Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Riddance 2009!

2009 can't end fast enough for me.

All I can say at the moment is that I hope 2010 is a better year for me and all of you who have struggled this year. Things have GOT to get better.

To all of you lurkers and posters, Happy New Year; it's been a long one and I'm glad to see 2009 end!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Carpenter I Am Not

but I did finally make the cabinet for Gail that we saw at the Atlanta Market back in January. I don't measure well and tend to eyeball a lot of things. Wood isn't forgiving like fabric and once you cut it, you have to work with it. I don't plan things well when working with wood either, as is evident by the placement of the hole (see close up) I drilled right where the shelf sits inside for one of the holes.

Gail has helped me a lot this year and she had asked in January if I would build this for her. I want one for myself too but it will be a while. The one I made out of thin plywood months ago holds some sewing notions but isn't sturdy and can't really be used like this one. Here is my friend with her gift; she liked it.

Now that Christmas is past, I want to start on non-Christmas projects of all sorts. I did a little work outside today in 20+ degree weather. I only got one forsythia bush cleaned of honeysuckle. The rest of the day was spent teaching Alissa to sew. She designed and stitched (with a little help from Nana) a pillow for her new little cousin. I can't post a picture of it though till after the gift is given this weekend. She did a good job and stuck with it the entire project and only got bored stuffing the finished case.

I started a little wall hanging that I saw somewhere on the web...just a little quickie for Alissa's bedroom. We'll be painting it soon (been talking about it for two years now) and I wanted this little piece to put in her "new" room.

Back to stitching....hope you're having a nice day. :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Catching Up, News! and a Request

Hi everybody,

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas with your family and friends. I've actually been enjoying being able to stay home during this time. Would you believe I'm STILL making my gifts??? I just got my sister's gift mailed yesterday and still working on Gail's and something for my wonderful neighbors. Ugh.

First I want to show you what I made for my oldest daughter and her husband in Virginia. I got the idea out of a new book, Nature Inspired by Tracie Lyn Huskamp. I was very happy with the way it turned out and will be making more of this type of artwork.
Now for my big news! Remember I said I was ready to start fostering again? Well, I took Princess to meet a sweet dog a few days ago from my local rescue shelter. Her name is Blair, was an owner surrender and is 11 years old. What a sweet dog! I swear she is my Harley reincarnated except for her markings!! I brought her home and it's like she's lived here all of her life. Nobody has gotten upset with each other, no hackles raised, not even a growl from anybody.

Blair and Zoe meeting; Blair and Princess had already met.

This angelic dog is wonderful and I've already decided that I am going to adopt her once she is through her heartworm treatment (no, I know I shouldn't at this time but oh well...). Yes, she is heartworm positive and coughs a lot. Heartworms are completely preventable and the treatment is so expensive and makes the dog feel sick during it. Poor Blair has not only lost her only home at the ripe old age of 11 years, but now has to undergo the treatment.

The little shelter, CARA, that I'm fostering her for has already treated 20 dogs this year, to the tune of $500 each. The area where I live isn't a wealthy one and animals aren't respected much by the general population, so that she was taken in by the crowded shelter to be given a chance for a new home is really wonderful. I have donated $25 toward her expensive treatment and am going to be very bold and ask if you can donate a few dollars toward Blair's treatment. CARA accepts checks or donations through PayPal. If we all give just a few dollars, it would help this shelter tremendously. There are so many organizations that help people, but the animals need help too and just like other charities, your donation is tax deductable! Thank you so much whether you can help or not.

Well friends, it's well into the morning and I'm still in my pj's drinking my morning coffee. I've got to get going and finish making my gifts!! Have a great day and I will catch up visiting you within the next day or so :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you have a Merry Christmas and that 2010 is a better year for all of us!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Special Christmas Stocking

Well, it's almost here and I am still making my gifts! It happens every year. Somehow once Thanksgiving is over, it seems like 24 hours later it's Christmas.

I was able to get a very special stocking made for my newest little granddaughter, Ginny, and take it to Maryland with me at Thanksgiving. I forgot to take pictures of it, but her mommy did and I wanted to show them to you.

I wanted to make her something special for her first Christmas that would be a keepsake but that could also be used. It isn't perfect, but it was made with lots of love.

And here she is...just learned to sit up by herself and wondering what all these bright and sparkly decorations are all about!

Hey baby Ginny, ask mommy to take a picture of you holding your stocking :)

I hope you all have a good day today!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Blizzard of '09

Well, I'm not getting any of it, unfortunately, but a few hours to the north of me in VA and MD they sure are!

Here are some pictures from my oldest daughter and sister - both near the D.C. area.

My son-in-law trying to get the car out to go to work a little while ago. He barely made it and will have to have somebody with a 4 wheeler drive him home at midnight tonight! He works outside guarding the Senate (or House). Daisy, their beautiful dog, is "helping".

A shot of Daisy laying in the snow completely unphased by it:
A picture from my sister's place about an hour north of D.C.
How pretty her house looks:
I sure wish I was up there with them all snuggled inside their beautiful, cozy homes!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Little Christmas Painting

I've been itching to paint again. I've spent so much time on my sewing machine that I just haven't been able to pick up my paint brushes, and I've really missed them. I did do a couple of cute Halloween paintings, which were fun to do.

I painted a winter scene inspired by this pretty (and very expensive) pillow from Crate and Barrel. I think it turned out really cute and it was simple to paint since there weren't any details.

I wasn't sure where to put it once it was finished, so stuck him with my snowmen.

Here is a picture of my snowmen and Santa collection in my living room hutch.
The primitive Santa on the left of the shelf is one I drew, cut out with a band saw and painted myself many years ago. It is probably my favorite one.

On another note - I received some very disappointing news yesterday. My temporary assignment ended. It was supposed to run through the end of this month, but the gal who had surgery came back this Monday and they just didn't need me. I was bored to death answering the phones and opening mail but the money has helped extend my unemployment benefits by about a month and was a huge help.

While I hate losing the money, the timing is good because now I can actually finish making my Christmas gifts (only made and mailed three!). I love being home and wish I could retire, but that is only a dream.

I hope you are having a good week preparing for Christmas.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Decorating

My blog friend, Marlene, was in a cleaning mood recently and posted an offer for some fabric panels she wasn't going to use. I told her which ones I liked and she sent them to me! I immediately..... well, almost.....sewed these two pretty panels into pillows for my sofa. I just love them.

She sent me a few more panels, but I haven't worked with them yet. One in particular is high on my priority list, though. Thanks so much, Marlene!

One evening last week, I was searching for a Christmas centerpiece idea for my kitchen table. I remembered a site called The Inspired Room, so I popped over there and found a great idea submitted by Pearls and Handcuffs . If you scroll down, you'll see she dressed up her chandelier.
Now I'm not usually one for the "dressy" look, but this just struck me as beautiful. Of course, her dining room looks a little formal and I wanted to do this in my big, eat-in kitchen...since I don't have a dining room. My version is a little scaled down from hers, but the idea is the same.

I spent $3 for the garland and about the same for the little wreath at Michaels, plus $6 for a big spool of ribbon. I think it turned out great and will definitely be doing this again next year! It was soooo easy and makes such a statement as soon as you walk in my front door.

Ummm... I won't even bother to show you what my front porch looks like before you get into the house though.......

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Journal Cover for My Sister

Hi everybody,

I've missed posting but wanted to leave the important post about dogs up for a while. I certainly hope there are a lot of visitors that don't leave comments on my blog so that this information was shared by many.

While I was in Maryland for Thanksgiving, I started a small project to give to my DS for her birthday, which is tomorrow. I was working on it right beside her in the same room but she didn't know what it was or who it was for (he-he).

There are several methods for making a journal cover and I chose the simplest one I could find. My sister and I both love batik fabrics and I have a small collection, so it was easy to select just the right one that I knew she would love. I've never made a journal cover before and I'll sure be making more of them. I am quite pleased with the way it turned out and couldn't wait for her to get it. I took it to the post office last Sunday and it was finally delivered to her this afternoon. The Christmas mailing rush is certainly on!

I wasn't really sure what I was going to do as far as design, so I just started stitching around some of the patterns in the batik. I knew I had to add a few beads here and there but didn't want it too busy.

She called me on my cell phone while I was driving home from work and she just loved it - I knew she would!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Plea for Dogs and Puppies

I know a lot of you out there have rescued pets and help animals in some way or another. I have fostered dogs and a few cats for eight years and been involved in rescue and animal rights issues for a long time. Since losing my job in January of this year, I needed to focus on simplifying my life as much as I could so stopped fostering in February or so. Recently, I have felt the sense of urgency bubbling back up in me to start helping again. Maybe it's becuase I have this temporary assignment and things are ok for me till January, I don't know. Just now I opened an email from somebody I know who is also involved with dog rescue. In the email was this video that I watched. There is nothing gross to view except the sheer number of dogs that are in each kennel. These dogs look like pets to me that have been surrendered. Who knows why. I know the economy has made it very difficult for people to hold onto things they love...there just aren't enough homes in good times, let alone these days. The video makes a superb point about buying puppies and dogs from backyard breeders and stores. So many people don't realize where the animals sold in stores come from. They come from puppy mills. Do a search and see what a puppy mill is.

There is barely a Saturday that I can't see somebody selling or giving away puppies in the Walmart shopping center where I live. A lot are purebreds, a lot are pit bulls; a lot are mixed breeds. There is also a big store that sells all kinds of animals, including some exotics. Their puppy and kitten suppliers are back yard breeders (I know for a fact b/c they were involved in a huge puppy mill bust here a few years ago.) It doesn't matter what breed or mix they are - there are too many. These innocent animals get sold or given away many times to end up in a shelter or far worse. If you or somebody you know is interested in getting a puppy or a dog for Christmas...or any time....please get one from a shelter or a rescue group. Also, every breed of animal has it's own rescue, so if you prefer a pure bred, start with a web search on "lab rescue" or whatever it is you're looking for. I apologize for such a long and serious post, but this is one of my most passionate soapboxes and I haven't said much about it here. But with blogs being able to reach out to so many, it's a great opportunity to try to help educate folks about the pet overpopulation more than ever!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Couple of Christmas Projects Complete

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I had the nicest one I've had in years. Now it's time to start panicking.

I do this every year. December gets here so quickly (I know - it really takes 11 months). I've been working on projects for a while now but only have a couple completed. I'm really excited about one new thing I'm going to try but won't be able to post pics about it for a while.

I rushed home from my temp assignment and took care of all the critters. Then went outside to spread some pine straw (pine needles for you northeners) in one area by the light of my car headlights. I can't really tell what it looks like but will tomorrow. I just needed to get them out before the rain starts later tonight. Then I ran the vacuum cleaner while dinner was cooking and now it's time to get to work on another project.

Here are my two completed projects...I'm pretty happy with them.

This isn't the permanent place for the wall hanging; I just stuck it there to take the picture.

I hope you all had a nice day today!