Tuesday, August 30, 2011

At Our House

Dyslexia is a guest at our house. He runs, plays, sleeps, eats and drinks with us. He studies, writes, draws and colors with us. He giggles, laughs, and cries with us. Most days he’s welcome, some days he’s not. He has challenged us and tried us, past our limits, at times, we thought. But always, he seems to point out a strength we did not know was there. We have argued with him and tried to be logical, but he would not have it so. He is an out-of-the box, unpredictable, creative kind of guy that likes to teach us bit by bit. Not a day goes by that we don’t learn something from him, and usually quite a lot! We have found things that make him more comfortable here and help us along our way. Each step is a process, a part of a memory that we want to cherish. To some, he is a monster, to us, he is a friend. You see, we understand him, so he has blessed us with a gift greater than we could imagine, if we just reach in to take hold of it.

Two of our boys have been blessed with this gift. Through all of their frustration, and their Mom’s fighting for them, one thing remains constant. They are incredible! They have minds that few could compete with, they have hearts more precious than gold, they have morals stronger than Superman, and they have an insight that is deeper than the sea. And they have more patience than Mom can imagine. They learn from their “limitations” and make something better out of the situation. They teach others around them not to judge by a word. They help others that need it, just because they have been there. They lift and empower, they smile and share, they love and forgive better than most because of this gift. I am humbled by the boys they are. I hope to be the kind of person they both are someday. They are better than me, and it is with awe that I am their Mother. I don’t know how I was worthy enough to be given this gift, and twice, but they teach me more than they will ever know.

If we could only all see the gift in others and realize what we can learn. Learning is not all letters and words, it’s not a specific process or pattern, it’s not a multiple choice or even an essay response. It’s more than paper can show. Genius is not defined by a pen. It is in the soul. At least it is in the souls of those I know that have this gift. For sure it is in the souls of those that reside at our house!

I long to hold them close every day, but growing up doesn’t allow that. It means letting go, and in the world of criticism and misunderstanding, that is hard for a mama. But I relax my grip a bit each day, only to tighten my faith and prayers in their behalf. I know this gift will teach them to compensate and become more than they dream they can be. It is a path with stumbles and hills, but beautiful sights on each side. I am thankful they let me walk with them. The views they see are more grand and spectacular than my “normal” path, any day!

Our front door mat says “Welcome” and this guest took it to heart. He made himself at home, and that has made us who we are! It is hard, but it is oh so good. We wouldn’t trade our guest for another- he has taught us what it means to truly live!

One out of five people have this guest in their home. Where is it in yours? Find it and you find your greatest treasure!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thrifting Jackpot!!

Woohoo- I found a thifting goldmine today! Well, it was actually in the same store I always shop in, but today was extraordinary-I found vintage sheet city! It was so exciting I was skipping down the aisles :) I get seriously giddy when I find good deals and I had a 20% off coupon for the entire purchase, so it was a happy moment indeed! I wound up with 15 sheets and 6 pillowcases, in prints of the sheets mostly. WOW!! I couldn't believe it :).
I have been wanting to make Jeni's Giant Vintage Star Quilt (over at http://incolororder.blogspot.com/) but needed some purple. I thought about ordering some from her shop but told myself I would check my thrift shop today- they have NEVER had a purple sheet since I have been collecting. There were 3 today- count them, 3!!!! Deep purple stripes, tiny lavendar rose buds, and the medium purple heart rope looking one. I was in shock. I was grabbing sheets right and left- I couldn't get them in my cart fast enough. You would have thought I'd won a shopping spree!
With my current stash and now these, my storage space will be quickly depleted, so I may wind up selling some fat quarters in my shop. I'll see what happens over the next few weeks. And how good I can cram them in my closet :) hehe! They are in the washer right now and I can hardly stand it, waiting to add them to my collection. I never thought old sheets would be so fun- don't start, it's addicting. It makes me nostalgic and think of the dear people that have gone before me. I get to sort them all tonight and play with colors- I think I will have enough to tackle the giant star quilt of Jeni's!! Yipee skipee!! Can you tell I can hardly wait??!!?? :) Off to fold sheets...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Warm/Cool Quilt Along Top all laid out...

An update on the Warm / Cool Quilt Along quilt, or as I call it, the Orange and Aqua Value quilt...

Well, I was silly and thought I could lay this quilt out in a 30 minute time period. It is now a running joke- it took well over two hours- never woulda dreamed it! HA! It was just a matter of keeping the pattern right and the prints spread out enough that took so long. I was frantically trying to pick it up, in number rows, of course, before feet ran all over it! I have never stacked anything like this so I am nervous how the rows will go. I just CANNOT mess it up- I don't want to be that friendly with my seam ripper :) hehe! So I snapped a few photos to double check myself as I go.
I loved standing back and looking at the diamond pattern the orange and aqua makes! The giftee requested that the diamond be centered, so there you have it! Now to figure out a border, binding and backing :). This person loves SOFT but I can't find any minkee that is to the liking- ugh! I tried flannel, but that wasn't "soft enough". This will be interesting! I'm praying for some orange and blue minkee to pop up somewhere ! hehe!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Quite an Honor!!

I have found some of the most amaing friends online in the quilting world! It's really fun to think of meeting some of these amazing people in 2 short months- I can hardly stand it, I get so excited thinking about it :). Well, one of those sweet, dear friends gave me quite an honor last week, without even realizing she did :). It's Miss Kaelin, she blogs over at http://theplaidscottie.blogspot.com/. If you don't follow her yet, you *need* to! She is as sweet as honey and she lives in the South (my home!!)!! She has made me almost pee my pants from laughter on more than one occasion! For real! So, the honor...

I got an email from Kaelin asking me to test her new pattern- it's the Grab 'n' Go wristlet and Coin Purse (at the time is was just the wristlet). It's available in her Etsy store now and it's a definite pattern to make- so quick, easy, and stinkin' cute!! I have never "officially" sewn a zipper into anything before so I was nervous. I ran to Joann's to get a few notions I needed (mainly a zipper ;)) and got busy! Just like she said, it takes between 1-2 hours. And just look how amazing it turned out- especially for someone who has never sewn a zipper ;). hehe!

Look at how precious this is!! And the wrist strap is detachable so you can just use it as a clutch, if you like, too!! Brilliant, I tell ya! So I have to post my sunny fun pictures of this great pattern- and when she finalized the pattern, she added a coin purse- now I can hardly wait to make that too :). So darling! I appreciate her trust in my ability and am so glad I was able to help! This girl writes an incredible pattern and she's an incredible lady to top it off :) Thanks again, Miss Kaelin! You rock!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My new "can" :)

I have been looking for the perfect marker holder for my sewing room- I LOVE Sharpie markers (I make my quilt tags/labels with them) and the huge colorful pack at Costco jumped out into my cart months ago. I just had to have them at hands reach, but wanted something cute for them to stand in :). I seach the thrift stores each time I go in, but I was getting flustered that I could not find the "perfect" thing. I found the yellow container there, but it was perfect for my rotary cutters! So, as I was looking through the blogs I follow last week, Miss Lori's tute about covering jars with fabric over at http://beeinmybonnetco.blogspot.com/ popped out at me. I knew I found my answer.
Say goodbye to a can of yams, and voila! The perfect pen jar!! I sewed some lovely scraps together that made me smile and sprayed on some glue. It dried in no time flat, and there sit my rainbow of Sharpies :). They make me smile each time I walk in!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I couldn't resist...

Seriously, I am up to my ears in quilting projects at the moment with some bags and purses I would like to try my hand at also, but when I see something that's this cute, I can't resist :). That's what happened when I saw the Billboard quilt along over at http://ohfransson.blogspot.com/. Yup, sign me up, I'm in! HA!! The hard part was figuring out what to say...

I am a stresser and worrier by nature- it is part of me, but I have made huge strides in the past couple of years to sit back and enjoy life more. One of the things I started saying years ago was, "It's ALL good!" It stuck and the entire family seems to say it now. It reminds me that life is good- even when I'm stressed, that there is a blessing in everything that happens, and that there is One who is holding me up at all times. That I am forever grateful for! So that had to be the saying I used.

I wound up using different letter widths on each line to get the proportions the way they were in my head. I also wound up using a different "font" for each line too. It has to look the way we say it :), right?! hehe! And the color system will be a little unique too- just like us!

The quilt will be approx. 80"x70"- just perfect for cuddling :) By the way, that was the other saying I contemplated too- "Quilts are for Cuddling"- so true, but the other one quickly won! I'll be using a soft Kona yellow for the background.
I am more than excited to cut and piece this fun quilt- so add this one to the list too! There ya go- 9 in process :) Woohoo!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It Fits! Whew!!

Just to warn you, most of this post has absolutely NOTHING to do with sewing :)...

Sorry I've been missing in action for a few days. We had one last fling/trip with family before the summer ends and we have to "get back to business"! I'm secretly hoping for another but just can't figure out how in the world to fit it in :) hehe! We had a blast, but my stomach was churning the entire time. I'll tell you why--- I forgot my retainer. I had so many things I had forgotten the last trip (and I'm not one who forgets things) that it frazzled me so much I was meticulous about remembering everything- EXCEPT my dear retainer (I have never forgotten it before).

That may not seem like a big deal, but let me give you a little background on my mouth. I had braces growing up for 10 years- yes, I said TEN- that takes all fingers and both thumbs to count! During this time I also had 2 major jaw surgeries on top of the braces! The first time was a smashing success, but I got a one in a million joint issue and four years later, everything slipped out of place, so back to surgery it was! Don't get me wrong- I am more than grateful that I could have everything done I did or I would not be able to chew or bite today, and my parents sacrificed more than I know to get my mouth perfect! I had a retainer I wore faithfully, of course, each night. But then came my family and I was constantly sick when pregnant, and the retainer made me more nauseous. Go figure. Once I remembered to put it back in, it didn't fit. Three years ago, I found another amazing orthodontist and had braces for yet another year. That makes 11 years- still counting?? Once done, I wore that retainer no matter what.

Fast forward to our last fling of the summer- and I FORGOT my retainer- my priceless retainer. I was mortified that I would return home and it would not fit. My teeth even hurt more and more each day just thinking about not having it! It was sheer torture! After a few days and many prayers, I got home, and it went in my mouth just fine!! WHEW!! And a big thank you so that I didn't have to have braces yet again!! It may seem silly, but to me, it was a HUGE thing! You can imagine that I will never forget my retainer again :)

For the sewing side of things, I have hardly been able to have a chance to even walk in my "half room". But I did find a new **PINK** iron for my ironing- yipee!! It was one that didn't break the bank and had great reviews on boards I searched online. And did I mention it's PINK??!!!! So stinkin' cute, it is :)! I must get to sewing and ironing soon before my head blows up. hehe! Maybe tomorrow will hold a moment of sewing- keeping my fingers crossed, well, not while I sew, of course :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Warm Cool quilt along and Zig Zag updates...

I have all my hst's finally sewed, trimmed, ironed, and ready to lay out for the official "design" of the quilt. Just to find time when there is floor space and time enough to do it now :) I am going with a centered diamond pattern, so it should go together very quickly. I am nervous about making sure they all get sewed the right way once I put them in rows- I will have to be very precise in my stacking :).

Then my zigs and zags are getting sewn and pieced together with the solid Kona basil. It is looking pretty schnazzy! When I get the first row done, I promise a photo :) Lots going and lots in the works!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hi Ho a Dairy oh...

My first 3 Farmer's Wife blocks are DONE :) YAY!! It feels so good to finally get started with the months of planning I have been doing :) I am working on them in order, but only doing the ones right now that I can do the "math" for and rotary cut. I will go back when these are all done and work on the others as templates or paper piecing. I have quite a big list of those that I can do with math and started with #1. Here they are...

#1 Autumn Tints

#3 Basket

#4 Basket Weave

I am working on more orange and yellow at the moment. I love the colors I chose (red, pink, blue, green, orange, and yellow) and am so excited about all the pretty blocks to come!! I am officially "in" and am hooked! So fun!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Farmer's Wife...

I dream of living in the country, having pigs and chickens (well, maybe not pigs- turkeys would work), enjoying the tress and fresh air, and gazing at a ga-zillion stars at night :). My hubby is not too fond of the idea- he likes suburbia :). At least we live in a "smaller" town, but still not the "country" by any stretch of the imagination. There is a Walmart less than a mile away, for Pete's sake :)! I regularly threaten my kiddos that we are moving to a farm to teach them what it's like to really work and have jobs- today's easy lifestyle is just not the best way to teach the value of work. The farm is where I am when I am gazing off in the distance. Ah, to dream...
When the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along began, I thought there was no way I could ever make such wonderful and intricate blocks. But as time has passed, I have convinced myself that where there is a will, there is a way. I just gotta make this quilt- something inside of me is calling to it, to the stories, to the life. Don't get me wrong, I have to have my running water, but the simpleness of it all takes me away! So I began assembling quarter yards to fit my project. The book came, and I have started diagraming blocks that I can do with math, that will be paper pieced, etc. Most of the prints I got at 3 LQS that I heart. The last fourth I got from the sweet Natasha at SkyeReve Fabrics (yesterday's post was about her shop).

I had dreamed of getting Annie's Farm Stand from FQS for this quilt, but couldn't fork out the $250 for the 4 FQ bundles I wanted. And they don't have the option of getting quarter yard cuts. Miss Natasha and my LQS do though :). Ta-da! I'm in business :)!! So I stuck with the same colors as the Annie's Farm stand and picked out my favorites- LOTS of Japenese and Lecein!! I am just in love with the colors and softness of print. It has been so fun to prepare these piles- even a few from my stash. So here it is, all ready to go and be cut into for the gorgeous FWQAL. I have a picture in my mind as to how it will turn out; we'll see how close I am...

Now if only I could just decide which block to start with- :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oh my SkyeReve Fabrics!!

I have done a lot of online and brick and mortar shopping lately- trying to get the last couple prints for the FWQAL and backs for current quilts :). One shop that has blown me away with the selection, service, and just plain nice-ness is SkyeReve Fabrics (http://skyerevefabrics.com/)!! I met Natasha when purchasing fabric for the Rainbow Charm Swap 2- I needed some purple and she had just what I was looking for :).

Unfortunately, I oops'ed in cutting my last charm square line and needed another quarter yard. Don't ya just hate it when that happens??

Actually, it turned out to be a VERY good thing beacuse sweet Natasha got me an additional quarter yard of the fabric I needed and was so obliging to also send me a **few** of the other prints I have been dreaming of :). All in the name of an anniversary present to myself- hehe! And she even had a coupon for my first purchase!

It arrived today and I have not stopped squealing yet! Sarah Jane, Hoo's in the Forest, Sugar Flower 2011, butterflies, dots, berries, airplanes, and so much more loveliness! I am just beside myself!! I have a new best fabric friend :) Behold the yumminess:

I am giddy in the sweetness! Can hardly wait to cut into these lovelies and make something beautiful out of it all together :). Stop on over to her shop if you want some down home nice-ness and just plain incredible selection! Thanks so much Natasha- I'll be back again very soon!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bottled Rainbows Finished- Finally! :)

I have had this almost done for so long now- just waiting on me to hand sew the front of the binding... I had gotten about 2/3 of the way around and last night, gave up. I stuck it under the machine and went to town. And you know what, I LOVE that it turned out great- and so much faster :)!! Yipee Skipee! I put the ash as the bobbin and the white as the top thread and sewed from the back- since that was the hand sewing side :). The sewing line actually was hidden by the concentric square quilting, so all is very happy here!

I stuck it in the wash and love the crinkles!! I used Ann Kelle Remix in bright as the backing and Alexander Henry as the binding- I particularly love how the binding has "crayon" lines in it too :). If you remember this quilt has an image in every block that has a specific meaning to my sweet family. You can look for a heart, a shoe, a sewing machine, a purse, a flower, a cupcake, a bike, a rainbow, mountains, a hammer, a car, a sunshine, a book, a ball, a music note (an eighth note to be exact), and a board game! So there you have it- another quilt done!!! WOOHOO!