Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Trick or Treat

Last night I helped with a mad scientist costume and a batgirl costume. I am not allowed to preview the pictures until after the contest tonight. We will be having a "Trunk or Treat" at our church. This has become an annual tradition. I will set up all kinds of candles on the tailgate of my truckand a black dress, black hose, and witches hat are my attire of choice. This event is a lot of fun and provides a afer environment for the kids. In listening to the conversation at our parts counter at work, I have discovered many churches do this. After church we will go home and watch Rocky Horror again. (a personal favorite of all of us).

The picture above is from the materials I swapped with Lizzy in the sweet and sinister swap. A cone full of vintage white and black goodies. I made the cone from black card stock and then decorated it. That was the one thing Lizzy said she collected in her informational email to me - vintage sewing notions. Lizzy - I so hope you enjoyed all your stuff.

I also finished hanging all the cork for the design wall in the studio. I got all of the old glaze off the windows and next will be getting the old paint off the windows. Then the new glaze and paint before installing them. I really like seeing things get finished.

Work is crazy - trying to prepare for being gone. 2 weeks from today. And as of today, I have to double the dose of the hormone that has made me so crazy. This is to help prevent excess bleeding during the surgery. I just informed the outside salesman for our store that we are having a good day as long as no one has threatened to kill anyone in the store - that could be worse over the next 2 weeks. lol.

I do hope everyone has a happy trick or treat night.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

in the studio

Did you know that Home Depot does not have cork? Mom and I discovered this on Saturday - only after walking all over the store and asking several people who directed us to different points. I wanted a design wall in the studio and I wanted it to be cork so I can also use it for a pin board when I am not working on a quilt.

We finally found enough 12 inch squares for a 7 foot wide by 6 foot high wall. Here is the in progress shot from the weekend. I am hanging this with liquid nails and it kept sliding down the wall so we stopped at this point for it to dry and I will finish putting it up tonight. This will be covered with a neutral colored flannel for the design wall use.

Of course I didn't do this to the man's specs. He came in as I was about 1/2 way finished and started poking and commenting that there were spaces that were loose. I was not going to leave this covered all the time and I had some clear glue to go back and catch a couple of corners, but oh no - if you look closely - you will see the smears of liquid nails on the surface. I'll add this to the list of things I don't do correctly.

In the next picture you will see slatwall. Many stores use this in their displays because it has shelving and racks and display boxes that fit it. It however is incredibly versatile and those pegboard hooks will fit as well. This is over my cabinet/storage/drying surface and I can't wait to start hanging stuff on this wall. We live near the company that manufactures this board and I picked this up when I was purchasing for my showroom at work.

Now for the story that ruined my Sunday. Look closely above and below this slatwall (just above the silver tape.) Close up below.

I went in and was immediately mad about the cork incident - I turned around and saw the slatwall hanging and went in the house. Only after then did I realize what was framing the wall board. Those aged boards with the really cool holes drilled in them are my grandmothers quilt rack - oh yeah - a true heirloom and now they have been screwed/glued to the wall as framework holding my spacewall. I had a fit - my Mom is gonna have a fit. Too late to correct so I will have a continual reminder of my Nanny hanging in my workspace. (He swears he didn't know and that he thought it was just scrap wood - the fact that it was all bundled together should have been some kind of clue don't ya think.)

The plan for this was to hang it from the ceiling between my living and dining room assembled for the way it would be used, and holding a quilt that Nanny quilted on it upside down for all to see. I was just waiting for the dining room to be empty of my craft stuff to hang it.

I have now calmed down about the whole situation - I will never use the thing to quilt so this will be okay. I will say - the words "I'm sorry" would have been a nice touch to the situation. Laughter will be expressed over this I am sure - but Sunday it was a meltdown item for me.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What a productive weekend...

Yes you heard that correctly. I got a LOT done this weekend. Tomorrow there will be studio news - much has been accomplished there too.

On Friday, I had a MaggieGrace comment that I been left a surprise at my house. This was from my new friend Elizabeth over at The Quiet Life. When I got home that was a bag of paper goodness - handpainted paste papers big pieces, small pieces, some might even say scraps. Just look below.

I dumped them out, poked though them, walked past them, drooled, then decided exactly what I wanted to do first. I needed to thank Elizabeth. By the way she is the photographer who posted a picture of my barn on her Flickr account. We have been conversing online. She even stopped by on Saturday - but mom and I were out and about searching for cork.

Back to the story - I wanted to thank her for her generosity and I knew just the thing.

Meet Kimimela .... (Go see Elizabeth for more info on the name). Named by her new owner.
She is constructed of buttons, beads, and wire. The wings are cut from the paste paper and the face is a partial image from a stamp I love covered by one of those glass bubble things.

I saw a similar item made from metal and such at a gallery in the mountains. This is my adaptation. I copied the wing pattern from a sale ad for a local store (saved it you know). Chose the paper and then dumped out the button jar. It is immensly fun to choose the graduated buttons and beads. A few twirls of wire later and we have several of these.

The bead on the bottom of the yellow one was from a bin at a fabric outlet. They had this huge bin of beaded trim remants and you could stuff a baggie with them - I always scoop through to the bottom and get the loose beads. I have a huge pickle jar of these remants and every now and then I go through and divide out some. It was a really cheap way to get some way cool beadworks materials.

I have collected buttons for years and now I have a great way to use these. Some buttons are vintage - some are not. I will say this was fun and quick to do and I did not have to purchase anything. I will be making them on and off for the next few weeks. These will be gifts, but I can see selling some of these. If you are interested, please just contact me by email.

About the one I made for Elizabeth. This is the small town we live in. She lives near me, but I wasn't sure which house. I know where she attends church and on the way to my church yesterday (early in the morning), I stopped and slid an envelope with her name on it into the split between the doors of her church. I just knew whoever opened the church would hand it to her. It worked - isn't that a fun way to live.

I promise I won't completely wear you out with butterfly pictures, but you will see them here and there.

Now we also worked in the studio - and I had a parent meeting for club volleyball with Miss Molly. She has been eyeing some Manos del Uraguay wool yarn I have in my stash and asked me to make another beanie hat for her. On the way out the door I grabbed that yarn and a hook and when we sat down I started this for her yesterday at around 2 pm. I worked on it through the meeting - a little bit while I waited for the kids to arrive at church - then put the finishing touches on this just before bed last night.

She loves it - I love that I can make something she will wear - I will have to buy some orange toned wool for another one. Miss Abby wants one too in her favorite color. In all honesty, I never tried hats before the brown one this spring - I was always afraid of the increases need to make the crown. But this has to be the easiest thing I have ever made. I adapted from another pattern to make this work. Again - if you are interested in more information - or one of your own - contact me by email.

I can't wait to tell you the story about the studio -- tomorrow -

Have a great day.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fun pluses to being an adult ....

No this is not an obscene post. This is just a fun celebration of pluses to being the adult in a house.

1. I can eat Hershey Kisses for breakfast and I don't have to ask for permission. (yes I did this morning.)

2. I can have a coke float to go with them if I choose. (same thing - great breakfast today)

3. I don't have to have permission to wear grungy clothes out in public. (will always run into the exboyfriend or the preachers wife when dressed like this - been there done that)

4. A well placed four letter word is completely acceptable (thus allowing me to completely let everyone know to - just staythe h#** away)

5. I can buy junk food along with the nutricious food I intend to feed the children (look for me in the grocery store - I got star crunch - milano cookies - and 10 bottles of coke ---- yup that's me)

6. "Because I said so" is a completely acceptable way to explain something or to end a discussion with anyone.

7. I can blow a vacation day for no reason at all (the best way is to get up and get dressed as if you are going to work - don't tell anyone you are staying home - then go back to step 1, 2 , and 3 for the remainder of the day - that way you can be alone without the other adult at your house deciding to stay home too- and a great time to accomplish #9)

8. You need no chaperone in the liquor store - If step 7 and 1,2, and 3 are not sufficiant for a relaxing day at home.

9. You can rearrange the furniture and nobody has to help (generally on the day off with the results being a broken toe on somebody cause they were not expecting the sofa to be there.)

10. You can tell your high school senior that she absolutely will not be wearing that dress to homecoming - then using #6 as the reason why. (the dress was cut down to here and up to there and gave way too much visual and physical access to body parts I prefer to stay covered if I know about it. - this teary discussion ended with me saying "one day you'll be the adult and you will fully understand.)

Yet another picture of Lizzy's swap goodies. The wall mask - decopage tissue - acrylic paint - spray glitter (of course) and a tiny strip of black rickrack.

Have a great weekend.

edit - 11 years ago today - the "c" word flew through the air and into my brain to live there forever. many of you are reading the most healing of the time here. i am diligently working towards losing all the fear. today i celebrate another new victorious year - and look at the plans for a different life starting 19 days from now - after my surgery i will be free of artificial hormone based drugs. hang on - we all just might enjoy this ride.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

So my sister is already at it today ....

Opened the email early this morning and had one from my little sister. Mind you it's before coffee and she sends a thought for the day. The thought ....

Ever wonder why glue doesn't stick to the inside of the bottle?

She knows this will be in the back of my brain all day long. I hate it when she does this. Goes back to high school when we rode together and she would come up with the song of the day or the thought of the day or the word of the day. We would giggle and try to top each other with stupid thought or those songs that get stuck in your head. So every now and then we still do this to each other.

An absoultely useless bit of trivia - we each call the other Sister and our kids each call us Sister. Kinda confusing when we are all together.

I have a good feeling about the Christmas program. I have a wonderful cast and the crew is filling in. A church member has done the drawings for the backdrop and a freestanding piece. I can't wait to see what it all looks like painted and hanging. This play is really cute and funny.

I have been struggling with growing out my hair for many many months. I gave up yesterday. Had it all cut back off. It is amazing how different it looks. (Keep in mind my family has always said I do my hair for shock value) Short and a tad bit spikey. Even the girls agree it was a good decision. The lady waiting with me in the salon was amazed at the difference. Even the guys at work have had nothing negative to say. Some have even been incredibly complimentary. Next step a fun color job.

I spent last night cutting out inspiration photos and gluing them in my latest notebook. A way of organizing the pile of papers on the corner of the island. God I have so much to sort out and go through to get ready to set up in the barn. I have been studying blog posts and flickr pictures for ideas. I wish all this was moving on quicker than it is. I am getting impatient with the entire process. I know I will enjoy having the space just for me. If any of my family/friends are reading, this is a blatant request for Lowes gift cards for Christmas. I can buy my own booze this year.

More MaggieGrace goodies. There will be more of these as well. This was in the remake of the package for Lizzy. Again I used what I had. A thrifted frame, which I tend to buy even if I have no use for them. Some gridded hardware cloth. Spray paint and orange tulle to hang it (a touch of orange was one of the swap requirements). The hanger can be changed as needed. Cut the hardware cloth to fit. Hot glue it in the back of the frame. Spray paint the entire thing your favorite color. (yes, I keep both flat black and gloss black spray paint.) Knot your hanger in place. ( I have made many small versions of these with window screen wire to hang earrings on)

If you look closely you can see the hangars for notes etc. I made beaded drops on eye pins and attached them to the lobster claw clasps that I use for bracelets. The other end is attached to paper clips and a small binder clip for the little composition book. Simply clip the clasp to the grid and you have a quick note hanger. Magnets will hold against this wire backing too. I made several of the beaded hangers as part of the gift as well. I have a huge frame in the barn just waiting for this treatment to make a memo board for me. The picture in it was damaged so I bought it just for the frame.

I hope this post finds you all well. Tonight we buy the homecoming dress for the Senior. Have a wonderful day

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Good Morning - World

Good Morning world - that seems funny to say, but I have blog readers from all over the world. It is a beautiful morning - its raining and damp and cool. Why is that beautiful? This is Georgia - southern USA - and we are in desperate need of the rain. I have been standing on the dock this morning, coffee in hand, talking with customers. The hair is wilted - makeup sparse and nobody cares - we are that desperate. Like better than 20" shy for the year.

I saw an interview this morning about the California wildfires - so much devastation. I lift up prayers for all involved. I especially pray for those fighting to get these under control. Vallen, Darla, Jen , Jenny - are you guys close to the fires? Are any of my readers close or have families affected?

The next picture is of one of my favorite ladies and her sister. They are cuddling two of the church babies at the shower last night.

Miss Jane on the left (holding baby Charlie) - Her sister Rea on the right (holding baby Maggie). Miss Jane and Her husband are church members - they are my favorite couple in the church. Miss Jane was a teacher and a reader and a wonderful lady - she has been diagnosed with macular degeneration and is now blind except for huge text and light and dark. Their marriage is absolutely beautiful. Mr Buddy is almost always right by her side. As someone approaches he will say Hello _______ so that Miss Jane can have immediate information about who is there. He has typed labels big enough for her to see on everything in their house. ( She was most upset about having to have help with baking.) When she gets ready to do anything - he lines up the ingredients in the right order - measured and ready. They both sing in the choir - he takes the lyrics of each song and types them in a text she can read and then binds them in a book she can then manage. He fixes her plate. He tells her where the step is. He holds her hand. He calles her the love of his life. She describes the handsome man she married and how miserable hot it was the day of the wedding better than 50 years ago. She still looks at him the same way. They give me and so many others the hope that lasting love and attraction is possible. I love this couple so much and they love every one of us back.

Now for more typical MaggieGrace goodies - Lizzy's first package disappeared in the US Postal system - and if you are a regular reader you know I created a new package. This is one of the items in the new package. (This was for the sweet and sinister swap hosted by Kari over at ArtsyMama) My interpretation of SINISTER. A mixed media collage on a prepared canvas board. Painted flat black. I then painted the witch on the back of a piece of vellum. I tore the witch and witchcraft pages from an old encyclopedia and smacked them together with YES paste. What you can't see in this picture is a trick on the surface of the moon. It is all textured - ribbed - and the black paint has bled through creating "shadows" on the surface. I attached the whole thing to the canvas with acrylic matte medium then covered it with plastic wrap while it dried. The acrylic medium bunches up to create the wrinkles and the slow drying allows the bleeding effect to occur. I learned this trick the hard way on another project - I think it's because the vellum doesn't breathe - but sometimes a mistake turns out to be a happy accident. The letters are stamped onto heavy paper and then a heavy coat of gloss finish painted over everything and sprinkled with my favorite glitter ever. This is glow-in-the-dark glitter. Charges in sunlight or incandescent light. then has that fun glow in the dark look. More tomorrow.

three weeks - right now i am on schedule at work - this is a very good thing.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Finally caught up on required items

This is the last "pressure" item. The blanket for Baby Carley. I put the finishing touches on this last night. It's smallish, but perfect for a carry about "blankie". A Nanny blanket style scrap afghan. It's really difficult to achieve this scrappy look (not even). I made solid squares until I didn't have enough yarn for a complete one, then mixed the yarns for multi-colored squares. Spread out a fleece blanket and move squares around until I'm happy. Get opinions from teenagers (thank you Abby) then move them some more. Once the teen and I are both happy - crochet them together.

There is an ongoing discussion between my mom and I about putting the squares together. She likes nice flat seams - so she only grabs one loop from each square and slip stitches them together. I almost always like a decorative raised seam - generally in a contrasting color - so I grab both loops and use a single crochet. She also leaves all of her "tails" to weave in at the end. Not me - that would drive me stark raving mad (and I am already way to close to that edge) - I weave each end in as I go. (I tell her my project always look neater during the process too.) See my method below - feedback please.

I gave my blog address to a couple of new people. A friend at church and a long time friend from high school. Somehow that makes me feel a tiny bit vulnerable. The one thing about blogging here - the reflection is most definitely my truest self. Sure I censor some of life out - but for the most part I am open and honest here. I am tickled to see comments - I love knowing that others have been here. I love the interaction that has developed between this "house" and others. I love follwing a link back and finding the gem (possibly a new friend) at the other end. I have developed a close circle of those that I visit and who visit me regularly, but I want to add to those people. Please - if you come by here - don't remain a stranger. Drop a comment - even if it just says hi and your email or a way to follow you back. I also love to know how you found me. (notice to rude crude or vindictive people - I'll delete any uglies) Anyway - to new readers - I am human and weak - I have good days and bad - somedays are 3 margarita days - some we just coast on through - please don't be offended - the bad days aren't directed at you (well they may be, but I'll try to be discreet) - enjoy the good days - enjoy the creations - bring blessings of your own to share. I want this place to feel like a friends house.

Have a great day.

Monday, October 22, 2007


edit: along with lizzy's package, i just mailed the single scariest piece of mail ever for me. miss molly's first college application. omg this is for real isn't it. wtf am i gonna do now.

I learned about the Hauntings exhibit at the Blue Bell Gallery in Comer from my new friend's blog. Elizabeth had several pieces in the show. All of the work is stunning. I have a few favorites, but the budget just won't swing a major art purchase at all. Still I really enjoyed my night out. No one in my crew wanted to go and normally I would defer to that, but I wanted to go and I deserve the time to do what I want to, so off I went. I had a wonderful time. I loved some of the fiber works and a series of child's dress prints that were done in a range of pinks and purples.

The more art I look at - the wider range of art I like.

Aside from that, it was a hideously busy weekend. Charles worked on the studio. Dust bunnies and spider web cities were destroyed. I squeezed in a mental health walk at the cemetary early Saturday morning then I stopped by the post office and discovered the package for my sweet and sinister swap partner will be considered officially lost on Wednesday. Lizzy - I am so sorry. I could not wait until then to decide about replacing the package - so I worked hard to redo the package. Probably the most work I have ever put together in one day.

Here's the sneak peek of the wrapped packages sitting on my desk this morning. They are packaged and ready to go to the PO for a priority mail shipment at lunchtime today. I hope you enjoy these. I will post pictures when I am sure Lizzy got this.

On Saturday night late and all day Sunday, I finished up the squares for the baby blanket. I will finish assembling tonight and get it handwashed and ready for wrapping up a bundle of joy named Carley Mae.

Here are the squares laying out on a black fleece blanket. There will be three rows of edging around this and it will finish about 34 x 38 inches. Perfect for the car or for tossing in a bag for the church nursery.

23 more days. 15 houses to get ready for possible shipment while I am gone. A ton of purchasing for those houses. Sunday school materials to prepare for a sub - teacher (Molly and Nancy). Christmas program to prepare for. I will be painting this weekend. Two costumes (the potentate and his page) to make. Still busy busy. And I must make the front part of the house presentable for inevitable guests. (the dining room/craft room is the problem - that studio will be so very welcome)

I hope this finds you well and happy - have a great day.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Happy Friday ----

The patterns in this book have been around my mom's house in some incarnation as long as I can remember. I even made the pullover that the little girl is wearing in the picture above when I was a pre-teen, only mine was made in harvest gold - tan - yellow - and cream. I made it by the pattern exactly and I wore it with pride. It may even still be around somewhere.

Mom found the book at a community yard sale and bought it for me. It is where I relearned to make the Wagon Wheel block. Because this has so many patterns that I drooled over in her stuff for all those years, this is one of my favorite possessions.

Look at the pincushions - are those fun. I'm thinking this could be reinterpreted as christmas ornaments too.

I am left handed (kinda). Anything that comes naturally, I do left handed, like write and eat. But things I learned how to do, I may do right handed. I throw right handed. I bat right handed. I use right handed scissors in most cases, however my pinking shears are lefties. I can easily use a twist style can opener, which most lefties struggle with. I know - just a little strange.

My mom is right handed, my Nanny was right handed, so crochet was difficult for them to even think of teaching me. But I REALLY wanted to learn. I studied all the books (even the leftie ones). I frogged. I did it again. I frogged. I QUIT. I QUIT. I QUIT. Yes that's plural. Ad I drooled over the pineapple shawl that my Nanny made and wore to church. I wanted to wear a bright red poncho like my mom made and wore often - never mind that red ain't my best color. I still have it - I may even wash that poncho and wear it Saturday night to the art show.

I looked at afghans and ponchoes and towel edgings. I looked at all the pattens in books. I fingered their crochet cotton and acrylic yarns (wintuk and red heart eggshell color was my Nanny's signature color)

I spent a lot of time with Nanny. Her house was layed out funny in the living room. Her recliner was in front of part of the couch. I sat many an afternoon on the open end of that couch and watched her hands fly as she crocheted. One day I got a hook and some scrap yarn, as I watched over her shoulder, she slowed her stitching and I simply copied her. That is how it came to pass that I am a right handed crocheter.

More pictures from the book. Love the tote bag. Anthropologie had one in last fall's line almost exactly like this. I may never make one pattern exactly like anything in this book, but I will look at it over and over and adapt the ideas for other things. I am so happy that Nanny was patient with me. I can read patterns now and there is very little I can't figure out in crochet. But it really was about the time she took with me and let me watch as I figured all of it out.

Now I am the crafty Mom. Everyone knows I will have something with me to work on. Last night one of Molly's teammates told her Mom that she needed to learn to do some of this. Lost of kids think its cool that I do this. Monday night, a coach commented that I never went anywhere without something to do. The great thing about so many handcrafts, is just that, they are handcrafts and by the nature of the term, they are portable. Gotta love that.

My favorite piece in the entire book is this shawl. Looks like a stained glass window to me. I may have to interpret this in some way into my work.

26 Days til surgery. I had an offer from Junking in Georgia for more information about this type of surgery. So I fired off an email and I want to thank her profusely for the input. One of the things she said was that she felt I was majorly apprehensive about the whole thing. I am a little, but not hugely. The countdown is more for tracking and scheduling than anything. My work is demanding and specialized. There are many details I really have to keep track of. We are also a small operation - personnel wise - so it will be an inconvenience for others. I have a huge tracking sheet on my desk with tons of notes and orders and schedules on shipments and receipt dates. That is what the countdown is about. Each job has a folder and I am adding copies and notes and information to it constantly. I have a people pleaser issue - my real apprehension is that I will cause someone a delay or that a coworker will have to figure something out. I do however have a small project to work on as I recuperate. Christmas in progress Christmas packages are being put together and I would like to have those finished by Dec 1st to mail.

Thanks Vallen for having us all to her place for potluck. I printed off several recipes to try and found some new friends to visit. That's always fun. MaryAnn - we did miss you though.

This is the Friday before a restful Saturday (LOL) - we have no sports activities tomorrow. What we do have is a house suffering from neglect that will get everyones attention. Dust bunny wars to begin about midmorning tomorrow. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Going to a potluck...

Vallen is hostessing a potluck at her house today.

Now here in the south, potluck and church suppers (same thing) are routine. So routine that my girls will say "Oh boy, Miss Maudell will bring her pasta salad." I generally make homemade churned ice cream as well.

But for today, I am bringing my MARGARITA SALAD. The photo is from Dawn's blog - The Feathered Nest. Her recipe is a tiny bit different from mine, but like any salad recipe, everyone can "doctor" it up.

Heres my recipe - like emeril - I hardly ever measure any of this out.

1 small can Mexicorn - drained

1 small can precooked black beans - drained and rinsed

1/2 vidalia onion - chopped coarsely

4 roma tomatoes - diced roughly like the onion

1/2 block extra sharp cheddar cheese grated

1/2 block pepper jack cheese grated

seasonings to taste - salt - pepper - cilantro - thyme - lemon pepper (you pick)

2 ripe avacados peeled and diced

about 1/2 cup roasted red pepper - I like mine in longer strips


juice of 2 or three limes (Lemon works too)

olive oil

Garlic powder (or minced garlic)

Mix dressing (I shake it up in a jar) pour over the pile in the bowl. Mix up and enjoy. For my personal serving I add a jalepeno pepper slice or 2 and a sprinkle of feta chesse - just cause.


There also cannot be a southern style potluck without a good ole glass of sweet tea.

Thanks for having all of us over miss vallen - Let enjoy each others cooking and get to know one another over a really good meal.

Have a great day - 27 more til surgery for me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

round and round....

28 days until surgery. then 11 days of rest through thanksgiving.

Tomorrow is Vallen's potluck. I am still trying to decide what to bring. I can't wait to cruise through and look at all the goodies. I'll be writing down recipes as well.

Okay thrifters - junkers - fun seekers. Anybody out there who understands the heart leap when you come into your office and see a box that may just be an immediate hazard to your health. I am talking about an inch of dust build up. Tiny bit of damage to the box. But you know it's old and it's on your desk. And a coworker says if you want it - its yours. Just look.

Dean and his bride have moved into a new house. He cleaned out the basement of the house she lived in with her late husband. This was a family house and had "YEARS" of accumulated finds stashed everywhere.

This is one of the coolest things. What is in the box??????

A doiley stretcher. I have absolutely no need for such an item. I will have a purely decorative use in the studio. It's like a framed pin board. I love the graphics. It is approximately 24 inches square. It will be way cool up in the roof peak area of the studio. He also has a pallet of vintage cast iron and heavy brass floor lamps. They need refinishing and rewiring. I have taken those too, to keep them from the dumpster. (and one of them is going by my bed). Guess I'll add those to the project list.

I have been focused at work and home trying to get some things accomplished before the surgery. There is still ton to do. The planning to be out of commission is almost worse than being gone.

I do have some MaggieGrace goodness for all of you, but I am waiting notice that the package arrive before I spoil the surprise.

Have a wonderful day people.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More collage pages

Now that I know she has her package, I will share more of these pages. I was inspired by the lovelies over at Secret Leaves. The covers of this are from a thrifted book I destroyed for its pages for my homeshow booth. I drilled holes and used books rings from the office supply store to bind it.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE office supply stores almost as much as junk stores and thrift stores. (another post).

Anyway, MaryAnn has inspired me so much. Not only is she creative - unbelievably creative - She is kind and generous. I wanted to give back to her and I wanted it to be more than just stuff. (although there was stuff in the package too.)

She has sent me things all along and I wanted to use some of the supplies in an art project for her. I do hope you can spot some of those supplies as you pore over these.

The way cool part of this project - I did not purchase a single item for it. The page blanks are cut from cream colored card stock. Various ephemera from all over the world - thank you swap partners and generous friends. I did go through all of my e6000 adhesive. The fortunes are directly related to 5 ingredient shrimp (my favorite).
This page has my favorite quote right now on it. The quote is typed on the stripe across the middle of the page. The heart is a stitched piece inspired by Rebecca Sower. Note shapes were punched from scrap card stock.

Another fun page. The quote here is stylus printed into a small piece of copper flashing. The pocket is made from a doiley laced to a piece of card stock. This was fun to work on. That is almost the last bit of one of my favorite metallic ribbons. I think I have 4 inches left of it.

I have a hard time using up the last bit of something. I don't really know why. With this project, I refused to allow that part to me to censor my materials. If it was the last one and I wanted to use it - I did. It was an exercise for me to operate this way. To lose the idea that a better project may come along later. It was an incredibly fun project to work on. I was able to focus completely on sending positive thoughts to a very good friend. (I always try to send positive vibes across the universe when I know who the recipient will be.) And for the very first time I will say that this project is ART and not craft. That is entirely new for me.

Enjoy yourself today. Do something that makes you happy. Give yourself the gift of satisfaction in some way. You are entirely worth happiness, satisfaction, peace and harmony.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Water is a precious commodity here in the south right now. We are in the midst of a serious drought (the worst in 100 years) right now. Everyone is praying for rain.

But water is even more precious in my faith statement.

We are reborn in relation to God by the water of baptism.
Yesterday we baptized two young men in our early service -note blurred picture will protect the identity. These precious boys are the sons of friends.
This is important to me. I was dunked in the creek for my baptism as a teenager. I made a decision to follow Christ at that time. In the Methodist tradition, infants and young children are baptized at the decision of their parents. A part of the service involved committments to follow Christ as a family and to raise the family in Christ's teachings and with the faith assurance that being a child of God brings.

There is also a section of the service asking the church to commit to being a part of a new members life. To provide the teachings of God, leadership, prayer and service to that person.

It doesn't matter to me who is baptized, I always find myself remembering and recommitting personally my faith vows. And I always imagine hearing God say "this is my beloved child and I am well pleased."

Many prayers and best wishes to you Johnson family. You are a part of my faith family and I love you.

Now a really bad picture of the old fat mom and the well conditioned athlete. Hanging out on Saturday between games at a tournament. I am so glad we have been able to spend time together like this. I sure am gonna miss her when she takes off to college. Then the younger one has our undivided attention for a while.

I crocheted on and off all weekend. No WIP shots.

Have a wonderful day.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Thank God for Friday ---

Now if it was just Friday before a restful weekend. We have volleyball all day Saturday. Then lots of activity on Sunday with church. (maybe I can squeeze in some kind of nap)

School softball is finished for the season. Miss Abby made the local paper in a really cute shot that she hates. They lost two last night, but still had an incredible season. Go girls. Volleyball is almost over for the season as well. Next is basketball and travel volleyball.

One more page.... if this package doesn't arrive at her house today me and the USPS are going to have a chat.

This page is absolutely one of my favorite collages ever. Full of fun stuff and prized items. I was inspired by this lovely lady. What's there - a cutout off a pattern front, a piece of pattern tissue, a short piece of vintage lace from my sis, buttons, vintage bias tape, assorted notion from who knows where, and the quote was written by Molly on an old button card. For those who don't know me well, I love fonts and quotes.

I am watching all of the huh-bub on copyright out in blogworld. This is a little unnerving for me. I look at a lot of visual eye candy. (men look at porn women - look at quilts - another discussion - another day) I am terrified that someone will think I am "copying" their work. I am inspired by so many of you and I try so hard to give credit when I am refering to a person or style as an inspiration. I carefully went back through the work I have done and tried to see if there is a level of infringment here. I don't think so and I am trying so hard to guard against it. I have so much respect for the time and energy that goes into everyone's work and I appreciate the inspiration they put out here for the world to see. I guess the real fear for me is that people will stop sharing with all of the issues that are occuring.

On to more fun. I posted a quilt sketch for a baby gift I was thinking on. Need to finish in a hurry. HELLO ----- what was I thinking. I have not had 2 hours for sitting still and piecing anything at home with the machine. So I resorted to the most portablee of crafts, crochet. I dug through all the boxes and assembled the necessary baby yarns for a blanket. This will need 42 squares and I am well on my way.

Aren't the colors fun. Yes it is in the scrappy, leftover style that my crochet has taken on. There will be an equal number of solid squares and then scrappy squares. I may have to buy two or three skeins of white to complete the edging. I have started calling these scrappy blankets - Nanny blankets. They remind me of something my nanny would have made for all of us. This is traveling with me in one of those big ziplock bags. These things are huge and handled and wonderful - well worth the 5.00 purchase price I paid for three of them.

I have Vallen's bag she sent me, but it currently is holding the cowboy quilt waiting for me to get back to it. Oh and she is hosting a virtual potluck over at her place. Go over and look at the particulars. Darla left me a comment about the surgery saying she would bring a casserole if she lived nearby. I may have to browse all of the Queen's participants and pretend that they are cooking for me.

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend planned. The weather has cooled to a more seasonable level here.

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Happy Fall and all about spiders (the fun kind)

Another sneak peek. Made from a vintage playing card, some cork wall paper and the unused spine of an old book. There are also some scrapbook paper scraps. The leaf punch is a Martha Stewart one from Michaels. There is also spray glitter. (had to get that in there somehow)
About the spider from yesterday - she is now dead. One of our customers freaked out about her. We were upset. Maybe if more people were educated about this kind of spider they would be left alone.
She was a black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) also known as a writing spider in the south. The female can be up to 1-1/2 inches long. The male is much smaller. They are considered harmless to humans. They are part of the orb web spider group - named because of the webs they build. Non agressive - the only record of a bite to a human with effects that I have found goes back almost 40 years to 1968. If bitten by one you can expect an itchy sore that will go away in a few days. The webs are up to 2 feet in diameter with a distinctive zigzag woven in (called a stabilimentum) . The reason for this pattern is unknown. They are daytime active spiders. As part of the daily activity the female consumes the center of the web and rebuilds it. They mate and reproduce once a year. The male builds a small web close by and waits until the female is ready for mating - after mating the male dies and is often eaten by the female. The female creates an egg sac, then usually dies around the time of the first frost. The eggs overwinter in the sac and "hatch" in the first warm days of spring. They eat insects that become trapped in the web. There are more of these at my house and all around our building. These are the good guys. They eat other insects and spiders. Even our pest control guy leaves them alone. This is the kind of spider refered to in Charlotte's Web.
About me - desperately trying to organize at work so I can be out for the surgery. Behind on some swaps. Trying to get a baby gift done in time for a shower. Region playoffs approaching for both volleyball and softball. College search continues. Laundry piling up. The dust bunny brigade has brought in reinforcements and stands a good chance of winning. I think there may be some chicken noodle soup at the house - nothing else - it looks like the food source for a dorm room. This too shall pass - right.
Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A cutie comes to live with me.....

Just look at her. The tag says "good little witch". Isn't she cute. This was my surprise at 11 pm last night when I got home from the volleyball matches. It's a part of my swap package from Lizzy in the artsymama sweet and sinister swap. I am loving this and the rest of it so much. More pictures tomorrow. Of everything but the chocolate. Most of it has already disappeared.
Thank you Lizzy.

The next picture is more than a little eerie. And something you will probably judge me for. (not really)

Our big old yellow and black garden spider. She lives by the dock doors at work. Yesterday the boys partially killed another kind of spider at the counter and we tossed it into the web. I have never watched a spider really attack prey before and it only took seconds for this one to complety disable and wrap the meal in a nice little ready to eat package. It was amazing to watch.

This spider has been by the door for weeks and was tiny when we first noticed her. We are very protective of her - even the pest control man has been warned. She is huge now. There are several more around the building. I also have several at home.

I will be posting more of the collaged pages from the professor's book once she gets her package. for now I leave you with one of the quotes....

The young may know all the rules. But we know the exceptions. anon.

I love the knowledge that I can live in some of these exceptions.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I hope she isn't too upset about the preview of these pages.
This is the page that started it all. The 3d collage thing in the journal. I dreamed this page over and over in various forms. I stacked this page. I moved this page around. I couldn't quite get it right. I knew what I wanted to represent. I was anorexic for many years following my dad's accidental death. Had children - attained a healthy weight - then diagnosed with cancer. I now struggle with being over weight. (a direct result of prevention drugs)
I have now reached the 10 year mark and after my surgery will becoming off all hormonal drugs. I feel the stirring in me to become healthy mentally and physically.
I wanted this to represent all people. To encourage them to emerge from whatever darkness is enveloping them. I used the butterfly as that symbol. I have only managed to capture a catapillar and see the entire process once. We found a huge and ugly one in the back yard. I brought it in and put it in a pickle jar. We brought fresh leaves every day until it started wrappng itself into the cocoon. I am sure we could have looked up the kind it was, but that never crossed my mind. We chose to wait for the surprise. As luck would have it, I was awake and working on something when it started to emerge. I woke everyone up and we watched this stunning luna moth break out of that cocoon then plump its wings and prepare to fly. We immediately let it go into the night. But we all were aware of the miracle that we had just seen. This ugly bug - sorry but I hate creepy crawlies - had become a gorgeous creature.
That's what this page had to say. No matter what the darkness helps you hide, once you choose the right time to emerge, you will be beautiful. So break open the cocoon and get out there. The world needs your beauty. Everyone is different. Every message special. The world needs all the beauty we can throw at it.
Did anyone watch Crazy Sexy Cancer last night? Did the messages from Kris resonate in your soul? The black lady hit me with her phrase - I am spending time trying to be alright and I am not alright. Once again I was hiding behind a mask with most people - faking it - this phrase struck me profoundly and once again reminds me not to hide. Not with you - not at all. When I was listening to her story, she also said she showed up to work. She showed up everyday and that is how she wrote those plays. So that's what I will do - I'll show up. And I'll keep fighting my way out of the cocoon and at some point I'll be ready to plump up my wings and fly. I have faith that the next part of this journey will be different.
Did I get the message right in the art?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Turn offs and Turn ons

A page from the professor's birthday journal - MaryAnn this package is on its way. (finally)

Miss MaryAnn listed some secret confessions and then some happiness generators. Following her lead I am adding my list of turn offs and turn ons about people. I will say, I pick the people I want to surround myself with very carefully. Everybody should. I want to have people challenge and encourage me to be my best and I want to do the same for my friends.
TURN OFF - constantly degrading others, either in front of them or behind their back.
TURN ON - encouraging words, respectful words, acceptance of differences.
TURN OFF - constant foul language. Reasonably intelligent adults should have enough grip on the English language to not require profanity to illustrate a point. Constant use of the "F" word just illustrates a lack of communication skill to me. (Note - I can cuss like a sailor myself and am not offended by the language, the constant use just minimizes the person's intelligence to me.)
TURN ON - someone in control of themselves. I have watched and known that someone was angry enough to unload on me, but then walk out and regain composure before we continue the conversation. That tells me the person cares enough about his/her reputation enough to be professional in public.
TURN OFF - needy people. There are somethings that will require help and that is fine. But someone who needs help with everything is an incredible burden. I have also found that these kind of people never have time to help me, but they are offended if I don't have time to help them.
TURN ON - people who will try something new. Learn a new skill. Try a new food. Read a book. Listen to new music. You never know what you might enjoy if you aren't willing to expose yourself to new things. I would have missed out on some of my favorite music if I had not allowed my girls to play their favorite radio stations.
TURN OFF - rudeness. (that should require no explanation)
TURN ON - respectful behavior. there is absolutely nothing wrong with manners.
TURN OFF - preachy people. Religion is personal. It is a relationship with God. It is a faith statement. It is lived in all aspects of a life. It is not about going to church. It is not about tithes and offerings for show. It is not about mission works for show. It is not about following the rules.
TURN ON - quiet faith. Being able to tell that someone has a faith statement without them announcing it to the world.
TURN OFF - negative - don't give a sh(* people. The reality - most of those who scream this loudly are really screaming that they wish they didn't care when they really want to be encouraged and respected. Find your demons people and make peace with them.
TURN ON - people who go that extra. Without expecting anything in return. Who will cover for a coworker and not have to brag about it. That person you know will come at 2am and not ask why before they do. Those people who will volunteer first for a job on the list. Or those who will wait and sign up last because they don't mind the crap assignment.
TURN OFF - takers
TURN ON - givers
In this journey, I have had so many of all kinds of people in my life. I want to be surrounded by encouraging people. At times I have been bitter and ugly and spiteful. I try really hard to not be that way. What I find is that I often react in all of the negative ways when I am hurt. I can also be incredibly "get even" in my mentality. I work on that constantly. I am learning to apologize when that happens. More and more I choose to be in control and let things go. I want to be recognized as respectful, kind, giving, compassionate.
I am a work in progress.
Come on now = give us some of your turn offs and ons.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Secret Confessions

Miss MaryAnn has challenged us to 'fess up some of our secrets. I have decided to play along. Remember --- these have been secret until now.

1. I would love to host a blogger buddy retreat weekend.

2. I would love to participate in the Amazing Race.

3. I adore skinny dipping and there are several places I would love to go. And someone I would like to have join me.

4. My dream house is not big or pretentious. I would love to live on the farm at Magnolia Pearl.

5. I would love to have the courage to fully embrace the bohemian lifestyle.

6. I would love to have my own tiny little shop.

7. I think a long hot shower with a partner is the best foreplay setup I can imagine.

8. I wish for my girls to find that one person who excites them mentally, emotionally, and physically and who treats them as if they are the most important person in the world - always.

9. I wish I did not constantly worry about money.

10. I wish I knew for sure that happily ever after could be a reality, when every experience in my past tells me I am not going to have that.

11. I wish large parts of my past could be erased.

12. I wish I could forgive myself for "settling".

There you are - secret confessions.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Kitchen Quilts

I visited with my Mom last night. If I never pieced another quilt, I could work on these until I died. She loves to piece but not quilt. My travel projects in the future are going to be quilting all these tops she has made.

She calls these "kitchen quilts" because she works at her kitchen table when she makes them. All of these are scrappy in their nature. Some more so than others.

We had a great time visiting - much laughter - stories - it was a good night. We have not had the best relationship in the world. Past hurts are healing. Last night you could really feel the change in the relationship - it was open and fun - requiring no effort at all.

Anyway - I took these pictures while we were talking - more about these....

I get my inner fabric whore personality from her. She has sewn all my life. Used to make my clothes when I was small. She saves even the smallest scraps. The top above is 95 squares. Not one repeat in fabric and not one purchase of fabric. Very colorful. Very fun.

The starburst has been a challenge for her in the past. All of the diamonds were hard to piece. Look carefully at the picture - this one is all right triangles and squares. Much easier. This one is wall sized or table top sized.

The "scottie" quilt. Fun and the little sweaters on the dogs are made from a fabric that my sister had a shirt of. This will fit a single bed easily and will be a great car quilt.

This one took me a while to figure out. It is a pieced sunbonnet girl - holding a stepping around the mountain quilt. The contrast on her pale green bonnet could have been greater. She used what she had so we will make this work. If you study it - you can see it. I will quilt that area in a varigated dark green overdyed floss - I will stipple the bonnet squares to make it look like a small sprigged print. This should bring out the detail needed to show off the girl. The background is various squares of muslins. This is adapted from a pattern in Postage Stamp Quilts.

Really wanted to brag a little on mom. The stroke she suffered in January has had some lasting effects. She refuses to give into those. It takes her longer to accomplish everything. Figuring out how to piece these patterns is difficult for her, she keeps a quad ruled pad close by and colored pencils. As she selects fabrics, she colors in the pattern in a pencil close to that tone, then cuts the pieces she needs and numbers the fabric stacks to coordinate with the colored in pattern. Then she can remember what goes where . Sounds like a lot of trouble, but her short term memory is not as it should be and this is how she offsets the effects. We all could learn so much about tenacity from this kind of response to a challenge. She has had to adapt many ways of doing things in order to thrive. Sure she could just get by, lean on others and let them take care of things. But she has chosen to thrive. She is my hero because of that.

She is an ordinary woman, with a challenging situation, refusing to let that challenge overcome who she is inside. That makes her extraordinary.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

This is the way I live

eta - EYE CANDY ROAD TRIP - i found this via pink chalks blog. A stunning headboard from granny squares. I'm thinking this needs to happen at my house in some form.

Neither of our children have played ball without one of us there this season. I have not missed a volleyball match. Dad has not missed a softball game. Both of us have been at several of both. It is a tremendous juggle to manage work, school, ball, church, and other assorted requirements. Many days I leave for work around 7:30 am and don't return until 10 or 11 at night.

I commented several days ago that my house was in chaos. If you look at the schedule, there is a reason for this. I refuse to worry about it. The house can be cleaned later. But right now there are many many areas that look just like this (or worse). Piles. Molly has stacked these up nicely. Normally they are scattered across the floor. This is in the main room next to the tv. It is 19 steps from here to the closet (checked this morning) - so why do they land here (and by the chair and the door and the corner of the kitchen). Because its easy or we are lazy --- you pick. Molly took the time to gather them up - why not drop them in the closet of the owner. Where are the man's shoes? They are in a pile on top of the dryer or by the door of my closet. I think he's afraid they will disappear in the estrogen jungle unless he protects them.

Just wanted to show you a little more of the reality of my world.

Now for some fun. I love Rebecca Sower's work so much. I really wish I was going to the Silver Bella conference just for her class. I have been so inspired by her little bits of embellishment. Go over to her place, read the archives, study the pictures, go to flickr. You'll understand. Anyway, I created my own little bit for a project. this embroidered heart. This is in an altered/created book, so not too much 3d. This was quick and fun to do. I actually made it on the trip to a ballgame in the car. From start to finish - only about 30 minutes. An old piece of wool/cotton quilt batting and scrap embroidery floss. Easy - peasy.

Now about the not sitting still. At the game last night. I am quilting on the cowboy quilt and I can do that and watch the game. Many people make fun of me because I appear calm. NOT EVEN. If I did not have that (or something) in my hands, I would be tossed on a regular basis. I finally put it away last night after some really bad officiating. I am not a calm and collected fan at all. I am actually the kind that results in a phone call from a coach saying "you are disrespectful of officials and you are my biggest problem parent" - (FYI - the phone call was made by the man at my address to my work and he was right - red letter day I don't say that he was right often) I will take something with me in order to avoid that kind of call from a real coach. I accomplish a lot too.

MaggieGrace goodies are progressing, just at a slow pace. If you are expecting a package from me, I promise you will get it.

As for today - I go to the consultation visit for my surgery this afternoon. I have my list of questions for the doctor then we will set the date and go from there. More information tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Oh crap - a project regrouping

I have had a baby quilt design percolating for some time now. This is supposed to be for a late December baby - interpret that as I could complete in November. Well - yesterday at church it was announced that the shower for this baby will be on October 23. So panic and chaos has arrived at my house. Gotta get busy.

Would you all believe I did not have to run to the store for anything on this one? LOL

This will be random soft colored (girly) square rows separated by coordinating unpieced rows. I will quilt the squares around the edge and the long rows will have the words in large script quilted in. Gotta get busy. Seems this little girl was farther along than anticipated and is now scheduled to arrive almost a month early.

This results in a major buckle down. I'll be cutting tonight and piecing on Wednesday night. (softball game on Tuesday) Then quilting and quilting and quilting after that.

I have updated over at CIP this morning. Just look at the fun stuff some lucky people will be receiving.

Hope you all had a great weekend.