Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas . . .

and I'm glued to the tree.
Wondering what Santa brought just for me.
Could it be fat quarters or a pattern or lace?
Or even quilt kit? (with a grin on my face)
And that's when I heard him -- "Hi Santa" I said.
"You know, good little girls should be in their bed."
"I know I should Santa and now I've been caught,
but I was just so excited to see what you've brought."
"Well let's take a look in this room where you work."
He took a quick peek, then turned with a jerk.
I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear,
"You've got way too much stuff, I'll see you next year!"

I found this cute little poem posted by Natalia on her delightful blog called Piece N Quilt. I know not everyone sews (gasp!) but if you do, you should check her out. She has charming projects with LOTS of tutorials.

I have lots of "Santa stuff" to work on today. While remembering of course the real reason for our celebration -- Happy Birthday Jesus! Blessings to you and may your Christmas be magical.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Miles and miles of ruffles . . .

Well, maybe not miles but a lot! It's a display sample so I can't take credit for the adorable choice of fabrics. Isn't it funny how we have our comfort zones? I usually gravitate towards bright and bold colors. If I'd been doing the picking, I would have had to think harder to come up with this pastel-ish group, but isn't it perfect?!

This skirt went to the Illinois store but I'll be repeating it for St. Louis - in an assortment of really bright fun colors. And even a cupcake top to go with it! So cute, I can't wait to dig in on that. Alas, it's not next on the list - but that could be a good thing -- an incentive to keep me going!

The pattern is from Pink Fig patterns - NieNie skirt #18. Designer Chelsea Anderson donates a portion of the proceeds to benefit Stephanie Nielson. Do you know about Stephanie? She and her husband were in a horrific plane crash a bit more than a year ago. It's an amazing and inspiring story of faith, survival and positive thinking. If you caught Oprah on Thursday, it was a repeat oncore presentation of her interview with Stephanie. What a remarkable woman. Her blog, in case you're interested can be found here. Her entries are touching and inspiring and most importantly a reminder to slow down, to relish and enjoy the gift of life God gives us each day.

Thank you Stephanie. I have so very much for which to be thankful.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tis the season

. . . to sew and make gifts! I haven't done nearly as much as I want to. I'm still in _s_l_o_w_ motion. On Tuesday I thought I was getting better but I was mistaken. Anyway, enough of my whimpering.

Here are a couple of my Jackmans projects I mentioned in the last post. These are for kids' classes coming up over the Christmas break.

6-pocket tote. When the coordinator suggested making this in a kids class I was thinking, hmmm (I mean, this is age 8 and up). But this will be fine. It's such a simple bag that anyone can do it.
The second class will be this slumber party set. A pillow case and a duffel bag to carry sleeping bag and other necessary stuff. I love this fabric collection.

Kids classes are hard work but I do enjoy it. I can't imagine how thrilled I would have been to have taken a sewing class when I was a kid.

In the back of my mind I had thought that it might be nice to try to complete a small quilt for Preston while he and his parents are staying with us. When his mother Jamie expressed an interest in "learning to sew" while they were here, I found some fabrics, dusted off my Yellow Brick Road pattern and helped her do the piecing. Then I quilted and binded it. I thought it came out cute. As you can see Preston wanted to help too. Of course! He's almost 2 you know and 2 yr olds have to be in on all the action.

And lastly a fun paper project. Jamie's birthday was actually in October but we had her gift waiting when they arrived in November. Golly, that was a long time ago. I have been out of touch haven't I?!

It's such a simple card but I like the way it turned out.

Hope you are snuggled in, warm and protected from this frigid weather. Blessings to you and yours.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .

I know -- long time, no post! It's been crazy around our house. My dad is home but very needy in terms of time and attention. Throw in a couple of sewing deadlines and deliveries to Jackman's and I've been quite busy. We also have house guests for several weeks -- my stepson, his wife and almost 2-yr old son - who arrived with a whopper of a cold and a racking cough. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a germ magnet so it is a minor miracle that I managed more than two weeks before I came down with it. But oh yes, I do have it now.

So what a blessing it is that I managed to get my decorating done last weekend. Here are a few of my favorite decorations this year . . .

I have a dear young friend who always gifts me with the most delightful pieces to brighten my home. Doesn't this jolly fellow make you feel whimsical?!

Who knew the Cricut would be this much fun? This is cut from white vinyl (alright, it's actually cheap contact paper!). But what a perfect accent to this french door which is visible from the three rooms we use most. (The text cut is from the Simply Sweet font cartridge, the snowflakes from Winter Woodland.)

These cute little snowflakes were die cut with a Sizzix Originals die. I think they add so much to these ornaments hanging in my front window.

And last but not least, I needed a couple of cards for early December birthdays. Although it doesn't show up in the photo, the white insert is embossed with Happy Birthday sayings.

Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and warm and making good progress towards a very happy Christmas.

I'll catch you later. Sooner this time, I promise.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I want to take a moment on this special day to say thank you to all our servicemen and women who with noble hearts place themselves in harm's way each and every day to defend us and our blessed freedoms. A special recognition to some of those near and dear to my heart -- my cousin Joe Pattermann, US Navy; cousins Chris Scott and Elizabeth Kincaide Scott, US Air Force. For our veterans we have known, loved and lost -- including my great uncle Floyd Haas, an ace pilot who died in the skies over Belgium in WWII (yes MM, I will always remember). My uncles Fred Miller, David Miller, Joe Blazer. These and all our military are forever in my heart and prayers.

And then an update on my crazy life. I spent much of Monday in the ER with my father. He has suffered a heart attack and was airlifted to a cardio center. Once there it was determined that he has a 90% blockage but at this point other health issues (ie viability of kidneys and lungs) are such that surgery cannot be performed unless and until he sees some improvement in those areas. So the situation remains. Basically a wait-and-see scenario.

I think situations such as our family has experienced this fall give one great cause for reflection. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am acutely aware of how very grateful I am for my husband, my children, my sisters, my cousins (who are more like sisters) and my aunt (who is like a second mother). It has been a season of tears and hugs and tender moments. Of quiet and reflective conversations, renewing special and everlasting bonds. I don't know how any of us could be weathering all the storms that this fall has sent our way without each other.

God bless you all where ever you are today.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Fun-est Shoes Ever . . .

This morning I was indulging in some long overdue blog surfing when I came across the coolest shoes ever! Monica, a.k.a. The Happy Zombie has a precaution -- "These shoes should come with a warning. You will be stopped by the nicest people where ever you go with Meowy Janes on your feet - your shoes will be admired and inquired about. Not for the shy or anti-social. This concludes the warning."

Now me, I can only admire them, no way could I wear them. But my baby sister Carol Sue -- she is whimsical and fun and bold -- she didn't inherit even a little bit of the meek and wimpy gene that plagues me. These totally make me think of her. In fact, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if she buys herself a pair!

So if you have a moment, click here and take a look -- then tell me, don't they make you smile?!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Answered Prayers

Lisa's surgery was a great success! They were able to remove all the tumor and there are very limited facial difficulties. Right now that side of her face is a little heavy - it just looks kind of like when you've been to the dentist and half of your face is asleep. But she has sensation there and the surgeons say what difficulties are there may improve with time. Most importantly, she is pleased and happy. She's in a lot of pain and nauseous a lot of the time but those are things that can be dealt with. We are so blessed and thrilled!

Gena (her sister) and I spent the last couple days there, coming home late last night. We may be headed back today so I better get with it. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers. It's a happy day for us!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Faith Will Bring Us Through

Tomorrow is my cousin Lisa's surgery to remove a brain tumor. The tumor is is pretty large as brain tumors go, at two centimeters. An inch is equivalent to about 2.5 centimeters. As I mentioned earlier the tumor is benign, which of course is the greatest blessing we could hope for. The surgery though, which is expected to last 12 hours, is very serious and carries a significant risk for facial paralysis. This terrifies Lisa beyond measure.

If you have a moment and are so inclined, please say a prayer for Lisa. Her surgery will be tomorrow - Wednesday, October 28th.

I tried to think of something that would help bring a little measure of cheer to Lisa. She is the ultimate animal lover, her pets are the sunshine of her life (as all pet parents can understand).
So I thought this fabric would make an entertaining pillowcase . . .

Click in closer for a better look, it's a yearbook spoof - class clown, most studious, etc.

Another distressing concern for Lisa is that part of her hair will be shaved. So her sister Gena helped me choose fabrics for headband sashes.

And lastly, an altered clipboard. Maybe it can serve as a handy writing surface. Lately Lisa seems to always have a pen in her hand, thinking of something and writing it down.

I haven't been posting much nor keeping up on all your blogs I so enjoy, but this fall has been quite trying for us. I'm looking forward to a successful surgery for Lisa, lots of physical and emotional healing for my family and some other special friends in need. Yes that would be you, dear K.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sewing, Paper crafting?

I love to do both! And I've done a bit of each lately.

I am still learning my Cricut but having so much fun with it. I need to get a birthday card in the mail today so -

I found inspiration for this 3-d flower on the Cricut message boards, specifically
'Katy'. This isn't the only great idea I got from Katy. Stay tuned!

Here's another card I made a couple weeks ago with Cuttlebug dies.

Had I done this card now, I could have used the Cricut to add green grass . . .

Here's the doggy sentiment.

And on to the sewing room
. . . last night we had dinner with the sweetest little widow ever. She loves to cook and has us over occasionally for a delicious meal and delightful visit. She is strong-minded and totally insistent that no one can ever bring anything. Oh my!

So to ease my conscience, I whipped up a couple of potholders in her favorite patriotic color theme. She fawned over these of course. She's a sweetie!

And last but not least, the second project in my sisters' quilts series. This one went to my sister-in-law Pam. Pam favors darker colors and does her home in a home-spun antiquey decor. Challenging for me -- but I found some traditional calicos lurking in my stash.

Some of my quilty friends will recognize this Yellow Brick Road pattern. It's very cleverly designed to use fat quarters. My first time to do this quilt but I've gotta say - Love that pattern! I'll be doing this one again . . .

the back . . .

And quilting close-up.

Now if this isn't a hodge-podge of colors, themes and varied projects! I need to post more often and avoid photo overload. :)

Have a blessed day wherever you are!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fireman Birthday and a Prayer Request

These last two weeks have been trying. My mind has certainly been distracted as you will see later in this post . . .

Last week I couldn't get photos to upload. Today I noticed a teeny-tiny box asking me to agree to revised terms of service -- geez, that was all that was holding me back.

So here's the fireman jacket for the handsome 2-yr old junior fireman.

And here's his birthday card to go with it.

And then . . . my serious news. I told you in my last post of my uncle's untimely death. I feel fortunate to be in a position that I was able to spend some time with my aunt in this difficult time. During my stay, I took her daughter and my cousin Lisa, for some medical tests. That was Wednesday. On Friday she got the results. She has a brain tumor. I can't tell how frightening and devastating that news was. However, once the initial shock settled, we were told that this type of tumor (acoustic neuroma) is benign and non-cancerous. Thank you Lord! Nevertheless, it is still a sizeable tumor that must be removed in a very serious surgery and this is immensely frightening.
If you have the inclination to remember Lisa in your prayers, I would be forever grateful.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours . . .

Remember the old saying that bad things come in threes? Well, the third shoe fell this week. On Monday my uncle had a stroke. He passed away on Tuesday. He was a young 65, in excellent health. I've learned that there are two types of strokes and this one, a massive hemorrhaging in the brain, could not be prevented or helped. It has been a harrowing week, however, as I've heard my dear Aunt Pam repeat many times over the past several days, his death was bittersweet in that he was an organ donor and thus provided the gift of life to several people. Particularly notable, his liver went to a 21-year old young man in Chicago who without the transplant was said to have hours to live. Doesn't that grab you? Many, many other recipients and beneficiaries as well.

I don't know what else to say except that if you are not a donor yet, please consider it. God bless.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Honoring Their Memory

Remembering that day eight years ago puts a lump in my throat. But it also reminds me of the strength and triumph of the American spirit. And the bonding we felt as a nation. Every year I recall a tearful conversation I had at work with a colleague in New York City. I'd never spoken to him before but we shared tears and prayers. Moving memories . . .

This week has been an eventful one for us. On Tuesday a good friend of my husband's had a very scary accident. He was climbing an aluminum ladder to the roof of his business building when electricity from a main power line five foot away arched from there to his ladder. His son had to knock him from the ladder. He was taken by ambulance to our local hospital then flown out by AirEvac helicopter to a larger hospital in Springfield. He was badly burned but otherwise deemed to be okay. Thank you Lord! And then - can you believe this, on the same day another good friend of my husband's (a young man) had a pacemaker put in. What an emotional week. So, I did the only thing I know how to do to make them feel better - I made cookies . . . and cards! :)

Sunday is my son's birthday. I still can't believe he will be 25! I am so proud him and the person he has become. He is a young man of integrity, compassion, intelligence -- and wit! (Sure didn't get that from me.) Last night we celebrated early by taking him and his darling fiancee out for dinner. Now that our kids are older, we usually give them cash so they can pick out their own gift (his will be binoculars this year) but we also try to come up with some little gifts as well. And I like to try to make something personal when I can. So among other things, my husband had came up with this monster spatula - about 2 ft long.

(Yes, it is laughable but will be good for campfire cooking and he loves that!)

That gave me the idea of making a potholder. I was trying to think of how to personalize it when Ashley reminded me that Sunday night is his night to cook. He looks forward to it all week. Seriously. Don't ask him to dinner on Sunday cause he ain't coming! So here's the pot holder. The back is a cute moose fabric.

And last but not least, his birthday card. Although I can't really take credit for it. I made it, but it was at a stamping party so the ideas, layout and colors were not mine. (Don't tell Kyle though! Even if I didn't tax my brain, it was one of my favorites and special just for him.)

Today is the 2nd birthday of Thacker - my friend Tammy's grandson. Today I will help her and Brandi (Thacker's mom) get ready for the party. A BIG FUN party, they don't do any other kind! So . . .

Happy Birthday to Thacker and Kyle!!! And a happy day to you too.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two Precious Boys

Today my husband and I worked at Second Chance Animal Rescue. Just thought you might want to see a couple of charming boys that are looking for forever homes right now.

Johnnie is noted as a chihuahua dachshund mix but to me he just looks doxie. He is such a lover, I can't tell you. If your lap is within range, he will certainly jump into it! Look at those eyes -- one blue and one brown. He has an adorable face and an adorable disposition.

He's still a puppy so very playful and to get him to hold still long enough to snap a picture was a challenge. I managed to grab the following shot while he paused to devour the milk bone I brought him.

His small size, his friendly attitude and desire to please will make him a wonderful pet for some household. I can't say whether he's housebroken or not as I haven't spent enough time with him to know, but I can say that his stall was clean and the first thing he did when we took him out today was to relieve himself (both ways). I think he was waiting to go out so he could do so.

This is Prince. Oh my goodness. I totally fell in love with this dog at first sight. He is beautiful, far more so than you can tell in these photos. But even more beautiful is his personality. He has such a gentle, loving disposition. He too is a puppy and therefore playful but at the same time he has a careful gentleness about him, as if he is taking care to play nicely.

He is 8 months old, said to be a beagle mix. He's what I would consider to be medium or medium-small size. I don't know if you can really tell, but he has the most adorable speckled sock feet.
In the picture below, his hunter's nose has located the milk bone I have in my pocket for him. Can you tell how gentle and calm he is, even when he's found a treasure?! I think he himself is the treasure. He is one of the sweetest dogs I have met. Seriously. I'm told beagle mix dogs are less sought after for adoptions. I hope there's an exception for this exceptional dog. By the way, Prince also relieved himself (both ways) as soon as we brought him out. A good sign for training potential.

I'd love to get you more information about either of these dogs. Or if you have an interest in meeting them, you can contact me or call Second Chance at 618-283-9583.

Love and God Bless!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kind of a Slow Week

. . . but that's okay. It took me all of last week to overcome a nasty bug. Then for most of this week I just felt lousy. My sister Deb told me it would take two weeks. I should have believed her! Anyway, I finally feel normal again. If there is such a thing . . . :)

I haven't had the energy to create much since I last blogged. When I did, it was mostly paper crafting. I was in that kind of mood - which is a good thing. It's a bit more low-key than sewing, which I've needed lately. Also it helped me to brush up and get back in that frame of mind and I need that for my next project -- working up a sample for the wedding invitation. Woo-hoo!

Simple but elegant. (The charcoal is embossed, click on the photo for a better look.) Our priest of the past four years was transferred and before leaving he asked me to make him a set of chalice veils for his new location.

The embroidery is elegant too, don't you think?! (I didn't get a photo of all but the set included green, white, red, rose and purple.) The card was a perfect finishing touch to complete the package.

And then I made all kinds of birthday cards. We're in a birthday hotspot on the calendar!

Can you believe Labor Day is upon us?! I can't. This weekend triggers my annual end-of-the-summer blues where I mope around and give my husband whiney grief about how I don't want summer to end. Along that line, I will leave you with a couple of images I snapped this year - the simple pleasures of summer. Whaaaaaa!

Hope you have a delightful holiday weekend!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Where oh where has the time gone?! We have been back home for a month now and I still can't believe it even when I say it! Being so busy has something to do with it, I'm sure. We took Tim, Jamie & Preston to the airport a week ago today after a two-week stay at our home. Here's a glimpse into those days . . .

Randy, his mother Helen, Tim & Preston, visiting at Granny's

Here's "KY-oh" (aka Kyle) and Preston at the 80 (our precious country getaway).

Tim, Jamie & Preston share a moment at Granny's.

Having a full house seriously limited my free time and thus my crafting opportunities, but sometimes it's just necessary (besides, I gotta get my fix, you know!) -- so I did manage a few fun things.

My nephew turned 18 - oh, I can't believe it! - so I had to make a special card for him. (He's not really my nephew, he's actually he's my cousin's son, but we're really close, he's always been 'nephew' to me.)

And I made a small makeup sized bag as a gift for a very special young lady. You know how some people just warm your heart? So it is with her. We got the most precious thank you note!

And finally, one of joys of summer. I don't recall another year when fresh fruit has been so plentiful and affordable! This was an exercise in patience -- I cleaned and prepared each fruit and froze the individual pieces before adding to the mix. There's pineapple, strawberries, peaches and blueberries. Judging from the way Randy swiped pieces each time he went through, I think I better get started on another batch of this!

Hope you have a blessed day wherever you are!