Monday, February 26, 2007

One of my most treasured possessions...

Isn't it gorgeous? This jelly cabinet was lovingly created by Dennis's own two hands, labored over while he learned and taught himself to become the master woodcraftsman that he is today. Each and every piece that he creates is a masterpiece and I am thrilled beyond measure to say I now own two of his wonderful pieces of furniture. They will be be loved, cherished, and treasured within our home. I am still in shock and disbelief that Sheila would ever part with this and find myself looking, rubbing my eyes, and resisting the urge to pinch myself to be certain that this isn't just another one of my crazy dreams! LOL!

February, with all it's wonderful up's and down's, highs and lows, and moments in between has been a wonderful month to me. An online friend, Lisa Renea, informed me that she celebrates her birthday all month long, I suppose in a way that has been what this month has became...
A birthday celebration!!

Telephone calls, e-cards, well wishes, cards received in the mail, belated birthday wishes all came right at the exact time they were suppose to happen. Maybe it wasn't intended to be this way; but then again, just maybe, it was.

As Sunday morning lead into the start of another wonderful day...

as our home slowly began to come alive. First with Chaos and my daily routine with him, trying to coax him into being quiet and to go back to sleep, LOL! I often wonder why I don't just accept the fact that he is up and ready to go even when I am not. As soon as that thought entered my mind, I decided to start greeting him with the pleasure that he greets me, happy and wagging his tail, so I petted and made all over him for a bit before leading him outside. Upon his return trip in, a couple puppy treats were given, one extra just for good measure, a hug and kiss on his snout and I was then able to get around without him being right on my heels as he worked to bury his treasures in a living room rug.

Shortly thereafter, Don arose {LOL! Doesn't that sound silly?} and began making his way through his morning routine. We chatted briefly, telling one another "Good Morning!" and inquiring how each other's night was before I returned back to researching. As time went on, we began inquirying into each other's plans and intentions for the day when the telephone rang. It was our good and wonderful friend, Sheila, inviting us over for Sunday dinner. We chatted for a brief moment, quickly getting caught up with recent events in one another's lives, and made plans for later in the day. She gave me a bit of good news, Dennis made it out to his fabulous woodshop and cut a backing for the jelly cabinet she'd so lovingly gave me for my birthday and said that if we wanted to load it up we were more than welcome to while we were there. She also told me about a visit from her sister who saw this cabinet in another room and attempted to try to take it home with her. Sheila said she told Barbara, "No. No. No. That's Cathy's." As Barbara tried convincing her it should be going to her home, Sheila told me that Barbara stated, "... family is more important than friends." to which she responsed, "....not when that friend is family!" How sweet! I'd love to find a quote that represents those words to do something with and then tuck them somewhere inside the cabinet. Maybe something embroidered onto a crazy quilt heart? Anyways, we arranged a time for dinner to be ready and hung up as each of us returned to our morning routines. Around noon, Don and I headed out, stopping for gas and making a quick telephone call to say we were on our way.

We arrived at Sheila and Dennis's shortly before one o'clock. I'd desired to get there early so I could pitch in and help out with dinner. I should have known better as Sheila allows no grass to grow under her feet and already had everything into the oven. We settled in, drinking coffee, chatting, laughing, and enjoying ourselves and life, when Dennis returned from running an errand. We shared a wonderful dinner and I washed up our dishes while Sheila rinsed, dried, and put them away. She commented, "Man! Cathy and I can sure knock out a kitchen great together." It has become a tradition with us... she invites us for dinner, does the cooking, and I assist with the clean up, LOL! We sat at the kitchen table, drinking more coffee, snacking on carrot cake muffins and chatting some more before I could see the fog starting to form across the fields and down into the valleys surrounding their home. I knew it was time to start saying our "Good-byes."

I've come to feel a twinge of regret while we share this part of our time together, the saying good-bye. Without words, I know, Sheila feels it, too. Somehow, we always end up laughing and making promises and plans to get together real soon. We are definately kindred spirits walking life's pathways together. God certainly blessed both of us the day that our paths crossed.

In what seemed to be a wink of an eye, her house became a flurry of activity with Josh {Sheila's youngest son}, Dennis, and Sheila carrying out the jelly cabinet and loading it into our truck. I felt a wincing, a tightening within my chest, as I thought about all the love this cabinet has had since Dennis first created it within his woodshop and Sheila instantly laid claim to it. Every visit, right from the moment of first entering her home, I remember this cabinet being located somewhere in her dining room, displaying different collections, holiday decor, and items she cherishes. As the process of loading the jelly cabinet continued, I noticed that Sheila was ready to say "good-bye" to that cabinet; she knew it would have a good, loving home. When she stated she was ready to part with it, I couldn't believe my ears and suggested she just store it for away for awhile but she insisted "it's gone!" I remember mentioning if she was certain, I'd love to have it, just tell me what she wanted for it and I offered to buy it. Of course, being the friend that she is, she was like ".... no. I want you to have it for your birthday!" Once again, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. In all honesty, I really would not have been surprised to hear her say she had a change of heart and desired to keep it and I could not have blamed her.

Once loaded into our truck, Sheila had to stop me on my way out of their door to hand me a "doggie bag" of animal crackers for Don. The two of them had spent the early afternoon snacking on them and making wise cracks about their shapes while waiting for dinner. As our hands touched reaching for that baggie filled with love, so did our hearts fill with love for one another. She is quite a woman, I thought to myself, knowing no words would ever need to be spoken as she feels the same about me. Friendships like these are so hard to find, a gem hidden away somewhere sacred, just waiting to be discovered, grown, nurtured, and cherished... and both of us do cherish it with all our hearts and our souls. We're bond by threads woven from the same cloth, just like a crazy quilt, only this one is called "life, love, and friendship."

Sunday morning

started off on a good note. I woke up fairly early again; laying around and "resting", as it is called, certainly doesn't do much for my inability to sleep. I was instantly thankful that the Winter storm that was expected turned out to be so much milder than initially anticipated. We received a bit of ice but most of it seemed to be in the form of sleet and rain. Our rear deck had a 1/4" layer of slush, not quite liquid - not quite frozen. Although I probably shouldn't have used it gauge anything as Don had pre-treated our porch, walkways, and the rear deck with rock salt the night before. In my morning haze, I really hadn't considered that then. Overall, I was certain about a few things. One, that there were a slick areas to be found somewhere, and two, I just was venturing out to find them, LOL!

With a cup of freshly brewed coffee in hand, I made my way to the computer to do some more research on crazy quilting. Via a google search performed on Saturday, I had discovered some blogs I wanted to check out. One of the things that fascinates me with blogs and reading them is the fact that I can find just about anything on a variety of different subjects, read about others trials and errors, and share in their successes. I also came to realize that blogs are more indepth than most instructional books that you can purchase off a bookstore shelf; you just have to do a lot more digging to find all the content that would make up a really nice book. Equiped with my favorite pen and paper, I sat reading, jotting down anything that seemed to be of importance to me and where I found it as I desire to learn more about it. As I browsed, reading, I found some clarification about some things I'd read in the book I'd recently purchased and I loved that! So helpful. I also remember thinking about how I used to simply jump in and try things related to various arts and craft, not really worrying about the outcome and I wondered what makes this so different for me. I believe it is the component of a lot of different little things, not being all that familiar with different types of fabrics, having done very little embroidering although I have always coveted the appearance of it. I also discovered that there really are a lot of similarities between designing with fabric and paper such as some of the tools used, concepts, and embellishments used in their creations. Maybe that is what fascinated and drew me in to begin with... that and my love of all things hand made. For a moment, I wondered if I am crazy to desire to learn something; asking myself if I really needed another hobby, LOL! But I also knew that wasn't about to stop me, just as it hasn't many, many times in the past.

I began to wonder just how far do I desire to take this new and exciting possibility? I started thinking about my recent studio remodel, the sorting, purging, and giving away of a lot of supplies I had purchased due to the ability of being able to spend at a much faster rate than my heart and my hands could create. Lord knows that I don't need another stash of any kind and I should be more thankful with what I already have. I believe this was an important realization for me. As I read and researched, I made certain to note what others were doing when purchasing fabrics, needles, threads, flosses, fibers, and trims. I searched for those hints and tips that we often learn along the way, usually well after the fact, once the majority of us have buried ourselves in a multitude of supplies. I am certain that I could learn something from all of this, only if it is not to do it again, LOL! I realized that I already own a lot of things that I could utilize in a new to me way without having to purchase too much and that if I am patient with this process, I can save myself some money by looking for items on clearance and in thrift stores, the upcoming yard sales, etc. With any luck whatsoever, I will remind myself of this... often!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'm feeling better...

After a lot of rest, relaxing, reading, re-discovering...... I'd forgotten how frustrating and how emotional I can become when I am incapacitated. Thankfully, its been quite a while since I have felt this way and this time around it won't be nearly as long. Experiencing this pinched nerve was so totally unexpected; I believed I was mending nicely, and maybe I was --- well enough to do myself in, LOL! I really didn't think that it was too much at the time I was doing it... I guess sometimes we really have to live and learn. Trust me, I learned.... learned to take it easy, well, easier... especially the last few days.

My Thursday was another difficult day pain wise, but once I settled in and began to accept it as simply being, I certainly began to handle it a whole lot better. My evening was spent in bed, cozy and comfy in my pj's, propped up on pillows with a heating pad, reading, getting up frequently just to walk and get my circulation going once again. I did have a rather restless night; sort of up and down, reading my book, browsing online for a brief amount of time as looking even the slightest bit upwards hurt too bad to do for any length of time. Once back in bed, I slept like a baby! waking up with just enough time to leisurely putter around with a cup of coffee, getting a bath, dress, and out the door for my chiropractor's appointment.

Gary re-adjusted my spine, which thankfully stayed in alignment fairly well and performed some sort of an electrode therapy on the muscles in my lower neck, upper back, and into my right shoulder resulting in some major relief. Enough so that I felt up to going for a ride to JoAnn's on Polaris Parkway. Don encouraged me to purchase a yard of the velvet fabric I'd been desiring so I can begin my crazy quilt when I feel up to it. Maybe a mistake, LOL! as many yards of material later and a slip which read that I'd spent way more than expected; but it certainly brightened my mood.

Afterwards, I made a quick trip into Barnes and Nobles to pick up the latest issue of Somerset Studios. I'd been looking for it the week before, so I was very happy to see it on the shelves. I should just subscribe to it, but then, I'd have to find a new reason to venture all over, LOL! Anyways, I decided last minute to check out some books on Crazy Quilting, seeing how I really have no idea what I'm doing. I was happy to find "The Magic of Crazy Quilting - A Complete Resource Guide for Embellished Quilting" Second Edition by J. Marsha Miehler. Having some of my own birthday money left after purchasing the six drawer dresser and hutch for Alexxis's room here, I purchase it. A short trip into the post office to mail the Surprise in a Box Swap packages and we were once again on our way home. I warmed up Don and I some meatloaf and potatoes from the Thursday's dinner and tucked myself in for the night.

Christine telephoned me to see if I was still interested in going out to Deb's for a night of creating. Unfortunately, I bowed out explaining my rough week and longingly wishing I'd just go. Sanity won out as I really didn't need to be lifting my totes, pushing, pulling them around, and had probably done enough for one day. She seemed to be very understanding, although she seemed to be like me, a bit disappointed. About a half-hour later, Deb telephoned me to wish me well wishes. She herself had recently experienced a bout with the flu, so she understood but offered to come and get me should I change my mind. How sweet of her!

I tucked myself back into bed along with my new reads and stayed there until Don returned home; only getting up occasionally to let Chaos out and back in and stretch my limbs occassionally. Sleep last night was a little rougher... I slept soundly but awoke really early at 4 a.m. this morning. Most of morning has been spent, watching TV, lounging leisurely, and researching Crazy Quilting! I believe I'm hooked and I haven't even started yet, LOL!

I did make some pages of notes regarding fabrics, needle sizes, supplies... ideas.... sampler ideas but that is about as far as I got. My sis telephoned today to chat with me and see how I was doing and we got to discussing Crazy Quilting. She's never heard of it, but trust me, I think she'll want to try it, too. She loves working with fabric. It would be nice to share thoughts, ideas, and facts with one another as well as split up and share our supplies. I know there are some items that I have on hand that I could easily share with her, so she is going to look into it and get back with me.

We are in for another Winter storm watch, right along with a lot of the US; except this time the weather service is expecting a mix of sleet, ice, snow and rain. I pray that it isn't as bad as expected regardless of where you're located. Don did a little grocery shopping, picking up necessities only, and then, picked up the dresser and hutch for me this morning. Once he returned home, I made us a fairly quick breakfast of eggs and toast before he headed off to work. I believe we'll be lucky and he will be home before it really begins to brew. Well, it is time for me to get some more rest once again... but I'll update as time and my continued improvement allows. {smiles}

Thursday, February 22, 2007

"I know you're going through a difficult time..."

Those words were spoken ever so gently to me yesterday while I sat frustrated and on the verge of tears. They were all it took for the dam to break and the tears spilled over and run down my face, cleansing and cleaning away all the difficulties that had made up my day. Don always knows just what to say, to do, to be when what I need to hear isn't the words that I desire to be hearing. He slipped his arms around me and simply held me while I released so many pent up emotions. The second hand continued to tick away until they became minutes and minutes made up half an hour, and no other words were needed. Just being there, knowing he cared.... After a while he left to return a moment or two later with a warm, wet washcloth and began washing my face. "Get up." he whispered, and I obeyed, sliding gently into his arms once again. "You need a change of scenery, let's go out and get something to eat."

So off we ventured, nowhere special, our only need was to nourish our bodies. We chatted casually while dining, until out of the blue, there it was...the sound of laughter escaping from my deep down in my soul. He had me laughing over so silly comment that he'd made, changing my entirely blue perspective. We continued to talk, to laugh, to just simply be. On our way home, I suggested a quick run into WalMart so I could pick up a new book to read. If I need to rest, I may as well be doing something enjoyable while doing it. So, we walked ever so slowly towards the books and magazine section, stopping briefly to chat with some old friends as we made our way. Once in the book aisle, my hand automatically reached for Danielle Steele's book, "House" as if guided by some unseen force, gravitating towards it as if there were some unseen magnetic attraction. For years, Danielle Steele has been one of my favorite authors. A lot of her books, read and reread, are now stored in a box tucked gently upstairs. Somehow, once owned, I have a heck of a time parting with them... like a cherished treasure... one that doesn't need to be seen, but comforting knowing they are there... waiting for when the time is right. Shortly thereafter, we returned home. I retired to the bedroom, slipping into something comfy and sliding between the coolness of our sheets. Within minutes, Don was by my side with the heating pad in hand, plugging it into the wall outlet and propping up my pillows. "Would you like something to drink, Your Highness?" he asked and I laughed once again, wondering how I ever got so lucky to find him, a diamond in the rough. Moments later, he returned with a bottle of cold water for my parched lips. A gentle kiss on the forehead and a whisper, "rest" was all that I needed to hear, as I sat back upon the heating pad propped up by pillows and my favorite author's book between my hands. Time continued to pass, seconds turned into minutes, minutes into hours, and the day into night. Don checked on me often, inquirying if I felt better, and reminded me that every little things takes time. His words reminded me of an Emerson quotation,

"Adopt the pace of nature;her secret is patience."

and I surrendered into the moment, knowing he was ever so right.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Having a really bad day....

A called in emergency visit to my chiropractor this morning has left me feeling a bit of relief and whole lot of soreness. Barely being able to move is definately no fun! I was treated with warm moist towels, which felt heavy when first applied, followed by a lasar treatment to stimulate inflammed areas around my vertebras before being re-aligned once again, left me feeling drained. I've gained an entirely new perspective for others who suffer from chronic illnesses. I know all too well the frustration of barely being able to do the everyday things that we so often tend to take for granted such as bathing and dressing oneself. I remember reading someone's journal a while ago who explained having a chronic illness as "having so many pennies to spend" and determining how best to spend them by doing the day to day things and today, I can definately relate.

Another thing that I've noticed, is that pain is really subjective when it is the topic of conversation. We may be able to empathize with another as they talk about their pain, but somewhere in the back of our minds, we wonder how much or the amount of pain a person has, and think to ourselves surely cannot be as bad as all that! I can honestly say from experience, I am so sorry to anyone with whom I've ever spoken to and have thought those thoughts. It definately is a entirely different ballgame when it is you that is experiencing it.

I don't know what the solution to all of this is for me, but I have a follow-up visit on Friday. Somedays, I think maybe we need to take a more aggressive form of treatment; other days I wonder if maybe we need to lay off for a bit. But I do know, it is a very frustrating cycle. I feel a bit better then try to do more than what I am currently able to turn around and pay dearly for it a few days later, to only end up flat on my back once again. I'm irritable, I'm tired, I'm sick and tired of being in pain and sick and tired of being tired. I want my life back, back to where it was before this damn accident. I want some good days, without pain, without paying for them later. I want some peace from this physical, mental, emotional roller coaster ride. I'm sick and I want to get off!!!

I'm trying to take it all in stride, rest when I must, do what I can when I am able and it is hell. Pure hell. That is the only way to truly describe it. I've had others ask "what can I do for you?" and I wish I had an answer for them. Today, I don't know I can even do for myself. The resting, reading, watching TV, the small craft projects and everything else that I somehow find to do to keep my mind off of this isn't working today. I'm irritable, grumping, and grouchy and I'm having a really bad day.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A new treasure...

I may need to rest, but I've learned rest itself doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be spend simply idling away time. One of the things on my "to create list" has been to embellish this bear so that is what I worked on today. Very little supplies were needed, the bear, small fabric scraps, embroidery thread, an embroidery needle, and a small pair of scissor. Sitting loungingly on the couch while watching TV, I sewed on patches of scrap fabric on the feet and the left ear of the bear. There is also a "patch" on the right leg, barely visible behind the roses. Buttons, beads, and a bandana complete the assemble.

Remember this?

I managed to finish my second box today and they are all packaged up and ready to go to the Post Office tomorrow.

I had every intention of assembling the Gothic Arches Pages for shipping as well, but no way, Hosea! I'm suffering from a pinched nerve and can barely move my head or upper body to the left side without shooting pain racking my brain. Frustrated to no end with this roller coaster ride, I took a nice, long afternoon nap instead. Please send some good vibes and prayers my way, I want to be over soon so I can get back to being me!

Monday, February 19, 2007

I'm calling it a night...

I finished cleaning, sweeping, and mopping the bathroom --- yes! on my hands and knees, Thank you very much! My hardwood floors are in dire need of a thorough cleaning; however, all will not receive such treatment --- not just yet anyways. The bathroom is the easiest to do because it is quite a small one to accomplish fairly quickly.

I did make it out to the studio.... even if it was only to bring the items in that I need to work on inside. Really a small batch separated into two gallon sized ziplocks baggies, my glue gun, and the neccessary packaging materials. Unfortunately, by the time I re-heated spaghetti and garlic toast, Don and I had a late dinner, and I finished the dishes, I ran completely out of steam. Deciding not to push myself too much since I'm feeling the chiropractor's visit today and am learning to know when enough is enough, I stopped. At least the items are in here where I can access them easily enough tomorrow.

I just go through self-medicating myself with an adult dose of Nyquil to assist with the discomfort I'm feeling in my upper back and neck. I learned quickly not to slide into my black 1" heels just because they are easiest to slip on.... within minutes the pain shoot up to a nice threshold.... enough for me to say, "I quit." Tomorrow's another day....

Amber telephoned today while I was napping. She told Don to tell me that her and Alexxis will be over tomorrow. I am hoping that if she needs me to watch the baby that it is for only a few hours... I don't think I could handle her for much longer than that. It isn't like I don't enjoy visiting, caring, and snuggling with her... it is that I'm learning that all day and overnight is still a bit to much for me right now. Hopefully, I'll continue to mend from all of this and get back to doing what I am used to doing. It gets frustrating sometimes but so far I think that I am adjusting to the situation fairly well... I just have to take this time for me! Well, enough rattling on and on for one night..... I'm going to go, browse a bit online and go get some rest. 'night all!

It's been a busy, busy Monday!

My feet hit the ground the running a little after 4 a.m. this morning. Of course, I enjoyed a quiet morning spend browsing online, visiting some of my favorite blogs, checking my email, and visiting a few favorite places. It amazes me how fast that time goes as the sun creeps further and further in the morning sky. It wasn't long before I was heading out the door for my chiro appointment, which was a most welcomed and necessary visit.

Afterwards, Don and I made a trip into our Goodwill. I love thrift shopping and have been meaning to check out our new Goodwill store. Well, I suppose it isn't too new... just a been in a new to me location for over a year and believe it or not I'd not been there. I desired to venture in today in search of some velvet clothing to destruct for a crazy quilt; however, the clothing I saw was in too good of shape to be destructing and by the time I purchased 2-3 pieces, I may as well just buy a yard of new. Oh well, it isn't a project that I have to start right away --- just one those I want to do this one of these days type of thing... so I'll wait. I did browse, and browse, amazed at what is all available for purchase, especially items for altering. However, my common sense won me over and I limited myself to a few favorite finds.

I found an awesome vintage white table cloth with six matching napkins for $4. It will look great on my rear kitchen table ---- when the sewing machine isn't in use there {grin}. I found a 12-14" metal key --- perfect for either my studio or use in our garden this summer. I also noticed a lot of planters that I would like to pick up at a later date should I need any more than those I currently own. I decided to wait and see once it warms up a bit more to determine what I already have stored in the carport. My fab find was......... are you ready for this? A beautiful six drawer wood dresser with a matching mirrored hutch!!! For $79.oo!!!! I was like you're kidding me, right? Well, there went a large chunk of my birthday money, but I cannot wait to sand down the top to remove a few deep scratches or maybe even recover it with some ceramic tiles. I've paid for it up front and the store will hold it for us for seven days while we wait for the snow to melt before attempting to haul it home. I'll have to get into Alexxis's nursery and rearrange and remove a small dresser and bookcase so we'll have a place for it. I am so stoked with my find and I think she'll love it!!!

Once home, once again, the recent adjustment or the habit of an afternoon nap caught up with me. I returned to bed to wake up at 4 p.m. not believing the time. I asked Don why he didn't wake me up and he said he had fallen asleep too. So, we began rushing around, throwing in laundry, dusting, vacuaming the bedroom, and re-made the bed. I tackled the dishes from last nights dinner and moved on to the living room while allowing those to air dry. As I worked, Don dried and put away the dishes... Anyways, we sort of tagged teamed things into a presentable shape however, I'm far from being done.

I need to head out to the studio here in just a minute, I've got to finish the last remaining Surprise in a Box swap. I know, I know, I been saying this...... but time the pressure's really on!
I'm thinking I'll just gather up the Gothic Swap pieces and bring them back in with me to assemble inside tonight while taking a break from cleaning the bathroom and tackling the hardwood floors. See, I told you, I've been busy, busy....... and I'm not done yet!!!

Good Morning!

Lots on my "To Do List" today... although I found a smidgeon of time to simply play. I packaged some things for my surprise "birthday" girl and found a loverly poem to enclose... thought I'd share it here with all of you. Enjoy!

“It’s the little things

that mean so much

a friendly smile.. a comforting touch..

A card.. A call.. a thoughtful deed..

A helping hand in a time of need..

It’s the little acts of sharing.. giving..

that add such joy to daily living!”

~Kay Andrew~

*Note to self: I just accidently discovered how to add some of the fonts on my computer to my posts! Type them up in MS Word and copy/paste them into my blogger "create" posts. Whoo-hoo! I love unexpected surprises!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Don and I ventured out shopping today. A trip to the new Dollar Tree located out east of town. What a fun place to venture to and one day be able to explore with Alexxis! I picked up a few things there... my favorite a large ceramic egg to add a vintage scene inside and junk up with some ribbons and lace and various embellishments.

Then, a quick trip out to JoAnn's. I'll blame Deb for this one, as she mentioned that they had really cleaned the store up, so much she wondered if they were moving or going out of business soon. Anyways, I spent a bit more than I had intended while there, however it isn't all for me! It's the makings of a a birthday surprise for someone who has a birthday coming up in the next several months and something I've been desiring to do. After purchasing those items, I'd wished I'd picked up more items at the Dollar Tree that I seen. Another reason to go back soon, right? LOL!

What did I purchase for me? A few new spools of quilt thread, the fiber fill for Alexxis's quilt, a 18"x18" pillow form, some flat jewels, and 4 2 oz. bottles of paint for paper mache forms I've own for quite some time.

I did priced a few other items that I recently thought I'd like to create but I decided to wait to purchase them now and store them until I'm ready to use them. At least, I think I did something right!

On our return trip home, I made a quick jot into the grocery store for the fixings for dinner. I started us some home made spaghetti and garlic bread while putting everything else away and worked for a bit on the gift. Shortly after eating, I found myself waking up from a long nap on the couch. My neck and back have been causing havoc on the rest of my body so some rest was definately in order. I worry that this may quickly be becoming a new habit... one I really cannot afford to do every day if I desire to accomplish anything, LOL!

Well, there it is "our weekend"... simple, short, and sweet. Well, I'm off of here, to watch the season premiere of The Amazing Race!

Today, I'm relaxing...

while my mind is a million miles away, up in the clouds doing loupty-loops about all the neat things I desire to create. This is not a new occurance but something I do time and time again, day after sweet beautiful day. I believe it is called "daydreaming" by some, but to me it is exactly how my mind works, envisioning... bringing into life the breathings of my heart. Today, I'm thinking about my studio decor once again. The things I desire to surround myself with, how they look, feel, what they are made up of. It never seems to end with me, I'm always envisioning it...

What brought this on this time is considering what I want to take to work on during the March weekend retreat that Deb, Jackie, Michelle, Christine, and I will be going on. I need to some planning, some gathering of materials, supplies to be sure I have what I need while there. I can almost envision us needing a U-Haul to get it all there, LOL! and can see several vehicles loaded down with enough supplies to keep us creating for months on end! And I'm certain that is exactly how it will end up being --- without any doubts whatsoever. ROFLOL!

What I should be doing is cleaning our home. There's floors to be swept and mopped, clothes that need to be put away, laundry to wash and dry... but naaaa... those things can wait or can they? Maybe I should do my dreaming while puttering around? Either way that is the thoughts that are making up my day. {smiles}

I am also resisting the urge to go shopping. Suppressing the urge to run to Target to check out the Dollar Spot. Visiting the new Dollar Tree that recent opened in a new location. Checking out JoAnn's --- Deb mentioned that they really cleaned up. And then there's The Good Wives Company out on Cascade Drive that I'd love to revisit again and check out that fabulous fabric room once again. Good thing they're closed on Sunday's, or are they? LOL! Anyways, my day will be filled with a bit of cleaning, cooking, and possibly doing a little bit of shopping. I think I feel the urge to get out of here coming on. Don'tcha just love "cabin fever"?

My "official" birthday celebration thread....

Yesterday was a fabulous day, considering I slept in until almost 11 o'clock, LOL! Upon awaking I checked my emails, did some online window shopping, placed another order online for a much coveted image, then made some "Thank You for having me" telephone calls to Christine and Deb. Later on, I dug into my CIS tote to remove a paper storer to look through the small deco I'd created the night before. I added a few little things to it and jotted down some thoughts and ideas for embellishing it further. I'll have to capture some photographs of it to share once that has been done.

And the birthday mail continues to pour in..... maybe possibly due to the recent weather... Anyways, I received a beautiful Iris folded birthday card from my friend, Linda Moyes and a fabulous "Lace" ATC from my friend Lianne. Lianne actually crocheted on the edge of the ATC and it is so gorgeous. Thank you! Thank you! both of you!!! I love them! {I'll have to capture some photographs to add later.} Still elusive is the birthday card from Don's mom --- she sends me one every year and this year Don inquired if I'd received it. Nope; not yet! But I'm still watching for it...

After showering, getting dressed, Don returned home and shortly thereafter we made our way over to Mansfield. The weather wasn't too bad, quite warm feeling in high teens and low twenty degree temperatures, LOL! Funny how that works after a few days of near zero or below weather... a moderate snowfall which resulted in about 2" of additional snow fell while we were driving. The main roads weren't too bad as we travelled, but we maintained a slower speed and a much more relaxed pace. Our conversation consisted of the upcoming warming temperatures, Spring, and how often we tend to forget to live in the moment and enjoy what we have now. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking as we looked acrossed the open fields covered in snow with the light of that twilight blue night sky casting its glow on everything before becoming cloud covered once again. Along the way, I telephoned Dennis and Sheila and we made arrangements just to meet at Fork and Fingers restaurant, saving Don and I some backtracking. That worked at wonderfully as we both arrived in the parking lot at the same time --- good timing, wouldn't you say? Our dinner consisted of Chicken Fajitas for Sheila and I while the guys opted for smaller meals. I enjoyed a few margaritas... absolutely delicious! and a bit intoxicating... those little things are powerful! LOL! After eating I was serenada'd {sp.?} with a birthday song while a sombre was placed upon my head. Thankfully the margaritas helped with that embarrassing moment... I handled it like a real trooper! During our conversation between Sheila and I while catching up with one another's lives, she mentioned having recently rearranged some furniture and a jelly cabinet that Dennis had made for her in some previous year. As we talked she mentioned wanting to get rid of it and I tried to persuade her to simply store it for a while before making that decision. She simply stated, "No. I'm getting rid of it." Well hell, I'd love to have it, so I asked her to let me know what she wanted to sell it for when she offered to simply give it to me for my birthday present! How sweet! Dennis offered to put a new back on the cabinet and they will deliver it to me when this crazy weather clears up a bit and the snow starts melting. I cannot wait to show it to you. Dennis is a wonderful woodworker, but I believe that I've mentioned that before, huh? I'll have to capture some photographs of his work to show you.

Speaking of photographs, I almost took my camera along but worried about damaging it or forgetting it somewhere so I opted out. However, I'll show you some beautiful photographs of their home soon... maybe this spring when we can stroll through the property. It is definately heaven on earth! I so love it there... You'll see what I mean when I take those photographs and finally post them.

After eating we returned to Dennis and Sheila's for dessert. Sheila baked me a wonderful cake, called "Pig Licking Picking Cake" Ymmm... was it ever delish!!! Here's the recipe that she so lovingly shared with me.

Pig Licking Picking Cake

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 can of mandarin oranges
1 cup of pecans
1/2 tsp. of vanilla
4 eggs
1 can of evaporated milk

1 cup of pecans
Vanilla instant pudding
1 large tub of frozed whipped cream *{Sheila used two smaller tubs}
1 large can of crushed pineapple

Mix the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl, then, pour into 3-9" lightly greased and floured pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes.

While cake is baking, prepare the Icing: Mix all ingredients together and chill until the cake cools completely. Then add between all the layers and cover the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Man, is this ever delish! So moist... Sheila and I discussed multiple options from using fresh strawberries and blueberries for a cool summer dessert. Simply slice and serve with a cup of hot coffee, cold iced tea, or iced lemonade. Trust me, it is divine!!! {smile}

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Good Saturday Morning!

I'm here; feeling partially alive, although still half asleep... Last night was a great night. Remember I said I was going out to Deb's to play along with Deb, Jackie, and Christine? Well, I made it, barely... although, I'm afraid I wasn't real good company to be around. {I was struggling with a massive sinus headache and a backache from hell.}

It all began when I made my way out to the studio yesterday to round up some supplies to take along with me. Uncertain of what to take to make, I finally decided to knock out the new deco and to solder some old charms that I had previously made. As I started to pack up my Crop In Style XXL, I struggled again with what to take as these girls have just as much, if not more, than I do. It seemed everything I laid my hands upon was put back, as I figured someone had one handy, which is probably just as well. I ended up gathering up my soldering supplies, two container of embellishments - one silver and one gold, two containers of cardstock and printed papers, some alpha's, some unmounted stamps. Before I knew it I had my bags packed and was ready to go. I struggled to get my XXL out of the studio and into the house along the recently shoveled path and up the stairs to the deck and finally inside. Once Christine arrived, we got my stuff loaded into her car but not before the cold night air and the weight of the totes wrecked havoc on my body and soul.

Upon arriving, I unpacked and began to work on soldering my previously made charms. I have to say soldering is definately something I need to work more on. My most recent attempts were nothing to really write home about. The leaning over, working with both hands, trying to hold the charm, the solder, and the soldering iron and the smell of molten solder irritated the be-jesus out of my sinuses, while the positioning took their tole on my previously injured neck and shoulders and flared up my low back pain.

I spent the majority of my time admiring their recent handiwork, and working on my own deco. Deb had previously created a combination glass chandelier windchime created with photographs that was absolutely breathtaking. Jackie's been into flower making using punches and a touch of dry embossing that makes the most gorgeous wreaths, and Christine worked on creating some collages and soldering them together fabulously using some wire works to embellish them further. Earlier in the day I had thought about taking my digital camera but was afraid of dropping or banging it up so I opted out of that one. I also tuckered out earlier than expected.

These girls are night owls! Working steadily until the crack of dawn, while I'm normally in bed at 11 p.m. and up at 4, LOL! But all in all, I had a good time considering how lousy I actually felt. Deb ended up bringing me home around 4 a.m. Too early in the morning for me, although I was beginning to capture my second wind! I would so love to do this again... maybe next time I'll be feeling better!

Oh, I did sign up for the March 9th and 10th out of town crop with them. I learned that I really need to do some planning on what I want to work on before hand. So, I'm thinking I really want to spend the next several weeks preparing for that; gathering up a variety of projects to work upon.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Moving out of my comfort zone....

I will be the first to admit that when it's cold, all I desire to do is hibernate. Hand me a warm pair of socks, slippers for my feet, a throw to cover up in, a book to read or a good movie to watch and I am all set! Add in a pot of hot soup to nibble on when hunger strikes and hot refreshments such as a cuppa coffee, cappachino, tea, or hot chocolate and it is the makings for a perfect day! For days now, I've been telling myself I need to get into the studio and finish up; however, I haven't made it yet. Never mind that I spend a few hours digging out just so I could make it there, LOL!

Well, tomorrow I will be out there. It isn't a choice! You see my friends Christine, Deb, Jackie, and Michelle have been all but begging me to get out and get together with them. Chris has been talking to me about an weekend crop in Mansfield coming up in March and although I've tried to say, "No." No wasn't an answer. Which I am happy about. Deb will be paying for our crop registration so Chris and I discussed how I will get my money to her. Finally we decided that she will pick me up tomorrow evening and we'll head out to Deb's to create some goodies.

I kept telling myself that I've spent enough money recently on the studio remodel; we need to save for a vehicle; and a myrid of other things. But ya know what, I need to learn to live a little, too. So, a weekend away in March will be perfect. That gives me some time to figure out what I want to work on while there.

But for now, I'm off in search of some inspiration of what I want to work on while at Deb's tomorrow I think that will help me decide what I need to pack up and take along. I am actually looking forward to a night out with some crazy women!!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A moment of peaceful tranquility...

The trees in our rear acre. I love this time of day, late afternoon early evening when the twilight skies cast the blue glow upon the snow. It is so peaceful... I did hear the cardinals in our pine trees singing while taking these pictures and am happy I took a few moments to place fresh seed in the feeders for them.

We, unfortunately, aren't out of the woods yet. We've a wind chill warning with temperatures falling into the single digits and wind chills below zero expected over the next several day. What warmed my heart was receiving an amazing amounnt of cards, email cards, and telephone calls wishing me a Happy Birthday! Thank you, one and all, you know who you are...... [smiles]

A path to my studio...

I suppose I'm like the mailman, LOL! Neither sleet, nor rain, nor a blizzard will prevent me from making my way out here should the desire strike me.

Another snowdrift....

This one right off our front porch! The drifts are actually higher than our porch and I enjoyed looking out one window with a 6" drift at the bottom of it's window sill. It is pretty from inside, LOL!

The snow levels in our area

reached 10-12" easily with drifts up to 2 1/2 - 3 feet. Our side yard was a whirlwind tunnel while the snow was falling and after the storm had passed. Winds exceeded 40 mph and had actually striped the ground bare in a section of our rear yard while dumping it in a new location.

A Birthday Blizzard...

or should I say the remanants of one? This is the front of our home this afternoon after spending a few hours digging out! We have a Level 3 Snow emergency which means Emergency personelle only on the roads; however, many disregard it and cause a lot of problems for those who need to do their jobs. Thankfully, Don and Shawn purchased a new snowblower just several days before the Winter storm hit, I cannot tell you how handy that came in.

Never assume.....

that simply because a pattern says, "Easy" that it was meant for a beginner! OMG! I've been working on sewing this dress for little Miss Alexxis McKenzie for hours! Although, it is a bit hard to tell in these photographs there are two very small pockets on the front of the dress. I just happened to get them lined right up with the polka dot pattern. What gave me fits is that the dress is sewn in two layers or with a white cotton liner. Also, who in the hell came up with the design for these ties???? OMG! I spent nearly an hour simply trying to turn them inside out before finally resorting to re-create my own a bit wider; then returned to struggling with two for the inside of the dress! {And here I thought that sewing was suppose to be relaxing, LOL!} The pattern calls for cutting four of the sides for the dress, however, it should also mention that one should make certain that the second side being sewn is right sides together before being sewn. I'm not certain how I managed that one, but in my frustation over the ties, I managed to do it wrong somehow and had to re-cut them and sew them up. Anyways,it is all good now; although I am refusing to hem this dress tonight. I believe I have definately earned a break... {smiles}. I am also thinking that I'd like to sew on some wide white rick-rack to the bottom of the dress and utilize two large white buttons sewn on by hand to the pockets.

Within this pattern is a floppy summer hat... can you tell I'm dying to try my hand at that, LOL! Maybe tomorrow....... {big grin!} For now I'm simply hoping that it fits her....

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Thinking SPRING!

in the midst of a winter storm, my thoughts are thinking SPRING! And what a better way to "think Spring!" than to create something for my girl, Miss Alexxis! I found this inexpensive roll of crocheted lace and tye died style of ribbon on a recent visit to WalMart; perfect for decorating a little pair of socks, don't you think?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Sunday update and Monday's plans...

Don and I didn't make it over to Sheila and Dennis's yesterday. I called to see what time was a good time and received their answering machine. While waiting for a return call, we decided to clean house. I tackled the kitchen and bath while Don threw in some laundry, vacuamed the living room and assisted with gathering up the trash for today's pick up. All in all, it worked out well. After sweeping and mopping our wood floors, I decided to start us a nice dinner consisting of baked steak, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, brown and serve rolls. While dinner was in the oven cooking, I whipped up a double-layered carrot cake with cream cheese icing... perfect for my birthday on Wednesday, which baked and filled the kitchen with such a wonderful scent while we had dinner. While the cake was cooling, waiting to be frosted, we ran a quick errand out to Lowes.

Shortly after arriving home, I frosted the cake and the cupcakes I made from the leftover cake batter to give to Amber and Chris. In the evening, we enjoyed an overnight visit with Miss Alexxis McKenzie! Mommy arrived early this morning to pick her up so I could make it to my chiropractor's appointment.

I received good news. I'm mending. We are going to try once a week visits during the remainder of the month, although I can call and be scheduled in if I need to be seen and treated. Overall, I'm starting to feel a lot better, although there is still a bit of tenderness at the base of my skull and I'm experiencing a touch of dizziness while laying on my right side. It is a quick wave of dizziness that is relieved when I reposition my head and neck. More troublesome than anything else, yet important enough to continue to receive treatment for a while longer. I use a lot of care when holding Alexxis... and tend to err on the side of caution while caring for her.

We are in a for a Winter Storm watch today. 1-3" of the white, fluffy stuff expected, then a Winter Storm Warning is in place starting after midnight tonight. It is expected to hit Ohio around 2 a.m. with a possible 4-6" of snow; possibly up to 8" depending upon the jet stream placement. Anything south of the mid-line of this system will be snow and ice! Ick!...

I did manage to get my recent fabric purchases washed and dried. I have to press them yet before I can actually get started sewing anything. I'll be heading out to the studio this evening to work on the two swaps I need to get mailed by the end of this week, then I'll start to work once again on sewing up two additional curtains for my bookbinding cabinet and an spring summer outfit for the little princess.

I recently heard that the WalMart's across the country will be removing their fabric departments. Thankfully, we will still have our small JoAnn's and have a new Hobby Lobby opening here. Of course, there are some nice fabric stores within a 50 mile radius of our home so that helps out as well. I am finding that I really am enjoying sewing with my new machine...and I believe I'm becoming as obsessed with fabric as I already am with paper, LOL! Thankfully, I am realizing that I only have so much time available and am taking it a bit easier with my fabric purchases.

Oh! Oh! before I forget. I'm getting a Crucit for my birthday! While at WalMart the other night, I showed it to Don, explaining how it works, and how useful having one would be in my paper art crafts, and that eventually I'd love to own one. Well, he handed me the money to purchase one for my birthday; although I've decided to wait and do some comparision shopping before I actually do. Gotta make sure our necessities are covered first! But anyways, I'm on the hunt for the best price. Maybe soon....

We had a long heart to heart talk on Saturday morning regarding our finances. We've decided to really focus on getting a few small obligations out of our way, so that we can save $$$ for neccessities we need for our home, a new to us automobile, and contributing more to our savings. It was a nice conversation, one that sort of put things into a clearer perspective for us and that allows for us to both cover the necessities and a few small desires along the way. It is a whole lot easier when we're both on the same page, and have one another to hold the other accountable; not to mention it really curbs some of that impulse shopping. I'm finding that I really am loving this setting goals process and we're applying it to more and more areas of our lives. Gotta love that!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I Have Been Blessed....

Good Sunday Morning! I love Sunday's! It is Don's day off, we usually have something planned to do yet I am still able to ease into my day. Sometime, today we will be visiting with Dennis and Sheila, just need to make a telephone call to see what time we should head over there. I miss our good friends, it has been awhile since we've seen them.

Yesterday turned out to be a wonderful day! Out of the blue, my friend Christine telephoned asking me if I'd like to do lunch. Well, of course, I would. Christine is such a hoot and fun to be around. Shortly thereafter we headed for My Jalapeno's for a Mexican lunch. Yumm-mmmy! After lunch, chatting, and goofing off, we returned to my studio so Chris could gather up some things she had left here a long time ago. She loved my newly remodelled and organized studio! But, it was sort of bittersweet seeing her packing her things into her car, I can't explain it, but I felt as if she was moving out and moving on with her life. My heart was saying "Goodbye, dear friend." Isn't that crazy? LOL! I'm certain we will stay in touch with one another, at least I hope we will. I need to make more of an effort to keep in touch with her, I realized I'd hate to loose our friendship.

Shortly after Christine departed my dd, Amber and Alexxis came for a visit. It was nice to sit and visit with my daughter. It seems most of the time I get to visit with Alexxis as she runs errands or takes a mommy-break, so sitting, having coffee and a conversation was wonderful! We made some plans for Monday and I look forward to that but know better than to set my hopes too high, as Amber is very unpredictable.

Several hours later, Don returned from work and we made our way to WalMart so I could pick up a new camera battery charger. Well, anyone who knows me, knows I'm not "safe" to take shopping. I can find more stuff than anyone I know and end up with more than I intended to purchase, especially if I don't create a list prior to shopping. Last night was no different as I found a coffee/expresso/cappuchino machine on clearance for $25.00 - Whoo-hooo! Now I can make me some goodness at home.

Also, do you remember the "elusive" fabric that I searched for what seemed like forever for? The same fabric that I needed more of for creating my bookbinding curtains? Well, a trip to the fabric department and a wonderful discovery lead me right to that bolt!!!! There was a total of 5 3/4 yards remaining on the bolt and at $2 per yard, I purchased it all!!! I am so stoked. Now, I can get it washed up and create two more full-sized curtains to swap out the ones that I cut in half and hemmed the side seams. I'm thinking the smaller panels could be used on the center island so that I am not simply wasting them. I'm still not believing my stoke of luck with finding it; I certainly thought that it would be long gone, never to be discovered again, yet thankful for what I did already have. Isn't it strange how that works? Maybe my heart wasn't in the right place at the time I was looking... who knows but it is something to ponder upon. What I will create with the remaining pieces is anyone's guess. Maybe a matching curtain topper, a tote bag, another pillow? Maybe I'll even save some of the scraps for using in my much desired crazy quilt. Oh! Oh! Oh! Speaking of crazy quilts... I discovered the instructions with a Romantic Homes magazine that I'd pick up when I originally purchased the fabric. I normally do not grab that style of magazine, so maybe it was simply meant to be. Whatever it was, I'm glad I listened to my heart.

Speaking of hearts, needless to say, all my good intentions of getting into the studio to finish up two swaps didn't happen. Sometimes, I think we just have to trust that the universe has other plans. I was definately blessed with a wonderful day spent with family and friends, is there anything better? I'll get there soon and when I do, I know it is where I am meant to be. {smiles} I saw some wonderful ideas on Matthew Meads website and in the Country Home mag that I would explore further... hmmm, maybe in my sleep?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

I also received a recently placed order of Country Home Holiday with Matthew Mead! A wonderful publication filled with eye candy!!! Be sure to visit Matthew Mead for more information. This publication is available until February 13th; when it's gone --- it's gone! Be sure to look for some free projects, ideas, and inspiration while there! What a wonderful website! And Thank you, Matthew for inspiring me!

Yesterday was a great mail day! I received a wonderful birthday card from my online friend, Nancy James Thank You, Nancy! You made my day!

Another goodie was a postcard of Birthday Wishes from my chiropractor's office! I was a bit shocked to received this as I didn't realize that they did such a thing! WTG, Mauk Chiropractic Clinic.

I did take a few pictures to add, however, my camera batteries that came with the camera died so I attempted to charge the new ones I'd purchased along with it, and the battery charger gave out and refuses to charge them. What's up with this? Is it a conspiracy against me adding photographs to my blog? LOL! A new battery charger will be boughten today and I'll add those as soon as I'm able.

I have got to head out the studio here in just a bit. {breakfast has to come first; I'm starving since I didn't cook or eat dinner last night.} I've got to finish up the two swaps so that I can make my way to Post Office on Monday; freeing my time up for other creative endeavors and finishing up a few things. Suppose I should get off this computer, huh?

Although, it hasn't been all bad. I did manage to move some files and photographs off my C: drive onto my D: drive, deleted some things I no longer need, did some computer maintainance, and cleaned out my email! I couldn't believe I found some emails from 2005!!! LOL! I can be bad about that, reading what I want and not deleting the rest so I took care of that already today. I feel lighter, LOL!

I hope this post finds everyone in a great mood today and you have the time to accomplish some of your dreams! Until next time.... [waves]

Friday, February 09, 2007


I received a recent online order for an amazing set of Paper Artsy rubber stamps. These have been on my wish list for forever it seems! Susan at recently got the ones I'd been coveting back in stock so I just had to order them! A recent newsletter informed me of a way to save 15% my order and since it is my birthday month, I decided to treat myself as a reward for a job well done with the recent studio remodel and organization. Sometimes, you just have to be good to yourself, ya know? These images are amazing and I'm am looking forward to creating with them soon, real soon....... {smile}

Maybe, I can offer up a RAK or a giveaway real soon. Continue to visit and watch for those details.......

Weekend planning and ponderings...

I have every intention of making it to the studio today. I have got to get out there and clear off the center island and begin assembling the last one of the two boxes for the Surprise in a Box swap. They need to be postal real soon so that they will arrive on time! However, today, I have a lot on my mind.

As I am writing this, I am reminded that I was recently shocked! A long time ago, I attempted to add a site counter here and managed to get it functioning partly... however, it doesn't show up on my blog template for some unknownst-to-me reason. Anyways, I receive a weekly emailed update on the number of visitors here and while checking that email, I noticed I had 220 visitors on the 2nd of February!!! What? What did I add that day that was so interesting?

I quickly opened another window, pulled up my blog, and found the date. There it was, the Surprise in a Box boxes, cards, tags, and the surpises inside that I'd create and a total of three responses. I was blown away! I believe it is important to give credit where credit is due and want to mention once again that those boxes are not my own design but something that I desired to re-create. I discovered them some time ago while shopping at On Paper in Columbus, Ohio. There on the shelves were the prettiest boxes and wrapping paper created by Barbara Schriber Inspired, I did some research found her website and learned how to create the paper medallions myself. But I learned a very important lesson; my visitors want to see more of my art and what inspires me! So, I need to start sharing that and creating some more of it, huh? Please visit Barbara's website and her mother, Melissa Neufeld, I'm certain that you'll be inspired, too.

Anyways back to my plans, after I finish the boxes, package them for shipping, I need to turn my attention to finishing the Gothic Pages swap. Several members of a group of online artists that I share information, techniques, and artwork with, recently decided to host a swap based on this style of art. I am uncertain at this time to whom to actually to credit the design to but I'll be more than happy to share that once I discover the original source once again. I'm thinking it was from the book, "Mixed Media Explorations"??? Anyways, I recently received the template from Linda so that I can now check my arch size, and if correct, begin the creative process of assembling them. I'll try to remember to capture a picture of them to share the source of that artwork here with everyone who so kindly visits.

I thank you for that, visiting, with me, here. It means a lot to me... knowing that I have something worth sharing. I love to discover like-minded people and blogs to visit. So if you visit, would you so kindly leave me a comment? No matter how you do it, what you have to say, so that I can visit and leave a comment with you? I often go through my archives and hit those comment links so I can revisit at a later time to see what's new, too. Also, I often wonder if there is a "net-quette" for adding links to my blog? Should I email others for their permission to add a link here or do you just add what you'd like to share? And what is the correct way to respond to comments? Often I visit those who've visited and left me a comment so that I can visit and comment with them. Sometimes, I can find an email addy to send an email and others times I cannot. Therefore, I post a comment to let them know I checked their blog out as well.

I love to see what others are creating. Seeing and reading what is going on in their lives, being inspired, and learning along the way... I've discovered that my own life is multi-dimensional with a variety of interests from scrapbooking, rubber stamping, home decorating, sewing, gardening, mixed media artwork and that I can find, be inspired, and learn just about anything through the internet and through other's blogs. It has added an entirely new dimension to my internet surfing and I like to comment and let others know that they've inspired me and give credit where credit is due. I've also learned so much about myself along the way and I believe Maya Angelou says it best when she says "we're more alike than we are different." I have found that I can truly relate to other people, that it is important to share my thoughts and feelings, the little things in our lives that provide us with comfort and joy. I often wonder if maybe I should re-vamp my own blog and simply feature only my artwork within it, when I suddenly realized, it isn't an accurate reflection of who I am. I'm multi-dimensional with a variety of interests, I'm fun, loving, and kind; a caring and compassionate human being and I hope that my blog reflects that. I know I can be all over the place... that is me... that's my life... that is how my brain is wired, LOL! And one more thing before I go, I've learned that writing this blog, sharing my knowledge, my resources, my personal life, is actually making me a better person.

If you had met me in real life some time ago, you would have discovered that I am actually sort of shy. I'm more guarded, scared and afraid of being hurt, I often have to remind myself that others who I interact with have very little power over me, my own thoughts, and my feelings. I can be self-conscious and often inhibited because I fear being judged too harshly or having my own life negatively impacted in some way. I set up barriers and established imaginery boundaries to guard my heart and spirit and once those are in place, I tend to withdraw. Writing here, behind the facade of the computer's screen, I can be who I am, without those fears and insecurities to some extent and that is helping me so much in my real life.

I am learning to be more open, more vulnerable, more.... inviting. It hasn't been an easy road for me to attempt to do this in my life, but I one day realized that I was missing out on so much more because I was afraid to take that chance. It is something that I am working on, making me a better me. {smile} I now ask myself what would I do, what would I share, what would I say, and what would I do if I knew for certain that no one would judge me by the choices that I make. And the answer to that is that I'd dance, I'd smile more, I'd reach out to others and embrace the relationships that I have with each and every one of them, and that, my friends, is what I'm attempting to do. I ask myself what is stopping me from being the person who I desire to be, from doing what I'd love to do? Those answers differ and come with a variety of responses that are so enlightening! that I have made a resolve to try to incorporate at least one of those answers into my life. It's soul-dancing! Becoming the person that I was meant to become. I try to remember that is what others are doing, becoming who they really are and sharing that with the rest of the world.

Making time for family and friends...

The past several days found me cleaning our home and resting a bit more. Unfortunately the recent cold temperatures and increased activity have flaired up some aches and pains within my aging body, reminding me to slow down and take time to care for myself. Spending so much time on my studio and home lately, I was reminded that I often spend a lot of time alone. To balance that I made a telephone call I'd been meaning to make for some time now to my good friend, Christine. We chatted for a few hours, catching up with one another Chris has been exploring Sally Jean's Pretty Little Things book and creating her own artwork using the techniques within it. She is a wonderful and amazing artist that I believe one day we'll see within the pages of Somerset Studios. We made promises to get together again soon.

Early in the day, I had a really hard time which ended up with me feeling hurt and crying. Amber, my only daughter, had telephoned me, frustrated with all that she needed to do and get done and desparately needing a mommy break from the lovely, little Alexxis. As I responded that I didn't know what we were doing yet, she became extremely upset with me, and said something she shouldn't have said. Our conversation ended with us raising our voices and hanging up on one another. I love my daughter, but sometimes her demanding, selfishness creates some problems in our relationship and yesterday was one of those days. Our conversation left me wishing for more understanding, more respect of one another's feeling, and less insensitiveness to which I shed some tears over. Later in the afternoon, she telephoned me back to apologize, we talked. A really heartfelt talk. I smiled as I placed the telephone back on the cradle and realized that I had taught her well, at least she is able to admit and apologize when she's wrong and I gained a entirely new respect for her, too. We made plans to spend the day together soon.

Late in the afternoon yesterday, I telephoned another friend and her grown daughter and we made arrangements to met at the Moose Family center in the evening. Once there, we had a relaxing evening, dining on submarine sandwiches, and enjoyed a cold beer or two. It was great to sit and enjoy one another's company, catch up with one anothers lives, and make some future plans to get together again. While talking we both learned something new about each other that we didn't know before... we were born one day apart! but in different years. Faye's birthday is February 13th; while mine is February 14th! As we were departing to go our separate ways, Faye told me, "Remember to Celebrate! It's our birthday weekend!"I smiled, thinking to myself, "Everyday is a reason to celebrate for we've been given another day of life." I wanted to share that here so I can add that to my gratitude garland soon.

As my birthday approaches, Don and I discussed plans about what I'd like to do for my special day. This has become a somewhat of a tradition over the years as I my birthday falls on Valentine's day. I believe I've previously mentioned that I do not like to fight the crowds while attempting to dine out on that day or evening, so this year I asked to celebrate with Dennis, Sheila, and Josh by going to Fork-n-Fingers in Mansfield on the 18th for an evening out. So, we've made arrangement to do just that. I am looking forward to sharing my day with people I love and that love me back. That is so important to me and I'm happy I made the time, the effort, and the friends that I have made over the course of my life. Is there anything better? {smiles}

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Playing with Blogger Beta template...

Some things I am happy about... Did you notice my header now extends fully across the page? I ventured into my template found the html code for it and changed the width from 600 to 700. I really figured that I have to experiment with the size, however I got lucky on the first try!

I added a picture of me to my sidebar, extended a welcome and introduction to new and returning visitors. What I didn't like... is that I cannot center the text. I did try to insert extra spaces using the space bar to no avail. Oh well, maybe blogger will visit its blogger's blog and see these posts or we can email them and tell them what features we'd like to see improved upon. You can't have everything, I suppose. But that doesn't stop us from wanting it, LOL!

Some things I lost along the way: The much love script style font that Todd Dominey originally used when he designed the Scribe template. I have a back up of my blog though so with a few edits to the html in the template and all will be as right as rain once again, with some time and patience. I would however love to customize some of my own sidebar sub-headers. Does anyone happen to know what the font he used for this template originally is? {I think I may know who to ask... should I discover the answer to that, I'll post that info for anyone else using it.}

Did you notice I also lost my links? Yep. Every last one of them. I will put them back in soon. I've been giving a little more thought to how and what I am desiring to add. Links to some of my favorite places to visit, weblogs of friends, and maybe some informative links for others with similar interests. I have felt that my content there has been a bit boring... not the links themselves... the appearance of them. I have an idea but I am uncertain if it will work, just something that I will have to play around with a bit and see if it will work.

I lost the 2006 and 2007 on the blog archive list by month. I think that can be rectified easily enough.

I added Label titles to my sidebar. It will take some time to go through them, however I am thinking it will be worth the time it will take to make sure that they are accurate and under the best possible one for what few visitor I have to find.

I shortened the post archives. Now when you scroll to the bottom of the page, you will see a clickable link that reads "older posts" it will take you the previous page and into the archives in the order they were posted by date and time.

I hope those who visit me will stay tuned and find these changes easier for your reading and viewing pleasure. I am hoping to customize more as time and research allow. Any suggestions, comments, and feedback is greatly appreciately and will be taken into consideration.

You don't know how much you miss something...

until it is gone! That is how I've felt since we shut our main water supply line off since discovering the broken water line early Monday morning. Yesterday wasn't too bad as I spent the majority of my day in the studio and Monday evening was too tired to really care. Dinner consisted of a carry out pizza --- Thank You, Pizza Hut!!!

This morning was an entirely different situation. Pouring water out of gallon sized jugs to make coffee, dishes --- mostly drinking glasses and cups scattered about the counter top near the sink. But the worst of it was trying to wash your face, hands, flushing the toilet, brushing your teeth.... Thankfully, I still had a bottle of hand sanitizer and some disinfecting towelettes from when Don had his knee replacement surgery over a year ago. Those came in very handy; right along with plenty of Alexxis's baby wipes, LOL!

Due to the extremely cold temperatures, our plumber friend, Chris and his dad, Mike were not able to get here until around 11:00 today. We were actually fortunate as most of their calls were people without heat due to furnaces breaking down. It was really sad to hear Chris talk about some of the elderly people he had recently assisted. One elderly couple blew their furnace because they couldn't afford to change their furnace filters on a monthly basis --- a very costly mistake. My heart went out to them. I pictured my own parents who are now both on Social Security and I have seen first hand the struggles that they face on occasion. Of course when I was working it was easier to help them out financially a bit here and there. It wasn't much but my Dad was always saying, "You cannot continue to do this." I was like, "Why not? It's my money." I always figured it this way, they took care of me when I was unable to do it myself, now it is my turn to be able to return the favor. Anyways, Chris was able to repair our broken water line. It was a small 2" crack in a pipe that previously had an outside line coming out off of it for a now unused water spicket. Because the spicket comes out of the house's foundation but is directly below the rear deck and is unused, cold air enters there and freezes the pipe line it feeds off of. Well, problem solved in 15 minutes by unhooking the unused spicket, repairing the break, rewrapping the insulated covering around the pipe and stuffing insulation in the around where the spicket fed into the foundation. To further protect it, Don took several bales of straw out of the carport and placed them along the inside of the foundation's outside wall. Hopefully, we will have no more water problems this winter.

I really feel a bit bad about complaining... I mean we've actually had a very mild winter in comparison to some years. I think this cold artic blast of below and near zero temperatures has made me grateful for a few things: the necessities of life that we often take for granted, like water, having heat, and the comfort of family. I'll have to create a new link for my gratitude garland soon and add that one.

The stamping table and cabinet...

This became a mess during yesterday's shuffle. I've another picture to hang; a basket of glues, gels, and other assorted mixed mediums to sort through, more magazines to sort through and file away. I'm thinking that I would love to more of the acrylic photo frames that I used for stamp trays to the bottom section of the cabinet and remove the mixed mediums currently stored there elsewhere, yet they have to be easily accessible as I use these a lot! I'm always grabbing something from here, so either during the revamping of the center island storage, the bookbinding cabinet, or the microwave stand, these will be finding a new home. It is mainly a matter of considering how I work, what needs to be close at hand, and what can be placed elsewhere; although, I like having them grouped all in one spot. It certainly makes finding what I am looking for so much easier. The drawers in the stamp cabinet were originally those roll about Iris carts. One day as I was looking at the drawers, I remember having this cabinet. It wasn't long afterwards that I was inquisitive if the drawers would fit in it side by side. I was elated when they did! From there one thing simply lead to another... up to what you see here. I will be freeing up several drawers when I am finally able to work on my table. I'll be placing my ink pads in a n acrylic ink display case that will be placed somewhere easy to grab and use. I may bet all my stamps put back away yet!

Two views of my center island...

Some of this mess is from recently creating the Surprise in a Box swap while other bits and pieces where moved during yesterday's cleaning, rearranging spree. I'll be focusing my attention on cleaning and organizing this area today. If time allows, I also want to tackle my stamping table and cabinet. During this process, I'm certain the microwave cabinet will get re-vamped.... it currently contains those three drawer Sterlite containers with a variety of item which need re-grouped. I'm thinking I'd like to put all my mixed media glues, gels, paints, etc. that are in the bottom of my stamp cabinet in there... but that means finding a new home for the Sterlight containers... which brings me to thinking about the bookbinding cabinet. I have one side in dire straights of needing revamping. Most of it is items waiting to be altered but I think I may be able to re-arrange it to accomodate both if I pack some of the duplicate items away!

A few more pictures...

Hopefully, you can see my Eiffel Tower a bit better in this photo and the poster print. I digitally flipped the photograph, so what you're seeing is actually reversed and lightened just a bit.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Are you...

tired of seeing photographs, yet? LOL! I did capture two more but I'll wait to upload them so that my blog won't take forever to load. I really pity the poor soul who attempts to load this on dial up! LOL!

I did actually accomplish a lot today! My poster size "Paris Rendezvous" is in its frame and hung! I did go ahead and hang two of the other new-to-me prints... the Trompe de Arch and a French paved walkway with beautifully architectural lamp posts. I'm uncertain if you can see that one in any of the previous photographs, but I'll capture a pic of it for you before I am completely done. Adding all the vintage items to the vintage file cabinet took a large chunk of my time today; however, I am so happy now that it is done. I'll be able to find what I want when I want it! I was unable to fit my chipboard into the cabinet; however, all wasn't lost. I used a 3 drawer Sterlight container that most of the previously mentioned items were stored within. They are now happy at home in the microwave cabinet!

The other two photographs that I took today is where I'll start tomorrow --- showing you the mess I made on the surface of my center island and stamping table. In one of the photographs, I opened the doors of my stamp cabinet so you can see a good before picture. I'll just have to remember to capture an after once it has been organized. It has been five long weeks since I started this endeavor and the results are beginning to show. I'm happier with my creative space than I have ever been!

Now that it all finally seems to be coming together, I really am noticing the concrete painting flooring. Don thinks that I am nuts for wanting to paint it black, but as I worked today, I got to wondering how concrete staining would work? Maybe in a marble style appearance??? ROFLOL! I am NOT ready for that just yet but it is something to think about and consider. Anyone know anything about staining concrete? Can you stain previously painted concrete, hmmmm??? I once was considering painting it black, pea graveling it with a black grout. Now that's dedication, LOL!

Looking back towards the west wall...

When this photograph was taken, I'm standing in front of my bookcases between the center island and my stamping table. I backed up so you could get another angle of the leather recliner, side table, see a section of my bookbinding cabinet with the newly created curtains, and the west slat wall. The slatwall is what I focused a lot of my attention to today. Once again, re-arranging the shelving, moving artwork and display objects around. I struggled a bit with the flow of the shelving for a while before I felt I finally got it right!

My new wicker table and leather rocker recliner...

For me, this really makes the place so much more enjoyable. It provides me a quiet place to sit and read my magazines, look for inspiration, and simply relax with a hot cup of my favorite tea. Unfortunately, I am out of it at the moment. It is from the Republic of Tea and is Mango Papaya, yummmmmm-mmmy! I love everything about that tea; from the smell of it to the wonderful heavenly taste. You'll have to try it. Maybe one day we'll have a virtual tea party... I'll make the invitations! {smiles}

Here's one closer to the true colors...

One of my favorite photographs taken today...

I shot this from a different angle so that you might be able to see the actual poster in the background. It is hard to capture a good photograph of the decorations adorning this against the dark background. When I edited the photograph to lighten up the slat wall, I washed out the colors in the flowers. The hollycock is a soft, pastel pink with a tint of green, and clusters of pink yarrow surround the soft, sheer, silky green cabbage style rose. I'll try to capture another photograph later where you can see the colors more accurately. The ribbon is a soft sage green, with a soft pink, and a beautiful green with darker green polka dots on the thinner ribbon.

My decorated Eiffel Tower!

Do you remember reading about when I found this? How I picked it up and held on to it ever so tightly? I was thrilled to find this on the shelves at an out of town Hobby Lobby about 3-4 weeks ago... back when I was hunting for the leather chair to add to the studio. Well, here it is... Inspired by Heather's beautiful decorations, I added silk flowers and ribbon to adorn mine. I'll upload another shot of the florals and ribbon for you to see, I believe the next one is closer to the actual colors used. I so cherish this one and it one of several Eiffel Towers in my collection. You did notice all the Paris prints in the poster and various other prints about the space, didn't you?

My vintage postcard collection...

All of these postcards are such a joy to sit and read. They are postcards sent from a son, his wife, and family home to his mother and father. This family was originally from Delaware, OH. I one day want to sit and sort them in chronological order and document their travels. The family was involved in the military and later in missionary work. Most of the messages on the postcards range from well wishes sent home, places they were visiting, local landmarks in the area they were located within or close near by. The postage stamps on the postcards are all intact; I cannot bring myself to steam them off and the postmarks themselves range from the 1930's to the late 1940's. I acquired them at an action. One that I stood over 4 hours in the pouring down rain and once up for bidding, anxiously paid $15.00 for the entire lot. Don teases me to this day that I could have gotten them cheaper; I was so afraid that I'd lose them that I jumped on the first offer made! Live and learn...

Another perspective...

Taken from a different angle and shot to include some of the surrounding area to help you determine placement within my studio. In the front is the vintage A-Z divider cards that I discovered within the cabinet when I purchased it.

Vintage Photographs...

This is the last drawer in the cabinet, the top left side. Again, I utilized one of the file cabinet drawers for storing these. I pulled several of them out and arranged them so you can an idea of what is actually in this drawer.

The top middle drawer...

This is one of my favorite resources, besides all the other vintage items in this cabinet. This drawer is filled with a variety of vintage cards! Some embossed, a few with handcrafted gold foiling, and a lot of vintage style fun!!!

The second ribbon drawer...

This is the top right drawer. I used it for storing additional rolls of ribbon. Most of this in this drawer is organza that I use quite a bit in my card creating. In the back of the drawer, I placed small balls of yarn, a small amount of ribbon in baggies, and a large baggie of scraps.