From Background to Header And On

I finally did it!

That's what I keep telling myself when I realize I finally digitally designed something as big as my blog background. I've watched certain members of my family create digital designs time and again and I am always amazed. But, golly, when I first picked up the Wacom 'pen' and started drawing, I was like, "This is going to take a looong time to get used to."

I started with (physical) pencil sketches of the ideas I wanted to go with for my blog design just to get a solid idea established. They tell me that's what most do anyway, start with a physical drawing and then move to digital. Either way, I used a copy of what I had already drawn and started tracing over them on another layer in Gimp. I called them practice sheets. Dare I share these beginning pictures with you?

All I really wanted was a fairly good sketch of a hedgehog so that I could take and repeat it. I fiddled around with a couple of styles and stuck with the random, gradient pattern. I could not have done it without the digital experts around here! I repeat, I could not have!! So a great thanks to their time and patience in helping me understand the workings of the digital world. Maybe someday I'll be a pro.

What do you think about it?

I plan to follow the same method with my header. Here are the ideas I am working with:

Mushrooms for header sketch.

Hedgehog with ball of yarn for header sketch.

Since this is a little more involved than the background, I am a little nervous about how it will turn out. There's a little part of me saying I'll never make it look like I want it to. I guess I'll just have to ignore it and try anyway.

In the meantime, I am working on a few smaller details in my remodeling, like creating my watermark and signature. I would like all my pictures, including past pictures, to have my watermark on them but I am afraid that will be too much of an undertaking. In fact, I dread the process. So I will most likely put them on posts from here on out.

A Little Tip

There is one thing I have learned through changing my name that has to do with purchasing the domain. I told you how I decided to go with Go Daddy despite my reserve about their dependability. I paid 99 cents for the domain, which I was very happy about, but had to pay another 7.95 for security after checking on ICANN WHOIS and realizing that all my private information was up for anyone to see. So be sure you add the privacy option when you purchase a domain, otherwise people will be able to know where you live down to the house number, among other things. It makes me angry; no one should be allowed to have that information about me, or anyone, for that matter.

Bigger Dreams

As things eventually even out here on my blog, I hope to start another blog centered on the marine world. Although NOAA's recent work with the Okeanos Explorer in the Pacific is harder to keep up with than the previous expeditions (in light of the time difference), I have observed what I can and would love to get back into writing about it. The marine world and technology around it, simply put, fascinates me. I love being a part of it.

It may be a stretch to fit in but I will have to do what I have to do, even if it means changing my schedule again. This is just too exciting a topic to pass up.

Do you want to know something even more daring in my future plans?

I have an idea for a third blog! Totally different from the others I have mentioned, and completely fun. I can only hope that it will come about but my logical side says I will never have the time to make it work. Three blogs?! All I can say is that I will tuck it away for future consideration and hope that I'll have the chance to give it a go.

Do you think me unreasonable? Don't worry, I would agree. In fact, I've always figured one blog was enough, and frankly, couldn't see a reason for working more than one. Just goes to show you how much a person can change. I guess.

And that does it for updates! As always, I am dying to know what you think, so don't be a stranger and leave me a comment in the section below.

Learning Endurance, Slowly

In these last few months I have had the chance to observe multiple species of birds caring for their nest through the live cameras at These beautiful and ornate creatures are helping to teach me a lesson. I would like to share it with you, if you would like to read on.

First, let me be honest about my character. I intend a lot and do very little. This is not to say I am not hardworking; I keep busy, but I don't often accomplish those extra goals. Some might say that I intend to do too much, and they'd be right. But my weakest link is endurance, keeping at it no matter what.

I've always had to struggle to some degree with the ability to endure when the inspiration runs out. When I was young I had the worst habit of starting multiple projects and finishing none. I thank God that He made me aware of the negativity of this aspect of my character and worked to impose upon myself a stricter standard.

I can say that I have risen above some of my character kinks but the problem of enduring still plagues me today, only in different situations. How often have I taken the time to work out a schedule, that will enable me to fit more into my day, and then have nearly forgotten it a month later. I have my reasons, and some of them are very good reasons. But it boils down to one sorry point: there are times when I do not have the desire to endure.

In my every day life, this often means trying to keep to an exercise schedule, finish a 'lame' story I no longer feel inspired to write, and most importantly, being diligent in extra spiritual studies.

I was raised to start the morning with bible reading and prayer. The intensity with which I do this wavers at times but I thank God for parents who helped me and my siblings build this habit into our lives.

But it is not enough. I have found that the short morning hours do not afford me with enough time to study the bible as I need. I want to see myself growing spiritually and have something of worth to share with my readers.

I've been endeavoring to find more time to study the Bible. Only I find the demands of life often push out that needed time. It is none other than my fault, and there I have returned to my inability to remain firm in my schedule convictions.

I suppose this was lingering in the back corridors of my mind as I was reading from The Journals of Jim Elliot the other day. He brought up the time years ago when Moses father-in-law gave him some much needed advice on how to organize his time and duties. Jim was pointing out theological points from the passage and said, "the strength to do God's work... 'If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure...' " (Exodus 18:23).

The word 'endure' seemed to jump out at me. As I was contemplating that I remembered another entry by Elliot and went leafing back through the pages. On February 4, 1950, Elliot admitted very honestly his lack of focus in study that week. In attempting to berate himself he noted some things I realized I was missing. He said:

"I find I must drive myself to study, following the 'ought' of conscience to gain anything at all from the Word--lacking any desire at all sometimes. It is important to learn respect and obedience to the 'inner must' if godliness is to be a state of soul with me. I may no longer depend on the pleasant impulses to bring me before the Lord. I must rather respond to principles I know to be right, whether I feel them to be enjoyable or not." (Emphasis mine)

Learning "respect and obedience" and "responding to principles" sounds rather Victorian in a day and age such as this, that encourages people to pursue whatever pleases them. And yet it appears it is essential to living a truly meaningful life.

When a person is at this point and they choose to ignore the "ought of conscience" they begin to drift, becoming distracted by personal demands and outside troubles, before eventually realizing that their frustration, lack of intensity and spiritual clarity started when they let themselves slip from the rigors of steady scripture study. I know because I have seen this in myself.

So what does all this have to do with observing wildlife? The theology of the principle was brought home by these very average and yet significant creatures of God's creation.

The mother hummingbird builds a nest she will most likely come back to in years to come. It is sturdy, securely attached to the branch, and softened by an added touch of fluff, deliberately chosen for the rim of the nest. She spends long hours on her eggs, keeping them warm and safe. Long, tedious hours. When the chicks hatch, her days as they begin to fledge are filled with food gathering and administering. When the chicks finally leave the nest what does she do but prepare it for the next batch of chicks, and so on until the end of the season.

Now take the eagles, a considerably larger species of bird, but with the same sense of responsibility. In this case, both parents build the nest, a large, sturdy bed often measuring more than the length of an average human in diameter. The parents swap duty but the hours are still long as they sit on the eggs and then care for the young until they are grown.

I watched these creatures doing what they were created to do. Always hard at work and yet they appear to be happy, contented animals. The bible talks about how all of nature glorifies its Creator, and it is obvious that is what these creatures are doing.

As the bird was created to endure the long periods of patient waiting, so I was created to endure the more displeasing things of life, whatever they may be. I must learn to respect and obey the "inner must" if I desire godliness "to be a state of soul with me," responding "to principles I know to be right," whether I feel like it or not.

We must urge ourselves to do the undesirable and to keep at it, because in doing so we are glorifying our Creator and that is where we will find true contentment.

This is the lesson I am learning. How about you? Does this ring true for you as well? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

The Craft Drawer - Dritz Unique Stitch Adhesive

My poodle skirt out for the first time in years.

Years ago, my family and I put on a 50's show with some friends at our local theater. We wanted the costumes and set to be as genuine as we could make them. Poodle skirts were a must and I guess you could call it a dream come true for me. Dad did the actual sewing and Mom and I did the cutting and the ironing and etc. (I wasn't as experienced at sewing at the time. Though I still wouldn't call myself that experienced now).

When the skirts were fitted and sewn we decorated each one differently. I decided on a rather traditional puppy applique but put it on with velcro so that I could use the same skirt later on with a different patch. I can't remember if I knew for sure that I would need it or I just did it on a whim, but some time later we put on a Christmas show and I wore it with Christmas ornaments instead of the puppy.

Velcro-ed puppy applique.

In designing the skirt, we used Dritz Unique Stitch adhesive to secure the strands of sequins and appliques. It didn't take long to hold and worked like a charm. We cut the costume making rather close to opening night and so were very grateful for the quick drying adhesive.

Unfortunately that was many years ago and I haven't had the chance since to don the retro piece. It sits at the back of my closet covered up to keep the dust and age off. But the good news is that even now the sequins have not come off nor has the adhesive caused any discoloration. Since then, my family and I have used Dritz Unique Stitch on a number of things from new projects to repairs on old ones.

About the Product

Dritz Unique Stitch Fabric Glue
Dritz Unique Stitch adhesive comes in an easy to use tube of 1 1/4 oz. It is non-toxic, dries invisible, fairly quick drying, washable, although it is recommended that the product just freshly glued is not washed for 24 hours afterward, and when it does dry it is permanent. In special cases they say it can even be dry-cleaned, but this I have not tested.

It claims to bond "most washable fabrics", and so far I've found this to be true with everything I've used it on. And I've used it on a number of different mediums for various reasons.

Here are some examples:

Attaching Appliques and Other Embellishments

Woodland Book Bag (crochet pattern)

Appliques are small embellishments that I consider worthy of gluing. Many of the appliques I work with I have also crocheted (as you can see for example in the picture above of the Woodland Book Bag) and are therefore easy enough to sew on; even so, I prefer to glue them to save time. Another reason I like to turn to glue for appliques and other such embellishments is to achieve that seamless look, as if the article is staying on by sheer will-power with no visible reason.

Hard to Sew Areas

Verdant Hexagon Bag (crochet pattern)

When designing my Verdant Hexagon Bag for Crochet Spot I was so focused on properly working the bag and attaching the handles that I made a mistake. I couldn't machine sew the liner in with the large bamboo rings already attached. Rather than taking the finished bag apart or hand-sewing it, I decided to try Unique Stitch. This was probably the biggest no-sew attempt I had made so far, and since. I need not say how skeptical I was that it would last. As you can see the bag is medium sized and able to hold the average weight of purse products. By gluing the liner I did not sacrifice the integrity of the design and instead got a great many months of use out of it.

I did run into one downside though.

I went to handwash the bag and was surprised afterward that the liner was coming loose in some areas. Since I have washed projects I had used the glue on before I couldn't figure out why it was coming loose now. The jury is still out on this situation and I can only guess the cleaning product I had used to disinfect the bag previously had played a role in its failure to hold permanently. I will follow the instructions more closely next time and go thicker on heavier projects.

Doll Sun Hat (crochet pattern)

Invisible Attachment 

I recently received a pair of Minnetonka's with leather ties on the top of the foot. I fell in love with these shoes but soon became exasperated when the ties were constantly coming loose. So I took up the ever faithful Unique Stitch and said, "Why not?" After tying the leather strands for the last time I covered them in a healthy dose of glue. I'm happy to say the glue dried invisible and the ties have not so much as budged since.

Random Repairs

Unique Stitch is our "superglue" go-to for fabric. We've used it on stuffed animal injuries, frayed ribbon ends, and even patches on jeans.

Pumpkin Mug Cozy (crochet pattern)

In conclusion, if you asked me if I would recommend this product to a fellow crafter I would say "Most definitely!" Granted, I haven't anything to compare it to because, in my book, if it works why try something else? It's the best thing for people like me that do not have a place to keep the sewing machine set up 24/7. Although I am not one to condone cutting corners, it's much easier to whip out a tube of fabric glue than to lug out the sewing machine when it comes to small projects. Especially if your machine is problematic like mine.

And that does it for my first product review. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my experiences and opinions and will come back soon for more.

In the meantime, don't leave without sending me a message telling me what you thought about the post. Have you tried Unique Stitch before? What were your experiences with it?

One last note, if you have a product you would like me to review, add that to your comment as well and we'll see what happens.

Decisions Behind, Exciting Ideas Ahead

It feels good to have clarity and know that I have finally come to the point where I can proceed. As I have said before, it takes me eons to make certain decisions. And this blog remodeling, although what some might call trivial, has been one of those "certain decisions".

First it was deciding on a new name, then it was whether I should switch platforms, then it was the banner, and the overall subject I should revolve my blog around. I make mountains out of mole-hills, I know. But if honesty is the first step to recovery then you'd think I would be better by now.

Border Closeup of my Sorbet Baby Blanket for Crochet Spot

Anyhow, decisions have been made and are thankfully behind me now. At the moment I am in the advanced stages of my banner design and trying to learn how to handle the Wacom tablet as well as Gimp. Let me tell you, this is going to be a learning curve for sure. Or maybe learning "corner" because I foresee it being exceedingly difficult.

In the meantime, I plan to introduce another series --in a corresponding topic with what I write already.

It's only natural that in my creative experiences I have come to rely on certain products to give me the effect I am looking for in a project. I have a host of material and experiences I have decided to share with you in future Product Review posts.

For example, I will talk about my favorite yarns and those that I avoid, other tools of the crocheting trade such as hooks and markers, and tools that can be used in multiple crafts. We'll see what I can find as we go along.

It does seem a little ironic though, narrowing my scope of writing only to broaden it by adding another topic. But it really isn't the same thing... right?

Border Closeup of my Candy Colors Baby Blanket for Crochet Spot

Those leaning more toward fashion and beauty might be interested to know that I have also considered doing cosmetic and beauty-related reviews. If you think this will be a topic you'd like to read about be sure to tune in and let me here your voice.

The fact is, reviews are not really new here on Ginger Peachy. I've been doing movie reviews for many years and have even published a few book reviews. I think it's time to try my wings on something else. What do you say? Is it something you think you'd be interested in?

My first review will be on Dritz Unique Stitch stitchless sewing adhesive. Look for it soon!

It Happened, I've Finally Found My Niche!

Early stages of banner design. Much to do yet!

With this blog remodeling I have asked myself some pretty defining questions, one of which is the oldest in the book: what is my purpose? For my blog, that is.

Well, obviously I blog because I love to write and a blog is the perfect tool in which to do this, giving the blogger a chance to try their hand at many different interests and find their niche. But I'm not a newbie and this blog idea is for keeps.

So the question turned into more of: what do I really want out of my blog?

I waded through my many interests and tried to be honest with myself. And do you know what I found out? Probably 70% of my blog centers on the creative --crafts and do-it-yourself kind of things. I am a creative person; it's what I was made to do. Now, as for the quality of the creativity, well, that remains to be seen.

Thus I have come to see my blog in a new light. After many years of struggling to feel good about it, I can now say I have found where it fits in. I have found my niche and it's creativity.

In the past I was afraid that I wrote on too many topics here on my blog, and as you know, anytime you ask for blogging advice they will always tell you to find your niche, saying that those who just right about any old thing have fewer consistent readers.

I can understand that but for me the alternative was to simply stop writing on certain topics. I couldn't do that. I felt I was sacrificing too much of myself. And so I struggled for years on what to do.

Frankly, it was really a (small) journey of coming to an understanding of myself and what I write about, as well as learning to relax and let my style come together itself. I can't say that journey has come to an end but I do believe I have finally reached the top of my greatest mountain.

I am now pretty confident on the route I have decided on. Getting an idea of what you want is very important but for some people, me for instance, this can take a lot of time and struggling with oneself.

When I began to realize that creativity could be the direction for me I began browsing other craft blogs to get an idea of how varied they were when it came to different topics. I was surprised that many craft bloggers write on a great deal more than crafts and I think this gave me the confidence I needed.

There is one topic I have had to sacrifice though, and that's marine science. Having scientific posts on a crafting and fashion blog just doesn't seem to meld, which is very depressing. I am not going to throw it out for good though. Once I have finished my blog makeover I am planning on starting another blog just for marine and maritime science and history. We'll see how it turns out.

Now that I feel I have a handle on things, and have shared my feelings with you, I want to hear your thoughts. What do you think? Do you think I am on the right track? What kind of posts do you want to see here on Ginger Peachy?

Thanks for reading! And come back soon to read my announcement of a new blog series!

A Year Ago Today

Picture courtesy of Alissa Yarbrough

April Fool's Day has never been a day I cared to celebrate.

I am not a person who likes to pull pranks and naturally do not like pranks being pulled on me. But I feel fairly safe because most of my family feels the same way. And if not, there is the assurance that they won't do anything too drastic because doing so takes time and planning, to which none of us are willing to commit.

But that doesn't mean we are safe from outside pranks.

A year ago today is a day we'll never forget.

In fact, the unhappy incident has been creeping around the corners of our minds for the last few days.

Don't get me wrong, we're not terrified. Just wary.

You see, we were the victims of a rather vicious prank.

It is not abnormal to hear the sound of police car sirens passing our road. But when they stop at the entrance of your road, that's when you begin to wonder. It was clearly something more than routine.

More officers arrived in SUV's and posted themselves at the beginning of the road as well. A few neighbors asked us if we knew what was going on but we had no idea. We snuck out the front door (so as not to interfere) and peeked past the shrubs to get a better look down the road.

Then we spotted an armed officer behind our neighbors house right next to us looking this way. Were they waiting for a felon down our road? Was there an escaped prisoner about? Believe me when I say we were racking our brains for solutions. Mom didn't like the looks of it and we retreated back inside.

Mom receives a call from a police officer asking us to stop what we are doing, slowly leave the house, and proceed down the road with nothing in our hands.

We were shocked!

Us?! What do they want with us?

My brain was reeling. I had gone into emergency mode and was responding automatically. But Mom was imagining all kinds of horrors. Did something happen to one of the family? What were they going to tell us that they couldn't tell us on the phone or at our house?

With our knees knocking we reached the officers who were grouped together behind the cars and armed for action.

The one in charge came forward and began to ask us questions. They proceeded to frisk my brother, the only man at home at the time, which was even more startling. Afterward he explained.

They had received a call saying "the brother had shot the father and was holding the mother and daughters hostage in the basement." Let me tell you, we were astonished!!

We quickly denied knowing anything about it and readily gave the officers permission to search the house. Obviously, they found nothing and came back with the report.

When the situation began to cool down and protocol behind, the officer explained that what apparently had happened was what was known as "swatting". A prankster thinking it would be funny to set the police on an innocent and unsuspecting family and turn their life temporarily upside down.

We were furious! All this fright and confusion because a selfish person wanted to have a little fun.

Thankfully it was cleared up quickly without any more confusion or problems. The officers were extremely kind throughout the occurrence, once they could see there were no murderers in our midst.

We were allowed to return home soon after with the promise that they would try to find the identity of the culprit. We were visited the next day by a local newsman and soon after by detectives.

Because we are not the type to simply let an unsolved case slip by, it drove us crazy that we couldn't find anything more out. We hashed out the incident and its details until we were blue in the face, hoping to find some connection as to how the culprit knew what he did about us.

Some weeks later we were told that there was another person with the same name as my brother in another county who was swatted also at that time. We put two and two together and realized that we were not the intended target. This other person had had a YouTube account where he shared his disgust of people who swatted others. Sir, I think we took the consequence of your remark.

So today you can't really blame us for being a bit jumpy. They say lightning doesn't strike the same place twice, but pranksters are not lightning.

We learned some things that day. And I don't think we'll sit that easy on April Fool's Day for a long time.

Let me just say this, pranksters beware when you target us. This time we're prepared!