Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cupid's Creations

As a kid, I remember the best part about Valentine's day was getting cards and giving cards to your friends. And of course.. picking out that very special one in the box for that very "special one". Then going home to read them all and see if your friends put as much effort as you did. It's so cute to see my little cupids getting just as excited. Well, except for that "special one". We haven't gotten there yet, and I'm TOTALLY okay with that. Momma doesn't like to share her cupids. All of their arrows are for me. Until otherwise stated. :)

My little cupids love showering others with their love. If I let them carry arrows, they would love shooting those too. They are all boy!! Loveable, adorable BOYs! They decided they had so much fun making valentines last year and wanted to create valentines for their class this year. Not a big deal except scrapbooking and card making do not make my creative juices flow. I had to think of something simple that wouldn't break the bank considering they had to make over 20 cards each. Who would've thought paper could be so expensive! We perused the internet for ideas, but never really found any. We went to the craft store and found some rubber stamps and the boys picked out some cardstock. We came home and went to work. It looked like a scrapbooking store had exploded in their rooms. Oh the fun they were having.

Little cupid putting his valentine's together

Big cupid rubberstamping

Signing party

Final product

The other cool thing about Valentine's Day I remember as a kid was the cool box you made to put all your valentines and candy in. Little cupid made his in class, but big cupid had to make his at home. Fortunately mommy had just bought some shoes. He thought and thought and finally came up with the idea to make a love robot. He made it all by himself with a little help for the head heart from mommy.

Now that all the valentine's crafts were done, it was time to start thinking about the food for the party. YUMM!!! Now THIS gets my creative juices flowing. I missed the sign up for little cupid's party, but I signed up for cupcakes for Big Cupid's party. We looked at the internet together to get ideas for cupcakes. Nothing caught his eye, until he saw chocolate covered strawberries. "Mom!!! That's what I want!!! A cupcake with white frosting and a chocolate covered strawberry on top!" He shot his loving arrow and **poof** mommy made the cupcakes he wanted. He has always had sophisticated taste. When he was three he wanted shrimp and ribs, not a happy meal. A year ago, he said, "Mom for my birthday can we go eat a filet mignon." LOL!! I love this kid! He knows good food!

The kids went nuts over these. They begged for seconds, of which there were none.

I can't leave out the best part of Valentine's Day when you are all grown up. That's being able to shower my special Valentine with lots of love. We had a great lunch. I do not like fighting the crowds for Valentine's dinner. After knowing each other for almost 12 years, I'm over it. Instead, I made his favorite dinner: enchiladas and spanish rice (homemade). We put the kids to bed. Enjoyed a movie and a delicious dessert:

It was a great day! I am very blessed to have adorable little cupids running around my house telling me each day how much they love their mommy. I am also very blessed to be married to my best friend. It is not always paradise, but it is reality. Not perfect, but definitely blessed. Where each of us falls short, the other compliments and strengthens. A true partnership. Blessed, created, and orchaestrated by God.

Monday, February 7, 2011

To Etsy or not to Etsy

It is only February, and already there have been big changes around here this year. I have taken the plunge to follow my dream of being a pediatric oncology nurse. When I say this, I usually get two reactions: 1. WOW! 2. WHY?!?! Believe me, I have had both myself. With two small heatlhy children, I don't understand why God would put it in my heart to take care of tiny oncology patients that would tug at my heart strings everyday as I care for them. He must know I'm stronger than I think I am. My wish would be that through me they would find Him. This has been a dream of mine since I was in nursing school. On January 27, 2011, I left my comfort zone, and my wonderful friends, on the postpartum unit. It was a happy and sad day all in one. Four days later, I started on the pediatric unit. It has already been a blessing in this short time. My next change comes next week, when I start the night shift!! I haven't worked nights in 3 years. My consolation is God planned this, he will guide me through it. I have always been at the right place at the right time to do His will. I know this won't be any different.

I haven't sewn much since I finished the memory quilts. Mostly because I can't figure out what to do next. I organized my fabric. There are many scraps I need to work through and use. There are also fabrics set aside with patterns I made that should be WIPs, but are really works needing to get started. Another one of my "dreams", is to be able to sell the stuff I love to make. It gets expensive to make things just because and have them sit in my closet. I have been wanting to open an Etsy store for a while. This would definitely be new territory for me. Every quilt I have made, except for the circles quilt and twister table runner, have been gifts. How do I know what to make? How much do I sell it for? How secure and easy is paypal really? Are the fees really reasonable to do they sneak up on you? Is Etsy the best route or not? So many questions, so much uncertainty, another change. I'm sure God has a lesson in all of this... I'm thinking TRUST is my lesson. If anyone has any ideas, suggestions, tips, please send them my way. My goal is for the "store" to have a wide assortment of crafty things, from loveys, to burp cloths, to sleeping mats, to quilts. I can't just make one project, it gets boring and that is never fun. I love when fabric "speaks" to me. It yells at me and says "I'm a lovey in the making." Or "See that pretty fabric over there, we'll make a great rag quilt." C'mon, don't be shy, you know you "hear" fabric "speaking" to you. I'm hoping within the next few weeks, I can get the ball rolling on this and figure out all the ins and outs.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mission: Memory Quilt

I know.. I know.. I haven't posted in FOREVER!!! But, it's with very good reason. I have been up to A LOT of sneakiness and considering that I'm not a good liar or secret keeper, I had to just refrain from posting at all. I assure you, though, I have been a VERY BUSY little bee. I will start out with explaining the quilts I have been diligently working on since December. Yes, December!!! Have any of you ever kept a secret that long from someone you see nearly every week?!?! Know how hard that is?!?! I should get a medal for that one reason alone. I swear... I can't keep a secret... well... I guess I can't say that anymore. :)

So this all started in November. My friend Gunilla and I decided to take a quilting class together. After our second week, she found out her husband needed open heart surgery. She didn't get to finish the class. Not long after, Jesus called her husband home. It was a very very sad day. It was very hard to watch my very strong friend, fall to pieces. She and her husband had been married for over 30 years! In this day and age, that's a testimony in itself! They had met at the hospital where she was a nurse and he was a OB/GYN physician. They were expecting their first grandchild this February. In his eulogy, his son spoke of how excited his dad was over their first grandchild. He also spoke of how much his dad loved to wear scrubs. His dad had scrubs for everything: working out, sleeping, going out, hanging out, and of course working in. So the idea was born... I would make a memory quilt for the baby which could be passed down to subsequent grandchildren. Then comes the task of how to design it! But more than that.... how was I going to get his scrubs without her being curious. I told you... I'm  not a good liar. So I asked her one day, "I'm going to ask you for something, but you can just tell me yes or no. No questions. Just trust me. Can I have Ramzi's scrubs?" She agreed. I was expecting about 2-3 pieces of clothing. I was given a very large bag full! And the best part was there were plenty of colors!!! I gave a set to a friend of mine, Kara (my crafty partner in crime), who's mom made a set of scrubs for the baby using Ramzi's scrubs. Can't wait to see those. So I prayed for God to give me some inspiration. My inspiration came from two of the many quilting blogs I read: Crazy Mom Quilts, Sew Inspired and Cut to Pieces.

My inspirational piece for the baby quilt:
This is a 9-patch quilt from Amanda Jean on Crazy Mom Quilts.
Amanda actually does a quilt-along with this pattern.
Vicki on Sew Inspired has also been working diligently on cute 9-patch quilts.

So I got working 
Cutting up some pants

Into 2x? strips

Made strip sets

And cut my rows

My pile of 9-patches

Ready for basting

All quilted. I quilted it just the way Amanda Jean did on hers. It's so clean and a change from the stippling.
This quilt was 42x50. I do not have a "full" finished photo.

When I was done with this quilt, I had so many scrubs left over that I decided to make a memory quilt for my friend too.

My inspirational piece for her quilt:
Color Play Quilt by Angela from Cut to Pieces

In Angela's quilt, she made 1x1 squares. I was not that ambitious and I made mine 2x2. I also cheated and made long rows rather than a row of just white 2x2's. In retrospect, I should've done it the way she did, because matching up the rows and columns was a little tricky for someone symmetrical and particular like me.

All of my 2x2 squares.
I assure you they are all different colors. My camera is horrible.
In the reveal picture that my friend Heather took shows all the different colors correctly.

All planned out on my floor. AKA "Design Board"

I selected a beautiful batik for the backing that incoporated all the shades of blue, green, and purple. I also used a Moda fabric for the binding and I forgot the name. I want to say "Crazy Eights". The white in the quilt is a Kona solid.

All quilted. I used a Hera Marker and my ruler to make the lines.
I read about it on another blog right when I was trying to figure out how to make the straight lines.
Normally I would use painters tape, but that's a lot of tape. Thank you Lord for directing me to that posting.

The only "full" finished photo I have.
The size of this quilt is 62x52.
 I need to get better at taking pics.
 I always get so excited in giving the quilts away I forget to take pics!

Then came the day of the big reveal. A group of us went out to dinner. After we finished eating and paying, I fumbled for words to say, but I couldn't say anything without crying! I'm such a sap! Even if I had a camera (which I left in my car), I probably would've been too emotional to take pics. After we all wiped our tears, my friend Heather took the following pictures:

It was a very emotional and rewarding night. I thank God for giving me inspiration through the blogs mentioned above and for guiding my hands through all the sewing and hand-stitching process. Many prayers of comfort, peace, and joy that only He could provide were lifted up in the process. It was my little token to say "I love you and I'm here for you".

God gives us all kinds of talents. None of them too small or too unimportant. He prepares us for all walks of life. Everyday, we are placed in situations for such a time as that. When God puts something in your heart, He will provide and guide you until His mission is completed. Mission "Memory Quilt" completed. May the Botros family always be comforted in their husband/dad/granddad's love. In loving memory of Ramzi Botros.