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 . . .

Love those stockings!

Princess & the Pea wallhanging
Close up of quilted duvet with embroidery :)
There's the pea!
I expect anyone who is reading this knows who Meg is - that she is my son Kyle's fiancée and will become his wife in July. A dear, kind and sweet should, Kyle has done well. I am so proud of him.

The wallhanging is a Tilda creation - from Tilda's Fairytale Wonderland by Fone Finnager. So many adorable projects, I could stay busy for years! 

Prayers for so many right now, including our good friends Arthur and Ray. Also for Dorothy & Rob and their families, each grieving a difficult loss. May God be with them, and with you. Xo

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

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to All . . . & to all a good night

Well, it has come once again.  And while I have a couple of pots simmering on the stove and a floor full of presents yet to be wrapped, here I am firing off a quick post to ease my mind.  I've been thinking 'Oh no, I never got the candy cane jumper posted!'  So here it is.  Something for Jackmans, of course.  I talked to Pat a couple days ago and she told me all Christmas displays are down at the store and replaced with spring.  Hah! 

Here's a close up of the candy cane.  It's simply rick-rack wrapped on itself.  Can't tell you the number of ladies who asked me at demo days to show them how to do that.  It's an old technique, something I remember even as a child.

Here is a set of onesies, requested by Jamie for their second child, Isabella born in October.  Amy went to visit in early November and graciously delivered them for us.  (Mostly created with fabric paint and Cricut stencilling. The birthday candle is raw edge applique.)

I know this was short but I will cut off here.  My lasagne noodles are calling.  :)

Our Christmas prayers for Dave, Jack & Betty, David-B & familly, John and for all those who are suffering the pain of separation in this holy season.  Special prayers of thanksgiving for my cousin Bailee and Nathan who walked away from a serious car accident yesterday, unscathed.  Thank you Lord.

In closing I want to share something beautiful from the devotional I read each day.  I want to dedicate it to the loving memory of Larry, my Uncle Bob, Brenda and Bonnie -- and always my beloved Ashley.

Death does hide,
But not divide;
You are but on Christ's other side.
You are with Christ, and Christ with me;
In Christ united still are we.

No matter how many times I read this I can't do it without tears.  With love and wishes for a blessed Christmas.  Love, J

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Before Pictures

This past Wednesday we closed on the new house.  Or the old house depending on how you think about it.  :)  The oldest son of the couple who owned the house closed with us as Trustee.  He, of course, grew up here then went off to become a dentist and set up practice in a metropolitan area.  He made a comment or two at closing about  how this experience had renewed his memories of small town life.  From the standards of business practice to the personal connections that always exist.  We discussed some of those newly discovered connections and shared some old memories as well.  He told us how much he would like to come by when he is in the area next summer and we made him promise he would.  The girls had left last week with similar desires and promises.

We went from closing directly to the house (of course!) and found our contractor/friend John already at work on the house, prepping the outside of the house to install the new siding that should arrive this coming week. 

We considered the siding to be yellow, but the girls described it as green.  It will be green again, but this time a sagey-neutral colored green.  The sample looked good against the brick . . . fingers crossed.

We plan to concrete this small area between the steps/entryway and the garage, creating a front-porch type sitting area.


Living room - with a few of the seller's items still left to be moved.  I love the windows  . . . and the built in book-cases around the fireplace.

                  Galley kitchen - from the back
                   door looking in.

                  More than a bit dated but very
                  functional.  And there's a
                  walk-in pantry!  Didn't know
                  they did such things in 1960
                  when this home was built.

Half bath in corner of den that will become my sewing room. You probably can't tell but that's early colonial style wallpaper. Do you remember on I Love Lucy when they moved to the ranch in the country? This reminds me of that . . .  about the same era?

I think the previous owners liked green, the whole house is green . . . almost . . .

. . . . all but the bathroom.  This looks completely different already.  We worked this weekend on removing the rosey-mauvey colored ceramic tile.  And the wallpaper.  Oh my.  There were three layers of wallpaper.  All interesting.  Two are coming off pretty easily, the last (and I'm guessing original?), not so much.  Ugh.

I've been working hard to get some sewing done for Jackman's too, I'll try to come back soon with some fun photos.
Prayers for Dave, Debbie, Jack & Betty, John, David-B, wife & son, Emily & Lily, and Addie.
May God be with you.
Love, J

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Season of Purple is Upon Us

I absolutely cannot believe we have celebrated the second Sunday of Advent.  Time is galloping forward and yikes, I have so much to do. Although I am not setting the bar very high in terms of Christmas prep as I recognize I just don't have time for it.  Wednesday we will close on the house. I feel the sense of anticipation like a race horse waiting for the bell to let the frenzy begin.  People ask if we will gut the new house.  I feel almost a sense of disrespect to even repeat that word.  The house has such character of its own and no, we are absolutely not gutting but nevertheless there is not an inch of it that will remain untouched. Let's say 'facelift' -- yes it's desperately in need of a facelift.

As many of you know, there is nothing more challenging for me than decision making.  Give me a task and I'm on fire but when I have to decide, well let's just say a LOT of thought goes into it.  So this whole process is mentally draining for me.  Today's plan is laid out though, there's a dumpster at the new house so this is the day to take advantage of that, I will be purging closets here.  Probably nothing I despise more than going through old junk, so think of me today. :)

So back to the purple theme for today - many of you also know that the son of a dear friend of mine will be ordained a priest in May.  I am making his vestments.  If you are of our faith, you know what an undertaking that is, if not I will briefly tell you that we have liturgical seasons - represented by colors - purple, rose, white, red, green.  Those are the basics every priest needs.  Kinda like a starter kit, you can expand upon that but those are necessities.  In each color, I will be sewing 2 garments and at least 3 companion pieces.  Maybe more depending upon circumstances.  So with that said, I've completed most of the violet set (everything he can be using right now) and this is one piece . . . Zach is such a dear and called me last night to tell me the number of compliments he is receiving.  Now, this is interesting - that violet fabric.  He found the lead and I ordered it directly from India - they started making it just for us when we ordered.  And all this done via the internet.  Sometimes I think of how amazing that is . . .

Then from priestly to whimsical!  Do y'all know the Very Hungry Caterpillar?  Do you know he has a new companion?  She is the Grouchy Ladybug.  Jackman's sent me this vest to make. It was cute but just needed a "pop" so I came up with the idea of the ladybug pin.  I'm pleased with how it turned out.  

Here's a close-up of the bug. :)

Just a silly sidenote . . .  if you scroll down, do you remember the red velveteen jacket with black candy-stick lining?  I did one for each store.  Talked to Pat last week and the St. Louis store alone has sold 3 BOLTS of the candy-stick fabric.  She's pleased, I'm just amazed!

Today my prayers continue for Dave, David-B & family, Betty & Jack, John, Mark, Leslie and all families who mourn a loss, especially difficult at this time of year.

May God bless you all this day.  
Love, J 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Catching Up Once Again

Oh my goodness, I did it again.  I have once more fallen behind in updating this blog.  But as I see the date of my last post, I notice that it was exactly when the present craziness in my life began.  I am going to try to make this brief so as not to bore anyone, I know that most of you who read this are probably aware . . .

About that time, I got a call from Pat at Jackmans.  I had been scheduled for January to do my first 'Demo Days' presentation and was excited about that opportunity.  Her call bumped that up to the first weekend of November -- wowsa!  We had planned fabulous projects but all of a sudden those things that had been on the back burner were priority, like needed yesterday!  I lived out of the sewing room for a couple of weeks.  It was worth it tho . . .

This is one of my favorite quilts ever - but I always say that, don't I?!

I had the quilt half-finished before I realized the significance of the red bags.  Am I slow or what?

Here's a close-up of the sheep - do you see the texurized wool?  I was demo-ing Texture Magic, a backing product that creates that effect.  This started out as regular, flat quilting cotton.

Kyle the Crocodile is minkee with Texture Magic - he got a LOT of attention.  (Wasn't Pat nice to let me make him in honor of my son KYLE!?)
So . . . the Demo Days were a huge success.  I told my baby sister the crowd which surrounded me at the St. Louis store was reminiscent of one of our After-Christmas shopping bonanzas many years ago, with throngs of customers eagerly grabbing what they were excited to buy!

By the time I finished with Demo Days the latest and greatest crazy development of our life was underway.  I don't know how else to say it but to blurt it out -- we are moving.  I know I had hinted at that just before the 'Great Tragedy'.  We had been talking for some time about downsizing since we are officially 'empty-nesters'.  Suddenly the ideal opportunity was upon us but we knew we had to move on it quickly -- so we will close this week on a remarkable ranch style home - what I consider to be craftsman style, an older home but WAY ahead of its time in terms of design.  It has been home for the past 35 years to an incredibly lovely couple from our church who recently passed away.  I had the honor of spending two full days of this past week with their daughters at the home, helping them to prepare and have an estate sale.  It was a blessing to come to know the girls better, I came to more intimately know and appreciate their lovely family - they even gave me the honorary title of 'sister'!  What an honor.  I think their parents must be so proud of them (and their brothers) and I hope they will bless our coming into their beautiful and dignified home.

I finished another project in the early hours this morning; I promise I will post again very soon (maybe in the next day or two).  In the meantime, if you know anyone in need of a 4-bedroom 3-bath home, send them our way.  I truly hate to leave our own beautiful home - I will miss this special place which has been my home longer than any other (more than half my adult life!) -- not to mention its gorgeous wooded setting and all the wildlife. But I console myself in knowing it will make some family very happy. 

So many prayers this time.  Eternal rest grant unto Brenda, Adelaide, Tim and Rowena, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  Continuing prayers for Dave, Mark, John, Betty and Jack, and for David-B, his bride and unborn babe.

May God bless you all in a special way today.
Love, J