Nov 12, 2012

Ellen Brenneman Studio: original works of art

How An Artist Took Charge

As part of my Artists Loft Etsy team  promotional series, I'd like to introduce you to Ellen Brenneman. I am so enamored of her art work, and of her perseverance in the light of  what could have been a depressing experience. She is an inspiration to all of us. Let her tell you herself.

Life Unexpected Leads Artist Back To Her Roots

Many moons ago, I used to be quite the successful artist. I was six years old at the time. Furiously working with lined paper and crayon, I'd sell my wares in front of my makeshift 'store' whenever company came over.

"Grandma," I'd say. " Wouldn't this pretty picture look great on your refrigerator?"
'You're right. It would!" she'd say while handing over a shiny quarter for her newly acquired picture of 'Doggie Asleep on Floor'.

I never really let go of my desire to run my own business. After college, while decorating my walls with paintings, I also ventured into many creative jobs: Mural painter. Illustrator. Furniture Painter. Eventually I fell into private home care and that is where I remained for over a decade.

Nov 5, 2012

Introducing Cutting Pixels

Hand Cut Art dedicated to Video Games

I have the privilege of introducing you to one of my favorite Etsy shops, Cutting Pixels. Katrina Mason is the owner, artist, and designer of the items which feature hand-cut silhouettes of video game characters. She has done other characters, such as Precious Moments, but video games are the source of most of her art. Her are her words.

 Riding Epona across beautiful grassy plains of Hyrule. Charging through thick forests dodging panthers and tigers on Azeroth. Navigating warp zones and trampolines with Mario and Luigi. Timing the perfect jump to rescue the princess. Discovering Star World while rescuing Yoshi and friends. Swingin' jungle vines, smashin' barrels, and jumpin' mine carts. Racing the clock to get your strawberries watered and harvested before summer. Wooing the girl of your dreams. Getting up with the sun to take your cows to pasture. Searching darkened rooms for your lost friend amid hostile ghosts. Eating anything even remotely edible you found on the ground.

These are the scenes I cherished. When it was too dark to play outside anymore, my sisters and I fought over whose turn it was on the console.

Though I have always had a passion for the arts, my actual ability was never very high. I took art classes every year until I graduated despite my inabilities. I continued to love arts and crafts as I started a family and grew older. I've tried many different types of art, but nothing has ever clicked for me until now.

I stumbled upon a blog post featuring a paper cut artist. Though I love art, I've never felt moved to purchase any specific piece. But I had to fight the urge to go over budget and purchase several pieces of this artists work. I spent days gazing at her listings on Etsy. I loved her work so much, I began to feverishly look into other papercutting artists. After spending two weeks reading about the art of hand cut paper, I decided to try it. I had an X-Acto knife already from one of my many passing art attempts, though the blade was incorrect. I pulled out some construction paper and my knife, and attempted a free template.

Nov 2, 2012

A stitch in time...

...saved my mind.

(This is the post I wrote which was published by the Susan, the Crochet Addict back in September)

There is no way I could have known when I picked up my crochet hooks after years of not touching them, that I would become a different person. Several years prior, I had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The pain and fatigue that I lived with had robbed me of vitality to the point that my employer "suggested" I take a leave of absence. That was a wake up call to a new life.

Soon after returning to work, on a scaled down level, I met a woman that knitted. She inspired me to crochet a few stitches. And of course, I was hooked.

She took me shopping for yarn after I found a pattern for a simple cardigan, and was I ever surprised at the glorious selection of colors and styles. And this was just at Michaels; we hadn't even been to a yarn store yet! We started attending groups together, like Stitch and Bitch, and I began honing my rudimentary skills learned at my grandmother's knee.

Nov 1, 2012

PTL Thursday

Acknowledge the Lord and He will acknowledge you

Psalm 1:6

Luke 12:8

1John 4:15

Sep 22, 2012

My Guest Post and Recent Listings

Your very own Cozy Corner Crochets was invited to be a guest blogger on a popular British crochet blog. You can find my post here. Please take a moment to go by and read it. While you're there it would be nice if you left a comment.

Also, if you are looking for patterns, Susan has quite a few published on Ravelry. She has a Ravelry button on her blog, so it's easy to get to the pattern page.

In case you haven't been over to my Etsy shop, let me share with you a few things I've been making. I've got this craft show coming up in 2 weeks, so I've been a creating fool.

Cotton Spa collection with towel, washcloth and four scrubbies
Kitchen dishcloth
Kitchen dishcloth
Hot air balloon stitch markers
Turquoise heart stitch markers

Sep 20, 2012

Soapy Layne Bath and Beauty Giveaway

Win a $50.00 gift certificate!

I can't believe Alecia is getting married next week. At 24 years of age, she already owns a 5 acre farm in upstate NY. And she does everything. Here's what her profile says about her:

I sew, paint, crochet, craft, garden, farm, belly dance, cook, read, learn, collect and imagine.
Oh, she didn't mention that she also has two blogs. Well, imagine me winning this giveaway from her blog "Chicken Scratch". To enter the contest yourself, head over to the Soapy Layne giveaway page and submit your entries. Better hurry, because the wedding is next week, and I don't know when she is going to have time to select a winner. Maybe tomorrow?

Sep 13, 2012

Cutterstone Jewelry

One of the elements used in Cutterstone Jewelry is the lowly cuttlebone. I used to buy them for my birds to gnaw on. I'll never look at one the same again after viewing the remarkable pieces of jewelry in this shop. You will have to read for yourself the intricacies involved.

Here is the artistic work of John and Deni Boardman.

Cozy Corner Crochets: What are the names and addresses of your Pages, Blogs, and/or  Shops
Cutterstone Jewelry:

CCC: What is your primary craft
CJ: Jewelry making and repair work
CCC: What materials do you work with
CJ: Silver, gold, precious and semi-precious stones

Pendants made from cuttlebones

CCC: How did you get started and where do you see yourself headed
CJ: My husband is a self-taught jeweler, it’s a great story and you can read it here: Cutterstone/About. I was a full-time accountant that was allowed to retire when we got married, and got involved in his work which he is ecstatic about. For me, I would love to start learning more of what he does, and do my own designing. He would love to open a brick & mortar store, but now is not the time, and here is definitely not the place!

Gents Ring
CCC: Where do you get your ideas
CJ: John loves the ocean, and many of his designs are inspired by that. He loves the more modern, geometric, and bright pieces, while I am more of a simple, not to crazy kind of gal.

CCC: What gets in the way of you pursuing your dream
CJ: Unfortunately, the economy and the location where we live would not allow us to open a brick & mortar store, which is John’s dream. When Mervyn’s closed, he purchased all their jewelry cabinets which are still sitting in our garage.

CCC: What do you do to relax and have fun
CJ: We love to get into nature as much as we can. We like to camp and hike. Right now though our time is consumed in remodeling our older home. John is doing most of the work himself, he’s a well-rounded man, but of course I am biased!

CCC: What did you do “in your other life”
CJ: John has worked mostly on his own, but for many different jewelers over the years, even a high-end Palm Springs jeweler. He has won a couple of awards for gem-cutting that he doesn’t like to boast about, but I do (teehee). I used to be a controller for a Honda dealer. I’ve worked just about my whole life in the automotive field.

Chain Maille bracelet
CCC: Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself
CJ: We are very happily married, and have 4 children and 10 grandchildren between us. We are very grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ and try to live our lives according to His teachings.

Sep 11, 2012

Becoming a Geophysicist---NOT! And Happy Birthday, Molly

September 11 - What was your least favorite subject in school?

First, I have to get two things off my chest: today is my beautiful daughter's birthday. She turned 11 in 2001 which brings me to the second thing: May God give comfort to all who were affected by the events of 911. Also, I pray that the Muslim extremists will turn away from their jihad and learn to live in love and tolerance.

Photos of Molly that I recently scanned. In these photos, she was aged 2- to 4-years old. She still loves to cook, ride horses, dance, and play dress-up.

Molly from 17-years old to 21-years old.
 One of these days---yeah, right---I'll get more photos scanned. Oh, wait, I just thought of another one I'll share, since it is just between you and me. This is the day Molly was born, all 9lbs 14oz of her.

Mike is giving me something to push against.
Regarding school---I loved school, I was just such a procrastinator that I would not get my homework turned in on time. I did flunk my second year of Latin because of it. Now you know why I can't get my blog posts done on time.

One of the things I found out after I graduated high school is that my parents had put me in advanced level classes. I got upset because everyone would rave how my friend got As and I didn't. Well, come to find out, she wasn't in the advanced classes. I would have gotten As too---while I slept. I did have a terrible time with trig in college so I gave up on becoming an geophysicist.

Sep 8, 2012

Quick Breads, Morning and Evening

September 8 - What is your favorite, "go to" cooking recipe?

Recipes wax and wane in my appreciation, depending on my mood and/or pocketbook. There was a time when I didn't think much about buying fresh seafood from the market and whipping it up "Southern Style" (that means fried) for dinner. Of course, that was when I lived on the coast, and it was before we had kids. Now, I'm too broke and too far away from the coast to have fresh seafood. It is still my favorite feast though whenever we do get down to the Gulf.

Now, I'm more likely to turn to a pot of beans served up with homemade cornbread for a go-to meal. My cornbread recipe is an adaptation of the one that's on the blue-and-yellow box of corn meal. But it works at 5000 feet elevation. Here is the recipe as I shared it with my daughter.

Anna's Favorite Cornbread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In large mixing bowl, mix
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat or unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
In 2-cup measuring cup, mix thoroughly
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Add milk to the 2-cup line and mix.
Add liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well with fork; do not beat with mixer or bread will be tough. Break up large lumps with fork.Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 18-20 mins, until knife inserted into center of bread comes out clean.

This recipe works for almost all "quick breads". Make delicious muffins by substituting oats, bran, cereal, etc., for the cornmeal. Add nuts, fruit, applesauce, etc. Bake in prepared muffin tins for 15-18 mins, or in loaf pan 45-55 mins.

For example:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2-3 small ripe bananas, mashed well
  • 1/4 cup pecans, broken
  • cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup blueberries

  • 1 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 cup bran
  • 1 cup raisins
  • brown sugar instead of white, or honey instead of sugar (mix with liquid ingredients)
There have been many mornings when muffins and milk were our breakfast. I like to use buttermilk or yogurt too, in place of the milk, just remember to replace the baking powder with half a teaspoon of baking soda.

Sep 7, 2012

Anybody Here Seen My Old Friend John?

September 7 - Where were you when...?  Describe what you remember

Every so often, there is an event so catastrophic that people can tell you to the moment what they were doing when the event happened. If you live long enough, you may be unfortunate to have survived more than one of those life altering moments. I can think of a couple during my lifetime: 911, the Challenger disaster, and the assassination of  President John Kennedy.

President Kennedy was our 35th president and was visiting Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. I was nine years old, attending La Mesa Elementary school in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Our school did not have a cafeteria, and if you didn't bring a lunch to school, you had to go home to eat. Luckily I lived only two blocks from the school. My mother and I lived in a small, u-shaped apartment complex of about 10 homes. The woman on the end often looked out for me since my mother worked full time at a bank.

President John F. Kennedy riding in an open limo with his wife, Jacqueline, and the governor of Texas and his wife, John and Nellie Connally, on November 22, 1963.

When I came home for lunch that day, my neighbor took me aside and said that I probably ought not go back to school that afternoon. Obviously, I was curious, and she explained that the President had been shot. What does that mean to a 9-year-old but a day off school? However, I sat fascinated in front of the TV with my neighbor, and later with my mother, as the pictures rolled in.

There was the cavalcade coming around the corner, people's heads turning at the sounds of the rifle shots, Secret Service men leaping into the open limo. Later, we saw photos of Jack Ruby killing Lee Harvey Oswald as Oswald, the alleged assassin, was being transferred from the police station into a waiting police car. Even later, forever etched into my memory, thanks to Life Magazine, is the image of Caroline and John Jr. bravely standing in the line for the passing of their father's horse drawn coffin. Caroline became an attorney, married, and had children of her own. She is almost four years younger than I am. Sadly, John Jr. lost his life at the helm of his private plane in 1999.

Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of  President John Kennedy, stands with her children, Caroline and John Jr., along with the president's brothers Robert and Edward, during the funeral procession.

Sep 6, 2012

A Bucket List of Books

September 6 - Make a list of books you want to read next year.

I rarely read these days, partly because in my other activities I'm so slow that they take up all my time and more. Also, because of the fibromyalgia, I experience extreme fatigue and sleepiness (which contributes to my slowness). Consequently, when I do sit down to read, I fall asleep or I don't remember what I just read.

I was a voracious reader. Losing that ability has been a thorn in my side. I struggle to accept that reading is no longer part of my life. I still collect books, saying to myself that I will read them, but they languish on my bookshelf. However, I am listing some books that I would like to read---or finish what I've already started.

  • Non-fiction
  1. Holy Bible
  2. The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  3. You Can Understand the Book of Revelation by Skip Heitzig
  •  Fiction
  1. The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
  2. The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down by Neta Jackson
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I have some different versions of the Bible on my Kindle Fire. My favorite is the New King James MacArthur Study Bible. It is easy to navigate, I can highlight verses, look up definitions, and type in notes. And the study feature is excellent and gives meaning to otherwise confusing scripture.
I have a few books by Max Lucado that I want to finish as well as some Bible study helps and daily devotional books. The devotional books have one page to read per day, so I can accomplish that much. I have also had luck listening to books from the library on my computer (not the cds, but the downloadable ones.) I can do that while I'm crocheting. I guess I will try that again because the selection at the library has improved. The last book I listened to was Island Beneath the Sea by Isabelle Allende. I highly recommend it. Maybe The Help is available. That would be cool. Off I go...

PTL Thursday---Strength

Psalm 105:3,4

2Corinthians 12:9

Deuteronomy 31:6

Sep 5, 2012

What is a Parrothead?

September 5 - Write about your favorite play or concert you've attended.

Urban Dictionary's first entry for the definition of Parrothead is this:

A Parrothead is a fan of Jimmy Buffett (there is no other meaning). The typical parrothead is pictured to wear a Hawaiian shirt, flip-flops, and other tropical attire, and to enjoy drinking margaritas on the beach. Parrotheads often decorate their homes in tropical motifs. In general the life of a parrothead is one of relaxation and being on a permanent mental vacation even while at work.
 Parrotheads even have their own official website and issue "State of the Phlock" yearly reports.

Now, I bet you can guess what my favorite concert has been. You're right---Jimmy Buffett. We've actually seen him twice. The first time was in Tempe, Arizona, at a small, outdoor venue around 1983. We brought in jugs of wine and sat on the grass while Jimmy and the Coral Reefer band played. Nobody knew at the time just how much of a following Jimmy would gather as the years passed.

Sep 4, 2012

Star Struck

September 4 - Have you ever met a celebrity?  If not, which one would you like to meet?

Somewhere, buried under piles of unorganized photos, there is a photo of me and Merv Griffin. Merv had come to town to tout the purchase of an Albuquerque hotel. My husband was writing for a business newspaper that was covering the event. I got to tag along to the celebration that was thrown at the hotel. That was my first time to see ice sculptures. Sometime during the evening, my husband asked Mr. Griffin if he could take his photo for the paper, and I even got to get in the picture. He was such a charmer. Looking at the photo, you would have thought we were long lost pals.

(I actually got down my plastic box of photos from the closet and tried to find the picture of me with Merv Griffin; all I could find was this one with the ice sculpture. I think this was about 1995.)

The first time I had ever seen ice sculptures on a table.

If I were to get to meet a celebrity today, I'm not sure who I would choose. I care less and less about celebrities the older I get. These days (and I may sound like an old, cranky, geezeress), people become celebrities for no reason, or because they have money. And they don't stay celebrities for very long either.

I hear Robert Duvall is very nice in person. I would shake his hand.

Sep 3, 2012

The Toy Story

September 3 - What toys do you remember playing with as a child.

Being an only child in a poor household meant there were not a lot of toys for me to play with. Let's face it, in the 50s, toys weren't as plentiful as they are now. My favorite must have been my bicycle, because I remember riding it a lot. I also climbed the big tree in my grandmother's front yard a lot, but I don't think that counts as a toy.

Now, my cousins had some toys, and I loved getting to visit them and play with Tinkertoy, Lincoln Logs, Playdough, and Monopoly. They also had cereal with treats in them. It was heaven when I got to spend the night at their house. They had a swingset in the back yard that we tipped over more than once.

This could very easily have been a picture of my two cousins

My dad's mother did buy me a Barbie which I got to play with when I visited her. She would knit and sew clothes for the doll, and I think she had more fun with that than I had with the doll. I wasn't a doll person. One year, I got a chemistry set for my birthday, and I would spend a lot of time with that. I thought I was really making things, and I learned words like phenolphthalein. When I was 11, my grandparents also got me a .22 rifle. I was so excited when I got to get it fitted for a scope.

I seem to recall having a case like this one.
 However, there is one special toy that my mother saved for me. It is a large, stuffed brown bear, called "Brownie" no less, that I got as a gift one Christmas. I think I was 7 or 8 years old. I lugged that bear around as we moved from place to place, up until my teens. I must have lost interest in it, and unbeknownst to me, my mother saved it. She returned it to me when I got married. It is a sorry looking creature, but I thought maybe my daughter would want it. She didn't, but it sits up in my closet anyway. I just can't stand to throw it away.

Sep 2, 2012

Bring It On, Autumn

September 2 -  What is your favorite thing about Autumn?

There are so many traditions associated with Autumn that it has become my favorite season. Have you ever smelled roasting green chiles? Once you've experienced it, you will never forget it. And the city-wide aroma fills the air signaling the return of Autumn in New Mexico. People stand in lines with 40lb sacks of green chiles, waiting for their turn at the chile roaster. The chiles are taken home, peeled and frozen. Oh, my, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Chiles left to ripen and turn red are strung into bright ristras that are hung in homes to provide chile year round.

Green chiles await their turn in the roaster, with red chile ristras shown in the background.

Autumn is the end of the year for me for it is the end of the growing season. What was planted in the spring, then nurtured over the summer is gathered with glee, especially if the kids have been involved. There are harvest festivals all over towns and cities. Horse drawn wagons full of hay bales haul giddy children in village parades. And farmers' markets booths overflow with vegetables and flowers.

Sep 1, 2012

Fall Into Writing

September 1 - Why have you decided to participate in The Autumn Blog Challenge (The ABC)?
What would a blog be without posts, especially ones on a regular basis? The bloggers in the blog challenge push me to write. They keep me accountable for getting it done. Plus, I have learned so much from the bloggers in the Summer Blog Challenge that I want to contribute even more. Hopefully, with continued writing within this community, I can become a better blogger and a contributor to a better cyber world. I want to promote the other writers as well by encouraging them and sharing their posts.

I have no ambitions of being able to write everyday. Living with fibromyalgia, I've learned to not make those kinds of demands on my time. I still have things to make for my Etsy shop; I have to promote my shop through my blog and other social media; I have family and friends to whom I give my time. But first and foremost, I give my time to God. Without His help and guidance I would have nothing

I really look forward to reading everyone's posts. If you are interested in joining this challenge, click the button on the left side of the blog, Autumn Blog Challenge.

Aug 28, 2012

Finally I'm Crocheting a Christmas Stocking

Since last year, I have wanted to crochet a Christmas Stocking. I even bought some yarn last fall, but it has languished in my stash. So once again, I am browsing patterns for stockings.

Here is a great tutorial for a simple stocking by Crochet Crowd. It includes simplified diagrams for short row heels.

This image courtesy of as seen on AllFreeCrochet.

 Here is one called Tree of Light stocking. I'm not much of a cross stitcher, but some of you may be.

From AllFree Crochet, courtesy of MomsLoveOfCrochet
However, this is the one I think I will make. It is from Red Heart, and they have five pages of really clever home decor items for Christmas.

Courtesy of

Do you have a favorite pattern for stockings? Share the link in the comment section.

Aug 25, 2012

Handmade Critters

I'm pleased to introduce you to Cindy Friend. She is the owner of Handmade by Cosmo on Etsy, and she writes a blog. Her Critters come in "Big", "Bitsy", and "Itsy", and they are so sweet.

Cozy Corner Crochets:  What are the names and addresses of your Pages, Blogs, and/or  Shops
Cindy Friend:  Facebook         -
                         Blog                -
                        Etsy Shop        -

CCC:  What materials do you work with
CF:   Felt, mostly made from recycled plastic bottles, embroidery thread, buttons, beads, fiber fill,

CCC:  How did you get started and where do you see yourself headed
CF:  I’ve been a seamstress all my life, it, toys, if it could be made with fabric, I could make it.   I love to do hand embroidery, too.  I love the intricate work.  I had been toying with the idea of making some felt animals, then my friend got sick, and I made her a magical unicorn.  She got well, and I learned that I Love making Felt Critters, so that’s what I’m doing now.  

Aug 21, 2012

Blogger Is Not My Friend Anymore

August 20-Give a tip for new bloggers.

This must not be my day for blogging. I had written five paragraphs, saved my work, then BLAMMO! Gone.
  • Number one tip has now become: DON'T PRESS CTRL-Z WHEN USING BLOGGER.

Normally, in Windows, pressing ctrl-z undoes an action. Apparently, not in Blogger, because when I did that, my entire post was erased. No undo arrow to undo my undo.

I'm going to go cry in a glass of wine and call it a night. Please don't make the same mistake I did.

Aug 16, 2012

Homage to My Husband

August 16- 10 things you love about your significant other (or kids or pets).

My husband has wonderful qualities. That's why I married him, of course.

He is: (in no particular order)

  1. Steadfast
  2. Kind
  3. Intelligent
  4. Tall
  5. Loving
  6. Cautious
  7. Hard-working
  8. Fun
  9. Handsome
  10. Responsible
Helping me up the hill at Newgrange, Ireland, 2007

Fishing at Cochiti Lake, New Mexico 2009
He made his own beer, 2009
Anniversary cruise to the Caribbean, 2010
Mother's Day at the baseball game, 2011