Good-Bye 13, Hello 14!

It’s been a good year.  Our youngest, Will, successfully started a new school and is happy,  and our oldest Kenny applied and was accepted to his first college choice – Michigan State University!  It just so happens to be both mine and Mr. Swellsewing’s Alma Mater!  Yay – we are both as proud as peacocks!

I had many makes this year. Well, many for me anyway.  If I were to compare my makes with other people, I would pale in comparison.  I would say that I chose what I was going to make quite carefully though.  Some of these makes were made for other people, and some of these were made in multiples.  How about you?  Was there one in particular that you are proudest of?  Do you feel that with each “make” you learn a little bit more?  What about Works In Progress or WIP’s?  I do have many of those and these are first to be finished for the beginning of the new year.

 I have been slowly progressing with my quilt making, challenging myself and learning along the way.  The more quilts I sew, the more skills I acquire, thus learn and create my own style of quilting.  I find myself honing new organization skills and shortcuts.

At this point I feel like I am in a chrysalis stage, there’s a lot of developing happening here behind my sewing room door.  It’s like magic. To me it’s like magic anyway.

With the quilt I made for Heather, I learned a lot.  There were many components to her quilt.  Organization and preparation are the keys.  It is a slow process (for me) and in order to stay efficient, I cannot rush.

Here are my “makes” for 2013, I am sure I have left 1 or 2 out.  For the most part though, they are all here.


Just to highlight a few of my makes…

#1.  Is a quilt that I still have in my procession.  It is my quilt.  I am willing to share with other housemates though, if needed!

#10.  Is from a Heather Bailey tutorial, for a trinket tray.  I made about 8 of these for a wedding.  The bride put together little care packages for those that came into town from far away and stayed at a hotel.  These nautical trays were filled with little goodies waiting for the arrival of their guests.

#21.  This cosmetic bag was sewn from a pattern and tutorial from Creativebug.  The genius behind this bag is Betz White.  I loved this clever bag so much that I made 3 of them.  The other 2 were given to my Sewing Summit roommates and were crafted with just the right fabrics to meet their personalities.

Everything I have sewn really has meant something to me.  I think probably though, The Ellen Quilt has had the biggest impact on me.  It has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions when it comes to that darn quilt.  

Long story short, I have heard from some of Ellen’s people.  I got tickets to her show, and I am going to Burbank to see an Ellen show taping on January 16th.  I cannot confirm if Ellen has actually seen or held the quilt, or (and this is really hard for me to admit) if she even knows about it.  

That’s okay though.  I keep chanting this over and over again while rocking back and forth.  Ha, just kidding.   It is just fine.  I appreciate Ellen, I crafted her a quilt, I sent it to her- and my ultimate goal was met- I got 3 tickets to her show and will be sitting in her audience, hanging with my gal pals, Carol and Patty.  The girls and I will get to spend some much-needed time together, and it will be great!  I will keep you posted on that trip- I am sure I will have something to blog about.  


In other news though, before I close up this post and take a nice big fat nap –  Jim, Kenny and I headed down to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena California!  We watched our Michigan State Spartans beat the Stanford Cardinal (which I learned is a tree) for the championship of the 100th Rose Bowl!  It was sooooo awesome!  So glad we went, and Kenny?  Well he is over the moon.  He will start at MSU in August of this year- what a way to start his College career.  I know College isn’t a career, but I wasn’t sure how else to state this!


Happy New Year everyone and stay crafty my friends!

Little things can be SO BIG!!!

Sometimes, when you go to gift shop for someone, you realize that there is nothing they want for or need.  In many cases,  my parents are those people… My dad doesn’t like “new fangled things”, “doesn’t need anything” and then wonders why everybody buys him books.  My mom on the other hand, doesn’t need anything either, but she is always fun for me to spoil, so I always buy her a pair of Uggs in the latest coolest color (she loves those boots).

Well, a few years back, I had an idea.  I was feeling “sentimental”, which on this very blog I have quite recently accused myself of.  It seems this feeling comes over me often.   Christmas was quickly on its way, and if you are living about 2300 miles and 3 time zones away from a gift recipient… forethought is a must.  You need to get those packages in the mail at least 10 business days before the actual holiday.  I was short on time and shopping ideas, so I did something that to this day I am pretty proud of.  I put a pen to paper and took a walk down memory lane and wrote down some of my best childhood memories.


I took cardstock and stamped the outside of each little note.  These were then placed into a glass jug.  I don’t have a picture of the jug, but it was a something that my dad had been searching stores for with no luck.

Now that I am also a parent, I can see how the little things that both my mom and dad did when I was growing up has made a big impact on me as an adult.  We all do it one day when you are driving and the kids are in the backseat arguing, you look in your rearview mirror and say sternly “do I have to stop this car?” It’s then that you realize that you are in fact turning into your mother.   Not only those kinds of things we emulate from our parents, but things like- how I fold my sheets and towels, just like my momma and how I remember  to tighten a screw in the correct direction- something I learned from my dad “lefty loosey, righty tighty”.  It always works…

I share this idea with you because, I think this is worth you trying, if you have good memories, that you want to remind your parents/family or friends of, and you need a very personal, creative gift this is something to try.   It really is priceless.


I was always sick with an upset stomach when I was a kid and I put my mom through hell.

As a kid I never made it to the bathroom when I threw up- so that is what this note is about.  My poor mom!  I did get the same treatment back from my son Kenny- he once threw up from the top bunk of his bunk bed over the side, and it went EVERYWHERE!!

Once I started writing I realized, wow- I have some pretty awesome memories.  Some memories made me laugh, like the one above.  I also felt empathy for my mom, now that I know how gross it is to deal with vomit.


Some made me wonder, will my kids have childhood memories that they will carry on into adulthood.  My dad, a handy one he is built a stage in our barn where my sister and I would perform shows for family members (our poor family).  Tammy had all the talent, I just went along for the ride.  He also built an “ice skating rink” with visqueen and 2×4’s (it was really like a very large frozen puddle, but I loved it).  It was big enough for me to do my skating twirls, small enough that I couldn’t catch too much speed.


My dad made what we called a “dune buggy” our of an old VW Volkswagen.  It was topless and went really fast through the back 20 acres of my mom and dads farmland.

The rule when I went swimming was that I could not go any deeper than the height of my belly button.  I have also used this as a measure for my boys when they go swimming.

I must have had 30- 40 of these little handwritten notes.  As I was writing them, vivid memories of my childhood came rushing back.  It was quite the trip.

What really surprised me was that my mom and dad sent back a container with their memories of my childhood.  Things that I hadn’t even thought of, and things they remembered quite differently than me.


My poor parents, sitting through what must have been very excruciating concerts.  The many hours of me practicing my coronet, playing  the same song over, and over and over again.  UGH!  Sorry about that mom and pops!


Yes, my mom was like a cab driver driving to and fro.  We didn’t live close to the school either.  My mom sat through countless tennis matches (I played tennis), and many football and basketball games that both my sister and I cheered for.  She never looked bored and she never complained.


Now this one about chickens?  I don’t remember it this way.  I didn’t know my grandmother brought chickens to us.  I remember having chickens, and getting eggs.  I also remember my mom and dad trying to raise the chickens for the actual chicken.  I don’t know if this was the same bunch of chickens, I am thinking probably not.  At any rate the chicken we raised for poultry turned out to be a nightmare and it was something my mom and dad decided to “never do again!”


I did love it so when my Grandma Carscadden would come and stay with us.  When my uncles and aunts were younger they would come along with her.  I was quite young when they were that young.  I seem to remember watching some old 8mm home movies in black and white of Hughy, Jimmy, Candy and Carolyn playing softball at our home when I was in my mom’s arms at about 6 months old.  The four of them would get into some shenanigans, causing trouble as kids.  My Aunt Candy was always the favorite, because she told the best scary stories about the Johnstown flood and she made the prettiest doll clothes for our Dawn Dolls.

There were so many other stories told in each one of their notes.  Given that my dad is such a horrible communicator when it comes to how he feels about me, these little scraps of paper I think, were his way of telling me that he loves me and he has been “present” in  my life.  It made me realize that even though they were parents with young kids and in the thick of it, (like we are now), they still paid attention to things that happened. Weather they were big things or small things.  Do you ever think about what our kids will remember when they are older?  What will be a good memory for them.  Things that make you say hmmmmmm.

Anyhow folks, have a good rest of the week, make some good memories for the kidlets.  Our youngest, Will is having a walkathon at his school tomorrow.  Parents are invited to tag along, so Jim and I will be joining Will in San Francisco, gosh, I hope we don’t have to walk any outrageously steep hills.  I’ll DIE!!

It’s A SEWING Give-Away!!!!

I have been feeling very sentimental lately, to the point that it brings me to tears.  I am not sure why, it could be- GASP- menopause, or it could be the fact that my kids used to be this old…..drinks with kids

And now they are this old, and time is going by so quickly..


AND there is nothing I or anyone else can do to just stop it!  Ugh!!!

Except, we CAN and WILL do a give-away!!!!!  Because, they always make me feel better!!!!

So let me ask you, what is the first item you remember sewing, constructing, sculpting, painting or making. Do you remember how it made you feel?  Was it proudly displayed on your refrigerator by your mom or dad?

 I have written about how my mom forced my sister and I to take 4-H for sewing.  I am very grateful to her now, but back then I was not so much.   Well, this is my first sewn garment, with me modeling it.

 I am pulling out this hideous photo of my first sewn garment.


It’s a beauty isn’t it?  I was 10, I was chubby and I was not happy about being in a fashion show with those shoes (my mom forced me to wear), and the hideous smock that I sewed.  I remember it so vividly.  I was very awkward who isn’t at 10?  I didn’t feel pretty in it.  I don’t remember being proud of my accomplishment and it unfortunately didn’t make me happy.   😦

Anyhow, my smock was made out of a royal blue cotton calico print, it had pointed sleeves and a pointed bodice.  Beauty!  The headscarf, was just an added bonus, that my mom thought would complete the outfit!  And it did!

So if you would like to enter my give-away, I would like you to rewind back to your past and dig deep, try to remember your first stab at creativity. Here is what you are entering for:


An Aneela Hoey quilt journal ( it has both plain and graph paper pages), an illustrated sewing machine tea towel and a sewing machine necklace!  All three items will be given to ONE lucky winner!

Click on each picture for more of a description.


The Aneela Hoey Quilt Journal


The Oh Sew Lovely Necklace


This Tea Towel from Girls Can Tell

To enter, please leave a comment telling of your first memory of an item you crafted.  You know my first sewn memory, as hideous as it is, it is what got me started sewing.

If you would like to enter for a 2nd chance to win, become a follower of my blog.  (if you are already a follower, you will be automatically entered for a second chance, but only if you comment first)  Does this make sense?

All entries will be drawn by Random.Org. You may only comment once, for one entry and you may follow my blog for a second entry.   Winners will be announced 2 weeks from today on Thursday August 1st after 12 noon EST.  Deadline for entries is July 31st at 12 Midnight, EST (2013).  Please make sure that I have an e-mail to reach you directly so you can claim your prizes!

I can’t wait to read all your comments and relive your memories with you!  🙂

Good Luck!