Thursday, October 7, 2010

Birthday MONTH: Day 7.75

Alrighty now, I'm back! After 8 hours, I think I'm in much better shape now ;)

Do you have your Kleenex handy???

I brought my "gift" to work to show The Man...even HE couldn't believe what he saw. He totally forgave me for being so late and he agreed with me that I DO have the best friends in the world :)))

For those of you who are just tuning in, I received a priority package from my friend Karen in California. I knew it was a birthday box because she's a jokester and she wrote funny things all over the outside of the box, but what I didn't know was that it was much MORE than "just" a birthday box!

This was my first sight as I ruffled through the package...

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(remember, these photos were taken first thing this morning! the sun was just coming up and it was just peeking through the windows)

There were two presents in the box, the little one wrapped in pink was from her. I opened the card and giggled and then tore into the package.

Have you ever...

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seen such a beautiful...

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PAINT BRUSH???? 

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 Karen altered a paint brush!!!!

Never in my life have I have seen anything like this nor have I even "thought" of doing anything like this. Leave it to her...my funny, beautiful and sweet California girl! I love it and it is SO my colors!!!!! It's going straight in my studio!!! :)

The next item in the box was this...

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Thinking it was another present from Karen, (because after all she has been known to really spoil me!) I couldn't wait to dig in again.

But after reading the card attached, my heart started to flutter and my mind started to race...

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Just in case you can't read it, it says:

"So Miss Jodie!

Way back in March ~ (yup) I asked a few of your friends if they would make a page for you ~ for a special book. And here it is. Each page made with much love.

We all hope you enjoy it."

"We"? "We" who? Little did I know what lie ahead...

I carefully slipped off the green satin ribbon, gently opened the flap and then...I lost consciousness. My eyes filled with water, my heart filled with humbleness and I just kept running my fingers over the cover in disbelief.

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For those of you who have never seen a book like this before, let me explain...

It's called a "fat book" and it's made of material pages embellished with lace, ribbons, beads, flowers, photos, etc. and sewn together with an embellished material cover.

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First of all, to organize a fat book "get-together" is a job in itself. Gathering the girls, getting commitments, waiting for the packages, putting the book together and sewing the cover is just...well...a LOT of work (and that's putting it lightly). It is really VERY time consuming and very tedious to say the least.

So for someone to take the time to make one so personal (just for me) is just priceless

That's why I was (and still am) SO humbled when I first laid my eyes on it...(& every time since then).

I knew exactly how special this present is!!!!

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Did you notice the cover had 40 on it?

I tell ya, I was speechless (I still am, believe it or not)

I opened the cover and just when I though I couldn't feel any more joy, this is what I saw...

(& I'm telling you that the photos do not do it justice!)

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The inside of the front cover read...

"Constant use will not wear ragged the fabric of friendship"

~ Dorothy Parker

and let me tell you, the tears started rolling!!!!

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I kept running my fingers on every inch of it, soaking in every little handmade detail.

Page ONE...

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is an ivory quilted page embellished with lace and pearl applique, button, vintage image...

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various laces and ribbons and a cotton pocket filled with goodies such as some vintage theme park tickets, a game card, a beautiful piece of vintage lace and an enameled paper clip.

(I didn't "dig" in the pocket as I didn't want to mess anything up...it was perfect just as it was!)

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The pocket reads:

"The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age."

(I love that!)

I'm thinking...who loves me enough to use their beautiful applique pieces on me?

Without peeking at page two, I flipped the page over and to my surprise, it was from my sweet and dear Arizona friend & my wonderful blog designer:

KAREN VALENTINE

of My Desert Cottage

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I've never met Karen in person but I fell in love with her at first sight when I clicked on her blog a few years ago.

She has an eye for photography, a knack for decorating, she makes digital art seem like child's play and she's the most gracious hostess of the best blog party ever...Where Bloggers Create!

*****

Turning the page...

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I still can't describe to you how I felt when I saw this!

Page TWO...

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is a black and gold tapestry page embellished with a vintage image, faux fur (i hope it's faux ;) cheese cloth, a black feather, lots of rhinestones, and a vintage handkerchief secured by a beaded hat pin. Also sewn with a beautiful quote by Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare...

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Inside the handkerchief is a hand made necklace with a studded "J". (sorry...I cannot take it apart to see the necklace...not now anyway. I just cannot mess up the page!!!)

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Flipping the page without peeking at the third page...

I saw this beautiful birthday card tucked into a cotton pocket printed with vintage French script.

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I carefully gathered the birthday card and turned it over, only to read that it was from my FaBuLouS friend from California!

SANDY NAVARRO

of SMN Designs

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I met Sandy last year at the airport in Omaha while on the way HOME from Silver Bella, can you believe? Just think of all the fun we could have had if we'd have only hooked up for those few days! Since then, I sometimes keep her entertained on her ride home from work or exchange silly text messages with her. (not while she's driving!) She's even flown down to New Orleans and drove 2.5 hours to spend the day with me. Yep...the DAY!

ok. (i cannot tell a lie ;)

She really didn't fly all the way from California over here just to see ME.  She had a friend in New Orleans that she came to see, but I felt so special that she took the time to drive an extra 2.5 hours to see me too!!!!

*****

Turning the page...

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I certainly can tell you how I felt when I saw this page as I knew exactly who this page was from the moment I read the pretty banner! I felt...LOVED!!!!

Page THREE... 

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is a brown, black, rust and iridescent gold cotton page embellished with a lace and pearl studded heart, mother of pearl buttons...

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handmade beaded organza flowers and a pennant banner that reads:

"You are Loved" 

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I couldn't wait to flip that page as I already knew who it was from and this little tag sealed the deal...

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ONLY my craziest friend in the whole wide world tells me that. Matter of fact, it's always our last words to each other and sometimes (not often) do I get to say it first! I just love her for that! :)))

This beautiful page was made by none other than Miss Pennsylvania herself...

SANDY MAROTTI

of Sew Revived

She has a great blog with lots of cool stuff but she hasn't posted in over three months. She'll post again when she hibernates during the winter months! ;)

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*****

Turning the page...

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oh I knew who this was too!

I can recognize this girl's vintage style miles away!!!!!

Page FOUR...

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is made up of layers and layers of beautiful lace embellished with mother of pearl buttons, rhinestones, metal and pearls, and every kind of "40" that could be found within her reach!

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She also added a photo of me when I was a little cutie! (I think that's what gave the page away as I don't have many requests for my photos!)

This IS my all-time favorite photo of me...

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Although I was certain of who made this, I nervously turned the page and sure enough...I was right!

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Sent with LOTS of love from Germany, this is from none other than the one and only...

JULIA SCHNEIDER

of Vintage with Laces

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Now let me warn you...I really think there IS something in this envelope that's attached to the back of the page.

Again...I'm not opening it...not right now...'nuff said! ;)

I love me some Julia. Just like Karen above, it was love at first sight when I clicked on her blog. I begged her to be my friend and threatened her that one day I would show up on her door step in Germany if she didn't acknowledge me! (just kidding...well, sort of! Lisa and I are really planning a trip to see her one day!)

*****

Turning the page...

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By the time I got to this part of the book, over an hour had passed since I opened the box. You can see that the morning sun in the previous photos had now turned into pure daylight.

My pajama shirt was full of happy tears.

My legs and butt were numb from sitting Indian-style on the floor.

I was late for work but I just couldn't put it down...

Page Five...

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  is made of a cut-up wool sweater (brilliant) and embellished with a printed vintage image, crepe paper and tulle, vintage lace and crochet, ribbons, buttons and a fleur de lis accent.

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This cute note was attached by a pretty little purple button. When I read it, I giggled...then...the memories started flooding back and I burst right back into tears again...

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I quickly flipped the moo card that was tucked neatly under the flower and sure enough, it was her! It was my wonderful Ohio friend that shared  the most awesome of memories recently here with me in Louisiana.

It was all over the page right in front of me!

Eunice (my home town), Myrtle (The Myrtles Plantation), Daquiri, (she got the biggest kick out of our drive-thru liquor shacks in addition to our open container law!), the fleur de lis (Louisiana), the embroidery (Chantal's event) and that wasn't all of it...

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I quickly turned the page (without peeking at the next page) and there I saw velvet (5 & 10 store), celebrate (she knows I love to celebrate my birthday) and...

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she knows that I love me some cabinet cards, including the ones with the most beautiful back sides!!!!

Yes, this girl from Ohio knows me well. I'm talking about...

PAM KERN

of Frippery

I met her three years ago and it's felt like a lifetime!!!! :)

*****

Turning the page...

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Now since I never tell a lie, I have to tell you that I really giggled out loud at this page. I immediately knew who made this page and when I think of her...there is NOTHING to be sad about...trust me!

There's always a story with this one. Whether it be Social Service's top ten list, attempted arson at a gas station, or forgetting her head if it wasn't attached to her body, there is NEVER a dull moment with this creative and crazy gal...

Page SIX...

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is made of multiple layers of cotton and muslin, layered in vintage lace and embellished with resin coated sheet music...

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a fabric print of a vintage photo encased in a vintage album frame, and vintage beads and buttons.

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Her tarnished and tattered look is like no other and she's in a league of her own.

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Unlike Julia, this girl stalked and begged ME to be her friend.

And YES ... she DID show up at my doorstep with her husband, her triplets and the dog!

That was one of the best days of my life :)))

The little quote above the two girls reads:

"In your golden chain of friendship,

Regard me as a link."

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She's my missing link (seriously! in every sense of the word) and now since I've found her, I'm never letting her off of my fence (nor out of my sight)!

I'm talking about my twisted Texas sistah...

LISA MCILVAIN

of Tarnished and Tattered

*****

Turning to the FINAL page...

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And certainly last but not least is the handmade page from the head mistress of this most beautiful 40th birthday gift!

Page SEVEN...

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is made of (eerily enough) the SAME brown, black, rust and iridescent gold cotton material that Sandy used!

I'm just noticing that NOW as I type this. Amazing how I didn't notice earlier when I was running my fingers through this book over and over and over again all day!!!!

Great minds think alike and it's amazing how differently beautiful each turned out to be!

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This page is embellished with a letter "J" in the center, surrounded by lace, pearls, velvet flowers, buttons, vintage millinery, cowgirl metal and a beautiful glass bead...

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The back of her page is beautiful too as it is embellished with more lace, millinery and a cool clothing label...

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Since her page is the "caboose" of my 40th Birthday Book, let me show you the whole back page...

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I'm sure you are wondering who master-minded this FABULOUS birthday gift for me.

It was none other than the head of the Bloggerette Sorority herself...

KAREN DECAPITE

of Some Days are Diamonds

Karen is a California sweetheart with a heart of pure gold.

After meeting her a little over a year ago (through blogging), we were fortunate enough to meet in person in Savannah, GA in April of this year.

Through Karen, I've met many other blogger friends that are near and dear to me.

I am humbled that she and the girls who participated in this book, would ever think of me in this special way.

Thank you for making my 40th so special.

Saying "Thank You" from the bottom of my heart just doesn't sound like enough to show you how much I appreciate this gift.

I really do.

*****

To all of you who actually READ the whole post, are you feeling the Birthday Love?

Do you see why I couldn't post about it earlier? I really needed the time to let it all soak in. The time to savor each little detail. I'm still a little speechless even though this is one of the longest posts I ever wrote! ;)

So since you are still here with me at the end of this post, stand beside me as I blame Karen for making me late for work today, making me cry all day, spending 7+ hours at the computer creating this post while crying (and laughing) all over again and staying up way past my bedtime in order to keep my promise to you that I would be back later on today!   ;)

THANK YOU!!!!  THANK YOU!!! thank you!!

41 comments:

Karen said...

OH I AM SO HAPPY YOU OPENED IT AND LOVED IT!
Just as much as well all love you!
It was SO FUN! Stressful but fun!
And what are the odds we'd use the same fabric? LOL. We both laughed!
See! I TOLD you to OPEN IT! I almost said "Got Kleenex?" on the outside but thot that might give it away.
I love you. Tons. Happy Birthday my dear friend!!!
Big hugs! Karen :) (hehehe)

Leanne said...

yeah, I definitely think that Karen should have put a "warning: do not open until the weekend" on that *grin*

It's such a beautiful, beautiful book, and you know that you deserve every single stitch, right?

trash talk said...

I'm crying with you Jodie. To be as loved as you are must be the best feeling in the whole wide world. It reaffirms my belief that blogging friends are real friends for life and love is as close as we choose it to be. You're special and you draw special people to you just by being your sweet self. I know of no one who has a heart like yours...except maybe this fantastic group of ladies who put theirs on a page forever.
Happy 7 1/2 days!
Debbie

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Jodie you are so sweet and so loved and so deserving of this amazing gift. I have never seen anything like it. Happy Birthday dear girl!

Sandy Navarro said...

Ok, I checked you blog like 40,000 times today and FINALLY! So glad you love your surprise. I just finished wiping my eyes and blowing my nose cuz I was crying right along w/ya. This post needs to be added to your list of faves. We all love us some Jodie. Now, I'll keep up my end of the deal and send you that sneak!

Love ya!

vintage girl at heart said...

aww how very wonderful!!
you are so special and don't you evah forget it girly!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, uhmm...(sniffle,sniffle,wipe nose, blow nose, wipe eyes, dry face, take a deep breath, sniffle, and start ALL OVER AGAIN with the ocean of tears..)...how do you comment after reading this blog entry??? ....SPEECHLESS!!!...and in AWE!!!...(thanking GOD that my dear Sista has the MOST WONDERFULLY CREATIVE LOVING FRIENDS IN THE WORLD, who CREATE beauty out of their HEART, but little do they know, they've touched others (MOI!!) by their interwoven LOVE for you, my dear Sista, Jodie!!!...(thinking to myself, get rid of the platter I gave you that sits on your kitchen table & PUT THAT LOVING BOOK THERE WHERE THE WHOLE WORLD CAN SEE THAT!!!)
P.S.~It took me 1 WHOLE HOUR to read your blog, as I scrolled ever SOOO slowly, not to miss one detail of ALL the love described in that PRECIOUS BOOK GIFT!!!
P.S.S.~THANKS for sharing the gift with us!!! Love you, Jodie,
Your sister, Penny

Tina @ TinyBear said...

O.M.G that book is just AMAZING. What a wonderful gift Jodie - and you so deserve it. I have never EVER seen anything as beautiful as this and created from all those amazing friends. All I can say is WOW.
That have to be all girls wish for a dream gift. Thank you so much for sharing and I´ll definately have to go back an study those pic. again and again.
Wishing you a wonderful day sweet friend
xoxo Tina

Tina @ TinyBear said...

oh and I totally forgot to say I love that altered paintbrush too. It´s wonderful and such a great idea.
XO Tina

Dorthe said...

Oh Jodie, you are a soo loved woman, and I know why, reading your blog ,dear.
THE fantastic,and more than beautifull book, is the most wonderfull token of love, to you,from all those dear ,master creator friends,of yours.
Every page is a wonder, and I could never tire looking through it...
The paintbruch, is a most gorgeus and beautifull idea, too.
So wonderfull feeling so loved,Isn`t it?
Hugs from me in Denmark,-Dorthe

Julia - "Vintage with Laces" said...

Hi Sweets! I'm glad you loved the surprise! It was as lot of fun working on that page for you and Karen did such a fabulous job assembling the book. It's certainly filled with lots of love and that's what you deserve, sweet friend :-)!
Karen's brush is awesome! What a great idea!
Big hugs,
Julia

A Cottage Muse said...

Oh Jodie...how absolutely beautiful you are...shown through these pages of love! Thank you so much for sharing such a thoughtful gift from the hearts! You are one in a million!!

Enjoy looking at it over, and over, and over again!!

Robin said...

The book is just beautiful and such a work of love from your friends! You are very lucky indeed to have such wonderful blogging friends. That paintbrush is also awesome and what a novel idea. Hope you had a great 40th Birthday!

Hugs,
Robin

Vicki said...

The paintbrush and the book...AMAZING. These are treasures from dear, dear friends. Can see the love on each and every page of that book. I can see why you needed a day to get yourself together. I will admit that I checked the blog a bizillion times today because I knew it had to be super special. It was beyond super special. I wish I was there to touch and study every page!

Sandi said...

Jodie,
What a priceless gift. You deserve that beautiful book. Have a wonderful 40th year.
Love,
VictorianGypsy

Diane Cook said...

OMG! I am in awe of this beautiful FAT book! It is truly an act of love Jodie =)
What a beautiful post....now I totally understand why you had to post about it later.
Ahhhh.........

Pam @ Frippery said...

Gah!!!! Jodie, I have been on pins and needles waiting for you to OPEN that package. Karen is such a sweetheart for organizing this whole huge project! I love love love all the pages, all your favorite colors and images, do your peeps know you or what?! So glad you love it. Miss you loads, Pam

Jacqui said...

I am overwhelmed at your fat book! So much beauty and love, it seems neverending. I would never stop looking at it. WOW

Janet Ghio said...

Gorgeous!! You are well loved!!

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

I love your birthday present. But of course you KNOW I saw it a couple of weeks ago!! I wasn't going to tell you that though!! Karen would tell me step by step when one would come in and how she was putting it together....how wonderful to have so many friends to share their time and talent to make that gorgeous gift for you!! I KNOW you will continue to enjoy it!

T's Daily Treasures said...

I know that there are no words to describe how you feel about this book and how truly unique and beautiful it is. My 40th birthday was my best ever. I asked for handmade gifts and was surprised with what some folks came up with, especially those who aren't so crafty. When we made scrapbooks for each other, I know how it touches the recipient. A fat book made all from material is so very impressive and the fact that a group of talented friends conspired behind your back to create the most wonderful book ever just makes it that much more special. I know that you could look at it 100 times a day and see something new each and every time. Enjoy! Thanks for sharing. Happy 8th day to you. :)Tammy

Linda Robinson said...

OMG... That was the best gift ever.. It was the most beautiful FAT BOOK I have ever seen.. But then again it was made by the Craftiest ladies ever... I just might have to come back a couple of times to soak in all those lovely creations.. You are one lucky gal and you deserve it.. BIG HUGS and thanks for sharing your wonderful gift with us....

Robin Sanchez said...

Jodie what a wonderful book to cherish forever!! How blessed you are to have so many who care about you. Your one lucky lady!! Thanks for sharing.
Robin

My Blessed Serendipity Life said...

What a wonderful special special gift! That book is so beautiful and personal. You are blessed!

-Danielle

Karen Valentine said...

Yeahh!!!!I'm so glad you finally opened it!!! The waiting was killing me!!!!This is the first time that I have seen it in it's entirety and I am blown away! It is absolutely beautiful. Karen did such an awesome job putting it all together. You truly are loved my friend. I think we are finally going to be able to meet face to face this spring at Round Top!
I hope your Birthmonth continues to be wonderful, filled with happy surprises ans lots of love!
XO,
Karen

Claudia said...

Jodie, What amazing friends you have - they are all so talented and they clearly love you very much!

xo
Claudia

www.MaisonStGermain.com said...

WOW!!!!OK now I understand the crocodile tears;) You are soooo loved. That book shows one page after another of just LOVE. How wonder to have such loving friends. YOu are truly blessed. Now, for the paint brush? OMG I have never seen a paint brush so beautiful before!!!!!What an awesome birthday gift. I am really happy for you:)
~Debra
Capers of the vintage vixens

Curtains In My Tree said...

Well Miss Cinderella

I have never seen such a beautiful meaningful altered art book!!!!!!!!!!!

Those pages are breath taking.

Happy Belated Birthday Girl

I can't name everything that is just awesome, The paint brush I would say caught my eye.


Janice

Tamarah said...

Oh Jodie I'm so VERY THRILLED for you....What an AMAZING group of Friends you have to spoil you so....This 'fat' book will no doubt, provide hours & HOURS of enjoyment for you as you revisit every page & find something new to MARVEL over....!!

I'm so VERY glad you spent 7 hours creating this post & staying up past your bed time to share this with us....!!

Take care Lovey....!

Cheers from Oz,
Tamarah :o)

Tarnished and Tattered said...

Oh you little birthday girl you,
MY GOD, Karen did an amazing job putting this altogether! I'm so glad you didn't wait until Halloween to open it, I couldn't bear waiting another day. I am humbled by the talent of the girls who participated. My little page looks sad, they are true works of art! Of course we all had a great muse....YOU! Okay, one thing. You really have to work on your description of me. Lord, people are going to think I need professional help, or at least a sitter or herder. Oh yeah, I already have a 3, named Lily, Philip & Owen. Really tho....arsonist? LOL It must feel awesome to have so many people love you so much.You know we do. And we all know you pretty good too, I don't see any pink or aqua in the whole bunch. How are we going to top this one? Good job girls! Lisa Marie

The Feathered Nest said...

OhmyGOODNESS!!! JODIE!!!! You are SO, SO LOVED! This gift made tears come to MY eyes!!! It's absolutely so beautiful, really breathtakingly beautiful ~ the time spent and love expressed is a true testament to how precious you are ~ enjoy and cherish this one-of-a-kind treasure sweetie, you deserve it!!!! hugs and love, Dawn

victorian parlor II said...

Oh my goodness-what an amazing gift!!! It's all so beautiful:)! Happy Birthday month dear friend!!!

Blessings,

Kim

Lisa Phillippi llelsik@aol.com said...

What a wonderful present-I know you will cherish it forever! My hat is off to all the ladies who contributed -Beautiful job- I can see why you were so overwhelmed! I am so happy for you!

Charlene said...

Jodie,

IT IS AMAZING!!!!!!!! Each page a wonder in itself. Thank you for sharing it! That was sooooooooooooo worth the wait & all your teasing us with little tid bits. Enjoy the wonder.
HUGS!
Charlene

Lynnae said...

That is beautiful! You are a lucky lady! Happy birthday and Birth month!

winnibriggs said...

I am truly amazed. I have never seen anything like this. No wonder you were in awe. What a lot of love piled into one very special book. Belated Happy Birthday and congratulations to those who made your day so special.
Have a great weekend too.
Jenny, from across the pond

Lululiz said...

I AM SPEECHLESS !!!

Boxwood Cottage said...

OMG Jodie now you have me all teary eyes too!

First of all Happy belated birthday wishes to you!!!

And congratulations on having such fabulous friends!

That book is gorgeous and I would have cried rivers too if I's would ever get such a wonderful surprise. Love what our mutual friend Julia did, she's so talented!

Warmest wishes from Germany sends you
Carola

My Grama's Soul said...

Oh dear Jodie....I believe that is one of the prettiest things I have ever seen......SIMPLY BEAUTIFUL!!!

NUF' SAID.

JO

zandra said...

Speechless! You are truly loved! Just love the fat book. Love Oct. to see all the wonderful things you get. Hugz, Z

Payton said...

You truly are such a special person Aunt Jodie, and this was definitely the PERFECT gift for you!! :)