Thursday, July 31, 2008

~July Blessings~

As July comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on this month's happenings: the good things, and the not-so-good things. July brought lots of changes here. The fireworks that opened the month brought many unexpected blessings at its end: a family wedding, a planned trip, a surprise visit from an old friend. It brought renewed joy in meeting my Mother where she is….not where I wish her to be. That’s a big thing. I’m now paying closer attention and rejoicing in her smiles.

There were lots of changes, and for me, change often brings fear. The changes in resurrecting my business have been monumental, starting with this blog. I’m actually enjoying it. My fears of failing at it were quickly put to rest. As the orders and emails quickly filled my mailbox I actually had to say “No” to a sweet shop-owner from Colorado. For now, that’s a good thing! I’m fighting to keep this a “One-Woman” show….never wanting to grow it to the frenzied way-of-life it was in the 80’s.

Back then I was almost tripping over the unshaven hair on my legs and didn’t remember that dental floss wasn’t to be used solely for tying bends in little dolls’ arms and legs! I experienced the terror of arriving at a wholesale show to find my product and entire booth set-up hadn't shown up. I remember the days of looking at my sister and saying, “What day is this?”, “What city are we in?” and the infamous, “Are you sure we ate, ‘cause I’m starved!?”. Nope: I don’t want to go back there. Not ever.

Don’t get me wrong. There were highs: lots of laughter, and a few near-heart attacks sprinkled in. Like the time we arrived in Chicago to find blizzard conditions, decided to turn in our rental car at the close of the first day of the 5-day Beckman’s show, and ended up wandering into a high-class (we think!) bordello. Or in our rush to make our plane after a record-breaking show in Valley Forge, we discovered I'd left my briefcase with all its orders, in the booth at the Italian restaurant. Thanks to our sweet waitress running after us as we pulled out of the parking lot, nothing was lost. Another time I watched as my sister literally chugged Pepto-Bismal on our way back to the airport in Baltimore....praying that she wouldn't throw up on the plane!

In those days, my boys knew that whenever they smelled freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies when pushing open the back door after school, that their mom was feeling like she wasn’t “mothering” them enough. Their next questions were always: “Oh no. Where are those over-ripe bananas?” or “Do I taste that ‘bran stuff' in these?” Jim bought me the painting you see posted above, at one of the art shows we did. It hangs in the back hall. I'm sorry I cannot read the artist's signature to give her credit. It's beautiful and very meaningful.

Now I have time to breathe. To dance. To smell the roses growing in my garden. To wake up in the morning and head outdoors to walk in the woods, instead of greeting employees. Now I have time for grandchildren; time for a book club; time for the gym. (okay….I intend to fit it in come August!) Time to pray more than I ever took the time to do during those frenzied days. And with each prayer, I discover more blessings. Everywhere. I wonder what new ones August will bring?

Monday, July 28, 2008

~Every Blog Needs A Dog....or Two~

Introducing our resident Blog Dogs: Coconut and Fawn. Coconut became part of our lives right before Christmas 13 years ago, when I saw an ad in our neighborhood newspaper. Snowstorm or not, Jim knew not to try to talk me out of heading out in the near-blizzard conditions.

We were greeted by Rudy, who was only too willing to lead us into the ‘kennel’, which housed about a hundred cages of newly born poodles and shihtzu pups. My eyes fell immediately on a dirty-looking, skinny gray poodle with matted hair. I whispered to Jim that I wasn’t leaving without that puppy, and the rest is history. Jim was certain I'd lost my mind, choosing a grungy, malnourished dog over all the sweet, new little ones, but the moment I looked down at that dog, our eyes locked. His pleading eyes touched the depths of my soul. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

At the vet’s the next day, I learned the year-old pup was a pure white poodle who had been severely abused. Rudy was running a ‘puppy mill’. After mentioning our experience to a good friend who owns Summer Wind Stables, Conni became instrumental in shutting him down. All the puppies were saved, and Rudy went to jail.

Jeff and Tom affectionately named the pup Coconut, after watching his mass of unkempt hair turn snow-white after we shampooed him about a dozen times!

Poodles are known for their intelligence, and I believe Coconut knew I had ‘saved’ him. To both the boys’ dismay, he bonded totally to me. Tom took his birthday money the next summer and bought a 6-week-old white poodle pup, who he named ‘Fawn’, because of his unusually-long-for-a-poodle legs!

And you guessed it….Fawn bonded to me, too! Puppies always know who the mama is! So….Coconut and Fawn are my constant companions and mascot “Studio Dogs”. They can always be found wherever I am, usually curled up together under my computer desk, or in my studio cuddled up on the loveseat. Their only ‘job’ is to visit Governor’s Village with me whenever I go to see Mom. Everyone there knows them by name. They brighten many-a-resident’s day whenever they walk in the front door. So….(you knew there really was a point to all this, didn’t you?!) I created a Poodle Necklace! You can find it in my Etsy shop!

Friday, July 25, 2008

~My Mother's Smile~

My mother doesn’t smile much anymore. At 88 years-of-age, she’s had severe chronic neck pain for 6+ years now. Riddled with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, even the slightest movement is agony. After trying everything imaginable, the doctors finally inserted a pain pump. It pumps morphine through her frail body 24/7. But the pain continues. If they medicate her too much, she gets dizzy and falls. After two broken hips, upping the dosage is not an option. So she lives with it. She has no other choice.

In between studio time, I visit Mom. Getting her to smile is a daunting task. It doesn’t happen often, or easily. After my visit yesterday I realized that there are four sure things that will make her smile: Wendy’s Chocolate Frosties, fluffy white clouds against a blue blue sky, her great-grandchildren, and her brother Joe.

The Frostie is the easy part. After making a pit-stop at Wendy's on my way to the assisted living home where she lives, I wheel her out into the courtyard where we sit in the sun, enjoying the flowers, the birds…..and the blue blue sky! Smiling from ear-to-ear, looking up between mouthfuls of cold chocolate ice-cream she says, “Have you EVER seen anything so beautiful?”. Every day she says the same thing, as if she’s seeing that sky for the very first time.

Her great-grandchildren live out of town, but after their visits, she goes on and on for days, talking about Ella's eyes and Jackson's smile.

And my Uncle Joe…..he’s almost 80, doesn’t look or act his age, has a twinkle in his blue blue eyes, and goes to see his sister on all the days that I can’t…..and all the days that I can! He calls me as soon as he leaves her with his, “Mom Report”. He always says, “You workin’ hard, or hardly workin’?”! I just love him! Mom adores him. Born in Italy, mom was the oldest of the five siblings, and the only girl. Joe was the baby. She babied him as he grew up. Now, the roles have reversed. He babies her!

Visiting is not always easy. Oftentimes I sit in the car for quite a while before I go in, praying to God that I will find her in less pain.

There's one thing that makes me get out of my car and go in: I know that by the time our visit is over, and I kiss her good-bye, I’ll have seen her smile. Even if just for a little while.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

~Noah......Start Building!~

God said to Noah
There's gonna be a floody, floody
God said to Noah
There's gonna be a floody, floody
Get those children out of the muddy, muddy
Children of the Lord!

Do you remember that old bible school song?? Well….we’ve been singing it a whole lot lately here in Ohio!

The creek that flows behind RoseCreekCottage is just about over-flowing. It doesn’t look like it will ever stop raining. Granted, the perennials we planted Tuesday nite needed watering, but enough is enough! Noah? You still got that ark??

Speaking of Noah, one of my latest Vintage Dictionary Word Scrabble Necklaces is The Ark. I added an antique brass Ark charm to the dictionary definition. If you collect arks, or are just plain fascinated with the whole Noah story (or know someone who adores animals…) this is a perfect little gift.

And, new to RoseCreekCottage is our Custom Cuff Links. There are Scrabble Letter Cufflinks, and Sport Cufflinks listed in my Etsy shop. Take a peak. Available in any letter combinations, or any sport the man-in-your-life may have a passion for!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

~How Can You Be 25 Already?~

Happy Birthday Tom!

Your Dad and I are so thankful that God chose us to be your parents. You were a ball of energy from the day you were born, never standing still for very long. Twenty-five years later, you’re still always moving!

You continue to develop the gifts God gave you, working diligently at a career you love. You are a happy, successful young man. I can’t wait to see how your life unfolds as you continue your journey! I pray I will be here for a long time……for as Dr. Seuss says, “Oh the places you’ll go”.

I’m so proud to call you, “My Son”.

I love you, Tom.


Monday, July 21, 2008

~Christmas In July~

It's Christmas-in-July at RoseCreekCottage. I'm busy designing Santas and Christmas pins for my upcoming fall and Christmas shows. I've cleaned, arranged and re-arranged my studio areas more times than I care to admit. Storage is always a problem when you have accumulated jewelry and doll pieces/parts for so many years! The studio photos you see here are just a small view of the drawers and bins that house my ever-growing collection of charms, findings and miniatures I use as an integral part of my whimsical jewelry! If my studio were neater, I'd post more....but for now, this will give you a little idea of what needs to be continually updated in the storage department! In the coming months, I'll post photos of the bead area, the quilt and fabric shelves, and the sewing and doll areas. I designed the studio myself, and hired Amish workers to come in and make my dream a reality. I couldn't ask for anything more. It's nice to have it right here at home, tucked into the five acres of woods, roses, and perennials. I LOVE going to work!The sweet Cottage Rose Santa is already sold, but stay tuned for more to come in the days and months ahead. Be sure to check Etsy and EBay as I'll add new items as quickly as I can create them. Remember that I specialize in Custom Orders. Just email me for details!

Friday, July 18, 2008

~Through The Years~

"Through the years, you've never let me down,

You turned my life around,

The sweetest days I've found I've found with you....

Through the years
I've never been afraid,

I've loved the life we've made

And I'm so glad I've stayed, right here with you
Through the years"

Thank you, sweet husband of mine, for 38 glorious years. Even through the hard times and the tears, we've laughed and been there to hold each other up. I wasn't always an angel....but you always loved me no matter what. I never thought any love could grow as much as ours has. Two beautiful sons, a dear daughter-in-law, and two grandbabies later, it has grown by leaps and bounds.

I thank God for you each and every day of my life, and only wish He could grant us 38 more years together on this earth. xoxoxoxox

"Through the years, through all the good and bad
I knew how much we had, I've always been so glad
To be with you ... through the years
It's better everyday, you've kissed my tears away
As long as it's okay, I'll stay with you
Through the years"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

~A Princess and A Castle~

While our son and DIL vacationed in St. John's, we spent some time with our two grandbabies, Ella: almost 4, and Jackson, 9 mos. One afternoon, we picnicked at Squire's Castle, part of our Emerald Necklace parks system. It was built in the 1890's by the founder of the Standard Oil Co. It sits on 545 acres. Squire's Castle was built as the GateKeeper's House to a future estate that was never built. The Metro Parks acquired it in 1925. The walking paths wind through breathtaking grounds.

I've been intriqued with Squire's Castle since I was a small girl. I couldn't wait to see Ella's reaction to it, as like most little girls, she LOVES playing "Princess".

She didn't disappoint me: Her eyes lit up as she insisted on dancing with "The Prince" (her Grandpa). It was a magical afternoon I hope she'll always remember. I know I will.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

~Remembering Paris~

We were fortunate to have celebrated my husband's 60th birthday in Paris. It was blissfully romantic. We reveled in the sights, the sounds, the smells....and ah, yes: the food! We sampled Creme Brulle and 'potage d'oignon' (onion soup) in every Parisian restaurant and cafe from the Eiffel Tower to Montmartre and back. We hope to visit The City of Lights again some day, and maybe visit other countries as well. So, in remembrance of our holiday, I've created this Paris Charm Pin. You'll find it in my Etsy shop, along with other delightful pieces of Art-To-Wear!

Monday, July 7, 2008

~New Creations~

~Back in the Studio~

I've been creating like crazy these days....trying to keep items on both sales sites, as well as setting stock aside for three upcoming fall shows. It was necessary to set my business aside 6 years ago, when both my parents became ill. Dad passed away 5 years ago, and Mom lived with us on-and-off from then on. As she began to require more and more assistance, taking care of her became impossible for us. Last year, we moved her into a beautiful assisted living facility. It ended up being a gift from God. She's happy, I'm happy, and it's time to resurrect my business. My body seems to be fighting me all the way, as my energy levels and bones are older! For 20+ years, I did between 20 and 30 art shows a year, in addition to wholesale shows around the country. It was a lot back then.....but right seems daunting! How did I ever do it?? With two boys headed to college, the choice was clear. But now? Going into the retirement years?? I just don't know. Time will tell. My heart is willing. I get great joy out of creating. Working in my studio makes my heart sing. Can I do this again? Time will tell.