Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope everyone is having a very wonderful holiday season.  We've been enjoying each day and spending time where cell service is nonexistant, much less internet so blogging and instagramming went out the window!  But lots of family time was happening instead, so I hope you'll understand.  :)

We spent almost a week at my Grandparents' home in Illinois for Christmas and I was busy preparing before that.  After arriving home last night, I'm really ready to wrap up Christmas as great as it was and get busy on finishing up some old projects and cracking into some new ones.  Does anyone else feel like the New Year is the perfect time to clear out old clutter and make progress on new?'s what's on my plate:

Old Projects that need to be finished:
--d.Gs blocks for Heather.--It's Heather's month to choose our block and quilt and she picked this super rad quilt
Boy's Nonsense

in these super rad colors

I didn't start on it until now because I was a little stumped on the values.  Heather wants this to be a value quilt and I wasn't sure where to go with these colors.  So, basically I was waiting until a few other girls in the circle made some blocks to see what they did and now I'll go from there....

--Carrie's quilt--So, I promised my sister a quilt for Christmas last year. Usually I make one quilt for Christmas for someone in the family.  Well...I'm yet to finish her quilt so I didn't make one this year either.  Truth is, the top is completely done and the back is one step from being done, but JoAnn's has been out of the solid I started with and I've put it off while I ruminate on this.  This quilt will be done ASAP.

--Clothing mending--It's the boring part of sewing, but I've got a pile of shirts and pants that are missing buttons, have small snags, etc in my sewing room that I want out.  They are taking up space both physically and mentally weighing on me when I see them, so I'm going to take one afternoon and get them outta here.

New Projects to start:
--Oren's star quilt--When Emma turned 5, I promised her a quilt so when Oren turned 5 I promised him one as well.  The quilt theme matched their party theme and since he's turning 7 in March, I thought I better get on that.  Fortunately it took me that long to make Emma's as well I believe, so at least he's not waiting on me to finish it...  He had a Star Wars theme that year, so we agreed on wonky stars (one of my most favorite blocks ever) in a black, blue, silver and white color scheme.  I've got all of the fabrics ready so this one is a get busy and get done kind of project.

--Em's stargazing quilt--For my Modern Blocks Bee, I sent out Weekends fabric and directions on the Stargazing block from the book for my bee members to make for me in November.  I've received 3 blocks so far (I know, I was sad to be last to go, get every block back on time or early and then ahve to email the bee members to check on my blocks...) and am waiting on 5 more that I know are coming in eventually.  That leaves a lot of blocks for me to make...  But, this is for Emma's full-size bed, so I'm using it as an opportunity to try out a more modern arrangement instead of just the same blocks in rows...This will be an ongoing project.  Here's what I've got so far...  There will be the Kona Ash filled in the open spots between different-sized blocks as well as some bigger stars and little ones too thrown in for good measure.

--dgs quilt--I'm still waiting on 4 blocks and I've got to make mine (I waited to see what I felt the quilt needed), but then I'm going to row-up these babies and add some borders to get this quilt finished and sent out.  No more long-standing WIPs when not necessary (I hope!)

I apologize for the phone camera instagram shots, but my real camera is still packed from our trip and I didn't want to procrastinate this blog post any more.  ;)

So, that's what I'll be working on over the next week or so. What are you up to during this break as one year comes to an end and a new one begins?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Life is worth living

As a former kindergarten teacher, I spent many days loving students as if they were my own children.  And in fact, I thought of them as mine.  For 6 hours a day, they were.  I was responsible for their education, social interaction and safety during those hours each day.  99.9% of teachers at any level will tell you they feel the same way about their students.

Once I even went through a Lock-Down where there was an intruder on campus and all teachers locked our doors, turned off our lights and kept our children safely away from doors and windows, etc until the all-safe sign was given.  In our case, it was a precautionary action that was over within 15 minutes, but the fear and anxiety were very real.

With that said, I know that my experiences cannot begin to relate to what the teachers and students of CT suffered through on Friday, and I have to admit that while heartbroken for them, I am thankful to have never lived through their pain.  It is with a heavy heart that I even think about what happened on Friday.  I have watched no news coverage of it and only heard what friends and family have told me.  I have no desire to know more because I only see the faces of my former students mingled with the faces of my own two children and that is too much for my heart to bear.

Source: via Kelli on Pinterest

I typically choose to live life knowing that tomorrow is never promised and that yesterday is already done.  Regrets and wishing for tomorrow will only hamper today.  Holding on to the past, both good and bad, will only cloud the joy we could have right now.  Waiting for the future to bring us better times will only make us miss out on the small joys we could find today.  Yes, we all have bad days in life, and sometimes those bad days are weeks, months, years for some of us, but each day we choose how we view our life, our world and  each other.  I am far from perfect, believe me--I know it only too well, but I know that I am in charge of how I feel and how I treat others each day.

I pray that while the community of Newtown heals, the rest of us will look into our own hearts, our own lives, and strive to become better each day.  May we look on others with love in our hearts.  May we find ways to serve our God by serving others each day.  May we forgive ourselves of our past mistakes as we forgive others for theirs.  I pray that we can become the people we all hope to be and hopefully, in that change make this world a better place to live.

Source: via Kelli on Pinterest
I know that there are many people organizing ways to help those in Newtown right now with pillowcase drives, quilt donations, etc.  And I applaud their efforts and encourage you to share if you are inclined.  But as you're giving to these poor families that will never again be the same, don't forget about those in your own community who could use some extra love too.  With this being the holiday season, there are plenty who could use a meal, a few presents for their children, a hug, even a card.  Sometimes we may not know that someone is hurting but a smile and hello may make all the difference in their day.

Source: via Kelli on Pinterest

I'll leave you with Oren's class motto from last year which just happens to be a bible verse, but is applicable whatever your beliefs:

  Be ye kind, one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another.
Ephesians 4:32a

And I'll tell you that hearing 18 kindergartners reciting that together every day is enough to give you hope.  Let's make that hope a reality.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Celebrate Giving

Hey y'all!  I'm surviving in the Santa Shop this week though these kids are about to do me in...  7 hours of constant cash registering in a portable with no air conditioning, 20-40 kids at a time and a cartoon blaring in the can be hard for a girl to keep up her Christmas spirit!  haha  And yes, the no ac has been a beast because until about 2 this afternoon it's been in the mid 70s with about 150% humidity.  Then the rain brought the temp down like 20 degrees in an hour.  HALLELUJAH!

BUT, I do Santa Shop because I think it's so important to help kids learn the joy of giving.  Yes, getting gifts is great, not gonna lie.  But giving the perfect gift to someone and seeing their joy is just as good and sometimes even better, don't you think?  And it gives me real joy to see those (little ones especially) kids come in with their money and their list and shop for their Mama and Daddy and Nanny and Papa and sissy and bubba and even quite a few pets--it just makes my old sweaty Grinch heart melt.  ;)

And speaking of giving...Rachel the founder of do. Good Stitches decided to celebrate the joy of giving and celebrate how much good this group does.  She has more info on her blog (find it here) about this group of ladies (maybe some men..not sure on that one) around the world who work together to make quilts for charities all over each month.  It's a wonderful organization, and if you're even considering it, SIGN UP!  The friendships and creativity you'll find are icing on the cake to the joy of giving to others.

But now I have a favor to ask of you.  Rachel asked each circle (group of 10 who work together) to pick their favorite quilt made in 2012 by that circle and enter it in a little contest.  The winning quilt's circle receives a prize!!   The {Rad} Empower Circle (that's us) chose Heather's Square Pants quilt that we made blocks for in June.  This quilt is such a beauty and was my choice for top quilt from our group.  Absolutely amazing.

do. Good Stitches Square Pants Quilt
Square Pants Quilted by Heather.  Blocks made my the Empower circle of do. Good Stitches

So, I'm asking that you head over and vote.  If you'd like to vote for us, we'd surely appreciate it, but vote for whichever one speaks to you.  Only one thing--voting ends tomorrow (12/13) @ midnight!  So, vote early and vote often as I always say...  ;)

One other thing, Rachel has set up contests for all individual quilts for the entire group and one for anyone who's made charity quilts in 2012.  So, if you're not involved with d.Gs (yet), but you do share your quilts, please enter, maybe you'll win.

We can all do more for others.  We can all find time to share with others.  Maybe quilting's not your thing and that is fine.  Maybe you just don't have time to commit to something like this right now--that's fine too.  But we can all find time to share a smile, buy someone lunch, pick up something someone has dropped for them, give up a seat on a bus/train/bench, etc.

Even when you don't feel like it, share.  Give.  Bless others.  In the long run, you'll bless yourself.  :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

And the winner is.....

Hi everyone! I hope you're all having a good weekend. Sorry to be late with the giveaway winner but we went out of town for the weekend and I didn't have time to post the results.

I found all of your color loves and dislikes/lack of stash very interesting and tallied all of the results which I'll share as soon as I get a chance.

But as for the winner....out of 486 (WOW!!!) comments, is #352....

Congratulations Julie.  I've emailed you and will get you your $25 gift card to the Knotted Thread Etsy Shop as soon as I hear back.

Thank you so much to each and everyone of you who stopped by, commented and especially those that became a follower.  To know that I'm not on this journey alone--to know there are people reading my ramblings and commenting really makes my day.

I'll be back tonight or tomorrow with the results of my impromptu survey on color choices...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Finish

So, I have a finish this week.  Just one since I've been eating, breathing and sleeping Santa Shop for school next week.  But one is better than I thought I'd have.

I finished up Em's new dress that I made to test Jenny's latest pattern.  This one is the Com-PLEAT-ly Perfect Peasant Dress and it's a quick and easy sew.

I made the size 7/8 for Emma in her favorite shade...purple...uggghhhh.  Seriously, I looked through all of the girly patterns I've tested for Jenny and 3 of the 5 for Emma were in light  purple.  Seriously...

This dress calls for pleated sections to be added to the sleeves and hemline.  I didn't have a lot of solids to match this plaid, so we went with pink on the sleeves and just continued the plaid along the hemline.  Oh, and I'm just going to add--my plaids all matched up along the seamlines--booyah!

The only change I made to the pattern was to lessen the number of pleats along the bottom.  I did my hemline just like my sleeves and only after I was finished pinning did I realize Jenny called for twice that many pleats.  But, I liked how it looked and thought it might make the dress a little more "grown-up: with less pleats, so I left it.  Plus, I didn't have to fix it.  ;)

Emma loves the dress and was happy to model it.  I think the fabric she chose lends itself slightly to looking like a nightgown in this style dress, but the boots helped dress it up quite a bit.  A belt would be cute with it too.

I definitely recommend this dress if you're looking for a simple dress for your daughter Size 10 and under.  Jenny's patterns are easy to follow and use common sense to construct unlike many of the commercial patterns.

I'm linking up with Amanda Jean since I've actually accomplished something.  ;)

p.s.  I am in no way monetarily compensated when I test sew patterns.  I do receive the pattern for free to test it for errors, ease in sewing, instructions, etc, but all of my opinions are completely my own.

p.p.s  PLEASE someone tell me what I can do to make my pictures not appear blurry when inserted into blogger.  These are saved at a normal web size and sometimes appear fine and other times, blogger pixelates them weird.  Any advice??

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WIP Wednesday

This will be quick today because I'm now busy ripping out my mistake before I finish up today's project and head to town to run errands and prepare for Santa Shop next week...  Oh the joys of PTO co-chair behind-the-scenes goodness.

Today I'm making a new dress for Emma.  My friend Jenny is at it again with a new pattern.  This time she's come up with a pleated peasant dress.  The sleeve and dress hemlines have pleats to add to the cuteness.

I let Em go through the stash over the weekend and she picked this purple plaid.  I never would have guessed...

So, I've got the pleated edges added to the sleeves and body section.  I've got the sleeves sewn to the front of the body.  I had the sleeves sewn to the back of the body only to realize I'd sewn the body inside out!  DOH!

So, I'm spending a little time with my seam ripper before I sew the back back on and sew up the side seams.  Then I've just got to finish the neckline and DONE!

I'll try to get some pictures this afternoon to show off tomorrow...

And since I'm actually in-progress with something, I'm linking up.  Head over to Lee's to see what everyone else is up to this week.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mini Photo Shoot

WOW!!!  I am amazed at the turnout so far for the SMS Giveaway (you can still enter here).  Thank you so much to all of you who've stopped by, commented and especially all of the new followers!  I hate that I haven't had time to respond to each comment, but know that I am reading every one and I hate not starting up a conversation with each of you.

Whew, I've said it a million times, but this blogging community blows me away.  So many people getting together to give and share with each other.  It's rad (haha--that's for my dGs circle girls) to say the least.

Now...I don't have any sewing content for you today, so feel free to head to your next blog and come back tomorrow when I promise my sewing machine and it's work will be back to the regularly scheduled programming.  BUT...remember how I said Chris bought me a new lens for my birthday?  Well, I took it out this afternoon and snapped a few pics of the kiddos for our Christmas cards.  Yep, haven't even thought about those yet.

I am thrilled with what I got back.  I was planning on black-and-whiting (I just made that word up you know) whatever photo I liked best for our cards so I didn't worry about their color matching at all.  Plus, we've done the "everyone matching" look before.  This year I thought I'd just take a real (staged) picture of the kids and use it.  You know--who we really are, only with our faces clean, hair brushed and smiling politely.

These are some of what I got.  I'm in love!

I don't know why these last two are fuzzy...darn you blogger!

And I saved a few I didn't show you yet.  So, now I've got to decide if I want to B&W one of them, or go with it in color or take more tomorrow in colors that at least semi-go together.  Oh, and fix Oren's belt since it's all kind of twisted and his shirt's only tucked in in the front.  But, whatever--that's how he rolls.

I hope y'all are having a terrific Tuesday and I'll see ya tomorrow!!

Monday, December 3, 2012


Who doesn’t love a giveaway?  Not this girl.  Y’all know I love to share.  Well, some things….  So, let’s get right down to it.  I know everyone participating in Sew, Mama, Sew’s Giveaway Day (and if you’re not, you really should) has a bunch of places to visit today and throughout the week, so I’m not going to take a lot of your time or make you jump through hoops.  I know what Giveaway Day is like on a dial-up connection, okay?!?

Giveaway Day

So…I am giving away a $25 gift certificate to the Knotted Thread Etsy shopJennifer, the owner, is a great girl.  She recently moved to Hawaii (I know, let’s all hate her just for a minute…okay) and decided that change brings more change and she’d open up the fabric shop she’d been dreaming about.

She’s building up more and more inventory each month, including

NOTTING HILL by Joel Dewberry
SIMPLY COLOR by Vanessa Christenson
Simply Color Charm Pack

SMALL DOTS and CHEVRONS from Riley Blake
1/2 yard Bundle Riley Blake Small Dots - Complete Line

Fat Quarter Bundle Riley Blake Medium Chevrons

There's also some Terrain, Ruby (by Bonnie and Camille) flannel, and some pre-made items like coasters, makeup rolls and even a quilt or two.  

So, how can you win $25 to spend in Jennifer’s shop?  Just tell me your favorite color of fabric to buy.  I find that I have a TON of yellows, blues (especially aquas) and reds.  But not as much oranges or purples.  And I have an on-again, off-again love with greens, blacks and browns…

So, tell me your favorite color(s) to buy and you’re entered to win.  I love me some followers (so I’m not just talking/typing to myself), so if you’re a follower (new or old), let me know and you get another entry too.  J

The contest will be open till Friday, Dec 7 at 8 p.m. and then I’ll use Mr. to pick a winner.  Winners will be notified through email so make sure I can get a hold of you if you’re a no-reply blogger.  Otherwise I’ll have to choose another winner.

Good luck on all your goodie-winning adventures this week!