Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Miss Jones Chapel

The glittered sceptor I made for the Womanless Beauty Pagent fundraiser at Jones Chapel UMC.

This fundraising effort is for Relay For Life an American Cancer Society signature event. There will be men dressed as women parading across the stage and maybe even providing talent. I am the emcee for this loverly event. Should be loads and loads of fun for everyone.

I haven't mentioned too much about my cancer journey in several months. October will be many survivor years for me. I am just as passionate about sharing my experience as I was early on, because early diagnosis is key for everyone in every cancer situation. Some can be prevented and that is even more important for everyone to know.

Now about my journey. There are several stories I can share and as we go into relay weekend - I'll be sharing some of them. Mind you - at times these may seem callous towards people - that is not my intent. I simply think that the more real life stories of dealing and hope after hearing those words - "you have cancer" - give you a better picture of the fact that what your are feeling and how you are reacting is more than likely normal.

I had a wonderful outcome. Only a lumpectomy of my left breast was required. Clean margins and no lymph nodes were involved. I found the lump on a Sunday morning in the shower. The medical process began the next day. Several weeks later - the surgeon - Dr. Howard Abney said to me - "if you were my wife, daughter, or sister, the lumpectomy is what I would recommend." The surgery was then scheduled.

Fast forward only a few days. A wedding. A beautiful new start for a young couple. Friends of ours. Friday night the rehearsal and a party. Saturday evening wedding and reception. There were drinks and dancing, a party, celebrations. All of this was 4 hours from home for us. I wore the mask of joyful celebration - and the band played on - but inside I was slowly realizing that my path through life was changing. After the party we returned to our hotel and joined with another couple of our friends, we drank a few more, and ordered an in room movie.

The movie chosen was probably not really a good choice considering the plans for my week. We watched FACE OFF starring my secret boyfriend #1, Nicholas Cage and John Travolta. Not real relaxing watching for a girl about to have a possible body altering surgery. I do have to say - I really enjoyed the movie and have watched again and again since.

On Sunday morning, after a night of tossing and turning, we are up early. The reality is I did not sleep. I am not a pity party type of person. More charge ahead, deal the cards and play the hand you are dealt. This personality trait has served me well. But on this particular Sunday, I can feel it. IT being a full blown pity party. I know from the time I get up, that it is coming. I decided not to fight it. To just let it happen. I know that I will be better equipped to process eveything if I get this over with, than just move on.

But being the rational, take charge, keep control person that I am, I decide to let the man at my address know what is coming. I get my shower, come out of the bathroom, and announce. "I am about to cry and I want to give you some options - you can cry with me - you can stay and watch me cry - or you can leave and come back in a little while and I'll be okay." I have to tell you that I had no preconceived idea about how the man could - should - or would react. This was completely about my meltdown with no thought at all to his decision. I simply wanted to warn him - to avoid the "what's the matter" question after the tears started to flow. Poor guy - this was an impossible decision to be faced with early on Sunday morning.

We laugh about it now. I really can't believe I annouced a meltdown. He had his breakfast in the lobby, I cried and got it all out of my system. Then we moved on and played the hand we had been dealt.

The feelings you have and the way you deal with your news, will be strictly dependent on who you are. It really doesn't matter that it's not fair. That you hate this diagnosis. That you don't have time for this. Cancer doesn't care. The path through the journey is your path. You will find yourself stronger on the other end of this route. You will find relationships change as a result of this journey. You will be different. There is no right or wrong here. It is all gray territory. No one can tell you how to do it. They can only share their decisions. Your true friends will not question your actions and reactions to the news.

I am going to announce my midlife crisis in the same manner. Next month I am running away to a beach with those little umbrella drinks and a cabana boy to bring them to me. Anybody want to join my midlife crisis. ---- note to those who are offended this was supposed to be sarcastically funny.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Changes occuring everyday at my house. Miss Molly is mentally getting ready for her big change. I am buying things like nail clippers, tweezers, measuring spoons, an iron and ironing board, and stashing them in a corner. (Local best friend may have to teach ironing lessons - my idea is to toss things in the dryer with a wet towel.) We are preparing mentally for her not being there.

The only one, it seems, to be ready for the changes is Miss Abby. She even seems excited. They share a room and she is mentally redecorating their room for just her. Both are requesting a wardrobe expansion because they share so many clothes.

This week is the beginning of the end of the High School career for Molly. Last night was the Ministerial Banquet / Baccalaureate service. Saturday night is prom. Then awards night - Senior Skip day - yearbook signing day - graduation is only 18 days away. Busy busy busy.

Add to all of this flurry of activity- activities for mom and family- womanless beauty pagent - relay for life - soccer banquet - slime time fun night. Busy busy busy.

Abby has softball in the equation too. - Those all day tournaments take it out of everyone. MaggieGrace is taking a back seat for a few weeks. There will be some creativity - tonight is a "paying job" - making drawstring waist poodle skirts for a theater production.

We are all changing - adapting. The circles of life will continue to ripple outward. Molly has a job interview tonight for her very frst "real" job. She is more than a little nervous - will ya'll please lift her up as she takes this really big grown up step.

MaggieGrace will be squeezing in some things - I need to or I am going to lose my mind.

The photos in this post are modifications of the color one at the top. I used picnik to make these modifications and then saved them to my flickr account. Both of these services are free. I'll be using these - printed on fabric (thank you Vallen) for an art quilt series.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, April 28, 2008

It's how we roll.....

Volleyball season is over. Softball is now in full swing (pun intended). The two sports overlap early in the season, so I haven't watched too much of the softball princess stuff. Saturday morning - at a reasonable hour, I would like to say - we were at the fields in Jefferson, GA. This is like playing at home since it is only about 40 minutes from the house. We played 4 games and went undefeated to win the tournament. Squeaked out that last one in a come from behind win with no time left on the clock and us having our last at bat.

MaggieGrace has been full of the graduating senior - situational I promise. Now you guys have to endure the softball princess and her friends for a while. I did get several rows completed on the dorm room afghan during the day.

These girls (front row left to right - peanut - cort - and abby) are just hanging out after those games in this one. Cort is in her sling, but she was our "base badit" all day.

Proud mama note - these two are friends and are also sharing the same academnic success Abby's big sis. Abby is ranked #1 and Cort#2 in the freshman class.

All lined up for the trophy awards. I cannot say enough about how genuinely nice these ladies are. Competitive - you can't get any more so - but these girls are nice and respectful and polite to everyone they encounter. This is a close knit group and they have a great time together. It helps when we win for there to be more fun and games. The parents also enjoy each others company - a good thing because we spend an enormous amount of time together.

We left at 7:30 Saturday morning and got home at midnight Saturday night. The reason Mount Laundry is so massive. Supporting my kids is so much more important than the housework.

I really want to thank Ann-Margret for her package of goodies. She arranged a private color swap with me. I chose red and white as my colors. I have mailed her package and sadly - I had a brain freeze. I did not take pictures. The rose above is one of my favorites in the package. I have it pinned to the red and white bag she sent. The bag holds my Wednesday night materials for church. The tiny little one inch boxes are my absolute favorite things in the package. There is a Godiva chocolate box full of them.
There is also a dry erase marker - I have just purchased the marker board to use as the backsplash area behnd the cabinet - serendipity there. This was a fun package to receive. I hope she enjoys her package as much as I have this one.

There was also a surprise from the crafty queen of Ohio as well. Ribbon. in a wooden crate. These are a few of my favorite things. Thank you my sweet friend.

Funny stories - Karen over at Junking in Georgia has posted about her NASCAR experience in lower Alabama this weekend. Redneck sports. Well we had a big break and we were close to Commerce, GA on Saturday. The graduating Senior needed prom shoes - which we bought without her there - I like to live dangerously. After some shopping at the outlets, we needed lunch. Arby's won the vote - we go in, place the order, and I take off to the restroom. Bear with me - this is not a TMI post. As I enter the restroom, I see a lady there with teeth in hand (washing them in the bathroom sink) yes teeth in hand. Now there is a Jeff Foxworthy moment - you might be a redneck if "you have ever cleaned your dentures in a public restroom".

Hope ya'll have a great Monday.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Goodies ....

Another beautiful day. It is Friday -- doing the happy dance. I need to do a tiny bit of housekeeping / updating the cast of characters here. Normally I delete anonymous comments - most are ugly anyway. I also delete duplicates. And uglies (so don't waste your time leaving those). I read all the comments here and quite often on other blogs. It is amazing to me the insight and inspirations from those too. I have also discovered some wonderful people just by following comment links. You will alway see one anonymous commentor left though. My wonderful MIL - Ann and FIL - Herbert, they are anonymous but always sign their comments. Thank you for reading here. (Ann - it is so easy to set up a blog and the family stories would be wonderful reading for us - as would posting the pictures. Think about it, please).

Also - thanks to everyone who commented about the yoyo quilt. I have it hanging on the wall in my hallway. The one thing the textile folks at UGA said was that prolonged exposure to sunlight could damage it even more. My hallway has no windows and we rarely open the door to the outside, so this is the safest place to display it. I think in those evenings next fall, when I am really missing Molly, I'll start the repairs to this.

Now for the goodies.......

Along with that quilt, there are many, many other things in my house that came from Charles' and my family. There are also goodies that just caught my eye in a junk, antique, or thrift store. Here we go.

I found a stack of cards in Mama Norvan's stuff. This is a get well card for a child, but all of us adult paper whores (you know who you are) will love it anyway.

Look at the one on the left below - reminds me of all the Marie Antoinette items out there in blogland. Oh--- and are those soldiers adorable or what.

I had a little dutch girl doll when I was small and the ballerina looks like the ones in a little girls jewlry box.

I have scanned this sign in the past and used it on cards and tags. I could also see this printed and cut out and used as a little girls tree garland. Or blow these doll pictures up and cut them out for a a baby shower tree. Then add childhood dolls as the rest of the centerpiece. Ideas.

Raesha - would this count as ribbon? Hope so. I added a yard of this to each of my ribbon bags for your swap. It is actually sheer dotted swiss sashing. It came from a thrift store (this big roll for 50 cents) , but my Mom worked in a sewing plant and said they used this type of cut material for the belt and sashes of dresses. Pre cut to width and they only had to hem the edges.

Both of these images are yours for the taking. From the front of an old photo album. To me the girls looks like she is mourning.

The next one is a macro shot from - I love that setting on my camera. I am going to play with this image on and see what happens. Since I committed to create some art for the fall, I want to try printing this on fabric and see what happens. Maybe try some transparency sheet transfers as well.

She looks so sad.

I am not even sad today. It's Friday - Miss abby plays ball close to home tomorrow. Molly will be picking up the prom dress today. We get to find a bag and shoes and jewelry tomorrow. Decorate for a womanless beauty pagent on Sunday.

Ya'll have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I know .....

I know you all have been just waiting to hear what words of wisdom and inspiration I have for today. Got none. Natta. Zero. Zilch.

I do however have a plan for tonight. Dinner with a fellow church member - the final planning meeting for the Womanless Beauty Pagent at Jones Chapel. A fund raiser for Relay for Life. There are older men involved - young married men involved - and a significant contingent of the teenage boys involved. Me - I am the emcee for this wonderful event. Sad part of the story - I gotta keep it PG-13. So no self test boob display. And no testicular cancer self test display. I will be brushing up on my cancer facts and figures. I need funny questions to ask each contestant. There will be serious questions - those are easy. Please help me with the funnies. Pleading for comments that will help here.

Now for some fun -----

The man at my address took me to meet his Grandmother (Mama Norvan) first. (I guess I had to pass that inspection). Fell in love with this wonderful, funny, outspoken, riot of a tiny lady - head over heels, immediately, I loved her. From the very beginning she talked of a quilt - a yoyo quilt - that was made by her Granny Rosa??? In all the years I was around, I had never seen the quilt.

Fast forward many years - many laughs - lots of love - later. Mama Norvan passed away. As the family cleaned out the house, this nasty grungy piece of fabric surfaced from one of the storage areas. It had been stored in a cardboard box that had been wet more than once. Dirty, nasty, mildew gross. It was slated for the dump. It was almost black with grime in places.

I recognized it - it was the quilt. The one so fondly recalled by one of my favorite ladies on the face of the earth. I stuffed it into a garbage bag and took it home.

A phone call to the textile people at UGA and a plan to try and clean this quilt was hatched. I put it in my bathtub with a baby shampoo as a detergent - agitated by hand carefully. Put it on a blanket rolled up to dry most of the water - and support the fibers. Lay it in the sun to dry.

Over and over this process repeated. Each time it became a little brighter and the water less dingy. Many baths and drying later. Another few phone calls and I buy 4 super sized boxes of denture cleaner. One last major bath, dissolve the denture cleaner tablets, add quilt, agitate, roll up, take outside to dry.

Look ......

The colors are vibrant. Some yoyos need repair. One of those someday projects. All different patterns. The yellows are solid and make outlined boxes of the colored prints. I cannot believe this almost black nightmare looks like this.

This is one of my favorite fabrics in the entire quilt. Love it. How about you guys?

Notice ----- in an effort to practice the PG-13 environment, I have left out all of the lauguage bits that were actually used in the handwashing a filthy, vintage yoyo quilt. You however are allowed to insert them in places you feel appropriate for that job.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Last night was a tough night. Things that sent me huge steps backwards. Things that had me retreat to bed early to ponder and cry. (Please everyone - lift up my BIL as he is struggling in his fight with cancer - if you will please take the time to leave a prayer or encouraging word over at his place).

I picked up a book that I have read before. Alexandra Stoddard's Living a Beautiful Life is one of those lifestyle books that is light reading for me. I encountered her writing when I found her tiny book full of Grace Notes and now own many of her books. Anyway - I was in the mood for some lighthearted reading and what do you know. I spied one of the most profound thoughts in the first few minutes. Funny how God sends little notes - just when you need to hear them - using many forms of communication.

The quote from Eleanor Brown says

"Life is too short for you to be the caretaker of the wrong details."

See I worry about this. I worry about that. I worry about others. I worry about me. I love hard and deeply and am affected by stresses often. (The van above was parked across from me yesterday and I snapped this through the window. I have no idea what the stuff on the top is supposed to be) I was fearful of sending my art into the world and there it was - art that I don't understand and he was driving it around boldly proclaiming his art statement.

People were discussing it - some were intrigued. Some were disgusted - it was made of trash after all. Everyone noticed. Local best friend encouraged me. With words like - your art may not appeal to everyone, but it will to someone. And then asked - why I was afraid.

He does this often - forcing me into saying out loud what the fears are. Or why I feel like I do. (Thank you, master - for making me be completely honest with myself) My fears -- What if no one likes it? What if someone says something negative? What if my stuff is not as good as others? What if the magazine doesn't publish my piece?

Then the all important question Local BF asks - What if all those things happen - would you still do it?

Details - yes I would. Why am I caretaking those fears - that's a wrong detail. Did you notice the weeds in the picture above or just that lovely iris bloom?

Details - will it stop me from sending it out into the world? Not even - I'll ignore those what if's - because I am happy when I am creating - it really isn't about them it's about me. Which part of the flower above is the best? The full bloom - it will die off almost immediately - the prtially open bloom - not even at it's full potential yet - the bud - will it be as pretty as the others - maybe not - but maybe even better - the leaves - not really all that showy, but oh so important for feeding this entire plant - maybe the roots - holding on, supporting, pushing the growth of this plant? Not one of those is more important than the others. Someone appreciates and identifies with each part.

Do you see the withered bloom here? Details -- I am really trying hard to be the caretaker of the right ones. I'll be cutting some of these iris for my desk too. That -- my friends is one of the best and beautiful details of the spring. Find a beautiful detail to celebrate - hopefully your mind will be too busy celebrating to focus on the wrong details.

Iris photos from around the pecan tree in my back yard.

Have a wonderful day......

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day ....

So I chose to make macro photos of some of the plants in my yard. I have a black thumb - absolutely nothing that needs caring for will live for very long. My Mom even comes over to water the snake plant beside the kitchen sink. These plants are all thriving - even survived the drought of last summer. No attention required. Take a look.

A stunning, deep, ruby red, Japanese Maple. Abby helped me plant this, then carried water to it for the first two years. It is still small - about waist high on me - and very slow growing. the color is so pretty though.

Side trip - I announced that Miss Molly will be graduating with honors - well Miss Abby got her class ranking. Seems Miss A is ranked number one in the freshman class. The competition between the sisters is now "ON. " I am so proud of both the girls. Being well rounded is paramount to success and they both are just that.

Girls - you can do anything you set your mind to. Keep reaching for success in all areas. When you do fall short - and you will - pick yourself up - dust off - learn the lesson - and start again. Dad and I will be here - cheering you on from the sidelines. Love you.

Rosemary blooms. Okay - plant it. It is hardy, shrub sized, evergreen, vigorously growning. I planted a tiny sprig - given to me by a friend - in the bed by the kitchen porch. That sprig is now a huge bush. I will eventually divide this to use as shrubs at the base of the house all around. I use it for cooking, arrangements, and it smells wonderful when you brush by it.

A big Azalea, rooted from a plant in Mama Norvan's yard or at my inlaws. This thing is covered this year. Again - hardy and easy - survived the drought beautifully. I would love to have a bunch of these all over the yard- maybe back in the tree line - the ones at Augusta National sure are pretty in those mass plantings.

JenB - another post for you and MaryAnn. My submission piece. All packed and ready to go. Kind of ironic that I am mailing my "go green" challenge art quilt on Earth Day 2008. We will know in September. These two lovelies have encouraged me over and over to submit some things. Thanks for those emails and the swift kicks in the butt to just do it. Love you both.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Getting there....

Okay - I missed my blog birthday. MaggieGraceCreates turned two on the 17th of April. I promise this will not be a year of terrible two temper tantrums. When I started this whole process, I had no idea where it would lead. But wow -- it led to all of you. My cheer leaders - encouragers - inspirers - conspirators - my friends. Thank you for every word you have shared here. For every kindness you have bestowed upon me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you.

Friday was a campus visit to Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. Beautiful campus - we liked it a lot - but financially, we cannot do this. It was a wonderful trip. We returned home around 3pm Saturday - took a nap - neither of us slept very well. Then I took off into MaggieGraceWorld.

I called Elizabeth - to see if she wanted to drop in. She came over and we had one of those first time visits that included fun conversation. Lots of stories - bet there will be lots more in the future. Thank you my dear new found friend for coming by. Maybe next time - I'll plan a little better and have some snacks available.

Anyway - one long old kitchen cabinet has now been transformed. It was dark and dismal inside and pretty grungy outside. Remember - this was also Mr Black Snake's home. Now at least I can see him if he chooses to return. One coat of Kilz primer brightens up the interior.

I painted the exterior this wonderful shade of almost turquoise blue. (I bought this as a miss mix at Lowes for 3.00) The beach shack feel is growing even more prevalent. I love it. I took the doors and hardware off and soaked them in paint remover. Then scrubbed and steel wooled the loosened paint.

Look at this 1940's hardware. cool huh. The red looks great against this blue. The hardware is worn - the metal is pitted and dulled - in places the red is faded. But I love it.

I some of the paint is already dinged. A little incident involving the ladder and these doors - happened when two of us were trying to work in a small area. I'm leaving the dings. I don't have a problem with them at all.

Yup - Missing some doors and a couple of the drawers. Fabric will substitute for the doors. One drawer will be covered - I had a brainstorm - I'll let you in on later. The other missing drawer will have a slide out tray made for it. (A drying tray - if you will)

The floor is a long way from finished too.

Now the drawers - I finished the inside of two of them. You know I recycle and repurpose. These are big - deep drawers. I know they will become junk drawers if I am not careful. I did not finish the bead drawer. Maybe later this week. But look - I have storage compartments already in place.

The one above is lined with styrofoam packing trays to catch bits and bobs and there was space left for rulers, stencils, templates.

The one below is my favorite storage idea so far.

Glass jelly jars - thrifted for a dime each and baby food jars - and because it worked out this way - one pyrex ramekin. But they banged and slid. I thought about gluing them down but I want them removable for work reasons. A recycled school project foamcore board. A box knife. Glue and pretty tissue paper ( saved from one of you). Ta-da a custom fitted storage drawer. The crate in the corner is a standard sized clementine crate for size comparison.

Doing the happy dance here.......

What cha think ladies?

Have a great Monday.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Let's talk about leaves....

This picture is actually my favorite macro one so far. It is the shade of a very feminine lampshade at the house. Frosted glass. But yet this photo is kind of dark and moody and you can almost detect the lace in the window to the right. Repurposed lace tablecloths used as curtains.

But this post is not about that. It's about these damn leaves.

Backtrack : We - me, Molly, and Abby - have decided that MaggieGraceCreates is a predominantly positive place. I try to hang onto that objective at all times. Sure I sidetrack every now and then, but I like to think I have kept this positive. As I am formulating the artistic identity of me, I have used the words recycle, repurpose, reuse, generous, giving and etc. One symbol I have determined to use is a heart reflecting the image of positive energy in my pieces. Separating art and craft right now, the craft may not have the symbol attached but the words will still have meaning to the items. Every art piece will have a heart - sometimes tiny - sometimes hidden - sometimes disguised - in it.

Here we are back in the present. The art quilt. Take a look at the leaves. Hearts. Punched out using a hand held hole punch. About 1/4 inch in size - maybe a little less. Seemed like a good idea at the time. I punched them, then ran them through a xyron sticker maker. Permanent adhesive.

Then I tried to attach them to the copper vine. The plan was to put two of them around the vine ends. Well - in theory this would work. Those fiddly little pieces stuck to everything but the copper vine. The stuck to my clothes. The rocks. Each other without copper between them. The arm of the chairs. Hell, they even stuck to the wood floor quite well. Everything except where they were supposed to.

I cussed. I drank. I tried to come up with some other way to do leaves. I put it down. I tried again. Over and over. The few that I finally attached had me convinced that this was the right look for the project. Rethink. Regroup.

Now -the man at my address is in the midst of a cluster headache bout. This means he is up and down at night. He is not at all courteous when he comes back to bed. Flips the cover up and falls into the bed. This has been true for years. The side effect is that everytime he comes back to bed, he wakes me up. On being awakened one of those nights, I had a thought. Instead of trying to put the leaves on the end, I'll leave the end a little long, put the leaf down from the end and trim the extra copper off. You know I had to get up right then and try it too. (yes - I know all of us have had those moments - got to do this right NOW)

Worked like a charm. Still fiddley, but the extra copper going all the way through the leaf held them in place SOOOOO much better.

Still only giving sneak peeks. Maybe - fingers crossed - you will see it published in September - October - issue of Quilting Arts.

Now questions - Have you ever had to regroup to make something work out? A crafting diaster you want to share? A tip you want to give us to make life easier? Sympathy for the nightmare I just described? Is there a symbol you can identify to put in each art piece you complete? Do you have an artist statement of your own? Leave in the comments and be sure to leave your blog link. I want everyone to be able to visit each other.

I'll be gone tomorrow. Back on Monday.

Have a wonderful day and a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mo randomness

I did something last night - that I hardly ever do. NOTHING ------

After a visit with my Mom and a quick run through the grocery store. I came home and sat in my recliner and just looked through old magazines. (Sent home from Mom's) While I did not tear sheets - yet - I did take a few notes about some things.

I also snapped some more macro shots - this is fun.

Wooden spools of thread - isn't that yellow glowing gorgeous. I have empty spools and some with little bits on them and full spools. I have picked them up here and there. Love them all.

Sorry about the reflection on this. When my Nanny died, my baby sis confiscated the jewelry box. That year for Christmas we each got a shadowbox with a couple of coordinated pieces mounted. All costume pieces - more than likely bought at Wilsons 5 & 10 in town. These "pearls" are a lovely soft blue and the brooch is pale blue stones. This is one of my favorite gifts ever. Yes - a sentimental sucker am I. It does not take expensive gifts for me to be happy.

Now - this photo is just for Roxanne. She is making some wonderful paper scrap cards. I keep the scraps of all my papers. If you can punch a 1/4 inch heart or teardrop from it, it stays in this box. I have also made letters with the sizzix dies as well. Notice how those "Shadows" even get kept. (Sick) I have also trimmed the sample photos that are across the labels on scrapbook papers and used those images. (See the bottom edge of the photo)

Today - I am holding prayer meeting over myself. Fear is close to the surface. Uncertainty. Guilt. I need to choose to be happy with what I have and not focus on what I am missing. This does not happen to me all that often and when it does, I am quick to recognize it and work on it. I am normally upbeat and quite happy. We are so very very blessed and I am thankful for that. I just thought I (we) would be financially in a better place than I am (we are) right now and I am feeling a little stressed. The increased gas + grocery + college + athletic travel + senior expenses + prom + _____ + _____ are all straining the budget and that is uncomfortable. I know this happens for everyone and that we are in better shape than many (all of the cars are paid for and we both have secure jobs) , but the little luxuries I have known are few and far between right now.

Okay - pity party over. Whining will cease.

I'll have a better focus now. Have a wonderful day all of you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

ramdom babbling....

Good Tuesday morning all. The school year is winding down. One more soccer game Wednesday night. No more volleyball. One more -surprising - college visit. Converse College has decided that they need Miss Molly as their middle hitter on the volleyball team. We make that surprising trip this weekend. Now we are scurrying around getting things together for NCAA rules. And we thought we were done.

Am I the only one who has problems getting pictures in order on blogger? When these show up in the little "DONE" box they are right. Oh well.

I found an old brass cigarette case in a box at the thrift store. It was nasty, grungy, oxidized and pretty gross. I brought it home anyway. I am familiar with the wonderful product called Brasso and this was one of those things that would respond well to it.

You can see what I am using it for. The front of it (maybe the back) is labelled BRASS No9 and across the bottom it is labelled CHAS T KENNEDY / KOREA. I was pretty happy to pay a quarter for it. You can't even buy a cheap vinyl card folder for that.

My macro shot of the sweetgum blooms. This tree sprouted years ago between two of my barns. It is now a full sized tree. We take the prickly balls in the fall and use them in centerpieces and garlands. I had never noticed the little buds in the spring. But as I started looking at things in that macro mode that is being featured here in blogworld - I found these. Looks almost like broccoli to me.

I also ordered some blogcards for MaggieGraceCreates. There will be moo cards soon, but these will suffice for now. I cannot decide which of my flickr images I want to use. As I tell people about MaggieGrace world, I can hand them a reminder of the web address. Since I often discuss blogging with total strangers, I have only my name and web information and email on the cards. I fold a strip of stickers with the full information on them so I can stick it on the back as needed.

I could not post a photo of the disaster zone I created last night. I am now sorting boxes (and boxes and bags and on and on) of stuff and labelling containers for the studio. Last night I attacked something that won't even be kept at my house. I am sorting Sunday School stickers saved for many years. We reuse these in the nursery and for crafty projects. They were in a huge, jumbled, box. I am sorting them by image type and boxing them up. I'll store them at the church in the resource room. There is also a box of "stuff" that I absolutely know I will never use. This will be leaving my house as quickly as that box is full. Sorting and organizing is grueling work and danm if it don't make a bigger mess than I started with. No wonder I put this off for so long. Come on cheerleaders - keep me motivated.

Have a wonderful day all of you. It sure looks like spring outside - but its COLD here.

eta - what do you think about the changes on the blog. easier or more difficult to read, etc?

Also Raesha is hosting a swap. Ribbons ladies --- ribbons. Drop over and sign up.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Good the Bad and the Ugly...

Fun stuff. Look closely too. There is a sneak in of an art quilt here.

THE GOOD -------

Leigh Anne is our very pretty and talented young choir director at church. She has an in charge demeanor that prevents the older ones from running over her. She asked me to make her a sign for the choir room bulletin board. Here is the result - thanks to Vallen, I had an oversized hymnal. I selected an appropriate song and adhered it to a piece of scrapbook paper and card stock. I had absolutely no pattern for an oval in the size I needed and the printer was out of ink. I am a creator and the sign had to be oval - designers mental block - so what to do. Trace an oven dish of course. Glue it all together and add sizzix die cut letters and music notes.

(question designed to garner comments here) WHAT IS THE STRANGEST THING YOU HAVE EVER TRACED TO MAKE A PATTERN????

Now I had the sizzix out. I had the alphabet dies out. I had the shoe box full of small paper scraps out. Crafting overachiever syndrome sets in. (any body else suffer from this disorder) I spent hours late Friday night happily die cutting letters for a bulletin board kit. 10 of each letter and then a few of the negatives - a few muscial notes and their negatives - packaged in individual sleeves (told you I was "sick"). All prettily packaged in a favor box. - decorated - of course. I used up some scrap and now Miss Leigh Anne can add to her bulletin board as she likes. This could just as esily been a scrap book kit or teacher kit. And I had a blast. I bought not one thing. Love this using what I had lifestyle.

Ready for THE BAD -------

I have these horrendous brain malfunctions at times. I have two children and a side effect of getting pregnant is that brain cells decide immediately that playing in the womb with a baby is much more fun than staying and completing their job. The problem is that you never get those brain cells back - my girls are teens - I am not sure those brain cells stayed with them either. (Mommies you know what I mean)

On Saturday - I took the film card to WalMart to make prints and copy to a CD. I did not scan through and select individual prints - just hit the select all button. As the prints come out in the tray, I gather them up and flip through them.

This picture is one of them......

I am standing in WalMart on a Saturday - lots of people around and I get this look on my face as I try to determine who this is. It is not the man at my address. I am looking at the print - staring - trying to determine if this print was left in the tray or what and the little girl behind the counter asks what is wrong.

I say back to her - "there is a strange man sleeping in my camera" - it was one of those stupidly funny offhand comments that sends everyone around you into giggles.

Turns out upon closer inpection this is one of the volleyball players' Dad and the girls had the camera and snapped this shot of their favorite chaperone. I gave the print to his daugher and informed him that we discovered why he is not a very reliable chaperone.

now for THE UGLY.......

Athletic girls + aggressive play = nameable bruises.

This thing is one of the nastiest we have brought home. Molly's right knee. This was early in the weekend. The bruise is now all the way around her leg. UGLY.
Have a great week. We only have one ballgame this week. MaggieGrace world will get some attention - happy dance occuring.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Scenes from a slow moving train.

Not even. Life is speeding by. Today is one of those days, you know the kind that everyone is irritable and everything you touch explodes in your face. We (work) dropped the ball on some orders - they got shuffled under in purchasing - and now people are screaming for materials that are not here. I did however find these bright spots in a folder on my computer.

Above - the faded pink of an old caboose.

A twelve month quilt in a shop window. Was this an HGTV pattern???

I think this was called string spider webs on the little card laying in front of it. I like the random fabrics and the fact that they really don't line up at all.

I love the way the older areas of town have these identifying tiles in the doorways of the storefronts. This blue and cream was one of my favorites.

These were snapped on a walking tour of a small town near us. Not sure if it was Hartwell or Lavonia, Georgia or maybe even a combination.

I need one of these mental health breaks again. Just to walk and look for details to photograph.


Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

because I cannot post without a photo

And it happens to be Masters week. And local best friend is suffering anxiety that he is working and not in Augusta, Georgia. And the weather is perfect for golf. I present this photo of a Haskell Bramble Pattern golf ball. Circa late 1800's - and said best friend owns one. It's old - like he is - not that old but he is older than me - and his was given to him by a friend who found it cleaning out a building. I know very little about golf, but lot's about old things and this is way cool.

The real reason for this post is two fold. Miss Molly and Miss Brittany got the official word yesterday. Brittany is the Valedictorian and Molly is the Salutatorian of the 2008 Class of Madison County High School. The girls are best friends and classmates. Fellow church members. Ball teammates in sports. We are close to their family and I am so proud of both of them. They work really hard for grades, but remain well rounded people (sometimes difficult to accomplish.)

Congratulations to you both. Love you.

While American Idol was giving back last night, I was stitching the final parts of the magazine submission art quilt. (side trek - wasn't it funny when the sound lady had to help Brad Pitt with his mic. I thought she handled it incredibly well and Robin Williams giving Simon a butt squeeze left me giggling hysterically.) I finally finished the copper vine and got all the leaves attached. (this will get its own post, they look great but what a fiddly nightmare) I have it trimmed and left the edges unfinished - one of the article suggestions. I really like being able to see all of the construction materials in the unfinished edge.

I have to add the information to the back - get the photos printed and write my narrative. I'll have both girls help with the checklist and proof the narrative.

MaryAnn - thank you for challenging me and getting me off my a** to accomplish this. Thank you all for the words of encouragement and kindness that you leave here. Blogging has shown me that good people really are abundant in the world. It has become one of my favorite activities and has blessed me beyond measure. I blog for me - but I sure am glad you all are out there - you guys rock. I have to have the best cheering squad in the world.

Have a fabulous day.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Windows and Walls

I love to see them. You love to see them. I want to know. You do too. I own both books - Where Women Create and Organizing Your Craft Space. I just bought the Studios Magazine published by the creators of Cloth Paper Scissors and Quilting Arts. Now Somerset Publications is introducing the Where Women Create Magazine as an addition to an already addicting and broad spectrum of publications. This will be a special quarterly issue.

This is the thumbnail picture from the Postscript email this morning. A glimpse at the Sally Jean studio. I did not take this photo, although I would love to be a guest in the SallyJean space. Did you guys know she also has a blog. Yes, my friends, I'll be adding this to the list of regular reads. I do love to see where you work. The email includes submission information too. So all of you creative friends of mine, spiff up you places and submit.

The next pictures are older ones. From a Thanksgiving trip to Callaway Gradens in Pine Mountain, Georgia many years ago. Another blogger is featuring windows right now and I love the glimpses of the windows she is sharing with us.

The chapel archway. Overlooking the lake.

The random patterned stained glass window. I have had this in my inspiration book seems like forever. I first saw this window right after my dad died. My Aunt and Uncle included us on a trip to this area as a way to break us into traveling without daddy. I picked up a postcard of this window at that time and have kept it for all these years. The man at my address and I made the trip for the Masters Water Ski Tournament many years later and I picked up another postcard with the archway featured. Still got that one too. Maybe a collage quilt or canvas. I don't know.

I do know I would love to see some of you create something inspired by it as well. Calamity Kim's embellished textile collages or an apron. MaryAnn's card creations. Vallen's teapot cozys. How about a shoe from Nancy. Words and images from Darlene. A fluffy creature from Felicia. I could go on and on and on, but I think you get the idea.

Now if anyone sees this and wants to create something from them, I give you permission to download the chapel pictures as long as you leave a comment with your very first inspiration generated by it and your link information in the body of the comment.

Go ahead - you know you can make something pretty. I know you can too.

Have a wonderful Wednesday.....