Thursday, August 31, 2006

Angels Among Us - WIP early

This belongs to Abby. It's the cross stitch panel for her Christmas Stocking. Mind you - Molly had a stocking before she was born. Abby is now 13 and I am finishing hers. What is it about subsequent children? Is the lack of time? Is it the fact that you are continually overwhelmed and tired?

There is a plus to waiting for this kind of creation. Abby was able to select her pattern and have say so in all the color choices. And this angel kinda looks like her. Molly has this really cute Santa holding a teddy bear. Both of these will remain at my house when the girls fly the nest and I will make them one for their home.

I still lack the remaining backstitch in her hair and around her face and ABBY will be added between her wings in the same greens as the tree. Now for the fun part. The stocking will be made of green velvet. Again using what I have. I am making it from a dress I wore to a school pagent when I was a teenager. (I really should look for the picture and post it sometime). The dress was beautiful, but at sometime in the past it was hung in the sun and faded in areas so I am cutting it up for the stocking.

I got an early start on my September challenge. I have cleaned the space around the dresser in my bedroom and tossed several things. I have craft stuff everywhere and the toss pile included several dried up bottles of assorted glues. I gave away a long sleeved shirt way too big and put several things away. I also cleaned out a folder of old financial records and have a huge box ready for the shredder before I toss them. I am keeping a list of the tossed items and the giveaway items so that at the end of the 30 days in September I can post and see how much extra "weight" is gone. I did get a jump on this because I will be gone for a few days at the end of the month so the extra time will even out. I also have put together two boxes for some ladies who won a surprize from me several days back. A varied selection of stuff that I really hope they enjoy.

If you all remember the crocheted baby blanket in the bright colors and hot pink. I made it as a gift for baby Addison. Well she's here. Born August 30 and weighing in at better than 9 pounds, she is our newest angel. Congratulations Jonathan and Nancy, Haley and Mack. 3 more angels are on their way as well in our church family. All girls. So I have two gifts completed and two more to go.

I have no words of wisdom today. Just this celebration. As I work on a stocking for Abby, I pray for her and the lives she will touch. I also remember the joy of celebrating the Saviour's birth and the grace that comes with the love of God for me. As new lives come into this world, I accept the opportunity to love them and nuture them through their life. I add them to my prayers. It is amazing that the more we love, the more capacity we have for love.

30 days of using what I had. Now I will try to keep that trend going through September and October.

Have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I hate to do this but blogger has a serious issue with photos today. So I am posting without a photo.

I have increased the links list substantially today. Here's how it works. As I find new blogs I enjoy either through your recommendations, learning about them through a swap, or through comments left here, or many other ways, I keep a list on a notepad at my desk. I will visit them for several weeks and see if I think the style and content really fit the MaggieGrace idea of having a beautiful day. I also make sure the content is safe for my children and yours. This list is far from complete and I know so many others are out there. If you happen upon this blog, please leave a comment so that I can trace you back and visit you.

So, if you have time, please visit the folks on the sidebar. I have found each and every one of them to be wonderfully inspiring. I have found them to be embracing the beauty of everyday living. I have found them to be generous in their time and inspiration. I have heard from many of them, some I have not. I consider their point of view. I learn things from each one.

This community is so much fun. I am now corresponding with people all over the world. I have shared ideas, art, and materials with many of them. They have inspired me, encouraged me, made me think, caused me to reconsider my ideas, challenged me to imrove my art and myself, and entertained me. In other words, by reaching out in the blogosphere, they have touched me and others. And I thank them all.

Each of you can touch someone. Try to find a way to have a positive impact on people every day. It will be worth it.

Have a beautiful day.

Monday, August 28, 2006


This piece of art left on Saturday morning headed back to its owner in New Zealand. An ATC for a swap-bot swap.

I love projects that have some constraints, especially if I am feeling less than creative. The swap was organized in such a way that you were sent a package of materials with one item labeled "mandatory" and all the others were optional. I was so overwhelmed initially with the selection in my package. So I returned to my tried and true method, I started a tray. I added the mandatory item, then I went through all the items and sorted the ones I loved into the tray. Back and forth these materials go every time I walked past this tray. Finally I sat down and really thought about what I was doing. This is the result and I am really happy with it. In the mail it went. I hope its owner is happy with the outcome as well.

I sell plumbing fixtures for my everyday job. I see this overwhelming feeling occur all the time. People come in my store and see so many selections available, then find themselves unable to make a decision. My job in that case is to help them narrow it all down. So we start in this way.

1. list every thing needed by room.
2. break this list down into smaller sections that we all can manage.
3. I listen,listen,listen as a homeowner describes what they are thinking. (pictures from magazines, the blueprints, budget information are applied here too)
4. come up with a list of materials for their home.

As I was thinking about this post, I realized that life can be handled in the same way. List every thing you need to get done, break it into smaller sections, plan the approach, then listen, listen, listen to yourself as you try to make decision, and go into action. When I do this, I am often surprised at how much I have gotten myself into when my time budget absolutely cannot accomodate the action. (I suffer from OVERYES syndrome.) Applying this approach will help me and others live more fully, rather than reacting to the demands we and others have placed on our time.

I have spent 28 days using what I had. My stash is a little smaller. I have several packages that I am building to go to new homes. I have finished some projects that I needed to. I have almost completed a project that I really want to. My checkbook is happier and I have a sense of accomplishment. Three more days to go.

I have been reading on others blogs about cleaning up, reorganizing, general spruce up, etc of homes and studio spaces. So I have a September challenge for myself and for anyone who would like to join me. I will clean up, sort out, organize one space everyday in September, AND give away one item for everyday in September AND toss one clutter creating junk item every day in Sept as well. How to define a space --- you decide. I my hectic life it may be the top shelf of the medicine cabinet and I may give away an unused bottle of hand lotion and I may toss one outdated bottle of make up. You get the idea. Any takers on this challenge?????

As I continue the plans and process of the new studio, I think this general cleanup will be a great start to only having items I really use and need in my life. Now if we could only do this kind of thing with troublesome people.

Have a beautiful day.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Friendly Affirmation

I hinted at an affirmation gift in my last post. Here's the photo. Each card has a single word printed on mulberry paper glue to it. Inside I wrote a small affirmation that tied to the word. Very easy to do. The most difficult part is deciding what words and affirmations to include.
After I finished them I added a quick note explaining the "why" of the gift. And then off they went - with hope and prayers that they will bring the feeling of being cared for by someone.

I love the feeling of having a cheerleader when things are tough. I have been very fortunate in my life to have friends I can rely on. I grew up with my best friend, Jim. We were always "just friends." We were a package though, and as I started dating and he started dating, we always explained how it worked to our dates. Funny, no one ever had a problem, and I became friends with his wife and their kids too. I lost Jim a few years ago. He passed away from a heart attack.

About the same time, I changed jobs and God blessed me with another best friend. I recognize just how fortunate I am. Many people go through life neve having even one true friend. I have been blessed with two. Blessed at the right time in my life to have the person I needed to walk with me.

There are varying degrees of friendship. I have customers and co-workers that are funny and easy to be around. I have people that are a part of my life because we have similar interests. But these are not the people you call at 4am because some "demon" is keeping you up. No -you save "demon-slaying" for those people who really try and understand you. Those who know the bad, the ugly, and all the good, and love you because all of that is a part of you. You really save the difficult, needy, trying, heavy stuff for those who know you best and will do what they can to cheer you through. But, remember, you have to be willing to carry them at times too.

As I have matured, I recognize that a true friendship is NEVER one-sided for long. As a friend, I am willing to carry my share of the load, to receive the phone call in the middle of the night too.

Affirm a friend today. Let them know how valuable they are to you. Make it a grand gesture or a small private joke that you share. Just let them know.

"A friend is that person who halves pain and doubles joy."

Have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tracking My Inspiration

These are but two of my idea books. A journal of sorts. A way to keep clippings, sketches, quotes, anything I find inspirational together. I have a rolling file cart of folders as well. But this size book is perfect to carry with me.

As I see things, I add them. Quotes are written in. Sometmes I leave blank pages for just those. There are pages of my sketches, there are lists of things I want to try, there is art that I did just for ME. There are cards and notes from friends.

The first picture is a word collage. It's in one of these books. I am inspired often by the images words bring to my mind. This collage is a life word representation. I made this one night when things were scrambled in my brain and I needed to organize them. So with a circle punch, decorative papers, xyron sticker maker, and ink pen as my tools, this is the result. Few tools, simple tools, easy to do. There are words that represent place, emotion, action, challenge, and others on this. I come back to this page often. I love the colors. I love the busy feeling it gives. It is representative of my lifestyle. I was happy and relaxed working on this. I never intended to share it with anyone. I made it for me. But I chose to share it because it was part of an inspirational gift I am working on.

I have so many ideas for projects and I needed a way to hang onto them. These books help with that. These are not a record of what I have done, only a record of inspired moments. Funny, sometimes I go back and see that I really wasn't so inspired, that always makes me laugh.

I have found this to be a journal of sorts, too. There is a record of babies on the way, of marriages, of losses, of friendships, because the captions read like this, "Nancy is having a girl. This would be fun to make for her." or "Maybe I could use that for a memorial piece for Diane's mom." " Miss Mazelle would like that, I can take it to her house when she comes home from chemo." Do all of these things happen - no. But the moment is recorded, and I find that once written down - some action will occur.

Why this post today? I spent last night going through a few of these books. I was looking for a "SPARK". I found it too and I hope the one who receives this very simple affirmation from me, will understand that although simple, the thoughts are very important to me for them. I will post a photo later because said person is a blog reader and I don't want to be found out. Monetarily this will be next to nothing, but emotionally I hope it helps through a tough time.

How to you keep your ideas together? Do you keep any kind of journal? Are you touched by simple and yet profound gifts? Do you feel comfortable giving those kinds of gifts? There was a time when I was uncomfortable - but I have come to understand that life's biggest gifts are not about money - its about time and willingness to reach out. Its about giving of yourself in any way you can.

I am wishing you a beautiful day.

Day 22 of using what I have - I actually went throught the crafts section of a large department store last night and never slowed down. Yea me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

A WIP finished -

My ATC for Small Creations Swap Vintage Children in Party hats. Going in the mail today. Funny - I can look at my artwork and see my mood. I was having a terrible time with some things whenI selected my elements for these.

I am happy with these, but the little girl looks sad and lonely, just like I felt. I almost added the phrase "its my party and I'll cry if I want to". I do hope the people who end up with these are happy with them too.

I used some of my favorite paper on these. The torn gold on the background is a beautiful Japanese paper. I had several sheets and only have a tiny bit of it left. It is a textured gold finish on the front and a kraft paper on back, so when you tear it it leaves this contrasting edge. You can really see that on the top left card. I loved this paper from the second I saw it and have used it a lot in various projects.

I find it difficult to separate my mental state from my artistic state. This is why I can never do commissioned items. I work from somewhere inside of me. When I am planning, I make these stacks, I add to them and subtract from them, until it suddenly "gels" - then I can sit down and hammer the project out quickly. This is true of art pieces as well as "production" stuff. I have piles and then the muse hits and I will bang out a dozen ornaments. Or I start a piece and it just isn't finished - then suddenly I'll remember or see something in my stash, and add just the thing that makes a piece "sing to my soul".

For years I struggled with being a cancer survivor, with the loss of people I loved, with bad decisions, with food issues directly related to emotional issues, etc. Everything I created during that period was DARK. Then as I started resolving things I saw the LIGHT coming through in my work. Now that I consider myself a "normal" functioning person, I can see even subtle changes in my work that reflect where I am. Why can I see it now? I think its because I am finally being honest with myself. I can focus on staying balanced. I can focus on giving me what I need mentally and physically.

There is a side to that awareness that can be negative, the people who did not grow with me, who chose to stagnate in their emotional and mental growth, are now often offended, even angry, that I have moved ahead without them. I am not the same as I was yesterday, last year, 10 years ago, and I am happy about it. I plan on continuing this path, if you want my company you are gonna hafta grow too.

I hope that I have given my girls the tools they need to nurture their growth. To make good decisions for themselves. To choose the company they keep carefully.

We all need to be surrounded by those who are encouraging us to stay on the right path. We need to people who build us up and want us to be the best we can be. Leave the negative, continually needy people, the selfish ones, the mean spirited ones behind. By all means, be the kind of person who builds up, who inspires, who helps, who spreads love and goodwill. You will be better for it and thats what really counts.

Have a beautiful day.

Using what I have day 18 - my bank balance is happier too.

The Whole Truth

This is the top of the cabinet by the kitchen door. How horribly embarassing. Lisa at monkey brains has started a "piles" theme and I saw this as I was leaving the house and thought I would add it. There's a guarantee about this spot. If I clean it up - within nanoseconds, someone has laid something down again.

This is immediately by the door that everyone uses so its the drop off point.

I look at all the blogs out there, there are so many creative and inspiring sites, and I wonder. I wonder if everyone has spots like these in their home. Spots of clutter. Or am I the only one who seems unable to keep the house spotless and everything else completed? The sad thing about this spot - we don't even see it. It just background noise in our day. If I straighten it and put things away, then I am asked "where's my" or "mom, have you seen".

I will post a picture of this as a neat clean spot. But mind you, it will be a temporary thing. We have several spots like these at the house. Check this list.
1. by the door
2. dishes in the sink
3. shoes in front of the tv cabinet ( somethimes 8-10 pair)
4. laundry "piles" on the day bed
5. my crafty "stuff" on the island between the living and dining room.
6. The man's stuff by (and on) the microwave.

If anyone still comes by here to visit MaggieGrace, please leave a comment with your clutter spots - on Monday, August 21, I will draw two names and send you a surprise -

I sure do hope you have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Merry Christmas (what???)

Yes - that says Merry Christmas. Yes - it's August 16. What exactly does that mean?

It means I'm off today to slect the Christmas program for the youth choir at our church. Seems crazy but we start these preparations right after school starts. We will have 21 hour long practices between now and the performance. I will have many more hours getting props and costumes and backdrops ready.

Backdrops are a personal favorite project of mine. (Don't tell anyone but I love to prepare them.) It is an opportunity to color on a large scale. We use roll canvas fabric and an over head projector to trace the outlines then paint with acrylic and latex paints. Spread on the floor - we crawl around and paint. Then we hang them from shower curtain rings on a wire system on our stage. The one above is from last years play and its one of my favorites. If you enlarge it you can see the lizard and the frog.

As I was thinking about this, the nightmare night from last year came back to mind. I was tired- I work 40+ hours a week and then this at night. I had been painting for weeks it seemed and on this night I had to drag the paintings off the stage and onto the floor to work. This is in our new Family Life Center and a class had put them up for me earlier in the week. What I did not notice when I dragged one to the floor was that the protective plastic was no longer underneath. I painted for about 2 hours on it and then was starting to clean up. That's when I found the mess. No protection - paint bleeding through to a newly waxed floor - 10:30 at night - 6 ft x 8 ft area. You know the immediate response - TEARS - HYSTERICAL SOBBING UGLY TEARS - as I crawled around and cleaned up the floor for 3 hours to get all that paint up. I could have waited for help, I could have left it for someone else, but no, I just cried and cleaned.

Was there a lesson in that (other than always make sure to protect the floor)? In retrospect, I learned something about how to handle things. Okay, go ahead and cry, go ahead and have your pity party, stomp, throw things, scream, whatever your method. THEN just get on with it. Those tears did not do one thing to help with the clean up. I still had to deal with the mess. I could not hide from what had to be done. Life is that way. Things happen - bad decisions are made - there's a mess to deal with - and as much as we want to, we cannot hide from dealing with it and we may need help, but we need to act while we wait for help to arrive. So yes there was a lesson in the disaster.

Is there something simple like this that you have learned profound lessons from? Please share.

Day 16 of using what I have. I did buy the Somerset Home book last night. It was worth every cent I paid.

I do hope you all have a beautiful day. I know that preparing for Christ's birthday will help enhance my joy today.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


My little girl ain't so little anymore. Molly turned 16 today. So in honor of her 16th, I am going to list 16 random things about her. I am after all the proud mom and I love both my girls - hope this doesn't bore you too much.

1 - I almost died having her. Spent 4 days in ICU - could not even go to the bathroom without calling a nurse. I actually had a toolbox with all the supplies in case I crashed.

2 - She is close to 6' tall and has a 37-38 inch inseam. Wears a size 5 pants.

3 - She leads by example not by command.

4 - She is not afraid to share her faith in God with others.

5 - She has a $30,000.00 finger. We had to have it rebuilt after a van sliding door closed and locked on it. The lock mechanism actually locked into her finger splitting it in half through the nail bed. After micro surgery, it is functional, but another elective surgery can make it better.

6 - When she was little, people would see her and say "Look at that baby with all the hair."

7 - She is #2 in her class. Excellent student.

8 - She plays basketball, soccer, and volleyball.

9 - She makes jewelry. I am trying to get her to sell some.

10 - She is a little OCD about things.

11 - She loves photography and, unlike her mom, is very good at it.

12 - Her nickname is MOO.

13 - Her placement tests recommend that she be a bartender (I hope not).

14 - She has no idea what she wants to do in her life.

15 - She was always a small adult. When she was a toddler, she would pick up things and hand them to me saying " I not need this."

16 - Every now and then she still gives me a hug in public and she tells me every day that she loves me. Guess what baby girl -I love you too.


Hope you have a beautiful day.

Monday, August 14, 2006

10 things i do when not creating

I was going through my daily reads and Ellia tagged her visitors to list 10 things they do when not creating art.

Now this was difficult to do because as a working mother there are 100's of things I have to do everyday before, during, and after I am creating. I have narrowed my list down to things I have the words to expand on today.

1. NAP - when Abby was a baby, she had a spell of not sleeping at night. By a spell, I'm talking from 8 months to 18 months where she slept about an hour a night. She was not crying, she did not take naps during the day, she just did not need sleep. All of you mothers know that means you are at least somewhat awake too. So on Sunday after church, we would go to my in-laws and eat, then she would watch the girls while I took a nap. Thank you Ann for keeping me sane. Now that they are old enough to keep themselves occupied, I generally lie down and NAP for a while on Sunday afternoon. This, my friends is luxury, and I enjoy every moment.

2. Volleyball Stats - This is new for me. I have crafted my way through so many sporting events and this adjustment is going to be difficult, but I have been asked to keep the stats for Molly's volleyball team. There will be no more crafting during the games and I think mourning this loss is in order.

3. Drive - We live in a commuter county. By that, I mean that almost everyone drives somewhere else to work. Me included. I drive 25 minutes ech way to work. The closest decent grocery store is 20 minutes away. I think we may have the most active girls around and I drive one while dad drives the other. This will soon be changing as my oldest will be driving herself soon. But then, instead of driving, I will have a new occupation --- worrying.

4. Work - I sell plumbing (yep- toilets and sinks and faucets) - according to best friend, that should have a four letter word attached to it. I keep house (sporadically). I attempt to cook (occasionally). You know all things that you have to do to make sure life continues with some reliability.

5. I direct a youth choir. I almost left this out because it might be considered "art". But, then I decided that dealing with the attitudes of 15-20 teenagers, trying to coax something tolerable from their mouths, trying to keep the urge to scream at bay, and other such things keeps this from being a truely creative endeavor.

6. Enjoy good food and drink - I do enjoy great food and a glass of wine. My favorite set up for this. Autumn weather - cool nights - a fire - a glass of wine - a filling meal - entertaining or thought provoking conversation with someone I respect. Mmmmmm. perfect.

7. Read your blogs - I love the thought and inspiration that comes from this activity. It never ceases to amaze me.

8. Paint my nails. In the summer always painted toenails, because sandals and flip-flops are required attire. I may not have my fingernails done, but the toes are.

9. Help with homework. This has, for some reason, always been mom's job. Not sure how that happened.

10. Read. I love to read. Magazines, books, the Bible, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, instructions, I even read the inserts from my CD's. My mom use to say "give her a book and she could be left anywhere and not get in trouble. " I sure would have a lot more money if this was not a passion I have.

There - you have it - some more randomness about me. Now its your turn. Let me know 10 things about yourself.

Day 14 of using what I have. I did pick up a magazine at the gorcery store last night - but I put it back and patted myself on the back for having enough willpower to do so. Is anybody out there???

I hope you are having a beautiful day.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Corners of my Home

What is with blogger and photos today? As hard as I tried they are reversed from what I wanted.

So, I am sharing these with you, although one is a wall and not a corner. To be perfectly honest, I put the jar in a corner just for the picture. It normally resides on top of a cedar armoire, but taking that picture would have required a major cleaning that I just did not have time for last night.

The covered bridge pictures are one of the few things I have completed just for me. They are cross stitched, and took me years to complete. I was at home working on one of these when the shuttle exploded on takeoff. Funny how you remember that kind of thing. They have hung in various places that I was never happy with. Then when I brought these shutters in and hung them over the sofa, I found them a home I am happy with.

The jar is a thrifted find. I found it and it was full of the thread on wooden spools. Had to have it. Anyone else familiar with that feeling? I love the textured glass. I have added a few mini craft spools into the jar, for storage, but I don't thinks that detracts from the look. I have more of these kinds of displayed items that will be moving to the BARN when it is ready.

Notice the color of the walls in these pictures. This is one of my favorite rooms. The living room and dining room are one big open space and the walls are painted this chocolate milk color. The floors are well distessed 100 year old unfinished heart pine and all the base boards and other trim are creamy white. I have a ton of eclectic stuff in here and I am sharing this because I love to see this kind of thing on other's blogs. I hope you are not bored to tears by it.

I know that I try to present positive things in my blog. I am a generally optimistic person and I really want everyone to know that. But you should know that my home is never in "perfect" pristine condition. There is always laundry waiting in some manner. There are almost always dishes in the sink. We eat in the living room and don't worry about the furniture. Right now everyone's bed is unmade. As my mother says the "house is not dirty, just lived in." That's right, we live here, all 4 of us. And as much of me as I put on this blog, there are three others who are to be represented as well. We all take our shoes off and leave them, everyone's stuff is all over the place. The best part of all that - it doesn't matter to me. I do not over agonize over the clutter. When those girls are grown and gone, I will have time to clean house (maybe). Right now, I find it much more important to spend time with the girls. I find it much more important to have a home their friends are welcome in and where they don't have to worry about coming in and leaving ball field dirt on the floor. I find it important that my girls know that I won't stay home to clean instead of going and doing something with them. This house will wait - and if people are bothered by the lived in clutter - I don't need to spend time at my home with them.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Work in Progress (UFO)

In the spirit of work in progress Friday, finishing what I have started, and using what I have, I share these. Destined to be tree ornaments. Patterned after one I saw at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. The photo on my screen shows the stripe as a true red - it's not - it is a more rusty color on cream. The primitive style tree is backstitched with beads and its done on wool felt that I picked up somewhere. The medallions are blanket stitched on. I have had these sitting in a pile for a while, just like this. It was a portable project to this point. Now I just need to machine stitch and stuff. I think I am goint to use vintage rick rack for the hanging loop. And the best part, I won't need to buy anything to finish this project.

Day 11 of using what I have - so far so good.

Is anybody out there trying to do this with me???

Do any of you have any quick but cute bazaar ideas you would be willing to share???

I also printed the backs for 2 sets of atc last night and will glue them up tonite and if they are dry I will mail tomorrow - if not it will be Monday - thank you deep south humidity

This weekend's project. Finish children party hat atc and mail on monday.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday.

The Boys

What a pleasant surprise. These three landed at our house for a while last night. Left to right - Tyler, Zach, Braeden - also know as Ty, Zacky wacky, and Brady. They are my cousin's boys. We had been to the funeral home for visitation with her grandmother's family. Not related to us except by marriage, which in the rural south means we are related. I love how families here just open their arms wider to include entire families when a marriage happens. I will miss Granny an awful lot. We will be praying for the family as they make this transistion to being without her.

Any way boys and funeral homes are a stressful combination, so we offered to take them home with us. We got a pizza - watched some tv - and were entertained by the banter of children that were not ours. You know - the kind you give cola and candy to and then send home with their parents. Borrowed children.

Brady prefaced every - and I mean every sentence with - "I need to tell you sumpin." Too cute. Tyler, is a perfect gentleman and reminded the others that it was "yes m'am - not yea". Zach - lives up to the nickname and is the true clown of the bunch. "He's gonna play football at UGA." Man, I love those boys. I wish they lived close enough to spend more time with.

I grew up in a small family so I was close to their mom, Meredith.My moms family was together every Sunday after church. But as we have become adults with our own families and life responsibilities, we have drifted slightly apart. Every time we are together though, it is as if we haven't been away at all.

As we took them to our house last night, I thought about how important family is to me. I can rely on those people to help me if I need it. Telling the stories of our life growing up reminds of things I had forgotten about. They have memories of my dad that get shared and I listen with awe at another persons perspective of him. Because we grew up close, there are no acts with these people, We can leave all the masks on the hook by the door. Yes, we make fun of each other, but even the jest is softer, with no malice intentions. We may not agree with one another all the time, but we sure will love each other no matter what.

My children won't have this closeness with hers. They won't have this closeness with any of their cousins. We are so spread out that they don't get to climb trees, hide eggs, scare mom with a snake they caught, or any of those things I remember so fondly. They won't have that ability to take off the mask entirely. For me that is a loss to mourn as well.

If you are close to your family, count your blessings. If there is a rift that needs mending, by all means be the one to start the healing process. If there is something or someone absent in your family unit, I am so sorry. I have found myself being jealous of large, close, family units. My dad is missing from mine and we are not even aquainted with his siblings, much less cousins. I never knew his parents. And we are not really close to ones I grew up with any more. But as I have thought about this, envy is not a good feeling to have. The family I have is precious. They are special. And although my family unit is smaller, they are all mine, and I love them. That means I am blessed.

Have a beautiful day.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Everybody Needs a Place

Yesterday - I was thinking about how I recharge. What I do to take care of me. What inspires me. What tickles my fancy. Etc. Etc.

Day Chapel, on campus, was being built as I was refinding my way after my lumpectomy. I happened upon the building site one day when I was just driving and thinking. This place was perfect. Seated in a stand of trees on the side of a hill, the architects and builders were sensitive to the natural setting. As little was disturbed as possible in this construction. I went there often at lunch and as they built this building, I rebuilt me. I have never been in this building. The outdoor setting is my favorite.

The second place I love is at Callaway Gardens. The chapel there is equally as beautiful and the setting is perfect too. On the edge of the water with natural stone and wood construction. We went to Callaway Gardens with my family shortly after my Dad died years ago and I found solace in the environment. The stained glass windows in this chapel are incredible. I really want to capture the feel of them in an art piece of some sort.

I grew up in the country and I think what attracts me to these places is the natural setting they are in. We camped for vacations. We fished for relaxation. (Catfishing is a very slow paced activity). We played in the creek behind our house. (My all time favorite place is THE ROCK - at the waterfall on that creek.) Floating down the river on an innertube was so much fun. That outdoor natural environment is special to me.

Others have their "places" too. Best friend plays golf. (I don't understand how that is relaxing but golf courses do tend to be beautiful places) Another friend runs for her sanity - she has run the Boston marathon. My sister retreats to a camper and picnic table by the lake. My boss has his sailboat. My neighbor works in his garden.

As I started this post, I wasn't sure where I was going with it. What I am trying to get to is that everyone needs a "place" and everyone needs to find it for themselves. We each spend so much time answering the demands of others. Life happens and sometimes we are all just being buffeted along. I hate that feeling of being "hammered" from every direction. Our special places are where we can go and just BE. I am fortunate to have found those places where I can relax and be still and quiet. It took the CANCER word to make me look for that rest, for that quiet, for that peace.

I cannot help you find yours, but I sure would be interested to know if you have one. Please share yours here - share how you are rested or inspired. Share what sends you running to your place. If you don't have one, I highly encourage you to find one. Spend time alone with yourself. Love yourself, take care of you, I promise you won't regret it.

Have a beautiful day.

Day 10 - I have not bought one thing for crafting - yea me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tied in Knots

If you read here regularly, you know I travel with a bag for creating all the time. I can squeeze three stitches in while I wait in the drive through or work on something if I have to sit waiting for a child to finish practice. As a result those bags become a jumbled mess of supplies and tools.

Last night I spent hours straightening out the floss and specialty threads I had tossed into one of those bags. I untangled, labeled and wrapped onto those cardboard bobbins, all that stuff. There is a sense of accomplishment to doing that. The other thing a project like this does is satisfy my need for almost mindlessness. I can think about things and I found myself doing just that last night.

I have been inspired for the ATC's for the vintage children with party hats swap from small creations. Those will now go together and be mailed this week. I discovered that I am attracted to bright colors right now instead of my normal neutral color scheme. (what is with that?) Several ideas presented themselves for my ATC indulgence project. And the design for the next baby shower gift is formed. (Another girl will be coming in December) I think I needed that little break to recharge the creative batteries.

Do you have a way of recharging? Of resting your mind and your body? Of opening yourself to the muses? Please share.

Many people read my blog. Many people comment here or email me behind the scenes. I appreciate every one. I love to see comments and share that little bit of each other. But yesterday, I received an email that left me speechless. A relative of my husband's linked to my blog through the softball website of my daughter. He took the time to read every entry, and then sent me one of the most encouraging emails I have ever received. What was so encouraging was the fact that I am not close at all to this man (understatement of a lifetime) and he is a man of few words. I really appreciate the time and effort he took to do this. I actually called my husband and said "the earth has stopped rotating on its axis." Mind you - this email was not a long drawn out thing - just a straightforward, encouraging few sentences.

Now why did I share that with you? Because each of us has the power to do this for someone. To encourage, to build up, to respond. This affected me because it came out of the blue. Think about what happened. Now think hard about someone that you can affect in a positive way. No, not the person who would expect it. Not one of those people you are comfortable with encouraging normally. I challenge you today to identify one somebody and with just few genuine, simple words, encourage them. I have already done that today and the response has been phenominal.

It's kind of like the tangled knotted mess I worked on last night. There is always that one thread that - once it is freed from the mess - allows everything else to sort itself out. Then you can use all of that thread to make something beautiful or incredibly functional or both. Maybe your encouraging words will be that thread that allows a person to impact their world in a beautiful and functional way. Try it - you have nothing to lose - and someone may have everything to gain.

Day 9 of using what i have - almost 1/3 of the way there.

Have a beautiful day and help someone else have one too.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Another Finished Project - oh yeah

Wow - blogger loaded a photo on the first try today.

The finished baby blanket. Just in time for the shower tonight. Looks like a simple project but it seemed to take forever. The crochet flowers were easy to make. I could make one in about 10 minutes. SO look for these again. But hand sewing them securely to the blanket - totally different story. Lets see - Project Runway, the movie National Treasure (twice), and Dog the Bounty Hunter ( I know ) all were watched while doing this handwork. It really did turn out cute though. I like it and there will be more of this type of blanket. The next one is for a baby boy and will have crocheted circles in the bright blue on a green blanket probably.

Last night I also cut out some cute little paper clothing shapes for decorations at the shower.

I also have some of the ATC sets well under way. I hope to mail three sets this week. There is also a pile of swap packages waiting for the mail.

We are back to school and that routine is starting to fill in. We seem to take about a week to get our act together when school starts, so it will be nice to kind of get in that groove. Molly is playing varsity volleyball and Abby is on the school softball team. My mother swears I will miss this busyness when its gone. Maybe then my life will slow down.

When I read back over things for the last few weeks, I realized how heavy this blog had been. I am sorry to have "dumped" all of that here. I have felt heavy and that came right out here. So back to the normal life and crafting routine.In the last few years I have been very optimistic as a rule. The last few weeks are not normal for me. Thank you for not bailing on me. Nothing major wrong just feeling the pressures of life.

The next "BIG" craft project - to finish the AB's Christmas stocking. Molly had one before she was born, but Abby got to pick hers out. Poor Molly - she will have to live forever with the Santa/Teddy bear on the mantle - Abby's is an elegant angel. Dad has one too - a cross stitch Santa. Mine - cheap plush with tacky glitter writing spelling the name. Eventually I will be making me one too.

It is now day 8 of using what I have for August. Patting myself on the back - I was in the shopping center with JoAnne Fabrics twice this week and did not even go in the store. I haven't even bought a magazine. (Okay this IS a major announcement) Have I made a dent in the stash. Heck no. I could have a use what I have year and not make a dent in the stash. I think sometimes I buy just because I think it was a good deal at the time. I also tend to packrat things (like jars) that might come in handy. I am trying to purge some of this by using it up. As I clean up to move into the barn, I will also get rid of some of this stuff. Think of that yardsale. Isn't that the kind you like to happen up on??

I hope each of you have a wonderful day.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Yesterday was Communion Sunday at our church. For me communion is sacred, special, and a time to reflect on the relationship between us as sinful humans and Christ. His sacrifice never ceases to fill me with awe. Grace is a beautiful thing.

Even with the consideration and contemplation that Communion brings, sometimes things are brought to my attention during this very simple and profound act. Here is a story.

There is an elderly man in our congregation. He is forgetful. He struggles to get around. He requires help on almost every level of his existence. He comes to church with his daughter every Sunday. She is most patient with him and the love she has for him is so evident. At times, we take communion by coming past the pastor and leaving the altar. I was sitting on the front row of the choir loft, and as this man approached, he started to kneel. His daughter tried to explain to him - but he was adamant that he was going to kneel no matter how difficult it was for him to do so. He looked at his daughter, then at the pastor, and said "I will kneel at the altar of God." This was important to him. This touched my heart as I realized that even communion had the feel of "drive through" religion sometimes. Even this connection to God was even becoming a matter of convenience for some people. For this elderly man, taking the time to show his reverence, making the effort to worship God, displaying his relationship with his Saviour, was of utmost importance. It was difficult for him physically, but he made the effort. I know that effort was rewarded in my heart.

I really cannot tell you what was said in the sermon, but I can tell you that the Spirit of my loving God was demonstrated in that simple act of worship. This man's relationship with God is personal. It is deep. It is not just for show. It is real.

I am not sharing this story to sway your belief in any way. I relate this simply because I was moved by the events. Moved to look at my relationship with God. Moved to look and see if my actions are for convenience. Moved to reflect. Moved to worship. Moved to share. This simple act helped me to have a more beautiful day.

I hope you all have a beautiful day too.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Finally - I got the pictures to load.

Feedback please - this is a polar fleece baby blanket and all of the flowers are acrylic worsted weight yarn. So it is washable and dryable. I love polar fleece and acrylic yarn for that reason.

I got all these mixed yarn colors in a bag of scrap at a thrift store. I have had it for some time. The polar fleece is a dollar scrap from Hancock Fabrics.

I finished the flowers on Wednesday night and then scalloped the blanket ends last night. All of the flowers were randomly dropped into place and right now are just pinned.

This is for a shower at church - another baby girl.

What do you think of this layout? My reason for asking is that I have a ton more fleece and yarn so I was going to do more of these to sell. I could do just circles in blue and green for boys and then the pink, yellow, and some small print for girls. How much to sell it for? I am not looking for a get rich thing - just enough to support my crafting habits.

Help - honest feedback requested.

Have a beautiful day and a great weekend.

SCARY PICTURES - not for the fainthearted

Inside the studio (barn). Well its your first look. Pardon the mess. It is used for storage of JUNK now. The wasp nests are everywhere. They love this weather - remember this is the south and its 95 degress in the shade. Some of this hard work may have to wait til cooler temps. The plan is to clean it out starting this weekend.

I have a sketch of where I want to go but I am really dreading the journey there. Because blogger refuses to cooperate with the photos this morning - I crammed them all together. You can click for bigger images (I hope) and maybe match them to my descriptions.

There are doors I took out of the house when we were remodeling. I will use them to make a screen for storage of big totes.

The ceiling is going to be covered with strips of painted wood. Whatever comes out to be the least expensive. The tin is in pretty good shape and the roofer is going to patch a few places and seal the outside. I want the ceiling either a pale blue or bright white. I will be adding a better light fixture as well.

These cabinets and shelves came out of the house too. I intend to paint these and reuse them. There are also base cabinets along the back wall that will be used.

The walls will be insulated and covered in painted plywood. I will glue cork squares to some for pinup items and one section will be a flannel board for fabric work. There will also be some peg board and maybe some slotwall. ( the spacewall company is close by us and we can buy paint grade wall board very inexpensive - like 25.00 per 4x8 sheet.) They also have cool accessories

Did I mention paint?. LOTS of it. Have I mentioned in the past that I hate to paint? I am thinking pale orange walls - think a sherbert push up - and dark red floor.

I have been collecting prescription medication bottles for bead and embellishement storage. I also have a plan for another ammo box and some tables and file cabinets. I am still struggling with ribbon storage. Any ideas???

The thing is that everything has to be covered. Summer here is dry and dusty or hot and humid. So protection from damp and dust is a consideration.

I want this to be functional and still be a funky fun space paying respect to the "old barn" it really is.

Please leave input about your favorite storage ideas. Or ideas about color schemes. Anything you think might be inspirational for this project. Just words of encouragement would even be nice.

Have a beautiful day.


I have received several swaps in the last few days. My embellishment swap - my craft bag swap - and because I was gone to MS - there were no pictures. But yesterday my bottle swap came from Keisha - and it was so much fun to unpack. I was amazed at what all it held. Take a look. Spread out on the top of an ammo box that I store magazines in for collage and other projects.

To everyone who has sent me swap packages. Thank you - I have never received any that I didn't like. I am amazed at the generosity of all of you and I look forward to continuing to swap.

More posts to come today.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I really should have pressed this apron before I took this picture. Sorry.

I found this in an antiques store in Ridgeland, MS on one of those afternoons I was hiding from high maintenance people. Its made of flour sack type material and this wonderful print cotton. I plan to use it as a pattern to make more for our church bazaar this fall. I adore the embroidered details and the little pocket. What is it about aprons these days? I seem to be drawn to them so I'm sure I will be making some. Now about pet peeves and the real reason I was out junking instead of making sure our daughter was resting, hydrating, and staying out of that Mississippi heat. Why are people either so high maintenace they get on my nerves or just plain daft about following instructions which, by the way, bothers me even more.

We stayed in a hotel for 50.00 per night. I am 41 years old and I know that for that price you get clean rooms and towels. That's about all you can expect. I organized the rooms, I guess that makes me the responsible party. From the complaining phone calls that came to my room, I must have built, furnished, maintained, and cleaned those (*&^% rooms too. People - call the front desk with complaints. Although, the internet said SOME rooms would have fridges and microwaves, it was expected that they all would. I am still trying to figure how how reasonably intelligent adults got that SOME = ALL. Am I the one with the learning disability here??

Fast forward. Uniform shorts mix up. Sorry girls. I sent 6 (count them - 6) emails before we left asking that all items put in the community laundry basket be labeled with either a uniform number, girls initials, or name in/on them. I even provided sharpies in my room for doing this if it was not already done. 4 pair of red shorts made it into the laundry without any id. Me and volunteer laundry mom guessed. Now we had been at a coin laundry in a rough neighborhood for 2 hours in sweltering conditions. Hot, tired, miserable and the rest of the world is in the pool, AC, and enjoying themselves. you ^&% straight we guessed. And the girls worked it out with absolutely no complaints the next morning. More than I can say about myself and the other adults in the picture. This could have been avoided, by reading, comprehending, and applying not only instructions, but common sense as well.

After we checked out and went to the ball park - there were still adults who complained about things at the hotel. OKAY PEOPLE - WE ARE CHECKED OUT OF THE HOTEL - IT IS TOO LATE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT THIS ISSUE. Think this through. What am I supposed to do? Did it make you feel better to tell me?

My trip was complicated by the biggest pet peeve I possess. People who have a complete lack of thought processes at times. The stresses incurred at all levels of this brought me to foul language and tears. In my nature, that is immediately followed by not giving a rip whose feeling I hurt. Outcome of said stress - I will not do housing again. One of the complainers can take it on. I will not do laundry again - one of the complainers can guess whose uniform they have in their hand. Not one of the complainers offered to help. Not one of the complainers was in the laundromat helping fold uniforms and mate socks. I guess their job was just to BI*&^&. Not one of the complainers was there to unload the trailer and reload the scout stuff in it. (Many thanks to Coach Duncan, who did help and his wife who did the laundry)

So I escaped and spent 2 hours at the bead store and salvage store and antique mall. It was very good for my sanity. It kept me from unleashing my redheaded temper. I also escaped one night and drank margaritas.

There are some FURY moms who read this blog. If I said or did anything to offend you, I am sorry. My reactions at times were highly innappropriate and for that I apologize.

I will say that those teenage girls were beautifully behaved. 6 days together and I heard no major bickering at all. They played hard. They were sportsman like on and off the field. They are a joy to be around and I love each and every one of them.

Again - I apologize for my inappropriate reactions. I teach my girls to do that and I am willing to do that too.

Thanks to those who listened to me and tried to take the load off. Special thanks to Mr. Net Coach and his lovely wife for really encouraging me and calming me down.

Even with all the stress - it was a wonderful trip.

Do you have a pet peeve? When I reread this post, I actually chuckled at some of the story. I hope I don't offend anyone by sharing this story. Pet peeves are just that - peeves - and there are times when they are much larger than life. Especially when you are tired - and stressed already. ( I already had a sour taste about some things before we left.) Does anyone else out there have stories of this nature they would like to share? Sure makes me feel better knowing that others are not perfect always.

DAY THREE OF NO CRAFT PURCHASES - I am hanging in there - are you??

After you finish laughing at me over these stories, try and have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Who is Maggie Grace?

I asked a friend this question yesterday. Friend is a regular reader of this blog and is the most honest person I know. Especially to me, even about me.

At times I have struggled with who I am and I think we all have masks that we wear to conceal what we perceive as weaknesses. If you are here for my regular type of crafty goodness and family times, hold on, this post could be a bumpy ride. I won't do this kind of thing often, but the words in response back from my best friend were "I think you are not being completely honest." And so, a blatantly honest post about Maggie Grace.

Maggie Grace was a child not meant to be. A miscarriage. The beginning of a journey toward motherhood. Some of the people who know me personally have asked and been given this answer. Some of you had not. I was a young bride, 20, and we did not want a family immediately so we waited. Waited long enough that people started the pressure thing. You know "when are you going to give me grandchildren?" etc. When we finally decided to have a child, I lost her. Then everything was so screwed up, that it took years before we were blessed with Molly.

For many of you, infertility is a daily challenge right now. I remember all the questions. I remember the tears every month. I remember thinking that with all the unwanted and unloved children in the world, why couldn't I do this. As traumatic as the miscarriage was, the infertility was even more difficult. And people are so damned insensitive. Always asking, never stepping back to see the hurt in your eyes, not understanding that there may be more to this picture than what they want for you. And I was to unsure of how to deal with it. Worse than that was, when friends would say they were trying to "get pregnant" and then two months later bring the news that they were having a baby. As hard as I tried to be joyous for them, I was pissed.

Now, what I learned was to not ask others. Having suffered this, I tried to be compassionate when I told others that we finally were pregnant, I tried to see through the bravery they might be hiding behind. I know the tears I have shed over this. I know the pity parties I held for myself. I know the dashed hopes. I know the joy of being a mother. I know the fear that I might never be one. I know the prayers I have prayed over each of my girls. I know the lack of comprehension men often suffer. I know.

Why am I sharing this? I have two beautiful girls. I am honoring the child not meant to be with this name. I am asking each of you to be considerate when couples choose (or don't have the choice) their parenting path. I am asking that you look at the sacrifice of a teenager, who upon finding herself with an unwanted pregnancy, makes decisions. I am asking you to be joyous when an adopted child finds parents to love them no matter race, culture, or creed. I am asking that you consider the impact of your words before they errupt from your mouth.

Maggie Grace was never held in my arms, but she had a purpose in her life. And I do believe she was alive from the second she was conceived. The path I have walked in my life is unfolding exactly as it was supposed to. I may never know my purpose, but I have one, and God knows what it is. Every one here has a purpose. Live each day as if it were your last. Love fully.

I am different than I was before I lost Maggie Grace. Other things have and will impact me to be different. Will cause a change in my thinking or behavior. Allow yourself to be affected by your life. Allow your honesty about your journey to help someone else on theirs. My life has had negatives and oh so many positives.

As my friend Rebecca, a cancer survivor, said this weekend "what don't kill us will make us stronger." Allow your self to be made stronger by every day in your life.

I hope you help someone have a more beautiful day today.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


For those of you who signed up for the ATC indulgence with me, your ATC are in process. As promised they will all have a word on them and I will choose carefully the design to fit the words. The words for each set will define a theme.

I have dug through my stash and am only using what I had at the beginning of the challenge for me. I am trying new mediums and/or designing the layout if I chose a medium I was already comfortable with. I am comfortable with cross stitch - but I designed the layout of the cross stitch sets.

The photo is of a set in process.

If you signed up, your name is on this list. The list is in no particular order, and I am working on them as the inspiration occurs. I have each set on a planning card and I shuffle through and have started creating "piles" to go with them. This has been incredibly challenging. The best part though is when the muse strikes. When that happens, it is almost effortless to complete the cards. I worked on some on my trip and some are in the car with me at all times. I have ideas for all of them and as a result of the challenge I gained a ton of quotes for my collection.

Thanks for your patience as I started this.

Now for the list.

1. HEATHER - rest, relax, renew mailed 9-12-2006
2. KRISTIN - travel, explore, experience mailed 9-11-2006
3. LALHEG - dinner, drinks, movie (she also gets a set from MOLLY)
4. ANNI - rock, country, jazz
5. RAESHA D. - sexy, sensual, seductive
6. METALLYPTICA - structured, straightlaced, confined
7. SHELLEY J - imagine, inspire, dream
8. CAROLYN - respect, admire, understand
9. MARYANN - comfort, balance, luxury
10. TAMMIE D - courage, hope, strength
11. PATTI DOBBS - heart, mind, soul
12. AUDREY - layers, stacks, rows
13. GROOVYHOLLY - reclaimed, recycled, reused
14. LESLY - face, hand, feet
15. MEGHAN - mermaid, fairy, angel
16. GRACEY - talk, listen, share
17. KOOKA - earth, wind, water
18. SWAPMEETSALLY - sun, moon, sky
19. DAWN - worship, rejoice, celebrate
20. JULIE - dance, skip, run
21. LISA - fly, soar, glide mailed 9-11-2006
22. COREY AMARO - emotion, passion, desire
23. JENANDJULES - love, friendship, committment
24. CONTESSA CHRIS - fun, amusement, delight
25. KATIE - home, family, friends
26. laugh, giggle, play - these are already in their new home.

I am excited to be re- entering the USE WHAT I HAVE CHALLENGE for the month of August. I am most likely going to do this again in October. That will be 3 months out of this year without a purchase of craft supplies. A 90 day challenge and I do love a challenge.

Many thanks to all of you for visiting here and letting me know you stopped by. I do love comments and I hope you will take the time to leave a few.

Have a beautiful day.