From dinosaur to…

…possibly the cutest “up-cycle” project I’ve ever completed.

Over a year ago, I was trying to help my mom sell an entertainment center via craigslist and Facebook. It didn’t fit her new television, so it had been moved to her garage. Well, we couldn’t sell it, we couldn’t even give it away — literally — our local salvage/resale shops won’t take them. So, it became a dinosaur taking up space in my mom’s garage.

But then I saw this, the piece in the before pic is almost an EXACT version of my mom’s dinosaur, shown here:

EntertainmentCenterI sent the pin to my sister and a plan was hatched.

Just before Christmas, we moved the entertainment center from mom’s garage to my garage, and we started painting and remaking it as a surprise for my niece.  We had a lot of fun brainstorming ideas… the sink is a cheap plastic mixing bowl, the faucet is the top of an m&m candy cane that we spray painted, the oven “rack” is a shelf organizer, the burners and stove and faucet knobs are all from the unfinished wood aisle at Hobby Lobby. We used leftover paint from other projects, and  bought kitchen cabinet knobs to use as handles. The inside of the fridge is painted all white, and the shelves are repurposed as refrigerator shelves. The investment in this project in terms of dollars was pretty small.

CollageForBlogWe cut a piece of MDF for the “wall” of the kitchen, my sister didn’t want a cut out (like the Pinterest piece had) in it since it would sit up against the wall in their play area, so I painted an outdoor scene, blue sky with fluffy clouds, flowers and a bunny in the yard, framed it out with 1/2″ trim board for window “mullions”. I also painted a grocery list on the “fridge” door, and a kitty and puppy magnet. (Her grocery list reads milk, juice, candy, bacon — likely a list Zoe would come up with if you asked her what we should buy at the grocery store!)

ZoeKitchen3I made a valance for her “window” out of this yellow Sunkissed fabric by Sweetwater, and trimmed the wash clothes my sister bought for “towels” in the same. The “towel ring” is a plastic scarf ring from Target that I made a little leather holder for. We added cup rings to the opposite wall to hold her utensils.

ZoeKitchen2

ZoeKitchen1We moved it fro my garage, over to my sister’s basement play area on New Year’s weekend, while Zoe was napping. When we had it moved it, I went into her room to wake her up, and I carried her downstairs to see her surprise and she woke up in a BIG hurry when she saw it! (Her brothers were just as excited) A few weeks later, I finished the little apron I made her to match–once she tried it on, she wore it the rest of the day!

ZoeApronCollageShe loves her kitchen, our mom loves that it’s not sitting in her garage anymore, and I love that we didn’t have to send it to the landfill. Win-win.

Happy creating,

Doris

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The garden that took a long time to grow.

This quilt is another 2014 finish I have yet to blog about, but it was started waayyyyyy before 2014. I bought the fabric to make my niece a quilt when she was 8-9 months old (May 2012). Here she is at my mom’s house, lovin’ on the fabric:

ZoeFabric

There is another shot taken just before this one where she is sitting up looking at the camera with a big cheesy grin. Then she just kept snuggling the fabric on the floor. Yep, I completely understand, Z–I feel the same way about new fabric.

I started cutting hexagons for her quilt in July 2012 at my Gruber’s retreat in Minnesota using a friend’s Go! Cutter and this die I bought:GoCutterHexagon

I only cut the large hexagon, not the two smaller sizes.

In the meantime, I had used some of the fabric I bought to make Z this sweet pillow for her 1st birthday using our One Big Cabin owl applique, and I made a matching valance for her new bedroom… y’know, to match the quilt she didn’t yet have. 😉

I didn’t really have a pattern in mind when I started cutting hexagons, but shortly after that retreat, I came across Terry Atkinson’s Hexie Garden pattern, and I knew that was meant to be Z’s quilt.

I worked on it at a few more retreats, and naturally, adapted the pattern a bit (because I have a hard time sticking to a pattern), added a double border, and eventually had it ready to gift to her for her 3rd birthday last August. It’s twin size, perfect since she was moved to a big girl bed that very same week:

ZoeQuilt1

The center of the hexagon flowers are a light grey print from Sunkissed by Sweetwater for Moda, the purple triangles are Tiny Diamonds by Dear Stella, and the flower “petals” all came from my scrap bin, mostly scraps from my Candied Hexagon quilt.

ZoeQuilt2

ZoeQuilt3

ZoeQuilt4

The quilting is a computerized Innova design, and includes butterflies, flowers, dragonflies, bumblebees… truly perfect for this quilt, and this sweet girly-girl.

ZoeQuilt5

I used leftovers on the back, leftovers from the valance and pillow, and the front of the quilt, and a few coordinating pieces from my stash.

ZoeQuiltBack

One of my favorites is this Valentine print, tiny X’s and O’s with little hearts hanging inside each O:

ZoeQuiltBackDetail

Z is the child I believe should have been named Joy, because she is THE poster child for living a joy-filled life. She’s kind of a party waiting to happen, very sweet and kind, almost always smiling and enjoying herself. I hope she stays that way, always.

Zoe&HerQuiltThat’s her on birthday #3, when I gifted her the quilt. She gets lots of goodies from Aunt Doris, handmade and purchased–it doesn’t hurt that she knows how to melt her auntie’s heart.

Happy Quilting,

Doris

100 Happy Days

I started my own version of #100HappyDays in April 2014, just as the shock of losing my husband was starting to wear off and the numbness was replaced by an ache and a pain that would not stop. Everything “normal” I knew was suddenly gone from this world. The #100HappyDays challenge is to post a picture each day for 100 days of something that made you happy. I decided I could do it, despite the fact that I was having trouble seeing anything but my despair–and it could be a tool to help me heal.

 

So. The challenge. While it might not be a happy day, let’s face it, I had watched Leukemia rob my husband of his good health, his vitality, and his life, in the span of roughly ONE month, I should be able to find joy in at least one thing every day. Something that made me smile through the tears. Something that gave me a feeling of gratefulness despite the hole in my life.

Screen Shot 2

(A few of my #100HappyDays: sewing with friends, tulips for Easter, bouquets from friends for our 3rd Wedding Anniversary, lilacs, gifts from friends, our silly cats…)

Today is Day 43. I haven’t posted yet, but there is a movie night planned at my house tonight and I know I’ll have a GREAT happy post for this evening! Some days have been a challenge. But, I have much to celebrate, much to be grateful for, and yes, even joy in my life despite all that has happened.

Sometimes we believe that we can’t love or enjoy life…or have joy…unless all is right in our life, relationships, and world. But, we have the ability each and every day to choose to love life and enjoy it–to choose joy.

I’m not saying it’s easy. Life knocked me so hard this time–I wasn’t sure I wanted more. Sometimes, the best thing you can choose to do with your day is to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. I’ve had many days where I just wanted to pull the quilt up over my head and stay in bed. But I knew Frank would not have wanted me to do that. He found good in every day no matter how challenging it had been. Heck, even as he lay dying in the ICU, he found good in a seriously frustrating situation. He is my best role model in getting myself through the grief and loneliness by smiling despite the pain and sorrow, and finding a little slice of joy.

God’s goodness is always there. It may take training our eyes to see it again but it is always present. I was SO MAD at God for taking him. SO MAD. I was so angry that he made me wait so long to find him, and then took him away before our 3rd Wedding Anniversary. Every time I was out in public, or saw something terrible on the news, I was so upset that he took such a good, true person who made this world a better place for so many people, even strangers, and left terrorists, criminals, and the truly selfish behind.

I was beside myself that God did not answer our heartfelt prayers. Until my  cousin pointed out to me that He did. He just didn’t answer them the way I wanted them answered. He was relieved of his labored breathing and his pain. He was cured of cancer. He did get to leave the ICU and go home. He was made healthy again. This all happened at 9:07 pm on March 15, when our Father came to take him to his Heavenly home. And I was not left alone (which I prayed for OFTEN and begged Frank not to do–leave me alone, that is).  Even though the loneliness is SO pervasive in my life right now… he left me surrounded by family, friends and good people.

Screen Shot 3

(a few more #100HappyDays posts: lunch with my brother & sister, photos from the last family gathering before we knew Frank was sick, Seeing our grandbaby, spending time with friends and family, painting the guest room, playing with fabric…)

I know that God wants to give us all an abundant life, a life filled with His blessings. But, I’m having a hard time accepting losing Frank as a Blessing. However, everything I have read about grief tells me that eventually I will be able to see it that way. We’ll see.

The truest and purest blessing is God Himself. God is bigger and better than anything we might be facing. Choose today to take one baby step at a time to begin to enjoy life once again. Little by little, you’ll get there. I’m trying with this #100HappyDays project, and finding joy and blessings in the day when there is sometimes very little to feel good about.

Praying for Peace & Blessings for you today,

Doris

What a Gem!

On Christmas Eve, this little pumpkin turned a year old:

Gemma 1st Birthday

She’s our grandbaby, Gemma. I started a quilt for her a while ago (Hubby and I picked out most of the fabric together before she was born) but I always give myself until the first birthday to finish and gift a baby quilt. In Gemma’s case, I gifted the quilt to her on her 1st birthday.

I used the Gem Block, lavender prints with a scrappy yellow background:

 Full Shot Gemma What a Gem Quilt

 Gemma What a Gem Quilt

I was trying to design applique into the front when I started this project, but I ended up adding an appliqued monogram to the flannel back instead:

Gemma Quilt Back

Gemma Quilt Back Detail

The G was machine-appliqued on, prior to quilting:

Gemma Quilt Applique Detail

 Gemma What a Gem Quilt

The quilt measures 36″ x 45″, 18 (9″) Gem Blocks and 2 Accent Blocks. I used six different purples (lavenders) and 5 different yellows on the front, the back is a Moda flannel and the “G” monogram is a tone-on-tone Peter Rabbit print from my stash.

Here’s a shot of the little cutie pie modeling with her quilt (she’s wearing a hoodie with buttons all over it, for her Christmas visit to Grandpa & Grandma’s house!):

Gemma & Her Quilt

Happy Birthday, Gemma!

December Drumroll…

I have to share my last few finishes of 2012, including a big one… but, it wouldn’t be as fun if I gave it away right up front, right? So a quick December recap first:

Every year, my girlfriend’s an I have a favorites party, you know, like Oprah’s “My Favorites” giveaway episodes? Only on a smaller scale, but same idea. We give the exact same gift to each of the women at the party, something that we consider a “favorite” from the year. None of these five friends are quilters, so no sewing themed gifties. 😉  We started the “My favorites” party tradition last year, and I think it’s going to stick!

This year I gave them each an Aveda gift bag containing Aveda Foot Relief and Hand Relief Lotions:Aveda-Hand-Relief-Gift-Set

My favorite Aveda product, period.  Especially for Winter dry hands, it’s a Godsend.  From my five friends I received:

FavoritesParty

From Michelle: her favorite car freshener and a Jason’s Deli giftcard

From Kelly: her favorite Gold Canyon candle, Vanilla Rum

From Carisa: her favorite Tea and a statement “Hope” bracelet

From Tonya: an Angel ornament, Lindor Truffles, and an Orange Leaf giftcard

and from Carrie: her favorite Bath & Bodyworks Candle, MERRY MISTLETOE and Pretzel m&m’s

I didn’t have much of a chance to create gifts this year, aside from the Baby Cheetah onesie for Carrie’s baby:

Baby Cheetah Applique Onesie and sweaterI made Frank a photo frame that I painted a pale pink and embellished with type stamps to read “Grandpa’s Girl”, since his first grand-baby was due to arrive on Christmas Eve.  She arrived promptly on her due date, so I let him open that present right away — She was framed and on his end-table before she turned 4 hours old:

Gemma Frame Grandpa's Girl

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, you know we spent much of 2012 first moving my Mother from her house 100 miles away (selling the home, cleaning out, packing, garage selling extra stuff, etc.), to a very nice retirement cottage community only 19 miles from us, and THEN, helping my MIL clean out her house (of 58 years!) to move into an Independent Living apartment at a new retirement community.  That was a huge task, and it is still ongoing (she is moved into her new home, but the old house is not completely empty, yet – a saga in itself, but I’ll spare you the details).

We have made three, 3-day trips to the St. Paul, MN (about a 4.5 hour drive one-way) since Thanksgiving.  Sweetie even made one day trip in between without me along.  That is A. LOT. OF. DRIVE. TIME. my friends, or riding time for me, as my sweetie does about 65-75% of the driving on these trips.

But, do you know what that means?  You all know what I do when a passenger on a road trip, right…?  Hand-piecing.

HexieSewinginCar

And y’all know what I have been hand-piecing forever, right…?  (or at least since July 4th, 2010)…

Candied Hexagons in Nov 2012

Candied Hexagons!  These are a few I made on the Thanksgiving Weekend trip… and those I made in med-December….

Candied Hexagons Dec 2012

and on Christmas Eve, I sewed the last blocks up while relaxing at home watching Downton Abbey Season 2 on DVD (possibly the only blocks I made outside of a vehicle!).  I finished the final one up just before the ball dropped at Midnight, and now have all 104 full blocks and 12 have blocks pieced!

Ta-Da!!! (insert drumroll, here):

Candied Hexagon blocks

Here they are unceremoniously laid out on my studio floor.  I have them all organized to start sewing into rows… My sweetie came in while I was arranging these on the floor and he said “wow, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the day when you had these all made.”  I had doubts myself…

I’m considering alternatives for the border, debating whether I want to stick with the original border design or create my own. Decisions, decisions….  but I think I have a day or two before I have to decide. 😉

Happy sewing,

Doris