Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Still mostly reading and reviewing for my book blog.  I've had great fun with the medieval mysteries I've been reading, and I've also been lucky in some of my reads for Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge.  It is difficult to keep up with the reviews, and I have quite a few scheduled, but even more to write.

I've also discovered a new author for contemporary mysteries:  Stephen Booth.  I've enjoyed the first two books in his Cooper and Fry series.  Has anyone read any of his mysteries?

Still not doing much in the studio, although some evenings I've played with embroidery and snippet rolls.  These are quick and easy!

This blue one is 22" long.

I've done a couple more of these, but the pictures haven't turned out too well, so maybe I'll try again with the other two rolls.

What to do with them?  Not that it matters much to me (I just like to try things), but these little snippet "ribbons" have been rolled up on old spools, used in gift wrapping, and used as closures for fabric journals.  Even if I don't come up with a use for them, I like the way they look hanging on the wall in my studio, and they are fun and easy to make.  :)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fairy Tales, Medieval Mysteries, and Hearts

It is once again time for Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge:

  Friday, March 21st begins the eighth annual Once Upon a Time Challenge. This is a reading and viewing event that encompasses four broad categories: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum. The challenge continues through June 21st and allows for very minor (1 book only) participation as well as more immersion depending on your reading/viewing whims.

I've already read my first book for this challenge:  Snow in Summer by Jane Yolen.  The book is a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale, but set in Appalachia in the 1940's.  My review is scheduled for Sunday on my book blog. 

So...fairy tales, folklore, fantasy, and myth --  a reading itinerary.

 The only other circumscribed reading itinerary at the moment involves medieval mysteries.  I love mysteries and decided to do some concentrated reading of medieval mysteries.  It has been a pleasant and rewarding adventure so far as I wander through the 11th - 14th centuries.  If you are interested in some authors or titles in this sub genre search medieval mysteries at A Garden Carried in the Pocket.

A few more scrappy hearts and houses.

Have a great weekend!

Oh, and if you have authors or titles to recommend in either the 
fairy tale or medieval mystery category,
please share!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

More Hearts

Not much going on around here.  I'm still doing more reading than anything else.  A few new hearts...

more black and white


Thursday, March 06, 2014

This and That

I've been doing a lot of reading lately.  Some good books, some disappointing ones.  Farthing by Jo Walton is another alternate history with the premise that England negotiated a peace with Hitler and America never entered the war.  A completely different story line than Dominion by C.J. Sansom, which had a similar premise, but each one is frightening in its own way.  I've also read two suspenseful mysteries:  Waiting for Wednesday by Nicci French and Watching You by Michael Robotham.  Reviews are on my book blog.

I've worked on some more hearts when I've had time to sit and watch my Kdrama shows.  Finding scraps that I'd pieced for other projects several years ago has provided great material for the hearts.
 above and below in progress
 This one is finished.
And another finished heart with a cat charm attached.
I thought the part of a watch mechanism looked a little like a bird on the one below.

I think they might make
nice decorations for packages
instead of bows.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

And So It Goes

My studio overhaul is still in progress, but has definitely slowed down.  I'm looking for some inexpensive bookshelves for convenient storage and easy access, and I want a new table of some sort for working on projects.  I use my cutting table for almost everything, but it takes up so much space in my tiny studio that it would be nice to have another work surface so I only have to open the cutting table when I have a large project.

As I've continued to look through the plastic storage bins and sort through what to keep and what to cull, I find interesting tidbits from the past.  I've stored scraps and small blocks in plastic bags that I'm setting aside for more hearts or small projects of pieced and embellished items.  The "heart basket" overflowed, and I'm sorting things out a bit.
 Hearts in progress.
 They make nice pin cushions, too
 Buttons and other embellishments litter my sewing table,
and must be swept out of the way in order to sew.

I look through a lot of pictures of craft spaces, and although I love seeing those perfectly designed or beautifully decorated studios, the ones that feel like "me" are the ones in absolute disarray.  You know, the ones with fabric and tools scattered about by crafters in the process of some creative project.  

While a beautiful room is one of my dreams, the truth is that I will always be pulling stuff out to audition and leaving it for a while in case I change my mind.  And I will almost always be working on more than one project at a time.

If I can just manage to get things more easily within reach, get some shelves, and a new table--things would be greatly improved!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Heart to Heart

Before Christmas, I started making hearts 
from scrap fabrics, lace, yarn, etc. 
 I'd work on them when I needed a little handwork, 
but no serious thinking.  

Then with the advent of Valentine's Day, 
more hearts were in progress.  
Some I stuffed with flaxseed and lavender
 (what a pain, flaxseed and lavender do not go easily into the hearts, 
they cling to the fabric and struggle to escape); 
others I stuffed with polyfill, a much easier process.

Now, I have a basket filled with fabric scraps, 
some with hearts drawn on them already,
and lots of scraps of lace and other embellishments,
and I can work on hearts when I feel like it.

 Making the hearts is a soothing process.
I can listen to NPR
or watch Drama Fever or Netflix,
choose embellishments,
and embroidery floss,
thread needles,
stitch on machine or by hand.
 As I've been trying to de-stash, dispose of clutter,
and re-organize lately,
when I become overwhelmed,
I sit down and work on a heart.
Using up some of the scrappy stuff
in the "heart basket."

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Big Fat Lies

I recently read a post on NorthDixie Designs that caught me in exactly the same place:  Trying to clean out stuff and rearrange to have more room.  More efficient room.  I mentioned it on my book blog--how I just continue to store things I "might" need or want later.  

Huge trashbags have gone in the trash, as I clean out the small attic space, where some boxes have been sitting since our move several years ago and where I hide stuff just to get it out of the way because I can't quite bring myself to throw it in the trash.  

Here are some of the Big Fat Lies Dixie mentions:  

"I will save these little snippets of fabric and make a doll quilt."
"I will re-read these old  magazines for inspiration."
"I need more fabric." "I NEEEEEEEED ________ (fill in the blank)."
"I will make tote bags out of these remnants of upholstery fabric."
"I have time to add one more thing to my plate."
"I will make a doll out of these chair parts."

 Sadly, EVERY one of them applies to me!  I kid you not--even the chair parts!  Well, actually, my version is 3 spindles from a table.  You can check out what else Dixie has to say here.

I can't even work on all of my WIPs because I need better organization, and the chaos overwhelms me.  Yesterday, I wouldn't even go up there to see what I debated on tossing, but  had been unable to actually put in either the latest trash bag or the box for GoodWill.

While resigned to this chore taking weeks, if not months, I also continue to discover little things that had been forgotten or misplaced.  Some boxes, just have to be set aside because going through them would require too much time, and I know that I want to keep the mementos, photos, notes, and folders.  

And fabric?  Why did I keep these particular scraps?  I don't even like them. Then I discover something like small pieced blocks that never made it to a quilt and think, "Oh, this will be good to put in the "heart" basket, where I keep all of the scrappy things for making hearts.

(More on the stuffed hearts later.)

One of my problems is that I love all crafting:  sewing, embroidery, clay, mixed media, assemblage, weaving.  Which means an awful lot of craft supplies...and unfinished projects.

Notice the 3 spindles, legs from some small, old table
that I bought at a flea market.
I paid for 3 old table legs!
Of course, I will use them, eventually....

The other WIPs have been around for months now.

Going upstairs now for another round!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


 I tried my hand at some wire hearts.

  Well, needless to say, 
what may appear simple (and may actually be simple)
 does not account for the artistic vision.  
Dottie Angel's hearts are beautiful.  
My attempt is...pedestrian.  

I made one large heart from a coat hanger,
which doesn't compare to hers.

I enjoyed making it.
So, rather than try another large one,
I checked my stash of wire
and made several smaller ones.

I've scattered them around the house.

I'm not really happy with any of my hearts.
They don't sing like Dottie Angel's.

That doesn't mean that I won't make more.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Erin's surgery took place Monday morning on the 20th; it went well, and the surgeon was pleased and confident that the problem was contained in the one kidney.  Lymph nodes and adrenal gland unaffected.  Such a relief.  Afterwards, however, there were some complications, and she was not released from the hospital until Sunday.  She is doing well, and we are all so grateful. 

It takes me a while to get back into my normal routine, but I am getting there a little at a time.  While sitting in the hospital with Erin, I read several really good books that I need to review.  A new Martha Grimes, Vertigo 42, a Richard Jury novel, and I am a fan of Grimes' Richard Jury series; Dominion, by C.J. Sansom, is an alternate history with the frightening premise concerning what would have happened if Great Britain has accepted Hitler's offer and surrendered (boy, I found this an unnerving scenario); Tiffany Baker's Mercy Snow, a beautifully written novel about a small mill town on the Androscoggin river and mysteries past and present in the lives of the inhabitants; The Quick, an unusual vampire novel by Lauren Owen, and The Dirty Book Murder by Thomas Shawver, about an auction of antique and collectible erotica that results in murder.  All of them were good, and I'm working on a review right now of Mercy Snow, which I have to admit appealed to me partly because of the use of the thread motif, inserted subtly and beautifully throughout the novel.

I ended up without my Kindle for a while, but I'd tucked a small plastic bag with embroidery floss, needles, scissors, and the beginning of a small piece into my purse, just in case.  It certainly came in handy.  

Now that I'm home I will be adding some beads and determining whether or not I want to make it larger.  Currently, it is about 3 by 3".  

If I can get in the mood, I'm going to work on some other projects, but at the moment, I'm still a bit apathetic about doing anything.  Did some Valentine's decorating before leaving for Baton Rouge, and I have some projects with hearts that need further work.  

Last year's little sheep keeps tilting back, but I like her anyway.

The needlepoint pillow below is a favorite, 
no matter the season, 
but works especially well for Valentine's and Christmas.

The little mice go well for either holiday,
so I left them out.

In the process of mopping floors.  Vacuum, mop--a room at a time.  Laundry, just about caught up on that.  Now, just need to build up a little enthusiasm for cleaning the bathrooms.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Fun Clothes

I love seeing models who are more mature wearing clothes that I like.  Most clothes are modeled by young, beautiful, svelte creatures who are even more fairy-tale than the clothes they wear.  When the models are normal women and older women, it lets us see how we (normal, older) might look in clothes we like looking at, but might be hesitant to wear.

She's beautiful, but not eighteen.  Mature and classy.
Winter Bolero £235, over Cowl Neck Top £159 and Straight Pocket Skirt in wool £235.

Terry Macy and Angelika Elsebach Collections

And this one makes me smile!  She looks so happy!
  Another one via Terry Macy/Angelica Elsebach.

Actress Mandy Godfrey, swears by this outfit for interviews. Crop Summer shirt in striped cotton and Crenelated Skirt in Wool.

Below is from Blue Fish organic clothing collections.
What I love is that the models are not the typical young things.
I like seeing older women wearing fun clothing!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Christmas and After

A week in the country for Christmas was both fun and exhausting.  

The Treasure Hunt was worth every minute I put into its creation!  The kids were absolutely delighted and had a great time reading the clues and searching for the next one.  We adults had a great time when they brought the clues back for their Christmas Jeopardy questions that I interspersed between clues.  

Who were they named for?
Could anyone say Merry Christmas in French? 
What do you call a baby _________?  (bear, kangaroo, deer, etc.)
Sing "Jingle Bells."
What were the gifts the Wise Men brought?
Recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
What did the fox say?

On and on, and I'm already thinking of questions for next year.
Reading The Mischievians by Bill Joyce

On Christmas Eve, the kids showered and got into their new pajamas from Amelia, read The Mischievians by Bill Joyce that she included in the package, and finally, settled down to read A Child's Christmas in Wales.  This is an annual thing, and everyone, adults and children read and pass the book to the next person.  Like it or not.

On Christmas day, the Safari was another hit with the kids.  Driven through the woods in four-wheelers by the adults, they had to spot cardboard stand-up animals.  This would have been fun on its own, but uncles and cousins took it upon themselves to sneak out early and stand behind some of the animals- and when the kids got close, to move the animals toward them.  Some screaming resulted from kids and accompanying adults.

There was a Christmas lunch for siblings, grands, cousins, second-cousins and in-laws.  I have had alternate counts of 27 and 28.  Lunch, visiting, and imbibing lasted until late that night.

Santa brought the kids their own transportation.

Friends Mark and Debby arrived from North Carolina 
via Christmas in New Orleans on Friday afternoon.  
Bringing more food and fireworks! 
 So much fun reminiscing and telling tales!

Mark took the above pics and emailed them to Fee.  
See the duck Bryce Eleanor is holding?

She brought him to me and asked me to sew him up.  
Didn't happen.

Another one of Mark's pics--I loved watching the lantern move up and away!

--------------On the downside-----------

By Friday, Erin had not been feeling well for a couple of days, had to go to the emergency room at 2:00 AM that Sat. morning, Dec. 28.  The news was not good and a CT scan meant she had to begin scheduling doctor appts. when she got back to B.R.  because her left kidney was so enlarged.  After a week of appts., tests, and lab work --and waiting--this past Friday, her urologist scheduled surgery for Jan. 20 to remove her left kidney, saying she was an anomaly, that this situation doesn't usually occur in women her age.

After a lovely Christmas, the post-Christmas time has been pretty tense. All other lab work and scans and grams look fine so far.  Doctors have been optimistic about containment, and they aren't even doing a biopsy because the kidney has to go, regardless.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Treasure Hunt

Finally finished all of the Christmas Treasure Hunt details!

Here is the Treasure Chest with prizes inside
and Lucy and Stinker who have investigated.

Clues ready to be rolled, ribbon-ed, and numbered.

I'm grateful to Vintage Glam Studios and Dru Cortez 
for the numbers I'm using for the Treasure Hunt clues.


All of the clues are rolled up, tied, and numbered.

 I painted the back of the puzzle with black paint 
and wrote various things on them.  

The kids will collect puzzle pieces with some of their clues, 
and when they have them all, 
they can assemble the puzzle: 
 Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

There are also some candy coins 
that will be collected with some clues.
Mila, Max, and Bryce Eleanor can put 
the puzzle pieces and coins 
in the pockets of the aprons
(like carpenter aprons)
that I bought each of them at Hobby Lobby.

I made the Christmas envelopes several years ago;
this one is perfect for keeping things together until time to place the clues.

In the envelope, I've included some of the activities 
the kids will have to perform in order to get some of their clues.

Oh, yes, I've had fun with this project.

Right now, I'm storing everything in the chest.

The mugs hold socks, candy coins, glow bracelets, pencils.
The silver glitter bird will be attached to a clue in a pear fig tree.

Have to work with what I have,
and the kids don't know a partridge from a craft bird.
Also stuck in the box for now, 
is an ornament I made for another clue.

The aprons with pockets and the puzzle box
will also go back in the chest until we get to the cabin,
and I can place the clues and organize everything.

Bryce Eleanor has a new puppy!  
It was supposed to be for her birthday, but she was delayed.  
Amelia says that Izzie is NO HELP in wrapping presents....

Does Izzy remind anyone of Fancy Nancy?

I don't send Christmas cards; I should, but I don't. 

 Yet one of my favorite mail delights during the season 
are the cards from people 
who have yet to strike me from their lists for inactivity.  

And of those cards, my most favorite 
are those with family pictures.  
I especially love those from Amelia's friends
 who send us cards with photos of their children.  

Always makes me smile to see them 
and to compare with previous years.

Off to gather all of the Snow Globe paraphernalia
for the snow globe project for the kids.