Sunday, January 31, 2010

Back to Purse Making!

Thanks to RP-New Friend, mama's collection has created a new bag!
Eldest/Admin had me design a purse survey that has been a useful tool in my sewing room.
RP-New Friend simply filled out the survey, gave it to me at church and pointed out some flaws in her current purse, and I was on my way back to Purse Groove (having been distracted, oh so pleasantly, by the things of the holiday season and other nearly one year old 'things'....
One quick visit to Joanne's provided some swell suiting material on sale and lining that was a fine cotton that had a 40% off coupon...Yessssss.
Soon, I was home, plotting, planning and cutting....Ahhhhh, the groove...

The suiting fabric was a different sort of medium but pleasantly agreeable.
It always helps me to have music or an audio book for my sewing endeavors. This purse was my Anne Tyler's Amateur Marriage book.

Two big inside pockets, one external one. One big zippered pocket inside and an old earring repurposed into duty to a shiny zipper pull. Two big buttons on the handle sides and two vintage buttons covering the velcro closure to add to the suiting look.

To be delivered on Wednesday...
Wonder how much tweeking I can do on it till then.....?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Purposeful Purple Panties

Funny Story:
I'm with my daughter in Cincinnati, at a trendy eco/mama kinda store.
Wonderful, wonderful things but like all such, pricey as well.
Eldest/Admin sees some felted fruit/veggies for bambinos that she just loves.
There is even some grapes made out of a softer material, like a cotton knit. These grapes have the sweetest faces on them and my daughter just melts.
Meanwhile, this is what's going in my mind:
Years ago, a young friend stayed with me with her tiny infant. Lots of packing and laundry for the young mama and something was bound to get left behind. After all was said and done, the only thing that was left was a pair of post partum purple panties. By the time the young mama got home, far away, they probably were already too big for her.
But being the practical person I am, I placed these in the bottom of my drawer.
Now I forget a lot of things.
People's names, things I am to do, birthdays, anniversaries etc.
But for some reason, I remembered the knit and color of the purple panties that were stowed away in the back of my drawers.
When I saw the beloved grapes, I immediately knew that the color and type of knit of those hidden undies would be the perfect little sweet faced grapes for Miss Vivien.
The week I got back home from my Vivieland Visit, I excavated my chest of drawers to find....'TA DA'! The perfect grape material..!
And here it is in process:

And here is Violet G. Grape!
Vivien's first of many stuffed fruit/veggies I think...

Another Repurposeful Success!
Think carefully before you throw things away, especially nice fabric on any type of clothes...
Fun, fun things can be had from the strangest of items....!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Crafted Decor

Throw out the rules when you're decorating your home.
You do not need to have a balance of matching prints.
Your art does not need to match your couch. Or anything else.
Check out a garden in the summer and see how pleasant the balance of colors entertains the eye.
See how many shades of green there is in the foliage of a tree.
Art/craft that you love that is made by someone you love, leaches out into your home atmosphere and warms it up like no Thomas Kinkade can.
You want to look at your art not merely rely on it to decorate your walls.
And you want your visitors to do the same.
I love it when company spends some time perusing my art/photos/crafts on the wall. I love to tell the stories behind them. Sparks conversation and opens doors for sharing on many levels.

Here are a smattering of Art of My Peoples:

I once asked Baby Girl to photograph my garden.
I told her that when I am old(er) I want to paint the incredible flora that has passed by my garden.
She did this and now I have over a dozen framed prints of a good year in my garden. To look at this in the midst of winter, gives me the hope for the growing season and a heart for planning the next garden year.
Don't you love this spunky little ladybug taking on this huge hydrangea leaf?
Baby Girl's Crazily Arty Hubby created this stained glass years ago. He crafted the wood frame from wood on his grandfather's farm.
Until they have permanent residence in their gypsy life, I am the curator.
No prob.

I ordered this sampler kit from a magazine in 1974. Ten years later, it still was not completed. A good friend of mine offered to work on it. In her pity for my procrastinating ways, she not only completed it for me, she framed it and it has become a memory of our long ago friendship. A treasure.

Eldest/Admin talent/hobby took her to a photo class in college that included developing her own photos. I so loved this print showing the gentleness of the lacy Queen Anne's lace butted up against the hard steel of a guard rail near a highway. E/A had it framed and presented it to me for Christmas one year. It is on my staircase and I touch it every day.

On a road trip to see Oldest Sister one year, Baby Girl had just received her first camera (the one I use now!). Anxious to document everything, she took to photographing my hands as I worked on a piece in the car.
My favorite.

Baby Girl took two trips to Africa last year.
This photo taken by Baby Girl's Hubby, shows the playful time she had with the girls of a school there. They got quite tickled as they taught her the word for earring, 'Ogamogamotu'. BG started repeating the lyrical word and began to dance a bit. The girls thought that she was silly and giggled with glee. Love this photo.

I'll even frame poems!
Two poems that mean much to me is from Old Friend, creator of my beautiful stained glass bathroom window featured last year. She is an amazing writer and sent me these poems years ago. They are in my library, named The Renee Busha Not Yet Memorial Library. Named such since she came to my home one week after we moved here, to rip up old carpet and to cover paneling with anaglypta and paint over that. What a friend. The poems are about our accountability in our old age and the other about a pre 911 visit to NYC.

One Christmas, Eldest/Admin created this family montage for us.
I enlarged the center photo, painted some anaglypta for a mat and framed it, with the smaller companion photos, and placed it over our bed. LOVE IT. The photo was taken one Thanksgiving Eve of a very difficult year caretaking my father. Rough patch and I might think that this photo documented the one time when we were able to laugh together. Timely photo. Means a lot to me.

And this silly little 70's crafting present came to me for a wedding present from a co worker at the fabric store where I worked. Crafting was reaching it's hey day and for this young girl to think of soaking my wedding invite in tea and decoupaging it on a piece of wood with some primitive little flowers, well, I thought she was a genius. I was 19 years old. This sweet thing has hung in everyone of my bedrooms for 37 years.

See what I mean?
Don't you just feel the warmth?
I do.
Thank you for taking part in Art Gallery Week at mama's collection!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Artful Fun

Am I rare or do I have an unusual collection of artistic friends?
As I started to document the original art in my home, I was pretty surprised at the amount. And I see it every day!
Maybe it's because once they start to create, I set out to beg and borrow (have not stole...yet) pieces of their unique work.
I just love it.
Go ahead. Ask your people for pieces of their art. Offer to buy it. It is an encouragement to their craft and your home will be more friendly and warm because of it.
Peruse My Gallery of Talented People That I Happen to Know.

Below is two pieces of art that my incredibly prolific and talented friend who just happens to be 90 years old, created. She painted these for me years ago and she was a mere 81. And they have stories to make the gift more precious. Christmases ago, I coveted a grand amarylis at the grocery store. Candy cane; vibrant red and smelling like earth in the midst of a cold grey December. Sadly, the budget that year did not allow such frou-frou, especially for oneself at Christmas time.
The very next day that I saw the beauteous bloom, what should arrive in the mail but the top painting in the photo below! A candy cane amarylis that would not fade or cost me my budget. It was an amazing gift from my dear, dear friend who could not of possibly known, or had the time to create it, in time to answer my heart's desire. A God-thing.
The second art gift from her, the painting on the bottom, is one she sent us the year that we had moved away from her. How could she possibly know that the centerpiece of our community is our lovely state park, Spring Mill, home of a still functioning mill. I gasped when I unwrapped it. It was like she had seen it for herself...
Precious things...

The pencil sketch of Baby Girl as a Baby Girl was done by my incredibly talented and wonderfully diverse son-in-law known as Baby Girl's Hubby.
He labored over this likeness for quite awhile and I believe he won an award for it at an art show at the high school.
This one I did beg him for.
And he graciously gave in.
Thank you my dear renaissance, intelligent, loving and talented Son In Law!

Years ago, before budget cuts, our lovely library had many extracurricular activities for dabblers like me to take part in. I took a concrete garden ornament class, poetry, financial planning and my favorite, Oil Painting.
It was incredibly fun and full of drawing, sketching, painting information taught by a local artist, David Fields.
Every time I look at the two paintings below, I smile remembering that fun 8 weeks of discovering a new artistic outlet.

The next three pieces came from a young friend that I have known since she was 6 months old. You can visit her new artistic endeavors when you click on her blog, KroStudio. She partakes in about every crafting/art venue that there is including writing her own knitting and crocheting patterns. A genius. I did indeed beg the original print of her fruit study and she added a print of the companion just to make me happy. At the time, her mama didn't even possess one of her originals. :D
She also does these amazing pencil studies. She sent me this budded hyacinth in rememberence of her mother's vast collection of hyacinths, tulips and daffodils in their front yard, two doors from us for many years.
The landscape was a Christmas present several years ago. She knew from being a little girl down the street from me, that I love to collect art. She was one of the little artist that frequently had artwork taped to my kitchen walls...

I do not care how rare art is nor do famous names impress me; things like this little piece just warms my heart in it's careful elocution of the tiny, tiny pieces of paper. Baby Girl did this little ditty in junior high and it's one of my favs.
I can just picture her clipping the tiny pieces and carefully placing in the right place. It's that kind of detail that makes her so good with graphics/photos today.

And Eldest/Admin has an artistic side to her that runs through her, deep and detailed. She made this oil painting in a crafting project with some friends years ago. I love the color and size and textures. Eldest/Admin keeps her color palette pretty subdued and classic, but inside she is so these colors! Eldest/admin is effusive and detailed; great combination!

Tomorrow: Crafting in Your Home!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Art Gallery in My Home

When my children where small, I utilized the plastic white tile that covered my kitchen as the backdrop for their artwork. Every square inch of space was covered in their drawings, paintings and crafts. Children visiting knew that they would get posted after creating something that was singularly theirs.
I enjoyed having a place to encourage burgeoning artist in their craft. Some children that would sweep through our halls had never been introduced to the joys of tempura paints and the mystery of color mixing. Some of them would even check by later to see if their artwork was still hanging in Mrs. Cory's kitchen.
Seeing the benefit of this kind of showcasing, I became fearless in utilizing my home as a display venue to all kinds of artwork.
Even my own nutty attempt.
Back in the 70's when a certain normal (read: boring) decorating mode, required lots of Mediterranean furniture, plastic shelving units and avocado shag carpeting, my heart raged against it. In our first apartment, the walls were normal off white and very tall. The white expanse was pretty cold and clinical to me and I sought an inexpensive way to counter that: I bought yards and yards of colored burlap (.79 a yard then AND I have a fabric store employee discount! :D) I placed the yardage at stripes on two walls of our living room. Warmed it up immediately. Elders of that time would look quizzically and critically at such an avant garde approach. My peers thought it daring but not for them.
And still I'm at it.
Drawing on my walls at will.
One day, Baby Girl came home to find a tree painted behind the toilet in our downstairs bathroom. Her response: 'Mom! What the heck?? You're drawing all over!:

So today on the first installment of Art in My Home, we will gaze and laugh and point and stare at Deb's Inexpensive and Expressive Attempts at Art and Decor.

Cheap dollar general clock.
This will not do!
Expand and recreate! Make a sun in the 'garden' bathroom!

Mirrors can be expensive and when there is one that is perfectly good, how do you make it work? Make your own frame by painting one around it!
Use paper napkins and decoupage around the mirror and add your own 'gild' around the edge....It works! (I also turned the lights upside down to update the sconces that were already in the house then added lamp shades....)

Paint your door red! Go ahead! Whattya got to lose? It's just paint! (my motto) Primer was made for people like me! And if your room needs warming up, over the very warm red entrance, a bit of flourish always adds interest...

And if it looks swell over the door, it should look good over the window on the stairway that has one of Baby Girl's Hubby's cottage window that he sold me years ago....

I have neither the talent or the expertise to make stained glass.
But I love it.
So I collect pieces of glass that I find and use acrylic clear glue to place these pieces on my window. Same affect. The setting sun adds to the craziness of this little bit of whimsy.
(Okay. so no primer will cover this little spur of the moment 'artwork' but isn't it fun? Plain windows can be so, so so....plain.....:D

And lest I ever forget my days of Curator of All Children's Artwork, I always try to keep a fresh supply of little peoples artwork nearby.
This little sweetie is my friend Will's first attempt. Will will be one year old soon.
Keep on drawing, Will!
Come to my house and paint!
Even on my walls!
No one will notice!!!

Tomorrow: Original Art: Yes, You Can Afford It!

Monday, January 25, 2010

This and That

You know when you go to a conference and the host or the master of ceremonies or some such person announces: 'We do have some housekeeping issues to go over before we continue ...'
Well, this blog has some 'Housekeeping' issues to go over before we have the Art Gallery tour later this week.

To commence:

1. Comments: Many people (ok. a few people) have emailed me with questions about commenting on blogs. Let me share with you some technicalities of comment blogging that I have learned: I mash all the buttons till it works. That's it. I have a google account. Simple. Free. User name and password. You don't have to really use it to have one. Free, remember? I select the google account when commenting and voila! All my googley things come up and makes me recognizable to whatever system I'm addressing. Sometimes I press preview and some squiggly letters appear to be deciphered. I do that and go on to the next step, whatever it is that they tell me. Sometimes I just press publish and all goes well. Other times, not. Crazy system so I suggest mashing all the buttons.

2. The Retreat Thingy has a name! 'Mama's Collection of Friends' will meet on the last weekend of July, 25-27. Plan on coming the whole weekend or as long as you can...Still researching locations...Ideas for me to research? We (Eldest/Admin and I) are working on an 'agenda'; one that is loose enough for me but organized and efficient as well.....Workshops and Free Time...Give me some topics that I can add to the mix, ok?

3. If you haven't checked out the Craft Hope Button to the right, please do. The organizers will be taking more crafts to sell for Haiti in a few weeks. A great response by both crafters and buyers have accumulated a good deal to send to the decimated area. All money from each purchase goes to Haiti Relief. I will be listing several purses when in two weeks.

4. If you are near Bloomington Indiana, you could be interested in a Childbirth Conference sponsored by Christian Doulas in that area. Lots of info and child related crafts will be available as well. Yours truly will have a booth and selling some of my Vivien tested creations. March 27th, Church of the Good Shepherd, 1-5. More on that as creations are created!!

5. (Just because I can't just have 4 points; 5 is much more tidy, right?) A Huge THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to those that have let me know that they are enjoying my crazy ramblings....I recently took a personality test and it indicated that I am introverted; imagine that! But expressing my thoughts via writing has always been my outlet..To SHARE them is new for me and to find that they can be enjoyed by others, has truly been a joy...

6. Okay. I did have a five; but ending with 6 is more my style, right? If any of you has a hankering for making quilts but just don't know how to start, click on Randi's 'I have to say' on my blog list on the right) for step by step quilting instructions. She has done a grand job on breaking it down for the most utter novice. Randi also sells fabric in her etsy shop, fresh squeezed fabrics...Beautiful things! I just purchased a luxurious amount for the above mentioned Childbirth Conference. (see #4 :D) Check it out and let me know if you've joined the quilting challenge!

Onward to the Art Gallery Week......

Thank you for your kind attention to the Housekeeping portion of this blog....!:D

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sabbath Things

" Behold how very good it is, A pleasant thing to see; When brothers join to live as one In peace and unity! Psalm 133: 1

Rainy gray Sunday.
Time to go to church and worship corporately.
Time to sing Psalms and hear His Word and learn how to utilize it in our lives.
Good stuff. Infusion.

And time to eat!
Once a month, we share a lunch before an afternoon service that takes the place of an evening gathering.
And we ate well.
Good food for the soul and the tummy.
There is a reason, you know, why Jesus told many parables referring to food.
It is the foundation of most things in life. The impetus and the enjoyment.
And today it was beautiful as well.
Photo worthy.
Then, a quick late supper of Spinach, Broccoli, Cheese, Red Pepper Omelet.
Good Feeding today!

Coming This Week:
The Art Gallery Visit!
Crafting in Your Home: Just What Do You Do With It All?
Stories Behind the Photos
And more.......

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday Things

1. Wake up at 4am because your aged body sometimes forgets that it's the weekend. Take advantage of this time to read your Sunday School lesson.
2. Return to bed and wake up at a much more congenial time of 8:30am to walk Miss Dixie before a double header of History Detectives comes on our PBS station. Our favorite show. Slightly addictive and very informative.
3. Go to ReGeneration to purchase a big chest of drawers that I saw in the window on above mentioned walk with The Dixie. Became sad that it had already sold. Sigh. Talk The Hubby into going into the store anyway and lo and behold, there was the most wonderful pair of small people benches! Very sturdy and very grandchildren ready. Poppy could envision crafting a table to go with for his little grand progeny.
In the Land Rover they go.
4. Come home to store above mentioned benches into the Holding Room that is our garage (Has it ever seen one of our cars? Hah!) and remind him to bring in The Rocker for Vivie's next visit and a box of grammy books that were placed in the rafters long ago.
Noticed that "someone" had left a strand of stickers on the arm of the chair.
Know anything about this, Baby Girl? Hmmmmmmm?

This forty year old rocker had it's beginnings in my family over 40 years ago, when Most Valued Brother in Law dug it out of the garbage for his 'baby' (Now forty years old!) Garbaging; a long established pattern in my family!

And today was the day Hubby and I decided to start on the kitchen Moderate Remodel. New counters and flooring are needed and cabinets should get a new coat before they look shabby in light of newsy things.

5. Clean up, go do some Saturday Shopping then out for a bite.
Where you ask? My kids know! Ha! Do you belong to the Steak and Shake Club?

Relaxing/Productive Saturdays.....

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Major WIP

I have been working on a book for almost seven years.
Not day to day laboriously, painstakingly just casually and sporadically.
My goal was to get down for permanence, my thoughts and practical suggestions on this wonder of parenting.
For some amazing reason known only to our Heavenly Father, this completely inexperienced, scared, unmotherly woman, became enraptured with the nurturing of four pretty wonderful progeny.
Go figure.
A God thing, for sure.
In my travels as a mentor, discipler, encourager, similiar thoughts were shared again and again. I found myself speaking of ideas and thoughts that I thought were common to all only to find that perhaps it was as unique as the call to motherhood that I surprisingly had.
Again, go figure.

I guess it was only expected that one day, on my porch swing, Community Friend asked me, 'so Deb, when are you going to write your book?'
The question did not even get answered, I was that taken aback. The question that did come out was, 'What in the world would I write about? What would anyone want to read from me?'
It became an interesting question that I posed to several of my friends, (and people waiting in line with me at stores..) actually, anyone that listened, I asked.
Apparently, the overwhelming response was: Write about being a mom.

So in the most ignorant of attempts at writing, I set out and managed a smallish tome about the day to day of mothering. I wanted to go further but came to a stop. I had several friends edit and critique and then I showed Most Interesting and Loving Friend this last summer on her visit.
She brilliantly suggested that I take the small bits that I have written and publish a small book, a gift book, to be given at baby showers and for new moms or older moms that need a boost of encouragement.
At the present, I am rewriting, preparing it for Most Interesting and Loving Friend to go over it with a fine tooth comb, all those tenses that I tend to confuse.

The whole experience has been cathartic and eye opening. In reviewing my children's childhood, I get a view of God's faithfulness and His enormous gift of Motherhood to this nervous, anxious, worrisome weakling. Nothing like a child to turn us into tigers, brave and courageous. Nothing like the hug of a child to fill your heart to the brim and be eager to share that with this love deprived world.

I may have been a capable mama, (capable also of rages, pouts and screaming) but I also was an ardent student of the gentle, loving personages that are known as my beloved children. They taught me more about my relationship to my own Heavenly Father than any book could dare show me. They taught me what I was made of and what I was capable of. They taught me the delight of self sacrifice when that sacrifice involved pure love.

I hope you'll enjoy the book.
Keep after me so I am disciplined enough to follow through to the finish.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Midwinter's Night Dreams

Doesn't this about say it all?
The mid winter blahs. Post holidays, pre spring, gray, dark and drear..

What to do, what to do, what to do.....
Here's what Hubby and I have been doing this week..
Going to bed early!
Last night found us with a sniffy, post H1N1 vaccination Hubby, kinda sorta achy and scratchy throaty from Monday's injection.
So after the dinner things were cleared, we looked at each other and said, Why Not?
Hubby hit the bed and watched his favorite, favorite Bit O Fluff, 'Cars' while I shuttled back and forth from the sewing room, finishing up hand sewing on a few projects.
Miss Dixie was clearly happy(?) to have us nearby and not running in different directions..
Gray and dreary turned into comfy, cozy, cheery!

And then! The piece de resistance!
A new Anne Tyler book scooped up from the library yesterday!!!
Her newest title in several years, long awaited by me, her best fan! (I believe I have read them all!) Couldn't believe I arrived at the library at just the right time to pick up it's shining new January 2010 stamp...!
Ah! Get Hubby tucked in, turn off his TV, cuddle down into my bankies and read till my eyes cannot stay open another minute....

Winter bliss....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Meringue Matters

Last Monday, I hosted my monthly meeting of the Fleur de lis Ladies. It was a smallish group that day, but nonetheless, entertaining as always, and full of instruction for me...

For this meeting, I made an Old Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie, Neighbor Dorothy's Heavenly Carmel Cake, and Naomi's Cheese Pimento Spread (the last two from Fannie Flagg's books)
I thoroughly enjoy entertaining my Fleur Gals and really wanted to make a special treat for them.
Why in the world I thought that with my horrible history with meringue, a meringue topped pie should be my choice, is beyond me. I guess it was a moment of complete dufus competence.

So my ladies got to be extra gracious this month, while crunching my way over beaten eggs, yet rich raisin pie innards.
One thing that happened due to this debacle, the Wisdom of the Ages appeared and gave me varied Meringue Tips that I quickly wrote down for further Adventures in Meringue.
Thanks to Ruth (age 92), Joyce (near 70?), Priscilla (age 80) and Jennie Lee's fun laughter at my pitiful attempts at meringue, for making it a grand meeting....

What I Learned About Making Meringue:
1. Use extra fine sugar if possible (maybe powdered sugar?)
2. Eggs should be at room temperature
3. If by chance, you get some yolk in your egg whites (which, of course, I did), use the shell to gather it up; works like a straw (I used a spoon; fought it all the way..)
4. If all else fails, use 2 tbs marshmallow creme to make it stand up pretty
5. Big mistake I made: Cold, cold for whipping cream; room temp for eggs....Got it backwards, hence, crunchy meringue....

May you be blessed as you make the Merriest of Meringue for you next To-Do....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Grant Goodness

I had an orange lunch today.
My buddy Grant set the table. He found my cobalt blue plates on the shelf in the dining room and decided that we needed to use them. Good choice, Grant. Orange and blue; highly complementary on the color wheel. Grant was pretty sure that he should have his milk in the blue willow tea cup. I agreed. He poured it carefully from his little cup. Grant will be three in March.

After my visit with Miss Viv last week, I decided I needed some magnetic letters for her next visit. Cracked them open to let Grant have at them in his usual academic ways. He had alphabetized them in a twinkling. He told me the color of each letter as well. Grant will be three in two months.

We had grilled cheese, oranges, steamed carrots and Cheetos. (Cmon! Ya gotta have some fun!) Grant kept to good manners, using a fork with his Cheetos as well as his carrots! Good lunch.

Of course, we had to visit the library. It is only 198 steps from my home. As we descended my front steps, Grant reminded me: 'Nana, you need to hold my hand.' Advised.
Good library visit. Two Frog and Toad books and one Fox book. I found them on the shelf and he read the titles to me. Grant will be three in two months. We picked up a video, Tales of Desperaux; he watched two minutes of it. We watched at least the first 15 minutes of at least 5 videos. To his concentrating credit, he did sit through the entire reading of five books. One which he helped me read by pointing out important words.

What a fun day we had!
Next week: Gracie's turn!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Corners in My House

Years ago, Soule Mama had (and still does) a flickr group that highlighted different areas in her followers homes.
Very interesting.
I love to photograph my house. It always helps me to see things in a whole different light. I can make improvements. I can rearrange. I can paint. Or open (or close) curtains.
When I was little, I used to like to hang upside down and pretend to 'walk' on the ceiling.
Actually, I still kinda do this. It gives you a different perspective. Like sitting on the floor. Do you know how much dirt babies must endure sitting where no adults usually park?

So these are just a few of my corners.
Taken by Baby Girl last summer.
Things have probably changed because of these photos actually.
It works good.
Now, go take some photos of your home.....

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