Wednesday, January 23, 2019

For Ava Maria - a little quilt

A close friend's daughter,  who was close friend's with Only in highschool, was expecting her first little one, last Fall (she is a year old now), and I wanted to make a  little quilt for her.  

I needed it to be fast and quick, but wanted to make sure it was unique for them.  Building on her love of Classic Pooh, I tried to go with basic water colors, and it took on a mind of it's own.  I certainly was not in love with it when I started, and the back of the quilt soon became the front. 
The front of the quilt

I was able to make the applique flowers on the embroidery machine and applique them on the quilt, which saved me a little time.

I love adding some details - adjectives and a Bible verse on this one, finishing up with FMQ, free motion quilting.

Little Ava Marie
In the end, I loved the quilt and almost hated to give it up, but Needless to say, she and her husband loved the quilt! Each month, they took a picture of Ava on her quilt, next to her sweet rabbit. 

Until next time!


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Under an old needle

Life has been so very busy the last 6 months, but I've been able to have some late nights doing what I love, mainly due to in-ability to sleep.  There are perks to this. I love sewing late into the night - no distractions, just me, my machine, Netflix or the Hallmark Channel, and a critter or two.   Mainly most of my creations have been working on design testing for a talented designer from Malta, Blue Moon Embroidery Designs.  It is a joy to test each one and see how beautifully they stitch out,  finding fabric to match the vision for the individual I felt each project matched ... 
Shadow wants prime attention
For long-time friend, and avid tea drinker

For Dear Daughter

I've not been using a specific quilt pattern for each pillow, but rather scrappy white strips, sewing the scrap fabric forming long strips of miscellaneous length fabric. It's really easier than planning a detailed and specific quilt design and inserting the middle design, hoping it will come out right. 
Friend whom loves Fishing
This I didn't get to finish, but it's on my shelf to finish soon.  I do have quite a few projects that need to be finished...  It seems they are piling up. 
I made a polar-fleece comfy blanket for Oldest and his new wife for Christmas.  
That's all for now, but I have much more to come.  I've been a bit behind lately on posting.  


Friday, November 23, 2018

Honestly, I struggle

Can I be honest?  It's my blog, so I need to be.  I struggle with things.  Big surprise, because most of us do.  We don't always see others in their struggles, and sometimes that is isolating. I'm not talking about those that constantly complain, but those daily struggles, or life stuff -   Aging parents, teen kids, losing weight, self esteem, forgiveness, anger, home repairs, bills, balancing life... I struggle with posting this.

I know the Bible tells us to not be anxious for anything.  I read it, hear it, underline it, and still it creeps in there.

The Honesty:  I have been seeing a Christian counselor for almost 9 months now. Sometimes, it feels like there is a bad stigma to see or need counseling.  Like we couldn't solve it, work through it, we are weak, that there are mental issues, etc, but actually that's not the case. There are many reasons that people seek counseling  - broken marriages, new job or leaving an old job, dealing with children, broken past, getting a degree, childhood trauma, PTSD, war, illnesses, being a parent, going to school, being a caregiver, loneliness, loss of child/spouse/parent, changes in life...  I've found lately that some of my closest friends have gone to counselors, and we're all really okay with that.  Just means that we realize we need someone to talk to that is more impartial.  I love that we have Christian counselors available.
When faced with difficult situations or stressful times in our lives, it’s quite common to try to bury our thoughts and emotions, to focus on something else rather than face the issue that’s driving us. It’s in these moments as well as many others when counseling is a wonderful way to cope with your thoughts, have a conversation about how to handle trigger situations, and learn skills to lead a happier and mentally, emotionally healthier life..  when counseling is a wonderful way to cope with your thoughts, have a conversation about how to handle trigger situations, and learn skills to lead a happier and mentally, emotionally healthier life
Whether you need help to cope with a mental illness or just need to speak with someone about a tough situation you’re currently facing, realize that there’s nothing wrong with you. Recognize that you love yourself enough to know you need help and seek it. - family first counseling
I love going to my counselor.  She listens to me ramble, I share normal family events:  graduations, engagements, a new dog with trauma or loss of pet, joys and celebrations, customer sewing projects, travels, solving home-ownership problems of appliances breaking, improvements, etc),  how I may challenge myself to learn something new,  teaching the cat some pretty cool tricks (shaking hangs, down, high-five), helps me to focus on the issue at hand, whether it is self-worth, anger, or even unforgiveness.  I basically pay to have someone to talk with me, without a ton of huge distractions, except her office is always cold and I take a quilt with me to keep warm.  She always offers me a bottle of water and we laugh if I have a tea with me because we call it The Hard Stuff - caffeine. She knows when I'm just worn out and when I'm struggling with my fibromyalgia. 

  Here is the honesty again.  I go because I have been upset, angry/irritated if you want to label it, with my brother, for the way that he treated our momma and the sturggles while she was going through the journey of Alzheimer's.  I had already worked through, many years ago, the un-forgiveness and anger stemming from my abusive biological father, but it's amazing how connected things are. Some things she has helped me realize, along with speaking to an aunt, is that genetics are deep, but it is not up to me to make sure other people take responsibility for their actions and words. I have discovered, that even though we had the same parents, that at the age of eleven and twelve, our parents divorced, due suspected abuse. Now this is something I did not find out about until my mom was struggling with the Alzhiermier's, and my aunt revealed it to me.  I chose to live with my mom, and my brother lived with our father.  I now realize how family dynamics and imprinting affects children, and the long-term struggles that can bring.  Our father's side of the family is riddled with abuse from generations in different forms, physical and mental, the inability to balance actual life events to where they change those events in their minds and believing them to be so true and actual, in order to cope with either not taking responsibility for their actions or lack of, that they believe that is how the event actually happened and no one can reason or prove otherwise.  Does this make sense?  I feel like I'm a puppy chasing my own tail with this one.  I really don't need you to fully understand, but I need to give voice to it.  I am not stating that my brother has all these issues, but rather... I just need to stop now.  It's the experiences of two children, born just one year apart, to the same parents, raised separately by each parent, would have such profound impact on characteristics,  mannerisms, actions, words, belief's, and choices made.  It's not an excuse for his actions and words, but it brings things into perspective, and it makes me thankful I was raising by our mother.

I will tell you, that I really feel I had an ideal childhood.  I was raised near grandparents, had wonderful experiences, lived in several states and even Japan, due to military, and have the most fond memories.  I really wouldn't trade it or change it. I was surrounded by aunts and uncles, cousins, family gatherings, laughter, and small town life.  It was like living in Mayberry (the Andy Griffith Show) without Sheriff Andy and Barney Fife, but even there, you see  generational influence.

Honey and I have repeatedly talked to our kids about generational sins of the past and how we have to make a choice to not allow them to continue and damage the future generations.  We have spoken very frankly to them about specifics, raising their awareness of dangers and the lasting impact it has on emotions, mental clarity, safety, character representing Christ, choices in spouses, and decisions we make.  We are not perfect parents, and have made so many mistakes, it's how we learn, but we want our children to be aware, be on guard, chose wisely, follow His instructions, and don't forget.

 I work on forgiveness, with the possibility of never getting an apology or righting the wrong.  It doesn't mean I forget, but I can let go. It's giving voice to my frustrations, using a source unrelated to the situation to give fresh eyes and perspective, and she has even given me home-work.  I will admit freely that I struggle greatly with self worth/esteem. The way that I allow Uninvited feelings to creep in and slap me upside the heart and present themselves in the form of loneliness, low self-worth, or left out.

One tool she has given me is a simple phrase:
                  I feel _____________  when _____________________, because ______________________. 

This gives me a moment to voice my feelings in a situation and the reason for that feeling.

One book that I've been slowly working through for a year now, is Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst, and I've learned so much about myself and those ugly feelings of hurt, pain, rejection, and insecurities.  It's not been fun, but it has been good.  I have several tools to help me recognize how I allow things to control me and my relationship with family, others, and God.

Well, it's late and I've rambled long enough to you, plus the temp in the house has dropped to 66* and all the critters and Honey are snoring.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Grateful worry

I have blog post running through my brain constantly, but they never seem to make it here.  Usually my brain has something zipping through it, especially at night when I'm trying to sleep.  I think it's part of being a mom and having to multi-task, and some inherited ADHD.  Needless to say, I have a notebook with my list with me constantly, so I can write things down when needed. I'll confess that when I do something that's not on the list, I'll write it down and then mark it off.  Tah dah!  I've gotten a lot done! 

Oldest and Mrs-to-Be
Lately, my brain has been filled with wedding stuff, mainly the rehearsal dinner, since the wedding is in less than 46 days. So my notebook has a few pages of list and diagrams of the room where we're doing the dinner, with things to do and check-off.  Items to be purchased, food that needs to be made, people that offered to help, items I don't want to forget...  Thankfully, we are not planing the whole wedding, and I have Only to help me, because I'm not great at this.  She is awesome with ideas and Pinterest is our best friend!  We've decided to do a few fun activities, if time permits, with Youngest as the Host, which will be perfect for him.  I think he is planning on doing a Roasting of Oldest, since he's not a groomsman.   I am thankful that Mrs-Oldest-to-Be has shared with me a few special moments, trying on her dress, bridal pictures, plans, etc.  Wedding shower is done, and they were very blessed during that time.  I think I'd like to get married again or renew our vow and register for gifts so we can replace our worn out stuff!  Doesn't that sound like a plan?  Maybe another time.  We have already moved Oldest in the apartment they will be sharing once they get married.  We told him, this was the third time we've moved him and next time, he needs to make some friends and enlist them to help!

We will be spending Thanksgiving with Honey's family, which is always a fun time.  We always have a card game or wahoo going on somewhere in the house, lots of food, and naps.  We can't forget the naps!   I am so thankful for oldest's nephew's wife and her organization each year, for my dear SIL and her laughter and encouragement, and for memories made.  She is a natural at organizing and  at making things so easy for the rest of us.  I can hardly wait to have all our kids in the same place and just enjoy family time.  It's the best thing in my world.  Even though I love going, I don't sleep well at all there, which makes me more tired and the brain fog sets in.

I must say that throughout our married life of 28 years, I have missed every Thanksgiving with my side of the family, except two.  Those two were great treasures and gifts to me.  My side of the family is very steeped in traditions for different gatherings, but it's also very rich in family experiences. I have the most wonderful childhood memories of family gatherings, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Lots of hugging and laughter, sampling food when no one is looking, and I miss those times. Some years more than others, but I always got Christmas with my family.  Now that Momma is gone, it is pretty much just time with our immediate family (Honey and our kids), and I don't get to see my Aunt and cousin (and her family) much.  Makes my heart sad, but I realize that I'm not alone, and those in Honey's family have also missed Thanksgivings with their families. I get it, really, but I still miss Thanksgiving.  and I'll miss Momma again this year.  This probably should be left out, but for now, here it is.

Oh, wait, the worry?  That will be the special cake I need to make, the rolls, pies, laundry, packing, checking The List to make sure I didn't miss anything, getting someone to take care of the critters since our regular person isn't available. Oh, I've lost 30 pounds, since July, but I'm afraid I'll cave and start eating things I've eliminated, due to availability, and I'll have to begin again.   Oh, did I mention the fridge started pouring water from the dispenser where we get ice?  Yeah, that's a bit off.  I'm thankful that Honey was able to take it apart and do something, and it seems to be working again.  The bad thing is the  ice filled coolers did not keep all the food frozen and my freezer is now meat free. All that space!!!  It's pretty nice to have a clean freezer again! I know, this is just stuff, and there is no need to worry about stuff, right?  Don't sweat the small stuff...


I'm still aspiring to be a good mom, but as the kids are grown and are getting married, that number is growing.  I can't be the perfect mother-in-law, but I can only do my best.  I'm bound to screw up, because I'm not perfect, but I sure hope the family will forgive me and forget when I do.  If not, I may have to dredge up some of those childhood pictures of the kids that they've begged to be forgotten. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Under my needle...

After more than five years hiatus, due to my mom's Alzheimer's, from sewing and quilting, I began again last year. I wanted to share a few things I've been working on. 

I connected with a designer from Malta, near Italy, with fantastic designs, that I have started testing designs for. I love how her embroidery designs stitch out! It’s still sitting on my shelf, folded and ready to leave my sewing room.
For Honey's nephew who has twins

For Dear Daughter and Son-in-love, using fabric from their Pinwheels and Postage Stamps wedding Quilt Four years ago.
For Friend of the Heart
For a sister of my heart, has been there for me through so many hard times and the good, yet she still chooses to be my friend.
For QL 
For The QL... who has taught me so much and challenges me to learn more and challenge myself
Under my needle on Francis, my sewing machine, is a colorful pillow with aqua, corals, browns, and grays. Working on matching quilt. 

Branching out on paper piecing with this boy quilt. I’m still working on how I’m going to quilt it. I'm thinking clouds in the sky.

That's all for now.  Have many project piling up, but I need to show you, soon,  the make-over to the now, spare bedroom, that has become my sewing room!  I love going there!  


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ring Day - She said YES!

Oldest asked his girlfriend to marry him!!!  

Exciting times ahead!!!