Monday, February 28, 2011

Blue Jean Lady Traveling Light

Little Jeanie  © 2011
Now that I'm retired, jeans are my basic uniform. They're comfortable and fit my casual lifestyle.  My phone, slim wallet and keys fit nicely in the pockets.  I love to travel light, especially when I'm shopping or running errands. It's very liberating to dash into a store without having to keep track of a purse. Although I love pretty purses and bags, they tend to become cluttered with stuff and weigh me down. The ones I do carry are little and lightweight. I keep a small bag in the car with makeup and a few other essentials.

Since I got a new Droid phone, I've been experimenting with ways to carry it. My other phone slipped easily into a front jeans pocket. This one doesn't. I tried a leather case with belt clip, but I don't always wear a belt. This winter, I've kept it in my coat pocket. Designs for a cell phone bag have been bouncing around in my head...something small that fits the phone, earbuds and extra battery.

A few days ago, I was digging through the scrap box and saw some nice denim pieces left from where I had cropped a pair of jeans last summer. (Did I mention that I keep lots of scraps?) I folded up the leg, stitched the raw edges, and a cute bag was born in no time at all. To keep the phone from sliding out, I added a couple of snaps at the top. But, what to use for a strap? Not enough denim was left. I remembered a leather belt that I don't wear any more, attached it to the bag, and I was done in less than an hour.

Useful Notion: One person's trash may be another one's treasure. Bits of seemingly useless junk can be combined into art, clothing, or accessories. Look beyond the obvious to find a creative use. Once you start, it's tempting to keep everything, so set specific space limits and purge often by actually using your scraps.

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. — Maya Angelou


Monday, February 21, 2011

Making Things Comfortable & Cozy

The first two weeks of February were down right cold, but last week was delightfully warm and spring-like.  My daffodils and forsythia are budding out. I hung laundry outside to dry in the breeze. Yesterday afternoon we grilled steaks after a high temperature of nearly 70.  I believe the ground hog was right and spring is on the way, which is all right with me.

We bought a new 5th wheel at Christmas and have spent the past two months getting it ready for camping. It has lots of clever storage, which we've been filling with clothes, linens, dishes, kitchen utensils, campsite gear, lawn chairs, games, and more. It's like furnishing a small apartment, so extra items from the house have been requisitioned for use in the rig. Shopping for new stuff has been so much fun! Once we're done, we'll only have to load our food before we hitch up and hit the road.

I have been happily sewing a few accessories to make it cozy. I already had a quilt that matched the bedroom d├ęcor, so I stitched up some throw pillows for the living area. Luckily, I had a length of fabric that coordinated with the couch and recliner. Another piece of fabric, left over from a quilt, was just enough for a tablecloth. So now everything's all homey and ready for relaxation when the campgrounds open for the season. Until then we might just pull it to the edge of the woods and camp in our own back yard.

Useful Notion: Shop around in your own home before buying something new. Your closets, storage areas and shelves may reveal a forgotten treasure that can fill the need. Think creatively and enjoy saving some cash.

If daffodils are budding and wasps are flying slowly, can spring be far away?” – Author Unknown


Monday, February 14, 2011

Heart's Desire

Happy Valentine's Day!  Hearts, flowers, candy, romance and friendship are on my mind, so I brought out this quilted wall hanging called Heart's Desire. It was fun and didn't take very long to sew from scraps, plus a yard from my stash for the border and backing. 

I'm spending the day with my sweetheart. We have been together every Valentine's Day since we met in 1969. This Kenny Rogers song says it all for us. 
Through The Years

I can't remember when you weren't there
When I didn't care for anyone but you
I swear we've been through everything there is
Can't imagine anything we've missed
Can't imagine anything the two of us can't do

Through the years, you've never let me down
You turned my life around, the sweetest days I've found
I've found with you ... Through the years
I've never been afraid, I've loved the life we've made
And I'm so glad I've stayed, right here with you
Through the years
I can't remember what I used to do
Who I trusted, who I listened to before
I swear you taught me everything I know
Can't imagine needing someone so
But through the years it seems to me
I need you more and more
Through the years, through all the good and bad
I knew how much we had, I've always been so glad
To be with you ... Through the years
It's better every day, you've kissed my tears away
As long as it's okay, I'll stay with you
Through the years
Through the years, when everything went wrong
Together we were strong, I know that I belong
Right here with you ... Through the years
I never had a doubt, we'd always work things out
I've learned what love's about, by loving you
Through the years
Through the years, you've never let me down
You've turned my life around, the sweetest days I've found
I've found with you ... Through the years
It's better every day, you've kissed my tears away
As long as it's okay, I'll stay with you
Through the years.

 lyrics by Marty Panzer and Stephen Dorff 


Monday, February 7, 2011

Blooming Out of Season

About eleven years ago, I gave my mama a gorgeous dark pink blooming Christmas cactus in a hanging basket for Christmas. She enjoyed it until the following spring, then gave it back to me to hang on my screened porch. I've kept it ever since, wintering it in my kitchen bay window. It has grown huge, with woody stems. I've rooted several other plants from it, and repotted it this past summer.

The plant always has loads of beautiful dark pink blooms at Christmas, but then something different began to happen. It started one Thanksgiving with pale pink flowers. Maybe it was tied to when it was brought into the house, or when it was last fertilized. I'm not sure why, but it has blossomed at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter for the past eight years.

Yesterday when I watered my plants, I was amazed to see that the cactus had several buds and two bright pink should be in full bloom for Valentine's Day. What a delightful surprise! Whatever the reason, this hardy plant has decided to celebrate another holiday.

This could be a sign of an early spring, along with the robins hopping around my yard. Maybe I'll follow their lead and bloom out of season myself!

Useful Notion: Many plants can be rooted in water on a windowsill. Try ivy, coleus, pothos, christmas cactus, wandering jew, spider plant or vine-like varieties. Use jelly jars or other glass containers, and change the water when it becomes cloudy.

Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men. ~Chinese Proverb



1930's accountability Accuquilt adapt addiction adjust adventure advice affirmations amazing antiques attitude autumn baby quilt balance be yourself beach beauty birthday blessing bliss BlockBase Blue Wren breathe brightness camping card trick cat challenge change chevrons chips & salsa chocolate choice Christmas closet clothes clutter coffee color contentment cooking crafts crazy creativity crochet decorating design designs distraction DIY downsizing drama dreams energy EQ8 exasperating people excitement expectations fabric fall family feed sack festivals flexibility flour sack flowers flying geese Flynn Quilt Frame focus fool free spirit freedom fun furniture garden Granny Hill Granny Rose grateful gratitude Halloween happiness hexagon imagination independence insight inspiration intuition inventory Janome joy just for today karma laughter lemon pepper lessons letting go life lists little things loose ends love magic Memorial Day memories Mother's Day motivation NASCAR nature opportunity organizing paradise passion patience peace perception perspective positive energy productivity quilt quilting quotes reflection refresh relaxation remnant renew resilience resolutions responsibility retro routines satisfaction scraps sewing sewing machine simplicity simplify snow solitude Southern traditions spring st. patrick's day stitching strawberries stress sugar sack summer sunshine thankful Thanksgiving Thoughts tropical prints useful valentine vintage waiting weather winter wisdom wishes yard sales