I have been praying a lot about what to do with the next season in my life.  My youngest is preparing to fly the coop and I don’t think long term traveling with Curtiss is for me.  So, what to do?  I want to be productive yet I also want to be creative.  I could stay at home and putz around our house as there isn’t a shortage of putzing projects to do to keep me busy, but I want to have a greater impact in the world than in just my home and family.  Don’t get me wrong there is great value and honor in a woman making and keeping a home.  I just have always wanted more.

I have had this dream of having a little shop.  Over the years the concept of what the business would be has changed but still to be a little shop owner has always been appealing to me.  I know that some people, my husband included, think that owning a shop ties you down too much.  Tied down?  For me it would be liberating!  To be able to meet all sorts of people, to talk and talk and talk!  To hawk my wares to those who need, want or appreciate them. To spend time in the midst of community.  That isn’t being tied down to me at all.

Sure there is a lot of hard work involved.  But this farmgirl has worked hard and don’t even get me started on the hard work it takes to raise a family!  I have never shied away from hard work, well, maybe as a teen if you ask my mom, but then again, by today’s standards, I worked pretty hard as a teen. Still, when it is something you love it isn’t work at all, at least for me.  Waking up early to trudge through the snow to milk my goats seemed ludicrous to my husband, but to put on my farm coat and farm boots with their earthy, musky smell, over my nice warm jammies, to feel the brisk morning air on my cheek and then to lay that cheek upon the side of a warm breathing creation of God, oh, that is peace.   To just take in the beauty of the rhythmic sound of the milk hitting the side of the stainless steel pan, to see the steam rise from it and ohhhh the smells of my milking room, that isn’t work, that is a slice of heaven to me.

I guess I kind of got lost there for a moment, especially since my farm days are gone.  But now, I have another passion.  The passion of creating one of a kind garments, using modern, fast equipment that make the actual construction so much easier. I love the feel of the fabric, the sight of the colors and patterns, the sound of the machine and scissors as they cut something old into something new.  The feel of a needle pulling thread.  I makes my heart sing!  I know there are others who love it too.  I desire to share my love and my talent with others. I want to teach, to sell supplies, to sell my creations, to inspire and be inspired.  My vision isn’t limited to simply retail business.  I want to share the Joy I have in the Lord with people coming along for other purposes, to be a listening ear, strong arms that aren’t afraid to hug and to speak hope into the lives of those who may despair.  I want to be a little shop owner and missionary all in one.

Dreaming is nice but you might be asking, why do I think God might be talking to me?  Well, a new dear friend emailed me today and out of the blue, at the end of talking about a completely unrelated subject, she suggested that since I love to sew that I could start a business making one of a kind things to sell the people of Coeur d’ Alene!   She had no idea that I have been re-praying about this for about a month or so.  I say re-praying because this isn’t the first time I had been praying for my little shop.  But then, the answer was a clear “no” or maybe it was just a “wait”.   She also didn’t know that at one time, I did have a business.  All that was lacking then was my little store front.

So, not one to think of things as coincidental, I am asking.  Are you talking to me God?  Is this another little nudge in that direction? Could the answer be this time, Yes?

I can wait until I know for sure, but my heart is happy in the potential of a dream come true.

a

My friend Sue, over at Sew Many Things to Say is giving away a nice bunch of goodies for her 100th post and birthday. Here is the link to her blog which is also worth following.   http://www.sewmanythingstosay.blogspot.com/ She is not only a talented sewist but an amazing mom.  Be sure to thank her, she is a really nice gal!
Thanks Sue!

I am in the process of making a new jean challenge project but have run into a time crunch.  Hopefully I will be posting two this week.  Thanks for those who asked.

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to write this post but I have been a bit busy.  Here is the reason why.  Meet the Miracle Maltese!  MommaMabel

Olie

These precious pups came into our lives on April 16th and we have been busy and so blessed ever since.  They are very special because they came to us via the Northcentral Maltese Rescue.  This organization does amazing things to help rescue Maltese all over the United States.  Our little bunch came from California.  They were living in a home with 30 other dogs and two women.  These women are horders and their collecting habits included dogs.  They were in pretty rough shape when they were rescued but thanks to many hardworking and generous people by the time they came to live with us, they were doing much better.  All three were groomed by a sweet lady who actually hand picked the fleas off of them because momma was still nursing the sweet babies.  Next, another wonderful woman took them into her home and made sure that momma gained some weight, that the puppies got a good start on eating on their own and that they began to learn to use a pee pad.  After that, our amazing new friends,Trudy and Tom, who feel more like family, drove all the way from Washington to California and back to bring them to our home.  Once they arrived, they were taken to our vet, Dr Tester and he gave them a good check up, updated everyone on their shots and then momma was spayed, had 17 teeth removed and the few she had left cleaned.  Dr. Tester said that they would all feel much better now in a few days and they should be as good as new.

Boy was he right, just look at them now:

These pups are a riot and have brought more joy into our home than I can even say.

Momma-the ultimate lap dog

Momma is the sweetest thing you will ever meet.  While the puppies are bundles of energy, Momma has a sweetness to her that causes everyone who meets her to fall madly in love.  There is just something so special about her that defies description.  She is content to snuggle on a quilt while I am busy around the house or snuggle in my lap when I am resting.  But don’t let her snuggly behavior fool you, she has lots and lots of play in her.  Another unusual thing about Momma is that she actually talks.  It kind of sounds a bit like a growl and at first I was concerned that she was a bit aggressive but we quickly came to realize she was just talking to us.  She doesn’t have a lot to say, but it is really cute when she does.

As wonderful as these Malts are they are not ours to keep.  No, we are their foster family.  Some of my friends have asked how we can even think of letting them go, but I know that while we will be sad on the day that any of them leave, the more I can love and let go, the more we can help to rescue.  There is such a need for foster families out there.  So, we will love, train and care for these miracles until they can be placed with their forever family.

If you think that you just might be that perfect match for any of them, or could open your home to be a foster family, please contact the Northcentral Maltese Rescue by clicking on this link.

Here’s the second project from my jean challenge.  I made this teddy for my mother-in-law for her birthday.  It is made from an old western shirt that has lots of sentimental value to her and a pair of her lightweight denim pants.  She was thrilled with her present and remembered giving me the shirt a long time ago.

I used a commercial pattern to make this bear.  It was fairly easy to make and I am thinking of a way to make recycled stuffing for future projects like this.    I have plans to make several more since it was an easy, fun project and makes a great gift.  These would be really cute with lace collars, or other fun embellishments.

I have been collecting and collecting thrifted clothing for over a year now.  The amount of clothing that has come through my hands in this one year alone could fill a Wal-mart!  I cannot believe that one little, obscure, thrift store receives the volume of clothing, much of it of name brand, top quality, that it does.  Who buys and tosses all these clothes? It really is a testament to our throw away society.  I guess people feel better about their gluttony because they donate their cast offs to a worthy cause but geez it is pretty ridiculous.  But that is another post and I don’t want to get started on that rant!  No, I am just going to consider how blessed I am.  Yes, what blesses me is that this generous thrift store gives to me what doesn’t sell or is in sad repair and I get an endless supply of free fun.

One reason I started all this is because my life had changed directions and sewing was something that helped fill the void.  Not one to ever do anything half way, I began to teach classes after having to teach myself for lack of a mentor.  That led to trying my hand at alterations, custom sewing and trying to have a little business.  Again, my life changed and I was no longer able to have a business and my budget for sewing was drastically cut.  I was on what I called a fabric diet.  I could not afford to purchase fabric but I was really passionate about sewing.  I joined a group called free cycle and asked for unwanted clothing or fabric.  That is when a dear gal at the thrift store contacted me about picking up their extras.  From then on, it has been a crazy but very rewarding experience.  About once a month, I fill my husband’s mega cab truck inside and out and then the adventure begins.

So what does one woman do with a mountain of clothing? Well, I start by sorting it.  My method of sorting is as follows.

Wear as is – are clothes that are in good repair, in style and in my family’s size.  These we launder and start wearing right away.

Alter/Embellish – are clothes that have potential to be wearable art or clothing for embellishing.  These will be for personal wear and hopefully for sale in the near future.  I have found a real passion and creative outlet in altering clothing into something entirely different than originally designed or simply adding trims, or an artistic technique to enhance the original design.

Give Away- are clothes that are in good repair and can be used by different charities in our area.  They are stunned when we roll up for sure! The majority of the clothing are sorted into this category.

Raw Material are clothes that are of unique fiber content, inspiring prints or patterns or with can’t pass on notions.  I tend to be a bit greedy and lots of clothes fall into this category, but my family is threatening to call the hording police if I don’t pass on way more than I keep, so I have become more realistic than when I first started this journey.  This process does allow me to have fabrics that I would otherwise not be able to afford or even find.

Trash are clothes that are too torn, stained or missing closures that make them unwearable.  These come in large black bags and the thrift store doesn’t do anything other than give them to me.  I look for potential, for raw materials but most of the time, I shred them and fill used pillowcases and donate these to our local humane society.  We also use some of the fabric to make dog chew toys or blankets. Some of it also goes to another organization that disposes of them in a way that keeps them out of the landfill, which is a huge concern of mine.

Once the sorting is finished, I begin the process of distributing the give away clothes.  This makes my family very happy because it causes their level of concern over the hording to diminish rapidly.  Next, I begin the process of removing notions, trims etc from the raw material clothes. I have to say that I get a kind of real enjoyment just looking at and handling the clothes, sorting the buttons, trims etc.  I dream of how I might use them and I have come to accept that if I don’t use a 10th of the things I collect, I can die happily having just touched and dreamt.  I am getting very organized in my studio as I have discovered I have an obsession to categorize and put things in little zip top bags or containers. Recently and have teased my kids that once I pass, they will not have any trouble having one of the largest, most organized crafter’s garage sale ever.   Once the extras have been removed, unsuable parts removed and shedded for bedding if possible, the remaining fabric is sorted into bins in my storage room.  I sort by fiber content for the most part, but sometimes, I sort according to project type.

So that is the process I have been using recently with each load that I have been given.  I still have some fine tuning since I was not as well organized when I first started this endeavor and I have some items that have not gone through the whole dismantling process.   Once I am finished with this organizing, I am planning on photographing the clothes that are potential garments/accessories.  I would love to have before and after photos of all my projects.  I have a closet where these will be stored until I have time to work with them.

Soon, the real fun will begin. Not that I haven’t done a few projects along the way, but I am very excited about being able to approach this with a lot more focus and originality. I am looking forward to learning new techniques, honing my sewing skills and challenging myself to explore my personal creativity.  I am also hoping to write about it along the way.  I suspect that I will finally begin to see that I do have a personal style that will come through although I tend to be very eclectic in my taste.  Up until now, I have copied well.  I want to create.  I read somewhere that there is no original art, but I do want to draw from others and then create my own interpretation of it.  I think at first I will not seek the opinion of others.  If they offer them, great! Even constructive criticism is okay.  But I am afraid that since I have been pretty much a people pleaser all my life, that if I get too wrapped up in what other people like or don’t like,  it will inhibit me from really exploring.

Speaking of inspiration, I belong to a great group on the internet of altered clothing artists and there are a few magazines and books now dedicated to this form of art.  My favorite is Altered Couture, which I purchase as soon as it hits my book store and it is solely responsible for my new found passion or obsession depending on who you talk to.  Another is Belle Armoire which is also published by Stampington and has some very inspiring articles and artists.  With a limited budget to say the least and a desire to spend what I do have on art supplies, I explore the internet and various blogs for inspiration as well as how to tutorials.    I hope that as I get better at blogging, that I will be able to share more information on the sources I draw from and to help promote these terrific role models.

Well, as my title says, my work is never done, but sleep is good for the brain, so I am off to bed to dream my dreams and tomorrow I will create.

create a day,

Ariel

This was such a fun project, so I guess I am sticking to rule number 3.  I got the idea from Betz White’s blog and then I took it from there.  This one took me awhile because I am so unorganized in my studio and I hadn’t mastered just cutting into things instead of ripping every seam.  I also had to figure out how to work the middle pocket, I am not an engineer for sure, so have to learn by trial and error.  But I learn fast and the next few should go much more quickly.  I am not sure if Betz backed her apron but I like a more finished look, so I added a backing.  Next, I hand stitched my Darn Cute label where the original jean label was (which is being recycled too).   I am hoping to make several more of these Darn Cute aprons with different fabrics and styles.  This project will get rid of a lot of jean backs!

Project materials:

1 pair jeans- back only
1 plaid shirt- ruffles, top of middle pocket & flower
large scrap of orange fabric-back & flower detail- yo-yo flowers
pieces of a sheet- bottom part of middle pocket hidden below seam line.
embroidery floss- label
covered button base- jean button flower center
3 small buttons for yo-yo centers

Create a Day,

ariel

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