look out! back to school, sharks!

20150731_083003-1 (1)Doesn’t’ every grandma spend two days, sewing shark pencil cases?

Two days of “shark music” strumming through my brain.  Oh, you know the sound….da da….da da……da da…da da……

What?  Everyone doesn’t sew shark pencil cases?  Certainly, you tease?

First, I made the “fabric” by piecing several scraps of grays together. 20150729_153538

Then I cut out the pattern.

Next up, I cut out the red fabric for the lining (guts and gore, haha).

Sewing the teeny, tiny, incredibly small miniature zipper into the mouth for teeth, was the most tricky.

I got to run my hands through thousands of buttons from my button jar.  I found two pairs of matching “eyes”.  However, I took my time.  I fingered the cool, smooth buttons of various hues as they ran through my fingers.  Everyone ADORES a button jar.

20150730_201401Jeepers, Creepers, I thought all Grands NEEDED Shark Pencil Cases for back to school?

Learning is cool.  Just doing my part to help the process.

In case you want to make some sharks too, here is where I found the pattern.

http://www.patchworkposse.com/shark-pencil-case-tutorial/

rock solid prayers

20150730_105412I believe in the power of prayer.

There are folks that also believe in good karma, white light, magic and on the list goes.

You can indeed believe in more than one.  They are free for the taking!  The more the merrier!

Let’s agree to believe in the power of good vibes and positive thinking?  The power of kindness and caring.

No matter what you call it, bathing someone in Grace & Hope, ROCKS!

When I type or tell someone, I am going to pray for you or your cousin or your friend, I actually do it.

When I write or text someone who I am sending oodles of good karma their way, I actually do it.

To me, it is a privilege to pray for someone else.  It is a trust thing with me.  I am always so honored that they would allow me into their private lives & trust that I will live up to my end of the bargain.

People have told me that they will pray for me & my health. There are folks who earnestly say they will pray for me.  I can feel the difference.

We have a prayer candle.  Oh, don’t worry your pretty little head, it is battery operated.  Sometimes, I tend to swirl and twirl through life, a lit flame would not be good for anyone.  Mr. Right is breathing easier since he introduced me to the battery operated kind of candles.

I like to set my candle in rocks or coffee beans or rice or black-eyed peas or candy corn.  Depends on the season and my mood,  & how I choose to decorate around it.

However, I always write the names of those whom I am praying for  and sending positive energy to.  I put the rocks near our prayer candle and then as I go about my day and I pass by those names, I am gently reminded to lift them up again and again.

I have collected rocks.  I have bought rocks.  I am your frugal friend.  You can buy a bag of rocks that are flat and easy to write on at the Dollar Store.  rocks

I have a few metallic Sharpie pens.  If you collect or buy the lighter colored rocks you can just as easily write names with a 20150730_110653-1black Sharpie.   Gold and Silver and Bronze just tickle my fancy a bit more.

Sometimes, once folks have come home from the hospital, broken bones have healed or have lived through a difficult time, I flip the rocks over and write different names on the other side.  Time to pray for new folks.

Every now and then, I remove all the rocks and start over.  I have a basket of rocks, all with names.  How wonderful is that to stumble upon??  It reminds me just how many folks have allowed me into their private camp circle and asked for my prayers.

If you ask me to pray for you or send good karma, you can count on me.  It is a promise I make.  A rock solid promise.

delicious read

bookwormBook Worm.  Do people even use that term anymore?

Funny how you never see the police pulling over people for reading books in their cars? (Yes, I have seen people reading with the book propped up on the steering wheel also eating cereal and playing a musical instrument and….. that is a whole different post.)

While growing up, my middle sister was a book-worm.  She would stay in her room and read and read and read.  Until my mother would shoo her outdoors.  My mother would say, you need sunshine & fresh air. So my sister would, with the book open, not really taking her eyes off her page, walk slowly outdoors, throw a quilt on the grass and plop down and continue reading.  My mother was happy and my sister was happy.  Ah summer.

A book so good, you delay getting out of the bubble bath.

A book so good, you delay standing up to start the potatoes for dinner.

A book so good, you peddle past your 4 mile goal on the stationary bike.

Wait for it kids…………………A book so good, you don’t even think about turning on the television and you actually turn off your phone.  Yes, that good.

Let’s hear it for summer reading!!!!

crickets…….chirp…….chirp……..chirp……..

anyone?

What the heck is going on?

The other day, Mr. Right and I were waiting for the library to open.  It was about two minutes until 1 pm on a summer Sunday. Much to my happiness, there were 27 people (young and old) waiting!!!  I know this because I counted.  Then I counted how many people had books.  3.  Everyone else was there for the computers or the air conditioning or the video check out.

Really?

We were returning two overflowing bags(side note:  new book bag is working wonderful!) of books.  We exchanged them for more ……………books.

While I do oodles of research during the other 9 months of the year, there is something fun and wonderful and happy, and scary, and exciting and relaxing about summer reading.  It is free and easy and anything goes.  Such a pleasure.

I am currently reading a novel.  While you all know I can’t keep my hands off a good murder mystery………..this is a regular, no dead bodies, no mystery, no cops and robbers, book.

And BOY HOWDY is it a GREAT summer read. “Delicious!” A novel by Ruth Reichl.  delicious, a novel

Yes, that Ruth Reichl, editor in chief of Gourmet magazine for 10 years, best-selling author, mom, wife, cat owner (as if you really “own” a cat).  She is smart and witty and has a knack for drawing the reader in and holding on.

She makes lovely and hilarious observations. She has this charming ability to capture people and celebrate them.

“effortlessly entertaining” as one critic wrote.

paragraph four, page 67, “The meal was the epitome of simplicity, but it made me feel as if, until that moment, I had never really tasted anything.  Later we wound our way through the hills, singing arias from our favorite operas as we peregrinated from one tiny town to the next.  Late in the afternoon we suddenly found ourselves embroiled in a traffic jam.  I believe it was cased by a religious procession.  We sat there for quite some time, and then Remy leapt from the car, crying, “let’s go!” as he began to climb the hill.”

I am only on page 127 and I gotta say, it is sitting here, taunting me to finish this blog post and fall back into the story.

The stress free fall into the pages of a good book are very liberating.  You can become the characters or just simply drink espresso and watch from afar.

Beach_Read_Nasos_Zovoilis_251855-590x420I love to indulge in summer reading.  No notes.  No highlighter.  No serious discussion over dinner.  Just reading for the simple pleasure of reading.

Have you been to the library this summer?  Have you dropped your kids off at story time, while you thumbed through the “new book” rack? Have you sat on the beach, with a big floppy hat and read a steamy paperback?

Don’t fret, there is still a month of glorious summer reading time left!

May I gently suggest a trip to the library?  Or stop reading this and download a book on your Kindle.

Another gentle suggestion?  May you value yourself enough to bathe yourself in the Grace of time spent reading for fun. Just for you to breath and relax.  No pressure.  Just the act of reading to let off a little steam.  Like that crazy hissing valve on a pressure cooker.  Only, not as noisy.

I would love to hear what you are reading this summer.  Please share.

Don’t you love going to the book store or library and seeing where they showcase “staff picks”?  I am always so curious as to how a book is so beloved that a staff member is willing to put their name on it and shout to the world……..read this book, it will change your life!

I don’t know if “Delicious!” will change your life.  I do know it will bring you hours of entertainment, relaxation, and time to breathe and escape.

Please share,  I would love to hear and check out your summer “pick”.

Woman in deck chair on beach

Easter in July

You have heard of Christmas in July?  This is Easter in July.
This is a picture of a quilt top I made 20 some years ago.  I never got around to quilting it.
It is called Easter.  I like that. New beginning, starting fresh. 20150728_093941
I usually only take pictures of my quilts that are neatly pressed and the pet hair has been removed.  Heck, I have had this quilt top so long, we have several different colors of pet hair somehow magically stuck to it.  (I can’t get some glue sticks to make a picture stuck to a card, yet somehow, pet hair is magnetic.)
The time has come.  I am going to hand quilt this puppy.  (not an actual puppy).  Here’s a question, how on earth, did I manage to drive around collecting all those colors of fabric while we still had two kiddos at home, I worked part-time, I was volunteering and driving and going and doing and making dinner and I somehow found extra money to pay for said fabric?  Weird.
Extra weird that I brought it out to show a friend while we were talking quilts.  She made the exact quilt! I had forgotten that tid bit of goodness.  One teeny, tiny exception, hers is quilted and in use already.  She inspired me to get a move on. Finish it for goodness sakes.
color 1The colors make me happy.  They give me hope and make me mighty grateful.  I love that the time has come to make this into a real quilt.  Why did it take so long?  I have absolutely no idea.
I must say the points are pretty darn good.  Do you ever do that?  Look at something you made years ago, and speak like it was someone else.  “My, she did a good job on her points.  Interesting, she chose that color, goes very well.  Wow, where did she find the time to piece this?”
I am learning to be kind and gentle, to myself.  I find myself being pretty darn critical.  I sort of smile and secretly like it when I say nice things about something I made or did.
Okay, it’s a start.
Maybe, just maybe once this is quilted I will be gushing and going on and on about how wonderful a job I did.  Maybe I will write 3 blog posts about the amazing gift I have to put together color and make it into a cozy quilt.
Okay, I don’t see that happening.
Maybe, I will be proud of myself for finishing another project?
I am grateful that I have surrounded myself with vibrant, saturated color.
Color is most assuredly helping me to heal and do a little jig, with jazz hands of course.color 2
By the way, I am seriously considering burgundy highlights.  I have been told that they are bold and sassy.  I am feeling saucy.  Yes, I think I may do it.

color your stress away

You know those lazy summer days?  Not so hot, you need to cool off in the pool or lake.  Not so sunny, you feel pulled to be outdoors drinking in the rays.

Just a lazy day.  Mr. Right was watching some golf on television, the dog was snoozing.  I didn’t feel up to sewing or working my brain.  All of the weekend chores were checked off the “to do” list.

Just so happened, Mr. Right bought me an amazing 20150727_113313-1 (2)coloring book.  Yes, you read that correctly.  An amazing coloring book. (for grown up girls and boys)   It is called “Enchanted Forest” by Johanna Basford.

You can find it on Amazon.com for a touch over $10.00.

http://www.amazon.com/Enchanted-Forest-Inky-Quest-Coloring/dp/1780674880

There are also a couple other versions of the book “Secret Garden and Lost Ocean”.

Maybe you are attempting to ease into Monday?  Nice and calm, with a hot beverage and 10 minutes to yourself?

Think of your sweet niece you can’t figure out what to get  for her birthday? Think of your friend, spending countless hours waiting in the waiting room.  Think of the friend who needs to spend some time centering herself & unwinding.  Or maybe a teenager who needs to learn to calm down, turn off the videos,set aside the phone and just “be” for 15 minutes during the day.

20150726_145405

Three rather large companies in Austraila are buying and giving books to their employees.  ANZ Bank, Westfarmers & health insurance provider Bupa  are providing color books to help staff handle stress of the modern work place.

The simple act of coloring can change brain behavior and help people achieve calm and balance.

Think of yourself.  Oh, you can still listen to what is on going in your family.  It is just that in the midst of kaos or calm, you can create something wonderful.  You choose the colors and the page you work on.  By coloring you can choose balance.

Want to relieve a little bit of built up stress?  Ever thought of getting out the crayons or colored pencils.  Or actually using those fancy markers your friend gave you?

Right before your very eyes, a black and white page “magically” turns into something of pure beauty.  No two pages are alike.  Free to do what you want in whatever lovely color you want.

Does color heal?   I know in my own life, my own study, color heals.  It doesn’t matter if it is glorious saturated color of fabric I work with while creating a quilt or stunning colors of vegetables and fruits within my daily juice.  Picking up a marker and applying it to the page does wonder for one’s spirit.  My spirit is lifted.  Heck, I am smiling just looking at my color drenched dragonfly.

I did that.  Oh, yes, I did.  Not hours and hours of hand work.  Maybe an hour.

20150727_111534Pretty fancy.

What a wonderful book to give or receive.

May your day be Graced with calm, colorful, balanced beauty.

$5.00 cup of lemonade

lemonade 1Every single day of my life, I find reasons to fall in love all over again with Mr. Right.

You know who I am talking about.   Keeps lists, pays taxes on time, budgets for everything, writes itineraries for vacation trips, keeps a very clean car, loves his dog, good listener, big on planning “spur of the moment things”?  Oh, I am sure you know the type?  His dress shirts for work are ironed and his shoes are polished.  He says hello to everyone, sings in the car and adores his Grands.  One of his favorite things is saving for and buying oodles and oodles of school supplies for kiddos.  Big by the way……………..looks great in a pair of Levi’s (my blog, my opinion). lemonade 2

What’s the reason this time?

Reason number 697.

Because on his way home from work last night, he stopped and paid $5.00 for a 25 cent cup of lemonade. (The young entrepreneur had to ask his mom if it was okay to take that much money as extra) The refreshing cup came with a nice wedge of lemon.  Certainly a nice touch.

ginger-lemonade-ay-1875815-xGosh, I love that guy.

dust off our souls

french city hallEarlier today, I read about a small town in France.  The town people have always been somewhat artsy and each artist has been expected to donate one of his /her paintings to city hall.   Each person that goes to see the art is asked to leave a donation which goes toward the upkeep and restoration of the collection.

Fascinating.

Just in my “town” (read that as people in my life who live in many different places) I have the privilege of knowing some amazing artists.mariner compass

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. Pablo Picasso

I am very grateful for the artists in my life.  They enrich my life and the saturated color is woven into my world.

I have a friend, she is an artists. She is also a mom, wife, friend and loves her horses. Her amazing talent lies in the canvas that her paint graces.

I know a master knitter.  Who knew there was such a thing?   I happen to possess one of her master pieces.  A hand knit knit lacelace shall.  Stunning and breath-taking at the same time.  Her handwork in fabrics and quilting and embroidery are exquisite. Just by looking at her work, I find myself inspired to try a tiny bit harder at handiwork.

I have a friend who is second to none in hand embroidery.  Oh my goodness, the flowers and vines she creates with just a needle and thread make you pause and take a second look.  So good in fact, she inspires me to try embroidery all over embroidery-kit-02again.

Several of my friends are true artists in the quilting field.  I know hand quilters second to none.  I am lucky to know machine quilters with the gift of design and pure talent.

In my “town”, there is a metal sculpture artist, a couple of photographers, a master gardener, a bead artist, a glass artist and the list goes on.

Just think what level we all could achieve if we encourage one another?   If we were “expected” to donate one of our masterpieces to the town hall?

What if instead of yakking about politics or who wore what, we talked about a music score that was written for summer? What if instead of talking about what someone said about another at work or droning on about the weather, we spoke of the amazing quilt we got to see up close and personal?

What if, instead of spending time watching television or being “busy” more of us spent that time, creating beauty and perfecting our craft to share with our town?

Just for the sake of day dreaming, what if we helped each other accomplish beautiful works of art for the sake of dusting the daily life off our souls?