Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pulling out the Christmas....kicking up the dust.

I feel so much last night we got out all of the "Christmas"...which I downsized last year. Will let me know that he wasn't happy about it .......again. When I pulled out the 7 foot slim-lined white tinsel tree......he groaned, "'s not the green one."

I explained that after 25 years, I just needed a little change and this was so much easier to put up and take down. He won't understand until his 25 years have passed.

In some ways, I'm flattered that I really did instill some deep traditions for Will. But in other ways, I am just so done with the stress of the holidays and this is one place where I can lighten my load. I stopped sending Christmas cards about 5 years ago as that was another way to de-stress. I really am trying to get this holiday back to its center. That peaceful night with the bright star.

How does it get so out of control? How does a crowd waiting for the doors to open at Walmart get taken over with such a rush and frenzy that they stampede into the place and kill a worker? If that doesn't make you stop and think, "Slow down. It's not about the shopping."
......I don't know what would.

Still, I like a little tWiNkLe in the house and Santas sitting around reminding us of the season of giving.....Emphasis on SeAson.......not just one day. Emphasis on gIvInG.......not getting. And if it can be bought it probably won't be a memory. When I think back on my childhood's the smells, the lights, the feeling......not the toys....that I remember.
Sermon over.

Here's the puny little tree......

Here's one of my new cupcake ornaments that Catha gave me for my birthday. She gave me 5 new ornaments! All "cupcake" themed...

And hanging front and center....the little candy fairy by Mary Engelbreit...of course, I had to talk to her as I was hanging her on the tree and let her know I met her mother.

A little bowl of twinkle on the coffee table...

old door knobs and a piece of copper tubing now joined by some holiday ornaments.

My Santa Collection....set up but likely to be moved somewhere else. I'm still tinkering with this.

The flowers that Jordan sent earlier in the week for the Thanksgiving in full bloom.

It's been a great weekend....with the exception of my Thanksgiving Bug. All 3 kids home, decorations are all up. Ready to begin the season.

Remember to take it slow. Just breathe.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I felt like a turkey on Thanksgiving Day....dEaD!

On Wednesday evening, Chuck, Cameron and I went to see "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." Great film, incredibly sad ending.

We came home, made some last minute decisions about when to put the turkey in, etc. then I went to bed.

3:00 am I woke up with sharp stomach pains, nausea, a fever of 99.7 (my normal is 97) and the worst headache........and just now, 24 hours later am I starting to feel a little back to normal.

So I spent Thanksgiving Day in bed or in the bathroom (you don't want details, I know).

Chuck and my sister had to pull the meal together while all the young adults stood around and looked good. So I am most thankful this Thanksgiving for Chuck and Catha.

PS... I knew I was really ill when the thought of all that food turned my stomach. That has only happened a time or two in my life. My meal was a glass of gatorade.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Abigail Grace Fink

My friend Sheila's daughter Amy had her baby girl last Friday night. On her due date, November 21. On a Friday night. At the beginning of a holiday week. I think I like this little girl already. She is very organized and knows how to work it so everyone can be there for the grand event of her arrival. This is the baby that we showered with love and lots of pink in October talked about here.

Well, hello Abigail Grace Fink....we've been waiting for you.
(Those are the same blankets my babies were wrapped in....awwww)

My friend Sheila holding her granddaughter Abigail

.....who is calling for me...."Where's JuJu?"

When I had my babies, I was always so busy and sleep deprived and anxious. I loved them but I didn't realize how fast the time was going to go by ....even though I was warned. I can remember wishing the time to go by faster so they would get a little older and sleep a little longer. And looking forward to the days that they would sleep in past 8:00 am so I could sleep in too. Oh, and I loved when they could feed themselves so we could all sit down at the table together. And what a bonus it was for them to finally be potty trained so I could spend my money on things besides diapers and wipes. And then one day, my wish came true. They were all grown up. Time had hurried by while I was busy cooking and folding children's clothes and making bottles.

The problem now is my children would look at me funny if I asked them to let me cradle them and smell their neck. Oh, what I would give to cradle them and smell their neck. So I think that's why old ladies like me are crazy about grandchildren. Anyone's grandchildren will do for now. But I am looking forward to my own. I can hold them and diaper them and bathe them and feed them and smell them.

And then hand them back and go to bed on time.

And sleep in past 8:00 am.

Congratulations Amy and Andy...and all those who love this little girl already. I can't wait to hold Abigail .........and would you be so kind as to let me smell her?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Can we get a "clean up" on the second floor?

I've been home from Silver Bella (that's a place, right girls?) for 6 days and I just now unpacked the suitcase containing all the craft supplies, finished and unfinished workshop projects, items from all my swaps, purchases and give-aways. It took me hours........HOURS! My craft room had to be cleaned today because Jordan flies in Thursday morning and her bed is in there. I warned her she would be going back to Phoenix with everything covered in glitter. The vacuum cleaner that picks up glitter hasn't been invented yet.

For my readers that didn't go to SB.......first let me extend my condolences to you. Second, I want to say that I will stop blogging about this soon but I need to say just a few more things.

Just oh, my goodness.........all the give-aways and "happies" that were in all the swaps and in the black & white striped bag! I really just got to all of this today. I brought everything back to Texas still wrapped as the hotel room already had enough stuff spilling out everywhere. The first day back, I unwrapped just enough to lay my swaps out and take pictures. So was the day I sat on the bed and held each and everything....every Moo card, every goodie bag, every swap item, every purchase from Second Chance and from the Vendor Faire.

Mid afternoon, Cameron drove in from A&M.....and I had to give her a quick look at everything....she gets it. She's an artist and she just gets it. Then Chuck...the husband...comes in and ask (for the 8th time), "What are you going to do with all of this?" I cannot type what I said or how loud I said it. He doesn't get it.

So thanks Silver Bella for letting me return to my artist roots for the past few months. You get it. I had projects to work on, products to shop for and buy, deadlines to meet, and people to share a wonderful weekend with that know just how I feel. And would never ask me, "What are you going to do with all of this?"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

some random photos......from Silver Bella 08....

I want to post a few more pictures from this past weekend.....feel free to copy them as I am not a you had to be told that. I am thinking I need a new camera after looking at these dark, fuzzy pictures. Chuck says I just need to take my time and let the camera focus. I say let's find a camera that focuses faster than I can push the button...I have to get back to living the moment.

Lisa Kettell

Author of a book coming out in February....Altered Art Circus.

A page from the Santa's Secret Diary taught by Pam Garrison.

Cigar boxes, anyone?

Black & white architecture....surely we can use this in a collage somehow.

A very humble, understated Mary...

The cover of the book we made in Do You ATC What I ATC?
taught by Carolyn Peeler.

Charlotte Lyons teaching the class how to carve a potato....for potato stamping.

Cooking them is another workshop in another town.

Dropping goodies in swap bags...

Heidi Woodruff hosting at her swap table...


There would never be enough time to see all that is inside of here.

Waiting for the buffet line to go down.

This is what you get when you hold the camera over your head

to get a shot of Frank Bielic sitting two seats behind you.

Feel free to show this to your kids and tell them that

Santa is doing a "fly-by" before finalizing his list.

Just cute. I live in a rather young town......brand new, shiny strip centers everywhere thrown up over night. It is refreshing to see something that's been around a long time.

Can you just imagine what this door has seen?

Monday, November 17, 2008

the swaps....

Before heading to Silver Bella, I (well, Stephanie) signed up for several swaps. Stephanie told me this was a must...and so I gave her the go-ahead to sign me up for a couple of them. You see, it was all on a Yahoo group just for Silver Bella and I had no clue how to sign up....and I was at work all day. Somehow a "couple" turned into about this point Stephanie is rolling her eyes because she is sooo over this story.

Here's a brief definition of an artist's swap for those of you who are in another orbit. An artist comes up with a theme and the rules and host the swap. Sometimes the swap is between 2 people and sometimes it's between 25. Sometimes you mail them to the hostess to deliver to those involved, sometimes you bring them with you to a location. The point is to allow you to create something 1 to 25 times and receive back from other artists, 1 to 25 of others' creations.

And now for those of you who only read this blog to look at the pictures (Amy).

Fine Feathered Friends ATC Mini Book hosted by Gina Grable; 22 participants; create an ATC with the theme of birds.



Karen Lea's.

Stephanie George Hirschberg's.

This is the bound book. Come on over and look at it for yourself. It will be sitting out for a very long time to come. Gina Grable, thank you for all of your hard work bringing this together.

Vintage Jewelry Swap Sister hosted by Amanda Willey; a swap between 2 people; to find vintage goodies/jewelry that could be used in altered art and swap with a partner assigned by the hostess.

Here's my box of vintage jewelry from my swap sister, Julie Baxley. Good things soon to be glued down and glittered.....thanks Julie!

Sweet Valentine's Prom ATC hosted by Shannon Johnson; 12 participants; an ATC with a valentine or prom theme.

Shannon was a great hostess and made us a very special pin to wear just for participating.

Silver Bella Altered Spoon Swap hosted by Heidi Woodruff ;12 participants; alter a silver spoon....into a magnet, an ornament, etc.

Click on this photo and play "I Spy" ....

you should find 12 spoons...that are no longer just spoons.

Silver Bella Sachet Swap hosted by Stephanie Rojas; 10 participants; you make 10 of the same sachet and get 9 different ones back plus your own. Yum....I love the smell of lavendar and now it is floating around my house.

My sachet is the heart with zebra wings hanging off of the candle.

Look at all of the beautiful ideas.

"Twinchie" Advent Calendar hosted by Melissa Wisner; 25 participants; a twincie is a 2x2 piece of paper...each participant was assigned a date in December and now we all have a beautiful advent silvers, aquas, and pale pinks.

I plan to pin these to some velvet ribbon....

so I can keep up with the days as they fly by in December.

The Twelve Sparkly, Vintage Days of a Most Glittery Glamorous Christmas hosted by Gina Grable; 15 participants; 5 x 9 heavy duty watercolor paper altered with different mediums and embellishments to be bound in a book by the hostess. We were each assigned a day....mine was the 8th day of Christmas.

No matter how hard you try, you could never imagine just how beautiful this book turned out. And the best part of all is I now have a new friend....Gina Grable. Who not only can create art that is unbelievable...but can line dance like no other. Oh, yea....Silver Bellas are multi-faceted. Don't let the pink fool you.

I was in one more swap...Glorious Glitter House Swap hosted by Alanna George and Amy Powers; a one on one exchange; a decorated/glittered house....which I mailed to my swap partner Hope Wallace before I took a photo. I will take a picture of the tiny creation I received from Hope and update this later.

Now.........I'm off to unpack my clothes. Maybe.

96 Glittery Hours in a Little Bitty Nutshell

First of all, there is no way to ever put into words the amount of fun I had the last 4 days. Nor could I explain how fast paced it was. And how much talking I did. And laughing. I will post a few pictures to give you an idea. I took my camera out as much as possible,but I was "living this" and the camera was under used. Click on the photo to enlarge...beware of shiny glitter. The glare could burn your cornea. And I tried to link some of the names to their blogs...but if they don't work here, check my sidelines for their sites.

Some workshop photos....

Prada Schmada with Charlotte Lyons...give a blank canvas bag to 30 plus women, throw in some paint and fabric and you get unbelievable eye two alike.

Linda Richter is on the far right...she is from the Spring area of Houston and was on our flight. It was nice to meet her after befriending her online the last few months.

The very talented Cherie Wilson...she was in 3 of my workshops and her work was unbelievably beautiful.

My very first grommet!

Me, Charlotte Lyons and Karen.

Soldering with Sally Jean ....first time to solder but it takes alot of patience and slow, steady that could ever happen with me. I'm not running out to buy a soldering kit anytime soon....but being around Sally Jean was a treat!
Watching Sally Jean solder....smooth like butter.

Me, Karen, my new friend Gina, with Sally Jean (the long haired blonde.)

Do You ATC What I ATC? An ATC is an Artist Trading Card. Much like a baseball trading card or Pokemon.....only an artist's work is on this 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 size card. This particular class involved making a scrapbook to hold your ATC' was taught by Carolyn Peeler but I never grabbed her for a photo.

Here's the front of the sample of the ATC book.

However, here is sweet Elizabeth Shea...who sat at our table. She is a retiree and was incredibly talented...and generous. She handed out her very own ATC and candy and other goodies. A true artist.

Santa's Secret Diary led by Pam of my favorite artist and blogs. She doesn't update much because she is busy leading workshops and raising children....but check it out. We were all given a kit full of the most beautiful papers and stickers. I didn't finish this project in class but cannot wait to get back to it.

This is the front of the sample Secret Santa Diary....a journal/scrapbook to keep all your Christmas photos, lists and receipts tucked away.

Group shot with Pam Garrison.

Vendor Night (think mini-Nutcraker Market...with shoppers dressed up in vintage prom attire or heavily sprinkled with glitter.) Most vendors were also participants in the workshops...including my good friend Stephanie. Karen and I babysat her booth some so she could also walk around and shop. My favorite part of the evening was sitting down at Sally Jean's booth and visiting with her.

Lots of shopping and photo ops....

Two new friends whose blogs I love to read and now I KNOW them. Jen Kershner on the left and Cammy Pollak on the right. Check out their blogs.

Cutest vendor...Princess Laserton...whose card read

"I make things. You like them."

How funny is that?

Karen, me, Gina Grable and Heather Ales....and baby. Thank you baby for behaving and staying put so your mom could attend Silver Bella 2008. Otherwise you would have had to be born into this world on a craft table covered in glitter.

Lunch with Mary Engelbreit. We were served a delicious lunch and then treated to a brief talk by Mary followed by a question and answer time. She is down-to-earth, humble, a little sarcastic and very understated. When asked if her house was burning, what one thing would she take....she responded, "Nothing. I would just get out. I love my things, but they're just things." When asked how she found balance, she responded, "There is no balance. Sometimes you do your art...sometimes you do your husband.......etc." Lots of giggles after that comment.

We were able to pre-order a print made by Mary just for Silver Bellas...and she signed them after the luncheon. This will be framed and treasured.
Karen and Mary.

Stephanie with Mary.....yes, Stepanie is crying. She warned us she would.

Teresa McFayden is the originator and organizer of Silver Bella. She lives in Omaha with her family who were there helping her behind the scenes. Here I am with Teresa.

Stephanie, my childhood friend, told me about Silver Bella and is responsible for signing me up...she and I roomed together but had no workshops together. She's the reason I have the slumber party hangover. We had 18 years to catch up on. I think we only got about 2 years covered. Whew...

Karen Lea was my traveling companion. When I decided to go to Silver Bella, she is the first one I thought of. I hit the jackpot when she agreed to go with me. Her generous husband gave me the frequent flyer miles and I am forever grateful. Karen and I were in all the same workshops and got to spend lots of time together. She doesn't like her picture taken but I was able to grab a few of her. She is a beautiful person, inside and out. She is my most generous friend and I hope she knows how much I love her.

Omaha.... if you are still here, I would like to show you a few photos of the only part of Omaha I really saw. Our hotel was situated in Old Market...a quaint old area of town.

Quaint, quaint.....cute, cute.

Someone is very, VERY patriotic.

I love these square windows with the vintage purses hanging in them....

An organic farmer's market in a bookstore we stopped in.......

Okay......I took the day off to unpack, do laundry and organize my swaps. Hahaha. Like that happened. The next post will be about the swaps.....stay tuned. The batteries died in my camera so I may have to get dressed and go get some. Yes, I'm still in my pjs at 2:30 in the afternoon. Life is good.