Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Just a quickie... update...

I passed my history and physical with flying colors and managed to return my paperwork late in the afternoon Tuesday and started my first day of workat 7 a.m. yesterday. I love what I'm doing- welding vinyl window frames and for $1 more on the hour - whoo-hooo! The company is breaking me in right, a 10 hour work day tomorrow beginning at 5 a.m. {and yes! I'm up late. A thunderstorm woke me up --- I'll be back to catch a few more zzzz's in just in minute but wanted to let everyone know what's up in my corner of the world.} I'll catch you all up on the going's on a little later in the week...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I've been "released"...

Good News! My chiropractor appointment went exceptionally well this a.m. I've been released from receiving treatment from my automobile accident in December. That's one hurtle down; one more to go! {I have to pass the physical this afternoon for the company...} The good news is I cannot think of any one reason why I shouldn't pass it... but just in case, keep your fingers, toes, and anything else crossed for me.

I returned home to clean out the frig, wash up a little bit of dishes from the weekend {not to bad since we went away yesterday!}. I've got one of two loads of laundry in the wash and I'm home free until about 2:30 this afternoon. {I did re-mop the kitchen, bath, and living room as Chaos couldn't help but to drag in some mud last night... but it's all good now, LOL!}

Well, I'm off to straighten up my sewing area... putting the throw, the materials and supplies I need to continue working on it close at hand and relax for a while before I need to get started on dinner early this evening. Whatever is on your agenda today, I wish you happiness while achieving it! {smiles}

Monday, May 28, 2007

Have a Happy and Safe Memorial Day!

My May 2006 archive has a lot of photographs of our local Veteran's Memorial Park should anyone like to see them. Every year we have a Veteran's celebration and a small parade that leads us to the opening ceremony located at the Harding Memorial across from the Veteran's Park. It is a wonderful reminder to honor and support our troops who've sacrificed so much for our freedom. To celebrate further, Don and I will be heading over to Dennis and Sheila's for an early afternoon cookout. Whatever your plans are for the day, please be safe doing them and enjoy!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Life is like a roller coaster!

Up and down, up and down, then a curve, another hill to climb... before the plunge..... prayfully, I hope there is NO Sudden Stop! In our lives anyways. Yesterday after spending $5?.04 dollars for gasoline, our fuel pump went out on the Jeep! And Don has been working to replace a rear tire on our riding lawn mower --- a necessity when you've an acre of land to mow! Our mechanic won't be able to even look at the Jeep until Wednesday, after the holiday weekend --- thankfully, we still have Don's beat up ole' pick up truck, LOL! Late last night, Don finally got the rear tire and rim off the axle of the mower and this morning he found a tire and rim to fit for $20. Having only one vehicle now, I didn't make it to the post office to mail the decos out to Linda so I'll have to send them out on Tuesday.

I don't believe we'll be camping over at Dennis and Sheila's as we planned just a few days ago. We're experiencing scattered bits of rain and thunderstorms here in Ohio this weekend and with only one vehicle now at our disposal, I don't really want to plan any out of town trips. So instead, I'll be cleaning and shopping and maybe we'll just plan a cookout or a dinner with my parents on Monday.

Tuesday will be another very busy day for me. I've my last chiropractor appointment in the morning and hopefully will be released to return to work! In the afternoon, my physical is scheduled for the company. Talk about cutting things close! I didn't think things would move so swiftly when I filled out that application but it's all good, I'm sure! I've been counting down the days with my calculated start date.... trying to make the transition as smoothly as possible. Don has made arrangements to have some time off of work to accomodate my needs. My swap obligations have been fulfilled so I can focus on everything else for the time being, get adjusted to this new lifestyle change before I take the plunge back in for swapping/trading anything else. But more importantly, Don, Chaos, and I are healthy and happy! Experience has taught me that things could always be worst, so I'm counting these little obstacles as blessings in disguise!

Well, I'm off of here... want to check out a few groups, a blog or two, and one message board before the cleaning begins. That shouldn't take me but a couple of hours and I'm thinking maybe I'll sew something up to have available to work on in the evenings while I'm relaxing after work should I feel up to it. I'll chat with everyone soon, *waves*

Friday, May 25, 2007

Rebecca's Sign In Tag...

Rebecca created a pocket on the inside back page of her deck to hold her sign in tags --- one for each of the four participant's who decorated in her deco. This is my sign-in tag --- my info is on the reverse side.

Rebecca's Deco....

Rebecca's theme is "In the Mail" filled with beautiful vintage images of children and mail. I searched through my vintage image stash to only find one vintage image in a Valentine's theme using anything mail related. So, I used only a portion of it but adapted the color scheme. The background is a red polka dot fabric from my recent charm pack purchase. I added a piece of red mulberry paper for texture, the image, and a stamped postcard which I colored using Prismacolor pencils in even more red! Red text printed onto vanilla colored cardstock reads, "Around the world in eight days" inspired by the time it took for a postcard to be received overseas.

Linda's Deco...

Linda's deco theme is "Mother's Love". She has dedicated her deco to her daughter and it contains some wonderful photographs of her and her daughter together. Having one page to create on was a bit of a challenge as I had found a wonderful poem written byHelen Steiner Rice titled Mother's Love.

Here's the text:

A Mother's love is something

that no on can explain,

It is made of deep devotion

and of sacrifice and pain,

It is endless and unselfish

and enduring come what may

For nothing can destroy it

or take that love away . . .

It is patient and forgiving

when all others are forsaking,

And it never fails or falters

even though the heart is breaking . . .

It believes beyond believing

when the world around condemns,

And it glows with all the beauty

of the rarest, brightest gems . . .

It is far beyond defining,

it defies all explanation,

And it still remains a secret

like the mysteries of creation . . .

A many splendoured miracle

man cannot understand

And another wondrous evidence

of God's tender guiding hand.

Clean or Create????

That was the dilemna I faced today... some dilemna, huh? LOL! Of course, I decided to create! I had Linda's deco to create within and noticed Rebecca's had come in yesterday mail. Seems I have all three deco's in this RR... as I'd misplaced Mary's under some fabric scraps, when Linda's arrived, I decided to send them together. Since I knew I'd be creating in Linda's, I may as well finish my obligation in Rebecca's and mail them all together! So, today I did exactly that... and I will be packaging them up and mailing them first thing in the morning! They have my upmost and complete attention.... which is great, in light of my possible employment.

The wheels are spinning...

Yesterday, I attended the companies orientation program, filled out all of the required paperwork, and received papers for taking a drug screen and to have a physical taken at a local outpatient center. So, in the afternoon, I went to have the drug screen taken {which I passed} and to get an appointment for my physical, which was set up for Tuesday afternoon. In the event that I pass the physical and am cleared for employment, and all my paperwork is returned to the company, in all likelihood, I'll begin work on Wednesday morning next week.

During orientation, I learned the company is offering a lot of overtime right now and they are working mandatory 10 hrs. days. First shift will begin at 5 a.m. and work until 3:30 p.m. which certainly beats working through the heat of the day, although I'm certain it will be hot in the upcoming months. {The company that I applied with is a window manufacturer, I'll be working the on the production line. Thankfully, I do have some experience working with glass as I previously manufactured oven door glass packs so I'm well aware of some of the safety practices the company has in place.}

So, my agenda has changed for the remainder of this week as I'll be busy cleaning our home a bit more thoroughly in preparation of my return to working full-time outside of our home once again. Other items on my agenda is to finish up my obligation to the deco swap and getting those mailed to Linda, and taking some time to simply relax and enjoy life before starting. Shopping for a new pair of tennis shoes so that I can get them broke in before beginning, stocking up on groceries, planning easier meals to cook after work and for my lunches. I realize it will take me some time for my body to adjust to this new schedule and the duties required of me, so I'm planning ahead just a bit for that. And thanking God, for our jacuzzi to assist with easing all those bodily aches and pains, LOL!

The company does offer healthcare benefits: medical, dental, vision and $10,000 life insurance, so although the hourly starting wage is on the medium scale, the benefits available make up the difference. Also, the company offers "incentive" programs based on production and safety so additional income can be earned. Can you tell, I'm excited? and anxious? I'll also be happy to have my scrapbooking, rubberstamping, and crazy quilting piecing and stitching to work in a much more relaxed manner during some evenings, I'm sure! Who knows, the dream of owning our own pool, may just become a reality yet! {*wink*}

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Good News... possibly?

Remember my comment about a local factory hiring? Well, today, I have an orientation meeting with the company at 9:30 a.m. I'm excited! So, there is the possibility that I could be returning to work soon. I applied for a full-time, first shift, 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. position and after the meeting, I might know more. I've a feeling its going to be a very busy end of the week around here, spent cleaning and making preparations for my return to work as well as for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. Last night, we visited with Dennis and Sheila and may go over and camp out in the woods behind their house on Saturday night. Of course, the weather will play an important part in that decision.

My charm packs also came in the mail yesterday and Man, are they ever beautiful! I cannot wait to actually begin working on some small crazy quilt projects. Of course, I'm desiring to continue adding a few blocks to my crazy quilt throw, as well, so maybe I'll make the actual stitching on some small projects a reward for adding some blocks to the throw. My goal is to have the throw completely pieced so that I can begin embellishing it throughout the winter months. Since it is quite a large project, 50"x60", I'm certain that the decorative stitching on it will take me some time to complete, so having the small projects will hopeful keep me practicing my stitching and learning some new ones and striving for some patterns using them. Sheila asked me if I'd consider decorating up a pair of jeans for her at a later date, so that should help me some too.

I, also, received Linda's Deco in the mail from Mary. It is so beautiful! that I am at a complete loss for inspiration. Her theme is "A Mother's Love"so it shouldn't be too difficult to decide upon something. Also, I'd thought that I previously mailed Mary decos, only to discover that I'd laid it down and placed some fabric scraps on top of it. So, it is still here. My goal was to get it in the mail yesterday, but the employment opportunity changed that so my new goal for this is to work in Linda's deco and get the two of them sent to her together by the end of this week. I think I can make it... the house really isn't too bad that it would me a lot of time to clean it.

So, that's my update... I'm uncertain at this point how much time I'll have available to blog, check in with groups, and a few of my favorite message boards in the upcoming weeks ahead but I'll try to stay in touch.

And, sis, if you read this.... try to give me a telephone call. I need to take our cell phone in to be serviced. I'm not sure if you've gotten your internet back up and running after the storms you had in your area, but I'll try to call sometime this weekend to let you know what's what with us. So, until then.... *ta... ta...*

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thinking outload...

With the cost of rising gasoline prices... raised to $3.49 a gallon yesterday, Don and I, probably like many Americans, have been looking at a variety of ways to enjoy spending more time at home. I am a water lover... I love being near water whether it be a small stream, a pond, a large body of water, a river, a lake, or at a beach. I grew up taking summer vacations and weekend trips with my family to Lake Erie. My dad has always had a boat, enjoys fishing, camping, etc. So needless to say, I learned how to swim at a very early age and do enjoy it.... although I do wish my body looked like it did when I was in my twenties and early thirties while in a swimsuit, LOL! Anyways, Don knows I love water, love to swim, etc. so he's mentioned many, many times recently about us getting a pool. We've thought about it, discussed what type of pool we'd like to have... inground vs. and above ground, thought about our home location and the location of placing one in our yard, talked over and considered many options.

Due to having a low-income housing development right next to our home, having a fence is critical! In fact, we have an older stockade fence that runs the entire length of our property on the west side and at one time covered the entire back end of our acre. Over the years, we've removed pieces and sections of that fence to replace and repair damages that have been done by our "so called - neighbors". We've tried to nice about, contacting the apartment managers, making "friendly" complaints, and they've taken some steps to accommodate us. Some managers more than others, but that is an entirely new post. Recently we learned that the apartment complex was sold and the company who is buying it, has agreed to replace our fence --- all of it.... the west and north sides, since we've removed a good section of the back fence repairing and replacing the west side. Bids have been made, a company selected, and soon they'll begin replacing it. We did however stress that we'd like to keep the sections of fencing that will be removed for fencing in the east side of our back yard. So, having an enclosed back yard is very important, especially to me, in the event that we put in a pool.

Considerations we'd taken regardless of the fencing situation, is to put an above ground pool up near our rear deck, creating a deck wall way surrounding the pool complete with railings and no access from the back yard. The requires making some changes to our deck design, although they could very easily be made. Removing a section of railing and a few posts to the deck height, and viola! We'd be in business. Other considerations, a very large tree! just to the east and some-what south of our deck is a large tree, it's beautiful! but needs to be topped off badly, and is something that would need to be dealt with before installing anything else regardless of its nature. Don says, "I'd have it cut down." while I think, "just top it off!" I love that tree! It has provided us so much soft landscaping, shade in the morning hours, and the branches make it perfect for one day adding a small "tree house" very low to the ground for our grandchild.

Something else to consider, is our home was built by Don's father in the 1950's/60's? perhaps. When it was built, the "street" wasn't a street but more of a road, just outside the city limits. Over the years, re-zoning, building, urban progress, etc. has changed all of that... but the point, I'm failing miserably at making, is there is an old septic system somewhere underground near the edge of our deck.... probably 4 foot away and who knows exactly where its located? Would the ground in this area support an above ground pool? There's some excavating that would need to be done to the area before a pool could be placed here.

And the most important consideration to me: Safety! If an above ground pool could be installed here.... gates with self-closing latches and locks would have to be installed on both stairways leading out into the yard so that all access to the pool area would need to be made from the deck area only. A gate to the pool area of the deck would have to be in place due to having a small grand-child who wouldn't have access to the pool without adult supervision!!!! I've asked myself many, many times if I'm even sure I want to do with Alexxis being only one year old. Do I really want to take that chance of an accident or an injury? That answer is No! {If it were entirely my decision alone, the pool would wait for another 5 or so years! LOL!} And with all these things to consider, it may just take that long for us to finally have one, but that doesn't prevent us from dreaming about this. As I like to say, if you're gonna dream, Dream BIG! {smiles}

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

And another teaser...

featuring some of the views of my studio and paper arts created artwork along with a few of my storage solutions. Can you tell I'm in an ornery mood today?

If you've any questions, I'd be more than happy to answer them.

Just a glimpse...

How's this for a teaser, LOL! A section of my studio after I completed a remodel earlier this year. Don and I hung some of my extra slatwall on the wall, added a few shelves, moved my stamp cabinet, revamped the supplies in the bookcases, and I purged through the entire studio!
Tables previously located in the center of the studio were replaced with a center island that allow me a stand up area to work on top of, a showcase in one provides me a great display area, while shelving in one cabinet allows me to keep my most often used supplies within my reach. The center island, bookbinding cabinet, office area, and additional storage for my paper arts can be viewed by following the links in my previous post.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Blogging Assistance Required....

I so often desire to add Links to my blog.... I lost all my previous ones I had established when I changed over to Blogger Beta. Does anyone know if there's a way to categorize Links? I'd love to add some of my blogging buddies even if their interests are in a variety of crafts. If anyone knows if there is such a way to do this or of a blog that has created their links this way that I could view, I'd certainly appreciate any and all assistance with determining how to do this.

Lord knows I love to sometimes spend a few minutes, hours, and days just blog-hopping! Following one link from someone's blog to another. A little trick that I've learned on those who are like me and haven't reformatted there blog's links, is to read the comments that others leave and jump from one to another. There's some pretty valuable information, and tutorials, and eye candy just waiting to be discovered....... which reminds me of my new favorite blogs to visit: Pat Winter's @ Pat so lovingly shares her beach-combing experiences, her beautiful crazy quilting pieces, and her beautiful heart. While there, be sure to click to view her Crazy Quilting website: where she shares her amazing Crazy Quilting Creations, her history, and a variety of tutorials on Crazy Quilting!

Pat, also, has an etsy shop, located here: I placed my first CQ order for supplies from her and Pat was amazing, sending me some of her wonderful fabric images and the most beautiful hand-dyed silk ribbons you've ever laid your eyes upon! Having made a comment when ordering about desiring the items fairly quickly, Pat not only went out of her way to ship them quickly, she enclosed a few extra images for me to enjoy in my artwork. When I grow up, LOL, I want to be just like her! {smiles} And Pat, should you read this, "Thank you, for simply being "YOU!" You've enriched my life in so many little wonderful ways!

Tagged Again... {to show you my workspace}

Linda @ has tagged me to show you my workspace. Since I've previously shown photographs of my sewing area that I recently established in our home in my March archives, I'm providing a link to that post: You'll need to scroll about halfway through to view the photographs and read about my space here. I, also, must admit I'm guilty of not fully utilizing my studio. I often can be found going out to gather supplies, dragging them back into our home, creating a mess, and often leaving it for a while before it is returned to the studio, needing to be put away once again. I like to think that one day I'll stop doing this and simply utilize my studio more than I currently do...... but I love to be in the hub of my home with whatever may be going on at any given time, LOL! I find I create best in the midst of chaos, with the TV or radio in the background.

My studio... what a lovely place it is that Don and I have created together. I'm surrounded by artwork that I've created and have swapped over the course of many years with many online friends, RAK's I've received, and gifts from family and friends. My studio's recent renovations can be viewed in my archives as well. Here's a link: You'll need to scroll about half way down to view them.

I envision myself creating a multitude of things to fill my studio space with; some yet to be created, and some currently in progress. It's wonderful to have hopes and dreams to strive towards... and I'm probably my own worst enemy when it comes to actually getting started on them and allowing too many other interests in my life to interfere with my goals of creating them... but it's truly all a part of my creative process. I've always envy the commitment some artists make to spending time in their studios without any outside interference.... but I also think that "there is a time for everything under the sun".... at least for me, anyways.

I'd like to tag, Pat Winter's @ and Thelma @ I love to see where other's create, supply storage ideas, and sharing hints and tips along the way!

Opinions, please.....

I placed the cabinet in the pass-through opening, located above my sewing table. I like how the Churchill Vanilla paint that is on the back wall assists with featuring the architectual details of the dark cherry or walnut cabinet, providing some contrast to the piece and the doll parts and pieces displayed within it. Having a dog named Chaos certainly creates some challenges when it comes to displaying items within our home, as well as having a one year soon-to-be walking about and needing to consider her safety as well. Does this look alright here? {I could easily add it to our bedroom; it would match the decor there very well.}

And do you see that large skeleton key? It one of several that I've found and have recently began collecting. I don't know exactly why they fascinate me so much but I do enjoy seing them displayed here and there around our home, garden, and studio. Somehow they just touch my heart!

And speaking of hearts, I have to wonder what touches yours? Do you have a favorite collection of things that you collect and display lovingly throughout your home and adjoining spaces? Would share them with me? I'd love to see them... and who knows, maybe be inspired by how they are displayed!

Prayer and Positive Thoughts request....

I recently learned that a local factory has made some changes and that due to those changes being implemented, they are currently hiring. Some of the positions available are for first shift, 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. and did I mention, it's local = no commute time!!!! As I am so close to being released from my chiropractic care, I am seriously considering applying for employment once again. I feel that I need to do this, more for personal reasons than financial gain, although that would be an additional blessing! So, if you pray, would you pray for me regarding this? and if you think positive thoughts, the more the better! I'd so appreciate each and everyone of them.

I haven't worked outside of home since February of this year. I've been blessed with the time I've had at home, have enjoyed 80% of it, but part of me so misses having that separate identity thing that being employed brings to my life. Does that make sense? I want to do this for me... although the benefits would certainly allow me to bless my family and friends a bit more as well. I am familiar with the time constraints that working outside of our home will bring to our lives, and in the past those constraints have made more focused with how I choose to spend my time. I'm hoping that will continue to be true, this time around. And speaking of time, I need to get off of this computer and make a few inquiring telephone calls and gather up my employment information. Wish me luck! We certainly could use it! *and Thanks! in advance!!!* {smiles}

Tiny Treasures....

I love "The Secret", the "Laws of Attraction", coincidences, serendipity... or whatever it is and whatever other's would like to call it. Just the other day, I spent some time searching for "half dolls" desiring to find a few that I could use to create a couple tassel dolls. Years ago, when I painted ceramics, I could have purchased a ton of porcelain half dolls but somehow they never truly interested me then. Now, I'd love to have some of them! Funny how that works...

Anyways, yesterday Don and I took a "road trip" our destination no where in particular other than to visit the lake. {Lake Erie --- the Port Clinton/Sandusky area}. After packing up a cooler of ice, plenty of water, and a bag of bread and snacks, we stopped for some lunch meat and cheese. As we were packing up the cooler after our purchases, dark gray clouds began to appear and we almost came close to calling the entire trip off. Instead, we decided to stick with our plans and headed out anyways.

We both love traveling the highways, but our heart truly lies in traveling the back roads so we took St. Rt. 53 up instead of the more travelled St. Rt. 4. As we rode/drove along, we passed through many little towns and a few cities, chatting, laughing, looking as we went. In Tiffin, I saw a sign for the fairgrounds and a flea market that is held every 3rd weekend of the month with free admission so we made a U-turn and decided to stop and browse. I really had nothing in mind to shop for, well, other than maybe some garden decor items... so we walked along, looking, talking, doing the "remember this" thing... As we were about to reach the end of the long line of booths set up along the way to the Jeep, I spied this! Isn't it gorgeous? It isn't actually "half dolls", but those porcelain heads, hands, and feet were calling my name. As I took a moment to look at the $20 price tag, the wonderful lady selling this beauty said, "I'll take $12 for that!" SOLD!!!! I didn't mention that I'd would have happily given her the entire twenty for it... LOL! As we chatted, I mentioned searching for some half dolls, and she thinks she may just have a few of them that she'd be willing to sell to me. So, hopefully, I'll get a telephone call from her soon. Anyways, I think I'll display this in the old pass-through window so I can enjoy looking at while I sew. Don't you love finding things when you least expect them? *smiles*

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I've been tagged!

Thelma @ tagged me to tell you seven things about myself. I so love this "meme" that has been going around on blogs as it allows everyone to get to know everyone a little bit better on a much more personal level... you know, besides sharing our creations. So here goes:

Friday, May 18th, was an anniversary of sorts for me. Eight years ago, {WoW! Has it really been that long ago?} I was in an automobile accident. I was riding with a friend, coming back from our morning of tanning at a tanning bed salon, when a sixteen year old boy who had just recently either gotten his temperary permit or his license, ran a red light and pulled right out in our pathway! Trying as best she could to avoid an accident, my friend, Amanda, instantly hit the brakes. With tires screaming and screaching, we were unable to stop and hit them broadside. I'll never forget this day for as long as I live as everything seemed to suddenly be happening in slow-motion and my heart broke instantly for the kids in the other car. My own daughter, Amber, had just graduated for high-school the year before and I realize how just precious her future was and I knew in my heart the same hopes and dreams that these boy's mother had in her heart for these children. I instantly began praying, as the tires were squealing and we were slipping and slidding on the asphalt that God spare them and if anyone was going to be hurt out of this ordeal to let it be me. I know that's crazy, but what's even crazier, is that I was the only person injured in this accident. Putting my foot onto the floorboard, searching desparately for a brake pedal that isn't on the passenger's side of the vehicle, I fractured my right heel, literally severed my achille's tendon, and put the bone into my calf muscle. It was a major life-changing event. After surgery to repair my foot, a year of physicl therapy, having a cast from my toes to my, well, I'll a few things to your imagination!, and learning how to walk all over again, my one year marriage {an eleven year relationship} crumbled under the stress; and my best friend {Don} became my knight in shining armor, rescuing me from myself, my worst fears, and enabled me to grow wings and learn how to fly once again.

I learned a lot about myself during that time. I'm so much stronger than I'd ever given myself credit for being. For the first time in my entire life, I knew what I wanted out of my life, and I quickly learned who my friends were. Yes, it was a painful process, but I truly believe my life has been so much more enriched because of that day. I hold my God closer, I hold my family closer, and I try my best to simply "be there" for my family and friends when they need me. I feel blessed every day that I am able to walk and I learned not to take the little things for granted. In fact, I probably cherish things a whole lot more than I ever did before.

During that time, I learned alot about myself. Somehow, months of being on complete bed-rest does that to you. I found myself re-discovering my artistic side that had somehow gotten pushed out of the way with working full-time in a busy Dr's office; attending collage full-time pursuing a degree in Nursing, caring for my family and friends. I learned that art heals and can be a powerful tool in saving lives! I saw things in other people that I disliked and I saw them in myself, too. Those things I changed, gradually over time making me the person I am today. I one day desire to use my artistic side to assist others as they heal... physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I'm unsure of how and when this will happen but I'm certain that God has a plan for it in someway and when the time is right the opportunity to do that, the opportunity will appear. And I also learned another valuable lesson. It is okay to pray for yourself. During that accident, I could have prayed for the safety of all of us and there is a good probably we all would walked away safe and sound. Somehow, someway, its in my nature to consider other's first. I've often considered this trait of mine to be both a blessing and curse, lol! I learned that God loves and cares for me just as much as he does anyone of us... there are no favorites... he neither loves any one of us no more or no less. My thoughts, hopes, and dreams are just as important to him and it is okay to ask for those things of him for myself. Somehow, throughout the years, I became so wrapped up in praying with others that I never prayed for myself, my life, my desires. I learned I was missing out on a very important relationship of knowing God and allowing him to know me. My relationship with him is so much deeper and more meaningful because of that. And he truly cares about the little things that mean so much to me!

I love creating! The medium isn't important to me. I'm just as happy with a coloring book and box of crayons as I am with a studio filled with a lot of amazing products and supplies. For me, the passion and the pleasure is in the process of creating and in sharing that with kindred spirits!

I've one dear daughter, Amber, who is 26 and one dear, grand-child, Alexxis. Both of them light up my life. I believe I've discovered the secret of why God created grand-children, it allows you to get in touch with the child within you without looking stupid doing so, LOL!

My online screen name, nchantin, used in message boards and groups, as well as my email addy comes from a childhood nickname my grandfather bestowed upon me as a child. I didn't know my grandfather for long; he was an electrician by trade working with high voltage. He was once electricuted and suffered a stroke which left him bedridden for years, unable to speak above a whisper. While visiting my grandparents, I always made time to share my discoveries and delights with him. In the basement of their home, there was a room filled with seashells brought up from their home in Florida. Visiting that room was a place filled with magic for me as I listened for the sound of waves from the ocean within them. Excited, as I imagined I heard them, I'd rush upstairs to share them with my grandpa holding the seashells up to his ear so he could hear the sounds of the waves too. He always called me "enchanting" and would tell me and my grandma that I was a special child very in tuned with nature, mystery, and magic!

So, how many is that? LOL! My real name is Cathryn. A very unusual spelling.... As a child, my sister, Mary and I would tease our mom regarding our names as she had seven children: four boys and three girls. We lived on Universal Avenue and the next streets over from us were --- Catherine and Mary: so we told her she had so many children she ran out of names and named us after them, LOL! We laughed so hard as we'd tell her that and she'd tickle us, asking if we found that funny! My grandma was the only person who ever called me, "Kate" until I was 38 years old and family friend called me Kate. By doing so, he brought back a multitude of memories that I shared with my grandmother as a child.

I was born on Valentine's Day! {See, I really am a sweetheart!} *smiles*

I want to tag:
and Sharon
And anyone who hasn't been tagged! LOL! {I searched several blogs and it seems most have been tagged already}

Stash Building....

Can you keep a secret? Maybe for just a little while? Any ole' how, as my good friend, Sheila, would say, I have a secret to share.

I spent some time online browsing fabric shops for quilting treasures yesterday when suddenly it hit me that Charm Packs would be a wonderful way to build my fabric stash for CQ'ing. Charm packs are usually pretty inexpensive {can be found for under $10}, the color combinations and prints coordinate beautifully --- they take some of the guesswork out of the way, and you get a variety of cotton fabric in assorted colors and prints. I even found a few that were half-priced as the fabrics are no long the "what's popular" being promoted by the design manufacturers. The fabrics included a range from 20-40 pieces, pre-cut into 5" squares which will save me some time from cutting my own, and I can add my own velvets, satins, and silks to accent them.

I know a lot of people obtain fabric from scouring yard sales, shopping at thrift stores, give-aways from family and friends, ect. and that's fine, too. However, I haven't been so fortunate or lucky in that aspect, although I have received some wonderful lovelies from other CQ'ing newbies who've been willing to share. Those were enough for me to get several small projects under my belt while I decided whether or not this craft is for me. It also doesn't stop me from checking or scouring for them this way either --- especially the more expensive fabrics like silks, satins, and velvets. One thing that has stuck in my mind, however, is that by the time I pay for such "finds", I may have well just went to a fabric store and purchased a 1/8th, a 1/4, or a half yard and the quality of the fabric is so much better! Of course, I've learned that depends upon where you buy it. That ole' saying, "you get what you pay for" is certainly true as I've learned when I bought cotton for quilting at WalMart. $1 and $2 a yard sounds almost too good to be true, and trust me, in terms of quality, it is. I'm also smart enough to know that "fat quarter" quilting is an expensive way to quilt when you compare it to purchasing varying amounts of fabrics off of the bolt. But the charm packs seemed perfect for me to purchase fairly inexpensively for small CQ projects and gift giving. Needless to say, $30-something dollars later, I've four of them heading my way! Two Charm Packs are the Christmas Presence {April Cornell for Moda Fabrics}, these were discounted almost 50% and will be wonderful for a few small CQ'd Christmas Ornaments; one is a Bed of Roses, a beautiful variety of both large and small prints and almost solid colors; and the last but not least, is the Mary Rose, another beautiful variety of florals in both large and small scale, some striped florals, and polka dots! The good thing is that these are fairly available right now, so should I decide I desire more to create a larger project they will be readily available for a period of time and I can also purchase yardage of some of the fabrics contained within them. I also love the fact that I can create with these in a variety of projects; ordering them as I create! These should last me for a while as I work to build up my beads, threads, silk prints, and charms. Lord knows, I don't need to accumulate, store {hoard}, or collect anymore of any art supplies! And trust me, I'm going to learn how to applique... I've been making and keeping some notes in my art journal for that fabric collage wallhanging! And I may just make a co-ordinating CQ'd border to frame it within! Now I just need to figure out how to tell Don. {Where's that child that is in that commercial that hollars, "Dad, Mom wants a new floor." when you need him?} LOL!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

10 Tips to be Creative....

Pat @ recently posted a link to a list and added some of her own creativity tips and asked other bloggers to blog about their favorites, so here is my list:

Don't try to force it! Over the years, I've learned that my own creativity comes and goes in spurts. I've discovered that there is a truly a time for everything, whether it be researching an idea, gathering information about a craft, attempting to learn something, the learning experience itself, allowing your thoughts to brew on it for awhile is all part of the process! Nothing stiffles my creative worst than trying to force it to come to me. Changing from one medium to another sometimes helps my creative juices flow. Attempting something is another thing! I've attempted many, many crafts trying to learn the in's and out's of a variety of them. Some, I sucked at tremendously {knitting and crocheting}; while other's I simply found my "niche" within them. However, I would have never known that had I not at least "attempted" them in the first place. It's too easy sometimes to think, "I could never do that." How are you ever going to really know if you don't attempt it? Do you really need a "niche"? I used to think that maybe I could excel better at some things I create if only I'd focus my attention more on one thing. Like creating scrapbooks, rubberstamping, mixed media, bookbinding, sewing, quilting, etc. Thankfully, I came to my senses and realize that while this may be great for some people, I'm certainly not one of them! So, knowing yourself is important in the creative process as well. And never be afraid to attempt combining them! Some of my favorite things that I've created come from utilizing what I've learned in one craft that I crossed over to using within another! Never be afraid to do what you've never seen done before! Creating my own crazy quilt throw is a good example for me. I've never seen a crazy quilt before in my life until I saw one in a magazine and I instantly knew I desired to learn how to create one. The internet and libraries are filled with "how to" information and most people will help you if you only ask. Don't be afraid to break the rules or color outside the lines. What works for one person may not be what works for you. Once I've taught myself how to do something by following the "traditional" methods, I use that knowledge to make it my own. Which leads me to "Be Yourself!" No greater words were ever spoken than these: "To thine oneself, be true..." and most importantly, Start with what you know, what you have, and expand upon it. When I first began creating scrapbooks, I had very limited supplies... sheets of paper, my photographs, adhesive, and a pen mainly. As I learned a variety of technqiues using only these things, I grew creatively. As I purchased more supplies, I learned new things and a variety of ways to use them... and I kept adding to them. Soon, I ventured into learning how to rubberstamp and discovered mixed media which opened up an entirely new world to me. I've created ATC's, collages, assemblages, and decos, which lead me to desiring to learn how to create and bind my own handmade books. Scrapbooking, rubberstamping, and collage help me to fill the pages. Fascinated by paper, I quickly discovered a variety of techniques that one can do with paper, come from the sewing and fabric world so naturally, I just had to venture into that too. I one day hope to create a fabric handmade book {something I've never done} and create a mixed medie style fabric wallhanging --- which means I really need to learn how to applique... but I'm not afraid to try it! So, my last creative tip is: Loose the fear by trying! Who knows, you may just create a masterpiece! {*smiles*}

Friday, May 18, 2007

The finished postcard....

Pairie Point Binding on my Spring Fling Postcard

Creating these Prairie Points may have taken me a bit more time than what a traditional binding would have but it was so worth the extra effort that I made as it it added an additional element that truly distinguishes the crazy quilted postcard! It took me approximately 45 minutes to complete this from start to finish as I utilized my rotary cutter to create the twelve of the 2" squares using two different fabrics that I'd used in the crazy quilted postcard. Having my iron set on a cotton setting while cutting saved me some time without waiting for it to heat and enabled me to press all twenty prairie points at once.

Creating prairie points is a fairly easy, you take a square, place it wrong side up and fold it over diagonally corner to corner so the right side shows and then press once. Then continue folding diagonally once again and create the second pressed edge. Prairie points are commonly overlapped from a 1/2" up to 1" and you loose a bit of the height of the point due to sewing using a 1/4" seam allowance. I tucked my prairie points one inside the previously sewn one as I worked, hand sewing them to my postcard using a back stitch to secure them a bit better. As I sewed, I made sure that I stopped at the 1/2" point so that I could place and insert my next prairie point as I continued working around the outside edges. You can also pin them in place by placing the pin in the center of each triangle as you work and overlap them as you do so. Once the prairie points are securely sewn to the quilt top and your backing is ready, you can bring your binding seam right to the very edge of the sewn seam and stitch in the ditch or bring your backing fabric out onto the prairie points an additional 1/4" --- this second process assists to stabilize the prairie points just a bit more while the overlap between the points assist with hiding the 1/4" extended backing from being shown on the right side. The final results are well-worth all the additional effort!

Spring Fling "Postcard"

I decided to work on embellishing this fabric postcard yesterday because it seems I've taken my rubberstamps back out to the studio and it was a bit chilly for me to desire to venture out to look for them. {What the heck happened to Spring? I stayed inside where it was warmer and chilled most of the day!} Anyways, I added a bit of wide lace trim over one of the printed pieces and adorned the seams with a variety of trims and ribbons, leaving only a few for embroidery stitches since I used the stamped Anna Griffith image embroidery for the focal image, I didn't desire for this piece to have too much or too many and become too overbearing. I do, however, like the variety of the trims and ribbons that I'd choosen.

I've also have a few ideas for the back "postcard"--- adding some stamping onto some of the printed fabric in coordinating colored inks using some of my "postage" themed images, adding some handwritten journaling using a Pigma pen using "Spring" as my central theme... {eg., you know... the sun is shining, the birds are singing, my soul is soaring as I listen to the water as it gently cascades over the rocks.... sort of thing} and embellishing those items with additional stitching, creating some sort of a fabric collage as I create it.

I also have given a bit of thought to how I want to bind it using Prairie Squares . Doing so will take a little bit of figuring out what size of the initial block I'll need to cut, determining the length of the triangle it creates before cutting and pressing them all, but I think I'd like to stay with a 1" size as the postcard is 4"x6" and would make figuring out just how many I'd need so much easier! LOL! We shall see how that goes.... as I've never made them before but I love the look. I'd originally thought about binding my crazy quilt throw using them... until I came to my senses as I realized I'd need to cut out 3000 of them!!! A postcard size, I should be able to handle... wish me luck!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ready to Embellish....

The CQ For Newbies group is hosting a Spring Fling block swap; and although I hesitated to sign up due to having so many obligations and personal goals, I thought it would be wonderful to create my own "Spring Fling" CQ'd item. I've been desiring to create my first fabric postcard so this is what this will become. I have already sewn the 4"x6" block to a section of warm and natural... so it is ready to embellish. But first things first, I need to create the back "postcard" side!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Aren't these gorgeous?

Today, I dyed a variety of sizes {2mm, 4mm, and 7mm} silk ribbons that I purchased from the Ribbonsmyth. I loved playing and experimenting with the colors, lighting, darkening, and mixing them. My favorites are the red, a beautiful mango color, and how could I resist that "Whoo-Hoo! Robin's Egg Blue"?

Do you remember this small project?

I turned it into an sunglass case!

Some changes...

Recently, Don and I made some changes surrounding the jacuzzi. We tore off an overhang that allowed us to be in the jacuzzi even in the rain... as long as no lightning was being seen. Over the course of the years, the 2x4's gradually began rotting away, began to be a place for wasps to build nests, etc. so we tore it all away! I love how open and airy the space seems now although I miss the arbor-like quality it used to have.

We did however leave all the hardware brackets in place and may one day replace the awning with an arbor out of treated lumber. I'd love to add some large urn style pots along the back fence {wall} to plant some climbers into... couldn't you just see it with some wisteria in full bloom? This photograph was taken early in the evening when our rear deck is partially covered in shade which makes for many enjoyable evenings spent out here. I like to think that one day I'll decorate this space more... add a few shelves for rolled up towels, clear acrylic containers filled with candles and shells, and I've even considered creating a few canvas paintings of a beach scene to hang on the siding of the house... of course, that is yet to be done... but one day you just might find that here with some big huge honky pillows scattered about!

Little things....

We've had this triple heart planter for a few years now. It's graced so many spaces around our home but during the last several this section of the fence surrounding the jacuzzi has become its permanent home. I love how when the petunias are in full bloom they fill the entire hanger... pots and all! These will take a little while to become well-established but when they due they are beautiful!

My Mother's Day Gift....

How could I resist this adorable little birdhouse planter filled with begonias? After arriving home, I made my way to the studio to grab a the small shredded raffia, bird nest, eggs, and the white dove to add to the birdhouse planter. I love how decorating with white brings unity to almost anything!

Another pot of Coleus and putunias...

Home once more...

After stopping off to visit with my Mom and Daughter, Amber to give them there gifts {flowers, of course! Mom's in a basket to assist with portability and Amber's in pot to plant together} we returned home to enjoy some of our deck and rear yard while I set out to do some planting myself. I love the Coleus and petunias, flanked by a small pot of Forget-Me-Nots and yet another Peonie bush to plant somewhere. I believe I'm going to have to start another flower bed in our yard and perhaps next year I'll be ready to add a weeping cherry tree near it and plant a line of redbud trees along the rear fence.

On Sunday, Mother's Day...

Don and I took a road trip to Richard's Garden in New Washington for a Mother's Day outing and to purchase Mother's Day's gifts. The above photograph is from their website and is part of the island where one can meander along aimlessly among the beauty. A variety of vegetation, colors, and smells delight one's sense and there nothing better than enjoying this... while listening to the sound of water falling over the rocks on the reverse side. Little waterways make their way around the island and fill one with such a sense of peace.

Grammie's Girl!

I have had an exceptionally wonderful Mother's Day weekend! On Saturday, I had this smiling, happy and wonderful little girl visit with me. We had a fabulous breakfast picnic on the kitchen floor consisting of french toast strips and warm maple syrup, and an enjoyable bath afterwards before an attempt at taking a short afternoon nap. I'll let you guess who decided it was funnier to pretend to sleep before crawling off to start playing some more!!! This is sampling of some of faces that I get and I won't mention the giggles and squeals of delight.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day, Mom!

Without you I'd be nothing; because of you, I've been blessed with being a mother and a grandmother to two beautiful girls --- one a woman in her own right, the other simply too precious to even begin to describe. I love you all!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Playing with Flickr Toys....

A variety of pictures of my studio, supplies, and things I've created....

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A friend isn’t someone

who will carry you

to your destination,

so much as someone who

will walk along

with you for a while.

~ Arlo Guthrie

A Glorious Day...

I spent most of my late morning and afternoon working on this....

while listening to this...

I found the sound created by the water as it makes it's way down through the waterfall before splashing ever so gently into the pool below ever so relaxing!

Looking up often, I saw a four American Goldfinches feeding on the thistle sock I recently hung while a few sparrows and a spring robin enjoyed bathing in the waterfall of the watergarden.

Could life get any sweeter than this? {vbg...:)}

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Making a bit more progress...

I've added a metallic trim varigated ribbon to the image in the sections of the dress. The ribbon is couched in a ruffled manner really adding dimension to this piece --- right along with the silk ribbon roses in pink and purple that have also been added. I used a satin stitch in a green DMC 3 strand floss to accentuate leaves.

After Don and I took a ride this evening to have a nice dinner out at one of my favorite restaurants, we made a quick stop into JoAnn's for beading needles. I also was stoked to find a metallic Kreink thread kit {Anniversary #5} on clearance for $3.49! The silver threads were used instead of my original idea to use black for the birdcage. It was a quite a challenge working with these metallic threads but by the time I'd threaded several needles, I had the hang of it. I quickly learned a shorter thread length of approximately 12 inches is plenty to deal with at one time and had few tangles and snags in the fabric. I also needed to use great care to watch the thread as I sewed with a firm yet gently tension on the thread so as not to snag any of my silk ribbon work. I also discovered that it was best to use a needle threader with the beading needles! It certainly made threading those so much easier. My first attempt at threading a beading needle was definately beginner's luck; my thread went right in. Threading the next strand, I wasn't so lucky and spent almost 15 minutes attempting it...before finally giving in and grabbing a needle threader. Now I know that the next time to simply use it, LOL! What a life-saver!!!

A Small Project...

Today I CQ'd a small 7"x9" piece using some of my fabric stash and pieces sent to from Julie in the CQ For Newbies Squishie Mingle. I used a Sandra Everston's Birdcage Coulture stamp to stamp on silk using black india ink and colored in parts of the image using Prismacolor pencil. I intend to further embellish this image using silk ribbon and silk ribbon embroidery for the flowers, and size 5 black perle cotton for the bird cage. I simply had to attempt to create another victorian fan; the pieced together fabric seemed to be screaming for yet another one. Lavender colored daisy trim was tack sewn down to conceal the outside edges of the fan while a crocheted mirror tacked to conceal the fan ends. I couldn't resist the urge to start doing some embroidery on this piece so I began using purple perle cotton in a feather stitch; then a light lilac in a simple running stitch; next is a lazy daisy chain in a pink perle cotton. I discovered some 4mm bicone crystal swarovski crystals in my stash that I'll be adding to the center of the daisies along the trim --- just as soon as I purchase a beading needle and Julie sent me some beautiful sequins that I'd love to add for a bit more bling. It will be exciting to see this block begin to take shape.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The final pieces for the day...

This is the second fan that I've created today. This one is much larger than the first and is added going towards the left side that I previously mentioned desiring to fill in. You can see I've one little area where the muslin backing needs to be covered but all in all, it has been a terrific sewing day. Slowly but steady the pieces are being added to my quilt top... maybe one day, I will be able to capture it in completed finished. {*smiles}Another big fan will be added along with some smaller ones scattered here and there. But for now, I'm simply content with living with where it is currently at. I've one very sore index finger from all the hand sewing, and another sore left index finger from several different "needle pokes" LOL! But the results are well worth both of them, agree?

{Edited to add: that this fan is added to the left of the photograph below --- getting a little more closer to yet another edge!}

All the way to one edge!

I spent another hour adding more pieces to the quilt top; currently I'm at the far right edge!!! Whooo-Hoo! I've about 32" by 20" of fabric completed right in the center. I believe that on my next session, I'll work to the far left edge... I've still approximately 12" on the left to finish up, but once completed, this will put me in the direct center of the throw. There is approximately 30" of muslin to cover in the top to bottom of this patched section. And I'm desiring to create a few more fans... I'm thinking at least two the size of the first and maybe, two a bit larger. I'm also desiring to applique some folk art hearts and stars onto this; just need to run out to the studio so I can cut some freezer paper using the Sizzix for my patterns. I believe I'll save the applique for yet another day and for now revel in what I've accomplished! {*smiles*}

Crazy Quilt throw...

I'm so excited! I worked on my crazy quilt throw today for several hours. It's been slow going but the results were well worth it! In my last post about creating this throw, I mentioned that I was desiring to begin adding some "soft embellishments" so today I decided to add a fan into the design. I am a complete newbie at this, having only created one previous CQ block that I turned into a CQ journal cover and I've never done quilt applique, so today was a first! I believe I'll be adding some more fans into the design in a various sizes. To cover the points where the fan comes together, I created a fabric yo-you and added one small button. And how could I resist adding a buttonhole stitch to one section of the fan? It is actually sewn down on the muslin using quilting thread and is completely done by hand! More embellishing will be added once all my quilt pieces are in place.

Crazy Quilt Progress...

From this to this....

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I'm still here...

just busy {per my norm!} On Friday, I received some really good news, in the event that my back and neck begin to stay in alignment, I will be released from the chiropractor visits very soon. So far, so good! Friday afternoon and early evening, were spent visiting with Amber and Alexxis. We took a walk through a housing developement near me and hit a couple yard sales. Purchased a lot of nice clothes for little Miss Adorable, a few things for mommy, and more rooster items for me. On Saturday, I spent the day again with Miss Alexxis, and decided last minute to just keep her overnight last night. Today, we took her over to visit with Sheila.

Sheila's in love; not able to get over how happy a baby little Miss is. She even told me to tell her mama, that should she ever need a babysitter that she'd watch her anytime. After having two sons of her own, and two grandchildren, both boys, it was good for her to be able to dote all her attention on little baby girl. I could tell she loved it! Alexxis was as good as gold while we were there, heck even on the ride over. She did however nap on the way back... all tucked out from laughing and playing.

After returning to town, we dropped Alexxis off at home and I continued working on the watergarden. I got a bit to do on it yet, but should have it finished and pictures soon. I, also, waterproofed the inside and outside of the fencing surrounding the hot tub --- only one more section to go!!!! I'm still looking forward to getting back to my crazy quilt soon. Maybe one day this week, I'll have some more progress on it to share. Until then.... {*waves*}

Friday, May 04, 2007

Spring preparations continue...

Yesterday, I finished waterproofing the remaining areas of the deck before sitting down to re-string a bamboo windchime at the patio table and adding a few decorative touches to the space. I pulled out a 5x8 woven patio mat we purchased last year and utilized it as a rug in front of a set of two chairs and a round table between them. Next, I planted four 4" pots of French Lavender that I'd purchased when picking up the block into a large garden urn and placed in front of the grouping. It is fine there for now but I'll have to probably move it as it grows, determining where I want it in the yard before summer ends.

Remember the peonies I'd started in March? That pot now rests in a container on top of the side bar. It can stay there for now... but will have to be moved when the carpenter ants begin discovering it. Another plant to determine where to plant later... I haven't transferred the Astible out to the deck yet... it seems a little too delicate yet.

In the afternoon/early evening, Don returned to Menard's and purchased the remaining block we need to finish up around the watergarden. Setting the block, back filling around the inside of the blocks and adding bags of top soil to the remaining blocks that have been laid on one side will be worked soon. I did work a little on the area that I could yesterday, filling in with stone against the block and added three 40 lb. bags of top soil so that I could replant my woodland ferns and hostas before they go into shock from the transplanting. This is only the beginning as the pond itself needs re-emptied after the recent rains, grass that has gotten in needs to be removed, and then we'll begin refilling. A long lenght of electric conduit will allow us to dig and bury the electrical wires for the pump and fountain. I don't know when we will get back to working on it as my shoulders are sunburnt once again from the work I did yesterday. {I am getting a nice tan in other areas...such as my arms and legs} Now, I have got to start remembering to actually wear the garden hat and to put on additional layers of sunscreen while I'm working out there.

I gave some thought to what I can do to the patio deck to help soften it and decided to look around our home before I purchase anything. I found two khaki colored placemats and napkins with a shell napkin ring. I had used them a few years ago on our small table which I now use for sewing --- so I took those outside to see how they look and feel. They were perfect! Thinking I'd like to have a tablecloth of some sort, I ventured around some more when I saw the fabric bolt remanants from making my studio curtains. The colors are just right for what I'm envisioning so I took that out, unfolded it on the table and cut it to lenght. Sometime soon, I'll get the perimeter seams sewn and a small hole for the patio table umbrella to fit through. I think I'll cut a seam on one side, bind all the raw edges, and sew on some hook and eyes so I can just put it on and off when we desire to actually use it. Well, there you have it, that's what I've been up to... being busy, busy, busy.... {smiles}

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Recent accomplishments and a new small project...

The weather has been beautiful in Ohio this week; perfect for making outside maintainance and outdoor living preparations. Earlier in the week, Don and I finished powerwashing the deck around the jacuzzi and allowed it to dry. Tuesday, found me bursting with energy as I began waterproofing the entire deck. I started a bit before 11 a.m. and finally stopped in the afternoon around 3:30 p.m. High 80 degree temps and a very sunny sky left me a sunburnt but extremely happy that I had managed to get 3/4 of the deck done! After grilling a small dinner on the grill, eating, and resting, Don and I ventured out to Menard's to look at concrete decor blocks.

While walking our yard recently, cleaning up, ect., we've been chatting about some of what we are envisioning for our rear yard. I'd mentioned desiring to add some concrete blocks around the watergarden. Our rear yard is flat, so in order to add the waterfall feature to the small pond, I've been adding bags of top soil almost every year as it tends to wash away over time, even after being mixed over the years with small river rocks and plants to soften the area and assist with preventing the erosion. The new solution that I came up with is to put a 3 block high concrete wall surrounding the back section of the watergarden; while we'll add a trim of a one block layer around the watergarden section itself. Not having any experience with laying block, but what we have read on how its laid, we set out to purchase some to start and set out to begin preparing the area. After making our block selection, we purchased 30 blocks to begin with. Returning home, we dug in, literally. We managed to dig out what dirt we didn't need or desire, and set 24 of the 30 blocks into place before the rain and thunderstorms came in around 8 p.m. Setting those block helped to determine just how many we would be actually needing; although it would Wednesday before we'd actually get back to working on it.

Wednesday morning found the yard very wet after the pouring rains we received on Tuesday evening, so we worked in the house as the yard dried during the morning. Early in the afternoon, we visited our local quarry to purchase a half-ton of rock to use to fill and level under the block and returned to tear out and reset what we'd previously done. We managed to set all 30 blocks in place this time and will making another trip to purchase 30 additional blocks to finish up this project. It will be beautiful once done; making weeding the space and the surrounding area so much easier on both of us. We'll actually be able to use the weed eater vs. me doing it all by hand and having to trim with the push mover! Gotta love that!!! {smiles}

Running out of block to work with, we began getting the patio set out of the carport and putting it back on the deck. Once everything was in place, I washed everything off. That will be an on-going summer chore, but well worth the additional living space! I'm hoping to get started on decorating it with our garden decor, live plants and flowers soon although it may be a while before the space is completely. I've still a 10'x apprx. 22' area and the steps to waterproof and we're replacing the heat element on the jacuzzi. But we're making progress, little by little...I'll get some pictures taken soon to post. I'm remaining hopeful to snag some time to get back to working on my CQ throw... maybe even working on it outside on the patio table and stitching in the sunshine! {now there's a comforting thought...}

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My pages in Mary's deco for Alice....

The first "deco" in the Deco RR....

Mary's deco arrived today! Somehow, Mary mailed it to another member of the group, who forwarded it on to me. {Thank you, Carolyn} Mary's theme for her deco is the Art of Healing. Mary requested that each of us provide something related to the theme for her sister who will soon be undergoing chemotherapy. Isn't it wonderful that Mary will be giving her first ever deco to her sister!

Anyways, for some reason, this subject hit a little too close to home today so I careful placed it back in the envelope and in a safe place while I set out to make dinner. I was feeling creatively blocked, wondering what in the world am I going to be able to add to this deco, with this theme, that would provide encouragement? I know little about Mary's sister, Alice {except what Mary shared in the introduction to her deco's theme}, but unfortunately, I know about cancer, undergoing chemotherapy, and the roller coaster of emotions, bouts of good days and bad ones so I began to focus my attention there. As the evening wore on, I couldn't get the thought of creating within this deco out of my mind. Somehow, it seemed to tear at my heart. I thought maybe if I pull it out and read what Mary shared once again something would come to me. No such inspiration came. In fact, I even considered putting it in a new envelop and passing it on without creating in it; thinking if I couldn't come up with something inspirational, I'd rather not create within it at all and maybe one of the other participants could add a bit more to it. Feeling like I'd be cheating Mary, I decided to give it time to settle into my mind and I prayed about it, about Alice, about my thoughts and feelings. Afterwards, I pulled the deco back out again... Mary has done a wonderful job in creating it. It is a tri-fold booklet style so that outside top section forms the cover of the book. Mary's intro is on the upper inside with a sign-in section in the center. Between the second and third section, Mary added vellum pages tied into the cover with beautiful, soft pink fibers and ribbon. Just looking at those vellum sheets reminded me once again at just how fragile life truly is; yet there's strength within them. Suddenly, I knew I had to reach down deep within me to find the strength to create within this deco, just as Alice will be finding strength within herself during the chemotherapy. As I continued holding the deco, re-reading Mary's words, ideas began to flow... Alice loves gardening! both floral and vegetables, being in nature... finding strength, peace within, the pleasure it brings to our lives, how food nourishes our bodies and my thoughts returned to my prayers and how he was nourishing my soul. So that's how I came to create within Mary's deco.

My pages follow a theme of "a healing garden" My sign is states, "Sacred places begin in the heart" along with my name. I tore a watercolored garden theme napkin into the shape of the heart, added a prima flower and attached those with a small floral brad. My pages cover the front of one page and the backside of it and since the deco is a small hand bound book, I took advantage of the front by creating a card style page to add to it so I include what was running through my mind's eye. The front features a beautiful printed paper, with a series of three birdhouses surrounded by pretty, pink flowers and two vintage style robins. I added another couple of layered prima flowers and a soft, pink organza ribbon and tucked in a piece of cardstock which reads, "healing whispers". Inside this card style page is a Thomas A. Kempis verse, "All God's glory and beauty comes from within and there He delights to dwell. His visits are frequent; His conversations sweet; His comfort refreshing; and His peace surpasses all understanding." The reverse side features a note written from me to Alice. "May your garden become a healing garden... a sacred sanctuary, restoring peace, and allowing you to connect and claim the power within." {I added the text here because they are not readable in my photographs} Mary and Alice, I hope you enjoy my page contribution, it comes from the heart. May God bless and keep both of you near to his heart and "Thank you" for touching mine.

The "Birthday" Girl!