Sunday, November 29, 2015

What I'm Working On

This past week I started an online holiday bible study through Time Warp Wife. I'm enjoying the living heck out of it. Yes, I'm only one week in, but I'm learning a lot about myself and my faith. While I'm not a traditional church-goer, my religious beliefs straddle several religions. I still enjoy learning about the Bible and our creator.

This is the journal book I made for the class. It started as a cutesy bright floral Japanese dollar store journal. With a switch of cover paper and a few stickers and Washi, I transformed it into a simple, but elegant little journal, complete with a beaded bookmark! The ribbon needed more bling.

I'm marking each week's beginning with a Washi tape divider of sorts. I'm binding the page edge with Washi tape and clipping the top and bottom outside page corners. That makes each week's start feels special and I can go right to it.

And I'm using colored ink. There's a rebellious side in me about using other colors than black or blue.  Lol! Plus I'm really liking the Pilot G2 pens pictured above. They write well.

I've also set up my bullet journal as a wallet. This helps minimize what I carry and it keeps everything with me. I purchased two Midori brand passport size zipper cases for my credit cards and currency (I keep US and Canadian dollars with me). It makes my book huge, but I know it'll be tough to lose. And I feel better having it all in one place. I may end up dumping the back two books. We'll see how it goes this week.

Black Friday was my first annual Stitch and Bitch. Those invited had a blast and we set December 14th as our next one. Today I hit the Costco Business Store (a Costco that has stuff geared toward restaurants and small businesses). There I got three  6-foot folding tables we can use to get the retreat room going.  I'll be able to accommodate up to eight people total depending on spatial needs.

I'm over the moon excited about this!

As for my English paper piecing project, I have 1/3 of row 12's paper pieces glued for sewing. I'm determined to finish this project before New Year's Day.

By the way, the pumpkin bread turned out pretty good. My loaves were a bit flat due to the size of my loaf pans, but the taste was delicious! I'm glad I switched the spices. Oh, and the sweet potatoes were a hit. A friend that detests sweet potatoes took a bite and he's a convert. And, no, he wasn't just being polite! So scroll down or click older posts to get the recipe links! You're welcome!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Smell of Thanksgiving

Right now the house smells divine. It's a baking day here at our home. I just finished a batch of chocolate crinkle cookies, and a pumpkin pie and two loaves of pumpkin bread are in my ovens. I'm hoping the pumpkin bread turns out. I added a different spice mixture to it (2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, and a generous pinch of nutmeg) It's times like this I'm glad I have double ovens.

... And a sense of smell! Lol! Yummy!

Laundry is tumbling and swishing. It's a busy week. Lots of housework to catch up on since last week's storm and power outage.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. This year it's just hubby and I. No traveling. Dinner will be chicken, country greens, and black eye peas. Maybe some stuffing and cranberry sauce, too! The big holiday dinner will be Friday night at a friend's house. I'm bringing ham and sweet potato casserole (you must make this!). 

Friday morning is my first annual Black Friday Stitch and Bitch. I invited a few friends to come by and sew. Lunch will be a salad bar and fresh baked peasant bread (at least some pretense of being healthy! Haha!). Sewing beats shopping.

Speaking of sewing, another row is completed on my diamonds in the sky top. That means there are two rows left. Yay! I might get this done before January 1!

I've started yet another journal. I'm trying out Time Warp Wife's holiday bible study. While it's not an artsy journal, it's involves thinking, so I'm marking this down as a creative project. And you know I have to make it all pretty.

Well, my bread is almost ready. Gotta scoot. Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hand lettering

Good afternoon! Well, just barely afternoon here. Lol! (No makeup day. Haha!)

This past week has been crazy. Housework has been severely neglected here. First I was relaxing from weekend company, then we had a huge windstorm that knocked out the power for a good portion of two days. And to be honest, I don't feel like doing squat.

Yes, I know I'm delaying the inevitable! 

I spent yesterday practicing my hand lettering skills. On a whim, I decided to actually go back and refer to some of those sites I've been pinning on Pinterest. (My hand lettering board)

Today will find me taking advantage of warmth and sunshine in my family room, so I'll be working on some English paper piecing as soon as I finish this blog post. I wish it were warm enough to be outside... But it's not. Boo! 

I'm hoping to unpack the photo printer I got last week and play around with that for my journaling. That plus I have a few gifts to make. Speaking of gifts, this was cute bookmark I made for a friend. I used some office supply paper protectors and a special fuse tool to make the shaker packet. I also did up a cute little card for a friend that needs cheering up. 

I also made a sticker organizer using page protectors, the fuse tools, scrapbook paper, a bit of elastic and my hot laminating stuff (oh, and my grommet stuff too). This enables me to categorize my loose sticker stash.

I'll be honest in saying that my pocket planner has been gathering dust. That may be part of my inert behavior. Ideas if I write my list out it would make me more accountable. So chalk this out as a period of non-production in some areas.

Hope y'all have a good weekend. I hear that our storm is now ready to hit the Midwest and go further east. Stay safe, warm, and dry. It's the perfect excuse to get out your stuff and create!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Still Alive and Creating!

Still a mess but getting better! 

I've been slowly but surely getting my studio in good order. One medium sized moving box got filled with goodies and donated. I moved my fabric stash to half of my shelf and am using the other half to store larger paper crafting items.

Paper crafting palooza

Then I moved my drawers full of paper stuff to my IKEA Raskog cart (love that!), and consolidated my sewing supplies. Most used items are out, and the rest went in the closet shelving. I need to rehang some artwork and quilts, thin down my books and give the room a good base cleaning and I'll be ready for the gray rainy winter. Rumor has it we have a major storm coming in the next 24 hours, so I won't be doing my usual Tuesday out.

I've made a few sewing days to work on my paper piecing project, but no major sewing has been going on. I do have a wall hanging out for quilting, and it's companion piece waiting to be bound. Other stuff has been calling me. (Master bedroom decorating and houseguests)

I have been working on my journaling project for Listers Gotta List. It's an hour up front each month to decorate the base pages, then about 5-10 minutes each day, depending on the topic. I really am enjoying this journaling project. To keep it simple I've used a planner, since the prompts are daily. It works out great!

I've also been teaching myself some baking skills. I started watching The Great British Bakeoff on Netflix, PBS, and You Tube. Last week I tried my hand at biscotti. I made the one recipe as written, then improvised on two more batches. One improv batch turned out great, the other was so-so. I have some tweaks to make on the not so great batch. I'll likely try that this week as well. My goal this week is to do a crusty bread. I have an issue with my Italian bread recipe proofing out instead of up, and I learned a new trick on the show.

I also ensured some future sweet experimentation when I picked up this cookie porn. I'm thinking a holiday cookie swap might be in order!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Case for De-Stashing

As y'all know, I did a huge fabric purge earlier this year. 

I went from this.

To this.

I'm finally hitting my studio for setup and I'm taking another serious look at what I have. I'm thinking yet another purge is in order. I just look at my studio and see stuff. Yes, it's a case of feeling overwhelmed and the stuff owning me versus me owning it. 

I've read the book, The Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (MK), I've taken to heart Mark Lipinski's lecture on the Slow Stitching Movement (SS), and I need to refresh myself on what I learned between the two:
  • Responsible stashing (SS) and only stashing what brings me joy (MK)
  • Being more into and present in the art and process of quilting (SS) versus quick, fast, and easy. There are times for easy projects, but I need to challenge myself more. 
  • Creating pieces that have heartfelt meaning (my interpretation of both thought programs)
  • Creating a space that will bring joy/peace to me and my tools (MK)
So another box has been started for guild giveaway. I'll be taking another look at the actual furniture I have in my studio. I'll likely be subtracting a piece or two. I think when it's all said and done I'll be much lighter and more efficient. 

I know that the lighting is a major issue with this room. It's in a dark corner of the house and the ceiling fixture isn't conducive to creating actual workable light. I'm going to work with hubby on developing a lighting plan using full-spectrum lighting. I know this is a huge reason why I haven't used this space as much as I should. 

Stay tuned (if you're still with me!). I'll let you know about my progress.

Oh, speaking of progress, I'm well into row 11 of 13 on my hand pieced quilt of three years. I may actually finish the top in 2015!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Faith Journal

Lately it seems like there are lots of needs for prayer. I need a way to keep up with my list and at least write these down so they can be heard. Yes, I know those in my heart are heard, but writing them down echoes the sentiment even more.

I made a prayer diary last week, but didn't like it. So I journeyed to the land of Pinterest and came upon this link from Throne of Grace. I loved the author's concept of a mustard seed book, so I grabbed a spare book and made one.

"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed…Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, 
it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” 
(Matthew 13:31-32 NIV)

Love that.

Basically, I took the planning guts out of the binder, substituted heavy 28lb plain unlined paper, cut it to size and punched the holes using a planner sheet as a template. Needing dividers, I thought the "I AM" Sn@p cards from Simple Stories would be perfect with a slight modification. I grabbed my tab punch and punched out some coordinating tabs, labeled them, and adhered them to the card using pre-made tab adhesive stickers. No, it's not fancy... But it's fancy enough for me.

I love using the journal cards because the sentiments were spot-on to the subject matter, and they happen to be pretty on both sides!

I think so!

To embellish my journal, I filled my accompanying pencil and sticker folio with some page markers, assorted pens, a glue stick, some mini scrapbook ephemera, and stickers. Just a few things to give it some pizzaz.

I think I'm going to like this format. It has sections for confession, gratitude, personal requests, and sections for family, friends, and other matters needing prayer. Since this was all made from existing supplies, I'm not out much...

So I'll give it a whirl.

To learn more about the mustard seed prayer journal, click here. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Studio Time

I got some paperwork (lol!) done in the studio this past week. Got my Ban.Do planner set up for October's Listers Gotta List journaling project sponsored by The Reset Girl. I was able to get the base decorating done beforehand and my first week of October lists done. I'm loving this format versus using a full page. It suits my time/feeble brain well.

Doing a full page for each prompt was just too much. Glad I switched. This is a closeup of the actual lists in action.

This morning I made a birthday card for my niece and embellished some notepads I got from Target's dollar spot. I thought that by adding some bling to the cover and stamping the pages would make it more special. I always send her some spending money and a Starbucks card, so this kinda gave the gift a more personal touch. The card turned out dorky... That's why it's not photographed here. I sent it anyway, dork and all. Figured she'd get a good laugh out of it.

This week will find me sewing with the Guild at the firehouse. This will force me to work on my bedroom curtains. That'll be good because if I screw up, I can get extra panels from the Target nearby.  I hope I remember how to sew!

I got a quilt (UFO) back from the quilter. Looks great. This was the first time I sent something out. I need to have her do my second one in the series. That way I can get them both done and ready to hang.

Unfortunately, I found someone to give my black and white star quilt to. I was creating this for a friend with cancer. She died before I finished it. Another friend's mom was given a grave ovarian cancer diagnosis. I'll be giving it a good wash adding on a personalized label, and shipping it out.

That's about it in my world. Not much excitement going on.