Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Year’s Resolutions


As writers, we know all about the “magic of three” . . . beginning, middle, end, The Three Bears, three adjectives, three wishes, three clues.  Three items create a pattern but don’t produce a mundane list. Comedians set up jokes with two scenarios and use the third for the punch line. Decorators use three candles on a mantel, and chefs use three garnishes on a plate. Even military officials use the “Rule of Three.” According to neuroscientist Tina Sellig, “The military has found that people can only track three things at once . . . when they experimented with a ‘Rule of Four,’ effectiveness dropped precipitously.”

Based on this real-life evidence, I decided I should stick to three New Year’s resolutions this year:

(1) Walk 10,000 steps a day. This may be a bit of a challenge since I work at a desk now instead of an elementary classroom, but check out my new pedometer! 

(2) Start a “Year of Homemade Gifts” project, with photos, links, and tutorials posted on PILLOWS A-LA-MODE. (Hopefully those are cheers I hear, not groans! :))

(3) Host a resource-sharing gathering for women sometime this year . . . more on this to come.

These, along with time spent with my family and friends and writing projects fill me with anticipation for 2012. Happy New Year, and may God bless you and yours! ♥

Writers and Writing


Everyone has a different reason for creating a blog. My inspiration was my new Wednesday night writer’s group. Some of our members are looking for a way to collect their poems, memoirs, and essays, so I decided to learn how to blog so I could help others create them. I chose pillows for the theme because that happened to be my new hobby, but I’ve found my blog to be a fun forum for chronicling all sorts of ideas and events . . . and reading other writers’ blogs to be rather addictive!!! For our last writer’s group meeting of the year, I compiled a list of prompts we can use to sum up our writing lives and set new goals . . . feel free to try one and share! ♥

Paper Art by Matthew Sporzynski

  • Write a haiku or other type of poem about 2011.
  • Write a 10-word sentence about yourself as a writer.
  • Write a story or poem from your computer’s point of view. How would it describe your work habits? What does it think about you as a writer? (I’m thinking of doing this one . . . but it would include eating at my desk, getting distracted by Pinterest, and staring at my husband as if I don’t know him if he happens to walk into the room when I’m on a roll with an idea . . . uhm . . . maybe I won’t. :))
  • Write an apology letter to yourself for not taking a chance you wish you would have, and explain what you will do about it.
  • Write a one-paragraph bio about your writing career to date. Then, write the one-paragraph bio you hope to have on 1-1-13.
  • Write a letter to yourself that you will open in six months. Include your current accomplishments and concerns, and remind yourself of one thing from today that you want to make sure “future you” does not forget.

Christmas Red Surprise


Before the first freeze, Dave brought in all the green tomatoes from the vines. We’d always heard that you can put them in a brown paper sack in a dark cupboard or closet and they’ll go ahead and ripen. Well, it works! Truthfully, I’d forgotten about them until I was digging for some baking supplies last night. There was the sack, and here are the tomatoes . . . a little taste of summer on a snowman plate. ♥

Adding Texture with Felt


Since I’ve started searching out throw pillows everywhere I go, I’ve seen many that use felt to achieve a 3-dimensional look. Recently a friend gave me a huge piece of green felt, so I decided to see if I could make a fluffy Christmas wreath. First, I got a square of red fabric and drew two circles by tracing the outside of different sizes of pan lids. Then I cut out LOTS (probably 200 or so) felt circles (while watching TV of course. :)), got a needle and some green thread, and was ready to go. To attach the felt, I folded the little circle into fourths to create a point in the center. I then tacked that point to the outer circle of the pillow with three small cross-stitches. I kept going, placing each felt circle point very close to the last one, until I made it all the way around. I then did the same thing on the smaller inner circle and finished by making one last round between the first two. The result? The circles are so crowded that they all fold up like little tacos and create that texture I was going for. (Can you say frou-frou? ♥) The finished pillow is 12 x 12.

Homemade Ornaments


It’s always fun getting out the Christmas tree

ornaments and reminiscing about where they

came from. This adorable handmade tree was

in a gift basket I received from some of my

students a few years ago. The tree is green

corduroy, the base is a small spool of brown

thread, and the trims are fabric scraps, embroidery,

and buttons. I must make some of these! ♥

Christmas Gift Wall Art


Besides having the best home cooking around, Carriage Crossing in Yoder, KS has an amazing gift shop, including many items created by local artists. It was there that I finally found the perfect art to fill a large wall space in our great room. The bright colors enliven the room, and I’ve always been partial to sunflowers. Plus, the paintings show many different textural techniques, and I love how they overlap, causing your eyes to move across the canvases.

To make the paintings fit with our Christmas decor, I tried a trick I’ve seen in stores and restaurants, choosing paper with a tree design so I can leave it up through the winter if I like. Plus, something about seeing a wrapped package speaks of wishes granted and dreams fulfilled, and what better aspiration to carry into the new year! (And then there’s the satisfaction of tearing off the paper when we’re ready for a shot of spring . . .) ♥