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Friday, October 19, 2012

One last Halloween item...

 
I just had to share this cute, finally finished project.  This adorable stitchery design comes from the last month's "free doodles" by Primitive Handmades Mercantile.  Check them out at:

 http://www.primitivehandmadesmercantile.com 

They have some really beautiful creations and items for sale.

Each month, they offer a free doodle for a one-time, personal use only kind of thing.  I fell in love with this little kitty, stitched it up, then worked up a crazy patch pillow.   I added some fun
embroidery stitches, put a back on it and there you have it! 



This item is not for sale on etsy....it's just for me to enjoy, but I wanted to share!

To a lovely, peaceful and relaxing weekend,
Kathleen

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Blessings


Greetings!  It's no big secret how much I love Fall.....I love every single thing about this time of year.  From the falling leaves and the beauty of the changing colors to the cooler temperatures and the cooking of savory comfort food, what's not to love?  I also love Halloween.  Our church, which is wonderful and one that I fundamentally trust and believe in, isn't necessarily a big Halloween advocate.  In fact, we will be at Confirmation Classes on the 31st and there will be no Trick-or-Treating for my two youngest.  Of course, at 12 and 14, they are probably a bit old for TorT'ing.  At any rate, church discussions about this interesting holiday gave me pause and I started wondering why Halloween is so special to me.  And then, I remembered.  My mother absolutely loved Halloween.  She loved decorating for the holiday - nothing scary, just lots of pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns and maybe a funny witch or ghost.  When I was in elementary school, mom reveled in helping me find a great costume.  We had very little money, so I was an adult before I owned a store-bought costume, but mom would find things around the house and her imagination was unlimited in what she could devise from things like coffee grounds (a beard for the bum costume), construction paper (a witch's hat) or her very own make-up from Mary Kay (clown face make-up).  One year, we discovered that the dress on my almost life-sized Raggedy Ann doll fit me perfectly.  Mom carefully, removed the doll's orange yarn hair for my own head, I wore the dress and took 2nd place in the costume contest at school.  Not a penny was spent!

Not every holiday was like this.  My mother suffered her entire life from deep, saddening depression.  Most Thanksgivings, mom would cook a huge meal and then spend the rest of the day in her room with the door closed.  Christmas was especially hard her.  Many years, there were no gifts, some years, no Christmas tree.  Mom spent much of the holidays alone in her room, in a dark place, I can't even begin to imagine now and certainly didn't understand at the time.  For some strange reason, Halloween was different and because of the blessings we always had during this time of year, Halloween will always be a special holiday for me.

At any rate!  I am busy, busy, busy trying to finish up a variety of projects for 3 Craft Shows that are just around the corner.  But, I had, just had, to take some time out to decorate for Halloween and to finish up a couple of projects that I started last year for me.  I had such fun stitching up this adorable stitchery (this is not my design) and even more fun adding the wool circles to make the whole thing look very primitive. 

I also started and all but finished this adorable stitchery last year, so early this week, I finished the second letter "e" and the "n", added a few borders and voila!
Sorry for the poor quality photo, it is still dark out this morning!  I quilted in between the stitching lines and am happy with how "HALLOWEEN" really pops.
We are pretty decked out this year but I wanted to share just a few of my all time favorites, including this great Pumpkin Man, made by Miss Karen Greenfield of Omaha.
I try to buy at least one of Karen's creations each year but this one (along with her little woollen spider) will always be special to me.  Karen's work is fabulous and the details she adds are really and truly like no other.
Next to Pumpkin Man is one of my needle punch projects.....love, love this spooky house.  This is also not my design, but it is just so cool.

Michael's Craft Store had all of their Halloween stuff 50% off yesterday (it's only October 18th, right??) and so Maddie and I picked up these neat-o Martha Stewart crows.  Maddie promptly came home and flocked our home.
She added this guy, and I think he looks great atop a lighted block.
 
 
Maddie's cat thought she had to get in on the action, too.
Can you see Bitsy's new little black and orange collar?  She jingles when she walks now, so we can always hear her coming.  She spent a good portion of the afternoon attacking the crows....I'm still not sure she realized they are not real.
 

While Maddie was flocking, I whipped up these "Itty Bitty Nutella Cakes", with a quick and easy recipe from the Pioneer Woman's blog.  http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/page/2/  Check it out, there are simple, quick and absolutely mouth-watering!  By the way, we added thin mint chips to garnish the top and my-oh-my......
Another thing that gets me about this time of year is how fast things change.  When we left for school yesterday morning, there were a few leaves in our yard and a light rain falling.  By the time I returned, just 30 minutes later, the yard, the hostas and mums had disappeared.....completely covered by yellow leaves.
As the day went on and the wind blew, the leaves continued to fall.  I love how it looks!

I know that Halloween can be considered a dark arts inspired holiday.  I know that some people do bad things on Halloween.  But for me, Halloween was a blessing that God gave my mother, a time when she could be creative and happy.  It was a time for her to spend with me and for just a short time, she had a reprieve from the grips of grief and depression.   I love Halloween and always will.  For me, it will always be a blessing from above.

Until next time,
Kathleen

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Scripture Zentangled (c) Shoes for auction at Concordia Gala
You might check out the new page tabs that Kaitlyn added to the blog this week.  We have some craft fairs coming up here pretty darn quickly.  I need to get busy!  Hope you'll stop in and say hi if you get a chance....we'll have lots of fun holiday items (handcrafted, of course!) as well as a few scarves, maybe some winter wear and lots of accessories. 
 

This week, I've spent some time catching up.  I've been piecing crazy quilt pillows all week and today is the day I get to do the fun part - the embroidery and adding the embellishments....beading, buttons, couching, you name it.  It's quite a process.....but oh-such fun!  This is the kind of thing that just gets my creative juices flowing - there is no end to the neat stuff one can do with crazy patchwork.  Hope to have some photos for you soon!

I've also been finishing up one last little project for my childrens' school auction and Gala.  I am auctioning off custom Zentangled (c) shoes.  These samples are black Momissimo's from Target, Zentangled with Bible verses in silver pen.  For the winning bidder, I will purchase a pair of TOMS shoes in a color of their choosing and do up a custom pair of shoes with Zentangles (c), scripture, names, birthdays, dates, song lyrics....whatever their heart desires.  These shoes look terribly cute on and are definitely a conversation starter....I hope they are a successful item at the Gala.
Oh!  And as tomorrow is the Eastern Nebraska Fall Hook-in at the YMCA in Valley (hope you'll stop by), I've also been working on custom rug hooking frame covers for a couple of special orders.
These custom orders are for a lovely, extra-large, hand-made frame, but can be made in any size needed.  They are wonderful for protecting hands and arms from those tricky gripper strips and, they provide a bit of protection for the tops of the frames.
This time around, I added a snippet bag to the side of the frame cover, for an easy-peasy place to put wool snippets while hooking.
Custom frame covers are for sale on etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/troddentrail) are made of highest quality quiltering cotton and last forever....I've been using the same one for 3 years and it still looks brand new!

The October chill has settled on Eastern Nebraska this morning.  Fall has definitely arrived and it feels wonderful!  Chilly, but wonderful!  The Halloween decorations are out, Fall is here, life is good, God has blessed us!

Until next time,
Kathleen

Monday, October 1, 2012

Praise & Thanksgiving

I know it's a bit early for Thanksgiving, but there's quite a bit of thankfulness going around our house lately.  That, and the flu bug.  Yup, the nasty flu bug hit us last week, complete with every possible symptom known to man.  The kids had a bit of it and then passed in on to me.  So I, the obsessive-compulsive hand washing lunatic of the earth, ended up with all of the kids' nasty symptoms and a few of my very own.  Lovely.  I was down and out entirely for 2 days, back up and running part time for several more days and we'll just have to see what today lends itself to.  Yesterday, I still felt worn and tired after just a little bit of work. 


So what does all this have to do with Praise and Thanksgiving, you might be asking.  Well......it came to me about mid-week last week as I was starting to feel semi-human again, that sometimes it takes a really yuck case of the flu-bug (or whatever, you fill in the blank here) to help us realize how good it feels to feel good and how lucky we really do have it.  On Day 3, while feeling just kind of good, I felt like I could climb Mt. Everest, bake a cake and run a marathon.  I couldn't, you see, but it just felt so good to feel good.  I was full of praise. 

By Day 5, I was starting to think I had super human powers just because I could run the vacuum without having to take a nap every time I came to a new room!  More praise and a bit of thanksgiving.
 
By Day 6, I'd been to 2 soccer games, a volleyball game, dropped off a 25 pound classroom creation at the school, made a table runner, 4 fabric pumpkins, started some Christmas place settings, put up the Halloween decorations, finished a custom rug frame cover

and completed block #1 of this adorable stitchery.

 
Trust me, there were plenty of naps and rest stops in between, to go along with just a wee bit of whining (okay, maybe a lot of whining) but as I look back to last week, I am amazed at how very much I did get done.  I am filled with gratitude that the Lord gave me the strength to get done what needed doing and so thankful that my sweet husband and children who, if they couldn't do anything else, just rubbed my back and listened to my the sound of my hoarse voice whining away. 
 
I know I promised Christmas things would be started and some actually are.  I am working on cute little stitcheries and pillows for Christmas and will have some of those finished this week.  I had a custom order for some fabric pumpkins (above) that needed completing and just couldn't resist stitching up that adorable table runner from a free pattern that came to me via email. 
 
I'm still coughing away but oh my, does it ever feel good to feel good again! 
 
With much praise and thanksgiving ~
Kathleen