Jun 29, 2011

Show and Tell

When I was in elementary school, one of the highlights of the week was the proverbial "Show and Tell."  We could bring in anything we wanted to show the class and tell them why this "thing" meant so much to us.  It could be something about our summer vacations, a toy we loved, something from the garden, a story about a recent event.  Oh, the possibilities were endless for sure.  Looking back on it, I believe those were the first public speaking events of our lives!  I wonder if "Show and Tell" is still part of the classroom?

As adults, and certainly as the creative beings that many of us are, I think it is still so very much fun (and maybe a bit more scary) to show off something we have poured our heart and soul into.  I mean, after all, what if someone doesn't like it, or critiques it using words that hit our emotional buttons, or heaven forbid, it isn't sold right away!  But nonetheless, we still create and we still like opportunities to share our creations with others!

So let's do some "Show and Tell" right here.  The only parameter is that it must be something that you created!

I'll start by sharing these purple and green batik coasters that I made - I love the curved line joining the two colors!
Now it is your turn....


Thanks for stopping by....  hope you enjoyed all of the "Show and Tell."

Rita

Today's Abundance
-The opportunity to bring you some fabulous creations from fellow artists, Etsians, crafters, etc.
-The joy of sharing
-Fond memories of "Show and Tell" - I still remember the "hiccup" story
-Moving beyond the fear of rejection when someone doesn't like something I created or the way I created it
-Creativity!  Creativity!  Creativity!

Jun 28, 2011

June - Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month


Wowzers!!  Fresh Fruits and Vegetables have the whole month of June to call their own!

And did you know that the CDC has designated fruits and vegetables for each month too?  Okra and Pluots© and Apriums© are our June Vegetable and Fruits!  I think I'm going to have to do some research on Pluots© and Apriums© though!!  What are they?


As a quilter and sewer, I am fascinated with the wide variety of fabric designs available today that incorporate fruits and vegetables!  And while they are not as nutritious as the real thing by any means, they certainly do whet the appetite at times!  I make both potholders and reusable snack sacks from fabric with fruit and vegetable designs.  Here are some of my hand-chenilled potholders - bananas, apples, and  pears.



The backs of these potholders have several layers of flannel that I then chenille by hand.  These potholders are so very soft and also form and flex in your hand so you can get a good grip on that hot pot or pan you're trying to maneuver.  Take a look at the green apple photo above.  And here's the back of the pear potholders.


In my stash, waiting to be made, are oranges, raspberries, watermelon, more apples, eggplant, peppers - yes, I do have an entire vegetable garden and a vast orchard in my sewing room!

And what have you created that features fruits or vegetables?  Please share your handmade creations below - just add right after my Today's Abundance list.  Include the link to your blog post or your item that is handmade and features either a fruit or a vegetable!

Thanks for stopping by

Rita

Today's Abundance
-Fresh snap peas
-Fresh strawberries
-Fresh raspberries - hope they'll be here soon
-Fresh spinach and lettuce
-Fresh corn on the cob - although we have a bit of a wait yet for the corn to mature

*************

Jun 26, 2011

Blue with Specks of Red and White

June is winding down and we are headed into the last week at warp speed.  Did you know this means that 2011 is half over - a sobering thought indeed!

As a young child I thought time dragged on and on and on.  A day, let alone a week or a month, was forever - it must have been all of those dishes I had to do by hand and dusting and cleaning and other household chores that made time go by so slowly.

One of my Facebook friends posted this in the last day or two...

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

This is how I am feeling at the moment!

But I digress.  Because this is the last Sunday of the month, it is also time for the monthly UWIB Team Blog Hop!  Our theme this month is Red, White, and Blue.  In another week we will be celebrating the 4th of July, our Independence Day.  There will be parades and picnics and family get togethers and fireworks!  So let's start to celebrate with some fabulous Red, White, and Blue handmade goodies from our very creative UWIB team!!

My handmade item is mostly blue with specks of red and white.  I have started a new recycle/upcycle project using unwanted (and sometimes very ugly) men's neckties!  I magically turn them into wristlets that have a pocket for a cell phone, camera, iPod, or MP3 player along with a second pocket for credit cards, cash, reward cards, coupons, and driver's license.  In addition to the strap, there is also a clasp for keys.  These upcycled necktie wristlets are just the thing for those activities where you don't want to lug around a big purse or tote!


This would be perfect to take with you to the fireworks!!

Be sure to check out the goodies that are waiting for you at these blog sites...my team members are very creative and have lots to share with you!

Blog Hop Participants
Rita Wetzel (this is me!) -  http://HandmadeBits4u.blogspot.com
Judy Woodley  -  http://WellspringCreations.blogspot.com
Trudy Miller  -  http://MommaGoddessTreasures.blogspot.com
Wendy Kelly  -  http://blog.vintageday.com
Ann Rinkenberger  -  http://harvestmoonbyhand.blogspot.com
Robin Koehler  -  http://nestlingsbyrobin.blogspot.com
Cory Trusty  -  http://store.aquarianbath.com/index.php/blog
AudreyFetterhoff  -  http://AudreyGardenLady.blogspot.com
Janet Bocciardi   -   http://thehoneyfromthebee.blogspot.com
Karen Terry    -  http://www.jmjcreations.blogspot.com

Happy hopping!!

Thanks for stopping by once again...

Rita

Today's Abundance
-The mailman - he brought lots of goodies for me today (and no bills)
-Freshly picked strawberries over frozen vanilla yogurt
-A renewed interest in card making
-Androids - these gizmos have way too much abundance some days - i.e. why isn't my phone working like it did yesterday - I have no idea what I did, when I did it, or how to undo whatever it is that I did
-The daisies - they are in full bloom ...

Jun 24, 2011

10 Things I've Learned in the Past Year

A year ago my family grew by 1!!  As I reflect back on the last year I realize how much this little one has been a blessing, a joy, and, yes, even a bit frustrating at times.  At first there were the sleepless nights and the uncertainty about what his sounds and cries meant.  He was so little but oh so cuddly and cute - no one could resist him.  There was the training, the shots, the accidents, the feedings, and so on.  But gradually we got into a good routine and the world was filled with goodness.

Now Rusty has changed significantly over the year.  When he arrived he was only a couple of pounds with "rusty" colored fur along with some black and cream.  The official color is apricot!  Here he is in the doggie vest that I made for him along with a matching leash.  I got the tutorials from CrazyforCollars - her tutorials are awesome!!  Look closely and you will see paw prints on the fabric!


And now a year later, well - I may need to change his name as most of his rusty color has given way to cream and white!  His back still has the apricot color but the rest of him, well let's just say he has changed a lot since he was a little pup.  He no longer fits into the vest and he has chewed the leash so much I finally had to toss it and make him a new one!  Here he is "helping" me plant some new perennials in the backyard.


Now having a puppy in the household brings with it new insights into how the world operates!  So here are the top 10 things that I have learned over the past year...

1.  Puppies can not tell time!  They eat, play inside and out, and heed Mother Nature's call at all hours of the day and night in all kinds of weather - scorching heat, high humidity, freezing cold, snowstorms, and rainstorms.  It does not matter to them!

2.  Puppies love playing with shoes and socks - they will even hunt them down, if need be.  Doesn't matter if the store bought toys are right there in plain site, they will find the shoes and socks regardless of where they are, how high they are, or how well-put-away you think they are.

3.  Puppies think basic obedience training is a great fun - the puppy trains you to give them snacks and treats for doing funny things like sitting, laying down, and walking beside you.  Forget the treat and they forget to do those funny things!!

4.  Puppies dream about catching squirrels and rabbits and practice anytime they can.

5.  Puppies love going on walks in the neighborhood.  They sniff every blade of grass, check out every tree and pole, want to greet every dog, bird, squirrel, and human they see.  Going for a walk around the block - well, plan on a half hour for that!!

6.  Puppies are really excited when they graduate from the kennel at night to the bed.  They seem to think sleeping crosswise or diagonally is the thing to do - they know their humans will figure out how to contort themselves to accommodate their puppy.

7.  Puppies love shoelaces too!  Buy stock in a shoelace company!

8.  Puppies love playing with other puppies and dogs.  Going to Doggie Daycare is a delight for them.  It's a good way to tire them out - and it gives their human some downtime!

9.  Puppies and peanut butter - a match made in heaven.  And peanut butter works great for getting those big ugly pills down without any problems!

10.  Puppies leave paw prints on the heart - but then I think most of us already knew that!!

Thanks for stopping by once again....  hope you are enjoying your puppy (or your choice of pet) as much as I am enjoying Rusty!!

Rita

Today's Abundance
-The new doggie stamps from TAC that I saw in some of the photos from seminar
-The black lab that played with Rusty this afternoon
-Red cardinal sightings once again
-Mushrooms popping up all over - they sure are liking all of the moisture
-My new recycled/upcycled projects - Necktie Wristlets

Jun 21, 2011

UFO No More!

One of my objectives this year is to complete a number of UFOs - Unfinished Objects (not of the flying kind though)!

I finished this lap quilt last week and now have photos of it to share with you.  I made this in a class that I took a few years ago at a local quilting shop.  I love the burgundy and mustard colored fabrics that I chose for this quilt.  I counted at least 8 different mustard colored fabrics and 8 different burgundy colored fabrics in the quilt.



I just love the overall design that has the 8 sided stars popping out all over the place.  And I must say that most (but not quite all) have nice pointy ends to them!


I quilted it with two different thread colors - a mustard and a burgundy - in a meandering style.



This quilt will be a lovely addition to the family room where it will be loved and used year round.

Hmmm... I like it so much I should use the same pattern to make another - if I could only remember the name of the pattern or book it came from!  Any bets on whether or not I will be able to find it?

What unfinished objects or projects have you finished lately?

Thanks for stopping by...

Rita

Today's Abundance
-A short break in the rain complete with sunshine - I was able to take photos outside - yeah
-No need to water the flowers again today - mother nature is doing a good job of that at the moment
-Leftover pizza - yummy
-Bargain hunting
-A day of playing with fabric and other creative stuff

Jun 19, 2011

Clean and Simple...

Paperwings, the site for all Angel Company Demonstrators (run for and by the demonstrators themselves) is at it again!  It is time for another Blog Hop.  The theme for this one is "Clean and Simple" or CAS for short.  In the papercrafting world, "Clean and Simple" means no to one layer of card stock, minimal bling,  and very few elements to the design.  If you want to read more about the "Clean and Simple" design I found this great explanation and examples by scrapnframes.com.

My cards used the Maggie Paper Collection, white card stock, and the Trendy Greetings stamp set from The Angel Company.  I used punches and brads, and that's it!!

For this card I used a strip of 1/2" strip of paper along with a paper flower.  A large white brad is found in the center of the flower.  The sentiments are stamped at a slight angel.



This card has 3 flowers with brads in the middle.  I rolled the edges of the petals so they would have more of a 3D effect.


You will find more Clean and Simple creations from participating Angels at these sites.  Enjoy the blog hop!

Shirley H.    http://www.glitteredpaws.blogspot.com/
Kim            http://angelatmydoor.blogspot.com/
Seleise       http://www.amethystcat.blogspot.com/
Angela        http://www.angelakelley.blogspot.com/
Carol          http://stampincarol.blogspot.com/

Thanks for stopping by...

Rita

Today's Abundance
-An afternoon of playing with paper and ink
-Fresh spinach and fresh strawberries for lunch....  yummy
-Playtime with the puppy
-Playtime with the cat
-A bit of sunshine

The End.... And A Beginning

What's that saying ...  something like all good things must come to an end?

Well, the peonies have come to an abrupt end this season.  A hard downpour earlier this week hammered the poor peonies; they didn't have a chance.  The lovely flowers that you saw here are no longer.  Rather, they are now a sad lot with drooping blossoms and piles of petals everywhere.



To think that the day before all of these beautiful blossoms were upright and all I could see was pink and white and a deep red - the green leaves and stems are barely discernible when the peonies are in full bloom.  So sad, so very sad....

There is a bright spot though!  Even though the peonies are fading fast, the daisies are just beginning!  Over the next couple of weeks I will be able to cast my eyes on these beautiful white flowers with yellow centers.  This strain of daisies is almost wild.  I never quite know where they are going to bloom from year to year and I don't try to rein them in.  They are beautiful!  (And can you see the rain drops ... yes, we are still getting rain!)


Daisies abound everywhere - not just in my backyard!!

Take a look at this beautiful daisy from WildAppleDesign - it is an Upcycled Coca Cola Daisy Ring!

Cayennepeppy has a darling daisy ring in her shop too....


And if you love daisies so much that you want them on your blog, twitter, Facebook, and website, check out this Pre Fab Media Pack from kellyjsorenson!


Enjoy the daisies!

And remember to stop and smell the flowers as you hustle and bustle throughout the day!

Thanks for stopping by...

Rita

Today's Abundance
-The fresh evening air after a rainy day
-Green peas and freshly picked strawberries from the Farmers Market
-My camera
-Star Wars....(it's playing in the background while I work on this blog post)
-Enjoying the puppy as he explores the puddles on our walks today - he's just like a kid, they are there to walk in!

Jun 17, 2011

Pink

Pink is today's color!  Most of us know that pink is a combination of both red and white.   The color pink ranges from a deep, deep pink (magenta and raspberry) to very light pastel pinks.  Pink is the "sweet side" of red - think cotton candy and bubble gum!  And what girl, young or old, doesn't like pink!

Want to see some pink in action?  Here you go.....

CherisedCabinQuilts quilts, crochets, knits, and repurposes old into new.  In this "Baby's Breath" Rag Rug, fabric has been upcycled to make this beautiful crocheted rug.



Shelly6262 has a passion for knitting and crocheting, too.  Shelly is known for accenting most of her items with fun fur and for her superb Designer Collection of one of a kind pieces.  Isn't this pink poncho perfect for your little girl?



At Sibel's Designs you will find beautiful knitted and crocheted accessories gloves, scarves, berets, and slippers. This pink and white crocheted cuff with a button closure is such an exquisite accessory.


These are but a few things that incorporate the color pink - please check out each of these shops for more lovely creations!  Hope you enjoy them!

Thanks for stopping by

Rita

Today's Abundance
-Ice cold water
-Gentle breezes
-Lightening in the distance
-BBQ Ribs
-Reading on the patio

Jun 15, 2011

Why Do I Blog?

Not too long ago I signed up for an eCourse offered by LivLane - it is entitled "How To Build A Blog That You Truly Love."  Liv also has a blog, Choosing Beauty,  and her Get Real Radio Show on my Talk 107.1 in the Twin Cities!

One of our very first exercises is to ponder and articulate why we blog.  This indeed was - and still is - a thought provoking question!

I started blogging back in 2007 to showcase my papercrafting projects built around the products from The Angel Company.  It stayed that way for a couple of years until I renewed my love affair with fabric, opened an ETSY shop, and started signing up for local craft shows and boutiques, especially the fall ones.  Now you'll see what I've been up to in my sewing room, ETSY treasuries, my pets, and a few more things too, along with papercrafting projects.

The blog has evolved over the last four years, it has sputtered along the way, has been ignored here and there, but it keeps coming back.  I started out on Blogspot, switched to the free version of Wordpress, and just recently switched back to Blogspot.  Throughout the transitions I have lost some images, lost page and view counts, but fortunately the content has generally transitioned from one platform to another.  For that I am thankful!

Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in this eCourse because I really do want to offer a blog that I love and am proud of!  I want a blog that is cohesive and has a mission and purpose and not a hodgepodge, even though hodgepodge can be interesting at times!

But I digress.  So now back to why I want to blog as I move forward ....

With all of the thoughts rolling around in my head that have been generated from Liv's class, I started writing them on Post-Its.  I now have them all over the place ... they are on doors, in stacks, and I even capture some on my phone when I'm not a home and need to write a thought down before it flits away...




Over the last couple of days, I've been trying to make sense of these thoughts and bits of insights.  I have writtern, rewritten, wordsmithed, rearranged, put in, taken out, and on and on.

Today, I am glad to say I can share the first version of why I want to blog!


•••••••
i blog because I want to

celebrate the creative spirit 
in others and in myself by 
delighting the world with the handmade

whether the handmade
be ordinary or extraordinary
be new or tried and true
be from scratch or reused 
be mine or of others

and
along the way
be thankful for the abundance
of the extraordinary day
of the ordinary day
and even of the mundane day

this is why I blog
•••••••

There it is!  This is why I want to blog moving forward!  So what do you think?  And why do you want blog?

Thanks for stopping by

Rita

Today's Abundance
-My finished UFO lap quilt (photos in an upcoming blog post)
-All of the beautiful finished UFO's at last nights DCSQ guild meeting
-Fresh peas in the pod from the Farmers Market
-A napping puppy - all 4 paws in the air again
-Post It Notes






Jun 8, 2011

Peonies in Bloom!

The peonies are in bloom - what beauty!  I'll let Mother Nature speak for herself....







Which is your favorite?

Thanks for stopping by...

Rita

Today's Abundance
-Good neighbors
-Garage sales
-Life in general
-Gentle breezes
-LivLane's eCourse on Blogging!

Jun 7, 2011

Angry Birds

Did you know that Angry Birds was launched as an iPhone app in December, 2009 and since then Angry Birds has been downloaded over 200 million times on a multitude of platforms?

While Angry Birds can be addicting (and to some a waste of time), I sure find waiting in lines and at the doctor's and dentist's office much more pleasant these days when I whip out the phone and spend time flinging those birds at pigs and other nonsensical targets.  Better than stewing about the wait time!!

I find the Angry Bird Story so very fascinating!  How can these things capture our attention?  How can something so popular cost little to nothing.  Thinking about the creativity and the technical expertise that goes into each of the levels is mind boggling.  And Angry Birds appeals to all ages everywhere!

  1. Angry Birds according to Wikipedia.  Click here for source.
  2. Angry Birds Rio a Big Hit: 10 Million Downloads in 10 Days.  Click here for source...
  3. There are 25 different ways of downloading Angry Birds. Click here for source...
  4. The total number of hours consumed by Angry Birds players world-wide is roughly 200 million minutes a DAY, which translates into 1.2 billion hours a year. To compare, all person-hours spent creating and updating Wikipedia totals about 100 million hours over the entire life span of Wikipedia (Neiman Journalism Lab).  Click here for source....
  5. And there are so many more articles - just do a search....
And, not only do I like playing Angry Birds, but I also like making Angry Bird greeting cards!!



Thanks for stopping by....

Rita

Today's Abundance
-Air Conditioning - we set a record high of 104 degrees today
-Electricity (to run the air conditioner)
-Angry Birds
-Cold, cold water
-The peonies are blossoming - watch for photos

Jun 5, 2011

Peony Bud

Spring brings so much color to the backyard - everything from the leaves on the trees, the green grass (and the green weeds!), the newly planted annuals, and the spring blooming perennials.

My favorite spring perennial is the row of peonies that I have - it is full of pink, and white, and deep red peonies.  Watching the buds form and gradually open can be such a thrill - despite the ants that are required to do the job.

Here's one of the first buds that is starting to open.  If you look closely you'll also see an ant on one of the leaves in the background and another on the underside of the bud...


I'll post a few more photos of my peonies as they come into full bloom!

There are also some more beautiful peonies in full bloom.  MommaGoddess has this beautiful Ivory Peony Necklace for you ...



MaryFosterCreative is a fine art photographer and her works are available in the form of note cards, calendars, and prints... 



Elizabeth Hurley designs and hand stitches these beautiful one of a kind embroidered pieces of art...



And in LollyBopBaby's shop you will find this cute and adorable Pink Peony Headband...



Stay tuned for more Peony updates!!

Thanks for stopping by...

Rita

Today's Abundance
-Cricut time - having fun playing with paper
-A laid back day....
-Cold water with a bit of lemon
-A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick
-Pistachio Jello Salad

Jun 4, 2011

My Little Helper

It was a beautiful June day today.  It started with a trip to the nursery and the farmers market followed by a full afternoon of planting, weed pulling, and bush trimming.  Exhaustion is a good feeling tonight!

I didn't do this all by myself by any means.  My little helper was a big help!

Rusty helped me with the Red Feather Grass....  he's pretty good at taking plants out of the containers...









But like me, Rusty too is exhausted....





The garden is watered.  The day is coming to an end.  It was a good one!

Thanks for stopping by...

Rita

Today's Abundance
-Red Feather Grass
-Sun and clouds and a light breeze
-Sleeping puppy
-Geraniums
-Achy bones

Jun 3, 2011

Random Thoughts

Today's blog post is simply a few random thoughts from the day....

-Checked the peonies - the buds are getting bigger everyday.
-Dishwasher is sounding like a 747 - back to washing dishes by hand until I get it replaced.  Can washing dishes by hand be therapeutic?
-To Do List is done for tomorrow - it'll be a busy day.
-Peanut Butter - good for dog treats.
-Was a good day to take photos outside.
-Warm and humid today.
-Cat and dog - they fight sometimes, they nap together sometimes
-My Woodlands Tan and Green Earth Tones Lap Quilt was showcased in this beautiful treasury by shellieartist
-Cold water is so very refreshing.
-Why are dogs attracted to anything with plastic on it?
-It's late...  better think about calling it a day.

Thanks for stopping by...

Rita

Today's Abundance
-A nice walk even though it was a bit humid
-Clean dishes - even though I had to do them by hand
-Earth tones
-On tomorrow's to do list:  Farmer's Market
-Ceiling fans

Jun 2, 2011

Agreeable Friends

Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.  ~George Eliot

----------
Being owned by a cat and a dog is so very delightful!  Cats and dogs have different personalities so life is never dull with having both of them around.

The cat sleeps a lot - like all cats do.  However, when he's hungry or when he wants to be brushed, he has this high pitched meowing that quickly gets my attention.  He won't quit until he gets enough brushing and combing!  But, oh the brushing also brings on the purring!

The dog does his fair share of sleeping and napping too!  To get my attention he starts with a low whine and then escalates it until I get his food, let him out, take him for a walk, or play with him.  But which one he wants is sometimes difficult to figure out!  He's so very cute though.  He would love to get the rabbits in the neighbors yard - he barks and barks and barks at them and tries every day to get through the fence.  He rolls in the grass and does so until I scratch his chin and tummy.  Peanut butter is his favorite snack.  And he loves attention from anyone and everyone!

My fabric stash also reflects my love for my agreeable friends, my cat and my dog!  I have cats and dogs everywhere as you can see here ...
             
These above are two of my aprons that I have made using my cat and dog fabric stash!

Hope your friends are agreeable as mine are!

Thanks for stopping by...

Rita

Today's Abundance
-My cat
-My dog
-Cat and dog fabric
-Purring
-Barking (well, most of the time!)

Red Apples and Green Leaves

I could spend hours and hours and hours cutting up fabric only to stitch it back together into quilts of all kinds and all sizes!  When I saw this mini red apple on blue fabric I knew I had to do something with it.  I then found the green leaf fabric and the quilt started to come together.  Added the red and that was it!  The end result of all the cutting and stitching resulted in this Irish Chain Quilt.


Two different quilting techniques were used on the quilt:  stitch-in-the-ditch and straight line quilting.  The outside borders and binding are the same mini red apple on blue fabric.  

I have also found other Red Apple and Green Leaf items on ETSY.  Hope you enjoy this treasury - be sure to check out all the shops!


Thanks for stopping by...

Rita

Today's Abundance
-Red Apples (green ones too!)
-Leaves - it is so nice to see all of the leaves on the trees 
-Watching Rusty trying to get to the rabbits on the other side of the fence
-Creative time
-Batiks

Jun 1, 2011

A New Name! HandmadeBits4u

Another month is winding down way to fast.  The old adage that time flies by when you're having fun is oh so very true!  Projects abound around here ... flower gardens are being planted, bushes are being trimmed, and all kinds of other projects are in processs!

One new project is almost complete!  For awhile now I have wanted to have my online presence to be all the same name rather than similar names.  And I did, for the most part, accomplish that over the long weekend.  So you will no longer be seeing RitasCreationsOnETSY, RitasCreations, or RitasCreativeNest once the transition is complete! My new online presence is HandmadeBits4u!

My new contact information is:


email - HandmadeBits4u@gmail.com

You will find all of my posts from RitasCreativeNest here as I was able to migrate them over.  

Hope you enjoy the new online presence!!

Rita

Today's Abundance
-Marigolds, Zinnas, Hostas, Lillies
-Baby birdies
-Last of the lilacs
-Buds on the peonies
-Sunshine

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