Saturday, March 21, 2015

Out of the Ashes

After our home burned down, the hardest thing for me was having the family staying in several places. Keith and I and Gage were in the basement apartment (1 bedroom) of my brother Kenny and his wife Rhonda. Their daughter Heather had been living there.  She had just bought a house that we were all ripping apart to remodel. She graciously moved into the house despite having no bathroom or kitchen so that we would have a place to stay. Lynnea was staying with her boyfriend. Shane was staying with his girlfriend. And KC moved between several friend's homes before winding up in the apartment sharing the living room with us.

We were about to buy a house that was being worked on and even had a contract drawn up that would allow us to live in the house while waiting the two or so months needed for the mortgage approval process. It was supposed to be done in about five weeks. BUT, the repair schedule crawled at a snail's pace. May turned into June. Then July came. And in August it still did not have a certificate of occupancy, therefore could not be sold. I was worn out and stressed, and finally told Keith that being together was more important than owning a home. So we decided to take the small down payment we were using for the house and instead use it for security on  a rental.

We just moved into a friend's rental home. It is big and spacious with two bedrooms upstairs (one for Lynnea and one for KC), a big living room with a fireplace and dining room area. There is a sitting room off the kitchen and a big three season room off that with entry to the porch that we will use as our bedroom. Downstairs there is a a finished basement that has an area that is perfect for another bedroom. It has another fireplace, a big laundry room, and a basement work/utility room. Gage and Shane will be down there.

Now the fun part -- furnishing this hug space on a tight, tight -- did I say tight?? - budget.
We are starting with a sofa, coffee and end tables and a daybed from my best bud Jeannie.
And Keith's mom and cousin gave us a sectional. We  have my grandmother's secretary and  round dining room table with matching hutch (this set is truly mid-century modern). They were in the front of the garage, the only area that didn't burn to the ground. Despite some water damage they are quite usable.  We also took the frame of our metal kitchen table out of the ashes. It is peeled and rusted but maybe with a coat of paint it will live again.

On the porch of the house there is a metal outdoor table with a cracked clear plastic top and an end table in the shed.  One of Rhonda's friends gave us a bedroom set. And it is with these items that the journey to creating a home begins.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Fresh Point of View

I mean that both literally and figuratively.

As some of you know, we had a devastating home fire on April 6, 2013.

Our family lost everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, except the clothes we were wearing at the time.

The big blessing in this is that none of us were home at the time and though we lost our beloved pup Lola and our dear old ferret Zoey our family members were all safe.  I continually realize still that the worst case scenario would have been that I had to plan funerals for all of my family members, a true fate worse than death.

Here is an excerpt from what I wrote on my Facebook page in the first few days after the fire:

"People have asked about the night of the fire, so...
My son Gage and I arrived home after an hour or so running errands and as we pulled toward the house we noticed it looked strange -- there was a deep orange glow in the windows. like the sunset was reflecting off of them.
Gage said "Our house is on fire!"
I was looking right at the house as I drove toward it, still not realizing what I was seeing, and he said it again. I still didn't get it and was about to pull into the driveway when I saw flames coming out of the window. At that instant I realized what was going on and before I could put the car in park Gage was out the door. I was only feet behind him, car still running.
We realized our puppy Lola and our ferret were inside so we ran right in the front door against the advice of our neighbor watching the fire, and ran right into a wall of smoke and heat. We could hear Lola faintly barking. We could barely see anything because there was so much smoke and flames were three feet in front of us, so we had to run back out. But then we tried crawling back inside a few times.
As we called her name her barking got closer but the smoke and flames kept us from getting more than a few feet in the door. We didn't realize that the stairs were completely engulfed in flames by then and she couldn't get downstairs. She was barking frantically, but still we couldn't get to her. Then we heard her yelping in pain! Gage ran to the back of the house to try to get in the back sliding glass doors and just as he got there the glass popped outward from the heat. He burned his hand opening the screen door but everything was on fire. And we couldn't hear her any more. It was horrific.
We watched in horror as the entire house went up in flames in the 10 or 15 minutes until the fire department arrived. The police kept asking if anyone was in the house as I was frantically calling all of the kids to see where they were. To my relief they all finally answered my calls and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
It was frustrating to watch the house disappearing into the flames as the firemen struggled to get enough water pressure to hose down the house. They must have thought I was crazy as I screamed at them to hurry up and do something! By then the house was completely consumed, flames coming out of every window and the roof. Then all efforts went into preventing it from overtaking all the rest of the units.
As the fire raged, the kids came there one by one, each shocked and dazed to watch everything go up in smoke. Keith drove from his job to home in record time, and could not believe his eyes. My sister in law and niece arrived to comfort us, along with neighbors and friends. Thank you to all of you!
When we went there the next morning, we realized that we had lost EVERYTHING. It looked like a bomb had gone off inside the house. Lynnea and KC's rooms and the upstairs hallway and master bathroom no longer existed, the master bedroom was partially collapsed, and every room had fire damage. The living and family room areas looked like the inside of a fireplace. Barely anything was even recognizable. You wouldn't have know that a complete living room once stood there except for the skeleton of a charred warped metal frame of a coffee table in the middle of the room. Couches, tables, wall unit, tv, sectional, rugs, fish tank, desk and computer -- all evaporated into piles of wet ashes.
All we had left were the clothes we were wearing and, since we were all out at the time, our id and cell phones.
We don't have insurance and even our emergency money and my husband's last two weeks pay were in there. But honestly, that doesn't bother me -- it's the loss of all of our wedding and family pics, our kids' (and our) baby pics, their trophies and newspaper clippings, the few heirlooms inherited from grandparents, the computer drives and camera cards with years of photos on them... all gone. Those are the things we will grieve for along with our beloved pets.
Keith and I are in a motel right now with Gage, KC, Shane and Lynnea are staying with friends, and I am trying to quickly find a place where we can all heal together and appreciate that none of us were at home when the fire broke out, and we are equally thankful that none of the neighbors or firemen were hurt either.
Despite the trauma of this event, we realize that we are extremely blessed to have each other and to live in one of the most generous and supportive communities you can imagine! People have dropped off clothes, toiletries, gift cards, and Michele Jones, a friend of my son, even set up a donation site to help us rebuild our lives. I cry every time I think of how many people have told me they are praying for us and have us in their thoughts.
Until today I have truly been in shock. It felt like I was walking underwater, everything a fog, nothing quite making it into my brain. I still can't comprehend more than one sentence at a time and if I don't write something down it is forgotten immediately. I went to work on Thursday because I couldn't stand still. There, I talked about the fire as if it had happened somewhere else. Everyone was surprised at how calm and together I seemed. But it just didn't seem real. I couldn't eat, the very thought of something in my mouth gagged me. I barely slept, and dreamt of Lola when I did. I felt numb, kind of like a zombie.
Until last night. Now I am truly an emotional mess. Keith and I cry repeatedly and without warning, both for our losses and out of appreciation for the overwhelming support around us.
To those who have made donations to us, while you thought you were filling our pockets, you were really filling our hearts!!
For every thought and prayer for us, every Facebook message or text or phone call, we are eternally grateful and cannot thank everyone enough!!!!
To all of you -- THANK YOU!!!!!! We love you!!!"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Laurie Ann made two coordinating kits this week! They a re called He Said and She Said -- so fun!
And she is even adding two great add-ons Free with Purchase of each kit -- a set of journaling cards and a matching alpha set for each kit.

I only used the She Said kit so far (have been working extra hours this week due to a coworker being in Fla. for her daughter's wedding) and it was perfect for these shots of Lynnea and her two BFFs Brenna and Geri.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blog redo!

Recently Laurie Ann posted in the forum about the fabuloso blog background that Wendy created using her kit Safari Hip. Check it out here:

Boy did she inspire me! I quickly threw together a new background using stuff from some of Laurie Ann's kits for my own blog. Yay! Thanks for the inspiration Wendy!!!!

New CT member for Manue Designs

So I got my first kit from Manue Designs. She sells at Digital-Crea, a wonderful French digiscrap shop. I have several of her kits, so when she invited me to join her team I jumped at the opportunity!! Her kit Purete'  is a delicate kit about purity, so of course you think babies and weddings!  Here is my page using it:


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yeah, I know, it's been a while since I've been here.

I am still a terrible blogger... I admit it.  I barely post on Facebook either.  I intend to, but then I seem to get caught up in reading about other people and don't post about my own life.
It feels like most of my time these days is spent either working, doing housecleaning, or scrapping.  Only the last one is worth blogging about so I guess I will just catchup with that for now.
I recently started on a Creative Team for another designer Manue Designs, who sells at Digital-Crea.  I am excited to see what she send me to work with!
And of course I am still designing for the fabuloso Laurie Ann.

Here are the pages I have scrapped since my last post:

My Mom's graduation photo 1959 using Hello Sunshine kit.
from HGD by Laurie Ann 


Tayler and Tristan using Love Letters kit.from HGD by Laurie Ann
Me and Keith using Love Letters kit from HGD by Laurie Ann


This page from my photos shoot of Lia using Especially for You Collab kit.
from HGD by Laurie Ann

Tristan using Happy Travels kit from HGD by Laurie Ann

This is one of my favorite photos, taken just hours after Gage was born, using Crush kit. from HGD by Laurie Ann

This pic of Tristan all sniggled up for the winter weather using Peppermint Cocoa kit from HGD by Laurie Ann Collab with Re Kneipp.

This cute photo of adorable nephew Robbie is made with a kit that I was RAKed with
Holiday Spirit kit from

Page of Lynnea using Safari Chic kit from HGD by Laurie Ann

The kids 2010 using Giving Thanks After 5 Collab kit.


T & T created with Winter White kit from HGD by Laurie Ann


Tayler and her pink Ipod [age made with Safari Hip kit. from HGD by Laurie Ann


This photo was taken at Renaissance Faire 2010, page made with Simply Autumn kit.
from HGD by Laurie Ann


I love how sweet Lynnea looks in these photos taken the day after her birth. Page made with Dream a Little Dream kit. from HGD by Laurie Ann


Tristan talking on the phone while sitting in his toy box. Kit used was Silent Angels, an Autism Awareness kit  from HGD by Laurie Ann


This pic from Pam and Mike's wedding was made with a bunch of stuff from HGD by Laurie Ann:
August "Take My Hand" Story Prompts Word Art
FREE here:
Blossom Hill Road kit - bow, twigs and leaves, flower sprays
Heart Song kit- background paper, white flowers
Sea Breeze kit- butterfly swarm
April Grace kit- white paper roses
Summer Beauty kit- leaf rub-ons
Heirloom Rose kit- grey flowers


My daughter Pam and her husband as he is about to kiss the bride.
Everything from11 different kits from HGD by Laurie Ann
wordart- Romantic Ending Wordart
photo mask- Writing photo Masks Vol. 2
Pink flowers and pink striped ribbon-Ribbon DoDads
White paper flowers- April Grace
Lilacs- Summer Beauty
Yellow plastic flowers- Lemonade Stand
swirls- Say it Beautiful wordart
Bg paper and leaves- Heart Song kit
White flower overlay and pink flower buds- Promise
Green bead scatters- Happy Face
Pink ribbons- He Loves Me


Lynnea in NC using Wildflowers After 5 Collab kit.

My grandson Tristan with his blue Ellie.
Circus Friends kit[url=]Circus Friends kit[/url] from HGD by Laurie Ann


My daughter Pam and grandson Tristan on his first visit to the beach.
Sea Breeze kit from HGD by Laurie Ann


I found this photo of my grandmother and me and my brother, taken Easter 1965.  I loved her flower garden!
Blossom Hill Road kitfrom HGD by Laurie Ann
  at the [url=]Daily Digi[/url]
Template from After 5 Designs
July With a Twist Challenge[url=]July With a Twist Challenge
Template by Seattle Sherri[/url]

Lynnea and her best friend Brenna.
Magic World kit and Headline News alpha from HGD by Laurie Ann  
My daughter Tayler lovin' up the characters at Disney World
Magic World kit from HGD by Laurie Ann

Tuesday Morning Coffee shot [ link ] from HGD by Laurie Ann
Mug from Tuesday Morning Coffee shot from Martencja Designs

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm Walking in the March of Dimes Walk for Babies

Every day, thousands of babies are born too soon, too small and often very sick. I'm walking in March for Babies because I want to do something about this. And I need your help.
I will be walking on of  Robbie's Team.

My nephew Robbie was born at 25 weeks, weighing just 2 pounds.
 (His weight later dropped to a mere 1 lb. 4 oz.). Robbie spent 4 months in the Neonatal ICU.
He was too early, too tiny and had problems breathing, which meant many long, scary days
and nights at the hospital for his mom Heather.
But Robbie is proof that miracles do happen: he is now a healthy 15 month old,
thanks to research and the wonders of medical advancement -- and lots of love.
Please support my walk.
Making a secure donation is easy: just click the 'SPONSOR ME' button on the banner above
to ensure your donation is credited to  Robbie's Team.
Thank you for helping me give all babies a healthy start.
The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Laurie Ann is a guest designer at Scrap Matters!

Promise Kit from HGD by Laurie Ann

My page using this kit:

Kirchen Window Freebie from HGD by Laurie Ann

A photo of my Dad at about 2 years old at his family bungalow

Layouts Using HGD by Laurie Ann

White As Snow Kit
My daughter Pam as we walked her down the aisle -- such happiness.

Heart Song Kit
My granddaughter Tayler.

My grandson Tristan.

Tayler --loved by me, Mom & Dad

Our little golfer out Trick or Treating

My Grandmother Rdna at her graduation with her sister
My son Gage and his prom date Eunice

Gage on the Beach in NC

Photo booth photos from Christmas Eve 2010

This old and very worn photo found in my Grandfther's wallet after his stroke.
. It had appartantly been there for many many years. How romantic.

Me and my boy Tristan on  Easter 2008

Beautiful Table mini kit

A photo of our Thaksgiving table -- so much to be thankful for!

 Miss Bliss kit
Me and Gagie-Mo

Wedding Bliss kit
The Bride and Groom

The flower girl Tayler

The Bride, my beautiful daughter Pamela

Her handsome groom Michael


Tayler and the birthday cake she decorated

Miss Bliss Wordart Bits
Little Miss Lia at her first birthday photo shoot

Raindrops on Roses
Tayler on the monkey bars

Knock Knock
The grandkids

Gage and I on Atlantic Beach

The Gulf oil spill

Cute as a Bug
Tristan in hw bug car

Happy Face
Blowing bubbles

A Thing of Beauty
Pamela at 4 years old at the Pumpkin Farm

My summer beauty, Tayler

Heart You to the Moon Kit - moon, stars
Raindrops on Roses - metal clouds, green ribbon, cloud paper (blended), green paper
Snow Angels - hanging stars
Little Angel - light beam, wordart
November Road - pocket watch
Blue Skies paper - blended
Songbird Ave Charity Kit - clock hands

Tristan, day one

Songbird Avenue Charity kit
My lovely Lynnea at 15

Mini Mask Wordart 4
Plain Jane Cardstock Aged         Cute As A Bug
Trim Time          He Loves Me rose petals
Tayler going to her first dance

Cute as a Bug       Raindrops on Roses
Summerville          Little Angel Wordart

After Five Collab: Optimistic
My resolutions

Pam & Mike on their first anniversary