Friday, November 28, 2014

Brocade BowTies...

Thank you to my wonderful followers who sent me links for making BowTies.  This is my result.  I was able to make two.  One is an inch longer than the other.   This Brocade fabric is beautiful. However it is not friendly to cut or sew.

Here is my template pattern ready to cut out of the brocade which has been fused with Pellon.  Only one side of the self-faced tie.

Here is my template pattern ready to cut out of the brocade which is not fused with Pellon.  My first attempts were very difficult and problematic.  This fabric shreds so easily that if you merely touch it the silky threads are all you have left of your edges you wish to seam together.  Sew...I purchased a very expensive pinking edge rotary blade and that helped but was very dangerous to use freehand cutting.  I spent days and days just trying to get one good bowtie sewn and ready for approval by the wedding couple.

Here are the two bowties I was able to complete as prototypes.  Am I proud of them?  Yes and No! This is not the finest work I can do.  This fabric has been such a troublesome lot that I don't believe the result is stunning.  Mr. C and I have tried to actually tie this around his neck and it just does not cooperate.  The fabric is stiff yet not crisp.  The bow looks okay but the knot is not laying well.

The end result is not very nice.  I have spoken with the bride-to-be and she already has Plan B in action.  No suspenders now as the groom-to-be is entertaining vests to be worn.  The online ordered vests will not go with this brocade so my job is done.  I will not be sewing any more Brocade BowTies for the upcoming wedding to be held in late February in Minneapolis in Winter weather.  I was so worried and stressed over this entire project and now I can merely get on with December and Christmas gift making and giving.
Our weather is just what you would expect for the Autumn to Winter season's changing.  With the shorter daylight hours making me feel like I should go to bed right after dinner is over.  My sunshine is not here to give me energy and allow me to accomplish as much as I do in the warmer longer daylight days of Summer.  I do read more in the evenings and that is enjoyable.  I am also getting some much needed hand-sewing done on gifts.  Nothing fancy and nothing fun...yet.
I shall continue to be grateful for all of my blessings.  One day is just not enough time.  The Holiday Crush is upon us.  I don't like to count down the days as they already pass too quickly.  My focus will be to make a list and check it twice.  Complete what I am able to and let the rest fall by the wayside. My goal is to enjoy every day and not get caught up in the stress of trying to do it all and then some. My wish is for each of you to also find balance and enjoy your days.  Sharing Joy and Peace...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Blessings and Gratitude...

As quickly as the hours are turning from morning to night and back again to morning I feel I need to post my Thanksgiving photos and savor them for a few days.  I don't normally go for trendy pieces but this Jim Shore Pumpkin really spoke to me several years ago at an after holiday sale.  It is my focal piece and reminds us to "Count Your Blessings".

I am not big on decorating for holidays so this is my only vignette.  One simple sofa-back table with some of my very favorite pumpkins displayed.  Most of these have been gifted to my by special friends over the years.  Now if you happen to spot Mr. Frankenstein...well...he is just having some leftover fun from halloween.  He insisted on coming home with me one day from a church thrift store.  Now how could I resist his charm?!!

This painted gourd is one of my favorites and I have shared it before.  The little mouse peeking at me from the side is my favorite.  I am grateful for the many memories these pieces all have.

A couple of years ago I was very fortunate to be gifted by Mr. C this lovely "Harvest Nest" created by the very special Vicki of Two Bags Full blog.  I look forward to displaying this each Fall/Autumn.

May all who celebrate Thanksgiving share blessings and gratitude with family and friends.  Mr. C and I will be home enjoying a small intimate celebration.  No crazy crowded shopping for us.
Our weather is clear but we do have some rain in the upcoming weekend plans.  Unfortunately we must travel by car on Saturday and Sunday.  We will hold prayers for our safety.
May everyone all over this world stay safe and be grateful for every day of life.
Now to find precious time to create and enjoy all the wonder of this holiday season.  Sharing Joy and Peace...

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Unexpected Home Repairs...

During this busy holiday season I can truly use some extra energy and good health.  This classic Lucille Ball is still one of my all time favorites.  My daughter got me this "just because" and I adore it.  Thank you Shelby.

Poor Mr. C is hard at work...again!  I happened to see a few cracks and said, "Honey you should caulk those before Winter". eagle eyes brought to attention that caulking wasn't going to save some seriously rotted out wooden boards.  Our home is covered with wood boards due to the English Tudor theme and having decks at both ends of the house.  DRAT!!!  One board led to another board and then another and so on...

Here is our railing which had to come off.  I cannot express how unsafe a second story deck is without a sturdy railing.  I did not like the edge, especially after he had to also remove a very big load bearing timber from under the deck.  This process has been going on for weeks.  Mr. C will only do the very best job possible and not make any shortcuts.

Here is my view from the deck down to the six foot tall ladder (the little one).  The drop is at least twenty feet.

Here are the new boards replaced around the window and the corner of the house.  The railing is beginning to get back together.  Thank you Mr. C for always taking such good care of us and our home.  You are the very best!  I love Mr. C and this color blue he let me have on the house.

I am still making Little Wallets.  This beautiful tatting my friend Diane shared with me looked just like her initial "D".  My gift list is out of control.  Every year I plan to cut back and not overdo but then the excitement gets to me and I get carried away with Sharing Joy!
We are having no sunshine but lots of grey and drizzle.  Not really rain to fill the watertable but glorious sprinkles to water the plants.  Prayers for all in deep snow to stay safe and warm.
I just love seeing all the wonderful gifts and decor that you all are sharing.  Sharing Joy this holiday season.  Thank you.  Creative Holiday Bliss...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Tatting Angel Gifts...

One of the blogs I have followed for quite a long time is Lace-Lovin' Librarian Diane.  She is a master at Tatting.  I have been wanting to learn to tat for decades now and with no luck.  I just know Diane could teach me but she lives way too far from me.  This past year she taught lots of her students...both boys and girls and I must tell you honestly I wished I was back in her school. Recently Diane posted a beautiful doily that she sees a mistake in.  I emailed her to ask if I could purchase it from her.  Later that night I thought how bold I was to request her work to be sent to me.  To my wonderful surprise Diane sent me not only the blue doily but also a bookmark and the most beautiful white snowflake she tats using a little "doodad" charm in the center.

Then in the package was also a baggie of all types of tatting she has done.  Some are samples of a pattern she tatted and some are her "oops" she set aside and began again fresh.  I feel like I have truly won the Tatting Lottery!  Thank you sew very much Diane Dear.  I think I shall try to learn once again.  These amazing pieces of thread knotted into such beautiful lace really speak to me.

Diane asked what I would do with these pieces.  Well here I am thinking they make fabulous adornments to my addiction of Little Wallets.  Yes, I am still sewing them.  Can't get enough...just like good chocolate.  Ihave some other ideas for pieces of tatting she sent along.  I feel so blessed and grateful for the heartwarming friendships I have made through blogging.

Here are some Cercis Redbud leaves that are littering our landscape and filling our pond with debris. Instead of seeing them as work to be done, I prefer to see them as Nature dropping beautiful "Heart" shaped colors of Autumn for me to enjoy.

This is a new acquisition for Mr. C and myself.  We have some friends who just moved away and this plant/tree could not live in their new environment.  When we brought it home it had some leaves and nothing else.  Very scraggly and I wasn't certain it would make it.  Then...several weeks and it must be happy here.  Look at these magical Faerie flowers.  I love them.  It is also known as Angel's Trumpet and the entire plant is highly poisonous.  Who knew?  I am still entranced with these flowers.
We have had a little rain and several days of gloomy grey drizzly weather.  I am not complaining as I have been able to stay inside and take care of my back.  Thank you each and every one for your well wishes.  My back is doing better and I am able to be up and about doing mild domestic chores and cooking.  Now Mr. C is needing extra well wishes.  He is having some sort of "allergic dermititis" otherwise known by me as a very itchy rash.  He also is under the weather and fighting off some unknown germ.  Back to the doctor tomorrow.
Being grateful for all my many blessings.  How are you staying calm in this wonderful season of lots of activities and things to do and see and accomplish?  Doing any baking which helps warm the house and smells so good too?  Creative Bliss and Joy...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ruffles Potato Chips???

Here is something I bought several years ago to support a fellow craftsperson.  I thought I would make some for gifts.  However I was never inspired by this one and the workmanship was not great. So it sat in the abyss of stuff.

Then I was shopping one day and found the pattern.  Little Wallet by Valori Wells Designs.  Of course I bought the pattern.  I was still intrigued with these for gift giving.  And then they both sat waiting for my inspiration to get in gear.

My blog friend Annie of freezeframe posted some on her blog.  You really do want to click on her link and see what she created.  This was my green light to get inspired.  On top of her post she surprised me with this beautiful Little Wallet.  Annie's workmanship was perfect and I was smitten.

I was entranced with her selection of coordinating fabrics.  After thanking Annie for her generous gift and her inspiration I got my pattern and began.

These are like Ruffles Potato Chips for me...I can't eat just one and I can't make just one Little Wallet. Here are the first ones I have made.  My gift list just got sew much easier.  And bonus...they are easy to mail.  How fun it will be to include those ever popular gift cards for each recipient.

I have sew much fun selecting fabrics from my stash.  These are easily made from scraps.  I wonder how many I will make before I retire this pattern?  Thank you sew very much Annie for sparking my inspiration and gifting me with my beautiful Little Wallet.  Thankfully there are no calories or fat in these like my beloved chips.  Gift List Bliss right here...
We are awaiting a tiny bit of rain during tonight.  It has been cold and very dry here.  I am praying for all of you to stay safe and warm if you are in the frigid cold Winter weather.
On a personal note my words of wisdom last week were easy to type, however then life throws that unexpected glitch.  I did some extra household chores and didn't take very good care of my back and sciatic issues.  By Friday afternoon I was flat down and stayed that way for four days.  Now I am slowly and carefully trying to function.  So to remind myself...some things will get done and some things will be put aside for another time.  Breathe!  I am truly grateful.  This too shall pass...
I am so happy to be reading all of your wonderful blogs with lots of decor and gift ideas.  Thank you for sharing your Creative Joy and Bliss...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You Veterans...

I am not one for elegant words so let me say:

Thank you Veterans...each and every one of you!  I am so very grateful for your service and bravery.

Freedom is not Free.  Blessings...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Calendar Pages Upcycled...

This past week has found me sorting through my desk and stacks of papers and such.  Why do I need 5 calendars all for the very same year?  Donations I make result in the annual calendar and I feel compelled to hang on to them.  So in my surge to purge I used those calendars for cards and envelopes.  I spent one hour this morning and made a dozen envelopes with matching cards.  I use these for my weekly "Random Acts of Mail" that I send out.  With one calendar page I can make one envelope and card.  I love the cheerful colors and scenes that are there for me to work with.  While I am cutting and folding and taping I am adding my good thoughts and prayers for those who are in need of some cheer.  We do not always know the extent of their needs but I feel my cheerful envelopes and cards lend a smile to everyone who sees them.  What do you think?

I realize I have shared these before however I am so happy with how many possibilties they have that I am sharing them again.  Pockets created from calendar pages.  I simply fold and double stick tape the edges to form a pocket.  Easy peasy.  With the days seeming shorter as the darkness falls so early and our schedules fill out with holiday things to do, this is quick and very doable.  One calendar, one hour and endless possibilities.  

Think of all the uses these have and they are easy to mail inside an envelope.  These would even look good hanging on a Christmas tree.  Think of decorating a senior's small living space.  Wouldn't Grandpa like a new bandana contained within this pocket?  Maybe college students might like to receive some movie theater tickets and popcorn "seed" money.  A freind who is not feeling well might like to receive a nice hanky and some soothing tea bags.  How about a delicious chocolate bar to give to friends at holiday lunches.  What would you send along to someone?
The days are getting very busy with holiday buzz.  I almost feel overwhelmed at all the barrage of advertisements and catalogs and shop, shop, shop...until I take a moment to remember I have the power to slow down the pace and enjoy each day the way I would like to.  Yes, this sounds very "Pollyanna" however we each have the ability to slow down our hectic rush rush schedules.  Stop to think of how critical each task is and then decide which ones to focus on and let the rest be done by someone else or maybe not at all.  This holiday season I am really going to focus on what I want to spend my time doing for others. This has been such a busy year for Mr. C and myself with all our travel and road trips and pleasing others wants that I feel this is a good time to reflect and enjoy...our being together, our home, our families and our friends.  I cannot slow down the clock however I can slow down my reactions to all that demands my time.  This is the first year that I feel I am able to enjoy and truly be in the moment.  Yes, I may miss out on some fun but my peace and serenity is all important to me.  May we each be able to find the balance that works for us.  I am remembering my mantra..."If not now, when?"  I am truly grateful for each day and all that I am surrounded with.
Blessings and Creative Bliss My Friends...

Monday, November 3, 2014

Lace ButtonKeep...

Previously I shared the beautiful Lace PinKeep that my friend Judy (visit her blog here) gifted me.  I knew I wanted to create one of my own...just because I love lace.  I mentioned I have plans for these. This is the one I have created from Judy's inspiration.  Thank you sew very much once again Judy Dear.  These buttons are from my SIL when she worked for a designer furniture company.  I love the textures and fabrics covering them.  They also are a visual notation of what is inside.

Well I dug out my laces and some muslin and sewed a foundation cover.  This is the front and back. I looks dismal at this stage.  I really doubted my abilities for a while here.

Here is the inside front and the wool felt pages I added.  I created a pocket with the eyelet lace.

Here is the front inside cover.  I added a sweet little kitty lace applique that reminds me of my beloved Sasha who lived 18 years.

This is the back inside cover and it also has a pocket created with the white lace.  I added an applique that really means a lot to me.  Instead of keeping my treasures in a box or drawer or worse I am going to enjoy seeing them each time I pick up this little "book of lace and memories".

This is the back cover and I kept it flat so I could lay it on a table and not worry about scratching any surface.  I really enjoy showcasing this little crocheted doily.  My little LaceKeep is approximately 5" x 7" in size.  What am I going to use the pages for?

This little LaceKeep will showcase some beautiful buttons I have hoarded.  Instead of having them mixed together in little jars or containers I can now stitch them onto my wool felt pages and enjoy looking at them any time I wish.  I have these buttons just laying here for the photo.  I am refining my design for attaching them and believe I will do a spiral with a large button in the center and ending with smaller buttons at the tail of the spiral.  I am thinking that these little LaceKeep treasure books will be able to have lots of uses and keep my little treasures close at hand.  I also think that instead of finding an overwhelming room of "stuff" my girls might enjoy these little treasure books that reflect what their mom and grandma thought of as special and keepsake treasures.  These little LaceKeeps will also be a wonderful space saver for the time when I must downsize and pass along my stuff but be able to savor some little memory books of treasures.  What do you think of this idea?
We have had some wonderful rain.  Over 2 inches this past weekend.  Mr. C and I were gone for an event and had to drive over Donner Summit.  Fortunately we missed the snow falling and road delays.  We left before it began and returned after it finished.  The mountains were glorious in their fresh new white winter coat.  It won't last long as the daytime temperatures are warm enough to melt it all. At least it may help the water table.  We are facing the next five months...November through March...which should be our wettest weather.  I see some of you are having horrible storms already and I pray you all stay safe.
This is the month of being extra thankful as our Thanksgiving holiday approaches.  I am very grateful for each of you and your wonderful comments you take the time to leave for me to read.  I don't always acknowledge each comment but I do try very diligently to visit every one's blogs.
May You Be Happy and Creating Something You Love...