Saturday, April 27, 2013

Treasure Hunting at Home...

These are some shelves in my studio.  I think they look really organized and labeled.  Ahhh...looks can be deceiving.  It is time to organize this area and focus on the beads and charms. you can see in this closer view that things are not what they appeared.  In my haste to clear space on my worktable I have the habit of shoving stuff onto the shelves.  In order to contain the small bits and pieces I discovered turning over the lids and using them to contain the stuff.  Now I feel really organized and I have space to work in.  However Mr. C hates this as it isn't neat and correct.

What?  More overturned lids with bits and pieces stuffed into them.  What on earth could be filling these lids?  Time to sort and see what I actually have.

I poured the contents of the lids onto my work table.  This is a true treasure hunt!  I really have no idea what all I have stuffed away.  I hope I am not the only one who does this.  Please tell me I am normal.  :o)  I do get easily overwhelmed so I have to do this in small stages.

Wow!  Treasure hunting resulted in lots of really great finds.  I found purchases I had made on holiday as long as a year ago.  I found beads I thought I needed to buy but fortunately already had.  I found items for special gifts for family and friends.  I realized that I had done a lot of shopping last year.  I also found I was very short on storage space to incorporate some of these treasures.  Well that is another post I am sure.
I didn't take a photo but I can honestly tell you that the lids are now emptied and placed correctly on their boxes.
I better get beading now...
Spring is glorious here.  Our roses are beginning to bud profusely.  Lots of pollen though!  Ah-Choo!!
I spent my day hostessing the local Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.  With this beautiful weather I was surprised I didn't have more visitors.  Actually they were out enjoying the local annual car show, the local home and garden show and lots more activities too numerous to name.  Tomorrow will be my day to enjoy a couple of local events.
Another month of celebrations is coming up so I will be busy in my studio.  Creative Hearts are Happy Hearts.  I do hope you are really happy creating...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Necklace Raffle Donation...

It is fair to say I love beads.  Sometimes I buy beads just because.  That is the case with these black and red lampwork beads.  They are not high end quality however they are nicely colored and fit a theme I was thinking of.  Each year there is a Widder's Ball that is held around Mother's day.  The color theme is always black and red.  If you are familiar with E. Clampus Vitus that will explain more than I can.  I put in a link if you wish to read more.  Back to the beads...  This annual ball is one way the organization earns money for scholarships they give each year to high school students.  I like to help out.  Here is my design board with beads and other elements auditioning.

Here is the final design.  A necklace and earrings set.  All in red and black which are the signature colors.  I have used the lampwork beads, crystals, vintage beads, tassels and findings.  There will be a raffle that determines whose winning ticket gets drawn.  Each year I make something different.  For this group over the top is better!  Lots of old time Gold Rush and Victorian clothing is worn.  One year I created a little purse. One year a lace choker.  And so it goes.  An opportunity for me to create something and share it with others.  That makes me feel very good.
Our Winter was the mildest we have had in 15 years of living here.  This is truly the most beautiful Spring we have ever enjoyed.  The pollen is very high and making it difficult for me but the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing and I am happy.
Maybe this week I will spend time in my wonderful sewing room.  Of course I will also be doing my weed abatement pulling sessions.  I better really get at it as the ground is getting dry and hard very quickly (we have clay soil).  Those tiny little weed roots can get really stubborn.  A weeding we will go...Hi Ho the MerriO...A weeding we will go...
Are you enjoying your days being creative?  Thank you for your wonderful comments.  I read every one of them.  I also wish to welcome my newest followers and hope you enjoy what you see here.  Thank you to my faithful followers whom I cherish and call my friends.  Bless each of you...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Celebrating Big Birthdays...

Mr. C and I have been celebrating big birthdays for the past couple of weeks and will be for another couple of weeks.  One of our good friends turned 50.  He wanted to celebrate with go-kart racing and we did.  Then my sister turned 60 (actually today is the official day) and we celebrated with a day of shopping and dining.  Happy Birthday Marie!  This is a card I made her.  Thankfully I got the idea from Gentleman Crafter from his hinged card video.   Thank you Jim for sharing your creative talents.
My card is not quite the same but similar.  I used the domino to represent 60 for her age.

Here is the inside before I added my heartfelt sentiments.  My sister did not know Washi tape so that was fun to introduce her to it while we were shopping.

I added the seed beads to my string just because I liked the added sparkle.  The string just felt lonely until I added the beads.

I used vintage wrapping paper that I have had in my stash for over 20 years.  I love the colors and the illusion of the Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass look.  It also has just a hint of Art Deco which we both love.
This was a fun card to make and I know my sister will keep it and enjoy it for many years.

While I had the paper out I was inclined to decorate a gift bag for Mr. C and his birthday celebration.  I used my favorite shoe bag.  That reminds me today is Tuesday Shoesday!  I covered the dsw logo and dressed up the bag with a strip of paper on both sides.  Now the bag looks properly manly.

Here I have added his card to the bag.  He did enjoy the upcycle of my shopping bag.  (Of course I had to explain why I have such a new bag from my favorite shoe store.)  We had a lovely dinner at a small French Bistro in Old Town Folsom.  Chef Christophe and his wife Claudine were charming.  The food was superb.
Our weather is very cold...the kind that chills to the bone.  The sun is shining but the wind is blowing and the threat of rain comes in late afternoon with no results to quench the earth.  It has been snowing higher up in the ski resorts so that is good.  Spring is here but the Winter chill is freezing me and my plants.
I am so saddened by the recent attacks in Boston.  I just cannot comprehend how humans can treat fellow humans with such random violence and bodily harm.  My prayers are with all who are affected by this senseless tragedy.
I am hoping my creative muse can get warm and find her passion soon.  Until then you will find me celebrating more birthdays for friends and family this month of April.  Yes...Happy Birthday Dogwood my very bestest pen pal.
Creative Hearts are Happy Hearts.  May you have Springtime Sunshine Smiles...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Once Again...

It is April with showers and sunshine.  We are truly having Spring this year.  Most years it is hit and miss with lots of snow and winter.  Here is a photo of our Saucer Magnolias.  We have three in a group that are kept at bush size.  They are over 70 years old and we brought them here from Southern California hoping that they would survive and so they have.  We do see some Saucer Magnolia Trees around this area also.

The flowers are magnificent.  Some people refer to these as "Tulip Trees".  Normally the buds form and take about five months to bloom.  The green leaves seem to sprout overnight just when the buds begin to shed their protective sheaths.  The rain or snow usually comes and knocks down the blooms.  We have been having rain but so far the blooms are still tight enough that they aren't able to collect too much water weight and droop to ruin.  The blossoms only last a few short days so I am enjoying them immensely.  Mr. C always feels extra special as they seem to bloom for his birthday each year.  He really likes these.
This morning I was able to join some other Chamber of Commerce volunteers and staff and get a personal tour of this charming little house.  It is now a vacation rental and here is the link if you wish to check it out.  I have always admired this place.  It has such a lot of history to it.  For any of you who love the Hallmark movie "The Christmas Card" which was filmed here in Nevada City, this sits right next to the beautiful white church featured in the movie.  This was originally the rectory for the church.  Later it became "The Teddy Bear Museum" known world-wide.  Then a "Two Room Inn" B&B rental.  I am thrilled that I finally got to go inside and see it for myself.  I would live there if I could.  ;o)
Nothing clever or creative in the craftsy/artsy world to show.  Mr. C and I have been very busy socially as the weather is nicer and there are numerous birthdays to celebrate this month.  Somehow I am not able to even do any stitching at these venues...the lighting is too dim, lots of visiting and chatting and dancing and general all around having fun.  So I don't fret over not being able to stitch my portable projects which I carry with me.  Life is to be enjoyed and we are definitely doing that.
May you have Spring and Sunshine and Joyful Smiles...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sashiko Sample Piece...

I decided to cut into my Sashiko fabric.  Of course I cut it the wrong direction.  The water is flowing sideways in this cut.  Fortunately I have a little more fabric.

Here is my correct piece with the water flowing the direction I envisioned.   I really like the feel of this fabric. It is special Indigo fabric that is pre-printed with the Sashiko design.  After you complete your stitching the lines can be washed away.

When I made my two cuts in the fabric there was a small piece left over.  Not wanting to waste anything I thought it would be a good little piece to practice my stitching on.  I ended up machine stitching around the edge as it was raveling.  Then I decided to also cover the edges with masking tape to keep them steady.
The Sashiko needle is wonderful.  Easy to thread with a threader.  The Sashiko thread I purchased is six strand and feels really good.  The needle is sturdy and straight and pierces the fabric really easily.

Here is my little sample piece with some stitching completed.  As you can see my stitches are not perfect.  If I had known what I was in for I would have selected a Sashiko fabric design with larger stitch lengths.  These are so very tiny that I cannot even stay with the lines so I improvised.  With my older eyes I need really bright light and stronger "readers".  This piece of fabric is about the size of a small bookmark.  I cannot imagine how many years it will take me to do the original small size I cut out for a project in mind.  What was I thinking???  Now that I am experiencing the joy of Sashiko by hand I have just learned of the newest invention.  Baby Lock Sashiko machine that does the stitching for us.  Really?  Here is a link to see
Part of me really embraces the old tradition of hand stitching.  However, part of me is intrigued with the possibilities of a Sashiko machine and the options it offers.  No, I won't be buying one.  I don't own an Embellisher machine either.  I tend to stick with my traditional sewing machine and vintage Serger.
Not very long ago I never even heard of Sashiko and now it seems I hear of it quite often.  Kind of like never seeing a dark green automobile and once you think about it you see all kinds of them.  Hmmm...
Today is a very rainy day.  The skies are nourishing and cleansing our earth.  I have a little birdie who is braving the rain to eat the edible birdseed house.  He has to fly up to the deck and then just happily gorges himself.  Of course it could be a girl birdie...I never even know the type of little bird.  Adorable and rather small with a black head and brownish body.  They normally are ground feeders and live under the RosyGlow bushes.
Our washing machine went out...again and the cost of repairs is almost the price of a new machine so I am researching.  We have a 2000 Maytag Neptune that literally broke Maytag and put them out of business with their horrible reliability issues.  Whirlpool now owns Maytag.  I am doing my fact finding and will probably purchase an LG.  Sadly it won't match my Maytag Neptune Dryer but I am okay with that fact.  My laundry room is for function...not glamour.  Lots of paperwork and budget revisions to do today.  Rain will help me there too as I won't feel bad about not going outdoors for a walk.  I did a backyard walk-about yesterday in the sunshine and our roses are filling out nicely.  We even have some buds forming.  The Saucer Magnolias are blooming and getting their new leaves.  This is a glorious time of year with all of the new growth and blooms happening.
May you  enjoy all that makes you happy...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sashiko Needles, Fabric, Threads...

My first title for this post was "Projects Finished Zero" as that is what I have accomplished lately.  My creative muse has been languishing in laziness.  However...
When I made my Hari-Kuro Needlebook from Susan's e-course there was a needle label for Sashiko.
You can visit Susan at her blog Plays With Needles.  I had no idea what type of needles these were so Susan was kind enough to explain...


Sashiko needles are similar to long darners...they are very long, at least 2 inches, and are used for long, straight running stitches. The shaft of the sashiko needle is larger than that of the same size darner and will not bend or break when loaded with stitched fabric. The strength of the needle allows for stitching in a straight line.

Fortunately Susan also included resources to obtain such a needle.  Because I had never tried this Sashiko and the fact that I am truly and hopelessly unfocused I decided I just had to obtain such supplies and try them.  Oh yeah, Mr. C was not surprised as this is my pattern in life.
In the photo above you can see my new fabric, threads and my needle book with a Sashiko needle on the labeled page.  Now I am happy because I didn't want any blank pages in my little book.

I have yet to begin my try at Sashiko but at least I am prepared with the proper tools.  I purchased the long and longer needles so I could see which one works best for my style of sewing this fabric.  I will post an update when I have something to show after needle and thread have married and gone stitching on Indigo fabric honeymoon.
Thank you Susan for introducing this amazing technique of Sashiko.
Rain and Winter are here once again.  I am thankful for the rain.
May all your creative projects make you smile with joy...