Monday, January 30, 2012

What a Face!

How are we feeling this Monday morning? I am exhausted....
But this video cheered me up. What a face!!!
Maybe he could use some orthodontia (killer underbite there) and a face lift?  (Maybe not a full face lift, just the "Lifestyle Lift"- I'm sure he wouldn't want to look overdone....)

Happy Monday.

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Tastes Like Lasagna" Soup

I spent many, many years trying to get oldest daughter interested in cooking, but to no avail- she just had no interest at all. But now, she has become quite a good cook in the past year or so. She now spends hours cruising the internet for new recipes. A few nights ago, she made this recipe for the family, and it was really good. There is the original version by Paula Deen, and the lighter version by Bobby Deen. She made the lighter version, except we didn't have whole wheat lasagna noodles so she just used the regular kind. We sprinkled homemade croutons on top, and we would definitely make it again.
Click here for the recipe.

To learn how to make delicious homemade croutons out of stale bread, click here.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Creative Journey

Last week I was looking for some of my artwork that I did a few years back, and found that my storage drawers were a complete wreck and totally disorganized. I figured that while I was looking for a couple of particular pieces, I might as well just organize everything.

What began as an organizing chore became a fun look back on my creative journey. I found a lot of old stuff that I had completely forgotten about it. Some of it- I still really like. Some of it- well.... let's just say it really has been a journey! It was good to see how far I've come since I started painting about 16 years ago. I WILL NOT show you that older stuff. What I thought was pretty good all of those years ago is frankly just horrible!! And I found SO MUCH that I had totally forgotten about. I did way more work than I thought. I thought about all of the hours and days and months and years represented in those drawers. I realized that I really have worked really hard to get to where I am today.

Sometimes we are not happy with the work we are doing. It just seems to be not good enough. Sometimes it is missing something, but we don't know quite what, and we don't know what to do to fix it. Creativity is not just a fun hobby or job, it is a learning process just like everything else. If you are not quite happy with your work, I suggest looking back at some things you did a few years ago, and my guess is that you will be pleasantly surprised at how far you've come.

I did throw a lot of stuff away- mostly stuff that was incomplete and I knew I'd never finish. It was a good purge- making room for the new! But I kept a lot of the stuff from my "Early Ugly Period" (I am thinking that when I'm dead and then finally become a super famous artist, that's what the historians will call it.....)- it is a good reminder of how much I've improved.(I even labelled the folder for them so it will be easy for them to archive.)

It reminds me of a couple of quotes. The first is by Ira Glass:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

By the way, I don't think this is just true of beginners. As we progress, and our work improves, it can still get even better. As long as we just keep making stuff, it will get keep getting better and better. More mature, more aesthetically pleasing. Even though I am light years ahead of where I began, there is still so much to master... I look forward to the unfolding journey in the upcoming years....

The second quote that I am reminded of comes from Zechariah 4:10:
(paraphrase) Do not despise the day of small beginnings.....

Do  not despise where you are today! Keep on working and then enjoy the fruits of your labor!
(And don't despise your Early Ugly Period, either. Even Michelangelo had to start somewhere....)

P.S. The Newsletter goes out today or tomorrow... so if you'd like to sign up, go to the top upper right bar of this blog.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Newsletter Sneak Peek

The January/February Newsletter will go out this week- are you signed up?? 
A sneak peek at what you'll be missing if you are not:

If you are not signed up and would like to get in on the super-cool-fun-action that is The Newsletter, you can sign up at the top of the right side bar on this blog.

Fat Quarter Pack for my Apple Blossom Acres fabric line.

Completely Adorable (if I do say so myself) panel from my A Beautiful Day fabric line 
(comes in Blue OR Pink.) If you need to make a quick baby quilt- this is it! (Maybe you should get a few to have on hand for last minute gifts....)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fun Photo Friday

I know this has gone around and around the internet, but the first time I saw it I almost wet myself laughing. I'm honestly not sure if it is real or not, but it's hilarious just the same. If it is real, I can only imagine the time that the Good Samaritan who took this creature in must have had (wonder if he needed a Rabies shot???)
Happy Friday.

 P.S. Dawn at Linen Closet Quilts is giving away a copy of her newest book- it looks beautiful! Make sure you stop by to enter (and tell her I sent you, wink wink).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crafty Stuff

Lately I have been "showing off" all of the crafty projects my kids have been making. Truth is- they have been much more prolific than me lately! Oldest daughter, being a poverty-stricken college student, made several holiday gifts for her friends this year. She embroidered her room mate's initial onto a piece of wool, and used an embroidery hoop for the frame. Very inexpensive project and easy to do:

For another friend, a plain white mug becomes adorable with the help of ceramic markers found at the craft store:

Apparently, Daughter's room mate is crafty too- this is what she gave Daughter for Christmas:

 She decorated a plain store bought lamp with a veritable bouquet of fabric flowers. Isn't it tres cute??

So now the kids are back in school, I imagine/hope that they will be too busy keeping up with their studies and homework to do a lot of crafty projects. I guess that will be left up to me now....

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Oldest UFO

When I started quilting about 10 or 11 years ago, one of the very first classes I took was for a sampler quilt. I invested quite a bit of money in the class fee, book, and fabric. I finished the quilt top, and loved it. Then I started quilting it. Myself. And so, despite my best intentions, after many stops and starts, it made its way to the UFO (UnFinished Objects) pile. And no, it wasn't even hand quilted. The machine quilting, on my little home machine, just became overwhelming. The quilt conquered me, and my good intentions :(

Over the years, it sat in a box in my sewing room. I tried to ignore it- but I knew it was there, about 80% finished. It mocked me.

A couple of months ago I was cleaning out my studio and I came face to face with it. I still loved it. So I took it to my longarm quilter to finish for me. She did a great job, blending her quilting with mine (I did manage to do a good amount before I finally gave up.) She even did the binding. So shortly before Christmas I brought it home, threw it in the washer and dryer (to make it nice and comfy), and we have been snuggling under it ever since.....

I did all of the stippling (you can see why it wiped me out!) I even quilted some heart outlines and then filled them in with stippling (you can see them in the top right corner of the above photo)- I have no idea how I did that, it was so long ago, I don't recall doing it at all....

Honestly, I have to say, that considering how inexperienced I was when I made this, I am pretty impressed with myself! Most of the points match up, and the quilt lies completely flat (I can't say that about some of my current quilts....) I'm soooooo glad that I got this one done (with some help!)  As I said, we have really been enjoying it, and it no longer taunts me from that box hidden away in the corner of my sewing room!

What is your oldest UFO? How would you feel if you got it done (or if someone else finished it for you)? Would you be relieved? Is it so old that you don't care about it anymore? Do you have any resolutions to get some of those UFO's finished in 2012??

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Red & Pink

Sadly, the Christmas decorations had to come down this past weekend. But it did give us a chance to start looking forward to the next holiday- Valentine's Day. What I like best about Valentine's Day is all of the pink and red- my two favorite colors. And because taking down the Christmas decorations made the house feel a little empty and bare, fresh flowers were just the thing to brighten up the kitchen table. (and only $3.99 for a pretty little bouquet at Trader Joe's!!)


We also continued our new tradition (just started last year) of a Valentine's Tree. It began last year when the kids wanted to leave up the little Christmas tree in the kitchen, so I told them they could if they decorated it for Valentine's Day.

A few more Red & Pink ideas from the Better Homes and Gardens website to inspire you:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back in the Studio

I am back in the studio after a nice Christmas break. But while I was busy relaxing and doing nothing for a couple of weeks, youngest daughter (she will be 17 next month) was working on a new project. She had a canvas tote bag from the craft store. She said she wanted to paint it- I was thinking a few flowers, a butterfly..... No, she wanted to reproduce a Van Gogh painting- no- 2 Van Gogh paintings- on the bag. I discouraged her- telling her she only had 10 days of Christmas vacation. She kind of rolled her eyes and proceeded. It took her about 10 minutes to sketch each painting, and about an hour to paint each one with acrylic craft paint. What, what?????? Oh yes she did.

I did manage to get to the quilt shop and get more fabric for a project I am working on. I had most of the fabric already, I just needed some for the borders. I was looking for pink but couldn't find just the right color, so I ended up getting a pinky-red which I think is going to be really pretty. The project top secret but I will say that it has something to do with a certain big event happening in our family this coming June. I hope I get it done in time.....

The quilt is going to be pretty scrappy and the colors are "antique-y"- gray, green, yellow, pink, orchid, brown and blue:

The "whole enchilada":
I am having fun working on this project! But I can't show it until it has been given to the recipients...

The FabShopNews Apronicity Blog has featured the Sweet Stuff Apron from my book, Fruitful Hands. It is a cute blog. If you love aprons- and who doesn't?- make sure you visit Apronicity for everything apron related.


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