Friday, November 28, 2014

Invisible Guests

The blog break is on hold for another week or so! I need to learn to read the calendar! Meanwhile, like you, I've been in Thanksgiving overload, with two Thanksgivings on the menu. The first was Rick, me and my dad's cousin, Marie. We also had some invisible guests.

My Facebook friend Beth was one of them. We "met" when she found me through the Gypsy as one who knew my late and forever friend, Patricia. We've never met but have became fast friends and remain so. We both found this wonderful recipe for Sweet Potatoes and when I served them, I thought of her. Here they are before...

And after!

Blog friend Linda was there, too. This tablecloth was courtesy of Linda (actually a bed cover but it works for me this way!) Thanks, Linda!

My Cleveland family was there in the presence of the corn casserole from cousin Bonnie. Easy (a can each of whole kernel and creamed corn, 2 eggs, a box of jiffy cornbread, 8 oz of sour cream -- I used light -- and butter on the top. I added panko. It's a fave!)

Of course mom and dad were there with the family crystal, silver and turkey dishes.

And a lot of people were in our hearts, if not at the table.

I was so glad Marie could join us -- my only known relative on dad's side (although I'm sure there are second or third or removed cousins somewhere out there!).

We'll have a second Thanksgiving today -- Friday -- with the kids (and their dogs). And that will be equally filling and wonderful.

I've heard a lot of people say Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. Apart from eating well (and hopefully bringing a dish to pass!), there are no obligations to the holiday. No presents required, no frantic shopping or wondering who you forgot. I've had a lot of memorable Thanksgivings -- the one after Rick's bike accident that was thrown together Thanksgiving morning (the best); the one where Rick's tenant and neighbor on the other side of his duplex was found that morning by his children, a suicide (the worst).

When we're at Rick's, I bring the turkey dishes and the centerpiece (if you watch Ina Garten's "Barefoot Contessa" and hear me say that on Thanksgiving, I play "Miguel," her table-setting friend, you'll know what I mean!). He'll always do the potatoes and gravy (not my strong suit) and make the pumpkin pie (ditto). We've built our own traditions in the 18 years we've been together.

And for this, and for still having family on dad's side, and for all the invisible guests in my heart -- I am most grateful. Thank you.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

So Very Thankful

I've been missing in action a bit lately as I've prepped for my sale. (And thanks to those of you who purchased things after seeing them on the blog -- they'll be in the mail this week and you know who you are! If anyone else is interested, let me know!)

This has been a year filled with many blessings and it's a good time to acknowledge them. First and foremost, I am grateful that Kevin found his Molly.

And I'm equally grateful that we now have a girl in the family!

Not that sweet Lizzie, for whom I am also grateful, isn't a girl. But Molly is more fun to shop for!

I am so thankful for my family, and along with that, grateful that my cousin-in-law once removed (make that my cousin's husband's sister!) is holding her own and thriving as she's kicking cancer in the butt once and for all!

I'm grateful that I have a cottage I can escape to in the heat of summer (although not quite so grateful that our summer didn't give us too much heat this year!) It's a spot I can relax, create, recharge and renew.

It's also a place that brings wildlife into my life and I'm am grateful for that and all other spots that do the same.

I am so thankful that I have the resources to travel and that there have been a few opportunities to do that this year.

I feel so blessed that Kevin and Greg are both in Michigan so I get to see them more often. (Molly was taking that picture!)

I have had more time to create fun things and take terrific art classes with wonderful instructors. I am so very thankful for that.

My world is filled with love and really, who wouldn't be thankful for that?

So, of course I am most thankful for Rick.

For the world I wish peace, hope and joy.

It can be tough to find in today's crazy times.

But if a silly chat noir-et-blanc can find it, maybe there is hope for the world.

I'm taking a short blog break -- just a week. 'Tis the season. I'll check in with you all as soon as I can.

Photos from Kevin and Molly's wedding by Jon Nobach Photography.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Composition Journaling!

I love journals though I'm less inclined to use them in the same way as I used to.

Remember the days when everything went in there? All the highs and lows, the doomed romance, the glorious elation?

I think I was a little bit relieved a number of years ago when a flooded basement took my journals and turned them into smeared pages of dribbled flair pens, a mixed bag of colors now muddied and barely legible.

It's not that if anyone read them I would be mortified by evil deeds. My life was pretty routine.But it all seemed so dramatic at the time! And I fear the only thing more colorful than the smeared pages would have been the purple prose, the agonies of life!

Now I use my journals for other things -- lists, copying a quick recipe, writing a poem, logging the books I read, capturing a fragment of an idea.

All my composition book journals reflect the whimsy of The Marmelade Gypsy -- bright colors, a little bit girly, perhaps, pretty, vintage.

Each is collaged onto a standard composition book using a variety of papers, naturals, images and embellishments.

They, too, will be added to the Gypsy Caravan for the November sale.

For those in the mid-Michigan area, dates are November 20-22. Just in time for the Christmas rush!

I'm looking forward to hanging out with beautiful jewelry, lovely pottery, cozy mittens, cat toys, wooden pens, a wonderful calendar and all the people to make them!

Time is flying!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nature's Blessings Swap -- The Finished Book

Recently I wrote about Karla's "Nature's Blessings" swap here. You may remember, I had a great deal of angst as to whether or not my pages would stack up. Well,my book arrived -- and I'm not sure they do!

Karla did the cover art (and also included one of her famous doodle pages) and put together the books, using the pages provided by six different swappers.

The idea was to have some pages that were fully decorated...

And some that gave the recipient room to write or draw or a spot to store treasures.

Here are some more of the pages I received.

Not everyone's was signed -- or if it was, it was very discreet. (I think I signed mine but now I'm not sure!)

But what you are seeing here represents Lisa Phillippi, Jill Sibbab (lilyclaire by jill) Rondamum, Diana Kelly, Karla and two mystery artists! Whomever you are, I love every single page by all of you!


Thank you!

Karla is offering an inexpensive tutorial ($15) on how to put together not only a book that is "built" like this one, but also several other versions of art journals.

Most of them are, like this one, "new sew." All are beautiful.

If this is your "thing," check it out. Karla has wonderful descriptions and downloadables that will make your project extra easy and extra fun!


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