Tag Archives: Fun

Creating: The Tote Project Part 1

It all started because of two things. One a little article I had read about using felt markers and alcohol to paint on tee shirts and two, I needed a new knitting bag. Well in reality,  I didn’t think I needed a new one. The pink, blue, yellow, white and lime green striped one I found at the dollar store, the one with the blue handles was working fine. It was hubs who didn’t like it. Not because it was getting dirty but he just didn’t like it.

So I decided to make a new knitting bag. This one would even have a pocket on the front with a zipper for all the little stuff knitters like and a top that also zipped just so there would be fewer accidental spilling of contents on the car floor or wherever I might be knitting.

But first I decided to take a little detour to decorate a tee-shirt. Had trouble with the tiny ribs of the fabric creating hazards for my pen work so decided that I’d give it a try on some plain cotton. I ventured forth into the most creative fun I had in years. Decided that it would be the perfect thing for the zipper pocket on the front of my knitting bag. And experimenting away I ended up with eight pockets and a Christmas gift project to make for my three daughters, my daughter-in-law, two granddaughters, my sister and best friend.

  • I began with loose sketches.
Chicadees

chickadees

Fox

Fox

20150215_144028

Giant Red Mushroom

Giant Red Mushroom

Poppies

Poppies

Elm Leaves

Elm Leaves

Geraniam

Geranium

Number eight was from a photograph of mine of a Hydrangea my daughter gave me. As I mentioned, my sketches are very informal, they are little more than little guide to what I hope to create.

Then I fearlessly jumped into paint with markers directly onto my fabrics. The actual work is of course done, but showing your the progress and results begins in my next post.

Until then keep creating, or reading, or listening to music, or painting. Just enjoy what you do,

Cheers,

Shez

 

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Painting

Those of you who have been following this blog know I am a DIY enthusiast. My list of “can do” is long. It’s a passion, but not my fault. It’s genetic. Genes handed down from an inventor, a teacher of upholstery and cake decorating at college level, knitter, a quilter and a foundry pattern maker.

This time I am not talking about painting walls, or making wallpaper which involves paint, nor doing faux walls. I am talking about creating artwork.

Son, Paul*, is a partner in our business. His cubical at work is next to mine. He has been doing a lot of painting recently and is honing his craft. He told me he finds it very relaxing to go home and paint. He loves acrylic because it can be stopped and started at any time. He encouraged me to give it a try.

A trip to the local art store and five tubes of paint; red, blue, yellow, white and Payne’s Grey, plus the practice canvas boards Paul provided and I was set to begin. There was a scene I had passed several times at the end of summer when the fields are golden and some trees were beginning to show their soft colors before they fully color up. A dark sky with the sun peeking through added long shadows. I wanted to paint that but I did not want to get so tied down with details. It needed to be a free and relaxing creation.

Self imposed rules were to use only one 1″ brush borrowed from my watercolors. Do not wash the brush and be finished in 20 minutes. I did it in 30.

1" Brush 30 Minutes First Acrylic Painting

1″ Brush 30 Minutes
First Acrylic Painting

There are now 8 paintings in my stack. I learn something new with each one. This weekend I see the obsessive detail beginning to creep in again. Detail is not relaxing. It is not necessary. Omitting some detail leaves the viewer room to imagine. I have discovered a love  for landscape. That does seem to be when I relax and enjoy it the most.

*A word about Paul. At two years old his favorite TV show was not Sesame Street it was Bob Ross. His wife is an artist also. Paul teaches at his wife’s studio, Vine Gogh Artist Bar. You can view some of his work at the link.

Cheers to creating,

Shez

PS It is very scary to share the first painting. There are skills not yet developed. Hopefully you will see positive progress.

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Doll Project

Doll pattern and fabric.

Doll pattern and fabric.

 

One thing I love to do is make doll patterns and dolls. It suddenly dawned on me that fox girl had not received her doll. I know she is more an animal person than a doll person and she has dozens of dolls, whole collections of Bratz, Barbies, Monster High, Disney Princes, all in multiple sizes plus lots of Polly Pockets, and miniature dolls that go with bugs and animals of all sizes. The one thing she didn’t need was yet another doll. But on the other hand she couldn’t be the only one of my girls not to have a soft, handmade doll. After the panic to get the fox dress done, nothing would do but I would burn the midnight oil to made a doll for her.

Since she had spent hours sitting in my lap “helping” and watching while I did all the drawings for my book, I thought it was time Lexi came to life. It was a huge gamble that she wouldn’t care, but for me I love to make dolls and this was a great excuse to make another one.

So I dug out my pattern, the fabric and I was off and running. Sweet Hubs was just shaking his head in disbelief that I would take on such a project with so little time available and I only had ten days to do it. That is ten days that were all fill to overflowing with work, housework, decorating, cookie making parties, dinners, guests, etc. Oh and let’s not forget a daily photo blog commitment plus and occasional post here and wanting to keep up with all of your blogs.

Parts growing.

Parts growing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even think about taking many progress photos. So you will see in the next photo that I did get the parts cut, sewn, stuffed and mostly together.

A doll in progress.

The headless doll is nearly ready for her head.

And she needed a bit more stuffing before the head was attached.

Doll has her head attached.

Head attached.

The next three steps are to add her face and give her a haircut and make underwear before the next photo.

The doll has a face and underwear.

Meet Lexi. I hope you recognize her from my blog icon.

Here is Lexi waiting for her new clothes.

The doll is named Lexi and she is finished.

Lexi is finished.

Now to make a dress and shoes for her. If only I had been able to take Monday off work, but I couldn’t and I realized that Lexi would likely not have shoes.

The doll has a dress that matches the young girl's dress.

Lexi in her Fox dress.

No shoes but a dress just like the girl’s dress. And in case you are wondering, while managing to applique a fox on a child’s dress was time-consuming and tedious, the smaller the applique the harder they are to do. To say this doll dress took hours would be accurate.

Wish I could tell you that my granddaughter loved it all, but that would be stretching the truth. Oh, she was sweet and gracious and would never hurt my feelings intentionally. She did not like the denim because it was shiny with silver threads, she doesn’t like dolls nearly as much a foxes. She knows it’s special, but I could tell it’s not really her thing, now. I had a ton of fun making it. Maybe she’ll let me borrow it.

Little girl with doll.

My sweet granddaughter with Lexi on New Year’s eve.

Little Granddaughter’s pajamas just happened to coordinate with Lexi’s new dress. The new black boots were too small.

My Christmas present was a NEW SEWING & EMBROIDERY machine!!! So some new clothes for Lexi was a great way to try it out. It’s my first computerized sewing machine and it takes a bit of a learning curve, but I LOVE it!! No excuses now not to get some projects finished up.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. Thank you dear friends for sharing yourselves with me through this past year. It is wonderful to have friends all over the world.

Cheers to new friendships,

Shez

 

 

 

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Filed under Children, Crafts, Do It Yourself, Holiday, Random, Sewing

St Helens High School Class Reunion

The invitation came for the 50th Class Reunion. Holy cow, that was a shock to my system. How could it be 50 years?? Isn’t it more like 20 years? I don’t feel any different.

Sweet Hubs asked if I wanted to go. No, I didn’t think I would, after all, I had only lived there two years and my roots didn’t go back to kindergarten like my new classmates had. I hadn’t kept in touch with any of them. They wouldn’t remember me. And so my mind went, but for some reason I hung onto the invite.

Two months later I decided to toss it out and it went into recycle. “What have you done?” my mind yelled, “there  will never be another one. What if you regret it later?” So I retrieved the letter. Sent the RSVP and the check and Sweet Hubs agreed to go with me, we’d just call it a night out if no one remembered me or even worse if I couldn’t remember anyone. After all, a lot happens between high school graduation and the 50th year reunion, too many things would I remember?

We went this past Friday night. I discovered that unless you still lived in the same small town and saw each other at the grocery sore, we were all in the same boat. Fortunately, we all were issued  photo ID, with our high school name is big bold letters (thanks guys, we needed that) and our high school class photos. What a great ice breaker, we all agreed we looked familiar and as soon as we could put the young face with the somewhat older one, we immediately knew each other. So many friends and so much to share. Special thanks to my Sweet Hubs patiently tried to act involved. He became the photographer for me with my  camera and then others handing him their cameras.

50th Class Reunion

Hey, you guys talking back there need to turn around and pay attention for your class photo.

Group photo

Okay, we’re getting closer. Smile. Hey, Lorrie, look this way, please.

Anther shot of the class reunion.

This one looks good, one person caught in a blink and a petite lady in the back row that should have  been either picked up by Jack or in front of him.

Happy, smiling and all eyes open.

I got this great photo of some friends and no blinks.

Was I glad I went?? You better believe it. The best evening ever. I remember how much my classmates had meant to me. They were such a friendly, welcoming and supportive group of people who accepted an outsider into their world. Thanks Class of 1962!! Hope to see you all soon. Or at least hear from you.

Hugs,

Shez

(PS Note to classmates Shez is my pen name,  nick name or alter ego, you knew me as Shari Williams.) 😉

 

 

 

 

 

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The Wake

It seems like there are days that life just throws a lot of curve balls and I can deal with that, it’s when they are grouped together and become weeks, overlapping weeks that it becomes a challenge. That’s when even finding time to write down the fun blog I want to post never arrives. A few other things pop up and by the time there is time, nothing fun or funny comes to mind. A family event is taking a bit more of my time than I seem to have but is something I want to share. First a little history is needed.

My mother and her sisters were very close. They chatted on the phone often and visited each other at least monthly.  After they all retired, they got together often for Mexican Train Dominoes. They mistakenly believed that none of their children (we cousins) ever got together and with our growing families; we admit we didn’t often have the chance, but we thought about it a lot. So to thwart their lazy children,  they (the sisters) decided that an annual family picnic was the way to force all of the cousins and all their children, baby and kid paraphernalia, diapers, food, bottles into our cars and drive to a designated spot to have lunch.

Of course the Annual Picnic was hatched well before they retired, and the rules were laid down when our little ones were babes in arms. As they got older the Annual Picnic took on new meaning and became a driving force for them.

The oldest member of the family at 89 is so happy to meet the youngest.

Mom always adored babies. What fun for her to meet the latest addition to our family.

They thought of nothing else, taking a whole year to plan. We had to eat precisely at Noon. Not a second later.  (That makes for a stressful Saturday morning for families because not only were we to be packed and there but we also had to bring food, dishes and silverware, drinks, etc.) Interestingly the sisters decided “pot luck” might produce a once yearly unbalanced meal so they assigned all the descendants of each sister to a food category. Main dishes, salads, deserts. These rotated by sister each year. Somewhere along the line the sisters decided it could not be a real picnic without Un-named to Protect the Guilty Large Grocery Deli’s fried chicken. Not to pick on said Un-named to Protect the Guilty Large Grocery Deli’s chicken, but even fresh at the deli, it is not that good. Several hours after pick up it is horrible.

Family Reunion Picnic 2011

Two Nieces, a Sister-in-Law and Great-great-Nephew Greet Granny

As the sisters got even older and there were only two left they decided to turn it over to the cousins to plan. Oh we were thrilled. Actually none of us objected to that what we did object to was the phone calls.  They were always the same: “Have you girls set the date and place for the reunion yet?”  They began the nagging in March. As they got older the phones calls got earlier. At some point we cousins actually started betting to see which of us would get the first phone call reminding us of the Annual Picnic and had we set the date and place? Trust me with a houseful of kids, animals, sports, school and holidays, were we even thinking of a picnic in February? Not on your life. We were trying to find snow boots for their feet.

I won that bet one year not because mom was the only one left, but because she knew my cousins and I were taking a weekend trip in October and she decided we must set the date while we were all together.  She called every day for six weeks to remind me. I found out she also called all the cousins at least once a week to remind them as well. Over dinner one night we cousins did set the date. First Saturday in August, just like it had been the previous dozen or so years, at the standard beach location. We decided on Pot Luck because what if everyone brought the same thing? As one very wise cousin put it, “So what is the down side of 20 different chocolate cakes?”

Family Reunion 2011

Pictures from last family reunion show the way our family is: All Smiles.

My mom was exceptional, she started calling about the picnic in late September.  Unfortunately, it did little to stem the trickle flood of phone calls. By that time in her life, mom was having trouble remembering dates. So once or twice a week she would call, “Did you set the date for the picnic yet?” And each time I would sweetly (Honest, I was always sweet with her or at the least very patient. Really!) remind her it was same place, same time and the same date. As always it was the first Saturday in August and she would be riding with us.

Three of cousin Sue's Granddaughters

This little princess was not too happy to look at the camera but her sister and cousin were more than happy to strike a pose and pop smiles.

With the exception of a few of her cousins Mom was the last of her generation. She died  last October of pancreatic cancer, just a few weeks after her last Annual Picnic. Her service was a small family affair at the grave site where we spread some of her ashes. It was the first Saturday of November. The rest of her ashes have been interned in their double plot beside dad. The date marker of 2011 has been installed.

Next weekend is first Saturday in August, in honor of our mothers, we are having the family reunion at our house. It is a pot luck at about 1, stay as late as anyone can. If they can’t arrive at one, we will be here fixing dinner later. So not a problem.

The event is a Wake, rather than a Celebration of Life, or a Memorial. The reason is simple, mom’s favorite movie was Waking Ed Devine. We may actually  watch that this week, just to make sure we cover all bases.

Two pretty girls help clean up and get to keep the giant and very colorful paper flowers

These two were so happy to be awarded the beautiful paper flowers when the party was over and things were being picked up. Left of the brunette you can see Mom, still holding her great-great nephew.

I’m sorry, but if you are not a friend or relative of my mother you aren’t invited. If you are a friend or relative please join us. Can you bring a chocolate cake? Oh, wait, dang I can’t eat gluten. Guess I better get busy whipping up a GF Chocolate cake, or at I can whip up a batch of awesome GF Chocolate Brownies for desert. Either works for me. Maybe I should experiment with both GF and vegan. Just for fun.

Here is where mom and dad will always be: In my heart. Their remains and the marker that tells others they walked this earth is on the hillside just below the marble relief of the last supper.

A marble carving of the Last Supper

Marble relief of The Last Supper is at the top of the hill in the portion of the cemetery where Mom is buried.

Next weekend I hope she’ll be looking down from above with her sisters and they’ll all be smiling and saying, “Can you imagine, they actually got it together without a single phone call???” Then perhaps they’ll laugh and realize they did a good pretty job, we all turned out to be great group of people, with fantastic children and extraordinary grandchildren and we are a happy bunch.

Hugs,

Shez

PS The fist five photos were taken last year at the Annual Picnic. Mom’s last big picnic. Because of a surprise significant birthday incorporated into the day, the picnic was held in late July. It was a very good thing it was early. Mom was able to be there and love every minute of the day. She never realized the date had been changed. The last picture taken last Friday.

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Fantasies

Do you ever fantasize? You know, dream about something that you will never have a chance to have? I do. In fact my fantasy involves a tool. A tool my husband doesn’t understand why I love it. But love it, I do.

Every time I use it, I fantasize about going to an exotic place, a place that glistens with clean. A place that shines of beauty. But hubby always cautions me to be careful with the vibrating tool. He is so afraid of me getting hurt. But I always use caution and feel myself getting damp and drifting away. He thinks I’m nuts when he is more than willing to do it for me.

I roll up my pants, kick off my shoes and off I go to bliss. I know the dangers, I know the pressure could cut my toes off, but so far I find it very pleasurable. Be prepared, this is my dream:

This is the tool.

Honda Power Washer

The Dream Machine

Honda Power Washer from the other side

From the other side the beautiful rend machine looks mostly blue and black.

The power nozzle sprayer

And the magic happens with this long rod. Hold it carefully it kind of vibrates.

My fantasy is that I could clean the bathrooms, the kitchen, the laundry room, the floors, the walls, the ceilings, the widows, the inside of the oven, everything with the super power washer.

Cleaning the balcony or the concrete patio, the deck rails and all else, in a couple of hours without breaking a sweat  while I watch the dirt disappear is pure pleasure. No scrubbing, no polishing, no kidding. It’s not nearly as much work as doing a couple of flights of stairs with the vacuum. Not nearly as much work as being on hands and knees scrubbing floors. Not as dangerous as standing on a ladder to scrub the ceiling. Much more fun the cleaning the inside of the toilet until I can be proud of its glistening white porcelain.

I hold that wand like a fireman putting out a fire. Or the heroes fighting off an invasion of aliens with their flame throwers. Then the real fantasy kicks in.

I imagine it is the inside of the shower that is going from a bit dingy to sparkling, shiny white. Just think about it, it is a total power trip. In a day I can be done and it doesn’t need to be done again for a year. You can actually visually witness the gunk being blown off the surface. Think of the advantage of using it to wash a kid’s dirty neck, no more fighting if we could just hose them off once  or twice a year. And the animals, just a quick power spray and they would be sweet and sparkling clean. Ahhhh, it is such a sweet dream.

And housework would not be repeated daily or weekly. I seriously imagine I am cleaning the inside of my house. I actually smile as I envision cleaning and going from room to room leaving a fresh clean house in my wake. Then after the bathrooms are clean from ceiling to floor. I move on to the windows, the blinds, the inside of the refrigerator, the chandeliers, the vents over the stove.

Awwww no need to take me away, just let me go with out with the power washer and fantasize…

…and the silly thing is hubby thinks it’s his job, he doesn’t like to do it, but doesn’t want me to do it. He doesn’t want the neighbors to see me working so hard. Hard? Humph! Hard is doing it all by hand, no sunshine, closed up inside, and repeat some of it every day the rest every week. Repeat, repeat and repeat some more.

That is reality, says she with the awesome washer and dryer and the fabulous dishwasher, a new Dyson and the sweetest husband. But wouldn’t it be nice? The only thing we need to make it a reality is a fully water proof house inside and out. Not sure what to do with mattresses, pillows and carpets, but I’m working on that. It is all available now…in fantasy land.

Cheers,

Shez

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The Big Snow Storm

The grandkids Hans (11 y/o boy) and Goldilocks (5 y/o girl) were coming for most of the weekend. We were all excited because the weatherman had been promising-teasing-hinting-suggesting we would have snow. We were hoping-wishing-anxious-bouncing (off the walls) with anticipation. Every 10 minutes someone was checking out the window or checking the temperature.

By 9pm, Goldilocks had climbed into Granddad’s lap and was asleep. By 11:30 Hans was still checking the temp and out the window when he decided maybe we should all go to bed and hope the miracle happened during the night.

At 8am, two excited kids bounced into our room to let us know it was snowing. Yes, it was. You could count the flakes as the fell, tiny little things, one or two a second. They melted on contact.

We got dressed, ready and headed out to Denny’s for breakfast. It has become a Sunday morning ritual. Hans and Goldilocks look forward to going out for Pancake Puppies when they spend the night on Saturday. Still no snow. We came home where little flurries kept teasing us all day, but never enough to even cover the ground. Then about 2:30 the big flakes fell fast and furious and within 15 minutes we had a glorious covering of snow. The sun peaked out the snow was melting in less time than it had taken to accumulate.

Goldilocks was jumping and dancing, “Come on, Grams. We gotta go play in the snow.” We grabbed our shoes and jackets and headed out. To play. To build a snowman. With less than 1/8 inch of snow on the ground; in the places there was any snow.

Come On! We Have to Play!! We Can Build a Snowman!!!

We couldn’t take time to find gloves or the snow would be gone. With nothing more than our bare hands we began to build a snowman. We rolled a big ball for the body, a smaller one for the head and then added the accessories.

Goldilocks Adds the Finishing Touches

Goldilocks took the time to pose with her first snowman of 2012. She was most proud of how he looked. She wanted to add arms, but finding such tiny sticks was a challenge. So she decreed that we built a snow cat.

Goldilocks and Her Snowman


Last but not least, a portrait of Snowman #1 2012.

And there you have it. The miracle snowman. Do you know how hard it was to find enough snow to build a snowman? We think he turned out very cute!!

At dusk he was still sitting all alone on the grass, which by then was completely green with no snow in sight. He may last through the night because the temperature dipped below the freezing mark just before dark.

Hope you had a fun day, too!

Cheers,
Shez

PS QUILT DISASTER For those watching for an update on the quilt, it is spelled “disaster.” I even stayed up until 1:30 this morning…stay tuned…:(

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