Saturday, July 31, 2010

What A Week!

Here I sit ... on the couch, in the family room, with my MacBook on lap wondering where did this week go?  It's been a busy one for sure.  Of course the highlight of the entire week was the arrival of our fourth grandchild!
Miss Zoe Madeline arrived around 2 am on Wednesday, July 28th.  She's a peanut at 7# even and 19" long.  We made a visit to the hospital with her "big sister" Tess to meet her for the first time.  There's nothing like seeing a new baby!!  Zoe is home with her mom, dad, sister and family dog now.  We are very happy to have this sweet baby girl in our lives along with the other grandchildren.
Another love of mine is crafting, so with the CHA Trade Show and Super Show in our area this week, I was in heaven!  I have missed the last two winter shows and last summer's show was moved to Orlando, Florida, so this was a must for me this year.  I found it smaller then the past (smaller) summer shows, but it is always fun to attend.  Most manufacturers release the majority of new products at the winter show, but some have summer releasees also.  What makes this exciting is that I can see wonderful new products that I hope and pray will find their way into stores around the country.  It also gives me ideas for new projects and experiments.
It is also an opportunity to see some familiar faces... creative friends who live around the country, that gather at these shows for teaching, demonstrating, networking and new business opportunities.  Because of pending arrival of little Zoe, I was only able to plan one day at the show.  I tried to make the most of it.  Even small shows can be hard to experience.  Some displays are very large, other small, but they are all usually crammed with so much to look at.  With time constraints, running into friends around every corner, and some "must" things to do,  it's difficult to see it all.  It was still fun and worth the time!
Friday I attended the Super Show with my very talented friend Rebekah. We just wanted to have some fun and see what this show is all about.  This is a show that CHA has added for the consumers and the first time in our area.  We spent several hours there and it was well attended.  (Saturday will probably draw even a larger crowd.)  I like the idea and hope that this will continue and grow.  This is a good way to keep the consumer educated and interested in crafting!

It was quite a week ... now back to creating and loving that new baby!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Time For Some Creative Fun

A quick trip to the area Hobby Lobby and Michael's stores last week to find some materials to make a new decoration for the front door, also found other items in my take home bag.

It seems that I always have to browse the aisles at the stores looking for something that I haven't seen before or overlooked.  Just so happens that I found some fun things for jewelry making.  While at Michael's I found some great elements called "industrial CHIC" that are designed by Susan Lenart Kazmer.  If you haven't seen her creations before you should check them out...Funky and Cool!  I always hit the clearance racks too ... it's amazing the finds!

At Hobby Lobby found some interesting necklace materials called Silkies™ by Pepperell Braiding Co., already formed with a very simple closure.  I like them because of the length.  Being on the short side I have a problem with most necklaces being too long.

I'm not Margot Potter or Katie Hacker but I do like to make simple jewelry from time to time.  So this blog post I will share some simple pieces that I created in the past couple of days.  I have a stash of jewelry findings that I searched through to find what I wanted to use.  The five necklaces and two bracelets were created from new and old supplies.  Elements for that bottom two "junkque" jewelry are from my treasure boxes filled with wonderful "junkque"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Collections For The Walls

Today I'm share more of my "collections".  Besides collecting interesting pieces of furniture that I can use around the house and also specific collections of "my favorite things",  I have always made collections of framed items and other paraphnallia for the walls.  In this post I am sharing two of the wall collections with you.
This is the collection on the wall in our great room.  This collection contains items that let visitors know our love of antiques, collecting, Americana and folk art.
This is the collection on the  wall in our bedroom.  This contains the colors of our room, which is red, white and blue, plus items that refer to family, parents, teaching and Americana.

Obviously, I really enjoy the challenge of combining a whole variety of mixed pieces into one larger related display.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So Where Has The Time Gone?

So a tad more than a week has gone by since my last post and I'm just stunned!  Other than baby sitting, visits with friends, Tech guy installing U-verse, hair appointment and a family wedding ... what's going on?

Life will be getting slightly more hectic in the next few weeks, so I have decided to enjoy all the quiet, "nothing to do" moments that come my way.  We are beginning "baby watch" this week!  I have a number of new sewing jobs to begin for a number of people.  Looking forward to spending a day at the big craft trade show (CHA) coming to town very soon and the new consumer show that follows with my very creative friend Rebekah Meier.  We thought it was about time to just play around and have some fun!

Work needs to begin on a surprise for my mother-in-law.  A gift that will be presented to her at a dinner to celebrate her 90th birthday.  The entire family and a few relatives and friends will gather over Labor Day week-end at a small resort in Wisconsin for a week-end of fun and memories.

Lots of things going on here and will remain that way for some time.  Lots of my projects "on hold".  Whoever said being home is boring?  I just never seem to figure that out ... nothing boring here!

So with all the unfinished projects that I have in my workroom, I'm going to continue to share some other things here on my blog.  Today it is a piece I made a while back from a old pocket watch that I finally found at a flea market that wasn't "over priced".  Sharing it here makes me want to go through the stash of other fun pieces that I have collected and "get creative".
After taking the watch apart, I added a tiny photo of myself as a small girl.  My initial "M" and spelled out L-I-F-E and added words of what I want from my life ... to embrace it, explore it and discover myself.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Collections #2

So since I have been lacking in the "creative" department, which means I haven't been accomplishing much creatively, I thought maybe I would fill-in with some posts about a few of the collections we have around the house.  Then also so thoughts about summer and staying cool and cooking "cool" too.

Here is just one tiny corner of my kitchen.  What better way to utilize a small space but to fill it with a variety of collectables.  An old wobbly step stool is the place to hold an old tin syrup can and cocoa can, a old sifter and a small collection of "kitchen" related books.  On a small corner shelf above sits and old "fiesta-like" pitcher, a copy of an old recipe book that belonged to my mother, titled "Practical Recipes for the Housewife".  Other items that are part of my corner "kitchen" collection is another small tin sifter. a rolling pin, tin grater, coffee grinder that belonged to a late relative, a repainted washboard and small bric-a-brac.

Just one little corner of my world! It's so much fun to collect things, but I must be able to find a way to show them off.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Making A Simple Change

Since it's been summer now for at least a month, I felt I needed to make a little change in my blog.  With my love of fabrics, sewing and quilting, this background caught my eye.  Though I love all the colors that were used for the last background, this one somehow just says "SUMMER" to me ... I like all the colors in the plaid pattern and the yellow scallop edge.

Summer's here so let's have some fun!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday America

It's our birthday today ... 234th to be exact!  This will be a day of celebrations of all kinds, all across this country.  East, west, north and south, in large cities and small towns, the citizens of our country will be celebrating this Day of Independence.

The flag is flying from the porch post.  On this day we fly a flag the represents the first one, sewn by Betsy Ross.  When our country celebrated it's 200th birthday, we found this flag and fly it proudly every 4th.  For me, it makes me think of the history of this day.  We wouldn't have this day to enjoy without the past.

So my hope it that everyone will have a wonderful, fun 4th of July.  Enjoy the day in your own special way.  I hope that everyone has a moment to pause and think of how lucky they are to be living in America. Take a little time to read or sing this song to yourself.  The words say so much ... it's America's birthday song.

O beautiful for spacious skies, 
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plains!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crowned thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And merely more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness
And very grain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crowned thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
America, truly is beautiful!  Take a few moments today to see it and feel it!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Holiday Week-end

Another beautiful day here in the Midwest!  We have had a very hot summer season so far, along with more rain then usual.  BUT, the past several days have been delightful.  Anytime the humidity is low, it's delightful, and you learn to enjoy it while you can.  Later today it's going to start getting "steamy" once again. You take advantage of this by cooking and baking early to avoid adding more heat to the house.  So potatoes have been boiled for tomorrow's "Potato Salad" and the sheet cake is baking too.

Looking forward to gathering with family and friends to celebrate this summer holiday.  Just like our country, this gathering will be filled with diverse people and foods.  What a great way to enjoy the day!

"This land is your land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York island, from the Redwood Forests, to the Gulf stream waters, this land was made for you and me."  Woody Guthrie

Friday, July 2, 2010

Lady Liberty & Uncle Sam

Busy summer week-end is beginning.  My thoughts are of everything "red, white & blue", watching the movie "Yankee Doodle Dandy", 4th of July parades,  baseball, hot dogs, apple pies and chevrolet!

Sharing just one small element from a wall display in our very "Americana" bedroom.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Red, White & Blue

The calendar says ... July 1st.  It's time to display more of my favorite colors.  Of course, in another three days we celebrate the country's holiday ... Independence Day.  So I thought it would be fun to share all things "red, white and blue" and "all-american" thoughts and ideas.

We are preparing to celebrate the holiday on Sunday at our youngest son's house, with a Bar-B-Que and watch fireworks from his newly built deck.  He happens to live near a famous golf course that has a fireworks display each 4th of July.

One item that I will be contributing is a recipe for a chocolate sheet cake.  I know that it's been around for some time and friends have their own version, but it is always a get cake for this type of occasion.
Maybe you will make one too!

Chocolate Sheet Cake
Step One:  Bring to a boil, 2 sticks of margarine,  1 cup of water and 4 Tbsp. of cocoa.  Set aside to cool.
Step Two: In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of sifted flour, 1 tsp. of baking soda, 2 eggs and 1/2 cup of sour cream.  When  "step one" is cool, add it to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix well.  This can be mix by hand or with a hand mixer on a medium low speed. Grease a baking sheet with sides,(approximate size:15 1/2" x 10 1/2").  Spread the cake mixture into the pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until cake is done.  (Check by inserting a toothpick in the center.)
ICING: Bring to a boil, 1 stick of margarine, 6 Tbsp. of milk and 4 Tbsp. of cocoa. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp. of vanilla and 1 box of confectioner's sugar.  Blend it well to remove any lumps.  Ice the cake while hot.  For serving, cut into squares and ENJOY!