Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas frog

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Just a Little Maintenance

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Just jumping on to do a little blog maintenance….

I’ve been taking a little break. It has been very busy around the Stormy Hen home….just not blog-worthy busyness, if you catch my drift. I hope to see you in early October.

Until then…..


Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Creativity—Nature Edition




baby robins 2

The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.

Psalm 145:9

Monday, June 10, 2013

Creating a Creative Life

Long ago in a land far away--Well, at least it feels like that—I was an unhappy stay-at-home wife and mother. Which is a topic in its self. Let’s just say that contentment eluded me because of wrong thinking. I decided that I needed to DO something for MYSELF; which led me to taking an art class. This is something that I find remarkable even to this day. ME taking an art class??? See, I never thought of myself as the creative type. However, I had a growing love of interiors. I would spend (too much) time poring over magazines and design books (this was long before the days of blogs, blogs, and more blogs)…..and my head was FULL of ideas. Unfortunately when I would try to put those ideas onto paper….it was one hot mess. So I nervously signed up for an art class. It was to be a small class with a maximum of 6 students. But it still took a LOT to convince myself that I could put my non-talent right there for the world to see. I was sure that EVERYONE else in the world was more creative than I. God was really gracious. REALLY GRACIOUS. First of all, my husband was glad that I was going to get out of the house. Second, no one else signed up for the class AND the teacher decided to teach it anyway….just for little ol’ me. Yep, private art lessons for a fraction of the price.

Things I learned:

*Draw what you see. NOT what you THINK you see.

This is what my teacher would tell me time and time again while I was using a picture from a book or magazine to practice drawing. Really, go look at a picture that has a chair or table in it. Most of the time you only see some of the legs of those objects in a picture. However when you are drawing using said picture as a guide, your mind wants to draw the legs that are missing.

*An artist is a person who creates. PERIOD.

One night in class, I made the statement: I am not an artist. I do not remember why I made the statement. All I remember is my teacher stopped me from finishing my grand speech and asked me exactly what I thought an artist was. I went on to explain that I thought an artist was a person who made a living selling their work….or at least had their work shown in a gallery some place. She went on to explain the above statement. I still have to remind myself of this….EVERY time I pull out my sketch book, paints, or ANY other “art” supplies.

*We were created in the image of the ULTIMATE Artist; therefore, we were born to create.

That creativity shows itself in many forms: writing, painting (on canvas, on walls, on furniture, on anything!), drawing, cooking, baking, sewing, gardening, and so, so much more!

*Draw EVERY day.

Draw anything. A paperclip, a flower, a key, recreate a picture from a book, sketch your interpretation of your favorite painting. ANYTHING. Just draw. This can be taken a step farther. Whatever your main creative focus is, do it everyday. Even if you can only do it for a few minutes.


Here is my very first complete sketch from that art class:

sketchbook 2000

Unfortunately, once the art studio closed and the classes ended—the teacher had hoped to reopen in another location, but it just didn’t work out—I apparently forgot all of the above lessons. Slowly I stopped drawing everyday and I stopped seeing myself as a creative person….an artist. Which led to less creativity in ALL areas of my life. Sewing became a chore. Cooking was no longer fun….just another CHORE. I only picked up a crochet hook when too many of my dishcloths developed holes. I pulled weeds from the flower bed to impress the neighbors, not for the joy of a beautiful, growing work of art. Which led me to a pretty boring—and frustrating—life.

I’m dusting off the ol’ sketch book…..pulling out the pastels that my hubby bought me for Christmas—that I was so surprised and happy to unwrap and still have only used twice!….scanning a few new cookbooks…..and going through my fabric stash. It’s time to start creating a more creative life. So my first goal is to draw something, anything everyday. I know from past experience that not only will this help me improve my drawing skills, it will also help me to add more creativity into the rest of my life. The more you create, the more creative you become! Join me?

Once I made the decision to create a more creative life, online articles on the subject just seemed to keep jumping out at me….more God moments. Here are a few links for you:

I leave you with a peek into my sketchbook…..imperfect lines, proportions and all. It is what happens when creativity is neglected. But I know with daily practice and patience, it can only get better!

sketchbook June913

One last, very important lesson that I learned in art class:

  • ALWAYS sign your work and date it once you have finished it. Yes, even the awful, nothing came out like you intended pieces. Especially those works! In the future, when you are/someone else is looking through your sketchbooks you/they will see just how much your practice paid off and/or you will be able to tell how the events of life change your art/perspective.

Until next time,


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Little Less Paper

Like many, I’ve been trying to use fewer of these:

paper towels

I liked the idea of “paperless paper towels”. HOWEVER…..I didn’t like the design of the ones I was seeing on Etsy and other blogland locations. They used snaps or Velcro to hold them together in a roll. Convenient to place on your current dispenser, but I didn’t like the idea of trying to avoid rubbing those fasteners while wiping up a mess. Yes, I’m anal that way! What to do? Design my own, of course! The bonus with my design? They also replace paper napkins, because they make a great casual napkin!

Okay, people….this is the UN-tutorial of how to make your own paperless towels.

paperless towels pileHere are a few I made for a friend. Yep….I took the great idea of using birdseye material like most of those I saw around blogland. It is absorbent and soft….it IS diaper material!

Cut your birdseye into squares. I cut mine into approximately 12” squares. It will shrink, so adjust your dimensions if you want the finished product to be larger. I thought it would be really easy to just take these lovely squares to my serger and finish them with a rolled  hem. HA! Let me tell you a little something about this material….IT LOVES TO UNRAVEL. Yep, it is a pain in the ol’ rear to work with…kind of. After MUCH experimenting, which may or may not have involved a few not so nice words, I found the easiest way to finish these was to take them to my good ol’ sewing machine and do a very narrow hem.

paperless towels closeup 

Just turn under about 1/4 inch and stitch. My secret—which if you look REALLY carefully, you might be able to see—is to use a very tiny zigzag stitch….TWICE around. On my machine it is Width=1.7 and Length=1.1. The first time around stitch where you are just catching the unfinished edge. Honestly you could stop here. They are utility towels, but did I mention, I’m a wee bit anal about things. Really…I spent MONTHS trying to find the perfect edge for these towels. Anyhow….If you choose the go around again, do your zigzag as close to the outside edge as you can. It makes for a nice finished edge. Now repeat the process until you have all the towels you need.

Now…. “just how am I going to get my family to use these lovely towels instead of paper towels?”, you may be asking yourself. You’re going to make it convenient by making a simple to use (and make) dispenser.

paperless towels holder 1Yes, it is made just like those grocery bag holders. So, honestly, you could just go buy one….but I wanted one with a little more style and a lot less cost. Plus they are super simple to make. I used some Moda toweling, but you can use any fabric that you like…or even a pretty dish towel. Just be sure to use something that matches your kitchen decor, because it will need to hang where it is seen.

I just eyeballed it when I cut the length. I wanted something about the same length as your average dishtowel. You can make it longer or shorter. Then I hemmed the ends and added some elastic…tighter on the bottom so the towels stay in and looser on the top so it is easy to fill your dispenser. Then sew your long ends together to form a tube. Once your tube is complete, cut a piece of ribbon about 6 to 8 inches long a stitch it onto the inside top of your tube to make your hanger. Then try to do a better job than I when trimming your strings. GEEZ!

paperless towel elastic opening   paperless towels ribbon hanger

Remember, this is a UN-tutorial. I don’t have pictures of the actual steps. Sorry.

Then fill your dispenser with your towels and hang.

paperless towels hanging hook

I used an oversized S-hook. It hangs from the top of my cabinet. This will not work if your cabinets go to the ceiling. You can put a nice decorative hook in your chosen location or perhaps a Command hook. Just make sure that you hang it in a convenient-to-use location.

 paperless towels dispenser

Mine is right beside the sink and near the actual paper towels. Yes, I still have the paper ones. However, instead of a roll a week, I usually only have to change the roll about once-per-month…sometimes not that often. Baby steps!


 Until next time…….