Sunday, December 9, 2012

A New Epattern...Meet my Snowman Tree Topper!

Finally...a new pattern release here at Happy Valley!  This beautiful creation is my "Catch a Falling Star" Snowman Tree Topper!  I've had so many requests for a unique tree topper, and this is just one of my first completed tree topper patterns (more to come!).  This little guy is so versatile and makes up to be a very beautiful piece that can also be displayed on a shelf after the holidays have passed!

He is about 10" tall, and has a gorgeous glistening finish and features a creative hat construction that I've never seen done before.  Mostly he's constructed with your hand stitching skills; however, there are some areas where machine stitching can be done to help speed up construction.

This epattern has a LOT of photos to help illustrate the construction process, which makes him a nice project for the relatively new stitcher!  Pattern pieces are actual size when printed.

I've included source information for materials, as well as variations to the pattern as shown to create a very one of a kind piece!

Pattern is now available here on my blog and Etsy shop along with all of my other epatterns.  These will be emailed to you within 24 hours of payment.  AND, now you can find my patterns on for instant downloads!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Spirit of Christmas Celebration

Time for a celebration!  My wonderful teammates at OFG on Etsy have created another spectacular collection of holiday items especially for this Spirit of Christmas celebration.  This event starts tomorrow, November 26 through December 16.  

If you purchase from my shop tomorrow, Cyber Monday, be sure to use my 10% off coupon:  HVP2012!  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Softly Addicted

A recent article caught my attention.  "Soft addictions", according to author and inspirational speaker Judith Wright, are "seemingly harmless habits - like watching too much TV, overshopping, overeating, and surfing the internet for hours - that rob us of our time, zap our energy, and keep us from leading a more meaningful life."  

Now, fast forward this thinking to your craft.  Most of the people I know that have some sort of crafting hobby would probably jokingly call themselves "addicts" when it comes to creating what they love.  Boxes, bins, closets and even rooms full of supplies, unfinished projects, more supplies, unopened project kits, books, patterns, more supplies, and on and on...  

As I sit here typing, I have 2 trays near me AND a coffee table full of projects I'm working on!  My sewing studio is cluttered with supplies overflowing, a closet FULL of fabric, boxes and bins of little components for the many types of stitching that I enjoy.  Then there's also a closet upstairs in the guest room full of scrapbooking, cross stitch, wood turnings, paint, pillow forms, styrofoam, frames, etc.  Yikes, do I need therapy?

Starting and not finishing a lot of projects is a sure sign of soft addiction.  Oh, no!  Okay, well, I have been working on eliminating a very large amount of items that I'll never get to this past year.  I'm proud that I have four less boxes of craft magazines and books, and three less plastic storage bins of cross stitch kits, fabric and supplies!  Next up is to begin purging the cotton fabrics that I'll never make anything with...some lucky quilters should graduate to their own 'soft addiction' from this pile! 

There is really more to defining a "soft addiction" than the accumulation of material things.  It can overtake your happiness and fulfillment with life, pulling you into isolation and away from everyday responsibilities.  That's certainly easy to have happen occasionally, but I have to say that I find myself always prioritizing my other responsibilities way before I allot time to craft.  That usually means I don't have a lot of new creations to show off, but my family will always come first.

But according to Ms. Wright, a "soft addition" isn't all together a negative thing.  She explains that "when you're doing a craft, it's this beautiful thing where your creativity's flowing and there's new ideas coming forth.  You're more in touch with your feelings, or maybe you get an answer to a problem you're having.  It becomes this thing that makes you MORE.  You've got more of your feelings, more energy, you're more alert, and more of you is coming through.  That's when it's a beautiful passion, in a good way." we're talking!  Since most of us crafty types could never see ourselves totally eliminating what we love to do from our lives, learning to understand that soft addiction can be positive is essential to understanding how to keep it in check.  And remember, if it starts to feel overwhelming and you find yourself pulling away from everyday life, or the clutter or procrastinating nature in you is starting to emerge, it's time to rethink how your craft is impacting your life.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Really Big Sheeoww and I Can't See You!

This weekend's craft show is fast approaching!  I've been spending these past few days pricing up items, making signs, business cards, creating my overall's all fun, but oh, so much work!  My daughter has decided (or maybe been guilted) to attend with me, so I've put her to work making something quickly that she can sell.  She has a real unlike me trait to not be interested in sewing, but she loves scrapbooking.  So I found a lot of free labels for her to cut out and make up some magical reindeer food bags.  Gosh, there's a lot of great resources online for these, just type "free reindeer food labels."

On another note, I'm quickly finding out just how fast a cataract can progress.  I was diagnosed a year ago, and since then I need reading glasses to stitch and read now almost all the time.  My right eye is getting worse for wear, and it's frustrating.  Some of this is obviously due to age deterioration, but most is from the cataract developing.  And even more frustrating is the cause of this.  Twenty years ago, I became absolutely plagued with pain in this right eye and was diagnosed with iritis, which is treated with steroid drops and at one point, an injection (YUCK!).  Year after year, the symptoms would keep reoccurring, then the treatment process (which took months), then a few months of feeling fine only to have it come back.  After finally being diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 1996 and the subsequent treatment for that, I've been iritis free since then.  Supposedly, some early Crohn's 'flare-ups' can be in the eyes.  So now, even though we're told that these types of steroids are safe, I have to wonder why I only have this cataract in the one eye that was treated with them for long periods of time.  If you know someone who is being treated for long periods with prednisone, please urge them to find other means of treatment, if available.  It may act like a 'cure all' for what's ailing them, but the after effects can do more harm than good!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Time for a Celebration!

With this morning's cool temps in the 30's, it's already feeling like winter will be here before you know it!  My wonderful friends on the Old Farmhouse Gathering's Etsy Team have put together over 100 brand new handmade holiday items just for you!  The celebration begins today and runs through October 15th.

I have four new items for your consideration. Here's a peek at two of them.

I'm already in show mode, and will spend the next day or so preparing for my first big one on October 20th.  Whew, there's a lot of prep work to putting together an attractive booth!  I'm signed up to do three brand new (for me) shows this year, so it should be exciting to meet some new customers (hopefully!) and sell in different venues.  Craft shows are starting to become a bit more scarce now, as many are dealing with too many regulations, insurance costs, and attracting quality vendors.  This isn't all bad, since there was a time not too long ago when there seemed to be an over abundance of shows, all on the same weekend!  Plus, it's becoming more of a challenge as a vendor to recover and profit after paying the show fees, which seem to increase a lot each year.  However, it's still an enjoyable experience for me to meet my customers face-to-face, and hear all the wonderful comments, so I'll keep doing these for a while!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Mix and Sticky Canes

While the family was away this weekend attempting to land a nice salmon at the river, I spent the quiet time decorating for fall.  Thought I'd share a tiny section of my growing collection.  Of course, you've seen Harvest Annie (from a Homespun from the Heart pattern), as her cute face is sometimes my blog avatar.  She rests on a beautiful table mat I made from a Lakeview Primitives pattern.  Behind her is the chaise, adorned with my favorite rag pumpkin flannel quilt (from Love of Quilting magazine), and a little cross stitch pilgrim and turkey (from a Leisure Arts cross stitch book).  As you can see, I enjoy creating diverse stitched items to adorn my home, and I LOVE the fact that there are so many talented designers out there who have put together such awesome patterns!  Thank you!!!

I spent last night creating a large collection of primmed up candy canes all glistening with mica flakes and glass glitter, and they're just about dry.  Adorned with a cute vintage tag, these will be available in my shop today in sets of three.  I also plan to add a larger version this year.  Hope you'll take a peek!  Have a great day!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bloomin' Confusion

September is feeling more like fall now; that bright star in the sky is playing hide 'n seek.  I snapped this confusion amongst our corn/sunflower patch.  Those bright yellow beauties are perplexed and don't know which way to turn!

Have I ever mentioned just how much the pup loves green beans?  As I was clicking away on this brisk morn, the pup finally discovered the solar fence line that surrounds the garden.  In the 2 seasons we've had this up to keep the deer out, he always manages to skirt under the lower line, or miss the intermittent surge of shock that flows through.

Not today though.  After a slight little zip, he yelped loudly and SPRINTED all the way around the house to the front door.  Gosh, I felt so bad, but could hardly contain my laughter as I saw to it that he was okay.  And, of course, the next trip outside resulted in success for him...into the bean patch once again!

Yep, you really can't teach an old dog new tricks...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Witchy Stitchin'

How did September blur by so quickly that it's now more than half over?  My first show is less than 2 weeks away, and I'm feeling like I don't have enough made up.  We're expecting 80 degree weather through next weekend, so just how many people will be thinking about scarves and hats this early?  Hmm...time to get creative and produce something new!

Last night I finished up this cute witch penny rug.  The background is on the most beautiful marbled wool felt color that is no longer available.  I have a piece that has deep purple into pink and another piece that is more light blue into purple.  Wish I could find more, because I've never seen such a diverse tone in hand dyed wool.  I constructed this piece a bit differently than usual, cutting a solid black backing which included the penny flaps already attached.  I just love how the witch's profile turned out, hair blowing in the wind, teetering just so on that crooked ol' broomstick!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Meet Bling...My latest Epattern Release!'s the first day of school, and Matt has returned back to work from vacation.  It's QUIET around here!  Even the pup is taking in all the peace with a morning nap.

Today I'm releasing my latest epattern design, Bling the Penguin!  Bling is a very quick to make stand alone design that can also be made into an ornament.  Resize the pattern and make a family of these little dudes marching across a window sill for winter.  So cute!  I made several of these for my craft shows, and they were such a hit!  Supplies are easy to find, and I may even put together a few kits for sale soon.  Find Bling here on my blog or in my Etsy shop.

Check out this beautiful bowl of red rose hips I picked over the weekend after taming back a very unruly beast of a bush.  I'm going to dry and then scent them with a wonderful cinnamon bun or pumpkin spice scent.  I love having bowls of these scented fixins around the house.  With that cool, crisp morning air already here, fall is rapidly approaching.  There will be nothing like the wonderful aroma of these once the windows are shut up tight for our nine months of rain... Oh, I'm not complaining; that justifies more time for stitchin'!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The cycle of awesome sight! last camping trip, a little stitching and oh, so much fun!  Last week, we ventured up to Baker Lake and then over to the Cascade River.  As the family attempted to fish the lake, I was busy stitching away this piece.  Yep, it's beginning to look like that time of year again already!

Well, the fish proved sneaky, weaving the lines through stumps and snags, so we didn't catch anything more than a nice suntan.  Next up was river time, which proved to be an awesome experience, as the salmon were moving up stream to spawn.

For two days, we watched these two sockeye salmon exhaustively lay eggs, fertilize, and bury them in the sand right in front of our campsite.  The male (brighter red) was actively chasing away other males ready to step in on him, and even a steelhead salmon tried to invade.

Alas, fishing on the river was closed until today, so all my two cohorts could due was watch and be amazed at the cycle of life...for there's always next time.  Yea, right.  I think I saw this little hatchling smile at that thought.  Catch me if you can...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Family Time

Yikes!  It's been so long since I've posted.  This summer has been a whirlwind of both happy and sad events.  Nic spent nearly a month at her Grammy and Grandpa's ranch, riding Scooter and just plain living the farm life.  A great trip for her at her home-away-from-home!

Meanwhile, we worked on some landscaping projects here...which certainly instigated that feeling of rapidly aging.  Arrggh!  It sure takes longer to get things done as we creep out of our 4th decade.  The garden is producing, so we're canning something every few days.  We have over 53 pints of beans and at least 2 more pickings before those are!  Blackberry jam and applesauce are on the agenda, along with lots of ears of corn to process and Matt's famous dill pickles!  Can't seem to get the tomato production flowing, so once again, we'll only have a few just to eat fresh.

As the days creeped into my birthday weekend, I found myself with a very sick dog at the emergency hospital.  Lhasos can be known for kidney issues, and my little guy was stricken with more than his share now.  A surgeon removed the stones that were posing the most threat to his life; however, he has a kidney that is starting to fail along with a stone that is blocked between the kidney and bladder...a very expensive and delicate surgery that only a handful of specialists in the state will perform.  He is feeling better now, but it is only a matter of time before he has total kidney failure.  Maybe we'll be lucky and have another year or two together, but for now, we are savoring every moment and learning a lot about accepting loss together.

September will bring the start of middle school for Nic, so we'll enjoy a bit more camping before she's back to the books and I'm back to sewing.  Lots of shows lined up for this fall, and watch for my new pattern release at the beginning of the month!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

One hot July day, many years ago...

Where were you on this day in 1987?  I know exactly where I was...Today is our 25th wedding anniversary!  Ah, yes; that very hot July day dressed to the nines, with the most handsome guy in the world at my side!  A little more grey, a few beautiful wrinkles, and a whole lotta wonderful memories later, and we still have that special spark of Endless Love.  And yes, that was our wedding's theme song!

Happy 25th, my sweety!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Morning has spoken

An early morning jaunt with just me and the pup found this majestic beauty perched high above one of our fir trees.  A reminder that we live in such a beautiful part of the world!  After snapping up a few shots, he/she grew weary of my paparazzi style of stalking and flew on.  Maybe the thought of this hairy creature near me was just too much to choke down...

I'm off to sew up more hats for my fall shows, and who knows, maybe this little guy will return.  With the neighbor's cats now moved, we need as many mouse hunters as possible.  Hope you find a nice surprize in your day!

Friday, May 18, 2012

From a Child's Voice

There are a lot of times when the start of a conversation with a child can turn into a time to teach one of life's valuable lessons.  Yesterday proved to be one of those between Nic and me.  She began with the exciting news of being amongst a team of 3 kids that were named as having the most spirit in a school competition.  Participating in her team was a classmate who has been repeatedly shunned by the other students, as kids will unfortunately do when they don't understand another individual's learning difficulties.  Especially with autism, since it can facilitate so many different characteristics from one child to another.

I certainly don't know enough to become the teacher in this area, but yesterday I found out that I was really more of the student.  Nic expressed her amazement at the artistic aptitude of this child and was very put off by the other students behavior toward him..."he's a great artist, Mom; why can't they see that?"  We talked about taking the stance, being the one voice that can maybe get the other students to consider that we are all different, but we all deserve respect.  Then, we spoke about how standing up for someone doesn't always make you the popular kid; sometimes others with turn away.  Sometimes you will lose friendships over these types of issues, but then, maybe they weren't really your true friend.

Then it happened.  Call it the light bulb burning brightly, but Nic just amazed me with her determination to put together an award honoring this student for the next assembly.  She sat down and wrote out a very passionate tribute to all students in compassion, understanding and overall, respect.  She is utilizing her last days as Student Body President to attach a message of hope to everyone; after all, as she points out, "you voted me as your president because I truely care about our students."

Eleven years old, and I couldn't be prouder.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Prim Up That Modern Home

Do you have a modern, contemporary home and a love for primitive style decor?  The two sometimes clash like oil and water, but they can also work together quite well.  Today I thought I'd share how I decorated a few areas of my home with a bit of a primitive touch.

This corner counter is in my kitchen, a thoroughly modern design, with clear maple cabinets, granite tiles and stainless appliances.  Not too much old style here!  I took a red/gold/ cream round penny rug that I made and layered up a wooden paddle (found at a thrift store) filled with rosehips and orange peels.  Three small styrofoam balls have a variety of seed pods from the farm store thoroughly glued in place (plus a brushed on coating of glue to seal them).  The seeds are deep purple, yellow gold and dark red, which brings together my rather modern attachment to the color purple (which I've blogged here before).  The three chicks are resin pieces I picked up a few years ago, along with a tin gold star.  The rusty scale adorns a pip berry and star candle ring along with a gorgeous local handcrafted candle with dried fruit imbedded in the wax.  Remember these important guidelines as you create your centerpiece:  use odd numbers of items when grouping like things together; layer up the height to bring the eyes to the focal point; and be sure that the colors work together (watch to make sure that your bright colors don't put everything else off); and offset your design...if it's too symmetrically perfect, it won't look primitive.

Next is something I love to decorate with...candle rings!  I have a formal six light chandelier in my dining room which is brushed nickel.  Not exactly primitive or country!  So I purchased multi colored pip berry candle rings (enough for each light), removed the light's cover and bulb, and threaded the candle ring to rest just below the frosted glass shade.  These stay up until fall, at which time I change them out for fall covered candle rings, and then again at Christmas for some bright red berry candle rings.  It adds a bit of texture and color to an otherwise ordinary place.  And I really like being able to change up the look quickly and easily.

And, though I didn't plan to photograph this, behind the light you can just make out a very high window sill that we have in a couple of rooms.  The windows are a good eight feet wide by only two feet tall.  Impossible to decorate with a window covering, so I gave up and just decorate the sill itself!  I have small bird houses, prim candlesticks, even some old books up there!  The look is cozy, yet not cluttered, since the pieces are way above eye level.  Plus it frees up more space at the lower levels to make and buy (!) new prim pieces.  And who doesn't love that!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I remember my first Mother's Day.  Nic was barely 3 months old, and I was unfortunately dealing with the medications and side effects of a blood clot, post pardom depression, and lack of ability to produce breast milk thanks to the steroids I had to take.

But through it all, the very precious life that Matt and I brought into this world bonded together with me so readily.   Nic was the ultimate gift even when the situation seemed less than a happy time.  Even though those days are a part of me, the wonderful child that we're raising is proof that life is always moving along to another chapter full of experiences and reflections.  In other words, a chapter in one's life simply does not tell their whole story.

Today I found myself face to face with another new mom.  It was just such a beautiful sight to see this soon-to-be new momma deer peering up at me from the pasture.  She moved slowly, with deliberate attempt to evade my presence, but there was no leaping away from my picture snapping frenzy by this doe.  Ah yes, those uncomfortable last few days.  I wonder if that little one will arrive before the day we celebrate our Moms.  A new life; a new chapter; a new day.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Lace-y Dilemma

Look at this lovely stash of lace that I just received from a friend who is in the process of doing some spring purging!  There's eyelets, trims, sheers and even a very unusually large panel of lace depicting a holiday scene.

Wow, what shall I create?  I don't work with lace a whole lot and have really only used it to embellish a dress (for a doll, of course...since I can't stitch a garment for the life of me!).

I did use a pretty eyelet trim on the top border of this shabby chic quilt, and it turned out real cute.  So, that got me to thinking...

Some of the larger pieces would look great overlaying a dark solid tone quilt block and then made into a pretty tote bag.  That would sure show of the delicate design in the lace's pattern!

Since lace is so easy to dye, why not color a few lengths of the trim pieces and create flower pins by rolling up the trim and stitching together the ends and then fanning out the 'petals'.  These are always so popular to attach to jackets, purses, etc.

And what a cool texture lace would provide to a needle felted design on a small candle mat.  Hmmm...guess I'd better get busy!

If you have any great ideas that you'd like to share, I'm all ears!  Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

X-ing off that UFO

You may be wondering why I haven't much of anything new to show off these days.  Well, I'll admit that each year, one of my goals is always to finish up as many partially done projects as I can stand to do before the desire wears out.  Usually that means finishing up an enormous stash of cross stitching.  And after completing several small ones, I attacked this one with full force and determination.  It's one of those kits I bought back when Nic was born or thereabouts, so it's at least a dozen years old!  Nothing like taking my time, huh?  I get so incredibly bored doing these, as there's no real feeling of accomplishment until you've finally got the whole piece completed.  And we're talking a good 1000 hours on this one for sure!

It's a nice piece that Nic wants me to frame, entitled Mother's Prayer Quilt.  It reads:  "I pray when this quilt you see, you will know my wishes and dreams for thee.  I pray these things I've taught you true, because my child I love you." Each 'block' is a traditional "quilt" block done in cross stitch with the written sentiment: faith, hope, charity, love; health, wealth, happiness, peace; unselfishness, courage, honesty, thankfulness; independence, knowledge, friendship, success.  Such a beautiful verse!

It's so nice to have this huge project completed!  The old eyes are glad for the break, and I'm already working on new sewing projects that can be whipped up quickly.  So much more satisfaction there!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finding my sunny place

It helps a soul to heal through pain if you can talk about it.  So much so lately as I reflect upon a personal ache in my heart for my grandma as I see the changes evident from a desire to give up.  We spent the earlier part of spring break with a visit to see her, and now that she's about 4 hours closer, I hope it won't be the last.  You may have seen me blog about her before...Grandma with the Red Lips, as she's known now.  My daughter distinguishes her that way, since she has a wonderful multitude of grandmas to keep straight.

At just shy of her 89th birthday, she is now dealing more with a failing heart, and unfortunately, a feeling of the hourglass emptying.  It saddens me so to see her have no desire to get out of bed; she's definitely capable, just won't.  And so, she peers out the window of her room to any activity that captures her keen eyes.  Her mind is still pretty sharp, but her soul is slowly resting away.  There will be no more letters, written in her beautiful longhand to me about the steady family she grew so plentifully; no words of the flowers that bloom by her hand; no more conversations over hand stitching an heirloom embroidery piece together.

Thankfully, what is still there are lots of the wonderful stories she enjoys sharing about specific incidents with each of us from the past.  Some will stay with me forever.  Like the very first visit that my husband made over dinner at her house, nearly 30 years ago.  Fried chicken overflowed the platter, and my burly sweety placed a mere wing on his plate.  Grandma, the ever gracious host, turned the platter around and offered a more meaty selection to which Matt reached again for another wing.  She had thought he was afraid to take too much, when in fact, the wing is his absolute favorite piece.  And, of course, after devouring the wings, he did enjoy visiting that platter again and again.  We laughed again this week about that and many other simple stories that brought us together.  Her incredible meals are always a fun topic.

This visit also brought together my Dad and I in a way that we haven't been.  As he has taken the full responsibility of caring for Grandma, he visits her daily at her new assisted living home and tends to her every need.  All this along with that of his wife who is continually battling bone cancer and his own heart problems.  It's a daunting job, but one that he does with as much love and compassion as I've ever witnessed.  It is a side that, I guess I knew was there, but have never really been 'grown up' enough to understand.

And so I ask you to think today about those that you love and remember a memory of something that will make you smile.  The memories are there for all of that if you dig deep, and there is always one to reflect on that can lighten your load, at least for a moment.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lost in Remodel Land, and A Great New Giveaway!

I know, it's been pretty quiet here at Happy Valley.  I've been working on so many projects here at home and sadly neglecting my blog.  We are now into the third month of a bathroom makeover, and it should be done this next week.  I hope!  From decisions on how much to remodel, what tile to pick out, who will do the work, and finally, YIKES,  how will we pay for all of this, it's been an interesting time.

This all began in December, when I noticed our flooring near the shower area starting to buckle from water damage.  We have learned an expensive lesson in that you should not caulk those 'weep' holes where the tiles hang over the shower pan area.  Doing so allows the water that does penetrate through the tiles to not have any way to drain out.

After tearing out the damage, we decided to put in a completely tiled shower floor rather than replacing the fiberglass pan and to tile the floor of the entire room too.  This room already had extensive tile in the shower, soaking tub, half way up the walls and the counter area, so I wasn't real keen on redoing the whole thing.  That would have ran the cost and time in this project way out of control, and none of these areas were damaged.  And so now, we're waiting on the new shower glass doors to arrive and be installed next week.  Whew, it will be sooo nice to take a shower here again!

On another note, my friend Kim, of Old Road Primitives, is having a spectacular cash giveaway on her blog!  Stop on over and enter for your chance to win $50!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Spring on over for this Giveaway!

It's time for a great giveaway, and my friends at PAFA have a bounty of treasures to win!  There are 33 wonderful handmade creations, and 33 your odds are GREAT!  Head on over to their blog at:, become a follower and leave a comment for your chance to win!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Light As A Feather...Klunk!

It's been a crazy week, but I think we're just about back to normal...only about 6 inches left after a whirlwind of snow.  We had a few visitors that I've not seen before this time, so I thought I'd share with you.

These are puffed up varied thrush so I'm told.  Very striking birds, especially with the white backdrop.  They feasted for days on my purple beauty berry bush.  More birds followed their lead soon after.  My feeders were plenty active too with the usual chickadees, marlots and other varieties of beautiful songbirds.  The birds were the only sound as the snow muffled out all distant noise.

Seeing his next meal at this bush was my unexpected visitor.  He greatly misjudged the flight path and slammed into my dining room window so hard that I thought it broke.  As we watched him in the snow, his head was actively moving, but he appeared to either not be able to move or was stuck in the deep snow.

So, I ventured out with really heavy gloves on, in case he needed some help.  Well, once I got within 2 feet of him, he lunged out of the snow and landed against the house.  I managed to get a few shots of him looking me over.  After a little research, I believe that this is a Coopers Hawk.

After just a few minutes to shake off the cobwebs, he flew towards me and then off high into a fir tree.  Whoosh!  I fell back into the snow and just marveled at how he began his wobbly flight and then soared away.  So magnificent to see one of these birds and also to know that he's okay after having his world turned upside down.  Wonder if he'll think twice before attempting to secure his next meal near our house?

Well, back to creating, now that school is open for Nic, and the house is once again lacking the turnstyle of kids through the front door.  I'm working on a few more patterns and projects and will share those soon!  Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Celebrate in a Heartfelt Way

Without sounding too gushy, I just love Valentine's Day!  It's that expression of love that my sweet hubby has down pat...for 25 straight years now!  Nothing like that special feeling from someone you care about so much.

So I had some fun creating a few hearts for this celebration with the OFG Team.  Hope you'll check out this beautiful collection ( type: stlc in your search bar), as there are a lot of new artists participating and nearly 90 heartfelt items.

'Cuz, after all, Love Dwells Here...especially at this time of year!

Monday, January 16, 2012

All "Fire'd" Up in Wool...My Textured Kindle Keeper

Welcome to my stop for the Nancy Zieman Tablet Keeper blog tour!  I'm so honored to be a part of this exciting opportunity to show different techniques and styles for the Clover Trace 'n Create Templates.  

My creation was constructed entirely from wool fabrics with a hand needle felting design on the cover, and I couldn't resist some bead bling sprinkled in.  Using wool does give the overall piece a bit more bulk; however it also provides a little added protection for my Kindle Fire. 

I began by creating a paper pattern of a randomly flowing floral and vine design.  The template helped me to determine placement of those areas that I wanted to really show off without being obscured by the strap.  After cutting out the pattern, the design was chalked onto the black wool base.  

I needle felted the design, blending the tones to achieve gradual shading.  Then it was time to sew on lots of colorful seed beads to the larger flower centers and finally finish the cover with some beautiful square black beads scattered about.  Even though this step took some time, the result was just what I was looking to achieve.  

The interior was created with scraps of hand dyed wool fabrics fused to the interfacing in a crazy patch style, and then I feather stitched the edges with heavy black thread (perle #3) for more impact. Once the fusible interfacing is applied to the cover and lining, the wool fabric won't stretch out of shape, making it just as easy to work with as cotton for this project.  Using wool fabric inside also helps to wick away dust from the e-reader...another plus!

The wool strap was embellished with purple eyelash yarn and matching beads.  I used the perforation markings from the Clover Create a Strap to keep my yarn's spacing even without even having to get out my tape measure!

The binding was also done with wool, although I did cut it at only 2" wide and sewed it as a single fold binding to further keep the bulk down.

And one last tip...To make the Kindle Fire fit a little better, I moved the elastic in further, just past the template's markings.  This proved to be an easier work around, rather than altering the keeper's overall size.  I'm very pleased with the end result!

There are limitless ways to personalize these...think about the timeless beauty of hand embroidery and applique on wool as other ideas if you're not a needle felter.  As you can see, quilter's cotton doesn't have to be your only fabric creative and it will turn out beautiful!

Thank you for stopping by today to see my creation!  For more ideas and inspiration, I invite you to become a follower of my blog.  A big Thank You to Clover for providing the templates, shapers and hardware to construct this project!  And don't forget to enter HERE for Nancy's drawing to win these great products from Clover: