Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quilted Caroler

Here is the other version of The Caroler Quilt

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stay tuned!

Buried in quilts! Quiting the last of 3 I have put together. Next I need to finish piecing one & then Natalie & I will be working on rag quilts. Yea!

Here's a picture of one I finished quilting:
Come back to see more in the next day or 2!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hallelujah Day Pictures (or why I haven't quilted)

I'm going to start this post a little differently than the typical "Look what I did today" post. I want to discuss a topic that is very much a "hot button" for Christians. On October 31st there is a celebration that happens every year. That's what most people think. When most folks hear the date "October 31st" one word comes to mind: Halloween. For me, it is a different story.

First, October 31st is celebrated in our family for a different reason. It is my Mom's birthday. It also happens to be the day after my Sister-in-law's birthday. My mom turned 75 this year! If you didn't see her story on Facebook and want to know how amazing it is that she is here, starting with her birth, ask me & I'll share it with you. I won't share my SIL's age. When she's 75 & we start counting birthdays again I might. LOL!

Next, October 31st was the day many, many, many years ago that Martin Luther (the German, not ML King) nailed his 500 theses to the door of a monastery. Here is how I remember that story going and you are free to correct me. He had joined the monastery. As he studied the Word of God (the Bible), he began to see fallacies  in the teachings of the church in Germany at that time. He wrote these down and on 10/31 in that year a LONG, LONG time ago, he nailed it to the door of the monastery. Today, the Lutheran church is named after him and many protestant churches would say they were "born" out of that event.

Okay, so for the rest of the folks, 10/31 is Halloween. Most of us grew up loving this day. Candy, costumes, candy, more candy, and more candy....what wasn't to love? We dressed in cheap nylon costumes with plastic masks (remember those with the tiny elastic that always broke?). Sometimes we might have a homemade costume. As I got older I'd make my own costume. In college I was a blue Crayon one time! I loved dressing up. Of course, there was always the invasion of witches, ghosts, and goblins and a haunted house or 2. I never liked the super scary, though, so it was the "fun" witch stuff. Stay with me if you're already tuning out with those words!

Many of us grew up and as we grew in our faith in the Lord we started learning what the origins of Halloween were. The Druids, the pagans, etc. Though, originally, if I remember correctly, that was a whole different event that later got tied in with the superstition of Halloween (appeasing evil spirits) the night before All Saints Day in the Catholic church. It made me want nothing to do with Halloween. At all. I would even hear Christians say that it was the devil's day. It was a day of evil. It was a day that we should avoid.

Then I heard some wisdom from a dear sister in the Lord. It was as simple as this, "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Ps. 118:24. She told me that she realized that by saying it was the devil's day we were giving him the glory. EVERY day is God's day. Did she mean we should go celebrate Halloween? No. But she did remind me that we need to claim EACH day as a gift from God to not give our enemy a foothold.

Next came the issue of what to do with kids on 10/31. When they were little it was easy: Celebrate Mammaw's birthday! We weren't home to deal with the trick or treaters, etc. As they got a bit bigger I thought we might go to some fall festivals, though I wondered if kids still saw those as Halloween and didn't make the distinction that it was to celebrate the good things of the Lord. I THOUGHT that's what we'd do. But things don't always work as we think they will. We discovered our elder child had autism. Mild, but autism none the lest. We tried a church festival. It didn't work. In fact, it failed. Miserably. The poor child had the deer in the headlights look the whole night and did NOTHING. I knew this was not going to work for us.

Somewhere along the line I decided to hand out candy. I wanted to share the BEST treat of all: the love of Jesus. So, I made up some little cards that said "Jesus is the sweetest treat of all" with a Bible verse. I knew kids well enough (I had a degree in kids, after all) to know that that alone would get tossed. So I attached it to candy and handed it out. Sweet little Bethany, all of 3 or 4 at the time, knew people would come for candy, but didn't understand the whole concept. She asked me, "When are the friends coming?"

As much as we tried to avoid the ugliness that comes with Halloween, it was impossible to do. People decorate for that day around here like it's Christmas. And in stores, you just can't avoid it. I'll never forget the day we were in the grocery store parking lot and tiny Bethany (only 3 or so) asked me, "Who's the white guy?" She spoke early, and clearly. And literally. I had no idea this was part of Asperger Syndrome (her form of autism) at the time. Turned out the "white guy" was a huge ghost atop the store entry.

After much debating & praying, we decided to try trick or treating with the girls. First, dressing up was no problem. Most kids love to dress up now & then. My kids loved to dress up daily. They were often "in character." From Cleopatra to the "Nerds" to dj's, and so much more, we never knew who they would be from day to day. Of course they loved candy. As my niece recently wrote, "A day for dressing up and candy. What's NOT to love?" LOL! I decided to use this event, this going from house to house dressed in costume begging for candy, as a social skills lesson. After all, who doesn't want their kids growing up to beg from others? Just kidding. For Bethany, it was an opportunity for her to practice on grand scale looking at people and saying words to them. It was scripted, "Trick or treat." She didn't have to converse. She did have to follow up with "Thank you," though. Now, if anyone asked a question, I'd have to feed her words to say. For Natalie all of these reasons were a non-issue. She's adhd. She loved the fall festival. She was happy to play every game---if she could win. She still leads the charge on 10/31 and determines which houses have people home or not and precisely how long to stay at each door.

From the beginning of the "white guy" I've been telling the girls how we don't celebrate evil. We've talked repeatedly about how death is NOT something to be celebrated, mocked, and glorified. I don't mean to be this way, but I have to admit that I am literally repulsed by cemeteries in people's yards and costumes that are images of death and evil. The people don't repulse me. I know under the costume is a human. But I am just super sensitive to these things. Maybe because I lost a brother when he was 17. I've seen too many people die early. Death is only beautiful when it is the passing of a believing soul into the arms of Jesus. But killing of people, or the depiction of it, is not beautiful. I could barely get through Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl when Natalie & I had to read it.

Some of you will agree with me. Some of you will adamantly disagree with me. That's okay. My convictions are not yours, and yours are not mine. We are to hold one another accountable, but ultimately, we have to stand before the Lord with our accounts.

Above are this year's costumes for 10/31. Nat wanted a Renaissance dress and we hope to find a family friendly fair to visit next year. She just can't grow much. LOL! Bethany created her cat costume. The red hair is just because she wanted to see it redder than it's natural reddish-strawberry color and knew I'd only let her do it that day.

Below are some of the MANY costumes they've had over the years. BTW, Bethany is currently filming and producing a movie for a homeschool literature project and was dressed up today as a man from the 1860's. Dress up is NOT just for Halloween!

"When I grow up I want to be a pig." Natalie, age 3

Red boots go with EVERYTHING!

They even made the grandmothers dress up!
About the title of this post: I used to call 10/31 Hallelujah Day. I then thought of the meaning of the word "Halloween." Hallow: holy, E'en: evening. Holy Evening. I like that. It's not what the originators meant it to be. It's not what 99% of folks today mean it to be. But it's a name I like. A reminder to live holy lives daily. May every evening be a Holy Evening and may every day be one in which we rejoice that THIS is the day the Lord has made!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sale! 20% Off at my Etsy Shop!

Don't wait for Black Friday! Go shopping at my Etsy shop today and save 20% off every item with this coupon code: 20NOV11   I have several table runners for fall and Thanksgiving. Some are reversible for Christmas. I will be adding more bags as the month goes on. You can use the coupon code as often as you like, so if you shop now then want to buy more in a week, use it again!

In other news, if you haven't heard, I am a Pampered Chef consultant again! It's been nearly 2 years since I went inactive. It's been 10 1/2 years since I became a consultant the first time. I have my first live show next Friday night (the 11th). It hasn't really sunk in that I am a consultant again but when I looked through the catalog I did get excited. I use Pampered Chef products all day long. Since we have to cook from scratch most of our food due to the gluten issues, I am blessed to have been able to acquire most of my PC products free when I was a consultant before. I am so used to the quality that I forget how great it is until I am somewhere without these tools! If you'd like more info about the products or how you can order them, let me know. I currently have a Mystery Host catalog show going and you could win the Host Benefits---free products and more! 

Finally, an update on our dear Katie. She was able to go home from the hospital, but is not doing well. Her husband said that she is unconscious most of the time with pain medication. Please keep praying for this dear family and if you would like to help, click on the link in my sidebar. Thanks!
Hope you have a blessed day!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Free Shipping at my Etsy shop!

This week only I'm offering FREE SHIPPING at my ETSY SHOP! This is for any US address only. Just enter FSOCT11 in the coupon code box.

Here are a few new items in my shop:
Rag Bag using Moda's Summer House
Reversible Table Runner with Fall on one side, Christmas on the back

Reversible Christmas Table Runner with close up of back

I have a few more items in the process of being completed. There's a Christmas quilt with Moda's Basic Grey Fruitcake fabric, another bag with Moda's Summer House fabric and 2 quilts that are waiting to be quilted. I will add pictures of those soon so check back!

I would love to have you share this special with your friends. Feel free to blog all about it!

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Help for Katie's Family

My friend Katie is an amazing woman living with stage 4 gastric cancer. She should "not be alive" now according to the doctors. When she was diagnosed they thought she'd have less than 6 months. In December it will be a year. Less than 2 weeks ago she went into the hospital with her tumor bleeding. Her only "chances" were for the tumor to stop on it's own or for radiation to possibly help IF she could even get radiation. If neither happened, they would be transporting her to the Hospice center and keep her comfortable. We know her situation is still precarious but we also know we have a God who is even more amazing than our dear Katie. Katie is currently AT HOME. The radiation was approved and in working to stop the bleeding.

With this going on for Katie, her husband Kevin, and their 3 sons, life is still managing to happen around them. In the Renz family birthdays seem to happen to the males in the fall. The twin boys will be turning 6 in November and the middle school son will have a birthday in December. I think Kevin's is soon, too. Christmas comes soon after that. We hope and pray that Katie will be here to celebrate all of these. We do know that this year shopping for Birthday and Christmas gifts will be a challenge, so my friend Emily has spearheaded a group to help the family in this area. If you'd like to help, please join the proboards group "Operation Renz Family" at THIS location.  In the near future there will be a way to donate immediately from that site.

Please continue to keep this dear family in your prayers. Thank you!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Swimming for Katie

Usually it is exciting to be among the first to know something. There is that joy of excitement and anticipation, as when you know someone is expecting a baby or getting married, before it's made public. Other times, it is an honor, but one with a heavy heart, that you are among the first to learn news. Last December I received an e-mail from a friend who had received Katie Renz' permission to share with me a trial she was facing. There was a possibility that she might have cancer. Katie is one of my dear online stamping friends, and I was all too eager to pray for her. Just weeks before we had said our good-byes and buried my dear friend Linda who lost her battle with cancer, but gained eternal life. The summer of 2010 I sat in the "friend chair" in two infusion centers while two of my best friends received chemotherapy. Learning of Katie's possible cancer was simply surreal, but one I was all too familiar with.

As most of you know, Katie was diagnosed with stage 4 gastric cancer in December. She spent Christmas in the hospital, a time that was supposed to be spent at Disneyland on vacation with her husband and 3 boys. Her cancer was inoperable, but she has been on a steady regimen of chemotherapy. During a break from the chemo her family took that trip to Disney! And to show you a touch of Katie's tenacity, check out this picture:

During another break in her chemo routine, Katie got a motorcycle endorsement! Something Katie & I have in common is husbands with a love for riding fast motorcycles. I guess the "fast" goes without saying when you mention motorcycles. Katie is far braver than I, however, as she also drives a motorcycle!

Katie is fighting this cancer with all she's got, but she also is dealing with this with a big dose of reality. In her last post, she talked about going shopping with her husband. Not for shoes or clothes, but for cemetery plots, coffins and headstones. That's Katie, thinking of things ahead of time so if/when the time comes, Kevin will not have to make those choices. She's not given up hope, though. She still uses the phrase, "short of a miracle," knowing that could happen.

Today a wonderful group of Katie's friends and stamping comrades have posted a blog hop as a way for others to help Katie, Kevin and the boys in a very practical way. Cancer not only takes a toll physically and emotionally, but also financially, even with the best of insurance policies. On this blog hop, you will have the opportunity to donate directly to help the Renz family as well as purchase some "digi stamps" with the cost also going to the family. You will also find Katie's mailing address if you'd like to send a card.

Please pray for this dear lady and her family. We are all still hoping for that miracle.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Projects

With a new school year started, time has been slipping away. Along with our typical homeschooling at home, we also are part of a homeschool co-op where parents take turns teaching classes, as well as a Girl Scout troop (with girls from Kindergarten through high school). My projects have taken a back seat, but it's time to get them finished, so I've been busy this week getting everything to the point of quilting.

Here are a few of the things I'm working on:
Maple Leaf Table Runner (2 of these, slightly different variations)
Patchwork Table Runner (2 of these). These will have scalloped edges!

 From Mary Engelbreit's fabric collection, "The Caroler." 

I would like opinions here. I started with 2 panels and had the "turnovers" (triangles) in the same fabric line already. I used those to border the panel. To me, this could be a finished piece (with a border, quilting and binding) OR I could add several wide borders to make it a lap quilt. Currently these are about 20" x 30". What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Items listed and Quilt Tops finished!

Today I listed the patriotic rag quilt on Etsy along with a set of hot pads/trivets. I have a few more sets to list of those.


I also finished a quilt top and took pictures of another quilt top I finished the other day. This is the one that I did a "mock up" of in Photoshop several months ago. I finally got it all put together. I think it needs a border before I quilt it. I don't think I have more of the fabric I used for sashing, though.

Do you love the little netbook on top of the ironing board? We are such nerds that we often have it on while watching a movie because inevitably someone will ask, "Who is playing that part?" The hunt begins and leads down a winding road of all sorts of useless info!

I'm almost done with a 3rd. Now the fun part begins: Quilting!

Natalie thinks she might want this one for her new bedspread. I do know whether she does or doesn't I'll be keeping this one with the Amy Butler fabrics in it.
Now to feed my family. I decided to cook 3 types of meat at once tonight so I only had to have the oven on once this week. Should be enough to last all week & then some. Thank the Lord for food to eat when our pennies are pinched way too tight!

Ta ta for now!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

New items to list on Etsy

Here are some quick shots of the things I need to list on Etsy. Need to take good pics of the quilt & edit the ones of the hot pads/trivets.

Will update when I have them on Etsy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pink Bags!

Last year when I started making things for my craft fairs, I found some Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon fabric to use. I made a few things with it and had quite a bit still in my stash. My dear friend Kathy was right in the middle of chemo for her breast cancer, following surgery, so we were totally absorbed in all things PINK! When I looked through a book by  Amy Butler called Style Stitches, a book full of patterns and how-to's for making bags, I wanted to try this Teardrop style bag. The little key keeper bag is a similar style, so I decided to make both sizes of purses and a little coin bag to go with them.

Both of the purses have long handles. When I find my over the door hanger I'll take some better pics showing the handles. There is a large slip pocket inside of each bag, too. The purses have a magnetic snap top. The large one will have either a bow or rosette on the front. That's because my iron got a little heat happy and smudged a bit where the magnets are. UGH! It doesn't effect the strength of the fabric, just the looks. So, the purse will get an extra detail! The little bag has a tiny loop on it so you could use a latch or split key ring to attach your keys or attach the little bag to a bigger one. It also has a slip pocket on the inside.

While I used the same main fabric on all 3, each of the coordinating pink colors is slightly different. The small purse (with the strap), has a mottled bright pink fabric as the handle and band. The large purse and the key keeper each have a solid pink, but slightly different in shade, as the band (and handle on the purse). The 3 shades of pink do still coordinate so this could be given as a set.

With October coming quickly, a month when we remember those with breast cancer and make an effort to find more ways to end this horrible disease, maybe you know someone who might be cheered up with a purse reminding her that we are fighting for her life! I'll be adding these to my Etsy store soon, but if you are interested in purchasing one before that, let me know.

Have a super day!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Potato Baking Bags on Etsy!

I've listed several of the Amazing Potato (and more) bags on my etsy site! I can make these in any 100% cotton fabric. I just had a few left from the craft fairs in the styles shown. I will be listing more things next week. I love referrals & would love for you to pass my blog and etsy sites along to anyone who might be interested in my items! Thanks!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Do I still have a few readers out in blog land? Life has just stayed busy here. I wanted to let you know I really want to build up my Etsy shop. I have so many projects that I've started & need to finish. I also have set a goal to complete 1 or 2 bags/purses per week. It may be for the shop, may be custom orders, or may be for myself. I just need to be consistent. I'm feeling like I should complete some things I've started, yet it is hard as some are seasonal, but not THIS season. I'm still working on a patriotic rag quilt. I want to get it done, but I'm not sure who will be looking for such a thing this time of year. I would like to get started on some Fall and Christmas type projects to sell. I have little things that I sold at Craft Fairs. I am not sure how well they would sell on Etsy. I may just list them here instead.

I said last year I was going to have a big giveaway, but I never did. That is something I want to do. However, I really want my blog and my Etsy shop up to date before I do that. I'd like to put a gallery on my blog. I need some help doing that, so will hunt for a tutorial. If any of you have done this on your blog, feel free to share how to do that. I don't want the type where the pictures move across the screen b/c it takes so long to load, even on my high speed internet enabled computer.

If you own a Loribelle Bag, I will soon be sending you a note asking for some help in spreading the word about my business. Again, I want to have more in stock and an updated blog when I do that.

Right now I am just sweatin' like an oldie (LOL!) in our unbelievable heat. The summer of window units in our house has left me really missing central air! At least the unit in the craft room keeps me comfortable when I sew.

Thanks for stopping by today. I'll be updating things soon, I hope!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reversible Table Runner

Click on any picture to enlarge
Do you like multi-functional items? If I've shared this story before, just humor me and pretend I haven't. LOL! At my mom's house, she has placemats that my mother-in-law made for her with a Thanksgiving print on one side and a Christmas print on the other. We have started a silly annual tradition for Thanksgiving night or the day after when several of us are at the table. It's the changing of the placemats. We count to three and welcome in the Christmas season! That, and we put up my parents' tree and help Mom decorate it. 

I took that idea and used it with this table runner. Beautiful fall and Christmas prints are so hard for me to resist. This is a way to showcase these fabrics instead of having them cut into small pieces for quilts. I've taken the fabrics, lined them with a batting to protect your table and also act as a "hot pad." I used a large grid quilting design in green to coordinate the two sides. 
This table runner is listed on my Etsy site along with my other items for sale. I'd love for you to share my blog and my site with a friend who might enjoy my items! Thanks!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Casserole Carrier for ANY Size Dish, Pan, Bowl or WHATEVER!


Covered Dish Dinner (mistyped that's Sinner, which might be more fitting!). Pot Luck Lunch. Pitch In. Carry In. 5th Sunday Lunch. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Funeral meals.

We've all had times we needed to take food to an event and we wanted an easy way to carry it without burning ourselves. Or we had a salad that we put in our Tupperware super jumbo bowl and it wouldn't fit in a cooler. Enter the Casserole Carrier!

I saw an idea last year & decided to try it out. I've tweaked it to make it "my own" but the idea is still the same. I've bought patterns for casserole carriers before, but they had a million pieces and once made, would only fit ONE size dish. As most my readers know, I am a former Pampered Chef consultant, so I have WAY more than one size dish! LOL! If PC makes it in a certain size, I very likely own something in that size!

I realized that just looking at one picture of this it might not make sense, so I decided to do a "tutorial" of how to use one of these casserole carriers. I'll also put the measurements at the end and a short "how to make" tutorial. I can't reprint the original design (and I've seen it more than one place) but I can give you my spin on it.

First, the coolest thing about this carrier is that it is a "multi-tasker." Yes, I did borrow that line from Alton Brown. I suspect he finds some PC items useless since they appear to be single-taskers, but I can find more than one use for almost any kitchen tool. : ) Besides toting your dish to those dinners, you can use the decorative side for a table quilt/runner. Also, because I line these with cotton batting or insulated batting, they are also hot pads for your dishes to protect your table. With this batting, it means they carry cold foods as well as hot. Another fun idea: load up your picnic items that don't need to go in the cooler into the middle, pull up the straps, carry the items to the park and you have a tablecloth AND all your goodies to go along with the food!

On to the tutorial! First, lay out your carrier with the strap side up. Lay your dish on that side UNDER the strap.
Next, pull up one of the corners with the loop or ring (I've done these with both metal loops and rings) and insert the strap through this.
Pull up the opposite loop/ring and put the strap through that.
Pull the strap and VOILA! You now have an easy to carry dish!
 I took pictures using 3 different size pans so you could see it works with different sizes.

Deep Covered Baker
Large Round Stone (AKA Pizza Stone)
Metal Sheet Pan

If you'd like to buy one of these, I have a couple on my Etsy site, but I also can make one in the colors and prints of your choice. Just send me a message and we'll get started!

For those who would like to make your own, here are my VERY basic directions. I use about a yard of two different fabrics to make 2 carriers, or if you want the front & back to be the same, just get 1 yard of one fabric. If you don't want to add a border, you can probably use just 3/4 of a yard. 2/3 might even work. Since most fabric is ABOUT 44" wide, half of this is 22" wide. I cut 2 squares 22" w & l. I use the extra bit of fabric to make a strap (I put batting in my strap, make a tube, sew & turn). If you want to make a border, cut the square smaller than 22" and add the border to make the finished piece about 22" on all sides. Cut a piece of cotton batting or Insul-Bright 22" also.

Make your strap the diagonal of the square: Measure from one corner diagonally to the opposite corner. Make your straps slightly longer than this. Just make a tube as mentioned above, about 2" wide finished, so you'll want the fabric to be about 4 1/4" wide to start and use 1/4" seam. Lay the finished strap diagonally on the square from corner to corner. You can baste this on or pin it on at this point.

Layer your fabrics: One fabric right side up, the other fabric right side down, then the batting. The straps should be sandwiched between the 2 right sides of fabric. Sew around the edges and turn. I quilt it after I've turned it. You could do this like a real quilt and just layer the fabric right sides out, quilt, then add a binding. Your choice. I just do the easiest way!

If I make loops I make them about 8" long, I think. I just sew them on by topstitching VERY well. If I add metal rings, I make a short strip tube about 4" long. I insert the loops and again topstitch these on. I add these to the quilted carrier so the stitches go through all layers. You could add these before you sew the layers together if you don't want stitches showing, but I think it adds stability to the carrier to do this through all layers.

Ta-Da! You're done! Enjoy!