Thursday, August 28, 2014

Eating an Elephant

Hi Everyone!

Have you heard that joke about How do you eat an Elephant?

Click to viewAnswer: One bite at a time.



 Well I am eating my elephant  er, quilting my quilt, one bite stitch at a time.  It does seem like an elephant, it is an enormous quilt!  It's been years since I have attempted to hand quilt anything and now I find myself with needle and thread in hand. It is so ridiculous to even THINK about this gigantic task before me, hence the elephant joke.  I hope you don't think that is in poor taste. 



Do you have a few spare minutes? I'll tell you the story of the gigantic quilt.  It all started about 19 years ago <cringe> on Labor Day weekend when my BFF came down for her first visit to our new home in south FL.  We had just moved here in June and I was SO excited to have my friend come for the long weekend and to start this new quilt project (back then we were both into quilting BIG time). We cut and we sewed and we put together blocks all weekend, and almost had the queen-sized top completed.  Eventually she went home and I continued to work to finish the blocks needed to finish the project.  

Fast forward another eight years.....My daughter has bought her very first home and I'm thinking I'll make her a quilt as a housewarming present when I stumble across the quilt in the closet and asked her if she might like it.  She loves the colors and we measure her bed, I add more blocks to increase the size. Then she gets a new bed and it is higher and the quilt needs borders and she asks if could I incorporate some brown into it??  LOL!   Oh sure, I add the borders (and brown fabric as requested) and then.......

Fast forward another two years.....daughter is in Texas now and tells me she would really like her quilt. It's become the "housewarming" joke between us. Meanwhile I get the quilt layered to be quilted and it is gigantic and there's NO WAY it is going to fit in my sewing machine to be quilted.  So, I think it went back into the closet while I tried to think of a way to afford to have it professionally quilted. 

Fast forward three years......daughter is married, has a baby and lives in Michigan.  Okay, time to get serious about that quilt, because it is FREEZING cold in Michigan and she is a FLORIDA girl.  Finally, I get the bright idea to ask two ladies from the quilter's group at church if they might like to take on the project of machine quilting it.  They were willing and took the quilt to see if they could find a quilting machine that they could quilt it on. That was 6 months ago. Just the other day they told me the quilt was TOO BIG to go on their friends machine.  Back to square one and time to eat humble pie......

That brings me to the needle in hand and the realization that it's been 20 years since I've quilted by hand and I'm sorely out of practice!

I'd forgotten how to tie a quilter's knot and my stitches look more like Morse Code, (dot, dot, dash). 


Rather than the 12 stitches to an inch I used to quilt, it is more like 6 stitches to an inch (being generous) and they are rather wobbly like a drunkards path. It is a humbling experience (one deserved) after all these years. 


 But I'm getting the hang of hand quilting again and trying not to think too much about how gigantic a project this really is. 

She's waited this long......what's another 6 months to a year?  

You'll have to excuse me now......I have an elephant I need to eat.    

Say, where did I put my fork???


Bee Creative!

Suzy





Friday, August 15, 2014

INSPIRATION LEADS TO REORGANIZATION OF STUDIO

Hi Everyone!

A steaming hot cuppa coffee in my hand and the mouse in the other, scanning down the page, clicking on this and that, pinning a few, that's how I started my day off !  Don't judge me....it IS my day off from work.  Yes there are a zillion things I need to do today...that blasted phone keeps whistling to remind me of the TO DO list that awaits. 
 You know what I'm talking about too. <wink> It's easy to fall down the (Pinterest) rabbit hole, so limiting my time is important while taking time to be inspired.
My Spring Door Wreath inspired by Pinterest

Spending time being inspired by others adds to my creativeness and that leads to thinking about my work area, better known as the studio.  Cleaning and rearranging the work areas in my studio (AGAIN) helps me realize what my current interests are and where I need to focus my creative attention. That might not be your situation but for me, it is a huge problem.  I have many interest and find it hard to concentrate on one at a time.  So I find what works for me is having specific areas or zones that concentrate on one or two crafts. 


 For instance my sewing area has long been neglected, mending piling up and several (back burner) projects need attention. I take a hard look at each area, make note of unfinished projects and then schedule in some time each day to work on them. Each area or zone has its own projects to be completed. 

 After several weeks of devoting time to the mending project, I'm happy to say the mending is finished! Mending you say? Who exactly mends these days?!? I do, especially if it is a favorite piece of clothing I enjoy wearing.  The mending gives it character and individuality and extends the life of  the garment.  It's an old fashioned idea, but one learned from my Granny and my Mom who were thrifty sewers.  Next on the list and a long time coming is a slipcover for a foot stool. Stay tuned for that!


My little desk wasn't functioning as previously envisioned for sewing so I switched it out for a larger/longer work surface which also doubles as a crafting surface when Little Misses Sunshine and Lollipop come over. The larger work surface seems to be working well with plenty of room for sewing, painting and craft projects for both the little ones and for myself as well. And the smaller desk is conveniently located to allow both girls their own space if needed <wink> or for me to supervise the activities. 



After setting up the sewing/craft area the little desk now doubles as a beading and stamping area. This area/zone is where I will spend hours making beaded jewelry and working on my journals and stamping projects.  The drawers conveniently hold the on-going beaded projects and houses the stamps and journals so the area can be easily converted for Misses S & L to use if necessary.


                                                             

                                                     It's a happy area!





 I continue to purchase beads (but on a more discriminating basis) to add to the collection.



                                       Several new designs are in the works.

One of the beading projects involves these shiny pink faux crystal buttons pictured above.  But you'll have to stay tuned for that one, I'm not giving up the details yet.

Over at the art table where I confess to spend most of my leisure time, I've been working in one of my art journals and there will be lots to share with you soon!  Yes, it looks messy but that's how I roll! No matter how big the surface area it seems I only use a very small area to work within. 



Happily the summer is rolling along and we are enjoying it.  What are you doing this summer?  I hope you are finding time to......

Be Creative!
Suzy

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I'm Back...A little of this and that

Hello Everyone!

My, my but the time has flown by since the last post!  You may recall we had a long visit from our daughter and baby grandson from February until just before Mother's Day. It was a wonderful time together and such fun watching our little boy grow and learn each day.  Jackson is now 14 months old and he is standing on his own and climbing on the couch, getting ready to walk (unassisted) any day now.  What a delightful child.  We miss him so much.

Today I received a comment from a new follower, it was just the kick in the pants I needed to get back to blogging again.  Thank you Chris!  It's taken a bit of time to get back into the "swing" of things and getting used to the "quiet" house again.

Right after Amanda and Jackson left we went on a vacation/road trip to see our niece graduate from Virginia Tech and visit my sister and family in NC.   My last trip to Blacksburg, Virginia was the summer of 1970 when my sister and I stayed with our cousins.  You could say it was a different place, barely recognizable except for a few road names that rang a bell.  The weather was chilly, in fact it was down right cold to us thin blooded Floridians.  What a trip that was for a couple of flat-landers like us!  Hubby did the driving until we got into the mountains, then I drove while DH held on for dear life. It was very funny <wink>.

We were lucky enough to have a lovely cottage at Mountain Lake Lodge (it's where they filmed most of Dirty Dancing).  Here's a link: http://www.mtnlakelodge.com/

Our cottage was huge, four bedrooms (each like a hotel room) and thankfully a wood burning fireplace. Very nice indeed to share the cottage with our Georgia family members and extended family from NC and VA.  Lots of fun! We enjoyed hiking, exploring the resort, some fast and furious card games and of course the main event was Graduation.
Casey with Aunt Susie & Uncle Rich

 I took along the art supplies (minimal) and some knitting for down time, there wasn't much time for art but I did knit a simple drop stitch scarf I saw the pattern on a You Tube video by Jenn Wisbeck, here's the link: http://youtu.be/7lf1v6hZFx8.  It was fun, it was quick and a great way to showcase the beautiful multicolored yarn I found at Walmart.  I must say the larger knitting needles threw me off a bit since I had been knitting newborn hats on size 3 & 5 and switched to size 11 to knit the scarf...it was like knitting with harpoons!  

I've been doing a great deal of knitting for our Praying Hands and Hearts knitting ministry at church. When our local hospital needs newborn hats we get the call and the needles start to fly! The little newborn hats keep my hands busy while watching t.v. at night and I just love making them, they make my heart happy.
Newborn Baby Boy Hand knit hat.

Speaking of babies, we stopped to visit my sister in North Carolina and our niece who was expecting her fourth baby any moment!  We enjoyed a visit with the grand-niece and grand-nephews and showered them with gifts for baby Lily (not born at the time).  I painted canvases for each of the children's rooms.  



So there is a little glimpse into what's been going on in my world.  Join me again soon, we'll catch up with the latest projects and what's going on.  What's happening in your neck of the woods??

Bee Creative!
Suzy

P.S.
Lily Jane was born last Thursday, May 29th.  Mama and baby are doing well.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

HAS IT REALLY BEEN.......

Hello Everyone!

Gosh, has it really been a month since I last blogged?  Whew! What a month it has been a real whirlwind here since my daughter, son-in-law and grand baby arrived!  The PREP work, the actual arrival and the change in schedules have been crazy.  We were so happy to see everyone arrive safely after they fought their way through the ice and snow all the way from Michigan, in fact we re-routed them so that they would miss the worse part of the storms! Thankfully they made it safe and sound and what a joy to see how much our little man had grown.  He is a DELIGHTFUL baby, very sweet and happy as can be!

As soon as my daughter arrived we  went into full swing preparing the last minute details for Jackson's Baptism party, it was the very next day and not a moment to spare!  On Saturday night hubby and I entertained our out -of- town guests and family with dinner at a local seafood restaurant on the water, the weather was perfect for dining outside and certainly a great deal warmer for the Michigan folks!
 Snow boots, mittens and parkas to flip-flops and shorts, it doesn't get any better in February, does it?

Sunday morning everyone showed up at church early and the Baptism went off as planned.  I was so pleased that Amanda and Fabian wanted Jackson to be baptized by Pastor Dave who baptized me 12 years earlier.  It was a joy to see Pastor Dave baptize my grandson and to welcome Jackson into God's family!
The party was great fun and enjoyed by all.  Fabian was able to stay a few more days before heading back to the frozen north lands.  Amanda and Jackson will be staying here until May while Fabian goes to military school.

Yes, it has been a big change for our quiet little household to have a baby in it once again!  We are truly enjoying every moment with Jackson and he is adjusting as well to his new surroundings.  It is a delight each morning as he crawls down the hallway to greet us with a great big smile and laugh, he entertains us with something new he has learned each day.
 It is hard work too, if you have raised children you know what I mean, it is busy, noisy and messy at times but I wouldn't trade a moment of it for any amount of tea in China.

We are looking forward to our little man's first birthday this month, another party! Whoo Hoo and celebration with family and friends.  It is the best.  Our little girls are having the time of their lives too with their baby cousin!

 Brianne is like a little mama and Lyla she shared her "pillow" with Jackson (that is HUGE) which means she really likes him. They look forward to seeing Baby each week and their Aunt is getting to spend time with them as well. It is a good thing.
They've been to the beach and Jackson has discovered sand! Oh yes he has.  We've been to the park and walked along the river, visited the story-time group and are generally getting into a groove around here.  It doesn't leave much time for blogging or art work, but I am trying to work that into the rotation too.....


Hope all is well with you.  I'll be checking  back in with some art work soon!  Please come and join me. I promise not to talk your ears off next time about the grandchildren <wink>.

Have a wonderful week!!

Suzy


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Journal 52 Week 4-Character

Hi there!

If you've been following along, you will know that I've committed to Journal 52 a year long art project making an art journal page each week via a prompt given by the group's creator, Chelle Stein.  IF you'd like to join the group it is never too late, just click on the Journal 52 button on the side bar and that will take you where you can find more information on the project.  Come join in the fun!

I'm still playing catch up on the Week 4 Prompt-Character.  Now that is a very interesting word with some very deep meaning.  Some people get real wrapped up into the meaning while others create a "character" and there's nothing wrong with either method.  Whatever gets your art out of your head and on to the page counts.  

I really did not have a clue what I would do for this prompt. After thinking about the word character reading Chelle's Greek definition it all melded into my subconcious and out came this:  
Character

I started with water soluble yellow crayon (Caran-DAche-Neocolor-Watersoluble-Crayon)over the entire page to represent LIGHT, I was thinking of Christ (Light of the world).  A face began to appear as I worked the crayons and water into the page and deepened the shadows. The words "Symbol or Imprint on the Soul" is the Greek definition of character.  So it made sense to put the cross in the center of the forehead as one marked by Christ as His Own. It finally hit : I am a child of God and my Character is in Him.

Happy Journaling!
Suzy


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Journal 52 Week 3-Make Me Smile

Hi there!

Have you ever made a commitment to do something on a regular basis?  The Journal 52 commitment I made at the beginning of the year for a weekly journal art page has proven to me just how difficult it can be to keep a commitment.  But, I am persevering and working my way through the process of creating a piece of art each week in spite of the "voice" in my head that whispers and taunts me. It would be easy to quit, yes, so easy but I am having fun when I don't let the voice tell me differently.  

Each week we are given a prompt to inspire us to make art.  I like that, a prompt helps me to step out of the box, the "safe" zone.  

You know I am behind with the journal pages, as you can see this is for week 3 and it is actually week 5.   The fact of being behind could stop many people in their tracks, but for me it is just catch-up time. LOL!!! Week 3 Prompt was....Something that makes you smile.  That immediately brought my Grandchildren to mind.  They crack me up, they are truly funny little people! Then why is is late you ask?  Because it involved printing out photos...I know, poor excuse but that is it.   

Okay so here is what makes me smile!


  The grands make me smile!  They are such little characters, filled with joy and laughter!  I love them so much.  The hearts of course represent LOVE, the flowers remind me each child is created different and is unique in their own little ways.  I've drawn in the feathers to mimic the feather boa Brianne is wearing, flowers for Lyla to mimic the flowers in her blouse and bubbles for the youngest baby Jackson, along with Grandmother's Flower Garden stamped in to represent the possibility of more grandchildren to come.
This journal page was a joy to create.  I used the pink/red gelatos to represent passion and love.  Gelatos are easy to use, you might enjoy watching this You Tube video for 3 ways to use gelatos.  I created the background with gelatos, blending pink, red and purple together, adding a bit of yellow in the center, wiped with baby wipes to get a fresco look and drew the feathers in with red gelato.  The feathers seemed to blend in too much so I went over them with oil pastels and then melted them into the page with the heat gun to get a more vibrant look.  In the top left corner is a handmade layered paper flower made from cupcake liners and coffee filters (hand dyed) with 3 clear gems to represent my three Grandchildren. 

Hope you enjoyed this and join me again for Week 4 and Week 5 pages coming soon.

Happy Art Journal!
Suzy


Thursday, January 30, 2014

One Room At A Time-Getting There!

Hi Everyone!

I've been working though the house One Room At A Time during the month of January and things are starting to take shape!   This week I'm working in the Guest room where my daughter and baby Jackson will be staying for the next two months.
I've cleared out the extra furniture so there will be room for J's pack n play; the dressers have been emptied of knitting yarns and they have been stashed away.  The carpets have been professionally cleaned and now just a bit of sprucing up is in order.

Speaking of stashing yarns, does anyone else have this problem of where to put extra skeins of yarn?

I ran across a great solution on Pinterest the other day!  Use a closet organizer to hold the yarn.
Isn't that a fabulous idea?  
I think I'm going to Bed Bath & Beyond to find one today and organize all my yarn into a hanging canvas Sweater organizer!

Happily clearing the clutter and getting organized!
Suzy