Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blowing into March

Hello Everyone!

Can you believe it is the end of February already?  Or it will be soon enough, where exactly does that time go and why is is going so fast???  It's time for another Calendar page as we blow into March.

 I hope the weather is getting better for our friends in the northern states!  It's been cooler than normal here in south Florida but we can't complain about it considering what others are dealing with.

Looking forward to the Month of March which brings celebrations:

  • Little Calvin Houdini (Jackson) turns two this month AND  his Mommy is expecting another baby in August! Whoo hoo! We are delighted to have another grandchild!!!
  • Lenten Season has begun. 
  • St. Patrick's Day means its corned beef and cabbage time.
  • Palm Sunday will be celebrated in the park again this year. 
  • Easter is one its way! 

That means there is extra TO DO on Mimi's list:
I've just begun to knit a maternity top for my daughter and can't wait until she gets to wear it.  I'll be posting progress on the knitting in a few weeks and maybe have enough done for a photo.

Meanwhile there are lots of NOTES being made around here with up coming events:
I'll be filling in those blank spaces before you know it.  How's your calendar coming?  Keeping up?

Bee Creative!

Suzy


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

KEEP TRYING, AGAIN AND AGAIN

Hello Everyone!

Last month while working on a collage background for a Hawaiian style paper cutout of Palm Trees, it wasn't turning out the way I had envisioned it in my mind.   Does that ever happen to you?  You have a picture perfect idea in your head and it doesn't come out the way you planned.  That happens to me frequently enough that now I'm no longer surprised, and that's okay.  There was a time when something didn't turn out the way I planned and it would frustrate me to no end, but I've learned to keeping trying.  "If at first you don't succeed, then try, try, try again".  Who said that?!  W.C. Fields, that's who.  He also added another colorful line to that but I'll leave that up to you to Google <wink>.  


After the initial TRY I began to rework the background adding a bit of yellow ocher paint and it was soon clear that wasn't working, it was overpowering the palm tree design.  So I quit at that point, disappointed but knowing I'd come back to it sooner or later to TRY AGAIN. 

Trying again at this point is what some would call salvaging ....stripping off some of the background papers and using sandpaper on the rough edges of the remaining paper on the canvas I was able to add a layer of light back into the background, with just a touch of ocher. 



 Blending in the lighter colors with ocher seemed to give the right effect and no additional paper was needed to complete the background.   Gluing down the palm tree design was the final step and letting the whole canvas dry for several days before declaring it DONE. 

Don't give up on your collage or painting when things aren't working out as planned, just walk away and let it go.  Then come back later and try it again. There is always an "ugly" stage when I want to trash my work but I've learned to work through this by pushing through the ugly to the final stage of beauty. Sometimes the best laid plans don't work out the first time and that's when you must TRY, TRY, and TRY AGAIN.

Keep ON Trying and Happy Painting! 

Suzy

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Block Out The Cold

Hello Everyone,

It goes without saying that it has been a colder winter this year for everyone, even here in South Florida we've experienced our share of cooler than normal weather.  Burr, the cooler weather makes me want to nap, eat and repeat...but there's plenty to do in the studio and then there is also knitting. 





 I LOVE to knit and I love to look at patterns for knitting on Ravelry and I've signed up for two knitting classes on Craftsy this year.  

My best friend, Bonnie and I were talking the other day and she mentioned that she was starting a knitting group at her church.  Lots of people like to knit  smaller items like hats or baby blankets or shawls, but few like to knit large blankets. One thing is for sure, if you knit or crochet there is always LEFT OVER YARN from a project. 





 Bonnie came up with an idea to put that Left Over Yarn to good use and to get more people involved in making blankets.  Here's how: Knit or crochet one or two blocks, any size, any pattern from left over yarn and when enough blocks have been collected, we turn those into blankets for those in need.  A GREAT useful way to use up extra yarn, right? A great way to practice a new pattern and perfect your stitch gauge too! And a wonderful way to provide comfort and show Christ's love to others in a practical way.  


We got so excited talking about this that we came up with a name for the project: Block Out The Cold.  We think it would be a perfect project for churches and knitting/crocheting groups to participate in. What do you think? We have some great ideas but we need to spread the word....in church circles, in knitting groups, to crocheters and to quilters!  Everyone can jump in and help, and as the old saying goes: Many Hands make light work.  Would YOU be willing to spread the word to others about this Block Out The Cold project??  If so, please drop me a note in the comments or email.  

The Mission group returned from Guatemala and let me know that the hats were a BIG hit with the children!  

We are so pleased that the little bit we did brought such joy to the hearts of these children. 


Bonnie and I do hope that you will choose to join with us in helping to BLOCK OUT THE COLD by making a block or a hat to donate to the cause and by spreading the word to your friends.

Stay warm and Knit On!
Suzy



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Knitting On A Mission

Hello Everyone!

Late last summer in our church newsletter The Messenger, was plea for items of warmth for a village in Guatemala where our mission team was planning to visit in October/November.  The article was asking for donations of school supplies, blankets, hats, and other items that were needed for the families that live in less than ideal conditions.  As I read the article about the families I knew in my heart the need to use my God-given talent of knitting for this purpose. 

 I belong to Heart and Hands Knitters which is a group of ladies that knit prayer shawls for our hospitals, nursing homes, cancer centers, etc.  They also knit hats and baby blankets and other items for the needy.  While I've knitted prayer shawls and blankets, my forte is knitting newborn baby hats for the local hospital. 

But this one day reading that newsletter article I was convinced the need was not just a local one but a global one....to reach out beyond our neighborhoods and local communities to help others in need.

That afternoon as my BFF and I were chatting (via text) I mentioned the mission team was going to Guatemala and what was needed, immediately she was On Board and we determined that we would each knit x number of hats per week and make a donation to the mission! 


That's one of the things I love about my very best friend, she is generous and always willing to jump on board to help with any project.  She is a prolific knitter and has a huge stash of yarn, so she's my go-to gal when it comes to knitting projects, PLUS she's really into knitting HATS!  Our goal was to use leftover yarn and therefore reducing our stash while creating a variety of hat sizes that fit newborn to adult. 

It was a wonderful project that kept us busy, from late summer until October we knitted hats of all sizes and colors, it was a great way to use up leftover yarn.  



Yes,<wink> I did purchase yarn (after I used up a considerable amount of leftovers) and was tickled to discover a wonderful variegated yarn that makes its own pattern.   

The mission trip was postponed until the end of January 2015 and we were able to send off three dozen knitted hats to our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. What a blessing to us to be able to use our hands and hearts to the Glory of God!


If you love to knit or crochet, we'd LOVE it if you would consider joining us by knitting a hat or two for our cause! Just let me know if you are willing to knit/crochet a hat (or two or more! There's no limit here!) and I will send you a pattern or you can use your own.  Sizes most needed are adult and child sizes, any style, pattern or color.  My heartfelt thanks for your consideration of this project.

Happily Knitting,
Suzy  




Thursday, February 12, 2015

Happy Valentines

Hello Everyone!

It's been a week of crafting fury around here with Valentine's Day only a few days away! My little grands, Sunshine and Lollipop love to create with paper, glue and anything that involves stickers! They are the little glitter bugs in my life.


They created golden hearts for their Mommy and Daddy by gluing two hearts together cut from gold wrapping paper.


They picked papers from Mimi's collage scrap bin to embellish their golden hearts in their own special styles.

I love how both girls are filled with joy to create something special for their Mommy and Daddy!

Here's wishing you heartfelt Valentine's Day!

With Love,
Suzy

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lifting The Hearts of Others


Hello Everyone!

This is the week we are On A Mission, with Valentines Day only few days away I thought you might enjoy seeing the Valentines I made recently at Heart Lifters.


Heart Lifters is a group of ladies in our church that are On A Mission to make and send cards to encourage our members who are home bound, in the hospital, recuperating or in nursing homes. 




 Our Mission is to encourage and uplift members as well as friends and families of our members.



We also celebrate our church and school staff members during the year. 


On average we have 4-10 regular members that make cards every other month during the calendar year, producing 40-60 cards per session.  


 We love making cards! 


Ribbons, paper, glue flies around the table along with lots of laughter. 



 What a blessing to be able to serve in this way!   I hope you'll be inspired today to send a card to someone you know that needs an encouraging word.  It's never too late to send a card and let someone know they are loved. 

Happy Valentines Day with love,

Suzy












Thursday, February 5, 2015

ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN

Hello There!
Welcome to Travel Thursday!

A few years back, maybe about 8 years ago, my best friend Bonnie and I took a trip to the mountains of North Carolina.  Our trip plan included a visit with my sister Anne and family (they live out in the country).
painting a mural for my niece Amy and a trip to Cheap Joe's in Boone. We took a day trip to the Biltmore House and a drive up Doggett Mountain where we lived once upon a time.

This is the story of Doggett Mountain.

My brother and I were starting our Senior year of  high school, a VERY large high school in a large city when my parents made the decision to move to North Carolina.  Not only did they move us City Slicker kids to the middle of nowhere, we were stuck on the top of a mountain out in the country in the middle of no-where on a FARM. 

The nearest town was down the curvy mountainside into the valley and the only thing there was the school. Another 20 or so miles into the mountains was a town that looked like it was from another century, seriously.  But back to the school....Kindergarten through High school all in one long hallway.  Did I mention that we had come from a VERY large high school population in the hundreds, multi-level building with a maze of hallways to a single hallway school house that housed K-12?  The Senior class had 24 students, that included my brother and myself.  It was shocking.  I couldn't believe I was there in the middle of no-where.

Not only were we "out in the country" we found they spoke a totally different language which I could barely hear due to altitude and where alien words were spoken like  'maters, taters, pokes....what on earth was a poke?? When asking directions we were told "it's about as fer as ye kin spit times 10"; or "its a fer piece up thar road".  WHAT???   We were seriously in culture shock and definitely "not in Kansas any more".  The only saving grace was the beauty that surrounded us.  We moved in the first week of October and the fall leaves were beginning to change, lighting the mountains on fire so brilliant and saturated with color it took my breath away.  As my Granny would say "it's beauty is beyond words".  If it weren't for that fact I'd have packed my bags and headed back to Florida.

We were from Florida (flat-landers) and there was much to learn from the country folks in "them thar hills".  I learned what real neighbors were like (helpful and kind), that there were poor people that lived in one room shacks with lots of little children and those who had the least were the ones who gave the most.  There was love for God, family, for each other and everyone was friendly and helpful. Lessons were not only in the single hallway of the schoolhouse but were learned from the land and farming it, the people who loved it.  Even though I was a miserable teenager stuck there on that mountain, I did come to love and appreciate the people, the community and land.

I learned to love the mountains through the fall days, and into the winter when the fields were covered in frost and the mountain streams and waterfalls would freeze over and the way the sun would glisten off the ice. The clean smell of mountain air, the cold stillness at night, the soft sound of snow falling and the beauty of the forest being covered in a blanket of pure white.  My heart longed to paint what I was seeing but I didn't have those skills, still I longed for paint and brush to capture the beauty of the seasons.  And although I was quite unhappy being stuck on the top of a mountain, that is where my love of nature really began.....on top of  Doggett Mountain. 

I'd not been back to Doggett Mountain since leaving it in 1973 until my friend and I visited in the spring of 2007. Thirty-four years had passed, things had changed. The schoolhouse was still there and what remained were the fond memories of the people and the beauty of the land, the serenity of the mountain.  


Oh and now I have my paints and brushes and I know just what to do with them! 

Happily painting memories!
Suzy