Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Memorial Quilt Honoring A Memorable Man

One of the first family members I met while dating my future husband was his brother-in-law, Craig.   I felt welcome from the start, thanks in part to his kindness.   He was at my wedding.  He loved his wife, my husband's sister.  He helped thousands of people during his short life.  He loved always. He supported our family in numerous ways through difficult challenges. He loved my children. Craig was a tease, a prankster, and a spiritual giant. He was a pill.  I adored him.

Last July, almost exactly a year ago, cancer took him away from us.  He fought a hard fight with his wife and 3 kids by his side continually, not to mention with the support of countless friends, church members, and extended family.   He is missed every day.

While staying in his home with his wife and daughter after the funeral, a wild idea popped in  my head.  I wanted to make a Memorial Quilt for his wife, Janet.  I wasn't sure how to approach it, but I just did.  I asked her how she'd feel about giving me most of his shirts so that I could make her a quilt. She was immediately for it.  So, away we went, purging closets and drawers.  Her requests were that 1), it be red, 2), that the University of Utah shirts be at the bottom, and 3), that a BYU shirt be in the middle since SHE was a BYU fan, and she was the one left behind.  (The rivalry between those two colleges lived strong in their household).  I came home with a suitcase full of shirts and with hope to make something wonderful.

I'm not going to lie - this quilt was a challenge.  I had  made a t-shirt quilt before, but that one didn't have the weight of sadness with it. Sometimes I just couldn't think about it.  Also,  I had more cotton shirts than t-shirts for Craig's quilt, and I wasn't sure how to use them well.   I pondered, researched online, asked my friend Carrie for help, played with it, put it away, played with it again.  Sigh.  As the months went on, all three of Craig's children got engaged!  I decided that before the third one got married, I would finish the quilt.  So, the last few weeks have been busy!!

I faced many fears with this project.  It had to be beautiful and nearly perfect for  my dear sister-in-law.  This quilt had to be strong for years to come, for children and grandchildren.  No pressure, huh?   I am mathematically challenged sometimes, so when I design a quilt, (which I rarely do), I have to think it through a long time and check and re-check my calculations.  And, I knew that I had to do some free-motion quilting on the t-shirts, which scared me to death.  What if I messed up???   Ugh.  Lots of pressure.  I do this to myself frequently.

I  marched forward - I finished it 2 days before flying to Utah for the third child's wedding!  It would now be my wedding present to Janet, for marrying off all three of her dear children.

The moment of giving the quilt to Janet will forever be in my mind and heart.  She loved it.  She will cherish it, I know.  I hope during those moments when she misses Craig, that she can wrap up in it and feel his large, strong arms around her and feel some comfort while she waits for the eternities.

I love you, Janet.

Now, here are the photos:
On the Long-Arm, quilting away
Up close
C and J in the blue 4-patches, which were made out of his button-down shirts

A Stacked- Coin row of strips from his shirts, and the row below it
is a row of his pockets from the same shirts

This is his company logo - notice the right side from top to bottom.... see the cars?
All done and waiting for the Binding!

My dear sister

C and J Forever 

Christmas Quilt of 20-Something

Remember when I used to blog?  Yea, me too.  Today I shall blog about quilts.

I made this quilt for a Christmas present last year, but it was for Christmas the year BEFORE.  Follow that?  Haha....   It was for my brother-in-law and his family.  It was made from a kit I purchased at a quilt show.  

Well, here it is:


Up close, you can see the pattern used on the Long-Arm Machine 
The Kitties didn't want to give it up, but..... they did.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I Remember.... Sigh.

I remember back when my goal while grocery shopping was to not pay more for cereal than $1.99, and that was a good-sized box.  I remember when green onions were about 29 cents.  I remember milk being a little over $2.50 or so.  I remember going to the store for a few things, and it costing way less than $50.

Was all this back in the "old days",  you ask?  Like maybe when you were a kid,  you wonder?

No.  That was in 2007.

I remember when  I would wake up in the morning and America  made sense.  I remember when I didn't worry about politics.  I remember when I didn't fear for the future of my children and their children.

When will I again not have these concerns?

Well, I think we will have to WAIT a very long time for that....

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy 2013! Yes, Happy!

I have had many thoughts over the past few days about this new year.  I am sure you have as well.  Sorry my last post was a downer - just call me Debbie - the Downer, that is.  I am working on that!

2012 was a year of growth and challenges, of joy and fun.  The best things about 2012 would be:

~We were blessed with a wonderful vacation with all five of us to Emerald Isle, North Carolina.  We stayed in a nice home right next to the beach.  We love love loved it.  I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Dang- a few of us are getting chubby.... gotta work on that!
~ I was able to serve the wonderful women of the Columbia Stake in many ways.  One of the most favorite would be planning our Women's Conference held in April.  WOW - what work that was!  Many sisters enjoyed it, and that is the point.

~ I went to "Time out For Women" with my good friends Carrie and Diane.  Tons of fun there, I tell ya!

~I visited Arizona and helped my niece recover from surgery by helping to take care of her little adorable baby girl. She recovered quickly and we had lots of play time!  I loved being with my nieces and nephews and their families.  They are such a joy.

~Hubby and I went on a 28th Wedding Anniversary trip to a lovely place in Virginia.  It was a pleasant get-away together.  L and I went to a family homestead in New York.  See that same blog post for information.

~I finished a couple of quilts.  I should have finished more - I will do that THIS year!

~We spent Thanksgiving with family in Tennessee.  YAY!

~I supported Hubby through two minor surgeries.  He is becoming quite a good patient!

~We worked on a lot of home improvements!  We are almost done with the necessaries.

~I have gotten to play in the Nursery at church on Sundays now for a couple of months.  THAT is pure fun with those little angels - well, except when a few are crying, but they are learning and getting over it and that is a blessing!  They are so dear!

~I discovered The Pioneer Woman.  I shall blog about her soon.  I love her.  I think I mentioned that.

~My teeny small business runs well and grows without me trying to grow it.  That is cool.

~I spent lots of wonderful time with my daughter sewing, laughing, and working on projects.  We gained a love for the TV shows Castle and Dr. Who.  In spite of her health problems, she is still a joy to me in so many ways.

~I discovered SongPop!  Oh you  know that game?  It's too much fun.

~Christmas was fantastic.  B and B were home with us. I got spoiled. Hubby does that.  I love him.

So, there are some blessings!  Wow - I feel so  much better.  I should count the joy more often.  Yes, I think I shall.

But you'll have have to WAIT a little while for more of that!

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Little Catching-Up - Just a Little

The end of the year is here, and I realize I haven't blogged for 6 months.  Don't doubt - I have had PLENTY to say, and yet, a variety of things have held me back.  I ponder what to do with this blog -do I continue, do I end it?  I've talked about that before. I'm not too great at being consistent.  I find that flows into many areas of my life, that lack-of-consistency thing.  But as the 31st of 2012 approaches, I ponder and ponder and evaluate and plan to move on ahead.

  Here are a few random thoughts about where I am now.

~I have been in a bit of a funk for several months.  I was released from my calling in my church, where I was serving as a leader of women in about 7 congregations.  That was a tough release - and I have questioned the reasons why.  Yet, it happens, I understand that,  but I miss it.   Because of that calling, I chose my words carefully here on this blog because I never know who reads what I write.  I stayed away from controversial issues.  I'm not sure I will do that now.

~About the same time as my release, we had our national presidential election. I am very politically passionate.   Now,  I am still in  mourning about the results.  Some days I can  hardly breathe.  I have chosen for now to ban all TV news from my home or at least when I am in the room.  I don't listen to talk radio anymore for now.  I am trying to live my life in my little home and am being involved in my church and with my family and friends I trust.  That's the only way I can cope with it right now.

~We've done several home improvements. I will try to catch up on some of that.  Maybe it will help someone else before they paint their kitchen cabinets WHITE!!

~My daughter L continues with health problems - it's been 15 months now.  She will be 21 next month, and has hardly any college credits nor has she been able to work.  I work with her daily on health issues, drive her to doctors' appointments, watch TV with  her, and do all I can to keep her moving and feeling positive.  I honestly don't always feel positive about her challenges, but we keep going.

~I've become obsessed with the Pioneer Woman.  I adore her.  More on her later!

These past six months since I last blogged I have endured disappointments, felt certain prayers are going unanswered, certain righteous desires go ignored, fought with people about politics and their  views about certain Mormon Women's issues that I do not understand (ok, well, I didn't literally FIGHT with them, but there were a few discussions that I'd call more than a casual chat).   I have also been blessed daily to have a husband who loves me and supports me always and forever, and two dear friends who keep me moving and who listen to my whining.  I have lots of blessings, truly.

I think I'm ready for a new beginning and a new year.

I  suppose I will have to WAIT a few more days.....

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dining Room Re-do and China Hutch Transformation

I've been DIYing again.... scary, I know.  There are usually casualties and lots of brain cells that nearly explode each time I attempt it.  In all honesty, there are sometimes some tears, too.  I must say that this time, so far, it has gone pretty well.

I jokingly put on Facebook the other day that I wanted to re-do my entire home in blues, aqua, and greens.  I know those colors are very popular.  They have always been my favorites.  I got approval of such an attempt from several of my decorator friends.  Fabulous!   My teen-aged bedroom was decorated in those colors - wayyyyy back in the 70s.  I speak truth.

My living room, kitchen, and dining room are quite neutral.  I plan to continue to decorate with a lot of neutrals, because I think it is a classic look.  However, these rooms have too many browns, and the walls are a very light buttery color.  The dining room has a wall that is way too gold for me.  I eventually want to paint them all in a grays - since gray is the new cream. Haha.....

For the record, my living room has had turquoise/aqua in it for YEARS.  I was way ahead of the trend.  Yes, I was.  Proof:

My great-grandmother crocheted this beautiful doily in the late 1910s, and my grandmother framed it like this in the 1960s.  I never wanted to change it because I LOVED her bold style with that color, and I knew that some day I would have a room that matched it.  It has hung on my wall for years, even when it didn't match the decor because I'm bold that way.  Or, just lazy.  Or, sentimental?  Your guess.

I have had this hutch in my dining room since 1996, which I purchased at Salvation Army, with every intention of painting it, and every possible reason why I would mess it up.  So, I never tried, until Pinterest inspired me- yep!  Again! 

 I found information and inspiration from this blog, Lolly Jane:

I also found help on this one.  I really like Kimba's blog, "A Soft Place to Land" - I read it all the time!  Thanks, Kimba!  Here is one of her finished products:

She had a great tutorial on painting furniture.  I read many others as well.  Here is how I approached it:

I do not sand.  I bought Zinsser water-based Primer/Sealer.  I don't do oil-based paint, either. I'm a wimp.
I did two coats.  I really wanted it to be primed to death.  It took forevvvver.  I tried to tape off the many windows - didn't do great with that.  I had to do a lot of scraping afterwards.  Lesson learned.  Next time I think I'll just cut in.  I can often do that pretty well, but the tape I used kind of made it more frustrating.  I did not sand in-between primers.  Isn't that the point of using NO SANDING Primer?  Hmm.....

Sorry, some photos are a bit blurred from my Iphone.

I then used Valspar Crystal Aqua in their Signature line from Lowe's.  The paint lady at the store told me it would cover wonderfully.  It did ok.... I had to go over it in some areas where it didn't easily cover the primer.  In hindsight, I perhaps should have tried some of the Cabinet paint from Home depot or TruValue.  Apparently Lowe's doesn't have that type of line.

Here is the finished product:

The hardware is original all except the four round ones.  The knobs and pulls all match pretty well, I think.  Since I am NOT a very good photographer, the light doesn't really show very well what the color is.  Here is  a picture from my phone which shows the color a little better:

So, there you have it.  I love it very much!  I only spent 16 years hating it.  Great.

I also redid the tablescape on my antique buffet.  I have had this for about 25 years - it's at least 100, I think.  A woman gave it to me for $100 when it was worth WAY more.  She was moving to an RV and wanted it gone!  So, it went - straight to my house.  I love it.

Now it looks like this:

I dislike the wall color, but as I said it will eventually be painted.  I have been playing with these items to get the best look for them together.  I have been trading other things on and off the buffet to see what will work for now.  Got any suggestions?  I'm not sure sure if it works yet. I may get a table runner, too. What I really want it to look like is this, but I can't find the big vases/candleholders anywhere.  I went to about 5 stores.  Sigh.

Dollar store pillars in glass hurricanes!

Do you love this?  I love this window.  My friend, Kaylene, gave it to me a while back and I have been waiting for the right spot and right time to use it.  I love this:

So, there you have it.  I"m trying!

I am pleased with the progress.  I want the walls painted now.  They won't be, so.... 
I'll have to WAIT a little while.....

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The latest on Vestibular Migraine - oh, Wait - is That IT?

My dearest daughter L continues to have health issues. To refresh your memory, read here.   This all started last Fall, you know.  Well, it continues.

A few months ago, L started feeling better finally - almost back to her normal self, but not quite.  She was  trying to do more things, like read, do more chores, sew, thinking about taking classes again, etc.  She has been SO VERY SICK of being SICK, that she tried to overcome it the best that she could.  After a week or so of that, she spiraled down again into barely being able to get off of the couch.  Sigh.  Here we go again, we all thought.

She has spent months doing all the things her Neurologist prescribed for her, including living on a very strict diet to heal her Migraines.  She has gone off of it a few times, but not too horribly.  Medications haven't helped very much.  She is so ultra-sensitive to any medications, that she is given very small doses of anything she is taking.  Yet still, she had a nose dive.

She had an appointment with her Neurologist just in time.  He is very determined and cares for her a great deal, but she causes his puzzler to puzzle.  During this visit, he determined that she has low blood pressure and that this is adding to her dizziness, nausea, etc.  Now, let's see.... how many times in how many doctors' offices have they taken her blood pressure during the months and months of appointments?  Hmmm?  A MILLION???  Yes.  No one thought about her low blood pressure possibly adding to her issues.  Seriously.    She's had lower blood pressure for years.

That appointment with Dr. F. was on a Friday.  Naturally, Hubby started doing research about this.  We discovered that medications she had been on over the years have added greatly to her low blood pressure.  We remembered many times she she has been faint and nearly passed out in certain circumstances.
Many of her  current symptoms matched those of low blood pressure.  What?  Yes.

Then, a few days later, she had an appointment with her other neurologist - well, he is a neuropsychologist.  He was going to chew her out for seemingly not being as cooperative with her neurofeedback (did I tell you about that yet?  THAT is amazing stuff).  Well, he then realized why she wasn't so "in" to it.  She has LOW BLOOD PRESSURE!!  Yes, his tech was taking L's blood pressure twice a week.  Duh.  Come on, people!  We discussed with him everything that has been going on with her, and everything we researched.

What we said mattered.  We are now on a new path to see what is causing the low blood pressure.  For now, she has to take salt tablets, drink lots of water, and exercise.  Apparently old-lady support hose are supposed to help as well.  Good times!

This is a reminder to every parent that ever reads this that even when you have world-famous doctors who appear on Dr. Oz that parents are the ones who OFTEN lead the doctor to the right place.  DO NOT underestimate the power you have and that the knowledge and instincts you have aid in finding a correct diagnosis.  Do not give up.

So, my 20 year old still has no life.  We don't know when she will be well enough to get more than the 3 college credits she has.  She is home....with me (except for when I work, or shop, or go to lunch).... all the time.  She has handled the emotion of all this frustration amazingly well.  I am so proud of her for that.  I have a new appreciation for those with chronic illnesses.  I hope I will have the foresight to support those who can't do anything but survive due to health problems, and support those who take care of them a little bit better.  It's a lonely spot sometimes.

I have days when I wonder if this well end, of this will be her life.  Right now, I really don't know.

I'll just have to WAIT a little while.....and so will she.