Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas - New Year - and Stuff

Merry belated Christmas and an early Happy New Year everyone!

This has been an unusually busy Christmas season for our family.  We have been so blessed.  We had two amazing "Christmas Miracles" that literally saved our Christmas.  Through the generosity of others we were able to give our children gifts this year.  Because of the medical issues we had earlier in the year and a great deal of time where both my husband and I were out of work we didn't see any way to buy gifts this year.  We had decided that the gifts our children would get from the grandparents would just have to be enough.  Then a few weeks before Christmas we received very unexpected envelopes with the money we needed to get gifts for the kids and take Craig out to dinner for his birthday.  So... To our Christmas Angels, Thank you!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
(Check it out!  I made a collage - That's a first.  I used Picasa.)

During the Christmas break I finished a quilt.  I can't show it to you yet (shhhh it's a gift). But I will post pictures soon!

I received this wonderful thought in an email and thought I would share it with you!

A man decided that he would change the world.
But, he wasn’t successful.
So he decided to change the country.
But, he wasn’t successful.
So he decided to change his community.
But, he wasn’t successful.
So he decided to change his street.
But, be wasn’t successful.
So he decided to change his family.
But, he wasn’t successful.
So he decided to change himself.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our Needy Kitty

I have established in the past that I have the neediest cat ever.  Spooks demands attention.  When he wants attention he will force his way into your space and keep at it until you give him the love he believes he deserves at the time.

A number of years ago, I fed Spooks when I woke up.  My alarm clock would go off in the morning and I would hit snooze.  The next time I would go to hit snooze that darn cat would be sitting on my alarm clock.

When he feels like I have been on the computer, or sewing machine, or reading, he will lay across my keyboard, lay across the top of the sewing machine, or nudge my book repeatedly.  He is truly a riot.  He shares his love pretty equally.  None of us get away with ignoring him and we all get the demanding head bumps, and the invasion into our space.

Today it was CJ's turn.  He was trying to work on his homework.  Now you should understand, homework with CJ is a pretty difficult struggle.  He fights, and cries and makes it about 20 times harder than it needs to be.  Today, Spooks decided to help.  It had been a very stressful hour trying to get a double sided page of math finished.  We had moved into my room where there are less distractions.  Suddenly Spooks invaded.

Remarkably enough, even though he was laughing at the intrusion, CJ settled down and finished the last few problems without any fuss.  I sure love my needy kitty.

It isn't uncommon for animals to help children with developmental difficulties, and special needs.  On the right side of my blog you will see a button for "Canine 4 Kennon".  Kennon is a wonderful little boy, and my friend.  Please take a moment and read a letter written by Kennon's parents (they're our friends too).  Kennon has qualified for a service dog.  This service dog will be trained to deal with Kennon's specific needs.  These animals are highly, and specifically trained, and they are very expensive.  Please read about Kennon and consider making a donation.  Any amount would be helpful.

Thank you!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Challenge

The quilt shop, The Gingerbread House, that hosts our quilt guild, peace by piece, sponsors a quilt challenge every year.  Each year Karen, the owner of The Gingerbread House, chooses a pattern, a color way, or certain fabric to be used in the challenge.  We receive the challenge at the October meeting and we have until the December meeting to submit our piece.

This year we received what Karen called, a crayon box, eight different fabrics (fat eighths) rolled up into crayons and packaged in a bag together.  The rules... We had to use each fabric.  That's it!  We could make anything, use any additional fabric, use any pattern.  We just had to use every fabric.

Now... I swear I took a picture of the crayon box and the fabric, but I can't find it!  And since my computer has died since we got it who know what happened to it!

I decided right away to make this a true challenge.  Not only did I want to meet the requirements of the challenge, but I wanted to make it a personal challenge by doing something I'd never done before.

I decided that I would make a "cross-stitch" or "postage stamp" quilt.  I found this really cute cross stitch pattern online and started to process of transferring to a grid for quilt.

I was using Excel to convert this too a quilt pattern.  So, when I lost my computer I lost this image and the excel file I was working on.  So I needed to go back to the drawing board.

I found several ideas.  I thought a bow tie would be cute.  I could do quit a few of them to make a table topper.

But this is just didn't meet the "do something I've never done" part of my personal challenge.

Then a saw a beautiful miniature quilt of falling leaves.  I thought, hmmm, that would work, I could have a background, a border, and six falling leaves.

This is not the miniature, I don't have a picture of that but you get the idea.  Right?
I felt like it met both the quilt challenge and my personal challenge.  I'd never made a miniature quilt before, nor had I ever taken a pattern and re-sized it.

I knew I had a pattern in a book somewhere so I started looking!  While I was looking I found a very different but perfect pattern.  I found it in a long forgotten book.  A friend gave it to me a number of years ago.  It has old quilt patterns "modernized".  The problem is that this was a used book she found at a garage sell, so all of the paper templates were missing.  This particular pattern basically said, cut a certain amount of template A, a certain amount of template B, and piece using photo for placement.  

Now that's a challenge!  My husband thought it would be perfect.   It shows the fabrics beautifully!  I've never done anything like this before, basically designing a quilt from a photo, using Y seams, and cutting 60 degree angles.  

I chose to make a 7 Sisters table topper.

Here are the eight fabrics.  I am very pleased!  I think it turned out great!  I found a boarder and binding fabric from the same line as the center star.  

What ya think?  I am very happy!!!!!

I also finished my Christmas Advent Calendar.  You can find the tutorial for this one at the Moda Bake Shop.  I gave one of these to my sister, my brother, and my mom.  Their calendars actually have numbers on them.  But I didn't end up having enough for mine.  By next year I will get numbers on it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Finally! I'mmmmmmmmmmm baaaaaaack!

Shortly after my last blog post my laptop was knocked off of my kitchen table.  Two of my little darlings were fighting over who got to be first on Polar Bowler and they knocked the table on the floor.  Trust me it wasn't a good night for anyone!

I was so angry!  I had a really hard time not loosing it!  I needed the kids to understand that their behavior was wrong and was going to cause a lot of problems for us.  They needed to understand that their behavior had consequences, and not just for them.  But I also wanted them to understand that they were more important to me than the computer and there is nothing they can ever do that would make me stop loving them.  That was a very difficult balancing act for me.  I hope I didn't fail.

Luckily I had insurance on it so I was able to get it rebuilt for a small fee, but I had to send it out to be fix.  I did not have the computer backed up so I was freaking out!  I was devastated to think of all the things on the computer that I could never replace.  Luckily, we were able to get all of the files off of the laptop.  The only thing I lost was programs, like Microsoft Office.  So very little is lost, I just have to get everything from the back-up files onto the new computer.

I don't have everything running yet and I can't find my Microsoft Office disk so I'm afraid I'm going to end up having to buy that again.  ARGH!

I did get a lot done though while my computer was gone getting fixed.  I'll blog more about that later!

I am sooo happy to have my computer back.  I have been offered the chance to do some of my work from home so that I don't have to drive the 65 miles to work everyday.  I think it will be a great way for me to be home a little more.

Monday, October 31, 2011

October UFO Finished

As you may recall, my quilt group, peace by piece, is having a monthly UFO challenge.  The random number drawn was #1.  So, I had to complete the piecing on my "Happy" charms quilt.

I had two of these charm packs, Happy by Me & My Sister for Moda Fabrics.  I love Me and My Sister and MODA fabrics.  LOVE THEM!!!!!!

I had seen Missouri Star Quilt Company's Disappearing Nine Patch Tutorial and decided I would give it a try with these charms.  I really wanted to add a solid to each of the nine patch centers so that I would have the smallest squares all the same, I just wasn't sure what color to use.

Then I suddenly remembered the beautiful bundle of hand dyed fat eighths I got a while back from Dye Candy.  The oranges and yellows worked perfect and I had some great yellow solid left over from a different project.  I think it turned out great!

I used two charm packs plus the solid squares in the middle.  I ended up with 10 nine patches so I still have one extra nine patch that I will either put on the back or make into a pillow.

The quilt measures 42 in x 42 in.

The sun was going down behind the quilt and makes it kind of look like stained glass.

Zachary flew past on his broom stick while I was taking this picture.
  Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dream a Little Dream With Me...

I have the strangest dreams.  I'm serious, wacky, wacky, dreams.  I think Dream interpreters would have a field day playing around in my head.

When I was pregnant with my kids the dreams got wackier and wackier.  As a matter of fact... the dreams where usually my first indication that I might be pregnant.  But, before your imagination gets carried away, I'm not pregnant!

Two weeks ago I had such a vivid and interesting dream that it has stuck with me.  I am toying around with the idea of writing a children's book based on the dream.  Not to give too much away but it involved Beluga Whales and a great adventure.  I'll keep you posted on those developments.

The dream I had last night has kept me chuckling all day!  I don't even think ya need to look hard for the hidden meaning in this one!

I was driving my car on way to work.  There are often deer on my route to work so I have to be vigilant when I drive.  I was driving along, listening to music, enjoying the beautiful sunrise, when suddenly a massive math equation jumped right in front of me. 

I'm not kidding when I tell you it nearly gave me a heart attach.  I literally leaped right out of my bed.  It was 4:27 am and I still had an hour before my alarm would go off but I was so terrified that I couldn't get back to sleep.

Yep!!!!! I hate math.

Sweet Dreams all!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Another Finish

I finally finished the Race Toward the Future quilt.  It was a graduation gift for my daughters good friend.  She loved it.  She was so cute.  I missed the best picture but I still got a good one.

The quilt really isn't as wonky as it looks in this picture.  I'm not sure what happened.

Happy Girl!
I literally finished the binding four minutes before she arrived.  Talk about cutting it close.  Yikes.

I'm posting over at Fabric Tuesday!  Click on the button in the right sidebar to see the amazing fabric projects these bloggers make.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Adversities... We all have them.  We all face them.  We watch helplessly as loved ones struggle through them.  Some are small, some overpowering.  Some are very public, visible, and noticeable.  Some are very private, personal, unseen and unknown by others.

I often wish I didn't have to face adversity.  More often I wish those that I love didn't have to face adversity.  As a wife and mother it breaks my heart to watch my husband and children struggle through some pretty difficult things. 

I'm a fixer. I always want to fix the things that are broken, or causing my loved ones pain. It is very difficult for me to acknowledge that there are many, many things that I cannot fix. However, I know that, through our faith, our Father in Heaven and our Savior, Jesus Christ can fix all things.

During the last General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Elder Richard G. Scott shared an amazing message called, The Power of Scripture.  While listening to his message I was reminded that I need to turn more to my Father in Heaven when things are tough.  I was reminded that I need to search the scriptures for the answers I seek and the comfort I need.  Elder Scott said;
"Scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate our minds and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high... Scriptures can calm an agitated soul, giving peace, hope, and a restoration of confidence in one’s ability to overcome the challenges of life. They have potent power to heal emotional challenges when there is faith in the Savior."
While I have watched the deep and difficult struggles of my beloved husband, I have often asked, "Lord, where is thy hiding place?"  As I turned to the scriptures for answers the following passage penetrated my heart and calmed my agitated soul. 
"Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend."  Mosiah 4:9
I know that the Lord loves us and that He knows all things and that my knowledge is limited.  I know that Jesus Christ overcame all.

Adversity is necessary for our growth and with the Lord's help we can overcome.

Thomas Paine once said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly;”

Last Goodie! or Yeah Me!

I am so excited!  When I got home this evening there was a package in the mail for me, all the way from Canada!  I got my second Goodie Swap package today, Yeah me!!!!!! 

Leslie from Lesquilts sent me this beautiful package!  Leslie made me this beautiful mug rug!  I love batiks.  I wish the picture was better so you can see how lovely the colors are.  And check out that beautiful fussy cut butterfly.

She included this lovely sewing roll.  It is so very cute, it even has a wee (as my British friends would say) pin cushion/needle holder in one of the pockets.  She even sent me a lovely little wool pin cushion.  Seriously, so cute!

She wrapped the whole thing up in a beautiful fat quarter!
Thank you so much Leslie!  I love everything!

Friday, October 7, 2011

What a week...

I know it's been a little while, but man, it's been a crazy week or so.

At the end of last week CJ finished all of his antibiotic infusions!  YAHHHHHH!!!  I can't even tell you how excited we all were, especially CJ, to be done with that!  I cannot say enough about how wonderful the staff at the hospital were.  After 28 infusions we had gotten to know the nurses and paramedics really well.  They are seriously the best!  They even let CJ take a look at the ambulance.  He was pretty excited! 

Is that one happy kid or what?
On a side note:  I really need to learn how to make a photo mosaic/collage.  I'm just sayin'.

On Friday I tried to make a Hot Air Balloon wall hanging. This stupid thing was harder than I expected it to be.  We all decided the red strip in the middle is way to distracting, and the brown basket just didn't seem to work at all. Zachary thought it looked like the Hindenburg.  Since the Hindenburg caught fire and crashed, resulting in the now infamous..."Ohhhh the humanity" this project is definitely a bust.
Last weekend my family and I, along with the countless others, had the opportunity to watch, listen, and/or read the October General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Twice a year, April and October, the church holds a world wide General Conference.  Speakers are chosen from the leaders of the church.  It is a wonderful experience.  I love to hear from men and women who are so strong in the faith and sacrifice so much for the Lord.  I love to hear from the Apostles and especially the Prophet.  So many wonderful and amazing messages that help me to feel energized, refocused, and ready to try a little harder. 
President Thomas S. Monson
I also got a job, well, a contract position.  I will be working three days a week, about 80 minutes from home.  It isn't the ideal situation but it is a good compromise from the other possibilities.  I'm home every night and able to help out as much as possible.  The schedule is a little flexible so I can make adjustments for Craig's doctor's appointments and the like.  It should be interesting but it is going to mean I won't be quilting or blogging as much as I would like.  But I am home at night and it's only three days a week.

To make up for lost time during the week I sewed my little heart out today.

I finished the top from the paper piecing class.  I still need to quilt and bind it but the top is finished.

The binding will be the dark purple in the little stars.  But I love the pink so much I'm almost sorry I didn't go with the pink.  The colors are really beautiful.  I wish I had a better camara so you could see it.
 I started working on an Advent Calendar.  I found the tutorial for the project here.  The top is almost finished, I just need to make the applique numbers for each day.  This was super easy and I think it turned out really cute.  The flying geese are pockets so you can add whatever little thing you want for your daily surprise.  I'm going to have a little gift and a little spiritual activity for the family.  I'm really hoping it will help our family to remember Jesus Christ throughout the month of December.

We had the drawing for the October UFO project.  They drew #1, so my UFO project for October is...
"Happy Charm Quilt"  The top has to be completed by our next meeting which is the first Thursday in November.  :)

I was actually kind of productive today!  Go Me!