Monday, October 20, 2014

Making Fabric Crib Wall Art: The Story of Samantha's Flowers

Once upon a time there was born a very special baby girl...  She had a cherry red bumper and a deep pink and orange bedside lamp but as yet, nothing adorned the wall above her crib.

So her fairy grandmother waved her magic wand...and blew some of the bright little flowers off of her dress...and onto the wall....   with a kiss.

Donna holding Samantha when she was only a couple of weeks old.

My special little princess Samantha's Fairy Godmother is my dear friend, Donna of Comin' Home. She shares her tutorial for how she made these beautiful flowers. It was such a wonderful gift. It was this little onesie that inspired her creation. Samantha is 3 now. Forgive me if I've already shared this with you. I can't remember. But if I did, I'm sure those who have not seen it will appreciate seeing it.

A current picture of Samantha with her big sister Emily.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Antique Quilted Ball

I found this quilted ball in an antique store. I was so intrigued by it. Its strips of quilted material hand stitched by what appear to be old, tattered materials, possible clothing no longer being worn and other worn household materials? Maybe from a time where nothing was wasted, when everything was put to use? I wonder about the stories behind each piece. And when the quilt was too worn to be used as a quilt, why was it then made into a ball? Was its new life to be a play thing? Answers I may never know. It sits on my sewing desk as a reminder of times past and beckons me to be thrifty and creative, to be diligent and resourceful and to work with my hands. If you know the history or stories behind such quilted balls, please share.

PARTING SHOT: The kids are growing watermelon! The Jubilee is so cute, and the Sugar Baby is just about ready. This is our first year to garden. We got a late start and the watermelon kind of took over; so we don't have much to show for our efforts. But we did have a large basil plant that we've harvested and stored. And we will be planting lettuce, spinach, onions and cabbage soon. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Meet My New Friend Bernina

I would like to introduce you to my new-to-me Bernina Record 930. It was such an amazing deal that is was hard to pass up. My sweet hubby agreed that this could be my Christmas and early 50th birthday gift! I am so excited! This is my first high-end machine. I have been sewing on a Kenmore, which I love overall; although it is a bit slow, which can be very frustrating when trying to get through a project. But this one has many more features, faster speed and can sew easily on heavier fabrics. I am already becoming spoiled just from the presser foot lever alone! It is so nice to keep both hands on my work at all times. I think we will become very good friends. 

The original owner, Vicki, according to the paperwork, purchased her in 1985. It came with everything. The case, presser foot lever and sewing table, which you see attached to the free arm, which can be removed. It also came with the accessories kit  and 9 sewing feet that was with the machine when Vicki acquired it along with an additional 11 feet that she purchased separately.

Not only did it come with the sewing guide shown above but also a big supplement which is in a 2-inch, 3-ring binder.

She was so organized. She added articles and sewing tips and her notes to this binder as well as several sample pages that she made where she noted stitch width and length, and where applicable, which foot she used. She also included several sample pages with fabric swatches with several different types of fabric and which stitches, foot and needle she used. Here are just a few of her samples. This is going to be such a nice reference and save me so much time, work and guesswork. Thank you, Vicki!

Below is the accessories box. Look at all those feet!!! There is also a walking foot which is not pictured.

Below are three things which I do not know what they are and what they are used for. If you know please enlighten me.

I whipped up a little skirt for my 3 year old Samantha just to have something with which to do a test drive. Five minutes tops. It's just a basic knit skirt. It's actually a simple refashion because I made them out of a pair of pants that were too short for her but still fit in the waist. I cut out the inseam. Turned it so the seams would be on the sides, sewed up the sides, trimmed the seam down and did a little hem. I really didn't need to do a hem as the material doesn't fray. I just wanted a bit of a neater look.

And there you have it! 

Next Monday I'll share a cool little something, sewing related, I picked up in an antique shop.

Have a good week and happy sewing!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Our Baby Boy is 6!

Matthew turned 6 in February. He wanted a cake made out of donuts and jelly beans on top. Why not! And no baking and took only a couple of minutes to assemble. We spent the day the zoo. Fun family time.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Samantha's First Time on a Carnival Ride

Samantha 2 and Matthew 6 riding on a carnival ride together. This was Samantha's first time. She loved it. Matthew was very protective of her and had his arm around her during the ride.

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Precious Boys

There's nothing so sweet as brotherly love. This was not a posed shot. My husband grabbed the camera when he saw this.

Monday, June 30, 2014

My Grandson and I

I love being a Mimi.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gifts From My Daughter in Italy

My daughter in Italy sent me flowers for Mother's Day and a plaque for my birthday. They are both very sweet and thoughtful gifts. Feeling loved.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Date Night With Hubby

Date night with the love of my life. We went to see "Mom's Night Out." Thankfully we came home with the children and the home in one piece. Did you see it? Wasn't it good?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Our Baby is 21!

I can't believe our baby (next to the oldest) is 21. She is a beautiful wife and mommy now. We are so proud of the woman she has become.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Mother's Day at the Beach

It has been our tradition for several years now to spend Mother's Day at the beach with our family. This year my sister and her daughter joined us.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mother/Daughter Tea With My Mini-Me's

My mini-me's (2 and 13) and I at a mother/daughter tea. Love these girls.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Long Overdue Update

Hello, Everyone,

I know it's been so long since I've written in this space. I have been busier than I've ever been. I figured that I probably don't have any, or many, readers left; but then a couple of ladies contacted me asking how we've been. That really touched me to know that someone actually cared and was thinking of us. So I thought in case there were others that I would do a little update.

As you many of you will remember, our daughter Kimberly was married. Then they had a baby. Well, our sweet little grandson is almost 1 now. My, how time flies! Her husband joined the Air Force, and they are stationed in Italy for 3 1/2 years. They are loving it! We are enjoying the pictures she posts on Facebook. Such an amazing place. They are very lucky to have this opportunity. They will have beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. We are able to keep in touch through Facebook, Skype and talking on the phone using MagicJack. What a difference it makes. It makes them seem not so far away.

Here is a picture of myself with our oldest daughter who is now 25 and Kimberly as a baby.

Here is Kimberly with her son.

And their family picture.

Going back a little bit, here are a few wedding shots. A couple with Marty and I and one with our son Matthew, Age 4 at the time, as the ring bearer and Samantha as the flower girl. Matthew pulled Samantha in a wagon decorated with tulle down the aisle.

And here are a few pictures of our children still home.

Emily, 13.

Martin, 11.

Matthew, 6 at the end of this month, wearing Daddy's glasses.

And Samantha, 2.

Marty is still doing well and is fully recovered. We are two years out from his heart attack. Emily has started a little blog, Fashionista Emily. Emily and Martin are enjoying scouting with American Heritage Girls and Trail Life. Matthew loves to build with all kinds of building toys and run and play. Samantha is doing very well. She is healthy and has a wonderful bubbly personality. She loves to sing and bounce to the music. She has four therapists that come each week and will until she's 3, developmental, speech, Occupational and physical. She is very bright and picks things up very quickly. Her language is good. She speaks clearly and has over 70 words. She is behind physically, but the therapists say that will come in time. We are working to help her strengthen her core. She is not crawling or walking yet, but we are hoping that in the coming months she will be able to do that.

I think about sewing quite often and keep hoping I'll find the time. And if I do, I will of course share that with you here.

I would love to hear how you are doing as well.

Friday, May 10, 2013

How to Stay Connected with Google Reader Going Away?

Hello, Everyone. It's been so long since I've posted, but I wanted to pop in and just say hello and let you know I'm still thinking about you and popping in on your blogs. Samantha will be two in August. She is doing great, still not crawling; but she can say many words. We are so amazed about that. She is the sweetest little thing and has the funnest and cutest personality. I am a grandmother now to a little boy, 2 and a half months old. He's so very precious. We are enjoying him very much. He is a very easy and happy baby. My husband and I are going by Mimi and Poppy. I just got my computer back after it crashed several months ago; so hopefully I can start posting pictures again.

I've been reading about Google Reader going away. So I'm wondering: Where is everyone going? How do we follow one another? Is it Blog Lovin'? Please share so I can get connected so that when I start to post more regularly again, I'll be ready. I keep getting the urge to sew something. I just need to sit down and do it. So if you still want to follow me and keep up with what's going on in my life or know when I create something, then please put me on your blog roll or list of blogs you are following.

Let me know if I still have any readers?

Monday, February 4, 2013

How My Husband Reversed His Heart Disease After a Heart Attack

As many of you remember, my husband had a heart attack February 27th, 2012, with 100 percent blockage and only 30 percent heart function. You can read about my post right after his heart attack here. He was told he would only gain maybe 50 percent heart function, that he would always have damage. Well, fast forward to today, and he has full heart function and they could barely find any sign of damage on his echocardiogram taken a over a month ago. His cardiologist said he has reversed his heart disease and is considering taking him off of all meds. He also had an ultrasound of his veins done in his legs and neck, and they are clear. You can read about that post here. I was asked by several readers if I would share what he has been doing to get this improvement.

He exercises daily. For the first 12 weeks he went to physical therapy. He now walks at a fast pace, walks the stairs at work, lifts weights, hula hoops with adult size hoops and does pushups. Not everything every day, but he usually does two or three of these each day, doing something aerobic 45 minutes at least four days a week. He is very committed and consistent. I believe the exercise may even be more crucial to his healing than the diet; although they are both important.

Below is what his diet consists of. This diet and exercise has brought his cholesterol and weight down significantly. Animals products are not more than 20 percent of his diet.

We place a big focus on eating whole, non-processed food. Lots of salads and fruits and nuts for snacks.

We eat foods low on the glycemic scale. You can find one by doing a search on Google.

We do not drink juice or coffee. We drink tea.

We do not eat: dried fruit, corn, white potatoes, white rice, wheat (so no pasta, sandwiches or cereal), milk, full fat cheese, deli meats, sausage, hot dogs, etc. or beef.

No salt. We use Mrs. Dash as a substitute.

No butter or margarine. We saute with Grape seed oil or pure extra virgin coconut oil.

No store bought dressings because of the high sugar content. We use extra virgin olive oil and vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon.

No Ketchup or mayonnaise. High in sugar. Mustard is okay.

We use stevia in place of sugar.

We use unsweetened almond milk.

Here are some of the things we eat: one weight watchers cheese stick a day, and not every day. No other cheese in diet. Oatmeal; eggs; plain yogurt mixed with stevia, blueberries, raw oats, raw walnuts, raw sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds; salmon; lean ground turkey; chicken breast; beans and brown rice; soup (not canned) (We often put pearled barley and canned diced tomatoes in our soup and bean dishes); lentils; sweet potatoes; raw almonds as a snack; raw pumpkin seeds as a snack or in salad; peaches; plums; apples; pears, berries; oranges, cantelope; watermelon; tomatoes; avocados; red graces (not green); various vegetables; salad; quinoa.

Watermelon is high on the glycemic scale but affects the body as if it's low.

Dairy is low on the glycemic scale but affects the body as if high because it is in high in lactose sugar.

We eat eggs because even though they are high in cholesterol, they are low in saturated fat so the cholesterol does not affect the body in a negative way. Cholesterol is a problem in high fat foods.

We don't eat many packaged foods; and when we do, we check the labels carefully, especially for sugar content and salt content.

When eating out, we typically will order fish, chicken breast, non creamy soups, or salad. We do not use their dressing. If they do not have oil and vinegar, we will ask for lemon and use fresh squeezed lemon and avocado if they have it. We do not eat the bread or chips.

Examples of breakfast: oatmeal (old fashioned oats, not instant or quick cooking), plain yogurt mixed with berries, nuts, sunflower seeds, oats, banana, stevia; salmon, banana with almond butter, avocado, eggs. (Banana tip: The riper the banana the higher the sugar content. We try to avoid overly ripe bananas.) And we don't eat too many bananas because they are higher in sugar than other fruits.

A very important key element to the success of our diet aside from low sugar and very little carbs from wheat would be trying to have  protein with each meal and snack as often as possible. Protein slows the absorption of sugar, helps to maintain muscle mass and therefore burn more fat and it also aids in the feeling of satiety and the result is eating less.

Foods with protein: nuts and seeds, plain yogurt, eggs, chicken, fish, turkey, beans, Weight Watchers low fat mozzarella cheese stick, almond butter.

The fat in avocados and nuts are okay because they are the good fats and will not make you gain weight. Weight gain in diets comes mainly from too much sugar or foods that turn into sugar, bread, corn, white potatoes are some examples. The good fats also make you feel full longer so you eat less.

As you have probably gathered by now, sugar and high-sugar foods are to be avoided. It causes health problems as well as weight gain, which are all bad for the heart.

Some of the supplements he takes are a multiple, a green barley drink, fish oil, Coenzyme Q10, cayenne, D-3. We are still researching the supplements. He should probably be taking calcium and magnesium as well. We are   also still learning and improving our diet. 

I am also eating this way as well in hopes of preventing a heart attack and/or stroke. Heart disease is one of the, if not the, number one killers of women.

Again, a good, strong aerobic exercise program for 45 minutes a day, four days a week (work your way up to this and check with your doctor first) and a really good diet similar to the one above are key to preventing and reversing heart disease. Could save your life. Exercise is what saved my husband's life. The doctor said that because he had exercised for years before his heart attack that he had built collateral arteries so that blood was still able to get through; otherwise, he would have died instantly since he had 100 percent blockage in the main artery they call the widow maker. So if you will build up a good sweat on a regular basis, you will build collateral arteries too. A book we are finding very helpful is Younger Next Year and Younger Next Year for Women, minus all of the evolutionary talk. It explains the exercise connection and exactly what to do and how much to add years to your life. It was written by a doctor and his patient and how it helped him. Hope you find all of this helpful, and let me know if you have any tips. We are still learning.

On a side note, I have been doing some sewing for my first grand baby who should be here in two weeks or less. My hubby sent my computer off to be fixed; and if all goes well, I will have it back this week. So hopefully I can start posting mine and Emily's sewing projects again. So be sure and check in. And I have decided to have the grands call me Mimi. I really like the way that sounds. I think it's sweet. What do you think? I was stuck on Gigi for a while, but I just wasn't sure. Then I found out that my son-in-law's mother really wanted to be called Gigi; so I decided to go with Mimi.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Picking a Grandmother Name

As I mentioned in my previous post, I will be a first-time grandmother in February. I'm not so sure I want to be called grandma. I would love some help in picking out my grandma name. The two I have been thinking on are Gigi and Mimi. Which one do you like better? Do you have any other suggestions? And what do you think about being called Grandma? Does it sound too old? Or do you like it?

Monday, December 10, 2012

What I've Been Up To

Hello, Everyone. I know you've been wondering what we've been up to and how we are doing. I will try to give you a little update. I appreciate those who have inquired. Before I get into too much, first I would like to let you know that my computer crashed, and I am working on a laptop that I am unfamiliar with and that does not have my pictures; so I can't post any photos at this time. I am trying to decide if I should put photos on Flickr and post them from there. Do you know how to post pics on  your posts from Flickr? I could not figure it out. I am also wondering if I can post pictures from my Facebook page and how I would do that? I did not see that option. If you know how to do these things, I would really appreciate if you could share that information with me.

One of our daughters, Kimberly, second oldest, just got married a couple of weeks ago; so I had been very busy with helping her plan her wedding. Samantha, our 16 month old, was the flower girl; and Matthew, our 4 year old was the ring bearer. He pulled her down the aisle in a wagon. It was just darling. Our 9 year son was one of the ushers, and he escorted me to my seat. I felt very proud walking with him. The boys looked so handsome in their suits. The music for the ceremony was a violin and guitar duet. It was beautiful.

And are you ready for this? I am going to be a grandmother in February. I can hardly believe it. We are excited. Samantha will be 18 months when he is born. Aunt Samantha. How does that sound? They will be more like close cousins.

Samantha is doing fantastic. She is 16 months old now. She is saying several words, mama, da da, up, apple, happy and lots of babbling with many different sounds. She is so happy, giggling and smiling most of the day. She is so beautiful, fun, cute and sweet. She is just absolutely amazing. I can't properly convey to you just how awesome she. We are really enjoying her. She is sitting up well now. Playing with her toys. Her core is getting stronger. She is getting up on all fours and could possibly be crawling in the next two to four months. She learns the motions to little songs and rhymes very easily, for example, patty cake and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. She adores music and sings in her own baby language and sways to the music. If she is fussy, all I have to do is sing; and she cheers up. She has an occupational therapist from ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) who comes to our home once a week to work with her and teach us how to work with her and a developmental therapist who also comes once a week who works with her on the cognitive stuff. For those who do not know about Samantha, she was born with Trisomy 21. She was born healthy and did not have any heart issues. Just click on "Samantha" under "topics" in the sidebar to read my posts about her, her birth story, progress, a video of her babbling, etc.

It has been 9 months since my husband's heart attack. He is doing extremely well. He has lost a lot of weight.  He is now back to his high school weight in the low 170s. He is 6 foot tall. His cholesterol is in the 130s and the other numbers are in normal range as well. After his heart attack, his heart was functioning at 30 percent. He had an echocardiogram last week, and it showed that he now has full heart function. His doctor said he could not see any damage on the echo and that he has completely reversed his heart disease. An ultrasound of the arteries also shows that his veins are clear. The doctor was amazed and asked him what he has been doing. The radiologist says that the most he could have hoped for was 50 percent heart function and that he has never seen improvement like this. After his heart attack, he was told that there was a lot of damage because he did not come in for three days due to the fact that he thought it was indigestion and that he would not regain full heart function; so this is so amazing. We are so thankful to God for this. And I am also so proud of my husband for caring enough about himself and his family to work so hard and be so disciplined with his diet and exercise.

I haven't done any sewing lately. I plan to carve out some time to do some projects, hopefully soon. My 12 year old daughter Emily has sewn several things recently, a nightgown and a couple of dresses, one of her own design, which I will try to share with you as soon as I figure out how to load the photos. I am juggling many things in my life right now, as I'm sure you are. I am homeschooling three of our six children and doing therapy with Samantha every day, and scouting keeps us pretty busy as well. I also try to fit in exercise several days a week. And preparing to start my own jewelry business. So I am not able to blog as regularly as I would like right now. I am going to have a goal to try to do a post once a month, more often when I can, and sometimes less often. I would like to stay in touch with you and share with you our creations as well as updates on our family from time to time. Hopefully I can blog more frequently in the future. Would that be enough posting for you to keep visiting, or would you just lose interest? Knowing how you feel will help me determine the future of my blog and if it's worth the effort to keep it going; so I appreciate your feedback. Many of you have been a support and encouragement to me during difficult times, and I have enjoyed the many comments on my sewing projects. So it is hard for me to just let my blog go even though I don't have a lot of time to blog at the moment because I would miss you and the sense of community I feel here with like-minded people. I have also made many meaningful friendships through blogging, which has enriched my life immensely. Even though I have not been posting much lately, I still visit my favorite blogs daily, rarely missing a post, and try to comment when time allows. You are all so inspiring.

I hope I can figure out this whole picture thing because I would really love to show you some shots from the wedding and of our beautiful Samantha and how much she has grown. So please be sure and leave comment if you can help me figure that out. Thanks for visiting and for your input.

Well, take care and have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Just Got My Copy of Gerties's New Book For Better Sewing

I am so excited. I just received my copy of Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing in the mail Saturday. It is much better than I dreamed it would be. It is absolutely amazing. It is Gertie's version of the 1950s Vogue's New Book For Better Sewing and is an extension of her blog, Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing. Beautifully illustrated lessons on fine sewing and customization techniques, vintage inspired patterns included. The explanations are very clear and easy to understand with plenty of photographs showing the techniques. I love her writing style. It is very personable and witty. Her personality comes right through the pages. It feels like she is sitting right there in the room with you. I just know we would be great friends if we lived in the same location.

This is now my favorite sewing book. I have long since envied the availability others have of having couture sewing classes in their area. Those are not offered where I live, and I am not in a season of life where it is practical for me to travel to the sewing conferences. Gertie has gained so much knowledge from being able to take advantage of these sources. And now she has compiled her knowledge as well as personal experience into this book. I feel this will be the perfect vehicle to learn the specialized techniques I have longed to learn.

I have been a long time follower of Gertie's since she first began her blog in 2009. I have watched her grow by leaps and bounds. She has done so much in such a short amount of time. She teaches sewing classes online and in person. She has taught sewing on television. She has been published in magazine publications. She now has her own pattern line with Butterick, this book and so much more, all on top of keeping up with her lively and informative blog. She is so inspiring. I really appreciate all of her hard work because with her blog, online classes and her book I can learn so much and take my sewing to a deeper level. If you adore classic glamour and retro styles, then this book is for you.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Reverse Dyed Jeans, a New Blog Feature: Emily's Corner and Video of Baby Samantha

Hello all! First off, thank you so much for all of your kind comments on my last post. They were so uplifting and encouraging. I am so excited to actually be sharing something creative. And now for the long awaited new feature I promised you in my last post, drum roll please: I bring you Emily Callan, my 11 year old daughter and future fashion designer as well as my new blog partner. As many of you will remember, she had her own blog for a couple of years, Super Stitches; but it was closed down due to her age. She will most likely start up her own blog again when she is 13. But in the meantime, she will post her projects here. We will call this new feature Emily's Corner. I hope you enjoy this new addition. 

We enjoy sewing and refashioning clothing together. She had the idea to take a pair of ankle-length black jeans that were too short and still fit in the waist and remove color by flicking and painting bleach onto them (outside of course), basically reverse dying. She also cut them shorter in an interesting design and left them unhemmed. I asked her how she would describe the hem for me. She said she just cut violently. Great way to release pent up tension and frustration I suppose. She is very pleased with the results and wears them often. In the first picture she is shown with her four year old brother.

She has sewn some things recently as well and will be posting them soon.

At the end of this post, I have included a photo and video of our sweet baby Samantha.


Our beautiful baby Samantha, now 10 months old. To learn more about Samantha, click on "Samantha" underneath "Topics" in the sidebar. (This photograph was shot by me with my point-and-shoot. The photos of Emily were shot by my husband, Marty Callan.) 

And below is a video I took of our sweet girl. She was so funny and cute, talking up a storm, her personality really shining through. Enjoy!

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