Getting Crafty


holiday planter, live Christmas tree, Christmas tree, planter, 3 seasons, reusable planter, Winter, Spring, Fall, Spring bulbs, tete a tete, daffodil bulbs, daffodils, Christmas ribbon, bows, holiday silks, Ike Pencil Holly, Holly,
Three Season Christmas Planter by

Late into the night on Sunday I was able to finish the cleaning, meal preparations, and Christmas gift for our H family gathering Monday night.  I paid for it dearly this later evening however!

Nonetheless, this is my best work:  an outdoor Christmas, Winter, and Spring planter that combines a dormant/upright holly bush (Ilex Sky Pencil), hidden mini daffodil bulbs (Tête-à-tête) below the surface, exquisite holiday silks, and battery-operated/synchronized  LED lighting.  In the Spring the recipient will remove the sparkly finery to allow room for the bulb shoots to emerge then follow-up with flowering annuals in May.  The finished planter stood about 4 feet tall from the base to the tip of the wooden spikes.  Yeah God!

This design was inspired by the Dirt Simple blog of Deborah Silver, owner of Detroit Garden works.  She is my inspiration of late for all of my landscaping, potted planter, and flora decorating dreams for sure!  I hope you go to her website and check it out.

Guess we had a “Christmas tree” after all this year!  :JJ

Something Good, Green, and Pretty

I’m headed to the gardens on Saturday, this time for the Garden Walk at the Allen County Cooperative Extension Office in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  This year I’m volunteering in the Everlasting Cutting Garden as part of my role as an Advanced Master Gardener, however I’ll be wearing a different hat this weekend.  Lord willing I’ll host a table in the Woodland Garden’s first artisan display.  Yes, Trinity Jewelry by Design is on the road again!

Here’s a sneak peak at some new items I’ve added recently, getting creative in the middle of the night!  The black leather bracelet has already sold but we have more styles in the Leather Wrap Bracelet section online at:  Trinity Jewelry by Design.  I’m also working on a cool adjustable necklace collection that integrates the friendship bracelets from Threads of Hope with colorful rondelle beads (think Pandora) and hemp cord.  You are invited to follow me on Facebook for the latest designs and special offers by following this link:  T J by D on Facebook.

If you’re in the area be sure to stop by between 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.  Take care,  Just Julie

Threads of Hope triple-wrapped friendship bracelet
Threads of Hope triple-wrapped friendship bracelet
Handmade and adjustable double leather wrap bracelet
Handmade and adjustable double leather wrap bracelet
Handmade purple Chevron amethyst leather wrap bracelet
Handmade purple Chevron amethyst leather wrap bracelet

Just ‘Cause You’re Sick Doesn’t Mean You Can’t…..

Some great insights from a fellow sojourner who is near to the side of recovery from Lyme disease. Perhaps I can add making jewelry? :J

My Color Is Lyme


Yes you are in bed most of the time. Yes you feel like that possum that got hit by the truck. Yes you are kind of stuck and down in the dumps. You can’t do most of the things you want to do, so it is easy to get depressed, feel worthless and a burden on society. We’ve all been there, no matter what point in our illness we are in right now.

So since it is so easy to focus on the “can’ts” (which lead to feeling worthless), here are some “can’s” you can do right from your bed. And please don’t put these ideas down as cheesy, maybe some are but it’s the little things that sometimes make the day brighter.


Image1. Write Thank You Cards “just because”. Are there people in your life that you love and appreciate? How good would it feel to surprise them…

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The Winter Hiatus Just Might Be Over

So glad to be able to get creative again after a long spell of, as they say in the cereal commercial, “nuttin’ honey!”  Making wrap bracelets have become my favorite jewelry to make, incorporating macramé, traditional jewelry findings, leather, and just about every technique I’ve learned so far.  Having a creative outlet has been a blessing of late and here’s hoping this lovely piece is the start of more good things to come!

Boho Macramé and Mixed Media Bracelet From Trinity Jewelry by Design
Boho Macramé and Mixed Media Bracelet From Trinity Jewelry by Design



Click on the link below for more information.

The Next Step is Sideways

Sometimes you move forward.  Sometimes you move backward.  And most of the time you just go sideways or don’t move at all!  Know what I mean?

When I worked in rehabilitation we had another phrase:  recovery is always a jagged line.  A person makes progress then might regress a step or two before making the “big gains” in strength, walking, functioning, and the like.  Many times my patients would not believe me when I said this to them.  I understood their frustration.  In our fast-paced, achievement and results-oriented American society, it is really tough not to be getting ahead in some way every day.  Well as the old Starkist tuna commercial used to say, “Sorry Charlie.”  Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

Not only does every person not always get where they want to go, not every person gets selected to try for his or her dreams.  These can be a real bummer for sure.  How we handle these delays or changes in the course of our lives may likely determine our character.  Certainly how we respond reflects our maturity as adults, or for Christians, whether or not we are trusting in the Lord who promises a plan an purpose for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).  While there are probably other reasons we could explore ad nauseum, I’m going to leave it right here.  Ultimately we must get over the failure to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves when it just isn’t going to happen.  You just never know.  Something better might be on the horizon . . .

Several times I have planned to complete a special project and was never able to start it.  (This has happened a lot over the past two years!)  In general, the main reason wasn’t even procrastination.  The reason often has had to do with the reality that something better is waiting for me in the future.  Take my decorating idea folder, for example.  About twenty years ago when our drapery panels in our living room became damaged from the sun, I really wanted to create a custom window treatment that I’d seen in a magazine.  Somehow I would need to design a tracking system where the wall met the ceiling before such systems were even available.  We didn’t have any wood shop tools at the time and I was unfamiliar with the fine art of making draperies.  However I did know how to sew and had a creative streak so that was enough for me to move forward and figure it out.  Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.

The townhome got sold with the sun bleached draperies pinned from behind to hide the sections that were threadbare.  The problem?  My former husband doubted my ability to complete the project.  Where would we get the materials?  How would we install it?  Where would I find the time to make everything?  All of the ongoing questions discouraged me from trying to find the answers.  A creative person makes something happen along the happy journey of figuring it out.  He or she doesn’t have everything worked out at the start unless there is a pattern or kit with instructions.  This decorating project simply was too much for the two of us to come to an agreement.  It wasn’t meant to be back then.

Flash forward about ten years later and it was meant to be.  Through unfortunate circumstances I found myself single and rebuilding my life in another city; so much had changed.  To pursue a creative project would become “occupational therapy” for me and help me to make my new place a home.  I knew exactly what window treatment would adorn the sunny sliding glass door that overlooked the lush courtyard beyond my balcony.  This time the time was right.

A co-worker told me about a textile company that sold unbleached muslin by the pound.  Yeah, that’s right!  Yards and yards of fabric would be super cheap and just right the right color and style for my project.  I even found material to line the panels all through that poorly marked, rusted back door entrance to the factory.  There were huge bolts of fabric everywhere!  “Yeah God,” I said to myself.  This is good!

The next challenge would be measuring and cutting an inordinate amount of material on the laminate floor of my 3rd floor condominium.  To say my knees were hurting from crawling around cutting all that fabric, would be an understatement.  Then I wondered how was I going to sew all this yardage at my modest kitchen table?  The answer soon came when I was house-sitting in a lovely home a short time later.  The man of the house was a contractor and had a HUGE desk in his office for viewing his drafting plans.  That desk was perfect for sewing yards and yards of fabric too:  spilling all over the place in their spacious loft.  Cool beans.  I sewed and sewed to my heart’s content.  Cool beans again.

Now to make the tracking system to suspend the panels next to the ceiling.  Somehow I stumbled upon a lumber store just off the railroad tracks in an industrial area of a neighboring town.  The guys at Owl Lumber in Lombard, Illinois were great.  Not only did they help me configure the crown-molding style curtain rod, they metered the corners and pre-drilled the holes for the mounting pegs for me as well.  I installed about a dozen pegs into the crown molding, sanded, painted it white, and coated it with polyurethane.  Now all I had to do was mount it on the wall . . . without a ladder . . .

Gratefully I had an extremely sturdy coffee table that became a suitable platform for the installation.  (You simply could not kill that wooden beast so it followed me through 8 moves over the years.  Finally it got sold on Craig’s List 5 years ago!)  I got all the tools and supplies together, my friend Jeannie came over for dinner and a little window treatment project, and we gals went to work on a Friday night.  The only problem was that the building was over 30 years old and there was concrete not wood studs underneath the drywall!  My wood screws would never hold the weight of the solid wooden rod that measured about 8 feet long.  Oh well.  Back to the hardware store I would go for mega concrete bolts and a new drill bit.  Of course I had a darn good drill that would handle the job.  🙂

The next hurdle was the fact that Jeannie was not available the next weekend to jump back into the project again.  What was I do to?  How could I possibly wait when I was this close to pulling it all together?  This thing was massively heavy and I was hoping to mount it at a height that would require me to hold it at a height near the end of the reach of my arms overhead.   How could I do this alone without dropping it on my head?  By sheer will power and determination, that is!  I figured out the measurements of the holes for both the wall and crown-molding rod and pre-drilled the holes.  I figured that if I could slip in a few bolts by hand and tighten them, they would hold enough for me to get the rest of the bolts in as well.  I also used my head . . . literally!  And with only one close call, Lord willing, I gotter done!  Success!

The finishing touches to hang the panels were beautiful silky-type cording that I found at a local drapery supply store.  Wow:  so cool to live in a large city at the time where I found a place where practically half of the store was drapery trims and tassels!  I made a loop and tied it with a Josephine macramé knot, reminiscent of 20 years earlier when it was first vogue to macramé.  I was single then too and had macrame’d lotsa stuff!  Hand sewing the loops to the panels was a labor of love, quite meaningful for me.  Then I was ready for my big reveal to, er, myself.  Would it all come together?  You be the judge.  I loved it!  To open it each morning I gently draped a loops hidden on the backside of the middle of the bottom of each panel to hooks on the wall along the outer sides of the panels.  At night I released the loops and the panels closed like the massive curtains at the end of a theater stage play.  Yeah, it was cool.  Yeah, it was worth the wait.  I was stoked and thanked the Lord for restoring the years the “locusts had eaten” once again.  (Joel 2:25)

That's me in 2007
That’s me in 2007

This is an important story for me to remember years later.  I’m in a situation now where I can’t do projects like this as I recover from a serious illness.  I am grateful for the Lord’s gift of writing and the warm reception to my eBook released a couple of weeks ago (see side panel for details).  Just this morning I was wondering what would be next?  Then I realized that I really can’t do anything more right now.  The book got finished because I had some better days; those days are gone for now.  I’m hoping to catch up on some long overdue regular medical appointments like an eye exam tomorrow morning.  EEEEK!  Will ya look at the time?  Anyways, these next few weeks I won’t be moving forward.  I’ll be taking care of the stuff on the back roads, so to speak.  Perhaps there will be other types of meaningful discoveries along the way, perhaps not.  For now, the stuff of life has my time and attention.

Maybe you can relate?  Whatcha got going on this week, Gentle Reader?  Do take care, k?  JJ