Monday, August 31, 2009

Well...good morning! Do you know any mules?

This is my morning.  Today, I'm the cowboy and guess who is the mule?  LOL  We're doing an essay on summer vacations.  I know, I know...we've all been there and done that so many times, we wanted to tell our teachers we'd been abducted by aliens, discovered long lost, royal relatives who whisked us away to a life of fame and leisure...because surely, those were more fun and exciting than the usual stories?  But, because life is not about alien abductions or becoming rich and royal overnight...we just gave the same old answers with the same lack of motivation.
I'm so sorry Mrs. Beetley.  Mr. Richards and Mr. Omstead.  I feel your pain.  Truly, I do.
Oldest is off to camp tomorrow for the rest of the week.  I'll miss him.  Yesterday, he was the mule. 
This is him walking away from being a child...or trying to.  Learning how to be an adult is not an easy or quick thing.  I should know.  I'm in my 40's, and I still don't have the hang of this.  I try to see it as him learning to assert his independence...until it ticks me off!  LOL  Then I see it as him being disrespectful and inconsiderate.  Poor kid.  Poor mom.  We'll muddle through I suppose.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Going Shopping

Taking a little trip today.  Googled quilt shops in the area we're going to and have three possible new 'favorites'.  LOL  I need to beef up my yellows and oranges.  Katie graciously shared oranges from her stash we got in Shipshewana.  With friends like that...

Found this fabric when we went on our mini vacation a couple of weekends ago.  I just loved the simple life scenes.  The muted colors and these two friends, hand in hand, sharing a long...heart to heart chat on a quiet afternoon.

Friendships are so important.  Sharing sorrows and joys.  Bearing each other's burdens and encouraging each other when we're down.  Bosom companions.  Life's gifts. 

Friday, August 28, 2009

TTLIF and a Give-Away from Anina

One of my favorite blogs is 'Twiddletails'.  Anina has some incredible ideas and I have learned so much from her.  You can find her here:

This week she is giving away a cute organizer that I would love to win for my good friend Katie.  Katie, you know you want it.  You know you need it.  If I win it, it's yours.

Me?  I tend to just throw things in a box or a basket.  I sort out my scraps by color and have them in a gardening basket.  My stash is in square, plastic totes from Wal Mart that have holes in them like a laundry basket so I can see all the colors and hope for inspiration, easy to carry, easy to manage and most importantly....CHEAP!  My favorite word!
Hubby dear is bringing home a huge, walnut bookshelf from his old office building.  We're going to spiff it up with Old English and paint the inside and shelving white.  I will store my *inexpensive* totes on the shelves in our sunroom/sewing/play room.
Cheers to the winner!

A Holy Hush

Still.  Small.  Voice.

I've been wrestling all week.  I've been driving all week.  I've been planning all week.  I've been nurturing all week.  I've been here and there...and everywhere.  I've tried to be all things to all people.  Tried to please.  Tried to guide.  Tried to dry tears and mend fences. 

Now, it's Friday.  Close to closing out this week and beginning to think about next.  Sometimes I think time passes way too quickly...and other times, it seems to take forever.
What I wouldn't give for a Groundhog Day.  A day you could begin again over and over until you get it right.  Where you grow...and the opportunities you missed the first time...are offered again, and again, and sometimes again...until you've done what you needed to.  You learned what you were meant to learn.  And the process of community, relationship-gave to all involved.  And took from all.
This weekend.  Who knows what we'll be doing.  I know the morning is full already.  The afternoon is a mystery.  I would love to spend it selfishly.  But that currency isn't cheap.  A chance to gather my thoughts.  Pray for my family and friends.  Listen to the radio. 
Silence.  Something I haven't had for a while.  Yesterday, while puttering around the house, I realized how quiet it was.  And my heart lurched because it felt so wrong.  Two of the boys are back in school and the other one was off reading or doing school work. 
How do we learn to live with the silence?  To clear our minds of the inner and outward clamoring for out thoughts and attention?  Staying focused on the inner Voice that is trying to speak to us?  Breathing deep.  Relaxing.  Opening our heart and mind to the Master.  Surrender.  Connection.  Being in the Presence.  Giving and taking.  Breathing deep.  Peace.  Refreshed.  A little less cluttered and cobwebby up there now.  Heart a little lighter.  Soul grounded and centered again. 
We move on.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yesterday was our first day of school.  I love that we start so much later than some of the other schools...we try to stretch summer out as long as we can.  This is the long awaited, much commented on by the peanut gallery...Vacation Quilt.
Done in blues and greens to remind me this winter of the ocean surf at Pensacola and Destin, Florida.  When it's icy, snowing and downright cold...I'm hoping we can snuggle up under it and psyche ourselves into thinking it's really much warmer and we can hear the waves gently lapping against the shore.
I'm still looking for a pattern, or inspiration for my hex quilt.  I'm using Moda's 'Sanctuary' in purple and yellow...can't seem to find any anywhere.  I would pick a popular color!  Yikes.  I bought this at a quilt store almost three hours away.  I like the play of colors, the romanctic look of the fabric, the softness...hope I can find extra! 
Here is an antique 'Grandmother's Garden' I found a picture of on the web.  All the time and effort that went into a project like this.  Makes me wonder where the faric came from?  Mom's old dress.  Dad's worn work shirts.  Outgrown baby clothes.  Feed sacks.  Gifts from neighbors.  They knew how to be thrifty in those days.

This is the fabric in sage.  And below is the purple I'm looking for.  Grrr.....need my fabric fairy to help me find a pattern.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Long Breath at the End of the Day

All the children are home...two are tucked is on the way there.  I am blessed.
The day sort of finished itself.  Friends greeted, visited with and good-byed.  Possibilities around tonight's corner.  A new day.  First day of school.  Fresh.  Hopeful.  Anticipatory.  Nervous.  Old friends met.  New ones anticipated. 
A blank page.
I wonder what we will write upon it?  What the morning will we will answer its opportunities.  What new lessons we can learn.  Who we can be a help to.  Where we will be taken.
I wish a golden day.

School Daze!

Where we are rooms, packing backpack and messenger bag, marking all school supplies with initials, checking on the condition of lunch boxes and bags, open house, soccer, Tae Kwan Do, family B-day party, dinner for Dad with a friend for an organization, cleaning out my 'Teacher' basket, lesson planning, organizing, cooking tonight's dinner, sorting socks, sewing, last-minute-summer-blow-out with out of town friends, waiting for the public school to let us know about science class, rescheduling dentist appointments I stupidly scheduled for the first day of school...Whew!  And it's only 9:45 here in the am.

is where I wish we were.
'Sitting on the beach chairs
watching the changing tide
holding hand with happiness
to be by each other's side.'
Joyce Ebrecht's 'Beach Chairs'

Sunday, August 23, 2009

What the Hex is that?

Alllll-righteee-then!  Ever have a moment when there are so many projects floating around in your head you can't get to sleep at night because you're obsessing over and contemplating them?  I was there last night. 

I played around with the 'Flying Geese' block in pinks and white.  Love it!  Going to pair it with a beautiful floral print to complete my cuddle up corner in the den.  Hubby would like to see this block develop into a full size quilt.  I don't think I have a problem with that.  LOL
I also just cut out the beginnings of a hexagon quilt.  I'm online searching for a pattern that is fresh, modern and stunning.  Found this:
This is an incredible watercolor quilt by Isabelle Etienne-Bugnot.  I'm simply in awe.  This was sort of where I would like to end up...but just starting out, I think a pattern would be incredibly necessary.  Wish me luck!
O Jesus, my Savior, with Thee I am blest,
My life and slavation, my joy and my rest;
Thy name be my theme, and Thy love be my song;
Thy grace shall inspire both my heart and my tongue.
'I Love Thee'
Source Unknown

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shell at my ear
come share how I hear
busy old sea in whispers.
'Seashell' by James Berry

Just finished filling an antique jar from hubby's grandma with sand and shells from the shore.  Now each time we look at it, we can remember the fun and time we had together.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Last Weekend's Treasure Find

Well, the end of summer is almost here.  Next week will be the start of school and pretty soon, leaves will be falling and the weather will be getting colder and wetter.  We decided at the last minute to take one last 'mini' vacation to a state park a couple of hours away.

For our family, the trip is worth just as much as the destination.  We like to stop at antique stores, sporting goods stores, quilt and fabric stores or any other place that catches our fancy along the way.

Found this beautiful, lemon yellow and white quilt.  Now, most of the time I fall in love with old quilts, they're stained, tattered and well loved.  This one is perfect!  The white is as vivid as the day it was hand pieced and quilted to the sassy yellow.  No holes.  No wear spots.  I was in disbelief.  And you know what?  It made an awesome anniversary present for me from hubby at only $68.  Our youngest (still too young to care about dust and where the quilt might have been) confiscated it that night at our hotel and slept under it.  It was a cozy and happy sight to see him all snuggled up under it.

Maybe sleeping under the bright colors of the quilt is why he looks like he's glowing in the picture!  LOL  As soon as we all looked at the pictures from the trip...we renamed him The Atomic Boy.  Not sure how this effect happened, but it's very cool!

Henry David Thoreau said that 'Our life is flittered away by detail.  Simplify.  Simplify.'  While we were at the park, I couldn't help but wish we had a small house nestled somewhere among the trees and nooks and crannies.  To wake up every morning to the sound of Mourning Doves and water bubbling an a creek.  To simply stand in the Presence of the Creator, surrounded by His creation...soaking Him up like rays from the sun.  That each day was lived simply.  That the details would not be necessary.  Motivation and inspiration to take Life one moment at a time.  To experience the grander things and learn Life's lessons through remembering the bigger picture.  Remembering I already know the end of the book as each word appears on the page as I live it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Beginning and An End

These are fabrics a friend and I picked out, at the same time, on a recent shopping trip. We both fell in love at the same time! We had our fabrics cut and challenged each other to make something, anything, from them...when we're done we'll play show and will be neat to see what she comes up with. Me? I have no clue what to do with them. I'm hunting through all the lovely quilts on flickr and the blogs I like for inspiration.
This is our new chair cushion! I'm so pleased with how it turned out. Very girly, but not overwhelmingly so. At least, I don't think so. Hubby and the boys like it...that helps. LOL No one but me, and those who are invited, may sit in the chair. Our boys tend to be 'boy-sterous' and we're afraid they'll knock out the wicker in the arms. Sad. Possessive. I tend to think of it as being cautious and preserving an antique.

One of the fabrics chosen. Beautiful and very shabby chic, but when it's put into triangles, not too much comes through and I think it's easier for the guys to handle.

The other fabric is a muted paisley. I cut up the pillowcase from on old bedspread. I like the way the textures play against each other.

Well, duty calls.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Garden Thyme

I love flowers...there. It had to be said. LOL I always have. My very first kind of flowers I ever planted were zinnias. My dad made a space for me out in front of our house. I loved watching them grow, watering them and weeding. Weeding my HUGE garden my mom had out back was like forced labor...but my flowers out front, well, weeding there was a labor of love.

My husband gave me four, raised flower beds in our backyard one year. Each year I would add a little more perennials and fill in with annuals. This year, I moved the perennials to their permanent spots around the yard and decided to try my hand at growing vegetables. Pumpkins, cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes, green peppers, cabbage, spinach and snow peas.

I may as well have put out a 'Free Buffet' sign for the rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels and other wildlife. Our youngest would go out, snap off a pea and eat it raw. We had enough of a pea crop to help with stir fry one night. Looking out my kitchen window one day I told our oldest we would have green peppers for him to I was speaking and we were both watching, a squirrel went into the garden and picked the lone, ripening pepper! 'You have got to be kidding me.' was the only thing my son could say. I love memories made in the moment.

Mr. Scarecrow was definitely not helping keeping the veggies for us!

And now I can see why...he's laying down on the job!
A planter entirely pink for me! Petunias and million bells with a sweet little bunny tucked in for fun.
What beautiful and stunning colors we've been given to surround ourselves with. We've had hummingbirds, cardinals, blue jays, opossums, finches, frogs and bugs galore enjoy the gardens. And I know how much I love looking out my kitchen window to watch them!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We had some rain move through last night. We really needed it. Our yard has huge, canyon like cracks in it from the lack. I've been enjoying some blogs from quilters in Australia and its a little odd, but encouraging, to see their pictures of spring blossoms and read their excitement over the change of seasons. Here, we're approaching Autumn. I love the fall colors and activities...but the dread of winter's cold chill is lurking behind falling leaves.

Blessings from a dear family...their mom was interviewed and hired all in the same day for a teaching position. With the economy the way it is, this is such good news. We don't go a day without praying for those we know who are still unemployed or have recently lost their jobs. I'm very thankful for where we are.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thinking About Next Week...

Monday...our last full week of summer vacation. I love having my boys home for break! Attitudes are a little gruff towards the middle of August as we wind donw our summer activities...but I'm so blessed to be able to spend this time with them. It truly will never come again.

As we get ready to send our oldest off for his senior year, this is a huge time of reflection and planning. I'ld like to make him a scrapbook for his childhood to have as he starts his life as a college student. And then to share with whatever lucky girl he meets and begins their own family with. Looking back at his life until now...looking forward to his life as he continues on after high school.

This is our middle son. We have chosen to homeschool him for a number of different reasons. It was such a good decision. None of us have regrets. This is where the planning comes in. I didn't stress about this year like I did last year, and I'm told that's normal. Thank you, Lord I get that label at least once here! LOL We've seen lots of progress with him this last year and we just know that as we go through joining a homeschool co-op and all the other opportunities we have homeschooling him, this is exactly where we all need to be.

Margaret Thatcher said that 'You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.' And I believe that's more true in parenting than anywhere else. We only get one shot at this with our children. Being their advocates, their safety and security net...while at the same time challenging them and pushing them when they need to grow. One of my favorite verses is 'Let us not become weary in doing good (which to me is a battle we all must fight), for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.' Taking on daily challengs, or battles, can become tiring. 'Have you brushed your teeth? Put on deodorant? Put your dirty clothes in the hamper?' are funny battle cries...but helping them win the war, finish the race and hear 'Well done thou good and faithful servant' is a harvest that is worth it all!

I'm so blessed to be a mom...and even more so that I've had this time at home with them.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Awesomely Brilliant Son

Has graciously helped his mom out! LOL Thanks to him for helping me upload pictures. I now even belong to the 'Nothing but Scraps' flickr group. The upper photo is a wonky Log Cabin quilt in progress. Once again inspired by women from around the world who share their ideas and love of colors!

These last phots are of a nine patch I'm working on. I'd like to find some way cool fabric to make the binding and then a pillow to help me curl up a cold, rainy day...and remember the sound of the ocean waves, the incredible sunsets, the sharks and dolphins we swam with...and my family.
I am blessed.

A Journey

Wouldn't you love to be walking in this quilt?

One of the first quilt books I bought was Dina Pappas's 'Quick Watercolor Quilts' on fusing, folding and stitching as little as three fabrics together to get an impressionistic style of quilt. I fell in love with the pictures and the ease of the method. Hooked, I bought Pat Maixner Magaret and Donna Ingram Slusser's 'Water Color Quilts'.

I started big. I now have a California King size quilt waiting for me to finish it. It took 6 years to make. Why six, you ask? Because at the time, my children were still small and loved to play with Mommy's pretties on the grid on the table. I would literally pull everything out of a box and place and piece fabric while they napped...and then put everything back once they were up and awake. I need to find a way to finish the back and then quilt it. I'm toying with the idea of downsizing it. It seems like a huge monster in the corner who taunts me every time I look at it. I really need to tame the beast.

Today, I'm working on the backing of a much smaller quilt. A lapsize throw inspired by Red Pepper Quilt's 'Modern Nine Patch' quilt
I love the contrast of colors of fabric in the 'full' nine patch block and the starkness of the center fabric only block. I chose blues and greens to help me remember our family vacation to the shore this summer. I'm thinking of five blocks, maybe alternating full blocks and center fabric only blocks since there are five of us in our family. *Shrug* I think I'll go play now!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Seam Rippers

Mornin'. The sun is shining here, birds are singing, flowers are blooming...God is in heaven, and all is right with the world. says that seam rippers are 'a handy tool that makes it easy to rip out a seam gone bad. Keep this tool handy!'

My seam ripper is tucked up on a space next to my bobbin winder. It waits for me...and depending on how my day and sewing have gone, it either taunts and mocks me with its very need...or it is the magic eraser of all my boo boos. LOL Right now, it's been a good friend for helping me rip out an unused pillow sham so it can be combined with some cabbage rose, cottage fabric to make a new cushion for an old walnut and wicker chair we found at an antique mall.

For years I'd been on a mission to find 'the chair' for our den. I'm not vertically the chair had to be low to the ground. I don't like modern furniture, so 'the chair' had to have some classic components. And above all, it had to be cushy and able to hold a curled up body, pillow, blanket and book on a rainy day. This one fit the bill perfectly! When I figure out how to add pictures, I'll post before and after shots.

One thing I hope that comes through this blog is how much I love life and the One who gave it to me. I was thinking about the dumb, stupid things I have done in my life while ripping out a seam on a quilt last week, wishing I had a seam ripper for all the mistakes I've lived. A way to remove them...reposition and re-pin the fabric of my life...and sew perfectly straight lines.

But then, the wisdom I've gained from having to live with crooked seams whispered quietly in my ear...where there is haste, patience may be learned...where there is anger, self control may be learned...where there is suffering, hope is born.

So, maybe seam rippers are handy tools to have when you're quilting and sewing projects...but, for now, I'll let the Tailor teach me through mismatched, crooked seams how to be just a little bit more like Him.