Wednesday, April 29, 2009

french knot crazy

After failing a few times at it yesterday (and lots of times throughout my stitching history), I looked up how to make a french knot. Thanks to this video, I finally got it. And my sampler has turned into a celebration of that lesson.

For instance, how about a whole bowlful of (french-knot) cherries...
And how about covering nearly a whole square with 'em...

I used tiny ones to polka-dot the background of the cupcake square (currently a favorite)...
Where Teresa is working on her sampler a short 20-minutes a day in an exercise of control, I've worked on mine all but perhaps 20 minutes. Full on-forget about the laundry-we're eating out tonight crafting going on here folks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

on a roll..

Oh my goodness, but this sampler idea is providing the best therapy for me today. While I concentrate on making the stitches and dream up what to do next, I'm able to daydream of the days to come and quietly pray for God's blessings.

I've been thinking of the thoughts someone left in a comment about how this arrangement might not be the best for Alfredo. I hear you. I worry about this too. Stability is so important for little ones and this plan we have to help might turn out to do the opposite.

Rich and I have talked about this often. We just couldn't possibly say no to Alfredo. Our hearts made him a promise that we would do whatever we could for him, always. We will give him so much love and we'll teach him so many things. We talked to as many experts as we could find. They all agreed that the positives of this arrangement outweigh the negatives.

We honestly don't know what the future will bring. Who does? Well, none of us certainly. That's why we count on God to help us through. He knows.


Last night I read about something Teresa is doing and was inspired.

I found a piece of cloth, embroidery floss, a needle, a hoop...and I was off.

I love the freedom of Teresa's piece but I know that I need more structure. I drew a grid and I plan to stitch within each square. I also really have to use a hoop.

When my sisters and I were very young, my mother taught us how to embroider. My sisters caught on and were very good. I liked to stitch but I wasn't very good. My sister Jessica's stitches were always perfect, on top and underneath. Beautiful, straight, tiny. Mine were irregular, sloppy, and a nest underneath.

I still stitch like I'm 7 years old. But I really like the charm of it. Last night, I stitched this heart. I started with the heart shape, added the tiniest of baby buttons, and then filled in the rest of the square. The stitches are thick and textural. I like it very much.

I went to bed very pleased with my first square. This morning as I made my coffee, an idea struck for the next square. Just yesterday, as I was cleaning out a cedar chest that was filled to the brim with stuff, I found a squashed bag of iron-on embroidery patterns that my mother had handed down to me. She and her mother embroidered countless pillowcases and dresser scarves with these same patterns. I found the tiniest flower and ironed it into a square. I am liking how it stretches beyond the square...this is going to be a good one. I'm going to use thinner thread and really work to make it finer, daintier work.

I think this work will help me put my mind at ease. I can escape for a little while, making something that doesn't require a lot of space or mess. I like this idea a lot.

Monday, April 27, 2009


It's just another week to go before I head off to California with my brother and sisters to pick up Alfredo. Last night I had a dream that he cried out in the night. I walked down the hallway, which seemed too long. When I got to his room, I couldn't find him in the bed clothes. I awoke with that same panic..."Where is he?" The dream seemed so real. Even now thinking of it I have to convince myself that I didn't really go into his room searching for him.

He speaks Spanish almost entirely. He still seems to understand English but it's Spanish that he speaks. One of my many worries is not being able to understand him. I'm also so worried that he'll miss his Papa. I'm worried that his mother will be angry when he doesn't know her. I'm worried that I won't know what to feed him. I'm worried that he will feel scared here. So many worries...

But what I really need to know today is that the same Lord who guided us to today, will be there tomorrow. There will be problems but there will be solutions. And if I wrap myself in worry, I'll miss the joy of it all. Worries cloud the joy, don't they?

Today I am going to try sloughing off those worries. I'm going to trust that even if things don't go as I planned, everything will be okay. And I'm going to trust that all that I need will come to me.

In the meantime, I'm readying the house, his room, our life, for Alfredo. And I'm daydreaming about all the fun we'll have.

All is well.

Friday, April 24, 2009

the goat story

There are plenty of stories that I've heard told a million times. I know them by heart. Then there are other lesser known stories. Sometimes I'll remember just a smidgen of it and then I'll have to this a real story? Did I make it up? Did I dream it? So I call home and ask...

This is one such story.

The Goat Story...

My father is quite a bit younger than his only sister. This difference meant that when he was still fairly young, she was being courted by handsome young men. One such young man brought my father a baby goat. He'd been hunting on Bell Isle in Richmond. When they'd landed the boat, a bunch of goats ran off leaving a 1-day old kid.

My father took it to his grandmother's house (right next door) and they raised it. He had a dog named Spot and pretty soon that goat adopted the same name. When they called "Spot!" the dog would come running and the goat would too.

His father got a new car. It was the first one that had a curved back instead of going straight down. My father liked to climb up the front, go over the roof and slide down the back. Weeeeee! After awhile, the dog and goat joined him. The three of them would parade up the front, over the roof and down the back all day long.

Well, one night an insurance man came to visit my grandfather. He had a similar style car so you can imagine what happened. First the dog, then the goat, up the front, over the roof, and down the back. The poor confused insurance man came running into the house saying that something terrible had happened. My grandfather explained but the insurance man didn't believe him. So my grandfather had my father demonstrate their game.

I love this just makes me smile ear to ear to think of my father teaching that dog and goat to slide down the back of a car. I decided to make a little piece to illustrate this story.

and the winner is...

Katydiddy! Yay! You are the lucky ducky who gets a pair of lucky duckies from my friend Debbie.

Congratulations...quack! quack! (Katydiddy, send me your address)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

what a nice day...

Hey, everybody. I'll draw the name for the giveaway tomorrow morning...wanted to pop in to tell you that.

I had such a great day...elbow deep into making stuff. I can't wait to show you. It's so therapeutic for me and I'm just making piece after piece.

Also wanted to show you this picture that was shot right before or after the one I shared yesterday. I think it's just so cute how they are playing. And, yes, I think perhaps Alfredo was trying to bite Rich's nose. We were at Fairyland in Oakland. What an adorable place that is!

Hope you are having a swell day too. I'm so ready for Spring and warmer weather and all the flowers and loveliness that goes with it. And I'm so very ready to fly to get Alfredo. I wish I were going tomorrow.

lucky ducks giveaway

For the last week, I've been updating my friend Debbie's site. Yesterday, we unveilled the new look. It's much cleaner and easier to use. And, best of all, the spotlight is on the product.

As part of this new update, Debbie has created a new section called "Last Call". It's the bargain basement of her site and you aren't going to believe the deals to be found. For instance...
this pair of super sweet ducks from Jennifer Murphy's repro line is slashed down to just $7.25! That's about $3.60 each. Please! You could afford a dozen at that price.

But, I have one question for you today...

Are you feeling lucky?
If you are...leave a comment here and you, my friend, could be a lucky duck and get a pair of these sweeties for free. Compliments of my bff, Debbie.

And if you're feeling especially lucky (and you have a tweenish daughter), you should definitely head here. You are just not going to believe how crazy generous my friend Saucy is. Just go and see for yourself. She is the Oprah of bloggers.

If I didn't have the guilt of taking the tickets away from true fans, I would take Alfredo. If we start now, we could learn all the words to all their songs. And I could teach him to swoon and scream. And, most definitely, I would get him a baby-sized purity ring. (You can't start too soon with these things)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

thank you...

Thank you, everyone, for all your words of support and encouragement. I know this co-parenting idea is a bit unusual.

Yesterday's rehearsal for the class I'm teaching in LA was fabulous. My friends did such a great job making the project and they all LOVED how it turned out. In fact, I heard someone say that it is her favorite project EVER that she's made in a class. How fantastic is that?

The photo shows a little of what Sue made...Sue (no blog yet) is a new friend who is going to Silver Bella. With only hours of notice, she arrived at the door with Hope ready to get working. My sweet friends Pam and Lorraine (I can't talk her into a blog) were also there. We had such a fun time. And they were all such great students, offering lots of encouragement and tips and advice.

Oh, and just look at the button loot Sue offered up...

Seriously? I think buttons are a much better friend to a girl than diamonds...
shhhh...don't tell the others but these are my favorites...
Although I do really have a crush on this tulip shaped bead...

Oh yeah...I think I'm back. {And happier than ever.}

Oh, and there are still spots available for the class. If you are on the fence, come on down and join in the fun. You will have so much fun, I promise.

{And I will give you candy.}

our little bird

A few months ago, just after we visited our baby in California for his second birthday, his father called with a proposal. He said that he knew how much we love his baby and how much that baby loves us. He admitted that it was a lot harder than he thought it would be to care for his little boy as a single dad, working every available hour to make enough money to provide for him.

He asked if we would be interested in "co-parenting" with him. When he said the word "co-parenting" my heart nearly lept out of my chest. I couldn't speak more than a whisper when I said "Co-parent? What does that mean?" And when Rich heard just that part of the phone conversation from across the room, his eyes sprung uncontrollably with tears.

It was a prayer we didn't think we had the right to pray. We've always wanted to be as much a part of his life as possible...but we've also always respected the roles of his mother and father, who do love him so very much. We were his foster parents. We are his Godparents. And now, we will be co-parents.

So now we are just two weeks from picking up our sweet little bird to bring him back here. He'll be here for the summer, perhaps a little longer. In the meantime, we'll do webcam visits with his father and bring him back for a visit in July or so.

His mother still lives here in Virginia and we have the baby's father's permission to allow her supervised visits with him.

So that's where we incredibly happy to be given even one more day with our sweet little bird. So many friends are worried for us, wondering aloud "won't your hearts be even more broken when he leaves again"...but tell me, really. Is fear of pain enough to stop my heart from loving this little boy? It is not. Not at all. I will endure whatever pain tomorrow brings to be a difference in his life. It is my promise to him. And it is, I know it with all my heart, what God intends for me to do.

As a little gift to you, I can tell you our little bird's name and even share a picture so that now you may pray for him by name and see his sweet face. His name is Alfredo, like the sauce. It was once so foreign to us and now it is the song my heart sings everyday.

Monday, April 20, 2009

the table's set...

and I'm ready for my friends to come help me practice teaching my class!

i've been making things

teeny tiny itsy bitsy things.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'll be there...

how about you?

looking forward

This weekend, the weather is just so wonderful. Especially yesterday...what a gift the warmth of the sun was!

I know you've all been so worried...and my lack of posts just added to the worry. I'm okay, really. I'm feeling more like myself everyday. And I'm getting ready to take the trip across country to pick up our little bird.

Both my sisters and my brother are coming with me...isn't that funny? Here's how it happened. I knew I wanted someone to come with me on the trip because I didn't know how I could manage doing things like carrying all the luggage through the airport with a little 2 year old in tow. I asked my sister Jennifer but then she didn't think she could go. So my other sister, Jessica, said she'd go. Meanwhile, Jennifer switched around some appointments so that she could, in fact, go. Okay, let's all go, we said. Then my brother heard about all this and wanted in on it too.

I'm pretty sure this is the only time in our lives that all of us have done something together sans parents, children, and/or spouses. It's going to be a blast...let's just hope Jennifer, who is afraid of bridges, doesn't get a panic attack as we go over the Golden Gate Bridge! "Is it a big bridge?" she asked.

Today, I'm getting stuff ready to do a dry-run of the class I'm teaching in May. I'm getting so nervous about it. I hope I don't disappoint all those nice folks who signed up. Maybe I can win them over with candy.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Earlier this week, I packed up all of the toys and clothes of the three little children and sent them off to their future. It happened very abruptly, with little time to prepare them or ourselves. I pray those sweet little broken children will live safe lives, free to be all that God meant for them to be. Will you send up a prayer for them too?

As we shift our lives from this loss to what the future holds, we're preparing our home and hearts for our little bird's homecoming. "Soon" I whisper to my heart. Soon.