Friday, April 24, 2015

Almost Finished

A quick quilty update. Trying this blogging thing from my phone...test, test :) The two off the wall wips are almost finished! The bindings are on and about half way hand finished. My daughter Cheyenne kindly volunteered to help with some hand sewing yesterday on one of them. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Two Off The Wall WIPs

This little quilt was made using scraps leftover from a string quilt I made last summer. It's off the wall and very close to marking off my wip list! I sent it out last week to be quilted and it's in route back to me now for binding and a wash. I can hardly wait for it to arrive!!

 Here's a pic of the string quilt from last summer...

This next pic is a little sneaky peek of a surprise quilt, 
shhh, more about this one later. 
I was brave and quilted this one myself with a scallop stitch. ;-)

Goal for the week?
That these wips will be finishes by Friday!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chair Affair

It seems I've got a little love for chairs. About fours years ago, I picked up this beauty of a harp chair for four bucks at a thrift store in Colorado. Yep, another project I didn't have time for, but I saw the potential this beauty had! I look at it like this, I've had four years to ruminate on different ideas. This morning I got to thinking about what project to work on, looked up and it practically jumped up and screamed at me to free it from the dark ages already!


Took it outside and removed the seat. It had two layers of fabric.

Straight to the trash ya go!

Used some 60 grit to sand and scuff before using a fine grit to smooth the edges.

Who knows how many years of grime was on top. 

And, here's looking at the bright ages!
Not finished yet though, 
I've got a few more tricks up my sleeve :-)

Can you guess what piece of furniture will be freed next?
Um, yeah, about that...
That's my grandmother's sewing cabinet in the background 
that I've had for about two and a half years now.
It didn't always live outside. 
It used to be the perfect stand for our bird cage.
Guess it should go back inside now, since we don't think Forrest will be coming back. 
But, I've got a few good ideas
to free it from the dark ages...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Gift Bag Goodness

Several weeks back, during my Spring declutter/purge, I came across a gift bag that had been given to Gianna for her 9th birthday filled with goodies from her Godmother. I try really hard not to hold onto too many of these, I usually donate what we don't keep to reuse. But this one, well I couldn't donate it or reuse because it's so pretty! I mean just look at it!! Those colors and shapes, they totally coordinate with my space! Great inspiration for a quilt, right?? How about using a die cut punch and make a bunting out of it?? Mixed media artwork?? It would also make a great book cover!! How about bookmarks?? Sometimes the ideas are there and they get filed away until later when there's more time. And then two years later you realize you haven't done any of the ideas when you run across it during a Spring declutter/purge. Hubby says stop being a hoarder already!

And then I had another idea...

I like to change the screen lock image on my phone from time to time so I thought, why not take a picture of it and use as a screen lock on my phone!! That way every time I click my phone on there it will be to remind me to do something with it!! 74 pictures later, hubby says stop being a digital hoarder already! Taking the pictures was a creative act in itself and was fun too! I guess I do have time to do something with it if I had time to take that many pictures ;-)

It's a happy, colorful screen lock and
I think that counts as doing something with it for now!
What would you do?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Party Of Six Once More

The morning after Palm Sunday I received a phone call from Mother Abbess. She explained that Phoenix needed to leave the monastery and come home for a time to resolve some health issues she has been having. I wondered if she could stay until our trip up there this month, as we had already made the arrangements to visit with her and her sister Cheyenne, if it wasn't urgent. She explained that she felt it was urgent and she should leave as soon as she could. She was going to look into her coming home before the Triduum.

A little while later I received notification of travel arrangements. Mother Vicaress would accompany her to make sure she made it home safely. By this time I was at a friend's house and told my friend I needed to get home to prepare as I would be hosting Mother Vicaress until Wednesday when she would return to the monastery. My house needed some tidying up and sheets would need to be at the ready. Several weeks before I had started my spring purge and declutter routine, so there were piles of donations that would need relocating to the garage. Plus, groceries would need to be bought and my husband was out of town on a work trip. I had to get a move on!

Once I got home, I proceeded with relocating the donation piles to the garage. I had the back door and garage door open--they open up to each other in a little alcove. As I was walking through the craft room to get another load, our sweet parakeet, Forrest, flew right out the door. It all happened so quickly. One moment I was walking, the next I was running after him and watched him fly right up into one of the massive oaks in the neighbor's back yard. Gianna heard me and ran out screaming for him to come back. It was heart wrenching. On the way home from my friend's house we had been discussing the possibility that maybe he would again "talk" once Phoenix returned home, since he had stopped when she entered the monastery last year. It was sad. We could hear him chirping at us. We set his cage outside hoping he would see it and fly back. At one point Sofia managed to get him to come to her but he quickly flew away. We haven't heard or seen him since.

Within ten minutes of the tragedy of Forrest flying away I received another phone call from the monastery. I thought it would be a call to discuss the travel arrangements but to my surprise it was Cheyenne. She explained that she would be coming home as well. Just her and Phoenix. Mother Vicaress didn't need to go.

That was a relief.

I sat down on the bench on the back porch and shook my head.

Guess I could stop fretting over the house.

Certainly not the Monday morning I was expecting.

Lent had just gotten harder.

What was going on?

How would I handle this?

How would we handle this as a family?

Where's the guide book on when your daughters leave the monastery?

Would they go back?

Did they still have a vocation?

What are you saying Lord?

Wow, I really miss them and I am selfishly glad they're coming home.

Where's the wine?

It's too early to drink wine.

"Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner."

They arrived home at 10pm that night wearing the clothes they wore when they entered and pulling one suitcase with all that they owned in the world. Ironically, the Saturday before I had donated the clothes they left behind that Sofie no longer wanted. They just smiled and said they were truly Franciscans! They had all that they needed. They exuded a peace about themselves that I've never seen before.

I'm so grateful for such wonderful, prayerful, loving and supportive friends. Precious people who talked to me and helped me not only prepare for when they each entered but also for this very unexpected return.

When I arrived at the airport their plane had just landed, we could hear it as we walked the short distance from the parking lot to the terminal. Shortly after we were inside we saw the passengers starting to come through the doors from the plane that had just landed. We waited and looked for them and waited and looked for them and then I began to worry that maybe I read the itinerary wrong or that they had missed the flight. They didn't have a phone with them. I checked my email and looked at the details, again. After confirming once more the details that I was indeed where I needed to be, I saw a reply to an email I had sent to a friend, right before leaving to go to the airport, asking for prayer about the situation. Her response was exactly what I needed at that moment,

"Pick up your girls, 
hug them extra hard 
and God will guide you 
through the next days." 

Moments later they were walking through the doors. I hugged them extra hard, as did their little sisters, and we went home.

God has certainly guided us in the last couple weeks as we've adjusted.

I'm very grateful for Mother Abbess, Mother Vicaress and the other Sisters, for their love and support and prayers through this time. They have shown such love and concern and as a mother this has been a great blessing to my heart.

Easter morning Mass was perfect.

Fr. Steve gave a simple yet compelling example of how we can't see the chalkboard if our nose is touching it, we have to step back in order to focus and see the whole picture. He used to teach fourth grade before he became a priest and used an example from his teaching days on a microscope lesson to explain the Gospel message. It is just what we need to do, step back and the larger picture will come into focus. God is faithful and He is always at work, sometimes mysteriously. I trust that God will reveal to the girls where He wants them to go next, regarding their vocations, and I have no doubt that when He does, they will respond with a "yes". For right now, they are exactly where He wants them to be.

Since their return we've talked a lot and have come to some understanding about why God called them to the monastery and why they left. I won't go into those things here because they aren't my experiences but I will say, they came home changed. Their time with the community was not a waste and they/we are so grateful for the things God has revealed to them during the time they were there. We've gotten to the root of Phoenix's health issues and thankfully she is feeling much better. They have plugged themselves back in to the parish (Phoenix is meeting everyone still as she was in the monastery when we moved here) and are making themselves available to be God's instruments of love with the youth ministry. They're also doing some part time work packing bait for my girlfriend's been good for them and they've really enjoyed the work! I have enjoyed their presence immensely! So blessed to be a party of six once more.

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
St. Teresa of Avila