30 December 2009

Productivity's the Thing.

The last day of the year. It's the last day of a decade. I start the new year caring for my very sick mother in my home and face emptying and selling her home in the coming months. Daunting. She lived there for 50 years. I grew up there. I will face it with both resistance and determination. I am nothing if not productive.

Prosperity to me is productivity. I like to create but mainly I need to produce. I want something to show for my time. It is helpful to me to stand back and review what I have accomplished. Here are some of my favorite projects from 2009.

Old barn wood panelling in a bunkhouse build.

Tacky light fixtures in the bunkhouse.

Something I have long coveted, yes, a wagon wheel chandelier.

"How about a wagon wheel in the banister?" Or, carpenters who show off.

Favorite knitting creation in 2009.

Favorite doll created in 2009.

Living room curtains.

A reclaimed window from the house that was on the property before ours was built, framed, painted and hung.

This cigar box collage in my Rebecca Sower class at Silver Bella.

My girl's birthday journal. This is the best thing I have ever made with my own hands. Ever.

This blog. I started it in February 2009 and it has been a great combination of creativity, productivity and therefore prosperity. I value the space to write and show off photographs. My dark moments have some place to go and connect. I appreciate that you have come here and read my posts. I am indebted to the people who commented on my recent sad post as well. I specifically want to thank Sharron, Brigid, James Dean, Holly A., Jemellia, Holly Hall, , Nanette, Jerry, Angie, Sweetie, Alisa, Lisa and Penny. I receive your support and prayers and am lifted by it.

Thank you. I will put my head down and keep chugging. Whining all the while...

29 December 2009

Right now...

...my daughter pulled her old portable keyboard into mother's room and is playing her song list.

I am listening from the kitchen as I cook dinner.

Snow falls with disregard.

This wouldn't be happening were my mother well,

tucked in her own home,

instead of mine...

26 December 2009


That beautiful Scout is my oldest brother. He would go on to grow up and do all the things the kids did in the 50s. He would finish high school. Get drafted. Go to Vietnam. He would return and head off to school, his military haircut drawing war protesters to spit on him on an American college campus. He would struggle through the next 10 or so years of his life until he couldn't any more.

This year the holidays have been quite blue here. Earlier, I was so sick with the flu I had to cancel what may very well be my mother's last Thanksgiving. While slowly recovering I pushed through caring for my mother and tryed to put together a great birthday party for my daughter. The only Christmas decorating I could manage was the tree. Not even a wreath. I kind of cared but not really.

Friday a week ago my mother had declined so that we took her to the hospital via the emergency department. A blur of highs and lows followed. After a weight loss of over 25 pounds this year, we finally got a diagnosis, a stack of prescriptions and she was kicked out on Christmas Eve in a blizzard. My daughter did not make it home from her grandparents until 8 pm on Christmas Day. The few gifts we had this year remain under the tree this morning, wrapped.

There was a Christmas with wrapped presents under the tree on the 26th many years ago when I was my own daughter's adolescent age. We waited for my brother to come home. We had not heard from him. A call from the coroner's office told the story that he had been in the morgue for ten days. Unclaimed bodies are targeted for disposal at day 10, but our wonderful coroner looked at my brother and said "this boy has a family." He took it upon himself to call to ensure we had been notified. Of course we hadn't. We had been waiting for him. An Oklahoma City police officer, at the end of his shift 10 days prior, marked that he had come to our house and notified us. He simply did not. The apology which came a couple of weeks later didn't help much.

So here I am with gifts under the tree. Of course we are all alive this year. I know to be grateful about that. But actually I feel empty, hollow. My mother lives with me now. I have much to do physically and emotionally in the coming months. Right now I am not sure how I will muster the strength for it all. But I have done it before. We all have. Somehow you keep waking up, plowing forward, through the pudding that is exhaustion. Somehow another meal. Another load of laundry. A trip to the grocery store all the while screaming inside "I can't, I don't want to" and yet doing it anyway.

I can't tell this story out loud. I also can't post a pretty picture of the holiday. This is the blue truth today.

17 December 2009

You Never Forget Your First Girlie

Last month, some gals and I went to The Girlie Show which is a Rosie the Rockin' Riveter kinda of girl power art show. It is our highest quality show in Oklahoma City. It was my first Girlie and I will be going back. Uh, stood in line to get in, in the cold wind. That is how good this dang thing is. I am going to show you what I bought and brag on these great artists.

Those little felted flower hairpins are by Quid. Heather is precious and runs a fabulous boutique and blog.

I fell completely in love with Janet Waldrop, of Skip 2 My Lou, last summer while in Tulsa at An Affair of the Heart. I bought this necklace then.

I know, right? At the Girlie Show I bought this bracelet made with 100 year old French ribbon.

I put it on, shopped around and was compelled to go back and buy something else. And no, I am not holding out on you for Janet's link. She doesn't compute. She works making these stellar collaged vintage pieces instead of sitting in front of the computer...hmmmm, interesting...look at this necklace.

I will just take a minute to tell you about Amy Baldwin of Curly Q Mosaics. She is completely cool for one thing and I love her face. I just do. She is very supportive of local artists and is a great customer for one thing. And then she does these mosaics you just have to see. I bought this little mushroom. Honestly, she is so talented I could just run her down with my car. but i might break the piece I am wanting, so I haven't done that, yet. You are welcome, Amy.

And this darling girl makes lovely jewelry, both new and vintage pieces. She's Natalie of Ornamental Things. I bought this necklace collaged from a button and an old brooch. Yum. It is just the perfect length and I wear it all the time.

Just really been into jewelry. An old obsession all new again. Hope the drooling didn't ruin your keyboard.

12 December 2009

Curly Girly

The last tree topper for ya'. This girl has red hair, a little lighter than the last one and her hair is a wee bit curly!

Look at her balls! So sweet. I can get her to you before Christmas. She will make a great gift.

Find her on eBay.

11 December 2009

Redhead Annie Tree Top

Here is another tree topper. She is available through eBay.

I have to say, I just finished making the best gift I have ever made. More on that later. Wish me luck with a sweet sixteen party. BitterSweet...

08 December 2009

Winner and a Brunette Christmas Dolly

I have drawn a winner of my pillow posted on December 1. I put numbers on slips of paper, folded them, placed them in the 'ol cigar box, which was then shaken not stirred, and selected a number. That number is 6 which is Nanette! Nan, I will see you Sunday at our Garland class, shall I bring it then??? Congrats and thank you. Nan is an amazing doll maker herself. I am such a hack compared to her!

My next tree topper is a brunette and she is oh so cute. Look at her balls, uh, ball fringe...These girls are so sweet on top of your tree or on a candle stick for a centerpiece. She is listed on eBay.

Thank you guys for your comments and for reading me. I really appreciate it!

07 December 2009

Marilyn Tree Top

Hey ya'll, I have listed another Tree Topper dolly with platinum blonde hair this time! you can find her on eBay.

Last day to enter my pillow give away. leave a comment here!

06 December 2009

Annie Tree Top

Hi ya'll. I will be listing little handmade tree topper dolls each day this week on eBay. With a low starting bid and no reserve, I hope for my little girls to go to good loving homes. You can find this first little ginger-haired girl here.

Comments for my pillow give away close tomorrow at my bedtime! Leave a comment here.

05 December 2009

To Market To Market

Just wanted to let you know I will be at Paper Crown Glitter Market today in Oklahoma City. Hope to see you there. The other vendors give me chills, such beautiful things.

Also, there is a give away on my last post so please leave a comment there to win my pillow!

01 December 2009

Be Merry

I am welcoming in December and the Holiday Season with a new blog appearance and banner today. Awwwww, December. My child turns 16 this month. Nothing more to say about that. Today. I am happy to have it happen and also digging in my heels like Fred Flintstone. But let's think about this. I will give a pillow away to one of you as I appreciate it so much that you stop by and look at my view.

This pillow is completely hand made by me. The poinsettia ornie is hand painted and grungied up. The back is a black and taupe homespun with an envelope closure. There is an inner pillow I also made and stuffed very firmly in a fit of rage. Not really, I just like things firm. 'Be Merry' has been machine embroidered. It is 12 x 16 inches in size.

Leave a single comment on this post. I will randomly select a winner and announce the name next Monday, 7 December.

Again, thank you so much. I appreciate you more than you know.

25 November 2009

Giving Thanks

It is redundant to say it because roughly the last 43 and the next 37 blogs you will look at will say they are grateful for the pleasure of a good meal and their family. Well....I always loved Thanksgiving best of all holidays. It seems the least commercial. No cards, no gift giving. And then all the damn Black Friday hysteria makes for a Blue Thursday. That and now that I am the matriarch and have to cook the entire Thanksgiving meal alone because no one offers to help...it isn't as fun. I always get cranky when the doorbell rings and 10 pots come due at once.

And yet I am glad once I am seated and people begin to eat. I mean I enjoy it if I am the also getting praised for the meal. Which does happen. I wish I could go back and be more grateful for all those good Thanksgivings my parents cooked. But that is how it goes. You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone.

This year I do feel abundant. I feel grateful for you dearest reader. Thank you for being here. I enjoy this blog more than I can say. I think about it constantly and the order and content. I have the next dozen posts in my head. Thank you for showing up and giving me this outlet, for your comments, for your clicks.

My next post includes a greeting and a give away to say thanks.

19 November 2009

Silver Bella School

Jemellia kept talking about Silver Bella and I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. She asked me to go, Uhh, no. She sent me a links to Silver Bella's blogs. I started to see the incredible pictures and creations and became interested. Then I signed up. Now I have gone to this event and I get it now.

1. Workshops. Let me school you about Silver Bella. It is an weekend event in November in Omaha, Nebraska hosted by Teresa McFayden. She announces the registration on her blog and it is sold out within hours to about 200 people. Female people. As you register you select 5 workshops. I like to call the workshop instructors the Titans as they are artists, company owners, published in magazines, have books, appear on television shows like Martha. They are a big deal. You leave a three hour class with a piece of art and wet your pants as well when they talk to you although they are really nice and normal but of gargantuan talent. Awwwww, Rebecca Sower......

2. Swaps. A person will determine a swap theme and rules. They are announced and opened up over several weeks after registration to a set number of participants. They are filled within minutes. You make your swap specific item, apron, page, crown, whatever prior to the event. You may send your portion in to the swap hostess who then combines all the parts to create multiple copies of a book or item. If it is a one to one swap, you bring your item to Silver Bella. Either way you take home an item from the swap.

I participated in the Sweetest Thing Recipe Swap which I will dedicate a post to later. But here is an example of a one-on-one swap between the Bells from Texas where they created and swapped mums. This is my favorite. These were the first thing I saw when I arrived in Omaha. Then I started to get an idea of what I was in for. This was made by Stacey for Rita. And, damn, oh-kay?

3. Luncheon Speaker. A big deal in the industry of creativity, this year's speaker was Jo Packham of Where Women Create. This publication is dedicated to supporting the creativity and talent of women showcasing their workspace. She was so real and spoke from the heart. She actually made everyone there a book mark, with her own hands. Uh, oh-kay? When was the last conference you went to where that happened? Never even occurred to me that she might make 200 items as gifts.

4. Vendor Night. These are the best booths I have ever seen. Well known artists and leaders in the industry set up their wares. We did a booth which prevented much in the way of shopping. I sold many knits that night, a record number and just shook from the thrill and awe of it. When this group of people like your work, the heavens open up and you can actually hear angels sing.

5. Acceptance. Look, I have been around the hen house a few years, but to get a group of women together with such a unity of spirit, talent and support is embracing and exhausting. There is so much praise going around it is surreal. Someone doesn't just say "Oh that's cute." They walk up, look you in the eyes, handle the item which may be clothing, jewelry, a bag or your creation, look it over, intensely inspect, pause, clutch their pearls and tell you they LOVE it while grasping your arm. I figured this out after the 83rd person loved me and my sweater on the first night. I felt the love and understood why they come and keep coming back. And I will go back. I will announce, I am Bella.

16 November 2009

Aprons Away

Hey ya'll, hop over to 2BirdsInAPod for an apron give away which ends tomorrow. You'll just be sick if you miss out.

10 November 2009

Another Sweet Peek

Silver Bella approaches. It is this coming weekend in Omaha and I've been packing for it. My swaps are long since completed and mailed, now bound by the hands of Shea and ready for presentation on swap night. Here is a sneaky peek of the second page I did for the Sweetest Thing Recipe Swap.

I made a few scarves for vendor night. The neck cover at the top of this post is Ice Castles. Remember that movie? Loved it. The perennial scarf below is Silvery Moon.

This Silver Bella neck cover features a vintage rhinestone button.

The theme for the Silver Bella vendor night is 100 Aprons. In honor of that we will be doing a special give-away on our 2 Birds in a Pod blog. Check in November 12 for that. Here is a little peek at what I will be sporting for Apron night...Eeeeeek!

03 November 2009

Oh Sheet

So, it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. It was the first day of a three day show which was really the second day as we set up our booth all the day the first day. SO I come in from a day of schlepping my dolls, working the booth, doing my routine with the costumers. All very energizing until you sit down in the car to drive home and realize you still feel like you're skating only exhausted and dizzy...

And, I had and hour to get home, eat, dress in layers and make it to the high school football game in the cold.

It was, as you remember, my birthday. My husband had remembered too...

My husband and I are spoiled brats whose cups runneth over. And by spoiled I mean we keep our heads down and work real hard, clean all the time and buy ourselves what we want after careful pricing research. But, we have more than we need and most of what we want. We decided many years ago not to give each other gifts. Our dog, Spencer will give his parents something useful at Christmas. Spencer typically gives a crock pot or shirts for example. All very practical. We will do something for our anniversary, like, well I can't think of anything but it does seem like I have a few Brighton purses.

In an aside, my husband gave me my first Brighton purse for no reason whatsoever, writing on the card "hope to brighton your day." We were dating then. That should explain a lot.

When I was a little girl and birthdays were anticipated greatly. We would go to The Cinderella Bake Shop and order my cake. They were classic sheet cakes, vanilla cake with white royal cream icing. Soft pink roses. The rose icing always tastes different than the cake icing. So good. All good. The roses were abundant and frothy. A spray across the coveted corner. The leaves were green and curled just so about the blossom. It really is the same confection I try to recreate with my knitted blooms...

My cakes always had the little ballerina on pointe stuck in the icing as well. I secretly want to be know as Queen Frostine. Well, not so secretly. I love cake. I love frosting and it is the only reason to go to a wedding as far as I am concerned. I do not trust people that scrap the icing off and leave it on their plate to be thrown away by someone else, because icing scrappers do not ever scrap that crap off their own plate and wash it. Someone who loves icing has to do it. Therefore, I do not trust them.

The only thing I want for my birthday, have ever wanted and will ever want is a cake, a quarter sheet cake with royal buttercream icing, roses and in soft colors. No spray paint, no images, no plastic balloons, no sprinkles, confetti or glitter, not real ribbon. And no whipped cream masquerading as icing. The cake I want costs $14 dollars and comes from a national chain grocery because they understand lard. You don't even have to call ahead. Just go by and get someone to squirt "Robin" on the darn thing.

My husband. He tried so hard a few years ago. He ended up bring home 3 cakes before he got it right. Since I only want a $14 cake, I am a complete bitch about it. It is all I want so I have the right to stomp my feet and act 5, right? I know, right?

This year I walk in, wired and tired, and there, on the island of the kitchen is the biggest box I have ever seen. It is a cake box. It is a sheet cake. A full sheet.

"Oh my God, we are having a huge party." This is not what I want, we will not even get home until after 10. I am too tired to be nice about it, because ordinarily I am so nice.

Wow, that's a full sheet. How many are coming?

Just us. Three.

It's a full sheet.

Well, the lady asked me what I wanted. I told her a sheet cake. She offered sizes like a half sheet or a full sheet. I told her I don't want half a cake.

Not for my wife.

Oh that makes perfect sense.

The whole cake had been sprayed orange. So it was a large volume of orange. Imagine the Ghost Busters, in uniforms with spray wands and tanks.

Orange, husband?

Well, I told her a little bit of orange.

Right, because everyone knows how much I love orange. Also purple.

The flowers were completely purple. There was an icing ribbon in the same purple. And some kind of gold acetate fleck sprinkled, uhm, dumped in places across the surface, at least what could be reached.

The must have thought it was for Mardi Gras theme party. For 100 revelers.

Oh sheet.

The three of us cut into it. We ate a piece. It tasted like it was supposed to.

Then we all smiled, with big orange grins, like Jack O' Lanterns...

31 October 2009

Hey Weenie

Okay, I mean Happy Halloween. Look, my first sewing project, a Halloween quilt. Scary, huh?

28 October 2009

Noting the Presents

So, my birthday was last week and I wanted to share three fabulous gifts I received. I don't want to talk about the cake my husband ordered for me. Not yet. I haven't sewn nor knitted enough to be able to talk about it. I will throw one word out there...orange. Okay, that is enough.

My dear friend Penny sent a bouquet of flowers. She sent it early in the week which is so wise, so I could enjoy them all week.

Jemellia's gift is so pretty I have to start with the exterior and reveal in layers.

It is delicious when someone knows you so well.

Earrings from Elizabeth Williams. I had just finished complimenting Jemellia on her earrings which were EliWill of course.

And a coveted tote from One Hundred Wishes.

Without a doubt one of the best gifts I have ever received was this tribute in Angela's blog. I do not know what to say about it. I love it and am overwhelmed by it and it rendered me speechless regarding it for a whole day. That speaks volumes.

I feel the love.
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