Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tangled Thursday: String #058

When Marie issued this week's challenge - to draw a Zentangle using string #058 from - I was unsure.  My Zentangles rarely follow the "rules" and using a "pre-fab" string was new to me.  But I had a blast!  Who knew there were so many ways to interpret a few lines and curves?

My first design sticks to most of the Zentangle guidelines and uses some new-to-me patterns, so I labeled them in case you want to find them.  

My second version widens the lines of the string to make each section separate.  It reminds me of a broken plate - the pieces fit together but don't quite make a whole plate again.

Number 3 goes back to the first week of Tangled Thursday when I used a "tiled" background.  Time to try it again.

A variety of curly-ques gives a totally different look.

And finally - my favorite.  Can you see the original string?   Actually, I used four strings - one in each quadrant of the square - each rotated 90 degrees.

If you'll pardon my minimal "Paint" skills, this is the basic outline of the four connected strings.

Thanks, Marie, for a fun and challenging theme!  And speaking of themes, it's my turn to choose the challenge for next week.  In honor of the Winter Olympics beginning February 7, Zentangle the Olympic rings.

As always, the interpretation is up to you --  color, no color, interlocking, overlapping, realistic or abstract... just have fun.

Tangled Thursday is hosted by Heather @ Books and Quilts.  Visit Heather to see what people are "tangling" or to link up.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Needlework Tuesday

You can't tell by looking, but I really did accomplish quite a bit this week. 
  • Last week I mentioned the 200 mini-quilts I need to get made by May.  Several people asked for a reminder of where this project is going.  The mini quilts are for a friend who needs 2500 of them by May for a national church conference she is attending. They are just a 4-patch sewn to a backing square (no batting) and turned right-side-out. A small wooden cross is tucked inside and the opening hand stitched closed.   She parcelled them out in batches of 200 to friends and family who sew.   Chain piecing whenever I have a few spare minutes is making measurable progress.  I'll just keep plodding along on them.

  • For a break, I made a prayer flag to represent our prayers for my father-in-law, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  If you're not familiar with prayer flags, read this post for my interpretation.

  • With the remnants of fabrics I used to make Christmas gifts, plus some fat quarters I received for Christmas, I have reached the goal of . . . [drum roll, please] . . . four hundred different fabrics - necessary to make my "book quilt", based on this quilt from The Last Piece.  I had to special order the fabric I wanted  - cream with faint swirls - to create the negative space above the books, but it has arrived and will be in my hand Wednesday, so I have no excuse not to get started . . . except those 200 mini-quilts.
  • And finally, from the Not-So-Successful Department - jumbo-size spool knitting.  Last week I discovered and enjoyed spool knitting, but I'm still unsure what to do with the pencil-size knitted tube.  In a stroke of brilliance, I decided to try the same process using a hexagonal loom from some past project.  It's fun - but the result is just a larger knitted tube with no obvious use.  I suppose if you went on long enough, you could use the tube for a scarf, but I went through half a ball of yarn just getting this far.  I decided the end didn't justify the use of time and supplies, so I ripped it out and saved the yard for another day.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather @ Books and Quilts.  Visit Heather to see what everyone is stitching this week.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tangled Thursday: Paisley

This week's Tangled Thursday challenge was "paisley".  Simple - paisley is evidently my favorite shape because it sneaks it's way into nearly everything I draw.  But it turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected to dedicate an entire tangle to paisley.

I know I'm dating myself again - as I did in the daisy challenge - but paisley immediately brings thoughts of the 1960's , hippies and psychodelic:

Drawn with Neon Sharpies on 5x7 heavy sketch paper

My second thought was water drops:

It's a very simple tangle - only uses four patterns - but I like it for it's simplicity. This was also drawn with Sharpies on 5x7 heavy sketch paper.

A word about Sharpies.  I have purchased a variety of types of pens including some comparatively expensive architect pens, but I always return to the good old fine-line sharpie.  I like the width of line, I like the way it flows, and I like the way the ink reacts on paper.  I buy them by the dozens at Dollar General.  I still break out the high-dollar pens for detailed work, but most of the time it's a Sharpie.  I'm a simple girl!

Tangled Thursday is hosted by Heather @ Books & Quilts.  Visit Heather to see how everyone interpreted "paisley" - and join in if you like.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Needlework Tuesday

It's been a busy crafting week at Green Acres.  After an hour-and-a-half of cleaning and sorting to get Christmas fabrics put away and supplies stored where I could find them again, my "studio" (as I call my corner of the basement) still looks disheveled, but I'll work on new shelving and storage later. 

Right now there are projects that HAVE to be done.  Like finishing 200 mini quilts.  I have over 150 cut out, and about 50 of those have tops assembled, but still a long way to go.
There are also projects that I WANT to do.  I have been itching to get back into sewing garments, something I haven't really done for since high school home-ec. class.  I recently saw a request posted on Facebook by Dave's cousin, asking for donations of "frilly" dresses to be sent with a missionary to Uganda.  When I asked for details of "frilly", she said that all donations were accepted and needed, but the young girls really like receiving dresses with ruffles and frills.  I can't resist the chance to make adorable pink dresses.  So I purchased a pattern labeled "Easy to Sew" and a variety of girly fabrics/trims.  I have one dress started, but the verdict is still out.  I'll let you know next week. 

And for a craft I could do while watching Denver win the AFC Championship (Go Broncos!),I discovered spool knitting. (Great tutorial from CraftyPod)  I didn't have a wooden spool, so Dave created a couple by drilling a hole through a piece of dowel.  It's a fun craft, but I'm not sure about the usefulness of a pencil-sized knitted tube.   A Barbie scarf?   I found ideas for making coasters and stuffed animals and jewelry.   Anyone have experience with spool-knitting or ideas for projects?

Just out of curiosity, I dug through my cedar chest and found a plastic loom that I used for making placemats many years ago and I'm trying the spool-knitting technique on it.   It would at least make a human-size scarf.  Results in a future Needlework Tuesday post.

Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather at Books & Quilts.  Visit Heather to see what everyone is stitching this week.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Changing Focus . . .

I resolved several years ago that the only resolution I would ever make is to not make resolutions.  I've stuck with it so far!  But this year I got enthused by reading my sister, Teri's blog.  Teri set "focuses" for the new year - not resolutions which are all-or-nothing, but areas where she wants to focus her attention and make changes.

I got so enthused, in fact, that I started to write my own list of "focuses" for 2014 - but as I wrote, I noticed that, unlike Teri, my focuses were turning into specific goals  - lose 30 pounds, finish my "book" quilt, make five dresses for missionary clothes drive - which are awfully close to resolutions. 

While I pondered that, I visited one of my favorite blogs - Lit and Laundry - which led me to this article, which advocates focusing on "systems" rather than goals. 
What's the difference between goals and systems?
  • If you're a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.
  • If you're a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
  • If you're a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month
If I put the emphasis on the goal, two things happen.  First, I judge myself in finite terms, based on the number of goals reached, and consider myself a failure if I don't reach the goal.   
When you're working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, "I'm not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal."  The problem with this mindset is that you're teaching yourself to always put happiness and success off until the next milestone is achieved. 
The second downfall to focusing on the goal is that when I reach it, I quit.  If my goal is to lose thirty pounds rather than to change my attitude toward food and how I eat, when I reach that goal, it's easy to check it off the list and move on - then let the weight come back. 
When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.
In other words, focus on the journey and you will arrive at the destination.  Instead of vowing to lose weight, I focus on eating healthy and being more active, and the pounds come off.  Instead of vowing to finish X number of sewing projects, I take time to be creative every day and projects are completed. And I enjoy myself more and chastise myself less

So, I resolve to make 2014 the year that I quit worrying about reaching goals and focus on the journey - and enjoy every day.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Let's Keep Christmas Commercial"

I know Christmas is over and most of you have moved on to other things, but I tend to carry a little bit of Christmas through the year and I really wanted to share a fascinating magazine article that I didn't get around to reading until after the holiday.  I realize it's a long post, but I hope you'll stick with me - I promise there's a point.
Every year right after Halloween the world becomes Christmas-conscious - and people begin deploring.  If only we could have a real Christmas, they say....If only we could retrieve the holy day from the hands of vulgar moneygrubbers, they say.  They say, with earnest horror, that the price tag has become the liturgical symbol of the season.
Sound familiar?  Every year the stores start earlier and the nay-sayers get louder.  And I become more rebellious.  I have Christmas touches in my house year-round and I get frustrated at the people who try to limit me to celebrating one week, or even one month, per year.  Maybe that's why I was so interested in an article called "Let's Keep Christmas Commercial."  What?  Read on:
They say that commercialization has made the buying of Christmas presents a rat race.  God knows most of the gifts we peddle to each other have nothing to do with the infant of Bethlehem...With rare exceptions it is foolishly pompous to get scandalized and accuse manufacturers, advertisers and vendors of desecrating Christmas by trying to sell what you or I may think is silly junk...If you don't like what's being hawked this Christmas you don't have to buy it.  And if you're a sucker, your problem isn't seasonal.
Some people are dismayed...because they honestly fear Christmas is being de-Christianized, made nonsectarian.  They are upset when someone who does not share their faith sets up a tree and exchanges gifts and wishes them "Season's Greetings" instead of naming the holy day.  They resent the spelling "Xmas".  Others fret over the way Santa Clause and snowmen crowd out the shepherds.  Put Christ back into Christmas, these offended people cry.  As far as I know,Christ never left it.  He could never be cut out of Christmas, except in the privacy of individual hearts.
Wow!  That's a new perspective - and I like it.  It's up to me to keep Christ in my Christmas celebration and watching secular movies, decorating cookies or singing "White Christmas" doesn't remove Him.
It's always insist that the secularizing world prevents you from devotion.  Christmas is meant to be lived in the noisy arena of the shopping day countdown, amid aluminum trees, neckties and counterfeit French perfume.  If all the meditation I get around to is listening to Scrooge and Tiny Tim or begging heaven for patience to applaud a school pageant, I'm a fool to blame anyone but myself.  Census time in Bethlehem was distracting, too.
The author, April Armstrong, challenges every Christian to hold only themselves accountable for how they celebrate Christmas.  But what really struck me about this article, and the reason I wanted to share it with you all, is where I found it.

"Let's Keep Christmas Commercial" was published in the Saturday Evening Post on December 18 . . . 1965.  Yes - forty-nine years ago.  The more things change . . .

I recently acquired a stack of Saturday Evening Post and Life magazines dating from the
1960's and 1970's.  Based on my in-depth research (10 minutes on Ebay) they are worth several hundred dollars, but before I try to make a profit, I plan to read them and share other interesting things I find.  So stay tuned for more "retro" posts.

Tangled Thursday: Here Comes The Sun

Heather @ Books and Quilts, our gracious host for Tangled Thursdays, has been feeling a little chilly.  More than a foot of snow and below 0 (F) temperatures have her longing for sunshine and heat, so her Zentangle challenge for this week was "sun":
Draw a sun and fill it with tangles, or draw tangles in the shape of a sun.  Do what you need to make the sun shine.  Add some sunny colors if you want, but make it hot and sunny.
Since we've had our share of teeth-chattering temperatures lately, I jumped on this challenge with enthusiasm.

I drew standard suns - 

Too blah.
I drew colorful suns - 
Too much!
I drew abstract suns -  
Too wild.
I even drew a beach scene - 

But nothing was giving me that warm, fuzzy feeling.    My favorite of the lot was this one.  
I think it strikes the best balance of design and color.  I added some shading to give it a more dimensional look.  I'm not sure it quite overcomes the 17 degree (F) weather this morning, but it's a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Needlework Tuesday:

Last week I told you about the craft book I received for Christmas:  One Yard Wonders.  The book features sewing projects that can be made with a single yard of fabric.  My first project was the Folklore Bag.  

The bag is a great size - approximately 12" wide x 10" high adn 3" wide.  The darts on front and back add a little extra width.  The pattern included one interior pocket, but I added a second one for extra organization.  I also like the long straps (purse straps too short to fit over my shoulder when I'm wearing a winter coat are one of my pet peevs), and magnetic closure.

But my favorite part is the fabric.  This bag didn't really require the entire yard of fabric advertised in the book title, but needed to be heavier than standard quilting cotton, so nothing in my stash was quite right.  While I was waiting for a chance to get out of town to a fabric store (none locally), I was browsing the antique mall - one of my favorite pass-times.  While admiring the vintage tablecloths it hit me - this isn't just a tablecloth, it's two yards of fabric that would be perfect for my purse.  The one I selected was under $10, so obviously not a rare find that I would be cursed for cutting up.  The one I chose had a pattern of large poppies around the border with a medallion of smaller flowers in the center, so I was able to "fussy cut" all the pieces to give it a more custom look.  The lining is a remnant of quilting fabric I found in my stash, so the only expense, other than the tablecloth, was the magnetic closure.  

I have more than half of the tablecloth left - awaiting the next project that needs a vintage touch.  I will now be scouring the antique and 2nd hand stores for inexpensive table linens to use in future projects. I love taking items that are no longer usable, such as linens with small tears or stains, and giving them a new life. 

I also finished my prayer quilt this week.  The very simple top, comprised of squares decorated by my children and grandchildren, got an equally simple finish:  pink flannel backing (no batting so it will be usable in warmer months) and quilting around the border of each square.
Next up - frilly little dresses.  My niece requested donations of clothing - especially frilly dresses - to be sent to Uganda with a missionary.  He said that the girls there especially love dresses with lots of ruffles and frills.  Don't have to tell me twice.  I can't wait to dig into he stash for girly prints and get started.

What are you stitching this week?  Needlework Tuesday is hosted by Heather at Books & Quilts.  Stop by to see what everyone's crafting or to share your handywork.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Vintage Mystery Bingo: Book 1

After a two year hiatus, I once again joined a reading challenge - the Vintage Mystery Challenge:  Silver and Gold Edition.  And I've finished my first book.  Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters, was published in 1977 so it qualifies for the Silver card (books published between 1960 and 1989).  

Now I just need to decide which square on my bingo card to mark off.  This book qualifies for five different categories: 
1.  An author I've read before - I've read one of Ms. Peters' Amelia Peabody series, and numerous by her alter ego, Barbara Michaels.
2.  Features a crime other than murder - theft.
3.  Written by an author with a pseudonym - Who knew Elizabeth Peters was also Barbara Michaels, or the other way around?
4.  A book you have to borrow - borrowed from local library.
5.  A book set in the U.S. - Virginia

I will see what other vintage mysteries I find and what categories they fulfill before I decide.  If you want to play Vintage Mystery Bingo, visit Bev @ My Reader's Block (link in the sidebar).
Ellie and Henry are young, rich, and engaged. When Ellie’s eccentric Aunt Kate asks her to house-sit at her palatial estate in Burton, Virginia, Ellie is happy to oblige. She feels right at home there with the nearly invisible housekeepers and the plethora of pets, but conventional Henry finds Aunt Kate and her lifestyle a little hard to take. After he leaves, Ellie realizes that there are disturbing secrets about the local aristocracy buried in a dusty old book she has carried into the mansion, and her sudden interest in the past is attracting a slew of unwelcome guests—some of them living . . . and some, perhaps, not. But there are no such things as ghosts, are there?
I enjoyed this book but that's about as excited as I can get over it.  The characters were interesting, even likable (or intentionally dis-likable in some cases), and the story line was very good - kept me involved right to the last chapter.  And that's where the wheels fell off.  A rather ho-hum solution presented in a rather ho-hum fashion.  I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.  I know Ms. Peters, or Michaels, is capable of much better.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sister Readathon: I'm Late, I'm Late, For a Very Important Date...

I'm falling behind on my readathon challenges, so I'm going to cover two in this post.  The first question was:  Why do we read painful things, or emotional things, or frightening things? What do we get from reading a story that makes us cry? And on the flip side, what do we get from reading "they all lived happily ever after" stories? Tell what genres you are most drawn to and why.

I think I - and probably most people - are drawn to emotional stories because sometimes we need to see (or read about) other people struggling to make us feel better about our own struggles.  For example, Teri is currently reading "Talk Before Sleep" , a book about two friends as they journey through one's bout with cancer.  I recommended the book to her after I connected with it strongly because my best friend died from cancer in 2004.  Reading about characters going through the same struggle was difficult at times, and I used up a box or two of Kleenex, but it also felt "good" in a way because I saw that the things I felt and did and said were "normal".  

Sometimes we read difficult books to learn.  In the past few years I have read stories about autism and about the polio epidemic - both subjects that I knew little about.  But because I was involved with the characters, I saw these issues through their eyes and I learned far more than I would have from reading a text book or encyclopedia entry.  There are some subjects I would never read about intentionally, but when they are in fiction form it's amazing how my attitude toward the subject changes.  I am currently listening to the audio book of  "The Guernsey LIterary and Potato Peel Pie Society" - and loving it.  Had it been presented as "a book about the German occupation of Guernsey island during World War II", I wouldn't have gotten past the cover.  But the sneaky author had me hooked on the characters' relationship before I realized I was going to get a history lesson.  And it's fascinating!

Sometimes I just need a "feel good" story - a 30-minute-sit-com-book, if you will.  The kind where no matter what happens, you know it will work out fine by the time the shows over, and they will all live happily ever after, at least until next week. The majority of the time, I avoid those books because they seem shallow and fluffy, but put a pretty Christmas cover on it, and I'm hooked.

I read a wide variety of genres - mystery, suspense, an occasional chick-lit, "literary", even a western or sci-fi.  Like our bodies need all the food groups to get a balance of nutrients, our reading life needs to sample from a variety of genres and subjects to be balanced and healthy.

The next challenge said: You have until 3 p.m. to find and post your favorite quote about reading.  Well, it's 3:21, so I'm probably in the dog house, but I don't even have to think very hard to come up with my favorite quotes about reading:

"You can be too rich and too thin, but you can never be too well read or too curious about the world."  - Tim Gunn

"There are worse things than burning books.  One of them is not reading them." - attributed to Ray Bradbury and several others, depending on where you read it.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” ― Stephen King

And my #1 book quote:  "I can not live without books."  - Thomas Jefferson.  That pretty much says it all.

Sisters Readathon: Read and Tell

Day three of our readathon begins with a challenge by Teri:  Read ten pages and find something to share.  Easy-Peasy.  So far today, I have read from the Bible, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I found something to share in all of them.

From Jesus Calling:  "When you bring me prayer requests, lay out your concerns before me, speak to me candidly, pour out your heart.  Then thank me for the answers that I have set in motion long before you can discern results.  When your requests come to mind  again, continue to thank me for the answers that are on the way.  If you keep on stating your concerns to me, you will live in a state of tension."  

From My Utmost for His HIghest:  "Beware of the inclination to dictate to God what consequences you would allow as a condition of your obedience to Him."

From the Bible: "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." - Colossians 4:2

From The Hobbit:  Dave and I (and occasionally our children) have moved somewhere upwards of 15 times during our marriage.  Dave likes to refer to moves as "adventures".  I like to refer to them as torture.  So this line made me smile:  "We are plain, quiet folk and have no use for adventures.  Nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things!  Make you late for dinner!  And I can't think what anybody sees in them."  

And for a little humor:  "He charged the ranks of the goblins...and knocked their king's head clean off with a wooden club.  It sailed a hundred yards through the air and went down a rabbit hole.  And in this way the battle was won and the game of golf invented at the same moment."

And my favorite line so far (but I've only read one chapter):  "Altogether, those were good days for us, and the poorest of us had money to spend and to lend, and leisure to make beautiful things just for the fun of it."  Truly the best description of a good day!

Today will be filled with reading, a couple loads of laundry between chapters, and some sewing when I need a longer break.  Hope you find a few minutes to spend in a book today.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Sisters Readathon - Day 2

Day Two of our no-hassle, no-fuss readathon . . . and time for another challenge question.

I am currently listening to the audio book of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer - and loving it.  In the book, Juliette is asked to write an article about the reasons for and benefits of reading.  So, our question tonight is just that:  Why do you read and what do you gain from it?

I'll be back later this evening with my answer.  Anyone is welcome to leave their response in the comments or write a blog post and leave a link.  And, of course, you're welcome to grab a book, put your feet up and read along with us.  

UPDATE:  10:30 PM  - 1 book complete - "Devil May Care" by Elizabeth Peters

Challenge question - Why do I read?  That's a much tougher question to answer honestly than I realized.  I know all the famous quotes:
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”  - George R.R. Martin
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end."  - William Styron
 But I can't say that's quite it.  I have loved reading since I learned how and I doubt a 7-year-old understood those reasons.

Some say books are the best of friends, so that could be it.  I do not make friends easily and, I'll admit, it's easier to spend time with books than get to know real people.

Reading is an amusement, a way to pass time, a vocabulary builder, a teacher, an avoidance of reality . . .

The closest I can come to explaining why I love reading is another quote from a famous author:
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” ― Stephen King,

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Where Were You? . . .

Our spur-of-the-moment readathon is going well.  I started by reading from a new devotion book, glanced through a magazine that came in today's mail (not sure that actually counts as reading), then moved on to my current book.  I'm starting to feel drowsy so I'm taking a break to answer Teri's challenge question (see previous post).
Is there a time that something happened in your life and you can still remember exactly what book you were involved in at the time?  Tell what happened and what book you were reading.

This is a tough question.  I can remember certain books I read and where I was at the time, but they don't correspond to a major event.  As a child, my favorite place to read was in a swivel-rocker in our living room.  That is where I read the entire book of 365 Bedtime Stories by Nan Gilbert.

As a teen, I remember reading Stephen King books in bed.  Mom would stand at the base of the stairs and tell me to quit reading, turn off the light and go to sleep.  No way was I turning off the light!

The only book I can associate with an event was in 1990.  Presumed Innocent by Scott Turrow was published in 1987, but it was adapted into a movie (starring Harrison Ford) in 1990 so it was getting lots of publicity.  I couldn't wait to read it.  I was expecting our first child, so I bought a paperback copy of Presumed Innocent and the plan was to save it until I went into labor.  Lamaze classes had assured me that first labors were lengthy and slow, so when contractions began, I would reward myself with starting this book - presumably to keep my mind off labor pains.  I quit my job two weeks before my due date (Nov. 1) to prepare for the arrival.  After 2 days I was fully prepared, so I spent the next 12 days waiting....and waiting....and waiting... Nov. 1 came and went and still I'm waiting....  Somewhere around Nov. 5th I determined that I was never going to have this baby so I started reading.  By the time Mitch showed up on the 12th, the book was history.

The Sisters Readathon

Whoever writes those common sayings we use every day - like "better late than never" - is wrong.  Sometimes late is the same as never.  Sometimes late is TOO late.  I intended to enter the Bout of Books Readathon, but I missed the signup deadline by about 6 hours.  I was all excited - even had my sister excited about it - till I realized I was too late.

But now I'm all pumped up for guilt-free reading time.  No one expects me to do laundry or cook during a readathon - right?  And Hubs will be out of town till Saturday afternoon. So, Teri (Sis) and I are going to have our own  - the Sisters Readathon!

The plan is very flexible - actually, a little vague at the moment.  Just read whenever you get a chance from now through Saturday  Teri and I will occasionally be posting updates, challenges, or whatever else comes to mind.  There are no prizes - this is a low-budget plan - but feel free to join us.  Just read, leave a comment, gab on Twitter - you don't even need a sister!

 My goal is to finish "Devil May Care" by Elizabeth Peters, which I'm reading for the Vintage Mystery Bingo (see link on sidebar) and read as much as possible of "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkein, which I'm reading for T and T book club.  I might even make some progress on a couple of Nook books I've been reading for ages.

Teri posed a question to get us started:
Is there a time that something happened in your life and you can still remember exactly what book you were involved in at the time?  Tell what happened and what book you were reading.
That's going to take some thought!  I'll be back later tonight with my answer.  In the mean time, visit Teri's blog, grab a book and sneak in a few minutes at your desk, while in the school pick-up line, or while sitting on the out-of-balance washer to keep it from jumping across the room. (Hey, I can't be the only one who does this.)

UPDATE:  It's 6:00 p.m.  I'm home from work.  Dog's are fed.  Doors are locked (I'm home alone)....With my two favorite LARGE DOGS (just in case you're a crazed stalker).  I have supper on a festive Christmas paper plate and Diet Coke in my favorite Charlie Brown Christmas cup.  I'm in my comfy chair, wrapped in a cuddly blanket.  Time to read!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Needlework Tuesday

Christmas is over and the crafting frenzy has slowed.  I ended up making 17 aprons and 10 quilted baskets for gifts.  I'm very ready to move on to something else.  My friend, Kari, gave me just the book I need to do that.

"One Yard Wonders" by Patricia Hoskins and Rebecca Yaker.  Subtitled "Look How Much You Can Make With Just One Yard of Fabric" - it's just what I needed to give me some new craft ideas.  I have already selected several projects to try.  I need to hit the fabric store for some notions and a browse through the remnant bins.  

2014 will be a year of big changes for our family.  Mitch and Amanda will both graduate from college and are considering career options that mean moving quite a distance from me.  Mitch is engaged to be married in July.  Amy and Tom are trying to purchase a new home in a more rural area near Albuquerque.  Change seems to be the theme, so I am devoting more time to praying specifically for my children.  When they were all here last week, I had them each create a block for a prayer quilt.  They each received a 10 1/2" square of muslin and a variety of fabric markers.  The only rules were that you must write your name and  leave a 1/2" border so that a seam did not cut off part of your art work.  I honestly expected to have a few squares returned with nothing but a signature.  I was pleasantly surprised at the time they devoted to their creations.  

I joined the eight completed squares with 6" sashes and an appliqued square to make a very simple quilt - so that I can finish it quickly and put it into use.  It will be backed with flannel to make it cuddly, and tied - with each knot representing a specific prayer.   As I wrap myself in it during the early morning hours, I will pray for each of the precious people represented.

Here's to a "crafty" 2014!  What is on your craft calendar?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The More Things Change . . .

I know what you're thinking.... "Can this woman not make up her mind?"   There have been many manifestations of the theme and design of this blog over the last four years - sometimes multiple themes in the same week - but all have been working towards one goal:  a blog theme that represents my personality and interests.  

I have used pre-made themes from The Cutest Blog on the Block and Shabby Blogs.  I highly recommend them both.  But no packaged theme can capture "me" - so I have been slowly learning how to create my own background, header, etc.   I have a long way to go, but I'm getting there.  The current set-up is meant to express my love of Christmas, books, all things "retro" or "vintage" and sewing.  Don't look too hard for the sewing reference - it's still in the works.  Stay tuned for more fine tuning - or possibly total overhauls.  

All the changes made me wonder about "branding".  I have read about branding and promoting your blog, using the same theme and icons on the blog, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and other social media, so that people can link them all together and follow me wherever I go.

Nah!  I'm not into blogging to create a huge following, get a book deal which spins off into may own TV show and makes me a millionaire.  Although.....  No.  I blog to express myself, to make friends, and to have fun.  And I've accomplished that.  My few but faithful regular readers know it's me no matter how the blog is decked out.  So this page will continue to evolve as I do and I hope you'll return many times to see what happens.

And if you are reading this in a blog feed where you never see my actual page.... never mind.