Sunday, September 26, 2010

What? Designer Crocs?

Danger, danger, Will Robinson!  This is an unsolicited product promotion!  I know.  From me?  Shock, but here it goes.

Check out my new shoes.  Aren't they cute?  Believe it or not, they're Crocs! know the brand...those plastic clogs with holes in them.. Actually, I got them for free. I won a giveaway over on Jen's blog
Beauty and Bedlam.  I have had a pair of Crocs for several years.  When I bought my pair they were a new novelty.  I have always found them super comfortable and have worn them for fun and for gardening.  The tread on them has gotten pretty worn down, so I thought entering a contest to win a new pair of Crocs would be great.  What I didn't realize, was how Crocs has expanded their line. They've now got lots of styles including some that are cute and appropriate for work.

 I have a hard time finding comfortable shoes for work.  I'm on my feet the entire 8+ hours and I can't wear  tennis shoes or anything like that.  I have found comfort by adding inserts to give me more cushion and arch support.  Anyway, for my "prize" I picked these cute little Mary Janes.  Besides the black plastic, they have a suede like material on them as well.  I wore them to work the other day, and my feet were in heaven.

 What can I say?  I love them, and would actually consider paying for them!  That says a lot for me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Trick or Treat Ready

I went on a pillowcase making spree last month.  I was actually inspired by this post from Adrianne over at Little Bluebell. I found several tutorials around the web including one at  They were all very similar.  I loved them as there were no exposed seams at all, and really easy to make.

 So, first I took Morgan and Mackenzie to the fabric store to pick out something they liked.  Morgan's main one was Disney Princesses, of course, and Mack picked out a Winnie the Pooh print.  They're pillowcases were so cute and the girls loved them.  The only problem I had was that little did I realize that Mallory is now old enough to know she didn't get one, and wanted one, even though she doesn't sleep with a pillow.

Anyway, the brilliant plan came about while discussing Halloween.  We were talking about how the kids, when they were older, used to use pillowcases instead of other Trick or Treat Bags.  So.....I went and picked up a couple yards of cute Halloween fabric, and added some orange and made small scale pillowcases.  They are about half the size of a regular pillow case.  I used 14x30 for the body and 7x30 for the trim.  Don't you just love them?  They definitely can hold lots of candy.  We're come on Halloween!  Oh....make that hold on a minute.  We have not finished the costumes yet, so it's back to the sewing machines.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Art...Just do it!

I'm an artist.  That's a bold statement that has taken me a lifetime to accept, but I am an artist.  There has been a time in my life when I was what I would call a practicing artist.  Then there was an extended length of time when I was an art teacher.  Then for awhile I called myself an environmental artist.  Today, I am a "sneak in what I can" artist, concentrating on quilting because the finished product is functional, and in this economy that makes it easier for me to justify the time and money I spend on artistic endeavors.

As you can see, I've been eclectic in my art.  That's partly because that is my style, and partly because I have had to adapt to time, money, and needs.  When I was younger and I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was a hermit artist.  I think that would still stand for me, if only I had someone to pay all my bills.  I actually started college as an art major but after one particularly unliberated teacher and the realization that I probably couldn't make a living that way, I switched to broadcast-film arts.  Still artistic, but with a practical application.  After my years of television, I switched to painting.  After awhile of having to deal with kids and dragging out paint stuff and having to put it back (since I didn't actually have studio space) I switched to colored pencils.  I found a lot of success in that medium, and someday I'll go back to it, but for now it's fabric that I work with.

Why this diatribe now, you ask?  Well, a friend of mine recently posted this on facebook: "Considering taking on a personal artistic photo project that I've been throwing around in my mind for years now. I think it's time. Well, if I HAVE time.."  My heart went out at that.  I know from experience that if you don't'll never finish...and if you don't'll always regret it.  So to Nigel, and to all my other friends with artistic yearnings, I have to say "Do it!!!!"   Please, just try to do it.  There never is any time, and as my life has gone through different stages, I can tell you that doesn't change.  As the Picasso quote from my little painting goes, don't ever turn loose of your artistic desires.  Feed them.  Nurture them. Acknowledge them.  They are truly precious and will give you great rewards if you let them.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

To not be normal....

Look at this quote from Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist:

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for -  in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it"  –Ellen Goodman

The real question is how does one get off this merry-go-round?  We live in a consumer-driven world.  We are constantly conditioned to buy own things.  We are brought up to compare our lives and our things with what everyone else seems to have.  It is the "grass is always greener" attitude, so we want and we acquire and then what?

 I remember when we moved here, we had to downsize to a house and income about half of what we were used to.  It seemed like a daunting task at the time.  I still have things in the garage that I couldn't bear to part with, but they haven't moved out of the garage in more than four years.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  There are many times when someone asked where such-and-such is and the reply is "I don't think it made the move",  but for all the things that didn't move, that we've noticed we don't have, there are so many things that we haven't thought of once. 

At what age does this consumerism take over?  How guilty are McDonalds Happy Meals and advertisements in cartoons, and how guilty are we as parents?  Why is it the kids often like the big cardboard box so much better than the pricey item that came in it?  Why can't we see that in our kids? Instead we keep striving to buy them the "hot" toy.  I know the theory is that every generation wants their kids to have a better life than they had, but does that necessarily mean more a more expensive life?

Some days I wish I could just stop. I'm doing what I can.  I'm slowly paying down on debt that piled up from habit and conditioning and who knows where.  I'm trying to consider my "need" before I purchase stuff, not that that stops me from buying fabric on sale.  The biggest change is that I am truly appreciating the things I love.  I try to put as much energy, time, and yes, even money, into the things that are most important, and those things are not really things at all.  They are my family, my friends, and my pets. 

 If you aren't sure what unconditional love is, hang out with a dog, or a toddler for an afternoon.  Your attention is what's important to them and they will reward you ten times over. someday, not be normal.

Friday, September 3, 2010

This moment..bear got wet

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, join in over at Soule Mama

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First of the Month Fun

The first of the month is an exciting time for my quilting.  The Block Lotto announces the past month's winners and introduces the block for this month and Kate's Stay at Home Robin gives me the next step.  Being on vacation this week, I was able to get to both right away.

First of all, I didn't win the Block Lotto with the wonky roses.  Darn. But maybe this month!  We're doing wonky houses and  I've done two so far.  This one has a little cat in the door, and the other has a cat in the window.  It's fun to fussy cut something into those tiny spaces.  If I make a bunch more, and they all have cats, I'll probably be known as the Cat Lady.  Hmm....maybe I should do something other than cats on the next one.  Anyway, it would be a fun month to win and build a quilt city of these crazy houses.

For the SAHR we had to put a 3x10 inch segment on top of the two previous steps.  I did a liberated wavy cut with some really great fabrics that remind me of my prairie theme.  I've never really done curves before, so that was an added challenge.  I think I like it so far.  It's a mystery where we're going and that is fun too.

I've got some other projects in the works including I Spy quilts for the kids for Christmas.  Plenty to keep me busy for the remainder of my week off.