Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My husband was born 40 years ago today!

We tried to make Tom a giant cupcake for his birthday (As Seen On TV),
but it came out of the oven a little bit wonky.

So we had to sing and blow out the candles really fast,
for fear of the top layer sliding off.

As my nephew said when we presented the cake to the birthday boy,
"it's the thought that counts". 

P.S. - It tasted much better than it looked.  Really.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A wise vacation observation from my 9 year old nephew:

"How come kids have more energy than adults?"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Mom can immediately tell you what she was wearing on any given occassion.
She has always loved clothes and fashion; my sister and I inherited this from her.
Growing up, we would sit at the kitchen table with a JC Penney catalog,
pick out a pretty model, then carefully cut clothes and accessories for her.
Mom drew paper dolls for us and designed outfits that we filled in with colored pencils -
beautiful bride dresses, evening gowns, clothes to wear to town.
We created with Fashion Plates and changed outfits on our Dolly Pops.
Our young hearts yearned for designer jeans, but they were way too expensive.
So for Christmas we got scaled-down versions for our Barbies.

This is a design Mom drew when she was about nine years old.  Isn't that amazing?
We laugh because she had never been to the beach before, but she knew what to wear there!

I am giggling...just now we got an email from Mom with the subject line
"Fashion Trends for Spring".

This is Mom's doll that she recently gave me,
wearing a sundress my aunt made her from apron fabric.
She is packing for her trip to someplace warm.

We, too, will be leaving soon for someplace warm.
I'm ready for sunny skies, fresh air, and exposed skin!

The weatherman reports that we got over 10 inches of snow here the last two days.
There was even lightning and thunder during the snowstorm.
The wind and thunder were so loud that my cat disappeared into his various hiding spots
for a day and a half.

Our spring break trip has become an annual thing -
we go away with my parents, sister, brother-in-law, and their three boys.
A whole week of Auntie time!
And valuable time with my husband!
I'm so ready!

I will be getting my summer clothes out of the attic and trying on outfits to take.
I may need to borrow Mom's outfit spreadsheet to see which clothes she's bringing.

I'm really not kidding about the spreadsheet.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hello from Lake Geneva, WI

Ross Martin #837
We're here for the last weekend of racing this season!

Mike Bauer #717
My husband's on the road a ton in the winter as crew chief for Judnick Motorsports,
and even when he's home there are plenty of late nights at the shop.
But today is the last race of the season and the start of some down time.
Time to adjust our routine.

My family is coming to the races today.
I love when my little nephews ask "who should we cheer for?" at the start of each race.

There is an award banquet tonight, then we'll celebrate and stay out way too late.
And tomorrow morning we'll wonder why we do that every year.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Oh Mr. Moon, moon, bright and shiny moon,
Won't you please shine down on me?

Oh Mr. Moon, moon, bright and shiny moon,
Won't you come out behind that tree?

Oh Mr. Moon, moon, bright and shiny moon,
Please shine down on, talk about your shine on,
Please shine down on me."

Remember that song?
It's been going through my head
since I viewed these pictures I took while walking this evening.

Please someone - sing something else!  Anything!
I gotta get that song out of my head.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I don't like to exercise.  Sure, I always feel better after I've moved around, but getting the motivation to actually "exercise" is a struggle.  I really don't mind walking so much...the fresh air does me a world of good, the Dog is ecstatic to be going somewhere, and I have to wear a swimsuit in two weeks (ugh).

So I decided a great motivator (besides the swimsuit situation) would be to bring along my new camera while I go walking, and challenge myself to take an interesting photo before I can head back.

I just decided that this morning, actually, so here is the result from my first day. 

"Don't be chickens, follow me!"
The Dog spotted the ducks before I did.  It was a challenge to keep the camera steady while hanging on to a tugging and salivating Dog's leash.  She would have been delighted to flush the birds out of there.  That's a Lab's job, after all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I've been struck with the funk for the last few days.  It's had me out of order since the weekend.  I always know I'm coming down with something when I don't feel like drinking coffee.  Been sipping herbal teas instead, since Saturday.

But I turned a corner today.  I popped out of bed before 5 this morning, and have already unloaded the dishwasher and started a load of laundry.

It's supposed to be in the 50s this week (!), and I can't wait to get some fresh air and start walking outside again.  I told my dog last night we were "going for a walk" today, and she stared intently at me, head tilted, ears perked - making sure I wasn't kidding.  She hasn't heard those words for quite awhile.  And now that I've said it, she won't let me out of it.

Think I'll go look for my walking shoes now.  And brew up some coffee.

We've been having beautiful sunrises lately.  I took this picture Sunday.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A place for everything, everything in it's place...
Now I can show you my clean creating space!

I've been working on some custom projects the last couple weeks,
so things were in a bit of disarray in the studio.
But today it's squeaky clean and ready for visitors!

So come on in. Stay awhile...

Happy Heart Studio
I really like having a chaos-free work area and home.  It wasn't always that way.  Like all creative types, my brain is in a constant state of idea-forming, skipping back and forth, dashing from one thing to the next.  So I like my outside world to be calm.  I like knowing just where to find what I'm looking for, so I'm not focusing creative energy looking for tools.  Believe me, when I'm in the middle of an artistic project, it gets messy.  I don't fret about it. 

But once in a while I have to shut things down, sweep up the scraps, scrape off the paint, and put things back where they belong.

I'm about to shift focus and work on crafting some items for my neglected etsy shop, enter more art contests, play with my collection of vintage fabrics and beads, and spend quality time with my hibernating sewing machine. 

Glad you got to see my scrubbed and clutter-free studio.
Things are about to get messy.

Friday, March 11, 2011


(*with dog)

(This is pretty much how we roll around here.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wintertime makes me want to knit.  I've been addicted since my mother-in-law showed me how to knit about six years ago.  The click-click-click of the needles and the repetivite motion ease my nervous energy.  One of the first knitting projects I ever undertook was an afghan intended as a Christmas present, when my sister was pregnant with her second baby.  The afghan was celery green, super soft, and completely wonky!

I worked on that thing every free moment I had.  I'd just pick up the needles and start knitting.  Many times I'd fall asleep or get distracted in the middle of a row.  Had no idea what I was plan. 

Well I finished the afghan right before Christmas. I hadn't really paid much attention to how it was shaping up overall, until I cast off my last row. Geometry was never my strong suit, but I remember what a trapezoid looks like. My afghan was a trapezoid.

 I've gotten better at knitting since then.  But still, I can only knit squares or rectangles (i.e., dishcloths or scarves).  And I really only know how to do a basic knit stitch.  I've thought about expanding my knitting skills, but then I'd have to count and actually think while I'm knitting.  This sort of defeats the purpose of knitting for me.

Here are a couple scarves I finished up today. 
This matches a boiled wool hat I bought,
and are some of my favorite colors in the world: 

It just needed some finishing touches:

Due to my lack of fancy knitting ability,
I play up the embellishments:

So what ever happened to my trapezoid afghan?

At the last minute I gift-wrapped the afghan and put it under the tree at my sister's house.  My intention was to give them something to open, with the promise to make them a perfect rectangle in the near future.   Like, after I found a pattern to follow.

When my sister opened the present and unfurled the afghan, she cried.  She said this imperfect afghan meant more to her than a flawless one.  And they've actually used it!  A lot.  It has covered laps, feet, napping babies, and even served as the roof for a couch fort.  My sister and her family have since moved to a beautiful new house.

The celery green wonky afghan still hangs on their quilt rack.

Monday, March 7, 2011

As I sit this morning, again watching the snow come down in diagonal sheets,
I am warmed by microwave heat bags, and memories of a fantastic creative weekend.

Sarah and her little dog Fritz were here Saturday to work on a project we started awhile back.
These are personalized sweater pins.  Super cute, and handy too.
You can use one as a closure on a cardigan, or just for bling purposes.

It was so fun to have Kathy come by to join the bead/wine/whine fest!

Love Pin
Life is short...BUY the shoes
Zodiac Pin

Sunday, after redeeming the Jo-Ann Fabric coupons that were burning a hole in my bag,
it was time for card making in Jody's studio with Linda and Sara.
Good food, good peeps, good cards, good day.

Jody creating

We made a card to keep and extras to trade
Thank you, friends, for an inspirational weekend.
Let's do that again soon, ok?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

We're in the backstretch of the winter season.
The time of year I'm crawling in my skin. 

When I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I'm pale with a tinge of sickly green. 
I'm half sick every day - not enough to keep me down, but leaving me in a state of brain fog.  

I'm clutzier than normal, my muscles ache, and my loved ones start to ask
"are you using your light box?" 

I'm a real prize, no?

These last few months of winter, I try to keep busy (or else I fall asleep)
and it's an absolute necessity to have things to look forward to, besides summer.
And I'm really trying to be kinder to myself these days.
My new outlook started sprouting about the time of my first blog entry.

So this is shaping up to be a fun and soul-nourishing weekend with the girls.
Today Sarah and her little dog Fritz are coming over to work on some jewelry pins. 
Sarah's little dog Fritz
Tomorrow I'm heading early to Jo-Ann Fabrics for their Coupon Commotion sale,
and then to Jody's new studio for card making with a few of us women.

This morning I've been baking some comfort bread. 
Pumpkin nut with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top,
served on Great-Grandma Louise's china.

Pumpkin Bread & French Roast

Anyone else feel like I do this time of year?  Wanna go do something fun?

Have bread, will travel.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Here's the first picture ever taken on my new

fancy schmancy birthday camera from my husband!

I think the pop-up flash surprised him.

This so cracks me up.
Today I'm meeting Patti for lunch;
she's the friend who sent me the collage box on my birthday. 
She was here for a studio play date a few weeks ago,
and brought a wonderful assortment of little objects to mess around with.
These buttons and baubles were begging to become a bracelet,
so I finished it and will give it to her today.
Hope she likes it.

Lately I can't get enough of anything that's vintage.
More about that on a later post.
For now I have to go.  It's snowing and blowing out there again, and I need extra driving time.
Was this in the forecast?  Ugh.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I love inspirational quotes.  I love wrapping presents.  I love making jewelry.

When all these can be combined into one project,
I'm doin' a happy dance.

I was recently asked to create a custom bracelet,
serving as a reward for achieving important weight loss goals.

With her permission, I'd like to tell you about the bracelet and Chandra's weight loss journey...

Today she received the package with her bracelet, so we can talk about it... 
I didn't want to spoil the surprise!

 A peek inside the bag...

So far Chandra has lost 80 pounds and counting... 
*Cheer cheer, clap clap, cheer cheer*

She has composed nineteen weight loss goals,
including losing a certain percentage, number of pounds, or reaching a weight milestone. 
I created a charm to represent each of the nineteen goals.
Once a goal is reached, she will attach a new charm to the bracelet.

Now she can wear the bracelet as a reminder of the goals she's already conquered,
and as she reaches more milestones, she'll have a bracelet chock-full
of one-of-a-kind dangly sparkly charms in her favorite colors!

I have to admit I got carried away greatly inspired when I started the project,
and really wanted to get it right, since she entrusted me with this important task.

Each of the charms is individually wrapped in tissue paper,
so she doesn't know what it looks like until she reaches the goal it represents.

Each wrapped charm is packaged into a sealed handmade envelope that has the Goal Number on it,
and an inspirational quote or short explanation of the charm's symbolism.

The first charm on the bracelet is a lock. 

Here's the quote attached to the envelope:

The lock and key are said to symbolize the arrival of a new place in life. 
The lock also signifies protection. 
At the end of your journey, you’ll have the key!

That's all I will show for now.
The rest is for Chandra to discover.