Friday, July 27, 2012

 This summer has been one of very little creative time in the studio or sewing room.  Mostly because I am busy doing other projects outside the home and my volunteer work in the community.
When I do sit down to make something I have a general idea but definitely no plan or pattern.  Sometimes my finished result is nothing at all like I had in mind when I began.
Here are some home decor fabric samples I pulled out of the closet.

First I serged some wool felt to the backs of the fabrics. I like the feel of the two fabrics together.  And wool felt is so easy to work with as it never frays like fabrics can do.

I am also a saver of previous year calendars.  There is something so intriguing about the pages that are not the little daily blocks.  Here is one of the calendars I pulled from the stack. The colors and words really speak to me.  The pages are quite thin however I can work with that.
 Here I am embellishing my serged edges with lace.  I love lace.  There can never be too much lace for my liking.  I prefer finished edges over shabby rough edges.  Personal preference only.  There certainly are lots of shabby chic things I adore.

Here is the brocade side with some more lace and now some buttons added.  This lace is not really this white...much more creamy ecru that blends better with the vintage fabric look.

Here is a photo of using the calendar pages.  I made a signature of papers and used the beautiful calendar as the front and back.  I actually glued two calendar pages together so it was beautiful on both sides of the front and back, inside and out.

And here is what I ended up with after completing my little project.  This is not what I had originally been thinking of however I am thrilled with the results of my time spent being creative.  This simple journal is sitting here on some coordinating colored mat board for wrapping and mailing purposes.
When you sit down to create do you begin with a plan or do you let the project come to you?
Our weather is wonderful and Summer is blissful.  I am winding down my month of July.  Now I shall go get busy on lots of tasks I wish to accomplish.  My list is long yet my desire to create is greater...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cutting & Folding Papers...

I have spent some much needed time in my studio.  Mostly just getting familiar with my space and supplies once again.  I do not know how piles of stuff keep appearing and taking up the work island but they always are there.  I have been putting away the things I will not be needing or completing right now.  I wish to start fresh with a space that is inviting and clean.  Once I had a space cleared I immediately filled it once again...however this time to work on something I began last month.  I want to make another book with the button and charm binding that Jillayne so generously taught me.  I fear I am quickly losing my skills that I learned with her late one night.  With me I must do something over and over in order to really know how to do it.  So I gathered lots of papers and began cutting and tearing for my multiple signatures for the little books.  You can see the prepared covers in this photo above.  It felt so good to be in my space and concentrating on something creative.  Now to find lots more time to be happily puttering here.

Here are my latest ATCs I received in the swap hostessed by Kimberly of artJOYstuff each month.  Last month's theme was Mermaids.  Kimberly wrapped them in some fun paper with lace and the special tag she created. I love her swaps and the extra mile she always goes.  Thank you Kimberly. This months theme is "A Day at the Beach" and I am mailing mine today.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of them before I bundled them all nicely for mailing.

Our deck project consumed our entire existence for many weeks and we have it about 90% completed however we have taken a few days break from it.  It is now functional for the most part.  I know we must get back to it and finish the job we started.  Our weather is very warm...90's for this area is quite warm.  The sun is high and gets hot very quickly.  Our altitude is about 3400 feet so that makes it even warmer...being closer to the sun.
May you each have a week filled with wonderful moments of true bliss and do something you enjoy...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Creativity in Nature...

 Sometimes being creative is not about the art studio or the sewing room.  Sometimes it is about doing a chore that you decide should not be boring or tedious as you spend countless hours performing it.
Take my trusty Fiskars scissors for example.  These are some I used for paper.  I now use them for manicuring my Wooly Thyme patio paver enhancers.  I do hope someone at Fiskars reads this and sends me a new pair as I have completely worn this pair out.  Fiskars are the very best scissors and other creative tools I own.  I tried all different types of trimmers and this pair works best by far.  Thank you Fiskars.

This year my Whooly Thyme got far too overgrown what with being away, and my kidney stone and the deck project taking precedence.  Once it flowers I let the bees have their way with it.  There are at least 6 different types of bees that harvest from the flowers.  I never get too close while they are active which is several weeks.  So this year I really dreaded my job of manicuring it back to being able to see and walk on the pavers.  From this photo above you can easily see there are no pavers showing at all.  What a job I have ahead of me!

 So I and my little knee pad and my trusty scissors.  Hours to find just one or two pavers.  And because I couldn't see where I was cutting I actually did a few bad mistakes.  I cut the roots from some areas and scalped other areas.  I am hoping with some nurturing and extra watering I won't lose my Whooly Thyme.    This photo shows how it should be instead of totally overgrown.

Here you can see the progress I have made.  I still have a ways to go but at least now I see the end is in sight.  There is hope that I will finish and be able to enjoy my labor for the remaining Summer and Fall months.  This patio is at the pond and I love to sit here and reflect.

Here is where I stopped to take a break.  Scissors in motion hoping they would finish while I was doing my other chores.  Not to be.  The scissors seem to need me in order to work.

"Reflections".  That is what I have named this area with the pond and the little patio sitting area.  I need to continue my manicuring and finish what I started.  Sitting here with a glass of wine or iced tea is such a calming joy that I treasure.  Mr. C actually went to pond college before he built this amazing pond.  I have shared it before in previous posts.  It is my complete favorite thing he has ever engineered and built.  This is serenity.
Our weather has been glorious however I understand we are in for more triple digit weather this coming week.  Our deck is almost done however we are taking a break...sort of.  Designing, cutting and painting the components of the step from kitchen to deck is how we spent the day yesterday.  Not really taking a break but then not the crazy schedule we were keeping.  Today I have some bills to pay and some mail to prepare.  Mr. C will be tinkering on his car.  The UPS delivery van has been making numerous deliveries here so parts to be installed are the order of today.
I have been enjoying snippets of visiting and seeing the amazing spaces that some of you create within.  Thank you for all the inspiration and treasures you have shared.  My muse has not run away...she is merely being patient and compiling all that is to creatively come.
May your weekend be wonderful and filled with your favorite things...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Random Happy Bits...

 This lovely ATC was sent to me by Joy.  Yes, that is her name and she is such a joy to know.  She has no blog but lots of creative talents and such elegant style.  We do not live close so it is wonderful to swap little gifties now and then.  Thank you Joy.  I adore this.
Now isn't this happy mail to receive.  A special little water bottle from Hawaii filled with yummy jelly beans.  This came from my mail pal Dogwood and was such a sweet surprise.  Thank you Dogwood.  
Now we know what I have been spending my time doing this summer (deck project with Mr. C) however I just had to make this dessert for a small gathering of friends.  Oreo cookies, butter, cream cheese, Cool Whip and chocolate pudding!  Oh Yeah Yummy!!!
Here is an envelope of happy smiles sent to me by my blog friend Elle.  Her blog is always a treat.  Somehow Elle is constantly trying new techniques with lots of varied art supplies and fabrics.   She gets more done in a day than I can even think of.  Thank you Elle for this thoughtful cheery mail.
Mr. C and I are going to take a much needed break from the deck project.  It is usable now so we can once again function from the kitchen to the backyard and garage from this end of the house.  We shall complete it later after Mr. C regains his strength.  Yesterday was quite brutal on him for all the work he did and the injuries he sustained.  I am so not a nurse and when his drill slipped and gashed his thumb I ran for the bandages.  Luckily our helper was able to properly wrap it with gauze and tape to hold it tight.
I left soon after that to spend my afternoon helping out at my local Chamber of Commerce.
I shall be taking some much needed time to review blogs and see what you are all doing these days of Summer Sunshine (or Winter season).
Wishing Creative Bliss to each of you...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Robbie's Bag Help...

I am constantly amazed at the generous helpful bloggers I meet here in this wonderful Blogland.  I have been following Robbie and her blog for some time.  She recently posted photos of a bag she had made and even linked the tutorial for it.  I liked the bag very much and checked out the link.
I think my brain is on deck project overload because I just couldn't understand how you can take a square of fabric and create a bag like Robbie did.
After a week or so I commented to Robbie and she immediately emailed me with the decoder key.
Thank you sew very much Robbie!  I did it with your generous help.
I adore this bag and will definitely be making some more of them.  My Christmas list will be very happy this year.  Your idea of giving a bag with a bottle of wine inside really helps with the gift giving this year.  You are truly wonderful and I am thrilled that we are blog friends.  I also admire the beautiful things you create.  Your beaded butterflies come to mind.
Our weather is cooler than it was and that is thankful.  I have been saying my prayers for everyone living near and working a bad forest canyon fire in Placer County.
Oh it feels so good to take a quick break and sew something.  I also got to glue some ATCs.  Hooray!!!
Summer Sunshine Smiles...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


 It is early afternoon and I am taking a break.  It is 93 degrees at the moment and working outside is not what I want to do.  I have been super busy and neglectful and more than super busy this week.
Busy working on our deck replacement!
Neglectful of all housework and laundry and grocery shopping...and blogs!
Busy working on our deck replacement...yes this bears repeating.  With the heat we are working from sun-up to about 10:30 am and then from about 3:30 til 9 pm each day.  You would think I have lots of time to keep up however that is time to run around and get more deck supplies and eat out.  Too tired to fix meals and too busy to grocery shop.
This first photo is a lovely ATC I received from my friend Theresa.  She has no blog but she certainly has lots of creative talents.
 Theresa and I have been swapping a few items however I always feel like I am getting the better of it all.  Her cards and ATCs are true works of art.  Thank you so very much Theresa.
Yes this is another Origami bag.  I just love them.  I made this one for Jillayne after we met in person.  I found out she likes grey.  Of course I used two of my favorite buttons (one on each side) as I wanted this to be extra special for her.  I am truly trying to "use the good stuff".
I have been neglectful to share some of my gifties I have received like this adorable photo of Donna and Tag.   One of Donna's posts was about this company Sweetwater and their uber cute quilt labels. Surprise to those of us who commented that day the very generous Donna sent each of us a packet of the uber cute labels.  Thank you very much Donna and Tag.  Shhh...don't tell Tag but I think he is the cutest smartest dog ever!  He even does a Tuesdays With Tag blog post each week.  I am smitten with this schmoochy little guy.
And in between everything else I managed to put together this notepad for a birthday girl.  I am loving my Bind It All I won from Jan at PaperCraftPleasures blog.  I am overwhelmed at the complete generosity of creative and wonderful friends not only in blogland but also online.  Thank you Jan.
I must keep this short as I have such a tiny span of time before my painting deck boards begins again.  After all I must stay just ahead of the Screw Master Mr. C and his able helper Dave.  Yes, we finally found a helper who is young, strong and ever so ready to listen, learn and work.  What a blessing to be certain.
Staying hydrated and out of the sun is a very good thing during this heat spell.
Life is busy and I am thankful I am able to enjoy it.  May you have a wonderful Summer full of Sunshine and Smiles and all that you treasure...

Friday, July 6, 2012

 I am certain I have mentioned my pen pal before yet I must mention her again.  Her name is Cory aka Dogwood.  Her favorite color is pink.  She and I were matched up during April National Letter Writing month at least two years ago.  We live only about 5 miles apart and we both shop at the only crafty store around yet we have never met.  This is her blog link.  We have been sending little surprise envelopes to one another almost monthly.  I sent Dogwood this little pink banner just because I wanted her to know I was thinking of her.  The same day I mailed it I received a lovely envelope from her.  I do love fun mail.  Now what would be inside?  Hmmm...
 OH MY GOODNESS!!!  My very own Flat Fannie that Dogwood made just for me.  See her lovely outfit?  With matching purse!  She even has on her favorite Mary Jane shoes.  I cannot express how much I adore her.  I have been wanting one so much but not taken the time to make one for myself.  Oh THANK YOU my bestest pen pal ever.  I have given my Flat Fannie a nickname...FiFi.  She is just so pretty
FiFi is ready to go shopping and keeps asking, "Can we go shopping now?"  I must say...

"Not yet FiFi.  I must trim the Wooley Thyme and reclaim my patio."
 She is very far.  Once again my little FiFi asks, "Can we go Shopping now?"
And again I must say...
"Not yet FiFi.  I must paint the new deck wood."
Again she is very patient.  She stays right next to me here inside the house.  Her face smiling and her little purse on her arm ready for any shopping adventure that might come along.
I don't want to disappoint her but it will be a really long time before I am completed with my chores.  I think I shall plan something very special just for FiFi so she will be happy to stay here with me.
Thank you Miss Dogwood for my wonderful little Flat Fannie.  I truly adore her.  And everyone within hearing distance knows that too from my squeals of delight when I opened my mail.  You are the very best pen pal ever!
I have always loved paper dolls and I feel I am never too old to enjoy them.  Have any of you ever traveled with Flat Stanley or Flat Fannie?  If you haven't you might just enjoy the total fun of it.
Our weather is in full Summer mode.  A trifle warm if you are in the bright sun and working on a deck however I am not complaining.  I love Summer and Sunshine and Warmth.
I am praying for all who are experiencing extreme heat and those with no power and those with flooding rains.
This is the end of my break...I am off to work on my chores.
P.S.  My creative time is non-existent for now however I know it will be there ready for me when I am able.
Summer Sunshine, Popcicles, Watermelon, Picnics, Swimming, Time With Family and Friends to all...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Honey, Company's Here...

If you will please also read Jillayne's blog she has said this story so much better than I possibly can.  I have followed Jillayne for some time now and I really admire her and her creative talents.  It just so happened that she and her husband Marc were traveling south quite near my town and I invited them to not only stop by but to stay with Mr. C and myself if they would like.  Having never actually met it seemed a little odd and I am not one to open my home to just anyone.  Somehow this seemed right.  They accepted and set the date.
Here are Jillayne, Marc and Mr. C.  It was a wonderful "chance" meeting.  
A while back Jillayne had made a little book with buttons and charm binding that I coveted.  Then she shared that she and another blogger (Deb) did a swap as each liked what the other had created.  I was emailing with Deb and told her to try and get Jillayne to do a class for this little book.  Deb sent my email to Jillayne and the rest is my good fortune.  Here are Jillayne and me in my studio late at night.  She very generously offered to teach me how to make my very own little book.  I am one very lucky lady!!!
 Here are Marc and Mr. C who got on so well together that we never saw them.  Mr. C took Marc to his "guys and cars" breakfast and then on to some favorite garages where Mr. C fine tunes electronics and fuel injections/carburetors/etcetera for hot rods and specialty vehicles.  Marc fit right in and enjoyed it very much I understand.

Here Jillayne is working on the paper signatures for my book.  She was super generous to bring some of her fabulous papers for me.  I also got to use a lot of my papers that I have been "saving" for a long time.  It is hard for me to "use the good stuff" but I did.  
And here is my beautiful very special little book complete with the buttons and charm binding.  Thank you so very much Jillayne Dear.  You are a superb teacher.  I must also thank Jillayne for spending her vacation time in my studio and helping me greatly with my Farmer's Wife blocks.  I had all but given up on them after having another good friend who quilts point out some major flaws (she was right to do so and very helpful!). I think now I will be able to salvage my quilting project and complete it once I can spend my time inside my sewing room. Thank you Catherine (no blog) and Jillayne.
Mr. C and I were so happy to meet Marc and Jillayne and have them stay with us.  Our time together was busy but also comfortable and relaxed.  We really packed a lot into a very short amount of time.  Amazing to find out you can trust your instincts and find wonderful people with common interests.  I expect to see this lovely couple again sometime in the future.
Our Summer weather is sunny, warm and wonderful.  I love Summer.
I think this is the very first Fourth of July that I did not create one single patriotic piece of red, white and blue.    Luckily I can enjoy the lovely items all of you have been busy making.
Happy and Safe Fourth of July to all...