Tuesday, August 30, 2011

negligent blogger

As my self-appointed business manager (Ally) was walking out the door this morning she said "umm, Mom? You need to blog today, it's been a while". Oops. When your 15 year old notices that you have been neglecting your blog it's time to get your act together! So here I am.

When I asked what I should blog about, she suggested I talk about her. Too funny. I guess I could fill my blog with Ally stories, pictures of her new pink cowboy boots, maybe even reprint a few of her English essays (nah, that would be ridiculous!), but that's not what you come here to read, is it? On to the crafty goodness...

Unfortunately, the things I have been working on most recently are surprises for peeps who sometimes read my blog... like these elephants I've been stitching up for a certain little person turning 2 next week! And some felty goodness going off to a bloggy friend who has survived earthquakes and hurricanes in recent days...

I have also been working on some fun stuff for my etsy shop! How about some fun decorative buttons coming soon....

These would be great on an art quilt, bag, scrapbook page... you name it! Also printing patterns & putting together some fun kits. There will be pictures of them soon and I'll let you know when the shop has been stocked.

Hope you are all enjoying some fun crafting too!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I'm back in sewing mode!

I've been sewing up a storm since I got home! I made 4 matching pillowcases for our bed... I had been looking for the perfect fabric for these for a long time. Several years ago I made a green and purple quilt for our bed (you can't see that here, it's folded at the bottom of the bed) and I finally found great fabric in Arizona. Here's a closeup:

Also, the bring 'n brag girls at The Quilt Asylum are doing a ticker tape quilt along. Every month we get scraps in two more colors. In a year, we will have 24 blocks done for a quilt! The blocks due in September are red and yellow...

I decided to make my ticker tape blocks 10 inches square with 2 inch borders, so they end up being a 14 inch block. This will make a good sized quilt when it's done!

I used some of the scraps they gave us and some of my own (especially since this month was my two favorite colors! I had lots of scraps to add)

Have you done ticker tape before? The fun part is making the scraps fit, kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. Then you just stick them down with a glue stick to hold them in place and zip around them with a straight stitch, raw edges and all. I had so much fun doing these 2 blocks and can't wait to do the next 2.

Lots more projects to show you soon!

Friday, August 19, 2011

the same and different

Do you remember my Sudoku quilt? It's been getting lots of use, lounging on the couch. I love it! Well I gave my mom the very same kit for Mother's Day and I couldn't wait to see her interpretation of it. I have asked her several times over the last few months what colors she used for sashing and borders, but she refused to tell me! "you'll just have to come and see" she said. So I did....

Isn't it beautiful! So different from mine.... and yet made with the very same kit. And even quilted by the same quilter, the awesome Connie. But even the quilting is so different. Mom's quilt has cool medallions in each nine patch and a neat border. So very pretty! Nice work Mom! I love it.

The long and winding road

The road from Texas to Arizona is a long and boring one. It was a two day drive and we saw lots and lots of trucks.
And trains.

And sometimes, nothing. Just the road stretching ahead of us for miles and miles.

Luckily we had three drivers. It was Steve's first time driving on a long road trip. He pretty much drove the entire state of New Mexico. I think he was happy when his turn ended!

And I was happy to hop on an airplane and fly home instead of driving.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I was going to begin this blog post by apologizing for straying from my usual topic of crafting and creating, but the more I thought about it, I realized this is about creating after all. It's about creating responsible adults, which I have been working at for 21 years now. This week I have delivered my two oldest, my ADULT children to college, and as I observed them settling in, I began to contemplate exactly how they suddenly became such responsible, adult human beings. What follows are my conclusions.

It all comes down to teaching our children to make appropriate choices. I believe this process began when they were very small, toddlers even. Would you like to wear the orange tshirt or the blue one? (Steve always chose orange. Still does). Nightlight on or off? (duh!) Once they mastered choices between two items, we offered more complex ones. What sport would you like to learn to play? What would you like to be for Halloween? (a ladybug? Really Leigh Anne? AGAIN?). We always offered only choices where we were willing to accept their decisions and respect them. Even if we disagreed.

Sometimes letting the kids make choices was hard for me! I remember literally sitting on my hands while 2 year old Leigh Anne tried over and over to put a puzzle piece in the wrong space. "Do you think it might fit better somewhere else?" I might ask. Her response was usually a look that said "really Mom? Are you doubting me?" I would sit back and wait for her to reach the right decision on her own. That was tough! But, looking back, I realize that it was a lesson better learned in the harmless world of puzzle-doing than later on when a bad decision would be more consequential, even dangerous.

By the time my kids reached the teen years, they had become very good at decision making and problem solving. Not perfect, mind you, but then again, are any of us? I think not. They were able to make good choices even when they were out of my sight. Did I cease to worry about them? No. But did I trust them to choose wisely? Yes indeed.

The other day I attended a gathering for parents at ASU. There was a dad there who currently has three kids in college. THREE! The gal moderating the event asked if he had any advice for the rest of us. He said "Trust your kids. Let them handle things. You've done your job, raised them to be adults, now step back and let them do it". Wow. Wise words he shared. I suppose that's why I started thinking about this. And I needed to write down my thoughts. For me. And for my kids.

I am home now. Although it was tough, I am comfortable leaving two responsible decision makers in Arizona. I trust that they will continue to make wise choices. They can call home anytime, and my husband or I will be happy to hear them out and help them figure things out. They know that. I have one more here at home who I can continue to steer and influence for a while yet. Ally makes good choices, just like her siblings, and soon enough she will be off making them on her own. I'm glad I still have a little time with her! I'm so proud of all three kids. They're incredible.

Gosh, it will only be a couple of years and hubby and I will be left to make some decisions of our own. It's hard to believe.

Ok, off my soapbox. Back to your regularly scheduled crafty goodness....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Doll Quilt Received

As promised, here is a picture of the beautiful quilt I received in last night's swap.

It was made by Kathleen and I just adore it! Look closely at the center of the bottom flower...
All those gorgeous sequins and beads hand stitched on. So pretty and sparkly! I will be hanging it on the wall of my sewing room so I can see it every day. Thanks Kathleen!

As usual, my camera did not make it into my bag last night. When will I learn to take it where ever I go? Three years of blogging, (yikes, I missed my blogaversarie! It was last week...) you'd think I'd have that down. So, I am waiting for group shots to be posted by The Quilt Asylum or my buddy Joellen, then I will share them with you.

Our next swap is tote bags, in October. I have already been scanning Pinterest and Flickr looking for inspiration!

update: See the whole group and our quilts on The Quilt Asylum blog here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Doll Quilt Swap tonight!

Do you remember this little sneak preview I gave you a while back? Well here is the finished product! A doll quilt for the swap tonight at The Quilt Asylum:

The challenge was to use circles in the quilt somehow. It could be polka dot fabric (now aren't you surprised? I didn't choose that option!), yoyos, buttons, a circle shaped quilt, whatever we wanted! I decided to applique my circles. After quilting the background, whole quilt style, I hand appliqued the circles & the scissors on top and hand embroidered the details. I also added some bright buttons just for fun. I decided to use "create" and "sew" as my theme, thinking that it is something all of us in the swap have in common, our love for creating.

Something new I tried, I used Karen Buckley's Perfect Circles templates to make my circles. They were fun and easy to use. You cut your circles a bit larger than the template you want to use (1/4 inch all the way around will do) then run gathering stitches around the edge. Place the plastic template in the middle of your circle (wrong side up) pull your gathering stitches tight. Then you head to the ironing board, spray your circle with spray starch and press it flat. Loosen the stitches, remove the template and WOW! you have a perfect circle. Pretty cool.

I can't wait to see what the other gals in the swap have created. I promise to come back and share some more with you tomorrow.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


In case you thought I'd been slacking off, because of a lack of crafty postings lately, I thought I would share what I've been doing! I have the whole gang home for just a few more days. This means 1) I am enjoying time with them while I can! and 2) my sewing machine is taking a little break so Leigh Anne can use the sewing room for a bedroom.

One thing I can work on while we watch tv or visit is my hexis. I had seen some on Pinterest with embroidery in the center & decided that made me happy..... I'm not totally sure what these hexis will become in the end, but I sure am having fun playing with them! The other handwork project I've worked on is my August Birdie Stitches block. It's done! I really like this one (please note, my ironing board is also taking a little break from me!)

Do you like to do handwork too?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Trip to Children's

Here's Ally and key members of the team at Children's who helped her return to wellness. They are holding just a few of the puzzles that Ally brought to give to the kids at the hospital.

Friday, August 5, 2011

15! How did that happen?

Today my Ally turns 15! Crazy! This past year had lots of firsts for Ally. My brother & his family took her camping & fishing (ummm Ally? The worms are for the FISH!) She flew to Ohio alone (first time flying alone!). Her main motivation was to spend special time with her smallest cousin, Mackie...

I don't go on & on here on the blog about difficult times. But today, now that we're past it, I will share with you.... in January of this year, Ally learned to walk again! She had spent more than 2 years unable to walk unassisted because of a nerve disease called RSD. After 2+ weeks at Childrens Hospital here in Dallas, lots of intense therapy & sheer will power, Ally was able to put her RSD into remission & walked out with no limitations! Hooray!

Today, at Ally's request, the whole family is heading down to Childrens to bring a huge stack of puzzles to the kids there, and to visit with the team that helped Ally accomplish so much. It's going to be a special day.

And now my sweet, determined girl has so much to look forward to! Sophomore year of High School..... along with her academics Ally will take theater and dance! Learning to drive.... it's going to be another big year for her!

Happy Birthday Miss Ally!