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

Monday, October 17, 2011

Christmas, Cards and a Quilt

A couple of the Christmas garments I've been making for the fabric stores -- so many Christmas things this year!  (There are more pics for another time, don't want to overload you now.)

this one is green cordoroy
 This jacket is red velveteen.  It's a gorgeous look but oh my, what a mess to cut and sew!

A dear young lady who is a former co-worker of mine has a little daughter who is affected with a rare and incurable disease which causes tumors to grow on nerves.  I made this quilt for a benefit to raise research money to fight the disease.  Now isn't this crazy -- the quilt was auctioned and the buyer was my niece!  Little Logan Joseph will sleep with the owls. 
You might recogize that the quilt images are from Cricut's Give a Hoot cartridge. Traced with Cricut markers onto fusible web then appliqued.


This was made for a gift. It's quilted with Insul-Brite, an insulated batting for hot/cold use.  This is a flat iron travel case so you can put the iron away before it's completely cool.
Here are some of the cards I made to complete a gift set. I tried to include something for every occasion and a mixture of fun and serious themes.

I like the hippo's stickle toenails.  (kinda hard to see in the pic) And can you see the white glitter paper on the bridal dress?

This may be one of my favorite cards ever.  At least it is today!  Black glitter paper just looks so chic.  The flower is from the new Flower Shoppe cart.  (I made one of these to keep too.)

So it's been a lovely weekend but sometimes I still have my ups and downs.  So much love and support surround me though, that I can't help but recognize how very blessed I am.

I hope you can see and feel the blessings in your life today.

Special prayers today for Brenda, Mark, Dave, Jack, Betty and John. God loves you and so do I. xo

Monday, September 26, 2011

Don't You Love These Baby Boy Colors?!

I delivered this display set recently.  It is definitely one of my favorites.  And I hear it has been quite a success for the stores too, which gives me a good feeling.  In fact, I was told the St. Louis store sold out all their pattern books within the first two days it was on display. 

Diaper Bag

The Quilt

Close-up of applique

Matching Diaper & Wipes Case

LOVE those fabrics!

The book is titled "Baby It's You" by Amy Hamberlin.
It's a fabulous book - with several different sets and I love every one of them.  Can you believe we've already chosen one that I will be sewing for Spring 2012?!  Pssst, I'll tell you a secret - the next will be a girl one. :)

On another sad note, my dear Uncle Bob passed away last week.  He was a kind and gentle man who embodied all that I believe in.  A man of great faith, with a special love for God's earth and all its creatures.  His trademark deep chuckle was freely given and brightened the lives of all those who knew him.  He was very special to Kyle and me and will be sorely missed by his dear family and all who were blessed to share his life.  Eternal rest grant unto Uncle Bob O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

Special prayers today for Uncle Bob's family - my Aunt MaryAnn, my cousins Dan, Joe and Susie and their families.  On going prayers for Dave, Brenda, Mark, Karen, John, Leslie. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Fireman's Birthday

 A week ago tomorrow was my baby boy's 27th birthday!  No, I can't believe it, it seems like yesterday we were building Legos and reading storybooks.  I never tire of telling anyone who asks how very proud I am of him. At the risk of getting teary-eyed, that's all I'm going to say about that right now.  He is simply an amazing young man  . . . and so good to his mother. 

Kyle joined the fire department in June 2010.  He loves the department.  It has become a huge part of his life.  Once a year, in the spring, at the Retired Firemen's dinner, the new members are initiated.  I took pictures on that evening and compiled this mini-album for his birthday.

This was my first mini-album, I'd been wanting to try this for a long time.        The cover is made from a cake mix box, covered with cardstock and a couple coats of Mod Podge. Embellished with some aluminum from a soda can (embossed with the CuddleBug) and a bit of machine stitching.  The bookplates are cut from aluminum and painted with black fingernail polish.  

Some photo corners  and various titles were made glossy with Crystal Effects (a.k.a. Glossy Accents, depending on what brand you use).

The twine holds tags for journaling that are encased between the pages.  I left the journaling blank so he can choose his own words.

The back cover with his number.  Oh yes, and it was wire bound courtesy of my Bind-it-All. 

I loved making this.
So I thought I was going to have the very most special-est birthday gift until my dear husband came up with this --

For those of you who don't know (which would include me had I not been told!), the base of this lamp is a fire hose nozzle.  Randy put this together himself.  I think it turned out pretty spectacular!
It was a good birthday and he was very pleased.  It's great to see him smile.

Our special prayers today especially for the family of our dear friend Larry.  Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.

Prayers for Dave, Jack, Brenda, Mark, John, Karen and Leslie. 

I wish you all a blessed day - With love & prayers, Janis 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Little Girl Baby Quilt

This will be a quick post, just to show off the baby quilt that I mentioned my sisters-in-law were interested in seeing.  My step-son Tim & his wife Jamie are expecting their second child, a girl, in October. 

One of the blogs I follow is Piece and Quilt, and I fell in love with Natalia's Modern Baby Quilt some time ago.  (Click on the link to see her wonderful tutorial.)  As always, I did some improvising; I had some green bias I wanted to use for swirly flower stems and it was much narrower than Natalia's version.  I also revised the picture panel in the lower corner.  That adorable little dear is from Cricut's Cindy Loo cartridge.  You can cut fabric on the Cricut, but I prefer to use my Cricut marker to draw the image onto fusible web, then cut by hand.  You can use a much lighter fusible this way and for a quilt I want to keep it light and soft.  If you do this, don't forget to use your flip button to make your design a mirror image.  That is, if it's important to you -- and essential if you are doing text.  So anyway . . . here's the quilt:


These are my" colors, I love the pinks, yellow and turquoise blue.

And of course, this tiny dear is my favorite part. Isn't she precious?!

It was a great way to use some of my precious scrap pieces.  I just love this quilt (hope they do too) and I'm sure I will be making it again.

Prayers today for Larry, Brenda, and Dave.  For Emily, Leslie, Karen & John.  God bless you all.  Love, J

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What I've been doing

Recently I had a surprise visit from a dear friend. She reminded me, among other things, that she misses my blog posts. So here I am. I don't have a lot to say but do have a lot of things I can show you all. Here are some of the things I've been working on lately . . .

This little top is from a Childrens Corner Pattern - "Kinsey", modified the hemline to add scallops and added the ruffles and piping.  A display for the fabric store.

Here's an apron and potholder set, also for diplay. From the book 'Quilting Those Flirty 30s' by Cynthia Tomaszewski.

And here's a close-up of a vintage button I just love. I thought it worked really well with the 30s theme.

An art smock - for Back to School display.  From the Book 'Little Things to Sew' Oliver + S, Liesel Gibson.

And a birthday card.  I used Cricut Lite Cartridge 'Live Simply'. 

I made a baby quilt my sister-in-laws are wanting to see, so I'll be back.

In my prayers today most especially are three very important friends.  Larry and Dave are fighting similar battles and my heart is heavy with their struggles. And sweet Emily is in a crisis no young mother should have to face. I know they appreciate my prayers  - and yours too if you would be so kind. Please remember also with me Brenda, Karen, John F. and Jennifer. +

May your day be blessed in a special way today. Watch for it . . . Love, J

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dogs are SO smart . . .

This morning my husband forwarded me this amazing YouTube video that was sent to him by one of his friends; it was titled "I WANT THIS DOG". You've gotta see this! It does have musical audio (also cute) that you might want to turn down or mute if you are in an environment where it could be distracting to others.

On other topics, I once again apologize for my blog absence. I have begun to think that maybe I put too much pressure on myself, thinking that if I write anything I need to comment on how I'm doing or how Kyle's doing. Truth is, we struggle. I don't think anyone would expect anything less. Some days are okay, some are not. And I'm not always able to talk about it. Then it occurs to me -- maybe I don't have to, right?

I have been busy doing lots of things, lots of sewing, some crafting . . . and taking lots of pictures. I'm thinking I should begin sharing them, but perhaps in a simpler way with no pressure to make personal comments.

So I hope you enjoy this precious video. Until today, I thought MY dog was smart! Can't let this opportunity pass either without saying - we have so many adorable, smart dogs at Second Chance Animal Shelter where my husband & I volunteer. They will trade a lifetime of love for a good home. Help spread the word - and encourage responsible pet ownership. It breaks my heart to see these precious babies cast off and unwanted. If there is a chance your pet will ever be out of your sight, SPAY, NEUTER! Turning a dog (or litter of puppies) in to a shelter should be a last resort - and certainly not an option for birth control. Maybe that wasn't nice but it's surprising how often we have 'repeat contributors'. And I can't even think about it, but there are those we can't save . . .

In my prayers today - Larry, John F, Brenda, Jennifer, Karen, Paul. And all the fur babies who need homes. God bless.