Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Special Surprise Today!

One of the dozen butterflies we released on Jamie's Birthday

Today, we received a letter from our oldest son.  He said it was a project he did in Religion class (have I mentioned how blessed we are to send our children to Catholic school!) 

The yellow ribbon that was tied around the piece of paper should have been a sign of how special it would be.  I opened it and at first glance noticed that it was written on a pink paper with pink roses and butterflies all over it!  Be still my heart, my moody thirteen year old pays attention!!!! 

The letter read:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Your blessings that you have bestowed upon me, have been generous and faithful.
I just want to say, that I love you and always will forever and ever.

I picked a psalm that was for a butterfly and was meant to be.
Blessed be God, who did not refuse me the kindness I sought in prayer.
Psalm 66:20.

Love J,
I Love You

Jamie, our darling butterfly, you are not always just on mommy and daddy's mind, but your sweet older brothers' also! 

And if you are wondering about the butterfly release in the picture,  
We can't say enough about The Butterfly Release Company
We were able to have a special inscription on the "envelopes".  We followed their exact delivery instructions and all of our butterflies arrived intact and made Jamie's 1st Birthday an unbelievable memory!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Camera Strap Cover Tutorial

 I have seen some expensive straps and also needed more padding on my neck.  With my bulging discs in my neck, the weight of the camera can be a bit much.  Of course, me being "crafty", I had to make one. 

I made this last month, but wanted to see if anyone noticed. 

 I have recieved a lot of compliments and a lot of inquiries on where I purchased it.  I even asked hubby what he thought last week because he didn't say anything about it.  He said that he didn't ask, because he didn't want to know how much I paid for it! 

I told him I made it ALL with spare scrap fabrics and batting.  He REALLY liked it then!!!


Sewing machine
Iron & Ironing Board
Scissors or Rotary Cutter
Straight ruler (I prefer Omnigrid products)
Straight pins
Quilting/Chalk pencil
Hand needle

(1) 4 inch x 25 inch fabric of choice (I recommend you measuring your straps width and length...add seam allowance to width, and about 2 inches to length (1 inch to each end)
(1) 4 inch x 25 inch muslin piece of fabric
(2) inch x 23 inch piece of batting
Thread in coordinating color


Mark lower edge and upper edge of batting every 3 inches

Step One
Place decorative fabric face down.  Place piece of batting, centered at lower end of fabric. 
Place and align muslin fabric on top of the other two layers.

Step Two
Mark muslin fabric with chalk pencil every 3 inches on lower and upper end of batting.

Stitch every 3 inches to opposite sides of batting

Step Three:
Stitch diagonal lines every 3 inches to the opposite side of batting.  I used white thread in my bobbin so that I had white thread on my decorative fabric.  I used black thread as my upper thread in order for my lines to show a bit better for this tutorial.

Step Four:
Repeat Step Three going the opposite direction.  This will create quilted diamonds.

Diamonds seen on Muslin side

Diamonds seen on Decorative Fabric side

Step Five:
Fold the fabric length wise, with decorative fabric on the inside.  Pin and sew along making a "tube".

Sew along seam allowance (I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance)
 Step Six:
Turn Tube inside out!  Always tricky,  but I love using a safety pin and pull it through!

Turning your tube inside out!
Step Six:
Slide strap through the cover.  Ensure that the quilted side is on the "bottom" side (the side where the strap will be on your neck)

Pull strap through.  Quilted side down!
Step Seven:
Remember that extra inch on each end.  Make sure the strap is aligned with the excess even on both sides. 

Step Eight:
Fold excess under and hand sew the end of the cover to the strap.  I sewed through the cover and the strap to the other side.  I used very small stitches to make it neat.

Hand stitch the ends.  Secure straps to camera. 

Step Nine:
Secure your strap back on your camera.  Make sure it is on correctly so that the quilted side lies on your neck and that it won't fall on the ground off your strap!!

POINT, SHOOT, and ENJOY!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jamie's Christmas Tree

   The craziness of the Christmas holidays are upon us.  I am having a tough time this year.  You would think with this "rainbow" baby on its way, that I would be happy.  Again, a perfect example why another little one can't replace the one who is gone.

    A little tree for our Jamie.  I will confess, I made this last Christmas.  I have so many projects in the works, that I don't have a single completed project to share! 

   I thought it was a good one to share considering she is so on my mind this month.  Here's to starting this a second holiday season without her. 

   JJ and I painted this plastic/resin tree that I picked up from Hobby Lobby last year.  We used layers of different pink paints to get different shades of pink.  We hot glued crystal and silver balls on after it dried. Then we used some cool paint called Snow-Tex by Deco Art.  It was so fun and cute to see little, big brother do something for his baby sister.  And it looks great next to her urn in my bedroom.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Rainbow Disappeared in the Clouds

The cross made by JJ's class.  Made a book with scrapbook paper from Jamie's album
A babyloss momma's rainbow baby left us today.  His big sister passed away last year when she arrived too early.  Now he is following her at only 19 weeks.  His little heart went silent today.

His mother's heart is aching.

Why does this matter?   It matters because Baby Button is our Rainbow baby.

What is a Rainbow baby?   "Rainbow Babies" is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope. 

One of the 25 cards we recieved from his class.

I can't take credit for this most amazing, insightful, and just plain beautiful definition. 

It occurred to me that I have tried to distance myself with this child on its way...sooner than later.  I now realize that I thought if I pretended not to be attached, that it wouldn't matter if something happened to my rainbow.   What a fool I was! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Dreams

I have been trapped in my studio for the last few days........NOT having fun.  Once again, I made the mad crazy offer to help with my boys' school Christmas musical.  I am, for the 7th year in a row, making alterations, making multiple shepherd's vests, creating camel costumes, fixing Mary's headpiece, and fine-tuning all of the costumes.  There are always many alterations because every year the group of kids changes.  One year Mary is taller than me, and the next very petite.  I try to use the same costume, but this year, am thinking if I do it again, that I will make multiple sizes of every costume.  BUT, I don't have time!!! What am I thinking!

I am actually early this year.  I am just about finished, but procrastinating at this moment to create this post.  I was pinning and ironing the hem of the last camel costume and happened to look up at the quilt hanging above my ribbon rack. 

I made the quilt a few years back as a "sample" to show costumers what I could do.  I love taking photos and making them an heirloom piece.  How can you resist a quilt that not only expresses what you love, but also allows you a glimpse into a moment in your life you never want to forget?

Unfortunately, my dreams of having a business went down the tubes when I let my volunteering take over my life.  I agreed to be the PTO president for the school that my boys attend and where I now work.  It goes back to the idea that I am always sharing too much of myself. 

I have grand ideas to post some amazing projects on this blog, but wonder if I am going to let these "little" side projects get in my way.  Last year, my excuse was going back to school and getting my RN license current in the state we live in.  During '09 summer, I couldn't deal with anything but focusing on my coping mechanisms with the challenge of losing a child that hadn't arrived yet.  This year, I have allowed my new part-time job take over my identity and in many ways my "soul".

So I am heading back to the last camel costume, and praying I don't lose my focus on doing some "Heidi" projects this week. 

I will make sure I keep looking at my quilt to remind me........................

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dots and Checks

My first quilt top in over a year!!!  The last one was Jamie's quilt last summer.  I will post her's later, because like everything about her, she deserves her own spolight!

Ever since that quilt, I had not accomplished much crafting for fun.  I have done a few projects that fit our family needs.  Monogramming the boys' school uniform shirts.  Fixing a hem.  Covering a dog bed.  Nothing that really was "me".

Another babyloss momma sent me some fleece and edging to make a memory blanket for her this past Summer. I cannot tell you how long I procrastinated, because I am quite embarrased.  It was like the act of sewing would mean that my life was moving on.  When I did finally finish it (okay...confession October!), it was like the heaven's opened and kickstarted me to remember why I always crafted. 

I have always crafted for the love of my family.  Making gifts for family afar, decorating our home to make it cozy and inviting for ourselves and our visitors.  I have always loved making things that made me smile.  If it made something more organized...oh the bliss for my "slight" self-proclaimed OCD personality!!!!

I have always been pretty humble about my work.  I am my own worst critic....so I won't mention to you what is driving me crazy about this top!!!!

I was contemplating the name of this quilt....I definitely need to make it a victory of sorts.   When I border and quilt it, I will be sure to let you all know!!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I have been trying to figure out what to use this cute dress form wire thing I picked up at the store one day.  It just said SEWING ROOM to me.  I tried ribbon, buttons, ANYTHING...and just haven't felt the love. 

Until I had a cute leftover thread spool that was made of wood and I just couldn't throw away.
I just plop my empty spools in there.  VOILE!  How's this for a collection!?!?!?!?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Birthday Blues

A year ago today, we had a memorial funeral for Jamie.   A year ago yesterday was her due date.  Two days from now is my birthday.

I think I might really hate my birthday now.  I told my husband that I really don't like my birthday anymore.  It brings nothing but disappointment.  And actually, I have never really liked it.

This isn't a new concept for me, me being disappointed.  Growing up in the Chicago/Milwaukee area, the day used to be dingy, dark, and possibly accompanied with cold rain.  As a child, my parents did not have a lot of money.  My gifts were never extravagant.  I never had birthday parties.  But I am okay with that.  I understand the difficulties.

These past 14 years, we have creeped our way further South.  The days are nicer.  But as an adult, I have had the privilege of my family "forgetting" my birthday.  There is more often, than not, an empty mailbox.  Definitely devoid of a gift...most of the time, not even a card. 

My husband does not win any prizes in the birthday department.  He is often out of town...much like he will be this week.  I guess that is what happens when you have your birthday right before Thanksgiving.  Business must get done before we sit down to eat turkey!!!  I cannot recall a single memorable gift that he has given me.

Except........last year's.  He and the boys went shopping for a charm bracelet at one of my favorite stores James Avery.  They bought five heart charms.  One for each of them, the three boys, my husband, and they even included my darling baby girl!   They chose a plain heart so that her name could be engraved on it.  It is so beautiful and a day never goes by that I am not wearing it.

But still.......I dread my coming birthday.  I should have a bouncy one year old blond baby girl in my lap.  I should be anticipating her first step or if she was like her brothers, she would be already running and I would be chasing her these coming holidays.  We should have been sharing this month for our birthdays, like I share it with my mother.  Instead, she was born in October because we both were not doing well.  Instead, she is in an urn, instead of in my arms.

I really don't have high expectations for this week........

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baby Button

My little button.  One of the inspirations of starting this blog.  My Jamie is my butterfly because she flew away.  This beautiful baby on its way....please God have this one come home with me in my arms.....we have named Button. 

The boys and Jamie's real names begin with J's and ironically, their "pet" names from me start with B's.  Why do I have pet names?  I am one of those mommies that don't know if I am going to have a boy or a girl.  I have kept the gender/sex reveal a surprise for myself and everyone we know until they arrive five times now.  Why?  Because there aren't many REAL surprises in life anymore.  Even Christmas isn't the same as an adult!!!  The real reason I don't find out?  I have learned from my L&D nursing days that it is never a guarantee that these precious packages come home with us.  Does it matter if they are a boy or girl?  No, it only matters that they arrive safe and sound.

My Bunny helped me pick out this little one's nickname.  I like Button, because I loooove buttons.  They represent so much to me!  I use them when I sew.  I use them when scrapbooking, and I have even made some jewelry pieces with Buttons.  I also like the fact that this baby has "fastened" his/herself into my life.  This baby means so much, in so many ways.

Button has brought out a new view for me.  That there is joy out of pain.  There is hope out of agony.  There is happiness beyond grief.  This child is a not our Jamie, but this child might never have been here if I hadn't lost my Jamie. 

So I bought (sigh....not made) a blanket for our button.  The only purchase I have made, and probably the only one I will make before Button arrives.  I decided to embroider "Cute as a Button" on it in nuetral colors.  The boys and hubby loved it.  I think hubby is a little jealous that I bought it on my own, so I think I will make it up to him and have him go shopping with me for baby's first outfit.  So I guess there is a little shopping in our future...but not much.  I can't do a whole nursery without fear that it might be empty when I come home in a few months.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sleeping in the Clouds

Our babysitter, who also happens to be my good friend/co-worker's daughter, is traveling out of state for a dance competition.

I was supposed to just monogram the wording and add a strip of ribbon.  Of course, I couldn't stop there!  I digitized their logo to be included and I made a flower out of ribbon and a button.

I hope it is better than they hoped for!


Edited to add:   SHE LOVED THEM!!!  I am so happy!!  I was worried (yes, I am my own worst critic!).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rock the Cure!

 Today, JJ and I finished the JDRF Walk for the Cure!!!

It was a 5K and I was so proud of him.  Not a single protest or whine!  He even posed for the finish line.  We walked on an awesome little girls team.  Her name is Katelyn and she ROCKS, just like the shirt says!

I see this child everyday!  She is so mature and responsible and takes complete ownership of her Juvenile Diabetes.  Because of this, I was inspired to make this drawstring bag for her.  A diabetic always needs to carry their monitors, sweets, and water.  I used the colors from the t-shirt her mom had made for her Rockin' Angels Team!

I also made a ponytail holder (I used it to tie the t-shirt)

I promise....A Tutorial is in the making for the bag.  I made it off the top of my head and am pretty excited about it!!!!

Here is the photo bomb of our day!!!!!!

Starting out.  Can you see baby Button peeking out?!?!??!

JJ liked the curb every once in awhile.  There were a lot of girls there and he walked the whole way with the gals!!!

A butterfly kept landing on the kids as they walked.  On their fingers, on their shirts. 
Hello, Jamie!!!!!!

The finish line!!!!!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Quilted Coasters

I can't say enough how easy these are!!!!  Hoping that you think so too when you view this tutorial!  I am thinking of making holiday sets.  Make a set and tie up with a ribbon.  Voile!  A hand made gift that keeps on giving!

For this project, I had a bunch of scrap pieces of fabric from my window treatments,  birdhouse quilt, and pillow in my studio.  


Sewing Machine
Walking Foot preferred
Iron & Ironing Board
Scissors or Rotary Cutter
4 1/2 square ruler (optional)
Straight pins

4 1/2 inches x 10 inches piece of fabric for each coaster
Cotton thread that blends with the fabrics


Step One:  Cut fabric.  Each coaster should be 4 1/2 inches x 10 inch pieces. 

Step Two: Cut Batting.  Each coaster needs a 4 inch square of batting.

Step Two:  Fold the fabric in half, right sides together to form a 4 1/2 inch x 5 inch rectangle.

Step Three:  Sew the 5 inch sides, so you have an opening at the end of the rectangle.

Step Four:  Trim corners, and turn the fabric right side out.
Step Five: Tuck the batting in between the two layers.  The first time was a bit tricky, but since I used a low-loft batting, so it seemed to lay flat easily.  Each time I did another, it became easier and easier! 
Step Six: Fold the coaster's open ends in.  Make sure that your coaster is 4 inches square.  Iron the end to keep the end secure.

Step Seven:  Pin the end.

Step Eight: Attach your walking foot on to your machine if you have one.  A normal foot is possible, but be prepared for possible snagging in your bobbin area because of the layers.
Step Nine:  Start sewing at the pressed/pinned open edge of the coaster.   Start at approximately 1/8 inch from the edge.  Make sure you backstitch to secure your work!

Step Ten:  Sew to the bottom edge of the coaster and stop approximately 1/8 inch from the edge.

Step Eleven:  Make sure your you put your needle in the down position.  I am lucky to have the ability to preset my machine to always stop at a needle down position.  *If you don't have this option, hand turn your needle to secure the needle in the down position.

Step Twelve:  Lift the presser foot and make a 90 degree turn.  Lower the presser foot and continue sewing 1/8 inch away from the edge until you reach the next edge.  Again, stop approximately 1/8 inch away from the edge.

Step Thirteen:  Again, keep the needle down, lift the presser foot, and turn your coaster 90 degrees.  When you reach a point where you are meeting previous stitching, keep your next sewing line 1/8 inch from the sewing line next to it. (see whre my finger is pointing?)
You will continue this procedure until you have made concentric rectangle/squares to the center.  Make sure complete with a backstitch to secure your quilting! I don't know if you can see my thread well, but I am surprised how nice and flat the coasters out.  I have no worries that my glass might spill over from the coaster being too fluffy.

Other Ideas
Double sided:  I had some extra fabric, but not enough to make up for the length of 10 inches I needed.  I took two squares of 4 1/2 x 5 inches and sewed the two pieced fabrics to make a 4 1/2 inch x 10 inch strip.  When I folded it, I made sure that it was on the seam line where the two fabrics met.  Now I have a coaster that can be either fabric, depending on my mood!

Gift ideas:  I am thinking all of that holiday fabric I have been collecting over the years could make a nice set.  I love decorating for all the different holidays, but don't like to overdo.  I think these are a subtle way to have Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanskgiving, and Christmas make there way on our coffee tables!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


The hunt for the ladder.  A hunt, you say?  Yes...literally a long, excruciating hunt for the past 3 years.  Cyberstalking, catalog searching, mall shopping, furniture stores, design stores, antique stores, and yes...even checking out garbage piles.

When we moved into our new house three years ago, my goal was to complete my Studio first.  My Studio?  Yes, a high-falutin word for my craft room.  But doesn't every good artist call it a studio?  Hubby and the boys enjoyed making fun of it, but I have used it and My Room interchangeably for the past three years, it has started to stick. 

As I completed it, my goal was to have a place to showcase my quilts.  Okay my "future" quilts.  Why do I say future? I really must admit, that I have stacks and stacks of want-to-do quilts, but just didn't want to clutter every chair and couch with quilts!  So I decided I wanted an old ladder.  I love the rustic look, I have a bunch of rustic bird houses, and I just think it is fitting to my personality.  Climbing out of the pit I have been in.  Not perfect, but rough around the edges like me.  A bit paint splattered like my heart...still beating, still strong, but just a little tarnished with grief.

Finally, Pottery Barn had a ladder.  But I won't even describe how much it was going to cost me.  Especially when I decided I wanted a second one for my family room.  I wanted to be able to decorate it with holiday quilts.  I was about to cry, until I decided to check a website I found 3 years ago.  It made me weary because it wasn't as flashy as many other websites I shop from.  But when I saw their prices and the fact that the two ladders with shipping would cost me less than one very small one from PB, I decided to take a leap of faith.  Kind of like the one we made to try to have another child.

They arrived today.  Better than I ever expected.  A little crooked, definitely rustic, and completely perfect for what I wanted!  What do you think!

I also thought I would show you my infamous "Studio".  Do you think it is worthy of it's name?

My Studio/Craft Room...LOVE my Island.  Great for any and all projects

My "sitting" side.  I set up my sewing machines (which I store in the closet when not in use), jewelry making, stamping, and the right corner is where my boys have the upper and lower cabinet overflowing with kid craft items!  The larger cabinet on the left holds my scrapbooking paper, album page/page protectors, my Sissix die-cut machine...and some quilting rulers...odds and ends!

The WORK side!  Computer, printer, office supplies!  Gift wrapping, card making, Cricut machine are all hidden in the cabinets.  My ribbon and large sized Sissix die-cuts find a home on an old ribbon rack!

The Cozy Corner....My chair and a half that actually folds out to a twin mattress! The blankets/sheets are stored in my ottoman!  I love this mini-couch.  A lot of crosstitching, needlework, hand sewing done on that cushy seat!  And quite a few naps!!!!!!!



Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saint's Day

Today is All Saint's Day.  And I am grateful for the Communion of Saints.  For those who don't know what that is, I will give it to you in Heidi speak...don't take this as a direct quote from our Catechism!  The Communion of Saints is the belief that all of our loved ones that depart us become members of a community in heaven.  A very special community that is waiting and praying for those who are still wading through all the details of life down here.   A community that we can pray for intercession to.  Especially when we need some help bending God's ear.

Today is a day that always reminds me of why it is hard to be a Catholic. I have always found it to be difficult to be Catholic in our society.  I know to some, this might sound crazy, but I often feel very persecuted for my beliefs.  I have often wondered if it would be better to be Jewish.  No one seems to question their faith or disrespect their faith as much as I feel other Christians disrespect and question mine.  I have often been told that because I am Catholic...I am not Christian.  That is like a knife to the heart.  How awful to say that the oldest church is not Christian?  I always feel like I should defend my religion.  I say I feel like it, but I don't.  It just isn't worth the heartache of getting into a debate, especially when it involves good friends of ours.

Now, after the loss of a daughter, the question of faith and religion is a constant topic on my mind.  I am a realist in so many ways.  The nurse in me is so scientific and rationale.  But the nurse in me is also so sensitive to the things that can't be explained.

 I have empathy for those who are agnostic or are atheist after a loss.  How can you not be?  How can these repetitive or horrible losses be explained?  How can any of our religions justify what seems to be insanity?  Why so much pain for women who want a child or want to keep the child that they have created...something that all religions agree is an important aspect of our faith lives.  The procreation of children from a marriage.  Marriage being one of the holiest sacraments that couples can participate in.  Why would God want to deny couples that are righteously fulfilling our covenant with God?

But there you have it.  God working in his ever mysterious way.  I really hope that there is a Communion of Saints, because that would mean that Jamie is up there with the best of them, St. Anne of Seton, St. Jude, St. Francis of Assissi and so on. 

I hope she is up there praying and waiting for the rest of us to join her, otherwise, all of "this" life is for nothing...........


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