generous BOGO 1/2 off offer because I was trying to "shop local"!  Now I am really unhappy because I have no templates I need and will have to pay full price which is hard to do on my limited budget.  I am only going to hope I will get another offer from MM and I will definitely buy them online.  Sew much for trying to be helpful to our economy in rural America.
Thank you for letting me get that out in the open.
Our weather the past two days has been very rainy.  The rain is refreshing and all the new Spring growth is probably very happy.
I see by reading my favorite blogs that there is a lot of creativity and cleverness happening all over.  I am seeing wonderful hand made things and I am inspired everyday.  Thank you all for Creative Bliss...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Light Airy Necklace...

 My blogging friend, Elle, is the inspiration for this project.  Go read her blog for more fun and folly...elle in da coop.    See what she is up to each week.  She showed a version of this necklace in greens and it intrigued me enough to email her and ask about it.  You can see in this photo it only takes some yarn such as Railroad or Trellis that has an interesting texture to it.  A large crochet hook...I used an N.  That is about all that is needed.
Here is the finished necklace.  The photo is shadowy due to my not knowing how to undo a special effect I decided I didn't like after I had saved it.  The back of the necklace is finished with ribbon end closures and a magnetic clasp.  Super easy and super fast.  This is a project that doesn't get any easier or faster to complete.  I can see these being made and given as Mother's Day gifts or birthday gifts or just because gifts. I already have some other color combinations to try.
Thank you Elle for this wonderful inspiration and sharing the how-to with me.
Our weather continues to be lovely and very Spring sunny.  Mr. C and I did a fair bit of yard work this past weekend.  I won't lament about all that still needs attention and doing.  I find I get easily overwhelmed if I look at the big picture.  However if I merely begin a tiny little patch and pull weeds and move along then after a few hours I have accomplished quite a bit more than I realized.  I really fool myself.  Bahahaha...
For those of you with snow storms hitting I pray for your safety.
Here's to a week of wonderful accomplishments...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring Glorious Spring...

 We are honestly having Spring.  Most years it gets lost in Winter/Summer.  This week we have had glorious weather and the plants are showing their new growth.  I decided I better get outside and do some hands and knees clean up.  Our winters are very harsh and the snow and freezing temperatures really devastate most plants.  If they survive it is only after regrowing from the ground up for the most part.  Here are some purple pansy plants I put in last Fall.  I am truly amazed to see their happy cheerful faces coming back out.  Not all survived.  The other side has zero surviving pansy plants.  There is no rhyme or reason so I just accept whatever I get.
 Here is the newest Hosta we put in last Fall.  It looks like it will be just perfect.  I have 5 of my 6 Hostas that have survived.  The one that didn't make it was very sad and small last year so I am not surprised.  This will be the first time we have planted them in the newly protected deer fenced backyard.  I had planted an entire array of them up front in the shade and the deer ate them completely gone each year.  Very disappointing in the past.  This looks very promising.
Here are the Saucer Magnolia trees.  We have three dwarf trees that are almost 70 years old.  We  bought them in Southern California and transplanted them here when we moved in.  These are commonly called Tulip trees for the blossoms.  Such a beautiful shade of pink and purple.  The green leaves are beginning to unfurl at this time also.
 Here is a close up of the Magnolia blossoms aka Tulips.  I am especially enjoying them this year with the glorious sunshine we are having this week.
 My beloved hydrangea Mr. C got for me and planted last Fall.  I was very sad when it died down to the ground and looked completely dead.  New growth and I have hope for a big beautiful plant.  It is the species that should bloom blue.  Keeping my fingers crossed on this one.
Here is our work in progress.  I have de-weeded and cleaned up the entire area.  Next Mr. C will re-set all the drip lines for watering.  In the meantime I really don't mind hand-watering...actually I love to hand-water as I find it to be so peaceful and I feel closer to nature while tending to my special beautiful plants.
As a side note:  Mr. C has proclaimed me a genuine HOARDER.  Now this is not only for my vast supply of crafting and fabric stash but for the fact that I have not passed the Rock of Gibraltar as of yet.  He says, "You can't get rid of anything can you?"  Very funny honey.  I would gladly pass this if I knew how.  I went to a specialist and am taking a new med for it.  I will see him again next week for further possibilities. Meanwhile I am to stay busy and do as much normal activity as possible with the pain I am having.  Joyful!
I haven't had any energy or creative muse but I did enjoy working in the yard.  At least I accomplished that much.
Thank you to each of you for your well wishes and concern.  I truly appreciate you more than you know.
Glorious Spring to all...and Fall to those of you in that part of the world.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pen Pal Pink...

As a side note I wish to thank each and every one of my wonderful blog followers who have wished me well.  I am still awaiting "The Rock of Gibraltar" to pass.  My energy level and creativity are totally missing.  I did manage to rip out that awful gray crocheted yarn scarf.  Maybe I will begin crocheting something cheery and bright today.  

Here are some little gifties I made for my April Pen Pal.  I was paired with Dogwood two years ago for National Write A Letter Month.  We have continued to send letters, cards and special little surprises to one another ever since.  We actually live just a few miles apart but have yet to get together and meet.  I think that is part of the fun of being pen pals.  Dogwood is very creative and makes the cutest things.  Please visit her blog here.

April is also Dogwood's birthday...Happy Birthday!  She loves pink so I made her a little lavender filled sachet.  This birthday card with hearts and laces was fun to put together.

In keeping with my pink and green theme I made her this ATC.  I just adore ATCs so I tend to make them for others.
Here is a little bag I made for her too.  It has two pockets.  This is actually the backside with a shorter pocket.
Here is the front side of the bag.  I was so excited to use my Farmer's Wife quilt block skills I recently learned and made a "Friendship Star" block.  When I made the quilt block I had no idea how I would use it for her birthday but knew it had to be the focal piece.  Fortunately my creative muse took charge and created this little pink and green bag to hold cards or notes or whatever.  It looks quite cute hanging over a doorknob also.  I am certain Dogwood will find a purpose that suits her.  I can post these photos now because I know she has received her package and likes her gifties.  She FaceBooked them.
I am so pleased that I got these all completed just before my little set-back.  Happy Birthday Dogwood!
Happy Birthday to my sisters who also share April birthdays...Joyce April 4th and Marie April 16th.  And of course Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband Mr. C who is April 12th.
Our weather is beautiful...I see it out the windows.  I did peek at the new rose bushes.  They have tiny leaf sprouts on them.  Mr. C is very happy.  I hope to take photos soon.
May each of you have your creative muse in high gear and enjoy the journey...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Feeling Under the Weather...

I was feeling less than well all last week.  I just figured I had the flu and would feel better in a short while.
This gray yarn and these wonky stitches look just like I feel.  Normally I wouldn't share this on my blog however I feel it is important for others...just in case.
This photo is of a scarf I was crocheting.  I had it out the other day to see if I wanted to complete it.  No.  I wanted to pull it all out and begin anew.  It is just too drab and dreary.  It has no pizzazz.  This is just how I am feeling.  Last week when I got so sick Mr. C wanted to take me to ER and I refused.  I had him Google gallbladder and appendicitis and when both told of symptoms of sharp pain on the right side I was relieved as my pain was on the left side.  On the eighth day I was out of options and in such pain I had to call my doctor's office.  They told me to go straight to ER for tests they wouldn't be able to do in their office.  Mr. C drove me to ER and stayed with me.  I was there about 6 hours.  Actually no waiting time and all of the doctors and nurses were very kind and attentive.
Turns out to be a kidney stone that is 4+mm in size.  I didn't even realize women got such things.  Somehow I only thought men got them.  So now I am home and awaiting the birth of my stone.  If only it would be a rare and beautiful pearl.  No further details from me.
I haven't been creative.  I haven't been able to read blogs or emails.  I haven't sewn or glued or glittered  anything.  I am drowning in a lake of water having to drink 10 glasses per day.  Sitting is the worst but I am not to stay in bed.  I did some house chores this morning but that was not a good idea.  We had snow last Thursday and Friday.  Today was sunny and nice but I was indoors and missed it.  
So for now I shall merely be content in knowing what my pain and illness really is.
I miss each of your blogs and happy creative spirits.
My mantra for now..."This too shall pass"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Himalayan Blue Poppies...

 One of the blogs I follow is Wildflowerhouse by Sharon.  She paints the most beautiful watercolor flowers.  One day I was exclaiming about her blue poppy watercolors.  She kindly emailed me the information about the inspiration flowers she grows.  So I went on a quest for Himalayan Blue Poppy plants.  No nursery here in my area sells such a species.  So to the internet I went.  Hmmm...seeds for sale...
Mr. C got involved and ordered me some seeds for planting.  The label is just right.  Beautiful blue flowers.  Those seeds are mighty small.  I hope I don't sneeze.  Think of a poppy seed muffin and you have the idea of the size of the seeds.  After a lot of research and reading I must "stratify" the seeds.  What?  I am so not a country girl or farmer's daughter.  
Here I have my good quality paper towel, moistened, and sprinkled with my teeny tiny seeds.  This is 5 packets of seeds!  I can only think I should have purchased 1000 packets so I can have some flowers that might grow and bloom.  
Here is my moistened paper toweling with the seeds enclosed in their sealed baggy which now sits in my refrigerator for 3 weeks.  No peeking and no touching!  This process is done to wake the seeds up from their dormant state they have been in.  
On May 1st I will be able to process these tiny seeds to the next step.  I will explain that when I get to it as it  overwhelms me to even try to understand what I am supposed to do.  I hope I remember to take photos then also to share.
Thank you Sharon for sharing your Himalayan Blue Poppy information with me.  I hope mine grow and bloom.
Our weather is very Winter!  Rain all day yesterday.  Today it is pouring rain and sleet, slush, hail, and a few snowflakes.  I am hesitating to run my errands as I just want to stay indoors and be cozy and dry.  However, today is Mr. C's birthday and we have plans.  Driving "down the hill" an hour each way to go shopping for new Levi's and then a really special birthday dinner at a favorite french restaurant he likes.  Happy Birthday Baby!
Yesterday I spent time in my studio and found the floor and swept it.  I also cleared a huge pile of stuff from my worktable.  It always feels so good to make progress.  I also prepped some packages for mailing...
May you each have days filled with joy and creative bliss...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Free PJ Tools...

I am not normally anxious to enter give-aways...especially really popular ones that get hundreds of comments.  However, for this one I am making an exception.  Miss Lori of Pretty Things blog is having a most generous give offered by PJ Tools.  Be sure to visit and see the copper heart earrings she created.  Because I like to make jewelry and charm pieces and general creative things I know I would really utilize these lettering tools and this fabulous little hammer.  So I admit to posting this so I might have a very slim chance of being selected to receive these tools.  I also admit to having my fingers crossed.  
Thank you for indulging my obsession with crafting tools.  One must have the right tools to do the job!  That is what Mr. C always says every time he purchases a new tool for anything car or engine related.  
Today has been a very wet one with lots of rain and dreary skies.  The deer came through munching everything green.  We had a bumper crop today...3 mamas and 4 little deer all traveling along our delicious landscaped buffet.  
Constant Creating is what I am trying to do today...  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Finishing ATCs...

Here are my supplies for the "April in Paris" ATC swap I am participating in this month over at ArtJoyStuff with Kimberly. Last month I did the "Celebrate Spring" and was ever so pleased with the swap results.  Thank you again Kim for managing all of this.
I thought this would be a wonderful week of completing unfinished projects however as my favorite quote says, "Life is what happens while you are busy making plans" John Lennon.  This week is rapidly shortening and my projects are not getting completed.  In fact I have had to start some new projects that I didn't intend on starting right now.  Flexible!  That is what I try to be.  I am still not feeling 100% since I got ill last week.  I am hoping it was just the flu and will be long gone very soon.  My energy level is not what it normally is.
Mr. C will be having his birthday Thursday  so I have been doing some extra special meals for him that take lots of attention and time (read...away from being crafty creative.).  I also baked him a cake because he really likes cake for his birthday and you do understand as we age we must celebrate and enjoy for many days...not just one.  So chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and covered in chocolate chips is what we have been eating every day.  My weigh in this week will be out-of-control but at least I know this too shall pass.
Happy week to all and I trust all your chocolate bunnies and jelly beans and deviled eggs are completely eaten.
Happy Spring and Birds Who Sing and lots of Creative Bliss...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What To Tackle This Week???

I think I have shared before about my Fosters Chickens.  Here you can see one of them.  She has her nose stuck into a bag of unfinished business.  These Foster Girls are always getting into something and I am never quite sure how they move around but they certainly do.  They have a front row view to the great outdoors while sitting on my sewing room corner window seat.  They have told me how comfortable it is and how much they like it.  I must take their word as I have not gotten to sit and enjoy it myself.  We might have to rearrange some things very soon.
Well I think I am getting the message of finishing some projects that have been hanging around far too long.  I will share the details at a later date...please read, when I finish.
Why is it always more fun to begin new projects than to finish old projects?  I certainly like finished projects.
This week I shall be finishing some already begun projects before I shall begin any new ones.
I know the Fosters Girls will be keeping me on my best behavior.  Ohhh...I do hope they don't figure out how to write blog posts.  They would surely do a tell all and I am not certain how I would like that.  They have far too much blackmail on me as it is.  After all they have lived with my since about 2005 or so.  They must have all kinds of fodder to share.  Good thing my computer is not within their wing-span reach.
Happy productive week to all.  The weather report says we are in for another rainy and possibly snowy week.
May we all finish more projects than we begin...

Humble Easter Display...

 Some of my favorite little Spring and Easter pieces displayed for my enjoyment. 
Easter Blessings and Bunny Hugs
to you and yours...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Generous Giving Friends...

 I realize I have introduced you before to Ana of Scrappy Pink Corner however this is worth repeating.
Ana and I decided to have a one on one swap.  We both love to create and surprise the other.  We both love to make beaded stickpins.  So that was sort of our theme.  I received this lovely package. She outdid herself to say the least.
 Here is a thread spool she altered into a memo holder with a clip.  I have her beautiful handmade card shown here.  I do love blue.
 Inside one of the packages was this key ring.  It is beautiful and I adore it. What really makes it extra special is the thoughtful sewing themed charms Ana added to the chain.  This is so me with the heart and bling.  I told her I will attach this to my very special Gingher fabric scissors my Grandma bought me decades ago.  NO one is allowed to touch those scissors but me.
 This is another super cute charm Ana put together.  I adore her attention to detail.
 Here is a sneak peek of the beaded stickpins she made just for me.  Ana is very proud to say that even though she makes hundreds of pins she only makes pins special for the person she is giving them to.  I feel very special.
 Here are the additional pins she created.  Each one a little work of art.  I truly appreciate all the beads and butterflies and angels and time she puts into these.
 And this is how super clever Ana is!  A bunny for display.  This is one side she decorated in all the Easter glory of flowers and colors.
This is the other side of Ms. Bunny with all her charm and decorative pins.  Ana cleverly used eggs to make a place for the pins to rest.  This beautiful bunny will be part of my Easter decor for many years to come.  But I must add...when Easter is gone and all the chocolate bunnies have been devoured this bunny will be displayed prominently in my sewing room to remind me of the generous gifts from a dear bloggy friend.   Thank you Ana.  You have once again overwhelmed me with your talent and generosity.  I will be happy to swap with you anytime.  In fact I have my thinking cap on as I type.
P.S.  If you hurry over to Ana's blog you will see her latest altered egg cartons.
We have had snow flurries again.  Mr. C was able to finish planting his new rose garden just before the snow began to fall.  I wasn't able to help him this time however I do think he got much more done with me not helping.  :o)  He now has twelve rose bushes in the rose garden and we will both enjoy them so very much.  I will share photos when they begin to grow.
May you enjoy this Good Friday and all of your Easter weekend.  Spending time making memories...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Blessed Beautiful Star...

When our time seems to be its busiest someone offers to make you something if you merely tell them what word you select and you wonder how can this be.  Reluctantly I gave my word selection to her and thought how can she possibly do such a generous thing for so many.  My desire to own something hand made by this  wonderful woman far out-weighed my thoughts of overloading her busy workload.  You probably recognize the signature style of Jillayne whose blog A Fine Seam is such a heartwarming place to visit.  
 My word was "blessed" and here is my hand made star with tiny little stitches spelling out blessed on one side.  This side has some more tiny stitches and a bead center.  The blue stitching and ribbon is my favorite color.  Actually I love all blues in all shades but this is so serene I extra love it.  The presentation on the tag is  wonderful and I shall display this on my inspiration board to see at all times.
I am blessed to be so fortunate to have friends like Jillayne in this creative blog community we enjoy.
Jillayne also made this lovely wool flower with the center being a vintage button.  More tiny stitches from Jillayne as she hand made this from her heart.  Sweet little card with adorable bird looks like Spring emerging from Winter...just like nature is doing right now.
Thank you dear friend.  I cherish these gifts hand made by you for me.
We had some more rain overnight...3/4 inch.  Today was fairly sunny yet cold.  Mr. C and I got two roses transplanted and two new David Austin bare root roses planted yesterday.  We were both pretty much covered in mud but glad we got so much done before more rain.  I must add we have planted new roses only because last year we put up a very tall deer fence and so far the deer have not eaten what roses we had left. I shall stay vigilant and watch to see that they don't get in to eat the new roses.  I can't even count the number of rose bushes they have eaten and killed in the past. I did see a family of four munching along the outside of the fence and practicing their running and circling and jumping.  They can really jump like a Pogo stick.  I tried to shoo them off but they just looked at me and stayed their ground.
As Easter approaches may you enjoy your candy or chocolate of choice as it is so available right now.  I know I am eating my share of all the bunny goodies.  Creative Bunny Hugs...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Celebrate Spring ATC Swap...

 Finally I was able to participate in an ATC swap with Kimberly of ArtJoyStuff blog. I have always wanted to join in on this fun as I always heard such raves from others who participated. I got my swap package.  Thank  you Kimberly for hostessing this and for doing such a wonderful job.  Everyone was so right!
This postcard was included in the package.  Kimberly took a tag she created and added a doily, buttons and  a ribbon bow to have the postcard reflect her style.

This beautiful butterfly tag was tied on the package.  I love butterflies and Celebrate Spring was the swap theme.  My six for six ATCs were wrapped in a lovely sheet of scrapbook paper...hmmm future projects.

 Here are the ATCs I received.  I adore them all.  Each one so unique and beautiful. The Celebrate Spring theme was definitely followed by these creative talented people.  Thank you to Sylvia, Lynn, Liz, Troy, Karen and Danielle.  I simply feel spoiled with these additions to my ATC collection.

Here is the next swap that Kimberly is hosting.  April in Paris.  Did you say that in your mind or did you sing that in your mind?  I always sing it.  Check out her blog for details as you still have time to enter.
I have loved ATCs since I discovered them.  The size of a standard playing card...2.5" x 3.5" is such a fun size to work with.  Other than size the possibilities are endless for artistic expression.
Now I must leave my computer and get outside for the limited non rainy snowy day we are having.  Mr. C and I will be planting a couple of new David Austin roses to enjoy.
Happy Spring and Birds that sing and all new growth and flowers and joyful play to each of you...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lusted After Handmade...

 I admit I have lusted for material things.  I know I am weak however when it comes to something so beautiful and made by the hands of an extremely talented artist I am not ashamed to want.  I fell in love with Vicki's hand knit nests at least two years ago.  Please visit her blog to see much more.  She also travels to beautiful locations and then shares her photos with us.  You won't be disappointed.
As for her hand knit nests I really wanted one.  So I finally got up the courage to obtain one and missed the limited quantity opportunity.  So I emailed Vicki and got on her waiting list.  Alas my package arrived.  It was wrapped so beautifully with hand stamped nests on tissue and the gorgeous tag along with Vicki's Moo card attached.
 This is my gorgeous woodland nest.  You can only appreciate it in person as my photo does not begin to show the colors and yarns and work that Vicki puts into this unique creation.  Mr. C had been grumbling (about my needing more stuff) before he saw it and when it arrived...he completely changed his tune!  He was quite impressed and intrigued and immediately began reciting the types of yarns he saw.  He knows the yarns because he accompanied me on many travel quests for specialty yarns I put into my boas.  He also paid for those exotic yarns and therefore appreciates how costly yarns can be.
I placed my coveted nest on a pedestal so the yarns could properly fall around the nest.  It is truly amazing and I am entranced. Thank you so much Vicki for making me this beautiful and amazing piece of art.  
I have displayed it in my entry for all to see. It is accompanied by a wonderful tray of natural pieces and some of my favorite things such as beach glass, rocks and a real bird nest I found in my yard.
Somehow I am at peace now that I have my little nest close to me.
Yesterday we had more rain and snow all day.  Today I see blue sky and some sunshine and how beautiful it looks.  For outdoor activities it is far too cold for me so that is my reason for not being outside pulling weeds in the muddy slime.  I was able to spend time yesterday cleaning and organizing my studio.  Where do all the piles of stuff come from that end up on my worktable and floor?!?!?!  Today I am hoping to do some putting away and organizing in my sewing room.  I think some of the studio piles migrated into the sewing room!
Serene Sunday and wonderful week ahead to all...