Thursday, September 29, 2011

I've moved over to a different URL, as I wanted to change the title to my blog and start fresh. You can find me at 6 Ideas Before Breakfast. See you there!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

That lion's been to hell and back

Here's the most exciting thing to talk about... Mr. Lion had a bath! That poor pacifier's been puked on too many times to count, so I waited until Sophia was asleep and I put him through the wash. Here he is hang-drying.

I haven't had ANY time to craft lately, as I started back to work on September 12th. These two weeks have been extremely busy with such things as getting myself on a schedule (and attempting to actually stick to it), trying to keep up with the laundry and chores around the house, and pumping and sterilizing. It takes a LOT of dedication to keep a kid breastfed while working fulltime!

Thankfully, I get two pump breaks while at work, and I have enough time on my lunch breaks to drive to Sophia's daycare and feed her. It's such a lovely break during the work day, even if half the time I return to my job covered in spit-up!

Near the end of making my awesome baby bag, my machine started to squeak as it sewed and it began to be a bit sluggish, so I know it needs a cleaning and oiling. I'm afraid to use it until I have the money to take the machine in to the shop, so I've been strictly limited to hand stitching projects and drawing. But then, when do I have time to even sit down and enjoy such things?!

I still have a quilt to finish for my friend Jessica's baby Sunny Delilah, and my UFO (unfinished object, an acronym I only just learned!) box badly needs attention.

But when I sit down and feed my daughter, look at her face and see her smile, I'm reminded of the proverb:

Quiet down cobwebs,
Dust go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby
And babies don't keep!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

The different meanings of "baby bag"

I've been incredibly frustrated with having to sling several bags over my shoulder when toting the kid around, so I decided to make a baby bag big enough to carry all of Sophia's baby stuff, my purse, and any journals I care to bring with me. (Never know when the urge to write will strike.) I told Dane I was making a bag and showed him the pattern I was going to use, and the first thing out of his mouth was "You're going to put the baby in that?!" Silly husband doesn't understand.....

The pattern I used can be found here. There are quite a few tutorials I've found online for baby bags, but I thought this one looked like the most fun to make, and I also thought it would be the sturdiest and longest-lasting. (If I'm dedicating a significant portion of my precious time to this project, then damn it, it better last until this kid is 5 frikkin' years old!)

I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to use up the rest of my On A Whim owl print fabric that's been sitting around forever waiting for the PERFECT project. I just bought some coordinating colors from the fabric store to go with it.

After some mistakes in seam allowance, fusible fleece that didn't want to fuse (and that I ended up buying WAY TOO MUCH of), and a lost magnetic closure, I finally finished the bag. It only took me several days of frequently-interrupted work (babies don't understand patience). And I'm immensely proud of the outcome!


baby bag1

I love the elastic compartments on the inside!

baby bag2

And if I wanted to, I really COULD fit the baby in it, a fact that concerns Sophia greatly...

baby in a bag

I made a few changes to the pattern as I put it together. The original only has one elastic pocket, but I chose to line both inside compartments with the elastic pockets for extra storage space. I also used scraps of the different prints to make the strap, but that came more out of necessity. I didn't quite have enough left of the owl fabric, so I improvised.

Next project on the agenda is a baby book of different colors!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sound advice


1. If you want anything in this life, you must be prepared to work for it. You must be willing to put in as much effort as you expect a reward.

2. Failure is okay. Trying again is okay. Taking things one step at a time is OKAY.

3. Beginnings, middles, and ends all have the same potential to bring you joy.

4. Letting other people into your world is okay. While some people can't be trusted, others SHOULD be.


5. You are a beautiful and valuable person, and your true best friend is yourself. Other people only enhance the love you feel for yourself.

6. Allow yourself the pleasure of enjoying and relaxing in life. For as much hard work as you put in, your reward is sweeter and your relaxation more deep and meaningful.

7. Listen to the secret language of your soul. Love and accept the beautiful person you naturally are.

8. Give yourself over to emotion and creativity. Allow yourself to be swept up in the experience!

Important stuff to remember when you begin to feel like you've lost your way...

Friday, August 12, 2011

My most important project...

I had a baby!

Pic Upload 10-28 016 2

So, yeah. An entire friggin' year since I've said anything. Among the many things that have happened over these last several months, the thing I'm most proud of is the creation of that cute little thing up there.

Pic Upload 10-28 044

Having my daughter has done more for my self-esteem and confidence than all the antidepressants in the world. I grow happier and more capable and self-assured every single day, because there is no way I could ever second-guess or downplay the significance of her, my most treasured possession.

I plan to funnel this incredibly uplifting boost of confidence into my crafting. There is so much stuff I want to make! I also need to do a drastic redesign of the site, something centered around owls as a graphical element. Consider this notification of impending posts to come. I've already got tons of stuff I was working on during my pregnancy that I'm just dying to show you all!

I end with little Sophia practicing her SuperBaby pose.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

It took me a long time to feel comfortable enough to say the words "I am an artist." How can one be considered an artist when all they do is mess around with fabric and beads and paint? Certainly I can be described as a "crafter"..... someone in the same group as a kid playing with feathers and paper plates in kindergarten. But an artist?

Artists are the elite. Artists make magic with their ideas. Artists enlighten and inspire; their work advances civilizations. The Renaissance changed society culturally, partly because the artists and sculptors of that time dared to do something different, dared to take what they were doing just one step further. The techniques and artistic concepts of today could not have evolved without such bold ideas in the area of art.

Have I ever done any of that? Have I inspired minds and nations with the stroke of my brush? Have I even made an impact on those around me with what I've created? Am I ever worthy of the title Artist?

Art is a concept, an idea, a movement. A huge waste of time from the perspective of the hunters and gatherers of the world. But dreamers are just as important to the human tribe. Dreamers bring about change and new ideas. What the dreamers create will eventually encourage the hunters and gatherers to improvise, to experiment.

I am an artist because I dream. I inspire and am inspired. I see the beauty found in the tiny details of everything around me. I find joy in taking risks and experimenting with my work. I enjoy the process as much as the finished piece. I suck up inspiring books and pictures and works of art from the world around me and I translate that into my own voice. I take the raw ingredients and I mix them around. I add a touch of magic from my own ideas and I watch what I've made evolve into something new and filled with life.

I may not come to inspire nations. I may not have a sculpture or a painting hanging in the Louvre. But I am an artist none-the-less. When I am not dreaming and creating, a piece of my heart begins to throb, so I carry my inspiring voice with me wherever I go. When I'm at work, I always have a notebook nearby to sketch ideas that come to me like lost children. I house them within the pages of my journals and they wait to be translated into real life. How can I not be an artist when it is in my blood, my soul?

Friday, July 9, 2010

I think I'm going to have to drop the Sufferings from the name...

I've been wanting to start posting my projects again, but it seems that life has continued to be chaotic and busy. On top of that, our internet connection has ceased to be reliable, due in part to an unscrupulous internet provider. Our downstairs neighbor graciously allows us to leech off his connection every now and then, but I still have less time online than I'd like to get.

But let's get past that, because today I'm doing something else. I'm sharing my feelings and crap.

Several months ago, I was having a rough time of things. I was getting depressed and anxious a lot and having panic attacks. I was constantly worried about what everyone thought about me. My social anxiety was kicking into high gear and my mind was constantly preoccupied at work.

I've been on antidepressants since I was 15 and so, I was thinking I could handle things. I thought I was still doing okay, that I was just stressed from work. I thought it was normal to be this worried, that I was being responsible. But I was really just wasting my time worrying about things that would be happening far into the future. Things like kids and houses and promotions, things that wouldn't be possible for months or years down the road.... But a supportive husband and a lot of soul searching brought me to realize that something was wrong and I needed to re-evaluate.

So I ditched my happy-blob-commercial-Zoloft for everyone-and-their-dog-takes-it-Prozac. WOW, DO I FEEL BETTER. In fact, I feel more like The Real Me than I ever have before. My confidence level is through the roof. I'm feeling fantastic! And I'm also handling things at work a million times better. Everything just feels like it's clicking and making sense.

And I'm also feeling calm and easy. I've always been a worrier, much to my own undoing at times, but now I'm feeling content and relaxed. It's the best feeling in the world, to go from crippling anxiety and chronically low self-esteem to complete freedom. It feels like a switch got flipped from Broke to Fixed in my brain.

With this has come a wonderful Rush of Creativity. I've gotten more done now than I have in a long time. I've been working on lots of different projects. My ideas don't just sit in my brain anymore, growing more fanciful and impossible until they have to be moved to the dreams and fantasies pile.... They're getting used! Inspiration is slowly surrounding me as I make more and more, and I can't wait to share it!

Tonight, however, I'm going to relax for one last evening of doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Yesterday was my birthday and my husband got me a PS3. I have some serious gaming to do tonight. A little Dante's Inferno, some Ratchet and Clank, and later perhaps I'll play Arkham Asylum.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Alphabet inchies, artful interior decorating, and you!

I participated in a fun little swap over on Craftster (my first ever) where we made a full set of alphabet inchies, then distributed some of the letters to each partner, resulting in a lovely mishmash of art from several different sources.

Here is the hand-drawn set I made:

I started by drawing a one-inch grid onto a sheet of watercolor paper. Then I painted different colored backgrounds using watercolors and cut out the squares after the paper dried. I ended up with about a hundred ready-to-go inchie blanks of different colors and shades. I kept them in a plain white envelope that sits next to my computer and whenever the mood struck, I'd pull one out and doodle something on it. Then I just added the letters cut from an old cheesy romance novel (titled The Spanish Bride in case anyone cares), inked the image details and the inchie edges, then strengthened them by pasting to cardboard.

The most fun part for me was the inking. It was a good excuse for me to stock up on different sizes of inking pens. I love adding tiny details to things that give it an overall unifying effect. So, I basically just sat at my computer listening to music, watching television or reading articles, and doodled on inchies. The P for Pebble inchie, for instance, came from doodling different rock shapes while planning out another project using pebbling as a quilt filler stitch.

I've never really ventured too far into the world of inchies before this project. Much like ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), where the only restriction is size, inchies can be a very fluid medium to work in. It's like a little challenge for your brain, trying to both let loose on creativity, but still hold it within a 1"x1" square. I've found it's a great exercise for pushing through a creative block. If you mess up, you've only wasted a scrap-sized piece of paper.

This is the combined set of inchies I received from my six partners. I absolutely ADORE these inchies! Lisa used coordinating paint chips to make hers, Kira made lovely little owl drawings, and Teffy even re-sent hers because I lost the first set! (With the help of a careless cat...) I love all of the inchies, especially the little owl on the W and the "and" inchie. I also think the whole set fits together as a whole quite nicely.

I haven't quite decided what I'm going to do with them. I'll probably mount them to make a nice wall piece. A lot of other crafters participating in the swap were talking about mounting their sets, and it really struck me as a quite appealing idea. I'd really love to cover my walls with art and projects from everywhere. Since I haven't decided yet how to mount my inchies, I'm keeping them in one of my little antique teacups. I love the idea of using antique china to store things in.

Arranged smartly on my shelf next to some fat quarters, my broken-then-glued-back-together ceramic jar, a coil of old guitar strings, and a love letter from Dane. (It says I love you in Chinese.)
(On a side note, I dream of a sewing room where I cover every surface with ridiculous stuff like this. I find it emotionally and creatively stimulating to be surrounded by the controlled chaos of the space around me. I also like a room to feel comfortable, lived in, and inviting.)

Spawned from the Alphabet Inchies Swap was talk in the Craftster forums about a swap of themed inchies, so I also joined that one when Lisa posted it. I had such a blast making these ones and I can't wait to do different sets. (I'll ultimately be making somewhere around 100 inchies for the Inchie Theme Swap.) I suppose I should get started! :p

By the way, I would also be up for private one-on-one swaps if anyone's interested!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The hermit comes out of her shell

View the horrid state of my sewing room. I have too much stuff. Waaaaay too much. My other grandmother died and my sister moved to a different state. I got a lot of stuff from each. I've also been promoted to manager at my job, so I have not much time on my hands.

I've gotten a little stuff done... but not much. I started altering a book...

... and worked on my journal a whole lot. But that's pretty much it. I'll try and be more forthcoming with recent creative endeavors. Time to come out of my hole.

BTW, Lily Allen is awesome. I'm loving this album of hers.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


I can be such an organized person that I overcompartmentalize. This goes here, that goes there. I may have overcompartmentalized my journaling a bit, and it's acting as a bit of a barrier against the flow of ideas and thoughts and streams of consciousness that I want.

In an effort to marry the concepts of my craft blog with my journaling, I think I'll write more on here, even if it doesn't seem to be about a specific work in progress. It would actually be about the work in progress of my creative journey as a whole.

If you're easily confused by the changing purpose of this blog, please don't be. I tend to do this alot with my journals. Each has to have a purpose, and sometimes the journal evolves past its purpose and I have to rename the purpose to keep it cohesive. Again, the compartmentalization. This can be a good thing. Sometimes I can use organization to incite much-needed chaos. It just depends on the day.

One of my latest entries in my art journal. Scan to come soon. (On my way out the door to work.)

"Almost sunrise at Crystal Beach. (Galveston) Tanya and I successfully built a fire and made smores. Now we're waiting for the sun to come up before we go hunting for seashells. The sand is cool on my feet. I love the feel of it, even though it means I'll be picking sand out of my toes for weeks. Although the beach is beautiful, the damage of Hurricane Ike is still evident all around us. Houses that Tanya says were here months ago and lined the streets are now gone, some now empty shells, others leaving no evidence they were ever there. Trees are permanently bent, showing their struggle to stay in the ground. There are no more dunes. But some houses still stand. People still live and work and persist."

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Contemplation and other words that start with C.

The moon is out, a sliver like a cup in the sky. I am contemplating Creation and Completion and Cohesion.

My mind is foggy but silent. Tranquil. The air is Chill but bearable, the scent of the night carrying a very faint, almost indistinguishable trace of grass and sweet peas. I don't know where the sweet peas come from. I live in the Center of town. But it's there all the same, perhaps traveling from the small field a block away.

I feel Content and Complete. I feel Capable. I feel slightly Catatonic.

I feel Carefree.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The romantic notions of needlepoint

Today has been a grand adventure so far. And when I say that, it's with a certain degree of sarcasm, but still a partial bit of truth. My days have melted into quiet routine. But today, I had errands to run, specifically paying the car insurance and making a copy of our house key because I lost my car keys and my spare set doesn't have the house key and yesterday I had to wait around for an hour after work so that Dane could get home and let me in...

But interesting things happen when you accept instinctual possibilities and follow whimsical ideas. After paying the car insurance bill, I noticed the Goodwill store across the street. Having not been to that particular location in a while, I stopped in to see if they might have a shirt or two that I can wear to work (as the vast majority of my wardrobe is t-shirts with shiny stars or Ralph Wiggum or Rocko's Modern Life or something on them). And while perusing the back area, a jumbled mess of old Easter baskets, forlorn looking stuffed bunnies from holidays past, fifty mismatched pillowcases and at least one package of The Office postie notes, I found something entirely awesome.

Ignore the buttons. I'll get to those in a minute. First, concentrate on that needlepoint kit. It looks simple enough. Even run-of-the-mill, average, unremarkable. But it isn't. It's a spark of vintagey goodness from 1974. It's a splash of color and fun with the kit entirely intact and unopened, preserving the delicious yarn within. It's the antithesis of boredom, packaged neatly in a portable bundle that I get to open for the first time.

I realize I may sound overly romantic, but here's what went through my mind at the thrift shop. Imagine it's 1974 and this package, along with five or ten of its brothers, is placed on a hook or on a shelf in a craft or fabric store. It waits patiently, the packaging shiny and smooth, without a wrinkle or a tear. Someone comes along, a nice grandmother, seeing possibilities in the kit as a gift for a small toddler.

The kit is bought, taken home, put in the sewing room... and left. Every time the woman passes by, the kit gets excited. It's going to be used. Its purpose will be fulfilled. But she never opens it. She has other things on her mind. She found a more appropriate gift, or her arthritis has been bothering her lately and she just can't do needlework. She feels heartbroken that she can't do what she loves, so eventually, she stops going into her sewing room at all. Eventually, she can't even get out of bed, not because she is pining away from lack of needlework. No, we shall not be that dramatic... but she's definitely feeling her age. And finally, she slips away.

Time passes. Items are passed down through the family. Boxes of craft items are presented to cousins and nieces and grandchildren to paw through and take what's wanted. The packaging on our dear kit has gotten crinkled and mauled. Old. The price sticker came off long ago, leaving a pale sticky ghost on the plastic. Even the paper inside the kit has started to curl at the edges. And finally, the granddaughter perhaps, going through the garage and clearing space for the lawnmower, throws the kit in with other junk, some broken, some no better than trash for the dump. She drops it at Goodwill and goes home.

The kit is now not only forgotten, but essentially homeless. Its last hope of fulfilling its destiny was dashed with this final act of abandonment. It's thrown facedown in a large tupperware bin next to dinged candlesticks and a block of dented floral foam. It doesn't care anymore. It waits to die.

That is how I rescued it. And that entire romantic scene played out in my head over a second and a half and I knew I needed this. I will resurrect the life of this kit and what it was intended for. I will be the first to open it and sort the colored strands of yarn, the first to thread the small needle, the first to weave the strands through the plastic canvas squares. Columbia-Minerva Needlepoint Baby Blocks 5 pc set from 1974... you shall live again!

Oh yeah, the buttons. I also stopped at a cute antique store and found this adorable old jar filled with old buttons. These buttons are not as forlorn as the needlepoint kit was, but they still begged to come home with me. I'll probably sort through them later and use a large portion of them to make some sort of buttons-stitched-to-fabric-in-an-appealing-pattern type project.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm not actually dead (an update in photos)

Contrary to popular belief, I did not die. I simply got incredibly lazy busy with life. I got a new job, I went back to school, I cured cancer, I saved a third-world country. You know, the usual. Takes up so much time.

I've also been working on a lot of projects, surprisingly. I've been getting huge boxes of fabric from my mother, courtesy of my dead grandmother's estate. It's the ultimate estate sale, but I don't have to pay anything. (Though it takes my mom $20 a box to ship them to me, God bless her.)

Here's what I've been up to!

I've been taking all my tiny scraps and making crazy blocks. They came in handy when we found ourselves broke at Christmastime and needed quick presents. I stuck a couple of these together, whacking the sides to make perfect squares, then sewed on a quick border and sashing. Instant placemats for the mom-in-law! I felt so accomplished, and I'm pretty sure she liked them, though I did preface her opening of the bag with "Look, these were an experiment, and you're the guinea pig. I'm sorry."

The rolls of paper on the left are little patterns traced onto fusible web from this book, which was a present from my aunt one Christmas a few years back.

I finally took all of my reproduction Aunt Gracie prints and cut them into nice little squares. I'm going to stick these together with some white squares for some lovely bright nine-patches. It will no doubt make a very lovely lap quilt.

I've been drawing out different blocks that I like and looking at the pieces and how they come together. I need to figure out what to do with the ridiculous amounts of fabric I've inherited. It's quite shameful, how much I'm getting, and me with no earthly clue how to store it or what to sew it into. But when my aunt asked me what I wanted from the estate, I just said "Give me all the fabric you have! It ships well and it will satisfy my collector's OCD."

A small sample of some of the pieces I've gotten cut out from various scraps and pieces. There are exactly 1,213 triangles in that box, every single one cut out by hand without the benefit of cutting mat or ruler, while seated in front of the television and watching seasons of X-Files. I'm up to season three already.

My little work box with all that I need to cut out the rest of my triangles, along with my most favoritest pincushion in the world, a beautiful gift from Monica Magness. See that roll of pink fabric? My grandmother seemed to have an affinity for taking old pants and shirts and cutting them into ridiculously shaped pieces, then rolling them up in little bundles and rubber-banding them for some unknown purpose. I think I know where some of my mother's crazy came from.

The other thing taking up my time (besides my new job) is my Anatomy and Physiology II class. Wait, you ask me why I'm taking it again? Did I fail? No, I did not. I got a B. This is unacceptable to me. I am taking it again. And we get fresh cats this semester, so I've been really excited about dissections. I've heard such horror stories about mold and bugs infesting the leftovers from A&P I.

Finally, there is the husband. Such a wonderful, interesting man. Our friends and relations fondly remember the recent Pork Chop Incident in which Dane attempted to cook a pork chop, failed to put it under the broiler, got extremely angry, and threw the offending chop across the kitchen! I thought that was the end of his kitchen-related tantrums, but he tried to make pancakes several weeks later, with similar results. (He was able to aim the flying batter into the sink, at least.) Our friend Skylar responded by then making his own delicious pancakes and taunting Dane with photos of them posted to Facebook.

Other than that, business as usual. I've been getting a lot done, so I really can't complain. I just haven't put blogging at the top of my list. Y'all can beat me with flexible bamboo sticks later. For now, I have to go to bed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Life expands and moves in interesting directions. I have been busy and not busy, working, relaxing, doing nothing and everything.

We'll see how the holidays shape up. I have a lot of things I need to restart and finish. I made a cover for a cookbook for my good friend Les for his birthday and I really should have taken a photo so I can have some evidence of being active and alive.

Tanya and I sat at The Kettle (a good diner for sitting) and made self-improvement lists and Christmas lists. We talked about journals and their many uses (as we all know my complete and total obsession with journals) and perhaps I will come back to what I have been missing over this last month.

Don't you hate when life moves on without you and you're still trying to read the sign posts?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boredom and an excess amount of Teh Intarwebs will do this to anyone

I'm not a big meme fan, not because they aren't fun, but because I can easily get addicted to them, and they're really only poor substitutes for content. (So clearly, I've chosen to post nothing whatsoever as opposed to poor content.... )

However, I stole this from Judy who stole it from Twitchy Knitter, who stole it from someone who stole it from a clown. That's my theory. Every meme originates from clowns because that sounds silly to me and I like to spread silly rumors.

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search. (Use the advanced search and scroll down and click on Creative Commons License so you use shareable photos!)
b. Using only the results on the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.
d. Credits to photos are below.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

I'll try to give a little substance and insight into my answers.

1. My first name is Cindi, and that is not short for Cynthia. Cindi is written on my birth certificate, with that spelling. I loathe Ys. (sj and cindi)

2. Chocolate will always be my favorite food because it satisfies my inner glutton and sensualist at the same time. (Communist chocolate !)

3. I went to Sparks High School in Sparks, Nevada. Sparks is sister city to Reno, and no, I do not watch Reno 911. (IMG_2996)

4. Fav color is green. Apparently, geniuses pick green. (london green)

5. Gerard Butler is the one man that, should I meet him on the street and he asks me to have sex with him and cheat on my husband, I would absolutely say yes, no questions, no hesitations. I told my husband this before we got married and made sure he understood I was dead serious. I also have a photo of Gerry in my wallet. It is the only photo in my wallet. (Gerry Butler)

6. I love Cape Cods because they have cranberry juice in them and the vodka gets me completely smashed after only two. (My "Usual")

7. Dane and I plan on visiting Germany some day to meet his extended family. His grandmother emigrated from there and Dane still has close relatives. (germany.swabian-hall: beautiful.evening.mood.(593☺26))

8. Mmmmm, cheesecake. My love and passion. (Strawberry Cheesecake)

9. I would like to be a Dental Hygienist because they make a ridiculous amount of money for a minimal amount of time and debt. (Poly Dynia)

10. What I love most about life is the ability and freedom to do whatever I want. (Well, sans murder.) (Expression of freedom)

11. If I couldn't be considered intense, I fear to meet the person who is. (Intense Blue)

12. I searched for 'cindibee' but couldn't find anything, so I had to cut it down to just 'bee'. Cindibee was a nickname a former friend gave me. I thought it was way too cute to forget. (Soggy wet bee)