Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Otherwise Occupied

I apologize for the lack of blog posts, missing Saturday Sundries posts and Weigh-In Wednesdays posts.

{Luna, our Siberian Husky pup}

I have been otherwise occupied with a festival, vet appointments, doctor appointments, and every day life.

We have gotten two new pups in the last few weeks.

{Luna with Ava, our feisty German Shepherd puppy}

I'm sure things will slow down soon... eventually.

Ava cries to go outside to play with Luna and Buddy. Luna is very patient and lets Ava growl and bite and tug at her ears, then she just holds her down with her paw, lol!

Buddy's still around, but I have no recent pics. He got fixed yesterday and will be a bit under the weather for a few days.

In the meantime, Ava will pose for the camera...

along with her little brother, Thor, who lives with my son and his wife...

{Ava & Thor}


So that's what's going on here. It's just like having little ones around again and I am getting pretty much nothing accomplished.... other than adding more cute puppy photos to my album! ;)


I'll check back in tomorrow for Weigh-In Wednesday.

Take care and God bless,

Monday, June 18, 2012

Remains of the Day

Once again, the festival is over. The weather cooperated with partly sunny and partly overcast skies on and off... just enough to keep things from being too hot. There was a wonderful crowd all day long, lots of business, and I have come home with the remains of the day.

The website program I use is not working and I can't update my www.honeysucklelane.com website so I have listed everything on my Honeysuckle Lane Sale Shop blog.

Come on over and see if there's something you'd like or perhaps something you'd like to purchase for a gift.

Take care and God bless,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another Peek or Two...

The Lavender Festival is this Saturday and I'm getting a bit antsy. I don't have time to make soldered jewelry as I planned, but I will have at least five or six dozen silk ribbon pillows and a few dozen flower pins made from recycled cashmere and lambswool sweaters.

I hope that's enough to make my booth look full. Nothing will be over 8"x10" in size, so if needed, I can fill in with fresh bouquets and antique and vintage props.

I read in the festival vendor information that the rose is the herb of the year, and I ended up making several spider-web roses using vintage seam binding ribbon instead of silk ribbon as seen in the photos above.

It seems I had a lot of narrow ribbon in my stash, so I made several spider mum looking flowers. Thankfully they don't have to be technically correct, just pretty!

I have just a little bit of handwork left to do and then I've got to get busy sewing on the backs and stuffing the pillows.

Before I go, I want to thank all of you for your comments on my last blog post and for your email messages. I've been so busy working on festival stuff and then I had to go to the doctor today and haven't had time to answer everyone individually.... but I will soon. (((HUGS to all of you!)))

Take care and God bless,

Monday, June 11, 2012

"...and what do YOU do?"

Have you ever been asked that question and had no idea how to answer? Although I've been doing the same things for years, I still don't know the answer. I think I've written about it before (here on my blog or maybe it was in a craft group I joined years ago)... something about an identity crisis of sorts. In a way, I didn't want to blog this, but I've thought about it often and decided that maybe by sharing my thoughts and feelings about it, if others felt the same, and read this, they would realize they weren't alone.
So... here you go....

Last year when I went to the doctor (I think it was when 3 out of 4 in the family had the flu), he was asking about the family. He knew us through my husband's work, but we had recently switched to him as a family doctor so he was catching up on everyone. He already knew my husband was a carpenter and I proceeded to tell him our oldest son was a paramedic and our youngest son was in college. My daughter was with me (they took us in at the same time since both of us were sick) and she told him she was a hair stylist.

Then the doctor turned back to me and asked .. "and what do you do?"
When he asked me that question, I didn't know what to say. I thought a minute as I struggled to come up with an answer that sounded important, but I was blank. I think I hum-hawed around and finally stuttered something about staying at home and making dolls, jewelry, doing needlework, and painting. "Oh great," I thought, "that really sounds impressive! He'll be referring me to someone to be treated for multiple personalities!" I think he said something like, "Hmm, that's nice." He certainly didn't seem impressed, or maybe he felt sorry for me when he saw how embarrassed I was.

I could have proudly said I've been a wife and mom for 20 something years, but I felt guilty about being just a wife and mom. In this day and age, lots of wives and moms work outside the home... why didn't I? I did work as a CNA and a PTA (over 20 years ago), after that I subbed part-time at an elementary school while my kids were there, and later (and to the present) I worked from home... as an artist / crafter / designer, etc.

When I faced that question, I felt that I was completely inadequate, totally useless, and a failure.
I know I am not those things.
I know that.

"...for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." (Psalm 139:14)

But I have to keep telling myself that...
because there are times when that question,
"...and what do YOU do?",
pops back in my head and I have to wrestle with it.
And it hurts every. single. time.

I went home and cried, and cried, and cried some more. I didn't tell my husband what had happened at first, but that evening I just asked him, "What do you tell your friends and the people you work for what it is that I do?" His answer (obviously without thinking), "Well, nobody ever asks."
Silence, I didn't know what to say, but I thought.... "so now I'm an invisible nobody, not even a wife and mom!"...and then I went in the bathroom and cried again. I think I cried again the next day, too. Big-time pity party!

Why do some stay at home parents or work at home artists have such a hard time saying what they are or what they do?
Why do most people think you don't really work or have a job if you stay at home?
Why does this bother me so much?
I don't have the answers.

I'm sure this will be out of my system for a while... but then it will creep back in and I'll re-hash it all over again. Maybe I can come back to this post and read what I've written and what you have written, and something will  finally click and I can better understand what's going on.

I do know that God blessed me with a wonderful husband that wanted me to stay home with our children, as I wanted to do, and later when the kids were older, he was fine with me staying home to follow my dreams of being a creative soul. He even helped me (or I helped him since he did most of the work) transform our garage into a huge workroom for me to follow my dreams. I think I am doing what I'm meant to do at this point in my life... or at least I'm on my way to doing it. I just need to believe in that and move forward.
I'd like to be like the wife in Proverbs:

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
(Proverbs 31:10-31)

But if I fail at some or even all of these, perhaps God will still see fit to bless and "establish the work of my hands" in some small way...

"And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it." Psalm 90:17

Please share any thoughts in the comments section or feel free to email me if you prefer. Not that I want you to feel as insecure as I do at times, but I would like to know there are others out there that feel the same.

Take care and God bless,

Friday, June 8, 2012

My Pretend Flower Garden

I guess since I haven't spent much time in the flower beds this spring, I can pretend that these are my flowers...

pretty little cone flowers...

...and meandering vines and zig-zagging dragonflies...

I've been working on silk ribbon embroidered pillows for the Lavender Festival. I have a pretty good stack of embroidered tops; I just need to make sure I leave enough time to sew and stuff them before the 16th.

I have been known to stuff just one or two more and sew them up while waiting for the festival to begin...

...but that was the first couple of years that I did the show and I didn't quite have the hang of being completely prepared a few days before-hand.

I've been doing this particular festival for at least 9 years... I think maybe a little longer...

...and it's much less stressful since Jess and I take our tables and props the evening before the festival and pack the car with inventory when we get back home that night.

Then early Saturday morning at about 4:30am we leave for Oak Ridge and arrive with plenty of time to unpack the car, then one of us parks it a few blocks away to leave room for customer parking, while the other one stays at the booth to get started with the displays.

You can still see some of the marker on them, but it will disappear in just another day or so. I don't use patterns --- I just draw a design on the fabric and then get busy embroidering. I love air-soluble markers... I can change my mind half-way through the project and just re-draw the new design and know that it will disappear later. The water soluble markers are great, too, but not when you are using silk ribbon. I like to keep my stitches loose and more 3-D like so I don't want to take a chance on ruining the design and flattening the ribbon.

Since I'm on a slim budget this time, I'm trying to use everything I already had on hand, other than having to purchase some silk ribbon and stuffing.

I have tote boxes full of fabrics, but prefer to use silk, linen, osnaburg, and vintage damask. Thankfully I had enough of those kinds hoarded stored away. I laundered them to soften the fabric a bit, especially the linen, and then I stained the damask with coffee and tea.

I made a list of how many pillows of each size I plan to have in my booth, and then cut all the fabric. Now all I had to was get started embroidering!

Sometimes it's hard to get started, but once I start looking at the colors, pulling out ribbons and flosses and trims... things start to fall in place and I finally get "in the zone".

I mostly use narrow piping on the little pillows, and fringe and gimp trim on the larger sizes. I didn't think I'd have enough to trim out all the pillows, so I decided to tear muslin and quilters cotton into strips and make ruffled embellishments for many of the pillows. I can also use the shorter scraps of gimp on the ruffles.

Ok.... that's enough chit-chat. I have more embroidering to do and I'll be back next week to share some photos of how I plan my set up ahead of time so I know it will work at the show.

Have a lovely, blessed weekend!