Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yeeeeeee Stinkin' Hawwwwwwwwwwwww

In less than a 24 hour period, starting night before last at around 7, I got a phone call from Lucas and Kristen in a very-only mamma-can-fix crisis, talked long and deep with both of them, had a heart-to-heart-decision-making conference with Paul about coming here, booked a ticket, packed my bags, called Julia to see if she had ANYTHING better going on than to pick me up at Houston Hobby the next day and drive me to Bryan/College Station from whence I came into the world and my heart and soul have dwelled ever since, went to bed at 10:30, got up at 5:00 a.m., airport at 6 on the runway at 7:30, drooled all the way until the pilot announced we were 110 miles from Houston at which time I began to bawl my eyes out as I finally realized that I was landing in my heart and soul within minutes after 6 way too long years since my last visit (which amounted to only a few hours in the last 20 years) to Mecca, deplaned, called Julia who drove around to get me, went on the grand tour of her Northwest Houston fabulous home, stop at the first Whataburger in sight, drove to B/CS, drove to Lucas and Kristen's, hugged/kissed, Julia and I took the historic tour of our elementary schools, our childhood homes (mine was elongated by bouts of hysterical, sentimental crying jags, usually 10-15 minutes each), onto Cindy's house (known her since we were 4?...do the math...no help from me-info in past posts will give obvious hints and definite numbers to work with) for a 20 year catch-up, back to Lucas and Kristen's by 6 p.m., change into warmer clothes, Lucas, Kristen, and I take a long memory (and new) walk through campus to North Gate to land at Mecca II (and supplemental address growing up starting at 15)...The Dixie Chicken where I had no less than a deep spiritual renewal (I'm really not shittin' about any of this) of Shiner beer, London Home Sick Blues, Willie, Waylan and the boys, chicken fried steak, and, OF COURSE several games of pool where Kristen sucked up nicely by "letting" me win-I was ON MY GAME, back to the casa for side-splitting, poop-in-your-pants, on-the-floor-rolling-in-tears laughing attack provided by JustAskDoug (a buddy's dad of K/L on YouTube), (Shiner and other "alterations" enhance the experience), 1/2 hour to regain composure, get in jammies, into bed (we all had to "sleep" in the same room because of security-more on that later, especially in the screenplay which I worked on in my head most of the night), and, finally, after no one getting any sleep mostly because of me and "Doug" (remember, I told y'all to watch Multiplicity asap), up and ready to kick some ass on a long list of gettin' these two sweeties back on track. Knowing I don't need to say so, but will, of course anyway, there will be much more and many more details, photos, fill-in-the-blanks, and off to Austin tomorrow for New Year's Eve, meeting The Great Doug and yet-to-be-critically-fully-assessed, Carol (things are looking good for her and the Oscar buzz has definitely hit Highland Street in College Station, TX. Kudos and a bow if you followed some of this, a free 72 oz. chicken fried steak if you absorbed it all. I'm just guessing that I don't need to tease you with a "stay tuned", I think I've got y'all by the b's. As Morgan Freeman and Jim Carey would say, "It's good". I'm in cotton.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I have green fingernails and a new camera.

A combo post of where I left off June 24th when I went from pondering a manicure and pedicure to frying all my hair off all the way to getting a new camera for Christmas.Confused? Why? If I can keep up then anyone should be able to. I, blog-before-last, shared that I got a new camera for Christmas. Then yesterday I finally followed through with that oh so long ago stream of consciousness to have a manicure and pedicure which lead to today's experiment to see how the new camera is working out. Up to date? Being...well...me, and paying for a m/p, I decided to go as far from norm as possible and choose the green over the rusty red that Wonderfully Fun Emma had suggested. It looks like the true color and the clarity is better than the old camera...
...one of my fave pieces of Mellie's art that I've never been able to quite capture as desired but looks good here...
...and I know, yada yada yada, how many times can you photograph the same freaking holiday house? Well I wanted to also do an apples to apples test. I think it's an improvement...looks like the new camera might be a keeper...wadayathink? This is yea or nay, not a vote for or against Pedro...fyi.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Blame it on Charlotte

Or, actually I should say, give Charlotte the credit. During one of Charlotte Lyons' classes in Omaha where she was teaching us how to make little paper holiday houses, she happened to mention that her book club had read Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, as shown below. Well, Charlotte being one of my critically selected gurus, I saw fit to purchase said book the first opportunity it presented itself which just happened to come directly in my line of vision on a soon-after trip to Targette.
And, like a good listener, I proceeded to start on it immediately and, also immediately, fell under its spell. Charlotte had said that it was a great, easy read, and she was right-on in my opinion. As I read I began to ponder the "book club" aspect of her sharing this with the class. I've always wanted to be in a book club but, just like wanting to be picked first for the basketball team (Julia, I think we were usually the last two standing...nonathletic or artistic savants?), I've never been asked. Well we all know the answer to that-durrrr-start one. So I did/am. The trigger that made me finally pull was that the BOOK CLUB READER'S GUIDE is in the back of the book. Again, durrr. Okay, so there's a little more point to this that I'll try to make in my not-so-usual short story/short story instead of short story/endless. Yesterday was a very deep day. The day started off with a dream that lasted from somewhere around 2 a.m. until I finally got up at 8:45 a.m. needing to open the shop at 10. I won't indulge/bore (except to say it had to do with seemingly unfinished business with an ex boyfriend from very long ago) you with the details but it was truly that long as I kept waking on and off checking the clock and every time I woke then went back to sleep the same dream continued (same thing happened again this morning but we'll save that for the institute for now). Next, as I sped to work at an irresponsible speed, I got a call from Aziz (perhaps more on him later; for now he's my good friend who was a super-star at U of MD and played pro football and I got to know him a few years ago and he'd kill me for mentioning his past accolades but I can't help it, I'm Texan) who is very spiritual and deep and cool and intelligent and great company and wonderful to converse with. We usually say hi, how are ya' then we are knee deep in religion, politics, race...some sort of deep life question subject and, usually, in no less than an hour a pop. No different yesterday-right to it except I had to ring off to help the first customer of the day who turned out to be the twit of the year and was so not worth leaving the middle of a great convo to talk to. Even in spite of my lateness, sped, and intensity of our exchange, I told him I could feel my heart rate and demeaner slow down and become calm just hearing his voice; he's enlightened. Later in the day, Jody was in and another (MUCH BETTER QUALITY) customer was in and we three got into some pretty heavy discussion regarding, let's simplify it by saying, life and death. Then things turned to the state of "generational curse", as in every generation gets worse. Jody shared how overwhelmed she felt that things were spinning out of control as far as mostly our principals and priorities were concerned. Herein lies my point-Yahooooooooooooo!, I can just hear y'all saying. I said the old adage, "think globally, act locally", then added, "join a book club" (to which she'd already been invited). As my wise friend, Julia, pointed out to me so clearly somewhere around the post "30 Years for a Bounced Check", you can't save the world by trying to save the world. You can only start with yourself then move outward to your family, neighborhood, friends, etc. And, I have to say, I was preaching to the choir because Jody and her sister, Marcy, who lead our shop group, are very good about community outreach and allowing the members of our shop to participate whenever possible in so many different areas of need. My point was to get back to simple, basic things and simple, basic communion with friends be it a book club or quilting club or dinner club or whatEVER. And, since I haven't mentioned it in a couple of posts, please consider checking out MaryJanesFarm website, blog, and/or magazines which addresses exactly these issues if these are also on your mind frequently. And just like Forest Gump, that's all I have to say about that except, thank you, Charlotte.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

It's all good...

Sorry, but I gotta put this here. In a lot of ways it represents how I feel about how we celebrate Christmas. If I had my way, a big house would be rented somewhere neutral where all family members (which includes friends who are also family, of course)-detached, divorced, deranged-nice, nutty, neutral-good looking, good cooking, good company-bad looking, bad cooking, bad company-okay you get the picture...anywayyyyyyyyy...all family plus, together. Pick names or each person receives ONE gift; church, no church;-Allah, LaLa, whomever; dvds, music, dinners together, food out all the time; do what ever when ever just in the reach of others most of the time. Very much akin to The Famous Hicks' Three Days of Thanksgiving Annual Event in Pebble Beach for, how many?, 10?, 15? years. Which means don't forget the volleyball net. But since technically nor informally have I been made God, boss, or president, here's how our "Christmas" went...and God bless the day I get my way...until then Vote for Pedro.Fortunately we'd been pretty good this year so instead of...umm...not good stuff, we got great stuff.
Here's Matt (you aren't missing the Homer Simpson slippers, are you?) seconds away from starting the dig in.
And seconds after his first dig in, opening his stocking from Santa.
My sister gave me the COOLEST book...above is the cover...and below is one of the pages. I loved it because I actually have the same JFK salt and pepper set that is used in the assemblage below which, of course, puts me in the same rock-star-artist that the author is-right? But the book itself rocks all on its own; it's the greatest. Her other gift for me was one of Mary Engelbreit's books knowing I'd just met her and I didn't have that book. Everything I got was so special...continue to enjoy...
...here's all the great booty I got today. Matt and I had been fighting over the one pair of sleep blinders that we had so he picked these out for me himself; he said as soon as he saw the "Lamb Chop" look of these he knew they were the right ones! He so knows me! AND Paul got me a new camera BEFORE I mentioned yesterday how it seemed like it was about time for me to get a new one as mine seemed to be getting less crisp and not working as well (these photos were taken with Paul's camera). So between Will tuning up my laptop and getting a new camera I'm so going to be in your blog face with new crisp photos and lightning speed typing and downloading. Uh huh, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In the meantime...

...I've been accepted into LolliShops!!!! And in between cooking giant meals, helping load cars onto trailers, and all manner of moving support, I've been making new art for my soon-to-be LolliShops shop. Not to worry, I'll let you know as soon as I'm on. Until then here are some sneak peeks:
Stay tuned, it will probably be the weekend before I have the time to start uploading fab items for Lolli goodies. Until then, have a beautiful, merry Christmas!!!!

It's better to love and loose?

I've been pondering this age old question lately. Why do we have children, adopt pets, fall in love, and make neighbors who are in the military and only going to be around a few years into family? Is it better to love and loose than to never love knowing some day you'll pay with all that same heart? Or should we just become hermits, close off our hearts, and never let anyone in so we don't have to worry constantly about our children, get attached to pets when chances are we'll never outlive them, and let people in that we know will leave us? I guess the adage is true, my heart is hurting right now but our lives are unimaginably better, more enriched, and truly blessed because of these relationships.
But my heart lost a few limbs this week. Above is a photo of us out at dinner with some of our adopted family who moved this weekend. They were supposed to leave on Friday to transfer to their home state of Georgia but ended up with the move from hell and so we got the advantage of having them not only here longer but because the movers had taken everything we got to house them. Above, from the left, are Cedric (Daddy to me), me (Momma to Cedric, as in, "Hey Mamma, what's the plan for the boys today?", etc.), Paul, Andre' (my 21 year old "adopted son"), Sean (Cedric's nephew), Tiffany (Andre's "friend"), Alec ("my" youngest and for whom I am legal guardian when Cedric is out of town), and Matt (bff and like brother to Alec). Not here are C.J. and Miles who have lived here off and on in the three years that the family has been our next door neighbors. Not only did we become like family with them but they brought our whole cul-de-sac close like it had never been before. We all went through a lot during the time while Cedric was in Iraq and when he returned. We all pulled together to help "Uncle Allen" with the boys during that time.
Here are Daddy and I. He always thinks Paul is going to shoot him when I do things like this (Paul took this photo), but Paul wouldn't shoot anyone and he understands the close relationship that Cedric and I have. Paul has his own close friendship with Cedric and we've both lost our best friend-yeah-that's what it is, and it hurts. He's also been our mentor, our marriage counselor, our individual counselor, and wonderful friend. I've never known anyone who knew so much about human nature more than Cedric. We've kidded that when Cedric retires from the Army (if they ever f***ing let him) he should become a psychiatrist but he'd never make money at it because he would solve everyones' issues in one session by kicking their asses and telling them to get their shit straight. He gets to the bottom of any problem very quickly and easily and does so in a completely common sense, albeit brutally honest, manner.
Me, Paul, and Andre' (the oldest of the adopted boys-21). What a great guy, so good, sweet, honest, open, and loving; a son of my heart and soul.
Daddy, Matt, and Alec.
BFFs like brothers, Matt's having such a hard time too.
So while the guys were stuck here a few extra days, they all spent a lot of time in front of some kind of screen while I walked around dazed with a spatula in hand ready for the next meal. We had several computers and t.v.s (mostly some sport) going at the same time.
And blackberries, and nano-whatsits.
And computers and nano whatsits at the same time.
Fortunately they left behind a few valuable items that are at our house and that we have keys to and have hidden so we know they'll have to be back pretty soon to get leftover after leftover. Actually Cedric has three more cars to come get, so we'll be seeing them a few times and we already have plans to meet at the new indoor water park in Williamsburg in January which will be half way for all of us. Paul was questioning if January was too soon because we might just be starting to heal some but I told him, "Going from everyday to a month from now? I dont' think that's too soon.". Love really is an interesting thing; you just never know where it's going to pop up and how exactly it's going to effect you, but in the end, it is a wonderful blessing even when it pinches a little.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Swap, swap, where is the swap?

As I mentioned last, I said I would show some photos of swap items that were not on the swap Christmas tree I decorated yesterday. These two are from the heart, pun intended. Some I am wearing as jewelry as in Hope Ellington's spoon. Above is the sachet that BFF from elementary school I got from Julia. I have it on my mirror in my master bath where I can enjoy and see it every day plus I love the look of the little added touch.
I have to give Julia this nod, I think I have show this before but I must include it here again, this is a treat that Julia made for me when we were both living in Houston when our children were young. It's been at least 20 years. A little grapevine wreath with a red painted heart and bow of red raffia. She was way ahead of her time. It has lived and moved all over the country so many times I can't count. It's a friendship heirloom just as all the swap items from the last few years will become over time; not since 2nd grade but still...
I've got Karen Lea's silver spoon swap piece in my bedroom next to some faux flowers I love and where I can see and enjoy every day. Before Silver Bella, Julia kept telling me, "You will not believe what Karen did for that swap!", she was soooo right! Who would think of taking a spoon, adding a nest, bird, and ribbon, and make it into a pincushion?!
Close up of Karen's talent. These are the details at home that make home a place where I love being. When I can't see enough beauty in the outside world all I have to do is come home, look around and can't help but smile not only from the beauty of the piece but as a reminder of the beauty of the women who made them. That's why I don't see these as material possessions but a piece of a friend's art from their heart. May all of you be so blessed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Taaaaaaaaaaaaa Daaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!

Oh boy, today was THE day. I finally got to put up not only the Christmas tree but also the other decorations I'd been planning for so long. This is "my" year to decorate for Christmas. The boys and I alternate years to decorate. I've known what I was going to do ever since the summer when I was part of the Jewels of the Sea swap. I decided to do a swap tree. For those of you who don't know the swap deal, it's where someone comes up with an idea for artists, invites them to participate, then everyone makes a piece with the idea theme. Some swaps are one on one, some are make one for every participant. Well, if you recall, I signed up for 8 swaps at Silver Bella! Way too many, not just work wise (that too though) but also I didn't feel that the quality of what I made matched what I received because I was too overwhelmed. In any case I had A LOT of fabulous swap items from SB plus from Jewels of the Sea plus even from SB last year. So I got a pre-lighted white tree, put on the heirloom and vintage ornaments that were white and off white and then went to town with all the gorgeous art. I'm QUITE happy!
I purchased this doll house from one of our shops at The Pink Cabbage. It was already white but with a brown roof so I sprayed it all off white today and glue-gunned the heck out of it with a bunch o' fun stuff. The guys were gracious about it but I could tell their manhood was shrivelling as they took it all in...tough nuts...it's MY year. Next to it is the little glitter cottage I received from Alana George sitting on the pedestal that Lonnie Jenck made for the cupcake she gave me (the cupcake is still out in the kitchen just not on its pedestal at the moment).
I hope that you can click on the photos to get close-ups. If you don't see a swap item you gave me chances are I'm using it somewhere else and I'm going to get to that in my next post, whenever that is. I'm using or displaying every item I received this and last year-so much goodness.
At another angle. It has taken a loooooooong time but the boys didn't even ask about the cupcake charms; they really have come a long way.
I did do some traditional decorating on top of our entertainment center; our collection of snowmen and Santas in greenery, the balance helped.
The beautiful nativity set I showed before plus the addition of a plate/candlestick I glued together holding some of the heirloom ornaments.
Coming in the front door here's the holiday house I made in Charlotte Lyons' class...
...two big ole balls on the chandelier from Bayberry Cove...
...and the vintage heirloom plastic reindeer and elves on the banister.
Outside Santa has taken the place of the flower pot in the swing and...
...the gnome and reindeer share the planter with rosemary trees. I'm not one to decorate all the rooms in the house, just the family room, entry, and porch, so there you have it. I hope I didn't procrastinate so long that y'all lost all interest and also hope if you've not yet been inspired perhaps this will get you going. If not, you must not have attended Silver Bella and we'll just have to see you there next year. Let your hearts guide you through the reason for the season with blessings and gratitude.

The journey to within...

Okay, so I'm back and here's the journey that brought me back. I've been working on the shop getting ready for The Pink Cabbage open house last week, which was a huge success, and to stock up.I'm offering up one of the several vintage dresses I got while I was in Omaha. This one reminded me of Snow White. It's satin with two layers of tulle on top of the skirt. In between the two layers is a velvet corsage sewed in. With the little jacket it's fab.
Found and filled this neat old cabinet with goodies.
Here's one of my little holiday houses that I made after learning how to make them in Charlotte Lyons' class in Omaha. This one doesn't have much restraint!
I'm doing a little consigning for a customer and when she brought me this macrame plant holder (my sister must have made 20 or so during the 70's), I wasn't too sure about it or what to do with it. Then voila! the monkeys decided they wanted to be up where they are comfy and get more attention. I think it's cute.
This is one of my "put togethers" from items I got in Omaha and fun I already had in my workroom.
A few Christmassy littles clustered in waiting.
Another put together from Omaha goodies. Miss Birdie, I call her.
Do you have a bike wheel wreath? Well don't admit that out loud, how embarrassing for you.
Can't take the credit for this idea but just smart enough to copy the idea of sewing fabric on the back of cabinet photos and filling them with lavender. Decorative, smell good to hang anywhere.
And HERE'S why I could do these things. All last week I finally got to unpack all my things from Silver Bella in Omaha. At the same time I took the opportunity to organize my work room. I brought home a large table from the shop so I had enough table top room to get off the floor.
I'm just going to show the top half of my work room because the floor still looks like the floor since I've just made some things and haven't had time to clean up that part yet.
I now have some room for more organizational pieces-yippie!
Plus all my many, many favorite little things that make me smile, remind me of the fab friends who have made things for me, and inspire the heck out of me.
A lot of this happened because I installed shelving all around the top of the room where I could put a lot of my very special things allowing me to enjoy them but open all my bookcases and cabinets for supplies which is what was all over the floor before.
See all these fun, fab things? Me too!
All have some great meaning for me. Beth, can you see I still haven't opened the eggs from last year? I told you I love them just as they are with the wrapping!
And then the areas where supplies get to play with art. Supplies as art, art as supplies. Next you get to see the big project I've been wanting to get to for a couple weeks and finally got to do today!