Saturday, May 23, 2015

May Book of the Month: Blessed by Less by Susan V. Vogt

One of my resolutions this year was to read at least one good book each month and blog about it.
This month I chose a thin one on the topic of simplifying one's life!

The book is Blessed by Less by Susan V. Vogt, published by Loyola Press in 2013.

It's a tiny tome that recounts the author's attempts to de-clutter her life by giving up physical and emotional "things" that were weighing her down spiritually. 
It began one Lent.  She decided to give away one item for each of the 40 days of Lent.  As she cleaned out closets, found long-forgotten stuff under beds, and made some difficult choices about what to keep and what to toss, she found that she was inspired to continue the discipline beyond Lent.  So for an entire year, she gave away something each day.  The exercise was sometimes difficult, but overall, it freed up time, space and energy -- and she especially enjoyed the occasions when she knew her items went to a "good home" -- to someone who truly appreciated something she no longer needed.
The book was inspiring. 
As some of you know, I hope someday to retire to a tiny house by a babbling brook. 
My Pinterest  Tiny Houses page keeps growing!  But in order to make that move from a split-foyer full of 60+ years of accumulated "stuff,"  I'll need to do some serious simplifying!
The book offers practical advice, with separate end-of-chapter suggestions for those in the first half of life and those in the last half of life.  I clearly fall into the second category, and the old phrase, "You can't take it with you!" certainly rings true.  We're attending yet another funeral today -- one of Jerry's coffee buddies from church.
Although I thought the "emotional baggage" sections were a little fuzzy, this little book was a treasure trove  -- common sense advice and a plan of action!  It's an easy read, written in a conversational style.  I would highly recommend it to any Baby Boomer.  But younger readers who seek to SIMPLIFY may also find it helpful.
Wishing you all a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.  Please take a moment to pause and remember the reason for the holiday. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Shamelessly Exhausted

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and I should be promoting, promoting, promoting --- but I don't have any new listings -- just lists of ideas for new listings and lots of fabric and scraps.

The road to Etsy oblivion is paved with good intentions.

I could give you a behind-the-scenes look at 4 works-in-progress (oven mitts heading to London and three patriotic buntings staying here in the USA). I'm grateful for those sales, but they are still in the cutting stage.

SO here's the honest truth ---


I mean REALLY tired. 

As in -- I haven't been this tired since I was last pregnant and anemic ... 27 years ago.
As in -- teetering on the brink of EXHAUSTION tired. 

I'm too tired to promote anything right now.
I'm too tired to make anything more tonight / this morning.

Overtime Image by Panda Clipart - 2014

I've gone from the holiday rush to a crazy stressful tax season + a full-time job + Etsy + free-lance legal research. Yup -- you counted right -- FOUR jobs during tax season, but only THREE now.
Some days I feel like a chubby old gray gerbil running on a wheel that just keeps spinning faster and faster.

Even though tax season is over for this year, I'm still feeling TAXED on an emotional and physical level.

I'm tired physically because I'm sleep-deprived and don't get enough exercise--and I work all day in a chilly, windowless basement. 

I'm tired emotionally because all work and no play take a toll.  (And, I'm sad to say, even sewing -- once my creative escape -- has become work.)

End of whine.

This grumpy old lady is signing off and heading to bed. 
But the alarm is set for 4:30 am so I can sew for 2.5 hours before heading off to my day job.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Treasury Thanks: The Mike Kraus Art Gallery Edition

Good Sunday morning!  Each week Sunday  I devote my Sunday blog post to extending a huge THANK YOU to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, over the past week.   This week, special thanks goes to Mike Kraus of Mike Kraus Art.  You'll find Mike's wonderful artwork throughout the post.

Marion S of couva12 featured a vintage lace doily from Aunt Pheba's Vintage in her treasury, TEMPT Team Whites .  I love this handmade crochet baby blanket and matching hat -- a little white delight, and a perfect baby shower gift!

Father's Day is coming!  And Susan from SToNZ created an awesome treasury, Rad Like My Dad , which included my BBQ oven mitt.  These spoken for rings from Susan's shop could be the modern version of  a trend from "back in the day."  A guy's high school class ring would be wrapped with tape or yarn to fit his girlfriend's finger, or worn on a chain around said girlfriend's neck, to tell the world they were "going steady."  These rings could also be a nontraditional engagement ring option -- or a sign of a committed relationship. 

Susan McAnany of McAnany featured my yellow linen bow clutch in her sunny yellow-themed treasury, Mellow Yellow .  This Quietly Setting art photo from Susan's shop is one of dozens of amazing art photos you will find at McAnany.  Mellow yellow.  Sweet tranquility.

Nole of LoopyChicCrochet featured my aqua and brown oven mitts in her treasury, Motivation TEMPTation 5-11 to 5-17 .  Love this handmade stadium blanket from Nole's shop!


Mike Kraus of MikeKrausArt featured my studs and chains key fob in one of MANY treasuries he curated last week, Terrific Tuesday.  As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Mike's Twilight Woods series, and here is stunning acrylic painting from that series,  Twilight Woods in purple and yellow.

My Blogging Business Artisans teammate, Duni, of PeriDotbyDuni, featured my pastel pink oven mitt in her oh so pretty treasury, May Flowers .  Duni's beautiful fabrics and superb craftsmanship have turned this functional laundry bag into a thing of beauty.  This would be a great graduation gift for a grad heading off to college.

Leanna Hawkins of TheGoldDaisy featured my BBQ oven mitt in her treasury, Happy Father's Day! 100 Likes Team Blitz .  This vintage black silk tie would be a unique Father's Day gift. 

Linda Pruitt of PruittSupply featured my lavender floral oven mitt in her treasury, Lavender Summer .  These beautiful seed beads would be embellishments -- or a pretty craft room decoration.
(They are like some of my fabric stash -- almost too pretty to use!)

Kelsey Wylie of WylieAtHeart featured my red linen bow clutch in her date night-themed treasury, Dinner and a Movie .  I just love these deep purple fire agate dangle earrings from WylieAtHeart.

MADellingerCarving featured my colorful abstract pillow cover in his treasury, Motivation Cassie Style .  As a Baby Boomer, I couldn't help but chuckle at this old hippie hand carving.  It reminds me of my old college debate partner, a Viet Nam vet who referred to himself (at that time) as Fat Mike the Hell's Angel.  He outgrew that phase and went on to have a distinguished career as a college professor. 


Mike Kraus of MikeKrausArt featured my orange and white bunting (nice for graduation parties if those happen to be your school colors) in his treasury, Wonderful Wednesday .  Here's another wonderful sample from the Twilight Woods series -- this one is a small artist's trading card.

Susan McAnany of McAnany featured my red folk art key fob in her red-themed treasury, Accessorize Your Life .  Next weekend is Memorial Day in the USA, and this folded flag photo is a lovely tribute. 

Linda B of lindab142 featured my yellow linen bow clutch in her bright and cheery yellow and gold treasury, Graduation Gifts .  Linda handcrafts beautiful jewelry items.  Her specialty is judaica jewelry.  She is proud of her Jewish heritage.  This beautiful kippah in gold and white is one of her lovely creations.

Mike Kraus is back!  He featured my orange and gray floral baby bib in his treasury, Terrific Thursday .  This blue and green birch forest digital download (an affordable fine art option) is another of my many favorites in Mike's art gallery. 

Mike also featured my pink and red hearts baby bib in a treasury, Add Some Color to Your Life .  One pink and red feature deserves another -- so here is another wonderful acrylic painting from the Twilight Woods series -- this one in pink and red

Kim Cole of BeachDaisyJewelry featured my orange and white bunting in her cute treasury, You've Gotta Be Kitten Me!  This crochet beaded bracelet is one of the many beach-friendly casual jewelry items you will find in Kim's shop. 

Kathy and Wayne of Rocks2Gems2Wire featured my red folk art key fob in their wonderful celebration of the color red, Where Are My Ruby Slippers?  This Jasper heart bracelet is one of the beautifully crafted jewelry pieces you will find in their shop.

Sharmila of KraftynKatchy featured my pink roses oven mitt in her treasury, Assorted Beautiful Flowers .  This butterfly yellow ombre mobile could bring a little sunshine to a cloudy day. 

Valerie of Nandy's Nook featured my green and white bunting in her treasury, Green Summer Trends .  Valerie makes wonderful coffee mug cozies, and other crocheted goodies. 

Julia of Draiguna featured my pink roses oven mitt in her treasury, Rest and Relaxation .  This small crochet drawstring pouch would be perfect for a relaxing day at the beach.

Mike Kraus is back again!!  He included my colorful birds oven mitt in his treasury, Superb Saturday .  Mike's artistic talents extend beyond his Nature-inspired landscapes in vivid colors. Here is a sample of his portrait work, a piece entitled, I Can Stand a Little Rain

Marcia of ImagineThatBaby featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, A Few of My Favorite Things .  This basketweave rainbow baby blanket looks so soft and pretty! 

Nancy of SugarFunOrnaments featured my spit happens bib in her treasury, Sea Green with TEMPT Team .  Nancy crafts exquisite edible ornaments -- like this amazing wedding bird ornament. 

Jessica and Bryan King of FeathandKee featured my red accent pillow in their treasury, Motivating Reds.  This Rainy Day change jar is one of the colorful handcrafted items you will find at FeathandKee.  We saved for a rainy day, but got hit with a monsoon. 

Mike Kraus is back again!  This time, he's curated a treasure trove of gift ideas for a special someone in his treasury, #ILoveYou .  So I've chosen to feature one of my first loves from Mike's shop -- white birch forest


Hope you have a great week!



Monday, May 11, 2015

Belated Treasury Thanks

Each week I devote my Sunday blog post to say THANK YOU to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, over the past week.  This week, however, I'm a few hours late -- it's now Monday CDT. 

My hubby and I traveled to his childhood home in Ottertail County (northwest Minnesota) to attend the memorial service for his dear sweet Aunt Helen.  It was a beautiful service, and it was great to see his siblings and cousins. 

But the travel was a ... challenge.  When we left Lincoln, NE on Friday morning, several streets, on ramps, and roads were flooded.  Thankfully, we were high and dry on High Street.  It tested our navigation skills to find a waterless route.  The return trip home on Sunday was also a dicey drive.  I drove through torrential rains, high winds, hail, and areas within tornado warnings from Wahpeton, ND to Vermillion, SD!  There were many white knuckle miles, and times when we had to pull off the road because it was absolutely impossible to see beyond the hood of the car.  The windshield wipers on our used rental car got quite a workout!  SO--we were even later getting home than expected.  We did arrive safely, although several people were injured in tornadoes that touched down within a few miles of us, and my heart aches for them and for those who lost homes, schools, or churches in the storms as well.

I'm still a little "addled" from the experience, so if I missed someone this week, I apologize.

First up, Francie of Insideredo featured my crocus oven mitt in her treasury, Joy of Spring.  This clematis photo art print depicts one of the joys of Spring.  Francie also has a terrific selection of men's vintage accessories.

Antiquity Travelers featured my blue floral key fob in her tranquil treasury, The Quiet of Summer. 
These beautiful Amazonite earrings would add a lovely touch of understated elegance to a summery outfit. 

WylieAtHeart featured my zig zag key fob in aqua in the treasury, Shades of Aqua .
This aqua dyed fire agate bracelet would feel right at home in this treasury!

And I did an "Oops!"  I promised Dust Devil Treasures I'd feature this beautiful  banded agate statement necklace.  But it's too pretty not to feature, right?

Vicki Abrew of BunniesMadeofBread featured my crocus oven mitt in her treasury, Tempt Team Motivation Temptation - Eye Candy.  This rose floral crown caught my fancy.  I remember when my daughter was young --she loved the floral crowns at the Renaissance Festival.

Francie of Insideredo featured my folk art baby bib in her treasury, Turn Around and You're a Young Girl Going ...  I love that song, but it usually makes me cry.  My little girl grew up so fast.  This women's vintage boho belt is something that might please a young girl -- or an older girl who is still young at heart.

Susan McAnany of McAnany featured my patriotic baby bib in her treasury, Little Ones.  I love this seaside abstract photography from Susan's shop.

Tish Keating of Dust Witch Creations featured my hearts and pink gingham baby bib in her treasury, Baby Shower Gifts .  This rainy day tic tac toe game might be a fun present for baby's older sibling(s).   Tish has handcrafted wooden games, puzzles, boxes, and more in her shop. 

Vickie Wade of VickieWadeFineArt featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in a truly BEAUTIFUL treasury, Blue Tease .  This Twilight Walk art print reminds me of my two youngest kids, Jeff and Allison, when they were little. 

Liubov Stoliar of zmeyssHandMade featured my gray chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Perfect Gray.  Gray is my favorite neutral, and it was showcased beautifully in this treasury.  I love these hand painted 3D butterflies from Liubov's shop.

Liz of TheLittleEmptyNest featured my spit happens baby bib in her treasury, Citrus, with lovely lemony yellows and luscious lime greens.  This miniature yellow dollhouse quilt is one of several 1/12 scale doll quilts you can find in Liz's shop. 

Valerie of NandysNook featured my prairie pioneer sunbonnet in peach in her treasury, Peach Tones of TEMPT Team.  This crochet mason jar koozie is one of those pretty peachy tones.

Stephanie Watson of ARTEQUALSJOY featured my houndstooth eyeglasses case in her treasury, Summer Trends - A Unique Collection from the TEMPT Team .  This floral inspiration watercolor is one of my favorite handpainted items from Stephanie's shop. 

At the memorial service we attended this weekend in MN, each of the family members was given a gladiola bulb to plant in memory of Aunt Helen.  The color will be a mystery.

Nancy C. Eckert of mysticneedle featured my aqua key fob in her treasury, Ocean Dreams .  This beautiful lace shawl would be a pretty cover up on the beach -- or anywhere! 

Kathy and Wayne of Rocks2Gems2Wire featured my barbecue oven mitt in their red hot treasury, Temptations on a Hot Summer Night .  This red beaded shell necklace is one of many beautifully-crafted, unique jewelry pieces you'll find at Rocks2Gems2Wire.

Randy and Lynn of Neutral Nellies featured my colorful abstract pillow cover and my colorful birds oven mitt in their treasury, Colorful TEMPT Team .  One double feature deserves another, so here are two fun items from Neutral Nellies.  These vintage children's playing cards brought back childhood memories.  

And I love antique quilts, so this unfinished baby quilt top caught my eye!

Cassie of CassieVision featured my pink and black argyle key fob in her treasury, Babe Cave . This hot pink and black woven bracelet would feel right at home in that babe cave.

Kathy and Wayne of Rocks2Gems2Wire featured my tangerine roses oven mitts in their treasury, Tempting Flower Bouquet .  These cute pink flower earrings would be fun to sport on May Day.

And there you have it!  Another wonderful week of treasuries.  Thanks again to the curators who included items from my shops!