Simply Beautiful.

Every day we are faced with the choice- how can I make life better today? What can I say, do, make, give or be to make my life and the lives of others better. Here I want to focus on the positives of life in each day, in each moment. By choosing how we answer those questions in a positive way, we make the world a better place for every single one.

I am trying a new format starting today. I will be posting Studio project and shop updates on Mondays. Each Wednesday I will post a "World Wednesday" update with things found in nature, or other nature related topics. On Fridays I will post a tip or project I suggest. Hopefully it will be a fun and exciting change!

All images and texts are copyrighted, please contact me for permission to use anything you see here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday World View

In a June garden...

You can barely make out my coffee mug behind the flowers in the last picture.  That picture will really help me remember the greatest joys of June.  Walking around in the morning, mug in hand, pausing to pick a basil leaf here or a rosemary leaf there.  Really lovely.  I also experienced something new in the yard this morning and I only wish I had a picture to show.  I spotted a bug flying towards me at a startling speed.  No, this in itself is not newsworthy, but the bug was unbelievable.  It was some sort of beetle, similar in shape to a ladybug, but with a slightly longer body and larger head.  it was gold in color.  The hysterically inspiring thing bout this mystery bur was the way that it flew.  This little guy (or gal :) ) was flying almost straight up and down, its head barely slicing threw the air before its belly.  Not only was the angle strange, the best thing about this bug was that all six of its legs were straight out as it flew!!  So it was in the X position with a couple extra legs out to the side.  I wish I could only hear its little voice, I imagine it was yelling "AHHHHHHHHHHH"  either in pure terror or joy!  I think this sums up June for me, and truly the way I want to live right now- full steam ahead!  Pushing headfirst into life and growth with all of my heart!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday's Studio Review and The Power of Barbie

I have been working diligently on so many exciting projects this week I'm actually thrilled to get to them in the morning and thinking of them at night.  I want to start making more textiles, like fabric bags and purses.  I am also secretly- okay no longer secretly- yearning to make shoes.  That's right shoes!  I'm sure as you read this you are giving me (or at least your computer) the same 'okay, back away from the nice crazy lady' look.  I'm not sure why creating shoes seems so out of reach that it's just nutty to even try.  I have been wanting to for months and months now, but kept talking myself out of it.  I'm going to start and just see.  I also picked up some gorgeous vintage pieces this past week that I can't wait to start transforming.  Again- I'm just going for it.  I blame it on Barbie.  You read that correctly!  I have many more comments to come about kid's movies in general, but for now I'll focus on the most relevant one.  I've had the song "Get Your Sparkle On" from the movie Barbie and a Fashion Fairytale stuck in my head for days now.  The whole focus of the song is to do what is in your heart and "show the world where you belong".  I've realized that if I can preach to my daughter that she can do anything, then I can live it too.  So I'm going to try it all.  All the patterns, projects and completely new ventures I can dream up will at least be attempted.  We'll see how it goes!  I apologize for the certainly cheesy aspects of this revelation!  My choice of entertainment is a little limited at the moment!  That being said, there are many good things to be learned from the right movies!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Tips: Tie Dye Painting

I needed some extra fabric for the previously mentioned "Easiest Quilt Ever and I thought tie dying would be really fun.  I had bought a few dry dye packets months ago for 25 cents a box!! Now I ask you who could pass up a deal like that?!  There were so many parts of this quilt that my daughter couldn't do that I thought this would be a great team effort.  I didn't think dipping would work because she really likes things to be precise, and a bunch of muddy, overlaying colors would probably just tick her off.  We didn't have any squirt bottles (despite my husband's three store attempts) to do it that way.  Finally I decided to mix up bits of the dye in bowls and just paint the fabric with regular paint brushes.  The two bottom pictures are our fabric strips after being "tied" up with rubber bands and then painted.  The green, blue and white fabric was simply painted in a late 80's homage :).  I let the dyed fabrics sit out and soak in on the line over night.  I washed them out in cold water in a bucket the next day, then washed them in the laundry.  I have to say that the first ones we painted (thankfully the quilt strips) retained the most color.  They turned out beautifully.  One of the ones I tried was a synthetic fabric, and , not only did it not soak up the dye as well, but I think it muddied the washer a bit.  As a result, the larger pieces turned out with a grey cast to the white areas.  The quilt strips are great though- and that was what I was going for.  All in all this was a great project- it was tons of fun!!  I would definitely reccomend wearing rubber gloves while painting.  If only they would invent those in kid sizes! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday's World View

This week outside my daughter said, "Ooh Mommy I need the camera!"  She shot the top picture and then proudly showed me the picture.  "I just loved the shadows on your back and I wanted a picture!"  How cool is that I ask you?  She took the next photo as well.  I love that I'm wearing light sweater in June!  Ah breezy mornings!  I was hoping to see the future in the new birdbath/ scrying bowl.  It looks bright!

Monday: Studio Update

I am so excited to be listing this shawl/wrap combo.  I'm trying to come up with  a catchy name.  The Shrap?  Wrawl?  Yeah- nothings working yet.  Any ideas would be appreciated!  I came up with the design for a family member and wonderful person who I knew needed some extra pampering.  I think the colors just look like luxury plain and simple!  Hope you like it too!

Friday's Project Update: World's Easiest Quilt

The "World's Easiest Quilt" has turned out to be a little more complicated and time consuming than I had thought.  At the same time it is my first quilt and one I just threw together!  It all started weeks ago when my little girl and I decided to work on a quilt together.  I was soooo excited at her willingness to do anything crafty that I jumped right in with both feet and little sense!  We went to the fabric store and had a glorious time picking out what I really thought were the absolutely brightest fabrics I had ever seen.  I was planning to make some sort of strip quilt.  After seeing the fabrics she chose I thought a lot of white would be a good thing.  After I sewed the long strips together she decided that I should come no where near them with any sort of cutting device. So I was left with this long, large striped fabric rectangle-ish. (Later I decided it is actually some sort of trapezoid.)  I went ahead and added a strip border while her back was turned. Originally I planned to use a flat twin sheet I already had as the backing.  It proved to be too short so we needed to add more fabric.  To keep it exciting we actually tie dyed some muslin (more on this soon), which was so much fun!  I'm currently wrapping the backing around to created a rolled binding.  I really subscribe to the just do it style of crafting so, even though I have no clue really what I'm doing I just pull it out and re-do it until it looks right!  She's thrilled and I don't think she'll outgrow the color scheme any time soon so that's great!  I will share some things that did make this one of the easiest quilts ever next Friday.  P.S. I truly did iron this thing many times.  After ironing the seams and noticing how the white muslin almost instantly reverted I just smiled and gave up!  It's all good!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gazing Ball

Just a few looks around the yard this lovely June day.  I have nothing but good things to say about the last few days.  The weather has been unbelievable.  I even wore a light sweater for a while yesterday- ahh, that's bliss to me!  My girl and I have spent hours wandering the shores of the river and playing in the yard.  Today was extra special as I got to sew a little.  Yes, granted I had to take a table, my machine and everything else outside with a large extension chord, but I got some work done!!  We played "Cinderella and Dustabella (yes that would be me ;) )  and had to sew for our step-sisters.  Actually, sewing outside is really fun!  My little one seems allergic to me having any sort of work or project time so any way of doing anything in front of her or with her is awesome by me!  I worked on her quilt which I'll show in Friday's post.  I swear the thing has to be some sort of trapezoid or parallelogram or something!!  It's kickin my tooshie!!  Here's hoping you have some lovely weather and happy days ahead too!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Crochet Tip

I've been working on a crochet project for a few days now that has had a few quirks!  Okay- I have had a few quirks!!  I have made three versions of the same hood for this project.  Now I'm starting on number four.  Instead of "frogging" or ripping out the entire last one- "hood the third" I shall call it, I came up with an easier way.  Pulling apart the yarn and working it back into wrapped skeins or balls usually leads to tangling and struggling on my part. So my project tip is to not undue the most recent mistake but to work from it as if it's your skein.  This works really well!

Here you'll see the new project on the right, with a line of yarn heading to the old on the left:

Of course being able to have a fun game of Cooties while I'm crocheting is also nice! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday's World: Strangers Outside

On one of our last treks outside before it got reeeeediculously hot.  Yes, so hot it requires incorrect spelling and short trips to putter around the yard until you just give up and return indoors, covered in ticks and may flies.  First, a strange bug flew by and landed at our feet.  It was the same type of bug that had hauled itself off our car windshield before we were going too quickly the day before.  I am completely baffled as to what it is, but how interesting!  The giant false eyes are really cool!

These next guys are ones that my little girl found on another walk.  She was happy to find them again and show them to me.  They live on a pine tree and barely move for minutes, but then we they do go they can take off!  They look like something between a spider and an ant.  Sooo tiny!  I would love to know more about them as well!  I love the idea that there are so many things, so much life going on right under our noses.  I love that I have been poking around these very woods for years and am still finding things I've never seen before.  I love the thought that life can be like that too.  When I'm felling like life is plodding, or unclear, at least knowing that it to can bring new ways to make me curious is exciting and hopeful!  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday's Studio Update

I have had an exciting week as far as creative work goes.  I'm about to list several shirts on Etsy. Trying a new avenue should be fun.  There seems to be such a great and growing community of crafters on Etsy that I'm finally diving in.  I am also working on designing a hooded scarf similar to the one I sold recently on e-bay.  Instead it will have a wider opening framing the face.  I was reading Mary Engelbreit's illustrated collection of fairy tales this evening with my little girl.  I was so surprised to see the hood I'm trying to create on a cloak in the Princess And The Pea story.  I hope I can nail it!  I  promise to post pictures as soon as I'm done.  I love Mary and all her work!  She is such an inspiration in the way that she finds and creates magic in all things.  She traps those purely exciting, beautiful moments of childhood and makes you remember that connection no matter what your age.  I hope to do the same in my creations, capture a feeling to be able to hold it any time.

Here are some of the shirts I'll be listing later this week:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Tip: Help for Smelly Laundry

I have now tried this idea for the past two weeks and I am happy to report I have found a way to get just about any smell out of the dirtiest of laundry.  If any of your laundry contains sweaty and therefore smelly laundry you have to try this. Ifyour laundry contains no sweat then you muct not be living in the U.S. in the summer, and especially not living in Virginia this summer!  Though I have to say, today has been a welcome break from all that heat here.  Somehow we managed a day a good twenty degrees cooler than it was yesterday.  Nice!  Anyway- back to the tip!  All you have to do is let the water sart filling up in your washing machine.  Add whatever detergent you normally use.  Next, add white dilled vinegar.  I put in a healthy pour- maybe a half to three quarters of a cup. Let about half of your normal water fill up before adding the dirty laundry.  This gives the vinegar a chance to work around.  You won't smell any vinegar when the clothes are done I promise!  Just clean, lovely clothes!

Well, since I don't think you want to look at pics of my smelly clothes here are some much prettier pictures of lovely flowers from my garden last summer:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

World Wednesday: Nature Lover?

Today I wondered if I am becoming a nature wimp in my old age.  Since I was a kid I have loooooved being outdoors- anywhere, anytime.  Since having a child, however my joy for meanderings has slowed down.  Oh I'm outside all the time, but somehow it's not the same.  One reason could be the joy she takes in slogging through the most briary, bush choked realms of our property.  Another could be our growing copperhead population.  We've had a lot of construction on both sides of the property and it would seem the copperheads have decided our property would be a lovely haven. Yeck!  I don't mind the kinder, friendlier snakes but I don't enjoy the thought of one misstep ending with me loosing a leg.  A little dramatic?  Oh yeah baby!  But we set out- properly attired in leg gripping socks.  Not the trendiest, but they'll do against ticks!!  We had fun for a short while, battling agains the hottest day of the spring yet (almost 95 by 11:00 this morning!) I realized that I still love to be outside, it's just te added danger of protecting someome who thinks watching where they are going means looking at the sky and flora all around.  Of course that is nice too...when you're planning for it and it's in safer land.  We found a spot to stand and listen to the crazy cicadas and take tons of pictures.  It's a jungle here in Virginia already and it's just the first of June.  My little one took all of the following pictures all by herself!!  No doctoring at all.  Not bad for five!