Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Tribute to My Friend, Richard Lafayette

Sometimes life just pushes the art aside...

Late on Friday afternoon I received a message that an old high school friend (Kathy) had tagged me in a photo on Facebook.  About 4:00 PM, I signed on to Facebook to take a look at the photo.  The caption on the photo read, "Richard and Lezlei George Washington Preparatory High, Watisishumbas '72 30 Year Reunion. RIP our brother and friend."  That is how I found out that my friend of over 40 years had lost his battle with liver cancer.  He had passed away early Wednesday morning.  Questions flooded my brain! What had happened? Had his prognosis changed? Why wasn't I contacted BEFORE he took his last breath. I wanted to be there.  I wanted to make sure he had everything he needed.  I wanted to hold his hand. I wanted to tell him I loved him one last time.

His brother's Facebook page contained the details of his funeral arrangements - the next morning at 8:00 AM in Oakland, CA.  I called the funeral home to confirm the arrangements.  Fortunately, I was able to get a flight into San Francisco on Friday night.  I had only enough time to throw a few items in a bag and head for the airport. I had to change planes in Phoenix, so I carried my bag on for fear the airline might lose it and leave me to attend the funeral in my jogging outfit (which I would have done if I had to). 

So Saturday, March 26, 2011 I attended the funeral and said goodbye to my friend, Richard Lafayette. 

I had called and text him several times over the last 3 weeks with no response. So I contacted his brother (a busy attorney) who promised to call. When he offered to call rather than respond with Richard's condition, I feared things may not have been going well - my last call was to his brother's office (I can be bold when I need to) on Wednesday to leave a message with his secretary. My friend was already gone and I didn't know it.

We first met in 1969 at George Washington High School in Los Angeles, CA, where we both attended.  After graduating, Richard was one of the few that I have maintained a friendship with from high school.  We would lose contact from time to time over the years - but he would always find me and we would renew the friendship as if we had never been apart. 

I missed a call from him about 8 months ago.  As I lay down to go to sleep, I thought to text him to ask if he was OK...and the phone rang and he said, "Lezlei, this has been the worst day in my entire life.".  He went on to explain that his wife of 39 years had died that day unexpectedly.  So we encouraged each other not knowing that there were still some difficult days ahead. 

Another call only a few months ago to tell me he had been diagnosed with liver cancer.  He explained the treatment plan to me in detail and I gave him my list of things he had to do.  At one point he stopped me and said, "Lezlei, I have family, friends and people who care about me here in Oakland - I'm not by myself."  There was silence on the phone for a moment - I had to process that - he had other friends besides me...smiles.  But that is the kind of friend he was - he always made me feel so special and "as if" I was the only friend.  His services were evidence of the many family, friends and co-workers who loved him - just like me. As he took his last breath, he was surrounded by his family from Dallas and two sons and the assurances of a life well lived.

He visited Dallas the end of last year and I was able to spend a couple of hours with him and drove him to the airport for his trip home.  I am so thankful for that time. I am eternally grateful for the many years of wonderful friendship.  I am trusting God that we got everything out of it that we should have.

Even though I wasn't there - I know he knew that I loved him because I told him often enough- we would end most conversations with that reminder, "I love you". 

Isn't that smile infectious!  I love you, Richard and I will miss you forever...


Saturday, March 5, 2011

TDP Update - The Twins Arrive

Just a short post to let you know I have received my first  ADO Travelling Doll Project (TDP) visitor...that is VISITORS...my first TDP visit is from doll "twins", "Zebulon" and "Caledonia" from Bakersfield, CA (which happens to be my birth place).

Zebulon and Caledonia were created by Martha of Ayala Art.  I will be sharing pictures and more about them later...we have to talk first...smiles.

"Big Maggie" is on her way to Florida for her first stop with Moriah of MLB Studios. I miss her already. You can read about her send off here.

Stay Creative!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

ADO Travelling Doll Project Begins!

 I belong to a group of wonderful doll makers called "Art Dolls Only" (ADO).  This is the third year of the ADO Travelling Doll Project and I am participating again this year.  The first dolls shipped March 1st.  Last year the project was published in 2 issues of "Doll Collector" magazine!  Briefly, here is how it works...
  • The participating doll makers are divided up into teams.
  • Each team member begins the creation of a doll using any technique desired.
  • Each member also creates a journal for the doll created.
  • The doll and journal is mailed round-robin to each team member, who builds upon what each member has done prior to bring the doll to a completed state. 
 You can read more about ADO and the Travelling Doll Project at the links above.

All that to say...I will be sharing the journey of my doll "Margaret Indigo Grimsby" (aka "Big Maggie") as she travels across the country to 5 other wonderful doll makers.  I will be posting a link to her story on the Travelling Doll Project Blog as well as sharing other pictures here on my blog.  "Big Maggie" was shipped to Florida today to Moriah Betterly of MLB Studios, a full time artist / doll maker and instructor (working on my doll woohoo!).  I can wait to see what Moriah adds to "Big Maggie".

Meet "Big Maggie" saying good-bye to her "prim" friend, "Annie" and a few pictures of her paper bag journal.

See how carefully she is holding those hands...she's pretty proud of them!  I learned how to make Maggie's hands in a workshop called "Handling Hands" taught by Judy Skeel at Joggles.com.  This workshop was EXCELLENT!!!  The class is being offered again on March 16 at an extremely affordable price which includes patterns for 2 types of hands and tips on how to fix some of the issues that articulated hands present (e.g. busted seams). But honestly, I followed the instructions and my hands came out PERFECT the first time!!! (Click on images to enlarge.)

Watch for more information on Maggie's travels!

Stay Creative!


Sometimes the Yarn Calls Me

I learned crochet, knitting, sewing, quilting, gardening, and cooking at the feet of my Great Grandmother, Sally Brown.  What a blessing it was to have "Mama" until my junior year of high school!  When she passed away in 1971, the sewing that she had taught me had blossomed into designing and sewing all but a few pieces of my clothing for school.  I would always save my "lunch money" to buy pieces of fabric.  Back then, fabric was very affordable and sewing your clothing was a very economical alternative to purchasing ready-made items. 

There were many days that I would come home with an "idea" of an outfit that I wanted to wear to school the next day.  I would quickly finish my homework and maybe dinner for the family and start to sew.  I would design the pattern pieces, cut and sew the fabric sometimes waking early in the morning to finish a hem or any handwork.  There were many nights my mother would come in and send me to bed...I would wake u even earlier and finish my outfit and be off to school before she arose for the morning!

But I digress...we are talking about the yarn today!  Crochet and knitting are both so relaxing.  There is not a lot of set up required like some of the other hobbies I enjoy...it's just you, the yarn, the crochet or knitting needles, and maybe a pattern. No clean-up...just tuck your project back into the yarn basket when you're done for the day. 

I always have an abundant supply of beautiful yarns (and fabric).  Often when I am shopping for other items, a beautiful yarn (or fabric...smiles) will beckon me, jump into my shopping basket and make its way to my home and into my yarn stash with all the other beautiful yarns.

I have been making hats and scarfs (some skinny) and fingerless gloves...some patterns work up very quickly.  Most recently, this beautiful "Neapolitan" colored yarn beckoned me.  It was so relaxing working on this beautiful hat and skinny scarf.  It is worked with a combination of a modified "puff" stitch with single crochet borders on the hat and skinny scarf.  I have placed the Neapolitan set in my etsy shop here.

My next project...get all the items placed in my etsy shop to make room for the next call of the yarn...smiles.

Stay Creative!


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The OWOH Joy Continues!

Look what was in the mail today!
I am still enjoying the "overflow" of the One World One Heart blog hop and giveaway.  I am spending time revisiting the many blogs that I didn't have time during the event to explore in detail.  I won a few giveaways and met some wonderful new online friends!  Here are the wonderful giveaways that arrived from my new artistic blog buddies.

A beautiful print entitled "Watch Over My Humble House" by Jenny Wentworth of Creativity is Happiness

A beautiful owl pendant from Leila West of Artsy Creations

Another beautiful print entitled "Braver, Stronger, Smarter" by Erin Leigh of Art by Erin Leigh

Some "royal" mail from the UK with a package full of angels from Kate at http://noseycritters.blogspot.com/

A gorgeous heart pendant and fairy pin from Lind Pflum of Charmed Victorian

The cutest fairy door from Laura Medeiros of Pithy Art Blog

Aren't these gifts absolutely wonderful!  I have included links to the blogs of these wonderful artists.  Please stop by their blogs and experience more of their wonderful art!

Stay Creative!