Thursday, September 6, 2012

Highway 1

Life has so many twists and turns, like my drive down CA Highway 1 two weeks ago. The longest part of our 2 hour drive to the beach were the last 9 miles--a curvy one-lane road with hairpin turns and sharp juts out over the ocean. The view was gorgeous, but I was the driver and had to be so concentrated on every inch of the road, that I missed some of the beautiful views of the water crashing on the rocks to the right or the towering fir trees on the left. I had all 6 of my kids with me and I was the sole person responsible for their safety, so I kept a close eye on that yellow line. I was more interested in quickly navigating the turns so we could start our afternoon at the beach!

As I navigate through life's hairpin turns, I'm often so closely watching what's in front of me that I miss the beauty and joy my life holds. Isn't it true that sometimes the trials we have are so gigantic while we are in them and that's all we can see? Did you see that curve? Forget the blessings I'm surrounded with, I need to look just right here in front of me!

Sometimes our focus is a little more on the new road we are navigating through, but even so, it doesn't mean that we can't pull over at view points and see the whole picture. What are those view points for you? My kids were frantically trying to take pictures out the window with their iPods. It really was beautiful and it had been WAY too long since we'd seen the continent's edge. Finally they yelled, "There's a turnout! Pull over so we can really see!" Breathtaking. Each curve in the road just took us to another vista of beauty.

For two years my family focus was "Find Joy in the Journey". It really helped me to find the humor in the chaos, the small tender mercies in the day to day, and the joy in the little things. Although we were going through one of the hardest trials of our life and navigating many hairpin turns, there was joy all around us in our children and all the blessings we had been given to help us along the path. No matter how narrow and difficult the road we are on, life still has so much joy around us if we just slow down enough to enjoy it.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Grandma's Birthday

You know how they always tell you that you'll miss the hand prints on the walls and mirrors someday when those kids are grown and gone? Well I wanted to preserve that for my Mom and give her a gift that the grandkids could make! Her table is a large square table and it's very difficult to find tablecloths--we have to special order them, so we came up with this idea.

I sewed together 2 long white tablecloths and used a decorative flower stitch down the center. Then we started with the hand prints. Each child had a color and because I have this thing about organized chaos, each child put their hand print in 4 places--once in each quadrant of the tablecloth.

The gooshy paint on the hands was by far the best part for these guys. They got to paint their bodies and they didn't even get in trouble!

Next the kids made a list of all the traits Grandma has. Some of my favorites are: Young (she laughed at that), beautiful, a queen, awesome. The kids came up with these all by themselves. Then I just used fabric puffy paints and wrote along the bottom edge of each of the 4 sides "Grandma is..."  Then in between the hand prints I wrote the words from the list they made.

Grandma and the Grandkids
(we were just missing one)

The tablecloth is simple but something she can treasure and laugh about for a long time!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Creative Slice: Car Seat Canopy!

I wanted to make my sister something fun for her first baby due this August. Knowing that she would get lots of handmade blankets, I was on the lookout for something unique! Enter the car seat canopy. What a great idea!! Too bad no one thought of this when I had little babies! I definitely wanted to do a rag quilt so the two ideas came together into this beautiful canopy. Perfect for the windy coastal weather where they live!

I found this fabulous online tutorial for a rag quilt here.

These are my pattern details:
  • 4 different coordinating fabrics
  • Pink flannel for the "batting"
  • 6" square blocks sewn with a 1/2" seam.
  • The final quilt is 5 squares across by 9 squares long.
Here is the pattern I came up with. Each color represents one fabric.

I chose to also use the same fabric for the back of the quilt, so both sides look the same except the front has the seams showing for the rag quilt look.

You are basically going to make "sandwiches" with the fabric squares. You take one printed square and lay it right side down, add a square of flannel, then top it with a printed square of the same fabric as the bottom layer, but this time it is right side up. You should end up with a sandwich where the printed sides are facing out. Follow the tutorial that I linked to above for more detail on how to sew the pieces together.

I used the pink fabric to make the tabs to hold the canopy on the car seat handle. I used Velcro on the tabs for easy removal. Here is another great tutorial from Sweet and Sassy Girls on how to finish up the canopy and sew the straps on. I had the actual car seat and was able to measure where the straps should go. I'm sure it is relatively close to the same on all car seats. These straps are sewn  at the top of the center row of squares, on the second square from each end. This is indicated by the "x" on the quilt pattern above.

These fabric flowers turned out so cute! Once again I turned to my blogging sisters and after searching hundreds of fabric bows, this was my favorite. Thanks to Pink Paper Peppermints for this detailed tutorial. I took the buttons I had and actually covered them in fabric to match the flowers. I just pulled out my trusty glue gun to do the work. Then I glued them onto the flower petals. Because I wanted to make sure this was washable, I mounted the flower on a small circle of felt and hot glued it on. I then got a needle and thread and stitched the flower to the fabric loop. I tried to catch the flower petals as well. Hopefully all that together will help it hold up to the washing machine, though I did suggest a gentle cycle just in case :)

The longest part of this whole project was cutting out the fabric! Even snipping the seams to create the rag quilt only took a little TV time :) All in all a great project and one I will certainly do again!! It was my baby shower masterpiece!! Now I'm just waiting for some more babies!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Welcome to A Little Slice!

I'm excited to be creating this blog so that I can record and share what it is that makes up 'me'.  I have loved reading many blogs in the blogging world--they have inspired me, uplifted me, and helped me to identify my own feelings and emotions. I hope to now add my little slice... 

I was thinking one night about all the different roles I play in life. I've always thought of them as "hats" I wear. I pictured myself interchanging them throughout the day: Mommy Hat when I called the school attendance line to excuse sick kids; Baker Hat as I got a cake in the oven for my next client; Entreprenuer Hat as I called the client to establish a pick up time for thier cake that wouldn't put me in too much of a panic; Nurse Hat to bandage up the playground cut on the child that suddenly isn't so sick; Party Planner Hat as I made a schedule for the outlandish birthday party I had planned for that weekend; Youth Leader Hat as I put spectacular craft kits together for the girls to do at our next meeting; Maid Hat as I cleaned up the dishes and bathroom and dishes and laundry and bedroom and laundry and...; Sister Hat as I greeted my extended family at the door as they came for a swim; Babysitter Hat as I watched my sister turn right around and leave all the little ones with me; Chef Hat as I quickly put together the best snack ever for 10 little kids and threw the chicken in the microwave to hopefully defrost in time for dinner; Referee Hat when the kids fought over the swing because they just had to swing to be able to dry off from the pool; Author Hat as I made up a story to tell the kids during quiet time; Waitress Hat as I reloaded plate after plate of food at dinner all before I could even get one bite in; Personal Assisstant Hat as I bathed kids, brushed teeth, and found clean PJ's for bed; Singer Hat as I sang lullabies in the hallway so the kids in all three bedrooms could hear me; Escape Artist Hat as I snuck out of the house undetected--leaving dad in charge of the sleeping household; and then the Friend Hat as I walked into Applebee's for a much needed Girl's Night Out! And that is just SOME of the hats I had...

But then it dawned on me--I don't take hats on and off! Many of those things I did all at the same time. Each of those hats defined me in some way--a small piece of me. Those roles are slices of me that when all put together, make up the whole of who I am. So, I'm not a hat wearer anymore. Now I like to think of my life as a pie. Besides my obvious obsession with delectable baked goods, this seems fitting. Each slice represents a different role I have in life and all together they form a delicious pie. Everything I do effects who I am and who I will become in the future. I don't take those roles off as I begin a new one--I just focus on few slices of me at a time.

From hat wearer to a beautiful pie, this is a little slice...