Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring has sprung anew - a new trip and a new family member

I'm back from my first trip to Miami Beach. Though the beach was beautiful, and all I took pics of, I don't think that Miami is quite my kind of town. Granted, my trip fell over spring break, so maybe it's a little different at other times of year, but I'm not one to wear just a bikini walking down the street or a short dress showing off my butt cheeks. Oh, or to walk around publicly drunk and being loud and obnoxious. Miami - home of 1950's architecture and 1990's rap video-like hoochies. But I am glad I was able to see a new city, as work usually sends me to the same ones over and over.

But the big news is that we've welcomed a new kitty into our family. For the last two weeks, we did a trial with a cat a friend of ours rescued. We've grown attached to him, and though Autumn isn't a huge fan yet, I'm sure she'll warm up...eventually. Meet Asher Daniel Sterling, Earl of Grey, or Ash for short. He's a three year old gray tabby who loves both to play and snuggle. Now both Autumn and Ash sleep with us in bed at night... we may need to get a bigger bed...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Miami - you've got style

Sorry for my absence. Between work and starting a trial run with a new cat (more details on that later once we decide!), I just haven't had time to really work on any projects besides the crocheted hats and scarves for donation and then a gift for a friend. And because I just don't have the time to focus on it, I have decided to close my Etsy store. When some free time heads my way again, I'm going to figure out a way on this site to post some of my cross stitch patterns, for free or for sale. So keep an eye out!

Meanwhile, this weekend I'm heading to Miami for work. Though I'm looking forward to visiting a city I've never been to before and staying in a hotel right on the beach, I'm NOT looking forward to being around loud crazy springbreakers. Grandma Helby needs her sleep and quiet time. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Christmas in February - the quilt is finished

Just two months late, but that's ok.

I apologize for my absence, but between travel for work, a bout with food poisoning, and Valentine's Day activities, I haven't had much free time or news to report.
But I'm back to normal, for the time being at least. And with some time I was able to finish up my Christmas quilt I started in December.

I used up some of my own fabric scraps, and raided my mom's fabric stash when I visited in December, and came up with this quilt with lots going on. Each block is 6 inches, with 1" and 2" borders around. And to top it off, I free-motion stitched holly leaves and berries over the entire quilt. Have I mentioned before I love how quick I can FM stitch compared to just stitching a grid or echos?!

But I've also had some time to get in some crocheting. A coworker commissioned me to make a steampunk-themed mug cozy for her. I found some metallic-colored yarn, did some experimenting, and came up with some gears to wrap around the mug.

I've also been busy using up some scrap yarn for scarf and hat donations to a local charity called 'Handmade by You' which gives finished scarves to women's shelters to inspire and give hope to women in need. After my first set of donations, I was asked to whip up some children's hats as they received a special request. So off I go!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Quilting and snarky kitties

Though we're still a bit down after losing our Lil Girl, I thought I'd cheer us up with something goofy. During a trip to the fabric store to get a backing fabric for my Christmas quilt, I saw this Robert Kaufman fabric with funny cat panels and couldn't resist. So I added borders with a few inches of scrap fabric and made two reversible placemats for our nightly dinners at the coffee table watching Jeopardy.

This week I also cut and attached the borders around my scrap quilt. And maybe by the end of the weekend if live doesn't get too in the way, I'll have the whole thing finished!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

For we need a little Christmas - quilt and pillows

It's been over a week now since I lost my sweet kitty. Thankfully the bawling stage only lasted a few days. I think fawning over Autumn has helped the grieving process, though at times I think she's annoyed with it.

I took last Friday off work, and with the long weekend, I was able to work on some projects. First, I made covers for my throw pillows using Christmas panels (and I saved more to use next season) and extra fabric from my quilt.

And I also finished piecing my scrap blocks together! Later this week I'll pick up some fabric for the border and backing, and I can get right to work. And then I can finally put away the Christmas decor into storage.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Little Girl

On the rainy Sunday morning of January 11, I lost my beautiful baby girl, Little Girl. Sure she was in her teens, but she was always a baby to me. So gentle, a soft sweet meow, and wanted nothing more than to be loved.

Her health was fading quickly. Medications were not helping. And on Sunday morning, she woke us with painful wails. I thought we were losing her right there. But she held on. We then made the excruciating decision to take her to the vet and that we may not bring her home.

And I believe that's what she wanted. Though she could barely stand or walk on her own, she forced herself up and stumbled over to the carrier. She knew it was time. We were the ones who just couldn't accept that.

Joe held her in his lap in the dim light of a grieving room and we cried and said our goodbyes as she slowly went to sleep.

No more greetings at the door. No more spins and high-fives for treats. No more belly scratches, or being kicked out of bed in the morning because she wants the blankets. Just the memories. I can only hope Dante welcomed her warmly and is showing her the ropes, prepping for when we meet again.

They say memories are golden
well maybe that is true.
I never wanted memories,
I only wanted you.

A million times I needed you,
a million times I cried.
If love alone could have saved you
you never would have died.

In life I loved you dearly,
In death I love you still.
In my heart you hold a place
no one could ever fill.

If tears could build a stairway
and heartache make a lane,
I'd walk the path to heaven
and bring you back again.

Our family chain is broken,
and nothing seems the same.
But as God calls us one by one,
the chain will link again.

Author - Vicky Holder

Thursday, January 8, 2015

On the table - Christmas scrap quilt

I can't say goodbye to Christmas just yet!

This past weekend and a few evenings this week, I pumped out a bunch of new blocks for my scrap quilt. I have 37 blocks so far. I estimate I'll need about 20-25 more blocks to make it a decent size quilt, then the finishing can begin!

But that's not all... I also have some fabric that I'd like to make throw pillow covers for, an applique hand towel, AND a new tree skirt. THEN and only then will I be done with Christmas until next fall. Phew! I have my work cut out for me.

Monday, January 5, 2015

My 2015 Resolutions

Surprisingly, I had a pretty good success rate with my 2014 resolutions.

The point is to create actual achievable, realistic, and measurable goals. None of this 'lose 100 pounds by February,''save a billion dollars' crap that would set me up for failure. Let's do this!

  1. Finish four quilts. Four was a good number. And I didn't even finish the ones I had initially planned to make! I'm in the middle (er, closer to the beginning) of my Christmas scrap quilt. But I have some other ones lined up for sure.
  2. Crochet a sweater. Though I did make a couple sweaters in '14, they were of looser stitching and require a cami of shirt of some sort underneath. So this year, I'd like to make a full tighter-stitched sweater to wear on its own if needed.
  3. Read 25 books. In '14, I got to 22. So three more shouldn't be a huge problem. And as most of the books I read are graphic novels, I'd like at least 5 of these to be strictly text novels.
  4. Make more items for charity. I have quite a stash of yarn and fabric that I will most likely not do anything with. So why not make something for someone who needs it?
  5. Harvest a successful garden this summer. As we didn't even build our garden plot until the end of summer, I didn't get much of a harvest this fall. So my plan is to start early this year! In early spring, remove all the pathetic-looking plants I have, rotate the soil, and start fresh! I definitely want to get more tomatoes this year, hopefully some peppers, and greens.