Thursday, December 28, 2006

One of my biggest pet peeves

I swiped this image off of flickr. It fits the visual I want to make.

This is no place for a toddler to be alone. That's right it is a parking lot and I know all of you mothers will agree with me. I scares me to see children alone in or near a parking lot. And for those who know me in real time, I avoid confrontation unless necessary.

Not on Saturday. Yup. My Mom and I decided to fight with other last minute people on Sat. at the closest outlet center to us. Red purse, brown jacket, stocking stuffers, KISSOLOGY DVD - not a long list - so off we go. Finish in record time. Have a nice lunch. And have had no negative conversation with each other or anyone else. Hey - its Christmas - I was in a great mood. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

We are finished with our shopping and are leaving the outlet complex. Creeping along in my truck and we see a child playing along the sidewalk. I start really paying attention and realize this child is alone (kinda). Mom is leaned against a column with her back to this toddler. The child decides that jumping off the curb looks like fun and jumps off the curb into the street, loses his balance and falls in front of my truck. I am so glad I was not looking for a parking place because had I been the least bit distracted, I would have hit him. He gets up and I blew my horn to get Mom's attention. No reaction. I pull on up closer to her and (much to my mother's embarassment) roll the window down and yell at the lady who's child is playing in the road. Instead of being thankful or even taking the steps to discipline the little boy, she starts to argue with me. I rolled the window up and drove off, I am still praying for the little boy.

I realize that parents are tired. I understand letting your guard down. I know a toddler can get away in a flash. I have teenagers, I know how tired you are. Been there, done that, got all the t-shirts. But you are his/her parent and part of that job is to protect them and teach them how to protect themselves. It is thankless and exhausting. But it is your responsiblity.

I still shudder to think how close I came to hitting a child. I know it would not have been my fault, but I also know it would be devastating to me for the rest of my life. I also know how angry it made me to think that this mother would argue with me when it was her lack of attention that allowed this chain of events to occur.

We nearly had an accident with Molly when she was small. She pulled loose from me walking across a grass area and fell into a drainage ditch. But I was paying attention and broke into a run immediately, along with my Mom and many others who saw it. We caught her before she hit the water. Instead of being angry with those who tried to help, I could not thank them enough. I also took the time to explain the dangers in a way that a toddler could understand.

Please Moms and Dads, watch those children. They grow up way too fast and you only get a small amount of time to give them the tools to take care of themselves. Pay attention. Especially in situations that can easily get out of hand quickly. The next person may be looking away instead of paying attention.

Take your children by the hand.

Adults and teenage drivers. Pay attention. You never know when someone's life and yours may be changed by a moment of inattention on your part as well. My full size pickup has a 21 foot blind spot behind it if a child under 36 inches tall is back there. Know these things about your vehicle and know how to compensate for those blind spots. It is simple to find them - a yardstick - have someone move around your car and make sure where you can see it and where you can't. This little bit of effort could save a large heartache at sometime.

Sorry to choose this to unload that soapbox.

But if this can save one childs life, it was well worth typing all of this.

Til tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

These things I love

I tried to post this yesterday and blogger dumped it somewhere. So here goes.
My family traditions. This is my Aunt Diane and Uncle Tommy at the lake house. Making doughnuts for our Christmas gathering. This was an extra special Christmas because Zach (their grandson) was baptized on Christmas Eve at their church. This is probably our family's oldest tradition.

Boys being boys. This is the photo pose assumed by Tyler and Benjamin. They though I would fuss about it but I just took the picture. My mom in the lower right corner.

Old barns, old buildings, wooden boxes, craft supplies, fabric, yarn, old bottles, beads, old cards, this list of old things and other goodies goes on and on. I was told at Christmas that I am hard to buy for. I refuse to believe that. Just look through this blog, my dear friend, and you will find ideas for giving. The best part - I don't expect anything. I am not a high maintenance person. I am not brand concious. I don't want the biggest, the best, the newest thing. I prefer time with family and friends. I want you to come with me and just enjoy time together.

I love to spend an afternoon digging through junk stores or thrift shops or antique shops. When I travel, I may see a shop and just stop to see. I do like to have time on a trek for that activity. Just killing time. This is so much more fun with a friend. Then you can hold up a prize across the shop and squeal and giggle about it at a distance. Helps if that friend has the same twisted sense of humour, too.

Puppet shows by 4 year olds -complete with programs. Or any age kid. I love kids performances. It doesn't matter if they stumble over a line or miss a cue or sing off key. I just love the blessings of kids being themselves. (again at the lake house, an impromptu puppet theatre made from an ironing board and a sheet.) My favorite part of the Christmas weekend.

This reminds me of making tents on the clothesline when I was little. We always tried to make them from chenille bedspreads because they were always long enough to reach the ground. I still love those spreads. My girls made tents too. With this rainbow print fabric that was the shirred wall in Molly's nursery. Over the table and chair in the dining room - no clothesline at my house.

Share a childhood memory with us. I would love to hear those stories of yours.

Have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Remnants and Resolutions

The Christmas cards remain, the tree is still up, gifts are still scattered and my holiday spirit is still high. But as we approach the new year, those items will slowly be removed for the season. I had a wonderful Christmas. Much less stressful this year, giving me time to reflect and remember. And giving me time to start the plans and resolutions for the new year.

For starters, each of those cards pictured will receive focused prayer. We will take these and choose one each week for prayer. There are others on that prayer list. One pressing need is MARK whose Mom writes the Daily Dotes blog. I have been praying through the holiday for this family as they draw on each other for support following Mark being involved in a car accident. If you are reading this and are not familiar, please take time and remember this family.
This is the new idea book, journal, inspiration tracker, or whatever you want to call it. I start a new one as the old ones fill up, but always a new one at the beginning of the year. In these, I keep ideas, notes, quotes, sketches, information, personal observations, etc. I hope one day that my girls will look back through these and have a clearer understanding of who I am.

At the top of the pictured page is my beginning plan for the 12 Months Project. I probably will start a sub-blog for this project and list those who are participating and keep folks updated about the project. So far - I have me, Vallen, Roxanne, MaryAnn, and possibly Jen. We need a true name for the project though. See the 12-21-2006 post for the information. All of you, please help me name this project/challenge and the resulting blog. Now as you know, the best laid palns are subject for interruption. So if you are thinking, there is no way You can commit to 12 months, then just commit as you can. If you would like to join us, you can leave a comment or email me at

Hang onto that Christmas Spirit. Try to keep it all year. Plan for 2007 to be your best year yet. I wish you all the best.

Have a beautiful day.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

We are at Grandmothers - Merry Christmas to everyone out there. If that's not what you celebrate then Happy Holidays for you and yours.
We have had doughnuts and spiced cider and coffee and all manners of food. We have laughed and told the stories and spent times with family. The highlight of the holiday for me was the 4 year old twins and their puppet show.

Be back tomorrow.

Best of wishes for all of you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Twelve Days of Christmas

The song is fun .. you all know it. On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.

It is a song about giving. But there is a deeper meaning to the song. It is a song of coded messages to help English Catholics learn their catechism lessons in secret during the opression of the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.

I have used this discussion as children sermons for years and I thought I would share it with you. Much of this is excerpted from the book Creating Christmas Memories - published by Zondervan,

The Partridge in a pear tree is repeated over and over and refers to Jesus.

Two turtledoves stands for the old and new testaments.

Three French hens represent faith, hope, and love that never fails.

Four calling birds are the four gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Five golden rings represent the first five books of the old testaments.

Six geese a laying stands for the 6 days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming recall the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Eight maids a milking represent the Beatitudes of Christ's teachings in Matthew.

Nine ladies dancing symbolize the 9 types of angels.

Ten lords a-leaping indicate the 10 commandments.

Eleven pipers piping are for the eleven faithful apostles.

Twelve drummers drumming stand for the twelve elements in the Apostles Creed.

There you have it. Once I learned this, I never hear the song without making this association.

MaggieGrace and family will be taking the weekend to spend time together. I may post but only if things are slow and I have a few minutes.

We will be spending Christmas Eve doing the very same thing we have done since I was a small child. Our Christmas Eve is with my extended family at my Uncle's lake house. Homemade doughnuts - gift exchange - lot's of laughter. For me, this year it will be shadowed by the fact that my Grandmother's house was just sold.

I have some signed up for the 12 month challenge. Think about it - wouldn't a less stressful Christmas season be fun. SEE POST FROM 12/21/06 for information.

I wish God's grace for you this year. I wish happiness, health and peace for you this year.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

My wish for you all

This is my offering to Linda Garcia for the Winter Wishes swap hosted by Vintage Dragonfly. Soft and sparkly - wishing everyone "peace". I was very pleased with the end result.

I really can't figure out why these are blurry. When I make prints of them, they are not. Any ideas ladies. My favorite technique and one that I will use again and again appears here. The WINTER WISHES wording is embossed onto card stock using one of those cheap handheld label makers. I just cut a strip the same width as the sticky tape that comes with the device and thread it through. I love the effect it gives. You will see it again. I also used only what I had on hand for this assembly.

I hope Linda enjoys it.

Roxanne left a post yesterday and I may take that as my year long challenge for 2007. I am always rushed from October through December and then I add the handmade gifts to this stress. So how many out there would be interested in a year long gift completion challenge? The idea - finish one Christmas gift each month. The process - in January list the 12 items you need to finish on your blog. Leave a comment here with a link to your blog. . Finish one each month. Post about it on your blog, leave a comment here saying you have posted and share it with your blogworld buddies. The result - a much less stressful 2007 holiday season. Any takers??

I have found that being part of a challenge keeps me accountable. I have found that blogging keeps me creating, because I want to share things with you guys. I look daily for inspirations from you. I cannot wait to take a look every day.

I am reading a book that was given to me at sometime in the past. I will post all the information at a later time but I want to share a thought with you. In this book Tracks in the Snow, the angel is talking to the unborn Christ child and he says to the unborn baby about humans. "They love until they get scared." This phrase has haunted me since I read it. It took cancer and age to really teach me about love. My soul reaches for each new day in a new way now. I have ceased trying to make things fit the way they did before. I no longer expect happiness to be given to me. I now know that love grows each time you give some away. I also know that love grows each time you accept it from someone else. I now know that this gift of love is the very basis of God's message to us all. In order to be more like Him, we must reach toward the LOVE every moment of every day. Love for God, love for each other, love for ourselves. So this Christmas, everyone reach for the love.

Merry Christmas all.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

taking a chance here.

This is the other half of the spoon bracelet. A collage spoon ornament or pendant. I have worn one as a necklace for several days and have received many compliments on it. This one is going to an artist friend and has a creed I have written for myself included as well. Hopefully this will be meaningful when it arrives. This person has encouraged me, inspired me, and gifted me. I have learned even more generosity and kindness from this person. If you click on the photo you can read most of the creed and see that the message on the spoon goes with the creed. I will tell you that I was inspired to make these by the new Sally Jean book. Instead of diamond glaze, I used the glass finish designed for paper. I love these and there will be more. (reminder- silver spoon whenever thrifting).

Next -I want to share my address book with you. This was made by my very talented Mom, Naomi (Nomi) It was a gift for me and I am thrilled to have it. I also have an old suede tote that has the same sunbonnet sue applique on it and my maiden initals. I really should find that tote and use it. I use this address book to keep special people contact information - like my new swap buddies and blog friends. It is a very special book for me because she made it and because it contains special people only.

Now for a long overdue item - sorry. The next three ATC for the Indulgence Project. (See the May archives for the original posts.) My three are at the top - Dinner, Drinks, & A Movie. The recipient, Laura, also qualified for the first three ATC made by MS Molly. I have really focused on finishing up these and a few other lingering projects of late. It sure does feel good to complete them. There will be more to come. It is the height of the Christmas frenzy for me. How about you? Are you making resolutions to be more prepared next year? I hope you are taking time to slow down and reflect. For ALL of you out there in blog world, whatever you are celebrating, may we all find the peace and goodwill everyone longs for and everyone deserves.

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Where's the Grinch??? Not here......

Aren't these wonderful. A gift from one of the kids from the church. And she made them. Basic tumbled stone tiles from Home Depot. Stamps, black ink, glitter glue, and spray sealer. simple and effective and I love that Ms Ashlyn made them for me.

O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song. Has been for years. So the words on the star are especially meaningful to me. I am not sure where to display these.

Last night I took care of me. I am still fighting the effects of the joint pain and I took time to just rest last night. My body was screaming for that after my weekend. I read and puttered around. And just laid around and rested. And I was in the bed reading by a little after 9pm. I feel a lot better today.

We have the plan for the last of the shopping. And Dad and I will finish that all up on Wednesday night. I do have a few gifts to come up with, but they are wants and not needs.

If you are looking for a quick and easy gift for a teacher or aquaintance - cruise over to my sidebar. Amy at Inspireco has posted a tutorial for a yo-yo tree that is sooooooo cute. I can see some of those happening for next Christmas.

Please remember our troops - many will be apart from their families this season. As I spend time with my family and friends - I will remember - I will pray. A huge thank you to our military men and women for the committment they have made.

Merry Christmas and blessings to all.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Random Stuff from the weekend.

MaggieGrace accomplished this and a few other unmentionable goodies on Saturday. Spoon handle bracelet. A simple project (kind of) I will do the next ones in a slightly different order. Now I am on the lookout for silver sppon, forks, and serving pieces. There will be more of these. The spoon bowl area will appear later, after the recipients get the items.

This beautiful tin patch is on the floor of the studio. Unfortunately it will also be covered up. As I took these photos on Saturday, I found myself wondering if the patches in my heart are as beautiful. I have my doubts - my scars - the holes in my heart and soul - are more than likely a series of ragged and pitted and tattered ugliness. As I get older though, and find that forgiving myself and others is both necessary and healing, those scars are becoming less obvious.

Take a look at the cross in the background. All of the activity of resettting the stage for the youth program last night is a blur and yet the cross remains clear in the distance. My idea for that cross was that it be lit from behind. 559 x 2 holes later and marbles glued on this is the outcome. Can you believe that most of the marbles are a soft blue? When the lights are on, it is a beautiful golden glow.

I think this photo illustrates perfectly the secular approach to Christmas. A blur of activity and little thought about the true meaning of the season. I am printing this one as a reminder to me - that slowing down and making a committment to focus on the message of the manger and the cross is so much more important.

Finally - Santa did come early to our house. The MaggieGrace studio has a new subfloor. This highly uninspired photo is of my only requested gift -- plywood. Only a creative person would be as excited as I am over a truckload of this stuff. It means that real progress is underway on the studio. Remember the patch from earlier in this post. We covered it up with the plywood. Because I ponder things and assign meaning to them, I know that patch is still there and I can say that even hidden, the message of it is, anything worth doing is worth doing beautifully.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I am so far behind

But I bought this for me last night. I had seen it all over blog world and kind of thought it might be fun. Now I can whole heartedly recommend that you head out immediately and purchase your copy if you haven't already.

Too cute - everything in this book is wonderful. The instructions are clear and there are clip art pages in the back too. Sally Jean's witty and whimsical style is easy and fun to read. My favorite item in the entire book - a display doll made from a wine glass. This will probably be the first project I try.

Christmas is fast approaching us and the stressful rush of it is creeping in. Personally I have tried to hold it off but I am not succeeding. The tree is decorated, but the village is not happening this year. We have many parties and other events to attend. And I am really struggling with the joint pain I am experiencing. The anti-inflammatory medicine is working but I am not improving rapidly. My hands are better, but the hips, knees, and one spot between my shoulder blades is very painful. I don't sit still very well at all - so the limits being put on my body are frustrating me.

Molly slept in this morning - Abby has just today for school and since Molly can now drive they may complete the shopping this weekend for me.

How do you get it all done? I feel stretched in every direction. From what I would love to get done. From not feeling well at all. From demands at work, at home, at church, by the children, by my extended family. I really just would love to spend a weekend sitting by the fire, having a long leisurely breakfast, quick lunch, nice dinner and glass of wine or two. Napping when I chose. Maybe taking a quick walk in the afternoon sun. Oh well - my name is Mommy and that is a luxury weekend that I really don't have.

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


If there is some one out there with lots of extra cash on hand - I would love anything from this lady's line. Magnolia Pearl Beautiful Wear - OMG - is this not luscious and romantic and devine. I first saw this home and work featured in the Mary Englebright Magazine and fell head over heels for the bags. I am saving for one to be my splurge for me at some significant birthday in the future.

If you have time to look at the galleries of clothing and other photos, be sure and study the details of the home she has renovated and lives in. It is a wonderful eclectic mix of salvage and recycled materials. There are beautiful details everywhere, from heart shaped tin patches on the floor to the gingerbread trim featured on the porch in the photo above.

And while I am sure that being a business owner and seamstress extraordinaire can have its stresses, the environment she has chosen to surround herself with, leads to beautiful living.

I have no MaggieGrace goodies to share today. Molly took the camera to school. So I decided to share this with you. The essence of this lifestyle featured at Magnolia Pearl is what I hope to have in the studio.

May you all have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I am tired this morning. And I hurt - all over - suspicion by Doctor Friend is gout. I thought you only had that in your feet, but according to him, you can get it in any joint and in my case every joint in your body. I am taking anti-inflamatory drugs for it and struggling through every motion. This started about a week ago when my hands were hurting - I thought it was the quilting I was working so hard on. Then this aggravating soreness has taken over. I guess there is some validity to the "turning 40 and falling apart" saying.

Enough of that - I literally snapped these pictures this morning on my way out. Photography is not one of the venues I am interested in. Taking a picture is not a form of art for me,but a way of recording my life in small snippets of visual reminders.

The first picture is of one of my favorite Christmas gifts. When my Grandmother died, my sister took all of the jewelry from her dresser. I don't remember her wearing a lot of it, but I do remember playing "dress up" at that dresser and putting various outfits together with the appropriate jewelry. We would stay with her frequently and I loved being there. At Christmas that year, Tracey presented every adult female in the family with a framed assemblage of the jewelry pieces. Many of these are just inexpensive costume pieces, but they hold a treasure of priceless memories.

These memories are treasure. We played dress up there. I learned to crochet by watching her over her shoulder (that is why I crochet right handed even though I am left handed). She cooked and canned and froze and pickled and dried meats, fruit, and vegetables. Her friend, Omer, was as much a Grandfather as I ever knew. He was there too a lot of the time. We hunted eggs there. We ate Sunday lunch there. Her house was a centerpiece of my life growing up. She made potholders and other crafty things to sell and supplement her income. When she cooked, she always fixed a plate for Peggy, her next door neighbor and called her to let her know. We loved her and we loved that place. Mother and my uncle have a contract on selling her house. I am a little nostalgic about the whole thing right now. I know you can't sell the memories, but I am still a little melancholy about it.

This ornament is nestled into the front of our tree. Made by Miss Molly one Sunday when she was teaching my 3 & 4 year old Sunday School class. An incredibly simple project and one that has been requested by parents over and over again. A wooden heart cutout from the craft store. Hot glue a hanger on the back and a "gem" in the middle. Paint a thick layer of plain white glue on the remaining surface of the heart and sprinkle glitter to your hearts content. The hardest part - don't shake off the glitter yet - wait until the glue has dried completely before you do that. It leaves so much more glitter attached this way. I save shoebox lids for these kinds of kids crafts.

The girls have started decorating the tree. And I listened in on part of that activity last night. They told the stories of the ornaments. Mostly their favorite ones. I have not documented these stories and pictures but I think that might be a fun project to work on. Each of them has an ornament box of her own and these will go with them when they start housekeeping themselves. I add to them (several others do as well) every year. Some are purchased, some are made. The boxes represent the way we decorate the tree - a mixture of visual pleasure coupled with memories galore.

The sound of their voices last night as they worked together has to be one of my favorite memories of this season. I urge you you listen to those around you. Listen with your ears and listen with your heart. Do you hear what I hear??? I hear a family loving each other and loving the life we have been blessed to experience together.

Have a beautiful day.

Molly successfully completed her driver test yesterday. I am now the proud Mom of an increase in my auto insurance policy because I now have a teenage driver.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All You Need is Love

And boy do I feel that love. I got home last night and found this. It is the collage from my partner - Cindy - in the Winter Wishes swap. I immediately propped it up on a branch of the Christmas tree. It looks fabulous there. I love this - and the colors are perfect for me. I would love to collect enough of these 4x4 sized artworks to do an entire tree - would that not be fun? Right now I would have to do ATC and these to even look decent.

Then this package was there - complete with challenging little note from one of my favorite ladies. Miss MaryAnn writes - a little Christmas gift for you. Bet you can't wait to open it. or some comment like that. She knows me way too well. So ..........

You know I opened it. And look what I got. Beautiful cards. I love these too. The colors are so me. And MaryAnn knows I love paisley - these are perfect. I hope to one day meet her and give her a huge hug for all of the goodness she has had delivered into my life.
Now for the project that has haunted me - the baby quilt. IT'S FINISHED - at 12:30 am. I put it into the washer and dozed until it stopped - then at 1:15 this morning into the dryer it went. This was a fun quilt to work on. Unstructured and organic in its nature. I adore the mixed fabrics and the free form quilting. My favorite - the lollypop tree. I really does remind of one of those old fashioned "all day" suckers. This goes immediately to its new home tonight. Confession - I am not 100% happy with the backing. This fabric had just a little too much stretch for my liking and it rolled a little in the wash and dry process. I am sure Baby Charlie won't be too critical though. A second confession - I do not prewash my fabric - sharp intake of breath from true quilters out there. I know - prewashing allows for shrinkage before you start - but I like the puckering that occurs in the wash and dry process and since I like that look, I try to do that with all of my quilts.

We were talking about something at the last shower. Signatures. As an artist - do I want my look to be immediately identified as mine? Oh yes. Molly has been doing a project on Picasso and he had clearly identified periods in his work. How do you find you signature? I found mine by starting the ATC Indulgence project - which will be all complete by the New Year. (If you haven't received yours yet - you will I promise.) I could see a style and flow to my work start to appear. I found myself returning over and over to needle and thread for details and embellishments. So I know which media I like AND I can see that I am always going to fall into a certain style and balance. I will continue to try techniques and will join swaps and challenges to improve my skills and all facets of my work. I also have gained the signature for handcrafted gifts - I like that description so much better than homemade - it seems to give more validity to my work. And I like having that signature.

Today is a good day. Finishing the quilt has taken a weight off my shoulders. Now I can focus on the quick and easy stuff I want do finish for the kids I give to. My girls will be decorating the tree tonight while I am at the baby shower. I know this sounds a little odd not to do this as a family, but they love doing this and they will get to reveal it as a gift of sorts to me. That is so much fun for them - and I want them to always remember that we encouraged them to have fun.

I hope you all have a beautiful day.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Good Morning Sunshine

A detail from Baby Charlie's quilt. I will show you all of it tomorrow.

Whew, I had to come back to work to rest from my weekend. This quilt has been my constant companion due to the speeded up schedule of this shower. I have become known as the creative mom at ballgames, concerts, and other kids activities. I love sharing my work with people and never consider it an interruption to talk to them about it. I especially love when kids ask. I feel like maybe I can help plant a small seed of creativity in them.

A quick rundown of the weekend.

Friday Night - 3 basketball games then dinner with some of the team families, go move stage backdrops off the floor at church, clean paint off floor.

Saturday started early - more basketball, then go get a tree, put said tree up (dad's job), go to church to work on backdrops, eat dinner at Huddle House at 10:30 pm, home, nurse the splinters and glue gun burns.

Sunday - early service, lunch, quilt, clean stage, play practice,hang backdrops, set up final staging, baby sit kids for a ss class party, home, quilt. crash and burn about midnight.

This morning I am tired, sore all over, and not feeling very industrious at all. But I must. The quilt has to get its final binding completed. Be washed and packaged for the shower on Tuesday night.

Then I have to do the program for Sunday night and get it ready to copy. All along this week we will add to the tree and maybe finish decorating it.

Molly has the retake on her driver test tomorrow - I am praying she passes this time. The meltdown we experienced last week does not bear repeating (I hope). She really would love to drive to her Sunday School class party on Friday night - so please lift her up tomorrow.

Abby has been the best helper this weekend. She even gained hazardous duty accolades on Saturday night. We were hot gluing the flat sided marbles on one of the backdrops and that was long, drawn out, and tedious. 559 of those marbles. Then poking lights through from the back to light the marbles. Then last night she hleped clean the stage and set it up. This is help I desperately needed and I offer many, many thanks.

I still have a really long list to accomplish before the holiday arrives. As it approaches, I will have to remind myself to pause and just enjoy moments of the season.

I hope you all are having a beautiful Monday.

Friday, December 08, 2006


More pages from Molly's altered book.

Are you ready for Christmas? Not me by any stretch - we will put up the tree this weekend. And I have started some of the shopping. But still not at all ready.

I gave myself a treat last night. I ran by the holiday market at Big City Bread here in Athens and purchased a pendant from Black Apple. Introduced myself to Emily and immediately adored her. She is just as cute as can be. And her work - in person - incredible. I only had a few minutes to talk to her, but I hope we can meet for coffee and conversation soon.

Why do artists have a reputation for being "unique" in personality? Many of my friends have the idea that creative people are reclusive, self-absorbed, some even say strange. What I found is that most artists are kind and generous and welcoming and incredibly personable. I am in awe of those who can live the creative life personally and professionally. Emily confirmed that to me. She was warm and welcoming, very personable. I cannot wait to get to know her even better.

Another favorite has his work there - Peter Loose - I have spoken of him here before. Quite a different style, but a warm and boisterous personality. His work is bright and fun and whimsical. I plan to go back today and spend a little more time. I had to leave so fast because Abby had a chorus concert for school.

Emily asked if I was underwhelmed - I hope you are reading this - absolutely not. If anything overwhelmed is the description. There is so much about your work that I am drawn to. And to find the soft spoken and generous person behind that work, makes me even a bigger fan. I find myself even this mornign at a loss for words - once you know me you will see that doesn't happen often. I really wanted a duncy, but the one I loved was already gone.

I have "met" so many people through this cyber medium. I want to thank each of you for your words and visual inspiration. As I have met some of you for real, I am really even more inspired to improve my work - either in vision or in quality.

I am looking for new challenges for the new year. As this year closes, I am allowing myself to wind down. I have many things to finish but that will happen and I know it. I surfed yesterday looking at various committments. The fact that I have a full time "real" job and am a mom of busy teenagers keeps me from committing to art everyday, but I am looking for some sort of challenge for myself. I like having a group of players in a challenge because of accountability and the slightly friendly competiton generated. Any ideas???

I have a busy weekend ahead (again) - see you guys on Monday.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sharing my space.

Left to right - Abby - me - Cortney. The tongue out concentration look is shared by me Molly and Abby at different times.

The creation of the bottom of the ocean.

School project.

Materials - wire mesh - hot glue - foam core - paper towel roll - aluminum foil box (yup the roll of foil now has no storage container home) - paper cones from the water dispenser cups (a moment of inspiration for undersea mountains) - paper mache - and fun.

Welcoming my kids friends into our home.

Absorbing the energy kids bring into my house.

Grateful that these kids feel welcome.

Knowing that the mess does not matter.

Realizing that my girls will one day leave this nest and create one of their own.

Praying that I am giving them the tools they need to find love and success and self acceptance and happiness.

But right now relishing the time we spend together.

Girls - I draw my energy from you and your friends. I accept the blessings you are giving me. I joyously share my love and blessings back to you. You may think we are just making a school project. What we are making is a life. Me and you and the others we invite in. One experience at a time. Words and ideas shared and absorbed. Laughter and tears. Each a tiny stitch in this quilt of our life - some very decorative, some serving as the utilitarian hold everything together kind. All beautiful in their own way. At all times in your life, look carefully at the fabrics contained in it, if you really concentrate, you will remember this - and so many other - moments. And if you remain open to the people and experiences you encounter - all of the variety will make this quilt even more beautiful. No matter what - know that I love you - without ceasing and even more importantly you are not only my child - you are a child of God. Love and prayers always - MOM

Thanks to all of my blog friends for coming here to visit me. Please let me know you dropped by.

Have a beautiful day.

Let's try again.

I cannot post the things I am working on. Top secret stuff for blogging buds and I really don't want to leak any of the information. However - due to a change in a baby shower - these may be new year gifts instead of Christmas. So I beg in advance for forgiveness.

So I post this photo instead. A page from Mollys' art project at school, this assignment is for an altered book. Must have 13 pages and show several techniques and mediums and every page must have text. This page - acrylic paints. One of my favorites.

I am saddened by the news from the Kim family. I continue to keep them in my prayers. This father gave everything trying to care for his family. I consider this a heroic act. As the holiday season progresses, I keep them and many others in my thoughts. There are holes in many hearts. I plan to reach out to some local people we know of and I hope you all will find time to reach out to someone too. Your time is valuable and we all get the same amount of it everyday. I promise the time you spend with others will bring rewards you never imagined.

I lead a very blessed life. I wish each of you a blessed life as well.

Damn I hate blogger -

for almost 45 minutes i have worked on a post. Poured the thoughts out and everything. - I have now been kicked off and lost it - what the heck is the deal ?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A way overdue thank you.

The photo is missing some items. There was a cute little floral fabric that is being transformed and a beautiful red panel that was immediately put across the bench in my room. Ms Vallen - the Queen - made me this beautiful wall hanging and my very own crown. I saw the one she made for MaryAnn in the pink and brown swap and wanted one too. I have had this ready to share but did not have the words to explain how this makes me feel.

The wall hanging was Vallen's answer to a challenge I posted and added the clip art to. The back of it says "you inspire me" . This message came as a part of my package on a day when I did not feel like anything I touched was right. I couldn't craft, I couldn't read, I was afraid to drink, I really was struggling. And I get home and there is this wonderful gift. From basically a total stranger saying that I inspire her. We need to hear that at some point and I get mine in the mail. I cannot wait to hang this in MaggieGrace world. And I am going to suspend it so that I can look at both sides (the back is as beautiful as the front). I cannot believe she chose to gift me with my challenge and that it was something that I desperately needed to hear.

Now the crown - a magnificent work of art complete with a ladybug. We have ladybugs in the house at times and we always say that it is good luck if one lands on us. So I now am destined to have this good luck at anytime. I just put on my crown and there is the ladybug. There are also flowers and feathers and embroidered linen pieces. Just perfect for me and I love the colors. Now I am on the lookout for a wig form to display this on in the studio too.

I also need to thank MaryAnn for some fabric she sent. I have drafted a quiltlet pattern to use with it. I am just way behind on posting and crafts.

I am working deperately on Baby Charlie's quilt because that shower has slipped up on me. I hate the rushed feeling this gives me. So I am trying to get that done so I can focus on the rest of Christmas. Some of my blog buddies may get new year gifts instead of Christmas gifts. I hope I will be forgiven for that.

Now this thrify goodness. This was taken on the porch swing on the front porch at my house. It is vintage (I think). I saw this in a basket of curtain panels at the Project Safe thrift store here in town and did not pick it up. The fabric pattern haunted me. Illustrated prints and verses from A Child's Garden of Verse. I wanted it. So back I go on saturday morning - praying all the way that no one else had fallen in love. There seems to be acres of the fabric - two panels 7 ft by 6 ft - lined in a heavy basic cream flannel. They were there waiting patiently in the basket just for me. I picked them up and headed to the counter fully expecting to pay an unusally large mount for these thrifted goodies. The cashier rang me up and asked for $4.28. I swallowed hard and gave her a 5 telling her to keep the change. I almost ran out of the building to avoid her realizing that I just bought treasure for next to nothing. If there are any fabric experts out there, please identify this for me. What the heck am I going to do with this? I do not have a clue, it just makes me happy, and for 5 dollars that happiness was very well priced.

I spent some time with my Mom this weekend too. She is an incredibly talented seamstress and is quilting right now. We were talking and she made a true confession to me. This is "G" rated. She has a hard time cutting into fabric. She buys fabric just like I do. Sometimes with no plan for it. Just because she likes it and it makes her happy to look at it, touch it, be inspired by it. If she buys with a specific project in mind it has no impact - cut away. But those others - the ones she bought because they needed to live at her house - she struggles to cut that first time. I have the same problem and it was nice to know that mom does too. We have had a very stormy relationship at times and it is so reaffirming to find common ground.

Do you buy things just because they spoke to you? Do you have trouble cuting or using those items? Do you sometimes spend hours just going through your supplies and being reinspired? Can you identify patterns in your creations or purchases? I can answer all of those questions with a capital YES.

What kinds of things scream your name and demand to live at your house?

I hope you all are having an inspired day.

Monday, December 04, 2006

I really am working on goodies

edit - charles just got his results on his procedure. they found no problems at all. now he starts with adjusting various medications to try and see if they are causing the problem. most likely culprit is the blood pressure medicine he is on. this is a rare side effect of this medicine but the time frame works for this to have been a trigger. (or maybe the fact that we are about to be parents of a licensed teenage driver.) (or could it be as a co-worker of mine puts it "he really just needs a wifectomy. ") so we received good news and continue to be frustrated by the unexplained symptoms.

I really am working on MaggieGrace goodies. It is Christmas and we are in full seasonal swing at our house. I cannot post photos right now because the items I am working on are all going to blog readers. So it looks as if there is nothing to share.

I am also in the midst of the youth Christmas program at our church. Jones Chapel UMC has to be one of the most wonderful church families on earth. I was talking to a friend yesterday who goes to church with us. She and her husband recently moved back and were looking for a church. The secretary at the middle school and several of the kids at the school suggested that they visit us. Nancy's description to me was "Jones Chapel is the kind of place that just envelopes you with love." There was a lady in the nursery with us who grew up in this church - she has a totally different perspective. Her description "Jones Chapel grew me and nurtured me at every phase of my life." I love being part of a congregation with a relationship with God and each other.

Back to the program. Teenagers. Songs. Backdrops. Telling the story again. It is a challenge every year to come up with a new program that will stimulate their best performance and lead everyone in attendance into worship. It has to challenge the kids enough for them to work and have the satisfaction of accomplishment. It has to be entertaining enough to keep their attention. And it has to have all the elements of the worship for the season.

We start in September working on this. I bring several ideas to the meeting and we listen and discuss. These are bright kids and many have grown up with me as their choir director. I trust their input and this year we chose a cantata style presentation with lots of catchy praise and worship music, a beautiful message, and just the right amount of the other elements we needed.

Now, months later, we have the songs pretty well under way (all but one) and we started one of the necessary evils last night. Backdrops. Crawl around on the floor and paint. This year is a little different. Instead of scenes, we are doing a single textured paint backdrop with a cross that will be lit from behind. I will be at the church evey night for the next week adding paint to this process. This is a massive undertaking even in this simplest form. I have help from the kids and some parents - but the planning and organizing are all up to me.

I will post some photos of the process as we complete it. I hope to hang these by the weekend this week and be done with this part. I am overwhelmed again at the undertaking of the whole program, but I have already been reminded by several people that this will all be alright.

I do know that on program night, when the lights are lowered and the music starts, I find myself worshipping with the audience every year without even realizing that the audience is there. It is always as if God sends the mesaage just to me again. Yes, I am still the director and still in charge of the immediate surroundings, but God always reminds me that I am only the worker here and in the big picture, He truly is the one in charge.

I love to share that night with my family and friends. Many of the people who know me don't know that side of me at all. My work with these kids is so important to me. And as they grow and go away into the world, I hope and pray that I have expressed God's love and mine to them. I hope I have helped them to learn things they can take with them. I pray that they will continue to seek God's presence in their life. I pray for blessings to fall on them.

If you want to be blessed by a youthful worship experience, join us. Sunday Decemebr 17 at 6pm. For those who cannot be there, we wish you a joyful holiday season. We pray for God's grace to be fully present in your life.

Today, simply, I pray for you.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Color Theory

As an artistic soul, I am aware of color and its interaction with color around it. But I really have never paid attention to how varying the color of an item really affects me.

The ladies at the cross stitch store that is my local favorite are always remarking that I adapt color in patterns. And I do. Very rarely do I use any pattern in the exact way it is graphed. I am approaching this foray into quilting the same way. I just put things together the way that pleases me. I rarely do "commissioned" items because I am sure that I would want to fiddle with the colors requested. I love to create my own designs and I am doing more and more of that.

This morning, I was scanning the new "country register" newspaper, and saw a quilt shop hop organizing for the spring. They listed all of the stops and their websites. On the website, I found the black and bright quilt and fell in love immediately. I want to do a black and bright quilt for myself and this photo was immediately printed for the inspiration books. I love the pattern here as well as the fabric choices.

Now look carefully at the batik bright quilt. I scanned right past this. Does not appeal to me in any way. The colors are "pretty" but it is just too busy for me. I started reading the descriptions and - what the heck - it is the exact same pattern as the quilt I love. I studied the two pictures carefully and tried to figure out how to interpret what I was seeing/responding too.

What I have identified is that the mixed bright quilt -that I describe as too busy - looks and feels chaotic to me. Kind of like the life I lead. Once a long while ago, I put all of my schedules on one calendar and almost had a heart attack. There are many days that I feel like I will never get it all done. That the list will only be partially crossed off. I have a work schedule, a home schedule, a church schedule, Molly's schedule, Abby's schedule, and a craft committment schedule. (Just really glad Mr. Charles can drive himself to his schedule) There is very little room for putting other activities in. I steal every spare moment to do things just for me. I like having "stolen moments" of things and people that are encouraging to me. "Stolen moments" to just be myself - where I am not expected to be anything but me. I nurture myself in those "stolen minutes" and that time is very important to me. (I almost always leave the store at lunch or I feel like I don't get a break all day.)

Now the black and bright quilt. Has some of the same batik fabrics and I love the colors throughout. But with the black boundaries, it feels controlled. Like there is a "plan" for it. The brights are there kind of like a bright spot in the day. And, since there seems to be a "path" around and through the pattern, those bright spots bring a pleasant surprise. They seem to give you a little "reward" for completing an item and crossing it off, but then there may be several of those "side trips" within a bright area. I can see that I am trying to give my life that same kind of structure. Trying to schedule and plan and organize. But I still grab onto those "bright spots." I still will try to let the house go and spend time with my mom or my sister, or various others who are important to me. I look forward to crossing things off my list - but I also welcome those "interruptions" that almost always result in the feeling that I live a very blessed life.

There - my color theory on those two quilts. My analysis of why I like one and not the other. My own self analysis. There is absolutely no scientific basis for any of this. No self-help books required. An arrival at the ultimate awareness. Shout out loud. I LEAD A VERY BLESSED LIFE!!!!!!

I hope you are all leading a blessed life too.