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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Saw Mike Lewis the Other Night

Some of you may remember reading a post in the Marmelade Gypsy about the death 
of my friend, Mike Lewis, in late January. Mike was one of these people that everyone loved. 
At his memorial, everyone had a story to share -- it was the 
sort of thing that when one left, those who knew him 
less than others did wish they'd known him more.


I've thought of Mike off and on in this interim -- his birthday popped 
upon Facebook and -- because I think we all miss him 
and know how much he loved birthdays -- wrote wonderful things on his wall.

When I posted a photo from an event that I'd put up 
before and that he'd "liked," his name showed up again.

Mike was a large man, his girth matched only by the size of his heart. 
We'd had many discussions over the years about weight. 
He'd tried lots of things without success. I suspect he felt -- as I -- that when one carries the 
extra weight, doing the exercise that so helps is 
all the more difficult, painful even. So, it doesn't happen. 
But there was always his vision -- not to be skinny, but just to be "less" 
and certainly more healthy. It's a dream we shared. When his heart gave out, 
it's more than likely his weight was a factor and it certainly was a wake-up call for me.


The other night I woke up with a start. I had seen Mike Lewis. I don't often remember dreams, 
just bits and pieces that make no sense in the clear light of day. 
But this dream was so intense, so real, I was almost surprised 
to find myself awake and in bed, Lizzie curled up at my feet. 


Mike opened a door and stood in the doorway. He didn't say a word, 
but I looked at him -- surprised that he was there. 
And the thing is, he looked just like he always wanted to look. 
He was trimmed down, casually but nicely dressed. Yes. Just like he always wanted to look.

"How are you?" I asked, delighted to see him.

"I'm. Just. Great." Three words. Deliberately spaced for emphasis. 
And he smiled and slipped out the door.

And I woke up.


I've thought about this a lot in the days since and have shared it with only a 
few people, including my wonderful massage therapist, Sarah. 
She said what I had thought but really hadn't dared to say aloud. 

"He's sending you a message," she said. "That he's all right." 

I think she's right. I'm not the only person who has thought of Mike in recent days. 
Far from it. And as Sarah said, "Don't you think the other people who 
cared about him would like to know that?"

And so I write. And maybe it was just a dream. Maybe it was something funky I had for dinner. 
But I don't think so. 
I needed to know Mike was OK -- and I think now, I do.


Here's to you, Mike. And thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Peat Pot Fun

I couldn't help it! When I saw Karla's peat pot post on Karla's Cottage, I had to get out the stuff and make my own!


I'd done peat pots before, quite sometime ago. All my earlier ones were without handles.


This time I mixed it up. I had found some wonderful wired greenery and it made perfect handles!


Some of the baskets were painted.Others used gelli and painted papers I'd done in classes with Kari McKnight Holbrook and Jacqueline Sullivan (and after, too!).


I had a partner in crime for all this creativity -- my friend Jan came by for her first peat pot lesson.

 

And, she left with these three.

 

This was the table as I started cleaning up. You don't want to see the mess during!

 

I just kept going. 


And going. And going! 


Of course, filling them was fun! There were bunnies...


...and nests...


Birds...

 

and eggs...

 

...and chocolate, too!


I "made" the egg in this one, covering a plastic egg with 
brown tissue and spraying with walnut ink.


It was easy and I was very pleased with the results.


I loved making every single peat pot (all of which were surprisingly simple -- 
some matte medium or Mod Podge, pretty papers, a little paint if you choose,
 moss, flowers and eggs -- you're good to go!


Try it -- you'll like it! With peat pots for fifteen cents each and 
most of the other things in your stash, what do you have to lose?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Springing Up the House

Despite the erratic weather (the sunny days seem like such a gift and Easter rocked them all!), we are technically into spring. It's time to spring up the house! Some of these critters are Easter-related, of course, but I suspect most will stay in place a bit!


My spring thing tends to go in a couple of directions. 
There are the birdhouses, birds and nests and bunnies.


Most of the birdhouses I've made. Most of the nests here I've picked up along the way -- 
although I do love making these sweet little things, too.


Bunnies are mandatory guests. The one above I've had since I was a kid. 
It was my mom's favorite, and mine, too, with its sunny yellow color and plump cheeks!


I found these two bunnies a few years ago. They look so nice with silvery things.


Silver seems to be my Easter tone this year.


Bunny Tutu was a gift from a good friend a few years ago when I had my shoulder surgery. 
The nest she sits in is a gift from another friend and one of my favorite baskets 
(because, really, it's more of a basket than a nest!)


The few pieces of chintzware my mom had fit the season! 
I like it so much, I'm pondering starting another collection. 
(I can just hear the panic in Rick's voice now!)

 

The nest here in the center is one I did from a Claudine Hellmuth tutorial, which I posted about earlier here.

 

For whatever reason, I seem to be caging things lately, like this bunny.
.
 

...and my Hummel madonna. Seems a little odd to put her in a cage, but she fits perfectly!

 

This is the little Easter Egg tree...

 

...along with another birdhouse and sweet ladybug figure that was a gift.


The bathroom tree is back -- this time with eggs!


Along with the eggs, there are my favorite butterflies and the obligatory bunny.

 

And this is my newest and favorite spring thing -- bird in a basket! What a prolific layer she is! 
 

So don't be too shocked!  

 

 It's time for a little spring -- at long last! Bring out your happy!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Week Wrap Up!

Some weeks are just so good you have to relive them! 
So join me while I share a couple of highlights from Easter Week.


It started Wednesday with Art Day with my friend Jan.
Inspired by Karla of Karla's Cottage, we made peat pots! 
I got on a roll and made 10 of them. But more on that in another post!


Then Thursday, it was time for a wonderful production of "Peter Pan."
 This MSU Department of Theatre production was set in India 
during the Raj -- and so the Indians really were, with remarkable and authentic 
choreography and fabulous costumes. Peter was played by a guy and he was 
wonderful. Mary Martin would have been proud. 
At the beginning of the show, kids were allowed onstage to play games
with the lost boys. And when Peter flew over the audience, it was enchanting!


Friday brought our annual egg dying evening.This year, we found some 
Paas that came with a golden dye, too. It added a wonderful sheen to the eggs.


Saturday featured the most remarkable experience of the week. 
The theatre department invited a group of special needs kids to 
come flying on the "Peter Pan" set.


I cannot begin to tell you how many smiles were shared that day. 
First the kids were harnessed up and taken a few feet off the ground to 
ensure the rigging was correct.


Then they were told to think lovely thoughts and up they went!

 

Some flew in pairs, meeting in the middle. They were remarkably eager to 
fly to the ceiling! 
And I think every adult in the theatre wanted to join them.
 

Hats off the the theatre department for offering the remarkable opportunity 
to a bunch of kids who couldn't have loved it more!

 

Saturday night was at Rick's, enjoying the BBC show "New Tricks" after dinner. 
Meanwhile, Rick made his first loaf of challah bread and it was fabulous!

 

Easter Sunday -- Rick's basket included strawberry plants, seeds and chocolate!

 

We had the traditional dinner -- ham, asparagus, deviled eggs, scalloped potatoes 
and some of that challah! 
I loved using one of my vintage tablecloths, mom's crystal and some vintage dishes.
 (Tulip by Taylor). 

 

Recognize the eggs?

 

And dessert was a wonderful (and very easy) Pavlova.

 

While the cooking was going on, Rick and Greg tried putting up Rick's new tent. 

 

At the end of the day, all was good. 
But someone wasn't too happy to be bothered for a photo call! 


Ah, well. It was a busy day! 


And a wonderful one.

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