How quickly time passes!

I really begin to feel my age when I realize that my 2nd born child turned 37 today!  OMG, do I feel old!!  Theresa was a C-section and my first daughter.  Here she is all grown up:  ImageShe has always been a beauty, even when she was little.  I have such fond memories of her birth, unlike my other two.  All three of my children were C-section, but Theresa’s birth was planned two weeks prior to my due date.  Before the delivery I was asked if I minded if nursing students watched the delivery from the observation window overhead.  I was also going to be numb, but fully conscious for the delivery.  Since, I barely remember the first week of my son’s life (from over sedation etc) I was very excited to see & hear my daughter come into the world and share it with the observing student nurses.  I wanted a girl so bad and didn’t know ahead of time what I was having (like they do nowadays). Theresa was my biggest baby, weighing in at a mere 7 lbs. 4 oz.  Watching the doctor pull her out of my body, and the loud sound of suction is as vivid today as it was 37 years ago.  Hearing her cry for the first time was amazing!  I was and still am so blessed to have this beautiful lady in my life!!

Theresa is the daughter that has blessed me with 5 grandchildren.  Her oldest, Christian (and one of four sons) will be graduating from high school in a few short weeks.  You have heard me speak of Ethan and Kash on this blog quite a bit.  That’s because I’ve had the opportunity to take care of them both while Theresa worked.  ImageThey love to play in the sink.  Theresa is their mother.  Ethan is now in school, so I don’t get to see him as often, but Kash and I are still best buds!  ImageHe’s smiling because the other day he discovered that he could reach the pedals on Ethan’s old bike.  Our goal this next week will be to teach him how to pedal it.  With 5 children, Theresa has got mothering/parenting down to a science!!  When I took her out to lunch today for her birthday she shared with me how she just doesn’t relate to young mothers who have one child and are always stressed! LOL  Having babies has been a breeze for her!  She was always more of a dare devil then her younger sister.  She gave me plenty of worrisome days!  One of her favorite sayings when she was little if there wasn’t enough going on was “Mom, I’m bored”.  OMG!! If I heard that once from her I’d heard it a thousand times!  I’ve often referred to her as my “material girl” because material gifts is her love language.  Since I’ve never been rich by no stretch of the imagination – showing her love that way was often a challenge.  ImageThat’s my girl, tho!  I love her to the moon and back!  She is so uniquely her own person in more ways than I can count!  She has added more than her share of gray hairs to this old head of mine, but it doesn’t change the love I have for her.  This picture was just taken a couple weeks ago at her sister’s house.  She finally had a chance to get away and see her sister’s new home and spend some much needed time away from work and children.  Her other two have given me much joy as well.  When they get older and get involved in school activities, unfortunately, I don’t get to see them as often, but Hannah, 16 and Preston 13 are still awesome kids!

ImageOn this day, Hannah and I had gone shopping and had pedicures.  It was just a little quality girl time.

ImagePreston, on the other hand, really likes hanging out at the water park and playing board games with Maw Maw.  He’s my game playing boy!

As much as I love my daughter and the grandchildren she has blessed me with she knows that I don’t want her to have anymore. When she comes by the house and holds my other grandson, Jackson, I fear she’s gonna get “baby fever”. But, it’s not for me to say and not in my control.  Regardless…I’m so happy to call her mine and so proud of how far she’s come in her 37 years.  One thing I can say for sure – as long as my Theresa is around there will never be a dull moment!!

Happy Birthday, Theresa! “We’ve come along way, baby!” Mom loves you!

Honest, but also exhausting & stressful week!!

I always enter every new endeavor I take on with a great deal of optimism, knowing I can tackle pretty much anything I set my mind to. That being said…entering into an agreement with my step-son, Josh that I would take care of his new little one full-time has proven to be a bigger challenge than I expected!  (That’s the HONEST part LOL!!)

Phew! I can’t say when the last time was that I was so happy to see Friday come!  Once again I have a greater appreciation for young mommies and all that they do when they have small children.  Although there is much controversy surrounding the debate for “stay at home” mommies versus those that work outside the home – I will leave that discussion for another blog.

What about stay at home GRAND mommies?  Since I began taking care of grandsons two years ago (first Ethan, who’s now in Kindergarten & baby brother, Kash who was 7 months old when I began)..the only “interruption” was having to tend to my bedfast MIL’s needs every 3 hours.  We had a pretty good system and the boys were very understanding.  Since last September though Kash has had me all to himself!  (Granny passed away, Ethan started kindergarten).  Kash and I are very close and have had lots of fun times!!

Now, after this first week of taking care of newest grandson, Jackson…Image Kash is asking, “who is this new little boy that has kidnapped my Maw Maw?”  They are cousins (is that right?) purely by marriage …Kash being my grandson by my oldest daughter, and Jackson being my grandson by my youngest step-son and they are both so precious!  But, OMG! what a week it has been!!

It’s all about them, but this blog is all about ME! I had no idea how exhausted or stressed I would be!  I was quite shocked at my stress level.  I don’t “do” stress anymore.  I handle stress in most cases quite well.  I was thankful this week for a semi-retired Paw Paw!!

ImageIsn’t that the cutest shot you have ever seen?  Paw Paw was a redhead (he says “Strawberry Blonde”) growing up.  Jackson is carrying that gene forward!  I would also add that Paw Paw didn’t want me to take this picture, but I couldn’t resist.  

Demands on my time cause me stress!  I had two little ones wanting all my time this week.  Kash just didn’t understand why Jackson couldn’t go play in the backyard with us!!  He was introduced to “Baby Jackson” (as he calls him) just this week!!  I know we as a “little family” will get acclimated and things will be come less stressful and more routine.  It is just going to take some time.  But, I am struggling with a lot of guilt when I can’t take Kash to the playground at the park, because Paw Paw isn’t home to help me with Jackson.  (We might (weather permitting) get the double stroller out next week.)  Ever true to form, Kash still wants to be my helper, by holding Jackson, feeding him, loving on him etc;

ImageSo yesterday I began to engage my brain.  I had to put the numbers to it! I was trying to figure out why I was so stressed!!?? Then, I remembered feeling very overwhelmed and stressed when I brought my youngest daughter home from the hospital (my third child).  She and her sister were almost exactly the same age apart as Kash and Jackson.  Their older brother (my first born) was 10.  I was feeling the same way.  I was feeling like I was neglecting one for the needs of the other.  And I was feeling like I just didn’t have enough energy to give 100% to both!  I was 28 yrs. old back then – and now I’m 63!! Well, no wonder!!  Now I know why we have our children when we are young!

Kash and I still managed to make it to the park one day this week…ImageHe’s such a big boy! But, we drove rather than walk to the playground while Paw Paw stayed home with Jackson to try and beat the rain that was threatening us.  We’ve also noticed maybe a little bit of regression in Kash since Jackson’s arrival.  He had a few “accidents” this week and he preferred a diaper over “big boy” panties.  That was a bit frustrating to say the least.  

Long story – short, some of you may remember that last June I began a “Saturday social” once a month where some of my sisters and I get together here at my home to quilt etc;  Well, today was supposed to be that day.  Unfortunately, I had to cancel for the very first time.  I was just too wore out!  We also had a death in the family and therefore in addition to Easter Choir practice today, we have a viewing of a cousin to go to.  

If you read my last blog –  you will recall me telling you a little about little “business”.  Well, I also put the numbers to what I told you previously – I’ve sold 6 baby quilts since the first of the year and 82 cord covers.ImageIf you need some, just let me know.  12 ft cotton cord covers sell for just $6.50 plus $3.00 shipping.  You choose color.

Have a great weekend, friends!

Since Granny’s passing….

I apologize.  I know I haven’t been around much lately.  I’ve been reading. I just haven’t been writing.  Writing as well as talking seems to get me in too much trouble – but we won’t go there for the sake of boring you to tears!!  I’m going to try to do better.  I know there are people reading this blog, they just don’t choose to comment.  I am going to try and post a blog at least once a week. That will be my goal for now.  Your comments will encourage me to keep at it.  So, you ask,,  What have I been up to, right?

Well, since Granny’s passing last September I’ve been seeking God’s will for my life.  For awhile I felt like a fish out of water.  A bit aimless to say the least.  I really thought I would be going to work outside the home after the first of the year. NADA.  Just didn’t feel any type of “release” and since we are down to one reliable vehicle, it would be a challenge (not impossible) to work outside the home.  

I’m still taking care of Kash and like to pat myself on the back for he is now FULLY potty trained and quite proud of himself!! Image

He’s a mess!! Love that baby boy!! We talk all day about all sorts of cool stuff.  He’s so smart and wants to “help” me with everything!  There are no child labor laws in Maw Maw’s house.  He wants to vaccum, dust, windex the windows, bake cookies, go for walks, go shopping…you name it! Our days are full.  His daddy works for the railroad, so he gets to be home with Kash every other week.  That has cut my daycare responsibilities down to 1/2 the month instead of the entire month.  I sure do miss him when he’s gone, but it does give me a nice break to sew, have lunch with girlfriends etc;  Not for much longer though…

Enter Jackson…Image

Our little “ginger” was born early Feb. and mommy goes back to work teaching school this coming Monday.  I will get the honor of taking care of Jackson for the next two months until school is out for the summer.  He’s a red head and is beginning to look like his daddy (my youngest step-son, Josh) more and more each day.  He weighed in at 9 lb. 1 oz and is now almost 14 pounds, 6 weeks later!!  His daddy is a big boy too, weighing in at over 300 lbs, so doesn’t surprise me that he likes to eat!

There’s nothing better to shake you from your grieving over the loss of a loved one – than NEW life and NEW famly!!  We so wish Granny could have seen our little Jackson.  Kash still talks about her and asks..”Granny in heaven with Jesus?”  Image

RIP..Bertha Mae Stevens, we look forward to seeing you dancing on Pearly shores.

Since I didn’t feel released to go to work and was having a blast sewing, come the first of the year I decided to try incorporating some of my hobby into a business from my home.  It was purely on a fluke, but would allow me to still take care of grandbabies also.  My daughter, Tanya (the realtor in Wichita Falls) wanted me to make her some cord covers.  I said, “what?”  She said, “cord covers, Mom”.  They are very hot and trendy and I see them in a lot of homes I go into, but they are quite expensive at places like Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Well, it didn’t sound very creative and also sounded quite boring to make, but I experimented with some of my leftover quilt fabric.  She was quite happy with hers.  That’s when the lightbulb went on.  I was already on E-bay and Etsy but with mediocre results selling other stuff..so I began taking pictures of my cord covers and selling them on both sites.  The results have been quite shocking!  It’s been a great way to supplement my SSI and so far my reviews/feedback has been awesome too!Image

This is a cream eyelet one.  I sell them in different lengths, colors and fabrics.  Been quite fun and rewarding.  Can’t say the same about my quilts.  I love making quilts and decided while I was at it to make some baby quilts to sell online as well.  Although I’ve sold a couple, I’ve discovered that people aren’t willing to pay for a handmade quilt that is a ONE OF A KIND original – at least not what it’s worth (for the amount of time and labor that went into it).  The following are still FOR SALE:  Please give me your feedback on if you think my prices are too high…Image

Pillow Quilts (a type of rag quilt) approx. 35″ X 42″ (5 blocks across, 6 blocks down) $19.95 plus shippingImage

Blue & White gingham with embroidered butterflies; make them in pink, peach, lavendar etc;

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This crazy quilt for baby sells for $24.95 plus shipping.  This has decorative top stitching, a scrappy binding, appliqued hearts, and yellow sashing. I take custom orders for these and am making a larger one for a young girl in purples, pinks, blues, whites currently.  Here’s a close up of one of the blocks:  Image

 

Those are my smaller, less expensive ones.  I’ve also made some larger flannel baby quilts but have had no luck selling them online.  Please give me your honest feedback on what you think and what I might be doing wrong:  Here they are:

Image

ImageThis one is called “Cuddle Bug” and is currently selling for $55.00 (free shipping).

ImageImageThis one is called “Lil Hoo” and is also listed at $55.00 + free shipping.  I love the little owl flannel print.  You will see by the closeups that I’m not a professional quilter – I’m still a novice and they are far from perfect but I think they are worth what I’m asking.  This has really left me in a quandry.  When I was in Cracker Barrel for lunch yesterday I saw BEAUTIFUL, FACTORY CREATED quilts for 129.00 for KING SIZE! $99.00 for QUEEN!  That told me that people just don’t value or appreciate the work that goes into one made at home and there’s no way a home craftsman can compete with assembly line quilts by charging such low rates.  Is my thinking way off base or am I right on the money? (Pardon the pun).

On to bigger and better things….at Thanksgiving my hubby and I were able to get away for a few days of rest and relaxation. We were still suffering the loss of Granny and just wanted to “chill”.  We went to my daughter, Tanya’s in Wichita Falls.  We had not seen there new home yet, so it was also a lot of fun seeing how God had blessed them, and how a lot of hard work had paid off for them!ImageTanya’s husband, Rob works for the Wichita Police force and is my “favorite” (only LOL) son-in-law.  I love him so much and he is so good to my baby girl.  He loves it when I bake for him, so I bribe him with baked goods often.  We celebrated Christmas while we were there and so I gave Rob the crazy quilt I had made for him, too.

ImageIt is folded over so you can see both front and back.  Rob is tall, so the first thing he did when he opened it was lay down on the floor and cover up with it to be sure it covered him totally up!  Cracked me up!  It’s very heavy and warm.  He and Tanya have a cabin in New Mexico and like to mountain climb, so I envisioned him using it when sleeping outdoors in the cold, but I don’t think the weight of it is practical for keeping in a backpack!! Ha!

Image We also helped Tanya and Rob decorate the tree while we were there. I had made some handmade cloth ornaments for everyone this year, so it was fun seeing them adorn their trees as well.

While there Tanya had a light bulb moment. She was looking for a tax write off for her business and asked if I would embroider kitchen towels for her to give as closing gifts to her clients if she purchased an embroldery machine for me. DUH!  Of course!

ImageThat’s also why I was able to embroider butterflies on my pillow quilts as well.  I’m still learning how to use my new machine but am having so much fun with it.

Lot more going on…but my fingers are tiring – In closing I would let you know that Jan. 1st “Custom Creations” was born.Image  I’m not getting rich off it, but am having a lot of fun sewing in my spare time.  While hubby Jerry enjoys his favorite pass time of watching the “boob tube” I am allowing my creative juices to flow.

As I said in the beginning- I will try to be more present and accounted for and post something at least once a week.  I really need to know you are reading to stay motivated though.  Even a “like” will let me know you are there!

 

Are bloggers narcissists?

I was hoping that title would grab your attention.  I’ve been away for awhile for several reasons, but mostly because I’ve chosen to spend more time on my sewing machine and less time on the computer.  I’m a hobbyist.  I love all types of hobbies including but not limited to scrapbooking, quilting, genealogy, writing, reading and so forth.  But, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for all the things I love to do.  Therefore, I must CHOOSE.  In addition, since the passing of my sweet mother-in-law back in September, I have sought the Lord’s will for my life with the primary question being: “do I go back to work?”  So far, let’s just say, I’ve not felt a “release” in my spirit and therefore I’m still at home taking care of my precious grandson, Kash (who is now potty trained!) Yay!

Image

 

In addition to taking care of Kash, I am trying to supplement my income with some sewing.  I am trying to turn my quilting hobby into a business along with a few other sewing endeavors that have sparked some business (namely cord covers!)  Ha! Who would have thunk it!

So, while I’ve been busy experimenting with different things to sew that will sell, I’ve also received news that I am going to have an opportunity to take care of another grandson in a few short weeks.  Jackson Dane will be born tomorrow to my youngest, step-son and his wife.  This will be their first child and when his mama returns to work in 6 weeks teaching school I will have the opportunity to take care of him.  Although it will tie me down even more – I love those grandbabies and after working outside the home my entire life am truly enjoying staying home with them.

Okay, so you are wondering why the title, right?  Well, long story short – I’m just innocently asking the question.  We seem to be such an “all about me” society nowadays.  Am I wrong? Is it my imagination or does all this social media stuff, blogging, reality TV etc; fall under the same heading?  Me, me, me…Forgive me.  Some of the people I’ve become acquainted with online seem truly sincere and say they are my friends.  But, really?  Have you met me?  Have I met you?  Do you know me enough to be my friend or vice versa?

I’m sorry if that seems rude.  I’ve been accused of that.  I’ve been told my comments can be rude and snarky.  They truly and sincerely are not meant to be and that is also one of the reasons why I’m blogging less and less and keeping to myself more and more.  All this social media stuff just seems superficial to me.  (Not everyone, you understand)..but many.  I guess I’m just very old fashioned.  I would rather have a face to face chat with someone than talk on the phone any day.  Same goes for text, FB, or blogging.  It’s just not as deep and meaningful to me.  That’s just me, I’m sure. For what it’s worth…there are a small number of folks that have actually said they’ve missed me, and that made me feel extremely good.  Maybe there’s a little bit of narcissism in all of us.  

To be continued….

A Dirty Diaper, 4 Pens, and 2 Christmas Ornaments

A Dirty Diaper, 4 Pens, and 2 Christmas Ornaments.

Ever send a letter you regretted?

I used to put my thoughts, arguments, beliefs etc; in letters.  In more recent days, I’ve put them in blogs, posted them on social media etc;  None of it works for me!!  Invariably, it often, if not always backfires on me.  I either offend someone, make someone mad, or am just plain misunderstood!  I can do the same thing in person and often have.

I’ve always considered my self a good communicator, but often times, I’m too blunt, too honest, too real.  Too many folks just can’t handle it and often times rightfully so.

So, this morning I wrote a letter I will not mail.  It’s not the first time I’ve done that and probably won’t be the last time.  That’s also why prayer works.  God understands, He sees both sides of it. He waits. He listens.  He allows me to grow or not grow.  He allows me to heal or not heal. (I have a free will). I thankful this day for a loving, heavenly father who loves me regardless of all my “warts”.

If all else fails, call Betty Crocker!

I know I’ve been AWOL for quite awhile, but I haven’t been idle. Anyone who knows me, knows I struggle to be “still”. (My laid back hubby thinks anyone who struggles to be still has ADHD. I don’t buy it.) Blogging just hasn’t been high on my priority list. I’m more “addicted” to quilting right now then I am to blogging, I guess. I’ve been a real busy beaver with my sewing this past month…

1st Sat. Fellowship

1st Sat. Fellowship

Although Granny has passed and I no longer have the responsibility of her care, I am still taking care of my 2 yr. old grandson, Kash.

Shopping at Walmart with Maw Maw

Shopping at Walmart with Maw Maw

This week it’s been kinda quiet, because Kash has been with his daddy all week. He returns to my house tomorrow. So, I’ve tried to take advantage of the time he’s away by working on the quilts I’m making for Christmas presents…

Country Lace

Country Lace


and catching up on the “domestic arts”.

That’s what got me to thinking about Betty Crocker and how the world has changed in the past 30 years. OMG!! How life has changed!! I can say, without a doubt that one way blogging has benefited me is by “restoring my faith in mankind” or more specifically in our “young women”. Prior to blogging, my experience with the young women around me was one of disappointment. Most (not all) of them were not good housekeepers, didn’t know how to cook or sew and if they didn’t work outside the home, were generally pretty lazy!! I know how that sounds and I’m not judging just making an observation. I have always been very “domestic” and loved cooking, cleaning, taking care of a home and would go as far as to say, I’m still very old fashioned. My daughters are domestic and love the same, but I can’t or won’t take any credit because I’ve seen the reverse to be true. Some were raised by very domestic mothers, but still have no desire to cook, clean, sew etc; Since I’ve been blogging though, I’ve discovered many young women (mother’s too) that are very domestic! In fact, I often wonder how they do it all with small children. I can still keep my house picked up, dishes done etc with Kash here – but I don’t even attempt to sew, read a book, blog etc; unless he’s napping. He has my full and undivided attention when he’s awake. In fact, he’s quite to little housekeeper!

Washing dishes

Washing dishes

As I pondered the “domestic arts” this week, I remembered the first wedding gift my mother gave me back in 1969. It was a Betty Crocker cookbook. I have owned a newer, updated version of that original one for several years now, but where would my life be without Betty Crocker? She, not my mother, taught me how to cook. In fact, just today, Betty Crocker and I made a chocolate cake together, (one I promised my sister-in-law for her 70th birthday). She requested chocolate cake with white icing. Is it true that nowadays most women would go buy a box mix and some canned frosting or is that just my bias and narrow minded thinking? I love to cook and bake from scratch!!

Which reminds me of a delicious soup my youngest daughter made once recently when we were visiting. It was made with pre-made, store bought frozen meatballs and pre-made, store bought tortelloni, a modern convenience we once couldn’t take advantage of “back in the day”. We are having chillier weather than usual and I was in the mood for some soup when I awoke this morning. Well, although my daughter gave me the inspiration, Betty Crocker gave me an idea of where to begin. As I type this I am enjoying the scent of Meatball/Tortelloni Soup simmering on the stove top. mmmmmmmmm…

So, what’s your take on how our world has changed? Back in 1995, I didn’t even have a cell phone yet!! It was the early 90′s before I ever used a computer!! Now there are few handwritten letters or thank you notes, few home phones, (remember the old “party line”?) way too much Reality TV, Facebook and Twitter – what’s up with all this busy, hectic, craziness? I was on FB, but no longer am. Have actually pondered getting back on to increase my blog readership and possibly to market a new business I’m pondering – but, still very hesitant – cause it steals all my time. I know we control that – but it gets to where you feel like you are missing something if you aren’t on Facebook!!

Nowadays we can look up any recipe we need online. (Not always as reliable as our cookbooks are). We can Google any question we may have. I read recently on one of the blogs I subscribe to that a young person being home-schooled did not know how to use a dictionary thanks to Google!! That is very sad to me. If ya wanna get technical about things…even my quilting (I’m a novice) is machine sewn – not hand sewn as in the old days…

Jackson Dane

Jackson Dane

And to get even more technical, I’ve learned all the quilting basics online!! Quilting tutorials, where have you been all my life?? We no longer have to leave our homes for most things. We can buy postage & groceries from our easy chair, if we prefer. What’s up with that? Are we becoming MORE SOCIAL with all these electronic conveniences, or LESS SOCIAL? It seems LESS social, to me? Texting, communicating thru social media seems so impersonal to me. It requires LESS commitment to having a true & meaningful RELATIONSHIP. I don’t know…I’m sure there are two sides to every dilemma – I’d love to hear yours. Thanks to social media, my son’s and my relationship is more strained then it’s ever been. I’m not sure why he’s mad at me because he’s not speaking to me. (Thus he hasn’t told me directly). I just know he’s mad at me for something I’ve obviously said through the written word. I can be SO MISUNDERSTOOD and have been on many occasions, but most of the time it has been through something I said thru e-mail, social media or blogging. I just don’t know if it’s all worth it! My son lives far away. I love him and miss him. But, he just doesn’t seem to what a relationship with me right now. But, I digress.

Fortunately, at this state in life, I get to enjoy the fruit of my lifetime labor by collecting Social Security (by no means enough to live on) and partake of all the domestic arts that I’ve enjoyed my entire life, but often had to put on the back burner while bringing home a paycheck. I’m still seeking God’s direction as we enter into the holiday season and a new year because as I said, social security income isn’t adequate. With the passing of his mother, my hubby is also seeking new direction. We love being home with each other and are best friends. We are content, but not complacent. The scripture says, “to be content in whatever state you are in”. That doesn’t mean I don’t want more or want to do more. It just means I won’t gripe or complain or dwell on what I don’t have. That being said, if all else fails, I can call Betty Crocker and if she doesn’t answer, I can call on God. :-)

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