Misc. Thoughts


I’m almost done sewing my flying geese and needed a little break.  I made up these fun items and wanna know if you can guess what they could be?

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They remind me of pool balls but much prettier!

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Okay, she got it so now I can post a picture of a TQS badge that I made for Peggy (Weaver49).  I had so much fun making this and hope showing a picture will inspire all of you that have the digitized file to actually stitch it out and don’t forget to add either your real name or your TQS screen name.  After all, I want to be able to spot you, recognize your name and come give you a hug!  I’m sure there are many others out there looking for you too.

Here’s the front and my thoughts as I’m doing each section.  She likes purple so I’m looking for thread to coordinate with light purple and dark purple to stitch it in.  I stitched it in the larger size because she asked for her screen name to be included.   At first, I was going to add a pin to the back but being nearly 4 inches by 4 inches is a pretty darn big pin so instead I added a satin rope so she could wear it around her neck.  Hmmm…how to attach the satin rope.   I’m thinking about that at the same time I’m thinking it really should have a back.  Since it is a badge, I added several layers of thick stablizer to the inside to keep it flat.  I’m searching in my stash — sitting cross legged on the floor when I spyed lone blocks.  You know those blocks that you try out techniques to see if you like it and for whatever reason they never get used in a project.  Of course, you can’t throw them out because WHAT IF!!!  I kept looking until I found one with colors that could go fairly well with the front.  Now, since I didn’t pre-think this whole process out before I started, I made it difficult on myself.  Because I had added all those layers of stablizer, the badge was exactly like I wanted it — STIFF.  Now, I’m wanting to add a back and turn it inside out — yeah right oh baby!  I managed to do it but if you plan on adding a back, don’t add the stablizer.  Instead, add something after you have turned the piece. 

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Okay, the back is on and the satin rope has been stitched on.  The edges look good, and I smile thinking cool — looks good and I’m done.  Then I’m admiring the front thinking hmmmmm…. wonder what crystals would look like added.  Let’s see, I have light green crystals and purple crystals and even a color called sunrise for the middle.  I’ll add the middle one just to see what it looks like.  Yeah, I like that.  Okay, maybe a few more around the edges, and many, many minutes later I stop and think.  NICE, now that’s adding some Bling.  Of course, I love bling and forget that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for SPARKLE.  I keep my fingers crossed Peg likes it and she says she does and plans to wear it at a TQS taping next month.  Oh, if only I could wiggle into her suitcase and go too!

Oh before I forget — here’s the back and a one more picture.

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How important is a pinkie finger?  I mean after all — it only a pinkie finger: smaller than the rest, not as strong, kind of lazy I guess.  Well, let me tell you that a pinkie is very important and how would I know you ask?  Well, I have a pinkie injury and found out first hand that a pinkie finger actually is an underappreciated digit.  I’ve learned that she may be small, but she is mighty or should I say was mighty.

Here’s she is without her splint.  She actually is looking so much better today.  She’s trying to heal herself up quickly because she knows how much I love her and appreciate her now. 

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Have you ever done something stupid or just plain silly and injured yourself?  Post your injury and how it happened, and you may be the lucky winner of a homemade bar of soap (I get to pick for you)!  Winner will be posted on Sunday, August 1.

And, my injury happened in the kitchen.  No, I wasn’t making soap.  No, I wasn’t even cooking a grand dinner.  What was I doing you ask?  Well, I was simply opening a cabinet when my pinkie snuck behind the door knob on the cabinet and when I went to close the cabinet, turn around and get ice, my body went one way, but my pinkie stayed with the cabinet!  Ouch….

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Sorry if you were hoping for the different kind of MOJO!  LOL  :)

I was so looking forward to 2010 and when it arrived a number of things happened that stressed out my family and sucked all of the joy and creativeness right out of me.  It’s tough to work in a creative field when your tired and feeling like there is never enough time to get everything done.  Add in the economy and allowing worry to creep in and well — my want to do was there but my desire to start was severely lacking.

Starting an online Bible study class helped immensely and led me to a more contented spirit.  Amazing how the Lord works in us when we allow it!  I’m convinced now that my peace and happiness I have right now are a direct result of my releasing of control which fast forward to today has changed the way I think and feel.  First, my back to the basics has shown me that there is joy in being able to do for yourself…whether that be in creating healthy meals from scratch to making your own soap to raising your own chickens.  My thinking is that the more we ’s.l.o.w’ down our pace, the happier we can be.  I’m sure Tracy, my soulmate of 30 years, has wondered if I’ve been partaking of a special clear spirit but he indulges me and seems to be enjoying the process as much as I. 

What I have learned is that slowing down the clock and taking time to enjoy each other has increased my creative MOJO juice and allowed me to get back on track with business and personal goals.  

I hope you enjoy following my quest to live a more natural life and provide for my family.  Perhaps something will spur you on to your own natural adventures which will lead to a healthier and happier you! 

Be creative, enjoy life, love your family, and praise God for another blessed day.  Today is only here once.

Bk2Basics

Many of you know that our baby dog, Dillan has had a rough 2010.  I give many thanks to the Lord for hearing all of the prayers going up to heaven on behalf of Dillan.  A huge thanks goes out to all of you too for the many personal emails received during this difficult time.  Dillan is continuing to improve and we have very high hopes that the disease will go into remission.  Just yesterday, his medication was reduced to a half a pill twice a day.  Yippee!! 

I have always had a deep-seated desire to create with my hands, heart, and mind.  Cooking began at a very young age and from there quilting, sewing, weaving, spinning, and not to forget embroidery which is my love and how I make a living.  There are many other artistic venues included in my life toolbox and I’m always growing and learning more.  It’s important for me to have my toolbox full and varied but at the same time it can sometimes create overload because I usually have several artistic creations going on at the exact same time.  This means that it takes me longer to completion but that’s okay because I love the process as much as the finished projects.

Lately, I have really stripped down to doing what most would scratch their head and wonder why.  Things like making homemade butter and bread and learning how to make my own natural soap.  For me this process has been very fulfilling and brings me closer to my grandparents’ days.  It’s also a very natural, earthly feeling which I find intoxicating and irresistible.  It’s also less expensive.  The older I get the closer I am drawn to nature and a more natural way to living.  And if you’ve followed any news these past many years, you have learned right along with me that what is available to purchase is not always the safest.  It doesn’t stop with our food, but other products have so many safety issues that it seems only normal to learn how to do as much as you are comfortable with in providing for your family.  For me, I want safer foods with fewer artificial ingredients, soaps that actually contain soap and lanolin.  Many manufacturers strip out the lanolin and sell it separately.  Please!  That’s an important part of soap — well besides actual soap that is.  I have a whole lot of information on soap that I plan on sharing later this year.

My back to basics with quilting started with pulling out my oldest hand pieced project.  I’ve since put all of the blocks together, added borders, and am nearly finished with the top.  I just finished all of the flying geese for the last border and need to attach it and then it’s ready to quilt.  Tracy, my husband and best friend, gave me a new hoop for quilting at Christmas and I can hardly wait to get it hooped so I can sit and handstitch with him and Dillan in the evenings while watching tv. 

After this top is in the hoop, my free time will be devoted to working on The Lady again.  She’s been very patient waiting for her turn again.  I love looking at her on the design wall.  She almost looks like she’s looking at me and smiling.  This is my first artistic quilt that I’ve designed and it really has been a satisfying experience working on her.  Am I the only one that actually starts to talk about a creation as if it were living being?  Bizarre I’m sure to some.

Don’t forget to spend a little time on something creative today.  It’s good for the soul. 

I’ve been in the midst of a huge work order and haven’t had any time or energy left at the end of the day to get in my creative fix.  And to make matters worse, I’m coming up with all these ideas this week.  Finally, I pulled out my journal and each time an idea pops in my head, I stop to take a moment to write it down.  Sometimes it is just a word; other times it’s a picture.  Then I get back to work and continue on until I need a creative break again.  This has been great fun and I don’t know why I haven’t ever done this before.  Maybe the busyness of work has made my brain become more conscious.  Whatever it is, I’m loving it and it is guilt free.  I’m still working and periodically still being creative.  And I don’t know about you but ideas are like dreams.  If I don’t write them down pretty quick, later on I can’t remember them.  So if for no other reason, I have a great start to some fun playing when I have some quiet time. 

Remember the Nike slogan ‘Just Do It’?  It really is a great slogan and something we should all strive to do and do every day whether it is an exercise program that we’ve promised ourselves to start or that quilt project that’s been silently crying out to you from your studio.  Oh, and I’ve decided to call “my area” my studio even though it’s original purpose in our home was to be used as a second bedroom.  Well, after years of having a bed that never got used, my husband and I made the decision to give the bed away and redo the room for just me.  I love my area but never thought of it as a studio until this week.  After all if you think about it there are apartments that are advertised as ‘studio apartments.’  I believe that meaning is that it is one small area that you will have to live in.  Well, that describes my area perfectly so as of today, JoJo has her very own Studio.  Oops… I guess I got a little sidetracked… I was talking about the ‘Just Do It’ slogan.  Here are two thought-provoking quotes to help you do just that — JUST DO IT!

            “I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.”  Rabindranath Tagore, 1861-1941

            “Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself.”  Sara Henderson, b. 1936

Oh and I almost forgot — my order of Angel Paint arrived today!!!  Dilly and I went to the mailbox and retrieved the mail and my mail carrier left a ‘key.’  I instantly got excited because that meant that the parcel was too big to fit in my box.  I knew as soon as I opened the larger box that it was my paint.  Dillan wanted to explore the neighborhood but I pleaded with him to wait until later in the day when it was cooler!  LOL – He’s a dog and believes everything I say.   I received 11 of the cutest mini jars of paint that you ever did see.  I’m attaching a photo for those of you that don’t believe me.  See – aren’t they just the cutest jars. 

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 Unfortunately, I will have to wait until next week before exploring more with them. 

My love of my life and I are going out to dinner tonight to celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary.  I am so fortunate to be his wife.  He is a wonderful husband, great provider, my best friend, and just a joy to be around.  I feel like I am the luckiest woman on the planet to have found such a perfect soul mate.

Now the humorous side of me found the following poem at http://www.allamericasbest.com, and Tracy and I laughed.  It’s a great site to peruse.

‘After 27 years of marriage, a couple was lying in bed one evening, when the wife felt her husband begin to touch her in ways he hadn’t in quite some time.

‘It almost tickled as his fingers started at her neck, and then began moving past the small of her back.  He then slid his hand across her shoulders and neck, slowly worked it down over one breast, then
the other, stopping just over her lower stomach.  He then proceeded to place his hand on her left inner arm, caressed past the side of her breast again, working down her side, passed gently over, and then in between her buttocks and down her leg to her calf.  Then he proceeded up her inner thigh, stopping just at the uppermost portion of her leg.

He continued in the same manner on her right side, then suddenly stopped, turned over, and became silent.

As she had become quite aroused by this caressing, she asked in a loving voice. “That was wonderful.  Why did you stop?”

“I found the remote,” he said.

snuggie

Early this year was the first time I had heard of a Snuggie and the TV presentation was explaining how two companies actually offer this product.  Although the lesser known brand apparently did not start selling well until the marketing dollars of the latest company started generating interest in the product.

 

Now I had never seen or touched this product until today.  I am amazed at how popular these things are too. 

 

I must confess to being confused with all the hype however.  My confusion is somewhat compounded because I am a quilter and love to have handmade quilts surrounding me in our home.  In fact to help illustrate this – I’ll paint you a picture of one of our rooms in our home.  The size is approximately 12’ x 8’ and located within easy sight of the kitchen.  We have two small chairs and each chair has a small ottoman.  We also have a tiny loveseat in the room which happens to pull out into a slightly smaller than twin bed.  The only other furniture in the room is the TV and two very small round end tables.  Scale is everything when you have to live in a small area.  It has taken us 15 years to find the correct furniture for this room.  Have you started wondering where I am going with this yet?  J

 

Okay, I will get back to quilts where I was describing my quandary of Snuggies.  Well in our TV room (and regardless of the season it just happens to be) are anywhere from four to six quilts of various sizes. 

 

My husband generally has two quilts on his chair – one that hangs over the back of his chair and one that lays on the ottoman.  I also have two and my dog has “his” favorite binkie blankie on my chair.  Inside the loveseat you will find one or perhaps two quilts just waiting for someone to cuddle up to.

 

Yikes, now that I’ve actually thought about how many we have, I think I must be concerned that I or a family member might freeze to death.  And to avoid this most disturbing thought, I have quilts strategically placed throughout our home.  JJ

 

Sew, I must get going on embroidering on my customer’s Snuggies so they can go on to their new homes where I’m sure they will be loved and do their job of keeping their owners warm and comfy.

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Help me out here please — what words am I missing.  And, please be kind — I’m gathering words that could be included on the quilt I’m working on (see pictures below).

A – Artful, Amusing, Astute, Artist

B – Bright, Brave, Bewitching (Thks Eileen!)

C – Caregiver, Creative, Compassionate, Crafty, Cook, Cuddly (Thks Eileen!)

D – Daughter, Discerning, Disciplinarian

E – Eager, Equal, Encourager (Thks Dana!), Eternal and Exuberant (Thks Eileen!)

F – Friend, Feminine, Faithful, Fearless

G – Grandmother, Good-natured, Goddess (Thks Eileen!)

H – Healer, Homemaker

I – Inspirer, Imaginative, Intelligent, Impish (Thks Eileen!)

J – Jovial

K – Keen, Kind

L – Lover, Learned

M – Mother, Majestic (Thks Pati!)

N – Nurturer, Noble, Nonjudgmental (Thks Dana!)

O – Open-minded

P – Peacekeeper, Protector, Provider, Powerful

Q – Quilter, Queen (Thks Eileen!)

R – Resourceful, Respectful

S – Sister, Soul Mate, Servant

T – Teacher, Taskmaster (when needed), Tender

U – Unbounded, Unique (Thks Pati!)

V – Valuable, Virtuous (Thks Pati!)

W – Wife, Wise, Wholesome

X –  XOXOX [thanks to Karen [wren1010] from TQS!]

Y – Young-eyed (forever and ever)

Z – Zealous

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I remember picking vegetables when I was a young girl.  With the sun at its peak, the tomatoes emitted the most wonderful aroma.  It’s a smell that evokes happy thoughts and makes my mouth water in anticipation of biting into a perfectly ripe, juicy tomato. 

I remember the ocean.  It’s easy to close my eyes and hear the sounds of the ocean brushing up against the shore, taste the saltiness of the air, and feel the warmth of the morning sun on my face. 

I remember feeling electricity in the air during rain storms in Kentucky. 

I remember watching and laughing at how it was raining only on one section of the town … only to be drenched completely when the rain came out of nowhere and I had to run for cover….all while laughing hysterically.

I remember watching and catching lightening bugs.

I remember how wonderful it felt on the last day of school and the whole summer was just beginning.

I remember the panic I had the first time I fell off a horse.

I remember how it feels to not have enough food.

I remember how it feels to have a Thanksgiving feast with family.

I remember the pain of death.

I remember learning how to drive in that old ‘56 chevy with no power steering.

I remember the joys of making new friends in new cities.

I remember of joy of watching the birth of puppies.

I remember the texture, smell, and taste of my father’s wonderful Divinity candy.

I remember the anxiety of shooting my first shot with a rifle and the excitement that I actually hit the target.

I remember the joy of watching my husband lug in an enormous 30 pound fish on 10 pound fish line.

I remember writing short stories when I was young.

I remember my first big girl’s bike and learning how to ride it.

I remember making spears and going frog gigging at night with my parents and then cooking and eating them.

I remember . . .

left-brain-right-brain

For most of my working career, my left brain controlled everything.  I started off my working life in an accounting environment where my left brain thrived.  Daily, it would process analytical information, organize departments that were in chaos, and verbalize either out loud or in my head all the things needed in order to get things done.  You could say that my left brain ruled the roost and liked it that way.  I was very successful at my job and my left brain swelled with pride.  LOL

Now fast forward to today, where the last six years have been spent working in a creative environment.  My left brain has been very good at helping me start a business and do all the many things needed in order to stay in business; however, it has not been helpful when it comes to the creative side.  As an artist, you really need to give the left brain something else to do if you want to get anything creative done.  At least that is what I have to do; otherwise, it will remind me right in the middle of trying to be creative that the mail is in and should be checked for bills.  Did any checks arrive?  What about phone messages, e-mail messages, did you return all of the phone calls that were left yesterday, yada…yada…yada.  And, it won’t quit.  It’s very annoying when you fight with your own brain.  Of course, to give it a break, it is its job is to protect me and make sure that I don’t forget anything and it does a most excellent job in doing “its job.”  So if you are finding this description sounding all too familiar, try what I have been doing and see if it helps. 

First, STOP.  Nothing you can say to yourself will shut it off – well other than a good bottle of wine, and even then it’s still mildly irritating.  Grab a piece of paper and start writing.  Write down every silly and not so silly thing your brain is saying.  Once done, sit the paper down and say out loud.  “I have written every single thing down and nothing can sneak by without getting done.”  It’s okay if I now continue on with what I was doing.  “I am creating and will continue being creative until I am ready to stop.”

Now, begin again with your creative project and if the left side of the brain starts up again, remind it out loud that its job is done and not needed right now.  “I am creating and will continue until I want to stop.”

Only then can my right brain begin to visualize the project that I am working on.  When I’m working on my art quilt, my right brain can look at the whole draft drawing and start to process the details that may be missing.  Every now and then my left brain sneaks in to remind me that it’s still there and that one of the parts of the quilt or project that I’m working on can’t be pieced/embroidered because of yada…yada…yada… Again, typical left brain noise.  I remind it that I’m not to the part of piecing yet so it doesn’t matter, and continue on drafting, revising, and honing the project until I’m ready to allow the left brain to jump into the conversation. Don’t allow your left brain’s analytical side to jump in before you are ready or you will begin to look at all the pieces and then begin putting them together as a whole instead of looking at the whole picture first and then looking at the pieces.  Sounds like it wouldn’t make much difference, but it makes a ‘huge’ difference.

I believe my right brain is slightly dominant over my left brain.  Only slightly though and that is why I struggle sometimes with my art.  It is becoming easier to allow my right brain free reign so to speak so it is something that is achievable if you desire it badly enough.

Stay tuned for a ploy on how to draw without the interference of your left brain.

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