Monday, November 26, 2012

A QUILL COTTAGE CHRISTMAS, A FREE HOLIDAY TUTORIAL BLOG...


I know that most of you have already begun, are knee deep in, or have already finished your holiday crafting but just in case you want to sneak in a little extra crafting this season to trim your tree, top a package, or delve into the divine celebration of Advent I have put together a little side blog that I am in the process of moving all my free Christmas related tutorials over to.  Now, instead of clicking through archives or scrolling through unrelated tutorials everything is located in one convenient place, A Quill Cottage Christmas blog!

I have currently edited and moved 10 free step-by-step photographed tutorials over there and hope to have the rest moved by weeks end.  This is a simple no frills tutorial blog with an archive list at the bottom of the blog where only things related to Christmas will be posted.  The blog will remain open year round.  I will be adding a sidebar link soon.

In the future new tutorials of this kind will appear here on the regular blog as well as at A Quill Cottage Christmas.

I hope you will enjoy browsing and find a little crafting or celebrating inspiration.
 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

HAPPY THANKSGIVING...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
(Image from Karen's Whimsy)

 Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.  

~Melody Beattie~

I hope you all enjoy the wondrous wealth of family, friends, and feast this Thanksgiving day!

Blessings,
Sandy

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A TALE OF TECHNOLOGY...

Once upon a time in the land of text and tweets there lived an old fashioned girl who tried very hard to navigate through her modern world filled with all manner of technological wonders.  It seemed that as soon as she timidly mastered one thing the next newest, faster, better thing would come along and require her to be at its mercy until she mastered it also.  She learned as much as she felt she needed to know and let it go at that.  She failed to marvel over apps, swishy screens, and such things.  Faster did not equate with better in her mind.  She longed for the days when getting a new notebook meant actual paper and a stylus was then her favorite brand of ink pen.
Antiquated as she was in her thinking she knew she would have to embrace the technological race.  With great trepidation she did just that.  She learned how to tap out a line or two on the virtual paper screen, not liking the font that looked nothing like her looping handwriting, all the while missing the feel of her hand gliding across the smooth cool paper.  Her fingers sometimes got clumsy and clacked the wrong keys and words were garbled and glaringly underlined in red from the tough task master,  Professor Spellchecker. 
She did not always understand where things went or where they were stored since there was no actual filing cabinet to rifle through until the necessary document was found.   Equally perplexing were they terms of gigs and bites, rams and roms, lists of .coms, and the whole host of abc's that she heard bandied about in excited chatter among those in the know.  It was as if she were hearing what amounted to a foreign language that she could not comprehend.  In spite of all her lack of knowledge and skill she managed enough to get by until one day her notebook malfunctioned.
Now an old fashioned notebook of the paper variety is an easy fix, tear out a messed up page and begin again or simply pop into your favorite paperie and get an inexpensive replacement.  Neither of these options were available to the old fashioned damsel in distress.  She suspected something serious when her notebook began to run a fever getting hot to the touch so she trotted off to the Technology Tincture Shoppe and bought it a cooling pad with a little fan what whirled quietly keeping its core temperature under control.  Crisis averted!
Everything was fine for a while until one day the poor little notebook began to have panic attacks and freeze right up.  It was as if it could not process the data being thrown at it, boy could she relate to that!  This required seeing a specialist, the Geek Squad with their white lab coats and horn rimmed glasses descended, they poked and prodded, scratched their heads and said it was a mysterious illness, to call them in if it should happen again.  It did, they came, its still a mystery.
Then the pad that once allowed a gentle glide of a finger to wheedle untold amounts of control through points and clicks began to halt and stutter or refuse to move at all.  Its pad had plum wore out from being pressed so much and pad replacement surgery was quite expensive without the proper plan of insurance, the policy of which had expired for such an aged machine.
To top matters off the little notebooks ability to reach had suddenly become impaired, it could no longer use technology telepathy to communicate with its companion printer in the other room, they had to be tethered with a cord in order to share commands.  It  could travel no more than 12 feet from its wireless command center without losing its world wide searching abilities.  It had been rendered immobile by its inability to sustain a battery life.  Despite all its flaws, the old fashioned girl had remained loyal to her new kind of notebook until the frustration level mounted at its inability to obey her commands.  It was with great sadness that she closed it for the last time.
Off to the electronic adoption center she went wheer all kinds of hopefuls flashed their screens at her, glowing keys winked, colorful apps flashed, some screens swished, speakers tuned their voices to vie for her attention.  There were big ones, little ones, and just right in between ones.  Ones that sat on desks, ones that rested in laps, and ones that cradled in hands or ones that stood on stands.  It was like walking into a Dr. Seuss rhyme.  A nice young man with a mega watt smile said he could find one that was just her style. 
She looked around him hopefully seeing if there were real paper and pen but was met with nothing but that mega watt grin.  Resigned to the task at hand she allowed him lead her through technology land.  He poked and he pushed at the keys with glee then he swished across screens magically.  With the flare of peddler selling his wares he bamboozled her into buying one of technologies new heirs with eight windows and a swishy new screen plus speakers that could sing like anything.  Home she came with it tucked in a box, kicking off shoes and propping up feet in socks.  She nestled her aged notebook in her lap and for one last and final time began to tap..."A Tale of Technology "..... 
P.S.  Why are there no photos on this post you may ask, because I have not learned how to do this task!  I'll be back on the virtual screen as soon as I master this new technology fiend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

SUFFERING FROM T.M.J.! (Too Much Junk)...

 In case anyone is wondering why I have dropped off the blog radar it is because I am seriously suffering from T.M.J. (Too Much Junk) syndrome.  This condition is caused by the trickle down effect...relatives, friends, and well meaning neighbors who either pass on their sacred treasures or just plain junk to a sentimental creative who can cherish or use them.  Add to that the creatives love of collecting things for "projects", out dated decor items, left over wedding decor, adult children who can't let go of their childhoods and think that momma will keep it safe in her storage building, a passing or three of close relatives of whom I was in charge of settling the estates, the usual storage fare of summer items like coolers, outdoor furniture cushions, swim stuff, luggage, plus all the bins of holiday decor and you have yourself a genuine episode in the making of hoarders!
I was genuinely appalled  when I recently went to try and find some fall items to use at a little gathering we were hosting and I could literally not get to the bin they were stored in.  I am by nature a neat freak, everything has a place and I have a serious addiction to organization (and my label maker) everywhere with the exception of this one storage building, it is where I evidently keep all my clutter secrets.  I shove them in and slam the door on them before they escape but after reenacting the "HELP! I've fallen and can't get up!" commercial, popping up from under a box of wedding decor with a hunk of silk hydrangea caught in my hair and dangling behind my left ear I decided enough was enough! 
 I have spent literal days dragging things out box by box, bin by bin, culling, sorting, repacking & labeling, passing on, throwing away, donating, insisting on owners reclaiming, and even reliving some sweet memories.  I am almost done, today should finish the project, and the last of the packed donation boxes will be hauled away.  I feel the pain of the syndrome easing as I make one small portion of my life more manageable.  
 I am amazed at how much of our lives end up in boxes as clutter or castoffs.  Two generations from now no one will know to keep my beloved Brownie Bear, smashed flat to one side from my then little girl head pressing on his side every night to better hear the tinkling of his music box encased tummy.  They will not know that the worn away fur spot around the wind up key was done by tiny fingers who wound it in obsession to quell her fear of the dark, a soothing and familiar nightly noise.  
 They will not know that Brownie came with a tiny baby bear that rested in his sewn together paws but got lost but that it was OK since that made such a nice nestling place for Browine to hold a little girls hand to his musical heart.  They will not know that his tattered ribbon was once a jaunty red bow or that he was best friends with a now button eyeless clown who was handmade by a lady from Germany and that they belong together forever and always.  Someday, in some other storage building that is suffering from trickle down effect, they too will become castoffs when someone else is suffering from T.M.J. (too much junk) syndrome. 

Excuse my while I have a final moment with my junk...sniff, sniff...
Letting go is never easy but it is often necessary in order to move forward.  I think we keep and pass things on because we do not want to forget or to be forgotten. We leave behind the footprints of our stories, entrusting them to those to whom we think with cherish them and keep them alive.  It is our heart memories that mean the most, the feelings we assign to tangible objects, and those feelings are the only thing that we can hold on to without drowning in physical clutter.  This has been a difficult and daunting process but a needful and necessary one.  All these things that were in my possession have found or will find new homes, connecting to new lives, making new stories, passing from hand to hand, heart to heart... 
P.S.  Of course I kept Brownie and Clownie!  
I'll be back to regular posting as soon as the last box is sealed.

Monday, November 5, 2012

MY FAVORTIE PART...

 This is one of my favorite parts of a completed project...
 Piles of project leftovers...
 Puddled over surfaces...
 Snippets and scraps...
Waiting to be assembled...
Into something magical...
  Sweet Snowbirds...
Tattered Angels...
 Shimmering Wings...
Precious Partridges...
With Stockings, Stars, and Snowflakes in the works.

Happiness (for me) is...Studio Scraps!
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