Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Breaking my Break

O.k. Sweets....I know I'm on a break of sorts but I HAVE to share this incredible story with you about my very best friend in the whole world, Marianna Teller, and her sweet family. This is one of those stories that is so touching, so heartbreaking and so inspiring all at once.

Background information is that Marianna is my oldest and dearest friend. We became close as freshman in high school when we connected at a church youth group we both attended. Our parents informed us that we had gone to Sunday School together as 4-year-olds at a different church both families attended when we were itty-bitty. When we saw photos of one another at around age 4 we both remembered the other one! I remembered her long, blonde hair that her mother often styled in beautiful curls and she remembers my long, brown hair. As high schoolers we were inseparable. We remained close until she moved away for a bit in early college but when she moved back at the end of college, we got an apartment together and were roommates until I got married in 2000. Marianna is a "forever friend," and if you have one, you know what I mean. We were in one another's weddings and rejoiced with one another over the birth of our children. She's the girl I can not talk to for months at a time and then pick up where we left off as if no time has passed.

Marianna has a 3-year-old, Andrew, who has cerebral palsy, as well as 1-year-old, Michael. At Andrew's birth, Marianna and Andrew both almost died but miraculously, they both lived. It was a frightening time for all of us. But due to balls dropped by medical professionals involved Andrew was without oxygen long enough during the birth process that he sustained a baby-sized stroke(s) and this caused his cerebral palsy. Marianna and her husband are among the strongest people I have ever known and have been through incredible, unexplainable pain, frustration and difficulty. Throughout it they have stuck together, stood by Andrew, advocated for him in every possible way, and all this while Marianna's husband works on his doctorate at Nortre Dame. It kills me to not live in the same town as Marianna...we live in Central California...and to only be able to support her by phone and email. She is my biggest hero and I love her husband and sons to death!

That's why it was horrible to hear that they were victimized. A scrap metal thief stole the wheelchair lift that had been designated for their Andrew from the non-profit agency that was helping them get this lift. Can you believe that? After all they've been through. But look at how even this has turned out for the good and not only that we can all contribute to it, as well.

Double-click on the link below to watch this incredible t.v. news story about Marianna and her family:

p.s. Keep in mind that itty-bitty little Mama carrying that big "little man" around is MAYBE 100 pounds when soaking wet and just barely taller than me at about 5'2. This lift is not just a's a necessity! But I am praying that they are able to get one, not just for Marianna's and Andrew's sake but also because of the emotional need that a gift like that could fill. Just imagine...strangers caring enough to help. That is what brings me to tears. Incredible, isn't it?

I'm going to forward any comments you leave to Marianna, Sweets, so if you don't mind, will you leave the comments for Marianna? I'd love that!

Thank you all in advance for your sweet comments, support and even financial support if you feel led to send it. There's an address on that news story but if by chance that link stops working and you need the address for the fund again, just pop me an email and I'll send it to you.


Monday, March 24, 2008

A Little Hiatus...

Hello, Sweet Bloggy Pals! Did you have a lovely Easter? I hope so! Much fun was had by all in my little clan but I have to say I am breathing a big sigh of relief....PHEW... What with the little tea party and then Easter so close together, I'm exhausted.

And so I am going to take a bit of a break...from blogging, from custom orders and from the computer, to an extent. If you have already placed an order or if you and I have been talking about an order you're about to place, don't you worry! I'm going to of course fill those orders. But I won't be taking new (custom) orders for about 3 weeks...probably mid-April sometime. You may of course buy things from my etsy shoppe during that time and I will ship promptly, just like usual, but I won't have anything "custom" in my shoppe during this little hiatus. I may pop on here with some pics of swaps, both given and recieved during this time "away," but I won't be blogging regularly.

This little break will be good for me, I think! Though I can't take a vacation from life, I can and do give myself small breaks...going out to coffee with a friend, wandering JoAnn's in circles like a crazy dog we once had who just ran laps around our backyard until he'd have to stop and take a nap. I think it's important that we give ourselves permission to drop some balls where we can sometimes. And this is one ball I ADORE, love and completely enjoy, but that CAN be dropped for a little while. My friend, Analise, has been on a little break from her blog and shoppe, and listening to her talk about what that break means for her, I am optimistic that time away from a lot of the blogging/selling part of things may give me a new, fresh take on what I do. I hope I come back positively BURSTING with new ideas and OVERFLOWING with creative inspiration.

But besides taking a break for a break's sake, I am going to be preparing for something new and exciting that is coming up that I can't tell you about quite yet.... OH I know I can't stand it when people say that but I DO want you to be a bit curious about what it is hehe! Isn't that mean??? ;) And believe me, I'm totally DYING to tell you all about it. For those of you who "know" me in real life, I'M NOT PREGNANT! Have to just say that!! This is a new venture in my little "business" that I am a bit nervous about but really, really excited about and thrilled to be part of. Mysterious and intriguing, is it not?? Hehehe (evil laugh)... So I'll be back in a few weeks to tell you more!

I'll be responding to emails so please don't hesitate to comment here and/or email me during my little "break"!


Friday, March 21, 2008

Six for Tea

The tea party is over and what a success! All six friends arrived, dolls were seated at their tiny table, girls' hats were decorated, tea was drunk, cake was nibbled (think 4-year-old girls...I DO mean "nibbled"!), gifts were torn apart, Polly Pockets were spread far and wide and fun was had by all.

Want to see?? I knew you would, Sweets! So here's the party....
Emily and Rachel (on the right), waiting for Rachel's guests to arrive!
My girls and I decorated tiny straw hats for each of the guests' dolls and had them ready when the guests arrived with their dolls. We sat each dolly guest at a tiny tea table while their "mamas" partied...

Here's Rachel's doll, Belle, enjoying tea with her guests...
Here's Mr. Jangles who was seated next to Baby Jesus...gotta love the names kids give their lovies!
Each girl got one of these plain white straw hats that my sweet friend Pat sent. Then each girl got to choose what ribbons, flowers and other trims she wanted me to use to decorate it with. And although I still don't know exactly what my swap partner's hat is going to look like (The Derby Hat Swap), the HOURS (yes, hours!) of studying hats of all styles and eras has finally paid off! Or maybe I was a milliner in a past life?? I don't know but I had a little too much fun with these! As soon as everyone had a yummy hat, it was time for tea...Rachel is drinking out of a new tea cup and saucer I gave her!

Then it was time for opening presents!Raychie gave a gift to each of her guests. I've been saving this sweet vintage graphic for something special and I realized it was just PERFECT for the tea party!!!

Daddy decorated the cake while I did my hair. Thank you, Daddy!!!! He did such a great job.

Happy 4th Birthday, Rachel!
See the little chocolate "cup" the ice cream is nested in? We made these for each girl, using a great recipe from Sandy of Quill Cottage! Thank you so much, Sandy! This was perfect for the tea party.

The birthday girl with her Aunt Laura who was INDISPENSIBLE at the party...not sure how I would have pulled it off without Laura, my husband and my wonderful mother-in-law.That's my sweet girl!

That sweet smile is all the reward I need for all my hard work! Sweet Success!

(this photo of one of my favorite teacups was taken by my sister, Whitney, at the party! I'm thinking I need a print of this to frame!)

Now for a relaxing evening full of Polly Pockets and pizza...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Day-Before-the-Party Preparations

Just a peek at what's going on over here today... Twenty-four hours 'til the big tea party! Miss Raychie is very excited! Aunt Laura is here and she took the girls outside to play around with the camera. We're busy but we're having fun. Frankly, I'm in my element when I'm planning a fun little girly-sweet party like this one! Flowers, ribbons and tuling for decorating straw hats at the party tomorrow. These roses are from Wal Mart, Sweets...aren't they great? The little wooden flower pots are from Cost Plus World Market and you can see the pink party favor bags not quite finished.We're going to decorate the dolls' hats later today and I've got all my pretty trims and tiny flowers standing ready.
A sweet tea set for the dolls' table...this is actually one I have had since I was a little girl and I carefully packed it away for my own daughter(s) years ago and JUST found it in a box when we moved in!
And lest you think everything is pretty and pink around here, Mr. Mud Monster will tell you otherwise!!! My sweet mama came over with flowers to plant around the front door and of course Andrew wanted to dig, too....

Well that's it for now! Back to work I go...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Yummy Monday...on Tuesday!

Happy Monday, Sweets.... on Tuesday! Once again I'm a bit late with this week's Yummy Monday much going on here and I am honestly a bit overwhelmed. All fun stuff, of course! A lot of this is due to me saving things 'til the last minute and feeling the strain of it all piling up on top of one another. I'm jumping through a few too many hoops, Sweets....they are pretty hoops and I do enjoy the jumps....but a girl gets a bit weary if she doesn't take a rest now and again! Want to hear what I'm up to?? :)

Well....since you asked...My mother and I are brainstorming about a cake for Rachel's birthday party Friday, which as you may remember is going to be a "Tea Party." We think we have it figured out...we're going to bake a bundt cake and then put something in the center of the cake in the hole and then set a little teapot up on top of that something BEFORE icing/decorating the cake. This will create the illusion of the teapot actually sitting ON the cake without risking the cake getting smashed by the weight of the teapot.

I'm also still figuring out the details of the party itself. It's going to be quite the little photo opportunity, what with all the girls dressed up and drinking "tea" out of real teacups!
Between now and Friday, I'm going to be getting my house a bit cleaner and of course picked up before the party, putting treat bags together, making sure I have all the elments ready for decorating both the girls' table, as well as the dolls' table (each girl is going to bring a doll and THEY are going to have tea, as well!) and working out all sorts of other details that go into a little party. HOW IS IT that I forget that parties are so much work? I was beginning to wonder if this was all just too much but then Emily, my six-year-old was reminiscing out loud about a couple of her birthday parties and how great they were. That took care of any equivocations I might have had! THAT is why I put so much work into these little affairs....the memories my girls can hold on to in the future!
I've also got several swaps on the brain and have little bits and bobs and pretties arriving in the mail each day in readiness for these fun swaps. It is quite inspiring to be surrounded by lovely elements for these projects. The bunnies are part of my Easter/Spring decorating but they just hopped on over and sat down on the vintage satin seam binding!I also got a fun surprise in the mail...a sweet giveaway I won at Sarah Keith's yummy blog! Can't wait to relax with some tea this evening and page through these magazines. And look at the gorgeous tag she made. I think I'm going to use it as focal point in a project I have going that I am not ready to show you quite yet.Thank you, Sweet Sarah!

Well it's that time, Sweets! YUMMY MONDAY time! Since I've got creative bits, bobs, doo-dads and thingies on the brain, I thought I'd share some of what is inspiring me.

Hop on in my little cyber car, Sweet Friend, and away we go....
YUMMY THING ONE: Pure Silver Glitter by Pretty Petals
First and foremost....glitter! This is the ONLY glitter I want to use for the rest of my crafting life! Well o.k....maybe in heaven when I'm working at that Great Big Crafting Table in the Sky I will be using pure diamond dust. But until then I'll be quite happy with Sweet Miss Heather's version! ;)

YUMMY THING TWO: Pink Dresden Wings by MemrieMare
Pink wings??? Need I say more???
YUMMY THING THREE: Cabbage Roses Ribbon by Memriemare
What yummy ribbons. The colors, as well as the presentation are just DELICIOUS.
YUMMY THING FOUR: Jeune Mariee Beautiful Scraps by Memriemare
So beautiful...
These lovely ribbon roses are handmade and make my heart beat faster just thinking about them! YUMMY THING SIX: Large Lace Package by Collage Artist
What a lovely pile of gorgeous-ness...
You must check out this store. Holy Smokes! Some vintage, some hand-dyed...but all GORGEOUS.

YUMMY THING EIGHT: Vintage Lace on a Spindle by Vintage 1955

There's something about old spindles. And put some vintage trim on them and....let's just say, "You had me at SPINDLE." (Jerry McGuire reference there, in case you're wondering if I've officially gone off the deep end)

If you haven't checked out Alpha Stamps, you MUST. So much more than stamps!

Alpha Stamps also has some really incredible collage sheets. But this one is really making my mouth water...
Hope this trip was even a little bit inspiring for you, Sweets! Happy creating!!!
p.s. Once I get my head above water, I promise I'm going to have a bit of a shoppe update for you!