Friday, September 28, 2007

Blessings Friday

Here are a few of my blessings this week.

Your Comments

I am having such a blast celebrating life with you. Thank you for your wonderful comments.

Notes from the Universe

Many months ago I joined The Adventurer’s Club. This is a “FREE philosophical club for the adventure of life, with over 160,000 members from around the world who believe that living in the jungles of time and space, as a creation amongst our creations, is the ultimate Adventure because ‘thoughts become things,’ dreams do come true, and all things remain forever possible!”

Each day an inspirational message appears in my email entitled “Notes from the Universe.” Here is an example:

Remember when it was really fun, June, to catch raindrops on your tongue, walk under archways because they were there, and roll around in sand at the beach? To go all the way to a store for a tiny treat, lie on the grass looking for "God" in the clouds, and make scary monster faces in the mirror? To watch the stars because they were winking at you, count the flowers in the garden by the door, and put Cocoa Puffs up your nose?

Well, June, I'm happy to inform you, most of it still is....

-The Universe

Don’t you just love that?

My Best Guy

My husband is the best guy in the world—for me. Your guy is your own best guy in the world.

This is my husband—he has clear hair.

I’m forever saying, “I’ve been thinking…” to which my husband’s response is, “Uh oh.” But he always listens, comments as needed, and generally encourages my creative ideas and activities in what he euphemistically calls “June World.”

I have different names for my guy depending on the moment’s need. Sometimes he functions as Mr. Man when I want him to take out the trash and be quick about it. When math starts getting complicated (calculus and physics—yuck!), I see no point in worrying myself over it when I have Math Man around.

About the only time I watch TV is during the month of October when I love watching old scary movies. But this presents a problem as they terrify me. So then I call for Ranger Man (he’s a former U.S. Army Ranger) when I need a protective hug.

Recently he was Very Bad Man when he hit a pool ball so hard that it flew off the pool table (that resides in what is supposed to be our dining room) and into the glass doors of the china cabinet.

I absolutely must tell you how I handled that little special event. I simply and quietly said, “I’m so pleased you’re going to personally take care of the repairs yourself.” And then I went and baked his favorite cake for him. Now, am I brilliant or what?

Your Blessings

What blessings made you smile this week?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Glistening Hankie

I’m a simple southern girl from coastal North Carolina despite currently residing in Tucson, AZ. Growing up I was taught that a lady never sweats. One absolutely does not have pores that exude anything—way too tacky for words.

Instead, your dewy complexion is the result of glistening. The term has fallen to the wayside but isn’t it ever so lovely anyway?

One should always be prepared for these delicate moments with an appropriate bit of fabric to gently, very gently, pat one’s skin. No desperate sloughing off the skin cells in public no matter how much heat or how many hot flashes you’re enduring.

You can buy and use a pretty vintage handkerchief. Some of you have these already and may be saving them for precious. The concept of not using something because it’s too precious makes me feel sad. Each of us is precious in our own right and we deserve to use special things every single day.

The other option is to make your own easy-to-sew trimmed handkerchief. For my project, I am recycling my absolute favorite cotton lawn nightgown that’s falling apart from being loved so much.

You could also simply buy the finest cotton fabric you can find (polyester or other plastic-fantastic fabrics will absolutely not do) and either crochet, tat, or otherwise cheat like I did and buy ready-made lace or other assorted trim that makes you feel all girly.

Cut a 12-inch square from your fabric. Turn under each edge 1/8” and press. Turn that under another 1/8” and press again. Then sew around all four sides.

Pin your trim around the edge of your fabric square and sew either by machine or hand. You could embroider a little something, too, but my fabric print is fine as it is.

Y’all can go forth now and glisten beautifully!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Harvest Moon

Tonight, September 26, we will enjoy a full Harvest Moon. This seems a good time to explain the moon in my blog header. It is a picture my husband took of a stained-glass art piece my sister Connie created. We decided it would be perfect for my blog.

Connie has a little glass arts business she named WenchWorks—isn’t that the most fabulous name? I love her tag line, “Glass with Attitude.” She’s a sassy girl!

Hundreds of years ago, Native Americans tracked each full moon and named them—one per month with the exception of the oft-mentioned Blue Moon. This was their guide as to when to plant and harvest food—a survival mechanism we don’t necessarily worry about anymore.

Some of you have magnificent gardens from which to harvest. Some of us, like me, harvest our food at the nearest grocery store or local farmer’s market. Since I can’t share something delectable from my garden, I thought I’d share an easy recipe.

I found the free blank recipe card clipart at Original Country Clipart and simply added the recipe text using photo editor software. Right-click to select and save this recipe to your computer. If you like, you can print on cardstock and laminate it to make it more durable.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Loving Your Home

Karla’s Cottage is having a Romantic Country Party today to share what we all love about our homes. Quick jump over there and check out all the wonderful pictures she’s showing as well as amazingly inspiring comments. I’ll be here when you get back.

We Love Our Home

There are a lot of corners-of-my-home photos on many lovely blogs. But my house has weird corners, they’re kind of rounded and it’s a big open-style house. So, I’ve decide what needs to be done is to share my walls. You are slavering to see my walls, right? I thought so.

When my husband and I married, we decided to decorate our house with our own bits of homemade wall art. Our taste is eclectic to give it a kind description, but it works for us. This is our way of loving our home as well as honoring our love for each other.

We use a lot of my husband’s photographs. He was awarded a best-of-show blue ribbon in a photography competition for this one—yes, I admit I’m bragging; I haven’t any shame about it either.

This is a picture he took of the glorious golden Aspen leaves in the Santa Catalina Mountains while we were on a picnic. After uploading the picture to my computer, I printed it on Avery InkJet Textured Canvas purchased at the office supply store and framed it.

Just to show you that I do stuff, too, here is one of my little watercolors hanging in our bedroom. It won’t win any blue ribbons but I painted it myself and that gives me a real sense of satisfaction.

You can celebrate your own home with things that have meaning for you. Here are but a few resources to inspire you:

  • Bunny Wall : Precious wall art for her daughter’s bedroom and other delicious decorating ideas. She has gorgeous ideas.
  • Wall of Doll Quilts: Many of you have seen this amazing doll quilt wall, but it’s so glorious I have to recommend it for those who missed it.
  • Lara Berch Tutorials: She provides a whole section of creative tutorials with one focusing on wall art.
  • Make It Yourself Creations: Along with her glorious projects and outstanding photos, she has numerous ideas for creating your own works of art.
  • Make Your Own Wall Murals Murals: Cool murals you can make yourself.
  • Photofiddle : Create your own wall artwork online.
  • The Purl Bee : Beautiful Liberty of London Swatch Portraits that I’ve seen a number of bloggers fashion in wonderful ways.
  • Vintage Fabric Wall Art: Innovative presentation and includes instructions.

Autumn Flowers

Since we’ll be going back east for two weeks over the Thanksgiving holidays, I decided a new autumn bag is in order. So I made a bouquet of lovely flowers to carry around on my arm all day.

The exterior fabric I chose was in the home decorator fabrics in Jo-Ann’s. The rich colors and woven texture evoke autumn to me.

The print scale of the fabric I chose for the lining is a nice balance to the larger exterior fabric print. I love how the colors in the lining flowers echo those of the exterior fabric. Even the flower shapes in both fabrics are similar in style although on different size scales. I think it works just fine.

This project comes from Simple Sewing with a French Twist: An Illustrated Guide to Sewing Clothes and Home Accessories with Style.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Club Little House: Archaeology in 1/12 Scale

I’m quite odd when it comes to opening gifts. I don’t want to open them. The anticipation has a sense of sublime magic about it that I want to savor. So I stall as long as possible. I’m also really great at keeping secrets.

And so it is with the Club Little House swap. That long-awaited parcel arrived from Amy. The box and I just sat here companionably for awhile.

I finally succumbed and opened it. It felt a bit like an archaeologist unearthing miniscule treasures. What amazing wonders—tiny bits of artistic creativity worthy of a museum showcase.

My project was simple tiny rugs and a member’s badge using the Club Little House logo. Nothing fancy, just something I felt reflected the spirit of the club. I used printable fabric to make the rug top, embroidered the written components, and backed the whole thing with wool felt.

Here is the rug by the bed. I took this picture before mailing off my project to Amy. In preparation for all the new Club Little House wonders, I sewed a new set of curtains, pillow sham, dust ruffle, and comforter.

The member badges were simple little plastic button shells in which you insert a picture. I found them in the children’s crafting activity bins at Jo-Ann’s fabrics at the beginning of summer.

You’re wondering where the photos are of the Club Little House photos, aren’t you? My husband had to leave for a business trip and absconded with the good camera. He and the camera will be back on Saturday and I’ll be able to photograph everything then. My old HP digital camera doesn’t do well in taking dollhouse miniatures photos.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Crafty Blessings for Others

Many blessings fill my life every single day which make the inevitable challenges in life much easier to handle. As such, I’m always mindful that others may not be so fortunate. In addition to other charitable projects I’ve mentioned in my blog, here are a few more opportunities for which you may or may not be aware in case you’re looking for some way to pass your blessings on to others.

This little list is by no means comprehensive. There’s so much need in the world that it’s almost incomprehensible. Most of the time, I cannot understand how a world full of purportedly advanced technology and reasonable-thinking human beings can have so many needs not being fulfilled. It makes me sad.

Cubs for Kids

I heard about this non-profit organization in today’s Lion Brand Yarn’s newsletter. Cubs for Kids provides knitted bear cubs to children in homeless shelters for Christmas. You knit (by hand or machine) a hat, sweater, and scarf from your leftover yarn for the bear they provide. Here is the link to the patterns and here is the mailing address for your outfits.

Free Charitable Knitting and Crochet Patterns

Lion Brand Yarn’s web site provides patterns for items most requested by charities. You can also search for charities in your area on their site.

Loves Many Cloths

This is a picture of a few of the washcloths I made for a women’s shelter as well as Kelli’s "Sending Goodwill to Mozambique" project last April.

The Loves Many Cloths groupwelcomes anyone who enjoys crafting and is willing to give to shelters and other agencies that help people who are less fortunate. We knit, loom or crochet cloths as a group and send to these organizations.”

Cuddles for Pets

This is an extension of the Loves Many Cloths effort. The Cuddles for Pets Yahoo group gathers blankets for animals in shelters. These poor creatures are lost, scared, abandoned and so on. The cuddles give them something to comfort them—when you feel bad, a nice quilt wrapped around you is like a big love hug. It’s the same for them. I read that shelter pets have a higher percentage of adoptions when accompanied by a cuddle blanket—maybe it’s the psychological cute factor but whatever works, go for it.

Again, this is just a tiny sampling of ideas as I don’t want to overwhelm you with pages and pages of need.

If you’d like to share those charitable organizations and projects to which you contribute, you’re welcome to leave a comment here but I’d love it if you just posted it on your own blog for everyone to see that may not visit me. The more we share, the more love is sent out to those in need in very real ways.

Treasure your blessings but be a blessing yourself.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Halloween Apron Swap

Swap-bot swap: Halloween Apron Swap!

Delicious new recipes are populating the blogs as we move into autumn and head towards Halloween. Magical blends of pumpkin and other spices are appearing in cakes and other yummy delectable concoctions in kitchens everywhere. And that, of course, requires an apron suitable for such culinary endeavors.

If you are pondering the idea of making an apron for Halloween, you may want to consider joining Beelicious' handmade Halloween Apron Swap. This swap is managed through Swap-bot and, unfortunately for all our crafty international friends, is only for U.S. participants due to the quick turnaround.

I’m joining in the fun and am contemplating what Halloween apron mischief to create in my laboratory (said in my best, meaning my worst, Boris Karloff voice). It will have to be pretty mischief, however, because one of the rules is no gruesome or gory embellishments.

Sign-up ends Sept. 30 so hurry over and join the swap. Read the rules, requirements, and sign-up info

While you’re at the Swap-bot site, you may want to peruse other Halloween and miscellaneous opportunities out there—both for U.S. only as well as those inviting international participation. There is an amazing and quite eclectic list of swaps.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Blessings Friday

Here are just a few of my blessings this week.

Your Comments

Thank you to everyone for visiting and leaving me such delicious comments. I cannot always find email addresses so I can send you a thank you. So, if you don’t hear from me, it’s not because I’m ignoring you.

The “Prayers for Our World” Project

As each name comes in and their prayer flag made, I feel blessed with your trust in Kristie and me to do this for those you love and worry over. There is still time to add names.


Mortimer, so named by my husband, is a Black-chinned Hummingbird that lives in our yard and buzzes my husband’s ear until the sprinkler is turned on so he can play. My husband took this photo of our friendly hummingbird on Wednesday in the backyard.

Creative Crafty Authors

I am very appreciative of the sewing and craft book authors out there who write wonderful books sharing their innovative patterns, instructions, and ideas. Because I’ve collected so many of these books, I made a rule for myself back in January that I have to make at least three things from each craft book or magazine I buy.

My goal has been more than met with
Amy Butler's In Stitches: More Than 25 Simple and Stylish Sewing Projects. I have been participating in the year-long In Stitches Sew-Along since January. Each month a project from the book is posted at the blogs of co-hosts Kelli and Finnyknits. You can see all the projects to date on Flickr.

I've also met my self-imposed three-item rule using Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing: Patterns and How-To for 24 Fresh and Easy Projects . My husband took this picture of me with Lotta’s Yoga Mat Tote I made the other day to match my yoga class bag. There is a Flickr group for this book, too.


I’m generally a pretty nice person except when encountering those of questionable mental abilities driving about on the roads and scaring me. This week, instead of yelling “Dufous Butt” (yes, I know that’s not nice and, by the way, I don’t know how one spells “dufous”) and shouting comments about how that year model does indeed come with turn signals, I tried just giving them smiles.

Those wayward drivers didn’t particularly care and some felt I was insulting them—so strange—but I felt much more relaxed and at no time did I have to make up my own curse words ‘cause I ran out of the other ones.

I hope you’ll share your blessings with me to enjoy over the weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Greek Mythology and Comfort Dolls

I joined a swap to make an art doll—something I’ve not made before. My assigned recipient lives on a boat off Cyprus and wanted hers to be a Greek goddess. After reading art doll tutorials and researching classical mythology, I chose the Greek goddess of the sea Amphitrite.

Mosaïque de Neptune et d'Amphitrite à Herculanum (public domain image due to expired copyright)

In Greek mythology, Amphitrite’s husband is Poseidon (Neptune is his Roman equivalent). The short version of the legend is that Poseidon saw Amphitrite and fell in love with her but she wasn’t interested in marriage to him. A dolphin influenced her to reconsider Poseidon’s suit and the two lovers eventually married.

Most art doll examples I found were elaborate but I felt this quiet sea goddess should be simple. I chose fabric that seemed water-like to me in the colors my swap partner likes and embroidered her face and applicable symbols: Poseidon’s 3-pronged spear, a spiral to represent the life cycle, a heart for love, and the encouraging dolphin. I added a tiny seashell button. Her hair is made of strips of fabric through which I threaded tiny shells. The finished doll is 9" tall and 7" wide.

Being somewhat an obscure bit of classical mythology, I made a little booklet of facts about Amphitrite, added some stenciled note cards, and other things with the Greek goddess theme found at a bookstore.

And all that is what led me to discover the heart-warming world of Comfort Dolls.

Comfort Dolls

Comfort Dolls are art dolls made to give to abused women in shelters for exactly what the name implies: comfort. This is a beautiful idea, isn’t it?

You can read the whole letter at the web site but this statement touched my heart:

The pain and embarrassment many women go through more often than you think is uncalled for. We need to show them they are worthy and can change their lives. They have the strength to go forward, and may just need a gentle nudge to recognize it. If that nudge is in the form of a small doll filled with love, then let's make dolls!” Pat Winter

The world is an amazing place, isn’t it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ye Pirate Charities and Merry Adventures

It all comes down to your basic piratitude, your inner sense of pirate.” John Baur, co-founder of International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day

It would be ever so much fun to be a pirate—but on my terms and not theirs. For example, I don’t really want to go about stealing things or hurt anyone, but I’m pretty sure such behavior is required with all that swilling of rum, poking people with sharp objects, and running amok in the midst of storms at sea. Stuff like that.

Also, although I do try, my talk-like-a-pirate skills are woefully inadequate and no one ever takes me seriously. That’s probably because I end up laughing too hard.

But here’s something I am good at—I can share and today I’ll share pirating fun, crafting links, and merry adventures.

Not just a day to curse imaginatively out of one side of your mouth whilst squinting shut one eye, some charities use the International Talk Like A Pirate (TLAP) Day theme for fund-raising events. I applaud TLAP Day’s creators because they actively promote these good causes.

Here are a few ways to invoke your inner pirate and give back the booty:
  • Marie Curie Cancer Care in the U.K.

  • Childhood Cancer Support, Inc. (Queensland, AU)

  • American Diabetes Association via FenCon FenCon

In case you have a yearning to party like a pirate, here are a few September pirate festivals that may or may not involve your walking a plank:
  • St. Louis (MO) Pirate Festival Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 15–30.

  • Taranaki (New Zealand) Pirate Festival Sept. 22. I understand they are planning a 2007 festival despite their outdated web info for 2006 but, if you live in the area, I’m sure you can find more up-to-date details.

  • Portland (OR) Pirate Festival Sept. 22–23.

  • Maryland Renaissance Festival's Adventure Weekend Crownsville, MD; Sept. 22–23.

  • Gold Coast Pirate Faire Lake Casitas, CA; Sept. 22–23, 29–30.
  • The lingo

  • Sublime Stitching’s pirate-themed embroidery designs

  • Free knitting pattern for a Pirate Queen's Booty Bag

  • Knit Like a Pirate

  • Free PDF knitting pattern from Folkcat for a Felted Eye Patch

  • Coloring pages for wee pirates-in-training

  • TLAP Day festivities on Flickr

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The “Prayers for Our World” Project

Years ago, at a gathering of friends, my dear friend Kristie gave each of us a stack of fabric strips to create prayer flags. On each one you were to write something you wanted to send out as a prayer. I remember writing peace, love, charity, good health, mindfulness, bits of poetry, and so on.

Once done, the strips of fabric were sewn together on a long string and hung outside for the wind to blow and tatter—carrying little threads of our prayers into the universe.

I’ve never forgotten that meaningful project. As I read blogs and come across requests for prayers or good thoughts in stories of worry, concern, illness, and tragedy, I often feel helpless other than just saying prayers for those hurting in the world.

A sense of urgency has been growing in me that I need to do something tangible about this. And so it is that Kristie’s prayer flag project came to mind.

Kristie and I have decided to work together to make prayer flags for all those we find who ask for prayers. We will contribute all the fabrics and sew the prayer strips together.

We invite you to join us. If you would like to have your prayer request(s) included on a fabric strip for the flag banner, please leave a comment here at Junie Moon or Kristie’s blog with a name (first name and maybe last initial only) or very brief description of someone you wish to include in the prayer flags.

If you want to submit your prayer wish in private, you are very welcome to click on the “Email me” link in the right-hand column.

It is difficult to set a deadline because bad things are not going to just cease and desist on a specific date. But to get this prayer flag project out there in the winds of time, we have to have an end point. The last day to submit your prayer request is September 30.

You are welcome to post The “Prayers for Our World” Project icon on your own blog.

Once completed, our plan is to drive to the Santa Catalina Mountains the weekend of October 27, tie the prayer flags banner to trees, and say “our” (meaning you and us) prayers.

~ You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~
Mohandas Gandhi

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bags of Fun

Preparing on Sunday for this new week, I realized that nightly transfers of the paraphernalia needed for my exercise classes into my gym bag creates a situation where something will inevitably be forgotten. So I made four simple draw-string bags to hold my stuff.

Each bag is 16” wide by 18” in height. I used a wonderful red/cream-striped cotton fabric that reminds me of French ticking. One-inch-wide woven cotton webbing serves for the drawstrings and a patch made from printable fabric represents each class.

In order from left to right in the picture: yoga, ballet, belly dancing, and Tai Chi.

Now I can prepare my exercise essentials for the week and grab the appropriate bag on my way out the door. This morning I’m going to make the yoga mat tote from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing: Patterns and How-To for 24 Fresh and Easy Projects out of the leftover fabric.

Upcoming is a project that has been living in my heart and needs to be fully realized—I’ll tell you about that tomorrow as I hope you'll help.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Autumn Bliss Week: Sunday

Today concludes Storybook Woods’ Autumn Bliss Week celebration. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed participating. Thank you so much, Clarice!

Love Letters

While attending a women’s retreat many years ago, our last day was used as personal reflection and honoring ourselves. The thought behind this was that we tend to be the end-all and do-all for others but habitually put our own needs and selves last.

Each retreat attendee was supplied a few sheets of stationery, an envelope, and a stamp. Our mandate was to write a love letter to ourselves which was then dropped off at the post office. Here are two old letters I’ve pulled from my files.

You had to begin your letter with “Dear Beloved June” or something equivalent and write positive, glowing compliments about yourself—how perfect you are right this very minute in this very place in time and why. No negativity was allowed.

This was a hard task for us as we each felt self-conscious in this deliberate act of being self-centered.

But this special letter is something each of us needs at times—an act of renewing our spirit. It reminds us to love ourselves, too. If your heart isn’t open to loving yourself, how can you possibly open it to loving others?

These many years later, I still do this. At each autumn equinox, I write and mail a love letter to myself. It’s my special secret and I’m sharing it with you in hope that you will consider performing this affirmative act.

Write and mail a love letter to yourself. You are worth it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Autumn Bliss Week: Saturday

Autumn is a time of change, a time to receive, and a time to let go. The transformation occurs not only outside you in the physical world but within you as well. As such, this season is perfect for introspective writing and a journal is the perfect vehicle for that writing.

Many of you already journal and I applaud you. But maybe you’re someone who believes you’ve nothing to say, don’t know where to begin, or just plain think you can’t write. This just isn’t true.

Journaling is an act of reflection, exploration, and understanding yourself and the world around you. It can take many forms: the written word, sketches, paintings, collages, whatever amuses your muse. And no matter whether you make a small written notation or pen your way through a thousand pages, journaling facilitates a sharper awareness of the changes in and around you.

Naturally I write in my journals. I also draw, paint, paste in bits of leaves or this and that, insert pages torn out of a magazine—the journal itself is merely a container to hold my emotions, thoughts, and the tangibles and intangibles that make up my world.

There are numerous resources about how to keep a journal. I don’t think we necessarily need them but they are helpful for specific journaling purposes. I try to be careful to consider such guides as inspiration but not requirements I must meet. I want to use my own words and thoughts, not someone else’s.

May your autumn journaling give you a better understanding of what brings you bliss!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Blessings Friday

A few blessings I've enjoyed this week:

Sweet Comments from Lovely People

Thank you to everyone who visits. I have been receiving thoughtful and oft-times funny comments and encouraging emails from you—please know that you are special blessings in my life.

Belly Dancing and Other Adventures

I am thankful for the wonderful health programs available where I live. I’m taking classes designed and/or modified by University of Arizona physicians and other experts for people with health challenges. A believer in being proactive in my own treatment plan, I’ve organized it so I’ll have fun, too.

  • Monday: yoga

  • Tuesday: belly dancing (go ahead and laugh; I am, too—but this class is a hoot and I get to wear jingle-jangle scarves!)

  • Thursday: ballet (another chuckle opportunity but at least I don’t have to wear a tutu)

  • Friday: Tai Chi (an all-time favorite activity I’ve been enjoying for years)
The classes are challenging but blessings that I really think will, over time, help my little problems.

To track all this merriment, I printed the free fitness calendar offered at the HP Activity Center. HP also provides a fitness sticker project to go with the calendar.

What are your blessings this week?