Our Life In Pictures – April 27 – May 3, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Friday, April 28, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

(just waiting for a warm, sunny day to be transplanted to their new home)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Every year, a robin builds a nest on top of our shed door. We get such a kick out of watching the whole process from the babies hatching to them taking off for their first flight. This year, she has three babies:)!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Sometimes things don't turn out the way I picture them in my head – so I get to spend some quality time with my seam ripper ;)




Happy Wednesday Ladies! There are so many things that inspire me – books, songs, movies, people, and quotes. And, today, I've got a poem for you all. I hope this poem will inspire you and be a source of encouragement to you when life is hard – as it has been to me for many years now. It's my favorite poem, or at the top of the list. It means so much to me that I actually embroidered each verse onto a block and made it into a quilt. It was my second quilt, I made it all by hand (this was even pre-owning a rotary cutter and mat;). I think I love it so much because it contains the essence of our ultimate human freedom and our unlimited power to create a life of love, joy and peace, regardless of our circumstances. The first 11 verses of the poem were written by Kent Keith, and the 12th verse was added by Mother Teresa.


People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Be kind anyway.

If you are honest and fair, people may cheat you.

Be honest and fair anyway.

If you find peace and happiness, people may be jealous.

Be peaceful and happy anyway.

People really need help, but may attack you if you help them.

Help them anyway.

People claim to favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs.

Fight for the underdogs anyway.

The biggest ideas can be shot down by people with the smallest minds.

Think big anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.

Succeed anyway.

What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight.

Build anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you've got, and it may never be enough.

Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it was all between you and God.

It was never between you and them anyway!

So, why do I love this poem so much?

1.    First, let me say that I don't read this in terms of religious duty or of rules to follow, or in terms of the legalism that Jesus fought so hard against (Jesus was all about the heart ;) – that would kill the spirit of the whole thing.

2.    Rather, I think this poem is about the last and ultimate source of our human freedom and power. There are so many things in our lives that we are not in control of – we don't get to decide what country we're born in, we don't get to pick our parents or our personalities, we don't get to choose how people will treat us, we can't control the government, or the weather . . . !

3. Yet, we do have this ultimate, incredible power and freedom to choose one last thing! It's a power and a freedom that no one can ever take from us. And, that is the power to choose how we will respond to whatever comes our way.

4.    And, if we don't recognize this power and freedom – and use it, if we believe we are powerless, well, that's a quick road down the path to anxiety and depression.

5.    I believe that our base nature as human beings is good, loving, kind, compassionate, creative, and generous . . . but, our egos can really get in the way of all of that. "Ahhh, the ego" (I love that line in the movie "Bruce Almighty", remember when Morgan Freeman says that to Bruce? Cracked me up :) – and I digress)! Anyway, we are at our weakest and least free when we make life a battle between ourselves and another person or our circumstances.

6.    But, when we see life from a different paradigm, when we see the bigger picture, that something greater lies within us, and we have the power to choose to respond out of that – well, we can bring good things into the world!

7.    Finally, this poem makes me think of the people who, throughout history, have lived in the spirit of this poem, and who inspire me so much. I think of the people in the Nazi Concentration Camps, I mean seriously, the absolute worst conditions even fathomable. Yet, there were people in those camps that exercised this, their last of human freedoms and power. They chose to share food with others, though they themselves were starving. They chose to share their blankets with people who were cold, despite the fact that they, themselves, were freezing! And, I just read this last night about these amazing women in my book "Mindful Eating" by Jan Chozen Bays, MD

"During World War II a group of women prisoners in a Japanese concentration camp in Sumatra wrote down musical scores from memory and formed a choir. Too weak to stand, they performed sitting down. Half the choir died in a year's time. But they forgot the terrible hunger of their emaciated bodies as their hearts were filled with the music they created together. 'Each time (we had a concert) again it seemed a miracle, that among those cockroaches and rats, and the bedbugs and the dysentery, the smells of the latrines, that there could be that much beauty, that women's voices could actually do this, and bring this to this horrid camp,' one of the singers later recalled."

8. The sheer power of the human spirit to bring forth love, kindness, compassion and beauty, in spite of any circumstance astounds me. And, that human spirit, it's in you, it's in me, it's in all of us. This poem reminds me of that. It brings me back to the amazing potential of the human spirit when my ego has gone amuck. It reminds me, that no matter my circumstances, I have within me the power and the freedom to respond with love, with kindness, with compassion and understanding, and the power to keep building, to create beautiful things, and to give the world the best I've got. That's why I love this poem.



P.S. Here are a couple of pictures of my "Anyway" quilt! It's so old, it doesn't match our décor so it's not hanging up anymore – and being my second quilt it doesn't have much in the way of "quilting skilz", but truly girls, this one was made with a whole lotta love and heart ;)!

Fleurs, Gurnsey & Cheery Solids

How was your week ladies? Is it in the air, or just in the Show Me State, or all in the family here? It was crazy for all of us. Our son has finals and a thirty page paper on Partisanship and Incarceration Rates due today (fascinating, huh ;), our daughter is working on fixing up their house and stressed (but also excited), my husband's busy season at work has kicked in and he's got too much on his plate (owning your own business isn't always all it's cracked up to be), meanwhile I'm adjusting to spending more time here blogging, creating new patterns and such (which is so much fun ;), but it is an adjustment time-wise! And, in the middle of it all, since I had half my stash out for this project (okay not ½, but a lot of it), I decided to reorganize my sewing room

(it really was a mess).

I wish I was one of those calm, neat orderly types who gets one fabric out at a time (or even just a few), cuts and folds them neatly and puts them back, but alas – I am me, and when inspiration strikes the fabric and thread start flying, and things get messy (FAST)!

I'm still working on that new project (I'm SEW excited about this one), but, not much sewing to show you yet, so I thought I'd share some new fabric that I've added to the stash over the last few months. I love really soft, pastel, romantic cottage-y type fabric. And, Brenda Riddle, well, she designs some of the prettiest ones out there:

Meet "Fleurs"

and "Gurnsey"

Aren't they pretty? And, I also added some basics to the stash ( I'll need these for the new projects I'm planning for this year)

this is the Lori Holt solids bundle, and

this is the Vintage Crayola solids bundle by Riley Blake. It's cloudy here today, so the photos don't really do them justice, but they're bright, cheery, and prettier than I expected for just solids ;)! Well, I better get back to cleaning.

Hope you all have a great weekend!



Defending Your Life – A Comedy with Some Important Life Lessons

I have a fun movie for you all this week. It's called "Defending Your Life", and it was written and directed by Albert Brooks.

It's a comedy, but it really does contain some important life lessons. My husband and I both really enjoyed this movie. At the beginning of the movie, Albert Brooks' character Daniel dies, and he is transported to a place called Judgment City, where his life is put on trial. The trial is complete with a Prosecutor, Defense Attorney and two judges who will decide his fate.  The Prosecutor shows clips of his life to prove that he's failed (poor Daniel – the prosecutor has a lot to use against him), and his defense attorney shows episodes to defend his life. To make matters worse, he meets the lovely Julia (played by Meryl Streep), who is having a wonderful time because her trial is going really well.  There's a bit of a love story there, too. So, if you're looking for something good to watch this weekend, give this a try. It's a funny, heart touching movie with important life lessons, all in one (my favorite kind of movie). 

SPOILER ALERT – I'm going to talk about the movie now – so if you'd rather watch it first, stop reading here ;)!

There were several things that struck me about the movie (ya know, little take away things to ponder ;)!

1.    Distracted driving is dangerous - so we really should just say "No" to that!

2.    It was intriguing to me that the single issue at the trial was whether Daniel had overcome fear in his life.  And, as the movie progresses, it becomes clear just why overcoming fear in our lives is so important.  It's critical because fear is the thing that keeps us from all of the good stuff in life - the love, the joy, the peace - all the things we really care about. 

3.    My favorite scene in the movie is when Julia and Daniel are having dinner, because you get to see so clearly how much fear is hampering Daniel's life, and how, having overcome it, Julia is just relishing in the simple pleasures of being with Daniel and eating Pasta!

4.    Hey, if you had the chance, would you do it?  If you could eat all of the delicious food in the world that you wanted with no weight gain and no health consequences for 5 days, but you had to have your life put on trial, would you go for it?  Yikes, I can think of so many "Daniel" moments right off the top of my head - but, I mean still, 5 days of consequence free eating . . . ;)!

5.    I know it sounds trite, but I believe!  LOVE CONQUERS FEAR!  We see it in the movie, that the singular thing that overcomes fear is love!  In the end, it's his love for Julia that makes Daniel throw all caution to the wind, and courageously fight for the woman he loves. 

6.    Going back to Pressfield, and "The War of Art", he points out that the fear we feel about doing something is really just a measure of how much we love it in our hearts.  The greater the fear, then deep inside your heart, the greater the love.  So, the secret, I think is - don't feed the fears!  But, look instead for the love - the love for the person, for the great cause, or the love in creativity - and feed that.  Feed it A LOT!

7.    Finally, it's still such a shocker, but it is in fact the truth.  We are here one minute, and the next minute, well, we're not!  It's going to be true for all of us, and for our loved ones, too!  And, the bite is - we don't even know how much time we have or our loved ones have left!  So, best to spend our lives, whatever time we do have, in love rather than fear.

I really hope you enjoy this movie as much as we did ;).  I thought I'd leave you with a few of my favorite quotes about love:

"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength.  Loving someone deeply gives you courage." -- Lao Tzu (author of the Tao Te Ching)

". . . perfect love casts out fear" -- The Disciple John (Bible)

"All you need is love." -- John Lennon

LOVE WINS!!! (Always)



Aubrey’s Quilt

I finished Baby Aubrey's first quilt this week, and I sure hope Kate likes it.

It's a simple panel quilt , and I quilted it using an adorable pantograph called "Diaper Pins".

While I was quilting, I was thinking about how much we love this sweet baby girl, who will be here in July!

I've also been working on a new project to cute-n things up around here! I don't have much to show you, but here's a little peek at my fabric pulls.

I'm super excited about this one, and am working on a pattern in case you all love it as much as I do!

Have an awesome weekend ladies ;)!



Our Life In Pictures – April 13 – 19, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Friday, April 14, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017



P.S. I mentioned when I started these Life in Pictures posts, that I thought it would be a great way for me to slow down and really savor the little things in life. And, it's turned out that taking the time each week to sort through all of the pictures I take of the little moments in our lives has brought a lot of joy, so many smiles, and a deeper experience of gratitude than I had anticipated (even more so than the written/daily gratitude journal I keep).

Anyway, I was listening to a book on Audible today, "The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less" by Barry Schwartz, and he said something that made me think of these "Life" posts, and I thought I'd pass it along to you all.

He said that people who "experience and express gratitude" regularly:

1) are physically healthier;

2) are more optimistic about the future;

3) feel better about their lives than those who don't;

4) are more alert;

5) are more enthusiastic;

6) are more energetic; and

7) are more likely to achieve their personal goals.

See, the thing is life is crazy busy for all of us. We are so busy rushing from one thing to another, it's really easy to forget that there are hundreds of moments, encounters, and little things that happen each day that are good, happy, smile-worthy – ya know – little mini blessings (a husband's helping hand, a grandchild's smile, chocolate - yummm, Hello Kitty pink duct tape wrapped garden tools, pretty fabric, sewing, having your quilt frame right next to your washer and dryer, watching two of your favorite people enjoy a bedtime snack . . . ). And, when we forget all those little things that we're missing because we're so busy, life can look start to look really crappy. But, when we take the time to stop and look, well – life's full of little miracles. In fact, it's pretty amazing, and maybe that's why gratitude is so good for us.

Hey, does gratitude for gratitude count? ;)

So Inspired by “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield

Have I mentioned to you all that, in addition to sewing, I love to read? Well, I do, and I have a particular genre that is my go to. I very rarely read fiction, though occasionally I love to get lost in a good story. But, for the most part, my reading genre is non-fiction, and my go to of choice are books about life and how we live it well.

I'm grateful I can do two things I love at one time – sew and read (or, in this case be read to) – thanks Audible! Anyway, I've read so many good books that have inspired me and changed our lives for the better, and that I've wanted to share with you! So, I'm starting a new category called "So Inspired", where I'll share a little about the books that have inspired me (and probably some documentaries, too ;)!

I can think of no better book to start with than "The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle", by Steven Pressfield. The book is about much more than creativity. In fact, I think it would be better titled "The War of Trying To Do Anything Good With Your Life." Do you have something on your heart that you really want to do with your life, but you never seem to get around to doing it? Is there anything that you think you really need to do or believe in your heart of hearts you should do, but you don't do it? If so, I think you'll really like this book.

Let me just say, I LOVED IT! I've listened to it several times! It is short (less than three hours on Audbile), but it packs a powerful punch! It is a no holds barred, in your face, shot to the heart – reminding you that you have a purpose in life, a gift to share with the world – and, well, you best get to it.

Pressfield explains, in part one, that any time we try to create something or to operate on a higher plane, we will meet with a force he calls RESISTANCE! Resistance is born out of fear (and self-doubt), and Pressfield details the symptoms of resistance ("unhappiness, low grade misery, we feel like hell, we're bored, restless, and we can't get no satisfaction."), and goes on to explain how it manifests! You can read the book for more, but the culprits I most personally recognized were procrastination, distractions, and rationalizations –uuggghhh – my capacity to rationalize is off the chartsl. You see, we all have two lives: 1) the life we actually live; and 2) the life we dream of living. What stands in between, Pressfield argues, is resistance!

In part two, he talks about turning Pro (i.e. beating resistance)! And, this section reminded me of Picasso's famous quote – "Inspiration finds you working". We must beat resistance at its own game. We beat it by doing one thing, and one thing only – doing our work!

Finally, in part three, Pressfield explains that there is also (thankfully) a counter-force to resistance, an energy that comes to our aid when we try to operate on a higher level in life or when we attempt to create. He refers to these counter-forces as talent, angels and muses, and goes into detail about how we can align ourselves with and get in touch with the counter-forces that come to our assistance! Courage and humility in the face of resistance call forth these forces ;).

There were so many interesting things in this book, but here are a few that I found particularly noteworthy, and am still ruminating on:

1.    Tom Laughlin's work with cancer patients (i.e. helping them to follow their lost dreams, and many of them having their cancer go into remission) – isn't that fascinating?

2.    The Latin root of the word "amateur" is love. The prevailing theory on this being that we love a craft so much, that we cannot bear to profane it with trying to make money at it. Pressfield disagrees with this, saying that amateurs don't love the thing enough – if they did, they would make it their profession. I'm still up in the air on this one – what do you all think?

3.    He quotes Socrates – "The truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self- mastery, while those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them." Hmmm???!!!

4.    Fear and self-doubt are not all bad. They are also a barometer of how deeply you believe in and care about whatever call of the heart you are resisting, and the level of resistance is an indicator of "how important doing your work is to the evolution of your soul." Shwew – now, that's good news ;)!

5.    I found myself wanting to argue with him on many points 1) I'm a wife and mother and grandmother, and that requires a delicate balance, 2) we all have several gifts to give, not just one and depending on the time, one gift may take precedence over another 3) waiting and patience are a good thing, and leaping before you look can be a bad thing, 4) there are times in the week and month, and seasons in life when we need to rest, rejuvenate, take a break from our labors, find clarity . . . . I imagine if I got to talk with Pressfield about these things, he'd say, "Kelly, that's resistance. ***See resistance tactics I found familiar above (rationalization). The jury is still out for me on these, because in all honesty, I think I'm right, yet I also agree with Pressfield that these can, and have in my own personal life, taken the form of resistance.

I truly love this book, it's inspiring in so many ways! In fact, I credit this post to Pressfield and his book, "The War of Art!" Because, you see, resistance says this should be just a fun, upbeat, cutesy, sewing, cooking, isn't life grand blog – I mean who wants to talk about the unpleasant stuff of life. But, my heart screams – NO! Life is hard, and we are all suffering in one way or another, we all grapple with many of the same issues, and, while it's a good thing to share fun and sewing, it's equally important to have real conversations, to share our challenges and struggles, and the wisdom we're gaining and the steps we're taking to address those things! And, sharing about this bigger topic of life and its challenges must be pretty damn important to my soul's evolution, because I've met an incredible amount of resistance (over more than a year) just to get started by writing this first post! And, I think the resistance for me in this is huge precisely because there is something that I love and care about very deeply, and its people, our joys and our struggles, and how we can cultivate better health, more happiness, and a greater sense of wholeness in our lives. I spend far more hours in a given week thinking, reading, and applying what I've learned about how to live well then I ever could sewing ;)! Don't get me wrong, sewing is part of living well for me, too (so there will still be lots of that here), but, I'll also be sharing more posts like this one – about the challenges we face and things I've found helpful and inspiring along the way!



P.S. HA! Pressfield would be proud. I beat resistance – at least for today ;)!!!

P.S.S.  Not that there is anything wrong with blogs focused on fun and sewing!  They are an inspiration to me, I follow many of them, and I love them, and am grateful for them!  The importance of inspiring creativity and making beautiful things cannot be overstated.  We all have different things we are passionate about and unique combos of gifts to share - that's what makes this world such an amazing place to live in ;)!!!

Look at the Adorable Blocks Sandy Made!!

You guys, my heart is happy – and I'm on cuteness overload here! It all started with a comment I got from Sandy in Illinois about printing my patterns. I emailed her back, and she e-mailed . . . and then these darling pictures of the blocks she was making for her Farm Girl quilt started coming :)!! Of course, I asked her if she'd mind if I posted them here – so you all could see her cute blocks, too – and she was kind enough to say yes.

So, here you go ladies – will ya take a look at these ADORABLE BLOCKS:

here's her cupcake,

her pie and rolling pin,

her watering can and spade,

her vintage apron,

her sewing machine,

and her camper :0)!!!

Aren't they all just super cute? I absolutely love the fabrics she used – so sweet (and her sewing is perfection ;).

But wait – there's more! Do you want to know where Sandy sews all of this cuteness? Sandy's a mom and a grandma, and when she and her husband retired, he helped her fix up this darling building on their farm into a sewing space for Sandy and her friends and family to sew!

They call it the Hen House ;)!

See that fun sign "Chicks Only ;)!" This is Sandy's daughter, Kelly (the one with the long hair) and her friend at the Hen House

-working on some really pretty pillows ;)! And here's their cutting counter

What an amazing sewing studio – right? It's so warm and inviting – it just makes me want to go there and spend the day sewing with Sandy and company ;).

I really can't wait to see her whole Vintage Farm Girl quilt :)! It's going to be amazing. Really, thank you Sandy for sharing your blocks and the Hen House with me :0)! You so made my day! No – ya know what – you made my whole dang week :0)! XOXOXOXO!

The free PDF patterns for each of these blocks are available here on my blog. Just click the Free Patterns and Tutorials link in the sidebar to find them!