Okay... summer has been super busy the last few weeks. I have taken so many photos and haven't posted, so I'll do lots of photos and not too many words for this post. I hope your summer is as enjoyable as ours has been so far!
flower shopping/flower planting :)
birthday celebrating (three in a week- Mike, Ainsley, Jeff)
church rummage and thrift store sleuthing...
sleepovers and hammock swinging
and last... but so not least...
happy Monday to you!
I have so many projects in the works right now, my mind is full of ideas. I love spring for that... along with a million other reasons... everything coming back to life- green, blooming, growing... it's the best. All that frozen, stagnant winter brain stuff of mine is over and I have more ideas than I can possibly bring to life as quickly as I want to.
May is my favorite month of the year.
I wanted to have so much finished to show you by now, but I honestly have about twenty sewing projects going at once. Sometimes (yup, like spring) I just work better on lots of things at once- it's some sort of cross-pollination thing... one idea leads and flows into others. And so I go from one to the other project/idea like a bee, almost.
So for now the design for the tea towel I showed a little peak of awhile back is what's finished. I like how it turned out. It's a plain old craft store tea towel that I added appliqued fabrics to, my red crocheted flowers, and some sweet vintage Black-eyed Susan trim found on Etsy. The butterflies are appliqued fabric, the words are written with water-soluble embroidery marker, and back-stitched in three strands of embroidery floss. I love the words... the whole quote is from Romans and goes something like this, "be transformed by the renewing of your minds". It feels like my creative journey over the last four years. It's been very transformative-ish... and sorta butterfly-ish. I stop and land here for a bit and then fly along over there... admiring the beauty of all I find along the way, then posting about it. It's how I've rolled. And you know what?? It's not a bad way to figure yourself out, I've decided... it looks like lots of superficial flitting along, but it's an uncovering too, of sorts, finding all that you love, and then (now) putting it all together. (I went to design school and worked as a designer in many different jobs, but I was always designing what other people wanted me to, not zero-ing in on my own style. I'm thinking now that lots of kid raising had something to do with that delay too! ;)
Wholeness. I have hunted for it for four years. And those four years were pretty rough years at times... a year of watching my Mom slowly die from dementia (I don't know of a more horrific way to die) and another year grieving her death. Deep issues surfaced within my family during my Mom's illness- Dad, sister, brother, myself, and have been the source of heartache too. I was so stressed, my hair even started to fall out for awhile. A few more health problems gave me a scare too in the last couple of years, but most have thankfully been solved.
The first year of this blog I didn't know what it was supposed to be about, or the business I had launched for that matter... blogging and writing did not come easily either. (Putting it out there publicly is really intimidating for me at times). I named it Monarch Post because all I really knew for sure about it was that I was going through a time of personal transformation and the monarch butterfly fit that transformation image perfectly, still does.
But through it all a picture finally presented itself... and... fiiinally, I got it. It was my life... this business was meant to be about my life/our life... whadayaknow- ha, ha! Crafting, children, creativity, gardens, flowers, food, justice, spirit, joy. It feels like a homecoming, a circling back around... a transformation- and it feels really great. It probably sounds silly, but I knew when this little tea towel project was done that I was at the beginning of that wholeness I had searched for... all the little pieces of what I love coming together somehow... so easily, so full-circle moment...finally. It flowed. Things are moving along in a happy direction now. Staying true is hard work though... I read a quote on another blog one gray day, "Keep your face to the sun and you cannot see the clouds" ~ Helen Keller. And that is exactly what it takes to get through the hardest times, I've learned... and also just putting one foot (however freakin' weary) in front of the other. every. single. day. on that journey of keeping your face to the sun. I'm so glad I started to blog and hopefully, blog designer number four will be able to give me a new blog design soon.(Sorry for the long mess here... not my plan). I never kept a journal growing up, but now I can see the value of journaling... it's like a road map of where you've been; looking back and forward leads you along...like the real labyrinth at church I walked during Lent this year... you do eventually get to the center- going forward and backward, backward and forward, as long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other...you cannot, can not fail to get to the center... labyrinths, I learned, were created to symbolize the spiritual journey everyone takes through life. Such a great metaphor for that journey through life, don't you think?
Tomorrow we're digging up sod and planting a kitchen garden in the completely un-landscaped east area of our backyard. Mike and the boys are also digging up the grass along the east fence to eventually be landscaped. This summer it will grow zinnias. We've got plans for plants, trees, and a waterfall in the north-east corner of the yard. And a two-level rock deck project for next summer that will circle under our lovely honey locust tree. I am really looking forward to it all. Oh, and we decided as a family to dive in and craft goods in fabric and wood for the local farmer's market this summer. The kids, Mike and I are really excited to do this too- after all it fits the plan... children, creativity, and joy!
And so anyway, as usual, I'm writing and rambling along in hopes that you find something to take with you too on your creative journey through life. It's the other equal reason for being here at this blog... you know...?? It really, really is :)
Hope your weekend is lovely.
Oh, hello there! Aren't we the cutest chicks you've ever seen...? ;)
We are so happy that it's finally spring, we've been chirping, "hooray for spring!" all day long while sitting on the sunny kitchen windowsill.
Hee hee ;)
So I made it back on Monday...like, barely. It was a kid-ful kind of day.
Here's that quick little Easter/spring craft I mentioned for you...
I didn't use a pattern for the leaves and cut them out un-exactly, because un-exact is part of the charm.
Next, I hot glued the little crocheted primroses I made awhile ago for the chick's hats, but you could use silk flowers, or cut out felt flowers.
Or whatever you want to use for hats- it's your creation :)
I strung little red beads with a needle and thread, and then tied a knot. Dabbed the tiniest dot of hot glue where the knot was tied and hung the glued part at the back of the chicks neck (do chicks have necks...?)
Then I made little scarves for the rest of the chickies. I cut fabric triangles measuring about three inches in both directions, but adding long ties on one edge to tie under the chicks chin (do chicks have chins... well, you know what I mean ;).
Again, add just a teeny dab of hot glue to the top underside of the scarf to secure to the chicks head.
Glued the chicks on a branch from the back yard. Added the leaves and more red flowers...
And voila! Chicks on a stick chirping their little hearts out : )
Easy enough with a little help from an adult for older kids or grandkids to make too.
They made me happy sitting there on the windowsill, watching me do dishes.
I made five sets to sell at the shop. Each birdie/set seemed to have it's own personality... how does that happen anyway...?
So there ya go.
Did you have a good weekend?
I did... the house was a happy, crazy place with all the kids here working on projects. Ainsley and Jeff bought a 1960's teardrop camper last summer for $200 (!) to refurbish. (They completedly gutted it and started redoing it last summer, but couldn't get it and a wedding done at the same time). The cabinets are done and Ainsley is making upholstered cushions for it... burnt orange and avocado green for the decor. I'll show you someday when it's finished.
Sophey made April Fool's Day "egg cupcakes" for Sunday dinner.
Corbyn and his band worked on recording their first music CD.
Jesse didn't sprain anything!
And friends we haven't seen for way too long stopped by and surprised Mike and I with a Sunday evening visit ... it was all good... really good, in fact : )
See you next Monday, after the holiday...
Happy Easter to you!
Last week while I was at the thrift store hunting for fabric and wools I found these four little charmers.
Mini dutch ovens.
Aren't they the cutest things ever?
75 cents each and RED!
Score : )
And here they are topless. Ha.
So I washed them up and made dinner for four with them.
Shrimp, crab and broccoli alfredo.
It was a hit.
I think it was part recipe and part novelty with the kids.
I boiled the noodles and fresh, chopped broccoli together.
I used cooked, tail-on, medium sized shrimp that I broke in half after removing the tails.
And a can of crab meat.
Two chopped green onions.
I used a packet of dry alfredo sauce mix and followed the directions- (the cheapie mix packet.)
Mixed everything together, sprayed the dutch ovens, filled them and then sprinkled the tops with a three cheese blend of Italian cheeses, Parmesan cheese, and paprika... in that order.
Baked them at 350 for twenty five minutes.
And while they were baking I chopped up a few avocados and a mango.
This is what happens when you go to San Diego on vacation...
still craving the seafood, avocados, and mangos.
I had never tried diced avocados with mangos before our trip, but they are wonderful!
And if you've never put them together, well, you just should.
The flavors are so complementary together... I swear I heard them telling each other how much they liked each other before I ate them. Ha.
Anyway, there's my fancy schmancy dinner recipe of the week for you.
(Call Paula and Martha and tell them to move over ; D )
The breakfst scene goes like this every morning at our house.
Jesse likes to eat breakfast in the recliner while he watches Sportscenter... and I let him.
Winston sits in front of him and gives him the big staredown for some of his breakfast.
He never takes his eyes off of him the whole time Jesse is eating.
It's too funny to watch.
Sometimes Winston has success with his puppy dog eyes...
and sometimes he doesn't.
This wasn't his morning for leftover success.
I worked all Wednesday on Etsy items ( yes, I'm still stockpiling for a re-opening someday...)
I started crocheting teensy little primroses and then couldn't stop, because that's what happens when I crochet. My brain apparently likes endless repetition when it comes to winding thread around a tiny needle. (Too bad it doesn't like endless laundry repetition-wouldn't that be awesomeness?)
But they'll all eventually get used... they'll get used as decorations for different crafting projects- baby balls, children's totes, barrettes, and stuff.
I also designed a nd crocheted patterns for a little girl's drawstring purse and a sock monkey purse in red. They are finished except for some trimmings, so no photos yet.
I have so many things almost finished- I seem to work better that way... jumping from one project to the next gives me more ideas and energy than working on one thing at a time...
Aren't they sweet and springy?
I stumbled on my first real sight of spring last week... I saw swiss snowdrops peeking out from under brown dead grass while driving through town the other day... what a sight for winter-weary eyes. I blurred up a little and I think I even exhaled when I spotted them.
The first signs of spring always surprise me... it's surprise, delight, and relief for me to see that just when I've decided that maybe God forgot to do spring this year, God has decided to prove me wrong- again.
And I am really okay with being perennially proved wrong :D
I felt that same surprised-by-snowdrop-happiness-thing this morning when Sophey pulled this artwork out of her bookbag...
Isn't that just the sweetest piece of construction paper art?!
Okay, I'm off to finish the last Christmas, er, birthday shopping trip of the Henderson March Madness birthday season.
Three birthdays in one month feels like like a mini-Christmas season around here... crazy.
(And I say that every year here. Sorry.)
Saturday is Jesse's birthday and he's having a party with friends at Boondock's- the local fun center, followed by pizza and a sleepover at our house.
We also have two Cinderella ballet recitals for Sophey this weekend- one tonight and one on Saturday.
Corbyn's band is on the radio tonight with an interview and a live sperformance.
(90.0 KRCL if you are in Utah...)
Oh, and a wedding reception to go to on Saturday. Whew.
I gotta run...
See you next week and have a great weekend everyone!
Last Saturday Ainsley stopped over with a just-finished present for Sophey. She made her an afghan. And made her own pattern. Isn't it gorgeous? It looks like the tulips to me: swaying stripes of reds, yellow, and green. I think my grandma and mom would be proud.
I've made this cake twice now, and it's about foolproof. Grandma Mettie's oatmeal cake-- gotta love the name. The recipe is here for you at family fun magazine. It's buttery, and nutty, and not too sweet, and just so... perfect ;)
I'm working on some new designs/ideas at the moment. We're finally having nice spring weather here; which means I have the attention span of a termite lately. It always happens in spring... But, I did put together my flickr favorites awhile ago, so there's some crafty lovely inspiration for you there. Just click on my flickr badge on the side bar and look under favorites.
Thanks for stopping by,
It's Friday again already isn't it? I seem to be a Monday/Friday blogger here lately. I want to be more like a Monday/Wednesday/Friday blogger, but somehow those three days in the middle usually turn into a blur of ordinary days with lots to do but nothing that memorable to blog about.
Anyway, after we came home from my birthday dinner on Sunday evening while we waited for everyone to come over to the house, I picked up my unfinished scarf sitting on the kitchen table and started working on the fringe. (I don't know what it is with the last 10% of a project, but so often that last 10% of the project seems to take me as long as the first 90% of the project did. Anyone else have that problem?) I cut up the last of the yarn skein for all the fringe pieces and then realized after cutting up the last piece of yarn that I hadn't crocheted the edging on the other scarf edge to attach the fringe to.
I also realized that just having slurped down two pomegranate margaritas while celebrating my birthday dinner might justa had something to do with my dumb mistake....
This then facilitated one more trip to the craft store fifteen miles away for one more skein of yarn for two small rows of stitches... Which also means I now have one more whole skein of my favorite yarn just needing to be the start of another scarf/hat/something.... it's never ending with me.
Lesson learned here: Don't drink and crochet. It's just dangerous.
Before it snowed it poured rain all morning. We have an issue with one of the basement window wells flooding when we have a torrential rainstorm, and so the window well began to flood. Of course I had just dropped off Mike at the airport in the torrential rainstorm, so Corbyn and I did the sump pump the window well thing on our own. After getting the flood under control Corbyn said, "I really wish it would just snow instead of rain because the window well will quite flooding if it just snows."
Lo and behold, the skies parted and giant turkey feather snow flakes doth appeared about ten minutes after his request. This boy is good. And it continued to snow all day long... Every half hour I would yell from the kitchen into the dining room where he was studying-- Corbyn, make the snow stop now! He told me no everytime. And laughed.
Apparently, we have raised a child with magical snow-making abilities and a mind of his own. I'm wondering if this could become a problem in the future.
Anyway, moving on...
It is the most cuddliest softiest scrumdiddlyumptious all cottony gorgeousy yarn I've ever felt. Felt being the operative word here. (I know, I wanted scrumdiddlyumptious to be the operative word here too.) It feels so wonderful in your hands. I decided it would be perfect for a scarf. I hunted around Saturday night for a pattern on the internet and ran across this pattern on youtube for a broomstick crochet scarf. A blast from my past. Do you remember this pattern? It was big in the '70s and I remember making doll blankets out of broomstick patterns. I thought maybe with the new cotton yarn it would make an updated Aran-ish looking scarf.
So then Sunday morning on our way to church I told Mike we needed to stop at Michaels after. He just said okay-- he knows me pretty well by now. The last twenty minutes of church all I could think about was making the scarf. I was like Dustan Hoffman in Rainman. I have to buy my giant broomstick needle at Michaels.... I always buy my giant brooomstick needles at Michaels... gotta make my broomstick scarf... gotta make my broomstick scarf... (Am I going to hell? I hope not; hell is kinda hot for scarves;)
I made half the scarf Sunday evening; it works up so fast and it's brain dead easy.
Anyhoo, I'll show you the finished version soon. If you're interested in the pattern, Google "How to Crochet- Broomstick Lace Scarf" Click on the the photo of the broomstick scarf in lavender. (Someday I really need to learn how to download a youtube video. Sorry.)
Right now I'm so inspired with the snow, and this creamy yarn I've decided to make Christmas tree decorations from my creamy wool scraps stash... Be back with those next time.
'The splendor of the rose and the whitness of the lily do not rob the litle violet of it's scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its lovliness."
~St. Therese of Lisieux, the little flower~
And now for something a little softer than flourescent sock monkeys.... my shop owner friend, Brenda @ Just A Bed of Roses, asked if I would make some flower pins and hair clips for her pretty pretty shop. So here are a few of the first flower pins I made over the weekend. It was the perfect sort of 'gardening' for a weekend filled with gale force winds and pouring rain yet again... enough with the rain already. But the sun is finally shining today and it's still feeling like mid-spring here-- and so easy to think of the quote by St. Therese while I cut and stitched flowers for Brenda.
On Friday, I went to our church rummage sale. I bought wool blankets, linens, tatted doilies (unbelievably intricate!) and rolls of vintage aqua, black and creme crocheted lace-- loved how easily they turned into those flowers in the photo.
And I loved finding those two crocheted blankets in the photos at a thrift store recently-- a whopping $2.00 a piece. It was half price day. They were in perfect condition. And my little cheapskate heart skipped a beat... or two :) xoxoKelly
Yesterday, I drove to my favorite bakery and picked up my favorite bread (only available on Tuesday mornings) and then I headed over to join up with ladies who love needlework at our new church. They call themselves "The Saucy Stitchers". Perfect name. Great stories. Everyone brings something to add to the lunch table, and one lady is the official joke teller-- she came with a printout of jokes.
After a few minutes of introductions, one stitcher said there was a table of fabrics she brought to give away. She looked at me in my spring green sweater with my yellow rose-covered blouse underneath, my wild tote bag filled with wild yarn colors, and my wild earrings; she walked over to the table and said "I think there's a big yellow piece of fabric that looks like you on the table." I followed her to see it...
she had me nailed in under ten minutes... I picked up the vintage '60s fabric and said, " ya got that one right." I admitted to being a bit of a wild child at times-- especially in the fabric, clothing, music, and politics department- (we won't go there.) And I told her to look out when I showed up in church wearing that yellow fabric made into a dress! ;) (I maybe only half-kidding here... hmm, what to make out of it? Such a delicious question, almost as yummy as that fabric and fresh bread.)
Got off to a good start stitching with the stitchers yesterday.I finished several rows on an afghan for our living room. It's going to have magenta, mustard yellow, dark red, and cream stripes also.... gotta be who you are, right? But shouldn't you be, if you are traveling along your own path? Gotta uncover, discover, dig and dig, take all the parts you find of yourself and stitch them together... because even if they don't look like they're going to match, they will. And it will be unique, and beautiful, and so very you... I remember in a conversation years ago with a former minister, blurting out the words-- I want my life to be seamless! I mean from out ot the blue I blurted that line... (I am a great blurter at times) but you know, I do still want my life to be seamless. And the funny thing is, that was years ago, in the middle of babies, and long before I had started sewing and crocheting again. Your heart knows the way, doesn't it?
So anyway, I looked at my new bag again this morning, and I couldn't quite remember the rest of the quote to follow your bliss. I looked it up:
Follow your bliss.
if you do follow your bliss,
you put yourself on a kind of track
that has been there all the while waiting fo you,
and the life you ought to be living
is the one you are living.
When you can see that,
you begin to meet people
who are in the field of your bliss,
and they open the doors to you.
I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid,
and doors will open
where you didn't know they were going to be.
If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else.
And then I found this quote too:
The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the Universe,
to match your nature with Nature.
Thanks for the tote bag, honey. What a great line to put on a bag for the journey. You and Jo are so wise;)