Sunday, December 28, 2008

O, Troubled Soul

With a burdened heart and troubled soul my fingers hit these keys. It is here with a heavy and tight chest my fingers fan across the keyboard in an attempt to find a release. The last couple of days I have understood what it means to have a troubled soul, a heart burdened with suffering. I never truly understood but now I do.

I had known for a long time that your heart was troubled. I never understood its pain nor did I understand the agony you were in. You were the bearer of the world's pain and carried it with valor, pride and loyalty. Maybe I should have allowed you to lean a little more, maybe I should have shown more compassion for this burden you carried. Of course these words are merely said in vain and these deeds can no longer be acted upon.

Your blood courses through my veins and I am reminded of a night not long ago where you reminded me that I was your blood. It held meaning for me then but of course holds more meaning to me now. I am happy that I shared that and sad that you are missing.

You said on various occassions that you admired my strength but now in my moments of frailty it is I that admire your strength. The strength you had to carry the burdens you did, the strength to have a happy and brave face with a troubled soul and the strength you had to give of yourself without limits to so many people. O, beautiful soul...

You were as a pebble in this ocean of life. You created so many ripples and didn't realize the magnitude your ripples caused. And now you have created a wave in my life. I am drifting in the sea waiting for a life raft because this wave has caused my ship to be wrecked and it is now my soul that is troubled. Troubled from the thought of no tomorrow. Troubled with carrying on with out you. Troubled to not grow old with you and share stories. Troubled to not be able to share music with you. Troubled to not share growing stories about our children. Troubled by so many things that I can't type them all here...

I wait for you to call but my phone doesn't ring. I long to hear your voice but its sweet melody does not sing. I clear my mind and strip away at what has been taught to us so that I may see you. I wait. I listen. I feel. In the silent hours of the evening I lay. Waiting. Wishing. And scared. Scared that I may never feel your energy or that I won't release all my expectations so that I can. If you could be so kind as to visit me...comfort me.

Because it is now my soul that is troubled.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Angels called home

Life doesn't always make sense and today is definitely one of those days. I sit here staring at this screen wondering if this is the right release. What the hell. I need somewhere other than the confines of my home and comforting arms of my husband to let it all go. It's 3:07pm and it's been exactly 14 hours since I received the call that will forever change my life. The question why resounds in my head like nails on a chalk board. It goes unanswered and I am left with a splitting headace, a aching heart and red, swollen eyes. I don't know how the universe decides who goes and who stays. I don't know if I'll ever know and it does seem sensiless to even wonder or ask why but it still comes to the forefront of my mind.

With tears streaming, I sit and pray for the spirit of the universe to give me comfort and strength. Sadness seaps into every fiber of my being and rips my soul. My heart is broke in two and it appears there is no end in sight for the heartache I feel. It almost feels wrong to wish for it. I ask for the spirit of this world to craddle me and help me through the most difficult time of my life. Something I never wanted to go through. At least not this young. Then again who does? It's unfair.

While sitting in sorrow I pick up "Tears and Laughter" by Kahlil Gibran. I close my eyes and pray. Pray for comfort. For strength. For the angels to take care of him. To guide him. I ask the spirit to allow my fingers to open to the pages that will give me comfort and this is what I read:

Two Wishes
by: Kahlil Gibran

In the silence of the night Death descended from God toward the earth. He hovered above a city and pierced the dwellings with his eyes. He saw the spirits floating on wings of dreams, and the people who were surrendered to the mercy of Slumber.

When the moon fell below the horizon and the city became black, Death walked silently among the houses--careful to touch nothing--until he reached a palace. He entered through the bolted gates undisturbed, and stood by the rich man's bed; and as Death touched his forehead, the sleeper's eyes opened, showing great fright.

When he saw the specter, he summoned a voice mingled with fear and anger, and said, "Go away, oh horrrible dream; leave me, you dreadful ghost. Who are you? How did you enter this place? What do you want? Leave this place at once, for I am the lord of the house and will call my slaves and guards, and order them to kill you!"

Then Death spoke, softly but with smoldering thunder, "I am Death. Stand and bow!"

The man responded, "What do you want? Why have you come here when I have not yet finished my affaiars? What seek you from strength such as mine? Go to the weak man, and take him away!

I loathe the sight of your bloody paws and hollow face, and my eyes take sick at your horrible ribbed wings and cadaverous body."

After a quiet moment of fearful realization he added, "No, no, oh merciful Death! Mind not my talk, for fear reveals what the heart forbids.

Take a bushelful of my gold, or a handful of my slaves' souls, but leave me. I have accounts with Life requiring settling; I have due from the people much gold; my ships have not reached the harbor; my wheat has not been harvested. Take anything you demand, but spare my life. Death, I own harems of supernatural beauty; your choice is my gift to you. Give heed, Death--I have but one child, and I love him dearly for he is my only joy in this life. I offer supreme sacrifice--take him, but spare me!"

Death murmured, "You are not rich, but pitifully poor." Then Death took the hand of that earthly slave, removed his reality, and gave to the angels the heavy task of correction.

And Death walked slowly amidst the dwellings of the poor until he reached the most miserable he could find. He entered and approached a bed upon which a youth slept fitfully. Death touched his eyes; the lad sprang up as he saw Death standing by, and, with a voice full of love and hope he said, "Here I am, my beautiful Death. Accept my soul, for you are the hope of my dreams. Be their accomplishment! Embrace me, oh beloved Death! You are merciful; do not leave me. You are God's messenger; deliver me to Him. You are the right hand of Truth and the heart of Kindness; do not neglect me.

I have begged for you many times, but you did not come; I have sought you, but you avoided me; I called out ot you, but you listened not. You hear me now--embrace my soul, beloved death!"

Death placed his softened hand upon he trembling lips, removed all reality, and enfolded it beneath his wings for secure conduct. And returning to the sky, Death looked back and whispered his warning: "Only those return to Eternity who on earth seek out Eternity."

As hard as this time in my life is, I find comfort in those around me. I know I will never understand it and it's not up to me to understand. An angel was called home that needed to go and maybe wanted to go. I would do anything for one more hug, one more "I love you", one more phone call, one more time to sit and hang out, one more anything but time waits for no one. I do know that I will never forget the time I had. Nor will I forget the love in my heart that I felt for him and the love he felt for me. He was my brother. He was my friend. And many times he was my angel.

May the universe be your light and my comfort. Guide me and comfort me. Give me strength and lift my wings when I need to fly. There I will see you. I will feel your spirit. I will remember... Goodbye my sweet angel. Until we meet again.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Introducing LINDA BLATCHFORD, Jewelry Designer Chic!

Linda resides in Illinois and tells us she is addicted to beading. She also loves making cards (stamping and gluing) and reading. She is a proud member of EtsyBead Team and EtsyChai Team.

Linda's beautiful creations can be found at the following web addresses:
She also has a blog that displays her beautiful work and other handmade artists that she enjoys. Please visit her blog at:

As a child Linda recalls her first experience making a handcrafted item as "stringing pony beads on plastic wire. I remember pink beads. I made it in a class, I think, or in brownies craft event." A love for beading started and she has found her favorite creative past time is beading.

Linda's source of Inspiration comes from the "colors and textures of gemstone beads and their healing characteristics. Her ideas begin from looking at beads and laying out the colors, beginning a pattern. I also subscribe to bead magazines and make my own designs from some of their examples, an adaptable, never a copy." Linda's favorite materials to work with are "Jasper and other gemstones, sterling spacers and bold beautiful colors. I like weird color combinations." Her favorite color combinations are turquoise and green.

Linda shared with us that she has learned some valuable lessons from other artists. She has learned tips on taking good photographs of her jewelry designs and states she is still learning. She has also learned tips on marketing and sharing with others.

Linda has recently read some good books that she would like to pass on:

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz
The Burnt House by Faye Kellerman
The Gate House by Nelson DeMille

Linda supports buying handmade items and feels "individuals are designing quality materials and invested time and money into their passion. I consider it an honor for someone to be wearing one of my designs. Buying handmade helps the small business owner." Linda hopes that in ten years she will be working part-time, an expert blogger and a full-time etsy seller.

We appreciate her sharing her source of creativity and inspiration and hope all of you enjoyed it as well.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


When I looked at the date of my last entry the word WOW popped in my head. WOW 2 months have flown by. WOW time flies. WOW where did it go? WOW what have I done in the last two months?
It's been 2 months since my fingers hit these keys to share with those of you that skim my words for something remotely interesting. I have to admit that I really don't have much to share. I have been really busy. We moved and I am still in the process of unpacking but slowly I am chipping away at it. The living room will soon be what it was intended for instead of a storage space.

I have been caught up in a relentless schedule, one that is more than tiring. Even now as I sit here stroking these keys, my eyes drooping, I hear a voice inside my head that tells me to get to bed. WHY am I still sitting here? I know why. I haven't really had a moment to myself in the last few months and I need it. A moment where I can be and just be present. Not worrying about my schedule, what I have to do or get done, who I have to call/see, what projects need to be done or what boxes need to be put away. A moment that doesn't wonder what I need to do for the kids or their schools. A moment to just be still. Still in my mind, body and spirit. I haven't engaged in such a moment for longer than I care to admit. I haven't been to yoga in a few weeks and I MISS IT! Yoga definitely helps me just be. My soul, spirit and body misses it. Thankfully I am going this Friday and I know I will enjoy it.

Anywho... I hear a voice screaming from the other room for me to come....My body willfully surrenders. Sleep is long over due.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Time and Happenings

I haven't forgotten my blog.... I've just been busy.

Rest assured I haven't neglected these pages or those of you that take the time to read the uninteresting words I fill the space with. Life has taken hold of me and I have been a little bogged down with the events that have taken place.

So...hmm. What has happened to me since June 20th? Anything interesting? Here's what I have been up to and maybe some of it hits the interesting category and some of it doesn't but here it is just the same.

My son took an enrichment program through his school for approximately a month. He loved it and I loved seeing all of the things he made and learned about. He met some more friends. He's so outgoing and social. It's amazing to me that he has these characteristics because neither Shayne or I carry them that strongly. He's gotten so big I continue to be amazed at how fast time flies.

My daughter participated in summer camp for 2 weeks at her preschool...she loved it. Since the program has ended she asks almost daily if she has school the next day. I might add that she tends to have some separation anxiety and if I walk her in she latches onto me like another appendage. Her little arms wrap tightly around my leg and every attempt to shake her loose is unsuccessful. It's the sweetest thing and a little trying when I'm in a rush. But deep down I love it....her little way of saying she loves being with me so much she doesn't want me to go. So, I drive up to the gate one morning and she says, "Mommy, I want to walk in by myself." I smile with pride and say sure. I walk her to the gate and tell her I'll stand there until she is safely inside. She firmly states again that she doesn't want me to accompany her and I assure her I am letting her do it on her own. Wow! She did it. Wow, I did it. Again I have to say they grow up so FAST!

I participated in a stained glass class which I loved!! So be on the look out for some new creations. (I unfortunately haven't had a moment to breathe much less create)

I started a new job and so far I love it.

We are preparing to move...packing and moving slowly into our new place.

Savannah had her first hair cut. I just wanted her to get it trimmed but before we left she said, "No Mommy, I don't want snarls anymore. I want it all off."

(picture taken before haircut)

Our son turned 7!!!! Where does time go?

My mom was in the hospital again. She's okay, thank God.

I started taking Yoga again. Restorative. Peace. Grounded. Centering. Me.

Football started. I hate the rigorous schedule but my two favorite boys love it. Gavin absolutely loves that Shayne is his coach and vice verse.

Monday Shayne and I will celebrate 14 years together (8 married). I feel so blessed to have been able to share so much time with an amazing person who I love dearly. Although we are both Pisces and at times can be out of balance with one another some how we eventually find balance. We counteract one another and the bond we share is remarkable.

I don't know if it was interesting to you but it is my life and I think it is. It's not dull that's for sure.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008


So here I sit, frustrated and angry. Angry that I have been to SEVERAL medical "specialists" and had numerous doctor's visits and I am still undiagnosed. I can feel the frustration in my's stirring and my muscles are a little tense as a result. And somewhere I know it is only going to get worse because next week I'm off to two more specialists. I have gotten used to them looking at me and then uttering the words...."We don't know" and then "Here you can take this pill and see if it helps you..." NO I don't want a pill! I don't want to flood my body with more chemicals, it already has enough from all of the crappy food on the market! I want an answer, I want something that points me to what the cause is so I can get on with my life and make the necessary changes to be healthy. Okay, years of medical school and years in practice and they still can't find what's wrong? Where did HOLISTIC medicine go? I want to know! I envy Eastern medicine that sits and listens to the whole body and analyzes the entire picture instead of viewing the problem with tunnel vision through a peep hole.

I try to be aware of what my body is telling me. It speaks and I don't always listen but I'm trying to get better. It's not fun to have your arms and legs go numb, have your muscles be in pain without doing anything, lose sleep because of pain, have extreme eye pain ~ so excruciating you can't move your eyes in any direction without wanting to cry or not being able to rub your eyes without wanting to scream because it hurts. It's not fun to have to look into your 3 year old eyes that are filled with love and admiration and say "sorry, mommy can't pick you up because my muscles hurt today" or "please get off my lap, your hurting my muscles". It is not fun to see your husband look powerless and see agony in his loving eyes because he can't help you. It's not fun to be tired at the end of the day or middle of the day knowing you really didn't do anything. It's not fun to know you have to work to make money and assist to support your family but are limited to what you can do because of your body, especially when you took for granted the capabilities you once had. The list goes on and on...

Okay, so now the bright side. It's not everyday... THANK GOD! I would go insane if it was. I know what makes my symptoms worse most of the time and other times they are unexplained. I have wonderful friends and family that are supportive. I have people that I have never met that check in with me from time to time to see how I am...THANKS SO MUCH, words could never express the gratitude I have to those of you that send me notes with positive thoughts, energy and wishes. When I think about the amazing love surrounding me, my soul weeps with joy in our connections to one another....connections to those we have met and those we have not but our energy has reached one another across the distance: near or far. I have met these incredible people that have enhanced my thirst for a holistic lifestyle and state of being. A state of well being in it's entirety...mind, body and soul.

I feel a little better.... It's amazing what writing in a journal will do. RELEASE....
Now I must go. Sit and breathe. Sit and re-center myself. Bring myself back and remember....

This does not define me. I am me because of me not because of this.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Over the last few weeks/months I have experienced some things that have made a profound impact on my life. I have been forced to deal with issues that I didn't think I would have to face so soon but as life would have it my lesson started early. Thankfully I have wonderful people that have assisted me and I think that a few of them didn't realize their role or the impact they had on me. It's another lesson in human connection and the importance of living each day with compassion and love towards others. We never know who is watching us or how our life impacts someone else and the print we have left behind. Although I feel better I am still aware of the impact the various situations have had on my life.

Life is so fragile and we seem to drift along barely bumping into one another keeping our distance to ensure that our heart doesn't show or our true self isn't revealed. I have often wondered how many masks people wear and how they keep them selves hidden from others in fear of exposure. I too have done it. I'm guilty. It's the uncomfortable feeling of telling too much and wondering what the other person thinks & if your information will be perceived the way it was intended. It's the realization that maybe our words should be well chosen and thought out in depth before speaking to ensure the intention is pure.

***Long sigh*** one said it was going to be easy. No one said it would last forever. It inevitably ends, some times before we're ready, sometimes before we want it too. These have been my thoughts and my feelings lately. I have been fooling myself thinking that I had worked through it but I haven't because as my fingers touch these keys tears stream down my face. In March my mother became ill and was hospitalized. The fragility of life started to present itself then. I witnessed someone I love dearly twist and turn facing the harsh reality of change while I sat on the side powerless to assist the person who gave me life.
Then my great uncle passed away. Death. The passing on of someone else leaving us behind is hard in itself. Thankfully, I didn't view it like that. I know the reality is everyone dies, some sooner than they should. But in this situation he lived a long and great life and it was his time. As I drove to Pennsylvania for his funeral I thought about him and his impact on my life. I thought about my aunt and the tremendous sadness she would be faced with. For 59 years she devoted her time, life, and love to this man. They raised 5 beautiful daughters together, nurtured them, gave them wisdom and instruction to become amazing people. I thought about what she was going to do now that he was gone and how empty she would feel, her life turned upside down. Weeks (a month) later I still wonder. I feel such compassion for her and although miles separate us she is forever in my heart and my arms are around her even if she can't physically feel it.
Then my mother had a mini stroke. Again I was powerless. It is tremendously hard to experience this and I hope that I do not have to face this again anytime soon. As a child we think our parents will live forever. Then we are faced with the reality that someday they will leave us and we will be separated from the persons that gave us life. I am here to tell you it's not a fun feeling nor is it a joyous occasion. But it is part of life and the journey we one said it was going to be a bed of roses without thorns.

I started this entry on 5/14 and tonight I am finishing it (5/27)....13 days later. I am stronger than I was when first typing this and I feel more in tune with my emotional state and the circumstances creating them but still have more work to do. I need a little time and a few moments to breathe and recenter myself. The simple act of breathing really does wonders.

So here's my advice to myself and anyone who chooses to listen. Life is short, it is fragile. Don't be a robot! When you say, "Hello, How are you?" MEAN IT! Take the time to listen, the person you are speaking to may need you more than you know. There is tremendous power and strength in human connection. So for all of those out there....

I am sorry if I was in a rush and didn't take the time to listen when you needed me.
I am sorry if I portrayed that I wasn't interested in the importance of your words.
I am sorry if I didn't connect with you when you needed me to.
I am sorry if I acted like a robot instead of like a human with real emotions exposed and vulnerable.
I am sorry if I gave you unwanted advice.
I am sorry if I responded when you just needed someone to listen.
I am sorry if my actions affected you adversely.

I will try to do better and be more mindful of my thoughts, words, and actions.

CONNECTION: The state of being connected; union

Life is fragile and all of us need human compassion and connection....

My mother and I on mother's day 2008


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Featuring POTTERY BY AMY!!

Introducing Amy Loggains...
I was born in Greensboro, NC and have lived here in the Triad all of my life.
I like calling North Carolina home! My husband and I currently live in High Point and have one daughter who still lives at home. Our son lives in British Columbia with his lovely Canadian bride, and our other daughter and her husband are currently teaching English in South Korea.

What are the web addresses people can find you at? (website, etsy, blog, flickr)
You can view some of my pottery at this address.
Amy's pottery can be purchased at:
C J's Boutique - a Handcrafted Gallery
6000 Meadowbrook Mall Suite 7A
Clemmons, NC 27012
Boutique hours: Tues - Fri 10 - 6 and Sat 10 - 3


What is your favorite color combination?
I kind of go through cycles. Right now, I love the brown & teal glazes together.

What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I remember making pot holders out of those stretchy loops of material.
I think I must have been about 8 or 10 years old. What a cool feeling to make something with my own hands - selecting each strand of color - and then my mother actually kept them and used it for many years!

What inspires you?
Ideas mostly.

Where do your ideas come from?
I see everyday things that have interesting textures or shapes that I think, "I wonder what that would look like if I......" So I just try it. Sometimes, I just try to make things out of pottery that I've never seen or heard of anyone doing before. I made a North Carolina map puzzle which has all 100 counties of NC. Weird I know.

Does the atmosphere affect your creativity?
It does to some extent but my frame of mind has more of an effect I think.

Where do you create, in a workroom/ studio or in a park?
I use the studio at the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center.

What are your favorite materials?
Clay is not very exciting, but I like to use different items to imprint or shape it, that are unique.

What is your favorite thing to do with your creativity?
I enjoy finding a different technique or imprint or shape, that is pleasing to me, but that maybe no one else has thought of using or doing that way before. Making business card holders is one example. I had never seen a pottery business card holder but I thought - why not give it a try... and it worked.

Why should people buy handmade?
I think it's cool to look at a piece and know it wasn't stamped out of some machine with 10,000 other ones just like it. Every piece of pottery I make is "one of a kind". For me pottery is an opportunity to break free of the constraints of precision and sameness and just try what ever idea is in my head that day and see what happens!

Any tips of wisdom on selling handmade stuff?
I really have no experience in this, but it does seem to me that a place like CJ's with a collection of many kinds of handmade goods - could be a good thing. I'm hoping so!

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I draw buildings.

What have been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists?
Don't be afraid to try something new.

Read any good books lately?
Yes, my husband and I have been married 29 years, but our daughter just got married last month, so we've been reading books on marriage lately. "The most important year in a woman's life/the most important year in a man's life" is a great book for newlyweds or soon to weds.

Do you have any current projects that you want to describe, techniques to share, give picture of?
I've attached a picture & description of a french butter keeper and how it works.
One of the things that made me want to take a turn at pottery, was the french butter keeper.

What a clever little things these are - I loved the concept of not having to refrigerate butter to keep it from spoiling - but to have soft yummy spreadable butter right there on the countertop ready to spread on toast or what ever. I had seen a very few of these "french butter keepers" in a shop in Seagrove, but there was not much selection and although I loved the concept and design - none of the colors or styles appealed to me. So I set out to make a french butter keeper for myself and friends & family who also loved the idea of keeping fresh soft spreadable butter.

***In ten years I'd like to be...
Living outside the city limits in a more rural setting with enough land to romp around through the woods with my future grandchildren and teaching them to enjoy the simple joys that so often are never noticed in a more fast paced complicated lifestyle..

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Contempt with the South

I have many emotions flooding my being right now. Not good ones either. More sadness and anger. We moved to NC to experience another place and because it was warm, the cost of living was lower than Upstate NY, NO SNOW and the seasons were longer. These are all still very important to me and I love it here for those reasons. There is no doubt that it is beautiful here and each morning I wake up and look around I continue to be in awe with it. BUT the social, educational and environmental issues continue to bother me and more so now that my son is in school. My daughter attends a preschool that fosters open minded thinking, tolerance for all individuals without regard to religion, race, sex etc. and respects the environment so these issues are not prevalent. When we moved here we were naive and did not have a clue that such hatred still existed and continued to be prolific.

Over the last few weeks our family has been faced with a few issues that have come up and thankfully Gavin asks questions and comes to us with them. A few weeks ago while playing with his friend on the play ground Gavin was told that he shouldn't play with black boys because they could beat him up. I heard his friend stand up and say to the boys that they shouldn't say that because it was racist. I of course told him I was proud of him for taking a stand and wondered what they said and he quickly told me. Upon hearing what transpired, I told the boys if they didn't have anything nice to say they shouldn't say anything at all and shortly after that they left the playground.

My husband told me this morning that Gavin asked the best question and he was surprised by it but glad he asked. As he told me the question and his response I was flooded with many emotions and tears welled in my eyes. Gavin was told by someone at his school that only white people could marry white people and black people had to marry black people. Of course Gavin was testing it and asked if it was true. My heart filled with joy that he asked but was filled with sadness that he was told that and he's only in kindergarten. My husband of course told him that when he is old enough to marry someone he should love them for the person they are not for the color of their skin. He explained that we chose friends based on their character and whether they were good people not for what they looked like.

It's alarming and sad to me that my children are faced with such hatred and we have to undo what has been done while they are away. Thankfully they ask questions and we have a family that fosters open minded thinking and open communication with each other.

Someday I hope that we as people come together and love each other for who we are and not what color our skin is or what religion we believe in.

Peace. A small word with a tremendous message...

Monday, April 21, 2008

In Celebration and Loving Memory

In celebration of a woman I knew named Karen

I received the email listed below today and thought it was quite appropriate to share on my blog with all of you. I was intending to write today about a birthday celebration I can no longer participate in and here I am doing what I intended to do and sharing this email as well.

Today would have been my step-sister, Karen's birthday. I thought about her a lot today and in my mind thought about what her life would have been like for her and her son. I thought about what my life was like the many years ago that I knew her and how much I didn't know about her. So I'll share the little I did know and what I appreciated about her.

I was young and didn't understand the dynamics of the various relationships that encompass our every day lives nor did I understand the complexity that comes along with them. Karen's father married my mother and as it does in many families it brought about sadness and bitterness in the children that were left behind as they saw their father start a new life with children that were not his. As a child I completely understood this to the degree that a man entered my home that I did not know and I was faced with the realization that my dream and prayer of my father returning was to be unanswered and final. For many years due to the complexity of the relationship and feelings that were generated as a result I unfortunately did not get to know her.

Something happened in her life and for whatever reason she started to set her feelings aside and began spending time with us. During this time I was able to spend time with her and experience what it was like to have a sister. Even with our age difference we had things in common and I revelled in it and her vibrant spirit. We both loved and collected unicorns maybe because we fantasized as children that our lives would turn out differently, who knows. Each time I see a unicorn I think of her and it makes me smile. I went to her apartment to spend time with her and appreciated the talks we had. I appreciated being able to share my feelings and ideas with her and hearing her point of view. I loved the smile she had, it lit up the room. My time with her was short and her life here was short but the impact she left on me and on others was HUGE.

So, Happy Birthday Karen. Those of us that loved you deeply continue to celebrate your life that you left behind.

Here's the email that I was sent today and ironic that it should arrive today of all days....

Karen's life was unfortunately taken prematurely by cancer's devilish hand.

In Memory

All you are asked to do is keep this circulating. Even if it's to one more person. In memory of anyone you know that has been struck down by cancer, and in support of anyone battling it now. A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting Another Candle. Please Keep This Candle Going!
This one I do ask that you send on.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Featuring Shirley MacNulty!!!

Shirley MacNulty.......

Shirley and her husband divide their time between Wilmington and Sugar Mountain, NC.
Below she tells us a little about her self and her various handcrafted talents~

My main crafts are Knitting, Preserved Flowers and Sewing

- I design knitwear for South West Trading Company and One Planet Yarn and Fiber and have designed for Coats and Clark, Blue Sky Alpacas and Alchemy Yarns of Transformation.
- Technical Edit knitting patterns for One Planet Yarn and Fiber and also individual knitwear designers
- Designed a petit point needlepoint ornament for the Blue Room of the White House in 1997
- Chosen as the representative from Maryland to work the Maryland square in a piece for the United Way and Hallmark in the mid 1980's
- Author of Knitting for Fun and Profit, knitting book published by Prima Publishing
- Articles in Threads, Cast On and INKnitters Magazines
- Knitting Designs published in Cast On and INKnitters magazines and pending in Knit 'N Style and Creative Knitting

- Charter Member of the Association of Knitwear Designers (certified as a Designer, Author, Tech Editor, Gallery Designer, Teacher, Publisher and Retailer)
- Designer Member and also a Retail Member of the National Needle arts Association
- Member of The Knitting Guild Association where I helped write and served as first Chairman of the Master Knitting Committee for 4 years
- Member of the Blue Ridge Fiber Guild

Personal - married for 50 years to Bradford S. MacNulty - 2 adult sons, 2 adult grandsons, 4 adult step grandchildren and 4 step great-grandchildren
BS Nursing form Columbia University
Owner Bay Country Boutique, small retail needlework and gift shop since 1982 (now sell through the Great Train Robbery Emporium in Banner Elk and at CJ's Boutique in Clemmons, NC and The Prissy Hen (antique shop) in Cameron, NC (opening April 1,2008)

What are the web addresses people can find you at?
e-mail only - and
Shirley has a blog address but doesn't use it very much.....

What is your favorite color combination?
No special favorites - do not like orange

What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?
I did a lot of knitting as a small child. I also did sewing and embroidery. The thing I remember most, and it was written up in an on-line newsletter in 2006, I knitted my father a pair of argyle socks for Christmas when I was in 7th grade and this was in 1946

What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from nature and also from reading magazines and catalogues.

Where do your ideas come from?
My ideas come from nature, magazines, knit designs come from reading fashion magazines and following fashion trends. I normally try to stay with more classic designs that will last a lifetime, not as much by the way out trends.

Does the atmosphere affect your creativity?
I would say I work better on cooler days, not on the hot 100% humidity days

Where do you create, in a workroom/ studio or in a park?
All over. My knitting is portable - and I do the pressed flower designs on the dining room table usually. I do nto have a separate studio - my things are spread out all over the house and under the beds and in closets, even in extra bathtubs.

What are your favorite materials?
Natural yarns - soy, bamboo, corn, wool, alpaca for knitting and flowers from my garden for my Preserved Floral Designs

Any tips of wisdom on selling handmade stuff?
I have been doing this for years. When I was younger I used to do a lot of shows, back before the days of having individual tents for the purpose. We really had to fight the elements. For multiple day shows, the worst part was having to dismantle everything and pack up each night and often have to walk a distance to the car. I have not done any shows for the past two years - the last one was so bad as had to shut down one whole afternoon due to severe thunderstorm watch.
As for advice, check out the show before doing it. Some may sound great, but turn out to be duds. I have done shows and sold nothing, other times have had great shows. The best shows I did were in the 1980's in Southern Maryland where we used to live. Nothing has been as good since we moved to North Carolina in 1990.
I also find that there is great discrepancy in the cost of shows - from free to several hundred dollars, even for outside space.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Cooking, gardening, socializing, work on the Computer

What have been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists?
Everything that you think will sell doesn't, but be patient.

Do you have any current projects that you want to describe, techniques to share, give picture of?
I am always working on new knitting designs for yarn companies - I have more ideas for garments and household items that I have time to knit. I also love to garden.

In ten years I'd like to be...
I hope I will still be alive and still creating

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Refreshment through ranting

Isn't it annoying how fast time goes by and how full our calendars get? For the last few months our family has had something scheduled and when it wasn't the family is was my own calendar. My resolution was to make more quality time for myself and I'm not sure what happened but I have been forgotten. Don't get me wrong, although January was hectic I made sure I took time out for myself and things didn't "build" as far as stress. But for the last month I have been in constant overdrive and think that I have come to the crash and burn stage.... I somehow forgot my commitment to myself and have since been neglected. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel and the end is in sight. At the beginning of this week I began to take charge again and melted some of my stress away with a nice long lavendar soak, aromatic candles and a good book. I am starting to regroup and refresh through activities of enjoyment and can feel the stress dissipating. It's so nice to regain ground and feel alive, refreshed and centered.

I have tried to become more aware of my surroundings to find peace in nature and in return have found peace within myself. I have enjoyed the birds flying and the beautiful blue skies. Even though it has been chilly these last few days I especially love the crisp air in the morning and the smell of it. A week and a half ago we received a beautiful snow fall (small and shortlived) but beautiful none the same. It reminded me of home and how much I missed the scenery and yes sometimes even the snow. I enjoyed taking pictures of it and reveled in its beauty. This week while walking in the mall (YES you can find peace at the mall if you look hard enough) I enjoyed smiling at stangers. I absolutely love the feelings it evokes within me as well as the reaction created. Sometimes the encounter is quite funny because it is unexpected. The stranger is almost bewildered that a friendly hello was generated in such a cold and fast world.

Even though I have been on the go, on the go and on the go this entire month there have been several things that I have enjoyed doing even though the time came and went quicker than a bat of an eye. I made my way to the gallery hop and celebrated my beautiful friend, Latoya's bday. I enjoyed getting to spend some time with her and my friend Cami. I celebrated my daughter's 3rd birthday. I CAN'T BELIEVE SHE IS ALREADY 3!!! Where in the world did the time go? I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy watching her grow and learn. (same with Gavin) It's amazing how their tiny mind works. I cried at the end of the night when the realization hit me that time only speeds up and she'll be gone before I know it with a life of her own. So today I cherish the time I have with both of them and bask in their childhood. I went to West Virginia to celebrate the first birthday of a dear little girl. The drive was refreshingly beautiful (it always is) and spending time with dear friends and family is time well spent. How can you go wrong? I had the best time hanging out with my husband on Valentine's Day eating dinner out then watching the movie JUNO...go see it if you haven't. WOW and chilling with my son Gavin watching Spiderwick was so much fun. Throughout the movie I could tell he was a little scared when I saw his hoodie shade his eyes off an on. My In-laws came down from NY to celebrate my husband and my birthday which was nice. It's always nice to feel loved by so many people. I was able to have lunch with Shayne again which was nice. (TWO DATES IN ONE MONTH!!!!) That's unheard of and it was needed.

As you can see I have been quite busy and this is only a fraction of what my schedule has been like this past month but when I look back on it I wouldn't change a thing. I was able to be surrounded by people I love and cherish and I felt and feel loved. Thanks for letting me rant.....I am truly blessed and now I am further refreshed.

***Look for the snow fall pictures soon.....***

Monday, February 18, 2008

Featuring Christine Davis!!

Christine Davis is a native German currently residing in Charlotte, NC. In 1992, while still living in Germany, Christine studied silk painting and dying. She makes a variety of silk art ranging from wall and window hangings to beautiful silk scarves that can be worn. Each piece is dyed by hand, creating unique one of a kind results. Christine uses abstract patterns as the primary subjects of her silk art.

Currently Christine's art can be found on line but also at CJ's Boutique
6000 Meadowbrook Mall CourtSuite 7A
Clemmons, NC 27012
phone 336-766-9355
Boutique hours:
Tues - Fri 10 - 6 and Sat 10 - 3
A little bit about her art:
  • Dyed paintings and wall/window hangings use Habotai 8 mm silk stretched and glued on coated metal wire circles or squares.
  • She also creates vibrantly colored fabric which she transforms into 'wearable art', such as scarves, ties, broaches and more.
  • Most recently Christine started experimenting mounting her Silk paintings onto Canvas.
Her work has been on display in several different local events & she qualified as one of the finalists in the “Art with Heart” Emerging Artist competition in 2006 and 2007.

Christine's beautiful work can be found at the following web addresses and are available for purchase and custom orders:

Below are a set of questions that were asked of her and her responses.......
What is your favorite color combination? blue & more blue :)

What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it? I cannot remember... :(
What inspires you? Nature, my kids

Where do your ideas come from? all around me, church, nature, my kids,...
Does the atmosphere affect your creativity? absolutely
Where do you create, in a workroom/ studio or in a park? I create in the sunroom off my kitchen, i get inspired and have some of my best ideas while showering or driving - always have a notepad close by

What are your favorite materials? Silk
What is your favorite thing to do with your creativity? I have been known to make donations to charity, mostly to which benefits domestic violence victims & services

Why should people buy handmade? Pride, quality, Originality

Any tips of wisdom on selling handmade stuff? I wish. :)

Apart from creating things, what do you do? working at Bank of America

What has been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists? Don't give up

***In ten years I'd like to be... <-- less in debt then now? :)

Other links or information you want to share? <-- which is where I buy most of my supplies from. I will keep other events & links coming.
Below Christine takes the time to describe the techniques she uses with her beautiful art.

Techniques used:
  • The Serti (closing or fence) technique is the silk painting technique where designs are formed with gutta or water-based resists, which are applied to white silk that has been pre-washed, dried and stretched (on a stretcher). Once the gutta or water-based resist has dried, it acts as a barrier for the dye or paint—keeping the color within the outlined areas of the design and allowing you to achieve sharply defined borders. (Without this barrier, the dye or paint would flow into more of an abstract, undefined pattern.) After the dye or paint has been properly set, the clear gutta or resist is removed and a defining line the color of the original fabric remains. Colored guttas and resists are also available that are meant to remain in the fabric.
  • Detailed patterns without resists can be achieved by instead priming the prewashed and stretched silk with a stop-flow primer which is left to dry before painting on the dyes or paints. The color will stay where you put it, rather than migrating. Allows for freehand painting without gutta or water-soluble resists.
  • Watercolor-like effects can be achieved by applying dye or paint to silk that has been pre-washed and put on stretcher bars whether or not you are using resists (but not if you are using stop-flow). Dyes or paints are applied to the silk with a paint brush, mist sprayer, eye dropper, or other tools to achieve abstract effects. Spraying the silk lightly with water before adding color increases the flow of the dye or paint. Sprinkling silk salt on the piece when still wet, and leaving till completely dry before brushing off the salt, produces interesting textural effects. Applying alcohol to dye-painted silk also creates beautiful effects.
The process:
  • Step 1: Pre-washing your silk
  • Step 2: Preparing your design
  • Step 3: Making a Stretcher Frame
  • Step 4: Stretching your silk
  • Step 5: Applying gutta or resist
  • Step 6: Applying dyes or paints
  • Step 7: Setting/Fixing the color, either with heat, steam or a chemical fixative
Your scarf:
Once you have worn your scarf and it needs to be washed, please use a mild soap and delicate setting, or hand wash using cold/warm water.
If your scarf has a gutta design, please iron on the back side.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

CJ's Boutique

Today everywhere we turn the familiar words, "Made in China" are seen. I rarely pick up an item and see the words "Made in America". I'm afraid that we have gotten away from our roots and the basics in life. We've traded it for more, more, more and in return have gotten what we have asked for. A diminished quality and a life that is filled with unimportant things instead of precious time with our friends and family. I say simple is better and although I haven't gotten there completely I'm working towards it. That's all any of us can do.....

With that being said a new boutique has opened that features ONLY HANDCRAFTED items and you won't find the 3 small words, Made in China. The boutique features different handcrafted items from over 50 artisans locally and abroad. It's a refreshing contrast from many of the products on the market and each item is made here in our own backyard.

6000 Meadowbrook Mall Court
Suite 7A
Clemmons, NC 27012

phone 336-766-9355

Boutique hours:
Tues - Fri 10 - 6 and Sat 10 - 3
The perfect handmade gift, made with love, can be found for any occasion. Are you looking for something for a baby? A wedding? A gift to pamper yourself? Birthday? Your home? You name it, you can find it at CJ's Boutique.

Take some time out for yourself, grab a girlfriend and GO SHOPPING! Most importantly, tell your friends.....Spread the word.

Here's a peak in the window to a few of the items you will find at this wonderful boutique that celebrates handmade items.