Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bead Challenged Bliss...

I have a very dear friend who recently purchased a necklace for an upcoming trip she is to take.  The necklace had no matching earrings.  So she purchased some beads and findings and asked me to make them for her.  I was delighted and said of course I would be happy to.  That was before I saw the findings.
My first attempts were not working.  I was struggling as the tiny...very tiny...little loops on the circles do not open.  They are fixed in place.  I usually do wire wrapped loops and attached them during the wrapping process.  Even with all my tools and both of my hands I could not get my loops attached to these little fixed circles.  And I realized that my wire wrapped loops were too long for the top hanging bead.  Drat!

I was certain that I would not be able to make these earrings and that was very disheartening to me.  Hmmm...this is the modern world with internet!  I Googled YouTube and found a nice easy to understand tutorial on how to make "chandelier earrings".  With renewed confidence I went back to the jewelry table and tried my new-found method.  With only a few tries I was able to get one little bead attached to one little circle.  I destroyed a few of my sterling silver headpins in the process but persevered.  Having a couple more hands...maybe eight like an octopus might have...would have helped.  Success!  I am pleased with the results and managed to make a matching pair of chandelier earrings for my friend.  I do believe the person in the video has had a lot more experience and therefore has perfected her looping techniques.  I will keep trying.

This is much more my comfort zone.  A lovely beaded headpin with a wrapped loop which attaches it to the fixed larger loop on the Dogwood charm.  However, I am glad I tried something out of my comfort zone as that is how we improve our skills.  It felt so good to actually create something with beads and findings.
Summer is glorious here in the pines.  I do hope you are enjoying your summer/winter doing what gives you bliss.  Are you learning any new techniques or crafts?
Welcome to my new followers and thank you all for commenting.  I really enjoy reading them and visiting your blogs.  Happy Hearts are Creative Hearts.  Creative Hearts are Happy Hearts.  Happy Creative Hearts Dear Blog Friends...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bunny Pincushion Threesome...

As I wrote on a previous post here I am making these really cute bunny pincushions for gifts.  Here are the latest threesome I cut out and am preparing.  I have used wool for the brown and tweed bodies.  Wool felt for the pink and orange ears.  For the beige ears and back pocket I used a good quality flannel that I had just a scrap of to see if it would work.  It did and I like the result.

I have not named these as I think the recipients might like to name them.  This one is very stylish with orange ears and orange heart button.  The orange with yellow polka dot neck ribbon and peach bow adds to the charm.

This bunny has pink ears and heart button with a soft pink tail.  The pink neck ribbon is embellished with a little rose applique that I stitched onto the ribbon.

Now you might think this one is weird but I think of this one as my lop-eared bunny.  I was actually trying to create the lop-ears and think these look pretty cute.  The back scissor pocket is also the same flannel as the ears.  A white heart button and beige ribbon with small lace flower centered with a root beer brown bead.  These bunnies are such fun to make and will be well received gifts.

Here is another batch of get well cards sent to Mr. C.  Thank you Terrie, Theresa and Gail.  Your thoughtfulness is very much appreciated.  Mr. C is continuing to improve however he is having some tests done to determine the extent of his concussion damage.  We are thinking positive thoughts for good results.  He may have physical therapy in his future to help his off-center leaning which is causing muscle spasms in his back.  Over all we are very fortunate and thank you everyone for your prayers and well wishes.
Thank you to everyone of the fire fighting personnel that saved Idyllwild in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California.  Idyllwild is deeply entrenched in my heart as I grew up there summers and other weeks of the year.  Fond memories of simpler times.  Where I live now reminds me very much of Idyllwild with the pine trees and the beauty of nature. Cooler weather has once again returned here.  The sky is blue and life is good.  I am enjoying domestic chores and some creative time.  Mostly I am enjoying just being with my husband as we never know what is around the bend...Blessings!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Serene Sunday Outing...

Sunday we took a drive with some friends to enjoy our beautiful surroundings we live near.  Our first destination was Big Springs Gardens for brunch.  I didn't take many photos as I was merely enjoying the beauty of it all.  For detailed info please click on the link I included.  This is a privately owned property. Unfortunately there were no fish in the giant pond as an otter had just visited and eaten all of the fish.  In past years we have watched giant Osprey swoop down and catch a fish for their meal.

This is the private residence.  The entire grounds that are open to the public are very picturesque.  I neglected to take a photo of our brunch area.  It is peaceful with waterfalls and live music playing. Sometimes a harpist and sometimes a trio are playing quietly for your enjoyment.

With our tummies full from as much food as we desired we strolled over the bridge and enjoyed lots of plants and flowers.   We spent several hours here just relaxing and enjoying.  Don, the owner, was very pleasant and we enjoyed catching up with him and his hopes of a foundation forming to preserve this beautiful piece of serenity he has built.  He is getting along in years and 118 acres is a bit much for him to continue to maintain.  I am hoping the right people come along to maintain and preserve this amazing gift.

Next on our day of enjoyment we visited Sardine Lakes just a few miles further. This is a smaller lake that is a fishing paradise.  Mr. C took his son and grandson here fishing one time and they couldn't keep all the fish they caught.  They said the fish were practically jumping into their boat.  They were throwing them back in the lake for others.

This is a small floating bar that sits on the lake.  Mr. C loves to sit here and enjoy a drink.  Part of the allure of Sardine Lakes is that they also have a very home-style rustic restaurant that serves dinner in only two seatings per weekend night...and only during open season.  The snow in winter months closes this place and all of the highways leading to it.  We have dined here several times and taken friends and family here.  The charm of the place and the excellent food by a French chef was the draw.  We found out yesterday they have changed chefs after 20+ years so I am not certain what it will be like next time we come for dinner.
It was a very long day of exploring and sharing and enjoying.  One last stop at the Downieville St. Charles Bar for a refreshment and then back home.   Mr. C took a really long nap afterwords.  3 hours and then up for 2 hours and then slept the entire night.
I had a successful and enjoyable day as I managed to NOT get carsick.  Every road we were on was a windy road and I usually get horribly ill.  This time I got to sit in the passenger front seat and I did all my Bonine and Ginger preparations just right.   Thankfully it was a wonderful day and the weather was perfect!  A huge thank you to our friends for driving all day.
Summer is progressing along and our weather continues to be glorious.  A tad warm in the sun but so beautiful.  My beloved Idyllwild in Southern California appears to be saved from the raging forest fires they are experiencing in Riverside County outside of Palm Springs.  Thank you to all the firefighting personnel and thank you to the Idyllwild Town Crier for the excellent updates.
I am hoping to get creative this week. What are you doing to enjoy your summer/winter?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Handmade Cards & Plantings...

What a wonderful surprise I had when I recently gathered my mail at the local post office box.  These were addressed to Mr. C and I rushed right home to have him open them.  He was very surprised to get mail from my blogging friends.  Thank you so very much for brightening our day and for helping Mr. C get well.  I put a little something in the return mail for each person.  Thank you to Annie, Dawn, Dogwood and Paulette.
Mr. C is continuing to gain strength and he is now able to accomplish one major task each day before he runs out of steam and hits his pain level.  He is working on a big project for the Bub Streamliner  that has held world records at Bonneville.  This year he is fine tuning and prepping all the wind-speed stations for the 10 mile course for the meet to be held in latter August.  I have been driving us and helping him with this task.  Hmmm...that could be why you don't see anything clever or creative from me and my rooms lately.  Being an assistant (sounds so much better than "grunt") is taking most of my time of late.  I am still sorting and finding lots of supplies in my studio.  I am rather enjoying the treasure hunting.

The rest of my time you might find me outside doing weed detail.  I hate bark that we put down years ago and so when I come across it I "accidentally" gather it up in my debris piles and chuck it in the hefty bags.  I would much rather have plain old dirt (ours is red clay soil) to deal with rather than the bark that harbors weeds, mold and insects.  YUCK!!!  This newest greenery Mr. C planted before his accident is known as Sweet Box.  I am hoping the deer do not wish to eat it since we planted it out front by the raised porch entry to the house.

We actually planted four of them and so far they are looking pretty good.  Nice and green.  Now to get them to grow and fill in this space.  These photos are before the weeds took hold and I must get out there and utilize my amazing detailed de-weeding skills.  
Our weather continues to be glorious!  Blue skies, sunlight, white puffy clouds and a gentle cooling breeze. Gosh it sounds as delightful as it really is.  Triple digits are predicted for three days this week.  Until then I am busy doing what little bits I can do.
May you each be enjoying either Summer or Winter depending on where you are.  July is officially the month to celebrate ice cream so I think I shall go and do my bit to honor my favorite food.  I could honestly live on ice cream.  Our family grew up eating ice cream and I still love it. My mom would always make home made ice cream in August complete with us kids turning the handle while the ice and salt did the freezing.  I think fresh peach was one of my very favorites that she made.  We also got to go to Sav-On and Thrifty for ice cream cones.  But the very best most special treat was to go to Curries for a sugar cone filled with ice cream.  That was up-town in Downey CA and expensive so it didn't happen very often and that is probably why it was so special.
Thank you for indulging my travels down memory lane.
Do you like ice cream?   What flavor is your favorite?
Find and enjoy the best of everyday...especially the tiny moments of bliss...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Beaded Plug Charms...

I shared about my "Big Easy" phone I got to replace my cute little one I lost.  I like to have a special charm on my phone but this one had no loop I could attach to.  Then I remembered a wonderful little plug that Robbie had gifted me with.  Robbie does beautiful bead work and quilting which you can check out here.
I put several hearts on this one.

Here is a close up of the little plug which fits right into the speaker jack on the phone.

Because Robbie had given me two, I also made a charm for my Nook e-reader.  These little beads were gifted to me from a friend's visit to Maui.  She knows how much I like blue.
Thank you Robbie for being so generous with me.  I apologize for not sharing one of them like I was supposed to do.  I will be happy to buy some from your little bead store.  Just email me the info please.

In my sorting through stuff in the studio I came across my label maker and decided to clean out the box it sits in.  I save bits and pieces of the label tape.  If I make a mistake I save it.  And every time I print a label there is a good one inch of wasted tape.  Oh No!  I do not waste anything.  I save these and then use them like I would use scotch tape.  I seal gift wrap, envelopes, baggies, and what ever else needs a bit of tape.  What would you use these bits of perfectly good label tape for?
Summer is progressing nicely.  Our weather is glorious.  It is time for me to get back to doing my weed duty.  I read that if you pour boiling hot water on weeds they die.  Have you tried this?  I don't like to use expensive weed killers that are poisonous.  I have an electric tea kettle and think I shall take it outside and boil some water and try this method.
Mr. C is finally sleeping and that will really help him heal.  We have been very fortunate and appreciate all your kind well wishes.
I have been enjoying viewing blogs that are participating in Where Bloggers Create 2013 hostessed by Karen of My Desert Cottage.  The amazing inspiration of each space is truly overwhelming.  Thank you to each blogger who is participating and sharing their creative spaces.   I didn't participate as I was going to be gone.  Maybe next year I can be part of this fabulous tour.
Happy Blissful Creative Hearts Dears...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sashiko Supplies Shared...

A while back I shared that I was trying to stitch some Sashiko.  I had learned about it on Susan' s blog "Plays With Needles".  If you follow Susan you already know what an amazing stitching master she is.
When I shared my little sample piece (shown here still with the masking tape edge to contain the fraying) I was trying to stitch, Susan came to my rescue.  I was using the proper Sashiko needle however I was using the full strands of Sashiko thread.  She suggested I try using only half the threads.  I didn't try that as I was almost finished with my little sample and wanted to keep it consistent.
Susan being the kind soul she is offered to swap some of her Sashiko fabric with some of mine that seemed to be too tiny to Sashiko stitch.  I jumped at the offer.  Unfortunately for Susan she got robbed.  I merely sent a small piece of the fabric I had left.  You know I will make it up to her...

In return Susan generously sent all of these fabrics you see pictured here.  And the personal note card of thanks.  I am the one saying, "Thank you Susan".  I am overwhelmed with your generosity.

In this photo you can see the fabric in its original package.  This one is white with blue stitch lines.  I never would have noticed if Susan had not pointed out that the fabric has a stitching pattern direction shown by the tiny little arrows on the packaging.  Oh goodness gracious I am glad you pointed that out to me.

Here is another package of fabric with the correct directions for stitching.
So I gathered my supplies of Sashiko thread wound on little cards, my Sashiko needle, some tiny scissors and the blue fabric in the first photo.  It had no package with direction lines but I thought the lack of curves would make it a fine first attempt.  Then I placed my gathered supplies into my carry-on bag for our trip which was to be long with many hours of sitting.  I would love to quietly stitch during such times.  However, we are not taking our trip this year.  I have just been unpacking and found my little treasures.  I think this will make a wonderful stitching project to begin on here at home while I am relaxing at the pond or in a comfortable chair indoors out of the bright sunshine.  I normally keep some sort of project in my daily purse but of course had nothing with me during my recent long hours of sitting in hospital rooms.  I was lucky to keep track of my purse and car keys.  Thank you again Susan and I will be fondly thinking of you as I begin my stitching.
Mr. C continues to surprise me with his ability to heal.  His abrasions are almost healed.  The bruising is fading to an unattractive yellowish and purpleish color.  His breathing is still different but better than it was.  I believe that all of the prayers and care and concern have truly helped and we are both very grateful.  Mr. C is truly amazed at how so many have come forward with well wishes.
Our weather is glorious.  Yesterday I worked in the yard while I had hired helpers do all the major property weed abatement and mow/edge the lawn.  What a relief to have the fire fuel minimized.  I should have taken before and after photos but never did.  One of the helpers was actually able to retrieve the big rock from the bottom of the pond and re-place it after the bears had knocked it down.  At times I thought my helper was going in head first as the rock weighed more than he did.  I extra tipped him for being so persistent and hard working.  Good to have things back in place and cleared of weeds.
I haven't spent much time in the studio but I do have plans to play and work very soon.  I will update later.
May you be enjoying your Summer or Winter and making art that feeds your soul.  Blessings...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Studio Play...

Hello Monday.  Lets spend some time in the studio playing.  I started by sorting my stickers.  I keep them in a large A-Z accordion file that has sides to contain everything.  This way I can select F for fairy stickers, W for word stickers and so on.  My system works pretty well for me.  However I am glad I decided to sort through them.  I store this file on top of a bookcase in the mechanicals room (fodder for another post) and it gets rather warm in that room.  Some of my stickers have decided to curl and show me they need attention after the solid week of triple digit heat so I felt it was only fair for me to let them stick to something like they want to do.

Here are some ATCs I made with some of the stickers.  I added rhinestone bling and some scraps that I had saved from old days of stamping and embossing.  Never throwing anything away turned out to be a good thing since I was able to use my little bits and snippets.  Now when I want to send out an ATC I will have some to select from.  Playing was fun but then I got serious...

What is this?!!  I have been taking little bits of time here and there to really purge my studio.  I am reclaiming my space from the chaotic mess it had become.  I still have waaaaaaaaay too much stuff but now it is better organized.  So this is my work table that Mr. C built for me years ago.  It sits on top of a large desk which I can still use all of the drawers.  The work table has wonderful cubbies all around it too.  I can honestly say I have not seen the entire top of this table in years.  Wow I really like the surface.

As you can see I put in hooks just under the lip of the bottom cubbies and that is where I have my fabric rotary cutters and fabric scissors.  How nice and easy to reach for them as this is the end I have my large cutting mat on.

I just know you are looking beyond the table top and seeing all the piles I still have to deal with.  I will in time.  Better yet...I should just play and use all those wonderful supplies and create to my hearts desire.  Those plastic bins contain fabrics.  There are also a bunch under the desk that contain fabrics.  I better get busy!
Mr. C is feeling better each day and he is actually surprising me with how well he is getting along.  The pain is still pretty intense but the abrasions are mostly healed.  The bruising is still very visible though.  Yesterday he tried driving the car and did okay.  So today he is off to help a friend with some technical auto electronics.  Of course I am nervously awaiting his return.  He promised not to be too long.  Right!  The man who has no concept of time.  Thank you very much once again for all the care and prayers and well wishes.  They have certainly helped us both.  I am off to put my nervous energy back into my room and sort some more.
Summer Sunshine Smiles to all in America and Winter Cozy Warmth to those down under.
What are you wishing to accomplish this week?
Happy Creative Hearts...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Crafters Waste Nothing...

When you live a life of creative bliss you never waste or throw away anything if you can use it to make something.  I have done this my entire life and my mother did this and my grandmother did this.  We see things differently than maybe others might see them.
Here I received a beautiful envelope with my name written on it.  The quality of paper and the silver color was divine.  I decided to punch out some shapes.  I chose a Fiskars star punch and a Martha Stewart crown punch.  I cut apart the flap, and down the sides of the envelope to open it up.  Next I just punched.

Here are my scraps and my shapes.  Not bad I would say.  I ended up with 12 stars and 12 crowns.  Now I have them ready for making ATCs, cards, tags or collages.  In fact I inserted the stars loosely into a card and mailed it off for the Fourth.  Now the recipient can be creative and use them too.
What would you make with these shapes?  What would you do with a used envelope?  Creative minds want to know.
This is a short post.  Still not much sleep happening here.  Mr. C and I spent another two hours at the doctor.  His back muscles were having painful spasms and he got numerous shots to relieve some of the pain.  The doctor also added to his meds so maybe he can sleep.  So sleeping for longer than a few minutes to maybe 2 hours.  I clearly remember this is what is was like raising a child, pets and watching over aging grandparents. will help with the much needed healing.
Our weather is cooler and out of the triple digits.  I have the house windows open and am enjoying a delta breeze.  Funny as we are not even close to a delta.
How are you enjoying this glorious Summer?  Thank you once again for all the caring concern and prayers.  I am warmed and overwhelmed by having such good friends I haven't even ever met in person.
Creative Hearts are Happy Hearts...Happy Hearts are Creative Hearts...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Flowers, Fone, Festive Fourth...

These beautiful roses all came out of Mr. C's Rose Garden.  Five different varieties here and they smell wonderful.  We love heirloom and heritage roses and especially the fragrant types.

Yesterday was our 15th wedding anniversary.  We were not in Monaco however very thankful to be together here at home.  We did amble out to our favorite local restaurant for lunch.  Mr. C is still extremely tender and colorful so he gets lots of stares.  We saw friends dining with other friends.  They surprised us by paying our bill.  Our adorable waitress (who reminds me of Sheryl Crow) surprised us with a triple dessert complete with a lit sparkler.  Life is good and we are blessed.

Somewhere between home, the gas station and the Trauma ICU I lost my little cell phone.  Since it hasn't appeared in about 10 days I purchased a new phone.  I selected the Big Easy for elderly people like me who need very large numbers.  Nothing SMART here.  No iPhone for me.  I have used a TracFone since 2005 and been quite satisfied with its capabilities and coverage.  I merely have a cell phone for emergencies and frivolous phone to my daughter and granddaughters and such.  ;o)

Today is the Fourth of July here in America.  May our flag fly free...although freedom is never free!
Thank you to every person who has fought to keep our freedom since the beginning.

I enjoy watching a good fireworks show.  I used to live 3 miles from Disneyland in Anaheim so I had fabulous firework shows every night of Summer.  What I don't like is fireworks being sold on every corner and people who are not responsible setting off FIREworks where they shouldn't.  I pray for the safety of all and please no fires.  We are continuing to grieve for Arizona and the tragic loss of so many Hotshots.
Healing continues for Mr. C however he really needs quality sleep.  He is not able to get comfortable in bed or in our chairs.  His broken ribs hurt all the way around to his back.  Funny how everything falls to the floor and he is unable to retrieve...that's where I can help.  He isn't able to drive so I do that too.  I am thankful that I am able to help him.  I am such a homebody that this suits me quite well.  Staying home with my honey and seeing what the next 15 years hold in store for us makes me very happy.
Festive Fourth and may you enjoy your time doing exactly what makes you the happiest

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tried Needle Felting...

Not the same as the photo but possibly a close cousin?!

Sometimes I just do not know what possesses me!  I thought I should try needle felting.  My friend's birthday was approaching and she likes hedgehogs.  So I bought a kit.  I didn't think it was something she would enjoy trying so I opened the kit and decided I would felt it for her. always looks so easy when I see others doing it.

I am not a fan of sharp objects when they poke me and for this craft you use nothing but a very sharp needle with barbs on it to stab loose fibers.  As this is something small...maybe 3 inches in length...that means I am stabbing that very sharp barbed needle really close to my fingers that are holding the fibers.  This is not good.  I did manage to stay reasonably safe and I will admit the actual stabbing process is rather calming.

Here is my little finished hedgehog.  He is not exactly like the photo however I think he is pretty cute.  I like his smile.  Fortunately my friend liked him and was pleased that I actually needle felted for her.  She is such a good and kind friend.

She also likes cats and really likes Laurel Burch designs.  So I purchased these from a local artisan at a local show.  The brown bag is how they were packaged...complete with cat design.
I could have made the earrings as I have the very same charms however it is always nice to support other artisans when possible.  And...I don't decorate a brown bag with such a cute cat drawing.  Hmmm...No I won't copy as that is not flattery.  I shall come up with my own branding and packaging if I offer my creations for sale again.
Here in Northern California we are experiencing triple digit heat waves for many days in a row.  Not common at all.  After such a dry winter this is feeling really HOT.  My deepest sympathy and prayers and healing energy go out to the entire firefighter family of wonderful people who fight fires to keep us safe.  Losing any, let alone so many, is such a tragedy.  Very early in life my mother taught me this saying, "Fire is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."  I have always heeded those words.
Thank you again for all the wonderful prayers, concern, comforting words and loving hugs.  Mr. C continues to get better each day.  He is already planning and looking forward to taking our trip next year.
Chores are piling up as I am trying not to use much energy due to the heat wave.  Of course we have the AC on upstairs set to 82 degrees.  You can find me tending to Mr. C or following blogs which I am enjoying both very much.  Blessings and may you have a Very Happy and Safe Fourth of July here in the USA.