Saturday, February 28, 2009

In the Sewing Room

As is my nature, I've started to panic this week. With less than three weeks until our departure and so much left to do, I've kept my head down and barely come up for air. There were a few distractions of course. Like yesterday. I spent a good part of my day with my dad who called on his newly installed phone, first to tell me how thrilled he was to have the phone then later to summon me over with his latest crisis of the moment. Of course, it wasn't really that serious but with my dad everything is top-priority, red alert! He's funny alright, in a high maintenance kind of way but you can't help but grin and love him, you couldn't find someone with a bigger heart. I mentioned my dad once before and his difficulties in dealing with life in general. Shortly after that my husband and I caught the movie "You, Me and Dupree" on tv. Boom, there he was! If you've seen that movie, Dupree is my dad! Totally. Only my dad is not 24, he's 69. Although, he thinks he's 24 . . .

Anyway, it was mid-afternoon before I finally got to my sewing room and I was panicked and frustrated that most of my day had disappeared. Nevertheless, I worked late and dear Randy provided carry-out dinner(!) so it turned out I got a lot done after all. I got a sample sewing parcel this week and here's what I've accomplished so far . . .

I was so excited to see Paula Prass's Flight of Fancy. The pattern provided was Amy Butler's In Town Bags. These were done in keeping with the drawstring bag pattern but I was instructed no drawstring. I did make it a little taller because the cuts given in the pattern would have chopped the fabric designs into oblivion. Actually it worked out well because the end result is the perfect size to carry a magazine. The 'mag bag' look is such a trend now.

And I had enough fabric left over from the totes that I was able to put together this Smart Bag off the same pattern. But that button which is only pinned on, has got to go. I'm seeing something large and filigree, preferably in silvertones and sparkle. I'll be heading down for a class tomorrow so I'll see what I can find at the store. I didn't have anything appropriate in my stash.

And last but not least here are chalice veils. They came out lovely, mostly due to the gorgeous fabrics of course.

Have a great weekend everyone. Don't forget to attend the church of your choice. If you don't have one, you can go with me! :)

I'll catch you soon!

Friday, February 27, 2009

What Do You Think? -- Votes Needed

Last week or so, I finally finished a new kitchen curtain that's been on my list for ages.

It took forever with lots of hoopings - machine embroidery is time intensive - but I really like the result.

Here's where I need your help. A couple months ago I put up a wall word transfer in my kitchen. I love the sentiment and design of the transfer but I haven't been completely comfortable with it since I put it up. What I'm unsure of is the size.

Tell me what you think -- is this too big for the space?

And is it too much to have the two texts in such close proximity?

In other words, do I nix the "Blessings"?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ahhh . . . the Joys of Sisterhood!

This week when I cleaned my dresser I forced myself to place this card in my keepsake drawer. This delightful birthday card was from my sister Linda who is not quite 14 months younger than me. These few, funny words sum up my childhood treatment of all three of my sisters but most especially of Linda. Go ahead and say it - shame, shame on me. I hope someone out there reading this is an oldest sister and can relate, knowing that I’m not a bad person. Really I’m not.

What made this especially funny on the day I opened it was that I had just been to my friend Tammy’s where I had witnessed an interesting exchange between her two granddaughters. On that day not long after Christmas, gifts were still fresh and over-the-top exciting. I can’t even recall the particular gift of the moment but it definitely had the attention of both girls and it belonged to the younger. I don’t know exactly how she did it, but the older sister with great finesse and the utmost gravity convinced her sister that due to the very complicated nature of this prized gift, it would cause a burden on the younger and therefore she, the older, was ready to a make supreme sisterly sacrifice by . . . playing with this gift . . . you know, for a while . . . to "get it right” . . . so it would be “better” . . . all for her sister, of course. With wide-eyed innocence and gratitude the younger girl was steered off to another gift, one less suited to the elder’s attention.

That moment totally blew me away! OMG -- it was ME!!! Times three, because I did it to ALL of my sisters. I know - again with the shame, but they were just so easy to manipulate. In my own defense, I want to add that I did get better with age. I did. I promise.

Anyway . . . those same sweet little granddaughters of my best friend were junior cheerleaders at the boys’ basketball game last night and they were just too precious. Here are a couple of glimpses:

Here is the golden tongued diva.

And this clueless little sweetheart is her sister.

Aren't they adorable? And by the way -- just so you know, my sister Linda came to that game and she chose to sit with Tammy and me. I didn’t make her, she did it on her own. Maybe she wasn’t traumatized too badly -- or is it still wide-eyed innocence?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sweet Baby Lullabye

I've been anxious to post this one as I think it is just so darn cute. Meagan is the forever girlfriend of one my son's constant companions and very best since-childhood friends. Meagan asked me to do this set for her sister-in-law who is having a boy. You know, it's a special challenge to come up with something that is cute and fun but still boyish. When we talked I suggested the loopy-ribbon look and Meg loved that. She made a trip to Jackman's and came back with this stripe (by Timeless Treasures if anyone is interested) and a whole bag full of the most scrumptious ribbons. Those ribbons made the challenge much less daunting!

Here's the bag - XL to carry momma and sibling items as well.
This is my favorite part - what a touching sentiment, and most especially considering this is her sister-in-law. Isn't that sweet?! (Click in to get a better look.)

We also have a matching changing pad

. . . and a blankee.
It was fun to do these but I'm weary of bags. This may be the last bag I do for a long time. However there are still a few in the wings that I haven't shown yet, just waiting until the gifting dates are past. I've been doing some different projects lately and it's been a refreshing change. Quilting (my obsession of the moment) - oh, and yesterday I finally made a kitchen curtain for myself, I'll get pics of that soon.

And of course, I'm keeping an eye on the calendar as we continue to make arrangements to head off to Kentucky. Yesterday I officially became a cell phone owner. Yes, I know I am SO behind times. I should add here that my husband did provide me with one for emergencies but it was a pay-by-the-minute one and not something I actually used. Now I have a real one so will have to learn all the stuff that goes with it. I hope everyone has patience with me as I cut them off and don't know how to retrieve their messages!

On the subject of Kentucky, our friend Kathy with whom we will work this summer, sent me some photos this weekend of the cleanup progress at the campground. They have made a couple trips down there and here are photos from last week -

I don't think they went down this road, do you think?!

My heart goes out to those who are working so hard, I can't imagine how disheartening it would be to look at so much destruction and then think - where should we start?!

Have a good day, I'll be back soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yippee Ki-Yi Yay!

Isn't that what John McClane (Bruce Willis) said in Die Hard? I know, I know, he added another word but nice girls don't say that. Here are a couple of cowgirl bags that I promised a good friend of mine.

Aren't those little "Rodeo Kids" adorable? (Click in to get a better look.) Both that and the bandana are Michael Miller prints.

I'm still working on photography skills, the color on this is a little off. That's actually a pretty red, not the tomatoey orange that it looks like here.

These are for Chris. Chris and her daughter Jordan are serious horse ladies. They show horses on a national level and regularly bring home trophies. I am so impressed. I love horses. When I was young my grandfather got ponies for my sister and me. I was in heaven, my sister not so much! Isn't it funny how siblings can be so different?! Linda is not at all an animal person (my other two sisters are). It's not that Linda dislikes animals, she loves Rusty -- or claims to at least! But I'm thinking she doesn't feel what I do inside, that draw that pulls you and makes you want to cuddle, nurture and protect anything that's furry. Some of you know what I'm talking about!

So while we are on the subject of adorable furry creatures I will share with you a Russell story. Not much of one, but something I found cute. Recently Russ and I were eating lunch alone and I was watching the noon news. Here I have to tell you that I do strange things when I'm alone -- like talk back to the tv, etc. So when they asked a question "how many of you have . . .", I raised my hand in the air. Rusty jumped up and darted off to the window to see who I was waving at. He moved from window to window before he finally looked back at me in bewilderment like "something is seriously wrong with you". Maybe there is. :)

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Good Golly - is this spring in the Midwest?

I don't think so but it's a pleasant thought. Yesterday it was 71 degrees! Hard to believe that exactly two weeks ago we received a thick blanket of snow and LBL the ice shown in my last post. Anyway . . . yesterday was a glorious day to take a walk and soak in the unseasonable warmth. Rusty loved it!

Back in the sewing room I've been working like a fiend. Since we last talked sewing I've completed a set of altar linens, a communion banner, a gift I can't mention yet, two little girl bags (one is Jonas Bros - gasp!), a horse themed bag, two diaper bags (one with minkee blankee & changing pad) and the classy sophisticated messenger that follows - more to come soon, I'm sewing faster than I can photograph!

Nancy is the mother of my best friend Tammy. She brought this fabric to me months ago. She shared with me particular ideas and promised we would get together to finalize some design plans. Well, with the unfolding of events (she is also the mother of our dear friend Todd who we lost last fall), this purse project suddenly became grossly insignificant. She's probably forgotten about it but I hadn't. I enlisted Tammy's help and we planned the bag. In her initial thoughts Nancy had told me "lots of pockets". Tammy added that she had never seen her carry a bag without a flap. So with this in mind I tried to design a bag as classy as Nancy. That's big shoes to fill! I think we will make it a Valentine's surprise.

Exposed zip pocket on back.

Vinyl window pocket for business cards. There's also an ink pen pocket (center) and a tab-close cell phone pocket. (A realtor needs her cell phone!)

And my favorite part -
I digitized her signature to make it personal!

The conservative design really made me think outside the box but that's good for me. Keeps the mind sharp, don't you think?

I hope she likes it. Nancy, as you would imagine, still suffers terribly. As does Tammy. But there are some genuine smiles now. And giggles from time to time. Todd would be proud of them. I know he is.

I'm choking up now so let's just close at that. Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Welcome to a new week

I love Mondays. A new start to a fresh new week with so many possibilities. I'm ready to move on. Lots has been happening in my posting absence, some bright and cheery things, some not so much.

Let's start with a happy thought. My husband and I took a trip to Kansas City to spend Super Bowl weekend with his sister and her husband (I say that like I care about the SuperBowl LOL!). It was a lovely trip, Pam and Rob are always overly kind and gracious. We had fun and laughs and good food (lots of good food!) and it was nice to get away, we hadn't done that in ages.

On a more serious note, while we are still organizing and preparing for our journey to Hillman Ferry, the news from there is less than pleasant. Remember the wave of winter storms that blew through the Midwest a couple of weeks ago? Here in south-central Illinois we made it okay. We had 8 to 10 inches of snow but snow is not a problem (and we were way overdue for a big one.) But some areas didn't fare so well -- Land Between the Lakes is in a world of hurt. A few hours to our south, the snow missed them. They got ice and lots of it. Accumulating ice with great destructive weight. It's a sad and serious situation. We're receiving regular updates of the damage and recovery progress from our park manager and in one of those updates he linked us to Sherry B's blog "Blooming Things". Sherry graciously gave me permission to share some of her remarkable photos --

Of course, I haven't seen it first-hand, but from what I understand this type of damage is widespread. One report estimated that 50 to 60 percent of trees had received "mortal damage". Staggering.

Up close -- and a fence line.

It's pretty unbelieveable, isn't it? And of course it wasn't just limited to the LBL. Thousands in that area were without power for extended periods of time. In some cases, the estimates were three weeks. Can you imagine that? I can't.

Besides trees, there was structural damage, water leaks - you can only imagine. Reports are that clean-up and repair are progressing, if slowly.

But to lighten your heart and offset some of this seriousness, here are some of Sherry's photos of the glories of LBL.

Bison calves and wild coneflower. Sherry has so many amazing photos, it was hard to pick just a couple. If you have time, click on the link above to check out her blog - it will take your breath away!

Well, I've rambled enough for this post. Just so you know, I've been sewing too. I have lots of things to show you so I'll be back soon -- I promise!