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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Hardest Days --- 2013 in Review

This has been the craziest year of my life. I've struggled with writing this blog post because I usually write here about positive things like my art and sewing and I generally don't feel comfortable delving into my personal life. However, I feel there is no way to tell the story of this year except from my own perspective, naturally, as it occurred. You can't have one half of the story without the other. It just wouldn't make sense.

One year ago my family was getting ready to make a giant leap of faith: a move back to our home state of Arkansas, after living in Wisconsin for several months. We had moved to Milwaukee in May of 2012, and we had the idealistic hope that we would settle right in, my husband would find a good job, I'd find a great venue to sell my art, and we would love it. It  turned out to be a false hope; my husband had trouble finding work, I had trouble finding shops to carry my work.... worse, we were taken aback at how dangerous Milwaukee was and worried about raising our young daughter there. Overall we just did not adjust as well as we had hoped. I met lots of people in the fashion industry but didn't make any close friends. Thanksgiving was the breaking point for me. I missed my family, I felt isolated and depressed, and I finally admitted to myself that it was just not working out in Wisconsin. We scrambled to get back home...which was difficult, but with the help of friends, we managed to figure out funding for he trip and a place to stay when we got home. By the end of December I had developed a physical pulling sensation in my chest, toward the south. Literally anywhere I went I could tell which way to Arkansas and it was very hard to wait. Come New Year's Day of 2013, we had packed up the car with everything we owned, and we drove south. I cannot even express how blissful it was to finally hit the road going home. A huge weight was lifted. I felt hopeful about my life again. I felt like everything was going to be okay.

 And really... everything went amazingly well. Our friends Jennifer and Chris helped us get back on our feet and start afresh. My husband found work easily. We found an apartment in Fayetteville that we love, and we love Fayetteville too, it's a great place to live. It's a college town.... big enough that it has the conveniences and the bustling pace of a city, yet the people here are as friendly as in any small town. There is always lots to do, we're never bored, and we feel comfortable here. We missed our friends and it's been really ...a gift, to be near so many friends again. I will never again take that for granted.

As soon as I had a studio again I got right to work. I spent the early part of 2013 pursuing several opportunities to expand my portfolio and also to get published. The first project I did was a collaboration with some of my favorite ladies from Arkansas that I had been missing. An underwater shoot with the very creative and talented Amber Herrera (Framed by Amber Photography) and the porcelain-skinned ingenue, Ms. Sophie Star. I wasn't actually at the shoot.... but I know they don't use scuba gear, so they are just ducking under water , quickly posing, and shooting a couple photos, come back up, do it again....all the while making it look effortless... pretty incredible.

Another fun project, I got to make several very creative dresses for one of my absolute favorite models, the unstoppable and vibrant Ms. Jane Love, to take to St. Louis After Dark Education (which is a modeling/photography teaching seminar). I got some beautiful photos back and met some new photographers as well. Here are a few photos....
Photo: Lanette O'Leary, Hair: Joe Paciorek
MUA: Chrystina Marye

Photo: Lanette O'Leary, Hair: Joe Paciorek
MUA: Chrystina Marye Headpiece: Dynamic Duo

Photo: Jen Sulak HMUA:Dena Demint

I also collaborated with the esteemed Arkansas photographer Ken Gehring, who was hosting a photography workshop. I created a one-of-a-kind black wedding gown for the event, and mailed it to him. Alas, the day of the shoot, it did not fit the model quite right. Thankfully Ken found another model at the last minute, Melissa Bryant, who did a terrific job! A few photos from the workshop below. Again I got some beautiful photos and met several photographers, one of whom has become a fantastic customer.

(H/MUA Lauren Tapp)

I was so lucky to get the chance to also have another amazing collaboration this spring, this time with the visionary surrealist, Vismaya Vijayraj (of Colours of Dreams Photography). I have no clue how she does the magic she does with photographs, it's a mystery to me, but when she asked me if I could create a costume for a photoshoot I was only too happy to oblige. She sent me one photo for inspiration, a sort of warrior-princess-goddess. From that I created my own version, and proud to say I managed to do it using almost completely upcycled materials, yet with a very rich-looking result! Vismaya rallied together a fantastic team for the shoot: Nola Kahn, a true artist with cosmetics, and model Amber Buehrens, who is so gorgeous it's unbelievable--- seriously, you can't look at her straight on or you will be blinded by her radiance. The photos came out so well in fact, that they were accepted to Cloud Orchid Magazine's July issue! I'm proud to say I am a now a published designer! A few photos below. And a few more, here.

After all that excitement in the spring, I had some time in the summer to think about what my style is, where am I going with my business, what are my goals.... I weighed the options... I asked for advice from friends. I meditated and churned and drove myself nuts with it. And finally.... clarity. I knew the answer. I had it right in the very beginning. My first work- the Butterfly Punk collection, and the Fairytale collection, and the Pop Art dress- were my favorite and in my opinion, my best work. But to make them more appealing to more people, I would need to find ways to incorporate those elements- floral, romantic, colorful, pop art, geometric, with painterly coloring- into simpler and more comfortable garments. Continue with upcycled and Earth friendly materials because people love it and I feel good about it. And still offer custom order.... anything. The answer really was a simple one. "Make things as if you were making it for yourself. Comfort + Originality + Beauty + Ecohappy."

With my direction and drive back, I started working on my winter collection. I felt really ahead of the game because it was only June, and here I was doing winter coat designs.

Now... here's where the story gets more personal, and  starts to get harder to tell. My Dad had been experiencing back and leg pain for several months, at first thinking it was a pulled muscle, then a sciatic nerve... then he found a lump in his groin. He went to the doctor and they tried to treat it as an infection, and it didn't respond. Finally he was tested for cancer, but it would take several weeks before we knew. During that time his right leg got terribly swollen, and became practically unusable as it became thick and heavy like a log. At my daughter's third birthday party, in July, he was unable to sit down because of his swollen leg, but was cheerful as always. He stood outside and blew bubbles with the kids. These are the last photos I have of him that he still looks like himself.
July 2013

In mid-July he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I will never forget that phone conversation... he was scared. He told me wanted to have chemo right away, and he was worried it was too late already. They installed a chemo port right away, in his chest. He was impatient with the amount of time it took for them to begin treatments; he kept calling his doctor over and over to see if they had his chemo ready yet. By this point he was unable to take care of himself and was living with his sister and brother-in-law, Vicki and Jim, and my Grandma Ruth was living there as well. I asked Dad if he wanted to come stay with me, since I lived closer to his doctor. He said no, he was comfortable and happy there, and Jim didn't mind driving him each time. I think he didn't want to impose on us.

I visited him in August and was shocked at the change in him. He was so skinny, his complexion was gray and unhealthy, and he was very weak, using a walker. What a shock to see my Dad, who has always been fit and active and healthy, suddenly reduced to a shadow of himself. Everyone assured me he was fine, "getting better". I knew this wasn't true but what can you do... I smiled and joined in the optimism, and tried to not think about it too much. But the whole time I was swallowing hard to keep in the tears.

At the end of August, we had a party for my Grandma Ruth's 91st birthday. Everyone came over to my apartment for cake. It was difficult getting Grandma and my Dad, who both needed to use a walker, up the stairs, but somehow it was accomplished. We all had a nice time. I took this photo that day. This turned out to be the last photo I ever would take of my grandmother and my father. My Dad, usually not one for photos, was insistent on also having a photo made with his granddaughter. I can't share that one, it's too painful. I think back on his words, his expression at that moment, and I know that he knew he was dying. We were all still being optimistic though, staying positive, because that's what he wanted. He was not going to give up.

August 2013

A week later was my 29th birthday, and it sucked... I was too upset to enjoy it. Little did I know that the next day things would get worse, and my world would be turned upside-down. I got a call that my Dad was in the emergency room at Washington Regional. He had almost died and had to have emergency surgery. That night he had three separate surgeries, which due to the graphic nature I will refrain from describing in detail- suffice to say a large cancerous tumor was removed. When I came to see him he was not able to speak much but he knew I was there and I was able to comfort him some. He kept getting worried and I would calm him down. We stayed for several hours that night. The doctors said it was a miracle he survived.

The next day he was moved to a normal hospital room. He was weak but in good spirits. All of his brothers and sisters came to see him and rallied his spirits greatly. It was a little family reunion. Occasionally the chaplain would come to visit and hover around the room like the spirit of death. They wanted him to make a living will, and he didn't want to even admit he needed one, and would just become incredibly depressed when the subject came up. We all did what we could to help him be comfortable and happy there... bringing special foods, coffee, flowers, magazines...whatever we could think of. We would sit with him for hours just talking. Sometimes Dad would have nightmares and call us in the middle of the night, and my husband would go sit with him through the night.

At that point he had not yet been deemed a terminal patient. The doctors still talked very hopefully about recovery and more treatments, chemo and then later, radiation. Dad was extremely positive on the outside, but I think... he knew that he was dying. Yet he would not give up. Even when the doctors got the test results that the tissue removed was all cancerous, even when the cancer was visibly, physically destroying him, and he was not healing from his surgery... even when he faced the indignity of having a colostomy bag put in.... and not one but two doctors recommended him to go into Hospice care... he remained stubbornly sure that he would beat this. He demanded more treatments even when he was so weak he couldn't walk anymore. He said, "Most people must give up much easier than this. I feel too strong still to give up yet. Let's keep fighting this." So the hospital gave him one more chemo treatment--- this was toward the end of September now. It was an experimental chemotherapy called R-ICE, go ahead and google that if you want to totally freak yourself out, because it's terrible stuff. For three days straight he had several tubes going into him with this strong chemotherapy going into his weak and emaciated body. It was very hard on him. He was feverish, sweaty and miserable. He hallucinated the entire time. He made unreasonable demands. He would clutch my hand so hard it hurt. It was one of the worst things I have ever witnessed. The third day, I will never forget, he said to me, "Rosie, I want to go home. And by home, I mean to your home, because that's my home now too." And I cried and said, "Yes, I want that too." Unfortunately his wounds and level of care were more than we could handle, and he had no insurance to pay for a home health nurse... so they wouldn't release him to our care. If he went into Hospice, they would provide caregivers, but if we were continuing treatment, which we were, there was no way to get a nurse. It was incredibly frustrating. He had been in the hospital for a month. What could we do? Finally we convinced the nurses we would learn to care for him, and we did. They taught my husband to do the wound care, and I learned to change and empty the colostomy and catheter bags. It's amazing the things you will do, that you never imagined you would do, for someone you love very much. (As it turned out Home Health nurses came to our home to visit him every day, because he was expected to have his insurance come through soon, so that was an unexpected blessing. They helped with some of his daily care and also just checked up on how we were doing as caregivers, and always said we were doing a great job. Which meant the world to us to hear because we wanted him to have the best care possible.)

photos from the hospital

So finally, a month after being admitted into the hospital, Dad was released to our care. He was so excited to get out of there. That first day, he was full of energy, bossing us all around cheerfully from his bed. And the next day he was much the same.  We watched The Great Gatsby and made fun of it together, and then Burt Wonderstone with Steve Carrell, which elicited hilarious responses from my Dad. I made him endless milkshakes in all flavors... we shared coffee in the morning and afternoon as well, which was lovely. But the third day... he slept all day, and we were beginning to have trouble getting him to even wake up long enough to take his medicine, drink, eat.... And yet the Home Health nurse said everything was fine and assured us we were doing a great job. I find myself turning these moments over in my head... did he know? Obviously he knew. It was so obvious. And yet nobody wanted to say it. Maybe Home Health nurses aren't even allowed to say those kind of things to the family. I don't know. But the God-honest truth is, you don't treat a person differently when they are dying, or if they are going to live, so it doesn't matter. The only reason I wanted to know was to prepare myself mentally for his loss. But either way, you will love them and care for them, and do everything you can to make them comfortable. As long as we could, we honored Dad's wish to keep fighting. But finally he could not take his medicine at all, eat, or drink, and he slept all the time. He was dying. He had only been out of the hospital a few days. We were faced with taking him back to the hospital and prolonging his suffering, or accept what was happening, and honor his other wish, which was to die at home, not in the hospital. In his words just weeks before, "Nobody should have to die in a hospital." Accompanied by a long story about how my mother had expressed that wish and he had honored that for her, and the way he cared for her was how he wanted to be cared for himself. Thankfully I also had my brother's and my husband's advice and support in these difficult choices, and together we decided it was time to call Hospice. One of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.

The next morning when the Hospice nurse arrived Dad became more coherent and talked to her a bit. He got very upset at one point and was yelling at us both, and she pressed me about putting him into a Hopsice house, that in her words, "I didn't need to be yelled at all day". I insisted no, it was fine, he didn't normally do this... but I was concerned that Dad was railing on, and I couldn't make out what he was upset about. It had to do with the nurse. I worried that he knew why she was there and he was mad at me for giving up. Giving myself a guilt trip. Slowly it became apparent that he was mad because she had asked if he was from Fayetteville and he wasn't. After I explained this to her he calmed down again and was fine. I realized that he didn't have any idea what was happening.

The Hospice nurses were wonderful. They are angels on Earth. Really. I am so grateful that Hospice exists for people. They gave us a thin little pamphlet which held a surprising amount of good advice and wisdom which really helped us. I wish I had read it a few weeks earlier. One of the most helpful parts was simply listing common symptoms of death, in the months, weeks, and days before it happens. Some of Dad's behaviors that seemed really strange were suddenly explained. I could give any number of grim examples, but I would rather simply mention one very interesting example...  he had been telling us for days he was "going to the pond." Sometimes he said, "I'm going to the pond with Sean." Sean is his nephew (my cousin). He would talk about this for long periods of time. I learned that dying people often talk about their departure, using cryptic metaphors, and during his last days he spoke more and more of going to the pond. My brother and I surmised that he was thinking about the land where we grew up, on the Arkansas/Missouri border...a farmhouse with several acres of cedar forest, a stream, and a large pond. We frequently took walks in those woods and around that pond. At Christmastime Dad would take us kids out in the woods and we'd find a tree together and cut it down and haul it home. Lots of memories.

The last day of his life, I stayed at his side all day. At that point he was on liquid morphine which needs to be administered frequently, and he also had to have his mouth swabbed to stay moist, so I spent the day watching the clock, swabbing his mouth with the little sponge swabs and then administering his morphine. I talked to him. I told him about all the things I was going to do to take care of his unfinished business of all different sorts. I told him stories. I told him how proud I was of him. I got out his gymnastics trophy that he won for being the All-Around Ivy League Champion in 1969. He had wanted to polish it up, but since he couldn't do it himself, I sat next to him and polished it with a toothbrush and polishing cloth, and told him about it. How beautiful and shiny it was when I was done, like new. We listened to classical music all day. In the afternoon my cousin Kyla came and sat with me and we talked for hours at Dad's side, all about the family, sharing gossip and stories. He definitely got an earful. That evening everyone else had left, and my husband was sleeping... and I went to put my daughter to bed. I sang her the long version of Over the Rainbow... that begins, "When all the world, is a hopeless jumble, and the raindrops tumble all around, Heaven opens a magic lane..." It summed up the feelings I was having, of transition, letting go, and my Dad's journey into the next world.

She fell asleep and I went back to Dad's side and read him messages people were leaving him on Facebook. So many wonderful things people wrote to us... old stories and the like. I looked up at the clock and was astonished to see it was past midnight...where did the day go?...... Better take a break, Rosie, go get Chris to take over...... and I just got a feeling like, Don't leave, it's happening right now. And I went back to his side, sat down and held his hand, and I can't quite describe the feeling I had at that moment but I just knew his spirit was leaving his body. I continued to hold his hand for a couple of minutes, wondering at how warm he still felt. As if there was still life there, but there wasn't. Looking at his familiar hands, those strong hands that had held me as a baby, scooped me up when I fell, brushed away tears, and of course made hundreds- or thousands?- of beautiful works of art--- and knowing it was the last time I would see them... was surreal and heartbreaking. He had changed so much during his illness, but his hands looked the same as always, those strong hands, from years of gymnastics and pottery.

Lynn M. Williams

It was a sad night, full of crying and hugging. My cat completely freaked out, running around the house and meowing . Said the Hospice nurse when she arrived... "Sure, she's never seen a spirit before."

We were all shocked by how quickly death took him. Even though we saw many signs that that was what was coming, we thought we would have more time with him. We had so many plans for when he got out of the hospital. He had talked for years about writing a book about his life experiences but never wrote any of it down. I had convinced him to start writing the book by dictating to a tape recorder and I would transcribe it later, but there was never time to do that before he was too ill. He had hoped to go to some gymnastics meets in Fayetteville and perhaps meet a nice woman to spend time with. He wanted me to help him set up a Facebook page. He wanted to read books all day to his granddaughter. So many things we never got to do. And yet, I refuse to be negative about his death. My dad was always positive, literally to the end was making other people laugh and being a force of happiness in the why should I be anything else? Ever?
My rock- my sweet dear husband Chris

So came a brief interval of peace, grieving, and much needed rest. I had totally abandoned my studio for two months, during the marathon of my Dad's hospital stay, move home, and then planning his memorial service. Those poor winter coats still sat waiting on the shelf in my studio... hard to focus on fashion at a time like that, even if it IS my job. Halloween came, a welcome distraction, and we had a good time taking our little one trick-or-treating.

In early November we had family portraits done with Amber Herrera. They came out better than I ever would have hoped for, just beautiful. They make me so happy. She managed to capture our personalities really well and make beautiful works of art at the same time.

Somewhere in that time period I took a few hours for some art therapy and created thiscrazy skirt and headpiece for Amber to shoot with Kerry Sparks- made of plastic bags.

Then in November, more bad news. My Uncle Jim went into a diabetic coma and was admitted at the hospital for two weeks. He soon as he was released, his wife, Vicki, fell and broke her hip. But she also recovered and is doing ok now. Then came the worst news yet, my 91 year old Grandma Ruth was also in the hospital, very ill. She died on Thanksgiving day. It was another tragic loss to my family, and very hard for all of us. I was not expecting it at all. She was so spirited and healthy. I think I thought she would live forever. I wish I had been able to be with her that day.

Ruth Helen Williams

I had to get back to work in November, I had orders waiting... I couldn't put it off anymore. I decided also to bring back my custom Christmas stockings and they were a great success. From  mid-November to Christmas I made 21 custom Christmas stockings! I'm proud of that number. Each one takes about 3 hours to make so.... yeah, that's a lot of stockings! I also took several orders for custom clothing and other sewn items, making for a great Christmas season.

At some point in December, looking back through my facebook posts, I came across this one from August 27, a week before dad was hospitalized, which truly highlighted for me how badly my plans for this year were derailed:   
"I'm working now on my second winter coat design. Made the pattern last night, now have to assemble the prototype today and see how the fit came out. The first coat was very fitted, so this next one will be roomier, designed to be able to wear it with layers underneath. After I get this second one done I'll make the final versions of both in bamboo fleece and/or wool, take photos, and put them up for custom order! Then I have one more coat design I want to try this year....haha, it never ends....just chain me to the pattern table, I'm going to be there all September."
If only life had been so simple. Of course I spent all of September in the hospital. In fact I STILL haven't gotten to the coats but I finally have a window of time now, finally!!! to finish them and do some spring designs.

In the middle of the pre-Christmas hubbub, full swing into Christmas stocking madness, there came more bad news. My other grandmother, Grandma Frances, who was my last living grandparent, was going into Hospice care. She lived in Maine so I had no way to visit her. I began trying to write her a letter to tell her goodbye. It was too difficult, I couldn't do it. I would start to think about how it was the last letter I would ever write her (we've been corresponding through letters since I was very young, as soon as I learned to write), and I would freeze up. The evening of December 17th I got the message from my uncle that it could possibly be her last day. An hour later I was nervously calling the Hospice Home, talking to a nurse, imagining the cold snowy world of Maine outside the windows of the cozy little room. The nurse was very kind and made me feel at ease right away, and told me Grandma couldn't speak but she could hear me, and held the phone to her ear. I opened my mouth and all kinds of things spilled out. I told her I loved her, and how proud I was of her, how proud I was that she was my grandmother. That I am proud to be named after her, and my daughter also. That I was hugging her right now, in my mind, with all my love, and that I wanted more than anything to be by her side. Over and over, that I loved her. This was my third time doing this- the first by my mother's bedside, at age 13, the second at Dad's bedside, at 29, and again, over the phone, at Frances's bedside. I love you, I love you so much, we all love you. These are the words that come easily. Everything else is too hard to say and starts the tears flowing. And then I told her goodbye, and that was the very hardest thing of all. When the nurse came back on the phone she said she heard what I said and it was perfect. She said that Grandma's breathing had changed and she seemed to be listening and trying to respond as well. I talked with the nurse for a moment about how beautiful and special my grandmother is. Then I asked her to squeeze her hand for me, and she did. Angels. I felt so comforted that she was there to do that. The next morning, Grandma passed away in her sleep. She was ready and I take comfort in that as well. And yet she was another person who I had so much respect for, and I had some silly notion that she might just be immortal. She was so spirited and tough, completely lucid, and sharp as a tack, right to the end of her life. My last exchanges with her were on Facebook- yes, she facebooked! I had posted an old photo she didn't like of herself, but she thought Grampa looked good. This led into a discussion of Grampa's style choices as far as facial hair.... it was pretty great. Anyway, I hope she would like this photo better, this was as we drove away from her home when she still lived in Michigan. We used to visit them every summer. It was a magical time in my life.
Frances Carney Gies
It's not easy, the realization that in such a short span of time you have lost the rest of your living parents and grandparents. I cry unexpectedly..... all sorts of things remind me of all of them. Christmas was rough. I missed Dad especially badly. I kept thinking I needed to get him a gift- one of those neural pathways that had been reinforced for years- and it kept firing, a little reminder, "Look for coffee for Dad." He was hard to shop for and coffee was always a safe bet. Then slowly....the sinking realization, wait, he's not here, I can't give him a gift...the feeling of my heart dropping down into my stomach....and then the tears. It was surprising the number of times I went through this same thought process.

I find myself cherishing the tiny moments. Like the day that he told my daughter that she was beautiful, and smart, and a very good artist, so she would go far in life. I remember how that made her swell with pride. She wants to be an artist just like her Grampa Lynn. Or the way that he kept bragging to the nurses at the hospital that his daughter was a published clothing designer, and would delight at their interest in this. He was so supportive and sweet. Even as he became confused, he was so funny and so... just wonderful. One of his last days he was instructing me what to put in his milkshake, and his recipe was: "Half a cup of milk, a cup of  sweetener (like icecream), a scoop of chocolate protein powder, and a spoonful of magic," which he told me in complete seriousness. I actually told him there was magic in it and it made him happy. Another funny memory is from one of the hardest days, when he hardly was awake or spoke at all.... and suddenly he was awake, and realized that I was getting tired as I was caring for him. He began impersonating the French soldiers in Monty Python, "I fart in your general direction! Phhhhhbbbtt!!" in order to get me to laugh. It worked of course.

One of my regrets is that I have no video of my Dad, nothing anytime recently at least. I wish I had taken some videos of him just being himself, to show my little daughter when she's older, and also for his other (future) grandchildren. I know what he was like, his laugh, his voice, his constant sense of humor, and twinkle in his eye... and I will never forget!! but I wish I had that for them. It would have taken very little effort to make. I encourage you, reader- yes you! To pick up your camera right now and go take a video of a loved one. It will be a treasure to your family in the future. The next time you see a family member or good friend, take a video as they tell a story. I am telling you, you will treasure it forever.

Tonight as we ring in the new year, I am doing something exciting. I am cutting off my very long hair. I have been growing my hair out since I was pregnant, four years ago. Now it is very long and cumbersome and takes altogether too much energy and attention. So tonight... I am leaving the past behind, separating myself from my long, lovely hair, the one unchanging part of me that has been physically present through all of this trauma and heartache, and hoping it gives me a sense of renewal and a fresh beginning for the new year. I think it's going to feel like freedom. More weight off my mind, literally! I'm psyched. I feel the hair would be much more useful in the hands of Locks of Love. If you're not familiar with them, they provide a wonderful service for children who have hair loss due to medical conditions, and provides them with hairpieces. I've never donated before but always wanted to and I thought it would be a good way to start off the new year!! If it interests you, here is their website:

 I want to close with some good news, in the form of some statistics. These are some of the stats from my sales the past two years. I am finally building my business and making visible progress.

Comparing....                              2012...                 to 2013...

Etsy Front page appearances:          3                       13

Etsy shopviews:                            27,099                 59,717

Etsy listing favorites:                       2,398                 9,722

Etsy shop favorites:                           217                    776

International orders:                           3                        12

Custom clothing orders:                      3                       13
Overall Etsy sales:                             27                       71

And just for fun.... the top ten search words that brought people to my shop:

2012- Alice in Wonderland Dress, Teen Wolf, Wedding Dress, Snow White Dress, White Dress, Little Red Riding Hood, Obi Belt, Sheer, Roy Lichtenstein, Steam Punk Dress.

2013- Teen Wolf, Alice in Wonderland Dress, Dress, Deconstructika, Wedding Dress, Post Apocalyptic Clothing, Maternity Wedding Dress, Red Riding Hood, Snow White Dress, Zombie Costume. 

This year I will be trying to refine my style and hone my craft. I plan on trying out Kickstarter. I feel very clear now about what  I want to accomplish and the direction I'm headed. I feel good about it.

I have learned many things this year but ringing strong and true, through every action I take- Make it count. Make every moment count. Every hug, smile, every kind word, the joy of life--- drink it in, drain the cup, get every last drop of enjoyment out of this life!!! It's the only one we have. 
Much love to you and yours and a very Happy New Year to all of you!!!!!!!!!!

bye bye long hair

no turning back!