Friday, November 30, 2007

Pizza Dough and Marriage Proposal

27th Anniversary Cruise Countdown

Day 16 - I thought back to when my DH ask me to marry him. We met in the northern part of the state where he was assigned after graduating from the academy. I had moved up there after returning from living in CA. He was the kind of guy you could talk to for hours and share anything. He was a great listener. He became a great friend first. We lived in the same complex - he with two friends and me with my sister. We had been dating for almost two years. One evening I was making pizza from scratch and I noticed he was acting strange. He came up behind me in the kitchen and said to me he had something to ask me. My hands were covered in pizza dough so I couldn't even put the ring on. After he popped the question, he collapsed in the living room chair from sheer adrenaline pumping. I had never seen anyone that pale. That was a glorious day for me. He shared how he ask his dad about marrying me. And dad being the simple, wonderful man he was replied, "If you love her what's the problem. Marry her."

Dotee Dolls Trade Closed

Yesterday we were assigned trade partners and mailed out our dolls to their new homes. I decided to have a little more fun with them. Since they were FAT babies, I felt they needed a blankie to cover them for travel and what better way than tucked in a FAT quarter. I also made little mini brag books for the recipient announcing their birth, with their name and some pics in the brag book. As you can see Sweetie Pie has her little baby rattle close by and is safely tucked in her blankie. What fun!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dog Days and Angel Ways

27th Anniversary Cruise Countdown

Day 17 - Early in my hubby's career he trained as a K-9 handler. The State's procedures were to do a home visit and interview the family, not just the police officer. They came in and built a kennel in our backyard to house the K-9. I remember riding to the main office with my hubby to see the dog that would become his partner. He was a beautiful German Shepherd named Zach.

We wondered how he and our family pet, Bear, would get along. Our sons took to him right away. He became another member of the family.

When localities realized there was a K-9 assigned to our area, my hubby was called out a lot. There were days he didn't get much sleep. Zach was a track and attack dog. And their training together did not end when they finished the academy. One day I stuck my head in the front door to tell Zach to have a good day. That was the first and only time he growled at me. He knew the difference between working and being off-duty. Once he was in the patrol car he knew the only other person allowed in that car was his handler. He was very protective of my DH.

There was one exception to that rule for Zach. Our sons could do anything with him and he never growled or showed any signs of aggression toward them. There were many days my middle son would be in the backyard pretending to be a police officer and Zach would fully comply to any command he would give him. Dogs are such amazing animals.

My son shared with me that a blood hound tracks off the person's scent where as other dogs track off of ground movement and scent. He learned that even their ears play a part in how they track for a scent. It was very interesting information. I wonder if he will follow his dad's footsteps as a K-9 handler one day?

My FIRST ATC (artist's trading card) TRADE

FAT is having an angel ATC trade. I have been pondering what to do for my first ATC. I had heard about painting fusible webs and stabilizers. So I ran a page of Victorian clip-art on Pellon stabilizer through my copier. I wanted to see if it would work. The Pellon didn't jam in my copier. The copy was faint but legible. I chose an angel, fussy-cut around it and painted the backside with glitter paint. The paint made the design pop. So I painted the front the same way. I added the ribbon with "Imagine" to the bottom and a wire/pearl wrap for a halo. I am pleased with how my first angel ATC turned out. The face is lighter than photographed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

27th Celebration Cruise Countdown

Day 18 - Its getting closer. Last night my hubby suggested we check clothing. This year I want to pack light. Just enough to get both of our clothing into one bag plus a carry-on. Anyone have any suggestions for packing light? In the past we have taken so much clothing it was hilarious. To heck with the clothes. Of course for me its the "other" stuff that I can't go without. I have to pack my reading books, favorite magazines and a few projects.

Reflecting Back

When it was time for kindergarten I decided to homeschool. In my area there was a great organized group of homeschool families. I enjoyed having my children around and experiencing more of their firsts in their lives. My DH wasn't too sure about homeschooling. But as time moved on each year another year of homeschooling continued. When my oldest entered high school we joined with a local school for a few classes. We paid for credited foreign language classes and moved him through high school. Each child had different interests and we were able to adjust them accordingly. My youngest entered high school at the local Christian school. He felt he needed a smaller environment to learn in. Our high school like most in the cities was too crowded. When my hubby would go on assignments I would pack the boys up and we would all go. They enjoyed learning about different places in our home state. I miss those days, but we have all moved on in our lives. We have many wonderful memories.

More Tags

I just could not resist posting this picture of my manila folder. I absolutely love this technique.
Its easy and produces great effects quickly. I did both the coffee dye and watercolor at the same time. The colors are vibrant and the dye stains give it so much texture. I was able to produce the coffee ring on one side.
I don't want to cut it up but I want to make more tags. I think this folder would produce some wonderful tags. Any other suggestions for the folder?
I am trying Jacq's paper/fabric technique and have a sample drying. Another post, another day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

27th Anniversary Cruise Countdown

Today is the 27th of November and 19 days away from my departure to the Caribbean.

Reflecting back

After my second son was born my hubby immediately knew he wanted a third child and that was great with me. When I went into labor my hubby was on the midnight shift and his dispatcher informed him he needed to head home. My FIL arrived earlier that evening and watched the boys. I wasn't sure if I would make it to the hospital before the baby arrived. At the hospital the only thing my nurse would say is "Don't push, wait for the doctor." As my doctor walked into the room our third son greeted him. He was not waiting on anyone.
When our third son was born our oldest son picked his first name. I will never forget him calling me late at night after he and his dad got home from the hospital. His little voice said "Mom can I name him?" His name means "Jehovah's gift." And he has definitely been a gift but all of them are to me. He was the only one born with a head full of dark hair. Many times people have mistaken my other two sons for one another and thought they were twins at times.
My third born is 6'3" and stands tall above all our family. I knew after they took his stats at birth that he would be taller. I'm not sure how I knew that except that his length measured longer than my other two at birth.
If you have ever read the book "Birth Order" by Kevin Leman there is a lot of truth about the pecking order of children and their personalities. My third son is the strong and quiet one. He is just there for you, standing in the background. But because of his height, even in the background he is seen.

Tags - Step 3 Acrylic Wash

This step was very quick and easy. I have had
the acrylic paints for several years. But they were still good, so I used what I had instead of
buying more. The colors I chose were English Lace, Pineapple and Sky Blue. I watered down the paints and brushed them on three new coffee dyed tags. I like the subtle effect of the wash on the tags. Usually I like everything bold and vibrant but this entire process is teaching me to enjoy all variations of the color palette. The background is another manila folder I coffee dyed and watercolor painted. I love this folder so much I'm not sure how I will use it.

Monday, November 26, 2007


27th Celebration Cruise Countdown

Day 20 - When our first son was 2 years old and I was still working we purchased our first and only home. Through my company's big year-end bonuses we were able to put a down payment on a new home under construction. My MIL found an apartment to move into and settled down near us. The holidays became awkward when my MIL and FIL were there together. She would not speak to him or be in the same room. It really caused my hubby a lot of pain to see his parents separated and acting that way. Those years were very tough for him because he had been placed in the middle.

As my sons grew older their Papa would come visit and take them for several hours to special places and give me a break. My sons looked forward to his visits. He loved taking them to the magic shop. There he would always purchase a little gag to take home and play on his friends. My boys would laugh and laugh at his antics.

In the present, yesterday marked a first for my police officer son. His first day on the road. He stopped by to get his dad's approval and words of wisdom. I, of course, took pics of them together. The changing of the guard! Maturity beyond his years. My son informed me I must find a place on the wall and put his police graduation picture up beside his dad's police graduation picture.


One of perspective's definitions - "apparent relation between visible objects as to position, distance, etc. " The above pic is an unfinished piece I am working on. Susan Brittingham taught a class on "Perspective" at our guild. She also teaches online at Quilt University.

The class went into horizontal lines and view points. Oh boy, was I in over my head. Looking through the columns the village view is a piece of fussy-cut fabric. That was the easy part. I learned so much from her that weekend. You can view her quilts online at

Sunday, November 25, 2007

27th Wedding Anniversary Cruise

Day 21- Reflecting back on my second pregnancy, it was another great time in my life. The pregnancy was easy, birthing came quickly and without complications. My second son came into this world smiling and truly grabbing on to the blanket being placed on him. He has never stopped smiling and grabbing for all that life has to offer him. When he is around one can feel the pure joy of being and the fullness in living a life of gratitude. He has this little smile that has never changed in his 21 years of living. His name means "Little King." In checkers the definition of a king is "a man that is crowned." A person that learns to be a servant to all is loved by many. He stands out in his servanthood and to me that makes him a crowned king. This part of his character was passed down from my DH's father. My FIL lives on through his grandson.

Never the Same Twice - Reversible Jacket

I promised I would post a pic after attending the
jacket class yesterday. Here is my finished jacket.
My teacher, Vicki, was true to her word;
the jacket is "doable" in a day. Even when the
participant knows nothing about sewing clothing. You really construct two separate jackets and put them together. What fun!
I am always ready to take a class like this one because the tips the teacher shares during the course of the class are invaluable. She has gone before you in reading the pattern, constructing the garment and checking any corrections that might need to be made since she is an experienced seamstress. Its like dancing, I get to follow the lead and reap all the benefits.
The flowery fabric has a soft pink background that makes the flowers pop. And the reverse side is a deep burgundy. I am amazed! The only thing left to do is finish the bottom opening by hand. I could have rushed to finish that part but at the end of the day I was out of steam and the hard part was finished.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


27th Celebration Countdown

Day 22 - In our 5th year of marriage, I began to greatly desire being a stay-at-home mom. There were three of us that attended the same church and we all felt the same way. The funny thing was one friend was our baby-sitter. In that year all three of us felt a strong commitment to pray for an answer. So everyday when we would pick up our toddlers before leaving the friend's home we would pray together. We knew God would have to change three men's hearts and help them to trust God for our finances. We began that commitment in September. One friend's answer came swiftly. My answer came on Mother's Day of the next year. My DH offered me and God a challenge. I could stop working and if it didn't work out financially I would go back to work. That was a deal I knew was worth taking and I knew in my heart God would be found faithful. I had missed so many firsts in my son's life and longed to be home with him. I finished my last day of work sometime in July, along with the great news I was pregnant. Now my DH would have to trust even more and his responsibility just became greater. That was truly the first time I had ever experienced God in such a real and tangible way in a group effort of prayer.
Needle Felting

FAT offered the group a challenge during the Thanksgiving holidays. We could create through any medium a bird design. We had been talking about the crow. So I thought why not try free-handing a needle-felted bird. I purchased a small piece of fleece and bag of wool yesterday. My
greatest concern in using fleece was could it hold its shape without stretching too much. The picture looks fuzzy. In actuality felting the wool onto the fleece gave me the fuzzy look. I have always heard crows are attracted to shiny things. During a scavenger hunt this ole' crow snatched a big "bling". Wonder if the owner will notice it missing? The fleece did stretch a little bit but not enough to distort the postcard. This card is a keeper for now. Caw, caw, caws it is my first attempt at free-hand design.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Beads & Roses

27th Celebration Countdown

Day 23: Last week my hubby had to spend one day doing my chores. One of them was grocery shopping, something he detests doing. When he returned from the store he surprised me with this bouquet of flowers. They were a bright spot on a day when I was experiencing a bad migraine and ended up in bed all day. I am thankful for a spouse that does not grumble and complain but pitches in to make life easier. I marvel at the gift of love, friendship and devotion in my hubby - truly a gift from God. We look forward to time on the cruise just being together.

Beaded Doll Class

I took my first doll class at Quilting Adventures. Kathleen taught us how to sketch a doll body shape onto fabric. Then we were allowed to play with our decorative stitches and randomly draw all over the fabric. In the next step we beaded over the stitches. And finally we used cabochon faces she had made and beaded around them to get this wonderful finished doll. This was a terrific class because Kathleen is an excellent teacher with lots of patience. In the new year I plan on taking a year-long experimental study with her. We will experiment using the book, Art Quilt Workshop Study.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful or Think Full

Happy Thanksgiving
27th Celebration Countdown

Day 24 - I am so thankful and "think full" today. I realize I need to think "full". How can I be thankful if I am looking at the glass half empty? My glass is full to running over. I have been married longer than I was single. My marriage has been wonderful. The time has passed too fast and I have failed to cherish every moment to its fullest. Like a great bottle of wine that you savour, I want to express to my DH how much I appreciate him. The fragrance of our marriage is like our favorite flower, the gardenia, and its wonderful scent. It captures your senses and draws you in to a place of beauty and joy. It takes me to his home place and the Tide's Inn where gardenias bloomed and their scent permeated the night air. During the late night walks my DH would romance me by picking a beautiful gardenia and bestowing it and his affections upon me - me alone. Even today he will drive to his home place to pick me daffodils when they are in bloom. I am thankful to God for all He has given me. What a glorious life it has been since I married 27 years ago.

Project Finished - Art2Mail Exchange #37

I finished this exchange yesterday. All 24 cards have been placed in the mail headed to destinations around the world. In midstream I changed the card process to whimsical. The last eight are colorful, whimsical and bordered. Playful kittens, playful children and playful butterflies draw you into fun and laughter. I hope they brighten the recipients day just a little bit and lightens the load of life when they are received after Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Potpourri of Mixed feelings

27th Celebration Countdown Cruise

This is the 25th day heading toward "the" day of our anniversary cruise. Reflecting back: Our first son was born moving into the 3rd year of our marriage. Its interesting how heredity works in genetics and really unless there is a major defect in a family most couples don't think about what will actually be passed on to the next generation. Seems my hubby passed on everything to him. Before our son was one year old he had two surgeries - neither life-threatening but still devastating to us. He was actually born with extra toes and needed to have three removed in order to wear shoes. He also had hernia surgery. I'll never forget that sweet little face looking through the huge crib bars before surgery when he was at Children's Hospital.

New Technique - Tags

Step 2 in the "Tags" workshop experiments with watercolors. I bought an inexpensive child's set from the dollar store as suggested. I chose purple, orange and green with a bit of brown. I didn't know what to do so I just brushed it on very watery. The three-day old coffee was brushed on after the watercolors. I had made a pumpkin pie and the oven was still warm so I placed the three tags in there to dry them. The oven was hotter than I thought and my tags now have oven rack marks on them. Could this maybe be another undiscovered technique. (lol)

The Wallet Fiasco

What I thought was a kind deed has now turned into an interesting turn-of-events. I received a phone call from an investigator at the local college. Seems the MD man, (the one the operator dialed by accident) fears identity theft may have occurred. So he has contacted the college to follow through on his strange phone call. I explained to the investigator the young man's last name was not the same, that the wallet had been returned to the rightful owner and that that-was-that. Or not! I gave him the owner's name and told him the student was in law school there. He thanked me and informed me he would be contacting the young man to check out everything. What happened to the kind gesture of returning a lost item and getting a simple "thank you". I know those days are long gone. My rookie, police officer son stopped by my home and I told him the story. All he could ask me was "Where is the wallet now?" "Mom," he said, "you should have left it there, not touched it, and called the police, that's what they are there for. And you would not be dealing with any of this." It never occurred to me that any kind of crime might have happened other than someone lost his wallet or a pick-pocket dropped it after taking the money.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Celebration Countdown #27

New Technique

Step 2 in "Tags" will be watercolor painting, but since I have not attempted that yet here is another technique I did using muslin.The dyed muslin on top is coffee stained. It still smells of coffee in my dining room so I must set the color and wash the muslin to see if the color holds. The bottom piece of muslin was shaving cream-dyed using paints and glitter. I love the first section because it reminds me of the strata of rock formations like in the Grand Canyon.
27th Celebration Countdown
Today is day #26 to the countdown for my 27th wedding anniversary cruise. In our second year of marriage we found out we were expecting our first child. Wow! We had not planned on having a baby that soon but we were excited even if MIL was not. No calling her "grandmother." My pregnancy was easy and very joyful. So many firsts to experience.

Good Samaritan

Yesterday proved to be an interesting day. During my early morning walk with my dog we found a man's wallet on the sidewalk. You know me and my looking for man droppings. I was attracted to a card on the ground, which I thought might be the phone cards so many people use. Many times they have interesting displays on the front. As I drew nearer to the card I saw the wallet and was actually astonished. Immediately I looked to see if there was a driver's license and before I had walked very far I was dialing information on my cell phone. The young man lived in the DC area. The operator connected me to what I thought was the number for the name and address I gave her. I left a message on their answering machine and waited for a return call.

In the meantime I decided the sooner I mailed this wallet back to its address the quicker the owner would be able to use his identification. I couldn't imagine in today's world how many hoops he would have to go through to get his identifications. I looked again and saw a card sticking out that said "student". Come to find out he was a law student at the local college. I gave the Dean of Students his student I.D. number and she emailed him. We arranged to take the wallet to the law school and leave it with the front desk. Amazingly enough the student did not know he had lost his wallet.

Later in the day another man called me with a similar name. He expressed a fear that I was running a scam. I relayed to him that I had surely found a wallet but it must belong to his son. Along with his reply "I only have a 15-year old daughter" came a name calling of "You must be a good samaritan." He seemed surprised to think someone would go to so much "trouble" to return a stranger's wallet. I realize we all have to be very cautious but always open to a blessing from a stranger. He then stated he lived in Maryland and his number was unlisted. I thought how funny - the lengths we all go to for privacy and to be left alone or not bothered but somewhere that information is just sitting waiting to be delivered into cyberspace to who-knows-where. I could have retorted back "well my number is unlisted and now you have it and my cell number, too." But that was not my focus. This reminded me of the story in the Bible about the good samaritan who not only bandaged up the wounded man left on the highway but made sure he had a warm place to stay until he passed through the area again. And he paid the man's debt in-full until he recovered. How many of us would be willing to do that today?

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Techniques

This week I began a new technique's workshop. They chose to start with tags. I couldn't find tags at Walmart so decided to make my own out of manila folders. Everyone is using coffee to
dye their tags. I confiscated my DH's left over 7/11 coffee, bought a small jar of instant coffee
and experimenting was off.

On one folder I placed granules of coffee and brushed the liquid coffee on. This created a stain with dots of coffee remaining. The granules left on were shiny. I like the effect. The second folder I placed in shaving cream with granules of coffee and drops of liquid coffee, then brushed the entire folder with liquid coffee. When I wiped the cream off the folder it left the folder feeling silky. This one is my favorite. While experimenting I had a dying bouquet of flowers my DH bought me last week so I flower pounded on one folder. Take advantage of a good thing when available. I'm reminded of the saying "Waste not, Want not."
The effects of flower pounding - colors of pink and green from leaves and roses and carnations.

I let them dry, cut them apart 2 1/2 by 4 1/2, shaped the corners, punched holes out of an extra piece and enforced my tag holes. On several tags I will create pockets by sewing up the sides with sturdy thread. This is Step 1 of "Tags". I am glad I could not find pre-made shipping tags at the store. I am excited about working on this project especially since I have truly started from scratch.

Celebration Count Down #27

Today, I will begin a 27-day countdown until my 27th Wedding Anniversary Cruise. I am thankful for the 1st year of marriage. My DH decided to transfer closer to his home place in our first year of marriage. We traveled to the new area to look for a home. As we neared the county line there was that friendly "welcome" sign so many see waiting for them as they enter a new territory. That has always stuck in my mind. In 27 years the quaint little area has burst out at the seams and expanded tremendously.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Needle-felted postcards

Yesterday I showed several new products I received as a Christmas present. I took the time to experiment and play with them. The funny thing is when I took the needle holder out of its package I almost broke it trying to figure it out. Of course I didn't first read the directions. I was too busy wanting to play. Calm down little girl! there is plenty of time for playing.
Here are four postcard fronts I needle felted.
The unusual one is for "Anything But Square/Rectangle" challenge. If you need to release a little tension you could play hard and pounce/punch like crazy but that is not recommended.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Several of the Creative Circle group decided to signup for a jacket class. We met the teacher on Wednesday

She helped us fit the pattern to our bodies and decide on fabric and embellishments.
The buttons in the pic are loud pink and lime green plus bold red. The jacket is reversible and will have closures. I will display the finished jacket after my class on the 24th. Our teacher guarantees it will not be a UFO!!

While at the quilt store one of my friends purchased needle felting products and gave them to us as early Christmas presents and of course the challenge was given to produce a finished project. I think I will go small and try it on my postcards.

Another first for me will be an ATC (artist trading card). The FAT group ATC trade will be "angels." I have an idea rolling around in my head but now to get it on fabric and into a finished form. Don't we all like a challenge?

On a serious note I am still having a little problem working with my dominant hand. After fracturing the knuckle it has become difficult to have total movement like before the injury. I have two quilts for sisters I need to work on. My commitment level I must say is at "0". One is a snowball block and the other is Americana with a center panel. Sometimes you just have to dig those heels in to finish a project. I can truly say without a doubt I am having a terrible block even picking up either of the projects.

What's a girl to do? Consider it a challenge and just do it!! It reminds me of a small child taking nasty medicine in order to get the treat they so like. I will try to designate a block of time to work on them, then switch to a project that seems to be flowing. Maybe that will work. What's that saying: "inch by inch, little by little..."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Simple Is Good

I belong to a small quilting group that meets on Wednesday's called Creative Circle. Unfortunately I have not been able to attend much lately. I see it as a flow-through group, which means members are free to come and go. We are a very informal group with diverse talents and experiences in quilting.
The wall hanging in the pic was a fun quilt I did in a class on color study and layout. I like the simplicity of the 9-patch block. The center was created from that one block changing fabric color. I added a little three dimension by placing yoyo's in the corner and a loosely, tacked-on butterfly in the center. I wanted to use the small panels on the sides but was short a few inches. My teacher showed me anything is possible - by adding another square from one of the fabric selections in the center and carrying it out into the border.
What I learned from this little quilt - 1) lighten up, have fun and play, 2) keep is simple - one block can go a long way, 3) don't be afraid to try a new technique.
I like doing a play on words so my quilt was named "Oran'cha Glad."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Saving for A Rainy Day

Once I remember coming across an old ad encouraging people to buy savings bonds during war time. I was very young and for some reason that old ad stuck in my mind. Recently, my DH and I have come across many people who have children in our children's age group struggling with their finances. It seems we have failed to convey all our wisdom on finances to our children. This is a great concern for me. Last year I took two of my sons at different times to a financial planner. I wanted them to hear from an expert money manager just where they were with their finances. The challenge was to help them see and ask: do I have a future plan, am I on track, where is my money going, am I a good steward of my money? One walked away feeling discouraged and overwhelmed; the other "got it somewhat" but still likes to be very spontaneous in his spending.

I am not sure why this topic is being discussed today. But one thing I do know is we can not expect the government to take care of all our needs. We must start today right where we are doing better to "save for that rainy day." I realize more and more every day that the principles God set in place for giving is the only foundation to be built upon. I don't want my sons on shaky ground or sinking sand. I want their investments to be "kingdom" made and their choices to be long-term eternal goals.

This little guy "Make My Day" is my piggy bank where I put all my found coins. It is very deep and not as shallow as one might think looking at it. Especially since it is not very big. But I can shake those coins right to the very bottom and back of the piggy bank and put more in when you think another coin is just not going to fit. He has been filled to the brim twice and I am working on the third time. It is a pleasure to give this money to a charity and make a small difference for someone in my part of the world.

What are you spending your life on? What are you investing in that will last beyond a lifetime?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What Brings You Comfort?

Here are my baby Dotee dolls. When I began working on these sweet little ones I felt they were naked so I shaped them to have a blankie around their bodies. They are all one piece sewn in a way that the blankies fold onto the baby. They were so much fun to make. I thought about the comfort dolls bring to children of all ages, from birth to death. We all enjoy dollies. I remember buying one of my sons a cloth boy doll that taught him how to open/close a button and tie a shoe lace. Stored in my attic are a few treasures from when my boys were small. These little treasures hopefully will go to their children when I become a grandmother. To be linked to our future through our past is to live forever. We want our children to have wonderful memories of growing up. We hope they will take the time to relay those feelings and thoughts to their children one day.
But for some those memories are few and far between. And for others that kind of memory does not exist. We take for granted so many things: love, security, protection, and the warmth of a "home." I have been pondering "Comfort" this morning. What does bring you comfort? I know for a nursing baby its the smell of a mother nearby, and the touch of her hand as she strokes, in tenderness, her sweet bundle of joy. For an elderly friend its the visit of a loved one or just a touch and a kind word to let them know they are valued. The little child that has fallen and bruised himself finds comfort in a parent who picks him up, dusts him off and gives him the courage to get back on the tetter-totter.
You've heard the words/phrases "comfort food", "comfort and joy" a "cup of... to bring me comfort", and a comfort quilt. That brings me to another comfort." The site comfort dolls is bringing comfort to many women of domestic violence and abuse one doll at a time. Check it out and maybe you would like to become involved by creating your own little Dotee doll and donating it to the cause to give hope to one hurting soul. I am realizing I don't want to be in my comfort zone - for me that's where I am pretty much doing nothing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Artistic License-The Mane Rock

There are many great artists that we will never see their art work. They don't even consider themselves to be artistic. Or they are so critical of themselves that they destroy their beautiful works for fear of criticism and judgment.

That is not the case of one such painter. While in Barbados last year my DH and I took a safari excursion around the island. As we entered a steep, twisting turn going up a little roadway looking right into our jeep was this rock formation on the edge of the road. It was so close you could reach out and touch it. I say "looking" because this was not just any group of rocks jutting out at you. A grand artist had painted a lion's head on the rocks. He followed the contours of the rock and highlighted certain areas of the lion. I loved the vegetation on top and how it enhanced the lion's mane.
This postcard is of the pic I took on that day. I added the yarn to accent the mane and give it a little more dimension.

Of course I would be remiss if I didn't add this little side note. The greatest artist ever - The Creator of the Universe. I am fascinated that he would ask one man, Adam, to give names to all the creatures he was seeing for the first time. Wonder why he called this a "lion?"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Remembrance Day

Today is a holiday in the US; banks, libraries and government buildings are closed to honor veterans. Yesterday was the official day marked on the calendar.

The pic for today is a collaboration of Americana fabric postcards made by guild members in my local quilt guild. The cards are being taken to Iraq by an air force pilot headed back before Christmas. There they will be distributed to soldiers in the hospitals and others who have no family. It is hard to imagine that some have; for whatever reason; no family involved in their lives. I pray that many will establish new frienships that will last a lifetime. Everyone needs support; even if from strangers that they have never met.
I must say I have met some wonderful people through my internet trades. They are fun, encouraging and helpful. And when we are traveling in the same area, we make attempts to connect and exchange in person. Who would have ever thought that the internet and computers would change so many people's lives? The connection is now global.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

From A Hymnbook - A Maze In Grace-Tribute to Two Dads

Salt Faith Challenge blog has a new challenge entitled
"From the Hymnbook"

This week I reminisced with one of my sons about a song his Papa always sung his way. He made up words to Amazing Grace as he went along and I would say "Dad you are singing the song wrong." He would do his big belly laugh and keep on singing.

On the quilt to the right the small military picture is of my dad, who was killed in a car accident when I was three. In the faded leaf the
word "two" represents "A Tribute to two Dads". One for a dad I never knew and two to my father-n-law, who I always referred to as "Dad." Both of my dads served in the Armed Forces. Tomorrow is Veteran's Day and this is to honor them.

I transferred my dad's military information onto fabric paper by running it through my copier. Then I ripped the pieces into four labels, left the edges unfinished and blended them into the painted fabric background with Caran d"Ache Neocolor II wax pastels. I adhered them to the background with Steam-a-Seam2.

The leaf outline is made with purple metallic variegated thread, then lined with the maze design. I used the same thread on the words "A" and "Grace". The mirrored leaf was made while the original leaf was wet. I folded the piece onto its self and transferred the image to the other side. The white letters "A Tribute two Dads" were from the Simply Stated alphabets package. The side border was copied from my mother's family Bible and blended into the piece also.

This was a great project that seemed to just flow together as soon as I saw the artistic projects on SaltFaithChallenge blog. I love their challenges. It is helping me to be spontaneous and free-flowing with my creativity.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

License to Create

I finished my Dotee dolls yesterday and posted them with a little ditty about Dotee having babies. One person hosts the trade and designs a sample of the traded item. From there all artists have license to create whatever comes to their mind. As I began to work on my doll she just felt naked. So I gave my babies a blankie. The last doll became "granny". Everyone needs a good granny to come visit them and encourage them. My babies were given names and will be sent away with birth announcements. I must go shopping for baby paraphernalia as it has been a long time since I have had babies in my home. This trade was so much fun and everyone's finished dolls are spectacular. Here you see Snowflake, Purple Rain-Sassy Thing (granny in bottom middle) , Joseph Coat of Many Colors, Sweetie Pie & African Braids.

Purple Rain-Sassy Thing is still living in the 70's. She is one cool but tough granny. Everybody loves to see her come visit them. She is always stirring up the household with her creative ideas. Don't you just love it!!

Side Note: Another deadline: I must forward my last Program insert for my guild to the Newsletter person today. In April 2008 Karen Combs will come to do a program on illusion.
Then I will be totally free from Program duties and the new chairperson will take over. Actually she is already working on some great ideas and I am looking forward to participating in them.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Missing A Piece of The Puzzle

Yesterday I ranted and raved for several hours because I could not find my cutting mat. I had prepared to finish my postcard exchange project. Needless to say that did not happen. But what did happen? What is the saying "the best laid plans of mice and men.." My day turned into the most productive day. I worked on my FAT puzzle d'art trade. At first I could not even find the puzzle pieces. My dining room was in such disarray with my project stuff sitting everywhere. So I began to clean and sort while looking for my cutting mat. I am sorry to say I accused and inquired of everyone that entered my home whether they had taken my mat and thrown it away. I even called sons and DH on phone to see if they had seen my precious mat. I called a friend who took a class last month with me and inquired from her. I realized I had also lost a green cutting mat that travels to all the classes with me. That truly looks like junk - warped and broken. It looks kind of ratty; to the untrained eye it would be considered junk.

As I was calming down around lunch time my DH called me and through the conversation I realized where the mat might possibly be. Remember I had worked on my first rust project. Well at 4am that morning I had walked outside to clean the vinegar out of the fabric. I needed something to place it all on and guess what I used - the cutting mat. But when I picked up the plastic bag my cutting mat fell off the railing of my deck. I had not even noticed as I was more interested in what had transpired with the rust and fabric. Oh my, now what to do!!

Immediately I called my DH and had to apologize and ask his forgiveness. When my son returned home I had to apologize and ask his forgiveness. And believe me - it was important to hear them both say "I forgive you." With a clear and clean conscience I could move on to finishing my puzzle pieces. I had never used gesso before. I learned it is a waste of time to put coloring in the gesso; paint after it dries. The entire project just flowed until all three pieces were finished. If I had found my cutting mat I can assure you not one project would have been finished. The puzzle art would not even be started today.
I realized I felt like the green cutting mat - warped and broken. I had let my emotions run rampant. I was out-of-control over a mat. I learned an important lesson yesterday - take a step back when things are not going your way and ask yourself - What is God trying to show me that I am missing? maybe change gears, you ain't all that, let it go, what else can I do, where's your focus!? My eyes had shifted to the "doing on demand" not the "being" that I enjoy as I work on the art projects. Relax, enjoy what life brings your way today.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

According to His Purpose

This little fabric bowl holds an assortment of lush fabrics I picked out to make into a fabric postcard. The postcard in the bowl was made with chopped up pieces of scrap fabric, tulle, crinkle angelina and BoNash. The base fabric was hand-dyed, but I did not like the end result so I covered it up. Afterwards I added the deep purple applique flower and encircled it with hand-dyed yarn. It will travel to Canada, where it will find a permanent home.

I was pondering the verse that says "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God...". You know I have loved many things in this world and chased after them too. But none of those things brought me satisfaction, complete contentment or joy like knowing I am in God's purpose. That is the last part of the verse "... to them who are the called according to his purpose." At present I know that where I am is right in the middle of where God wants me. That is a comfort in the midst of this crazy world.
Still I struggle with all things working for good.
I see members of my own family struggling with injustices occurring in the work place; no integrity, lying tongues and sewing of discord. I must keep my eyes focused on the Creator to see how He chooses to handle the situation with my dearest. I can't fix the situation and make it better. I can't work a finished solution like I did with the postcard. Out of scrapes, pains, and bits-n-pieces of our lives comes the finished product - a person that can say "no matter the outcome I will believe all things work together for good."

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rust and moth-balls

My experiment with rust succeeded in failure. This means I did try to use vinegar, water, found rusty objects and muslin in my experiment. It failed to produce what I wanted but succeeded in the fact that I tried it. In some places where the rusty objects touched the fabric there were markings left. But in other places where it touched there was nothing. Maybe there was not enough vinegar, oxygen or water to produce the results I wanted. I will try this again.

I continued to "fix" my experiment by adding Caran wax pastels to 4 blocks of the fabric. I believe that would be called "doctoring" the results. LOL! I am learning not to give up but proceed on. Also, I used this opportunity to try different camera settings. Interesting enough the night light settings, where I could see nothing in my lens, were the ones that turned out the best. Off to the lab for me.

On a side note a neighbor suggested I use moth balls in my flower beds to deter cats from experimenting in my yard. Besides my dog goes crazy when he sees them in his yard. Off to the store we go for those.

There is a verse in the NT that speaks of not laying up treasures on earth, where rust and moth can corrupt, but lay them up in heaven where they are safe from corruption. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. St.Matthew 6:19-21. I am beginning to understand this after experimenting with my rust.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Vote - It's A Privilege

Today across the US people are going to the polls. Voting is a privilege many ignore. But they are quick to voice their complaints if the people in office are not thinking their way. I hope you are taking this privilege seriously today. It matters.

One of the first abstract postcards I did is being voted on this week. "Bird In A Cage" is one of three I experimented with and decided I would enter it in an abstract challenge.

It's difficult to put your work out there for others to critique especially if they don't know what you were thinking when you did the piece. Or they can't feel the piece the way you did while creating it. Truly I am realizing it is very difficult to see the real beauty of a piece of art unless you have it in hand, so to speak. As I receive trade items in the mail after viewing them on line I am very aware of their true beauty and craftsmanship.

Thank you to all the artists and craftsman who bare your soul through art. What a privilege to receive a piece of your art; for in your releasing it I am receiving a part of your very soul. Gifting me with your art is not something I take lightly.

A side note: I returned from voting early this morning. Walking outside into the parking lot I looked down and what should I find; no not pennies; but nickels, 3 to be exact. I showed my DH then I had another great laugh with God. One nickel, one blessing for each of my sons. What a glorious, rainy day!!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Man Droppings - What a Contrast

On October 17th I began my blog by posting a pic of what I called "man droppings". For 8 days I picked up certain found objects while walking my dog. All the objects are sitting in a bag waiting for a quilt to transpire. But it's not time yet.

Yesterday was another day of being directed to pick up certain items. I did not go looking for any specific thing but the items on this post are what I found. The first item I came upon was the rusty blade. It is corroded and nasty looking by most people's standards but I was very excited to find this object. Continuing my walk; only a short distance I found the tennis bracelet with 28 little hearts and diamonds. I can't imagine how someone lost it, its in excellent shape. But right away a thought came to mind: "what a contrast in the two items". As soon as that thought popped into my head I heard the Lord speak to me quickly, "looks are deceiving, don't be fooled by what you see". I placed the items in my pocket and continued on.

Toward the end of the walk I found 7 pennies laying together. Now I was really excited! I began to laugh. I thanked God for having the angels drop the pennies down to me. He was reminding me of a promise He had made to me long ago. And I'm sure the pennies were left behind by a human soul not angels. But my friend who always says they are dropped by angels will be excited to hear I found 7. The number seven represents "completion".

I guess they were a burden to carry in someone else's pocket. They probably considered them to be useless too. What can a bunch of pennies buy? Nothing! But a bunch of pennies found over many days and months add up. I will give them to one of my favorite charities. I am sure I have over a hundred dollars.

According to the New Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus the definition of "contrast" as a noun is "a striking difference; a comparison to show their relative excellence." The funny thing is I also had my DH buy me the Nov./Dec. issue of "Cloth, Paper, Scissors" magazine. When I returned home I sat down to read my magazine and on the cover was the title for p66; an article titled "7 recipes for Rust." I am sure it is just coincidence that I found 7 pennies along with this article on 7 recipes for rust. No Way!! The article's inside title says "in rust we trust, faux or real, rust appeals." What a pun on the saying placed on coins "In God We Trust". Can you guess where I am headed with my artistic experimentation?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Turn Back The Hands Of Time

Today at 2pm our part of the country sets their clocks back by one hour. So we gain an hour. What's that little poem: Fall back, Spring forward. I never could remember when time changed until someone told me this little poem. I believe there is more but I don't know it.

I took a class with Bonnie McCafferty called "Painted Faces" at Quilting Adventures. At the time I wanted to experiment with round quilts. The end result was a basket weave, and my idea of quilting it was to use hoops to give it shape. I didn't want to finish the edges, they were left open exposing the batting. This quilt became known as Pharoah's Daughter. If you remember in the OT she came down to the river to bathe and found a basket with baby Moses placed safely in it. As a child I loved this story of hope and promise. Plus it didn't hurt that he was taken into the King's Palace. Most every little girl's dream: to be a princess. The red hoop represents our blood line to the greatest King, King Jesus.

I have a quilting friend that moved to Wisconsin several years back so she could be near her son. She had put him up for adoption when she was a young girl of 16 and never found him until two years ago. He wanted to know his mother and she wanted to find her son. Two wonderful stories with happy endings. She gave me the little clock with quilting symbols that represent numbers on the clock. As you can see it is moving toward "pincushion" time.

So many times I have wished I could turn back the hands of time with events that happened in my life. I guess this is the only time I am able to do that. I realize now that everything in my past is what has shaped me to be the person I am at present.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

But, but, but, but, but

Since beginning my blog and joining a
group on line I learned a new word.
"lurking" - its when someone has joined a group but not taken the plunge to become involved yet. They are sitting in the background watching.

After today I will become a "lurker" again in my guild. Or can you go backwards? Today is my last day officially as the Program Chair. I lurked for many years, enjoyed watching others, then decided it was time to invest my heart and time in the guild. It has been a fun two years, a busy two years and now I have moved on. I have taken many workshops, learned great techniques, and met fantabulous quilt teachers. But! I need to go further - I have a huge collection of magazines and books. My Passion!! I love to read and read and read. I haven't found much time for that lately. But! I need to move on - past the browsing into the "doing". Here are a few of my magazines. But! In the middle sits a cute, little, children's book. I found it on the bargain rack at the book store where I frequent. Its titled: Keeper of the Doves by Betsy Byars. There is a moral to this story involving the words we speak and who is listening. You might think no one is listening But can you hear your own words echoing back to you? For today spend some quality time speaking to yourself about the wonderful person you are, the great things you have accomplished and will accomplish. But! stop the lurking, take the plunge, go for it, try the new idea rolling around in your head. How many times do we hear or speak those words: but, but, but, but, but? No but's today. Go for it!!

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Time Bandit - Procrastination

I love this little art quilt I made from an idea when my Secret Pal sent me a Harvest card. Because the little mouse wears a mask he is called "Anony-Mouse." I came across the quilt last night going through my "stuff" to finish one collection of inchies. It was then that I realized I had allowed procrastination to rob me of finishing my project on time. I kept putting it off thinking I had until December 1st. Oh boy!! Actually I have always heard it said, "If you finish on time, then you are late." I love the little cats expression of "surprise" when the mouse reaches up to extend a friendly jesture of gift giving - one lone flower. Mr. Kitty is not prepared for such a wonderful act of kindness.
You know I think many of us are not prepared to receive "random acts of kindness" as they are referred to for today. Many things steal our time and before you know it another day has passed us by. I don't know about you but I want to finish each day knowing I am fulfilled; knowing I touched another person's life with a random act of kindness.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hidden Potential

Here is a piece I am working on from Helen Marshall's class called "Fireworks". I placed PSI inchies and true inchies on the piece. The burst of fireworks is just beginning in the top right hand side of the quilt piece. I am using colorful rayon threads to create the fireworks.
This is a fun way to display my inchies.
It's full of color and hidden potential
The inchies were sent from Elly, Veri and Carol? Can you tell where the inchies are?