Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer Dreaming

Do you ever have the idea that you are going to clean out one little area and the next thing you know, you're digging out your entire stash of every piece of scrapbook paper, fabric, pens, markers, DMC floss, glue, tape, paint, scissors and punches and the next thing you know, you have this humongous mess! And you're thinking, what happened? And you're tired, and it's now 10 p.m., and you don't know where to begin to get this all put away.

That happened to me a couple of days ago. Just give me an hour to dig it out and I can have my house ready to go on "Hoarders."

Fabric from Mom
Oh well...*sigh* By midnight, I had it all tidied up and I plopped into bed.

I have some extra days at home during the summer--which I LOVE--and of course I want to get some writing done, I'm still tweaking my play and novel as ever--but I also want to finish up my latest mixed media projects and start AND finish some new things!

I started cleaning out my big ole basket-o-markers and colored pencils and throwing away the dried out paint pens, etc. I love to doodle. The problem is, I draw like a child (see above) but I don't care. I started creating these little doodles on pieces of card stock so that I can patch them together and hang them in a poster frame--that is one summer project right there! Hmmm...maybe I'll have my gallery showing some day after all! Dreaming...

My daughter a few years ago on our first visit to the Titanic museum
But, as the doodle says, family is so important to me and it will be fun to get away on a little trip soon. I may make it back to the Titanic museum, since we just recognized the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's demise, I love going to the museum, it's touching and beautiful.

Little pots o marigold seeds I planted last week
My mother gave me a whole bunch of fabric that she had stashed away for decades. I weeded through it and came up with some really cute stuff--I think I can even make a summer dress from one of the pretty, silky pieces. I have some Simplicity patterns I bought on sale, big time, for like 99 cents--so I have to sew something wearable! But my bobbin is messing up lately--I finally found that the problem may involve tightening up a little tiny screw on the bobbin case, so I'll get right on that!

Then, I'm going to plant seeds constantly all summer. Why? I have no idea--I'm just driven to do it!

Okay, so this is unique, but I decided that when I'm on my computer at home, I mostly want to be standing up. I got this idea from watching "A Day in the Life" on Hulu, and I saw this guy, who is extremely healthy, and writes self-help books, and he was going through his day, what he does, what he eats, where he goes, and at the end of the day he does his writing. But he puts his laptop on a table on a box, so that he can stand the entire time he's on the computer. Professionals are constantly telling us not to sit all day--so I moved my laptop to a place on top of some craft draws with a tray to keep it level, and it is very comfortable to stand there. We'll see how it goes. I'm in the process of decorating the ribbon board I just hung above it. I completely cleaned it off too the other day. Look at me go!

I tell you, this all makes me happy because I had a very hard winter with some back problems, so I'm feeling better and happier each day! I'm still in Zumba class once a week and I just signed up for the June classes! Taking an actual class lets you really learn the moves so that you can put on your iPod and practice them all the time when you're not in class.
I know--I draw like a child!

Dishcloth from scrap yarn
I also need to go to church more! My back problems had kept me out for many Sundays, and I love my church. I've also always wanted to hold a cross-stitch workshop there sometime. I wonder if anyone would be interested.

I just knit a little dishcloth the other day. These are great on-the-go knitting projects to stash in your bag and they get done quickly. You can knit up a stack of dish cloths from your scrap yarn, and keep some in your gift drawer--a few tied together with ribbon make a sweet gift with some wooden spoons and a cute vintage bowl.

My summer dreams and schemes also include cleaning out my cookbook collection (I'll be sharing that) and plenty of tag making and scrapbooking! Yay! I love summer days.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things on a Tuesday...

I hate to say it...but nothing gets my attention in a store like an embroidered purse. Maybe it's because I embroider and want to make one. But, I have, over the years, narrowed my taste in what kind of bag I will pay money for and bring home. On this shopping trip I was looking for a cute straw clutch like I've seen Princess Kate carry--afterall, who doesn't want to do something to look a little like Kate? Love her! But anyhoo...I just wasn't feeling it for the straw clutches I was finding, and then, laying under a pile of cute India-style embroidered bags, was this embroidered clutch! It was less than twenty dollars...and soon it was mine! I can't wait to carry it out to a nice dinner wearing a white summer dress. I can just picture it. And now, I think Princess Kate should have an embroidered peacock clutch too! Hmmm...I always wonder what she carries in her little clutch bags. A tissue and a lipstick maybe? Some of her bags are tiny! I think this one will hold my phone, a lipstick, and my debit card for sure.

So here, on a simple Tuesday, I'm thinking about how it doesn't take much to make me happy--I'm a simple girl. So here are a few of my favorite things from the past few days.

My Hello Kitties! I was thinking about cleaning off this toy shelf on our Greenhouse--it houses the many many McDonalds Happy Meal toys the kids have gotten over the years. Hello K makes me happy--and there's a whole shelf devoted to her. Smile, smile.

An all salad dinner is one of my very favorite things. This weekend I had a big fresh salad for dinner one night, and fruit salad for dessert! Yummy!

Banana and mandarin oranges is a classic. Some people love it with a sprinkle of fresh grated coconut.

Cute little basil seedlings
Growing tomatoes in the raised bed garden

Growing lots of basil in the garden is a favorite thing. Besides the seedlings coming up in my garden, I've also got pots and pots of baby basils sitting on the deck. Basil is so easy to grow. It's the companion plant of the tomato--so I sprinkle basil seeds around my tomato plants all summer.

Sitting around thinking, planning, watching the birds, watching the cats, imagining my whole deck re-do, planning next week's menu in my mind...this is some of my favorite stuff. So, I love this picture of my Uncle Sonny and my Aunt Margaret (my mother's brother and sister) on a trip to the country...just sitting around.

Hanging around with my cat Minnie. I have a wicker coffee table on the deck, and I call this her "kitty shelf." She was doing an interesting pose for me. Every table should have a kitty shelf!

Visiting my Mom and her three chihuahuas. This is Cupcake. She has a look on her face like, "Someone hand me my clothes!" She's very sweet. When I get a good picture of all three of them, I'll share it!

Sewing on fabric...sewing on paper...doodling on paper...these are some of my favorite things!

On clearance--this incredible-smelling soap and adorable soap dish! Had to have it. I love yummy milled soaps.

This cute plant on my greenhouse is called my "heart plant." I don't remember what kind of plant this is--but I received it as a birthday gift some three years ago, and it is one of the happiest plants on my greenhouse! I love heart-shaped leaves.

My walk to my office is a favorite thing. I work in a little office at university and I love my little job! I have a less-than-10-minute drive to work, then park in a covered garage, and have a choice to ride a shuttle to my building, or walk the little 1/2-mile. Of course, I prefer the walk! This is the fountain I pass by each day I go to work, and I took this picture just this morning.

I hope you know what all of your favorite things are today--this is what you should surround yourself with every day. Eat, write, dream, and stitch happy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's-On-Your-Workdesk-Wednesday No. 155...The Paperdolls Have Moved In!

Somedays, your workdesk is your world. Right? I am really, once again, enjoying the weekly WHAT'S ON YOUR WORKDESK WEDNESDAY posts. To join in, just visit here. It is so fun to go down the list and see what's on everyone's workdesk, worktable, kitchen table, potting will see a lot of fun variety from our lovely hostess at Stamping Ground. The WOYWW third anniversary is coming up, and there is a fun ATC exchange going on in conjunction, so check it out.

Last Wednesday, I had just started a new paperdoll project. So excited about reliving my childhood with these dolls! Well, I did make it to Hobby Lobby, and got my wooden circles to support the heads, craft sticks, extra strength glue stick, and glue dots. Oh my goodness--I'm in love with glue dots!!!
 The top picture is what my worktable was looking like last night--and above is a handy dandy workbasket. When I have a craft-in-progress (CIP) I like to keep the goodies I've pulled out of my stash all in one workbasket so that I don't get too spread out. This project is so much fun because it is mixed media, and you can use up some of your scrapbooking papers you even forgot you had (like me) plus lovely ribbon, buttons, bows, broken jewelry and whatnots.
Before I put this all away, I hope to have made at least six paperdolls--I love these girls, I think they are really cute. When they are all finished, I will have all the photos and details.


My first doll, with the orange flowered dress, was a learning experience--and I already like my second doll (with my grandma's head) much better. I think my grandma would have loved it. Julia had commented last week that  she received some paperdolls, and some of them were mermaids! I can just imagine the fun of creating a mermaid pattern for this and all of the fun embellishments you could do! I am just now beginning my third paperdoll maiden. 

This past week, and this month for that matter, has been filled with ceremonies and banquets leading up to my daughter's high school graduation. It has been a fun whirlwind, but I think things should settle down now for a while! 
She is a precious girl who received wonderful awards, and we are so very proud of her accomplishments, and feel blessed to have her in our lives. She is a real doll! 

Now, we will all move ahead to the next chapter, and look forward to more special times!
How to water your cat

When I am looking for calm in the center of everything, I like to sit on my greenhouse, or my deck, watch the cats, drink my morning coffee and do a little dreaming.

Eat something good for you...Write the future...Dream of the past...Stitch something now.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Aloe Vera Update, Waiting for Bunnies, and the Freshest Pasta Sauce in Town

It has been about a year since the Aloe Vera Massacre of 2011--and here is what Marie Antoinette looks like now! I am truly amazed at how huge it is, and how it totally recovered from "the accident" which you can read all about it right here. You can see a little bit of the ruins it has grown out of--and just a few months ago, a neighboring impatient plant had seeded itself into the aloe vera plant and it was quite stunning for a long time! But now, my huge aloe vera is taking over the planet, so I think to celebrate its recovery, it is time to buy it a pretty new ceramic bowl to live in.

Also thriving on my greenhouse sunporch is a baby plant which has been through a lot. The mother of this plant, a Moses Basket (very fitting), barely survived an ice storm here about four years ago; revived from that, and then finally started looking a bit teathered and torn. I gave up on the pot of Moses Baskets as I didn't think it would snap out of it this time, and put the large pot out by my husband's workshop. Winter months went by, and it was finally spring, and much to our shock, as we went to dump out that particular pot, we took out the stray leaves that had collected and there was at least two dozen tiny baby Moses Baskets! They were adorable. I shared them with my mom, who loves that plant, and the person who originally gave it to me, my aunt Margaret. So, I repotted several of these babies, and they have really started to grow. But, once again, as usual on my greenhouse, a nearby Airplane Plant seeded right into the Moses Baskets!

Back off bunnies! Joseph is in the garden!
In the meantime, I've put out my tomato plants, and I add some kind of seeds to the garden outside every day--basil, zinnia, marigold (to guard everything) parsley and dill. My cat Joseph goes with me. He is patiently waiting for bunnies I think...he does not want them to eat my lettuce and squash this year! 
I am really looking forward to the first tomatoes so that I can make my favorite fresh-from-the-garden pasta sauce. It's very easy to make! You simply peel fresh garden tomatoes, put them in a clean Ball jar, and add fresh chopped basil (about a tablespoon), one clove of garlic chopped, and several cubes of mozzarella cheese. Then cap the jar, stick it in the fridge, and use it up within a couple of days. You simply cook up a pot of fresh linguine or spaghetti, drain it, and then toss the whole jar of tomato goodness with the hot pasta. It is ready to serve, and you can just top it with some freshly grated parmesan. Soooo good! The only thing you had to cook was the pasta--so this ends up being one of those ten minute meals. We like those after a long hard day!
Step in thyme
A little mug-o-blonde!
While planting annual plants including vegetables, herbs and flowers in my main garden bed, I have three little raised bed gardens to the side. One was taken over with chives--so I've thinned those back (chives are invasive) and planted some squash seeds. The second bed is planted with lettuce and herb seeds, and then there's my lovely thyme bed. Since thyme is a perennial herb, it just comes back every year, and this year it has spread around and fattened up quite nicely. With a mixture of English and Lemon thymes it is beautifully fragrant, so it is a habit of mine to always crush a few leaves and enjoy the fragrance as I walk by it. 

In my summer mornings--when I go to a much lighter work schedule--I have to go out in the garden every morning with my mug full-o-coffee and crush the herbs, pull a few weeds, and enjoy the growing process. I sit in the early morning sunshine for a bit, let the kitties roam around the garden, and watch for butterflies and big fat bees--I think these are my favorite days of the year.

In the later morning I'll write for a few hours, and by afternoon I'm ready for tea and some stitching. Life is good. And it's even better if I've made some Lemon Lemon-Thyme Squares! Happy wife...happy life!
I took this photo one afternoon when my daughter was sick and we had a movie marathon! She had to have real tea of course, with plenty of honey in a pretty, comforting tea cup.

Eat fresh, Write every day, Dream from your soul, Stitch from your heart.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's On Your Workdesk? Paperdolls!

I can remember going shopping when I was six-years-old with my Mom, my Aunt, and my Cousin. I desperately wanted a new book of paperdolls, but I decided to share my one dollar bill with my Cousin...thereby not being able to afford the paperdoll book I wanted which held beautiful fairy princess paperdolls.
But, the paperdoll fairy was watching over me because in the next store, there was a beautiful paperdoll book for only fifty cents! I was happy--Mom or Aunt Margaret covered the taxes, and all afternoon I played paperdolls with my Cousin, Bobby. He was almost exactly my age...a sweet little blonde boy...and he was always willing to play paperdolls, Barbies, house...whatever I wished. Lord knows why!

So today, on WOYWW #154, I'm sharing what's on mine--a new project: making a beautiful paperdoll! I have only just begun this project--my paperdoll will be made with a base of foam core board, and completely embellished with beautiful scrapbooking papers, ribbons, buttons, and glitter. I can't wait!

I still have to make a trip to Hobby Lobby for some double-stick scrapbooking tape and wood circles. For this first paperdoll, I'm going to make a copy of a photo of my grandparents, and then glue Grandma's head  to the wood circle for the doll's head. I know--that sounds awful, cutting out and gluing my Grandma's head! But, as I remember when I was little, my Grandma was lots of fun and very huggy--and I think if she were here, she'd love it! Why can't Grandma's live forever?
This is my crafting-sewing-writing headquarters and what it looked like last night
So how did I get this paperdoll inspiration? First, I saw the idea on a scrapbooking show--however, they did not offer up the pattern on their website, and they really skipped over some of the crafting details--so I filed that idea in the back of my head. And then, last night, I was cleaning out my closet, again, and ran across my huge basket-o-pencils, markers, scissors and pens. I decided to clean it out--but that didn't really happen because I started thinking about that paperdoll!
So the next thing I know, I'm drawing up my doll pattern, and picking out papers. Today, I'm off to buy a few more supplies, and if this all goes well, I'll be making lots of these adorable paperdoll princesses!

You're never too old to play with paperdolls or wear your hair in braids!
Eat, Write, Dream, and Stitch Happy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

It Was the Happiest of Mothers Days

Usually, on Mother's Day, I get up early, go to church, get to stand and be recognized with the other mothers, and then receive my carnation on the way out.
But this Mother's Day was different. It had been a lovely, but extremely hectic and busy week. I have a lower back strain--and I was sooo tired!
This photo is what I woke up to: a beautiful bouquet of roses and my morning coffee. I got to drink coffee in bed! LOVE IT!

I skipped church.

I laid in bed, drank my coffee, watched The Barefoot Contessa making brunch, and smelled my roses. I have the sweetest husband. (Sweet daughter too who bought me my favorite Body Shop Body Butter!)

Further proving his sweetness and helpfulness, my husband had worked all day Saturday to finish putting in my new raised bed garden.

To me, this fresh, new, raised bed garden is a beautiful sight and site. It is built over the old middle garden, and it is full of nothing but promise at this point. Ignoring all back pain, I had an egg, and went straight out to get busy with the first planting.
I brought along seeds, gloves, "Mater Magic" and a couple of cats.
One of my smaller raised beds is full of luscious varieties of Thyme...and my cat Minnie.
I plotted out where I would plant the first tomato starts--and drew up a little garden plot on paper so that I could remember what variety went where, and where I have planted basil and squash seeds.
 The tomatoes went in with plenty of room to grow! My back went a little numb, but a hot shower took care of that!  Then it was time for Mother's Day lunch at Heminway's Blue Water Cafe.
Hemingways is my favorite--delicious chef food! Their Mother's Day buffet had it all.

I feel blessed and fortunate to have my 86-year-old beautiful mother--and she is crazy about her granddaughter!

After we enjoyed the luscious first few courses--it was time for the dessert bar!

Best thing about Mother's Day dessert? The chocolate fountain!!!


Now, the last thing I need is to stuff my face with a bunch of desserts--let alone a chocolate fountain! So my plan, to enjoy all this, was to just take a little bite of a few things--who needs to eat the whole thing? But, it was my day, not to be a diva about it, and I knew the next day it would be back to a.m. oatmeal and noon turkey/veggie wrap!

My little dessert plate!

After this amazing Mother's Day lunch, we decided  to take my Mom walking around the store that houses this restaurant (Bass Pro) and check out the live alligator, and some of the fishie tanks. We had fun! And hopefully the walk helped us digest!

Ahhh...but now it's Monday and back to another busy week. I do have some beautiful time off this summer...I can't wait! But until then, I'll be tending to my garden, watching seeds grow, and organizing my other projects, hopefully getting some things finished up. And then there's always that crazy thought of entering things in the fair! We'll see.

Me and my sweet hubby