Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Deb!

And dear she is! Today is Sweet Debbie's birthday. In our family we have a birthday ritual -- you always know the first call on your birthday will be Dear Deb singing happy birthday to you. And she will sing the WHOLE song! You can't talk her out of it and you can't talk to her until she's done, she won't allow it. My sister Deb is a hoot, so much fun to be around.
Here is her birthday apron, which is cheerfully wrapped and in the hands of one of her co-workers so it may be delivered to her today, despite the distance between us.
"Miss Deb" as she is called at work, is a teacher's aide. To say she is beloved is an understatement. Deb 's kindness and compassion are legendary, her heart is bigger than the state of Illinois! One of my favorite "Miss Deb" stories is from a couple years ago when she was on playground duty. A kindergartener had fallen and taken a pretty serious knee scrape. As he was being carried from the playground to call his mother, through sobs and tears, with outstretched arms, he blabbered to my dear sister "Miss Deb, will you call me tonight and see if I'm okay?!". Come to find out, they had an unlisted number. She called me for assistance because - as you can guess - come hell or high water she was going to call Garrett! Of course, we worked it out and she did make that call.
That's my sister Deb. Happy birthday dear sweet Debbie Diane!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pine Trees and Baby Gifts

We're here! But only at a temporary site at the moment. The site we chose to make our "home" didn't have water service yet when we arrived. Hopes are that the water issues will be resolved before the end of the week. The water and many, many other issues are continuing ghosts of the monstrous ice storm that ravished this area earlier this year. The damage is widespread and shocking. Literally everywhere you look.

Yesterday I took a walk to snap some photos. It's a challenge to stay out of the way of the work crews, so I walked up to the archery range. Right now attention is being focused on roads and campsites so this area is not a priority.

For whatever reason, it seems this hillside took a particular beating. There are standing trees in the background, however the trees you see in the foreground are not only downed but uprooted. Lots and lots of them, like a swath was taken right across that hillside.

But most shocking is that this kind of damage is not isolated. It's around every corner. The crews here are working ever so hard and making great progress but obviously it can't all be addressed. I can't imagine how many years it will take for nature to restore herself to previous splendor. Probably not in my lifetime!

Here's a typical roadside scene. This beautiful old cedar got a good pruning in order to clear the roadway. Behind is lots more that will lie, at least for the time being.

Nevertheless, the woods are coming to life with spring beauty and here are a couple of uplifting glimpses.

The thrilling beauty of rebirth . . .

So - enough camp talk! On to sewing . . .

Here are a couple more baby gift items from Lyndsay's shower that I promised I would show.

Diaper bag made for my mom to give (Daddy is a trucker, can you tell?!).

And here is a photo album that was my dad's gift.

Are you photo over-loaded?!

Hope your day is a good one!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Welcome Baby!

The baby shower was a huge affair - gifts like you can't imagine! It was fun to see friends and relatives and to get to meet more of Anthony's family as well. But on to the goodies --

Here's what was in our welcome package.

A Baby Quilt - going for the boyish look in chocolate and sea foam green.

I think the hand embroidery really added something, don't you?

Most of the design images are from a Nancy Halverson book, Whimsical Baby, I believe. I added the monkey and some of the words myself. :)

I love the back almost as much as the front -- let me tell you, it was really hard to part with that fabric. Those classic images of puppies, kittens and bunnies are so adorable. It's a good thing I love you so much Lynz!

And a few useful items to round out the package.

Aunt Linda reminded Lyndsay that those burp cloths and wet wipes actually serve a purpose - babies aren't all coos and sweet smells! If you know Lynz, you will understand that she may not have realized that! Tee-hee.

I made some other goodies for my parents to gift. I'll show you those in another post, I don't want to overload you in one day!

Have a great one!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Honorable Mention

It's been a while since I said it but THANKS once again to all of you kind folks who leave such sweet and inspiring comments for me. I am always touched that you lend me your attention.

Along those lines, I can't tell you how excited I was when I recently visited Paula Prass's blog Show & Tell to find I was featured there - it totally took my breath away!
Paula is a fabric designer for Michael Miller Fabrics and creator of the beautiful Flights of Fancy collection. Of all the lovely things being made with her fabrics, I am incredibly honored that she chose to include my magazine sized totes ("mag bags") on her blog. This was several days ago and I'm still reeling! To have a fabulous designer such as Paula recognize my humble work makes me feel as if I've been sprinkled with stardust.
Thank you Paula, what an honor!

Here are the featured bags.

And another, later creation from the same line.

Switching channels now, I got another little thrill this morning when I got see my quilt block stitched into place on one of the Project Improv quilt tops over at Jacquie's Tallgrass Prairie Studio. Jacquie and her helpers are working to transform these donated blocks into lovely work-of-art quilts for charity. I am so grateful for their hard work and proud to be a part of such a meaningful project. What a nice start to my day. :)
Can you find it? Center row, far right.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Debbie Doo!

I'm ashamed of the lack of attention I've given this blog lately. Oh I think about it plenty, it's just I've been really busy. I've spent a lot of time in the city this past week. I taught my last two spring classes at Jackman's. Actually it was one class, two sessions -- the first class filled to capacity so I was asked to do another. That made me feel good! When I have been home, I've been scurrying around trying to take advantage of every moment I have here before we leave. Six days and counting!

I've been deep cleaning, sewing of course (there are so many projects in my head), also making cards and wrapping gifts as birthday season is in full swing around here. We have eleven family birthdays between Jan 30th and April 14! All three of my sisters and my mom are within 30 days. Here's something that's been hiding in the wings for sometime now.

This is for my Sister Deb. My "other" Sister Deb, that is. I have my own Sister Deb - Debbie Diane; I inherited Debbie Kay through my husband. Confusing, I know. Get this - I also inherited "Pam" and I already had one of those too! Anyhoo . . .

Deb loves earthy greens and antiquey farmhouse decor so I took advantage of some classic calicos I had on hand.

A little piecing makes the back more fun.

Close-up of the free motion quilting that I love to do! Don't look too closely, this is only my second go at it.

And to all my other dear sisters, please don't go thinking, "I didn't get a quilt for my bday!" You gotta remember, Deb has seniority - she is the oldest sister I have. (You liked that didn't you Deb?!) Your turn will come. If your turn is not now, that means you're too young. Hmm, it got kinda quiet in the room, didn't it?!

Gifting -- you gotta love it, so much fun!

Tomorrow is my niece Lyndsay Kay's baby shower.

I can't wait to show you what's in this package! Stay tuned. xoxo Janis

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to Carol!

Today is my baby sister's birthday. Carol is probably the most unique personality I know. We share many interests, like our passion for animals and love of cooking. Yet other than that, you'd never guess we were sisters. We don't look a thing alike. In genetics I got the recessive dwarf gene (5'2" and that's stretching it!) while Carol is a statuesque beauty. I have a quiet vanilla kind of personality -- you'd never notice me in a room full of people unless you were sitting beside me. Carol on the other hand has a commanding presence. She's strong, bold, intelligent and articulate. Did I say strong, because she's really strong. Seriously folks, if you put Carol in a debate with Hillary Clinton, I'm not saying she'd win but she could definitely hold her own! So Happy Birthday to my baby sister Carol!

I decided this was the year of the apron so here's one for Carol in the toile that she loves.

Hope you have a good one, little sis!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Giveaway Alert!

Oh my goodness, this is a good one! Vanessa over at V & Co is giving away these gorgeous Moda "honey buns". Head on over and comment for a chance to win. And if you don't care about fabric, you can give them to me! LOL (Click on the V & Co link above to reach her blog - see it's a different color, that tells you it's a link.)