Monday, May 3, 2021

Monday Mixer - Special Anniversary, Cross Stitch, Sharing Joy

 



I hope you had a wonderful weekend and will find joy today.  After all, it is Monday and this is a day to start sparkling and spreading joy with others.

This past week my husband and I celebrated our 33rd Wedding Anniversary.  Hard to believe it has been that long, as it truly seems like it was just yesterday that we married on the beach at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park,.  To celebrate, this year my husband picked the restaurant and we went to Harbor House, a local restaurant overlooking the harbor.  We both enjoy boating and it was fun to watch the boats coming and going on a windy day.  All the boat captains did an outstanding job handling their boats under such conditions (no bumper boating).  Needless to say my DH enjoyed a nice cold beer (I opted for water).  We typically go to the Kona Inn, which is also on the water, for dinner.  But it closed this past year, due to the covid lockdown and it is unclear if it will ever open up again.  Still, we remain hopeful.


Surf has been up so we haven't been able to get as much diving in as we typically like.  And, when you go diving (or snorkeling) the visibility isn't all that great.  A few days ago we opted to go, simply for the exercise, but found after we had been in awhile the visibility got a "little" better.  As we saw 4 Manta Rays, a couple of baby octopus (all 8 legs stretched each was still no bigger than a closed fist of a woman), and plenty of colorful fish.  Here is a Go Pro video my DH created of this dive:



I've been able to make a little progress on learning cross stitch this past weekend.  I'm faster at spotting when I have made an incorrect stitch, as well as learning to read patterns. While I haven't finished anything, I wanted to share with you my progress:

I enjoyed stitching pinwheels, which will be turned into pinwheel flowers, once I add stems and leaves.  I'm also thinking of adding some small butterflies.  I also want to add an inspirational sentiment at the bottom.


Some playful cats.  I need to find a design for a little mouse, or figure out how to create my own, for this design.   I also want to add an inspirational sentiment at the bottom.


A couple of happy hearts:




As previously mentioned for now, I'm planning to use my cross stitch projects to make greeting cards to send out "Happy Mail".  I'm still in a learning mode, but having a blast and enjoying keeping my hands busy creating something while I'm traveling without my sewing machine.  In reading cross stitch patterns, you may recall I wasn't certain what "2 strands over 2 threads" meant.  I found a good explanation for this simple here.


I really do hope you are finding joy and time to create.  Where we can, I hope we can all help to spread joy and kindness with others.  Sadly there are many people who haven't been able to get a good hug in a very long time, haven't received a phone call from friends or family members (or a card or email either) and simply may not have a lot of joy to help them smile.  So, let's try to do what we can to  help others find joy.  I'm all ears and would love to hear your ideas on how we can help spread joy!  Would you like to receive some "happy mail", or maybe help to share joy with others by sending someone some happy mail?  




Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Funday - A Walk Thru a Park, An In Store Class, And a Yummy Freebie For You And Your Kids

 


Good Morning.  I hope you are joining me for a Happy Dance to welcome another Friday.  Life is so good!

We enjoy walking in general, even better when walking where you can enjoy nature and where ever we walk we keep a look out for finding something funny (or unusual).  Can you spot something unusual in this tree?


Ok, I'll share a close up.  Really unusual bird? I don't know what type, do you?


I wish I could share the aroma from all the flowers we saw.



I know the flowers above are Plumeria.


The two above are Hibiscus, but I don't know the names of any of the flowers below.  Do you know?



Well, this one (below) surprised me.  As a child I remember driving by cotton farms in the South.  I was surprised to see what I believe as a cotton plant mixed with the flowers in this walking park garden.  Not many leaves on this cotton plant, but quite a few old balls of cotton still hanging on, with plenty of seeds.  The cotton balls tempted me to pull some to add to my wire frame with raw cotton for my hummingbirds (and other birds) at home, to use for building nests.  But I suspect that this ball of cotton is no longer a ball, as birds have probably been taking bits and pieces to build their nests.  Isn't nature amazing?


I wish I could have shared these photos via a slideshow widget.  But after years blogging on wordpress,  even though I originally used blogger, I haven't yet figured out how to share  photos via a slideshow.  If you are familiar with blogger and can share any tips, I'd appreciate it if you share.  In the meantime, please know I'm trying to re-learn and in the investigation mode. Blogger has changed in the years I was using wordpress!


Previously, I have shared how Carole (From My Carolina Home) enjoys sending and has encouraged sending "Happy Mail" to family, friends and others during the pandemic, if not anytime.  Besides being an amazing quilter, Carole also makes beautiful handmade greeting cards which she uses to send a snail mail hug and happiness to the lucky recipients.  I recently found a make-n-take class at a local quilt shop (Quilt Passions), to make pop up greeting cards which included scraps of fabric.

This card top is covered with a yummy fabric with a sand dollar motif.  I actually want to find this fabric to make a quilt.


The inside of this card has a blue batik background, a darker batik free hand cut dolphin applied to the pop out, as well as a stamp sentiment on the base of the inside of the card.  Simple, but in the class I was feeling a bit pressure of the 1 1/2 hour time to finish 3 cards.  I probably  should have focused on one card.


I found batik scraps that were perfect for a sunset, as well as to fussy cut a tropical flower.  It was easy to stamp a sentiment on the top of this card.


For the inside of this card I did not use the pop up technique, but applied a die cut turtle and a stamped sentiment.


On my 3d class, I used my favorite Sand Dollar fabric for the front, along with a stamped sentiment.


For the inside of the card I used scraps of the blue batik fabric, and a fussy cut turtle for the pop up.  I ran out of time to find a sentiment to stamp on this card.


It was a fun class and I was delighted that Quilt Passions so happily scheduled a special session of this class, allowing me to invite 5 friends to join me.  We all had fun and created beautiful cards. I just wish I was able to take pictures of all the cards that my friends created.  

I do think I'll make such cards in the future. But I'd certainly use my rotary cutter vs paper scissors to better cut background fabrics.  Probably even use fabric starch to minimize the lose threads.  But even with the limited time of the class, I am inspired with the technique that was taught and I feel Quilt Passions did a fantastic job hosting and teaching this class.  The owner even provided fresh homemade cookies.



Lastly, I want to increase awareness of a special opportunity at McDonalds (probably US only). They are offering Free McFlurries to all on May 3rd and it does not appear that a purchase is required and everyone can get a free McFlurry.  This might be a great opportunity to take the kids and gkids to McDonalds.  Here is a link for more info:  

https://share.smartnews.com/kVG3 




Monday, April 26, 2021

Monday Mixer: Herds of Turtles Quilt, Cross Stitch Bee and More.

 



I do so hope you had a wonderful weekend.  

My weekend was filled with time reading, walking, visiting dear friends, going for a swim, watching butterflies, shopping and doing more cross stitch.  Needless to say, it was a fun and relaxing weekend.  

Water felt great!


I was able to take a picture of a butterfly using my phone.  I later noticed I took a picture with a bee in it too!  Hopefully I'll later be able to get a better shot with my camera.  Karin (The Quilt Yarn) always inspires me and recently made me realize I do not take advantage of all the settings on my camera and simply need to use it more to develop better photography skills.  Reading my camera manual is next up on my reading list.



Recently I mentioned that I was planning on making the "Herd of Turtles" wallhanging (27" x 39"). While shopping this weekend, I found a kit for $39.95 with really perfect fabrics.  Too convenient and I felt that it was a good price for fabrics & pattern.


I'm planning on a slow stitching of this project this summer.  I'd love to have you join me, if you are interested in a slow SAL with me.  Herd of Turtles is by Pacific Rim Quilt Company and can be found online, as well as many stores.  If you want the kit that I purchased this weekend, you can find it online at Quilt Passions.   I don't plan on starting this project till June.  It has been on my bucket list for years.  Needless to say, the squirrel in me said it would be a great summer project and I agreed with my inner squirrel!

I'm still learning how to cross stitch and thoroughly enjoying it.  This little Bee Happy design was stitched on a Waffle Flower die cut card stock, while I'm traveling.  When I return home I plan to turn it into a Happy Mail greeting card.  What do you think?  Would receiving a greeting card with such cross stitch on it bring you a smile?




Have you heard about the Safelight Project, organized by Carole (From My Carolina Home)?  Participants you help make items and/or donate funds, to fill bags that are donated to the Safelight Domestic Violence Shelter near Carole, come away with a warm heart knowing they helped to bring much needed good cheer to people at a time in their lives where they really need support and encouragement from others.   And, Carole has a great track record with this project.  I hope you will click here to find out more about this project and help if you are inspired.  And, she even has sponsors who have donated prizes that will be randomly awarded to those that help Carole with this great cause to help the Safelight Project.

Again, I hope you have a wonderful Monday and a week full of joy, as well as time to create and enjoy.  Bee Happy and share happiness with others.








Friday, April 23, 2021

Friday Funday

 I hope you are Happy and having a wonderful Friday.  Don't forget it is ok to do a happy dance!  I am.



Did you know today, Friday, May 23rd, is also National Tortoise and Turtle Day?  I love turtles and tortoises so this day definitely makes me happy.


Growing up, I had a variety of land turtles as pets and friends.  I later fell in love with turtles who live in the sea.  As such, today I wanted to share a few photos with you of my underwater friends.

Some of my friends like to play in the sand.



Some like to find a good cleaning station.



Some like to find  beautiful spots to take a nap.



And while I don't believe in disturbing any critter in nature, some turtles actually swim up to you.  They too can be curious and want to check you out. 



I hope when you see a turtle in nature (or any animal in nature), be it on land or in the water, you respect it and keep your distance.  If it comes to you, enjoy the experience.  But do respect it and be happy to have the opportunity to admire it from a distance. Don't grab it, don't touch it, just admire it.

Herd of Turtles, by Pacific Rim Quilt Patterns, has been on my bucket list for a long time.  I am now making a commitment to make this quilt this year.  Do you want to join me?



Are you an iPhone user?  I learned about a fun research opportunity you may want to participate in, assuming you are 65+.  A "Heartline Study", a heart health research study by Johnson & Johnson  in collaboration with Apple.    The study is analyzing the impact of Apple Watch on early detection of a type of irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation, and the potential to improve health outcomes including the prevention of a stroke.

While I think the study sounds worthy of join, for a great cause, a friend who joined shared that if you don't already have an Apple Watch that you can buy one at a very discounted price ($75?).  

I'm not an Apple iPhone or Apple user in general (although I wish I was).  But this sounded like a great research program and opportunity that I wanted to share insights with you today.



I'm still slow stitching my little cross stitch card, but making progress.  I didn't follow any pattern for this project, as it was intended to simply practice cross stitch.   I've made a lot of mistakes, but I've still enjoyed stitching.



I hope you are having a Funday today and have a wonderful weekend too!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Monday Mixer



You are probably aware that I like to learn new creative skills every year, as well as continue to build on skills I've acquired previously (but I'm not an expert at anything).  This summer, Cross Stitch is definitely on my list of skills to learn.  I love handwork (e.g. hand piecing, hand quilting, hand sewing binding, etc).  I love the look of many cross stitch projects, but recently the thought of creating "Happy Mail" using cross stitch templates from Waffle Flower for card stock, caught my attention.  

I found plenty of inspirational ideas on their website and Pinterest:






Here are my first cross stitch samples ever.  One is with two DMC threads and the other is four.  Do you have a preference?

#1 - Four ply DMC

#2 - Two ply DMC


 I have to admit it didn't take long to get into a rhythm and I have enjoyed the simple stitching.  The Waffle Flower dies for card stock make the stitching super easy.  Needless to say, I'm looking forward to applying cross stitch to create "Happy Mail" greeting cards.    But as I'm currently traveling, I only brought supplies to do some cross stitch.


Today, I want to heighten awareness about some "blogging" tools that are changing, but may impact blog followers as well as bloggers.  If you follow any blogs via email feeds, or a fellow blogger who hosts such functionality on your blog, you have probably heard that Google has announced that in July, Google will close down the Feedburner tool and such email blog updates will stop to exist.  There are options for bloggers, but it also appears most are available for a fee which typical bloggers can not afford, and for those that use G-Mail, Google is going to "spam" most of those emails anyway.  There are a lot of updates on the internet, but here are three that I felt shared the best insights about what is going on with Feedburner:


 


I am disappointed in Google and while I prefer to stay away from politics, I lean to support "From Rome.info" and feel that this decision by Google is an act of politics and showing Google is moving more and more into supporting big business, their supporters, not small press, nor free blogging.    Let's all try to stay positive as bloggers and followers have workaround. Here are a few of my recommendations:

Follow blogs via BlogLuvin and/or My Creative Blog List, as well as other social media tools where bloggers can post links to any blog post update they make.  Not a perfect solution, but the best no cost tools I can think of.  If you have recommendations, please leave a comment to share with others (or email me, as appropriate).  

Lastly, I want to start off sharing that I really do enjoy hearing from you and am trying to reply to every comment.  I recently had a few hiccups, but I think I've made the changes on my end which I need to do so.  Still, I really, really, really wanted to respond to QuiltGranMar who recently left a sweet comment but her Google account settings won't allow me (or other bloggers) to reply when she leaves a comment on a Google blog (aka she is considered a No Reply Blogger).  Fortunately, Google has made changes to help you change your settings so bloggers can reply to your comments. You should be able to edit your Google profile by making sure you have added your email address under "contact info" so that it is visible to others, when you leave a comment on a blog.

I hope you have a wonderful week and find time to enjoy and create.