Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008 - Hello 09

Taking the stroll back through the year through some of my favorite posts. It was a great year. A huge year of change in our family. Lets look at it

JANUARY - We gained a nephew. You learned that the man leaves beer bottles every where (that hasn't changed). I created a tequila 101 tutorial (one of my most googled posts). I shared some mother-daughter advice. A high school senior and her mom defined the college criteria while we travelled on many a volleyball road trip.

FEBRUARY - I named dropped about some celebrity toilets . Made some 80's flashdance legwarmers. Seemed to settled on a college. Started the paint and trim in the studio. I planned the quiltlet that didn't get published. And created a book with a group of local friends for one of ours that had a bit of a cancer scare. (thank you Lord for Becky's good health now)

MARCH -My monsters went snow skiing without me. I started an afghan for the soon to be college freshman to take off to college. A tornado hit downtown Atlanta. We hosted the girls soccer team dinner. The high school senior committed to become a Piedmont College Lady Lion volleyball player. On the brink of a new experience she still wanted me to Hold her Hand. The two of us got lost repeatedly in Asheville, NC. OH yeah - I started the move into the studio.

APRIL - I hooked up face to face with Carrie. Created one of my favorite storage pieces for the studio. Molly and her best friend Brittany were named Salutatorian and Valedictorian of the senior class. I mailed my first submission for a magazine. We finished high school volleyball forever and softball took off in full swing.

MAY - We help a bunch of men and boys become cross dressers. Molly went to prom. I finished this afghan. Molly graduated from high school.

JUNE - Abby broke her hand and had surgery. Molly took a Senior Summer trip with some friends to the beach. (she was gone away for the surgery but steady checked on lil sis.) We toured the dorms and set up that advisement for college. That trek was expensive.

JULY - I celebrated my 43 birthday. Abby turned 15 and got her learners permit. Molly got her contacts and left the world of glasses behind. Abby got out of her cast from the hand surgery. We lost my brother-in-law, Max, after a valient cancer battle. So many of this months post are emotional as I come to terms with Molly moving away and the loss of a loved family member.

AUGUST - my house regurgitated a child. I sent Molly to college and changed her name here to the College Freshman. She also became an adult. This month was an unbelievable life altering month for us. Enough said. The photo with this post is from move in day and is one of my favorites ever.

SEPTEMBER - I have been diagnosed with hypertension. Lannae joined the blogging community. Abby has her first real boyfriend and we recognized our local law enforcement and rescue personnel on the anniversary of 9/11. Abby is allowed to play softball again by the docs.
OCTOBER - the man turned 52. We have been living at the same address (married) for 23 years. Abby's high school softball team is nationally ranked in academics. I posted a tutorial. celebrated life and living well along with pondering thoughts like "why adult shoes don't have fun bottoms".
NOVEMBER - a month of Thanksgivings. Nothing earth shattering this month. But I did commit to participating in an art show next fall.
DECEMBER - celebrate the birth of our Savior. My nephew became a married man. I took my girls to a nightclub. The Collge Freshman is home for the first exented time frame in months.
All in all a wonderful year. Lots of celebrations. Some whining. Losses. Fears. A studio became a reality. I live a beautiful life. It was tremendous fun to look back through this year. Now I also know that I blog because it will be helpful and fun to go back through often. A way to keep up with my crazy, frantic life.
Happy New Year my friends. Have only a few goals for 2009. Live fully - laugh often - love much. Add those to the making MaggieGraceCreates a more public part of my life and there you have it. Welcome 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I love this texture. The stitch looks complicated. It's not. It is the result of a series of front and back post double crochet stitches. I'll be attempting an afghan using this stitch in panels along with some others. The texture and weight of this is phenomenal. I am in love.
Speaking of love. Thank you all so much for your comments to me this year. You have been a source of great inspiration, encouragement and support. You guys rock.
Today we are cleaning and purging at work - loads of fun (and loads to the dumpster). My friend JenB is having a bit of an inspiration crisis right now. I am tearing page after page from old magazines and literature before I have trucked it to the dumpster. Later - I'll be taking all these tear sheets and making her a bit of an inspiration card group. I am doing the same thing at home. As I was thinking about this project, came up with a bit of an idea. If you would like for me to send you a little packet of inspiration tear sheet images - drop me an email at with your snail mail address and the words inspiration pack in the subject line and I'll create you a little package of cards too. These won't be fancy, just plain 3x5 cards with images and my handwritten words on them, blank on the back so you can use them for notes or thoughts of your own - even a grocery list or such. Maybe 10 in the pack. Lo tech - fun mail - a glimpse into a creative friend's world and thoughts or what struck me in a detail. I'll get to use some of my tear sheets - you get a little spare paper for your recycling bin. Please let me send you a little something. I get to have some fun punching and gluing and describing stuff.
I have been cleaning at home too. For years I have torn pages and stuffed them in a pile or boxes. As I am encountering these little piles, I am trimming and gluing them into simple (cheap) composition books along with comments about why I like a particular thing. I am not breaking these down into any more detailed organization pattern. I have several of these that I have filled through the years and I can spend hours going back through them when my inspirational well is dry. I can see the trends in color and styles change. I can see my likes and dislikes within the trends. I can also spot classic and timeless items that are really my true style. like a visual journal of sorts. Fun.
Tomorrow a recap of 2008 - a farewell letter to this year.
note - I emailed a query letter and some submission possibilities to the Where Women Create editor this morning. Wish me luck.
Have a wonderful day.

Monday, December 29, 2008


This is my week to reflect on 2008 and start looking ahead to 2009. Instead of resolutions, I am choosing to focus on the more public marketing of MaggieGrace items. Items covered by the words art and craft. I am excited about this focus and I do hope to see results from this.

Christmas weekend was relaxing and very productive. I was up early every day and set about finishing some tasks that I did not want to carry into the New Year.

This pile is the sum total of my after Christmas shopping. WalMart had Martha Stewart Glitter and Holiday punches 1 /2 price so I bought the deer silhouette punch and a pack of the glitter along with the mica snow flakes. I also stocked up on some gift boxes in coffee mug sizes and jewlry sizes. The rationale was that I will use this - thus making them essential.

Christmas was managed with NO CREDIT CARD purchases at all. I love being able to say that. The girls did not get everything on their list, but they still were pleased.

Oh - I just noticed that there is a "fun" thing in the pile - those jumbo push pins were just for me and just cause I liked them.

Saturday morning found me up really early and with an agenda - finish a few UFO's. I had some items hanging over my head that just really needed a tiny bit of work to finish. I know that starting a new project gives a creative soul such a rush and I had shuffled these under way too many times. So I hunkered down and finished these.

My sister's wall quilt - all it need was the zigzag accent around the binding and the hooks sewn on the back. Check off as done. these photos are dark and grainy because it was a gray and rainy weekend. Sorry.

I finished a fun little baby afghan for a friend at church. A little boy. Cute open work mesh light blanket. This is smaller than some I have done making it good for a car seat cover and for taking onto places where you don't want to keep up with a big blanket. This was made using a super soft baby yarn - acrylic - so it will be easy to wash and dry.

The cowboy quilt. All I lacked was the binding. I cheated this one and machine sewed the binding on. While I regret that decision now - because there was an undetected wonkiness that a handstitched binding would have left invisible and the machine stiches actually show off in all its glory - I am not undoing this and fixing it.

This is a baby quilt - crib sized and will remain in use through the toddler bed stage - so it will get a lot of use and washing. I hope it will anyway. I washed it and dried it and drooled over that perfect puckered look. The ocd College Freshman doesn't "get" that wrinkled look - she thought the quilt needed ironing.

I also started a new project. Carrie thought she would be getting a quilt for little bean - she may get a blanket - not because I don't want to make a quilt - but because something else caught my fancy. It is a five piece construction thing and I finished one piece this weekend as well. I love how this is turning out and cannot wait to share it with you. I will post the color scheme - pale yellow, light green, and lavender. See it was a very productive weekend.
As we approach 2009 - I wish you health and happiness.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Perspective - Merry Christmas

That painting is a part of my Christmas present. I'll be having this one framed. Completed simply in a sketch book with acrylics.

I loved it immediately. Initially it appeared dark - depressing - a sunset of sorts. Then came the explanation.

"Even in those really bad times, there is always that sliver of light at the beginning of the day. You have taught us both to look for the light of each new day." Softball Princess and College Freshman

Sometimes when your name is Mommy, you wonder if the decisions you are making are the right ones. Every now and then, God gives you an affirmation that you are doing okay. This year our Christmas is different (many of our favorite people are in this same boat), but my girls are not suffering because of the difference. They have grasped the reality and have given me the best Christmas gift ever. They gave of their heart and their gift has really spoken to mine.

Look for the sliver of light just at the edge of the horizon every day. It is a sign that you have a new day to work with. Respond to that message and grab hold to that new day with every part of your soul. People are watching you and learning from you. What brought me to tears this morning was a message delivered in visual form - what is keeping me in tears of celebration right now - the fact that it wasn't what I said to them that had an impact, it was what I did every day. I got up and went on. Some days were (are) more difficult than others, but I have proof that the effort was (is) well worth it in the lessons I can teach others.

Today is a new day - look for that sliver of light. I'll be shedding a tear of celebration for you.

Merry Merry Christmas

Now where am I gping to hang this????

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another goodie.....

Last night 6:00 pm - I am walking into the big bullseye store (Target) - as usual I am on my phone - and I stop dead in my tracks and this conversation occurs.

ME - what freakin' date is today.


ME - Isn't it like 35 degrees outside??

OEOPC - Yes - don't you have a coat.

ME - I got a coat on.

OEOPC - So what's the problem.

ME - I am finishing my Christmas shopping - I am at Target - and I am looking at a huge display of - You are not gonna believe this...

OEOPC - What - Looking at what?

ME - A huge display of swimsuits. Not even on my child's list for Christmas. What the crap?

OEOPC - Are there Valentines too? ---

ME - SmartAss.


The retailers are really rushing things now. Am I the only one who finds this incredibly bizarre. Maybe someone is getting swimsuits to go with warm climate vacations?

Anyway - I have checked off all I am buying for Christmas. The girls will each get some cash to go with their gifts and there will be at least two items listed on the purchase after Christmas. (Only because they need to pick these gifts)

Last night we made sausage balls and sugar cookies.

This left me with time to squeeze in another charm for a friend.

Local best friend's sister and her daughter from many years ago. When I saw this picture, she had remarked that she would like to "do something" with it. I copied it and made one of those soldered charms.
The back of it has butterflies (the big one was on a package from JenB and I saved it) She can wear this as a necklace or hang it somewhere as a charm.
I had this on my desk this morning and one of my customers brought a picture of his little one to have an ornament made for Grandma for Christmas - I'll make that one really quick tonight.
I have several goodies packaged and ready to go for New Year Greetings.
I also have my journal ready for the new year (How about you)
Have a wonderful day everyone.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Twas the weekend before Christmas

Friday Night ----- Basketball game an hour from home = 10 rows on a baby afghan while sitting in the stands. Late Late dinner at Waffle House.

Saturday Morning - Up early to solder charms for the girls in the other showrooms. I also made one just for me. Typical late morning errands - go get the College Freshman's car from the shop, bank, post office, etc. Pick up the mail -WHICH INCLUDED THE DEAN' S LIST LETTER FOR THE SAME FRESHMAN - proud mama moment. Then basketball game an hour away from home - 10 more rows on baby blanket. Dinner at Longhorn's - long wait - migraine headache.

Sunday - Cantata Service at church. Lunch. Sleep off the rest of the hangover effect from the migraine meds - grocery store - bake a cake (from scratch - the children were amazed) - pack up soldered charms.

Monday 6:00 AM - where the hell did my weekend go??????

Packages ready to go -------

One side of the charm I made for me. Look closely - the glitter has tiny little stars. The stamp was a dollar item set on the end cap at JoAnn's.

The other side of my charm - what you can't see very well is the very pretty texture of the silver paper.

Another of the rubber stamps from the JoAnn's display - I backed these with old cancelled holiday postage stamps. The man at my address is happy to see some things being used.
Again I say that having the studio is a wonderful thing. Although - I did bring things into the house to work - it is downright cold here now and the small heater in the barn just was not enough. But I fixed a tray and then took everything back.
Have a Very Merry Christmas week.
New posting at CIP.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Calling my creative buddies

I know you all are creative. I know many of you are competitive. I know you are talented. Here is a chance to show off your skills in a big way.

Spellbinders Paper Arts is creating their 2009 Design Team with a contest. Take off to this link and explore.

I'm getting my submissions ready.

I got a goodie.

edit to add - holy cow what a great idea. it's not cold enough here right now, but for those of you who have cold weather look Icelace

The College Freshman called yesterday and said that I had a package. I love that phone call. Anyway, I got home and found my package on the island. A really pretty piece of fabric and a tissue wrapped package with a note. A confusing note.

Back in April of this year, Ann-Margret and I arranged a private color swap. I thrifted and made and assembled a package of red and green items for her.

One of the items that I found was a one of a kind - handmade table runner. I loved it. I bought it for the swap, I brought it home and washed it. I layed it across my table while I was assembling the package. I touched it. I love the feel of vintage linens. I packaged it up and sent it away to my friend.

I am stunned by the contents of the package yesterday.

See I have been regifted (return gifted?) with a vintage item that I adored. I immediately spread it across the table.

Love it --I loved it when I bought and I still do. I do not know how to thank you my friend. This was a total surprise and a very generous gift.

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I didn't mean to go MIA

This has kind of been an unplanned blogging break. We have been short handed at work, with people using time they will lose unless they burn it. But I am back and have a few just for fun images to share with you.

A three ruffle crochet flower. Made from NORI hand dyed wool. This baby is large about the size of a dessert plate. I had a partial skein left and decided to try this pattern - love this. It was technically easy, but requires concentration. Definitely not a no-brain project. I'll be making more out of many different yarns. What will I make - not a clue - right now, I'll just be storing these to look pretty somewhere and pull them out to use later.

I have many many Nativity sets. My sister made this one for us one year as a Christmas gift. Natural wood with woodburned details. I like having this one for little ones to play with through the holidays. My girls had one just for that purpose when they were little and spent many an hour telling each other their simplified version of the Christmas story.
Note to self - find that old wood block nativity.
The Christmas tree and some fun details just so they are recorded.

We always tie our tree to the ceiling. Having had not just one tree fall over (twice this happened), we simply put a permanent hook in the ceiling where the tree goes. I occasionally have to explain, but the hook is hardly even noticed when the tree is there.
White lights for me - how about you? No blinking either.

God I love my floors - this one is painted dark blue - it was this color when we took up the overlay of plywood that somebody put down years ago. I left it just like we found it. The bare feet - those belong to the Softball Princess. It is December and these floors are not insulated - but not a problem this year - it was 66 degrees F here yesterday.
That base board - 11 inches worth of trim.

The College Freshman does have shoes on - but check out those pants. They were worn by the Softball Princess when she played 10U softball. Way too short but these tall skinny girls can still get in them. The College Freshman sleeps in these. Did I already say - I love my floors? That's a cheap discount store lace tablecloth hanging as my curtain.

Just because I know Grandmother likes them (shhh I do too) - here are some real shots of the monsters. They were singing some stupid song about a moose or a goose and juice - I was crocheting and taking pictures from my perch in the corner.

A little better view of the real tree. Cut down at the property I grew up on. Big tree, but Molly observed last night that it doesn't look as big as the ones we got when she was little. Perspective maybe - looking up on a great big tree with those little bitty eyes.
We had so much fun - all but The Man at My Address - he had to fight the boxes and the attic stairs.
Hope this finds you all having a grea day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

my day job

has taken over my life today -

i have on a fitted skirt - and high heels.

as for the reaction to my attire - i just as well have on a corset with fishnet stockings and be carrying a long black whip.

i promise the reaction would not have been much different.

have a wonderful day

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pet peeves plus goodies

The man at my address is seriously outnumbered. Three women in the house with one poor man is really not fair. Make that three incredibly strong willed women who are very vocal when unhappy and you can have many stressful days.

Combine my personality, my vehicle, an always slow teen daughter, pouring rain, running late for work, the fact he used the truck last, he has a habit of returning vehicles in this same way, and this being the very first thing I saw when I got into the truck on Thursday morning.

Result ------ nutted up mom with ugly messages to the Man at my Address. This is a habit I have such a hard time with. I don't even expect it to be full. I don't even expect him to pay for it (my wallet was there with money enclosed). I really don't even expect there to be gas in it any more - but a heads up would have gone a long way. You cannot miss this light - so at least come in the house and say "hey you are gonna have get gas in the morning" then I can get the teens moving a little faster.

Yup I was ugly - but I did apologize - more than I got in return.

Now you know - I will blog about anything.


These are now hanging in the gym of the church family life center. We are preparing our journey to Bethlehem marketplace and hung these last night. Large canvas painted backdrops from many years past. There are hours of time in these. Crawling on the floor on hands and knees. paints and paraphenalia in hand. No amount of money could pay for these - they were definitely labors of love.

We have called the one above --- "purple mountain majesty" since we painted it. The lady who was helping me that night mixed paint and had no experience doing so. That mountain was Barney purple when she finished. It took days to fix that. We use these over and over for various things. Just so you can get an idea of the scale of these - this one is 12 feet wide. It was originally the shepherds in the field backdrop. We had a faux fire and the angels appeared over the top edge of the mountain to the shepherds.
I actually love doing these kinds of things for the kids.

I do have to thank some folks for helping hang these last night. Thank you Mr Charles (AKA the Man at my Address) and Mr John. Also thank you Maria (The Lady at John's Address). It was a very pleasant night and working with people you communicate well with makes the work load fairly easy.
Tonight - the rest of the decorating happens.
Have a great day all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The bobble lariat neck wrap

Somebody will probably find this post by looking for "hanging". I am amazed at how people arrive here from google.

Lannae was supposed to model this, but we have not been together long enough for that to happen.

I saw one of these long skinny lariats on a lady - she got it at Anthropologie. I studied it and decided I could fake it on my own.

If I show this to people just laying on the table or in my hands, they have not really understood. Then I put it on. Immediately I have been asked for either how I did it or would I make one for them.

I took the College Freshman to lunch yesterday and she snapped these for me.

I started another one last night, but didn't have enough yarn to finish, so I frogged it. I'll have to regroup.

I am working on those skinny scarves as well. Such a great travel project. Several folks in my world will be getting those for Christmas.

For those of you who love my friends there are two giveaways you should know about.

MARYANN is giving away a load of stuff - go here to put your name in that hat.

LANNAE is also giving away a goodie - go here to register for that one.

Hope this finds all of you having a great day. We will be at church for the children's program tonite.

Is anyone in my blog circle headed to the Handcraft Festival in Madison, Georgia on Saturday? If you are, please email me or leave a comment. I would love to meet some of you in the real world.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Current WIP

I have been working on FINALLY finishing the cowboy quilt. It kept getting pushed back because nobody in my circle was having a boy. We are finally due one and this will be his.

I finished all the hand quilting last night. Now all you "real" quilters, please don't be too critical of my stitches. I really like the look of rough and rustic hand stitching and that is what this is. The pattern came from one of my magazines when I finish the binding and give you the full photo, I'll share that information.
The fabric is "Happy Trails" featuring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans combined with a blue chambray sheeting that I had in my stuff. (Got lots more of this blue - seems like I bought 12 yards for like 10 dollars) The Gingham check on the binding is a stash fabric too. I don't have very much of it left at all.
A quick look at the back shows the stars that are quilted into the alternating blocks.
Tonight will find me trimming the batting and ironing and pinning the binding for that hand- stitching. Then, I'll wash it. I do not prewash my fabrics because I like that wonderfully puckered look that the quilts get when you don't prewash.
A quick funny - Local Best Friend refers to this as a "cover up quilt" as opposed to one of those "artsy fartsy things" that are my art quilts. I really should make him a cover up quilt soon.
Have a great day. Off to surprise the College Freshman. We have a delivery in that area and I am taking the material.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Congratulations - Jonathan and Pam

My nephew surprised everyone this weekend. He went and got himself hitched on Saturday. We had our family Christmas last night and I met his new bride for the very first time. Congratulations all of you. Left to right - Kassie, Jonathan, and Pam.

Just for the record - there were other men in this family who would have given you the advice to forget this idea - lol.

MaggieGrace will be back tomorrow with a few goodies.

Have a great day.

Friday, December 05, 2008

My Christmas Wish List

Go ahead - click the button and watch the video.

This is a favorite video for me right now and it completely illustrates what I am seeking for Christmas. Mind you - I have paid my personal credit cards off - I don't even carry one right now. I use my debit card, cash and checks as my way of functioning. The message I want to give you is not about the credit cards, but about the "things" this lady buys in the magic store.

Now for my list

THINGS I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (in no particular order)

1. FOCUS - I have crafters ADD. I have life ADD. I get pulled and tugged from one thing to the next and often don't even realize what I have done today. I would like to FOCUS on something and be able to be fully aware of it and the impact it is having on me right now. For example -- I want to sit in our worship services and not have the grocery list run through my head.

2. LAUGHTER - at times this year I have laughed, but often I feel as if we as a family do not laugh enough. Money is tight. Stress is prevalent. I want to hear my family laugh - I want to laugh with them. Not forced laughter - genuine "we are having fun" laughter.

3. DANCING - I love to dance. When everything is rocking merrily along, I dance because it just feels good. I want to "get my groove back". I want to have people in my life who want to dance with me too.

4. FASCINATION - watch a kid - you will understand what I'm looking for here. My girls used to watch the glass in the oven door for the cake to rise just because it was "cool". Watch an inchworm walk up a branch - that was "neat". "Shhhh listen - that's a tree frog" as the toddler gets completely quiet and listens trying to identify where the sound comes from. I want to lose "the blinders on barreling through life" feelings and be facinated by those things tiny and miraculous.

5. DOMESTICATION - okay "the maid" - aka the College Freshman - has moved on in her life. I need to figure out how to be more domestic. Funny - this should not be a Wish List item, but I have very little inclination to be domestic, so this one will just have to be a buckle down and discipline myself thang.

6. ART and CRAFT - yes it is on there. 2009 will be the year I focus on putting my work out there. I list both art and craft because I consider what I do to have elements of both. Now that MaggieGrace world is in a workable condition - its time for this statement to be made.

7. FAMILY TIMES (FRIEND TIME) - as we grow older, I become even more thankful for the blessings of my family and friends. I want (and I want those closest to me) to make family time much more of a priority than it has been.

8. BEAUTY - I look at so many blogs that feature such beauty. I am not talking about an expensive or pretentious look, just well maintained and well displayed items at home. I am listing this in conjunction with the DOMESTICATION line simply as a desire and to help me FOCUS on acheiving this look.

9. JOY - I am generally an upbeat person, but am I truly joyful in my life. I have moments of JOY and of BLISS but I have the desire to live everyday more JOYFULLY.

10. RECOGNIZING THE LOVE, BLESSINGS, and GRACE in my life. Those things are already important to me, but I really want to let the people who give me those things know just how they impact my life.

This list of intangibles could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. I am at a place where focusing on these is so much more important than a gift wrapped THING under the tree.

Come on - you guys share your intangible wish lists. It will be quite fun, and you might just find a few extra blessings in your life.

Have a wonderful day.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The thrifting holy grail....

We have a goodwill store here. I like it. I also go to the Project Safe thrift store frequently. Like that one too (although there you have to dig). But my favorite is close to work, easy to get to, and often has random weird stuff. It's really my favorite and firends who know me refer to that as my holy grail thrift store.

Come on you know what I'm talking about.

I had a few minutes yesterday and swung in there. I dropped off a big bag of clothes and I picked up a pink linen tablecloth (that has already been cut so no issues) a shelf for a strange little space in the studio and a wonderful little how to sheet.

This was still in the mailing envelope and it has the full sized patterns for these little bowls and boxes.

I have a box and I have wanted to make some of my own - using vintage magazine pages and some of the old cards at my house - but I didn't want to take mine apart.

I'll be copying these full sized patterns to transparency sheets so that I can center the images for mine. I know, this is a novelty type of thing, but I am thinking that the boxes will be a distinctive package for spoon bracelets and crochet rose brooches.
Total for a shelf - approximately 2 yards of linen - and this wonderful serendipity find - 7.81. My Christmas is covered.
Working on a post for my Christmas wish list. Maybe tomorrow for that one.
Have a wonderful evening.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sometimes, when you're feeling your lowest, teresa, the real you is summoned.
And you understand, maybe for the first time ever, how grand you are, because you discover that vulnerable doesn't mean powerless, scared doesn't mean lacking in beauty, and uncertainty doesn't mean that you're lost.
These realizations alone will set you on a journey that will take you far beyond what you used to think of as extraordinary.
There is always a bright side.
Don't disguise your tears, teresa, don't hide your sadness, don't be afraid to find out who you really are. Because in those fleeting moments you'll summon such beauty and strength that, in no time at all, you'll fully grasp exactly why you're so gossiped about here in the unseen.

The Universe

These words sure would have been helpful in years past, especially that bold line. The years after my cancer diagnosis were growth years and they are years that I do not regret. Many personal challenges have resulted in me wearing very few masks. I do however find myself helping others put their masks on.

Wow - that last sentence even freaks me out to read it. As a mom, I have tried to teach my girls to be strong, to not show too much public weakness, and I still think that is the right approach to take. Too many people will capitalize on weakness, and use that and your fears against you. The trick is to be honest with yourself and allow the real feelings out with those you find to be trustworthy.

As a wife, I help to hide true shortfallings of my spouse from the public. Although the illustration I like to use for this is not my own. Miss Jane at church suffers from macular degeneration. She is almost blind now. Her husband - Mr Buddy - does this for her, protects her from the embarrassment of not knowing who she is speaking to. As we approach, he always calls out a "hello, Teresa, how are you?" letting her know who is coming to speak to her. Out of true love, he protects her from the sight loss she has suffered.

There are so many ways we do this and not all of them are bad things.

The bad masks that we put on are the ones that cause us to push away true help, true love, true support from those closest to us. The ones that build huge walls around our caring places. I broke down another of those this Thanksgiving Holiday. When my Dad died, I dealt with anorexia. I wanted to control something in an out of control time and I could control food.

There are a few people who know all of the story, but only a very few. My breakthrough the other day, has already helped someone. A person suffering through these first holidays after losing a loved one was crying on my shoulder and commented, "when you lost your dad, you managed to keep it all together so well, why can't I get it together." In a moment of complete honesty, I blurted out, "I almost starved myself to death - I wasn't okay then and I wasn't okay for many years after that." Instead of destroying the image she had of me, this gave her the strength she needed to get through Thursday. Why - because I really am okay now - and the strength of those experiences lets me know that I am so much more capable now than I was then to handle almost any circumstance - and she recognized that. Then on Thursday - I helped her put that mask of "OKAY" on and get through the day. Eventually she won't need the mask because we can help her get back to OKAY for real. Not thinking that's a bad thing - are you.

It is okay to find out what you are made of. Be honest with yourself and those you can trust. Then let them help you with the masks if you need to - until you are ready to take them off cause you do not need them any more.

Okay deep enough. Lets get to fun stuff.

Mama Norvan's tree. A beacon at every Christmas from the very beginning of my inclusion in the family. Only Charles and I could do this correctly - according to her. (Ann can verify that statement) It started as a small project but quickly grew to have its own disconnect, because there were so many lights. We always waited until Thanksgiving or later to do this and we always worked on it in the dark. We loved doing this for her.

A fun story. It was cold cold cold one year while we worked on this. At some point during the night, Charles lost his wedding ring - seems the cold had caused it to be loose on his finger. We searched and searched, Mama Norvan searched, but no luck - so we gave up on it and a couple of years later, I bought another wedding band for him. The summer after the new ring was purchased, Mama Norvan was cutting flowers from the flower bed out front for the table in the kitchen. As she sat down at the table she noticed something strange about one of the flowers. On closer inspection, the strange part of the flower was that there was a gold wedding band around the stem just beneath the bloom. How is that for serindipity? Now the Man has two.

This really pretty cluster of berries was hanging into view at Grandmother's side window on Thursday. Since I started blogging, I look for these things everywhere. Just thought I would share this one with you.

Now this last picture features a discovery that I made after deciding to "play" over at with a picture I took at the cemetary. We got rain for the Thanksgiving holiday. This was after the rain, but I noticed the droplets clinging to the grass blades. (See above paragraph about photos)

When I cropped and enlarged this, I found that the droplets form a pretty little row of hearts. Cool huh!!!! Love those kinds of love notes.

I just had one of my favorite customers here. She is so creative and such an inspiration. Her home features a sewing studio and we are already planning a retreat for her new home after she completes it. A grown-up girl play date - yummmmy.

Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thanksgiving - Atkinson style

Missing a few loved ones, but most of us were there. Gathered at Grandmother and Granddaddy's on Thursday, here's the crew. Lynda is missing in this one - she's behind the camera. Allie is mia in this picture as well (I have no idea).

Allie gave me verbal lessons to help me fix some jewelry making issues I was having. She is at SCAD as a metals and jewelry major. Very talented - incredible potential - I cannot wait to see where she takes all of this. She also was making her "Dear Santa" letter to me at the table involving things like her own leg warmers and scraves. Maddie wants a soldered necklace and a scarf herself. (Girls - it may be after Christmas)

We did get one with Lynda and Allie here - by the gift that makes Granddaddy be labeled "the Stuff". Look at that baby grand we are standing by. I really should get a picture of that - it is beautiful. Hey wait - Grandmother could start her own blog and post a picture herself.

College Freshman took this one of us. Sad to see just how short I am beside these girls of mine. I always knew I would be the short one in the family.

The College Freshman was sporting the legwarmers I made for her way back here, so I made her pose for me. She really loves them and wears them - sometimes kids take things never intending for that to happen. But my girls are honest with me about that kind of thing, if they won't wear it - they tell me. She does want me to add some buttons to these.

There was no turkey on the menu, leaving the Softball Princess complaining as late as Sunday. Sorry honey - we will not make that mistake again. Speaking of her - she was excited last night - she made the varsity basketball team and may actually get some playing time. While basketball is not her sport of choice, she does enjoy it, and has decided to try and letter in three sports. She does want to play softball in college and that search will begin this summer with some weekend trips to various schools that she wants to consider.

Here she is with a Family member you have not met - this is Licorice (lick-ish). We live in the country, but we are close to the road. Don't feel sorry for the pen part - its a big pen so he has tons of room. Even if he gets out, though, most of the time he will only venture into the barn or shed. A stray we took in. Sweet dog with us - but unpredictable with others - hence the pen part - just not worth the risk and I certainly do not want him to get run over while we are gone.

MaggieGrace is working diligently on the cowboy quilt. Eight more blocks to go. Going to a stitch trunk show/Christmas open house thing tonight. I always come home from such things with so many more ideas that I can complete.

Tyler brought his girlfriend, Isabelle, to meet us all. To say that we were overwhelming to her was an understatement. We all interact in such a way that leaves people wondering who really goes with who. Tyler is Mr Rockstar's (John) oldest son. Hard to believe all these adults and almost adults are our kids.
Also hard to believe that some 28 years ago, I was the overwhelmed one being introduced to Mama (Grandmother). My family was (and is) a lot different from this one - I had just lost my Dad that fall - Alan was home from the Navy - and the Man (now at my Address) just dropped me off into this group of people and disappeared with Alan. Awkward, bordering on terrified, is the only way to describe my feelings that day. But the Man also took me to see Mama Norvan (his Grandmother) first, and since I passed her inspection (interrogation), I was immediately welcomed into the open arms of this loud, loving, faith filled, wonderful group of people. Many years of growth, prayer, challenges and changes later, they (we) are just as loving, faith-filled, and funny as they were then (maybe even more so).

Hope this finds all of you having a wonderful day.

Monday, December 01, 2008

a night on the town

Okay - so you can call me a horrible mommy. But, I took my girls to a club/restaurant to see a band on Friday night. We had a blast. We all went to Wild Wing Cafe in Athens. The band was Resevoir Dogs (uncle John and friends) and the place was packed. Both my girls were there - and slightly embarassed by Mom singing with the band. Some friends of ours and their daughter were there as well.

(BTW - Dennis these should be clickable to print or save)

At the end of the night - Sam - his dad is the bass guitarist - joined the band and rocked the place out to some AC/DC.

Note - Sam is 13 - was he nervous. If he was - he did not show it.
Sporting J.W. Hell's hat - that's Sam's Dad behind him.

My girls joined forces at the table - they soon realized the need for being close to have any conversation. They had a blast. I drank one shot of tequila - the rest of the night I drank sweet tea. Dad drank a few, but as a realist in how we handle things with our girls, showing them a responsible drinking pattern is important to us. They KNEW I was okay to drive. Molly drove Nicole home - and got a bit of a scare as a cop pulled in behind her at the light with his blue lights on - turns out he only needed through the light. We laughed at the story.

Some old guy (actually our friend John) suckered the Softball Princess into a slow dance. She was a great sport about it. God I love that childs smile. Although Uncle John's alter ego - AKA mr Rockstar - was a little much to process - I think the black feather boa pushed her over the edge.

One final picture of the three girls - College Freshman (Molly) - her friend Nicole (also a college freshman) and the Softball Princess. Molly is sporting one of those skinny chain scarves that I've been making. Seems I can't get enough of these made.

Originally uploaded by maggiegracecreates
The two of them keep grabbing them out of the bag as they see colors they like.
We had a very low key Thanksgiving - together with family on Thursday - then this outing on Friday - then football, movies, rest, reading for the rest of the weekend. Now the Christmas frenzy begins.
Have a wonderful day.