Spring is upon us…and so is tornado season

 

I finished my first Idyll-Wilde projects last week!!! I finished 25 tote bags and I got to use the serger for the first time and I became a beast with the iron. I love working there on such neat projects. They are headed to Montgomery on Friday for Southern Makers. I’m really excited to see how we do.

It was a weird and busy week. The Easter clean up is almost through. Sunday school is winding to and end and the Children’s Summer Series and Vacation Bible School are taking off. I have been attempting to clean off my desk and get as much done as possible on summer events like ordering banners and posters and sending off the advertising postcards.

I have been trying to appreciate the beautiful things, like these lovely flowers:

It has been a stormy few days, but hopefully, if we make it through tonight the sun will come out tomorrow! 

My other latest obsession is bitstrips…yeah…I love them

I hope everyone has a lovely and safe evening.

 

Jessie

 

Beauty is in the eye of….

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What is beautiful? What is beauty? How do we define it? How do we standardize it? Is it all in the eye of the beholder? When I think of beauty I do not think of super models, or the latest concealer that can hide my various facial flaws. I think of a three year old girl, asking me if I thought she was beautiful.

quotes about beauty » Quotes Orb - A Planet of Quotes

Let me back up a bit, I am probably not a good judge of conventional beauty standards. I was home schooled. I was not referred to as a pretty princess as a child and I have never bought a copy of a fashion magazine, in fact I do not understand the motivation for doing so. I don’t typically buy into the dress to impress mantra. I make or buy clothes because they make me happy and are comfortable and practical. I try and combine all three into every piece I wear. T-shirts and jeans, skirts, and tank tops, flowy dresses and real cotton pieces are what I wear. These things make me feel both comfortable and pretty. I am in a simple person in the wardrobe department. I don’t have  a problem with people that take more pride in their appearance or take time to be trendy, I’m just not really one of them.

 I think bacteria can be startlingly stunning in the right context. 

However I do have a problem with a culture that pushes absurd beauty standards on a three year old child. There are a ton of people criticizing society for “unfair” beauty standards. I see no point in adding to that. I would rather discuss what influences our idea of what is beautiful. So what is beautiful? To me, beauty is the beach, at night or at dawn, or in a hurricane or in the middle of the day. The beach is the pillar of what I believe is beautiful. Beauty is a flower filled uncut lawn. Beauty is watching a new mom and dad hold their baby for the first time. To be beautiful I believe something should illicit an emotional response or a feeling within us of joy or peace or even terror. I don’t think that supermodels with dull expressions are particularly beautiful. Some are attractive, but that is a different response. Curious children learning to discover are beautiful.

What is beautiful to you? I think everyone has a starting point in their life where they saw something and were awed by the beauty of it. I remember looking at the moon at two years old and being in awe. The next beautiful thing I remember was the Florida keys when I wasn’t much older than that. I think that is why the beach is so awe inspiring and beautiful to me. It helped shaped my perspective of the concept of beauty.

 

So what is beautiful to you? Why is it beautiful?

J

 

Celebrate Good Times! Come on!

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Good morning!

 

Today I am doing things a little bit differently in celebration of my 100th blog post. I want to celebrate where this blog started and how far it has come since then. I started out last year on Blogger, but quickly moved to wordpress.  I started out with a post on New Years Resolutions ( which seems fitting for a new blog). I quickly moved on to other topics close to my heart like how to be a conscientious crafter,  or the tale of my married life. Check out some of those old posts. They are pretty good.

Today I am going to answer a few questions about me and introduce the new Contact Me page. I’ve had some questions about how to contact me lately, and this is the way to do it!

Now on to the questions! Some of these have been asked on this blog through comments, some have been asked by others in my life and some are just fun.

What am I going to do with all the stuff I make?

Well that is a good question, I mostly give it to other people when the mood strikes me, but I am planning to try First Fridays or Sheffield’s First Saturdays in the summer as well as opening up an Etsy shop again with a different focus and much more planning.

Why do I blog?

I have been blogging a very, very long time.  I started out on Pleonast. This was a very long time ago ( as in my last entry was in 2008) I stopped posting on there as did most of my friends and I stopped blogging until 2013 when I tried Blogger. The rest is history. I blog because I need an outlet for my thoughts and creative endeavors that no one in my life here much cares about. Though as I work at Idyll-Wilde and meet more creative people I think I may have found a few like minded souls. However, I will still blog.

What do I want to do with myself?

Hell if I know…..But seriously. I love my jobs these days. I love to sew with Idyll-Wilde and cut fabric and put on buttons and learn new tecniques. I love working with the people and children at Trinity. In my perfect world I think my job at Trinity would become full time and I could do my crafty stuff on the side.

And now for the fun facts!

John, Faith and I

I am the oldest of three children.

When I was a child I would only eat grape flavored popsicles or drink grape flavored koolaid….and not much has changed.

I love to fish!

I love the beach! As in one day I will be a hippie in a house on the beach selling hemp products.

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I have been married almost 3 years.

I am a strong advocate of the love everybody mentality.

I love to catch reptiles (and release of course). I love snakes, and lizards and turtles!

I am my biggest critic. I need to work on it.

I hope you have all enjoyed learning a little bit more about me and my blog. Have a wonderful weekend!

Jessie

 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Creative Genius

Positively Smitten Magazine

Paint

By Jessie Stracener

It seems to me that the creative process gets a lot of press. We create thing all the time, mostly without any celebration of the process or of ourselves for having created. Women create a look; they put together a style of their own before they ever leave the house most days. That, whether we realize it or not, is a neat and creative endeavor that should be celebrated. We create when we put together lunch, or dinner, or bake those awesome cookies. There is the creative process as the world sees it, and then there is what I do to get back into the swing of craftiness or to generate awesome ideas after having something of a creativity block.

When I decided that I wanted to write on this topic my first thought was to Google “creative process”. Turns out I needed a stout cup…

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Unleashing our Inner Creative Genius 2014 Part 3

Good morning!

Today marks the end of my posts on the creative process which you can find here and here, at least for now. This series is also featured on Positively Smitten’s website. Check them out, they are quite inspiring. I hope that I have been able to inspire you to create something awesome!

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Step 7: Listen to music!
Listen to your old favorites, or try out a new Pandora or YouTube playlist. Music is such a great inspirational tool. When I get in a funk there is nothing better than singing at the top of my lungs something horribly terribly awful. It’s great. Sing in the shower. Sing in the rain. Sing in your car. Just listen to something funky and get inspired.

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Step 8: Spend some time with Wee ones!
Children are by far the most inspirational beings that you could ever come across. They don’t have the filters that we develop as we age. They say what they mean. They will tell you when something is beautiful or ugly or just plain boring. Kids really are an inspiration. They see the world through lenses that we cannot. Adults are jaded. We have been disappointed and learned to be afraid to be ourselves. Most kids, they don’t know how to be anything but themselves. That is one of the most awesome creative things that we can be! Just be yourself.

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Step 9: Carry a notebook!
I have a little notebook that I carry everywhere to jot down the ideas for blog posts or draw out embroidery ideas or whatever comes to mind before I forget it. This is a very convenient and easy way to stay creative. I’m sure that you have been at work or the grocery store or even just out running errands and had a truly awesome idea, only to forget it by the time you make it home again. Write all of that stuff down. Your creative genius should be heard.

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These three are truly creative. You should see the messes they make.

Step 10: Surround yourself with creative people!
I never feel more creative than sitting in a local coffee shop with a bunch of other people working on writing, or making, or creating something. I think that is the appeal of Starbucks or small town organic feeling coffee shops. They are cozy, there are couches and hang out spots that countless people before you have been inspired in. When I am sitting in the cabin with my other Idyll-Wilde co-workers hand stitching, or sewing on tags, or buttons or embroidery and we are talking about ideas and life, which inspires me. If you don’t have creative friends then you have to go out and find some. If you do have creative friends, don’t be intimated by them, try and learn from them. Surely they know how to do something that you would like to be able to do and I am willing to bet that you know how to do something that they would love to learn. I was just properly instructed on how to load a bobbin by someone that is so much better at sewing than me, but instead of thinking I was silly, she was happy to help me learn. The best crafty people want to share that with others, and in knowledge sharing we feed off of each other’s creativity and come up with the best ideas. I don’t personally know any other bloggers, but I can only imagine how neat it would be to have a friend who loved this as much as I did to bounce ideas off of.

So what steps do you take to unleash you inner creative genius? What do you do when you are feeling creative or to work up to a day of crafting, writing, blogging, sewing, or other creative endeavor?

I hope you all have a lovely week!

Holy moly week

It has been a long, terrible, awful, beautiful few weeks. Long is Holy Week, being at work more than at home, being kept awake by sheer caffeine volume. Long is coming home after only being there a tiny little bitty bit. It has been….up and down.

I’ve boiled 15 dozen eggs:

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I’ve made some (not as good as I wanted) scones:

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And I have experienced the up and down temperatures. Up nad down and up and down and rain and dry and I am ready for it to even out. But here is a little beautiful nature I got a shot of during the less awful weather.

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And I have been working on a shorts refashion, which is actually finished now, but the tutorial is in the works.

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Next on my list is this awesome crafty project.

seven thirty three - - - a creative blog: Altoids Tin {Craft Round-Up}

What have you all been working on?

Have a lovely day.

J

What are we here for?

We are not called to be comfortable. Those are powerful words spoken to me by a generous, and loving woman.

I love my job, actually these days I love both of them. I have been criticized, mocked, under paid, and under appreciated, but I still love my job. It is difficult. It is obnoxious. It is political. It is joyous. It is rewarding.

The church is a community and that is one of the biggest reasons that I love it. Children are at the foundation of any community, and that is where I get to focus my energies. The church is built upon the idea that we are to love our neighbors as God loved us and more than we love ourselves. That is the foundational principle of the body and I can support that wholeheartedly. Though I realize it is easier said that done.

Last night I attended the Maundy Thursday Service at Trinity, with foot washing and altar stripping. I had no real idea of what I was getting myself into. It was powerful. The sermon was given by our own Deacon Catherine. It was inspirational. She gave a beautifully crafted sermon on the essence of what we are called to be; Servants. We are called to serve our fellow man. Foot washing may seem strange. It seems strange and uncomfortable even to me, but it is a symbolic of the service that we should give to one another and in remembrance of Christ washing the feet of his disciples. It is such an awesome symbol. The message was given, the feet were washed, the altar was stripped, a vigil was kept in the garden…and today is good Friday and Sunday will be Easter. We are not called to be comfortable. We are called to feed the hungry, minister to the afflicted, shelter and care for our brother and sisters, guide our children and  most of all to love one another.

It is easy for me to love the children. They are young and innocent and so loving themselves. It is much more trying to show love to grumpy coworkers, stressed out husbands, and erratic family members. Where do we draw the line between love and letting ourselves be stepped upon? Should there even be a line?

I confess that I have a hard time being idle most of the time. At work today I finished something my boss had started because she left it and I had finished what I was supposed to be working on and I just couldn’t do nothing.  I just can’t be idle. This leads me to be not very understanding of people that are idle. Anyone that I feel does not contribute to society is someone that I have a hard time tolerating and showing love and compassion towards. That is one of my biggest personal failings. I have a hard time sympathizing with the jobless, or the homeless. I get so caught up in the way I feel, how tired I am, how put upon I am that I have a hard time finding some compassion for the misfortunes of others.

I was reminded last night to get over myself. Be selfless. Love others. Show compassion. Love, with my whole heart. Love others, love myself; these are hard things…

But we are not called to be comfortable.

 

 

Scrap Stash Musings: Foray into Applique

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Last week we made a bag. Here is the tutorial

This week I am going to dip my toes into the world of applique. To use up those scraps and add something nice to this bag that I made for the sister.

1. I first decided on what scrap fabric I was going to use, and then decided on a cat. I just free hand cut the cat out. If there is a lot of interest I will make a pattern for the cat.

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2. After cutting the cat out I went ahead and put a face on the kitty cat!

Here is the nose and mouth:

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This is just an upside down felt heart, and a hand stitched mouth.

Here are the whiskers:

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I free hand stitched the whiskers

And finally the eyes:

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I went with a yellow and green theme here.

Here is the finished face:

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3. Next, I cut out the piece of Heat and bond lite and ironed our cat down.

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4. The last part is the trickiest. I had to pick a stitch and stitch the cat to the bag. I picked a loose zig zag.

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Here is the finished product. What do you think?

J

 

Unleashing our Inner Creative Genius 2014 Part 2

Good morning!

As I mentioned before I am posting a series of posts about creativity and how we are inspired and what inspires me. The first post in the series can be found here. I hope that today’s steps toward creativity are helpful to you!

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Step 4: Pinterest
If the coffee, fresh air and blog surfing just aren’t helping try Pinterest! Now, this is not a license to copy every idea you see from Pinterest, but it is a great place to be inspired. If you just can’t seem to get in the crafting mood, go there. Check it out. It is full of great ideas and tons of resources for the cleverly crafty mind. I love to discover new pinners that inspire and new boards to follow. When I have a blogging topic that I want to work on I usually make a board to go with it. And don’t forget to pin those blog posts that you find inspiring.

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Step 5: A Clean Workspace
Alright, so I am the worst about this. I literally have fabric, buttons, beads and every other crafty implement to be imagined everywhere in my house. Granted most of it is semi organized, but my sewing station needs to be put back into a semblance order. Having a clean, organized, crafting space is a must. I know that I am much more inclined to make something new if I don’t feel I have to dread the clean-up process from 10 old projects. Don’t let that stuff pile up! If you just can’t finish right now have a place to put the projects that you are working on. If you have a ton of drafts of blog posts just waiting to be finish, prioritize and finish. Get help with one of the tons of blog calendars out there. I am starting the planning out process more firmly now and I love having an idea of what I want to right about weeks in advance.

Step 6: Try something new or finish something old!
These may sound like conflicting ends of the spectrum but hear me out. Every time I set a project aside when I come back to it that is the most satisfying feeling in the world to complete it. When I am stuck, I find that trying something new is great for inspiring me to do things that I might not otherwise do with the crafting mediums I normally use. Go try a different coffee than you normally drink or write on a topic that you don’t normally write on or go someplace that you have never been in your familiar home town. Try out that new restaurant or go to a different grocery store. Just get out of your comfort zone. Watch a movie that you originally wrote off as being terrible. Try a new author. If you don’t like it then you can always go back to the old favorites.

So what inspires you out of your creative funks?

Crafting update and Range excursions

Coffee is important. Everyone should have some. I did something wild and crazy and unlike me yesterday. I went to the firing range with the husband. It was hot and sunny and loud. Steven was in need of some practice before range week at academy, which is coming up next week. We have a strange marriage for LEO’s in that most things that we can do together, we do. For instance, I came with him when he ran the practice course for academy with his department training officer. I was the one in the squad car that Steven was pushing with her foot controlling the brake. Yesterday I watched him reacquaint himself with his duty weapon. His night shift partner is an awesome competitive marksman and was there to give pointers and such.

They worked on accuracy and stances and general methodology of how to hit the target. I don’t have a fear of firearms or loud noises so it was actually a fairly pleasant experience, other than the rowdy ROTC people trying to recruit hapless high school students in the background. We got to share the range yesterday. The wind was blowing so it was actually fairly pleasant. I sat in the grass and wrote and watched.

This has been a good crafting week. I have had a lot of fun with it. I am actually getting near the end of my scrap fabric box. I got to move them into a box about half the original size.

Here are some of the fun things I worked on this week.

Hand embroidered coffee cozies. These were a lot of fun.

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Cute fabric flower arrangement

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And I made this neat bag for my sister earlier this week.

 

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Now I just have to decide what to work on next week.

Have a wonderful Palm Sunday!

J