Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome Summer Ann

Summer Ann arrived this week. I wanna say that I'm related to Summer Ann. Kinda-sorta. Her grandmother's brother - that would be Great Uncle Gordon - is my cousin-in-law, married to my cousin Gena (who is like a sister to me). I'm sure you are chuckling by now but anyone who has lived in a rural county will understand. Here in our neck of the woods, if you're native to this area you are kinda related to almost everyone. But let me tell you, there is no one I am prouder to claim kinship to than this family. They are warm and special people, great fun to be around. They, who have endured tragedy of their own, have always been good to me, but never any more so than this year.
Anyway . . . you know you are old when you find yourself saying things like this . . . I remember like yesterday when Summer's mama and my son toddled around together. I can't wait to see the little miracle in person.

So in the interest of not falling too far behind the season, here are some pillowcases that I delivered to Childrens Hospital last month. As I mentioned in the last post, these are in memory of Ashley. The hospital has a foundation that manages all related to charity, including these "gifts in kind". A couple of the sweet ladies there have become good friends to me. Very kind and supportive. Ashley loved working at Childrens. I can see why, with such wonderful people making up their staff.
Here's another grouping that went down last month.

And sweet cousin Gena -- she has made a group also (gorgeous!), they will be part of the next delivery. More on that and pics to come.
And last but not least, Ashley's sister Misty came for a visit during Halloween week and she and I made these lovely treat bags for her three boys. Ashley ADORED her nephews. I'm sure she was very pleased.

Special prayers today for Kathleen, Dorothy, Stan, John, Larry, Brenda and Shirley. God bless.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Such As It Is . . .

Some of those closest to me will recognize this as something my paternal grandmother said often. I hear it in my mind a lot these days. I know that simple phrase is MeeMaw's personal message to me, her instruction to my heart.

I have debated within myself as to whether I could continue this blog. Many have asked, many have encouraged me.

Encouragement. Wow. I want to try to say something that in reality is totally beyond expression. The love and compassion that have been poured out upon my son, myself and my family is beyond description. And enduring. I could never possibly tell you all what an impact you have made and continue to make with your kindness. We have travelled a dark, scary and unknown road with many surprises along the way. I have been overwhelmed and amazed by touching compassion from unlikely sources, so deep it takes my breath away . . . and then there are other times . . . times when I have felt so sad and alone . . . times when I think of someone I haven't heard from at all, someone I thought was close to, even a relative. I have to believe that they simply don't know what to say. With that in mind I just want to share that I have found some of the greatest comfort when I've been told "I still think of you/pray for you. I just don't know what to say."

I guess my message in discussing the sadness is that I have personally learned how much it means to let someone know. You don't have to come up with magical words, sometimes it's better if you don't try, it is the simple act of reaching out that is most meaningful.

I have a lot more to say about such things and some beautiful quotes that have been shared with me . . . another time.

For now. Yes, I have been sewing. Sewing a lot. I have made two deliveries to Childrens Hospital of items donated in Ashley's memory. I plan for this to be an ongoing devotion honoring her memory. I have completed an elaborate set of altar linens for the church, in her memory. And my dear friend Pat has made certain that I have as much to sew for the fabric stores as I wish. She and Laura have sent some amazing and beautiful projects my way. I have so many pictures I've been hoarding. For now I will close with this beautiful, beautiful quilt that I will deliver today to Laura at Jackman's in Fairview Heights. It will be on display, so if you go in the store you can say you saw it here first. :p

"from HOPE springs COURAGE to LIVE and DREAM" . . .
The quilt pattern was designed for cancer awareness and support (and a portion of sale proceeds will go to cancer charity). But I think too, that the words speak to my heart right now.

I thank you Lord for the angels you have put in my life, bringing me support and encouragement to embrace hope.

In loving memory of my dearest Ashley . . . Special prayers today for those in need . . . Larry, Brenda, John, Dean, Jamie, Helen . . . and families. God loves you all and so do I.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Life As It Is . . .

I've had so very many people tell me they have checked the blog to see how I was doing. I'm sorry I haven't posted sooner, it's just another thing that is difficult for me. A symbol of happier days.

I guess my catch phrase these days is "I'm getting by". I think that's about the best we can do, Kyle and I and all who love Ashley so very very much, which I know includes many who will read this. Some days, some moments are harder than others. She was so much a part of me. I know that sounds cliche but the meaning behind it is not. She shared enthusiasm in everything I found joy in. Sewing, stamping, the Cricut, cooking - all these things we did together. So to try to do any of those things is difficult. Everything in my home is a part of her. And especially in those rooms where we shared such fun and joy, all the pieces of those pleasures have her fingerprints on them. Literally and figuratively. It is hard to pick something up, to move it or disturb it - wondering was it I or Ash who set it there? Was it she or I who last used it? Some day perhaps these feelings will pass. I really don't know. I do know with a certainty as strong as any I have every known, that the hole in my life and my heart will always remain. Maybe it won't be so raw (at least that's what I'm told) but it will always be.

So I know, how am I really? I'm improving I think. Sometimes I sleep (sometimes I don't). I've quit losing weight and have gained a little back. And I am doing things again, things I couldn't have a couple of weeks ago. I feel that now I may have reached the point that I spend almost as much time functioning as I do feeling sorry for myself. To me, that is huge. It wasn't long ago when I really wasn't able to do anything. Some moments I can think of her without crying. She sends me sweet memories from time to time and I feel her presence.

I'm clinging to my faith as if it were a lifesaver tossed to me in the waves.

As I have said to Kyle more times than I can count - there are no rules, no guidebook to tell us what to do or how to get by. We play it by ear . . . day by day, moment by moment. Maybe today will be a good day. We'll see. Thank you all so very, very much for your concern and for your prayers.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


When we feel all is lost, we have faith. If I did not have faith, I could not have survived these two weeks. Nor go on another day. Through my faith I know that we will see Ashley again, but the human weakness of missing her is so great. So strong.

As I struggle, I come back time and again to the words Father Joseph spoke at her funeral, "We must take care as we grieve and mourn, not to let the darkness and sadness of death have the last word." I am profoundly grateful for the five-plus years we shared in her beautiful life. And I am comforted in recalling our conversations regarding faith, and my knowledge that she was close to God. But still, I miss her so . . .

I have no doubt that Ashley is aware of our struggles and sadness. I believe she was speaking directly to us a few days ago when I found this in an old, old book of poems that has been a favorite of Kyle's and mine since his childhood. Ashley bookmarked the page and in her own handwriting noted the title of the poem . . .

God's Will For Us
Just to be tender, just to be true;
Just to be glad the whole day through;
Just to be merciful, just to be mild;
Just to be trustful as a child;
Just to be gentle and kind and sweet;
Just to be helpful with willing feet;
Just to be cheery when things go wrong;
Just to drive sadness away with a song,
Whether the hour is dark or bright;
Just to be loyal to God and right;
Just to believe that God knows best;
Just in His promise ever to rest;
Just to let love be our daily key:
This is God's will, for you and me.

I promise you dear Ashley, I will try ever so hard to remember these words you have given us. I love you darling. Forever.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dear Lord

grant me the strength to take just one more breath. Not for my sake but for Kyle and Misty and Rick and Norwood and Pat and Karen and Brenda. Our life has left us. Our precious beautiful Ashley is gone. I thank God for her life and our love. But my life is over today. I have nothing beautiful left to share and don't think that I ever will. Please pray for my baby Kyle. Such grief. Beyond measure. I can't tell.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sad Farewell

Once again, I hope you will all forgive my lack of attention. My father passed away late last week. As most of you will know, he had a number of health problems. While the event was not a surprise, what is surprising is how difficult it can be even when you think you are prepared.
This picture was taken on Christmas day. I didn't realize until this moment how much better he looked such a short time ago.

My father was a jokester even to the last, reaching out from his hospital bed last week to startle my sister Linda by slapping the paper she was reading. Then snickering - oh yeah. He was intelligent and independent. He didn't care about conventional rules, he preferred to make his own. I think my dear cousin Lisa said it best in her Facebook post, "Rest in Peace My Dear Uncle Sparky! You lived your life just the way YOU wanted to and had a lot of fun doing it! . . . "

I've received so many touching shows of support, it is overwhelming. It makes me realize how much a simple word, a hug or a phone call can make. We do those things without thinking, but take my word for it - it does matter, so much.

And once again, I find myself reminded of how blessed I am to have the sisters, cousins and aunts I love so well. I commented to one of my sisters that after being together nearly 24/7 this past week, I'm sure I will suffer some 'sister withdrawal'. Easily remedied, we decided. I'm looking ahead to better days. Of catching up on lots of levels. The two things which have occupied 80% of my attention (the wedding and my dad) are behind me now. It may take just a little time to clear my head but I'll be back soon. xoxo

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rock on Sister Suey

After my heartfelt tribute, I had to add a few pictures from the wedding reception. My baby sister Carol Sue was the life of the party. I have received countless comments - and countless chuckles - regarding her performance in the 'dance off' contest the DJs used to break the ice. Break it she did . . . Was it 'air guitar' she was assigned? I think so. My other sister Linda (in black & white) was also in the competition. She was asked do a River Dance, and she did a lovely one.
Little cousin Isabella was also a contestant with the Chicken Dance.
But Carol won hands down - can you imagine that?!

I will leave this quick post with a few other images from the reception.
Lots of Cricut! I was so grateful to have it. After altering 5 dresses and making 2, the paper crafts were a fun release for me. I just love that Cricut!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Most Magical Day

Please dear Lord, tell me what I have done to deserve your bestowing such a beautiful and gentle angel into my life?

The answer of course is nothing. It is the goodness of those around me which has found his favor and he has rewarded us all with this blessed soul I may now call my daughter (in the truest sense of the word).

Oh my. This has been a week of soaring emotions, precious moments and joy beyond explanation. It was indeed a magical day and one that couldn't have been possible without the help and support of so many. I have truly been left speechless with countless acts of kindness. Such was the case on Friday night. An open invitation was extended for help to set up the reception hall and let me just say the response was overwhelming! My dear sisters (including my precious sister/cousin and my dear sisters-in-law) and my priceless best friend, as well as nieces, cousins, and special family friends showed up in unimagined numbers. It was an amazing sight, one that brought to mind a colony of worker ants as the hall was transformed into the scene that Ashley had envisioned. I cannot thank you all enough. It is humbling to have such kindness poured out for oneself and this is just one of the many precious memories I will carry forever.

As is this one. I can scarely believe this is the tiny baby boy whom I carried, nurtured and cared for. Who picked me clover flowers and dandelions. Who crept into my room at night to sleep on the floor beside my bed. And who called me Mommy. I don't think he can possibly know how proud I am of him. Nor how happy he has made me.

I love you my baby, my son. And my dear and darling daughter. xoxo Mom

Ashley's b&w closeup is courtesy of Moltobella Photography. You can see their blog and a sneak-peek of more wedding photos here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My, oh my. Where does the time go?! I have such good intentions but it seems I just can't keep up. I didn't realize it had been so long since I'd posted on the blog. Yikes! The wedding is eight weeks away (and counting down) and I'm pedalling as fast as I can. Tomorrow is the bridal shower so I thought I should catch up here. Since there will be more after the shower . . .

Here are a couple of display samples I hadn't gotten around to showing yet. If you are familiar with Sew Beautiful magazine, this dress is from one of their feature articles. (Wait a minute, that sounded funny, not this dress, ours is a re-creation.)

If you know me, you know I am not a fan of purple. But the lime green ribbon and red button in the trim really set this off.
The fabric is from a collection called Calypso. You might recognize it's the same fabric collection (different colorway) as the turquoise Bellanca bag.
Speaking of bags, this one is called the Abigail bag. I like the gathering and the tiny ruffle, such nice touches.
The back has an exposed zipper pocket. Nice. Functional. Everybody likes that. :)

And how about a Cricut-enhanced project to close? This was made for the company of a friend of mine.
I was amused at how tattered their old mail bag was. Certainly not befitting his sophistication or that of the two lovely girls who work for him.
His land development company is called Compass West. (I was trying to be clever with words/images.) He and his dad have several entities working out of the same office, thus the "York Enterprises" kind of incorporates everything.

So that's all for today. Much more to come. Shower, wedding, and a benefit for my cousin Lisa tucked in between. And then, as if there weren't enough going on there's the possibility we may have a pretty signifcant change coming along in our lives. Nothing for certain and I can't even talk about it as we haven't shared it with all our family yet. But it weighs on the mind . . . and no, we're not moving to Kentucky - chuckle,chuckle.
Wishing you a special and blessed day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cupcakes, anyone?

Who doesn't love cupcakes?! And now that they are all the rage, they're popping up everywhere. Maybe it's an appeal to the kid in all of us, just a fistful of simple pleasure when the world around us these days is so chaotic.
Wouldn't you love to be five again so you could wear this outfit?

Here's a close-up of the cupcake. The orange icing and the white whipped cream dollop got their dimension with Texture Magic. It's a new product the store wanted to showcase. I'm telling you, it is fun!
Here's a bag from Lila Tueller's pattern line. It's the Bellanca bag. It looks cute here but the picture doesn't do it justice. There's a layer of batting (Warm & Natural) that gives it body and a comfy, quilty feel. Lots of grommets and hardware catch your eye too. I think this one looks a little boho. And I think it would make a cute diaper bag too . . . don't you?

This one I just finished today. Isn't the fabric precious? It's from Henry Glass.

And the bow! What a perfect touch. Since these are all displays, I can't take credit for picking out any of these lovely fabrics or patterns.

Maybe these will brighten your day just a tad and remind you, as they do me, that spring is on the way. Hooray!

Monday, January 18, 2010

It Feels Like Spring in My Sewing Room

Over the last several weeks, I've been head-over-heels sewing spring samples for the fabric stores -- and hoarding photos! ~LOL~

But before I get to that, a couple of things I've meant to get to and hadn't yet . . .

I got the kindest anonymous comment a couple of weeks ago about how my entries have improved as the blog has developed. Wow, you don't know how I appreciated that as I thought I'd become boring as of late! I do appreciate every comment much more than you know.

There was a comment/question with the last post asking about the bags and whether I cut the fabric with the Cricut. The answer is no. Not yet anyway and there's a reason for it. The projects I make that I will also teach must be techniques that can be duplicated in class and can't be restricted to specialty equipment like the Cricut. I can however use it to trace the designs as that could be duplicated in another way. So what I did was to apply paper-backed fusible web to my fabric, adhere it to the mat fabric side down, create a mirror image utilizing the 'FLIP' button (so text will read correctly), then trace onto the paper side of the webbing using the Cricut markers. I then cut the images manually and used traditional applique finishes. I haven't experimented yet with cutting fabric in the Cricut but it's on my list of things to do. And if I can master it, yeah I might consider a tutorial. ;)

I also haven't mentioned on the blog yet that I was offered and accepted a part-time job. It's expected to be just a couple days a week and it's my intent to keep up with the blog and everything else that I'm doing at the present time. Time will tell, so wish me well!

So, now -- on to the projects.
This tote is a class sample. Zip closure and six exterior pockets plus more inside (3 patch pockets and 1 hidden zip pocket). The fabrics are from Lila Tueller's Soiree collection.

I love, love, LOVE this piece! The 'create' image was traced by Cricut from the Home Decor cartridge. The bird was drawn free-hand (inspired by the bird on HD but I needed mine to be shaped more short & wide), and the flower layers were created by cutting a large circle pattern (Plantin Schoolbook), folding the pattern in half, in half again and half again (eighths), then cutting to a petal shape. Stem and leaves drawn free-hand. The pieced border was done with foundation piecing technique. As you may be able to tell, this piece is unfinished, it will probably become a wall-hanging when I get it back -- but I'm not sure yet.

This is a display sample -- for Valentines Day. I must say when I opened the box and saw these fabrics I was hesitant. Certainly nothing I would have chosen (the look is a bit too traditional for me) but this is a lesson in keeping an open mind -- it came out darling.
Here's a close-up of the heart-shaped yo-yos. Both the ivory and the pink dot fabrics have a metallic sheen in the design that adds shimmer and interest.
By the way -- if you sew, you like yo-yos, and haven't tried the yo-yo makers -- you should do it! They are so much fun.
And lastly, don't these 'Sassy Bags' make you think cheery thoughts of spring and summer? They are also display samples.

OK! I still have more photos but I don't want to overload you for one day. I still have another purse (the Abigail bag), a child's halter dress (from Sew Beautiful) and remember the ruffled NieNie skirt? I have the other one in bright colors with a cupcake top -- OMGoodness, it's my favorite! Stay tuned . . .

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Little Bit of Everything . . .

This has been a busy and eventful week. I have way too much to share for one post! So I will pick a few favorites and save some more for later.

My very favorite moment this week happened when Prince Russell (our shih tzu) alerted me early Wednesday morning that I should take a look into his kingdom (our back yard). When I did I saw a doe out towards the wood line but then . . .

Oh my goodness, I caught a glimpse of these two guys playfully locking antlers.

They carried on like this for several minutes, sparring, backing off, then going at it again. It was long enough for me to get my camera and click a few shots.

Of course, Russy couldn't resist barking and telling them they were intruding on his domain.

I love this photo where this big guy turned to look directly at Russ. It's amazing to me what they can hear and from how far away.

I'll share just one more -- I think this is a majestic shot of both of them. A few moments later they trailed off after the does that had already mosied on off in the woods.

Whew! What could top that? Certainly not humble sewing projects. But here are a couple of Christmas presents that I can show now that they've been gifted . . .

this is for my brand new nephew to tote his toys when he goes to visit.

A simple drawstring duffel. I used the Cricut to trace the TOYS text and the stars.

And I loved how these little totes came out. They were for nieces. Of course, there are names on the back of the other two as well. The Cricut and some freezer paper helped me personlize with their names. I do love that bug!

And lastly, I will close with a glimpse of some of the most precious, adorable puppies you ever saw. They were born two weeks ago at 2nd Chance Animal Rescue where my husband and I volunteer.

(BTW, that's a black puppy in the back of the heap!)

Both the puppies (8 in all!) and their sweet adorable mama will be looking for good homes. Please join me in prayers that the new year will bring forever homes for them all.