Thursday, March 31, 2011

going on a road trip . . .

Not until the end of April, but I've got my name on the list -- and it was a close one!

Our guild does an annual bus trip to PADUCAH, and this year, with one slot left, I made my reservation. I'm so excited! I've wanted to go for four years; it's just not ever worked out. I'd determined that I WAS GOING this year when the signups first came out, but then life happened, and it's been crazy, and with the cut in hours at work, money for extras like this is a little harder to come by . . . so I thought another year was going to come and go without a trip to Paducah.

Todd & I talked about it last night, and he told me to GO!! So I hurriedly e-mailed the coordinator to see if there were any slots left (this trip fills up fast, and with over 300 guild members, there was no telling). I got an e-mail this morning that there was ONE slot left . . . my check was in the mail within ten minutes!! Hurray, I'm going to PADUCAH!

Evidently one of the big stops on this trip is Hancocks of Paducah. Rows and rows of quilting fabric? Okay!

Don't laugh, but what I'm really looking forward to? Finding and having my picture taken with . . .


LOL! There's a story there -- I'll share it when I post my picture with him!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

on rare occasions . . .

I work because we need me too. My job is okay, and since we need me to have it, I'm grateful that I do! I used to have the freedom to do more projects that were more my interest (I love graphic design, and I love designing products in Autocad/Fabcad), but things have changed over the past year or so, and it's ... different.

Anyway, today was a rare day in which I was able to play with a passion (quilting) at work!

One of our customers owns Grand Oak Retreat -- a wonderful quilters' retreat establishment out in Scottsboro (click on the picture to go her website).

In fact, we did the rails for it several years ago when she first built. It's a beautiful place with a marvelous view, and I happen to have experienced it as a quilter when I went with our Stitcher's group on retreat, last year. I blogged about that trip here, here, here, and here. I wasn't able to join them this year, but I'm already on the list for February, 2012!

Anyway, she is interested in getting a driveway gate. My boss wanted to design something a little different for her, so he asked me to come up with a geometric quilt block that we could build in flat bar, and insert in the gate.

Happy to oblige (especially on the clock), I headed over to and dove into their abundant stash of quilt blocks. I saw several I liked, but finally settled on this charmer . . .

The Lucky Clover block.

Next, I pulled up autocad and put the block to lines and put it on point . . .

And finally, I transferred the quilt block into the gate he'd drawn for her . . .

It will actually be twice the size of the one pictured. This is the one I did to his original dimensions, but when he saw it, he told me to double it!

Anyway, I think it's the perfect drive gate for a quilter, and for the entrance to a quilters' retreat!

Fun stuff and a nice departure from my normal work day!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

other birthdays . . .

I think I may have mentioned that my folks and my youngest sister and her family spent some time with us earlier in the month. My sister and her crew were very brave, and pitched their tents for the visit! She, her husband, and their two youngest slept in the big tent, and her two oldest (12 & 10) slept in the smaller tent. Which, by the way, they pitched completely on their own. I was so impressed!

Sawyer's birthday also happens to be Ali's birthday, the oldest of my sister's children. She had a pretty monumental birthday . . . twelve . . . and had to celebrate it on the road (they traveled here from Texas). So I thought she should have something special for her birthday! When I happened upon this tutorial for making a petal pillow from Cluck Cluck Sew, I knew it was the perfect gift for my darling niece.

I did take a little liberty with the felt colors (since when did I make something that I didn't put my own twist into), but I loved the multi-color look . . .

And I think Ali loved it too!

It was fun and easy to make (although I'll admit it took me a little longer than the 30 minutes she talks about in the tutorial) and made the ideal gift for a nearly teen birthday girl!

Speaking of which, our family celebrates another today . . . my nephew Ben! Ben is the one for whom I made the Boy Scout quilt!

He'd probably kill me if he knew I'd posted this, but since I'm fairly certain he doesn't read my blog, I think I'm safe. Besides, I knew him when he was tiny. Happy birthday, Ben!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

festivities . . .

Slowly, but surely, I'm getting back into the swing of things! For now, here's a darling 'capture' from Sawyer's first birthday celebration . . .

This one pretty much sums up his special day -- it was a blast! And I think he takes after his "Neesey" a little . . . he's a two-fisted chocolate eater!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

so busy . . .

Between birthday parties and family and camping and missionary training, we've been so busy, I can hardly think straight! And while I've not had time to do justice to my blog, I did want to jump in here real quick to say that our formal commissioning as missionaries for the North American Mission Board, will stream live on the host church's website, tomorrow (Sunday, 3/20) at 6:00 pm est.

We are so excited!!


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

the chinese candle, revisited . . .

I didn't realize that while I was taking video of the spectacle, Todd was taking photos of the fiery ordeal. I so wanted to share the process of this funky candle!

Here it is just as Jason is lighting it . . .

Then the flames run high . . .

And higher . . .

And just when we start to look for a fire extinguisher, the petals start to unfold:

And as the petals unfold, it starts playing, "Happy Birthday!"

Then we realize that the fire has completely consumed one of the petals, and the ice cream cake has thawed considerably.

It was so much fun! I *do* wish I could share that video! But I think you get . . . the picture!


busy, but off to a good start . . .

Monday was a busy day. I spent the day with my darling Sawyer. I can't believe he will be one year old on Saturday!!! He's such a loving, charming little fellow!

Monday morning was no exception. He'd just woken up when I got there, and he was still all snuggly and cuddly. This photo above is my new phone photo. He's still nearly as bald as he was the day he was born -- actually, he does have hair, it's just so blond and fine, it's hard to see!

We started out with breakfast. Yogurt, fruit, and Cheerios! He's a *great* eater!

And he's really good about sharing. He wants to share everything I eat, like my banana! It's like feeding a baby bird. Constant!

Ummm, I think he was reaching for my bag of chips.

No more food?? No more pictures??? Nope. He was dancing! That's his "Praise the Lord!" dance! I was actually lucky to get a shot that wasn't blurred, because I can assure you, the body was bouncing and the hand was waving!

Late Monday afternoon, Sawyer and I headed over to Joc's house, to meet everyone else and to have a birthday celebration! Jason had treated her to an extra-special day, and she told me later that it had been better than she had thought it would be. We had pizza and Jason had ordered a magnificent chocolate truffle ice cream cake!

The funniest part of the evening was when Jason put a Chinese birthday candle on the cake and lit it. Jocelyn had purchased these when she was in China the second time (about three years ago). It's a big, pink flower that you light. And when the flame burns down far enough, the petals of the flower open and each petal holds a candle, and it plays, "Happy Birthday"! As you can see in the photo, the single flame gets REALLY big -- we didn't think it was going to open! But it did, and it only caught a little bit of the cake on fire . . . I caught video of it, but I've been blackmailed convinced I shouldn't share it, outside of family. Sorry!

Joc sent me a video yesterday -- the flower is still playing, "Happy Birthday!" Crazy!

Yesterday was a little crazy, too. On top of my regular job, I keep the books for a friend who's a builder. Usually I go after work, once a week, but in the midst of all the craziness in my life, my hours got cut AND changed, so I was working 7:30 - 3:30 four days a week, and now I'm working 11-5, four days a week. It puts me late getting to the second place, and later getting home, so I headed over there yesterday morning before work, to put in a couple of hours.

It's usually quiet, and for the most part, I'm typically alone. Well . . . sorta . . .

There are plenty of eyes watching me work! LOL!

And finally, I received the most delightful delivery yesterday afternoon at work . . .

My darling forever friend, Sharon, sent these as a reminder of her love and prayers for our family. Aren't they beautiful? They made my day!

My folks arrive on Friday, and my youngest sister and her crew on Saturday -- big happenings up at the camp! I cannot wait!


Monday, March 07, 2011

design in the nick of time . . .

I realized yesterday that my Patches & Stitches BOM will be due this coming Friday/Saturday, and I had not done anything but pull the instructions out of the bag! Yikes! I refuse to use my Ooops! card this early in the game, so this afternoon I got *very* busy . . .

The added 'difficulty' factor in this BOM is that I have to decide what fabrics I'm going to use and where. To me, that's one of the most challenging aspects of quilting: fabric/color choices. But I'm pleased with the end results . . .

Above is block one, and below is block two.

I was very pleased in my construction of both of these. Especially since they both have the dreaded flying geese!

The one on the left reminds me of earth, water, sun and grass. The one of the right makes me think of fire. I wonder if it's the batiks that make me think "elements"?!? I continue to be so pleased with the look of these blocks. It just clicked with me. :)

All that's left is to set them on point and quilt them! Luckily, I don't have to do that before I turn them in for my next set. Whew, I'm glad I got them taken care of!

Head on over to Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times to see what else is going on in the world of quilters!

As for me, I'm headed over to Sawyer's house to spend the day with him. I'm especially looking forward to our time together today. This evening, we'll celebrate my sweet Jocelyn's 25th birthday. This will be a hard one for her, following so soon after the loss of Everett. But we--her family--will rally around her and love on her. Happy birthday, my darling girl!


Saturday, March 05, 2011

perhaps . . .

The groundhog was right!


Friday, March 04, 2011

a bright spot . . .

It's been a really tough week and a half. Almost surreal. But through all the tears and hurt, there have been some tender moments, some genuine laughter, and some bright spots. I want to take some time and space today to share one of those bright spots.

When Jocelyn first shared the news with me, one of the things she mentioned was pictures. Immediately my thoughts went to the daughter of a dear friend of mine, who is a photographer for an incredible ministry, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. This wonderful ministry specializes in remembrance photography. In fact, let me share with you their mission statement:

One of the first calls I made was to the photographer, I'll call her ME, who I knew was affiliated with NILMDTS. I can't tell you how incredibly blessed we were by her. She immediately made arrangements for her own family, and headed to the hospital to be with us. When we realized that it was going to be some time before we were ready for her, she made arrangements with the charge nurse to be contacted.

ME was the first one to the hospital the next morning, at the call of the charge nurse, and waited with us, as she prayed for us. And when the time came, she went into action and was wonderful. She knew what to do, and how to do it, and even exactly what to say. She spoke softly and even talked to Everett as she posed him. It was truly phenomenal to watch ME in action, and there was no doubt that God has truly gifted her for this calling.

Even more phenomenal is a sneak peak of some of her work . . .

This was a tender moment. Isn't he precious?

As the pastor said at Everett's funeral on Tuesday, Everett is with Jesus; and he's smiling, laughing, and free from pain--not just physical pain, but free from the pain of sin.

Still, my heart misses him so. Soon and very soon, though . . . hallelujah.