Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2014 Word = Giving...

In my very own style I do not make New Year's Resolutions.  I find them overwhelming and not achievable. Instead I like to select a word that I feel will help me through the year.  Maybe to be a better person, more productive, listen more carefully, you get the idea.  I have given a lot of thought to my word over the past several months and nothing seemed to fit.  Then it came to me.  "Giving"!  This word completely fits me.  I have always loved giving to others.  Not just giving as in presents but in benefit of the doubt, a cut in line, a smile, a hug and on it goes.  Years ago Mr. C told me, "You are generous to a fault!"  I had no idea what he meant at the time.  It is my greatest pleasure to give.
I have already signed up for Kelley Highway's 2014 charity.  You can read about it on her blog.  It is called The Pillowcase Project.  I don't know all the details yet but this is something that just called my name.

I have been wanting to sew some pillowcases but really had no need to do so.  Now I do.  As you can see in these photos I have fabric.  I promised myself before I buy any fabric for pillowcases I would see what I have and can use.  Hmmm...not these home dec fabrics.  The solids on the top shelf will be good for accent pieces.

Here are fun fabrics that are much smaller amounts.  There are some great pieces in these bins I am certain.

Here is where I shall begin.  I know just what I will use.  Not the laces, or velvets, or felt or velours.  No not the double-sided quilted fabrics.  I could make some Christmas fabric cases for later in 2014. are the fabrics I was thinking of.  Very good quality soft cottons with lots of fun youth prints.  I have been "saving" these for many many years.  Now I shall use them and know they will go to a very good cause and they will comfort children who need some tender loving care.  Now this is the giving I love to do. Using my supplies, skills and time to give to others less fortunate.
Speaking of gifts...I have been receiving some very special gifts from blog friends.  I am choosing to keep them private this year.  I feel very blessed to have such wonderful friends through blogging.  Thank you very much.  I cherish the time and work put into each and every gift and I shall treasure them forever.
With Christmas and the New Year coming quickly I shall be offline (oh I may peak from time to time) during the busy days.  I will be spending time with family and friends and enjoying the magic of it all.  Magic was my word in 2013 and it has served me well.  I have taken the time to truly see magic in so much.
Merry Christmas Bliss to all and Happy New Year Peace and Joy and Love...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Beautiful Bella Bunny...

This is Beautiful Bella Bunny.  She is my gift from my friend Kay.  Kay is my sister Marie's best friend yet I am happy to say she is also my friend.  Kay's daughter Star actually hand made Bella.  Star has made many bunny girls and boys and Kay had shown me some of them earlier this year.  Star does a wonderful job on every detail.  Bella (I named her) has a lovely grey dress with red and black accents.  She also has soft grey eyes to match her dress.  Her long pink lined ears are very sweet and she has a flower bow adorning one ear.  I am so in love with Bella.  My heartfelt thanks to Kay and her daughter for gifting me this bunny.

Here is the back of Bella showing more details.  Star even hand makes the little ribbon roses that adorn her belt.  Bella is posing on the top of my bedroom wing chair for these photos.  

Being a proper lady Bella did want to let you have a peek at her matching red bloomers.  I must say I wasn't quite so ladylike in the restaurant opening my gifts.  Every table around us knew exactly how excited I was to receive Bella.  Hand made gifts from the heart are the very best kind of all.  Thank you Kay and Star!!!

This is proof that you can have a holiday open house for neighbors and keep it very simple.  Mr. C invited the neighbors for a Road Maintenance meeting without even thinking of the fact that is was December 15th and holiday time.  I put the fun in the gathering with some food and hot mulled cider.  We still have snow so I knew warmth would be good.

Simple nibbles...pistachios, crackers, salami and cheeses.  I think my toothpicks were a hit.  I have shared them before.  Easy and quick to make up.  I glue small sparkly beads onto wooden toothpicks and they add to the festivities.  No close up photo this time but you get the idea.

And my favorite foods...sweets.  Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, iced gingerbread cookies and some very delicious dark chocolate with almonds, cranberries and ginger.  Thank you Trader Joe's for being so awesome and having such excellent options.  I did bake the cupcakes at least.  There were 11 of us and it lasted about 4 hours.  Everyone left with smiles and happy tummies.  One neighbor was sick with a cold and said the hot mulled cider really helped her feel better.  Festive and simple afternoon.
I will be playing Santa's elf wrapping gifts and organizing more of my lists today.  I am afraid I have repeated my every year affliction...I am never done until the morning of December 25th and the day has begun!
Looks like many of you have gotten organized and finished early this year.  Able to enjoy the magic of the season and truly relish every joyful moment.  Maybe next year I will be better...hmmm...Santa, I was better than bad this year.
Merry Christmas Bliss to all...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gathering And Wrapping...

December days are waning and I am not stressing...well not too much.  I am gathering gifts and getting them organized by groups or persons.  My lists are getting checked off however I always seem to add more to them each time I complete something.  Another person to add to the list...another gift to prepare and so it goes.  How is your gifting coming along?  Are you minimizing this year?  I am...or at least that is what I am trying to do.  Each year I hope to cut back yet it never seems to happen.

I am still wrapping.  Now it is down to the odd shapes and more difficult items.  Mr. C and I went down the hill and did some shopping.  We visited the largest mall known as the Galleria.  We were both very disappointed in the Christmas decorations.  It was mostly plastic and sparse and less than magical.  Even Santa's area was sad from what we were used to.  It was no Miracle on 34th Street.  The entire mall was just over-crowded merchandise mania.  We managed to boost their local economy and get some more things for me to wrap.
It was nice to get away from the snow and ice for the day.  Mr. C had taken a bad fall on the ice a couple of days ago.  He hurt his left arm and elbow.  Bless this man as he never complains and just keeps going.  Then I fell hard on the ice and I am trying not to complain but it hurts like heck!  There I was standing upright one minute and the very next thing I know I am bouncing on the ice like a heavy bowling ball bouncing on a dead lane.  We are hoping for warmer temps soon so the ice will melt and be gone.  I made the mistake of putting down kitty litter.  Mr. C has now told me my error.  I used the expensive "clumping" kind that turns to cement consistency.  What a major mess it made!  And it never melted the snow.  I was really sad to find out I fell in the mess and got it on my good black shoes and slacks!  My priorities might be out of order here. Cherry not Dreary...I am remembering my mantra.  Come on Summer...Please.
How are you doing with your holiday preparations?  I am enjoying your blogs with so many wonderful ideas and creative gifts and lovely decorations.  Thank you very much for sharing Christmas Bliss.
Happy Creative Hearts to all and to all a good night...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Baby Its Cold...

We now have a white Christmas and with the extreme cold temperatures this will probably still be here for Christmas day.  Our highs are around 32 degrees F with lows around 8 degrees F.  We got about 10 inches overnight.  Here is Mr. C with his snow plow clearing a path on our very long and very steep driveway.  It is 16% slope and that is bad when it is snowy and especially icy!  Fortunately we have a 4x4 truck but it is still extremely dangerous when the roads are covered in ice.

I tried to get the perspective of the steepness of the driveway.  Mr. C is working very hard coming uphill.

Interesting pathway I see Mr. C.  I do know there is method to your plowing.  A path to the wood for the fireplace is a must.  Good idea.  I think he is getting tired.  After all we are talking several hours of doing this just to barely get the minimum space cleared.  Then any snow left on the asphalt will make a treacherous layer of ice overnight.  I did try to shovel and broom any excess layer.  I felt like a tiny drop in a bucket!

The beauty and silence of the snow is ethereal.  I am keeping my mantra front and center this winter..."Cheery not Dreary"!!!  I am a summer girl and love sunshine and warm temps of around 80F.  

I took a moment to put together this crystal blue charm with enamel blue bow.  I hate to be empty handed when gifts are being given.  This will be a nice extra to give.  I am also busy wrapping some fun unexpected gifts.  Nothing serious.  I like to surprise people.
With all the icy roads I have not gotten my mailings to the post office.  Hopefully in the next several days.  So far I have been able to cancel or rearrange all of my holiday activities.  Mother Nature is very powerful and thankfully we are safe and never even lost our power.  I am keeping everyone in my prayers as this winter storm causes so much havoc for so many people across the states.
Warm holiday hugs for all.  May you be enjoying December Delights and see the magic that surrounds us.
Blissful Creating and Decorating...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Checking Off Lists...

Not very much is happening in the creative studio.  I stitched some tissue holders.  I used some fancy fabrics that have metallic silvers or golds.  I like these to hold tissues for pockets or purses.  And they are easy for gifts that require mailing.  With the high costs of postage these are fairly affordable to mail inside a Christmas Card.  I wrap them in lightweight tissue paper to keep the envelope from getting too bulky.

Since I have not been very productive in the sewing room or studio I can show you my desk the past few days.  Lots of packaging and mailings.  I prefer to still hand address and hand write each and every Christmas card I send out.  Yes, it takes a very lot of time however I feel it means more to the recipient if they see I have taken the time to relate to them with a personal message.  Am I checking off my lists?  Yes! Thank goodness I wrote out my lists as they are helping me stay focused and on target.  Today Mr. C and I had a list of errands and we thankfully accomplished every thing...except the smog test on our vehicle in order to register it before time runs out.  Can you believe two smog stations are swamped with work and have approximately 4 hour waits?  Who knew?!!!  
Our weather is extremely cold.  The decks have ice on them that hasn't melted in two days.  The pond is frozen and I could have sworn I saw Zippy Chippy the chipmunk and his squirrely friends ice skating across it singing Christmas carols and having a winter blast.  Well at least it made me smile.  I hope you are safe across the states as the snow and ice are causing great difficulties.  We are expecting snow very soon.
I am enjoying everyone's holiday decorations.  Many are very serene and calm in theme and that is so refreshing during this hectic busy season.  Thank you bloggers for always sharing so generously.  As always I love reading your comments and suggestions.  Mr. C says I am addicted to blogging and comments.  I say that is a very reasonable and healthy addiction.  Oh yes...chocolate too!  My latest craze is See's Sugar Free Dark Bar.  At first I thought why bother?  Then I tasted them and they are yummy.  I feel like I am being a bit better than bad.  Well, it makes sense to me and I am the one who has to weigh in each week and be accountable.  That's my story and I am sticking to it.
Enjoy Creative Bliss and December Delights Dears...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sewing Elves Arrived...

My efforts paid off big time.  Remember the little felt elf shoes I made hoping to entice some little elves to come and help me with my lists of projects?  I am happy to say the elves arrived and definitely helped me!  Thank you elves.  We made bags...several bags.  Great for market or any shopping.  Great for running errands and delivering packages at this time of year too.  Great for gifts.

Lots of pockets to hold all those small items.  Fabrics that are serene yet pretty and sturdy.

Soft colors that coordinate.  Ribbons tied to keep the sides contained or they can be untied to really hold larger items.

I think pulling together the fabrics is a fun part of the process.  Cutting all the pieces is not my favorite part but the elves didn't mind so much.  They were so helpful knowing how much I needed to get these done as they are gifts for dear ones on my list.

Each bag also has the removable bottom for wiping any spills that may happen.  Strong and sturdy.
The elves really enjoyed eating my pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for energy.  Thank you elves.  You have saved my sanity.

I post this tip every year as I begin my process for wrapping gifts.  I use a pallet knife for cutting my rolled papers.  This is the safest way I have found that actually works and makes a nice clean cut edge on my paper.  I share this because my mother who could wrap fabulously used a pair of large scissors open and ran them along the folded paper edge.  I still have a deep scar between my thumb and forefinger from the scissors gouging my skin while I was cutting paper decades ago.  NOT SAFE at all.

So far I have never been cut with this method.  Do you have a tip for wrapping gifts?
Our weather is supposed to turn cold and snow is predicted.  I will be thankful for the water table.  Mr. C and I are still raking and picking up huge piles of leaves and pine needles from Fall.  The trees are almost done dropping.  Mr. C also did his rooftop gig of cleaning out the gutters.  I was so nervous the entire time but he did really great and wasn't dizzy or off balance at all.  Thankfully he is greatly improved and well.  Our roof is very high...three stories high...and fairly steep and slippery.  You can understand why I was a wreck.
December Delights and lots to enjoy.  I am going to savor the magic of this time of year.  What is your favorite part of December?  Yesterday we took time to go to town and enjoy the crowds of people out shopping.  I was enchanted to hear the bells and see the horse drawn carriage travel up and down our little main street of town.  I feel blessed to live in such a wonderful place.  I have been spending lots of time helping out at my local Chamber of Commerce.  I really enjoy the hub-bub of this season.  Our town puts on Victorian Christmas and it is magical.   I have included the link if you wish to see.
May you be enjoying creating or cooking or baking or whatever makes you the very happiest.  Creative Happy Hearts and December Delights Dears...