Living creatively, love of photography, and passionate living.

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Practice, practice, practice.

Whatever strikes my interest, I just go ahead and take a shot.  This day, it seems it was mostly about texture.

It was such a beautiful day–in the middle of winter, at that!  So, again, I ventured out at lunch with a friend.  We drove down a deserted road and came upon an old barn.  We stopped and got out of the car, cameras in hand.  It turned out to be such a fun afternoon that neither of us wanted to go back to work.  Truly, we could have stayed out there all afternoon and had no trouble at all finding so many more things to capture on camera.

I think we’ll probably go back sometime…

This is my kind of winter!

Okay.  So, I know we had a terribly hot summer.  And I know I said I wouldn’t complain when winter got here–no matter how cold it got–because it would be such a relief from the however-many-days above 100 we had last summer.  But I have been enjoying the unusually mild winter we have been having the last couple of weeks.  I’m talking upper 50’s and low-to-mid 60’s! Especially, since this week is going back to cold and chilly again.

Because it was so nice last week, I made it a point to get out and walk during my lunch time at work, taking my camera along with me.  These are just a few of the images I was able to capture.

Hope you enjoyed viewing these and it gave you some winter relief if you live where it’s been cold and blustery lately!  Next time, I’ll post the pics from the other day I was out and about.

They made a commercial at the place I work.

…and was it ever fun!

First of all, I can’t believe how many people it took

… and even how much more equipment it took!

Believe me, there was twice as much more of each.

I’m not going to tell your where I work, for obvious safety reasons — which I try to teach to my children when they are using the Internet as well.  But I will tell you that I do digital work for a company that has a retail and Internet business.  I get all the images ready and put them online.  I make sure everything is in its place and showing up in the exact space it’s supposed to be, as well as a bunch of little extra stuff that goes along with making sure you have the right images for the item that you may be interested in purchasing.

I love my job and feel blessed to work at a place where I not only enjoy what I do, but am able to work around people who are, for the most part, upbeat and like to joke around with me and make me laugh!  It’s a relaxed atmosphere, even though there is a tremendous amount of work to be done with deadlines constantly abounding.

So, anyway.  There were all kinds of lights and cords and cameras around the place last Friday.  I was asked to be in one of the background scenes, but declined, as I am not a fan of being in front of the camera.  I’d much rather be behind it.  And that’s exactly what I did the rest of the day– stay behind the camera so I could catch the work in progress!

Chunky Crochet Hat

I am in the midst of an all out crochet-fest!  I just can’t stop crocheting things!

I have been out buying yarn like crazy for the past few months, as if the world’s supply of yarn will end in two days and I don’t want to be the   only one left with nothing to wrap and loop into something spectacular.  Thank God for printable coupons on the internet, is all I can say.

My hands haven’t cramped up quite yet while I’ve been fashioning more wraps and scarves and hats than we could ever wear in a season.  I love wearing the things I make.  I especially like the uniqueness of making something myself.  There’s nothing worse for a woman than going out and seeing someone else wearing the exact same thing you bought because you thought it looked great on you, only to discover the middle-schooler at the movies was thinking the exact same thing about herself in that blouse.

That actually happened to me once.  I was probably in my mid-twenties and I saw a 14 or 15-year-old wearing the same top as me at my husband’s nephew’s wrestling meet.  How embarrassing!   (Almost as embarrassing as the amount of times it took me to spell embarrassing correctly.  But, hey, now I should be able to spell it more easily next time!)  I vowed then to start sewing more often in an attempt to make sure that never happened again.

And that’s why I like making my own things.  My daughter wants to start an Etsy shop and says she will help make things.  Only, so far, she’s made two hats in comparison to my numerous accessories — one of which she is keeping for herself.  The other, well, let’s just say she needs some more practice.

I made this hat in a chunky yarn with a large hook.  I really didn’t have a pattern for this one.  I just started my little ring and kept going round and round till it was the size I wanted.  I’ve just been doing it for so long and so many times that I often don’t use a pattern.  I just start something and see how it comes out, having some sort of an idea what I’m going for.  I saw a couple of hats with the bigger yarn and I liked them, so I thought I would try one for myself.  The color was what attracted me to this particular yarn. It’s perfect for this time of year.  Take a look and try one yourself!

Prayer Shawl and Hat for Cancer Patient

 

A couple of months ago, I got some devastating news about one of my sisters who was having a lump removed from her neck.  She had  a tumor that was growing rapidly on one side of her neck.  She made arrangements to have it removed and have a biopsy done because of the size and speed of which it was growing. In the meantime, while waiting to go to her appointment, another one started growing on the other side of her neck.  

The first one was removed and was found to have all the cells in it to be dead, and no cancer.  Supposedly, this meant her immune system had killed it off.   Another appointment was made to remove the other and to biopsy it as well.  There was a delay in the appointment for some reason, and it was postponed another week.  While waiting for this appointment, two smaller tumors were popping up on the same side.  

The second tumor showed there WAS cancer this time.  She was diagnosed with some kind of Lymphoma.  The decision was made that she should have chemo, and possibly radiation afterwards, in order to stop the growth of any more cancerous tumors and to keep it from spreading.  She had already had a scan done to locate cancer in any other part of her body, but none was found.     

This news was more than my father could handle.  My father already had bad health with diabetes, and high blood pressure that was being controlled with pills.  He began to have severe chest pains that, if he was ignoring in the past, he could no longer ignore.  He went to his doctor (Thank God!) and was scheduled for an immediate heart catheter procedure.  They found at least 4 blockages in his arteries leading to his heart!  They scheduled him for emergency triple bypass – saying they would do three or four bypasses, depending on what they found when they went in. 

My dad is a stubborn man, and this was a shock to him that he was just not ready or prepared for, so he postponed the surgery for ten days.  I was so sick with worry he would not make it the ten days, because the doctors told him if he walked out of the hospital, he might not come back.  He was a walking time bomb.  I prayed daily, as did my family and friends. 

He made it back to the hospital, a little more prepared mentally for what he was about to undergo, but faced with the fact he, also, might not make it.  When they went in, they found five blockages after all and made the repairs to all five.  The surgery was approximated at 4 hours, but I think it ended up being closer to 6.  He came out okay, was in the hospital about 9 days, went home for one night, and was back in the hospital the next day.  He was swelling up and it was just getting worse.  They got his swelling down after one day and kept him in from last Thursday evening till Saturday around 1:30 in the afternoon.  He’s been home for two days now and I hope he is finally on the road to a great recovery. 

My sister, on the other hand, lost all of her hair after one chemo treatment, in just a matter of a couple of weeks.  Her mother-in-law has purchased a lovely wig for her, but she doesn’t want to wear that all the time, of course.  She has a thin knitted cap she can wear, also.  I wanted to make something special for her to help her feel somewhat comforted when receiving her chemo or just being at home.  So I made her a prayer shawl and a cap to go with it. 

The shawl is made using a double-crochet stitch.  I made the first row of chain stitches as long as I thought I wanted it to be wide.  Then I started the second row with double-crochet stitches and just kept going until it was the height I thought would be good for wrapping around her shoulders.  I used a variegated yarn in colors that I thought would be soothing, and yet cheerful enough. 

Then I made her a cap to wear with it and to keep her warm.  I just used a single-crochet stitch in the round.  Again, I just kept going until I thought it would be long enough for her to have enough to roll down if she wanted more coverage.  I took the leftover yarn I had from her shawl and made a flower to accent the hat, making it look more like a matched set.  I’ll give it to her tomorrow and hope she loves it!  I made it while at the hospital with my dad when he was recovering from his surgery. 

It’s been a tiring last few weeks.  I feel tremendously drained.  I wish I could just put on my comfy pajamas, crawl in my bed, and sleep for days!  I don’t even need to eat … just sleep. I grab every soft blanket I have at night and clutch it tightly, trying to soothe myself to sleep each night since this all started.  I don’t even notice if I’ve been dreaming, and morning seems to always come way too soon. I haven’t talked to my friends for so long, except for a few texts here and there to keep them updated.  I finally got to talk to one of my best friends this evening for a little bit, and I probably didn’t give her much of a chance to speak because I just started talking immediately. I wanted to tell her as much as I could to catch her up and before the exhaustion set in again for the night. 

I want my life to get back to normal.  But it’s hard to do when my world seems all different now.  Because I forget what normal is anymore.  And I just want to find that place when I felt like I could make it through the daily “stuff” and all it took was a decent supper, a good sitcom on the t.v. and a sugary snack before bed to make my world all right again. Then, I could start the next day and do it all over again.

I’m thankful my father made it through the surgery, but I won’t be completely okay until I know he’s made it through his recovery all the way.   And we will have to wait to see if my sister will need radiation, too.  She’s already had two chemo treatments.  I think she is having one more before they check her again for tumors. 

And now, I need my sleep.

My new crochet shawl.

Hey, everybody.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I seem to be having a hard time lately getting to my computer to blog.  I think it’s work and being busy and life in general getting in my way with my blogging.  But that is just how life works, isn’t it?  Maybe it’s not so much that life is “getting in my way,” but that life is just happening. 

My very good friend (we’ve known each other since Jr. High) has a mother who is dying of pancreatic cancer.  My thoughts have been with her lately.  We’ve been talking  a lot, as we do when something comes up in our lives that is so life altering, and I want to make sure that I am there for her to support her.  I made her mother a prayer shawl (which I forgot to photograph before I gave it to her) out of baby yarn that was a sherbet green.  She is so frail and only weighs about 80-something pounds–at least that was a few weeks ago.  I didn’t want to make it too heavy for her so I made it out of chain stitches with an open crochet look to it to keep it lightweight.  She loved it.  I was so glad I could make her smile.  I hope it brings her much comfort in these last days of hers. 

And then I was sick myself with what I think was food poisoning.  I was so sick I had to go to the ER.  But I’m better now.  While I was resting and getting better, I started crocheting some shawls for myself as well.  I have made three shawls in the last few weeks!  I am going to show you them all, but one at a time.

I made this shawl out of black yarn with in an open crochet pattern.  It has fringe and I can wear it many ways, as you will see.  I got all the patterns from either the internet, books, magazines or old patterns I had stashed in my project files.  You can find many yourself or make up your own.  Hope you like this one and it inspires you.  I’ll show you the second one next time!

 

How to use old frames.

I love creating something new and different out of old things.  I use to go to auctions, estate sales, garage sales, and flea markets all the time.  Many times something would capture my attention because of some element of design, such as color, shape, or texture, and I would think I just couldn’t live without it!  I would purchase it, not sure how I was going to use it later, but sure in the thought that I would find a way. 

While out at an estate sale one day, I found these old, ornate frames and knew I wanted to hang them but didn’t have any large pictures to put inside them.  I wondered how I would find something I liked and that would fit my decor.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money because I had already got a great deal on the individual frames.  And they were all gold and peeling and flaky.  I liked the ornateness of the pieces, but not the gaudiness of them while they were gold.  So the first thing I did was paint them all.  I’ve already finished them a long time ago, so I can’t show you the process, but I can tell you what I did.

I cleaned the frames up with some rags first.  Then I took an old scrub brush and lightly brushed off any flakes of the gold finish that were already coming off.  I wiped them again with a clean rag and set them on some old newspaper to paint.  I found an off-white color and poured some into a dish.  I really didn’t want to paint completely over the frame in a thick paint, so I added some water to thin the paint out.  I used acrylic paint, like what you would use to paint your walls.  I also purchased some other pastel colors in small cans that I used for accent color.

First, I lightly brushed the off-white paint over the frames.  I didn’t worry about getting every spot and crevice, because I wanted to show off the texture and keep some depth in the design.  After I let that dry, I mixed the pastel-colored paint with water, also.  Then, I lightly brushed over the relief areas of the frames.  I didn’t do the whole frame, just areas I wanted to highlight with a touch of color.

After the frames were dry, I was anxious to hang them.  Only, I still didn’t know what to put inside them.  I went to one of the local craft stores here in town one day and found these really beautiful and small fabric frames with ribbon hangers.  I bought two of them and used some old, dried flower petals I had in my freezer to insert into their display area.  Then, I hung these inside of the bigger frames on my wall!  I absolutely loved them!  It was perfect for me.  I didn’t want these huge pictures on my walls because my room is long and narrow and I didn’t want to make it look smaller than it was with images that were too large. This solution was much better.

As you can see, I also hung an old piece of costume jewelry (which I have a nice collection of) on the corner, just for some added attraction. 

Here’s the other beautiful, old frame after I finished it.  It’s got just a hint of a mauvy-purple on it.  It’s kind of hard to see in this picture, though.

One frame was left.  This one was vertical.  I needed a place to fill above my desk where my computer sits and where I spend a lot of time.  It’s a narrow little corner in my bedroom and I like color for inspiration.  My walls are a nice neutral color that change a little as the day progresses.  They start off a sort of buttercream color and change to an almost pinky-apricot toward the late afternoon and evening. 

I wanted to keep the frame in the same color as the other two on the adjacent wall.  So I just painted the main color and no highlight color.  Because I decided the color would come from what I would hang inside.  I use it as a sort of catch-all for colorful posters and mailers and postcards.  Right now I just have them stuck inside or tacked to the wall.  I want to get some cork board and cut to a size that I can tack to the wall behind the frame. 

I like looking up while I’m working and seeing the array of images and color.  I’m going to fill the whole space up like a collage. 

So, that’s something you can do with old frames without having to find an exact image the right size to go inside.   It doesn’t even matter if they are falling apart.   A new coat of paint will help them stay intact.  I’ve had mine for over 6 years and they are not flaking or peeling anymore.   Hope you enjoyed this post.  Go out and find something old and inexpensive to decorate with that makes you smile when you look at it!

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