Friday, November 28, 2008

Balancing Blessings

I have been so abundantly blessed in my life. I have a wonderful family, dear friends, helpful neighbors, talents that bring me joy and fulfilment etc...

Because of this abundance I fill I would be ungrateful if I did not give back. Here in lies the balancing act we all must perform. I think women especially struggle with this act. If we take time to develope our talents and interests are we taking away from our families, especially our children? But if we spend all our time taking care of others we feel spent and our well runs dry. How do we find the balance? This balancing act has been on my mind a lot lately. As things have begun to grow and change in my life.

A few years ago, when my baby went to school, I was faced for the first time in 14 years with a chunck of time that would be all mine. No interuptions. No "Mom, I need..." "Mom, where's...", "Mom, he's..." you get the idea. In a way this was sad and I felt a hole in my life. A void that needed to be filled. So to fill it I started sewing displays for a local quilt shop. I figured I could do this at home on my own time so if there was a field trip, a sick child or I was needed in some other way my job would not interfere with it. This worked great. I loved it. I was doing what I love and still there for my family and friends when needed.

Well it grew. The owner, Ruth Ann, of the shop had some fabric that she was trying to move and asked me if I had any ideas. Also at this time was our annual neighborhood quilt project. A friend of mine had given me a bunch of fabric for this. I was piecing it because no piece was big enough by it's self. And by accident I came up with something that would work with Ruth Ann's fabric. I showed her. She liked it and told me to make it into a pattern and she would sell it in the shop. So not really knowing what I was doing I wrote directions. Had my sister, Becky, photograph it. My sister, Julie, helped me design a pattern cover and get everything ready for the printer. My first pattern was born.

This was quite exciting. I have always wanted to be a designer, although in high school I though I would be a fasion designer. Ruth Ann had some oriental fabric that she was having a hard time moving so while at my mom's I played on some graph paper and came up with this. It was more successful than my Taffy Pull.

And this little hobby/addiction of mine grew again. This time a neighbor of mine, Kathy, whose family owns a wholesale business that sells fabric and notions to area shops heard what I was doing. She told me she was having a venders market at her wharehouse would I like to come to it and see how I do. WOW! I took her up on her offer. I came up with a few more designs and gave it a go.I met wonderful shop owners who were kind and bought my patterns. I met fabric reps and got to see all that was new and upcoming. It was a wonderful day for me. Over the next couple of years I continues to design and sell my patterns. When Ruth Ann retired I stopped sewing displays for her shop. I was busy designing but felt obligated to her. After all she was the one that got me started on this great journey. I picked up a few distributors. I was content with my little hobby/business. I made enough money to feed my sewing habit.

Then this summer I was invited to a picnic for local designers given by Valerie Burton and Annie Smith. Although I was unable to stay for the pod cast with Annie, hubby was in the hospital with an infection from his burst appendix, she encouraged me to start a blog. So when life settled down I started this blog. I was hesitant to bring up that I design and sell patterns. Even after all that has happened it is hard for me to put myself out there. Also I have seen the great success of my sister Julie. Although I don't think that could ever happen to me, the possiblity scares me to death. That could really throw my balancing act out of wack. But my mom, above mentioned sisters, and friends kept encouraging me. Then I started selling patterns here without telling you that I do this little thing. I would get a comment asking where I got a pattern for one of my quilts and I would have to say it was my own design. I talked to Nanette about her selling patterns on her blog. I really appreciate all that she told me she was ever so helpful. I thought about doing like she does and just putting the patterns on the side bar. But I feel a little weird about trying to sell things to my friends. I never give those house parties where people come to buy things like Pampered Chef. I never want my friends to feel obligated to by stuff because they are my friends. So I created a website. Or rather I had one created. If you are interested stop by. See what I have done.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Talented Tease

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you have a most blessed day!

My sons, A and N, came home with a huge turkey. "Look what we found on the side of the road mom!" They were all excited.

I looked at them stunned. "That's probably someone's Thanksgiving."

"Naaa," they say.

"Yes, and they are going to be so sad"

"Oh, we don't think so"

This goes back and forth for a good 5-10 minutes. Then they let me know they are pulling my leg. A got the turkey from his boss. "Don't you think it would be scraped up and stuff mom if it fell out of someones car? Your so funny mom."

They had a good laugh at my expence. Must admit it is kind of funny now. Those turkeys.

Besides being a tease, A is pretty good a pottery. Here are his latest projects.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

From the Rest of Us II

Look at all these cute trivets that Genette made

a pumpkin sewing machines and thread

multiple pumpkins

black cats and happy jacksShe also made these cute pincushions

Here is Sue's little nutcracker.

Fun ornaments

Cute bib

Stockings for her new grand kids

Precious little mini quilt

And cute turkey dishtowel, modeled by the lovely Nancy.

Look at all the fun ornaments Susan made.

Isn't this little tree precious?

What a lovely poinsettia.

Monday, November 24, 2008

From the Rest of Us

Look at this fun doggy quilt.And this one. Don't you just love the fire hydrants?
Look at this deal Marlene got. She got this lovely quilt with tons of hand work for $40. It was $45 and when she asked the clerk if that was the right price he said he would give her a deal and lowered it $5. WOW! Lucky, lucky Marlene.

Look at this cute red work snowman she did.
And her lovely row quilt.Look at this fun scrappy quilt of Deloris'
And her interpretation of my Harvest Sky. Didn't she do a lovely job. Look at this fun little pillow
And cute little needle punch And this fun table topper from Sheri

Friday, November 21, 2008

Prolific Quilter

Last month at quilt guild Denise got the Ott Light. Meaning she out to finish something durring the month. Now every month when Denise comes she always has plenty of show and tell. If you remember she is the one that sews like she is the mean lady in the Wizard of Oz where she is riding her bike and the music is going da da dant da da, dant a dant a dant. Well with the Ott Light she really goes to town. She made three of these. One Two
Three This fun Americana Quilt

This bright quilt set off with black. Like the one Karen did, that I showed a few weeks back. Sorry the pic is blurry.
And this lovely quilt
This stunning Red, White and Black quilt.
Harvest Sky that she tested for me. All done in lovely batiks.
This cute table topper.
And this fun little runner.
Whew! Where does she find the time. I wonder if she ever sleeps?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Scrappy Strips Quarter Squared

I took my scrappy strips and got out my Nifty Notions Quarter Square Ruler (Did I mention I love these rulers.) And started making these. Lots of these neat little triangles.
When I came to the end of my strip. I used the Nifty Notions Half Square triangle.

And Made lots of these. They will find a home later. But aren't they just sweet.
Here is what I am doing with the quarter square triangles. I just have a few more to make then I can start sewing these scrappy, strippy squares together.
For now I'm off to quilt guild. Thanks for stopping by. Have a GREAT day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Zig Zag and Scrappy Strips

I put borders on the zig zag quilt. I really like how the black sets everything off. And I really like that I am that much closer to being ready for Christmas. I know N will love this quilt. I have some bright flannel he picked out a couple of months ago to go on the back. It should make a nice snugly quilt for watching movies.I'll get batting for it tonight. My neighbor and I buy a bolt of batting at a time. We store it at her house since it is just her and her hubby. My kids have adopted them as grandparents since all their grandparents live 5+ hours away. I'll wait for her to get home and get some for this quilt, the fan quilt and a Christmas quilt for my in laws. Boy was I insane when I decided to make all these quilts for Christmas. I don't know but if I wasn't I might be by the time Christmas gets here.
Next I pulled out all my scraps that were cut into strips. Here is a lovely pile of them.
I am sewing them together for the next Christmas quilt. I am enjoying this. I just love scrappy quilts. I'll show you tomorrow what I am doing with these strips.
Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you have a most wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baking is in my Blood

This is my family's bakery. My Grandpa DeRyke started it in 1937. My Uncle David now runs it. I have many found memories of this wonderful place. When I was a baby my mom would put me in a huge mixing bowl while she decorated cakes. When I was a toddler I would take naps in the office on the couch that was in there. I remember trick or treating here with my brother. Grandpa gave us great treats, whether it was Halloween or not. All of our family gatherings have goodies from the bakery. I love the bakery especially this time of year. This is the time when our Dutch heritage comes through with the baking. There is Dutch Confect, and Speculaas (pictured below.) For those of you who have not had this delectable cookie, it is a spice cookie to die for. They are made by pressing the dough into wooden molds that have been sprinkled with sugar and almonds. They are often in the shape of windmills. The ones in the picture are of little Dutch men and women.
Also at the bakery at Christmas time are butter letter. This is a pastry filled with almond paste. Oh soooo good. Grandpa and Uncle David make them in the letter 'M'. They say it is because the letter M looks the biggest when done. But I know it is because I'm their favorite. (hee, hee)