Thursday, May 27, 2010

... Random Thoughts on a Gloomy Afternoon ...

I'm trying not to count the number of minutes left until the end of my work day (103, if you're curious)  ... especially since this is a four day weekend for me!  We've had plenty of gloomy weather in Sacramento lately ... which is not helping me get through the monotonous task of pushing a button ... waitingggggggggg ... and then pushing another button ... waitinggggggggg ... that I have ahead of me for the next (now) 96 minutes.

I have big plans tonight to curl up with a good book, a warm blanket (which seems so weird to be saying at the end of MAY), and a couple of snuggly pups -- hubby will be happy to have the big TV to himself to play his latest game (my way of saying thanks for dealing with soggy walls, a parade of construction workers, and multiple hospital trips over the last three weeks).

While I'm waiting to make my escape, I thought I'd share some fun finds with you!  My new favorite (non-crafting-related) blog is THX THX THX: A Thank You Note A Day.  Author, Leah, practices gratitude for things big and small with daily handwritten thank you notes.  When I first stumbled upon her blog, I happily expected a fair amount of snarky humor, but was quickly and pleasant surprised with the genuine way she finds something sincerely worth appreciating every day.  I definitely recommend adding her site to your daily blog roll ... and if you feel up to the challenge ... taking time to genuinely appreciate the little things in your life.

So, here is my exercise in gratitude for today!

So, with my new toy, I've been experiment with quarter-circle blocks and the Old Maid's Puzzle layout, inspired by this Amish Quilt mentioned in this post.

I started out with just a modest table-topper to try and figure out the gist of things.  I was going to wait until I had a finished product to show before blogging about it, but have since been inspired by Rossie's challenge to blog more about the design and quilting process that goes into making projects instead of just blogging about the finished product. So, without further ado ...

I, Shelley, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can't quite put them in words or be sure I'm being totally clear.  I'm going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there.

There.  I did it.  And if you're so inspired, you can too.

Tune in tomorrow for "Autumn Maid's Puzzle" - WIP.

P.S. - A second thank you goes out to the wonderful co-worker who provided us with sugary goodness in the form of CAKE!  It definitely help the next 18 minutes go by quickly.

Monday, May 24, 2010

When it rains ....

... it pours.

I've been out of comission for awhile, thanks to the little raincloud that has been following me around for the past several weeks.

I had a huge lay-off scare at work, followed by a big pipe leak at home -- think soggy kitchen ceiling and walls, moldy pantry, latex paint-bubbles full of water, and puddles on the garage floor -- followed by a very scary car accident that left my little Honda Civic totaled ... the stress of which caused my somewhat-dormant stomach problems to resurface with a vengeance!

Now that the sun is finally coming out, it's a little easier to look back and count my blessings.  Throughout all the messiness, my hubby has been absolutely wonderful -- I don't know what I'd do without him!  My job, while still precarious, is mine for another six months -- phew!  Lennar, our builder, discovered that the leak in our house was due to a toilet that was installed incorrectly at the time of construction, and has taken full responsibility for the repairs.  To be completely honest, I expected a HUGE battle with them regarding the repairs and really expected to have to pay for everything out of pocket or take out a home-owners insurance claim, but they have been fantastic.  Really, really fantastic.  Granted, my house still looks like the quarantine scene at the end of E.T. and we had jet-engine-esque dehumdifiers and air purifies running for 7 days straight, which meant that hubby, puppsies, and I had to live in our master bedroom and eat take out 'round the clock - bottom line: the house is almost back to normal, at no expense to us!

As for my car accident, I'm still recovering.  Everyone I've talked to has said that things will take awhile.  The worst thing for me, right now, is that my right arm is still too sore to use my rotary cutter. :(  I'm hoping that tonight's embroidery class meeting will help get me somewhat back into the swing of things and that I'll have some new goodies to share with you soon!

Until then ... if you have your own personal raincloud following you around, try to embrace your inner-four-year-old-child, put on some rain boots, and go splash in the puddles and have a ball!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

What's New? - Part I

I haven't had a whole lot of crafting time (or blogging time for that matter), so now that the fabulous family festivities are over, I feel like I have a ton of catching up to do and that new projects are practically exploding out of my head!  So here's what's new!

Mom, JT, and I started our embroidery class at Bear Paws and Hollyhocks last week and had a great time with instructor, Shirley, aka the "Knot-Y Embroidery Lady."  The first class meeting just went over the basics - thread choice, the spit-free-way to thread your needle, knots, and the running and back stitches - but I think it's safe to say that I'm HOOKED!!!

While Shirley gave us a posie and a piece with our birth month to practice on, I could resist starting a new project -- I know ... big shocker!  I'd come across some cute, summery fat quarters during my last trip to JoAnns (for the $0.99 needle threader, mind you), and they were just perfect for to tablerunner with some embroidered daisies.  A quick google search for free embroidery patterns led me to the Needle 'n Thread blog and this great daisy pattern:

I printed three copies of the pattern, put two end-to-end, and cut the large daisy out from the third to use to join the two "ends" together as follows:

Another trip to Michaels for some matching thread and a number of episodes of "Bones" from Netflix streaming on the Wii, and this is the final result:

I'm so excited with the way it turned out, although, I can't decide whether I like it better as a table runner or a wall hanging.  What do you think?

I do have to say that one of the most important points that Shirley brought up in our class was the importance of a great light source.  She had us cracking up with her miner-like light-headband, and this great light that hung around your neck like a necklace, but they were all great ideas for portable light sources.

I found that in my house, I can see well enough to embroider downstairs until about twilight.  Not wanting to spend a great deal of money on yet another "new hobby," I improvised by placing my end-table lamp (an ancient one that I had in my bedroom as a kid) on a stack of cookbooks on the endtable next to the couch.  Unfortunately, the end of the couch is a rocker chair and the lamp had a rather large shade, so every time I went to stand up, the back of the chair would hit the lamp shade if I didn't remember to move it out of the -- which was most of the time.  After knocking it over three times (shattering the lightbulb the third time) and knocking the wiring a little loose, Rob generously decided it was time to invest in a new lamp ... and off to Ikea we went!

I came home with this little gem and let me tell you: for $25, it's well worth the money.  The neck is totally adjustable, so I can sit in whatever chair I want, and still have the light over my shoulder.  And the best part?  The base is SUPER heavy, and the lamp actually swivels, so if I forget to move it out of the way when I stand up, it just swings out of the way when the chair hits it, rather than falling over and scaring Lily and Luigi.

PS - the new bookshelf we came home with was just a bonus!!!!

New Springy Blog Background ...

... courtesy of Templates by Tenille!

There are also some super cute backgrounds at The Cutest Blog on the Blog as well.  Enjoy!