Monday, May 25, 2009


I finally did some sewing for my girls. Remember that vintage fabric a couple posts down? It turned into little girl dresses. I made one for my 6 year old dd and another for my 2 year old. I also made another toddler sized one for my friend's dd, the one who gave me the fabric. I think the dresses turned out great. Kendall's is a little gappy under the arms. Lily kept untying her dress. Aye aye aye!

Hey look, I wrote a blog post that wasn't book length!

Sunday Night

A friend wanted to see the silk scarves that I dyed a couple days ago so here they are. I love how they turned out! There are 3 scarves, not 5.

I wasn't very productive in my studio last night. The little girls needed baths so I took them out to the studio with me. Discovered we have a leak. When the tub drains, no leak. When water goes down the overflow part, we have a leak into the garage. I'm guessing the leak is in that part of the tub. It's probably rusted out or something.

After the girls were bathed and bundled up, I tried to get some photos for etsy. As I said, I didn't get much done! The girls needed one thing or another the whole time we were out there. Lily kept wanting to put stuff in my photo tent. Like her bear! I did get a few good pics of the pink unpaper towels I made sometime last week.

I also had another little 'friend' who wanted to hang out in the tent. It's hard to gauge size based on this pic but let me assure you he was HUGE. bleck!

Bear with me while I work on my blog layout. I'm having a hard time finding a layout that works well for me. My previous one had so much wasted space on the sides. This one isn't working for me either. It's such a pain to get the pics where I want them!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New things

We had a half sleep over last night. Sophie, one of my twins' friends, came over for a sleepover. We ended up calling her mom around 11 p.m. Oh well, maybe next time. (Kendall was upset that it wasn't a full sleep over.)

Sophie's mom is really super sweet. She loves shopping at thrift stores and she always brings me treasures from her searches. Once it was an awesome knitting book. Yesterday it was an incredibly cool piece of vintage fabric. I love it and there's a lot of it, 4 yards I think! It's screaming wrap skirt to me. Or maybe aprons. Or both! It has a nice weight to it.

Our neighbor Lisa is fostering 4 baby kittens whose mama was run over on Park Street a while back. There are 4 of them and she keeps hinting that they need a home. She keeps them on her front porch and my children love to go visit them. This little fella is my favorite one! We have borrowed him (with her permission) a couple times and I have a strong feeling that he's ours. Isn't he sweet???

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Garage Sale Score for my Business!

I headed up to the Riverside Avenue Christian Church yard sale today and found a few things for the kids, like they need anything! LOL There was this activity table thing that was brand new...air hockey, paddle ball, checkers, chess, etc, etc, etc for $35. Also picked up some movies and a few books. Ethan bought a spider man web shooting thing that lasted 5 minutes by the time he came home. Oh and I picked up one of those marble game building things for $3.

But the score for my business was a serger! Yes, I already have a serger but I have been living in fear that something bad was going to happen to it. It's been acting finnicky but I can't stop serging long enough to take it in for service. I have my heart set on an industrial serger ($1200!) but I'm not quite there yet. I do have some money from recent sales, thank goodness, but I'm hesitant to spend all or most of it just yet.

So this beauty was marked "$50 - never been used." That peaked my interest so I opened the box and pulled it out. This action seemed to draw attention to what I was doing. Ladies, potential competition, were eyeing me. I knew the minute I walked away from the box, that someone would swoop in and take it! But still, $50 for an old musty serger? I couldn't quite bring myself to spend that much so I put everything back. At this point, I saw that there was ANOTHER price written on a different flap that had been hidden when the box was closed. $20 Heck yeah!

I took the box up to the 'cashier' and asked which price was valid. He told me that the old price was probably from when the owner tried to sell it at a yard sale. Their price was $20. So I paid for my purchases and headed home happily, hoping the thing would work.

The machine was immaculate. I rethreaded it. It threads slightly differently then my 2 previous sergers but I figured it out. The first stitching was less then desirable but after adjusting the tensions, it eventiually produced beautiful results, better then my current serger, I think. The negatives? It's considerably SLOWER which is not a good thing. It also doesn't have a thread cutter and it doesn't have as many options for changing thread length and stitch differrential. But, for $20???? Oh yeah, I'm happy, very happy!

Now I can take my main machine in for a spa vacation at the repair store and still be productive while it's gone.

I have been busy making unpaper towels and filling orders. Here's what they look like before I serge them. At one point I'm going to sit down and figure out exactly how many I've sold between etsy and the Riverside Arts Market. It's um... a lot! And my body feels it. Making these little cloths uses muscles that I never knew I had before. My collarbone hurts! I'm pretty sure it's from the repetitive cutting because that's when I feel it.

I received a box of yummy flannel for flannel cloths. 44 yards, I think. I think this will be my last flannel least for a while. My flannel cloths just don't move as quickly as the unpaper towels. I think I would be wiser to have more of my best seller on hand.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Good News

I feel like one good thing after another has been happening for my little business. I have a simple product that people are buying and loving as much as I love them. The sales are pouring in and I am having a blast preparing packages and getting those orders out the door as quickly as possible. As a matter of fact, you can see how productive I've been. See this empty roll? That was full of 200 yards of birdseye fabric 3 weeks ago!! I pulled the last batch off today and I'm prewashing that fabric now. I predict that the unpaper towels that I make with this batch will be sold out before my new roll arrives next Wednesday! What an amazing and wonderful thing! (Although the thought of selling out makes me a bit nauseous because I like to ship my orders the same day and there might be a wee bit of a delay for orders placed early next week.)

A blogger asked if she could feature me so I am working on answering her questions. She also suggested that I include a photo of my work area so I thought I'd share it here, too. (The other areas are too messy right now!) Here is my beloved cutting table. My amazing husband made me this table with a large piece of wood that he found in our attic when we bought our house 15 years ago. The initial base was looking icky so he just remade it for me recently with new unfinished cabinets. I love it! The cabinets still need to be finished but I can't stop using the table long enough to let him do it. I was going to store fabric in the cabinets...except that my children LOVE to hide in there with a flashlight so it looks like they will remain empty except for a pillow and a couple blankets. If I ever lose a kid, remind me to look there first.

My current fears and concerns are not having ANY unpaper towel stock built up for my next appearance at the Riverside Arts Market, Saturday, May 30th. I just keep selling them via my Etsy store so quickly! My new roll of birdseye arrives May 27th and I'll need to burn the midnight oil to make as many as I can between Wednesday and Saturday morning. Yikes!

We have had monsoon weather here. Day 6 of dreary rainy days. I really rely on the sunshine and breeze when I make my unpaper towels. Hanging fabric on the line means I don't have to iron before I cut the fabric out. So...I was forced to hang 2 lines in my garage. Not as delightful as seeing my fabric blowing in the breeze but it meant that I could continue whipping out unpaper towels.

And all these gray skies were kind of bringing me down so I had to make my own the form of hand made and hand dyed kitchen towels. My 2 youngest girls and I stood out in the drizzly rain and tie dyed. It was fun! I want to do it again already. Here are our little packages that rested overnight. The results are stunning! I'm saving these for the Riverside Arts Market. Aren't they just awesome???

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sick kids

I finally got some new stuff listed on etsy. I've had some requests for color unpaper towels so I tried to oblige. And before I could get the last set photographed, my camera battery died. And where might my charger be??? The last time I saw it was in the stairwell hallway. In it's place was a bug/rodent-scaring-away-ultrasonic-electronic thingy we got from MIL. My 6 year daughter plugged it in a couple days ago. I've looked in many a nook and cranny and can't find the charger. It must have found my FIRST battery charger and they ran away and eloped, I'm guessing.

So now battery charger number 3 is on it's way to me. (Hey, the alternative was to clean the whole house from top to bottom, moving furniture and whatnot and hoping it showed up.)

Today is day number 4 of torrential rainfall. I'm thankful for the cool down in temperature but I am not happy with the cold wetness. It also messed with my productivity. I eventually broke down and strung 2 makeshift clotheslines inside the garage. Doesn't dry the fabric as well as sunshine but it better then using the clothes dryer and then having to iron all the way down the edges of my fabric.

My 6 year old son stayed home from school yesterday with a tummy bug. And he was kind enough to pass it to his younger sister so she's the sickie today. We had 2 baths and 3 outfit changes before noon. She started crying that her tummy hurt and I picked her up...just as the doobell rang repeatedly. It was the mailman. He had packages for me! I always love getting packages! Just as he was handing me over the boxes, he said 'Oh, she's not feeling well.' I thought, 'Wow, he's perseptive, especially for a guy.' Then I casually look down and see that my toddler is puking scrambled eggs all over the rug and door thresh hold, about 8 inches away from his feet. Oh my! I tossed my boxes inside and started stripping her for bath number 3. And for some unknown reason, I just started laughing. Not because she's sick, no that's not funny at all.

The funny part was that I have spent the day trying to get her happy and situated so that I could go sew. I have a customer waiting on a custom set and quite a few unpaper towel orders from late last night and early today that need to go out the door ASAP. And life just told me that I am not in control and I just need to stop worrying about orders for a bit and just hold my baby girl until she feels better.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Business is booming

Yahoo! It is so exciting to be part of a new business that is doing well. I'm at a point that I HAVE to figure out how to be more efficient so my mind in constantly evaluating the processes I follow to conduct business. One thing has become clear is that I must invest in a commercial serger. My little home serger is just too slow. It has served me well over the years but now I need speed! My husband gets excited about machinery so he's been doing some research for me. I'll need to wait a bit before I can actually purchase since I'm running this business on cash, not credit. So far, just about every dime has been reinvested.

Yesterday was another day at the Riverside Arts Market in Jacksonville, under the shade of the Fuller Warren bridge. The weather is starting to heat up but it wasn't unbearable. I rearranged my booth and had MUCH greater traffic and sales. I had my 2 4 foot tables at the front of the booth and one 4 foot table down the side. After I rearranged things, the honey people next to me, experienced show participaters, agreed that it's better to have everything up front instead of doing a U shape or L. Some people are hesitant to actually enter booths. And based on how many people actually stopped to talk to me, see my products and buy, I now have to agree! I sold out of my plain white unpaper towels by 12:30! Holy cow, it was amazing! And one lady bought $51 worth of kitchen towels and unpaper towels. That's my highest single order at a show. Keep in mind that the majority of my stuff is $1 so getting to $51 is quite a job! I also noticed a huge difference in sales and interest in my hand dyed kitchen towels. In my previous 2 market days, I sold a small number of them...most likely because they were in the back of my booth. Yesterday, I sold quite a few!

I was so excited this week to have a banner with my business name. Last week a passerby told me I needed a banner on the front of my tent to explain who I was. I had previously ordered a freebie banner but it didn't arrive until this week. I proudly put it on the front of my tent when I set up yesterday. Halfway through the day, my excitement was squashed when the jeweler's husband came over and told me it was really bad! More specifically, the location was bad. He pointed out that half my product was hidden. Doh! He was right! I moved it to the back of my tent and it opened up the view. Now I need to actually buy a new one that will go all the way across the top front of the tent. Boy, I just keep learning new stuff every week.

I took a custom order from a super nice lady in avondale. She wants 10 of my birdseye kitchen towels, half plain and half dyed a soft minty green or a pale sky blue. I'm working on the blue right now. I'll dye both colors and let her pick her favorites. Now that I'm looking at the color, i think this one might be a bit too dark so as soon as this batch is done, I'll dilute the solution a bit and try for a lighter color.

Also in the works is black & blue and a lovely fushia. My roll of fabric is getting smaller and smaller so I must order another roll ASAP.

My friend Jennifer from my MOPs group came by and sat with me for a while...and she had her adorable 4 week old son with her. Oh my goodness, I got to hold him and admire him. I can't remember the last time I held a tiny least a year ago, I think. I didn't forget how though. ;) Alicia came by, too, and so did a friend of Diana M. (Diana is my local friend who seems to know everyone in Jacksonville. And if she doesn't know them, she undoubtedly knows someone who knows them!) Tonya B from church stopped by. Congrats on the kids getting into the school you wanted!

The one person I didn't see??? My dh's co-worker Danny who in the past has the uncanny ability of showing up when my booth would be empty. Maybe I was busy with a customer when he walked by this time and I missed him? hehe

Thanks to being on the front page of etsy yesterday morning, my recent online sales have skyrocketed, too! Everyone wants my plain white unpaper towels. I'll be working on getting those orders out today...delivering them to the Kings Road post office later tonight so they will have a headstart on their journey to their new homes across the United States and Canada. The photo on the left is of my prewashed fabric, waiting to be cut into squares and serged up. I do prewash and dry the fabric in my dryer to encourage shrinking BEFORE I cut but I have found that using my clothesline as soon as the fabric comes out of the dryer allows me to skip a time consuming step in the process.....ironing! And seeing yards of fabric billowing in the wind just gives me an unexplainable sense of joy.
It was also nice to see some of my North Florida Etsy friends... like Dawn from First Glass Light ( and her family. She was there as a participant and not a vendor this time. I love her glasswork! Oops - i just checked out her store and found a paper weight that I want. It could help prevent my unpaper towels from threatening to blow away at a future RAM. And Kelly from Happy Shack Designs ( stopped by, too. In addition to running two etsy stores, taking care of a family, teaching and participating in RAM, she also runs our team website And I thought I was busy!

So, these are exciting times here at Athena Creates.

I also became the proud owner of this...

I quickly added some basic info and I will be tweaking soon as I have fulfilled all my outstanding orders. My goal is for it to be an informational website with a link to my online store.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Baffled, bewildered and downright thankful

My little business is growing my by leaps and bounds. It started one week ago when I listed my first set of unbleached unpaper towels on Etsy. Since then my sales have exploded. I can't believe how much need there was for such a simple idea....a paper towel replacement that feels and acts more like a paper towel then anything else out there. I created my version of the unpaper towel based on personal need. I wanted to stop buying paper towels. We were spending over $30 a month on paper towels!

My first few attempts were sort failures because the suggested fabrics (flannel, woven prints, etc) ) didn't really work like a paper towel, they sort of pushed the water around. When I came across my stash of diaper-making fabric, an idea was born and I made a whole stash of unpaper from birdseye fabric last summer. It was only then, that my dh gave me permission to stop buying paper towels. Success!

And I have been slowly building my business over the past 9-10 months. Sales were coming but at the rate of 1-2 or maybe 3 in a week. In the past week, between Etsy and the Art's Market, I have sold over 70 sets of either my unpaper towels or my flannel cloths!!!

I am thrilled and a bit giddy. I'm already reinvesting back into my company so that I can be more efficient. My husband built me a 3x6 foot cutting table and set it on top of 3 new cabinets. I also purchased a new huge self healing cutting mat that covers the entire surface! Other couple weeks of great sales and I'll be looking for an industrial serger!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rachel German Moyer

I met Rachel when she came to visit the Beta Sigma Phi sorority group that I was a member of. Beta Sigma Phi is a non-academic sorority with chapters all over the world. It was really a way for women to get together and do stuff that women love doing...the main thing was talking and laughing! We also did fundraisers and were were involved in charity activities.

The main thing that I remember about Rachel back then was her contagious smile. She was always super friendly and always more concerned about everyone around her then she was about her self. And I remember her talking about her girls and her husband Dave. All nice things, of course! She loved her daughters Danielle and Hannah so much and always included them in conversation.

Rachel and I connected in some way that I just don't think I could ever adequately explain. We talked about our families and our plans for the future. She shared her intense desire for a third child and I shared my history of infertility and treatments that we had gone through to add to our family. It was around this time, that my husband and I conceived twins via invitro fertilization. We were ecstatic to know that we were going to have twins. And Rachel shared that joy with spite of her own personal longing for a new little baby of her own.

Being pregnant with twins was about the time that I became a really bad sorority sister, missing meetings and events and not being able to follow through with my duties. I loved being a part of the group. I loved the ladies that were in my chapter...but I just didn't have the time/energy to be a part of such an organized group with officers and group minutes and required fund raising events. Our chapter was also experiencing growing pains so it just seemed like time to focus on my family vs my social life.

Rachel and I continued to stay in contact even though we were no longer in sorority. I used to volunteer at the Yates YMCA and I encouraged her to apply for the part time job they had. She got the job and ended up loving it. And over the years of my on-again, off-again membership there I would always stop to see if Rachel was in.

I found out I was pregnant again in the fall of 2004. It was completely unexpected since we didn't actually visit the Florida Institute for Reproductive Medicine for conception like we had for our twins. Rachel again shared my joy. And it wasn't too much longer that she found out that she was pregnant, too! At this point, we didn't get a chance to spend much time with each other but we stayed in touch to compare our pregnancy joys and woes.

I gave birth to Nolan James, on May 6, 2005. Rachel gave birth to her baby, Sophia, somewhere around that same time but I'm not sure of the exact date.

When Nolan was 6 weeks old, he died. He was a perfectly healthy baby who was a perfect addition to our family and he just stopped breathing on the night of June 17th, 2005, another tiny victim of SIDS. That was the day that my world crashed around me and I ceased to exist. No, I was still here but there was nothing about me that was the same. EVERY SINGLE THING in my life changed because I changed, even the minutest thing ran through my new 'Nolan' filter and the world was no longer the happy, safe place I knew. I learned that I was not protected from tragedy. I suddenly started to hate the God that I had known and loved since I was a child. My God, a god of fairness and mercy and a prayer answerer, would have listened to my prayers and the prayers of the strangers in the emergency room that night and he would have saved my son. He choose not to do anything...and that made me angry, very angry for a long time.

I think I used to be a lot more like Rachel in my years before Nolan's death. I always had a smile and I was definitely a glass is half full kind of gal. After his death, I lost friends. I know that many people don't know what to say when someone loses a loved they sort of withdraw and don't say anything. Or they are afraid that you will cry when you talk to them. The funny thing is that crying is actually the best thing. It releases those intense feelings and then leaves you sort of empty so that you can continue living.

Rachel was not afraid to reach out to me. I will never forget how she came to visit me during the darkest time of my life, in the weeks immediately after Nolan's death. She brought us lunch, Chinese food, and she also had newborn Sophia with her. We talked and cried and cried some more. Somehow, just opening her heart and crying with me allowed her to take some of my pain. At some point, she asked me if I wanted to hold Sophia. I mean, who would do that? Put a newborn baby in a grieving mother's arms? But somehow, with Rachel and with Sophia, it *was* OK. Sophia was so teeny tiny compared to my chunk. And she had a ton of dark hair, unlike my almost bald blondie. She was just beautiful and I rejoiced in spite of my own sadness and longing.

And then life just continued. I was learning how to survive me new cruel reality. We eventually had another baby, Lily.

On June 15th, 2007, I took my children to Chick-Fil-A. It was just 2 days away from the second anniversary of Nolan's death so he was on my mind. A lady was there with 5-6 kids herself. I saw a lady with a t-shirt that had pink footprints so I immediately assumed it was another loss mom and I got up the nerve to ask her about her shirt. It turns out that it was something related to being a sign language interpreter. While this conversation was taking place, one of the girls looked at me and asked me if I was her mom's friend. It was Hannah, one of Rachel's daughters! I told her I was and I immediately asked how her mom was doing. Hannah looked at me, frozen with indecision. I could tell that she was trying to figure out what to tell me. She looked away and mumbled something about her mom being at the doctor.

I called Rachel immediately and found out that she was at the hospital, getting a chemo treatment for breast cancer. I felt the air sucked out of me. She told me that her cancer was spread to several locations and was considered to be between a 3 and a 4. I recall these details because I wrote about our encounter in my journal.

I am so sad that Rachel spent the last 2 years of her life fighting cancer and that she didn't make it. Yet again, it makes me angry that God didn't swoop in and intervene. I love Rachel and although I am sad about the loss of my good friend, I am heartbroken over the separation of Rachel and her daughters. They need her. It's unfair for them to continue life without the mother who loved them so much.

I have regret that I didn't get to do much to help Rachel during her battle. I was busy raising my 5 children and she was busy raising her girls...and fighting the blasted cancer. We visited a few times and we talked to each other on the phone from time to time. I was deeply honored when I got to watch Sophia while Rachel went to a couple doctor appointments recently. But again it was not enough.

Rachel died on Wednesday, May 6th, on Nolan's birthday. What a strange coincidence. I can't help but think there is some connection. In my mind, it's Rachel's way of telling me that she will be looking after Nolan once she gets to heaven. I don't know exactly what heaven will be like but I do get a tiny bit of peace at the thought of Rachel sitting in a grand rocking chair and holding my youngest son and giving him the blessing of her great smile and her loving manner.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Riverside Arts Market

I love, love, love the news Arts Market that just opened in MY neighborhood in Jacksonville, Florida. I have always loved living in Riverside and the RAM (Riverside Arts Market, of course) makes it even more enjoyable.

I have participated nearly every week since it opened, mostly as a shopper. Yesterday was my 2nd time as an artist, although I find it kind of hard to call myself an artist. I think of artists as the painting/drawing/sculpting kind and not so much the sewing kind.

This week, my booth was under the shadow of the Fuller Warren bridge and what a huge difference it made! It was almost cool with the soft wind blowing through. My first week I was under full sun, the wind was crazy and the sun zapped every ounce of energy out of me!! So yesterday was really lovely. Although I think my location might have made a difference with the wind. I heard from a friend that a heavy wooden pottery display fell over and smashed all the artist's hard work. How heartbreaking!

Here was my booth set up. It worked out better then last time. Having the tent helps to define the space. I also like that my tent is GREEN for eco-friendly, green living. That's my focus! Sewing products that make a better impact on earth then disposable paper products.

Kudos to wonderfully helpful husband, Glenn, in helping me prepare for RAM. He made my heavy duty tent weights with 4" PVC and cement. He also set up my tent and tables in my booth without my help. (Someone had to stay home and watch the kids. Our oldest child would have normally watched the younger ones for a few minutes but she was at a lock-in at church.)

He also came and relieved me for a few minutes at lunch time and he left me a helper, my 6 year old daughter, Kendall. It's nice being able to leave my booth so that I can actually buy lunch and walk around a bit. I love seeing what have available! My lunch was a pulled pork sandwich from the barbecue place. As a matter of fact, I buy the exact same thing every time. LOL It's really good! I don't particularly like their fries (too seasoned for me) but my kids deemed them great so there wasn't any waste.

My purchases this week were from my neighbor, a bottle of local orange blossum honey. Kendall loved it and tried to refill her little honey sample straw with my honey. I also bought a ball of soap from SunDog Soaps, a whopping $1.50 purchase! Kendall bought from them last time and I love that soap. It's gritty and smells so good. He had some new soaps out this week, too. And yet again, I meant to buy strawberries but I forgot!

There was plenty of goofing around going on, too. Kendall had a little fun with my clothespins. And one of the jewelry vendors had her hubby with her as a helper and I can just tell he's a trouble maker so keep your eyes out for him if you make it to RAM. ;) He was sufficiently shocked when I told him about how many children we have. I'm not sure what his wife's name or company name is but their booth looks very professional with black display stands and lights illuminating her lovely jewelry.

Another funny thing that keeps happening is that one of my husband's co-workers, Danny, kept walking by when I had no customers in my booth. It happened the first week, too, and then several times yesterday. He'd look over and smile as if to say "you aren't selling much, huh?" I did! LOL I'm quite pleased with my sales for the day. Anyhow, I now have a personal mission to have customers in my booth for the next chance encounter with him at a future RAM.

Thank you to my friend Teri (and her friend Kathy) for stopping by to see me. We used to be the Kerri and Teri team when we started in the same department on the same day at BCBS many, many years ago. People always mixed our names up after that. Anyhow, Teri is one of my favorite, bubbly people and i was glad to see her. So that's another reason why I love being a part of see people I haven't seen in years. And it's good to see the friends I do see on a regular basis, too! (Hi Lisa and Lisa's mom who's name I can never remember.)

So if you are in Jacksonville, please stop by my booth next week. (I won't be at RAM every week so that I can have some Saturday fun with my family from time to time.) If you tell me that you read this blog, I'll let you pick any one of my single flannel cloths as a free gift!!! (Ssh - don't let Danny know you're getting a freebie. This is part of my grand plan of having customers around.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

One of the most amazing things I participated in creating...

Four years ago today, I gave birth to our 5th child, a sweet little boy we named Nolan James. That was such a joyous day! Isn't he amazing? I love that little boy with all my heart, as I do will all of my children.

The below pic is what our family looked like when the children met their new baby brother. 2 year old Ethan had better things to do but you can see his head in the corner of the picture.

I feel great happiness and crushing sadness when I look at that photo. The first thing that strikes me is that Lily, our 6th child isn't in the picture. Of course not, she wasn't born until 17 months later. I know that. But here's the part that hurts...we have Lily here now and she can be in all our current family photos but Nolan never will. He's gone. A part of my family, my heart, is missing and it will never be whole again. There will always be something not quite right.

I try not to think about the sadness on his birthday. I really try to think about what an amazing gift we received 4 years ago. Our time with him was way too short but that doesn't mean it wasn't worth the time that we did have. It is worth the blinding pain that continues. And his birthday IS worth celebrating even if it means that we celebrate from Greenlawn cemetery instead of our home or Chuck E Cheese.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Bebe Nolan! We adore you. We remember you today...and everyday.

We will put his cross (one that dh made with his name and birth/death dates) in our yard and tie a couple balloons to it. And when the kids get home from school, we will head to the cemetery for a balloon release.

Thank you to all my friends who remembered what today is and those who sent us messages and called. It's nice to know that other people think of Nolan, too.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not Me Monday

This is my first "Not Me" Monday.

I did not notice my toddler running around outside (in our privacy fenced backyard) naked a couple days ago and I certainly did not overlook it in hopes that dh, who was closer to the toddler, would notice her first and get her dressed. I didn't do that because she was dressed when I saw her. ;)

I did not pack my kids lunchboxes with junk one day because the 'good' lunchbox food was gone and we were out of bread to boot! I mean, who would run out of bread??

That's all I can think of at the moment. I'm sure I'll have many more "Not me" moments for future Mondays.


Months and months ago, a friend ours sent an email that Wicked was coming to Jacksonville and that she was able to reserve prime tickets to one of the performances and it was at a discounted rate. We signed up and I have been impatiently waiting for the big night. Last night was the show and Glenn and I got to go on an amazing (and quite rare) date. My brother and his girlfriend watched the kids for us.

We had dinner with friends at Moss Fire Grill, one of my favorite local places in Jacksonville. We really should eat there more often considering how close it is to our house! The food is always yummy and last night was no exception. I even had a couple margaritas with dinner.

During dinner, I realized I left our tickets at home so we swung by the house to get them before heading to the Times-Union Performing Arts Center to watch the show.

The place was PACKED! And no wonder, the show was spectacular! The music, the acting and the stage design were all perfect. I really felt mesmerized the entire time. And today I'm left with a slight longing to watch it again! That's not likely anytime soon so I'll have to be happy with listening to the amazing soundtrack on my MP3 player. {{sigh}} And as soon as I'm finished with my current audiobook, Voyager by Diana can bet I'll be adding Wicked to my must read list.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Latest Happenings

Our house is off the market!! It is no longer available. And I am ecstatic. I want to stay here after all. I have such a feeling of peace about it. The kids are pretty excited, too. DH put my clothesline back up yesterday! No more worrying about how things look from a potential buyer's standpoint!!! I am relieved and thankful that we will continue to live here. It doesn't have everything on our wish list but it is a lovely house to raise our children in. Hip Hip Hurray!

And speaking of markets, this one being the arts market....I know I promised pics of my booth. It didn't happen. Well, my helper, 6 year old Kendall, did get a few random shots which I've included. The only thing I can say is that I was incredibly busy from the moment I got there until my dh came to help me pack up at the end of the day. And my brilliant idea from the below blog? Not so brilliant when it has wheels and the entire market is slightly sloped. Add some wind gusts and I had no choice but to position it at the back of my booth against a curb. And that meant that I sold virtually nothing from it. Well, a few things but not much! The things that sold were the items that were prominently displayed at the front of my booth, my unpaper towels. And the plain ones sold out within a couple hours! My display board was great for drawing people in but it kept getting blown over.

I did better then I expected! I know that some of the artists around me were not too pleased at the end of the day so I am assuming they didn't sell much. I'm guessing they probably had higher priced items. Even better then my sales were the custom orders that came in. One has the potential of being HUGE. yeah! And in general, I enjoyed the day, meeting people and chatting. It was a lot of fun! The sun beating down on me was not fun! I took my earnings and ordered a craft canopy from ebay. So I'll be shaded next time. Phew!

I made a decision NOT to do the market every Saturday so that we can have some family time. So, this weekend was off - I'll be back next.

This last picture was as I was packing up to leave and dh and the other children came to 'help.' (That really means they tried to run out into the market area and get run over by cars/trucks as other vendors were driving through the market to go home!)

Want to see what 200 yards of birdseye fabric looks like??

It's heavy! This is my almost 9 year old son TRYING to lift it. I think it would squash him if it happened to fall over on him!

My amazing dh designed and made a wall mounted fabric rolling system for me. It works beautifully and was very inexpensive! Sorry for the lousy photo, one of the kids secretly switched my camera to manual focus and it took me too long to figure it out!

And the last tidbit that I want to share is a postcard that I made for an art show in St Petersburg, FL. I used scraps from my recent tie dyeing session and I crazy quilted them together. It's not perfect...the card is not perfectly rectangular and that bothers me a wee bit. But, it's what happened when I work on a project at midnight. And it's 'art' so it's ok, right???

If you want to enter your own postcard, check out this website...

(Click on the 3rd banner to see the details about the PSPS09 art show.)

And a big thank you to Jennifer from for telling me about it. Jenn makes LOVELY crocheted flowers that can be used as a brooch or as a decoration for a handbag or whatever you can dream of. I bought several to embellish my lovely traveling scarf. (And yes, I know how to crochet but I couldn't resist Jenn's lovely flowers!)