Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fun with Wordle

 Fun with Wordle! I just discovered this fun website - http://www.wordle.net. You can create your own word clouds with words that have meaning to you and be creative with fonts and colors and randomizing. Pretty neat huh? Just thought I'd share! Take a little fun break and make yourself a few Wordles!
Wordle: Aqua Dianne XOXOWordle: Dianne Receives

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Learning to Slow Down!

One morning last week as I was rushing to get the kids off to school, I took a nasty tumble down the entire flight of stairs to my basement. Thankfully my husband was still home and could help me and call 911. I shudder to think how long I would have laid in a crumpled pile on the landing if I'd fallen later when I was here alone. 

Ater being carefully placed on a backboard and carried to the hospital by our amazing, wonderful local EMT's, and being given 3 units of morphine, which didn't touch the pain in my back, but did ease the embarrassment of the whole situation, I was happy to be told nothing had been broken.

I've joked the past few days that nothing was broken but my pride, but that's not really true. Today it dawned on me ... something else was broken ... a very bad habit called rushing! And while I'm immensely thankful that I did not damage my body too severely (though I have lots of very pretty bruises) I am also thankful for the lesson of learning to slow down. 

I'm usually a fairly high energy person, so it's very natural for me to always be in a hurry, multi-tasking, juggling lots of things at once, trying to be in more than one place at a time ... you get the drift I'm sure. And I'm sure many of you who read my blog are exactly the same way, we all have so much to do, so little time to do it in, and we never like to let anyone down, least of all ourselves. So we push and we run, we drive ourselves and everyone else to the edge until we finally fall over the edge and realize how crazy we've let our lives get.  

Well, now that I'm at an age where I can truly look back and see the lessons I have learned and how I learned them, it has really come home to me this past week that I am missing out on the life I'm working so hard to create by rushing through it all. 

Many things have happened in the past few months, besides my fall, that I now realize have been God's way of guiding me to the path I ought to take and it is obviously a path to be taken moment by moment, gently and fully. I've been looking for the automated sidewalks in life that will whisk me along past all the other travelers to my next destination point and I've been missing the scenery, the tender moments, and who knows what else in my hurry. 

I'm convinced that we repeat mistakes and behaviors until we get it right, and suddenly I clearly see what I have been missing. I'm taking to heart a line from a book I'm reading called "The E-Myth Revisited" where a lady who started a business of baking pies because she was very good at it and loved it, but after turning her love into a business, or rather a "job", she found herself hating it and rushing through it all the time. When she tries to figure out how to turn things around, she is reminded of what her aunt who taught her to bake told her ... that "Baking pies isn't about getting done, it's about baking pies." 

I'm slowing down, smelling the roses, putting one foot gently in front of the other now, and I'm happy to see what turns up along this path that I might have missed if I'd kept up my former pace.

What a freeing experience it is to give yourself permission to slow down. Don't wait until life forces it on you through an accident. Of course I still have a lengthy to do list, and I will fret when I'm behind I'm sure, but I do believe I'll keep broken that bad habit of flying faster than my guardian angels. I hope you will too. Life is too short for making ourselves crazy with stress.  

Saturday, February 14, 2009

We Have Two Winners in Our Pattern Giveaway!

First thank you all for your comments and for telling us why you'd love to win the Amy Butler Midwest Mode Pillows pattern in my Valentine's Day giveaway!

I had 11 comments. For the first prize winner, I read all the comments to my daughter first, then my son and then to my husband Steve, each heard the comments and voted seperately from the other and it was unanimous, each picked Patricia as they all thought it sounded like a great way to to help her cheer up the living room/hospital room for her DH. 

So Patricia of Patricia Rose (Potpourri) is our first winner! Congrats Pat! I know you'll enjoy making new cheerful pillows for your living room and I hope they do cheer up your DH! 

For the second winner, to keep things even and fair, I put all the remaining names into a list at Random.org to generate a randomized list from and whoever comes out as the #1 name on the randomized list is the 2nd pattern winner...  I copied to show that I put each name in the order the posts were made...

Part 1. 
Enter your items in the field below, each on a separate line. Items can be numbers, names, email addresses, etc. A maximum of 10,000 items are allowed. Please don't enter anything you would consider confidential

Lilli Blue
Beloved Creations
Casey Locklear
Andrea-Brown Bee Studio

Part 2: Go!

And here is the randomized list...

There were 10 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. Andrea-Brown Bee Studio
  2. Lilli Blue
  3. Nancy
  4. Serra
  5. Gail
  6. Lisa
  7. Gayle
  8. Kim
  9. Casey Locklear
  10. Beloved Creations

Timestamp: 2009-02-14 19:14:24 UTC

This means that Andrea is our second winner of the Amy Butler Pattern! Thanks so much to all of you for entering our giveaway and for your compelling comments. I wish I had enough patterns to give everyone a free one. I can't do that, but I will offer each of you who commented and didn't win a 20% discount on any pattern order and you will still receive free shipping (patterns only). You will need to email me and let me know you want to take the 20% discount on your pattern order and that you are one of the commenters on this months' giveaway and I will refund the discount after your order through PayPal! Thanks and have a beautiful Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pink Friday - Be My Valentine!

Today I've whipped up a couple of new Romantic Porch Pouch / Day Totes - "Sweetheart Bouquet" . Yes, this is truly a Limited Edition of only TWO (now only one is left!) and I have been holding on to this beautiful fabric for just the right time - and what could be a better time to carry a tote blossoming with such gorgeous bouquets of Sweetheart Roses than Valentine's Day?!!

This sweet tote would be such a wonderful gift to give (could you even part with it?) or to use as a gift bag for another special gift (how fun!!) or give it to yourself  - it's time for a cheerful new breath of fresh air after all this cold winter weather. Treat yourself or someone you love to this Limited Edition beauty.  And if you miss out on it, I'm making other OOAK's and Limited Editions as fast as my little fingers will sew (pretty fast actually!)  So keep checking in all day. I have some great rose fabrics to stitch up for you! 

Be sure to visit all the participating shops for PINK FRIDAY at MAKEMINEPINK.COM

February Pattern Giveaway

Last time I did an Amy Butler pattern giveaway everyone loved it, so I thought I'd make it a monthly event here at Mama's Pocketbook! You like? Sweet... So, here's what 'cha do ... Post a comment and tell me why you should win this month's pattern! 

Ok, this month I think we all need some warmth and sunshine and are looking forward to spucing up our homes for Spring! Well, I have just the thing. Amy Butler's Midwest Mod Pillows is our giveaway pattern for February!

Three styles of pillows and they are so stylishly delicious! This is an easy, and affordable way to add some new color and update your rooms. Click here to see more about the pattern on my site!

Seriously have you priced pillows in the home furnishing stores - I don't think I can justify hundreds of dollars for pillows when it's so easy to make new ones! Or just add a zipper or a flap opening to the back of any of these pillows and cover your old ones! Hmmm, maybe that should be my next tutorial huh? Ok, I'll work on that and you tell me what you think of this pattern and why YOU should win it. 

Yep, I'm gonna make you work for this giveaway. I want to know something about how you'll use the pattern. Will you cover your existing pillows? Do you want the pattern for a friend? How about which room you'll make pillows for and what fabrics you'll use? Share with us all, lets get inspired to freshen up our living spaces. It's been cold too long, lets dust things off, and make some pretty pillows. Ahhh, I love accessorizing! Don't you?

Oh, I forgot about when to give it away! LOL! Silly me! Ok, how about Valentine's Day, that gives everyone a week to get their posts in to convince me of who should get the pattern. I'll make it fair by having my daughter and my husband read the comments and help pick the winner!  If we can't agree, maybe we'll even pick two winners. You just never know with me. I like to make the rules up as I go along!

Added 2/6  Wow... I am loving the comments, everyone's reasons for wanting this pattern are so compelling... I think what I'll do is have my family help me decide on one winner based on the comments explaining why they would love to win and have a drawing from the rest of the comments to make it fair to everyone to have a chance at winning. Sound good? Keep those comments coming then and you'll have two chances to win! XOXO Dianne

Monday, February 2, 2009

Show & Tell - Free Sewing Tutorial

I'd hoped to present a new bag today, but that will have to wait for later in the week. This weekend I was prompted to create a new pdf tutorial on "How to Make Boxed Corners" as an added feature to expand on my Free "Pink October" Tote Pattern.

Seems I have quite a few new seamstresses trying out my free pattern and getting stuck when it comes to understanding how to create the boxed corner for the tote. My original tutorial has been posted for over 3 years now, but I guess it's really catching on with new sewists and the photos' do not show the process well enough.

So ... While I was sewing another tote this weekend, I took more photos and created this pdf. file to help expand the directions for the corners. The fabric is a little busier than what I'd normally use for a tutorial, but I wanted to get it done for a visitor who wrote me asking for more details on how to make the corners. I hope this helps those who are learning to master the boxed corners. Once you do it, you'll see, it's a cinch!

Making tutorials has been rather eye-opening for me as a testing ground for creating and marketing my own pattern designs. Lots of work involved, but it is still something I aspire to do this year!

If you want to make your own tote using my Free "Pink October" Tote Pattern, it is absolutely free, and I encourage all to enjoy it. I do copyright the instructions and images, but you are free to create the totes for yourself and others and even to sell your own designs made from the pattern! The additional "corners' tutorial comes in on page 2 of the tote instructions. Have fun!