Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Frame, Mat, and Enjoy It!!

Here is my most recent frame/matting job 

and a sneak peak of Button's nursery!!

Over the years, we have moved many a time which often means re-decoration.  I like to think I am a bit spend thrifty...and this is certainly a way to save a little money.

If you have ever taken a photo to be professionally framed, you very well know how expensive it can get!  

I save the big bucks for my BIG portraits...but frame and mat the smaller ones myself!


Want to learn to Mat a picture?

  • Mat board
  • Logan Team System Rail and Bevel Cutter
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Cutting Mat

 Step One:  Measurements
  • Measure your photo.  I will use the measurements of mine as an example to better explain the process!  My photo is 11x14 inches.
  • Cut the mat board to the size of your frame.  For this project, I used a frame that was 16x 20 in.
  • The MATH!!  This will make or break your project.  Here is the "equation" I use!
Length of Photo - Overlap of Mat over photo (usually .25 inches both sides for a total of .5 in) = A
Length of Frame - A = B
B divided by 2 = C

Width of Photo + Overlap of Mat = D
Width of Frame - D = E
E divided by 2 = F

So for this numbers...

14 - .5 (.25 on both ends overlap!) = 13.5
20 - 13.5 = 6.5
6.5 divided by 2= 3.25 inches

11 - .5 = 10.5
16 - 10.5 = 5.5
5.5 divided by 2 = 2.25 inches

Time to use the measurements C and F

  • Make straight lines at the short ends (16 inch sides) using the measurement F.  I line my ruler up with the cutting mat underneath to achieve a straight line.  For this project, I measured 2.25 inches in from the edge. (I didn't orient this picture when I was taking the photo correctly in case you are wondering why I have the short ends towards the bottom and top)
  • Make straight lines at the long ends (20 inch sides) using the measurement C.  For this project I measured 3.25 inches in from the edge.

I always recheck my measurements by ensuring that my opening is the right size.  For this project, my opening will be 13.5 x 10.5 inches so that I will have a quarter of an inch overlap the photo all the way around.

Step Two:  Time to use the rail system

 Line the groove side of your rail up on the OUTSIDE of your line.

Place the bevel cutter in the groove of the rail.  Line the small line on the cutter with the perpendicular line.

With firm pressure, push down on the silver button that pushes the blade down into the mat.

  Then slide the cutter, while keeping pressure on the button until you reach the opposite perpendicular line.

Continue this around the other three sides.  REMEMBER, keep the rail on the OUTSIDE of your line.  If you place it on the opening side, the bevel will be cut wrong! 

Trust me on this one!!!

If you put the right amount of pressure and went from line to line you will have something like this:

 Flip it over and your mat will be perfect!

 Secure your photo to the back of your mat. 

Remember how we added a half an inch?  

This is the difference between your photo falling through the opening or looking awesome like this:

Pop it into a frame.  Use some glass cleaner to remove any fingerprints from dust and fingerprints.

And hang!

And I promise, more posts to come on Button's Nursery.  

So consider this Button's Nursery: Part One.

I just LOVE how his room is turning out! 

But, of course I am a bit biased....

 And please email me a note if something is confusing or needs more clarification!!!!
Edited:  Already noticed some made some clarifications!  I swear, I have been working on this tutorial for over a week!!! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bug's Quilt

I am going to forewarn you.....


It is hard to explain, but it is the first time where it was difficult to "let go" of a quilt I am making for someone else. 

I really kept "petting" it. 

I even opened it up so I could look at it ONE LAST time before mailing it off today.  My PostNet lady was cracking up.  She even made sure it had a tracking number...she knows me well enough to know that I will be obsessed over it!

The quilt is called a Biscuit quilt or also known as a puffy quilt.  

I would post a tutorial, but guess what?

  There already is an awesome one HERE.
  Heidi at HoneyBear Lane used to have this as a free tutorial, but she decided to make it professional and now it can be yours for a reasonable amount.  

The biscuit/puffy quilt can actually be found in many quilt books (I found it in three of mine), but Heidi's is truly a very good tutorial.  Especially for anyone in the beginner/intermediate category of sewing/quilting.

Don't you just love the each "puff"?

Don't you just love the soft and cuddly border fabric?

I had a different backing fabric planned, but it pushed the floral theme a bit is for a baby boy, after all!

And when I found the backing material at the quilt shop, I ditched my original white binding plan.  The check had to be used!  Even dear hubby agreed.

I was actually so honored to be asked to make this. 
Bug's momma is quite a talent herself, but she said she felt like she might not be able to pull it off.   And if anyone knows me, I love not only a challenge...but also just to be asked!

She wanted it in black/white/greys to go with the rest of Bugs' stuff.  She actually transformed a color picture into black and white so I could get an idea of what she wanted! 

My favorite part? 

Bug is her Rainbow baby.  

Enough said.  Right?

And because I love the quilt so much....can I just show it to you again?

Have I mentioned that I love this quilt?

I am pretty sure there will be more in my near future.   I wonder if it will be hard to let them go too?  Maybe a big one for my own bed?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dday: Year Two

Today is the second anniversary of what I call D-day.

   Diagnosis Day.  

Jamie's 28 week ultrasound.

Funny, I didn't realize why I was in a funk this week until I looked at the date on the calendar.  I knew it was approaching earlier this month and I could feel the build-up, but with our trip, I became distracted.

In a good way, or a bad way? 

I am not sure.

It is a weird day because I can't, and frankly, won't celebrate it. 

I guess it is kind of like Pearl Harbor or 9/11.  It isn't like her birthday where I can remember how wonderful she was. 

It is just a day to pause.

 I made a lot of progress last night on Bug's quilt (the puffy quilt).  Borders are on and binding is cut and ironed/folded.  The batting is cut to size.I just need to go buy some backing material.  The fabric I had planned was a tad to floral for me.

It's raining again, so  I am hoping I finish it today so I can mail it off!  

Since I will be out and about,  I will run out to the store to buy Button some spoons and bowls so we can try some cereal this weekend.   

Maybe that will get me out of my funk?

Probably not.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


"And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow."
~Gilbert K. Chesterton

It's finally raining here in the Houston area!

It has been dangerously dry around here.

It has only rained twice, including today since before Button was born!

So as soon as I get this done....


I will be sitting down and finishing this!


I REALLY want to get this out in the mail!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Day for Dad

We have just returned from a wonderful trip to the Northeast.

But, first, I wanted to say that this Father's Day was a bit different.  I actually have a really cool project, but dear hubby ruined it by coming home early the other day.  

But, we will forgive him because we love him!

It also was the first time we have "celebrated" Father's Day away from home.  I actually feel bad for ALL the Father's.

  It was really about the gaggle of boys that had so much fun!

I have something REALLY amazing to share about the trip, but the laundry room is calling to me! So I hope I can sooner than later!

In the meantime, I will just share this photo.  

I have been practicing taking photos without using my auto mode thanks to the new e-book I bought.  Remember Katie's Book?

  I was really excited because I FINALLY was able to get the mood of a campfire without the horrible washed out look or just complete darkness.

However, little did I know that it would be so blurry and shaky. 

It isn't because HE was moving. 

It was because I was laughing. 

I often feel that God gave us so many boys because he can offer his sons so much.

  He shares his humor, his drive, his humor, his heart, his humor, his tenacity, his humor, his creativity, his humor, his love, and hmmmm....did I mention his humor?

And a butterfly flew by yesterday morning.  
All the way in New Hampshire!

I think Daddy's Little Girl stopped by!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm not sure what happened today, but I realized that my online support group needed a little love.

I have managed the public CTT despite Fatal Diagnosis for a year and a half.  It was created right after the Christmas that Jamie was born.  It was a way for me to gather all the women I encountered online.  We were spread out on poor prognosis groups, grief groups, loss groups, and sometimes mixed together with miscarriage groups.

I knew there was a need for us to get together to share our stories and support each other through a very difficult time.

What started as a few women, maybe 15, has now grown to a whopping 256.  These are just the women that "joined" but doesn't count the many that might have stopped by or lurk in the internet shadows to read, but not join in.  I don't blame the lurkers.  It IS strange to connect with women not only across the country, but across the world.

256 members in 18 months.

About 9 months ago, I decided to start a private group called 
Life after Carrying.......

It was a place for those of us to connect and share the more intimate things.  A place for us to talk about our REAL lives after losing.  A place to talk about the need for a baby in our arms again. A place to talk about the crazy emotions when you are pregnant again. A place for us to cry on each other shoulders when another anniversary or birthday passes by.

But today, I realized that we did "move on".  We have been hiding the worst from not only our members on the public board.

But for me, I realized that I am hiding the worst from everyone.  

To protect me or them?

I am not sure.

And as always....God tapped me on the shoulder today.
  He does that sometimes.  

A mom on my support group suggested we have a Where We Are At thread on our public board. A post that would be honest about our lives now.  She mentioned that a mom blogger was starting something in blog land.

Ironically, I linked to Holly's blog today.  Remember Carleigh's Blanket?

Holly did a blog post about Where I am

It is part of a shout out by Angie at Still Life with Circles.  She asked her blog mommies to post about where they are at.  

I don't follow Angie's blog, but I think I am going to take up the challenge!  

I hope I don't bore you tomorrow or maybe today!  I feel very "chatty" today.

Right Where I Am: 1 year, 8 months

This is the post I mentioned earlier!
  It is part of still life with circles Right where I am Project.

I am 1 year, 8 months from my loss. 

Next week will be our 2 year anniversary of her initial ultrasound, which I call D-Day.

I am going to be honest.  I had to count on my fingers the months.  Not because I don't care, but at a certain point I had to LET IT GO, for my own sanity.
I'd like to give my time line, if no one minds because I think this is very important!

The first three months after losing Jamie, I was in a DAZE.  It was like I was living in someone else's nightmare.  It sometimes was very "out of body".  I pushed off Jamie's memorial funeral to a month after her birth/death.

The two and three month marks were also during the Thanskgiving Day and Christmas holidays. 

They were awful. 

I already have three quite "grown" boys that I had to pretend that I was oh so thrilled.  I lost my cool in a Toys R Us.  I hated seeing pictures of babies.  I thought that commercials were a cruel joke.

Then I got hired to work at the boys' school as a nurse and I jumped in head first....I wanted to keep busy and get out of my house.

Then we made the momentous decision to try to have another child.  It was horribly difficult.  We had no difficulties in the past for the other four.  This time, it was a nightmare.  Countless negative sticks.  Countless announcements on Facebook of healthy baby deliveries.  Countless announcements of pregnancies.

  I felt like a failure.

At the 5 month mark, I hit ROCK BOTTOM.  Even my own husband went to my annual OB/GYN visit just so he could discuss my anxiety/depression issues.  Enter Lexapro.  My friend for a few months.  I didn't realize I had postpartum depression.  There is something to be said for re-balancing your Serotonin levels.  I thought I was a wreck because of my grief, when in fact I had BOTH.

At my 8-9 months post lost, we found out that we were pregnant.

Just one week before Jamie's D-Day. 

Enter a whole host of garbage grief.  Why is THIS baby healthy?  Why couldn't Jamie be healthy. I think the rollercoaster of emotions was the most taxing thing I have ever experienced.  Never was there more worry, anxiety, and sadness.  I sometimes would feel the baby kick and think it was Jamie.  I would eat and drink something and it was like a time warp to her pregnancy. 
It was so hard to separate the two pregnancies.

At the holidays, there was a bit more happiness.  We had had several good ultrasounds and appointments.  It was like we had a little window opened that said it was okay to be happy again.

  But, I won't lie, the shadows are dark and deep.  They have no problem sneaking up on me.

When our bundle arrived, a new set of disasters entered.  

What should have been our "perfect" delivery ended up as a nightmare.  Our baby was sweeped up to NICU and immediately on oxygen and next thing we knew we were signing consents for our baby to receive a platelet transfusion.  Congenital Luekemia was discussed.  Bone marrow issues.  It was like I had entered the nightmare again and was going to go home empty armed AGAIN!

Luckily, it ended up being something very "fixable" and he ended up coming home with us.  However, we endured another 3 weeks of not knowing what exactly was wrong.  When I found out that my body had not only attacked his platelets, but had attacked all of our children, it was another low blow.  Another reminder that I probably shouldn't have children.

I won't lie.  This set my grief back a billion, kajillion miles back again.  The old feelings were just at the surface.  It was as if my skin was raw and all anyone had to do was touch it and I was in excrutiating pain.

Everyone around me was breathing a sigh of relief because then they didn't have to worry about Jamie.  I had a new baby, right?  Our happy ending happened, right?  We walk into the sunset looking in each other's eyes with our children in the middle, right?


Because we may be walking in the sunset and holding hands, but we both keep glancing behind us to see if she is still there.  We are actually clinging to each other.

  It doesn't take much for me to watch a movie and cry.  I always cried before, but now...I am crying for her when there are sad parts in movies.

So, yes, my life continues.  There is some happiness. 
I even was able to work on a quilt today. Granted it is special because it is for another mom who had a baby after her horrible loss.

But the fact of the matter is that I will never get my darling girl back.

  How badly I want her here with me RIGHT NOW.

How badly I want her back........


It is interesting to see what a person writes in the darkest depths of the night. 

To share that feelings change from moment to moment, 
 I wanted to add that this morning I felt better.

I woke up and wandered into my studio. I had rainbow baby Button on my hip.

On my countertop was the quilt I am making for a rainbow baby that was born recently.  It brings me JOY to share my talents with someone who "gets it".

On my countertop was a new box. 

A new blanket for me to embroider precious little feet on.

  My Butterfly Kisses ministry really does give me JOY. 
I love doing them for babyloss mommas. 

 If Jamie hadn't been here, I would never have thought to do something like this for others.

And as always a good vent on this blog allows me to have a less restless night, which CAN bring a beautiful new day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Miss Carleigh's Blanket

Another Butterfly Kiss is about to head back home to her momma!


I can't tell you how much it means to me that these moms trust me enough to send their precious blankets to me and allow me to do something that is very therapeutic for me.

My family is becoming very used to taking boxes and envelopes from our mailbox or porch and just setting them on my studio counter.  No questions asked.

I definitely know that they understand how important it is for not only ME, but more important for the ones we are giving just another piece of their baby back.  We understand the need to have physical reminders that say "THEY WERE HERE".

As I am editing these amazingly perfect feet print

and/or hand prints,

I sometimes hear comments such as "Oh, so cute!" 

and "Look at those!  So tiny!". 

When I fret over making a print more solid or make it less blotchy like their actual print, I just have to ask my dear hubby his opinion. 

We usually end up both agreeing that even though the prints don't look solid, they are EXACTLY the way they are on the paper that their prints touched.

So if you noticed missing patches on Carleigh's prints, they are not a mistake, they are the open areas that were created when her actual prints were made.

  They are what make Carleigh different than every other baby that has arrived on this Earth. 

I wouldn't dare change what God created himself, right?

About the baby that those precious little prints belong to?  

Miss Carleigh.

  Her mom blogs often about her. 

  Just click on the button to read about her and her momma. 

You will love getting to know the two of them!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Quilt for the Button

 I am so excited!  I gave my new girl a bit of a run and feel confident to start working on some "orders" for friends and family.

I finished little Button's quilt!!

I think Button is excited too!

I have only made one other quilt for one of my children, and that one sits with her memory box.  

This quilt was therapuetic in many ways.

  I bought the "if its a girl" and "if its a boy" quilt kits from Joann's.  

I planned to do them BEFORE he arrived, but I think there was fear.  
Fear that if I made a quilt, I would be coming home empty armed again.  

So demons where vanquished as I worked on it. Cutting went smoothly.  Placing the squares?  Not so much.  Too many mishaps to explain the amount of times my flannel fell and squares fell on the floor.

  I was very anxious about deciding on my quilting plan.  I let the quilt hang out in the studio for a while. 

The usual struggle in my head occurred!  Should I free-motion?  Should I do even lines.  Should I cross even lines to make small squares.  Should I try to make hearts in each large square?

Then I started to doodle. 

Don't you just love post-its?

I decided that I would meander, but cross my lines.  And every so often I would add a heart. 

My heart!

  I emphasized a few of the larger hearts by mimicking the pebble quilting effect.

I will be honest....I let my stitch lengths go a little long.  I have to practice getting them a bit shorter.  My new machine was a bit quick for me!

But I don't think Button cares!

Or maybe he wonders about my ability to quilt?

Or is he more worried about my ability to bind it?

He should be.  

I usually hand stitch my bindings, but wanted to try to do it solely by machine.


 Major FAIL mom!

But I pulled it out in the end!  A little time and a seam ripper, and some handstitching. 

I was back in business!

Phew, Mom....That was a close one!

I'm so glad that I pushed through all the difficulties to finish it.
  It sure was worth it for this little guy!

Edited:  Took a few better pictures of the kit and doodle.  And somehow I was missing a picture of the hand stitched binding!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tee Hee.....

Some ladies are sharing some "interesting" fabrics on my online sewing group.
Some are claiming that it is the worst fabric, EVER!

Me?  It is just a tad disturbing.

Do you think an apron for Grandma?

Maybe the inside of a denim vest?

 A tool apron/belt for Mom?

A trick or treat bag for yourself to a Halloween party?

Some pot holders for those "hot" platters?
I know, I know..."hot" = fire = firemen.  Yes, I went there....


I am thinking a cute knapsack for some outdoor activities?

What would YOU do with these fabrics?


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