Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes

MaryAnn and I are doing a word collaboration. My first word was Celebrate (July). She then chose the word for August (Change). I did a few repurposing projects. But we also tackled a huge CHANGE at our house.

Softball Princess and College Girl have shared a room all these years. Mind you it is a huge room. But Softball Princes requested a room redo now that College Girl is only here part time. We have been putting money aside for the project, but like so many people, the "right time" was just not here.

Then came this challenge and we all attacked that room redo --- Here is my big CHANGE project for the month of August.

This house is over 100 years old and has no closet space. Dad built these curtained enclosures in two corners when the girls were little. Check out the dusty rose panels ( twin sheets) The broad shouldered topless man is The Man at My Address. I also have to say that Softball Princess did a significant amount of the work on this one. (Fun note - that big St. Bernard dog was a gift from The Man to me for my 16th birthday - I'm 45 now. That makes this do like really really old.)

Blogger will NOT turn this picture back. The floor was cheap white vinyl. It was pretty awful. White walls and pale grey trim.

There was also this handpainted border. College girl was three when I painted this. She's 20. Can you say serious time for a redo!!!!!
I did not watch when they painted over it.
Here you go --

While there is still work to do, the hard part is done. Dark purple paint. (indigo night in the paint and primer from behr --- love it -- still took two coats) Ultra white trim.

Good quality snap together flooring in wood toned squares - cherry finish. Abby picked this out - I didn't argue - these are gorgeous. I will use this same brand in my bathroom and laundry room soon. Most likely in a plank style rather than these squares.

Since this room has two double beds, two closet enclosures, a desk, chest of drawers, dresser, and entertainment center setup, we reworked the furniture to give them more space. The entertainment center stacked on the dresser. (The room is 17' by 15')

The closet enclosures got new curtains (white twin sheets.)

The girls are happy. I am happy. Dad is happy. Thank you MaryAnn for playing these word games with me.

It is now my turn to pick a word. This still needs completion. I have other things that need to be completed.


September 1 brings more tests - and procedures. Thank you all for you prayer and encouragement. Keep praying - I (we) will eventually get good news. Because "my story is not over yet."

I have a beautiful life.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Random Babble.....

And the Winner is.........

My family knows I am nuts. So when I sent my sister a text that simply said pick a number. She sent back my number. I had listed the comments in no order then put them in a hat. I pulled them out until I got to number three. The winner of the 1000 post goodies is my friend LeAndra over at Madame Queen. Saves me postage too - I'll take her goodies to bootcamp and hand them off.

Now for randomness - I busied myself this weekend with several projects. One was the cuff for the cuff swap - I'll show it off once I know my partner has it. I took it to church for feedback and got rave reviews on it. Even the guys at work gave me positive feedback.

I also made these .... little crochet curlie cues .... these are part of a bigger project. I like them. They are quick and easy to make - I'll be finishing these up this week at various ballgames. And waiting rooms. I need 16 of them.

This little guy rode home from church with me. He (she) is the most stunning flourescent green.

Then there was this. I have a studio. It is not big enough for all my shit as it is currently organized. So there are still things stored in the house. I opened a Cabinet saturday morning and the avalanche started. Ribbon fell out everywhere. I have no idea how I got all that in there. (most likely by the shove and slam method - anybody need any detail descriptions of that)
I got all the spool ribbon stacked in containers and put away, leaving these loose and short bits. I grabbed a plastic pickle jar (dill pickles are a serious addiction for me) an old birthday card and started winding and securing. I made a dent in this pile, but the mess remains on the coffee table.

I also did this... hot pepper vinegar. MMMM. Can't wait to pop these open when I do turnip greens and peas this fall.
I have slept just fine. I don't feel a tremendous amout of stress about the tests and procedures this week. Thank you for your prayers and all your words of support.

Have a wonderful day.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Friday ....

Don't forget to go here and leave a comment for my giveaway. I'll draw a name this afternoon a little after 5 eastern time.

See that picture. Those are known as "my orange handled scissors".

I buy lots of cheap scissors at the dollar store. I cut paper, and copper tape, and bead wire, and other things that are devastating to scissors with the cheap ones. They are cheap - I throw them away when they simply quit cutting. anyone is welcome to use any of those scissors. I also never buy them with orange handles.

Because the "orange handled ones" are my fabric scissors. I have a big pair, a small pair, and a pair of pinking shears. Under penalty of death or mutilation - you had better not touch mama's orange scissors.

WEEEEELLLLLLL - this morning I found my orange handled scissors on the bathroom counter by the sink. There are snippets of beard hair littering the sink and countertop. There is evidence of those same snippets kinda stuck to the blades of the scissors.

I don't have a beard. Softball Princess doesn't have a beard. Barefoot Boyfriend doesn't have a beard. College Girl and Quiet Boy have not been there all week. This leaves one suspect - The Man at My Address. He fits the profile. Should I have DNA testing completed before I sentence him to the wrath of mama?

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend. I'll be finishing up the end of my CHANGE project and taking pictures.

I have a beautiful life and I am blessed blessed blessed. But you might want to pray for the scissor culprit.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No room for.......

Right now I have no room for petty behavior, rudeness, or sickening self importance in my world.

As a result I was uncharacteristically sarcastic today at lunch. Since, I am a blogger of my life happenings, I'm sharing this with you.

Setting -- Barnes and Noble Cafe Athens, GA. Lunch time. One sweet and busy girl behind the counter.

Mood -- I just had my pre-op at the urologist for the stone blasting next Friday.

I dropped by B&N to grab a pretzel for my lunch. They cafe was busy. The one poor little girl behind the counter was scurrying about like Cinderella trying to prepare food, drinks, take orders and work the register. I waited in line and glanced through several magazines while I waited. People placed their orders and visited with each other. Patiently waiting. All but the lady in line behind me.

She was on her cell phone (which I am guilty of) but she was loud and full of negative energy. Complaining to whoever it was on the other end of this phone call - did I already say she was loud - she made sure everyone knew how poor she thought the service was here. Now the little girl behind the counter literally is doing all she can do - and as you know I didn't get stellar news at the doctors office, so my perspective is a little different. Cut her some slack, she is by herself.

Anyway, it is my turn to order. As I open my mouth to order, the lady behind me butts in and says "can you hurry up?" I order my pretzel and a drool worthy chocolate treat. She butts in again with "are you by yourself?" I finish my order and say to the little girl, "please add one of those chocolate treats to that lady's food, it appears she might need some positive energy in her life today." I pay for my order and step aside to wait.

The lady behind me places her order and again (loudly) says "and I'm in a hurry." To put it mildly - this just flew the hell all over me. Under normal circumstances, I would simply ignore this, but today that is not the case. I step to the counter beside this lady and tell the little girl behind the counter, (loudly of course) "SINCE THIS LADY"S TIME IS SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVERYONE ELSE'S, SWEETIE PLEASE FIX HER FOOD BEFORE YOU FIX MINE." The little girl asks if I am sure and I say (loudly again) "YES HONEY, I'M SURE. WE WILL ALL BE BETTER OFF IF SHE GETS WHAT SHE WANTS AND LEAVES."

This was met with smiles and nods from many customers, and an indignant "ugh" from the lady. And glares - hard dagger like glares. Me - I just met her glare and simply held her eyes with mine.

So - to the rude, self-important lady at Barnes and Noble. I hope you enjoy your chocolate treat. I really hope you don't choke on your self important attitude.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Don't miss the chance for free goodies. Go to the giveaway post and leave a comment. (That means you too Carrie and MaryAnn)

Now about the title. I signed up for a Victorian Cuff Swap over at Honey Lamb and I. I was partnered with a beautiful and sweet lady named Linda over at Robin's Egg Blues. She sent a sweet sweet email and even asked if I had special requests for my cuff. I browsed thru her place and decided quickly that I was in great hands for my cuff.

Yesterday was a highly stressful day. I left work - then a ballgame - then came home to a PACKAGE (singsong voice) It was not just my one cuff, there were two. Absolutely gorgeous cuffs. I love them both but I do have a favorite.

This one is about 4 inches wide including the stunning tatted trim. I love tatting, can't figure out how to do it. I'll stick to crochet. I have seen these roses popping up everywhere, and gonna learn how to make these. (Shhh. don't tell the other one but this is my favorite) I will wear this a lot.

The image on this one is so soft and vintage looking. Again with the tatting - love love love. I love this one too, but with the long black ribbon ties, I knew I wanted to use it in a different way. I tied it around my book and little notebook and pen, that I keep beside my bed. I always read with a notepad and pen close by, because I collect quotes. From any source. So this beauty will keep my goodies together.

Linda - I love these both and I thank you for your generosity - and the tags you included are stunning too.

I'll post the cuff I am sending her once I know she has received it.

I'm leaving you guys with a couple of side trip links.

I got not so great news yesterday, but I am so so blessed in my life. We have been praying for a young lady from a close by school. She was to be a senior this year, and she was a softball player much like the Princess at our house. Injured in a car accident, her family is fighting a fight I cannot even imagine. Please go over and read her Mom's archives of her recovery (start at the beginning) . Take a tissue with you - especially if you are a parent - Misty has done an amazing job with this blog. God is real - Prayer works - I believe that. Kristen Clack's Story.

Also, my buddy Leandra, posted just the words I needed today. The Madame Queen and her family have become very very special to me, since they came to our church.

My life has challenges. Everyone's does. Try and be kind to people when you meet them. You never what private battle (or public one) they may be fighting.

I have a beautiful life and MY STORY IS NOT OVER. (blatantly stolen quote from Leandra's post)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Well, Damn ......

Don't forget to leave a comment on yesterday's post to enter my 1000 post giveaway by Friday.

Those are the words I uttered as the doctor told me the result of my scans.

Kidney Function - great
Surgical sight healing - great
Blood sugar - slightly elevated (but I did not fast before the blood draw)

Did we discuss you participating in a study? No.
Would you be interested in a study? Depends.
More on this later. I'm investigating.

The stone in your remaining kidney has to go.
Lithotripsy (sp?) on Friday Sept 3.

Oh - and there is a complex mass on or near your left ovary. Recommendation - pelvic ultrasound and careful follow up with gynecologist. I don't know what it is?

Well, damn - I said.

But I can do situps at bootcamp. Guess that part was good news.

Oh - and the insurance deductible has been met. Guess that is good news too.

Let's get all this dealt with before Dec 31st. Cause I damn sure don't want to come up with 5000.00 at the beginning of next year too.

So - pre op thursday - pelvic ultrasound next tuesday - litho next Friday.

Margaritas tonight -- my house -- I can have three -- but if you guys wanna meet me there - I will mix extra for you.


Well, damn.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Today's post is a really big deal. See - this post is number 1000 on the MaggieGraceCreates blog. Considering that I never managed to keep a written journal for more that a couple of months, this number is very impressive to me.

Having said that - I am having a little gifty giveaway. I have a stack of goodness on the table in the studio for a random drawing - I will do the drawing on Friday August 27th. I know there will be an altered clipboard and one of the altered composition books. There's more, but you are kind of at my mercy on what that might just be.

To enter - leave a comment here. I'm not doing all that extra entry stuff so popular right now, like twitter and face book stuff. Just a comment here gets your name in the running.

Yesterday found me struggling seriously with the fatigue, but I did squeeze into the studio late, for some painting of wisdom words. I propped them up to dry and just liked what I saw.

I also completed the medallion crochet for a slightly bigger project I'm working on. I'll be adding this to something else. Love how this turned out.

I get my scan and lab results tomorrow morning, hopefully I'll be here with wonderful news tomorrow.
Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Where I am

For months I have been thinking "WHERE AM I?" I was reeling. Going through the motions. Struggling. Wondering if the next phone call would be bad news "again". Wondering if I would wake up more fatigued than when I went to bed. Going through the motions of everyday, but not quite fully engaged. Not really having "poor pitiful me", but allowing the bad days to even partially cloud the decent ones.

At some point in the last few weeks - in a sudden corner rounding - that all changed.

Since you can't see the wrinkles on my face and all the gray in my hair in the above picture, the tall skinny one is my daughter. Yes - and holding my daughters hand is such a rare treat. Needing to hold her hand all the time is behind us.

Well - all this other is behind me too. The diagnosis. The surgery. The worst of the recovery.

"What if" and "might be" are thoughts in my mind, but there are no guarantees that that will even happen.

So there you have it. All my ponderings have led me to rephrase the line into "this is WHERE I AM."

This is what I can do today. Tomorrow may be different. This is how I feel today. Tomorrow might be different. Yesterday really doesn't matter.

I found myself right back where I like to live. I found myself appreciating right now. I found myself focusing on the next task at hand - while planning on the next one after that. No really long term "what if" "someday" or "this might". I plan for a stable future - I live in the right now.

All the pondering has left me smack dab in the middle of HAPPILY TODAY.

HAPPILY TODAY - It is where I am - and it's a damn good place to be.

So - where are you?

Friday, August 13, 2010


Again the picture has not one thing to do with the post. I just LIKE it.

Yesterday - I restarted bootcamp. It was a very good decision for me mentally. This journey has been much more mentally challenging than I have admitted to anyone - even myself. I was shutting down. I was retreating into myself. I was heading to a place where I have been before and where I do not want to go again. That place where you go thru the motions but there is no spark. That place where your negative energy drains every ounce of positive in you. I can't say depressed - because it really wasn't that at all.

Today I am tired. The fatigue is very real and very dramatic, but the mental funk that I have been having with it, well it didn't show up today. I do believe the endorphins generated by exercise help keep that fuzz and funk at bay.

I am still fairly quiet - but I am pondering a few things still. And I have the BIG tests on Tuesday. The contrast scans to be sure there is no more cancer floating around. So that's hanging in my brain.

I am going to say something here. I am not doing this to hurt anyone and I apologize if offense is taken. Yes, I am doing great. Yes, this has been a dramatic and traumatic journey. I hide it oh so very well. The mask is the one thing I can put on to protect those around me. See, knowing that I am struggling makes many of my closest very uncomfortable. I understand that, it is hard to watch a loved one struggle in any way. So I hide it and I have my dark moments alone. I don't want people to be uncomfortable. It's easier this way.

Many were there for me - I have been blessed beyond anything I can imagine. I appreciate each and every gesture. Believe me. I know prayers were answered. I felt your support and encouragement. I felt your love. I felt your prayer. I know that even when I felt alone - I really was not alone at all.

Having said that - the tears are behind me right now and hopefully won't be returning.

I got 30 more pounds to lose and there is a pair of blue pants hanging in my closet that made me feel amazingly well dressed at one time. I've turned the dark corner. There is light on my path. I will wear those pants and be back to my old self again really really soon.

MaggieGrace Goodies will return too.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A doctors excuse????

The picture has not one thing to do with the post. Just a shot of the way Softball Princess chose to display/store bouncy balls. What is it about a gumball machine that is so danged hard to resist?

I am a survivor. A two-time cancer survivor. I have had multiple surgeries. I recovered nicely from each and every one. I am recovering nicely from this one. But....

This has been different. A twelve in gash across my abdominal wall muscles, the main trunk muscles so to speak, came with serious limitations for what now seems like an unbelievable amount of time. It also came with limitations on other things (mostly because of losing the kidney). Alcohol - not a big deal at all. I love tequila, but the kind I drink is way expensive and therefore not drinking tequila, more like sipping. So we moved through that easy peasy. Next - no Advil or other Ibuprophen based medications - this was a little more challenging - I am not a huge fan of Tylenol (acetaminphen?) - thought it didn't work as well. But I am adapting. And mentioned casually, but turning out to be one of the most difficult - no ASPERTAME. You know it comes in diet stuff - AKA the diet Dr. Pepper that I love. You know to look there for it. But grab yourself a random assortment of chewing gum at the checkout - I haven't found a single one that did not have the beloved artificial sweetener in it. I have read so many labels in the last 4 months.

And exercise. Been on a weight restriction since the surgery. Can't lift more than 10 pounds. No abdominal work. Nothing that postionally stressed the incision at all. Don't want to herniate that incision.

In my brain - I allowed myself a coke (or two or three) to slide back into my diet. Then came fast foods. Then the damned fatigue. I have used all these Doctor's limitations to become the "excuses" for backsliding on my quest for better fitness. (Well the fatigue is very very real).

Well my friend Leandra is starting bootcamp tonight. 98 degrees is the expected high this afternoon. I have been thinking all week about this. I crashed with the fatigue last Saturday, doing what --- sitting on my ass in a chair at the softball field drinking a coke and eating potato chips.

Any body here remember what I think excuses are - they are "lies we tell ourselves". Well there you go - if I am going to crash doing nothing, I just as well give my body a reason to crash. So tonight, when Leandra starts bootcamp, I am going to start over at bootcamp. I won't do sit ups. I wont do pushups. I will do leg work. I will do cardio. I will most likely cuss under my breath. I will grunt. I will sweat. I will smell. I will survive -

I dread it - with every cell in my body. I know how hard building back up is going to be. I am hydrating as we speak. And having one of those all day long prayer sessions over me that goes like this "God - please don't let me puke. Or pass out." I also brought my weight watchers planning guides with me to study over lunch and while I wait at the hospital today (chest XRAY).

Time to silence the EXCUSES - even those that were condoned by the Doctors.

My mental state has not been that great. I have allowed the Pity party for myself to go on long enough.

On August 24th - I meet with the doctors. I have a list of questions that are much more targeted than he is expecting.

The Reindeer Run is a local 5k - held in December. I want to be there. I want that person back. I want to be healthy physically and mentally. April 9 - is etched in my brain - CANCER AGAIN - April 16 is etched on my body - LOST KIDNEY. Two damn days in a life full of lots more days. Can't let two days ruin everything now - CAN I?

Help me - keep me honest. I am not afraid of the work it takes. I am afraid of the frustration that may occur as I do this - AGAIN.

Happily today - I am enjoying my still beautiful life.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

sorry -- went mia again

Seems the summer and return to school for both girls have taken its toll on MaggieGrace goodies. Add in a serious remodel at work (that I am completely OVER insert rolled eyes here) and a room redo for the softball princess and there you have a recipe for some serious lack of maggiegrace time.

Labs yesterday. The first of 4 visits of followup on the "surprise you have kidney cancer" spring party. On Thursday there is a chest XRay. On the 17th, contrast scans of my torso. On the 24th, the actual meeting with the doctors. They know there is a stone in my remaining kidney, and that will require some sort of attention in September. What kind of attention is an unknown right now.

Anyway --- remember these. My 5.00 flea market Fred purchase.

I took them home and promptly slid them under the computer desk. Waiting for time to clean up the lot of them. Well that time presented itself last night. They were also mixed up in the slots which is bothersome to me.

Can you say nastiness and grunge? Along with a couple of 8 legged residents and several 6 legged ones too.

I dumped them on a tray. Okay - I love this picture of them all piled up. Did I say nasty? UGH.

I scrubbed out the box as well as I could - mostly just evicting critters.

Then I took handfuls of the pressed aluminum letters and dropped them in a rubbermade box with soapy water. Shake shake shake - shake your booty - Sing it with me.

That wasn't enough - so scrubbing commenced. I worked on these for almost two hours and only finished about a third of them. More tonight. I am sorting them on my dining room table. But that's ok, my family eats on the sofa (or at the ballfield) most of the time.

I did find a surprise in there - I hope there are more of these kind. I need to be the president, not the VP, of MaggieGraceWorld. One of the girls - or the man - can be second in command.

Have a great afternoon.

I have a beautiful life.

Friday, August 06, 2010


A variation on a Southern Bridal and Baby shower staple. I want to think this is more healthy.

I found the picture on tumblr. But here is the original link -- http://fortheloveofgold.blogspot.com/2010/07/cucumber-feta-toasts.html

Well - I have no pretty picture of mine. They disappeared before I got to the camera. A sign of a sure fire hit in my book. I made the following adaptation to the recipe. I snipped a good size grab of cilantro leaves and a snippet of dill. I also didn't toast my bread.

Try it - see what you think. Please let me know.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

this is a lot more fun ......

than what I have to accomplish today.

MaggieGrace is doing a little painting at home. And at work. And in the studio. The studio painting is the only kind I like. More of this project later.

CHANGE being our word this month - here is another change.

Souvenir Spoons + Dremel Tool and accessories + Eye Protection (very important) = CHANGING the spoons into ......... (yes those are burn marks on the cutting board - the metal gets hot. Plus I sometimes solder on this board)

A tiny toddler bracelet. ....... Fun. And even the guys at work commented in a positive manner on it yesterday. I brought it in to pack up and mail. It is headed off into the postal system.

Not much else going on. I am struggling. I have been so open about my diagnosis, my surgery, and my recovery. Fact is I am fighting hard to regain my sure footing in life. It is not coming easily. FEAR - UNCERTAINTY - FRUSTRATION and HELL VANITY are all playing a role in my struggle. I just don't feel like me. My first lab followup is next week - then scans on the 24th - hoping all that helps to ease my mind instead of make things more complicated. Anyway - some days it feel like I am just going through the motions. There is the honesty for today.

I am blessed - I know that. My life is beautiful - I know that too. I'll get back to sure footing - sure is taking longer than I thought.

Hope you guys are having a great day.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

For Lannae

Lannae was SUPER CONCERNED about my being MIA. or maybe she was just SUPER AGGRAVATED that nothing new was here. So she hit my facebook wall with a comment.

Here ya go my sweet friend.

Last week found the Man at my Address alone and in the little town of Dahlonega, GA. Softball Princess was there for a camp and he was early to the scrimmages they were to have that afternoon. He wandered around the little downtown area, which includes one of my favorite antique malls.

When I got there for the late game, he moved his stuff from a friends car into ours. Late that night, games are finished and we are starting the 2 hour drive home. I find a little bag in my seat. The little bag contained the stuff pictured below.

Buttons - yup in the last 4 months he brought me a shelf for the studio, a cricut for my birthday, AND a little baggie of buttons. Maybe he is nearing his first graduation certificate for husband training 101. (been married almost 25 years folks)

Then yesterday, Flea Market Fred appears at the store. He had aquired some freebie things over the weekend and brought me these souvenir display spoons. Not sure ultimately what will come of all these, but

two of these three will soon be a baby bracelet. And three way cool pendants. Love the shape of the spoon bowls on these.

Now - you saw my CELEBRATE BANNER. (Scroll down one post if you missed it)

MaryAnn got to choose this months word -- her choice was CHANGE.

Here is a breakdown of my first CHANGE project. Hear this -- all from the stash with one exception. The fabric was sent by MaryAnn for the softball princess room makeover. Pictures of that change still pending. I dreamed this project and had to make it RIGHT NOW.

I have moved this tray out of the way too many times to count over the last several years - yes years. It was 80's pink with a floral heart print. I grabbed the tray and some satin nickle spray paint. Look closely you can still see the heart faintly through the first layer of paint.

Also grabbed a leftover chunk of foam insulation and using a highly technical measuring and circle drawing device, (I traced a dinner plate) I marked and cut a circle of the foam.

Spray adhesive - from Elmers. I bought it at the Dollar General so it is inexpensive too.

Short sequin pins and tacky glue for the edges.

I pinned it fairly close together. Then I added double stick foam tape squares.

Leaving me with this......

A metal edge for magnets and

A purple and silver pinboard for over the softball princess desk.

So in my first interpretation of the word CHANGE - I CHANGED a tray and assorted other stuff into a custom pinboard.

How does that sound?

Have a wonderful day.