Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Pile of Hats, Hats, Hats

Can't get enough of making hats!  This is what I've been doing during my spare time over the summer.  They are so yummy.  Who says winter has to be about wearing dark colors?  Obviously not me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

1st completed pair of fingerless gloves

Yeah boy!  This is my 1st successful completion of fingerless gloves with thumbs.  They aren't perfect but they aren't too bad either.  I believe my niece who requested green and purple things for her arms will like them at least. She's four, she knows what she wants, and her auntie is happy to make them for her.  Now the big decision will be, do I give them to her now or wait until Christmas?  A matching hat is in the works as we speak and maybe a scarf if there is enough yarn left over.

I just need this Florida weather to cooperate and cool down soon so she can use the set when she gets them.  Ok, I just want the hot weather to stop!  I can't take any more of this nasty heat. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

My Lil' Hero Journal Project

Ever been waken from your sleep with an idea and couldn't go back to sleep because your mind just kept throwing ideas at you?  This happens to me fairly often, but this time around I decided to go ahead and get up and act on that idea.  I am calling it the My Lil' Hero Journal Project. 

So often as parents we here or say negative things about our children or others that we see in our lives.  We hear that ALL teenagers are terrible, disrespectful, moody, undisciplined, lazy, and I could go on.  Two years old, you know the saying "Terrible Twos".  Many times our acceptance of these ideas become our reality due to the fact that allow ourselves to accept these as truths and expect these actions from our children.  But, what happens when we refuse to accept and expect only the best?  What happens when we tell our children on a daily basis that the bring us joy and gladness?  What if we tell them that although others may say and do some of the things that may appear normal for their age, that we are not accepting or tolarating those behaviors and give them examples of what they do in their daily lives to prove those myths incorrect?  I'll share with you a bit of my own personal experience with this and how it relates to the My Lil' Hero Journal Project.

This is not to brag or boast about my abilities as a parent, but more to give thanks to my God, my family, my friends, and my church family for the support, guidance, wisdom, examples and mentorships during the last 16 years that I've raised my son as a single mom.  My Lil' Hero (he's not so little anymore) is my son Alex.  No, he is not perfect, who is, but I can say with tear filled eyes of joy (member of the crying club) that he amazes and inspires me each and everyday.  He is a young man that looks beyond himself, is not boastful, he is caring, loving, respectful, disciplined, hardworking, funny, not materialistic, and he is my protector.  These are just a few of the qualities that he possesses.  I love to watch him interact, teach or mentor the youth that he works with in the young marine program, in karate, or in a volunteer position.  He is so talented in staying patient, knowing when to be firm, when to have fun, and when he needs to have some one on one time to counsel one of the youth.  He does this with youth of all ages, through young marines they are ages 8 - 18 but, he has younger cousins that benefit from this same ability.  All I can say is that from the day he was born he changed my life for the better, I have enjoyed being his mom and even his friend.  I know, they say you can't be your child's friend you're their parent, but I think you can find that balance and teach them where to draw the line as well as know for yourself the limits. 

I could go on all day about my hero but, I want to talk about the journal and my vision.  I plan to start a journal dedicated to writing to Alex about something he did in a particular day that was an example of why he is my hero.  At the end of the week or other designated time, I will share it with him.  My goal is to start today and end December 31st.  I am going to also give a blank journal to my 2 sisters and mother and ask them to do the same for each of their children.  For my mom, I thought she might like to journal about her grandchildren and share it with them whenever she chooses. 

Why am I sharing this with you?  I would love to spread this project around the country.  I want to see how far this project can spread and here about your Lil' Heroes. If you are interested, please read below for more information on how to participate.

1. Send me an email letting me know you want to participate in the My Lil' Hero Journal Project.  I would like to keep a running count/list of where this project finds itself.

2. Share with me your stories as short or long as you like about a child you know under the age of 21 that you consider a hero.  Doesn't have to be your own child and you can change their names for their privacy.

3. Share the journal with your hero on a regular basis, daily or weekly.  Don't let too much time go, the point is to let them know that they bring you joy and gladness. Be honest and sincere when writing.  Try to catch something at least once a day that is an example or just journal your thoughts as they arise, don't feel that you have to make up anything, just keep it real.

4.  Allow me the opportunity, the honor of sharing your stories on my blog, and the potential of moving this project even further.  I'll discuss this in more detail as I work through it and see how this project is running.

5. Pass this post on to others in your family, community, to your friends and blog about it, mention it on facebook, twitter, etc.  Help me spread the word.  

My mind is filling up with ideas on how I can expand this and I share those at a later time.  I am really looking forward to hearing about all the wonderful things that our youth are doing to live as hero's in our world.  Too often they don't know that they are our heroes and it's time to let them know.  You may have a foster child in your home right now who has experienced things in their life that no human should endure, but has been able to overcome those oppositions, maybe you have a child who has a physical or mental disability or health problem but they haven't let it rule them, share these stories.

I have a little friend age 4, she's been adopted by the most wonderful family, and she inspires me every time I see her.  She was born without arms and has had many surgeries on her back, but that girl has an incredible spirit.  There isn't much of anything that she can't do or won't try doing.  I love to hear her mom tell how the daughter paints her mom's nails, using her toes and feet.  That is just one example of the many ways she shows she is not enabled but able to do what she puts her mind to doing.  There are several other youth that I could talk about that fill me with pride knowing them and joy watching them grow.  I am sure you can say the same thing.

So, if you would like to join my in this project, either leave a comment here and your email so that we can communicate more as this project grows or you can send me an email directly at designsbyjenai at

Found these at Michael's for $1.00

Friday, July 16, 2010

The creative juices are flowing

Helloooo creativity, welcome back.  It feels so good to get back into the mode of pushing my creative thinking to a new level and discovering new ways of expressing myself.  Found a tutorial on how to manipulate my photos into what reminds of the images you would see looking into a kaleidoscope, but are  referred to as mandalas.  For a little Friday evening fun, I decided to give it a try and I am sharing with you my first one.  It's not perfect, but I do think it is pretty cool and colorful.  You know me, life just isn't the same if it isn't full of color.

Hope you enjoy looking at it as well.  Feel free to let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I'm moving and I'm changing my name!

Decided to finally make the move, on Etsy that is.  When I first registered with Etsy I did the normal newbie thing and created a user name not realizing that if I ever opened a shop I would be stuck with my user name being the Name/Address for my online shop.  Well, jcollins16 just didn't jive with me.  So, after some quiet time in the shop, meaning me being lazy and not posting in new items in a while, the old items have expired.  This gave me the opportunity to go ahead and re-open a new shop with the name I've been advertising, Designs by Jenai. 

I plan to share in my shop my creative interest in the world of nature photography.  Pictures that I capture in my everyday life that fill me with joy and that I think are beautiful or interesting.  Of course these are through the eyes and lens of a complete amateur just having fun and testing my limits in the world of photography.

Knitting as you know has become another love in my life.  No doubt I will be adding items made by my novice hands, but made with lots of happiness.  Hopefully no one will mind that some items may have been carried to the dojo, on travels by car/plane, and any other place that gives me the opportunity to spend some down time knitting.

The shop isn't ready for visitors just yet, but when it is, I will make an announcement and open with a prize give-away.  I am counting on everyone to help spread the word when the time comes.

Be on the look-out for the new!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Show and Tell

Happy Friday!  Not much to say today, but had a few pictures of some of my most recent work both on and off the needles.  HATS!!  They are so fun to make, I just can't stop.

Ok, remember the song and game - One of these things does not belong with the others?  Well, the last one is a shot taken on a short walk with my son this evening.  It was just so bright and cheery, a nice photo to end the day.  Have a wonderful and safe Independence Day weekend.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday Wonders

Confession time, this picture was taken yesterday as I was leaving my office, but I'm sharing it with you today, Wednesday.   I am such a big kid when I spot a rainbow.  Sighting a rainbow is so exciting but to catch a double rainbow is extra special.  Wanted to share my little treasure with you.  Do you have a little something that most people might take for granted but gives you a lot of joy and excitement?  What is it?  Is it catching the scent of jasmine as you walk or drive through a neighborhood, seeing butterflies dancing around in your yard or maybe just hearing someone special laugh?  Feel free to share with me.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Luck of the Irish Scarf

This beautiful yarn was given to me by someone who thought about me on her trip to Ireland. It is so beautiful. The pictures don't do it any justice. The colors make me think of a lush, green field sprinkled with dots of wild flowers.

As soon as I saw the yarn I knew I wanted to knit something that I would be able to treasure for a very long time. Although I really like making hats, I don't wear them, but I would wear a scarf. After doing some searching and test knitting I decided on this great, simple pattern that can be found here on ravelry or here. I think it really does a nice job of showcasing this handspun yarn, it's texture and colored flecks.

Some people collect keychains, I think I would like to collect yarn and use it to create a collection of scarfs from around the world. So, friends the next time you travel and you think of me, feel free to bring me back a lovely ball of yarn from that location made by a local person. Bring back two and I'll make something for you and me. :-D

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's on my needles?

I must say I am really digging my newest passion - knitting!  I really regret not being brave enough to learn a long time ago, but there is no time like the present and who wants to live a life of regret?  Not me.  So I feel I must be trying to make up for the years that I didn't knit. 

This is a short post today.  Just a quick one to knock out the cobwebs on this blog. LOL  For the fun of it, I am going to show you a picture of what is on my needles at this time.  You will need to guess what it is.  Leave your guess in the comment section and if you have a project on your needles or hooks, please share with me what it is.

My future goal is to dive into knitting socks.  I think I can, I think I can......

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 A Happy New Year

Holy smoke batman!  Can you believe that 2009 has come and gone and 2010 is here and will surely fly by just as fast if not faster?

Looking back at 2009 I am proud of the new relationships I have been blessed with, the continued family bonding and support, the opportunities to continue working with my Young Marines youth and staff and more recently my girls from Girls to Young Ladies.  I can also add that I picked up a new hobby - knitting, to my earlier passion of crocheting.

The last part of the year brought several wonderful announcements involving my son, the love of my life, honoring him for his committment, hard work, and abilities as a leader in the Milton Lewis Young Marines.  He was 1st recognized as Young Marine of the Year for the Unit, then was selected by the 1st Florida Regiments as YMOY (for the state of Florida), and then before Christmas we were surprised with the announcement that he had been selected by the 3rd Division (6 states).  This is such an amazing honor and brings with it many wonderful opportunities for him this coming year.  More about all of this later.

For 2010 I look forward to staying involved in volunteering with both of these organizations, increasing my involvement with my church, finding ways to improve on my current skills and learning new ones, and working on a few other goals I have running around my head.

I would love to hear from others (you) about your plans for the new year and/or your reflection of last year, what are you proud of, what would you wish to change or forget about last year.  Feel free to discuss here.

Happy New Year to each of you!