Saturday, December 22, 2012


When I was younger, I didn't think too much about pain or illness.
Before I became a nurse I worked in landscaping, did plant nursery work or Landscape maintenance. My body was strong. I had mastery over my Physical state. I could lift like Hercules in cutoffs, work all day in the hot Florida sun, and make things grow.
I was not concerned with how I slept at night, or how I would feel when I woke in the morning to painful joints.
I wasn't concerned about making concessions to low energy, or accepting limitations of my physical state.
As the arch of my Life spreads itself across my Sky, I have conceded that I am aging.
I think about this with some anxiety and also with some ignorance about what this will look like.
My Father was gone at 44. My Mom at 64.
They didn't leave much of a model for navigating older age.
(I just wrote  "Old age" and changed it to older age...HA!)
I am not sure how to navigate this particular passage of my life.
I want to write that I do not like it, but that is not really true.
Let me explain what I mean.
Some years ago, I think maybe 5 or 6 now, Maybe longer because my memory is obviously on a slippery slope...I went to my little nurse Practitioner about some symptoms I was having: Night sweats, low energy, irritability, lack of mental clarity and pain.
She said.
"You are in Menopause."
I asked her how long it would last. Like it was an unpleasant part of a journey that got ruined by bad weather.
She is young and pretty and perky.
She smiled at me and said..."Those symptoms don't ever go away, you just adjust to them."
Surely not.
I couldn't have been more shocked if she had Tazed me.
I think I might have said something like "SHIT."
Well, even though I work in Mental health and understand about COPING SKILLS that are healthy,
I reached for the first one at hand: Denial. This really would pass.
I would get my energy back. Surely. These pesky hot Flashes would fade away, and I would sleep again.
My joint pain....temporary. Estrogen ...who needs it? Ha!
I laugh in the face of FEAR....
I am 58. I do not like being in pain, having joint discomfort, Not sleeping, being irritable or having skin that looks like it needs a good starching and ironing.
No body likes that.
One of the younger techs that I work with asked me what years of my life I liked best, or when I was happiest.
I said, "I am Happiest now."
 He looked at my grey hair...because I do not dye it, Looked at my lined face because I do not iron it, and said "Really?"
I said affirming "YES, NOW."
Even with the pain and the fatigue, and all that shriveling estrogen, dried up and blown away,
I am happiest now.
"Why? " he was obviously dubious.
"Because Now I know how to Be HAPPY," I said. "I choose IT, I CHOOSE IT."
This year I pray that you will choose Happiness. That your Journey will help you find it. That you will seek it. That you will have it even in Pain and Not sleeping. Make your accomodations. Accept. Accept. Find your way of coping, and in that
I pray that you are free From Suffering.
and That I am Too.
Merry Christmas

Friday, November 30, 2012

thoughts from a Psych nurse

Some of you all know that I am a Psychiatric nurse. have been since 1978.
I started out with a kind of smart ass edge. It was all about the rules and Boundaries. There were the folks on one side of the nurse's station and the ones behind it. Kinda like the patients vs. The staff in a manner of speaking. I am not really proud of this kind of Black and white thinking but I was young and Stupidly Full of myself.
I spent years working on a residential adolescent unit, trying to figure out how to be the best nurse there was. The smartest. The fixer. I was relentless in trying to ferret out the Key to unlock the dark places of the adolescent psyche.
I wasn't particularly interested in the suffering of others, and I confess I wasn't a source of Compassion. I kept my own feelings about my patients safe, behind a stronghold of Pseudo Professionalism: that wore heels and pantyhose and make up and an impenetrable wardrobe of Emotional Steel.
 In 1998,
I went to work in an adolescent sexual offender unit, a residential treatment center, where kids who had sexually harmed others were placed.
I expected to be repelled. Repulsed even. Folks would say to me "How can you do that?"
Like some of the darkness of that place and what went on there to treat them would rub off on me and make me evil, or bad.
It didn't. It didn't make me evil or bad or anything like that.
Working there taught me about having compassion. It taught me about  human suffering. It taught me about the redeeming Power of Love and Forgiveness. It taught me so much more about Hope and Hopelessness then I ever thought I would know.
I gave a lot to that place. 8 years of my life. I did not create a single thing for that time. Didn't paint. Didn't sew. I had no energy to make a single thing.
But in some respects it was making me. recreating me.
I still work in Psychiatry.
I am older now. I see very little difference at times in those who are behind the desk and those who are in front of it. It could easily be me queuing in the line to receive the medication that it is my job to pass out.
I am grateful that it is not.
There are some patients that I connect with and some I just can't. I let someone else connect with the ones I can't. I cry with some of my patients. Some times I can't help it. I feel their sadness fill up my heart, I feel their grief.
I teach them the Metta and hope this is of some help.
That old wall, the old fortification that kept my feelings safely out of touching range is now a big Fat Marshmallow. Instead of growing harder, with age I have grown softer.
 Wiser but Kinder.
and Kinder is best. I think.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Power of the Spoken Word.

"It is hard to know what to say sometimes," says Beatrix. Situations are sometimes made or broken with the power of a word. They stay with us those words, like a living thing; the praise of parents or friends, the words of lovers whispered to each other in the night, the expressions of grief spoken in times of anquish.
"I would guard against words spoken in anger, Guard against words spoken to influence others Against Humanity, for there lies the Path of Evil."
Beatrix is afterall and Angel.
She is made of muslin, and has a coffee dyed cranberry taffeta dress enbellished with vintage lace and vintage trims. She has multiple rusted bells hanging from her person. Her wings are made of cedar and painted green. Her hair is sewn to her head and she has a crown made of Baggaraggs Ribbon.
With her hanger she is she is about 12 inches tall.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Ok, so its my Birthday.
I am 58 now.
Here is what I like about being 58 years old.
I feel more accepting of myself. I am less afraid of failing, it doesn't feel like that big a deal to me because I am JUST Relentless with Persisting I believe that I will succeed eventually.
I really do believe that.
This is part of getting older or maybe I have developed a Delusion that finally is of some benefit to ME!
Another thing about being 58 is feeling stronger, and I mean this in an emotional sense; I have more mastery over my temper (which use to be mercurial, explosive and Injuriously Impulsive)
and more accepting of Others imperfections. I am less attached to what I think should happen.
I guess that enough of all that sappy stuff.
My friend From across the Sea
Dorthe Hansen of Den Lille Lade
sent me a fabulous Birthday Packet. First let me tell you I love that word Packet.
Dorthe uses it...and has taught me to anticipate the arrival of a "Packet" with great Christmas coming.

( and it does feel like Christmas)

Look what she sent me for my Birthday.

                     This beautiful angel is MINE!!!
She is too wonderful for words. Dorthe thank YOU!


This OH so beautiful LOOK at IT Scarf!!!
It is amazingly soft and snugly. And it is in my favorite Colors.
There are always the numerous and so beautiful Tags and doo-dads that LOVE so much from Dorthe. Unexpected treasures.
Look at that Fabulous Ribbon and those OH so Tiny specimen VIALS!!!!
I am undeserving!
But so very thankful.
I love my Dorthe!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Celebrate the Winter Wonderland!

Stop by Etsy and Check out the fabulous things that the Girls from The Old Farmhouse Gathering have been working on for winter. Its a bit early but great to have a jump on the Christmas shopping! Type CWWOFG into the search bar and have a LOOK!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


The Baggaraggs sale is still in progress until Friday the 5th of October. So if you have your eyeball on something GET ON OVER THERE AND GET IT!

I am NOT sure how anyone could NOT want Trixie for their Halloween Decor...she is so ....
Yuck! that one has been used a million times!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sale!!! at the Baggaraggs!!!!!

I am having a 59 facebook followers S:A:L:E!!!!
20% off everything in my SHOPPE!
Type in Thanks59 in the coupon code for the reduction at Checkout.
And stay tuned for more Tutorials!
Oh and here is todays' Ribbon.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Gnome Home Tutorial

Ok Class, take your seats...Not PICK your Seats...(giggle)

Today we will work on making a Traditional Gnome Home Gift Envelope from those Trusty Paper bags you painted some days ago...RIGHT!!!!
These Colors are, I think, Typical for the Gnomes that Live at the Baggaraggs, I think I might have an Alpine group of them, since they seem to go for a Swiss Look, and I can hear periodic Yodeling...
So we started with a green painted Grocery bag. Pictured here with my Trusty PINKERS:

I cut out a shape that I felt would be slightly longer then what I wanted because the back part of the house will be cut so the front part of the house can form a closure lip. I know that sounds complicated but I took a PHOTO and I will show that part to you in just a minute.
Here is the house shape I cut. EYEBALL IT. For those of you who do not wish to EYEBALL It, The house is 12 inches tall and about 6.2 inches wide.
Ok. NOW, we will cut a piece off the bottom of the back of the HOUSE. Like this:


 here is what the Back looks like folded up. It would be better if my photos didn't SUCK but...I am trying my best. FOLD That Bottom Part back, so that it makes the LIP of the envelope. The crease will be the line where your Door will be situated.

Now the Wild Rumpus STARTS...Begin to sew on your embellishments with the largest pieces first. I started with a Polka-dot taffeta Gable. AGAIN use a ZIG-ZAG or satin Stitch. a Straight stitch will cut the paper.

Build your gable and doorway as you see fit.
I put a piece of vintage netting over the finished gable with sparkles inside. I would actually not suggest the sparkles or GLITTER as the Net did not secure them and they delivered their magic onto me at intervals...spilling out little bits of silver stars...I did also put a vintage stamp there in the gable, and The Gnomes said that was alright...the Stamp is from Bulgaria, and one of them has a sister from there.

Make your Doorway. I used some fabric sent to me by my friend Dorthe of Den lille Lade
as the actual door and some vintage lace as a door frame.
I also added some Bricks to the side of the walls.
You can see there that the door is not situated on the bottom of the house. Its because that Bottom part gets folded backward to make the closure of the envelope.

At the Bottom of the front of your HOUSE, sew your seam binding on the raw edge of the lip of the envelope. DOWN at the bottom where it will be folded backward.

Here it is sewn on and folded to the back. Set your Grommet now and sew on a button to the back of the house where your string can close the envelope securely. It looks like this on mine: your One side seam, beginning with the roof and down the side.
Sew down to the bottom of the wall of the house but STOP when you reach the part that folds over.
Iron it. You can cover it with a dish towel if you want to protect your IRON. Make sure that the Lip is folded backward on the bottom. I added a tag and a rusted bell at the roof. Gnomes are just crazy about BELLS. My tag says Dear Santa, so this envelope could hold the secret wishes of That part of your self that is and always will be a Child.
In the Classroom of the Baggaraggs there are NO MISTAKES. We celebrate Imperfection Here. if you have questions, just leave me a message.
( I always wanted to say that TOO!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tomorrow: GNOME HOME Bag tutorial

                 Previews of coming attractions...
tomorrow I think we will make Gnome Homes from a Paper bag. Wanna? LET'S!!!!!!

I need RIBBON Tutorial.

Let's make this TODAY!!!!

Ok. Settle down Class. ( I have always wanted to say I was a teacher...giggle)
Today is a further exploration of our painted paperbags that we started yesterday. I am sure that everyone painted them right UP!!!!
I have at times wanted a Lovely Ribbon, something that says "This is a SPECIAL GIFT!"
I have One trillion ribbons in my studio, but I like this idea that even the smallest bits get upcycled, have a new purpose, have another LIFE!
I paint dryer slips, save little bits of paper, and Lovely little snippy bits from my sewing and they all go into a bag. Periodically, I scrounge the studio floor for little this's and that's...You get it. I am a complete NUT CASE.
Well, what am I saving this stuff for anyway?Today I will show you.
Take that paper bag that you have handily painted.
With your Pinking Shears or whatever scissors you have, cut your bags into long strips, lengthwise.
Dip into your Lovely Snippity BITS BAG. Don't be afraid to include paper, lace bits, string, stamps, Quilting bits...You get it.
I try sometimes to coordinate colors. Sometimes I just let it happen and allow my intuitive SELF climb out and not think much about it.
There are lots of interesting things in my pile, and the idea is to Layer them together, sewn back and forth...Soothing....

 I use a zig-zag stitch here again, in a coordinating color. The thread color matters but if you only have a few choices go with BLACK!

Start at one end and sew your foundation of long bits to the bottom. LIKE THIS:

There are NO MISTAKES can't make one and I love that about this really all looks LOVELY in the END.
It is easier to add the smallest BITs at the end. Just add from one end to the other....building a substrate that you find PRETTY!

            I have used bits of old quilts and lace here.

 Here it is! Folded up and tied with a piece of yarn, and a scrap of an insect Book. I will add the finishing touch, a tag to write upon...VIOLA!

OK Class. That's it for TODAY! Hope you have a lovely Sunday.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Paper bag Tutorial

When the grocery bagger asks me "Paper or Plastic?," I smile. Inwardly I giggle.
I say "Paper PLEASE!"

My Creative self eyes these bags with Pleasure, and a KIND OF ITCHY FINGERED CAN'T WAIT FEELING! ( I am also a fan of FREE) (Warning: These envelopes are RUSTIC looking)

So what can be done with a paper bag? Well, I have made party hats, collage envelopes, and Gift bags. For a start. I think about packaging more than most folks I guess, and How I would feel about receiving a pair of earrings in an envelope like this for Christmas:
Today I would like to show you a Gift Envelope or "Secret Keeper."
Ok, under your kitchen sink are bound to be paper bags, stored, folded up.
Get those bad boys out and cut the bag along a side crease down but NOT into the bottom of the bag. Cut around the bottom of the sack so you have two pieces when you are finished. It should look like this:

Well, those are the bottoms. The bag stretched out with paint on it looks like this:

Paint them. Keep in mind what you have for trims, die cuts, stamps, fabric, or what look you are going for. DON"T FORGET TO paint THE BOTTOMS of the bags because that is what we will be working with today.
They should come out looking kind of like this. Don't worry about the little jagged edges or places that do not seem well glued. This project is going to look Rustic and handmade which it is!

Bag Bottoms. ( maybe upside down...please stand on your head)

Ok, this might be the Hardest part of the WHOLE THING!!! You have to wait until they DRY!
Snatch up one of those bag bottoms!

Fold it into Thirds. No measuring necessary here, just a rough guess. The top lip should fold down like a envelope lip.
( I know you are looking at my dirty fingers...)

I usually start with with the lip of the envelope, adding lace or fabric or additional embellishments. So, get your Thread Pusher ( sewing machine) threaded with a coordinating thread and set it on a satin stitch. A straight stitch will cut the paper, and you Don't want that. It is better to use a wide zig zag stitch. GOT IT?

I know it might seema  little weird to sew lace or fabric to paper but it will be ok.
Add embellishments as you like. layers of them with a place to write when you are finished is nice!
If you discover some not well glued areas in the construction of you envelope, satin stitch those areas together. Then sew up your side seams.
You should have something that looks like this, well it will look like yours...
Iron IT. That's RIGHT. Cover it with a dish towel if you like and put it on steam and IRON IT!
It is now time for a grommet. ( NOT VOMIT)
I am not a measurer, so eyeball it. If you don't have any grommets I will send some to the first 5 people who ask me for some. I am Grommet Rich.
I finished this one with a butterfly die cut and a rusted safety pin. So now it looks like this:

Ok? I am sure that you can think of a million better ways to alter this...So have at it.
and have a lovely day! I will answer QUESTIONS if you have any. Just leave me a comment and I will get back to you.