Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Logo for National Doll Day

I appreciate the feedback received while creating the logo for National Doll Day! I think the final design fits the theme perfectly!

Thanks for everyone's help!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Critical Elements

I posted an article on the National Doll Day blog, Will You Help? Hoping others will help fill little girls arms with loving dolls.

We can be so much more than once-a-year celebration! Join the facebook page today dedicated to National Doll Day!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

First Annual National Doll Day

Yesterday I took it upon myself (because I’ve not found where someone else had!) and created National Doll Day. Yes!

Dolls – past, present, future, and what they’ve meant in many lives throughout the ages – truly deserves their own special day!

Be part of the celebration the First Sunday in August!

It takes time to gather folks together, to create the awareness for this special day! The months and weeks before we can plan together what and how to honor the special “people” who have touched our lives! The days and weeks after, I hope everyone will share how they celebrated! This will be a year-long adventure, every year!

Find us on Facebook! Read tidbits shared on the blog dedicated to National Doll Day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ten New Things

I thought I would share today’s discoveries as I explore the cyber world! I must put a ten count limit on surfing; otherwise I would spend all day learning rather than applying! Sometimes the time looking is all spent in the wee hours of the morning. Other days, I take mini breaks from projects to discover new things or read reminders long forgotten.

(1) I’ve spent a lot of time writing articles for this blog once ArtFire became user un-friendly. My heart sank a few days ago when I went to post but the site was DOWN! It was an “Oh, My, Goodness” moment. Thankfully everything was restored properly as promised!

I’m grateful Sonya Kanelstrand explained (with pictures!) the back up your blog process in an article she wrote for Handmadeology. I’ve done mine and will schedule to do this weekly! I’ve also added this link to my favorites.

(2) I never considered customizing fabric! How fun is that?! I came across an article that uses Karo Syrup (of all things!) and fabric paint! I have some weird solid colored fabrics and this will be a perfect way to utilize them, to customize and transform into a usable product!

(3) Ah! So excited to find this tidbit! I never throw scraps away! Pieces must be less than a half inch before it finds the trashcan. From now on, every gift will have its own Personalized Gift Tag
(4) Another way to customize fabric using freezer-paper stencils. How clever! 

(5) Adding a bit of Vintage how-to’s, where’s, and what’s – fabulous ideas to incorporate, some without spending a dime! 

(6) So thrilled to have found this tutorial. I have such a hard time matching plaids and usually avoid them like the plague!

(7) I love organizing tools! I’ve saved this free download and will print out later. I can see multiple uses for their page. This will be a great way to keep record of projects I’ve completed and sold, and those I have in stock!

(8) Step out of the rut and think outside the box, that’s what I need to do! The Divine Color article inspires me to find colors “that look fresh and unexpected together”.

(9) I’ve not yet used my embroidery machine much, but when I begin learning again, Smart Needle provided many tips I’ll read through first.

(10) Another method of handprinting fabric using the versatile potato! Yes! Tricia Waddell’s Prints Charming is a blast from the past… just like I did when I was a young thing but had totally forgot about!

That's my learning quest for this morning! Not to say I won't happen across something else throughout the day! Folks I've "liked" on Facebook are always sharing fabulous tidbits!

What have you learned today?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Personal Promises

I’m thrilled I took the time to organize while moving out of The Studio into the living room and back bedroom (aka walk-in closet)! Yes! As I promised myself yesterday, we now have a “normal” guest bedroom again! ;) ...

One of the last things I did toward clearing out the final bits of fabric was to utilize an amazing product. I totally forgot about purchasing these fabulous items at the Dallas Quilt Show in March!

The Fabric Organizers fit nicely in the bin my sister gave me! I didn’t buy more at the time, not knowing how well they would work for me. Learning for myself how beautifully they display yards of fabric (each will hold up to 10 yards!) and I can so much better “see” what I have, I want oodles more!

This is how I usually store my fabrics, which is not pretty at all:

During this moving/organizing process, I made several personal promises:

Use what I have before buying more fabric! (Difficulty level = EXTREME) This promise will be hard to keep next weekend when I go to Dallas! I have a 20% off entire purchase coupon from JoAnn’s!

Work toward creating something every day! (Difficulty level = MODERATE) Even if it’s a small project, or cutting out a pattern to begin sewing up the next day, I need to do this! Even if life gets in the way, create!

Continue daily to learn ten new things! (Difficulty level = EASY) I love learning something new so this is an easy promise to keep. It’s the way I begin each day, reading what others have shared. Visiting blogs, reading how-to’s, and “window” shopping via the Internet is my way of keeping fresh, inspired, and motivated.

Do you make personal promises? How difficult are they to keep?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Celebrate Accomplishments, no matter how small

Today I’ll spend wrapping up any mandatory things to ready the guest bedroom. High School Reunion preparations and distractions have gotten the best of me! I’ve dilly dallied about the organizing. I’m not going to fret over what I didn’t do, but celebrate what I did get accomplished!

I made the time to mod podge the Boost boxes!

It had been a while since I used this glue-like product. I quickly remembered to spread a thin coat first and then apply the whatever. I first used fabric, but the Boost info showed through, so I started over with that one!

I found in my stash, four coordinating scrapbook sheets I wanted for this project – after getting bunches of supplies, I discovered I’m not a scrapper so I'm always finding unconventional uses for the sheets! Anyhoo, I tore the sheets into irregular pieces as needed, to create the decoupage look I wanted.

I love using a foam brush! Also, blocks of wood are tied/duct taped together for my prop. Of course, newspapers protect the work surface. And I only pour out a little bit at a time into a small bowl. Several damp paper towels are also nearby while working on the project.

Once applied, I again spread the mod podge over the colorful print and let it thoroughly dry before filling it full of ribbon spools and rick racks.

I really like the way they turned out.

And, I happened to find a nice already-bent-cardboard divider for the box lid that Connie gave me! I had to trim a smidgen off the length, so used a paper cutter and it worked great!

The white lace trimmings are still a mess and the boxes/tubs of threads are in horrible shape. Packages and scraps of bidding and cording remain jumbled together. I’ll never want for something to do! But now, I want to get back to sewing!

What organizing accomplishments are you celebrating?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bully at the Sewing Machine

When in town Wednesday, I picked up the new Arthritis Today. It’s my favorite magazine, ever! They have wonderful, inspiring articles along with very useful suggestions and tips, and how-to’s to make living life with the different types of arthritis manageable.

I absolutely loved the “Whittle your Middle” article! I went to their website in hopes to directly link, but it’s not there that I could quickly find. Although the website is full of great information, the magazine stands alone and is so worth getting!

I know belly fat is not a good thing on so many levels. It’s difficult to work on removing when other issues prevent the traditional exercises! I realize “core exercises help trim your waist and build your strength” and this article has several I can do! In fact, I’m doing one as I write this!!! And, it works while I’m sewing, too!

This is a cool thing to remember that I read on their website: “… general rule of thumb is to baby your joints and bully your muscles.” Dr. Paul Howard, Rheumatologist. It’s nice the magazine shared some workable ways that I can bully my middle muscles while I sew!!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Moving and Organizing

Over the past few days, my project has been moving my sewing area out of the front “guest” bedroom (aka The Studio) and into the living room near my desk. This is to ready the bedroom for its primary purpose! I’m excited we’re having a couple of family visits coming soon! Spring is the best time to visit the ranch… not too hot, not too cold. But, boy is it windy this year!

I don’t have a normal living room. This long narrow room has three “areas” that serve as:

  1. Seating area: Our two recliners with a coffee table in between. A covered couch for Beth & Anna. Then the media area and a couple of accent tables here and there. Oh, and, the double food and water bowl stand for Beth & Anna.
  2. Bud’s “office” and is the first thing one sees when walking in the front door. (I’ll add… not a pretty sight!) He's in the planning stages of constructing his new Oak desk, which will be awesome!
  3. Against the far end is my “office” and now “sewing area” as I move things into position. I don’t expect to get much actual sewing done until all the visitors have come and gone, but that’s okay. It will look nice and will be ready in case I do end up with a few spare moments!

I’m glad I’m doing this now, taking the time to organize as I go. I’m trying hard not to just stuff things into the back bedroom (aka walk-in closet). Also, I don’t want to trash out this walk-in closet since I recently spent several days organizing that room while Bud was on a solo trip to Dallas! In that process I boxed up bunches of things preparing for a garage / craft sale.

For months the plan was to have this sale on a certain date. Four of us were to go in together. It was like a domino effect… several others made plans based on this date, this sale.

I don’t like to wait until the last minute to get things done, especially when other people are involved and have made plans, too. I don’t want to take the chance of possibly getting sick or breaking a limb, and not feeling like getting stuff together, or running out of time. Not when others are depending on me. I'm thankful I took the time and got everything priced and packed, ready to go.

About ten minutes before I’d planned to start loading the truck with all the boxes (because I was heading to Dallas the next day for this well-in-advanced planned long weekend) I was told it was canceled! Without my knowledge or discussion or input, it had been moved to another weekend. I’d already made plans for that weekend and will not be able to participate.

That’s life.

The boxes filled of what will eventually be someone else’s treasures (I hope!) are now stacked & stuffed in the actual real closets (at the end of the living room) where my sewing inventory should be. I will, someday, have my own garage - yard -craft sale and will then move my inventory and supplies one last time!

Again, that’s life!

Because the guest bedroom doesn’t have any closets (this part of the house was built in 1918, long before built-in closets became the norm), the living room closets are used for guests to hang their clothes. While waiting to clear out the boxes, I’m planning how best to organize things within the closets for my sewing supplies.

Tomorrow’s quest ~ how best to handle displaying and storing trim…

… any suggestions? What do you do?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Handprint Apron - literally!

In celebration of National Craft Month, on March 5th, I wrote “Caterpillar to Butterfly”. The article encouraged others to imagine, be inspired, and create.

Within the post I shared an idea to take a common kid’s craft of making handprints, and having the parents or grandparents make their own prints! I reflected on how I so wish I had my grandparents' handprints, so I could place my hand on theirs. I know it would bring me such peace.

My sister took the concept and ran with it! It was a collaboration of love that I couldn’t share more about until after yesterday, when the gift was given!

This is how it came to be: Sister told me what she wanted to do and asked if I would create a reversible waist apron for our cousin. She selected all the fabric and explained the plan: the front would be of Texas Bluebonnets.

The fabric used for the reverse side would have our aunt & uncle’s handprints and whatever else they wanted to put on it (3 John 4). When the paint was thoroughly dried, the fabrics were mailed to me.

I posted on Facebook... "Don't get me wrong, all the aprons I make are special. The one I just finished, however, was such a treasured blessing to create."

Indeed, as I made the apron, tears of joy kept filling my eyes knowing how much my cousin would treasure this priceless gift. I’ve never been more careful making anything in my life!

Once done, I mailed it back. My sister delivered the finished apron back to our aunt & uncle’s home, to await my cousin’s arrival from Colorado for Mother’s Day weekend celebration!

I had wanted to be a fly-on-the wall when she opened the gift. I know my cousin. I know how much she loves her parents. I know she values each moment she’s blessed to spend with them. With her living so far away (Texas/Colorado), now with the handprint apron she can physically touch the imprints of their hands anytime she wants!

Yesterday I waited anxiously to hear how she liked it… this is the message I received:

I absolutely love it!!!! I will cherish it ALWAYS! Just thinking of it brings tears to my eyes which overflowed when I opened it. You and your sister are amazing. THANK YOU!!!

I must say, this really is the coolest apron I’ve made yet!

Thank you, Sister, for coming up with this brilliant idea! I’m honored to have played a small role in making Teena so happy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Must vs Want

Pre-dawn quiet time is my favorite time of the day. I stood out on the east porch while enjoying a cup of coffee and took in the sights and sounds beginning a new day. The eastern skyline was just beginning to glow. Stars were fighting to stay visible, but faded quickly with their competition.

This is the time I lift up morning prayers and listen.

I was amazed hearing three different types of birds, repeating their calls over and over. Each seemingly trying to out-do the other species! In the distance, I heard turkeys doing their gobbling, probably down by the creek a few hundred yards away. All the while I watched five white-tail deer grazing in the front pasture, near the corral. The sounds and sights filled me with the blessings and love my Lord has given me.

This is also the time I mentally plan my day. Priorities, however, usually gets in the way of what I want to do! My oldest niece once told me, “Do what you must so you can do what you want.” It’s a motto she’s taught her boys. And, I begrudgingly agree!

Again today, like yesterday, rather than sew, I’ll work on my High School’s class reunion. The forty years have passed too quickly! The “committee” has lost contact with many of our classmates. It’s a struggle to keep up, especially finding the married women because of the last name change. We’ve located over 50% and our goal is to include everyone! Many have gathered on Facebook (I love the community FB brings!) and others through email contact. Still others may have Internet, but we don’t have that information – yet! I’m preparing addresses for snail mail labels – some maybe correct others not – for a letter to go out soon for our October 1st event. It’s then we’ll learn how many more addresses we need.

Since I’ve been home from my trip to Dallas, and before working on the reunion stuff, I was able to get a few projects completed that I listed in my last post. One more day dedicated to W. H. Adamson then I’ll take a break and do what I want! Because I want to sew!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pet-Friendly Environment

Yesterday was travel and recoup day! I had a late start leaving Dallas due to the torrential rainstorm we experienced, but I eventually made it out! I thoroughly enjoyed my homecoming! It was quickly evident everyone missed me as much as I missed them!

Beth was beside herself and couldn’t give me enough kisses! Anna didn’t know which way to go – to me or to chew on Beth’s head! Once the initial greeting ended, the truck was unloaded, and Bud and I sat down for a “Country” cup of coffee, Anna began bringing me all her toys. Every now and then, Beth would sneak in another kiss until all the excitement had run its course and the soon-to-be twelve year old had to take a nap!

Anna then disappeared for quite some time. I didn’t go look for her. I knew exactly where she was! I had closed the door to my studio before leaving for Dallas last Wednesday. While unloading, many things went from the truck straight into the studio so the door was opened, and has remained open since. She had her bed back! She was a happy camper!

It is well known, I create in a smoke-free, pet friendly environment! I wouldn’t know what to do without my girls "supervising my work"!

Now making a “to-do” list … putting things in priority order:

(1)                  Unpack!
(2)                  Organize new goodies brought from Dallas
(3)                  Create Momma’s Mother’s Day Gift
(4)                  Finish Bride’s Apron
(5)                  Wash and prep fabric for the Tasha apron
(6)                  Explore other’s blogs and learn at least 10 new things
(7)                  Work on High School Reunion
(8)                  Not to mention – clean up this house!

I’m off! Hope everyone has a fabulous day!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Private World of Tasha Tudor

Tomorrow morning I head south, back to the ranch. That’s where my family and studio have been without me (and I them!) since Wednesday. I’ve enjoyed spending time with Daddy while Momma has had a mini-vacation in Denver. It’s given me time to take pause, to dream, plan, and explore.

This afternoon, I’ve browsed through another book I re-discovered on Momma’s bookshelf. I had given it to her for Christmas in 1992. It was “hot off the press” back then and its beautiful photographs and illustrations inside had caught my eye. Mother is an exceptional artist and it was my hope the artwork, florals, and natural landscapes within this book would be of inspiration.

Before purchasing The Private World of Tasha Tudor, I had never before heard of the lovely woman. I was so thrilled to have discovered, and shared with Mother, such a delightful person!

Photographer Richard Brown amazingly captured Ms Tudor’s image in doing the things she loved like spinning, weaving, gardening, painting, serving a cup of tea, braiding onion tops, carrying wood, hauling water with a shoulder yoke, and tending to her doll house and the dolls she created. More than her image, the pictures reflect her essence in living a chosen simple life.

Dotted throughout the book are pictures of Tasha Tudor doing all the things she loves while wearing aprons. The charming designs and printed fabrics have inspired me to create a “Tasha” line once I get back to the studio!

I love the no-nonsense way she writes her thoughts, which is the style of writing found within the pages. The book is divided into the seasons with each having its own sage for the reader of all ages. Many things she wrote made me laugh, others made me yearn for the appreciation of a garden and animals and flowers like she grew and nurtured throughout the year.

I don’t remember which “season” it is, but under the picture of her sitting on a ladder harvesting pears, she writes, “He who plants pears, plants for his heirs.” What a lovely thought. Leaving something for those that come after is a wonderful tribute to the life we’ve lived.

She begins the book with Spring, setting the stage: “I always wanted to live in Vermont, and because I always get my own way, this is where I settled.” Something she wrote within this section resonated with me: “What you want is entirely a state of mind. I think happiness is a state of mind.” How true is this!

In Summer she explained how she enjoys being alone. I laughed out loud when I read: “You have to pretend an awful lot, thank people for something you don’t like, say you’re glad to see someone when really wish they were in Australia. When I’m alone I can be completely myself.”

Another tidbit, a rhetorical question, she gave us, the reader: “Why do women want to dress like men when they’re fortunate enough to be women?” I am very fortunate to be a woman!

In Autumn, she shared a delightful tale how to rid a rat! “… if you put the trap out three nights in a row with luscious bait on it – cheese with bacon fat and raisins – but unset, he become careless like any other creature. Then you set it on the fourth night and you’ve got him!” I will certainly try this plan of attack on the next occasion of need!

And I love this one “Candles are flattering to an old face.” Indeed!

Near the end of Autumn she explains: “I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It’s an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren’t stupid because you’re a housewife. When you’re stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.”

She opens Winter with: “I don’t shovel snow. It’s a waste of time. I just walk through it and make a path.” The woman lived in Vermont, so she knew what she was talking about concerning snow!

We don’t get much snow at the ranch and it’s amazing when it happens. Like her, I watch for tracks. What I’ve seen, I never could put into words and she describes beautifully: “I found some of the most minute mouse tracks this morning, like little necklaces in the snow…the birds made the most beautiful tracks; they looked like lace.”

The book ends with what I hope to someday muster in my own heart:

I’m perfectly content…. I think I’ve done a good job of life, but I have no message to give anyone. If I do have a philosophy, it is one best expressed by Henry David Thoreau: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” That is my credo. It is absolutely true. It is my whole life summed up.

There is so much more I could share!

I encourage everyone to get a copy of this book 
…prepare a cup of tea
            …sit back in a comfortable chair,
and take a read through,
…savor the quiet time you’ll find.

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