Sunday, September 7, 2014

Summer Shouldn't be So Sad

Summer is my favorite time of year. No long pants, you can be outdoors anytime you please and transportation means wind in your hair.  These are a few of my favorite things. (Hear the tune?) So I always get a little melancholy about ths time of year. But late summer this year has broken my heart in two.  In the space of 8 days we have lost three very important people in our lives. The first, the very sudden and unexpected death of a former coworker and good friend was shocking and sad, then when another dear friend passed away six days later I could hardly breathe. I was somewhat consoled in the long and full life this sweet lady had lived, and her death, though unimaginable a few short months ago, was anticipated after recent struggles.  However ... when one of my most dearly beloved friends woke on Monday to another normal and complacent day only to learn shortly thereafter that it was anything but -- her world forever devastated with the loss of her 31-yr old son - well, there just are no words. The past week has been one of sleepless nights, heartache you feel will break you in two, and far too much déjà vu.  My friend must be the bravest person I have ever known. She spoke at the funeral, words of hope and encouragement and humor. So very Cheryl.  I would consider it a personal favor if you could say a prayer for her.  And for her daughter Kathleen, and for all who loved Larrey.  And for Larrey -- Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

The same for my friend Bob. He was a man of great humor and a zest for life. A goofy man who could always make you smile, even if you didn't feel like it. :)  There was nothing he wouldn't do for a laugh.  Truly.  Like dressing up as Elvis with white jumpsuit and wig. Yes, a goofball. Totally unlike his beautiful wife Linda who is pure class - but with a big sense of humor to keep up with Bob. He had a strong love for his family and I know they suffer greatly.

And again for my beloved Katie.  She was 89 and I couldn't begin to keep up with her! Her day typically started around 4 am and she had more done by noon than many people accomplish in a week.  A true lady of service, she touched the lives of so many.  She will always be a great inspiration to me.  She was the most devoted of mothers to all her children, and particularly her 'special' son Randy. She was a Gold Star mother and proud of it. A great part of who she was.  Oh yes, and with a smile I must say she always had an opinion, she knew the right way to do most anything and she was happy to tell you both.  I loved it. She was one of the most accomplished cooks I will ever know in my lifetime. I remember once I grabbed the alum instead of tapioca - so what did I do? Called Katie of course. She fixed it and calmed my nerves.  I will miss my dear friend.

The most important part I save for last. All three of these amazing folks had great faith. Monumental
faith, all three. So while our heartbreak remains for what we have lost, we can be comforted and assured they are at that great heavenly banquet. Hopefully saving a seat for us.

God bless you all with peace and love. Prayers continue for Ray, Pam & Denny and now for a special friend Doug who has received a very challenging Stage 4 diagnosis.  For all who grieve, whose hearts are heavy. For peace, escpecially in the Middle East.  And in grateful thanksgiving for the loved ones we have and hold so dear.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Our Wedding Weekend

... And the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. On Friday in a private ceremony, my beloved son Kyle took as his bride our precious and dearly loved Meg. I am overly blessed at Kyle's uniting of our family with this beautiful young lady and her remarkable family.  Meg herself is a treasure beyond description, I could not have wished anything better for my son. Filled with kindness and joy, love and compassion. Her special family is just an added bonus! They are the best kind of people, full of love and gentle in nature. The kind of people you feel grateful just to be in their presence, they inspire you to be a better person. And ... they have the creative gene! They are seriously artistic -- her mother can paint. No not walls like me, but beautiful paintings of beautiful things. Yeah! And her maternal grandfather is a master in the art of stained glass. Stunning, I tell you. He did inserts for 3 cabinet doors for our kitchen (I should show you those). And then there's her grandma, a world class beauty with a quick smile and delightful sense of humor -- I think she inspires it all! Anyway, I have much to learn and absorb from these amazing folks I have come to love so dearly.  God has been gracious and good to us ...
So here is the charming and beautiful Mrs. Reiss, with that loveable hunk of a son of mine looking on ...
This photo I'm guessing will be Kyle's favorite, doesn't he look proud?!

(Wedding photography by Lindsay Kopp Gatewood)

So that's the important stuff, but will add just a few of the tidbits created to 'enhance' their glorious celebration  (haha) --
Organza and tulle flowers for Meg's hair and sash
A memorial patch honoring her beloved father whom she misses so dearly. Made from one of his shirts and placed on the shoulder of her wedding gown, he was with her on her wedding day in a special way, and what could be a more meaningful fulfillment of 'something blue'?
A chevron bag made for her bridesmaid

A Just Married bag for the bride

Honeymoon attire (Cricut stencil project)
Luggage tags (Cricut again)

In closing I must say how grateful we are for good family. Without their help we could never have pulled off such an enjoyable weekend. From serving at cake and punch reception after the ceremony, and most especially pulling off the huge cookout meal on Saturday, I couldn't have survived without your good help! Thanks to my mother Barb & sister Carol for help on Friday. And to those who were at my side throughout both days' events -- setting up, taking down, hauling, serving, packing up and just anything that needed to be done -- SILs Pam & Debbie Kay, sisters Linda & Debbie Diane, cousin Gena, my Aunt Pam and of course Meg's mom Jan. We couldn't have made it happen without you. TRULY.

Prayers go out for Pam & Grace, Katie, Ray, Denny, Eric, Carol & Helen ... And in thankful praise for great blessings. Love, j

Monday, June 16, 2014

Just a Few Litle Things . . .

This past week I made a delivery to the fabric stores, my last catch-up before our houseguests arrive later this week and sewing will be on hold for a while . . .

Table runners, from the pattern 'Stack FourTablerunners' by quilt woman.com. ... The pattern is a stack and whack type, and you end up with two pieced tops. They didn't realize this when cutting for me as I only had fabric for one backing ... So I improvised. I really like the pieced back, maybe even better ...


Then we have the 'Adorable Bag' a pattern by Aunties Two. It is adorable but maybe not for beginners, haha. Although not difficult, it is painstaking and time consuming. Starting with a jelly roll, you create strips, then weave them into the bag body. Took me two days! But it IS adorable,

A couple of potholders in fresh new fabrics, from the immensely popular heart potholder pattern (I drafted that pattern for Jackmans, it's included in potholder kits) -- 

And a garment - how cute is this?! Jacket is Molly by Violette Fields, I just winged it on the skirt (tutorial write-up at Jackmans).

And finally, a sweet baby quilt. It is 'Racetrack' from the book 'Little Quilts for Kids' by Heather Mulder Peterson. I adore this fabric and think this quilt should be called 'A Drive Through the Park'. Makes me think of driving through Ramsey Lake State Park and the cherished sights and wildlife you find there.

Close up - and oh yes, they have teeter totters at the park, and wild daisies (a hand embroidered touch) that grow beside ...

And my favorite feature, I was able to strategically place one of cars so that the fabric provided both a driver and passenger for the car (you really have to click in to get full effect) -- how fun!

And lastly, the back is as fun as the front! Love the fabric and I made a label that I think fit right in with the spirit of the quilt --

In closing, I sadly note the passing of our dearly beloved family friend, Don. We will sorely miss someone who has loved me and my sisters (and my mother) so dearly. The world is at a great loss and heaven a great gain. Special prayers of need for Katie, Ray and Denny. God bless all. Love, J


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A New Start

Another sleepless night gave me the opportunity to do some serious research into finding a way I could make blog posts from my iPad. So, much reading and two purchased apps later, I think I've got it! Can't promise they will be very polished for sometime to come but maybe I will at least get photos again.   It's a whole new learning curve so have patience with me.

Anyway here are a few lingering photos I had from projects earlier this spring ---

 Valentine card and slippers


Baby quilt for Jackmans, I LOVE this one!


Up close of the quilting, maybe my favorite ever


Close-up of the adorable fox print fabric


A card I really liked


Strawberry top


Another quilt in progress (didn't get photo after it was completed)

Flowers up close

Another card :)

Wow, I can't believe I got this to work! Now maybe I'll get some more projects posted soon.

Prayers for Ray, Katie and Don. God bless you all. Love, J

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Birthday Princess


I'm not going to comment on how long it's been since I posted on this blog, I'm not going to try to write something cute or clever.

But I do occasionally miss, if even for my own benefit, recording some of my favorite projects. So when I finished this one this morning for Meg's birthday tomorrow . . . Well, here it is . . .






Sunday, March 4, 2012

Spring in the Midwest

Well, pre-spring to be exact.  All of us who live here in this region of the country know that means severe weather and we've certainly seen way too much of it this past week, with terrible devastation and loss of life.  So much and so many to pray for  . . .  a fellow from the Weather Channel joined last night's news, with a commentary on how our mild winter has contributed to this very volatile weather pattern.  (My wise husband told me we needed a harder winter but I wasn't hearing it. Turns out he was right -- again!)  Yes, I do wish I understood more about weather.

Anyway, on Friday morning I talked to my dear Gena Gayle and she asked if we had received hail - we hadn't.  Here are some photos she sent me - Ramsey is just a mere 13 miles away and this is what they had --




This is Gordon's photo of his drive home from work. At some point, he even pulled off the road and under a tree as he feared the hail might break the windshield of his truck.  He said some of the hail was egg-sized Oh my goodness!

This photo shows hail they picked up at their house! Again - OH MY!   Especially considering that according to Gordon, these were not nearly as large as what he had encountered a few miles away on his drive home!

What's really fascinating to me is that all this was happening there around 7:30 am.  I know exactly what time it hit as I had left church and was hurriedly walking the few blocks to our new home, watching the sky darken and hoping I could make it before the storm hit.  There were a few giant rain drops, but I made it safe and dry and nothing really signifcant followed --- here that is!





And here's their second round of hail, this one closer to mid-day.  Again, just those few miles to the south, it did cut loose here and rain like the dickens but we had nothing like this! 






So . . . what's going on with me . . . I know I sound like a broken record, but we've been so ridiculously busy I can't tell you!  I honestly don't think there's ever been a time when I had more on my plate.  We work at the new house all the time but things are really showing progress now.  I've taken a lot of pictures but of course the camera is at the new house.  It's so hard to remember to bring it home, and then finding the time to connect all the hardware and upload photos -- well, as you see I just haven't gotten around to it.  But I will.  I am humbly surprised when people tell me what they read on my blog - I can't believe ya'll keep tuning in when I'm so bad about updating.  But one day soon . . . I keep saying we will find a 'normal'.  One of these days.

In house news -- all cabinetry has been painted (kitchen, bath and built-in bookcases), along with all ceilings and the walls in all rooms except the kitchen and one large basement wall.  Countertops have been replaced. All carpets have been removed and precious Linda and Gena helped me with one of the nastiest jobs possible - scraping carpet padding from hardwood!  One room looks great, one okay, one not so great - those two rooms are awaiting professional evaluation.  I have spent a full week painting doors and trim but I'm getting so close.  Flooring for living/dining rooms, kitchen and bath were scheduled to begin this week but postponed - and that was a hidden blessing for me, buying me some extra time.

In sewing -- plans are underway at Jackmans for a baby extravaganza in May and not this past week but the week before, I spent some time working on that.  I finished an adorable snuggly bunny blankee and floor quilt so far and there's more to come. I also finished a darling (and simple!) little girls dress.  Zach's ordination to the priesthood will be May 26th and this week he made his final decisions for vestment trims so we will be getting that order placed and I shall soon embark on all that holy sewing I have yet to accomplish!  In in my spare moments I am considering old and new options for teaching  . . . more on that when I figure it out myself!

Like I said, there's just sooo much right now!  Reminds me of a comment made several years ago when I was complaining about having so much to do - someone who knew me well told me I wouldn't be happy if I didn't have too much to do.  Kind of shocked me at the time because I hadn't realized that about myself but it is oh-so-true!

In closing, it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to my beloved friend John.  A great man, an inspiration for always.  And to Sue - dog lover exquisite and step-mom to my dear cousins.  Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  Prayers for Bob B, Dave, John F, Bob H, Jack & Betty and Nick, and for the scary things happening on a politcal level.  And especially for the peace and grace of God on each of us, that we can find Him in every moment and circumstance of our life - be it joy or grief.  I am thankful for Kyle's safe return from a business trip to the east coast.

God bless you all!
Love, Janis

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I've Been Away

. . . in more ways than one.  Since my last post at Christmas (oh my goodness!), we've been crazy busy.  After the holidays and my birthday, I had a couple of weeks of serious work at the new house, then took off for a trip of a lifetime - a cruise of the Southern Carribean with my dear cousin Gena Gayle, and my sorta cousin and aunt - Kendra & Judy.  Really by blood, they are only related to Gena but they are truly family to me.  I grew up admiring Aunt Judy and giggling at Kendra with her spunky personality and delightful sense of humor.  They are still all that and more and we had an incredible time!
So I'm swiping pictures off Kendra's facebook page - she won't mind! :)                                              

Here we all are - Gena, the ship's captain Luciano something (can't recall his italian name), Aunt Judy, me, Kendra and Cruise Director 'Goose' (how would you like to be called Goose?!)  
The natural beauty of Grand Turk - aww!
Here we are at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville - also on Grand Turk. It was fun and pretty!
Gena & me
It was truly a memorable trip. We all had so much fun, not only because of the remarkable cruise experience but most especially the pleasure of reconnecting.  There wasn't a moment we weren't talking and enjoying each others company, sharing memories and stories -- lots and lots of giggles and just a couple of tears here and there. 

Yes, I know, I still can't believe I did it either! So unlike me. It's something I never thought I'd do even under the best of circumstances and it took more than a little courage on several different levels.  But I'm glad I did.  I'm even thinking I may go back to teaching at Jackmans to try to save enough pennies to do it again someday . . . I recognize I've come a long way . . .

Anyway, I'm now back to the crazy busy world I left here in Fayette County.  Since returning I've been working long and hard on the new home (like Randy did all the time I was gone - Eek!).  We are finally able to see some visible progress.  For so long it was only the not-so-fun things that had to be done but weren't noticeable.  New siding is now up, we added shutters and Randy & John finished the deck this week.  I started painting, have almost all the ceilings done and one room with color on the walls - woohoo!  In that same room we removed the carpet to reveal the wood floor -- which will take some elbow grease but is going to look great.

I'm using the weekend to sew on priestly garments and baby-sat last night with Kyle's new puppy Toby.  Yes, I haven't even mentioned that . . .

Toby came home (from 2nd Chance Animal Rescue) on December 29th and he's doing so well.  Kyle, Meg and all of us are so thrilled.  Hold on -- Rusty says "thrilled" is a bit over-the-top for him.  He's very tolerant, but he does from time to time grow weary of Toby's exhuberance and puppy ways. ;) 

On that note, I will close for today and get busy with all the things that await.
Prayers of thanksgiving for the birth of Colton.  Prayers for Bob, Tracy, Dave, John, Jack & Betty. Best wishes to all of you for a blessed weekend.

Love, J