Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Busy as a Bluebird!

It seems my craft room is beginning to fill with the colors I love most. A passion for patriotic has me busy as a bluebird. An easy as can be craft for anyone to make, a tutorial for this feathered friend can be found on my sidebar. (Tutorial for making Bluebird found here

I know! Too too sweet for words! We need a marching band to follow behind Laurie of Magpie-Ethel and her joyous 4th of July creations.

Just to hold in hand one of her characters is to bring joy to the heart and inspiration to the mind. How clever that she has used Christmas reflectors as red, white, and blue flowers to bloom well past the fourth.

I trimmed her reflectors to create hanging ornaments and used the sparkly garland leftovers to add cheer to my Sanitary ice cream cup. Delicious? I hope so!

Just a quick stop by to wish you all things bright and sparkly until Thursday evening at 8pm when I will offer for sale E's Craftroom Creations. Until then...... Busy as a Bluebird here at Creative Breathing.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Inspiration Frustration?

Perhaps you are someone like me who loves to craft vintage but doesn't have access to all the wonderful chatskies needed to create the look.

My favorite place to find Forever-Keeps is Vintage Street Market. They have assembled everything needed in kits for you to purchase. They provide a to-die-for photograph of the finished project you can already picture in your home, but you haven't any instructions to follow once all the bits and bobs are scattered across your craft desk. Inspiration Frustration?  Never fear! There are a few simple rules you can follow.

There is always a main focal point to any craft. Here it is the adorable reproduction snowman positioned very close to the center fold of cone. "Greetings" cut from the included vintage card will become my secondary focal point. I have stuffed the cone at this point to help with perspective.

My favorite rule in crafting is ZIG ZAG. Whether horizontal or vertical, your eye should flow from one element to another without "dropping". It should zig zag! From the top of the snowman's hat to the "S" and "G", your eye moves along without a break.

Focal points in place, it's time to embellish them. My favorite part!  Following the zig zag rule again, add items that are pleasing to you where the eye stops to rest. It's at the top of the zig, the bottom of the zag!

Another crafting tip is to look at embellishments not only for what they actually are, but for the color or texture they may add. A horrible dime store bow at first seems headed for the throw away pile, but it's velvety brightness peeking from behind the snowman adds height in the direction of the zig zag.

Is it Christmas in June? No, but it is a quite day here at Creative Breathing, crafting with friends, a favorite way to spend the day.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bam Bam Babysitting

I owe my love of embroidering to a babysitting assignment the summer of my sixth grade year. My mother volunteered my services to a young family who lived in our Neighborhood with the Hills whose little toe headed boy was named Bam Bam. Need I say more? I didn't possibly know how I would survive the long hours of the day with him.

My very wise mother told me to wear him out in the morning and put him to bed after lunch. To fill the afternoon hours, she gave me a crewel embroidery wall hanging she had begun and told me I could finish it for her. I carefully copied her beautiful stitches and had learned to stitch by the end of the summer.

I have such admiration for Renee, My Vintage Mending, who seems to create magic with fabric and her sewing machine. Doesn't this family of silverware make you smile?  Renee sent me wonderful vintage transfers of kitchen utensils she just knew I would love.

Examining her Heart of Ohio pillow gifted to me as closely as I could without taking it apart, I am so happy with my cute as can be finished pillow!

A Thank You pincushion made to be tucked in with her lunch box tags. My husband called me to our kitchen window the other day to see the summer's return of Chipmunk Sam. I haven't embroidered a heart in such a long time. I couldn't think of a nicer person to make one for!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When Harry Met Sally

A cross-town excursion, a soldier who would never fill out his uniform. A tiny woman in a red polka dot dress. He made her laugh and laugh again, a number exchanged before the end of the line. One heart recognizing it's own beat in another. Commitment to faith, their One true love.

Ornella would bring nine children into hers and Jimmy's lives. Cross words never spoken when prayer and laughter could solve any problem. I would beg to watch their home movies as a new mother to learn the secrets of their parenting success. "Joy. It is as simple as that. Jimmy and I couldn't wait for the day to begin to see our children. Each was a precious gift from God. How lucky were we to be so blessed?"

The pattern of Ornella's days could be found in her kitchen. Blinds opened before dawn, coffee pot percolating, laundry to fold on the table. Breakfast eggs and toast, sandwich production on the counter, brown sack kisses, home after school. Freshly baked cookies, out the door again, wash up for dinner, prayers of thanks. Round table homework, baths on Saturday, kneeling on Sunday. Blinds closed with the last laundry folded.

When you looked at Ornella, she would be looking at Jimmy. If you looked at Jimmy, he would be looking at Ornella. You could see the tiny woman in the red polka dot dress and the tall soldier in a uniform never to be filled out. You could see their hearts beating together as one. You could see love in it's truest form.

Jimmy was called home first, and there he waited. Ornella was found not long after at her kitchen table, her window blinds opened. Young love waiting to meet again "When Harry Met Sally."

Jimmy was my father-in-law's best friend for 75 years.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mr. Saturday Night

My brother John has now been a music teacher at his school for a very long time under the dictatorial guidance of Principal Cartwright. So caught up in her quest for perfection, she is not aware at all of her true surroundings.

Battles on a regular basis have been tolerated because of the notoriety of excellence John has brought to the school's music program. Not many schools put on productions with original scores. The cost saved from purchasing copyrighted material is a feather in Principal Cartwright's cap.

As this week saw the last day of school for the students, it also marked Mrs. Cartwright's last day as Principal. Her time to retire had finally come. She called John into her office. "I'd like you to be the Master of Ceremonies, I have file cards here with fun facts about myself you can use between speakers." Mind you, she has just given an opening to the teacher who calls out her pretentiousness every chance he is given.

For example, when Ms. Cartwright noticed John had taken a Personal Day, she inquired of him what was the nature of his request knowing this was against union mandates. My brother replied, "I am going to see the doctor about my EBR" Mrs. Cartwright huffed, "I've never heard of EBR, what is it?" "Early Bowel Release."  my brother replied straight face. "It used to be called Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but was deemed too negative a connotation. IBS is now called EBR, Early Bowel Release."  Ms. Cartwright has never asked John again about a personal day earned.

Ceremony evening, speaker introductions made, time in between to pull out file cards."Mrs. Cartwright has written fun facts about herself, but I know a few myself that aren't written down."

Addressing the audience of students who know their principal all too well, "Alright now, everyone yell out at the same time Mrs. Cartwright's favorite instrument." In unison the expected reply washes over Mrs. Cartwright, "The piano!" A moment waited, "That's what I thought, too. But her favorite instrument is the microphone. Once it's in her hand, she just can't put it down!" And so the evening went. What on earth did she expect from Mr. Saturday Night? She got what she deserved!

Please do not Pin pattern to Pinterest.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bobwhites and Vampires

The Bobwhite's after school routine never varied. Home again Mom kisses, cookies from the jar, promises of after dinner homework, arranged meeting place before the opening strands of Dark Shadows had us moving together closer still.

We were absolutely enthralled by the spooky drama that came to us in black and white. Our television viewing up to then had not prepared us for anything so absolutely terrifying. We walked home in pairs too afraid to be alone in the half-way woods.

Each July 4th, my mother would pile every single Bobwhite, my brother and his ever present sidekick Greg into our Plymouth Duster and head to our own very special viewing spot to watch the firework display over Washington, DC.

We would travel to my mother's dear friend's, and fellow artist, home whose husband was a Park Ranger at Ft. Washington along the Potomac River. (Their house was the yellow one in background.) We would spend countless hours waiting for darkness playing Dark Shadows along the the fort's parapets.

My brother and Greg were just horrible to the Bobwhites! They would hide in the black as night spaces below the wall and call to us from within, "Sssst, ssssst, ssssst" 

BROTHERS! You can't live with them, and you sure can live without them! At least in childhood, anyways.

Thank goodness the boys torture was worth the spectacular ending to our day.

The Bobwhites would repeat this holiday tradition well into young adulthood when we were able to drive ourselves. Blankets smoothed flat, soda in our cooler, lie back remembrances of our Dark Shadows days.