Friday, January 25, 2008

Neurotic Mom

First let me start out by saying that I looked up the word neurotic in my Thesaurus just to make sure I'm using it properly. Emotionally disturbed, irrational, paranoid, anxious, obsessive, compulsive.....Yep, that about covers it.

My daughter is 17 and has had her driver's license for 4 months. I make her call me from her cell phone every morning to let me know she got to school OK. Well, this morning, she didn't call. I tried to call her, but her phone was off. I called one of her friends and left a voice mail for her to call me. I called another of her friends, and asked him to have her call me. A couple of hours went by, and in that time I imagined that she had run out of gas, and was abducted while walking to the gas station. Isn't this why I gave her a cell phone, so she could call me if she needed help? What if something happened to her and she can't get to her phone? What if the abductor had taken it from her? What if she was in an accident and the police didn't find her emergency contact information? What if she decided to run away? Why would she run away- don't we have a good relationship? It isn't about some boy, is it? Shouldn't she have gotten the message to call me by now?

Finally, I called the school attendance office. She was marked down as present and on time for home room. Whew!

Neurotic? I totally cop to that. The by-product of my incredibly fertile imagination? Possibly. The result of me being totally in love with my kids? Definitely.

When my kids were little I used to think that when they were older I could stop worrying so much. Now I just worry about different stuff. But I love that saying, Parents give their kids roots and wings. I know their roots are strong. I know their wings will be strong. Maybe that is my biggest fear, knowing that in the not so distant future, they will fly. I will be happy, and I will be sad. But I will have done my job.

As for today, I am glad my daughter is safely at school. And she has a totally neurotic mom to come home to.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Learning Curve

I have spent a lot of time at this computer in the last couple of weeks (and I have a serious, unrelenting twitch in my left eye to prove it- I'm not joking). I am soooooooo not a techie type person. But I am starting to figure a lot of this stuff out. But I have a lot to learn. But at least now I'm not completely in the dark.

So I actually have an Etsy shop now! I'm just pretty proud of myself that I was able to set it up (and even put the link on my sidebar) with minimal help from hubby (or my kids, for that matter.) And by the way, the Adobe Acrobat stuff for the free pattern post was all my husband's doing, I guess that's the next thing I have to learn.

I have very little patience with myself. When I can't figure something out, I get very frustrated with myself and feel like the stupidest person ever to live. What I do now is write everything down, step by step. My desk is cluttered with post it's, notepads, scraps of paper. I have my step by step instructions for everything, and I do not deviate from the instructions! Which I think is really funny for someone who finds it impossible to even follow a recipe (too many rules, too restricting). My brain just seems to work differently than other's. But my guess is that if you are a creative or artistic type, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Free Valentine's Pattern

A gift from me to you...Click the photo below to bring up the pattern for this stitchery project in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format. Click this link if you need to download Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) . Also, click here for an idea sheet that describes ways to use the pattern.
In the photo shown above, I used FolkArt Alizarin Crimson, Americana Melon, and Ceramcoat Green Tea Acrylic Paints, and DMC floss #'s 469 (dark green), 3348 (light green), 963 (light pink), 3708 (pink), 3706 (melon), 3832 (dark pink), and 498 (red).

Wishing you sweetness & love all year round,

Friday, January 18, 2008

Just Like Christmas!

I recently participated in a swap (my first ever!) organized by Melba at Just Be Connected. The rules were that you couldn't buy anything, you just had to "shop" around your house, pack it up, and send it off to the lucky recipient. After much anticipation, my package arrived yesterday, and I have to say- it was just like Christmas again! I looked at the box and wondered what could be in it. It could be anything!

So I immediately started to tear into it, but then realized that maybe I should photograph the event, so I ran to get the camera.

I found lots of little goodies, carefully wrapped in red tissue paper. Shelley from Nahia Creations is a soapmaker, so I got some lovely (and quite yummy smelling) soap and bath salt. Also, she sent tea bags (love tea!), a candle in a nice gift box, and seeing on my blog that I kind of obsess about calendars, she also sent a beautifully illustrated friends & family organizer book. Thanks Shelley! Your package made my day!

This was a fun experience, and I would definitely do it again. If you want to see what I sent to my recipient, click here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Baked Apricot Chicken

Made this for dinner last night, but forgot to take a photo! My father-in-law is in the hospital after having had surgery on Monday, so we had my mother-in-law over for dinner. Everyone really liked it, it's super easy (like just about everything I make).

Baked Apricot Chicken

1 lb boneless chicken breast halves, cut lengthwise again in half
1 Box Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing
1 c. water
1/2 T. butter
3/4 c. apricot jam
2 T. Dijon mustard

Bring water and butter to boil in sauce pan, add stuffing mix, stir, cover, remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread stuffing in bottom of pan. Lay chicken pieces over stuffing. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix together apricot jam and dijon mustard, spread over chicken. Bake 350 F for about 45 minutes, until thermometer reads 160. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 4-5 servings

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Puppy Pastimes

OK, my dog is 8 yrs old which does not qualify her as a puppy anymore, but she still acts like one and we treat her like one (and at just about 12 lbs, she kind of looks like one). Just as a child will always be her mother's baby, Daisy will always be our puppy.

My husband took this picture last night. Pup was pretty tired. You can also see it on his photo blog.

Another of Pup's hobbies, when she's not napping, is to massacre her stuffed animals. Yes, all of that stuffing really did come out of that one little toy. My job is to play surgeon, stuff it all back in again (don't forget the squeaker!) and sew it back up.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Story Behind "The Noble Wife"

I started The Noble Wife about 2 or 3 years ago. I was, at that time, primarily a watercolor artist (though I dabbled in all kinds of creative mediums), and I was submitting my work to a lot of different companies, publications, and individuals. The rejections just kept pouring in. Finally, a phone conversation with one particularly unencouraging woman (yes, she really knew how to put the "brutal" in brutal honesty) was all I could take. Heartbroken, exhausted, and defeated, I swore I'd never paint again, never submit any work ever again, it was just too painful (I tear up as I write this even now, years later-the pain was that deep.) I felt that the biggest dream in my life, the thing that I wanted most, was just not meant to be. I had tried and tried, and I just seemed to keep hitting dead ends. (Now, of course, I realize that being so sensitive is part of my nature, and in fact part of what makes me an artist....but that is an entry for another day....)
So, at that point, I took to the sofa for several months, basically just feeling lost and unfocused and like the biggest loser there ever was. (Did I mention that in addition to being very sensitive, I'm also a little prone to self pity?) One day, while on my sofa, I was reading Proverbs 31. You know how you can see or hear or read something a hundred times, and then one day it's like finding it for the very first time? Well, as I read that passage, it was like I had never heard it before. A lot of people are intimidated by the woman described in that passage- she's up before dawn, cooking and cleaning; she runs a sewing business; she dabbles in real estate and farming; she is her husband's jewel; and she still has time for her charity work. Whew! some lofty goals there. I mean really, who could measure up to that?
But this time when I read it, I began to think- I can do that...

Pr 31:10 Who can find a noble wife?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Pr 31:13 She chooses wool and flax.
She loves to work with her hands. (I can do that...)
Pr 31:16 She considers a field and buys it.
She uses some of the money she earns to plant a vineyard.
Pr 31:17 She gets ready to work hard.
Her arms are strong. (I can do that, I like to work in the garden...)
Pr 31:19 With one hand she holds the wool.
With the other she spins the thread. (I can do that...well not the wool spinning part, but I can dye it and cut it out and sew it back together again)
Pr 31:20 She opens her arms to those who are poor.
She reaches out her hands to those who are needy. (I can do that...I have always wanted to help the poor, since I was a kid)
Pr 31:22 She makes her own bed coverings. (Hey, I make quilts...)
She is dressed in fine linen and purple clothes.
Pr 31:24 She makes linen clothes and sells them. (I've done lots of craft shows in my time...)
Pr 31:25 She puts on strength and honor as if they were her clothes.
She can laugh at the days that are coming. (I can put my future in God's hands...)
Pr 31:26 She speaks wisely.
She teaches faithfully.
Pr 31:30 Charm is deceptive and beauty fades.
But a woman who has respect for the LORD should be praised. (I can do that....)

And so on my sofa that day, I thought about some wool pins I had made while I was just messing around in my sewing room, and this idea dropped into my head....What if I made these pins and sold them and donated the money to buy sheep for poor people.... Wool... sheep...the needy....

Truly, I can't take credit for that idea. I'm sure it came from God. And while I was busy helping someone else, it seemed to pull me out of a deep, deep depression and reignited my passion for creating.

I have sold hundreds of those pins at craft shows, quilt shows, and through word of mouth. I have donated all my labor and most of the supplies. People think I am a really nice person for doing it, but the truth is, that left to my own devices I could possibly be the most selfish person in the world (or at least in the top 10). It is only my reliance on God and Jesus Christ that helps me to be better, softer, more loving.
Now, I did not name this endeavor The Noble Wife because I think that's what I am, it is simply what I strive to be.
So I know that was long, but that is the story. (Oh, and I also added hand painted pins done in watercolors, all the profits for those go to drill water wells around the world.)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fresh Flowers

I have found that having fresh flowers in the house this time of year is a real treat- a reminder of fresh green things to come in spring time. Lately, I have been picking up a bouquet whenever I go to Trader Joe's- only $4.99 for a bunch. A small price to pay for such a lovely prelude to spring, still a long way off...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Wool Pins for Sale

All of the profits from these pins are donated to buy sheep for poor families around the world. My sincerest thanks for your support.

I hand dye the wool, then cut it out and sew it together by hand. Every pin is unique, no 2 are alike. They make a beautiful and heartfelt gift for mom, grandmother, sister, best friend, secret pal... Packaged on a keepsake card (click below to enlarge).

wool pin card interior side by side large

Wool Pins are each $15.00 US, which includes shipping & handling. Many colors available, contact me if you don't see what you want.

blue brown pin2

# BB1 Robin's egg blue wool, brown cotton yoyo, silver button. Flower is approximately 2 3/4" across.

Contact me for ordering information.

#PP1 Light pink, plum, and brown wool, pink yoyo, light pink button. Flower is approximately 2 3/4" across.

Contact me for ordering information.

#PM1 Light pink & mulberry wool, pink yoyo with pearl button. Flower is approximately 2 3/4" across.

Contact me for ordering information.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Hubby has started a blog with his photos, I think it is beautiful (and I'm not at all biased.) Take a look if you like photography, or if you are like me and just appreciate all things pretty. Some of his work above and below.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year, New Calendar

One of my favorite things about the new year is new calendars. I know, I know- it sounds weird. But they are a very inexpensive way to collect art! My family knows my favorites, so I always get a couple for Christmas. And I love the after Christmas half-off sales- my kids and I hit the mall at 7:30 am on December 26 to pick up a few more. However, I don't have enough wall space to display all of my calendars at the same time, so I need to rotate them through out the year. A few of my favorite artists are Marjolein Bastin, Sherri Buck Baldwin, Susan Winget, and Karen Hillard Good.

Speaking of calendars, on Dec. 30 I sat down to write everything into my new desk calendar- birthdays, kids' days off from school, dentist appointments, important events like Prom and High School Graduation- and it took me almost 2 hours! I don't think we realize how much time and energy it takes for us to plan and run the lives of all the people and pets in our homes. So, I say to all of you moms (and dads) out there- Hooray for us! (Wouldn't you like to see someone like Donald Trump do this job? If only we got his paycheck...)


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