Friday, January 31, 2014

Fabric Circle Ornaments...

I think we all agree this computer world is pretty amazing.  I was searching something totally unrelated to this post when I found "Folded Fabric Ornaments" on YouTube.  CroutonCrackerJacks was showing how to make something I really liked.  In the past I would have saved it to my "favorites" folder and thought I would make it sometime in the future.  Instead, I got busy and followed along and made it right then.  Success...
So with my 7 1/2" China salad plate from the kitchen I headed to my studio.

I gathered some supplies.  How nice it is to have things for the ready.  Two coordinating fabrics of which one has poinsettias and will be perfect for Christmas time.  Some red buttons which it appears I am running very low on.  Then I knew I had some gold and silver cording saved from Christmas tags I didn't use.  I cut out my circle.

Here is my circle sewn just like CroutonCrackerJacks showed me to do.  Then I followed his directions and voila...

A Folded Fabric Ornament!  Success the very first time.  Wow did I feel good.  And this is January...not late in hectic December.  I could make these and put them in my gift cupboard...ahead of time!  So I made three.
Then I got to thinking what would they look like in non Christmas fabrics.  So I dug in my fabric stash and came up with some vintage red and some vintage white matching fabrics that have tiny little vines and hearts on them.  Hmmm...

Here are my Valentine "Folded Fabric Ornaments".  I am very pleased. I put little heart buttons in the centers of two.  Then I used a little red heart bead for the center of one and liked it too.  After all, more and more people are celebrating every holiday and some even have trees with ornaments for each holiday.  Or an ornament could just keep you company in the window or inspiration board of your sewing room.  Something to view and smile and know that Creative Bliss abounds.
I am grateful for the generous sharing of crafters around the world.  Thank you CroutonCrackerJacks for inspiring me to make these wonderful little gems.
Our rain only lasted one short day.  We need lots more however I am grateful for the bit we got.  My daffodils are beginning to bud and I know they appreciated the drink.
If you are looking for me I will probably be in my sewing room.  I hope you are making things that smile with delight.  Creative Stitching Bliss...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Glorious Wet Rain...

See that sheen on the pavement?  That glisten?  Today we had rain!  It began as a mist and then truly rained. Nothing measurable or well-filling yet.  Just glorious wet rain falling from heaven.  Thank you Water Gods.

I put on my rain boots and drove the roads with the windshield wipers on full.  It is a welcome sight and sound.  Tonight we are supposed to get more rain and the ski resorts are to get snow.  I hope it pours.  The year we bought our home here it rained a total of 119 inches.  Every month it rained.  What a difference a few years can make.  We have had zero rain for 54 days and broke every record for heat and dryness. Very scary for us here in the forest.

I am so very thankful for this rain and I hope it continues.  I remember the first January we moved here it rained every day and night.  I was afraid Mr. C would need to build an Ark.  I wondered why anyone would live where there was no sunshine.  Having moved from "Disneyland" where the sun shone and the weather was perfect everyday I did not like all that rain and I definitely did not like the snow and ice that followed. Now after having a total scare of our well running out of water one is different for me.  I shall embrace all the rain we can get.  With my rain boots I can weather any storm.  Thank you everyone for your prayers and well (no pun intended) wishes.  May it rain and fill our earth with nourishment.
Creative projects are progressing and I will share on my next post.  Right now rain has preceded all else.
Wishing safety and warmth for all in the Polar Vortex and frigid snow and ice regions.  Hot Chocolate Hugs for you.  
Remembering my friends who are sweltering with their summers right now.   Iced Lemonade Hugs for you. For me...let it rain...and I shall drink water and toast to the heavens.
Merciful rain...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Random January Projects...

As January is quickly approaching its finish I wanted to see where I have spent some of my time.  It always seems like I don't accomplish much.  I have the standard chores like housework, cooking, laundry and husband but those don't count in my creative world.  So to review...I made some more Valentine ATCs.  I forgot to take finished photos however and they are already in the mail.

Do any of you have issues with these Fiskars ergonomic punches?  This is my third different design pair that have broken just trying to punch simple paper.  I am so frustrated at the waste and money spent that I went online and filed a warranty claim with Fiskars.  They are a good company and I really like most of their products but I feel there is a serious design flaw with this type of punch.  I can hear the broken plastic inside the unit.  We will see what Fiskars does in a few weeks.

Not all my creative time is with fabric and lace and beads.   Mr. C needed my help so this is what I was tasked to do.  Cut a piece of Butyl rubber 3/8 inch wide and attach it to a metal strip.  I decided this was a job for Gorilla glue!  With rotary cutter and quilt ruler I cut my strip of Butyl.  Applied a very small line of Gorilla glue and then clamped it all together.  Fingers crossed...

Here is the strip that dried and seemed to hold together.  Mr. C has already used this unit, minus my clamps, in his project.

My friend Sylvia had some window blinds that she disliked because the fringe had faded on the window side. I suggested I could fix them for her.  What was I thinking?  The blinds are plastic so there weren't a lot of options.  I masked off the blind portion.  You can see the fading on the left one and my repair on the right one.

Then I got out my liquid Rit dye.  This was a bit tricky but I managed to carefully dye the fringe and not the blinds.  They are completely matching on both sides of the fringe now.  All dry and ready for re-installation.  I will deliver them this week.
So in review I have accomplished a few random projects.  It does feel good.
Now I can move on to some more creative projects which I prefer.  What shall I begin???  I already have quite a few options.
We are still extremely dry here.  Prayers for rain might be answered later this week.  Fingers crossed.
I hope all who are snowed under and in freezing cold temperatures are safe and warm.  Hot chocolate works wonders.
I am busy with visiting many blogs from Vicki's Grow Your Blog party.  I did not participate however I am supporting as many as I possibly can.  I am also enjoying a wonderful blog hop with Madamm Samm.  This hop utilizes some fabulous fabrics called "She Who Sews" and I have some plans in the future.  I know I am spending extra time at my computer but it is very inspiring to find so many creative souls with wonderful talents.  I hope you are busy with whatever makes your soul sing.
Creative Bliss...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fabric Zippered Envelope...

With all the beautiful sunshine California is having I am thinking yellow.  So I pulled out some fabric that I love.  This is cheerful and lovely with the flowers.  I also pulled out a yellow zipper.  I have been seeing some fabric pouches that I really like and just knew I could make one.  Well with the help of YouTube and Susan Claire of Gourmet Quilter I found just the right video to help me from start to finish.  Thank you Susan and your excellent video.

Here is my quilting I did on the fabric with sandwiched batting.  I think of this as strengthening the fabric and giving it texture.  After a bit of sewing and video viewing and sewing I was pleased with my results.

Here is the finished fabric envelope.  It measures approximately 10" x 10".  I wasn't going for any specific dimensions for my first try.  I merely began with some fabric and ended with a finished pouch.  I also lined it with the same beautiful fabric.  Next time I would save the lovely fabric for another pouch and line it with muslin or cotton.  This is how I learn.  By trial and error.  Fortunately I had no real errors.  Susan added a longer self fabric handle for carrying over the wrist. I merely used some grosgrain ribbon as a tab to hold while zipping and unzipping.  I didn't want the wrist strap which could catch on lots of things.  This is purely personal preference.

Of course when my fabric envelope was finished I felt it needed a zipper enhancement.  So I beaded a lanyard for it.  I used my favorite gem hearts and Swarovski crystals.  Now it is complete and I love it!  I am putting this in my gift cupboard.  I feel that I will be sewing more of these for my gift giving.
Have you made anything like this?  Do you have hints or tips to share?
Once again I am so thankful that I know how to sew.  When I sit down at my machine I am less stressed.  I feel good that I am able to use my fabrics and threads and supplies along with my serger and sewing machine.  When they all just stay in the sewing room and I neglect them it makes me sad and feel unfulfilled.  Now I feel happy and very much satisfied that I made something I am proud of and can share with others.
In luxurious satin and lace this would make a great bridal shower gift along with a gift card or item of lingerie for the bride-to-be.  Hmmm...ideas are popping into my head.  Will I be able to keep up?
Our weather continues to be dry as a desert.  No moisture in sight for at least the next week.  Fires are happening as if it were the height of summertime.  I am continuing to pray for rain and safety from fires.  My deepest gratitude to each of you for also praying for rain for California.  For all who have too much rain and snow and freezing arctic vortex weather please stay safe and warm.  Maybe we could do a swap of some sort...we creative crafty people are very good at sharing...
Mr. C is happily working in his "Toybox" on his project.  I know I haven't shared with you yet.  There have been delays and I don't want to jinx anything by sharing too soon.  We are in no rush fortunately.  As the saying goes..."It takes as long as it takes!"
Be blissful in your creating...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Valentine ATC Swap...

As quickly as January is getting along we will be right into February and Valentine's Day.  I am not one to rush the days however I do ever so enjoy ATC swaps with Kimberly of ArtJoyStuff blog.  I just couldn't NOT participate.  When I have had to miss one of her swaps I am very sad as I miss out on such a wonderful sharing of creative talents with others who enjoy creating as much as I do.

So here are my little ATCs for this swap.  They have arrived and await their new destinations. I have seen a couple of the participants and would love to receive any of them.  Thank you once again to Kimberly for so generously organizing and facilitating this swap.  I can only imagine the amount of work that is involved.
Yesterday Mr. C and I took a short walk along our NID canal.  NID stands for Nevada Irrigation District and they are responsible for all of the water canals from the old mining days to present.  We were absolutely aghast to see NO water in the canal.  Normally NID turns down the level during winter however the canal was dry.  NO water at all.  We have NEVER seen it dry for any reason.  Not even when repairs were being done.  I am really concerned.  Living in the forest I always had a better sense of safety knowing that the canal is here and the fire departments could fill their trucks if need be.  Not now.  Mr. C even has a motorized pump and fire hose if fire threatened our home.  Not now.  No water.  No safety factor.  This is truly a catastrophic drought we are experiencing.  People who have lived their entire lives here have never seen it so dry with no rain and no snow.  Please rain Gods...please share your water with us.  Please...
I will be hostessing my local Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center tomorrow.  Town should be very busy. What are you staying busy with?  Sewing, gluing, glittering, stenciling...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Watercolor Journal...

When you see someone you admire make something you admire don't you just want to make it too?  I do.  That is what happened to me one day while reading my favorite Lori's blog elviestudio.  She created a watercolor journal that spoke to me.  I don't even watercolor...well not successfully.  But I just knew I had to make that journal.  I thought it might be wonderful for gifts to other creative souls I know.  If you click on Lori's blog link it will take you directly to her excellent tutorial.  Thank you very much Lori Dear.
For my birthday I received a wonderful surprise package from another of my favorite blog friends.  She actually followed my blog so well that she knew my favorite color is blue, flower is hydrangea, and so on.  Let's just call her Kathy and say that she also hand carved a hydrangea stamp for me.  I was overwhelmed.
This year I knew what I would do for her birthday and I was able to surprise her as she surprised me.

Here is the journal on the left.  It is simple and full of pages and folds.  I added a band around the journal that uses some of the blue washi tape Kathy had given me.  Then I made a panel card for the front of the journal that is removable.  I used my hydrangea stamp and blue stamp pad.  Added some Inktense watercolor pencil and smudged it all with my water brush.  Hmmm...I like the result.  A little more washi tape to tie the two together and I stamped FRIEND.

Here is the finished journal with card slipped inside the band.  I included some watercolor pencils with the journal.  I know she liked this as I have already gotten her thank you.  Happy Birthday Kathy.
Isn't it fun and wonderful to be able to make and give gifts tailored to the recipient?  From the heart!
Happy Birthday to lots of January blog friends...Daniella, Robbie, Kathy, Judy.  I will surprise you one of these years.  Happy Birthday to my sisters Renee and Wendy also.  It is fun to share such happiness.
Today it is sunny and 63 and gloriously warm.  Mr. C and I took a nice walk in shirtsleeves.  By this weather it must be Spring instead of the middle of January.  We are continuing to do our rain dancing as we are dry and desperate for water.
I'm off to make more pillowcases.  After all I have fabric and thread and there is lots of need.
May you be doing what makes your soul sing...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Drizzly Day Sewing...

Thank you everyone.  We had 1/4 inch of rain yesterday.  Not a lot but enough to water my poor sad dried plants and lawn.  I am very thankful for what we got.  Now our weather is returning to sunshine and low 60F daytime temperatures.  I shall continue to do my feeble rain dancing.  

As I shared before I am participating in The Pillow Case project.  The link is on my side-bar.  Sew...I gathered some of my vintage and ever so soft fabrics that I feel would be lovely for little heads to rest upon.

Using a wonderful YouTube video I was able to cut and sew my pillowcase for a standard size pillow. Thank you to Robin Gallagher for sharing such an easy way to make pillowcases.  Here is my first attempt using some fun Tinkerbell fabric I had.

Here it is pinned before sewing any seams.  Very easy to do.

Here is the magic "tube" that becomes the pillowcase top.

This is the finished top with trim and finished seams both inside and out.

And here it is all finished complete with french seams on the side and bottom.  No raggedy edges anyplace.
I am so happy with this completed pillowcase.

This is another one I made at the same sitting.  I think I am so attached to this project because as a ten year old girl I was in the hospital for an entire week.  My parents were poor and I was in a county facility.  It was very dreary.  There was another little girl in my same room.  Her name...Susie.  She was badly burned from her long blonde hair catching fire in the stove burner.  I remember her screaming every day when the nurses changed her dressings.  Her parents were also poor and could only visit her once.  They had to take a bus and it was a long trip.  To this day I pray that Susie is alright.  While my daughter was growing up I NEVER let her cook on the stove with her long blonde hair.  In fact I worked an extra job just to afford a "new-fangled" microwave back then so she could cook in it with no fire.  Her little "Easy Bake Oven" just didn't do as much as she wanted to cook. To this day she is a wonderful cook.  Sorry I got side-tracked...
Because of my experience as a little girl in a sad and lonely hospital I would have loved having a special pillowcase to lay my head on and that is probably why I am so determined to make these for other children. Being sick is bad and scary enough.  Maybe the love I sew into these pillowcases will somehow help other little children.  I believe some things happen for a reason and this project came along just in time for me to share what I am able to share.  Do projects speak to you?
January Joy and I thank you for your comments.  I read them and take them to heart.  With the fresh beginnings of a brand new year I hope you are doing what makes you happy.  Creative Blessings...
Update:  I have taken Donna's very good advice and sewn down the accent flaps.  Thank you Donna Dear.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Garnets for January...

Update on Saturday January 11, 2014...We are having a drizzle of rain.  Thank you everyone!  

Garnet gemstone is the birthstone for January.  Garnets signify stability, devotion, eternal friendship and trust. Garnet is derived from the word granatum, meaning seed, and is called so because it resembles a pomegranate seed.  I find it interesting to read about gemstones and the American Gem Society is a good source of information.  I also find it fun to be able to go into my studio and create a necklace and earrings using January's birthstone.

This is the design I put together for January.  I incorporated garnets along with red and clear Swarovski bi-cone crystals for the bulk of the necklace and earrings.  The focal heart is coral and the others are simply fun metal and velvet hearts.  This uses my favorite magnetic clasp for ease in fastening.  The best part of making my own jewelry is that I can easily take it apart if I want to and reuse the components for another design.

This simple necklace and earrings uses my favorite clear Swarovski bi-cone crystals along with some black agate gems.  I wear a lot of black and wanted to have a very understated bit of bling.  This set got lots of compliments this past December while I was wearing it.
I haven't been making much jewelry and it felt really good to be able to create these two sets.
We are still dry as a bone here in Sunny California.  Even our wonderful weather people are getting a little sad as they predict each day with not a drop of water in sight.  When we moved here in January 1999 it rained and poured and rained some more.  I was certain we would need an Ark.  There was so much rain that a house in this community sank right into a mine shaft never to be seen again.  We were checking our home's placement because we have a mine with shaft and air shafts on our property.  Thankfully ours is far.
January is humming along and I am doing my best to keep up.  I began the month behind but am determined to catch up and not feel anxious.  I did over-commit so I am trying to re-prioritize my tasks.  If only we could do it all.
How are you beginning your fresh new year?  Taking time to do what makes you happy is what I am hoping. Thank you to each of my comment followers.  I am truly grateful and enjoy reading each of them.  I don't always respond but I definitely try to follow your blogs in return and comment each visit.  Creative Hugs...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Beading and Wiring...

In keeping with my desire to enjoy my days and do something I want to do creatively I am beading some little red felt hearts.  Nothing fancy.  Merely a touch of gold seed beads in a free form style.

And on the other side of the office is Mr. C who is doing something he enjoys.  Wiring a control board for his project I shall share with you soon I hope.  Who knew a heat tool for powder embossing used in card stamping could be used for wiring and sealing very special little shrink tubing onto the wires?  It is nice to share our tools.  I also use my label maker to help him accurately keep track of the wires on his board. Teamwork!
It seems no rain dance or any other method of needing rain and moisture is helping us here.  We are bone dry and last night our well ran out of water while irrigating.  Mr. C had to shut all water off for the night and now we are done irrigating.  If you watch the news you may have seen how low Folsom Lake (link included) is.  This is getting very scary.  Today we have water however we are being very careful how much we use.  Our neighbors have also had similar issues with their wells.  Please send rain Mother Nature...Pretty Please!
I have been very successful in gathering clothes from my closet to donate to a local women's center.  Now that I have begun I do not want to stop.  Giving will truly be an all year affair for me.
With the new year I do have to be careful how much I commit to.  I might already be a tad on overload.  I'll share more on that next.  Certainly no one else takes on too much at the beginning of a fresh new year???
May you be happily creating...

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Palm Springs to Pasadena...

I am happy to report Mr. C and I closed out 2013 with a long and winding road trip to visit family and friends.  We felt it important to connect with those that we may not have seen for some time.  We left our home in the care of a friend who kept it safe and sound.  Our weather was simply gorgeous.  This is a photo of Palm Springs and shows why I love it there so much (sadly Mr. C does not like the desert).  Blue sky, hills that reflect the light and shadows of the sun, palm trees and not so many crowds.  I am grateful for being able to enjoy such peace and calm as the hectic days of Christmas didn't seem to follow us there.   I won't share all of our trip as that would bore you and I want to only share the serenity with you.
Christmas was very special this year as we stayed with my daughter in South Orange County.  She spoiled us beyond.  Thank You and I Love You!

Our last stay was in Pasadena for the New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade along Orange Grove Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard.  Mr. C had never been to it in person.  I was able to enjoy it many years ago as my daughter's high school band was honored to be one of six that marched in the parade.  To our delight we were able to stay with a dear friend who just happens to live 1/2 mile from the Tournament of Roses Headquarters on Orange Grove Boulevard and the floats stage right in front of her home.  What an experience to ring in the new year with thousands of people and the gorgeous floats up close.  Thank you Miss Elsbeth.  This is us at midnight enjoying strolling along and seeing the floats stage.

If you have only watched the parade on TV and never seen it in person you really cannot appreciate the work and details that go into each and every part of the floats.  Every single part is covered in flowers, petals, seeds and organic living bits.

The colors are spectacular.  Each flower is in its own water vial.  The thousands of volunteers and hours it takes is truly a labor of love.

The art and showmanship is amazing.  Nothing painted.  All organic materials.

It was fun to try to figure out what some of the materials used could be.  Some I have never heard of.  All of them absolutely breathtakingly beautiful!

Each float has a theme and this one was honoring Police K-9 dogs.  There were also live dogs riding on the float.  Such well behaved amazing animals.  Thank you to all who train and tend and utilize these dogs.

This was a spectacular float from Indonesia with lovely ladies in colorful costumes adorned with flowers.  Can you imagine marching 5 1/2 miles plus donning these headdresses?  Lots of bands and horses and beautiful people along with so many amazing floats makes this parade so unique and special.  What a wonderful way to begin this new year 2014.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we are so very grateful to have been a small part of it.
I am humbled by my many blog friends who have sent me cards and gifts.  I have chosen not to share them on my blog but keep them to myself.  I do hope you understand.  I am thankful for each and every one of you and I will be contacting each of you to properly thank you.  My blogging journey has allowed me some very special moments and memories.  I treasure each and every one.
As I unpack and organize and catch up from being gone I am reminded that this year I intend to simplify my surroundings.  I know I border on hoarder and have way too much stuff.  I am extremely sentimental and never get rid of things.  Reality is telling me I don't need to keep or wear that outfit from the 1980's that I always felt ugly in. Since "giving" is my 2014 word I shall be donating lots to worthy causes.  I have made some promises to myself and to others and I fully intend to follow through.  I don't do resolutions but I do make some goals for myself and therefore I tend to keep true to my words.
Happy New Year and Creative Blessings to all.  Now let's create happiness...