Friday, April 30, 2010

Urgent Prayer Request

My teenaged cousin (first cousin's son) is having an extremely urgent medical emergency! I don't know whether I can share personal information, but I'll try to communicate cryptically. During orthopedic surgery, everything went bad. He was taken from the surgery center to a hospital by ambulance, in an induced coma. He's in ICU . . . for . . . this is the third day, and today things aren't doing well. At all. It is really frightening. Please pray. Please, if you feel led, ask anybody that you know to pray for him! He's just 18, a strapping high school athlete. Thank you, thank you, thank you! God bless you for your willing heart!

Update: May 1 ~ Oh, Dear Ones! Finally, Praise God! There is good news to report! Here is what his Aunt has just posted on Facebook:

" A happy update....I got to go in and see him last night :-) even got to feed him some cookies & cream candy bar....his request...he is doing much better today...hoping he will be out of ICU today...things are looking up. Thank you for all the prayers and well wishes!"

How I have hoped that this is what God had planned for him! Praise God! Praise God! Thank you for your prayers, and your continued prayers! Thank you for blessing our family with your caring hearts!

Another Wonderful Update from the young man's Aunt! Also May 1:

Just got back from the hospital...He is out of the ICU and into a regular room...he is doing much better and if he had it his way he would be going home in the morning :-)

Much Love! ~ Debbi

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An Exercise in Letter Writing

Not so very long ago, we were known to anxiously watch the lane for the mailman, as it almost always was the mailman.
My own Great Grandfather was one. Grandpa Ambrose Brown. He delivered the mail on horseback. I never knew him, except from his daughter's telling of his life, but because of that, I feel as though I did.
As a teenager, I fairly haunted our mailbox while my future husband {although I didn't know that for a few years, yet} was in a Summer exchange program in Germany. It was a very long two, maybe three weeks before I received my first letter from him . . . International Airmail . . . {maybe it was called Overseas} in those delicate onion skin airmail envelopes . . . with red, white and blue marks around the edges.

{Later, I heard that our mailman had celebrated at the Post Office while he sorted mail. He had exclaimed, "Here it is! She's got her letter! She's got her letter!"}

It was the first of many.

I kept those missives . . . wrapped ever so tenderly . . . in a handkerchief . . . bound with ribbon, and stowed safely under my bed pillow. I would slip my hand underneath and finger the letters while I fell into slumber each night . . . feeling the nearness of the fragile paper that his hands had touched.

Selena {Apron Thrift Girl} had wistful pen pal memories of her own. Inspired by an article in Country Living Magazine, she designed a pen pal swap for this month, April, which I wasn't previously aware . . . has been deemed National Letter Writing Month.

With the enticing parameters of writing our letters on paper from a magazine or perhaps a catalog . . . using a recycled envelope, too . . . she intrigued me, and this . . . what you see here . . . is the result of my efforts.

I was assigned a pen pal across the entire country. We were instructed to read our pen pal's blogs, which really are letters of a sort . . . they are just letters to the world . . . don't you think?

I discovered from Jenny's blog, that she is a writer . . . that we had both recently {sort of recently in my case, pretty recently in her's} visited the British Isles . . . that we were both battling a horrible cough, {I was still awfully sick . . . respiratory things always take an asthmatic to their knees.}, we both love to read.
Entertaining myself online, I had that same day viewed the most wonderful vintage photo collection at this blog. Those photos just spoke to me . . . as they did most of her readers . . . particularly the picnic photos {me, personally} . . . as I was longing to be outdoors, hiking along my beloved river. {Check her newer post, too . . . she discovered more information.}

So, that is where I began. . . it was my prompt, my jumping off place . . . my inspiration, all of it . . . and so I wrote . . . I wrote a fictional letter, to my fictional dear, dear friend, whom I am sorely missing while confined to a hospital, in some unknown era, to regain my health.

I can not tell you how much I have enjoyed this project! It transported to me to another place and another time . . . and I have pestered anyone who will listen to me {or not}, into hearing all about what I was up to.

I reused a beautiful portrait page from the June 1999 Victoria Magazine. I painted out all of the words on both sides, distressed and stamped the paper, added old gold French thread . . . sewed on a few old, old buttons, and finished with a butterfly . . . a copy of Victorian scrap, really. {I can't bring myself to use the really, truly old stuff . . . but a copy is just as beautiful . . .} Then, as instructed, I hand wrote the 'letter'.
The envelope received a similar treatment, but I didn't photograph it . . . I included pressed violets, the very ones that were mentioned in the letter, and a leaf that I collected and pressed last Autumn from the grounds of Princeton Seminary, where my son is attending.

The last step was to convince the woman at the post office counter to use real stamps and hand cancel my letter. Mission accomplished . . . now I'll just wait anxiously . . . till I receive a letter from my pen pal.

{If you click on the first photo it will enlarge it enough to read quite well.}

Note to Jenny: My husband is a real Captain . . . of the firefighter persuasion . . . and I have fully recovered . . . I hope you have, too.

~ Much Love, Debbi

P.S. This sort of missive must have a post script, don't you think? I apologize for the link to the swap . . . I have written to inquire about it, but there has been no reply, and no other posts that I know of. There probably are some, but I don't kow where to find them. My own penpal, I knew, was very likely unable to complete the swap, and I was not concerned . . . but as for the link, I can't tell you what happened.
. . . ah well . . . it was always that way with letters, wasn't it? :)

Want to be part of a Letter Exchange?
~addendum July 2, 2010~
HellOOooo! Are you still there? I need to talk to you about something! . . . I plan to host a letter exchange beginning in March 2011, scheduled to come to completion in time for and coincide with April, National Letter Writing Month. If you would like to be part of it, leave a comment on this post. Make certain that you leave a way for me to reach you, and I will contact you when it's time, early next Spring! I hope you will! Leaving a comment at this time, is in no way a commitment, just noted interest. Thank you! See you in the Spring!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dress Form Makeover

Isn't she lovely? She looks a whole lot different than she did when I bought her . . .
in all her mod, brilliant green glory.
She has had a complete makeover. I've kind of been looking for one . . .I already knew I wasn't going to find exactly what I imagined . . . so when I found one at all, I just bought it.
I knew there was potential here.

Panache . . . style . . . the name of our store . . . the one we used to have . . . sigh . . .

Half way through the first coat of paint over that bold green form, it occurred to me that I should have taken a before picture . . . but I hadn't, so here's our before and a half photo . . .

I used a linen colored craft paint. . . it took three coats.

I really should have painted the base first, then the taping wouldn't have been an issue, but I started at 10:00 o'clock one evening . . . so I painted the fabric form one night, taped it off the next morning before spray painting the wooden parts {on which I used a spray primer first}. . . I may distress the wood after I let it cure for a few days . . . haven't decided for certain yet . . .
but I kind of think I will . . .

Next step . . . distressed and stamped with the same ink pad . . . ink color . . . Chocolate.
The paint is Ceramcoat, actually called Flesh . . .

et Voila!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A little bit of beauty

Every time I catch some bug {not of the garden variety, I generally leave those to the boys}, and have time to sit and ponder, my mind wanders off to the river where I like to hike. The very first day that I was able, Elizabeth and her children accompanied me on a picnic there. We had the bestest time!

Whilst Christian and I carried the quilts to the shady spot, we happened across this beautiful little hatched egg! Okay, you know me . . . in my book, the day had just reached perfection! It continued on that vein, by the way . . . but those are Elizabeth's photos and stories to tell . . .

While I recovered . . . these are a few of the things that occupied my time . . . {the pen belonged to Mark's Grandmother. I've mentioned her before, as recently as Easter . . . she was born in 1898.}

Don't you love the opalescence in this old ink bottle? It is my absolute favorite, and today it holds a posy of my Grandmother's violets.

Do you like the spool photo holders? I've made them for an upcoming antiques event. {If I can bring myself to part with them . . .} I learned from Joan at Anything Goes Here! You should check her tutorial!

Finally! I have projects on deck! I've been working on the coolest swap, which inspired me to host one of my own . . . It is gonna be so much fun! More to come, soon! I promise!
~ much love!