Friday, December 31, 2010

The Last Post for 2010

Wishing you all the best in 2011! ~MG

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Little Something Sparkly

You know how I love crowns.I saw these bottles with rhinestone stoppers at MFCS* (my favorite craft store) and simply HAD to have one. However, my, ahem, frugal side would not give in to paying full price. Or even 40% off. I held out and snagged the very last one for 60% off after Christmas. And isn't it just the perfect place to store my Diamond Dust!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

(please click on the picture for a better view)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Glitter by Candlelight

Do you need an inexpensive & easy gifty? I borrowed this idea from Violet at Create Beauty. She had these on her blog last year and I filed the idea away to make co-worker gifts this year. What you'll need:

*taper candles, any color

*sheet music


*fine glitter, color coordinated to candle


*clean, plain paper

Since I was making so many, I bought candles in bulk, using a 40% off coupon, of course! Ribbon was also on sale and I already had the glitter & glue.

Assemble all your elements: tear the sheet music, cut the ribbon, prepare your glue & glitter area. That way you can do these assembly line style and be done in no time.

Tear the sheet music, so it has a nice distressed edge, 1-1/2 - 2" wide and long enough to go around the candle. If you're a scrapbooker, you probably have an assortment of inks to tint the edges if desired. Glue the paper to the candle. Then cover the candle (& some of the paper too, if you want) with a thin coat of glue, applying in random lines and using your hand or a sponge brush to cover the taper. On a sheet of plain, clean paper, lay down some glitter & just roll the taper over it til you get the desired coverage.Tie ribbon around it & voila! Instant glitz.I put them in pairs in a cellophane bag & tied a ribbon around the top. Everyone seemed to like them. Candles & glitter. At Christmas, you can't go wrong with this combo!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Whimsical White Tree

I've wanted a white Christmas tree since I was a child. My aunt & uncle loved to do theme trees and often they were white flocked and accented with ornaments all the same color. This is the year! Flocked trees are rather expensive but WalterMart had a cheapie version that will do quite nicely. My theme? The crazy colorful ornaments I've been gathering the last couple of years! From top to bottom, here's a look at our 2010 Christmas tree: Touches of wild color. Not overpopulated. Love these happy reindeer. Crazy chicken! The newest member of the Whimsy Family is on the right.
The completed tree. This is a HUGE departure from my elegant trees of yesteryear, dripping in purple, gold, clear glass and drenched in pearl strands and white lights. But it's so light-hearted and fun! It makes me smile every time I see it. What better centerpiece for the table than this silly guy standing in the middle of a wreath?
December 1 is tomorrow. Here we go!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Diamond Dust & Golden Memories

The CarbFest is behind us and it's onward to Christmas. I've been wanting to make these trees ever since I saw Mrs. Bingles' beautiful creations. She takes vintage Christmas baubles & whatnots and breathes new bling into them. My daughter-in-law calls them "vintagements." I love it!I've saved 3 boxes of the first ornaments we ever bought - our first Christmas, 1974. I think that qualifys them as "vintage." I've always wanted to display them somehow and Mrs. B. gave me the inspiration! I didn't think there would be enough for what I had in mind so I put the word out that I was looking for old ornaments. A friend gave me some from her family's treasure. Her father recently passed away & they were needing to find new homes for various things. The ivory/white ones on the tree above are from her. The blue ones are ours. I think she'll be happy to know some of her family's ornaments still sparkle at Christmas-time, right alongside ours.I saw this tree-topper at an antique shop in Branson last month. It was another one of those "gasp" moments (see previous post). We had one just like it when I was a little girl. I always thought it was the most beautiful thing in the entire world. Mom told me she kept it til it just fell apart. I was absolutely thrilled to find one like it, in great shape and only $6!Mrs. Bingle actually uses bottle brush trees for her creations. The biggest I could find was 12". I wanted a bigger one, so I bought a bottle brush tree & a regular artificial tree to experiment on. That's how I ended up making two of these. You can bleach the color out of bb trees, then dye them another color. But I found out you can't do that with the other kind. After bleaching the bb tree, I drenched them both in "Diamond Dust" then glued the ornaments on. Diamond Dust is fabulous! All shiny & sparkly. I got a big jar at "M's" with a 1/2 price coupon and used half of it on these two trees. Take a sponge brush & with white glue, cover a few branches at a time, then spoon on the spangles.On the bb tree, I used the smaller ornaments my friend gave me and filled in with old bits of jewelry and pearly strands I've had since the early 90s (nearly 20 years ago - almost vintage, right?). The star on top was in the stash of old jewlery I had collected when we were making praise & worship banners back then. So glad it finally found the perfect home!Finally, notice the tree stand. It's the top of a cut glass butter dish. Thanksgiving Day, I was taking it off the top shelf & dropped the bottom part. It's only cut glass but my grandmother gave it to me sometime in the 70s. I was so sad and kinda stood there looking at the broken glass, thinking I would have to throw the top away too, because what in the world could I do with it?My daughter-in-law piped up & said, "don't throw it away - you'll think of something to use it for!" I'm so glad she did!! It completes my Vintagement Tree, with stories and memories of loved ones and happy times.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fun Finds

On very rare occasions I go to antique stores, garage sales, or flea markets. Last month I wanted something in particular, so on a very pretty fall vacation day, I ventured over to Jenks, America. I did not find what I was looking for, but I did get some wonderful surprises! Remember these pastel aluminum tumblers from, I think, the 60's? O! when I saw them, it was one of those moments. The kind where you sort of gasp & go "I remember those! I want them!!" Aren't they so pretty in their new role as artist's tools containers!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jesus, Take the Wheel!

I have a friend who was laid off from a very stressful job with an overbearing supervisor. During her many months of job hunting she finished her degree, enjoyed her hobbies and relished the peaceful moments of not having to deal with the anxieties of the previous job. She made the most of her time and put her trust in God. While being out of work usually brings its own kind of stress, she seemed to sail through the months and as far as I know, the bills were paid & they never went hungry. In fact, I think it was during this time that she got her little red convertible!

Recently she started a new job and I sent her an email of congratulations & prayer for favor. Here is an excerpt of her reply:

I haven't had such great respect and kindness since I left [a previous company]. I am blown away by the attitudes of all around me, it is so refreshing. [goes on to list the things she loves about the new workplace]. This is even better than I dreamed. Why do I limit God, over and over and over, I know better from all the years track record with him, but I still do it. ...God is so good I am once again overwhelmed with His greatness and unending love - in big things as well as little things. He has a way of working things out in a wonderful way.

As I read this and reflected on her last year, I thought, Why DO we limit God? Look at all He did for [friend]. She did what she knew to do & let Him take care of the rest. And He did it quite well!

I was scheduled to give a devotion to the staff last week & since this was really on my mind - because I am so there - these are the answers I came up with to the question

Why DO we limit God?

Fear of the unknown.
But God says: "I know the plans I have for you..."
Fear of failure.
" give you a future and a hope." [Jeremiah 29:11]

OK, then how about:
Fear of success. We know He is a big God with big ideas. Maybe we're afraid of just how big His plans might be. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." [Isaiah 55:9]

Fear of giving up control. This can also be a lack of trust, lack of faith. Or maybe it's due to past experiences of disappointment or disillusionment. Our reaction is to take matters into our own hands. Pride also factors in to a fear of giving up control.
"Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time..." [1 Peter 5:6]
You have to trust God's timing and His way of bringing about His best plans.

Why should you deal with this fear? Verse 7 continues, "...casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." It alleviates a lot of stress!

I mentioned disappointment and disillusionment. But God says, "Do not remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold I am doing a new thing!" [Isaiah 43:18-19]

A new thing? Uh oh. Fear of change strikes! Maybe we're limiting God because we don't want any changes. One word: trust. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." [Proverbs 3:5]
The last thing is, we don't feel deserving of God's great plans for us. We know all the scriptures about His love for us but still don't feel like we deserve it. If that's the case, then it's time to meditate again on GRACE. God wants to give us His grace. It's Satan who wants us to feel dis-grace.
Let go of the wheel and let God drive. Don't be afraid of the journey. Embrace it with wild abandon! The Message version of Ephesians 3:19 puts it beautifully:

And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love,
you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus
the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love.
Reach out and experience the breadth.
Test its length! Plumb the depths!
Rise to the heights.
Live full lives, full in the fullness of God!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Parking Lot Etiquette

The start of the holiday season is mere days away. And that means Mall Madness. In fact, it's already begun. I ventured out today and this is what I realized: someone should write a book on parking lot etiquette. And it should go something like this:
First and foremost, one should never drive hurriedly through a parking lot.
(translation: slow the #*!! down!)
Pedestrians do have the right of way; however, they should not abuse this right by walking down the middle of the lane. Nor should they walk more than two abreast, thus creating an impassable human wall.
(translation: get. out. of. the. way. hoooooonnnnkkkk)
One must pay attention to the angle of the other parked cars and not attempt to drive against the flow.
(translation: don't expect me to back up or finangle my car to the side just so you can keep going up the down aisle. moron.)
It's quite thoughtless to make drivers behind you wait while you patiently wait for someone to unlock their car, load their packages, buckle up the children, open some snacks, check their messages, etc. just so you can have that spot when they finally decide to vacate it.
(translation: omg. get me a gun.)
In an ideal world, plus-size vehicles would have their own parking area. However, seperate parking areas would be cost prohibitive to proprietors trying to profit in today's economy. Thus the rest of us must cope with good grace and humor as we try to see around these extravagant monstrosities whilst backing out of our parking space.
(translation: if your biga$$ truck is taller and/or longer than my Mazda, park behind the store where the semis unload.)
A person of good manners must never take more than one parking slot per vechicle.
(translation: no one has the right to double park. I don't care who you are or what kind of car you drive.)
One must be mindful to park well within the slot lines and not too close to the line.
(translation: and you wonder why your door gets dinged. Hey, don't look at me.)
Just a few other points to ensure that our communities are places of decorum and civility. Be a good shopping citizen. Put your cart in the conveniently provided cart corrals. It just takes a few seconds and a couple of steps. Also, don't empty your ashtray on the ground. And, please, please, please, never leave a dirty diaper in the parking lot.
(translation: if you want to live in a third world country, by all means, go. You have my blessing. I can even give you a few suggestions.)
Let the Holiday Madness begin!
Without me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Raven

Just enjoyed a 2-day workshop with doll artist, Cindy Moyer. She taught her design, "The Raven." Cindy's dolls have a signature look, especially in the face and the shape of the head. A little meloncholy, a little zen; maybe thoughtful or perhaps, just at peace. The details are appealing - she's wearing a raven necklace and holding the book, which we also made. She also has a mask which she can either hold or wear. It looks really cool on her face & I originally planned to do that because I was sure I wouldn't get the eyes right. But I was having a good "face" day and was so pleased with how the eyes turned out I didn't want to cover them.I just love how feathers are used on this doll. And the "hackle plate" (yeah, I didn't know what it was either.) It's like a feather crown. What's not to love about that!? My daughter-in-law thinks she looks like Cher.She sits on a feathered nest made of a straw wreath painted black & covered with a black feather boa. The tulle (or net) skirt fans out over the nest. I chose a crepe back satin in midnight blue for the outfit, with a mix of blue & black netting for the skirt.A few angelina fibers at the crown of the head for accent and a touch of dazzle.
It's always fun to see so many different interpretations of the same pattern. Check the TDD blog in a few days to see more pictures from the workshop.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Class Project

Taking my second photography class. The final assignment is to take six pictures and write an article about them, as if for a publication. I decided to do the article on Tulsa Dolling Dames, but for the pictures it was easier to use my own dolls. We won't be meeting again until November and the project is due tomorrow. You've already seen all my dolls - I've only made six - but this is a more formal look. One exception: the doll above was made by our club matriarch. She gave her to me as a gift for doing the club blog and I will always treasure it!

I'll have a new doll to show soon! I'm going to a workshop this weekend. Looking forward to two days of learning new things, spending time with the Dames, and having creative fun.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Night Mindstreaming

I think I'm gonna like having Mondays off.

"Experts" say you should keep learning new things; it makes your brain create new cells or neurons or something, thus warding off Alzeheimers. I must be making more new cells than my brain can hold. I'm learning a new embroidery software, taking a level 2 photography class, continually learning Photoshop & InDesign. And now, I have to learn EZ Worship software. No wonder I can't remember where I put my keys.

Heavenly rewards are not the same as heavenly blessings. Rewards are for what you did with your life. Blessings are a result of the goodness & grace of God. At least, that's how I understand it.

A Mom of multiple of kids will divide up a little cupcake into equal portions no matter how tiny the final piece, because she loves each of them. She just wants to bless them. But the children are also given chores appropriate for their age & skill level, and they are rewarded accordingly to that and the quality of work they did. The reward each child receives will not necessarily be equal.

So Jesse Duplantis says he's building a mansion with a Tara replica staircase, debt free, mind you, because God loves him so much & "just wants to bless him." That's exactly what he said last night at a service I was at. A newspaper article says it's over 22,000 sq ft.

The Bible says God is no respector of persons. So there should be thousands of 22,000 sq. ft. mansions popping up all over the world right now. If he had just said "reward" we wouldn't be having this conversation.

October makes me happy.

New books give me joy.

Time to absorb makes me calm.

Starting new projects makes me stall.

Finishing projects makes me satisfied.

Tomorrow we head out the door bright & early armed only with a Nikon & Starbucks.

End of mindstreaming.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Favorite Movie Quote

The Hubs was watching 13th Warrior while procrastinating yardwork today. It's a very good movie in a swashbuckling, Nordic kind of way. My favorite parts were the glorious closeups of Antonio Banderas and this little prayer his character, an Arabic prince, said before going into battle. I don't know if it's an actual Muslim prayer, so don't freak out on me, ok? I just appreciate the poetry of it. You must read it imagining Antonio's Spanish accent.

Merciful Father, I have squandered my days with plans of many theengs (things). Theees (this) was not among them. But at this moment, I beg only to leeve (live) the next few minutes well. For all we ought to have thought and have not thought...all we ought to have said and have not said...all we ought to have done and have not done...I pray thee, God, for forgiveness.

You can view the scene on YouTube here.

Sometimes we converse in movie-speak around our house and that first line comes in handy when faced with a task we'd rather not do: "I have squandered my days with plans of many things; but theees was not among them..."

Seriously, though - that's a thought provoking prayer, isn't it? Maybe we shouldn't wait until faced with an epic battle before reviewing our lives and asking forgiveness.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Major Smug Alert

(that was not a typo. I did mean to type smug, not smog. Although, after you read this, you may think it's a bunch of smog!)
Patting myself on the back. I made this little crown/empress graphic myself. I took a picture of the crowns on my office wall & zapped it with Photoshop. Fun fun! Please allow me a little smugness - I was collecting crowns before they became trendy. They were hard to find, too. And I declared myself the Empress of the Universe about 8 years ago.

There are many Queens.

But only one Empress.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just Because

These are actually stairs. I think the color is interesting, nice fall rust color. This could make an interesting Photoshop texture. I don't have any profound thoughts on it; just wanted to share.