Friday, November 30, 2012

Ready? Set? Decorate!...

Oh My!  How did it get to be December so quickly?  It certainly has rushed right on in.  I am so not ready.  Today Mr. C got out our meager holiday decorations.  He says,"This is a lot of STUFF!"  I say, "Honey this is a very small amount compared to lots of people."  "People who have storage lockers full of decorations"  He repeats, "This is a lot of STUFF!!"  (You could easily read another word in place of stuff.)

Actually he would have left half of it in the closet but I told him to bring it all out because I want to edit what I have this year.  Hmmm...was I really just saying that or do I really intend to draw down my reserves?  We will have to wait and see on this issue.  I might get sentimental once I see each item and then I will be in trouble to let it go.  Or...maybe this is the year I truly do save less.  After all most of what I have is very old but not vintage or antique...just cheap affordable stuff for the decade I was able to acquire it.  I really do enjoy opening each and every box and seeing what is inside that I thought was cherished and turns out to be just stuff.

This is Mr. C's Christmas fun to play with.  He usually sets it up around the base of the Christmas tree.  Last year we did not have a tree up as we were gone.  It will be nice to put up a small tree this year and enjoy the train and wait for Santa to drop down the chimney on Christmas Eve.  Oh Yes...I Do BELIEVE!!!
At some point this season you will find me all snuggled up with some hot cocoa with peppermint sticks and watching my very own copy of "Miracle on 34th Street".  I said I am sentimental.
Our rain is definitely coming down in "Biblical Proportions" as was predicted.  Our 6 inch rain gauge overflowed during the night and it is still raining.  We have another two days with the worst storm still to come.  This will really help our water table for our well we rely on.  The summer was very dry so the rain is very welcome.
My list is made and I am checking it twice.  Some how no matter how much I get done the list just continues to go on and on and on.  Yesterday I was able to get some International packages shipped.  No long lines was very refreshing.  Being early is a bonus.  Lots to do but with a plan it gets done.  I just need to stay focused and not get side-tracked (which I so easily do all the time).    Mostly my focus this month is to breathe and not let myself get all stressed over what I cannot accomplish.  I hope you are taking care of yourselves as well.
Thank you beloved followers and commenters as you really brighten my day.  I love the feedback and sharing of ideas.  Blissful Creating and Joyful Jingles...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fabric, Yarns, Beads, Flowers...

Here is a garden of flowers.  These were created by the dear sweet Judy of jfabrications blog.  They flew all the way from Australia to land here at my home.  Judy makes each of these from bits and snippets of fabrics, yarns, beads and felt.  They are each so unique and beautiful.  I immediately thought of placing them on a wonderful pillow for a lovely Spring garden theme.  After all it is Spring in Australia.  Judy made some into headbands for little girls and they are adorable.  You can see photos on her blog.

While in the studio today trying to clear some of my worktable and organize projects and mailings I spied a little styrofoam cone shape on a shelf.  Hmmm...I pinned the flowers to the cone and now can enjoy them for a little holiday tree on my desk.  This photo does not properly show them at their finest however I never did get a good picture of it so this will be the one I share with you.  Please trust me that it looks quite nice in person.

Here is one of the flowers in close-up for you to see.  Judy puts a lot of time and care into each and every flower and I very much appreciate her work.  You can imagine all the possibilities of adding bits and snippets of lace and threads and fabrics and beads and buttons and even some bling.

This one I must admit is my very favorite.  The blues are my heartthrob.  Thank you sew very much Judy Dear.  You are such a generous and creative lady.  I cherish your gifts and your friendship.
Now lets make some flowers and see what else we can adorn with them.
Our weather is warmish but very rainy.  The skies were dark all day as the rain fell to the earth.  The wind was very strong and lots of leaves, pine needles and branches were falling down.  No trees crashing yet but we still have lots more rain coming over the next four days.  Snow is falling at the 6000' elevation and above which is good for the ski resorts.  I am at 3400' elevation and get snow when it is much colder.  Truthfully I would be happy if the snow stayed high all year long as it is treacherous and gets icy and dangerous.  
I am enjoying seeing all of your holiday decorating of your homes.  So much inspiration and joy to see what lovely vignettes you create.  I thank you for sharing.
Blissful Creating in this joyful season of holiday magic...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gifts into Gifts...

I know I have said it before but it requires saying again...bloggers are such wonderful people. When you find a blogger who you share creative common ground and you become really good friends there isn't a better feeling for your heart and soul.   Jillayne is one of these special people.  You probably know her and her blog so no surprise here.  This surprise package arrived for me one day.  I couldn't imagine what it would contain.

It contained a jackpot of beautiful and creative and wonderful gifts.  Thank you my dear friend.  I am so very grateful for you.

This is an assortment of beads and charms in my favorite peacock colors.  Many of them are hand created out of polymer by another friend of Jillayne's.  The beads and button are exquisite in person.  I will think of just the perfect way to use these lovelies.

This bracelet was a complete surprise as I never knew Jillayne to make jewelry.  What?!!  You did it just for me?!!!  Thank you beyond words.  This bracelet is so much fun and very well made my dear.  I love it and you.  This is vintage bling heaven!

Here is the bundle of fabric that was included in my surprise package.  I decided to make some gifts with it.  I began by cutting out the "postcards".  I gathered some supplies and went to the sewing machine.

Here is just a peek of what I am doing.  No reveal of the completed project as I am mailing a few of these very soon and want them to be a surprise upon receipt.  Thank you so very much Jillayne.  You have spoiled me and blessed me.  My gratitude is endless.
We have lovely weather...warmer than normal.  However there is rain coming toward the end of the week.  Lots of rain.  I think Washington state is sending their flooding rain down to us.  We have had a good amount of rain so our ground is quite wet.  After the extra dry summer we had the rain is welcomed.
I am very behind this year with my holiday efforts.  I need some extra elves to help me but they seem to be in short supply as Santa has them very busy at the North Pole.  I do believe...
May you each be able to enjoy the magic of this holiday season as you make your lists, check them twice and work on your projects. Blissful creating one and all...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Project Pink Scarf...

Here is a project I feel strongly about supporting.  Vicki who makes the most amazing knitted nests is gathering pink scarves for one year.  Here is her blog post for you to check out for further details.

So while my friend Sandy was visiting recently I was showing her my nest from Vicki that Mr. C bought me. Sandy is rather new to knitting and is creating her new little granddaughter the most beautiful and complex sweaters.  I told Sandy about the Pink Scarf Project as Sandy herself is a breast cancer survivor.  She immediately told me she had some pink yarn at home and would mail it to me so I could knit a sweater to donate.  This photo shows the yarn and Sandy's sweet note.

When I opened the box I literally swooned at how gorgeous this yarn is.  When I came round I in the world does anyone knit this variety of threads, yarns, ribbons and such.  I am not good at knitting.  Grandma tried but I just didn't get it very well.  When I made a mistake it was too hard to "un-knit".  So I gave up like most young folks would do.  I did keep at the crocheting Grandma taught me.  Oh how I wish I would have paid more attention and learned knitting from her.

So off to the local yarn shop I went.  Here is my yarn all wound into a ball.  I felt so guilty as the shop was busy that I bought some new needles too.  After all they did wind it for me without charge.  I also learned that the yarn label suggests which size needles to use.  Oh yeah, who knew?!!

I looked at this little ball of beauty and wondered how am I ever going to knit this.  Hmmm...curiosity got the better of me and I began my task.  The Knitting for Dummies book helped me remember how to cast on.    With lumps and bumps I managed to get a few rows knitted.  Do I ever feel proud.  After all I promised Sandy I would try to knit and if that failed I would certainly crochet the scarf.  And there is no rush!

I just love this photo.  The simplicity of the yarn ball with the beautiful handcrafted wooden knitting needles and my little beginning rows.  With my confidence building I will persevere and hopefully show you progress along the way.  I am keeping this scarf simple as the yarn will be the star of the show.  Thank you very much Sandy dear for sharing in this lovely project.
Our weather has cleared and today we have some sunshine.  For this entire next week it is predicted to be sunny and beautiful.
No crazy Black Friday shopping for me.  I am more of a gatherer throughout the entire year.  Mr. C and I will be going to our little town today and enjoying some local artisans sales.  I have something special I am hoping to acquire.  We will also support one of our local churches.  They have a fun little craft sale each year.  But the best part...the little church ladies prepare lunch for all to enjoy.  For a very small fee we can have a sandwich, hot cider or tea and a piece of home-baked pie.  Sit at comfortable tables and rest from a busy morning of shopping.  I am treating Mr. C today as he will be happy to have a break from shopping.
May you each enjoy the beauty of this holiday season.  Stay in the moment and remember to breathe.
Creative Hugs to all...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Blessings & Gratitude...

As our Thanksgiving approaches I am feeling blessed and grateful.  Although this has been a difficult year I am thankful for all I have.
This little turkey is ready to set the table and let the guest know where to sit.  Very simple to make.  One circle of fabric gathered yo-yo style.  A piece of felt cut into a light bulb shape for the body.  Little black beads for the eyes.  Some orange/red paint for the chin and a small piece of toothpick for the beak.  Glue it all together and with a strip of card stock you can write the name of your guest.

Here is my little gathering of place cards.  Pretty cute if I say so myself.

 This year I set out some of my favorite Fall/Autumn treasures.  It is comforting to be able to enjoy them.

Nothing grand or over-the-top.  Mr. C does not enjoy holidays or displays so I keep it small and out of the way.  This is a wood and glass table and stools he built many years ago.  Makes my little treasures all the more special to me.

This is the overall view.  Each year I seem to add a new pumpkin to the lot.  This year it was the glass jar which is holding leaves.  My friend Sylvia gave it to me filled with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups!  Those are long gone into our tummies.  My bad.  Thank you Sylvia Dear.

Also this year I was fortunate to be able to add this knitted nest from Vicki of 2bagsfull blog.  Mr. C actually bought this for me and I am thrilled.  It is the creative touch that I cherish.
May each of you enjoy your Thanksgiving and enjoy family and friends during this time of grateful blessings.  For all of you outside our United States may you enjoy grateful blessings even though you do not have our Thanksgiving holiday.
Creative Hugs to all...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Generous, Giving, Gifts...

I follow blogs that I am drawn to.  Blogs that interest me and offer similar creative paths or are completely unlike anything I do but someday hope to do.  Tanya at Bead and Needle is a blog I follow.  Her interests are varied and I like what I read.   Not too long ago Tanya had a giveaway that I entered.  When she emailed me to ask for a couple of photos I was very surprised and pleased.  She makes soldered glass slide pendants.  I have never done this but have always wanted to.  Bonus!  I get to select my own photos?!!  Thank you Tanya for being so generous, giving and creative!!!

Being the good girl I am I sent two photos to Tanya.  I knew just the right ones from my recent birthday celebration.  This is Mr. C and myself.  I have never liked seeing myself in photos, however the reality of it all is I actually do look like this...sadly so.  The pendant is beautiful.

This is the other side of the pendant.  This photo features myself and my lovely daughter.  Tanya's soldering work is so fun with the details along the edges of the pendant.  What a wonderful keepsake.

Not only did Tanya make my personalized pendant she also included a fun Halloween themed black and white pendant.  Thank you so very much Tanya.  You are one of the special people I have "met" through blogging.
So for the past few weeks I have been looking at these soldered pendants and thinking.  These would make wonderful gifts and with the holidays upon us and making out my Christmas gift list...hmmm.  I have made my request to Tanya for some special orders.  I am thinking how great these would look tied with a beautiful silk ribbon and hanging on the Christmas tree as an ornament.  Not everyone wears pendants but a once a year ornament would be pretty special.  I hope you visit Tanya and see what she is creating.
Yesterday was very warm and sunny and beautiful.  Tomorrow is predicted rain for several days.  Our local ski resorts are opening for business this weekend.  That is good news for them.
I am enjoying my little gratitude tag journal.  It is amazing what joys we are blessed with each and every day.  I am focusing on the tiny little joys.  Here is a sample day's entry..."I am grateful for creative and talented people who offer their items for sale."  Rather fitting for this post I would say.
Creative Gentle Hugs...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Magazine Paper Pockets...

Here is an easy little project for anyone who needs to sit still and recuperate.  I know how difficult it is to just sit so this is perfect for doing as little as possible yet getting wonderful results in the end.  I began with a magazine of exceptional quality paper and photos.  Next I tear out the pages I wish to use which have a photo that would still look good after being folded.  Tip:  I use the other pages as my foundation to glue upon.  Supplies needed:  magazine or calendar, scissors, glue stick, optional bone folder.  

Here is a sample of the shape you want after tearing out the page and folding it in thirds with a slight overlap along the back seam.  Next you fold up the bottom and then I trim the sides off for less bulk.  This step is not necessary but I like the finished result much better.  Now all you do is glue the back seam with the overlap.  Next you glue the bottom "flap" (in this photo it is the white strip with the printing on it) and fold it up over the back seam.

Now you have a lovely little paper pocket.  I like to tear off the very top edge just to give it a fun flair.  You could also use those decorative scissors we all love.  I really like to use my paper calendars which I get from numerous charity donations.  They usually have wonderful photos with no text.  Book pages would be fine also.  These are fun to fill with paper ephemera or little gifts that are fairly flat.  Easy to package and mail in an envelope.  So now I can feel like I am accomplishing something instead of just sitting doing nothing...which I don't do very well!
Our latest rain storm was just that.  It did not produce any snow other than lots of flurries which never stuck or accumulated.  We did get down to 23 degrees at night so it was very cold...this is California after all!
Today is sunny and cold.  Somehow the sunshine makes it all bearable.  I will just bundle up with an extra layer of warm clothes and a cozy scarf around my neck.
It appears the holidays are upon us in full steam.  Lots of boutiques happening and stores with conflicting displays...Thanksgiving/Fall/Harvest vs. Christmas and all the variations of it...Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etcetera.
I am making my list and beginning to check it twice.  As fast as this entire year has flown by it will now be in turbo boost until New Year's.  So much to do and so little time is what we are conditioned to feel.  This year I shall try my best to breathe and keep a slower pace so I can enjoy every moment of the wonder of the season.  I am keeping up with my little gratitude tag journal and it is so rewarding to be thankful for even the smallest blessing each day.
Continuing prayers for all who have no power, lack of warm clothes, nourishing meals or a home to live in.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Daily Dose Gratitude...

I am seeing lots of blogs refer to gratitude in this month of November.  I, too, am participating in a local gratitude "challenge".  Here is my tiny little journal of tags I am doing.  Nothing fancy or grandiose...simple yet heartfelt is what I preferred.  This little tag booklet I purchased on close-out one day because I loved the soft colors of the papers.  All I have done is to re-cover the front and back covers with some of my pretty papers and hearts.  Then I took a very old date stamp from my working days and stamped the daily date onto each bottom edge.  The year I will denote on my back cover where I have a tiny little folder for my signature.  I am keeping this simple by handwriting in black fine sharpie what I am grateful for each day.  I love how this keeps me focused on the moment of the day instead of on the overall big things I am grateful for.  Yesterday I was grateful for being able to volunteer at my local chamber.

This shows some in progress works on my studio table.  I better get busy...I have a mailing deadline looming. Don't you just love it when your supplies get to feel wanted and useful.  My little glitter "salt" shaker is having a sprinkling good time.  Buttons you are next to play...

Last Sunday Mr. C and I were able to visit an annual boutique and see what some of our local artisans have been busy making.  This wooden item was hanging on a tree branch with some other assorted shapes and wood colors.  At first I thought they were whistles and I got very intrigued.  Then upon closer inspection discovered they are ornaments.  Phil, the artist spent a lot of time talking with Mr. C and sharing his passion for wood and how he does his intricate shapes and inlays.  As much as I would like to keep this ornament I am instead filling it with love and healing hugs and sending it to a dear friend of ours who is battling pancreatic cancer (Mr. C has known him for decades and they traveled the world working together).  Our wonderful friend is an award winning woodworker himself who makes wooden toys for under privileged children every Christmas.  May you be well dear friend.  Hopefully this locally made wooden ornament will be some inspiration for your future woodworking endeavors.
Our weather is sunny and beautiful...however rain is predicted for the end of the week with snow higher up.
As I am visiting your blogs I am seeing such lovely things being created for holiday decorating and gift giving.   The inspiration is wonderful and I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of this generous community of gifted souls.  Thank you my friends.  I am blessed and very grateful.
Creative Bliss...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Small Intimate Affair...

On a beautiful Saturday in our small local community some of us creative souls gathered for a boutique that our lovely Zumba Mary hostessed.  I neglected to get a photo of Mary.  This is my best friend Lorraine (in red) and myself (in black) and together we are the Saucy Chicks.  Mary held a boutique last year and I was out of town so this year I didn't want to miss it...even with my broken, displaced and bent rib.
This is not a fancy venue but it is wonderful that Mary arranges for us to have indoor space (weather unknown ahead of time) and she charges us zero to participate.  Who could ask for more?
Here is or humble table of very affordable items.  I tried to keep it to a minimum and not make hundreds of items.  As Mr. C said to me one day, "Sherry you work so hard and I hate to see you be disappointed when it doesn't all sell".  He knows me all too well and yes, I normally way overdo and then I am hugely disappointed.
For this boutique I think I reached the proper balance.  I kept it simple.

This is more of our things.  The pricing was affordable with items from 2 for $1 all the way up to $5.  I wanted to concentrate on the small easily purchased things for people to buy.  Our local economy is quite strained and it is hard for some to spend money on anything that isn't a total, fuel and utilities.
I was participating more to get a few dollars to recoup my supplies expenses than I was to get "rich".  I am fortunate to even be able to buy supplies and create in my days of retirement and volunteer helper.

We Saucy Chicks prepared a dozen "Grab Bags" for the cost of $5 donation to our local Kare Crisis Nursery program.  Silly me thought every one knew what a grab bag is.  Funny how people are sometimes.  The very first lady who gave us $5 didn't realize that she got to select a bag and keep the contents.  I don't guarantee you will like the items inside but I do say you will get lots more than $5 worth of goodies.  Lets call the contents stocking stuffers and ornaments.  In the end we sold 9 of the 12 bags with blessed Mary saying she will sell the remaining 3 for us during the week.  After is for a very worthwhile cause!

Here is an overview and it does show our small intimate affair we enjoyed all morning.  Too funny...we are our own very best customers as we each bought from one another and back and forth.
I cannot complain about sales and being disappointed this year.  I didn't get "rich" but I did make some money for replacing supplies and buying a few gifts from the other gals.  I certainly enjoyed the friendship time chatting and laughing (in my case more smiling than laughing) and I can watch people forever and never get bored.  As each Zumba classes finished Mary would send the gals over for shopping time as we were just two doors down the walkway.  We even had some home baked cookies for nourishment to offer guests.  I made peanut butter with a dash of sugar and cinnamon on the tops.  After doctor did tell me to eat more cinnamon for good health.
Thank you to Mary and her wonderful husband Antonio for allowing us this "Small Intimate Affair" opportunity to offer our creative items with others.  Thank you to Mr. C for getting up and driving me there at 6:30 am and setting up the tables.
Our weather is glorious.  The Fall colors are finishing.  We have had another recent night of rain and for that I am truly grateful.  Now that the busy season is here it will be good to stop and take a breath and really concentrate on what is important versus what we think we must accomplish.
Prayers continue for all affected by Storm Sandy.  I am amazed with how well California has responded and sent huge transporter planes full of people power, machine power and supplies for rebuilding and restoring the East Coast.  We live in a great nation of strong and resilient people who come together for the greater good.
Mr. C and I have voted.  We vote by absentee ballot due to years in the past not knowing if we could get to a polling place due to snow and road closures or power outages.
May you each have much to be grateful for.  Blessings and Creative Bliss...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Harvesting Gratitude...

My friend Lindsay is hostessing "22 Days of Gratitude" beginning today the first of November.  I am unable to show you my little journal book that I will be recording my gratitude in because I haven't finished it even though it is very simple.  Day one...I am so very grateful for my online friends who truly are kind, caring, creative and generous.  I am certain my days of gratitude will not have a priority order as that would just be impossible for me to do.  Gratitude is ongoing lifelong and this is merely a snippet of daily special bits for me.

Speaking of my gratitude for online friends this is a banner hand made by Theresa.  She has no blog...yet.   I "met" Theresa through an ATC swap and we have been sharing personal swaps ever since.  I am always blown away by her beautiful work.  Here is a photo of the first three letters...H A R.  You can see each flag of the banner has so much detail and is in the perfect Fall Autumn colors.  I am always grateful when I check my mail and find an envelope from this lovely lady.

Here you can see the last four letters...V E S T.  My photography skills are horrible however I believe you can see how much time and work Theresa puts into what she creates.

Here is a photo of the banner hanging so you get an idea of the size and beauty of it.  This will become a treasured keepsake in my annual decorating and I shall always smile when I look at it.

I decided not to try to hang it this year as that would set off Mr. C who does not do holidays and decorations.  So I think it looks stunning right here on my dining table along with other Fall Autumn decor.  Thank you so very much Theresa Dear.  I am cherishing my new Harvest banner and I am grateful for our online friendship.  This is a very easy day one of gratitude.
We had a night of rain and watching the earth receive the moisture it so desperately needs to nourish the plants and trees of the forest.  It was joyful to actually have the sound of the rain being all we TV or other distractions.
As we gear up for a very busy season may we all take the time to recognize even the smallest gratitude in each and every day.  Blessings...