Tuesday, November 15, 2011

If You Believe in Santa

It's that time of year again. Can you believe it? Seems like just yesterday when GP taught us who trumps Mom and Dad in the gift giving category (Santa2010).. and although this year his list is so short it's just barely a list at all, and he is very much aware that he is too old to make Santa's list, he is still concerned about a few things... which he chose to discuss with "HIM"
I was not allowed to eavesdrop but when I asked, GP told me that he was "just asking about the naughty children" and I asked him if he told Santa he was naughty this year. He gave me the "Are you nuts?!" look... and said, "I was a little naughty in the past, but not anymore!" ... and as if to reiterate how "IN" he was with Santa he told me, "And, I'm not too old for Santa's list. I am young at heart!". OMG! If that is not straight out of Santa's mouth, I don't know what is, LOL! That was hilarious. But the truth is that I think Santa's reassurances just confirmed what he already knew...
If you believe in Santa he will always bring you presents...
no matter what your parents say!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Searching for Home

I've been house hunting for months and with the arrival of Fall I feel my hopes and dreams dissipate. The reality that I will probably remain in this house another Winter brings a feeling of disappointment that is hard to explain.
Once I decided that I would in fact leave my house. I shut down my nesting feeling and tried not to pour my heart into this house so I would be open to love another. Only someone who spends most of their life inside their house would understand this... If you leave your house for ten hours a day, you probably don't get this. If you spend 20 hours a day in one space, you have to love it, or you'll be miserable. Right now, I am miserable.
I want to paint, I want to redo my wallpaper, I want new lamps. I want to call the landscaper... I want to fix my house... but if I fix my house, I will never leave. I know I won't. So I am living in a house that is in disrepair and every day that passes without finding a new house makes me feel more depressed. This is no way to live. This is like putting your life on hold.
You know the old saying, "life is what happens while you are making plans????" My life is going on in this house while I search and search for my next one. I am living in a mess of a house until my house shows up. That just makes no sense to me, and it breaks my spirit.
I have a house to live in but I have no home. I feel that I am in fact "Home"-less.. and Winter will be here soon, and suddenly I feel like I can't breathe.
A house is just a house until you put your heart into it and make it a Home. I have my heart in my hand and I need a place to put it. Who knew my little love shack was so hard to measure up to? I did... maybe that's why I've never tried to move before.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Life Is Too Short For This Much Stress

Ever have so much stress you think you're having a heart attack? Ever live in such stress that you don't realize it really is stress???
Early on when GP was a little boy and he was diagnosed with Autism I lived in such a state. It was a time of terrible, terrible stress. It was living and breathing autism, coping with the tantrums, staying up late finding out what the heck this Autism was doing and would do to him. It was the way my life and my son's future had been snatched from right under us and I refused to just "take it". It was a HARD fight for many years of "silence" and fighting to change opinions from "He'll never do XXXX" to "Wow, that's great progress".
The thing is, when you live in that state of stress, your brain shuts it off. You just move from one task to the next and you literally forget you are stressed out. You're cranky, you're tired, you're sad...but you have more important things to worry about than yourself, so you move on.
Then, one day, you have this pain. This pain that won't quit, and you self medicate, and it goes away...but then it comes back; with a vengeance. The more you ignore it, the more severe it becomes until one day your mind CLICKS and tells you, "Oh, sh**! I think I'm having a heart attack!" And you're not even forty! How the hell does that happen??? Easy, it's called STRESS!
I went to the emergency room a few times (better safe than dead is what I say), and each time was told "You have to take it easy. You have too much stress" I swear, when a stranger who knew nothing, nothing about me or my life other than I was a "female presenting with chest and back pain who has difficulty moving her right arm" told me I had too much stress I KNEW it was bad.... the last guy sent me home without even a prescription. He said take tylenol, aspirin and REST. He obviously did not know I had a five year old autistic child who could not speak, was not potty trained and was screeching all the time. Easy for him to say!
Anyway, I started to pay attention to my body and what it was saying because the only thing worse than a stressed out mom is a dead one so I bought Tylenol in the Family size and when my body said stop, I would pretend I did not notice my house was falling apart, my son was screeching and would take to the road. GP would nap, and I would "breathe"... and so I survived. It wasn't the day at the spa the MD suggested but it was the best I could do with what I had. =)
Last night my body told me again that I needed to breathe. With craziness at home, homeschooling now in progress and a day of nothing but stress, my right arm started hurting early in the morning, I ignored it and by midnight my chest and back were in a vice. It had been so long since my body reminded me that stress is no joke. I found myself climbing up to bed and reminding myself that rest is not "optional", and praying that I would sleep and recover.
Today my body aches and I am recovering, but well aware that "I have been warned".
I hope that if your body is telling you to BREATHE, you heed the signs and quit while you're ahead. Trying to keep up with your life is important but of you're dead, does it really matter??? Probably not. Today I will ignore the laundry, and will not dress the bed. I will homeschool my son, fill some orders, go to the PO and.... oh yeah, that's my stress free list. You should see the other one. LOL! Take it easy today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I'm Setting The Record Straight!

I am not a "real" quilter. Most of you already know that, but some of you are a little confused so I thought I'd put that out there. My quilting days can be traced back to just a few short years ago when my handy-dandy Singer sewing machine died. I had a sewing machine not for crafting purposes but for utilitarian purposes. I had a sewing machine to hem pants and I am not kidding when I say that that was it's one and only use. When it died I bought a Bernina. Whatever you do, if you need a sewing machine, do not take a quilter with you to buy a replacement, you'll come home with a machine that has more featues than your car... and more decorative stitches than you will ever need... I am so not kidding.
Anyway, I felt that to justify my expense (oh, did I mention it cost as much as a car payment, or two? Oh yeah, a "real" sewing machine's price starts at triple digits and only goes up from there. It's insane! ), I should learn how to do something more than hems and whala! A quilter was born; ok so maybe not a "real" quilter, but a quilter non the less.
I always think of "real" quilters as people who make large quilts with fancy techniques, or miniature quilts with a gazillion tiny little stitches. Yeah, that's never gonna happen. I will never make either one of those qualifying quilts.
Here's something I have learned, real quilter's have sewing machines that have first and last names. I am so not kidding. Their machines have names like "Bernina 'something or another'. If you ask someone what kind of sewing machine they have and it doesn't have a last name, they are not "real" quilters. Oh stop it, if you are a real quilter you KNOW this is true. Stop pretending you have no idea what I'm talking about, you so do know the make and model of your machine. You probably know mine's!
Quilters and their machines are like men and their cars. It's crazy! OMG! They pimp them up too... I started pimping mine recently so I might be turning into a more dedicated quilter myself. See the fancy little lamp I have on mine? Oh and I have a vice pincushion on it too... I'm thinking I might bedazzle it soon. What do you think, TOO much? =/
I'm so bad. I will never be a real quilter. I accept that. I can live with it, but I thought I'd put it out there so other folks can see that you don't have to be a REAL quilter to have quilting fun. Quilting is a great crafting activity. Give it a try...you'll love it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What Were YOU Doing on This Day, Ten Years Ago?

As a young woman I had heard over and over again, "I remember what I was doing when JFK was shot. I was ..." Somehow I didn't get the significance of that. I didn't understand how something that happened "to someone else" could really have a life changing impact on your life. It seemed to go against my steadfast belief that "you are responsible for your own actions and no one else's". That changed, on Sept. 11, 2001.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day in New Hampshire. A sunny, crisp and cool morning that reminded me of why I love Fall in New England. After having dropped off GP at school (what was to be his last semester, ever) I came home to tackle this cabinet. I say tackle because it had been a work in progress for a few years before I had decided that this was going to be the year when I would finish it. I laid it across the table, gathered my supplies and turned on the kitchen TV. Engrossed in my sanding and glazing I heard something that caught my attention and when I looked up at the TV there was one of the twin towers with smoke coming out of it. I stopped what I was doing and brush in hand raised the volume.
The anchor, I think it was Peter Jennings, said a plane had just crashed into the tower. My thought was, "What an idiot! How the hell do you miss the twin towers???" I swear, that was what I though.... but lets regress, there had been a plane crash a few months prior, and the pilot crashed into a building, accidentally! He had lost control of his plane and crashed it into a building, and it was all over the news, just a few months before. I, being of the flying class, the ones that believed that flying was safer than driving a car thought, "This is insane. They need to stop handing out flying licenses to every Tom, Dick and Harry!" I swear, this is really what rushed through my mind as I stood there, in the safety of my kitchen paintbrush in hand, shaking my head. Mind you, I did not know it was an airline jet. And of all the things that I could have thought, even now as I remember it, I don't think there was any reason, any reason at all for me to have thought of terrorism as even the most remote possible cause of this crash)... THEN, as I watched and listened to the anchor speculate as to the cause of the crash, the second plane came into the screen, and right before my eyes, crashed into the second tower. THAT'S when I knew, this was not an accident. This was bad, really bad.
I will never forget what I was doing when something that happened thousands of miles away from my home, to people I did not know, changed the way I live my life to this very day. Pretty much the same way my parents will never forget what they were doing when JFK was shot and killed... but alas, I know my son and children of his age will never understand what it is that makes this day so unforgettable. They were too young to have lived the life of freedom we enjoyed before TSA, before Homeland Security... to them, this is just the way things are. This is the way they have learned to travel, to live. You cannot REMEMBER what you never lived.
My cabinet stands unfinished in my family room and every time I look at it I remember. I remember I was painting it on this day, ten years ago.
I bet you remember what you were doing too.
*Image is a cropped screenshot of the Jules Naudet footage that is included in the Naudet brothers' documentary film 9/11, originally broadcast on March 10, 2002 on CBS, and later released on DVD. It is a historically significant image of the crash of American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Buttons and Blooms Weekend Sale!

I saw these fabrics at Spring Market and almost keeled over. I am such a Whimsicals Fan I border on groupie. How bad is that? I know, it's bad, LOL! Anyway. I had to order them and have been harassing the folks at Red Rooster since July (they were supposed to ship way back then, but they kept being delayed for one reason or another), and they finally came in yesterday! OMG! They are soooo cute. I love them all, and think everyone needs a yard, or two of these so I am having a weekend sale to share my love of Buttons and Blooms. I even put the book on sale for those who need a little inspiration and find themselves in love with the fabrics but pondering the age old question, "What would I use it for????"
I love the wallhanging in this book. I saw it at market and yep, it was amazing... Here's another great quilt I saw made up using the panels and fabrics from the collection. I asked around an no one knew who designed this one or even of there was a pattern. It was at one of the distributors, someone at their company had made it... I love it!
I also love the little owl in the book. It's like a pincushion on steroids!
But if I had to choose only one thing to make from this book, being theWeekend Warrior that I am, I would make the runner. Be still my heart, I am in love with the simple applique and the easy piecing. It screams, "You can make me!" and who who doesn't love having something to show for their weekend of crafting??? I know I NEED to feel like I am getting something done. No matter how small, if it's done, I feel accomplished. It's the little things that make me happy.
Sale ends at midnight on Sunday. Don't miss it. These fabrics are gorgeous, I know you'll love them! You can see the complete collection here:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

What Do YOU want To Do Before You Die?

My friend Linda Lum DeBono posted a great link on her FB wall this morning and I just couldn't stop thinking about it. It's not that I haven't thought about dying, I think about it all the time (that's a whole different story), or that I don't have a Bucket List (now really, who doesn't?), because I most certainly do. It's just that it caught me off guard and as soon as I read the question I knew what I wanted to do most of all... and although my Bucket List is a mile long, the answer to the question wasn't on the BL. HMMM. Kind of makes you wonder if you really need the list at all.
Now I won't tell you mine because I don't want to distract you with what I want to do, and I would suggest not reading anyone else's answer until you have posted your own, but tell me, what came to mind when you read the question? The first thought...not the rationalized, life plan answer... the very first thing you thought of. Did it surprise you?
Wow, who knew Sunday Mornings could be so full of soul searching? Absolutely amazing! Thanks Linda for sharing your great find.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Just Call Me Sharpie Girl

It's been so long since I actually completed a project it is almost anticlimactic. I started my October Scare months ago, and I am so not kidding. I bartered with my niece who is a piecer and after I cut out the kits I gave her two backgrounds to piece. She then returned the two completed backgrounds for me to appliqué. which was no big deal. It was fast, it was fun, it was easy peasy. Now why is it that I hadn't finished this baby? It was the embroidery. What is it with me and embroidery? I just can't embroider. I am an embroidery failure. I just don't get it.

My embroidery is so bad it's like a toddler scribbling with crayons. Really, my straight lines have sharp edges. How the heck does that happen? I have no idea.
So this weekend I decided I would "bite the bullet" and take my time finishing this little cutie. I just had to clear it out and put an end to this "pending" project. I couldn't move on. I had to put this one behind me so I whipped out my black sharpie (Oh yes, I did, LOL!) drew in my lines, and then stitched on the lines. Oh and if you are thinking it's not so bad...I'll have you know that AFTER I stitched my little spider legs I went over them with my extra fine sharpie and "Fixed" them. Oh, it's "Just" a wall hanging. It's not like it's some fancy schmancy quilt... a crafter has to do what she has to do, and until my embroidery skills improve (I don't really foresee this happening anytime soon), I shall be a "cheating" with my sharpie so you can just call me Sharpie Girl. =)

If you would like to make an October Scare quilt of your own, you can order the kit here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Have a Zero Tolerance Policy for Attitude

At forty five I feel I have lived a life far beyond my years. I feel that life's turns have tumbled me to where I am nowhere near what I thought I'd be "when I grew up". I studied hard, played hard and expected nothing but the best from myself, and for myself. You get not what you deserve, but what you work for and earn.

GP and I were at a local restaurant the other day and after the server had done one eye roll too many, one "What?" too many, and one "sigh" too many. I called her out. I did. It's been nagging at me for days. I can't let it go, and I know why. I have reached the end of my "Taking crap" line. Yep, I'm done

I have to tell you. I am so sick of people who think they are entitled to huff and puff at the "inconvenience" of having to write down "Lettuce and cheddar cheese only, croutons on the side, ranch dressing on the side, no garnish." I mean, really? Are you freakin' kidding me? Maybe the fact that I have spent MONTHS, teaching my son exactly how to phrase this so that he gets exactly what he wants, so he doesn't totally flip out and have an emotional meltdown at the table, has something to do with my zero tolerance for "attitude".

Teaching an autistic child independent living skills is no easy task. It means many, many embarrassing moments when the clerk stares at you with the "why don't you just tell me what you need lady, and leave the poor kid be?" look. It means you might get into a squabble right in front of the cashier because he refuses to figure out how much money he must give the person. It might mean that you hold up the line at the supermarket because you need him to count his change before he leaves, lest he be shortchanged. It's no small task. But one day I will be dead, and I know that he will be able to shop for groceries, make change, and eat out, among other things.

Children grow up and my once cute little boy is now turning into a young man, and because I have not had "autistic" tattooed on his forehead I have found that sometimes, some people, feel that they can treat him with contempt. It's subtle, but it's there. And I for one, will not stand for it. I think if more people were called out for their bad behavior they would stop being jerks. I think folks feel that they are safe hiding behind a badge and need to be called on it, so I am starting with the woman in the mirror.

The number of special needs children turning into adults with special needs is alarming. I guess everyone forgot that these kids grow up, and when they grow up they look just like anyone else, and if they are lucky, they talk and do things that everyone else does...except they do things in quirky ways.

Here's a hint, if someone is talking to you while staring at the table, they are probably NOT being rude, they are probably AUTISTIC. If someone is talking "at you" while on a cell phone, they are just being rude... see the difference? I was once at a restaurant where I actually told the server, "My son speaks English. Do you understand English?" Oh yes I did. She was some young Chickie whose every other word was "What?" and the more she, asked, the more GP flapped (stimming is an outward sign of happiness, distress, anxiety...); but I would NOT speak for him. I would sit there till the freakin' cows came home before I would say what I knew he could say. He could do it and he would, and I would not let that arrogant kid get away with being a jerk. Oh she clearly understood English, and after I called her out she "listened a little more carefully" and understood his order... I understand the need to have someone LOOK at you when they speak to you, I do. I struggle with it every day. I have a "Look at Mom" mantra going 24/7. But if the person is not looking at you, and clearly not distracted otherwise, wouldn't that be a clear sign that something is amiss with this person? Hello?????????????? The lack of empathy makes me angry.

If someone is telling you exactly how they want something, over and over and over. What would lead you to believe that of you keep asking the same question you won't get the same answer? "Do you want tomatoes on that?", "I want a cheese and lettuce salad with croutons on the side and ranch dressing on the side". So, you don't want onions on that?" "I I want a cheese and lettuce salad...." Hello? How many times do you need to hear the same sentence before your brain clicks to "ON" and tells you "This is a recording!" It drives me nuts. It's scripted language, it's obvious. It's so clear it could be water from a spring. Oh, OK...maybe not to everyone, but you really don't have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to get it, you really don't.

Scripted language is like a recording that helps autistic children cope with the anxiety of having to express their needs and wants to strangers. I don't expect everyone that I meet to know this. I just expect people who are in the service industry to realize that when someone is telling you exactly what they want and how they want it, you should just take them at their word and let them be. It's not rocket science. It's common sense.

So I had to vent and tell you that I now understand those angry old ladies that snap at people with very little provocation because I have turned into one of them. Be warned, if you are my server and you even glance at my son in any way that is not kind and caring, I will call you out on it. I will not sit there and pretend I don't notice because his life is too full of real challenges, he tries really hard to fit into "our" world, he is doing the best he can and if you can't or won't work with him, I'd like to see the manager because I have a zero tolerance policy for "attitude"!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Are you lovin' my sweet Nellie? I think she's the bomb. If you're not a primitive lover, you probably won't understand the love of primitive portraits. The little kids with the small bodies, thick necks and big heads are not for everyone but I tell you, I have a soft spot for these cuties For the longest time I have wanted to add one to my home but as you probably know by now, my house is tiny (and yes, I do mean that literally). When you have such a little house you have to be very picky with what you put in it, lest you end up on one of next season's episodes of Hoarders. I had looked and looked and had not found one that I loved so it was put on my home's "wish list". Then, in late Winter Cynthia Ereksen posted a Saturday workshop for a "Primitive Portrait" and sight unseen, I signed up.
I've never been disappointed in any of the pieces I have painted with Cynthia and this one was no exception. As soon as I saw her I knew it was just meant to be. Notice she is learning to stitch... coincidence? Nah. Destiny! She was meant for me to paint and was well worth the wait.Isn't she the cutest thing ever? Look at that sweet little face, and her fancy little dress. Oh, I just love her. Now I just have to find her a spot in my tiny little love shack; I know there's bound to be a spot for her... I just have to find it, LOL!

Hope you're month is on a roll too. Is it really the ninth already? Wow! Time does fly when you're having fun...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Down Winterberry Lane Kits , Done!

I can't believe I finally finished cutting these. OMG! What a task. For some reason I had not thought of how long it would take to cut all those fabrics and where all that time would have to be found; but somehow, someway, I completed this task. WOW! You have to trust me when I say there is no way I would ever, EVER, cut these kits again... just in case you were wondering. LOL! This was one of those, "what was I thinking?" jobs, and I am so happy that it's done.
For those patiently waiting for these kits, they are now posted. You can order yours here: Down Winterberry Lane Kits . Update: These kits have sold out!

April is National Autism Awareness Month

If this month doesn't end soon I am going to have a nervous breakdown!

That's all I'm sayin'...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Need to Share My Love of Roosters

Sometimes I see a pattern that makes me think of others; I see a "Team Effort" waiting to happen. That's what happened to me when I saw this quilt pattern. I thought, "that would make a great Block Swap" quilt. But man, I gotta tell you, sometimes you swap blocks and half of them are "WHAT?" Don't even pretend you don't know what I am talking about. You so do. If you have ever been in a block swap, ever, I KNOW you know what I am talking about! Don't even play it... I have yet to meet a swapper who hasn't been burned, at least once. OK, so here is what I propose. I am going to make this quilt and invite fifteen other quilters to join me, but because I have been burned in the past, I am only going to swap my little treasures with fifteen appliqué lovers who have experience (turn under or blanket stitch only, no zigzag stitches), and can commit to sharing only their best work. Best Work only!!!
If that's YOU, email me for details. pumpkinpatchprimitives@yahoo.com
This quilt is gorgeous. patterns can be preordered here: Creve Coer . You can order the pattern even of you're not in the swap. We won't be using the fabrics pictured.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Floorcloth, Done!

This Winter has been so hard. It really has. I feel like my poor heart has taken a beating, along with my little house. We are both recovering from a long hard season and I am sooo happy that it is behind us. Spring is playing tricks on us but this weekend it actually made an appearance and for that I am grateful.

I drove to the seacoast this weekend to paint a wonderful floorcloth at a seminar with Cynthia Erekson. It was a day of shared love and appreciation for painting. It was a little challenging to try a new surface (canvas) , and even more challenging to paint with folks that have so many more years of painting experience than I have, but all in all, I held my own and walked away with a beautiful piece for my home.

I will be framing it behind a window that still needs to be painted but having finished the main part, I feel that the rest is a breeze (famous last words!)

I hope your weekend was filled with fun and that you too are dreaming of warmer days when your spirits will soar by just standing outside in the sun without a jacket. I can't wait! Have fun this week!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Collecting Inspiration

I started collecting patterns way before I could sew. I also collected fabrics as a child might collect toys. They were not there to use, they were there to inspire. Patterns tell me that I can change what I have into what I want, and that is a good thing.

My collection of patterns is extensive. I have painting patterns, punch needle patterns, quilting patterns, rug hooking patterns, and the list goes on and on. Oh, I might note that I have tried my hand at all of these, at one time or another. I am an equal opportunity crafter. A good pattern is enough to bring me to purchase all the supplies needed for a project and even sign up for a class to learn how it's done. I have learned a lot about myself over the years from my patterns too. Going through them I have seen how my own sense of "style" (for lack of a better word) has evolved. I have gone from the tan goose on blue (don't even pretend you didn't have these in your house!) to a more eclectic mix that makes sense only to me, and that's OK because it's my house and I live here...surrounded by things that make my heart happy.

No longer strapped to rules or guidelines, I choose to use my quilting patterns to paint, my painting patterns to punch, and so on. A pattern is just a starting point, it's inspiration. I buy patterns for everything, not because I can't "figure it out" but because I don't want to "figure it out". I don't want to deconstruct that beautiful quilt. I want to look at it and think of where I can put it. Someone has already gone through the trouble of deconstructing it for me, making it and picturing it so that when I see it I stop, catch my breath and think, "I WANT that!". If I hadn't seen the quilt or pattern I would not have been inspired. Does that make sense to you? Do you follow me here? I might look at a pattern and find the next wall paint for my living room, my next wall hanging, my next painting. Regardless of what makes me stop and stare, I know that pattern was the root of my inspiration... so I buy it and save it, never ever giving myself a guilt trip for not making it (and truth be told, when I purge my patterns I might even be happy that I didn't make anything from that pattern. "What was I thinking?!", LOL!)

Today I read a blog post and the blogger stated that she never purchased patterns. She liked "designing" her own (based exactly on a published pattern). It made me stop and think of my own personal pattern collection and how I wish some of my favorite designers would never retire because their work inspires me. I hope that if you collect inspiration as I do, you would remember that those folks who design those patterns need to pay their mortgages and if they can't pay their bills, they can't spend all that time designing your inspiration. I don't know about you, but I need to be inspired, so I will continue to buy patterns and collect inspiration wherever I should find it. I don't "design" other people's work. I buy patterns and collect inspiration.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I was having such a bad March. I really was. It wasn't one thing, it was a SERIES of things. Ever have one of those months when you just can't see an end to your crisis? It is so overwhelming that you just want to stay in bed and pretend you're not home... as if GP and Pepperdog would not park themselves at my side and wonder when it's time for Dinner, but that's besides the point; if I didn't have people and/or pets at my bedside staring me down and/or barking at me for food, I could have done just that, pretend I wasn't home. It was soooo bad. And I am sooo not kidding. But cope I had to, and and cope I did; with a little help from my new best friend Pixie.

Oh yes I did. I went out and gifted myself a Pixie. If you are an Espresso fan you KNOW what this is, and if you are not an espresso person, then you just wouldn't understand.
This is not a coffeemaker, it is an espresso maker. And if you can't get out of bed, can't face the world, can't even bring yourself to get out of your jammies... a triple shot should do nicely. Oh yeah, add a little milk to lighten it up if you must. I tell you, this little baby goes the distance, and with Mother's Day coming up, I thought I'd let you all know that this is the gift that keeps on giving. Put it at the top of your list; you can thank me after you first triple shot.

Oh, I have no affiliation, no perks, nor have I received any form of compensation for this little blurb... I really do love my Pixie (pictured at home with all my "add ons"), and hey, if you're gonna go there, might as well get the frother, I mean really.

My bathroom leaked, the ceiling was ripped out, the roof (remember I just had the roof put in last Spring???) had to be sawed off and a new one put in, the inside gutted and rebuilt, and I had to move out of my house for a week, then when I came back the construction dust was so thick it seemed unsafe to even breathe. Now in recovery, my home is slowly coming back to inhabitable standards and I can face the challenge of working at it, a little at a time, thanks to Pixie. She is definitely the gift that keeps on giving. Gotta love that! =)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Are You Sure You're The Leader Of Your Pack?

I hope you're a Cesar Millan fan. I am. I love the guy. He runs with Pit Bulls calms yappy Chihuahuas. He teaches us to be the leaders of our pack.
As soon as Pepper The Puppydog came to live with us I was auto tuned to his show making sure she didn't play me. I didn't want a little Shih-Tzu walking all over me. I was going to show her who was boss and I was convinced I had done a good job... until recently, that is.
I've just realized that I have a pack of one. Me!
It only took me four years to figure out who leads her pack, and he's not home right now. LOL!
Don't worry Pepper, GP will be home in a few hours....

Friday, March 11, 2011

Nothing but Roosters in the Pumpkin Patch

I'm a woman on a mission. My mission is simple, to make it through this Winter. Wow, what a rough week. Ever have one of those weeks when it's nothing in particular, just the sum of all parts? I supposed we all have them.
This week was full of challenges that I somehow manages to survive but let's just recap the good: we had a sunny Tuesday. And how the heck do I remember that? It was the only sunny day this week, that's how! The bad: The week began with a rainstorm that made my bathroom roof leak and then dentist left me with a throbbing tooth that still hurts after four days. The ugly: I tried a new stylist and she gave me a REALLY bad haircut! Well that's when I just decided that I was done. I would just call it a week! It was so bad I had to go out and buy some Jelly Belly Beans. You know it's bad if I make a special trip to the mall to buy Jelly Belly Beans... Yeah, it was a rough week, but it's Friday so I am putting it behind me and moving on to show and tell. This is what I did this week while I was waiting for the stars to align themselves again, I worked on some roosters. Gotta love Craft Therapy.
Here's Rooster #7 Rooster#8Rooster #9: I think I might actually have these done before the end of the month. Only three more to go!!!
I decided to redo one of the roosters because I just realized that in order to keep the backgrounds in the same order as the pattern I would have to have a rooster facing the wrong way, and my OCD just wont allow that kind of transgression. I'm bad like that... so, I am now redoing it. No biggie. I think I'll be done with all the applique by next week, now if I could only get motivated to put them all together, that might be the hardest part of this project. HMMM. I have to psyche myself up for that. Piecing is just not my thing. Gotta work on that. ;)
Hope your work was not a total bust too. I know my sun must be hanging out somewhere so if you have it, please do send it back...
PS: If you'd like to start your own Seeing Roosters quilt,

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I've been Seeing Roosters

Lots and lots of them!
While I was away I wanted to make sure I did not have to spend any more hours on infomercials than necessary. Not being one to pack more than one suitcase for both of us (yes, that's two people, one suitcase, regardless of how long our stay will be). I had to find something that would fit, something that wasn't going to bore me to tears, and something that was effortless. I literally rummaged through my "project basket" where you will find countless number of projects in different stages of completion, and pulled out "The Rooster Project". HMMM. Maybe this one will work.
All I needed to take this with me was a scissor (some pieces were fused and cut, some were just fused, but all were ironed so there would be no tracing or "paper work" involved), then I needed some black Perle Cotton (one color for all twelve block, gotta love that), and a pack of needles (JIC I lose the one I am using, it's been known to happen). Ready.
I trimmed all my blocks the first couple of nights, then I fused some blocks and started stitching away. By the time I got back I had three completed blocks. Last weekend I worked on three more and TADA! Look what I have...
And what will I make with all these Roosters? Well a wall quilt, of course!
I'm hoping mine will look like this when it is completed. It is such a great project. It's easy to follow the pattern, the tools needed are few. The finished product will be a dream. What more could I want from a take along project? Nothing! I am loving this journey, and I'm half way there. Stay tuned for the final chapter on this one. =)

Monday, February 28, 2011

It's All a Blur

Winter is particularly challenging for me personally. It's the lack of sunshine, the excess of snow, the cold weather that chills me to the core and the inability to make my son's days "fun" that make just hanging in there such a struggle. Fortunately for me, I have a long term plan that helps me through this "end of Winter" hurdle. It's called a Time Share. It's a Winter option that I have, if I can muster the courage to go.
For years I have hated my property because it has seen me at my worst and most vulnerable. It is a place where I meet autism head on and dare it to break me. Invariably, it beats the sh** out of me, but I dress my wounds and try again. Three years in a row GP broke my glasses while I was there. The nearest optometrist being a 45 minute drive, longer when you can't see where you are going. Oh wait, there was the year when he didn't BREAK my glasses he knocked them over and they fell into the baseboard! I had four men in the apt looking for my tiny wire rimmed glasses in a tan colored room. It took them a long time to find them but they did. My heroes! One year GP decided he liked the outdoor hot tub and went out at 6am to stand in the snow in his jammies watching it. You have no idea what it feels like to wake up in an apartment in the middle of the White Mountains (that pic is the view from my unit's porch) and discover your child is missing... and when it happens more than once??? The second time he was found standing by the pool, fortunately he had not jumped in, he was three or four at the time. It was so early, that's all I remember; it was so cold, and so early. By the third time he was spotted in the wee hours of the morning I was called to collect him (by then everyone knew of the little boy who was lost TWICE before), and a chain was put on my apt door to keep him in. I used a suitcase after the first time, a chair after the second. At the time we lived in a dead bolted house, and a card key entry was like an open invitation to wander. As I always say, my son is autistic, he isn't stupid! Needless to say, the chain was unnecessary, that day I simply packed up and went home. I was done. Remember GP was non verbal, non communicative. So you could ask him his name, where he Mommy was, and you would see nothing but a little boy who seemed like he was deaf... lost in thought.
Every year for one week, I would pull my son out of our home where he was safe and sound and take him to the Mountains. Every single year, something would happen. Something bad. In time it came to be an apartment full of bad memories, and I couldn't go there. I couldn't sell it though. I couldn't. I refused. I would not accept defeat. I just stopped going, but I paid it off and like a nest egg, just let it rest.

Last year we changed management companies and spent an extraordinary amount of money on renovations. After writing a check that rivaled my mortgage payment I decided it was time to go see what had been done. I dressed myself in courage and set off to face my fears.
I psyched myself up, and set off with GP. I knew I was "home" when I closed the door and the chain was still there. That chain is was like a scar, a battle scar. I caught myself standing there, staring at it and reliving that horrible stay so many years ago. But it didn't kill me and I was back. Stronger, wiser and ready for the challenge.
How much my dear boy had changed. How happy he was to be there. He was talking, choosing restaurants, making our schedule. Now he was planning sightseeing drives and checking show times at the local cinema. He was not waking up at 5am to wander in the night. He was sleeping in. I don't remember everything we did that week, it's all a blur... which is really a good thing. You know the saying, "No news is good news" ? That applies here. If nothing stands out, it just means it was all good. =)
They say that time heals all wounds but I am here to tell you that some wounds heal leaving scars so deep that you just have to stop pretending you don't see them. You have to stare at them and know that what has not killed you, has made you stronger. In my case, I faced my fear and this time, this week, I stared autism in the face and said Screw YOU!
I lived through it and if you are where I was, know that you too will live through this. It matters not what your challenge is. If you can make it through today, you have won. B.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Day at JB Woods

JB Woods is a company that makes one of my favorite things in the world, unfinished wood painting surfaces. Oh, I could hear my heart thumping as I walked the isles of their warehouse and thought of all the hours I could spend in painting bliss if someone would just lock me up there with some paint (and jelly belly beans). Oh, the treasures in the making that they had on their shelves...
Ahhh, I was in heaven. And, I was in good company, as you can see.I spent the day painting with Cynthia Erekson and a group of ladies who shared my love for her work. We painted her Lazy Lamb Farm design on a Workbench Widget Box. My box is still a work in progress (just call me Chatty Brenda, OK?), but you can see how cool it's going to look in the pic above. Cynthia is holding her sample, the pic doesn't do it justice. It was amazing.
Here is what I have done so far:and here is a close up of my little guy fishing. The coolest thing about painting with Cynthia is that her designs are fast, fun and easy. All her patterns have a story and this one was that the little man was fixing the fence (see the toolbox and all the broken fence parts in the scene???) but he was taking a break and decided he was going to spend it fishing. I never think of a painting as being a story but when I paint with her she always has one and I think that's part of what makes her work so wonderful. It's storytelling at its finest.
I'll post a pic of the box as soon as it's done. Hopefully later today.
Gotta finish it before it becomes an UFO or worse, I lose one of the parts... not that THAT's ever happened to me, LOL!
Hope your weekend is full of fun too.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Retail Therapy

We all have those moments. We can either, eat, smoke, drink or shop.
I'm too fat to eat, it was too hard to quilt smoking to start up again, I'm too upset to drink, so I went shopping! Yeah, I have those days... and if nothing else works, I put on the snow boots and trek on over to the Burlington Mall for some Retail Therapy.
Yesterday I got new glasses, new Sunglasses, and an estimate on my bathroom remodel. Not only am I blind as a bat but my arm and leg will belong to the contractor effective immediately.
The snow has turned to ice and the ice is hanging over my brand new gutters and it's looking like they might not make it, the bathroom window sprung a leak, the light on my car says "oil change" and my son's trainer took the day off so I drove all the way to the Health Club to bicker with GP who is telling me, "You are not my trainer!" as if I didn't know! I slipped on the ice and fell on my *** in front of my house, and I thought, "That's it! Stick a fork in me, I'm done!" so, I
decided I'd get a jump on Spring and buy some lovelies for myself, some chocolates for grandpa and call it a day. I almost forgot what a crappy week I'm having until I turned on the TV and realized my Direct TV is still not working (Ice on the roof)... but I'm going to finish packing some orders and think of Spring. It's HAS to come soon, I don't know how much more of this I can take! Hope your day was better than mine. May your cable be working, your bathroom not leak, your car light stay off, and your butt stay dry this week, LOL!
Hang in there and remember, if nothing else works, there's always Retail Therapy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Now Why The Heck Didn't I Think Of That?

Ever have one of those moments? I have them often but rarely when it comes to GP because I swear, I never stop thinking of ways to improve his quality of life. I try to always stay one step ahead of the challenges he will face when doing one thing or another but when I saw this video I had one of those moments.
I know many of you have children with Special Needs and I hope this will help someone who is just now reaching this crossroad. I have been there, done that; and I remember how sad I was when I gave away his first bicycle, then his second and lastly when I told Gino if he bought him a new bike I would lay it out in the middle of the road.... denial is a terrible thing.
I also remember the joy in my son's eyes when he finally, at the age of fourteen, got on a tricycle and zoomed through a store where there was an adult size tricycle on display. It took him five minutes to figure out how to go in a straight line but not once did he fall off. It was amazing. He did not want the tricycle that day, but every time we go to that store he looks for it and rides it and I am confident that one day he will muster the courage to take it home, knowing he will not fail., as he did so many times when he tried to ride a bike (he doesn't even want to try those,, and I will NEVER ask him to). I wait patiently, for that day that he will want to bring that tricycle home because although I did not think to remove the pedals from his stupid bicycles (I'm not bitter, do I sound bitter?), I did think that a tricycle would put the wind in his hair and a smile on his face... and it did.
Now it's just a matter of time before he decides the isles are not long enough ,
I can't wait! =)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

If you have never suffered the Winter Blues or been clinically depressed you just would not understand how hard this is to believe sometimes. When the days turn into weeks and you have not seen the sun's bright shiny light you start to feel helpless and hopeless. Every single little problem gets blown up and seems insurmountable. Really. It's hard to explain and even harder to think that a rational person who otherwise seems perfectly happy and content, would feel absolute despair because of the weather, but it's true. It's called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and although it can be treated (Change all your light bulbs, buy a sunlamp!), it cannot be cured.
I read a story yesterday about a young girl who committed suicide and no one knows why. "She seemed happy, she was a happy girl" ,stuck with me all day and I thought of her and how no one will ever know what happened, and how every Winter for as long as I can remember I think and have to consciously remind myself that "The sun will come out tomorrow"... and how God knows when you have had enough and if only you hang in there, just one more day, just one more dawn...it does. My heart breaks for those parents and for that girl who was too young to know you just have to hang in there ... the sun WILL come out, and you WILL survive this (whatever this is!)
Today it's sunny in NH, the calm before the storm. If you are feeling tired and blue, sit outside in the sun for a little while. I will be stepping out into the cold to recharge my soul with hope and will count my blessings that someone told me, a long time ago, that "the sun will come out tomorrow", and it was true. I look out my window and it's there, proof that there is a God and he knows when I've had enough. I feel blessed. =)
Hope your day is filled with sunshine, but if it's not, remember... the sun will come out tomorrow.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Who is Martin Luther King Jr?

That is the question I ask GP every single year before declaring Martin Luther King Jr a No Home school day. The way I see it, if you don't know who he was you have no business getting the day off. Yep, my house, my rules.
Last year my Prince declared, "I can't remember" when asked this question and I quickly replied, "Well, let's find out!" and we went on to a two hour MLK Jr tutorial. Last night when I asked the same question, my son did not skip a beat and he gave me the
condensed version, the cliff notes of all answers. "He says, "No violence!"", he replied and for the first time ever my son has the day off without a MLK Jr refresher course. Gotta love that!
Yes, Martin Luther King Jr did many things for our country and said many things worth noting but if my son remembers one single thing about this great civil rights leader and it's that he stood for "No violence!" well, that's good enough for me.
My job here is done. I feel so accomplished, it's the little things that make me happy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

We Have A Winner!

Congratulaions to Tanya Grimm for being the lucky winner of the Winter Wonderland flannel Sweet Sixteen Bundle. I know you will love it!
Thank you ladies for joining in the fun and sharing your love of the snow with those of us who are burried in it. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend that does not include shoveling .

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's a Winter Wonderland in NH!

So why not have a Winter Wonderland Giveaway? Hello!

Yes, we've been hit hard with TONS of snow in my little state but I'm thinking, "it's all good". We're home, we have food, we have electricity, we have cable TV! Woo-HOO! Doesn't take much to make me happy these days and I'm sharing my Winter joy with all those who choose to see their cups as half full, and giving away a Sweet Sixteen bundle of Winter Wonderland Flannels. Twenty-two pieces in all, prints and plaids of yummy Maywood flannels that will surely chase your Winter Blues away and remind you of the beauty of this magical season.
To enter all you have to do is tell me why you love SNOW... If you hate the snow or have nothing nice to say about it well, just don't enter the giveaway. We'll have no party poopers!

Anonymous entries will be deleted. Ladies, if you don't want me to know who you are then why do you want me to send you a prize? I don't get that! If you have a no-reply, just be sure to leave an email in your comment.
To all FB followers, you can enter this giveaway even if you entered the FB giveaway, yes...there are two bundles one on FB and one here... I'm good like that.
I'll draw the winners on Friday night, after we are all shoveled out.

If we reach 100 comments on this post I'll throw in a third Sweet Sixteen Bundle of Winter Wonderland Flannels...because I think everyone secretly loves the white stuff, they just don't want to admit it!
Come out of the closet you snow lovin' folks, I know you're out there!!! Let's celebrate this Winter Wonderland! Happy Noreaster!
If you do not have an email on your blogger profile or you have a not enabled your profile and you have not left an email in your post your comment will be deleted! I wont "hunt you down" to give you a prize... sorry, not gonna happen!
Multiple posts will also be deleted.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Table for Two, Now in Stock!

Remember this cutie? No, not me...the awesome runner!
It's called A Table for Two! It was one of my favorite Fall Market finds and they just arrived. I'm thrilled to have them in stock. You can order your copy HERE!
I love this one, and I know you will too!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Birds of a Feather

We flock together!
Last night I met my friend Lynn at Gibbit Hill for our post holiday dinner. With the craziness of the holidays we decided we'd get together after things had settled down and we could enjoy each other's company without having to rush because we had something to do.
Lynn and I met online, blogging. She paints and loves primitives, and although we live in different states we're only an hour's drive from each other. You gotta love that.
I'm working on my commitments folks, making time for myself, check!
Hope your weekend is going well and that you too are making time to celebrate your life. Have fun!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Time to Pay the Piper!

According to freedictionary.com this means:
to accept the unpleasant results of something you have done, pay the price.
According to me it simply means: OWN IT!

Yep, I went to TX where my Mom waited for me frying pan in hand and pork in the oven... If you've ever had Puertorrican food you know exactly what I'm talking about and you are just grinning. If you have never had Puertorrican food, well, I don't know why on earth you would be fat, LOL! Yeah, it's bad for you. HAHAHA.

After only one week in TX, and shortly before Christmas my subconscious was already screaming and saying, "STOP! STOP!" but my Mom continued to pull out favorites from her recipe bank and well, you know what they say, "You don't eat this every day..." Or is it just my Mom that says that? HMMM. I hope not, LOL! Well, let's just say that when I had the first nightmare, that I had gained TEN pounds, I started to think maybe it was time to start eating out. You know it's bad when Wendy's is the low cal option... but being the good daughter that I am, I ate all of my Mom's food, and then some of my Sister's Lasagna, (are you seeing a pattern here? Do I have a crappy support system or what? LOL!) and pretended I was not being BAD, really BAD!

As soon as I got home, knowing that the day of atonement was fast approaching (Ahem, can you say personal trainer?), I dusted off the Nutrasystem boxes and and thawed out the frozen veggies, I hooked up the H2O I.V. and prayed for a miracle.

God, knowing I am good, granted me a reprieve and just five days after arriving home I am happy to report that I held steady. Weight loss zero, weight gain ZERO! Hello! (No, I am not telling her how I paid the piper, I did my time and I am now back on track. Hooray!

Have you paid the piper yet?

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I love New Year's day. I feel as if I have been given a new opportunity to set my life back on the path that I strayed from somewhere along the way. I find myself cutting myself some slack, giving myself a break so to speak. And once again trying to commit to doing right, by and to myself.I have to admit that every year I make a list of things I want to accomplish. Not unlike half the people in the USA, I too make Resolutions. A resolutions is no different from a commitment but we don't call it a commitment because then it would imply that we MUST accomplish this goal and not that we "intend" on accomplishing this goal. A Resolution is an intent, a Commitment is a commitment, no way around it. Intend and commit?
Not the same thing.
So this year I will not resolve but I will Commit to doing right by Me, and for Me. I will Commit to cutting myself some slack, I will commit to being a Mom AND a woman, I will commit to setting aside time for Myself, regardless of the chaos in my life. I will commit to starting my journey back to Myself. I will commit to help myself as much as I help others.

There, I said it. I wrote it, I own it! For some reason I am thinking that Resolving to lose 100 pounds sounded easier than my short list but hey, this year I'm going all out. At 45 it's time to step it up and Go Big.
Now if I could only find my Big Girl undies I might feel more confident... wish me luck and tell me what you are ready to commit to. Happy New Year!