Saturday, October 29, 2011

I have been feeling very swamped lately.  Truthfully, it's not just lately.  For the last year, I have felt like I was barely keeping my head above water.  Mind you, it's not that I haven't been happy.  I am happy and I feel very blessed.  But along with that, I have felt this sense of being out of control and a bit desperate because of everything that pulls at me: work, family responsibilities, church/temple commitments, along with service I want to give, classes I am taking and the creative pursuits that I need, in order to keep my sanity.
So for the last few weeks, I have been taking a step back.  I have been asking myself a few basic questions.  How did I get this busy?  How did every day become a rush to the finish line? How can I get more joy out of everything I am doing?  Are there things I need to let go?
I sat down and made a list:

  • What must I do?
  • What do I want to do?
  • What do I merely like the idea of?

Keeping up this blog is one of the things I have really had to mull over.  On the one hand, it does put an added stress on me.  Even though I don't always make it, I feel that I should blog at least once a week.  When I don't meet that goal, I feel the weight of it.  It sits in the back of my mind as one more of the myriad of things that I'm not getting done.  On the other hand, this blog is the most success I have had at journaling since I became an adult.
To make a long story short, taking a break from it to see how it felt, I decided that while there are things in my life I need to let go of, the blog won't be one of them.  I may not be able to blog as often as I would like, but whatever I can do is better than nothing.

During my little break, I did manage to get quite a bit done.  I finished my father-in-laws birthday quilt. I am very pleased with the way it turned out.

The colors worked together wonderfully.  The subdued tones keep are masculine, but the dusty blue and gray sashing keeps it from being too dark.

Again, to keep it masculine, I chose to go with organic, straight line quilting.

I adore the border fabric! Probably because my own father said those very things to me when I was going up.

Here is the back.  You can't see it from this far away but the center fabrics repeats the word "Fix".

This closeup gives a much clearer view.
I hope Grandpa likes it.  On Thanksgiving Day, he will turn the big 9-5.  I hope I am still going as strong as he is when (if guess I should say "if") I get to that age.

My friend Jen, is hosting a charity craft fair in November.  I already donated a quilt but I wanted to do something more, so I decided to whip up some Christmas aprons for her to sell.  I used this tutorial.
This is the go-to pattern I use when I need to quickly make a cute apron.  The pattern is true to it's title.  It really does take under an hour to put it together.
My plan is to make ten aprons for her, but with my new goal not to over-schedule myself, I will see how many I can get done.

I've also worked on a couple more small projects around the house. I added some flowers to the spice tin magnets I made a couple of weeks ago.

While cleaning out my linen closet, I rediscovered these beach themed "day of the week" tea towels purchased while we lived on Maui.

They really add some flare to my guest bathroom.  Again, small changes, but they make me smile.

I've had these old skeleton keys for quite a while now. Aunt Twila and I used to like to go to the yard sale held at her retirement community annually.  She purchased these for me at the last one she was well enough to go to.
I haven't quite known what to do with them, but I finally decided to just wrap them with some ribbon I had on hand and add a couple of beads.
I was in a hurry when I took this photo and you can't see them very well.  I will take some better close ups and post them in my next blog.
This simple saucer of keys makes me happy every time I see it.  It makes me remember Aunt Twila and the fun we used to have.  Geeez, I miss her.

If you're interested, I posted another recipe for you.  Check it out on the What's cookin' page.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hearth and home

Maybe it is the cool, cozy feeling in the air, but something about The Fall puts me in full-on nesting mode.  Every year I get the urge to redo and redecorate and this year is no different. So, armed with plenty of inspiration from Pinterest and several of my new favorite blogs, I have been making some subtle changes.

The hutch in my sitting room has been bothering me lately.  More and more, I found myself disliking the bold colored plates that I had there.  (Sorry, but for the life of me, I could not find a before picture.)  So, I removed the offending dinnerware, pulled out some starfish, sand dollars and  every neutral serving piece I own and here is what I came up with.

I lived with it a couple of days and then decided it needed a little more punch...

so, I took an aqua plate I had in my guest bath and used it as the center focal point.  I'm still not crazy about the floral dessert plates, but it is a work in progress.

I also changed the container for my shell collection to this lovely apothecary jar with an added bit of twill tape ribbon.

I have had these vintage spice tins just sitting in a box in a closet so I decided to see what I could do with them.

When I say vintage, I mean it.  Look at the price!

Anyway, with the help of a couple of magnets attached to the back, here they are now on the front of my fridge.

I love them.  I'm going to find some little flowers for the other two.

And finally, I collected several of these tiny bubble shells while I lived on Maui.  They have been languishing on a shelf in my hutch since we moved to California, but I decided I needed to do something a bit special with them.

So, I cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside a frame I had lying around, covered it with some linen fabric from my stash, pulled out my glue gun...

and, voila!  This now sits on my night stand.  
These are small changes I know, but they make me happy.  

Along with all of that, I am working on a quilt for my father-in-law.  He will celebrate his 95th birthday this November and we will be attending the big family party in his honor.  This quilty-poo is our gift to him.  I'll be sure a post picture of the finished quilt.
All in all, a very crafty, contented week for me.
I also made one of my very favorite, go-to dinners.  Check it out on the "What's cookin" page.