Wednesday, October 31, 2012


My 1000th blog post...

Golly...what to write about?

Tomorrow something fun.
Today~hmmm~some thoughts!

As I began to think about just what I might share a ton of stuff quickly came and then exited my head.  Had lots of ideas, but none seemed to fit.  It's not that the event is all that fabulous~it's not.  Not really anyway.  I guess for me I just never dreamed I'd stick to this writing thing for this long so I'm more than a tad bit surprised to reach this number.  Although I created my blog in February '08 I didn't actually write my first post until January '09. Truth be told it took me that long to muster up the courage to type out my first word.

I honestly think people who tend to be on the creative end of things (unlike my hubster who is a computer-math-whiz, but can't draw a stick man to save his life) have a tendency to have a certain amount of brilliant madness going on inside their heads...  Secretly I believe I have a mild moderate case of ADD combined with a twinge double-helping of OCD.  Except for pecking away at my keyboard typing out blog posts and reading posts from those who have done the same, there is no way I could sit for so long without feeling like I might just go mad or something...

Blogging has opened a whole new world for me.  Not since I started selling on eBay over ten years ago have I met so many incredibly talented women or read such heartfelt stories about their lives and work.  Honestly~I've never seen anything like it and there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not totally wowed by something new that is created or shared.  I've come to believe that each of us, in our own way, are just trying to make it in our ever-changing, challenging, complicated world.  I think we are all more alike than we are different and it takes a lot of courage to place ourselves out there and share the whole of who we are, or even a small part, with others.  We run the risk of being juried by our peers and that can be super scary.  It is to me anyway.  Thankfully the upside is that we also take a chance at finding wonderful women who share our passions and successes and can relate to both our shortcomings and challenges.

So many of you have become life-long friends. 

When I was seven years old my family and I moved from California to Texas for about eleven months.  It was during my 3rd grade school year I began to understand that people are given different talents and abilities and I certainly was not one who was gifted with the math or science gene.  Early on I struggled to find my place, my calling if you will.  I flunked out of almost every class that year and the ONLY thing I was decent at was drawing pictures.  My teacher, Mrs. Petifils, hated that about me.  She said I was lazy and unfocused and, um...not good enough.   I felt so alone even though I knew then CREATING would be part of my life.  Still, the feelings of insecurity started to grow and it took me years before I was able to break free from the NGE Monster.  (It never ceases to amaze me how things said to us as children have the ability to haunt us years later.)  Even today I find if I'm not careful I unknowingly allow the viscous thing to climb back onto my shoulders~  He wastes not even a moment to lean down and whisper into my ear...


Not a good enough wife.
Not a good enough mother.
Not a good enough nana.
Not a good enough daughter, sister, friend or lover.
Not a good enough seamstress, painter or writer and most assuredly~
Not good enough to be called a child of God.

Over the past 18 months as the husband of my youth worked towards earning his long overdue degree, the endless hours of loneliness afforded me the time to do some serious soul searching~  I didn't realize it when I first began, but I really needed time by myself.  

Soul Searching...

My father always said it was his time to get away and find himself.

I hoped for half that much.

 As I began to reflect back upon my life, after many evenings shuttered away in my bedroom, I came to a clear understanding of something necessary for me to move forward.  Simply put...I had to start believing if I always try and give my best in all things then my efforts must stand for what they are.

My Best.

It must be good enough.

It just must be.

I want you to know I owe you all a huge debt of gratitude.  Without knowing it you've taught me more than I dreamed possible about arts and crafts, music and faith, love and acceptance and so much about life and the living of it!   I love your honesty and your vulnerability and I'm incredibly grateful to have stumbled onto your path.  In turn, I hope you've enjoyed reading my never-ending posts centered around simple chit-chat, hearing about my crazy fabulous finds, the challenging days of weeping and the reading of my deep love for my Mr. AGPMan and family...


Most importantly for me, my love for The Most High!

Your thoughts, personal emails and comments have encouraged me to press on while seeking God's purpose for my own life.  You have blessed me more than I have words to say and helped me believe that somewhere, somehow, someway we all are...


Blessings and love to you...


Sunday, October 28, 2012


Today, for my 999th Blog Post I want to share something that has been on my heart for quite a long time.  

A few weeks ago while shopping inside my favorite thrift I came across an incredible book entitled:

~Loving Portraits by 74 Granddaughters~
 I was taken back by the beautiful cover and couldn't resist bringing the book home with me.  Once home I became mesmerized by the photographs inside.  But, one by one as the pages turned I felt a deep sadness building up within my spirit and more than a tinge of regret.

The entire book set my heart to wondering...
 Pictures taken of me with my own Grandmother are few and far between so there are only a handful of such photographs to share.  I can only recall two or three pictures taken of the two of us together before I became an adult, even though I spent many a long summer at her loving home.  

There is only ONE taken of me with my paternal Grandmother, Grandma Bethel.

What I wouldn't give to have just one more snapshot of her hand held tightly in mine...
Now...I'm usually the picture-taking-person in our family.  I'm almost always the one behind the lens and that is evident when I look back upon our photo albums and scrapbooks.  I'm in about 1/3 of the pictures taken, at best.  It's my own fault, too!

 In the past I've been guilty of coming up with every excuse one can think of to NOT be in the picture...
 I'm tired.
I don't have my make-up on.
I look fat.
I look old.
I'm not dressed right.
My hair's a mess.
(Etc., etc., etc., etc.,)
 How silly I was!

Today I'd love to have more photos of me with my children.  When I'm no longer around I want them to have something more than just my spirit to remember me by...

Today when I think about my Grandmother (she passed almost 4 years ago at nearly 92) I'm so grateful she didn't miss the chance to be in the handful of pictures I currently own.
 I can't help but wonder if she had similar concerns to those that have crossed my own mind over the years.  Maybe she was just happy to be loved, appreciated and valued by her family.
 I think the latter is true.

When I look back upon old photographs I don't care if her hair is a mess or her clothes aren't right.  I don't even notice if she's fat or thin or if there is rouge on her cheeks or lipstick on her thinning lips.
   I only see her beautiful face.
I feel only her amazingly gracious heart.
 So...what I want to say to you today before I begin my 1000th blogpost is this...


Step out from behind the camera!
Celebrate life's fleeting moments with your children and grandchildren and stop caring if everything is perfect.

It's never going to be.

One day when you and I are gone our families will be so grateful to have something more than just their memories to help them move on.


Sunday Blessings...

Friday, October 26, 2012


  My family and I will be enjoying Thanksgiving out of state this year..  Something completely different for a change and we are all looking forward to it!
I'm a wee bit antsy about not being home for this special holiday, but we ARE EXCITED about having some vacation time!
Also, because our kitchen remodel is ongoing it will be almost impossible to prepare a huge family meal when more than half my cooking utensils (including pots, pans, serving dishes, etc.) are packed away.  I'll miss our traditions...but again, a family getaway sounds wonderful to us.
I love Autumn and last weekend my Miss K and I picked out a couple of sweet pumpkins!  I'm not a big fan of Halloween, but she did have a blast helping carve out the largest pumpkin with her Papa!  Love how it came out!

More soon.  Hope your Friday is fab!

Love to you...

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Visiting Nebraska Summer 1984
(My Eyes Are ALWAYS Shut!)

Had it ever been required, I would have gladly given up any other earthly love for my children.  From the very beginning of their lives they've been my heart's song.  I love them with the whole of who I am and more.
Adrienne and Her Daddy - 1984

Today my beautiful daughter, Adrienne, turns 28.  Seems like yesterday I held her in my she towers over me having grown into a simply gorgeous young woman.  I'm so proud of her.
Coming Home - 1984 (Car Seat is in FRONT!)

Can't help but share with you a few photos from our wishing there had been digital cameras back then.  I've added captions to the pictures as I reflect back upon the days they were taken...
Baby Adrienne and Mommy With Her Eyes Shut (Again!)

Taking this trip down memory lane brings back to my mind so many wonderful moments spent with family...
With Gramma and Grampa N.

Life has a way of scurrying by, doesn't it?  When I think of the blessings upon my life none have been so dear to me than those that surround me becoming a mom. 

This picture was snapped in front of a home we almost purchased in Yukon, OK.  Brandon was four and Adrienne was almost 2!  If I'm being honest these days were some of my most favorite of all I've lived.  Simple, carefree and broke!
Ruffles of Pink
(2nd Favorite Dress I Ever Made Her)

I loved putting Adrienne in PINK!
With Brandon - Christmas 1988

And in RED!
Summer - 1989

And in BLUE!
Kindergarten Scholar -1989

I'll never forget this day...I turned around and nearly freak out that Adrienne had climbed to the top of the door...

Adrienne, Rebecca and Rebecca's Hair! (BAH!)
EASTER - 1991

Just in case you THOUGHT her hair was curly on it's own!
Summer 1993
Summer 1993
On Briarwood - 1994
March 2001

Celebrating my father's birthday before he became ill...
With Brandon - Summer 2002

Playing at the lake with big brother, Brandon.  Young fun in the sun!  Missing these days so much!

Sharing a life with her handsome hubby!  (We LOVE him, too!)  Married 5 years now!  Wow!
My Girl and I


Happy Birthday, Adrienne!  I hope and pray someday you experience the joy and pride of being a mother for yourself.  My relationship with you has been one of the sweetest I've ever known and you bless me more than I can say.  Thank you for being such an awesome daughter and for the deep love you show your family and friends.  We hope one day to deserve your grace and goodness.

(Looking forward to a day of fun with you!)



Blessings as you celebrate the lives of those you love.

Love to you...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


 By now you all know I love to shop at thrift stores.  I'm amazed at the things people give away and I've found some truly incredible finds over the years.  
Some of my favorite things to hunt down for my booth space are white cotton and/or linen tops and skirts.  All they usually need are a quick dunk in the washing machine to come out better than new...nothing sweeter and more comfy than gently washed natural fiber clothing...swoon...........................
Last week while shopping at one of our neighborhood thrifts I found a tattered, all cotton skirt, by GUESS for $1.99.  I love how it looked and decided it was worth bringing home.  My plan was to make a Christmas Tree Skirt out of it, but after studying it decided it wouldn't be full enough. next idea was to use it to help fashion a new Tattered Apron.  Last Spring I made about fifteen of them and I've wanted to get back to stitching up a few more.
Here's what I did...

The skirt had a zipper and I cut it out and split the seam.  I removed the lining and trimmed down the waist area to just above the top ruffle.  After cutting out the top portion of the apron and serging the edges I sewed the lightly gathered skirt piece to the bottom.
Because the skirt was already tattered (raw seams) it was PERFECT for the ruffled flounce!  After a frayed pocket and a couple of ruffles were attached the apron started taking form.  Neck and side ties were added and a couple of vintage buttons and wahhhh-lahhhhh...DONE!
I may go back and remove the last ruffle as the apron is a wee bit longer than I'd like for it to be...perfect for someone tall but not so perfect for someone like me who is only 5'4...  Or~just might leave it as-is!  Haven't decided whether or not to sell this one yet...MAYBE!

So...the next time you think about making an apron why don't you skip the fabric stores and look for something at the thrift.  Lots of great skirts (especially the full ones) that give you more than enough fabric to design something lovely.  
(Cheaper tan new fabric, too!). 

Happy Wednesday!

Love to you...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


  I'm busy today in my studio working on a sweet hand painted pink rose project!  Love movin' that brush of mine!  I hope to show you later this week what's been in the works!!!  In the meantime here's a peek at what I finished up today...

One of my international customers ordered some customized Candy Bars showcasing Christmas themes and they are going out this week!  Can you guess which one is my favorite?   Hmmmmm...
I chatted about customized wrappers a few weeks ago and was pretty bummed when Cadbury Chocolatiers followed suite with Hershey and Nestle and changed the packaging of their candy bars.  Gone are the foil and paper wrappings and in their place are plastic sleeve type covers.  Well...I ended up having to wrap each bar in foil (over the plastic) and all in all they came out great.  Lots more work though...much easier when all I had to do was add a new paper cover...
Anyway...I'm off to work.  Gotta kitchen remodel to pay for and Christmas is coming...  :)

Happy Pumpkin Days...

Love to you~

Monday, October 22, 2012



Welcoming Fall brings with it an air of excitement to my La Chaumière de Briarwood.  With this being our twentieth Thanksgiving living in our Oklahoma home it's hard to believe how fast the years have passed by.

Our neighborhood has changed a lot since 1992.  Back then many of the residents were the original owners of our block's 1970's era homes and sadly some of them have now passed on.  I remember how my children and I would bake treats for them during the holidays and how fun it was to deliver them door to door.  Now that my babes are grown and on their own my Mr. AGPMan continue with our little gift-giving tradition without them (sniff).  Many things have changed over the years, but never the smiling faces of those being remembered.

Today I'm showing you a simple little treat gifted to friends and neighbors in honor of Thanksgiving!  Simple to prepare and pleasing to the eye, too!  Perfect for friends and family who can't have sugary sweets is a plus!

You start with a loaf of plain white bread (like Sunbeam) and working with six slices at a time you first remove the crust.  Begin by cutting the bread into 1/2" pieces or tear them into small chunks.  Melt 3 Tablespoons of butter into a skillet and add bread pieces.  Coat all sides of the bread with butter and stir on medium heat until golden brown and toasty.  Remove from stove top and salt and flavor as desired.  I use Himalayan Pink Salt and TONE'S Garlic/Herb Seasoning (about 1/4 TSP each).  Drain on paper towel.  Once the croutons are cool place them in small vintage jars (I find mine at thrift stores all year long) and wrap them up with cello and tie with natural ribbon and hand crafted tags!  Simple and easy.

Here's a tip:  Don't season the bread while cooking as seasonings have a tendency to burn before the bread is fully toasted.   Also work in small batches to ensure even coating of the bread with butter!  ENJOY!


Looking forward to an awesome week creating!  Go make something wonderful and then tell me about it!  I'd LOVE to share your family traditions in the future!

Love to you...

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