Thursday, November 29, 2012

♥ Grandma ♥

First let me start by saying that this will probably be a rambling mess, but I needed to get these words and thoughts out.  Please bear with me...
I didn’t want to wake up this morning.  I didn’t want to roll over to find “that message” on my phone, but I had to get moving.  There was a message, from my mom, letting me know that they had gotten home safely from the 6 hour drive to and from Ukiah.  They had driven down in the rain to sit with my grandma and to say their good-byes.  “She knew we were there and we told her we loved her and that we would see her one day… the doctor says she could go anytime.  I think she is waiting for everyone to go home and let her go in peace!”, the message read.
Grandma and her family
My grandma, Gisella Minahan, was the strongest woman I have ever known.  She was born on July 19, 1923.  When she was 4, she came to America with her family from Stegersbach, Austria.  At the age of 17, she left home to join the Transcontinental Roller Derby Association out of Chicago, IL.  Grandma then married my Grandpa Gordon and had four daughters and one amazing son, my dad.  Soon, she would find herself a single-mom, raising her 5 children alone.  She did what she had to do to provide for her family.

First Communion
Grandma gave birth to another son, but alone and unmarried, she gave him up for adoption.  She carried that pain with her until she was reunited with him almost 40 years later.
Roller Derby Queen
Love found her again in my Grandpa Bakker.  They had a beautiful daughter together.  Grandpa passed away not long after I was born, and Grandma found herself alone again.

Several years later, Grandma met and married a wonderful man, Joe Minahan.  I loved seeing Grandma and Papa together.  They were complete opposites, but loved each other just the same.  Papa died about 15 years ago (seems like only yesterday).

Since then, Grandma lived alone, under the watchful, loving eye of my Aunt Anita.  She had knee replacement surgeries, lost an eye to cancer (the boys thought her glass eye was totally cool), and her health slowly began to fail her.

Grandma with my dad
I hadn’t seen Grandma in quite some time.  It pains me to admit just how long it had been.  There were always excuses why we couldn’t make the drive north—car trouble, school commitments, dogs, etc.  Stupid really.

My Aunt Anita called last night.  Most of the family was gathered around Grandma in her small room at the home.  She wanted to put me on the speaker phone so I could talk to Grandma.  “I love you very much,” were the only words I could get out, tears streaming down my face.  I hoped that she had heard me and that she knew just how much she meant to me.
Grandma and "the five"
Another message came this morning while I was getting the boys ready for school.  “Grandma went to be with the Lord at 1:30 this morning!”, is all it said.  The message that I so selfishly didn’t want to receive.  I didn’t want her to be gone.  Even though I knew that she was no longer in pain or suffering.  Even though I knew that she was with her Heavenly Father and all her loved ones who had gone before, I didn’t want to see those words.  I wanted to be able to pick up the phone and hear her voice, “Hello, Julie.  It’s Grandma.”. 
Grandma and Papa at our wedding
But as my heart is aching, I can find comfort in the fact that I will see her again someday.  I know that the same God that stood with his arms wide open to receive Grandma into Paradise this morning, is the same God that is there with wide, open arms to hold and comfort me.  We all grieve in different ways, but by giving Him my grief, I’ll find peace.
Grandma with Matthew
I will miss Grandma.  She was an amazing woman.  I will cherish the memories I have of her and rejoice in the legacy that she has left in our family.  Thank you Grandma, for the strength you showed and the love you so freely gave.  I love you.

My Dad and Grandma

Monday, November 12, 2012

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Halloween Mantel 2012

For some reason, I’m totally obsessed with owls this year.I couldn’t wait to start hunting and gathering the items for my mantel!
So, I went with owls and a black, white and silver color scheme.
I found this guy at TJ Maxx ($14.99).
I’d been thinking about buying this vase (black silhouettes of trees and crows on it) for 2 years!  I finally broke down and got it this year ($14.99 at TJ Maxx).  The silver candelabra was found at Savers ($3.99).
This amazing specimen was discovered at Ross ($9.99).
He was exactly what I had been looking for!  I picked up several old books (orange or black bindings) at Savers ($.99—$5.99) and the perfect candlestick on the left was the thrifted item I got from Christine in the Sweet & Sinister Swap! 
Oh, the frame hanging over the mantel was from Michael's ($25 on sale), and the subway art inside was from TJ Maxx ($7.99).  Aside from a few new candles and pumpkins, that was pretty much it.  Now it's time to start on the rest of the house!
Up next, the Sweet & Sinister Swap reveal!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Check out the Sweet and Sinister treasury on Etsy!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Something Sinister

Something sinister is going on at Roger's Gardens (aka, “Blackstone Manor")!
How cool is that?!! I can't wait to see it all in person!
Fieldtrip anyone?

Friday, August 31, 2012

"Sweet" Inspiration

Now that our Sweet & Sinister swap partners have been assigned, I
thought we should start off with some "SWEET" inspiration:
"Sweet" treat bags from Family Circle.
Sweet pumpkins from a•muse studio.
Labels via @Jen on Pinterest.
Something to hold your sweets eighteen25.
Up next:  "Sinister" Inspiration!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Today is the LAST DAY to sign up for this swap!
It would be a
fright to be left out!
- This swap is now closed. -


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sweet and Sinister Swap

I don’t know about you, but I REALLY miss ArtsyMama's Sweet and Sinister Halloween Swap!  Being that Kari is not longer hosting this swap, I decided to throw one together—TOTALLY last minute!

So, here are the details (I’m pretty much borrowing them straight from the original swap—thanks Kari!):

Basically, the sweet and sinister theme is about vintage style black and white—a splash of orange, green, purple, or red would be fine too.  Swap items can be Halloween oriented, but they don't need to be.  However, almost everything should be black or white (any shade of white/cream/antique white, etc.) or both , unless you and your partner have decided otherwise.

The swap will require sending to your partner:

something sweet

something sinister

a handmade item

something thrifted

and a home decor item.

The mail out date for the swap is October 5th!
If you would like to commit to participating in this swap, leave a comment below to let me know.  Be SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO i CAN SEND YOU THE SWAP GROUP INVITE.  you CAN SIGN UP UNTIL August 30.  i WILL "RANDOMLY" ASSIGN PARTNERS AND NOTIFY YOU ON September 1.  You and your partner can then discuss your likes & dislikes, color palates, and any other particulars.
Please take the swap pledge and make a promise to yourself and your partner that you will:

Create a package that is one that you would enjoy receiving.
the items are in good condition or handmade with care.
respect one another. If problems arise, try to work things out.
If necessary email me as soon as possible.
Commit to mailing out on time so that your partner will receive
heir items in plenty of time for Halloween.
I will try to post some inspiration and possible giveaways on my blog from time to time.  If you need more ideas, you can check out previous swaps here and here.  Also, if you'd like to contribute a giveaway, have a tutorial, or just a really great idea, let me know!
I can't wait to get started!
xoxo, Julie

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Affaire at Tiffany's

I know!  I know!  My blog has been terribly neglected!  It has been replaced by then short “one-liners” on Facebook.  Why share twice, right?  Who really cares what I have to say?  Maybe no one, but that’s ok.  When the Spirit moves me, I’ll share – even if it’s just for myself.
So anyway, this next weekend, I am attending an AMAZING event hosted by event planner extraordinaire, Kim Caldwell of Artistic Bliss Designs.  The theme is, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, and I just can’t wait!

It will be a weekend FULL of friends, laughter, creativity, swaps, bling, and of course, Tiffany blue!  Stay tuned for pictures...
Julie ♥