Sunday, October 19, 2014

Feeling Crafty

I did another letter for my old school friend Amy.  I hadn't done anything for her since she bought her new house and I thought this would be something fun to give her.  She's trendy and I was worried that this might be too cutesy for her but I went with it anyway.


 
I'm not quite sure how I feel about the burlap in that place.  I tried hanging it up to see how it looked.  it's OK.  I'll let Amy figure out what she wants to do with that, she's good at those kind of things.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Glory, Hallelujah!

This past month I was on a crafty kick which also means I was frustrated, in creative overload and hating my husband because I don't have enough money. 
Of course, all these things past, but as much as I love crafts and creating things, it always comes with a price.  It cost to do them and my house pays the cost of neglect.  I've gotta get a better system.
I'm not poor, but I live on a budget.  Being creative is not easy to live on a budget even with the DIY projects.  It's why in most cases I avoid doing too many crafts or any project because the moment I walk into a Hobby Lobby/JoAnn's/Michaels, I leave wanting it all and thinking what can I sell on craigslist to get more money.  It's never a good thing.  I feel guilty for wanting.

On a happier note. . . I still craft regardless.  I've decided if you hold a creative person back and don't let them use some of their creativity juices, they will explode and you mine as well had put them in a mental institute.  :)  Can't hold me back.

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With this past project, it was a little unexpected and probably the most challenging project I've done in the tote bag world. 
My mother-in-law asked for one of my bags for here birthday.  I wasn't sure if she was serious.  I hesitated.  Then I panicked.  She is one of the best seamstresses I know and she is very particular.  She may say she isn't but I've watched her sew!  I'm not a good seamstress.  I don't follow patterns.  I just like to do color combos on something useful.  As long as she could look pass all my stitching, we would be good.
The challenge began.  I wanted this bag to represent Gloria and still have my touch to it.  The colors she loves were easy.  Finding that perfect color combo was not.  She likes things with bling but she never wears anything with bling.  She loves to quilt but never seems to buy colors that she is purely satisfied with.  I needed to find something in the middle--not too bright, with bling, pattern but conservative and style.  Once I found the perfect fabric it was smooth sailing from there. . .not so much.
I felt like I was on some kind of design TV show and my next design was going to keep me or cut me.  I changed the layout at least four to five times.  Gloria loves blues and purples and reds but more in the burgundy department with the reds, essentially all cool colors.  I finally realized this purse needed something to balance it, something. . .warm.  I could not resist I had to add some gold.  It was in the fabric in little spouts throughout the design.  Once I added it I finally felt satisfied and was ready to sew.
 This navy fabric I found was so cute that I had to buy it!  I was aching to use it somewhere on this bag but it never seemed to work.

 The navy fabric finally got cut.  It will show up eventually somewhere in one of my projects.


I changed it about three or four more times.
In the end, I was happy with the result and Gloria seemed to love the fabrics I chose which was what mattered most to me.  The bag turned out larger than I planned (I've really got create my own pattern).  A lady of only 4'11", a big bag is not ideal.  I added a pocket and an extra piece at the top to give that binding look you might see on a quilt.  The pocket I thought would be simple but trying to blend it in with the fabric was more difficult than I thought and I know have a great appreciation for people that work in upholstery.  I was grateful for this challenge.  It opened up the Pandora's box of my brain with new things and ways to go with my bag designs.  Though it took me almost two months to make this bag, I am so glad I did.
 
 

As I heard the Battle Hymn of Republic strum through my mind when I finished this bag, and felt like I had won the war, there was no doubt this bag was getting named Glory, Hallelujah!

The other project was Pinterest/mother inspired.  I went to help my mom make a door hanging for her visiting teacher and it turned out so cute I decided to do some.
It was one of my sister's that I visit's birthday this past month. As I've been getting to know her I knew this would be something she liked.  I was so excited to give it to her! 
She was so cute and surprised when I gave it to her.  She said only one other person ever got her anything.  I was so glad then that I had done something to let her know that I think of her and that she is loved.
 
I was thrilled with how this turned out!  Now I've thought of about 20 more I would love to do for others.  Now that, I don't have the money for!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Better Late Than Never

My life seems to be backing up, piling up and I'm somewhere lost in all the mess.  I admire all those super punctual, organized people who have it together and they have these wonderful systems to get through life without lacking behind.
 I'm not one of those people. 
Not even close.
A matter of fact, my mind runs so fast I can't even keep up with my own thoughts.  This may be a sign of a mental issue, it may be normal, regardless it's me.  I'm pretty sure the world of technology and ideas for just about anything at my fingertips, does not help my case.  Maybe one day it will get better.
Until then, I will remain a gazillion days behind on all my thoughts and projects and hope that my duty of motherhood is a fair enough excuse for all the lagging.

Now that I've got that out of the way. . . refocus. 

Last school year I decided to attempt my teacher bags again.  I wasn't quite as enthused but they turned out.  Several things had piled up into this last week of school.  One was our house had officially gone under contract and we were in the process of possibly moving with a very close deadline.  Then we decided this may not be the right decision.  I was emotional stressed and distracted.
On the bright side of things,  I was more involved and got to know the teachers a bit better this year.  This helped in the process.  I cannot make a bag without some inspiration from the actual person.

SHARP
She was an outgoing and easy going person.  She loved Liam.  He loved her.  She loved bright colors I could tell just from being around her.  Then she said her favorite colors were pink, red and lime green.  When I saw this fabric I couldn't resist.  I lined it with lime green.  The front I added some 3-D effects that flowed with the flowers.  I loved this bag so much I almost kept it for myself!




DAVIS
This one was easy.  Mrs. Davis is the perfect example of Southern, classy lady.  Sweet demeanor, soft spoken, always smiling and stylish.  Favorite color was a teal green.  I saw this beautiful material with all the soft colors, BINGO.  I made this tote smaller than my normal bags.  Enough to hold a book or two but not large.  The bottom was something new That I tried.  It wasn't going together as smoothly as I envisioned, but it ended up with the result I wanted.  Chevron is a beast to work with, I might add.  I chose a flower with points instead of round like the previous bag to flow with the bohemian pattern. The sash was something I decided at the last minute to throw in to create a simple finishing touch.  I couldn't decide which side to put it on.  What do you think?
 


CHRISTOL
This bag just turned out cute and the response from the teacher was worth every minute put into the bag!  This is probably the simplest bag I have ever put together.  Not ruffles, flowers, or 3-D extras.  This was plain and simple.  This bag was large because I knew the teacher still had little children.  We need large bags with small kids!  Her favorite colors were the school colors--red and blue.  I had to be very careful to avoid a patriotic bag.  I also have a rule to never use just two colors-- never.  I needed a third color.
She decorated her class with Snoopy and I kept thinking of the yellow bird like things on the cartoons.  Mrs. Christol is also one of those people you meet and know she teaches elementary school.  So, when I came across this awesome gold polka dot fabric I knew I had to use it with something.  Her bag.  I was pleased with how it turned out.



Sunday, March 2, 2014

My Five Sons (Perspective part 2)

It's hard to believe I became a mother to my fifth child, my fifth son. 
With all my pregnancies I have managed to have something crazy happen that makes for a good story.  Bret's birth story however ranks at the top.

Once again, I have a new light, a greater perspective on life, revelation, eternity and really miracles.

I have always considered my self as one with strong faith.  I believe I have witnessed miracles because I have the faith that they happen.  The Lord has helped witness the true miracle of birth, the miracle of life.

It was hours after the story of Bret's situation was revealed to me.  It has been weeks and I still haven't fully processed the magnitude of what "could have happened."  Instead, I get to hold him in my arms, snuggle him, cherish him and fully love him.





After my first night in the hospital, early in the morning, I was preparing to feed Bret.  It was a peaceful feeling within me but a very special feeling as well that I can't describe.  It was a private moment for me to process that I could be waking up and preparing funeral arrangements.  The thought still seems so surreal.  I never felt that fear for the possible loss of my child.  I never worried for his life, maybe cause it all happened so fast.  I don't really know.  It just has never fully sunk in to my brain that my child was on the brink of death.  In some ways I feel guilty, almost shallow for not having these feelings of sadness, but I am also grateful that I haven't had to suffer through such sorrow.

What I can say has happened, my gratitude to the Lord has grown ten fold.  My testimony of knowing HE is real seems to have intensified, as if He is even more real.  If that is possible.

With the time being home bound, I have reflected on things/conversations that happened before Bret's arrival.  Small things to many but things I believe to be no consequence but the Lord preparing me for Bret's arrival.

First of all, Bret didn't have a name until after he was born.  Jarom and I tossed names back and forth but nothing seemed satisfying.  We finally got it narrowed down to Brett or Graham.  Jarom was for Brett and I was for Graham.  I was pretty sure we were going to go with Graham.  Than Jarom was talking with a black lady at work who said "Graham?  Like Graham Cracker?"  She thought that was hilarious. We did too! Considering it is pretty funny but also takes on a whole other meaning coming from a black person, Graham got thrown out the window the day of delivery.
Obviously, we went with Brett. . .no Bret, one "T."  We thought this would be nice to have so many "T's" but people have managed to spell his first name with two "T's" and Smartt with one.  Go figure.
Lorenzo, Jarom shut down the first time I mentioned it.  But this time I wasn't letting down.  I loved it!  As I was reading about Lorenzo Snow and some of his teachings during his time as prophet it just stayed with me.  it was kind of like his name stood out like a neon sign.
Finally, after Bret's birth we really had nothing solid other than the last names we had discussed, Bret and Lorenzo.  I am so glad we went with Lorenzo because the teachings Lorenzo Snow was known for was eternal families and life after death.  His messages I felt somehow resembled our whole situation.  I prayed to have a good name for this child and I believe that prayer was answered.

The other interesting thing I often think about was a conversation I had had with my mother just a few days before Bret was born.  I could feel him but contractions had pretty gone to zilch within the past two weeks.  My mom was worried and just told me to pay attention.  I had asked her as well if the baby could actually come back up into your womb from the birth canal, because the pressure in my pelvic area had changed and it felt like he had moved up into my rib cage.  We both kind of laughed and thought that was crazy and unlikely, but I still wondered.  Oddly enough, that was just what happened when Dr. Radpour broke my water.  It doesn't happen and shouldn't but it did.  I find it quite amazing how these things happen.

Children are a gift.  The Lord answers prayers and prepares us more than we think for the things that are to come.  I have witnessed myself. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Perspective (Part 1)

Every now and then, things happen that seem to quickly put life into perspective.  I think these moments are little treasures of our life.  Little reminders to help us remember the great things we have in life.
My children, five sons, is one of those great things.
My husband is the other.
I'm sure there are many other things but these are definitely my top two.


Recently, when our newest addition came to our family, it was not without a fright.  Death never really crossed my mind, but my fear was simply being separated from my husband.


I remember once discussing with a friend I visit taught about whether we could choose between our husband and our kids if such a decision would have to be made.  I have never hesitated in knowing that I would choose my husband in a heartbeat.  Now as I've had more children and been a mother longer, I would say it would be more difficult to make this decision.  However, there is something about that companionship that I still reach for and would in the end always choose my husband.  Let's just hope I NEVER have to make such a choice.

I digress.

There is little I remember from this last delivery of our fifth child.  When I had to have an emergency C-section, when it was all happening, it still wasn't sinking in that my child was in danger.  I had no idea, nor did Jarom.  We both just knew that something was not right and had to be taken care of PRONTO.

I do remember being rushed down the hallway in my hospital bed, hearing the heavy breathing from the doctors and nurses rushing me to the operating room.  As I watched the lights on the ceiling, they were so bright and we were passing everything so quickly.  I was nervous.  I was afraid because I didn't know what was happening exactly.  I felt lost.  I can only imagine how my face looked.  I began to get scared and I could feel my eyes filling with water.  I didn't know what was happening! 

As I saw the OR room doors close and hearing them say my husband couldn't come in and I see him disappear from my sight behind the thick white doors, I cried silently. 

I tried to remain calm even when they put the oxygen mask on me.  I can't stand to have my face covered and my first instinct was to try to remove it from my face.  But I didn't.  It was as if I was paralyzed from confusion, fear, and feeling very much alone.  A large piece of me was standing on the other side of that door.  I was alone and needed him.

I am glad that I was put completely under for this surgery because I could not have been awake and gone through all that with Jarom not by my side.

I have still not heard all of Jarom's side of the story.  He had to stay awake during everything and was just as confused as me with what the emergency was about.  I have just heard little tidbits here and there.  He apparently doesn't like to talk about it and I have not pressed, despite my curiosity.  I just sense it scared him enough to not want to recall.


After all this, it has stayed with me for almost two weeks, that emptiness I felt as we were being separated.  A realization that I cannot live without this man.  I use to think how he couldn't survive without me but I know now I can't really survive without him.  I need him to need me.  I live to keep him alive and make him happy.  Not because I am some pitiful, submissive, low self-esteemed woman, but because I LOVE him. 

With the baby being upstairs and I'm still in recovery I have had to sleep upstairs as well.  It has been miserable.  Each night when I have to sleep in another bed it saddens me.  It hurts.  there have been a few nights that I have almost cried.  I know that my hormones are slightly wacko as well, but I still have this desire, this need to be close to Jarom always.  I feel so far away from him when I'm in another bed.  I can't wait until I can't start moving up and down the stairs regularly!

My love for Jarom is at another level.  Eternity doesn't even seem long enough.  It's a powerful thing to come to such a place in your heart, your soul.  We have been sealed together but now I think we have molded together, become one.  Each year of our marriage it has just gotten better.  I wish so many people could experience what I feel.  It takes love to a whole other meaning.

During my recovery I have seen Jarom do things that I have never seen him do our entire marriage!  I know it hasn't been easy for him but he has never complained or expected to do anything.  It has been like pulling a layer of film from my eyes and I see Jarom in another light.  ( It's sexy!) His service and patience has shown how he loves me which makes me love him even more. 

I feel blessed.  I feel tingly inside.  I feel the need to hold back tears as I think about it.  Who would have thought getting married at eighteen I would make such a good decision for a companion?  People doubted us but we were meant to be.  It makes me almost rethink the concept of soul mates.  One thing is for sure, love is much more than just an action.  It's almost like a living thing.  It can grow and develop on all different degrees and in the process weave a relationship together and make it stronger.

Love is a beautiful thing.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Writing

I haven't been doing very well with keeping a blog.  Sometimes I just get lazy but mostly it's because I'm so easily distracted by other things that I never keep THIS a priority.
I can say one thing lately, I have been writing, just not here.
Just recently, I was pondering over writing and how I was never good at it when it came to test and in English classes.  I had a college professor tell me I wasn't "A" material and no matter what I did I would never make an "A" in her class.  That really builds a person confidence.  I wanted to believe that I could prove her wrong and that maybe she was actually pushing me to prove her wrong, but that never happened.  If I recall I barely made a "B."  I never even told my husband I liked to write because I knew he only knew me as the girl that stunk at English. 
Grammar has always been my weakness and English outside of speeches and class discussions, putting it on paper I just couldn't do it.  However, I have always found myself interested in writing.  When I was in middle school, my Kaleidoscope teacher, Ms. Dunkersly would take me out of class twice a week and take me to the computer lab.  She told me to write.  Write anything.  I would write poems.  Actually I wrote poems all the time.  She liked them and told me to continue to write more.  I was enjoyed reading poetry and lyrics of music.  I see that she saw that in me and told me to write.
In elementary school, I remember one summer I wrote a letter to every kid in my class from the previous year.  Simply because I loved to write.
I went to a Student conference in the eighth grade and was excited to take a journal class, not journalism, but keeping a journal.  I already kept a journal.  The class to this day I remember how she spoke of suggestions of writing to yourself, naming your journal, etc.  I have always tried to keep some type of journal/blog.
In tenth grade, my teacher entered me in a writing contest for the local paper.  She had to fix most grammar, but the context she loved.  I even made an "A" on a summer reading writing exam on a book I had only read the first chapter of, she encouraged me to write.  She also encouraged me to speak publicly.
For five years I wrote a family newsletter to send out to my family.
Overtime I have written hundreds of letters between friends, cards, poems, even a few stories.  I don't know where half of them are, if I even kept them.  Today I keep a fairly regular blog in the place of my journal, but that one English professor damaged me slightly.  I believed I could never be good enough to write.  I let her break my confidence in something I realize I love to do.  I love to write.  Good or not.
Every-now-and-then, a story will come to my mind.  Sometimes a love story.  Things that I would imagine and think about, things that I felt guilty for consuming my mind such as a sweet love story.  For a long time I thought these thoughts, characters in my mind were bad thoughts, because they weren't real and they were temptations in my mind.  That sounds really bad. . .how do I explain.  For example, I would start to think about a guy who wasn't real.  I would give him a name.  I would play out his character in my mind and create a girl for him.  But to even think of another guy, real or not made me feel that I was doing something bad.  Eventually, I started reading again (thank you Hannah) and found these were like stories I was creating myself.  I could do this.
Then recently, this little epiphany came to me, WRITE IT DOWN.  So I did.  It has felt so good to put characters on paper.  Whether they ever get read doesn't matter.  For years I have been creating stories and letting them come and go, because I believed I could never write.  It's fun and realize my thoughts weren't bad;  I wasn't being inappropriate.  I love my husband and I don't have those kind of thoughts.  I just think of my life and girls lives growing up and make stories.  It's fun to put pieces of my experiences and feelings into these characters.  It has been joyful.
I'm not afraid to write anymore and now wish I had written sooner.  I have found that when I write and read it helps me better at writing. 
It makes me happy.
To this day, for my first story that I've actually written down, I have written 90 pages (81/2 x 11 size) turning that to book size becomes 180 pages.  I had a lot to get out of my mind.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Leslie

I have so many things I want to blog about or at least get some of my thoughts down and never do.  I wish I had one of those magic feathers like in Harry Potter that wrote down everything while you spoke.  I need one of those while I'm doing dishes and cleaning when all these little thoughts come to my mind.
Until then, I at least wanted to post some of my most recent projects. 

LESLIE
This bag was not easy for me to do.  I couldn't be satisfied with the fabric and then I kept changing the design of how I wanted it to look.  I knew I wanted to get this done in time for me to deliver over the holidays.  Leslie was our neighbor that let us stay with her and her family while we were in transition of moving.  She helped watch Marshall for me while I made bags for the teachers.  I knew then I wanted to make her one I just didn't know how I wanted to do it.
She is one of the kindest people I know, who is a good mother, strong faith, loves pink, looks lovely in purple, sentimental, thoughtful, loves babies, works hard and enjoys gardening.  And with our time together at her home I learned she liked ruffles.  She's very girly.

 With this bag I was going for a different shape.  At first the bag seemed so big and it was big!  She likes the  big kind of bags, I've heard her say but I was still kind of leery about it.  (Later I realized it was big because I had made the bag with the leftover fabric not the part that I had originally cut out.)

 I also tried my seams in different places.  I did one in the back and one on the bottom instead of two on the side.  I also have to do this so that I don't have upside down fabric anywhere.  I didn't think it would make to much of a difference but I was wrong.  I still liked it.

 I always do something vertical or horizontal on the front of the bags I make.  With this particular fabric I couldn't seem to find anything that coordinated the way I wanted or didn't hide/take away from the pattern.  Then I thought I would try a 3-D effect going with the leaves and flowers, but I knew I needed the flower to pop and that's where I put a completely different color, purple. . .because I think Leslie looks beautiful in purple.



I was pleased with the outcome, but doing this bag differently than my others I realize several things I will do differently if I try this design again.  I just hope her bag doesn't fall apart.