Saturday, May 31, 2014

Backyard Blue Bliss...

As May closes and June begins I am very happy to spend time working in my beloved back yard.  A few years ago Mr. C built a deer fence to protect this area from the voracious plant eaters.  Now we have beautiful roses and other plants.  This blue bridge is a gift designed and built by Mr. C for our Anniversary a couple of years ago.  We waited twelve long years for this bridge and it was so worth the wait.  I got to select the powder coating color and therefore have my beloved heartthrob blue to gaze upon.  Thank you Mr. C!

This is my view as I stand on our kitchen deck.  I never grow tired of seeing this beautiful view.

Here is the shadiest part of the back yard.  I have hostas and my dwarf blue hydrangea.  No little flower gems planted yet this summer as I have been beyond busy.  We have been clearing and preparing our land for fire zone protection.  Three giant truck loads to the dump in three days was a huge job but our property looks ever so much better.  I am not showing photos of all at this time.  Right now I am focused on sharing my little back yard I love so much.

Here is the other side view of our bridge and plants.  Can you imagine this was all horrible construction ground when we moved in sixteen years ago?  So much work we have done.  It is good to review from time to time to realize just what we have accomplished.

And here is my very first blue hydrangea of the season.  It is so beautiful and precious.  My very favorite.  The leaves got a little damaged from some hail we had earlier this month but the plant is doing very well in spite of her rough weather.  This is a dwarf hydrangea and therefore the blossoms are only about 3 inches at the largest stage.  Every winter the plant goes to nothing but some sticks and I always hold my breath for this very reveal.  Mr. C gave me this from one of our local nurseries a couple years ago and I adore both...Mr. C and my Dwarf Blue Hydrangea bush.
I love spending time here and never mind the hours it takes weeding and primping.  We are blessed.
What will June hold in store for you?  For me I will be taking a blog break.  Ah but not a sad one...I will have lots to share very soon.  This will be a time for Mr. C and I to re-charge and rejoice in life!  It was just a short year ago on June 21st that Mr. C was injured in his trauma accident.  Thankfully he is fully recovered and we are sincerely grateful.  Life is never certain and therefore it is important to cherish every moment and make wonderful memories.
Blissful Blessings to all...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Meeting Pen Friends...

This is a quick update to meeting my pen friend/s.  We were a happy group of 16 last evening at a local coffee spot.  Time flew so fast all of a sudden it was announced closing time.  I met Cory aka Dogwood and we totally got along like we had known each other for years...which we have but only via snail mail, email, blogging and FaceBook.  I adore her just as I thought I would.  Here is her blog link to check out.  I made the little fabric envelope pouch for postcards and cards and gave it to her.

I also gave one to Lindsay who featured my blog during NLWM and was our wonderful cheerleader.  And I made one for Martha who organized this meeting of like-minded creative souls.  Thank you very much!

Late in the day I decided I just could NOT arrive empty handed.  I knew Martha had invited 18 ladies so I got busy.  All packaged in little envelopes and ready to hand out.  Out of 18 I only had two left over.  Wow!

Nothing too elaborate however these were not time and labor simple.  I cut out white felt hearts.  Took my favorite vintage red safety pins and beaded them...twice as the heart was upside down first time.  I stitched with red thread a heart button to one side and the beaded pin to the other side.  I merely made these to show I was very heartfelt to be part of such a great group of creative ladies.

Are there any photos of the group?  No.  Not one.  No one took any cameras and no cell phones.  Too busy talking and sharing and laughing and carrying on.  I feel certain we will get together again. I had a wonderful time and was sad to see us all go in different directions.
When I got home Mr. C wondered what was wrong because I was home in just two hours.  Who knew the coffee house closed so early in the evening.
Spent most of today outside with Mr. C and a hired helper doing serious weed abatement and land clearing of debris and downed tree limbs.  Fire season is here and we don't want any extra fuel close to our home. Another day of it tomorrow should finish what we started today.  It will be at least three (3) full truck loads to the dump.
May you be enjoying this lovely month of May and doing whatever makes you happiest.  Whether outdoors or indoors this is a great time to create.  Creative Bliss My Friends...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Gift Cupboard & Dresser...

I have mentioned my gift cupboard and dresser before and thought you might like to see what I am talking about.  This is a downstairs linen cabinet Mr. C built for us.  I have displayed lots of game pieces and astronomy themed items here just because I like to see them.  Ahh but inside...well let's just say there aren't all linens behind those doors.

Here is a sample of gift items I keep on hand for year round giving.  I will admit that I haven't organized the shelves in a while however I do know what types of things are on each shelf.  I also know what items I have and for whom based on where I place them.  At least twice a year I completely empty everything and re-consider if things are gift worthy.

This is a large antique dresser I have that has been taken over with more gift items.  This began merely as an overflow for Christmas gifts.  That was at least five years ago.  Now I keep it filled all year long.  I love having lots of options for gift giving any time of year and for any occasion.

Yes, I sewed this past week.  I love this fabric and it has a wonderful sheen that does not show on camera. These are two different sizes and would be great for computer netbooks or tablets.  Of course I can't try them as I don't own either of these items.   Waaaaaaa.....

Because they are closed with a zipper I like to add a beaded accent.  This one has a tiny little heart charm.

Here is the larger fabric pouch.  I did a very simple quilt line on this one so as not to destroy so much of the fabric floral design.

This is the smaller of the two.  Each one is padded for body and protection of contents.  These are now residing in my gift cupboard.
A new week and lots to do.  Mr. C and I are doing a painting project I will share soon.  I am also very excited as I will be meeting some of the NLWM participants as we get together.  Can you believe I will finally meet my very first pen pal of five years ago?  She and I live just 5 miles apart and shop at the same Ben Franklin yet have never met in person.  It is time!
Our weather is continuing to be dry but ever so glorious with blue skies and perfect temperatures.
I hope you are able to enjoy more Spring and Summer weather after those long hard cold Winters many of you endured.  And for my friends who are enjoying Fall...enjoy those gorgeous colors and changing foliage. Now to get creative and have fun and make things I love to make...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Freedom, Bless Our Troops...

I am not one to put into elegant heartfelt words just what I want to convey so I will keep this simple and sweet.  God Bless Our Troops...Men, Women and Dogs who are risking all to allow us our freedoms. Thank you sincerely from my heart and soul.
My friend Celestina-Marie has written a beautiful tribute to her father in this post of hers.  Thank you dear.
Mr. C and I are spending our weekend close to home and we are savoring our freedom.  Taking a few walks, having a picnic and generally being thankful for all we have and enjoy here in America.  Amen...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Necklace of Memories...

This is my Necklace of Memories.  I put this together a few years ago and smile each time I see it or wear it. When I wear it in public it really is a conversation starter.  Unique.  One-of-a-kind.  Eclectic.  Quirky.   Some people might not like it but then others want to rush home and make their own version.
Here is what I did...

I began with some sturdy necklace chain.  There is some weight to this finished piece.  I finished the back with a lobster clasp and split ring for safety.  I made it adjustable with a length of the chain finished in another ring for interest in the back as well.  I gathered my most cherished rings I no longer wear.  From costume to semi-precious.  Each ring has a story and history.  Me being a "Border Hoarder" it is easy to save all these from decades ago.

I won't bore you with the stories however you might recognize my 1970's MOOD ring.  A genuine Flower Child cannot be without her mood ring.  I made it the center piece.

Here is the back closure and ring.  Remember Coral rings that were hand carved?  This one is of an Eagle. Another one on the necklace is a fish carving. And yet another is a heart carved in the Coral.   Did I wear these?  Oh yes I loved them and wore them often. Here you can also see that I wove some sheer organdy ribbon through the chain.  I think it gave a softer look to the otherwise chunky chain.  I also took lengths of ribbon and tied them here and there between the rings to soften the look. I used a neutral gold ribbon against the silver toned chain as the rings are of all finishes and colors.

I have a total of 22 rings on this necklace and I know the story for each one of them.  I attached the rings with wire wrapped through the chain and then through the ring.  If I choose to I can merely cut the wire and the ring will be free to wear again or pass along to someone if I wish.  I could also change out the rings if I wanted to.  Lots of possibilities.

Tell me what you think of my Necklace of Memories.  You won't hurt my feelings.  I like it and that is what counts the most.  It brings me smiles and happiness.  It reminds me of people and places I have enjoyed.  It allows me to enjoy my baubles that otherwise might just sit in a drawer and get lost or forgotten.  When I brought it out to take the photos, Mr. C asked about it.  He had not seen it before and was interested in its history.  He was reminded of his "nail" ring he had given me from his living in South Africa before we met. Wouldn't this be fun to make for a gift for a family member or dear friend?  Some day I shall place it in a memory frame and give it to my daughter as a keepsake.
Today is overcast and teasing us with cooler temperatures and just a spit of rain but nothing to even reach the ground.  Thankfully it is snowing over Donner Pass.  Not a lot but we will take all we can get.  Mr. C fed all of his roses and most of the other plants we have.  I fed four other varieties yesterday with a different food. More weeding and it still isn't even close to done.   I am enjoying all the flowers and greenery.
Summer is coming fast.  Enjoying the great outdoors...barbequeing with family and friends...picnicing in the park or at the lake or beach...walking, golfing, playing tennis or whatever you like to Nike says it, "Just Do It"!  Creative Bliss and thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.  I read every one.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Tea in the Garden ATCs...

A short quick post to show the lovely ATCs I received in Tea in the Garden swap from Kimberly's ArtJoyStuff blog.  I adore her swaps.  You create three ATCs which can all be alike or each different.  Then you receive three ATCs from three different people.  I am never disappointed with what I receive.  Thank You Kimberly for always being so gracious and for making a special gift to include.  I love my Tea in the Garden hanging Tag.

Here are the ATCs I received.  Bottom left from Donna A of alittlebitofjumble blog.  Center bottom is from Sheng and I could not find any link for her.  Bottom right is from Jane of araliajane blog.  Each ATC is lovely and I thank you all.   This also shows the beautiful hanging Tag Kimberly made and included as a bonus.

Here is another ATC I received separately from this swap.  Thank you Jane.  It is very sweet and lovely...just like you my friend.
Making ATCs is such a fun and rewarding venue.  I adore their tiny little size.  Just the same as a standard playing card...2.5 x 3.5 inches.  For many years I made hundreds of these ATCs to donate to the senior homes and they used them as table favors.  I made lots of nature themed, fishing themed, and some with simple little words on them.  They can be wonderful conversation starters.  I never received any feed back or even so much as a thank you so after so many years I stopped making and donating them.  Sort of like paying it forward in my mind.  I enjoy giving and bringing a smile to someone who might need a bright spot.
Prayers for Southern California and the horrific fires burning and causing so much devastation.  I fear this will be a horrible year for all of California.  We are dry tinder everywhere.  No rain in the forecast at all.
I have been spending my time outdoors in my yard.  Each day I make it a goal to weed just one small area. Unfortunately when I am weeding the area, is not small and takes me a lot longer than anticipated.  I feel like the painter painting the Golden Gate the time he gets to the other side he has to begin all over again.  It truly is a losing battle but I still forge ahead.  Now if I could just get someone to do all the BIG stuff.  I don't use a weed-eater as it has moving parts and throws rocks at legs, torso, eyes...not for me!  So I merely crawl on hands and knees and continue to pull assorted weeds out of areas I can do.  I am thankful for being able to perform these feats.  Sometimes I could use a crane to raise me back up.
What are you staying busy doing?  Indoors or outdoors or both?  We are truly blessed to have such choices. Creative Bliss and thank you for following along and letting me know what you are up to...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Envelopes, Australia, Italy...

Now that April and National Letter Writing Month is over I now have a new tool to play with.  It is the We R Memory Makers Envelope Punch Board.  The name is longer than the entire procedure to make envelopes.  Whew!  I have made hundreds of envelopes through the years and did not need this tool as I have lots of other ways of creating envelopes.  But...I thought this would be fun to have and use.  And I got it on super sale!  Very easy to do and will make lots of different sizes.  

Here is the standard A2 size for cards.  These are before I lined the flap with the same paper.  I can see lots of fun applications for making matching cards to go along with the envelopes.  I am part of a wonderful team who mails Random Acts of Kindness mail to those in need of some cheer.  These envelopes should be happy bits in the mail filled with bills or "junk" mail we never request.

From a sheet of paper this is an envelope before folding and securing.  Very easy.

From Australia flew this little felt Owl.  I have named her Minerva as she is very wise and will watch over me. She has a pin back and I know just where she will reside.  Thank you Judy my dear friend.  Now please go visit Judy and give her some much needed love as she faces surgery this week.  You will be so pleased to see all that she creates in her Australia studio.

This is a beautiful hand created postcard I received from Italy.  Thank you Letizia. I love all the layers and dimension you have achieved.  Fabulous colors!

Minerva really looks lovely with Letizia's postcard.  Both came in the same day's mail.  Have you mailed something to someone just because?  I am still continuing my surprise mailings however at a much slower pace than April.
Our weather is very Summer like.  Warm and dry.  Not a cloud of rain to be seen anywhere.  I pray for all of California to be safe from fires.  This will be a very trying year.
I haven't spent much time in my studio as life has been busy with other matters.  I did manage to get outside and do lots of weeding on my hands and knees.  Tiny little details that I do so well.  Still there are thousands more weeds waiting for me.  They grow very fast and I move very slow.  I am thankful to have them and sometimes I let them grow just so I can see their lovely little flowers.  After all, weeds are merely plants in the wrong places.  Mr. C joined me outside and staked up our rose bushes that are heavy with buds and blooms.  How are you staying busy as May rolls along?  Outdoor activities keeping you busy?
Let's enjoy each day and be present in the moment to fully savor all of it.  Creative Bliss my friends...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Gifts Out & In...

This is a Hostess gift I made yesterday.  It felt sew good to spend time in my sewing room and actually make something for someone.

I began my little project with a purchased flour sack towel, some interesting fabric and a piece of beautiful soft gray grosgrain ribbon.  Of course threads and my sewing machine did all the work.

I like how it turned out.  Now I have a unique and special Hostess gift prepared.  You never know when you will need to pull from that gift cupboard you keep.  Sew...this is a gift going out.

Now to share a gift that came in.  Miss Dorthe of Den Lille Lade in Denmark gifted me with this gorgeous collage she created.   I am loving the sweet little face on this beautiful collage of laces and fabrics and buttons all lovingly put together by Dorthe herself.  She wrapped it safely in the deep burgundy folder with the elegant ladies on front and tied it all with a purple velvet ribbon.  Her note is written on the Denmark postcard. Thank you from my heart Dorthe Dear.  Your gift is as precious and beautiful as you are my friend.

Here is a surprise gift from my Canadian friend Elle of elle in da coop blog.  In April while I was participating in National Letter Writing Month (NLWM) I made certain I also included some of my blog and personal friends with surprise mail.  Well...while I was mailing Elle she was mailing me this lovely fabric postcard she created.

Yes, I was completely surprised when I received it.  Thank you very much Elle Dear.  Now we are in May and I just spent my evening yesterday writing and preparing about another dozen follow-up pieces of mail from NLWM.  Whew!!!  This year was amazing however I over-committed myself and mailed out about 200 pieces of assorted mail.  CRAZY!!!  Two countries, plus all over Canada and 32 different states in the USA.  My piggy bank ran completely dry.  I better begin saving again for next year.
Our weather is lovely.  We even had one night with some gentle rain.  Nothing measurable but enough to water my ground cover at the pond.  We might get some more tonight and I am keeping my fingers crossed for snow on the passes to help our "exceptional drought".
Today is full of errands and anything else that comes along.  I am flexible and that helps me have a very happy day.  Oh and I still love Pharrell Williams singing Happy.  I can play it on repeat for an hour at a time and never grow tired of it.  I get lots of housework and laundry done to this Happy music!
Happy Mother's Day...especially to my beautiful daughter who enabled me to be a mom.  I am very proud of her and my two granddaughters.  I am very thankful for my mother and grandmother and older sister who taught me so very many things in life.  Especially my ability to be creative.
Let's make beautiful things that make us Happy.  Creative Bliss...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fabric Win; Stitched Felt Bee...

At the beginning of the year I signed up with Michelle of Raspberry Rabbits for her Fellowship of the Flowers.  I shared a few of my flowers I stitched and then set them aside.  Life gets in the way sometimes.  I really liked working on them and I will get back to doing some more later this year.  I already have some gift plans. Meanwhile I was able to stitch one of her adorable little bees.  I searched too many fabric stores and gave up on finding the tiny pindot fabric Michelle uses so instead I used fabric that was in my stash.  I kind of like my wild bee look.  When we use what we have it gives us greater freedom to be creative.  Thank you Michelle.

Last week I was notified by Carol of Just Let Me Quilt blog that I had won her giveaway of a $20 shopping trip to Quilt Taffy.  What?!!  Fabric...for me?  Thank you sew very much Carol.  Carol is very creative and shares wonderful amazing projects she is always making. Please visit her and you will see for yourself.

I went online to Quilt Taffy's etsy store and spent that gift certificate post haste.  Wait until you visit them and see how fun it is to find unique and beautiful fabrics while at home and in your comfy clothes.  Corrie was a true sweetie and helped me through the online process.  I honestly had my goodies the next day.  Now that is service!  I love the feel of the fabrics.  They also have a Quilt Taffy blog and lots of generous giveaways. You are gonna love Carol and Corrie.  Thank you both sew very much.
Our weather has been warm and I think we are into Summer.  For all of you with too much rain...please send it to us.  I know I keep saying it but we are still in our "Exceptional Drought".  Fire season will be intense this year and I live in the forest.  I do hope Spring is finding its way to those of you who are still experiencing snow.  Many years we have gotten snow right on through Mother's Day.
I spent a wonderful day down the hill late celebrating my sister's birthday today.  She and I have such great fun and time just seems to evaporate when we are together.  I admit a few crafty things found their way into my trunk.  Some fabric...some beads...some rhinestones...some buttons...Just a few of my favorite things! Next is to get busy and Be Creative!!!  Joy and Creative Bliss My Friends...