Friday, November 9, 2012

Wonderful Handmade U!

I am a bit slow in telling you all about the wonderful time I had at Handmade U...and a bit slower at finishing my projects, but my, is there anything more fun than a good art retreat? 

This one was wonderful!
I love getting together with old buddies and new and taking part in the joy of creating together.

Here I am with my dear art buddies, Hope Ellington and Donna Robinson. There is nothing quite as fun as being with people who love the same things that you do. 

Of course, there were swaps...
These are my folders for the ephemera swap. This is the front.

...and this is the back. That little face is me! I had so much fun playing with stencils! It is my new obsession!

There were so many beautiful bundles of treats!

The classes! Ah, the attention to detail! 

This greeted us the day we worked with Hope Wallace Karney (  How could you not be motivated?

Photo by Liesel Lund
We made these adorable journals from Cabinet Card folders. Mine is the partial one in the top right.

Photo by Liesel Lund

The next day Liesel Lund ( helped us create a book from two vintage books, using one for the covers and the other for pages (along with all sorts of other wonderful bits of old paper). As you can see on the left side, we did actual binding of our books, sewing up sections or signatures, then sewing them to the binding tape at the side.

Hope and Liesel were two of the best teachers I have encountered. They were extremely generous with both their knowledge and their materials. They were well prepared and patient with all of us. 

Handmade U is the creation of Rachel Velder, who is one of the most lovely and gracious women you will encounter. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and felt enriched and pampered. You can be sure I will go again.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Favorite Tree

This is one of the reasons I love living in Minnesota. The change of seasons is so incredibly beautiful and lends such a lovely natural rhythm to our lives. 

Every year I have a favorite tree. Oddly, it is always a different one. Each seems to show its beauty in its own time. This one is right down the hill from my house and I get to pass it each day and watch the magic of its changes.

Fall, glorious Fall!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What A Wonderful Day!!!

my dear kat
is engaged 

to her true love
Ashton Troia

making me, 
one very, very
happy mama!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Fine Artsy Wedding...

In Rapid City, at the end of the summer, for the wedding of the son of my dear crafty friend, Donna. Here are myself and good old friends, Anita and Morey. We are out at the park where the wedding was held that evening. Donna had made eighty glass lanterns, many lit paper lanterns and had decorated parasols. We were all there to help put it all together. 

The women are dressed and waiting for the happy event. My Kat, me and friends, Di, Janice, Anita and Mary.

I thought Kat looked rather smashing, here in her retro dress, later covered with a leopard sweater.

Woody, one of the most handsome grooms I have ever seen, waited happily for his beautiful bride. He and the groomsmen wore bowties that belonged to Jud. The wedding was actually held on our anniversary. I was very touched. Artists and crafters, note the flowers, torn out of paper and made by the bride, that fluttered in the breeze.

The stunning bride and her father. She made the beautiful flower that she carried. Major Wow!!!

The bride and groom speak their vows to each other, under the weeping willow trees, while the paper flowers were blown by a gentle breeze. 

And for the reception, the bride made even more of these gorgeous flowers. I was dazzled!!!

Lawn games, a buffet dinner and a pyramid constructed by the wedding party. What a beautiful, happy wedding!

Alas, my friend, Donna, was so busy that I did not get a picture of her and of her husband, Art. I will find one from a friend and print it later. She looked lovely in an incredible short sleeveless dress and matching sworovski crystal jewelry.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Happy Father's Day, Dear Jud

As a new widow and a bereaved daughter, certain days have been harder than others without our beloved Jud. We have falling into our routine for these days and I feel so blessed to have a loving adult daughter.

Kat and I usually start our "difficult days" sitting on the couch together eating "brunch" (i.e. no eggs, bacon, or toast but instead, guacamole, cupcakes, good cheese and whatever treats either Whole Foods or Trader Joe's can provide. We nosh, we hug, we play on our computers, we watch a good movie, we remember and we cry. Then we repeat the whole routine all over again.

This Father's Day, we added something new to our day of remembrance. Ashton, Kat's boyfriend, joins us for dinner (which he usually cooks for us). Before dinner, we had a special ritual for Jud. I bought helium balloons and we wrote him notes on shipping tags and attached our messages to the balloons. We told him how much we loved him, how very much we were missing him and what we were remembering on this day. 

We went out to Monkey Island, the playground in the center of our cul de sac, and let go of our balloons, sending them symbolically up to him. 

Then we gave each other the biggest hugs we could muster. Grief is painful but grief shared is less painful. Our love for each other is helping us through these hard times. 
We are thankful to Ashton who took these pictures which will help us remember the first Father's Day with both a tear and a smile.
Remembering one of Jud's favorite foods, we had grilled steaks, prepared by Ashton, and covered with Essie's barbeque sauce, a favorite of Jud's. 
We will always miss him but are thankful for so many things, good friends, good food and each other.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Grateful for my Ghoul

I had a lovely Mother's Day. As the mother of an only daughter, now in her thirties, I was treated with lots of sugar and carbs and some calm quiet time together. Since Jud's passing, we have both found a lot of comfort in each other's presence and, though we may get together at poignant times, I am so grateful to have her and happy to be in her presence.

She is an interesting ghoul who has always delighted me with her pleasure in playing "dress up," even now. Would you be surprised to hear that Halloween and the Zombie Crawl are two of her favorite nights?

Then there is the annual Ren Fest. I am especially fond of the colored dreads.

She does look right at home, doesn't she?

This was some sort of Space/Star Trek type party. That's her on the right with the black wig. She has definitely found her tribe!

Here we have a little vintage beach wear. 

And here, a demure maid of the twenties. This girl was going to be our costume designer. She majored in Drama and Film Studies and then spent some time at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in LA, only to discover that only one person out of a thousand makes it as a designer and 999 sew in the back room.

My Kat got her MSW (Masters of Social Work) last year and is doing therapy with children and families. Like her father before her, I imagine she does it in such a delightful, playful fashion that her clients hardly know they are in therapy!

That's my ghoul! On this Mother's Day, I am so grateful for my Kat!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Off to Mesa

Jud's parents have a beautiful house in Mesa, Arizona. Tomorow I leave for a glorious week in the summery weather. My sister-in-law, Joan, will join me on Thursday and the four of us will enjoy the final week of Arizona, then all return to our summer homes (i.e. South Dakota, Minnesota and Colorado).  It is a place of family, being yourself, and beautiful sunsets. Like this...

And this.

And this. An "X." A kiss goodnight in the sky. Then off to sleep!
I can't wait!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Easter Prayer

by Helen Steiner Rice
God, give us eyes to see
the beauty of the Spring,
And to behold Your majesty
in every living thing -

And may we see in lacy leaves
and every budding flower
The Hand that rules the universe
with gentleness and power -

And may this Easter grandeur
that Spring lavishly imparts
Awaken faded flowers of faith
lying dormant in our hearts,

And give us ears to hear, dear God,
the Springtime song of birds
With messages more meaningful
than man's often empty words

Telling harried human beings
who are lost in dark despair -
'Be like us and do not worry
for God has you in His care.

Have a lovely and blessed Easter. I will be spending mine with Katie and
her friends. I am hoping to get back to blogging very soon.
Much love to the wonderful blogging community.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Celebration of Jud's Life

We held Jud's Celebration of Life at Plymouth Congregational Church in Minneapolis on March 4, 2012 at 7 p.m. It was a beautiful service. The sanctuary was lit by candles, lending a soft, gentle feeling as we moved into the night.

A Lakota Flutist began the ceremony played improvisations of Jud's favorite hymms. Jud was involved with the Native American from the time I met him.

Two very talented sopranos sang Pie Jesu (Andrew Lloyd Weber) and The Lord is My Shepherd (Brother Jame's Aire). The congregation sang "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" and "For the Beauty of the Earth," the traditional version.

Psalm 139 was the selected Bible verse.

"Oh God, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up."...
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence."

Echoed on the front of the bulletin were words that became a sort of "mantra" to Jud and me.
"We cannot go where God is not."
Sometimes spoken, when I when through a period of struggle...
"We cannot go where Love is not."

Seven friends from different areas of Jud's life gave short talks about him, which made us both laugh and cry.  Our friend, Laura, read the Mary Oliver poem, The Summer's Day, which ends with the challenge, "Tell me, what are you going to do with your one wild and precious life?" Another friend read a Gaelic Blessing which goes...

Deep peace of the running wave to you

Deep peace of the gentle night to you

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you

Deep peace of the shining stars to you

Moon and stars throw their healing light on you.

Deep peace of Christ
Of Christ
The light of the world to you.

Deep peace of Christ to you.

Deep peace to you. 

Our minister gave a lovely homily and talked of his lack of anger or lament about dying. She felt he was truly at peace. She spoke of the many hours the three of us sat and talked, cuddled up with Sophie and Harvey on our green couch. Those hours were truly special and gave us time to discuss so many important concerns together.

At the end of the service, each family member chose a candle to add to a table in front of the altar, The table was draped with a star quilt, given to us by one of Jud's Native American patients when Kat was born. We had large shot of Jud as a baby on the left side.

 Kat and I were standing on the other side after we lit our candles. There was a large current picture of Jud on this side. Kat (bless her heart) put her arm around me.

Cath, our minister, who has been so present for Jud and me during his illness, lit the candle of the deacons who in turn...

...lit the candles of the first person in each line. They passed the candlelight down and we saw...

...a splendid sea of candlelight, the light of Christ and of all our family and friends. As the candles were lit, the soloist sang the same song, Deep Peace, that our friend, Brooks, had read. The service ended with a resounding, "For the Beauty of the Earth" by John Rutter. Jud wanted the song presented "both ways."

We ended in Guild Hall of our church, where we greeted and thanked many family, friends and  colleagues who had supported us so in so many ways this year. They held us up with food for our bodies and our soul. We are all so grateful. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

He is gone...

Jud died last night at 6:00 p.m. We were all circled around his bed singing "Amazing Grace" as he passed away. He suffered so much the last three weeks that I am relived that that part is over, though I am so sad he was gone. I know he is in a beautiful place free from pain.

It has been an exhausting few weeks. I slept very soundly with my two dogs who are very confused. One is now under my covers and the other is sleeping on Jud's side.

I know I have such hard times ahead but I am still feeling the peace of "singing him home." He was so brave in his struggle, taking care of each of us and the close friends who visited us in the midst of his dying.

I thank you all so much for your support of me during this fourteen months. You are remarkable friends and you mean the world to me. Please know how much you matter, You were there in the frightening nights when no one else was around. You have been there for me so consistently, so solidly.

I love you and thank you.