Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What is gratitude?

I know everyone is being affected by the state of our world of late. The people who risk their lives each day to provide a safe and free land for all of us in the US are ever present in my mind. For these people and their selfless acts of patriotism, I give thanks.

I don't know a single person who has not, in some way, been affected by the current economy. I have to honestly tell you that I had never, in my 50 years on this planet, been personally affected by a weak economy...until this past year. My husband spent a few months laid-off from his job for the first time in his 35+ working years. It's so easy to say you understand what it's like to have to cut back and do without, but you reach a whole new level of understanding when your income is cut to nothing. This Thanksgiving my husband is working. For his career and his dedication to our family and maintaining our life and lifestyle by working as hard as he does every day, I give thanks.

I have several friends who are going through a lay-off this very day. I can only say that I understand and that I send you prayers for better days and for an improvement in your situation VERY SOON!!! For all my friends and their support and care, I give thanks.

I can't write this post without mentioning those who are ill. It seems it is everywhere, and I have no doubt that the stress we feel as a world is at least in part, reason for these ills. I have wonderfully healthy children. My husband and I are healthy. And though I constantly take our good health for granted, I feel deeply that we are so fortunate to be well. For all of this, I give thanks.

In times such as these it is easy to forget that we all have much for which we should be grateful. For every ill or problem or adversity I face in my life, there are many others who struggle every day for the things that I so quickly forget about and lament. In my mind, true gratitude is that which we feel when times are tough. It is what we feel when it would be easier to feel sorry for ourselves or to give into the general concensus that all is bad in the world today. Gratitude is something we carry in our hearts in anticipation of things getting better and remembrance of things being worse.

Today I will work to stay in a state of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Stuff It!

I am forever amazed and excited at the fun things I come across out in blogland. Today, as I was surfing my regular haunts, I decided to take some time to see what was up with their favorites. Look what I found!!!

The International League of Championship Matchbox Stuffers . I had to go see what this was all about and now the creative brain juices are flowing. I have never seen so much fun packed into such a small place. It seems these crafty people take ordinary matchboxes, add their own special touch by decorating them, and cleverly stuff them with...STUFF!!! Lots of stuff! What a fun idea. Anyone who loves tiny bits and bobs will love these photos.
Here are a couple I whipped up this morning to give you an idea of what I'm talking about-one with a Christmas theme, and one Asian. Quick & easy, but I haven't stuffed them yet.

This got me thinking-are there a few of you out there who would be interested in doing a stuffed matchbox swap? I think it would be a blast and I would love to host the swap if there is enough interest. I think 10 would be a great number, so if you are interested, leave me a comment and tell your friends-let's have some fun!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Charmed I'm Sure

A few months back I was invited to join my first-ever charm swap. I have to tell you that it was a bit intimidating, as the wonderful chick who runs it is very particular. The list of rules and requirements was were scary at first, but after seeing the outcome from the group, it was obvious that they were doing top-notch work. The theme was "Circus" and we were to do whatever felt right within that definition. My charms started out at a sheet of nickel silver. From that, I cut a "+" shape (hard to describe) and with some hammering and coaxing, I formed them into the little metal boxes. The next step was to solder all the edges. Soldering is one of my great new loves and I would have been thrilled if they had all gone as easily as my prototype. Did I mention that I always make a prototype? Even in making ATCs, I start with one-work it all the way from start to finish and then proceed if it turns out well. So, after forming the boxes, I used a clipart image for the background and made the little Seal, stand and ball from Fimo clay. The clay required some gluing, so I got the chance to play with 2-part epoxy. After placing Mr. Seal in the box, it was finished off with glass and soldered, including a bail fashioned from wire. I LOVED the way this project turned out, and Amber Dawn

who hosted the swap, was very kind and encouraging. Her encouragement really gave me the push to do more and stretch artistically regarding charm-making. Thanks, Amber!!!

One of the requirements of the group is that you display the charm well, so I used a popcoen bag, folded and embellished with a Circus ticket and ribbon.

Pretty seals, all in a row. Pre-glass cover.

Here it is all finished and ready to send to Amber Dawn.

Since this swap, I have participated a 3 other charm swaps. I love the work I receive in return and I am always blown away by the creativity of people in our community. What a fun way to not only get your creativity on, but to have goodies coming in the mail!!!!