Sunday, December 30, 2012

Memories...Cherished Remembrances

As 2012 comes to a close I am reflecting on lots of past memories.  I wish to thank Donna of Brynwood Needleworks for hostessing Memory Lane Mondays (MLM) all through 2012.  This is the final MLM as she is going to be doing something new in 2013.  I have enjoyed reading many of the participating posts and I have enjoyed my participation this past year.  As I reflect on my memories I have chosen not to select any one in particular as I have in the previous posts.  Instead I am considering the newest memories I have made that link to my previous memories I cherish.  My love of family and friends is key.  I have made many new friends this year through blogging and I am very grateful.  I have many friends from the years of no computers or blogging and I cherish them.  Now I am able to enjoy all my friends and the world is much smaller now.
Each year I take a cue from my beloved Grandmother (I have shared so many memories of her) and I try to finish up projects that have been left unfinished far too long.  Hence my Santa/Wizard that is shown here.  I was intent to finish him after his seven year wait to be created.  I wanted to dress him in vintage paisley and not in the bright red of tradition.  I am proud to say he is finished and he is quite handsome and charming.  In creating him I relived my wonderful memories of learning to sew with my Grandmother, Mother and older sister.  I am very grateful for being taught so many creative skills by my family.

Here is the sleeve detail.  I selected "Old World" matte beads that I hand stitched along the cuff edge with the braiding.  These colors are really subtle yet elegant and rich.
I also did the beading around the bottom edge.  All together he stands about 15" tall.  I finished him just in time to pack him away until next December when I can, once again, enjoy my memories of making him.  
I also spend extra time just before the old year ends to do some extra cleaning.  This way I hope to be a better housekeeper in the coming year.  Dear Grandma would always do this and have all the laundry washed, folded and put away.  All the ironing was completed too.  Check.  I have completed these tasks.  In past years you could find me literally at 11:59 pm on New Year's Eve just finishing the pile of ironing.  It feels good to begin fresh.  I do not make resolutions as that is not what fits my style.  I am more of a pick-a-word person and try to follow-through during the year.   I do keep my word from each year and build upon what I was able to achieve.  This is really quite powerful.  I did not do so well with my previous word "now".  However "focus" was a success and I am still improving on this.  Last year I selected the word "play".  Somehow my favorite quote from John Lennon derailed me.  "Life is what happens while you are making plans".  I planned on playing a lot more but it didn't seem to happen.  So I shall carry forward this word also as I enter into 2013.  I have been contemplating on several words and not one of them has spoken to me as of yet.  I may need to try a different approach as my friend Jillayne of A Fine Seam did.  She had a word of the month that worked for her.  Maybe that is why I am not able to select just one word yet.  After all I still have time for this to get figured out. 
This year I have good memories that I am adding to my previous memories.  Good times with family and friends.  Trips taken to do new and exciting things.  Lots of "pay it forward" and "random acts of kindness" activities I was able to do this year.   I had set a goal for myself to do at least one per day and I can honestly say I was able to exceed my goal.  The little things in life do count!  
This post is long and wordy and if you are still reading along...thank you.  I adore each of you who follow and share your creativity.  My days are much happier when I read your blogs and share comments. 
Blessings with Peace and Joy for all of 2013...  

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

You Got Me What?

Well well well!  Here is a present all wrapped up and ready for opening.  What could it be?  I don't recall having anything like this size and shape on my Christmas wish list or in my letter to Santa.  I am getting more forgetful as the years rush along but I am certain I didn't ask for anything this big or odd shaped.  Actually I recall my items could all fit into the dainty little stocking hanging on the mantle.  Hmmm...

Oh now I was Mr. C who had this wish.  Of course it is all for ME!  Looks like a new project is in our future.  Let's take a closer look...

Oh Boy!   An engine and transmission and radiator and spare parts.  These must be part of the other spare parts that have been accumulating the past couple of weeks.  We have a rear end, some sample test wheels, a set of disc brakes, a hydro boost for power brakes and other assorted items that are dangerous looking.

Mr. C has been gathering data and doing his engineering drawings too.  This will be quite the project for him.  All of his car buddies are anxiously awaiting the excitement to come.
This is all I shall share at this point.  Merry Christmas to me.
Our weather has been very WINTER!  Tons of rain and some snow.  Cold, dreary, damp and all around miserable.  Thank goodness for our wonderful wood burning in the Great Room and one in the Master Bedroom.  We were without telephone service for about three days.  We were without power all day Christmas Eve.  That really put some things on hold.  How grateful I am for power and warmth.  When we have no power we also have no well water so it is really like primitive camping...which I am too old to enjoy.  Actually I really never liked camping even as a child or young adult.
Now that Christmas is over it is time to turn towards the new year...2013.  May we all continue to enjoy our blogging and friendships all over the world.  May everyone have Peace and Joy through all of 2013...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

St Nick, Santa or Sorcerer???

 Here is the homemade Jolly little...Hmmm?  Is this St. Nick?  Is it Santa?  Or is it a Scorcerer?
I finally decided it was time to finish this project and send this home where he belongs.
 About seven years ago while shopping at our local quilt store my girlfriend and I saw this pattern and a sample made up.  We really liked it and said, "We can make those for Christmas gifts and give them to our family and friends."  So we bought the pattern.  And then it sat for about five years.  We even purchased some rusty jingle bells and snowflakes.  We also had purchased the hair material which I must say might be the wrong kind as it is a mess to work with.
Then two years ago we decided to actually take the pattern out of the envelope and make one for each of us as a trial.  It was a trial to be certain.  The directions were terrible and the design was not friendly.  We improvised and made our own version.  Then they sat unfinished.  This year I decided it was time to finish them and give my girlfriend hers for Christmas.

Here is a close up of how I finished off the cuff with braided trim and beading.  It was difficult to sew at best.  I managed to finish the cuffs, hem the bottom of the coat and sew on the jingle bell at the tip of the hat and place the snowflake on his hand.  Wrapped up and gifted and now he is in his new home.  This looks nothing like the pattern photo but I think there is potential with our design.

This photo I left blurred as this one is mine and I have not completed him yet. Now that I have posted this I will be certain to finish him.  Not for this holiday season but early in the new year.  I actually really like mine! I can honestly say I won't be making multiples of these for family and friends as they are unbelievably complex and tedious.  I do understand the first of anything is always the most difficult but somehow I don't think this St. Nick, Santa, Sorcerer will get any easier to create.
I am enjoying seeing the Christmas lights on homes as I drive around.  This past week Mr. C and I were able to enjoy our local Victorian Christmas which is celebrating its 35th anniversary.  It was magical and we had such a good time.   Now it is time to celebrate with friends and family throughout the next few days and evenings.  Holiday Blessings with Peace and Joy for all in 2013...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Slowly Knitting Along...

Here is that delicious pink yarn that my friend Sandy gifted me with for the donation scarf to Vicki's project.
I haven't spent much time with this as the season is busy with other priorities.  When I do pick up my knitting needles it is with great peace and joy that I knit a section and put my healing hugs and love into each stitch.

With so few holiday decorations put out this year I must say this is the number one I display and enjoy.  My dear friend Bev (no blog) quilted this for me and I cherish her and her gift to me.  It is beautiful and sew well made.  She included little charms that represent things I like...a mouse and a little Mary Jane shoe for example.  Such a gift of love.  I will pass this along to my daughter and granddaughters some future day for them to enjoy for years to come.  Thank you Bev.  You are a dear heart.

Isn't this a beautiful collage of cards and papers and trims?!!  My blog friend Robbie of Robbies Paw Prints made this.  This is the back.

Here is the front and you can see she mailed it to me.   How fun to go to my mailbox and find this instead of all the boring bills that usually fill the box.  I love all the decorative stitching and bits of cards and papers.
This will definitely be on my list of "want to make".

Inside the envelope was a hand-written note from Robbie along with this beautiful piece of her Shibori Mandala hand-dyed fabric.  It is such a work of art and I shall be taking my time to come up with just the right project to use this in.  Thank you Robbie dear.  You and your creative talents are amazing!
Just a few short days and Christmas will be here.  Santa is very busy and I will make certain that our stockings are hung by the chimney with care.  Our weather is very cold...for sunny California!  I do forget that this is not the Sunny Southern California I lived most of my life but now it is Northern California with seasons and cold and rain and snow.  Brrrrrrr...  We do have lots of rain and snow predicted for four days beginning tomorrow.  Today it looked like a frozen ice land outdoors.  Beautiful but chilly and icy roads.
I am enjoying all of your posts and decorations and inspirations.  There are so many beautiful creations.  I have lots of ideas in my head.  Thank you each and everyone for sharing so generously.
May you enjoy this holiday season and make lasting memories with family and friends...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tag Swap & Gifts Received...

Why did I agree to participate in a tag swap during this busy hectic season of the year?  Because I love to create and I love to receive.  I am so glad I did!  Here are the tags I made.  The swap was 16 sent and 16 received.  These ladies had done this before but I wanted to join when asked and I am thrilled with the results.  Thank you Jane of Aralia for hostessing this big undertaking.  I am thrilled.

My simple packaging of each tag.

Here are the tags I received.  If you click on the photos they will be easier to view.  Each one so clever, unique, beautiful and special.  Thank you ladies very much.

This is the special gift Jane created and included in each of the participants packages.  A cute sewn coffee filter case which held the silver snowflake and the very sweet tiny Sweden tart dish with the snowman and fun glitter.  Thank you Jane for these gifts and for being a wonderful and organized tag swap hostess!

This handmade card is so me.  I love the blues, music theme and the ever so girly-girl wanting to throw that snowball.  Thank you Marilyn of Art Rocks.  I adore her and you!

I received this lovely tag from Lynn of Trash to Treasure Art.  The greens and sepia colors are gorgeous in person.  The image is a favorite as I Do Believe and Santa is very much a part of this magical season for me. Thank you Lynn!

I picked this little box up at the post office.  It just made me smile.  Who wouldn't love to get big pink polka dots in their mail?!  My pen pal Dogwood sent me something...again!  I just love everything she sends me.

A little wooden block with Christmas papers all over each of the six sides.  With a sweet matching card.  Thank you very much my very fun pen pal!  I adore this and have it displayed in my Christmas goodies.  Hmmm...wouldn't one of the uber popular bleached bottle trees be cute sitting on this block?  Now I think I will need to acquire one of those which I have been avoiding just because...too much stuff?!!
Thank you everyone for your kindness and generosity of your creative selves.
On a sad note...yesterday I was beyond understanding the tragic events of senseless killings.  Innocent people and little children. My heart is heavy and I am praying for healing for all those affected.  P.L.E.A.S.E.
As we continue through our busy days may we help anyone and everyone that we can.  Even a smile given to another is helping.  enough said

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

PANIC! Handstitch...

This created huge PANIC for me yesterday.  Earlier this year I bought some lovely velvet and satin scarves. I knew they would be Christmas gifts however I wanted to embellish them and make them more personalized for each recipient.  Three to be for each of the Ladies Who Lunch girlfriends.
Unfortunately I thought this teal one was completed.  However when I retrieved it from the gift cupboard this is the mess I found.  I hadn't even begun this project and I needed it completed in less than 24 hours for our gift exchange luncheon today.

In my desire to keep this holiday as stress-free as possible I took a deep breath and gathered my supplies.  Here is the lace trim pinned down.  I opened the side seams in order to hide the lace cut edges inside the seam for a nicer finish.  I also decided each little flower needed a beautiful bead center.  So the hand-stitching began.

Here is one end of the scarf completed.  I wrapped the lace around both sides of the end.  Subtle but I like the elegant look.  This is for my friend who really likes blue.

After many interruptions and lots of hand-stitching this is the completed scarf.  Whew!

Nothing like waiting until the very last minute.  Here are the three scarves wrapped and ready to give.  One was the red one with the holly leaves and buttons I shared earlier.  The other scarf was a lavender with a lovely gimp I stitched on the ends.  See the tin on the right with the snowman painted on it?  The nose is a wooden knob painted red.  Very cute.  I did not make it but I am sharing the cute inspiration.

Here's the ladies.  Lots of fun and laughter was had by all.  We exchanged our gifts and really enjoyed our time together.
We have had some more rain.  The predicted snow did not happen here.  The ski resorts higher up got fresh snow and that is good.
Every day is filled with JOY and the wonder of the season.  Holiday Bliss and Creative Hugs...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quick Weekend Away...

Three hour drive and we are in Alameda at the Naval Air Station of decades ago.  This is Hangar 1.

Here we met up with our dear friends Brad and Amy and her parents who flew in from Minnesota.  We are going to tour St. George's Distillery (click this link for their site).  It is their 30 year anniversary. It is a small boutique distillery that makes several varieties of alcohol.  The most noted is Hangar 1 Vodka.

Here is our guide explaining the copper stills and what the process is.  Very interesting.

After the short tour we had a tasting of about seven of their specialties.  Of course I didn't get photos of our group tasting...much too busy getting on with the business of learning.  They make St. George Spirits Absinthe Verte is made eith fine brandy, star anise, mint, wormwood, lemon balm, hyssop, meadowsweet, basil, fennell, tarragon and stinging nettles.  First we tasted it straight from the bottle in its clear greenish tint of herbal freshness.  Then the ice cubes were added and just like magic it changed to a milky cloudy different tasting deliciousness.  Yes, Absinthe was outlawed since the early 1900's but it is back  and ever so interesting...not only the taste but also the lore.

Lunch at Scott's Seafood on the waterfront.  The weather was glorious with sunshine and blue skies yet crisp with winter chill.  As the sun went down the twinkle lights came on the various boats in the harbor.

The huge Christmas tree in Jack London Square.  At night it was all lit up and the whole square was very much in the holiday spirit.  As were our happy little group who did some serious pub crawling spreading the holiday cheer everywhere we went.

This is a clever use of old suitcases.  In the lobby of our Waterfront hotel and I just couldn't resist taking a photo to pass along for inspiration.
Now back to reality and the ever increasing list of things to do.  I am continuing to enjoy the season and not focus on the stress of it all.  Of course I have scaled my shopping down to almost none.  My decorating is not complete and that is how it will stay...and I am okay with that this year.  As for wrapping and mailing...this is one that I am struggling with daily.  I do what I can and hope I will get more done tomorrow. Silly girl that I am this is how I am going to continue to enjoy this magical and wonderful time of year.
May each of you have the time to enjoy your favorite parts of this season.  Most of all...Holiday Bliss!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Little By Little...

I started with a little velour leaf.  It wasn't very pretty but I thought it might work.

Sew I got my needle and crochet thread and put some stitches into the little leaf.  Now it is getting some texture.

Here is the little leaf awaiting its next phase.

If you squint real hard you might now see a little holly leaf with some red buttons that might look like berries.

Here is a long scarf (folded up in this photo) that I have attached the leaves and buttons to.  I think this will look very nice as a table runner for the holidays.  It could even be worn as a scarf or shawl.  Very simple but completed and that is a good feeling.

Here is our mantel decorated for the holiday.  Mr. C actually did all of this for me as I cannot reach it.  It was fun to see how he arranged things very differently than I have in the past.  He even turns on the twinkle lights when it gets dark and that makes me very happy.

Our decorations are simple.  I unpacked a few boxes and put these items on the shelves.  It is amazing how many "mouses" I actually do have.  I adore each and every one of them.  Mr. C about fell over when he saw all this STUFF!  I thought I kept it simple.  True to my word I am editing as I am unpacking.  Some of the things I will enjoy this year and then donate.  Some I let Mr. C recycle already.  It makes him very happy.
May you take the time to enjoy your holidays as you rush through this busy time of year.
Holiday Creative Bliss...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Boys Train Toys...

Once upon a time there was a little boy.  His family was not well off.  They didn't have much.  There was a father, mother, sister and brother.  The father worked as a glazier.  The mother was the homemaker.  The sister was a brat (according to her brother).  The brother was an angelic child (according to him).  This little boy is now my husband so I get the story straight from the source.
This little boy desperately wanted an electric train set for Christmas one year when he was about 9 years old.    Here is a photo of him with the train he actually received.  It is not electric and the little boy was very disappointed.  The smile in this photo is a forced smile.

Here is a close up of the train.  Can you see the key laying down in front of the tracks?  This train set was a wind up version.  The little boy's heart was broken.  It wasn't just about not getting what he was about his father never doing anything for him or with him.  This little boy grew up to dislike all holidays and birthday celebrations due to the disappointment he always experienced while growing up.  Now fast forward to me meeting this little boy who is now a man.  When I met him he was very stoic and was always working to provide for his family (even for grown adult children).  He did not have that magical childlike wonder in him.  I have plenty in me so I made it my goal to share mine with him and bring out the fun for him to enjoy.  After 25 years I believe I am making progress.  However I have gotten side-tracked...just like a train.

When this wonderful man turned 60 I threw him a surprise birthday party.  I rented the local pizza parlor.  I invited lots of his friends (most of whom are car buffs along with him).  I had a theme for the party...trains.  This was to be the party he never had when he was 9.  I have no photos of the actual party but I can honestly say it was a huge surprise and everyone had lots of fun (yes the grown ups got to have beer).  This photo is of the train set...ELECTRIC...that I bought and gave to him.  It was the closest to what he had wanted that I could afford.  I had to search high and low for this.  Even my girlfriends helped me search (it helps that we all love to shop).  My little boy who is now grown into a wonderful man was very touched and surprised.  He finally has his electric train and each year that we put up a Christmas tree (some years we are gone) he lays out all the track and surrounds the tree with his train.  When the train is running it has a wonderful whistle and full recording of a real train chugging along and it has smoke from the stack.   Now there are happy smiles as that little boy plays with his electric train.
I could never change his childhood and how he endured growing up.  What I can do is share my childlike wonder of magical things and hope he begins to BELIEVE.  You can be certain no matter where we are at Christmas...Santa always finds this little boy and leaves him presents and a filled stocking.
Thank you for traveling down Memory Lane Monday with me.  Thank you Donna of Brynwood Needleworks for hostessing this each month.
We definitely have had rain!  And it was "Biblical Proportions" that was predicted.  Over 12 inches in about 5 days so that will last us a while.  What?  More rain coming?  Okay since this is really Winter for us.  Our ski resorts did finally get some snow.  These storms were a "pineapple express" so it was warmer than needed for snow.
I am truly enjoying seeing all of your holiday decorations and gifts you are creating.  Lots of beautiful inspirations.  Thank you all for sharing so much.
Joyful Jingles and Creative Bliss to all...