Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday Musings....

What a weekend!!! Saturday afternoon, Don and I headed to Columbus to visit Half Price Books and to venture in to Target for a toy for Alexxis's first birthday. It was a stressful trip for me as we had some more repairs made on the old Jeep earlier in the week... new tyrod {sp?} and universal joints, checked the fluid level in the transfer case, and supposedly had the stabilizer bar look at and I had assumed fixed. It turns out that, nope, still have the same problem... between 55-65 mph, hit a good size bump with both front tires and the entire front end begins shaking vigorously! It is enough to scare me to death, I just Thank God that Don was driving! It stops shaking after you break and don't even attempt to set the cruise control. We made out to St. Rt. 23 and just over the St. Rt. 95 overpass when it acted it AGAIN! Dang it! We just can't win with this vehicle.. Had I been driving, we'd have done a U-turn through the median and came straight back home but you cannot tell a certain someone anything and he insisted, "it'll be alright!" so I sat on pins and needles the entire trip down and back. Finally, sensing my stress, he slowed down and did only the speed limit. I just don't trust this darn Jeep and having been in one too many car accidents, well can you blame me? I did however try to find some bright spots in the day...

It was a gorgeous Spring day, lots of sunshine, not too hot, not too cold; not a lot of traffic. In Half-Price Books, I browsed and found another book by J. Marsh Michler, Crazy Quilted Heirlooms and Gifts. At $5.98, I purchased it. There were a lot of books on quilting that I would have like to have been able to browse more through, but Don was beginning to feel ill and started looking like it, too. A couple of college girls were also in the 6'x8' space where these books were; one sitting on the floor while her friend sat on a chair looking through and discussing some home decorating options for their dorm, I assumed. I sort of felt as if I was invading their space, so we made our purchase and headed across the street to Target. While in there, Don began looking weirder... a yellowish cast to his tanned face and I kept asking him if he felt alright. Of course, he trying hard not to ruin my day just because he feels bad, so I hurried up and made a couple choices as to what to purchase for Alexxis. I opted for a 3 pc. light-weight pj's set and an 18 month T-shirt because I couldn't decide on what toy to purchase and figured maybe it would be best to wait until after her party on Sunday to see what she gets from every else. Anyways, we headed back towards home, stopping only to get me a sandwich. By the time we arrive home, Don is not feeling too good, is running a fever off and on, and chilling' so straight to bed he went, laying under three covers trying to stay warm. It seems there is this awful flu or virus going around and it is effecting everyone a bit differently, but its signature mark is a intermittent fever, chills, and terrible body aches. So while he slept, I curled up on the couch and read my new book before heading off to bed myself.

On Sunday, I hit the ground running again, making preparations for Alexxis' birthday party. I whipped up some macaroni salad for Chris's mom, a jug of iced tea, packed up tables chairs, tablecloths, and a variety of other things for taking over before stopping at the grocery store and spending a quick twenty on some additional items. I arrived at Gary and Nancy's shortly after 3:30 and Amber and I began setting everything up and completed the simple decorations. It turned out to be a beautiful day for an outdoor party and the kids seemed to loved it as much as the adults did. Overall, I guess there were about 20-25 people there - parents and children together. Alexxis had a wonderful time, although I think she's still not quite back to her normal self. She seems a bit tired to me but gained energy and momentum as the day progressed. Possibly from her first sugar buzz of having a piece of cake with icing, LOL! I took a good 25-30 pictures... the cakes Nancy made and decorated, the decorations, the guests, and of course, lots of the birthday girl herself! I haven't transferred them to the computer yet as I was one tired grandma when I finally arrived back at home around 9:30. Around 11:00 p.m. I headed to bed, only to awaken feeling waves of nausea --- coming and going most of the night. Great! Finally, around 6 a.m. I went back to bed and slept wonderfully. {I browsed online for over 6 hours, blog-hopping, reading, following one link to another.... soaking in some eye candy, feeling inspired but no energy to do a darn thing with it...} This morning, I am feeling better, no nausea, no fever... I thought for sure, I'd end with whatever it is everyone else seemed to be getting. Thank God! I don't do "sick" very well... not that anyone else does, LOL! Anyways, I just wanted to "check in", say "HELLO!" and I'm still kicking it!

I'm itching to get back to work on my Crazy Quilt throw soon. I've been thinking about it more and more... wondering if I should add more color to it, some silk, what about that velvet? Perhaps? I haven't decided so I'll probably just keep using what I have on hand already. I am also thinking about some "soft" embellishments for decorating it. Soft, because it is for use in the studio's leather recliner. I don't want to leave impressions in the leather from beads, sequins, etc. Laces and trims would work wonderfully and once I get it pieced together and actually start stitching it, I'm certain it will begin to start taking shape. I have no idea on what batting or what I'll add to it for a quilt backing. Call me insane, but I'm thinking it would be wonderful to CQ both sides of it... unfortunately, I doubt that I have enough fabric to do that. I do need to decide soon, so that I can purchase more and add some of those fabrics in, if I'm going to. I thought a nice cording would look wonderful for the binding edges but quickly realized I'd need a lot of it, regardless of what I purchase. Hmmm, decisions, decisions... I just had another thought, since this CQ throw is being created in a darker color palette, what if I just finish it like a quilt using regular cotton for the backing after it is bound. Couldn't I create another large piece later, only using lighter color scheme? Warm vanillas, off-whites, softer, more muted reds and greens and add it on the back side at a later date? I'm thinking that maybe this would be a pretty mixture of light and dark; making it reversible for use throughout the year and seasons. The lighter side displayed in Spring/Summer and the dark side for fall and winter. I think it would be beautiful once created; draped softly over the warmth of the sable color in the leather recliner with its folds demonstrating the stark contrasts. Something to consider and think about..... but I need to finish this side first, LOL! I still am desiring to add some applique pieces to some of the quilt blocks and after browing through Marsha's book, I considering adding an odd number of quilted fan blocks just to break up some of the blocks and to provide some additional visual interest. I can see it in my mind's eye... creating it is going to be something else entirely, I'm sure! {smiles}

Saturday, April 28, 2007

One Year Old!

Although you were feeling under the weather a few days ago, you somehow managed to stop playing to flash grandma one of these wonderful, sweet smiles. I love you, bug!

Happy "First" Birthday, Doodlebug!

Today, I wrapped up little Miss Alexxis' first birthday presents. Of course, I had to create a few things to decorate the packages so mommy could keep them for her scrapbook. We will be celebrating tomorrow as little miss is recovering from a bout of tonsilitis and strept throat earlier in the week which caused mom to miss a few days of work and is working a double shift today to make up for some of the lost hours. May your day be as special as you are! Love, Grandma...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

While stamping some, "Thank You!" Cards today...

I thought it would nice to send "Thank You's" to the CQ For Newbies Squishie Mingle participants so I worked on creating those along with some for my own stash. I used a variety of stamped images, mostly Anna Griffith's and choose a blue, purple, and yellow color scheme. The outside sentiment reads, "Thank heaven for special friends like you' and is stamped in Gold Brillance ink; while the inside sentiment reads, "In the crazy quilt of life, I'm glad you're in my block of friends." An additional Anna Griffith image is stamped on the upper inside allowing me space to handwrite in my "Thank you" message. To dress up the envelopes just a bit, I added another Anna Griffith floral images using a soft purple ink by VersaMagic called "Pretty Petunia". Enjoy!

Speaking of mail...

My sister telephoned me earlier this week to say, "Thank you" to me for the box I sent to her for her birthday. She loved everything that I sent to her! She's admired my stationery suitcase for some time and once mentioned what a wonderful gift it would make. Knowing that her birthday was coming up, I had to pick up a small suitcase when I saw it at JoAnn's on clearance. Desiring to help fill it, I went through my own stash of greeting card supplies and split a DCWV card and envelope kit, a cardstock pack, and an 8x8 printed paper pack with some stickers and vellum quotes and sayings. {Splitting those packages is one way to reduce storing so much of them! I gotta admit that I loved that.} A few days later, I stumbled upon an entire line of matching journals, notepads, ink pens, coffee cups, etc. while exploring our newly relocated Dollar Tree that were perfect for adding to it. Along with a few of the silk ribbon embroidery kits I'd discovered at Goodwill and the box was filled and sent on its way. Maybe now, I'll get a hand-written note from her once in a while, LOL! Either way, I'm happy that you enjoyed it Sis!

My "Sacred Journey Vessel" deco has reached its destination and I've one heading my way to create in. In fact, Mary's should be arriving any day now, so those will be exciting to create within and provide me some time for stamping and paper arts play.

My "Kittens and Mitten's" wallhanging RAK should be arriving at Christy's anyday now. I'm so happy it will have a good home and hopefully come in useful as the CQ Kitten RR makes it way around.

As I sent out a few "Thank You!" cards, I noticed my own stash of them is gradually dwindling down. I'm hoping to find some undiscovered time today to create some more. I've an idea in mind of some to send, I love brightening up one another's days.

From Lesa and Judyth

Lesa, one of the groups moderators, and Judyth, a wonderful group member, put together these amazing scraps of fabrics for member of the group who are desiring to learn CQ'ing but may be limited on fabric supplies to get started. {I hope I've worded that correctly...} Anyways, this is a package of wonderful silks and additional fabric scraps that I received along with a baggie of beads, buttons, and lace to play with! Thank you, ladies, this is wonderful!

Another Surprise!

Yesterday, I was so shocked when Don came in with a manilla envelope addressed to me. Kate, one of the mingle participants, put together a magnificant package filled with the most beautiful dyed silk ribbons as a hostess gift for organizing this mingle. {She didn't need to, but I'm thrilled beyond belief that she did!} Aren't these gorgeous? Her package reminded me that I do have some fibers in my paper arts stash that I could easily incorporate into my crazy quilting and actually seeing first hand some additional hand dyed silk ribbons set my mind in motion about experimenting dying some of my own one day. Thank you so much, Kate!!! I love them!

It's been an amazing mail week!

As the "Squishie Mingle" begins to come to a close, I've been reading some awesome posts in the CQ For Newbies group of the items many of the mingle participants have received. I'm thrilled beyond belief at the generousity of everyone that participated in sharing what little stash we all seem to have to provide access to some supplies that others may or not had access to on their own. The squishies have all been fantastic from what I've seen posted on a variety of blogs and/or read about within the group. Everyone seems really thrilled with what they've received, making this first ever mingle such a huge success!

This is what I received from Julie; isn't it amazing? Julie did a magnificant job at assembling this squishie for me. She choose a blue, green, and pink color scheme, labelled most of the pieces of fabrics she put together which was awesome as it will help me in my searches for fabrics to use for CQ'ing, and she enclosed some vintage fabrics for me to add to my stash as I work to build it. She enclosed a letter to me explaining that these vintage fabrics came from a doll museum that closed in the early '60's and I am so happy that she shared a bit of their history with me. She also included a baggie with embellishments! Too numerous to mention, but I must admit I love each and everyone of them, especially the hand dyed laces and motifs --- as I had none. Thank you, Julie! I love everything you sent! {*big smiles* I can't wait to play!}

Monday, April 23, 2007

Recent additions to my crazy quilt throw...

I found some time this afternoon to continue adding pieces and patches of my choosen fabrics to my CQ throw. I worked for approximately an hour an a half on it today adding 8 more pieces of fabric. Little by little, it is beginning to come together.

Almost One!

I haven't uploaded any recent pictures of my darling little granddaughter, Alexxis, so during her visit on Friday, I couldn't resist capturing a few. Here she's entranced with watching a commercial on the TV; it isn't so much the images that capture her complete attention so much as it is the music. Once heard she must stop all activity previously engaged in and provide it her complete attention.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A fabric experiment...

As I wandered about our home, picking up, cleaning, sweeping, mopping and waiting for the floors to dry, {in preparation for watching Alexxis today} my mind began wandering. I wondered what if I stamped on muslin using the india ink and colored it in with my colored pencils? Realizing there's wax in the prismas, I got inquisitive if it would melt into the fabric if ironed. I know, strange thoughts, LOL! but I contribute them to reading late last night while Don was watching TV, titled "Color on Paper and Fabric" by Ruth Issett and desiring to explore a bit more incorporating my love of paper arts and fabric together. Somewhere along that path, I got to wondering about learning applique and if there was a way I could incorporate some of my stamped images onto fabric, coloring them in with a variety of mediums such as inks, acrylic paints, textile and artist mediums then learning to applique them onto some of the scraps I'll be using on my crazy quilt. As my mind continued meandering and I explored some of the possibilities, I kept asking myself "what if?" What if I... What if I stamped and colored in a piece of cotton or muslin using colored pencils? Would the pencil stay in the fabric? Would it be washable, without bleeding? How would heat effect it? Well, you know me, having decided there's only way to find out, I had to take a few minutes to try it. The above photo is my result and I love it! I stamped the Anna Griffith image using black india ink, colored it in using my prismacolor pencils and then layered another scrap of muslin over it while I ironed it on a cotton setting. Next, I was inquisitive about washing and drying, so I ran it under hot water in the sink, scrubbed it using my opposite hand, crinkling it up and scrubbing sides of the fabric together and finally rinsed. After squeezing all the excess water out and dabbing it in between several layers of a towel, I ironed it dry once again. It didn't bleed at all; not even the reds that I used! Now, I'm wondering if I can trim the piece down approximately 1/4" from the outside stamped lines of the image and applique it to another fabric? Wouldn't it be cool to use this to create some fabric collages using a variety of images? Similar to some of the fabric ATC's and Postcards I've seen on the internet. I could also experiment with some trapunto and further embellishments while creating them. What a shame I'll have to wait for another day to explore more but the discovery makes it worth the wait! {smiles}

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In The Garden ATC

As much as I'd love to be adding more pieces and patches to my crazy quilt throw, I realized today that I really needed to be focusing my attention to creating 10 ATC's for Tina's In The Garden ATC swap as it has a return date of May 1st. I considered creating with fabric and adding some embroidery, but due to the time I have to create, decided to pull out some of my paper, rubberstamps, and colored pencils instead. Here's the design that I came up... it reminds me of of a stroll taken after an afternoon tea in a beautiful garden.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A close up shot...

I'm thinking my next block will be one of the solid green along the botton and a piece of the green ticking added along one side of the brown prints, while I add a piece of the red ticking diagonally along the top. I'm hoping by turning the ticking slightly in one section and then, diagonally on the next, will assist with providing some visual interest and movement leading one's eyes from one section to the next.

While in JoAnn's today, I picked a skein of black and ecru perle cotton in size 8 and then, one in a lite burgandy and a hunter green size 5. Of course, I won't be starting on the embroidery for some time to come as I've the entire piece of muslin to patch but I figured it's never to early to begin considering and purchasing embellishment supplies. I jotted down a few additional thoughts in my journal for future consideration, like adding a piece of black lace to a few of the lighter blocks and some applique ideas. I'm thinking I may just use my Sizzix die cut machine to cut some folk art style hearts and stars out of freezer paper so I can use a few for applque templates. I'm envisioning them in the lighter brighter fabric prints and added to some of the darker patches, like the red and green. Not too many, just a few scattered here and there but enough to provide a unified appearance over the entire quilt top. Anyway's time will tell....

Do you see this?

I started my crazy quilt throw! I simply couldn't resist. As Don and I went about running our errands today, beginning to work on this was constantly on my mind. I don't believe I've ever said, "What?" so much in my entire life. I know, I know, doing that to someone else is rude and I dislike it when I'm on the receiving end but I swear I couldn't help it! I was powerless. Don asked me... hmmm, something about the box I was mailing to my sister and I said "What?" Then, he'd repeat himself and I'd answer. We ventured into the post office to mail off all my packages, he say something else, I'd say, "What?" LOL! Normally, the shoe is on the other foot. Don tells me I have a soft voice and years of previous factory work are taking their toll on his hearing so it has become an ongoing joke with us to gentle chide and tease other. I say something and he says, "What?" and I say, "Huh? Huh, What?" He laughs and says, "What????" and I reply, "What? What?" Anyways, it cracks our friends up, LOL! and certainly beats the alternative of letting a little thing upset you. When it is important for me to be sure he hears me, I joke around, getting up in front of him, tapping on whatever just happens to be in my hand, and ask... "Is this thing on?" or "Testing. Testing. 1-2-3" that usually is enough to obtain his undivided attention. Today, it was me with the divided attention, I couldn't concentrate on anything else. So, after returning home from the post office, a quick bite to eat at Arby's, JoAnn's for my Ott light bulb, and two grocery stores, I quickly got things out of my way so I could begin. I'd iron my muslin previously and since it wasn't in too bad of shape and I knew I'd be ironing as I began patching, I measured twice and cut once into the 50"x60" throw. Yep, you heard me. No multitude of small blocks for this baby... it's one solid piece! I used a disappearing fabric marker to mark the center of each direction and set to work piecing. It is actually coming together a bit faster than I originally thought that it would and I'm pretty impressed with the stitches I'm making. They are straight, small, and evenly spaced, perhaps not 12 per inch but darn close! I started with the 5 sided red piece sewing it all the way around. After determining my next color/pattern fabric, I cut it to on of the edges, flipped it over just a bit beyond the stitches I'd made previously on the prior patch and started sewing again. I iron my patches and the surrounding muslin flat between adding additional patches as I worked and a final ironing prior to deciding to baste stitch them flat before stopping for the night. I'm excited to see it finally begining to come together! {*big smiles*}

Making preparations...

The past several days have been spent cleaning our home, cooking home cooked meals, relaxing, and enjoying one another's company. Together, Don and I accomplished quite a bit. Our home is clean and smells good, laundry is caught up, and we're enjoying life. As we worked around the house, assisting one another, we talked about anything and everything, our hopes and dreams for our future, and our families and friends. As Don relaxed during the afternoon, I was able to give my complete attention to the packages that I need to get mailed. I'm happy to report that they are all packaged up, addressed, and ready to be taken to the Post Office either later today or tomorrow at the very latest.

I also managed to complete the pre-washing and pressing of all the fabrics for my crazy quilt throw, and assembled my quilting and embroidery hoop in preparation of getting started soon. I've a few loose ends to tie up before I start cutting the muslin to size and begin hand sewing the first pieces. I decided to focus my attention on creating and finishing the 10 ATC's for Tina's In The Garden Swap and to re-organize and straighten my sewing area so any items I may need will be kept close at hand. In this week's JoAnn's advertisement, I saw that Ott lights and accessories are on sale at 40%, so I'm desiring to purchase a replacement bulb for mine, as well as set up a comfy chair for working with the quilting hoop and stand near my table. I'm hoping all these preparations will assist me as I begin to work. I know this is going to be long process, so I want to work on some smaller projects in between... like learning applique, practicing my stitching, learning and practicing new ones, writing in my journal, and some paper art projects off and on. And I'm researching silk ribbon dyeing, in hopes to try my hand at that soon. Those projects will assist me in adding to and embellishing my finished quilt top while I consider my options for batting and binding it up. Hopefully, I'll have some pictures to share as I begin to work soon.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

My CQ throw - Thoughts and Decisions...

I am anxiously waiting to get started on creating my crazy quilt throw! The past several nights, I've even dreamt about beginning to sew it together. Living in a dream world is one thing; actually getting started on it was quite another.

I knew that before I could begin to embark on this journey, I clearly needed to reach some decisions. What do I desire for the finished size of my throw to be? Will I hand sew or machine stitch it? What types of fabrics do I desire to use and how those choices effect the cleaning of my throw once completed? Am I happy with my color choices? Do I desire to incorporate any images or pictures into my design? and a myriad of other questions plagued my mind when I begin to consider embellishing it. I knew there was quite a lot that I needed to consider now, before I could I even begin starting to work on it. So today, I forced myself to sit down and take the time to think about those things and I have finally came to the conclusions!

I desired for my finished throw size to be 50"x60". However, I quickly realized that if I'm using a 60" muslin for my base fabric to sew, by hand! my crazy quilt scraps onto, it's possible that the finished size wouldn't be 50"x60". I had to ask myself would I be okay with that? When I thought more about it, I decided rather than stitching two pieces of muslin together to make my base a bit bigger, I'd be okay with it being a few inches shy. That solved a lot of my options there.

Next, I needed to determine if I even had that much muslin on hand or would I need to purchase more? If I purchased more, would I want to sew it or use one solid piece? So, I took out my muslin and measured what I had on hand. I was so stoked to realize that I've more than enough to begin working with!

My next question was do I have enough fabric to get started? The answer, yes! Even if I decided only to use the 6 color choices that I recently purchased, I have enough. So, I took those fabrics back out of my fabric cabinet and looked at them once again. Which, in turn led me to my next question. Do I desire to use only these six fabrics? What about the velvet, I purchased? Do I desire to incorporate all the fabric I've purchased for this project and mix it up more? So, I took those fabric outs, set them on my sewing table and looked long and hard at each of them. First, in separated piles; then, all together. Then, I added in the beautiful brown velvet. I suddenly realized that if I decide to add the velvet, caring for my throw once completed, completed changes from being able to machine or hand wash and dry it at home to having it professional dry cleaned. That made me stop to consider how I intend to use the throw. Do I desire to simply look at it or actually use it? That answer was easy... I want to use it, to cherish it, to wrap myself up in its warmth and beauty once finished. So, I'm truly leaning towards not adding the velvet. I know it would add so much beauty to the quilted throw and it breaks my heart to think about not using it, but I believe for using the throw and for caring for it after it is created, this is my best option. My next decision was to use all of the fabric I've purchased to date for this project. It will add so much more visual texture and colors to the throw.

I also decided to save all the remaining fabrics from this project and use them to create a smaller block {hmmm, approximately 20"x20} to cover an 18"x18" Soft n Crafty downlike pillow form. Maybe I can add some velvet to it or use it for a border.. anyways, I'll have a bit more options to think about when I'm ready to create it. I, also, thought that perhaps, I could create a small wallhanging or a matching table runner of some sort with the remaining fabrics. Lord knows, I've already purchased enough... I may as well use them.

So, today's agenda is to begin washing, drying, and pressing my fabrics getting them ready so I can begin working on it soon. I know this is going to be a huge undertaking for me and a long, slow process. Especially, since I've decided to hand sew it all together! I'm hopeful that I'll end up with a better quality crazy quilt throw by doing so. While I'm working to sew it all together, I will be ready to consider my options about embroidering and embellishing it. I think I should start a new section in my journal so that I can write down and keep up with any inspiration that strikes during this process. Perhaps, as I get begin to work, I can work on some smaller blocks to keep up with my learning some more stitches --- practicing and maintaining those skills.

Thankfully, I've only one ATC swap to create and a small 4 person Deco RR to complete; after I finish up preparing my packages for mailing this weekend and getting them postal on Monday. That should provide me with ample opportunity to get started and continue working on this. I'm ready!!! {*smiles*}

Friday, April 13, 2007

Recent tool purchases...

Here's my new mini clover iron, the slip stop thimble, and the needle puller I purchased. I'm looking forward to experimenting with them. I believe that I'm going to design me a sewing roll to assist keeping some of my supplies that I'll be working with handy. I discovered a pattern for one on It includes a small applique, perfect for experimenting with creating and if I feel really ambitious, I could easily crazy quilt some portions of it! I believe I'll use the JoAnn fabrics, I'd previously purchased for this. That should provide me with a bit more sewing experience. {smiles}

The Good Wives Co.

After a wonderful visit with my parents, Don and I headed out to the Good Wives Co. on Cascade Drive. I had only been in their store once before, after seeing an open house scheduled in a local paper. The store is an amazing place and the women there were ever so helpful to me.

When we arrived, I was greeted warmly and was asked if I needed any assistance, although both of them were quite busy. One with a sales representative from a major fabric company, while the other two were assisting two ladies in determining yardage for a quilt or wallhanging, I assumed. I explained that I am in the process of shopping for fabrics to create a crazy quilt throw for my studio and was desiring to browse. This allowed everyone a bit of freedom to go about what they were doing while I soaked in all the eye candy the shop had to offer. And eye candy it was! Beautiful quilts and appliqued wallhangings were on display almost everywhere you looked.... hanging on walls, displayed in nooks and crannies throughout the fabric and notions. I was wishing I had thought to have brought my camera along but that would have been a bit intrusive, LOL!

Anyways, I ventured over to a wall cubby filled with fat quarters of reproduction and homespun fabrics. Before arriving I got to thinking that fat quarters would be a good way to obtain a variety of fabrics, although a more expensive way to quilt, but that didn't stop me from looking. Next, I noticed some quilt block samplers or possibly even applique block samplers that were pre-packaged with fat quarters, I assumed anyways. Perhaps, they were even blocks of the month, I really didn't know. As Don had ventured in with me and by this time, he was looking like a mouse caught up in a mousetrap being surrounded by crazed women talking about quilting like it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I felt a bit sorry I'd asked him to tag along but not enough to leave before I obtained what I had ventured in after. {grin} Deciding since I am desiring a create a throw, maybe I'd be better off purchasing a half yard of fabric instead of fat quarters, I continued to look at bolts of fabrics, choosing my color palette and patterns carefully. I figured I could add to them as I begin and not break the bank in the process. As I pulled some of the bolts out towards me to look at the colors and patterns more closely, I immediately noticed a huge difference in the quality of the fabrics offered here over what I have previously been purchasing at JoAnn's and WalMart. I learned in a hurry that you get what you paid for, even with my limited sewing experience. You could immediately see and feel the difference in quality and I knew the prices would be a bit higher than what I've been paying. But I also knew that if I was going to put this much time and effort into hand sewing a crazy quilt, I wanted good quality fabrics. Somewhere in the back of my mind creep in the thought, I only hope I can do them justice.

As the ladies finished up with their customers and I was making my fabric selections, one of the ladies assisted me with choosing one last fabric selection. The picture above is what I had choosen and together we decided to add to the green to provide some contrast and help pull those I'd already choosen together. {The brown velvet was previously purchased at JoAnn's --- but I'm desiring to add some of it to my throw.) The other lady {I'm sorry, I didn't think to ask for names and most likely wouldn't have remembered them anyways, :)} commented on that she liked what I had already choosen and though that they'd work beautifully together. We all continued chatting as my fabric was being cut and I continued to shop --- picking up a Bohn Slip Stop Thimble designed for patchwork. Since I am considering to hand sew this quilt together and I know that my embroidery will be done by hand, I was shown a needlepuller and added it to my intended purchases. As we continued talking, I was told a little bit about history of the name of the company, how they will be featured in an upcoming issue of Better Homes and Gardens Quilting magazine for the top 10 places to shop, and informed about some classes that will soon be added to store. {I was offered to sign up for their newsletter to obtain more information on those.} We also discussed quilt batting... and I learned something new that I wasn't aware of. I'd picked up some Warm and Natural Quilt batting previously, and the store owner mentioned to me that it should be washed prior to using. Even one of the ladies that worked there wasn't aware of that, so I didn't feel like a complete beginner, LOL! I was also provided with a sample of batting, that was recommended to me for hand quilting. I was told it was wonderful for hand sewing and that my needle would go through it like butter. I cannot wait to experiment some with it. I felt great about my decision to visit the store. It was warm and inviting, and I was provided a short tutorial on an applique technique which I'm also desiring to try. I knew in my heart that I'd made the right decision visiting this store. The ladies were so helpful to me, answered some questions that I had, listened to me when I said I'm so very new to all of this and of course, very excited at obtaining a new and continuing customer, I'm sure.

On our way home, I was giddy with excitement! Thrilled beyond belief and the possibility of taking some classes, Oh My! You know I'd love to. The excitement of my visit still hasn't worn off and I'm awaiting receipt of my first newsletter informing of me of their classes. I know I'd love to learn how to create some of the beautiful quilts and wallhangings that I saw there. I do believe I'd died and gone to heaven!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Just a quick update...

The last several days, I've been doing some light housework and reading while resting. I found myself loving to be reading once again. Somehow, I'd forgotten what it was like to curl up on the love seat, with a refreshing drink, comfy in pj's and covered in a throw, and spending some time with a good book. It turned out to be a wonderful way to spend the rainy day we had yesterday.

I've been reading Danielle Steele's book, "The Ghost" which is absolutely amazing! Every spare minute has been spent enjoying it and my favorite author. While reading her wonderful writing, my mind conjures up all sorts of visual images and I found myself desiring to one day create an altered book or even a crazy quilt block using one of her books as my theme. I figured I could create some collages from my imagination and conjured up images along with using a mixed of her printed text of my favorite passages. It would certainly be ever so cool for a book; while printed images on fabrics would lend themselves wonderfully to a quilt block. Unfortunately, I realized, both of those ideas have to go on my "one these days" list of things to create. I quickly realized that as Spring progresses, and I continue to heal, the days will be longer and I'll have an over-abundance of things to do. That thought lead me to thinking about some of my WIP's and WISP's that I already have going, along with my desire to learn more and more about crazy quilting and stitching.

As I sat, I remembered my Ribbonsmyth order hasn't arrived, so I checked on it via email. I was a little disappointed to learn that it wouldn't be shipping until the 16th and that the 4mm dyable silk ribbon is currently on back order. It will ship as soon as it comes in. I soon realized it was a blessing in disguise, as I have quite of bit of things that are requiring my attention now, I certainly wouldn't be getting to exploring silk ribbon dying any time soon without having to put off something else. So, I decided to review my current, "To Do" list. I currently have quite a bit going on: There's:

* the box to be filled and mailed to my sister, Mary, for her birthday;
* the Deco for the OFP group to prepare for mailing;
* the RAK of the Kitten and Mitten's wall hanging to send to Christy;
* the "Squishie Mingle" to package and get sent --- along with a reminder to the group to post.
* and silk ribbon and needlepoint kits to gather up for my mom, along with seeing if she'd desire to use the fabric and pattern I purchased for creating an outfit for Alexxis to sew. Not to mention, having her assist me with the needlework pillow so I can begin to work on it. (Thankfully, that project is for me, so it can become a WISP.)
* I've also an "In The Garden" ATC swap to begin working on.

Anyways, my point is that I've decided to finish these things up before I decide on anything else to do or create. Making that decision was like being given a new lease on my creative life! LOL! It certainly didn't assist with keeping my mind off of creating. I began to think of all that I want to do... finish cleaning and organizing my studio; purchasing more fabric for my "one day I want to create" crazy quilt throw; all the small projects that I'd like to make to assist me with learning the stitches I'd need to finish such a large project.

I decided I should think that through a bit more before I start on it. What do I want the final project to be like? What is it that I'm seeing in my mind's eye that I want it to become? I realized some things, while others are still escaping me, so I believe I'm going to give this some time to brew for a bit. In the meantime, I've decided to write my thoughts and ideas for down in my journal for future reference. I did come to a few conclusions: that I want to re-visit The Good Wives Company out on Cascade Drive. They have a wonderful shop, filled with country and primitive decor and fabrics! I realized that since I've chosen to create my quilt in a vintage color scheme that the fabric offerings they have would lend themselves perfectly to the project I have in mind. So, later today, Don and I will make a trip out there.

As the day progressed yesterday, my grumbling stomach brought me back to reality. Don has been so patient with me, lounging, relaxing, and healing, that I began to feel a bit guilty for not spending more time with him. So, I suggested that I get dressed and we make a short road trip out of town for dinner. Discussing our possibilities, we finally decided on visiting "The rusty Bag of Nails" restaurant in Delaware for a shared fish sandwich and a house salad. Both of us so enjoy their restaurant, everything from the vintage-style decor filled with black and white photographs of days gone bye to the design of their menu. Not to mention, that their food is delicious! So we set out for a wonderful dinner and time spent together. Afterwards, we returned to Marion, made a quick stop to pay a couple more of our monthly bills, and I decided to make a quick run into JoAnn's fabrics, which turned out to be not-so-quick. Kevin, the manager, and a new friend who we'd recently had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife recently at our local Moose lodge and had spent a wonderful evening with recently, was working. Within minutes, Don and Kevin where chatting away, like old friends, while I browsed. I picked up the current issue of Somerset Studios mag and made my way to search for the Spring stickers that went with the card stock package and printed papers I'd previously purchased. My though was to use them to finish up the cards I'd started creating. I was a bit disappointed not to find them in stock as they'd previously sold out, so I made a mental note to look for them at another location. Since Don and Kevin were still chatting, I browsed through the store, looking at fabrics for adding to my quilt project. That was when, I was reminded that I desired to check out The Good Wives Co. again, so I ventured off again browsing. I stumbled upon a display that had the mini-clover irons on it and was stoked to see that it was on sale. I'd been desiring one and at $10 off, I decided to purchase one. I think it will come in handy as I begin to practice with some applique techniques. Perhaps, on some small fabric ATC's and postcards, created CQ style they'd also lend themselves to me practicing my stitching. So, that is where my thoughts are now ---- finishing up what I've started and then, starting on some small projects, while pondering a bit more on the larger ones. Hopefully, I've have something to share soon. {*waves*}

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Spring is slowly returning to the Ohio valley. Not that it went anywhere, LOL! I guess I mean the temperatures are once again beginning to rise. The buds on the trees are beginning to open up {and blowing down on my recently powerwashed deck!}, flowering trees continue to bloom, and so aren't my potted flowers! Yesterday, I discover one of my tulips has bloomed, and the hyacinths are continuing to grow, filling the kitchen with their wonderful fragrance. I wish I could say the ones planted in our front yard were fairing so well; the cold temps and snow flurries seem to have taken its toll on them. Only time will tell if they will be able to bounce back.

My thoughts are beginning to return to spending time outside on our deck, gardening, and landscaping some more. There's a lot to do and be done, although I've been enjoying the opportunity to rest, relax, and heal. I've come to the conclusion that in order for my back and neck to heal, I have to take it a bit easier on myself. Hopefully, I'll remember that as I go about my day and the ones that come after that. I needed to do some thinking about that, and I remembered that I was able to accomplish quite a bit in small incliments of time while healing from my previous car accident that involved my right foot and achille's tendon. It all comes back around to estalishing and maintaining a sense of balance in all areas of my life. Something we all struggle with from time to time.

My seedlings are beginning to emerge and are growing beyond their first set of leaves. As I check on them day to day, watering them, ensuring that they've enough to continue growing, I think about my health and how fragile life really is. I realized that I need to cultivate and care for myself in that same way, even if means resting and relaxing more, taking a bit more breaks, and going slowly. Somehow, I know that it will all work itself out, if I remember this.

Fruits and Nuts

Recently, I kept mentioning to Don that the birds are certainly loving a fruit and nut ball that we hung under in the eaves of the studio. Little did I know that the birds are lucky to enjoy any of this! A few days ago, Chaos pointed me to the little culpruit that was enjoying it immensely. Remember the squirrel in my studio that we've been attempting to capture? It now appears that I'm feeding him! No wonder he won't go near the trap filled with peanuts!

He scatters to the edge of the roof, dangles his small body over the eaves, grabs the string holding the fruit ball and pulls it up, then procedes to nibble, filling his jaws with all the fruits and nuts he can hold, before returning to the roof to enjoy them. Needless to say, this will be last one we hang up there! LOL!

My Secret Journey Vessels Deco pages

I used a variety of items to add a title, " I "cherish" collections from the journey." A 2" vellum envelope to hold some 2" squares that are embellished with images and text to list some of my favorite things while others are simply listed; kind of scattered about the pages in one way or another. It was hard listing all of them on these 4"x6" pages, but I managed to include quite a lot. Here's my list: tiny trinkets and treasures; learning and self-discovery; vintage papers and photographs; spending time in nature; pretty little things; swaps with friends; letters from loved ones & friends; hidden treasures. The right hand page is also an eclectic mix: collecting skeleton keys; traveling and road trips; embroidery, sewing, and quilting; old buttons and lace, being a mother and a grandmother. The calendar represents seasons of my life, while the number "3" is one of my favorite numbers.

In the back section, on one of the accordion folded pages, I wrote: Ladies, My collage pages represent a small portion of the things I treasure and cherish. I tried to list material possessions and some of my favorite things --- but my life would not e complete without my love and faith in God; my soon-to-be husband, Don; and our close family and friends. Of which, the members of this group have became such a special part of my life. For that, and our swaps, kindness and sharing, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Cathy <3

Yesterday's achievements...

After my chiro appt. I made a quick dash into Goodwill, finding little, we soon made our way back to Hobby Lobby where I picked up a 6"x12" wooden needlepoint frame and masking tape so I could begin to work on Alexxis's Guess How Much I Love You needlepoint pillow soon. Making my way back home, I went back through the kit, reading instructions, and preparing the canvas for framing while I work. It wasn't much longer that I was rinsing the floss to ensure it wouldn't bleed later when it might need a cleaning. Wouldn't you know none of the floss bled; but had I not you know something would have, LOL! Anyways, I believe I'll be paying my mom a visit soon so she can help get me started on creating this as I've never worked on before. I did find the center point of the image and attempted a few stitches, before I took them out and decided to wait. Somehow they just weren't looking right to me, like they weren't filling the canvas. Not sure this was how it was supposed to look, I decided to wait and visit my mom for assistance before going any further.

After resting a bit and having taken an afternoon nap, I decided to turn my attention to items I needed to get working on for mailing soon. Don had recently brought me a box home from the store for packaging up a package that will be heading to my sister's soon, so I packaged that up and assessed how much I more I could add to it before sending it off. I gathered up the Kitten and Mitten's wall hanging for Christy, making note of the size envy I'll need to get from the studio; then decided to work more on my Deco for an upcoming RR swap. I completed two pages {I'll take photos soon} and wrote a paragraph in the back for the participants to discover. It is now within a quart size zip lock, ready to be mailing.

I need to start creating for an ATC "In the Garden" themed swap soon. I believe I'll create 10 of the same design to save me some time and get those ready to be taken to the post office along with everything else. Doing this all in one trip will be a god-send saving me some time later.

I still have several WIP's and WISP's to work on, while I'm determining what I want to start working on creating next. Those are small projects and are being created for myself so there's no pressure as to when they get finished and they will allow me to continue practice my stitching.

My mind is beginning to reel with thoughts and ideas: creating a rag quilt styled tote bag and creating a few small blocks for CQ'ing. I've been desiring to create the tote bag for some time. Having no pattern to work with, I find myself thinking it through. So far, I'm leaning towards a 9 patch style using 5" blocks with a 1" seam and fray for the front, back, and both sides. I'm a bit uncertain regarding how to create the carrying strap but know I want it created rag quilted patch style, but I may narrow it as I bring it to the shoulder area for carrying. I may experiment with the pattern on some paper first. I'm also thinking about what to use for a stabilizing fabric, double-sided fast to fuse maybe? And of course the tote will need an inner liner. While reading JoAnn's quilt book a while back, I stumbled on an edge binding I'd like to try. It is designed to finish a quilt, but I'm thinking created in smaller squares and then folded and pinned it would make for a nice finished touch to the top of the bag and useful for sewing the inside liner and the outer bag top together. I may have to look for some tote bag patterns soon... I love Amy Butler's line of them. As for the CQ'ing, I'm leaning towards creating a heart or two. One, for my pass through window and another for giving to my dear friend, Sheila.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Today, promises to be equally as busy. I've a chiropractor appt. here in a few and would like to check out our Goodwill store for any more goodies to be had. Afterwards, it will be one to doing some housework, determing what's for supper so I can toss it in either the oven or crockpot to free up some "Me" time. My mind's been reeling with the desire to create --- something, anything at this point. I'll let you know how that I'm not certain if I'll focus on some WIP's, WISP's, or start something new... we'll see. Anyways, I hope everyone has a wonderful day and try to stay warm! It's cold here in Ohio today and I'm longing for some sunshine!

Easter Day...

Don and I had a wonderful Easter yesterday! Busy, but fun and enjoyable. Our first stop was to see Amber and Alexxis. Trust me, little miss adorable was sticky sweet by the time grandma arrived. We'd loaned Amber and Chris our video camera so that they could capture the moment of Alexxis's first Easter so I had to watch a few clips of her crawling out of her bedroom, making her way down their hallway, discovering plastic filled Easter eggs along the way to her basket filled with treasures. Being a few weeks shy of 1 year didn't hinder the goodies she discovered there too much; at least our surprises were healthier for her, LOL! Earlier in the week, I'd given Amber my contributions obtained from Target's Dollar spot: a wooden shelf, wooden picture frames, a wooden initial "A" for adorable, of course;), two wooden pull toys: one an egg and an Easter chick; the other a rabbit; a soft, fluffy coin purse, and a small Easter purse. Amber and Chris purchased a kaliedoscope, some soft marshmellow bunnies for her to "taste", and other things too numberous to mention. I believe her first Easter was so special and she definately was loving all the attention we devoted to her. After chatting we Amber and Chris, we began the journey to Sheila and Dennis' home; making "Happy Easter" telephone calls on the way. After arriving we shared a wonderful dinner with her family and the time seemed to fly right on by. Nearing evening, we made our way back to town to stop by my parents for just a bit. Unfortunately, mom's been feeling under the weather a bit for the last week, so our visit was short, yet sweet. Arriving back at home, it didn't take neither Don or I very long to fall out from all the festivities! It was a wonderful day! {smiles}

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Easter preparations...

Don and I had a wonderful ride over to Dennis and Sheila's. Out on St. Rt. 100, heading North, we saw two wild turkeys! I'm talking "big boy's"; very, big and ever so pretty. You really have to have your eyes open on this stretch of road, as we've seen a lot of wildlife in the area --- namely deer. I mean herds of them. Do they say "herd" for a group of deer? Anyways, we enjoy watching them when we have the time to slow down and watch. A lot of the homes along this road have ponds, and there is a rather large stream that runs along the back sides of many of these homes before it winds and curves to who knows where. You can only see sections of it as you travel along it but the scenery, especially in Spring and Summer is breath-taking!

When we arrived, Sheila was cleaning a glass lampshade in her living room. She had these tabletop glass shades on brass lamps and during a conversation, I'd mentioned having a floor lamp in the attic. Several of the glass pieces in the shade had long since gotten broken {it belonged to Don and his ex-wife}, so I asked him about giving it to her. When Dennis and Sheila had came down a week or so ago --- when we took Sheila to see her mom at Riverside, we got that lamp out of the attic and gave it to Dennis to take home along with some Barkeeper's Friend to clean it up with. Since Sheila has been busy with her mom, she'd totally forgotten about the lamp so when she remember, she immediately set out to get it cleaned up and replaced the broken shade with one from her table top lamp. I was on the telephone with her when she was about to get started, and she was thrilled beyond measure to discover it was a 3-way touch on style! {Something I wasn't aware of..} Anyways, the lamp now looks brand new! You'd never have known it was stored in our attic for the past 8 years and the with her shade on it, it is beautiful! While Sheila continued replacing the glass pieces she'd washed, Don and I unloaded the food for Easter dinner. I found an opportunity to sneak back out to grab the Easter figurine I'd purchased for her. You should have heard the squeals of delight as I presented it to her telling her I purchased it for her to cheer her up. She was ecstatic! Oh, and those little white tulip scented candles for the votive; man, did those ever smell good and burn slow! I made a mental note to pick myself up some on our next visit.

Shortly afterwards, her kitchen was a flurry of activity. We chatted as we started peeling potatoes, rinsing, and placing them into some salt water as I diced up some of the ham and cheese. And the best part, was everything went so smoothly. I don't know my way around her kitchen very well, but all I had to say was I needed this, that, and the other and it magically seemed to appear. After preparing to make the cheese sauce, we set to work on the pineapple upside down cakes. I'd taken my two 9" round Wilton cake pans and my cake pedestal over so we intended to utilize them. As Sheila removed the stems from the marschino cherries, I prepared the cake pans and arranged the pineapple slices within them. Soon, we we're whipping up the cake batter. Sheila pulled out a large griddle to cook up some cheeseburgers for all of us, which worked out well as it kept the stove top and oven area available for cooking and baking. We chatted about this, that, and the other, laughing and making jokes while we worked. Frequent breaks were taken, just to sit for a moment with a hot cup of coffee. Both of us know our way around a kitchen, so it wasn't too long before we were tag-teaming the dishes, sitting down to enjoy our cheeseburgers, and preparing to cook up the cheese sauce. After eating, Don and Dennis joined us in the kitchen, chatting and livening up the kitchen a bit more. They were even sweet enough to run up to the store for a few purchases of things like foil and Saran wrap that we'd be needing. While the "boys" were gone we got the ham and scalloped potatoes done and ready for baking today, while the cake was in the oven baking. Now it was time to rest and relax.

Shortly afterwards, BJ and Miranda arrived with Sheila's two grandson's: Zachary and Logan. BJ is Sheila's oldest boy, and Miranda, well, she's such a sweetheart and a very good mommy. You can tell she loves her children, and especially being so young, spends a lot of time with them. Zachery is now two and is the happiest, rambunctious little boy you've ever met. He's always very polite asking please, saying "Thank you" and "You're welcome." It's darling to hear him in that soft, little voice. Logan, is now 6 months old and the apple of every one's eye. He's growing like a weed and is so comical as Sheila touches his chin and says, "Give it to me." and he sticks out his little tongue. It's too precious, I tell you. Miranda and I chatted while all the adults played with the grand kids for a bit before she went off to search for Zachary as he played with toys in his "bedroom at Grandma's".... affectionately known as "Zachary's room" Sheila had recently seen the banner I'd created for Alexxis and had asked me to create Zachary and Logan one. Zachary is big time into his cartoons and Logan, well anything child themed would work. One day, I'd like to get started on them and prefer to make them out of fabric. We'll see... how that goes. As Sheila prepared to color Easter eggs with Zachary, Don and I decided it was a good time as any to skip out and make the trek back home. It was a wonderful evening filled with laughter and shared with "family" and friends.

We'll head back over there today around noon-ish, whip up some more side dishes and chocolate pies while the scalloped potatoes are baking. See, I was getting all worried and shook up over nothing... Sheila's mood was great; her mom, Helen's doing fine, having spent her day surrounded by some of her other 12 brother's and sister's. We did check in with Barbara before I left to be sure that someone would be there with her in the upcoming days while Sheila returns to work. I had offered to go down and spend a couple days with her, if was needed to, but the family has it covered. Sheila and I may go down on Thursday and Friday and spend the night with her. I'd told her we could take our Jeep so that Dennis and Don would both have their trucks. With the cost of rising gasoline prices, you gotta do whatever works and as inexpensively as possible. This allows time and money for sharing days and holidays just like this!

I hope whatever you're doing today to celebrate the Easter holiday, that you find some time for family and friends. There's nothing more heart-warming than that! Happy Easter to all! {...until next time, *waves*}

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday plans...

I sit here and find myself wanting to apologize for my last dis-heartening post,only to realize I've nothing to apologize for. My life is very confusing at the moment and that is okay for me to feel this way. Somehow, someway, I know that I'll sort all these conflicting emotions out.

I think that maybe its possible that I'm feeling this way because later today Don and I will be heading over to Sheila and Dennis's to get a jump start on our preparations for tomorrow's Easter dinner. Sheila and I decided that during another telephone call later in the evening last night, to make a few things up today. Shortly after Don returns home from work, we'll head over there to begin.

As I sit here, typing up this post, have to wonder if these feelings I'm experiencing aren't a reminder to myself, that as much as I want to be there for my sister and friend, I need to set and establish some sort of a boundaries for myself as well. Lord knows, I can be and become co-dependant. It's sometimes too easy to inadvertently to take one another's pain so much that you'd think it was happening to me. It isn't like I don't want to be there for my friend, its just a reminder for me to allow her to experience and feel and to sort things out for herself in her way. I can be still be there to support her through this when I can but that I need to remember to take time for me, my own feelings, and my health. I don't believe co-dependency is a bad thing, if it's kept in check. I often think that my sense of empathy for others is both a blessing and a curse and this is definitely one of those times. I ask myself what I'd say to her or to anyone else feeling this way, and my answer is to somehow find a way to look on and for a bright side of the situation. Maybe somehow I can help her to feel that way. My heart tells me that just my presence will be enough, just as her presence will be enough for me. I realize that I've never had a friend quite like Sheila. She's like one of my own sister's as well as a friend. That feeling is mutual and we've adopted one another families into that circle, possibly adding to the confusion and mixed emotions that I'm feeling. Maybe its my heart and instincts telling me I need to back off just a bit and be more of a friend, allowing her own "true" family to be the family she needs to be leaning on right now. Whatever it is... I need to brighten up my own mood before we head out. I've gotta find some faith and certainty that things will somehow work themselves out.

Anyways, I'm sorry for the "sour" mood, and I hope that I didn't bring my blog readers down. Perhaps, I simply share too much of myself and what I'm feeling... My next post will be a better one, I promise! {half-hearted smiles}

More from my "meandering mind".....

The other day, Oprah, did a show on Autism. I don't figure that I'm much different that half the population of the world who doesn't know much about Autism, so I found her show very enlightening. Heck, I know more about it now than I ever have. As I watched I got tears in my eyes, and tugs at my heartstrings for the families featured on the show. I loved how one father said, that Autism and the behaviors featured by by his son, was a blessing to his life. {My short version and interpretation...} But I also found it very scary... as the show progressed and the discussion of once healthy and happy children were so suddenly struck with Autism and how hard it was to reach it as a final diagnosis. Add in the fact that so little is known about it and its wide spectrum of effects, and I soon became fearful.

As a new grandmother and a parent, I was shocked, truly, and completely by it. My thoughts quickly turned to my grand-daughter, Alexxis, and how important it was for me to pay attention to this. I listened as parent's of Autistic children talked about the symptoms their children displayed and what they believe contributed to their child's evolvement of the disease. I made mental notes of warning signs and when I had Alexxis last night, I caught myself looking for any of them, quite fearfully.

I guess its my medical experience and background, rearing its head, but I'm a firm believer the knowledge is power and that early intervention with any type of disease is best. So, I want to arm myself with information and knowledge and be ever so watchful. I suddenly found myself praying once again, asking God to spare not only my grand-daughter, but so many other children from this heart-breaking disease. I asked for healing, for improvement, for more information and understanding for everyone. As well as research and an end to it with treatments and even a vaccine. I asked for strength to deal with the fear. I beleive our fears can truly interfere with our ability to move past things in our lives. I know I tend to not deal with some of my own fears, pushing them out of my mind and my life and chosing not to deal with them rather than meeting them head-on. I, also, learned that this is something I shouldn't do... making that choice. Instead I need to embrace that fear and arm myself with information and do whatever it is that is within my power to do. I wonder what our world and lives would be like if only we, as human beings, all thought that way? I ask myself alot of "What if's?" especially when I feel that as human beings, we've barely touched the surface of all of our capabilities. What if we helped one another out more to be and to become all that God intended for us? What would our world and our lives be like then? I know I'll probably never the answer to that in my lifetime but I shouldn't certainly let that interfere with my learning. Life is filled with learning, and the alternative to not learning isn't very encouraging either.

I'm in a quite a solemn mood today... and I believe it comes from trying to process all these mixed up emotions and heartbreaks that I've felt and experienced recently. My emotions have been definately running through a mix of pain and pleasure. Everything from experiencing the heartbreak with my friend, Sheila, to the happiness and joy of my time with Alexxis. The good days and bad days, as I continue on my journey of healing from the car accident in December. I don't have any real answers, but somehow in my heart, I feel as if these feelings are reminding me of God's promises that life should go on. That there is a circle that needs to continue, and that life and death is all a part of a much larger picture. One that right now, I'm having a hell of time trying to wrap my mind and heart around. Maybe, I need to get off this computer and find some "sunshine" on this cloudy day....

Friday, continued...

Our next stop was Kroger's for groceries. As I ran in and began my shopping, Don took the telephone bill to be paid and would catch up with me. This is the first time that I had stepped foot in this particular Kroger location since I had quit working there over a year before. It felt sort of strange being there. I couldn't get over how much the store had changed! Aisles had been redone, new ones and new areas had been added, while others areas of the store, such as the bakery, had be re-located. The first person I ran into, that I knew from working there, was the store manager. In fact, it was during a conversation with him that Don and I had while shopping there in preparation for the upcoming Christmas holiday and preparations for his then-to-be knee replacement surgery that had lead me to put in an application for employment in the first place! His warm welcome and brief conversation with me helped to put me at ease as I continued on my way. About half-way through with my shopping list, Don caught up with me, and together we continued obtaining items on the list. As we shopped I thought shopping lists are funny. I often create them, then forget them at home, and I wondered why it is that we can never seem to sticking to just getting what is on the list, LOL! Anyways, we picked up more than we intended but all is good; it will save me from having to make another trip in the near future.

After checking out, returning home, putting things away, I set my sights on heating up some leftovers and making up some fresh veggies. We enjoyed a wonderful little lunch and I finally found an opportunity to sit down to rest. My back was aching just a bit, so after a few advils later, I found myself laying on the loveseat, covered with a throw, and barely able to keep my eyes open. After a short and much needed nap, we were off and running once again to provide my dear daughter, Amber, a ride to work.

You'd think by now, I'd realize how dangerous this is, LOL! Intenting only to run in and spend a few minutes with little Miss Adorable, Alexxis, while Amber got her things gathered up, I quickly found myself saying, "Yes, I'll take her home with me to give Daddy a break." My head knows this isn't such a good idea with my back and neck acting up but my heart says, "You know you can't resist!" So, Amber and I pack her up and get going. After dropping her off at work and returning home once again, Alexxis and I settle in. I had definately forgotten what a handful she can be. "Squiggly-wiggly", as I've now affectionaly and light-heartedly knick-named her was all over me! Laughing, smiling, snuggling, hugging, and blowing kisses at G-ma. Needless to say, I so enjoyed the time I spent with her. I loved every little moment no matter how much pain and hard work it was to do it. And, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Alexxis is soon to be One year old! Her birthday is fastly approaching on April the 28th. I don't know where the time has went but it has been a joy, a treasure to cherish, and more happiness than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes, I swear the love that I feel is more than my heart is able to hold. Her sunny disposition, infectious smile, laughter, and chatter lights up my entire world. When I have her, she has my full attention, I'm simply captivated by watching and playing with her as I don't want to miss one little moment! It amazes me to watch as her personality emerges more and more each day that passes. She is quite the little character and trust me, she knows it! After playing long and hard, making a mess all over the house, we finally settled in as she began to fight off sleep. A fresh bottle, blanket, and G-ma's loving arms was all she needed to finally feel safe and secure, knowing all was perfect in her little world as she drifted off to sleep. As I laid her down beside me on the loveseat, cuddling up next to her soft, warm, and amazing little body, I knew everything was perfect in my world as well. I cannot even begin to describe just how precious that moment felt, but if I had to sum it all up, the words would be "pure bliss!" I took a moment to Thank God for the blessing he has brought into my life and wondered how I could not have ever imagined how this moment would feel. It truly amazes me and each one seems more precious than the last.

As the evening progressed and Alexxis woke from her "power nap", Don returned home from work shortly afterwards. Alexxis's love for him is displayed ever so proudly throughout her entire body. She loves him. Loves making faces, flirting, and excitedly crawls and reaches for him. She's now pointing her little index finger and opening and closing her hand repeatedly when she wants something and this time she wanted her Papa. It was mesmerizing to watch the two of them together. Laughing, playing, enticing one another. Alexxis also loves music and singing of all kinds, types, and styles and after squirming off of Papa lap, she stops dead in her tracks as he begins singing, "I've got sun-shine, on a cloudy day... when it's cold out-side, I've got the month of May," {Alexxis's face lights up. She's now captured by him...}"I guess you'd say, what can make me feel this way?... My girl... talking 'bout my girl" {And she just beams!} I so love that! Him singing to her and her being completely absorbsed and feeling like the most precious and special little girl in the entire world.} And you know that, she is! {VBG... of course, I'm partial to her!}

Friday , Weekend Plans, and a lot on my mind...

Yesterday was a very busy day for both Don and I. It began "normal" enough with each of us following our morning routines, Don puttering around, picking up this and that and accomplishing some things, while I spent my time on the computer - waking up. It never ceases to amaze me, how totally different we start our days. Don is all get up and go, diving in head first; while I love to "ease" myself into the day, complete with several cups of coffee and some quiet time to myself. I dislike being "rushed" about first thing on any morning; but with anything there are the occasional exceptions; Don thrives on busy mornings. In fact, he prefers them. Getting up and going is his specialty. Somehow, this all works itself out between the two of us.

During the late morning, I finally am ready to face the world and dig into what needs and desires need to be met. Yesterday, was the chore of bill paying and figuring out where our finances need to be going and what would have to be put off for another day. Over the years, we've established quite a system to the routine and together we accomplish so much more than one of alone could achieve. Afterwards, I made my way around, getting showered and dressed, putting on my "running" shoes.

The first thing on my mind afterwards was talking to my dear friend, Sheila. I needed to know about any updates and/or recent events with her, her family, and her mom. After talking to her, I was left in shock of how, in this day and age, something of this nature can happen --- although, I'm no newbie to the consequences created by lack of communication. It seems that there was a lot of confusion over the diagnosis, treatment, and care of her mom when she had her shortness of breath experience. The bronchial scope she received was done at Brady Hospital, before she was ever transferred to Riverside. There was also some confusion about why she was even transferred there to begin with. Sheila and Barbara, her older sister, weren't given a lot of information and, so it seems, neither were their questions regarding their mom given or provided to them accurately. In fact, in my mind, the situation bordered on neglect as Sheila and Barbara were under the impression that the broncial scope would be done on Monday at Riverside, not knowing it had be completed on Saturday at Brady. The hullicinations seem to be the result of her deteriorating condition after the chemotherapy treatments, the anesthetic given during the procedure, and the morphine given to her for comfort afterwards. The confusion began clearing up a bit, after staying with her mom for several more days after Sheila's mom was released to go home {which is another area of confusion - Riverside was attempting to place her in a nursing home!}, Sheila's other sister, Brenda, made the follow-up appointment with her regular Dr. It was during that visit that some light was shed on the situation.

It seems that Sheila's mom signed the paperwork, giving permission for the bronchial scope to be done at Brady on Saturday. No biopsy was taken due to the size of a tumor in or on her lung putting pressure on the stomach and her esophagus. All of us were in shock! What's this about a tumor? Riverside had told the girls there was mucus there and that her cancer hadn't returned! Now, there is a tumor and to add further insult to the injury, it appears at this time nothing other than making her mom comfortable and no time frame given, just "spend as much time with her as you can". The Dr. added that it was time for the family to pull together and do shift work in her care, that she should not be left to live alone anymore. Not that she's by herself for any real length of time, there's always family in and out assisting her. But anyways this was a huge blow to all of us!

Sheila and I discussed some options that the family has. We discussed how she truly desires for her mom to give up her apartment and come live with them. Her mom loves the farmhouse, the land surrounding it, but there is no way in hell she's ready for "giving up her independance" of living alone. As we chatted, my heart ached for my dear and faithful friend. I fought back tears as we talked and her pain and confusion over this entire situation, and her pain became my own. It truly breaks my heart that she has to experience this and I dread the unfortunate day that I, myself, will be facing this with my own aging parents. It hits home like no other thoughts or actions can! I found little relief in knowing that just having me as a friend {and an adopted member of her family} to talk to, and every so often I don't really don't know what to say. So I sit and just listen to her, wiping away her tears, hugging her to let her know that I care, and offer up something funny to say to bring some laughter to her darkening days. Somehow, I know just how much it means to her and I know that one day, she'll be doing the same for me. I often wonder about how we just seemed to hit it off immediately after first meeting one another. How it now seems that each of us in an extension of the other to each other. How when we make that phone call to stay in touch, or just drop in on one another, it is like a ray of sunshine on dull, dreary day that suddenly springs to a life instantly filled with love and laughter. We have so very much in common. From the way we were raised as children, the relationships we've sustained within our lives, to how we are so alike, yet different. Our lives seem like mirror images of one another's in so many ways, and we often think and believe, our paths were meant to cross, to meet, to collide.

Anyways, as we talked Sheila mentioned that she had just realized that Sunday would be Easter Sunday. I told her that this isn't uncommon when you look at how busy she's been with everything going on her mom, the hospital, her release from the hospital, and the blow she sustained. I told her about my discussion earlier that day with Don and the plans we had made to purchase a ham so I could make us a dinner of Ham and Scalloped potatoes. Sheila laughed stating that was what she was thinking and soon we making plans to spend our Easter together in their home. Shortly afterwards, both of us were making a shopping list... I'll pick up the ham and mixings for the scallop potatoes, while she'll shop and make the side dishes and dessert. A beep from her call waiting and her sister, Barbara telephoning we cut our conversation short with promises to telephone back later in the day.

So, Don and I headed out to pay a few bills, visit the new Hobby Lobby store that recently opened in our area. YAY! No need for a road trip to visit one of my favorite stores... that is a good thing, yes/no? When we arrived, I was excited beyond measure. First stop, the needlework aisle where I looked at wood frames for stitching. As I weighed my options, I finally went with Don's decision to purchase a 18"x27" Hardwood Quilting and Embroidery Hoop with a stand certain that it will come in handy as I work to embellish my crazy quilt throw for the studio. What I didn't realize is that I'll need a smaller one, LOL! So that is now on my wishlist.

As I further browsed the floss, perle cottons, ect. I discovered they are carrying a variety of Bucilla Silk Ribbon. Go figure! I just placed an order with the Ribbonsmyth for 3 50 yd. rolls of dyable silk and a dye kit! Which will be okay as it is a cheaper option and one I look forward to learning and experimenting with. So, I picked up some Boye ribbon embroidery needles in both 2mm and 4mm sizes; those will come in handy. We continued wandering through the store, me oohing and ahhing repeatedly and acting like a little kid saying, "Look at This!", "Isn't this kewl!" and a variety of other phrases,Don teased me about putting in an application to support my own hobbies and I chided back that at the end of the pay period, I'd owe them money! LOL! But it is something to consider at a later date.

As we made our way to the check out counter, I had a burning urge to pick up something for Sheila. As we approached the Easter decor section, I decided to give in to this feeling and found a wonderful 8" vintage-style resin rabbit figurine with a small candle votive mounted to a wood base. Perfect! It can be our "Easter dinner centerpiece". Over to check out votive size candles, I finally decided upon a white tulip scented six pack. That settled it, or so I thought. Waiting in line to check out in any store is dangerous! Well, Hobby Lobby makes it even more so when you're standing next to the magazine racks. Of course, I had to browse! There mixed within the magazines was a Silk Ribbon Embroidery book complete with instructions and color examples for a variety of flowers, greenery, and garden insects. Looking at the price, I continued browsing only to realize that the booklet was a better purchase than a magazine, so into the cart it went. All in all, I didn't do too bad for our first visit! I didn't go too overboard and realized that I needed to think about my purchases and not just give into the whim of "I want this or that!" I will definately be going back, although I also want to continue to support our local JoAnn's store. They've been so good to me over the years and I shouldn't forget that.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Oh, Happy Day!!!

I took a shot in the dark during the evening last night by going through some older posts in the CQ For Newbies group. I was searching for the swap hostess of the Kitty CQ Swap and was uncertain of who to email when I stumbled onto a post. So, I shot off an email inquirying about who the hostess of this swap might be and how I could contact her. I explained that I had recently found the treasures previously mention and that within that baggie there was a Bucilla's PatchWorks Kit with a Kitten and Mittens themed applique project for a 17"x12.5" wall hanging that I won't be using and would like to offer it as an RAK {random act of kindness}to the swap hostess, if she'd like to have it.

The fabric is primitive/country style colors in burgandy, green, navy, cream, rusts,and tan with some plaids mixed in. The applique patterns are on pieces of the fabric already and there is Osnaberg for the wall hanging background. There are also threads and buttons and the instructions are included. It had been previously opened and the muslin and cotton batting have been removed, although I was certain that they could easily be replaced.

This morning, I received an email reply and it turns out that Christy, who I had emailed, is the swap hostess and would love to have the kit! So, we're communicating and I'll be sending this to her. I'm gathering up a few additional items that need to be postal soon... a birthday box for my sister, the deco RR, the "Squishie Mingle" package, ect. and this kit will be added to the mix. I'm certain that those applique pieces already on the fabrics can be traced onto tissue paper for the design shape and later transferred for additional applique use. Maybe they will come in handy for these participating in the Kitty swap? I'm simply happy that it will have a good home! Don't you love it when things just come together and work out that way? {smiles}

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Just to keep me using my paper arts supplies...

This is the front cover of a Deco that I've been slowly working on for a Deco RR in one of my favorite paper arts groups. There is an accordion style book that is adhered to the last page; it came that way when I purchased it. I added the front section of signature pages for my intro and for establishing my theme with texts, photos, and embellishments. I have some things that I am desiring to finish up working on before I ship it off prior to the mailing date. Notes and ideas are jotted on a sheet of paper for when the time comes to me to focus on it a bit more or when the urge to do so strikes me. I promise to share more of it, as I continue working on it, and as it begins to circulate. I chose the theme, "Sacred Journey Vessels" which I'll explain more of when the time comes. Heck,I may have even hinted about it previously, my mind's a bit gone, LOL!

It gets a little crazy sometimes juggling so many interests, hobbies, and crafts and I often think I've dove off the deep end on too many times! However, I love the fact, it is the variety that often inspires me! I'll see something somewhere and think wouldn't that be neat to do with whatever technique or whatever medium that has came to mind. I've often wondered if maybe I should narrow my scope of focus just a bit, but quickly came to realize that somehow that just wouldn't be staying true to me! If you didn't already know, I'm an Aquarius with a ruling planet in Saturn and Uranus --- the planet controlling change! I think that truly sums it up! At least I can't say, "I'm bored!" as there's always something that I can be inspired by and working to create. That's the thing... I "NEED" to create... I feel as if my soul is shrivelling up and dying if I'm not working on something or have a project going.

I once thought that maybe I should back off on swaps and sending RAK's {Random Acts of Kindness} just so I could focus on creating and exploring my own style. What I learned is, or maybe that should be - what I fear is, that somehow all I've learned and accomplished will fall by the wayside and I won't get started on it ever again. I've too much time and money invested to stop now, LOL!

WIP's and WISP's...

To show that I do accomplish something once in a while...LOL! This photograph is a few WIP's and WISP's. WIP = Work In Progress and WISP's = Work In Small/Short Progress, however you want to look at them. I discovered those acrynons on other's message boards posts and in blogs and have adopted them. Anyways, The purple fabric within the hoop is a section of one of the Aunt Martha's Hot Iron Transfers recently purchased at WalMart in Kenton. I'm embroidering it on a section of cotton fabric; probably not one of my greatest ideas but what the heck! I'm uncertain if I'll use it to create a pillow or add it to a crazy quilt later on but it is certainly good practice for me to learn to satin, and long/short stitch.

The second piece is satin fabric and utilizes a rubber stamp image from a Sandra Everston rubberstamp. I'm thinking I'll add it to a CQ block at one time or another. For now, it is just something to experiment and play around with a bit before I add to my "collection". {vbg}

The "Guess How Much I Love You" cross-stitch pillow....

How could I resist this? ;)

I "Love" This....

It is a magazine, "100 Best Designs" from McCall's Needlework and Crafts Vol. 2 It has a price tag of $1.65 printed on the upper right hand corner, although I couldn't find a date it was released. However, it contained patterns and instructions for some fun, neat items. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the advertisements! They were advertisements that I remember seeing when I was a child as I browsed through magazines that my mom purchased! I'd certainly love to have some of the items featured within its pages now and at the prices they were then. Isn't it funny how that works? You look at them and think how inexpensive, only to realize that back then, they were about the same, maybe a bit less or more than what we are paying in the stores for craft supplies now. Anyways, there is the possibility of me using some of those ads in my paper arts in some way. That is IF I ever get the scanner hooked up to the computer within my studio! That's on my "one these days" to do list.... Yep! The same one that keeps growing, and growing, and growing..... {smiles}

SRE and Cross-Stitch Kits, Magazines, and Booklets

This photograph shows the kits, both silk ribbon ribbon embroidery and cross-stitch that were in the plastic package I obtained from the employee of Goodwill. They magazines were interesting and the booklets contain some wonderful cross stitch patterns. The made for some wonderful reading materials yesterday as I tried to rest and relax my back and neck. I am desiring to share them and some of the cross stitched fabrics with my sister and my mom. Both have created quite a few cross-stitched and embroidered items over the years and I know that one day it will be a treasure to have something that they have created with own two wonderful hands. And let's face it, there is only so much time and what one person can feasibly accomplish, even over a period of time! Heck, I have a problem now just trying to juggle all my interests, LOL!

First Treasures....

This photograph is of the Adia cloth, Weaver's cloth, and Linen that I discovered a few weeks ago. It is assorted sizes, variety, and counts. Perfect for experimenting with my stitches and sharing. I have to laugh at myself a bit here, too, as just a month ago when I began to accumulate and purchase supplies, one of my goals was simply to learn some of the stitches for embroidery so I used what I had on hand at the time: muslin! Not the best to be practicing on, I suppose... but it worked at the time, LOL! I'm thinking one day, I may just take those small little sample sheets and create a fabric style book so I can look back as I progress and hopefully see some improvement!

Not to be "bragging"....

but rather to share my precious, treasured finds.... I took some photographs to share of the recent items that I've discovered. It is wonderful to find them and better yet at a lower than the current market level! I don't know why I often hesitate to post my recently purchased supplies, regardless of where they were purchased, and/or whether I've received them in a swaps, or if they are items I've received as RAK's, but I do. I'm kind of humbled by them, not that I receive or participate in that many, but I do realize that not everyone is so fortunate to have what I do and what I'm grateful for having! Does that make any sense? I'm certain that their are others who know what I'm attempting to say and failing miserably at.

Anyways, some of these lovelies will be shared... I'm sending a few of the needlepoint and cross-stitched kits to my sister who is desiring to learn how to embroider and crazy quilt. A few will go to my mom and I, also, know of another kit that I want to determine who is hosting a swap so that I can send her something I think she might find useful. And, of course, I keeping several of them for myself --- I like to think of it as a "finder's fee", LOL!

The next few post will be photographs that I took of those recent finds; the very one's I am ever so grateful to have found, to possess, and to share. I hope that they will inspire others to be on the lookout for similar items within their thrift shops, flea markets, and the upcoming yard sales that will soon commence. Crafting doesn't have to be expensive, although it often can be, especially when it comes to storing these "collections" and looking for storage solutions! That's where sharing with others really comes in handy! Not to mention the smiles it brings to another's pretty face! With that thought....