Thursday, April 28, 2011

More Lovely Jubblies...

...a they say in England. Rather appropriate for today!

This is a wonderful goody box from my dear friend, Donna. Donna is my friend through thick and thin. For those who have been to Silver Bella, Donna is the one who uncomplainingly pushes me in the wheelchair so I can make it the whole weekend. We became dear friends in college, though we met each other at camp when we were teens. Donna has sent me two wonderful boxes of goodies since Jud has been sick. This one was a 'pick-me-up" box. The can on the left had a pick-up (the little pick-up inside was the most wonderful Werther's candy, not the usual, but a velvety chocolate. The next box had shrink charms created from the directions in Country Living. Boy, I can't wait to play with those. They are so cute. Then we have stress mints (needed; gone) and a sweet bear for when I need a "life saver." Teehee! Under it all is the most beautiful book about Optimism. All of the pictures are vintage and as wonderful as the one on the cover! Thank you, my dear!

This beautiful piece of paper art came from Becky Shander. She has been such a kind friend this year. One of the fine gifts of blogland. This piece actually appeared in a Somerset Studio publication. Becky's creations are often calm in feeling, made of simple materials and related to nature. This beautiful dress was machine-sewn on the sides and has a bird peeping out of the cage at the bottom. And she sent this lovely white feather as an extra treat. I love it. Becky, you are so generous.

This woman "gets" me. Colette Copeland of A Bird in the Hand sent the most incredibly sweet angel to hang. Her packaging was such fun. :ook at the sweet envelope with all the "love" and a special Colette bird. The envelopes were sewn shut. That dazzles me. Sewing on paper. Wow. It also intimidates me. Someday I will try but for now I will appreciate this gift and its sewing. Thank you so much, sweet Colette.

This lovely tag comes from Karin Arguirre of Creative Chaos. She write the funniest blog and creates the most beautiful paper art. I order beautiful roses from her (I hope she never runs out) and she sent this lovely tag as a gift. I have a thing for tags and hers are some of the best I have seen. Lots of gorgeous detail and a romantic feel. I love it, Karin. My deep thanks.

That is all for today but I have more that I will continue to share. In between, I will share some of the things I am making. I have been rather stymied since Jud has been diagnosed and not able to do much but my muse seems to be coming back and helping me out. Thank you to my muse, too, whoever she is. I certainly can tell if she is here or if she is gone and I am happy to have her return, even just a little!

Monday, April 25, 2011

World-Wide Swapping...

I love ephemera. Most people shake their heads at me when I use that word :-) 
Old papers, unusual type and magazines in other languages make me smile! 
Patty of Magpie's Nest introduced me to LaWendula and her swaps. They are so much fun. I struggle to keep my packages small(er) and I have received some tremendous packages in return.
The first two pictures are from Sylvie from Germany. The theme of this swap was Newspapers and Magazines. There are all kinds of delightful pieces for me to play with.

Right now, my favorite things to make are tags and postcards, thanks to Natalie and her postcard swaps). They are quick and fun and I get to do a lot of cutting, which is very relaxing to me. (I was so pleased to see that Julie of AVintage Chic also likes to cut out pictures! I think we are a small club!) As you can see, I have a lot of new ephemera to play with!

This is a wonderful package of ephemera from Eliza of Poland. The theme was Fresh Start and we were to use things that were nice but had sat in our stash forever. Among many things that were stuffed into one large envelope were her favorite works of art, my favorite Joan Walsh Anglund book (it is now considered vintage!) and that cute chalkboard bird. Now isn't that a clever tag? 

I love exchanging internationally. I have talked before of our international exchange students and teachers and the wonderful times we have had visiting their home countries, going to their weddings, spending Christmas with one and having them come back to visit. So many adventures and so many chances to meet more people of other countries and see their homeland.  

I am not what one would consider "political" but I do strongly believe that peace on earth is forwarded if we engage internationally on a person-to-person level. That is why I love events like OWOH and international swaps.

Check out the swaps. There are different ones each month. We just had a mini-swap I received a beautiful little package of papers and wonderful vintage pieces from Pat of Fulks Run, Virginia. One lovely person (Marie) sent a packet to everyone! This month we are having a paperback book swap. My love is children's books and I am hoping to get one from a new international friend.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Have a Blessed Easter...

Easter Exultet

Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster
insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane.
Nothing perishes;
nothing survives;
everything transforms!
Honeymoon with Big Joy!

~ James Broughton ~

Have a joyous holiday! Thank you, all of you, for the kindness and caring you have brought into my life this year.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I won!!!...

Marie Skrotzki. What a lovely woman! I know I am sounding repetitive but first of all, there are some beautiful bloggers out there who create beautiful things, and second, so many are so generous and gracious, with their creations, kindness and their knowledge. I found Marie's blog, Lost Bird Studio, just this year and have become an avid follower. She has such a beautiful style, very soft and yet very complex. Though her creations have a lot of detail, they always seems to look "calm" to me.

Look at this beautiful packaging. My gift was wrapped in gorgeous cream on cream material and tied with taupe seam binding. And it was sent from Germany!

Here is my gorgeous pillow and card. Do you see what I mean? There is so much work there and everything is placed just right! The design is worked layer upon layer. See the calligraphy over the egg? Can you believe the real feathers at the bottom? I love the repetition of the crowns and eggs. The tag is perfect! A postcard with a crown (and the bird that laid the egg, I imagine).

Here is a little closer peek. Please tell me, my friends, what kind of feathers are those? I want to say guinea hen but I think I just made that up! They are the perfect touch!
Thank you so much, Marie, for this wonderful gift.  I love your blog and I love what you create. I am so glad I found you and encourage people to visit you. I know, they, too, will be delighted to meet you and see more of your incredible work.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Precious Patty...

 Even though Kat and I primarily make jewelry (upstairs in the bead room), I have a paper (and clay, glass, fabric, etc. etc. etc.) craft room (in the basement). Though we haven't made jewelry for awhile because of Jud's illness, it had become a bit of a job. Playing with mixed media is something I like to do to relax and have fun. 

Every field has its "rock stars." Patty Szymkowicz is a rock star in the area of mixed media. There isn't much that Patty can't do, and she does it all beautifully. I stalked her blog for ages, even before I had a blog of my own.  I finally got the courage to write responses and, lo and behold, I was answered! We started to chat more and thus developed a friendship. I found out she was a real person, just like me!
I just adore her and she is one of the kindest and brightest people I know. 

One sunny day, a beautiful present came in the mail. I wish I could show you the envelope but I took a photograph and forgot to block out the addresses. The brown envelope is beautiful, decorated with birds and beautiful papers, and I am keeping it just because of that. 

Inside was a package wrapped in a brown glassine, covered with gold and white Indian paper and, on the top, the cutest teeny, tiny French airmail envelope with a little note inside. This was all tied together with a sash of golden Dupioni silk. "Presentation is everything" is a saying that has oft been recited here in Blogland! This package had that art down! 

Ooooh, Look at this incredible miniature canvas work of art! Layer upon layer of text and dots, paper and paint, black stamping (see the "overdue"?, and a gorgeous seal, all perfectly blended together. Then, take a look at that beautiful woman with a gold crown on her head, surrounded by a veil of almost invisible gilding. I swooned! 
Alright. I admit it. I told her I really liked it. I should have learned that you don't say that to generous bloggers. A week later, it came in the mail.

This is my favorite part. When you turn it on the side, there is a secret message that the woman whispers...all executed in this gorgeous script with those wonderful clover leafs at the side and shell-like shapes at the top. A special message just for me, I would like to think. Certainly one that I need to remember these days.

Sigh! I thank you, my friend, Patty. You are so kind and so delightful. Knowing people like you is why I love this "land" so much.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Present for Pam...

Pam, or Pammy Wammy, as we teasingly call her, took wonderful care of us when we were in California for Jud's treatment. She cooked for Jud and I daily, while working full time (she is also Dr. Pam, a clinical psychologist).  She divided the food into "Suz' only" when I broke out in shingles across my face, concerned for my immune-suppressed husband. She took us for drives along the roads of Palo Alto, to help distract us from our worries. She had a series of movies at our ready, usually to watch at night, when Jud was not able to go out. She also had the menu of every restaurant around for the times that neither of us had the energy to go out for dinner. There is no way we could begin to thank her for all she did.

I wanted to make her a piece of special jewelry to thank her in some small way. For some reason, a bird theme seemed to fit. I had three little gold birds and let her chose the one she liked for the right side. She chose the one that is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Her childhood Catholicism is still a heavy influence in her life. I found a necklace of big links at a consignment store in Mesa and took one out to encircle the bird.

Pam only wears gold jewelry, so I knew, from the start, to go with that.  It works well with her coloring. I chose the deep turquoise briolettes because the color is so pretty on her, with her beautiful auburn hair. The locket was one that I bought while at Silver Bella. I used some chain from home that matches the locket and looks equally "old."

Inside the locket, I put a picture of an egg and a picture of a soaring bird. The egg symbolizes the "mother bird" in Pam. She has already raised her two children to adulthood but truly took us under her wing when we needed a "mother hen." The picture on the right is a bird beginning to soar. Pam is making great changes in her life. She is soaring and fearlessly choosing a new life for herself. 
I wanted to use Ice Resin to cover the pictures, but the latch enters into the bottom picture. Instead I chose Diamond Glaze, which gave me more control. I bought a bottle of acrylic paint that matched the briolettes and put just a drop in the Diamond Graze. The small square charm that dangles from the end of the chain is a milagro of a house (a milagro is Mexican charm that is meant to have healing properties. It literally means "miracle"). I thought it was a fitting piece and exemplified, "mi casa es su casa,"  my house is your house.

Thank you, my friend, for taking such good care of us, for welcoming us wholeheartedly into your home and giving so deeply of yourself, both physically and emotionally. 

We love you so much!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gifts of the heart...

I have received some beautiful gifties (as my Nana Carol used to call them) in the past few months and wanted to share them with you. 

This lovely woman was given to me by Jackie Peters of Good Grief Girdie. She has a rhinestone and real feather in her hair and individual blue brad buttons. Her skirt is real lace. Jackie has a blog that makes me smile. I usually visit just as soon as I see she has posted something new. Her creations are clever and unique and make me wish I lived in OKC so I could take a class from her! 

This sweet angel, who has a real fur muff and fur hat, comes from Katie Struckhoff of Ragmuffin Gal's Studio. Katie is a talented artist whose creations are often romantic and full of beautiful lace. She is a person with a huge heart who also teaches school. I love the pictures of her hugging her students. She has such warmth and oI love when she talks about her "happys" (things that make her happy). She has quite a story about her life. Check out her blog to get to know her. 

If you read my blog last month, you saw the beautiful ornament scrapbook that was made by Sheila Rumney of Blessed and Distressed. What a generous woman! What a generous gift! My mother-in-law (someone with great taste) even commented on the incredible scrapbook when I visited several weeks ago. This was such a lovely card and has a real three pearl pin running through the ribbon.

Never say you love something to Beth Leintz of Gathering Dust. I made that mistake and she gave this to me! This "Suz" handkerchief (haha!) has incredible embroidery and is sitting by my bed with a few other special things. I have ordered from Beth on many occasions and she always includes "extras" with whatever you get, usually fabulous tags. I love Beth's tags! She is an estate sale buyer and has fabulous things in her stores. 

I just visited a blog of another lovely woman, Laura Kaufman of 52 Flea. I met Laura at Silver Bella this year. What a gentle and real soul! She has a giveaway, Romantic Prairie Homes. It looks like a truly beautiful book which has pictures of the homes of many bloggers I visit. I didn't realize that FiFi, the author, was from New York. I guess I thought she was from Kansas. Nonetheless, she has incredible prairie style!

Thank you, my friends, for your kindness. Receiving these little treasures in the mail has really helped me get through a hard time. I am so grateful to be a part of this blog world and communion of friends.

I want to update you a bit on Jud. He was supposed to get his second dose of Folfirinox this week but his platelets and white blood cells were both low. So, instead he gets a shot in the stomach every day for five days. I got to watch the first one and I didn't pass out!). The shot, called Ampligen, is designed to increase his white blood cells. The good news chemo this week. The bad news chemo this week. It made me happy to see him feeling good enough to go out to a play last night! This chemo is a combination of four agents and is a very powerful...and a very difficult regimen. He is a really good sport about his treatment. 

More gifties coming soon!

"It isn't the size of a gift that matters, but the size of the heart that gives it."
Quoted in The Angel's Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Shelly Decorates Yard Eggs...

Do any of you remember yard eggs? Yard eggs were a phenomena that hit...oh maybe in the eighties...I am truly not sure. They are ugly, plastic eggs that one would put in their yard at Easter-time. The giant eggs, in their garish colors, would make a ugly Easter display that was, well,  just plain GARISH and UGLY!!

Hold your horses! Shelly at Bungalow Bling has reinvented yard eggs and has made them into such a beautiful new decoration that you are going to be scouring every rummage sale you can find this Spring in search of old yard eggs!

Check this out, my friends...

Shelly has decoupaged the giant egg with old sheet music and embellished it with ribbons and lace and wonderful old vintage pictures!

Ok...I will let you get a better view of this treasure...

Isn't that just something? And I won it! I have been so lucky lately and actually have won two beautiful pieces of art on Shelly's blog.

Plus, being extremely generous, she also sent me this little pack of Easter ephemera and all sorts of yummy bits and bobs. 

The ribbons at the top are tied into a beautiful bow that says, Make a Wish. How sweet is that?

Thanks, Shelly. You are a wonderful blog friend.

And as Shelly would end by saying, to all of you "a giant Easter hug and a big old bus on the cheek!"
Check her blog out to find out just what she means by a "bus on the cheek" and you will also get a chance to enjoy the really clever things she creates. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wee Bit Wednesday

From Colette at A Bird in the Hand...

{one} what is one food that, as an adult you love, but as a child you said you’d never touch?
None. What I liked as a child (just about everything), I like as an adult. I ate roquefort cheese at two and loved it. I love strong flavors. What I disliked as a child (creamed corn), I dislike as an adult. I think it is a consistency thing!

{two} did you go to college? if yes, what was your major?
I did...almost forever. I have a BA in Special Education; two Masters degrees, one in Special Education (LD) and one in Counseling; I am all but dissertation for my Ph D. in Child Psychology and School Psychology. Got to the last chapter, running my statistics, and had three pulmonary emboli which "morphed" into a pain disorder. That was the end of my school career!

{three} what’s the most wild animal you’ve seen in real life (not counting the zoo)?
A wallaby in Australia? It was one of the oddest, anyway!

{four} have you ever been to a fortune teller?
I never have but I see a body worker who is an intuitive.

{five} can you juggle?
Not a chance! I am not very coordinated!

{six} hardwood floors or carpet?

{seven} is it called “soda” or “pop”?
Pop. I am from the Midwest!

{eight} what was your first car?
My dad's fifteen-year-old Chrysler Imperial.

{nine} what is the most decadent dessert you’ve ever eaten?
I have eaten way too many decadent desserts. Last summer, I had hot chocolate in Prague that was as thick as pudding and tasted like the best chocolate ever!

{ten} how often do you rearrange your furniture?
Almost never.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Goodbye Arizona, Hello Chemo...

Ah, it was great to be back in Arizona again. Jud's sister, Joan,  joined us for another week. 

Our good friends, the Hallbergs, joined us for dinner. They lived both in Rapid City and in the Twin Cities with us and we try to see them when we come. Bruce and Cozy are on either side of me.

Bruce and I talked as the sun set behind us.

I took a picture of Jud, his sister and his mom before we went to bed. I have told you about his sisters and someday I will speak longer about his parents. They are wonderful people.

Jud's dad was a doctor, too, and delivered over 5,000 babies. He is the best grandfather I know. Here is is with one of the great-grandkids. He is also really handsome!

This was the final sunset. Jud captured it in this picture.

We flew back to St. Paul and Jud had a port installed on Monday. This is a device that was inserted into his chest and makes it possible for him to receive the chemo directly into his right atrium. He started his "four drug" chemotherapy the next day. It is very powerful and it was pretty hard. He felt drugged up and nauseated the whole week and he is still very tired. The good news is that he gets a week off in between. He is still resting up from last week. Hopefully, his "break" will start tomorrow. 

I am hoping to take pictures of gifts and giveaways I have received. The postman knows me well! I apologize to those of you who have not had thank you's from me yet. I am usually on time with such things but have gotten behind.

Have a wonderful week!