Tuesday, January 6, 2015

One Little Word...2015

I recently went back and looked at old blog posts, pre-blogger, Typepad posts.  When I started blogging, I paid for my platform. When you pay for something, I honestly think you value it more. Initially, I blogged about scrap booking, about healing from a traumatic loss, about life, and then I got involved in design teams. Most of my posts were design team related. One by one, the design teams fell away; my life changed; my interests changed...the blog, for the most part, sits silently in cyber space. But every once in a great while, I remember it's here, and so I post.

I've had the flu. Being ill for an extended period of time tends to make me introspective. It's also that time of year, the time when you think about resolutions, goal setting, dreams...

Now, at 60, I'm so incredibly aware of how fleeting life is, how very fragile we all are, how valuable the moments are. One of my friends asked what my OLW is for 2015. I paused. For the first time in a few years, my word hadn't made itself known to me. In fact, I hadn't given it a thought. My 2014 word, ENOUGH, was always in my mind's eye, but, honestly, I did little with it beyond April. My first thought was GIFTS, to focus on life's gifts, on gratitude. Though I do plan to continue writing in my gifts journal, it just didn't feel like THE word, my ONE Little Word.

My daughters have joined me on this journey for the last few years. Each chooses a word, creates a vision board, reads, writes and paints her word. I hadn't mentioned it this year, but the other day, my eldest sent me this link in a text  http://www.susannahconway.com/word/. I clicked on it...a free "course" to help find your word. I signed up. Today was day 3. The exercises are great. Today's lesson had me narrow my list to five, but the word that emerged as I worked through the prompts was not one of those five. It was the key to the five!

NURTURE
It literally found me as I was trying to put my goals, my hopes and dreams for 2015 into words. I started with RELATIONSHIPS, CONNECTIONS, FAITH, CREATE, LOVE...

And what I discovered is that I want to nurture these, all of these! 

I have two more days of lessons, two more days before I nail down my OLW. Today, however, I had an epiphany.  This is oh, so very fitting. Tomorrow IS epiphany, a day that marks the end of the Christmas season, the day my mother got her wings four years ago. This feels like a GIFT- I like that connection, too. It's as if all words lead me here. This year, I will nurture my relationships, my friendships, my faith, my creativity, my own growth and the growth of those I love and care for.












Sunday, November 9, 2014

Life Assurance

Nope, not a typo...I meant to write Assurance, not insurance. There is a difference...

assurance
  1. a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise
  2. confidence or certainty in one's own abilities

insurance

  1. a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium
  2. a thing providing protection against a possible eventuality
Years ago, my mother joked about her unfinished project. She said they were her life insurance policy-just too many unfinished projects to die. Sadly, life insurance does not prevent death-it just provides benefits to your survivors when you do, in fact, die...and, we ALL do. I am the grateful beneficiary of so many of her completed projects as well as a number of her "works in progress."

Now, my mother was not a wasteful woman. She was an extraordinarily creative, talented and totally engaged woman. She never suffered from boredom. There was always a project in the works. Over the years, she made and completed so many, many things: hooked rugs, crewel pieces, needlepoint, cross stitch, quilts, clothes...on and on and on. But there were was those unfinished projects, the ones she set aside when she wasn't sure where to go with them or the ones she lost interest in because something else caught her eye and attention. 

In her final days, our parish priests came to call. She talked to them about her death, sure that it was close at hand. I sat in the corner of the room, heart breaking, eyes streaming listening to my mother tell the priests that she hoped to make it through Christmas.  I heard her tell the priests she wasn't afraid to die. She had a near death experience when she was a child, and I knew the story well. Once again, she recounted the story-a garden, her grandmother, beautiful fragrances, and being told it wasn't time. She was only 4 at the time, and when she came out of her fever induced coma, she described this to my grandmother, her mother, in great detail. So, she wasn't afraid, but up until that point, she wasn't ready. Constant pain and diminished quality of life prepared her. 

In addition to her story, she told the priests she had "No regrets." She paused, and said, "Oh, wait. I have one. I regret not having finished that one crewel piece. I was afraid of the silk and then I misplaced the directions. I'm trying to decide if I should tell Ann to get someone to finish it or just frame it as is." This, my friends, was a life well lived-her only regret was an unfinished crewel sampler.







She died on Epiphany. I had the sampler framed-unfinished. If you look closely, you'll see that she started the man, but left the woman undone. Somehow, this seems fitting.



I am about the age my mother was when she first started joking about her life insurance policy. Well, I have a life ASSURANCE thing going on here. It seems I am the Queen of unfinished projects (though I have friends who claim the title as well!)  Clearly, I have too many interests! Because I am no longer employed, I do have time, but apparently I do not manage it as well as I could. Then, my husband does not hesitate to interrupt or change my plans, because, well, none of my projects are as "important" to our lifestyle as my work once was. And, the dealings-well, simply not as many and the consequences for missing many is nothing more than a shoulder shrug.


This last week, I started a simple baby quilt. It wasn't my first quilting project, but I am pretty much a novice. The fabric was here. The pattern was here. Even the batting was here. once I started , I realized I needed a solid length for the backing as well as a half yard for the binding. The fabric has been in my stash for so long, it is no longer manufactured! What to do...well, I had enough 10x10 pieces to piece the back! And, now, a reversible quilt! I have to admit, at times during production, I wanted to walk away, to color, to play with paper, to read, but I MADE myself continue.  The binding was an entirely different problem so off I went to the "local" (a 25 minute drive each way) fabric shop to find an acceptable fabric. Before I publish this post, I plan to put that binding on!!! 

I DID IT...it's finished! WHOO HOO!



























It seems as I've gotten older, I have (to borrow a former colleagues expression
developed the attention span of a nat! 

I wonder, is this... 

  • from years of multi-tasking? 
  • because I am totally engrossed in technology where every piece of information comes in abbreviated bursts with bright lights and dazzling colors? 
  • a natural part of aging? 
  • because I am a closet anxiety-ridden, frantic person? 


My granddaughter is coming up on two and a half. In my pile of unfinished projects, now long since outgrown-a baby quilt, two smocked dresses, a little pair of overalls, a fleece jacket, a diaper bag...not to mention the projects that sit neatly folded and stacked, never even started.

I have reams of scrap booking pads and papers, half finished layouts, unfinished books... There are stacks of card fronts-yup, fronts, and piles of colored images with no place to go.


Now, I take comfort in the fact that I am not alone---the crafter's lament! I struggle with the guilt, the guilt of sheer waste, the guilt of money spent on materials that aren't used. My word for (Ali Edwards'-In A Word) was/is "ENOUGH"-fail! So, perhaps my word for 2015 should be FINISH or PERSEVERE, or maybe I try ENOUGH, again. 


Here's a thought---maybe, just maybe, all of these unfinished projects are "life assurance"---the promise of life, the idea that there is still time to finish them. Or maybe looking at them says to me,

" Yes, I CAN do all of these things. 
I've started them- I just need to finish them."

And, so this weekend, a little assurance-I did it! I finished a project or two. I can do it. I did do it. 




Monday, October 27, 2014

Blurred Lines-Gammie's Version

I reference a current song title here, though I think, but I'm not certain, this post is completely unrelated to the song. I'm talking about a cultural phenomenon, one I find puzzling if not deeply disturbing.

So, we've established that I am "slightly" beyond what is considered middle age. Anne Morrow Lindburgh labeled this time of life, "the youth of my old age." Youth, I like that! It is really something the first time you can recall your mother at your current age---but wasn't she old?! But hold on, wait until you can recall your GRANDmother at your current age. WHAT? Seriously, she was old!

And, then, all of those things you noticed about "old' people start happening to your once, young, and far less flawed, though you thought you were flawed back then-just wait-body! If you're a woman of a certain age, you know what I'm talking about. "Features" of your person that were once firm, neatly stretched over your frame and perky, well, not so much. Veins that once hid from view now form squishy blue hills on top of your once smooth hands. Your face begins to resemble a road map, lines deeply etched revealing much about the life you've lived to date. Toes begin to gnarl ever so slightly. The fear of the "old age" of old age becomes ever more real-you know where this is going. You've seen it before and now, you're living it. The good news is, you are LIVING it---could be worse! I keep telling myself that. No matter how old I think I look now, my daughter reminds me, 10 years from now, I'll look back and marvel at how I looked in 2014!

I tell you, somewhat modestly, I am not as "old" as my grandmother was when she was my age. However, both of my grandmothers looked younger, in my eyes, than their contemporaries.  And my mother's fashion choices, no doubt dictated by the decade of her 60's were, shall we say, aging. So, part of this illusion of my youth (I like to think I'm just cresting 50* though we all know better) is due to the blurred lines of fashion! (Finally, she's getting to the heart of the matter!)

My wardrobe is not terribly different than the wardrobes of my daughters who are, by anyone's standards, still young. Naturally, I do have some apparel that is too mature for them, too conservative, but nothing (correct me if I'm wrong, kids) that screams, Gammie (except the shoes-yes, it's the shoes---You WILL understand when your toes begin to gnarl and your back aches and your knees hurt...) This blurring of lines sort of works for me though I fear I may carry it too far, for too long. I hope my children will do me a favor and say, "Uh, Mom, time to move on."

I am "Gammie" now, a grandmother! How did this happen? My kids were little just...alright, alright, it's been a while. I relish this new role and am just sad that I don't live around the corner or just downstairs...instead of hundreds of miles away from this precious little munchkin. It is after spending some concentrated quality time with her that I realize, this old gal "ain't what she used to be"!  I marvel at what I used to do. I've lived long enough now to appreciate who I once was-that's a gift because, sadly, I didn't think much about it back then, let alone appreciate it. My 5 kids were born in a span of seven years, the youngest twins. When the twins were five, my oldest 13, I found myself a single parent, and while I was blessed to have my parents close by, I was raising them by myself...but I digress (I do that a lot-you will, too, someday!)

"Well, anyway..." (my mother's famous turn of phrase I'm now adopting as my own), as a Gammie, I am once, again, seriously involved in the world of children's apparel. Baby clothes-Lord, they're cute! Here's the troubling thing...just since my children were small, there has been a huge shift in apparel for little girls, I mean HUGE! Who, is responsible for this, and why do folks support this industry?! My "Little Kiddle" (cute little collectible dolls from my childhood, and what I now use as a tag line for small, adorable children) is two and has outgrown baby clothes. She's tall-gasp- I know. Who would think it since Gammie is (once was) 5'11"-though her Momma is the shortest of my girls measuring a mere 5'8"?  She's thin-kind of a genetic thing, too. She wears a 3T.

Now, I love to buy her clothes. My preference would be little smocked dresses, pinafores, and overalls, but Momma is a modern Boston Mom, and the smocked dresses and pinafores are, I guess, in today's world, a Southern thing (this Momma/Gammie loves Southern style!) She reminds me that they are indeed, impractical and ill suited to my granddaughter's lifestyle, and I try (mind you, TRY) not to impose my will on them.  So, I compromise. We both love OshKosh, not the stuff with Toile or sparkles, but bordering on traditional-a throw back to my children's youth. Thank goodness for Hannah Anderson, (we do, after all, have Scandinavian roots) though, for goodness sakes, why does good taste have to demand a high price tag?! So, Hannah, we limit ourselves to an outfit or two a season, and only when a sale rolls around. Carter's actually tries to cover all audiences-moderate prices with frequent, super sales, cute clothes of the play clothes, functional variety in addition to some garish, loud, but not yet vampy, clothes.

Fortunately, my daughter has good taste (naturally, right?) so she does not like miniature, seductive, teenager clothing. It gets harder and harder to find little girl's clothing that doesn't look like revealing, over-the-top, teenage apparel. Who thinks this is a good idea?! Really!!! Talk about blurred lines. Our girls, as young as two, are being sexualized by the fashion industry, and hey, folks, they couldn't do it if we didn't support it, at least not for long.

A two year old is not a small teenager. A teenager is not a (hmmm, politically correct term here---thinking, thinking...) vamp (definition 2) or shouldn't be encouraged to be one (showing my age, am I ?!) Why aren't all the women who fought so hard to overcome stereotypes in an uproar over this? (Oh, and while we're on the subject female warriors-what's up with stilettos? Really?!) Why are parents surprised when their young children are involved in clearly not age-appropriate behavior? How is this cute?

I think we need to get out the permanent markers and draw a few lines-oh, and wait until they dry so they do not blur. No, it certainly won't solve the world's troubles, but children are not tiny teens and teens are not adults, and old women aren't young women (we'll draw that line in pencil---so we can move it!)

*Author's note.

  • You can trust folks over the age of 30, at least some of them. I'm pretty sure, however that politicians are not to be trusted at ANY age.
  • Be skeptical of those under 30. They have absolutely no clue and many of them, once they hit about 26 will admit that.
  • 40 is young in today's world-actually, one of my favorite decades, the reason I opted to remain in my 40's just adding years of experience to my resume. At one time, most folks were finished with child rearing at 40. Now a days, many are just starting. (P.S. Good luck at 60!)
  • 50 is NOT old either...you're just coming into your own.
  • 60s-not much experience here, yet. I'll keep you posted





Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hello, Blogger my Old Friend

Hello "blogger", my old friend


I've come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted

In my brain still remains

Within the sound of silence



Yes, I'm old-
Simon and Garfunkel parody, here. If you don't know it, Google it!

But, you know, that's often how ideas come to us, isn't it? I think my brain is more active when I'm sleeping than when I'm awake and may explain why I'm so tired some days! Oh, and the dreams...where DO they come from? Some are pretty obvious, but others? Like where the heck did that octopus/jellyfish come from?! I'm look out to sea at this strange creature and suddenly it flies out of the water! It's coming right at me and BAM, I'm awake-what the what?!

I digress...or perhaps I'm just having random Sunday afternoon, after a busy week, thoughts and can't really organize them. Hmmm...

Project Life was calling my name this week. I have a summer's worth of pictures and now a bunch of fall pictures. Up until this week, I had only touched June---other projects filled my days. Things are a bit slower for the moment so I had the opportunity to do some "PL"-ing.  The nice thing about PL is you can just slip in your fave photos, add a few embellishments (or not) and do a little journaling to jog the memory and call it a day. The great thing about PL is you can then go back, when you're either more inspired or have a bit more time and embellish away! I attended to "nice", not "great" this week :)





Then, there were the cards.

"Y'all know I love me some Sassy Cheryl!" 
I really do---we're friends, now. Thank you Paper Craft Planet---you're gone now (head bowed, a moment of silence---respect), but you introduced me to some mighty wonderful folks. Cheryl's fabulous images reflect her "all about Sassy" attitude! You only have to look at them to know that she's about as tender-hearted as they come (sorry, Cheryl, you're "outed")



I'm really "bad" about finish work---generally leave the inside blank because, honestly, I want to get onto the "business" of coloring. I love to color---am I repeating myself here? Oh, sorry---comes free with being "mature". This was made for a special friend who lives many miles away. I'll put it in the mail on Monday!


One more---Clean and Simple...that's how I roll! I actually did write a little sentiment inside but nothing that begs a photo!  

Then, of course, there's Mo...who doesn't love Mo's illustrations?! I have many (oh, so many) of her little girl images and with the birth of my grand daughter, over two years ago, it made my addiction worse. Thanks, Mo---seriously, thanks. Lately, I've needed a few cards for little boys-these images are equally as cute!



Just in case you're wondering---these little guys have watermarks running right across their cute little tummies! It's a shame we have to do that, isn't it? I'm not going to get all preachy on you, here (well, may be a little), but I just taught a Sunday School lesson on the second most important Commandment---it's actually the foundation of many world religions though people are terribly bad at following it: 
"Love thy neighbor as thy self."  

The Golden Rule is a derivative of this-Do on to others...you know this one, people! 

Not a religious person? I'm sorry---really, I am, but I respect everyone's right to decide for him/herself. This Commandment though-it's about human decency, R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Yes, Aretha! Google it. Thankfully, the recent FB rumor about Ms. Franklin is false)! If you were the artist, would you be okay with people stealing your work? (oops, another Commandment reference and secular law backs me up on this one!)  I think not. 

If you've stuck with me through this entire post, you're either my family so you know who and what I am, a friend (again, you know me), someone who is totally okay with what I have written-agree with it or not, or someone who is livid that I posted a Commandment---if that's the case, well, like I said, you are entitled to feel what you feel. You should not, in my opinion, always act on you're feelings when it means hurting or harming another...there are a lot of secular laws that back me up on that one, too. So if you want to vent, call a friend, okay?


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Poor, Poor, Sad, Lonely Blog....

Poor, poor, sad, lonely blog!  Oh, I've been creating, even photographing some of my creations, but posting, well, mostly on FaceBook. I'm not alone. Today, I spent about an hour looking through bookmarks and found many blogs I once frequented, no longer exist.

Soooo, should I just let it go? I just don't know. This blog isn't a busy one, that's for sure. I'm no longer on design teams and am not even applying to any. I create because I love to create. I used to love to share my creations. Actually, in my earliest blogging years, I had a Typepad account. I posted my scrapbook pages, my journaling. I actually thought I might be able to generate some interest, perhaps a small business creating scrapbooks for others. Life changed pretty dramatically as it so often does and I found myself caring for my aging mother in her home. I had few crafting materials and limited space and time. This is when I discovered card making and learned a new term-"Digi." And, oh, my, did I ever love to color! There were design teams and Paper Craft Planet and groups to join and friends to make. I loved my new world. 

Life got busy, circumstances and priorities changed, the crafting world changed ...FaceBook took hold. Design teams began to fold. Suddenly, it seemed, everything was a competition, a comparison. What once made me happy, made me feel a little proud, started to make me feel inadequate. I didn't feel good enough. I struggled with this and really questioned my reasons for even posting. Was it about how many visitors I attracted (because, man, that was oh, so disappointing!) So, did that mean I wasn't any good at what i was creating or did it mean I wasn't any good at self promoting? In any case, it didn't make me feel good. I did finally decided that I would continue to post just in case a friend or one of my kids wanted to see what I was up to, but even they stopped dropping by. There are just so many blogs out there, so much social media, so many things that take our time and attention. I stopped blogging, but I didn't stop creating.

Over the last few months, I've given most of my creative time and energy to a charity.  I'm a member of a committee that hosts a charity event for St. Martin's Ministries. This year's theme was a 1920's Speakeasy. Here are just a few of the things I made for this amazing event...


I signed up for the Kit and Clowder coloring classes, too. It meant giving up some other fall activities...life's all about choices. Because of the way these classes are designed and set up, I can go at my own pace which in this case, has been a snail's pace! I practice... 

And then, sometimes, I even make some cards! 



Here are a couple of Sassy Cheryl's cutie-patooties.  Sassy Cheryl has a FaceBook page now-Sassy Cheryl's Neighborhood. I can't write this without Fred Rodgers signature song playing in my head! You can head on over to see all kinds of sassy goodness. There's a monthly challenge, too-anything goes with a Sassy Cheryl's image.



And, of course, I love Mo's Digital Pencil---
her FaceBook page is called Bella and Bronte's Playhouse.


Perhaps I'll start posting, again. Maybe not...time will tell. 
Oh, but I do love to color (and cut, and paste, and play with paper and fabric and photos and pencils and...)





Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sassy Cheryl's Neighborhood

Here we go...another "Anything Goes" challenge in the neighborhood! 

If you haven't requested to join over at FB, well, what are you waiting for

...all kinds of creative goodness going on over there :)


JUST HANGIN' AROUND

I decided to use an "older" digi...here's Ms. Sally and Bella doing what they do best---just hang in' around and getting into mischief! 


I recently stumbled upon on coloring blog via Pinterest...Just4FunCrafts.blogspot.com. Jennifer Dove, the creator, has posted a "Color of the Day" cards since 2013...when I last checked, some 188 color combos for Copics. I spent way too much time, but rather happily, clicking on each one, resizing and then printing out each and everyone of these combos. Now, some of them, I needn't have bothered because they were combos I already used, but I don't like to do stuff half way---I'm ALL in! I'm tickled pink with my new flip book of color combos---teehee!

I used "baby pink" for her shirt and bubble gun for her skirt...don't you love the way this little skirt defies gravity! Her skin is advanced skin tone 1. her hair is red hair 3-never would have come up with this one!

I used a Technique Tuesday Ali Edwards stamp for the sentiment...not too happy that this partnership has ended :( and a Spellbinders die to cut out the sentiment. MY DP is a fairly new pad from Michael's-got it on sale...Dear Lizzy Polka Dot Party by American Crafts. There you have it!

You can enter over at FaceBook and you have 'til the end of the month! Come on and join us!

Other challenges I plan to enter:


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sassy Cheryl's Neighborhood on FaceBook!

Time for a change. 

Sassy Cheryl packed up the whole gang and moved her challenges to FaceBook.

She has a page, of course and then a group you can ask to join---Sassy Cheryl's Neighborhood. We'd love to have you join us over there. It's much like our old group at Paper Craft Planet. If you liked it there, you'll love it here!


This little gal is a nod, perhaps a tribute to our dear, old friend, Fred Rodgers. He was a wise man and a friend to many preschoolers through the decades. He is missed. I can't help but hum his theme song when I see this little cutie...
"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...
won't you be,
won't you be,
please won't you be my neighbor." 

I colored this image in Copics and fussy cut her. The fence is a Memory Box die. My DP is Dear Lizzy Polka Dot Party by American Crafts.

I hope you'll join us in the neighborhood for all kinds of Sassy goodness. There are challenges to be played and prizes to be won, and just a good, old-fashioned, warm, friendly, neighborhood feeling!