Monday, February 27, 2012

Oh So Country

Do you ever have a challenge that scares you? One that makes you think, "I am so far out of my comfort zone, no way can I do this." My last order was one of those.

My husband's cousin, a wildly talented artist in her own right, requested a pair of pink cowgirl boots. And were they for her, creative license on my part would have run rampant. But, they were for friends of hers, who tend toward the more traditional. So we were going for a more literal take on cowboy boots. Eek.

But, I gave it a try! Instead of straight stitching, I hand cut suede and sewed them on. She says she loves them. I hope the family does too!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What She Wore Today

Actually, this was yesterday. It's been so long since I have blogged with being out of town for my grandma's funeral. I thought I should check in. I also thought, I have a fashion design degree, but I don't blog nearly enough about clothes. So, here's a little something.

I am loving having a daughter to dress, and I am trying to get it all in now, because I know soon enough she will have her own opinions about what to wear. Yesterday, she went about her day in black skinny jeans, a Ralph Lauren striped dress and a Baby Gap black cropped sweater. Now, before you think I spend a ton of money on brand names for my little one, let me assure way! The dress was bought at Marshalls, and it was a gift from Grandma. I just love it though. Those ruffles are too precious, but it still has a casual almost punk feel from the fabric and color combo. And the sweater I bought at Once Upon a Child which is a resale shop where I buy pretty much all of my kids' clothes. Nothing I buy is over $10. :-)

And of course, her Mommy made boots finish the outfit. What am I going to do next year when I have to buy her shoes with hard soles? I really need to figure out how to do that myself.

And you know what I said about her having her own opinions about her dress soon? This is how she insisted she spend the rest of the day.

I know it's fuzzy, she's constantly in motion. Perhaps one of these days I will post something about my fashion choices.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ode to My Grandparents

My grandparents played a huge role in my life. They were a constant support. Their home a constant retreat in our military lifestyle. My grandpa passed away eight years ago when I was pregnant with my first child, a boy named after him and who reminds me of him in so many ways.

Grandma passed away last night, quite peacefully after ninety some years. She had a very full and long and I hope happy life. I will miss her terribly. I will always remember the sight of her across the hall from me in her house robe, in bed reading, or in later years listening to scriptures. Or in the kitchen, while I sat next to her on the high stool as she prepared pies or date bars. Or in her rocker in the den with a book and her feet propped on a little stool. Or in the front yard with us, playing a game of croquet after dinner. Or enjoying a glass of iced tea on the screened in porch as we all sat around talking and enjoying each other's company on lazy summer evenings. Or canning dilly beans with my mother. Or pulling her into my room when she came for a visit and sharing my own stories of faith with her. So many memories. And there is so much I am thankful for.

I am thankful that I am able to know her a little more through pictures like these.



And through stories I was able to pay attention to through the years.

Their first date was a double date. Only, they weren't each other's dates. They were staying in the same boarding house, and Robert was taken with Edna, but she was seeing someone. She offered to set him up with an acquaintance of hers and they doubled. But, grandpa was persistent and won her over eventually. Can you blame her, though? Look how handsome he was.



That second picture is my favorite of him. It fits him to a tee. As long as I can remember grandpa was always reading, usually at least three books at once. Their downstairs was lined and lined with books.

The story goes, when he was on shore leave in Florida during WWII he sent for her, she took a train and married him before he shipped out again. She arranged it all, no family present. You can tell they were happily in love.


After the war, they had two children. My mother, and her baby brother. Grandpa went from being a Navy fighter pilot to an FBI agent working under Hoover. You can imagine it wasn't an easy life. But, they lived it, together and love endured. I will always remember their 50th wedding celebration and how flirty my grandfather was with my grandmother. I will always remember the Thanksgiving that she was in the hospital and how he was practically climbing the walls and pacing until he could be with her again.


They retired to a quiet community, where they made friends and Grandpa was the sociable guy I had in later years learned he was. He could talk to anyone and make them comfortable. It's one of the things I loved most about him. He developed kidney failure and had to go to dialysis. When he was in the later stages of pancreatic cancer, an ambulance took him to his treatments. The two drivers came to his funeral because he had been so nice to them. I miss him terribly.

I am thankful that Grandma was able to come to my wedding. She gave me a handkerchief to carry that day. She gave words of wisdom. And she gave me a sense that I was a part of the line of women in my family.


I am thankful that my husband got to know her. And she him.


I am so grateful that she got a chance to meet and hold all of my children. Especially my daughter.


I am grateful that I was able to travel last month to see her with my daughter. She was her old self. It was the last time she really was so. The timing was perfect, and I am so so thankful.

I am so glad that I called her as often as I did as a grownup. I feel like I got to know her in a different way through those phone calls.

Mostly, I am so grateful for so many memories given how far apart we have always lived. It gives me hope that though we live so far from our families, our parents will still have such profound impacts on our children's hearts and lives.

God Speed Grandma. Tell Grandpa that we love and miss him still. Thank you for all that you have taught me. Until we meet again.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Why I Do What I Do...

It touches me when I hear from a customer that they're so sad their little one has outgrown their shoes or boots. I love knowing these little things that I make with my hand have become so a part of their life and memories, knowing they will be set aside, treasured, and maybe even passed down. Knowing that one glance at those little shoes will call to mind so many memories wrapped up with tiny feet learning to walk, running about and making merry.

But, never have I been so glad to have made a pair of shoes, as I am to have made these Christmas shoes for my Grandma. 


My Grandma is over 90, and has been a feisty go-getter for every one of her years. In mid-December she had a fall, ended up in ICU and has been in the nursing home these last couple of months. Her slippers, my mom tells me, have been a bright spot to her. Cheerful, comfortable, easy to get on and off. You've no idea how that warms my heart. THAT is why I do what I do. Not just to make pretty things. But, to extend love, from my hands to their feet, from giver to receiver of the shoes, from a mother to her daughter, from a granddaughter to a grandmother.

I just got a call from my dad telling me that the doctors do not expect Grandma to last out the week. My heart is breaking. I will miss her so terribly. Thankfully, I have hope that we will see each other again. I love you, Grandma. God speed and tell Grandpa we love and miss him still.

Let Me Introduce You To...The 7th Crow Jewelry

What I didn't make myself to give for Christmas this past year, I tried my hardest to buy handmade. When shopping for my much younger and much hipper sister-in-law I went in search of earrings. Something silver, something different. I started with my fellow TAG artists, and landed on The 7th Crow Jewelry. I found the perfect earrings there, and Jamie, the fabulous designer/owner was an absolute dream to buy from. Even better, my sister-in-law loved her gift, has worn them and gotten compliments on them.

Not long ago, I entered a giveaway that Jamie was hosting, and bless my lucky stars, I won! Jamie offered to send me earrings, but alas, I don't have pierced ears. So she offered to send me a necklace and asked me about color preferences. I just got it in the mail today and I HAD to share it with you. It is SO gorgeous.


Firstly, don't you love the packaging? Want to see what's inside?


Didn't I tell you?!? So pretty! It's one of my favorite color combinations. It's so unique, it was made (as Jamie tells me) just for me and even though we have never met, she got me spot on! According to Jamie, it's made with magnesite briolette (the turquoise colored stone) with rosary wrapped coral nuggets on a sterling silver filled chain. The lariat hoop is sterling as is all of the wire used for wrapping. 


Up close. It's honestly my favorite piece of jewelry now. I just can't say enough. If you want to fall in love with her designs check out her shop here.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Today Is Brought to You By the Letter B

It was so much easier to be an engaged Mommy with my oldest. For one thing, it was just the two of us for five years. For another thing, he slept in till 9 most mornings, then we would lounge about in bed for a bit, playing games, and being silly. And for another thing, I was five years younger when he was 3.

Now my middle child is three. And I am older. I have three children, one in school, the other a mere 19 months younger than my middle one. Plus, I have a business, where I stay up into the wee hours sewing to get orders done. I'm pretty tired. And my attention is all over the place.

But, today, I engaged. And really you can only take it day by day.

Today we focused on the letter B. We put up a flash card. We ate Bagels and Bananas for breakfast. We ate Bunny Biscuits and Berries for lunch. (Most b word foods are bread type items, it was kind of hard to balance the meals better than that.)

Yep, his shirt is on inside out. He's dressing himself. There are bigger battles to fight.

We hunted for b word objects around the house and put them into a Basket. Here we have: a baby, a boat, a bowl, a ball, a book, Buzz Lightyear, bologna, a bag, a bear and a boot.


We colored (sort of) Van Gogh's bedroom and named the B objects in it.


We made a letter B bee.


We're on our way to some serious letter recognition. It's really a fun experience for both of us, since my first literally taught himself to read at the age of two. I never had to put forth any effort in this area before. It's fun to do so and see it bear fruit.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shoes With Meaning

Oh my, a couple of months ago I was blessed to be able to design a pair of shoes with and for a friend's daughter as her birthday present. We had a lot of fun doing it together, and the end result was this pair of pink and brown shoes. Very girly.


Well, it was recently her big sister's birthday, and so I got to do it again. How awesome is that? This sister has decidedly different taste, where her sister is into pinks and purples, Miss Abia prefers blues and greens. And where little sister couldn't decide between butterfly or flower (and come on, many of us girls would have a hard time with that one) Abia knew she wanted her shoes adorned with a cross.

I was immediately in love with this idea and the fact that it came from so sweet a heart. Originally, I fashioned a cross out of ribbons and asked for her approval.


She wanted something more literal, more like the humble brown cross Christ carried. How can you refuse? Still, I couldn't go with brown because it wouldn't have shown against the mostly brown fabric. (Which used to be one of my sister's favorite pair of pants.) So I asked her if she would maybe like a white cross to represent His pureness or if perhaps she would like green to represent the new life that can be found in Him. She chose green.


I made the crosses out of three colors, two shades of green and brown stitching, to represent the trinity. I'm positively humbled to have been allowed to make these shoes. They call to mind the verse "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:6-8. There is something beautiful in the symbolism. And I pray that Abia's feet will always follow the Lord she loves so well. Happy birthday, Abia!