Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hand Painted Scarves

I love learning new things and so when a friend encouraged me to take a class in hand painting scarves I jumped at the chance.  I took a class yesterday. The class was in Black Mountain, NC so I needed to drive about an hour.  The drive was glorious! The leaves are "at peak" and the town was buzzing because the annual leaf festival is going on. Black Mountain is a sweet little town still mostly untouched by commercialization. I easily found a parking place nearby on the street and entered the Black Mountain Yarn Shop right on time. I was offered a cup of fresh coffee and ushered to the back room where the tables were set up for the  class. The class was made up of 3 students and one instructor. I was given great personal attention and inspired to set my creativity free. I started in a more controlled manner and gradually loosened up. It  can be a freeing art form like finger painting or abstract art or more controlled to get a more detailed final product. I think I am going for the freedom factor from now on. Everyone produced very different forms of art and each was beautiful in its unique expression. One lady decided to take the simplest technique and just have fun with it. I used that technique and tried something more complex to experiment. The third lady was a photographer.She brought beautiful pictures of butterflies and she wanted to interpret them on her scarf. This was very complex and I think it involved having to let it dry and do other steps on another day. What her scarf looked like when I left was beautiful and she wasn't even finished. I hope she brings it next time so I can enjoy her finished product. This is my new art love! I don't have any materials to continue working yet and I am planning to take a class in November to learn more.

When the class was completed I drove by a friend's house to see if she was home. This is a childhood friend who I had not seen for over 30 years until we ran into each other in a store randomly about 2 years ago. We recognized each other immediately. It may not seem as unusual to you reading this as it does to us because neither of us are from this state. We grew up in south Florida. She had married and moved to Atlanta. I had  married and moved to Baltimore. Yet here we were face to face in a store called " Divine Connections" . In the years between our meeting again, combined we had 6 children 3 grand children, both of us had lost our parents and somehow at this point in life moved to within an hour of each other.
When I arrived at her doorstep unexpected, my friend was working, but her husband quickly adopted me , and took me on a tour of Black Mountain.First we went to see my friend at work ,got lunch and then toured some more of Black Mountain mostly on foot. They convinced me to stay over in their guest room so we could go to a lecture and visit some more that night.We laughed like little girls until 2:30 am.
Here is what I learned on my tour. Everyone walks everywhere. Everyone knows you if you live there because everyone speaks to you. If they don't recognize you, you are from out of town (probably  in town for the leaf festival) and so they welcome you and ask where you are from. They have a huge Halloween turn out and if you live there you need to have thousands of pieces of candy ready at the door. (no exaggeration). If you are decorating outside the fireman just might come and help you hang that high stuff or hold the ladder.It is almost Mayberry.

I already have my reservation in to stay at my friend's house in November for my next scarf class. This time I will bring my toothbrush and some clothes. I love retirement, for the first time in my life I am free to live spontaneously!

Here is the scarf:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

New Listings

I enjoy putting new listings on Etsy, however I procrastinate. It requires photographing the item. Cropping and otherwise adjusting the photo for maximum benefit, and creating a listing. this is along process and when faced with the creative endeavor of making a new item or listing an old one I always create.
 Perhaps if I were more tech savvy it wouldn't become a chore. For example, yesterday I spent a long time arranging scarves on mannequin and photographing them. my phone has a pretty good camera so I was using it. I took pictures of over 20 items, each one from several views. I found the button to send them to my computer by email. I waited over an hour an checked, it was still loading. I waited another hour and text-ed my son to ask how long it should take. When I went to bed it still claimed to be sending (well it was a lot of photos I reasoned) Today G called me to see if I got them,he  reminded me to check the spam folder and told me about a new app I could look at to see if it was easier. I looked at the app , it had some poor reviews and I decided not to get it. I remembered the phone salesman had put his phone number in my phone in case I needed help. ( I am sure he occasionally regrets that) I explained and he problem solved. We looked at option and finally he said "Why don't you just plug your phone into your computer and upload (or is it download?) Of course I said, what was I thinking?!? It took about 5 seconds after that to get them in the file I needed to fix them before adding them to Etsy.
It took a couple of hours to write descriptions and choose photos for the shop but I finally added a few items. I will only add a few a day because the "New items window of opportunity" on the front page is just a few seconds when a new item is listed. I would like to have that opportunity several times, besides this listing part isn't the part that is fun.I also changed some of the shop message and appearance . It was on vacation when I was in treatment and healing. I will show you the new listings here:

Five new items and it only took me a few hours. Well, I guess I can hope I get better at the tech stuff with practice. I also added another Cancer Awareness treasury. this has been really rewarding. The items featured are from strangers but a lot of them email me to tell me how cancer has touched their lives either personally or though a family member. I was just trying to get a reminder out there each day but it has proved to be more than that.

Remember to take care of yourself and your loved ones!

Wow! I just flipped over to etsy to copy that link and someone has already featured my new pink scarf in a treasury. (That window of opportunity works!)

Friday, October 12, 2012

I Love Yarn Day!

I guess they have a day for everything now, but I admit , I love yarn so I am happy to celebrate it. I discovered yarn at an early age and I admit I can spend hours looking at it , touching it and dreaming about how to use it. Last year  a friend and I went to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair. We spent an entire day looking at fibers from the live animals to finished yarn and woven, and knitted projects. This show will be near Asheville, NC again this month Oct.26,27,28. They have numerous specialists there to teach people everything from dyeing , to weaving , to the needle arts. I hope to go enjoy it again.

Today was also the day I finally got it in gear and photographed more than 20 items I have been knitting and crocheting for the past few months while healing. These pics are crossing cyberspace as I type this and when they arrive  I will spend several hours listing them on my ETSY shop.

To honor Cancer Awareness Month I am making a treasury each day and posting it. My aim is to remind people to get their appropriate tests and support research and support groups. One of the treasuries is made up completely of items created by survivors and patients.

Click on a few of these treasuries . You may find a holiday gift you can strike off your list early.

I also cooked/baked for my foodie friend in Texas today. It was fun but I am finding packing and shipping to be the hard part. Remember I will be revealing both what I am sending and what I receive on Oct.31.

As this "I Love Yarn Day " comes to a close I intend to spend some time crocheting or knitting.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fabric and Food - Two of my Favorite Hobbies

Yesterday I took my first quilting class.(Lee Sewing in Hickory) I don't know what I expected but it wasn't like a class. I guess too many years of dull education workshops had frazzled my brain. I was there early with the requested supplies in hand. I was looking at the other participants thinking maybe I brought the wrong kind of ruler or maybe they were really experienced quilters and I might hold everyone back. The store opened late (which I found out is standard) Everyone was helpful, friendly, and this was fun! I got to know people.It was real low key, no divas here or hot shots either. People loaned me eraser and pencil sharpener and other items they had brought from experience and I didn't know to bring. I began to learn about people's lives and everyone casually visited while we worked. I was hoping, before the class , that we might get out early like the instructor suggested, because our initial task was easy, but as we worked next to each other I found I didn't want to go home and work by myself. I liked the casual visiting, helpful hints and acceptance I was getting. Instead of leaving at 12. I stayed and worked alongside these wonderful women until nearly 3 pm.I found out some of these women just come and work together even when they aren't scheduled for a class. It was easy to see why.

I am still puzzled how they can afford to do these projects so often. Some are doing more than one at a time. The project I chose is a real budget buster for me, but I have wanted to learn to quilt for a long time so I decided to adjust some other things to give myself the experience. This quilt is really a wall hanging for Christmas and it has a lot of applique. It turns out to be way bigger than I had pictured in my mind. I am rethinking where it will be displayed. I am looking forward to working with these women again soon and I cannot say enough good things about the organization skills of the facilitator (Tammy).I am busy at home now with my tracing of pieces and keeping them organized. I have a lot of work to do before our next meeting but you can't really call it work when it is so much fun.

O Holy Night by Brenda Henning

Today I received the name of the person I will be sending food to on the Foodie Pen Pals project. My mission now is to contact the person within 72 hours for a shipping address, allergy information etc. My person has a rockin website of her own and I am trying to glean some information about her by reading it.

Once I have received all of the information I need and I know where it is going I will put the box together and get it sent. IT must go out in 15 days. We are not allowed to reveal the contents of the box we receive or the one sent until REVEAL DAY, Oct. 31. I am still looking for ideas so send them in to me here as a comment or by email.

It has not gone unnoticed by my heart that for the $15 I will spend for this box to a stranger, who can also afford $15 to send a box to a stranger, we could both be sending $15 to a charity to send food to someone in need. I also admit I may spend that much on eating out this week so I am telling my heart to shut -up and have some fun.hmm I still hear it, maybe I need to look into my heart in the nest few weeks and see how I can do both.

I hope each of you are exploring the things you have always wanted to do (or just found out you want to do).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals

I know I've blogged about Pinterest which I must confess is still a major interest. I have pinned more projects, organizing schemes and recipes than I could ever use.I have probably used more recipes than any other category (board). Tonight my family was upset when I told them that I thought I had mis-pinned (lost) the recipe for tonight's dinner , because they really, really want me to fix it again. Nothing is ever truly lost in cyberspace so I found it and repinned it onto two boards (better to be sure). Come and follow my boards if you dare.

Today through Pinterest I found a new love, on a blog. Did you know foodies have pen pals? Isn't that wonderful? I have applied. They will match me with someone from another part of the US. We will send a box of food to each other that represents our region of the country. This can be homemade or store-bought. We cannot spend more than $15 plus shipping. Many of these people have blogs where they share what they receive with blog followers. See I did it all for you!
Seriously I can hardly wait to be matched with someone. Maybe some of my local followers would like to send me suggestions in the comments section for items from our area that I could send to represent our NC Piedmont.

If  you are interested in participating I will post information here so you can join us.If you can't meet this month's deadline maybe you want to apply in time for next month. There are Canadian groups and a similar group in Great Britain. To avoid shipping problems it is confined within countries.There are some simple, easy rules to keep it civilized but nothing to hard to follow.

I am thinking of "fun food " that doesn't weigh too much, and can ship without breaking. something usual to us but maybe odd to another region.I will post here as soon as I have been matched and I know where the package will be sent.

The cyberworld is a vast and magnificent place and the journey is just beginning. I am thrilled to feed myself metaphorically and this time literally.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Letter to the WWW

Dear Word Wide Web or www as you prefer,

We have had our ups and downs  through the past years. I admit sometimes I have viewed you as a time gobbling monster, with no regard for all of the others in my life that deserve my time. Now, I realize, as in all relationships ,I am responsible for setting boundaries and when I do our relationship is better.

You know, my favorite pic of you is the one, often seen of a globe from space with your web composed of dots of light connecting across continents and vast oceans. This exemplifies how I see you at this point in our relationship, Now that I have matured and my infatuation is mellowed I see what a really great relationship we have. You give me great joy and so I want to share that with you.

Today I have been in touch with people not only across space, like a former e-pal in Australia, but also across time. I have connected with people I went to high-school with and kids in high school now ( former students)

They share moments of their lives both great and small . I have seen pictures of hummingbirds in the back yard, and new babies and grand kids and lots of new pets. I have shared frustrated posts of young peoples' first loves, difficult tests and driver training. I have witnessed many birthdays, graduation,first day of school, summer vacation photos and weddings. These are people who might not have shared these things with me otherwise.

You often bring a smile to me.Some people share a funny joke or saying .Many times I see a video of courage or a poster of encouragement. Because of you I see heartfelt posting of political or social causes and even when I don't agree, it does my heart good to know people still care desperately and are trying to change their world.

I have prayed for friends and strangers, more than I ever would have without you. I have received the blessings of prayers from countless numbers of friends and friends -of -friends because through you people found out I was battling cancer.Now that I am cancer-free I have been able to celebrate this with friends, relatives and even strangers who had similar experiences.

I find recipes and knitting instructions and tutorials through you. I have gotten organization and cleaning tips through blogs of strangers who are somehow better at that stuff than I am.Some of these even come from across the globe and the wonderful intricate skills of a foreign land are shared with me because now you translate. You have grown so smart, have I told you lately?

I have sold my handmade items on my Etsy shop, allowing me to be a part of a wedding or occasional gift while enjoying the pleasure of seeing my creativity grow. I have purchased on e-bay a enjoyed the thrill of the win.

So now our relationship is more mature.  I am still testing the reaches of your boundless treasures but I am determined to keep setting boundaries because I know how you jealously try to seduce me away from my real life of activity and in-person relationships.(Remember all of that time I spent building a virtual farm? ) I do recognize your place in my life and I just wanted to tell you I think I love you. Keep spreading your light-lines across the globe. Each line connects family, friends,and friends of friends in a unique way. Yes, today I will admit it I love you.I admit it across the whole world wide web to all my friends, family and friends of friends and former Farmville neighbors.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

So Much Time ---So Much to Do !

I think I need to write a book on how to retire.It isn't as easy as one would think. Of course my retirement was complicated by the preceding illness. The first challenge is bed time and rising time. This got messed up when I was sick and complicated by my discovery of Pinterest and staying on there until rooster hours. There were some books read on the Nook that caused this too. I finally solved this by setting an alarm for 2 hours later than my work time used to be.Getting up late but getting up in time to enjoy the day. A fellow retired friend calls me about an hour after that and we plan our separate days together and then check at the end of the day to hold each other gently accountable.

The next challenge is meeting appointments and planning the time.I still have check-ups scheduled to reassure me and my doctors that everything is good now. I had delayed regular check-ups and dental appointments etc that I needed catching up on.

Now I am finally able to help my hard working families . I have driven grand-children to camp, helped my DIL set up her first classroom, and helped my other son and DIL get settled in their new home. I fix dinner every Monday for one family and for the other family on Tuesday. It is so nice to have time to step up and help relieve the kids from a few of the stress they face. It does my heart good I look at them in wonder remembering the years of homework, sports teams, scouts etc. Every parent is an invisible hero.

  I had a list of things I planned to do when I retired . It was extensive. I think everyone begins to fantasize about this kind of plans when times get stressful in our later years working. So its a long list and the time is theoretically unending.The attitude of infinite time is the main confusion.

I have been finishing some projects, learning some crafts and trying some things I have been wanting to try. In addition to these I have taken up couponing, trying new recipes and trying to organize my home. Ok, so I am demonstrating my scattered Gemini traits. Eventually I will get projects completed and when I learn to photograph them you will see them here.

Last week I made a bracelet sold on Etsy for a wedding this month.I also began quilting. I learned it from a You Tube video. I  got the top completed .This week , I visited a friend out of town, crocheted the crocodile stitch that I taught myself last week, I made a bracelet, learned to do the viking knit with wire, shopped with coupons and cooked a family meal with one of those new recipes from Pinterst.. Hey, that doesn't look so bad! The house still needs more organizing, mostly I am pinning ideas for this (it is easier than doing it)

Here is an image of the crocodile stitch in the completed form I will list the tutorial for you too.  The one I am making now is promised but I will be making things for my shop soon. I have a great book on these items I met this author and she signed my book. At the time I didn't even know how to crochet. When I couldn't read the diagrams I found help on You Tube.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Snowflakes in June ?!?

It has been 6 months since I blogged, but I notice I correctly predicted I would be ready to blog again in June. If you are confused by my absence, go to This site contains a journal of my journey with cancer. It has been 6 months of treatments and I am cancer free now . I have had both chemo and radiation to ensure it won't return. It is remakable that a person can conquer cancer in 6 months. I owe that to many prayers by friends and God's grace.

My life is getting back to normal and I have been planning my projects to add to my etsy shop. I have some very energetic days and some that I just nap through. This is normal according to the doctors but I must learn  to accept it.

July 1st I will be officially retired. I can start easy because I will spend Mondays and Tuesdays with my grandgirls which is what we have done anyway for the past few years. When fall comes I may need to make some more adjustments, but for now it will be a lot like past summers but with more naps.

I have been exploring some projects to try on the Internet. My problem (being a Gemini) is choosing one thing to concentrate on. There are too many great possibilities. I am attracted to freeform knitting and crochet because it is portable and it would be a great way to learn new stitches for both forms of fiber arts. Besides that I just love the way completed projects look.

Only recently I have discovered I must do projects that are out of season in order to have them completed on time. If you are like me ,maybe this is timely, start in the summer , finish by winter
I recently finished a snowflake crochet  afghan project that I admired for months before I started it. I am a beginning , self taught ,crocheter. Sometimes I have to go back and review basic stitches before I begin. It was listed as an easy project, but the original directions had an error. When it was corrected it was listed as intermediate. Somehow I was finally able to complete it. It is a Redheart  "crochet along" with videos to help you or just download the free directions from the website.
Dusty Snowflake Throw

Redheart has a pretty model showing off the afghan. This is a beautiful afghan and worth the time spent on it but I wouldn't make one to sell it was too much work.

My DIL , Beth, made a snowflake afghan too. Hers was another free online pattern. I hope to make it one day too. Here is the link to a blog where you can get the free pattern. . These snowflakes have the proper 6 points if that matters to you.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oops, Where did the time go?

I did not realize how much time has passed since I last blogged. The last blog referred to my final surgery.PTto bring you up to date it was successful, but they suggested from the pathology report that I undergo some chemotherapy to be sure it never returns. So February and March I had chemo. February's chemo didn't agree with my body so I got skin burns that appeared several places on my body and I ended up in the local hospital because of my white blood count. The following month they suggested a different chemical and this time I ended up at Duke emergency room. Now I am trying radiation and I will be living at a Comfort House near the hospital for a month while I take radiation. I will return to blogging in May.

At the end if June I will be officially retiring from teaching, so my etsy business will become a more serious pursuit and I hope to reconnect with all of you again since I will be on the computer daily.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Experiences are Blessings

I have a theory that life is for experiences. Many experiences we control by choices we make and then God allows some surprises that we never planned on . Of course the surprises seem to come in when we least expect them  and then our choice is how we react. I am blessed with a tremendous support system made up of my personal beliefs, my family, friends ,coworkers and even acquaintances I have gained from etsy and blogging.

When I went to Duke for the surgery it was a two day affair with 3 nights in Durham. One day was filled with procedures and preparations and a full day for the surgery, then I had a night recovery at the hotel before the 3hour drive returning. My oldest son took off from his busy work schedule to be with me. Everywhere I went the medical staff made me feel special and cared for. They commented about my calmness,  I credit all the prayers and hugs for that.

The surgery was minimally invasive. When I finally had a chance to look at it I was shocked by the small size of the incision and the small loss of tissue. They were able to remove the lymph node for testing from the same incision.I am experiencing minimal pain. It is a little hard being home and not able to clean or drive. I am right handed so crafting is delayed for a while too. I receive a lot of phone wishes and email support.

I will return to the surgeon on Friday to see how things look and how the tests came out. My daughter in law Beth is driving me this time. We will leave very early Friday AM. Continued prayers are appreciated.

Life is full of experiences , the trick is seeing them all as blessings,surely I will grow from this.