Sunday, August 28, 2011

Brilliant Day

Truly, it's been a brilliant weekend, and I feel so happy to welcome my niece to town! My sister and she drove down on Friday, to get J set up in her new dorm room at University of San Diego. We shared all sorts of weekend welcome activities with them, all set to make the incoming freshmen feel like they are entering into a family of support. It's all been so exciting to watch J branch off into a new and wondrous phase of her life.

I have to admit was quite choked up during the Welcome Mass, and all the beautiful things that were said, and so happy to share my faith more closely with this part of my family. The Mass ended in such a touching way, the freshmen students were asked to remain sitting while all their family gathered around them, put their hands on them, and offered a beautiful blessing for their stepping off into the new life and adventures awaiting them. Ahhh, J, you are so lucky, for the next phase of life is challenging, but one of the best times in life ever!

Welcome, J! Go with God, and we will be right here if you need a helping hand along the way!
xxoo, Auntie Val (and G, D and K)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sew'in Love

I am Sew in love with this great new book called 1-2-3 Sew ... (did you like my little pun?!) I was at my favorite place for sitting, visiting and hanging (The Grove, of course :o), and was thumbing though some new books they'd just received. One was this book, and though I didn't buy it that day, the projects in the book just took root in my wee brain. Pretty soon I couldn't deal with it any longer, and had to go off to get the book. Heck, I didn't remember the title, or anything... just the projects...

(Like this fantastic project bag...)

Well, it didn't go over too well. Everyone in the shop pouring through every sewing book "about yea big, with a spiral binding, a very cute cover, and great projects"... Oh, even though those Grove girls are my friends, I'm sure they must roll their eyes at me!

Well, three trips, and a small miracle later, and they found the book!! Running straight to my sewing machine, this small tote bag was completed after the first evening with the book... sooo cute!

That cute project bag? Paired with some of my "tattooed fabric" drawings, and a few "Val modifications", it's just about finished too.

Just have to sew in the straps, and attach the lining and the outer bag together, and it's also completed. 1-2-3 Sew is a great book for the novice and more experienced sewer alike. It will get your creative sewing juices flowing like a river. I know it did for me!

Happy Sewing!
x, Val

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ed Thompson Ceramics

Good Morning!

Over here in our house, this is pretty much the way we start out every day... a cup of very strong coffee brewed in a french press pot, and served in our favorite mugs. These mugs are the ones I always reach for first...

Greg is the one who discovered Ed Thompson ceramics for us. He always can spot something extra special, so I have learned to pay attention to his "spottings". It didn't take long for me to appreciate this amazing potter's work once Greg brought home our first piece. It took it's place on our living room coffee table, and became a special fixture, admired by all.


More pieces followed, as well as the aforementioned coffee mugs, covered bowls, gifts for friends, etc. We became "devotees" of Ed Thompson's work.

We were crushed when we learned of Ed's passing earlier this year, from cancer. A young man (relatively speaking), Ed was in his early 50s. When we heard there was going to be an Ed Thompson Memorial Show, we sent pictures to Ed's wife of our few, special, lovely large pieces. Two were selected for the show. The show is still going on at the UCSD Craft's Center, and will be for only one more week, until August 27th. If you are interested in seeing more photos of Ed's work from the show, here is a link to the Craft Center's Flickr page. All the show pieces are pictured on that page, and each is more special than the last. I recommend a visit to the show if you are local. Though we never met Ed, it's evident that he was a very special man, and it shows in his work. Rest in Peace, Ed Thompson.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I am not afraid

... even though I might be scared to death!

Ponytail Patchwork Friendly

Lately, I have been feeling like this quite often.... When I look at the big picture, I am not afraid, for I know my path in this life is strong and true. I open my eyes each day loving this life I live, and knowing that God's plan for me is good, and right, and true. I can accept the challenges as they come my way, because I know they are there for me to use as stepping stones, and these steps will take me to the best person I can ever become! That is rich stuff indeed, and I embrace that with my whole heart.

In trying to do my best, and be my best, in trying to understand my way, and my job in this life... well, some days I feel scared to death.... Thoughts haunt me... like: (How can I manage this situation today?) and (Did they really, honestly, do that? What, in God's name, were they thinking???)... and (What will they think of me now that I've created this mess?) Ahhh, being human is so humiliating sometimes. Couldn't I have been born a robot?!

I know I'm not done yet... each day these steps take my path deeper into God's territory. He is my strength and leader. He answers my call, and is there in my time of need. And for that, I am so incredibly thankful!

(I just needed to get this off my chest) Thanks so much for listening :o)
x, Val

Friday, August 12, 2011


She Listens To Her Heart, art journal page 8-8-11,
created from watercolor crayons, stamps and chalk inks

We have been away for the last week, to Steamboat, CO. Oh my golly, it has to be one of the most beautiful places on this beautiful planet! The glory God has created there spoke to my very soul... sitting, spending time gazing, horseback riding, color loving, land loving, water appreciating (San Diego is actually a desert, and we just don't see the abundant streams, lakes and rivers like Steamboat has). It was a place to recharge and allow my soul to wander and play! Ahhh, what a gift being there was....

I managed to take my sketch book, and a traveling box of art supplies. This sweet girl painting poured out of me after one such restful and beautiful day.... did I mention how happy my soul was there?!

We spent the week with Greg's family. His mom is getting up in years,... 85. She has been wanting to see her CA grandsons, and they have wanted to see her, and their CO cousins and family as well. We stayed at a wonderful Ranch retreat, called Dutch Creek Guest Ranch, 45 minutes outside of Steamboat.

Here's Greg's mom, happy as a clam with all her menfolk around her... Hey, Granny can still shoot like the best of them!! (kidding, but she strikes a great pose!)

We all got into the act (especially me!), after donning a new pair of cowboy boots! (Sad they are cut off in the photo...) Greg's brother is a real cowboy, and owns all these guns... yikes!

We rode horses on beautiful trails. The wildflowers are in full, glorious bloom... apparently the winder snows and spring rains have made the flowers more gorgeous than ever this year.

We haven't seen our nephew in many years, and were amazed at how grown up he is... how does that happen like that?! He and cousin after our pack ride...

Evening light on Mt Hahn... and my favorite photo is this next one... Greg sitting and enjoying his beloved first home... Colorado....

I hope your summer is treating you well, and nourishing your soul too...

With so much love,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Freaky Family

Creating family is a mixture of the fixing, the building, the caring, the supporting and the love. What a complicated, wonderful thing... families. Some of us are loving sorts, trying ones, even challenging, some are helper souls, some going through trials, some as happy as pie... Born of like minds, set up to be similar, yet we are all so different, each completely unique! What a mystery!

Building character in one's children isn't easy. (How come it seems like it's so easy for others?) I think I am tricked easily... by my own children, and by my silly ideas too! I struggle to hold my own against their tide... moving to and from me in everchanging circles. (sigh) I try to stay steadfast, and I get tumbled head over feet. Wow, what just hit me???

I am glad I have my wonderful, freaky, funny, loveable, struggling family. They bring me to places I never knew I'd go... some days are like taking a trip to the Netherlands, ...while others feel like sunshine in my own back yard. These people who live with you, born from you, share your goodness and your tribulations. I pray that I can show them my best, help them every day, so that when my worst comes out, they know it's just a momentary lapse, and all will be back to "normal" again soon!

Seems like the harder days take more thinking. I ponder and mull, and my hands work out the kinks alongside my busy mind... Lo, what's become of me? Look at what my hands have turned out this week! Some Freaky Friendlys!

LOL, they are freakishly cute on the flip side, too!

Let's hope my hands can keep forming and helping the human ones in my life too... hoping and praying for help each day to reach beyond what I'm capable of, and use my artistic and spiritual gifts to help those in my life reach any freaky thing they have their hearts set on!

What craziness have you (and your family) been up to lately?
x, Val