Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thoughts on Beauty

This morning was one of those unusual clear, bright winter mornings.  I wasn't in a hurry to do anything and I settled down into one of the wicker chairs in our art room next to a big picture window.  Every branch of every tree sparked white with a fresh coat of ice from a late evening rain yesterday.  It was all so lovely, so I slid open the lace curtains to better see the bird feeder just outside the window.  My reward was a beautiful female cardinal.

Now I don't know exactly where cardinals live and don't live, so I have to assume that some of you may not have cardinals in your next of the woods.  Here in the northeast, the male cardinals are the stars.  Paintings of their bright red plumage decorate so many Christmas cards, boxes, and other home decorations.  They certainly stand out in our snowy winters.  However, the female cardinal gets jostled completely out of the picture to the point that many people may not know her if they saw her.  (Female cardinal photos by Bob Mullen.)
Well, our little girl kept coming back to the feeder over and over, each time alternating with her flashy mate.  She was so stunningly and quietly beautiful.  I was simply in awe over all of the colors in her feathers.  Golden creams, rich browns, light cocoa, pale peaches.  All of these beautiful colors melting seamlessly into the others.  Absolutely splendid. 
And underneath all of these gorgeous colors hid a surprise.  Her bottom tail and wing feathers, normally hidden beneath her muted earth colors, are bright orange-red.  I was totally mesmerized!  I watched her come back again and again until she had had her fill and I sat there absolutely still and facinated. 

Like so many female birds, she is considered more bland than her male partner.  She is overlooked and often forgotten.  But, oh my, talk about breathtaking.  She's elegant, graceful, and beautifully attired.  Instead of flash, bling, killer high heels, and a "look-at-me" dress, she's wearing pearls, pumps, and the ever-classic shift.  But don't be too hasty in judging her, because under that subdued elegance is a secret.  She's quick, bright, and listens to her inner call.
I wonder how often the same may be said for some of us.  Many in the world may not immediately notice us, but the reward is great for those who do take the time to stop, notice, and learn about us.

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wheeeee! It's a Snow Day!

Yippee Skippy!  Look at all this SNOW!  I feel like a little kid on a snow day.  It looks SO pretty outside--I do so love a new snow especially when it sticks to everything.  Everything is all fairyland-like and glowing.  I'm sorry for complaining these past two posts, but it does get tiring when the snow is old and drab.  And I really LOVE the summers here.  They are so mild and lovely.
Look at our patio this morning!
Here's the view from our other set of French doors that lead out onto our patio.  Matt had to shovel a path so that Bingley could get outside.
Now Bingley can go out! 

Notice the piles are well over halfway as tall as our garage.  I thought of taking pictures of our yard, but it's just all white--it's hard to tell how much snow there is out there.  And guess what?!  People just 10 miles north of us get TONS more snow than we do!

Enjoy your day!  I know I will.  I will be enjoying the sparkly new snow from our warm and cozy home while I drink hot cocoa and work on bears.  What could be better than that?!

Warmly,
Cheryl

P.S.  I should have some new photos of critters this weekend.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow and More Snow

Yes, we have snow and more snow and are going to get even more snow.  So many things have been cancelled--the schools are closed and even the libraries have closed early today.  I really am looking forward to spring, but I can't remember a time when spring has sprung earlier than May.  It seems like we always get snow in April and the occasional snow in May is unusual, but not unheard of.  I remember many years ago, we had 5 feet of snow fall within 24 hours in the middle of April.

So, to keep us in a snowy mood, I think a snowy song is in order.  And Winnie-the-Pooh (A.A. Milne) has the best one.

The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
On snowing.

And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
Are growing.

Thinking warm thoughts,
Cheryl

Friday, February 19, 2010

Snow Drops on Spruces

Okay, desperate times call for desperate measures.  It's one of those gray winter days, so before I get stir crazy, it's time to remind myself what is lovely about snow because even though we're in the second half of February, it isn't going to go away ANY time soon for us. 

So, first, let's clear those humming voices.  Okay, next start hearing Julie Andrews singing "My Favorite Things" in the "Sound of Music."  hummm.  hummmmm.  hummm.  Do you hear it?  Okay then, here we go...

Nuthatches, cardinals, and chickadees feeding.

Icicles dripping from quiet wood streams.

Snow sticking to the trees and everything.

These are a few of my favorite things...
When the snow flies,
when the clouds gray,
when I'm tired of snow,
I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't craaaaave for spring.


Ahhh.  I feel better now, don't you?
Warmly (in this chilly weather),
Cheryl

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Silly Question

Okay, my mind is a little bit mushy, but I've noticed something.  Okay, my mind is always a little mushy, so I guess that's no excuse.  And, besides, my husband, who does not have a mushy mind, noticed the same thing.  We, like so many around the world, are enjoying watching the Olympics.  Yesterday we watched in amazement as all of these women tore down a mountain on their skis and as all of these men did tricks on their snowboards.  So here's the question.  Why do the commentators (both male and female) call a 29-year-old female a "girl," a 25-year-old female a "youngster," and a 19-year-old male a "man?"  Hmmmmm.

Still wondering,
Cheryl

2-19-10 Update:  Yippee skippy!  We watched again last night and everyone was a "man" or a "woman."  I'm glad that the other night might just have been a fluke.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cobwebs and Clothing

Life is returning somewhat to normal after being turned a bit upside-down with trying to finish my "elephump" pattern.  I'm SO thankful for the tremendous response and support I've received.  Thank you all!  I feel very blessed.

Yesterday felt like such an indulgent day.  All four of us stayed home the whole day--we puttered and just enjoyed our time.  The girls made a delightful orange cake with orange frosting for Valentine's Day that we savored over tea and our shared Valentine's cards.  And we also had fun popping in to see what was happening during the Olympics. 

It was such a lovely quiet day to enjoy our time alone and our time together.  During my snatches of alone time, I even sewed up a 16-inch bear that had been waiting so patiently for me to get to (I'll tell you more about him at a later date).  It was so refreshing to be able to create something again and to sew with Annie-Mae.  I find the soft clickety-clack of my old Featherweight so soothing.  It's almost as if I'm connected to so many women of the past and feeling their hopes and dreams for their lives.  As I sewed, I felt like the cobwebs in my brain were being dusted off. 

As many of you may remember, I'm really not one for sewing anything except bears.  But new thoughts that were just misty images before, started twirling around and around in my head as I sewed yesterday.  In fact, I'm actually thinking that I might venture to make some bear clothing.  A week ago I bought a book on using the old attachments for Annie-Mae and surprised myself with how excited I got looking through the pages and imaging garments I could make.  New and very unexpected ideas are slowly churning and taking shape in my mind.  I'm even looking forward to creating a bear pattern to follow in the footsteps of Toffee's pattern.  As of yet though, like many of my thoughts, he's still a vague, ghost-like image flitting through my head.  I guess we will all have to wait to see what happens.

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Toffee's Pattern is Finished!

WoooooHooooo!  Toffee's pattern in finished and now available HERE on Etsy.  The Etsy button in the sidebar will also take you there.  I think I'm going to go rest now.

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Elephump" News

Yes, I am coming up for air and finally posting after more than a week---eeeek!  But I do have some GOOD news.  I finished putting the final touches on Sugar Plum the "elephump" this evening AND I also finished up all of the writing for the "elephump" pattern.  WoooooHooooo!

I was hoping to get a photo of Sugar Plum to show you this evening, but I'm too tired to do it and I just sent my photographer off for a much needed break to hang out with his photo buddies.  I'll try to get a photo of her tomorrow.  Now that the cute, little, pale purple "elephump" is complete, I guess it's time for me to start thinking seriously about how I'm going to run my giveaway for my mailing list subscribers.

And as for the pattern...YEOOW!  I never anticipated it taking that long to write out a pattern.  As I made Sugar Plum, I wrote notes.  I must have written and written and written, because my first typed draft based on my notes was over 11 pages of text.  It was fun, warm, a bit chatty, descriptive, but LONG.  I had included a lot of tips that I've found helpful.  But it was LONG.  I just couldn't see people wanting to dig through all of that information to find the kernels of information they needed to make their "elephump."  So I cut and chopped and rewrote and revised until it finally wrapped up today at 7 pages of text.  It still may be longer than most patterns, but it was what I felt comfortable with.

Unfortunately, I'm STILL not done with the pattern.  I'm trying to get all of the pattern pieces to fit on 2 pages.  Everytime I arranged and rearranged all of these funny looking pattern pieces, I would be able to get all of the pieces on two pages..except for one.  One time it was the ear, another time it was the body, then it was the foot pad....well, you get the idea.  Yesterday, I felt like a magician because I was finally able to get every single piece to fit my self-imposed 2 page limit.  And then I scanned it....uuuggghhh!  Corners and edges were cut off of some of the pattern pieces because they were apparently too close to some invisible edge.

So, tomorrow I will be back to the drawing board and hopefully come up with some solution.  I suppose the worst case scenario is that they will just have to fit on 3 pages.

Heaps of Hugs,
Cheryl