Friday, November 27, 2009

Is it that time already?

I seem to be "borrowing" my husband's works lately. This is a photo manipulation called "Lake" but it just suggested warm happy colors to me today.

I have a confession to make. I'm not ready for Christmas. I hear songs on the radio and I can't believe the Christmas season is already upon us. It's overwhelming to me when I think of all the things I want to do.

We don't have big families and they're kind of spread out around the country. Our jobs don't allow us to get away for the holidays, so we usually have to find other times for catching up with family. Nine years ago, when my youngest was only 6 months old, my husband's parents took the whole family to St. Lucia in the Caribbean. All 16 of us! It was truly the most wonderful Christmas and one of my favorite times. Another time we all went to Grandpa's house in Arizona. I really enjoyed the cacti decorated with lights and Santa hats.
Our family traditions include decorating with lights in the yard, more than on the house. I love seeing a blue bush there, a red tree there, all along the driveway. And the big wreath on the house. It's six feet in diameter and looks great from the road.
Last weekend, I made candy with my friend Martha. We did this last year for the first time and discovered that there are some candies which are so amazingly good that they are worth the work. My favorite is the caramels. Which is pronounced "care-a-mels" according to my husband. This year, I made a batch that I think got cooked a little too long and the caramels were so hard you couldn't even cut them. Depressing. The second batch came out perfectly. I didn't test my thermometer before cooking, so I'm partly to blame. We also made marshmallows; well, Martha did while I wrapped about 300 pieces of caramel in wax paper. My peanut brittle came out just perfect. I believe in peanut brittle at Christmas. It is just so yummy! I need to make some maple fudge, too.
I can't think of a single thing I need for Christmas. Well, maybe one of those plastic sheets to put under a quilt when you're doing free motion to help it move around more easily. Leah Day sells them on her website, I think. I'm a big fan of Leah's. She really inspires a lot of people. I would also enjoy a good massage.
Every year, we get felt stockings at WalMart and the kids decorate them with glitter glue. The kids love it. It's one of the things my husband likes to do. The kids are already upset that I have to work on Christmas. Somebody has to do it. Maybe I can come up with something fun for them to do while I'm at work.
I'm seeing all kinds of neat ideas for Advent calendars. I like the one with toilet paper tubes at maya*made's blog. Very clever.
I think I'm through with my rambling post. I know I can catch a little Christmas spirit if I put my mind to it. That'll be my project for this week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All in the Family

Aren't these adorable? I thought I'd share the Christmas ornaments my DH makes with felt, buttons, beads and embroidery floss. He is very critical about his work, but I love the whimsy of his ornaments and I think they are wonderful.

It all started when I taught him how to sew on a button. He has made repairs on clothes for his clients like holes in pockets and missing buttons. He is always brimming over with ideas for different designs. He does fun things with photo manipulations and makes a new wallpaper for the computer almost every day. You never know what will come out of his mind.

I know he's made dozens of these, but these were the only ones I found in our photo collection. Well, I have a few more that I can share later. Now that the Christmas season is approaching, he's started making his ornaments again. It's a good sign.

This week he went shopping for a sewing machine. I'm thinking I may have to make room in my sewing room. Although, if you knew my hubby, you'd know that he likes to be secretive about what he's up to until he's ready for you to see it. He's the same way when he's cooking. I don't think he'd like me to see what he was doing because I might criticize. Funny thing is, though I have my talents, he's the real artist in the house. You'd know it if you saw his stuff.

And now you, my blogging friends, get to admire his talents as well.

I hope you enjoy them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Letting the Colors Come Through

I meant to post this yesterday but ran out of time helping with the homework, etc., last night.

I have been thinking about some of my special experiences with creative expression. I am a singer, classically trained. Once a long time ago I sang a full senior recital while I was working on my music degree. I love classical art song. Bringing to life the words of the poet, through the musical interpretation as provided by the composer, is an amazing experience. I sang several groupings or sets of song for my recital. One of my favorite groupings was a collection from the works of Ned Rorem, a 20th century composer. He wrote this marvelous gem of a piece from the writings of Gertrude Stein, called "I Am Rose". The song takes about 23 seconds to sing. I loved this song and it suited me so well. Afterwards my faculty advisor told me it was his favorite part of the recital. It was mine, too. I could feel the connection with the music, the voices of the character, the author and composer, coming out through me. It was a powerful moment and a special one for me. It was about letting the colors of the song flow through me and letting the audience experience the feeling with me.

I studied voice for many years and loved every minute of it. It's very difficult and takes a lot of practice, just like with any instrument. But when you hit those "I am Rose" moments, it is amazing. I am no great opera singer and nobody is offering me a recording contract. So maybe I shouldn't keep on studying or practicing, because that kind of success is out of my reach. Often the deepest pain for an artist is that expression that falls just a little short of what you meant to say. But then I'd never have my amazing moments to keep. And they are so valuable to me.

The same is true of my quilting. I have made some truly special quilts and some that will get you by. I'm still learning about FMQ and if I had the money or space for a long arm machine, I'd be going gangbusters. I believe that if I keep trying, I will reach my goal of making amazing quilts, just like the ones I drool over every day. I'm just a caterpillar, inching along, hoping to get a glimpse of the butterfly I can become. The more I try, the more I see that it is attainable.

I want to convince anyone reading this that you, too, have the power to find your colors and sing them out into the world. Find your voice in what you love and treasure the moments when it all comes together.

This is a little long, but I'm glad I got to share. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fright Night--the day after

Here are a few pics from our evening of frightful fun. The boys hung out with their best friends as we went around our hometown neighborhood. Then we had a fire in the backyard and toasted marshmallows. Good times!div>

A nerd and a headless horseman--a perfect pairing!

Just two girls out on the town! I'm in my usual mode--ready for bed.

Hope you had a safe and fun Halloween!