Ugh

Ya’ll.  It’s been six months since I’ve updated this blog.  Six.  Months.

I don’t even know how to justify that.  Seriously.

It seems like finding the time to create things, take decent photos, edit the photos, write a post, and publish it is impossible.  It’s ridiculous.  I never even introduced ya’ll to Bauer!

I saw this tiny guy on the shelter’s website and I knew he had to come and live with me.  Seriously, who could resist? He’s even on a quilt!

Bauer3

They told me he was ten months old over the phone, which was the perfect age.  When I got to the shelter to pick him up, they brought him out to me and he was TEN WEEKS old.  How do you make that mistake!?  Between working full time, going to grad school, and running the shop I didn’t have time for a ten week old puppy who has to go out every hour!  Of course, I was madly in love with him, so I said “Come on, little dog.  Let’s go home.”

Bauer1

You see that smart mouth?  This little guy is always talking back.  I love it.

We had a little bit of an adjustment at first, especially when it came to my quilting WIP.

Batter

Bauer, those are Momma’s fat quarters!

But oh my word do I love this “little” guy.  The shelter told me he was a Chiweenie (Chihuahua/Dachshund mix).  There is definitely a whole lotta Dachshund in my sweet boy, but the rest is surely not Chihuahua.  For one thing, he weighs nearly 30 lbs.  I tell people that he’s “Dachshund and whatever was wandering through the neighborhood” but I am guessing the other part is Redbone Coonhound.

Bauerboy

I can’t be sure, but I think he’s pretty happy being my baby.

 

Doing Good for Kona – February Progress

I was really feeling like February was not a great month for my 2013 resolution to Do Good.  It’s comforting to look back over my photos from the month and see that I did more than I remembered.

I destashed some of my vintage linens to raise some money to donate toward Cooper & Lego’s veterinary bills.  You can read the story of these two sweet pups if you like.  I even had one sweet friend donate even though she didn’t buy anything from the destash!

Again this month, I made lots of promotional “fliers” for adoption meet & greets for the Humane Society.

I had the honor of making two extra January blocks for Do. Good Stitches for Amber (Ambernoel!) was finally blessed with the baby she’s been waiting to adopt for three years.

I felt called to make a donation to FITCO Cares, the charity started by Chris Kyle, the Navy Seal who was killed attempting to help a fellow veteran with PTSD.  As a Navy and Air Force granddaughter, and a Marine Corps sister, charities serving our veterans are very close to my heart.

I ordered a bulk back of leashes and collars to be sent to the local animal shelter for use in their Dog Walk/Adopt-a-thon event

I traveled to Norfolk, VA to visit my younger brother.  While he and I were eating at a Panera, I handed my debit card to the cashier and asked her to use my card to pay for the lunch of all the sailors that came in to eat.  It was easily the most fun I had all month – seriously, if you ever get the chance, do this!  It feels amazing.

I wrote countless handwritten notes to local businesses asking them to sponsor the Humane Society’s golf tournament.  I think I’m up to about 40 notes right now.

I drove my first transport leg, carrying Lennox (who you see there riding shotgun) and two other dogs (crated in the backseat) on one stretch of their journey north to rescue organizations who were waiting for them.  The dogs were so sweet and it felt great carrying them a little closer to their new homes.

I finished another shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.  That particular one is for a 2-4 year old boy.

Volunteered at the animal shelter’s Adopt-A-Thon.  I largely did laundry – washing all those dogs before an event uses up a lot of towels!  20 dogs and 2 cats were adopted that day alone, which is HUGE for this area.  One couple even drove 200 miles to adopt one of the cats they saw on the website1

I’ve sewed one February block for Do. Good Stitches this month, and then I came down with a serious headcold, so the other two (one for me and one for Amber) will be in next month’s tally.

I’m really enjoying keeping track through pictures like this.  I think it even spurs me on to do more.

 

 

Received So Far – 186 FQs

Received So Far by Plum Patchwork
Received So Far, a photo by Plum Patchwork on Flickr.

Here is the basket of the fat quarters I’ve received so far for the swap. That’s 186 fat quarters, weighing in at 17.4 lbs of fabric.Oh, and that’s only about 20% of the fabric I’m expecting to arrive in the next two weeks.Ya’ll, this is going to be FUN!

Doing Good for Kona – January Progress

I posted back at New Year’s that my Word for 2013 was Do Good, in honor of my sweet dog who did so much good for me.

I wanted to kind of wrap up the month of January with my progress, not in a prideful way but because I find it comforting to look back and know that I am honoring my sweet boy.  The photo collage above are pictures that I snapped with my phone to record them for my own sake.  Among them are:

Ordered a handmade sock bear from Etsy to be sent to a child victim of Hurricane Sandy through Craft Hope.  I wanted to contribute, but didn’t have time to make a stuffed toy myself, so I “outsourced” the crafting.

Made my first two blocks for the Trust Circle of the  do.Good Stitches charity quilt bee.

Filled three shoeboxes full of gifts for children in third world countries to be distributed through Operation Christmas Child.

Became the page manager for the Franklin County Humane Society Facebook Page (if you’re an NC local, I’d be honored if you’d visit and “like” the page).

Began creating fliers for adoption events being held by the Franklin County Humane Society.

Attended an adoption event and took photos of the dogs currently up for adoption.

Gave the toys that were meant to be Kona’s Christmas gifts to the foster dogs (that was an extremely emotional experience).

Destashed my mini charm packs from Quilt Market to raise money to help pay medical bills for two dogs that the Humane Society took on with extensive injuries.

In many ways, although I know the work that went into all this, I feel like I didn’t do enough.  I just keep reminding myself of this quote, which i love.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”  Desmond Tutu

And I’ll keep on

More fabrics added to the Text Swap

Text Fabrics for SwapText FQ swapText swap - domestic diva recipe cardsSweetwater Hometown, Town Square Mist FabricStudio E, Christy Tomlinson, Belle's Dream, Tiny Words FabricSweetwater Reunion, Dates on Cream Fabric
Text FQ Swap choicesIs this a text print?  Timeless TreasuresPolka Dot Stitches by Lori Holt for Riley BlakePenmanshipMichael Miller Italian AlfabetoNews
PostcardsFrench TextModa: ReunionMMF - MemoirMake Do and MendHometown
seed catalog_text print swapMama Said Sew Sewing Guide in ConcreteTypographyHappy ThoughtsSewing Guideabcprimerchalkboard

Fabric is starting to arrive at my door for the Text Me Fat Quarter Swap. Every day I get excited to see what’s in the mailbox. So excited, in fact, that I’m already thinking about starting an Animal Print FQ Swap. You know, with AMH Field Study and Moda Zanzibar, etc… someone should stop me.But if they don’t, are you in? PS, there’s still plenty of time to sign up for the text swap as long as you can ship by February 15th. Just click on over to the Flickr group to see how it works!

Text Me Fat Quarter Swap Update

seed catalog_text print swapMama Said Sew Sewing Guide in ConcreteTypographyHappy ThoughtsSewing Guideabcprimerchalkboard
Word Play black and white for Text Me swapWord Play cream for Text Me swapWritten Notes - BlackWritten Notes - CharcoalWritten Notes - NavyFabric 4
Fabric 2Fabric 3Fabric 1You Had Me at Merlot Words Allover GreySnow White QuotesFabric for Text FQ Swap
Fabric for Text FQ SwapSweetwater Hometown Town SquareHow To Make A PillowcaseMichael Miller Accountsmsssunkissed text prints

We now have 35 people signed up to swap and more are joining every day! If you want to join us we’d love to have you – fabric needs to be sent out by the 15th of February so there’s plenty of time.Here are some of the photos from the Flickr pool – we’re going to have some gorgeous fabrics coming our way!

Announcing: Text Me – {A Text Fat Quarter Swap}

First, a quick word to thank everyone for their comments on my last post.  I know I haven’t responded to most of you, and that’s prety rude and all, but I will.  When I feel up to it.  I’m starting to heal.  I’m also trying to keep quite busy, which probably explains this post entirely.

The other day, I had what can only be described as an impulse to organize a fabric swap.  A text fabric swap, to be more specific.  There are so many amazing text prints available right now:

Fabric with words or text

And there are so many people doing amazing, incredible things with them:
farmer's wife sampler, block 18

Thank you @thebluechair for saving Christmas! I'll get a new pillow after all thanks to your go! :)

Not much progress on this quilt in two weeks.

I just really felt like I had to have an assortment of text fabric of my own.  And since I need more stuff to keep me busy, I figured I’d organize a Text Fat Quarter Swap, so that other people could get in on the texty action.

The Flickr group for the swap is here, but here is the basic idea of how the swap will work.  More details are on Flickr.

1.  This is a centralized swap, meaning everyone will send their fabric to me, and I’ll sort, distribute, and mail back to the swappers.

2.  Swappers have until February 15th to mail their packages to me

3.  Mailing will be done by Flat Rate Envelope or Box only, and I’m requesting PayPal funds to make the shipping easier (international swappers are welcome, check out the group for details on how we can handle that).

4.  You can send in as many FQ’s as you like.  You’ll get the same number back that you sent in!

I hope you’ll stop by and consider participating.  I think this swap is going to be lots of fun!  I’ve already been scouring the internet for the best text prints!

2013 {My Word}

 

I’m heartbroken to share with you that on December 23, I lost my beloved baby Kona.  He was attacked by a German Shepherd belonging to my middle brother and his wife.  He died before we were able to get him to the emergency department at the Cornell University Vet School.  They did everything they could to save him, but it was too late.

I’m still haunted by the scream he let out as the dog attacked him, and by the way he looked on the way to the veterinary hospital.  I’ve been going through photos of him from our two years together, trying to forget, but some things just can’t be unseen.

Many of those who are closest to me, myself included, thought that I wouldn’t make it through this.  Kona carried me through some of the darkest days of my life – days when there was no way I could make it on my own.  In many ways, he saved my life.  He was the reason I got out of bed in the morning and the reason I couldn’t wait to get home from work in the evening.  He was a faithful companion and a source of hope.

After I lost him, if I could have just laid down and died I’m pretty sure that I would have.

My parents and my youngest brother were by my side the whole way.  At one point on Christmas Eve, I managed to drink three glasses of homebrewed hard cider on an empty stomach and ended up screaming at my mother.  I’m sure the family members who were there to witness it thought it was the alcohol talking, but it wasn’t.  It was me, completely incapable of dealing with the bleeding chest wound where my heart had been ripped out.  I cracked.

I’m sorry, Mom.  I love you.

My friends back home and scattered across the country rushed to my aid from every direction.  One offered to get a ride up to NY and drive my car back to NC so I wouldn’t have to.  Another friend, a girl who hates entertaining, scheduled a breakfast for dinner at her house.  She wanted me to have a place to go where I didn’t have to change out of my pajamas.  I was so touched, but the kindness only made me cry harder.

One particular friend sent me a text message saying “This is probably one of the hardest things you will go through in your life.  But you can’t lose your will to live, Kona wouldn’t want that.”  It was a message I’d recieved dozens of times from my friends and family.  I’m not sure why that particular time it registered, but I think it had to do with the source.  If anyone knew about grief and sudden loss and the Godawful unfairness of life it was Danielle.  And I carried that text with me for the next several days.

On Christmas Day, I knew I had to go to the Sheriff’s department to file a report on the attack.  My brother and his wife weren’t willing to do the right thing and put the dog down or give it up to be rehabbed, and because the dog had shown a pattern of agression, this needed to be on record for the next time it attacks (God willing, next time it won’t be a child).

I didn’t want to shower or even change out of the pajamas I’d been wearing for two straight days.  I forced myself to clean up though, knowing that looking like a basket case wouldn’t help me be taken seriously by the police.  I dragged myself into the shower and was surprised to discover that I was able to shower.  I guess I expected I’d melt like sugar and disappear down the drain.  I promised myself (or rather, promised Kona) that I’d do that one thing, every day.

That afternoon, we opened Christmas presents.  It wasn’t a particularly joyful time, it just seemed like a way to keep our hands busy and maybe have some new things to play with and keep our minds off things.  I got a Kindle and immediately started to chase away the ghosts by reading.  I’m not sure how exactly I ended up downloading My Mother was Nuts by Penny Marshall (of Laverne & Shirley fame).  I’ve never even seen the show and didn’t know who Penny was.

There’s a part in the book where she talks about “giving somebody a life.” Those of us not in the TV industry might call it giving them their big break.  It was a chance to offer someone who was struggling a job that would forever change their life.

Later, she talks about her volunteer work in post-9/11 New York…

My brother had opened my eyes years earlier when he told me that I could give someone a life.  It was true – and it didn’t require much effort.  If you can’t always provide a new life, why not do little things that help simply improve someone’s life?

The passage hit me hard.  Kona had given me a life.  And before that, when he was a six week old puppy, I had given him one.  I got him from a place where he’d have been fed, but kept outside with twenty other puppies in a wire kennel.  He wouldn’t have gotten medical care.  If he hadn’t died from exposure to the cold that winter, he would have died of heartworm or something similar when the ground thawed.  I took him home and loved him and gave him a full but short life.

In his two years, he went to the mountains and the ocean, to the lake and the farm.  He walked the streets of historic Charleston and romped off leash in beautiful Upstate NY.  He had treats and toys and clothes and love.  He slept curled up beside me and got belly rubs every morning before we got out of bed.  He rode around in Target in a little tote bag.  He played at the dog park and at doggy daycare.  I did the best I could for him, to give him a life.

I kept going back and reading that passage.  Over and over, until I understood:  My resolution was right there in front of me.  In order to honor Kona, and in celebration of the lives we gave each other, I want to spend this year doing good.  Giving people a life, or touching lives in some small way, like my sweet buddy did for me.  I’d like to say I’ll do something every single day, but I don’t want to commit to that.  I’m afraid that on those days where I just don’t have the chance to do something, getting on the web and making a donation will feel like cheating, like letting Kona down.  So I’ll just say that I’m going to do the best I can this year.

I’d already signed up, months ago, to be involved with Do. Good Stitches, a charity quilting bee.  Earlier this month, I was notified that there was a space open for me in the TRUST circle.  I’ll be starting in January, 2013.  Something tells me this is not an accident, that God knew I would need to be part of it this year.  A reminder, I guess, that there is a plan.

I wanted to thank all of you who have sent messages of sympathy or lifted my family up in your prayers.  This has been a very difficult time for me as well as for my family.  Your continued prayers would be so very appreciated as I grieve my beloved best friend and try to adjust to the new “normal.”   This has been so very hard.

Jessica

Giveaway Time – Moda Fat Eighth Bundle {2wenty Thr3e}

It’s that time again!  This time I’m giving away a Moda Fat Eighth Bundle of 2wenty Thr3e by Eric & Julie Comstock (of Cosmo Cricket fame) that I scored at sample spree!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wings In The Moonlight {A Paper Pieced Halloween Pattern}

It’s here!  Today’s my day for the Something Wicked This Way Comes blog hop!

Those of ya’ll that hang around here probably know that paper pieced images is not my “usual” style, but when I get the opportunity to design a block, I love to take it.  Not only is it fun to take an idea and turn it into a fabric image, but it’s a major brain workout as well!  I find that I get a little better and a bit more technical with each one.

So, without boring you further, here’s my block!

And you can find the pattern here:  Wings In The Moonlight Paper Pieced Halloween Block

Fair warning, I designed this block the old school way – with paper and pencil!  I just find that it works better with my brain than doing it electronically.  I’m thinking that has something to do with the fact that I’m an engineer and on the computer all day.  I just can’t break out of that mindset and be creative on the computer!

I hope you enjoy piecing this block and I look forward to seeing your blocks in the Flickr group!

PS – Don’t forget to sign up for the LillyBelle Fabric Giveaway!

Jessica

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