Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Oh My - what could this be???

Cute little packages. What could they be? Look carefully and you will see a clue in the box.

Little fairies (elves) have been up to creating tiny packages of fun. Fun for the participants in the
Christmas in progress group.

What is that??? CIP , short for Christmas in Progress is a low key - incentive group to encourage each other to get an early start on Christmas 2007 creations. Take a look back through the archives of that blog and see if you would like to join us.

If you choose to play, you are in some mighty fine company. Each lady has a blog, so be sure and click the links in CIP to look at some of the most inspiring people I have met.

As the organizer of this play group, I have chosen to send "fun mail" on an irregular schedule to the ladies. What's in the packages??? I can't say. Could be fiber. Fabric. Stamps. Sequins or beads. Paper. Trims. Cards. Recipes. Tips. Patterns. Chinese water torture won't even bring me to tell. I just hope that anything the ladies create with this "stuff" - they will share on their blog. Mr. Atkinson is excited. A box of packages like this means less stuff to move to the studio.

I am excited about some of the ideas running around in my brain. I have a scarf in progress. And a cross stitch sampler. Some smaller things too. The sketch book is being filled slowly with ideas.

Now a request. If there is any one of my readers who is adept at making button holes (or has a handy machine to do this), I need help. My friend, Melissa, is a special education parapro. They have many students who are unable to button their shirts. This is a high school class, and all of the available teaching tools are childish. She needs a set of button teaching tools that would fit on a table, or hang on a wall. Button sets from 1 inch down to a man's dress shirt placket size. I will happily send fabric, thread and pay postage if someone can create the button holes for me. I am thinking a 48 in square with panels of button plackets. Any ideas or volunteers, leave me a comment or email me.

I hope all of you are having a wonderful day.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Be afraid

I am participating in a Photo Scavenger hunt and one of the clues from my partner is stained glass. This is one of my favorite windows in the sanctuary at our church. We have several and the center emblem in each one is different. Other clues from this partner are - a book published before 1950 - and graffitti. This has been a fun swap to work on and I hope my partner is pleased.

The dove is from the Noah's Ark story. He is bringing back an olive branch to signify that there is new life on earth after the flood waters recede. It is a sign for Noah to open the ark and start life anew.

My Mom is in much the same place right now. She is starting her life with some contraints. A new life - different and yet still viable and fulfilling. I went last night and spent time with her. I was rested and refreshed. I am making peace with my emotional issues over the scare we had. We were both in a good place. I took her a small gift. A crochet pattern book and after a few household chores, we just visited.

There was an air of respect and forgiveness in the visit. See - my Mom has an Angel and a daughter - and I am not the angel. There have been many stormy times in our relationship. I have spent the better part of the last three or four years dealing with some of those issues. But I took none of that with me and we were two adults last night. She told me when I walked in that I looked pretty. And as we visited, she was encouraging about my creative pursuits. She even complimented my parenting of the girls. All of this was something I have desperately needed from her in the past. But now - I have overcome needing that and it has been given to me. An offering of an olive branch - to begin life anew.

So why the post title you are asking???? Last night wasn't scary - but this morning sure has been.

Behold - My desk. We were hammered this morning from 8 am. Customers, deliveries, phone calls. Retrieving information. At 10am - turned around from the computer screen and saw this view. "What the hell happened to my desk???"

I normally would have just started sorting, but it struck me that I haven't shared the reality of my day job. Here it is in all of its glamour and charm. I sell plumbing - yes - toilets and bathtubs and everything else that water may enter your house through. And it is amazing how much detail goes into this occupation. HGTV has done us no favors either. I spend about 1/2 of my day chasing materials - because people expect instant gratification. (you know you can remodel a kitchen in 30 minutes right?) The other 1/2 is waiting on people. Helping a homeowner decide. Ordering specials. Scheduling deliveries. Answering the phone. That is just in my store. I am also responsible for the showrooms in 5 other stores. That involves a little travel and vendor/manufacturer meetings at times. Busy at work, busy at home, busy at church. No wonder I feel as if I might meet myself in the road.

Still it is a good day. Now I am stopping to clean off the desk and see if I can expedite the materials for our Aiken SC showroom.

Have a wonderful day.

Maybe some MaggieGrace goodies for tomorrow.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Time for a little positive

I feel much better today. I want to thank you for all of your encouragement. Emails. Words of comfort and wisdom. My sister was off work this weekend and she was with Mom. As she put it - "this is a breeze compared to what I do everyday." Tracey is a detention officer for the county jail. She deals with the dregs of society everyday. So she considered hanging with Mom a nice break.

I spent my weekend with my girls and cleaning my house (I am once again commander-in-chief of the dust bunny squadron)and resting.

The picture of beautiful baby girl, Abby is from yesterday. Cold COLD COLD and they are practicing softball. She is in the midst of three sports right now. Basketball - they play the region final this coming Friday. Soccer - tryouts last week and practice begins today. And - last but not least - softball - an almost year round activity for her. The plus side of this. She is physically fit, she is learning discipline and scheduling - and I know where she is. KINDA- she is somewhere with some ball team.

Add Molly to the mix. Volleyball is the sport of choice. She is now playing at the Junior Olympic level. And Friday night she and I will travel to Chattanooga TN for a tournament this weekend. Charles will stay home with Abby because of the basketball championship. I am really excited about her playing with this group. The level of training and competition makes her a better player.

I crocheted some this weekend. Made a few granny squares and I am planning to mix them with some velvet scraps to make a scarf. I didn't have enough of the yarn (leftovers) to make anything so I am combining and still using what I have to complete some things. But mostly I rested.

Yesterday I went to church and then came home, fixed a bite to eat, then put my pajamas back on and went back to bed. Put clothes back on to go to the grocery store - put groceries away and went back to bed. My body and mind needed that rest desperately. Now I feel more in control again.

I thank each of you for your support. For your friendship. Now I just need to find a way to be supermom and super daughter and super employee and super nice and super creative. Maybe I can get a job as a juggler in the circus.

Look for some really inspired work at the Christmas in Progress blog.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Anger - Volatile - Explosive

I spoke to Tracey this morning. Seems Mother decided she just wasn't up to her therapy appointments today and called and canceled them. She just wants to stay in bed and wallow in the self pity she feels. I my lovely friends am pissed.

I am tired.
I am frustrated.
I want my old life back.
You know
the one that had a routine to it.
I drive that extra 50 minutes to help with housework.
I drive that extra to make sure she is all right.
I spend the extra time changing the bed.
Doing laundry.
Dammit - making sure she can open the pickle jar.
And she just doesn't feel like doing it today.

I understand the frustration.
I have already been pushed to - and beyond some points
I never thought I could deal with.
I have learned of my strength.
I am learning to bite my tongue.
And while I cannot imagine where she is...
She will not get better if she runs away.

I am carrying so much anger.
At this situation and others.
The kind of anger that you can feel
Boiling just beneath the surface.
Like a volcano waiting to erupt.
Using every tool I have to try and calm it down.
Yet fully aware that the smallest thing
Can break open the crust
And allow the sudden release.

I know myself well enough
To pity those in the path
When it occurs.

Hope it will be some idiot driver who cuts me off at the red light!!!!!!

Sorry to spill this here. I needed to vent some of this steam.

I hope your day is going better than mine.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

AWOL - sorry

I am sorry that I have been AWOL, there just has not been too much to report. Mom is improving steadily. She is at her home and we check in all the time. She is (and we are) learning new ways to accomplish things. We are adapting to the new routine. When I went there last night, she was crocheting. She has learned to hold the thread using her weaker hand in a different way than before. She has done some machine sewing, but still struggles with a needle and thread. This is important to her. Slowly she is resuming housework and cooking as well ( this is not as important to her). I guess I am more like her than I would like to admit.

I have very little on the creative front to share.

The fabric in the photo is riding around in my truck. It is a heavy upholstry fabric and I love the colors. I am thinking that a table cloth of this and some off cuts of corderouy and velvet might be fun. Mom scarfed this up as they were cleaning out the last of the stuff from my Grandmother's house.

I have a couple of things in the works that I will be posting tomorrow on the CIP blog.

Now to answer a few questions left in comments on earlier posts.

Jen - I'll choose Cheer and Snuggle. Because those are the two things I really could use right now. I have felt pulled in way too many directions for the last 12 days and I sure could use that hug.

Vallen - I'd love to have you cook for me. Nothing better than good food, a glass of wine, and conversation among friends. Lovely.

MaryAnn - the vacuuming is not a huge deal at my house, so never fear. I only have one room of carpet. All of the other floors are either wood or vinyl, one exception, I have brick across one end of the living room.

Metallyptica - what the hell is sweet tea? It is a truely Southern thang. Brewed orange peoke and black tea. (I use Luzianne brand) Boil in a small pan of water for a really strong concoction. Pour into 1 one gallon pitcher (jug) with 2 cups of sugar. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Then top off by filling the remainder with water. Serve over ice or cold out of the refrigerator. Now for those above the Mason-Dixon line - I mean no offense - bringing me a glass of unsweet iced tea and sugar and a spoon just will not work. The sugar will never fully dissolve in the cold water. The very first stop I make when I come home from a trip out west or up north, Zaxby's - because that my dears is a good tea place.

I also found a wonderful treat at the grocery store this weekend. Banana Pudding ice cream by Mayfield. Complete with the vanilla wafers. I love banana pudding. That too is a southern thang. My best friend even had two made for my birthday instead of a birthday cake.

If you have more questions or need clarification on other "southern specialties", please feel free to ask.

Have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

So I am a little weird

I have been tagged by reading others weird lists and since I have no MaggieGrace goodness to share today, I am choosing to share some (and I do mean some) of my weirdness.

1. I pay more for a single bottle of tequila than almost any pair of shoes in my closet. I prefer the good stuff only. I will save money for a bottle of the good stuff and wait for a drink rather than drink any cheap tequila. And I keep mine in the freezer.

2. I write reminder notes to myself on the bathroom mirror in eyeliner or lip pencil. Not love notes only reminders.

3. I cannot chew gum without blowing bubbles. Therefore I never chew gum in a situation where blowing bubbles is not appropriate.

4. I read my horoscope at night to see if it agrees with what happened to me today.

5. I am offended when people mispronouce names. I have an easy to pronounce maiden name, Scogin (long "o") but because it is unusual, it was pronounced like the more common spellings, Scoggins (short "o" like cot). We went through this over and over dealing with the hospital last week and no matter how many times I corrected it people repeatedly mispronounced mother's last name.

6. I prefer my Coca-Cola with ice and a straw. If I am at home I will only drink it out of a glass. But I am okay with a bottle, plastic or paper cup, or can away from home. I also rate restaurants based on their sweet tea. My girls also do this - asking as we go in - "is this a good tea place?"

There is more weirdness about me. But some of it I am choosing to keep to myself lest you all decide you really don't want to get to know me at all.

I am tagging those who haven't done this already. Leave me a comment letting me know you are participating. Have fun.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Thank you all

Thank you for your prayers. For the emails of encouragement. For supporting us through this. Mom has made progress. But we still have more rehab and things to figure out.

The two photos are of some more ATC. All made from junk mail. I think the one with the vases is my favorite of these two. I called it "Waiting for the Gardener". Seems to be where I am right now. I feel like I am being pruned and mulched and composted. I wonder what the outcome of this will be and I am impatient in the wondering. Am I to be the flower, raising my blooms for the sun to see? Am I to be the dirt, sending nutrients to those who will flower above me? Am I to be the vessel, holding temporarily the beauty brought in from the garden? Am I to be the sun, the water, the atmosphere bringing all those life giving things to those? Will I recognize my label when it is given to me?

I am struggling with the emotions of seeing my mother's frailty. Of realizing that I may someday have to go one with my life alone. It seems that Mom was given a warning to take better care of herself. My warning seems bigger, more ominous, my warning seems to be about learning to go on without her. I know that this is a natural progression, but as long as she was "whole" I was able to push those ideas into the back of my brain. Now they are there, front and center, forcing themselves into my thought processes continually. There are still things I need to make right with her. There are things she needs to make right with me. The whole thing has unleashed some demons I thought were thoroughly caged. Fears. Apprehension. And the knowledge that again, I have faced the damn devil somewhat alone.

Mother continues to improve. And that is the blessing I need right now. All of you are beautiful. And I appreciate you prayers and support. That too is a blessing to me. I am amazed by this little cyber circle. I wish you all were near to me. I would give you all a hug and a huge thank you. And Jen, I might even let you help with the laundry.

Have a wonderful day.

It amazes me......

What you can do with "junk and stuff." I never go far without a bag. Sometimes a bag of smaller bags. And this is just what I have done with all of these ATC. I piled all kinds of stuff into smaller bags and boxes. Add some glue sticks, a ruler, and scissors and a hole punch. This is the outcome. All of these are winging their way to new homes as we speak. I do hope the new owners are happy to receive them.

These two are made from a recycled bamboo calendar box given out at my local chinese restaurant. I did add the stamp and embossing at home. These are in my favorite colors. Soft sultry - the kind of tones you would find in the sunset or in the Grand Canyon. The yarn is a fabulous hand dyed cotton and features so many of the colors in the box. Because of the coloration - I really enjoyed these. The photo was taken on a Granny Square crib blanket my mom made from scrap yarns.

Next - true junk mail ( except for the diamond in the center) I called this one textures of light. Images were taken from a Target sale catalog. Except for the orangey gold and it is from an envelope flap. I love the way light strikes items and creates all these textural, shadowed images. This is magazine collage, which I don't normally enjoy, but I limited myself to one magazine and that made it easier.
Another junk mail assemblage. I named this one "Time at Home". Again all images from tha same target sale catalog. I had the key from an old diary lock and and then penciled in the wall so it appears to be viewed through the glass. On this predominately grey collage - I love the red punches.

More to come.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The last two - and an update.

These two are my favorite one's of this batch of ATC.

The top was from an antique store handout. I saw it and literally woke up during the night with how I wanted to complete it. Remember these were all made using materials thrown into a bag. So the tools were limited. I wanted embossed lettering to say toys across that fire engine pedal car. I went to sleep Friday night trying to figure out how to do that with no stamps and embossing powder. Awake early Saturday and realize I have a newspaper, an ink pen, and various other kitchen utensils. So I wrote the word and then scribbled over and over it from the back. I further defined the edges using things from the kitchen drawer and then distressed it with the scissor blade. This is my all time favorite ATC I have ever made. Simple looking and graphic and the actual process reflects ingenuity. FUN FUN FUN.

The bottom one was my Mom's favorite from these. A button card. It had the two pink buttons still attached. I took them loose carefully and covered part of the card with more of that Altoids paper. Added another of those Coca-Cola ladies tags and then wired the buttons back on. What you cannot see in the picture is that the buttons are similar in shape and size to some on the dresses in the label. Mom wanted this one for herself, but it was allocated for a swap. I guess I will be doing Mom something for her in the next few weeks.

She said she never thought much about mixed media work, but she likes what I am doing with these.

So now for the update. I printed the comments and emails from all of you. She was blown away by the fact that there are people all over the world praying for her. She is doing quite well for having gone through all this. But there is a fear of being alone. The first day of physical therapy and occupational therapy was today. She is exhausted. Tracey goes back to work tomorrow and I will be with Mom. We may cut and glue some things for part of the therapy follow up. The OT wants her to start re-learning to use everything as quickly as possible. She is quite mobile and other than tiring easily can be up as much as she wants to.

It bothers me to see her fumble over things. She is clumsy with the left side and gets frustrated about it. I want to help her but all of the therapists tell us to let her try and figure it out. It is almost like having a little one again. The funniest thing was last night when she went to the bathroom and came back in the living room and announced to all of us that she pulled her own drawers up. I had never even thought about that being difficult. But if you only have one arm working I guess it is.

I do hope you all will continue praying for her and us as we figure all this out.

Have a wonderful day.

I got two on this post.

Two more ATC - see I haven't been slack.

The top one is for recycled labels. The Coca-Cola lady images are from the hangtag labels off of some ornaments I got for Christmas. The back ground is the label that wraps altoids in the tin (this one was from the chocolate covered ones). The edge was from the envelope flap of a Christmas Card.

The bottom one was made from a photon flashlight box. I added coloered papaer from various scraps I had and then "stitched" the lines with a pen. I did use some of my favorite gold paper on this one.

I adore the little blue flower too.

More ATC

I guess I will post these one at a time as blogger seems to be struggling with the idea of more than one photo per post right now.

Again for a swap. Recycled labels. This was one of Mom's favorites. I made it the other night sitting by the bed. Made from a hand dyed wool yarn label and the label from a roll of map wrapping paper. I also used the short piece of the yarn that attached the label to the skein.

I like this one. I like the tiny burst of color against the neutral background.

ATC are non-threatening and quick easy art. Wish I had discovered this sooner.

not completely a craft slacker

Some ATC for swaps. All made from "what I had." All of these are from recycled materials.

Now - I hope the descriptions are in the right order. The first one is from a paint sample box. I am in the construction industry so I get some really cool junkmail. I get all kinds of new product trend and color trend information - so I took the box and cut the descriptions apart then reassembled them to fit the ATC format. This was one of my offerings for the Swap-Bot recycled box ATC swap.

Next - for the Swap-bot "you choose" ATC swap. I made these from materials gathered over time and literally tossed in my bag. The background is cut from a post card advertising a holiday open house at a loghome company. The words and pinecone were cut from Christmas cards.

And last, for the Swap-Bot recycled label swap. This was made from a paper lantern package from Old Navy. I put it on a "sparked" background cut from a Christmas Card. Quick and easy , but I love the graphics.

I made some of these on the porch over the weekend and then some were made in the wee hours of the morning sitting by my Mom's hospital bed. Luckily she is a creative person too and was not at all bothered by me showing up with a bag of paper scraps and "stuff" to work on.

Because of blogger issues, there will be other posts today so I will hold the update until then.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

An Update

Thank you everyone for your prayers and notes for encouragement. We are progressing.

My mom is now at my sister's (Tracey) house. She had the extra room and I will be driving over everyday to help with evening care. My adult nephew and my brother in law will be helping during the day and my sister's work schedule will allow her to cover a large part of the daily appointments and such.

She has partial paralysis of the left side of her body. Arm and shoulder, face and throat muscles are affected. Her foot was affected but with the "clot buster protocol" used on stroke patients most of those symptoms are gone. We are looking at 3 to 6 months of rehabilitation including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and swallowing therapy. Emotionally she is afraid of it happening again. So there will be some counseling to help deal with that.

The biggest danger now is the paralysis of her throat. If she gets on her back in her sleep, there is a risk of choking and asphyxiation (sp???) This is a problem because her natural sleep position is flat on her back. So we have elevated the bed and created "bolsters" to prop her up (much like you would do for an infant) and Tracey has put an infant monitor by the bed to listen for it.

I will be assuming the financial and business set up of selling her house and then protecting her assets should this all become a longer term deal. That means working with financial institutions, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, real estate, etc. And helping with other things as they crop up.

Needless to say, adding this to our already full plates in a sudden fashion has resulted in the feeling of being overwhelmed completely. But I have backed up emotionally and gone into "just do it" mode. As we get a plan together I should be able to regroup.

Last night I came home - slept in my bed - and emptied my suitcase from my trip. I looked at my family and the mountain of laundry and said simply. "Would somebody please just do the laundry." I absolutely could not deal with even looking at it.

I will be posting and there will be creative things. I was able to make a few ATC at the hospital. Will get that posted and then try to keep everyone updated.

Again thank you for your prayers. It amazes me that I could sense them and I know with all my faith that they have helped.

I hope everyone has a beautiful day.

PS. added at the request of an email. My mom's name is Naomi.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I was not prepared for this

I was out of town this past weekend. On the way home yesterday my cell phone rang. My mother has had a stroke. That was the longest 2-1/2 hours of my life as I tried not to drive like a maniac and get to the hospital.

My mother has lived alone since I married 21 years ago. She is strong and capable. She is creative. She is opinionated and stubborn. She is all those things. She was angry about being made to go to the hospital. She was "as mad as an old wet hen" to use a rural southern description. So... knowing all these things I was not prepared for seeing her laying on a gurney - unable to speak clearly and partially paralyzed on her left side. I was not prepared. My heart is broken. I am an emotional wreck. I have no idea what to do or which way to turn.

I will be in and out with her this week and until we know where we are. There is just me and my sister - so we will share the duties of care between us.

Please lift her up to your higher being. I know the power of prayer. I know the power of encouragement.

Sorry - no MaggieGrace goodness. I'm too tired and emotional.

I hope you all have a better day than I am.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Oh MY God - these are beautiful

I do hope the owner of these does not mind. I am giving full credit. These are Paper sculptures featured at I followed a link from Pam Garrison comments and found this work. Are these incredible or what? I just love how this blog trail leads us to one another. I always try to give full credit when I find these awesome artists. I love the support we give each other. My horizons are broader - my work is improving - my spirit is enriched.

I also love how sometimes you find images and items that mirror exactly what I am thinking at a given moment. I was talking to a friend last night about the masks we all wear. About the ones that are necessary and the ones we think are required. Why we hide and what initially brought about a particular mask.

The discussion ended with a discussion about "trust." I have only a very few people who know the full unabridged "real" me. I havve only a few people that I know them as well as that. Those people understand all of the masks and why they exist and I know about theirs. My thoughts.

I like knowing all about those masks.
I understand them all.
As a friend I will help you put on the ones that are for protection of you and others.
But I will also give you a safe place to take them off and hang them on the wall.
We all need that.
A safe place to put away all of the masks.
A safe person to help us put them on when needed.
A safety net to catch our masks if for some reason it slips and falls.
An encourager to appear in public without a mask.
I trust you my friend - please trust me.

I wrote that after the discussion yesterday. I hide behind many masks - some required - some self imposed. I am so appreciative that I have that safety zone. That place where I can let my guard down. And rest. Sometimes the masks and the effort of wearing them gets heavy and exhausting.

All of you blogger buddies allow me that place creatively. I don't have to explain my creations. I don't have to explain my need to create. I don't have to explain or try to justify any of that here and I thank you all for that. At work - they refer to my creative self as the "alter ego" and shake their heads in pity or disbelief. At home - sometimes I have to explain why I just have to make something. Here - I am free to share it and request input and advice. Here - I am comfortable without some of my masks.

And everyday I find a little more of me. Everyday this little bit of me gets stronger. Everyday I become more important. And someday, I will be comfortable all the time without some of those masks. Then maybe I will only choose the fun and beautiful masks like those pictured - just for smiles instead of needing them to hide behind.

Off for a work weekend and a little pampering of me in the down time.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What is a "Beautiful Life"??

The photograph is staged. At work. Beside a whirlpool display. Pulled together from things in the store. Things I brought in because I like them. Hot tea and honey. A candle lamp. My coffee/tea cup. Wrist warmers from the ever lovely Vallen. All arranged on a fabulous wooden tray.

This brings to mind a breakfast in bed tray. And that is something only my girls have ever done for me. I have had coffee brought to me in bed. I have had room service delivered. I have fixed myself a tray and gone back to bed with it. One idea of a beautiful life to me is these kinds of small celebrations.

I watched Barefoot Contessa in Paris this weekend on Food Network and thought about how much fun a no-cook picnic looked. She purchased fresh produce and cheese and wine - finger foods to share with a loved one. Not complicated, but delicious foods shared over conversation with someone you care about. Another small celebration of a beautiful life.

My MIL, Ann, serves us off her good china any time we are there. She finds that time together worth celebrating. Again, a small thing that adds to a beautiful life.

My girls are 13 and 16, but every night as they go to bed they asked, "will you come and tuck." That involves simply going in, a kiss on the forehead, and the words "good night,sleep tight, bed bugs." We have shortened the whole saying to a kind of family dialect. A true moment each night of a beautiful life.

This morning, I passed several things in the closet for an outfit that is comfortable and appropriate for work. You know the outfit. The one you feel good in. The one you won't really think about again until the next time you put it on and then realize it has become a favorite. That is a small thing in a beautiful life.

As I ponder this phrase today, I have come to the realization that I lead a busy life with beautiful moments and that is a life worth continuing to pursue. I will continue to simplify and celebrate small things. I will try to find "grace notes" every day. I will continue to approach this idea of a beautiful life. But as I go along in my busy life - I am going to look for those beautiful moments.

Side thought - this a luxury item. I stayed at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago many years ago. On the room service menu there were options for massages, manicures, pedicures and the like. One that caught my eye was the room service "Bath". My company was picking up the tab so I ordered one. Cheese and fruit tray, small bottle of wine, and an attendant drawing my bath. He ran the water, added bubble bath, lit candles, warmed the towels and robe, floated orange blossoms on the bubbles. All while I watch tv. He emerges from the bathroom and announces "Ma'am your bath is ready" then discreetly leaves. That my friends is a luxury event I wish I could have again.

This is national de-lurking week in blogland. I hope each of my readers will take the time to leave a comment to this post. Leave us a celebration of beauty in your busy life.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Never hang wallpaper with a man around

Yup - that is one of the cardinal rules of wallpaper borders at my house. I have a huge dining/living room 17 x 35 ft. The borders pictured are not in that room. The border on the bottom is in my bathroom and I love it. I will probably use the one on the top in the studio.

I hopped over to AmyRue this morning and she was talking about buying paint. I laughed as her story brought to mind me buying wall paper border for the dining room. We lived in a tiny place at first. Then bought this house. Huge rooms - high ceilings - major decorating philosophy adjustment. Everything I bought was too small in scale. So after many mistakes - I painted everything white and quit for a while. Then I started a little at a time. I finally painted the living room a color called "Summer Rye" sounds gold but its not. It is a wonderful chocolate milk brown. I wanted a big border for the top. Searched for months and had an AH-HA moment when I found it. 12 inches wide - black background - country rustic - watering cans - in love.

Take off to wallpaper store. Here is where the true fun begins. Have any of you encountered this saleslady???? I walked in with my torn off sample and told the young lady that I want 12 rolls of this border. She informed me it was a special order.

conversation as follows.

Me - thats fine. I can wait. I want to order 12 rolls of this border.

SL - that will be expensive

ME - I know how much it is per roll. 12.99 plus tax. thats fine. Is there a special order fee or freight?

SL - yes ma'am. 10.00 special order and then whatever the freight is. That will be expensive.

ME - Do you require a deposit?

SL - Yes ma'am we require full payment on special orders.

ME - Okay - what will the total be.

SL - that will be a lot of money.

Me - (now I am amused and aggravated) well young lady how much is this "lot of money" and would you like ot take it from me or shall I give it to someone who wants it?

Sl - relenting - takes my order and my check and orders wall paper.


Fast forward to hanging day. Mom is there and so is that man at my house. It took all day to hang said border at 10 foot ceiling height beacuse we had to hang it twice. His way (by stretching it out and sliding it into place) and the right way. My mother saw me threaten to kill him. The children saw me threaten to kill him. Visitors saw me threaten to kill him. And those threats my dears were real. We will never NEVER hang border together again. Hire it out. Beg mother for help. Do it slowly by myself - NEVER WILL THAT ESCAPADE OCCUR AGAIN.

Too funny - I really should have listened to the sales lady and not bought that "lot of money" border. Everyone would have been much happier in the end.

That was only the beginning of realizing that we don't need to work together on projects - come to think about it we really don't work together well on many things.

Do you have funny stories or disasters worth sharing about projects or remodeling? Share with us please.

Have a wonderful day.

Friday, January 05, 2007

More ATC

The two on the bottom are among my favorites I have ever received. Heavy and distressed and made from recycled labels. They are from a swap-bot partner. I cannot rate her yet, but she will get the best rating I can give.

The three on the top are for MaryAnn from my indulgence project. I am near completion of this - I just need a few more addresses. MaryAnn played word association with me on the words and I hope I captured her answers in the artwork.

Yesterday was a tough day so all I accomplished in the creation arena was organizing the floss for one of my CIP projects. I have started one project and have strewn across the dining room table part of the materials for another. I wish I was wealthy enough to hire someone to finish the studio. But then - it will have some much more meaning to know that we accomplished this.

Question - request for help - somewhere in my cyber travels I saw a countertop that I want to duplicate on an old cabinet in the studio. It was patchwork (maybe scrapbook papers) and had buttons sprinkled across it ( will buy cheap buttons packs at the dollar store for that - no vintage stuff) - but had a clear layer encasing all of this. Any ideas on accomplishing this type of surface. It does not have to be really strong. I will have a work table so this will only be a display and staging type of surface. It will need to be waterproof because one end is going to have a cold water only sink in it.

I also had forgotten one detail that will definitely be in this area. I collect CocaCola items and several years ago a customer gave me a stack of painted and screened wooden crate sides that were never assembled. I have not decided how to use these. Right now they are stacked in that little space between the washer and dryer. But now that I remembered having them - I will make that plan.

I hope you all have wonderful weekend. My girls are back in school and that means that we are back in the gym tonite for basketball. I will be cross stitching.

Have a beautiful day.

Thursday, January 04, 2007



Mine have fed me and my children and loved ones who needed me to.
Mine have stroked the brow of my children and others.
Offered a handshake.
Held others hands.
I use mine constantly.
Creation of beautiful things.
A touch of love.
A touch of discipline.
A reminder of danger.
Hold my hand.

I have been so lonely at times.
Wishing for someone to hold my hand.
Reach for me.
Reassure me.
Comfort me.

Think about it.
Make yours matter.
A touch.
The warmth that remains even when the actual contact is gone.
The way a certain touch can ignite passion.
The way another can combat that loneliness.

Lay your hand across someone's concerned brow.
Place your palm softly on the side of a loved one's face.
Come gently from behind and press yours into the small of your loved ones' back.
Reach out your hand in a gesture of peace and goodwill.

Be generous with the work of your hand.
Make a difference.
Pull someone from the depth of their demons.
Reach out your hand in a gesture of hope.

Make yours count - many have done that for me.
I hope I have done that for many.


Have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


These are my ATC leaving and finding new homes. Sorry - its cloudy and cold here so the light is terrible on thoses bottom ones. The top ones say WATER, WIND and EARTH. They are the only silhouette cutouts I will do for ATC. I love the way they look, but the paper cutting was a nightmare for me. I hated every minute of it.

The three on the bottom say HOME, FAMILY, and FRIENDS. These were a lot more fun for me to do. Mixed media collage. I like this format a lot and I will do a lot more of it. Still working through all of my committments for swaps and intend to get this all caught up this week and weekend. These are ATC that I received from swap-bot swaps. Junk mail and recycled boxes swaps. I am hopeful that my swap-bot received ratio will be better this go around. We will see.

Please ladies take the time to visit the Christmas In Progress group blog and consider signing up for this craft-along group. I have Roxanne's list and mine posted and I have started one of my projects.

I am struggling with some things at work right now and the craft time and inspiration here are a large part of my sanity right now. I want each and every one of you to know that I appreciate you. I have found some wonderful friends through here and I look forward to finding many more.

If we did not need income and insurance, I would love to craft and design full time. But with a Jr in high school and an 8th Grader I need to be looking for income for college tuition. They are both very good students and athletes, but college will still be expensive.

I hope this post finds you all happy and healthy and full of excitment and expectations for the year.

Have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year

This is a fun quilt. It is in the window of a fairly new quilt shop in Lavonia Georgia. Ola's Quilt Shop is owned and operated by a lovely 70ish lady, Ola, who has wanted to owna shop forever and chose now - in her 70's do do the thing she has always dreamed of. Isn't that wonderful.

I spent my weekend in a low key and restful way. With my family and puttering away at getting some projects done. I cleaned out and tossed and boxed up for the thrift store. The girls are going to get the tree down today and we will pack that up in the attic tonight.

I enjoy the holidays, but I am happy to be back to some semblance or normalcy.

I have opened and posted to the new Christmas in Progress blog. I hope we can find plenty of people to play along with us.

I have my resolutions written down - I have my 12 month play along items decided - I have a wish list of projects I would like to complete. The studio is progressing. I am as ready for 2007 as I possibly can be.

If you would like to play along with us on CIP - email me or hop over there and leave a comment.

Have a beautiful day.