Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Surprises are the BEST

I've posted this before, but for those of you who need a refresher course...I don't post what I'm working on if it's a gift...until the gift is given. Then I like to post because it's a bit of a log on some of my projects. The funnest ones are secrets. Everyone's gotta love surprise secrets. And I'm a great secret keeper. ;)

It started in July when I saw an ad boasting a 'Christmas in July' special. Christmas wasn't even on my radar. But, that bee was placed in my bonnet. Then I came across a lovely pattern for a Christmas table runner using a braided effect. I could picture this sitting on my loved one's tables. I had to get cracking if I was going to mail them the day after Thanksgiving. (That was my goal). I've never been able to do things small. I always seem to make things complicated. I lovingly made six of these puppies. No TV for me! Oh, except for Big Bang Theory, of course.

Here are some pictures of my process...and then...the reveals. Try as I might...I try to take pictures of all of my projects before I send them. But I literally finished these table runners the day I mailed them. my efforts to get them in the mail...I forgot to snap pictures of some of them. (Yes, I forgot which I had snapped pics of and which I had not.) So I texted everyone and asked if they'd please text me a picture of the runner sitting on their tables. That was so FUN for me. I got to see them actually sitting on the tables. I had pictured their tables in my mind as I made them. When they forwarded those snap-shots I got teary.

Learning how to begin the 'braid'.
Notice my stacks of pieces top left.

I'm so thankful for my little Rowenta ironing
station to the left of my machine. I just swivel
my chair to press a seam. Awesome!

I'm a very fussy and slow quilter. But...
check out my matching points. Wa-BAM!
That's what I'M talkin' about!

The first top assembled. OK- It took
me for-EVER...but hopefully the next
ones would be easier. Learning curve, right?

Fun times! I'm running out of room on the guest bed
in my sewing room. I keep calling in my family for inspections.

This one's for me.

Nearly finished with all six tops. 1st week of Nov.

Then off to Connie Keller my quilting
friend at Quilt Country in Lewisville, TX.
Connie supports her family by quilting,
and teaching classes. She's so nice.
Thanks Connie!

This is how they looked when they came back
from Connie. The black is 80/20 batting.
GREAT stuff. Now to get back to work!

Each runner had to be meticulously cut
out. You can see the red backing fabric
peeking out from the bottom.

The 'points' are trimmed off the sides. SCARY!
I used the 'JOY' designer fabric line by- Moda.
Quality fabric is a...wait for it....JOY to work with.
PS- My middle name is...Joy. See how that works?
Connie even quilted the word 'JOY' into some of the
center squares. This one is for Dad and Marilyn.

I made, and double bound all of the
table runners with bias binding for durability.
I attach the binding by machine on the front.

But I stitch the bindings by hand to the backs to fit precisely.

My little sister Shannon received hers first.
Here it is on her table. :) So CUTE Shannon!

Next, my best friend Lynn sent me this
picture. She has been my dearest friend since
college. Some 30+ years. She's my 'person'.

Next- My sister Cindy got hers. That's so
pretty Cindy. What a cute center piece.
There's the best BIL ever relaxing on the left.
Hi Dennis!

Then my angel of a SIL, Julie, got hers.
We almost lost her in Oct when she was
hit on her bike by a truck. So thankful she's still with us.
Love you JuJu!

I know, I know there is one missing. The one I sent to Dad & Marilyn. I sent it to their home in S. UT where they winter. But they had gone N to their other home for some medical reasons and also to spend Christmas. So their box is MIA at the moment. I did how-ever want to get this posted to my blog before Christmas. I'm guessing the table runners are no longer a surprise to Dad anyways since he's probably seen all the one's at my sisters. :) I'm sure we'll track it down. Not to worry Dad! Love y'all!

I cannot be with my family for Christmas. But I hope that by having a little piece of me in their homes will unite us in spirit. Each table runner is unique and special just like the people I made them for. They were stitched and made with love. I only wish I had the time to make many I have so many in my life that I adore and appreciate so much. May my days on this earth be prolonged so I can make each of you something fun, from me to you. Just know...I love y'all! Merry Christmas.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

I Am A Child of God- Primary Theme 2013

I LOVE the new Primary Theme for 2013, 'I Am A Child of God'. It's actually perfect and brilliant. I know we have been singing this song since we were kids but the doctrine is true, we ARE God's children. And never before in the history of this world has it been more imperative that we all know this, understand it, internalize it, and live like it has meaning in our lives. Listen & FEEL:

Yes- You really ARE His child, and He loves you.

This is sound doctrine; Deut 14:1, Psalms 82:6, Malachi 2:10, Acts 17:29, Romans 8:16, Hebrews 12:9, Alma 40:11, Doctrine & Covenants 76:24, Moses 3:5...etc.

So in light of my calling (2nd Counselor in the Primary Presidency) we have been contemplating, and planning for the upcoming year. One of the things I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that we can learn, grow, and change with the help of the atonement. Even in small details. Example:

This year our theme has been Choose The Right. It's been a marvelous year teaching the children how they have been given agency (by God), and with that agency always comes consequences for good, or for bad. We have heard as the children are given speaking assigments in Primary how their choices have blessed their lives and the lives of their families. So, as a reminder on their Birthday Sunday we have those children come up and we sing a fun Birthday song to them and give them a book-mark for their scriptures that bares the CTR emblem & a ribbon. hind-sight it was kinda lame. (the book marks). Because by the time Primary was over...most of the bookmarks were torn, or mangled scraps of paper that found their way into the garbage. Time to learn from those experiences, lick our wounds, and try to find something new to give the children on their 2013 Birthday Sunday, something that would remind them of who they are. So my assignment....let's try to find something new, meaningful and I went searching, and found these:

This is the exact image I found on the internet.
I was soooooo excited. This would last longer
than 2 hours, and I knew the children would love them.

Of course we would change the logo to next years 'I Am A Child of God' theme. After the okay in Presidency Mtg. from our wonderful, and ahhhmazing President S. Watson...(which I got not just an ok...but an excited "GREAT!") I started pricing, and collecting information, and shopping for parts. Also, I have been busy learning about jewelry making.

Here are the images I found on etsy @ I
paid for the right to print these.
Aren't they awesome?

There was a learning curve. Hahaha.
See the jump rings sitting on the left side
of the white paper? They are kinda hard to see.

I put those single jump rings in the bottle caps by pinching them open/closed with my fingers. Ummm...not a good idea for children. So I went back to Hobby Lobby to try to find something more sturdy. Score! I found these tiny TRIPLE-jump rings (shown in the baggie and next to the zipper pull) they are like miniature key-rings that you have to make your key travel around and around to get it onto. Yes pain. Yes STURDY. So last night I stayed up till 2am switching the single jump rings to the triples. It was a task. Good thing I have great finger nails.

I bought the flattened bottle caps. (Less dangerous)
Not so menacing looking, or ninja. Haha.

The zipper-pulls are for the boys. They can put
them on their coats, or scripture bags, or back-packs.
There is an epoxy dome over the print. Nice, eh?

The girls get a bracelet. I went to the famous
Cartier website to learn the size of childrens
bracelets. They are 12-18cm. I made them all 18cm.
They can easily be shortened.

I'm so thankful! Thankful that we found something a little more sturdy, and a tangible reminder of who they are. More importantly, WHO's they are. Now I am contemplating how to package them. :) God IS in the details of our lives. I had an uncomfortable feeling about the single jump rings. Some would find that silly, and say that Heavenly Father has better things to do than care about our jump-rings. Ahhh, not so Grasshopper. Heavenly Father is not limitable. He can, and does care...even about the smallest details of our lives. If He has His eye on the sparrow...Then how much more does He care about the cares and concerns, and lives of us...His children? I know this is true. I had such a great feeling after I'd replaced the single-rings. Even after a late-night-closing-time run to Hobby Lobby. It was fun to show the 35+ I have finished at Presidency Mtg. today. Yes, I have 65+ more to make. I do feel sorry for the kids who have to wait until next November or December to get theirs. :(

I love being engaged in the Lord's work here. Caring for, teaching, and helping minister to the children of our Ward family. Teaching them, or re-affirming (principles taught at home by loving parents) important precious truths about their divine natures. So happy.

No my tree's not up. Hahahaha


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Porter born Oct 22nd, 2012

Shantay & baby Porter. This is one of the strongest
of women. The day after giving birth she keeps vigil
at precious Porter's side.
Porter and his Momma, Shantay, sharing a smile.
He was too sick for her to hold him. :(

This is our newest little sweetheart Porter who was born on the 22nd of Oct, 2012. He is the son of our nephew Mark, and his beautiful courageous wife Shantay. Porter was born with some serious health challenges so within hours of his birth he got a ride to the NICU at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah in a helicopter with his Daddy, Mark. This is one of my favorite pictures of Porter as it was one of his first smiles. He has had to endure a few surgeries, tubes, tests, prodding, pokes, needles, and the need to lay very still. His wonderful parents have been so brave and courageous through all these trials. Staying at the Ronald McDonald house across the street. (Thank heaven for RMH). But, none as brave as Porter himself.
Porter, our inspiration.

Unfortunately, I live far away in Texas. That is a very helpless feeling to live so far away and not be able to be present. But I have prayed day and night for this little family. I felt like I needed to do something. I wanted so much to serve them in some way. So...I felt to make him a little blanket. Since he could only wear a diaper for weeks (recently able to wear his first outfit though, yay!) I knew a blanket would have to be comfy and very soft.

Daddy changing his very first diaper.

I called Misti my other neice (who has been instrumental in keeping me in the loop of Porter's updates, and progress) to ask her the school colors of the High School where Mark is the football coach. She told me their colors are purple, black, and white. So I went with that as a start to the brainstorming. To make a long story short. Here are some pictures of Porter's special blanket being made.

I chose these adorable snowmen for one side.
Hey- they live in he can be stylin' most of the year.
Check out the purple, black, and white awesomeness.

I decided to applique Porter's name on it.
I chose purple Minky. SO SOFT!
But I had never worked with it before.

Cousin Cassi helping add painter's tape
as guides for my quilting.

We somehow got a little OFF there.
But I caught it and all is well. :)

Quilting it was...well...interesting. Very stretchy! 
I'm so thankful for my friend Barb.
Quilting with Barbara is a delight! (Barbara Bernina)

Here I am adding the binding.

Check out those straight lines! (Z-snap)
100% cotton on one side, and oh-so-soft minky on the other.
We've been so inspired by Porter's incredible tenacity
and strong spirit. We love this little guy very much.

Getting a meal with loving pats from Daddy.

Porter, wide awake. Working so hard to get well.

Porter is such a sweet boy. He is so loved.

We are so thankful to be able to share Porter with you in a small way. We are so thankful for all the prayers that have been offered on his behalf and for his amazingly wonderful parents. He has touched so many, not only in our big family, but also in their incredibly supportive community. There has been so many acts of kindness, service, and generosity shown and believe me they are all felt, and so appreciated by this little family. My blog isn't meant to be a 'lookie-what-I-did'...but more of an introduction to little Porter. Also, a way to share my love of this little guy, and one of my recent projects. He could use your continued prayers, and so could his parents. We are praying that he can go home possibly by Christmas. Wouldn't that be a wonderful present for all of them? If you feel so inclined would you also keep Porter in your prayers? Thank you. And...Merry Christmas y'all!

Great Aunt Sandi