Wednesday, February 29, 2012

St. Patty's Day Links

 Happy Leap Day! Hope you are enjoying this extra day added onto the calendar! As you probably know, if you've blogged for any period of time, seasonal projects tend to get buried rather quickly. The internet has an exceedingly short memory, much like myself, imagine how happy I was when I ran across my garland today. I had forgotten all about it! I clipped my clover to my wreath on the back door, I still think that is a great project. So since even I forgot these projects, I thought you might have as I thought I would share some St. Patty's day links with you from yore. :) I have recently learned how to make images clickable, so just click the photos that interest you below and you will be taken directly to that post, fun right? If you have visted my tutorial page recently, you probably have noticed I'm converting all my tutes to clickable images. It has become a tedious task, so it's taking me forever, so bare with me.
I have an appointment with the oncologist tomorrow morning, I hope I like this new guy....I'm just glad I don't have to drive across the state or fly across the country for an appointment!
Anyway, enjoy the links and have a great day!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Perking Up the Living Room

So I've been living in Missouri for several years now and have really gotten accustomed to the rough winters....but this winter has been so mild I keep looking around, scratching my head, wondering when winter is going to happen. I mean the little groundhog did see his shadow right? ;) At any rate, we enjoyed the mild temps this weekend...and by enjoying I mean the guys were all outside and I got to take waaay too many photos around the living room.

I've been staring at the Home Goods Urns up on the mantle for weeks now and finally got them placed and accessorized the mantle. I moved the white dresser back in too, that had to move out to accommodate the Christmas Tree. The great thing about it, after shifting everything for the tree....I ended up liking the furniture spaced out. So the sofa stayed put, and the dresser got a little more breathing room.

I look at this photo below, and realize nearly everything is vintage...The mirror was my Mother's, the bamboo art; vintage. The lamp is very vintage, I've had it for many years and remember the funky second hand store I found it in....needless to say, it didn't look like that when I found it and did a lot of cleaning to make it look good (you'll see it better down below). The woven boxes, little brown vase and porcelain antler were all bought new, but I seriously love the mix.
I love a good off set photo don't you? :)

I still love the World Market curtain panels, they add a little global flair.

I am happy with how the mantle turned out, in all it's asymmetrical goodness. I love the color of the urns, so happy and bright. I also used candle holders via Big Lots, boxes that I spray painted orange and a piece of coral that I bought in Key West 20 years ago. Boy, do I hold on to things or what?

For the mantle I typically like doing asymmetrical. The mantle/fireplace + windows are so symmetrical, it wouldn't be as interesting if the accessories were perfect too. Plus, I like a little challenge anyway, asymmetry is not always easy.

In the smaller urn, I took off the lid and did a combination of curly willow, bean sprouts, and silk hydrangeas. I sprinkled some hydrangea blooms on the mantle too. Along with the blooms the lid becomes an intentional detail.

My husband knows the way to my heart is through decorative pillows, meet my newest Valentine's Day gift ever, thanks honey.

I still have a little tweaking to do. I want to add on to the wall collage above the sofa, and I'm playing around with some chair arrangements too.

I'm off to work at the booth today, Mondays are perfect for straightening up after the weekend and delivering a few goodies.

I have a doctor's appointment this week with an oncologist here in Joplin, so I will know exactly when I start the chemotherapy treatments. I'm feeling pretty solemn about it compared to how I was feeling the last couple of weeks. I'm just going to stay busy as usual and keep my head up. I am still getting comments and emails with prayers and encouragement. Thank you for that.

The Lettered Cottage

Friday, February 24, 2012

Daffodil Tutorial

So I had a hankering for some egg salad for lunch, and put on some eggs to was the last of the eggs in that particular carton and I headed out to the garage to put it in the stack of all the other egg cartons that I have been saving. Then I stopped. I always do this. I save and save everything and do nothing with everything I've saved. So I decided to challenge myself, while the eggs were boiling, I'd come up with an idea. If nothing came out of it OK, but if something did come out of it then I could keep saving, right? :)

I knew I wanted to do some sort of flower, and daffodils are what emerged. With spring rapidly approaching, the daffodil is the perfect flower to recreate. I always love to see them start popping up everywhere.

With the full size cartons like this, you can get four daffodils. I wanted to make a lot because I love how real ones look all clustered together.

These have got to be the weirdest pictures on my blog....begin by cutting straight through the cups of the carton. With heavy duty scissors, this is done super easy. You won't be able to use the outer edges for this flower (but I did save it just in case I think of other uses).

You will have four rows of these with usable 'peaks'. Cut apart the 'peaks'......I'm using the word peak because we are in uncharted territory between what once an egg carton but not quite a flower yet.

It takes three of these to make the daffodil.

Of the three peaks, it will take two to make the petal segments. To make the two floral segments around the cup, cut down to the bottom of the peak and then cut the four corners into petal shapes, again it is easy with the heavy duty scissors. Daffodils really only have six of these petals all together, but our little egg carton daffs don't mind the extra two petals ;)

To make the trumpet shape of the corona (or cup), just round off the corners.
To give the daffodil a stem, holes will have to be punched through the center of each segment. Some of the egg cartons I had came with holes, others didn't, I just poked a hole with a small screwdriver.
To make the stem, I used left over cut stems from making wreaths, but if you don't have stems just laying around, used heavy duty wire (like 18 gauge or thicker)....other ideas to use for stems you might have on hand: wire coat hangers, rebar wire.

*I really hope that wasn't too confusing

Layer on one petal segment, then the next and finally the cup. Let the stem/wire create the stamen. I used a touch of hot glue between to secure everything.

Next it's time to base-coat all the flowers. I did this so the yellows and oranges are nice and bright. I painted my first one without priming first, and the colors came out dull (even with several coats), so go ahead and get a layer of white over everything and let dry. I just used white paint, but gesso would be good to use too.

Also, you do not have to be super precise with this process, I quickly swiped on the paint. They are not completely covered...they are very textural and that's what I like about it. Enjoy the process and it doesn't have to be perfect.

Once they are dry, paint the corona yellow and some of the petals too, I wanted a mix. Once the yellow is dry, create the 'ruffle' around the corona with a blend of a dark and darker shade of orange. Using two different shades creates depth and helps them seem more realistic.

Again, don't be too precise. have fun with it.

Once they were all dry, I decided to do a coat of Mod Podge to seal the paint and add a little shine.

I also experimented with sparkle Mod Podge and even glitter. I ended up not liking the glitter, although I suppose it looks like snow....but I'm done with winter-I'm ready for spring. :)

I did like the sparkle Mod Podge and used it sparingly for a little more shine.

I am having lots and lots of other ideas to use egg cartons, and different flowers too. The possibilities are endless! Who knew egg cartons were so thrilling?!


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ride the Tide

Well, the last two days have been a blur. My MIL and I flew out of Arkansas Regional Airport and my sister left from North Carolina to meet in Bethesda MD for my appointment at the National Cancer Institute. We arrived in Washington DC around seven and we all headed to the hotel. We were able to have dinner and visit (I haven't seen her in 10 months!) so that was really great catching up (and stayed up way too late!).
My appointment was early the next day. The NIH (as they call it) is a huge campus, a city within a city really.
After some lab work and exams the doctor and his team came in to talk to me about my case. It looks like chemotherapy needs to be started as soon as possible and I will start taking a pill by mouth to try to combat the cancer. The pill will unfortunately kill my other adrenal gland which is the least of my problems, yet what I seem to be thinking a lot about. That's probably weird, hu?
They explained to me the effects of the chemotherapy and what to expect and a whole other host of tests and exams they want me to get.
I can't pretend that I am not scared, I am, but I guess since there is a plan of attack, there is nothing else to do but 'ride the tide', right?


Thank you for your continued prayer and support. I know I can't respond to each and every comment or email, but please know that I read each and everyone of them and thank you so much for reaching out to me. You are helping me face this thing!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thank You

How can I thank you? I threw my heart out into the great wide open, imagining it being crushed and flattened...I was so fears unjustified. Each and everyone of you have lifted my heart (and spirit) and I cannot thank you enough. All of you are so, so sweet and it really doesn't matter that we are scattered across the nation and the world....and countless miles separate us....I feel like my friends have arrived to comfort me. It really did help sharing this new journey...that's how I'm trying to think of it...I'm glad I did.

I was feeling so much better by yesterday that I was making these daffodils (instead of packing...ha, ha). For me, crafting is quite soothing and calming...and it felt good to be cutting apart egg cartons and creating flowers. I plan on showing you how to make them soon, seemingly, I can't do anything without making a tutorial out of it! :)

Anyway, thank you for your continued prayer as I fly to Bethesda to meet with the new doctor TODAY! I really must go pack!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A little Soul Bearing

I've been needing to share something with you that is a little, let's say; unfortunate (you know, I write the word unfortunate and that's all I can come up with?). I don't want to approach this topic too lightly but at the same time I feel apprehensive 'putting it all out there'. When I started this blog, I use it as a way to share creative ideas, tutorials, crafting and decorating...rarely do I go any deeper and if I do, it's not about the bad stuff. I do consider it a flaw in my writing but I'm not a heart on her sleeve kind of gal. It's just not in my nature, I tend to hide my insecurities and minimize the situations I'm going through. I'm pretty inept at sharing everything. I rationalize this by saying things like "Someone is going through something worse than me (I know there is!)" or trying to put on my 'game face' and usually I think who wants to read anything other than the aforementioned topics anyway? I created a mental line where I put my creative self out there and keep the problem self here at home. I know that's not the 'right' way to do it, but I am a Gemini after all.

But I am going to do it, I am going to stretch my personality.

Several months ago, ten to be exact, many of you know, I underwent surgery to remove a tumor that had grown on my adrenal gland. In the beginning, the doctor didn't believe it was cancer. Adrenal cancer has a habit of attaching itself to the adrenal gland, the liver, the spleen, any of surrounding organs but my tumor was only attach to the gland. So because it was 'contained' they didn't think it was cancer. I went through the surgery with a happy (though scared) heart thinking that I would eventually be myself again. Once I was in surgery, the tumor was much larger than anticipated and was also attached to the celiac artery. So even though my diagnosis changed to Adrenal Cortical cancer, I still felt relieved that we were able to get the whole tumor and repair the artery.

I was in pain, but I was happy.

The recovery time took longer than I thought. I was naive to think I was going to be over it in a week or so... and yes, I read all the booklets and pamphlets they gave me about surgery, and nothing prepared me for what I went through. I had absolutely no idea. Thank God for a strong family support that helped me through it and helped take care of my children. I went to doctor appointments every two weeks and further out, once a month. I started seeing an oncologist, to keep an eye on the tumor site and if anything else developed. I was getting cat scans every month. Month, by month, I kept getting stronger and stronger and most of the problems that I had prior to surgery were better. A couple of months ago, the cat scan revealed two nodules on my lungs. They were small and we decided to just keep an eye on them. This past monthly cat scan, revealed the nodules on my lungs were bigger and two more appeared on my liver, and one on my breast. So even though the tumor had been 'contained' because it was attached to the celiac artery, the cancer cells travelled. Needless to say it was not the news we wanted to hear.

And here we are today, I am paralyzed with fear and feel positively depressed. Spontaneous tears flow, and I am merely existing right now.

I am trying to work through the depression and I hope by getting this 'off my chest' it will help.

So what is the plan? The doctors in St. Louis feel they've done all they can and have given my case to the National Cancer Institute. I have an appointment in Bethesda, MD on Wednesday....coming next week on the 22nd. There are doctors that specialize in adrenal cancer and depending on what all happens (at the appointment) I will most likely begin chemotherapy and later an experimental drug. My MIL is going with me and my sister is driving up from NC so I will have lots of support.

I am trying to pull it together, give it to God and hold my head high, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the new doctors have to say.

I'd love your prayers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Heart Day!


I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Snow Day!

We woke up to the first snowfall of the season. School is cancelled and we plan on taking it easy today.

Daisy loves the snow, she is really cute running around and playing like a puppy.

How is the weather where you are?

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