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Bayou Quilts, Craft, & Mail Art

A little of this, a little of that. Embroidery, dolls, mail art, and more.

Updated: 2018-04-26T11:25:21.583-05:00


Mail, National Poetry Month, and Circe by Madeline Miller


Incomingfrom ConnieOutgoingThe Billy Collins quote make me want to graffiti his poems on sidewalks.  :)Postcards to grands  to MilaSpring is like a perhaps hand(which comes carefullyout of Nowhere) arranginga window, into which people look...--e e cummings to Max to Bryce EleanorOn the back, a quote from Carl Sandburg:"Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits."*  I love this idea:  1000 Poems by MailReading:  Just finished Circe by Madeline Miller.  It was wonderful!  Beautiful prose and a fascinating look at myths and gods from the point of view of Circe, daughter of Helios, who drove his chariot of the sun across the sky each day.  Circe (unloved child, nymph, sorceress, witch) exiled to her island tells her version of the gods and heroes and monsters.  Circe has a depth that the other, more powerful gods lack.  She has the ability of introspection; she makes mistakes and regrets them.  She resents the power of both the Titans and the Olympians and stands against them as best she can.Her first rebellion was a kindness to Prometheus when--as a timid child--she brought him nectar in secret.  Prometheus who aided mortals is aided by the young Circe; a theme develops. At one point, Circe speaks of her beautiful loom, a gift from Daedalus, innovator and craftsman:  "I have it still.  It sits near my hearth and has even found its way into the songs.  Perhaps that is no surprise, Poets like such symmetries:  Witch Circe skilled at spinning spells and threads alike, at weaving charms and cloths.  Who am I to spoil an easy hexameter?"She recalls a song she has heard of her meeting with Odysseus:  "I was not surprised by the portrait of myself:  the proud witch undone before the hero's sword, kneeling and begging for mercy.  Humbling women seems to be a chief pastime of poets.  As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep."Later, in a conversation with Penelope, Penelope tells Circe:  "I am from Sparta.  We know about old soldiers there.  The trembling hands, the startling from sleep.  The man who spills his wine every time the trumpets blow."  I like that passage because I never thought of the Greek warriors suffering from PTSD, but of course they did.  I have loved myths since I was a child and there are so many versions even from the ancients.  There are also some wonderful retellings available:  The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood and Weight by Jeanette Winterson are also great examples of modern mythic retellings; these are much shorter, condensed, but powerful.    Antigo Nick is a campy, amusing modern translation of Sophocles' Antigone by Anne Carson.And for National Poetry Month, a poem by Louise Gluck:Circe's PowerI never turned anyone into a pig.Some people are pigs; I make themLook like pigs.I'm sick of your worldThat lets the outside disguise the inside. Your men weren't bad men;Undisciplined lifeDid that to them. As pigs,Under the care ofMe and my ladies, theySweetened right up.Then I reversed the spell, showing you my goodnessAs well as my power. I sawWe could be happy here,As men and women areWhen their needs are simple. In the same breath,I foresaw your departure,Your men with my help bravingThe crying and pounding sea. You thinkA few tears upset me? My friend,Every sorceress isA pragmatist at heart; nobody sees essence who can'tFace limitation. If I wanted only to hold youI could hold you prisoner.Do you have a favorite myth?[...]

Mail, Tomatoes, Poems :)


This has been a great mail week!  IncomingThe mysterious postcard from North Carolina at the top above was fun because I have no idea who sent it.  Is the "L" for the first or last name? There is really no hint at all and no return address--so I can't mail a reply!  But it is addressed to Jenny Claire which is what my my father used to call me and what my grands still call me.   I checked with the Lamkins, but not them.  Curiouser and curiouser.  On the back of Teresa's envelope, she included a pic of ratatouille and a poem she wrote with the lovely line "okra chortle a ruffled message in their pods" -- that makes me smile!Here is the postcard TES enclosed with an excerpt from a poem. the other side...this poem makes my mouth waterAn anthology of poetry in which there is a tomato in every poem!  If ever a vegetable deserved an anthology all its own, it is the tomato.I didn't move the pot with the cherry tomatoes on to the shelter of the patio when we had a really cold morning.  I meant to.  I knew I should.  I forgot.  So damage to the leaves and the flowers that hadn't set, these little guys were OK.If there is anything I love more than juicy, ripe tomatoes, it is fried green tomatoes.  Cherry tomatoes won't do for that, so when they ripen they go into salads.I used to collect poems on various subjects for comparison, just to show students different ways to approach a topic not normally thought poetry worthy.  It started with poems by Plath and Hughes, but then I was amazed at how many famous poets had written poems about pigs.  Here are a few of the ones I collected.  Sylvia Plath -- The SowTed Hughes -- View of a PigClaude McKay -- If We Must DieDenise Levertov -- Her SecretGalway Kinnel -- St. Francis and the SowP.S.  "L" if you will email me your address, I will send you a postcard back![...]

More Snail Mail Ideas for National Letter Writing Month


*  This is one of my favorites:  Penny Berens keeps in touch with her young grandchildren by drawing scenes and characters they might enjoy; when her grandchildren get the letters, they can color them in--a fine collaboration!  Check the link to see!*Writing letters can be a solitary activity, but it doesn't have to be:Kimberly Ah likes to party.  :)  Halloween Mail Art Party, Birthday Mail Art Party. Pamela Gerard at Cappuccino and Art attends regular mail art gatherings.         Letter Writing/Correspondence Clubs  All of the above look like fun!  Letters, good company, shared supplies,ideas, and techniques.  :) *Print a photograph and add to an envelope or postcard.    In 2016, when my little brother (Ha!) was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame,I printed an old pic of the two of us for the envelope.  I was actuallybigger than Steve at that point, although he is two years younger.  Itdidn't take him long to outgrow me.  An old basketball stamp was perfect.*Use pages from old books.  Tutorial allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">*Paste stickers and/or use rubber stamps on a plain envelope.  Connie does such a wonderful job with her envelopes and her beautiful brush pen addresses.*30 Reasons to Write a LetterAnother one I liked was #13--"Finish a Conversation."  Outgoingquote on backpost card to TeresaOh, dear![...]

Gardens, Mail, Mushrooms


Another day trip to Blue Moon Gardens.  Texas highways are in better shape than ours and the wildflowers are gorgeous, lots of Indian Paintbrush and Queen Ann's Lace and Black-eyed Susans and others cover the median and the sides of the highway.  No bluebonnets that we saw, but I'd love to take one of the driving trips to see the wildflowers in Rusk County: Wildflower Trails/Self-Driving Tours April 15-May 31Peak season is coming up!We got another Japanese Maple, milkweed plants, a firecracker plant, daylilies, prostrate rosmary, some sedum, more basil, orange mint, lantana.  Some were chosen for their attraction to butterflies and hummingbirds--others, just because I like them.Our new Orangeola Laceleaf Maple!Where will it end up.Right now it is in the middle of our path, and I'm having to side-step around it. I love Fountain Grass, but "Fireworks" is a new favorite.I planted this one in a big pot, but now, I'm rethinking that and may move it today.Having to reconfigure the garden now that the birches (with their wonderful shade) are gone.  Lots more thinking needed and more backaches in the future.Outgoing MailI found the perfect stamp in my stash to go with the excerpt from the poem I used on this envelope.  Mila likes Sylvia Plath, and so do I, but the best known of Plath's poems are pretty dark.  April Aubade has such lovely imagery--I wish Plath had had more of these lighter moments. I used this from the stamp sheet on the backI wanted to use the dinosaur stamps and found a poem about dinosaurs that I thought Max might appreciate--especially the second verse on the back.  When I read the last two lines, I laughed out loud!backAnd an excerpt from a cat poem for Bryce Eleanor and Prim Paws."Arabelle is a calico kitten . . .helping Grandmother tend to her knittin'.Over and over, 'round and around,in skeins of bright yarn Arabelle's wound."MushroomRain predicted for the weekend, so time to get back to the garden![...]

Snail Mail


Incomingfrom Anna from TeresaOutgoingto Anna(another Jackie Long inspired scrappy girl) back-- trying to work something about poetry in somewhere, and I love the quote by Gwendolyn Hannah------------Have you ever written to a celebrity or an author?  I've never have, but I know that many authors and celebrities will write back.  Some do it personally like children's author James Preller; some rely on assistants or publishers.This a link to some replies from celebrities to thrilled fans.Atlas Obscura wants to know:  Did Your Childhood Hero Ever Write You Back?--------More Ideas and a Tutorial for Fun Envelopes:(In keeping with National Letter Writing Month) *Take some pretty paper and make an envelope by folding it and using double-sided tape or washi tape to secure the sides or use an old envelope for a template.  Tutorial*Scribbling Glue always makes fun envelopes from illustrations in children's books. :)*Annie (Freezeframe) makes delicious postcards. I received this one last year and love the use of the old card catalog entry![...]



Well, the birch trees came down on Saturday, and I miss them.  I know they had to go, but it hurts to see the loss of shade and interest.  Besides being National Card and Letter Writing Month, April is also National Poetry Month.  For the last two years I've included lines or entire poems when sending mail.  The plan is to do some of the same this year.   Incomingfrom ConnieOutgoingAnother MushroomMore Ideas for DIY envelopes:*Use old calendars to make envelopes.  Homespun Seasonal Living has a great tutorial.Homespun Seasonal Living*Use an old map.  Although I have used paper maps, I made this one last year from fabric with a pretty map, heavily starched it, and sewed up the sides.Don't want to make your own postcards?  Amazon has packs of postcards that are so much fun!  Travel?  Vintage?  Fairies?  Circus?  Quotes?These vintage Cosmopolitan covers are so cool![...]



SpringThe Japanese Maple in the back; leaves catching the late afternoon sun.I bought 3 Kangaroo Paws which I like because they are so unusual. And columbinesI can't plant them yet because we are going to have some too-tall birch trees taken down first.   Every time the tree guys are scheduled, it things are moving slowly.  It is frustrating, but there is plenty of other stuff to do in the meantime.  The problem is that right now that in this time of wonderful temperatures, there is also so much pollen.  I weed for a while, do several outdoor chores, clean the patio is short segments because of sneezing and itchy eyes.  My eyelids swell, and I get sleepy.  Allergies become a bigger problem each year.  Yesterday, I came in and tried to read, but ended up taking a nap!This morning it is raining.  Washing some of that pollen away!Mailpostcard to Mila to MaxBooks/ReadingTwo ARCs from NetGalley that I've enjoyed recently and need to review on my book blog.Mushrooms/Embroidery[...]

National Letter Writing Month and Fairy Rings


April is National Card and Letter Writing Month I like to send and receive personal mail and have participated in several challenges in the past, but now my goal is simply to send as much mail as I feel like--no more, no less.  The "feel like" varies from week to week and month to month.  :)   April may see more mail making its journey, although I won't participate in a challenge.If you don't usually send personal mail and want to get involved with snail mail in April, here are a few things you can do to prepare:*Create a stash of new stationery, cards, postcards to make things easier.  So much beautiful stationery is available in stores or online, so many funny cards.  You can buy or DIY.  Over the years, I have collected many cards and postcards I couldn't resist.  Sometimes, I couldn't commit to sending them because I liked them so much. *Check out pretty stamps and purchase enough to send a few letters or a lot of letters.*Make a list of who you might write--with their addresses.  Parents, children, siblings, friends.  A niece or nephew or friend's kid.  Someone who has a birthday, graduation, or new baby.  Teacher, co-worker.  Senator, Congressman.  And you can always write me!*Letters don't have to be long; a note that lets someone know you are thinking about them will be appreciated.  Include a cartoon or a joke, a quote, a funny list if you like.  Suggest a recent movie or book you enjoyed.  Sometimes all I do on a postcard is include a quote or a stamped image on the address side and a "Hi!"One of my favorite sources of mail art inspiration, Jacki Long, sends "thank you" postcards with a collage on the back to folks who take her classes, which eliminates having to think of anything to say!  I've done this several times with postcards to the grands.  (A picture, a stamped image, or a cartoon or a joke work as well.)I owe some mail to folks and have been working on some postcards, just to let them know I haven't forgotten them and to have some extras for later.I like DIY.  I have a kindergarten mentality.  Here are some postcard backs I played with yesterday.  I cut cardstock to postcard size or use index cards and then tear up junk mail, those catalogs that keep arriving each month before making their way into the trash, and other bits and bobs of pretty paper, maps, etc.  I apply some stamps and leave room for the address.DIY postcard backs I'd like to say this is quick and easy.  And it is, if you don't count the time cleaning sticky fingers!  How so much of my glue stick ends up on me is a curious thing.And look what I found in the garden this morning:  a fairy ring![...]

Favorite Carpool Karoke--Ever


This makes me happy.  Every. Time. I. Watch. It.   :)

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I do not like DST.  Especially when I lose an hour in the spring.  Just sayin'.

Have to get on the mat quickly or this happens...

Something cool arrived in the mail from PB!
Thank you, Penny!

Just because I love it...
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This and That


Books and ReadingI really liked Minette Walters' The Last Hours (not due out until August), Joy Ellis' The Guilty Ones, and the strange Imperfect Memories by Jody Wenner, although I haven't reviewed them on my book blog yet.   EmbroideryStill working on mushrooms when I feel like it.  Interesting:  Do you have an affinity for crows?   allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Happy Full Crow MoonSnail MailThe Write-On Campaign is gearing up for National Card and Letter Writing Month in  April.  They are offering a Write-On Individual Kit for $10.  6 cards (designed by Egg Press and Hello!Lucky) + envelopes1 Sticker Sheet1 Challenge Log Sheet1 Sakura of America Gelly Roll PenIncoming MailAnother lovely view from Singapore!outgoingpostcardsAfter a spurt of answering letters last month, I've been a bit lax so far in March and have to spend little time responding to mail.   Need to get busy...[...]

More Mushrooms and the Medieval Attitude Toward Cats


More mushrooms in progress.  Which means that I've been watching more Netflix.I've altered patterns multiple times, experimenting with various sizes and shapes.Many don't work very well, and some are quite fiddly because they are so mall. Nevertheless, I've enjoyed the process and have several more ideas to try. :) I recently finished a novel by Minette Walters called The Last Hours.  Although Walters is best known for her dark, psychological crime novels, The Last Hours is a historical novel set in 1348 during the first onset of the plague.  Like many others, I've always been fascinated by the Black Death, and Walters explores an avenue that intrigues me.  An interesting side-note:  The plague has devastated the countryside, entire villages dead or fled.  The Dorset countryside is largely bereft of the living when a character investigates an abandoned building that, unaccountably, has no evidence of rats.  He is initially terrified when a strange creature jumps out at him. A demon with strange eyes?  The young man had heard of cats, but never seen one because the Church considered them familiars of witches. When I read the section about the Church associating cats with evil, I was surprised.  I'd never heard that before--which is when I did a little research and found plenty of authentication.   The Church at the time preached against cats, which were associated with witches and the devil and were often killed.  In some areas, cats were essentially unknown.  Some authorities believe that the prejudice against cats was one of the reasons the plague was so devastating in certain areas--the rat population had no predators.Our cats, however, eat and sleep, confident that their needs will be taken care of by their humans.     [...]

"Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom" Thomas Carlyle


During last week's rainy days, I needed something to keep my hands busy as I binge watched Netflix.  In December, when I was trying to make round heads for the snowmen, some of the patterns I made did not work--too pointy, too fat, just wrong.  I stuffed two of them, and they didn't work at all--one way too big, the other too squatty.  (They will make satisfactory pumpkins in the fall.)  One pattern that I pieced, however, I didn't even bother to stuff.  I pulled it out and turned it into something else entirely.Folding it it inside itself and adding a bit of stuffing made a neat mushroom cap.  Now I was set to get back to Netflix with floss and needle ready!  The neon green floss did not give the bioluminescent look hoped for, so I switched to other colors.  A rectangle made a simple stem, and I now have the first mushroom for my imaginary forest floor.  Pinterest has so many beautiful fabric mushrooms and so many ideas!  I have some tiny 'shrooms in progress and will probably continue making them and experimenting until I get tired of it.  Real mushrooms are amazingly diverse in appearance, but fabric mushrooms on Pinterest are varied, too.  :)The sudden appearance of mushrooms after a summer rain is one of the more impressive spectacles of the plant world.  --John Tyler BonnerThe sun is out today, but the rains return tomorrow.Clearly, the light is bothering Edgrrr.[...]

Rainy Days--Letters, Netflix, Emroidery


It has been a rainy week here in North Louisiana.  We needed some rain, but not day after day.  After day.  I didn't want to get soaked going to the grocery store,  and I had letters to answer and books to read so the first two days weren't a problem.  The next day, some household chores received a bit more energy than normal.  Yesterday, I indulged in some Netflix and embroidery.   Monday is predicted to be clear, but then the rains come again on Tuesday.  Aaargh!  February Incoming MailMelody's letter (below) in September went astray, but was eventually returned to her.The address was correct, so don't know why it was returned.She included the returned letter with a new one.Bonus:  two letters in one!Love the stamps from Singapore.  :)From Connie :)from TeresaOutgoing Mailto Penny Bto Katie S.How do you spent rainy days? [...]

A Few Links


I have drawn a lot of little mushrooms along with my cartoon figures lately.  I looked for mushrooms on Pinterest and found...the most amazing photographs.  Each one more beautiful than the last... 
via Pinterest

I had no idea that mushrooms could be so gorgeous, so mysterious, or of such variety.  All we have around here are the white kind that spring up after a warm rain. I've spent a lot of time going back to  Pinterest pages to marvel at these beauties.  More here.

I know I've mentioned James Preller before, but I love this author for his wonderful responses to fan mail from young readers.   This letter from a young blind fan and  Preller's response makes my all-time favorites list.

Illustrations in children's books are often more fascinating than the stories themselves.  I've found a new favorite illustrator:  Chris Dun.  :)

Hope you've had a great weekend!

Be My Valentine


I'm not a fan of "romantic" Valentine's, but I love funny ones or personal ones.Prim Paws loves mockingbirds, but they have dive-bombed her frequently.I gave Prim Paws a hat to protect her head. I don't know where I found this quote, but it had no acknowledged author.Nevertheless, the idea of the "stubborn heart" resonated with me.  :)  Another quote I really liked.A birthday postcard to a friend.My handwriting is lacking, and I really wish I could do a better job because beautiful handwritingcan make a card or envelope shine.I console myself by remembering that it isn't about perfection.One rule of Mail Art is:No judgments are made about the artwork or its quality.  via: Go Make SomethingSince playing with watercolor and pen and ink,collage, paper and paste,  rubber stamps, and drawing and cutting outthe strange little cartoon characters is fun,I just hope they make the recipient smile.Are you sending any Valentine's? [...]

Mail Art


February offers two letter writing challenges:Incowrimoand A Month of LettersI'm not doing either one this year, but I do seem to be in the snail mail mode.  February is a good month for getting things in the mail because February 14 is Valentine's Day.Other things to celebrate:Mardi GrasChinese New YearThere are some really strange days available to whet the curiosity:Stuffed Mushroom DayWave All Five Fingers at Your Neighbor DayToothache DayNational Lost Penny DayDo a Grouch a Favor DayI will send some mail to celebrate Valentine's Day and may use some of the other ideas for decorating envelopes and postcards as well.  :)  letters postcardsto Erinto Iliana (who is participating a letter challenge)(another Jacki Long inspiration--because they are fun) to Bryce Eleanor  I got in a hurry to put Max & Mila's postcards in the mail yesterday and didn't scan them.   [...]

Baton Rouge Visit


We went to Baton Rouge this weekend to see Erin, and boy, were we surprised to see the lay-out she'd prepared!  All kinds of snacks--prosciutto, goat cheese stuffed croissants, a beautiful lemon bundt cake topped with blackberries, and more!  I was so impressed and thought maybe we'd disrupted a party.   Fee took a few pictures while I was busy moving from thing to another gorging on everything.Later, we sat outside and visited. Eric brought Max and Mila home, then left came back later with Katerina and Emil so we could see him. Emil was so smiley and happy, busy showing off his walking skills and his delight in digging the potting soil out of pots.   Below, he was not happy with having had all the dirt brushed off clothes and shoes.  :) Max adores him!It was a lovely visit in so many ways![...]

Blue Moon, Books, Mail Art


Blue Moon EclipseAbout 5:00 this morning, the blue moon was still bright and full, and I watched until it gradually dropped in the sky and the house behind us blocked the view.  My husband was about to leave for work and offered to drive me (still in pj's) to where we could see it from the boulevard.  We watched part of the eclipse from there.  We stayed for a while, watching the shadow cover the huge moon, but he had to leave so he brought me home before it was finished.  I was satisfied.  I didn't even have to get dressed.  :)Books/ReadingI started reading the essays in Ursula Le Guin's No Time to Spare about ten days before she died.  Then I stopped for several days.  Too close.  Too personal.  I was about half way through the book, and although I knew she was in her late 80's, the news that she had died while I was reading her essays took me aback.  After several days, I started reading again.  The essays vary in length and in import.  The anecdotes about her new kitten Pard are short, observant, and personal.  Le Guin was a cat person of long-standing.  The essays about social topics--about aging, about men and women, about writing and books, about her disdain for the "inner child" trope, about her personal vision of America --are longer, and (for me, at least) require more than one reading in many cases.  I have to think about some of these essays (originally, blog posts), how they mesh with my own thoughts or how her opinions sometimes open a new avenue of thinking.  I will finish reading all of the essays and then return to the ones I've been thinking about and read them again.Le Guin's writing has earned so many awards over the years (Newbury, Hugo, Nebula, National Book, Locus), but she may be best known for her Earthsea series.Mail ArtI am still moving in short surges on replying to correspondence.  I'll be all about it for a day or two, writing a letter, decorating an envelope--then take an unintentional break.  But I am almost caught up now.Yep, still drawing little cartoons on watercolor backgrounds,cutting them out, and pasting them on envelopes and postcards.OK, I love all of Jacki Long's junk mail angels.Here is a link to one of her step-by-step posts.Of course, I wanted to try this...Jacki's junk mail characters are such fun, and I'm going to make more.  :)The junk mail characters remind me of Carrie Payne's delightful little art quilts.If you haven't seen them, you should visit![...]



In the aftermath of Christmas and New Year's, when I'd almost recovered from all of the activities and was ready to fall back into my usual quiet routine.  I had plans and energy still going, and was ready for a new direction...but then I fell victim to the same thing other family members have had.  Unlike Amelia and Fee, I didn't feel terrible (so grateful), but fatigue, inability to concentrate, headache.  Sleeping.  A lot.  Thank Goodness, it wasn't the flu.  This has been a terrible year for the flu--really epidemic proportions.  On Tuesday, we actually had snow and temps in the teens!I know you folks who have snow (and lots of it) EVERY yearmay laugh a little at this, but it is so rare here!We don't usually have temperatures this cold either. I'm still having fun with the cartoon-y characters andenjoying the ability to write more on a postcard than just half of the back.I blotted out this one because I was whiningabout not feeling well and saying I'd send a letter Suzie to Erin, belated thank you to Melody, another promise to write soonI love that quote from Ann Richards.  She was a classy lady.Books/ReadingI've read three interesting books recently featuring deaf protagonists.  First, I re-read Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic, then read her new one And Fire Came Down.  Both are set in Australia.  Then NetGalley offered Dark Pines by Will Dean with Tuva Moodyson as a deaf reporter in a small town in Sweden.  All three books were compelling.I also read  Censored:  A Literary History of Subversion and Control which was a fascinating nonfiction book that started with the English translations of the Bible which resulted in the burning of books and people.  The Church didn't think it was a good idea for just anyone to have access to the Bible.  Other chapters discussed books and authors and their court cases, blasphemy and obscenity laws, etc.  It was extremely interesting and readable.Goals-more practice with stitching text-catch up on correspondence; I'm working on this!-soup bowl cozies; Annie made some gorgeous ones in October, then for Christmas Lisa     gave  me two that she made.  I've used them for soups, oatmeal, re-heating left overs--and   love them!  I made one before getting sick, but plan to make more soon.-there are a couple of other sewing projects that I want to try as wellAnd so...I continue to play catch-up on a variety of things.  It is difficult to set priorities because there are things I want to do (see above) and all of those less enjoyable things that need to be done.  What is going on with you in the New Year?  Projects?  Goals?  [...]

Last Minute Details


A cat pillow to accompany Cat.Coffee dyed and grunged the fabric with cinnamon and vanilla,pieced the strips, added batting, and some straight line quilting,then made the awkward cat and appliqued him to the block.On the back, a little quote I saw on a tee shirt.Cat and pillowwere stuffed into a bag for a late birthday present.I found the cat fabric in my stash.Not sure why I bought it in the first place,but several years later,it made the perfect bag for Cat stuff.And finally,the third snowman.Yesterday, I whipped up two more fabric bags for giftsbecausein a Christmas message from Naomi Bulger, she listssome distressing facts about wrapping paper:The making of paper involves the harvesting of trees, the processing of wood fibers into pulp, and the disposal of the productAccording to Greenpeace, every kilogram of wrapping paper made emits 3.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide during productionMost wrapping papers have very little in them that is recyclable or reusable: they are made with synthetic ink, plastic film, bleach, chlorine, and metal-based foil and glitter Many rolls of wrapping paper also come wrapped in their own film of plastic, while others are made out of (non recyclable) foilLaid end-to-end, the wrapping paper thrown away each year from the UK alone would stretch around the equator nine timesIn the USA, the combination of wrapping paper and gift cards at Christmas time contribute to more than 100,000 trees being cut down Another USA statistic I read was that every year, four million tons of wrapping paper and holiday shopping bags go into landfill If you think you can at least put all that wrapping paper to a merry use by burning it in the fireplace, please hold back: decorative paper has been found to contain lead, synthetic inks, plastic film, chlorine, and metal-based foils, all of which release toxic and carcinogenic compounds into the air when burned   Whoa!  Had no idea!I had already made the bag for Cat, and used two fabric gift bags from Michael's,(wish I'd bought more since they were on sale).After reading the above information, I decided to make more reusable fabric gift bags for the final two gifts.My contribution is small this year,but from now on, I plan to make fabric bags for most gifts.I've been in a rush these last few days,but the bags were a quick job.Simple and easy--and if they are reused, a benefit to the environment.Today, relaxing and visiting with Suzie who is up from New Orleans.I'm afraid the last project won't get finished,but my creative energy has about run out.I'm taking the day off... :)The high today is supposed to be 28 degrees lower than yesterday![...]

Counting Down...


A friend found this card and sent it to me because the name of my book blogis A Garden Carried in the Pocket from the Chinese proverb.I LOVE it!...because the illustration is so beautiful,and because of the quote,and because Teresa saw it and thought of me!Thank you, Teresa!The days are drawing close, the time is getting short,and I still have projects in the works...which may not be finished in time.I wanted to add something else to Cat,so I made a pouch and a mouse to go in it.I used Ann Wood's pattern for a felt mousebecause my mouse pattern was too fat for the pouch.Also, :), I learned something from Ann's patternand intend to redo my mouse pattern for more dimension.This is one of the mice I made a couple of years ago.I used the some of the same fabric on Cat! She resides on the mantle in the bird house all year long...because I forget about her. I made another one in greythat comes out for Halloweenand holds a banner that says, "Cheese, Please!"But I really love the simplicity and cuteness of Ann Wood's mice.And, of course, since I don't follow directions well,I made a couple of mistakes--and want to make another one.  Or two.  Or more.Actually, following the directions.---A little outgoing mail--I am really behind, but things have been so busy lately.I get sidetracked quite easily.Claudia loves Christmas, too.[...]



When I had the idea for Cat, another gift for someone, I put the third snowman aside and worked only on Cat.  I'm hoping the person for whom the nameless cat is intended will love him/her as much as I do, and I know she will think of the perfect name.   As much fun as the snowmen have been, Cat is my favorite.  I wish I had gotten into the spirit earlier because I've had so much fun playing with dolls this December.  Having gone so long without any inclination to create any eccentric creatures has only added to the pleasure of sewing and stuffing.  I still have a few details left on the third snowman and should finish him up today.Fee carved Santas from our Christmas trees when our girls were little.  Patiently cutting up the trunks and carving a few each year.  The girls have some of them that were either given or deceptively hijacked when I wasn't looking.  Fee's Santas are my most treasured Christmas decorations, and I love getting them out each year to take pride of place.I've already gained a few pounds from Christmas goodies (the Cane River cinnamon-sugared and chocolate-covered pecans are my absolute favorite each year).  I have a love/hate relationship with edible gifts-- I am weak and succumb to temptation.How are you managing the Christmas goodies?  Do you have more self-control?  Do you have all of your gifts bought and wrapped?  I have a few things left to take care of and Fee's birthday is only a few days away, but I refuse to let the typical Christmas stress get to me this year.  [...]

Geminid Showers and Mail Art


On Wednesday, December 13, Fee and I went down to the cabin to see the geminid meteor shower.  The stars always put on a fantastic show away from all of the city lights, and we looked forward to the meteors. The night was cold, and although there were some thin layers of clouds, the large clear areas provided an amazing view of the constellations, especially of Orion's Belt and the Bid Dipper, which I can easily recognize. forays outside (alternating between wine in front of the fireplace) to view the heavens began as soon as it got dark.  We cut out the porch lights and waited for the geminid shower to begin.  The stars were gorgeous, but the shower didn't prove to be what was expected.  Eventually, we gave up and went to bed.  At 11:45, I woke up, put on my coat and went back outside.  I lay down on the flagstone and looked up for a little more than 20 minutes and saw three shooting stars before I got too cold to stay!  So bright and so brief!  Each time, an involuntary "ooh!" marked the passage of the fleeting bright line across the sky.  Back inside to a warm bed with a smile on my face.Even though the geminid shower wasn't as showy as I had hoped, the evening was wonderful--in front of the fire or out under the open sky in the cold, clear night.  I'm sure some areas saw more, but I was more than satisfied.  :)A few more hurried outgoing postcards:Incoming:This was a Thanksgiving card I didn't share earlier--from our old friend and professional photographer Marc.Can you guess what it is?I had to ask Fee.A turkey breast!That's the beard in the top left-hand corner.from Jacqueand mail art from Carly in Cambodia!I've delayed finishing the third snowman while working on another project.  The snowman was almost finished, when another idea hit me, and I put him aside to work on the new idea.  Of course, creating a new head and body, new arms and legs to match, and new clothing to fit,  slows everything down.  For some reason, I have to keep experimenting--instead of using a pattern I've already worked out, but maybe it just keeps me from getting bored with a project.SO TRUE:[...]

A Snowlady and More Mail


Second version, a snowlady, with a slightly different head, and different body.   The third one is almost finished. I've enjoyed making these snow folk and discovering what I have in my stash that might work for clothing and embellishments.  A lot of time is spent making up my mind and searching for stuff and making mistakes and misjudging sizes, but I've gotten a few things figured out.  A couple of heads that I made by altering my original pattern will work for pumpkins next fall--so all is not lost.As usual, I am behind schedule on just about everything, especially Mail.Erin never received this post card (which is continued on the back with stamps and address).  Don't know why, but she said there have been problems in Baton Rouge with mail delivery: here is an article about people in B.R. who have not been receiving their mail.  And another one about mail that had been dumped!The next postcard is from Hannah  :)We've actually had a little sweater weather,but yesterday was 76 degrees.Our temperatures have been up and downby 20 degrees or more lately.Today's high is 55.I'm including the following letter which was addressed to Kim,but had my address.Too cute--wish it had been for me,but no problem, I have Kim's address and forwarded it on to Kim.I had intended to get some Christmas mail out, early but with 3 December birthday (and one more to go) and my various sewing projects, etc., I've delayed and delayed--then today started trying to get a bunch out in a hurry. Made this one last year and found it with Christmas stamps,so I sent it on its way.This is the stamp on the address side.Love Charlie Brown and all of the Peanuts stamps from last year!Although the Christmas cards that come in are usually in plain envelopes, I love the stamps and adore the cards with photographs, especially those with the children.  Watching kids grow from year to year is fun!  Back to the stitching and stamping routine--time is growing short![...]