Monday, December 31, 2007

The end of 2007

365 days ago you arrived with all of the promise of newness.
An open slate to choose everyday how I would live
How I would remember 2007.
How others would remember me.
Was it successful - this past year?
In some ways it was the best year ever and in some ways the worst.
I have been released for regular visits with the cancer specialists - once a year instead of constantly.
I faced a major surgery and recovered with flying colors.
I was betrayed and survived - I learned that not everyone will make the right choice in a situation.
I am closer to my girls than ever.
I am more sure of myself than ever.
I have created and been inspired.
I have had a wonderful time here in the blogosphere.
I have had a wonderful time in my day to day life.
I have cried tears of joy.
I have cried tears of frustration.
I have cried tears of loss.
I have laughed because life is funny.
I have laughed because life is strange.
I have laughed because the only other response would have been to cry.
I have laughed so hard my sides hurt - then tried to remember what was so dang funny. I still can't figure that out.
I have loved - I have lost - I have gained.
I have been driven to the point of really not caring about the outcome of a particular situation. This is the best outcome for everyone because when I don't care - I don't feel the urge to retailiate.
I have dreamed new dreams. Fulfilled old dreams. Let go of those that no longer apply to me.
I recorded much of this here. I protected some things from the prying eyes of others. I may have failed at times, but I feel like I have made good decisions this year.
I leave 2007 a better person - I look into 2008 with hope.
There will be no huge resolutions - those are always broken by the end of the month. Instead I challenge myself to learn and do and grow again this upcoming year. To try and make the right choices. To give as much as I can of my time, resources, and inspiration without compromising what I need to keep for myself and my family. To say yes when I should and NO when I should. Today - I reflect - tomorrow I respond - with newness and vigor - to the blank pages that are 2008.
Happy new year - all.
ps - MaryAnn - I want to see you work in orange and yellow and green - bright saturated color. I am choosing yellow as my color to incorporate more. I shy away from it continually. I am sending you some images from my folder - let me know.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday ..... the last one of the year

It's the last Saturday of 2007, I am quiet and reflective. I have Tracey's wall quilt in the hoop. I should be painting, but instead, I am catching up on blogs this morning. I'll go back to the quilt in just a few minutes.

I wanted to share some wonderful news - my lovely neice, Brooke, will be getting married on Tuesday. Now that's a New Year celebration. Her fiance, Kevin, is in service and there is a strong chance he will be deployed soon, so we will be attending a wedding on Tuesday. These plans came as a phone call last night. I am praying blessings on them both as they start this next phase of their life together. I hope you all will lift them up as well.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, December 28, 2007

We certainly don't need one of these in the south

An Ark - I am only showing a small part of this. It was a CIP item for my little sis. I did not get it finished by Christmas, but I will get it finished in time for our family gathering later in January. Tracey works for the sherriff's dept and had to work through the holiday. With her kids and my kids and her work schedule, we just postponed the celebration until later.

This was at first an incredibly fun embroidery project. The animals themselves were a challenge to do. I love how they turned out. The textures of the different stiches and yarns are fun. Then came the wall boards - OMG - what a frustrating nightmare they were. They are stitched from a shiny - easily frayed - rayon upholstry thread - I bought many spools at the fabric warehouse. I had to work with short pieces and then the stitches were pulling the fabric out of shape. Many hours - lots of cursing - days of wetting and reblocking - finally adding some iron on interfacing to the back to hold it into shape.

The piecing was fun. I was sewing on the dining room table and rather than destroy all the clean decor, I was pressing on the top of the washing machine. I would sew a piece and then get up and walk in front of the tv to the laundry room - to the tune of "mom you're in the way" - and press that piece - then back again.

Oh yeah - I USED WHAT I HAD.

I am tickled with how it turned out. I'll show it to you in full when it goes to live at it's new home. Tracey can hang this at work, there will be nothing that can be used as a weapon in its construction - I'll use a piece of hat band material as a stiffener across the top and then ribbon to hang it from those command hooks. I am glad I don't have to think ahead of criminals every day in my work. I only have to be on guard for serious practical joking.

I feel better today - I am beginning to create the CIP project list for 2008. Thanks to all of you for your encouraging words. I can feel the creative juices beginning to flow. I'll have a weekend away from family soon - Jan 11-13 - work related, but the nights are mine. So looking forward to that trek. Then the next weekend, Jan 18 and 19, the travel volleyball season opens in Chattanooga, TN. There will be lots of crochet and quilting time there as we sit and watch or sit and wait.

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Not a creature was stirring - take two.....

There is a huge plus to having teens. Yes, I said that. No, I am not crazy (that's probably a lie - I am a little nuts). I remember being so excited about Christmas as a little girl. Up early to see what was under the tree. Then those teen years hit and all you really want to do is sleep. Then you grow up and become the responsible party. You know - the Mom.

We had our girls and there were many many years of rolling out of bed - way before dawn for the Santa HoHo dance. Complete with those high pitched girly squeals. Now - my girls are teens and we had to get them up on Christmas morning - just barely still morning might I add. Both of them just snuggled deeper in the covers when they realized it was light outside. So Christmas was laid back and relaxed. We were well rested, ate junk food (just like every other morning) and generally were lazy sloths all day. I stayed in my pj's literally all day. As did my blonde princess - see below.

You can see that she did try on the jacket Santa brought - let's not discuss how much Santa piad for that hoodie. Right over those said jammies. She is WATCHING Molly open the gifts. Molly even opened Abby's stocking stuff. Too much fun. You can see behind her the gifts I got. Light fixtures and ceiling tiles for the studio.

The island separates the living and dining rooms. Right now it is full of craft stuff - surprise. Look closely at the top - it is made from the slate off a pool table. The oak corners are still intact and I left all the mounting holes in the slate. I still have two pieces of the slate, just waiting for inspiration. This is one of my favorite pieces and stories in my house. When we renovated, the toilet bowl was so nasty that we changed the toilet. I was working with a homeowner at her house, and tripped over the slate. Before I was set to leave, the plumber broke the tank of her toilet, a 1940's toilet exactly like the one I had just taken out of our house. I traded a used toilet tank for these three pieces of slate. I really think I got the best of that deal.

I am starting to take down the few decorations we did get out and I wanted to share this one with you. I adore nativity sets. I have many, many of them. I have very formal ornate ones. I have ornaments. I have childish ones. I have handcrafted ones. I adore each and every one. This wooden one was made for me by my little sister. Cut out and woodburned - we used to let the girls play with this one and some other unbreakable ones - over and over they would tell the Christmas story. Those memories are incredibly precious to me.

I am struggling with some post holiday blues this week. Losing Charles uncle through the holiday has been difficult. Realizing that the traditions we consider "normal" - with Molly being a part of them - are about to change are bothering me too. Add to it that we are getting some much needed rain and overcast skies and my mood matches the weather. I am feeling a distinct lack of creativity - I have some things going, but just not much enthusiam for the projects . I am crocheting a baby blanket out of some thread I had stashed in the attic - I have the cowboy quilt that I desperately need to finish - not starting another one until that one is done - and the studio waits patiently for paint. I can tell when everything is flowing smoothly in me, because the ideas tumble out and right now that is just not happening. It will be back, I just need a break. This holiday season was tiring - could a major surgery have had anything to do with it - and I need to rest.

With the way this year has gone, I am glad to move on into 2008.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not a creature was stirring.....

That's because she was asleep under the tree. Monster cat Junior never offered to bother the tree at all. She sniffed around and settled in on the fabric we used as a a tree skirt. She spent the days either laying here or snuggled in on the sofa with Abby. She splits time indoors and out - her outdoor time allowed her to have no-no goodies right off the table - so she doesn't mind being tossed out the door at all.

It is not an optical illusion - I really do have those huge baseboards - Somewhere between 11 and 12 inches.

Now meet - Ingrid (l), Myra (c), and Melvin (r) - all softie dolls from MaryAnn. She sells them through her Etsy store as well - butt cracks included - and they are adorable - Thanks my friend and thanks for the box of scraps - I have an idea for them but I won't share that today.

Way back in the early part of the year, I sent Gina over at LaBelle Ave. a box of scraps for a quilt. Well she sent an update letter and a box of goodies for me. Thank you Gina - this was a wonderful surprise. I especially love the Walnut stuffed pincushion.

Also in the mail goodies - this was what the postman delivered Friday - Molly was in the kitchen in her undies when the delivery happened. Yes you can laugh - we did. A lovely calendar from Roxanne - I have been contemplating a word a day project for myself and this is just the thing to record my words for each day. There is a pocket of pages on the back - so I'll have a way of keeping these all year. Loving this - it is beautiful and will be something I use everyday. My big calendar in the kitchen may be jealous since it just works without recognition and this one will be though of as fondly.
The final picture of this post - one of my favorite views this season. Across the dining room table to the tree, with just the tree lights lit. I sat here a lot over the 4 days I was home. I pondered how far I have come this year. I counted many blessings. I prayed many uplifting prayers for my family and others. I generally just enjoyed this view. The glass bowl of vintage aqua and teal ornaments on the table cost me nothing. The bowl was given to me by my sister - from her late MIL home and the ornaments were destined for the the trash when a friend from church moved.
It was a wonderful holiday season - I am a very blessed lady. I wish you the peace and joy I have felt. I hope you recognize and celebrate the blessings in you life as well.

I also have an updated post over at CIP today.

Happy Holidays - Teresa

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Prayer Request

Sunday Morning. My lovely mother-in law, Ann, just called. Her brother Ralph Simpson just passed away after a long battle with cancer. Ann is a regular reader and commentor here, please lift this family up in your thoughts and prayers today and for the next few. I will pass the comments on to Ann, her other brothers, and Ralph's wife and son.

Uncle Ralph we will miss you.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas......

Also - thank you so much to JEN -- the gifts you sent are just wonderful. When I talked to MaryAnn last week, I discovered that she was skipping through my blog in hopes that she wouldn't see pictures of my goodies that JEN sent. See she was getting packages too and - since she is such a professional good girl - she has been waiting until Christmas. Since - I adore the professor, I chose to hold the pictures. JEN you rock - just wanted to tell you that. If you guys want to see all of the items - jump over to Kristen's place -- she showed off the entire set in one post.

Now - I met Raesha when she signed up for CIP with us. I have enjoyed everything over at her place too. She just finished up a birthday party for her miss "S" and I am wishing I had an invite. I found a package from her yesterday on the porch. Look ----

It is a pretty peachy pink and red and green - made just like a pencil roll but instead of pencils - I immediately loaded it with .......

My crochet hooks - the pen cap is from one that wouldn't write so I use it to cover the sharp points of the tiny hooks. This is wonderful and it is one of those things I kept meaning to make, but never took the time. Thank you so much Raesha. Love this and the colors are perfect.

Three more stores - Target, Michaels, Academy Sports - and I will have the girls done. Then I can rest a tiny bit.

The tree is lit but undecorated. That is a horrible state of being. This is the latest we have waited to do this. Oh well - we will get there. I am very envious of those beautifully decorated houses but with my surgery and recovery, I didn't get the village down from the attic during Thanksgiving and just haven't had time as the season bore down on us. I haven't even hung the wreath on the front door. But the stockings are hung (thanks girls) and the season is jolly.

I return to the doctor next May. See yesterday's edit for the information.

I have tried to keep the stress at bay this year. Maybe there is something to the idea of a plan for the season. The focus of CIP will be different this year, I will say that I have been emailed about some folks still participating and I will do that - drop me an email if you are interested to - I will give some thought to how to focus it this year.

Have a wonderful weekend - and just in case I take an unintentional break - MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I am so close.......

edit - all systems go - the tissue they extracted was benign but abnormal and could have changed or grown back had we dealt with it differently. I have been released from the ability to use the pj's and I just had surgery excuses to be lazy. Full activity can resume. Apparently the doctor is not a MaggieGrace reader or he would know that I pretty much resumed full activity level about two weeks ago. Thank you everyone for prayer and positive thoughts. have a wonderful night. - teresa

To finishing what I need to make before Christmas. This pink and black beanie - then one more from the grey/black in the picture (fyi - bag from Vallen), a little bit of cross stitch for a pillow cover, finishing that same pillow cover, and I can call it done. There were others that I would like to have done - go over to the very first post on CIP. - but that is okay, there will be next year.

I will be keeping the CIP blog open next year and I'll still be posting over there as I have things Christmas related. I have so enjoyed the ladies who jumped in there and played along. I have to say, 2007 has been one of my most creative years. I have tried new things. I have stretched myself. My skills have improved. And - OMG - the inspiration that this community brings to us all.

Generosity - inspiration - encouragement - support - laughter - understanding - beauty. I have found all this and so much more at your blog homes. Of course - as in life - I have formed lasting realationships with some - I have simply visited with others. I love the leads to others links that you all have and as I have grown in this - I have become even more inspired for 2008. I also spend hours reading somedays. I do not want to lose track of any of you as you add to the posts in your worlds. All this is leading into a full blown endorsement for one of the handiest internet tools I have found. If you have not tried google reader - - you absolutely must. Easy to set up - easy to use - shows the pictures (a huge problem for the last blogroll I used and abandoned) and allows you to link out to either the post or the blog itself. A wonderful tool to use - of course it would be - powered by google and all. It even will point you to more blogs that fit your setup scheme. Amazing. Adding new blogs to you list is almost effortless as well - just copy and paste the address in the box.

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season - mine will be busy and fun filled - family gatherings - a few friends. Lot's of rest - maybe a few margaritas - then next week afterwards, I look forward to reflecting on the positives of 2007, forgiving myself and others for the negatives of 2007, and setting a few goals for 2008. One thing I have already decided is that there will be no body image resolutions for me at all - my goals will be about sharing blessings with others and the enjoying the journey along that path. I will ask for others support if I need it - without fear that they will think I am too needy- because helping someone and seeing results can give them the opportunity to receive some blessing as well.
My first blessing is for each of you - you are beautiful, just as you are. My first request - I go back - hopefully for my last followup check from my surgery this afternoon - the preliminary results from the tumour are fine - but I get the final results today and that old fear - WHAT IF - is hanging around - will you all help me send that fear away with positive thoughts and prayers?
Have a wonderful day - Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A crowd pleaser

The Christmas Program is the highlight of the season for so many people in our church. Sunday night was no different. The little ones - under 4th grade - stole the show in my heart. There is nothing more precious than those kids dressed as angels - shepherds - Mary and Joseph. The retelling of the story through those soft and tiny voices still tickles me pink. One of the tiny ones - Hannah Kate was dressed as a lamb. While they were singing a really cute song about the animals worshipping the Baby - this little lamb played with the straw in the manger and adjusted the blanket around the doll portraying the Baby King. How precious is that?

A favorite story of the program for me was a tiny shepherd from several years ago. Clay was to be just that - all dressed up, but cranky and tired - no nap - long day - you have the picture. I had made a fire from fabric bolt centers and cardboard - all painted to look like flames and logs. The shepherds were to sit around the fire and then be startled at the appearance of the angel choir. When the angels showed up - little Clay was sound asleep laying on stage by this fake fire. So sweet and he didn't wake up for the visit to Jesus. Mom retrieved him from the stage afterwards.
We do 2 parts of our program - the little ones and then the older kids (up to seniors in high school.) The older ones are so talented - they can sing and dance and recite lines. The top two pictures are of the set. Many hours of painting on the backdrop - representing the Inn in Bethlehem - then I realized it was to be the HOLY DAY INN in the play - so I asked a young man in our congregation to help with a vintage styled holiday inn sign. Jason drew the art for the back drop and ALL the kids (4th grade and up) painted. (Sorry so dark - the lights were down in room) and then he made the sign. It is one of my favorite stage pieces ever. We left it up for the holiday season - then I will be deciding where this goes afterwards. It is way too cool to just be packed up. I did not see it until just before the play on Sunday. What do you guys think about it?
On to a more worldly celebration, I moved a few things into MaggieGrace studios last night. The girls helped. Dad helped. No it is not complete, but we put our tree in the dining room and that is where a lot of the stuff was. We moved some of the already sorted stuff and reaaranged some things. Dad brought the tree in and tied it to the ceiling. Large tree -tall ceiling - recipe for disaster - bought lesson - hook in the ceiling - wire - been there done that in years past. The studio move will be controlled and complete at some point. It sure felt great to see those shelves begin to look like I work in there. Bumped the excitement level a huge amount.
Then this morning - the man's truck bit the dust - he will be getting auto service for his Christmas gift - I am sure he will was hoping for something a little less practical. Oh well. I have rescued him from the roadside and we will deal with all of that this afternoon.
Have a wonderful day.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Elf shoes and stuff

I promised a tutorial on these. Adjustable sized elf shoes. They actually were east once I figure out just to glue them to a pair of socks. Sorry about the really blurry pictures - late -- late night dark and tired. I can send patterns if you need them - cut two sides and one iron shaped mid section. (below)
I cut mine out of black felt - then blanket stitched the two sided around the toe - insert the middle and blanket stitch it in - it should look like this. Insert a sock covered foot and glue this around the sock using fabric glue.wrapping the excess length around the back of the foot. - the midsection can be drawn in after this and tied with a ribbon - they really were easy to make - and I'll use this pattern to make fairy shoes in the future. At 5 am Sunday morning - me and this companion (see below) were putting the finishing touches on costumes. This after a conversation with a friend of mine on Friday night. At 9pm my phone rang and Ernestine needed to use my sewing machine - hers was broken and they needed a couple of costumes for the little kids program. She came over and we visited while she sewed up her stuff.

There is no comfort for me in the discussion at all. She is 67 and all her kids are grown and gone - but there she is at my house at 11pm Friday night before the program sewing costumes. I am afraid this will be me.

One last look at costume accessories. The Potentate's hat/crown = I took the bill off a ball cap and glued this fabric over and around the hat part. The jewel is a candle jar lid w/rinestones and glitter. Please note that even with costuming a king and his page - twenty one kids - and creating a backdrop for the program - I have only used what I had and what was at the church - a real indication that I have too much stuff still.

I'll have pictures of the backdrop and my favorite set piece tomorrow..... I'll try to upgrade this information about the elf shoes as well.

Have a wonderful Monday ...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Round and round

First a question -- does a CD really spin???? That question came from a three year old when I put a CD in at church. Man the things you learn while trying to answer their questions. There is no picture of the mix CD that JEN sent in her next package. I forgot it this morning or I would be listening to it. I love these kinds of CD's because the music everyone listens to is so eclectic. Instead - I'm really old (teenager perspective) - a teen of the 80's - I have been listening this morning to Journey - and singing. Yes - if you pull up to me at a red light and I appear to be singing - roll down the window and listen - there is no telling what it might be. The music I listen too is as varied and unpredictable as december weather in the south.

About the weather - after a week of sunny 70 degree days - we are going to have cold rain over the weekend. Then it supposed to stay cold. Maybe.

Next picture - a WIP shot of the gift tags from this year and a sneak peek of the cover of the journal MaryAnn sent

Yes - I have it hung over a fork. These are stamped and gold embossed trees. Love these - it took longer to punch than to stamp and emboss. When I was embossing with the heat gun I had to get close to the edge and that was way to close to my fingers - hence the fork. This is in my kitchen at the island and it was the closest "holder" available. When I realized just how convenient this was - I added a fork to the tool list to put in the studio drawer when I move in - this joins other high tech tools like a metal skewer, toothpicks and wooden spring clothes pins. These tags will adorn all my packages - the girls love them. I made some hot pink Santa ones as well - pictures to come later of those.

Last night I was alone in the house. That used to be rare, but as the monsters get older, it is happening more and more. I found all the "stuff" for the king's cape - started a hat/crown - and worked out a pattern for some pointed toe "elf" type sock covers. I made the pattern out of paper - then a calico cotton and sewed the pattern together while I was watching Project Runway reruns. Those will be on the agenda tonight to assemble from acrylic felt and embellish. Easy to make - adjustable - I'll post the instructions for these on Monday - I will be using this pattern for the woodland fairy costume next Halloween.

After everyone went to bed, I finished the 20th hat and started number 21. This one is hot pink and already has been assigned to a new owner. It was quiet in the house and I was pondering things. Look at the pattern the crown of these hats make.....

Like I said - this is the beginning of hat number 21, being made from a stranded smooth acrylic yarn. I had not noticed the pattern until this one. The spiral is really pretty to me. But since I didn't notice this - I was pondering just how many patterns we don't notice. I'm talking behavioral patterns - mental patterns - emotional patterns - both negative and positive. I identified several phrases that I use than can set up a negative vibe in my life and I have a feeling I found some of the best New Years Resolutions fodder I have had in many years. Look for more on this.

The Christmas list is oh so slowly dwindling - next week will be busy - decorating - creating - then after the holiday - the studio becomes my top priority. It's close to being ready to paint and the feeling in that space is very relaxing and creative - I cannot wait to start that process and then load my stuff in there. I really wonder how many things I'll find that I have forgotten about.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So this one is irreverent.......

Whew - yesterday was awful. We were hammered at work - people are starting to plan for after the holidays. Plumbers and builders know that many manufacturers will close for two weeks through the holiday. Shipping becomes an issue starting at Thanksgiving - according to UPS - they will deliver more packages from NOV-DEC than they deliver the rest of the year. So while we are slow in our day to day operations - showroom consultations and purchasing is wide open.

Anyway, knowing that I could be driven to drink at this time of the year, one of my customers sent me another tree decorating idea (remember - I used beer bottle caps for some of my creations) Just take a look ---------------

Coming soon to the corner window in my office. (not really - mine would look dead - Coors Light is in brown bottle). All of us may save bottles this next year and see if we can build one.

Next on the irreverent list - and this particular photo prompted a long and oh so pleasant conversation with this lovely lady. I received a package of goodness from her - I'm not patient so I ripped into it. Remember - I sent her a journal for her birthday. Seems she had already started on one for me. I'll be dropping pages in here as I need post fodder. This journal is wonderful - quotes and spaces for me to enter my own stuff. Now not only is MaryAnn incredibly talented, she teaches English and she could teach penmanship. I love to see her handwriting on an envelope or note. Thank you oh so much - my friend.

Here's the quote down the edge of one of my pages.........

Yes there is a huge amount of insider information contained in this, but it just fits the irreverent nature of this post.

Christmas is bearing down on us all. We will put up our tree this weekend - the girls have a party Friday Night and we have the Christmas Program and a party on Sunday - next week I have to get my stuff together - then I can relax.

Hope this finds you having a wonderful holiday season -- Merry Christmas All.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Damn - what a day - busy - hammered - can't seem to get control of anything at work - everybody wants a piece of me. I feel like I'm completely in the dark - hence this picture.
Be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It was worth the wait......

So last night, I get home and package #2 was there. Finally. And ladies, it was well worth the wait. A notebook, pencils and eraser. I have to say, this woman knows me well. I love office supplies. And the pencils - each one has an inspiring word on it - my favorite part of this gift. As a matter of fact - I am considering a word project for next year as a creative focus.

Just look at this goodness.

I also worked on a few more goodies last night. Now don't be jealous all of you cigar box people. Yes, these are in a wooden box. One of the work/storage ones that I love. I have even at times put a rubber band around this one and carried a small project around with me.
Tags - punched out of white cards stock - some red mud colored stamp pad ink - and a sheet of artchix images I received in a package from someone. I have a Sizzix die cut system - thank you local best friend - and a tag die with 3 sizes of tags. Last night I stamped and glued and finished 60 tags. 30 more large ones to complete, add hangers, and these little packages will be done.

These are the ones I finished last night. I hang the groups on a portable (cheap) locker corkboard for now. In the studio I'll have space on the design wall for this kind of storage while I'm working.

Tonight, I'll be finishing these tags and then another hat. I have the little quiltlet and a cross stitch pillow to finished before next weekend. Two capes, shoe covers and a crown/hat thing by Saturday. As much as I tried to eliminate the Christmas rush, I still have those two last minute things to complete. And hats - Abby keeps adding friends to the hat list.

As I approach the end of this year, I am reflecting on how this place has changed things in my life. I now consider so many of YOU as friends. I write here regularly and visit with each of you as well. I look forward to comments and I leave many for you as well. My art and craft has improved, my inspiration level has dramatically increased. It has been a good year. I thank you all for the encouragement and inspiration you give me.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Good Morning Monday

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend. We were busy busy - and I don't see that changing between now and New Years. Basketball, volleyball, church, parties, Christmas shopping - and so it goes.

I have two capes to make for the program and some shoe covers. I also have a wee bit of painting to finish. It will get done - it always does.

This weekend was a good mail weekend. (JEN - still no infamous package #2) I have a new button bracelet - courtesy of the Queen herself. I also wish I knew how to get the finish that is on that tag.

The colors in this bracelet are stunning. Looks like ice cream to me. And the yarn is so soft and easy on the skin. Thank you my Queen - you are the bestest.

My weekend consisted of finishing the bottle cap collages - they are now all dry and I'll be putting those hanging loops on them tonight. (God I love my glue gun) The hanging loops will have a little surprise on them as well. You won't see that picture until they start arriving at their new homes. And since we had basketball - the ever handy bag (also a gift from the Queen) was by my side.

The stack of beanie hats continues to grow. I made three on Saturday - one more has to be finished this week. Then 5 or six next week - D*&^ that list just will not shrink. I love the yarn on this top one. Soft and bubbly and muted colors. Just bulky enough for southern winter weather - which really isn't all that cold.

I also opened giftie #5 from JEN. Just look - Sukie labels - I personally adore the hedgie one on the lower left. I'll be using some of these immediately on packages. No more of these packages have arrived yet, but I am watching my mailbox closely.

I had a question in a comment on the bottlecap post. The material I am using for these is called 3d Glass Finish - it is an All Night Media scrapbooking product from Plaid Industries. Comes in clear (what I used) Sepia (slightly yellow like an old photo) and Antique (brown and distressed) I bought mine at an outlet we had locally, but you can buy it online at . I simply used multiple layers to give the effect of things embedded in resin or glass. Some of it bubbled and there are a few cracks through some of them, but that is the effect I wanted. For some of the caps, I stirred glitter into the finish. Works just fine. This stuff dries incredibly shiny and truly glass like. Love to work with it. It gives the effect of a 2 part resin, without the effort - and I am all about quick and easy when it comes to this kind of stuff.

I hope you all have a wonderful afternoon.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Project and Prezzies

Both my girls are in the art program at school. Abby is in beginning and Molly is a portfolio independant study student. They are in class together in first period. (this is a bit of a problem since Molly is a senior and Abby a freshman - there is a self imposed law against speaking to your sister in class- lol)

I have not seem much of Abby's work yet - so much is completed in class. But Molly is building her portfolio - so we see a lot of her stuff. This is the latest - almost finished - project. Her copy of Marc Chagall's "I and the Village" from his 1911 work. She will finish it this morning in class and turn it in today. This painting is fairly large - the poster behind/under it is a standard presentation poster size. I love this one and I normally am not a huge modern art fan of Chagall. The colors are wonderful and the imagry is fun. I just wanted to share her work.

Also a part of the assignment was a presentation poster. Look at the original print of the painting in the center. I think she has done a wonderful job with this duplication.

Now both girls are studying art. But it is Christmas and I have been in the craft mode. I previewed the beer bottle caps several days ago. Last night I finished the little images in 8 of them. I have them in this tiny wooden cigar box for now - but these already have new homes - as quick as I finish them all up. CIP ladies don't look too close.

The glass resin finish makes these hard to photograph - but the art critics at my house like them and so do I. I will be making more of these with lots of different images in them.

I didn't open package five from JEN - I am opening one every day and last night I had one that smelled too good to leave alone. Meet Lyric - we named her immediately. A hanging sachet bird - package number 6. OMG she smells wonderful and she is pretty too. I would love to have her in my linen chest, but then how could I look at her? So for now she is hanging on the china cabinet and I get a whiff as I walk by. By the way - the owl is Loretta - so now we have that "L" thing going on. When Lyric arrived - the trend was established so we focused on continuing that trend. Thanks again JEN.

The pattern on the dishes in the cabinet is Salem Petit Point although there are several unnamed patterns very similar. These baskets and flowers look like needlepoint and I collect them anywhere I can find them reasonably. I have some other needlepoint looking patterns and other colorways, but mostly these baskets and flower sprays.
I hope you all have a wonderful Friday - I am working on updating binders in the store. Tedious and aggravating work - albeit completely necessary.
Have a great weekend too.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Leonard has a friend....

Way back on 9-11-07, I introduced Leonard - an owl stuffie from Lauren. Well package number four from JEN, was opened this morning. (no Jen I have not seen package number two yet) and Leonard has a friend. This is a picture of the bag - is this not adorable -- I am such a fan of cool packaging.

And this is Leonard's new friend. I'm going to spend some time before naming this one. But isn't she lovely. Her back is a really pretty peachy heart print.

I have been working away at lots of things. CIP mailers are being readied. The hat factory remains open - and handwashing dishes is terribly time infringing on the factory schedule. The Christmas program prep is in full swing. There is no way I will get into the studio before Christmas. I am tired in the evenings and trying really hard not to push too much - although the pain is gone and I feel quite well other than fatigue.

If you didn't read the comments on yesterday's post, you should - the stories are funny. I enjoy every one of your comments and I always go back and read them (blogger is not really reliable to send them via email).

Thank you again - JEN - this is a wonderful surprise - I cannot wait to see the rest of the goodies - even elusive package number two.

Have a glorious day -

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Twisted Humour, Teens, and Beer

Yup it's true. When you stop believing you get gifts like underwear or socks. So that's what has happened. Really - I would rather have practical gifts any day than those "special" things. You know - I got plywood for Mother's Day once and I was estatic. One year when we were flat broke - all I asked for was my porch swing to be painted red. I am actually pretty easy to buy for - and I happen to like patterned socks - so those will be okay as gifts. I got this picture in an email and thought I would share.

That covers twisted humour.

Now teens.

Thank you again JEN -

The packages are out of order. Missing number two. But numbers 3 , 4, and 5 showed up yesterday. I am impatient so I opened number three. It was a vintage fabric pendant. OMG it is wonderful. I had it open in my hand and was reading the note when the dang thing disappeared right before my eyes.

Seems this young lady is the jewelry thief. She is much taller than me and could see the necklace over my shoulder. Poof it was gone from my hand and hanging around her neck. Notice the number on her shirt. Mom is the coolest according to her. That is my senior shirt she has on. I dug it out of the cedar chest and she scarfed it up too. Yes she's rotten.

A close up of the new hit pendant. Loving this so much and I absolutely can't wait to wear it. Thanks again JEN - this is a wonderful surprise.
Thus ends the teens section of today's post.
And we begin the beer section. I am not a huge beer drinker. I prefer my alcohol in the tequila version. But the man at my address is a beer drinker and the woman at this address is a saver (that would be me) so there is a jar on the counter for bottle caps. (I keep tequila bottles and their corks too)
Anyway - I have an idea for little ornaments and this is the beginning of that idea. It meets the UWIH criteria too.

We'll see how it turns out. I did spray the budlight logo off the caps - spraypaint is a fabulous tool. Add it to my favorites list of craft materials.

And an embarassing confession - last night I went to the attic looking for some of my Christmas stuff. The man normally goes and I have not been up there in like forever. But I needed to find something so I went. I found a suitcase that at some point got put up there still packed. Contents - clothes I had forgotten about, a pair of shoes we have all looked for, diapers and formula. Abby is fourteen - so estimated time of storage - 13 years. Anybody else agree its time for a serious attic cleanup. As I was looking at the stuff - I spied a box that was labeled "crochet yarn". I have lots of yarn already and I thought to my self "surely I didn't bring a box of yarn up here." Well I did and now I have more yarn in the stash - really not more yarn in the stash since technically it was already there - but more that I am now aware of. Such is the discombobulated life that I lead. Have a laugh on me about the suitcase and share a funny story on yourself.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mail Call

This is the receptacle for good news and bad. FYI - a Supercervical Laproscopic Hysterectomy costs about 46,000 dollars. Thank you Lord for insurance. Enough about the bad news - this is also the receptacle for wonderful connections - ala Miss Jen.

I got home yesterday to this package

A package with the mysterious number 1 on it. The explanation is inside. I don't know what to say - She has sent me 12 days of Christmas - I can't wait to see what else I have coming. OMG thank you so much Jen.
My first package is tiny. A matchbox all tied up with a jingle bell and in it -- tiny tiny pine cones. Are these adorable or what? I love tiny things, but this was even more than just a thought in a box. My Dad passed away in 1980. At the time there were gold dipped things made into jewelry charms - roses - leaves - pine cones. My parents bought me the pine cone charm for the Christmas before he died. I wore it on a tiny gold chain for the longest and I still have that charm in my jewelry box. When I opened this box yesterday, I was flooded by memories of that last Christmas with my Dad.
He was a fool for Christmas. We would ride and look at lights - we always went together to get the tree - we always told the stories about the ornaments as we decorated the tree - and one of my favorite gifts ever was the year he gave in and let "Santa" bring the KISS solo albums. Traditions we have continued - my girls count Christmas lights - yes even the almost adult girl still counts them in the car as she drives. We go get the tree together - we tell the stories of the ornaments. There are different ones from my childhood too.
Thank you Jen for the flood of pleasant memories delivered in a small decorated box yesterday - it was a wonderful moment.
Another of our favorite stories about Christmas spans years. Starting at K-Mart of all places. We bought these huge rolls of red and white polka dot wrapping paper one year. Mom, me and my sister all had one. We all wrapped gifts in it the first year. And the next year. And the next year. This stuff just would not die. Then it became a competition of sorts. As the paper dwindled - we each started saving some and continued to use it. The fun was trying to keep it going and we were successful for many many years - it has only been recently that the last scrap of that paper has disappeared. Too funny - every where I go, I look for this or a similar paper to give them just for the laughs. Someday - maybe - I'll find it again.
I hope all of you are having a wonderful day. I am.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I am the hat makin queen .....

(a dover printable image) just right click

You know how sometimes you get hooked on something. Well I am going to be just that through the next several days. Beanie hats - last count 18 - with several more to go. Friday night one of Abby's friend brought a yarn she liked and asked me to make one. I started that hat Friday after the ball game and then finished it during Saturday's ball game - delivered to one satisfied customer. I have at least 6 more to finish this week. As quick as I get still - I grab the stuff and start. Things are hectic - and driving that extra 25 minutes each way to moms and back - has added a tremendous amount of stress to life. This too shall pass - I'm sure. We are praying for significant rain. SOON.

I never turned on my computer at home this weekend. Too busy. I have no earthly idea where the camera is - probably a childs purse. Charles and I had a heated discussion on Saturday and he spent the weekend "hiding" in my barn - the result - lots of progress and it is almost ready for paint. I will soon be occupying MaggieGrace Studio and I am so excited about that.

I am breaking one of my rules though. In order to get our tree in, we have to rearrange a lot. Molly, Abby, and I will be moving a few things into the studio to make room for the tree. I know it isn't finished, but this won't impede the progress of the work. At some point this week, I'll be trying to whitewash the back wall, it may be the weekend before that happens.

Sunday brings the dress rehearsal for the play and there will be myriad parties starting to occur. Busy - busy - busy.

Yesterday was the first Sunday of advent. The topic and focus of this week is HOPE. What it is - what it means to me - what symbols of hope do I have around. 11 years ago - I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A single cell - clean margins - I just had a huge tumour removed - not cancer - but abnormal anyway. Both of those were major events in my life and yet they pale to what others suffer through. I have grown through this and become a stronger and more focused person. This has given me an understanding of challenges and a softness for people who are enduring a challenge. It has also allowed me to see hope - that nothing will overcome the love of my Lord in my life. Through everything I have experienced - He has been there - my strength. I have been shown that HOPE again and again. There is a new day dawning for everyone - grab it and live fully - powerfully - hopefully.

Have a wonderful day.