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...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Q-Snap Frame...

Do you like to follow lots of varied blogs?  I do because I never know what I will be inspired to attempt to create.  Do you follow Sew We Quilt with Madamm Samm?  She is amazing and puts together blog hops like I have never seen before.  I recently followed one of her fun hops and she notified me that I had won a Q-Snap Frame.  I was thrilled.  In less than a week I received my frame in the mail.  Here is is assembled. This was super easy to put together.  It is very lightweight and easy to handle.  I have yet to put fabric in it to test my embroidery skills and will be doing that right after the holidays which are trampling me right now.

Here is the Q-Snap Frame as shipped in a simple padded envelope.  If you need a gift for a stitcher I would recommend these for certain.  I read lots of reviews and everyone was favorable.  I am including the link for your convenience.

Here is the frame in package.  How simple yet how smart.  I like this very much.  Thank you Madamm Samm for your wonderful blog hops and gifts galore.  I feel very fortunate indeed.  I am enjoying this latest hop "Black Tie Boogie".  Such talented and creative participants in your fabulous hops dear.

Here is another dress form pin cushion with some beaded pins adorning her.  I hope the recipient likes the colors.  I picked them especially just for her.

And one more I completed.  I am able to check off a few names on my gift list.  Feeling better each day as I stitch and stuff and embellish and bead.  I love creating gifts tailored to each person.  I do have a few items to shop for however you will not find me out at any malls or major stores this weekend.  Instead I will be home creating and making.  I will also be attending some local artisan craft fairs to support local artisan craft people who make wonderful things.  I prefer to shop local and help my fellow crafters.
Even though Thanksgiving is in the past I shall continue to be grateful for my blessings.  I am still doing my good deeds everyday and you would be amazed at how often people just don't get it.  I have to tell them, "Please don't spoil my good deed I am trying to do."  I don't think some have even heard of doing good deeds.  Kindness is such an easy trait to share with others.  May there be more kindness in our world.
Our weather continues to be warmer than normal and very dry.  I shall be doing some hand watering of plants outdoors so they don't dry up and perish.
Safe keeping as you go about your holiday busy-ness.  Joyful creating as you decorate your homes and make or bake your gifts.  Peace and Bliss...

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Toast...

Here's a toast to Happy Thanksgiving.  
This has been a very trying year yet I feel very blessed and thankful.  
May each of you feel gratitude for what is important in life.
Blessings to all...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bird Nest Cone...

Oh how can it be such a very short amount of days until Christmas?  My lists are long and time is short. Thankfully I have been able to spend time in my studio and check off an item or two.  When you have a gift to make do you begin with an idea or a sketch or a pattern or maybe something else?  Do you follow your original plan or do you "wing" it as you go along?  This bird nest cone is one of those gifts that was in my head for months but never clear as to how I would create it.  I gathered supplies and they sat on the table.  I would add or subtract from the lot and there they would sit.  I never had the right inspiration...until...
I just began my project and it came together from entirely different components.  Nothing at all like I had in my mind.  This is my best way to create.  I let the gift speak to me and determine how it wants to come together.

I am so pleased with how this turned out.  Even Mr. C was liking it and that is rare.  I used lots of fibers, laces, ribbons and my special hand sewn origami bird.  What do you think of the finished gift?  I am hoping the recipient will be very pleased as well.  This bird nest cone is due to take flight to its new home very soon.

While sorting through my supplies (insert "STUFF") I found this Christmas card I made years ago.  The envelope has a .63 cent stamp on it to include the extra hand cancel postage so this tells you it was a while ago.  I hand made the fabric beads and then formed the tree using the beads and embellishment beads.  A snowflake bead for the topper.  Some inking around the edges and off to friends and family that year.  Mr. C saw this on my table the other day and said, "That is a lot of work and no one will appreciate it."  I understand he is probably right however that never stops me from spending inordinate amounts of time making and sharing my joy of creating.  I am always drawn to the unique and hand made from the heart gifts. I believe my time and creativity is part of the gift I am giving.  Money and store bought do not always give from the heart.  I treasure making something special for someone.
We have had rain and then very strong gale force winds for several days.  Today was hours of raking up pine needles and debris into piles.  Tomorrow we will load the truck and deliver them to the county landfill. It is time consuming and labor intensive and expensive but necessary.  A huge pine tree fell across the roadway and took out phone lines but no one was injured.  We did have a struggle getting home around the road blockage but managed to drive around the cones from the top after trying the bottom of the road.  It was dark and we had no idea what was closing our street.  Power was out for several hours too. Thankfully all is well.  More rain is expected for Thanksgiving.
I have much to be thankful and grateful for...Family, Friends, Food, Shelter and my Loving Husband.  May you each have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.  Blessings to all...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Elf Shoes Bribe...

With the days flying by so quickly I need serious help.  I have been hoping for some elves to appear and speed up my production in the studio and sewing rooms.  None ever come to my rescue.  So...I decided that I needed to bribe them with little elf shoes so their feet don't get cold in my mountain home.

With felt and crochet thread and needle I got busy.  I was only going to make two shoes.  I ended up giving those to Sisty when she was here visiting.  I kept making them as they are portable and easy to work on when waiting for appointments.  I admit the first one took way too long.  My blanket stitch skills were very rusty.  Once I got in the rhythm they just multiplied.

Thank you to my friend Judy of jfabrications blog.  Some time ago she sent me this pattern and I set it aside.  In sorting through a stack I recently found it and decided it is time to make these.  My Grandma used to make some very similar so I like the connection.

Here is a shoe cut out and ready for stitching.  The toe can be decorated with a simple pom-pom or a small jingle bell.  I did think of beading some but have to realize my limitations of time.  Maybe next year.  Do you think I can bribe some elves to come and help me with my lists of projects?
Last night and today we got some rain sprinkles.  It wasn't the good soaking we were hoping for but it is some moisture and will at least give the trees and plants a good drink.
Prayers and Healing Energy for all affected in the horrific tornadoes that did so much destruction.
This is still November and I am truly grateful for so many, friends and health.  The ability to spend my days enjoying life and being creative is such a blessing.  I am thankful.
Creative Happy Hearts...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Stitching & Daughter Visited...

Working on Christmas gifts.  This is a dress form style pin cushion complete with some beaded pins.  I have an angel on her shoulder and a heart for her.  She sits on a little glass pedestal filled with beads.  I am pretty certain the recipient will like her.

My wonderful daughter came to visit. Yes, I am getting shorter through the years however she is wearing 6 inch heels.  I hadn't seen her in over a year and she hadn't been to our home in seven years.  Long overdue to spend time here in this beautiful area.

She drove over 500 miles and arrived in her little red "sleigh".

 Mr. C took her for a ride in his beautiful black sleigh.  She had never gotten to ride in it.  They had fun!

Reflecting by the pond.  Mr. C has been doing leaf duty for days.  After all it is still Fall.

This is one of my favorite photos during her short stay.  Mr. C and Jenifer taking a walk checking out the property and enjoying our lovely surroundings.

My Grandma made the best gravy and I loved eating it on biscuits, mashed potatoes or whatever.  I didn't learn how to make it but my daughter learned from her Great Grandma and loves to make gravy.  It takes lots of time and patience and everyone in the family loves her gravy.  She made a huge batch for us while she was here.  I was drinking gravy, licking the spoons, smothering my mashed potatoes and my meatloaf. YUMMY in my tummy.  Thank you honey for making it and once again trying to teach me how.

We did some shopping while she was here.  Her passenger seat was overflowing.  She later told me the jingle bell on the snowman nearly drove her crazy driving home as it jingled over every bump and turn for the entire 500 plus miles.

We barely saved enough room for her to be able to sit and drive home.  The trunk was completely full too. It was a short visit but we made the most of it and spent quality time together.  I am so thankful she was able to come here.  She said she had been wanting to give Mr. C a big hug ever since his trauma accident the first day of summer.  I am a lucky mom to have such a wonderful daughter.
It is getting colder and the trees are almost bare branched.  We are desperate for rain.  So far no rain for us and no snow for the ski resorts to open.  We shall see what the next few weeks hold in store.
I am stealing snippets of time to be in my studio and sewing room.  There are such few days until Christmas and gift giving begins long before that as get-togethers happen and packages must be mailed.  I really am not prepared but I will somehow rise to the challenge that comes every year.
This year I am hoping to fully enjoy each and every magical moment of the holiday season.  I have already begun my joy of giving to the guy playing guitar outside the post office, the helpful man at the landfill, and those less fortunate who are at least trying to help themselves.  What are you going to focus on enjoying? May you create wonderful memories to treasure.  Peace and Joy to all...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Roses, Lavender, Cloves...

When I last posted I shared how I dry my rose petals and save them.  Now I am showing you what I do with them.  I take a large zip bag and add dried lavender buds to the rose petals.  In another bag I add cloves...whole and crushed to rose petals.  My sister and her daughter are allergic to lavender so that is how I began using cloves and I love the smell.  I let those "marry" for a few weeks and get the scent incorporated throughout the rose petals.  I do not use oils as sometimes they can overpower and they can also stain other fabrics they may get in touch with.

Here is what I have been making with my delicious potpourri.  Sachets.  I like using tulle for the actual potpourri vessel.  It holds the contents really well.  For the clove mixture that I added more powdery cloves to I simply doubled the tulle.  After sewing three sides of the cut tulle together  I fill it with petals and then stitch the end closed.  After that I cover in lace which allows the potpourri to still show.

I have decorated the lace with small buttons that I hand sew on.  I have also used vintage pearls and beads on some but didn't photograph them.  Time dilemma you know...

For my bows I like to use seam binding.  My favorite is from Zipperstop.  Click on the link to visit their site and find amazing things you will want to add to your crafting and sewing supplies.  The seam binding is very easy to color and while it is damp you scrunch it all up and enclose very tightly in little baggies.  I let mine settle for a few days to get all happy.

Here are my little bundles of happy seam binding all colored and dry.  If you are in a hurry you can dry them with a blow dryer.  Just keep scrunching them to get the ruffled effect.  Or just use ribbon or flat seam binding as your embellishment.

Here is an assortment that I recently made.  I like giving them as gifts.  I was going to be part of a holiday boutique and sell some but that won't be happening for me this year.  Maybe next year if I plan ahead better.

Sachets made with roses from my garden and stitched with love.  Safe to add to your drawers or pretty enough to leave out and enjoy.  Hope you are inspired to make some for your holiday or birthday gift giving. Once all supplies are gathered they are a joy to make.
Our weather is still fairly nice.  No rain or snow yet we desperately need the water.  We had some clouds that merely teased us all day but never let any rain fall.  With darkness arriving so much earlier I feel like I can't get much done.  My body is very tired without sunshine.  I am a Summer girl and need that wonderful sunshine energy.  Lamp bulbs are not the same thing as real sunshine.
Days are sprinting past and I am wondering how my lists are coming along.  Maybe I should get off my computer and check them.  I could seriously spend all day blog hopping and catching up with creative peeps. Do you have to limit yourself computer wise?  Lately I must do chores or craft in order to earn time on my computer.  Sounds silly but I am such a child and my incentive "bribing" is working for me.
Lovely last days of Fall to all.  May you be happily creating to your heart's content.  Creative Bliss Dears...