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

Simple Joys: Creativity and Gardening

Do you enjoy the simple things in life? I’ve realized lately that the simple things mean so much to me. Like my husband’s laugh, the sun on my skin, a hug of a friend, a good book, the feel of clean sheets, the smell of a freshly squeezed lemon. Two simple pleasures that I have indulged in lately are being creative and gardening. And I suppose you could say creative gardening. I have this garden stone near my front door. What a lovely reminder for me each day and it was only a dollar at the dollar store!DSC_7364 2

My garden has been a simple joy. My mom has always had a lovely garden. I thought I couldn’t grow anything. I had a black thumb rather than a green one like hers. But I was busy with three boys. I didn’t make the time to plant, weed and water while I homeschooled our sons. Now I have the time! Look at the loveliness God has blessed me with this year. DSC_7123 2

I had more daylily varieties than I knew were planted. That is one advantage to a poor memory: beautiful surprises in the garden!Daylilies Summer 2014

I found a special visitor on one of the blooms.DSC_7396 2

One of the plants that is new to me this year is bee balm given to me by my mom. The blooms are fascinating right before they open.DSC_7356 2

My garden has been such a blessing to me that I did a page in my art journal about it. I used a new technique for me that is really very old: a dip pen and ink. The ink is acrylic and when applied watered down, it resembles watercolor. Nice and vivid!DSC_7463 2

I decided there is no need to be constricted to gardening in the yard. Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of plants that remind me of my years in Arizona. Succulents! And they really seem to be in vogue. My daughter-in-law, Karlin, came to visit me while Matt was in Honduras and Jeremy is away on deployment. We both fell in love with those dry weather plants. They look great planted in a grouping.DSC_7512 3

But also in several groups!DSC_7540 3

I’m glad I took those photos. They’ve already spread out a bit in their new homes. I wonder how soon I’ll have to separate them. So fun to watch them grow.

Karlin and I also had a blast painting something we both love. Butterflies!DSC_7529b 2

Finally, back to simple things. We really have to make time to enjoy them, don’t we? Recently, my niece, Tiffany,  a mom of four beautiful children and a missionary, admired my leather bracelets. I asked what word she would like on a bracelet. She wanted to give it some thought. After a couple weeks, I texted her. What word?! She said that her pursuit of just the right word was now a family joke. “What word is mommy going to pick for her bracelet?” She threw out three words: Smile, Savor and Breathe. My sweet Tiffany needed a reminder to enjoy the simple things.  She finally settled on Savor.

I loved thinking of this beautiful, hard working mom as I stamped the edges with a metal stamp that my dad, her grandfather, had made.DSC_7366 2

I couldn’t help myself. I had to include all three words!DSC_7375 2

And themes from my garden: flowers, butterflies.DSC_7373 2

The lovely colors she chose worked so well: earth tones.DSC_7372 2

Her smile made if worth it all!IMG956641 4

What simple things have you been enjoying?

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?

Lovin’ Life Bracelet

Lovin' Life BraceletI designed this bracelet a couple months ago. Since I hadn’t made one before, I wanted to make sure that the design was sturdy before I offered it for sale. Well, I LOVE mine! I find myself wearing it almost every day. It is earthy and yet classy. Very organic.  The pearls are lustrous and the Swarovski crystals sparkle and reflect many colors. Gorgeous, chunky Sterling Silver beads. Such a unique bracelet is sure to bring a smile to your face, especially the heart toggle clasp.

So, I named it Lovin’ Life Bracelet. I put a beautiful heart shaped toggle on the bracelet. The sterling beads, crystals and pearls all move and interact with each other. Sort of like life; many different parts and yet a whole. It’s really one of my favorite designs!

Check it out at the website here: Lovin’ Life Bracelet

Lovin' Life Bracelet

Inspired by a Word

Lately, I’ve been having fun stamping on sterling silver. It can be quite challenging to get a good imprint on the metal. Lining up the stamps is always a challenge. And there is only one chance to hit it properly.  A second hit usually adds a ghosting effect that isn’t desirable.

Who can resist cute little birds and a heart?!

LOVE

This LOVE pendant is made from leather and sterling silver. I even got to stamp the leather too!

Lots of practice on copper was needed before I progressed to the sterling silver. Even then there were many mistakes. But I persevere because of words and the inspiration they bring.

A favorite word of many is LOVE. We all need it. Life just doesn’t seem worth living if you don’t know you are loved.

Other words are equally encouraging: HOPE, FAITH, JOY… One that I have on a necklace and wear often is TRUST. At times it seems difficult to trust – when everything looks all wrong, out of control. …when I would have things go so much differently. But that is when God asks me to believe that He is loving and all powerful, able and willing to do what is good and right.TRUST

Another word that has jumped out at me lately is confidence. No, I’m not trying to find the power within myself to conquer. But do I have CONFIDENCE in God? Somehow that one word added an aspect to trust that I hadn’t contemplated yet. The online dictionary says it means: “full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing, certitude, assurance.” To me that is an even deeper word than trust. It’s something to ponder…meditate on. Psalm 71:5 says it well, “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,  my confidence since my youth.” And so he has…and will continue to be!

What word inspires you? Is there a word that you need to speak to yourself over and over again? I’d love to hear about it! Here are some of the jewelry pieces that I have made with words on them. Some are still available on my jewelry website: Gentle Spirit CreationsCollage of Stamped Jewelry by Janine