Saturday, January 28, 2012

Crocheting Completed...

When I am in a different city for any length of time I like to explore and see what stores they have that might fit my interests.  No disappointment here.  I went to a funky bead and yarn store.  It has no street appearance as it is in an industrial strip off the main roads.  You know what that means?  Better prices of course.  All yarn everyday is 40% off and that fits my budget.  Get what you might need because at these prices they do not get re-orders of these deals.  I bought some gorgeous Italian yarns that are delicious.
 I normally travel with a crochet hook but nowadays not so much due to losing too many at airport check-ins.  Please don't even count my scissors I have had to leave behind and that was when nothing was being returned to the owners.  So this trip we were in the car however I did not have my trusty hook with me.  So I bought one.  Ouch!  It cost more than the Italian yarn.  Of course it is German engineered and made of the finest bamboo. Well, I did splurge and I am so thankful I did.  This is the finest crochet hook I have ever used.  It actually glided through the yarn.  Can a crochet hook be dreamy?  Mine is to me.
Two days after buying my hook and yarns I had crocheted this neck muffler scarf.  I am thrilled with how it turned out.  I didn't even have a pattern.  Will I make more?  I am hoping so.
 Here is the yarn I used.  The varigated is the Italian wool that is delicious.  The skein in the back row is the full beginning skein and the one in the front row is what I have left for another scarf.  The black yarn is alpaca wool and I adore working with this.  Back row is the untouched full skein and front row is the remainder of what I have for another scarf.
This is the finished scarf.  My photos are shadowy but I am not a photographer...I am a crocheter.  The scarf is held together with a button I sewed on the underside of the flower. I buttoned it through a space I left in the scarf when I began my chain and single crochet rows.  I saw a similar scarf at the yarn shop that LuLu (who luckily works there) had made and it was my inspiration.  Hers was the same varigated but with a soft grey instead of the black.  Her scallop edging and flower are quite different and she used a large safety pin to hold the scarf together.  
Here is another view of my neck muffler scarf.  I like it close around my neck as I am not a fan of getting or being cold and this really keeps the chill and/or wind away.  Oh yes I plan on making a few more of these.  I did buy some of the same Italian varigated yarn in some other color combos and then some coordinating wool to compliment the varigated skeins.
In real time this was quite quick to crochet...well if you added up my hours it wasn't quick, however remember I was staying in a hotel all day every day and 8 or 10 hours can pass very quickly if your hands are busy and you are creating something new and exciting.
Have you crocheted or knit any of these neck muffler scarves?  If so, I would love to see photos or hear of how you made them.
I believe I was channeling my Grandma when I was working on this.  She could look at something and then go home and make it without ever seeing it again and without photos.  Of course I took my camera back to the shop but forgot to actually take a picture of the one LuLu made.  I was too busy buying more yarns and some bamboo knitting needles so I can try to knit.  After all...Grandma crocheted and knit lots of fabulous things and most of the time she had numerous projects going all at once.  If only I can channel her to help me knit something usable...
Blissful Creating as this January 2012 comes to a rapid close.  This world must be spinning faster...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Playing With Scissors...

Here is another fun craft I played with while in my cozy cottage.  I have seen so many clever people making these paper feathers I just had to try them.  Having limited supplies with me I looked around and found a discarded book that I used some pages from.  I had gone to the local craft store and these "fringe" scissors were just what I needed to make this project.  Bonus...they were on sale.  I also spent a dollar on the white wire I needed.
I sat at my little cozy coffee table and glued with my trusty glue stick I had brought with me.  Then I cut out the shapes and fringed them.  Hmmm...I liked them however they were rather plain and needed something more.
I had no more supplies with me but knew I had just the perfect item at home so I put them in the bag for safe keeping.
Once I was home and unpacked I got out the walnut spray stain and spritzed the feathers.  Much better.
Mr. C was aghast at "MORE SCISSORS"!  Ever since he met me and helped me move (we are do-overs so lots of baggage with me) he has never gotten over how many scissors I have.  He tells people I have hundreds.  Hmmm...I wonder how many screw drivers he has?  Alas it does not matter.  A person needs tools to do a good job and that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I could imagine that any of you have more than ONE pair of scissors in your possession.  Could I be correct?
I will be making more of these and using lots of different, tissue, wrapping, thin shopping bags, text pages, and whatever else comes to my crafty hands.
Have you made some and what were your finished projects?
Yesterday we had rain all of my friends called it an Irish Mist and that really did describe it better.  It required windshield wipers when driving but overall very pleasant.  Today we have beautiful sunshine and perfect temperature of about 60 degrees F.  I hope you are having your favorite day...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Playing With Paint

Part 2 continued from previous post...
I was having issues on my last post I just completed a short time ago.   Something about Blogger not being supported by my browser and hmmm...would I like to download Google Chrome.  In this house I NEVER download anything without Mr. C's strict approval.  His computers have always been his lifeline and company earnings so he is very protective of what content is on them and how they are used.
I did interrupt him as he was working and that never goes really well either.  Thank goodness he took a break and looked at what I was not conveying very well. Mr. C does not know Blogger nor does he want to.  He is not interested in blogging or sharing of photos or any such ballyhoo.  He is happy for me that I am enjoying blogging so much but that is as far as his interest goes.
We took a little drive and got a delicious Gyro at our favorite little place for lunch.
When we returned he sat down at my computer and read a few things.  Then...he actually downloaded Google Chrome for me.  Now I am doing a test post to see if Blogger will behave better.  So far so good.  I have been able to upload a photo from my pictures file.  On the last post I did something I have no idea and Picasa did a photo for me which posted.  I have never even used Picasa so go figure.
So we shall see if Google Chrome really will be helpful and if Blogger really will behave for me.
If not...

Playing With Paint Chips...

This is how I created some Valentine ATCs while I was in my little cottage away. I acquired some lovely paint chips from the local orange big box store in burgundy, red, pink and whisper pink. I used my heart punches, which I had with me, and made a little pile of hearts. With my ATC blanks I had pre-stamped, my trusty glue stick, some scissors, red Happy Valentine's Day ribbon and a few pre-made hearts from K and Company I was able to create Valentine ATCs. These got mailed out to a very few people all while I was out of town and away from my studio. It is possible to be creative with very little supplies and space.
I was very happy to play with my paint chips and make something fun and colorful. I have used paint chips for lots of projects in the past. I do try to only acquire them when I am actually buying paint and painting supplies however sometimes I just need a very few without the need for the actual gallon of paint. I was making a substantial purchase of other items they sell.
What have you done with paint chips? Please share your projects you have created.
I had another photo to share, however it seems that Blogger has become extremely difficult and misbehaved for me. Something about my reader no longer recognizes my format??? I have no idea what that means. I only hope this will post properly.
Wonderful Wednesday and Blissful Creating...
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Monday, January 23, 2012

Home Suite Home...

My "Disconnected December" has turned into "Jumbled January".  However FLEXIBILITY is my saviour.  I can adapt to most any situation...
I have not been able to keep up with blogging as well as I would like.  It seems that my desktop computer at home has special programs that the shared traveling laptop does not contain.  Therefore I am at a loss when it comes to sharing personal photos and updates on projects.  So...
Home Suite Home.  Living in Bakersfield while Mr. C helps a dear friend. 
I cannot complain as I have everything I need (minus my computer and programs!) for daily living.  I like to refer to my space as my little "cottage".  This Homewood actually is very nice and they fix breakfast daily and dinner Mon - Thurs.  Hot tea and freshly baked cookies are my favorites every day.  Yes, I will need to get back to WW and Zumba and work it all off!
This is the general comfort area and it is never crowded or noisy.  The staff are super nice and accomodating.  Behind this fireplace is the common eating area.  With multi flat screen TVs and a view of the pool area.  We even have daily newspaper delivery right to our room door.  This life is not bad at all and almost has more ammenities than I have at home.  I did make the mistake of remarking to Mr. C that I really like this cozy living.  His comment was, "Then why do we live in such a large home?"  Oops...what was I thinking?  So of course I had to realize that none of my stuff could possibly fit in this size of living space.   No sewing room with all its fabrics, laces and buttons.  No studio with its amazing array of everything artsy and crafty.  What was I thinking?!!  I guess the simpler life of being taken care of daily got me scattered.  Only having a totally coordinated closet of clothes and shoes is refreshing...but can I accomplish that at home for real?  My current closet might qualify for "hoarder" status but I will never admit to that.  I just can't stand to get rid of perfectly good clothes...even if I feel awful in them.  I think that comes from only having hand-me-downs to wear while growing up.
 I didn't really need this kitchen since the wonderful staff ladies cook for me every day and Mr. C takes me out to eat.  It was nice to have the refrigerator for bottled water and fresh dark chocolate bars.
How can a bedroom this small be functional and comfortable?  Amazing when I come home and see my bedroom that I love and realize it is probably the size of this entire "cottage".  I am convincing myself that my next home will be a cozy cottage.  We will be downsizing for certain.  I also realize I don't have staff to clean and take care of everything for me and I am getting too old and worn out to do a really good job.  Besides my time needs to be spent being creative and playing!
One bathroom for two people?  With only one sink for two people?  How does this work?  Quite well when the two people are not both getting ready at the same time every day. 
Plenty of room in the living room with comfortable seating and fair lighting.  Complete with a desk for that laptop and working.  We did have two flat screen TVs and each one could be watching a different program and that was nice. 
So in reality when did it become a requirement to live in a space that is so huge and have so much to take care of and maintain?  Cozy cottage...cozy cottage...cozy cottage...
Next I will share with you how I never get bored and how I was able to play even while away.
Thank you to those who wondered where I was.  Your care and concern are very much appreciated.
Now I am going to catch up on lots of blogs I missed reading...while doing laundry, grocery shopping, bill paying and all else that needs attention. 
Hooray for rain and a bit of snow for our winter is now behaving properly. It is good to be home!
I am loving all the Valentine Heart projects I am seeing...what are you working on?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eating Healthier...

 About three years ago I made a concious decision to eat healthier than I currently was doing.  I am known to eat far too many carbs and pounds of sugar in every form possible.  Since Diabetes runs strongly in my family I always believed I was destined to get it and therefore I would joke that when that day came I would have at least earned it by eating so much sugar.  When I made my decision to change how I was eating I no longer thought it even remotely funny that I would some day become diabetec.  I decided I am in control and I do have the power to be healthier than I might have once thought.
I am happy to say that I have a clean slate of health, and I have much more energy and stamina these days.  I follow Weight Watchers program and like to attend the weekly meetings when possible.  I did reduce my weight and am continuing to focus on what I eat and how to get exercise without exercising.  I just bought this new cookbook and will be trying at least one new recipe every week.  I am not one to spend a lot of time in the kitchen...unless I am gluing and glittering projects on the table I shouldn't be working on.  Bahahaha :o)  
 Because I still prefer sweet over savory flavors I will be trying this fruit salsa with cinnamon pita chips that I found on Pinterest.  Fresh or frozen fruit is a wonderful food to eat any time.

I also found this on Pinterest...I am afraid I am getting addicted...and definitely will be trying this idea.  I do not like to pack a lunch and never have liked it since grade school when I had to make lunches for me and my two younger sisters everyday.  This salad in a jar is brilliant and even if I am at home it will be so easy to get the jar and place a beautiful salad bowl on top and turn it over.  Perfectly dressed salad that easily.  You can even do this a couple days in advance as long as the dressing/liquid is on the bottom layer of the jar and the lettuce is at the top of the jar.  No more excuses about how time involved it is to make salad if you do this and make three at a time instead of just one.
May you each have a wonderful week ahead and eat healthy...for yourselves!
I have been busy but will share later as I don't have my camera program on this borrowed computer in order to show any photos.  Another reason I am so happy to view Pinterest and find great photos to share.
Happy Healthy Hugs...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lucious Wools & Lapel Flowers...

I am really loving working with my wool fabrics.  I have purchased quite a few smaller pieces in coordinated color combinations.  It is amazing how quickly they add up into the major dollar pricing.  As you can see I am really into the blues and greys.  I love these colors. 
 Here is one I made with a vintage button as the center.  The blues really stand out on this grey wool blazer.  This flower is not as dimensional as some and I like the way it sits on the lapel.
This wool flower uses some hand woven wool pieces and some tweed wool.  The dimension on this flower is much more 3D and I believe the hand woven pieces give it the fullness.  For the center I used a piece of vintage rhinestone costume jewelry and it gives a nice sparkle to the flower. 
I am not getting tired of making these so you may see more in the near future.  Are you making anything with wool fabric?  Are you tired of seeing these flowers?
This new year is beginning well and I hope you are enjoying good health and creativity.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wrapping Paper Cards...

Last year for my birthday my sister, Marie, gave me several gifts and each of them were wrapped in doll themed paper.  She knows how I love dolls.  One of the wrapping papers had wonderful vintage dolls on it and she told me the story of the paper. 
You see, Marie is the most giving and kind hearted soul.  She cleans houses for elderly folks and also spends lots of time just listening to them and being a comfort.  One of her ladies knew that Marie was meeting me for my birthday (this was last August) and that I love dolls.  That sweet lady who doesn't even know me told Marie that she had some wrapping paper and went to get it.  It was a roll of vintage wrapping paper with these amazing dolls all over it.  How very thoughtful. 
So when I met Marie for our get together and she told me the story I decided that I would make some cards with the paper.  I made two for Marie and one for the lady who gave her the paper.  I made each card different and sometimes added lace or paper doilies.  I lined each envelope with pretty paper.  Then I tied the sets with ribbon and gave them to Marie for herself and to pass along to her client. 
This is such an easy way to use paper that would otherwise be thrown out.  I like to crumple the paper and give it a real worn look with all the wrinkles and character. Wrapping paper works really well because it is lightweight and easy to work with.  You can tear around the image for one look or cut around it for another version.  If tearing...remember the paper torn off away from you will leave a clean edge and the paper torn off towards you will leave a white edge.  That can also be part of the look for the finished cards. Try using tissue paper on cardstock.  You can either buy blank cards and envelopes or you can cut card stock and use that for the cards.  Envelopes are fun and easy to make from templates or just buy blank envelopes at the supply store. for birthdays, holidays or next Christmas.   Make a few sets here and there and put them into that gift cupboard for just the right occassion. 
P.S.  It is always extra nice to stamp handmade on the backs of the cards.  I don't date them from experience of misplacing them and finding them years later...not good to give an old dated card set that has no vintage value. 
Do you make and give handmade cards?  Do you premake cards and keep a supply on hand for all those occassions that pop up at the last minute? 
Now I should do as I say and play in the studio making some card sets.
Joyful January 2012 to everyone...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Interpreting Play...

 In selecting my word PLAY for 2012 I knew it would be open for lots of interpretations.  I really had no clear definition of what play would mean to me.  So in that vein, these are my tools that allowed me to play the last few days.  Yes,  the humble rake in both small metal and large plastic versions.  Mr. C and I live on 10 acres of mountainous terrain with tons of trees and all they drop. Fortunately we only landscaped and detail maintain 2 acres.  As we age this becomes a huge amount of work for us.  Therefore I decided to make a chore into play.  I tackle only one small area and see how long it takes me to complete.  Am I only fooling myself?
 Here is a pile of lovely Fall leaves.  These are mostly Oak, Maple, Redbuds and Crepe Myrtles.  No, I do not want to jump into this pile and play.  I am not much for getting dirty. 
Here are two of our large trash containers that I filled with raked debris.  I had to leave room for the compactor bags of real trash. 
This is down the side of our steep driveway...16% grade!  Mr. C raked 18 piles of pine needles and twigs and debris.  Somehow he doesn't think of this as play.
And here is a container of more leaves and rose clippings that I managed to accumulate.  You can see I have not done any of the detail pick up which requires me to crawl around on my hands and knees.  Our winter weather is very warm so far but the ground is wet and cold and I am still getting over my being sick so I do not want to risk getting damp.
The huge trees really make a mess when the wind blows.  There are cedar droppings and limbs everywhere and they really make it a challenge to rake.  Here is another pile I can't fit into my overly full wheelbarrow.  I also can't lift the wheelbarrow so Mr. C will be helping me.
After all my play I got to do, this is the reward...a clean lawn ready for winter snow.  It really does feel good to get this done.  Of course this is only a drop in the bucket for all the area we need to do. 
From reading your blogs it would seem that 2012 is off to a really creative start. 
I am so grateful for all of your comments and I really must admit that I look forward to them.  Do you enjoy comments left on your blogs?
Blissful and Creative 2012 to each of you...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Winter Roses...

Thankfully yet sadly we have had no snow this winter.  And even stranger we have had virtually no rain.  So I realized with all this great weather I better prune my roses back before the snow comes and flattens them to the ground.  Behold this is my reward!  A beautiful Heritage rose that smells amazing.  Thank you mother nature for this gorgeous flower I so admire and enjoy.
And here is my winter rose rendition made of delicious wools and lace.  I used four wools all in grey tones including a plaid.  The lace was added to soften and add feminity to this piece.  One of my favorite vintage buttons for the center finishes it off perfectly.  A pin back makes it easy to wear on a coat or blazer or tote bag. 
This is how I presented it to my friend.  She really liked it and had the perfect grey plaid jacket to adorn with this rose. 
I continue to love making my gifts I give as it really keeps me in total thoughts of that special person I am creating something for. 
As I post this I can hear my wool fabrics pieces calling me to create with them.  I love the feel of wool and how easy it is to work with.  It adds a wonderful richness to the finished piece. 
Do you create with wool fabric?  What do you like to make with it? 
Blissful creating in this fresh new year 2012...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Made Something...

 I spent time in my studio and I actually made something.  I had an idea in my head and needed a gift for my girlfriend who had her birthday on January 2nd.  Since I had not been creative for so long I was concerned that it would come out terrible and then I would need to rush out and buy something that isn't personal or from the heart...which I detest doing.  You might know that old feeling of not doing something "perfect".  Well, I have been working for a really long time to get over that feeling.  After all...nothing is "perfect" and therefore that excuse just doesn't have any merit.  Relax...and create!  Handmade is the best after all.
This is the little lavender sachet I made her.  She loves snowmen and I thought this would make her smile.  It did and she loved it.  It felt so good to create what I had in my mind and have it come out as cute as I had imagined.  Now, of course, I have lots of ideas from this and will be planning on making additional gifts throughout the year. 
My gift cupboard is pretty bare after the holidays.  I am one of those types who shop and make all year long and keep a cupboard of gifts for recipients.  Actually my cupboard is fairly small so I also have a dresser with the drawers to fill with gifts to give.  It works especially well for me...that is if I label the specific gifts with the name of the person I am giving it to.  :o)  Do you keep a special place where you store gifts throughout the year?  Do you forget you have a gift for someone and then find it much later on?
Our weather is unseasonably warm and we have no rain or snow so far.  You have probably seen how dry Tahoe ski resorts are and the lack of snow for skiers and boarders.  It is almost 200% less snow pack than this time last year.  Oh dear...we may need snow and rain for our water table and economic base.  Mr. C has had to fill our pond with our well water because it got so low.  He ran the hose for two days and just got it to the lowest level we keep it filled.  I would welcome rain.
Wonderful week to each of you as you pursue your New Year goals and resolutions.
I am off to play...