Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Wish for Brady

Nine months ago, my sister shared with me that she was going to have another baby.  I was overjoyed and excited for her.  I have such a strong emotional attachment to her daughter and love her with all my heart - that to add on to that love with another baby - I just couldn't be happier.

During her pregnancy, I was hungry for updates from her and devoured every snippet of news and every ultrasound I could get my hands on for the new baby.  During around her 18 week ultrasound, she learned that she was going to have a boy... and she learned that he had a heart defect known as right atrial isomerism.

She was devastated.

As an older sister, I felt helpless.  All I could do was cry with her and try to comfort her, but what could I say or do?  All I could think was the worst and all I could hope for was the best.

After the initial shock of the news, I saw a side of my sister I had never seen before.  After she mourned the idea of having a perfect child, she began to take charge of the situation by learning about the baby's condition and actively asking questions of the doctor and of the surgeon who would be attending to his care.  The feedback that she would receive from the doctors was ever changing.  Sometimes they would say that the baby had a 99% chance of surviving his first surgery, but then, at another check up, their estimate dropped down to 33%.  It was an emotional roller coaster ride as the assessment of the baby's health changed at each visit.

We were hesitant to do the normal things you do when expecting a baby.  Plans for a baby shower were postponed.  But as it got closer to her due date, Barbara began preparing the baby's nursery and asked me to create a custom nursery display for his room.  So, up until the day he was born, I created the following display for the baby:

For Brady

Brady - that was the darling name she chose for him.  I thought about Brady with every stitch I sewed and every stroke of paint I brushed.  It was my way of helping her and sending good thoughts into the universe.

On July 19th at 3:32 p.m., Brady Charles Dauberman was born.  I had the honor of being in the room during his birth, and it was the most amazing experience I had ever witnessed.  My sister became a superhero in my eyes that day.  And, just like the birth of her daughter, I fell in love with Brady.  My heart overflowed with joy.

It's a Boy!

Barbara and Brady

Brady has already undergone his first of many surgeries and is still in the hospital recuperating.  Barbara has been right by his side, providing me with daily updates about his progress.  Now that he is here, I can only for wish for him to have a speedy recovery so that he can be brought home and doted upon by the people who love him most.  He will not have an easy life, but he will be loved and cherished.  Until Barbara is able to bring sweet Brady home, please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.

Sweet Baby
"Children are the reward of life."
- Congolese Proverb

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rainy Day Activity - Flower Pins!

It's pouring down rain today.  What better way to pass the time than a little crafting?

A friend of mine asked how I make flower pins, so I thought I'd share that process with you.  They're so easy to make and make great gifts.

First, you need the following materials:
  • felt
  • thread and needle (preferably the same color as the felt)
  • buttons
  • hot glue and hot glue gun
  • 1.25" bar pins
  • ribbon (optional)
Step One: Cut a strip of felt, long ways.

How to Make a Flower Pin

Step Two: Cut your petal pattern.  These can be as long or as skinny as you want.  I chose this pattern to make a daisy.

How to Make a Flower Pin 2

How to Make a Flower Pin 3

Step Three:  Fold the first petal in half and pinch it.  Sew the pinched felt at the top.  Go to the next petal and repeat.  As you move along petal to petal, sew each new petal to the one before it.

How to Make a Flower Pin 4

How to Make a Flower Pin 5

How to Make a Flower Pin 6

How to Make a Flower Pin 7

Step Four: Sew the first and last petals together so that your flower is fully formed.

How to Make a Flower Pin 8

How to Make a Flower Pin 9

How to Make a Flower Pin 10

Step Five: Turn the flower over and close the hole by sewing one petal to the petal directly across from it.  Continue sewing the petals in a crisscross manner.

How to Make a Flower Pin 11

How to Make a Flower Pin 12

How to Make a Flower Pin 13

Step Six: Turn the flower back over to the front and select a button to hot glue to the front.  Once you have a button, put a small dab of hot glue in the center of the flower.  Quickly press the button on top, making sure that some of the glue comes up through the button holes.  This will help to provide extra support to keep the button on the flower.

How to Make a Flower Pin 14

How to Make a Flower Pin 15

How to Make a Flower Pin 16

How to Make a Flower Pin 17

Step Six and Half: If you want to add any embellishments like leaves or ribbon, measure out your embellishments so that they can be seen from behind the flower.  If you are happy with the placement, hot glue them to the back of the flower.

How to Make a Flower Pin 18

How to Make a Flower Pin 19

Step Seven: Cut an oval shaped piece of felt to cover the back of the flower.  (If you have added any embellishments, this piece would just go over the back of the embellishments.)  Once you have the piece prepared, hot glue it to the back of the flower.

How to Make a Flower Pin 20

Step Eight: Get a bar pin to hot glue to the back of the felt cover.  Carefully put hot glue on the back of the bar pin, and like the button in the front, push it to the felt so that some of the hot glue comes up through the holes.

How to Make a Flower Pin 21

How to Make a Flower Pin 22

Step Nine: Wait for the hot glue to cool completely.  Wear with any of your outfits to jazz up your wardrobe and feel like a diva instantly.

How to Make a Flower Pin 23
"Flowers really do intoxicate me."
- Vita Sackville-West

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

DC Recap, Ya'll!

What a fabulous weekend in DC.

Angela and I arrived at the great capital city on Friday afternoon, excited to explore and get some grub.  After having a lovely dinner at Thai Tanic, we headed toward Pentagon City so that I could purchase some sandals and have a bit of retail therapy.  It was good to get away from the hustle and bustle of our normal lives and spend some quality girl time together.

Dinner at Thai Tanic

Dinner at Thai Tanic

The next day, we got up bright and early to attend The Gutsy Girl's Guide to Success.  (It was our whole reason for the trip, after all.)  Held at George Washington University, the workshop was conducted in an intimate classroom setting.  Angela and I found ourselves among other young women interested in a common pursuit - authentic joy.  We were lead through a series of exercises and discussions by the lovely Molly Hoyne of Stratejoy.  I had been following Molly's work on Stratejoy for some time.  And when the opportunity arose that I could be a participant in her mission to help women realize their own authentic joy, I took a leap of faith to participate.

Molly and Me
Me and Molly - twins!

Although we all had different reasons for being there, there was a shared interest among the women in that room to no longer be wall flowers in their own lives.  Truths were being shared among strangers and to ourselves, and though some of the activities were unexpectedly revealing, the forum felt safe and energizing.

We even had a guest speaker, the successful Kimberly Wilson of TranquiliT.  A self proscribed "teacher, writer, do-gooder, entrepreneur, and eco-fashion designer," Kimberly shared with us her story of finding her own joy and her adventures into entrepreneurship.  She was informative, ambitious, but, most of all, refreshingly down-to-earth.  My favorite part of her visit was her top five list for being a tranquilista:
  1.  Spirituality is a priority.
  2. Take action.
  3. Your life is art.
  4. Exude style.
  5. Leave a legacy.

Overall, I left the workshop feeling inspired and motivated.  I learned that I'm a big picture kind of person who sometimes has trouble with follow through.  But I was able to learn some helpful tips to make meaningful goals with achievable actions.  I have a couple of projects to flesh out in my own pursuit of authentic joy - and I can't wait to get started.  It was such a pleasure to meet Molly and all of the lovely participants in DC.

DC Cupcake!

On our last day in city, Angela and I ventured out to King Street in Virginia to visit the downtown area for brunch and shopping.  I saw so many interesting things there that I just had to capture them all on camera.

La FromagerieViking HeadGreen Door at 1008 1/2Flower TilesSmash!I Ask...

It's a Break Off!Will Do, Chickee!Breast Cancer Awareness SculptureFaces
Turquoise Wall1009 1/2

My best discovery on King Street was chai bubble tea.  I. Loved. It.  If you can stomach the look of the tapioca balls in the bottom of the tea, I highly recommend it.  It's like a dessert and a drink in one.

Chai Bubble Tea!

Heading home to North Carolina was a reminder that I was stepping back into my life after stepping out of it for an exercise in self reflection.  I was heading back to my life with purpose with the intention of making some real progress in this pursuit of a creative life.  It may not all happen at once, but I am enjoying the journey.  After all, isn't that what it's all about?

Our Shadows
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, 
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
- Marcel Proust

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gutsy Girls Road Trip

Guess what...

I'm going on a road trip to DC this weekend with my bestie, Angela.  Why?  Well, since the beginning of the year, we have made it a priority to meet at least once a month to spend some quality time together.  We're both working professionals with families, and we wanted to make our friendship a priority.  Sometimes you just need to spend time with your girlfriends, you know?  It really is the best kind of rejuvenation.

Angela and I take turns deciding how we're going to spend our time each month.

This month is my month.

So I decided to sign us up for a day long workshop in DC.  A workshop, you ask?  Yup.  For the past couple of weeks, Angela and I have been taking The Joy Equation course through Stratejoy.  The brain child of Molly Hoyne, Stratejoy's goal is help women find authentic happiness in their lives by conquering their own quarterlife crises.  (Who wouldn't want to find authentic happiness, right?)  So far, we've really enjoyed the journal prompts and audio lessons that the course has had to offer.  We've been sharing our own observations of the course and of ourselves and have found it both enlightening and fun.  And this weekend, we get to meet the inspiring lady behind it all.

The search for authentic happiness has been an interesting one.  Why this course?  Well, at least for me, I was searching for something that would help me realize, organize, and execute this dream I have for a creative life.  I have the vision and I have the desire; I just need help with the implementation.  I needed help with taking the big picture and breaking it down into manageable and executable parts.  (Hell, I needed help with even defining what those parts should be.)

As a creative spirit, setting actionable goals has not really been my forté.  Initially, my dream was so big that when the dream didn't come to fruition as quickly as I would have liked, I had the tendency to let the dream fade or go stale.  Molly has taught me some amazing skills that really challenged me to look deep within myself to define that dream and set goals to make it a reality.

This has been an exciting time in my life right now.  Even if I am not living the dream yet, I am enjoying the journey.


"If you want to be happy, be." 
- Leo Tolstoy

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Words to Live By: The Finale

My friend Jeanine is surviving and thriving after breast cancer.

On Saturday, I went to visit Jeanine and help her hang up the last of the canvases for the Words to Live By Project.  Once we went through the process of measuring, hanging, and straightening the canvases, we stood back in awe of the final product - both with a feeling of astonishment and nostalgia.  On the wall hung 54 paintings, each representing a week in Jeanine's life since being diagnosed with breast cancer.  As we stood and looked at the collection, we began analyzing each row of paintings and sharing which one in each row was our favorite (because it was just too hard to pick one).  To capture the moment, Jeanine grabbed her Flip video camera and recorded this impromptu interview with me about the project.

But rather than go on and tell you about my perception of the project, I thought I would invite Jeanine to be a guest blogger (my first!) and share with you what the Words to Live By Project has meant to her over the past year.


What has the WTLB Project meant to me?

When I got cancer, I quickly saw how difficult it was for the people around me.  I also did NOT see how difficult it was for some people because many people disappeared out of my life.  They did not know what to do, so when in doubt, chicken out, I guess.  Diana was never and will never be one of those people.  She has been one of my go to girls during the last year.  If I was going to chemo for the first time, you would find  her by my side.  If I was put in isolation at the hospital, you would find her all decked out in a beautiful yellow smock and a mask keeping me company.  If I was going to have a party, you would find her leading the charge as my party planner.  If I was sick in bed, you would find her willing to just sit in the bed and talk.  So it is not surprising to me that she jumped in with her gifts and talents and created the Words to Live By Project that would help sustain me for the 54 weeks to come.

Final Words to Live By
Photo courtesy of Jeanine

Diana was an integral shopping and designing partner when I created my home office 3 years ago.  She was with me as I purchased almost every single piece of furniture or decoration for the space and it looked great - except for the massive wall behind my desk that is the focal point when you walk in the room.  We looked everywhere for art for the space and quickly realized that we had polar opposite tastes.  We could agree on everything but art.  I told her at the time, that when the right thing comes along, we will know it.  Little did I imagine that I would have to get cancer to find just the right art to finish off my office decorations!

Final Words to Live By
Photo courtesy of Jeanine

When Diana gave me my first Words to Live By piece, I was blown away.  Yes, the art was amazing and the quote was wonderful.  But this was also the first person who I felt understood the need for me to look and plan ahead.  Cancer was going to be tough, but more importantly, I was going to need to focus on enjoying the journey.  I had been struggling with accepting the idea that I could live or die and that I had no way of knowing what was going to happen.  I decided very early on that the way that I dealt with cancer from the very beginning was going to determine who I was as a person - not the cancer.  The Words to Live By Project helped frame the year ahead.  It was going to be tough, but each week was a week that I could put behind me and focus on celebrating the good parts of the week.  Diana chose unbelievable quotes to use and highlighted my real life through the artwork and the quote that she picked - each of which was spot on.  Her project was an artistic journal for my year.

Final Words to Live By
Photo courtesy of Jeanine 

Diana has an amazing gravity.  When she is around you, you want to be pulled into it because it is full of light, hope, love, caring, and sparkle!  The Words to Live By Project was my own way of staying in her gravity, even on the bad days.  In the really horrible days following chemo treatments, I would sit in my office and stare at the wall of art being built.  I would focus on being able to read and process each piece of art.  Processing was a real struggle at times, but never with her art.  It was soothing and asked nothing of me in return.  I can remember my excitement when the first row was hung (9 pieces!) that signified that I was 1/6 of the way done with the first year of treatments.  The wall was the constant.  It kept moving forward even when I felt like I was moving backward.  The treatments got harder, but the wall kept propelling me towards a finish line in my head.

Final Words to Live By
Photo courtesy of Jeanine

There is a part of me that is thrilled that the project is over because it signifies a long year full of challenges facing a disease I never wanted.  There is another part of me that will miss the project, because it is an amazing feeling to know that someone loves you each and every week and was thinking of how to make a difference in my life through her gifts.  Who wouldn't miss that?  But instead, I am going to think of the gifts that I have and try to do the same thing for someone else.  The Words to Live By Project is full of individual quotes and paintings, but the real message is that I am loved by a very special woman - a woman that each week helped me realize that I still had the best of my life ahead.  Thank you my dear, sweet, wonderful friend!


Related Posts with Thumbnails