30 November 2010

back in the saddle

Well, after a wonderful week of enjoying my family and all our Thanksgiving celebrating, I feel like I can get back in the saddle again.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I hope you and your family did, too.  Although I look forward to enjoying the Christmas season, I feel distracted and slightly worried about some things on the horizon for me.

As you know, my art show is barely a week and a half away and I still feel as if I have quite a lot to do to prepare.  I'm confident that most of the artwork is done.  It's just the displays and packaging and other last minute things that are still hanging over my head. 

More recently, Rob and I have been giving a great deal of thought to moving to a new house.  We would still be in the local area, just in another town.  Moving into a new home is a major life decision.  It is one we have been pondering for some time.  We have prayed about it and want to make sure we don't rush and that we make the right decision for all of us. 

It seems as if things are falling into place for us to do this soon.  I know from past experience that moving is a HUGE undertaking and can be all-consuming of my time and energy.  I worry that getting our home ready and keeping it meticulously clean and neat will monopolize my time and creative energy. 

However, thinking of living in and decorating a new home gets my creative juices flowing, too.  I know I'll still be gypsysticks and I'll still be making art.  And eventually I'll have an even better place (my own studio!) to do it in. 

So, even though Thanksgiving is over, I still feel extrememly thankful for all I have and all I have to look forward to.  I look forward to the journey and thank you for keeping me company on it.

blessings and happiness,

19 November 2010

grateful praise

Over the river and through the woods...

Well, we're not going over the river and through the woods, but my parents, sister and future brother-in-law are!  (My brother and future sister-in-law unfortunately can't come due to work obligations.)      :(

They will be here next week for Thanksgiving.  So this weekend will be full of preparations for their arrival.  Baking, cooking, cleaning and a few suprises I'll share with you next time!

In the mean time, here are a few things I am giving grateful praise for...

Wishing you and yours a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving surrounded by the ones you love.  Knowing you, too, are giving grateful praise for all our

blessings and happiness,

17 November 2010

learning to knit

Knitting with the 4th grade went well today  -- better than I had expected actually.  The children (even the boys!) were sincerely interested in learning. 

I had a handout that taught a little bit about the process of fleece being turned into yarn and a word search, too.  The teacher and I split them into groups and they took turns sitting with  me learning to knit.  I also took samples of different types of fibers for them to look at and touch.  I think they quite enjoyed it.  Many of them wanted to keep their fledgling projects to continue working on.

Some were more successful than others...

But the real success was in exposing them to something new and giving them an appreciation for the needle arts.  It was a blessing to see little minds and little hands working together to learn a new skill.  What a treasure our children are! 

Thankful for the opportunity to sow into these young lives, and wishing you...

blessings and happiness,

16 November 2010


Maybe it's because I'm already planning and preparing for my family to join us for Thanksgiving next week, and that I've been planning and preparing for the Christmas open house, that I'm in the Christmas mood a little early this year.  Please forgive my giddiness if you're still trying to figure out what to do with all that left over Halloween candy!    ;)

Even the children are in the Christmas spirit.  We've already watched the Grinch at least once, listened to at least half of our Christmas music CDs, and over the weekend they made "sleds" from brown paper bags and cardboard boxes for their stuffed animals and dolls.   

In the mean time, a busy day awaits ... 
I'm off to the commissary (there's the Thanksgiving part), and then back home to prepare for teaching knitting to 17 4th graders tomorrow!  I'm excited and nervous at the same time.  This is the first time I've been asked by the school to come share my art with the children.  I'm hoping it will be fun and can't wait to tell you all about it.

Shining, twinkling, and wishing you

blessings and happiness,

13 November 2010

christmas cheer

Yesterday I got the itch to make some new gypsy girl drawings.  And this is what I came up with.  I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I couldn't help it.  (It always annoys me when stores put out the Easter decorations and bathing suits the day after Christmas!) In any event, it's a happy sentiment and will make a nice Christmas card.  I think I'll have a series of these to package as Christmas cards for the open house.  And some of the others I've done in the past, will make nice all occasion/blank cards.

It's definitely not winter yet, but it has been a blustery (and chilly) day today.  The trees are all a little more bald than they were a few days ago.  The children and I are enjoying just staying at home today.  They're out playing in the fort, watching leaves fall, and playing soccer.  It'll probably be a good night for watching movies, eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate. 
Mmmm ... the warm, reassuring comforts of the season...

wishing you a cozy, comfortable and quiet Saturday filled with...

blessings and happiness,

12 November 2010

operation christmas child

Every year our church collects shoe boxes filled with Christmas toys and treats for Operation Christmas Child.  It is a world wide effort to bring joy to children who normally wouldn't receive such blessings.  The shoes boxes are collected and distributed all over the world by Samaritan's Purse.  You can learn more here

Today, the children and I spent our time shopping for our Christmas Children.  We do this every year as a family and it is so much fun.  There are 5 of us, so every year we fill 5 shoe boxes.  We always enjoy deciding if our box will be for a boy or a girl.  We even try to imagine what country our boxes will go to and how it will get there.  This year I want my box to go to its village by elephant.  :)

You'd be suprised how much you can fit into one shoe box!  We always include little toys, puzzles, cuddly things, crayons, socks, and even small toiletries like wash clothes and soap.  Truly, we have so much fun spreading everything out on the living room floor and filling each box. 

This year, the girls and I all did boxes for little girls, and Rob and Sean did boxes for boys.  Then to make each one even more special, we decorate the tops with stickers.

If you feel like getting in the Christmas spirit early this year, or you just want to be a blessing to some little ones far away, I'd definitely suggest this.  You can even find out where you box ends up if you print out the tag online.  (click on the link above to see how). 

Next time, a little something about art...

blessings and happiness,

10 November 2010

knit night

Yesterday I got the itch to knit something so I pulled out the cowl pattern I did recently.  Believe it or not, I cast it on after the kiddos came home from school and had it done by the time I went to bed. 

I used the leftover greyish lavendar yarn (by dyeabolical) from one of the previous cowls and a beautiful Dream in Color sock yarn called Smooshy.  The dream in color is 20% cashmere, so it turned out super soft.  This pattern was written for a chunky yarn so I knitted this with 3 strands (1 of the grey, and 2 of the purple).  It turned out just right. 

On another note, I mailed out 66 invitations for December's open house yesterday.  Most of them are teachers or fellow parents from the children's school.  I don't recall how many I had come last year, but I remember being pleased.  So I'm hoping for even more this year.  Besides my friend (the hostess) and myself there are supposed to be 2 or 3 other ladies participating, so it will be nice to see and meet new people and hopefully get new exposure for my art. 

I know it's still a ways off, but I'm already thinking about how I will display everything.  I especially need to come up with a plan for how I will hang the paintings.  I'm thinking ... an old door or shutters hinged together...something like that.  I'll definitely use my vintage suitcases, and Ethyl and her new comrade will be there as well.

Even though it's still a month away (Sat, 11 Dec), I'm already getting excited about it.  =)
Isn't it nice to have new dreams and adventures to look forward to?  Plus, it will be an awesome way to get in the Christmas spirit.  Actually, I never have trouble getting in the Christmas spirit -- it's such a nostalgic and happy time of year.

Hopefully, next time I will have some new open house creations to show you.  Until then...

blessings and happiness,

08 November 2010

perfect peace

I went through a challenging time in my life a few years ago.  I struggled with my identity as a person and often felt hopeless and empty.  Even though I knew I was blessed and had so many, many things to be thankful for, I still couldn't find lasting joy.  I had faith in God and knew He had a plan for me, but at the time I couldn't clearly see the path.  Although I knew it must be there somewhere, I didn't see hope on the horizon. 

By the grace of God, the power of prayer, and new, dear, encouraging friends, I found my way out of that cloudy haze.  I can see that there are new dreams that God has planted in my spirit -- new journeys and adventures to look forward to. 

This painting is a reminder to me that if I feel overwhelmed or burdened and stressed out, I have to remember to cast all my cares on the Lord and He will give me the peace that surpasses all understanding.  I have to be still long enough to hear the reassurance in my own heart.  Then I'm able to see the world through new eyes and find the joy that He intended me to have all along.

Feeling lost and in despair isn't fun.  It's a yucky place to be.  But when my galoshes get stuck in the mud, it's hard to focus on the flowers.  Sometimes, it's best to just kick off those muddy boots and say,
"I'm going to tip-toe through the tulips!". 

As always, I wish you joy, hope, new dreams, and perfect peace in all you do.

blessings and happiness,

03 November 2010

festooned with flowers

In an effort to continue creating new things for the Christmas open house, I made some winter flowers.  They're meant to be hung as ornaments on the Christmas tree, but here they're festooning Ethyl's new companion.  (I haven't named her yet.)

I made them from hand knitted flowers, felted flowers (from the recycled sweaters), odd bits of fabric, lace, vintage doilies and vintage buttons.  I decided to keep the color palette whites, creams and silvers, wanting them to look like snowflakes once they're on a tree with lights and tinsel.

The assembling and hand sewing are a bit time intensive, so there are only about 20 or so.  I may do another batch later, but this is what I got done yesterday. 

I have a few more ideas still floating in my noggin to keep me busy for a while.  So, as new things come to life, I'll keep sharing them with you. 

By the way, thank you so much for your kind words, encouragement and feedback.  It's a blessing to receive input from such admirable artists.  I treasure each and every comment you leave. 

blessings and happiness,

01 November 2010

it's finished! ... x3

Three finished projects in one weekend!  Wow.  I'm so proud of myself.  I finally finished the sock yarn shawl I started a while back.  I think it turned out pretty nice.  I was originally planning on keeping it for myself, but now I think I may sell it at the open house coming up.

I also cast on and finished two cowls.  I was really pleased with how quickly these knit up -- I got two done, so it's definitely an easy, sit-and-watch-football weekend project.

The cowl pattern is written by my friend Madeline from Knit One Weave Too.  It was designed to be knitted with a chunky weight yarn, but I had all these awesome sock yarns to use up, so I knitted them with the yarn doubled.  It's a very forgiving pattern size wise, since  you just pull it over your head, and it will stretch because of the give in the cables.

The second cowl was a finer weight sock yarn.  I used the same amount of stitches so it has a little less body, more lacy, but still works just as well.  I think these will be nice to throw on this winter, when I don't feel like dealing with a whole scarf.  I'm not a fan of turtle necks (they always make me feel confined).  But a cowl is nice, because it still keeps me warm, but has more ease to the way it fits.

By the way, what do you think of Ethyl's new look for fall?

I got inspired by some photos of a yarn shop posted by Christine of lavender and limes.  They had opened some hanks of yarn and just thrown them around the dress form's neck.  I thought it was clever and I think Ethyl pulls it off quit nicely.

as always, I wish you...
blessings and happiness,