Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sleep Deprived and Travel Pillows

I don't know if this thought came to me because I really need a good night's sleep or because I am genius when only 1/4 of my brain is functioning.  I just finished a one hour project and came out with two travel pillows to give the girls as Christmas presents.

I tried to take a nap.  To all those lucky people who can nap, I envy you.  I can't nap.  My brain won't stop for the bit of time I need to be still.  I am exhausted.  I have a headache  And I want a milk-shake.  I am a weary mess.  (I know I can't be the only gal who likes a milkshake when she's pooped.)  I haven't been able to sleep well for several days.  Maybe it is because the girls and I are off schedule, eating junk food, and I keep getting visitors around 3 am who need to sleep with Mommy.

Anyhoo, while I was attempting to nap I had an idea to make travel pillows out of a flannel error.  By flannel error, I mean that when I bought material to make the girls' their yearly Christmas pj pants I bought enough material to make pants for a four year old.  That doesn't work if your kids are eight years old and ten years old.

Back to the pillows... I looked up travel pillow tutorials and found a ton for the "U" shaped pillows - which my girls have never liked.  Then I came across this little pillow by Maya Made.  I made mine a bit bigger but I think they are a brilliant idea (a nod to my wonderful British friend).  I love it that they have pockets and handles (which makes it easier to get a good grip when you bop your sister in the head).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Fabric

We went on a mini-vacation to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO this past weekend and I got to stop at a few fabric stores.  YAHOO!!!  I was so excited but Gene and the girls - not so much.  They must really love me because they patiently helped me find PUL, gave their opinions on patterns, and waited through the long line (we were number 8 when they were calling number 80).  I thoroughly enjoyed my fabric shopping detour.

Here are some of the new fabrics for re-usable sandwich bags.

These are great fabrics for boys and girls.

The next time you see these prints they will be a tote, bag, or purse.  My favorite is the middle print.  It may be time for a new purse.

Mini Tote, Hobo Bag, and Ruffle Purse

There are three new bags hitting the market at Ms. Effie's Summer Kitchen just in time for Christmas!

This mini-tote is a smaller version of the big market tote.  It is adorable and the perfect size for a wallet, cosmetic bag, book, and whatever the kids or husband want to sneak in there.

I must say that this is my favorite new purse.  It was inspired by several bags I saw on-line.  So, I found a basic pattern on-line at www.jcarolinecreative.comcreated as a starting point, made changes and additions, tweaked it as I went along, and viola.  It was fun to make because I love to mix and match fabrics.  There will be more of these coming along and one for me in one of the new fabrics I posted earlier.

This was another purse that was modeled after another bag  ( I would love to provide a link but I can't remember it - my apologies) but like the previous hogo bag, I made it my own as I went along.  Being free in the patterns and creating as I sew is my favorite way.  I know it would drive some folks crazy.  It is like cooking without a recipe.

However, this pretty purse was a bit challenging.  I thought it would be a great idea to add a ruffle on the outside, a divider in the middle as well as a pocket, and then have a pleated lining.  It was one of those projects where I had to walk away a  few times and regroup but it was worth all the effort.

Gene thinks it is cool that I try to be waste free and use every scrap I have.  With that said, I am working on a tutorial of a braided headband made from leftover materials.  It is so simple to make and can be done in less than 30 minutes.  I made one yesterday while I was coloring my hair.  I don't recommend that method but with some luck, it all turned out fabulous.

There is a messenger bag waiting in the wings but it may have to wait until after Christmas.  My small local fabric store has some things I need to finish it on order and I am waiting patiently.  Now I need to get busy sewing Christmas gifts for my family and friends.  I have lunch kits to make for the girls' teachers.  They include two re-usable sandwich bags and a napkin all tied up with a bow.  Hey, if you want to get some for the teachers and co-workers in your life I'd be happy to make a few extra. 

The girls picked out flannel for a couple pairs of pj's.  Not to mention that I am itching to paint.  I started a mixed-media picture as a Christmas gift for Gigi last month.  It calls to me every time I go into my art room.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Art Journal

I follow an art journal blog, A Year In The Life of An Art Journal.  Twice a month they put out challenges with a prompt, song, and technique.  Some of them are easy - I may have been listening to the song before and thought about how it would transfer into an art journal page.  Others are a bit more challenging.

This first page was one of the challenging ones for me.  I was actually dragging my feet because I couldn't come up with any ideas that I liked... until Greta and I doodled "The Eyes Room" one day while waiting for an appointment.  I love Greta's sketches and thought it was perfect for this challenge.


The Prompt:  Eye Opener
The Song:  Why are we sleeping?
Technique:  Eyes


This page was one that I had imagined months ago when I first heard the song "Jar of Hearts."  I used blue tissue paper to get the color and depth of the mason jar.
Song:  Jar of Hearts 
Technique:  Tearing

Greta and I had a great evening bonding over the creation of our art journal pages.  Like most eight year old girls, she is crazy about peace signs, so naturally, we both did this page.

Prompt: Peace
Song:  I Believe In Music by Mac Davis


I find it fascinating that Greta picked this part of the lyrics to add to her page.  I think I will start saying that to Greta and Gigi when they are bickering!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I am an artist!

Do you see how you demean yourself? That is why it's dangerous to deny your Artist self. God has made you unique, He has put that creator element of Himself in you, and you refuse to acknowledge it. He may have caused that opportunity to go to that art retreat to open itself up to you, purely for your own joy. But you refuse to embrace the gift that it is because you can't acknowledge that you are already an artist and have been since the day you were born.

So please, think about this. And next time you feel the urge to claim not to be an artist-Don't. If you don't know what kind of artist you are, because you do a little of everything, say you're a mixed media artist. But if you say you're not an artist, you'll believe it. We listen to what we tell ourselves, as do others.
So say it to yourself, if no one else. "I am an artist." And believe it- You are.

This was from a recent post on from

If you had asked me when I was three years old what I wanted to be when I grow up I would have said "an artist".  My Aunt Joan, who is a watercolor painter, saw a gift in me when I was three.  She would take me out  to the countryside and we would paint together.  My Mom let me paint murals on my bedroom walls - starting when I was a preschooler.  I didn't question that dream or falter in my statement.  If you had asked me when I was twelve years old what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have answered again "an artist."  If you had asked me when I was in high-school what I wanted to be I would have said "an artist."  In my first year of college, while I was taking fine art classes, if you would have asked me what I want to be I would have wavered a bit and said "an artist, I think." 

It was the "I think" part that got me derailed.  There wasn't anything monumental that occurred that made me question my heart's desire.  I had encouragement from art teachers my entire life.  I had pieces of art entered in competitions and on display in universities when I was in high-school.  I had experienced nothing but success.  Even in college my professors would choose my art pieces for display.  So I wonder, how did I turn away from my inner voice?

Now that I am starting to realize that dream, I can look back and review.  There were so many moments, just like everyone else, where bits of me were damaged.  Without the whole of me, I started to bend and falter.  I didn't stand tall.  There were times when I needed protection.  I believe with my soul that is why I chose Gene.  He is a protector.  He has amazing types of inner strength that I lack and respect.  Don't get me wrong... I am strong.

Maybe God knew I wasn't ready for the failure, which I fear, that comes along with being an artist.  I struggle if my work is critiqued. I needed more wisdom and confidence that comes with age.  I needed more life experiences.  I needed faith and hope.  God knew these things.

I also didn't have a clue on how to live as an artist.  How to exist and put yourself out there.  I felt a bit that being an artist was selfish.  I had another Aunt who once told me, when I was about eight, that I was selfish and lazy.  Now that I am older I realize that she had heartaches beyond belief and that if I had been older and wiser I would have known to not take her judgement to heart. 

I also have the need to give back but didn't know how.  It is something that we all have.  That is how social work became my career.  I wanted to help people and give back to the community.  Now that I am a stay at home Mom I find a lot of my worth in giving back to my family.  It is one of the ways I show them that I love them.

So, where is all of this rambling leading to?  I am finding my inner artist again.  That three year old who doesn't falter.  The eight year old who doesn't waver.  The high-school girl who is hurting but has a dream.  I am setting goals.  I am putting myself, through the art I create, out there.  I may even make a paycheck, tiny as it may be.    I am an artist (with a little bit of anxiety).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kitty Cat Cain

This is Kitty Cat Cain.  She is a stray that was adopted as an outdoor cat by our neighbors.  We love her.  She is so sweet and her temperament reminds me a lot of my old Poppy Cat. She likes our dog Friday.  (I may have "accidentally" let her sneak in the house a few times and hang out.) She even gets along with our other cat Bandit.  Let me tell you, Bandit isn't easy to get along with.  He is the kind of cat who gives cats a bad reputation - lazy and indifferent.  Alas, he is part of our family and he has picked Greta as his person.

We've placed dibs on Kitty Cat Cain when our neighbors PCS. We don't want them to hurry away because we really like them so until then, we will share custody of this sweet girl.