Thursday, August 23, 2012

From Her Heart & Hands...

I am continued to be amazed at the creative talents and generosity of such gifted people here in blogland.  This very special gift arrived in my mail box just the other day.  I couldn't imagine what it was or who had sent it.  I had even seen it on her blog post and commented how lovely it was.  Me?  Mine?  For real?
Suz of Suztats is this generous gifted lady.   Thank you deeply from my heart Suz.  I love them.

Blogging for me is about sharing.  Sharing the love of making things.  About people I am drawn to.  Things we share in common.  I love reading comments on my posts.  They are for me a confirmation of someone who shares creative interests.  They are also a source of constructive criticism.  Things that can help me grow and learn.   I love it when people really get me...follow who I am and what I do and like.
Suz did just this.  She follows me, reads my blog, comments and shares similar creative interests.  I had no idea how much she "got me" until this surprise beautiful handmade gift arrived.  I adore her art and this flower is hand drawn and water colored by her.  I love blue...all very favorite color.  I love flowers.  I love thoughtful handmade gifts.  This card is all of these things.

This is an ATC and if you read my blog you know how smitten I am with this little art venue.  Only 2.5" x 3.5" yet so much creativity in such a little space.  Blue hand dyed fabric...beautiful.  Lace flowers and a lace butterfly...gorgeous.  And the finishing touch...tatting!  I am so overwhelmed by this lovely and thoughtful gift.  Suz knows how much I love tatting and am trying to learn...without having success.  She spent her precious time to tat for me.  Thank you Suz for not only hand creating each of these beautiful and thoughtful gifts but for connecting with me and sharing our love of creating, gardening, nature, beading, stitching and  more.
I am truly blessed.
P.S.  Happy Birthday Suz...we also share the same birthdate and she paid attention and waited an entire year to surprise me!
Our world would be such a better place if we had a lot more Suz's to care about people and pay attention.  Now I shall do my very best to be a caring and thoughtful person in return.
Happy August Summer Sunshine Smiles...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

 I found this pattern at my local store and just knew I had to have it.  My dear friend is becoming a Grandma for the very first time and she knows the baby will be a boy.  She will be "Oma" which is German for Grandma.  Today a mutual friend held a wonderful baby shower for her.

 I cut out the fabrics of my choice using a red gingham in honor of Oma loves red.  Here I am stitching per the pattern.  So far pretty easy.

Taking shape and getting trickier.  This is similar to making tiny little Barbi doll clothes.  I will not let tiny little pieces of fabric get the better of me.

 Here are the little tiny shoes completed.  I adore them.  They were worth the effort of making them from scratch.
They were well received at the shower today.  I might just have to make another pair of these adorable little shoes just for me.  I do adore shoes after all.
Our weather is continuing to be very hot and semi humid but with no rain to refresh and hydrate our very dry forest land.  I embrace the heat...after all it is summer and my favorite month of August.
Enjoy your lazy days of Summer...sunshine, ice cream, bubbles, sunflowers, and so much more are my favorite things...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Treasured Keepsakes Display...

 I am sentimental.  I love everything I have.  I keep everything ever given to me or made for me or found by me.  Here is the top of an alcove built-in dresser Mr. C hand built for me.  Mr. C hates clutter!  He does not like horizontal surfaces to be covered with stuff.  However in this instance he likes this display (as long as I keep it neat and not let it get too out of control).
This is a display of vintage purses and hats that belonged to my Grandmother's Aunt Flossie.  Some of the hats are mine that I used to wear.  I still love wearing hats.  I have used the vintage handbags for different events however they are getting rather fragile so I prefer to view them only.  Several are hand beaded.
 Do you like to have your keepsakes out where you can enjoy them?  I used to keep everything safely tucked away in boxes or drawers but then I never saw them.  Now that I can see them everyday I enjoy them all the more and think of the lives that enjoyed them and the travels they must have taken.  I do know Aunt Flossie was a world traveler so there is a lot of history and stories to tell by these treasures.
These treasures make me smile.  I truly adore each and every item.  Sometimes I add and sometimes I edit but mostly I just admire all of it.  I can only hope my daughter and granddaughters carry on the sentimentality of caring for these treasures.  I am very fortunate to be the keeper of them for now.
Our weather continues to be in the extreme heat pattern with no rain in sight.  We have forest fires burning in so many areas near us (not scary close at this time) that our air quality is very bad, the sky is smoky gray and ashes are falling from the sky.  I can only pray that all are safe and the fires are put out very soon.
I have been able to play (gosh it has been a while but my faithful 2012 word has been patient with me) in my studio and I am working on a couple of things I will share in the near future.
Summer Sunshine Smiles as we enjoy the remainder of favorite month!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mother Daughter Bracelets...

I couldn't help myself.  Really I couldn't.  I made a bracelet for my daughter for her August birthday and she liked it.  Then I realized I left my beads all out on the table and they kept calling to me.  Since I had liked her bracelet so much I wanted one for me.  I never do the exact same thing twice so I searched through my beads and charms and found some similar but slightly different bits.  I set about and in short time had made myself a five strand bracelet with seven charms dangling.  I kept this one in the monotone shades of light and added both gold and silver tones as accents.

Here is the finished piece.  I adore it.  Some bling.  Some understated elegance of freshwater pearls and mother of pearl beads and leaves.  Some high end Swarovski crystal beads which are my favorite.

No velvet ribbon on this bracelet.  I tried a different idea and like it very much.  I used one half of a toggle clasp to gather the five strands of beads together.  This toggle actually has two loops which I attached the charms to.  I use split rings instead of jump rings for the added safety of them not falling off.  

I have hearts for love, one little crown for fun and a butterfly for 10,000 happinesses.  I must admit I am pretty happy with this bracelet.
Have you tried your hand at making one of these?  They are super simple and can be as funky or as simple or as elegant as you wish to make them.  Great gift idea as the holidays of giving approach all too quickly.
Our heat wave continues.  Mid 90sF is very warm for us.  Triple digits all around us just down the hill.  No rain and everything is so dry.  Trees and bushes are turning brown with lack of water. We keep our landscaped areas well watered but the huge forest trees are really crying out for rain.
I am off to volunteer hostess at my local Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center today.  I love meeting people from all over...some close by and others from across the globe...who come here to our little town.
Wonderful weekend and I hope you do something special just for yourself that makes you truly blissful...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

With the long Summer days I am still outside more than inside.  Maximizing the chores to be done such as weeding and watering.  We continue to finish the outside fascia boards of the deck.  Power washed all the wasps/hornets/yellow jacket nests down from under the deck railing.  Its the details that make for delightful days.
The photo above is one of the bags made from a simple square of fabric.  I have self lined this one with some cushy fleece in between the fabric layers.  I added a grosgrain ribbon hanger with a larger heart button as this was for a friend's birthday.  Easy to mail.  She has received it and likes it.
I admit I am in love with these little fabric triangle pouches.  I learned to make them as "thread catchers" but have since thought of many more uses.  I will be sharing as many as I can in the near future.  After all I am making many of these as I adore them and they are fabulous little gifts to mail.  One of these accompanied the little bag above to the special birthday lady.  
Here are a couple more little lovelies.  Did I mention I am addicted to making these?  This is a healthy addiction.  It is also sew much fun to select fabrics that coordinate or shockingly pop against one another.  
Here is how I package them for mailing.  Sometimes I leave off the tie as it adds a lump to the envelope.  Simply use a 12" x 12" piece of scrapbooking paper or wrapping paper.  Fold it in thirds and then in thirds again.  Open up the paper and place the little flat pouch in the center square.  Then re-fold and slip one end into the other open end and voila...a little gift all contained in pretty paper.  Then embellish with stickers or whatever strikes your fancy.  Slip this into a card you are mailing or merely an envelope for mailing.  Fast and  easy and a wonderful gift.
Thank you again to Tami at Lemon Tree Tales for this wonderful little fabric pouch idea.  I love making them!
This year I am actually praying for some good soaking rain for our area.  Everything is so dry and we are in great danger of forest fire.  This week we are having a heat wave and people become careless when they are hot and grouchy.  Some rain would be most welcome.
Dear Daughter celebrated her birthday yesterday and loved her bracelet I shared here.  Maybe I shall make myself one of these bracelets...after all it is August and my favorite month!
Summer Sunshine Smiles for all...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Two Finished Decks...

 It is August and the very best month for Summer.  My favorite time of year!  I am so happy to report that our deck project is in essence complete.  We still have a couple of very large fascia boards to put up but that needs some extra muscle than my puny little strength allows.
This top photo shows the deck joists and their new layer of protectant.  The house wasn't built with it but Mr. C never does anything less than perfect and builds to last more than a lifetime.  Just to refresh...this is an upstairs deck that overhangs the garages.  It is fairly large at about 600 square feet.  Our Great Room and Kitchen both open onto the deck with double french doors.  It is a good outdoor living space.  We really missed it for the two months we were rebuilding it and not able to access it.
 Here is the lumber we have measured and cut to lengths for the staggered and alternating rows.  This is another place where it is very handy to have an engineer who is doing the job.  Mr. C calculated it all out.  This also shows the painting station.  This is where my "expertise" comes in handy.  Hundreds of boards to paint both sides.  We had quite a glitch with the original deck stain we were going to use.  We did some boards to test the color and they never dried.  The stain totally came off on our hands and clothes.  Then we wiped the boards all down and the knots shown like polka dots.  I was distraught.  $150 of stain not returnable and useless.  The Habitat Re-Store will be getting this donation.  So we changed to a solid deck stain/paint that is much more friendly to paint and it dries!  Of course we had to change our color selection.  I really like this Ashland Slate as it is a beautiful grey just like the stucco of the house we painted from beige a few years ago.
 Here is the beginning of the new deck all in place and securely screwed down.  We used approximately 1800 very special and expensive deck screws that we had to custom order.  Nothing but the best for Mr. C.
 Here is a long view of the finished deck.  Mr. C is putting the furniture and BBQs back in place.  So a glass of wine was in order.  As part of the deck redo we also sanded and repainted the banisters with a fresh coat of blue that I love.
 This is a view to the backyard.
 This view shows more overall of the deck.  The open doors are to the kitchen.  Very handy when eating outdoors and BBQing.
Here is a view over the banister towards the front of our property.  The lawn and then the pond below.  This is such a peaceful spot to enjoy our surroundings.  I love the new deck and am so grateful for my husband who is the best at building and keeping all we have in fine working order.  This was a huge project and I am certain we will never attempt anything like this again.  
 This is another upstairs deck we have.  It is much smaller and the surface is in much better condition.  So Mr. C sanded all the boards, tightened screws where needed and then we painted it to match the new deck. I forgot to take a before photo but I can assure you the transformation from yucky brown to this elegant grey is amazing.  Once again he sanded all  the banisters and repainted them blue.  The winter snow and the summer sun really wreak havoc on the wood.  Paint cracks and blisters in no time at all with the harsh elements.
Here is another view of the smaller deck.  It leads off our Master Bedroom.  We really never use this deck.  Through the years we have tried many things...plants in giant pots, bistro table and chairs, a hammock...but the result is always the same.  We just don't use this deck.  It does make a nice cover for my shade fern garden which is underneath it.
So job well done and thank goodness it is over.  Time to BBQ and eat outdoors and enjoy friends and family on the new deck!
Summer Sunshine Smiles to all (including my friends who are having Winter now)...
P.S.  This is a form of creating even though it uses not fabric, lace, beads, paper, glue, etcetera.  This is what I had to keep reminding myself for the last two months of neglecting my studio and sewing rooms.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Multi-Beaded Bracelet...

After lunching with some friends last week we just had to visit some of the local shops here in town.  I was intrigued with a bracelet one of my friends bought.  I wish I had taken a photo of it but didn't have my camera.  It was multi-strands with different beads and some charms dangling from them.  I really liked it.  I even went back to admire them again.  I didn't buy one because they were approximately $40 plus tax.  That is just out of my budget.  So for a few days I obsessed about those bracelets.
Finally I realized I could check my bead stash and make something similar.  Here are some of the beads I pulled out to use.

 Here are the bracelets before I put them together and finished them off.  Each one is made on stretchy cord...just like the store version.  Here I have used some lovely mother-of-pearl beads, some fancy cut glass beads, silver lined beads and some fresh water pearls.  I wanted to have the monochromatic look yet have some glimmer and bling.

 As I usually do the finished bracelet is different from the ones shown above.  I took out the mother-of-pearl strand and replaced it with a much more blingy silver toned laser cut beaded strand.  Here I have grouped the bracelets together with velvet ribbon and added the charms.

I believe my version of the coveted store bracelet is every bit as fabulous.  I can honestly say it didn't cost me nearly as much and I have the satisfaction of knowing I made it myself!  The charms are all hearts and one crown with bling.  I actually made this bracelet special for my daughter's birthday and it is on its way to her as we read.  She is an August Leo and all about the BLING!  Happy Birthday my lovely daughter who has grown into a wonderful woman.
Our weather is Summer Sunshine and brings lots of smiles to my face.  I love Summer!
Blissful creating to each of you as you enjoy your days...