Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Bella McBride Day

I looked outside this morning at the beautiful snow that fell, just as the weather folks had forecasted, and thought, "It's a Bella McBride Day!" Only difference between her beautiful snowy photos and mine are that mine aren't as beautiful and I have "critters" (Seth and Rebecca) disturbing the once pristine landscape. heeheehee Also we only got maybe 3 inches of snow whereas Bella is buried under 4 feet of the white stuff.
It's still a Bella Day to me, in every sense of the word! Next Thursday it's supposed to be 75* F. here (almost summer-like!) so I may be posting a Kiwi Carole Day!
What's your day like?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Great Shrinking Elephant

After putting it ALL out there a couple weeks ago, I feel like I should do a follow up for those concerned about me. The time we took to get away Valentine's Day weekend (Feb. 14) was fabulous. My husband now says he wishes we had more weekends away from the kids like that. We have had some tense days and this past Saturday a major blow up that thankfully got hashed out Sunday morning. That has been in our favor-- that we are talking no matter how painful it is. And solving conflicts without counseling. It has been too easy in some ways, but I am not complaining. Our relationship now is better than it's probably EVER been.

My friend Holly put it this way. We had a huge elephant in the house and neither of us would talk about it, because to talk about it would be to admit that it existed. It is just easier to pretend it's not there. For my part, I probably didn't SEE the elephant, because I am dense that way. Anyway, the more we talk about the elephant now, the smaller it is getting, until I'm sure it will be small enough to sweep out the door in a dust pan. I know not everyone has it that easy. I am thankful for this wake up call. It's probably the best thing to happen to our marriage.

These days, even with 3 kids around we are managing to act like young honeymooners again. It's like our early days together only better. Now with 14 years of history together, we are loving each other more truly, madly deeply.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Thoughtful Parcel

You know when someone emails you that a package is coming, but not to get too excited because it is nothing fabulous, that is has to be something fabulous. I thought this box from Emily (a Christian Paper Artists friend) was pretty darn thoughtful, lavishly assembled and so -- quite fabulous. Am I wrong? :)

A lovely hand made card, cloth napkin and bag of Jordan almonds were just the first few items to pop out of the mountain of tissue wrapped packets.

I had the foresight to take a picture before I tore into the rest!

These tags are just beautiful, n'est pas? I love the butterfly tag that says, "If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies". And the moxy of the dress, "While I'm here, I might as well dance". Love it!

Lucious fibers. Little feather boas for art projects!

Hershey chocolate with almonds, yummy pepermint flavored lip balm that I have to keep my kids from eating (I have to keep myself from eating!) and Midnight Pomegranite hand cleansing gel. Oooh lala! I can't eat just ONE Jordan almond.
Rubber stamps. How did she know I never have enough? Oh, yeah, she said she saw my post of ALL the stamps I had stored. heehee

Jelly Belly jelly beans. The multi flavor pack is already gone (Rebecca has been helping me- honestly!) I am saving the buttered popcorn flavor for last. I hesitate to open the bag, because they will be gone in no time!
I was SO touched by Emily's spontaneous gesture. Who, but a sister (spiritually in this case), knows what is needed when your heart has been hurt?
I emailed Emily a raving thank you, but also my disappointment that she did not include an "un do" wand to reverse the effects of the candy on my body. hahaha If you ever meet me in person and notice my lumpy mid section.... it is made up of Jordan almonds and Hershey's chocolate. :) And if I am licking my lips too much, it is because I am eating off my lip balm! heeheehee
Thank you again Emily. You are one of God's treasures.

Friday, February 20, 2009

YooHoo, LINDA!

Now that I have your attention, Linda (and everyone else's I suppose! haha!), I just had to share the fun things I made this morning with your vintage scrapbook images you sent me oh so long ago. The little Kate Greenway looking girl is now set off prettily with a deep pink border, while Little Red Riding Hood has ditched the wolf and now flies on red butterfly wings! Both are mounted on library book cards. And as an added note, the little paper scraps I mounted the girls to are from paper swatch books Anna sent me. She got a wonderful windfall of swatch books and shared the wealth (also a long time ago)! Thank you friends!

BTW, anyone wanting some cards (you know, what used to come in the pockets of library books), I would be happy to send you some. Send me a little bit of your own stash in exchange or an ATC (I am not asking for a humungous envelope, just a gesture). All of my cards are from the Corder Library, so you get a souvenier of the town I live in. :) Just email me and we can exchange addresses. I will even mail internationally! The cards pictured are mint green, but they also come in white (one of each color went into a book). Below is another bit of Linda scrap. I carefully peeled the horse and rider from the yellowed, brittle scrapbook paper and mounted them on foam dots so they stand away from the "betting board" (really a yellowed receipt from a shipping company).. I added the ribbons because they made me think of racing silks. I made up the silly rhyme and typed it out on my favorite, long suffering, vintage typewriter. I am sending the card to a horsey friend of mine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I created this canvas last night (YES, Margaret, a canvas!!!!) for a friend who just walked away from a stifling, 2 year, co-dependant relationship. I think the whole "fly" theme is trite, cliche'd and over used, but nonetheless very appropriate for this friend, who has recently discovered a liking for altered art, so even the cliches are new to her.

The canvas was a forgotten treasure I found in a suitcase my husband pulled out of our bedroom while decluttering. A timely discovery for sure! I glued old , yellowed newspaper all over the 8"x 10" canvas (bought at a garage sale a million years ago for 25 cents) and the wings came down from my inspiration board to be finally utilized for the perfect project. Good thing the wings are printed on a cardboard instead of just paper, because they stand out from the sides of the canvas, unsupported. When we spread our wings, don't we break free of boundaries? The word "fly" is made from stencil letters I distressed with first a rust then a brown ink pad (direct to paper) and I used the same on the edges of the canvas. I attached the stencil letters with foam dots so they added dimension to the piece. The beaded fringe is attached with hot glue. On the reverse I scrawled "Stella's" story with a Sharpie marker and the altered postcard I wrote a note on conceals my friend's identity (the canvas is inscribed).
When my friend saw the piece, she cried.
I love when that happens.
I wish I had enough materials to make one of these for myself. I could use a reminder to soar to great heights. I think we all could. And so "fly" will remain a beloved sentiment, no matter how over used!
I am hooked on this canvas thing. It is such a soft, springy surface. So yielding. I am going to look for frames to stretch fabric on and prime myself. I bought guesso this past weekend (DH obligingly stopped at Michaels on our way home from our romantic getaway) so I am armed and dangerous! Watch for more canvases in the future! Maybe I will even do a tutorial on preparing them yourself.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hugs in the Mail

I think I managed to thank each of you personally who left comments, but I want to say again, thank you SO much. It means the world to me to have such a beautiful support group. My husband and I had a great weekend away. Do you know how wonderful it is to have the luxury of doing nothing if you so choose? Being that I am home with the kids 95% of the time, not to be a mom for a couple days was a vacation indeed! We recaptured the magic of some of our first dates. We held hands at every opportunity, Sylmon opened doors for me, and we just enjoyed being together free of distractions. I am not delusional enough to think our problems are all solved, but I am more hopeful for our marriage. I would appreciate your continued prayers and encouragement.
I have to share the banners I got in the Christian Paper Artists Valentine banner swap. They arrived last Thursday and were like 6 hugs in the mail. I strung them up and hung them on my headboard. Makes me think of the scripture from Song of Solomon, "His banner over me is love".

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Door of Love

I thought my marriage was over this past weekend. I do not say that lightly. Saturday night my husband calmly told me that he did not want to be married to me any more. He had realized that he had been smothering me for our whole marriage and wanted to release me. He said we have been living (emotionally) detached for the last couple years and he was tired of the pretense of marriage. He said there was nothing to salvage. He was done. Just like that.

I will spare you the description of the weeping we both did.

Sunday morning I was tired and wounded and wanted time away from the house. For the first time in 10 years my husband stayed home with the kids, without arguement, and let me have the day to do whatever I needed to do. He just told me not to do anything rash like run the car into a tree. As if. I have 3 beautiful kids. I wouldn't abandon them that quickly. No matter how dejected I felt.

I drove over an hour to go to our old church where I knew I would be among friends and comfort. After the moving (for me) service, I sought out my friend Holly and before we both knew it, was weeping all over her and spilling out my story. She said all of the right things (not glossing over the truth or giving me meaningless, pat advice), said she would be praying for me and for us as a couple, and said for me NOT to lose hope. I headed home feeling better. A bit of release that I was not dealing with my crisis alone.

On the way home, I stopped at the Brass Armadillo, a HUGE antiques mall I had been to just once, and back then with 2 children who would not let me browse for longer than half an hour (it's a minimum two hour mall!) It felt good to be on my own and looking at my leisure, but I began to miss my husband and my kids. I found a beautiful, chippy, weathered newel post that for some reason symbolized my marriage to me. Beat up, peeling exterior, but solid at the core. I resolved to not give up without a fight and bought the chippy piece to tie a tag to, "I will not give up!"

Seems my husband had his own eventful day, because our son Seth greeted me at the back gate with a shy smile and a promise of a surprise for me. When I had left that morning, the kids had taken it upon themselves to make salt clay. Now at the end of the day, I was greeted in the kitchen with 3 angels concealing surprises behind their backs. From Seth, a lumpy plate with a yellow circle on it (a pond with the sun shining on it- beautiful). I got a lump in my throat. From Rebecca, two lumps of clay smooshed together (a cake). I smiled tearfully. From Victoria, a red bird sitting on a nest. The bird lifted off to reveal 3 eggs. She wrote on the nest, "love", "kindess","hope" and the eggs symbolized those three words (she explained). I was losing it. But wait, there was more!

The Door of Love. I was led into the dining room to see our bedroom door (we live in an old house with a weird floor plan). Our bedroom door is a single, mutli-paned french door to let light in to our dark, northern exposure dining room (the bright idea of a previous owner). We had a dark sheer curtain up on the door for a little privacy which Sylmon thought was never enough. While I was gone all day, Sylmon had worked all afternoon, using up 3 glue sticks, collaging the kids art and their photos onto each glass pane. With the door closed, we now have an art gallery in the dining room and complete privacy in our bedroom. I absolutely broke down crying at that point. My husband has never done anything so perfectly beautiful for me, ever. Or it's been so long, I can't remember. But even that wasn't all. He showed me into the room so I could see that he had rearranged the furniture and cleaned out the clutter (now all on the dining room table for me to sort through, but oh well. :) He closed the door, scooting Rebecca out who wanted to stay with "Mom", and said, "we need a fresh start (hence, the rearranged room) and there need to be changes" and I boohooed my resolve to not give up and yes, I agree there needed to be changes. "You can't get rid of me unless one of us dies", I said.

What we did after that is none of your business. Let me just say that the bedroom door stayed closed for a little while.

I am getting time off from my post office job this Saturday so Sylmon and I can get away for the weekend. My sister-in-law is graciously watching the kids. We haven't had an over night stay away from the kids in over 10 years. We are long over due!

Happy Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

B*I*N*G*O*! New Storage!

Did you know that the words "BINGO" and "VOGUE" each have 5 letters? Of course you did! But now I have reminded you. The card was made from a note Cindy Ericsson sent me (the ladies stuck down on the BINGO card) and I just further altered it, adding "VOGUE", the feather, crocheted rosette and felt flowers (cut from a retired piece of Rebecca's clothing). The crocheted rosette was one of many I got in a baggy at the thrift store for 10 or 25 cents. I love those kids of finds!

And now to share some of my new storage and some of my obsessive collecting (the latter will be an ongoing series). The chest of drawers was a happy find in my mother-in-law's storage. It was a bit moldy from being poorly stored, but I cleaned it with bleach inside and out and have decided its functionality far outways any musty smell it may still have. The chest fits exactly under my studio windows so doesn't block the view or sunlight.

The drawers now house 85% of my rubber stamp collection. The other 15% are scattered in plastic drawers and one cardboard box I have yet to empty.

Do you love my clever use of shoebox lids as trays? haha The reason I don't use half of my stamps is because I can't see half of them. The "trays" help a little. These don't include my vintage alphabet stamps.

Believe it or not, I hardly paid anything for most of these stamps. I bought them on ebay in large or HUGE lots, sold off what I didn't want (individually or much smaller lots) and made back my money. I don't look on ebay anymore, because I think I have enough stamps. For now. And if I look, I buy. So I don't look. Obsessions have to be dealt with cold turkey. :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Computer Bug

No, not a virus. A bug. A lady bug. My studio is crawling with them. Rebecca befriends them and plays with them to death, but their population is never diminished. This is the middle of winter. What do they eat? Dust bunnies? No wonder they are thriving!

Yeeeesh! At this magnification, my keyboard looks like it needs serious deep cleaning! Where IS that cleaning faerie?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Beautiful Blogs

This Beautiful Blog Award was given to me by Faye. Thank you Faye! In turn, I want to award 7 beautiful blogs that keep me inspired to create and challenged to post more often. Envelope please....

First you MUST visit Margaret of Alice and Camilla. A British expatriot living in Switzerland with her Swiss husband and 2 adorable children. Her life is beautiful to me, even though it may be status quo to her. Her art is fab!

Next is Lorrie of Fabric, Paper Thread. She sews beautifully, creates lovely things with paper and is a tea drinker so is a woman after my own heart. She lives in Vancouver Island, BC and her blog is an oasis of warmth in the Great White North.

You have to visit Bella McBride, another Canadian who knows how to stay warm in style. She is an absolute master with a crochet hook! She is currently posting lovely, quiet snowy views from her windows, along with her latest snuggly creations, so you will want to buy one of her crochet patterns so you can stay warm in style too!

A recent discovery for me is Christine from Extra Sprinkles. I am the first to tell you that I do not decorate shabby chic, but it's girls like her that remind me to take a break from my sepia brown pool and to enjoy a little white painted furniture and *glitter*. Check out her chandelier and tell her she needs pink shades for it!

Go Down Under, past Australia to New Zealand and you will find Carole of Madness and Mess. She quilts like nobody's business and her home is a little piece of paradise. I currently hate her because she as at the beach without me(waaaaaaa!), but I forgive her. I will be able to live vicariously through her photos when she returns.

Next visit Celita of Days Ease in Italy who makes home schooling her brood of children look positively easy (I could not do it with just my 3) and somehow still has time to create the most wonderful paper cut "drawings". She amazes me on many levels. Her life exudes grace and my heart feels lighter from just visiting her blog. Must be the Italian sunshine. :)

Finally I want to award Viv of Hen's Teeth, because her blog was one of those that "had me at hello". She lives "smack bang in the middle of England" and her blog is where she indulges her love of "all things handmade, vintage and the beautiful." Can you say buttons, paper ephemera and embroidery? *sigh*

Now gentle reader, when you visit each girl's blog, tell her I said hello, so she knows the ripple effect of her postings. I can travel the whole world daily in Bloglandia and now you can too. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Winter Bloom

I had to share my miracle amaryllis, illuminated by the sun. Radiant! It's a miracle to me that it bloomed this year, because I bought the bulb last season, deep discounted at 99 cents. I started it in January last year and it did nothing but grow leaves. Following the directions I kept from its box, I cut off the greenery, put the bulb out in my garden, pot and all, when the weather got warmer and forgot about it until the first frost. I added some horse manure to the pot at one point, but otherwise neglected it. Around October, I brought the pot in to my back porch and neglected it some more. I needed to repot the bulb, but kept putting it off. Finally around December, I just stuck the pot into a bowl to catch the run off water and started watering it. I was too lazy to repot the bulb. The bulb is root bound, but has managed to not only sprout leaves, but bolstered by horse manure (and a little Miracle Grow in the first two waterings) has also burst forth into these two gorgeous blooms.

I plan to neglect it again this summer.