21 February 2007


The image above is by my new-found ceramic hero Rae Dunn.

Ok, on to the news. I had my appointment with my orthopedic surgeon. He took one look at my MRI and said that I definitely had a problem with my fusion. It seems that the bone did not grow in my fusion. They had used cadaver bone, and, apparently my body rejected it. After three years there is hardly any bone growth in the fusion. So, basically, that is a failed fusion. He is 99% positive this is what's the problem. I have a special kind of Cat Scan scheduled for tomorrow to confirm the diagnosis. We will find out the results and where we go from there on my next appointment on March 6Th.

In other news, Paul has accepted a position in South Carolina. Yes, South Carolina. It is not set in stone yet. But we are preparing mentally and researching possibilities. Caden and I will stay at out home in Michigan for at least three months. Caden needs to finish kindergarten. We also don't want to put the house up for sale and move our entire life if the job isn't what Paul really wants. There are a couple of opportunities for local employment, and one that would allow for Paul to work from home for three weeks a month and be in Wisconsin for one week a month. So far though, all of the opportunities have been in the Charleston, South Carolina area. We love the ocean and I have heard that there is a lot of interest in art in the area, so it sounds great, we just do not want to risk making a mistake.

So what does this mean? I have no idea. We are just trying to stay afloat here! I have no idea what will happen if I need surgery. I cannot live on the medications I am on for all of my life, if I do, I will have a much shortened life. We love Michigan, especially where we live, on the lake shore. That said, the economy here is struggling, and we struggle along in it, and we are tired of living like this. The business would be successful if the clients could pay there bills, but it is just not happening. We even had a client that paid us in product from his former job as a sales consultant for Hobby Lobby. It is just that way here.

Ok, enough of that! Paul is feeling a little better, but hasn't fully recovered from the pleurisy yet. Caden is great, growing leaps and bounds, right out of all of his pants! :) He is a happy kid and so very intelligent, strong-willed and independent.

It is time for me to go and count the food in the food pantry at church, so that we can fill it up with fresh groceries. Have a great day! Thanks for stopping by!

PS. thank you all for the kind comments and emails about my artwork. It really encouraged me! I have been focusing on my ceramic art lately, but overworked the clay yesterday and only produced two pendants. I am trying to create a cup that I had designed, but the clay is not cooperating!

14 February 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing everyone a happy Valentine's Day!

Paul has been ill lately. He has had pain in his chest radiating down his left arm and poor circulation. He has been really cold, not even able to heat up by sitting by the fireplace. He finally ended up going to the ER, kind of convinced he was having a heart attack at age 30. Well, no heart attack, thank goodness. It isn't a re-assurance of his cancer either, thank God again. He has pleurisy. A viral infection of the lining of his lungs, which is quite painful and causes you to breath more shallow, which, in turn, causes his circulation to decrease. Since it is a virus, it has to work its way out naturally. Antibiotics won't work. He is doing better now, especially that he knows what it is. Needless to say we have been even more stressed than usual. This makes this valentine's day even more meaningful, just being aware of our thankfulness to be together and semi-healthy.

Paul's business has been so stressful too. The economy here is awful. Most of his clients are not being their bills, which is so hard on us. In fact, he has stopped work completely with two clients until they pay their bills. Paul has been interviewing for jobs, but it is a competitive market here, due to so many qualified people being unemployed. He also has two job opportunities in Ohio and one in South Carolina. We have been praying for a long long time about Paul leaving the business sector and going into ministry. More and more we feel the push to go into ministry. The South Carolina job is for director of technical services for a church. It is funny how things happen. After another restless night, Paul picked up the bible. Long story short, he opened the lap top and stumbled upon the job in South Carolina, and the Pastor emailed him right away. God works in his time, sometimes it astounds us how quickly things work! We will see. Right now, Paul is at his second interview at another promising prospect. We only have one car now, so the job that he is interviewing for now would be great because we have a good friend that works there and they could carpool. We just hope that something happens soon! If you are so inclined, we would appreciate every prayer!

Ok, onto the Valentine's day celebration. I was greeted with breakfast in bed and Caden wrote valentine's to us (and himself :) on his own. So cute. We have such a loving son. I attempted my first encaustic collage/painting. Encaustic medium is a mixture of beeswax and resin. I was inspired by Amy Ruppel and Meredith Baxter.

The deer symbolize our family. The clouds are maps....button flowers, the deer are etched and filled in with a charcoal pencil.

P+M+R=C (Paul +Michelle +R (our last name and date of marriage) = Caden. The measuring tape I used is vintage from my grandmother's sewing kit that I inherited.

close up on some of the flowers. The hills were made from grouped shades of green punched circles from sheets of scrapbook paper, paint chip samples and magazine paper.

Paul really liked it. He had no idea that I was making it for him. He, of course knew I was making something,( it is difficult to hide the sound of a heat gun triggering the smoke detector!), but he has absolutely no idea that I was making it for him. All and all I am satisfied on how it turned out, I need more practice to be as good as I would like, but for a first try, it is ok.

Happy Valentine's Day!

ps..I found it extremely difficult to photograph the encaustic...it is much brighter in person.

12 February 2007

Tooth Fairy Time!

Look everyone! Loose tooth!

Caden has had a slightly loose tooth for a couple of weeks, but it is really progression now. There is a large gap where the adult tooth is pushing through and his baby tooth is really loose.
So, that gave me the inspiration for a tooth fairy pillow. At first Paul wasn't too hip on my idea, he has memories of a white envelope from the tooth fairy, I had a heart shaped strawberry shortcake pillow. So, we had clashing traditions. I came up with a compromise that the gift from the tooth fairy can be put into a white envelope and Caden's tooth can be in the pillow.
I had Caden write the word "tooth" and used carbon paper to transfer it to the linen. I then embroidered it (this is my first time embroidering, so that explains why it is goofy looking, but I think it adds to the look of Caden's writing) I was very inspired by these two nifty crafters.

tooth-shaped tooth fairy pillow.

close-up on the embroidery and the patchwork pocket.

close-up on the "tooth" written by Caden.

I also hand felted a pin cushion using some organic silk and wool that I had laying around. I have read that it is better (keeps needles sharper) if you store your needles in a wool pin cushion. I love how the silk fiber is slightly wavy and shimmers.

.......We also pinched our pennies to go to a "monster jam" this weekend. Caden had seen the commercial on TV and we knew he would love to see the huge monster trucks. It was loud and crowded and fun, just what any five and a half year old thrives on. It is so cold and snowy here, there isn't much to do unless it is inside. We also got to see one of the two in the world "jet quad" which is an ATV set on a jet engine. VERY loud. It shot around the stadium making flames and basically sounded like a jet airplane. Quite interesting, I never even knew about this "monster" truck world.

here are some highlights:


(broken axel)
we were rooting for this guy:

In other news, our kitten, suki, is still sick. We are setting up a visitation time, since we haven't been allowed to see her in three weeks. She has been gone longer than we had her. It is so sad that they allowed a sick cat to be adopted, we are so attached and miss her so, but have no idea when and, now, even if we can get her back. They still do not have a definitive diagnosis, they have just been giving her different doses of antibiotics.

01 February 2007


Today I am thankful for just being alive. I am thankful that I went to my regular pharmacy with a new prescription. Had I not, well, I probably would not be talking about it today. My regular doctor prescribed something that has a lethal interaction with one of my ongoing medications. The pharmacist caught it, very luckily. Needless to say, Paul was irate, we went to the doctor's office today and let them know. Wow, certainly got me thinking about mortality. Speaking about medical stuff, I have an appointment on the 20th with my orthopedic surgeon to see if repairing the herniated disc and removing scar tissue around the fusion and the nerve is an option, or if it will cause even more scar tissue and make things worse....we will see....

We have had about two feet of snow in the last few days. Starting this weekend will be five days of below twenty degrees with the nights dropping in the negatives. This is the coldest it has been here in about 12 years.

Paul plowing the driveway, a daily necessity!

I just think the trees are so beautiful when the branches are full of snow.

Suki is still at the shelter, she has to stay there until she is done with her antibiotics and she is given a clean bill of health. I miss her...

I have been busy down in the studio creating my ceramic wares. I have been making "flower buckets"

this hasn't been fired yet. I want them to look like fabric boxes, kinda loose, after the glaze fire I will add ribbon handles or wire handles. I also have been making small embossed tags that can be displayed in multiples. (I use my handmade stamps and antique letterpress for the images). In addition, I have been making small tea light "bags" that can be hung on a nail or set on a table. I have had a lot of breakage lately, because I am trying to make the clay as thin as possible, but it is still fun. I think the challenge makes it exciting. In the mix is also some pendants and even a bracelet. I will update pics when I can. As you can see, I haven't perfected photographing my ceramics, the lighting is horrible down there.

This is a small shoe that I hand crafted. I guess I will use it as a paperweight :) I just made it without thinking, it was just an image stuck in my head....

Tonight we get to bring Caden to a Rain Forest animal performance that they are having at his school. After that, Paul and I will be going out on a date night, the first in quite a while! Yay!
Have a great day!

PS...Happy Birthday Grandpa-lini!