Monday, December 9, 2013

Creativity and Careers and Life

In my last post, I wrote how I was going to move out of my comfort zone, by joining a local artist group.  Well, I joined, but I haven't sent any pictures of things that I have worked on.  I still haven't allowed myself to call myself and artist.  I am still having a hard time thinking of myself as an artist versus a hand crafter.  While I consider hand-crafter's in general to be artists, I haven't thought of myself in that manner.

I started a new blog,, to document more of my creation as an "artist".  I am still trying to figure out my artistic point of view.  On one level, I just plain and simple, love to create.  On the other hand, I want to take my creating to a more significant level than just hobby.  I would love to find a way to make money doing something creative.

I have thought about going back to school for art therapy, but then I'm not sure that I really want to do therapy and art in the same job, maybe.  More recently, I have thought about going back to school and starting  whole new career.  I am thinking about getting a degree in fibers and textiles.  I could still be a social worker, but I could maybe teach or do something else in the fiber and textile field.  I live so close to the mill town and a quilt museum, that I could maybe do something there.

Life is still up in the air regarding careers, but I am trying to make a point of being creative.  unfortunately, I am so exhausted, that I don't always get to it.  One of these days, I am hoping to teach a class at a local craft studio.  I think once i got over my anxiety, I would love it.  I just need to get over my anxiety of failure.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

A friend I met on Facebook, who owns a creative arts studio, has been asking me to teach some classes.  I haven't summoned up my courage to teach a class yet, but hopefully will summon the courage soon.  She also wants me to join the Art Collaborative of Wakefield, a group of locally based artisans.  I have put it off for some time, but am now, really considering joining.  I am hopefully going to meet a bunch of people who are part of the collaborative on Saturday.

I am still nervous that I am not enough of an "artist".  If anything, I consider myself a handcraft artisan. But, in reality, I don't know that I feel like an artist or an artisan.  I wonder if I am still just thinking that this is a hobby but I want it to be more.  I want to make it more of a central part of my life.

With that being said, I think a large part of my issue is time.  I have 3 kids, a husband, a house, a part time social work job, and making handcrafted items.  I spend way too much time on the computer and not enough time doing what I should be doing.  I plan to unplug for a little bit.  I am only join to use Facebook for when I need to communicate with others and that is my only means.  I have enough projects that I can work on, I don't need to look for more.  I plan to quickly blog, but no spend too much time reading blogs.  I plan to limit myself to maybe an hour a day and that is a lot.  The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be too addicting.  no more spending hours on pinterest and pinning things that I never actually work on.  I will still go on pinterest, but will again limit my time.

My hope is that if I spend more time creating and less time pretending to create (by being on the computer looking for things to create), I will start to feel more like an artisan and not just a hobby crafter!  Maybe then I won't feel like I don't belong in the collaborative.


Monday, October 14, 2013


It took some time, but I have decided that I don't want to limit myself to one creative medium.  At one point, I was thinking that I need to focus on one area and become totally proficient and perfect at it, but I don't think that is what I want or need to do.  There are too many creative avenues that I want to experience and I can't imagine limiting myself to only one.

I do need to spend time getting proficient in each area that I like, but I don't have to only, for example, make quilts.  I can make paper, scrapbook, quill, make jewelry, create with clay, create with class.  I just need to spend time doing each of the things I like and learn how to get good at it.

There are some things that I am comfortable with my level of proficiency, but there are other areas that I need to learn more.  Some of it is just practice, and some of it I really need to learn more.  I am pretty proficient at making jewelry.  I'm sure there are a lot of things to learn but I know the basics.  I know the basics of quilting, but I could practice more.  I know the basics of hand sewing and embroidery but can practice more.  I know little to nothing about glass and want to learn more.  I feel very comfortable with making soap.  I feel pretty comfortable with most paper crafts, but I know that there is more that I want to learn.

When I thought of not creating with a certain medium or only creating with a specific medium, I just really got sad.  I love creating so much that I can't imagine limiting myself.  On the other hand, I also know that there are things that I don't enjoy as much.  Taking a painting class is ok, but it's not what makes me smile.  Playing with finer makes me smile.  Glass makes me smile.  Paper crafting, in all forms, makes me smile.  Clay makes me smile.  Photography makes me smile. And, finally, making jewelry makes me smile.

I like smiling!  Smiling is good for all of us!  I think we all need to figure out what makes us smile and then do it!  Now I just need to figure out how to do what makes me smile for a career!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Unprocessed October"

I'm taking some inspiration from my Facebook friend and fellow twin mom over at and challenging myself to follow through with my reasons for starting this blog.  For the most part, I shop the perimeter of the store.  I tend to try to make my own foods, but lately have become lazier than I would like.  I have also become lazy with my dairy free, gluten free diet.  With this being October 1st and the start of the fall season, I am challenging myself to really be focused on what we eat and how much of it is processed versus how much I make myself.

One thing I have started making from scratch is yogurt.  I used the "recipe" over at and have loved how it comes out.  It is definitely thinner than store bought yogurt, but guess what?  All you have to do is strain it and then you have greek yogurt and it is delicious, thick and Creamy!

I plan to make my own gluten free bread today after I get home from a play date.  Unfortunately it is from a mix, but I had already bought it and don't want to waste it.  I plan on making up my own gluten free pancake mix, my own granola and granola bars, maybe even my own nut milk.  I am hoping to get back in the habit of cooking healthy foods for my family.

Along with cooking, I am also planning on continuing to research more about art therapy and how I can make it a career.  Being creative is something that is very important to me, including being creative in the kitchen.  Being as natural as possible is very important to me.  I am hoping to get back on track with following my beliefs and living a handmade and natural life as much as possible.  As the title of my blog states, there is definitely a balance, but my goal is to be more natural than processed!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Projects to Work On

I have multiple projects in the works.  Personally, for some strange reason, I have a hard time staying on one projects until it is finished.  I quickly lose interest and want to move on to something new and at least for the moment, more interesting.  I guess, I need a short break from every project I make in order to remain interested in it.  I never completely lose interest, I just become more interested in something new.

Right now, I have a four or five year old Christmas stocking to finish.  For some reason, I have little to no interest in finishing it.  I am going to finish it, just to finish it, but I am not really enjoying it. I have an embroidered fairy to complete.  That is actually something that I want to complete and will enjoy working on.  I have a few English Paper Piecing project to complete.  One is a monthly EPP block and I am a little behind, but I want to work on that too.  I have 2 modern quilts to work on, one for my daughter and one for my son.  I was able to complete my oldest's son Angry Birds quilt and I really enjoyed that, knowing that he was going to love it.  Then there is also the Halloween costumes that I have to work on.  I have a yellow angry bird to make, some princess, and a robot.  I am thinking about adding yet another project, a quilt for my bed.  Then there is always the potential to make a baby quilt for my niece's baby who will be born in December.

I know that there are other projects to work on, but right now I can't think of them.  I wish I had more time to spend actually working on projects.  I can't decide if I would ever like to sell my work, but I think I would love to have a studio and have people come create with me.  I would love to be able to have open studio time and create with others and make money doing that.  Then there are those times that I think I would love to teach others about traditional hand crafts.  I sometimes think that it would be fun to teach a class and work on a project while I am teaching.  I have the opportunity to teach a class at a local studio, I am just not sure if I know enough to actually teach a class.  I think I could probably teach a basic knitting and quilting class.  I could even teach an EPP class, which I know I would like but I'm not sure if anyone else is interested.  I could teach a jewelry class and rubber stamping classes, but fear gets in the way.

One day, I'll get enough confidence to actually teach a class.  Until then, I'll just enjoy working on my own projects!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013


So here it is the beginning of September, the start of a new school year and almost the start of fall.  At this time of year, I start to think about new goals, new beginnings, and just new everything.  I love the fall.  I love the cool crisp weather.  I love the colors.  I love the energy.

With the start of fall, I am starting to think about what changes I need to make in my life.  What new beginnings I want to have.  What direction I want to lead my life.  With these thoughts in mind, I have been trying to really work on figuring out what direction I want to take my career.  On some level, I think I should just stick with what I know and remain a nursing home social worker.  The thought of not making a change is comforting in the fact that I like stability and I don't like change, as well as knowing that I know my job and can make money at it.  On the other hand, the thought of remaining on the exact same career path, really depresses me.

I recently watched an episode of "Choppped" on The Food Network.  They were interviewing one of the chefs and he talked about always thinking about food and cooking, and that was how he figured out that he wanted to be a chef.  Then last night, I was watching TV, and there was a commercial (I think it was a commercial) that talked about a woman who wanted to be a potato farmer.  Her father talked her out of it partially for the lack of money and partially for the time involved in farming and she went to school to be a nurse.  Ultimately, though, she ended up being a full time potato farmer and a part time nurse.  Both of these things got me thinking about my life.

What do I keep thinking about?  If I were to be asked about my passions in life, how would I answer?  If money were no object, what would I want to be doing with my life?

These questions keep bringing me back to health and wellness and creating.  I love making things.  I love how I feel while I am creating and when I finish creating.  I love the idea of "alternative" health and wellness.  I would love to be a part of a group of people that used "alternative" methods towards health and wellness.  I want to use my social work education and experience to to be creative and help people.

Maybe I can, once I have my LICSW, try to help people by using crafts as a therapeutic tool.  Maybe I can help people feel the same way about creating as I do.  I don't necessarily need my LICSW for that, unless I want to call myself a social worker when I am working with people.  I also think that it will give me a little more credibility for this type of work too.

I could start now by teaching a class at a local craft studio, but there is the issue of money.  I would love to give up my part time social work job and if I could make money, I would do so in a heart beat.  If I could get a full time job doing something I love, and make enough money, I would go back to work and put the kids in full day preschool.  The problem is I can't make enough money doing what I love.  So, for now, I will stay home with my children (which I love and truly appreciate), homeschool them for preschool, create with them and maybe with their friends, work part time in a nursing home, and create in my spare time.  I will make time to create as often as I can, while I complete my other responsibilities.

I will keep putting out to the universe: my dreams, my goals, and my desires.  I will try to be open to what opportunities I am presented with.  I will try to get enough courage to teach a class at my local craft studio.  I will spend the next couple of years trying to research getting information on how I can make my dreams a reality.  I will start using this blog as a way to teach others that being creative is a great way to reduce stress and live the good life.  I will share how things are going with my research and where my dreams are at.  I will share projects that I create, as well as some healthy food recipes and some wellness ideas.  I will try to follow my heart and live a creative and passionate life!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Buying New Crafting Tools

I could buy new craft supplies and tools every day.  My newest want is a Silhouette Cameo.  I have a feeling that I will end up buying a Silhouette portrait, which is just a smaller version of the cameo.  Unfortunately a Cameo is just not in  my budget right now.  The nice thing is that I have beard that I can make most things on the Portrait that I could on the Cameo, just not things that are as large as things that I could make on the cameo

I can only just begin to imagine the things that I could make with a cameo or a portrait.  I love that it is not limited to paper crafting or fabric crafting or just one medium.  I could make stencils for painting or even glass etching.  I could cut out fabric for appliqué.  I could make paper templates for english paper piecing.  I could make paper cut outs for scrapbooking or card making.  I could even make vinyl decals for my walls.  There are just so many possibilities!

I recently found out that Ginger Snap Crafts, over at, is doing a give away for the Cameo machine.  I figured I would try to enter and see if I could potentially win one.  How awesome would it be to win a Cameo.  I could then use the money I planned to spend on the Portrait buying supplies for the Cameo.  I am really excited about this.  Because of this give away, I found a new creative blog to read!  I love reading blogs and now I have another one to get inspired by!

Go over to and take a look and see what creative projects she has as well as check out the give away!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Finding My Creative Style

Tuscan Style

I've been doing a lot of thinking about being creative and what it means to be creative.  I've also been thinking about what my design style is.  I haven't really decided what my style in general is, never mind my creative style.  I starting to come to terms with the fact that like in my professional career, in general and in being creative, I am more eclectic than anything else.

Bohemian Design

Sometimes, I think I am Bohemian.  Sometimes, I think I am Classic or Vintage or Traditional.  Sometimes, I think Country, Tuscan, or even French Provençal is really what I like.  Then there is the whole shabby chic style that I love too.  Other times, less often, I think I am modern.  As I think about it, I honestly think it is how I am feeling in the moment.

French Provencal

When you don't have a style, it makes it very difficult to design your house or your creative projects.  Then again, it can be fun to have eclectic tastes.  It isn't boring, but is makes it difficult to to be cohesive when decorating or trying to decide what colors and patterns to use when making something.
Modern Fabric

So not only do I have a hard time figuring out colors and style, I have a hard time figuring out what it is that I love to do, what I love to create.  I love to quilt, I love to do needlework, I love paper crafts, and I love making jewelry, I love clay work.  It's not a problem that I love all of these things.  The problem is that I am not proficient in any one area.  I also don't know where I'd like to focus to get proficient.  I guess, making jewelry is something that I do well and am somewhat proficient.  I actually feel pretty proficient in English Paper Piecing.  I would also say that I can knit pretty proficiently.  Now I just need to find the time to get more proficient in all the other things that I love!

One of these days, I'll figure out how to combine all the things I love and learn all the things that I want to.


Monday, July 15, 2013

My Latest Projects

I've been trying to make time to create. I've been doing pretty good at making time, just not actually finishing projects yet. I've been working on hand sewing my daughter's quilt. I have 4  blocks completed so far. 

I've also been working on an angry birds quilt for my oldest son. I should be able to finish it by the end if the week. 

I'm looking forward to buying some more quilting books soon. I think they are going to be English paper piecing and hand quilting related. Right now I am loving seeing and quilting. 

A friend has asked me to teach classes at her new studio. If I can get the confidence and the time, I'm going to do it. She also told me I should join the art consortium in town. I'm not sure I'm good enough but I may join any way. 

I've also been making soap and loving it. No new pictures but I am loving my latest coconut, olive, and cocoa butter creation. I can't wait to play more. 


Friday, June 28, 2013

What I've Been Up To

Life here has been a little crazy, as always.  Recently, I decided to really attempt to go gluten free and joined in with a 6 month challenge.  I am joining in with for the challenge.  For the next 6 months, I will be gluten free.  I will get to talk with a health coach every other week, and I have to write a blog post at 3 weeks out of the month.  It's been one month so far and I have had a few aha moments.  I've been working with Mia Davis at Blissful Chicks and she has been great.  She has been supportive and resourceful giving me recipes to try.

One of the recipes was plain yogurt sweetened with honey.  I bought some plain yogurt this week and was not really looking forward to trying it (not one of my favorite foods), but I actually let my son try it since he tends to like any yogurt.  I added some liquid chocolate stevia from NuNaturals for some sweetness.   I also gave his twin sister some to try.  He didn't like it, but his sister did.  I ended up eating his and was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted.  I now feel like I can get plain yogurt and control the sweetness and use a sweetener that I like.  NuNaturals has had a few products that I have tried and been happy with.  I will say that NuNaturals did provide the products for free, but I will definitely be buying certain products that I love, like the liquid lemon stevia, liquid chocolate stevia, and the fast dissolving tablets.

I've also been trying to make time to be creative.  I have been trying to teach myself how to hand piece quilts.  I have made a couple of blocks so far and plan to make a whole quilt with hand piecing and hand quilting.  I have been working on a hexagon quilt as you go quilt.  I am trying to use flannel blankets from when my kids were little as well as some scraps of fleece and flannel.  I am trying to use up my stash since I don't really have room to keep a stash.

fabric for the hand pieced quilt

I am also working on a english paper piecing project where we complete 1 EPP block a month.  I have completed 2 so far with the 3rd one in process.  The 3rd one is made up of 81 1/2 inch hexagons and I just can't seem to bring myself to work on it much.  I will start the next month's block when we get it and work on June's block a little at a time.

1st month's block in process

I also took a class from my Facebook friend who is opening a craft studio/gallery.  We made floating lanterns and I had a blast.  I am contemplating teaching a quilting class as well as a knitting class.  She is actually doing my dream and if I can be part of it, I really want to take the opportunity.  

I am also practicing playing with fabric dyeing.  I have tried some tie dyeing, with the goal to get it to be less tie dye looking and more batik looking.  I'm not sure how to really get there, but it will be a fun thing to practice.  I am also thinking about trying some more art quilting and maybe even modern quilting to branch out.  I ultimately love traditional quilting, but I want to open my mind and learn a little more of what it out there!

Summer has just begun.  The kids will start summer school and I will start, hopefully, working during the day.  It will be interesting to see what the summer brings.  We have started our garden and started going to our local farmer's market.  I am really excited to start getting things out of our garden and using them to cook with.  I hope that I can keep up with my creative time.  It may be hard, but I plan to be really conscientious about maintaining creativity through the summer and beyond!


Thursday, June 13, 2013


I think I may have mentioned that a Facebook friend is opening a studio/art gallery.  This is something that I have dreamed of doing myself.  Unfortunately, someone else beat me to it.  Fortunately, it is someone I know and a friend.  The nice thing is, she has asked me to teach a class.  She has also offered for me to take a class of hers for free.  I am hoping to go to her floating lantern class next Friday and see how she runs a class.

I am considering teaching a quilting class.  I have made a few small quilts and one large one that fit my full size bed.  I feel like I have enough knowledge to teach the class, but maybe not enough confidence to actually teach someone how to quilt.  My friend Liz sent me to the quilt pattern she used when she gave her class.  I am starting a quilt for my kids with the pattern she sent me to.  It's from Elizabeth Hartman at  I let my twins pick out their fabric with some help from me.  I figured, I better make the quilt that I am contemplating teaching.  We chose the following fabric for the two quilts:

Eva Rose's material

Thomas' choices

I am also looking at some other types of quilts to teach.  I love the cathedral windows, but it may be a little complicated to teach in a class environment, but then again, it may be fine as long as I have the right equipment.  It looks so much harder than it is, it just involved folding and ironing.  The nice part is that it doesn't necessarily involve machine sewing.  You can hand sew or machine sew, which may open it up to more people who may not have a sewing machine.  I have also thought about teaching English Paper piecing, another hand sewn quilting project.  Then of course there is hand piecing in general, but I haven't perfected that as much (not that I've perfected machine piecing).  There is of course traditional machine piecing that I can teach.  I am thinking quilting classes may be what I teach, but I need to feel more comfortable teaching it.

Simple pinwheel block

Hexagone English paper piecing

Hand Stamped Thank You Card

Dresden plate machine stitched, hand appliqued

butterfly dresden plate english paper pieced hand appliquéd

English paper pieced hexagon not sewn together yet

English paper pieced hexagon made with 6 pt diamonds sewn together

English paper pieced hexagon like the above yellow one but sewn together

1/4 dresden plate mug rug

The above pictures are just a couple of the different projects I've made using tutorials that I think I could teach others.  I don't have a picture of a cathedral window, but I could make one up very quick and throw a picture on later.  These are some of the things that I love to make using both hand sewing/piecing techniques and machine piecing techniques!

Just a few thoughts to get down so that I can contemplate what I feel comfortable teaching.  I love to make everything on here, I just need to figure out what I want to do first.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

More On English Paper Piecing

I'm still amazingly addicted to the idea of English Paper Piecing and I'm still spending time researching what I can find.  I have a few projects in the works.  I joined an English paper piecing quilt a long, with the goal to make a sampler quilt.

This is for block number one

I guess I haven't taken a picture of my tumbling blocks for quilt block number two, but it is in the same colors just the tumbling block pattern.  I made the six point diamonds a little bigger than I was supposed to, so I think I am just going to make three instead of six tumbling blocks.  The current month is eighty-one half inch hexagons in a diamond shape.  Not looking forward to sewing them all together (or even cutting out eighty-one hexagons), but I am looking forward to seeing these all come together.

It's amazing.  Just when I think I've seen all that you can do with regards to shapes and english paper piecing, I find something new.  I now have two more blogs that I am following because of english paper piecing projects.  I looked at getting the book "Pieced Hexies" by Mickey Dupre, but decided against it.  I'm rethinking that decision, since I think it may be helpful to have for creative ideas with hexagons and english paper piecing.   I think I tend to be to concrete when it comes to shapes for english paper piecing.  I'm thinking that if I can just think outside the box, I may be able to come up with my own shapes and designs.  Love the internet, social media, and having the ability to learn all about things like this.  

I also want to keep learning about handcrafting history, especially quilting including hand piecing and hand quilting.  Along with that, I want to learn more about the creative arts and how they affect both your mental and physical health.  I have read about and talked with people who are able to do some amazing projects, but you would never expect it, looking at their physical condition (severe arthritis for example).  I also plan to continue with my goal of creating forty things for others (handcrafted) before I turn forty-one.  I am  also hoping that I can get the courage to teach a class at my local art/craft studio that will be opening this summer.

Lots of goals and projects in the works.  I really love sewing.  I wish I had more time to spend making things, learning how to make things, teaching others how to make things, teaching others how being creative can benefit them physically, mentally, and even spiritually.

Have a fabulous day.  Until next time!

BTW-going gluten free has been easier than I thought it would be.It hasn't been easy, but I am doing it and actually following through with not eating gluten.  I had a little trouble a a graduation party I was at, but I was better than I would have been if I hadn't been doing this challenge!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June, Summer, and New Things

June 1st, I embarked on a huge challenge.  Ok, it's a huge challenge for me.  My fellow blogger Iris, at, asked me to take part in a gluten free challenge.  I think I've mentioned here that, according to an IgG blood test (some say it's faulty), I am sensitive to many food items, including gluten.  This is one thing that I have had a hard time eliminating from my diet.  I wasn't sure that I was going to take part in this challenge, mostly for the fear of failure and the fact that it was 6 months long.  I ended up deciding that my health was important enough to challenge myself, and I thought that this would be a great way to have support through something that is so difficult, at least for me.  Day 1 was great.  It was hard but I had a gluten free day.  Day 2 was really good, but we went to a graduation party, and I couldn't say no to cake and corn bread.  What was good is that I only had a very small piece of both of those things.  What is also good, is that I didn't go back for more. In the last 2 1/2 days, I have had less gluten then I ever have in even just one day.  Though it hasn't been horrible, it hasn't been easy.  I am hopeful that I can follow though and be healthy.

This is also important since I have that crazy gene mutation making me more at risk for breast cancer and I don't plan on having preventative surgery.  I just found out that my mom's cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer and the gene mutation and she is not yet 53.  She is the youngest diagnosed that I know of, 13 years older than me.  I have met with doctors and nurse practitioners and I think my food sensitivities are something I need to focus on so that I don't put more stress on my body.  I am also hopeful that going gluten free is going to help with my weight issues.  I am hopeful that it will help me know my body and what my body needs.  I am hoping that I will lose weight as a side effect of eating healthy.

As I've mentioned, I turn 40 this year.  Sometimes, I have a hugely hard time with this, other times I am absolutely fine.  This weekend someone actually asked me if I was mom or grandma to my kids.  Yes, I could have a grandchild, but I am only going to be 40.  I didn't think I looked that bad.  I actually went out and colored my hair after that comment.  I was thinking about not coloring my hair again, but with how I've been feeling and then that comment, I decided that I needed to color my hair.  I mentioned that I was thinking about doing 40 creative things to donate during the year I turn 40.  I got the idea from 36 quilts in 12 months (  What I haven't decided is when I should start.  Do I want it to be 40 things within the calendar year I turn 40 or a year from  when I turn 40?  If it's the calendar year, then I can say that I have started, but I only have 6 months to finish 39 more projects.  I made a quilt square for the Boston bombing victims.  If I wait til I turn 40 I have a full year to go to complete this project.  I'm leaning to being able to finish before I turn 41.  Maybe, to make things easier, I can have it be 40 projects before I turn 41, starting the calendar year that I turn 40.  That means, I can count the quilt square and have a little more than a year to complete the rest of the 39 projects.

Now, I've written about Wishcasting Wednesday and putting out your dreams to the universe.  Well, a facebook friend of mine (friends literally from facebook alone) and an artist, is actually starting one of my dreams here in my town.  In the next month, she will open a gallery and studio in the center of town.  She has asked me to teach a class or two, and I am so flattered, but so nervous.  My introverted, shy self is having a hard time thinking that I can do this.  I will probably take hep up on this offer some day, but I need to work up the courage.

Within the dream/passion piece of things, I am still thinking about doing something at my farmer's market with regards to crafting for charity.  Again, I need to get up the courage to do this.  I would love to have a table and collect things that people create and donate somewhere locally.  This will help go along with my goal of creating and donating 40 items before I turn 41.  How cool would it be to spend a Saturday morning creating and collecting things to donate to others to make them more comfortable or so that they know that someone is thinking of them.

These are just a few of the new things in my life.  Here's to completing the goals that I have set forth for myself.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hand Piecing and Traditional Ways of Creating

I've written about how I am addicted to English Paper Piecing.  Along with actually making things, I love to read about how to make new things, the history behind it, and now especially with blogs, I love reading about other peoples experiences with creating the things that I am learning about making myself.  While I was reading about English Paper Piecing (EPP), I started reading about how people love to hand sew pieces instead of using the paper templates that are required when you use EPP.  I was interested in hand sewing as a portable project prior to learning about EPP, but then I thought EPP was an easy, more accurate (at least for me) way to piecing things together.

Now that I see how much people like hand piecing, I am interested in trying it again.  I have, once again, done a ton of research about how to actually do it.  I think it will be a great way to sit with my husband and watch TV, sit outside with the kids while they play (I had actually bought a smaller sewing machine so that I could sew outside, but that would only be at out our house not at places like the park or when my daughter is at speech therapy), and [what I feel is even more important] a connection with the past.

I love the idea of having a connection to the past.  Of course, sewing machine have been a part of sewing and quilting for a while now, but hand sewing is a connection to the past when there wasn't electricity, an actual sewing machine, or even the finances to buy a sewing machine.  It is a connection to the past when people created quilts, not for their beauty, but for the warmth and comfort that a quilt can bring.

I love learning about the history of handcrafts.  I've been  thinking about what I ultimately want to do with my life, career wise, and when I think about what I am passionate about I come up with a couple of different things.  I actually do like being a social worker, but what I love about being a social worker is partly the mental health piece, but ultimately I love the getting to know someone while doing their social history.  I love being creative and crafting and learning about crafting.  I have been trying to figure out how to combine my love of crafting, creating, and social work as a career.  One thing I came up with was going back to school for art therapy.  I then thought about maybe becoming an art teacher and using my social work as a secondary piece to my career.  Then, one day while I was driving, I thought about how awesome it would be to be able to interview crafters and then either report on it in person, or even better write an article about it.  The only problem is, I don't know that there is a calling for something like this.

How awesome would it be to actually interview someone about a handcraft that they love.  I would get a chance to do the interview piece that I love about social work, learn more about a craft and how/why someone loves their craft, maybe even learn a new craft myself, and then pass than knowledge on to others more likely in writing (since I enjoy writing more than being in front of a group of people).  Maybe I could do it as a small educational piece too.  I could teach others about the history of a craft and why it is so attractive to some people.

I think I will continue to learn about different craft and their history.  I like a lot of the modern crafts or the modern spin on things, but ultimately I love the traditional crafts.  I wish I could better put in words why I love the traditional crafts, but I guess it is just the history behind them.  I'm not sure that this will ever be a career, but I would love to make it more than just a passing hobby.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Angelina Jolie's Decision

I can't remember if I wrote about this in the past, but I am positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation.  I found out about 1 1/2 years ago after my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and found out that she had the gene.  Thankfully, she is doing well after her treatment.

When I found out she had the gene and decided to get tested, I thought about my options if I was positive.  Before I got my results, I decided that I would not get prophylactic surgery.  After I got my results and since, my decision has wavered a bit, especially when stories like Angelina Jolie's come out.

Over the last couple of days, I have been rethinking my decision not to have surgery.  I thought about the fact that I have such little kids.  I thought about the pain and suffering that my grandmother went through.  I thought about how my great grandmother, my grandmother, my grandmother's twin sister, and my mother got breast cancer.

I also thought about what surgery would mean for my body, my mind, my identity.  I thought about (and still think about) how going immediately into menopause would affect my body.  I thought about how my identity would change knowing that I would have parts of my body removed (as silly as it sounds).  I thought about how much piece of mind I would really have even if I had surgery.  Would I have less anxiety or would I still worry that I would get cancer even after having body parts removed.

I honestly feel like this is such a personal decision.  What is right for me isn't necessarily right for everyone.  What is right for Angelina Jolie isn't necessarily right for me.  I think that all options should be looked at and weighed out.  For me not having surgery gives me the option of changing my mind later after having time to think about it.  If I have surgery, I can't change my mind!

Right now, my choice is to eat right (more on the pH diet), exercise, work on the mind body connection, work on my stress level and how I deal with it.  I think doing this will not only keep me healthy and hopefully decrease my risk for cancer overall, but will also get me healthy to have surgery if I chose to do so later in life.

I am going to be forty this summer.  Things may change as I get older since my family seems to get cancer later in life.  I may change my mind about having my ovaries removed after I go through menopause.  I may change my mind if I find a lump.  Right now, I can't have surgery without having cancer.

My life is telling me that I need to look at the different things I believe in.  I keep thinking that I need to make changes in my professional career so that it goes along more with my beliefs.  I need to make sure that I look into more education that will help me have a career doing things I believe in and love.  Loving what I do and believing in what I do will help me with my lifestyle changes also.


Friday, May 10, 2013

I've Been A Little Busy

This week, I have been a little busy.  I got my sewing machine out and started sewing!

Marathon Monday, a day that I always look forward to, took on a whole new meaning this year.  Almost every year, my husband and I would go into Boston and watch the marathon.  We usually would stand on Commonwealth Ave, right where the runners would come out of the tunnel, and cheer the runners on.  We would watch the elite runners and then some more, and then we would head off for lunch then hang out in Copley Center.  For the last 5 years, since we have had kids, we have only watched it on television.  This year the kids are 5 and 4 and I thought about heading into Boston later in the day to just be there and take the kids in.

This year every thing changed.  Now that the Boston Marathon Bombing has happened, I'm not sure that we will go in again, especially with the kids!  This week, I was reading my email and I was directed to the Boston Modern Quilt Guild and found out that they are collecting quilt squares to make into a quilt for the Boston Marathon Victims.  I was so happy to have found this because I had been wanting to do something like this or be part of something like this.  Even though I have a bunch of material, I needed to buy more in the right colors.  I ended up making a 12.5 x 12.5 courthouse stairs block in blue and yellow and bordered it in a medium grey.  I actually love how it came out.  NOw I need to mail it off  in time!

"Quilt For Boston" quilt block

While I was on the Boston Modern Quilt Guild's website, I saw that they were also collecting "flags" to display, which are going to be displayed at the Museum Of Fine Arts.  I went on to make 2 "flags" for "to Boston with Love".  They didn't come out as good as would have wanted, but I am going to send them off anyway.  Again, this is something I wanted to do and was able to create something that will be part of something bigger and hopefully help the city of Boston and all who were affected by the Bombing.

"Quilt for Boston" and "To Boston With Love"

I have become a huge fan of youtube.  I have found that they have a ton of videos that I can learn from and just enjoy watching.  I was looking something up on Monday and found a "10 minute quilt block". It was a video by Suzanne McNeil.  I have to admit, she is not usually someone I enjoy watching, but this time, I loved the block she was demonstrating.  She also has a "5 minute quilt block".  The best part is that it can be turned into a faux cathedral window.  Monday was my husband's 55th birthday.  I wanted to make him something special and wanted something quick.  This was perfect.  I spent Monday night working on it and was able to get 4 (20 in) blocks sewn and sewn together as well as the cathedral window sewn too.  I had planned on doing 2 more blocks to add to it and finished those yesterday.  I showed him the quilt top last night and he was happy with it.  Now I have to decide if I want to make it bigger.  It was fun, easy, and quick, and I will be making these blocks again soon, most likely for my kids's quilts.

"10 minute quilt block"

I'm very impressed with how much I have completed this week.  It felt great to make things and have things either get completed or mostly completed.  My son has been going to speech with his sister and this morning I was able to finish basting my english paper pieced diamonds for one of my son's quilts.  Now I need to sew them together and make stars and then sew them onto the background. 

English paper pieced stars

 I am feeling like I am finally making progress!  I think I may be using the "10 minute Quilt Block" for the other 2 kids' quilts.  Will post more when I have pictures completed.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Trying To Be Healthier and Product Review

Over the last few months, my healthy lifestyle has given way to laziness and unhealthy eating.  This is partially due to the fact that I had months of back pain that resulted in treatment for a herniated disc.  Over the past 6 months, my pain has caused me to have the inability to exercise and even cook the way I like to.  As I write this, it feels like just a bunch of excuses, but I really was in a lot of pain.  About 1 month ago, I was treated for the herniated disc and now only have slight pain here and there.

Now that my pain is pretty much gone, I am trying to regain my healthy lifestyle.  One of the things that I have done is limit my coffee intake and increase my tea intake (I wasn't drinking any tea and I was having multiple cups of coffee and cream a day).  Recently, I had a single cup of coffee and decided to try some VanGogh Caramel Vodka with some NuNaturals chocolate liquid stevia.  This was the first time I tried it and it was really good.  Along with the chocolate stevia, I was given (by NuNaturals) a bunch of other products to try.  I love the liquid Stevia.  I love using the vanilla, lemon, orange, peppermint, and chocolate in my tea.  I also love using the lemon or vanilla liquid stevia in sparking water with some lemon juice to make a healthy "soda".  It's the best drink to have when you need your thirst to be quenched especially in the hot weather.

My husband and I have been using stevia for years as a healthy way to eliminate sugar, yet have some sweetness in things that we enjoy.  I hope to be able to try out some of the other NuNaturals products in baking.  In the past baking with stevia was difficult as there was always a horrible after taste.  I haven't experienced  any after taste with the NuNaturals products that I have tried.  Other than the liquid stevia, the other products that I have tried and love are the fast dissolving stevia tablets and the individual stevia packets.  The tablets are great even in iced drinks.  I love keeping a bottle in my car or purse and using it when I get iced tea out.  I use the individual packets in my husbands tea every day.

I am working on changing my eating habits so that I can lose some weight.  I have never been this heavy and I don't want to get this heavy again.  I am having trouble with making changes, but it will happen.  I need to eat less food, eat healthier food, and start exercising.  I am working with PT and need to get better at actually doing my exercises.  I am doing better, but need to do more.

I will continue to use NuNaturals in my tea and hope that I can eliminate coffee.  I need to limit my caloric intake and start eating healthier foods.  I need to increase my exercise and strengthen my back so that I don't hurt myself again.


Friday, March 22, 2013

My Latest Obsession

Or should the title be, "Continuing With My Obsession".  Another quilting, twin mom friend blogged about her hexagon sewing experience and I became obsessed.  Not only do I love hexagons, but I love, maybe even more than hexagons, english paper piecing other shapes.  I have a huge pinterest board for hexagon quilting and english paper piecing.  I love finding new shapes to add.

I keep looking up blogs and finding new ways to english paper piece.  I love crafty blogs, but lately I am really interested in  EPP.  Since I am cheap and I can't stand to wait (I have a little trouble with needing almost instant gratification with my crafting.  I don't like projects that take to long to complete.  Often those projects become UFO's and WIP'S in my crafting bin), I have been making my own templates.  One thing I love about EPP is how forgiving it is.  Even though my pieces aren't perfect, the outcome is really good.

Recently, I made these:

pre-sewing together

pre-sewing together

sewn together

without the green diamonds

I decided that I needed to make a new hanging for the door.  With spring here and the snowstorm we had the day before the first day of spring, I decided I needed something springy.  I decided to create this:

This door quilt combines both english paper piecing and machine sewing.  It's a little wonky, but I'm pretty happy with it.  I can't wait to look for more EPP blogs and maybe even a hex-along.

Happy Spring!!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Meet My Machine

I thought I'd join in with the Meet My Machine bloggy link up.

  • Please tell us about your current machine - make, model, etc. (and if there's any story behind you obtaining it, etc.)
  • What's your favorite machine accessory/doo-dad? 

  • Does your machine have a name? What is it? Have you tatted your machine up with fancy stickers, decals, etc? let's see 'um!

  • My first sewing machine was a White that I bought from JoAnn's Fabric.  It was a really basic machine and I did really basic projects with it.  I stupidly gave it to my sister (who subsequently got rid of it) after I had bought a new machine and thought that I would never use it again.
  • I own 4 machines.  I have my great grandmother's machine that, I guess used to be a treadle machine (have never sewn with it), but was made into an electric machine, I have my grandmother's White Serger, I have a Babylock Ellageo (that I bought after my grandmother died and she left me some money), and I recently bought a Babylock Sofia2 to use as a travel machine since my Ellageo was too heavy.
  • I love the different things that I can do with my machine.  I love that I can use basic stitches and also do some embroidering.  I love how portable my sofia2 is as well as how good of a machine it is.  I love my Ellageo, but with a 5 year old and 2 four year olds, I need to be able to have a sewing machine that can be portable.
  • I love that I don't need to have a foot peddle to sew with my Babylock machines.  I also love that it has a cutter as well as self threading ability.
  • For now, I have everything that I could want in my machine.  I'm not sure that there are any features, other than more stitch options (and that is really just to play).
  • I would love a higher end Babylock quilting/embroidery machine.  I have heard really good things about Janome Machines too so I would be really happy to try a high end Janome too.
  • I don't really have a sewing space right now.  I have everything in my basement and I just make do with what I have right now.  I really would love to get it a little more organized and have a space where I can go and get away and have a creative space.
  • Right now I am using plastic drawers for my yardage, a plastic bin for my fat quarters and a fabric bin that I just throw my scraps into.  Nothing special, but it is somewhat organized (more organized that what it was).  I can now go into a draw and know where to look for what.  I still have more work to do, but I am really happy with where I came from.
  • I love anything sewing/craft related!  I love my crafting and quilting magazines and books.  I love youtube and crafting and sewing blogs!
I had a lot of fun writing about this.  I love creating and sewing and I love sharing what I love.


Monday, March 18, 2013

My Latest Projects

I forget what inspired me to actually start this project, but I decided to pul out my jewelry supplies and attempt to make a wire wrapped puzzle piece.  Actually, I think that I was looking at the build-a-bear website, since I pre-ordered an autism bear, and that was what inspired me.  We had a very lazy Sunday and I played with my jewelry supplies.

I initially used my wire jig and made a large puzzle piece.  It was a little large for what I initially wanted so I set it aside and worked on making a smaller piece.  I photocopied it at 50% and it was a really good size.  At that Point, I just decided to free hand it.  It was much easier to free hand the pattern than I thought it would be.

The ultimate outcome of this idea was a wire puzzle piece pendant with blue stones dangling from it.

I thought about the larger puzzle piece that I had made with the jig and decided to put it on my wrist and bend it around a little.  I then put a pink Swarovski butterfly and Swarovski blue bead in the middle.  I had thought about putting a beaded bracelet to attach to my wrist, but I decided to use a large chain instead.  The outcome:

I put pictures on Facebook and got a lot of comments and likes.  My sister, wants a set and I have a friend who is interested and who shared the picture on her page.  Now I have to figure out how much to charge for things.  Maybe this is actually working.  Maybe I will be able to sell things I make.  I may not or I may be able to make a living at this, but maybe I'll be able to recoup some money to buy new supplies instead of just spending money!

All I know is, I have fun when I create, and if I can make a little money while I do something I love, how can that be bad?

Oh, and since my inspiration for this was the Autism symbol and since Michael has Autism, I will donate a percentage of my earnings to an Autism fund!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Goals for 2013

Do I dare even write this down for all to see?  This summer I am going to be 40!  Sometimes I can't believe that I will be 40 and then other times it doesn't phase me in the least.  I recently found a blog someone decided to make and give away 36 quilts this year since she turned 36 January 1st.  The blog I found was at  It has inspired me to create and give away 40 things by the end of the year (If I have to I'll give myself until I turn 41 next summer).

As some of you know, I am the MA National Chapter leader for  I recently got my first donation to send to a local shelter.  The goal of the National Chapter leaders is to: "Enchanted Makeovers is growing across the country one sewing project at a time! Each state has a chapter, led by a coordinator who will answer your questions on our three sewing projects and collect/deliver the hand-made pillowcases, capes and dolls to shelters for women, teens and children. Hand-made items are a big part of our mission because we believe each gift carries with it the love and positive energy of the crafter. We have seen first hand the impact this has on those who are re-building their lives while living in a shelter. Please join us by donating our sewing projects to your state chapter. The National Chapters only represent our sewing projects."

I now have to find local shelters that would like to have these donated items.  My goal is to make at least 40 pillowcases, dolls, and/or capes to donate to the shelter that we partner with.  My thought is to find a smaller shelter as the larger more well known shelters more than likely have a lot of donations coming in.  They probably don't have items like this, but I'm sure they have more things donated than smaller less known shelters outside of Boston.  I love this idea and it is inspiring me to do something in my own community, I just have to actually formulate a plan and put together something that will fill the needs of my community.

I am thinking that we have a local food pantry and that maybe they would like to have handmade hats, scarfs, mittens, and blankets.  I can only imagine that if they can't afford to buy food, they probably can't afford other things either.  Also, having something handmade to comfort them and keep them warm is always nice.  We also have a large population of people with mental health issues.  I was thinking of tapping into that area to for areas to donate handmade items.  I think I had another thought, but unfortunately that has left my conscious memory right now.  I was also thing we have a local hospital, and hospice agency that could benefit from handmade craft items, like chemo caps, prayer shawls, etc.

This is one way that I am trying to merge my love of social work, community, and crafting.  One of the things that I would love to work on is figuring out how to make this into a career.  I was thinking of at some point looking into grant writing for some funding.  I am contemplating working with my local farmer's market to have a place to have collections of handmade items to donation to local agencies that have needs, maybe even a knit, crochet, sew out.  They do a plain aire paint out every year and have the wakefield collaborative there.  This may all be a pipe dream, but I really want to utilize my love and passion of my social work career, community involvement, and crafting in my career.  I don't want to not do something for fear of failure, but I want to make sure that what I do has the thought and time that it needs put into it.

Before I do anything, I do need to do a community needs assessment to figure out what my community needs.  I certainly can start small and see what I can do even by myself and hope that it will grow in to something larger.  I have a lot of thoughts spinning around in my head.  I also have a part time job, 3 kids, a husband, and a house that need my attention.  I do need to find something for me that I enjoy though, and have it maybe even be something that can grow into a career.  Lots of research to be done, but I am looking forward to it. (I wish my iPad didn't get ruined.  Maybe since I don't have a ton of money I can look into a windows one.)


PS- I also have the goal of getting healthy.  I want to eat healthier, exercise, and have good mental/spiritual health!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Changing Back

I changed back to my previous blog name.  I've been doing a lot of thinking about this blog and decided that I wanted to follow though with why I actually started this blog in the first place.  I still want to document all the creative things that I make, butI want to talk about my belief in living a more natural life all while trying to balance the pressures of everyday life.

As much as I have certain beliefs, the different pressures of everyday life sometimes get in the way and do not let me follow through as much as I would like.  right now, I am dealing with a herniated disc and treatment for that.  Over the weekend, I was trying to plan dinner and ended up just getting Chinese food from my local Chinese restaurant.  I was just in too much pain to cook.  As much as I want to cook my own food, sometimes there are good reasons why I can't or don't.

I love the idea of making my kids clothing and trying to up cycle.  I have 3 kids (all who are 4 right now), a job, a house, a husband, which makes it difficult trying to make things from scratch.  I still try to not buy brand new things so that we can hopefully re-use clothing that is still in good condition and not spend money unnecessarily.  My goal is to try to get better at making things from scratch and even up-cycling material from other things rather than just going to the store and buying new.

I am also thinking about trying to buy plain material/yarn/paper, and dye my own.  I'm thinking that it is going to be more creative and less processed than if I buy it at the store.  I will also have more control over the type of process being used.

I am looking forward to our garden this year.  It's time to start planning what we are going to grow, what we are going to grow from seed vs from already started plants, when to start planting, etc.  I am hoping that the kids being a little older this year, means that we are going to have a better year with them not running off.

I'm trying to get better at eating healthy and exercising.  My goal with exercise if to get outside and exercise vs being in a gym.  I don't want to spend the money on a gym membership and I get so bored exercising inside.  I am so much happier walking and running and hiking as well as playing with my kids!

So, my old blog name is back and what I write about is back on track.  I am very much looking forward to writing about my beliefs, hopes and dreams, and projects that I am working on.

Here's just a few things I have been working on lately:

An afghan that I should have finished when the twins were babies (I had to rip out and start over since I couldn't figure out the pattern)

My tenderloin steak dinner cooked like a restaurant (locally bought cooked at home).  So delicious!  My husband wants to have it once a month.

Homemade bread pudding.  So yummy!

Wire wrapped ring, quick and easy project!


Friday, February 15, 2013

My Latest Projects

I have been trying to make a point to create more often.  I had a period where I was just too tired to complete anything.  I know how much better I feel better I feel when I make a point to create.

My recent projects have included a mug rug swap, embroidery for my daughter's room, some English paper piecing, some Valentine's day projects, and most recently a Japanese stab binding book.  I am really trying to do something create every day!

Fairy Embroidery for my daughter's room

2nd Fairy (not yet complete)

English paper pieced flower hexagon

English paper pieced flower

Valentine's Day fabric card

Inside of Valentine's day fabric card

Valentine's Day post card

Glued English paper pieced shaped

English paper pieced solar system star

All the Valentine's day projects I worked on

Japanese stab binding book (I've been wanting to learn more about book binding.  I already have a tool case with book binding supplies!)

Some quilt history reading

Some fabric painting reading

Some fabric dyeing reading

Mug rug I made for my swap

Not only have I been actually making things, I have been reading about how to color my own fabric and learning about the history of quilt making.  I am hoping to buy some fabric dyes and paints and start creating my own fabric.  

I have been having a great time being creative and can't wait to continue!

Happy Creating,