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Friday, December 30, 2011

Checking in to say hello...

Hello my friends, I just wanted to touch base with you since I have not been on here in awhile. I certainly hope that you have had a blessed Christmas. It is hard to imagine that another year has flown by so quickly, seems like the older we get, the quicker it goes too!

Christmas with our two boys was very enjoyable,  We did not have a crowd this year so my cooking duties were minimal. We had country ribs, several salads, bread and sweet potatoes, the ribs were done in the crock pot so it was very easy. Spending time together is so precious, it doesn't happen to often anymore that the four of us are together in one place. The most fun we have is watching our little dogs tear into their stocking, what a silly thing! We do make a big deal of stockings, they are just so much fun, and not serious at all. I am sad it is over, but grateful to have had the time. If I do not see another cookie or candy for a long time I will be just fine.

The hardest part of these family visits and get togethers is having to say goodbye, I don't do those too well really. I miss my older son a lot, I do not get to see him much anymore since he lives over 300 miles away, so goodbye was very painful. I usually need a couple days to recover from my heavy heart after seeing him off. A word of advice, if you are thinking about moving away, think twice... separation is way harder than you will ever anticipate it being.

In other news, I have a hard time when January comes and I need to get my after Holiday ideas flowing, what will I create? There are times when I simply have a creative blank! I love making snowmen so much that it is a bit of a disappointment to set them aside. Ideas can't be forced, mostly they just have to pop in my head when they are ready. I think we all run into creative road blocks at times, projects just aren't as fun if they don't have glitter and a carrot nose.

 I did finally clear off my table, got out my paper, pencil, rulers and got to drawing an idea I was seeing in my head. What I am after is a doll that will completely sit by herself, she'll be a rag doll with a round head, sculpted and painted features. My aim is to turn her into one of my first patterns, this however will be a process, but I look forward to seeing where this journey will lead me. I will post her here first when she is done.

My goal this coming year is to get my website at least functional, keep my etsy shop stocked, work on my pattern line, do more fun blog giveaways. By next Christmas I want to be more prepared with finished items for sale, do some blog tutorials, and get a newsletter going. This list will grow I'm sure, we'll see if I actually end up with the energy and time needed for all this, now that could be another thing altogether.

As the new year begins I look forward to connecting with all my new online friends, share ideas and just have fun! I really enjoy surfing all the creative blogs, reading the posts and see what wonderful things you are all doing. Thank you for visiting my blog and making my day with your sweet comments. I realize I was not given the gift of writing, so that really makes me appreciate the visits here all the more! There are some bloggers that can make a root canal sound interesting, that as you know is not me!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

By Thier Hands...

I can probably assume that most of you are like me, and you treasure those things made for you by the hands of loved ones and friends the very most! What we creative types want you all to know, is the assumption that just because we create, means we would not, or should not receive anything handmade, well.... is just completely wrong. Because we create, we appreciate the handmade's much more than store bought, who would not want a gift made with love instead of made in China? Because I create, I appreciate the time, effort and beauty in these things even more, I embrace the unique way art is created by other hands, not just my own.

Here are some things I would love to share that have been handmade for me, things I treasure!
This sweet doll was made by my Mother several years ago for me. This doll is very special to me, she was done after I moved away and a sweet reminder that no matter where I go, I belong to her! She is my favorite doll, done by hands that care for me, on her dress edge is embroidered a saying: Wherever you go ~ Whomever you see ~ Remember ~ that you belong to me.

My Father handmade this super fun board game for me last year! It is a beautiful board, done with the skill my father has for things like this. This is a game called marbles, a four person game and just plain fun! My Dad likes to tinker with wood, and has made so many neat things over the years, you should see his fishing nets! He, just like my Mother creates things with care and they both have a lot of creative skills.

This adorable oil painting was given to me just yesterday by a dear friend of mine, Christine! Is he not the cutest most whimsical Santa? I can just hear him saying ~ HO HO HO! I adore him. Christine is a talented oil painter, photographer and makes the best friend anyone could wish to have! Yep I am lucky!

My Brother made this sweet music box for me many many years ago, it plays a Christmas tune and has inlaid wood pieces on the top. I love this little box, it is special for many reasons to me, the main one being it came from his hands. This guy is very talented, anything he trys, he can just do... he is a perfectionist with his projects like I am and we are all or nothing kind of people! He makes gorgeous archery bows from scratch, they are works of art, he has made knives from scratch, he can sketch wonderful pictures of birds or anything really.

Here is an example of my Mothers beautiful knitting, she knits the most wonderful things! I was the very lucky recipient of this wool purse she knit not too long ago! Knitting is something I admire so very much even though I do not do it myself.
This is a picture that my son Tyler painted for me in school several years back. I love this picture! It was painted and then branches put on somehow to make it dimensional. Now he does not like doing artwork not even one little bit, he did this in a class, and I will never see any painting from him again I can be sure. I am happy to have this one, it speaks to me, there is just something about it, and I could not love it more since it came from his hands. The blue is brighter here than it is in actuality.

Now this little snowman is not handmade, but I have to include it in my favorite things. This was given to me by my dear friend Tanya, she said she just had to get it because there was something about it that was just "ME" and she was right, I love him in his vest, stocking hat, skates and plenty of sparkle!

This is one of my first dolls, I have had many, but this little raggedy is a large part of my childhood memories. She was handmade for me by a lady I have never met, and given to me by my aunt when I was very young, she became my absolute favorite! I loved the Raggedy Ann and Andy stories, I really did believe that Raggedy Ann would get up and dance about at night and come to life, didn't you? She would get up and raid the cupboards and eat peanut butter, I swear I could see a bit by her mouth. I had baby dolls sure, loved them too, but this little raggedy I am most fond of. I am so glad to still have her!

Don't know why I am throwing this one in really, but he does belong in my favorite things list, even though he does come from Costco!! LOL I bought him many years ago, I do love him even though he was mass produced, I am sure there are many out there who have the same one! He is a very large snowman.

I also want to end this post by saying that even though I do not have anything on hand, my oldest son is very talented with his hands too. He is very creative, loves to paint, has dabbled in photography and is talented in computer graphics. I guess many of us in this family really do have a natural creative spirit.

I also want to say that I have a special box in my storage of all the special handmade things the kids have made for me in school, I love them all! I want to thank my friend Tanya for all the wonderful handmade greeting cards you have sent me over these past years, I have enjoyed them immensely. My hubby does not do artwork really, but I still use to this day the wonderful sewing machine cabinet he made for me many years ago!

Make someone's day and give them a gift from your hands, there is nothing more special! I better stop before I end up boring you all to tears!! thanks for taking a peek and stopping by my blog.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A few of my favorite things...

Well, Christmas is almost here, I have less and less on my to do list, I feel like I can relax a bit now and enjoy more! I have really enjoyed visiting my fellow bloggers Christmas pictures, thier homes, trees, decorations! I thought I would post a few of my favorite things to share. I have pared way down this year and only brought out a "few" of my favorite things.

This is my tree, we always get a live one, although at times I wish it was fake, but the hubby loves the smell! My tree would not win any beauty contests, there is no rhyme or reason to my decorating. I just put the mish mash of things from past and present, mostly things that mean something to me.   The things that mean the most are the little pictures the kids made into ormaments in grade school, the handmade's given with love from little hands, and the hands of my Mother. The little ornaments with names of past pets that have passed away. The ormaments that bring back memories from special people. Every year without fail as I am decorating my tree, a few tears fall, some bittersweet, but all hold a special place in my heart.

I love snowmen and roosters, I can't really say I collect them since only a few ever make the cut to come into my home! They all have to have that special "something." I do not own anything I have made, these are all from other artists. I will show you a few of my top favorites, the one you see here is my all time number 1. This comes from a friend of mine who I left behind when I moved, she does not do them anymore, but she did gorgeous ceramics. This is a very big snowman, he stands at least three feet tall. He stays out all winter long.

Here is yet another snowman from Marie, the same gal that made the first one. He is also large, only a little shorter than the other one! I love him almost as well as the first one. His wreath will light up if he is plugged in.

 This is my mantle, I usually put a snowman picture above, but I did not this year. The two middle guys, a santa and another snowman "can't see him well", are two more items from Marie, the other two snowmen are fellows I puchased at bazaars

What you see here is an "old" ornament I have had almost my entire life, he has been my favorite as long as I can remember, and I am lucky he is still with me. He brings back a lot of memories of younger days, he adorned flocked trees, un-flocked trees and many in between. I lovingly put him out every year and hope he can hold up for many more! This is the only ornament I have from early days.

Here is another favorite thing I love to do! this is a great idea for all you ladies that have pendant lighting. It is so very festive to take ribbon and christmas balls to adorn your lights. I take and make my bow first, when I tie up the middle I leave a nice sized tail for anchoring. I then add my balls with needle and thread. I tie it on with my ribbon tails. This looks good achored next the light or somewhere in the middle, I have done it both ways.

Here is a view of my three pendants, it adds so much holiday charm!

And last but not least is my kitchen, my absolute favorite room in my home, I doubt I will ever get tired of it! I walk in and immediately it has a calming effect on me. Beyond the glass door is a pantry that I do not know how I ever lived without! If and when I have to move, this will be the hardest thing for me to walk away from. I thank God I have it to enjoy now!

Thank you for letting me share just little bits and pieces of my favorite things! Of course these are only "things",  what I treasure most of all, and where my true treasure can be found, are my friends and family, each one precious and priceless beyond measure. The real reason we celebrate Christmas, is not for the good food and gifts, it is the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who came to bring us the free gift of salvation and forgivness for all who will accept it.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Prim Snowman Stocking!

Here is a sneak peek at my latest project, this will be one of my Pfatt Marketplace items for the month of December. He is my own design, and will also be one of the E-patterns I plan on offering this coming year along with the snowgirl ornie pictured on my blog. I am not sure when my first patterns will be ready, but be assured after the Holidays I will be working on just that!
I am not sure you can call him a snowman, he seems more boyish to me! He is all snuggled in in his felt stocking and wears a stained cheesecloth scarf. I love the fabric I found for the cuff, I found it at Hobby Lobby and for the life of me I cannot remember what they called it, but it is the neatest stuff with all it's loopy texture. He has rusty wire for arms, rusty bells, snowflakes and a cinnamon star. His sweet face is handpainted and finished off with fine glass glitter and his nose is a twistie pod. Everything was pretty much stained for a prim look and sparkled up with mica and glass glitter. His stocking is full of candy cane sticks, berries, pinecones and greenery.

He was so much fun! but when I do these projects, you can only imagine what my craft room looks like, this time of year there is glitter in every form on everything in there!! Not such a bad thing since I LOVE glitter. I do have to finally clean up when I no longer can see my table!

Well my tree is in the house, no decorations YET, but hopefully I will get the motivation to do it. I have collected snowman "not mine ironically" from different artists and will post some pictures soon to share what my favorties are. I enjoy other artists works, and never keep my own, but that is how it goes, guess I figure I can always make some things for myslef, but it never happens.

Have a blessed Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beef Barley Soup! NOT Hot Dogs....

When dinner time comes and your thinking to yourself..... what will I make? Maybe  we'll just have hot dogs tonight, I say get up, chop a veggy or two and make some soup instead! Soup is easy, and oh so good for you.

 I have a Beef Barley soup recipe I made tonight that I want to share with you all, it is hearty, and very tasty. We'll leave this little hot dog alone, he's too cute to eat anyway!

This was delicious...

Beef Barley Soup

1 1/2 to 2 lbs lean ground beef
8-10 cups Beef Stock I use Kitchen Basics, or water
you can start with 8 and adjust to how thick or thin you want it.
2 Cups corn
1 - 1 1/2 Cups chopped Celery
1 Green Pepper Chopped
1 large onion chopped
3 medium potatos chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 1/4 cups Barley
2 Cups Carrots
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can crushed tomatos
1/4 cups Ketchup
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp pepper
salt or seasoning salt of choice to taste
2 tsp basil or more!
1 TBS. sugar, or to taste

In a skillet, brown the meat, drain off fat. In the soup pot add all chopped veggies, saute for a few minutes in a tbs. or so of oil until they soften a bit. Add ground beef and all other ingredients, bring to a boil then heat on med/low for 1 hr. stirring every now and then . Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Last few Christmas projects...

Well Christmas is coming at me at break-neck speed, so I am getting what last few projects I can done! Here is a peek at a few of them...
I am excited to finally be finishing this sweet snowman picture. I say finally because he has been staring at me for at least a couple years now, yep you heard that right! I had his face and scarf done, and just moved on to other things, he has been on a stand under my table all this time. I knew one day I would just pick him up and finish him, and so I did! He is handpainted on a canvas, his frame is wood that I handpainted to match. I will put him for sale this month on my Pfatt Marketplace page. He is 11 X 14.

I am terrible with lettering, but I found a new use for my Cricut, I simply cut out the letters on cardstock, took my pencil and traced around  and painted them! I do love my cricut, it has so many uses.

Tole painting like this is something I really like to do, but I have so many "likes" that I can't stay with one type of creating for long, so I go back and forth with what I do. After working on him, it reminds me of how much I enjoy it though, I will be looking to do more projects  with tole painting on them soon since I have the bug again.

 It is so hard for me to do just one thing, I simply can't do it, there are way too many ways to create, and I must do them all! Finding the time to fit all of them in is the problem. If it interests me, there is nothing off limits. Is it possible to have crafting ADD? One thing that has always been consistent is my love for my paints and paint brushes, I almost always use painting in my projects to some extent. I have an embarrassingly huge supply of brushes and paints, I never want to be caught without one or the other, it would be an emergency ya know. All this creating and supply buying is cheap mental therapy, simply priceless...

Here a couple of projects I recently finished, I thought I would at least share them even though they are already sold and have homes.

As you can see, they are similar to some I had done recently with some slight differences.

I wish you all a wonderful upcoming weekend!


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