Never Bored

Recently, while chatting with a fellow artist, she said, “With all the fun things out there to create, how do people get bored?” I totally agree! There is never enough time in the day to create all the things I want to make. I’ve been enjoying several different creative avenues lately.

I met Caroline from Eagles Nest Woolens during Oktoberfest at the Schifferstadt Museum in Frederick, MD and  I admired her beautiful rugs and watched her as she hooked a rug. I’ve always been interested in rug hooking and she had a small kit for sale. I just HAD to try it!DSC_9649 3

It did take me a bit to get the hang of pulling the stips of wool fabric through the backing cloth, but as I continued, it got easier and easier. I finished hooking the design and steamed it. Now I just need to figure out how to finish off my pumpkin rug mat.DSC_9706 2

When I wasn’t rug hooking, I was finishing a doily. I almost always have one in the making. This one is special because it reminds me of my doily making beginnings. After teaching myself how to crochet, I made afghans and pot holders. Then, while at a star party with my hubby, I saw a woman sitting outside her camper creating something beautiful. I thought she must have been tatting but she explained that it was crochet but with thread. Anne was working from a book of designs from nature.DSC_9724 3

Of course, I ran right out and bought thread, a smaller hook and the book! Well, okay, several doily books. And I ended up making LOTS of doilies but for some reason none from that book. Finally, I have completed the butterfly doily from Anne’s book. Isn’t it gorgeous?! Can you see the profiles of butterflies?DSC_9696 2

Of course, I always have my camera handy and every year I make a calendar. It takes quite some time to choose the photos and edit them for the calendar. But I got it done! And they are available for purchase here: 2015 Calendars. These high quality wall calendars feature photos from our trip to England and Bible verses. I hope you enjoy them!DSC_9657 3

This time of year I always have jewelry projects. I was kept quite busy getting ready for a show. Here is one pendant that sold just hours after I posted it. Abalone is so beautiful.DSC_9548 5

Creating with Sterling Silver wire is one of my favorite things to do. Add my favorite stone, Labradorite, and how could I not love it? This labradorite pendant is still available!DSC_9670 4

Swirls and turquoise are an unbeatable combo too! This turquoise pendant is here on my website.DSC_9684 6

So, yes, I’ve kept myself contently occupied creating! No boredom here! I’m always happy to see another sunrise and create during another day. What keeps you contentedly occupied?DSC_9667 2

Hooked on Doilies: Blocking

For some reason, once I start making doilies, it’s hard to stop.. It is a relaxing thing to do in the evenings while watching videos. I have a difficult time just sitting there not accomplishing something. I’d rather make something than just watch something! So, I just finished one that I began years ago. I think it is only the second oval one I’ve made. Here is how it looked after I finished crocheting it.DSC_1860 2

I’ve heard that some people never do the last step – blocking. It’s an important step. All it entails is washing it and then pinning it while it dries. I use two cardboard lids from packages of copier paper taped together with a towel on top to pin my doilies. These lids have been used so many times that they are about to fall apart. We may need to buy more copier paper soon. But I used a shoe box for a smaller doily.DSC_1862 2

It’s important to use the right pins too. I almost made a big mistake while pinning the larger oval doily. Blocking requires a lot of pins to do it properly and I ran out. No problem. I went into the craft room/studio and found another set of pins that I use in sewing. Then I remembered why I use the pins I do for blocking. They are stainless steel. I sure didn’t want rust marks on my pretty doily!

Even though the doily was nice before blocking, I was much happier with it afterwards. It lies flat now and shows the details better.DSC_1883

So getting washed, stretched and left to dry works! Sounds a bit like life, doesn’t it. Those stretching times are tough, but usually leave us more beautiful, like lovely doilies. I can’t stop. Had to start another one from the same book, A Dozen Doilies. The oval one was called, Augustina. Now I’m working on a pinwheel one. It’s Anastasia. I hope she won’t mind being stretched to become more beautiful! DSC_1884 3

Joyfully Shout “Spring!”

I realized this morning that I have a First Day of Spring Shirt. Do you? I love the fabric of this shirt and it just joyfully shouts, “SPRING,” to me.  DSC_1797 2

Usually, I don’t see the sunrise. It happens too early for me. But today I did. Look at this gorgeous beginning to Spring. See the buds on the dogwood tree?DSC_1782 3

No flowers are blooming yet in my yard but they are working on it! Here are grape hyacinths coming up.DSC_1786

I am enjoying my spring wreath.DSC_1788 2

And my spring bouquet. It’s on my newly finished doily.DSC_1796 2

Here is another view of it.DSC_1781 2

Two days ago there were bunches of robins in our yard.DSC_1759 3

And today THERE WAS A BLUEBIRD ON THE BLUEBIRD HOUSE!!! Can you tell I’m excited about Spring?

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Rainy Day: Perfect for Hobbies

Today is cool and raining. I have a feeling I won’t get any sympathy from those of you that are covered in snow. But I still need to find things to do and I just don’t want to go outside. Thankfully, I have a few hobbies. Well, maybe a lot of hobbies. So after finishing breakfast dishes, I contemplated doing laundry, but those creative things were calling my name.

I’ve been making progress on the doily that I began over Thanksgiving weekend. Only a couple more rounds to go and then I can block it.Thanksgiving Doily

Last year I made this art journal page. Things have sure changed! No more pop-up! So, I definitely want to work some more on my drawing and painting. DSC_0441 3

The Butterfly Rejoice project is almost finished. I just realized as I photographed it that I haven’t put my initials and date on it. Must do that. Then I am contemplating how to finish the edges. I’ve thought of painting them different colors. Or maybe add fabric. Here are two fabrics that I’m considering. Still not sure.DSC_4850-1-2b

Lastly, I’m excited about a photography venture. This is my “new” camera! I will write more about it at another time, but isn’t is gorgeous?! It’s a treasure that we found on ebay. I just loaded some black and white film into it yesterday. Next sunny day, I am going to try it out!DSC_4835 2b

So, what do you do on rainy days?

Creatively Thankful

What a beautiful Thanksgiving I just experienced! We were blessed to be able to travel to North Carolina to be with our son, Jeremy, and his wife, Karlin. We took our camper since their guest bedrooms were wonderfully filled with  Karlin’s family, and parked in it a new campground that opened just down the road from their house. It got pretty cold while we were there. We hadn’t used this camper in 28 degree weather and I wondered if the water hose would freeze, but it didn’t. A drink of water was really cold though!

But back to the beauty. I have such a creative daughter-in-law! Look at this beautiful table…DSC_9949 2a

But that wasn’t the extent of the lovely Autumn decorations. When we arrived a couple days before Thanksgiving, there was this beautiful and unusual decoration on the front door.DSC_9931 2

On Thanksgiving day, a different wreath appeared! DSC_9967 2

Here is a closeup of the turkey wreath that she made. Isn’t it adorable?!

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This was the first time that I can remember that I didn’t cook or help cook the Thanksgiving meal. Karlin and her sister, Amber, did it all. That left time for Karlin’s mom, Joelyn, and me to work on a project. Joelyn asked if I would teach her to crochet a doily. Thread crochet is more difficult than regular crochet, but she jumped right in and began making a lovely piece. She was eager to learn how to crochet from a diagram too. Here is what we worked on while the younger women cooked.DSC_9986 2

What a blessing it was to spend several days with Karlin’s mom. I wish I had asked Matt to take of photo of Joelyn and me crocheting. But we did get a photo of Karlin’s famly.DSC_9970

Karlin and Amber made a wonderfully delicious meal. Almost all of it was gluten free and corn free so that I could eat it! Look at this gorgeous meal!!DSC_9956 3

It was a joy to be surrounded by family and lovely creativity. But, then it was time to travel home past all the fields of puffy white cotton and on to the heavy traffic of DC. I began noticing several RVs heading south and counted them. Would you believe in the short trip from NC to MD we counted 124 RVs heading south?! Maybe we were heading the wrong direction! But we’ll head that way in a couple months and it’ll be great to see Jeremy and Karlin again on the way down!DSC_9975 3

Completed Things

Last time I shared about a UFO. So, today I thought I would share that I completed the little doll afghan for my granddaughter! Before getting it into the mail, I had to take a photo of it. This cradle was the perfect setting. It was made by my great-grandfather, Charles E. Updyke (1878-1955). He passed away before I was born, so I’m not sure who he made this doll cradle for, but I’ve had it for a long time and it is one of my treasures. Another one is the doll in the photo. My folks brought that back from a vacation for me. I was just a baby and had stayed with my grandma. All three things are handmade and involved grandparents in one way or another. Doesn’t that doll look comfy? I sure hope my granddaughter likes the afghan. It’s really soft!DSC_9775 4

While on the subject of completed things, I made this bracelet this week for a customer that loves pearls!DSC_9773 4

And then my sister-in-law contacted me and wanted some earrings that are both an encouragement and would include her love of birds.DSC_9784 2

These are my favorite verses to go with these earrings:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6&7

“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” Luke 12:24

What are you completing this week?

Sidetracked from a UFO

Do you have UFOs in your house? I sure do! I remember the first time I heard a crafter exclaim about all the UFOs in her house. I thought, “Oh no. She’s seeing things.” She laughed as she explained that it stands for UnFinished Objects. You know, all those art and craft projects you started but never completed? Well, it took my friend, Robin, coming over and asking about crochet stitches to renew my interest in one of my UFOs. As I admired the squares that she planned to stitch together into an afghan, I wondered if I should attempt the stashed away project again.DSC_9712 3

Crochet is a love of mine and after making afghans for each of our three sons I wanted to make one for our living room. It’s a big project to take on for yourself and seems much more fun to make them for someone else. But six years ago when our son, Jeremy, signed up for the Marines and left for boot camp within a month, I needed something to do. This mama’s heart was in shock! And I don’t know about you, but the act of creating helps to not only get my mind off of things but also to bring healing. After choosing a pattern and a color, I became a mad crocheting whirlwind! Square after square piled up. The progress was quite exciting! But I guess I overdid.DSC_9713 3

The project was doomed to become a UFO. Maybe I should have taken more breaks, even though I found working on it so therapeutic. Not so for my wrist and arm. Pain radiated all the way to my elbow. I remember one of my sons saying, “Wait. Isn’t crochet something old ladies do? And you injured yourself crocheting?!” Yeah, I got a lot of sympathy. I tried taking a break and letting my arm heal, but each time I attempted a square, the pain came right back. Out of the 48 squares needed for the afghan I had completed 38. How could I stop now?! But sadly, I stacked them neatly into a plastic bin and hid them in a storage area. DSC_9704 3

Robin’s project renewed my interest in the painful UFO. During those years, I had found a way to crochet. I wasn’t the only “old lady” that had pain from the repetitive motion. I tried several ergonomic hooks from the craft stores. And even some wrist braces. Finally, I found the perfect solution online – the Eleggant Hook set. DSC_9725 2

This wooden “egg” handle kept me from clutching so tightly and it really eased the pain! Using this system, along with a wrist brace and taking it more slowly allowed me to make several doilies. Unfortunately, the egg came with only 6 sizes of hooks. Often, I needed other sizes. My sweet hubby came to the rescue! He took my thread crochet hooks into the garage and loped them off until they were just the right size for the egg. I went along crocheting happily until Robin came over. Suddenly, I really wanted to conquer that afghan! Would I have the right size hook and would it fit the egg? Of course not! Matt to the rescue…again!DSC_9721 2

That guy really is my knight in shining armor! He, again, disappeared into the garage with my crochet hooks and came out with a beautiful solution. These cherry wood blocks actually feel better in my hand than the egg does! The hook is force fitted into the block, so he will have to make a new one for each size hook. And in case you are wondering why there are two hooks and some new colors of yarn, well, now we are to the sidetracked part.

Over the weekend, I was blessed to spend time with my sweet granddaughters. As they took a nap, I worked on another square of the UFO. When Beth, who is almost 4 years old, woke up and found me crocheting, she asked if she could have a square for her doll baby. The square wasn’t completed and I thought it would be fun to make something just for her and in a color she would pick. Immediately she exclaimed, “pink!” then added, “and purple!” DSC_9718 2

I truly intended to make her just a couple squares in the same generic yarn I was using except in pink and purple. But all the yarns in the store beckoned me to see and feel. Before I knew it, I was in the area of yarn for baby projects. Oh, the softness! I couldn’t resist, even though the yarn is thinner and makes smaller squares….and required yet another block to be made in the garage. DSC_9720 2

So, I am sidetracked yet again from the afghan. I wonder will it always be a UFO? It’s sort of like me…not quite finished, not put all the way together, some texture and color, but no edging. Thankfully, I know that God doesn’t just stash me away somewhere. He keeps working on me; adding color, crafting texture and edging artfully. I’m a UFO that will be finished! In the meantime, I will keep plugging away at the projects set before me. Do you have UFOs in your house?DSC_9722 2