Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Blessings!

It is almost Christmas Eve and I have a few minutes of quiet, no one here, baking done, gifts wrapped and delivered.

I am thinking about this year and how thankful I am that my mom is here, celebrating with us!
Her room is all set up and Christmasy

How good it feels to come home and smell gingerbread and peanut brittle in the air, and light a fire and feel the warmth of family near by.

How blessed I am to have stockings to fill and loved ones to bake for.

 I am thinking of my special friends that are dealing with so much, saying special prayers for them this holiday season.

Its so important to take the time to really wrap yourself in gratitude, finding the things that are good and rejoice in those. I am thankful for my Savior who loved me enough to be born this day.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2014

All good things must come to an end, kinda

We spent last night with our Bocce Ball group, a wild group of friends that agreed to get together every month in 2014 and play Bocce Ball.

 I organized this to make sure we made time to see each other since everyone is so busy these days. Time has a tendency of slipping away and before you know it you haven't seen your friends in months.

The competition part added incentive every month to show up, that helped since one couple had to drive an hour each way! It was a commitment that proved to be challenging and rewarding at the same time.

Randy and I- team Holy Rollers
Last night we crowned the winners, celebrated the group and Christmas all together, the way we started the year. It was all about the fun we all have together, the quirks, the oddities, the uniqueness that each one of these people brought into our lives this year. The teams were as follows, We're the Millers, Chris and Linda. Chris gave us a Chris crazy close up every month and Linda always shocked us with her amazingly accurate throwing!

There was Dawn and Mike, The Bocce Bums and eventual winners for the year! 
They won for best Team Uniforms!
Then there was Rudy and Marta, The Ball Bangers, they always added a lot of fun to the group. Rudy was the official, unofficial measurer. Unless some of the other guys with tape measures got involved!  Marta took our amazing group photo, our official photographer.

And then, of course, there was always Jen and Chloe on the sidelines. Always cheering us on!

Last night saw the end of our 2014 tournament. We laughed and celebrated then walked around the lighted area in downtown, we listened to kids singing Christmas Carols and watched people ice skating on man made ice rinks and it was like a real Charlie Brown Christmas!

Thanks everyone for a wonderful year together!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Funky Flowers

I love just playing with art, starting with just a black canvas and letting magic happen. No preplanned idea, no layout just splash on the paint and let the intuitive part of art happen. Today with a friend, some acrylics, canvases, brushes and music playing we just let it happen.

 Let the fun begin, no pressure to preform, nothing forced, just a relaxing time of chatting and painting. We all need that right? Especially during the stress of the holidays. Give yourself an early gift, take a day and play.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Are you Shiny or Satin?

Its this time of the year that brings out the best and worst in people. For me, I love to get lost in the romance of it all, the "It's a Wonderful Life" movies and Christmas carols.
The generosity that people have towards one another that often only happen during this time of the year.

As I decorated the tree, or as I watched my grandkids decorate the tree this year, I was thinking how people, like ornaments, are either satin or shiny. They are either absorbers of light or reflectors the light!

I think both are wonderfully important!

 So Satins are lovers and warm, they absorb the light and can be jolly and personable. They are not sharp or hard but instead soft and smooth. They aren't easily bothered and often glean from the energy of others. They do not produce a bright light but are happy to stay in the background enjoying the light from the shiny reflectors.

  The Shiny or Reflectors are bright, colorful souls with lots to share. There beauty is often a reflection of those around them. They are the life of the party and love to be twinkling and bright as they are reflective of the beauty that surrounds them. They sometimes can be sharp and too strong but they are always the crowd standouts.

 So which are you, are you a Satin or a Shiny, both are important, both bring their own beauty to the tree!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A time of Thanksgiving….. and random acts of kindness.

Its that time of the year to count our blessings and be in that spirit of gratitude and Thanksgiving. A time to surround ourselves with family and loved ones but some people are struggling to do that. Some are dealing with broken families and illness. Some are far away from their loved ones and some are all alone. Some don't have a table to set or a turkey to cook. So this year, I pray, we each do something small to make a difference. To have the spirit that we will be kinder to those around us. That we will think before we speak the next time we meet someone in a bad mood or who is not filled with that wonderful spirit of Thanksgiving. That we will remember, that for some, the holidays are just reminder that this year it will not be happening for them.  I pray that we will be able to share with someone who may be hurting, to befriend someone alone, to create a place at the table for someone who has no where to go. Some simple, random act of kindness goes so far!

I want to share with you some thing that happened to us, in a very dark year. I am reminded of this gift each time I begin to take out my Christmas decorations. I usually always do this the weekend after Thanksgiving,but this year I wanted to decorate early. As I was taking out my decorations I came across the small little tree that is all decorated and stands about 2' tall. On it hangs an angel, a dove, a praying mantis, and little bear ornament that says "Jennifer". It is strung with lights and other small ornaments and the base has a big red bow that ties up the burlap that is filled with plastic cherries. Every year it comes out to find its rightful place in Jennifer's room.

You see, back in 2000, Jennifer, our 24 year old daughter lay in a hospital bed, fighting for her life after being hit by a drunk driver in July of that year. As Thanksgiving approached I had never dreamed that we wouldn't all have been home, well and healthy, celebrating together. I never planned to spend a holiday in a hospital. I remember thinking that it just wasn't fair that everyone was celebrating when we were so devastated. We received a gift around that time, a crocheted blanket that had a hospital bracelet through it with Jennifer's name on it. It sat at the foot of her bed, a gift, from a stranger. Someone who crocheted blankets for those in hospitals or rehab facilities who we would never meet but who touched us so deeply. The thought that someone noticed we weren't going to be at our Thanksgiving table that year and sent a gift was beyond kind.  As Christmas approached the feelings are even worse, there are no decorations, no parties. It was my mom who decorated that little tree and sent it to Jennifer in the hospital. A little tree that signified who Jennifer was, a lover of bugs, an angel to us, a lover of Christ and Christmas and all that that means, spiritually and personally. We plugged that tree into an approved extension cord so we could have a little bit of Christmas light during our families darkest time. That was along time ago, it sometimes feels like a lifetime ago. Today things are better, Jennifer lives with us and we celebrate everyday together!! We are happy and joyous in what God has done for her, sparing her life that year.

It was a few people who thought about us, who reached out and touched us that helped us through it. It was the kindness of not only friends and family but of strangers who never met us and still reached out. It was those special people, strangers, friends and family that helped us feel grateful again. My prayer for us this year is that we don't forget, that we don't just get caught up in the busyness. That we remember those around us who are hurting and we reach out, do something unexpected, make a difference even when we can't make it all better. Won't you join us this year. I would love to hear how you make a difference, leave a single sentence about what you do in the comment area and lets all be thankful together.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winston- The Sunbather

The days are getting dark early now with the nights falling into the 20s.  The sunny days of summer are now being consumed with the foggy blanket that will cover the valley off and on for the next few months.  Warm jackets, lots of layers and morning fires are the only way to get your body moving and the older we get the more fuel it needs! This is true for Winston too. He loves nothing more than starting his day next  to the wall heater, soaking up the warmth before venturing outside. On those special days of crisp, sunny skies you will find him on the patio, sunbathing. Nothing feels better than that sunshine on your back on a cold day!

The Sunbather
8" x 8" Oil on Museum board

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The inspiration of Living Loose!

Many of you know that I have been been busy designing new patterns and fabric getting ready for Houston. I have actually been so busy doing the business of art that I lost the inspired painting and expressing part of art.

The me part of Art.

I am someone who is always is covered in either paint or threads, but creating for me is often pushed off to the side.

Last year I committed to an oil painting workshop with Dreama Tolle Perry. I love her work and wanted to learn oils. I feel like my fine art work is static and wanted to shake things up for myself!

I decided last year when I signed up, that this was just for me, no expectations, no pressure to perform, no deadlines. I didn't sign up with with friends, I wanted to show up alone, with myself.

The lights are casting shadows but here is my first painting.

It turned out to be a wonder adventure, exploring a new medium with strangers and my own inner voice.  It was also just fun to just be a part a group of creative people all learning something new.

Art is a forever journey of practice and application, we never arrive since we are in a constant state of learning.

I had three days of just laughing, listening, painting and fun! I love the things I painted, even being unsure of this new medium. It was interesting trying to get my head around painting almost the opposite way I paint watercolors. I found not having enough paint on my brush was my biggest problem. I was painting with what felt like toothpaste or thick lotion compared to water! I know this will be some time  for my mind to adjust, probably for the next few years or so! LOL

 I also love the people I met, everyone exploring the rich colors and textures. I am so excited to pursue this medium and a looser, more impressionistic approach in my painting. So far I find I am constantly saying "stop adding details!", "Stop futzing", and it feels okay!

dropping in color

 I was raised to think being loose was a bad thing! Here's to letting it all go and taking on a different, looser, mindset! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Some Down Time on our way home!

Well its been a crazy month, full of shows, and sewing and designing! I have barely had time to catch my breath but traveling to Houston forces us to slow down, enjoy the scenery and enjoy our beautiful country!
The quilt show was amazing, my reflections quilt in the middle and Lauretta Crites winning winter Squash! Had so much fun and met some amazing people this year!

I am always amazed at how diverse our country is both in people and in topography. We have passed beautiful rolling green hills, cotton fields for as far as the eye can see, rocky crags, and volcanic hills that look like ashalt has been dumped all over. The orange painted mountains surrounding the yellow trees turning for fall is breath taking.

 I also am passing so many National Parks that I never knew exsisted! Next year we want to stop at each and see what we are missing as we zoom by on our way to the Grand Canyon. A long awaited few days to enjoy the beauty right in our own back yard. I am enjoying being present in the moment as I am in awe of the beauty that surrounds me. More pictures soon.
Greetings from Chloe too!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Quilt Show Mania- You can't go to just one!

I was at a retail quilt show last week and I taught two classes along with having a booth! Phew

It's a crazy process where you spend tons of time preparing and printing and sewing to show off your wears in hopes that someone buys in the midst of other vendors hoping the same thing.

 But, it's also a magical place where people with the same passion gather and share. Some come to show their accomplishments and others come to admire. Some come for tips and classes while others come for fabric and patterns. There seems to be something for everyone at these shows. It creates a magic, where the love for something creates an energy that lights up a whole hall in the convention center.

 For those few magical days the vendors live in close knit neighborhoods and we all greet each other and visit like I only imagine it was like in the old days. We share information and travel woes as well as travel tips and eating and hotel revues. Then there are the customers walking by, some stopping in to visit and chat and purchase.

It becomes a wild few days of making new connections, forging new friendships and being a part of something bigger than ourselves. I hope if your in Palm Springs October 2-4 you will stop by my booth #430 and chat awhile, spend some money, make some new friends and join in on all the fun!

I would love you to share the one thing you love most about attending these shows!! Share with us, please, leave your comment below!
Lauretta, Ann and I in San Diego

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Tip #2. Eat your Biggest Frogs Early!

Tip #2 Eat your Biggest Frogs Early!

Do you recognize yourself when I say procrastinator? People ask me all the time how I get so much done in my life. Well by knowing that I am a procrastinator by nature I know I will find ways to avoid projects that I am not enjoying by creating distractions. Creative people are great with distractions! My mind is full of ideas so its easy for me to get derailed. I can be emails, Facebook, phone calls, FOOD- sometimes I just think I'm hungry and want to eat. Any excuse to eat!!

I now know that this is all the ways my mind is trying to NOT do the work, to avoid my frogs. So I have to "eat my frogs" early.

That means I take the thing on my list that I am avoiding the most and eat it first! If its is a big project I deal with it one bite at a time, chipping away, a little each day until I am finished. When it is done I feel so much better and the rest of my day goes so much smoother.

 Lets look at it this way. Picture the frogs on your "to do" list as big rocks and the other things on your list as smaller rocks and sand. Now picture the time in your day as a large jar. Your day will be filled with something! If you take the large frogs or rocks and put them in your jar, first, then all the other, little rocks and sand will fill in around those big things and you will finish or get a good jump on everything on your list. If you fill your jar with all the small things first like email, Facebook, tv, phone  calls etc., your jar fills up with those small rocks and you can not fit the large rocks or frogs into the jar, its already full of all those little, busy things.

SO eat your biggest frogs first then all the little things will fill up around them and your day be so much more productive.

So whether I am in the mood or not, I show up in my studio or at my art table to do the work, and often those first few things I tackle are my dreaded big frogs, but they taste so good when they are conquered, one bite at a time!!

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