Top Secret Projects

I decided I needed to work on some projects for Christmas.  I would like to share this experience with all of you but… as the person/people I am making them for make up the majority of followers for this blog I decided I best not reveal too much.  But I think I will document my work and then post after the fact because I am finding some of the work challenging and fun!

Top Secret Projects Ahead

Top Secret Projects Ahead

The first secret project is a sewing project.  Not a quilting one, but a sewing project!   I am not a sewer, seamstress!  Technically I CAN sew but I am not very good at it.  For some reason quilting doesn’t count.  So this could be an expensive mistake.  I drove half an hour out-of-town, spend and hour and a half hunting down the perfect fabric, thread and other tools required (no comment on how much I spent!), drove a half and hour home, started cutting the fabric and realized I may have bitten off more than I can chew!  Here is the fabric I chose… I love it and hope I have leftovers to use for something else too!

The new fabric for my secret sewing project.

The new fabric for my secret sewing project.

The  2nd project is a quilting project.  It was an impulse buy at the fabric store where I bought the above fabric and I am really looking forward to starting this one.  BUT I made myself a deal, if I want to work on this I have to finish the sewing project.  No sneak peek pictures of this one for you… I don’t want to give it away.

I also have a 3rd secret project that I have had in my “stash” of projects for a long time.  It is also a quilting project but also an applique project.  I am pretty new to the applique thing so it could be interesting.  No sneek peak of this one either.

With any luck, I will have all three secret projects ready for Christmas!

With even more luck, I will have them finished for THIS Christmas!

So I ask you to wish me (more) luck!

What are you working on for Christmas?

E

photo credit: Peter E. Lee via photopin cc

2nd photo is mine!

The Long Awaited Table Runner

About two years ago, my husband’s aunt and uncle took a trip up to Alaska.  While visiting they purchased a flag, one that represented the rail travel they did.  Casually, when they returned, they asked if I could make a table runner for their dining room table.  Of course I was flattered they asked and said yes!

Let the procrastinating commence!

You need to understand that until now, I have been a follow the pattern kind of sewer seamstress (sewer is a crazy word)!  I didn’t have a clue how to take a piece of fabric and turn it into something without instructions.  But – after sitting on it for a long long long time… it is finally done.

I chose some complimentary fabrics that I had on hand in my fabric stash…

flag and scraps of fabric

This is the material I had on hand that matched the flag.

I then measured the short side of the flag and made pieces to fit.  It wasn’t rocket science by any stretch… nothing fancy.  I just cut fabric to fit the ends of the flag.  Then I sewed it together.

Sewing the fabric and flag together

Sewing the fabric onto the flag.

I had a large scrap of dark blue fabric that I cut to fit the back.  I was going to “quilt it” with fancy designs but I am very new to the QUILTing part of making a quilt, and I was worried about messing it up on someone else’s table runner… so I just stitched in the ditch to complete it.

Finnished Table Runner

Finished table runner.

Full table runner.

Full table runner. Simple!

And that was it.. no fuss not muss!  Just simple. I don’t know why I procrastinated that long!  Silly!

And they liked it!  They were having a late Thanksgiving dinner with friends the following day and she sent me pictures of her new table runner while she was setting the table!  I looks lovely!

Finished table runner

Table runner at Aunt J’s house!

What have you procrastinated on only to realize that it was no big deal?

E

Around the World Blog Hop

I was nominate recently by a friend to participate in the Around the World Blog Hop.

First off – What is Around the World Blog Hop?  Basically, it is a “Tag, your it” kind of blog.  Someone nominates you to participate – answer a few questions about why/how you create and then you tag someone yourself.

I was nominated by Anita of Daydreams of Quilts.  Anita and I have been following each other around the country (Edmonton AB, Oromocto NB, Wainwright AB).  Not on purpose – although it has been a happy coincidence – but because both our husbands serve with the same unit with the Canadian Armed Forces.  We always end up overlapping  in the same place eventually!  Anita is an amazing quilter – I would say professional quality – who has an ETSY shop to sell her amazing creations.  To top it all of she just became a mother for the 3rd time to a beautiful baby girl, to go with the son and daughter she already has.  Where she finds the time to create, never mind POST about, it is beyond me!  She is truly inspirational at it all.

So, imagine then, her asking me to participate in this Around the World Blog Hop!

At first I thought… she must have sent me the invite by mistake.  After all I am NOT a professional quilter!  I am not a even a professional “creator”.  But, after I figured out it was not a joke… I decided, what the hay! I can figure out how to answer a few questions about my creativity.  That is in fact why I wanted to blog in the first place!

Easier said than done I am afraid!  But here goes anyway.

1) What am I working on?

Too many to count!  And I want to do them all.

Too many to count! And I want to do them all.

The true question should be “What am I not working on”?  As I said in one of my lastest posts (read it here), is that I have too many projects all going on at the same time.  Part of being a “wild soul” is I sometimes lack focus… I end up starting things and never completeing them.  I don’t even stick to just ONE type of creating.  I quilt, crochet, cross stitch, card make, sew and write.  So to answer the question… I am working on everything.  I have a crochet wrap I am going to finish first I think because I want to wear it!  But when I read other blogs (like Daydreams of Quilts), I get inspired and want to stop what I am doing and quilt.  Then I read about NaNoWriMo coming up I want to stop my quilt and write!  See – I am a bit scattered!

2) How does my work differ from others?

To be honest – I don’t think it differs.  I don’t have a style yet… in my quilting or my writing or in anything really!  I just see something I like, or get an idea and do it!  And if I don’t know how, I learn.  I am going to guess that this is very similar to MOST other creators!  We do what makes us happy!

Maybe I will get my own style once I do this long enough… until then I am happy doing what I like!

This is a Japanes Jigsaw Quilt I mad for my sister a few years ago.

This is a Japanese Jigsaw Quilt I made for my sister a few years ago.

3) Why do I create what I do?

Hahaha!  Ahh – well this questions makes me laugh.  I wish I had a brilliant reason why I create what I do, but the truth is I don’t!

I choose quilts by pattern…  patterns I think are pretty!  I did this quite consciously at the beginning so that I only bought fabric for what I needed.  I knew to many fabric hoarders and thought I could avoid this!  I was wrong!  As it stands now, I have 2 totes of fabric with no “project” yet to go with them.

These are bursting full of fabric... not related to a project.

These are bursting full of fabric… not related to a project.

For writing I chose a Romance novel to write first because that is what I know best.  Do I love the novel? Yes!  Will I continue to write romance?  Yes!  But to be honest I have a wonderful idea for a dystopian fiction novel… they are all the rage right now.  Will I write it?  Uh… well maybe.

For crochet I choose a pattern mostly based on need – hence the  wrap I am creating now.  I wanted a wrap – so I am crocheting one.  I wanted a cat bed, I crocheted one!

Whirlwind crochet wrap

Found this on pinterest and the link led me here.

See the pattern to choosing my work?  I kind of just choose what feels right for the moment!

4) How does my creating process work?

Well this is tricky.  I work mostly from home these days.  I try to spend some time working on all my jobs – I have a few.  I tend to get on a kick with one thing – like creating and blogging about it, and then move on to the next – set up for the Storytime program I coordinate at the Public Library, etc.  This happens with my projects too… I tend to work on creating what feels right now, and then everything else fall by the way-side.  I don’t have a set plan and to be honest this gets me in plenty of trouble because I may spend oodles of time on one thing and not any on another!  In my opinion, all are equally important to me but I don’t tend to spend enough time on anything!

I am working on this though.  I have said a dozen times I am a work in progress!  I am hoping to solidify some sort of process… how I carve out time to do what I do and a method to get it done.  This is tough for me.  I think I am flighty and tend to only work on what is going well.  The harder projects sit on the back burner… So in actual answer to the question, how does my creating process work?  Well, it doesn’t.  Not yet!  But it will.

So that is it… all about me “creating”!

I now nominate…

1) Beginings In Writing I ran across this blog when I started blogging and writing.  That was the beauty of wordpress dot com sites… there was an easy way to get followers to your blog and make some connections (now that I moved to a dot org, I have lost that).  Anyway, I have never met him – he lives in the US, but we have chatted a few times on comments about getting work published!  I believe he is excited about the prospect and actively works toward that goal… where as me, I am scared to death about it!  I love his blog and you should check it out!  I contacted him via email to see if he would participate.  To date I haven’t heard back from him yet.  Hopefully he will still participate when he can!

2) Handmade by Hannah I also ran across this blog several years ago when I started blogging.  I like her style and her projects.  I have never met her – I believe she lives in the UK.  She does lots of different styles of projects and I like her stuff! I also did try to contact her via email so that she can participate, but at the time of writing this I haven’t heard back from her yet either.  Hopefully she will participate… I would love to hear more about her too!

3) Anyone else who creates!  I challenge you… if you write a blog about writing, about quilting, about singing, about anything creative, I want you to spend a few minutes looking at your creativity!  Let us all know what makes you tick!

I now urge you to google “Around the World Blog Hop” to find your inspiration!  I know I did!

E

If Music be the Food of Love

The quote “If music be the food of love, play on” from by William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” is ringing in my ears!

I am trying to be inspired today to create!  I have not been having much luck, when all of a sudden it hit me…

I need music!

(picture from http://www.whimsandfancies.com/garden-party-blog-hop-music-notes/)

(picture from http://www.whimsandfancies.com/garden-party-blog-hop-music-notes/)

Now, I have to be careful with music.  As a musician and singer, if anything is too well known to me, I sing along.  Not just the latest ditty on the radio, but also any song from the ’80’s (did I just date myself?), and sometimes even a well loved piece of classical music – yes I CAN sing along to Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons: Spring”!  Sometimes this is fine, like while I am quilting for example.  But when I write a blog post, or something for my novel or whatever it is I am writing, singing along can make things difficult!

But music can certainly bring out the best me creatively.

Many writers now include at the back or front of their novel, music that help inspire a scene or character.  Jay Crownover did it in her book “Rule” and I’ve seen others write about their musical inspiration on their websites!  Laurell K Hamilton writes about it on her blog post “Some Writers  Smoke, I do music”.  Also I believe Dale Partridge wrote about it in his blog The Daily Positive but for the life of me I can not find the post! (Regardless, check his blog out… he is WONDERFUL!)

Music is not a new concept… but one I forget about in the midst of things!

So here is what I am listening to right now… to help inspire me!  It’s the Albinoni: Adagio in G minor perfomed by Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra.  I love it!

 

What music is inspiring you?

E

Once Again Too Many Projects

So, I had the urge to start a cross stitch project for each of my kids… I love cross stitch, but I forgot how time consuming it is and how LONG it takes to see results. My biggest flaw with being creative is that I get bored if things don’t take shape quickly enough! Yes, I am fickle! I started the panada bears for my son and I think he will graduate high school before I am finished (he is in grade 4 now). I also promised a cross stitch to each of my girls and those I haven’t even started with yet! This is on top of the quilts I wanted to do for each of their rooms, as well as the quilts I wanted to complete for our trailer (no more sleeping bags!!!). I also started a quilted bag I was going to use as my doula bag and now I have been bitten my the crochet bug again and started crocheting a wrap for myself (you should see the pattern – it is quite lovely!). Having too many projects overwhelms me and then essentially I do nothing but waste time on Pintrest pinning more projects I will either never start, or never finish!

AND I am considering doing another NANOWRIMO project this November! Even thought my 1st NaNO draft is done, it is still not edited or finished completely! I am insane.

So how do I prioritize projects? None of them are for sale, or NEEDED items. They are wants.
A lot of people “schedule” their day. From ___ to ___ I will do ___. For example… From 9:00am to 11:00am I will crochet. It’s like a job. You work out your hours and do them just as if you were going to punch a clock at work. I currently do this with my “jobs”. The majority of my income is made from working at home , my Storytime Coordinator for the library, my blogging and doula work. I schedule my hours as if it is an “outside the home” job and clock in and out each day. So far this works well for my work hours although I will admit it is a new concept for me.

I don’t think a schedule will work for my FUN/CREATIVE time though. My day will end up too scheduled I will just get in the groove of a project and then have to move on, and I will likely be crazy in a week and a half! Plus – I have a life above my work and play! The family expect a certain amount of my time too!

I think what I am going to have to do is make a list of what I want to get accomplished and just start at the top and work my way down. I don’t know what it is about lists that help me focus my attention enough to get things finished, but it works. So that is where I will start. Here is my list…

1) R&J’s table runner (I should do this first as it is for SOMEONE)

table runner made from Alaskan flag

table runner made from Alaskan flag

2) Crochet Wrap (this is 2nd because I can probably accomplish it quickly)

Crochet wrap

Crochet wrap

3) Repair my Great Grandmother’s Quilt

See the holes a quilt my great-grandmother made?  I need to repair it

See the holes a quilt my great grandmother made? I need to repair it

4) Fairy Quilt (was for my youngest daughter)

I started this quilt ages ago!  By the time I get it done my daughter will have outgrown it!

I started this quilt ages ago! By the time I get it done my daughter will have outgrown it!

5) Panda Cross stitch

I love cross stitch... just so time-consuming!

I love cross stitch… just so time consuming!

6) Quilted Doula bag

Found this pattern at Wal-Mart.  Should be an easy project

Found this pattern at Walmart. Should be an easy project

7) Dr Seuss Quilt for my son

The good news is my son isn't likely to out grow this quilt anytime soon!

The good news is my son isn’t likely to out grow this quilt anytime soon!

8) Oldest daughter’s quilt

Not even started

Not even started

9) Dolphin Cross Stitch
10) Leopard Cross stitch

I probably bought this book in the 90's!

I probably bought this book in the 90’s!

11) Other Random Projects

Too many to count!  And I want to do them all.

Too many to count! And I want to do them all.

Wow… that is quite the list already.

I wonder if I can start planning a new novel and then write it for NaNoWriMo while accomplishing this list…

Wish me luck!

What’s on your to do list?

E

The Move From .com To .org… I Think!

THE BIG MOVE – My family and I picked up and moved to a small town. Just to be clear, we lived in a small town previously but it was a town 20 minutes away from a big city! Our new town is a few hours away from a big city, so it will be a change. I think it might be fun though as I feel like I am a small town kinda girl… but I am not sure how the rest of the family is going to adjust to the move! Fingers crossed!

Setting up a new home is fun and I have enjoyed going through everything I own and finding a new place to put it. We moved from a four level split to a bungalow with a basement so finding places for all our new stuff has been challenging. We’ve been here just over 2 weeks and we are mostly unpacked. Well, except the garage, but who really needs stuff from there anyway!  We just move it from spot to spot right now… one day it will all have a home.

The most exciting part about the move to my new home (aside from a large wonderful kitchen) is the basement. I actually have a “creating space” set up with my computer and sewing area and card making supplies! That’s half the battle right? Now that I have a dedicated space I should do nothing but create right? Well, I will keep you posted on that!

My main question for you all is this… I am considering of making a move from a wordpress.com to a wordpress.org. Anyone have experience with this? I think I know how to do it, and should be able to manage but any pitfalls or warnings I should know? Any advice or thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated!

PS Here is my new creating space! I can’t wait to dive in.

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E

Happiest Place on Earth

I am not a gardener! I am what some would call a spring time gardener. I love to get outside once the weather gets warm and play in the dirt. But when summer hits… Well, I am done.

I don’t like to weed!

I forget to water!

If plants are not self sufficient they do not last long!

The same can be said for house plants. I love having house plants, I love decorating with them… I love having green in my house when it is minus 40 degrees Celsius in the winter! But I forget to water, I don’t know how much light they are supposed to get, and I don’t fertilize.

For some reason it works for me!

Today I went to my happy place. If anyone ever finds themselves in St Albert AB I suggest you go to The Enjoy Centre. The Enjoy Centre is a unique multi-use facility featuring a greenhouse, spa, cafe & restaurant, whole foods, deli, bakery and more (that was copied directly from google). It has Holes, Amaranth Whole Foods, Hillaby’s and many other things that quite frankly just soothe my soul. Check it out for yourself here.

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We are moving (hopefully in the summer) so I don’t want to spend too much money on the garden this year, but I had a few empty spots to fill in the flower beds out front. In an effort to keep the place looking loved and sellable – and to get my springtime gardening fix – I picked up a few Hostas. While I was there I saw some cute little plants and accessories that were marketed as “fairy garden” supplies! Well, having spent too much time in Pintrest I decided to make each of my kids a fairy garden. Here is how I did it.

Here are my supplies…

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First I filled the pots with potting soil.

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Then I added the plants. There is a Flowering Maple, a False African Violet, and a Platt’s Black.

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I added some decorative rock, some mini decorations, some moss in one of the planters, and voila! Here are the finished products!

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Here are my happy children enjoying their fairy gardens!

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Who knew there was creativity to be found in digging in the dirt!

E

Website Design, Blogging, Facebook pages and Other Such Nonsense

I have always called myself a jack of all trades, master of nothing. It used to, 20 years ago, cause me great distress! I was supposed to be awesome at something! As it turns out, I am good at a lot of things, and become an “expert” in anything I want depending on my interests. And now, thanks to the World Wide Web, I can share it with everyone!

My latest creative endeavour is website building. I am not a professional website designer and I couldn’t write in code if my life depended on it… But since starting this blog, I have come quite intrigued by creating a digital footprint.

After starting this blog I started my own business/practice as a doula. Part of my promotion of my business was to create a website. www.erinchenier.com. I found the experience fun and exciting, partially because I am pumped about my new career path, and partially because I could create in a very new way! Obviously the hope is that I will have scads of traffic and drum up tons of birth clients, but it will likely take some time. This type of website, although fun to create, needs very little upkeep from me – at least until things change in my business. Until then, it is just there!

In the interim, I discovered some income potential in building websites based on personal interests. I started a website all about essential oils, www.essentialoilsandyou.ca, which is a bit of a hobby of mine. I research, design and add content as often as humanly possible so that I can get a bit of traffic to the site with the hope of one day making some money. I find pictures, take pictures, film videos all on this topic in hopes of sharing information. I find the process quite creative, and I love it. This is obviously not some get rich quick scheme… As to date I may have made $0.82 (and it cost me more than that to start up!) but it has the potential to fill a few needs, making some money AND allowing me to be creative! What could be better!

In order to generate interest in both of those websites, I have had to create some social media interest. Both of those pages are also found as Facebook pages and (like wwww.wildcreativesoul.com) are linked to a Twitter account LinkedIn profile or an Instagram or Pintrest account. This has been fun to do as well, and it requires me to put thought into updates as often as possible. It’s good – and one more way I can create. I really do love it! The downside is now I have far too many usernames, passwords and accounts to remember!

People have probably been doing this for years and I am slowly getting on the band wagon! But now that I am here it onwards and upwards for me!

E

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Creative Family

So, we got a cat! I know I am at risk of becoming THAT person. You know, the one who brags about their cat, show pictures… gets a bit crazy. Well I might become that person but I will try to restrain myself.

What’s my point? Well, I got this cat and was feeling like I needed to build stuff for him. He needed a bed, a place to put his food dishes, and toys. My mom said I was nesting. I thought only new mother’s did this for their babies, but regardless! I needed to create for him.

I searched through a plethora of pet patterns on ravelry.com. I finally came across a super easy pattern for a cat bed and sat on the couch one Saturday night and started to crochet.

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As I continued to work I noticed I was joined by my oldest daughter who just started a home economics class at school. She was determined to hand sew herself an iPod case. So here she is!

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Then my youngest daughter joined in the fun. She had received a “Knot a Quilt” by Alex Toys. Here she is working hard.

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The boys weren’t being so crafty. Although I do consider reading a worthwhile endeavour. They had dug out a bunch of comics, some of them my sons, some of them my husbands. They were enjoying the creativity inside. Here they are.

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A very nice family evening!

Here, by the way, is the finished product of the cat bed. Jasper loves it. He also has a tent were he will hide, but when he just needs to cuddle up for a nap, this bed does nicely. And yes, he does sleep very oddly!

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E