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Morning Coffe Quotes for 1/30/17

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - photo by Cindy Caraway
 “The shallower the brook, the more it babbles.”
— Indonesian Proverb

“Courage is as often the outcome of despair as hope; in the one case we have nothing to lose, in the other all to gain.”
— Diane de Poitiers

“Nobody believes the official spokesman... but everybody trusts an unidentified source.”
— Ron Nessen

“It's not about what it is, it's about what it can become.”
— Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss

“I count myself lucky, having long ago won a lottery paid to me in seven sunrises a week for life.”
— Robert Brault

“Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.”
— Susan Scarf Merrell

“People are best convinced by things they themselves discover.”
— Ben Franklin

“Two thoughts cannot occupy the mind at the same time, so the choice is ours whether or not our thoughts will be constructive or destructive.”
— Betty Sachelli

“We make way for the man who boldly pushes past us.”
— Christian N. Bovee

“Ability is a wonderful thing, but its value is greatly enhanced by dependability. Ability implies repeatability and accountability.”
— Robert Heinlein

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.”
— Og Mandino

“Knowing is not understanding. There is a great difference between knowing and understanding: you can know a lot about something and not really understand it.”
— Charles F. Kettering

“He that plants trees loves others besides himself.”
— Thomas Fuller

“Where there is strife, there is pride,
but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”
— Proverbs 13:10

“The uncommitted life is not worth living. We either believe in something or we don't ... Commitment is willingness to stand up and be counted. It is a human must for young and old, for black and white, for Christian, Moslem and Buddhist. It is skill plus goodwill. It is a thoughtful decision on the part of an individual to participate passionately in the events of his time ... Commitment will bring sadness as well as joy, loneliness as well as friendship, but whichever it is, it brings excitement and demands the use of all a person's resources. Even beyond this, it increases our capacity for the generous enjoyment of life and colors all we do with a concern for others ... With commitment, we can move mountains. Without it we cannot move a molehill.”
— Pearl S. Buck

“Reason can get you to probability, but only commitment can get you to certainty.”
— Timothy Keller

“You don't seem to realize that a poor person who is unhappy is in a better position than a rich person who is unhappy, because the poor person has hope. He thinks money would help.”
— Jean Kerr

“Very few men are wise by their own counsel, or learned by their own teaching.”
— Ben Jonson

*Just so you know, I cannot take credit for selecting these quotes. They are selected and distributed weekly by Bob Varga of Johns Creek, GA and have been since 1997. These are forwarded to me from a family member. I enjoy sharing them with you here but I will find out where you need to go to subscribe to his weekly email and post the link for you. Enjoy!


Morning Coffee Quotes

Photo by Cindy Caraway
"You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving."
— Amy Carmichael

"It is in the shelter of each other that people live."
— Irish Proverb

"It is possible to proceed perfectly logically from an inaccurate premise to an inaccurate and unfortunate conclusion."
— Donald Rumsfeld

"Remember that guy that gave up? Neither does no one else."
— Unknown

"No man is a failure who has friends."
— Clarence Oddbody (George's angel) in 'It's a Wonderful Life'

"It is the privilege of wisdom to listen."
— Oliver Wendell Holmes

"I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."
— Mahatma Gandhi

"If you’re not accountable in life that means ultimately that your life doesn’t count."
— R.C. Sproul

"The only thing you should ever quit is giving up!”
— Steve Pfiester

"Be not disturbed at being misunderstood; be disturbed at not understanding."
— Chinese Proverb

"We have put so much emphasis on avoiding evil that we have become virtually blind to the endless opportunities for doing good. We have defined holiness through what we separate ourselves from rather than what we give ourselves to. I am convinced that the great tragedy is not the sins that we commit, but the life that we fail to live."
— Erwin McManus, 'Seizing Your Divine Moment'

"Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted."
— Buddha

"Once upon a time, the Reindeer took a running leap and jumped over the Northern Lights.  But he jumped too low, and the long fur of his beautiful flowing tail got singed by the rainbow fires of the aurora.  To this day the reindeer has no tail to speak of. But he is too busy pulling the Important Sleigh to notice what is lost. And he certainly doesn’t complain.  What's your excuse?
— Vera Nazarian, 'The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration'

"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from."
— Andrew S. Tanenbaum

"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
— C.S. Lewis

"Never quit - least of all out of fears, anger, opinions of others, past failures or self-pity."
— Coe D. Behr


Getting the studio organized

So, as you could probably tell from my post a few days ago, my studio is a veritable hodge-podge of furniture and DIY storage. Are you looking for pretty pictures of an IKEA craft studio where everything is painted the perfect shade of pink with little tags attached to wicker baskets and specialty shelving holding a myriad of supplies meticulously arranged according to size, shape, color and use? Sorry. Nope. Not here.

Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge those fine people with perfect studios but when it comes down to it, if someone said, "Hey, here's $5000 to make your studio pretty and perfect." I would say, "Thank you, but I'd rather take that money and my hubby on a really great vacation to someplace tropical." It's not that I don't like spending money - I just don't like spending money on fancy furniture. A bookcase is a bookcase is a bookcase. It doesn't matter to me what color it is or who designed it as much as whether it fits in my space and functions adequately like a bookcase should. Why spend $200 on a bookcase when a $10 one from the thrift store does exactly the same thing?

I guess that's how I feel about my studio space. I like it that I have a bunch of hodge-podge furniture with nicks and scratches and peeling paint somehow pieced together to form this space that acts as a hub for both crafting and running an online business. And now that it's almost organized (still have some stuff to move out to new homes), I am starting to feel like I can breathe in here! Creativity and claustrophobia are NOT happy bedfellows!

So, I am going to share with you some more photos of my studio space today - such as it is. I hope you enjoy this little tour. :)

I'll start with the only in-progress photo I managed to take. I was moving the 24-drawer steel cabinet and had to pile the drawers someplace. It's a heavy cabinet even without the drawers in it!

This is what I now see when I walk into the studio... it's so wonderful to have a clear path into the room. Often, in the past, I felt like I was stepping through an obstacle course! The table is gone, the chair has been moved into the center of the room and a side table with storage inside sits along side the chair. If I want a table to work on, I have a 4' x 2' folding table I can bring out as needed - actually, you might notice it leaning against the dresser on the lower left. Anyway, this open floor plan means I can set up the space as I need to.

Here is my hodge-podge north wall. But it holds lots of fun stuff! Some of this still needs to be relocated or sold so I can move my favorite books back in. I mean, it is a bookcase, after all...

Now, I only show this photo because I have not been able to actually use this door for a VERY long time - I had a folding desk in front of it piled high with stuff. Stuff is gone, desk is gone, door can open and close - AMAZING!

On the east wall is a large vintage dresser and on top, a collection of baskets, bins and drawers that work amazingly well as a unit. 

Here's the entrance to the walk-in closet (still a disaster! I'll get to that soon...) and my photo/shipping area.

And my standing desk...

So, the 24-drawer cabinet got moved to the corner along with another smaller steel cabinet. I know you still can't see it! I have a rolling desk chair that I'm not convinced should go away quite yet so that is sitting in the space between the desk and the cabinet. On the chair are boxes with "overstock" from the clean-out that I will be posting for sale on Etsy and eBay. Hopefully, all that stuff will be on its way to new homes and I will finally be able to take a picture of the cabinet in all its glory! :)

You might also notice some empty wall space! Holy cow! Room to grow...

This photo just shows off the latest piece of artwork to come my way! This shrine was made by my good friend Stephanie Failmezger - I traded a woven necklace for it. She did a series of shrines dedicated to threatened/endangered species - this one is dedicated to sea urchins whose bright orange roe is considered a delicacy and thus, over-harvested.

Here is my shrine space, of sorts. I don't sit in front of it and meditate or anything but I do love lighting candles and all of the objects mean something to me. Besides the pillar candles (which I buy only at thrift stores), I also have 6 various holders where I burn tea lights. Needless to say, I go through LOTS of tea lights!

This fountain, on semi-permanent loan from my friend Mary, is one of my all-time favorite things!

Above the candles, is a display with rocks, bones, feathers and mementos of people, places and events. I used to have two of these (remember that newly-empty wall space?) but culled things down to fit into one unit - I even have some empty spaces for new artifacts!

Here's a shot along the west wall.

Here, I used the space behind the door to hang up my ukuleles and Irish whistles (in the Owl bag). I have actually started practicing again! Easy access makes all the difference!

The side table next to the chair holds my yoga mat and weights. Since clearing out the space, I have room to do morning stretches in privacy...

... except for the dogs staring at me! The chair is temporarily covered with stuff I had on hand. I would like to make a cool patchwork cover for it - we'll see... Anyway, I had thought to ban the dogs from the chair because of the dog hair and the digging but couldn't do it. They seem to be happiest hanging around while I work and I like having them there.

So, I am far from done. As I said, there are still a few errant boxes of stuff hanging around and the closet is in dire need of a good hoeing-out but it's SOOO much nicer than it was.

I'm not sure why I felt the need to share this on my blog. Maybe some of you will find inspiration in my space and realize you don't have to have thousands of dollars and made-to-order storage to build a space you enjoy being and creating in. If you surround yourself with things you love that inspire you - I believe you'll have the beginnings of a space in which your creativity will thrive.

'Til next time! :)


Studio re-do (again!) and organization

So, it's actually been suggested that I bury my studio in stuff because I love to organize crap. This may actually be true... I have often thought that it would be fun to help people clear out clutter and get what remains organized - sort of like Clean Sweep (one of my all-time favorite shows - I miss it!). A big problem with that is I would end up bringing half of their stuff home! Also, I could only do it if there were a guarantee that I would not have to clean up anyone's filth (like you see on Hoarders... (I have tried to watch that show... can't do it! It makes me nauseous just thinking about it *gag*).

Anyway... I decided to tackle my studio mess this past week. I've been psyching myself up for it since the New Year and my resolution to put a moratorium on buying craft supplies or vintage stuff. Seriously, I AM NOT GOING TO BUY ANY ART/CRAFT SUPPLIES OR INVENTORY FOR MY ETSY SHOP IN 2017!! I'm doing my best to ignore the little voice in my head saying "yeah... right..."

I did take some "before" photos - I had already cleaned off the studio table, so they were "slightly-less-than-before" photos but I think you will get the idea re: the amount of stuff I have in a relatively small room.

Here is my table - usually piled so high with stuff that I can't see the top of it - amazingly clutter-free! Next to it is one of my favorite pieces of studio furniture: a 24-drawer steel cabinet I bought when a local store was clearing out their surplus office furniture. A literal steal at just $40 which I happily paid and whistled all the way home!

Here's a shot of it (or what you can see of it over the box of crap sitting in front of it!):
The drawers are color-coded and stuffed to the gills with pretty things like ribbon, lace, silk flowers, beads, etc.

 Here is a shot of the North wall - again, piled high with stuff. You couldn't even walk through because of boxes on the floor. I'm such a slob...

 Here is the walk-in closet. I keep inventory overflow in here as well as craft show stuff (tent, displays, etc). It's always a bit of a mess. Anytime I need the tent (which leans against one of the back corners) I have to move 10 things out of the way first. *sheesh*

 Here is my photo and shipping station. It also looks pretty good because I'd cleaned a bit before deciding to take some pics. Underneath are bins with shipping supplies, a file cabinet where I keep my accounting info (one thing I DO keep organized! Must be my banking background...) and a plastic bin where I keep the cordless drill, staple gun and yarn winder.

 My desk, elevated so I have to stand - it's easier on my arthritic body than slouching in a desk chair.

The "dog chair". Our dogs, Freckles and Ogie, like to hang out in the studio when I'm in there and this chair is their domain. It's a mess! Under the cover are layers of dog hair that I couldn't get out of the upholstery if my life depended on it. I threw some fabric over for a make-shift cover but it's all dug up - my dogs like to dig! Because of that, the seat cushion needed replacing a while ago - it's now just a pillow in a quilted sham.

Stuffed in next to the chair are my ukulele's which I never play because I have to relocate the dogs and the chair to get to them. Not conducive to practicing...

 I did finally get Ogie to lift his head to say "Hi" but, as you can tell, he wasn't too thrilled about it. He's much friendlier in person. :)

So, those are my "before" photos. Stay tuned for some "in-progress" as well as some "almost-after" to come later!

See you soon... :)


Crochet Flowers and the Beginnings of a Scrumble - just a few pics

 I have been making time each morning to do an hour of freeform crochet. Sometimes I also find time in the evenings but if I consciously carve out time in the mornings, I'm sure to do some "making" every day. I decided to check out a couple of crochet books by Nicky Epstein from the local library. I'm starting with "Crocheted Flowers" and simply going through the book and trying every flower I find interesting. Last night I started embellishing - the makings if a scrumble!


Pic of the Day - Yarn Wound

Actually, it's Pics of the Day because I liked them both! I'm so in love with the colors in this new lot of yarns I bought yesterday. Arranged in this vintage tin, I could probably just sit and look at them all day! But it's wound and ready to go so I guess I know what I'm going to be doing to tonight after work... Yay! :)


Pretty Yarn and a new Crochet Hook

I've been doing lots of freeform crochet lately. None of it (thus far) is destined to become a finished project - just practicing. Something I began to notice during my practice was that my hand and arm would get really tired and often hurt after crocheting. Since I have arthritis in my neck which affects my right arm and crafting ability (I can no longer do bead embroidery - holding that tiny needle just about KILLS me!) the pain was not unexpected. An ergonomic crochet hook was fast becoming a necessity!

My search for the right hook lead me to my local indie yarn shop - Yarn Soup - owned by my friend Sara. She let me try out a couple different hooks and I found one I liked - a 3.5mm Addi hook! I think it will work great for me and make crocheting WAY more comfortable. I also found some beautiful yarn being sold in luscious color collections. I bought two "Beautiful Soup" collections from Wonderland Yarns: Pot No. 2 and Pot No. 8. Not only did I find exactly the new hook I needed and some incredible yarn to create with, it also felt pretty dang awesome to support a small local shop. Please always try to shop small and local - the extra cost is SOOOO worth it. Cities and towns with small independently owned shops are simply nicer places to live.

Here are some pics of my treasures - can't wait to get started!