Crafting Season

Baby Blanket & Shawl

It’s crafting season.  So many projects to finish for Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas.  Currently, I am making a Robot costume; crocheting and knitting scarves, hats, mittens & shawls; and creating ceramic gifts.  I have designed my Christmas Card and will be printing them up soon, too.  I also have a plan for some baked goodies to send along with all this to my family around the country.  In addition to this, I have a new job.  Not my own crafting center, but the next best thing.

I am working for Michael’s Crafts.  Awesome opportunity to get experience working in craft retail and training.  It is just seasonal, but it keeps me going through Christmas.

It is all in His Hands.  I trust the Lord to find me the life that will best serve Him while also providing an outlet for my passion of creativity.

Posted in Baking, Ceramics, Costume design, Crochet, Faith, Hobbies, Holidays, Knitting, Sewing | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

72 Years Young

MomToday is my mom’s birthday! She is a beautiul and young 72 year old great grandmother. She is fantastic!! We had a good trip across America last year this time and as you can see we spent some time at Grand Canyon. Today she is embarking on another journey across America to find her new home. Hopefully in Little Rock, Arkansas near my brother or possibly here in Florida near me. Wherever she ends up she isn’t finished yet! She still wants to travel, hang out with her musical friends, help those who need companion care, and find a new love along the way. She is working on her spiritual evolution at the same time she is trying to decide on her earthly habitation. I love you Mom. Good luck!!! I know you will find your bliss. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

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Still Crafting

I have been busily crocheting and knitting. I find I have an affinity to design and make baby and children’s hats, scarves, and booties, etc. Also I am making various styles of handy tote & beach bags. I will upload some new pictures soon.

I again apologize for not keeping this blog fresh. I have been going through a bout of depression over my unemployment status. I have been lucky enough to get two good interviews for jobs recently, that I would have enjoyed and been excellent doing. Yet, I didn’t get either of them. Even the one that I was asked to apply for by the hiring person.

The other I had prayed and prayed for, then it seemed to materialize exactly as asked. The hiring manager liked me right away, but then after a second interview that also seemed to go well, I wasn’t hired. I don’t even know what to pray for anymore. This was so disappointing and re-enforced my feelings of desperation and loss. It is sad for everybody how bad the work market is now.

I have done all kinds of work, and am willing and able to do anything, but have been praying for work I could love doing and that would give me a sense of accomplishment and not be overly stressful. I would like to work with good people in a fun and peaceful environment. I would like to work with autonomy as I am excellent at self motivation and meeting deadlines without being micro managed. I still hope to find a way to have the dream job I wrote about a few months ago, but right now I just need a job. If I can’t work full time as a crafter blogger, then I need a regular paycheck. I have no idea why I was taunted with such a great possibility of a job just to be denied it. It was exactly what I had prayed–a job close to home, where I would work on my own but have lots of contact with people. It was also creative with a monthly newsletter, calendar, etc. to create and yet, I didn’t get it. I have done this job before in so many ways and would have been such an asset to them. Why? I keep wondering why? didn’t I get this job?

I wasn’t able to dwell on this thought right after it happened as I was on a temporary job for Mother’s Day week working taking orders for a florist shop.  That was a lot of fun and I was good at it.  It reminded me that I am still a quick learner and good at talking to customers, multi-tasking, and handling multiple programs and personalities at one time.  It was exhilerating and exhausting.  I have rested the past few days as I peruse want ads looking for the next opportunity for work.  Nothing has materialized.  So here I am, wondering why? why? why? didn’t I get that job that appeared so perfect an answer to my prayers at that time.

I have to believe that it was a mere shadow of the real job Jesus has prepared for me.  I am willing to do whatever God sets before me to do, but also expecting He will guide me to the utmost if I am patient and keep faith in HIS divine wish for my happiness and success.  I will find a job that exceeds even my dream job if I just remember, it is His will not mine that creates all good things in life.  I have the power through HIM to create the life I desire and even more so.  So I prayerfully praise and exult the Lord of all that is good and right.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Thank you Lord for the wonderful life you have given me and the new and wondrous path you are creating for me now.  Guide me with a bright light to the choices you would choose for me.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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A Tough Week of Loss

I guess it comes with age, that we start losing friends and family members on a rather steady pace.  It is still so difficult.  I lost so many people last year, I was hoping this year would be better.  However in the past week I lost my second Mom Peggy and a dear fellow artist Dixie Lee.  Peggy encouraged creativity throughout my life.  She taught me how to cook and sew.  She encouraged crafting as I watched her doing it in our home all while I was growing up.  I would not be the craft artist I am without knowing her.  I will miss you Mom but I know you are safe with Jesus now.

Dixie Lee was a clown on local Chicago television for many years and she was also a fine ceramist.  Our ceramics class is going to miss her smile and fine work.  God bless you Dixie Lee.  We love you and will think of you often.

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Recipe Alert–New Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot Cake is my favorite cake and what I always want for my birthday. This week was my son’s 33rd birtday. He and his family visited from Chicago and he also likes Carrot Cake. I made a new recipe that while not really diet or low cal, I did lower the fats by 25% plus added fiber and more fruit to make it as healthy a cake as possible. I didn’t calculate the calories, but I bet they are high. However, it is very filling so a little piece is all you will want anyway. I think it worked out to be a somewhat healthy alternative. So here is the recipe.

Crooked Creek Crafts’ Carrot Cake

2 C Chopped (in food processor) Baby Carrots
1 C Brown Sugar
1 C Sugar (You could substitute 1 cup Honey and 1/4 cup molasses for both sugars)
3 Lg Eggs
3/4 C Vegetable Oil
1 C Unbleached Flour
1 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 Sm can crushed Pineapple drained
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Seasalt
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
Zest of one medium orange
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1 C Golden Raisins or Craisins
1/2 C Chopped Pecans
1 C Cocoanut flaked

Heat Oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl blend carrots, sugars, eggs and oil. In small bowl blend flours, spices, and baking soda, salt, baking powder mix together. Stir into carrot mixture until well blended. Stir in cocoanut, orange juice and zest, pineapple, raisins and nuts. Pour batter into greased and floured 9×13 pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 Oz Cream Cheese softened
1/2 C unsalted Butter softened
1 tsp Orange zest
1 C Powdered sugar

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Dream Job

I started a new job a few months ago, but it is not really new. It is the same job I have done over and over and over again. Bookkeeping for a small business with limited funds, no benefits, and low pay. It is hard stressful work without promise or promotion available. I just don’t want this kind of job anymore. Just as I don’t want the big corporate accounting job anymore.

I started this blog when I broke away from this job the last time to start my crafts business and blog my arts, life and faith. I have, since starting this new version of my old job, gained 10 pounds, raised my blood pressure again, stopped going to the gym, stopped blogging and now feel trapped. I can’t afford not to work, but I can’t afford to work like this anymore either. So I have been pondering….what would my dream job be?

I have only one thing in my life outside of my home that I love to do; it is my ceramics class. I love the fellowship and artistic creativity. I just wish I could go more often and spend more time in a similar way. I first went to ceramics classes in the garage of a woman’s home in Minnesota and again later another in Caliornia. These women had a business in their home and their lives were full of ceramic molds, clay, shelves, kilns and artists running in and out all day long. While this would be too chaotic for my home, I would love to have a business doing this nearby. I would like a small store to sell end products, bisque, paint and glaze supplies, etc. and a studio for classes and of course the pouring and kiln room.

Then I thought, in addition I would like a potter’s studio and an art studio for painting classes and soft textiles class room or knitting, crochet, macrame, sewing, quilting and lastly furniture restoration room for restoring or repurposing old furniture. This studio-store-school-gallery would be my dream job. Yes there would still be the need for bookkeeping, but bookkeeping for my own business would not be so bad. Especially since I would hire someone else to do it! I wouldn’t want to be so caught up in the accounting of the business that I was once again taken away from the arts and crafts. Though having the business background would benefit me in making sure my bookkeeper was doing it well honestly.

As I prayed and pondered about this dream job and business, I also accepted my limited resources to create such a place. I thought, well there is a place similar to this, the Art Center of Manatee has classes and a store. So I am hoping for a job opening at the store. If they hired me, I could at least work around this type of place. Of course, if I should win the lottery, I would open my store, school, studio, gallery. I would offer low cost classes and supplies to help people to be able to afford to explore their creativity. I am not about making money, I am about making art and having the freedom to do this for a living. I don’t need a bunch of money to live, I just need enough to pay my bills and buy supplies. But I need a lot of freedom to express my inner artist and to pursue my crafts. I love so many crafts.

Dream Job….Crooked Creek Crafts…Studio, Gallery and Shop…Classes available, walk ins welcome.

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Happy Thanksgiving-November 24, 2011

Hello everyone! I am sorry I haven’t had time to write much lately. I have been working a lot and spending my spare time working on crafts for Christmas gifts. It is that time of year, when we all get so busy and stretched so thin. It is also the hardest time for me because I really miss my family and friends that are so far away. I was looking forward to co-hosting Thanksgiving today for my husband’s family and then I was suddenly out in the cold when plans were changed. I am not even baking a single pie or making my here-to-fore requested candied sweet potatoes or stuffing.

To top that off, I just found out I don’t even get Friday off work so I can’t even cook and bake tomorrow for my own Thanksgiving festivity with my husband. All these things together have left me a little depressed and lonely in spite of the happiness I have with my husband now. But this isn’t a day to whine or feel low. It is a day to be grateful and give thanks. I am thankful for my husband, his family, and our home. I am thankful I was able to visit both of my sons this year even if I can’t be cooking for them today. I am thankful for having a job even if it is only 35% of my prior income and with no benefits. I am thankful for regaining my health. I am grateful I have more years to live.

I do wonder though, what is my purpose now? What is the point of my life? I am not a mother anymore. My boys are all grown up and don’t need me anymore. I am not a driven ambitious business woman anymore, I just don’t have the hope or drive left after the downturn in the economy and the loss of my career. I have no hopes of owning that home I have always dreamed about. I have even less hope of becoming the writer I always imagined I would become. There is not a glimmer of a career ahead for me even though I give myself to my work.

It is a very personal thing to me regardless of the title or role I am performing. I am a creative soul and thereby try to be just as creative with my work. Creativity comes from deep inside and puts a piece of me into the work I do. I am disappointed that though I give my soul to my work, my employers always remind me that I am only a second or third class person as a clerk or accountant. I am not as important as the sales people who “make us the money”. Funny thing is, that two sales people left in the past two months and it wasn’t even a blip on the radar, but if I or either of the other two operations staff members were to leave the entire company would be in a tail spin and scrambling and it would take weeks or even months to recover and train a replacement. So why are we lowly underpaid support staff the ones that are treated as second or third class citizens unworthy of time off to be with family in spite of being the lowest paid employees? It is so unfair and yet we have no recourse. Almost all American companies treat us the same way. So I give up my time with family and give a piece of my soul away for a pittance because I lost my edge and forward mobility when I gave up my job, my home, and my family for my husband five years ago.

Yes, I am grateful for my husband, his family and our home; but, I have a certainty in my heart that we should have stayed in California five years ago. If we had we would not be buried under a mountain of debt without any hope of ever paying it off. I would have my career still and be earning at least three times what I am now. We would have been able to buy ourselves a home on a short sale with this housing burst. And we would be able to invite family and friends to our home and host a warm Thanksgiving celebration like I used to do.

Now, I feel like my life as I knew it is over. And the life I am left with is merely existing and aging toward death. No goals remain, no dreams remain, no hopes remain. It just is a day to day grind. Is this all there is? We live the first half of our life full of hopes and dreams and ambitions followed by years of realizing our ship never came in, we never did find our bliss or achieve those goals and now it is too late. What do I do now? Where do I go from here?

I don’t know the answer to what my tomorrows will bring. I do know that today, I will stay home and meditate and bake. I just don’t have it in me to be a guest at someone else’s Thanksgiving Dinner. I will cook and bake for a special dinner for two for tomorrow after work, while my husband visits his family today. I will have my own Thanksgiving Day creating yummy goodies as though my family and friends were here. I am grateful for the option to choose the way I want to spend my day.

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