Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Happy Decor...

Thankfully I am seeing that many blog friends are safe from Hurricane Sandy.  I shall continue prayers for those still suffering ill effects of storm havoc.
Here in Sunny California October is coming to a close.  The Fall colors are spectacular all around our little community.   We have our annual visitors coming to enjoy the beauty and history of this gold rush mecca.

My Halloween decor makes my happy.  Everything has a story and a memory.  I am sentimental so I love it all.  This year I put up three areas of my humble little decorations and keepsakes.  Mr. C is being very patient with me.  Luckily I got all this done before the commanded "Do Nothing!" from the doctor...otherwise it would still be in storage boxes put away.  Mr. C is not into holidays or celebrations.
Happy Halloween to all...May you have Treats galore and no Tricks.
P.S.  Happy birthday Grandma as I remember your wonderful joy for life and celebrating every day.  You are very missed however I am grateful for all the wonderful memories and gifts of learning you gave to me.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October Halloween Memories...

Because this is October and soon to be Halloween and in honor of Memory Lane Mondays I am sharing this post.  My dear beloved Grandmother was born on October 30th and therefore her entire life was  always being confused with Halloween and celebrating with Trick or Treating and such.  As Grandma grew older she embraced her near escape of a Halloween birthday and would always dress up as a witch.  Each year she created her own costumes and wowed everyone with her cackle.  This is the only photo I could find of one of her costumes.  Even "Lady" the dog looks intrigued.
The black cat basket she is holding is one of her crocheted creations.  Every year she would make dozens for all her friends to each have one.  I really like the broom and think it would be much faster than the relic I have been riding...Bahahaha...

This is a small table I have set lots of my small Halloween decor on and am enjoying this year.  If you look closely you will see one of Grandma's black cat baskets and her photo (which I scanned in for this post).

Here is another view of the fun treasures I hang on to and enjoy from year to year.  Each year I seem to add just a few little pieces from friends and family.  No big decorating for me...just my little bits and pieces I adore.  There is a candy corn basket not shown in this photo as I ate all the candy already.  I have a weakness for candy and this year I indulged in butterscotch discs once again.

I also want to share with you what arrived just in time from England and my SSD...Sister Sherry Dear of Sherry's Simple Blog.  We share the same spelling of our name and the joy of being creative.  Thank you SSD for the adorable Halloween Tag, cute pumpkin button charm and my favorite...Mr. Orange Skeleton!

This little orange skeleton hand created is just so adorable and he will be my mascot as Rib #9 heals.  I feel like there should be some sort of song such as Love Potion #9 for my malady.
An update on the rib is that I am trying my very best to do as the doctor says...lots of bed rest because sitting in a chair is not really comfortable.  I will not be able to participate in my uber fun Zumba classes for at least 6 weeks and I find I really am missing the fun and exercise benefits of dancing and laughing with friends.
Our weather is Fall...cooler and shorter days.  Mr. C was a huge help and finished planting bulbs for me that I couldn't do now.  Bless you my dear husband.  He is really being supportive but there is just that element of "woman's work" in the kitchen that is completely foreign to him.  At least he is trying and doing very well overall.  I am grateful for being so blessed.  My sweet sister Marie offered to drive up here (at least 150 mile round trip for her) to help me with whatever I might need and that gave me even more to be thankful for.  My daughter calls to be certain I am not overdoing.  She knows me all too well.
I am grateful for each of your prayers and well wishes.  Reading your comments is a pleasure I truly enjoy.
So for this memory lane post...Happy Haunting Halloween My Pretties...
May you stay safe from the impending storms.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Busy, Grateful, Broken...

This is such a beautiful and busy time of year.  Here in the studio I had some time to play with my card decorating skills.  These are flat post-card style cards with envelopes that are now decorated and package into sets of 5 for the Zumba Boutique sale which is Nov. 3rd.

Here I am so very grateful for the lovely Halloween Tag and pocket my friend Jane of Aralia Jane shared with me.  She and I do a one-on-one swap when we don't each receive our tags in Kimberly's swaps.    Thank you very much Jane and I adore the french book pages you wrapped these in.

Here is another package of goodies that I received from my friend Ana of Scrappy Pink Corner.  Ana spoils me with wonderful supplies that she knows I will love using in my creative playtime.  Paper images, buttons, charms, butterflies, a cameo and a handmade flower...Oh My!  Thank you very much Ana.

I am very grateful for the friends I have made along my blogging journey.  Ana also made me this wise little owl with the beaded pins and Fall theme.  I cherish this gift and thank you Ana.

Per my title today I have shared with you busy, grateful and now for the broken...
Rib #9 on my right side is now broken, displaced and bent.  For this I cannot be grateful as it is extremely painful and the doctor ordered me bedridden or sitting in a comfortable chair.  But...I have so much to do...NO, you will not be doing anything for at least 6 weeks.
I can tell you housecleaning is hazardous to health.  I cleaned a toilet last Friday and wrenched my back out of place.  So in trying to be careful of my back I did very little on Saturday putting away some yard art and pick-axing our hard clay dirt to plant some bulbs.  I didn't finish planting the bulbs as my back was hurting too much.  So off to take a tub soak with Epsom salts while Mr. C worked very hard replacing edging around the pond where the deer and other animals have destroyed it.  While being careful of my back I was leaning on the tub edge (free-standing tub) and when I stretched to reach the farthest side I heard and felt the horrible mishap with my rib.  We have had to cancel company this weekend.  I am no longer participating in a car club trip Saturday in the low-slung sports car.  I will be trying to heal and not overdo.  I had already done damage last weekend when this happened as we had surprise company and I stripped and remade the guest bed, tended to many needs of our guests, drove us to dinner and then followed their visit with doing three loads of laundry.  That was all before I saw the doctor who said, "You will be doing nothing!"
I am grateful for rain that we have had this week.  Our dry spell had been long and hard on the natural flora and fauna that rely on rain.
I am grateful I have a wonderful husband who is being very helpful and thoughtful during this mishap.
I am grateful for nothing worse happening.
Our days of sunshine are so much shorter already without even turning the clocks.
May you each know how I love reading your comments, your blogs, and your emails.  I won't be spending much time at my computer as it is not comfortable but I will be trying to sneak in a few reads here and there. Creative Bliss to all and to all a good-night...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dia de los Muertos...

Dia de los Muertos...Day of the Dead (SpanishDía de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skullsmarigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased. (From Wikipedia.)
I have spent time playing with lots of very colorful skull beads.  There are eight different colors on these purchased hand dyed beads.
Our Zumba studio will be celebrating Dia de los Muertos on November 1st with dancing and authentic Mexican Hot Chocolate.  Our Zumba studio owner's husband is from Mexico so it will be the perfect combination.

 So I thought it would be fun to make some earrings and see if any of the gals wanted to buy them.

 Lots of super fun colors for certain.

Here is a closeup of the beads.

Then because there are a couple of guys in my classes I thought some lanyard charms for zipper pulls might be appropriate.  Not everyone wears pierced earrings after all.
This is like a rainbow of skulls for Dia de los Muertos...Day of the Dead.
This little orange skull is a great accessory for Halloween also.
I asked Mary (our beloved Zumba studio owner) if I might set them out during class.  She immediately sold almost all of what I had brought.  Thank you Mary!  When I asked if she would let them be offered for sale I told her I will donate 50% of the sales to a local non-profit that has just started for safe reading and playing for children.  Mary is a wonderfully generous woman and has already done a fundraiser for this new organization however I was out of town and missed it so this is my way of helping.
I will be able to give to charity and I will be able to buy more supplies to keep playing in my studio...WIN WIN!
On the weather front we finally are having rain!  Glorious fresh clean rain for all the plants and trees to absorb and enjoy.  Mr. C has been working very hard to repair all the edging around our pond that the deer and other animals have knocked down and destroyed through the years.  He got it done just in time.  I managed to put away yard art items for winter storage and plant a few bulbs.  Lots more to do before snow falls but at least we are good for the rain.
Spending time playing in my studio is such fun and I hope each of you are able to do what you enjoy.
Blissful Creating...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Busy Boutique Prepping...

Any spare moment I can be found in the studio or sewing room and back and forth creating little items for our local Zumba Boutique.  I am only focusing on a few items.  I'll share more later.  Keeping the prices very low for our local struggling economy so people can afford to buy a few gifts priced from $1 to $5 each.  No I won't make any money for my time but I am hoping to at least cover the cost of supplies.
I am spending less time on my computer to be productive.  Okay...if truth be told I had to spend less time on my computer because it had "Low B".  Otherwise known as Low Battery.  There was some internal battery that got worn out and therefore my computer kept reverting back to 2003 and wouldn't function with any of the newer programs or servers.  Why it selected the year 2003 is beyond me as I don't recall it being of significance in history.  So Mr. C tore it apart and replaced the battery and got it fixed and current to this year of 2012.  It amazes me how much we have come to rely on computers when not too terribly long ago we had no such invention.  (Remember I am old.)  My Granddaughters have never lived without computers.
Our weather is glorious and sunny and just the right daytime temperatures in the high 70's.  Our Fall colors are truly coming right.  Today as I was driving home from my volunteering at the local Chamber I was entranced looking at the huge trees lit up with sunshine glowing on the bright yellows, greens, oranges and reds that the leaves have turned.  Radiant colors that no photo can truly show.  Mother Nature at her finest.
May you enjoy the moments of each day that bring you true joy...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Halloween Swap Tags...

 Spooktacular Swap Tags in this Halloween package.  My photos got all out of line but at least they are here for you to see.   The tag above was from Michele of nookcrannygifts.  I adore the use of so many elements.  Thank you Michele.

I was actually thinking of making mummy tags for the swap and now I am so glad I didn't because I wouldn't have done justice as this one has done.  Thank you Marcia from alittleshoparoundthecorner.  This is absolutely the most beautiful blingy mummy I have ever seen.  

Here is how I mailed out some of my Halloween swap tags.  Just to add some dimension and color to the packaging.  However it was major FRIGHT when I went to the post office with the little 4" x 6" padded envelopes.  I had anticipated 65 cents to mail each one state side.  NO!  It was $1.95 each.  Really?

 This is the sweet packaging Kimberly of artjoystuff hostess extraordinaire sent out to all participants.  Thank you once again and you are the bestest!

 Kimberly not only made the fabulous clothespin but she also made the little wooden tag that was holding the set of five swapped tags together.  I love it.

 This tag is from Constantina of constan-tina and has so many wonderful elements that are Hallowicious.  Even the back was decorated with mummy eyes.  Thank you spooky much.

This tag has an almost glowing appearance.  Both sides are done and I about jumped when I touched and saw the cockroach.  Fortunately he is glittered and plastic.  Something with glitter can't be all bad now.

Thank you Carol.  I didn't see a link for you.  If you have one please let me know so I can visit you.
Oh I just did bake chocolate chip cookies so I guess you can come to the dark side.  Bahahah...

This tag is so cute.  I love the saying that fits the images so well.  (just click to enlarge the photo).  Thank you ever so much Mercedes of mercedesscott blog.  You clearly put a lot of time and creativity into all the bits and pieces of this wonderful tag.
So with Halloween quickly approaching I can honestly these will add so much to my themed decor.  I treasure all that is given to me and I will be enjoying these tags for many years to come.
I expect you have gotten some spooktacular inspiration from these photos and links.
Oops break time is over...I must get back into the studio.  I am working on my boutique items.  Keeping it very simple so as not to overwhelm myself or potential buyers.  Our local economy is desperately struggling so I am focusing on very affordable items.  Regular gasoline is between $4.649 to $4.759 per gallon in this area.  We are always more expensive here in the foothills but this is really hurting all of us.  I am being even more careful about running errands.  No big box shopping down the hill but that resulted in a very high grocery bill here locally yesterday.  I had to get some food in this house...it was Mother Hubbard's Bare Cupboard around here.  Off I go...walking into the studio now.
Still no rain.  We did have some clouds but they were just creating a dreary layer of grey.
BOOtiful Blissful Creating...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

FW Paper Block...

Trying to work on my Farmer's Wife quilt blocks I once again tried the paper piecing method for #1 Attic Windows.  My previous post on how I tried and failed several times with scrap fabrics lead me to have confidence.  So this time I gathered my "good" fabrics and began the process.  Cut large over-sized pieces, ironed them carefully and sat down to sew.

Using my light box helped me see the fabrics and what needed placing where and in which direction.  I actually got the backwards forwards correct this time.  So I sewed each piece and pressed them as I continued sewing and piecing.  Oh it looks good.  Nice seams.  Flat pieces of fabric with no bulges.

I trimmed the entire block with my 6 1/2" rotary square ruler.  Upon turning my piece over I practically fainted.  Drat!  I have missed one edge of the maroon fabric (lower right hand corner in this photo).  What happened?  This lovely block will not get thrown away but will definitely be used for a project that will allow for a smaller finished block.  I do not like being wasteful.  Does this make me a four time loser in paper piecing?  Only if we are counting...which we are not.  What it does make me is more careful each time I try this method.  You can be certain I won't be making this same mistake again.  Luckily my favorite fabrics (which I have only limited amounts and no more to buy)...the  blue and the floral are the smallest pieces. I will try again...just not today.
Life is busy and there are lots of things taking my time and concentration right now.  Being creative is a good stress reliever...even if only in small snippets of creative time.
No rain here.  No rain in sight.  Sunny days and very cool mornings, evenings and nights.  The Fall colors are very confused.  Some have already come and gone while others are in full swing while still others are just beginning.  This does not make for spectacular shows of Mother Natures wonder.  This entire year has been a bit off with the weather and seasons.  "Only Mother Nature knows for certain."
I am enjoying visiting your blogs and seeing all the Halloween decor and fun creative makings.
Happy Halloween Haunting with lots of treats in store...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Creative Gifts Received...

My birthday was long ago in this fast spinning world...all the way back to the end of August.  I haven't shown you some of my wonderful gifts I received.  I am not showing these to you to brag...I am showing them to let you know how grateful I am for blogging friends who are very kind and generous and creative.
This set of themed blue hydrangea goodies is from Kathy of Paper Pumpkin.  Thank you from my heart my friend.  I am touched that you have really understood me and what I like so much.  Kathy not only purchased some items like the note cards, blue ink pad, hydrangea napkins and blue washi tape which I adore...she hand stamped and created a lovely floral card.  The part I love the most is the time she spent to hand carve a hydrangea flower stamp for me to be able to create beautiful pieces of my very own.  Thank you for being you my dear.

This package of hand made deliciousness is from Jane of Aralia Jane.  She was participating in a swap of Faerie Pages and I was unable to participate.  What a wonderful surprise when I received this package of goodies from her.

My very own Faerie page that Jane created.  In person it is magical and glittery and Faerie fun.  This photo just does not show how fabulous it truly is.  Thank you Jane dear.  It was my very fortunate day when you commented on my blog and we became friends.

Jane also sent me one of her "Day at the Beach" ATCs.  We both participated in this swap but when we don't get one of each other's we do our own private swap.  The netting and seashell are just the perfect touch.  The sheet music sewn wrapper with the bathing beauty is an added bonus.  Thank you so much Jane dear.

This little turtle swam all the way from Daniella of Layers of Creativity.  Daniella is the sweetest busy mom of two teenage boys yet she finds time to make wonderful creative things and then generously shares them.  Thank you very much dear.  I am so happy to share your friendship.
Each of these wonderfully creative ladies are part of the sharing of talents and techniques and hearts that I have found here in blogland.  This is what keeps me reading posts and sharing and enjoying comments.  Thank you each and every one of you out there.  I am truly blessed and very grateful.
I hope you are inspired by others and their creative talents...I know I am.
Our weather is colder now and the Fall colors are happening.  It is dark much earlier each evening.  I find I don't get as much done when the sun is not shining.  Yes, I do have a "daylight" lamp but it just isn't the same.    This is a busy week for me with volunteer and personal commitments however I will try to do something in my studio.  I find being creative for me is like a breath of fresh air.  I don't want to miss it.
May you do joyful creative things that make you happy...  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Learning Paper Piecing...

Earlier this year I joined a QAL...Quilt ALong to make quilt blocks from a book titled "Farmers Wife".  Donna of Brynwood Needleworks graciously offered to hostess this project and offer any help possible. When I signed up I confessed that I have never quilted and didn't know how to quilt, however Donna was certain I would do just fine so she allowed me to join the group.  I soon found that I am not very good at tedious and precise little pieces of fabric and templates and stitching them together.  Further...some of the blocks have no acrylic templates that do make it easier than using little paper templates.  So Donna offered to create paper piecing templates for those blocks.  What?  I have never paper pieced either.  Here is block #1 Attic Windows.  I selected it due to its "simplicity".  I purchased the preferred Carol Doak Foundation paper.  I watched tutorial videos.  I was ready to tackle this.

 My very first two little seams with three little pieces of fabric failed.  This is like signing your name via a mirror.  I am horrible at puzzles and not an engineer in any way.  Going backwards forwards is just not me.
So I print out another sheet to begin again...

 This time I made more progress.  I am really glad I am using fabric scraps from my recent triangle thread catcher project instead of my good FW fabrics which are very limited in quantity.

  However when I examined on closer approval holding my work up to the kitchen under cabinet lighting I see I had failed early on piece 2 again...I missed covering the corner...again.  I also had a serious bulge in the beige piece.  Ack.......

 This time I precut my pieces even larger.  Now I set up my iron next to my sewing machine instead of going from room to room.  I print another foundation sheet.  This makes 3 if you are counting.  Luckily I bought a package of 100!  How did they know I would need so many?

 Mr. C has a saying about "needing every tool he owns to do a job...no matter what the job is".  Now I can honestly relate.  I dug out my light box and set it up on the chair next to my sewing machine.  Much easier than running upstairs to the kitchen.  Now I can actually see before I stitch if my fabric is large enough or shaped to correct direction for the piece necessary.  I see lots of waste in this paper piecing method so far.

 Here is my finished block all pressed and stitched.  I am feeling a little more confident...I am ready for the reveal.

Here I am tearing off all of the paper.  It is working just right.  No residue or remains on my fabrics.
I am really liking the back of this block.

Here is my practice block all completed.  I truly like it.  Lets see...it only took me two days and 4 sheets of foundation paper and copious amounts of fabric scraps and lots of cutting and stitching and ironing and patience to create this little 6" block.
Thank you Donna for your patience and help when I emailed you with my cries for help.  The time and effort you put forth in answering my emails and writing out instructions and being supportive were invaluable to me as is your friendship dear.
Now to get busy with my real FW QAL fabrics I am using in my wall hanging project.  I spent a couple of hours organizing my FW project as it had gotten quite out of control.  Email copies, templates, fabric scraps and such are now better organized for my access.  It is time for me to get serious once again about making  blocks for my wall hanging.  Thank goodness I am not making a California King quilt.
Our weather has seriously cooled off.  At night it is downright cold after all the wonderful warm summer weather we have experienced this year.  Sadly we have had 0, none, zero, zilch, nada rain at all.  We desperately need rain.  I have never seen so many brown dying or dead trees and bushes in this area.  I have no idea what winter will hold for us this year.  Only Mother Nature knows for sure.
Falling into Autumn Bliss and getting back to being creative.  May you each enjoy your bliss...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Halloween Creative Tricks...

I know I have shared before how my Grandma taught me to see things with a "different eye" when it comes to being creative and crafty.  Well when I was at my local $1.29 store (we have inflation here!) I saw these fake plastic fingernails.  Hmmm...I don't need any of these but I better buy them just in case they run out.  ;>O  So home they came.  While making my Halloween Swap Tags I decided I needed just another bit of something and voila...the fingernails came to mind.  I would add them as a charm piece.  But glue just wouldn't do it so...using my needle tool and a very hot flame from a candle I put holes in them for attaching.

Here is a close-up of my technique.  Get the metal needle tool really hot and then from the backside simply melt the plastic with the hot tip.  I go from the backside to keep the front clean and neat.  Once I have the holes I let them cool off.

Now I sew them on with a needle and some crochet thread.  I use this thicker thread for strength and for the dimension it adds.  You can see here the little bat button I also stitched onto my tag.

Down one hole and up the next and secure with a double knot.  Here you also see I attached my skeleton with a needle and thread around his waist. He can still flop about but is attached securely.  

Almost done with this little attachment.

Here is the almost completed tag.  As I posted before I have used paint chips from the local paint store for my tag base.  With the high cost of paint and all that Mr. C and I spent on the deck project I do not feel like I am abusing the paint chip acquisitions.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  Bahahaha...
Now for some finishing touches and these will be ready to send off in the mail.
What item have you used in an unusual way for your creative crafting?
Our weather is very warm again this week.  Some trees have turned Fall colors but most are waiting for the required cold snap to really radiate.
As this is now October and Breast Cancer Awareness month I am hoping you all treat yourselves to your mammogram...and men to your PSA testing.  My prayer list is far too long and cancer must be cured soon.  Loving Healing Hugs for those fighting.
Falling into Autumn Bliss...