Monday, January 28, 2008

For The Love of Mail


I love mail! I love packages! I love my UPS driver! I usually cause him to pause, bend over, and place his hand on his knee because he is laughing at me as I come down the driveway to meet him jumping up and down, clapping my hands, and saying "thanks for bringing me a present!" He says none of his other customers are as excited to see him as I am. He also tells David that I keep him employed!
I can't help it. There is something so exciting about getting something in the mail. Remember when you were little and you got cards for your birthday? Remember when your Grammy or Grampy wrote you little letters and included a stick of gum? Remember when your best friend from far away sent you letter's telling you all sorts of juicy secrets? What ever happened to that? When did we stop making each other feel special? When did we become so hurried that we couldn't take time to pick up a pen and write our thoughts and feelings in our own handwriting?
I started making my Quilted Keepsake Cards (available on my website) as a way to bring back the lost art of letter writing. Like Virginia Woolf said, "I like opening a letter and thinking myself loved." People have so much "stuff," but what we don't have is a little piece of heart, a simple momento from someone special. We don't have keepsakes that we can cherish that were penned in a personal handwriting. All we have is a "Delete" button.
In the March 2007 issue of Body and Soul magazine, there was this terrific article regarding bringing back the lost art of letter writing. It said, "while e-mailing wins points for speed, the sentiment behind the message often gets lost in cyber-translation (hence the need for those "LOL"s and punctuation-mark smileys). Rather than stare at a computer, why not pick up a pen and piece of paper instead? The time and thought it takes to handwrite a letter, even if only to say hi, heightens intimacy between you and your reader to a level far beyond that of a screen greeting. You afford her the old-fashioned joy of opening her mailbox and seeing a personalized script addressed to her-not to mention restore the bygone meaning of "You've got mail."
Above is a picture of one of my cards. It even has a magnet on the back so the recipient can display it and think of you everytime she looks at it. Hmmmm, there are so many people I can think of that I want to feel special. This year I took the "Handmade Pledge." Everyone I know will get a handmade card and know that I care and love them. Because, when I think about it, they are worth my time to write with a pen instead of type on a keyboard.
Until next week, hugs to you
Shell
Oh.... one more thing. I also decided to start a gratitude list. Each week I will list two things I'm grateful for. This week is SWIFFER DUSTERS (why didn't I invent these?) and HEATED CAR SEATS (aka Hiney Heaters). I'm so grateful to have these in my life.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Simple is as Simple Does


Helloooooooooo and welcome! So glad you could stop by and visit. This week's topic just popped into my head tonight while I was eating dinner. Dinner was an omelet with swiss cheese and spinach, a whole grain waffle, 3 pieces of hickory smoked bacon and a glass (or two) of wine. Hey, don't knock it until you try it! Wine goes with cheese!

So as I was thinking about how incredibly good my dinner was, it also occurred to me how simple it was. Well, you know how the mind starts to wander (especially mine). I started thinking about all the simple things in life that make me so happy and excited and, well, pure giddy at the thought of them! The first thing that came to mind was a quote from editor Jacqueline deMontravel of Romantic Homes Magazine. In one of her editor's letters entitled "Speaking in English," she states, "I am far happier reading in a puff of pillows and quilts rather than watching a big screen television situated in a room built especially for a big screen television." To that I say, "Amen Sister!" David and I have a king size bed with a huge, fluffy, feather mattress, a fluffy down comforter and loads of quilts (that I made)! I can hardly wait for Sunday night when the sheets are fresh, the mattress is fluffed and my favorite magazine or book awaits. I sit there with a big Cheshire Cat grin on my face and soak in all the fluffiness! People find it amazing that I don't watch television. I can honestly say that I love my magazines and books so much more and I love getting lost in them. I don't watch the news because it is full of "crap." Nothing happy, just gloom and doom and depressing stories. Talk about needing depression medicine! I find my favorite magazines only talk about happy, beautiful, creative, and loving things! I'm in a book club with five fabulous women and I look so forward to our monthly meetings. Of course we talk about the book, (for five minutes), but most important we share our lives with each other while we share a delicious meal together. We are all so different, but at the same time we are the same.
I guess that's why I like reading blogs as well as writing my blog. As I read a blog, I'm not required to do anything but read the story, ponder the points and enjoy the ride . As for you, I hope you enjoy my stories as well. If not, you can always watch TV.
Hugs and have a great week,

Shell
P.S. the parade house is moving along. We have shingles, windows, house wrap, rough-in's and soon we will have insulation. Stay tuned!


Monday, January 14, 2008

Let It Be







Helloooooooooooooo and welcome to Monday. I hope you all are doing well and have had a wonderful week.

"Let it be," just magically popped into my head today. I kept singing it over and over. Doesn't that drive you crazy? I'm not sure how it popped into my head, but it just did. I guess I was thinking about what I could control and what I could not control and said, "let it be." I think I'm striving to get to the point of "let it be." It's not a place where you say you don't care, but it's a place where you allow things to happen and allow people to act as they will because it really, for the most part, doesn't affect you unless you let it. Ooooohhhhh this is getting deep!

I'm always amazed by the "let it be" people. They have such wonderful lives because they don't get caught up in everyone elses. They help, they care and they are there, but they are not enabler's nursing some horrid memory that they are trying to overcome. The "let it be" people take each day and greet it with open arms and are thankful for the day. They are thrilled to see what each day may bring. What adventure, what friendship, what riches are in store for them.

The more I get to create art and the more people enjoy my art, the more I become a "let it be" person. There is something so wonderful about creating something with your hands that manifests itself in your brain and practically jumps out screaming "IS THIS FUN OR WHAT?" I love to read blogs from other artists. Writers, painter's, mixed media, art quilter's. There is something comforting about the creative kindrid spirit. More and more my thoughts turn to things that make me the happiest. Thoughts become things. Hhmmmmm, what new things will come? This is very exciting indeed.
Above is a bag that I created for Haute Handbags. These are "art" handbags and not necessarily something you would carry around like a Prada, (not that I would want to anyway). This bag was created using photo transfer onto fabric, hot fix crystals, velvet leaves and lots of quilted patchwork. I made it in 3 nights after work right after Thanksgiving. I let my mind flow and create and truthfully, it was so darn fun. I submitted it for consideration to Haute Handbags and am so honored to report that it has been selected to appear in the Spring 08 issue. Yippee and Hot Dog!!!
"Let it be," and the mind can create, rejoice, and explore while the "crap" gets left behind.

Hugs to you all,

Shell

Monday, January 7, 2008

Eleven Days





Hellooooooooo and welcome to 2008! Boy I can't believe it is here and I'm so glad that it is! 2008 is gonna be great! That is my mantra for this year. Good things are going to happen for us all. Just put on a happy face!

I've never been one to make New Year's Resolutions. Instead, I always make goals. Resolutions get broken, goals get obtained. Just a personal opinion. Anyway, my new "blog" goal is that I will now post every Monday night. Sunday nights got to be too complicated especially if I was traveling or doing one of my many hundred tasks. So, since I'm home practically every Monday night, and since I really hate Monday's. I thought it would be best to devote two "crappy" tasks, Laundry and Bills with one fun task, my blog. Therefore, those of you who have asked me where the update is, you now know to look for it on Monday evening or Tuesday a.m. when you get up and have nothing better to do with your life than to listen to me ramble on. Hee hee hee. But truthfully, I appreciate your interest and I'm glad to have you with me.

That being said. Let's get on with it. My title of this post is "Eleven Days." Eleven days represents the time I had off over the holidays. I had off from Saturday, December 22 until Wednesday, January 2. To me this was a phenomenal, monumental, amount of time. You see, it's been almost five (count'em 5!) years since I have had an ENTIRE STRAIGHT WEEK off from work!!! When you work for a company that has three people, it is very, very different than working for a company with tweleve to one hundred people. No one else does my job and frankly, when your in charge of money, accounting, scheduling, phone calls, emails, supplies, ordering, homeowners, changes, subcontractors, complaints, etc. etc. etc. the company doesn't run when your gone for too long. Not to mention, working two jobs on top of that!

The scary thing is that the housing market has become so bad, that Gilbert decided to close the office for the entire week and for the first time we actually could. What's more scary and even kinda incredible, is what that did for my mind. It took me several days (five to be exact) to unwind. During this time I got all my personal paperwork for my home, my Silpada business and my Raspberry Rabbit business in order. I cleaned, straightened and organized. All of this is liberating and refreshing for me. I like order and cleanliness. Yes, it's a control thing. But honestly, I work better and feel so much better when things are in order.
While doing all this "mundane" work, my mind was free to wander and wander it did. For eleven days I spent many hours in my studio with the bunnies. My mind was free of people's house problems, subcontractor problems, money problems, material problems, and well... problems. As my mind relaxed, my creativity came back. I suddenly had all these wonderful ideas for my artwork. For eleven days I was able to spend time with friends without being in a massive rush. I went to a movie! I read my beloved magazines cover to cover. I drank tea in the afternoon. I ate dinner without worrying about deadlines. I actually got to eat lunch for 20 minutes in peace instead of my normal 12 minutes ( 6 mins to nuke it, 6 mins to eat it) while answering the phone and cell phone. I actually tasted my food! For eleven days I actually remembered what it was like to be myself again. For eleven days, I actually had time to find myself again and I liked what I found.
So, with all of that said, my "Goals" for 2008 are actually pretty simple. While I love my job and frankly I'm damn good at it, and while I truly love my homeowners, (most of which are now friends) in reality, it's only a means to make a LIVING and pay the bills. My LIFE is created when I make and sell art, get invited to be published in magazines (more to come on that) spend time with David, the bunnies, my friends and family. My greatest happiness is being home here at Rosewood Cottage in my studio. 2008 is going to be a year of creating more art, spending more time with those I love and spending way less money on things to try and make me happy for working so hard. TIME truly is the greatest gift and this year it is a gift I am giving myself. To think, it all started with eleven days....
Hugs to all and Happy New Year! May all your dreams come true!
Shell