Monday, November 30, 2009

are you ready?

It's almost December!!!! I am sooo excited. Not only is it just a couple of days until December but we are getting a little cold snap here in Texas! I might be in the minority, in fact I heard the weather man say "it's going to be miserable" and I thought "speak for yourself!". Anyway, I love it. We went and picked out our tree today, put up decorations, and it was cold enough to bulid a fire! I can't tell you how many years we have put up our tree with the air conditioner on. It was so cozy tonight sitthing with the warm glow of the fire and Christmas lights, knitting while I watched Amazing Race. Just perfect.

So on top of just enjoying our lovely change in weather I am gearing up for the Austin Flea this weekend. If you live in or around Austin you should totally stop by! I am in some brilliant company like Stephanie Nance, Bolsa Bonitia, Flour Pots, Adaptive Reuse, Paper Root, Will Heron The show is at The Ghost Room @ 304 W. 4th between Guadalupe and Lavaca from 11-6 on Saturday December 5th. There will be beer tastings and music on top of all the great art. I am super duper excited - the only thing is that I will probably want to buy multiple somethings from every vendor there!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from the pie girl

Happy Thanksgiving a day late. I hope everyone has as wonderful a Thanksgiving as my family and I did. Thanksgiving is absolutely, hands-down, my favorite holiday. It may have strayed from it's original meaning or be nothing about that "first Thanksgiving" but for me it's about being thankful. It's all in the name, right? I love the tradition of it. Here's how our day goes:
I get up, turn the tv to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and start the pies. It was five this year. Two pumpkin (steamed the pumpkins the day before), two apple/cranberry, and one pecan. Tom gets up a bit later and helps me. We make fun of the made up dog breeds on the dog show following the parade, and then we pack up and head off to my parents house, only about five blocks away. This year we had 16 at the table. It was a wonderful mix of family and friends, new and old. We have the standard 8-10 that are always there, but we try to always have some "strangers" or "Thanksgiving orphans" at the table. My mom loves inviting people who have no where else to go and treating them to a wonderful meal and a special day. I love it that I can invite anyone and everyone I want and I know my mom will welcome them with open arms and be genuinely happy that they are there.
After we gorge ourselves on turkey and stuffing and potatoes and cranberry sauce and the-best-rolls-ever (Haley licked and extra one this year so no one would steal it from her!) and Karen's to-die-for corn casserole and fruit salad and pies and pumpkin cheesecake (who knew Isaac could cook!?!?) with fresh whipped mexican vanilla whipped cream (oh my lord)...well, you would think we would all slip into a food coma. But no, we rally the troupes and play charades. We've been doing this same thing for years and I love it! This year my best friend and her husband, kids, mom and dad came for the evening and the charades got a little more competitive than in years past but it was oh so fun! Let me just brag for a moment and say that I acted out the last and winning thing which was, ahem, "Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed" - Thank you Lloyd for writing that down! How I got my team to guess that in the one minute allotted time I will never know. I had never even heard of it but apparently it's a Kinky Freidman song. Who knew?
And last but certainly not least, Preacher is continuing to do well. He's not 100% yet, but he's still getting up and down pretty well, wagging his nub, and walking on his own. So we are cautiously optimistic that he is on the mend.
Happy end of November everyone. Hope it was a good one.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Brighter days...

Well, let me start off with the most important thing : Preacher is doing much better. I think I had the sigh of relief heard 'round the world. It's been pretty much just like Dr. Daigle (our regular, best-vet-ever vet) said the first day we took him in "I think he over-did it and he's super sore. Give him 72 hours." But I find it next to impossible to wait and watch. I prefer to over-react and worry myself sick. I can't tell you how much all of your positive comments, e-mails, and phone calls have helped. So as of today he is walking on his own again, much more steady on his feet, and even got up to say "hi" when my dad came by (to take all of my chairs because everyone and their dog - yay Virgil! - are coming to Thanksgiving). Tom and I are relieved to say the least. I don't think we are 100% out of the woods, but maybe 75%. And that is darn good.

So since I had nothing to do (ha, ha, ha! bake five pies, make granola, clean house - my mother-in-law is coming, grocery store, etc.) I decided to make an advent calendar for my best friends two kiddos. The whole idea started because I had all these little Trapp votive boxes that I hadn't thrown away because "they smell good and I could wrap something in them". But they were piling up so I had this thought that I could paint them, number them, and voila, they would be an advent calendar. But in classic me form I started the project and then only had 10 boxes. So off to the container store for 15 more boxes. I wrangled Tom into helping me paint - he seemed less than thrilled to begin with but then I think he got into it and painted as many boxes as I did. Then he filled them with treats and toys while I tied them up with odds and ends of ribbon that I also hadn't been able to part with. We tied all of the boxed to a long piece of twine - and I have to say, it's pretty freakin' cute. It's like this long, colorful, Christmas-y garland of tiny boxes in red, white, pink, and green. I love it. I hope Declan and Mia do too!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Preacher update

Just wanted to let everyone know what's going on with our big man. We took him to his oncologist this morning. He was concerned that the cancer was back and in his spine or central nervous system. The oncologist just called with an update. They did xrays and everything looked normal. So it still could be anything from muscular skeletal, to ruptured disc, to cancer. But something is causing a fair amount of pain in his lower lumbar area. So for now he gets to come home and be on some heavy duty pain meds in the hope that he gets progressively better over the next couple of days. If he does not improve or gets worse then we go get a CT scan and have to talk about the possibility of surgery. Not sure how Tom and I feel about that given the cancer and his age, but we'll just have to see.

For now we are hopeful and are choosing to be positive and believe that he is a big goof ball and over did it with the play on Sunday and, like his mom would do, injured himself with a very small amount of exercise and physical exertion!

Thanks for your well wishes, positive thoughts, prayers, love, everything!

Monday, November 23, 2009

jeez-a-lou, as Frank would say.

I'm telling you, I feel like I have been on a 24 hour roller coaster ride - and I am not a fan of roller coasters in general. So Preacher was fantastic yesterday and not-so-much today. In fact tonight we have been having to carry him outside to go to the bathroom. He's been laying/sleeping on the couch all day. We have every finger and toe crossed that this is a combination of a sore back and the pain meds knocking him for a loop. One minute I am convinced that it's just that and the next I am just sure that he is out of remission. And the truth is - what the hell do I know? But apparently I like to guess and second guess and all around drive myself batty with worry until I have someone that actually knows what they are talking about tell me what is really going on.

In the mean time, I think the other dogs must know that they should not be torturing Preacher. Normally if he is laying on the couch Pasqual has no issues with jumping right up next to him to cozy up - the thing is, Preacher wants nothing to do with that, never has. So he gives a grumpy growl and huffs off to find a new spot. Well tonight Pasqual, more gingerly than normal, jumped up on the couch but this time perched himself on the arm of the couch. Now, remember, this is a 55-60 pound pit bull. But he seemed quite content to nap on the not-so-comfortable-looking arm of the couch. Hmmm. Maybe he is maturing, he's 10 years old. it's time.

round 15 and a icky day so far

So round 15 of chemo was last Tuesday and I was remiss and didn't post anything right away. I think I have said this before, but when things are good it is easy to forget to update on his progress and it's surprisingly easy to begin to feel like nothing is wrong. Unfortunately we had a reminder this morning that everything is not fine.

Preacher had an amazing day yesterday. I brought a toy home for Vincent and Preacher promptly snatched it up and started racing through the house with it. Tom threw it to him a couple of times, he jumped up to grab it, he spun himself in circles, he was just a nut. He was Preacher six years ago - not old man Preacher. So when he started pacing last night and acting uncomfortable we were really surprised. This morning he didn't want to get up, when he tried he fell off of the couch. Tom came home and we took him straight in to our vet. They did blood work and our hope was that he just over did it yesterday and with some rest and pain meds we'd be a-okay. But his blood work showed an infection.

Our vet called up Preacher's oncologist and they discussed everything. It could be a couple of things: he has an odd, random infection and antibiotics and pain meds will fix him right up OR he has come out of remission and the cancer is in his central nervous system. It's too soon to know what that would mean - but don't think I haven't already tried to get everyone to tell me the long-drawn-out details of every possible scenario - for now we wait. We give the meds 72 hours to work their magic. If in 72 hours he is significantly better then that is a great indication that the cancer is not back. Of course waiting 72 hours is sheer torture.

We've known all along that lymphoma is terminal. We are realistic about the fact that he is 11 years old. But none of that is making this any easier right now. The past few months have lulled me into a real false sense of security. and now I am scared. Please send our boy some good thoughts and well wishes. Your support has certainly helped more than you can know. Now, go kiss your dog or your neighbors dog.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

32 years and counting

I have had the same best friend for 32 years. Tom says that's not normal (I think he means it in a good way). Normal or not, we have been best friends for 32 years. Not on and off, no gaps and re connections, 32 years of having the same person to always count on, talk to, laugh with, cry with, get in trouble with (from sharing the same bathroom stall at age 8 so we could look through each other's purses and getting busted by the school secretary to shop lifting at 17 to over drinking and puking at age, well, recently). I really do not know what I would do with out her.

We met in the first grade. Ms. Wages. My mom and I had just moved to Lubbock, Texas so that she could go to grad school at Texas Tech. We knew no one there and it was just us and our dog. When Kim and I met I had no way of knowing that her family would become mine and vice versa. Her parents really kinda took us in. Her mom typed my moms grad school papers and together they traded off fixing our lunches (I am still scarred by the lettuce, mayo, and peanut butter sandwiches), one took us to school and the other picked us up. As a kid this just seemed normal - as an adult I realize that we were building this amazing history.

When I was 12 my mom moved us here, to Austin. Typically I think that would be that. Maybe we would write for a bit, but we would make new friends and move on. But our parents saw to it that that did not happen. They flew us back and forth frequently. They would share the cost of airfare sometimes, but they made it happen. And we never lost touch, never lost our connection. We still gossiped, ran up large phone bills, wrote lots of letters (well, Kim did, I'm not very good at written correspondence!), and spent birthdays together.
Eventually we all ended up in the same town, even our parents. We talk nearly everyday. Sometimes for hours and Tom asks "what do you still have to talk about??" I don't know. Anything. Everything. We have literally been through it all together - boyfriends, death of a sibling and grandparents, marriage, births of (her) children, life. It might not be every ones normal. But I am so thankful that it is my normal.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fall. I love everything about it. I especially love all of the food that comes with fall and spending time in my kitchen making soups and pies. My kitchen is comfortable and bright and very, very me. I am already excited with anticipation for Thanksgiving morning...waking up and turning my little kitchen tv to the parade, cranking up the oven, and figuring out which pie to start first while Tom and the dogs sleep in in the other room. It is the best.

With Thanksgiving next week I have pies on the brain. It's about time to start peeling the pumpkins and steaming them, roasting the seeds, and counting out how many pie plates I am going to need this year. A possible 24 people at the table means a wholelotta pies! So everyone does pumpkin, right? And pecan? What else? What is your family tradition?

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's so easy...

Super duper excited to have these new little gems in my hot little hands!!! I wanted something like the itunes card or the gap gift card so my sweet husband made it happen. Now Metalsgirl has her very own little gift card! For now you can get her on etsy, but soon she'll be on the Metalsgirl website as well. She will arrive in a sweet little glassine envelope all ready for giving. Perfect for stocking stuffing or shipping to out of town sweeties.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Buck up!

I think it's time to flex my muscles and show what I'm made of. I might have gotten a little too big for my britches lately. Over the past few years I have been busy, real busy, with work. And I haven't had to do a whole lot to bring that work in. Well, I do work, but I haven't had to push, push, push to get my work out there. But it seems this whole economy thing might be catching up with me. And I get it. But it means I am gonna have to put myself out there a bit more. This is tough for me because I am not the "hard-sell" sales person and I never will be. But I suppose I could be a bit more aggressive about getting my work seen. So, seeing as how holiday ad space has come and gone I guess that means social networking here I come... I know it might seem self-serving, but I do think now is the time to buy handmade and locally owned and support the little guy. This holiday while we are all scrimping more than usual I think the more personal gift will mean so much more than the big expensive electronics and big box store gifts. Whether that is something from me or from your little locally owned shop up the will make a difference.

Oh, and while I desperately wish that was my arm, it's not. It's my precious sister (not really, but really) Haley. And on her arm are the Vintage Brass Bangle Bracelets that I so loooove to make!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gift ready to Give

Gearing up for all of the holiday shows is exciting, fun, and a teensy bit stressful. One of the most popular items at past shows has been this bangle necklace. I have several versions with different words and colors each with a card and boxed up ready to give. It's the best gift for boys to buy because it's just all done - let's face it, most of 'em like that. I haven't had these gems on my website yet but they are coming soon...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Austin Flea

I am super duper excited about this upcoming show!!!! First of all, I can not believe that the holidays are upon us. It always sneaks up on me. But here they are and I am so excited!! I'm pretty much a cheese-ball when it comes to all things between November 1st and December 26th. And I mean All Things! I would start playing Christmas music now if Tom didn't lay down the law. The day after Thanksgiving is when it gets to start. But he usually plays my very favorite Glen Campbell Christmas song at midnight on Thanksgiving. And I, without fail, let out that excited squeal as if it is the very first time. ahhh, I love it! The baking, the gift wrapping (no gift bags -ick!), the decorations, the tree, the smells, the daily cards from old friends and family, and all of the fun holiday art shows!!! This is the time of year where I really get to interact with loyal customers and fellow artists. Working from home is a wonderful thing, but it is a fairly solitary environment. So these shows are the equivalent of being around coworkers for me. We talk about our year, gossip, talk shop - and we cram it all into the one or two days of the show. It's great fun!!

I am doing two shows this season. I know fellow artists/friends who are doing up to five! More power to them and I hope they do fantastic - but I just can't manage it. So two it is. And I am thrilled about them both.
First, on December 5th, is The Austin Flea. It's at the Ghost Room and it's a one day show with other fabulous artists, live music, yummy food (Stephanie, you better make those Mexican chocolate cookies again!), and holiday goodies to get you in the spirit!
Second, on December 12th and 13th is Cherrywood. Another fun, fun, fun show! Great local artists and more live music! I so hope to see you out and about and enjoying all the festivities! And if not come visit me at !!

Friday, November 6, 2009

It's Friday... it too late to catch a plane to New York? I was going through pictures from our recent trip and I did feel twinges of longing to be back there. But at the same time I am really enjoying these last couple of slower weeks at home. I suppose in a perfect world I could hop back and forth between the two with the greatest of ease...but that's not terribly realistic. So for now looking back at photos of Tom and I accosting art in the subway will have to do.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

round 14

Yesterday was Preachers 14th round of chemo. It was vincristine day. That is our favorite drug. He typically doesn't miss a beat after that one. He's eating great, was playing chase with me this morning, wagging his nub like mad when Tom came home from work today - love it.

Only three more treatments. Wow. I can't believe it. This is gonna sound really weird, but I am a little afraid of finishing the chemo. We haven't talked to the oncologist, but I imagine that he will go back in fairly regularly for check ups - I'm scared that I am going to be a nervous wreck worrying about him coming out of remission. I know that's silly. I am going to try very hard NOT to do that. My plan is to continue just like we have - one day at a time, enjoying every minute of every day, and being grateful for all of the time we have with our handsome boy - and all of them for that matter.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Have I got something for you...

I am seriously beside myself I am so excited that it is November!!! I love Fall, I love Thanksgiving, I love the crisp, cool air...okay, so here in Texas we don't quite have that yet...but I am sure it's on it's way. I hope, I hope, I hope. The minute fall hits it makes me want to light a fire and bake something. Since it was like 80 something today there was no fire but my dad and I did bake two apple pies today - office birthday tomorrow and he wanted to take pies, so I went over and we made two beautiful apple pies - one cinnamon and one ginger. yummy! Anyway, I want to pass my growing excitement on to you. So here's the deal - everyday for the first week of November I have some kinda special going on over at Metalsgirl. Here's the skinny:

  • Monday November 2: Free Shipping on anything and everything!

  • Tuesday November 3: a free resin and herb charm with EVERY purchase!

  • Wednesday November 4: for each purchase of a bangle charm bracelet you'll get a plain sterling bangle FREE!

  • Thursday November 5: buy one get one free bottlecaps!

  • Friday November 6: buy a chain or bangle on the Build Your Own page and your first charm is free!

  • Saturday November 7: Crave book will be just $10 today! Great gift for Austinites AND visitors.

Hop onto my website for more info on each day's special. Have fun!