Be free-floating, allowing the situation to surround you, and be in it. Take in the full surroundings, including the temperature of the water.
This may bring incredible clarity, presence and focus. This is what is means to be a jellyfish.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Stages of My Little Girl - the story behind the Quilt

This quilt was a project that started about 6 years ago. We had just moved back to the States, moved into a new house, and were trying to rebuild our lives after Hurricane Ivan took most of our material possessions. We were fortunate enough to get some donations to us to help us get settled, and my daughter received some beautiful velvet dresses from generous souls, and being a little girl, these were her most favorite dresses.
But as children do, she quickly grew out of them and reluctantly cleaned out her closet to donate to other girls who were in need.  Her favorite dresses I just could not part with, and the fabric was so nice I decided to keep a couple for the someday I could use them.  They appear in the quilt as the blue flowered velvet squares, the black velvet square with the ribbon, and the black velvet squares with the sparkes on it.

The jeans in the quilt are from the time of no more school uniforms. She loved that she got to pick her school clothes, and she picked the coolest jeans. She wore them until they were 2 inches too short and reluctantly parted with them as well. How could I get rid of these jeans she treasured so much? They represented her new fashion sense, in elementary school, and the first time she could choose what to wear to school.  The squares with the pink triangle suede and the pink leather ties were from her favorite pair.
When she entered middle school, her tastes matured along with her attitude, and animal prints were her new favorite thing. Everything in her room had to be either zebra, tiger, or leopard. I recovered her butterfly chair with a soft furry animal print fabric, and we made a pillow together to match with the same fabric.  Of course saved the extra fabric.  There is a square or two for each of the animals she once saturated her room with. She still likes these prints and loves them in the quilt, but since has broadened her decorating style.

My favorite addition to the quilt is the polka dot fabric.  This is special to us because it is what we used to create the Teddy Bear she designed for her best friend.  She made the pattern for the bear, picked out the fabrics, even the paw print fabric and eye fabric.  We made the bear together, and she gave it to her best friend for her birthday.  I even stitched paw prints in each polks dot square to remind her of the teddy bear she created. She says these are her favorite squares too.

The teddy bear polka dot sqaures are a special part of the quilt for me because it represents a project we worked together on, and it is the project that began the thought of starting a handmade business, where we could create and sell things like these teddy bears together.  After we made this bear, we brainstormed a name for 'our business', and from that day Raige Creations came to life and has grown into what it is today.

And these are my favorite kinds of things to make, the things that have meaning and stories to go with it. There is a story with each square, each fabric had a life before this, and now together they can be used for many more years to come.  It makes the sore fingers, the bleeding pin pricks, the backaches (from having to work on the floor to piece it all together), the broken sewing machine needles, the bent and broken pins, the years of collecting and countless hours creating all worth it. 

The reaction she had when she opened it on Christmas day was so fun too. The first thing she said was, "Hey, those are my jeans!"  That made it all so worth it.  I hope she keeps it forever, but alas, she will probably grow out of this as well, as she matures into a woman with different tastes.  Maybe she will keep it for her little girl....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Music Monday! Winter Wonderland!

We woke up to snow on Christmas morning, and it just kept snowing.  This is what our patio looks like.

And this is the view outside our kitchen window.

Perfect for Christmas, and maybe perfect for the kids winter break from school.
Only one song fits this scenario....Elvis because we are so close to Graceland.

But we are ready for the snow to melt now. Part of the reason we moved further south was to avoid so much snow!  Hopefully it will be all gone before the end of the week and we can enjoy the Mountains without fear of skidding down the hills....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More Handmade Holiday Ideas

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wish List Wednesday - A Handmade Holiday

Handmade creations make any holiday special. But giving handmade gifts brings even more special meaning to the effort. As promised, here are some great handmade gifts for those on your list this year. This is the first of  a series of lists of unique, interesting, handmade items that you can purchase with no fuss. As the shipping deadline fast approaches, hopefully this list will help you get through your shopping list with little stress.

These items can all be purchaes through ArtFire, where you don't need an account to buy. The transaction is quick and easy, and you can even add items to your Amazon Wish List through this site. That way, others can see what you might like for Christmas too!

Great to bring to that Holiday party as part of the Hostess Gift, these Reusable Burlap Bottle Bags, by Catfluff, are sturdy, festive, and affordable.
Reusable Burlap Bottle Bags by Catfluff
This set of holiday cards, by ButterflyCrafts, is a unique way to wish the best for the holidays. Certainly much better than those superstore generic cards.
Walking in a Winter Wonderland, by Butterfly Crafts
Give 'em the moon and the stars with this beautiful pendant. Good gift for the girls that have nearly everything, this is a unique piece of jewelry that you can't find in the mall.
Moon and Stars in Serling, by ExquisiteStudios
Or for the girls who love a vintage feel, these Rose Quartz and Garnet Briolettes hang from a beautiful antique flower post.
Rose Quartz and Garnet Briolette Earrings, by BelleSweet
For the little ones, this adorable lamb would make the best buddy. Upcycled  from a couple of old sweaters, this creature is Cashmere and Wool and cute as, well, a lamb!
Handmade Stuffed Lamb, by WhiteDandelionWorks
With such crazy weather we are having these days, give the gift of warmth and style with this delicate scarf that can be worn even without a coat. It is soft mohair and make of my favorite colors, lilac.

Crochet Mohair Circles Scarf, by Crochet Kiosk
What gift is complete without gift tags? But these tags make the gift even more unique. Such detail and festive colors, these are the perfect way to say to someone they are special.
Christmas Ornamant Gift Tags, by Stitches & Scraps
Who doesn't like a warm cup of tea (or coffe, chai, hot chocolate, Kahlua, etc.) after a long day shopping? This is a festive way to relax with that cup of goodness. This Mug Cozy makes a great gift to go in a gift basket that may have a collection of fine beverages too.
Mug Cozy, by ByCamille

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what wonderful handmade items are available on ArtFire.  So sit back and click away.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Music Monday! Handmade Christmas!

Today there is enough snow on the ground to call it covered, tho only about 1/4 inch. The kids got their first snow day however, because of the bitter cold and black ice "they" said. They were so amused to see barely any snow on the ground and have no school because of the weather. They remember our time in Western New York, when it took 2 feet of snow in 2 hours to cancel school. This is nothing compared to those snow days!

So all this (little bit of) snow makes it feel a bit more like Christmastime to us.  We went downstairs to get out some decorations, and as in years past, I found some of the ornaments the kids have made to give our tree special meaning. This one is one of my favorites, a snowman in the mind of a 1st grader. (He is 12 now!) There is something about the artwork of a child that is so special, and I love that it adorns our tree every year.

Every handmade gift or decoration brings a special meaning to the season, and this week I will be showcasing Handmade goodies that can adorn your tree, your house, or make great gifts for those special people on your list. And this week is the last week to get it shipped without paying extra shipping costs, so make your decisions and shop!

Because today is Music Monday, this song, about Handmade, is perfect to kick off this week of Handmade treasures. Thanks to David Leach, a creative musician and fellow creator, for this great song. So true handmade gifts are so much better....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Music Monday! I'm only happy when it rains....

Great song by Garbage - it happens to be raining, cloudy, windy, overall yucky, so this song is perfect. But instead of pouring our misery down, we can use this to channel our creativity and concentrate on our work. We can be productive on these rainy, miserable days. And be happy when it rains.

I will be using this rainy, yucky day to be productive, finish many projects that I started at various times, and to start projects that are in my head. Enjoy your rainy days!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Music Monday! Two for Tuesday!! Thank You....Stan

Heard this song on the radio this morning while taking 2 of my kids to school - they missed the bus (again).
So I made sure to sing out loud, one line partcularly:
I missed the bus and there'll be hell today,
I'm late for work again

I liked this song from the first time I heard it, and then my kids discovered it when Eminem sampled it in 2000 for his song 'Stan'. They were surprised I could sing along with an Eminem song, and that I actually liked it. It is a heavy story, but that is part of what makes the song good. And I also think it is cool Dido agreed to be in the video for this one too, even though she was not thrilled about getting tied up and her mouth duct-taped.  

Have a great Tuesday and week!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wish List Wednesday - Week 3

Are you not the fish tank type of person, but still like little creatures to look at? Are you fascinated with organisms and other worlds?  Do you have that difficult someone to buy for on your gift list that has 'everything' and/or wants nothing?  I know several people like this, and Christmas is a particularly difficult time to try to find a gift for these types. 
The Ecosphere enclosed ecosystem
photo courtesy of
Ecosphere Associates, Inc.
A gift that is interesting, intriguing, of living organisms that require virtually no maintenance, that will provided years of awe and wonder is the perfect solution to this gift giving dilemma.  What on earth am I talking about? How about a self-contained ecosystem?
Our Ecosphere - with cleaning magnet

The Ecosphere
Close-up of shrimp,
photo courtesy of
Ecosphere Associates, Inc.
Although of this world, they use space age developments that were initiated by NASA. They are completely contained ecosystems, sef contained and self sustaining, miniature worlds. Inside each one are active micro-organisms, small shrimp, algae and bacteria, all in filtered seawater. There is also a sea fan, decorative shells and lightweight gravel, to provide surface are for the algae to grow. It is a closed ecosystem in which plant and animal life are mutually sustaining.

This ecosystem survives using an outside light source, natural or not, to produce algae. The algae bask in the light and produce oxygen as they grow. The shrimp, a special species found in Pacific waters, breathe the oxygen while nibbling on the algae and the bacteria. The shrimp and bacteria give off the carbon dioxide needed by the algae for photosynthesis and growth. The bacteria decompose shrimp waste, breaking it down into basic chemical nutrients used by the algae.  There is a great visual to show the process on their website.

See 2 of our little shrimp,
with lots of algae
Simply set the Ecosphere in a room with indirect light, natural or not, and watch the magical shrimp swim around nibbling the algae.  It comes with an ingenious cleaning system: magnets. There is a small magnet inside the ecosystem, and one provided with the kit. When the wall of the 'acquarium' looks a little dirty, that is just a film from the micro-organisms inside. Simply rub the magnets along the walls. The inside magnet will stick to the outside one and scrape the walls as you rub.

My husband got one as a gift last year, and our three little shrimp are going strong!  They endured our moves, and have provided many hours of fascination for the kids and hubby, and me! Thier website has testimonials and there was one that struck me. The owners of an Ecosphere had to leave it in their home while they evacuated for Hurricane Ike.  Over three months later, they were able to retrieve their little shrimps, and they all were thriving.  It is estimated they can live up to 10 years, though the company say the average life is 2 to 3 years, though known to exceed 5 years.  Many testimonials say they have had theirs going strong for 8 to 10 years.

Large selection of sizes and shapes available,
photo courtesy of Ecosphere Associates, Inc.
There are various sizes available, even up to exhibition size with their Exhibition Ecospheres.  Ours is the small, 5.25 inch sphere with the small turntable base, and has three shrimp.  Depending on your budget, you have a nice selection of possibilities for purchasing. You can order directly from their website.  Each is shipped via Fedex Overnight directly to you, a signature required for delivery.  It is a fascinating gift, and perfect for those who are so difficult to buy for, and for any age!

Self contained Ecosystem - fun for the whole family
photo courtesy of
Ecosphere Associates, Inc.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Two Vintage Raige Items in Great Collection!

Take a minute to click and view this entire collection - full of great ArtFire folks.
I am thrilled 2 items were chosen for this great collection - The Vintage Teapot and those ever popular Morton Girls. There are so many great collections on Artfire, take some time to check them out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Music Monday! Time

and then one day you find
10 years have got behind you
no one told you when to run
you missed the starting gun

Friday, November 12, 2010

Zippin the Day Away in the Mountains - at Navitat Canopy Adventures!

Me and the kids zippin the day away!
Take the best of canopy tours and zip line tours, add a little repelling and hiking, a couple sky bridges, and lots of information about tress and wildlife in the area, and you have Navitat Canopy Adventures.  And an adventure it is! 
photo courtesy of Navitat
With my in-laws visiting us this week, we were looking for something fun we could do, and I remembered reading about this new comapny just 13 miles from our house that runs zipline tours high up in the trees of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Navitat opened last April, and has been showing visitors a great time since!

Browning getting me ready to zip
None of us had ever been zippin', and were a little nervous (ok I was the one a little nervous) about flying through the trees on contraptions we knew nothing about.  But we shouldn't have worried a bit. Our guides, Brett and Browning ('like the gun' she said) were so helpful, knowledgable, patient, and fun, and they taught us everything we needed to know.  They geared us up, and we set off to the karts that would take us up the mountain to begin our adventure.   
My son learning to zip
The first 2 zip lines were the 'training'. No long, and not to far off the ground.  We quickly got the hang of it with Brett's and Browning's clear and simple instructions, and skill at making us all feel comfortable. 
Then the long, high, exhilarating zips. Who knew that learning the cannonball when we were kids would come in handy ziplining? The cannonball is very important, especially on long runs and especially if you are light, because it helps you gain speed and get you to the next station so you don't have to pull yourself in. 
Pappa didn't always have to cannonball...

One zip was over 200 feet from the ground. Others were through tunnels of trees. We saw huge hemlocks, poplars, and other trees I can't remember, and each station was a big, safe treehouse floor with spectacular views.

Swinging while waiting
One station even had a swing we could enjoy while waitng for the rest to reach the station! Browning and Brett could answer so many questions about the trees, and each one that held a station had a name and a story.  They also could name the mountains in the distance, something I am very interested in learning now that we are living here. And if you needed a restaurant recommendation, they had plenty of those too!  
Wheee - repelling was his favorite part!
We also got to repell off a couple stations . Repelling was so much easier than we thought it would be.  It is amazing how much control you have when lowering yourself down.  
My daughter repelling
The sky bridges were wild too.  My daughter thought it was funny to shake the bridge as we went across, something her Gram did not find amusing!  We all were laughing though, and there was no fear of falling - we were strapped to safety lines the entire time we were off the ground and our guides made sure we didn't take on more than we were able to. Every step of the way they showed us how to get through the course in a fun way.
the long sky bridge, phot courtesy of Navitat
Navitat is offering end of season discounts until November 24th, so now is the perfect time to get your zip on! Just go to their Facebook page, like them, and you will get a code to enter if you book online.  (They will give you the discount if you mention it if you make the reservations over the phone too, but do check out the page, it has great photos, videos, and you can see how much fun it is!!)

Beautiful views, photo courtesy of Navitat
 Navitat brings the best of the canopy tour and ziplining together, mixes in history of the land, knowledge of the landscape, and lot and lots of fun.  You should really zip the day away in the mountains.

And don't worry, this little guy is not an official guide. He was just protecting the path, and the staff promptly and safely moved him to a more appropriate area to protect.
Copperhead protecting the path