Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Different Christmas Poem

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear..
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.."

"  So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

From:   LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Read Along ~ Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

Hey Gang, guess what!  I'm hosting another Read Along. 

This time we will be reading Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

Princess Margrethe has been hidden away while her kingdom is at war. One gloomy, windswept morning as she stands in a convent garden overlooking the icy sea, she witnesses a miracle: a glittering mermaid emerging from the waves, a nearly drowned man in her arms. By the time Margrethe reaches the shore, the mermaid has disappeared into the sea. As Margrethe nurses the handsome stranger back to health, she learns that not only is he a prince, he is also the son of her father's greatest rival. Sure that the mermaid brought this man to her for a reason, Margrethe devises a plan to bring peace to her kingdom.

Meanwhile, the mermaid princess Lenia longs to return to the human man she carried to safety. She is willing to trade her home, her voice, and even her health for legs and the chance to win his heart….

A surprising take on the classic tale, Mermaid is the story of two women with everything to lose. Beautifully written and compulsively readable, it will make you think twice about the fairytale you heard as a child, keeping you in suspense until the very last page.

If you missed my first read along you can see the posts by clicking HERE.

How will this read along work? 
On Wednesday, January 11th I will post some questions for the first 1/4 of the book you have until the following Monday to answer the questions in a comment.  I will put your name in a pot and select a weekly winner on the following Tuesday.  The prizes will be one of the following, a PBS credit, a $5 Gift Certificate from Amazon or a handmade item. 

I am really excited about this read along and would love it if you would join, I've already started working on the prizes and I've got a few other fun things to post along with the questions.  Please share this with anyone you know that would love to Read Along with us. 

Proposed Schedule
Jan 11th Part 1 (Chapters 1-8) Questions Posted
Jan 16th Part 1 Answers Due
Jan 17th Part 1 Winner Announced
Jan 18th Part 2 (Chapters 9-16) Questions Posted
Jan 23rd Part 2 Answers Due
Jan 24th Part 2 Winner Announced
Jan 25th Part 3 (Chapters 17-End) Questions Posted
Jan 30th Part 3 Answers Due
Jan 31st Part 3 Winner Announced

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Swap on the Circle of Friends

I have just announced my newest swap at The Circle of Friends a wonderful group of women who enjoy swapping art and chatting.  So if this sounds like something you would like please come join us.

The swap is to create a tag with the theme, Dead Authors, you get to choose and depict it anyway you like.  Then you will mail the tags to me and I will compile them all in a pocket book.  I have created a template and attached the pocket but only so participants know what kind of 3D elements will work, decorating/creating the pocket isn't part of the participants job, that's mine.

I am really looking forward to starting the new year off with a wonderful swap.  If you have any questions please let me know or come on over and chat with the ladies.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Birthday Gifties...what I made and sent to my fabulous Mother

Last week was my Gorgeous Mother's birthday. 

 I wanted to send her something special and something that she would use. I've mentioned before how much I love Savon Marie's hand made soaps so I started there, got her Lisette in pale pink scented with Lavender (my mother's favorite).

To go with this fabulous soap I decided to make a handmade towel.  I fell in love with the tan and pink fabric and searched high and low for a match (I got as close as I could).  The towel is double sided so the pretty pattern is on both sides and the ruffle and monogram are of the same fabric. 

I got a call from my mother the other night and she was thrilled with her gift which makes me so happy.

If you would like to treat yourself or someone special in your life with this towel then hop on over to my Etsy store where I have one on sale right now.  Mention this blog post and I'll take $2 off!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Art Share ~ Bobbi Ann, A Marie Christmas Tea Cup Swap

A few days ago a shared with y'all a little tease of what I was sending to my Marie Antoinette Swap Partner.  The swap was for a Tea cup, our favorite tea, a handmade ornament and a cookie Recipe.  Well, Bobbie Ann sent me these wonderful goodies.

She sent not one but 2 ornaments.  This one is a beaded crystal.  I have never seen anything like it nor can I even begin to imagine how much work it was to get the design and shape right.

And here is the second ornament (at least I think that's what it is, whatever it is it is stunning!)  I just love the soft pink pearls she added and all the silver bling. 

Here is a close up of the lovely cup she sent (I am saving the detail pictures for Tea Cup Tuesday).  It is a Paragon design and I just love it!  And she sent me English Breakfast Tea, in the loose form so I can make it good and strong.  It's one of my favorites. 

Bobbie Ann also sent 2 recipes which you all know I am going to try.  She sent a Honey Nut Butter Balls and Toffee Bars recipe.  I'm thinking this weekend is going to be a big kitchen weekend for me.

Thank you so much Bobbie Ann, I love everything.  The ornaments are on the tree, my cup is safely tucked away in my display case all washed and ready for a cup of tea this rainy afternoon. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ain't I a tease! A Marie Antoinette Mail Art sneak peek

It's that time again, time for me to mail out another Marie Antoinette Mail Art Group Swap.  This time it is a Christmas English Tea Cup Swap and this package is on it's way to my partner right now!

I wanted to make the mailing box look like an actual package, so I hand painted a ribbon on.  Added some glitter and of course a Marie stamp.

Inside this box is the handmade ornament I made her.

And inside all of these boxes and baggies are wonderful goodies I made or purchased for my partner.  Don't you wish you could rip into them!

I'll be back to share what's in them once my partner receives them, after all shouldn't she get the first look ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Art Share ~ Sandy P. a Circle of Friends Memeber

The Circle of Friends has once again brightened my day.  Our Fearless leader Sandi with an i organizes monthly secret swappers where we are each assigned one member to send goodies to.  This month Sandy P. was my secret partner and she out did herself!  A crystal mermaid container, vintage lace bits, sea glass (oh my I love this stuff and will have to find more!), a darling little angel for my angels and she made a matchbox and button flowers.

Sandy knows how much I love mermaids and she said in her note that she had found this fabulous crystal container and set it aside just for me.  I am going to fill it with some of my paper clay mermaids I use all the time in my art. 

She made these fabulous button flowers that I just can't get enough of!  I am setting aside bits and pieces so that my daughter and I can make a bunch while she is on holiday break.  They are so simple but yet they add so much to a project or in my case I put them in a skinny Chrystal vase and they are just too perfect!

But Sandy didn't stop there, she also created this lovely mini matchbox that she filled with miniature goodies! 

I feel so spoiled and love everything and can't wait to get to play with all the mini goodies she sent me!  Thank you so much Sandy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Art Share ~ Mary

A few days ago I started sharing the wonderful swap pieces I have received from the Handmade Christmas Ornament swap Cassandra of An Artful Adventure hosted.  Today, I share the last set I received. 

This set is from Mary of The Damsel of Distress

She wrapped everything in a vintage sewing pattern tied with a gorgeous blue ribbon and included a stunning bleached and died bottle brush tree (I just love these things!)

On top of that each ornament was slipped into a clear cellophane bag that she attached a lovely doily and ribbon to.

Ah what could be better than a Vintage Peri image that has been hand soldered?  I just love the shape, so very classic!

Her second ornament is a fabulous paper clay bird.  I just love the added touch of the blue ribbon and mini button.  Oh and by the way it is painted in a shimmery golden/cream paint that is just to die for!  I find it intriguing that she and I both made birds and they turned out so different.  Mine is HERE if you want to see how different they are.

Mary's third ornament is a rag doll Angel.  I just love the face (also painted with the wonderful shimmery gold and cream as her bird) with lots of vintage bits and pieces.

I am sad that the swap is over but so glad I took part.  Thank you Mary for such wonderful pieces I can't wait to get them on my tree!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Art Share ~ Trisha

Yesterday I started sharing the wonderful Ornaments I have received through Cassandra's of An Artful Adventure Handmade Christmas Ornament Swap this set is from Trisha of easily amused, hard to offend...

Again the packaging is just stunning, she covered this box with vintage sheet and added a bright snowflake (how did she know my windows needed another one?) and tied it with a soft pink ribbon.  Packaging really does set the tone of the entire swap don't you think?

I was blown away by Trisha's first creation, it is a paper rose ball that she tinted with the lightest shades of blue and pink.  The texture is just fabulous and I can only imagine how much time went into rolling (???) each one of those fabulous roses.

Her Second ornament is a fabulously glittered and adorned ATC that hangs from a lovely bit of blue ribbon.  She has quite a few different version of this on her blog and they are all just as stunning!

Trisha's final ornament is this fabulous felted (???) bird nest filled with glittered sheet music eggs!

She sat the nest on a clothespin that she also covered with the sheet music and added touches of glitter to.  It makes it so easy to attach to my tree and I wish I'd photographed it on the tree instead of my wire tree because it really does add charm to my Christmas tree.

Thank you so much Trisha I love them all and will look forward to adding them to my tree every year!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Art Share ~ Miss Lynn

Last week I needed to be with my family, my lovely, sweet, strong incredible grandmother has become ill.  So I saved up all the fabulous pictures of the most wonderful Handmade Christmas Ornament swap hosted by Cassandra of An Artful Adventure to share when I had time to do my partners justice.

This set is from Miss Lynn of create...breathe

She packaged her ornaments in a fabulous cigar box that I feel so spoiled to have received, I love old cigar boxes!  Love storing things in them and displaying them and collecting them and and and...

Well enough about the box lets get to the really good stuff!

For her first ornament she created this absolutely fabulous burlap frozen Charlotte Angel complete with a real tinkling bell and some fabulous soft pink shimmery stars and beads!

Isn't the little Charlotte with the layers behind her just fabulous!

Her second stunning creation is a soft pink pearl and lace fabric Christmas tree.  With lots of cream colored buttons and vintage lace

Don't you just love all the little touches!

And she used an old spool covered in Christmas music as it's stand.  I just love the attention to detail!

And her third creation is a wonderful pink and white Chenille House.

She hand stitched lovely details and attached a bunch of different textures like the little "home" book print and a chipboard chimney to make this piece so tantalizing.

And just check out this bleached and glittered wreath she added! 

Thank you Miss Lynn for such wonderful additions to my holiday ornament collection!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Handmade Ornaments

This holiday season I took part in Cassandra of An Artful Adventure Handmade Ornament Swap.  I had a great time creating my pieces and just wait until you see what I got.  But today I want to share what I created.

We exchanged with 3 partners 3 different ornaments.  I tried to personalize the ornaments I made.  Miss Lynn's liked Pink and Blue, Whites and Creams, Winter Blues and she was interested in Anything as long as roses are involved.  Mary likes Whites and Creams, Pink and Blues and is interested in Anything, but French and Elegant is her favorite. My final partner Trisha was an anything goes girl. 

I was really a silly blogger when I took the photographs and don't have images of all the individual pieces I did.  But below is the front and back of the Bottle Cap Ornament that I made for Mary, I thought the images were Frenchish...

Miss Lynn posted a lovely picture of the Rose version of this ornaments on her blog create...breathe
and you can see the ornaments she made for me HERE

This is my favorite of the 3 ornaments I made, polymer clay glittered birds.  And I painted them all different colors based on my partners preferences. 

Behind the blue bird above you can see the 3rd ornament I made, a painted wooden shaped thing.  Alas I really didn't like the way it turned out, to the extent that I don't even have a picture. 

I had a great time creating, and learning about my partners for this swap.  I secretly hope that this becomes a yearly swap that Cassandra hosts. 

Come back tomorrow and I'll be featuring my fabulous partners pieces.