I Believe I Can Fly

In 1978 my mother went into the hospital for a biopsy and woke up with a radical mastectomy.  She recovered physically but struggled with the emotional aftermath for the rest of her life.  Our family is not a stranger to cancer.  I can name 10 members of my immediate family that have faced the same diagnosis during their lifetime.

I wish I could have introduced my mom to the Noble Circle Project.  It is an organization of women who have been diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life – a community of women THRIVING beyond cancer.  My mom would have loved having someone with the same experience to talk to – to support her – to give her a helping hand.

I am so happy to be participating as a vendor at the Noble Circle’s annual fundraiser.  I Believe I Can Fly is the name of this year’s annual luncheon and fashion show being held this weekend (February 22) at Sinclair Ponitz Center – building 12 at 444 West Third Street in downtown Dayton.  Doors open at 10:30, the luncheon begins at noon.  The Boutique will include 27  vendors.  The proceeds from the sale and show are used to fund participation, programming and fellowship for the members.    You can find more information about the event at http://www.noblecircle.org

I’ll be selling my purses, bags and journals – the projects that kept me busy this snowy winter.  Come down and join in.  You can enjoy the shopping, the fun and the fellowship while you are offering “a helping hand” of your own.

Noble Collage

 

Journals

 

Noble Fold

Light Up My Life

We have had over 40 inches of snow this winter……so far.  There is more on the way this weekend.  We have started the day with temperatures below zero more than 10 times.  It’s not our usual winter – thank goodness!  I keep the heat in our home a little lower during the day.  I keep the blinds closed in the rooms that are used less often.  It’s cold.  It’s dark.  It’s lasting forever!

It is a good thing to look for bright spots in a long, brutal winter like this.  There are plenty if you pay attention.  Even though it is -5 right now, the sun is coming up and shining brightly.  The snow that has piled up sparkles like it has been dusted with glitter by Martha Stewart.  It streams into my workroom window and makes it warm and bright.  I am cozy and fully aware that I am lucky to have a comfortable, safe home – and that, when it is sleeting or treacherous outside, I don’t have to go anywhere if I don’t want to.

I can keep my eye on the neighborhood from here.  On a blanket of white, it is easy to spot any new “visitors” that happen by.

Woody

 

Sunday morning brought this pileated woodpecker to my sister’s feeder – a giant in our neighborhood as far as birds go!  Along with him,  a few cardinals decorated the trees  looking for something (anything) to eat.

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Chickadees, doves, sparrows, juncos, hawks, squirrels, rabbits – they are busy scavenging for food.  Any berry, seed or nut will do.

Inside has it’s joys too.  My orchid has brightened up each day with it’s amazing display of new blooms.  This is the first time I have been able to get an orchid to re-bloom  so I feel like I had something to do with this incredible specimen.

Still

 

Dinner with friends, projects with “the kids”, UD basketball, my yoga friends, my painting class friends, special projects – they all warm up the winter.  Thank goodness for these bright spots in this cold, frozen season.

A Year-long Journey

Do you journal?  June 5, 2012 I took the plunge and made the first entry in a beautiful blank journal I gave myself as a birthday present.  I had no idea how I would fill an entire book with my unexceptional adventures.  I only knew that I would not limit myself to making it specific in any way.  Whatever came my way – whatever filled my days – that would be the subject of the pages.  As I leaf through the book today, I realize that this book documents a journey – a year in my life that surprises even me.

Each day stands alone.  Some days represent specific events – a concert, a purchase, a vacation, a recap of a favorite book, or a project – each step photographed and saved till needed again.  The book as a whole reveals a journey.  The beginning pages are full of text – of clippings and found items pasted to the pages.   By August, the tone changes – effected by the painting class I started that month.  Now drawings and sketches are more common.   Each painting project resides on a page – a visual story that shows that I learned a lot at each class.

Leafing through the pages, the seasons change – Summer flowers, trips and adventures give way to autumn leaves, pumpkins and recipes of heartier fare.  Winter pages are colorful and playful – just like Christmas.  After Christmas, each additional minute of daylight is recorded till Spring arrives and garden plans and photos of early blooms cover the pages.

I haven’t kept a journal for a few months now.  Looking over this book inspires me to start again.  Do you think your life is mundane?  Do you struggle to see progress?  Each day may not be monumental or exciting but, day after day, page after page, your life, when viewed in a journal may surprise even you.

My new project – journals (of course)

Journals

The Winter King Hosts a Feast

We used to look forward to seeing the first robin each spring.  We thought it was a sign that Winter was almost over and Spring would arrive soon.  We would announce the sighting as if something magical had happened.  After all, if there are robins, there must be nests to build and worms to eat – Spring was on it’s way!

I noticed a robin outside our window yesterday.  I know Spring is weeks away and, since the wind chill last week was -14, I know there are no worms to be found.  I thought that the poor robin must have gotten “stuck” in Ohio and all his friends had left him and headed south till Mother Nature gives them the nod to return.  What would he find to eat with 6 inches of snow covering everything and the ground frozen solid?  As I walked to the window I was surprised to see DOZENS of robins feasting on the red berries on the Winter King Hawthorn.  It was a feeding frenzy – a winter feast shared between a “flock” of hearty, hungry birds.  I have never seen more than two or three robins at a time.  To see 50 or more together  was a strange sight.

2014-01-20

 

The tree was stripped within an hour or two and the birds were gone along with the fruit. Even the snow beneath the tree was perfectly clean. I’ll miss the way the red berries stood out against the blue sky or the snowy branches – the way they “lit up” the winter landscape.  That’s OK.  I feel good that the birds found a meal in the middle of winter and that they were kind enough to share with all their needy friends.

I see the hawthorn differently now.  Not only does it look beautiful all year long, now, when I look at it, I will remember how it gave a helping hand to make our world a richer, more beautiful place.

It’s a Wrap

It’s 3 degrees.  The wind is howling.  The wind chill is -17.  The windows are covered with ice.  Cars are screaming their disapproval when asked to start.  Schools are closed but the streets are quiet.  Not too many people are venturing out today.

The good news is that is it toasty warm in my work room.  The sun cranks up the temperature in this room to make it really comfortable.  More good news – I don’t have to go out – I have plenty to keep me busy right here.

I have had a stash of felted wool sweaters for over a year. My favorite is a man’s striped sweater  in somewhat subdued colors.  It shrank down to a nice thick fabric just itchin’ to be reborn into something valued and useful.  I’ve had a project in mind but never had the courage to make the first cut into the thick wool.  It takes courage to cut into fabric when you only have one piece and there is no hope of getting more of the same.  It takes even more to attempt something that you have never made before.  There is always a learning curve and often the first attempt provides a number of lessons you don’t want to repeat.  I guess all this cold weather has made me want to be wrapped in something warm and woolen and so I made these scarves.

Wool wrap

I mustered up my courage and dove in.  I love working with this fabric.  There is no need to hem it – there is no way it can possibly unravel.  The rotary cutter makes the edges straight and perfect.  Each piece of the sweater dictates it’s own design but each one carries with it the promise of warmth and a unique look.

I have enough fabric left over for one more scarf.  Then, I will have to make a trip to Good Will or …….to my husband’s closet!

My Favorite Christmas Cookie

I have made a ton of cookies in my life.  I have a bulging box of cookie cutters and molds that I have collected over the years that attest to it.  Some of my cookies have been little works of art – shimmering snowflakes, frosty polar bears with colorful scarfs or Christmas stars filled with zentangle patterns.  None of these little works of art can compare with the batches of cookies turned out with the help of little hands.

Elijah and Christiane have been my holiday baking crew for a number of years now.  Elijah is usually in charge, choosing his favorite shapes and deciding on the colors and patterns of the icing.  We’ve got it down to a science.  The cookies are iced with a single color and then we “embellish” using squeeze bottles.  It is way fun and extremely ………creative :D

This year we ended up with snowflakes, stars, polar bears, wreaths and a few Christmas fish and  jack-o-lanterns.  We worked hard but it all paid off when we were able to pack up a beautiful box of colorful cookies to share with friends.

I love making these cookies each year.  They are my favorite and definitely the sweetest cookies of the season.

Cookie time