Halloween Crafting in Diva Land

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I was a Crafting Fool™ last week.  I couldn’t get enough of sparkly glitter and pumpkins.  Seriously.  This is only half of the madness…LOL!

I took an orange pumpkin from The Dollar Tree, spray painted it Silver first and then with silver glitter.  I added adhesive rhinestones, some cool black glittered metal spiders from HomeGoods and topped it off with a bow made out of sparkly orange tulle and black deco flex tubing.  It was my favorite, so of course, my daughter claimed it and brought it back upstate to her sorority house.  Ugh.

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Then I bought a faux black pumpkin from Michael’s (using my 1/2 price coupon) and spray painted with my new favorite product, Krylon Glitter Blast in Black.  I then made an orange Deco Poly Mesh bow (found at A.C. Moore) with a diamond mesh ribbon wrap in the center.

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Next up, I bought a Paper Mache hat from Michael’s for a mere $2.49.  I spray painted it black, added some diamond mesh ribbon wrap and some orange silk spider web roses (here’s my tutorial).

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I found 3 cheap-looking white skulls at the Dollar Store and knew I needed to do something with them to make them look more authentic.  So I painted them light gray and then “dry brushed” them with some raw umber, dark gray and black craft paint.  I hot glued some cheap bugs, spiders, snakes and reindeer moss on them.

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I painted one of my old faux pumpkins and used bright orange glitter.  What was I thinking?  What a mess.  Everywhere I look, there is glitter.  It’s even on my puppy.

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After two failed attempts, I finally managed to get this Deco Mesh wreath to look half normal.  I used a 16” wire wreath, two rolls of glitter Deco Mesh, a bunch of bugs, snakes and spiders, a black feathered crow from the Dollar Store and an orange glittered “Trick or Treat” sign (also from the Dollar Store).  By the way, Deco Mesh is also the same thing as Sinamay.

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This Summer I found an awesome vintage bird cage at HomeGoods.  I painted it white, added two rubber rats (from the Dollar Store), some reindeer moss and a big black crow on top (also from the Dollar Store).

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I had these two gold ceramic urns laying around from last Christmas.  I spray painted them Gloss Black and added a thick band of rhinestones.  I purchased white faux pumpkins from Michael’s, added some cool glittered orange tape with a scroll design and then topped them off with bows made out of glittered orange Deco Poly Mesh, black Deco Flex tubing and chunky rhinestones from an old piece of jewelry.

I’m not 100% happy with them.  I’m thinking they need some orange foliage or flowers for the pumpkins to rest on.  Right?

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Oh and I wanted to show you a little trick I do to make my glossy black Dollar Store roaches, snakes and scorpions look more believable.  I just dry brush or wipe a little white paint on them.  It gives them more dimension.

Now get those last minute Halloween crafts done!  Happy Halloween!

With friendship,

Lisa

BEWAREDIVA

Big Gypsy Fashion

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It all started over in the United Kingdom with dressmaker, Thelma Madine.  I got a glimpse into the world of Gypsy weddings.  And I was hooked!

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Each week, I’d tune into TLC’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and considered running away in hopes of getting an internship with Thelma.

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Although I loved the enormous blinged-out wedding dresses she made, I was head over heels about her children’s creations.

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Her Communion and Flower Girl dresses rivaled those of even the tackiest ones here in Staten Island, New York.  The more tulle and Swarovski crystals, the better!  Her Christening dresses were breathtaking!  If you’ve never seen the show, you can buy My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding – Season 1 and 2 on DVD!

Thelma Madine and her workers in her factory

Thelma’s newest show is called, “Little Shop of Gypsies.”  She takes on 10 Gypsy girls to teach them how to make fabulous dresses.  It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these girls who rarely get to finish high school.

Thelma has recently published her first book, “Tales of a Gypsy Dressmaker.  She has an incredible story which includes a stint in prison…LOL!

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Not to be outdone by the UK, enter the fabulous Sondra Celli, dressmaker of TLC’s My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding and Bling it On!

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Her creations are spectacular!  That woman and her crew can make dresses that dreams are made of!

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The wedding gowns are over the top…hundreds of yards of tulle, thousands of rhinestones and enough fabric to cloth half of a large city!

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But she doesn’t stop there.  She’ll bling anything from shoes to

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baby strollers!

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Sondra has a team of girls who are called, “Blingettes.”  They spend hours upon hours applying crystals to her creations.

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Channel Guide Magazine did a great interview with Sondra.  Great read!

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All this BLING reminds me that I need to order more Hot Fix Crystals from my friend, Suzie aka The Hot Fix Queen!

With friendship,

Lisa

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Embellishments for Sewn Hats and a GIVEAWAY!

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My buddy, Carla Hegeman Crim (aka The Scientific Seamstress), has just published her new book, SEWN HATS!  It’s an awesome book which contains 35 different hat sewing patterns by 29 different sewing superstars.

For some reason, Carla asked me to contribute my Downtown Hat pattern…go figure.  It might have been, because Carla and I became fast friends as we are both pattern snobs.  She understands there is more to drawing a sewing pattern than cutesy designs.  It’s about MATH and SCIENCE.  You can have an adorable design, but if you don’t use the skills you learned in school, it doesn’t work.  Pattern pieces won’t fit together properly.

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photo by EMA Photography

Then you have the issue of grading (increasing/decreasing size).  You just can’t enlarge a pattern to make the next size.  This is especially true in children’s sizes.  And Carla has gotten it all right.  There’s a reason they call her, “The Scientific Seamstress.

No patterns are included in the book.  Nope.  Instead you download them from the internet as many times and as often as you want!!!  How cool is that?!  I wish all book publishers did this.

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My Downtown Hat can be found on page 129.  Although it was originally created for boys, there’s no reason you can’t make it for girls.  There are so many ways you can embellish the Downtown Hat.  What about some leather trim with grommets?

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Or perhaps some vintage velvet ribbon and an embroidered flower or a silk spider web rose?  (My tutorial is also included in the book.)

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Or even some sequin trim.

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You could simply add a sparkling rhinestone brooch or pin if you’re lazy.  The possibilities are endless!

Get your book on Amazon.  Better yet, I’m giving away a copy of the book, so just post a comment here!

Check out the Sewn Hats Blog Tour for more chances to win a copy of the book:

9/4 –  Scientific Seamstress

9/5 –  ModKid Boutique

9/6 – French General

9/10 – Pink Chalk Studio

9/11 -  Lulu Bliss

9/12 – The Domestic Diva’s Disasters

9/13 – Green Bee Patterns

9/14 – Goosie Girl Boutique

9/17 – Melissa Lilac Lane

9/19 – One Girl Circus

9/20 – Tie Dyed Diva Designs

9/21 – Figgy’s Patterns

9/25 – Craftiness is not Optional

9/26 – Bari J.

9/27 – Confessions of a Craft Addict

9/28 – Sis Boom

10/1 – Sew Mama Sew

10/2 – Aesthetic Nest

10/3 – Blue Nickel Studios

10/4 – Betz White

10/8 – Yummy Goods

10/10-  Wiley Craft

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P.S. – I finally got to meet Clara this Summer at my big BBQ in NYC.  And she just informed me she’s moving to NY soon!!!  We are already planning our fabric shopping trips in the NYC Garment District!

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Sew…we have a new Prince

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My cousin, Christopher, and his beautiful wife, Kathleen, welcomed their first child, Brody Quinn O’Connell, last week.

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And you know what that meant, right?  Yep.  It’s was time to make another baby bassinet!  I dusted off my sewing machine and serger, gathered yards and yards of tulle and played with the most scrumptious Silk Shantung.

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After I finished the tulle pettiskirt, I made a silk lining for the inside of the bassinet using the mattress as my template.

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Next was the fun part—ironing 14 yards of silk.  Yes, I kept it all in one piece…LOL!

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For the skirt, I added a casing at the top for the elastic, a hem on the bottom and then gathered the 28 foot piece of silk around the outer part of the bassinet.  I know I went a little overboard—but I like skirts full.  Ridiculously full.

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I made a sage green silk swag around the skirt to cover the casing and then tied it in a big arse bow in the front of the bassinet.

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My biggest dilemma was the bassinet hood.  Unlike other ones I’ve done (which were wicker), this one was a folding hood.  It made it difficult to cover—so I had to take out the good old glue gun for my sanity.

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The silk was off-white, more like the picture above.  It was really hard to make a bassinet without all the girly frills, but I held back—I didn’t want anyone to mistake Brody for a baby girl.

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Congratulations Kathleen and Chris!  And just so you know, as an embroiderer, I warned them about the baby’s initials—B.O. as in Body Odor.  Yes, I will tease him relentlessly.

lisasiggie

Quick Sewing Room Clean-Up

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Don’t laugh…This is the current disaster in my sewing room.  I’ve completely neglected it over the last few months (yes, that’s my pink Christmas tree that I never got around to decorating).  But now with the new year, it’s time to get my act together.  You know your sewing room is in the same state of disorganization, so let’s get it cleaned up quickly.

A few years back, I wrote The ABCs of Spring Cleaning Your Sewing Room over on SewMamaSew.  There’s even a printable PDF for your convenience.  I know it isn’t Spring yet, but heck, you’ll be getting a jump start on it!

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While going through the piles of crap on my cutting table, I found lots of treasures I had forgotten about.  Yes, the bags of fabric from Joann’s Black Friday Sale were yet to be unpacked.  It’s mostly more flannel that I don’t need.  I know…don’t judge me.

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I did find all the goodies I purchased during a recent NYC shopping adventure with my dear friend, Sara Norris.  Sara and I met online about 7 years ago while sewing children’s custom boutique clothing.  When she told me she was coming to New York City for a few days, I just knew I had to show her my fabric playground (aka NYC’s Garment District).

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Sara and I had a ball while her husband, Mike, waited patiently as we went treasure hunting.  Our first stop was Pacific Trimming—an old favorite of mine for rhinestone buttons and buckles.

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We discovered a trim shop, Hai’s Trimmings Inc.,  I had never visited before.  This place had more high-end trims than the other shops I usually go to.  I was even able to finally find 24 row rhinestone trim to recover my bathroom switch plate!  This place was AMAZING!

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Sara surprised me with the cutest spool of velvet trim she found at Antropologie.  Love it!

Now it’s time to find a home in my sewing room for all these sewing things.  Hopefully, once I get my kid back to school tomorrow, I’ll get back in the groove!  Hoping to sew a lot more this year than last!

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A Diva Needs Brother Husbands

It’s a new year and I’m determined to be more productive than last year.  There were so many things I wanted to accomplish last year, but didn’t.  I just didn’t have the physical or mental energy to get it all done.  So perhaps I need to come up with a better plan.

After watching an episode of Sister Wives, I had an idea.  Why aren’t there any Brother Husbands?  You know, a bunch of husbands that serve a Wife?  Think about it.

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Jesse Metcalfe could cut the lawn, plant the annual flowers and clean the pool.  Oh wait, I don’t have a pool.  Whatever.

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Ryan Scott could heat things up in the kitchen.  I’d even let him use my new bronze Kitchenaid mixer.

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Scott McGillivray could put up the Christmas lights and do whatever needs fixing in and around the house!  He can start with building me a new garden room and then figure out how to retrofit one of the kitchen cabinet hinges which broke months ago.

Seems I’m not the only Diva that thinks like this.  Just think of the possibilities!  I’d have endless hours to craft and shop!

Now first let me say, I do love my Mr. Diva™…he’s a great guy.  He lets me be ME.  He doesn’t put any restrictions of any of my craziness.  And he puts up with all my quirks (like how I have to separate all my food on my dinner plate, no red in the house, etc.).  However, Mr. Diva™ doesn’t help with much around the house.  He doesn’t do yard work, can’t fix things and would never think of doing housework.  In his defense, he doesn’t insist that I do it either and he is more than willing to pay someone else to do it.

Guess I’ll keep him.  Anyway, what if all my husbands were sports fans who rooted for opposing teams?  And could you imagine the piles of laundry and the dishes?

Happy New Year!

lisasiggie

Sew Glamorous Christmas Stocking Tutorial and Some Christmas Confessions

Glamorous Christmas Stocking Tutorial

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Go check out my Glamorous Christmas Stocking Tutorial at Boutique Cafe.  It’s part of Boutique Cafe’s Christmas Festival Traditions and Tutorials.

Christmas Confessions

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Christmas Confession #1:  I’ve never let my kids decorate MY tree.  They can put their handmade ornaments on their smaller trees in their room.  I know, I’m a bad mother.

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Christmas Confession #2:  Even though your Santa may wear a RED suit, mine doesn’t.  I loathe RED.  There is not a speck of RED (or Christmas Green) in my house during the holidays or any other time.  My Santas have Gold, Cream, White, Silver, and Aqua robes…LOL!

Christmas Confession #3: I like getting Christmas cards with pictures of your adorable kids.  Except the ones that include those annual summaries of their overachievements.

Wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas!

lisasiggie2

A Month of Christmas Holiday Gifts to SEW: Aprons, Bags, Ornaments and More

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EDITED TO ADD:

Handmade Holidays 2011

Handmade Holidays 2010

Handmade Holidays 2009

Handmade Holidays 2008

I want to take this opportunity to personally express my gratitude to the lovely divas, Beth, Kristin and Lauren, over at Sew Mama Sew for their month long sewing inspirations!  You girls ROCK!

If you’ve enjoyed their Handmade Holidays, hop over to the Sew Mama Sew Online Store and show your love!

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Aprons

Sew Mama Sew – Day 1 – Aprons

Additional Apron Tutorials

Pincushions

Sew Mama Sew – Day 2 – Pincushions and Pins

Additional Pincushion Tutorials

For the Home

Sew Mama Sew – Day 3 – For the Home

Additional Sewing for the Home Tutorials

Lunch Bags

Sew Mama Sew – Day 4 – Lunch Bags

Additional Lunch Bag Tutorials

Tote Bags

Sew Mama Sew – Day 5 – Totes

Additional Tote Tutorials

Blankets for Baby

Sew Mama Sew – Day 6 – Blankets for Baby

Additional Baby Blanket Tutorials

For Your Purse or Pocket

Sew Mama Sew – Day 7 – For Your Purse or Pocket

Additional Purse Tutorials

Whimsy

Sew Mama Sew – Day 8 – Whimsy

Additional Whimsy Tutorials

Fabric Ornaments

Mama Sew – Day 9 – Fabric Ornaments

Additional Ornament Tutorials

Ties and Belts

Sew Mama Sew – Day 10 – Ties and Belts

Additional Ties and Belt Tutorials

Reading and Writing

Sew Mama Sew – Day 11 – Reading and Writing

Additional Reading and Writing Tutorials

For the Table

Sew Mama Sew – Day 12 – For the Table

Additional Tutorials for the Table

Placemats

Sew Mama Sew – Day 13 – Placemats

Additional Placemat Tutorials 

Kids’ Clothes

Sew Mama Sew – Day 14 – Dress the Kids

Additional Kids’ Clothes Tutorials

Booties, Slippers and Socks

Sew Mama Sew – Day 15 – Warm Those Toes

Additional Booties, Slippers and Socks Tutorials

Gifts for the Crafter

Sew Mama Sew – Day 16 – Gifts for the Crafter

Additional Gifts for the Crafter Tutorials

Purses

Sew Mama Sew – Day 17 – Purses

Additional Purse Tutorials

For Baby

Sew Mama Sew – Day 18 – For Baby

Additional Baby Gifts Tutorials

Tech Gifts

Sew Mama Sew – Day 19 – Tech Gifts

More Tech Gift Tutorials

Organization Gifts

Sew Mama Sew – Day 20 – Gifts for Organization

More Organization Gift Tutorials

Pillows

Sew Mama Sew – Day 21 – Pillows

Additional Pillow Tutorials

Fun for Hair

Sew Mama Sew – Day 22 – Fun for Hair

Additional Hair Goodies Tutorials

Soft Toys and Games

Sew Mama Sew – Day 23 – Soft Toys and Games

Additional Toy Tutorials

Sachets

Sew Mama Sew – Day 24 – Sachets and Therapy Pillows

Additional Sachet Tutorials

For the Kitchen

Sew Mama Sew – Day 25 – For the Kitchen

Additional Stitching in the Kitchen Tutorials

Embellishments

Sew Mama Sew – Day 26 – Embellishments

Additional Embellishing Ideas and Tutorials

Gifts for Warmth

Sew Mama Sew – Day 27 – Gifts for Warmth

Additional Gifts for Warmth Tutorials

Drawstring Bags

Sew Mama Sew – Day 28 – Drawstring Bags

Additional Drawstring Bag Tutorials

Fabric Boxes

Sew Mama Sew – Day 29 – Fabric Boxes

Additional Fabric Box Tutorials

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Want to see what everyone else did for Handmade Holidays?

Handmade Holiday PHOTOS on Flickr

Lots of gift wrapping inspiration over at Flickr’s Nice Package,  Crafty Packages and Presents photo pools!

There’s even a Gift Tag Pool on Flickr, too!

BLOGMEME

Check out Handcrafters’ Holidays–a new blog meme from Sew Mama Sew!

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There’s 10 Reasons to Look Forward to the Sew Mama Sew Blog in the month of December.

Happy Sewing!

lisasiggie2

Christmas Sugar Cookie FAIL Times Two

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Because I don’t have enough hobbies, I bought myself an early Christmas gift from Mr. Diva.  And yes, it is BRONZE to match my kitchen.  Determined to justify this purchase, I proceeded to make some sugar cookies.

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The first Sugar Cookie recipe I used was from the Kitchenaid Mixer booklet that came with the mixer.  Conclusion:  Rock hard bland cookies.  Total FAIL!

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Next up, I mixed up at batch from a recipe at Allrecipes.com which received great reviews.  These cookies were at least edible, but not yummy like I had hoped.  Another FAIL!

I’m going to try this recipe from Moms Who Think which uses half-n-half and this recipe from The Kitchn which adds lemon zest, almond extract and cream cheese.  I’ll let you know how they turn out.  Do you have a great Sugar Cookie recipe?

On a brighter note, I made homemade mashed potatoes for the first time in my life.  The mixer whipped them up effortlessly!  They were delicious!

What do you make in your mixer?  I need ideas so my mixer doesn’t become a heavy paperweight (like my crock pot) on my kitchen countertop.

With friendship,

Lisasig

Christmas Crafting…The Sad Type

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While everyone is busy doing cute Christmas crafts, I’ve had something else on my mind.  In mid-October, I lost my beloved Mother-in-Law, Mary.  She was the Mother-in-Law every girl dreamed of having.  I don’t think I had an argument with her in 20 years.  It’s hard to imagine life without her now.

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I spent her last few days caring for her at her home.  It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.  If you’ve ever done in-home hospice care, you know what I mean.

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My Father-in-Law had kidney stone surgery (he’s 90 years old) and the doctor wanted him to stay overnight at the hospital.  However, I begged the doctor to let me take care of him at home to be with his wife in her final hours.  Thankfully, I got him home just hours before my Mother-in-Law passed.  It was heartbreaking to watch him say goodbye after sharing 65 years of marriage with her.

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In the meantime, my husband got kidney stones and gout–losing his mom was just too much for him.  And I ended up with pneumonia.  So as soon as my husband was well, I checked myself into the Critical Care Unit at our local hospital for a few days.  With the help of some IV steroids and antibiotics, I was back to normal in no time.

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We had buried my Mother-in-Law at the cemetery up the street, so we can visit her gravesite often.  Whenever I have a few extra minutes, I go and see her.  It’s too soon to add her gravestone…but we can add flowers and such.

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I went to purchase a grave blanket for her, but couldn’t bring myself to settle for standard plastic poinsettias and bright red florist bows—not to mention dropping $150 on them.  My Mother-in-Law was too special.  So I made my own 4 foot grave blanket using evergreens, berries, ornaments, pinecones and ribbons.  My Mother-in-Law would have loved it.  It’s classy like she was.

lisasiggie

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