Friday, March 8, 2019

I Wish . . .

Don't wish your life away. Have you heard this old adage? Perhaps it was told to you by your well-meaning elders when you were a child. I heard it plenty of times.  Dreams and wishes are a part of life, especially when we are young. Maybe dreams are more a part of our lives as young people than they are as we grow older. I seem to think about wishes quite often nowadays. I wish this and I wish that. I still wish on the first star I see in the evening sky.

I wish ________. I am certain you can fill in the blank with at least one little or big wish. For me, the wish that I have been thinking about quite a lot is the wish that I had pursued my artful endeavors at an earlier time in my life. I have so many interests that the art supplies are starting to crowd me out of my studio. More often than I would care to admit, while searching for a certain item in my studio, I stumble across supplies I bought to use in a future project. That always makes me shake my head, serves up a good dose of guilt and sends pangs of anxiety to my core. I whisper to myself, "me, and what army?" That is what I say. Really. I do. I say that because I would need an army to actually use all my supplies and actually make all the things I have in planning stages, in my dreams, or sometimes in various stages of unfinished-ness.

But before you continue reading, let me assure you that I am not spending my days heaping loads of guilt on my shoulders. I am still a dreamer. And I like that about myself. I like to think of possibilities. Of course, I may need to be reined in a bit at times before I go off on a trip to the store to buy supplies without a plan . . . or with a plan that requires the army I would like to command in my studio. Just like you, just like any of us . . . our lives are what we make of them. Unplanned and uncontrollable things happen to all of us, and to those we love; but we each have today and hopefully we each have tomorrow. So, I continue to dream about what I can make and when I am browsing Facebook, Pinterest, or DIY videos on YouTube, that list of dreams gets a little longer . . . along with my shopping list for supplies. 

So, back to the topic of wishes. I wish I was an architect because I like to learn how things are made and can be made differently. I wish I was an interior decorator because I enjoy transforming a room into something that fits its purpose. I wish I had the energy and physical stamina I used to have before my three surgeries. I wish I had planted the romantic garden of my dreams 10 years ago, so it would be lush and full of mature plants, trees, bushes and shrubs by now. I wish, I wish, I wish . . .

As a child, my teachers may have wondered about me. Teachers would tell me I was bright, but I was also told I needed to try harder. I'm still in touch with one of my elementary school teachers. He may agree, if he remembers what it was like to have me sit in his classroom for the fifth and sixth grades. Even my teachers in the lower grades observed and encouraged me as I dawdled and daydreamed . . . always drawing in the margins of my papers. But I learned to work fast, when it mattered, to get something finished and handed in with those little drawings often in the margins.

My parents emphasized being a good girl, not making waves, being polite and respectful, and of course getting good grades. That was a given. I wish they would have noticed my artistic side. Playing the piano and singing in the church choir and school choruses and musicals was as artsy as I got. Getting the carbon papers from my father's farm contracts was always a treat, as odd as it sounds today. I would find places on the carbon paper that still had some ink on them and use them to draw flowers, birds, trees and I would practice writing in cursive. My father had to hide his pens because I would use up all the ink in them if I found them by writing and drawing. He started giving me fancy Papermate pens and refills for Christmas so I would stop taking his from his desk! Now I have drawing paper, colored pencil sets, paints, brushes, lots of pens with colored ink and I have taken a few art classes.

One of my favorite scenes from the movie Uncle Buck is when John Candy's character makes a visit to the assistant principal's office at his niece's school. I so identify with his niece and not just in my memories of being a six year old, but as sixty-six year old! Take a look at this clip from the movie:

I will continue to pursue my artsy side and sometimes I may be a twiddler, a dreamer, a silly heart and a jabber box. I can continue to wish, but I also need to act. And if people don't understand or approve, I will ask Uncle Buck to explain a few things to them. We all need an Uncle Buck sometimes, don't we?

Photo source: CityNews
Thank you for taking the time from your day to read my post. As always, your comments and questions are welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. I will read them and respond. It is my hope that you and those you love are happy and healthy; and until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Mardi Gras in Alexander!

Fat Tuesday is in two days and then on Wednesday, the season of Lent begins. Still buried under snow, and with daytime highs in the teens and nighttime temperatures in the single digits, it is not like celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans. But, when I saw the pretty mesh, ribbons, beads and masks at the store last month, I knew I needed to make a Mardi Gras themed wreath. The traditional colors of purple, green and gold that signify the carnival season are a refreshing change to the red and green of Christmas and pink, red and white of Valentines Day. Full of color and life, it is a welcome change while we wait for signs of spring to emerge. It may already be meteorological spring and in just seventeen days, it will be astronomical spring; yet in Western New York State, it will be a few more months until we can really experience the sights and sounds and smells of spring. But . . . that is just how it is here. It is a fact of life in Western New York. Winter has its own beauty and gives our earth the rest it needs under a blanket of snow, but once the ground warms up and signs of life return to the brown fields, then we can say it is really spring. For now I am happy to stay inside where it is warm and not go out walking on the ice and snow.
For a closer look, click on the photo to enlarge it.
Mardi Gras Wreath
The wreath is approx. 24 inches across and 7 inches deep.
People have contacted me about selling my wreaths.
They are for sale locally for $65 and can be shipped by USPS at an additional cost.
I finished out the month of February and stayed on task with my goal for the month of deep cleaning the rooms in our house. I used Mrs. Meyers products and have been pleased with their effectiveness. They do the job and they smell nice. I am happy to have found my very own cleaning products and not the same old products my mother and grandmother used. The scents of Windex and Pine-Sol were never my favorites and I was not convinced that they did a great job, anyway!

My goal for March is to get more connected with people and be a better communicator. I have let the ease of technology create a false feeling of connectedness. I miss hearing the voices of my friends and relatives. I wonder what the future will be like as people text more and talk less. In their golden years, will their memories be brightened by remembering text messages they received? I don't think so. I think we remember things that we are more involved in, such as a conversation in person or on the phone, than the current form of communication via textspeak and emoticons. So, friends . . . don't be surprised if you hear from me via a letter, or a phone call. I really miss talking on the phone. I hope to do more of it in March.

It is my hope that you and those you love are happy and healthy. I hope you are communicating in meaningful ways with those you hold dear. They can't know how much they mean to us if we don't make the effort to reach out to them and let them know. I urge you to do it now. I planned my March goal in January...long before I had any thought of writing this post. In February I missed the opportunity to communicate meaningfully with a friend after I learned her precarious health had taken a turn for the worse. She passed away last week. I can't go back. I can't call her or send her a card. Reach out. Communicate. You won't regret it.  ♡

Your questions and comments are welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. I will read them and I will respond. And, as always, until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Waiting and Worrying

There is an old saying that goes something like this: What you worry about never happens, so go ahead and worry. That isn't exactly how it goes, but it is close enough. So today I am starting the worrying nice and early.
My morning view.
Every morning, before I my feet hit the floor, I open my eyes and check the view through the colored windows in our bedroom. After many years, I can discern whether it is sunny or cloudy, snowing or raining, or breezy. Breezy. That was what I was looking for this morning.  There was a slight movement of the smaller branches on the maple trees in our yard and I could tell it was a blue sky sunny morning. I was surprised to see the sun because I was ready to face the beginning of what has been forecast to be a harrowing day with high winds that will average at 35 to 45 miles per hour and gusts as high as 75 miles per hour. So, I am sure that I am not the only one checking the movement of the tree limbs this morning, I would venture a guess that everyone else in the whole Western New York region is looking up at the trees around their and their neighbors' houses. Our house was built in 1846, so it is safe to say that it has withstood many storms. I hope today is no exception.

As I prayed about my own safety, I realized I needed to expand my thoughts outside my own four walls. Of course I prayed for my husband. I always do. But then I thought of the first responders who will be out trying to help anyone who needs it. And all the calls won't be just for storm related emergencies. What about the person who falls ill and needs to get to the hospital or the expectant mother who goes into labor and needs to get to the hospital in the midst of all of what is supposed to be an awful weather day? Prayers.

I am sitting in our living room as I write this. I just turned to look out the front windows and instead of a blue sky, I now see a dark threatening sky. It looks like snow clouds, but I know that wind clouds can also be dark. The wind has completely diminished and there is nary a twig swaying. It is eerily still. That tells the wannabe meteorologist in me that the wind has been sucked out of our area and is now somewhere else . . . but will most likely arrive when those clouds cover our village. OK. I have worked myself up into a high state of worry.

I planned some projects to keep me occupied today. The first is to work on a Mardi Gras themed wreath. We don't celebrate it like they do in New Orleans, but I saw some pretty things at the store and before I knew it, they landed in my shopping cart. So, I will be working on that today . . . hopefully under my work lights and not by candlelight.
Some of the supplies I've gathered for my Mardi Gras wreath.
We anticipated the fact that we may lose electric power, so we have lots of food on hand that can be served cold. Just like before a snow storm, we; along with other Western New Yorkers; prepare as if we will be unable to shop for weeks.

It is beginning to thunder. I guess the wannabe meteorologist in me didn't see that coming. It is raining now and very still. I am definitely worried. So, I will close here, get another cup of hot coffee, charge up all our electronic devices and wait . . . and hopefully the winds won't be as strong as they say they will be and everyone will remain safe.

Wherever you are, I hope you and those you love are happy and healthy . . . and safe from the storms that seem to be everywhere. As always your questions and comments are welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. I do read them and always respond. And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Thursday, February 14, 2019

All Dressed Up for Valentine's Day ❤

It's Valentine's Day! I always try to do something special to celebrate it, even if it is just decorating or making a special meal for my husband and me. But, since my main focus for the month of February is deep cleaning every nook and cranny in the house, I haven't been in my studio a lot to create things. I already posted the two Valentine wreaths I made, so today is just a short and sweet...mostly of the transformation of my mini dress form from Christmas to Valentine's Day. ❤
Please click on the photos to enlarge them, if you want a closer look.

Here she is wearing her Christmas ensemble.

The blouse, sash and pin were all removable.
I used rubber bands to draw in the evergreen skirt.

In order to smooth out her evergreen skirt, I wrapped her lower half with batting.

At first, I was going to sew a skirt for her,
but it was easier just to take several yards of tulle and wrap . . . and wrap . . . and wrap her!

I tucked bright pink tulle into her bodice, wrapped her waist in an organza ribbon and tied it in a big bow.
Of course, she needed to wear some pearls, so I made a little choker for her, too.

The big reveal . . . All Dressed Up for Valentine's Day!

Thank you for taking the time from your day to read my post. Your questions and comments are welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. I will read them and respond. I hope you and those you love are happy and healthy; and as always, until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Super Bowl Sunday

As we get closer to the beginning of the Super Bowl, in about 45 minutes, we are still trying to decide if we will watch the game or a movie. We are not fans of either team, so it does not matter to us which team wins or loses. We are fans of a few NFL teams, and one in particular; but none of them made it to the big game. We enjoyed the playoffs, and maybe that is enough. But will we miss something that a large percentage of the population will be watching en masse, if we aren't viewing it at the same time as everyone else? We have the DVR set to record it and figure that we can fast forward through the game and maybe even some of the commercials . . . even though some people say they really only watch for the entertainment at half time and to see the commercials . . . we do enjoy a good football game! If it is a close game, that is all the better. So, we will decide soon and in the meanwhile, I will work on some hand sewing or sorting a box of baubles that I plan to use soon on a special paper craft project.

We had an extreme wintry spell over the past week with temperatures dipping down to -9 degrees and windchills to -25. The National Weather Service officially called it a blizzard, which is a pretty rare occurrence, even for us here in Western New York State. I fought off my nervousness about the cold and snow and whiteouts by hunkering down in my studio. Luckily, I had gone shopping before the storm and instead of buying bread and milk, I stocked up on materials for some new projects, so I made a wreath to keep myself occupied. I have discovered that making wreaths is a very satisfying way to use my creativity and even though I like to  make quilts, they take much longer, so the rewards come sooner when making a wreath!

If you would like a closer view, please click on the photo to enlarge it.
It is February.
That means it is time to make all things Valentine.
I made this wreath during the blizzard we had this past week.
It is approximately 24" across by 7" deep.
During the winter months I find I am inclined to pursuing what were once called the  "domestic arts" . . . sewing, decorating (which includes paper crafting, drawing, painting and mixed media) and even cleaning and cooking. Well, maybe not so much cooking! But I do like to clean in the winter because the brightness from the snow makes the rooms in our old house filled with light and it makes such chores easier. :-) I have jumped on the popular Mrs. Meyers wagon and am waiting for my first order to arrive. I can't believe how excited I am as I anticipate the arrival of cleaning supplies! They are supposed to be delivered this week, so will let you know how I liked them in my next post; and if you have tried them, I'd like to hear from you.

While I have been writing this post, I have been taking little breaks to watch the movie Hush . . . Hush, Sweet Charlotte with my husband. It had been a long time since I Iast saw the movie. It made me think about what people silently suffer through, how they are mistreated and misunderstood and what conclusions people often jump to. The movie is an extreme example, but the story of deceit and manipulation is probably played out more often than we realize. It really is hard for me to believe how badly people can treat one another. I try to see the best in people. I expect it. Sometimes I am disappointed, but there is a lot of good in our world. People are doing good things and that is what I need to remember.

It is halftime now . . . and I have been peeking at the score on my phone. Shhhh . . . don't tell my husband! He just started watching the recorded game . . . from the beginning. So, I will close here so we can watch the game together, see the commercials, the halftime show and then have fun reading fans' reactions tomorrow on social media!

As always, your questions and comments are welcome. You can post them here on my blog or on Facebook. I read them and always respond. So, may the best team win and until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Staying on track . . .

It is the middle of January and it should be no surprise to anyone who has lived in the Northeast that we will most likely have a big snow storm or two during the winter. So while we await the first storm of the year, I am thinking about how I will get through the next several days of being snowed in. As I have been continuing my purging efforts around the house this month, that is part of my January 2019 focus, I have come across many unfinished projects and have added several of them to my TO DO list.

During the year, I often say to myself ..."when we have a winter storm, I will hunker down and  do one of those items on my list that requires a chunk of uninterrupted time". But the storm comes and the storm goes . . . and my list pretty much remains static. So, today, as I am sitting here watching the weather and wondering how bad the storm will be . . .if we will get the 20" of snow and the blizzard-like conditions they are predicting, I have decided that I need to rethink my old imaginary plan to knock those projects off my list.
The first thought I had is to create a project box for myself...something that has a name and a purpose...that I can open and find one of those undone projects inside that I always say I will work on during a storm, but never do. It might sound a bit simplistic, but for a person like myself, who is pulled in many directions by creative thoughts and urges, I am thinking this just might work. Of course, it will require some effort and stick-to-it-iveness on my part, but I am thinking of the good feelings I will have when I have accomplished whatever task I find inside. Once the plows have cleared the roads, we have shoveled our way out of the house and the sun comes back out, I will be able to feel that sense of accomplishment I anticipate.

So, today I will grab a couple of boxes and prepare some winter storm project boxes. I know one project will be a little flannel doll quilt that needs the binding sewn on. It is already pinned and with little effort, it can be finished. The next will be a box of photos that need sorting, labeling and sharing. I have a lot of photos, but one little shoe-box-sized project shouldn't be too daunting. I will make pretty labels for the boxes and place them in a prominent place on a shelf. I look forward to opening them on a snow day . . . maybe tomorrow!

For other things on my TO DO list that can't be put in a box, I might resurrect an old idea I learned about many years ago. I saw it in a magazine and although I can't give the person who wrote about it credit, I recall it was for families to use to get some household chores done. It might have included a reward system. There is ice cream in the freezer, so we are good on the rewards here. 🙂 The idea was to write down the chores on slips of paper, fold them in half, and put them in a fish bowl or a mason jar. I don't recall the details, but I have always thought it was a cute idea and it didn't involve any nagging or begging . . . which I know gets really tiring for parents! I might take a few of those unboxable items from my list and put them on slips of paper and bottle them. There are many little chores that take only 15 minutes or so to do, but I tend to tell myself I can do them later, and later never comes! The tedious microwave scrubbing and the dirty oven vents come to mind. Those old toothbrushes I save and some Q-tips will be my cleaning tools . . and that is probably why those chores never rise to the top of the TO DO list! Then there is the silverware drawer . . . how is it that it gets dirty inside when we put only clean utensils in it? For breaks, how about I actually watch some of the programs I have recorded that are taking up space on my DVR list? I mean . . . really . . . how many Hallmark movies can I keep on the list? At this rate, I will be watching them in July!

I am back on track in my studio . . . after a little post-holiday break and a vacation at Disney World. It took me a week or so to get back to my usual routine, but I am making things and, hopefully, I will get to those TO DO list items, too!

Click on the photo to enlarge it,
 if you would like a closer look.
February will be here before we know it!
I couldn't wait to break out the pink and red ribbons and trims and make this wreath!

Thank you for taking the time out of your day today to read my post. As always, I hope you and those you love are happy and healthy. Your questions and comments are welcome. You can comment here on my blog or on Facebook. I always read them and I will respond. And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Cool Colors for a Cold January

When we are into the really cold weather of winter, I try to embrace it by using colors from the landscape inside our home. I took down much of the Christmas decor earlier than usual this year because after spending a week at Disney World, where everything was elegantly decorated for Christmas, I was on green and red overload! It really surprised me that I felt that way, but after seeing very tall tall trees decked out in every hotel lobby, restaurant and park, I was  ready for a calmer look inside our four walls.

I went to the closet to see what tablecloths I had ready to put on our dining room table and came across one that was my mother's. She had a lot of beautiful table cloths that she would use for special occasions. The one I found was one of her smaller ones and when I put it on our table, it fit . . . although it could stand to have another leaf in the table. But it works for me. As I handled the tablecloth and started to arrange the placemats and dishes, I was awash in memories of my mother and I started to wonder if she would like to see my pretty table with her tablecloth spread on it. I smiled and thought she would like it very much. 
If you would like a closer look, 
click on the photo to enlarge it
Cool Blue
A trip to the Dollar Tree for a little retail therapy provided the look I was wanting for under $25! I'm planning to get more use out of the new placemats, glass plates, bowls, goblets, and the glasses and trays on the mantle, when patriotic holidays roll around. The wreath was given to us for Christmas many years ago. I love how it all came together and it is in keeping with our 1846 house. 

When my mother was my age, she didn't have the spare time to think about decor and she definitely didn't have the conveniences that I have. She was still taking care of a large farmhouse and yard, cooking big noon-time meals for our family and the hired man who ate dinner with us, running errands, grocery shopping, and visiting and entertaining friends and relatives. Her shopping, conversations and friendships were not online. She drove to the store everytime she needed groceries, clothes, gifts, and household goods. She visited people face-to-face and when she couldn't drive to see them, she heard their voices on the phone. She organized her time and she got everything done.

The things we have now that are supposed to make our lives more convenient and streamlined might not really live up to our ideas of how effective and useful they are. For me, the time stolen from me daily by the notifications on my phone probably amounts to a couple hours, if I was to time it out. It makes me pause and rethink how I use the media and devices that are at my fingertips. And since it is a  new year, it is as good  time for me  to put into practice what I have considered many times. I am going to try to look at my phone fewer times throughout the day. I usually watch videos, read email, read and send text messages and look at Facebook in the morning while I wake up with my coffee. I will keep that routine because it is something I like and it seems to fit into how I spend the first part of my day. However, unless I need to make a call or send an email, I plan to put my phone down and look at it only a few more times during the day and early evening. That still sounds like a lot of time and maybe I will find that I can wean myself off of my devices more than I plan. Then I might enjoy more days like my mother and have the life I wish for. I would like more face-to-face visits and more phone calls. I miss hearing my friends and relatives voices. I think of all the things that I miss, what I miss the most is talking on the phone.

I am glad I have the opportunity to reach out to you via the internet on my blog, and I know it takes time out of your day when you read my posts. I am very grateful to have you in my life and enjoy hearing from you when you make comments. Your questions and comments are always welcome here on my blog or on Facebook. I read every one and respond. So, although I may sound like I am a little negative about using media and devices, I am not so much negative as I am learning to be more selective in how I use them . . . which I think is a positive approach. :-)

So, thank you for taking the time today to read this post. It is my hope that you and those you love are happy and healthy. And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.