Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Mom Gift

Project Pinterest 22

Every year for Christmas I try to come up with some special little somethin'-somethin' to make for my girls that is unique to their current station in life. I call them "Mom Gifts." Hopefully, these gifts will either make them laugh uproariously or make them tear up and go, "Ahhhh!"

This year, for my eldest, Jeanne, I made this stress relief kit. She has a job in home health in which she goes to the home of an elderly or disabled person and helps them out for a few hours a week. She runs into a wide variety of people and I love hearing (anonymous) stories about her clients. Most of her clients are amazing people, doing the best with what they have. A few, however, have been ill or disabled so long that life has beaten them down. Unfortunately, some of these folks take their frustration out on Jeanne. That stresses her out.

Thus, this stress relief kit. (Yes, that's bubble wrap).

This one got the uproarious laugh.

Go Mom!


I was inspired by a pin on Pinterest by The Pin Junkie, but she wasn't the original designer.
I'm unable to find the original designer.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Rehtona Elzzup

When my friend Kathryn in New Zealand noticed that Dale and I have been putting jigsaw puzzles together lately, she asked if we'd ever done any Wasgij puzzles. I didn't know what that was, so did a little online research. Intriguing!

The picture on the front of the puzzle box is not the same as the picture on the puzzle itself. Instead, the picture on the puzzle is from the point of view of one of the characters in the picture on the puzzle box. Solving the puzzle is solving a mystery!

In this image, the box show a scene of a camera crew filming the big reveal of a bedroom makeover. The woman and man in the center of the scene are the homeowners. The picture on the puzzle, though, is the same scene as seen through the eyes of the goldfish in the bowl behind the unhappy couple.

Well, it turns out that our daughter Julie has two of the Wasgij puzzles and loaned them to us at Christmastime so we could give them a try. This one is 500 pieces. Dale and I put it together over a couple days. Today, we're starting a 1000 piece Wasgij puzzle.

These are good challenges! We usually like not-too-hard 500 piece puzzles. It's a nice pastime, but we don't need another activity that takes too much time or strains our brain. We like a jigsaw challenge, but aren't masochists. The colors and shapes of these cartoon-like jigsaws strike a good balance.

Once put together, it's fun to step back, look at the big picture, then zoom in on the details. There's a lot of funny stuff going on here!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Autumn Weekend

Yes, I realize it's officially Winter. My friend Lisa sent this puzzle to me at Christmas time. It's called Autumn Weekend and was fun to put together with Dale last week.

Thanks,  Lisa!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Grown-up Office

For Christmas, I received new and beautiful designer office supplies. I'd been using a mishmash of coffee mugs, plastic shoe boxes, cardboard boxes covered in blue duct tape, a hand-me-down document tray, 15 year old cardboard magazine holders, a hand-me-down hardware drawer set, and Gladware to store my stuff.

Now I have a new wood shelf filled with matching Cynthia Rowley gear:
  • 2 new pencil holders
  • 4 notebooks in 3 sizes
  • 2 matching gold pens
  • a closed letterbox (my new In Box)
  • a gorgeous magazine holder
  • an expanding file
  • a mouse pad
  • a big storage box for electronics
  • a roll of matching contact paper (I used to line the shelf back)
  • matching scissors 
  • 2 new tape dispensers
  • and more

I ADORE how organized my space is and how inviting it is to sit at my desk. I'm all caught up on my paperwork right now, too.

I feel like the work I do at home is valuable,  and now my workspace reflects that vision.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kitchen Addition

Filling up the salt and pepper shakers, setting out the spoon rest. Some Cobalt Fiestaware Christmas gifts to add to my collection.

Let's cook!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas

Santa's been good to us.

Wishing all my friends a great holiday.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Christmas Date

Today, Dale wrapped up work for the year. He's on vacation until the start of 2017. So we decided to begin vacation time by going on a date to downtown Coeur d'Alene.

We walked around the main street, looking at the Christmas window displays. We strolled through the Resort lobby and listened to carolers. We stepped out on the lake side of the hotel to view all the lights on the boardwalk reflected in the cold water.

Back on the street, we sidestepped the tourists who flocked to town for Christmas festivities and we ducked out of the way of the many many kids out with their parents who were excited to take in the Journey to the North Pole boat cruise.

It was such a nice way to take in the sights of the season. We ended with a nice dinner at Outback Steakhouse.

Fa la la la la!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Sea of Snickerdoodles

This is Day 2 of Christmas Cookie-making Days. Most of the Day 1 cookies from last week are gone. Hmmm

Today, 18 dozen cookies so far.

Triple Tollhouse

My blood sugar is a bit higher than normal. I wonder why ...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Switching It Up

I've temporarily exchanged my needle for a crochet hook. It appears to be Halloween colors, doesn't it? I assure you, it's not.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Octagonal Wreath

Project Pinterest 21

Another embroidery on paper Christmas wreath. This uses two shades of green on bright red cardstock. I added silver beads and ribbon to take it to the next level.


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Swirl Tree

Project Pinterest 20

What a great design!

When I found it, I wondered if it was too complex for me to figure out. But if you take each section, one at at time, it comes together easily enough. Great effect!

The perspective on this is a little skewed because the bottom of the tree was closer to me than the top when I took the photo. I'm looking forward to having my "big girl camera" back from the shop this week. Grateful for my phone's camera, but there's a difference in how steady I can hold the two cameras.


Inspired by Stitching Cards

Saturday, December 17, 2016


Here's how I spent the day in my Studio.

My intention was to do a quick craft, based on the "FALL" frames I made earlier this year. I wanted to make the same project using the word NOEL.

This "quick craft" took far longer than I anticipated because my first attempts didn't work. I'd planned to have deep forest green letters on a glittery gold background with gold frames. My green paint wasn't right. It had too much gray in it.

Next I tried for cranberry red letters on a glittery green background with gold frames. The red was too brick, so I added bright red to it and *almost* got a cranberry color. But it wasn't great. So I tried adding some glitter on top of the red. I figured if the letters sparkled enough, the strange red underneath wouldn't be so obvious. Now, I *thought* I had iridescent fine glitter, but it turned out to be white not-so-fine glitter. It looked horrible.

About that time, Dale came to check on me and discovered how discouraged I was. He reminded me that this is par for the course in the life of an artist. You try things. Some things work; some things don't. He recommended I go to the store and get some new letters and new paint.

I decided to try one more thing before going that route. I scraped the glitter off as well as I could. Then I looked in my paint drawer to see what else I had on hand that might work. I found some metallic paint which I thought was a white. It looked white on the label, it looked white while painting it on the letters. But as it dried, it was silver! Hooray! Lucky break!

While the first layer of paint dried, I dug through my stash to see what I might use for a background. Nothing good. I wracked my brain, and came up with an idea. Into storage I went to dig out the Christmas wrapping paper. Voila! I found a red foil with silver snowflakes. Excellent.

It took several coats of paint to cover up the red. So while the next coat of paint dried, I popped over to the Dollar Tree to get some silver frames. The silver works better with my Christmas tree decor this year, anyway!

When I got home, I was finally ready to assemble the frames ... only to find out that the "N" was too wide.   ::hrumpf::   So I found a saw and cut off most of one of the serifs so that the "N" would fit in the frame. But first I had to do some touch-up painting on the sawed-off end.

Finally, finally, I was able to assemble the frames. The wrapping paper was cut to size and taped to the back of the glass. The frame was reassembled. The letters were hot glued to the front of the glass. The glue tails were cleaned up.

Our living room mantle now proclaims "LEON" ... well, it did until I put the letters in the correct order.

Joyeux Noel!

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Star for Jeanne

This is the second of this design I stitched. My daughter Jeanne saw the first and liked it so much she asked me to make a special card for her. She picked the black background and asked for a blue variegated floss to be used. I chose to stitch the smaller sections with a solid blue.

I so love these pieces that utilize beads in the design. This particular blue piece would be stunning with silver beads. Unfortunately, I didn't have any in my stash.


So  pretty! It's based on a design from this book:

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Another Christmas Tree

Project Pinterest 19

I like the way the variegated thread I used give this tree extra visual dimension. With this design, I finally figured out how I kept making counting errors. I don't have stitching and unstitching and restitching problems any more.


Inspiration by Sew Cute Cards

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Candle

Project Pinterest 18

On a dark, cold night
One little light
Can fill the earth


I found my inspiration on Pinterest, but couldn't track down the original designer. If you recognize your work, let me know so I can give you proper credit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Love Makin' Christmas Cookies

Jeanne came over to do some Christmas baking with me today. We made pizzelles and oatmeal cookies.

The oatmeal dough was showin' us a little bit o' love.

Photo credit goes to my daughter Jeanne

Monday, December 12, 2016

Must Be Prancer

Project Pinterest 17

This deer looks like she's dancing. Must be Prancer, don't you think?


Inspired by PrickAndStitch Raindeer pattern

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fan-Stitch Tree

Project Pinterest 16

This Christmas tree was fun to stitch. The fan stitch makes up the tree. The alternating greens in every-other row is a great effect. The color is "Lettuce" in two shades stitched on a pink parchment card stock.

Before today, I'd never made a star like this.


Inspired by a card I saw on Pinterest by Anna Agacheva

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Tri-tone Wreath

Today's embroidery on paper.

This is a scanned image, rather than a photograph. The colors in the actual piece are slightly more subtle. The yellow here is a bit jarring.


This piece is based off a design from New Ideas with Embroidery on Paper by Erica Fortgens

Friday, December 9, 2016

First Snow

Our first real snow of the season. It's been coming down most of the day, and is expected to pile up this weekend.

We  won't be eating outside on this deck any time soon.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Wreath with Pearls

This is definitely the most time-intensive embroidery on paper I've done. It's lovely! I so liked the color choices I made. Adding the pearls took it over the top!

I used a gold parchment card stock. I decided to use some hand-dyed cotton floss in two shades of green and two of pink, alternating the shades with each element. It gives the piece extra dimension.

I added the smallest pearls I had in my stash. I played around with placement for a while before deciding on the final outcome. Voila! I may need to keep this one for myself and frame it.


This piece is based off a design from New Ideas with Embroidery on Paper by Erica Fortgens

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Birthday "Haul"

One of my guilty pleasures is watching "haul" videos on YouTube. Someone goes shopping, then as they unpack their treasures, they film themselves. My favorite haul videos are from Dollar Tree.

Watching these videos is a disease.

So here's a haul of what I received for my birthday at the end of last month. My daughter Jeanne shares a birth date with me, so we usually celebrate it together over Thanksgiving weekend.

The cake. Love those fall colors!

From Jeanne, a framed collection of photos I took of myself with each member of my family.

From Jodie, who works at her local Parks & Rec, and who encouraged me to watch the TV show, this book.

From my friend Paul, an Amazon gift certificate (I bought some PURPLE shoes)

and a self-portrait (cheer up, Paul!)

And from Dale, a box of my favorite milk chocolate covered vanilla caramels,

a fan to sit under my laptop to keep it cool,

a subscription to Sundance Now channel (because I love documentaries, and they have a great library)

Sundance Now

and tickets to three lectures of National Geographic Live that will take place after the new year. We went to a series of these in the past and they're quite wonderful. Date nights!

I'm a lucky girl.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Lilac Swirl

Today's embroidery on paper uses a gold parchment card stock with lilac cotton floss.

Here's a close-up. I couldn't get the light and color balance quite right in the photos on this dreary day. The actual colors are someplace in between what these two photos show.


This piece is based off a design from New Ideas with Embroidery on Paper by Erica Fortgens

Monday, December 5, 2016

Swirl Wreath

My next embroidered piece is using a very dark peacock blue cotton floss on a bright red card stock.

This one came out so pretty, that I have to show a closeup!


This piece is based off a design from New Ideas with Embroidery on Paper by Erica Fortgens