Sunday, July 28, 2013


Sorry y'all...but I'm busy this week.

I'll be back with your shortly.  :)

Take Care!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A trip to remember

**This is a personal post and not sewing/craft-related at all.  It is also picture heavy.  Feel free to move on if you're only here for the amazing sewing content.  ;)**

Last week was our vacation to the midwest that I had mentioned before.  We'd planned to drive to St. Louis to see the Arch, take in a Cardinals game, pick up my MIL at the airport and then visit my Grandparents in Illinois for their 60th wedding anniversary.

On the way home, we'd planned to drop my MIL back off at the airport and then take the kids to Mammoth Cave in KY and visit Chattanooga, TN to see Rock City, Ruby Falls, etc.

Our anniversary is 2 days after my Grandparents' and their 50th was our first.  We'd come to celebrate then too and then visited these places, so we thought it'd be fun to recreate the trip with the kids this time.

But...if you've ever heard the saying "If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans," I've got proof it's true.

We left early Monday morning and drove all day.  The driving was great until we hit mid Kentucky.  Then my Tahoe decided to just die on the side of the interstate.  It cranked back up after a few minutes and then died twice more in downtown St. Louis, always cranking back up after a few minutes of sitting.  Tuesday morning Chris left it at a nearby car shop and we set out to explore the Arch.

It was really neat.  The museum was great, full of American history.  We found out that Emma is a bit claustrophobic and did not enjoy the trip up or the viewing area from up top AT ALL.  She seriously was clutching Chris' leg and almost crying all the way to the top.  Oren, on the other hand, thought it was AWESOME and wanted me to take pics of EVERYTHING!!  :)

Word of advice--do the Arch first thing in the morning.  We got there right after it opened and didn't wait for anything.  We left about 2 hours later and there were hundreds, yes hundreds of people just waiting in line to get into the museum!

On a sidenote--I picked out my kitchen wall colors and Chris finally agreed.  I'd been wanting to boldly paint my large kitchen/dining room walls a Tiffany Blue, but our bedroom is right off the kitchen and it's painted in light aquas and Chris wasn't sure that would go together well.  But after seeing the old capitol building with it's patina-ed dome he was sold.  So...thanks to St. Louis for our future painting projects!

That night we picked up the Tahoe (they swore there was nothing wrong with it and didn't charge us--ummm, thank you??) and walked over to the Cardinals game.  It was awesome!  We had GREAT seats, the crowd was awesome, and the home team was on fire!

Wednesday we picked up my Mother-in-Law from the airport and drove the 2 hours to my Grandparents' house in rural Illinois.  Yes, my blog is called Small Town Stitcher, but we got nothing on the area my Grandparents call home.  They have about a 30-minute drive to a town the size of mine.  I have a 30-minute drive to Gainesville, a big college-town.

Thursday evening, the whole family (4 generations) got together for a wiener roast and s'mores.  I am always reminded how important family is when we're all together.  My cousins and I have basically always lived 1000 miles apart, and yet, as children we were each others' favorite playmates.  We don't see each other but once or twice a year, but time and distance doesn't matter.  Family always comes first.

Friday evening we headed to my Aunt's house to eat supper there and let the kids play.  Around 8, Oren came out of the basement crying and holding his arm.  He'd fallen and hurt himself.  If you don't know Oren--he's a tough kid.  He'll usually shake off an injury and go on playing, but after 10 minutes he was still crying and holding his arm to him.  So we headed to the local ER.  And yep--he broke not one both both bones in his arm below the wrist and they said he'd need to have it set by an orthopedic surgeon when we got home.  They splinted it up and gave us some meds and sent us on our way.

So Saturday brought a subdued Oren, me with a stomach bug, our 11th anniversary, a party for my Grandparents' and questions about what to do about our trip.  We decided to just enjoy the day and leave early Sunday morning.  Chris had to drop his mom back off at the airport early Sunday morning and we'd just leave from there to come home.

My grandparents are an example for all.  Through 60 years of farming, working, raising children, and loving each other, they've managed the hard times and the easy.  They are loved by all who know them and I couldn't ask for a better example of how to live my life.

Sunday morning we started home.  After dropping off my MIL, we stopped for breakfast and within 20 minutes, the day got longer.  Oren got sick.  We don't know for sure if it was the Tylenol 3, a migraine, the stress of his arm and the trip or the stomach bug I had, but I imagine it was a bit of all of it.  He threw up all over himself (except for his splinted arm which he managed to avoid bless his sweet heart!)

We had to pull over at a gas station to clean out the back seat and strip him naked in the parking lot and clean him up and change him.  He ended up puking and sleeping alternatively for most of the rest of the trip home.  But I tell you that sweet kid never once complained or got upset.  It was a long 16 hours, and we were all thrilled to get home.

So we cancelled our trip to Mammoth Cave and Chattanooga.  We told the kids the family comes first and those places aren't going anywhere.  Both of them were great about understanding and Emma has been so good about helping Oren out with this broken arm and all the attention he's got for it.

We got in with the ortho on Monday morning and the angulation of the bones had fixed so they felt a cast was enough.  He's got a waterproof cast on until this Thursday (at least).  We go back then to check his progress.  There was no need for surgery or putting him under to set the bones.  It was a huge weight off all of our shoulders.

I have to say in all that happened, God was with us.  So many things could have been so much worse, but through it all, we were reminded how much He loves us.  I know this will be a trip we never forget--through both highs and lows, it was memorable to say the least.  :)

And that concludes the personal content...I'll be back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow with a WIP post!

Monday, July 22, 2013


Hi everyone!  We're back from vacation, actually we've been back for a week.  We had some unexpected things come up, if you follow me on instagram, you already know, but I'm going to post about our trip tomorrow.

Today I wanted to share with you my latest blocks, completed since I've been home and before we go off again to the beach for a week.

First up, I made a little 6-inch block for a friend who's having a bit of a rough time lately.  A few of us decided to make something to brighten her days using a rainbow color palette.  Lots of color always makes me smile.

I chose this free pp pattern I found on Craftsy.  I think a mini quilt of this block would be fun.  But I'll settle for the one now and add the mini to my to-do list...

In That Stash Bee, Kelsey asked for Arkansas Traveler blocks from Lee's  free tutorial in a scrappy style ala Rita.  I've made these blocks before with no issue.  But these two blocks for Kelsey were Issues.  First, Debbie warned us to check the size of our templates to make sure we'd get 12.5" blocks.  I did.  But I did not get 12.5" blocks.  I reprinted for block 2 before I realized it.  I tried to take block 1 apart to enlarge it but being the diligent quilter I am (haha), I'd trimmed all of my seams to a quarter-inch and didn't have enough seam allowance to make the blocks bigger so I had to start over.

I ended up sewing a few things wrong here and there, stopping multiple times to be Mom, cutting out new diamonds to make block 1 over again and wanting to hurl my machine through the window before I got these blocks done.

Every once in awhile we have these experiences, right?  Chalk it up to summertime family-togetherness.  When the kids and Chris go back to school and I have 6.5 hours every now and then of quiet, I'll make loads of progress...  Besides, if everything went perfect all of the time, how would we appreciate it so much when it does??

So, these are my latest finishes.  I was SOOO glad to get them done, packaged and mailed out this morning.  Phew!

It's raining here, but instead of sewing, I'm off to clean house.  Vacation, rainy days and an injured dog that has to come in quite a bit lead to a messy house and a tired Mama.

Does anyone hear the schoolbells ringing yet??

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Random 4th of July

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY to my American friends!  Ours is pretty low-key here.  We're headed to watch fireworks tonight, but the day we've spent together at home as we have big vacation plans coming up next week.

Why do they grow so fast???

As I mentioned last week, I'm on a mission to empty my WIP baskets.  In the last week, I've
  • sewn straps on a dress for Emma.
  • made a baby dress out of that poor excuse for a skirt
  • hemmed and narrowed the shoulders on a cordoroy dress my Grandmother had made and never finished that fits me perfectly
  • patched an old pair of Chris' jeans
  • Sewn together a bodice and skirt on a dress I made 2 summers ago and never finished.  I've just got to add in the zipper and bottom hem and it's wearable.

Finishing all of these projects feels good.  I can now see the basket which is a huge improvement from this time last week.  And I've kept my sewing room clean by picking up after myself each time I come in here.  New leaf??  Maybe--I'm liking it.  :)

What have we been doing outside of my sewing room?

  • I've run a lot.  I finished my 56 miles in June and am working on 50 miles in July.
  • Chris is building the cutest little rocking chair!  He's got it all apart now while he's finishing it but I can't wait to show you guys the finished chair.  Here's a sneak peek from last week.

  • Stayed inside A LOT--it's rained most of the last 4 days.  Yep--4 days.  Seriously, it rained for almost all of the daylight hours on Monday.  My driveway was its own mudpit.  I could have charged admission to some local rednecks for a fun afternoon.
  • Oren got glasses.  He looks so cute!  He was having trouble seeing things clearly from far away.  I'd asked him about 20 times, but I guess he didn't realize it until I was with him and could say I can read that--can you?
I seriously just want to squeeze him every time he puts these on!!  I love this little face!!!!

    • And I found this shirt for sale on GroopDealz...look familiar??  Sorry the pic is so small, the deal is expired so I can't get the pics to blow up any bigger.  The front looks exactly like the shirt I made for Em!

    And what do we have coming up?

    • Possibly no fireworks because it is coming down here again...  Seriously, like I just about jumped out of my skin the thunder crashed so loudly.
    • A family reunion next week for my Grandparents` 60th wedding anniversary.
    • Chris and I will be celebrating our 11th on the day of the party.
    • My Dad will celebrate his 60th birthday the next day.  (We're celebrating my Mom's parents...)
    • We're taking the kids to St. Louis on the way to see a Cards game and visit the Arch.
    • We're taking them to Mammoth Cave and Rock City on the way home.

      Lots going summer always goes.  What are you up to today?  Do you have big plans for the 4th (if you're American) and what projects are you working on?? 

      Linked up with Cindy
      Live A Colorful Life

      Monday, July 1, 2013

      Ready to be admitted?

      I think I've mentioned that I signed up for Deborah's Summer Dress E-Course.  I always wanted to visit Whipstitch when it was open in Atlanta and I've considered going on her retreats in the past.  BUT...I live at least 5-6 hours from Atlanta, so driving up alone just to do some shopping or sewing just hasn't quite worked...

      But, I am loving this e-course.  We're learning to make 4 dresses and each lesson comes with a video from Deborah.  She talks us through the next step, gives tips and then assigns us homework to finish before the next lesson.

      I am, of course, behind in the lessons, but have finished project number one.

      I give you the Modern BabyDoll Dress.

      I wasn't sure if this dress would work for me.  Deborah says its a silhouette that flatters all women, but I tend to have trouble with empire-waisted dresses.  They tend to make people want to ask me when I'm due.  I blame my big chest for making the rest of the dress float out and hide my svelte figure underneath...hahahahaha

      As all women know, being mistaken for growing a baby is no fun.

      But, it was the first dress so I gave it a go.  I laid out a few fabric options and asked Chris his opinion.  He rarely cares what I sew (not in a bad way, it's just not his thing) and rarely has an opinion on fabric although he always listens to me drone on and on about it.  He picked this green woven fabric I got on sale at Walmart one day.  I bought it as a muslin fabric that could also be a cute summer dress.  I had visions of a sleeveless smocked sundress in mind for it, but he said he liked it and I figured it was cheap, so if the dress did in fact make me look 6-months pregnant I wouldn't be out a fortune.

      I have to tell you that Deborah designed a great pattern.  The kimono sleeves give the dress a great look and make it so easy to construct the bodice.  And that v-neck on the back...LOVE IT!  She gave great tips on construction as well.  All of the side seams are french seams, so the dress is so pretty inside as well.  :)

      I did change it up in a few places.  I accidentally cut the pattern out wrong so I had to sew my front bodice together.  I was going to put a line of lace (vintage and a spot-on color match by the way) there but last night it didn't look like you could see the seam.  In the light of day you can, but oh well.  And as for the bias tape neckline finish--I used vintage tape there as well instead of making any and it was a bigger size.  So I decided I liked the look of it peeking out and left it just showing.

      But when I got it finished, I wasn't sure if I liked it.  So I'm leaving it up to you...


      Chris swears that it doesn't and looks nothing like it.  I can't tell.  I think it does, I think it doesn't, I'm not sure.

      So, level with me.  I can take it.  There was always a chance of this dress not working out anyway.

      Would you wear this dress outside of your home?  Or do I look like I need to be admitted to the psych ward if nowhere else?

      Does anyone else hate having their picture taken and get tired of trying to smile sweetly??

       p.s.  It has literally been raining here for most of the last 12 hours, so please excuse my porch pictures, my crazy hair (there's just no sense in doing your hair when the humidity is above 100% with no end in sight), and the dark lighting to these pics.  I tried to touch them up without changing the color of the gown dress...whatever!