Friday, March 30, 2007
Well I signed up for a swap over at SwapBot. An ATC swap. I love projects with constraints and this one has a major constraint. No paper layers - only embellishments allowed. You get to use your background and then only embellishments other than paper. So on Monday, I had a brain storm (that is probably what you felt rumble under your feet) and decided to bring my colored pens to work and grabbed a piece of cardstock out of the paper stash. I am going to fill this page with random doodles and use it as my ATC backgrounds for this swap. When I cut it into ATC sized pieces, I will have one of the girls turn it over and put it on the cutter, then I will have no idea which elements will be severed. Flip the pieces over then decide how to embellish. ( I see glitter in the near future.) This sounds like fun to me.
Today is a much better day emotionally. I received the last ugly parent phone call last night. I actually dreaded this one and when it happened, I was ready, so I had no real problem dealing with it. I can now move on in the direction I need to go. Making this decision freed up extra time in my life and I plan to use that time finishing the studio and moving MaggieGraceCreates in a more structured direction. For years I have created as I had time, or I squeezed it into small spaces within other activities. Now I will have dedicated time on Wednesday and Sunday that I will be able to "know" and plan for. I am now poised and waiting for the next door to appear so I can open it readily.
I like 4 more granny squares to finish the ones I need for my afghan. I hope to be able to post that over at CIP on Monday as well as here too. I will have lots of input tomorrow to arrange the squares. Abby has a softball tournament and the girls will help with that. I will take a flannel backed tablecloth and spread them out. Then I can roll it up and keep them in order. A portable design wall. That should be fun.
I hope this finds all of you having a wonderful Friday.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
If you are a regular reader, you know that I am very close to my girls. You also know that both of them are good students. We have always stressed doing their best in all aspects of their lives. They are active in church, school, and community, academically successful and athletically successful too. All of this requires an enormous amount of discipline to keep everything running smoothly.
This amount of involvement also requires Mom and Dad to be committed and disciplined too, and we take this parenting job seriously.
So why the title above?
Well Molly had three soccer games, two proctices, and a two day weekend volleyball tournament several weeks ago. Add church and you have the potential for a meltdown. She had a huge heritage project due as well.
Many of you also know that my Dad died when I was 15. We did not remain close to his family. As a result of that I did not have photographs of relatives.
For her project, she had to create a scrap book. Big problem - what do we do????
She and I talked about it and here is where the bad influence Mommy comes into play.
We layed out our family tree very accurately. Back four generations on both my side and her Dad's side.
Then we (I) went online and googled "vintage photographs". I wetnt throught the images and found a website that sells vintage photos. http://www.vintagephotocafe.com
WE ADOPTED RELATIVES FROM THESE PHOTOGRAPHS.
Printed the photos. Trim. Scrapbook embellish. Label. ADOPTED RELATIVES. And turned this project in.
Now I am sure we would have liked these people. But we do not know them. I do not advocate this approach as appropriate. But it was a source of continual amusement, while we were working on it. Molly turned in the project. And we (she) made and A+. The comment sheet was funny too.
Hang onto this. I holds wonderful family memories and is something you will cherish always. Great job -
Molly did not tell the teacher that the wonderful family memories had nothing to do with those people in the pictures, but were the pictures themselves and the way we ADOPTED those things to complete this project.
The only reason I tell you this story is to encourage you to be close to your children. Be willing to work alongside them. We amy not have true ancestors represented in the pictures in her scrapbook, but we do have real memories there. I want my girls to have the idea that we are a close family. And the indications are right now that they feel like we are.
Have a great day.
Monday, March 26, 2007
I am still doing the "use what I have" thing. I am working hard on the granny blanket from earlier. I have set a goal to finish it by Easter weekend. I need 42 squares and I have 33 finished. I found another box of yarn in an armoir this weekend so I will not have to purchase a single skein to finish this project. How cool is that?
I am also planning a baby quilt with the Moda cowboy print fabrics I bought. Hence the sense of urgency on completing the granny blanket. So in that frame of reference, I KNOW I have some chambray shirt fabric SOMEWHERE in my stash and I went looking. I have not done this in a while so it was a load of fun to go through boxes and fondle myriad fabrics I have stashed. Why is it that fabric lovers always touch fabrics? I even love folding my fabrics, because I get to smooth them as I do that. I really can't wait until the studio is finished to organize and sort everything out.
Did I find the fabric I was looking for in my stash? Not even. But I did find a goodie. Yards of baby quilt panels. How long have I had these??? Not a clue. They are the end run of some that I bought at my favorite fabric warehouse. Teddy Bear playing with a Noah's Ark set. Appropriate for either a boy or a girl. And there are 6 panels. I am going to send them to the first 6 commentors on THIS POST ONLY. How is that for spring cleaning? I had to buy them all and then I only used one of them. So six of you get to reap the benefits of my warehouse purchasing.
It always feels good to give things away, especially if they are going to other creative souls. So comment away my friends. Please leave your email addy so I can contact you about addresses.
Friday, March 23, 2007
I have signed up for three more swap-bot swaps as well. The last time through, I had much better luck so I am trying again. We'll see.
I also completed this baby blanket this week. No "new" money investment on this either. I bought these hospital grade receiving blankets at a warehouse sale for $2.00 each months (years) ago. So when the latest round of aquaintance baby showers started, these are what I am going to do. Crocheted edge, applique emblem or embroidered detail in the corner. Quick and simple. These are a great size too 30 inches by 40 inches so they can be used as lightweight blankets for toddlers too. This heart appliques was made from material I received in a swap. Feels like and older (washed many times) soft sheet. I love sheets that get softer and silkier when washed, reminds me of the cotton nightgowns I slept in when I was little.
Finally, this little bird was singing in the mailbox yesterday. A huge thank you to Dawn (4:53) for this completely unexpected surprise. I sent her a goodie many months ago and this is a return surprise. She is beautiful (like her creator) and immediately went to the fridge door. Where she will live until the studio is complete. Thanks so much my cyber friend. I LOVE her.
Sorry to post quick and run. Seems I am a delivery driver today and I have to go. Windshield time calls.
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
3-23-07 update - bacterial meningitis complications have been determined the cause for Patsy's death. Please continue to remember her family at this time.
Me on the left and Patsy on the right. Taken in Chicago last spring.
We found out at lunch today that the showroom person in one of my other locations passed away suddenly. No one is sure what happened.
Patsy was a beautiful 50 year old mother and grandmother. When she did not show up at work this morning her brother went to check on her and found her not breathing.
I helped train her and she has been my roommate on business trips. I am at a loss for words about this.
As I have learned in this small and yet worldwide blog community, prayer will travel from around the world once a need is known. I hope all of you will stop and pray for this family as they deal with their loss.
Thanks in advance for your prayers.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Anyway, when I saw this yesterday, I realized how cool my little iron bench really is.
I showed you this in a blurry photo earlier, and alluded to the fact that I would tell this story.
I found this in a antiques shop of my favorite kind. You know the one with the antiques label but really is a conglomeration of true vintage, and junk. This bench is neither. It is of fairly recent manufacture and it was that horrid verdi green finish. Well Ned, proprietor extraordinarie, knows I will love the bench and tries his best fast talk sales pitch. But the bench is green and I wanted a red one.
Fast forward 3 weeks. This bench is haunting me. I go back and ask if he still has it because I don't see it in the shop.
O yea - he has it - AND he went and bought 2 cans of gloss red spray paint AND he painted it red for me. Is he not just awesome.
So now he has a red bench for me to buy and - of course - I did. It now sits in my side yard. I visit with my girls there. I visit with my friends there. We leave packages there for the UPS guy and he and the postman leave bloggy love goodies on it from many of you guys.
Here is the comparison for some real green eyed monster action.
Anthropologie Bench 998.00
shipping to me 150.00
Sales Tax 80.36
TOTAL FOR SIMILAR BENCH 1228.36
Green Bench 35.00
spray paint and labor 10.00
TOTAL FOR MY RED BENCH 45.00
Is the look close enough to make this kind of comparison? I think so.
I think I scored here . What about you????
Have a wonderful day.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Is the suitcase at the top not wonderful? (Image from an older Country Home) I carry a bag with me at all times with a portable project, but occasionally I would like to sit down and create away from home. I am thinking this idea could be adapted for that purpose. Maybe for ATC creations, note cards or collage projects.
Now what would I need?
ribbon, string, fibers.
watercolors or acrylics.
I think I could easily get all this in a suitcase. Throw this in the truck for road trips. And since I travel a fair amount for work, and I have outgrown the party crowd, this will give me something to do in the early hours and evening hours. I adore this idea and have had this image and others like it in my clipping files for a long time. Even cooler - I already have a suitcase - thrifted years ago and full of fabric right now.
Perfect for a slightly more detailed time of creation.
What would you take with you?
Have a wonderful day.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Well Earl got mail last week - from CitiBank business credit card services - seems the jackasses behind the scenes at CitiBank do an awesome job of checking credit. They sent Earl a preapproved CitiBank business credit card with no credit limit. He can earn frequent flyer miles too.
I have a question for you CitiBank. Whose job is it to double check the credit rating on donkeys? Or is it that every name and address you receive, starts getting mail from you? Does this mean that all those "preapproved" credit card offers I receive have no validity either? Just questions for the Jackasses who sent a jackass a credit card.
One prom dress - check. Now for shoes. Tried on several. Knew this was IT when it went over her head. Mon Dieu she is beautiful. Need a hair and makeup appointment. It wasn't even a stressful shopping expedition. And she was serenaded all the way over to the formal wear shop. "Some boy" called her and sang to her. ("Some boy" is the nickname given current boy by her dad.) She laughed and grinned and giggled and blushed. Do you guys remember that first true romance? Not puppy love. The relationship where you are starting to form ideas about lifelong decisions. It scares me as a Mom and yet it fascinates me too. I see her making decisions based on my ideas, others ideas, and her own ideas. Is this where you start letting go? She and I are close and yet she is starting to keep things to herself. I think this is natural and a part of the separation that occurs as children go into adulthood, so it doesn't devastate me. Oh but I do pray, for her and her future mate and the choices she makes for her life.
Last but not least, we squeezed a tiny bit of antiquing in. We are buying Molly a hope chest for her birthday. And this is the everyday dishware she wants to start accumulating. Cannonberg Pottery Pattern Temporama. Aqua and Olive and a Taupe color. The shop we saw it in had it with Aqua Fiesta. Classic and yet trendy at the same time. I do hope to find some pieces of this to have in her chest. Pretty good taste - she has - don't ya think.
Did I create at all? Sure did - finished a crocheted baby blanket edging and the giraffe on my sister's Christmas gift. Photos to come.
Have a wonderful day.
Friday, March 16, 2007
I have learned that things at my house can wait.
I look from the outside into blog world and sometimes think all of you have it SOOO together. I read websites like flylady and wonder if I am just lazy, since you will find my house in disarray a lot of the time.
Then I get a dose of my reality. Last night - Dad went to a ballgame with Abby, I went to a Soccer meeting for Molly's team and I found that I am not lazy. My name is mommy and I am focused on my children - and according to the input I got last night in talking to teachers and other parents. My girls are happy, well adjusted, respectful, and committed to excellence academically and athletically. They KNOW that they are loved and supported by us. And I accept that since I work full time outside the home and I mommy full time when I get home, some things have to slide, and that's okay.
Yes - I am overwhelmed at times - and yes the dust bunny brigade occasionally has the upper hand at my house. But - guess what - my children are loved and they know it. They know that one of us will be in the stands cheering them on. They know that if they need us it won't matter what time it is - we will come. They know that - they are so much more important than dishes or dusting or laundry. And they help catch all that up when we have those blocks of time.
They also know that their friends are welcome at our house and that if someting gets broken (priceless family heirlooms included) it is just a thing.
So yes we blow through the week going from place to place - activity to activity - and it all feels like a blur. But when I do get the opportunity to sit on the bench, I am hardly ever alone. One or both of my beautiful baby girls, usually slides in beside me, and we catch our breath and visit with one another, and those moments alone are worth everything.
We don't have a single ball activity Saturday - so will we sit still - no - gotta find a prom dress.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Don't forget - I am giving awy a birdie from yesterday's post. Cruise back and leave a comment there and I will pop him in the mail Monday evening.
The bench is a thrifted find. More on that for a later post. It sits at the end of the front porch and I snapped this shot as we breezed out of the driveway yesterday morning. So you are seeing the view I see as I leave every day.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
So sorry these pictures are dark. I took these LATE last night in the dining room. My addition to the spring bird frenzy. I was inspired by Dawn over at 4:53 (see sidebar) and Teresa McFayden. I did simplfiy mine quite a bit.
All of these were made USING WHAT I HAD. Card stock and scrapbook paper. Embellishments and stickers. Stamps - I think this font just screams SPRING and fun.
I wanted to add a little more to the embellishments and I had some milliflora (sp?) beads that came in a grab bag from Fire Mountain. it was so much fun to pour them out and poke through them to find just the right one for each bird's personality.
To pose these lovelies I hung them from my dining room curtain. All of my window treatments are "unique" in their materials. The living and dining rooms are one big open area and there are three windows. Because I am a thrifter/bargain shopper/recycled materials user, I went looking for something different. I found these three lace tablecloths on the clearance shelves at WalMart and they are hanging from three wrot iron plate racks from Tuesday Morning. Total expenditure for three eight foot tall windows $75.00 The light filters through and leaves the most wonderful evening shadows in the room.
Now just so all of you know how "really sick" I am about saving things. The glitter on the wings of these is mixed. I have a jar that I put my glitter back into after the 3 & 4 year olds finish their projects in Sunday School. Once I started the jar, I keep even my glitter remains. I won't even throw the "dregs" of glitter away. That's bad. but I find uses for it all the time. Since it is mixed - it acts as a neutral and I can always just get that jar out at SS and let the kids go to town. I used it here - just because every girl needs some bling.
Since my comments are dwindling. I have decided to jump on the giveaway band wagon. I will draw a name on Monday March 19th at 4:00 pm est and send you one of these happy faces. Some have already been mailed to new homes but I have one left and she needs a new place to sing. So leave me a comment and I will send you a singing bird. (Maybe I'll send a tiny bag of the mixed glitter - shall we call it fairy dust - too.)
Have a wonderful day.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Monday, March 12, 2007
When there is vacant space in your stash storage, what has to happen. You HAVE to fill it up. (Just a joke) I did not spend that much money. But I did buy some fabulous wool Manos del Uraguay Autumn hand dyed yarn. YUMMY.
And on Friday, Molly played soccer in Dawson County. I have been up through there on numerous occasions and there is a quilt shop on the way. Mind you this is a two hour drive from home. I always get past there after hours, but with leaving work early Friday, I was able to stop and spend some time. And money. On Moda Fabric. And an apron book. More about this shop in future posts.
I bought a fat quarter sampler that features the fabrics I have here in the post and some others. And yardage of this fantastic Cowboy and Cowgirl photo print. Too cute. We have two baby boys coming to friends this summer and I am thinking a quilt for each. I will add some chambray shirting to the fabric mix for these quilts. I was thinking a quilt for Best Friend but that just isn't formed in the brain yet. And I have to be inspired for that to occur.
Molly and Abby played a LOT of ball this weekend, so I finished 8 scrap grannies in the wait time between matches and games. Did a TON of driving between home and those locations. Endured the time change - this one wipes me out. And made some cute little birdies (more tomorrow) and gift enclosure cards for the CIP group. Had to come back to work to rest.
So I spent time on the road and money on stash. I guess that makes for a great weekend.
Have a wonderful day.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Monday, March 05, 2007
The local Home and Garden Show. This is what you start with. A 16' x 10' empty space. We hauled the materials out of my store over to the civic center. Then pile the stuff around and try to figure out the best way to put it together.
I had found a landscaping book from the late 40's in a thrift store. Then in surfing the blogosphere I found inspiration at www.elizabethhousestlouis.blogspot.com and decided to put up a paper wall. (note I found this adaptation this morning too www.curioussofa.blogspot.com)
I used ornament hooks and unbent paper clips for mine.
A view of the finished space. Lavatories and faucets and toilets (and a tub with a stone decing around it.) Against my "wall" of book pages. The amazing thing - almost every one slowed down to look at the pages. Many, many people asked about them. And that was a great starting point for discussing my wares. So the effect was exactly as I planned.
And apparently the judges panel for the show liked the idea too. Because I brought THIS back to the showroom with me.
If you click on this, you will see my favorite fabric in the world - today anyway. I love the oriental theme of this fabric and the color and the image of the lady. Now to decided what to accomplish with this.
Thank you Elizabeth House for permission to blatantly use your idea in my booth.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
When will I make these? I do not have a clue. Maybe never. Maybe tomorrow. These sketch books / journals / picture books are for inspiration and notes. They are a conglomeration of my thoughts, quotes, mag pullouts, pictures I have printed, fortune cookie fortunes, notes, phone numbers, addresses. You name it - if I found inspiration - if it was something I needed to remember - if I found it worthy of writing down (even a shopping list) - it could be in these.
They are a lot of fun to go back through too. The most amazing thing about the older ones, I can still look at the sketches and immediately "see" what I was trying to catch at that moment. I can refer to these much like an Illustrated Discovery Journal referenced many times by Sarah ban Breathnach in her Simple Abundance writings.
There are creations, decorating ideas, gift ideas referenced. The RED RECLINER that I sit in everyday is one of the things that has appeared over and over in the books. I clipped photos of red leather chairs and kept them for years. So when I found that recliner and it was sucha great deal - I knew without a doubt that this was IT. No indecision - no fears - no regrets.
What is not in these books. My dream career. Not in that format. I can see the direction my life has taken by looking at these, but there is not actual reference to my "DREAMS". I think having recognized that fact, I will focus some energy on defining that path. I have spent years slaying demons and now am ready for that serious look forward to plan my future. Pity you have to get to be 40 before you can decide what you want to be when you grow up.
Really - I want to take an active role in planning my future. I want a comfortable retirement. I want to be able to travel. I want to be able to help my children with their children when needed. I want my house to be the place all the grandkids remember spending time at. I want time to be creative and a place to work on that stuff. I want the people around me to encourage me wholly. I want to help others get on this nurturing path earlier than I did. I want a better life for all my loved ones.
I may not get all the things I want from my life. But I can identify the steps to take to try and accomplish things. Then I can blame no one but myself - that's the scary part - when you take control of your life, you have no one to blame.
So what are your dreams for the future? What do you want to be when you grow up? Are you in control of the plan? Are you ready to take that control?
Have a wonderful day.