Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Day to be Queen

Vallen over at Queenly Things made an observation in her latest post. She was strolling through "blogland" and remarked that people seemed to be "dumping" (me) and/or pondering deep thoughts. She wants us all to just take a day to be "queen" -- to have a good day -- to relax and just enjoy. I am with her in her thoughts and thought I would jump in.

She asked what was our best day, and there was no way I could pick just one. There have been days where I have laughed so hard that I hurt. There have been days where I feel like I can take on the world and win. There have been days when I just know that I am loved by those who matter. So today I am just going to celebrate me and the fact that I am a woman with the skills and passions needed to affect the world.

Life is a banquet. I want to savor the items that make up the table. Love and laughter. Joy and pain. Giggles and grins. Hard work and the satisfaction of a job well done. Lazy days and busy days. Holidays and days you just drag out of bed and just do what you have to. Celebration and mourning. Tears. Stress. Relaxing. Trips. Fatigue and rest. Money and the lack of it. My home. My church. Times of plenty and meager times. I am feasting on my life.

Feast on yours today. Treat yourself like the royalty you are. Everyone deserves to be queen for a day or for a lifetime.

Vallen - thank you for giving me the food of life menu for today. I am filling up the banquet table and I am inviting all my friends to a royal feast. There may even be dancing later.

My friends - bring your own dishes as an rsvp to the banquet. Fill your table and celebrate your life. Share with us. If you will leave a comment and a blog link, we will all come and celebrate with you. Tagged you all are.

The photo at the top is the work of an artist aquaintence of mine. David Morgan is a nationally recognized pottery artist and he and his wife and beautiful daughter are nearby neighbors and friends of ours. (our daughters played volleyball together) David is having an open house this weekend at his studio near Danielsville, GA. (Just north of Athens) If you are in the area, try to take time to go by and see him. He can provide the dishes for our feast.

Have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A much more reflective mood today

I was at a baby shower last night. This movie was discussed and it appears it is on the must see list for a lot of people.

Baby Maggie's mom was showered with love and gifts for the new little one to come. I spent hours working on the quilt for her gift. Others bought clothes and needed items. She was "showered" in the fullest sense of the word.

If you read the explosion that was yesterday's post, you know I had a tough day. I was irritable (downright mad) and in no mood to reflect. I can't stay in that frame of reference for very long. I have held what I call "prayer meeting" over myself and my attitude.

In reflecting over the holiday season that is fast approaching, and the real message of the birth of Christ, these thoughts occur to me.

Mary - the teenage girl betrothed to Joseph - was given devastating news by the angel. She was pregnant. She had no idea how. She had no idea why. She had no idea what to do. She had no way of knowing where this journey would lead. How was she going to tell her family, her friends, the man who was to be her husband? She had no options. This had to be a time of fear.

I watched April last night and thought about it this morning a lot. She and her husband, Ty are thrilled about this baby. She has has the best medical care available. Is is surrounded by people who are almost as excited as she is. What a difference that is to me.

I have tried to play the angel's words in my head as if they were directed to me. And I cannot help but put my responses into the narrative. I mean no offense by doing this, it just a reflection of where I am and as I reflect on this story for the holiday's, I hope I can grow in my faith again and have a growth in my relationship with Christ and my Holy Father this season.

What if I was receiving Mary's News?

Angel: Do not be afraid.

Mary (me): Oh, but I am. Who are you? What?

Angel: You have found favor with God.

Mary (me): Me - found favor. I don't have a clue what you are talking about.

Angel: You will bring forth a Son.

Mary (me) : A Son - there is no way - I couldn't be - what - this is just not right.

Angel: you will call Him.....

Mary: You even have names. This is crazy. What am I supposed to do.? This has to be a dream. What to you mean fulfillment of the prophesy?

That's me - disbelief that I have been chosen. That God has a place for me. That God has a plan for me. But then I really think about things and I know that some of what I am already doing is in God's plan. I know my work with the kids is a part of that plan. I also know I did nothing to deserve the grace of the cross, that I only have to accept that grace. And in accepting the grace, I have found favor with God too.

I do hope you each have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Project Box - WIP

This is to become my offering for a collaborative book project. The tiny little blurry thing in the first photo caused me much stress and grief this morning. I worked on the book page last night until I made a stupid cut (because I was tired). I put the page away and decided to make the charm that goes with the project. Again, I have not purchased anything. Using a flat washer, monofilament and mixed seed beads, I proceeded to string and wrap this charm. This was tedious and frustrating work. I finished the charm and put it on the kitchen counter to show Molly and Abby this morning.

I am not nuts people. I knew where I put the charm. And this morning upon arriving in the kitchen, there was no charm. Mr Charles is putting lunches together. Question - did you move that charm that was laying there? The resulting discussion (fight) leaves me feeling like I am unsupported in the creative work that is so important to me. He honestly thought I had put the stupid charm somewhere else and left without helping me find it. I dumped the kitchen trash can out in the floor (yup - pissed off and slightly desperate feeling) complete with the dregs and really appealing juice that collects in the bottom of the trash bag. I found the charm in the bottom of the trash. (I really don't think he tossed it knowingly) He thinks I am mad because it got thrown in the trash. Not so, I KNOW crap happens. What ticked me completely off was the feeling that he could care less that it was missing and that he thought I had not left it there but somewhere else. Then it was not important enough to really help me look. When I found it and called to report the whereabouts of said charm - there seemed to be no real enthusiasm about the discovery. Are all men clueless - or just the one who lives at my address?

The part that baffles me is the completely wrong assumption of why I am upset. Mistakes happen - all I wanted was help to find the charm - I didn't expect anyone to say how neat or pretty or cute or whatever. I just hate the feeling of him not believing that I put it where I said I did - I am not in the habit of making things like that up. I don't expect anyone who isn't creative to understand the creative process - I just need them to know I have a need to create and to share those creations. I don't expect anyone to help me string beads or paint or sew or stamp. I do want them to respect that I get as much enjoyment out of those things as he gets from a football game. I don't like football, but I damn well know that he does and I give him no problem about going. I really am sorry that the real full blown b*&^$ came out in me early this morning.

Enough about that. The charm and book page are for JoAnnA who has recently undergone a mastectomy and has follow up processes to endure. I saw the invitation for the collaborative project and jumped at the opportunity to participate. I am working through my artistic process and the story behind my designs. After JoAnnA receives her book, I will post a clear photo and explanation of the thoughts associated with the design.

The project box is one of my fetish items. I love cigar boxes - especially wooden ones - and tea boxes - and cheese boxes - and sewing machine drawers. I have a very hard time passing these things up in junk and/or antique stores. I use these as storage and as decor around the house. Buy me old wooden boxes and I am a happy lady. Fill them with mixed ephemera for my creations and I am even happier. Add fabric and ribbon and paper - even better.

Is it just me or does anyone else deal with these issues? Am I the one with the problem or am I being unreasonable? At a younger age, I would have just cried or walked away from it. Does standing your ground and requiring respect come with age or is that something that surviving life challenges gives you the courage to do? Is it too much to ask that people see you and your needs as important enough? Is it too much to ask that I be respected as Teresa, not just mom, or someone's wife? Does everyone have these days?

This certainly turned out as an ugly post, didn't it. I have read and re-read it and tried to find kind and generous words today. I don't have them. I do hope everyone will forgive this post because my life is not always nice and neat and pretty and I am choosing to share that. Sometimes I think the illusion is better and then I also think the reality is necessary.

I hope my day improves and that you are all having a better one than I am.

Monday, November 27, 2006

It's Beginning to Feel a lot like Christmas

This gorgeous photo was downloaded off the Callaway Gardens website. It is called " twin trees" and it is beautiful.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent time with family and friends. We rested. We relaxed. I crafted. We watched TV. We ate. And ate.

An update on Charles - we checked in at the hospital Wed morning and were home by mid afternoon. Tissue biopsy results will not be available for two weeks. He is back to normal with only a few dietary restrictions. The waiting is always the worst part. I will be calling the doctor early on the 6th of Dec to obtain those results. Thanks to all who lifted him up through this procedure.

In addition to MaggieGrace goodies this season, I plan to focus on some of my favorite Christmas decorations/traditions, which is the reason for the photo today. Since the girls were little, we have enjoyed Christmas light displays. We have driven sometimes as much as three hours to view some of the larger ones. We also have local favorites as well. Molly observed last night that I am very "picky" about what I like for outdoor decor. I do not like colored or blinking lights. I do like very understated, simple, and elegant. A magnolia wreath with some gold leaves. Tiny white lights. A single white candle in the windows of a house. A creche. Natural accents. For indoor decor - real trees, handmade ornaments, retelling the stories of ornaments. Again tiny white lights and those long silver icicles.

Christmas is a very busy season for us. I really have a hard time gearing up personally until after the church program because I am always so focused on getting that together. I don't do very much cooking (remember my kids think I don't know how), but I do my fair share of eating.

I am so inspired by all of you bloggers out there. Some already decorating. Many making beautiful items. Always sharing, always generous.

I do want to spend some time reflecting (much like the reflection of the tree in the lake) on the real story behind all the hoopla of Christmas. Remember - Jesus is the Reason for this Season and I will be telling parts of that beautiful story as well.

What would you bring as a gift to your King?

Please take time to share a tradition with me here. Share your decorating preferences. Share your favorite gift. The stupidest gift you ever received. Funny memories. I love your comments and I have met some wonderful people by backtracking through these comments.

Have a beautiful day and a blessed holiday season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thank You - for everything

The photo at the bottom is of a handstamped postcard. I made dozens for the Church Bazaar. Different stamps and phrases.

I had a request for embellishment on one of the funny stories. So I will tell this one.

The rooster and the raccoon.

I grew up in very rural north Georgia. Just outside of Royston. Growing up in the country affords many opportunities for unusual pets. My Dad tended to indulge my Sister and me, so we played on that to get the pets. My uncle was a chicken grower and we were at his house shortly after the company caught chickens. One of the birds fell off the truck in the driveway. Now the birds are grown for food. They are too stupid to get out of the road etc. Anyway we felt sorry for the chicken, begged, and Daddy gave in. (we were maybe 7 and 9 years old) So JB, the rooster comes to live at our house. We let him roam the yard and this chicken gained to the size of a turkey. Huge chicken. Stupid too. He would roost and point his beak straight in the air when it rained - nearly drowned more than once. But the dog never bothered him - he was bigger than the dog.

Fast forward. We have had JB for quite some time and he really was a pet. It is COLD COLD weather and we hear JB in the dark. He sounds like he is somewhere down by the pond. Tears and screams from me and Sister. My dad was nude (do not ask - we did not want to know) at the time but my Mom sent him to check on the "damn chicken" (her exact phrase) and out the door a naked man goes with a flashlight into 20 degree F weather.

A raccoon has caught the rooster and coons always wash their food so he was dunking said food into the pond, standing on the ice around the edge. The last we saw of my dad was him going down the bank, cussing and into the pond to rescue the chicken. He had to wade waist deep to accomplish this task. We laugh so hard when Mom tells that story now, because she says how rescuing that chicken ruined her entire night. At the time me and my Sister didn't understand, now I do.

This will be my last post until next Monday. I have been doing lists for my Thansgivings, but today I am going to simply say Thank You - to God, my family, friends, loved ones, and to all of you inspiring bloggers out there.

I will be sitting in the waiting room at the hospital tomorrow while my Husband has a colonoscopy and intestinal biopsy. He is a little freaked out by the whole process, so if you would remember us, I will appreciate it so much. Then Thanksgiving with our families and a little R & R for the weekend.
I will be back Monday.

I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving. Tell those around you how important they are.

Monday, November 20, 2006

20 Thanksgivings - angel words

It was a great weekend. The Church Bazaar was a success. I came home Friday night after setting up and made chili and more ornaments. I stamped a few cards and added them to the sale. I took a large box over to the church and only brought home a small sewing machine drawer full of unsold items. They relly won't go unused, I will send some as gifts and use some myself.

I was at the church all morning on Saturday, Abby had a ball game a little after noon and then Molly and I went to an open house at the florist. After that, I attended the Habitat Art Auction. A long full day. Sunday was also. Church, lunch, Molly volleyball tryout, youth choir practice, grocery store, then cook supper and relax. Add to that, I completed the crochet edging on Baby DAndra's gift and started a chunky book page.

The book page is of my own design. It has to be mailed this Friday to make it for the collaboration on time. Then I have to finish Baby Charlie's quilt. I have a rather large list of things to finish by Christmas, including Vallen's swap return. (Vallen if you look closely there is a sneak peek in the photo.)

Now for Thanksgivings. I have a wonderful friend, Melissa, who uses what she calls "angel words." Melissa is a true southern lady and I adore her and her family. What are angel words? Words that make you feel good using them and hearing them. Word that show you are listening. Word that express consideration and respect. Words that build up instead of tear down.

1. I love you.
2. I am proud of you.
3. You are beautiful.
4. Hope.
5. Faith.
6. You inspire me.
7. Please.
8. Thank you.
9. Bless you.
10. yes sir/ yes ma'am
11. Joy.
12. You make a difference.
13. You can do any thing you set your mind to.
14. I was thinking of you.
15. I need you in my life.
16. Be patient.
17. I care.
18. I will be right here.
19. You mean the world to me.
20. Is there anything I can do?

Those are just 20 "angel words" and phrases. I am sure each of you could add so many more.

The holiday season is upon us. I am planning to try and just enjoy my family and friends this year. How did we lose sight of giving our best and just start throwing money at the season?

"There's a song in the air - there's a star in the sky - the heavens tell the story of the Lord most high. " This is from one of my favorite Christmas songs. As we approach the holidays, let's remember what it really is all about.

Have a beautiful day.

Friday, November 17, 2006

thanksgiving 17 - funny stories we tell

Why does blogger do this sometimes - these are out of order - sorry ??? The ornaments above are the remaining few I need to finish for tomorrow. The picture on the left is of the finished stars. You may recognize the fabric on the hearts. Seems like toile is becoming a signature for me. These were made from the scraps of Baby Maggie's quilt. I have a ton of this left still and I keep saving smaller and smaller pieces and finding uses for them. I have to confess, I used the idea for the stars from Samantha at Plump Pudding, with her permission. Not exactly as she did hers, mine are much more primitive. I emailed Samantha and asked for permission to use this idea and received the most gracious reply. I continue to be amazed at the generous and kind ladies out there.

Molly has been trying out for a club volleyball program and that means time in the car together. Last night we laughed and giggled all the way home. Part of what was funny was the theme for the day, today. Funny stories we tell over and over. I hope every family has these. These stories are a part of our heritage and we love to retell them again and again. There are some regular readers out there who will recognize themselves here - I hope you are not offended. To my family, remember I am not laughing at you, I am laughing with you.

Here we go. 17 funny stories to be told over and over by my family and friends.

1. the damn cooler threw me.

2. will you please go get the altoids out of the truck.

3. 10 years - 20 years - 30 years - 40 - yup there's 50.

4. playing with the big boys.

5. I won't come back to this house until the Christmas tree is decorated.

6. What are we gonna get Nanny for Christmas?

7. The cabbage in the tree.

8. I thought I just uncovered.

9. I just don't get it, why are they using cows to advertise chicken?

10. Look at that baby with all that hair.

11. She don't look like no alien.

12. Give you a quarter for that gum.

13. Nanny served that tomato.

14. Naked feet.

15. Frankenboobs

16.Then Diane cut off all Scott's curls.

17. The chicken and the raccoon.

Now I know these don't mean anything to you. If you are interested (and you know you are) in the elaboration of these stories, please leave a comment here and let me know which ones. We have favorites within this group, but all are funny. I will happily share all of them in more detail. Because the reality is always better than the myth.

After tomorrow, the pressure is off MaggieGrace for Bazaar crafts and I can focus again. I am behind on some swap goodies. I have a chunky book page to complete for a friend who is having a mastectomy today. I have a package to send Vallen. One for Leslie. One for MaryAnn. And a 4x4 collage for a Winter Wishes exchange. A stocking to finish. A quilt to finish. and a baby blanket to finish. I am glad the holidays are upon us. And I am glad I saved 7 days vacation to take. Looks like I may need them.

I hope you all have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

thanksgiving 16 - the power of scent

More of Ernestine Cochran's handpainted porcelain ornaments.

This is the third time I have written this. My connection crapped and I lost the first one. Second one too. This may be a blessing because I have had a horrible migraine and the first post was most likely a little fuzzy.

I have posted in the past about how scent can trigger memories. Real estate sales people tell homeowners to bake a pie or cookies before showing their home to a potential buyer. Candle and home fragrance sales are skyrocketing. Scent is powerful. And today I am listing 16 of my favorites.

There is no order to these. Simply listed them as I thought of them. Some have memories some don't. I hope as you read these, you will find yourself focusing on some of your favorites.

1. Clean babies - when my girls were small, after bathtime I would snuggle them close and love and kiss on them. We so enjoyed the time and I miss that closeness. Warm, clean, and soapy smell.

2. Cooking chili - smells warm and comforting to me. I will make this for lunch at the bazaar on Saturday.

3. Paul Sebastian cologne.

4. Rain - only those in the deep south know that smell as a thunderstorm starts in middle of the summer.

5. Salt water air - enjoy wiggling my toes in the sand too.

6. Pipe tobacco - some cigars too.

7. Fresh linens brought in off the line. Does anyone think the towels dry better too?

8. Fireplace smoke hanging in the air.

9. Real Christmas trees - cedar is my favorite.

10. Old fashioned tea roses

11. Chocolate.

12. Coffee - especially southern pecan.

13. Fresh cut wood - cedar is a favorite here too.

14. Black cherry candles.

15. Eucalyptus - I have a tree in my yard and I keep a cutting in the shower all winter. Helps with the stuffiness of cold and flu season.

16. Starched shirts. Can "crisp" describe a smell?

I started this twice on the 15th but didn't finish it so I have moved it to the 16th. Hence 16 on the 16th.

I hope this triggers some scent memories for you as well. Please share. Also if you have an idea for a themed list for the remainder of the month, share that as well.

Focusing on little things has improved my observation skills. It has shown me how truly blessed I am. I have a relationship with my Saviour. I have all my senses, my health, a lifestyle that is fairly comfortable. I have family and friends. I have education. I have so many blessings.

I hope you all have a fabulously blessed day.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Showing off some of my Friends

On Saturday, Madison County hosted the 1st annual Artists Show at the old courthouse in Danielsville. This was organized by two of my friends. Not a craft festival, this was an art exhibition and all of the artists represented were from the Madison County area.

Painting, recycled art, iron works, chair caning, pottery, fiber arts, wood crafts, and porcelain painting, and more.

The paintings and folk art pieces by Peter Loose are wonderful. Bongo books were available too.

Iron work letter openers, candle holders, knives, and skewers by 2brothers caught my eye too.

The brightly painted flower hubcaps were a hit as well. So big that I was unable to get close to the booth to get the information.

The picture above is from a friend's booth. I own several of her pieces and I have commissioned some items from her as well. The lily note cards in the front were originally done for me as Christmas cards in memory of Grandma Simpson. I have had reprints done several times and now they are a regular part of her line. Ernestine Cochran and Jewel Ramirez are the artists. Miss Ernestine paints, mostly on porcelain pieces. Beautiful items. And very reasonable pricing. Jewel does wood working. Trays, chests, lazy susans. (I want that cedar one in the picture.) Both were open to me blogging about thier work. I have some favorites of both. Of course the lazy susan and Ernestine's names of God ornaments. She also has a 12 days of christmas version of ornaments. Two very talented and beautiful ladies that I am blessed to know.

The art show was a success and one of the organizers has asked me to participate next year. We will see. I still have a hard time calling what I do art.

Today's list of thanksgiving is for 13 of my creative friends.

1. Laura Bowen - a native Chicagoan. A church friend. Her children are roughly the same age as mine. Beautiful photograph, pressed naturals, fiber and pinted art. This lady also hass the greenest thumb I know of.

2. Lannae Johnson - Painted art. Her MIL goes to church with us. Mother of two young boys. An encourager. Has chosen to be home with those beautiful boys and makes domestic arts look like they are effortless.

3. Ernestine Cochran - A true kindred spirit of mine. I love this woman and her work.

4. Mandy Cochran - Ernestine's daughter. An artist as well. I have been negotiating a nude of hers for some time. Maybe someday she will let it go.

5. Jewel Ramirez - A wonderful lady too. Skilled woodwork fun to spend time with.

6. Nancy Peeples - Fiber arts - a whiz with a knitting or crochet needle. Mom of two teenagers, and Baby Addison. Married to a childhood friend of mine.

7. Margaret Whieldon - Knitter extraordinaire. Soft spoken, precious, the host of our 1st Friendship tea for all our daughters and moms. She has one of the neatest little workrooms I have seen in her victorian styled home.

8. David Morgan - potter. Our daughters played ball together. A wonderful artist.

9. Autumn Strickland - Beautiful "rooster" portraits. Her work is French Provencial in its look and she is the true picture of a southern lady.

10. Melanie Berryman - a quilter. Preserving family memories with her quilts, they contain dates and places and other memories. I am in awe of her handpiecing and handquilting.

11. Lilly Berryman - a chef (desserts are her specialty), a cross stitcher, and now she is recaning chairs to bring them back to life. ALso a church friend.

12. Molly Atkinson - my daughter. Her art is improving and as a JR in high school, she is trying to figure out just where to go with her life. I pray that she finds a way to be true to herself as well as create a well lived life.

13. Abby Atkinson - my baby girl. Handcrafted cards are her specialty. She has even collaged her work folders for schools. I hope the same things for her. That she may see success in being respectful and caring for others.

I hope you are not finding my lists boring. I was asked this weekend about how I continue to make time for creating for others. That time is my sanity. I can multitask by praying for people as I work, I carry a project everywhere I go, I squeeze as much as I can everyday. I also know that my house can wait. I have been given some talents, and I am learning that I must use those talents to glorify God in any way I can. So every stitch, every stripe of glue, every stamp, every word carries with it my prayers for those who receive.

I hope you all have a beautiful day.

Note: I will be out of town tomorrow 11-14-2006. MaggieGrace will be back on wednesday.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Veterans Day - WIP Friday

A 35 year old work in progress. These are polyester scraps and there are a few of the YoYo's made. I posted yesterday about the wreath ornaments made by Mama Norvan. This is her box of supplies for those. I remembered this and thought I would share it today. I may make a few more of the yoyo's and maybe put them together differently for Charles' siblings. I hate polyester, but I didn't want to toss this, so I put it on the shelf and take it out occasionally just for the memory of her.

Today is the observance of Veterans Day. I have been giving you itemized lists of Thanksgivings. There are far too many to list today. There are many friends and relatives who served our country giving us the rights we have. I have so much to thank these men and women for.

There are men and women out there watching their children grow up in emails and pictures so that I can have mine safely in my home at night. They are fighting for our rights, for the safety of our country and others.

There are those who gave all in this fight. There are those who came home early because of injuries. There are those in the fight right now. Every day more young men and women join the ranks of our armed forces. To all of you I give my respect and appreciation. To all of you, I send my prayers. To all of you I express my gratitude. I send my thoughts and prayers to those who have a loved one in active duty right now.

I do hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thanksgiving - day 9 - memories of things past

Wow , you really have to look carefully to see what this is. Sorry.

It is an old decrepit school building way off the road and a large angry bull guards it to keep people out of the pasture. So being the intelligent individual I am, I took this from the road. We drive past this frequently on the way to the fabric warehouse sale. This old building intrigues me. It has not always been there. Someone moved it, but never did anything about restoration. Makes me wonder why. Like several of the projects I have started and never finished, someone will find the unfinished stocking or the partially painted canvas and wonder. Why? Did this "thing" have meaning to those who had it moved here.

My best friend has an unfinished cross stitch piece. His mother worked on it planning for it to be a gift for him before she passed away and instead of tossing it when they cleaned out her belongings, his sister kept this. She gifted him with it (unfinished with needle still stuck through the fabric). He treasures this. As a stitcher, I could finish it for him, but as the sentimental fool that I am, I realize that framing it exactly as she left it would be the more appropriate thing to do.

As I have focused this month on various things to be thankful for, I came up with "things" that others might deem worthy of the garbage, while I treasure these.

1. My Daddy's denim neck tie - he had to wear a tie to work, but he could wear jeans, so mother made him denim ties to wear with his jeans. I have this tie hanging in my living room.

2. Two pieces of costume jewelry - my sister framed these - sparkly blue "junk" jewelry from my grandmothers jewelry box for me for Christmas right after she died.

3. Boxes of childrens' drawings and projects - Doesn't every mother keep these? I look through them on occasion and am always reassured by the progress they made.

4. Christmas wreath ornaments - these were given to us by Mama Norvan. Made from yoyo pieces of polyester.

5. A tiny marcasite pin - of no $ value at all. Again from Mama Norvan. I liked it and she sent it home with me.

6. A handpainted bottle - a gift from one of the ladies at our church. Completely unexpected, she just wanted to encourage me in my work with the kids. It came with a kiss and the scent of White Shoulders as she include a hug and the words "I Love You" as she gave it to me.

7. A pair of sapphire earrings - one of the last things my Dad bought me before his accident. I never wear these because I am afraid I will lose them. I hope my girls will wear them as "something blue" on thier wedding day.

8. Crocheted afghans - my mom made some, my grandmother made some. All sizes shapes and colors. Memories the same way, all sizes shapes and colors.

9. Black cowboy boots - I wore them all the time as a toddler. Wanted to sleep in them. My mom kept them and both my girls wore them a little. I think these are the only "baby" shoe my mom kept. I still wear cowboy boots today only the current pair is brown.

There we go - 9 on the 9th. Funny when you start really looking, this list gets easier. And life really is made up of many, many little things. Celebrate today.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

True Colors - gratitudes for today.

I specifically chose the colors from an 8 pack of crayons for today's gratitude list. I am making crayon holders for the bazaar and had this thought while I was working on that project.

I also thought and prayed for Mrs. Jane Coile as I was preparing this list today. Mrs. Jane goes to church with us and she suffers from Macular Degeneration. She was a teacher, a student of God's word, and a member of our choir. She is one of the most beautiful people I know. And Mr. Buddy her husband is a beautiful person too. Mrs. Jane can see very little - Mr Buddy takes her hand unconciously, he helps her to fix her plate at our church dinners, as people approach her he whispers who it is in her ear so she does not mistake them. An inspiring couple for me. She has an enlarger at home, which allows her to read some things, and he types the words of the choir songs so that she can read them through the enlarger. These are only some of the things we know about, I can only imagine the things he does behind the scenes. I hope to inspire younger couples someday.

The photo above was taken this morning outside my bedroom window. This is a beauty berry bush. The birds love the berries in the fall. I can see these every morning as I gather my clothes to head to the shower. Not at all showy in the growing season, but beautiful in the fall.

So having shared another view from my world, I progress to 8 color crayon gratitudes for today. For those who are new to the Thanksgiving Month gratitudes, I am celebrating seemingly small things that make up my life.

These are all things I noticed today.

1. red - my porch swing (painted by my crew as a gift), my nautilus bench (painted by Ned becuse he wanted me to buy it and I wanted a red one) , the coke crates (my mom gave me these), and the red jacket hanging on the armoire in the dining room (meaning that more people than me live here).

2. yellow - not a color I have a lot of because its not a favorite but I still noticed - the sun applique on baby Charlie's quilt, the trees on the way to work (starting to fade now), sticky notes (my preferred note apparatus, I cannot keep a daytimer at all), a yellow highlighter marker (used to mark completed items on cutomer quotes - yeah)

3. blue - the jeans both my girls wore to school today, the "sky" background fabric on Baby Charlie's quilt, some blue edged cards I have stamped for the bazaar, the blue plates I carried cookies to the banquet on last night, and my favorite shoes (blue Eddie Bauer clogs I paid too much for but have gotten that much good out of them)

4. green - my favorite color - the bathroom walls (army green with a distressed finish that looks like those old chalky metal signs), the shirt I have on (a gift from someone who knows I love to wear green), the eucalyptus tree in the front yard (a beautiful silver green and it smells good) and a bench that has it's own story to be told later.

5. orange - some of the leaves are the most gorgeous shade of pink/orange this year, the traffic barriers in the construction zone I come through right now (pray for those highway workers, they have a very dangerous work location), and the Harley Davidson logo on a coworker's shirt today.

6. purple - those berries outside my window

7. brown - - another of my favorites - the stitching in a project I am working on for Ms. Vallen, the trunk of the tree and the love letters on Baby Charlie's quilt, Molly working at the dining room table on her altered book project - i have lots of brown in my house.

8. black - the surface mount door locks in my house, the twist latches on my kitchen cabinets, the ink pads strewn everywhere (I am making the gift tags for the bazaar), Abby wore a black shirt today, the monster dog, Licorice, and the markings on the porch wall growth chart (a personal favorite)

There you have it 8 things on the 8th. Well its so much more, but 8 categories of gratitude. It is an exercise to find these kind of things - we often generalize so much and looking for tiny, specific things is sharpening my focus.

I have been crafting, but nothing I can show. I am working on Ms. Vallen's return gift in exchange for the wonderful crown she sent me. I hope to finish some gift tag packs tonight and figure out a way to display the post cards so people can see the variety.

I hope you all have a beautiful day.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Twice in one day

I have added a link to the side bar for my brother in law's blog. Max is in Houston at M.D. Anderson undergoing treatment right now. We have been praying for him and he may get to be home for the Thanksgiving holiday. I do hope that is the case. His blog is a wealth of information and humour about his treatment path for CLL (he also dicusses Ga Tech football) . I just found out about this link from his lovely wife Lynda - my husband's favorite sister. There is information there for many people and As the cabin fever takes over at times the knowledge that people are cheering him on will help tremendously.

If you would, please lift his family in your prayers. I just wish I had known about his blog before today.

Have a beautiful day.

Someone Will Love Her

A close up of the tree trunk on Baby Charlie's quilt. I embroidered the heart as if someone had carved it. A symbol of the fact that she will always be loved by God and her parents. (I don't think there is a tree anywhere with my name carved by someone else.) I finally am excited about how this quilt is turning out and I can't wait to get it finished.

Molly and I went for a drive last night - she has her learner permit only and is to take her driver test on Dec 6 so we are driving more. This is an opportunity for real conversation and we both take that opportunity. She is so funny at times - last night we ate at TacoBell and I ordered cinnamon twists. She calls them cinnamon pork skins. Too funny.

This leads me to my 7 gratitudes for the 7th of November. All are words or phrases used by people I love that have become the family way of referring to things.

1. Cob on the corn - we always say this backwards. My cousin Scott is responsible for this from when he was tiny and just couldn't get it right. Everyone thought it was so cute so now we all use it.

2. I me do it myself - this was originated by nephew Nathan as a toddler trying to become more independent. Nathan was killed in a car wreck when he was 3 and I think we may all do this just to hang onto his memory.

3. Because my name is mommy - yup that's mine. And I use it for emphasis on decision with my girls. I also use it to describe to others why I am riding at 8pm with a migraine and a teenager was ready to drive. I use it to remind myself that I wanted to be their mommy and that one day they will not need me as much as they do now.

4. Fast driver award - something we don't want or need especially with the new driver.

5. Business in the front, party in the back - generally used by the girls to describe their bedhead hair. looks okay in the front but is a tangled matt in the back. This is often accompanied by hand motions and a "booty dance" in the bathroom.

6. Mom, dad is soooo weird - okay he lives with three women. He probably has been driven to his weirdness to some degree. We all use this phrase against him, around him, and about him.

7. Bless her (his) heart - this is not exclusive to the Atkinson household. This can be a good thing as in "she is so sweet, bless her heart." or a negative like "he can't help it bless his heart." Seems to be a southern thing, but we all use it.

There you go 7 on the 7th. I hope you are playing along. Share some of your family's sayings.

I have made some changes on my blog read list. I hope you will visit some of my friends.

Have a beautiful day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

My small town.

This is the hardware store in Danielsville. I drive past this everyday. It's run by Steve and his precious wife Carol and their daughter Leanna. One of those old fashioned places where you can take in a whimy diddle and show it to Steve - he will go dig in some box in the back and come back with one. The change in the season is reflected by the displays outside the store. Right now there are bales of hay, mums, and even a pot belly cast iron stove on a cart out front. Upstairs is an antiques room full of prizes unearthed by Carol in her auction forays. If watch the movie COBB (featuring Tommy Lee Jones) and look closely, you will see this building in one of the scenes.

Not a really productive weekend for MaggieGrace goodies. We played ball all day Saturday and I did work on some cross stitch while sitting - but thats all- it was too cold to have your hands out in the open. We will be back on schedule tonight though.

Now to catch up on gratitudes.

Molly and I spent time poking around in stores on Saturday for a little while. We laughed at each other. She looked at stuff and would proclaim it AWESOME. We found a MANequin - and she danced with it. She sang to a hairbrush. I am so blessed to have a teenager who still would like to spend time with mom - yet is independent enough to be on her own too.

I am grateful for that first cup of coffee every morning. I just wish there was someone at my house who would make that coffee. Waking up to the smell would be a grand pleasure. (I know - I can set the coffee maker to start at a certain time, but knowing someone goes to the effort is part of the pleasure.)

I am grateful for the feeling of a tiny hand wrapping around my finger. I did not realize that I press my finger into the hand of every infant I hold. Abby pointed that out. There is something so touching about that grasp. Human touch is something everyone needs.

I am grateful that I do not have to yell, scream, or threaten to make sure my girls do their homework. We have always been disciplined about homework and study, and it is something they both do automatically. Very little conflict occurs over this and that makes my life better in the evening.

I an grateful for my mug rug on my desk at work. It is part of an old quilt and was a surpirse from my new blog friend MaryAnn. Something about a surprise gift from someone I didn't know a year ago lets me know that there is still a ton of goodwill in the world. I am continually surprised and inspired by all of you bloggers.

I am thankful for cell phones. (Most of the time) I can check in with the people I love at almost anytime. I am amazed by the technology. I love text messaging, although my phone is set up to text in all caps and Molly always says she feels like I am yelling at her.

There - six gratitude things on the 6th - I hope more of you are playing along in the Thanksgiving month.

Now a plea for comments. That was subtle wasn't it. I love to read your thoughts. They are not ignored. I read and absorb them all. If you have comments on your blog, I often read throught them too. I am thrilled when I see an email saying there is a new comment on my blog. I started this blog for me and then it became an interaction between me and you. Those interactions become the beginning of friendships. Then those friendships grow and that reassures me of the goodness in the world. That allows us to continue to open our hearts to each other. I learn from you all. I gain something from each and every one. Thanks to you for visiting with me.

I hope you all have a beautful day.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thanksgiving Month - WIP FIRDAY

Works in progress. Messy work stations. Stamps, ink, embellishments. I am spread out on every available surface in my house as I get ready for our church bazaar. Right now I am making stamped gift tags packs and stamped postcards for it. Then adding beads and ribbons will be next. Then packaging. I have clear bags and I am going to use pages out of an old book to make my labeling for these.

I bought a sizzix die with the 3 tag sizes and I am doing an assortment of sizes in each package. The postcards are on blanks of card stock. and stamped with an image and/or words. Simple, fairly quick and straightforward. Trying to do 50 postcards and 50 tag sets for all occasion and holiday gifts.

Acknowledging the blessings in my life is giving me a focus that lessens the stressful feelings of the holiday rush. I have posted over and over about big things. But really focusing on small things has been fun.

Today I am celebrating -- the sound of laughter just out of my sight - we are so busy today at work and I can't be in the midst of the fun - but the laughter says that people are not upset about waiting for us to pull their orders. They are visiting with each other, drinking coffee, and enjoying today. That always makes things better.

I am also celebrating the fact that my sister and I are meeting each other tonite for a quick road trip. I haven't said much about her. She is younger than I am and has boys involved in car stuff. I have girls involved in sports. So we don't see each other as often as we would like to. We will only be away from our families for a couple of hours but it will still be fun.

We have a busy weekend ahead, but I will be back on Monday with more MaggieGrace crafts to share.

Have a beautiful weekend.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


November officially begins the winter holiday season at our house. I have already put the Christmas list together. I am working on a card design to scan and use for everyone and would like to have these ready to mail the Monday after Thanksgiving. We are planning the 2nd Annual Christmas Tea that a group of us have with our teenage daughters and their mom's. I have been working on the Christmas Musical at church with the youth and that is now a priority. The Bazaar will be just before Thanksgiving. Busy-Busy times for us.

The two bracelets pictured are from Silver Spoon Jewelry. This is a wholesale site only but they do have a store list. I love both of these bracelets and I have a jewelry maker in my house. I also am the proud owner of a soup can full of unmatched silver teaspoons. I bought the teaspoons years ago at yard sales and made tons of tree ornaments for teachers that year. I have now devised a way to use the handles I cut off then. (Why do artistic type people keep stuff like that?)

I will celebrate this month of thanksgiving by sharing small gratitudes in every post. We are all aware of the large things we are grateful for. I want to celebrate small things. The things we may not be aware of but that really are worth celebrating.

Today I am celebrating - the golden trail I drive to work. I noticed red and orange leaves too but today there seemed to be gold everywhere. I live in rural north Georgia. I drive about 25 miles to work on mostly a two lane road and the trees this year are absolutly gorgeous. I drive this road with a large percentage of people I know. This morning, one of our church members let me in at the courthouse traffic jam (lasts about 5 minutes every morning at going to school time) and another one waved to me and bowed his head to pray for me at the first traffic light we stopped at. How can you not enjoy the drive when it is this pretty and you share it with friends?

Celebrate something small that really is big today.

Have a beautiful day and a wonderful holiday season.