Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Miracles

Christmas has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love getting Christmas cards and seeing pictures of friends, their pets and children. I love reading the letters, making cookies, wrapping presents and finding the perfect gift. Six years ago tomorrow I received my Christmas miracle.

Six years ago the joy of Christmas changed for me and each year since I meet December with joy and tears. Not tears of sorrow, but tears of pure emotion. I'll be sitting in my car and hear a song about Christmas wishes, joy or sadness and just tear up.

Six years ago I was six months pregnant and woke up with my water breaking. Jeff grabbed Lindsey (5 years at the time) and we rushed to the hospital. I knew something was very wrong. I was hooked up to an IV, and the doctor gave us a choice of two hospitals because if I were to deliver now or in the near future I had to be at a hospital with a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I was put into an ambulance by myself and rushed to the other hospital. Luckily there was no traffic, but the experience to this day still seems unreal.

I was not sick and the baby was fine once they stopped the contractions. There was no explanation for the early rupture and I was told I could be on bed rest for the next 3 months. I was committed to do whatever it took to get this baby here safely. The Neonatologist gave us grim details about premature births...like a baby born at 25 weeks had a 50% chance of survival and future issues were inevitable. Each week that I made it on bed rest increased the chances of survival. So after 6 days (December 19, 2001) things were looking good and they said I could get up to use the restroom and take a shower. Shortly after my shower I went into labor and the scene was like ER...All I remember was my cart being pushed by nurses and doctors running through the hallway and arriving in a white room with bright lights and about 12 masked people in white surgical gear. It was very strange and I felt like I wasn’t even really there...more like a bad dream. I was terrified and I didn’t start to cry until I saw one tear roll down my husband’s cheek. Jeff is not a “crier” so I knew this was bad. She was delivered in minutes and taken by the doctors to get her situated. I kept asking Jeff, “did I really just have our baby?” I remember they were getting ready to take her out of the room and all I could do was ask to see her...”Can I please see my baby?”

She looked larger than I expected but was very tiny. I don’t think you are ever really sure what a 1.5 pound baby would look like, but other than her size she looked amazing. She was in an incubator and on a ventilator to help her breath as her only major issue was the development of her lungs. They tried to prepare of for the next 3 months. It would be an emotional roller coaster. There would be good and bad days. There were scary terms for typical preemies like cranial hemorrhaging, deafness, blindness, infections, NEC (a condition that happens and is fatal). I had to pump like I had a baby and was put on a schedule to pump every 4 hours. I would have to set the alarm and wake in the middle of the night to pump. This became my job. I would wake in the morning and get Lindsey ready and then head to the hospital to sit by her incubators and read books on preemies. I would head home before rush hour so we could have dinner as a family and then put Lindsey to bed and then Jeff would go to the hospital for a couple hours in the evening. We tried to keep Lindsey’s life normal and for the most part she didn’t realize anything was wrong. This was our life for months and we never really knew if she would come home.

On Christmas Eve we got the best gift of all that year...we got to hold her. I went to church that night and remembered seeing all those moms with babies and just realizing what a gift each child is...I do remember sobbing in bed after church. It was the worst feeling have a precious little one in a hospital. I remember praying harder than I have ever prayed. I remember the kindness of strangers who gave encouraging words at the hospital, I remember the cleaning lady that sat with me and said a prayer for my little girl. I remember the college aged mother across the way that had a preemie that was out of the incubator and going home that gave me a wonderful card of encouragement when she left. I remember the other babies that weren’t so lucky. I remember the nurses who cared for her, the babies that had no parents sitting at their side. And each time around this year all those memories are fresh like yesterday.

On the day we finally got to bring her home in March I cried as we were carrying her to our car to bring her home...tears of happiness, tears of fear, tears of joy...just tears but mostly tears of relief. The next few years were still uncertain when we were leaving the hospital, but tomorrow My Sweet Petunia will be 6 years old. We were the lucky ones! Lauren survived without any typical preemie problems a MIRACLE.

Not only did I get a wonderful baby girl, but I gained perspective. I was a Type A, detail oriented, perfectionist...but after that day in December I gained perspective on what I value in my life.

May this holiday season bring you peace, joy and perspective.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Here is a photo of the Joli Paquet kit I purchased and finished the other night. I did swap out the picture included in the kit for one of me when I was little in my faux fur coat and hat. I wasn't able to go to Silver Bella, but the gals that started this blog created kits that kept us in the spirit. I purchased another darling kit and am hoping I finish before the holidays so it doesn't end up in my closet of unfished projects. It was late and I forgot to put on my tree topper, but once the top was on there was nothing to be done.

Here are some photos of a little trade/exchange I have been working on for a sweet friend. I first started to make this necklace,

but then decided she was more of a blue girl and then made this little necklace with one of the vintage bird cages I have in my collection. It can be difficult to just decide on one when I am typically working on several pieces at once.

I also included a little pair of these earrings...and collaged this little wood box from Michaels to stash all the little goodies. See I have been working a little.

And last but not least here is a little fairy house I stumbled upon in our yard the other day. The wind has blown the little leaf roof off, but it was oh so sweet. You see my girls still believe in them. Oh I just love this age!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Where there is a will there is a way!

Last Wednesday I had the snow tires put on the car fearing the weatherman would be right about snow for the weekend, but I tell you "hell or high water" I was going to my journal class with THE Judy Wise. Little did I know that snow would not be the problem, but rain...It was wet wet wet. I decided to leave for home after class and sleep in my own bed instead of staying in a hotel. Boy was I glad I left because the following morning roads home were closed.

The class was marvelous. We smeared paint, carved stamps and just had fun. One of my favorite pages came after we each carved our stamps and then passed them around.

You can see a small video from class...there was a lot of laughter.

I got to spend some time with darling Katie, who I think is a goddess of mixed media. So sweet and humble...one of my favorite moments during the day was when we all were starting to carve our stamps and Katie said..."I don't know what to carve!". Well of course I have to pipe in..."oh let me see if I was Katie Kendrick I would do one of my fabulous faces!" and her carving was of course amazing.

Diane who hosts retreats in her home studio is obviously a kind soul. She puts you at ease the moment you meet her. I can't wait to go back for another retreat.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Can you see my happy dance?

I will spare you the picture. This weekend I get to take a journaling class with Judy Wise at Innerstandings in Portland. I am very excited to spend the day journaling and learning some techniques from Judy. My daughter has a basketball game on Saturday...so I will be driving up very early on Sunday morning to attend.

I have a few half started journals, but I never can seem to commit fully to the process. Perhaps this class will be the start of a new phase. I am not sure if it is the blank page or just that my thoughts always seem to be spinning around so fast in my mind that I can't really seem to get them down. Kind of like my blog...I have all these thoughts about what I would like to say, but I just don't always get them down in the few minutes I have.

So I am going to give it a go this weekend. I know it will be a fun class and a happy distraction from my daunting "to do" list.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Yes...I have been working on the blog design! Still more work to do, but I need to get back to cleaning my studio and finishing some new jewelry pieces.

I read a great quote issued from the Queen of Rainbow Fairyland, "Don't look for the magic, the magic will find you!" It seems of late that the magic has found me in my studio these last few days. I was so inspired by the studio cleaning that Nina completed that I found myself yearning for a bright and shiny studio too. So I have begun the process of cleaning.

I hope the magic will find you too!

Your fairy is called Bramble Iceglitter
She is a bone chilling bringer of justice for the vulnerable.
She lives in leafy dells and bluebell glades.
She is only seen in the light of a shooting star.
She wears bluebell-blue dresses. She has icy blue butterfly wings.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A little of this and a little of that....

This is my favorite coat, and I think it now officially 3 years ago that I fell in love with it...love at first site. What I really love about this coat is that I can put just about anything on and still look like I made an effort.

This little nest is from the sweet Allegra who wove those wires to create such a beautifully dimensional object. She also sent a new pair of cutters and I'll be giving them a test spin soon. They are guaranteed for life and can be sent back to the company for sharpening...so if you are a jewelry gal...these might be the ticket. I'll report back more on these later.

If you have been wondering where I have been lately I can only say that we have been very busy with Harvest parties, Halloween parties, soccer playoffs, a very wet trip to Portland for regional Junior Olympics etc....and from now until the holidays I will be running around like most of you shopping, making cookies, drinking coffee and generally trying not to let the holidays pass too quickly.

When all else fails I revert back to these words that were clearly posted at my daughter's preschool:

1. Take deep breaths
2. Count to 10 slowly
3. Say to yourself "calm down"

Ok...feeling a little better!

Wishing you and yours a very very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Here is the lovely view from my dorm room. I have stayed in this dorm at ArtFest, but never been over to this side during the daytime to get the view. The weather was all over the map...raining, windy, and sunny. We were so lucky with the timing of the weather. We stayed pretty dry going to and from classes. I had a wonderful time and made new friends and connected with old ones.

Here is Deb Lewis a wonderful soul and her spirit is radiant like her smile. And yes Shari we stayed up till midnight a few nights chatting in the lounge...wish you could have been there too. Maybe next year?

Here are Tammy and Linda sewing up a storm. Tammy's laugh just makes me smile...both gals where delightful.

One of my favorite stores in Port Townsend is Edge to Edge. A delightful store with vinatage trims, fabrics, and more...I found them about three years ago in their previous location and have made trips to Port Townsend to just get some fabric.

My classes were all wonderful...needle felting with Keely, Paper Quilts and SewFab Journal with Pam Garrsion. People were fun, classes were great, and it was just fabulous. ArtFiberFest is smaller than ArtFest and I just love the event!

Monday, October 22, 2007

I love mail, and today was great! A few items from Ebay and then....the new charm book by Larks with my first official article. I have another article in their pearl jewelry book coming out soon too. I will post about ArtFiberFest soon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ArtFiberFest here I come! I am going to try and remember to take photos this time, and will post when I return.

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." George Elliot

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Art & Soul

A&S was wonderful. My students were great and I was so proud of all that they accomplished. Seeing their projects and pride as they jingled their charm bracelets was a highlight and why I teach. To see the enthusiasm for what I love from my students gives me an energy that I can’t describe, but try to maintain once I return home. This little tray was part of the kit preparation...I am not sure how many jump rings I made, assembled and counted, but definitely helped keep the classes running. Glenny and Cindy work endlessly to make this a wonderful event for everyone.

Art retreats allow us to connect with other people that understand your excitement for a cool tool or technique. They may not like your style, but can appreciate your work. It is such a safe and encouraging environment. I was fortunate to room with Katie Kendrick...the most honest, open and kind person. I really enjoyed our late night chats. Here is one of the many lovely paintings she created.

I also got to spend some time with my dear friend Shari, and one of these days I hope we can visit when both of us are not so sleep deprived. I think we spent half the laughing at nothing. Seeing students from my class last year and making new friends is just part of all the fun that happens.

I was so busy running around that I didn’t take one photo....How did this happen? If you were in on of my classes and happened to take a photo, I would love to see it.

Vendor night was a thrill...seeing the art work of artists in person is always so wonderful. Pictures just can't convey the beauty like holding one of Nina's pieces in your hand. Oh...how I would love to buy every piece as each one is so lovely.

I’ll leave you with this lovely painting I purchased from the ever talented Misty.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Do you check on several blogs only to be disappointed that there is not a new post? I have been feeling great angst about not posting for a while. I was getting ready for Art & Soul and it took all my spare time and for that I am sorry! But if you don't already subscribe to Blogline Feeds you should!

Blogline feeds is a free service that allows you to create a custom list of blogs to watch. Once you add them to your list, all you have to do is go to your blogline feed, and it will list all your blogs and most importantly...list if it is has a new post. This tool saves you time. I do not get anything for referring you other than knowing it will save you time.

Wishing you peace and joy!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

So most of you are football widows...I am a runner's widow. Hubby was off for a 3 hour run this morning so my girls find the most interesting ways to entertain themselves. Here is my sweet Toby after a little Sunday morning dress up. He is a such a sweet boy just wagging his tail as he was dressed up as Tobyrella. As you can imagine there was a lot of giggling going on around here.

Then mama made an executive decision that we would all get pedicures this morning as the summer is winding down and we will be out of our sandals and into our boots soon. I always find it amusing to see the colors my girls choose. Lindsey opted for the lime green...I am trying to let my oldest be her own creative self...so you can imagine my fear when she picked out the brightest green nail polish, but they turned out cute and fit her personality. Lauren was torn between bright blue and pink, but pink was the final choice. Definitely a girls morning out.

I am happy to announce the winner is Candice of The Sparrow's Post blog. A truly wonderful person who was one of the hosts of the Artnest retreat I went on in June. If you ever have a chance to go on one of their retreats...you should.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I have a baby shower for my sweet friend Stacie of Bailey's Bliss. I love shopping for little baby things...they are so soft and sweet. She is having a sweet little girl and I went with vintage blue for the wrapping instead of the traditional pink, but I assure you there are sweet little pink things inside. I met Stacie at one of my early ArtFests...she was so sweet and open. I just love that about her.

This has been a week of transition for me. My sweet baby is in Kindergarten and my oldest daughter is starting middle school...this school starts at 5th grade, but is a huge change from her elementary school. New schedules for everyone is causing me to be a bit off balance, but I hope to get into the swing soon. Art & Soul is around the corner in October so I will be gearing up for that over the next few weeks.

For now I stand bravely on the shore trying to find the path I must go...still trying to figure it out.

I will do the drawing tomorrow and post the winner soon!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I finally finished one of the three jewelry holders I have been planning on making. I will hang them in my closet to organize some of my jewelry as well as use for displays at my vendor table at Art & Soul. I plan on making little hooks to hang necklaces and bracelets too. I originally was going to use chicken wire, but the openings were too big for jewelry, so this really worked out better. I do plan on making some more frames with the chicken wire to organize some of my ephemera. One project down...557 more unfinished projects to go. I am trying to organize, finish projects, and clean out some of my stuff.

Now the Big News...A Give Away!
Do you have a Trader Joes near you? You need to see their grocery bags. I love the graphics and color. Clever...offer cute bags, give customers a small discount when they use them for their purchases, and save a tree. So I bought two...one for me and one for the lucky winner of my drawing. I have been going through a lot of the stuff I have been collecting, and I have "too much" stuff. So I am pulling some of my goodies and sending to the winner. Leave a comment and email address and I'll draw a winner in one week. You see two vintage anagrams from my stash...the winner can choose their own letters. So don't forget to leave a post.

Wishing you peace and joy this holiday weekend!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I have just returned from Glacier National Park. We had a wonderful family vacation to end our summer break before the girls return to school. How I wish we could have spent more time exploring Montana. Perhaps next summer we will head to Yellowstone. I will share with you a few of the gorgeous views...this is just the tip of the iceberg on photos because around every corner was a beautful view.

We started our family adventure in Idaho and the mission pictured here is the oldest building in Idaho built in 1850...the inside was amazing. Set in the mountains among trees...so peaceful.

We met these mountain goats on one of our hikes at Glacier. They would just wonder over the trail not bothered by people invading their territory.

Who didn't want a horse as a child? Both of my girls and I love horses and perhaps one day they will own a ranch (along with many other animals) and I can come visit and be a "cowgirl". Here is my sweet petunia on her big trail ride. This is her first time on a real horse...not a pony and it was a thrill for her. I was the proud mom watching her march right up to that big horse. This was truly a highlight for her.

I hope you all are enjoying these last few weeks of summer.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The following is a paragraph from "Foolsgold" Making Something From Nothing" that really struck a chord with me....

"When I was finishing a degree in art and writing, my friend Jim Karman suggested I be like the water buffalo. To ford a river without getting stuck, the water buffalo needs only to keep the slightest motion forward. If it stops entirely it gets stuck in the bottom mud."

So for now I will be like the water buffalo and try and keep moving forward. Here is a picture of a piece I finished last week. I use these colors a lot in my work, and I never tire of them. They remind me of the blue blue tropical water.

I created some new pieces with vintage charms I have been collecting for a while now and hope to post some more pictures soon.

Last week we had family photos in Seattle at the locks...so here are the two best things I ever made....

Remeber the lips
where the wind-breath originated,
and let your note be clear.
Don't try to end it.
Be your note...
Sing loud! Rumi

(sneaking in another quote from the book! I just love this one too!)

So today I am feeling in between...not good or bad...not happy or sad. What to do is the question I keep asking myself. Too many questions that it makes my mind dizzy. So I continue to search for my purpose. I have been reading "Foolsgold, Making Something From Nothing and Freeing Your Creative Process" and perhaps it is just making me question my choices. I am not in a rythm...How do you get it back is yet another question...what helps you?

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." - Lao Tzu

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Here are some of the beads I am playing with these days. Those cute little hands are not my own, but one of the two elves I have that help me in the studio. Both my little elves love to touch the beads too. It is really fun to have two girls that love them as much as I do. My youngest got to go to the last bead show and was a wonderful little helper. I think every vendor was smitten by her lovely manners. They each gave her a little trinket...strand of beads or chain. Needless to say she can't wait to go again.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We go from rain to glorious sunshine here in the Northwest. Above is a picture just a few days ago as I was off to the beach to pick up my daughter from her sailing lesson. Today we have beautiful sunshine. I am anxiously awaiting the listing of ArtFest classes that will be posted tomorrow. I hope to hear from some of you if you plan on attending. Also drop me a line if you will be at Art & Soul in Portland or ArtFiberFest in Port Townsend in October. I would love to meet or see you again.

If you haven't read the Somerset Blogging issue...go out and get it. A ton of eye candy and thoughtful writing on why these artists blog. I had posted on a blog of one of the writers about her comments pertaining to being photographed, and she emailed me back almost immediatley...how cool is that. Blogging makes our world so small and I love how it connects us all. If you read a blog regularly be sure and post a note to say "Hi!". I think we all wonder is anyone reading this? I believe blogging has replaced the sewing bees that used to happen years ago. A way to connect even if virtually with other artsy souls.

I met with a back specialist after my MRI and I will be on medication and physical therapy for a while and hope to get back to normal and if not...then other option is an epidural. Last option is disk replacement, but I am seriously praying that will not be necessary.

Here is hoping you are enjoying the weather in your area!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hello again my dear friends and visitors! I have been away, but have not forgotten you. I know it has been a while, but all my trips are done until August. So I have some catching up to do.

Perhaps I have been delaying my post on this since I have not found the right words to articulate how wonderful it was. Candice and Julie hosted a wonderful and personal event. They looked after every detail and it was wondeful. Four days in a cabin with truly wonderful ladies. Dinner on the deck every evening with linens and dishes it was a special. Some quick memories...Shari causing me to laugh so hard my side hurt, meeting Rebecca at the airport her warm and caring spirit shining through her wonderful smile, sitting next to Misty in Kristin's class and her graciously tolerating my silly sense of humor. Passing by the Osmond Family Studio and remembering fond childhood memories...way too much information here. Diana who was the most prepared person I have ever met. I don't know how she packed it all.Jen a fellow beader who is just starting out on her journey. Sitting by the fireside at night with such wonderful discussions. I can't even begin to describe the wonderful time I had. Pictured here is the cover to my fabric journal made in Kristin Steiner's class.

Seattle Classes with Dallas Lovett
I keep trying to love seed beads...but I am just a metal and wire girl. Dallas combines metal with seed beads and was teaching in Seattle...so I had to take his classes. Here are a couple of my projects...I may have convinced him that the patina on wire gives it a wonderful vintage feel. The third bracelet is almost done, but will have to wait for another time to share. I did change the designs a bit from class...I can be a rebel.

Classes with Teesha and Tracy Moore in LA

I met my friend Renee early and she took me on a whirlwind shopping tour of California and then on to classes with the adorable Tracy and Teesha Moore. I have always wanted to take a class with them and when this opportunity came up I had to go. I have to "thank" my understanding and wonderful husband who holds down the fort while I am away. Here is my metal journal from Tracy's class.

Puget Sound Bead Festival
Well this is local and a definite stop. Again took some seed bead classes with the darling Marcia DeCoster...I love how her pieces are components. I can't wait to finish this one...it will have a total of 5 little medalions...here are three and one I think I am going to redo.

Then on to weaving with extra fine gauge wire using a basket weaving technique to create these little pods...my oldest thinks the green one looks a little like a slug.

I am having an MRI on my back on Thursday and hope to find out what is causing my serious back pain. It all went terribly wrong when I started working again and now there are days I have a spasm and almost fall over...so wish me well. I hope to finish up a few more projects and will share them soon.