Monday, July 27, 2015

refabulous back to school update

It's that tiiiiimmmmme!  Back-to-school!  One of my favorite seasons -- FOR REAL!!!!  I seriously love it like Halloween and Christmas.  The smell of crayons and pencils and notebooks... mmmmm..... and I love back-to-school sewing even more! YIPPEEEEE!  So I've been working on some goodies for the occasion, like these:

sneak peek!

Not as much as I would have liked, but I was busy having some fun.  ;)  

I'll begin stocking my shop this morning around 10 a.m. CST, with lots of zipper pouches and some market shopping bags, just in time for back-to-school!  I'll be having Stocking Days for my shop once or twice a month, plus days where I open up slots for custom orders, as opposed to sporadically adding one or two items here and there to the shop.  Today will be one big stock, and then I'll restock at a date about two weeks from now.  I'll be sure to keep you updated on the exact time and date on my facebook page as well as on my instagram.  You can follow there by clicking the buttons on the left sidebar, if you'd like.  :)  

I'll be accepting custom orders for buntings, too!

Don't forget that you can access my shop from the tab above!  ;)  Thanks for dropping by, and don't forget to have some fun today!


P.S.  MANY thanks to all who prayed for my niece, Marley Sunshine.  She is making truly miraculous strides in her recovery.  You can follow her journey and read her mother's updates on her facebook page.  Thank you again for your kind words and prayers.  God bless.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Life is Fun

My lovely friend, Charlotte, once said, "life is fun."  

Life. is. fun.

That stuck with me.  Charlotte has not had an easy life.  By no means.  But she has made a beautiful life -- and is an angel on earth.  Seriously.  I wish you could all meet her.  But back to those three tiny words:

Life is fun.

celebrating St. Henry's feast day -- and Henry's namesake

I'm not saying life is easy.  LIFE IS HARD.
I'm not saying life isn't ugly.  IT CAN BE.
All the hard and ugly and nasty and mean is there if we look for it.
I promise.  You'll find it.

But you will also find beauty
and joy
and innocence
and purity
and simplicity
and happiness.
if you look for it.
It's there.  You'll find it, if that's what you choose to look for.

Why not find fun and joy, in the midst of the hard and ugly?  Focus on the fun. On the joy.

I'm not naive.  I know there are terrible things, very, very bad things out there that can hurt my children, that can hurt me.  I can find them with a few simple clicks of the keyboard, or simply turn on the news.  Can I focus on them, obsess over them?  Sure.

Do I choose to focus on them?  No.  Because focusing on and obsessing on the evil, horrible things in life doesn't make me or my children any safer.

What does focusing and obsessing on them do?  It robs me of joy and peace, and robs my children of their mother. . . and her sanity.

I know, because I did that for most of my adult life.  I fretted, and worried, and what-if'd my entire adult life, and I hated and lived in fear of every stupid scenario that could possibly come true that never did.  (And I gave myself ulcers and migraines to boot.)

By the grace of God, I'm overcoming that, am healing and learning to let go. . . and trust.  It's always a process.  But I'm better than I used to be.

Now I'm trying to stay in today, and make life fun. . . .

I'm feeling at least 10 years younger these days since my surgery, and I've been busy making some silly magic with my monkeys every chance I get.  They've had to deal with real, grown-up stuff for far too long -- like a parent being sick for days and weeks at a stretch, lying around in bed all the time -- that's too serious for little souls, and it's time they had some fun.  You know. Like a childhood or something.

So we've been enjoying our public library's offerings, like Superhero Day. . .

And we took a lovely day trip to Balmorhea State Park on Justus' birthday (one of our angel babies.)  It was absolutely perfect.  (I also snapped the picture of Donovan with the butterfly, posted a little above, while at Balmorhea.)  The butterflies, which always remind me of our angel babies whenever I seem to need a little lift or reminder, flirted and played with us all day long that day.  So precious.

the palest bunch in west Texas.

Time is fleeting with these kids.  I'm trying to soak it all in.  They're growing up, and some will be moving out soon.  I'm ready, but are mamas ever *really* ready??

roadside shrine

Speaking of growing up, we graduated two more kids!  Yippeeeee!  3 down, 7 to go . . . .

 college bound!  future professional photographer 
(the one in the purple, with glasses on her head)

professional baker intern (the one in pink... and she wants everyone to know
 that she did NOT make the cake in the picture.  hers are way better.)

And of course we had to make Unicorn Poop cookies.  Ours didn't hold their shape like the pictures, but I don't think the kids cared.  I mean... sugar!  sprinkles!  poop!

We've also been enjoying some free movies in the park, free splash parks, dollar movies, free bowling, free concerts on the lawn (notice a theme here?) ha!  ;)  I have to be frugal with such a large crowd, and especially with Brendan's other leg surgery coming very soon.

concert on the lawn with these two crazy cuties

So let's soak it all up, friends.  The good, the joy, the beautiful.  Yes, and acknowledge the bad and the ugly, too, but don't focus on it.  It's there.  I know it is.  I'm not being insensitive, or flippant.  I know (and see and feel) there are terrible circumstances, some even in my own life.  Let's deal with them, as best we can, lightening our burdens, together, but let's not forget to celebrate the good and beautiful in our lives.  It's all around, if we choose to see it.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Serious and urgent

Friends,  last weekend, my sweet niece, Marley Sunshine, was in a terrible accident.  She has been literally fighting for her life ever since.  She sustained massive head injuries.  Marley is on full life support and in critical condition.  During the week so far, she underwent multiple surgeries to reduce the swelling in her brain and faced other complicating factors.  She has a very serious, difficult road ahead.

So I'm writing today to ask for your help. . . .

Marley with Henry

She is in desperate need of your prayers.
Her father (my brother) and her mother need your prayers.  
Her medical team needs your prayers.  

I know you guys, and you are lovely, warm people with big hearts.  So if you would like to lift her spirits with a card when she awakens from her coma (or perhaps send an encouraging word to her parents, Emily and Freddy,) you can send them to:

Marley Mercer
Trauma ICU Floor
C/O Harris Methodist Hospital Downtown Ft. Worth
1301 Pennsylvania Ave, Ft. Worth, TX  76401

You can follow Marley's progress and get updates on her condition at a facebook page set up for her:  Prayers for Marley Sunshine.  I hope you'll drop by.

If you're so moved, there's also a gofundme account set up to offset what will be their astronomical medical expenses.

So please... 
And above all, PRAY.

St. Jude, pray for us.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A little sewing and my new refabulous shop

Hello, friends!  I have so very much to tell you, but I think I'll start small for now. I haven't been sewing for the past several weeks due to having surgery last month (more on that later.)  I've been released to sew -- yes, I specifically asked my doctor about that -- haha! -- so I'm going to get started on that now.  Like, today!

I'm feeling better now than I have in YEARS, but I only have one chance to recover properly so I'm following doctor's orders to the T, and taking things sloooowww... it's hard sometimes.  I'm impatient.  ;)

In the long weeks leading up to my surgery, I found that sewing was very calming on my nerves.  I couldn't sew for long blocks of time; I had to take frequent breaks due to feeling like absolute hell but the sewing sure helped soothe me.  Some of these projects were gifts, some were custom orders. . . .

First up, a little outfit for my sweet friend Erin's precious bambino. . . .

Next, some uber-frilly-girly pants!  I haven't sewn girl stuff in FOREVER.  My girls were never really girly-girls, so this was fun!  I sewed these for a local businesswoman, and hope to make many more.

A boho sling bag custom order/request.  It was a brand-new style and pattern for me, but in the end, I really enjoyed making it.  My sister (the requester) loves it, too!

And a giant diaper bag. . . .

Bright batiks and sweet prints -- very roomy.  This one was a gift, and I think the mama was pleased.  :)

And refabulous news. . . .

Many of you know I've quit Etsy, and was searching for a replacement platform on which to sell my handmade bags and such.  I've decided to use Big Cartel.  I'm not sure how I'll like it, or if I'll stay with it, so I'm only using the free trial listing set-up -- one photo, five maximum listings, very limited options.  That's fine.  We'll see how it all works out.  I'll probably upgrade soon so I can get a better feel for the platform.

Now, you can find my refabulous handmade bags at this storefront:

Which, by the way, is a work in progress, so please be patient with me as I work on it over the coming weeks.

You can easily navigate there from my blog by clicking on the shop refabulous tab. . .

What's available now?

Just two bags.  More coming soon, hopefully, but for now. . . .

I have this large diaper bag that I constructed from vintage linens, high-quality cotton prints and a designer (out-of-print) Michael Miller cotton print.  Very roomy, practical, and very sturdy!

Vintage linens line the interior, and is also flat-lined and interfaced for extra durability and stability.  This one-of-a-kind bag should last well into toddler-hood!

And I also made this sweet little messenger bag. . . .

It's constructed from vintage raspberry corduroy, pink ticking, and designer Heather Ross cotton berry print.  Sewn for durability and style. . .

I'm also taking some custom orders, so if you have any requests, let's talk!  You can reach me via email -- just click on the "contact me" tab above and go from there!

I'll be in touch soon.  We have so much to catch up on!

Until then, have a beautiful day!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Scrappy: making potholders

I desperately needed potholders.  I can't even show you my old ones, because I didn't have any.  I threw them all away in disgust months ago and have been limping along with dish towels ever since.  Which is sad, because I bake and/or cook almost every single day.  Seeing all the pretty patchwork potholders on pinterest (say that three times fast,) I was finally inspired to scrap-bust and whip some up for my own kitchen!

Now, I really should have looked at some actual patterns, or at least browsed some tutorials first, before I started, but I didn't. I completely winged it and guessed at measurements, and my potholders turned out a little narrow, but they're better than a flimsy dish towel any day!  They still work fine, even if my stitches are a little wonky and imperfect. . . .

And by the way, if you're drooling over those chocolate cookies, you should be. Those are Texas sheet cake cookies and OH MY GOODNESS they taste just like the real thing.  I was a total skeptic and now I'm a total believer.  Go make them.  Now.  I'll wait.

Ahem.  Back to the potholders.  They're cute. . . .

and they'll bust a little fabric scrappy stash. . . .

Here's how I structured my potholders:
-- top: patchwork (scrappy) layer
-- fusible fleece (fused to patchwork)
-- Insul-Bright
-- fleece
-- bottom: plain scrap fabric

NO heat is going to break that barrier!  :)

fusible fleece remnants

I sandwiched Insul-Bright between the fusible fleece and some regular fleece for the bottom layer.  I don't think the Insul-Bright is necessary, but I had some on hand left over from a project from years ago, so why not use it?

I used thrifted bias tape for the edges.  I buy brand new packages of bias tape at the thrift store for literally pennies.  I'll never, ever run out of bias tape.

These work great for me, and used up a tiny bit of stash, but next time, I'll try one of these cute patterns.  You should give one a try, too!  Perfect for a weekend project or a quick gift!

by Felicity Quilts

by Stumbles and Stitches

by Jenny Ryan

by Miss Mary Sewing Classes

by Nancy Zieman

by My Girl Thursday

by Martha Stewart

And one more. . . no picture, but be sure to check out this really cute, really good tutorial for simple quilted potholders with binding.

Have fun, and talk to you soon!