Monday, December 30, 2013

A year in review...

With Christmas over and the new year around the corner I sigh a big sigh of relief and look to the next year with excitement and anticipation.  I look back over 2013, photos and blog entries and realize that we were hit with life hard and fast and survived. 

My survival tactics involved lots and lots of prayer and lots and lots of quilting... and lamenting over the hardships in life. Through all of it some realty cool projects came about. 

I had the opportunity to improve my free-motion quilting skills...

I was commissioned to make some very special quilts as gifts from others...

 A photo quilt that included the handprints, names and birth dates of grandchildren <3

  A T-shirt quilt for a Bronco fan

  A Queen-sized quilt as a wedding gift

  A memory quilt using t-shirts from a young ladies HS days. :)
...  And I had a block pattern published!


These are just a few blessings that we have encountered throughout the year.  Dave's shop was completed and his business has been steady and successful.  

I have spent enough time this year on what went wrong and want to approach 2014 with a new attitude of "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade"  or in my life as a quilter, "when life gives you scraps, make quilts!"  Make the most of what is handed you and sing praises (even in the storm)! 

So what will 2014 look like?  Stay tuned and see what it brings.  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Branded for life

This morning I was feeling unmotivated and not very much in the Christmas spirit.  As I visited with a dear friend I felt better as we "solved all the problems of the world", we discussed some of our favorite Christmas traditions.

As I ran a few errands in town, I figured out what was really at the root of my feelings.  Ever since compiling our family Christmas letter I have felt somewhat sad and realized that I am missing my dad.  So after lunch, rather than go to the kitchen as I had planned, I headed to my sewing room. 

You know, the place that has offered salve to a broken and hurting spirit and heart this year.  As I cut and sewed this small table runner (or wall hanging) for my brother I felt better.  I had the opportunity to recall some special memories.  Most of the really special ones included our girls, Heather & Rebecca and how he cherished the time spent with them.  He had the time and opportunity.  And for that I am grateful... you see when I was young, he was busy working and trying to provide for his family.  Now I don't want to give the impression that dad never spent time with me, but I do recall a LOT of good times - family vacations, long holiday weekends and even a fishing trip.

After Dad passed away and we had returned to the nursing home to clean out his belongings we left behind all of his shirts and jeans.  (What was I thinking?!?  They would have made an amazing memory quilt)  But since with didn't get them, I improvised.

Now to the person that didn't know my Dad at all, they wouldn't get it.  You see  He wore denim jeans nearly every day of his life (even after battling with the nursing home about how much easier it was to dress him in sweat pants).  And he always had a red handkerchief in his back pocket.  But beyond that, the red "kerchief" fabric marks out his brand. 

When he was just a young man and had dreams of being a rancher he designed and created his brand the "T-Z-T".  I grew up with just about everything marked with this brand.  Our camping equipment, shovels, tools, our dog's collar, and of course, our "pet cow".  If something were loaned out to family or friend or if there was a chance that our property would get mixed up with my cousins', there was a brand on it.

Dave and I have marked a few things along the way...  You see, if you turn the brand on its side...

It's a "Bar-N-Bar"

Branded for life!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sew Much More!

It is the time of year when our family composes the annual Christmas letter.  Each one of us tells the highlights of the year from their perspective... Below is my portion.  Because of the limitations on space in the letter, I have included a few extra pictures that mean so much to me.

Merry Christmas!

      This year started out as many of the recent years started.  Quiet, and peaceful with plenty of time in my sewing room.  I submitted two original blocks to the Quiltmaker Magazine for one of their publications. While waiting to hear whether or not they had been chosen to be included, a sudden whirlwind blew up and stirred our lives and our spirits.

     My dad was diagnosed with kidney failure and given only a few weeks to live. He passed away peacefully 81 years to day of when he began  life on this earth. I can only imagine the welcoming he got from his parents, brothers and sister.  I am sure there was quite a celebration while we were mourning the loss.

     I am certain, also, that Dad would have been proud of me as I worked side by side with Dave.  After leaving his career as Gunsmithing Professor  all of the hard work of starting a business began.  There was construction work that needed to happen so that the shop was only a shop.  We built a storage shed for all of the lawn stuff, his motorcycle and the stock blanks that he has acquired.  The shop got insulated, dry-walled, painted and a new garage door. 

     There was plenty of “desk” work to be done as well… acquiring all of the proper licensing, permits, registrations, etc.  Not to mention the creation of the logo (Thanks to Chris Nolan!), letterhead, business cards, invoices, repair tags, envelopes, income & expense spreadsheets, web-page, marketing… And the list goes on and on!

     About the time that the business was “officially” operating I heard back from Quiltmaker that one of my blocks, Pieces of My Heart, was going to be included in Volume 8.   It hit the stands in November.

     While  Dave is at work in the shop I continue to make our house a home and, of course, spend time sewing.  I was commissioned to make several quilts this year which made up for the loss of any babysitting income.  I have missed caring for some “babies” but in our new season of life I really didn’t have the time.

       Through the “storm” we were blessed with prayers and support of many of you.  We have seen and received God’s blessings. 

     My quilting has been good therapy for me.  I think it is somewhat appropriate that the heart block made the publication - as our hearts were broken from the losses that we endured. God has used my quilting to help heal the hurt and piece our lives back together making it complete, but different.

     May you have a peaceful (“piece-full”) 2014.