Monday, April 30, 2007

Good Day Sunshine

It is a good day. Fields of sunflowers are going to new homes. For somethng that looks so easy, they were actually labor intensive. The ladies in the CIP group
each get one of these and the instructions on making them. Now what will they be???
Package tie - ons. Pins. An apron accent. How about pinned to the front of a wee ones sun hat? An accent on a tote. On a pillow? Who knows.
I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed every second of making them. It was fun to think of these ladies and know that they will find creative uses for them.
As always, there is a story behind them. The yo-yo centers came from MaryAnn with a note saying she had bought them with no idea why and could not come up with a use for them. The yellow yarns are all "freebies" given to me in boxes from a friend of mine when they cleaned out her grandmothers house. The green felt was donated by a friend cleaning out her stash and the buttons were in a gallon jug I bought for $1.00 at a junk store many years ago. They are my own design and I am so excited about that part too.
I have found that I really enjoy working with constraints on a project. Either budget constraints, or size, or shape, color, or even a treasure hunt list (personal favorite). I knew this one had to be "USE WHAT I HAVE" and PAY IT FORWARD. So it qualifed for working within a constraint. I also enjoyed working with materials I did not select for me - I would never have bought the bright yellow yarn and now most of it is gone from the stash.
In other news. I am struggling with a color selection for the studio. I know I want to use my bright red and white Coke crate sides as an accent, so part of me likes the craft studio aqua I have seen many places. However, I am terrified of living with that color. I am a much more neutral person. I have also looked at a soft purple grey, but I am afraid the red accents will not work with it. Soft sage green also appeals and truck tarp canvas looks interesting too. The one thing that is certain - it cannot be a dark color, because the natural light is going to be very limited. I will be painting the floor a darker shade of the wall color. There will be a design wall of cork that I will cover with muslin and then pin up flannel when I work on a quilt design. I know you readers will have an opinion - please voice it. Maybe some of you who have received artworks from me or who can spot something in this blog as a trend. Maybe I have sent a gift that you identify with me as a color option (Vallen will say pink and brown). I do love the neutrals of seashells and sand. I OTHER WORDS ___ HELP!!!!!!!
Another totally random side note - I AM FAT. I manage to avoid full length mirrors at home, but swimsuit season approaches and I had to buy a new one this weekend. The full length - triview mirrors in the dressing room leave absolutely nothing hidden and I am horrified at what I look like. Now I say this here only because, for some reason, I feel accountable when I do. Weight loss is now mandated by the embarassment I felt even though it was just me in that room. So for those of you who want to skip over the sections of post about weight loss, by all means go ahead. But I sure could use a cheering section too. I hate to sweat, so this will be my big challenge for the year. I will start by saying the doctor would like for me to lose 50 pounds. so here the count begins. I refuse to be tied to a weight number - I want to be a size 10-12 in Lee brand jeans. I much prefer this type of tracking.
Have a wonderful day. Damn, I'm already hungry.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Prom Time is next weekend

Somewhere out in blogland, a challenge has been issued. Find photos of yourself some 20 years ago. Vallen already did hers. I decided to put mine into a post about prom. This photo is from spring 1983. Right before we left my mom's house to go to my senior prom. Yes- you see correctly, we wore matching tuxedos. In Georgia Bulldogs colors - of course. Chose to do this because it was different. Had an absolute blast. I was comfortable, not chasing a dress strap, holding up the tail of the dress, and I wore almost flat shoes. We both carried canes and wore top hats too. I know "over the top." Somewhere there is a photo of Charles standing in a pose and holding a beer (he is 9 years older than I am) - in the picture, he looks like the store window mannequins.
I was tiny in these pictures. Almost a size zero. My Dad had been dead for a couple of years and I was still not eating. I lived on a coke and a snicker bar each day. Anorexia -it was my reaction to stress. I could control what I ate. Those years were the beginning of so many years of food related issues. My Mom was immersed in her own grief and did not really notice. I look very pale and fragile in this picture. I was both of those things. Now some 24 years later, I am so aware of the effects stress has on me and I try really hard to react differently.
Molly is going to prom on May 5th. She is so excited. We have the dress. The hair and nail appointment. A location for pictures has been chosen. She is going to do her own makeup at a friendly gathering. I meet the florist tomorrow to order the flowers. The group has reservations at a local restaurant. They are planning to go glow-in-the-dark putt-putt golfing afterwards. I am both thrilled for her and terrified for me. She is basically grown and it will be no time before she will be leaving for college.
In the back of my mind, that transition is there. What will I do with the extra time? I know we will still have Abby, but I know how quickly all of this time flies. Then I will be alone with my thoughts. What will I do with the silence? There will be silence, because the man at my address has no communication desires at all. If it is not about sports, softball in particular, he is not interested. I find so much more about life to be excited about. And so we are on very different paths. Where will these paths lead? I know- deep thoughts for a Friday.
These thoughts are a huge part of my self imposed pressures for finishing the studio. There may be silence in there, but it will be filled with inspiration, and the silence in that environment is a catalyst for creation. I am excited about some decisions on the studio this week. I have windows ready to install. The storage cabinet/work surface materials announced themselves this week. I will be topping the cabinet with painted mdf and then adding buttons and scrapbook papers to the top encased in envirotex. The cabinet sits there all scrubbed and ready for paint. Maybe, since there is no ball this weekend, we can squeeze in some work time.
MaryAnn - thanks so much for the book mark and card yesterday. There are some huge issues going on in my life right now and I so appreciate your kind words in the mail yesterday. As I work through this, some of it will slip into MaggieGrace at times. I am choosing to remain positive though. You are right though, it will probably never be used as a bookmark, it will find some other purpose, I'm sure. Right now, it is hanging on my closet door knob. I can see it as quick as I wake up and be reminded to choose positive today. Thanks again.
The CIP postings have begun for April. I have two completed projects myself to post, so I am so excited about that. I am also starting the package for the next snail mail goodies.
If I had know what the life I was choosing 20+ years ago was going to bring me, would I do it all again? Oh yes, those two beautiful girls are worth every challenge I have endured. Would I make different choices, oh yes, about some things. Will I make different choices in the future, oh yes, I will be much more careful about my heart from now on.
Have a wonderful weekend.
ps. I have deleted an anonymous comment. While I appreciate advice and adore comments, I want to know who is leaving them. If you must sign in as anonymous, please leave a name and contact in the body of your comment. For those who wonder what the comment was, it was a link to a photo site offering optimization to improve the quality of the photos use here. The photo on this post was taken with an old 110 aim and shoot camera, not too much you can do with that. -- Teresa

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Square is hip today

I was never one of those teenagers. Never a goody-goody or even a nerd. I was a band geek, but our football program was so bad, that it was okay to be in the band. I was always a good student, but I also could be the life of the party. No one would have called me "square". I drank with the best of them, dated much older guys, never did drugs, NEVER street raced, and was terrified to disrespect my parents. I did things that now, as prom night approaches, scare the hell out of me. Because I am the very "square" mother of teenage daughters.

But all of that said - I have found it very hip to be square today. All because I participated in a 2.5 x2.5 square grungy children art swap. Like an ATC only smaller. So much fun to make. I had two swap partners and both are international. I hope they are unaware of this blog because the packages may not have arrived yet.

Grungy children - by definition of the swap orginator. Dark - vintage in feel - no bright colors. Did I get it right? I certainly hope so.
On the left is "RECESS" - used to be my favorite part of the school day. We had these wide wide steps that went way down the hill to the playground. Played many an hour of Simon Says and 1-2-3- Redlight on those steps.
Top right - "GOOD BOY" I love the very grainy quality of this scan. You have to look carefully to see the dog. And I used an old postage stamp with a pheasant as an accent. Granddaddy, Charles dad, has many pictures with their various dogs and was always training another bird dog. We actually have a video, made from 8mm movies, of him crawling on all fours and extending and arm in an attempt to teach a bird dog to point. Every now and then we watch it just to laugh at him.
Bottom right - "SUNDAY BEST" This little girl looks so uncomfortable in her dressed up state. I used a torn piece of pattern tissue, the label off a wooden thread spool, and a snap to accent this and emphasize the handmade feel of this outfit.
I made two of each of these. Again - no purchases - USED WHAT I HAD. Slightly different, but the same artworks. I hope the recipients love these as much as I do.
I need to send special thanks to MaryAnn - she is the sweetest and most generous soul. I have been gifted again with some fun fabric. Ann Hovsepian - who sent a beautiful bookmark and fabric square. No photo, because the bookmark went into immediate use. Jen - who sent a goodie bag "just because" and those swap partners who have sent me things. I appreciate each and every one of you. And your generosity inspires me.
I also sent two crochet squares to a lady I read about in the paper. She is making a friendship blanket and I at random chose two from my stash. I received the nicest card from her yesterday, explaining more about the project. She has no computer, is on a limited income, and wanted to give her son something with a generosity story for a wedding gift. She is taking these sqaures and creating this afghan, as a demonstration to this young couple that there are still plenty of wonderful people in this world. I have discoved this myself and some of those wonderful people are you guys.
One last funny story - I live in a very rural area. I drive about 25 minutes into town to work. Yesterday on my way home -I was talking to bestfriend on the phone and I see and say "There is a couple walking down the road carrying a sofa." Yes - walking down the road carying a sofa. Best friends response. "it is Madison County - redneck movers" So I chose to rephrase my statement about this scene.
"They's a couple walkin' down the road totun a couch" I do speak redneck when required.
I hope each of you has a wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Flowers for You

Spring flowers for you. Snapped this as I was leaving this morning. There is a story behind this china pattern. I did not pick this out as a soon-to-be bride. I married with NO formal china pattern selected. I had been collecting stoneware dishes for several years and had a full set in my "hopeless" chest. We still use a great number of those dishes everyday.

When Charles's Mama Norvan passed away, we became the recipients of a mixture of oddities, including a single plate from the pattern that matches those salt and pepper shakers. Seems these were giveaways found in boxes of washing machine soap years ago and you could save labels and turn them in for bigger pieces. I have been a cross-stitcher for way more years than I will admit to here, and this was just the thing to trigger another obsession. Building a set of "cross-stitch" china for my formal use. From 1 plate, I have managed to build a workable set of this.

Now I could buy this off Replacements Ltd., but what fun is that. I would much rather have stories to tell about finding this or that piece. I have searched antique stores, junk stores, thrift stores. People have given me pieces. Now not all of them are the same pattern, but the similarities of the colors and the needlepoint/crossstitch theme make them work.

I believe in using my stuff. I have a serving platter in the basket pattern. It is chipped all along the edges because I took cookies to the church on it and someone dropped it when we were cleaning up. I have it on top of the cabinet in the kitchen and it makes me happy to look at it. The chips along the edge barely show.

I think people are far too quick to discard things. We buy far too many disposable things. I have really neat things in my home that I have inherited/thrifted/been gifted with. I look at the old linens with holes patched and I know that those people lived a far more difficult lifestyle thatn I do. I look at an old quilt that was made from jeans and old mens work shirts and know that it was made by a mom trying to keep her family warm using any thing she had access to. And I chastise myself for just going to buy what I want, with very little thought to what I really need. Maybe the Using What I Have is coming from a deep feeling that I have just overwhelmed myself with things that just clutter my life and seeing those things be used in a beautiful creative manner is very fulfilling.

As I continue this process, the clutter in my home is oh so slowly decreasing. I have done an enormous amount of decluttering my life and emotions as well. Thank you all for the comments and encouragement you send me to keep me on this path.

Today, I bring you flowers. A representation of the beauty of the springtime. I send them to my readers because each of you brings beauty into my life. I challenge you to send a virtual flower from your home today. Let's celebrate the beauty of this earth and be a little more concious in taking care of her. Let's encourage each other and share. If you choose to send a virtual bouquet via your blog, please link back to here and lets see how far around the world this goes.

You are beautiful and I wish you a beautiful day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

my first favorites mosaic

I spent some time this morning organizing my first mosaic. How much fun is this?

Flickr is so much fun and inspirational. Like a tear sheet file only in a cleaner format.

I do hope you will visit all these people. via the links on Flickr
I am working on window display ideas and I can see many coming together through these images.

I also put together a quickie to-do list of things I need to get done in the next few days. I really shoud do this more often - then maybe overcommitting will come to a halt (don't hold your breath)

Heres the list - in no particular order

Baby Cass gift

Baby Danuser gift

Corey ATC

Mail Scavenger Hunt

Grunge Swap 2

Mail April/May CIP Package

Fabric Challenge for MaryAnn

Mounted ATC

CIP projects - It really sucks when the facilitator of the group is this far behind.

I am so sure there are others but this is the quick list. At least we have no ball tournaments this weekend. Only a middle school semi formal dance. So maybe I will get some things accomplished off this list this weekend.

Using what I have is becoming a way of life for me. What is really scary about this process - I obviously have plenty to work with. I haven't spent 200 dollars on craft stuff in the last year. I am amazed. I plan to continue this approach as I continue this year. The other part of my life is that I have been gifted with some wonderful materials in this time frame as well. As I have become a better steward of materials, I have been given the gift of increased creativity and materials have come at just the right time to accomplish a project. Maybe it's time to read The Secret and see what else I need to focus on.

Thank yous are due to some wonderful people - so look tomorrow to see what the mail has brought.

I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Two today

This is all Vallen's fault. She posted a list today and I am bold face copying her idea. What shall we call these. The Queen's Jewels within a day. Martha Stewart might call them good things. Anyway it's 3:00 in the afternoon in my world and all of these tickled my fancy today.

1 - That first cup of coffee

2 - The words "I Love You" coming from both my girls.

3 - Stuffed Frech toast from IHOP

4 - Taking the time to read and absorb Alexandra Stoddards book "Time Alive" - This has to be read in small doses, so I can absorb and apply her wisdom.

5 - Sandals and painted toenails

6 - The smell of the lemon verbena soaps I just bought for a gift. I left them open in the car for a treat later.

7 - A surprise visit from an old friend. She came to pick out stuff for her house without an appointment. She did not know I worked here. SO much fun.

8 - Dropping in on my best friend at his work and seeing the surprise on his face.

9 - Brenda Walton Scrapbook papers on sale at Tuesday Morning.

10 - Finding yet another inspiration from a blogging buddy.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Journey, Adventure, Experience - planning a map

Journey - any course or passage from one stage or experience to another.

Adventure - a happening, a daring undertaking, an unusual, stirring experience, to take a risk.

Experience - personal involvement in or observation of events as they occur, all that has happened in ones life to date, the effect on a person of events that have happened, the reaction of a person to those events.

Map - to arrange or plan in detail, to survey or explore for the purpose of making a visual representation.

There is no map for this journey called life. It is an adventure that must be experienced along the way. Only by following the heart and soul can we find our way through. Listen to what yours is saying and follow your true path. Then you can show others that yours is not the one right way, that the way is different for each and everyone.

I'm listening to my heart. It is time to make some inroads on the journey my heart is telling me to follow. MaggieGraceCreates is becoming a sharper focus in my life. While MaryAnn is becoming freer in her creativity by pulling back from selling her work, I am feeling the need to explore more of my creativity as an additional source of income. Maybe some shows, an etsy shop, not really sure. (Could it be that the reality of sending a child off to college is telling me that I need more income?)

Soul searching, planning, defining. How to market? What to market? That's where I am today. Not heavy, just focused. A really good place for me.

Photo above - a map fabric in my day job showroom. I painted a cheap frame with black spraypaint and framed this gorgeous green and gold fabric. But it sure did photograph beautifully in black and white.

Have a beautiful day.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

At least I waited until after breakfast

Oh my - thanks for all the nice things you said for my blogday. You all are some of the most wonderful folks around. (course - I already knowed that ya'll)

Miss MaryAnn, being the generous person she is, spoiled a surprise for me before breakfast the other day. (Not really - she was posting photos of my fabric challenge goodies)

But I am returning the favor. She sent me a small envelope full of brown fabric yo-yos with a note saying she could not find a use for them. I have chosen a pay it forward (and backwards) approach.

Behold - the outcome of bright yellow yarn and brown yoyo. Not complete yet but I think you get the idea. I plan to add green leaves and a button in the center. Then, because she sent just enough for the CIP members - these completed rays of sunshine will be off to them for there use in embellishing something. I can't wait to see what becomes of these.

So there - a use what I had - pay it forward - return a favor to a friend - work in progress. only 12 more to go.

What do you think of my original design????

Have a fab day -- Teresa

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy Blogday to me.

Well the blog birthday was yesterday. I have been at this for a year. I really am having a very hard time believing that. How did the blog start? How did I name it? Why do I keep blogging?

How did it start? - I found swap-bot and joined a few swaps. Some of the people I swapped with had blogs and I started reading. Then I decided to create my own. Those first few posts were so bad.

The Name - a memorial to a baby I miscarried. My real name for those who might wonder. Teresa Atkinson.

Why do I blog? It started as a connection to those swap partners. Then as I read and commented, I met more and more people all over the world. I get so much inspiration from this medium and I hope I have provided some inspiration to others. I love the visiting that occurs back and forth from my friends here, and I do consider all of you my friends. There have been times when I thought I might quit, then someone leaves a comment and I realize that, however small it might be, this small site might have a positive impact.

Where do I want to go in the next year? I want this to be a kind place, a place of positive messages, I want to meet even more people who are attracted to a handcrafted and upbeat lifestyle. I want to continue my journey towards being the best I can be, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I want to create more. I want to give more. I want to be fully aware of the smallest blessings in my life. I want to share a good message with those who need to hear it. I want to spend time with you my cyber friends and those I can see face to face.

Special thanks to a few who have been fast friends. There are so many, it is hard, I don't want anyone to be slighted here but there is a special bond that just happens sometimes.

MaryAnn you are amazing, generous, kind, and you give me so much inspiration. I have been challenged and encouraged by you through your blog and personal emails as well as notes and care packages. You da bestest. A daily check in with you happens every weekday. (Professor MaryAnn on my sidebar)

Vallen - the queen herself - a fairly new buddy who shares so much humour and inspiration on her blog. Vallen makes things - lots of things. Vallen loves her family. Vallen cooks - I could learn how if I chose to. Vallen makes us all feel like we are royalty too. (Queenly Things on the sidebar)

Shula - my Aussie pal - Crochet and dolls and wit and wisdom - her beautiful crocheted wedding coat caught my attention on Flickr and I have been to visit her blog over and over - each new post amazes me. (Poppalina on those daily reads)

Corey - an American who gave all to love and moved with that love to France. She makes me think with every post and the eye candy that she shares is forever inspiring. Of course, I would have given into that love too. Look at him. (Tongue in Cheek on the blogroll)

Emily - the black apple - a fellow Athenian. I was a fan long before she moved back here. And she is just as adorable in person as she comes across in the blog. Every new painting or doll is my favorite.

I chose five, but I have so many others that I read everyday. (like about 100 of you) I appreciate all of you and what you bring to my life.

Now the picture above. If a certain someone looks carefully, she will see that this is in response to a challenge I am participating in. Look carefully at the colors ladies - see if they speak to you.

Thank you all for visits here. Thank you for your comments. Thanks for prayers. Thanks for encouraging me. Thanks for everything. As I celebrate my blog birthday - I am really celebrating you.

Have a wonderful day - Teresa

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

There are no words......

Today - I have no words. Only prayers for the victims and their families after the Virginia Tech attacks yesterday. There is a darkness around America today. May God give us all peace and strength in the next few days.

Today is my 1 year blog anniversary. I am holding that off til tomorrow.

Today we silently remember.

Til tomorrow.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Whew - what a weekend

Saturday morning - up at 3:45am to leave by 5am. Drive to Atlanta Airport area. Play volleyball for most of the day. Have lunch at Red Lobster. Drive 1 more hour south to Griffin, GA. Watch one softball game. Get stormed out of another. Spend the night in Griffin. Sunday Morning drive back to the airport for another valloeyball game.

The results - the girls did not perform as well as we would have liked, but I did finish the Granny Square Afghan. I finished it just before we played on Sunday. It was my goal to finish it by the end of this tournament.

The girls were always asking what I was working on during the season. This huge bag of yarn followed us everywhere. And shown above - most of the monsters with the blanket. 42 eight row squares and then 14 more rows around the outside edge.

Working on this was a conversation starter. I was something to keep me calm during games. And something to fill the times between games. It is comfortable and relaxing for me to do this. Other parents read, I can't do that. I need quiet to read and absorb what I read. But this, I can pick up and put away. I can start and stop at any point during a game. And in many a drafty gym, it was nice to have the warmth across my lap.

I will be posting this over on CIP also, because an afghan was one of my big projects for the year.

I have be de-stashing for a year now and I thought I was making progress on the yarn stash with this. Then, last Wednesday night, the preacher's wife shows up with two copier paper boxes of yarn cleaned out from her grandmothers stuff. So I just refilled the stash pile with enough yarn to do another afghan. I may have to change my CIP list to accomodate this free increase in my materials.

I do love the bright and scrappy feel of this blanket. I spread it out on my kingsized bed yesterday evening and loved how it looks. I think it shows the colors and how they can all work together even though they don't match - an illustration of my post last week.

This week will be a week of work - in - progress shots, because I again have a ton of things going. I cannot wait to get school kind of out of the way so I can be working more diligently on the studio. Even the girls are excited about it. Although, poor Molly will be the designated driver for all kinds of drop off and pick up for she and Abby both for summer practices. Not much sleeping in for them this summer. The real world slowly is taking over in their lives.

I hope you all are having a great day. I am so glad MaggieGrace goodies have returned.

Friday, April 13, 2007

One last old photo (for now)

This is horribly grainy. The original is one of those old peel off polaroid photos. Me "helping" Dad with an automatic transmission. Wearing my favorite yellow dress at the time. (I rarely wear anything yellow now, the color in my opinion makes me look dead) My Mom made the dress. Yes that's a glass coke bottle in the top of the picture.
It's Friday the 13th and I want to celebrate memories that have surfaced as I looked through these old picture books. So, if you will please indulge me, here are 13 memories.
1. We had dogs as the time. Curb setters, sooners, heinz 57, whatever your family calls a mutt. My sister and I got to name them. Poor pups, their names were Holiday and School Book.
2. Omer was my Grandmother's friend. He always helped us roll pennies. I have no idea what happened to the pennies. And I have no idea why they never were more than friends - he was always there during the day and evening, and went home at night.
3. I stood in the seat next to daddy when he would drive.
4. James and WildaMae had a dog named Poncho, a Lassie style Collie. We would eat ice cream off the same spoon. A bite for me, a bite for Poncho.
5. I sat on a space heater and had 3rd degree burns on my butt.
6. When I had the chicken pox, mom wrapped my hands in sheets and taped them around my wrists so I wouldn't scratch. Mind you, I had blisters between my toes, up my nose, in my eyes, and many other publicly unmentionable places.
7. My daddy was impulsive. We would load in the car and drive to Miami to see my Aunt Jenny on Friday evening, "just for the weekend."
8. We raced, dirt track, beat and bang, red mud dust, drag car, burnt rubber. I still love the way it feels to get the jump on a redlight.
9. The smell of a mechanic. Grease and sweat. The way it smells when you walk into a shop to have your oil changed. My dad always had grease stains on his hands and grease under his nails.
10. A pair of pocket pliers and a pocket knife were more important to him than money. I wish I could find small pliers for me and my sis just like those he carried.
11. My cousin, Scott, had the cutest curls. One Sunday my Mom put his curls in a ponytail and my Aunt Diane had those curls cut off the next day. Scott's daughter, Cindy, has those same curls now.
12. Singing Delta Dawn using the hairbrush as a microphone. There will be NO REPEAT performance of this activity. Tanya Tucker was only a child when she performed this song at the gym in Royston, GA.
13. Seeing the Porter Wagner show at Shoal Creek near Lavonia, GA. Dolly Parten was so much larger than life even then. Sparkles and big blonde hair. I was too young to even notice the reason all the men were there.
13 memories. I have really enjoyed recalling all of this and more this week. I have retreated and reflected. I needed to do this in light of the loss we suffered earlier.
I challenge all of you to give 13 memories on the 13th and leave your blog information so I can learn more about you.
Have a wonderful weekend. We are off to the final volleyball tourney of the season.
I want to leave you with a link I found last night. This young lady makes jewelry and is selling some items for charity. Take a side trip to the UK and visit Kara at
See you Monday.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Another old photo

I promise to post some more current photos of me in the near future.

I was 4 in this picture. The flower girl in my Uncle Tommy's wedding. My Dad was the best man. My baby sister screamed "I want daddy" through the entire thing. The wedding was held at the small town PH church I grew up in. That's all I remember about that day. I still have the dress and the veil somewhere.

We did receive the bad news yesterday. My friend's son died from a drug overdose. Accidental - tragic - stupid. So today the feelings of shock have turned to anger. And because the small town papers print the police reports in full, this news travelled like lightning. I feel as though the entire universe is weighing me down. I am not eating like I should, I don't sleep very well. And I know that I am removed from this and what my friends must feel has to be multiples worse.

I have retreated into my protective self. That in and of itself is a little scary for me. When things get out of control the food issues return, because that is one thing I can control. I suffered anorexia as a teenager and because I am overweight now, people seem to think that those issues are gone. Part of the reason I am overweight, is that I have been scared to diet, because I know how I CAN control what I eat. Food issues are as serious as drug issues. I am however aware of these tendencies and I guard against them. Right now I am crocheting and working on a few other things. I am trying to be quiet and allow my soul to feel its way through this emotionally charged time.

Please continue your prayers for the family.

Now - I saw on another blog a Thursday 13 list and tomorrow is Friday the 13th. I am going to post 13 blessings from my day, just so I can have a bright note (maybe this one is lime green).

1. My best friend who has listened to me babble through so much crap. Who knows basically everything about me and chooses to love me anyway.
2. Molly - who convinces me that God knew what he was doing and that's why I had to wait so long for her.
3. Abby - who shows me everyday that God had a sense of humour and even though we were not supposed to have her, she was supposed to be the light of my life.
4. Mom - we had storms and we have had healing to do. I am so glad she is still here to share life with.
5. That man I live with - who has time and again allowed me to discover that I am strong enough for anything.
6. The sunshine.
7. The rain from yesterday.
8. Dove extra dark chocolates - I have steady reached for these today, just to read the affirmations in the wrappers.
9. The miracle of modern medicine - the migraines no longer send me to bed.
10. I survived a cancer diagnosis.
11. The quiet and stillness of the house when everyone else is asleep.
12. A coke and a candy bar
13. Knowing that I am a child of God and that I will never be truly alone.

There you go. 13 blessings. I tag any of you readers to come up with your own 13.

Have a wonderful day. Mine is going to get better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Photo of the ribbon aisle at the local craft/hobby shop.
For those who left comments yesterday. Thank you so much. Ellen, I have my comments sent to my email so any that you leave I get emailed to me within just a few minutes. I do love that feature of blogger.
I am still tired and feeling a little storm ravaged. My Abby suffered a minor fracture in her ankle playing ball last night. My friends who lost their son are in a really bad way as they go through this devastating time. A 23 year old should be just really starting his life not ending it.
I am tired and suffering one of those migraines that come on as a result of fatigue and stress.
But I feel a need to expand on yesterdays thoughts.
A friend of mine said the other day that my life sure has a lot of drama. Yes it does. When you allow people into your life and your heart, you open yourself for drama. You open yourself for pain. You open yourself for being taken advantage of. You open yourself for so many things. But you also open yourself for HAPPINESS AND JOY. The people who are close to me have brought color into my world. Sometimes rich vibrant color - they make me think - they challenge me. Sometimes soft and gentle color - they support or gently guide me in the direction I should go. Some have been white - purely honest and in contrast against others. Some have been dark - bringing their shadows into the picture.
A drama has all those things in it. A visual feast. Suspense and release. Triggering emotions and action. I have choices about who participates in the drama of my life. There are those that are continually gray - negative and bringing me down - they don't need to be there. There are those who have challenges - temporary black moments - I can choose to be a bright color for them -then we complement each other effectively. Then there are those who brighten each day by choosing to bring good into the world around them. I try to be one of those colors.
At my darkest moments, my art was dark too. My home was dark. Now as I have healed some old wounds and made some positive changes, I can see the colors around me more clearly. The darkness has forced me to appreciate the light. I can see that there were good outcomes from the dark times.
News like finding out a child has died seems unbearable. For a brief time the pain is immense. But in order to have joy in my life from all my friends, I must be willing to accept some amount of pain. So yes, there is drama in my life. Drama, pain, comfort, support, challenge, joy, happiness, love, and so much more in my life. I refuse to let the bad parts keep me from the good. I will continue to open my heart to others. I choose to remain fragile, I choose to be strong enough to remain open. The joy I get from those decisions far outweighs the pain.
Thanks so much to my newfound blogger friends. You continue to add bright color to my life. I'll be back with MaggieGrace goodies.
For the time being how about using a color to describe your impression of me. I love your comments - so leave one and let me see how you define colors and emotion.
Have a wonderful day.
PS. one of our family members had her brush with fame yesterday on the rachel ray show. take off on a side trip and watch the video here. Go Kath.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Photo from flickr.

That's me today.
Buffeted by the storms.
Death of a friends child.
Hurt about other things.
Trying to come to terms with so much.
Unable to cross anything off the list.
Changes occuring too rapidly
To allow for recovery time
Tears that refuse to fall
Anger simmering below the surface
Frustration at my loss for words
Unable to identify ways to help myself
Everything around me a dull roar
Old decisions that surface again
To haunt and taunt
Looking for a silver lining
Afraid I might find it
And also afraid I might not
Feeling like the demons could grow strong again
Was there something I could have done diffferently
Sudden death- unexpected
My dad - an accident
Gaping whole in my heart
Nathan -3 years old - an accident - drunk driver was his own mother
Gaping hole in my heart
Derrick - unexplained reasons for now
Brings all those old wounds to the surface
Its easier if someone is sick
To accept the death
At least you have something to tell the heart
Your heart may not listen
But you can send the message
I know my heart will heal
There will be scars
I cannot allow the scars to make me ugly
Cynical, uncaring
I will make those scars a part of the textures of me
I will trust and love and care
I will open again
I will still be as fragile as the rose
I will still be as strong as the thorn
I will choose not to injure with those thorns
I will choose to be beautiful - even after the storm.

Sorry guys - tough day. Be back tomorrow or Thursday with some MaggieGrace goodies.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sisters - memories and magic

This photo (winter 1969) was in the book I was snapping photos from at Mom's the other night. Tracey was 2 and I was 4. Standing in front of the fireplace at the Stars Bridge house. We moved several times when I was small. The funny thing about this picture is that the house I live in now is almost identical to that house. The day I looked at the house I live in now, I called my Mom and started asking questions. About where things were and what did the walls look like. The fireplace in my house now was pained this exact shade of russet and the walls in the dining room were dark grey blue with horizontal tongue and groove paneling. This amazed me that I remembered those kinds of details about the house I lived in when I was so young.

Now - the title was about sisters. Tracey and I at times hated each other. We fought. We made up -still do. She always felt like I set too high a standard academically. She felt like I made her dating life difficult. (at 14 my boyfirend was 23) Long story. As we have aged, we have become much closer. My Mom drives us crazy at times and she and I are the only ones who understand the wry humour it takes to deal with that situation. She has 2 boys, I have the 2 girls. We are similar and yet different. And I love her and her family.

Fast forward to Friday. These beautiful faces are the very center of my world. They are similar and yet different too. They are 3 years apart, so less competion between them. They fuss, they feud, they giggle, and share. I am such a proud Mom. They support each other. They help each other. They share - clothes. makeup, hair stuff, shoes, advice. They bring united petitions to me and Dad (how can we say no when they both plead). And I love them.

The magic here. I am a sister and I am my sister's friend. No matter what, whether we agree or not, Tracey and I love each other. Molly and Abby are building that same unending love for each other. We (they) may not always agree, but we (they) will always love.

The one place we all can say what we need to and still be loved. In the presence of our families.

The one place we can hide when the world gets too big to handle. In the presence of our families.

The one place we can celebrate all the joys of ours lives. In the presence of our families.

The one place that understands the inside jokes. In the presence of our families.

Thank you Tracey for becoming my friend. Thank you Molly and Abby for choosing to become friends. The love we share will be recognized for many generations to come.

Have a beautiful day.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Doodlebugs - become art

Here is the doodle sheet that I had on my desk from several days ago. I took it home and my girls "jumped" on it. Each of them added scribbles and filled in the blanks. Bold and colorful, it reminds me of the colors and pattern on Heather Bailey and Anna Maria Horner's blogs. It was a load of fun to get it this far.

So then we covered it up and shuffled it around and cut it into atc sized cards.

Check this out. Sorry its so dark and shadowed. I took this last night in the kitchen. Once I cut them, I spread them out and looked at them. Even I was amazed at how abstract and colorful these turned out. I studied them from every angle then dumped the "bling" out on the counter.

I added jewels, feathers, glitter, stickers. I allowed each one to determine its own embellishments. I do have favorites - the lower left one (do you see the bird?) - and the upper right one (blue glitter scrolls). All from the stash I already have.

I do hope these find happy homes. I had a great time embellishing these.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

childhood memories #1

Sorry this is so blurry. I was at Mom's last night and we got out the old photo albums. I had my camera so this is an edited photo of a digital image taken out of the album last night. I really need to swipe those albums and scan all these pictures.
This was taken late 1966. I was a little over a year old. At my grandmother's house. The house you see in the background is Peggy's house. She and her husband built that house and their family was the only occupants ever. We just sold my grandmothers house to its second owner since 1940 something.
That snow suit I have on is more than likely unneccessary. It was probably not cold enough ever for it, but I am the firstborn and we all know how mothers of firstborn children are. So I am over dressed because Mom was cold.
I still have the snowsuit. Both of my girls had it on for short periods of time, just to be able to say they wore it. I do have Molly's picture in it somewhere. It is a steel blue/grey with blue and black accents. Quilted satin lining and a heavy brass zipper. The tricycle survived many years and various paint jobs, but I have no idea where it is now.
Do you have anything from your childhood? I am very fortunate - my Mom is as big of a packrat as I am. I have lots of relics. And many, many memories. It's fun to try and decide just how much is real memory and where that line blurs because of the stories and pictures.
I have a few more of these to share this week - hope you will all indulge me in this. MaggieGrace is about all kinds of things for me and my family. I guess I could separate it into different blogs, but I think this is a truer reflection of who I am. I know many of you come here for the crafts and art, but my family and my friends come for the stories, so I am giving them some attention this week. Who knows, maybe somebody will learn something new about me.
For some serious eye candy and inspiration try these
Alice Lands
From the craftroom
Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

See - I have been busy - WIP

A really quick photo of what has been my sports companion for weeks (months). The scrap granny afghan.
As I have been going through the beginning phases of organizing my stuff for the big move into the MaggieGrace studio, which hopefully will be ready by midsummer, I found an ungodly amount of scrap acrylic worsted weight yarn. Some I had saved were as small as a golf ball, there were multiple skeins of some of it. I estimated that there were enough of it to make a small afghan in a scrappy style. So I packed it all in a 10 gallon ziplock bag and started on these fun 8 row granny squares. Originally I was going to do 64 squares, but turns out I felt complete with 42. I am crocheting these together now and then will finish with a few rows around the outer edges.
I finished the last square on Saturday at Abby's tournament. As I finished, I asked the siblings if they wanted to arrange them. I had a flannel backed vinyl tablecloth with me and I spread it out and dumped the squares on it. Noel Dobbs jumped on arranging. She spread them into a 6x7 row blanket and then we all stood around (total strangers included) and made a few adjustments to the arrangement. Rolled it all up into a tube and then unrolled and made rows. I am super-thrilled with this. Originally I was going to keep it, but now I have decided I am happy enough with it to use it for a blanket (gift) that was on my Christmas in Progress list.
The coolest part - I USED WHAT I HAD. This has almost become a lifestyle thing for me. I will buy things as I need them, but I do find it challenging to complete things using my stash. And my checkbook feels the difference too.
I will finish it this weekend at the 3-day tournament. Then I have several projects waiting for my attention after that. 2 small baby blankets and MaryAnn's fabric challenge project. I also have a fun ATC project for Vallens Swap over at the QueenlyThings blog. I had signed up that I would try to do the fat quarter challenge over at the Sky is Pink blog. I am sorry that is not going to happen.
The new postings are there at CIP for March updates, cruise over and look at those. Man I am in great company with those creative ladies.
I hope this finds you all having a wonderful day.

Monday, April 02, 2007

my own little world

Welcome to the view from the world in my head. On Saturday, we were sitting at the ballfield and I was crocheting. I finished the last of the squares for my granny afghan. The youth minister from the church was there to watch the girls play and was talking to me.

I have no idea how long he talked, but at some point the conversation finally caught my attention. I had no idea what he had said and I confessed that fact to him. I apologized and said "I was in my own little world." His response - "I think that could be scary." See I am known to be blunt about my thoughts. I can be loud and rowdy and outspoken. Teenagers don't bother me, I see them as the greatest challenge. I don't mind being onstage or in front of a crowd. I can laugh at myself and allow others to laugh at me with no problem. I can prank with the best of them. So in an instant, I assessed that - Yes - my own little world could be interpreted as scary.

But it isn't. So I have been journaling thoughts about my world this weekend and I thought I would share the reality of that dream world.

1. It's quiet. The sounds I want to hear. Birds singing, a waterfall or waves lapping on the shoreline, the squirrels rustling the leaves. No radio, tv. This was a very surprising revelation for me to give the youth minister.

2. A small cabin perched in a thicket of trees. I don't need a lot of space, just a lot of comfort.

3. I awaken on my own and pass the day in complete sync with what my body tells me to do. I rest when I need to, work when I need to, eat when I am hungry, and center all of it with an afternoon stroll and some creative work.

4. Coffee in the mornings, sweet tea the rest of the day.

5. Fireplace (gas logs)

6. Sharing all this with loved ones.

7. A big ol' bathtub, a table small enough for one but large enough for many. Quilts, candles.

8. Furniture you can move easily for a nap in front of the fire or an improptu waltz across the floor.

My little world is full of grace and passion. It centers around taking care of myself and those I love. My little world very much resembles those days of history, when early settlers were far apart, self reliant, capable, hard working, used what they had available, they were adventurous, and determined, and they created the history of this nation. I think the biggest attraction for me is the simplicity of the idea of that lifestyle.

Maybe I really need to go and read Walden again. Or the Little House books. Even the Tahsa Tudor books. I do know that I could not function in that world - current day demands really make it unavailable. But I do enjoy the escape in my mind regularly and MaggieGrace world will capture some of the things I am so attracted to.

I escape there often just to rest and relax my mind. So where do you go when you visit "your own little world"?