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...
(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...
seen such a beautiful...
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...
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...
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.
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.
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!!!!
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!)
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!!!!
I kept running my fingers on every inch of it, soaking in every little handmade detail.
is an ivory quilted page embellished with lace and pearl applique, button, vintage image...
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!)
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:
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...
I still can't describe to you how I felt when I saw this!
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...
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!!!)
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.
I carefully gathered the birthday card and turned it over, only to read that it was from my FaBuLouS friend from California!
of SMN Designs
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...
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!!!!
is a brown, black, rust and iridescent gold cotton page embellished with a lace and pearl studded heart, mother of pearl buttons...
handmade beaded organza flowers and a pennant banner that reads:
"You are Loved"
I couldn't wait to flip that page as I already knew who it was from and this little tag sealed the deal...
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...
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! ;)
Turning the page...
oh I knew who this was too!
I can recognize this girl's vintage style miles away!!!!!
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!
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...
Although I was certain of who made this, I nervously turned the page and sure enough...I was right!
Sent with LOTS of love from Germany, this is from none other than the one and only...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
I met her three years ago and it's felt like a lifetime!!!! :)
Turning the page...
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...
is made of multiple layers of cotton and muslin, layered in vintage lace and embellished with resin coated sheet music...
a fabric print of a vintage photo encased in a vintage album frame, and vintage beads and buttons.
Her tarnished and tattered look is like no other and she's in a league of her own.
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."
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...
Turning to the FINAL page...
And certainly last but not least is the handmade page from the head mistress of this most beautiful 40th birthday gift!
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!
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...
The back of her page is beautiful too as it is embellished with more lace, millinery and a cool clothing label...
Since her page is the "caboose" of my 40th Birthday Book, let me show you the whole back page...
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 is a California sweetheart with a heart of pure gold.
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!!