The creativity of this Corbin girl

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Geometric sapphire and copper hued earrings I created tonight

I’m not the most organized person in the world but as the little sign my mom gave me many moons ago says “Creative minds are seldom tidy.” I think most crafters would agree with me that sometimes daily tidying falls by the wayside when there’s a new idea in the head that must be brought to life!

One of my very first earring designs.

One of my very first earring designs.

For the past month or so I’ve been creating original beaded earrings and pendants for my own personal use. I’ve posted pictures on social media sites sharing my creations and received lovely, positive feedback. I’ve gifted a few pairs of earrings to my mother and more pairs to a friend and they’ve appreciated my creations. A couple of days ago I decided to finally start listing my earring creations on my Etsy store called CorbinGirl in the hopes that I could share the jewelry in more than just pictures.

Blue and white ginger jar style earrings.

Blue and white ginger jar style earrings.

Glass pearl chandelier style earrings.

Glass pearl chandelier style earrings.

Red and white glass pearls with leaf medallions.

Red and white glass pearls with leaf medallions.

Turquoise, purple and orange beaded dangles

Turquoise, purple and orange beaded dangles

I create jewelry because if I don’t, I’ll go insane trying to keep all these new ideas in my head. I opened a shop to share what I make with the world and while it may someday be profitable, that’s not my main goal right now. I’ve listed all my earrings at extremely low prices, just enough to cover shipping costs, because all I really want is for people to wear and enjoy my beaded creations. So far I’ve sold one pair and that makes me blissfully happy!

Writing my earring listings on Etsy is a learning process and I’m tweaking things as I strive to achieve a polished online storefront. Eventually I’ll have it all figured out and the process will go smoother but until then, I’ll just keep working happily away in my creative laboratory/craft room expressing new aspects of the multifaceted Corbin girl that I am!

Sweetness on Earth Day (recipe included)

A heart-shaped glimpse of blue sky this afternoon.

A heart-shaped glimpse of blue sky this afternoon.

Today was Earth Day and while it started out overcast and rainy, it was still beautiful. I added my own touch of sweetness to the day by baking a fresh batch of chocolate chip orange bread and that made the house smell amazing! I’ve included the recipe at the end of this post.

Chocolate chip orange bread, yum!

Chocolate chip orange bread, yum!

When I completed my freelance work for the day, I happily sat down at my craft desk and finished up the pair of earrings I started working on yesterday evening.

Pink and burgundy glass pearl earrings.

Pink and burgundy glass pearl earrings.

I then started working on a new earring design and as I did, the sun started to break through the clouds. I took that as Mama Nature’s approval of what I was doing and I smiled as I continued to fiddle with beads, findings and wires. Time flew rather quickly and it was soon time to head to the school to pick up my daughters. Jordan was staying late to practice for choral solo fest and was going to meet her sister Jaycie and I in the gym.

When I arrived at the school and snatched a nice close spot, I stepped out of my car and was overjoyed to see more breaks in the clouds and glimpses of blue sky. One of these blue sky breaks reminded me of a heart and I took it as Mama Nature’s way of saying that when you love Mother Earth, she loves you back. Along with the blue sky, I also saw see numerous signs of spring. The cherry trees were on the verge of opening blossoms and several clumps of daffodils by the front entrance of the school were budding or already blooming.

Daffodils soon to open.

Daffodils soon to open.

Blooming daffodils

Blooming daffodils

My daughters and I headed back home and the sky turned gray once more but that’s okay. Rain is necessary for reviving the earth and restoring life to grass, trees, flowers and all living things. We must pay attention to, honor, help, preserve and protect this planet every day, not just on Earth Day because it’s the only planet we have. I hope that my daughters and all future generations get to experience the amazing sweetness of nature and life.

*****

Orange Bread with Chocolate Chips

Modified from the recipe for Fresh Orange Muffins found on Food.com. I removed the butter and replaced it with yogurt and applesauce. I also reduced the sugar because the orange and orange juice are already quite sweet.

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange, unpeeled, quartered, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup vanilla or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (I use Motts Natural applesauce or homemade)
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees, spray an 8×8 cake/brownie pan with non-stick spray, set aside
  • Put orange quarters in food processor with orange juice and process until pureed
  • Add egg, yogurt and applesauce into processor and blend until combined. Pour into large bowl.
  • In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients then add to orange mixture.
  • Stir to combine. Add chocolate chips if desired and mix them in.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until top is just turning brown. Let stand until cool enough to eat. (I always eat one piece warm from the oven)
  • Place orange bread in fridge and enjoy cold or heat for a few seconds in microwave. Enjoy!

 

Can’t quite do it all…

The beautiful day as I drove out of Massachusetts.

The beautiful day as I drove out of Massachusetts.

While I do my best to get as much done as possible, I just can’t quite do it all in a day, or in several days sometimes. I wish I could post in my blog every single day but it just doesn’t happen sometimes. When I don’t post, I don’t get traffic, simple as that.

I had freelance writing jobs that took priority over creative writing during my recent trip to New England but I was at least able to get one new post up about my Amesbury evening wanderings. My trip was full of several more new adventures that I will soon blog about but I couldn’t get to it on the trip. Just not enough hours in a day!

I’m back in Upstate NY and catching up on work amid caring for my daughters, tending my dog, cats and new fish, keeping up a house and sketching out more designs for new jewelry. My grass is starting to green up too which means mowing season starts soon and that will take up more of my precious time. I do my best to write in my blog as often as I can because I enjoy sharing all my experiences. I’m sure I’m not alone though in that, despite my best intentions, I can’t quite do it all sometimes.

A chilly evening stroll in Amesbury

looking downtown

I arrived at my hotel in Seabrook, NH at around 4:30 p.m. and was quite happy I hadn’t had to drive through any freak winter storms and minimal bumper to bumper traffic. It was a clear and sunny day if a bit cold and it felt wonderful to be back in New England!

After I unloaded my car and settled in my room, I took a shower and changed into fresh clothes because I felt like I’d been born in the clothes I wore for the drive. My next move was to decide what to do next. The first idea that popped into my mind was to go to the Amesbury Town Park and investigate the new playground I’d read about on Facebook. I don’t think I’ve gone on a trip to New England yet without my first destination being Amesbury. You might ask why I stay in Seabrook when I love Amesbury so much. The truth is that the only hotel in Amesbury is well outside my budget, so I stay just across the border in New Hampshire.

I arrived at Amesbury Town Park (a place I’d visited three times previously) and parked by the skateboard courts. I walked over to the new playground and found it quite nice! I’m definitely going to bring my daughters to play there during our upcoming summer vacation.

View of the new playground

View of the new playground

 

I then wandered into the grove of trees by the pond in the park and walked around the disc golf baskets to reach the central gazebo building. I imagine the gazebo was quite lovely in its prime but it’s a bit worn down looking and the pillars are covered with graffiti. I understand it must be difficult to maintain a building so open to the public like that but I still found it pretty.

Looking out from the gazebo

Looking out from the gazebo

After a walk around Amesbury High School to see that it was bigger than the entire K-12 school where I live in NY, I returned to my car and drove into downtown Amesbury. I parked in my usual public parking lot by Crave and walked into town. I love the birdhouses hung outside Greenery Designs and when I stopped and looked up, there were two sparrows acting as sentries on the shepherd hooks over the main door. I was able to take a picture of one on his hook but the other flew off before returning and settling atop one of the birdhouses.

Bird sentry one.

Bird sentry one.

Bird sentry two

Bird sentry two

I walked up Main Street but as it was almost 7 p.m., most of the stores were closed. Today is Thursday and several of the stores are open later into the evening so I’m certain I’ll get some shopping in. I did my usual rounds of the town and tried to take pictures of areas I haven’t before. I couldn’t resist taking photos of Powwow River Falls though and noting that there are less ducks there now than there were during my last visit in February.

I understand the reasons behind closing the Gallery but it still makes me sad.

I understand the reasons behind closing the Gallery but it still makes me sad.

Parke Place Boutique and Attentif' Design

Parke Place Boutique and Attentif’ Design

looking downtown2

So much character in downtown Amesbury

No. 8 opening soon!

No. 8 opening soon!

Sign in the Fiddlestix Toys window. I sure hope so!

Sign in the Fiddlestix Toys window. I sure hope so!

The water was moving so fast it's a blur on my camera!

The water was moving so fast it’s a blur on my camera!

raging rapids

Far less ducks than before. I'm sure they've found new homes.

Far less ducks than before. I’m sure they’ve found new homes.

After my chilly evening stroll around Amesbury, MA, I was feeling more content and quite cold! I was wearing my winter coat and gloves but apparently my blood has already been thinned by the few days of almost 80 degree temperatures we had in NY. I decided it was past time for dinner and I really needed to thaw out so I walked back toward my car. The mouth-watering aromas from Crave reached me and my feet steered me toward the door of the restaurant. I had a great meal, made a pig of myself and will save that story for a later post…

Answering the Amesbury question

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Usually when I meet someone new in Amesbury, MA during my visits and they learn I’m from Upstate NY they’re quite surprised and often ask what brings me to Amesbury. I’ve fallen in love with Amesbury because it’s so much lovelier than where I live. There’s far more plentiful opportunities for entertainment, business, recreation, dining […]

Do one thing

A little bit of everything on my craft table

Do one thing and do it well. That’s one way to live but what fun is that?? I’ve never been able to focus on just one thing and find enjoyment in that. I worked in retail and as a secretary for 20 years, doing the same tasks every day. I did my jobs exceptionally well and was loved by my bosses but I wasn’t happy. Everything I did outside of my paid jobs is what made me happy.

Now that I’m a paid writer, I love my job and feel fortunate and blessed. My life was already very fulfilling with my family and friends and being able to work at a task that makes me happy is wonderful! At the end of a day of freelance work though my writing abilities are tapped out and the only writing for pleasure I can muster is this blog and some emails.

As I usually can’t face my keyboard after working all day, for the past few weeks I’ve sat down at my craft table to begin fiddling with beads and wire. Quite often before I fall asleep at night, I close my eyes and see flashes of jewelry pieces created randomly by my mind. I’ve started jotting them down in my phone and the next day I set about transforming vision into reality.

Some of my first jewelry creations

I love these turtle earrings I made!

I love these turtle earrings I made!

When I wrote in my fantasy books, I used my words to create characters and scenes. When I’m crafting, I use my fingers and my imagination to bring together wire and beads in colorful and unique creations. When I create beautiful things to share, I feel beautiful myself. I don’t mean physical beauty, I mean that inner glow that is sensed, not seen. Jewelry work brings a new form of peace and bliss I didn’t know existed.

From my mind last night to reality this morning.

From my mind last night to reality this morning.

Simple but lovely glass bead earrings I made for my mom.

Simple but lovely glass bead earrings I made for my mom.

While I’ll never be able to do just one thing and feel fulfilled, I believe I’m quite good at doing a lot of things. Everything I do that expresses my creativity generates positive energy, a sense of harmony with the universe and deeper feelings of love for myself and the world around me.

A fish named…Garfield?

Garfield the fish with his pal Odie

Garfield the fish with his pal Odie

When I was running errands this past Thursday, I had to stop at the store for some dog food. Across the aisle from the dog food was the store’s display of fish. For some unknown reason I was drawn to the betta fish and a lovely rainbow-colored one caught my eye. The girls had talked about wanting a betta fish last year but hadn’t mentioned anything recently. Regardless, I picked up the plastic container with the betta and put him in my cart. A few aisles later I changed my mind and put him back. I thought maybe the girls didn’t want a betta fish anymore.

I mentioned the event to my girls yesterday morning and their faces fell when I said I’d put the fish back. Apparently they still wanted a betta, live and learn! I told them we’d go to the store and pick out a betta today and that’s exactly what we did. As it turned out, they chose the exact same fish I’d put in my cart a few day’s before. Great minds think alike! They chose a round tank with a choice of different LED color lights and a selection of little plastic plants.

As we walked around the store picking up a few other things, Jaycie enjoyed talking to the fish and checking to make sure he was still moving around. I asked them what they were going to name him and Jordan insisted they’d decide once they got him home in the bigger tank.

Once home, Jordan got the tank ready for the betta with some glass stones she’d been using as decoration in her room. She set the plants in the tank and I filled it with water. I then had a challenging time using the little fish net to snatch the betta from his temporary store tank to the nice new one all ready for him. I eventually nabbed him and put him in the tank and he immediately hid behind the plants.

The betta seems just fine and he’s now much more willing to come to the front of the tank now. The girls told me they named him Garfield after the big, fat, orange tabby cat in the comics and I looked at them in surprise. I asked them why they named him after a cat and they said because it was a name they both liked. I really shouldn’t be surprised since I named one of my cats after a bird…

The picture doodle Jordan made of Garfield

The picture doodle Jordan made of Garfield

If you wanna be happy…

IMAG1072 Over the past several weeks, radio and television have played Pharrell William’s song “Happy” almost to death. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against songs that make people feel good and lift spirits but hearing it excessively every time I turn on the radio or TV has become tiresome. The song kind of loses its perk after a million plays.

Honestly, every time I hear the song I’m reminded of the 1963 song “If You Wanna Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul. The first lines of the song are “If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife…” and when I broke out singing those words a few nights ago, my oldest daughter Jordan looked at me like I had two heads. I then played the whole song for her from YouTube and she was even more perplexed.

In my brain is a seemingly endless collection of random songs that include show tunes from musicals, oldies from the 50’s and up and right into today’s music. I don’t always know why I suddenly start singing bits of songs but I do. I grew up listening to my mother do the same thing and now I’m doing it to my daughters…who already do it back to me. I find it all rather neat and unique!

Songs can say whatever they want about what it takes to be happy whether it’s clapping hands or marrying an ugly woman but the key to happiness is different for every person. All that matters is that you find what makes you happy and keep it a vital part of your life every single day.

The Serenity of Birds

Male goldfinch on my feeder hanger.

Male goldfinch on my feeder hanger.

I walked Jazz the different direction we’ve been going lately and it wasn’t the best time of day for it. The weather was beautiful with warm sunshine and bright blue sky, but the traffic was awful. The road we walked is the main drag to and from the school and at 4 p.m. it’s excessively busy with cars and trucks going 55+ mph. There’s a shoulder Jazz and I can duck into most of the way but the roar of cars going by interfered with the enjoyment of the walk.

Jazzmin and I got our exercise in but the walk wasn’t as relaxing as usual and I was quite relieved to get back home to my quiet house on the hill. I put Jazz inside with some fresh water and went out on the deck to sit in the sunshine and re-center myself. As I sat on the rear steps of my side deck, I reveled in the lack of traffic noise. The only “noise” in fact was the sound of the various bird songs as my feathered friends fluttered around the back yard.I recognized the songs of chickadees, cardinals, finches, sparrows, red-winged blackbirds and the elusive bluebird that refuses to eat  from my feeder.

Most of the birds were hesitant to come to my back feeders with me sitting within 15 feet of them but the brave chickadee came and went several times.Eventually a male goldfinch landed atop the shepherds hook holding my red barn feeder and he watched me for a bit before flitting down for some seeds. He didn’t stay long before flying into a side tree where I’d been listening to and watching a male cardinal sing one of his many songs. There was another cardinal answering him in the distance and I smiled at him and assured him that it was safe to eat.

He landed but was still cautious...

He landed but was still cautious…

He's keeping his eye on me...

He’s keeping his eye on me…

Decided it's safe to eat and the chickadee is waiting in line below him.

Decided it’s safe to eat and the chickadee is waiting in line below him.

The best part of sitting on those steps in the sunshine watching the birds was that I’d remembered to bring my camera out with me. Every time a bird would land on my feeder I’d pick up my camera and snap a photo or two. The zoom is decent enough from that distance to show details of the birds and I was thrilled that so many members of my usual “peeps” were dropping by for a bite. I rediscovered my peace as I enjoyed the serenity of birds and I know I’d be lost without their daily visits!

A small sample of my usual peeps.

A small sample of my usual peeps.

Can you spot the sparrow?

Can you spot the sparrow?

After the last of the birds flew off for a break, I stood up from my step and saw the moon in the bright blue sky. I also realized that my largest maple tree appears to be on the verge of sprouting leaves and that made me almost giddy! It’s so wonderful that spring is finally, truly on its way and that I managed to capture today’s beauty as a ray of sunshine on the rainy days.

spring moon

A place to play

play room1

This past Sunday was a beautiful day! I got out early to do some errands which included getting groceries and being inexplicably drawn into a craft store. That seems to happen a lot these days! After a brief stop at my mom’s to invite her out for pizza dinner, I headed back home to get some tidying done.

While the arrangement of the toys in the craft/play room is best left to Jordan with her amazing organizational skills (not something she inherited from me), I did my best to tidy up the toys and get them up off the floor. Having a majority of the girls toys in that small room reveals the true size of their collection and gives me ample ammunition for the next time they say “I don’t have anything to play with.” All I have to do is point into that room now!

Toy overflow!

Toy overflow!

I am indescribably happy to finally have my craft table set up! It’s been in the box since my mom gave it to me over a decade ago and I’ve wanted to set it up somewhere forever. It fits perfectly in front of the window in that room and gives me a great view of my bird feeders! The natural light in that room is plentiful for most of the day but should my crafting run into the darkness, I have a daylight lamp to keep the candle burning, so to speak. The lamp was a gift and I’m certain it will assist in my crafting year round!

playroom2

Last night I discovered that Star Trek: The Next Generation is on Netflix so I set up my tablet and started the very first episode of the show. I was in geek heaven as I crafted and watched Star Trek!

star trek

What was once Jaycie’s room is now a space for creativity and fun. The hardest part is going to be for the three of us girls to get all our work done before we venture into our new favorite place to play. I’m sure we’ll manage somehow…

From ugly duckling to clumsy swan

I imagine many people go through an ugly duckling phase at some point in their lives. Not me though. I didn’t go through a single ugly duckling phase…I went through many!

I think I was a pretty cute little girl until about the age of 12. That’s when I first got glasses, a perm and started to get a bit rounder in all sorts of areas.

I don't think my outfit was helping my case...

I don’t think my outfit was helping my case…

I had the “pleasure” of enduring all sorts of lovely nicknames during that stage including “Feefee” “Blondie” (for the curly hair) and worst of all “Misery” after Kathy Bates in the movie Misery. Fortunately, I started horseback riding when I was 13 and that, along with puberty being nice to me, helped me blossom into an attractive young woman.

My senior ball which also happened to be my 18th birthday.

My senior ball which also happened to be my 18th birthday.

My lowest weight was 128 pounds when I was 18 and even then, I still felt like the awkward, overweight girl from my past. I gained weight after high school and was around 160 when I got married at 21. During the first few years of married bliss, I pretty much ate anything I wanted, didn’t exercise and I gained another 20 pounds. A healthy weight for my height of 5’5″ inches is between 114-144 pounds (114?? Seriously?!) so I was overweight and didn’t wear it well.

I was around 180 when I got pregnant with Jordan and to me, pregnancy was the perfect time to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted! I was around 220 when I gave birth and that definitely wasn’t all baby weight!

Over a year after having Jordan. I was around 200 pounds

Over a year after having Jordan. I was around 200 pounds

 

I knew I wasn’t a healthy weight and I wasn’t happy with my appearance but I didn’t have the energy or desire to try losing weight. I’m not an athletic person and I hated gym class growing up so the idea of exercise didn’t thrill me. I tried diet pills and shakes, anything that didn’t involve breaking a sweat or changing my diet but those things never work, no matter what the stupid commercials say.

My wake up call came when my father had his first stroke. He’d had diabetes for years but wasn’t taking it seriously. He didn’t eat right and he didn’t exercise and one horrible day when Jordan was still a toddler, he had a stroke. Seeing that happen to my father and watching what it did to him was sad and terrifying. I knew that if I didn’t get my rear in gear, the same thing could happen to me. I didn’t have diabetes and still don’t but I was at a higher risk for it being obese.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I worked out twice a day to DVDs and changed my diet to lose over 40 pounds. I kicked, punched, walked, jumped, weight lifted and did step aerobics until I got down to a healthier weight. I learned to be okay with sweating and I discovered that the more I worked out, the better I felt and the less I wanted to shove unhealthy food in my mouth. I put weight on again when I was pregnant with Jaycie and went through yet another ugly duckling phase, though this one was shorter because I knew how to take the weight off.

Shortly after Jaycie was born.

Shortly after Jaycie was born in July, 2006.

Still one of my fave pictures. October, 2010

Still one of my fave pictures. October, 2010

I’m still not at my goal weight of 140 pounds. I’ve been stuck at 155 for a few years now and according to all those lovely BMI calculators and height and weight charts, I’m overweight. As I think is true of a lot of people who were once heavier, quite often I still feel like that “fat girl” I see when I look at old pictures. I can’t compete with today’s skinny standards and while I know I’m beautiful, sometimes my belief falters.

When Ed Justen from Workspace 36 asked me at the Wolf Meadow Farm grand opening event in February if I’d model for him to help him with his photography portfolio, I immediately and enthusiastically said yes! It wasn’t because I have a big ego, it was because I was thrilled that someone thought I was attractive enough to model. I’d done several at-home photo shoots but the idea of someone else taking my picture sounded like much more fun!

The photo shoot for Koobis Photography & Media was fun and helped remind me that I’m a pretty darn attractive woman. While I’m still not at my goal weight, I do know that I’m not an ugly duckling anymore. Considering the number of times I trip over air pockets, stumble into walls, slip on ice, whack my head on car doors and that I even bonked my head on the stair railing during the photo shoot, I’m more of a clumsy swan these days…

One of the many photos taken by Ed Justen

Wait, what?

After watching Disney’s Frozen a few times, I noticed that the phrase “Wait, what?” was said several times by different characters. I was quite happy to find that someone had already made a compilation of this on YouTube!

Earlier this week, I had my own “Wait, what?” moment while the girls and I were eating dinner. We were sitting on the living room floor eating at the coffee table as we often do. I think it feels more laid back and cozy sitting on the floor and for some reason, we all seem to share more when we eat like that. Amid our eating and conversation Jordan suddenly said “I miss living at the apartment.” Jaycie agreed with her sister and I was left staring at them in confusion as I thought “Wait, what???”

I asked the girls why and after a few moments thought, they told me that they missed sharing a room like they did in the apartment. This totally surprised me. When I started house hunting in the spring of 2011, I was specifically looking for a home with three bedrooms so the girls could each have their own room like they did at their father’s house. I thought they’d enjoy having space from each other, especially as they got older. Well, here it is three years later and rather than growing further apart, they’ve grown closer.

I’m not about to tell my girls they can’t share a room when they so obviously want to so I promised I’d rearrange things and have Jordan’s room converted into their shared room by the time I got them back Sunday evening. Jaycie’s room will then become the play room and that seemed to make the girls even happier.

I wasn’t sure how things would fit in Jordan’s room with two beds and I didn’t want to move furniture around more than necessary so I took measurements and rendered the room out in my home design program. In my rendering, things looked a bit tight but doable so this afternoon I started rearranging things.

girls room render

Silly me, I thought I was done moving furniture after I moved into this house but I was wrong. The hardest thing to move was the combination file/storage cabinet and the second hardest was Jaycie’s bedframe because it got stuck in the doorway briefly. I’m not one to admit defeat though and I mustered my strength to get everything where it needed to be.

As it turned out, my rendered room wasn’t how things worked in reality and I ended up putting more furniture in the playroom than originally planned. I definitely got a workout and I’m quite pleased with the end result!

girls room

I still have to arrange the playroom and hopefully carve out a nook for my craft table but that will wait until tomorrow because I think if I asked my body to work more tonight it would say “Wait, what?!”

Runoffs and rescues

IMAG0985

It was a beautiful, sunny day today so after finishing the morning’s errands, I took Jazzmin for a walk. We went a different way today to explore new areas and familiarize Jazz with other surroundings. The foot of snow that fell this past Sunday has almost completely melted into a distant memory/nightmare and the local streams are swollen with thawing runoff. The sound of rushing water can be heard no matter what direction I head and I welcome it as a sign of spring.

IMAG0988 IMAG0984

Another sign of spring is the re-emergence of the woolly bear caterpillars. The batch that’s out now will turn into big furry moths as the weather warms up but until then, they’re busy crossing roads again. I only saw one on my walk today but I was able to rescue him. It felt quite wonderful to have these small, living creatures crawling along my hand again before I set them down safely out of the road. It’s amazing the sensations I’ve missed while being cooped up inside all winter.

woolly bear caterpillar

I opened my kitchen window to let the fresh air in and watched the birds eat the seed from my backyard feeders. The blue sky, warmth and sunshine are doing wonders to recharge my body, mind and spirit and offer proof once again that winter never lasts forever.

My kind of April Fool’s Day

 

clay and bead jewelry

My most recent clay and bead jewelry

 

The forecast promised 65 today. While it didn’t get quite that warm due to the clouds for most of the day, by around 4:30 p.m. the sun was finally out and it had warmed up to 52. Compared to -25, 52 feels quite tropical and the sunshine was lovely! It might have been Mama Nature saying “April Fool’s! I’m just going to make you think it’s finally spring when it really isn’t!” but I don’t particularly care. Every beautiful day we get is a gift and must be lived as it comes.

I’ve been working on freelance writing jobs that are more involved than anything I’ve done before and while I’m enjoying doing them, by the end of the day I don’t even want to open my laptop again. I decided it was time to take a little break and express the creativity that’s been bottled up inside me and continually building for the past several days.

My youngest daughter, Jaycie asked me to make her a turtle necklace after seeing my prototype clay owl necklace so I’ve been working on that since the weekend. As my owl necklace had clay feathers, I asked her what clay “beads” she wanted her turtle necklace to have and she said “river beads.” She explained what she meant and I drew up a couple sketches of the design until she picked one she liked. I finished painting the beads today and when she got home from school I further customized the necklace by having her pick the color embroidery floss she wanted as the chain. She was extremely pleased with the end result as was I and she’s been wearing it all evening.

With Jaycie’s necklace complete, I went back to work on my newest owl necklace to replace the one I accidentally broke this weekend. I made new clay feathers that were larger and even found my Dremel tool this afternoon to etch a word into the back of the owl. I decided to incorporate some of my new beads and jewelry making supplies into the clay necklace and my second owl necklace is quite a lot better than the first! I hope it stays together but I know that even if it falls apart, I’m learning as I go and will improve with each new creation. I also made a pair of earrings and while they’re not perfect, I think they’re lovely and look forward to making many more!

I grilled some hamburgers for dinner out in the sunshine and the smell still lingers in my hair just as it always does in the summertime. There will be more nice days soon, I have faith but I also know that even when the weather isn’t quite so nice, I’ll have no shortage of things to keep me creatively busy inside.

The back of Jaycie's turtle and my owl pendant

The back of Jaycie’s turtle and my owl pendant