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Friday, December 14, 2007

Today in the Mail . . .

"Be ready to be surprised!" ---Loesje

Yay! Today when I got home from work, I had 3 packages in the mail. Three new ornaments from the Ornament Swap arrived. Several days ago, my first ornament arrived---a really cute bird from Lise (Emmi likes this one alot, too).

This afternoon I received one from my daughter, Jana, who lives in Atlanta, GA (we agreed to send each other an ornament even though we're not on the same group list). She used her new "etching" skills to make this really cute mirrored ornament. I love the little tree she designed.


Then, I opened the envelope from Natasha in Philadelphia, PA. She used a wood burner to create the most unique little frame. The design on the front is a comfy chair with Christmas greenery and on the back she burned a garland and embellished it with pearls. The wood burning goes all the way around the edges.









And lastly was the package from Julie in the United Kingdom. She made this great pouch, and included a key chain, and a bonus ornament. How did she know that one of my favorite inspirational words is "JOY"?? And tucked into one of the pockets was a piece of Lindt chocolate inside its own miniature box.
This is so much fun!!! I can't wait to see what's next!!!
Thursday, December 13, 2007

Someday, I'm going to . . .

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” --John Burroughs


I decided to write a few posts about things that "someday" I hope to do. Random, I know, but I recently was talking with some friends about things we want to do and realized that I've been saying some of those things for quite a while. Maybe it's time to start doing them!! These aren't things that have to be done and they aren't for the house or my health or anything else--I've just always wanted to do them.

Well, in actuality, I've already done one of them. For the last couple of years, I've said "Someday I'm going to get a puppy." Well, I did that a few weeks ago and couldn't be happier about it. I'm having the best time with my new, little friend and am so glad that I finally did it.

Another thing that I'm going to do "someday" is take watercolor painting lessons. I love art----all different kinds of art----but I've never taken any sort of real art lessons. I took an art class or two in high school, but they really just focused on introducing us to a variety of mediums. I want to take a series of lessons to actually learn to paint. When I was growing up, my mother took oil painting lessons and loved it. However, she felt very strongly that children should not take art lessons because it would inhibit their natural imaginative spirit and stifle their creativity. She also rarely let us use coloring books and encouraged us to draw from photos or actual objects/people rather than using art as a model, so that we could develop our own techniques and not copy someone else's. At times, I thought that was kind of silly, but as an adult now, I realize how very wise she was. I've heard story after story of how comments by well-meaning teachers have inhibited a child's creativity and made them unsure of themselves in regard to artistic ability. Sometimes that is the only thing they remember about that age or place or person, showing me how profoundly negative that comment was to them.

So, although my creativity has been sufficiently stifled by any number of circumstances or people, I will "someday" take watercolor lessons and add yet another craft supply to my every-growing stash.
Sunday, December 9, 2007

Puppy Ponderings

"Every dog is a lion at home." - H.G. Bohn

I wonder what Emmi must be thinking about that new, giant, green thing standing in the corner of the living room? At first she paid no attention at all to the tree itself--she just wanted me to stop the decorating every once in a while to pet her and snuggle. But, this evening, with the lights on and the ornaments hung, she began to get curious.

First she slowly approached the embroidered skirt that has gold fringe around the edge. I knew this would be enticing to her, so the minute she began to nibble at the fringe, I clapped my hands loudly and she dropped it and moved away. But then, as she lay on the floor and stared at the tree, she seemed to notice one ornament that was hung way down low---just within her reach! First she crept closer and closer to it, then she began to sniff in the air near it. Finally, she reached out to take a nibble. And, just as she began, I clapped loudly one time and she jumped back in surprise. I think she thought the noise came from the ornament itself. But, of course, she needed to try one more time. So, I clapped once again and she jumped back---this time convinced that the ornament was fussing at her. Keeping a safe distance from the ornament itself, she proceeded to bark and bark at it, perhaps hoping to scare it away.

I wonder what she thought it was?? To you or me, the ornament appears to be a cute, rustic Santa made of wood, but to Emmi, it must seem like some dangerous creature that she must protect me from. Seems like anything with a face is cause for concern to her. I wonder what she'll think of the large Santa collection that usually sits on the hearth??
Friday, December 7, 2007

Feathered Friends

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”
--Rabindranath Tagore

****Warning, Jana. I've posted photos of my ornaments. If you want to be surprised, don't read this post.****

I am the youngest of four children and the only girl. When I was a little girl, and all the boys were at school, I remember sitting out in the backyard with my mother on the wooden patio furniture that my grandfather had built for us. I don't know exactly what it was that my mother did during that time, but we sat out in the backyard on the little patio behind the shop and both of us had a notebook. She might have been writing her weekly letters to her parents, brothers and sisters, but my
notebook had a list of birds that she had written for me. I would carefully make tally marks to record all the different birds that I saw each day. At certain times of the year, the Cedar Wax Wings would fill the privet tree next door and at other times there would be blue jays or mockingbirds. On rare occasions, I would see a red-headed woodpecker or perhaps a hummingbird.

As I think about it, it's no wonder that I love birds so much. My mother loved birds and both she and my dad encouraged us to explore all aspects of nature. Our family had a large, National Geographic bird identification
book that my brothers and I loved to pore over. In the back of the book was a set of recordings of various bird calls. We loved the clear plastic records and played them over and over again. We learned to recognize a wide variety of birds by both their appearance and their sounds.

One of our favorite past times during the winter months was to catch birds. Don't worry---we never hurt the birds or even kept them. I think that it was either Don or David (my oldest brothers) that came up with the idea of using our old metal birdcage, but we all willingly participated. After finding a spot on the ground near the house, they propped up one corner of the cage with a stick and placed a small pile of birdseed underneath. A small rope ran from the birdcage to their bedroom window, which we'd opened just a few inches. A record player was positioned near the window, in hopes that the recorded bird calls would draw a few curious, feathered friends. We would sit by that window hour upon hour, sometimes bundled in coats when the cold air from outside seeped indoors through the window. When birds came close, we all became very quiet and almost held our breath, afraid that the slightest noise would scare the little birds away. And every once in a while, an unsuspecting sparrow would hop under the bird cage and be caught ----just long enough for us to run outside, lift the cage to free the bird and rig the whole setup again.

I still love birds---any kind really. So, this year for the Holiday Ornament Swap I decided to craft a bird. I used red wool which I felted to make a Christmas cardinal and then embroided a face. I found the "curly" hangers at Wal-Mart (a great deal---30 for $2.49) and I made the little beaded connectors. As soon as my last piece of felt is dry, I can finish up the last 3 birds and get them packaged for the mail. I've included a few photos of the project.
Monday, December 3, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your boughs can teach
a lesson
That constant faith and hope sublime lend strength and comfort
through all time.
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, Your boughs can teach
a lesson.
---German Christmas Carol---
Well, as my mother used to say, "some children have fond memories of going out into the woods to find the perfect tree, chop it down and drag it home. But, my children have memories of going up into the attic and bringing down a big box full of branches." My children will have that same memory, only it's a storage building instead of an attic. Due to allergies and asthma and sheer convenience, we've always had an artificial tree. After dragging the tree out of storage, fitting it together and fluffing out the branches, it's time to test the strings of lights and hang the ornaments.

Each of the girls has their own box of ornaments (as do I) collected throughout the years. And a new ornament has been added each year to their collections. Even though the tradition has changed somewhat over the years (this year I am dragging the tree out alone and putting on some of the decorations before Callie gets home from college) it is still a sentimental time for me.

Each time I hang a paper chain that one of the girls made in preschool or one of the ornaments received in a swap, I am flooded with memories. Most of the ornaments have stories---whether about a vacation we shared, a favorite hobby or even a special person. Some families decorate their trees in a particular theme----all Santas, or snowmen, or angels, or perhaps only in certain colors. But not us----just lots of love and special times. We have handmade, store-bought and everything in between. We smile as we hang up Jana's First Christmas ornament and laugh as we hang up the one that Callie lovingly made for me out of making tape and sequins (truly one that only a mother could love!).

Just like the song above, though, our tree is a symbol of steadfast faith for our family. Ten years ago, we experienced the most difficult Christmas ever when faced with a tragedy beyond comprehension. As we arrived home from a funeral on Christmas Eve, I remember the girls asking "Will we still have Christmas?" Still have Christmas?? I remember laying on the couch that evening, totally exhausted and gazing at the tree that was standing in the corner completely decorated, with lights twinkling. "Of course we will still celebrate Christmas", I reassured the girls "because Christmas has nothing to do with what just happened in our lives. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus." And we did. It was a lower-key celebration this time, but perhaps it captured the true meaning of Christmas better than ever before. At a time when we needed strength and hope and comfort, we were reminded that "Christmas" would always come no matter what the circumstances on Earth.

So, again this year, I will decorate my tree and enjoy the memories as I place ornaments on the branches. Despite the fact that many of my friends choose not to put up a tree once their children are grown and their house is empty, I will look to my evergreen in the corner and remember that the message is the same---regardless of my circumstances. Christ was born on a night over two thousand years ago and that story is my comfort and my hope for the future.
Sunday, December 2, 2007

Trade Days


By mutual confidence and mutual aid -- great deeds are done, and great discoveries made. --Homer

It's been over a year since Valine and I went to the Canton Trade Days, so I was very excited to be going again this past weekend. We usually go once or twice a year, but with the wedding and all, other things just got in the way this year. She took off a day from school to drive up here and Friday afternoon we drove over to Longview to do a little shopping, eat out, etc. Spending the night there makes the trip to Canton a little bit shorter, so that's nice, too (especially at 7 a.m. Saturday morning!) We got some much needed Christmas shopping done and had a nice meal------shrimp scampi was yummy!! After watching a movie back at the hotel, we turned in for the night.

Of course, when we're together, there is never a shortage of words.
We talk and talk and talk. And then talk some more. Our semi-annual visits are great chances to catch up on everything. We talk about friends, step-families (which we have both recently acquired), teaching and our daughters. We talk about the past---college days, old boyfriends, our weddings, our children's births and how they've grown and the loss of our mothers--- and we dream about the future---what we'll be doing in a few years, what our children will be doing and even what vacations we might take. Somehow, talking to each other in person (we talk by phone and email on a regular basis) seems to "fill us up", giving us sustenance to last until our next visit.

Saturday morning, we got up early and drove over to Canton. It was so much fun. We met her Aunt Pam and her best friend for shopping at the flea market. Just like us, they seem to share that same camaraderie and endless conversation. They live near Canton and are able to come on a regular basis, but for Valine and I, the journey is quite a treat. We begin our shopping in the pavilions, which are filled with high quality merchandise and inspiration, then, slowly make our way through the "open booth" area which is filled with row upon row of "junk booths". It's always so much fun to peruse these booths, hoping to find a special treasure among the $1.00 piles. This year, as I was looking through one such booth, I came across a cardboard powder box very similar to the one my mother used to keep her buttons in so long ago----complete with the filigree metal band around the bottom. How could I resist?? Well, I didn't. It now is home to a few of my favorite buttons!! Who knows--maybe someday a future grandchild will enjoy playing with this box just as I did a few years back.
Sunday, November 25, 2007

Buttons

In the bottom drawer of my mother's dresser, she kept all her sewing supplies----thread, scissors, thimbles, pins and those wonderful "zig-zaggedy" pinking shears. But the best thing in the whole drawer was her box of buttons. On special days, she would get that box out and let me play with its contents. It was a round box that once held a special container of body powder, but for me it housed the most wonderful assortment of colors and shapes. I would spend hours playing with those buttons--letting them pour through my fingers, carefully examining them and then sorting them into endless piles.

I passed on that love of buttons to my youngest daughter. When she was young, I made her a special button box of her own for Christmas one year and filled it with some of the favorites from my collection. Callie would spend hours sorting the buttons in her box and would save her allowance to buy more from the sale bin at our local Hancock's store.

My weakness for buttons has become a bit more refined over the years, but the fascination is still there. I inherited my grandmother's button collection and several friends have passed on the sewing boxes of their relatives, so I particularly enjoy the antique or unusual. I can spend a ridiculous amount of time poring over the buttons on display at my favorite flea market, but since my friends don't necessarily share that same passion, I try to make my visits to that booth brief. With another trip to Canton coming up in about a week, I can't wait to see what new treasures await me!
Saturday, November 24, 2007

New Family Member

My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog already thinks I am. --Author Unknown

Well, with a house that is now an "empty nest" more often than not, I finally satisfied my longing for a new member of the family. For my birthday this week a gave myself the gift of a new puppy. Emmi is 14 weeks old and is cutest little Maltese. I got her Monday and she has already been such a joy! Callie has been home from college for the Thanksgiving break and even she has fallen in love with her. Of course, this is the week that winter finally arrived (complete with low temperatures and even a little sleet one evening) so those middle of the night house-breaking trips haven't been so much fun, but even that is going pretty well.

Emmi is such a character. She is so sweet and affectionate, but also has a great time playing with her new toys. She hasn't quite mastered running through a house with slick floors----well actually she's got the running part mastered, but not the stopping part. So, inevitably the quick little pitter-pat of her feet is often followed by a slide into a piece of furniture or wall.

Being a crafter, having a pet opens up all new possibilities for crafts and needlework. The other night, after deciding that Emmi needs a bed for the living room, I found some fun fabric and used these directions as inspiration to make this for Emmi. Fortunately, she seems to love it. She sleeps in it during the day and loves to run from across the room and jump into it. (of course sometimes she completely misses the bed and lands on the floor).

And of course, what puppy couldn't use a new coat to wear when out walking?? With Christmas on the way, I used a layer of batting to make this a little warmer and then hoped that Emmi wouldn't mind wearing it. She actually seems to like it and she looks pretty cute in it. With it on, we've been on several walks around the block. Walking on the leash is getting a little bit easier now, so I feel like she's on the way to being trained.
Friday, November 23, 2007

Beginnings

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. --George Bernard Shaw

Blogging is new for me, but I've been enjoying other people's craft and design blogs so much, that I decided to try my hand at it, too. Perhaps if I start out slowly, I'll get the hang of it and be able to keep up with semi-regular posts.

My mother first introduced me to sewing when I was a very little girl and I was immediately hooked!!! I just couldn't get enough of it. By the time I was in junior high, I was making everything I wore. Of course, back then, that was NOT the cool thing to do at all, but I didn' t care. I liked having unique things and found that sewing and crafts allowed me to design things that were totally my own. I could choose fabrics I loved and alter patterns to fit my tastes and no one else at school had anything like them. Through college and into adulthood, that obsession with fibers and fabrics has continued. I love it all----the colors, the textures, the shapes!!! And I don't limit myself to sewing---I like paper crafting, scrapbooking, making jewelry, antique/flea market shopping, photography and I learned to knit a couple of years ago. Now, all of that sounds pretty "domestic", but actually that's not a very good description of me. Although I CAN cook, I really don't enjoy it much at all and I find it much more rewarding to mess up my house with fabric, yarn and buttons than to clean it up!!

Given all of that, I couldn't be happier about the recent resurgence of all things homemade!! I love it!! Though my projects have changed through the years (counted cross stitch in college, smocking for my little girls, etc.) I find myself once again obsessed with fabric and patterns and ideas and not nearly enough time to do all that I have planned. While I dream about using up the huge stashes of fabric and papers in boxes under my bed and in my closet, more frequently I realize that I am purchasing new selections that will be "just perfect" for my latest project. So, for now, I will satisfy yet another hobby (computer) by posting on this blog.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Contact Me

Glad you found me.  If you have a question, or would simply like to connect, you can email me at:
lindaperki (at) gmail (dot) com

You can also find my social media pages at the links on the right of my blog.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007

About Me

Hi!  I'm Linda, a wife, mother and grandmother.  Family is super important to me, and in fact, it has grown quite a bit lately.  In the last couple of years, I married my best friend and added his three children and 3 grandchildren to my own 2 daughters and 2 grandsons!   It's wonderful!!

I am a preschool inclusion teacher with a passion for helping those in need, whether that be through my job or my church activities.  I also love creating . . . sewing, crafting, scrapbooking, photography, repurposing . . . and can spend all day combing through a pile of antiques (some might call it junk, but I like to imagine what it COULD be).  Lately, I've been wanting to try my hand at art journaling and Bible journaling, so check back and see how it is going.

I am so glad that you stopped by to visit.  I hope that you enjoy browsing my posts.  Feel free to leave a comment or check out my pages on social media.
Monday, January 1, 2007

Projects

Here are a few of my favorite ongoing projects:

Scrapbooking
Project Life 2012 and 2015
Greeting Card Organizer

My One Little Word
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010


Photography
Shutter School (a joint project with Jana so that we could learn more about photography)
Camera Bag Insert
DIY Camera Bag
Picture Fall 2011
Contrast - 100 Photos (personal photo project from 2010)
My Father's World (personal photo project form 2011)


DIY Gift Ideas
Personalized Thermal Cups
Spiffy Scissors Teacher Gift
Nook Cover
T-Shirt Scarf
One-Line Journal
Personal Pillowcases
Baby Block
T Shirt baby Gowns
Baby Sling

Halloween Costumes
2013
2014 and here

Fair Trade
Greater Gift Market 2009
Greater Gift Market 2010
Greater Gift Market 2011



Home Remodeling Projects
Dan's Bedroom
Laundry Room
Callie's Bedroom
Bathroom Remodel
Sewing Room
Pier One Frame Knock-Off
Backyard Fire Pit
Red Table Re-do
Kitchen Cabinet Organization
Mailbox Dress-up
Gift Wrap Station
DIY Headboard


Tutorials
Packing Folder
Easy Diaper Bag
Quick Change  Pocket
Camera Bag
Chair Pockets
Money Holder Gift Wallet
Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent and Dryer Sheets
Felt Deer

Parties and Table Decor
Hot Cocoa Bar
Windows of Blessings Tablescape
Valentine Party


Custom Post Signature

Custom Post  Signature