Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Threads

Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you will have it.
Mark 11:24

Friday, September 28, 2012

In My Castle Creating Art

Daily art--that's a lofty goal of mine. I've been creating new pages in my Smash Book every day--art journal style--and painting and destroying an old book to be reborn as next year's art journal. It's very satisfying to have my art supplies out every day--painting, writing, and gluing away. It also motivates me to buy and try a variety of new coloring tools. I think I'm finally in touch with my inner six-year-old who was never seen without her crayons and coloring book. They went to bed with me and before the sandman had left my sleepy eyes, I was busy at my "desk" (an old converted night-stand) coloring away.

While I'm hanging around my castle this weekend (see, art journaling does things to you--like making you call your house your "castle") I'm going to stitch a few knit squares together for a mixed-media project, and contribute to my art journal, and plan out some handmade Christmas cards for this year. But I think I'm most excited about working on a little fabric scraps ATC to send to my lovely Jan across the pond! The sun will be shining here in the Ozarks--there will be a shopping trip to Kohls (I'm addicted to low-price Vera Wang) and there may actually be some housework--err--castlework accomplished!
This weekend: Eat out...Write in... Dream it up... Stitch it down.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

20 Husband Stars for My Crafty Shelves! - WOYWW

I had so much fun with you all last week! Your comments mean so much to me. I think it's because for the first time, probably ever, I made it to 100 desks. Yes! I visited at least 100 beautiful, messy, amazing, neat-as-a-pin, topsy turvey, wildly creative work spaces. What a privilege. And really, what a miracle--sometimes crossing the ocean to see someone's private, sacred work space on a Wednesday! Very cool.

You can find the blog party here for What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday.

A messy doodle about Mondays--trying out some new markers
In spite of all the projects I have going on, I'm really getting into art journaling. I am desperately craving a class and trying to find one. I am refurbishing an old book from a library sale that was about housekeeping, and I'm turning it into my 2013 art journal, with pages for every week of the year where I can be crazy creative! I've also vowed to fill up my Smash book before December. I love art journaling because you can just spend a few minutes a day on it and not only is it a Zen-like outlet, but it's a wonderful place to try out ideas, new markers, stamps, punches, papers, and then it later becomes a valuable reference for your work. Why have I not contributed to my art journal for months!! But no more. That thing is coming out to play every day. So, even though this work table was empty a couple of days ago, because my hubby was moving in my new craft shelves he made for is happily cluttered again! Now onto my new shelves! Remember when I showed you the shelves, right after hubby had first put them together? He noticed that I had a little table in the corner that was piled with my craft supplies--and then more craft supplies were shoved under my worktable. So, he built shelves! Everything went on the bed while he moved the shelves in.
Believe it or not, all these supplies went perfectly in the shelves, and the shelves fit perfectly in the corner!

I am still working on the arrangement on the wall now--I'll be adding a ribbon board. Nice!

It's really amazing how much crafty clutter a nice set of shelves can take care of! Of course, I wish I had a cute little room where I could just shut the door and leave everything out all the time--but for now, this is a great solution. I can bring things out when I need to, and have a nice spacious cleaned up area when I want. My hubby is very handy, and I'm sure he'll build me that extra room someday (after the new deck and our other big outdoor project!) So today, he gets 20 husband stars!!!
My butterfly scarf is getting longer! I think I'll be adding in the purple spa yarn soon! Happy WOYWW! I hope you all are having a wonderful week with beautiful weather, plenty of sunshine, and loads of creative ideas and goodness in your life. Crafty hugs to you!!

Eat your favorite food...Write in your art journal...Dream up a project...Stitch on fabric, paper and plastic!

Gardening and Smashing

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow."
--Audrey Hepburn

So my garden is looking a little wornout--after a hot-as-hades kinda summer--but none the less, my garden is giving me its all. I'm still cutting away at beautiful zinnias, loads of basil, rosemary and thyme, and still enough tomatoes to feed us all week. I picked the beans rather late, and they are being dried--also lovely! When I got this basket of goodies yesterday morning--a beautiful morning--I ran to get my camera for a mini organic photo shoot of my basket, just the way it looked after I picked everything. I couldn't resist. I hope I get baskets of goodies all September long--it will make that long hot summer of watering every day worth it!

And now, something else I really must do--PRINT out pictures! It's terrible how so many of my photos only get to live a digital life. What if all the lights went out tomorrow? (this is why I want to live off the grid someday) So, not only am I going to be better about printing out photos--but I'm going to be better about using those photos and contributing to my art journal. I don't always feel like it, some nights I'm just so tired I want to flop and watch Dancing with the Stars and be done with it. Some nights I need to vacuum and do laundry! But I'm done with excuses. Even if it's just 10 minutes--the art journal is coming out to play. So tonight, I'm smashing in my Smash book. Now that I'm more organized in my little creative corner of the world, I can bring out my markers, paints, stamps and punches and put a splash of creativity on my day whether it was good, great, bad, or needs to be recognized! Let the smashing, splashing, and rehashing begin.

Note to self: Eat less...Write more...Dream big...Stitch a little.

Monday, September 24, 2012

No-Bake Happiness

No time to bake when you're busy stitching, writing and creating? No problem. Whip out the Cafeteria Lady No-Bake Cookies recipe. This is a recipe from an actual cafeteria lady--she made it in HUGE quantities. But this batch is perfect for your family to snack on--or as a treat for a friend. Don't bother turning on the oven! You just need a few ingredients, a nice-size pot, a cookie sheet to let them set, and then an air-tight container with a lid to store.

It's a great recipe, because you probably have all these ingredients on hand! Also, these cookies do not contain any flour!

You will heat the butter, cocoa, milk, and sugars on the stove, and after they have boiled a few minutes, remove from the heat and fold in the peanutbutter, vanilla and oats. Simple, right?

Here's the recipe.

Everybody at our house loves these things! Time to Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Threads

"But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Joshua 24:15

Friday, September 21, 2012

Five Ways with Tomato and Basil

If you still have an Indian Summer's access to fresh tomatoes and basil--here's a few ideas.

1. Make Garden-Fresh Bruschetta (click this link for the recipe). It's delicious on oven-toasted Italian or French bread. It could be an appetizer or a meal!

2. Make tomato, basil, and mozzarella sandwiches. Yum!

3. Make fresh sauce in a jar. Peel several tomatoes, rough-chop them, and put them in a quart-size Ball jar. Then add cubes of mozzarella cheese, fresh snipped basil, a splash of extra virgin olive oil, and a couple of chopped cloves of garlic. Put the lid on, put it in the fridge, and later simply pour the whole thing onto a bowl of fresh-cooked hot pasta and toss! (this is also a great gift along with a bag of beautiful pasta)

4. Make a fresh garden pasta salad (click this link for recipe).

5. Dry them! Get out that food-dehydrator you never use, and make your own dried basil and sundried tomatoes to enjoy all winter! Click here to see my blog about when I did this last fall. It was really fun, and I really did use the dried basil a lot! And I made rosemary tomato bread with the sundried tomatoes, among other things. I'm definitely planning to do this soon before the first bite of Mr. Frost nips at my basil! Plus, dried herbs from your own garden have such an amazing flavor compared to store-bought. Try it!

Happy Eating, Writing, Dreaming and Stitching!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Mountain of Madness-- WOYWW

 I just love What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesdays and all the lovely ones who participate! It really is kinda fun to just suddenly stop in the middle of whatever and snap a picture of the madness! Some days, it's much neater, and prettier, and calmer. But today...creative mountains of madness and mess! I've been embroidering on a cute doll...whitewashing pages of an old book that is to become a refurbished art journal...some cross-stitch projects...and of course that butterfly scarf I started last week. During lunch breaks, and late at night is when the butterfly scarf comes out, and I think it's coming along quite nicely! The little doll is going to stitch up in no time. She's kind of an experiment. And the art journal will take the rest of the year, for sure! Oh...but I have a nice, very long holiday vacation time planned in December--days and days and days. It's getting me through right now! So happy WOYWW everyone. Crafty hugs!

I've also been making flowers on a little loom.
Painting this future art journal white.
My messy worktable this morning
The butterfly scarf with super soft spa yarn.
Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch and make your work desk a happy place!

Worn...Weathered...and Blooming...

 Stitching...painting...journaling...scrapbooking...singing... these all are things that remind me that no matter how old I may be, I still have a lot of blooming to do. I may be 51 with a wrinkle here and there, but when I stitch a butterfly, I feel pretty.

That's why I love it when I see my mom, who is 86, wearing a fresh, bright and pretty blouse. At this age, yes, she's a little worn and weathered--but she's blooming!

Some of my wearable art on my embroidered cutoffs.

 Maybe this is why some of the most beautiful and colorful needle arts are traditionally thought of as being done by older women--that age-old stereotype of the old woman knitting in her rocking chair. Although I got my first little sewing machine when I was 8, picked up knitting needles at 10, and was well into my cross-stitch career in my twenties, it is easy to understand that looks may fade, but yarns, threads and ribbons can color the tapestry of your life as long as you wish.

Stitching with beautiful colors makes me feel good!
I also think of a friend who owns a beautiful little consignment and antiques shop. She specializes in certain eras, and when she receives something like a very old knotty pine table, dined on for decades, she presents it in her store in a way that it still radiates with classic beauty and elegance.

This glass pendant was recycled to a thrift store and purchased by me for 74 cents. It's getting a new, organic cotton and beaded crocheted cord. Trash to treasure!

So there's something about seeing a beautiful bloom in an old pot or next to weathered wood. Somehow the contrast captures a deep essence of beauty as each shows off the other. This kind of contrast drives me to tear the edges of pretty papers, and tea-stain muslin to embroider on with beautiful new flosses.

Blooming...growing...blossoming...whatever your age, it means don't stop learning, changing, and expanding your horizons. But most of all, don't act your age--just act like you. Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Grow!

"Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul."
--Actress Doris Roberts

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gardeners Can't Seem to Get Out of Their Beds!

I would have loved to stay in my bed all day today! That is, my garden bed...but we had a cold rainy weekend here in the Ozarks and this morning, my garden was soggy...very beaten up by the rain...full of buggie boos...and the grass was tall! (our mower broke down last week) Sooo...after a thorough coating of bug spray, I trudged back out to the garden beds in my soggy garden clogs and picked tomatoes, cut bouquets of herbs and zinnias and finally picked some beans! The beans are quite filled out--we should have picked them when they were young and tender, so now they'll all have to be dried out. But, I'm thinking it could be quite fun to see jars full of my own homegrown dried beans!

At this time of year, I am not taking one trip to the garden for granted. I savor every herb bouquet, tomato and flower I can still get my hands on. I have a constant bowl of fresh cherry tomatoes going in the fridge, and plenty of basil to toss in pasta and make bruschetta as long as the tomatoes hold out.

The garden doesn't look as pretty anymore...but it's still at work!

Here is a bouquet for you. May you be blissed and blessed as you eat something yummy, write your story, dream up a crafty thing and stitch up a little creativity.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Threads

When you ask someone what their perfect day would be like, you will get a lot of responses that involve a whole lot of lounging around, being waited on, and being entertained. I think stitchers are a different breed of people. If you ask this question of someone who is passionate about sewing, knitting, or embroidery, their perfect day definitely involves some needle and thread, and maybe a little retail therapy in their favorite crafting store. My perfect day would also involve the sun and the sand--but the ultimate reward is just not found in laying around!

"May the Lord be loyal to you in return and reward you with his unfailing love! And I, too, will reward you for what you have done."
Samuel 2:6

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Loomyinous Flowers!

Once upon a time, I took a weaving class! That's right, the kind of weaving class involving a weaving studio and huge looms. Luminous looms! It was a Saturday morning class, and I really fell in love with weaving. All except for one thing--threading the loom! When you are working with a huge loom, threading the loom can take...oh...forever! So, it's no wonder that I've always wanted one of these little looms that you can make simple yarn flowers with. Finally, I bought one the other day, and I've been having so much fun!
It only takes minutes to make a little flower...and not much longer to make a bigger, layered flower.
Not even thinking, I happened to choose this variegated Sugar n Cream yarn, and it happened to be the scented kind! It smells like flowers--perfect!
For a little weaving kit--it comes with several looms for circles and squares.
Then the whole thing compacts nicely and travels well. Why didn't I get one of these flower looms long ago? I'm just imagining all the kinds of yarns and ribbons I can use on it to embellish both my fabric and paper projects.
So some of my first flowers were a little wonky as I was getting used to it, but I'm much faster now. Can't wait to move onto the squares! I'm a dream weaver!