Friday, January 29, 2016

Year End Shredding...

It was time to shred all those year end files and papers that have our personal information on them.  Yes, we do have one of those "shredding machines" that do a really good job.  In fact we have a very professional shredder that actually works quite well.  However, Mr. C decided it was time to do it a much better way.  This is how Real Men Shred Papers!

Messy is best for He-Man Shredders!

Pulp all drying out and ready to be put in the recycle bin.  Several hours and many piles of papers later Mr. C had shred all the files and then some.  He truly enjoyed this project.  Who can argue with a man and his power tools?!!  This was not my type of crafty project.  All I could think of was all that wonderful pulp going into the recycle without making lovely artful paper with it.  I used to make paper with Arnold Grummer's Papermill supplies and my kitchen dedicated to gardening.  Those were my type of paper shredding projects.  Have you ever made paper for art?
We are having a Noah's Ark rainstorm.  The weather man predicted 5 inches for us in about 24 hours.  I think we just might come close.  When you hear of a "whiteout" in a snowstorm this is definitely a "greyout" in a rainstorm.  At times it is raining so hard I cannot see anything but grey for all the rain...and we are not in the clouds!  We are staying indoors dry and warm.  Mr. C is not allowed outside because he is very sick with the Winter Crud.  He finally went to the doctor yesterday and came home with most of the pharmacy.  Lots of meds and potions to help him get well.  The local hospital is calling this the 100 day cough.  I am doing my very best to stay well.  After all I have a busy February coming right around the corner as January winds to a close. 
Lets share Happy Hearts and enjoy Valentine Creative Bliss...

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cards, Envelopes, Pockets...

In my lengthy efforts to purge my studio of unnecessary clutter and saved ephemera I am taking bits of time to deal with items when I find them.  No longer adding to piles of "I'll do that later" that never seems to happen.  Kind of like the old saying, "Free Beer Tomorrow".
I came across an enormous pile of saved magazine and calendar pages.  So I gathered my envelope template maker, double sided adhesive, scissors, some blank cardstock and got busy right then and there.  In just a couple of hours I had forty (40) cards and envelopes created and ready to use in my weekly Random Acts of Mail.  I had a few postcards created and ready to use in Love Notes.  I had a few paper pockets ready to gift to others and some very special large cards for friends.  All the scraps went into the recycle bin and now I have a lot less clutter piled hither and yon in my studio.  I actually felt a burden lifting from me as I cull supplies and put them to good use.  If I am no longer going to use them I am donating to my local Hospice Gift and Thrift.  Eventually my studio will be less crowed and less overwhelming and messy.  I will feel good and accomplished when I enter and therefore I shall be able to be more productive.  More on this in a future post...
We are still having rain and damp days and nights.  The sun might peek at us this afternoon.  Hopefully long enough to take the recycle bins down the driveway for pick up tomorrow am.  I must keep my eyes closed as the yard is simply a huge mess of branches and debris and mud puddles everywhere 360 degrees around our home.  I am not able to do any yard work at this time so it is making me very sad to see such a mess.  I know it eventually will get done but until then I shall merely EMBRACE the rain and be grateful for our ground water to fill our well.
I am praying that all are safe in the storm areas on the East and West Coasts.  Mother Nature is certainly creating a new normal in weather patterns.   May you each be safe and warm and cozy in your homes or at worst case in shelters.  Mother Nature is proving she is no match for us mere humans.  Her power is far beyond our controls.
Now I do hope you are making something wonderful in whichever medium you prefer.   Creative Bliss to each and every one...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dressed In JOY...

Dressed In JOY is all about sewing Dresses for Girls Around the World and I couldn't be any happier or prouder to participate in this giving charity.  My blog friend Donna of Brynwood Needleworks blog is coordinating efforts and I joined in immediately.  I have included links if you wish to learn more about this project.
I have just mailed fourteen dresses to Donna for the upcoming deadline.  There will be more dates in this year.  Last year I also sewed dresses and sent them along.

As you can see, the dresses are very simple.  They are called "pillowcase" dresses and you could actually use a pillowcase to make these.  I happen to have fabrics and therefore I am using what I have.  My fun is in making each one unique with a pocket and/or armhole bindings.  I LOVE this snail pocket which reminds me of the trails on the fabric.

As I sew each dress I try to imagine each girl as she receives her new dress and wears it.  Her smile tells me how happy she is.  I sew all the love I can into every stitch of every dress.  Sometimes I keep them these two dresses.  The fabric is gorgeous and I imagine there are girls who like simple and elegant as opposed to cutesy.

Who does not like Raggedy Ann and Andy?!!  This pocket is sure to bring a smile.  I also realize that some places in this world the girls may never have heard of our favorite characters.  It may bring something new to them as they share and explore their new dress with the other girls they meet.

This fabric is a bit wild and flowing.  It makes me smile and I hope each girl who gets one will smile and know she is being hugged by a dress that was sewn with lots of LOVE and CARE! 
I feel like I am helping in some small way.  Thank you Donna for all your organizing and labeling and thank you to your "Doll Elves" for making and adding a doll to each dress pocket.
Northern California is definitely having El Nino rain and it is glorious.  I do miss sunshine however this rain is so refreshing and needed.  Mostly I am staying home and indoors so I am cozy and warm.  I try to limit my errands to one day a week during bad weather.  Staying home is allowing me to continue my treasure hunting.  I recently opened a file drawer and looked into some folders.  What?  Why did I save this stuff?!!  Out in the recycle it goes.  Pounds and pounds of papers and old cards.  I found a lovely Mother's Day card from my daughter and it was dated 1997.  With that date it means I moved it here 18 years ago.  When I told my daughter what I found she promptly gave me permission to THROW IT AWAY!  She and I have the same gene when it comes to hoarding saving things.  Now where did I put that so I can actually throw it away?  I do know about taking a photo for memories but somehow having the actual beautiful card with her handwritten message of love is far better than any photo.  Now for the case of saved cards and letters I have from Mr. C...
I am EMBRACING each and every day and I hope you are enJOYing what makes you happy.

Friday, January 15, 2016

ASFAS Fabric Banners...

During 2015 I was able to participate in A Swap For All Seasons monthly Mini Fabric Samplers.  It was a great challenge and I am so grateful I got to be part of this fun.  Linda was the perfect hostess and kept us very organized.  2016 is finding Linda preparing for being a Grandma and therefore no swaps will happen monthly.  Maybe there will be something later on in this year. 
This happy banner was from Debbie of Kitten Creates blog.  As you can see it was the month of December and Debbie created this precious little Yo-Yo Tree with snowflakes.  Did I mention the size of these banners?  The size of a standard postcard...4" x 6".  The venue is small however the creativity is huge.  I love this traditional red and green beauty.
So you also see the precious little ceramic mouse Debbie included with my banner?  So very thoughtful and I am so very grateful.  Thank you Debbie.

Here is the back of the banner and I am very glad Debbie included her name and month.  She also made me the beaded wreath ornament and I love it too.

Each month we participated we sent to one person and received from another person.  This is the banner I created for Linda in December.  I really like the image of the little girl telling Santa her wishes. Thank you Linda for organizing this unique Creative Bliss in 2015.  From one Grandma to is the best experience ever!!!  Enjoy every moment dear!
So far this year I have yet to join any swaps.  My two favorites from the past are on hiatus. 
El Nino is here in Northern California and we are cold, damp, raining and soaking wet.  I am not complaining at all after four years of extreme/exceptional drought.  Let the rains fall lightly and soak into the earth to refill our water tables.  Snow is falling in the ski resorts and they are jubilant for finally having business to restore their livelihoods.  Mother Nature is smiling upon us.  
I am still seeing a trend of bloggers who are converting to other forms of social media.  For me I shall continue to blog and enjoy this generous group of creative souls.  Thank you to each of you who take the time to share and inspire.  I do believe 2016 will be an amazing year and I am so ready.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Table Before and After...

I shared before on this post how much the new chairs made the old oak table look even worse.  Well Mr. C had enough and wanted to buy a new table.  I didn't want to deal with shopping and searching for what we already have...a solid, sturdy, expensive (in its day) table that fit the space perfectly.

Here is Mr. C out in the cold damp Winter weather prepping the table to keep it.

Once again I got my way with wanting to paint the table with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  Oh how I will keep my mouth shut in the future (I hope!).  The money we wasted on expensive paint and the one hundred hours of Mr. C's incredible hard labor were such a disaster.

Even though he prepped the surface beyond what is necessary according to Annie Sloan and her "stockists", the table leached ugly spots through the chalk paint.  After much research and even more intensive labor by Mr. C he was able to finish the entire table and reassemble it.  I must admit he wanted to burn the table and he hates the look of it now.

I am happy with the Graphite color and the look of the chairs with the table.  However, we have to keep a table cloth on it at all times so Mr. C doesn't see the flaws he knows are in this painted table.  He is NOT a fan of Annie Sloan and her paint or techniques.  He is a perfectionist and does not do sloppy or shabby or distressed.  I am merely happy that we have a table and it functions well.  Not having the table while it was being "refinished" was quite a nuisance.  Thankfully we have a dining room with a lovely table and chairs that we were able to use during Thanksgiving and all the time before and after.  My deepest gratitude to Mr. C for doing this project that I would never have been able to do.  This is a very heavy table and had to be carried out to the deck every day to work on and then back inside before the moisture and freeze came each night.  He has really great muscles!
On my creative front nothing is happening here.  I am slowly continuing to purge and simplify.  I honestly do not think I can live long enough to truly accomplish this task.  Where does all this stuff come from?!!  What was I thinking when I just HAD to save all those potential crafty items?!!  I do hope the Hospice Thrift store can get some good out of it all.
We are enjoying lots of glorious rain here and snow higher up in the ski resorts.  Maybe our drought will be over with El Nino happening.  Safety to all and if you are driving a vehicle do not continue into unknown puddles people! 
I am hoping to begin some Creative Bliss very soon...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016 Has Found Me...

 This photo is only to show that Mr. C did indeed make his cut-out cookies and then iced and sprinkled them to his heart's content.  What you don't see is a finished photo of the cookies.  Mr. C realized that these cookies really take a lot of work and time.  He has a new found appreciation for all those amazingly gorgeous iced cookies I was able to show him off of Pinterest.  Thankfully this will not become an annual tradition.  He agreed that if he gets the urge to have iced and sprinkled cookies we can buy them from a bakery.

I had a lot of great black and white images I was "saving" for future projects. using what I have and in my de-cluttering mode I decided it was time to use them NOW!  I was able to create two dozen cards for my weekly Random Acts of Mail.  In fact two of these are going in the post tomorrow.  I was able to use what I have and build a small stash of much needed cards.  And a bonus was the trimmings went in the trash so I was able to also fill the bin with clutter. 
As I was pondering life and all it entails last night...when I should have been sleeping...a wonderful word came to me and I shall make it "my word for 2016".  EMBRACE is the word that will guide me throughout this new year.  It will allow me to focus (a previous word) on acceptance, support, welcoming, holding as in seize the moment with willingness and enthusiasm.  It will also help guide me to release, let go, give and free myself of old thoughts, feelings and/or habits.  I welcome this important word to my life for 2016 and beyond.  I shall Embrace every day and live my life with Grace and Kindness. 
Our year has already begun with much to do each day.  Time with friends and celebrating January birthdays.  We got rain last night and almost all the snow and ice was washed away.  It remains to be very cold.  May you be finding your Creative Bliss and doing all you enjoy...