Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Husband Who Thinks of Everything

First off let me say that this was a wonderful Christmas. The best part wast the time spent with family. I had both of my kids home for the holidays which made it perfect!

Now onto husband! Yes, he's as close as one can get. Not only did he spoil me with gifts (like a new sewing machine among several others), he also came up with the perfect gift on his own. He is fascinated with the fact that I sell to so many different countries in my Etsy shop and from my website, he decided to get me a map. It's on a foam backing and trimmed with wood, and it's gigantic. It comes with little tacks with little round heads that I can stick into all the different places that I sell to. For now he hung it in our home office but it will eventually end up in the craft room that he is building building me, to my specifications..

Did I mention that he was perfect?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rest In Peace Howard

It was a sad day at the clinic today. Howard, our great horned owl that we raised, passed away. The poor little guy had a seizure that he just couldn't recover from. We are devastated! The staff and the clients all fell in love with him. I remember the day I checked him in. He was a little ball of grey fluff.

Howard was never right. He couldn't fly, wouldn't learn how to hunt, and he had seizures. When you find a baby animal on the ground and you think that they fell from their nest, more than likely Mom kicked them out because she knew that something was wrong with it. That is probably the case here.

We gave Howard almost two years of love, and I spent as much time with him as I do my own pets. I'll miss you Howard!

There are more stories about Howard here if you want to read them. Just look for the label, Howard. There is also a little video at the bottom of this page.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ribbon Candy & Mimosas

This post is about Christmas traditions. One I've been doing for years and the other, I decided this year to bring back.

Since I was a little girl Christmas breakfast was always the big celebration for my family. And that celebration always included Mimosas. That delicious orange juice and champagne mix went so good with all our favorite egg dishes and fruits. I carried that tradition with my own kids who are now in their mid twenties.

As I was putting together my sweet shop tree I was remembering the ribbon candy my mom always put out at Christmas. It was the thin ribbon, not the thick stuff. This it the candy that is so delicate that it will break easily. Well, I found it at Amazon and I bought some. It's so pretty too! That will be my next Christmas tradition to carry on.

There are other traditions that I have but those are some that give me fond memories.

Do you have any traditions that you have carried on from years ago?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Short and Sweet

It's been a long week, and next week is Christmas! Need I say more?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quality Time / Red Tail Boa

What do you do when you have a slow day at work?

We play with the animals! We probably have over 60 snakes at the clinic and today the snakes got the quality time. Howard was not happy. We had this snake on the floor and Howard stood about 5 feet away just watching. We don't know if he liked the snake or he was jealous that he wasn't getting all the attention for a change. If he were a normal owl he would have wanted to eat this sweet little snake. This snake was found in an abandoned house and brought to us by Animal Control. It will have a new home this week with one of our vet techs who will be taking it home for her son.

This particular snake, a Red Tail Boa is actually a nice snake, as is a Ball Python. So if you are planning to give a snake as a Christmas gift this year, those would be my recommendations. I would like one myself, but my husband is not fond of the idea.

It's not often that we have even a slow minute but Doc is leaving town and that means quieter times for us, and extra days off work for me. Loving this!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Earring Card Free Download for You!

Today I have a gift for you. I designed some holiday earring cards for your handmade earrings. You can even use them for your store bought earrings because, they're just cute!

They are in two different formats. If you want them in JPEG format, I designed them two up on a 4 x 6 sized graphic. That way if you want to have them printed at your photo processing center, you can easily do that. I also formatted them on a PDF file, four on a page. They also have a green border around them so you can make them bigger without losing resolution. You can include a portion of the border on your card. You can of course adjust the size of your print out as well for any size you want. They fit perfectly in those little ziplock bags that are usually found in the beading section at craft stores, or you can use them in a gift box.

You can pick them up at my Craftsy Printable Shop (PDF Format) or Here (JPEG Format). Enjoy!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Felt Gingerbread Ornament Tutorial

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To make one boy and one girl:
9" x 12" piece of felt, light brown
Matching embroidery floss
3-Dimensional Paint (white & black)
5 Buttons, green
2 - 12" pieces of 1/4" red ribbon
Small amount of fiberfill
Heavy thread for hanger
Craft glue or a hot glue gun

Misc items:
Scissors, needles, paper, pins 

1. Print out patterns. Be sure the printed line on the pattern piece measures 3" so that your ornament will be the proper size. Click on the images below. Make sure they are enlarged (do this by clicking on them), print out.

2. Cut out the boy and girl pattern pieces. Fold your felt in half, pin the patterns to the felt and cut out cutting through both layers of fabric. Remove the paper pattern and pin the two pieces of felt back together.

3. You will notice that your floss has six strands. Cut your floss into 18" pieces. Separate the strands so that you have 2 - 3 strand pieces. Beginning at the side of the head, stitch around the gingerbread person and stop (don't tie off) at the other side of the head. You will need to leave the top open for stuffing. I like to use a blanket stitch but you can use any stitch you are comfortable with. Small stitches look much nicer. Stuff very lightly and then stitch the top of the head closed. A pencil with the eraser end is a great tool for pushing your stuffing into the gingerbread person.

4. Apply the buttons to the front of the gingerbread guys (2 for the boy, 3 for the girl). Instead of sewing them on like you would a button, I like to run the thread down into the first hole, all the way through, then back up through the second hole. Tie a knot pulling slightly to form an indentation. Cut about 1/2" away from button then "scruff" up the floss by separating after the knot. This is a cute effect.

5. Thread your hanging thread through the top of the head and tie off leaving about 3" for hanging. Trim thread about 1/2" from knot.

6. Using the 3-Dimensional black paint, make two little eyes and a smile. Make the wavy icing on the head, hands, feet, and bottom of the girl's dress using the white 3-Dimensional paint. I love the way this paint looks like frosting!

7. Make bows from the 2 pieces of red ribbon, glue to neck and let ornaments dry.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Angels All Year Long

My friend Della created a beautiful shell angel and wrote an inspirational blog post where she showed it. She asked if we believe in angels. It reminded me of a story of something that happened years ago.

It was the day after Christmas and Elyse, who was about 13 at the time, and I went shopping. We bought all kinds of things, one being a Boyd's Bear Angel. I collected them back then. We were driving home in an ice storm and my car broke down on the highway. I was lucky enough to make it to the exit ramp which was just steps away from a McDonald's. We got out of the car and I went to my trunk to get my packages. We started walking to McDonald's to call for help.

As we enter the parking lot, three women ran over and hugged us saying, "Thank God you are OK!". OK? Of course we were OK, my car broke down, I wasn't even in an accident. Apparently they could tell we didn't know what they were talking about so one of them pointed to my car and said, "Look at your car. We were screaming for you to get out of the way but you couldn't hear us." I looked at my car and there was another car that had slided sideways into the rear end of mine. They said that they could see the man losing control of his car and that's when they started screaming, but luckily we stepped away just in time!

I'm sure we never heard the car coming toward us or the impact because it was so loud on the highway. Between the trucks, the winds, and the ice storm, we couldn't hear anything.

I remember standing in the shower that night and crying. Not only did I come that close to being crushed to death but the thought of my daughter seeing it happen!

So Della, yes, I do believe there had to be an angel sitting on my shoulder that day.

Photo Above: A favorite Christmas ornament that I've had for many years.

Unfair Santa

There is sits, in the corner of the bedroom. I walk past it, dust near it, and move it when I want to get into one of my drawers. But I can't open it! It's the new sewing machine I'm getting from Santa which arrived over a week ago. I want to get it out and play with all the decorative stitches and see what changes Singer has made in 20 years since buying mine. But I can't! I must just look at the box. Kinda reminds me of a story.

And the box on top, yep, for me too. But I have no idea what it is. My husband tortures me!

Years ago when the kids were little they bought me one of those counter top apple peelers. Well, actually I bought it and they wrapped it and put my name on it. I was making three apple pies for a party and I realized that was a lot of apples to peel. No one was home so I went over to the tree, unwrapped the apple peeler and used it for the many, many apples. I washed it up and re-wrapped it. It would have taken forever to peel all those apples by hand! I did however confess many years down the road.

OK, well I'm off for now. I'm planning a productive day. I'll visit you all at some point today when I take my little breaks. Hope you are all having a great weekend.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Along with holiday stuff I decided to finish up my website so I can get it launched. I'll still be busy but at least that task won't be hanging over my head. Man was it a lot of work! If you want to check it out you can click the link at the bottom of this post or you can access it in the menu above. The reason I wanted to create a website was so that I could have instant downloads. I love Etsy and will stay there too, but I wanted to offer this as well.

I'd appreciate any feedback also. And I've looked it over a gazillion times but if you happen to see any broken links or errors, please let me know.

During all this I've been a bad blogger. I've neglected my blog so bad. But I think I'm finally at a point now where I can create that "balance" that I love so much. And I can't wait for Christmas so I can get my new sewing machine and I can make some potholders for myself! I know I can make them with my old sewing machine but I can't wait to experemint with my new one. I'm also going to try all the cool embroidery stitches! I feel like a kid getting a new toy!!!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season! I'm off to visit some blogs now.

Here's the site:

Photo Above: Just one of my favorite Christmas decorations that I made years ago. I used to put candy in it when the kids were little but now I put my napkin rings and spreaders inside.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

In the Holiday Spirit

The Thanksgiving weekend is now over and my daughter and her husband have made it safely back to Delaware. It was so nice having them here and I'm looking forward to their Christmas visit! Lets all keep our fingers crossed for safe holiday travel weather. It will be so nice to have both of my kids here for the holiday again.

I am in the holiday spirit more this year than any other. I think it's because I don't feel as rushed as I have in years past. This is the first Christmas in about 8 years that I'm working part time instead of working 40 to 60 hours a week. This is also the first Christmas in that long that I have Christmas Eve off. Not only do I have Christmas off, I have the day before and the day after! Doc will be going out of town so we run with a minimum crew. I have lots of time off at the end of the month!

So my "To Do" list is large as usual but this year I have more time to do everything!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sweet Shop Tree

I got started on my decorating last night. I didn't get it all finished since I had to work as well. I was anxious to get my sweet shop tree finished though! I LOVE it! The only thing missing is an appropriate topper and if there were about 6 more hours in a day, I would have squeezed that project in as well. But you never know, maybe I'll still do it!

Today I'll finish up the decorating. The dining room is finished and that takes a long time because I also fill my hutch with all my Winterberry Pfaltzgraff and clean all the glass while I'm at it.

All ornaments are handmade.
Lillipops are in a free tutorial on my blog. You can find it here.
The pattern for gingerbread tree skirt can be found at my Etsy shop here.
Gingerbread boy & girl ornaments will be a tutorial I'll be adding soon.

Not spending a lot of time on the computer this weekend. Extra family time which I am loving and have missed since Elyse moved away. Off to decorate some more...

PS....I just picked out a new sewing machine and Santa ordered it for me yesterday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mom and Babies Reunited

I've been neglecting my blog as well as other's all week! First it was getting my holiday patterns up, now it's preparing for the holidays. And I won't be on much the next few days because I'll be spending time with my daughter who is visiting from Delaware, and decorating my house this weekend.

So, I leave you today with something cute.

Several years ago when I was in my teapot collecting phase, I was shopping the antique shops in the city (LaPorte) where I lived. I walked into one of them and I saw this blue kitty cat teapot. I knew I had to have it! I thought it was so cute. So I put it up with my collection of many.

A few years later I was on one of my all girl, weekend shopping trips with my Sis and my Mom. We liked to go to a little place called Long Grove, IL. It was a very old little town with a covered bridge. What at one time were homes, had been turned into little shops and restaurants. We always stayed at the Marriott Resort near by.

As we were browsing the shops I was in an area with the serving pieces and I found my cat's kittens! There was no mom with them, just the two little blue kittens sitting on a shelf. I knew what I had to do, so I bought them. I still wonder if those belong to each other. Why wouldn't someone keep them together? Why would the mom cat be over 100 miles away from the kittens?

I've gotten rid of almost all of the teapots since then, but not this little family. They now sit on a little cabinet in my guest room and they will never be separated again!

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chocolate and a Busy Week Ahead

I'm preparing for one of the busiest weeks this year. I'm organized, I have a plan, and I'm happy about all of it. But it would be so nice if I could take time off work this week. But I can't, so I will move ahead. Tonight I will print out one of my weekly planners and start filling in the boxes.
My daughter will be arriving Wednesday from Delaware and I'm so excited! I've missed her so much. She will be staying with us Wednesday and Thursday nights. Sometime in the next couple days I'll prepare the guest room and the guest bath while I anxiously await their arrival. There will also be lots of baking, cooking, and grocery shopping for the Thanksgiving holiday. I've been asked to bring potatoes and dessert for the big celebration at my Sister's house. They always like me to bring desserts (see photo above).

I've got about an hour left on crafting a new pattern. It's a felt Christmas stocking for your pets. Naturally Bubba and Punkie will get these for Santa to fill this year. I think they are one of my favorite projects so far. I still have to write it up and edit photos. I'm planning on having all that done by Tuesday night so I can concentrate on the holiday. My most recent pattern was featured on Linda B's Blog today along with some other really cool Christmas ideas. Stop by and say Hi!

I'll also be decorating the house next Saturday and Sunday. I can't wait to see how my sweet shop tree looks! And of course I'll be posting a picture.

Well, off to play catch up on the computer now before bed...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Introducing PDF Patterns!

Today I'm introducing my first four sewing patterns to my Esty Shop. For those who don't know, I've been designing craft and sewing patterns for over 20 years. Up until now I've only sold them to magazine and book publishing companies. I've decided that I'd also like to start selling them myself so here are the first four with many yet to come. I was going to wait until early next year to launch the patterns but since I have some Christmas ones I thought I should get them out there now.

You have probably noticed that I've been MIA with my blog and this is why. So now that I've listed them I can take a deep breath and relax a little. NOT! Now I've now decided that I also need a website. Does it ever end?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend's End...

Another weekend is coming to a close. Sunday nights are kind of sad and I hate the thought of going to bed because I know that means the weekend is over.

It was a pretty full weekend. I got a lot accomplished and spent some great time with family. We went to my Mom's for a little birthday celebration for my niece and my nephew. So naturally we got to see baby Layla! I got to feed her and it brought back some memories. It's been 23 years since I've fed and burped a baby. She's so sweet and precious.

I feel like I actually created some balance this weekend. That is something I've been trying to create in my life. I worked on patterns, did a little work on my future website, got lots of stuff done around the house, and had husband and family time. I also did my 10 minute clean out and I worked out both days!

So another awesome weekend must come to an end. Lets hope for a great week ahead.

Off to visit you all now!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pet Day - Sabrina

It's pet day again and today I introduce Sabrina. Sabrina has a special story. It's a story about sweetness, love, and excellent timing.

She appeared one day at the printing business that my sister owned and I helped her run. We'd show up at work and there she'd be, sitting on the back steps waiting for us. She was so loving and affectionate we knew she had to have been dumped. This was not a feral cat. The weather started getting cold so we decided to bring her in. We kept her in the shop and managed quite nicely to hide her from the owners of the building. All our customers fell in love with her. She would hang out at the front and greet everyone as they walked in. She had toys, a comfy bed, and lots of love, and she never once tried to go back outside.

We decided one day that it was time she went from a shop cat to a house cat so I decided that I'd take her home with me. At the time I lived in an apartment and was already at my 2 cat limit but I figured, two cats were black, would they just think it was the same cat?

I brought my carrier to work and decided to take her to the vet to get her vaccines and get her tested before bringing her home to my cats. She tested positive for feline leukemia. I was devastated! This precious little cat! She didn't seem sick. She was so active and healthy looking. But feline leukemia is highly contagious so I couldn't bring her home. So we decided to make the best of it and keep her at the shop. She loved it there anyway.

Around Christmas that year she got sick. We took her to the vet and she was treated with antibiotics. Well, she never got better. After about 6 weeks of vet visits and medication she had about as much as she could take. She was too weak to fight the infection. We had to put her down. It was such a sad day.

But the timing of this was almost magical. She got so sick during the coldest months and we were able to keep her warm, fed, and loved. Thank God she didn't have to suffer out in the Indiana winter! Somehow I can't help but get this feeling that perhaps by some powers beyond our control she was sent to us. Sounds odd but....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can You Find Pumpkin?

I've been so busy between the day job and pattern designing that I thought it would be nice to make a fun post today. Something fun, colorful, and not work or business related! I came across this picture the other day. It's Pumpkin when she was much younger. Her favorite place to snuggle is still up between the pillows. For those who don't know her, Punkie is a black cat. Do you see her now?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Have Craft Basket • Will Travel

Just a quick post today because I'm about to fix dinner and watch "Bad Teacher" with Brian while I work on some hand applique for a new pattern I'm making.

We spent quality time together shopping for a hot water heater and a water softener today. Since we drove out to Valpo I decided to take along a basket of ornaments to stitch up while he drove. Do you see felt cookies in there? Do you think they will be going on my sweet shop Christmas tree? If you said yes, you are right!

So we found what we were looking for, did some price shopping, and have decided what we are going to get. Now to find a contractor/plumber to install them!

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lollipop Ornaments

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This pattern is now available (along with several other free patterns) as a PDF download from my Craftsy Pattern Shop HERE.

I've been looking forward to making a sweet shop themed Christmas tree for our dining room this year. Here are a couple of ornaments that I made to put on it. I made them when the kids were little but this time I slipped them in little bags and I like the effect. 

To make 6 lollipops, you will need:

1/4 yard of red (thin) striped fabric
6 - 6" lollipop sticks
6 - 3 3/4" x 6" clear treat bags
6 - 14" pieces of ribbon (red, green, or white)
6 - 5/8" to 1" buttons (red or white)
1 sheet of white card stock
Craft glue or a hot glue gun
Heavy or metallic thread for hanger
Red or white sewing thread

Misc items: needles, scissors, pencil, ruler

1. Iron your fabric. Cut out 6 - 6 1/4" circles from the red and white striped fabric and 6 - 2 3/4" circles from the card stock. You can make a pattern of these circle sizes or you can raid your kitchen cabinets and find a bowl or lid that will be the exact dimensions for you to trace around. Be sure to draw your tracings on the wrong side of the fabric.

2. Thread your needle with enough thread to go around your circle and make a knot. If you are using all purpose thread you will want to double it so it will have more strength when you gather. If you are using a heavy thread such as a button or craft thread, you won't need to double. Be sure to watch for knots as you stitch. Turn the outer edge of your fabric circle about 1/4" to the wrong side. Begin stitching and turning the edge under as you go. Make your stitches at least 1/4" long and that same distance apart. I found that if your stitches are too close together, your hole in the center will be too big. Stitch all the way around your circle. When you get to the end, begin gathering up your stitching. Slip your 2 3/4" piece of card stock inside then continue gathering until you have closed the "yo yo." Be gentle so you don't break your thread. You will have a tiny hole in the center. Tie off and clip threads.

 3. Make a tiny 1/4" slit in the bottom of your yo yo. I like to make mine so that the stripes on the back will be up and down when hanging. Drop a dab of glue in the center of your yo yo onto the card stock beneath. Slip your lollipop stick up through the little slit you just made until it reaches the glue, let dry. Run some glue along the gathered edge of the hole and place the button on top of that. This is the part where I hot glued a button onto my thumb. I would not recommend doing this. It hurts.

4. Slip the clear treat bag over your lollipop and tie in place with a piece of ribbon. Make a bow and then cut trim the tails at an angle.

5. Cut about 10" of heavy or metallic thread. Thread a large eyed needle. Bring the needle through along the upper edge of the lollipop (about 1/2" wide stitch). Be sure to go through the fabric and the plastic because the plastic will not be strong enough to hold the ornament and will eventually break through. Tie a knot in the string so that you have about a 3" hole to use for hanging. Trim excess thread close to know.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grandma Ashton

My grandma died in November of 1971 when I was only 10 years old. I wish I had more time with her because she was a remarkable woman. It is from her that I get the creative gene. She worked at the "craft store of the 60's." It was called the Palette Party Shop. That is where you went to buy your Styrofoam balls, sequins, glue, ribbon, etc. Back then the crafting consisted of Christmas ornaments, and shower favors and decorations. I remember spending the night at her house and she would set up a table in the middle of the living room and my sister and I would sit there with all her supplies and craft for hours! Some of the projects I remember most was little calendars we made for gifts and Christmas ornaments we made from Styrofoam balls, beads, ribbon, and sequins.

I also remember sitting outside of her house and smelling the Lilies of the Valley flowers. She had them running all along the side of her house. It was so long ago but the memories of her and our time together are so vivid as if it were yesterday. I have so many wonderful memories!

She was such a creative woman and I thank her for sharing the love of crafting with me. I know that if she were here today she would be encouraging me to follow my dream and be the best at creating that I could be! I still think about her often and I miss her terribly.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from our house to yours! My little greeting card has images of my 3 black cats, past and present. Today is the final day of my 3 day weekend so I am going to make the best of it. I got so much accomplished this weekend with my crafting. Got some Christmas gifts made and created a new craft pattern.
Short and sweet post today. Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Halloween and I hope you all have a fabulous week!
Ghosts & witch grouping are a part of my Halloween & Fall Kit at Etsy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pet Day - Punkie

Since this is Halloween weekend, Punkie decided that she should be the pet of the week. We have two other black cats in the family but she insists that she is the Queen of black cats for a number of reasons. First, she lives with me, second, she's the oldest and has been around for 11 years, and third, because she's such a good girl. You'll meet the other two at a later time. One lives with my son and the other lives in Heaven now :(

On to Pumpkin! As you can tell by the photo, she goes by many names. For years I called her Kinnie Roonie but Brian (her Dad) likes to call her Chunkie Punkie and the kids call her Plumpkin. But to her defense, she has lost a few pounds and isn't so chunky or as plump anymore.

Punkie, as I like to call her, is the Purrrfect cat (sorry, couldn't help myself). She really is. She doesn't get into anything, she doesn't knock things off tables, she doesn't jump onto anything or go where she doesn't belong.

She has never gone potty outside the litter box. Not once in 11 years! When I take Bubba outside, she will stand by the door but doesn't attempt to go outside. She's also a love-bug. She has a few select people that she will snuggle with. She's so soft too!

She really is the best cat anyone could ever have.

Teapot graphic above can be found in my Tea Time Scrap Set at Etsy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Hazards of Gardening?

My body hurts, the backs of my thighs feel like someone is sticking me with pins. I have come to the conclusion that gardening is hazardous to my health!

Or maybe I'm out of shape?

Photo Above: My garden during the summer months.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Productive Day & Bragbook Freebie!

I've had a full and productive day. It started when we went out for breakfast which we usually do on Sundays. When I came home I did everything from working on Christmas ornaments (for my sweet shop themed tree) to working in the yard. Did some crafting, house stuff, bookwork, and I got in my 10 minute clean out for today. I'm hoping to condense that filing cabinet at least to half.

I also made a free brag book quick page for anyone who wants it. The photo in the page above is from years ago when my son was little and we were carving pumpkins. I miss those days but I can still scrap them! I've gotten so many compliments on my banner here that I thought I'd make a Halloween quick page like it to share. It's a 300 DPI, 4" x 6" printout, PNG format. All you have to do is put your photo behind, the place for the picture is transparant. Hope you enjoy it!

You can pick it up here.

The images in the scrap page are from my Halloween & Fall Kit.

Friday, October 21, 2011

10 Minute Clean-out

I've been struggling with balance a lot lately and I'm determined to come out on top. Don't we all do that? Don't we all try to find balance? Why does it have to be so hard? Well, I'm on the quest to find it! I have the type of personality where when I find something that peaks my interest, I obsess over it. I can start a big craft project on a Saturday morning and find myself working on it all day long. That is nice if you are trying to get something accomplished but not if you have other things in your life that needs attention as well.

One thing I hate is clutter! I think a cluttered home creates a cluttered mind. Since I do feel that way, I don't have a lot of stuff laying around that I don't need, but I can also say that there is always stuff you can get rid of. I now begin the task of the 10 minute clean out. I am taking 10 minutes a day to clean and rid myself of unused and unneeded items. I'm beginning with my filing cabinets. There are many places that will follow, my purses (yes, lots of them), my clothes, kitchen stuff, etc...

So do you find it difficult to create balance? I think that creative people probably would. Because like me, I'm sure there are many others out there that get on a creative streak and can't stop.

Photo Above: Just a little fall decorating!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Husbands and Glass Tables

Warning: Do not let your 260 pound husband sit on a glass coffee table. It will break!

My lips had just begun to form the words, "Do you really think you should be sitting on that?"  CRUNCH! Need I say more?

My husband has been such a good sport about allowing me to put this incident on my blog. He subscribes via email so he will see this post first thing tomorrow morning. Besides, I'm sure he doesn't want this to happen to another coffee table.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pet Day - Meet Patches

Today I'm going to introduce you to Patches. This is my son's cat who lives with him in his apartment. He came to us in the middle of the deep freeze. About 7 years ago we noticed that something was living under our deck. We didn't know what it was at the time. Elyse finally discovered that it was a kitten. It took us a couple of weeks of feeding him before he would trust us. As soon as we got close enough we grabbed him and took him to the vet. Poor little thing had an upper respiratory infection, eye injury, and was  underweight. The doctor was surprised that he even survived the sub zero temperatures considering how sick he was. We got him some medicine and he turned out to be a great pet and family member for us all. Isn't he handsome?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My New Friend

I went out to grill my fish a few nights ago and was greeted by a stick bug. I've seen him around before, if it's even the same one. Last year he would go from one place to another. One day he'd be on the light outside the back door, the next day he'd be on the thermometer, and the next day on the gas meter. I just think he's so cool looking!

I did some research and found a few interesting facts about them. So here are three that I think are totally cool:

1. They don't bite but they can put up a great fight when they are approached by a predator. And they can even win! They can inflict pain with their legs and they regurgitate an awful smelling and tasting substance into their predator's mouth.

2. They hold the world's record as the longest insect. The biggest one on record measured 14 inches, but with legs fully extended it measured 22 inches. That's quite an insect!

3. When all else fails, they play dead. Yep, they just drop and they can be super still. Many times their predator can't find them once they hit the ground.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Busy!!! Fusible Fleece?

I've been buried under beads, buttons, and fabric for what seems like weeks! Some things I can't show you until I release my pattern line early next year and some things I'm waiting for Halloween to be over. I just feel better about putting Christmas stuff out there after then. I do have a couple of things I think you'll like. I have two tutorials for Christmas ornaments and a couple of free printables I think you will find handy.

For now though I have a question. I'm working on some new designs and I'm about to break out the fusible fleece I just bought. I've never used it before and I was just wondering if anyone else has. I'm working on some stockings and few other things about that size. I could make it easy on myself and do a little hand or machine quilting but I thought I'd try something new.

Have you used it? Do you like it? Does it hold up well? I doubt that the items I'm making will be thrown in the wash.

Photo Above: Pretty fall colors on my way to work. I think they are about gone now though.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Five Things I've Learned About Electronics

Below are some things I've learned along the way about electronics, or I should say, the use of them. These 5 things have made my life much easier and have at times, saved my butt!

1. Control S: This is probably one of my favorite tips ever. Before I started doing this, I lost so many things. There is nothing like working for hours on a a document or project only to have something or someone interrupt it and it wipes out all your hard work! Sometimes your computer will lock up for no reason at all or your laptop battery dies. It can all be avoided by typing "Control + s" (at the same time) every few minutes.

2. Backup Everything: In our house we probably have half a dozen external hard drives and countless flash drives. Those are all nice and handy to have and we use them both for various reasons. But the best thing to do is use an online automatic back up. I use Mozy and it's so convenient. It automatically backs up once a day. If I've been doing a lot of work on the computer I can just click it on my task bar and back up at that time too. It feels so good to know that my files are protected away from my home.

3. Carry A Spare Battery: Whenever I purchase a cellphone or a camera, I always buy a backup battery and I carry it in my purse. When my battery dies, I charge it, then swap it out with the one that's in my purse. This makes my battery last longer and I never have to worry about running out of juice. This has saved me when using my cellphone and my camera.

4. Save Ink & Paper: This is the easiest thing of all to do. I always keep the default on my printer set to "fast draft." This setting allows you to print while using the least amount of ink possible. Most of the things that I print are recipes, pattern pieces, and other items that just find their way to the trash anyway. When I print out something I want to keep, I just change it.

You can also save paper by putting it back in the printer and using the other side before throwing it away.

5. Calendar: This actually goes against technology but when it comes to my datebook, I prefer my Lang Pocket Planner. I think it's so much quicker to pull that out of my purse when I need to record an event or check my schedule. Nothing beats my paper datebook. As for my "to do" list, I like to keep that on my E-Reader/Pocket PC.

Those are just a few of my favorite tips when it comes to technology. Do you have any you'd like to add to my list?

Photo Above: Patches and Pumpkin seem to be having some sort of discussion at my computer

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We Have a Winner!

A big thank you to all my friends who gave their opinions.  It made it much easier to make my decision. I really liked the blue and green guy but the black cat is more me. I did take him into PhotoShop and brightened him up. I made him crisper black and added highlights to his eyes. I like the way he stands out against any color you use him on.

With this creative flow I'm on, he's going to be busy adorning all kind's of (digital) packaging, on business cards, banners, avatars, etc.

I saw him admiring a red stocking cap so I think he even has plans on becoming festive for Christmas! I hope he doesn't get tangled up in Christmas lights...

Monday, October 10, 2011


I was playing around in PhotoShop and I decided that I would decorate my cat logo for Halloween. When most people would have put a funny mask or hat on the little guy, I decided to turn him black and dark grey. And I decided that I like him!

It's  no secret my fascination with black cats. Did you see my black cat post? So what do you think? Should I change my blue and green cat to my new black cat? Or do you think the blue and green cat has more personality?

Please help me!!! I can't decide! This is way worse than purse shopping!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bring On The Projects!

The creative wheels have been turning non-stop around here again. I've been toying around in PhotoShop trying to learn some new stuff. I've also been working on a project this weekend and I've been jotting down step by steps instructions because I'll be putting the project here as a tutorial soon. I'm not going to tell you what it is but I'll give you two hints:

The first hint is that the project itself will be used on the tree I put in my dining room. I've decided the theme for that room and the tree will be a "sweet shop."

The second hint is in the photo above. Those are some of the supplies I've been using.

I have another project in the works in my brain to go on that tree too. I can't wait to see the tree all decorated!

Does anyone else do a theme tree?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pet Day - Miss Buttercup

It's Pet Day again! Today, I introduce Miss Buttercup. She's the alpha everything in this family. You all met Bubba last week and what I didn't tell you about him is that he likes to torment Pumpkin (you'll meet her later) but not even the Master can't intimidate Miss Buttercup, all 5 1/2 pounds of her. She can take on the world!

She was the first cat I ever had. One of my co-workers at JoAnn Fabrics knew I had been talking about getting Elyse a cat so she brought in a box one day with this tiny little Siamese mix. All I could think about on my way home from work were those ice blue eyes. Needless to say, I called her the minute I got home and told her I'd be at her house in the morning to pick her up.

Buttercup is 12 years old now and still acts like a kitten. She's quite the character. She always has to be at the highest point in the room and she can get there. She's got rubber legs. She also has to be in the middle of everything! Whatever you are doing, she has to get that little nose into it.

She has the most beautiful blue eyes I've ever seen. She's a beauty. She lives with Elyse in Delaware now so I don't see her much. But when I do get the opportunity, I pick her up, look down at her, and she hisses at me! I love that cat!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Safety First For Our Pets

I know that some may think I'm paranoid but when it comes to our fur babies, I see a lot of things in a day's time that most people will never see. So when I see things come in that could have possibly been avoided I like to bring it to every one's attention. Unfortunately, many things happen not because we are stupid, or neglectful, or mean, but because they are simply ACCIDENTS. And they can happen to anyone.

I know a lot of my readers are crafters, quilters, knitters, and use thread or yarn for their projects. Please, please, please double check behind yourselves to make sure you don't drop yarn, thread, or string. Even without a needle attached, these things can be deadly to your pet.

As I was leaving work yesterday one of our regular clients dropped off her cat because she saw a string hanging from her bottom. The cat had not been feeling well that day either and was straining in the litter box. We noticed that the string was attached so it required surgery. Unfortunately like in most of these situations, the kitty died. What happens is that the string attaches itself to the organs inside and instead of moving through the digestive track it gets tangled up and cuts through them. This was a thread, those are the worst of all. I know that I will be checking the floor and counter tops during and after every project.

This client was a perfect pet owner. She loved her pets and took excellent care of them. She even donates her time to help at an animal shelter. She's very educated when it comes to animals. So if it can happen to her, it can happen to any one of us.

So please my creative friends, please make sure while you are sewing, weaving or knitting, make extra sure there are no strings laying around. This also goes for tinsel that you use on your Christmas tree. Another danger to your pets. And if you see a string hanging from your animal's bottom, DON'T PULL OR CUT IT. Take your pet to the vet immediately. Sometimes time can make a difference. I know how much you all love your pets.

Photo Above: Family pets

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

An Awesome Gift & Fond Memory

It has been my personal experience that people who create and work with their hands are among the nicest people you will ever meet. I joined the world of blogging a couple years ago (had a blog before this one too) and the same goes for bloggers. I was doing my usual visits a couple weeks ago when I came across the knife earrings above. I commented about how much I admired them and how cute they were and the next thing I know I get an email asking me for my address so she could send them to me. Today I went to my mailbox and there they were! They came all the way from Indonesia. I've never gotten anything from Indonesia before! She even slipped a little necklace in there with two angel charms on it. Did she know that I have two of the greatest kids in the world and I think of them as angels? How perfect, and how sweet!

Now of course my little story. I had this really cool spreader that I loved for spreading butter, peanut butter, jams, etc. It was wider and shorter than a butter knife but had a serrated edge on one side. Somehow during my Thanksgiving cooking I lost it. I was crushed! I loved that thing! My thought is that it probably got thrown away by accident. Anyway, a few weeks later I was opening my Christmas presents and I got to my stocking. Yes, I'm 50 years old and my husband stuffed my stocking. I opened up a little gift that was wrapped in tissue and there were two of those little spreaders. I was so excited! He knew how handy I thought that was and made a trip to the Lighthouse Outlet Mall and replaced them. I just thought that was so thoughtful and sweet of him. He is such a good Christmas shopper!

They are such a special gift, and thank you Dita for such an awesome gift and bringing back that special memory!

She has a really cute blog that you can visit here and if you want to see her other super cute creations you can stop by her Etsy Shop here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Name Is Sher...I Am An Addict

I love purses and over the years I've had HUNDREDS of them! Up until about 10 years ago I always carried the cross body bags. I decided though to try carrying those big shopper type bags so I did. They were handy and they could hold everything I could possibly need. I could even throw my lunch and a water bottle inside.

But when I went purse shopping a few weeks ago I came home with a much smaller cross body bag, I decided I liked it again. How freeing! It's so nice to bend down and this big bag doesn't fall off my shoulder. I can walk so much quicker and move so much easier. I also like the fact that everything is right in front of me for quick and easy access because of the zipper top. I'm definitely going back to the smaller and lighter version that leaves my hands totally free. It still fits everything I need including my little Nikon Coolpix! I never leave home without that.

The image above is just a small representation of the purses in my closet. I have the ones hanging on the wall, hanging from the clothes rack, and in a super big storage bin. I also have more tote bags than the average person. Why oh why does it have to be so hard? Why can't I just have one or two? Or why can't I have a dozen? Yes! That's a perfect number to have for purses. I think I have over 50 and that is not an exaggeration. But that will change! I'm vowing right now, right here to donate about three quarters of them to charity. I can't wait to see all the extra room I will have. More room for craft supplies!!!

So what about you? What are your purse habits? Do you have lots? Does your collection make mine look like shoebox hobby? Do you like the big, jumbo, carry all type bags or do you opt for the smaller and convenient ones? Do you like the cross body or shoulder bag? Are there certain things that you must have with you at all times?
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