Friday, June 29, 2007

I NEED one of these

Some sort of fairy - one with a magic wand - that she can wave and either adjust my life or my attitude. I am not sure which would be more difficult.

Other people are on my nerves in a huge way.

1. Pay your bills first. Before a new car - remodeling your house - buying a new ring for your honey. Going hunting, fishing, boating, whatever. You are a business person - you owe me less than 500.00 - You have owed me this money for more than 4 months and in that time I know you have done all of the above. (this conversation today between me, my boss and a customer)

2. I have not been home this week

monday left at 7:30 am - home at 10pm

tuesday ditto

wednesday ditto

thursday ditto leaving time - home at 11:30pm

tonite ditto

Said other person in house with income - "there's nothing to eat for breakfast - you need to go to the grocery store" Said I - "didn't you go by the grocery store on your way to eat out for dinner? Did you even think about stopping?"

3. While I am church tonite - enjoy drinking and dancing. Don't drink too much - we must get up early for the ball tourney tomorrow. You will more than likely play hooky from church on Sunday, but I have the nursery.

4. Where were you when I was scrubbing the walls and floor of the consession stand AFTER I cleaned up at church last night? Oh yeah - sitting on the sofa with clicker in hand.

5. There are still no groceries in the house.

6. Directions from one teen to another that go like this - turn right out of the chiropractors office and drive until you see the varsity (better call mom when this doesn't happen in 30+ miles.) Response from Dad upon being told this story. Yeah - okay. (he didn't even catch that she should have turned left and he drives in this town every day - hence the need to call Mom)

7. Said I to person in charge " You have to be aware of what ALL the children are doing - you started with 15 still in the parking lot AND they left their trash scattered all over the area." Said person in charge "You probably should say something to them." Said I "you are paid to do this - not me." And still I address this with those youth.

8. Said I " absolutely not. small children cannot sit in the chairs to eat. that is a disaster waiting to happen. leave the tables up for dinner and then we will set up for the assembly. won't take but a few minutes. " 45 minutes later person in charge is still trying to decide what to do. Said I " what is the problem - I thought this decison was made."

9. why do people - when proven wrong ALWAYS respond like this "yeah you're right" instead of "I was wrong". Is there some arrogance in you that still makes all this MY issue. (another conversation with a customer who has screwed up an installation and argued that I don't have a clue what I am talking about)

This can go on and on - tired, cranky, pms (obviously) headache to come. Said other person with income at my house "what IS your problem?" Said I "damn, I ain't made a single person happy in days but nobody has tried to make me happy either"

Tomorrow is going to be hot - humid - real chance for thunderstorms. I am going to find my spot, set up my chair, drink lots of water. finish a crown. embroider for a while. cheer for a child. and dare anyone to piss me off. Don't pretend I didn't warn you.

Have a great weekend.

edit - 2:20 pm - if you have read this far, then by all means take a very pleasant side trip. Miss SHULA has something to say today that is much easier reading. Follow this path.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Another Corner

My mother has pointed out that there is no way I will ever get all of my stuff into the barn. She is sure there is not room. Some of the things will be staying in the house. This completely useless machine is one of those. I just think it is pretty and I am in search of a singer base for it. I often find bases that have been converted into tables, but they just want to much for them. I would love to find one that has the original top and drawers and is missing the machine and needs work. Maybe that would be affordable. For now it is in the corner of the dining room - hidden from most everyone's view but mine when I am working in there. If you go back to this post you will see a different view of this room.

The doorknob bouquet is made from doorknobs we removed from our house. We took down several walls and closed in some outside doors in the renovation process and these are the knobs from those doors. All of the other original doors have hardware very similar to these. The brown bronze one on the left is my favorite - it has a date scratched into it in a very childish fashion - I wonder about the significance of that date.

This is "the brown craft cabinet" that will become clothing storage in my bedroom soon. It came from Mama Norvan's house and is a true primitive piece. She kept linens in it. The cluster on the top is beads and buttons and bits and bobs. I love the stacking bottles in the back right corner up there. They are lab bottles that I found somewhere. I have more of these and will have a shelf in the studio the perfect depth for these. They are generously sized and once filled, they lay on the side and stack. There is also an area for labeling, which I won't use. I also have some clear plastic lab trays as well. The cheese box came from an old store in my hometown.

The green bench on the left has its own feature publication in the future. This is a great story and I want it to be a stand alone post.

And now .....

Take cover ......

Prepare to run if an avalanche starts.......

I'll open the doors and let you into the dirty little secret of this cabinet.......

Here we go...

Holy crap what is in there. I really don't have a clue. It has been years since I saw some of this stuff. But there will be purging and giving away and selling in the near future. Get ready blogger buddies. I have been really weak in the past about buying things and I am going to bless you guys with some of the results. Remember - this is only one cabinet of several that are packed just like this.

The plus - I completed VBS crafts with 10.00 worth of supply purchases. I had to have 10 bags of cotton balls. The church bought the balloons and the windchimes and I had all the other supplies I needed except for cotton balls. I do hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of an area behind closed doors at my house.

Have a wonderful day. I challenge you to let us peek into your secrets too.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Corners and crafts

Guess we are starting with crafts. I still cannot figure how blogger decides what picture goes where. This is what remains after 40+ kids and adult descend on the Family Life Center hallway. We do all of the crafts in this area because we can close the doors and we are close to the stainless steel cleanup sinks and the bathrooms. Both a requirement for having all these kids in one area.
I took hand pictures because we did not get an internet posting waiver of the kids. Last night we started the windchimes. Tedious at best - the young man who is our youth minister does not have children and really can't comprehend how difficult some of this can be for young kids. We are very fortunate to have quite a few adults who are willing "helpers" - more like flunkies for the demands of a toddler saying "paint the star blue."
These paper balloons are turning out really cute. Even with the children not having any idea about following direction at all. Believe it or not this pink and blue beauty belongs to a young man. When questioned about it - he said it would hang in his Mom's room so it needed to be her favorite colors.

Last night was the first time in 15 years that I have had to call a parent to come and see about a child. One of the tiny ones "melted down" and we called Mom who sent Nana. Once our little one was assured that someone was coming, she just wanted me to hold her. In her words "i needs to be close to ju(you)". Once Nana arrived she was fine and Nana got to paint too.

We also had a busted lip last night. This little girl just ran right into a chair and bit her lip. She had brown and pink paint on her hands. The result. She looked like it was a terrible injury because she immediately started rubbing blood and paint all over her face and my white shirt. But after ice cream and a wet paper towel clean up she was fine. Later she hit her head on someones purse and said "Can I have ice cream again?" Seems every crisis shows up at the crafts doorway. I don't panic and just take care of things in an orderly manner. I love kids and am not afraid to make myself look silly to calm one down in a situation.

We created a drying rack from the rolling table carts and put it just outside to dry these crafts. All of these remind me of the balloon launch at Freedom Weekend Aloft in Greenville South Carolina on the 4th of July.

I am already exhausted but we will be at this through Friday night. I remember all of the people who helped with VBS when I was a child. I am fortunate to have had great role models in my life and I hope that one of these kids will remember these people who helped them too.

Now for the corner - not really a corner but the wall in our dining room. Over the piano I am trying to give away. This is also a repurposed shelf. It was designed by a cabinet company we used to represent as an over the toilet cabinet. The little door at the bottom opens to a cavity exactly the same size as six rolls of tp. When we dropped the line, I took this home and added it to the dining room. I keep candles and candle holders in the little door.

The three yelloware bowls are from Charles' Grandparents stuff and they are well used. The little creamers without handles are a passion for me. Heavy white ironstone from resurants and prisons and hotels. A couple are from my Mom and the others I have found at various antique stores, thrift stores, and yard sales. They are becoming more difficult to find. The green pitcher (center top) is Fiesta and was Charles' Grandma Simpson's. I do put flowers in the green one occasionally but I don't use it often. The little floral one is damaged but is was Mama Norvan's and I love having it.

My home is a reflection of all of us. There are new things and old things and kid things and adult things and LOTS of craft things. Not a showhouse by any description, but a house filled with "us". You can come in and sit anywhere. Prop your feet up. If something gets damaged, it's okay. I just want you to feel welcome and comfortable. Please - if you are in the Athens area - drop by for a margarita or glass of sweet tea.

I hope you all are having a wonderful day. I am.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Does this count against me????

I took two bags/boxes off stuff to the thrift store and the girl at the register yelled "Mrs. Atkinson - wait."
I wasn't thrifting - I was donating - but she hands me this box and said this is for you. I explained that I am on a use what I have - no money spending - moratorium. She then explained that this was left for me by a lady who reads MaggieGrace here in town and that she wanted me to have this box. Seam bindings and trims - etc.
Seems the nice girl who works the register was talking to this lady, mentioned that I am the one who tries to beat her to the really good craft stuff all the time, and then told the lady about my website. This lady bought a box full of trims and stuff. She only wanted to have two or three of the things in the box. She took out the things she wanted and left the rest for me. Now this is not like junk left over either. Its the kind of stuff I would buy.
So does it count against me in the use what I have challenge??? (I sure hope not) Should I count it as a Pay it Forward thing and do something for someone else?? (yes I will) Who is this anonymous lady who gifted me???
Thank you - thank you - thank you. And yes ma'am I will pass on the generosity in some way.

Warning - blatant child bragging follows

This is what we do. Play ball and play more ball. These are images from the tournament in Griffin from several weeks ago. Another parent emailed them to me this morning. Abby at center field. We have always refered to Molly as our tall skinny child, but Abbs is quickly catching up. A summer of workouts for multiple sports, weight lifting, tournaments has her looking incredibly toned and tanned.

I looked at her the other morning in a tank top and pj shorts and realized that I am no longer the mother of children - she has become a very pretty young lady. And I am old. Just how did all this happen? She starts high school this year.

She will be meeting on some Tuesday mornings with the book club for her fall class at school. She is also in the top percentage of her class and they have an advanced english assignment for the summer. My child - a book club meeting - such an adult sounding activity - and something I am having a hard time with this idea. 4 years and the baby girl will be going off to college.

Abby at the plate. She is a utility player. Can pretty well play anywhere on the field - except at pitcher. She is a smart player too - one of those who watches games on tv and analyzes plays to see what the appropriate action is.

Funny - all athlete - but proclaims orange as her power color and wants those toenails painted orange. Makeup off the field. Hair pulled up when needed and long and loose and stunning when dressed for non athletic activity. Not afraid of sweating, will belch and fart with the best of them, but puts that pretty sweet personality on just as easily. A chameleon of sorts. She is funny and sensitive and tough as nails but not hard. Reality - I often look at her and see a mirror image of me. Pride and fear run in my veins at that moment. I hope the hard-headed difficult parts of my personality are not as evident in her.

There is crafting going on this week - just of the group kind. 48 kids for Vacation Bible School and they are painting and gluing and having a blast. Did any of you go to VBS as a child? Do you have favorite memories of that time? Was there a favorite craft that you completed? Do you remember any traditional activities or crafts from you childhood?

I will be posting some pictures from VBS later in the week. Have a great day.

Monday, June 25, 2007

mosaic monday 6-25-2007

Good morning all. My mosaic from pictures on Flickr last week. I can spot an emotional attraction to everyone of them.

The first picture is stunning to me in one of those surreal ways. It looks like such a lonely and desolate location, and yet is one I think I would be attracted to. Uncomplicated, simple, no-frills - the kind of ideal that would lead to appreciation of every breath and every accomplishment. Is that what we are all seeking?

I am feeling hurried today. I have a ton to accomplish at work, Vacation Bible School is every night this week. We go from that to a ball tournament on Saturday. I feel pulled in so many directions. There are lists everywhere. Maybe that is why this and the second picture are so appealing. A coworkers husband passed away over the weekend. 38 years old - sudden cardiac arrest - leaving a bewildered wife and children.

This building site, providing shelter for the few birds who fly in it's upper window openings. The foam from the surf remaining on the sand. Knowing that the wave has but one job - to pound onto the shore. Would I become bored? Would I long for something else? What do I need?

I took some time on Saturday morning and talked to a friend. We sat and talked and laughed and relaxed. Something we haven't done in a while and something we both needed to do. We both have incredible demands put on us - work and personal - so it was a great break. Then some time with my Mom - she needs my attention too. In such a way that I feel the pressure to give it. She is struggling so bad. I think I might need to wiggle my toes in the sand and drink those little drinks with umbrellas in them. Away from the demands of my life.

I could pretend to be a mermaid and wear that mermaid crown. This is one from the Crown and tiara swap I am participating in. I cannot wait to see what my partner is sending me. She has not posted a sneak peek yet.

The last picture is just cute. I would love to snuggle up under a quilt and rest. Why not one that looks as cute as all this? It is a baby quilt, but I think it could be enlarged as a porch swing quilt. I'll be hanging onto this image for a while.

I will leave you with a quote that I saw in a medication ad this weekend. A new medication for breast cancer survivors. The ad features a middle aged woman siting on a shoreline. The ad line.

"Doctors removed my lump not my SPIRIT."

I love this tagline. I clipped it and added it to my inspiration notebook. I chose to live my life after diagnosis with this attitude and to try and help others find this in their life with or without cancer. We also had a speaker yesterday at church who was just as inspirational. John Ediger - paralyzed as a teenager in a football game - spoke to us about how today is as bad as it gets - each day we are closer to eternity.

Yes this week will be a challenge, from many angles, but this too shall pass and every new moment is just that - NEW - and that means a new opportunity to have a positive impact on someone.

Have a blessed and wonderful day.

mosaic monday 6-25-2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ninny Ninny Boo Boo

I got mine yesterday. Barnes and Noble ordered them for me and I picked them up. Me and a cup of peach iced tea drooled over all the stunning pictures. Now a confession - I bought the Mary Janes book because I love the linen and crochet scarf/wrap on the cover. That pattern is not in the book at all, so I was a tiny bit dissappointed. But if you are a MaryJane's Farm fan, then you will enjoy this book in its entirety. Pictures and stories throughout. With a great needle tatting primer -may have to try.

The Bend the Rules Book is directed at beginners, but I have been an AngryChicken fan since I first discovered blogs and therefore had to have it. I will be making some of these projects as well. I only looked through it, but Amy has a definite easy writing and instructing style that will make this a useful book as well. Nice eye candy too.

Having both books in my hand has energized and inspired again. (See fear in the OCD people at my house) Amy makes a confession of her storage tactics in the book with this quote...

"My house is filled with fabric. I wish I could tell you it is all folded neatly and color coordinated on shelves. Maybe someday it will be, but for now, when I need that special fabric, I dump out a bag (a huge garbage bag) and sit in the middle of the pile on the floor and look through it. I am literally sitting in huge piles of fabric several times a day. This horrifies my more organized sewing buddies. It's a sickness, I tell you, but a good one."

This my friend is a lady I could easily spend time with. Cause my stuff is stored in a very similar fashion.

I also have another funny story to share. Our house is old and we moved in with it needing a LOT of work. We have been working on it for many many years. We moved in on the 4th of July almost 15 years ago. Molly has an August birthday. So we hosted her birthday party at the house on the Saturday closest to her birthday. Early that morning Charles decided that we needed a new kitchen sink. I work in plumbing so this should be a no brainer. I run to the store and grab a sink and faucet, basket strainers, and various plumbing things that go under the sink. Home by around 8AM and the party is late that afternoon, so everything is okay. WEEELLLLL - not quite. He takes the old sink out and we discover at that moment that is was the sink itself that was holding the ENTIRE kitchen together. The countertops are rotted, the base of the cabinet is rotted - there is no turning back and 21 people are now on their way to my house for food and drinks. AND I HAVE NO KITCHEN - this was screamed in that slightly hysterical out of control what were you thinking tone of voice that every wife has used at sometime. The day ended with all those people laughing about it and me washing dishes on my hands and knees in the bathtub. Go figure.

Oh well - those are the stories that make up the glorious patchwork of life. The stories before that one and the ones since are all a part of who we are. As individuals and as a family.

I think my first project from these new books will be to dump out a box of fabric and just see what will work for the Sweet Wee Jacket in Amy's book. We'll see. I have so many other things going that I may have to do something different. I know I have a crown to complete tonite and then some other things to work on.

What are your weekend plans???

Have a great one.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A peek into my world

No the hot air balloon does not always live there. I also did not realize just how bad this picture was. But it is incredibly telling of the day I had yesterday. Really crappy.
The balloon is a VBS craft sample for next week. Hanging from the light fixture to dry. We have a young Youth Minister, he purchased these through the website for the VBS literature. I struggled with this project and can tell you what disaster this one is going to be with a roomful of 3 year olds and up. Ditto the cute little wind chime. Who are these people who design kids crafts anyway? I am the crafts leader for VBS and last night I was timing and scheduling the week. Making lists and laying out supplies. I will set up the craft room on Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening. I will have my two favorite helpers from years past.
The paper balloon comes packed flat and you stretch it out just like those chinese lanterns. Stretch it too far and the paper tears. Not far enough and the thing wants to collapse. To paint it I stuck my hand into it and held it open. Thats tricky too, once you put paint on the paper it becomes fragile and I can already see fingers coming through. I may try to stuff them with some wadded up newpapers to hold them open. Ditto the windchimes - they are going to be a tangled mess before they get finished. Oh well.
Yesterday - the 16year old decided to try and see just where the line was. She has been toeing it fairly regularly. So last night we had a "come to Jesus" meeting and clearly defined expectations. This after a tough morning - last minute find a ride for Abby because it wasn't convenient for someone else - even though he said it would be no problem the evening before. Add in an MIA teenager who refused to answer her phone. A Dad who doesn't find out things like who you are going with - where you might be going - and how long you will be. Teenagers friend trying to petition for her at church and making things worse. Her wanting to halfway listen from across the room and me demanding that she pull up a chair and look at me while I am talking to her. Other early teen daughter told her friend that she was just taking notes because she is learning how to stay out of trouble. Punishment - no cell phone except to parents until Sunday. No - MySpace (or other internet activity until Sunday). No eat out after practice tonite. No date night on Friday or Saturday. Her life can resume normal on Sunday evening. She has also been warned that she will not sulk in her room, she will interact with the entire family in a respectful manner through out this process. I am at the top of her SH(*&list right now.
I say no to very little with her. And I tried to explain that her day would have been the same had she just called and let me know that her plans for the day were changing. She has a cell phone and she is to use it to communicate her whereabouts to me or her Dad. I have now offeredto make a sign for the dash of her car. The sign will say "IS THIS SOMETHING I SHOULD LET ME MOMMY KNOW????" I have also informed her that even if I am not there when she leaves, she and her Dad may have to fill out a questionaire of who,what, where, when, how. That I have to say was one of my better moments - I caused Abby to leave the room giggling. All told - I earned my latest teenage parenting stripe. And gave my Mom the opportunity to say "I told you so." Which she enjoyed tremendously.
If you study the picture (Again sorry about the quality) YOu will see the dining room - current work space. The cabinet on the left is full. The papaer storage spaces are full as is the cabinet they sit on. The armoir is full. The china cabinet needs to be where the cedar armoir is.
The cabinet on the left will stay in the house. Going to my bedroom for tshirts and socks etc. The small drawer cabinet and the paper rack will go to the studio. The armoir will be emptied into the studio and go in the hall for coats. I can hardly wait for all of this to come together.
I hope you all have a wonderful day. Hope mine is better than yesterday too.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I got nothing for today

Well - nothing to show you from MaggieGrace anyway. I am working on the crown and the embroidery and the studio, but no new pictures.

However I cannot post without photos. These are all from the Southern Living website.

I'll explain as I go. I sell plumbing. Lera over at the THESKYISPINK has been the recipient of that plumbing expertise. On her blog the other day, she showed the broken tank from her house. She was a little freaked at having to replace the entire thing, but found out she did not. I am so glad I could help her.

Another side benefit to this job. I am exposed to some of the top interior design information around. I get to attend the largest show in the US for the kitchen and bath industry. I have met many of the designers in the business. Some names you will recognize. Christopher Lowell, Chris Madden, Kitty Bartholomew, Michael Graves.

The bedroom pictured above is from the 2004 Southern Living idea house in Athens, GA. I was part of the vendor team on this home and worked closely with the builder Charlotte Johnson. The home is beautiful and so many of the design and decor ideas are attainable for anyone. In the bedroom above, those stripes on the wall are simple grograin ribbon tacked up with decorative thumbtacks. She also used some postit double stick tape to keep it from gapping. Easy to do and simply elegant in its appeal.

Think how quickly you could customize your own tacks for this project.

I had forgotten about this room, in the same house, until this morning when I was looking through this house. This home had a mudroom/craftroom in the design. A trend I am noticing in more and more plans. Handcrafting items is more important. Gift presentation is as well and designers are devoting spaces for those creative endeavors.

A pegboard rack is one thing I am definitely going to have in the studio. Versatile by nature of the material, my plan includes two additions. I will paint mine with the magnetic paint materials and then with chalkboard paint as well. I saw a wall done with the magnetic stuff and then they used heavy duty magnets to hold trays against it. No holes in the trays. Decorative, and since I use metal trays as project "bins", very versatile for me.

This bathroom is off the bedroom shown above. The ribbons are more of the same as the wall stripes, but the detail I like the most is the mirror. This was an old silverplate tray. When the designer showed up with this, we laughed. The bottom of this was in horrible shape. She had the mirror cut to fit and used mirror mastic to mount it in the tray. It is hung from a heavy duty plate hanger. When I saw the finished item - I was amazed - true thinking outside the box.

This last one is my favorite. This was just a design idea and I have used one similar in a previous showroom. I used tissue paper and wallpaper paste for mine. This is wine labels. (Did you know that some wineries will sell you a pack of their labels. Saves that soaking them off step) Now here is my thinking outside the box approach to this.

In my new store, I did not want anything truly permanent glued to the walls. I am also the Christmas Program Director at my church and we have to change sets. We get these huge boxes with whirlpools and tubs in them. So, create this collage look on one of those huge, squared off pieces of cardboard and mount to the wall/ceiling with the Command adhesives that are removable. Inexpensive. ( for those who need to "find" boxes - most appliance stores will allow you to take theirs) If you need something a little more permanent or stable, use luan or thin plywood. I used thin plywood covered with anaglypta wall paper around the built in tubs in the showroom. Painted a dark red and screwed to the wall with drywall srews. All can came apart in about an hour and I can change out a tub easily. Think how this would work in a rental or dorm space.

What is my point in all of this? Look for inspiration. Looks for ways to duplicate the look to fit your needs. Take information and filter it. The blogging community is generous with their time, inspiration, and information. Almost everyone will share this kind of thing willingly. I appreciate every one of the blogging friends I have met here. I appreciate those people who have inspired me and encouraged me in real life.

So today - look for something - an idea you can adapt to your world. Something - an inspired quote that makes you really think. Something - a way to surprise a loved one. Take your clues from those around you and then use them in your way.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fit for a princess

Nerissa - if you don't want a sneak peek at your crown, then avoid this post. I have all of the graphics because this fits all of these profiles.

I am using what I have, almost as a habit now. It really has been fun to challenge myself in this way and to use things I had bought for some reason in the past. Because I stash stuff (literally) by sticking it here and there, I have been surprised to find some cool things too. As I move to the studio and start the serious organizing, I'm sure there will be many more surprises. Probably a few " what was I thinking" moments too.

I am participating in this crown/tiara swap. I posted the other day about the crochet crown idea. I made the base and stiffened it. The best part - I sprinkled it with glitter while the glue base was still wet. Last night, I dug through the tulle circles (on the target list of supplies) and found ten pink ones and ten blue ones. I made a casing and gathered them onto wire pipe cleaners. I hand stitched these into the center of the stiffened crown and it became this soft and frothy effect in the center.

Molly's friends thought it was really pretty. I was covered head to toe in glitter residue. After I attached the tulle, I started stringing beads. These beads have been around for years - really pretty, soft feminine colors. I am loving how this is coming out. I got about 1/2 around the crown before I gave up last night. Take a look below. It is sitting on a plate that happened to be what I chose to use to catch glue splatters and that will be the work vessel for this project. Molly will be vacuuming the floor today to get up some of that glitter.

I will add to this probably right up to the mailing time on Saturday. I sure am having fun with this one. Sure hope Nerissa likes it.

I hope all of you have a wonderful day.

Photo is clickable.

Monday, June 18, 2007

checking it twice

If you are a regular reader and remember this post, I am not only using what I have, I have identified some things I need to concentrate on using.
Jump over to CIP and look how I used up some scrapbook papers. For the little gift enclosure cards. There will be some more of these. I am thinking I might sell some here. Email me directly if you are interested.
I also used some of that upholstry yarn on the zebra above. He is a fuzzy two ply white yarn. My fingers have been stuck. They are sore from pulling this through the fabric. reminder to Teresa - if you are going to use a thick yarn for embroidery, be sure you have a tapestry eye needle.
There was no painting done - turns out Abby had basketball games Friday evening AND all day Saturday. So I sat on the bleachers and worked on the zebra. I would struggle to thread a regular needle with this yarn then get excited watching the game and pull the darn thread out of that same needle. So much language was muttered under my breath.
There was a special story though. One of the mom's of a teammate of Abby's is a foster parent for a precious little girl. Her name was Neveah - heaven spelled backwards - and she sat with me most of the day. She's about 5 and very talkative. She would snuggle behind my left arm and lay her chin on my upper arm and watch me work. The conversation was gentle and comfortable and I was able to tell her the Noah's Ark story and the Christmas Story because of this quilt. She is in church now with her foster family, but never been exposed at all before this. (I thought that was a little strange considering her name.) But she is so excited knowing that she will see more of me through this year. I am excited about seeing her too. I have a few more things I want to share with her. It was special to me to have that small child snuggled up with me. My girls used to to that (still do occasionally) and I missed it without even knowing.
On Sunday - I taught Sunday School and then we went to see Charles Dad. Happy Fathers Day and Happy 52nd Anniversary to the two of them. The two of them are beautiful people and they worked hard to raise a family of 4 and are now enjoying the event of being retired together. Wonderful, special, encouraging, loving - there are so many more words to describe them. Love you both.
I also got the crown stiffend and it's drying. I sprinkled it with glitter on the stiffener so for the rest of this week I will be covered with glitter as I add the final flourishes to this. It is really cute and I will get to use some more things off that target list. I also package up the CIP elf mail packages and they will go to the po tomorrow.
Have a wonderful day.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A slow Friday Post and and Invitation

I received a call last night from my MIL. Her brother Ralph Simpson has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My BIL Max - blog in sidebar - has been undergoing treatment for some time now - CLL. We now know that his bone marrow transplant did not work. Please pray.

Seems bad news comes in clusters doesn't it.

In MaggieGrace world, I was up late after all that bad news. I finshed up all of my gift enclosure cards for the CIP group. Cruise over there for photos of the cards and a preview discussion idea for a 2008 calendar.

This weekend brings a relationship item I despise. I would rather confront a mad prize fighter in a dark alley than deal with this. I am not good at it. I dread it. I will make excuses in order to avoid dealing with it. But this must be attacked. Handled. Then I can move onto the next phase.

I will be dealing - not that man at my address ......... no not a teenager .........

A paint brush. I have set a goal to finish painting the INSIDE of the big cabinet in the studio. Mon Dieu - I hate to paint. Crafty painting is one thing, that's entirely different. I hate walls, floors, windows, ceilings - you know all those kinds of paint. But this must be done in order to see Mr Black Snake should he decide to return.

Anyway - come on over to CIP and see what I was up to last night.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

As promised .......

I spent some time with my Mom last night. She wanted me to stay "just a few more minutes" several times. I can tell she is struggling with fear and depression. The medication she takes makes all food taste like cardboard so she really doen't want to eat. If she has even a tension headache, she gets convinced that she is having another stroke and since she lives by herself, she is convinced that she may lay there in the house sick or dead and nobody know. A tough night for both of us.

It was a good visit, don't misinterpret that first paragraph. We talked and laughed and since she was craving company, covered a lot of things.

She has been graphing quilt designs based on triangles and squares. Really pretty layouts. I snatched the one she just finished piecing and draped it over the love seat for these pictures.

Six pointed stars in various reds, pinks and burgundies. All exactly the same shape and size triangles. She squared off the edge after it was pieced and then added her side sashing.

This picture is my favorite fabric in the entire quilt. She has some left and I can have some of it for a scrap quilt in the future. The brownish background with all this pink goodness. She did remind me that I am supposed to quilt this for her. So this will be a winter project for me after the first of the year.

Since she knows I am on a stash diet for the summer, she has chosen to give me things. I needed the batting for the cowboy quilt and she has a huge roll of it. She gave me enough for the quilt and for the lining of the water bottle carrier. Should I feel guilty - not really - there is more of this batting there than she will ever use and we exchange this kind of thing all the time. She also bought me a quilt hoop at a yard sale. I use a small one for portable quilting, but this is a big oval one and will come in very handy when I work on bigger quilts. Her total expenditure - one whopping dollar.

I will say after my visit, I didn't sleep very well. Tossed and turned. Rolled and tumbled. Dreams. Nightmares. We did discuss the story behind MaggieGrace. So over and over I dreamed about losing a baby. Not a miscarriage, just losing a tiny little baby and running around freaked out and trying to find her. A troubled night. Dreams are so telling. So today I am tired.

Please lift a prayer for her as she fights through all of this. She is a fighter. We were warned about these effects of having a stroke, so it is not unexpected. It is still trying and emotional, for all of us.

It is still a good day. Hope you are having one too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More random ramblings ...

Two cards from my vintage card collection. I pick these up here and there. I don't think I have ever paid more than a few cents for any one of them. I will say that they are getting more and more difficult to find.

I love these. It's like they are truly special, unlike the overwhelming array in the stores today. They are soft and pretty and when I open the box there is a faint smell of a long forgotten perfume as if the owner had sprayed the box. The graphics fit perfectly in the era of printed hankies (got some of those too). I really would love to see some of these reprinted for today.

The doggies went home last night. They were excited to see their mom and dad, but despite the problems with pooping behind the heater, we are missing them. We also know it is probably the last time the boxer will be around. She is so old and going downhill really fast.

I worked on gifties for the CIP group last night. Trying to get that in the mail this week. It really is a challenge to come up with fun and reasonably quick items for them since it is a fairly large group of ladies.

Tonight plans include a trip to my mom's - I talked to her last night and she has a quilt hoop she bought for me at a yard sale. (do gifts count against me in the use what I have plan??) I have the camera in the truck and will try to remember to take some pictures of her quilt tops.

In other news - over at the SEEKATIESEW blog I ran across a more formal group of use what you have challenge. While it is primarily directed towards those of us fabric hoarders, she has invited others to join in. I clicked on it quickly. I am already committed for June, July and August, so this will give me a little more accountability. Look at this really cute graphic. You will see this on all of my use what I have posts for the summer.

I have just a few more things to finish before I complete all of my commitments for swaps.

I am thrilled to be making my final plans for the big cabinet in the studio. The weekend plan for me is to get it finished inside. I know this project is taking forever, but money is a huge issue on this one. I refuse to spend more than I have on this - no money will be borrowed - no credit card purchases for this project. It will be so rewarding to accomplish this task in this manner.
Once I get the cabinet finished inside, I can put it in it's final position and then "see" where everything else is going to go. I have a hoosier to go in there. There are other pieces destined for repurposing as well. I just don't have enough hours in my days to get it all done.

I hope all of you have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Random Ramblings

On Saturday we had a brief 45 minutes to spare in downtown Griffin. Abby was back at the field warming up, so Molly and I cruised through the Antique Mall. Miracle day - no money was spent. We did however laugh and giggle and generally draw attention to ourselves. Molly tried on every hat she saw. I snapped this in one booth and I think this may be one of my favorite pictures of her. The fun side of her personality shines in this one. I really hope that Abby and I will one day share this kind of thing.

I also snapped this picture and will put it in one of my inspiration books. Just so you know each of these squares is about 1-1/2 inches finished dimension and this quilt was double bed sized. All hand pieced and then simply tied. Also marked at a near fortune. I want to make one of these postage stamp quilts like the one Gina is making over at LaBelle . This also has inspired the final idea for my 2008 calendar. (see my CIP list) . I will be posting more of that later on CIP.

This bounty is reflective of the generosity of blogger buds. The big polkadots are from a drawing over at MaryAnns. All the rest of the goodness is from Vallen. Now I know a certain other lady wanted the polkadots, so I may have to send her a goodie in order to make up with her.

See that PopEye fabric up there. That will be part of the carrier too. The pocket for my money and keys. And the lining.

What the heck is this? Not a skirt. Not a doily. This is the only sneak peek you will all get of the beginning of my crown for the crown/tiara swap. I actually had this pattern (copied from some we had done years ago) of a halo for the angels in our Christmas program at church. I decided if I stiffen it standing up it will look like a crown base, then I can add the embellishments, beads, tulle, sparkly things, flowers etc. This is just hanging upside down over the basket that I keep fruit in. I will tie it off in the shape I need and then stiffen it with white glue type stiffener. What do you think about this ladies? Ideas for embellishing. Oh yes - I used what I had.

Those dogs go home tonight, so I can vacuum and clean up then get the quilt back out to finish the front. We don't have ball this weekend, there will be studio stuff going on.

I hope you all are having a great week. Have a wonderful day.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Loving this tassel this morning. Downloaded off one of those french blogs that I struggle to read.
edited to add this - I want to apologize for not noting it before. There is serious french inspiration here and I am thrilled to have found it. Thanks you for leaving this in the comments Tica . Et a part ca" is the name of the blog and the link to the photo is here:
I now wish I had made MaryAnn one of these for the "fabric challenge". May have to make one from some upholstry weight fabric and see if I like it.
I have pictures of my own to share, but I also have a teenager who felt it was her turn to take the camera today. (note to self - digital camera for birthdays for both girls)
I had a good weekend - Sat and embroidered on the Noah's Ark piece a large portion of Saturday. Those dogs we are sitting for have decided it's okay to crap in my floor - so that is a huge challenge. Woke up with the beginning of a migraine on Sunday so I babied myself. Clothes fit so much better, however the scale refuses to drop off any. That is my weekend in a nutshell.
Now a vent (rant) - Charles has high blood pressure that he takes medication for. He has decided - without the doctors input - on more than one occasion to "adjust" his medication schedule. In other words, some days he just don't take his medication. Then he will be dizzy and weird feeling and upon questioning I find out that he hasn't taken it. I think this is one of the most selfish things a person can do. He has children. He could do permanent damage to his body. This aggravates me to no end. My mother just had a stroke, I see that damage every time I visit her. His father has had bypass surgery in the past. Why does he do this? I asked Saturday if he had taken his medication and he had not, he just blew it off in front of others, who could not believe it either. So there now I have said it. If he could care less about his health, why should I?
So that's over. So far so good on using what I have. No purchases at all. I know it's early in the process, but it still feels great to see some finished things leaving my house and no money being spent. If anyone else is playing along, leave me a note here. It's always more fun if I know people are playing with me.
I LEAVE YOU WITH A LIST - things I would like to accomplish this week
1. finish the embroidery for Noah's ark
2. get a mailer done for CIP
3. finish piecing the front of the cowboy quilt.
Have a wonderful Monday.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Strength and tenacity

Just for the record - there was not one tiny thing even attempted in MaggieGrace world last night. The girls had soccer practice together - this is new because Abby starts high school. Charles went for a haircut and to spend some time with his brother. So Mom had the rarest of evenings. Time fully alone in the house.
I ate a nice dinner. Drank a glass of wine. Read. No artificial sounds allowed in - no tv or radio. Did my nails. Sat in the porch swing. Took a hot bath. Spend a lazy relaxed evening in my own home. I did load the dishwasher and start it just as everyone came home and shattered the silence.
I do not desire that kind of time alone as a constant. But as a rare occurance - it is an incredible treat.
Another picture from "our house". I have no idea who propped this bed frame against a tree. But over many years, the tree has grown. In my way of thinking, the bed should have been pushed away as the tree grew. Instead, the flesh of the trunk has grown around and about the metal frames. The frame is now in the tree. This fascinates me.
I think of all the things in my way at times. Things I have pushed aside. I think of times when I have firmly kept myself in a situation only to become trapped by it all. Becoming comfortable (complacent) traps me. The tree had tenacity. despite the irritation of having this thing there, it continued to grow. It possessed the strength to continue. To work around the things in its way. Has it been affected, oh yes, the tree is decidedly different from others in the same species. but still incredibly beautiful. Ponder this for a while. Look at all the thoughts you can place on this scenario and tie back to a life lesson.
Patience does not come easily for me. But what is patience - except taking the time to allow myself and others to find their path. Strength is something I know I have. Tenacity another. I have been changed by the experiences in my life. So I think I am going to choose the option the tree chose. Work around, figure out a way, continue to grow. To add something positive to the world. How many choose to be set in their ways, stubborn, difficult, theirs is the only way, and the find themselves trapped, stuck, unable to grow or be useful lke the bed now fully trapped in the tree.
Who are you in this picture? It really isn't too late to make a choice. Remember - even this bed could be removed. It would change the tree again, but it would free the bed. You decide.
MaggieGrace goodies will be back Monday.
Have a fabulous weekend.
Added in response to a comment. I will post some pictures of the old house. It is an old frame wooden house, and it was moved to the proerty when I was small. The roof had started leaking, etc and an abandoned house goes downhill fast. So yes it will have to be torn down. But I will be taking more pictures there and sharing them in the future.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


This was taken at "Our House". The place I spent most of my childhood. It is abandoned now, since my Mom moved into town. This is right on the main highway, but way down off the road, so it is quiet and very peaceful. My sister got the car and the land at this location becomes mine. I can already picture a special home here. The house has been empty now for so long it will just be bulldozed in the future.

We were not well off. There were many meals of fried hotdogs. There were fish fries on Saturday night after the guys fished in the river and cleaned all the catfish. My mom makes the best hushpuppies. There was hand churned ice cream. There were frog legs, and chicken, and deer meat. Lots of cold beer, some southern comfort, and sweet tea for those who didn't or couldn't drink. But we were never hungry.

My Dad was a very generous man. He would help people or give them things with no real expectation of receiving in return. When he was killed in the accident, he died with people owing him money. He always cut those unable to pay the slack they needed. After his death, his friends helped us. We could call Jerry or Pete and things would just get done. Most of his generosity was returned after his death.

He was also competitve. He and a friend were competing to see who could grow the largest tomato. The story about that is just so funny. He built this raised bed, filled it with manure and soil, planted potatoes and tomatoes and dropped in a shovel full of worms. His pruned and trained those tomato bushes and watered and babied all of them. He plucked off the suckers and reduced the number of fruits to allow all of the energy to be focused on his prized specimen tomato.

My Nanny was bad to go down to our house. She would look through the mail, etc. Aggravating habit, but one she pulled on everyone. But she also fixed supper (southern for the evening meal) for us regularly. Dad had been babying this huge tomato for weeks. He watched it as it becan light green, then soft pink and well on its way to red and ready to pick for the big weigh in and measuring day.

Supper that night at Nanny's was to be one of our most memorable. We had sandwiches. As we sat down to eat, my Dad's face got red and then he exploded. I was little and not really paying attention before the explosion. Seems we had tomato sandwiches with our supper, and each sandwich only required one slice of the gorgeous red fruit. My Nanny served us the prized "special" tomato for supper on the night two friends were supposed to weigh and measure the fruit for the bet.

It has become a funny story now. Like most of those kinds, well worth telling over and over. Every real family has them. Characters - funny stories - family legacies.

LAST NIGHT ---- Arizona won. I finished the graph for the Names of Jesus pieces. Dog sitting for a friends dogs. MaggieGrace goodies are being created. Just at a slow pace. I tend to choose intense projects.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I always love surprises

A picture of the surprise flowers on my desk this morning. Gardenias from our landlord. He brings me flowers from his yard occasionally. The entire area smells heavenly. Heady. Like a summer evening on my front porch. With a tall drink and soft candlelight. He is a really funny man and practical joker, but he has chosen to treat me today. Thanks so much.

Last night I picked Abby up at ball practice, late. I got there a little early and took a book. Parked under the street lights and rolled the windows down. I only read a few paragraphs before the sounds of a summer southern night caught my attention. Kids laughing and playing close by and in the distance. Skateboard wheels in the other parking lot. Cicadas and evening birdsong. Even the drone of mosquitoes. I found myself absorbing these sounds and realizing that there is so much about my life that is special and at that moment I was fully focused on appreciation of so many things.

I thrifted this album many weeks ago at one of my favorite thrift haunts. I bought it thinking that I would take it apart and use the cover as a mount for ATC and the heavy textured papers as pages for a journal assemblage. The ribbon and the wedding picture will also find new lives in some way.

Yesterday at lunch, I picked it up from the back seat and opened it. I was looking for the best way to deconstruct it.

Imagine my surprise whenI found this........

Handwritten quotes are sprinkled all through it. Randomly. The way I collect quotes. As if the fairies decided a surprise needs to come your way today. This was fun. I smiled and then started to read all of these collected quotes. I will add these to my quote books and still use these pages, but now in a different way. Love these kind of surprises.

Last night I spent some time with my Mom who has been thrifting herself. 70's era stitching books that I will be borrowing to use the patterns from. She found yarn and fabric. All kinds of stuff. Just like the rest of us crafters, she will never use it all, so the reality is I have even more stash than I thought. (see I got all of this packrat tendency as a genetic trait) I get to go through it on a fairly regular basis. In addition to the cool stuff, I get to spend that time with her. I also stopped in at the place I grew up. Took a couple of pictures, but it was getting late. I need to go and take several pictures there.

We watched Arizona and Tennessee play softball last night (for the National Championship) and I started graphing the names of Jesus verse from Isaiah. I will be making several versions of items from this chart as part of my CIP committment. I also have an idea for my 2008 calendar as a part of CIP. I will be parked in front of the tv again tonight, pulling hard for those Arizona girls again. Everyone else in my house is pulling for Tennessee - so it could be an interesting night. I should be able to finish the charting though.

Have a wonderful afternoon.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

MaryAnn - no peeking or the surprise will be ruined

I do love challenges and one of my favorite ways to work is within some kind of restraint. MaryAnn issued a "Fabric Challenge" many months ago when she wanted to become more comfortable with her sewing machine. I jumped on it and sent her my fabric. She made me a wonderful apron and purse and other goodies.

The fabric she sent was this really adorable floral flannel. Really soft and sweet. I felt it and immediately thought pillowcase. But I couldn't just do a plain old pillowcase, so I cross stitched the sweet dreams and added it to the mix. The floss is a hand dyed varigated in soft blue, green and purple. I am loving these specialty flosses. The lace is from a box my sister brought me out of her Late MIL stuff.

There is a crochet bag lined with the only big piece left. I keep one of these in the car with "girl stuff" in it, but it is also a perfect size for diaper wipes or note cards and a pen. With the remaining scraps I added some other fabric to and made a soft ball. This was a paper pieced by hand project. There will be more. My Nanny used to make these for baby gifts and I thought they looked hard. They are not.

Still had a couple of decent sized pieces and being inspired by many French blogs, I made two dragonfly silhouettes. I love these and I will be using this image again.

By this point there really were only scraps left, so I made 4 golf tee pincushions. I saw something similar in a quilt shop. A really fun Ragged Roses inspired corsage and the collaged letters wall hanging. I used one of the shelves from the stamp shelf to make the wall hanging. It will hang and then there are hooks across the bottom.

This was fun and I look forward to doing more of this kind of challenge in the future. I do hope my wonderful friend enjoys this.

Hey - I also Used What I Had too. Remember I am in that mode for the entire summer as well. I even put a reminder about it across my header.

Told you MaggieGrace would be back to normal. Now I cannot wait to see who I get for the tiara/crown swap - I have some ideas but I will wait and get my profile question answers before I start. So tonight I will finish the embroidery for sister. Take a look at it over at

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Look a swap - still time to join

I joined this swap over at
You can too.

Corners of my home

These hang in my bathroom. You know I collect CocaCola stuff and these are family pieces. The bottle shaped thermometer is from Mama Norvan's stuff. The glass thermometer is still intact which is a little unusual considering the condition of this piece. The round one hung in my Nanny's kitchen porch - I don't know why we called it a porch - it was an uninsulated utility room. The cover is broken, but to me that doesn't detract from the look at all. The girl on the round one is the same as is on the border at the top of these walls.

This room is fun in its paint colors. This chalky effect was tedious but amazingly simple. Then all the trim is a deep deep red in here. I wanted to get the effect of all that chalky look these old metal signs get after years of being outside. I really think this effect works and having all kinds of Coke stuff in here really adds to it.

How did I do this? Paint the walls that coke sign green - I have no idea what the color really is. Then using Laura Ashley whitewash finish, I used a thick round soft brush about 1 inch in diameter and randomly brushed the walls in a thin layer. Overlapping and changing directions often. Let me tell you - this bathroom grew when I started with that 1 inch brush. This has been there for several years and I still love it everytime I look at it.

I saw this technique in a showhouse over a dark blue paint on a ceiling, simulating the milky way in the night sky and then interpreted the technique myself. I think it gave me just the effect I wanted.

Comments about the weekend.

1. Be careful what you say around young people. My daughter was hurt by a comment made by another parent this weekend. The comment was not damaging in full context, but in hearing only part of it and misinterpreting, she was devastated. I have been the victim of such an instance and I still carry those scars today from something I misunderstood (probably) as a 15 year old.

2. Teenagers are not equipped for adult innuendo humour and I am a feriocious mother bear if my child is hurt by you, even if you are joking.

3. Ball field food and my new eating program are not a good mix. I will say that Hart County High School has addressed this in their football concession stand by offering apple slices as an option. But not the softball complex we were at this weekend. Glad I packed my cooler.

4. Rebecca - I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation Saturday night. God will show you why you went through the Cancer and recovery path you have trod. Keep being open to His use.

5. Forgiveness and acceptance is part of becoming "real". Learning those lessons is hard and practicing those two acts is even more difficult. Forgiving and accepting yourself may be the hardest of all. But - my precious baby girls - it is very important.

6. Guard your children and the input they are subjected to. Take parenting seriously. There is so much more to life than the score on a board and her batting and fielding average. (or whatever) The hard stuff happens around those activities. Give them a place to come. Give them security. Give them sound advice. DO NOT RUN FROM THE HARD STUFF. They need to always know that they are not alone. I know because I have handled way too much in my life ALONE.

7. God I hope I don't die first. My girls need me to hold hands and hearts through the hard stuff.

I know - random statements. They may need more expansion, maybe not. But putting them down allows me to get my arms and heart around some things. A quiet strength and sureness in my parenting is occurring. As I told Charles on Saturday night, I will fight to the death for their (the girls) emotional well being. It's too danged important long term. Demons can be created so easily and everyone needs a dragon slayer on their side. Both to teach skills and how to take care of yourself and to point out that you are on the right or wrong path.

Sorry - this got heavy this morning. I was just pondering some conversations and thoughts from this weekend and I have used this as a way to organize and categorize the thoughts. MaggieGrace goodies will be back.

Friday, June 01, 2007


Good morning everyone. A small flickr mosaic for you. I actually have a picture for today, but dear Molly scarfed the camera on the way out the door. So I chose a few of my favorites this morning and decided to mosaic them.

If you have not been to flickr it is a great place for inspiration and fun.

I received my package from Raesha's tag swap yesterday. It is spread out on the kitchen counter and I have really enjoyed my mix of tags. Being ever the hostess extraordinaire, Raesha sent a goodie gift also. (THANKS SO MUCH) thanks to all who participated.

I chose a few tags for my mosaic from a few places and of course the quilt back. This is similar to what I want to do on the backing for the Roy Rogers quilt.

No restful weekend here. Abby has a ball tournament. Then on Sunday there will be more work in MaggieGrace world. Having lots of money would help. We are trying to do this studio and not borrow money. Knowing that Molly will be off to school is keeping money at the front of our life right now. We are hoping for scholarships, but trying to plan as well. The result, a longer time frame on finishing. Yes I am excited, and it is taking shape, I would love to just call someone and have it finished, but it will be okay. This weekend, I am going to try and get the door from the house I grew up in to use for the studio door. A full lighted french door. Should be really pretty as the entry door.

I hope all of you have a great weekend. Drink a maragarita for me.

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