Sunday, January 5, 2014

Three goals for 2014 that will make my life easier and more interesting.

I usually set New Year's resolutions on the first or second and promptly lose interest in them by the fifth. So, this year I thought I'd start on the fifth. Let's see how I do. If you have not been successful keeping your resolutions, I suggest you follow along with me to see how I do. And, if I inspire you, start your own goals.

Goal One - Organize. I've been thinking a lot about hoarding lately. Am I a hoarder? Everywhere I look in my home, it is stuffed with my things. They are things that I believe show my love for my home and for my life. I think my husband fears I am a hoarder, though. His hobbies and interests are more simple and fewer. And, like many other people, he has no problem letting go of things he's finished. I keep lots of family items that belonged to my parents and my grandparents. Isn't that what a historian does? My home is filled with furniture I've painted or refurbished, jewelry I've made, items I've sewn or crocheted and a ton of things I love that are unique and unusual. But as my interests have expanded so have my treasures. So, my first goal is to get it all organized. And to get rid of the "fluff". Taking care of the fluff takes time away from things I really love doing. Today I organized my makeup and toiletry area in the bathroom. I threw things away and started the box that will go to the local Goodwill Store.

Goal Two - Blog. I love to write. Throughout my life, I've written many things. Most people who read them think I have a good writing style and would like to read more. It's not been a very structured interest though. I write when the mood strikes me and when I find time. I've never made it a priority and set time aside. As I've read through lots of blogs about blogging I found that setting a daily time goal and forcing yourself to do it is the golden rule of blogging. So my goal is five minutes a day. This should result in a blog post every three or so days. In between I'll make notes. So far, so good.

Goal Three - Create. As I said, I love to paint, crochet, make jewelry and do all kinds of art. I see beauty everywhere - the way the wind blows the snow, how my grandchildren look when they don't know I'm watching, the way books stack on a shelf. And my mind races to capture that beauty. When I have time to myself I do my best to re-create it. Or at the very least the spirit of it. Putting my own spin on something I've seen is the best part of creation. I love the look of freeform crochet and have been investigating it for the last few weeks. I belong to a website called Ravelry - - where I got a pattern for a paisley design. That's one shape I can use in freeform. I also have a pattern for a freeform crocheted scarf that I got from Red Heart Yarn - It has several shapes in it that I would like to learn. I think I'll work on that.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Being a mom

I have recently spent a lot of time with my children. How dear they are to me. If I leave this world a better place than I found it, it will be because I raised wonderful children and taught them to raise wonderful children.

I often wish I had already done something big - like written a wildly successful novel or taught children in Ethiopia to read. And, I know, there's still plenty of time......after all, I'm planning to live to be a hundred or more. And I'm intensely more intelligent than I was before. So.................

But, I digress. In a younger day, they called me Pollyanna because I solved problems and led people by teaching others how to look at the glass as half full. I once had a boss who told me I was too "positive". Can that be? I realize every day how special life is. Turning 60 made me more aware of that. So, I look at what I have accomplished. I wish I could say I've done the novel or the teaching program in Ethiopia - I never stayed on task that long. I have a short attention span. But, I have a wonderful "clan" to leave to the world.

My children reach out every day to touch others, to make this a better place. Sometimes, it's only a smile or a thank you. Sometimes, it's helping another student learn to read (T), speaking up when peers make fun of persons with disabilities(C) or leading the fight when people use hate to make small talk (R). Each of them has their own unique way that they send out those good vibes. I'm humbled when I see them in action. I'm their mom. How great is that?

So, on those days when you would like to pull your hair out or pull THEIR hair out................remember, you're creating the clan. You're softening the world, so the cruelties that the world sometimes spits out are balanced by the actions of you and yours.

Now, here's a picture of what I've been doing................some garage saleing, some painting and stencilling and teaching myself a lot about quilting, applique and the like. This was once a cheap little makeup table with no stool. I got it at a garage sale for $10 and found the stool for another $5. I painted the ugly brown stain green, antiqued it, stencilled it and did some freehand quilting on the stool seat. It looks pretty in my bedroom and is the jumping off point for my new bedroom color scheme. Never be afraid to try.

Monday, December 8, 2008 seems my whole life has been centered around worry. Did I say the right thing? Did I wear the right clothes? Should I return to school to get a degree? Did I spend enough time with my child today? (That was a BIG one when the children were smaller.) Did I pay that bill? Where did I leave my glasses? Did I spend too much? Should I have eaten that HUGE dinner? and then those snacks on top of it? Why do I need so much fabric? or beads? or paint? Why can't I finish things? Why do I start so many things? Am I ADD?

I really don't like worry. It is such a waste of time...........and I can't stand to waste time - unless I intend to. I even resent sleeping. It takes away from living. So why do I worry? Well, I think it's my grandmother's fault.

She was this huge woman. Huge in the ways of life, not in stature. She outlived three husbands. Each of them was a phenomenal man who adored her. Each of them was unique and had such wonderful life stories. And the two I knew were beautiful men.....inside, where it counts. Somehow, this 4'10" woman was able to snag three good men. And I'm sure each of them would tell you that she added far more to their lives than they brought to hers.

She was a tower of strength, a shrewd investment banker, an inventive chef, an iron-fisted prison warden, a dedicated teacher, an extraordinary clothing designer, an entrepreneur, a comedienne with great short, a woman. Like many out there, she wore lots of hats and did all of them well. But she had this great secret...................................she worried.

You could find her in the middle of the night sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in front of her, a cigarette between her fingers ("Mary, you're about to lose your ashes") playing solitaire. If you asked her why she was up, she'd tell you she couldn't sleep. Never a word about worry. But next to her was the pile of bills - or the report card with D's - or the broken whatsit that she was trying to figure out how to get fixed. She never complained. But you knew she worried. It was apparent when she talked with you the next day. Whatever she was worrying over had usually been resolved one way or the other in the night - in her mind. So, the words came out.....the ones that let her have peace over that particular turmoil. And in the midst of all of this, she would smile at you and you knew the world was a good place.

So thank you, Grandma, for so many things............................but not for the training on worry.

Here's a photo of my Grandma with a table full of cookies. She always started making them sometime around Thanksgiving, putting them in the freezer until she got them all done. She made somewhere between 20 to 25 different kinds of cookies. And she gave them to everyone. But she probably always worried that she wouldn't have enough.

Here's one of her recipes that my children love:
Chocolate Peekaboos
Combine over hot (not boiling) water one 6 oz pkg (1 c) Nestle's Chocolate Morsels, 1/4 c water and 1/4 c maple-blended syrup. When chocolate melts, stir till blended and smooth. Combine in a bowl 1 1/2 c finely crushed vanilla wafer crumbs, 1 c chopped walnuts or pecans, 1/2 c sifted confectioners sugar, 1/4 tsp instant coffee, 1/4 tsp salt; mix well. Add chocolate mixture and stir well. Cut 18 marshmallows into quarters. Shape 1 tsp chocolate mixture around the marshmallow, leaving part of the marshmallow showing. Let them cool and get firm before storing. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Rock Love

In my day job, I sell jewelry....fine a department store. This is just an extension of my love of rocks. Most of the time little girls pick flowers, write notes and put trinkets in their pockets. Not me. I picked the most beautiful rocks I could find and saved them. My poor mother. Doing laundry for five children must have been bad enough without all those muddy, crumbling rocks. led to a lifetime of rock love.

Yesterday, a lady came to my counter wearing the most striking pendant. She said her husband had made it. They spend their winters in Arizona where he's been taking classes for silversmithing. The rock was a gorgeous red and black and gray concoction. She said it was really dinosaur droppings. I found the name for this type of rock is coprolite. I found one beautiful piece of it on Ebay . Just search for coprolite. This guy from Utah has a wonderful slab for sale. Isn't that amazing that something so ugly can become something so beautiful? I need to look for a silversmith class locally.....another path.

A few years ago, my dh surprised me with boxes and boxes of rocks, tumbling paraphernalia and such he bought from a lady having a tag sale. She told him this was leftover from a rock shop in northern Illinois. The shop closed when her aunt and uncle became too ill to keep it open. She had no interest in the business so was selling it off.
Over the last few years, I have spent many a happy hour sorting through the rocks, trying to identify them. I have even sold a few slabs of beauties on Ebay. Mostly, though, they sit in my garage....taking up room....waiting for me.

Shortly after my dh bought the rock shop (that's how I refer to it), I learned about wire wrapping. So, off we went to Louisiana to learn how to do it. Check out Preston Reuther's site Thanks, Preston. Since I love the look of sterling silver, almost everything I wire-wrap is done in sterling. I've given a lot of my work away, but several I've kept for myself. Here's one that I wear a lot. I think there are two different types of agates in this wrap. There are two black beads - hematite. And, there's a bronzy-looking glass bead. Let me know what you think.

We're planning a short trip to the Wisconsin Dells soon. I hope to find some things there to wrap. Well, maybe we'll do some restauranting, to sample local cuisine. I'll let you know what I find.

Today's thought.....The optimist says, "My cup runneth over, what a blessing." The pessimist says, "My cup runneth over, what a mess." Bless your mess!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A Tribute To My Mom

I guess it's about time to create myself on the internet since I've done it many times in real life. With this first post, I will let you know that I CRAFT. So here goes. In this, my first post, I'd like to share a purse I made using the crazy quilting technique.

Although I've seen many sites that show fabulous samples of this kind of work, I was most TOTALLY inspired by a quilt project done for the Arrington Cancer Center in Lubbock, Texas. It's my understanding that it hangs on a wall in the center. See it here These inspirational ladies have gone on to create what they call "Art Bras". Check out this organization, A Way to Women's Wellness, at

My first attempt was not as professional as theirs, but very much in keeping with their focus. My mother died of breast cancer in 1963 when she was 32 years old. I call my purse "A Tribute To My Mom".

The central photo of this bag is her at about age four. It incorporates various fabrics including a Betty Boop fabric. I've used some antique buttons, several embroidery techniques, and an assortment of beading. It's fully lined.

Betty Boop and the quilted heart in this photo are pockets. I didn't put pockets on the inside, but now wish I had. I've added inside pockets on several I have made since this one and everyone is very happy with them.

I carry the purse everywhere and have had loads of compliments on it. To this point, I've only given purses to my family. Since I've been asked so many times if I sell them, I'm in the process of setting up an Etsy shop. Watch for a link to it in the near future.

Since I can't res
ist adding something sunny, I'll leave you with an Irish blessing

Wishing you always...
Walls for the wind,
A roof for the rain
And tea beside the fire.
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire